“Yep. I’ll see you there… in five minutes? Mr. Panda says he’s looking forward to it!”
Faint laughter crackles over the line and Briar smiles. It is a brisk, sunny Saturday morning, the first since she had nabbed the Snitch job at the police station. Briar is standing in the front garden, where she can chat in peace. It’s certainly quiet without Isla’s clumsy attempts at playing her guitar, the only sounds being the splish of minnows in the pond, and the rustle of the crisp wind through the rose bushes. Summer is drawing to a close and autumn is peeking out through the burnt-gold-and-russet maple leaves around Briar.
She slips her phone into her dress pocket, skirting around the pond. The front door flies open and Isla rushes out, squealing with laughter, and dumps a trash bag into the bin. Christopher soon follows, smiling cheerfully.
“Yay! I bet you Daddy!” Isla calls out gleefully. “You sure did, kiddo. Now since you got there first, could you take the bills out from the letterbox?”
Briar shouts a farewell to Christopher over Isla’s indignant, but giggling, reply. “Daddy, I’m going to the new park in town with Max and Ash. Could you tell my lazy twin to hurry up?”
Christopher tells Briar that her brother is still asleep, so she pulls an Ash and hops into the car without him. Smirking slightly at the thought of Ash having to bike all the way to the other side of town, she spins the steering wheel and drives off.
Plumpuddle Park was opened a week ago, and Briar has not had the chance to check it out yet. The opening was in the paper; the mayor snipping the red ribbon, in honour of the Wolffs, boring things like that. Driving up the hill towards it, Briar can make out a small park with a pond, aspens and plum trees.
Max Oliver is already there, waiting for her. He is sporting a dark blue button-up that matches well with his hair, over a snug grey shirt and white jeans. It’s a new, more formal sort of look; Briar supposes it has to do with his job at the stadium.
“Hey Briar!” Max says with his usual cheeriness.
Briar returns his greeting with equal enthusiasm. She’s relieved that her best friend has not grown up to become the distant, cold Sim her brother is now.
“How are you doing?” Briar asks. “Anything interesting happen this week?” Max looks thoughtful for a moment. “Mom burnt her cookies in the oven yesterday. She somehow accidentally set fire to her skirt.” Briar giggles at the vision of Mrs. Oliver dancing around (gracefully, of course) and batting at her flaming skirt. Max’s lovely mother has long been notorious baker like Briar, although she is fabulous at cooking. “That’s like, the third time this summer, right? You should hire a personal firefighter or something.”
The two share a laugh, after which Ash arrives on his blue sports bike. To Briar’s surprise, he has a big smile on his face, even though she had left without him. “Sup. I brought hot dogs so we can have lunch here.” Max gives a whoop of excitement, and he and Ash perform their old jock handshake back from high school.
Eeeeeeeee the twins grew up to be such good-looking Sims ❤ I still cannot believe how much more handsome Ash looks compared to his teenage years (thank the gods for puberty)! Oh, and let’s not forget Max. Such a cutie. 😀
They enter the park, taking in the details. It’s nothing fancy, but has charm with a cobbled pathway that winds between the trees, and ends at the glittering pond. Leafy aspens shade two picnic areas complete with barbecues.
Ash begins grilling sausages (he has always been good at cooking, compared to Briar) as the other two settle down on a stone bench. They continue absorbing the quiet, serene surroundings- the old-fashioned street lamps, plus the daisies and some sort of purple flower scattered around the grassy cobblestones.
Briar tells her best friend all about her first week at work. “All I’ve done so far is deliver coffee and papers to the officers. Rewriting old criminal records and cleaning things. Pretty much being an assistant. It’s kinda boring… but I guess it will pay off in the end.”
She asks Max about his job and he says how he managed to become Snack Hawker. “Dad and Will are high up in the sports career, you know, so I got promoted really quickly.” Max explains. “I go around in games selling popcorn, hot dogs, sodas, that sort of thing. It’s annoying not to be playing any sports but I get to watch the game. At least it’s better than Rabid Fan!”
Ash calls them over for lunch, placing a big platter of hot dogs on the table. “Aw, these look awesome!” Max cheers, and digs straight in. Ash laughs and they begin chatting through mouthfuls of sausage.
This is perfect, Briar thinks happily as she munches on her hot dog. A delicious picnic of hot juicy sausage sandwiched between soft fluffy bread and mustard, in a quiet sun-drenched park, with her best friends- especially with Ash, who seems happy today, like how he was when he was a kid. The laughter and easy chatter at the table makes her feel all fuzzy inside.
