“Soooo... how was your day today, River?”
“It was great! I got an A on my math exam, Cinnamon found a twenty simoleon bill at the bottom of her back pack and bought me ice cream at lunch, Jan was nice and showed us photos of his dad’s wedding to Hunter’s mom and Professor Jones says I’m doing much better in biology.” She leaves out the part where she and Cinnamon skipped last period to check out the new art gallery in town. They have an Egypt exhibit!
Hunter is far less happy with his mom’s latest marriage than his new step brother is.
“Be happy!” Brooke says, trying to cheer him up. “You did say you wanted a father figure in your life!”
“... Mom’s new husband is like a hundred. He probably won’t even last as long as my own dad did, and mom’s already pregnant with yet another kid. My life sucks.”
“Oh Hunter... you’re such a drama queen.”
He smiles, making her heart go all a-flutter. “I thought you liked me being a drama queen.”
“Mostly I just like you.” She giggles in response.
Romance was never on Brooke’s to-do list for her time as a teenager, but why ignore someone who is so obviously perfect for you? Hunter makes her happy, and she makes Hunter happy. Why make things more complicated than they need to be? She’s her mother’s daughter, not her mother’s double.
“Sooo, uh, River... how was your day? Did you do anything interesting?”
Her parents have never exactly been absentee, but their sudden interest in every aspect of her life is beginning to get on River’s nerves. She figures they know something by now. They can’t be blind enough for everything to have gone over their heads. But River really doesn’t want to talk.
If she were mean she’d have fun with this. Maybe lead her parents on a wild goose chase or guilt them into thinking everything was their fault. But her parents raised her, and she loves them. So she just thinks about it, and smiles, but stays silent.
Painting. Harder than it looks.
While the girls are at school, Serena visits her newly wed sister.
She didn’t marry James. She married Harlan Harris. He’s old.
The reason for their marriage, little Jasmine Sari-Harris is now already a toddler. And takes after grandpa Naveen.
But of course River isn’t at school. She’s decided to go back to the Art Gallery.
Specifically to the traveling Egypt exhibit.
The first time she was here with Cinnamon the blonde wouldn’t let her enjoy anything. But now River has all the time in the world to enjoy the artifacts. One in particular catches her eye. An intricate green vase, chinese in make but discovered in the tomb of the water god, hinting at some long distance trade between ancient sim nations. History was never really River’s strong suit, but she does love the artifacts.
There were no wires or cameras in the art gallery... she could very easily just grab this vase and take off with no one being the wiser...
“I notice you’re showing some interest in my family’s collection.”
Crap. Where’d he come from?
“Oh you must be Mister Oceans.” She responds, remembering the decorative plate at the front of the exhibit. “Um... your exhibit is really cool. Are you a collector or something?”
“Well I suppose I could be labelled a collector, but no, my mother was an archaeologist. She was the first to find the lost temple of Osiris below the water pyramid near Al-Simhara. It was a huge deal in its day but I suppose that was before either of us were born. After my mother died I was left all the relics she didn’t sell, and I can’t quite stand to part with any of them. Even that green vase father claims he left there himself as a practical joke.”
River giggles softly. “Your father sounds funny, Mister Oceans.”
“Please kitten, call me Dorian.”
She gives him a look. “Kitten? Seriously? My name is River. Kitten is so...” She wants to say lame but she doesn’t.
“It’s your eyes.” He smiles. “Reminds me of the stories my father used to tell me. Magical tricksters who appeared human most of the time but could transform into cats whenever the mood struck them.”
“They were also well known for being thieves.”
She excuses herself quickly after that.
Once home she decides a nap would be in her best interest, that way she can wake up after curfew and sneak back to the Art Gallery. Sure Dorian will probably suspect her but so what? He can’t prove anything and her parents will protect her.
... But then she sees it.
She drove home, in her dad’s new sports car. There were no cars anywhere near hers and Dorian was grabbing a book to read when she left. How could he have possibly gotten here before her? How could he even know where she lived? A shiver of fear goes down her back but she ignores it, choosing instead to look at the note slipped between the vase and her desk.
Not all cats are thieves, but those who are don’t stay free for long. Stay smart, kitten.
This was a fun chapter to write. : D I like Dorian. He's just as much of an ass as his dad, but better at hiding it. (Cookies for those who figure it out!)