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Test Subject
Original Poster
#1 Old 2nd Oct 2018 at 8:34 PM Last edited by beccaboo13 : 11th Nov 2018 at 5:58 PM.
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Chapter One: Another Day in Paradise

Ellie Wyatt awoke to the usual, annoying chiming of her alarm clock. She rolled over, her eyes not quite open, feeling aimlessly on her nightstand for the 'end' button.
“Just another day,” she thought as she silenced the devil device that disturbed her dreams. She begrudgingly arose, trying to wake up and become aware of her surroundings. Her eyes moved to her cell phone which lay on the dresser, to the right from her bed. She made her way over to it and picked it up. Twelve missed calls.
"Oh God."
She checked her call list. Two calls from her brother, Conrad. Four from her neighbor and best friend, Jenna. And...
"Oh no."

She saw her boss's name beside six of her missed calls. She knew what was up before she even decided to call back. She jumped out of bed, rushing around her already messy room in search of a uniform clean enough to be considered decent for work. After a quick change of clothes and a quick gussy-up, she bid a farewell to her fur baby and was out the door and in her old, forest-green rover. Before pulling out of her garage she managed to text; 'On my way'.
"Just another day in paradise," she told herself, backing out of the driveway and heading off to her personal Hell.

Ellie was the youngest of the three Wyatt children, in the quaint town of Pleasantview. She came from a family of fair skin, dark hair, and dark eyes --- but Ellie was quite different. Not only did she bear soft, light-blonde hair, but she had a personality much different from the rest of the Wyatts. The Wyatt family was full of professional, formal, overachievers.

Her father, Billius, had inherited a large piece of land, a plantation farm, down from many generations. Their family had made much profit from their crops over the years, and therefore, were a family of old money. Ellie thought her parents were unusually organized and had standards and held ideals that were far too high for their children. They were raised to be the best in anything and everything they ever did, especially by her strict mother, Doris.
Ellie had yearned to break free and escape the clutches of the ridiculous expectations --- and so she did. Her eldest and favorite sibling, Conrad, was a businessman, but he always checked in on her. He never shut her down and backed her up no matter what. Eileen, her older sister, was a different story. She was just like Doris, and that fact made Doris exceedingly proud. They were basically the same person. Ellie and Eileen never got along. They were just too different. Eileen, like her mother, always gave her opinions on Ellie's life choices and tried to tell her how she was ruining her own life.
But those times were now in the past as Ellie finally broke away, living on her own terms, in her own way. She was now by herself, finding her path through this thing called life.

Main Street Cuisine was a small but elegant restaurant found on North Main Street of Pleasantview, just around the corner from her neighborhood. Ellie had stumbled upon the 'help wanted' sign on the window in her freshman year of college at Sim State University. Refusing to play on her family's wealth, she decided to pay her own way -- she was a stubborn, independent, young woman who wanted to be away from her strict parentage. The sheer thought of relying on them for money made her physically ill. There was no way she was going to give Doris another weapon to use against her --- another thing to hang over her head for the rest of her life.
Ellie had dropped out of SSU her sophomore year -- she was already so far behind with her student loans, and if she had requested anymore hours at work, she'd be sure to fail her classes. She was undecided about her major anyway and still had no clue as to what she even wanted to truly do when it came to a career. She didn't see this decision as too much of a loss. She would figure everything out in time, and felt no obligation to rush herself. There was no way in Hell that Ellie would even consider returning home to the family manor, and instead, decided to rent a small but comfortable house just down the street from her workplace.
She parked her rover in the parking lot of Main Street Cuisine and rushed inside.

"Where the hell have you been!? We tried calling a million times! We've been getting our asses kicked with no one else to cover!" She was rudely greeted by a busy and frustrated co-server named Avery.

"Well, for one, it's 'spose to be my day off anyway. For another, my phone has been on silent all morning -- and you can drop the authority complex --- I already have a boss for that," Ellie retorted before making her way to the back. She pushed through the swinging doors that led to the kitchen to find the woman in charge.
Sandra Lovelace, the owner of the place, was in a loose apron helping prep meat for the grill cooks. She looked up at Ellie in relief.
"There you are!" "
“I am so, so, sorry. I had no idea you needed the extra help."
"That’s okay. Just clock on in and get out there before Avery loses her shit."

Ellie moved over to the old computer that sat on an untidy desk in the corner. As she was clocking in, she asked, "Who was it this time?"
Sandra rolled her eyes, "Chelsea of course. Not feeling well...again...”
Ellie followed suit with an eye roll, "Classic." She pulled her apron from off the shelf and tied it snug around her waist.
"Oh, of course! You can't hire these high-schoolers, anymore. Every. Single. Weekend. If it isn't one, it's another. I'll never hire another one, I swear!"
Ellie nodded in agreement while she pulled her hair back into a bun. She put on a fake smile and pushed back through the swinging doors, ready to deal with her customers; ready to face the usual lunch rush. "Just another day in paradise."

Around three o' clock, the dining room started to clear out -- the rush had finally ended. Sandra and Ellie decided to take their chance and headed out to the deck for a break. Sandra sat down a pitcher of iced lemonade for the two of them and wiped her forehead. "I am drenched!"
“I feel ya," Ellie replied as she wiped her own perspiration from her face.
"Yeah. I'm sorry we're working you to death. I hated to even bother you, but we were short staffed and you're the best we have. Everyone else flaked, of course. Everyone complains about money, but they never want to work.”
Ellie lit a cigarette and looked up at her boss. "I guess it helps that I'm too desperate to say no."
Sandy looked up at her with a sly smile and gave her a wink, "Yep. That certainly does help."

Business continued to slow over the next hour and Ellie was dismissed for the day. Before starting home, she remembered the missed calls that continued to accumulate as she was working. It was unusual for her brother to call so many times, but her best friend was more than likely just being her usual, obnoxious self.
Staring to feel the slightest bit of worry, she dialed up Conrad's number as she was leaving the parking lot. It rang a couple times before she heard his voice, his tone gentle as ever, "Blondie! I was staring to worry about you."

"Hey, Connor. Sorry. I've just been super busy these past few days. Is everyone okay? Daddy? Mom? The Wicked Witch?"
He gave a laugh, "Everyone is fine. Mom just insisted that I call to make sure you hadn't died, because you know, that’s the only excuse you can have to get out of her Thursday night dinners."
She gave a heavy sigh, "I am SO sorry I had to miss such a fun evening."
"You are not.” She heard a smile in his voice and smiled in return. He must have detected the heavy sarcasm that dripped from her every word.
"You're right, I'm not. But I honestly did have to work. Technically, I got paid to miss an evening of getting told how big of a disappointment I am and how I have no ambition. I only go for you and Daddy anyways," she said as she pulled into the driveway and shut off the engine.
"Shucks. You flatter me. Well, I was just making sure you were alive and that you weren't abducted by some weirdo at the bar. Do me a favor and at least call Dad to share the good news that you haven't died. Love you, Blondie."
She smiled and rolled her eyes, "Yeah, okay. Love you too, Conner."

He was always overprotective and borderline nosey. She had just leaned over to put her phone in her bag when a knock on her car window made her jump. Jenna Wesley was standing just outside the vehicle at the window and, smiling wide, "I brought wine! Get out!"
Link Ninja
#2 Old 2nd Oct 2018 at 11:50 PM
My favorite picture is the last one, it looks like Ellie is jumping while in her vehicle, lol! I wonder if Doris is the type to call her something like 'Eleanore' to annoy her daughter when they are together? Maybe Eileen too, because she's just like Doris. Great start!

Uh oh! My social bar is low - that's why I posted today.

Test Subject
Original Poster
#3 Old 5th Oct 2018 at 9:18 PM Last edited by beccaboo13 : 5th Oct 2018 at 9:36 PM.
Default A Night In
Chapter Two: A Night In

"Holy Shit, Jenna!" Ellie climbed out of the rover, trying to lower her now-elevated pulse, "Why do you always insist on sneakin' up on me like that?"

"You would've known I'd be here if you'd ever check your damn phone!"

Ellie put her hand on her hip and faced Jenna, "I got called into work this morning."

"Clearly," Jenna motioned toward Ellie's uniform, "I figured that much out."

"Jenna, you know there is such a thing as voicemail? Texting? You know, what NORMAL people do when they can't reach someone?"

Jenna gave her a teasing grimace and stuck out her tongue as if they were third graders. Ellie fiddled with the lock on the front door and they made their way inside. Fozz, her adopted companion, was already there to greet them.
"Down, boy!" She gave him a gentle push back and motioned Jenna into the kitchen. She sat down her bag and keys on the counter and turned back to the woman with wine in hand. “You can put that in the fridge to cool, if you want. I need to grab a bath anyways. I've not had a chance to."

Jenna snorted, "You would have if you didn't sleep in until noon every day."

"Eleven, actually," Ellie mumbled to herself, as she made her way to the washroom.

