[Eliseo Bellini was made by phyrcracker93. I have a pretty model sim from TinyPiglet coming up in a future chapter as well 🙂 Thank you both. I also want to make a note that Astra doesnt stutter only because she’s nervous. It’s a speech impediment that the nervousness brings out.]
“Hello beautiful.” Astra jumped at the sound of the voice. She was at the television studio. Thad had told her to meet him right outside the door, which she had done. She hadn’t heard the man approach her. She blushed and looked away. Maybe if she didn’t say anything, he would walk away? No such luck. “What brings a fine specimen like you here?”
Specimen? That was lame. “Oh, I’m meeting someone here.”
“Who? Maybe I know them,” The man said.
“Well…wh-o are yo-u?” She stuttered.
He laughed. “Oh lookie here, a little firecracker. My name is Eliseo. Nice to meet you, pretty thing. I model here. And who are you?”
Great, another model. She was starting to hate this place again.
“Hey Eliseo, Astra is accompanying me this evening, so if you could kindly buzz off, that would be fantastic, thanks,” Thad said.
“Oh, hi Thad,” Astra said quietly.
“Is this jerk bothering you? He’s notorious for harassing pretty women,” Thad said.
She felt her face heat up again. “No, uh we were jus-t talkin-g.”
“It always seems like he’s just talking, but he’s not. He’s trying to do one of two things. Either get in your skirt or do something that will give him an advantage,” Thad told her.
“Really? You think that lowly of me? Just because I beat you out for that modeling gig, you’re acting like this? Beautiful, you’ve chosen a terrible person to hang around. He’s nearly thirty and still working the low gigs. He’s really just jealous,” Eliseo sneered.
Astra was taken aback by the animosity of the two. “Maybe we shou-ld go?” She murmured, tugging on Thad’s arm.
“Yeah, you know what? You’re right. This guy’s a jerk, just don’t talk to him anymore okay?”
Astra nodded. “Sweetie, if you want a real man, comem back to me. I know how to please a woman.”
Once inside and seated, Astra let out a breath. “Sorry about that,” Thad said. “Eliseo thinks he’s the greatest thing since sliced bread.”
“Well, he’s not,” Astra offered. “He seems, slimy.”
“Slimy indeed. Do you know how he gets all the top paying gigs? He sleeps with all the PR reps. It’s ridiculous, I mean, is he better looking than me? I’ve got no wrinkles, and my skin practically glistens, see?” He pointed to his exposed chest.
“I uh..” Astra’s voice trailed off as she looked in his direction. “I don’t kno-w?”
“Oh, I’m sorry. I promised I wouldn’t talk about modeling anymore. I brought you here to see a live cooking demonstration, nothing else. I just got ahead of myself there. Eliseo brings the worst out of me,” Thad grumbled.
“He i-s probably juu-st jealo-us,” Astra stammered. “He nee-ds to slee-p his way to the top.”
Thad smiled. “Yeah, I’d never do that. A job is just a job. You have to be really self centered to do that.”
“Ladies and gentleman-” Thad quieted when he heard the announcement. He nodded to Astra who smiled happily back. He hoped she would have a good time.
Twenty minutes in, and already there was an intermission. The guest the chef had with him had cut their finger with the knife and blood was everywhere. “We’re breaking, everybody. We appreciate your understanding and patience.”
Astra cringed. “Disgusting.”
“Ugh, I hate blood too.” Thad looked away.
“No, I don’t care about the blood. That person’s technique was terrible, no wonder they cut themselves. Why did they hold the knife at an angle like that? Did they think that would make it look fancier or something?”
Thad noticed that Astra had loosened up. She wasn’t stuttering, and she seemed really knowledgable and passionate about cooking. “It looked fine to me at first, until you know, the blood…I don’t understand what was wrong with it?”
“It was sloppy,” Astra explained. “By holding it at that angle, it was more appropriate for chopping really fast. Like vegetables. But, the steak needed to be thinly sliced, the meat is tougher. He needed patience and a steady hand. I’m surprised the chef didn’t correct him.”
