After Kerie had gotten her own place, it was easy for her to turn her attention to building up her business. It hadn't taken a genius to figure out Mesa Vista was in need of a grocery store, even if it was a small one, and she found running it to be gratifying to her Fortune aspiration. In fact, she had been able to put Zach Adams out of her mind quite easily. That is, until the other day when he had shown up to buy a few things. She thought about her strange behavior at his house... you didn't ignore someone you had three bolts with, did you? Maybe she had felt pressure to perform or something, maybe that's what went wrong... Whatever had happened, she couldn't get him out of her mind now...
"What are you doing in your underwear?"
"It's the coolest thing I have, it's always so blasted hot around here."
"It's not that hot."
"Says the one in the summer dress. That looks positively lovely on you, by the way. Would you like to trade?"
"I love this dress, I got it in Takemizu. It's what I met Stephan in!"
"Diane, I'm kidding. How well do you know Zach's wife, Nikki?"
Diane shrugged. "I don't, aside from she's the one Zach chose."
"... I'm thinking about inviting Zach over. Maybe tonight."
"Not a good idea." And because she couldn't resist, Diane added, "Why? You know he's an opportunist."
"Look, something wasn't right at his house, I know it! Three bolts means something, right?"
"Stephan and I had three when we first got back from Takemizu, but we're down to two now."
"Then you know what I'm saying! I was... off somehow, and I have to know if it was a fluke. What if Zach and I are the real deal?!"
"Have you forgotten he's married? With children?"
"Three bolts, Diane. I have to know."
"Mark my words, no good will come of this. And I'm really not strong enough to pick up the pieces when it goes bad for you. And it will."
"You know he's an opportunist."
Yes, but how could she hold that against him when she was one herself? And face it, she didn't have the moral high ground here, not by any stretch of the imagination.
"Mark my words, no good will come of this."
Kerie was at once elated and terrified that that possibility wasn't even a consideration.
Kerie knew her instincts were right when Zach eagerly accepted her invitation. The blood coursed hot through her veins at the sight of him, and she threw caution to the wind, and damn Diane's torpedoes.
He said he needed to talk to her, which she filed away before cutting him off, determined to plunge them both into the three-bolt vortex every Sim aspires to.
And for Zach, he loved Nikki and the boys, but his life had become so routine and rather... humdrum. He couldn't help craving adventure, the excitement of the unexpected, and what was happening right now with Kerie was definitely... unexpected.
"You were on fire tonight, I wasn't expecting this."
"What were you expecting?"
"I wanted to talk to you. I've been wanting to talk to you since the other day at your store."
"What did you want to talk about," she asked, sidling up closer to him.
"It's about your career. Your former career."
She pushed him away and sat up abruptly.
"You mean when I was a Criminal Mastermind?"
"What do you want to know?"
"If you'd ever consider going back."
"So, this is what it's all about."
"I'm not sure what you mean."
"Moving me in with you was a miscalculation on your part, wasn't it, Zach?" she said evenly. "Just like tonight was a miscalculation on mine."
"I never meant for this to happen."
"You think I don't know that now? Your primitive little basketball venue was a nice cover," she continued, shooting an air ball for emphasis, "but I had my connections... I knew where your so-called heart lies before we ever met."
"It was never my intention to hurt you."
"Hurt me? You didn't hurt me! We're a three-bolt fluke! We are not friends! We are nothing! And for your information, I’m going to be Chief of Staff because that's where my so-called heart lies, and I will never be a General, or a Criminal Mastermind or a Scientist. Get my drift?"
"You've made yourself perfectly clear. I hope someday you'll..."
"Get out. Go home to your perfect wife and your perfectly ordinary life, Zach Adams."
"Nikki! Hi!" Zach called out, his heart pounding frantically with guilt and regret for the first time in his life.
"Where have you been, Zach?" she asked, a little niggle of fear flitting about her stomach.
"All over!" he said without missing a beat. "Did you know we have an import store now? And a clothing store is going up. This place is really taking off!"
