Slight content warning: Creeper alert. More details here. Nothing explicit.
“She’s learning, Leo, we just have to be patient.”
Lyra winced as the sounds got progressively more out of tune. She hadn’t thought it possible, but somehow Shea seemed to be getting worse as the days went on. She looked over at Leo, taking in the way his hands were clenched around his phone. If he kept that up, it would probably be broken soon.
Another botched chord rang through the house, and she smirked as his eye twitched. She did love her twin, but she had to admit that she enjoyed watching him try to keep his temper.
Shea had asked for a piano for her birthday – an innocent enough request. However they hadn’t thought the placement of it through very well. An open plan living area was lovely for most things, but it did nothing to block out the sound. Maybe Ellie’s old room would have been a better choice.
Lyra looked over at Shea, examining her aura. It was green, with a hint of yellow around the edges. She stood up and walked over to her, smiling encouragingly at her. Shea knew she wasn’t very good, but she was enjoying herself. Lyra could admire that.
Shea looked over, grimacing. “I’ll get better, I promise.”
“I know you will. Practice makes perfect, after all.”
Shea looked over at Leo, frowning. “Was that my fault?”
“Nope. It was all him. Keep at it.” Lyra patted her on the shoulder and walked over to Leo, picking up a screwdriver. She might have a bit of schadenfreude going on when it came to her twin, but they’d fix it together. That’s what they always did.
She really didn’t want to go to the meeting.
She really, really didn’t. It wasn’t fair, in any sense of the word. Still, if she’d learnt anything over the past year, it was that life wasn’t fair. She slipped the disk out of the drive and back into it’s case before looking at the clock. The others wouldn’t be back for another hour. She shuffled through the disks at her side. French? No, she’d done that yesterday. Maths? Ew, no. She’d done that this morning – twice in one day would just be cruel. History? She sighed and opened the case. History it was, then.
Lyra missed being able to go to school. It was something she’d never thought would happen, but there it was. Instead of being surrounded by friends, getting excited about the end of year dance or playing tricks on the teachers, she was stuck at home, learning all her subjects from a computer. She’d heard Al talking about an art course that the school was running for graduates. Leo was looking through ads in the paper, circling jobs that he liked the sound of. None of them had been willing to hire a Sixan so far, but surely there would be somewhere for him out there.
She had to admit, she was jealous. They might not have the chances that Sims their age did, but they had the freedom to choose what to do about it. She had none. That was the point of tonight’s meeting. The government were sending someone to talk to her and by the end of the day her fate would be sealed. She hoped she’d be allowed to stay, at the very least.
“Lyra? Are you ready?”
He could hear her rushing around inside the house, and when she finally emerged…
Her smile almost fooled him. He opened his arms and she stepped forward, leaning into the hug. She was as scared as he was. He had to be brave for her.
“So, what’s he like?” she asked, squaring her shoulders. She looked like she was going to war, not a careers advice meeting.
“I don’t know. They said they’d send someone who was-” he paused. Perhaps he shouldn’t tell her.
“Who was what, papa?” she said, her eyes glinting.
“Who was used to dealing with ‘difficult’ cases,” he said, grimacing. He’d had to bite his tongue when the lady on the phone had told him that. Lyra wasn’t a difficult case. He’d almost thrown the thing across the room but Mal had walked in; he hadn’t wanted to worry his husband.
Lyra pinched the material of her shirt between her fingers and sighed. It was all very well and good saying that she’d make a good impression – she just wished it didn’t involve wearing such a dorky outfit. A bowtie, of all things…
“He should be here soon. Just breathe, ok?”
“I really don’t want this. Can’t I work from home instead? Grandma never had a regular job and she was happy – can’t I do that?”
“Lyra, you hate gardening.”
“Well, maybe not gardening, but painting?”
“The last time you had paints you ate them.”
“I was five, papa!”
He grinned. “You were ten.”
“Same difference. I won’t eat the paint.” She knew he was just trying to keep her distracted, but she smiled. It was working.
“How about a programmer? Dad can teach me!”
“You’ll have to ask him. You could be one of those ‘moddering’ people.”
“… that’s not what it’s called, papa.”
Lyra turned, eyes wide. He was here.
“… so that’s the deal.”
