Second Chances

Monday, January 3, 2011

Bridgeport: it's where dreams go to live, or to die. No one can aspire to be 'anybody' without first coming here to prove themselves--and so it's here that Amelia found herself, a hundred miles from her home in Twinbrook, estranged from everything she had ever known before.

She hadn't been sure what she'd find, but in the end it may not have just been a place she was running to; perhaps it was a place to hide... A place to forget.

Amelia Kane could feel the sweat inside her boots as she stood on the corner of Bennett Highway and Sterling Parkway, the intersection in front of the city's grand theatre. It was hot and muggy today, but that didn't matter; Amelia didn't have the luxury of picking what weather she worked in. Not these days.

She figured that of all the places in this bustling town, this was the place to open her guitar case and let the cash flow in; there were few other places as busy or as filled with people interested in promoting street musicians as the city's theatre...

... but so far, the case still stood open, empty. Today was not her lucky day.

She played and she played, strumming louder with each chord, hoping that some passerby would at least give a Simolie for her passion--or even just out of sympathy to the blues in her music--but today, the sidewalks seemed barren. Amelia knew that wasn't the case--but right now, pouring her soul into her music, she probably wouldn't see anyone for miles even if there were a crowd.

After a while, Amelia's music slowed; she turned to watch a taxi go by, and then to look inside the theatre in hopes that someone was watching... but the emptiness wasn't just her imagination. Maybe it just wasn't a busy day; maybe she really was being avoided. At this point, it probably didn't even matter, so  long as someone gave her a chance--or preferably, a tip.

'C'mon, please?' she thought, desperately, to herself. 'A simolie or two? ... Anyone?'

'... Da@#*!it!'

There was only so much of that she could handle. Amelia wouldn't play for an empty room, why was she playing for an empty street?! ... 'No, wait,' she groaned to herself. 'I would play for an empty room, at this point.' Still, at least an empty room would be paying--an empty street would not.

As she walked through the double doors leading into her apartment building, a rock sunk quickly in her stomach: that mailman was putting something in her mailbox, and it did not look like an envelope full of cash.

"Mark, Mark stop for a second--" Amelia said, her voice a bit quaky as she approached him. "Didn't the landlord give us an extension? We weren't supposed to be getting any more bills until the end of this month."

"Mia," the mailman began, shaking his head. "He gave you two extensions already. And he even extended the last extension because he felt bad. You're sort of out of second chances at this point. You either gotta pay, or..." Amelia could figure out the end of that sentence all too well--and she was glad he didn't finish it.

"But Mark, I'm trying to get the money. We've given the landlord every last Simolian we've got--I'm not holding out or anything, I just--"

"That doesn't matter," Mark said, cutting her off. "Someone's got to pay for your utilities, and the Landlord isn't going to pay for it out of his own pocket, anymore. I'm sorry, Amelia, but you either pay by the end of the week, or he's finding a new tenant for your apartment."

Seeing the look on Amelia's face--one of sheer horror and despair, if you were wondering--Mark tried to put on a brave face and smiled widely at her. "On the bright side, it might mean you get to see your family sooner, right?! I've heard you've been missing them lots, wouldn't it be great to be able to live closer to them again? To move back home?"

"No, it wouldn't," Amelia whispered harshly under her breath, glaring so darkly at the poor messenger that he immediately gave a little wave, and scooted out the door as fast as he could. He'd learned a long time ago that even skinny little white girls knew how to punch.

'Great,' Amelia sighed to herself. 'This day couldn't get any worse.' Or, maybe it could: once she opened the small metal latch on the box with her room number and saw the stack of white envelopes--most with ominous red lettering on the front--that rock in her stomach turned into a boulder.

"Nope, definitely worse," she mumbled outloud.

Amelia sorted through them one by one, and just to her sorry luck none of them happened to be anything remotely encouraging.

She knew she couldn't pay them, but at least for now she could scratch an apology on them before sticking them back into the mailbox--but 'I'm sorry!'s didn't pay the bills, either.