“Well, maybe the chef isn’t as informed as you are. Where did you learn so much?” Thad asked, intrigued.
“I watched a lot of cooking shows growing up, but uh…they were from different chefs.” Supernatural chefs, but she wasn’t really allowed to speak of those. “And, I read a lot of books, and tons of trial and errors.”
“Have you ever cut yourself like that?” Thad wanted to keep the conversation going. He liked watching her speak so comfortably. Her face lit up and she began to speak so animately. It was like he was speaking to another person entirely.
“Oh yes, most definitely. But then I learned from it and didn’t do it again. I don’t mind so much that people make mistakes, I just wonder why the chef didn’t step in. If he only knew, then that person wouldn’t have gotten hurt,” Astra explained.
“They need someone like you on television, or in culinary school or something. And you’re only 18?” Thad clsoed his eyes and leaned his head against the wall. “Sometimes, when people are on tv, they get lazy and don’t keep up with their skills, it’s a shame.”
“I think thats stupid…” Astra sighed. “You should work hard at something you like. It shows who you are and-” She stopped, realizing the situation. “I uh, I…” She began to stutter.
“Please don’t stop on my account. I enjoyed listening to you. I can tell that you like cooking a lot,” Thad said. “Thanks for speaking with me.”
“Oh, uhm. Yes, thanks for lisening to me.” Her smile was small but genuine.
[Gabrielle Flowers was made by scentedfirechild]
“Hi hi, wow, didn’t think I’d see you around here again.” Astra turned to the source of the voice. It was the girl who had offered her a modeling audition in the first place.
“Hey,” Astra said quietly.
“We were seeing Masoni’s cooking show. It was sub par. I never noticed how lackluster his cooking skills were until now,” Thad said.
“Lackluster? Really?” Gaabrielle laughed. “Because someone got cut on his how?”
“He didn’t correct the celebrity’s technique, he could have prevented it…” Astra said in a small voice.
“Yeah?” Gabrielle seemed intrigued for a moment. “I’ll talk to the head of the company about that. You’re right, he should be more vigilant.”
“No!” Astra said quickly. “I don’t w-ant t-o be the reas-on he’s fire-d!”
“He won’t be fired, he just might be prompted to train some more, thats it.” Gabrielle shrugged.
“Listen…” Gabrielle pulled Astra to the side. “Please don’t worry about Chef Masoni. He’s full of himself anyway. Hes almost as bad as Gino Ferrari was. Man, these celebrity chefs think that they’re the Tom Cruises and John Travoltas of the world. But, they’re not. Thanks for the heads up.”
“Hey, listen. Are you going home right now? Do you have plans?” Gabrielle asked.
“I uh, the plan i-s to go ho-me,” Astra said.
“Can I bother you to do something for me? I’ll pay you.” She looked hopefully at Astra.”
“What is it?”
“Well, every so often these restaurants ask for our endorsement. While Plumbob Pictures has no problem taking in the advertising money, we want to make sure that we’re not advertising bad establishments. We’ll pay for the meal, and then some extra for your time, but can you go over to Bistro on 7th? If you know your stuff about cooking, like I think you do, then this would be awesome for us. What do you say?”
“It’s a great opportunity, Astra,” Thad said. “Take it.”
“Why don’t you go with her?” Gabrielle asked. “So Astra doesn’t have to eat alone.”
“What? I can’t. I don’t have any plans, but I don’t want to make her uncomfortable-” Thad began.
But, Astra cut him off. “That would be nic-e. C-an you com-e with me?”
“Of course.” Thad nodded. “I would love to. That would be really great. I’ve been meaning to try out their food anyway.”
“Just tell us about the quality of the food, what you think and the service.” Gabrielle reached into her pocket and produced a card. “Here, this is my email. I’ll give you the weekend to think about it, and send me an email with your thoughts. Thanks a bunch, Astra. I look forward to hearing from you.”
“Sounds like a sweet deal, huh?” Thad asked.
“Yeah.” Astra nodded. “This i-s wh-at I alwa-ys wanted to do. Kind of.”
