Every time someone used that word….dating….I just physically cringed. Because according to the definition, dating meant finding “the one”, and I had already done that. Sun was the one, I was sure. Well, pretty sure. It seemed the longer I stayed away from her, the easier it was to forget the feelings that brought us together. That clear picture I had of her face was fraying at the edges and I wondered if the voice I heard in my head ad in my dreams calling to me, her voice; was just my own imagination? Or was it a real memory? I remembered the feel of her, in my arms, her soft lips on mine and the way her hair felt as I ran it through my fingers. Yet it was all slowly slipping away, little piece by piece.
It things were changing then my father was to blame, for he shouldn’t have sent me away. I would have been perfectly happy living on the island completely ignorant to everything the world had to offer. I just couldn’t understand why he was doing this to me. Why raise me devoid of “the candy” and then just toss me into the pit full of it. Full of temptations and new awareness. No, this was definitely his fault. If he had just left things as they were, Sun and I would be married in just three months time to live happily ever after.
Instead here I was fielding “dating offers” and dealing with all kinds of social issues surrounding that. But I wasn’t dating, oh no! Whenever a girl would ask me out on a date, I would say things like “sure we can hang out”, or “we could do something to pass the time”. But never, ever did I use the word date, and I made sure I never spent time with a girl two days in a row. I was not going to get myself into the same mess I had done with Cameron.
Almost four months had passed since I first arrived in Monte Vista and still not one single word from my family. No phone calls, no letters, not even something as simple as a post card. Nothing! And I worked hard everyday to temper down any thoughts of anger and resentment towards them all. As each day passed, it was getting harder and harder to do. Had Sun forgotten about me too? Surely she could have slipped something into the mailbox behind my dad’s back, emailed me or even called in the middle of the night. I would have given anything, just anything to hear her voice just once. To reassure me things were going to be fine between us, no matter what the future held.
Every time I heard that word, I smirked in my head. Every teen whose life wasn’t mapped out for them, worried constantly about the future. Would they go off to school? What career would they have and would they be smart enough or perceptive enough about themselves and the Simworld, to make the right choice. Once those choices had been somewhat set in stone, then new worries would set in. Had they taken the right classes in school? Were their grades high enough to knock everyone out of the spot on the university list to get accepted. But none of that mattered to me. My future was on hold. No choices, no decisions could even begin to be a spark in my mind until I knew one most important thing.
Was Sun my sister?
I suppose if I was wise, I would begin planning for both futures as a “just in case”, yet this whole situation had planted a sharp edge knife into my stomach and all I could focus on was the pain it caused me. So my version of the future lie in every step I took each and every day I had to live through for the full 6 months I was stuck in this town. I filled my days with classes at school, work, homework, tuning my car and hanging with my friends; who had become many indeed. I don’t know if was just me in general or my carefree fake persona that drew people to me, but almost overnight I had become one of the most popular kids at school. Not just with the girls either, but the guys too. Okay that sounded all wrong, but you know what I mean. Yet funny enough, what no one knew but Caeruleus, was that while they were all freaking out about their future, I was the one teen in the whole town, with the most to lose.
And it scared me to death.
The town had to be the most boring place to live in all Simworld, yet the teens were not. So my friends and I found ways to spice it up as best as we could. One of the first things Caeruleus did, was introduce me to the underground gambling club under the spa.
“It’s really creepy back here. Do you even know where you are going? All I see is a wall and plants.”
“We are going to walk through the wall,” he said then laughed. “It’s through here” he said as we parted two bushy plants and held them aside to pass through.
“Jin, hurry up!”
“I can’t see anything it’s so dark back here.”
“That is kind of the point. I can see you just fine. Just keep walking straight.”
“You can see me? Like how? It’s literally pitch dark!”
“Oh yeah. Where are you?” Then Caeruleus grabbed my arm, making my heart jump in my throat!
Through the door and down a set of stairs led us into this dark, high tech dance/gambling club. The place was really dead!
“Wait, doesn’t you mom work at the spa? Won’t she find out we are here?” “I don’t actually think the spa workers know the club is here. Besides it’s not really talked about on the streets, if you know what I mean.”
“Then how do you know about it?”
“Oh Jin, I may not drink and I may be a …… you know, but I have my ways.”
“You don’t juice?”
Caeruleus sighed “How many times are you going to make me say it? F.A.I.R.Y……Now c’mon!”
The place was run by this guy Carlos, who was MV’s very own mob boss type. Just looking at him and you knew this was one buy you didn’t cross and yet……
I couldn’t help myself risk or not. It didn’t seem right that only the adults got to gamble. But I guess I wasn’t smart enough, because no matter what I tried, I couldn’t rig those tables to allow teens to participate. And I got caught too, but the guy was really cool about it. Told me if I thought I was so clever, perhaps I would have better luck with the D.J. booth.