After a quick, much needed bathing, Ellie returned to the living room in her most comfy pajamas. Jenna had turned on the television to entertain herself.

"Already? Seriously?" Jenna eyed her new apparel, "It's not even six o'clock yet!"

Ellie shrugged, "Hey, don't judge me! It's not like I have any big plans anyway! Now, how about that wine?"

They sat back and relaxed on the living room sofa. There was some chick-flick playing in the background of their conversation. They talked about their usual family drama, about their latest dating fiascoes, and about the newest episodes of their favorite TV shows. The wine they were drinking was a tasty, soft red.
It was treating Ellie well. She felt her muscles relaxing with each glass and felt her cheeks growing warmer. She was just about to ask Jenna about her son's new band when Jenna asked, "Have you heard from Ross in a while?"

Ellie was taken aback. She hadn't talked about Ross since she broke down in front of Jenna when they split. Ellie never minded talking about her past relationships; it was usual girl-talk for the two. But for some reason, hearing his name made her stomach drop. "No... I- I haven't really, I guess. Why?"

Jenna made an expression as if she knew something that Ellie did not; a slight blush appeared in her cheeks. "Well... he's back in town. I saw him at the grocery store last night. I just thought you should know."

Ellie bit her lip and asked, "Was he, uh, with anyone?"

Jenna turned a deeper red before answering. "Yes. But trust me, El, she's---"

"That's okay, Jen. I don't really want to talk about him anymore, if that’s okay," Ellie shook her head and tried to appear unaffected. Jenna looked as if she were going to try and console her. Before she had time to say anything else, Ellie redirected the conversation. "So! How about the new band?"
Jenna rolled her eyes and gave a heavy sigh, before she could respond, she was interrupted by the sound of slamming car doors outside. Ellie muted the TV. "What was that?"

Jenna looked around toward the door. "I dunno.”

Ellie got up and walked to the front door and peaked out. There it was. A big moving van parked across the street in front of the old Walsh house. It had been vacant for a couple of years now, ever since the former occupants upgraded to a nicer house down on Strawberry Lane. The old neighbors were nice, but unusual people. Ellie concluded that they had finally found a buyer. It was too dark to make out the faces or the appearance of the strangers. Ellie quietly shut the door, once more.

"Looks like we're getting new neighbors," she told Jenna who was helping herself to another glass of wine.

"This late at night? Strange. I wonder who they are or if they have a daughter? Tobias really needs a girlfriend! I get tired of him stealing my laptop and locking me out of the bathroom all the time!"

Ellie laughed, "Gotta love puberty."

It was nearly one in the morning before Jenna bid Ellie goodnight and let herself out. Ellie checked to make sure the doors were locked up before curling up on the couch with Fozz. She rubbed behind his ears as he laid on her lap. She had always loved animals and always checked the paper for ads about the rescues at the local shelter. One morning she woke up and saw his adorable face peering out at her from an ad. She called the shelter and had him delivered to her the very next day.
It was love at first sight. He was a wonderful companion. Smart, playful, but calm for the most part. He had to be at least a few years old. He had been abandoned and left at the shelter door with no explanation. She never understood how people did that to innocent creatures. It made her angry and sick with melancholy.
Fozz had fallen asleep in Ellie's lap and she was starting to nod off herself, when she heard the sound of slamming doors again. She left the couch without disturbing Fozz too much, and looked out her living room window. It seemed as if the people were closing up the van and calling it a night. She saw two figures walk through the front door. She pulled her curtains back down and decided it was time for her to call it a night as well.

She took the empty wine bottle and glasses to the kitchen and placed them in the sink. She'd straighten up the place tomorrow. She walked back into the living room to find Fozz still sleeping on the couch.

"Come on, Fozz. Bed." He stretched his paws out before jumping down and following Ellie to the bedroom.

Her mind wondered to Ross as she was brushing her hair before bed. She immediately felt upset with herself for dwelling on him. Why did Jenna have to bring him up now? Why did he have to be back now? Why did it bother her so much? Ross was once a man that she actually pictured herself being with for a lifetime. It was a rare thing.

It was his eyes that first caught her attention, a piercing bright blue. He had perfect teeth that seemed to gleam and sparkle every time he spoke. And it wasn’t just his appearance, although it was captivating; he had always been so humorous. He would have Ellie breathless from laughter. They enjoyed each other’s taste in music, movies, TV, books… The two just seemed to have everything in common. She enjoyed his company; even craved it! He just made her feel better, important, and special. He had never seemed to push her to do anything she didn’t want to do. He never made her feel like a failure the way her family did...
They were in the same dorm hall her first year at the college. They were both undecided majors and took the same schedule for their general classes. He was polite, charming, and he too, came from a family of money. His parent’s owned the art gallery in downtown Pleasantview. They pulled in a fortune through art shows, auctions, and benefits they held there. They were very wealthy and well known to the town.

Even Doris approved of him, which was rare. He was perfect...until he decided to leave town to pursue a more prestigious school. He seemed to leave without a trace--didn't call, didn't stop by–never even hinted at his plans. He only had left a simple note in her mailbox while she was at work.
And that was it.

No closure, no nothing. Just abandoned.

She would have supported him. She would've even relocated herself. But he didn’t care enough about the relationship to even consider it, apparently. Maybe she wasn't good enough for him? She was a dropout and a waitress who was scraping to get by. Maybe it was her 'lack of ambition' that pushed him away. And this made her despise her mother and sister even more...
She shrugged off the unpleasant thoughts about the past and tried to distract herself. She let her mind move to ponder the new neighbors across the road as she got into bed with Fozz snuggling up to her.

She was curious to know what kind of people they would be. Did they have kids? Pets? Were they around her age?
"Maybe I'll go and introduce myself and bring a gift -- a cake? Cookies? Wine? Flowers....?" These were the last thoughts that entered Ellie's mind before she fell asleep.
Top Secret Researcher
#4 Old 6th Oct 2018 at 1:21 AM

I read that you had a couple of chapters posted here in the Sims 2 Facebook group, so I had to click the link and see what you had posted so far.

I love the first two chapters, great pictures. I am looking forward to the next chapters of your story.

for info on changing the Mac Open File Limit check out my post here
Curiosity killed the cat,
but satisfaction brought it back.
Test Subject
Original Poster
#5 Old 6th Oct 2018 at 1:57 AM
Originally Posted by lordtyger9

I read that you had a couple of chapters posted here in the Sims 2 Facebook group, so I had to click the link and see what you had posted so far.

I love the first two chapters, great pictures. I am looking forward to the next chapters of your story.

Thanks a ton. <3
Test Subject
Original Poster
#6 Old 27th Oct 2018 at 3:26 AM
Default Welcome to the Neighborhood
Chapter Three: Welcome to the Neighborhood

After Castiel Corder shut the front door of his new home, he wandered into the kitchen, reached into the fridge to pull out a couple beers he had placed on the shelf upon arrival. He walked around the boxes and made way to the sofa where his younger brother, Nathaniel, sat.

"Cheers, little bro."

Nathaniel accepted the beer, "Cheers, mate."

They sipped in silence for a few moments. Cass looked at his brother with curiosity and gestured around the room, "What do you think about it?"

Nathan shrugged after a moment before giving a slight smile, "You did alright, in my opinion. It definitely has potential."

Cass smiled wide. He had always valued his brother's opinion despite being the only parental figure Nathan had. Most older brothers could write off what their younger brother's thought about them but they were all each other had anymore. Their parents had been dead nearly all of Nathan's life, due to a traffic accident. They were taken in by their uncle and his wife. As they grew older, Cass grew angry at how much differently they were being treated than the rest of the family. They always received less affection and attention than their cousins.

Cass and Nathan always received fewer gifts on birthdays and holidays, they could never do what they pleased in their free time, and were given more tasking chores than the other two boys. When Cass was finally of age, he decided to get himself and little brother to a better place where they weren't taken advantage of and could be free.

They rented a small, run-down apartment near Twikki Bay while Cass worked to save up money. He worked in construction for years and made a decent enough living. He'd been saving ever since. But it was time to move on and make a fresh start. He grew tired of the big city life, the rising rent costs for something so cramped and dingy, and decided to relocate to Pleasantview. It was a small town further north where he was once assigned to a remodeling job of the local YMCA. He enjoyed the atmosphere, the way people seemed to know each other, and the mountain views. He thought it was perfect for them. They had trouble making and keeping new friends in Twikki Bay. Everyone who passed through seemed to be gone just as fast, like they were rocks at the bottom of a stream and everyone else was the water rushing past.

So, here they were! Cass was brought back to reality when his brother tried to stifle a rather large yawn.

"Damn. It's already three o'clock? Let’s call it a night and get some energy before we finish unpacking."

Nathan nodded in agreement, "Yeah. Thank God we at least got our beds assembled."

Jasmine, their grey Persian feline, strutted into the living room and was ready to follow Cass to bed. She was a sassy thing, but he adored her. "Night, bro."

"G'night Cass."

