This couldn’t be the place. Was this the place?
Lolly Racket pulled her phone out from her pocket and checked her text messages again. Yes, this was the correct address. But the sign said Oceanside Cafe. Lolly was puzzled. Did Sinbad actually work here? It had been nearly two months since she saw him. True to her word, she hadn’t stopped pining for him. She hoped her appearance would be a happy surprise… if she could find him. His bandmate had said he moonlighted as a bartender in the afternoons at this place. She had coaxed the address out of the guy by saying she was an old friend. Still it didn’t seem like the kind-of place he would work, but she figured it was worth a shot.
She wandered inside the Cafe, finding the decor a bit old-fashioned. Since it was middle of the afternoon, there were hardly any customers – an old man sipping on a cup of coffee reading the newspaper in the far right corner, and a conservatively dressed waitress with coiffed hair at the counter, counting change. When the woman turned to go into the back, Lolly stopped her.
“Sinbad Rotter? Do you know him?”
“Uh, he works in the club in back,” she replied.
“Oh thanks,” Lolly sighed. “I thought I was in the wrong location.”
“How old are you, girl?” the waitress asked.
“I’m eighteen, of course,” Lolly lied and tried to appear taller. “Sinbad and I are… friends…” she trailed off, disliking the sound of that, given she wanted so much more.
“Alright,” the waitress waved her hand. “Back there. We share the property.”
“Gotcha, thanks,” Lolly quickly walked away before the woman grew more suspicious.
Lolly used the fake id her friend Frances had helped her get. Lolly had to pay a fortune for it, and then an additional pretty penny for her friend to watch her little cousin while she went out, but it was a small price to pay to see Sinbad.
She glanced at the card in her hand once more before slipping it into her wallet. She wasn’t too keen on the name Justine Minor. She felt it drew more attention to the fact that she wasn’t an adult. Only five more months, she said under her breath as she walked into the room. Then she could go into places like this all the time without worrying. Still, tonight would be worth it, even if she got caught. She had to see him.
The club looked nothing more than a converted parking garage. She passed a group of men in their swim trunks playing pool. One of them smiled appreciatively in her direction.
“Hiya boys,” she said, offering a flirtatious little wave.
I have to sell the part, right?
Further into the room, the dance floor was lined with black lights and tables. Most were empty because of the hour. To the right was a DJ dropping some hip hop beats, although there was a stage set up with a piano, drum kit, and guitars. A bartender in a red-white-and-blue striped dress and barefeet approached her, balancing a tray of drinks.
“Hi, welcome to the Heir to the Side of Caution.”
“Really?” Lolly puzzled. “That’s what this place is called?”
“Didn’t you see the sign when you walked in, honey?” the lady laughed. “What can I get you?”
Lolly glanced past the waitress, seeing Sinbad for the first time. He had grown his hair out and gotten flaming orange highlights. His tattooed arms peeked out from under a black button-down with blue lightning bolts, making Lolly’s heart skip a beat. She always thought his tattoos made him look hot. He was cleaning off the counter when he looked up and caught her gaze. His green eyes pierced her heart from across the room.
“Ah… I see…” the waitress turned so she could tell what Lolly was staring at. “Can’t help you there…” she leaned in as if it were a secret. “Good luck, babe.”
Lolly approached the bar, her heart thudding with every step. “Hello Sinbad.”
“Lolly?” he frowned. “What are you doing here?”
“I’m in town with my grandpa and my aunt and cousin,” Lolly replied. “Aren’t you happy to see me?”
“No… I mean… here… in the club?” he said, standing stoically.
“Um… I wanted to see you. Tomas told me where to find you. I’ve been following your band, Fighting Dragons with Scissors online. It’s a really great website by the way.”
When he didn’t say anything, she added, “Hey! You started a band. Good for you and all…” she wanted to add that she was proud of him, but she felt that might sound too patronizing.
He continued to stare at her blankly. Wow! This is awkward! Lolly shifted her weight, and thought about how she could break the silence.
“Do you make Sheerly Chapels?”
“Of course,” he said gruffly. “You orderin’ one?”
“Yes,” she tried to sound cheerful as she reached for her wallet. “Extra cherry grenadine please.”