"Dangit, why does this keep happening to me?!" Amelia wailed, slamming her fist down on the top of the mailbox unit; each metal door gave a loud little shake in response, as if echoing her rage. "This isn't the way it was supposed to be, but it's not my fault!"

When the mailbox didn't respond, (she should be happy it didn't, but she really wasn't) Amelia knelt down closer to the small door with Apartment #119 etched in black letters.

"No, it's all your fault, you stupid, stupid little mailbox--and before the end, I'm gonna come for you."

So it turns out that threatening her mailbox doesn't pay the bills, either, but it did wonders for releasing at least some of Amelia's frustration. With a heavy sigh, she was able to walk back out of the apartment building with minimal tears bubbling in the corner of her eyes.

'Okay, Amelia, concentrate,' she thought as she began tapping her hand. 'What are my options? What money could I get? I suppose we could always sell the TV--nevermind, our TV's a piece of junk--or one of the couches... Maybe one of the guitars--no, she'd never let me--or... Man. Could we live without the fridge?'

Amelia's stomach-boulder turned into a stomach-mountain when she turned to look at the bike racks.

'I guess... I guess there's always the scooter.'

But, just thinking about it made her realize that there was absolutely no way she could.

"It's... It's for me?!"

"Of course, silly," Meredith said, laughing at her daughter. "It's your birthday, of course it's for you."

"It's... It's... It's perfect, Mom! Oh my gosh! It's--" Amelia could barely contain her excitement. There it was, that stupid little scooter her brothers had laughed at her for wanting--now, the stupid little scooter her brothers would laugh at her for owning.

"So you  like it?!" Meredith asked, looking hopeful. "I know yellow's your favorite color, but if you wanted something different--"

"No, Mom, it's perfect. The color, the... Everything. I love it."

"Well, I'm glad to hear that, sweetheart." Meredith raised a hand to place lovingly on her daughter's shoulder. "You're very special to me, and I thought you deserved something nice. Besides, a car is a bit too hard to put on a plane to take with you, I imagine."

Amelia laughed. "Yeah, you're right."

"But you know... This isn't just from me. Your father was the one who came up with the idea in the first place."

"He--really? You're... You're sure?" Amelia was taken aback a little--so much so that the tears of happiness already welling in her eyes finally started to escape.

"Yes, dear. Your dad loves you a great deal. You shouldn't forget that."

Amelia brushed away another tear. Although part of her fought against it, words suddenly came pouring out of her mouth. "Is... Is he still here? I want to go thank him, too..."

"No, I'm afraid not," Meredith said through clenched teeth. "He had to take off a few minutes after we cut the cake. Work emergency, apparently."

Amelia's heart sank; but in a way, she also felt relieved. "I guess I'll just have to--" But Amelia couldn't finish her sentence, because suddenly a loud noise erupted from where the rest of the party was milling around.

"Oooh, they're starting!" Meredith gasped, smiling.

Amelia finished wiping another tear from her eye, before turning her gaze upwards--suddenly, all her previous thoughts vanished.

"Look! It's... It's a plumbob!" she laughed, pointing towards the firework that had just zoomed into the sky from the middle of the yard. "Oh, mom... This is the best birthday ev---"


Back in reality-land, Amelia's daydream cut off once she realized that staring off into space also wasn't going to pay her bills. Dangit, this'll never be solved if she can't even concentrate.

'Ugh, what am I supposed to do?!' Amelia raised her arms in defeat. Maybe she did need to go back home... Maybe her dream of becoming a rock star was just too stupid to come true.

... But, before she completely lamented herself away, she paused a moment and bit her lower lip. "Actually, maybe I do have another option."

Waylon's Haunt wasn't too far from where Amelia lived, but that probably wasn't something to be proud of. Of all the bars and clubs in Bridgeport, that one was probably the least desirable; the area of town was a little shady, and the drinks and food there honestly weren't that great.

But, the 'small town' feel to it gave Amelia what little taste of home she did want--so it was probably the place she had spent most of her time... Until lately, at least.