I wasn’t very good at first, and people just stood around. But after a few weeks,
I was rocking the place and my whole group of friends began visiting the club at least once a week.
And as it turned out, Caeruleus’s mom did know about the club, because one night we showed up and there she was working the snack counter. Call that awkward! She was just as shocked to see us there, as my friend was to see his mom. She said nothing, and we all left before she finished her shift. After that, we never went back.
But we were determined to still have a place to hang out. Since I worked nights a the Pizzeria, most of the time my friends could all be found there.
The owner of the restaurant was so impressed with the increase in business, he actually hired a chef and began serving more items than just pizza. Which made us even busier than before with walk in and take out business. My work shifts went from three to five times a week as well from Monday to Friday.
So between the good food and the music on the juke box, the tips were rolling in like crazy (not from my friends I might add). Before I knew it, I was able to fix my car and start building up my bank account with real savings.
After work till curfew, we could usually be found hanging out downtown.
Weekends rolled around and there was soccer practice and games. We spent a great amount of time sitting and learning plays,
the practicing them out,
only to be pulled back to the board to be shown what we were doing wrong.
None of us could have asked for a better teacher and he was really liked by everyone at school. Especially the girls! Who took to staring at him as he walked down the halls and walked behind him giggling in groups. He didn’t allow spectators at practice, but a good number of girls showed up for games and all stood wherever he was. The guys just shook their heads while secretly wanted to be him.
We played our first game in town at the coliseum, which was really cool! It looked like an old time Roman coliseum with the stone pillars and arches. I felt alive on that field. We won of course and afterwards, the coach pulled me aside and asked me to consider joining the collegiate team. I was shocked to say the least. He said I had real talent and instinct for the game and if I really wanted it, I could literally go all the way! I told him I had so much going on, that I would have to think about it and get back to him. He seemed pleased with that answer, but urged me to give it real consideration. By the time I got out from talking to the coach, everyone had already left and I felt disappointed that no one had waited for me. But I walked out of the doors and there was Jessa Jones. She was clearly waiting for me, because she smiled and came my way when I saw her.
You were awesome Jin! I can’t believe just how much the team has improved since you joined it. The school may make it all the way this year for the first time in, ….geez I can’t even remember.”
“I’m telling you Jessa, I have never ever felt that alive. It was the best feeling, my heart pounding, everyone cheering! it was just the most amazing feeling!”
I was so excited and flying so high, I just couldn’t help myself. I grabbed her up and kissed her on the lips. When I pulled back, Jessa had this wide eyed look of shock on her face. Before I could say anything, she turned and began to run down the road.
“Jessa wait!” I called after her, but she never stopped. “Oh crap!” I felt bad, really bad. That wasn’t what I meant to do. I would fix it but right now what I really wanted to do was call my parents. I stood there trying to decide what to do. My father had been very clear about never calling again but I was really excited and wanted to share the news with them.
So, I called. It went straight to voice mail and I was extremely disappointed, but I left a message anyway.
Dad it’s Jin. I know you told me not to call, but I had exciting news and I just had to tell you….” I told him everything. About the game and what the coach said as quickly as I could, then hung up. I felt slightly defeated then. Was I ever going to hear from my family again? The phone rang and I jumped at the sound but was hopeful it was my dad calling me back.
“Hello?” “Jin Bell! That was not okay. We need to talk! Meet me at the pond. Now!”
When I arrived, Jessa was pacing back and forth in the gazebo. I walked up fully planning on apologizing but she started talking first.
“Jin, what were you thinking? You can’t just go around kissing any girl you want you know. I’m not that kind of girl!”
“I know Jessa. I’m really sorry. I was just excited about the game and,” I held up my hand at her reaction so I could finish, “and, well Jessa, you are always hanging around me. I thought perhaps you liked me and wanted me to do it.”
“I do like you Jin, but not in that way.” “I’m sorry Jessa. I promise I won’t do it again.” “I do like you Jin, but not in that way.” “I’m sorry Jessa. I promise I won’t do it again.” “Fine. You’re right. I have been hanging around you. But only so I could find time to talk to you alone. I was hoping you could maybe help me.” “Sure. What’s up?”
“Okay this is really embarrassing so promise you won’t laugh at me. I want you to help me get a guy. No-not just any guy. The guy!” I worked hard to keep my face neutral. “What guy?” “Jesse. Jesse Ichtaca. I don’t want you to tell him I like him. Just help me so I can have some time alone with him.” Jessa had such a look of hope on her face I did smile then. “I can do that. I can definitely do that.” Weekend nights, the only logical place to hang out was at the Monty house where I lived. So freaking dead this town was!
We had parties where we played gaming challenges, some we made a dance night, but no matter what, it was always fun. “Jessa look. I will distract Zach and you go join Jesse.”
