If I had any romantic notions of awakening on a park bench, they were gone the moment the sprinkler hit my face. My heels sank deep into the muddy puddle forming at my feet. Feeling stiff and uncomfortable, I yawned and stretched before standing. I was already wet. There was no point in moving out of the way of the park sprinklers. I was pretty sure an imprint from the wooden slats was on my face and I smelled like the wrong end of a cow. Lovely!
Llamas! I walked across the squishy lawn, and blinked a few times to adjust to the bright sunlight. What time was it? Placing a hand over my silver watch, I sighed in relief. I still had my watch, pearls, and I think… uh oh… my wallet? Where was my wallet? I frantically searched beneath the bench, and nearly twisted my ankle as I tried to rush across the soaked grass. Nothing. Drats! Was I robbed?
Last night was… interesting to say the least. First, I had a disastrous date with Joseph and I was pretty sure I’d been friend-zoned. Then, I had an intriguing conversation with Cathy Tea and met some of my neighbors, one in particular who flirted with me. And finally, I spent an hour in the company of the bushy-faced Rob, strolling side by side along the flower-lined Newcrest Historic Trail with our furry companion, Marshall.
Rob and I enthused about music, our favorite bands, which musicians we saw rising to stardom, and which cover songs sounded better than their originals. I found him easy to talk to, even more so than Joseph, though I found them both to be easy on the eyes. And Rob was a bit more talkative than Joseph, interjecting his thoughts more frequently. I enjoyed his company tremendously. I had helped him buckle Carrie in his truck. He offered to drive me home, but I said my train would be there soon. It would’ve been cramped with the car-seat. Unfortunately for me, I missed the last train of the night. After wandering the historic trail for awhile, I collapsed in Fern Park.
Ugh! I rubbed the sides of my face, not even caring if I smudged my makeup. Joseph had texted me five more times throughout the night, mostly to make sure I was okay.
Joseph wrote: » Hey Lizzie, I was such a jerk. Are you okay? I totally shouldn’t have left you in Newcrest. I’ll come get you. I can be there by midnight.
Joseph wrote: » Lizzie, I’m sorry if I made you mad. I know I was not myself tonight, but it’s no excuse. Please forgive me? 🙂
Joseph wrote: » Lizzie, I called a few times and I’ve texted, but still haven’t heard from you. Getting worried.
Joseph wrote: » I know I’m probably bordering on stalking. You have a right to be mad. Text me so I know you got back safely, ok?
The final text read…
Called your house. Your parents said you didn’t come home. Where are you? Please call.
I pushed my phone back in my pocket. Ugh! My parents were probably worried. I had a flood of missed calls from them and my sisters. I didn’t really want to talk to anyone right now. I just wanted to find my wallet. What a stroke of luck! I spotted Joseph’s ex wandering through the park. She didn’t look happy.
“Hey Summer,” I called out.
“Lizzie, right?” she said.
“Yeah, what’s up?”
“Oh nothing! Just guys!”
“Ah…” I tilted my head. “I totally understand. I’ve had some of them my own.”
Summer stomped over to the picnic bench.
“Oh it’s just I love this guy and I’m pretty sure he loves me but there’s this other girl and he likes her too… or loves her… I don’t know. I’m so frustrated and angry. I just want him to make a choice, you know? Is it that hard to make a choice? I mean I broke up with Joseph just so I could be with this guy and he’s still waffling between the two of us. The jerk!” the pretty blonde swiped at a tear.
Well that explains Joseph’s frustration with his ex.
“I’m sorry,” I tried sympathetically.
“And I pulled a double shift yesterday and now I’m working this morning’s shift too all because I’ve been saving up for weeks to see him. To fly down to Lousimana.”
“That’s where he is. It’s where we all went to college.”
“Oh…what brought you here?”
“My cousin, Jasmine. She travels a lot for various magazines, and she did a Day of the Dead event in Newcrest two years ago and got me a job here at the Star Nut Cafe.”
“Oh… that’s nice.”
“I should’ve known that if I left Travis would take one look at that Liberty and want her bad. And now, he’s telling me he’s not even sure he can see me this upcoming weekend because he’s going with her to an rocket launch in Florsimida. Gawd!” she rolled her eyes. “I bet she’s thinking about another kind of rocket launch, the bitch!”
“Sorry,” I wasn’t sure what else to say.
“It’s okay,” Summer sniffled. “Wait… have you been here all night?”
“Um… I…kinda…” I winced.
“That jerk, my ex… he just left you here?” Summer looked mad.
“Kinda… but I had a couple opportunities to go home last night, and well, Rob… but…” I was rambling. “I’m okay,” I lied.
Summer walked toward me and did something surprising. She gave me a hug, and her next words shocked me.
