Heavenly Flowers: A South Pacific Dynasty (The Kealoha Legacy) || Updated 5/30
Hello MTSers. Please call me Fay. I'm a self-styled writer, and I'm taking a break from writing novels (or at least attempting to) to try my hand at something I've never done before: a Sims story. I'm terribly sorry if it's a faux pas for this to be my first post on this forum, but I've been reading MTS off-and-on since TS2 came out (I've long since lost my old accounts, obviously). I've just never had much motive to post.
This is mostly a legacy -- the idea comes from Pinstar's original challenge, of course, but in the interest of the narrative I'm bending the rules just a bit. At the moment, it's very narrative-driven. Still, I'll try to stick as close to the spirit of the original challenge as possible.
This story takes place in the absolutely magnificent Niua Simoa as created by kiwi_tea. This is the basegame version as the only EP I have at the moment is Generations (just recently started playing TS3). I'm from Hawaii, so I was immediately attracted to this world, and when I read the world's backstory I was instantly struck with inspiration for a legacy.
Also, apologies for the dearth of pictures for one part of the prologue, but there wasn't really a convenient way to render that scene. Later chapters (I have written three so far) have adequate pictorial accompaniment. I'm far from being a Sims whiz, but I hope my writing can keep you entertained nonetheless!
Heavenly Flowers: A South Pacific Dynasty
The Kealoha Legacy
Leilani Kealoha leaned against the rail of the ferry, fighting against the fatigue of her twelve hour flight from Los Aneigos. She took the slip of paper from her pocket for what seemed like the hundredth time, and read the hastily-scrawled address and phone number written in her father's hand.
Less than forty-eight hours ago, Leilani's life had crashed down around her with frightening speed. This time on Sunday, she had been listening to music in the living room of her comfy Los Aneigos home. Twenty-five, unemployed, and still living at home -- but living a carefree and relatively happy life.
She heard the garage door open and turned down the volume. Dad's home awfully early, she thought, hearing his car pull in.
A man in a white sport jacket burst into the room seconds later, frantically slamming and locking the door behind him. Leilani jumped with surprise, and then screamed when she noticed the glint of a handgun in her father's right hand.
"Dad! What the hell?" she shouted.
"Oh God, Lei," said her father, pacing the room, "I really f****d up this time."
Leilani's father, Johnny Kealoha, was fairly notorious for being a smooth-talking black market lender around LA -- in a word, you could have called him a loan shark. It was a line of work that got him into trouble sometimes, but Leilani had never seem him as distraught as he was now.
"Dad, calm down. Why do you have a gun?"
She had certainly never seen him waving a handgun around the house, though she had always had suspicions about what was in the safe he secretly kept under his bed.
Johnny turned and surveyed the back yard suspiciously, scanning the surroundings with extreme paranoia flashing through his eyes.
"Listen, Leilani, I really goofed this time. You're going to have to leave for a little while."
"To Aunt Jackie's?" she asked. It wouldn't be the first time that Johnny had sent her to her aunt's while he dealt with 'business matters' at the house.
"No, I mean you're going to have to leave the country."
"Leave the country? What in the hell did you --"
"That's not important right now," Johnny said, pulling something out of his jacket and stuffing it in Leilani's hand.
It was a plane ticket, to Niua Simoa in the South Pacific.
"Simoa? I can't even find that on a map!"
"Stay at your aunt's tonight and then head to the airport first thing tomorrow. There's a phone number inside there, call it when you get on the ground in Simoa."
"Dad, I don't want to --"
"This isn't a question of whether you want to! Here are the keys to the car; take it."
"I'll be right behind you, okay?"
Leilani nodded, but she could always tell when her father was lying. This was one of those times.
Choking back the fear, she fumbled with the keys and got into her Dad's car, then opened up the plane ticket.
One way to Niua Simoa. In addition to her Dad's note, there was also scrawled an address, and three hundred dollars.
Simoa was her family's ancestral land. Leilani was a quarter Simoan, as well as part Hawaiian, but her family hadn't lived in Simoa in over half a century. She didn't know a lot about the country, other than that most of it lived in poverty. She had to stifle the urge to vomit as she turned the key in the ignition.
* * * *
Now, over a glassy blue sea rose a green and brown smudge on the horizon -- the Kingdom of Niua Simoa.
"You look down," said a male voice with a distinct Simoan bite. She looked up to see a smartly-dressed young Simoan man flashing a big smile at her.
Leilani was in no mood to return his smile.
"I've had a hell of a couple days."
The young man laughed. He couldn't be much older than eighteen.
"Yes, well, here in Simoa we are used to that. I guess you are not a tourist? Not that we get many."
