The Important Part



October 2024


Kyle Centowski is 56; Cory Green is 48; Rose Green is 34; Samantha Bradshaw is 25



Samantha shifted her weight from foot to foot, trying to keep warm, and wished for about the tenth time that she'd worn a coat.  It was definitely fall now.


It was today that they'd agreed to come to the shop an hour early, wasn't it?  To make sure everything was ready when the owner came back?  She hoped nothing was wrong.  As much as Cory had wanted Kyle to take back the running of the shop, he was also apprehensive about it.

From what Samantha understood, the two men didn't get on well, even despite - or perhaps because of - Cory's marriage to Kyle's daughter.  It had always been a little awkward for them, working together.  Kyle's father had acted as a buffer between them to some degree, but with him gone, Cory was worried about how things would work out.

Finally Rose's car rounded the corner, but she only stopped long enough to let Cory out.  As he came up the steps, Samantha was shocked by his disheveled appearance.  He looked like he hadn't slept in about a week, either.


 "What happened to you?" she asked.
"Have you talked to Helen this morning?" he replied tensly, unlocking the door.
"No... I mean she... I didn't... "
"It's ok, you don't have to cover for her," he said.  "I know she didn't come home last night... but she wasn't with... whats-his-name... Leo, either.  We were both at the hospital most of the night, with Dad."
"Oh, God... is he ok?"
"He has pneumonia.  They say he'll recover, but they're keeping him in a few days... "
"Well, that's good then... isn't it?" she said.  Cory's frown was at odds with the apparent good news.
"Yeah, I guess... but... hell, it's not even winter yet!"  He stalked across the room and threw his keys down hard. "How does someone get pneumonia at this time of year?!  They kept going on about how old he was... like... shit!"  Samantha jumped as he slammed his fist down on the counter.
"Sorry," he said softly, raking his hand through his hair. "Sorry, I just - "



"You're exhausted.  You shouldn't even be here."
"I have to be here.  It's Kyle's first day back, remember?"
"So tell him.  He'd understand if - "
"No!" Cory said firmly.  "You must not tell him about Dad, ok?  Not today, anyway... I mean... I don't know but maybe it'd be too close to home or something... "
Samantha nodded.  She hadn't thought of that.  "But you - "
"I'm fine.  Nothing about ten coffees won't fix."  He smiled as if to reassure her.  "Can you check everything's ready here?  I'm going to go tidy myself up.  I'll be fine, really."

----

Cory's nervousness eased somewhat as the day went on.  It a strange way, it helped that Kyle seemed just as uncomfortable in the beginning.  On his instruction, Cory and Samantha had continued as if Kyle wasn't there.  All he planned to do on the first day really was watch, he said... get an idea of how things worked here now, after he'd been away for so long.


So Kyle had spent the morning watching, occasionally slipping out into the office to check on things, coming back, chatting with customers who were pleasantly surprised to see him here again. Cory was watching Kyle, too, well aware of the significance of this day.   Which was why, when Kyle went out to the break room and didn't come back for some time, Cory followed his hunch and went to investigate.

He found him outside, in what they'd come to refer to as the staff smoking area... even though Cory was the only one there who had ever smoked.
"Are you ok?" he asked.


Kyle spun around. "Would everybody just stop asking me if I'm ok?!" he snapped.
Cory didn't reply.  He lit a cigarette and sat on the step until Kyle spoke again.  "Sorry... it's just... I don't think I've ever had so much sympathy in my life," he said, with a bewildered laugh.  "It's starting to get to me..."
"It's your father's regular customers," Cory said.  "They haven't seen you since he went, and... "


"Do they know what happened?" Kyle asked.  'To me, I mean... Do they know what I did?"
"Not from us," Cory said.  "We just said that you were taking some time off.  Although the very fact that you took almost a year off after your father died, kind of tells people that you took it hard..."
"I guess... " Kyle said.
"You know, you don't have to stay all day," Cory said.  "It's your shop.  You pick your own work hours.  If its bothering you too much, just go home..."
"Maybe." He stared at the cigarette in Cory's hand for a while.  "Does that really help?" he asked.

"This?" Cory shrugged.  "It's a crutch, I guess.  I swapped one addiction for another.  I wouldn't advise it, though.  It messes up your insides."
"Have you ever thought that maybe you don't need a crutch any more?"
"What do you mean?"
"You stopped drinking years ago.  Maybe you don't need to swap it for anything any more."
"Maybe... " Cory muttered thoughtfully, looking at the cigarette as if he were seeing it for the first time.
"Look, there's something I need to say to you," Kyle started awkwardly.  "About you, and Rose... and I know I haven't exactly been fair to you over - "



"I can't imagine why you'd be upset over your daughter marrying an older, divorced, ex-alcoholic relative."  Cory said wryly, getting up to stub out the cigarette.
"Maybe the same reasons you might be upset over having a judgmental, screwed up psych patient as a  father-in-law?" Kyle replied.