That feeling is diminished somewhat when Ash abruptly stands up, announces he has to go to the science lab, and runs off. He ignores Briar’s confused yells after him. Briar turns away, a little angry. It’s Saturday! A day off work for all of them! What could her brother possibly be doing there, trying to get promoted or something? She’s annoyed that Ash would chose his career over his friends on a day like this.
Huffing with annoyance, Briar flops down on the bench next to Max. “I wish Ash would forget about his career when he’s off work, he’s such a nerd! I mean, he’s only just started!” Max is silent for a moment, his hands folded. “Well, he’s always been the workaholic out of all of us,” is all he says.
Then he smiles and loops an arm over Briar’s shoulders. She can tell the gesture is just friendly, but even so, it sends a shock through her. “Come on, there’s no point crying over spilt milk.” Max quotes cheerfully. “Or cow eyeballs, because he’s probably accidentally spilling some on himself in the lab, in his failure attempt to impress the boss!” Briar says, snorting.
Max laughs, and the familiar sound sends contentment and safety washing over Briar. She looks into those unique, electric blue eyes, which sparkle with amusement. A surge of the strange emotion she felt on full moon -softer, but just as powerful- rises up suddenly inside her.
It’s strong enough to make her finally realise what it is, so without thinking, Briar kisses Max.
(And with that, the second generation heir has her first kiss (at a park for Briar, a restaurant for Fern. I’m going to keep count.)! Thank the gods, finally. I suck at writing romantic scenes, sorry, so please bear with me for this chapter!)
Max is more than happy to return the gesture, and they spend a blissful afternoon talking, laughing (and kissing) more freely as ever. It’s one of Briar’s happiest days in her life and she can’t believe she rejected Max as a teenager. When the shadows of the trees begin to grow deeper, Max shyly asks if Briar wants to have dinner at Le Corsican Bistro with him.
“That sounds great.” Briar says happily. “But I get to drive.”
Le Corsican Bistro is the town’s one and only fancy restaurant, and Fern had told her daughter that she doesn’t repeat her mistake and have her first date with an idiot (*coughXandercough*) there. When Briar steps into the charming ivy-wreathed courtyard, she can sort of tell how her mother might have fallen for Xander. Luckily for her, Briar knows Max would never intentionally (yes, intentionally. Remember his and Ash’s stupid teenage plan) hurt her. The perks of falling in love with your life-long best friend.
Unfortunately, Briar finds that her father is there as well.
Oh my gods dude. Stop coincidentally turning up at your children’s romantic outings! Way to go, Xander. Please try not to ruin your daughter’s first date.
To both Briar and Max’s relief, Xander only glares at them before disappearing into the cosy bistro.
Briar and Max order their food and take their plates outside. The sky is fading to a beautiful peachy pink, and quaint French music floats on the gentle breeze. At this time of the day, the town is quiet and the candles on the cafe tables flicker with light. Briar is not an expert in the romance department -unlike Fern and Christopher, ugh- but she knows this is the perfect scene for a date.
As Briar pulls her chair in, she spots an old woman walking into the courtyard and staring at her. Oh, not this lady. Briar has seen her around a lot, hovering in front of the Kingston villa, snapping pictures and taking notes. Paparazzi.
Briar tries a piece of gourmet sushi as Max takes a bite of his Lobster Thermidor. A piece of creamy avocado and salmon melts in her mouth and she closes her eyes blissfully. “Mm, this is just… wow. Totally worth the price.” She sighs appreciatively.
Max looks up, smiling. “I agree. This food is awesome. Oh yeah, I totally forgot to tell you something. Will told me to ask you if you want to come to his party tonight.”
“Ooh, yes please! What is it for?”
“His girlfriend Kelsey is moving to Sunset Valley, so basically it’s a welcome party for her.” Briar frowns at this. “I thought his girlfriend was called Rochelle?”
Max cracks a grin. “Well, yeah. But they broke up. Will seems pretty serious about Kelsey, though. He’s always talking to her on the phone, and gods, it’s so sappy. I have to get out of the house or I would throw up from the lovey-dovey crap he’s saying.” Briar laughs at that.
“What, does he sing a song to her or something?” Briar stands up and does an accurate imitation of Will strumming on his guitar and crooning to his phone. “That sounds seriously embarrassing, please don’t ever do that to me.” She giggles, without thinking.
Max grins and gets up as well. “Don’t worry, I wouldn’t. I think you would hang up from my singing voice anyway.” He jokes. Then his eyes turn serious and he gazes at Briar. “But I really hope you would still have me as your boyfriend, even if I’m terrible at singing.”
Paparazzi Lady, just stop it, you’re creeping us all out. You’re even worse than Xander.
Briar mumbles yes, and Max joyfully gives her another kiss. In her happiness, she does not notice the click of a camera behind her.