“Well, he was probably just flustered seeing me and all…” she dropped her gaze. “…but Joseph’s a good guy.”
“Thanks,” I said.
“Do you need any money to get back?”
“No…” I shook my head vigorously.
I’d be fine. Right? Worse case scenario, I’d call my dad. My parents were probably worried about me too since I didn’t come home last night.
“Well,” Summer’s face brightened. “I gotta go to work. Come by the coffee house before you go and I’ll get you a free latte.”
“Whatup kehd! I couldn’t help but overhear your predicament,” a redhaired lady in a crazy cat shirt and sweet grey taxi cap plopped down at the picnic table next to me and pushed over a plate with a grilled hamburger.
“Oh… um…” I stammered.
“Don’t worry. I’m not an axe murderer… just a crazy cat lady…” the woman teased. “Rrraarr!” she pretended to claw the air. “Catarina Lynx, but my friends call me Cat. Get it? Cat?”
She hooted a laugh. I chuckled awkwardly.
“Well, Lizzie Green… abandoned by two guys in one night… that’s beat. What’s your problem?”
“Uh…” I blanched.
“I’m just kidding,” Cat smirked. “Sheesh! Girl. Ya shouldda seen your face.” She pushed the plate closer to me. “Eat, girl. Ya gotta keep up your strength ‘specially if you were partying all night.”
I gingerly took a bite of the burger. It tasted okay.
“It’s not poisoned,” Cat laughed heartily. “Where ya from?”
“No suh! My ex is from there.”
“Oh really?” I tried to sound interested, but I wasn’t sure how to gauge Catarina. “Where are you from?”
“Olde Towne, which is pretty much the Hub of the Universe as we all know.”
It explained the accent.
“But right now, I’m here in Newcrest, the edge of civilization, trying to get my catering biz-ness going while I work out the custody thing with the ex.”
“Wait…” I shook my head and squeezed my eyes shut and then open again. “…let me guess. Your ex is Rob Buckley?”
“Ya know my Bobby?”
The way she used a possessive pronoun made me feel awkward. Bobby?
“Guilty,” I said sheepishly. “Um… I babysit for your little girl.”
“My Carrie?” Cat lit up. “Ain’t she the stars and sunshine?”
“She is adorable,” I managed, softening a bit to hear the affection in Cat’s tone.
Carrie was all her father, and Cat admitted it. That and millions of other details I didn’t want to know like how they ended things because Rob could be a bartender anywhere, but her catering business wasn’t just going to take off in the middle of the desert, and that she was a major chowderhead, and she flat out admitted it, and that he was a mad kisser. I flushed at the latter. I didn’t know if she knew I was interested in Rob.
“Aww… crud… where are my manners? I’m pleased to meet ya, Lizzie,” Cat reached over to shake my hand. “Any time ya wanna ride up to Newcrest, you give me a holla, girl. I’d be happy to have you watch Carrie for me here too. And I’ll pay double the ole miser,” she nudged me in the waist.
“Oof!” I exhaled sharply and chuckled uncomfortably.
Rob paid me fairly. I suppose it’s par for the course to say stuff like that about an ex.
“Says… you’ve been gone all night… I’ve got some extra clothes in my car… I think it’ll fit ya,” Cat leaped from the picnic bench and bolted across the lawn.
She returned momentarily with a change of attire for me. Without waiting for me to finish my sandwich, Cat dragged me to the park restrooms as if we were best friends, chucking me the clothes over the stall door. It did feel good to get out of the soaked dress. Cat did up my hair with a green ribbon while I washed my face.
I emerged from the bathroom reluctantly feeling like a totally different person. Catarina was shorter than I was so the long-sleeved brown puppy top cropped above my stomach. Thankfully, the jean shorts came up high enough to hide my belly button. I wrapped the green sweatshirt around my waist like late Piscean era. My hair was super floofed but the bow kept it in check, even if the look wasn’t really my style. At least the flip flops were my size. I would have to make do with what I had.
Author Notes: Surprise! Surprise! Another bizarre discovery in game. Rob was formerly in a relationship with Catarina, so I made her his ex, and Carrie’s mom. Wow! Was that ever outta left field! The language Catarina uses is meant to “respectfully” mimic the Bostonian accent. I visited the city back in my undergrad and had a blast. They really do refer to themselves as “The Hub” as in “the Hub of the solar system.” Olde Towne is my Simworld version of Boston. Lousimana is my Simworld version of Louisiana where Willow Creek is located. Jasmine and Summer aren’t actually related in game, but I decided they could be cousins in my Simworld. I have different “eras” of my Simworld history. The Piscean era closely mimics the late ’80s and early ’90s in our world, the Information Era. You can read more about my Simworld historical eras here. Persistent as ever… Joseph kept texting Lizzie throughout the night. Thanks for reading.