Wednesday, December 23, 2009

I Know What You Did Last Summer, Part 9

Rebecka's day had started very early. She was up before dawn, as usual, got dressed and did her hair and makeup

('Loving this new hairstyle, girl!' she congratulated herself), and got to Rebecka Realty while it was still dark.

She stashed some gourmet takeout food in her fridge for when she got hungry later,

updated her files, and caught up on her market research, before opening her venue at 7:00 a.m. (to accommodate some of her clients who had regular jobs).

By the end of the summer, Rebecka had already gotten her business to Rank 9,

and she felt sure that Rank 10 was within her grasp.

All summer, she had priced her lots at $9,999. Now, she thought it was time to price at least some of her lots higher.

She tried a higher-priced sale to one of her best customers, Destry Fleig,

and was successful.

She managed her pricing carefully throughout the day,

and used the Energizer when her needs got low,

and, by the time she left for George and Tosha's Dance/Fitness venue, her business had reached Rank 10.

She picked her first Connections business perk (since she wanted ultimately to know everyone in town).

Meanwhile, Yuri Cox Andropov was at work--if not hard at work--at his own venue. He had in fact bought Sugar Cube Bowling, renamed it "Qube",

hired Lilly Thompson--a cute friend from Uni whom he wanted to date--as bartender,

and hired Shenene Menon--another cute girl he wanted to date--as his DJ.

In his off hours from working for his mother at the SCIA, Yuri was really enjoying his bowling venue. True, what he enjoyed the most was flirting with female customers,

hanging out,

and flirting with his employees.

Lilly--though she was not an experienced bartender--had proved as popular with customers as Yuri had predicted.

She was a sweet-natured girl, and was a very good listener.

People--especially men--seemed drawn to her even if she made no effort.

This occasionally annoyed Yuri. "Hey, Lilly--was that Landgraab guy bothering you?"

"Of course n-not, Yuri," she stammered. "He's really quite nice."

"Well, I don't like you talking with the customers unless they're at the bar," Yuri groused.

Lilly thought this was a bit unfair, because whenever someone sat down at the bar, she rushed over to serve them. But, she didn't want to anger Yuri by seeming insubordinate, so she just answered meekly, "Okay, Yuri. I won't leave the bar anymore." But his behavior puzzled her.

One motivation for Yuri's behavior toward Lilly was certainly that he was just jealous of her paying attention to any guy besides him. But he also was--in a way--actually resentful of her popularity with his customers.

Kevin, who still bartended at the Lucky Shack on weekends to make extra money, had tried to point out to Yuri how much of a business asset Lilly was. "Look, what you should want is a bartender who's so engaging that people come in just to 'have a drink with her', whether they end up bowling or not. And you've got that in Lilly. Come on, you must make a lot more money on drinks than you do from the ticket machine."

But Kevin's argument fell on deaf ears, and for an odd reason that was completely unfair to Lilly.

Yuri had grown tired of person after person coming into Qube and asking about Rebecka Louie, and remarking on how many customers she had, and what great personal service she gave, and how much money she was making, etc., etc. 'It's bad enough I have to keep hearing about Rebecka and her great business success,' he harrumphed. 'The last thing I want is one of my own employees showing me up.' (If Tosha--who had been a psychology major at Uni--had witnessed this behavior, she would have diagnosed Yuri as having "transference issues".)

Yuri got home that night, still annoyed, and retrieved his mail.

He brought it upstairs, dropped it on his desk, and idly shuffled through the periodicals. On the back of one was an ad for his parents' Russian Baths venue, so he knew that was the local real estate quarterly magazine (since his parents always ran an ad on its back cover).

'Why didn't I just go into real estate like Rebecka?' he asked himself. 'It's not as if it's a difficult line of work. Geez, tons of housewives do it.' He sat down,

flipped the magazine over and looked at the cover.

"Oh, crap!" he said aloud.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Join us next time, for the last day of summer.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

I Know What You Did Last Summer, Part 8

George McCarthy and Tosha Go had gotten married early in the summer,

and had since had a baby girl, Tara.

Though Tosha--a Family Sim--would have preferred to stay home with her tiny daughter, George--a Fortune Sim--convinced his wife to go to work for at least the first part of the summer. "Tara pretty much sleeps all day, anyway," he asserted. "It's not like you'll be missing much."

Between the time that they got married and the time that they had their baby, the McCarthys had bought a stunning Art Deco house, and its decorating and upkeep was not inexpensive.

"And remember, Tosh," George chided her, "it was you who insisted we move out of our rented apartment, and buy a place of our own."