“We’re out of cherry. I can make you a blackberry one with 7-Up,” he remarked.
“Sure and make it ginger ale instead,” she shrugged. “Bathroom?”
“Back there,” he indicated with his head.
When Lolly returned, she found several more women in swimsuits gathered around the bar. Sinbad was creating her drink, with blackberry grenadine as he had stated. The rain had picked up outside, and Lolly shivered just looking at it. For mid-Simvember, the weather was still quite warm, but she didn’t like rain.
Lolly returned to claim her beverage.
“Sorry… can’t give this to you unless you’re a paying customer,” Sinbad stated severely.
She gave him a weird look. “I was planning to pay…” she reached in her wallet and pulled out a crisp nine Simos. “Why wouldn’t I pay?” she frowned.
“Hey, hey, I know you…” one of the women nearest to her said in a slurred tone.
“Uh… no… I don’t think so,” Lolly shook her head.
“No… really… I know you… you went to school with my son didn’t you?” the woman replied.
“No,” Lolly shook her head.
“Dylan… get lost…” Sinbad grunted.
“Gosh, Sinbad, I wuz…. just…” the woman hiccuped. “Try-ing to get to know this customer.”
The lady stumbled off.
“Thanks,” Lolly smiled, and sipped her drink.
“That woman’s a slush,” Sinbad said casually, cleaning out the inside of some of his glasses.
He received a severe look from a bald man in a full three-piece suit sitting at the piano.
“That’s my boss,” Sinbad threw his head in the other man’s direction. “Olivier Harbucks.”
Lolly’s eyes grew wide. “The Olivier Harbucks?” she set her drink on the counter incredulously. “I didn’t know he owned bars.”
“He’s systematically buying up the Nation,” Sinbad scowled. “Apparently he winters here in Roaring Heights, and it’s annoying as hell when he’s around…”
Piano music started flooding the room, competing with the hip-hop tunes already playing.
“Oh… there he goes again…” Sinbad grumbled. “I hate that man! And his music! He’s trying to turn this joint into an upscale classical fancy-schmancy place.”
“What’s wrong with that?” Lolly inquired, as she finished her beverage.
“Well…” Sinbad looked down at the floor. “The man’s lookin’ for a reason to fire me. I just know it. Pretty soon all the girls will be outta work too.” He glowered in his boss’ direction. “This is a swimsuits and beers joint, not a lapels and lounge kinda place.”
“Oh,” was all Lolly could think to say.
“Hey,” Sinbad leaned over the counter and whispered. “If he catches you, you’ll get the boot.”
“Nah…” Lolly waved her hands. “I’m not worried. My id is pretty good.”
“Really? Let me see.”
After a few minutes of studying the plastic card, he conceded. “Cho?”
“Darius,” she corrected.
“I thought the guy moved to Miniopolis,” Sinbad remarked.
“No, he’s patrolling the beaches here in Simoridia. My friend, Frances hooked me up.”
Sinbad frowned, and crossed his arms. “I don’t like it. That guy’s a gangster.”
“So?” Lolly said, nonchalantly. “He got me a good card.”
“Lolly… that man’s put people in the hospital and he’s been in jail for assault before.”
“It’s fine. He’s the best damn counterfeiter if I’ve ever seen one.”
“You could’ve asked me. I just don’t like the thought of you and Darius doing business together.”
“Is that concern I’m hearing?” a smile played at the edge of Lolly’s lips. “I can handle myself,” she put her hands on her hips. “Plus I thought you got outta the biz.”
“I did, but for a friend…” Sinbad trailed off as one of the other waitresses approached. “…look just next time come to me if you need somethin’ like that, okay?”
“Okay,” Lolly agreed, secretly pleased that Sinbad cared.
“She’s cute,” the other bartender remarked with a grin. “How long have you two been together?”
Sinbad growled. “We’re not…”
“Going on two months,” Lolly interjected with a smile.
“Really?” the bartender gave her a pleasantly surprised look. “Sinbad’s so private about his personal life. Why haven’t you brought her around before?”
“I…” Sinbad tried, but the words just wouldn’t come.
“We’re doing the long distance thing. I’m from his hometown.”
“Oh well nice to meet you… I’m Julie.”