Cass opened the door to his master bedroom. It was amazing at how this room already matched some of his own furniture. "One less thing I have to paint."

He found the duffel bag that contained his clothes and dug for his favorite pajama bottoms. He changed quickly, eager for a good night's sleep. Jasmine was already curled up waiting on him. He turned off the lights and climbed into bed.

The next morning, he awoke to the smell of something burning. Had Nathan already managed to catch the place on fire? He hopped out of his bed, accidentally evicting Jazzy from her spot at his feet which he knew she wouldn't appreciate, but didn't have time to pet her and apologize because he was running to the kitchen at top speed.

"What the hell?!" he bolted into the kitchen and looked around, finding Nathan waving a dish-towel at the smoky oven.

"I'm sorry! I was trying to actually cook for once, and, well, you see the result!"

Cass started laughing and helped his brother remove the burnt remains of what looked like morning pastries.

"At least you tried, though. I appreciate it," he gave Nathan a sarcastic smile.

"Smartass," he heard his brother mumble underneath his breath. Cass decided to take charge and serve up some simple omelets. They were limited on grocery supply but had at least managed to stop at a convenient store as they pulled into town. They had just enough to get them through the next few days.

"You can at least put the coffee on, right?" he asked Nathan because they needed something to wash down the omelets with. Besides, he couldn't seem to function the rest of the day without at least one cup after waking up.

"Shut up!" Nathan bit back, while searching for coffee grounds to put in the coffee maker that had been unpacked already.

Cass gave another chuckle.

Twenty minutes later, they were sitting in the dining room enjoying their breakfast in silence. Cass doctored his coffee with some two percent milk that he had picked up along with a few packs of sugar that he had found in his jacket pocket; Thank God he remembered to take extra while stopping for coffee on the road! It was not his usual french vanilla flavor, but this would do for now. He was about to take that first heavenly sip when the doorbell rang. Nathaniel and Castiel looked at each other with confusion. Cass got up and made his way to the door. He opened it and found himself face to face with a bubbly looking redhead. She was freckled with wide, bright, blue eyes.

"Hey there, I'm your new neighbor, Jenna. Welcome to the neighborhood!" she handed him a box with a red bow.
He was slightly embarrassed. He didn't even have his shirt on!

"Oh, my. You, uh, you didn't have to do that. I really appreciate it." He accepted the package, "I'm Castiel Corder. It's a pleasure to meet you."

He gave a casual smile. She seemed to lose focus for a moment as her eyes dropped from his gaze and kept lowering...was she really checking him out right now? She blushed when she realized the long silence and where her eyes had landed, immediately making eye contact again, "Um, yeah...well. I just wanted to welcome you to Pleasantview. You have another neighbor, too. Her name is Ellie. I'm sure she'll eventually stop by too. She's my bestie. You'll probably be seeing us often. And you have a lovely--" She stopped midsentence as she noticed another male walk up to the door, "---home."

Nathan smiled. "Hi there. Nice to meet you..?"

“Jenna. Jenna Wesley."

“Jenna. That’s a nice name. I'm Nathaniel but you can call me Nathan."

Cass fought back a laugh. Was his brother really flirting now?

Nathan spoke again, gesturing behind him toward the kitchen, "Would you like some omelets?"

Cass gave him a quick look of incredulance as he had only made enough for the two of them and thankfully, Jenna replied, "Oh, no thank you. I'd better get home before my son burns the house down. He wanted to be in charge of breakfast this morning. Not sure how much I trust him with a stove..”

Nathan blushed. Cass giggled and said, "Funny. We almost had the same problem with this--"
"Yeah that’s okay, maybe next time, Jenna," Nathan shot a dark look to his brother as he cut him off. She turned and gave them a wave as she walked back to her home across the street.

"Taking a fancy to her already?" Cass teased.

Nathan shrugged, "She's pretty cute. What's wrong with making a few new friends?"

He winked at Cass and went to place his dishes in the sink. Nathan never much of a homemaker, but he did know how to impress the ladies.

"Don't you have a girlfriend or something?" Cass asked and Nathan looked a little guilty but shrugged it off.

"Sandy? The little blonde? We're just kinda friends with some benefits, ya know. Casual."

Cass just sighed. "Be safe, little man."

“Whatever. When are you going to actually try dating? You're too picky, that’s your problem."

Cass took offense, "Am not! It’s just most girls are vapidly boring. You can't find one with personality anymore. They're all the same. Pumpkin spice lattes, instagrams full of selfies and their obsession with Lulu Rose, whatever that is."

"Yeah, yeah. Whatever you say, Picky."

"Go unpack your room and butt out.”

Nathan grinned and followed orders.

Cass followed suit and went to his bedroom to start unpacking his clothes. Once they were neatly folded and assembled in his dresser, he set up his personal computer. It didn't take long connecting the wires and plugging it all in. Configuring the wifi and router was a bit more work. He decided to set the password to 'NateSux2017'

He then checked his email to find nothing new. Typical, as he had no lasting friends and no job at the moment. Just junk mail of scam offers because he'd entered his email to win free tickets to Takemizu a few weeks ago.

He then got ready to shower, and pulled his long hair back into a bun before stepping in. Nathan often made fun of him for this. Nathan always had shorter, messier hair.

"The girls dig it, mate," is what he'd always told Nate in response.

Cass considered himself to have a decent build. He had wide shoulders and stood tall, favoring his late father--bright eyes and thick hair that didn't seem to stop growing. Cass had a kind, handsome face with a moustache and a small beard that he kept neatly trimmed. It shaped around his smile perfectly. He dressed and brushed his teeth after emerging refreshed and clean, then headed into the living room to finish setting up the TV, hang up the pictures, and set out his potted plants. The poor things hadn't had sunlight in a couple days since being put into the back of the moving van. He made sure to give them extra water and arrange them so they had the most sunlight.

Jasmine had wandered down to nibble at the food in her bowl before sitting at the window to watch any movement outside. She often did that in the city, but there wasn't as much traffic going by during a week day in Pleasantview, pedestrian or otherwise.

A couple hours later, he had the living room and dining room unpacked and set up completely. He took a break and called for his brother.

"What's up?" Nathan said as he joined him in the kitchen wearing nothing but a pair of sweatpants.

"You're still not finished in there?"

"Yeah I finished unpacking ages ago."
Cass threw his hands up in disbelief, "Great, but you could've helped me out a lot, ya know!?"

Nathan laughed and offered some semblance of helpfulness, "What do you need me to do now?"

“Just finish putting everything up in the kitchen. There's just utensils and cups left in that box. OH! And that package from Jenna--I haven’t opened it yet. See what it is," Cass instructed Nathan as he pulled a cold beer out of the fridge. He felt that he deserved it after all that work. He went to relax in the living room, flopping into the sofa, turning on the stereo to some classical music, and propping his feet up on the light-wood coffee table. He closed his eyes as he took another swig of his beverage. It was feeling like home already.

Jasmine had given up on watching for anything interesting and was laying on the countertop, purring away. He looked over at her and said, "I think you like it, too Jazzy. Glad you approve."

He then heard his brother shout from the kitchen, "Hey, Cass. She got us another coffee pot. What should I do? I don't wanna be rude, but we already have one!"

Cass opened his eyes and called back, "Put it in one of the cabinets. The old one is bound to give out at some point."

He listened to Nathan shuffling around in the cabinets, looking for a place for Jenna's gift, and he started to doze off. He was awoken an hour later by the doorbell. He assumed it was the other neighbor Jenna had mentioned. Ella? Eva? He couldn't remember the exact name. Nathan had already finished the rest of the unpacking and had more than likely went off to play video games on his desktop.

Cass opened the door, and there stood a woman with deep brown eyes and a nervous smile, spilling out her words with hardly time for a breath in between, "Hello! I'm Ellie. I live across the street and I brought you some cookies. Welcome to the neighborhood!"

He gave a warm smile to ease her nerves, "Why, thank you very much. I'm Castiel. Castiel Corder."
Top Secret Researcher
#7 Old 27th Oct 2018 at 6:25 AM

Oh I like the bits with the Visiting Neighbors Jenna and Ellie, and the two brothers are cool I think. Nathan should study cooking a bit so he doesn't burn food as much.

for info on changing the Mac Open File Limit check out my post here
Curiosity killed the cat,
but satisfaction brought it back.
Link Ninja
#8 Old 27th Oct 2018 at 7:30 AM
I really like this chapter, it's my favorite so far of what is published and was interesting to see some of the changes you implemented. What happened to the picture sizes I wonder? They were very big in the first two chapters but small in this one.Were they taken before you got the application to take bigger pics? I really like the pictures of the brothers lounging and Nate's attempt at cooking breakfast XD

Uh oh! My social bar is low - that's why I posted today.