“I was talking about the free food, but thats good too.” He smiled, and she laughed.
“Thats always good.”
“Right? That’s what I’m saying. I want to see your food expertise up close.”
“I’m not Gord-on Ramsey or anything,” She said. “I can’t sa-ve any kitchens.”
“You might be able to, how do you know?” He grinned mischeviously. “Let’s see how this goes.”
“Fried peanut butter and banana sandwhiches?” Thad asked. “Really?”
“What? Were you expecting something more fancy?” She asked.
“Kind of, yeah,” He answered.
She shook her head. “I’m very simple. Plus, if you mess up something as easy as this, then…well, it says something.” Again she was calm. She looked like she was concentrating. She took a bite, and then another.
“Well?” Thad asked.
“It’s not bad, but…” Thad was on the edge of his seat, literally. He leaned forward, hanging on her words. He didn’t know why it meant so much to him to find out her verdict, but he felt like he needed to know. “It’s a little overcooked, see the underside of the bread? It’s too blackened. Also, the bananas were picked too early. I wouldn’t give them a failing grade, but I wouldn’t give them above a six, and six is generous. I only put it so high because the waiters here are nice and patient.”
“Amazing,” Thad muttered. “You can tell when bananas are picked too early?”
“Can’t you?” She asked. “I thought it was common knowledge.”
“My roast chicken is to die for, but I can’t really cook much else,” He said. “I usually brag about it, but I don’t know if it’ll survive your scrutiny.”
“I’m not unreasonable.”
The two stood up after paying for their meal with the gift card Gabrielle had given them. “I’ll drive you home.”
“Oh, it’s okay, I can call my cousin, or-” She stopped. “N-o, probably not a good idea. Alistair hates you. The trai-n or a tax-i?”
“I promise I’m not dangerous. Why waste money and extra time? Just wait for me, if you don’t mind. I want to go and use the bathroom before we leave. Oh wait, that was rude of me to say wasn’t it?”
“Oh no, it isn’t. Thank you for driving me,” She answered sweetly.
“Of course,” He said. “I’ll be back, ‘kay?”
“Kay.” She nodded. When he left, she headed over to the fountain in front of the place. The sign behind it said to throw a coin in and make a wish, it would come true. She shrugged. She had nothing to lose, and she knew that magic was real. Maybe not coin in the fountain magic, but whatever. It must have been fun for people here to be superstitious. She closed her eyes and made a wish. A few wishes actually.
I wish to see my dad and sisters again.
I wish that Alistair will find time to relax.
I wish to get even more opportunities in the culinary world.
I wish to see Thad again.
“What did you wish for?” She jumped.
“Tha-ad! You sacred me!” She held her hand over her heart. “I can’t tell you my wish anyway. Then, they wo-n’t come true.”
Meanwhile, at home…
[Lucie was made by whisperinthesims, thanks!]
“Listen, Alistair, I’ve never done this before. Whatever this is.” She motioned between them.
“Cuddling and watching Netflix?” He asked. “Well, neither have I. I haven’t felt this way about anyone.” If Alistair was anything, he was painfully honest.
“Yeah, neither have I. I feel…drawn to you. I know we’ve only known eachother for a few weeks, so…is it wrong to feel this way?” She asked.
“Do you believe in love at first sight?” He asked.
“What does that have to do with anything?” She asked.
“I believe that when I walked into the pet store that day and asked if you guys were hiring, I knew I would fall in love with you,” He said. “Do you believe that something like that happens?”
“Wait…you knew…that means, you’re in love with me?” Her eyes widened.
“I…I can’t say love for sure, but, I want to be with you,” Alistair said. “Is that wrong to want that?”
“If it’s wrong, then I don’t want to be right,” She mumbled, eyes trained on his lips.
“Then the answer to your first question, is who cares if its wrong if we both want it?” He asked, inching closer to her.
“With that logic, then if we both want it…it’s not wrong?” She whispered, inching closer herself.
“I’m home!” Astra called out as she closed the door behind her.
Lucie seemed startled for a moment and tried to move back from Alistair but he gripped her shoulder firmly. “Al…”
“I waited a long time to feel like this…ignore the distraction,” His eyes were shut. “Let me kiss you.”