Lolly reached to shake the woman’s hand. “Lo…” she quickly caught herself, realizing she was using an assumed identity. “Lori…” she said the first l-o name she could conjure.
“Nice to meet you Lori,” Julie replied and winked at her coworker. “Sinbad… be a doll and get me my purse. I stuck it under the bar earlier when I came in.”
He mumbled a few curse words below his breath as he pushed his frustration into the counter with one hand while looking for Julie’s bad with his other.
“Here,” he shoved it into her arms gruffly.
“Well, I’m going home to shower, but it was a pleasure meeting your girlfriend,” Julie remarked, and turned to Lolly. “Maybe I’ll see you around, Lori? Hey you should come back tonight. Sinbad’s on shift, but it’s dance-off night. You might enjoy it.”
“Yeah definitely,” Lolly bobbed her head.
As soon as the woman was outside earshot, Sinbad sent death glares in her direction.
“Why did you tell my coworker we were dating?”
“I didn’t. She assumed.”
“But you didn’t correct her… and what was that about the two months thing? Lolly… we talked about this… about how I couldn’t…”
“Seriously, Sinbad, it’s Lori…” Lolly rolled her eyes. “Remember?”
“I thought it was Justine,” he grimaced and folded his arms across his chest.
“Lori’s my middle name,” she stuck her nose in the air.
“Fine, whatever… just… leave, okay? I’m working.”
Lolly gave him a mock pout. “Is that any way to treat your girl?”
“Lolly…” he hissed. “You’re not my girl.”
“Not yet… at least…” she took a few steps back and sashayed her hips. “Ooo… good song… I think I’m going to dance.”
She turned and left before he could complain anymore.
Lolly returned home to change into her swimsuit so she could “fit in” better. When she returned, she made the rounds after kicking off her shoes in the little sandbox for the patrons. She was pleased to see Sinbad had “gotten more festive” too, wearing a pair of black swim trunks. She waved in his direction, and he gave her a dirty look as he continued serving guests.
Lolly paid no mind to Sinbad’s obvious annoyance. She played a round of pool with the guys. She sang a karaoke duet with one of the ladies. She met a few of the locals. She ordered a hamburger from one of the waitresses. Now she was enjoying the dance-off, waving her arms around in the air, secretly hoping Sinbad would notice her. She glanced over in his direction every few minutes and often caught him scowling. Lolly threw simpering glances, her best mock-pouts, and even blew a kiss to Sinbad, all the while swinging her hips and waving her arms in time to the music. By seven-fifteen, the man was practically fuming.
Sinbad sauntered up to her on the dance floor, swinging his arms. Lolly leaned back, and put her hands out defensively.
“Whoa! I just want to have fun tonight, Sinbad,” she said. “No need to get angry.”
“Why?” he snapped.
“Why? Why what? Why you shouldn’t get angry?” she frowned.
“No, why are you here?” he barked.
“I told you that. I wanted to see you,” Lolly lowered her voice so the other dancers hopefully wouldn’t notice their argument.
“Why?” he repeated, puffing a stray hair out of his eye.
“Why?” she leaned toward him. “Sinbad… I told you I love you.”
“No you don’t, kid,” he dropped his intense eye contact.
“Yes…” she reached for his arm. “Yes I do.”
“Don’t say that.”
“That word…” he looked almost disgusted, and Lolly’s countenance fell.
She had hoped that the eight weeks apart would make him change his mind. She desperately wanted him to change his mind. Why did he have to be so stubborn? He cared. He just wouldn’t admit it. Now he acted like love was repulsive, and she couldn’t figure out why. Lolly tried to avoid staring at his bare hairy chest, his sculpted tattooed arms. He’s so manly. Why can’t I be womanly enough for him, she thought with despair. Why is my whole life so screwed up?
“Dance with me,” she said suddenly.
“What?” he asked.
“Dance with me… for a little while okay?”
Then maybe the pain would go away.
“Not now, Lolls…” Sinbad sighed, noticing his hovering boss. “I should get back to work.”
She swallowed the disappointment hard. “Fine,” she bit out. “I’ll be here.”