Lyra was in shock. Surely they couldn’t be allowed to do this. Her future was laid out in front of her – she had to take one of the pre-approved jobs, get checked up on regularly to make sure she wasn’t breaking any rules, don’t leave the designated areas and so on. She could live with that. That wasn’t the worst part. If she refused, she would be shipped to Sixam. She would have to leave her family. There was no self-employment option.
“You can’t do that. What if she-”
“I’m sorry, sir, but the rules are there. Your daughter broke them.”
“She’s only a teenager! If you have to punish someone, then choose me. I should have made things clearer to her – it’s my fault.”
The man pressed his lips together in what he obviously assumed was an expression of sympathy. It looked more like distaste from where she was sitting.
“We’re being lenient here, Mr Centauri. We’re giving her a chance, and I highly advise that she take it.”
“Excuse me,” Lyra said, “she is right here.”
“I apologise, Miss Centauri. I highly advise that you take it.”
She didn’t like him one bit. When she’d first seen him, she’d felt a glimmer of hope. He had a nice smile, and looked more like a friendly salesman than a life-ruiner. First impressions could be misleading.
Her stomach grumbled and she winced, a hand over her stomach. She’d been too nervous to eat. Lor looked at her and touched her hand.
“I’ll be right back,” he said, standing up. “It’s hard to make decisions on an empty stomach.”
Another growl signalled her body’s agreement, and he walked over to the barbecue. He kept his eyes on her, and she felt herself relax a little. He wouldn’t let anything happen to her.
The man seemed to relax, too. Maybe he’d just been nervous – her dad’s armtech was a bit unnerving to people who hadn’t seen it before. Maybe this wouldn’t be so bad after all.
“So, I have a list of businesses that are willing to let you work for them. It wasn’t easy, but at least you have a bit of choice. You’re welcome.”
He was a complete plum.
“Let me work for them?”
There must have been something in her tone that had warned him, because his smile faded.
“Well, yes. Not many people are willing to hire a… well, a… you know?”
“A Sixan? Or is it just me?”
He tugged at his collar. She could see a bead of sweat forming on his forehead, and felt a flash of vindictive pleasure. He should feel awkward.
“Both, really. I mean, what with everything that’s going on, not many people are willing to risk employing… well. They know it was you in San Myshuno, and they don’t want to be associated with the incident. You’re lucky I was able to find anyone.”
“The incident? All I did was audition for a dance school. Hundreds of people do that every year, but they don’t make any fuss about that.”
“Yes, but you’re-”
“Dancing was my dream. Don’t you understand? I just wanted a chance to prove myself. I’m a great dancer, sir. I’d been training for years.”
“I’m sorry, but that isn’t possible.”
“Why not? Why can’t I do what I love?”
“Because you’re a Sixan. You shouldn’t even be here. The auditions were held for Sim teenagers – you would have taken one of their spots. I know it doesn’t seem fair, but that’s the way things are. Maybe you could be a dancer on Sixam – do they have dancing there?”
Lyra’s fists were clenched under the table, and she forced herself to stay calm. How could he not hear how messed up his words were? Taking an opportunity from a sim? She’d been born and raised on this planet, and had worked just as hard as any of them. She wasn’t taking anything. She would have earned it like everyone else.
“So, first things first, I found an opening at Dewy, Cheatem and Howe as a filing clerk. There’s no customer interaction, so it’s perfect.”
“Woah, what did I say?”
She wasn’t glowing yet, but she could feel the energy rippling under her skin. She hadn’t come here to be insulted.
“Why is that your first thought? No ‘you’re good at organising’ or ‘it has potential for growth’ – just ‘the public won’t have to see you’.”
“I thought it would be a good thing! You wouldn’t have people staring at you that way.”
They shouldn’t be staring in the bloody first place, she felt like saying. Her words had dried up. She stood and turned away from him, counting backwards from thirty. When she reached zero, everything would seem better.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to offend you. There are some other options so, please, sit down. I’m trying to help.”
He pulled out the chair closest to him, and she eyed it warily.
“I thought you’d like to actually see the list instead of hearing it from me. That way I won’t put my foot in it again.”
She nodded and sat. He reached into his pocket, took out an envelope and placed it on the table.
“This is all the information we have. Hopefully something will catch your eye.”
She reached for the paper, but she froze when she felt something touch her leg. She looked down and saw his hand. Surely it was an accident, and he’d move it as soon as he realised.
He didn’t move it.
