Kelly McMaster entered her childhood home after several years away only to be hit with quite the shock–everything was gone.
“Oh, my God,” she gasped, standing in the middle of what was once the living room, “they took everything!”
She had returned to Aperture Valley because her father had died. He was never sick, he didn’t show any signs of slowing down, he just dropped over one day and that was it. He was dead. By the time she arrived, it was the day of his funeral. She didn’t have a chance to see the house until now with everything that had happened.
“Kelly? We’re in here.” It was her brother’s voice calling her into the kitchen.
“H-How is this even possible?” Kelly couldn’t believe it. It was like being in a terrible nightmare that refused to end. Her mother just sat there, still in shock.
Patrick McMaster, the eldest of the two and also the consistent voice of reason, did his best to console his sister. It wasn’t an easy task. He was just as shocked as everyone else, he just wasn’t able to show it if he wanted to keep things from devolving much further.
“He had debts, a lot of them. They took everything to pay them off. We’re lucky mom even got to keep the house and the land.”
“There’s nothing here! How did they expect her to live?”
Patrick sighed. “That’s not their concern… all they cared about was getting the money from dad.”
Patrick’s wife of twelve years, Noreen, and their two-year-old son, Philip, sat in the background in silence. It was painful to watch everything crumble around the McMasters, but secretly, Noreen had always seen it coming. Their father had vices, ones that they ignored. He had gambled away everything and left his wife and kids with nothing. Noreen did not have any love for her former father-in-law.
“We’ve sold everything we had to help–the house, my business,” that last part was especially difficult, as Patrick had worked his entire life building up his P.I. firm. “We’re going to stay here and help mom out.”
“I don’t have anything to give, but I’ll try to help, too.” Kelly said, her head still hung low. It was going to take some time for all of this to sink in. “Is there room for all of us here?”
Noreen gave her a reassuring smile, “we’ll make room, don’t worry. Being with your family is what’s most important in times like these.”
Sheila McMaster didn’t miss her husband. It was a simple truth that she was completely okay with. He was kind of lazy and he never really did anything other than help her produce two really great children. Any love that she had once felt for him had died the day the men came to take away all her stuff. They had tried to take the house and land, too, until Patrick stepped in and gave them the money.
All she had now was her children and her horse, Old Roy. Old Roy wasn’t old, he was pretty young, but Sheila called him that anyway. He was a good horse and one of the few things she had left of value. They had tried to take him, too, but she gave them the farm equipment and the land they had used it on.
They’d pry Old Roy’s reins out of her cold, dead hands. No one was going to take her horse.
A year passed by slowly for the McMaster clan. Somehow, they had made it all work. It was cramped and uncomfortable at times, but they were family and family stuck by one another in times of need. Noreen took care of Philip and had a part-time job down at the bookstore while Kelly did her best to provide the meals. She did odd-jobs when she could find them, but she was still waiting for her big break as an actress.
Patrick started up his own business again, returning to the Private Eye industry with reckless aplomb. He was determined to get back everything he had lost in the move. He worked all hours of the day and there was no case too small for him to take. He even did some low-grade police work down at the station for extra cash, but that was usually just boring paperwork. Rarely ever did he get the chance to actually help them solve a case.
It was a drastic departure from his time as a detective-turned-private-eye. He used to assist the police with all matter of misdeeds and had the certificates and ribbons awarded by the mayor to prove it. It wasn’t easy starting over with nothing.
Kelly eventually found work in Aperture City as an ‘page’ for the production studio there. It was a tough job with very little pay, but it was one way into the industry. The worst part of all was the commute. She had to take the subway and because Aperture Valley was thirty minutes out in the country, she was gone almost all day. She rarely ever got a chance to breathe in between working and helping take care of the house.
She tried to talk to her mother about moving to the city, but Sheila was completely against it.
“Why would you want to do that? You should be here with your family.”
“It’s a long commute, mom. If I ever want to make it, I’m going to have to move there eventually. I can still send you guys money and I won’t be that far away. Besides, it’d be better for the environment if I didn’t have to travel so much!”
Sheila shook her head. “When are you going to give up those silly dreams? I thought this whole situation would open up your eyes! There’s no sense in taking risks if you put your family at stake.”
Kelly sighed and didn’t bother arguing any further. Her mother just didn’t get it.
Needing to blow off steam, Kelly took advantage of her day off and went down to the local bistro. It was the only fancy place in the Valley. Putting on her fancy dress and getting to talk to other adults made her feel better. She wandered outside to the patio, her worries lightened, only to run into a man getting ready to enter.
“Whoa, might want to watch where you’re going. Lucky for you, I wasn’t jogging or I’d have run you over!”
Kelly was embarrassed. “Sorry, I wasn’t paying attention.” She moved to leave but he stopped her.
“Are you leaving?”
“Yeah, I have to get home and watch my nephew before my sister-in-law goes to work.”
“Oh, that’s a shame. Hey, what’s your name? You look familiar.”