Test Subject
Original Poster
#9 Old 11th Nov 2018 at 5:54 PM
Default Feels Like Home
Chapter Four: Feels Like Home

“Nice to meet you, Castiel, I'd shake your hand but..” She gave him a wider, more assured smile and handed him the plate of cookies. Their hands were too busy at the moment to meet. He glanced down at the cookies and his own smiled widened--what a coincidence--macadamia nut was his favorite type of cookie! He relieved her full hands and motioned her into the kitchen. He sat them gently on the counter after quickly shooing a now angry Jasmine.

“These look amazing! Did you bake these yourself?”

A little bit of pink started to fill her cheeks and she gave a nervous laugh, “It took a couple of attempts, but yeah. These ones are edible, I promise.”

At that moment, Nathan came up behind Cass, yet again, “Oh, another visitor? Hello! I’m Nathaniel. And you are…?”

Ellie seemed a bit confused and turned an even deeper shade of pink, “Oh! I’m Ellie Wyatt. I live across the street, just over there.” She motioned to the cream-colored, brick house over her shoulder. It was simple and smaller than their own, but still nice. “It’s really nice to meet you both….” She trailed off, looking between the two of them. She cleared her throat and said, “Well, I guess I’d better head back and get ready for work tonight. I’ll, uh, I’ll see you guys around!”

She turned away and walked hurriedly back to her house without another backward glance.

“That was odd. She seemed a little distracted,” Nathan said.

Cass looked turned to him, “She seemed perfectly fine until you came along. I hope you didn’t make her feel awkward. You could’ve at least put on a shirt, bro.”

Nathan shrugged; it was his favorite gesture. “I was working out! And YOU’RE one to talk. Remember Jenna this morning? You were half naked! And I didn’t do anything weird just now, so I wonder what’s up. But man, we hit the jackpot, here. Two beauties knocking on our door in one day? I love it here!” He winked and then looked as if an idea had struck him. “I call dibs on the ginger.”

He laughed and stalked off back to his bedroom to assumedly finish his work out. Cass just shook his head, “Typical.”

It was around dinner time and Cass was in the kitchen preparing meatloaf. It became one of his favorite meals. He had spent hours poured over piles of cookbooks at the old library in Twikki Bay, making notes of new recipes to learn and try. He wanted to make sure that his little brother could have decent meals rather than live off of boxed and canned foods and noodles for the rest of his life. Pulled from his thoughts, Cass heard a noise--a car door slamming shut--and looked out the window above the kitchen counter he was working on.

It seemed as though Miss Ellie Wyatt was leaving for work. He watched her rover pull out of the driveway and head up the road. He didn't know why, but she had found her way into his thoughts throughout the day. Maybe it was because he had eaten half the cookies already. He wondered though, why she had suddenly acted so strange after introducing herself. What could have possibly happened to make her bolt like that? That is, if Nathan was right and his shirtless demeanor weren't to blame. Cass was curious about it, but he also couldn’t stop himself from thinking of her endearing, self-assured smile and her honesty in that instance he has asked her about her cooking. She could have easily lied and left out the part revealing her struggle to bake them a simple batch of cookies. She could have just bought them from a local shop or a bakery! But she put in a lot of effort into making them feel welcome. It was a very kind and genuine gesture. If only more people could be that way. He, too, had to admit that she was a very attractive woman, from an aesthetic point of view. She was short and had a warm color in her kind eyes. She had a good shape to her, too...she was on the smaller side but looked sturdy, as if she worked out often.

“Yoga? Pilates? Sports?” he wondered to himself, thinking briefly about the defined muscles in her arms as she had flexed when handing him the plate of cookies.

Anyway, the kindness from his new neighbors was a good sign; maybe things could be good here. He smiled to himself as he placed the pan of meatloaf in the oven.

The house was feeling more and more like home. He loved the layout. The front door led right into the open concept kitchen. There was a half-wall that led right around to the living room. He actually took a liking to the pale yellow walls with its white trim. It even complimented his furniture choice. The dining room was a bit smaller, but big enough to fit an older dining set and his wine shelf. It was plainer than the rest of the house, but it was enough to satisfy him for now.

Now that everything was done, he needed to return the moving van before the company would double his rent charge. The brothers didn’t have their own vehicle and would have to call a cab, but this was something they were used to, living in bigger cities. Having a car had never seemed like a necessity, in their case. The thought of owning things, reminded him of finances, which made him consider something he had been meaning to do, “It’s time to look for employment.”

Of course, he still had his side job as a blog writer. He’d always enjoyed journalism. It didn’t make near as much as construction, but it brought in a little side cash, nonetheless. Once they were settled in, he would have to browse the web for places hiring. He made a mental note not to forget to do that when he was done with dinner.

“This looks and smells awesome mate. I’m starved,” Nathan stated as they sat in the dining room and started to eat.

“Thanks, little man,” Cass replied. It was nice to be appreciated for one's skill, and he definitely worked at it. He had to, once they started out on their own but thankfully, gone were the days of undercooked spaghetti and burnt eggs as far as Cass was concerned. Nathan had a little more work to do in that regard.

They began to eat in their usual silence, but Nathan interrupted it, “Hey Cass? Do you care if Sandy comes up for a couple of days? I told her we’d watch some recent movie she’s wanted to see when she gets here.” He followed up his question by rolling his eyes as if the LAST thing he wanted to do was watch some cheesy, romance movie. Sandy was a resident of Twikki Bay and seemed rather infatuated with Nathan. They had been “friends” for quite some time now. Cass wondered if she would ever make it out of the ‘Friend-Zone’. “She said she would be here in a couple hours,” added Nathan. Twikki Bay was only a five hour distance from Pleasantview.

Cass gave a nod as he swallowed a mouth full of food, and threw his brother a teasing grin, “Sure. You know, you don’t have to ask me to have, uh, guests over. You’re a grown man, now.”

Nathan laughed, “I just figured you’d appreciate the respect, that’s all, considering this is your house.”

“OUR house, Nate. But, thanks for letting me know. I have to take the moving van back anyway. I’ll just take a look around town while I’m out; get to know the place a little better. That should give you all time and privacy,” he gave his brother a wink.

They finished eating and Cass received a surprise when Nathan offered to clean up. As he had mentioned, he went to return the van. He pulled up the parking area of the rental service, left the van off there, and found the key return. Once he had completed that errand, he pulled out his phone and called a cab.

He waited by the closed building as the sun set, creating a dusky atmosphere with the light reflecting off the vans shadow slowly consumed them all. He did enjoy the scenery of the town, and how cozy it seemed. It wasn't bustling like he was used to, and he felt a more relaxed, personal vibe to the place so far. He briefly craved to eat more of the macadamia nut cookies but realized he probably should save some for Nathan. Cass was full from dinner anyways. Even if he wanted to, he had promised to give Nathan and Sandy some privacy so barging in to eat cookies would have been rude or awkward. Probably both. The cookies were, in fact, very delicious and he thought back to Ellie telling him how much she had struggled to make them. Well, it was a job well done and now that she was in his thoughts again...he couldn't get her out.

The cab arrived, and Cass entered the back seat and told the driver, “Take me somewhere that the locals enjoy.”

The driver nodded and off they went. The town was smaller than he expected, but still as beautiful. Fall was right around the corner--the hills were made of various shades of orange, green, and brown. It made for a nice view and wouldn’t make for a bad painting. It would give him an excuse to use his easel, finally. He made another mental note, this time to dig his paints out and make sure he had the appropriate colors.

They passed streets filled with beautiful homes that he would never be able to afford, a mobile home that was much more decent than the ones in the city, and a commercial area with little shops on the corners. He could tell that most of these businesses were locally owned. He passed a smaller, but beautifully decorated bar and grill and noticed a written ‘Help Wanted’ sign on the window. He may have to look into that--another mental note was made.

They came upon a peaceful looking park with a playground. The cab driver looked around at Cass and said, “People seem to like this place, well enough. A lot of families n’ young folk like to come out. It’s a nice place if you needa little time to kick back n’ relax.”

Castiel smiled and handed him some cash. “It’s perfect. Thanks, man. Keep the change.”

The driver smiled in return and pulled off from the curb once Cass had stepped out. There was a large, wooden gazebo toward the center of the park, and stone pathways that led to all the different attractions. There was a large pond off to the side of the gazebo, where he saw, what he assumed, was a couple with their young son enjoying some fishing. He smiled as he watched them.

“Maybe one day…” he mused. Though that would be a long time off considering he couldn't find any women to date much less start a family with. He saw that the playground was well-kept as he continued down the trail--surrounded by so many trees, greenery, and flowery shrubs. There were small picnic tables and grills spread out throughout the park as well. The driver was right, it looked like a great place to relax; he had made a good choice, this was nice.

Once he reached the gazebo, he sat back against the bench and took a deep breath. The air was crisp and tasted much cleaner than what he was used to. He did miss the sea-salt smell of the ocean that was not far from the bay that he once lived near, but this was just as nice. This felt like peace. This felt like home. He closed his eyes and smiled to himself.