“If you can’t see anything you like, I might be able to put in a good word at the office,” he said, his hand slowly moving upwards and resting on her thigh. “I’m not a bad man. I want to help.” He squeezed her thigh, and she looked up at him. He was getting far too close.
“Take your hand off my leg or I swear I will c-”
“I’ve got food!”
He moved his hand, expression businesslike once more.
She could hear Lor walking towards them. She knew he’d only taken his eyes off of her for a minute – he could have burnt himself if he hadn’t – but that had been long enough. She didn’t turn around to look at her father. She didn’t take her eyes off of the man sat next to her.
“Is everything ok?”
“Everything is fine. I was just discussing your daughter’s options. There are some very generous offers out there.”
Yet she knew exactly which one he was referring to. How was he so sure that she wouldn’t speak up? She looked at him and he smirked.
“I see…” Lor said, setting the bowl down.
“So, Miss Centauri, are there any that appeal to you?”
Lor discreetly tapped the side of his head twice as he sat down, nodding slightly at her.
She read his mind.
What’s wrong? Something doesn’t feel right.
“Oh, nothing much, papa,” she said, loud and clear. “He was just propositioning me.”
“HE WAS WHAT?!”
“Now, now, there’s clearly been a misunderstanding here. I did no such thing. I’m a professional. Young lady, just because you aren’t happy with how things are doesn’t mean you can throw false accusations.”
“Papa? Can I?” she asked, gesturing at her head.
She watched in satisfaction as his mouth curled into a snarl. This was a side of him that people rarely got to see.
“Leave,” he said, voice cold.
“What the hell did she just do?”
“I said, LEAVE. Your boss will hear about this, have no doubt. If I see you near any of my children again-”
“Now, this has to be a mistake. Whatever she did, she’s lying.”
Lor pressed a button on his suit, and his arm began to whirr and glow. He slowly raised it, aiming at the man in front of him.
“I’ll give you one more chance. Leave. Now.”
He scrambled backwards, falling off the chair in his haste to get away. The two of them watched him run. Lor put his arm around her shoulders and drew her close.
“I’m so sorry. I shouldn’t have left. He’ll pay for this, I promise.”
Her stomach growled, and she giggled. If there was a hint of hysteria to it, he didn’t mention it.
“Papa? I really messed up, didn’t I?”
“No, you didn’t. You did everything right, Ly. I won’t let them send you away – it’s not your fault.”
“I know. I just…” she sighed. “Permission to swear?”
“Go for it.”
“Who the plum spends half an hour insulting someone and then tries to hit on them?! I’m half his plumming age! He kept saying how no one would want to look at me and then he feels me up? What kind of a plum move is that?! I hate him!”
“I almost punched him. I swear if he hadn’t left…”
“I almost got my probe out.”
“Which one do you have with you?”
“The whisk one.”
“Good. The duck one isn’t as scary.”
“They’re going to make me leave.” She sounded like she was on the verge of tears, and his heart broke for her.
“Not if I have anything to say about it. By the way, I’ve got something for you.”
“Is it more food?”
“No, but it might help anyway.”
Lor handed her the envelope. It was crumpled now, but the paper inside was still intact.
“He didn’t take it?”
“I didn’t give him a chance. I slipped it off the table as soon as I sat down.”
Leo sat on the steps, twiddling his thumbs. They should have been back by now. Something had gone wrong – he’d felt it. He’d tried to contact her but she’d blocked him. She’d never done that before.
He sighed and tried again.
Ly? Are you ok?
I’m fine. I’ll be home in a minute.
He sighed in relief, hands shaking. She’d sounded a bit off, but she was talking again.
Content Warning: A man feels up the leg of a girl much younger than him, and says a few things that can be read as inappropriate. He doesn’t get away with it.
A/N: I didn’t plan on him being a pervert, he just suddenly started eyeing her up and leaning in close. Ew. If you were wondering, she was threatening to cut his hand off.
Lor kept getting up to cook, so after about the fifth time I let him get on with it.
Also, as of now I have lengthened the ‘Adult’ section by ten in-game days. Almost every teen in the game was an orphan (I have MCCC set to not marry off Young Adults to give my sims a chance to find someone, but sadly it means that the parents were dying early. Hopefully this will fix it by next gen’s kids and give at least some of them the chance to see their kids settled and happy.)