It had been one hell of a day putting out fires. Not literal fires, but the type of fires that came with any event planning job. I was used to problems cropping up while on the job but for this event it was almost every day that something went horribly wrong. As soon as I thought one aspect of the event had fallen into place, another fell through. Today had started with the printer’s shop that did the posters demanding a one-hundred percent increase in their pay and it had taken me all afternoon to talk them down to fifty percent. The worst of it was, I knew my boss would still be pissed that I hadn’t talked him out of it completely, but it was as good as I could do without needing to find a whole new place three months before the festival was set to happen.
I crossed it off the list on my clipboard, then moved the tip of my finger to the next point on the list with a wince. Club Clarity. That had been even less fun than the printer’s shop. They had offered to pay a little to the festival’s coffers in exchange for some marketing, but the place didn’t have a great reputation so I had to turn them down. I cited the festival rules that said they had to do an exhibit or attraction that fit the festival’s theme. The manager had been understanding enough, but a bartender had angrily accused me of doing it on purpose, as though it was me who made the rules and not the town council. I crossed Clarity off and wished that Raffaele had taken that one as he originally promised. At the last moment, I had to fill in for him, which meant I hadn’t had lunch. I wouldn’t have time to eat anything until after my last stop of the day.
My destination wasn’t far from the club, and on the way I looked at my list for tomorrow, which was just as harrowing. I had three meetings and then ten minutes where I could eat lunch while I walked to the next one. I’d have to go buy something to eat before work or I would never function, but I didn’t get a chance to consider where to go, because I collided with something solid and alive. My nose hit the barrier hard and I cried out in pain as my clipboard clattered to the ground by my feet. I pushed away, covering my aching face.
“What the—” a male voice said.
Just then, I felt a tell-tale trickle of blood making its way out of my nose. I looked up and saw the guy I had walked into. He was good-looking, dressed in a tight-fitting shirt and it was his chest that had given me a nosebleed. I opened my mouth, ready to defend myself. He looked like the type of guy that hung out at the gym and stared at the women in yoga class, and if you pointed out that it was annoying, he’d get angry. I opened my mouth, about to tell him that no, it wasn’t only my fault that we walked into each other…
“Fuck,” he said. “Oh fuck that’s… you’re bleeding.”
“You don’t say.”
“Um… right… uh…” He looked from side-to-side, patting his pocket, seemingly genuinely concerned. “Tissue, tissue… I… don’t have a…”
“It’s fine.” I stopped him, pulled a tissue out of my purse, and pressed it against my nose. “There. Don’t worry about it.”
“God, I’m so sorry, I didn’t notice you.”
I blinked at this rare sight. A handsome man who apologised and didn’t add ‘But you should really look where you’re going’? That fact made him seem all the more handsome, with his dark, soft hair and those eyes. They were a deep brown and right now they looked concerned, but I had no trouble imagine how they would change if he grew flirty. Wait, no, I couldn’t imagine that. That was silly. He was a stranger.
“I didn’t see you either,” I told him. “It’s all right.”
The man breathed out. “I’m really so sorry. Is it bad?”
I took a look at the tissue which was getting soaked with blood.
“Um, a little, but it’s all right. Really, I’m kind of impressed. I can’t believe your chest gave me a nosebleed—you must work out.”
I could barely believe that those words left my mouth. He looked surprised and then there it was, his eyes went from concerned to dark and flirty, exactly as I had imagined.
“Yeah, I do. I was hoping it would make an impression on women, but not exactly like this.” He chuckled awkwardly and then held his hand out to me. “Nico, and again, I’m sorry.”
I shifted the tissue to my left hand before taking his. “I’m Adriana and it’s fine, don’t worry about it. It was my own fault. I didn’t look where I was going.”
“At least let me walk you to where you were going, so I’m sure you get there without bleeding out.”
I could have pointed out that it was just a nosebleed and I would be fine, but I found myself nodding. Maybe it was the blow to the head or maybe it was the distinct feeling that I had just bumped into a decent guy, a sweet one, even. Clearing my throat, I pointed down the street where I was headed.
“I’m heading to the gallery down there.”
“Let’s go,” Nico said with a gorgeous, white smile. “I’ll make sure to deliver you safely. Oh, and I can carry this for you.”
He bent down and picked up my clipboard and then he gestured down the way I had been going.