“Yes,” She whispered. “Kiss me.”
So, he did. He leaned in and pressed his lips firmly to Lucie’s. Astra couldn’t help but smile as she poked her head in. Normally, she might have been embarassed, but she was in a good mood. She quietly hung up her stuff, as not to disturb them and headed to her room. It looked liek one of her wished came true, Alistair seemed to have a moment to relax, and hopefully, this girl, whoever she was, would help him loosen up a bit. She looked pretty, too. She was proud of him for scoring a babe.
“Hey, you’re back!” Cadence exclaimed. “Finally, I’;m bored out of my mind. Alistair is being all ‘don’t bug me, blah blah blah!’ And theres literally nothing to do in here. I’ve been online shopping for hours, but I have no money to buy what I want.”
“Who is that girl?” Astra asked.
“Her name is Lucie. She works with him at the pet store. Apparently, they hang out all the time, and they do see each other almost every day at work. Why, what are they doing? Did you see? Give me some gossip on my brother!” She exclaimed excitedly.
Astra put a finger to her lips. “They’re kissing.”
“Kissing!? Geez, finally! Now maybe Alistair will loosen up a bit.”
“From what he’s said,” Astra began. “He seems like he doesn’t do anything romantically, unless he’s serious? I mean, thats a great thing, I’m just saying.”
“It’s because he won’t age anymore,” Cadence said quietly. “I also don’t know if he had a good explanation for the ears, because these aren’t too common. Noboddy asks me, but, you never know.”
“You mean?” Astra widened her eyes. “My dad can help with that. He-oh no. She won’t be allowed in Moonlight Falls. She’s human.”
“Exactly,” Cadence said. “I say, let them do their thing now. Maybe it won’t last. But, if it does, I really want them to be happy. We can figure something out.”
“But, tell me about your day. Was it fun?” She asked. “How was the chef?”
“There was a celebrity guest or something. I’ve never heard of them. In Moonlight Falls, humans aren’t popular, you know? Anyway, they almost cut their finger off.”
“Oh, ew! Gross!” Cadence exclaimed. “What happened?”
“They ended the demonstration early,” Astra said.
“But that didn’t stop you did it?” She looked at the clock. “You stayed out late with that Thad guy, didn’t you?”
Astra blushed. “Yeah…the lady who offered me an audition to model, well I told her how the chef should have corrected the other person’s technique and they wouldn’t have got cut. Apparently, she was impressed and gave me a free meal at this bistro. She wants me to write to her about my critique of the food. She’s going to pay me.”
“Ast, thats amazing!” Her face lit up. “You can be a food critic!” She then frowned. “Everyone was out on a date today except for me, huh?”
“It’s not like that, I took him to thank him for taking me to the cooking demonstration!” Astra cried.
“Okay, sure. Not because you like him or anything.”
“He’s too old for me,” Astra said. “He’s twenty eight I think.”
“I thought that Alistair was exaggerating. Ten years!?” She frowned. “Maybe he’s right, you should watch out for him. But, I’m conflicted. Is he nice to you?”
Astra nodded. “Yes, and he doesn’t flirt with me or anything. He’s very considerate of my feelings, and I’m starting to become comfortable with him.”
“Do your supernatural abilities give you heightened senses? Can you like tell if someone is bad? Like, is your intuition stronger?” Cadence asked.
“Not as strong as my older sisters’, but I usually can tell if someone is bad. Like, earlie I met a man named Eliseo. He’s a model, but I got a bad vibe from him, and Thad said he wasn’t good.”
“The fact that you went along with Thad in the first place is proof enough for me,” Cadence said. “Just be careful okay? They say that older men only want one thing.”
Astra nodded and threw herself on her bed. “Maybe, but if thats the case, I’ll be sure to shut him down right away. Then I’ll tell Alistair, or my dad. I’ll let them handle it.”
Cadence laughed. “Yeah, the Grays are pretty tight knit, aren’t we? Nobody is going to let anything happen to you.”