"Ex-psych patient, " Cory said, lightly slapping Kyle's shoulder as he left.  "The ex is the important part."

----

Samantha saw the change in Cory's mood immediately.  "What are you so happy about?".


He pulled her into a quick hug.  "It's a good day!' he said.
"Right... yeah... a good day... " she stammered.  He hadn't hugged her that tightly, but she still felt like he'd knocked the wind out of her.  She watched him tidying up the counter, straightening the rows of newspapers.


Even his movements seemed lighter, more relaxed.  It was hard not to stare.

A few minutes later, Rose came into the shop.  "Where's Dad?" she asked, after greeting them.
"Out the back, taking a break..." Cory said. She started to go but he stopped her.  "Just don't ask him if he's ok," he said.  "Trust me, he is.".
"You look kind of ok, too," Rose said.  "Or, better than this morning, anyway.  Have you had some news about your father?"
"Nothing that I didn't already know earlier," he said.  "Come here..."  He pulled her into an embrace.






Samantha felt her face reddening.  Maybe excessive tiredness and excessive caffeine meant he'd lost some of his inhibitions, but she hadn't lost hers.  It was uncomfortable just watching them.  But also kind of captivating.  Unable to tear her gaze away, she took a couple of steps backwards... and almost backed straight into Kyle.


"Hey... careful!"  He automatically put his hands on her waist to steady her as she stumbled.  She jumped, startled by the sudden contact.  "Sorry... sorry," she stammered.  "I have to... I need to make a phone call.  And she fled into the office.
Kyle looked at Cory and Rose.  "Strange girl..." he said.
"She's ok," said Cory.  "You just need to get to know her."

 ----

In the office, Samantha flicked through a pile of order forms and customer details, until she found what she wanted.  Taking a deep breath, she dialed the number.



"Hi, Andrew... its me, Samantha... yeah, from the bookstore.  I was just wondering... are you still interested in that movie?"

----

Ok, Samantha, really bad reason to start a relationship... but she's rolling wants for both Cory and Andrew now, so I figure this is where things are heading.


Given the momentous occasion, we had to take one for the album :)




I think I'll get someone to paint a copy for the wall in the shop office, hang it next to the one of Kyle and Orlando the day they opened the shop... a nice memory of Samantha, too, after she leaves.


Kyle and Cory have only recently became friends in-game, despite several Sim-years of working together.  They rarely had a good conversation in the past - usual results of any attempt was lots of red minus signs, and looking at my old pictures, it really does seem like Kyle didn't like Cory and Rose together.  


Cory knows what he wants, though...



Kyle wanted them to stay just friends...



... but Cory never made any secret of his intentions...




... not at all! :)







8 comments:

  1. You're right; it's not a good reason from Samantha to start a realtionship for that reason, but who knows he might make her really happy. Afterall she rolls wants for Andrew and Cory ....
    Cory didn't make a secret of his intentions at all. I'm glad he and Kyle are finally starting to be friends.
    I love the picture of the three of them in front of the portrait.
    I'm so glad Kyle is picking up his life again!

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  2. Yea, he's back and I love the conversation bewteen Kyle and Cory "ex" is the important part.

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  3. It's good to see Kyle get back into the swing of things and try to start over. It seems that the trip really allowed him to think about what is important in life especially if he is trying to make amends with Cory.

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  4. Aww I just really like Cory. I'm glad your going to do a painting of that picture, that will be great reminder after Samantha's gone, and the beginning of a new relationship (hopefully a good one) with Cory and Kyle.

    I was concerned in the beginning for Cory arriving at work with his hair all out of place. Glad he's ok, and I hope his father will be too.

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  5. Tanja, thanks... probably, Samantha herself doesn't know what would make her really happy... at least, that's the feeling I get from her wants.

    Apple, thanks - it was one of those conversations that kind of wrote itself in my head, while I was doing some boring and totally not-sim related r/l stuff :)

    Oasis, yeah, I think Kyle really is sorting himself out now.

    Maisie, I really like Cory, too... he's kind of edged back in from almost non-playable, to now beginning a storyline that will last long after Samantha's gone...

    The scruffy look was kind of his own idea... lol... I had been taking the pictures for the prequel with him scruffy and my game crashed, but I had enough pictures so it didn't really matter. Of course it also meant that I didn't get the chance to tidy him up again, but I forgot until I called him in for work and he turned up looking like that... and I decided that, yeah, he would look a little worse for wear after being up all night, so we kept it :)

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  6. "She's ok," said Cory. "You just need to get to know her."

    I love your Samantha!

    OMG, so she did it! She called him! I can't wait to see what happens...

    And Sam, gosh knows I'm with you on how AWKWARD of a situation she was in with Cory and Rose.

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  7. forgot to comment on the Kyle/Cory smoking conversation! Perhaps he's decided to quit? I liked the 'one addiction for the other' line. So true to real life.

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  8. Billy, thanks - you won't have to wait long, more on these guys coming up soon :)

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Thanks for reading and commenting!