Monday, 25 April 2011

CHAPTER 4.2: Natural beauty

Iris flicked through the photo's she had taken in Champs Le Sims.

The steam train rolling through the hills had taken her ages to capture.

 But not nearly as long as the frog jumping from the pond had taken.
Her favourite by far was the moon fading into the horizon just before the sun made it's morning appearance.
She had to sneak out of the hotel extra early to capture that one.

As she sorted through them she smiled, France had been an amazing place so full of natural beauty she could have stayed forever roaming the hills and revisiting the amazing lake she had found. 

It had been so peaceful, not another Sim in sight and there in the shade of the trees she had been surrounded by at least ten different varieties of butterfly.
She didn't think she would ever see anything as beautiful as that spot.

The holiday had rejuvenated the entire family especially Finlay and Charlie who were acting like teenagers again, always cuddling and kissing each other and grossing out the kids.

But Hope had resumed her position back at the play area.

She had hoped that during their two weeks away Grady would have made some improvement, but her visit that morning found his condition unchanged.

As she sat on the swing she had so loved playing on as a child she wished bitterly that she could go back to those days, when everything on reflection seemed so simple.

"Hope you have a visitor!"  Charlie called disrupting her thoughts.

Looking up in response to the call she saw Chase Cunningham waiting by the gate to the house, she hadn't seen him since graduation.

After the night of Grady's accident when Chase had comforted her she had felt nothing but embarrassment whenever she saw him. 

She had talked him into going to look for Grady and Neriah and gotten him arrested for his troubles. 
The police had assumed that Chase was in some way responsible, but thankfully her father had managed to persuade them of his innocence.

"Hey."  He said, smiling broadly as he sat at the swing next to her.

"Hey yourself.  It's been a while."  She replied.

"Nothing much has changed around here."  He laughed, "Still the same old Bridgeport, same beautiful Hope."  He added cheekily grinning at her.

Hope couldn't help it, her lips would not resist the grin and she beamed at his compliment.

"Hey, there's the girl i remember."  He said returning her smile.

The two of them sat and caught up for what seemed like hours until Charlie called that dinner was ready.

"There's plenty to go around, can you stay?"  She asked Chase, who nodded hungrily in reply.
"So Chase."  Finlay started, "What have you been up to since school?"

"I enrolled in the police training programme about a year ago and i just graduated so i start on the force next week."

"Right here?  In Bridgeport?"  Charlie asked.

"Yes Ma'am."  He replied dutifully.

"That's what we need, more brave young men like you willing to step up to protect this City."  Finlay said.

"Well we've got a lot to protect here Sir."  Chase replied, eyeing Hope discreetly.

"Dad, stop with the twenty questions."  Hope pleaded.

"Just trying to get to know the young man who put a smile on my daughters face is all."  Finlay replied making her blush furiously.

She got up and began clearing the table but Chase jumped up, "Oh let me help you."  He offered prompting more blushes from Hope.

Finn and Charlie exchanged knowing looks.

"Here let me."  Chase said taking the plates from Hope and stacking them in the dishwasher.

"You don't have to do this."  She said.

"I know."  He smiled.

"Chase?  How did you get into the academy?"  Hope asked.

"Well after my Dad freaked out about me getting arrested that night he made me promise to stay out of trouble so i agreed to finish out my last year at Bridgeport High and enrol. You just need a High school diploma that's all.  Why do you ask?"

"Can anyone enrol?"  She replied smiling sweetly.

"Sure, why?  You're not thinking about it are you?"

"If i was, where would i go to sign up?"

"Meet me tomorrow and I'll show you."  He offered.

The next day Chase waited anxiously outside as Hope entered the police station. 

She would need to get through the interview stage but if they liked what they heard she could enrol in the academy straight away.

"Well?"  He pressed as soon as she exited the building.

"They said they had a lot of applicants this year, so they're only taking on the best students."  She replied not meeting his gaze.

"Oh well never mind there's always next year."  He said sensing her fragility over the subject.

"But luckily for me i got straight A's at school so I'm in!"  She revealed.

"Your in!  Ha!  That's amazing!"  He yelled picking her up and swinging her around.

"Chase!  Put me down!"  She called, holding onto her skirt hoping she hadn't revealed herself.

