Monday, February 4, 2013

part 3: that kind of complicated

This is not LH yet: Petaluma, California. Time unknown.

Approximate ages: April and Beau are 25, Carly is 30.

The needle started to buzz, so much louder than she'd anticipated. She'd imagined a soft noise, like the whir of an electronic toothbrush. But not this -- this thing was like a jackhammer! But what did she know? She'd never gotten a tattoo before.

April cringed waiting for the impact. It wasn't the pain she worried about so much as the permanence. Forever is a long time. And she was poor, so laser removal treatments wouldn't be an option. Signing up for something was easy, but wasn't the removal part always the most complicated? Broken promises, leases, contracts, marriages, unwanted tattoos. Why did everything have to involve such commitment?

"No!!!" April screeched. "Wait! No, no. Not there. I changed my mind."

"You need to be sure about this," he said. "You realize this is permanent, right?"

"What if I don't like it? What if I want something else tomorrow?"

"Tattoos don't work like that," he said. "You have to pick something you really like, and stick with it. I have an idea, how about a place you won't see it all the time. If you like it now, you'll still like it, but you won't see it, so you won't have to think about it all the time. Commitment can be really fun when it's something you like. What are your favorite colors?"

"Pink," she said. "And purple."

The bite of the needle was sharp and the tattoo she wanted was large. And when it was done, he sprayed her back with a cooling mist and wiped her dry. She loved it.

"I do love it," she said. "I love it now, and I think I might even love it tomorrow."

"See," he said. "I thought you would."


Carly had been dating Kyle for a few months now. He was silly and affectionate, and despite the very misleading tattoos, he was actually no more edgy or dangerous than a puppy. And almost contradictory to the close cuddles they enjoyed, she found him surprisingly standoffish sometimes and hard to get to know. Mysterious had seemed attractive in the beginning, but being with Kyle was more like trying to unravel a puzzle than getting to know a man.

He didn't talk about his family, or his past, or where he saw his future headed. She didn't know what he studied in college -- or even if he'd actually finished college at all. He didn't really talk about much at all except whatever she wanted to talk about. And football. She knew he liked football, and that he had incredibly dreamy eyes.

But they had fun together most of the time. Whether he really liked her or not was anyone's guess, and she did wonder about it. She didn't want to ask him outright, because she didn't think she should have to. And she didn't want to turn their dates into an endless game of Twenty Questions either. So it just wasn't said. She didn't want to go there for fear that she wouldn't like the answers. As it was, they had a good thing going. Good enough for now, anyway.


"Oh, shit," was what April said when she saw Beau walk into her bar. She'd just assumed he was Tyler at first -- though in a weird-smelling lab coat instead of a suit -- and she was in the middle of placing an order for onion rings when she realized it wasn't Tyler at all. To her own credit, they were twins. But Beau had softer eyes and fluffier hair than his brother, and if she was going to be honest, was always a little cushier around the middle too. And she was torn between jumping over the counter to hug him, or telling him to go screw himself, or maybe even crying, but then she realized she couldn't exactly do any of those because she couldn't actually move at all. It had been months since she'd even seen his face, and she hadn't gone months without seeing his face since the day they met.

It didn't seem like it had been five years since their first revision, since they'd been in college together at LCU, but it appeared to be true. April was never the type to mark time like that. But Beau was. And they had grown up, somewhere along the way. They were grown-ups doing grown-up things, and having grown-up feelings, and one day he just said it -- he wanted to start a family with her. She couldn't even believe he would suggest it. She was just not cut out for that, and he knew her the best. He knew she couldn't be a mother after her own mother had failed to protect her in such an epic way. April never wanted to screw up a kid like that. So if a kid was still what Beau wanted, then she didn't know how to look at him.

She glanced aside, pretending to check on her patrons.

"April," he said. "Look at me. There's nobody at your bar."

"So what? You're like, done with your silent treatment now then?"

"I guess I just wondered what you do these days?"

"What I do?" She gave him a weird look. "I go to work. Here. This is what I do."

"Do you like this? Are you happy here?"

"Sure," she said. "It's alright. It's as good as any of the others, I guess." She was mostly fine here in this rewrite -- she liked her work and the people she worked with. But were they happy here? As happy as they've been anywhere? No, honestly. But she suspected it wasn't the place that was the problem. "You don't look happy. Don't you like your work?"

"Well, so I'm working at Petaluma Waterworks, and I'm in charge of the relay switchboard and all they have me do -- like, for real -- is push this button at the end of each treatment round. Mind you, I have dual degrees in both Computer Science and Chemistry -- all those student loans, just to push a button? And my boss is a total dick. An idiot too. The other day, when he wasn't looking, I switched the placement between his bottle of Aluminum Sulphate and the dishwasher detergent... It was his fault he didn't look at the labels again before he filled the incoming tub."

April pictured all the bubbles -- there must have been so many, all iridescent and sparkling and going, pop, plink, pop. She couldn't contain the grin spreading across her face.

"And I was just thinking that it reminded me of the time we were working together at my dad's arcade -- do you remember the arcade?"

"I remember," she said.

"And what were we like seventeen then? When you put dish liquid in the fountain because my dad told you to clean it. And then when it started to bubble, we snuck out the back so that new kid would take the blame. I remember we were smoking a joint together outside behind the arcade while he fired that kid, and you still had the back of your head shaved, and I was teasing you about it, and do you remember you said if I ever stopped being your friend, you would shave my head?"

"Well, don't you owe me a head-shaving?"

