“Is this it?” I asked.
We stood in front of the only lit-up house on the block. The two story white frame home had a brick foundation, double deck porch, the grass was neatly maintained, and the front was decorated with a series of pretty looking plants, roses, lavender, red nasturtiums, white heliotropes, hot pink gladiolus and pink anemones, the upper porch dotted with red geraniums, and a sweet little bird bath stood to the side. The front porch even had an inviting little bench, but all I could think about was getting inside. I was feeling a creepy vibe in the air, and I was trying to shake it.
“I think so,” Joseph replied. “It looks nice.”
“It doesn’t have a sign,” I observed.
“But it looks like the man described,” Joseph remarked.
We heard a cheery, “Come in.”
We opened the doors together and stepped into a open living space. Joseph stopped and wiped his feet on the blue and white entry rug as I looked off into the room. Everything appeared fresh with a slight feminine bent in the decor. There was a vase of flowers to the left of an empty fireplace and a television mounted on the wall. The only thing that appeared out of place was the bright red couch, reminding me of movie theater chairs. The house smelled of fresh baked goods. I licked my lips. I didn’t realize how parched… or how hungry I was until that moment.
The doors slammed behind us, startling me.
“Hello,” a green-skinned woman approached us with the biggest smile on her face and dark green leaves on her head, large silver hoops swinging from her ears. “Sorry about that. The winds around here are… unpredictable…” she reached out her hand. “I’m Tara of the Terrano clan. This is my bed and breakfast.”
“Hey,” I reached for her hand timidly. “I’m Lizzie and this is…my husband…” my face relaxed as I said the word.
“Joseph,” he supplied, shaking Tara’s hand vigorously.
“I’m so pleased to meet you both,” Tara replied. “Where are you coming from? Where are you headed?”
“San Mysh…” Joseph began.
“San Myshun…” I started.
We both looked at each other and laughed.
“We’re moving to the city,” he said. “And we’re returning to Oasis Springs.”
“We got married today,” I continued, excitedly.
“Today? Congratulations,” Tara grinned, squeezing tiny fists in balls of enthusiasm. “I haven’t had many guests here in awhile, and I’ve never had newlyweds. How wonderful!” she stepped further into the living room. “Please come in and make yourselves at home. Do you have a car? You can pull around and park behind the B&B.”
“No, we’re on foot,” Joseph explained. “We were on the train and we had some issues and won’t be able to re-board until tomorrow at the earliest. We were pointed in your direction.”
“I don’t get many non-sups here,” Tara said. “You said you’re from the Springs?”
“Oasis Springs,” I nodded.
“I spent some time there for a photosynthesis conference,” Tara informed.
“Oh what’s that?” I inquired, tilting my head.
“Discussing the future for the Viridi, that is the official name for us, our people… you know us as PlantSims, and trying to bridge the gap between the Viridi Plantae and the Sims,” Tara offered. “We look to find a sustainable solutions for our future.”
“If you don’t mind me asking then why are you here in the Hollow?” I asked.
“Lizzie,” Joseph narrowed his eyes.
“It’s okay,” Tara said. “I’m used to the questions.”
“I’m sorry,” I flushed. “Was that rude?”
“Don’t you worry your head about it,” Tara nodded. “I carved out this piece of land for myself as sups are more readily welcome in vampire hollows.I wanted to start over fresh after I lost my husband.”
I gasped. “I’m sorry for your loss.”
“Thank you,” Tara said. “Now… this is a depressing topic for you two newlyweds. Please…” she swept her arm across the room toward the staircase. “Go upstairs and pick out a room. Anything is open except for the room on the northwestern corner. Feel free to settle in and I’ll make dinner for you. Is dinner at eight enough time?”
I glanced at my watch. It was six-thirty.
“Perfect,” Joseph grinned, pulling my wrist gently, but eagerly.
In the upstairs hallway, he whispered in my ear. “I can think of something to pass the time.”
Author Note: LASL is mostly a lighthearted story, but I want to explain a bit about vampires and PlantSim culture. I just released a chapter of Night Blooming Jasmine (shameless plug 😉 ) and the first prologue is told from the perspective of a vampire/vampyre, and I explained the culture there more. Basics? The SimNation government requires supernaturals to register. Some of those who don’t register live in supernatural-friendly states, known as hollows. Since I already determined the official “Forgotten Hollow” was in eastern Sim Union (a.k.a. Europe), this location will be called Hidden Hollow so I don’t disrupt continuity, because I’m weird like that, and love crossover. 🙂
Other supernaturals (like PlantSims) might live there also. The government recognizes hollows as autonomous sovereign city-states. Police patrol the borders to keep unregistered supernaturals from leaving without papers. Many Sims are suspicious or prejudiced against vampires, and are afraid to venture into hollows. You can read more about vampires here.
PlantSims, also known as Viridi Plantae, essentially green algae, named for the Latin term which translates ‘green plants.’ Tara Terrano actually appeared in my first version of this story, originally following a different protagonist, and she visited Oasis Springs for a photosynthesis conference. You can read more about PlantSims here.