Test Subject
Original Poster
#10 Old 11th Nov 2018 at 6:46 PM
Default Here We Go Again
Chapter Five: Here We Go Again

Ellie arrived for her night shift at the bar-and-grill to notice a sign on the window. Her eyes slowly peeled over the words ‘Help Wanted’ and felt a pang of pity toward Sandy. She was already so tired and stressed having to cover other shifts for the less-reliable employees as it was. “Oh great...” she thought and unbuckled her seatbelt, hopping out of the rover. She tied her apron as she walked through the front door. She went straight to the back and made a break toward Sandy, “Who quit!?”

Sandy gave a smirk and said, “Tyler. So, now we’re short a cook. I’ll be back here helping them stay caught up this evening.” Sandy looked exhausted. Her hair was falling out of its clip and her apron was sporting bits of flour, dough, and meat.
“Bless her heart,” thought Ellie as she clocked in.
She walked on out to the front to find a newer server standing near the front register. “Hey Penny. Has it been busy at all?” Penny was a bit older than Ellie, maybe in her early thirties. She had black hair pulled back into a ponytail and her makeup lay on a little thick. She shook her head in response to Ellie.
“We got a slight rush around four, but it’s just been a little steady after that. Do you want to pick up this next one?” She nodded toward the door that was now opening up, a couple making their way in.
“Sure! I’m going to go to the restroom and I’ll be right out.”
Penny nodded and said, “Okay. I’ll have the host seat them in your section.”

Ellie went to the bathroom and pulled her favorite shade of lip-gloss from her apron and quickly applied it before twisting her hair into a simple, but stylish, bun. She checked her appearance in the mirror before heading out to her first table for the night. She hadn’t even looked up at the couple yet and was pulling her notepad and pen out. “Hello! My name is Ellie and I’ll be your server this evening. What can I get started for–“ she looked up and felt her heart drop to the pit of her stomach.
“Oh. Wow! Hey, Ellie! How are you doing? I didn’t know you were still working here.”
Of course it would happen now. There sat the man who had broken her heart. Of all people, Ross Saunders was her first customer. She looked across from him and almost became sick. He hadn’t changed much. His sleek honey-blonde hair was combed neatly to the side, his blue eyes pierced through her as they always had. He was dressed in a nice blazer with a tie as he’d always had fashion sense. Handsome as always..But what stung worse was the view sitting in front of him. A stunning, young brunette woman, around Ellie’s age, was sitting across him, her hand in his. She had perfect white teeth that shone beneath her cherry red lipstick. He hair was in an elegant up-do that fared well with her denim knee-length dress.

“Oh..uh..hey. Yep. Still here. What can I get you all to…drink?” She looked back down and avoided eye contact at all costs as she took their orders.
She rushed to the back, trying to keep her composure, as she put the order in. As soon as she finished, she ran to the bathroom and locked herself into the first open stall. She pulled her phone out and contemplated calling Conrad for a moment. She hadn’t even noticed she was crying until a tear drop landed on the screen of her phone. She then pushed away the tears and dialed Jenna’s number instead. It rang once and Jenna was on the line. This was one of the things Ellie loved and respected her for. She’d always have her there whenever she needed. “Hey El! I thought you were at work? Everything–“
“Hey Jenna. Um, no. I’m not really okay. Meet me at the house at ten, okay? Bring wine. No, bring Jack.”
“I’ll be there,” Jenna replied with a serious tone. She also loved that Jenna took orders without question when in a crisis. Ellie ended the call and wiped her face off before heading back out.
She corresponded with her first and least favorite table as little as possible, and tried to busy herself with the four other tables the hostess had assigned to her. Penny had been sent home since her day shift had ended; Ellie was her relief. She wished that the few people sitting at the bar would have decided to dine in to give her more of a distraction. She needed to distance herself from Ross as much as possible. Every time she had to associate with them, the deeper her heart sank. Of course they decided to stay for desserts and didn’t vacate their table for another hour.
The restaurant was starting to clear out and Ellie took the chance to clean off her recently emptied tables. On Ross’s table, there lay twenty simoleans. Of course he’d have to show off his fortune in front of his new date, well , new to Ellie, anyways. Of course he’d have to make Ellie feel even lower than she already had. She placed the money in her apron and took the dirty dishes to the dish-tank station, a deep feeling of loathing within her.
‘How dare he sit there and act oblivious to the fact that that he screwed me,’ she thought to herself. ‘What an asshole. That stupid son of a–‘
“Hey, Ellie! You can clock out, dear.”

She hadn’t even noticed that it was half-past nine. She was deep in thought, distracted while she was counting her tips beside the register.
“Oh. I didn’t realize. Okay, Sandy,” she walked to the back to clock out and heard Sandy follow her.
“Hey, are you okay? You’ve been unusually quiet this evening.”
Ellie sighed before answering, “Is it that obvious? Yeah. I’ve just been in my own head a little too much tonight. Plus, you’ve had a lot on your plate as it is. I didn’t want to interrupt you with my petty drama.”
Sandy gave her a pat on the shoulder. “You’ve become more than just an employee, Ellie. You’re like family to me. I’ll always make time for you. You can talk if you need to, if not, I completely understand.”
Ellie blinked back fresh tears and shook her head. “You’re too good to me, Sandy. I’m just not ready yet. I’m sorry.”
Sandy smiled, “Take a beer or two home with you. On me. Have a good night, kiddo.”
Ellie retrieved her bag, pulled out her hair tie to let her down, and headed to the bar to pick up two cold beers she’d been offered before heading out.
She pulled into the driveway to see Jenna sitting on the porch with a bottle of wine and, of course, a big bottle of Jack. She felt a rush of affection for her best friend. At least there was someone who cared. She was sure that Conrad would have happily kicked some ass for her, but she never involved him to save his well-known reputation; she could never ask him to jeopardize that. She walked over to meet Jenna and sat down beside her in silence–it stayed that way for a few minutes but not for the chirping of nightly crickets. Jenna looked up and finally said one word, “Ross?”
Ellie nodded and before she could stop it, the tears came. Jenna put her arm around Ellie. Ellie leaned in and cried harder than she had in a while. Jenna patted her on the head. “You can’t be strong all the time, El. Let it out.”
Ellie poured out her heart to Jenna.

A couple of hours later, they found themselves on the couch in front of Ellie’s TV with some raunchy comedy playing. They were in much better moods now. Ellie had told Jenna about the situation and about the new girl he was with. It was childish, but every time Jenna referred to her as “slut” or “whore”, it made Ellie feel slightly better–the thought of no respectable woman ever wanting to touch Ross again. Jenna didn’t know this woman from Eve, but was determined to lift Ellie’s spirits anyway she could.
They had talked some more about music, Jenna’s son's latest grounding, Ellie’s co-worker quitting, and much more. In the middle of idle chit-chat, Jenna looked as if a light bulb lit above her head, as if she remembered something.
“OH! I went to meet the new neighbors today. I took them a coffee pot an ex gave to me a while back. It was still in the box. I didn’t really know what else to take to them. I was NOT about to take them food because I totally SUCK at cooking and whatnot. But, man. They were eye candy for sure. I think their names were Castello and Nathan?”
Ellie laughed and corrected her, “You mean Castiel and Nathaniel?”
Jenna took another sip of Jack from the bottle and said, “Oh, yeah. Them. Anyways, I’m pretty sure they’re the first gay neighbors we’ve had in Pleasantview.”
Ellie’s suspicions heightened and asked, “So you got that vibe too, then? I wondered. I thought Castiel was pretty damn fine until I saw his boy toy walk up shirtless.”
Jenna spoke after another sip, “Man. They must get pretty busy. Castiel was shirtless when I went, too.”
Ellie just shrugged, “They’re getting more than we are.”
Jenna looked offended for a moment. “Hey, now! I get plenty…” but she burst out laughing after seeing the smile breaking through on Ellie’s face. “Who am I kidding? It’s been awhile”. She sighed, but almost immediately sported another grin, “We should go out!”
Ellie sputtered her drink out, nearly choking, “Oh God, Jenna. I love you, but not like that. I’m flattered, but–“
“NOT like that, dipshit. I meant, we need a night out. ASAP!”
Ellie was on board immediately. “For sure! When and where?”
They excitedly discussed their plans, talking of which clubs to visit and what they should wear, and also decided that they needed to go shopping.

