Summer arrived. Some people still wanted cooler weather. Cathy wasn’t all that thrilled about the heat, but she complained about her air conditioning.
“I have to wear a winter coat inside to keep from freezing,” she muttered in annoyance as she carried a trash bag to the compactor.
“Mom, can we go inside?” Parker asked, practicing her ballet step.
“Sure,” Lizzie smiled and waved to John.
The kids had a scheduled play date with the Smith children.
“Ms. Tea, what’s in the bag?” Joey asked.
“Why?” Cathy wrinkled her nose. “Do you believe I am carrying a treasure of immense worth?”
Nate’s eyes widened. “Like Montana Miller and the Quest for the Holy Grail?”
“One man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” Lizzie quipped.
“You’re funny,” Cathy snickered. “You should open at the comedy club.”
“I don’t know about that,” Lizzie shrugged.
“No, you really are incredible. A breath of fresh air. Fresh…beautiful air!” Cathy grinned.
“Uh… thanks,” Lizzie winced, wondering why Cathy seemed so exuberant.
“DAAAAAD!” one of John’s kids yelled from the apartment. “DAAADDDY! Bobby knocked over my homework assignment again.
“Kids amiright?” Lizzie shared a knowing look with John.
“Oh hilarious!” Cathy slapped her knee and laughed hysterically. “Kids… you really have a sense of humor, Lizzie.”
“Uh huh,” she bobbed her head. “Say Cathy. Have you been sipping the juice a bit today?”
“Wait…have you heard the joke about the priest, a rabbi, and a duck?” Cathy asked. “Or is it the monk, the policeman, and the duck?”
“Is this another duck joke?” John groaned. “Angela tells those too. I never understand it. What’s so funny about ducks?”
“Ducks? Ducks?” Cathy repeated and flapped her wings.
“They’re kinda ugly birds,” John made a face. “Maybe that’s why they are the butt of so many jokes these days.”
“I don’t know, John. Even ugly ducklings can turn into swans,” Lizzie shrugged.
“That’s right!” Cathy declared. “Do not judge a duck by its feathers…say Lizzie, how are you progressing on your latest novel?”
“It’s a ghost love story,” Lizzie grinned. “I pulled experience from my high school days at a supernatural academy.”
“What?” Cathy’s eyes grew big. “Do tell. I want to know the plot. Don’t leave a single detail to imagination!”
“Now?” Lizzie asked.
“Why not?” Cathy swept her arm almost hitting John. “I am desperate for solid entertainment and poignant literature.”
Lizzie began to outline her latest story, giving just enough detail to satisfy Cathy and not so much as to bore John.
“I don’t know,” John said skeptically. “Something’s missing.”
“How dare you!” Cathy said, glaring at her neighbor. “Lizzie is an accomplished author and her experiences are valuable.”
“Really, what do you think is off about it?” Lizzie asked, feeling self-conscious.
Cathy sighed loudly and happily. “I smell a bestseller in your future, Liz.”
“Eh… it’s okay, it needs more pizzazz!” John declared.
“More tragedy,” he said, making an exaggerated sad face. “Or comedy.”
Cathy sniffed. “I think it’s perfect.”
“Great! I’ve got it! More slapstick,” John exclaimed. “Because clumsy ghosts! Genius!”
“Uhhh…” Cathy trailed off. “No… how about no clumsy ghosts? What about a tragic love triangle.”
“What about AI ghosts? Or a battle between robots and ghosts?” John suggested, excitedly.
“You… two…” was all Lizzie could manage to say, chuckling weakly.
And being the kind friend she is, she offered to take all ideas under advisement.
“Breathe in,” Nate said, happily. “And out.”
“In… out!” Bobby said, quickly.
“No, like this,” Nate smiled and lifted his arms. “In slowly. One…two… three… four… five… and out slowly… five…four…three…two…one…”
“Nate, honey? Have you and your siblings had dinner yet?” Angela inquired.
“Oooh…” Angela groaned and cracked her back. “Say it’s getting late. I’ve had a long day. Sure you have too, Cathy.”
“Hmm… wait… it’s getting ot the good part,” Cathy said, from the couch, rubbing her chin thoughtfully as she turned to Joey. “Look, they’re just about to apprehend the villain.”
“That’s the bad guy, right?” Joey said.
“No, he may be a villain but that doesn’t make him inherently bad,” Cathy disagreed.
“You use big words, Auntie Tea!” Joey wrinkled his nose.
“And big words go great with conversations…” Angela grimaced. “…in your own apartment.”
A month or so later, Lizzie met up with friends for the evening at the Spice Festival.
“Hey, good to see you’re back in town, Amy,” Lizzie greeted.
“Yeah, thanks, I enjoyed my trip to Brindleton Bay,” Amy replied. “I love writing scripts for Sim.tv.”
“We’ve missed you. I’m glad you’re back,” Lizzie said.
“We’re thinking of leaving the City. I have an opportunity to write full time for Sims.tv out of their Sulani office.”
“That’s great,” Lizzie said, half-heartedly.
She would dearly miss her friends.
“Hi ladies, what’s happening?” Miko greeted cheerfully as she arrived.
“How’s the new place?” Lizzie asked.
“Great, my new roomies are fun,” Miko replied. “Sugar and Sage are getting me in shape with five am workouts.”
“That sounds fun,” Amy rolled her eyes.
Ace joined the group, arriving straight from work. Sugar brought Nora.
“Look who I found,” Sugar smiled.
“Nora!” Lizzie exclaimed. “Come get a hug.”
“Surprise!” Nora grinned. “Joseph’s with the kids. I hope you don’t mind your nephews crashing your kids movie night.”
“My kids crashed too,” Riley said, joining the group.
“No worries. The kids always love spending time with both of your kids,” Lizzie said.
“Oh good,” Riley breathed a sigh of relief, eyeing Miko as she walked off with Amy.
Sugar pulled out her violin to play a beautiful concerto. Friends and family observed and listened in awe to the down -to-earth, yet highly accomplished Sugar. Sugar played a self-composed piece titled “Symphony of the City.”
Lizzie didn’t want to miss out on an opportunity to order delicious food from the vendor.
“Come one, come all, get your tee shirts here!” shouted a nearby vendor as Lizzie ordered a plate of taquitos.
“Hello,” Lizzie waved in response. “Why are you selling chicken tee shirts at the Spice Festival?”
“Um…” the other vendor shrugged awkwardly. “Spicy… chicken?”
“Sure,” Lizzie agreed. “I’ll buy a spicy chicken tee… in green please.”
Everyone gathered to order their favorite drinks. Ace offered some pleasant tips to the overwhelmed bartender.
Author Notes: Thanks for reading. I’m interspersing commentary-style with prose-style chapters. This was one strange play date, but that’s what I get for playing ISBI style. This chapter featured CathyTea‘s Cathy Tea and Sugar Maple Bough and Zurka’s John and Angela Smith, plus Shadami’s Amy, and simscognito’s Riley. It’s fun to see the Smith kids grown up a bit. Cathy was a bit of a wild card in this chapter, but I love her character. Never know what she’s going to bring to the table. Joey chatting with the monster under the bed was probably my favorite part of the whole chapter. Hope you enjoyed.
After playing, I gave the Smiths an upgrade to their home with more personality. This lot is created by DameAngelick and I made a few tweaks and modifications for this family, but here’s what it turned out as.