“Be sure to vote for me, Morty Roth this upcoming election. Remember I’m pro-yoga.” The man cheesed with a giant grin, and held his clammy hand out for Morgan. “I’ll let you get back to your meditation.” He ducked out the door.
“Since when did this place allow dogs to solicit?” Hazel asked.
“The election isn’t for another ten months, who is this guy?”
“I know, exactly.” Hazel agreed, then put on a mock voice, “I’ll be sure to not vote for you Mr. Freaky Roth.”
Morgan laughed a little, then became sullen. Hazel looked up, “What?” she asked.
Morgan huffed, and crossed her arms. “Do you always have to show off?” She gestured towards her. “You know I can’t do anything like that, and besides you’ll really make Leah jealous, so don’t pull that crap when she finally arrives.”
Hazel put her legs down and stood up, “What?” She shrugged. “The scorpion pose really stretches out my muscles from running.” She grabbed a towel from the counter and wiped her neck. “Nothing to be jealous about Morgan, it’s not a competition.”
“I know that, but Leah? She might not.” Morgan played off with forced nonchalance.
“Sure. I get it. Leah.” Hazel winked, “Got it. Actually I’m surprised she asked to come with us, it’s a long drive from Millwood just to exercise with us.”
“Don’t look at me, she didn’t say anything. Maybe she’s sick of the small town Podunk life. I am. I’m tired of living with my parents and commuting to the city for work.”
Hazel took a drink of her canteen and stopped mid-movement of putting it back down, and stared at the large glass window. Morgan glanced over to see what it was, and froze herself. “Is that…” Hazel stuttered.
Leah came in, and slipped her coat off, already dressed in her yoga clothes. Her smile was bright, hair was perfect, and she brought in the smell of wildflowers that could have only come from her perfumed skin. “Hey chickas!” She smiled. “Surprise!” She leaned back, showing off her abdomen. “Can you believe I finally did it?”
Hazel recovered first, and made her way to her friend. “You’re expecting? Why didn’t you tell us!”
“I wanted to see you two slack jawed of course. What fun is a phone call when I could witness this.” She burst.
“I thought you didn’t want anymore, did Norma finally weaken your resolve?” Hazel blurted.
Leah’s smile faded, and her eyes narrowed. “What does that mean, exactly?”
“Nothing bad, just that you didn’t want more, and she’s always after that grandson… that’s all.” Hazel tried to save it, wishing she could sink into the ground. “Congratulations though, this is exciting news.” She added in hopes of seeming genuine. Morgan added in her congratulations, and they took to their mats when the yoga teacher came into the studio.
Fiona Melvin, started the class by getting into the scorpion position and informing the class that they to could get to this point. Hazel pretended she didn’t know how to do the position, and did the beginner poses in the corner.
Morgan and Leah whispered quietly to one another, and tried muffling their giggles. Fiona gave a few warning glances, but otherwise went on without a word to them.
The Sans Shanti’s largest drawback was being in the city, which happened to also be it’s largest draw. The large windows of the studio outlooked the busy street, and many passerbys would stare in through the glass, making anyone self conscious very uncomfortable. Add to it that some felt welcome enough to come inside and watch was even worse, or in the previous case solicit for votes.
Hazel knew Andrew from the diner, they had a flirty relationship, but nothing more. She admitted she felt he was good looking, and witty, but she’d never accepted any of his dates. He was apart of her work world, he wasn’t apart of her personal life. So to see him standing in the doorway of Sans Shanti was disorienting for her. It took her a few glances to be certain that it was indeed him, and when she was certain it was, she didn’t know if she should stand from her pose and talk to him, or just concentrate on her stretches.
Andrew didn’t seem to notice Hazel in the back corner, and put his focus on Leah next to him. He whistled towards her, and called her a “hot mama” with a rude gesture to his hips.
Leah threw him a disgusted look, and Fiona quickly untangled her lean body and asked Andrew to leave. Hazel stayed in her position longer than normal, feeling dirty for ever considering Andrew as a prospect for her first serious relationship. He hadn’t seen her, she was certain, and now she was even more uncertain how to act around him the next day at the diner when he wanted his usual with a side of flirt.