"I mean, I know you aren't exactly all that thrilled about the idea, Mr. Striker, but my band would really like another shot at performing here, again. We used to play here every night until--"

"Until you what, jumped off-stage and pummeled one of my patrons? Look, Amelia, no one's going to want to come to a show when they're afraid of getting attacked by the lead guitarist. I gave you a shot, and you blew it. I'm not sure what else to tell you."

Rafael Striker: businessman, expert mixologist, and a total nincompoop. He'd owned Waylon's Haunt for several years, and had thought he'd seen the worst and the craziest of Bridgeport--but Amelia... She was something else.

"Please, Mr. Striker, you don't understand. We need this gig. You need a stable group to come here and play. There's no other place else in town that supports our kinda music... You're kinda our last chance."

"I'm sorry, Ms. Kane. As much as I like you and that Southern-Belle accent of yours, the publicity you've brought to this place has been nothing but a thorn in my side. I can't risk taking another hit in business because of your stunts."

"My stunts--what do you mean, my stunts?" Amelia groaned. "I haven't done anything wrong. So I had a little bit too much to drink and was a little creeped out by one of your patrons... Big deal! Everyone has a few moments of stupid! I promise, it won't happen again!"

"Yeah," Rafael coughed. "And what about that little scene you made over at the Brightmoore, huh?"

"The.. The Brightmoore?" Amelia paused for a moment, trying to remember. Oh. Right. That. "You mean when I, er, passed out from heat exhaustion?"

Rafael rolled his eyes. "No, I mean when you purposefully had too much to drink in order to try to draw some attention from the papparazzi--which worked, by the way. It was all over the papers--including how you used to play here regularly. It took me a month to recoop the losses from that."

"Okay, okay, okay," Amelia groaned. "So I admit, I've been a little stupid and the spotlight kinda went to my head a little, but I swear, I won't do anything like that anymore. Especially not here."

She waited for a response, but for once, Mr. Striker remained silent. Great.

Time for the desperate act.

Amelia dropped to her knees, clasping her hands tightly together as she looked up at him.

"Puh-leeeeeeeeeeeeeassee? Pleasepleasepleasepulleeaasseee? You don't understand, I'll do anything Mr. Striker, anything. Just give us one more chance... I swearifanythinggoeswrong Iwillpersonallytakeresponsibility--" Breath! "--and Iwillneveraskforyoutodo meanyfavorsever again!"

From above her she could hear Rafael groan, and then clear his throat uncomfortably. "Amelia," he said in a very cold voice. "Could you please stop making a fool of yourself and get up off the floor?"

"I, er--right." Amelia could feel her face turning red. Embarressment: it was almost as rock-filling as hearing you're about to lose your apartment. The smell on the floor wasn't all that great, either. "I'm sorry, Mr. Striker."

When she finally managed to get eye contact with him--it probably wasn't good for a bar owner to be seen conversing with a crazy woman--she took a deep breath and tried to find the strength within her to become calm again.

"Look, I messed up. I'm willing to admit that. Just please, Mr. Striker. I'm going to lose my home. Maybe even everything I own... And I'm scared. I just need some help, and you're my last shot."

"Can't you just... let me do one more show? If it doesn't go well, I'll have to be out of my place and leave Bridgeport within the week, anyways. I'll be outta your hair for good."

"Oh, Amelia," Rafael said, smiling. "Now where would I be without you making a mess of things for me?"

"I'm really, really sor--"

"No, no, that's quite enough apologies, Amelia. You've made your point. Bring your girls to the bar at opening on Saturday. I know it's just a day showing, but... Let's start out slow again, alright?"

"R-Really? You're serious?!" Amelia could feel those rocks turning into mush already.

"Yes, I'm serious," he responded with a groan.

"Oooohh, this is great news! I feel like I'm going to explode! My heart's over the moon! Thank you, thank you!"

"Hey, don't thank me," Rafael said, shaking his head. "You've still got a lot of proving to do. I honestly have no idea what I'm getting myself into. Everyone's going to think I'm crazy, but... I guess I just can't say no to you, Amelia."

