Although she’s technically an adult now, Nova still enjoys a good puddle-splashing. It’s been raining for days in Sunset Valley, and she’s been cooped up in her tiny, one-bedroom apartment for far too long.
It’s time for adventure.
There had been a job fair at her high school a few days before graduation: police officers, doctors, businesspeople, and journalists had all tried to woo the senior class with promises of low or no-paying internships that would eventually lead to “bigger and better things.” But Nova don’t play that game. She’d rather be like her mom—self-sufficient with a side of kooky.
She’s been scraping a living together with two strategies. The first is dumpster-diving. It’s a more tactical endeavor than one might expect. For some reason, business owners don’t like it when people rummage through their garbage so Nova hits the dumpsters of bars early in the morning, before any self-respecting bartender is out of bed.
That’s trick one. Trick two is to take a deep breath before diving in. It’s also advisable to wear old, already-stained clothing.
Nova finds a lot of useful things while diving: furniture, electronics, décor, and even food. She makes sure to stick to dry and frozen goods. After all, she can—and does—grow her own food so there’s no point in risking her health over something perishable. She occasionally finds bits of change and pieces of checks and even the occasional love letter, ripped into pieces and spat upon. There’s a lot of secrets hiding in dumpsters. Fortunately, she’s never found a dead body. She smells like one by the time she’s finished her dive, though.
She tries to avoid taking too many showers. For one, it’s a waste of water, but she also just can’t possibly afford higher bills. It’s a shame—showers are her nirvana. A bad day can be cured with a good shower.
Nova’s second strategy for cobbling together a living is much less icky. Shortly before her graduation, her sister Elysia had forwarded her a magazine article about performance art in larger cities such as Bridgeport and Starlight Shores. Nova, a natural born performer, is immediately drawn to the idea of becoming a performance artist.
She originally learned to juggle in order to impress and entertain her numerous nieces and nephews, and she had been in gymnastics and ballet for years. Using these two skills, Nova bursts into the glamorous life of performing tricks in public places for meager tips.
She loves it.
Mostly, she juggles. It seems to be the most crowd-pleasing of her tricks and it warrants the best tips. However, she only ever gets tips if there are people around. As the days become cooler and cooler, the parks become emptier and emptier.
It’s eerie when the center of town is empty. This particular afternoon, Nova performs with no audience, but she can’t help but feeling like a zombie or two might round the corner and attack at any moment. She’s been watching too many movies.
Come nightfall, her audience grows drastically. The park is bustling with sims, all eager for a good show. She beams when she sees two familiar dogs run by.
She always calls her parents to let them know when she’ll be performing, but they rarely come. She doesn’t blame them: what she does is just fancy panhandling. Nothing to be proud about. But tonight, her father shows up.
There’s a particular stunt that Nova has been itching to try for quite a while, and now seems as good a time as any. With her father watching, Nova lights a trio of torches on fire and begins to toss them, effortlessly catching them and spinning them up into the air. Her movements are fluid and seamless. She definitely has a knack for this.
Crux is suitably impressed, though he worries for his daughter. Could she light her hair on fire doing that? What if it fell on her face? What if, Maker forbid, she caught a nearby child on fire and was sued for damages, and she was unable to pay the outrageous settlement? He knows she’s not financially stable.
He sighs. She’s left the nest, and he must accept that he cannot protect her now.
Still, he feels the need to do something for his daughter, and he decides the best thing to do is to give her money. He surreptitiously drops twenty simoleons into her tip jar. That should be enough for her to feed herself for a day or two, but not so much as to arise her suspicion. Crux is quite aware of his daughter’s desire for independence.
When the sun sinks below the horizon, Nova ends her performance. She spins around and artfully catches each torch, snuffing them out and then bowing with a flourish. The throng of spectators burst into applause. She smiles as she wipes sweat from her forehead.
“Thank you for coming,” Nova grins as she tightly hugs her father, “I need to come visit you and mom sometimes.”
“Please do. Your mother has been quite irksome recently. I believe she feels lonely now that the house is devoid of children. Oh, she also wanted me to inform you that she desires more grandchildren. She wants to know if you have met a suitable mate.”
Nova rolls her eyes in response. How can she even think of having children right now? First, she isn’t seeing anyone. Second, she’s hardly making ends meet. Bills are covered, just barely. She can support herself and that’s it.
When she gets home, Nova is heartbroken to find that she only earned twenty-one simoleons in tips. Her back aches and she scorched her fingers on the torches, and all for less money than she would have made in an hour working at Simburger. With a soul-crushed sigh, she pulls out her phone and dials Mia’s number.
“What? I’m busy,” Mia unceremoniously answers the phone. Nova can make out the sound of a man’s voice in the background.
“Come over tonight. I have some wine we could split. It’s been awhile since we’ve hung out,” Nova tries to sound casual, but her voice is pleading.
“Is it dumpster wine? I’m not coming if it’s wine you found on a dive.”
“No! I wouldn’t give you dumpster wine…again.”
“Okay, I’ll try to come over later tonight,” Mia promises. The man laughs, then mutters something inaudible.
“See you,” Nova says, but Mia has already hung up.
Out of good faith, Nova fetches two glasses and places them on the coffee table. She turns on the TV and quickly surfs through the channels, looking for a movie they can mock together. But she knows deep down that her friend isn’t coming. With a sigh, she pours herself a glass of wine.
Her whole life, Nova has lived in a full house. With four siblings and a whole mess of pets, she has never really longed for companionship. Loneliness is foreign to her.