As Sinbad stalked off, Lolly turned to the man from the pool table earlier. He eagerly offered spin her around the floor, and they quickly started grooving. Lolly kept looking around for Sinbad, but the floor had gotten crowded. Trying to keep her mind off her unrequited love, she struck up a conversation with her dance partner. He said his name was John, and he was a scriptwriter. The man had spent time in Hollyweird, and Lolly made sure to gush over his tales of the ‘silver city.’ She hoped to make Sinbad jealous… if he’d ever look over in her direction.
John was happy to feed into her enthusiasm. He seemed a bit full of himself, and he certainly enjoyed flexing his muscles and bragging about the time he was an extra on the set of the Simdiana Jones movies. He continued to show off his “rad” body even when Lolly danced with other people. Lolly attempted to avoid an eye-roll.
By the end of the evening, John convinced her to dance with him again. The DJ played a slower song, and John held her tightly against his smooth hairless chest. Lolly chuckled weakly as he continued to utilize cheesy lines on her, and prayed the song would be over soon as she disliked clutching his sweaty hands.
When the song concluded, instead of letting her go, John awkwardly hugged her.
“Mmm… you smell nice, Lori… really nice…” he took a deep breath as he smashed his nose against her forehead and into her hair.
His moist hand slid down her back, lower than she would’ve liked. Lolly tried to pull free, but he kept gripping her tightly. When he traveled south of her waistline and brushed his fingers over the back of her swimsuit and onto her bare skin, she squirmed.
“Hey!” she cried out.
“Hey yourself,” he grinned stupidly and gave her right butt cheek a little squeeze. “Hey! You’re firm!”
“Hey!” she pushed him away.
Lolly found herself spiraling backwards at a dizzying speed as a blur of Sinbad stepped between the two and punched John in the face.
“Stay away from my girl!” he growled ferociously.
“Ow,” John rubbed his jaw, and leaped forward to return the favor.
Sinbad grabbed the man and held him in a choke-hold while John flailed and punched Sinbad in the gut causing Sinbad to release John. The two stumbled and then pounced again, this time Sinbad getting the upper hand and slamming John to the floor.
“She’s just a kid, pervert!” he shouted, stomping on any body parts her could find.
“No she’s not…” John moaned from the floor, protecting his manhood as he rolled. “Are you?”
Lolly stood motionless, shocked by the whole display.
The whole room grew silent as Olivier Harbucks approached the tussling men.
“You’re fired! And take your underage groupie with you.”
“Great!” Sinbad spit at the man’s feet. “I’ll get my things and clear outta this shithole.”
Olivier walked away with the limping John and called for a waitress to bring some ice to the clearly intoxicated patron.
Sinbad took a step forward and doubled over in pain, wincing without making a sound.
“Hey, I got you,” Lolly thrust her arms around the man to keep him from falling over.
“I’m fine, Lolly,” Sinbad mumbled.
“No, you’re not. It’s okay,” she enjoyed holding him, even if the circumstances could be better.
Lolly could feel his accelerated heartbeat, and the sensation was oddly soothing too her. This was the closest she’d ever been to a half-naked man, and she was surprised her heart rate wasn’t matching his own. He felt good in her arms, like waking up on Christmas morning to sunshine and presents. She had never had a man defend her honor before, and she was equally surprised and flattered. No matter what anyone said – Sinbad was a good guy. A guy she wished were her own.
He walked her back to the hotel since the hour was late, but she was certain he would’ve accompanied her regardless.
“I got you fired,” she said in mild shock.
“No, that asshole got me fired,” Sinbad grunted, and then softened. “You did nothing wrong.”
“Thanks for saving me. That John was pretty pervy.”
Before she realized what she was doing, Lolly slung her arm around his shoulder, and pressed her lips eagerly into his own. She closed her eyes and leaned into the magic of the moment as he kissed back. He tasted like cinnamon and felt like fire. If she kissed him too long, she’d get burned. The energy pulsed between them like a wildfire engulfing a forest, all-consuming, taking all senses prisoner. He placed his hand gently against her stomach, the tips of his fingers slowly pulsing along her abdomen causing her to moan into his mouth. She reached her other arm up to wrap around his neck and pull him in even closer when he pushed her away. It was as though someone had severed a power line and the electricity sputtered in the gutter at their feet.