Okay, I take back my previous words. Xander, you are worse than paparazzi. He literally stares and has a creepy smirk on his face as he walks past Briar and Max.
Look at that bastard’s expression. Look at him.
And Briar’s expression. She’s so cute. And the lady is taking even more photos.
This time, Briar hears the telltale click and whips around. She comes face to face with the old lady, who still has her pesky camera lifted. The woman continues snapping photos without shame, even though Briar is glaring at her.
“Excuse me, you’re interrupting our date.” Briar says impatiently. The paparazzi simply takes a gleeful note on her paper- in the candlelight, Briar can just read, ‘Briar Kingston, 18, unstable daughter of bestselling author Fern Kingston, was spotted on a date with sport legend Scott Oliver’s son Max, 20, at Le Corsican Bistro, Saturday.’
Anger bubbling up in her, Briar jabs a finger at the lady. “You’re Sunny Bakshi, right? Can you, for gods sake, stop stalking the Kingstons and just leave us alone?” Sunny looks scandalised. “You can’t stop me, little girl.” She drawls.
The little girl jab hits Briar especially hard. She hates it when Sims treat her like a confused young kid.
“You’ve got some issues, and I’m not sticking around to deal with them.” Briar snaps (this is literally what she said in the game. That sass). “Just let us eat our dinner in peace!”
Sunny’s ugly old face contorts into a furious expression. “You’ve got some nerve, child!” She croaks. “You better watch your step, because you might just find yourself in the newspapers- and not in a good way!” With that, she marches away.
The thing about the newspapers troubles Briar a little. Sunset Valley is a close-knit community and any gossip gets around really quickly. The townies already do not seem to like her, and well, if bad things are said about her in the papers, this may make things at work difficult.
However, she and Max are soon distracted by the birthday of a teenage girl. Briar doesn’t know who she is, except for the vague feeling that she looks familiar. Creamy cashmere sweater, jeans and a messy plaited bun- nope, no idea.
Briar, Max and a couple of other bistro-goers crowd round to cheer and clap for the girl. When the telltale sparkles fade away, the girl turns into a pretty woman with a similar outfit of a loose summery blouse and skinny purple jeans. She smiles shyly at the celebrating Sims and thanks them before heading towards the bistro.
A couple of minutes later, Max tells Briar it’s time to go to the party. Briar obliges and walks out of the courtyard, leaving her bill tucked under her plate, but not before glancing at the young woman once again. Something about her is familiar- like Briar should know her name- but she can’t pin it down.
And she can’t shake the feeling that one of the bistro guests is watching her. Deathly pale skin and glowing yellow eyes that are burning into the back of her head… the man seems to be a- no, he can’t be. Briar can envision Isla’s piping voice and she shakes her head vigorously.
Because vampires are just fiction, right?
Rambling: A Morning at the Park with the Olivers!
So, it was mentioned earlier in the chapter that Will has a girlfriend named Kelsey. I made her today and I just want to include these two here because they are so goddamn adorable- this chapter is mainly about a date, too, so why not? Her full name is Kelsey Green and she’s a cheerleader/ballet teacher from Bridgeport, where Will met her on his latest basketball tour. Pretty much the classic blonde, blue-eyed, slim and graceful girl. She’s really nice, though, and she loves the outdoors, which is why Will is here at the park on a date with Kelsey today.
Look, Will is really happy. He’s had a lot of girlfriends before but he’s totally in love with Kelsey <3. I can’t wait till he proposes and they have a wedding and children. Bet any baby of theirs would look like supermodels when they grow up. They would be related to the Kingstons if Max marries Briar… if they do… yeah, I’ll shut up.
Kelsey is so pretty. Her eyes are gorgeous 🙂 (Simsered, she looks a little like Allie, doesn’t she?)
I love this scene because it’s so beautiful and romantic. The park is so breathtaking and so is the mountain range behind it. Sunset Valley is such an idyllic world. I just love the hearts that circle around the plumbobs when Sims are on a date 😀
Coincidentally, the rest of the Oliver family have chosen to come to the park this morning too. Wisteria joins the two without saying a word. Which is kind of awkward. Your son was just having a romantic little picnic with his girlfriend here.
Hey look, it’s Max!
He joins the picnic before long too. Guys I think Will wanted to be alone with his girlfriend D:
Scott Oliver comes along too, and soon we have a chattering, happy family enjoying a Sunday picnic together. Honestly, this is so perfect- a football star, a well-known news anchor, a famous basketball player and his ballerina girlfriend, and the talented Max. And all of them are so gorgeous. *cries*
I will leave you with this lovely scene. Have a wonderful day, my fellow Simmers!