"I'm sorry Hope it's just so amazing to see you like this i mean yesterday you looked so lost it was like you'd given up on life, but look at you now."  He answered stroking her cheek.

"Seeing you made me realise that life goes on, it has to."  She told him, "I can't punish myself for what happened to Grady anymore but maybe if i can stop it happening to someone else, if i can save just one person then maybe..."  She trailed off.

"You will save more than one person, I'm certain of it."  He said.

When Hope told Finn the news he was understandably worried.

"Hope this is a difficult job and very dangerous."  He lectured.

"But you said it yourself Dad the City needs people like me and Chase to protect it, I just want to help people."  She pleaded.

"You don't have to worry Mayor Traytor, I'll look out for her."  Chase interjected.

It wasn't long before Chase became a regular fixture at the house, he would come over every day to help Hope with her training and their relationship soon blossomed into more than friendship, especially when Hope saw him in his uniform for the first time.

But all these couples had began to make Iris feel decidedly left out. 

It seemed like everywhere she turned there was someone making out or cuddling, even meal times left her feeling like a gooseberry.

She suddenly felt more alone than ever before, as if she wasn't already different from her sisters she now felt totally inferior to them. 

She was pretty sure that her Dad must be regretting his decision as it seemed like she would be his only daughter never to settle down.
"Ivy?"  She called knocking and entering her sisters room, "Do you have a minute?"

Ivy continued preening herself in the mirror, she was pulling and pressing at her face and making strange noises.

"Erm, i'll come back."  Iris said backing towards the door.

"No need I'm done!"  She said, "Just exercising my facial muscles, my face needs to be expressive for the cameras."  She explained.

"Erm OK.  Can i ask you something?"  Iris ventured.

"Is it weird that i don't have a boyfriend?"

"Weird?  No, not weird just a little strange."  Ivy replied trying to be diplomatic, "I mean it's fine and all but honestly some of the guys at school have started to wonder if your playing for the other team."  She said winking conspiratorially at her euphemism.

"Oh."  Iris said, she hadn't been expecting that reply, "So you think i should go out on a date then?"

"Why not, it can't do any harm.  Ooh what about Craven, he's totally single right now!"

"Should i ask him out?"  Iris asked.

"No way!  We don't do the asking, the boys come to us."  Ivy instructed, "I'll tell Bobby to ask Craven to meet us at the park and we'll go from there."

"OK, thanks?"  Iris replied, suddenly feeling like she had made the biggest mistake ever.

The next night and the girls headed over to the park where Bobby and Craven were waiting for them.

Craven was part of Ivy and Bobby's crowd and one of the most popular boys at school, he had just recently broken up with his girlfriend and was "just looking to hang out", Ivy had assured her

"Hey you!"  Bobby called, walking straight passed Iris and embracing Ivy.

They began making out immediately, as always, leaving Iris standing alone like a third wheel.

"Doesn't it make you sick!"  Craven said nodding towards the pair.

Iris shrugged, "I think it's sort of sweet, they've been together so long."
"How about you Iris?  How come i never see you with any of the guys from school?"  Craven asked.

Iris flushed at the memory of Ivy's words about her playing for the other team, she wondered if Craven was one of the boys who thought that.

Shrugging she replied, "I guess I've just not met the right guy yet."

Craven smiled at her response and nodded towards Bobby, "Hey come on he's lighting a fire."
The four of them sat around the fire pit trading gossip about school friends and mimicking teachers they disliked.

Iris wondered why she had been so uptight about hanging around with Ivy and Bobby's friends before, Craven seemed like a nice guy and he kept smiling her way.

Soon it was almost curfew and as Bobby and Ivy said goodbye by chewing each others faces off Iris once again found herself waiting awkwardly for her sister.
"You know we don't have to just stand and watch them, we could have a little fun too."  Craven said sidling close to her.

Iris felt the awkwardness increase as Craven pressed closer and closer, she raised her arms and blocked his advances, "I don't think so Craven, we only just started hanging out tonight."

"Aw come on Iris, just one kiss.  You'll enjoy it i promise."  He persisted, moving forward to kiss her.

"I really don't feel like it Craven."  Iris replied, pushing against his chest more firmly than before.

"Come on just one little kiss."  He insisted grabbing her waist and pulling her to him.

"I said no!"  She hissed under her breath, not wanting to cause a stir.

"The guys were right about you, you are a dyke!"  Craven spat nastily.