He meant it lightly, but it only made her feel sad. "Only if that means you stopped being my friend. Did you?"

"No," he said. "I didn't."

"Then I actually like you with all that hair."

"Well come give me a hug then," he said. "I know you want to."

It was true. She was starting to bounce a little.

She wrapped her arms around him and slid herself onto his lap. They hugged, and she couldn't let go of him even if he did promise her they would hang out again soon, and a lot, and every day, and forever. She was hugging him to make up for lost hugs, months worth of them, the warmth of his hands on her back, his breath on her shoulder, it's always been the safest place she ever knew.

"I won't say that again," he whispered. His voice was soft beneath the music in the room, but with his lips so close to her ear, she heard him clearly. "If it means we can't be friends, then it's not worth it. I know why you don't want to, and I respect that. I won't bring it up again, I promise."

All that struck her then was that this meant someday he would find someone else to have a family with. He deserved a family, and she did want that for him. It was illogical that she was disappointed he would never suggest it again.

He rubbed her back and whispered, "And you have a customer."

She hurried back behind the bar and took up a few bottles into her hands, whipping them around and splashing liquors and mixers into the shaker. Beau liked watching April work. She was always a pleasure to watch, full of energy and light, the little flips she could do with the bottles. It became a kind of dance.

Then he noticed April's customer was still looking at him. Staring. What the hell?

Or was she checking him out? Yup, he still had it. He puffed up his chest a little and started to gloat. Take that, Tyler. Who's the hotter twin now?

He started to take the seat beside her, and then she said, "Excuse me, do you smell chlorine in here?"

"No," Beau said. "I don't smell anything."

"Yeah," April chimed in from behind the bar. "I think you spilled some on your jacket or something. I smelled it too."

"April," Beau said. "Drinks."

She glanced at April. "Your girlfriend?"

"Ah, no," Beau said, almost a sigh. "It's just... a very long, and very complicated story. Is your boyfriend here?"

She laughed. "Do people still use that line? Yes, I have one, but no, he's not here. It's... also complicated."

Her name was Carly, he learned. She was thirty years-old, working at a trendy salon in the town center, dating a very elusive tattoo artist, and hopelessly addicted to her credit card. His work was not nearly so interesting, so he told her about April for a while, and his brother, Tyler, who was an MVP now for the local soccer league. And even a little bit about Summer and Tonya too. Beau's own life -- this version of it, anyway -- did not appear to be very interesting at all, and she even yawned at one point before finally rising from her bar stool. "It was nice to meet you, Beau," she said. "Good night."

"Wait," he said, catching her before the door. "What if it ever stopped being complicated?"

"I don't know, do you think it works like that?" The skepticism faded from her smile. "You're a nice guy, but I just saw your kind of 'complicated'. Not sure if you realize it, but you don't recover from that kind of complicated."

He did realize it. It wouldn't have been the first time he lost a woman to "complicated". It was beginning to be the theme of his life.

But she gave him her card anyway. "You know, in case you need a makeover or something."

"What's that mean?"

"You could use a more stylish jacket to wear out to the clubs," she said. "One that doesn't smell like chemicals."


notes: I did like, three minutes of research on water treatment, so consider all of that probably wrong, lol! Sim story research... ;)

I'm not sure how many new readers I'll have to this blog who haven't already read Lakeside Heights. Most of these stories are new, or have histories that are easily summed up in a line or two of exposition, but I imagine a couple of these storylines might need a footnote or two. April and Beau's story in particular is kind of an oblique continuation of their story on the Lakeside Heights blog. Theirs is indeed a very long and very complicated (and at times, very dark too) story, but if you're curious about their history, you can take a peek: Beau and April's story tag


  1. Gosh, Carly is such a pretty sim!

    But anyway, I think she got Beau in one at the end there! "Not sure if you realize it, but you don't recover from that kind of complicated." No, you do not.

    But then, he and April are at something of an impasse now, if he wants a family and she doesn't think she can give that to him. Even in your TS2 hood, I don't think I ever saw her becoming a mother on purpose. But I can't really see her ever truly apart from Beau and I don't know if either of them can imagine it either! So I do wonder what will happen with them.

    1. I changed Carly's hair in a later episode, and I think it makes her look even prettier! And I love how expressive her features are.

      An impasse is a good way to call it. Oh, but do I ever have plans! ;)

      Thanks for reading, Carla!

  2. Gah, I might just have to take a peek at their previous story. I'm intrigued as to exactly how complicated it was and how easy they might get it this time around. ;)

    This blog is going to be such a different take on LH, I really like the idea!

    1. The storylines are all tagged and labeled, so you can read just the ones you're interested, if you want. Thanks for following this crazy new story, lol! :)

  3. I really hope that these two can make it work. I think that April could be a fine mom to a kid if given some time. I can't really imagine her being fifty and still so unsettled. At least I hope better for her. Beau and Carly, I hope not! She is pretty but I prefer him with April.

    1. I has plans! :D

      Thanks for reading, Maisie!

  4. Aww Beau and April <3 I'm still holding out for those two!
    I'm really enjoying this so so much. It's like filling an addiction, my LH obsession, I'll take it in any form I can get it in.

    I'm excited to see your plans!

    1. Thank you! I was hoping the alt-LH would suffice for some of these guys. That way I get to continue the stories that won't be in the books and not have to worry about continuity, lol!

    2. I completely agree! I think its a fantastic filling and I really love the way you've handled it all so far! It's interesting and I really like it a lot. Loving the characters helps, too I'm sure.