“You really don’t need to hold that,” I protested, pointing to the clipboard. “I’m strong and independent and all that.”
“I’m sure, but I’m trying to make up for being a big dumb idiot who doesn’t look where he’s going.”
“And to make up for the size and swell of your muscles?” I added jokingly.
Except it came out a little less like a joke and a little more like breathy admiration. He smiled slyly.
“Oh, I’m not going to apologise for that,” he said.
You shouldn’t, I wanted to say.
I cleared my throat and was glad I could hide my glowing cheeks behind the tissue as we started walking. I was slower than usual, which I attributed to my bleeding nose, though it was more to do with the company. I met many new people on any given day, but it was rare they were so likeable.
“So, what’s with the clipboard?” he asked.
I looked at him. “I use it to organise.”
“Everything, really. Work, mostly, but I’ve got appointments for a whole week written up.”
He looked at the clipboard, then me. “You must be pretty busy, balancing all that work and organising, not to mention the boyfriend or… husband?”
I pressed the tissue a little further up my face, as my blush deepened. “I don’t have anyone, so that helps.”
“Oh,” he said, looking pleased. “Never would have guessed.”
We turned a corner and I was both relieved and a little disappointed that I could see the sign of Galleria Chiarezza.
At the door, I stopped and checked on my nose. The bleeding had stopped so I threw the tissue out and turned to him.
“That wasn’t too bad,” I said. “I made it without bleeding out.”
Nico stopped and shot me a relaxed smile with his hands in his pockets. “I never doubted you for a minute.”
He tossed his hair and this time there was no hiding behind a tissue. My cheeks flushed hot and I’m sure he could see.
“So, you admit you didn’t actually have to walk me here?”
“You got me there. No, actually I was hoping… oh, fuck.”
He paused suddenly, looking down at my top and I followed his eyes to a drip of blood that had somehow made its way onto the white fabric.
“Any chance that top isn’t as expensive as it looks?” he asked.
“Um… It’ll come off easily,” I assured him.
“Nope, that does it.”
He rummaged in his pockets, much like earlier, but this time he found a scrap of paper and a pen. He wrote a number on it and stuck it to my clipboard before giving it back.
“You can tell me when you get the dry-cleaning bill and I’ll pay it. It’s the least I can do.”
I looked at the note, hesitating. “You really don’t have to. This is a tiny drop and it won’t cost anything extra.”
“Yeah, but I’m also trying to give you my number in the hopes that you’ll forget about how dumb I am and agree to see me again. Under less bloody circumstances.”
The appreciative look in his eyes made me feel like a work of art, not like a slab of meat as was the case with the ogling guys at the gym. I felt warm, giddy, and so close to throwing caution to the wind and telling him yes.
But I felt a familiar stop in my chest. I had just started feeling human again. I was in the middle of the most important job of my career so far, swamped with both my own and other peoples’ tasks. I barely had time to eat lunch between meetings, for heaven’s sake. As nice as it would be to go out with this man, to feel beautiful and desired, even just for a night… right now wasn’t the time.
“Sorry, I just can’t, not right now.”
He looked at me, disappointed but understanding. He didn’t get angry or try to pressure me, he just nodded, which made me feel a twinge of regret. Why did he have to be so attractive and so… decent? It would have been easier if he were an ass.
“I understand. Keep it anyway and send me that bill, I mean it.”
“Right, I will,” I lied. “Thanks for protecting me from bleeding out.”
He tossed his head and his gorgeous hair, but he didn’t leave right away.
“If you feel up for it at some point,” he said, “the offer will still be open.”
“I’ll remember that. Bye.”
He left and I went inside the gallery. The owner, my best friend Emanuela, was behind the counter, bent over a cardboard box, but she turned from it and looked me up and down. She was in a loose, patterned jacket and her brown hair was done up in a messy bun with loose ringlets of curls hanging around her face.
“Are you so late because you’re dating now?” she asked, her eyes sliding from me to the man who was still barely visible through the windows.
“No, I’m not and you know better than most I won’t be dating anytime soon. We bumped into each other and he gave me a nosebleed.”
Ema raised her eyebrows and now she noticed the blood on my top. “Are you okay? Do I need to go out there and give him hell?”
“No, no, he was actually nice about it, offered to pay for dry-cleaning and everything, even though it was my fault, too.”
“Head stuck in that clipboard again?” she asked.