“I can’t believe you two come here! It’s like you are on display for all the dogs to lick at.” Leah was ranting to Morgan, and Hazel had only caught the last half of it. Morgan and Fiona were both humbly apologizing, and Hazel smirked to herself, looking away from the others. She knew as well as Morgan that Leah not only adored the attention she got for her looks, but was jealous when she didn’t get it. The entire fit was an act. Hazel didn’t say anything.
After the workout, Hazel rejoined the group wearing a smile and a slight glow to her healthy complexion. Leah stopped talking to Morgan and turned her back to them when Hazel approached. Morgan shrugged towards Hazel’s silent question
“What’s the matter?” Hazel asked tentatively.
“Like I don’t know you and your mind.” She scoffed, flipped her hair to hide her face.
“I have no idea what you are talking about.”
Leah spun around, her face tight and contorted. “Of course you do! Little perfect, snobby Hazel. Too good for a husband, too good of a body to ruin it for a baby, too jealous that people find me prettier than you.” She spewed quickly, taking Hazel and Morgan by surprise, then vehemently continued. “Well, Miss Perfect McCarthy, I know you, and you are not too good! In fact you are too little. As much as you say you dump these guys, I bet they are dumping you! You aren’t wife material, let alone mother material, and everyone knows it, but you!”
Hazel stood there, facing her friend of ten years, hurt, and shocked to silence. She wished she could disappear into the earth, the studio was busy with the next group coming in, and everyone saw and heard every word of it. After a minute of racing thoughts, she turned on her heel and left.
She quickly changed out of her yoga clothes, and didn’t bother showering. She didn’t want to see Leah’s face again for a long while. She had heard Morgan chiding her for saying those horrible things, but it didn’t ease the sting she felt with the words.
She left the studio without looking at Leah or Morgan who were still standing where she’d left them, talking quietly now. Hazel left, the sudden cold air taking her breath away, and surprised to find that the air was filled with the usual car exhaust and pedestrian chatter, but also music. She glanced down the road and saw a man playing guitar at the edge of the building.
He didn’t look at her, or anyone for that matter, just played like he was the only one in the world. She allowed herself a moment to watch him, and then stepped up to put some money in his jar.
“Thanks.” He nodded; she nervously smiled up at him, noticing his sparkling blue eyes as clear as a cloudless summer day, and muttered some kind of statement that came out jumbled.
She straightened up, and pulled her jeans up that had slid off her hips a little. Her hand flitted through her pony tail, as she asked, “So the owner lets you play guitar out front?”
“Actually,” he leaned towards her as if he were about to share a secret, “I’m friends with the owner, college buddies.”
“Oh, that’s nice.” Hazel said, “Well… have a nice day then.”
Morgan called to set up a girls night out that evening, just them, the “single broads” as she had put it. Hazel agreed without a second thought. Since returning home from the studio, she couldn’t get her mother’s biological clock thoughts out of her head, and to have her long time friend say such hurtful, and possibly true things. Hazel just wanted to get a drink and unwind.
They made plans to meet up at Shag’s that evening, and Hazel got ready a little past three and decided to visit her neighbor that lived on the floor under hers. She locked her apartment, bidding adieu to Juno, and headed down the elevator. She tried to get to know her neighbors, and found that Cara was quite pleasant, but the man who lived on the floor above hers wasn’t social in the least.
Duke started howling from the other side of the thin wood door and she could hear Cara scolding him as she made her way to the door. Her exasperated look disappeared when she saw Hazel. “Oh come in!” She stood back and held her arm out in a welcoming manner. “Thought you might be 3B again complaining about Duke.”
“You look fabulous!” Hazel said. “I didn’t know you were expecting again.”
“I haven’t told anyone yet, but now it’s hard to hide it. I’m only four months pregnant.” she looked down at her belly, “I guess it’s true what they say about popping sooner with second babies.”
“I guess that would make sense.” Hazel didn’t know they even said it. Maybe she was shallow about her body image, she did enjoy working out, jogging, and yoga, and she was signed up to learn tai chi during the next session. But she didn’t feel vain over it; it was enjoyable to her. “So what are you going to do? Is there room for a second baby in here?” Cara had the only two bedroom unit in the building, but it wasn’t immaculate in any way.