By two o’clock, the coffee table was littered with two empty beers, an empty wine bottle with glasses, and a near-empty fifth of the Jack. Both Jenna and Ellie were passed out on the couch at awkward angles. The TV was still on and Fozz was fast asleep on the floor. Jenna’s phone rang loudly and awoke the two of them. Ellie refused to open her eyes and felt slightly dizzy. She had definitely overdone it. She heard Jenna answer the call.
“Hello..?” She sounded like Ellie felt; rough. And all of a sudden her volume and tone dramatically changed. “What!? I will kick his ass when I get there. Where’d they find him? Are you kiddin' me!? I’m on my way over now. Yeah, I’m fine. Be there in a sec. Keep him down stairs, Mom.”
Jenna ended the call and turned to her best friend, “El, I’m gunna have to go. The cops just brought Tobias home.” Her words were slightly slurred and Ellie opened her eyes to see Jenna staggering as she tried to get up. She finally steadied herself before making her way to the door. “I’ll get ahold of you tomorrow. Love ya.”
Ellie slurred back, “Call me an' lemme know what happened.” She heard the door shut and slumped back over, still in uniform, all the lights on, the TV on, and a mess in front of her. She remained asleep on the couch.
Top Secret Researcher
#11 Old 11th Nov 2018 at 10:37 PM
Oh loved this chapter. I thought it was funny that they thought the two brothers were a gay couple.

for info on changing the Mac Open File Limit check out my post here
Curiosity killed the cat,
but satisfaction brought it back.
Test Subject
Original Poster
#12 Old 15th Nov 2018 at 4:21 AM
Default Consequences
Chapter Six: Consequences

Jenna stumbled out Ellie’s front door and tried to balance herself. She straightened up, cleared her throat, and made her way to her home next door. As she walked through the lawn she started to wish she had gum or perfume–she reeked of alcohol.
“I really don’t need another damn lecture from my mother...” she thought to herself.
Even though she was a grown woman, she still feared her mother’s judgement. She had never known her father (was always told not to ask), and was brought up by Florence alone. Jenna’s life had always been a little complicated. She was only a senior in high school when she became pregnant with her son, Tobias. She never told the father, a boy named Damien, and her mother made her switch schools to avoid embarrassment. The father wasn't serious–he had dreams of playing music all around the world. When she found out she was with child, she decided best to go it alone, leave him to his dreams, and broke up with him after only a few months of dating.
She made the transfer to Pleasantview high and finished her senior year and then graduated. Her mother had always helped out with Tobias and had been good to them. Actually, she’d helped them in many more ways than just heling Jenna with raising her son, she had provided a place to live when Jenna lost her job and got evicted from the little apartment. As stern as she may be, Florence had a heart of gold and just wanted to best for her family. But sometimes Jenna took it for granted and often overlooked her good intentions. Florence had tried everything to raise a well behaved, responsible young woman... but Jenna had always been a rebellious one.
Jenna was pondering her nature as she came to the corner of her home. Maybe that’s why Tobias was acting out now–was this revenge she was now receiving because of the way she was to HER mother? Her thoughts were running faster than what she could process, so she shook them off. The porch lights were still on and she could see the light on in the kitchen, which was right inside the front door. She entered and saw her mother and her red-headed son at the kitchen table. His head was down, facing toward his hands in his lap. His thick, long hair hid his expression. She could smell marijuana from the door step. 

“What in the Hell were you thinking, Tobias? Vandalism?! On Main Street of all places. Jesus, Tobias. What possessed you to–what in the hell were you thinking?” she looked at her son with a deep glare, “You know you’re lucky they let you off with no charges. You could’ve been sent off. Why? Why the hell would you do this?” 
Florence just sat in silence and looked on in a disapproving manner. Jenna could tell she wouldn't escape a stern conversation either–the stench of alcohol was just as strong as the marijuana. Tobias just shrugged and remained quiet.
“No phone, No guitar, and no computer–for a month. I’ll be taking them out in the morning.”
He lifted his head and gave her a look of utter disdain, “Why my guitar? Music didn’t have a damn thing to do with this, Mom.”
Jenna cut him off, “Don’t take that tone with me, Tobias.”
Florence chimed in, “Watch your mouth young man. And you too, Jenna.”
Jenna shot her a dark look. After a moment she rolled her eyes and turned her attention back to her son, “Go to your room. Not a single sound from you. I’m disconnecting the Wi-Fi, so don’t even try getting on the computer. Leave the phone on the counter and go.”
He slammed his phone down in wordless sass, and walked from the room. She listened and heard his door slam as well. She could feel the heat rising in her face from agitation and shouted, “I’ll take that door off the hinges too if you don’t watch it!”
She then took a seat to face the inevitable.
“Where were you?” Florence looked up at her daughter, her tone as calm but Jenna could sense the disappointment.
Jenna gave her mother a hard look, maintaining face because unlike her son, she was an adult, participating in legal frivolities and so therefore had nothing to be ashamed of, “I was next door. Ellie had a hard night and needed some help.”

“Well, we had a little bit going on here, too, in case you hadn’t noticed. I woke up to use the bathroom to find nobody home and all the lights still on, the doors unlocked! You were gone, Tobias was gone. Someone could’ve broken in! You all could’ve been hurt or stranded somewhere. You couldn’t have left a note or anything? Then I get a call from an officer. Do you know what went through my mind? My nerves are shot, Jenna!”
Jenna put her head in her hands. “Mother, I am a grown woman. I don’t have to have permission to do things. You can ease off of me.”
“You know, Jen. This is probably why your son is acting up, though–you’re not setting much of an example, here. And look at you! It’s nearly 3 in the morning. You smell of liquor and–“
Jenna’s anger started to peak, and before she knew it, the words came tumbling out like an avalanche, “Now hold on just a minute! You can say whatever you want about me, but you CANNOT tell me I’m a bad parent. I didn’t give my son a bottle of spray paint and a joint and say, ‘have at it, son!’ He made the conscious decision to hang out with a bunch of damn hooligans. I’ve never behaved like that in front of my child. I’m doing the best I can with the hand I’ve been dealt, just like YOU did with me. So hold your judgement. I’m a person too, mother! I have a life as well! Maybe you ought to remember that.”
She got up, grabbed Tobais's phone from the counter, and stormed to the bathroom. She ran the shower as hot as she could stand it; she let the water run over her head and felt a little guilty for being so harsh towards Florence, but her mom knew better than to word such a judgement. Jenna had never even gotten to be a real wasn't fair that she couldn't even have just a little, if not any fun to herself now that Tobias was self-sufficient. Well, obviously not as much as she would have hoped.

When Jenna awoke the next day, her head was spinning and her stomach was churning. “Damn!” She thought, “never again will I drink that much. Probably shouldn’t have mixed jack and red wine either.”
She tried to sit up and almost got sick. She checked her phone for the time. It was almost four o’clock in the evening.
“Dammit.” She whispered to herself. She went to the bathroom and washed her face and decided to brush her teeth; she could smell the rot on her own breath. Once she was finished, she changed into a new set of pajama bottoms and a loose tee shirt.

She ambled her way to the kitchen, where she found Florence at the table, apparently waiting for her daughter. There was a sleeve of crackers, a bowl of veggie soup, and a cup of black coffee. She gave Jenna a small smile.
“ I figured you might need these.”
Jenna smiled back. “Thanks mom. Got any Tylenol?”
Florence got up and nodded looking in the cabinet drawer, “How many do you need?”
Jenna tried to laugh and felt her head spin, “The whole bottle would be great.”
Florence returned a chuckle and handed her the bottle. Before Jenna took a bite of her food, she popped 3 Tylenol and swallowed them down with a sip of her coffee. It was heavenly–the coffee, not the pills.

“Where’s Tobias?” Jenna asked.
Florence looked toward the living room which was across the hall. “I think he’s watching some show on the TV. He’s taking your punishment seriously. He hasn’t touched his guitar, or his computer. I don’t even know where his phone is.”
Jenna swallowed her bite before saying, “It’s locked in my nightstand.”
“Wise hiding place. I’m glad it has a lock on it,” Florence smiled with approval but then it mellowed, “Jenna, I wanted to say that I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said what I did. It was in the heat of the moment and I–“
Jenna held her hand up. “Mom. It’s okay. I should’ve let you know I was going out. Tobias shouldn’t have snuck off. Let’s just forget about it. I’ll handle it from here.”
Florence smiled and stood from her chair. She grabbed up her own cup of coffee and headed toward the living room, patting Jenna’s shoulder as she left the room. Jenna was enjoying her soup and coffee. She was starting to feel even guiltier for being so hard on Florence because Jenna knew she was always the one who had a poor temper and let it out rather think it through. It’d gotten her into trouble before. Florence was just worried, and she too, let her words slip before realizing what they implied. 