"No, I wish this was a vacation."
The young man laughed again, and this time extended a formidable hand.
"My name is Filepi."
Leilani gave it a languid shake.
When she spoke her name, Filepi's eyes widened.
"Kealoha? You wouldn't happen to be one of the Simoan Kealohas, would you?"
"Well, my great-grandpa was from here," she answered, skeptical about Filepi's sudden enthusiasm.
"Your family have a long history here, Leilani. Or at least, they did. I am not sure what motivated your great-grandfather to leave, as the history books are unclear, but he was once one of the richest men in Simoa."
Leilani's ears perked up now. Could she have a wealthy relative waiting to take her in?
"Of course now there are no Kealohas left living in the Kingdom -- your family completely abandoned its heritage. Though the Kealoha Estate still remains on Waka Island. I imagine, as a blood descendent of the Kealohas, you will have a strong claim of ownership."
Leilani consulted the paper again. The address, indeed, was for a place on Waka Island. She smiled inwardly. An estate, huh? Maybe this won't be so bad after all.
The ferry was just now beginning to pull into port outside of Tapuwhai Town.
"This is where we part, Leilani," said Filepi. "Take care."
The enigmatic young man left with a wink and a wave. Though he was just a teenager by Leilani's estimation, he carried himself like a man twenty years his senior.
Sparkling dreams of a sprawling plantation estate filling her head, Leilani stepped off the ferry and made landfall as the first Kealoha on Niua Simoa in over sixty years.
* * * *
"This is the estate!?"
Leilani stared in abject horror at her so-called inheritance, triple- and quadruple-checking the address she now crumpled furiously in her hands.
It wasn't so much an estate. Nor would you really call it a house.
"It's a trailer!"
Leilani held her head in her hands. Though the man she had met with at City Hall had confirmed to her the location and spacious dimensions of the Kealoha Estate, he neglected to mention that the only thing standing there was a trailer straight out of a redneck pictorial.
Once again suppressing the urge to vomit, Leilani turned the key she had received earlier in the door and pushed it open.
The inside was even worse than the outside. The walls were painted a horrific shade of green, the light fixtures were uncovered, and the only furniture to be seen were a couple of haphazardly-placed plastic chairs.
Leilani suddenly felt as if she wanted to faint. She stumbled over to one of the chairs and collapsed against it, suddenly feeling the weight of the last two days pouring down on her shoulders all at once.
"Is this really where I'm going to spend the rest of my life?" she said aloud, before falling into a shallow and uncomfortable sleep.
When Leilani woke at 2 A.M. with a horrible crick in her neck, she briefly thought -- hoped -- that she was dreaming. When the dream didn't fade, though, a horrible certainty settled in the pit of her stomach: I'm stuck here in Simoa for the forseeable future.
She pulled her wallet out and thumbed through the money her father had given her. Her father. Dad. She tried not to wonder if he was already six feet under back in LA. Three hundred U.S. dollars would probably go a long way in Simoa, but she couldn't exactly live on this inheritance. She'd have to find work.
Leilani sighed. She'd never worked an honest day in her life to this point, but now she had no choice. First thing's first, I guess, she thought, may as well check out the township.
* * * *
Tapuwhai Town was remarkably charming. This was probably the only part of Simoa that foreign guests would ever see, and it was clear that the government tried to keep it spic and span. Particularly obvious to Leilani was Tapuwhai Tower. A consultation of the directory showed that most of the floors belonged to a company called Tapuwhai Securities... All these names were the same: the name of the royal family of Simoa. Just how much did the royals have their fingers in, anyway?
Leilani decided to not worry about politics for the time being and went in to ask the receptionist if there were any job openings with Tapuwhai Securities and, lo and behold, they were hiring. Leilani didn't much like the idea of lowering herself to making coffee runs for stuffy executives, but she also knew that she was going to have to reevaluate most of her worldviews if she spent any amount of time in this country.
Leaving the tower with an extra bounce in her step, Leilani spotted a familiar face across the street. It was that same snappily dressed young man from the ferry, Filepi.
She crossed the street with a brisk step and reintroduced herself.
"Filepi, am I glad to see you!" she called.
"Ah, it's Leilani, isn't it? How has your first day in Simoa been?"
"It's been awful, to be honest, Filepi. Somehow everyone neglected to tell me that the so-called Kealoha Estate is practically abandoned. I'm in a real rut."
"A rut? You are getting the title to your land, aren't you?"
"Filepi, I'm living in a trailer right now! Is there anything you can --"
Filepi's friendly face, up until now wearing a pleasant expression, had slowly morphed into one of disgust.