"They won't think you're crazy, Mr. Striker, I promise," Amelia replied, still grinning ear to ear. "You aren't gonna regret this, I swear."

"I'll be the judge of that," he said with a shrug. "But, admittedly, it'd be pretty nice if you brought that electric of yours with you on Saturday. This place could use a little razzing up, if you know what I mean."

"My--I... Yeah, I'll... think about it," Amelia stuttered, her smile fading a little. "But really... Thank you, Rafael."

The bumpy ride home didn't do much good for the little pebbles still pummeling around in her gut. They were like butterflies on high-fructose nectar--painfully annoying.

It's not that she was nervous about the bills anymore--one performance would at least get them out of debt--but the idea of telling her roommate... Well, her roommate was probably not going to be very pleased.

'She's gonna eat me alive. Begging to play at a bar she scratched off our band's roster permanently? Finding out we're two months behind on rent? This is gonna suck,' she thought to herself. 'But... Gotta face her eventually.'

As she walked through the door and the thick smell of patchouli and pancakes quickly surrounded her, at least part of her worries died away. Their place was tacky, but it was home--more home than any place she knew of, right now. More home than Twinbrook.

"Heellooooo," she called, tossing her guitar into their bedroom and looking around the corner into the rest of the flat. "You home?"

"Yeah, in the living room," a high-pitched voice called back.

"Well... I've got some news," Amelia said, still trying to smile as she looked across the room. "I didn't make practically anything on tips today, but I did manage to get us gig!"

On the other side of the room, the light-haired source of the other voice perked up visibly--both when she heard the news, and when she saw her roommate finally peek out from around the corner.

"Well well well," Naomi Leman responded with a smile of her own. "I guess you were able to pull it off after all, Mia. I'm sorry I doubted you."


PiB - Nicarra January 2, 2011 at 6:56 PM  

Poor Amelia. It's tough trying to earn a living playing on the streets. A place to hide/forget? Hmm, we have some explaining to do here. There's definitely some back story we need to have filled in. Like why she has no money, the family isn't exactly poor any more.

Mia, it's not the mailman's fault that he has to deliver bills. He's not the one that can help. Nor can the mailbox just make your bills disappear.

Aw, love the flashback to getting the scooter. Mere looks very different with the new hair style.

Gotta love Jeb's glow of evil. LOL

Poor Rafael - how can he refuse the whirlwind of personality that is Mia in full force. He almost managed but in the end - she gets to try.

Why does Mia have a roomie that doesn't know they are 2 months behind on rent? What is Ms Leman's responsibility as a roommate if not to help with expenses? Hm..

(ha, epic comments again.)

PiB - Nicarra January 2, 2011 at 7:01 PM  

Aside comments - thrilled to see the next season starting.

I see that the cast page is updated for the new season. Nice bios for everyone. Can definitely look forward to seeing Gwen and Jerod in Bridgeport.

One side of that banner - Naomi, Jerod "The Shrimp" Grant and ... Naomi's little bro? Two Lemans and a Grant. I love it.

Unknown January 2, 2011 at 7:05 PM  

What exactly 'happened' will be covered slowly over the first 6ish episodes, so it'll kinda slowly be revealed why Amelia is in the state she's in.

Mere looks different, but it was about time. :) I'm so glad to finally have the last CC hair out of my game.

Well, Amelia's roomie actually decided to trust Amelia with money. This was not smart. This will not happen again. ;) Though, to be honest 'neither' of them are all that fantastic with money.

Glad you like the banner, PiB. :) It's funny how things work out like that sometimes, but, when a Sim strikes me for a story, there's no sense denying them some spotlight.

PiB - Nicarra January 2, 2011 at 7:29 PM  

Well, I did think that we will eventually find out how Mia got to this state. Since we've skipped her teen years almost entirely - there's quite a lot to catch up with.

I can believe neither Mia or her roommate are that great with money. They both had indulgent daddies to take care of the trivia.

Looking forward to seeing the new season unfold.

