Personal Matters


April 2024

Samantha Bradshaw is 24; Cory Green is 48

It didn't feel like spring, Samantha thought.  The weather was spring-like, warm and sunny, but spring was supposed to represent things like rebirth and hope and new beginnings... things that just didn't seem right, after Cory's early morning phone call to explain why the bookstore would be closed today.
With an unexpected free day, Samantha was at a loose end.  After a few hours of trying to do anything other than think about what had happened, she found that she needed to get out of the house.  She wandered around town with no plan of where to go and, almost without realizing, found herself walking in the direction of the shop.

It was closed, of course, but Samantha was surprised to see the lights on.  The front door was locked, and knocking got no response.  So she slipped though the alley and climbed over the low wall behind the shop.  The back door into the break room was open.  No one answered her greeting, but she found Cory on the office floor, scrubbing furiously at the carpet although any mark that had been there was long gone.



He looked up at her.  "What are you doing here?"
"I was going to ask you the same thing.  Shouldn't you be with Rose?"

He continued to scrub.  "Rose is with her family.  They don't need extra people around right now."
"Are you ok?"
He stopped and looked up again.  "Sure.  Why?"
"If you rub that much more you'll be down to the floorboards.  What are you doing, anyway?"
"Kyle vomited on the carpet... actually, no, he vomited on his cousin, but the carpet got it too"
"Kyle was here?"  He hadn't given any details in his phone call.


Cory nodded.  "This is where we found him,." he said, sitting down on the floor and staring at the puddle he'd created.  "He was lying over there, he had his phone in his hand, and the - "
"We?  Wait a minute, you - ?"
"Yeah, with his wife and his cousin.  The cousin's a doctor, which was a good thing because they said we cut it close.. He took about a months' worth of antidepressants.  If  we'd been much later... "


"But he'll be ok, right?  I mean, you said earlier that - "
 "He'll be fine... physically, at least... they say he'll live.  As for the rest of it... ". He shrugged.  "They're saying we just have to wait and see... ".   He stood up.   "Have you had lunch?  I'm hungry.  I think we should go get something to eat."
"Eat... um... no".  She took this to mean that the subject of Kyle was closed.
"Its a nice day," he said.  "Lets go to the park."

----

The park had been a good idea, Samantha decided.  After they had eaten, they found a quiet spot to sit on the grass.  Cory lit a cigarette and they made small talk for a while, until the conversation dissolved into a companionable silence.  Lying back with the sun on her face, Samantha was starting to doze.


"Can I ask you question?" Cory suddenly asked. "About a personal matter?"
"Only if I can ask you one, too" she replied drowsily.
"Only if I can have the option to not answer."
"Only if I can, too."


"Fair enough... " he said.  "It just that I was thinking about how you arrived here... what were you running away from?"
She sat up, surprised. "How did you know that I was running away from something?"
"I didn't,"  he said, "at least, not for sure.  But I do now."
"You tricked me!"
 "I'm sorry, ok.  But I only want to help."   The words came out in a rush.  " I mean, whatever it is you're running away from... if its something you've done, or something someone's done to you... whatever it is, maybe we can do something to fix it.  "

Samantha was torn between being touched by his concern, and being annoyed by the somewhat familiar intrusion. "Did your father put you up to this?"
Cory shrugged.  "I just know that there aren't many things that can't be fixed somehow, no matter how bad it seems.  Maybe we can fix it so you can go home again."
"But what I was running away from has nothing to do with going home.  I'd been away from my hometown for some time before coming here.  There's nothing to stop me from going back, except that I don't want to.  I'm not running away from anything there."


"There are lots of different kinds of running away."
"Cory - "
"Ok, " he said reluctantly.  "but if you change your mind..."
"... I'll talk to you.  But I'm fine, really.  I just don't have any reason to go home.  And its my turn to ask you something."  He nodded.


"What happened, with you and your ex-wife... why couldn't you take custody of Sam?" 
"You mean you don't know?"  He seemed genuinely surprised.
"No.  How would I know?"
"It's a small town... I thought everyone knew."  he stammered.
She shook her head.  "If its no secret, then tell me - why couldn't either of you take custody of Sam?  Why do you still think its better for your father to be her guardian rather than you?"
"That's two questions,"
Samantha shrugged.  "... but I'll bet its one answer, right?"



He nodded. "Ok.  When my first marriage broke up, I started drinking... no, to be honest, I started long before that, but that was when it got really out of control.  I'd just found out that my wife had been cheating on me.  It had been going on for over three years.  I also found out that the baby I thought was our second child, actually wasn't mine."
"And... and you thought I'd already know about this?!"
"It's hard to keep secrets here... but, yeah, things got messy, stuff happened, and it took a while to sort it out... I could hardly look after myself, never mind a child... but we wanted Sam away from her mother.  That's why she ended up with Dad."



"And... now?" she asked.
"I haven't had a drink in about six years".
"And after that long, you still thought someone would have told me about it?"
He shrugged.  "Like I said... its a small town.  I kind of got used to everyone knowing everything.  But I like the fact that you didn't know - I mean, I don't mind a friend like you knowing, but maybe its not the first thing about me that people think of anymore."
"But... after this much time... why does your father still has custody of Sam?  Are you afraid you'll start drinking again or something?"
He nodded.
"But is that very likely?"
He shrugged.  " I just don't like taking the risk, at least, not where Sam is concerned. 