“What the hell are you doing, kid?”
“I’m not a kid!” she threw her hands up in the air exasperated. “And you kissed back. Tell me you didn’t kiss back? You had your hands on me, Sinbad. You wanted me. I know you did. Tell me you don’t want me? I dare you. I know you do.”
“Lolly, it doesn’t matter. We can’t do this,” Sinbad sighed, breaking eye contact like he did when he didn’t want to face her.
She grabbed his shoulders and shook him angrily. “Stop it! Stop it! You can’t kiss me like that and then tell me we can’t do this! I want you, Sinbad. I’ve been wanting you. And now that you kissed me like that, I know you do too.”
“It doesn’t matter what I want,” he responded.
“Yes, it does. I think it does. This is what I want. Why do you keep denying yourself? I’m right here in front of you. I’m practically giving myself to you, Sinbad. So what’s stopping you? I’m not eighteen yet? I’d wait for you if only you said the words. Just please say the damn words.”
“I can’t, Lolly…” Sinbad turned and ran down the street leaving Lolly distressed and doubled over in tears.
If she wasn’t already, Lolly knew her heart was in even more danger than ever… because that kiss proved Sinbad wanted her.
Author Note: 3359 words later… this chapter emerges. I actually really enjoy writing Lolly and Sinbad. I didn’t mean for this chapter to get as long as it did and I debated cutting out the opening scene, but then I thought I’d leave it in because it gives a bit of context. The beginning of this chapter overlaps with chapters 1.42 and 1.43 by the way. I figured it was a good idea to balance the dark and evil confessions and actions of Max Racket by the sweet and innocent ones of his oldest granddaughter. I also enjoyed portraying Sinbad as his gruff self, but ultimately deep down, he cares about humanity and the oldest Racket girl.
I decided to name the bar Heir to the Side of Caution, partly because TS3 seems to enjoy puns and partly because there were random caution signs in the lounge when I entered the space and I left them in for kicks. The Sheerly Chapels was obviously a reference to Shirley Temples, my favorite pre-drinking days. Wow…that sounds bad. Probably should’ve just said my favorite non-alcoholic beverage. And I’m the person who prefers the ginger ale ones over the 7-Up. If that’s sacrilegious, I don’t care. Fighting Dragons with Scissors is a throwback to my college years when a friend and I came up with dumb band names. It’s just legit and quirky enough to work for a TS3 band. The woman Dylan was a bit creepy, hanging around Lolly and constantly wanting to talk to her. Stalker, anyone? So I left in the bit about her drunkenly talking to Lolly the first time. Alan and Darius are actual characters in the Sims, the former a Bluewater Village townie (which in my Simworld is in Louisimana) and the latter, a first name only Urb in the console game.
For those of you who are wondering, Sinbad got out of the Racket family business. If you recall from other chapters, Max and his nemesis and successor, nephew Russ, are very careful about splitting up the organization so nothing falls back on them. They have different people overseeing different parts of the operation (weapons smuggling, prostitution, drug dealing, car theft, and counterfeiting) on the east coast. Lucy Ferne oversees the car-theft ring, and she is Russ’s number two, and his number one, Nick Zit oversees the drugs. Russ prefers to keep a close eye on weapons smuggling. The prostitution is a bit more back burner but still prominent and Lucy acts a bit like a madam, and Max, was thrown a bone during his comeback and unofficially oversees the girls. Sinbad’s immediate boss was the con artist, Clark Peddler in game, and Sinbad primarily did counterfeit bills and documents to pay his way through college. When he dropped out, he started tutoring part-time and picking up more criminal jobs as needed. Clark eventually let him go because his performance dropped, and because he didn’t want the same fate to come to him as Timmy DeBleu, a former counterfeiter. Max and Russ really have no knowledge of Sinbad, though Dennis, being a low-level accountant and enforcer does since he cut checks.
All the patrons randomly changed into swimsuits in game. Instead of trying to fix it, I left it in the story and explained it away as being a beach bar (and it is literally steps from the beach in Roaring Heights). I love the quirkiness of TS3 Sims so I figured it would be fun to leave it in.
Okay, now that I wrote a novel… Hope you enjoyed!