“That, I don’t know. Charlie talked of moving in with me, but I don’t know if he means here or somewhere else. We didn’t really plan on any of this.” She sighed, “My work makes everything complicated. I have duties I have to serve out of the area, and I can’t while pregnant obviously, but can’t put it off forever. It’d be nice knowing our neighbors, well you.” she smiled, “Incase Charlie has any problems with the baby and Rachael loves you of course.”
“I hope you don’t move, I love having you as a neighbor. Where is that little Rachie-cake anyway?” Hazel peeked into the living room to see her happily chewing on the dog bone.
“See!” Rachael held the bone up with a triumphant smile.
“She just woke up from her nap, so this is the best time to play with her. She’s absolutely running me ragged with work, and her taking a shorter nap.” Cara plopped on the sofa and Hazel took a seat on the floor.
Hazel sang nursery rhymes with Rachael, and tickled her belly. She thought to herself, that maybe parenthood isn’t so bad. Maybe she could do it. If Cara and her brother could as young adults, why couldn’t she at twenty-eight, or thirty. She didn’t think it could be that hard of a job if everyone else did it, but she knew that wasn’t true. She knew how hard it was for Finn and Nicole, and seeing exhausted Cara, she knew single parenthood was even more exhausting.
The afternoon was spent, sipping decaf tea with Cara and playing with Rachael while Duke laid in the corner panting and showing more gray in his fur than a few months back. When the sun fell early behind the gray sky, Hazel slipped out and took a taxi to Shags. She found Morgan standing under the glowing open sign, her face tinted red and blue from the light.
“Now Lady, we are going to have fun like singles are meant to!” She shouted as Hazel stepped from the cab. Shags was filled with people, dark strobe lights, and the smell of liquor and peanut shell dust. A man with a large broom made his rounds with a wide broom keeping the peanut shells off the dance floors.
After a few drinks they headed out on the dance floor, their laughter full and their worries gone.
“Oh my GOSH!” Hazel turned from the stage. “That’s the guy from the studio! The one I told you about, with the guitar?”
Morgan turned to look, and he looked down with a grin. “Don’t LOOK!” Hazel gasped and swung her friend back around to face her. “Seriously, woman, what’s your deal? You never look directly at the subject.”
“I know that. But totally not my type.”
“How so? He’s cute, talented, and definitely has a rocking body. What’s your complaint? No beer gut to get your groove from?”
“Shut up! You know beer guts freak me out.” Hazel looked horrified. “No, he just doesn’t talk. Like at all. I think he said two words the whole time. I like conversations.”
“Soo you think he should have told you his views on War and Peace? Or if he believes the moon landings were fake?” Morgan teased. “Give me a break.”
The men took a break from their singing and guitar rocking, and they took advantage of the open karaoke. Hazel felt her eyes drawn to him, and she could feel his eyes on hers when she wasn’t looking. She dated many men, and didn’t understand why she was off her game lately, with Andrew and now this strange man.
They bellowed out Pat Benatar’s song, “Heartbreaker” and got a whooping cheer from the bar. Hazel bowed too deeply and nearly took Morgan over the edge of the stage with her, but Morgan steadied her and they retired to the bar. The evening was growing later, and some of the patrons had gone home, though the crowd hadn’t really died down so much as it changed it’s focus from rock and roll karaoke to the blues.
Hazel was past her point of social awareness, and was ranting to Morgan, and eventually the guitar man over Leah. She hadn’t realized he’d come up and sat next to her, but she included him and his friend in the conversation easily.
“I can’t believe we’re best friends! How does someone say I’M jealous of her because she’s having her third kid! Good luck with that!” Leah scoffed and took another drink. “Heck! I PITY her! How about that? Pity, Pity, Pity!”
“Anyone can have a kid! It’s not anyone who can sustain and hold out for the right one, right? Am I right or am I right?” Hazel leaned towards him. “You know I’m right. You’ve seen young girls who want babies, too right? And teenage mothers, and single mothers, and high school sweethearts tying the knot before their high school diplomas had a chance to dust.”
“It’s good wait for the right one.” Guitar man said.
“I agree!” Hazel enthused and slammed her empty drink on the counter.
He laughed a little, “Glad we agree.”
“Dude check out the older guy, don’t need to check his license to get a drink.” The guitar man joked. The older man came to stand next to him, and Hazel looked up, in surprise.
