Time passes quickly in the Sim world. A year to us is a day to them and before long kids turn into teenagers and elders pass away. Anna had been suffering in silence for many years by the time she eventually passed. Esme had kept vigil by her bedside for many months so as hurtful as it was, it was a welcome relief when her pain finally stopped and she joined Carter up in heaven with the rest of the Starr family.
Being the sensitive soul he was Howie took the death of his grandmother the worst. He composed a tune for her funeral and would be found hunched over the piano tapping out the notes of the tune for weeks after her death.
“What do we do,” Esme said turning to Alfie as they watched their son drowning in turmoil. “He won’t talk to me about it. All he wants is to be on his own.”
“Then maybe that’s what we should do,” Alfie replied trying his best to comfort Esme. “Maybe we just need to leave him alone. He obviously has stuff to work out and he knows we are here if he needs us.”
“I guess,” Esme replied but she hated seeing her son so despondent. “Hey hunny,” she called. “Wanna come and help me make some of those tasty cookies you love so much?”
“No thanks mum, I just need to finish this,” Howie replied not even turning to look at his mum.
Esme stood watching his back for a while and then headed into the kitchen. She just hoped that he would come to her when he was ready. It was a mother prerogative to worry.
But what Esme and Alfie did not realise was that Howie was fine. In fact he was better than fine – right now he was on top of the world. Hard to believe I know considering his demeanor, but since aging up he had gotten to appreciate his own company more and more and was at his happiest when he was all alone – just him and his piano. But what had really gotten him all excited was the piece of music he had written for his grandmother. It had started out as a tribute to Anna – simple. But as he played and re-played the piece he could not help but realise how good it actually was and that maybe this was the piece he needed to get into Juilliard – the school for the musically gifted!
What Esme and Alfie saw as sadness and despair from their son was actually just focus and concentration to his ambition. He seemed to work better at night time and being alone was vital to his success.
School was a whole different ball game to Howie. He did not have many friends and who he did hang out with were mere acquaintances. In reality, he honestly did not feel much use for friendship and the obligations it bought. He socialized just enough to keep him sane and ensure that people did not notice what a loner he was. His main friend and foe was a boy called Alex who had a list of allergies as long as Howie’s arm.
Howie liked Alex because he was just as discreet as he was and could slip through school un-noticed for months if he wanted to. Plus Alex played the Bass and so could give Howie constructive criticism on his tunes.
But despite being a loner, Howie was still a red-blooded boy. He had tried all his life to commit all his passion and his all love into his music but somehow there was still some left over. Her name was Kiki and she was a cheerleader. But not just any cheerleader – the head cheerleader. Howie knew how cliché it was to fancy the head cheerleader but he couldn’t help it. He also knew their lives were worlds apart but that still did not stop him watching her at every given opportunity.
He would never in a million years have approached her. It was in fact she who approached him one day.
Howie had been so caught up in this music he had not noticed anyone enter the music room until she was standing right by him. He could smell her perfume, feel the heat of her skin next to his but still he refused to look up. “Hey,” he stuttered back.
“You’re Howie Starr right?”
“Yeah that’s me?” Why was she here, Howie wondered frantically. Why is she talking to me?
“Mr. Campbell said I could probably find you here.”
“Well here I am.” He knew he sounded stupid but his hands were quivering and he was trying everything he could not to allow the quiver to reach his vocal cords.
“So Mr. Campbell told me you’re pretty good at the piano,” Kiki said choosing to ignore Howie’s tone.
“Pretty good,” Howie scoffed. “I’m excellent!” Shut up shut up!
“Great then you are just who I need.”
Howie finally stood up at met Kiki’s eye, they were the deepest darkest brown and he could have sworn they twinkled at him.
“The thing is Howie; if I’m honest I need your help. I’ve written this song and Mr. Campbell said he thought it looked pretty good. He said I could use the recording studio but I needed someone to play the music for me. Could you help?”
“You’re a singer,” Howie asked cynically unable to hide his surprise.
“Yeah,” Kiki replied shyly. It the first time he had ever seen any bashfulness in her.
“Sorry I didn’t know,” Howie said trying to back track. He knew he had offended her with his manner.
“Most people don’t,” she said looking him in the eye. “Most people think I’m just an airhead cheerleader but hey – it’s easier that way. So what do you say?”
“Let me have a look,” Howie said reaching out for the sheet music. Kiki’s hand’s brushed against his as she handed it over and Howie knew he was in a whole lot of trouble.
But Howie was not the only member of the Starr family who was in trouble….
“So when are we going to meet this new man of yours Amy?” Georgia was sitting around basking in the sunshine during her lunch hour when her friend Jessica took the words right out of her mouth.
She looked around at her two best friends. Jessica had arrived at Bridgeport High three years ago and the three girls had bonded quickly. She was sharp and witty and did not stand for any nonsense, Georgia had liked her instantly!
Then there was her cousin Amy and her oldest and bestest friend in the world. But something was niggling in the back of Georgia’s head and had been for a while now. Since aging up they were drifting apart. It was so slow she did not think Amy even noticed but she did. It was little things – mainly their differences. Where Amy was bubbly and outgoing, Georgia was more reserved and thoughtful and did not always agree with Amy’s way of doing things, like sneaking out at night to meet up with various boys. Georgia in contrast was a hopeless romantic and believed in “the one” and leaving things to fate. She read her horoscopes every day and believed herself to be a true Sagittarian – fun loving, generous and extremely honest. Whereas Amy was an Aries – reckless and determined.