"Listen, American woman. Do you have any idea how lucky you are? To have a piece of property like that? Do you have any idea what almost anyone in this country would do to own a piece of property like that?"
"A big empty lot isn't much use to--"
"Get over yourself! You're probably the luckiest person in Simoa right now. Pull the stick out of your ass. You're not in the States anymore."
By now, Leilani was pissed off.
"That's the problem, you brat!" she shouted, finally feeling comfortable condescending to the kid, "I don't know where you get off saying I'm lucky to be living in a house that doesn't even have a freaking shower--"
"I don't know where you get off, Kealoha!" Filepi shouted back. "Frankly, you're lucky I don't have you deported this instant! Our country was glad to be rid of your family sixty years ago and we'd be glad to be rid of you again!"
With this retort, Filepi turned on a heel and marched to a black sedan that was waiting in the parking lot. He got in the back seat and the car drove off, its heavily-tinted rear windows inpenatrable, leaving Leilani confused and gesticulating on the sidewalk.
"Wow, you've got some brass balls. Not that the kid doesn't deserve it."
A petite Simoan girl walked up to Leilani looking fairly impressed.
"Who does that kid think he is, anyway?"
The girl laughed.
"You're pulling my leg, right?"
"Humor me. I only got here today."
"That's Prince Filepi Tapuwhai, second in line to the Simoan throne," she said with a laugh. "He's the most popular of the Tapuwhais, but he's still riding his high horse like the rest of them. Everyone's got it rough here; there's no need to get into a pissing contest about who's worse off.
"Prince Fi--" Leilani was so shocked she couldn't spit out the rest of the words. Her head swam. She'd just told off royalty? Her American brain tried to figure out just what that meant -- would she be beheaded at dawn the next morning?
In her panic, she almost didn't notice the girl laughing at her.
"Don't worry your pretty little foreign head," she said, "No one really gets on well with the royal family. Unless you have money. I promise, most Simoans are a lot nicer than them. I'm Sisana, by the way."
"Leilani," she answered with a nod of the head.
"My mom is waiting at the market so I gotta go, but hey, if you ever need anything, just holler alright?"
The young girl ran off, yellow dress swishing against her legs, and she turned and gave Leilani one more big smile before disappearing around a corner.
Her head had cooled off a little, but the reason she had gotten so angry in the first place was because Filepi was right. Still, the way he had reacted with such venom so quickly had left her off-balance.
Leilani was feeling her natural curiosity kick in. She went and bought a notebook at the corner store and when she got home, began to put into words everything she knew about the political situation in Simoa, especially as it related to her family's history in the Kingdom.
Somehow, she thought she wasn't getting the whole story.
It didn't take her long to conclude, though, that she didn't have nearly enough information to draw any kind of conclusions, though, so she unfurled her new sleeping bag and spread out for a wonderfully unsatisfying night's sleep.
By now, Leilani had been in the Kingdom of Simoa for a couple of weeks. She still hadn't heard anything from her father, and she was getting increasingly worried. There wasn't anything she could do about it, though, so she tried to settle into a daily routine.
She had been taking her showers at the local gym, since her trailer didn't have hot water. The lack of privacy was unsettling, but she did enjoy using the showers as decompression time.
As it turned out, she thought back, her little encounter with Filepi Tapuwhai hadn't earned her a date with the guillotine. Her heart had done a triple lutz when she was introduced to her boss at work earlier that week -- none other than King Henry Tapuwhai I, regent of the Kingdom of Niua Simoa. Before she could bow her head in apology, though, the King had laughed it off.
"Filepi is always like that," he said through a hearty belly laugh. "Always arguing with his mother and trying to pick fights with Junior. Trust me, though, despite what he said, that kid would never have to balls to come to me and tell me to deport someone."
King Henry threw his arm around Leilani in the board room. The touching made Leilani uncomfortable, but she was hitting it off with her boss. Later that week, she got a call from HR saying she'd be receiving a raise.
Over a light meal from the vending machine, Leilani watched the other patrons of the gym working hard on the equipment outdoors. She had met a couple of guys here during her regular visits. After about a week of moping, Leilani started to feel her hormones working again. She wouldn't have minded some companionship.
Unfortunately, she hadn't had much luck. She had found herself rather attracted to the scruffy policeman-in-training Tim Chin, but it didn't take her long to figure out that rainbows were straighter.
As if that wasn't bad enough, she had just started to turn on the charm with the cute Robert-Michel Gao when she found out that he was engaged, to Tim's sister, of all people.
So Leilani Kealoha was beginning to get a little frustrated, and had definitely figured out what the worst part of living in Simoa was. It wasn't the fact that she had to schmooze with a creepy monarch for pay that barely met minimum wage, or that she lived in a trailer without a shower. No, it was that this and this entirely was her social life. Eating prepackaged bread at the gym and checking out gay Asian men.