Unknown January 2, 2011 at 7:41 PM  

I really am so happy to have gotten back on the wagon again. The story starts out a wee bit slowish (always feels that way after the big finales), but I honestly really love how the flashbacks in each episode are turning out so far.

And, you're right--Naomi and Mia are two peas in a pod on that account... Though actually for different reasons.

Deema316 January 3, 2011 at 4:12 PM  

Poor Amelia and Naomi. Working so hard just to keep a roof over their head.
Man, Amelia must have some more temper. I cracked up at her begging for that job.
The apartment is just perfect for two struggling musicians.
When she stated she did have another option and I saw her standing there in that bar....I thought she was going hooking. :P :D

Oh. Wait. I just looked at the new header. Those girls done gone and got some boy friends. :)

Unknown January 3, 2011 at 5:07 PM  

Well, I wouldn't say they're working *that* hard... In general, the two are just a pair of lazy party girls who do a little busking on the side of gigs--and they haven't gotten a gig in a long time, thanks to Amelia. And busking just don't pay the bills. :(

(Well, actually, Amelia makes far much more from tips than gigs, but that's an irrelevent technicality, haha.)

Amelia doesn't just have a temper, she has insaaane mood swings. She can go from screaming to crying to giggling in seconds flat. XD

lol!! Nooo, our little Amelia won't stoop THAT low--no Woohoo for money. I am trying to keep a Teen-ish rating, as well. ;)

Haha--well, there are most certainly boys in the header, but I refuse to reveal their nature as of yet!

Deema316 January 3, 2011 at 5:43 PM  

Ahhh, I get it now. And here I thought they were working hard for those dollars.
Dounds like Mia has a case of permanent PMS. :D

*sighs* guess I just have to wait to find out about them there bo's. ;)

PiB - Nicarra January 3, 2011 at 6:02 PM  

The middle boy in the banner is Naomi's little brother Lamont. I'll be interested to see what he gets up to that earns him a banner position.

The other is The Shrimp Jerod Grant - all grown up. I have a few theories about how he gets on the banner but they could be blown out of the water at any point in time.

Deema316 January 3, 2011 at 6:19 PM  

I would never have known who those two boys are. Well at least not until they later appeared in the story.

Deema316 January 3, 2011 at 6:20 PM  

I should learn to read more thatn just the story. :)

PiB - Nicarra January 3, 2011 at 6:29 PM  

Yep, I only worked out Lamont cause of the cast list.

Jerod I knew was going to make an appearance. And he has the hair/face fuzz from my upload so he's very recognisable to me. I am looking forward to seeing what tattoo's kaleeko has decorated him with. Makes a special mention in his bio so they must be something.

Deema316 January 3, 2011 at 6:57 PM  

I just finished reading the bio's. All I can say is, Wow.

LOL, I noticed Jon Marsh is going to be an extra here. No comment. :D

Lamont's eyes just jump out at ya even in that small picture.

Jeb is still sexy and now so is Brad. Shame he doesn't realise it.

I noticed Alesha is a Klepto. Uh Oh.

Unknown January 3, 2011 at 9:04 PM  

I dunno if the tattoos are all *that* spectacular, PiB, but there are quite a few of them! He turned out lookin' pretty good.

Yep Dee, Jon Marsh gets a brief moment in the story. ;) I had to work him in eventually, he's too funny.

Well, Lamont definitely has Carolina's eyes--they're a very striking feature on him.

lol, I think that shot of Jeb I have in the Bios section is my favorite one of him. Between the lighting, the shades, his expression... He looks pretty damn good. I still really can't see Brad as anymore than cute, though--he's like, my baby. XD

Yup, Alesha was a klepto. I was pretty amused by how her traits turned out--it's actually *exactly* what I wanted, and I didn't mess with them at all. Thank you, game, for being so awesome!

PiB - Nicarra January 4, 2011 at 12:17 AM  

Hey Kaleeko, I thought Jerod looked pretty fine even without the ink. It will be interesting to see how he has turned out with it!

Lamont with those bright blue eyes and that hairstyle looks so innocent. I want to wrap him in cotton wool and protect him.