Amy had been harping on about the new love of her life for days now. They had met at the bowling alley the week before and Amy was certain she had fallen in love.
“How about this evening,” Amy said replying to Jessica’s question on meeting the notorious Luke. “I’m meeting him at the Diner after school so why don’t you guys come. I really want you guys to get along – this one means a lot to me.”
“Yeah that sound great doesn’t it Georgia,” Jessica chimed in.
“Definitely count me in,” Georgia replied. She had been intrigued by this new guy all week and finally she was getting to see what all the fuss was about.
“Can you put my hair up for me,” Jessica asked. Despite Georgia’s disaster with a pair of scissors, people still trusted her fashion judgments and she was still styling and fashioning her friends. “Sure thing,” Georgia replied a big smile on her face. Fashion always did that to her.
At 3pm on the dot, the three girls left school, hurrying across the playing field together to the Diner at the bottom of the park. “Maybe he’ll bring some friends for you guys,” Amy teased. Georgia just rolled her eyes; Amy knew how embarrassed she got when it came to boys. She did not have much experience. She had kissed a couple of boys true – but none of them had given her the butterflies that she had read about. Chemistry was apparently what it was all about and until Georgia truly felt it, she just could not be bothered with the losers at school.
When they arrived the Diner was pretty empty and Amy spotted Luke instantly. “Hey hunny she said waving at his back.” He spun around on his chair and a smile spread across his face at the sight of Amy.
He kissed her gently on the cheek then looked over her shoulder at Georgia and Jessica awkwardly waiting to be introduced.
“Oh sorry hunny,” Amy cooed realising she had forgotten all about her friends. “These are my very best friends Georgia and Jessica. I really wanted you guys to meet each other.”
Luke strode over to the girls and shook each ones hand. “It’s very nice to meet you,” he said looking Georgia in the eye when it was her turn.
He was beautiful – Georgia could not deny it. Amy had really done well for herself this time. She suddenly had this giddy nervous feeling and sat herself down at the table to steady herself.
The rest of the group shuffled on and Amy instinctively ordered a round of milkshakes and fries for the group. “Hey what if I wanted a Coke,” Luke said surprised at Amy’s brassiness.
“Oh don’t worry, Amy always order for us,” Jessica said. “You had better get used to it.”
“Sorry hunny, do you want me to order you a coke,” Amy cooed caressing Luke’s cheek and fluttering her eye lashes the way she does when she wants something from a guy.
“Nah a milkshake is fine sweetie,” Luke said falling for her charms. Georgia watched as he shuffled over and kissed her gently on the cheek.
For some reason Georgia suddenly felt very irritated by Amy. She looked down and stared at her milkshake – it was either that or having to stare at Luke fussing over Amy. Why am I so bothered, she asked herself? I’ve seen Amy with a million guys before. Why is this one different?
Georgia kept relatively quiet for the next hour. As usual she let Amy and Jessica steal the limelight, chatting and joking away trying to impress Luke with their charm and wit. Amy boasted about her recent brush with the law after being caught out after curfew and Jessica regaled Luke with her recent breakthrough in the science lab where she created a small explosion using mixture of nitric and sulfuric acid and a mixture of ethylene glycol and ammonium chloride.
“And what about you,” Luke asked suddenly turning to Georgia. He locked eyes with her and Georgia felt thunderbolts. She just stared back at him in surprise unable to speak.
“Oh Georgia’s into fashion,” Amy piped in when Georgia did not answer.
“Oh really, how so exactly,” Luke asked. All eyes were suddenly on her.
Georgia sat up straight and started twisting her sweaty hands around on her lap. “Well I erm like designing and styling. I have a whole portfolio at home.”
“Yeah but never let her near you with a pair of scissors,” Amy joshed bursting out into a fit of giggles. “I learnt the hard way.” She then told him the story of how Georgia had hacked away half her head when they were kids. Georgia sunk down into her seat again feeling very foolish, why did Amy always have to bring that story up!?
When they finally left the Diner, Luke and Amy snogged each other’s faces off before going their separate ways. Jessica chatted away to Georgia but for some reason she could not take her eyes off them.
After Luke was out of this sight and Jessica had left, Georgia and Amy started the long walk home to the Bridgeport Hills. “So what did you think,” Amy finally asked unable to contain herself any longer. “Gorgeous isn’t he?”
“Yeah he seems really nice,” Georgia answered coyly.
“Listen Georgia,” Amy said stopping still and turning to her. “I want to ask a big favor off you. I really like Luke, like really like him. He’s not like the other boys I have dated. I need to know if he feels the same way. Would you hang out with him a bit at school and try to gage how much he likes me?”
“I don’t think you have any problems there,” Georgia quickly replied. “It seems like he really likes you to me.”
“Do you really think so,” Amy smirked. “But I don’t know for sure and I really need to for my own sanity. Would you do this for me? I would really appreciate it?”
What could Georgia reply? No? Then Amy would need to know why and what would she say, because I have a crush on your boyfriend?! Because I felt the thunderbolts I have been waiting my whole life for with him? She had no choice. “Of course I will,” she said putting on her best fake smile.
“Thank you so much,” Amy said hugging her. “You’re the best friend ever.”
Georgia watched Amy look up the road after Luke and she knew she was in trouble!!!