They sat in silence again, Samantha replaying the conversation in her head, trying to integrate this new information into the picture she'd already had of him in her mind.  Trying to understand why, of all the things he'd said, the one she kept coming back to was the relatively insignificant revelation that he thought of her as a friend.
 
"For what its worth," he said thoughtfully, "in a strange way there were actually some good things about it - the drinking, I mean.  I think it saved me from doing what Kyle did... because I think maybe, the aim was the same... I was just too much of a coward to do anything more direct."
"I don't think that what Kyle did was brave."
He shook his head.  "That's not what I mean, I just... maybe it was just that the drinking took the edge off enough that I just didn't want to end it... I used to think that, anyway, but now I'm not so sure... at the end of the day, isn't it all just different roads to he same destination?"


"Is that what you were thinking about, back at the shop?"
"I was thinking about a lot of things."  He was silent again for a long moment, then he suddenly asked, "do you like to skate?"
"Do I what?"
"Skate.  You know, roller skate.  The rink is over there, and I haven't skated since I was a kid.  Shall we?"  He was already on his feet.


"Um, yeah, whatever."  Samantha tried to follow another slightly bizarre change of topic.  But then pretty much nothing he said or did could surprise Samantha after this afternoon.  She got up and followed him across the park.

Samantha hadn't skated since she was a child, either.  It turned out that she wasn't very good at it.


Nor was Cory, for that matter.


But it didn't stop them from enjoying themselves.


Even if it did lead to the inevitable crash-landing in a tangled heap.



Cory was first to untangle himself.  "I should get back to the shop," he said, "I need to try to dry that floor out".

Samantha followed him slowly.  He waited for her at the side of the rink.  For a long moment, she just stood there, watching him.


 ----

Inspired in part by both Samantha and Cory rolling wants to go roller skating, the day after Kyle tried to off himself... Seize the moment, perhaps?  That's how I'm taking at it, anyway... :)

Cory's story is pretty much how I played it at the time, a few sim years ago, the result of the collision between when a bunch of in-game stuff and some extremely well-suited ROS over a couple of sim-years.  You'll learn more (from a story and gameplay pov) in another post, as Cory has left out some important parts, but we'll get back to that later :)

And, Samantha...!  She's been rolling all kinds of wants for Cory, ever since they met - three bolts, and she's even tried flirting a few times, although without much success.  And its all very well to seize the moment, but maybe you need to be at least a little selective about your moments...


... so his wife is standing right there, and you're surprised that he rejected you?! :)  I'm pretending this never happened... she seems to have forgotten within five minutes anyway, since that's how long it took before she tried again... :)

This may or may not be an improvement on having the hots for his father... at very least, I think it has more storyline potential... :)

7 comments:

  1. Oh dear, Sam he's married and his family has some major issues right now...leave that one alone.

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  2. Oh, Samantha! Stay away from the married guys!

    Your hood already has so much history to it. It makes for a very rich story.

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  3. So Kyle's going to pull through? Thank goodness - maybe this will be a turning point for him.

    The interactions between Cory and Samantha feel very real and natural; but please, Samantha, be careful! I really don't see how this can end well.

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  4. Everyone, thanks for the feedback. I've been telling Samantha to stay away from Cory but she's not listening to me either! :)

    She's rolled wants and shown attraction for several guys in my hood, but she keeps coming back to wants for Cory - maybe, in-game, its because they've spent more time together and built up a stronger relationship through working together. Because he seems to be the one she wants the most, I decided to go with that in the story.

    I don't know where this will go... obviously she has to leave at some point, for some reason, but until that comes closer, I'm just going with their wants and the things that happen in-game. I can say that, having played ahead of here a bit, its going to get more complicated before it gets any better.

    Apple, yeah, bad choice for many reasons... she'll be digging into his family issues a bit more in the near future.

    Carla, I thought about starting a new hood for my blog but I'm glad I stayed with this one. In the new hood I might be tempted to write and re-write the characters' backgrounds to suit the current story. While I could do that with this hood, too - no one reading it would know - I'm enjoying the fact that I have that history to draw on and I want to stay true to it.

    Even before I was blogging, I was imagining my gameplay into a story as if I were writing it, and so much of that past story fits in with what is happening now. As you say, it makes it all the richer.

    Claire, good point, someone else picks up on the turning point idea in the next post :)

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  5. Oh Sam! I could feel in the story that there was an attraction there. lol on her trying again five minutes later. I adore Cory. <3

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  6. Those two, what a lovely conversation! Great dialogue! You're very good at this! :)

    And awww, "a friend". I caught that too when he said it :) And somehow still, I'm not surprised that she's thinking of him that way (the heart-farty way, lol!). She's so love-starved that any fondness would register with her. I smell trouble!

    Ha, I love stories that get more complicated before they get better ;)

    But I'm glad to hear Kyle is going to recover.

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  7. Thanks, Laura... its about version #30 of the dialogue so I'm glad it works... lol...

    I think Samantha is smart enough to know that this probably won't go anywhere, but she can't change the way she feels... I get that idea too, of her being so love-starved, that this friendship he gives her might mean more to her than it would if she'd had more affection in her life overall.

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Thanks for reading and commenting!