The excitement in his voice was infectious and she smiled as he took her hand and led her inside.
That night, he was more affectionate than usual, which she chalked up to his earlier excitement.
"I don't know why I didn't think of this before, but I could become a General first, and then go into the SCIA."
"If that would make you happy, darling."
"Nikki, I know I don't say it enough..."
"You don't say it at all."
"Nikki, I love you so much."
Diane's torpedoes, what Kerie sort of affectionately referred to her pregnancy as, hit her full force.
He and Kerie went way back, but why she had decided to settle down in Mesa Vista was beyond him. And at night it was even worse... dogs with eyes that glowed like that just weren't natural, if you asked him.
"Easy boy, I'm a friend. Not here to cause trouble, nope, no trouble at all... KERRRIIEEEE!!!"
"Shoo, Beasley!" Kerie shouted from the door, sending the stray on its way.
"Thank goodness! Brandon, I didn't know who else to call."
"Kerie! What happened to you? I mean...."
"I don't know what happened! I'm afraid!" she cried, panic starting to set in. "I can't do this by myself."
"Just tell me what do you want me to do!"
"I need helllllp..." she sobbed.
"Ohhh, Brandon. Stay just until I get used to this, okay?"
"Of course. I wasn't doing anything good anyway. Besides, what are best friends for?"
"Thank you, you don't know what a relief it is having you here."
"You might as well take advantage of me while you can. That new clothes store is finally open, why don't you, um, go buy something new to wear?"
"They did get pretty stretched out, didn't they," Kerie said with a laugh... the first one she'd had in days.
Kerie took Brandon up on his offer and went to Mesa Vista's first clothing store, Outside Outfitters.
"Go on in," said Ciel Outside, "you're our very first customer."
Kerie stared blankly at the clothes rack, her mind still racing here, there and everywhere at how her life had veered so crazily off track.
As she dithered over what to buy, more customers began pouring in, and Kerie watched, amused, as Mesa Vista's ugly fashion ducklings were transformed, one by one, into rather beautiful swans.
"Yvette Tan, future owner of Mesa Vista's first and finest hair salon. How are ya?"
Look, there was Marie! Kerie was about to call her over when a familiar and not so welcome voice stopped her short.
"Kerie? Hello, doesn't this place have great stuff?"
"Oh. Hello, Nikki."
"How are you? It's been ages since the Hoops days, hasn't it?"
"Yes... ages." And because Kerie couldn't help herself, she asked, "How are you?"
"Couldn't be better... I'm almost a Business Tycoon and we're expecting again!"
Kerie high-tailed it out of Outside Outfitters, head held high despite the pounding in her chest, not caring what Nikki made of her abrupt departure.
"Noah. What is mommy going to do now?"
Well, that pretty much wraps up Week 2 of Mesa Vista.
Outside Outfitters is owned by the Outsides, a six-member CAS family I placed for a quick population boost.
From left to right:
Ciel, Nemo's wife, a third-generation spare from my Apocalypse, originally Pleasure turned Family, wants to graduate 3 kids from college
Mina, their second oldest daughter, Fortune, wants to be Chief of Staff
Nemo, Ciel's husband, simself of Little Nemo who writes the Far away from Eden Apocalegacy, Fortune, wants to be a City Planner, and has entered the Architecture career
Nicole, their eldest daughter, Pleasure, wants to be a Game Designer
It took a lot of digging to get enough to start a clothes store... beware, the racks are expensive.
And last but not least:
Emily, the youngest daughter
Neil, their first boy and youngest child
THE NITTY GRITTY - WEEK 2 STATS:
Playable Sims: 19
Community lots: 6 + military base
Earned CAS: 11, Placed: 7, Available: 4
Athletic - unlocked
Medical - unlocked
Military - unlocked
Architecture - 2 openings, 1 taken
Business - 1 opening, 1 taken
Criminal - 1 opening
Slacker - 1 opening
Public Uni Taxes collected @ 10% of lot and business values: $62,330
Thanks for reading and Happy Simming!