* * * *
Though it took some doing and produced much wringing of hands at the Postmaster's office, Leilani had managed to get a copy of the LA Times delivered to her house daily. The issues came on a three day delay, but it was adequate -- every morning, she flipped to the crime and obituaries sections, not sure what she was hoping to find.
Today, again, there was no mention of her father or anyone resembling him. But then there weren't many people who would miss Johnny Kealoha, and a shady dude 'disappearing' wasn't exactly news in LA anyway. Still, Leilani kept this ritual, feeling increasingly like it was one of the only things still tethering her to the States.
* * * *
It was another typically oppressive Simoan morning when Leilani got a phone call from an in-country number she didn't recognize.
The voice, though, she did -- the lisping tones of Robert-Michel Gao came in disorted but recognizable.
"Robert, you've never called me before, what's up?"
"Sorry, sorry," he said. He sounded unsettled. "I don't really know a lot of people here... I was hoping we could talk."
"What's on yo--"
"My wife just left me."
"What? Oh my God. Robert, I don't know what to say." Of everyone she had met in Simoa so far, she was definitely fondest of Robert.
"She found out what I did in China, and I guess she couldn't live with me after that."
"What you did in-- Robert, what the hell are you talking about?"
"Can I come over?"
"Absolutely; I'm off today. Come right now if you need to."
"Okay. See you soon."
Leilani heard him put down the handset, and she hung up her phone and rubbed the bridge of her nose. What am I doing getting involved in something like this? she asked herself.
Robert showed up at her doorstep not even wearing shoes, and looking distraught. It wasn't long before he was crying, and before she knew what she was doing, Leilani was holding him in her arms.
She told herself to pull away, but somehow, she didn't want to let go. Robert's hand migrated from her shoulders down to her thigh, and Leilani let it happen. She knew it was wrong, but she felt like a pebble being swept downstream; there was nothing she could do but let that stream run its course.
"I shouldn't have done that," Robert said, planting his head in his hands.
"You're emotionally vulnerable. I understand. It happens."
"No, I mean, it wasn't fair to you. I'm sorry."
Leilani just shrugged. She was more worried that they may have deformed the wall of her trailer than anything. She definitely wouldn't be afraid of Mae Chin-Gao, in any case.
"So, I guess you probably want to know, huh? What I did in China that made my wife leave me."
Leilani shrugged again, but took up a seat beside Robert and put her arm around him.
There was a very long silence where Robert simply rubbed his face and Leilani held him. Then, without prompting, he spoke.
"I killed someone, Leilani. In China."
Leilani hadn't been prepared for that. She felt her body tense up, but tried not to recoil.
"It was self-defence, but you know the authorities in China aren't exactly charitable, especially not to journalists they think are stirring the pot. Some of my American friends smuggled me out of the country. The original plan was to seek political asylum in the U.S. via American Simoa, but that didn't work out. So I ended up changing my name and coming here. The Kingdom of Simoa is much more concerned with their business assets than with extraditing foreign criminals."
Leilani didn't know what to say.
"When I met Mae here, I thought she was a gift from God. We got married and I thought I might be able to turn over a new leaf, even if it was in a run down backwater like this. But it's hard to keep something like that from your spouse. I started having night terrors and apparently was talking in my sleep. She did her own research -- Mae is a smart woman -- and figured everything out."
"We have more in common than you think," Leilani said gently.
She continued: "I actually fled my country, as well, though for a different reason. I'm still not entirely sure what happened; I don't know if I ever will. But I'm trying to cope and settle down here the best I can."
Robert looked up at her with eyes full of tears.
"I'm surprised you can cope with living in this trailer. This is smaller than a budget flat in Beijing."
"It really is awful, isn't it?"
Leilani giggled, and this coaxed a laugh from Robert as well.
"What're you laughing at?" said Leilani, now grinning. "Is my terrible living situation really so hilarious?"
She pulled a pillow off the ground and threw it in his face.
"Hey, I'm actually jealous! I'm practically homeless now!" he said, his fragile smile now spreading into a grin in its own right. He took the pillow and bopped Leilani over the head with it.
"Oh, now you've asked for it," said Leilani, taking up her other pillow and holding it aloft as if a deadly weapon.
It was lucky that there wasn't another house within earshot on Waka Island, because their pillow fight stretched on and on into a battle of pillow attritrion. With a sweat-soaked forehead and a fine coating of goose down, Leilani couldn't help but be struck that for the first time, she felt like she had a reason to be in Simoa.
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