It’s the first day of spring, but the island is still covered in snow and ice. And even though it’s slowly melting in the afternoon sun, the snow sucks any warmth out of the air, driving most sims to stay indoors if possible.
Such is the case of Lark Bee, who just happens to be inside this particularly charming domicile enjoying a relaxing, warm bath--the perfect remedy for an unseasonably cold day.
The bathroom is warm and steamy, causing the few loose strands of hair around Lark’s hairline to curl even tighter than normal. She’s reclining against Nikolas Oskarsson, who is holding her tightly in return. While the scene may at first seem too intimate or possibly even sordid, the couple is doing nothing more than innocently cuddling.
“Your house is so beautiful,” Lark says, nuzzling against Nikolas’ chest, “I love it here.”
“Then you should move in with me,” Nikolas murmurs.
“What?” she lifts her head and stares at him in disbelief, “You can’t be serious.”
“I’m completely serious. Move in with me.”
“We’re barely out of high school. Isn’t moving in kind of a big step?”
“So? Didn’t your parents move across the world when they were our age?”
“I don’t think my parents have ever been our age,” Lark frowns, “besides, they would probably strictly oppose this.”
“Okay, your parents wouldn’t want you to move in with me. Doesn’t that make you want to do it then? C’mon--stick it to the man!”
“‘Stick it to the man’? You sound like a poorly written James Dean caricature.”
“I aspire to be a poorly written James Dean caricature, okay? So that’s hardly an insult,” Nikolas laughs, “but seriously. We already see each other every day, and we’ve been dating for ages now. So why not live together?”
“Well for one, I don’t have a job. I wouldn’t be able to help with bills or anything.”
“I’ve got the bills covered on my own,” Nikolas shrugs, “so you don’t need a job. I mean, I wouldn’t oppose you getting one since you’re a liberated woman and all. But really, you could just stay at home eating bonbons for all I care.”
“Gee, how enlightened of you.”
“Well, you know me--I support women-folk being able to make their own choices.”
“Oh goody, how could I not want to live with someone who refers to my gender as ‘women-folk’?”
“I’ll be serious then: I love you,” Lark’s heart skips a beat, and Nikolas continues, “I want to live with you. Please move in with me.” He punctuates the offer by kissing her shoulder, sending a shiver down her spine
“Fine,” she smirks, “I’ll think about it.”
But it doesn’t take much thought for Lark to decide to move in with Nikolas. Her mother’s new house rules--which include having to pay rent--make the decision rather easy, really. So the following day, the couple rents a moving van and packs up Lark’s room.
It takes only a couple of hours to pack up her belongings, and Luke is conscripted to help them load the boxes into the van.
“This is it?” He asks as he scans the boxes, “Shouldn’t take us too long to get this loaded.”
“Thanks again, Luke,” Lark says, “I appreciate you helping us. I know you’re really busy with all your police stuff.”
“Oh look, how cute,” Luke laughs, “you’re taking your stuffed unicorn with you. That’s adorable.”
“Don’t be a jerk! It’s one of the only mementos of my childhood that I still have since mom donated a bunch of my old toys. Besides, I have some good memories associated with it.”
“I know I have a good memory associated with it,” Nikolas mutters slyly. Lark elbows him in the ribs and gives him a warning look.
“What was that?” Luke asks, turning his attention to Nikolas. As soon as he sets his eyes on his quasi-brother-in-law, his face becomes cold and stony.
“Nothing,” Nikolas smiles, “just an inside joke.”
“Don’t worry about it,” Lark adds.
Quentin clears his throat, gently trying to make his presence known. “Lark,” his voice is sad, his smile obviously forced, “your mother and I would like to talk to you real quick before you take off. If that’s okay, of course.”
“Um,” Quentin looks at Nikolas, then back to his daughter, “could we talk inside?”
“Yeah,” Lark says slowly, “sure. Luke, Nikolas, can you start loading stuff up? I’ll be back in a minute.” Lark follows her parents inside, her shoulders slumped. It’s obvious what comes next will be unpleasant, or at least uncomfortable. The front door slams shut, and the two young men are left alone.
“So I think we can put the clothes rack in first, then the boxes. And we can put the little things that Lark didn’t pack in boxes--like the books--in the cab,” Nikolas suggests. He eyes the books, which are scattered on top of one of the boxes. They’re old, some of them crumbling. Judging by their state, they’re either worth a lot, or absolutely nothing.