Tobias was a bit different. He was sixteen now and was quiet for the most part. When he spoke up, he usually liked to make everything humorous. He had a gift for music; the guitar, specifically. Jenna knew he’d take something after his father, one way or another, and that was his love for music. He was even self-taught, which was great because that saved money rather than paying for lessons–Jenna could never afford ongoing lessons. Jenna was always impressed by his playing. He had just formed a newer band with a few boys who lived a couple of blocks down the road; they were talented, she couldn’t deny, but the style they played wasn't something she was keen on. She was never into heavier, metal sounding music. It drove her up the walls to be completely honest. Thankfully they didn't practice here.
While Jenna had always been a little too outgoing, sometimes, Tobias was the total opposite. He was very reserved and never got personal if he could help it. He hadn’t made many friends up until the end of last year, his freshman year of high school. He was a bright boy, and Jenna was proud of him--but last night really got to her head. This didn’t sound like his normal behavior. She wasn’t near as worried about the marijuana, (for she had always seen it as a natural medicine and would occasionally partake), but the vandalism? It did not seem like his usual self. She decided she would talk to him about it that evening after dinner. Maybe her hangover might ease off by then. And to prove she was meaning serious business about his punishments, she had a job to take care of after finishing her soup. 
It was already nearing seven and Florence was busying herself in front of the stove. It was dinner time and Tobias was looking furious sitting once again at the kitchen table, trying to distract himself with a comic book. Jenna had just walked into the kitchen with her cellphone in her hand. She took a seat adjacent to her son. She could tell he was still pissed; his guitar and amplifier were now locked in Jenna’s trunk, along with his computer. She had always given in on punishments, but this time was different. This wasn’t a simple case of talking back, failing a test, or hiding homework assignments. He had committed a crime. It was time to make him realize that she was not only his friend, but his parent, too. She hated how upset he was at her, but she brushed it off. He had acted in such a way she never would’ve believed possible.
Jenna refrained from making eye contact with Tobias and continued to tend to her unread text messages. Florence broke the silence.
“Homemade chili. Eat up, you two,” She placed the bowls in front of them.
“Thanks, Mom. Smells awesome,” she scooped a spoonful and blew the heat away before taking a bite and then turned to her son. “Homework done?”
He nodded without making any noise of confirmation nor eye contact.
“All of it?” she pressed on.
He finally looked up in agitation. Florence sat down and began to eat. Jenna could tell that she was going to keep to herself this time around.
“Yup. Don’t really have anything else to do now that you’ve raided my room.”
“Well, maybe next time you’ll make smarter choices for yourself. You have nobody to blame but yourself. You don’t go out without permission and you sure as hell don’t vandalize other people’s shit.”
He shot her an even angrier look, “Maybe I wouldn’t have “snuck out” and actually asked your permission had you not been getting wasted with Ellie. Gran was asleep. I’m aware that it was a mistake, I’m not perfect and you sure as hell aren’t either. I didn’t know they were going to be doing that shit. I just thought we would hang out and play some music. It wasn’t my idea.”
Jenna knew he was trying to get a rise out of her and fought even harder to keep her cool. Her voice remained calm, “I think that’s another month without your gadgets. Oh! And no more hanging out with those juvies. PERIOD. Tell the boys they can get someone else to play guitar for them.”
“Dead serious, Tobias. Not another word unless you want me to cancel your driver’s education classes, too. I will go up to the school and cause a scene if I have to.”
Tobias got up and stormed off yet again. Before he could get far, Jenna yelled another warning, “SLAM THE DOOR AND IT WILL BE GONE TOO.”

Florence looked up at Jenna. “Think he will try his window?”
Jenna smiled, “Took a leaf outta your book. Nailed it shut.”
Florence couldn’t help but let a giggle slip. “You’re more like me than I thought.”
Top Secret Researcher
#13 Old 15th Nov 2018 at 6:17 PM
Reading the post made me laugh, thanks for posting it. However I wanted to note that some old people like me actually like Metal Music, one of the Bands I grew up on was Black Sabbath with Ozzy Osborn.

for info on changing the Mac Open File Limit check out my post here
Curiosity killed the cat,
but satisfaction brought it back.
Test Subject
Original Poster
#14 Old 12th Dec 2018 at 4:45 AM
Default Readjustments
Chapter Seven: Readjustments

Tuesday morning came bright and early and Castiel was outside, wiping sweat from his brow. Nathan had convinced him to join him for a morning run. They had just made it back to the house and Cass was having a difficult time trying to catch his breath. He couldn’t understand how Nate did this every single morning. It irked him at how effortless this seemed to be for Nathan. Cass spoke in between gasps,

“I’m beat!”

Nathan smiled at his brother as he too wiped the perspiration from his face. “Give it time. It gets easier. Better start cutting back on the brews and cigars, mate. You’re the one who said you wanted to get in shape.”

“Woah, there! I never said I was giving up. It’s just been a while. I have to readjust.” Cass hunched over and braced his hands on his knees, “Give me a minute.” He started to take deep breaths, sharply inhaling and trying to exhale slowly to calm his racing heart.

Nathan managed a laugh, “You’ll live.” He gave his brother a hard pat on the shoulder. Cass finally succeeded in lowering his pulse, caught his breath, and turned to walk inside with his brother.

They were already up the walkway and heading toward the door when they heard a voice,

“Good morning, neighbors!”

Cass turned to see an eager-looking Ellie walking across the road.

His smile was immediately ignited at the sight of her, “Why, hello, Miss Ellie. How are you this morning?”

“I finally have a day off, so I couldn’t be better,” She approached them and gave her radiant smile. Cass felt something shift in the pit of his stomach. Nathan gave her a small wave and walked on into the house without a word. Ellie gave an almost guilty look. “I haven’t upset him, have I?”

Cass scratched his head, “Why would he be upset?”

Her cheeks turned that same lovely shade of pink as they had when she introduced herself. “He’s not the, uh, jealous type is he? He seems rather protective of you. I don’t think he likes me too well…of course, I don’t see why he would worry over a woman like me...”

Cass processed her words and when he realized what she was inferring, couldn’t contain himself. He burst out laughing, “Oh God. No, Ellie. That’s my little brother. I guess we don't look as related as I thought.”

If she wasn’t blushing before, she definitely was now. Her face went from a soft rose to fire engine red. “Oh my God. I am so, so, SO very sorry. I just assumed…oh, I am mortified. I apologize!” She put her head in her hands to cover her obvious mortification.

He held up a hand, retaining his smile, “It’s okay. No harm done. I can see how that may confuse some. I should’ve been a little more informative with our introduction.” So that would explain her odd behavior, previously. He couldn’t help but laugh. “No, my brother doesn’t dislike you. Not at all. He’s probably just run to beat me to the water heater. We’ve just finished a morning jog.”

“That sounds like a good way to start off the day.” She looked eager for a change of subject. “So,” she cleared her throat and continued, “how do you like Pleasantview so far?”

“I’m actually very fond of the place already,” he replied. “Would you like to come in for some lemonade? Or coffee? We finally made it to the grocery store, so now I can be a bit more hospitable.”

“That would be lovely.”

Cass held out his arm motioning her forward, “Ladies first.” She grinned and walked ahead of him into the house. Ellie took a moment to look around. She had never been inside when the Marsh’s lived here. Her eyes darted from the plants, to the furniture, and then to the color of the walls, as Cass watched her.

“You have a beautiful home.”

“Thank you very much. I’m quite fond of it, myself. So tell me, Ellie, do you prefer coffee? Or would you like some lemonade?”

“Lemonade will be perfect. I’ve already had my morning Joe. That’s the only way I’m functioning right now. It’s weird to be up so early on a day off.”
He poured two glasses of lemonade and continued to talk, eager to make conversation.

“So what do you do for a living?”

“I’m actually a waitress at Main Street Cuisine. We’ve had poor luck with employees, lately. I’ve been getting loads of hours. It gets tiring, but it pays the bills. I can’t complain. What about you?” She took a small sip of her beverage.

“I was in construction before I moved here. That’s actually how I found this place. We did a remodel here in town and I fell in love with it. I decided it was time for a fresh start. And here we are. I’m actually trying to find a job as we speak. I still have my blogs, but it doesn’t cover all our expenses. I’ve been trying to keep my eyes open for any ads in the paper, but---“

“Well, if you like to cook, we’re hiring for the grill. I can put in a good word for you, if you’d like?”

“I actually enjoy cooking. It’s kind of a hobby of mine. I may take you up on that offer. Thank you very much.”
She took another sip of her lemonade and pursed her lips at the tart flavor, “It’s not a problem at all. We really need the help. I’ll give Sandy a call, the woman in charge. She owns the place and works pretty much all the time.”

He nodded in understanding. He pressed on.
“So…are you originally from Pleasantview? Do you have a family here?” He was curious to know more about her.

“Born and raised. So were my parents, and their parents, and so on and so forth. I have a brother and a sister, both older than me.”

Cass nodded. “Do you have any children...or?”

“Nope. Just me and Fozz. He’s my furbaby--Maltese-mix. I adopted him last spring. And this must be yours!” She looked down at the Persian who had just strutted into the room. Ellie immediately abandoned her lemonade, went over to the cat, dropped to her knees, and started stroking her fluffy silver coat.

“Yes, ma’am. That’s my Jazzy. She’s a big baby. Poor thing was dropped off in an alley by our old apartment in Twikki Bay. I took her in when she was a tiny little thing, nursed her to health, and she’s been with us ever since.”
Jasmine was enjoying the attention, emitting loud purrs as Ellie scratched behind her ears.

Ellie looked up, “She’s beautiful! Poor thing. I don’t see how people can abandon little helpless creatures…”

“I’ve always been somewhat of a softy when it comes to animals,” Cass admitted just as he heard a cellphone chime. Ellie looked down and reached into her pocket.