Tosha quietly fumed, but she knew that George was right. She had pushed him to leave Cornerstone Condominiums because Maria Andropova, who had been George's dance partner at University--and who was a relentless seductress--also lived in that building, and Tosha couldn't stand being around her.

Tosha would have been happier about having to go to work if she could have taken a job in Law Enforcement--her desired career--

but, after consultation with her college friend Kevin Beare, who was a detective on the force, she decided that her police career would go better if, once she started it, she could concentrate on it without having to take time off. So, she took a teaching job, which she didn't hate (but didn't love, either).

George would start in his dream career as a member of the corps at City Ballet in the fall,

but until then he had to scramble doing other jobs.

George had also convinced Tosha that they should hire a butler. "He can do all the cleaning, and the cooking, and take care of the baby. That way, we won't have to have a maid and a nanny, and we won't have to cook when we get home from work."

"Chloe could cook for us," Tosha countered. "She prepares and delivers meals for Yuri, and Alvin and Brittany, and Yulia."

"Yes, but then we'd still need a maid and a nanny, so we might as well get a butler," George argued. "And if the butler can cook, so much the better. Besides, our social profile will be higher if we have a butler."

Though Tosha didn't care a whit about their "social profile", she knew such considerations were important to George, so she agreed to give the arrangement a try.

For a while, things went well. The butler, Ryan Todd, took care of Tara during the day,

kept the house reasonably clean,

and made dinners for the couple.

But one day Tosha, on her way home from her education job, got a message that made her heart leap into her throat:

Panicked, Tosha ran across her front lawn and up to the nursery,

but she was relieved to find Tara contentedly playing with her dangly toys.

Tosha quietly backed out of the room, not wanting to alarm her daughter. She changed her clothes, and came back to give Tara a bath.

When she was done, she placed the baby back underneath her dangly toys,

and angrily went off to try to contact the butler by phone.

George returned home shortly thereafter and loped up the stairs, heard Tosha yelling at the hapless receptionist at the domestic services agency, and got the gist of what had happened.

He entered the nursery. "Hey, Daddy's little sugarplum fairy," he said softly.

He tinkled the toys, which delighted Tara. He picked her up off the mat and hoisted her into the air. "Well, you don't look any the worse for your woes!" he observed.

He played with the baby, and cuddled her, then put her in her crib. "Now I have to go and deal with your hysterical Mommy," he whispered.

George went downstairs, and found Tosha sitting at the dining table, stabbing a defenseless dish of pasta. He got a plate for himself, and joined his wife. Tosha was stonefaced--a look George knew well.

"Did you reach Ryan?" he asked, timidly.

"No, his agency hasn't heard from him all day!" she exploded. "They have no idea where he is or what happened."

"Well, at least he made us dinner," George offered, in a lame attempt at levity.

Tosha turned to him. "George, I'm going to quit my job. And stay home with Tara."

She continued. "I know this will put a financial squeeze on us, but at least we won't have the expense of a butler. And I can take Tara with me to our Dance/Fitness venue, and I can earn money for us there."

George attempted to reason with his wife. "Tosh, I know the teaching job isn't what you want to be doing. But once I start with City Ballet, I'm going to make less money than I'm making now, at least at the beginning. And you'll get a police job any day now, and we can always have Chloe do our food, and we'll be able to afford a maid, and a nanny. And then you'll be really happy."

"No, I won't!" Tosha retorted. "I will not be happy if our daughter is being raised by someone else. I'm staying home until Tara starts school. I can learn to cook, though we will need a maid--this place is so huge. George, I've made up my mind, and that's that."

And George knew it was.

Immediately after Tosha cleaned up from dinner, she called work and quit her job.

The next morning, she sat in her living room, boiling mad,

waiting for the butler to arrive.

Ryan came in with the morning paper, and Tosha confronted him angrily about leaving her daughter alone in the house.

He tried to mount some sort of defense, but Tosha wouldn't hear of it. "There is NO excuse for leaving an infant unattended!" she yelled. "I can never trust you again--you're fired!!"

Tosha loved being home with Tara.

The baby was happy to play by herself,

while Tosha spent hours trying to learn to cook, making frequent phone calls to Chloe.

For Tara's birthday, the McCarthys had invited Yulia Cox Andropova, who was Tara's godmother, to come over. "You look great!" Tosha gushed as she greeted her friend. "Did you actually buy yourself a new dress?"

"Yes," Yulia laughed. "I figured with Derek about to come back from Germany, I better practice looking feminine again."

While Tosha ran upstairs to get Tara, Yulia gave George her birthday present for the baby. "What is it?" he asked.