But Luke has no interest in accomplishing the task that his younger sister had given him. “Do you love her?”
The corners of Nikolas’ mouth twitch. “Of course,” he replies, “why do you feel the need to ask that?”
“I know about your father’s business,” Luke’s voice is low.
“Yeah,” Nikolas looks unimpressed, “I kind of figured that out ages ago. You don’t have a very good poker face.”
“That’s it? No defense? Just a ‘I know’?”
Nikolas shrugs, “you want me to say something pithy? Okay, how about this: ‘we are men of action. Lies do not become us.’ Or did you want something contrite? ‘I respect you too much to lie to you, Luke. It’s true, all of it.’”
“You think you’re clever,” Luke snorts, “but you’re just a shortsighted punk.”
“I’m wounded, Luke. Organized crime is hardly ‘shortsighted.’ After all, it is organized.”
“If you really love Lark--if you’re capable of that kind of emotion, that is--you’d quit while you’re ahead. Find a real job, something that’ll keep you out of jail.”
“I’ve had no problems staying out of jail. But you’d know that, given the gross incompetence of your department.”
“Well it just happens that I’ve been assigned to ASPD’s theft unit, and I think you’ll find I’m anything but incompetent.”
Nikolas pauses, his face thoughtful. “I’m curious,” he says, “how severe are the charges against accomplices of nonviolent crimes?”
Luke’s eyes widen, “Are you saying Lark is your accomplice? Is she helping you?”
“No,” Nikolas laughs, “not at all. She’d make a terrible thief. But let’s say she knew about my dealings and failed to inform the police about it, that still makes her an accomplice, right? Because if I understand correctly, in this sector the definition of accomplice is so broad that it includes people who have knowledge of a crime and don’t report it to the police. And accomplices are penalized pretty harshly. That’s part of the ‘zero tolerance’ bullshit that’s so popular right now, right?”
“You can’t be serious. You’re leveraging my sister? How could you endanger her like that?!”
“Well, I figure as long as her big brother is on the force, nothing will happen to her, right? I mean, it wouldn’t take you much to just look the other way. Because if you arrested me and I just happened to let it slip that Lark knew about my crimes, you’d be the one endangering her. Not me.”
“I could just not charge her,” Luke tries to sound firm but his voice wavers.
“Shit, you can’t be that dull, can you? If I’m arrested, I bargain with the district attorney, not you. And DAs are the ones who decide whether or not to charge someone. Seriously, Luke--if you’re going to antagonize me like this, at least have the decency to have a basic understanding of the criminal process. You’re an officer, man. Act like it.”
“This figures,” Luke snorts, “she’s nothing to you but a bargaining chip to you. Lark deserves so much better than you.”
Nikolas looks genuinely hurt. “You really don’t believe that I care about her, do you? Well I do. When she told me you had joined the police academy, my first thought was to break up with her--it’d be too dangerous for me and my father to have someone in law enforcement so close by, especially someone as nosy as you. And when she told me that Lydia had accepted an internship at the district attorney’s office, that cemented my decision. But I couldn’t do it. You know why?”
Luke glowers, but doesn’t respond.
“Because I love her so fucking much. I care about her more than anything else in the world. So much I’m willing to risk everything. So you’re not going to scare me away from her. And if telling her about my business--making her an accomplice--is what I have to do to convince you to back off, then I’ll do it.”
“I could arrest you right now.”
“I doubt it. If you could, you would have. You have nothing on me other than rumors, which--in case you don’t know this, Officer Bee--aren’t admissible in court.”
“Then I’ll warn Lark about you.”
“Yeah, okay. Go tattle on me. I’m sure that’ll work out well.”
Luke scoffs, “You’re fucked up.”
“What’s going on?” Lark stands nearby, her arms crossed and her brow furrowed.
“We were just talking,” Nikolas smiles.
“No, you weren’t,” Lark says, “You were arguing.”
“It’s nothing, Lark,” Nikolas reassures her, “we just, um, we were arguing about best way to load up everything. We haven’t gotten very far, obviously.”
“Don’t lie,” Lark frowns, “I heard what Luke said. He called you fucked up.”
Luke takes a deep breath, gathering his courage before his revelation. “You can’t trust Nikolas, Lark. He’s--”
Lark scoffs and rolls her eyes, “ I can’t believe this. You know what? I don’t want to hear whatever it is you have to say. This is just like that night when you goaded Nikolas and I into fighting.”