Ivy pulled away from Bobby's lip lock to check on her sister, it looked like she and Craven were arguing not making out! 

Typical Iris, she probably started telling him about her bug fetish, Ivy thought rolling her eyes. 
But then she caught sight of her sisters face and realised something more serious was occurring.

Rushing over she said, "Hey is everything alright?"

"Can we go home now please?"  Iris asked, tears glinting in her eyes.

"What did you do to her you jerk!"  Ivy yelled turning on Craven instantly.

"What!  It's not me it's your sister she's frigid."  Craven yelled in reply.

Iris felt her face turn bright red at his harsh accusation and before the tears began to fall she turned on her heel and ran from the park. 

She should have trusted her instincts, boys were all the same.

"Are you sure you're OK?"  Ivy asked for the hundredth time once they were both back at home.

"Ivy please I'm fine."  Iris confirmed.

"I feel so bad about fixing you up with Craven, no wonder his girlfriend dumped him, he's a total pig."

"Maybe he's right about me."  Iris mumbled.

"You mean about liking girls?"  Ivy ventured.

"No, not that part.  But what if i am frigid, i mean I've never even kissed a guy before."
"Oh well you should be thankful you didn't start with Craven, Julie West told me he kisses like a hoover!"  Ivy replied.

The girls giggled, "Wait if you knew that then why'd you fix me up with him!"  Iris laughed, play punching her sisters arm.

"I'm sorry Iris, but you shouldn't listen to what Craven or anyone else says.  You'll kiss a guy when you meet the right one."  Ivy said giving her a hug.
Later that week Charlie and Finn received the girls report cards, both of them were doing excellent at school and had made it onto the honour roll.

"We have to get them something."  Charlie declared.

"Well i think we both know what Ivy wants."  Finn laughed.

Everyday since she was twelve Ivy had stood in front of her mirror rehearsing the audition she would give when she finally got to go to Ms Rossini's acting academy, an after school programme which specialised in preparing young actors for their glittering careers.

"So it's agreed then, Ivy can go the acting lessons."  Charlie said clapping her hands in delight for her daughter, "But what about Iris?"

"I've got that covered."  Finn replied patting his wife's knee.

The next morning Iris woke to a gift, left out on her desk atop a note which read;

For Iris,

We are so proud of you. 

 Love Mom and Dad xx

It was her very own digital camera!

Iris picked it up carefully and flicked it on. 
The front whirred open revealing the lens and the digital display showed a view of her feet standing on the wooden floor.

"Well i think we can find something better than my feet to photograph!"  Iris said to herself.

She showered and dressed as quickly as possible and grabbed a toaster pocket before heading out towards the bay.

Although it wasn't her usual stomping ground, she had always wanted to see the waterfall from a distance, instead of the view from the top which she was normally rewarded with after her hikes.
She lined up the shot just right and captured the falls in all its glory.

Admiring her handy work she ventured further along the coast toward the beach, i bet i can find some interesting stuff to photograph along there, she thought.

Sure enough she found a crowd of water beetles congregating on the sand and she knelt down to inspect them more closely.

 When she looked up she noticed that she wasn't alone on the beach. 

Picking up her camera she zoomed in on them as close as possible.  It was two boys and a girl they were standing around near some surf boards talking animatedly. 
Suddenly one of the boys looked right at her.
Iris quickly put the camera down but it was too late he was walking over to her.
"So you trying to get a shot of the number one Junior surf champion?"  The boy asked cheekily, "What is it some kind of profile for the school paper?"

"I erm, I...."  Iris wasn't sure how to respond, but it didn't seem to bother the boy who kept right on talking about how he was some sort of surfing legend.

"You're not buying any of this are you?"  The other boy asked, running up behind his friend, "The only thing Dalton here is champion of is Kelly Slater's Pro surfer, Xbox 360!" He added in case she was a technophobe.

Iris tried to reply but her lips could do nothing other than smile, she could find no words.
All she could do was stare into the boys ocean blue eyes. 

Suddenly she realised that she had found something more beautiful than that hidden lake in France and he was standing right in front of her.



Scones For Cream Tea said...

Awwwww....the ending was adorable! I was worried for a bit there.

PiB said...

So has Iris finally found the right guy? She is a pretty girl, I'm glad she didn't let the one bully her into a kiss.