"You'll see," Yulia replied. "It's an outfit that I thought was adorable--I hope Tosha puts it on Tara as soon as she grows up."

Tosha brought the baby to the cake, and George and Yulia made a big fuss and lots of noise.

Tara seemed fascinated by the candles,

though Tosha had to blow them out for her.

Tosha tossed the baby into the air,

and Tara grew up.

Tosha immediately whisked Tara upstairs for a makeover, and to change her into the outfit Yulia had given her, then brought the toddler back downstairs.

"Oh, George--look how cute this is!" she squealed, putting Tara down on the floor.

Yulia's present was a pink ballerina outfit.

"I swear that's the sweetest thing I've ever seen!" said George.

The friends sat down to eat some birthday cake, while Tara played with one of her toys.

"Where did you get the toddler ballerina outfit--it's adorable!" Tosha asked.

"At Nanny Kendal's new dress shop," Yulia replied. "She has a very nice selection of things--I think Calista is helping her decide what to stock. I got my dress there, too."

Yulia offered to put Tara to bed.

"Come here, little one," she said as she lifted the child onto her hip.

"You're a lucky little girl, Tara, do you know that? Because I've known your mommy and your daddy since we were all about your age, and I think they're just great!"

Yulia didn't know if the toddler understood what she was saying, but she was delighted when Tara buried her face in Yulia's neck.

"What a little sweetiepie you are," Yulia said, and put the girl in her crib.

'This doesn't seem so hard,' Yulia thought.

George had the following day off from work, so Tosha opened Dance/Fitness by herself while he stayed home with Tara. Just before evening, Tosha was trying to corral the students in her dance exercise class. She looked around the room.

For a moment, Tosha didn't recognize the stunning blonde who had just entered the venue.

Once she did, she ran over to greet the woman. "Rebecka!" Tosha exclaimed. "You look amazing!!"

"Thanks, Tosha," Rebecka said. "I wanted a new look. I don't have a boyfriend, so I decided to treat myself for myself."

"Hey, I'm just about to start a 'zumba smustle' class--do you want to join?" asked Tosha.

"Sure," Rebecka replied. "It'll just take me a minute to change clothes."

While Tosha was waiting for Rebecka, the venue reached Rank 2,

and Tosha chose $2,500 in cash for her next Business Perk.

Tosha started her class. "Wow, that's some great-looking workout wear," she complimented Rebecka.

"Thanks," said Rebecka. "I got it at Nanny Kendal's new dress shop. She's really got some great stuff there."

Tosha noticed a new customer at the ticket machine, and excused herself to go and greet him.

"Hi--I'm Tosha. Welcome to Dance/Fitness!"

"This seems like a happening place," the man said, seemingly amused. He scanned the room. "And with a couple of great-looking women, too." He looked back at Tosha, and she felt his eyes bore into her.

"Uhhh, I'm married," Tosha stammered. "And, I have a baby. And ...." Her voice trailed off.

The man looked even more amused. "What, you didn't think the 'I'm married' excuse was enough? You thought you had to keep going?"

"Umm, I have to get back to my students. You're welcome to join us," Tosha said, and returned to her dance class.

"Who was that?" Rebecka asked.

"Someone who's not a 'joiner', I think," Tosha said. "Oh, and he thinks you're hot."

"Just what I need," laughed Rebecka. "Another difficult guy."

But to the girls' surprise, the new guy did join the class, though just at the very end of it.

Afterwards, he approached Rebecka, who steeled herself for what she expected would be the inevitable slick remark.

"That's Bebe Sport, right?" he asked, looking interested.

"Yes!" answered Rebecka, delighted.

"I attended their show at Fashion Week but, I have to say, I've never seen anyone wear that outfit better than you do," he asserted. "The hair, the makeup--it's just perfection."

Despite her usual cool reserve, Rebecka was flattered.

"Where did you get it?" he inquired. "I'm new in town, and I'd like to know where the good shopping is."

"Oh, I got it at a new place on Newbury Street--right next to the Andropov Art Gallery," she answered.

"Really?" he said, sounding surprised. "I walked by there today--even looked in the window, but the place looked kind of old-ladyish and fussy, so I didn't bother going in."

"Well, the shop is owned by an older lady," admitted Rebecka, "but she has very good taste. And I think her daughter-in-law--wait, her granddaughter-in-law--is her buyer, and that girl's an absolute clothing visionary."

"I'll check it out, then," he said agreeably. "Hey, maybe I'll run into you there."

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Join us next time, when we catch up with Rebecka and her realty business, and with Yuri, and Lilly, and the bowling venue.

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