“Oh! That’s Jenna. I better be off. I almost forgot I was supposed to be meeting her downtown. Thank you for the lemonade and the good company!” She arose and made her way back into the kitchen. Cass followed her to the door.

“Drop by any time. And thanks for the tip about the job. I’ll come by and put in an application. I’ll see you around, Miss Ellie.”

“Bye, Castiel.”

He smiled at her as she made her way out the door, “Please, call me Cass.”
She returned a smile and nodded while waving as she walked back across the street. Cass returned inside.

At that moment Nathan walked into the kitchen. He was now clean, fully dressed, and wearing a knowing look, “You two seem to get along well enough.”

“I just met her, Nate.”

“Get to know her--have her show you around, go get coffee, go to dinner–she seems nice. Plus, you can’t seem to wipe that smile off your face when she’s around. Take the plunge and ask her out, brother.”

Cass just shook his head and headed for his shower, though he couldn’t deny, he liked the idea his brother had just planted in his head.
Test Subject
#15 Old 12th Dec 2018 at 4:50 PM
New chapter, yay!
Thank you
Test Subject
Original Poster
#16 Old 12th Dec 2018 at 8:08 PM
Default Confidence is Key
Chapter Eight: Confidence is Key

H&M was where Jenna had insisted on meeting up. The place was definitely not something Ellie could normally fit into her budget–she had always just bought her clothes at the strip on Main Street–but with all the extra shifts she had been picking up at the Cuisine, she decided to push away her guilt and splurge; she had worked on convincing herself that she deserved a treat for all her hard work. They were casually browsing the formal section and making their usual small talk of Jenna filling Ellie in on her dramatic episode with her son. 

“He really said that to you? Damn...”

“Tell me about it,” Jenna sighed as she was pushing through hangers and went on, “I made sure to ground his ass. HARD. Took all his shit and locked it in my trunk. Told him no more practice with the little  punks who he got caught with.”

Ellie raised her brows and looked toward her “You sticking to your guns this time?”

Jenna snorted,”You sound like my mother. Hell-to-the-yes I am sticking to my guns. I’ve tried playing nice and I always let him off easy. It gets me nowhere. This time is different. He’s never acted like this before, so he’s going to learn the hard way. I don’t know what’s gotten into him. Ever since he started hanging out with the little shits down the road, he’s been so different.”

Ellie frowned and felt guilt flood through her once again. She had never meant to come between Jenna and her family. It was, after all, her fault that Jenna was out so late. 

“Sorry you had to deal with that. I shouldn’t have kept you all night with my problems. Your mom was right–I feel like a bad influence...”

Jenna laughed. “You have nothing to apologize for. It wasn’t your fault my son decided to act like a criminal. You were having a rough night and I wanted to be there for you. Nobody expected this to happen. I just hope he won’t resent me or hate me or call me a bad mom. He can be pissy and be mad at me all he wants, hell, he can even cuss me out, but I don't think I could handle ever hearing him say I'm a bad parent. I feel like a failure as it is–I don't want him to grow up like me. I hope he actually learns from his mistakes rather than hide behind them. “

Ellie showed an empathetic smile, laid her hand on her friend's shoulder and gave Jenna a light squeeze, “He’ll come around, pretty mama. Don’t stress. He’s a teenager just going through a phase.”

Jenna nodded and looked as if she decided not to dwell on it, “Anyways, what held you up today? I sat outside fin the parking lot for nearly fifteen minutes.”

Ellie blushed again and tried not to laugh, “Oh, not a lot. Just trying to be friendly to our very straight neighbors.” Jenna looked at Ellie in shock as she continued, “I made a fool of myself, Jen...” she went on to explain what had happened and Jenna started to laugh until she produced tears.
“Oh my god. That’s hilarious. So, they're brothers huh? And the elder one invited you in? What went down?” she asked with a look of excitement in her eyes.

“Calm down there, Jen. Nothing. He just offered me some lemonade and asked me a bit about myself. Oh! That reminds me–I need to call my boss and see if she’ll interview him.”

Jenna gave her a sneaky grin and winked, “Don’t be surprised if he asks you out. He invited you in and you’re hooking him up with a job? Whew...and he’s a hottie too. Way to go, El.”

Ellie blushed even deeper, “Good God Jenna. I just met the dude. He was just being neighborly.”

Jenna held her hands up in a draw and gave one of her shit-eating grins. “Hey. He didn’t invite me in for lemonade when I went to meet them. His brother tried though. He has to be just a few years older than Toby though. I was flattered but...the age difference is kinda creepy, ya know?”

Ellie chuckled at this and tried to act interested in a dress Jenna was now holding up–a long and flowy floor-length gown–but her thoughts were straying to Cass.  What would she even wear something like that to? She'd stopped going to her family's banquets years ago. It was a bit too fancy for wearing on a night out.

Thinking back to Jenna's words, it HAD been a long time since she even considered trying to date again, not after Ross. Cass was very different from him. He was clearly a gentleman--everything from his wardrobe to his mannerisms spoke for it. He seemed very genuine. Would it be the worst thing if he did ever ask her out?  He didn't seem to have a wife or any children of his own, just a little brother to look after; it was so selfless and something to admire, even.

“Ellie! Snap out of it! Did you hear me?”

Ellie looked up and shook away her thoughts, “I’m sorry, I zoned out. What is it?” Jenna smiled as if she already knew where her friend's mind was. Ellie looked at the new ensemble Jenna was holding up. It was a short lavender dress with a single shoulder strap. “That is gorgeous, Jen!” 

“Go try it on! It would look great with your tone and your hair color.” 

“Oh, on me? I don’t know Jen. It’s a bit much...” Ellie caught the swinging price tag and gave it a look.

Jenna rolled her eyes. “We’re going out this weekend, El. Just try to enjoy it and have some fun. You need to loosen up.”

Ellie snatched the dress, stuck out her tongue in a playful air, and made way to the dressing room. She shimmied into the dress and checked herself out in the mirror. “Wow...” she whispered to herself. It was a very nice dress...borderline sexy. It wasn’t her usual style but she remembered what Jenna had said. She was right–Ellie deserved to cut loose and change things up.  And not to mention, it did make her feel more confident in the way it shaped around her figure.

When she had finished redressing, Ellie walked back out to find that Jenna decided on a short, light blue halter dress. Ellie knew it would complement Jenna's round, bright blue eyes. They made their way to the jewelry store and browsed for some strappy heels before cashing out and heading to their vehicles. Ellie had spent more than usual and had to have Jenna reassure her it was fine to splurge like this. They were happy, all in all with their purchases and parted ways. Jenna was meeting up with Florence for coffee and brunch while Tobias was still in class.

Ellie was driving back home and thought more about what Jenna had said about their new neighbor. She started to revisit her time with Castiel,  or as he requested she call him, Cass. He was indeed a very handsome man–maybe a few years older than her. He had a kind face, he was tall and burlier than Ross had been, and his dark shoulder-length hair looked soft to the touch–she suddenly felt an urge to run her fingers through it. She thought of how he had asked her questions about her job and family; she had given him a little background information on her life, not a lot but enough for now. She didn't need him finding out who her family was in the grand scheme of Pleasantview because she didn't want to be treated differently or have him look at her like she was some upper-crust snob.
She realized she knew absolutely nothing about him other than the fact that he liked to write and cook...and something about living in Twikkii Bay before. She wondered about his family, if he had anybody else besides Nathan. She knew absolutely nothing more...but the voice inside her head made a point, ‘but you could always get to know him better... he’s right across the street and he did say to drop by any time..’
She smiled to herself as she pulled in to her driveway. Ellie, for the first time in a while, felt optimistic for her future. 
She went inside and put her new purchases away. Fozz was following her around as usual. She bent down and gave him a few pats and suddenly remembered that she needed to make a phone call.

She picked up her cell and dialed the number she had memorized by heart. It rang twice before a voice answered on the other side.

“Hey Penny. Is Sandy there?” 
Link Ninja
#17 Old 13th Dec 2018 at 5:53 AM
oooh Ellie looks so great in that dress!

Uh oh! My social bar is low - that's why I posted today.

Top Secret Researcher
#18 Old 13th Dec 2018 at 4:31 PM
@beccaboo13 Ellie looks great in that purple dress, it is my favourite colour. I just viewed chapters 7 and 8, you did a good job and I laughed at the part where Ellie found out that the guys are brothers. When Ellie tells her friend about it is good too. Don't forget about the other brother either. lol

I am looking forward to more when you can get to doing more chapters as I like the story a lot. Take care.

for info on changing the Mac Open File Limit check out my post here
Curiosity killed the cat,
but satisfaction brought it back.
Test Subject
Original Poster
#19 Old 28th Apr 2019 at 1:40 PM
Default Attention!
Yes, the story will continue. Unfortunately, I’ve been having some personal health concerns and on top of that, my laptop has crashed.

I will be continuing my story and am already typing a sequel.

There may be a reimagining of the characters because of lost content. But do not fret! The story does go on. 💜

my apologies, guys. xx
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