I was just getting up when Ally came to me and said “Hey did you know that Cameron is here? Who invited her?” “Where is she?” I asked, and she pointed to the front balcony where I found her staring at the street.
“Cam?” I heard her sight and then turn to face me.
“Hi,” she looked at the ground. “I can leave if you want.”
Then I sighed. “Cam-”
“I came to apologize okay,” she said quickly cutting me off.
“Okay, well I was just going to say that this is silly. Couldn’t we just get passed it and be friends again?”
“Really?” she replied and I saw tears in her eyes.
“Cam, you have to understand, I’m new to the whole teenage social thing. But I have had time to think about it and you were right. I probably did give the impression we were dating. I didn’t know I was doing that. I just thought I had found this really cool friend that was fun to be around. I never realized I was leading you on.”
“It’s okay. I’ve missed my really cool friend too,” she replied.
“So we’re cool then?”
“Yes.” I turned to walk away. “Hey Jin?”
“Thank you. You didn’t have to forgive me, most wouldn’t. Maybe the whole teenage thing is new to you, but I think you have the whole grown up thing down pretty good.”
Then I hugged her, because I thought that was the nicest thing anyone had said to me in a long time.
(*author note-Cameron quick switched to her outdoor because she was cold)
We spent time laughing and joking like we always had before. Later I would realize that the sharp knife in my stomach felt a little less painful than it had before.
Between school, working and hanging out with my friends, I was having a lot of problems with Mr. Monty. Mrs. Monty was cool, but the slightest thing set Valentine off into a tangent of epic proportions. The house wasn’t clean enough for his liking, my friends were making too much noise. Was I ever going to leave the house? Yah, that one was definitely the woo hoo thing. Nothing was ever, ever good enough for him. One day while walking in the hills after another fight with Mr. Monty, I found this flat piece of land that looked perfect for a teen hangout. Together as a group, we pooled our money, dumpster dived and check the scrapyard for anything that could be handy.
One of us, and I won’t say who, grabbed (stole) us one of the barbecues from one of the local parks. Don’t look sideways at me, I don’t have the klepto trait! it wasn’t me! I swear! Honest! However,…it sure came in handy, that’s all I will say on the subject. The best thing about it was it was outside the town jurisdiction lines so the police couldn’t bother us there. Which meant all night parties!
So I arrive one night at the hangout with my friends after winning a game, when I spot Maria across the way.
I walked up behind her to give her a hug, felt her struggle, pull away from me then whip around with this shocked look on her face. “What do you think you are doing?” she asked.
“Hey, what’s up Maria?”
“Maria is over there!” she said pointing to where a group of girls had their heads together gossiping and giggling.
“My name is Katie………Maria’s sister………..Maria’s twin sister?” She kept shaking her head at me with each statement probably in response to the shocked look on my face.
“I didn’t know. Maria never told me she had a sister.”
“Let me guess….Jin right? Maria has told me all about you and the time you have been spending together. She says you are a lot of fun? Uh……Hello?” Katie sighed. “Well okay then, see ya,” and she walked away to join her sister.
Looking back on the moment now, I was probably standing there staring and grinning like an idiot. But man was she gorgeous! I mean Maria was a looker for sure, but she had this slightly weird look to the shape of her eyes that almost made her look slightly cross eyed. But Katie….Katie was just perfection. I felt like a real idiot for the rest of the night and couldn’t help sneak glances at her, wherever she was.
There was just a ton of kids there that night celebrating our winning game, so many that I didn’t ever really get a chance to walk up to her and try to start a proper conversation. Plus, I didn’t feel right doing it in front of Maria. Okay so I knew I wasn’t “dating” Maria or being exclusive or anything, but it felt awkward getting my flirt on in front of her. Especially with her own sister, and twin sister to boot. It was like an insult really. As the night wore on, People started to leave including Maria and I decided to make my move. But what did I say? Hmmmm, maybe I wasn’t ready for talking yet, so I asked her to dance instead.
I could tell she like me, for she had this sweet kind of dreamy look on her face while she talked. before we knew it we were the only ones left. I moved us closer to the fire as the might have become a bit chilly and decided I couldn’t wait any longer. I made my move.
I wanted that kiss to last forever. I’ve never ever been kissed like that. Not even by Sun. This girl held nothing back and i was the most amazing kiss of my life! We held each other and just kept kissing until she finally pulled back and said my name.
“What? What’s wrong?”
“I, I just want you to know, I’m not THAT kind of girl. I ….I know about Ally and I just want you to know that I don’t do that.”
“That’s okay, I’m not that kind of guy either. The Ally thing, well that was different.”
“Maybe we could just talk a while?”
And that is what we did, until the son rose and we realized we were going to be late for school.
(I think I will stop the chapter here. See ya next time)
CC Used In This Chapter
(blue skin in studio)
Cameron Maria/Katie Barton
by ddutoit (Simollina in studio