“Kelly… Kelly McMaster.”
“Nice to meet you, Kelly. I’m Dominic.”
Their introduction turned into a fifteen minute conversation on the environment. Surprisingly enough, he didn’t yawn and look bored when Kelly lauded the green movement. He actually agreed with her. She found herself drawn into the conversation further until she realized she was going to be late.
She hated to leave, but she knew the clock was ticking away and Noreen was waiting on her. Before she left, she gave Dominic her number. He lived in the city, so it was unlikely they’d ever see one another again, but there was something about his easy-going nature that left Kelly hoping they would.
Noreen McMaster was having her own problems. She was doing everything she could to try and help out the family, but she also had a child to raise. With their cramped quarters, Philip’s crib was in their room. Patrick wasn’t used to Philip’s constant crying and so constantly grumbled about not getting any sleep.
It was frustrating and Noreen wished he’d just be quiet. She had done this since the child’s birth and now that Patrick was faced with it, all he could do is complain. Didn’t he realize how much she did? The whole situation was putting a strain on their marriage.
Noreen’s frustration was warranted. Patrick was being selfish. He would sleep in late while Noreen took care of Philip and helped Sheila around the house. Sure his job was rough and he kept weird hours, but he didn’t have to complain loudly about Philip waking him up or act like Noreen did nothing all day.
At least she was up at a reasonable hour, not sleeping in with the dog!
Thankfully, Noreen had Sheila to vent to. They had always been close and now that they were in the same house together, they spent most of their time gossiping.
“I’m not asking for a brand new house or anything, just a little respect and maybe some gratitude!”
Sheila nodded her head. “He’s just very narrow-minded when it comes to work, Noreen. Once he gets settled in, things will sort out. If it doesn’t, give him a kick in the butt and he’ll wake up real quick.”
Noreen’s shoulders slumped. “I know you’re right, but I want to slap him silly right now. I’ll just be glad when Philip is a little older and able to do stuff on his own.”
“Have you heard anything about the city boy that Kelly has been talking to?” Sheila asked, knowing full well that Noreen did.
“Well,” she began, feigning hesitation, “I was talking to this girl I work with and she said she’s heard of him. Even better, he’s got muscles!”
“Oh yeah, he’s some kind of sports guy. It doesn’t matter, though… muscles! Can you imagine?”
Sheila rolled her eyes. “What about his personality, Noreen?”
“Oh, well, I guess he’s all right.” She replied, puledl from her muscle reverie. “Why are you asking? They’re just friends. They haven’t even see each other since that one day.”
“You know how these things start out–city boy meets a girl from the Valley and then it’s wedding bells and all of that business!”
Noreen thought about it for a minute, “I bet they’d have pretty babies… that would eventually have muscles.”
Sheila took in that thought for a moment, smiling. “My baby having babies! Oh, they’d be gorgeous. She takes after me, you know.”
Even though she was excited at the thought of Kelly eventually getting married, Sheila wasn’t entirely sure this ‘Dominic fellow’ was the right person to do it with. Of course, both women were thinking leaps and bounds ahead of the two involved. They really were just friends.
Patrick knew he spent a lot of time out of the house. He knew that Noreen wasn’t exactly happy with his lack of assistant as of late and he also knew that his sister was trying to find a way to strike out on his own. None of this concerned him at the moment. All he could think about was his business. It was hard, but he was determined. Once he had everything tied up here, he could focus on his family again. After all, he was doing this for them!
His job often had him sitting at bars. Patrick didn’t mind this is the least, it gave him a moment to rest. As soon as his ‘mark’ came in, he was back to work.
Philip’s birthday rolled around, but there was no party to celebrate it. They didn’t have the time nor the money to dedicate to such a thing. For the most part, Philip was okay with this, he was a good boy… but it did leave him desiring something. Even as a small child, he knew his family was disjointed. He just wanted everyone to come together again and enjoy one another instead of working so hard.
He spent most of his time with the animals, being an animal lover like the rest of his family. When he wasn’t playing with Laddy or brushing Old Roy, he was hanging out with his imaginary friend. At least Peanut always had time to spend with him!
Oh my goodness! It’s been so long since I’ve played a destitute family! What’s worse, there were a lot of things to keep track of. I was trying to balance Patrick’s career as an investigator (which is annoying when he drops things out of his queue while I’m targeting another sim) and the rest of the house. Whew. It took me several hours to make it through four days. Things are getting easier, though.
Poor Kelly. I really do feel for her. That commute is something else. By the time she gets home, she’s tired and most nights, she goes immediately to bed without me directing her. She ran into Dominic by chance and their attraction scores are both maxed. That’s nuts.
Noreen and Sheila really do gossip a lot. It amuses me greatly.
I’m testing out skintones, so the looks of the sims may change a little over the course of these entries. Also, I changed my default eyes and I AM IN LOVE! These eyes are beautiful. They’re Oh My Tiffany by Escand at MTS. There’s a known issue with vampire eyes, but who cares, they are gorgeous!