My fav Jeb shot is that arms crossed self satisfied smirk. Hawt

mmmcheezy225 January 5, 2011 at 3:57 AM  

Oooh, new season! :D

Poor Amelia, now she knows what it truly means to be a starving artist. Maybe she should get a survival job so the repoman doesn't come ah-knockin'.

Love Mere's new look. She actually looks younger with that cut. :)

Her roomie is Naomi...why do I feel like that will prove to be self-sabotage?

I agree, the banner looks awesome!

mmmcheezy225 January 5, 2011 at 3:59 AM  

LOL, and I agree with what Dee said earlier - I thought she was going to Waylon's Haunt to do some "special services" as well. In my head, I was chanting "Nooo Amelia, noooo!"

Unknown January 5, 2011 at 7:58 PM  

Hey Cheezy :D

I think Amelia may've picked up a 'survival job' if she had no other options--which was *almost* the case. It's also possible she may have run on home, but... Well, 'home's' an iffy place right now.

Think Mere looks younger, hmm? I think it's fitting, because I'd see her as trying to hold onto her youth as long as possible. Won't for too much longer, though!

Naomi's a piece of work, but there are worse people that Amelia could have had follow her to the city. XD

Glad you like the banner! I think I'm actually pretty happy with how it turned out, which isn't always the case :)

PiB - Nicarra January 5, 2011 at 10:28 PM  

Naomi - haven't decided if I should like that girl. She's not been entirely a good friend, and occasionally downright nasty - overly ambitious maybe.

So who would have been worse to follow her into the city? Hmmm

Unknown January 5, 2011 at 10:48 PM  

I'm actually really glad that you're kind of on the fence about Naomi, because that's exactly where she's supposed to be. She's not really a 'good' person, but she's not a bad person either--she's just a very troubled gal who isn't sure what she needs to do to be happy, and like a lot of people she just followed the wrong path (her mother, cough) and now needs to try to change direction.

Who could've been worse? Hmmm... Well, her family (because they're a huge buzzkill), Alesha (because she's a homebody), another possibility you'll hear of later... ;)

Unknown January 5, 2011 at 10:57 PM  

Mother.. *@$&@^$... Well I was gonna throw up the next post early, but for some reason every time I try to edit the post in order to publish it, I just get the spinning ball of doom.

Guess I'm just gonna have to wait another hour for it to go up. ;D

Jen January 6, 2011 at 12:47 AM  

Oh dear, Amelia is trying to make it in the 'big city' and things aren't working out. Poor dear. :(

Sounds like when she arrived though she got up to no good. Hee, hee, naughty girl.

And Bills they never stop, who doesn't hate them!

I hope she has a back up plan if this doesn't work out.

Off to read the next chapter! ;)

Anonymous,  January 6, 2011 at 8:50 AM  

The banner rocks as does the new background. Mia is young and having money troubles, that seems about right. I'm surprised she's still so close with Naomi but I guess we'll see the how and why of that later on.

The bios on everyone look good, too. Jeb is perfect with that red glow as Emperor of Evil and the outfit really suits him. Gwen?! You included Gwen?! Oh, boy. This could be fun.

I see the youngest Leman is ebil like his ebil Mommy. He's cute, though! Seriously ebil cute.

Unknown January 6, 2011 at 12:41 PM  

@Jen - I don't think Amelia's ever up to much of anything good. ;) If Bridgeport's done anything, it's given her an avenue to open up and have fun in a way her family probably never would approve of. (Except maybe Travis.)

@Chrysame - Chrysame, my love! <3

Thanks about the banner--I'm actually really happy with it! Someday I'd like to talk about some of the symbolism in it, too, but I really can't until everything's over. (And by then I'll probably forget to, haha.)

I absolutely adore the kittens out of Gwen, and I wanted her to be in one of my games eventually! Hopefully I can get her into the story as much as I'd like to.

XD Lamont's not evil like his mummy; he actually got the Good trait. Think you might have him confused with the Shrimp. ^^ He totally has his mother's creepy pretty eyes, though--he could pull off the evil look if he wanted to!

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