“Lark, you need to--”
“I’m so sick of this whole family. I just got chewed out by mom and then I hear you swearing at my boyfriend,” Lark’s voice grows louder, “and now you’re going to claim that you know better than I do, right? You’re going to tell me that I’m making the wrong choice.”
“That’s not what--”
“You can go, Luke. Nikolas and I can get this stuff moved by ourselves,” she sneers. Nikolas, meanwhile, is grinning from ear to ear.
“Just go,” Lark snaps, “I don’t want to look at you right now.”
Luke skulks off, going inside to join his parents. He watches from the kitchen window as the couple quickly loads up the van and drives off.
He has never felt this helpless before.
Despite the inauspicious start to their domestic life, the couple quickly falls into a rather boring routine. In the mornings, Nikolas makes breakfast. He insists on doing all the cooking, and he’s surprisingly talented at it. Lark, of course, is more than happy to leave the cooking to him. She’s lucky, really: she lives with a sweet, attentive man in a bitchin’ house and she doesn’t even have to work if she doesn’t want to.
But she has to do something to keep ennui at bay. Thus, she starts a small garden indoors, with plans to expand it to their small yard as soon as the weather permits. Her plants aren’t bearing fruit yet, but soon Nikolas will be able to use fresh ingredients for their meals.
When she moved out, Lark bought Honey along, and the dog is reveling in her new habitat. While she misses her mother, Honey is happy to be an only dog. She has all the toys to herself, and she never has to worry about protecting her food from other greedy dogs. It’s almost paradise.
Every day after breakfast, Nikolas goes to the gym. Lark never would have guessed it, but he’s a bit of a jock. In fact, part of the reason he chose this house--other than its trendy decor--was its proximity to the gym. He justifies that seemingly superficial reason by telling Lark that he has to be in good shape for work, a claim she doesn’t challenge.
Nikolas hasn’t told Lark exactly what his job entails, but she’s becoming increasingly suspicious. She knows that he frequently researches art collections (she’s seen his browsing history on their shared laptop). Furthermore, he tells her that he works in acquisitions, and when prompted further, he explains that it’s his job to help locate items of interest for clients, and then open a channel for clients to acquire said items.
Lark isn’t stupid. The job description and the internet searches-- combined with Nikolas’ earlier case of sticky fingers--has led her to believe that her boyfriend’s source of income isn’t legitimate.
The real question is, does she care? If--and this is just an if--Nikolas is involved in theft or organized crime, it would seem from his internet searches that his targets of choice are mostly high end art pieces and expensive tech. The kind of people who own such items are unlikely to be wanting for any cash. Besides, any serious art collector is likely to have insurance on their collection. And so Lark isn’t that worried that Nikolas is hurting anyone. After all, it’s hard to feel sympathy for people who own cars worth more than the home Lark grew up in.
But she’s not going to let herself jump to conclusions. She’ll bring it up, when the time is right. Maybe that evening, when Nikolas gets home from work. She needs to know for sure, after all, if only for transparency’s sake.
Just like their mornings, nights are also marked by routine. Nikolas comes home, gives Lark a quick kiss, and then settles into bed, his smartphone in hand. He texts and surfs social media for a while, then goes to sleep. Sometimes Lark joins him in bed, and sometimes she doesn’t.
Tonight, Lark opts for joining him. She slips into her pajamas before she reclines on the bed next to him.
“How was work?” She asks casually.
“Oh, you know--the usual. Find the bacon, bring home the bacon, et cetera.”
“So you’re a rancher? I thought you worked in ‘acquisitions.’”
“Fine. I acquired the bacon, then.”
“I take it you don’t want to talk about work.”
Nikolas looks at her suggestively, “Why would I? Not when I have a perfectly good girlfriend to maul instead.”
And maul he does.
The stuffed unicorn sits on the bedroom vanity, it’s eyes permanently widened. And for the second time in its so-called life, it’s forced to be witness to the horrors of the beast with two backs.
Author’s Note: What?? Nikolas is a thief?? I didn’t see that coming!! ;)
I’m not quite sure whether or not I’m following the “That’s so YOU” roll effectively. Lark is heir and her favorite color is white, hence the mostly white interior. But all white would be a gruesome interior design choice, so I added gray and red (Nikolas’ favorite color) to the mix. It’s a much more subdued color palette than I would normally go for, but I’m still altering my design choices based on the roll so I hope that’s good enough. ^^;;
Some housekeeping: I updated the generational rolls page, and I added Luke and Lydia for download on the steal-a-sim page.