“Dad?” the guitar man choked. “Dad?”
Hazel stepped away from the bar towards her Dad. “What are you doing here?”
“Is that a boy you like?” He asked, ignoring her earlier question. “He’s good looking. Think it will lead to anything?”
“What? Dad, you’re being gross. And yes, I like him. So get out of here.”
“Will do. See you this weekend for dinner, unless you make plans with him, then you’re excused.” George took his leave quietly, Morgan shouted out a goodbye to him, and he was gone as quickly as he had come.
The guitar player had apologized for calling Hazel’s dad old, and she laughed that he was, and the conversation took on random events. When the bartender announced closing time, they got up to leave.
“Hey, I didn’t get your name.” The guitar man called to her before she got out the door.
“Jude. Can I call you?” Hazel jotted her number on a match booklet.
After drinking, Morgan generally slept at Hazel’s apartment in the city, instead of taking a taxi back to her parents house in Millwood. They got in after two am, and felt energized from the evening. They couldn’t stop laughing about her Dad showing up, or how she gave her number to the man.
“I’m sick of living with my parents out in dullsville.” Morgan complained. “Do you care if I stay with you until I find an apartment in the city?”
“Get out! I’d love that! Heck, I’d let you live here forever if I had a second room.”
“Thanks. I really need some space from my parents, spread my wings or something.” Morgan leaned over the edge. “It’s so great here in the city, the noise, the people, the excitement. I like it.” Her voice softened as she looked out.
“I like it too.” They were quiet, listening to cars honking and sound of the waves in the distance, you couldn’t hear it this far north during the day, but at night it was there. Hazel loved sleeping with her window open in the summer to have it lull her to sleep. “I’m not so young anymore.” She spoke softly. “But I’m not too old ether. If I find love, I do. I’m not baby obsessed, and I’m definitely not jealous of Leah having her third baby, for Sim sake! I’m not jealous of that at all!”
“Amen sista!” Morgan burst into more laughter, and the upstairs neighbor yelled out his back door at them, and they laughed their way inside.
Notes: I totally LOL’d when Hazel’s Dad, George came to the bar! Leah WAS super sensitive/grumpy at the yoga studio with Hazel only, everyone heart farted her so I don’t know what her deal was, hormones? Hazel was all ranty at the bar about best friends and talking about toys, and just going on and on. Morgan and Jude shrugging their shoulders to her, and smiling. I loved it. And then her Dad popping up! He never goes out that late at night, and I’ve never seen him at the bar before. Maybe him and his wife are having a harder time adjusting to an empty nest than I thought. George is GAGA over babies. He wants another grandbaby like I want fancy coffee. I can’t imagine he wants Finn to have anymore, Goodness No thanks! And I can’t see him wanting Violet-Adele to have one, so it must be his golden girl Hazel.
So this update shows off my newest pregnant sims in their belly glory, Cara (ROS) with Charlie Grimsley (Bekah will be thrilled to get rid of him) and Leah Millett with her hot hubby Grant (most ladies in the town have 3 bolts for him), both ladies are due in the summer. Leah really is shallow about her looks, at the Northern Moose (family owned business) she gets a lot of attention from the guests, but Kenzie Goss gets more, and Leah gives her the meanest looks, and they have no negative relationship or beef with each other. So I take it as she wants all the attention and doesn’t want to share the limelight.
As for Hazel, she has lots of one or low two bolts. She likes fit, mechanically inclined men, and apparently there is a lack of them in South Port/ Millwood. Violet-Adele has different likes, but same kind of low boltage… picky girls those McCarthy’s. Grace may marry Benjamin before her aunt Hazel settles down, and no there is no discussion of Grace and Benjamin marrying, no wants rolled of that kind. For the curious, Hazel is a popularity sim. And at the end of her round, Morgan moved in but it will be temporary as it’s a one bedroom unit.
As a side, I’m absolutely LOVING my 2 year business college! Rebecca’s class is my first that had all the rules and graduated. She is awesome for businesses (the purpose of the 2 year school). They have to pick a major, get all the skill points required of a 4 year degree, and get 3 business related badges, it could be one focus all in gold, or three in bronze, or one silver and one bronze, so forth. But Rebecca was ready to be promoted to manager on her first day on the job. I like it.