Why had she moved out? Her parents offered to let her stay with them as long as it took for her to get established. But she doesn’t want to be like Zenith: jobless, directionless, and loveless. He’s content to play his guitar all day, but he doesn’t put that skill towards any sort of discernible goal. She can understand his desire to make his hobby his life—that’s what she’s doing after all. But she can’t understand being content with nothing.
“I can drink alone,” she says to no one. The silence doesn’t disagree, so she pours another glass.
Her mind turns to the man’s voice she heard over the phone. It isn’t really surprising. Mia has an endless stream of boyfriends. Nova isn’t jealous of that. She’s fairly certain with some effort, she could find a suitable companion or two. She can never bring herself to talk to men, though. They all seem too predictable.
Nova keeps pouring glass after glass, beginning with reasonable five ounce portions before eventually cutting out the middle man and drinking directly from the bottle. She is dismayed when the bottle runs dry. She shakes it, trying to coax out the final drops.
With a grunt, Nova tosses the bottle aside. There was a second bottle on the table, but that seems so far away. As she reaches for it, she overextends her grasp and slumps forward. Her head feels like it weighs more than the rest of her body combined. No, wait, her eyelids feel like they’re the heaviest part of her body. She collapses onto the couch, unconscious before her head hits the cushion.
What’s that sound? Horrible, horrible gurgling. It’s nightmarish.
“Wakey wakey,” someone says.
Nova stretches and rubs her eyes as she props herself up, “Who’s there?”
“It’s me,” Mia says, “Sorry to wake you. I let myself in.”
“What time is it?”
“I don’t know—five-ish? The sun’s just about to come up. I hope you don’t mind, but I made some coffee.”
“Why are you up so early,” Nova yawns, cutting off the end of the sentence.
“I didn’t go to bed. Too busy,” Mia winks, “C’mon, get some coffee. It’s girl talk time.”
“Girl talk time was like eight hours ago,” Nova grumbles, “as I recall, you were a no-show.”
“Sorry ‘bout that,” Mia sets a few mugs of coffee down on the counter before carefully carrying one to the kitchen table.
Nova stumbles as she stands up, her legs shaky. She staggers to the kitchen towards sweet, sweet caffeine. Her head is pounding. She looks out the window as she select a mug. Her apartment has a great view of the center of town.
“Oh. It’s raining,” the disappointment is apparent in Nova’s voice. Rain will definitely hamper her performances.
“Sit,” Mia commands, “I met someone. And I really like him. I think you will, too.”
“Ugh,” Nova provides much to the conversation.
“His name is Gaius Gallus—“
Nova snorts, “Gaius Gallus? That’s a stupid name. Makes him sound like a real cock.”
“And Nova Bee is so much better?”
“Let me finish telling you about him. This guy has connections, and I might have gotten a steady gig for you because I’m such a good friend. You could at least say thanks, woman.”
“Thank you for screwing some guy who may be helpful.”
“Anyway, he wants to meet with you tonight at this club to talk about a show he’s putting together. You shouldn’t have to audition since I recommended you and he trusts me,” Mia punctuates the sentence with a giggle, “but you should just wear something nice. Oh, and he wants you to come up with a stage name.”
“I already have one: Nebula von Cheekrouge the Effervescent,” Nova says proudly.
Mia stares at her, “you’re kidding, right? Talk about stupid names...”
“What’s wrong with it?”
“It is way too complicated. And it sounds like it’s trying too hard to be pretentious.”
“Do you have a better one?”
“Zsa Zsa Supernova.”
“Nah,” Nova replies, “it’s not clever enough.”
“Just Supernova then?”
“Too short! The more syllables, the better. And I feel like there needs to be a ‘von’ somewhere in there.”
“Supernova von Shtupp?”
“So what kind of gig is this?” Nova changes the subject, “And where does Mister Gaius Gallus work?”
“He owns Panem et Circenses.” Nova recognizes the name immediately as a gentleman’s club that recently opened across the street from her apartment.
“The strip club? Shit, Mia, you got me a gig as a stripper?!”
“No! Well, kind of. It is a strip club, but I didn’t get you a job as a stripper. Gaius wants to start a burlesque show, complete with acrobatics. I mentioned that I knew an aspiring acrobat, and that interested him.”
“Is that all you mentioned?”
“I may have also described your appearance using some poetic language. By the way, try to make your eyes look ‘as stormy as the northern skies’ when you meet him.”
“How kind of you,” Nova says, “but I’m not quite sure I want to work at a strip club. It seems too sleazy.” She’s playing hard to get. Nova doesn’t have any sort of moral issue with strip clubs. They serve an important purpose in the community and—more importantly—this could improve her economic status. But she thinks that some sort of protest is required in a situation such as this.
“Just please meet with him,” Mia begs, “If you don’t like it, you can say no. I really annoyed Gaius by insisting he should give you a job—he’d be so mad if you didn’t show up.”
“Fine. But only because you’re absolutely grating when you whine.”
“Speaking of whining,” Mia yawns, “Can I crash here for a while? I’ll go with you to the club tonight, but I need to get some rest first.”
“Fine. But as a condition of me letting you sleep here, you must haul ass over here next time I call you, okay?”
As Mia naps, Nova stares at herself in the mirror. She should be irritated by Mia’s insistence at taking this job. After all, she can find her own work. Instead, she’s excited by the possibilities. This could be the beginning of a good thing.
Author’s note: Yay! It’s the beginning of generation two. I’ll be slowly revealing Nova’s rolls over the next few chapters. Obviously she’s an acrobat, and her generational goal is living green (hence the dumpster diving).
Shameless self-promotion: The wine drinking poses are by me. They are the first poses I ever made, and you can find them on my tumblr.
You may noticed I changed the blog theme. I also updated by steal-a-sim (downloads) page and the generational rolls page.