I sat down on a bench in the gallery and enjoyed being off my feet for the first time in hours.
“I have a busy schedule tomorrow.”
“Not to mention tonight.”
I frowned at her. Tonight? I had counted on going home and lying on the sofa for a change, since it would be the first time I had the opportunity in a while.
“Yeah, you know, your sister’s visit?”
“Is that today?”
Damn, it was. It was in my to-do list, right under this current meeting—Pick up Francesca at the station. How had I managed to forget?
“Oh. I guess that’ll work. I’ll get a chance to eat while I’m with her.”
Ema shot me a look. “You haven’t eaten, have you?”
“It was a busy day.”
She shook her head. “Good thing I predicted that.”
She walked to the counter and produced a plate of gorgeous-looking cupcakes from under it. My mouth watered at the sight and my stomach audibly growled.
“Strawberry and white chocolate? Yes, now give me my letter so you can officially take the day off and finally eat something.”
I got the letter and exchanged it for one of the cupcakes. I peeled the paper cup off and bit into it. It was perfectly soft and fluffy and with just the right balance of sweet, white chocolate and strawberry. Ema wasn’t just my best friend because of her baking, but it was a perk.
“So good,” I said between bites.
She hit me with the envelope. “Because you haven’t eaten today!”
“I know and I know it’s not good, but this event is a nightmare and everyone keeps dumping their tasks on me.”
“Because you take the tasks when you should tell them to do it themselves.”
“You know I can’t. I was lucky to get this job and I need it.”
My friend shook her head. “I know. At least don’t work anymore today, yeah?”
“I don’t plan on—”
We both stopped at the sound of my ringtone and when I picked the phone out of my purse, my boss’ number was on the screen. Ema looked at me, eyes pleading with me not to answer.
“I have to,” I told her.
“At least tell her you can do whatever it is she wants tomorrow, please?”
“Of course, I have plans tonight.”
Ema nodded, but she looked uncertain and I wasn’t exactly convinced myself. I had a bad feeling.
“It’s Adriana,” I said as cheerfully as I could manage.
“Adriana, I need you to take the council meeting tonight. Our wine supplier had to drop out so Raffaele is going to meet up with a new one.”
“Tonight?” I asked.
Ema’s shoulders fell and she mouthed no.
“Yes, tonight. We need someone to have a status with the council tonight and you’re the only one available.”
“No, I mean…” I took a deep breath. “If you like, I can find us a wine supplier tomorrow to free up Raffaele tonight. I know a few—”
“He’s already left. You have to take the meeting.”
“I-I really need to… see, my sister is visiting and…”
“You can bring her to the council meeting. It’s fine.”
I squeezed my eyes shut and imagined telling my sister, whom I hadn’t seen in over half a year, that we were going to spend our first night together at a town council meeting.
“Adriana, I took a chance when I hired you with no experience and only that recommendation. I need you to step up your game.”
I sank something. “Yes, of course. I’ll go.”
“Thanks. It’s at five and please take notes for Raffaele.”
She hung up, leaving me standing in the gallery with a heavy heart. Even worse, Ema looked at me, disappointment oozing out of her features.
I dropped onto the bench next to her. “They took a chance when hiring me and I need to live up to it.”
Ema muttered under her breath. “You need a damned vacation…”
“And I’ll take one, remember? Once this event is done, I’ll take at least a week off and we’ll go on that trip we’ve been talking about. For now… I have to leave now if I want to get to that meeting in time, so I have to call Franca and give her directions to my place.”
Ema stopped me. “I’ll pick her up.”
“Really? I mean, you don’t know her, so I don’t know if you’ll recognise…”
“You can send me a photo and I’m sure I’ll find her. Do your job and I’ll entertain her for the night.”
I threw my arms around her neck and squeezed her close, feeling my heart swelling with gratitude.
“You’re the best.”
Ema chuckled. “So are you and don’t you forget it now. Here, take this.” She stood and grabbed an extra cupcake which she shoved into my hand. “And eat a proper meal after that meeting, okay?”
“No, you will eat. Go on then.”
I wrapped both cupcakes in a tissue and left for the council meeting. Outside of the gallery, I thought back to earlier today, to the chance meeting, the nosebleed, and the handsome guy who had clearly shown an interest. I imagined how different my life could be one day. Maybe, a year from now, or two, I’d be able to meet sweet men like that and happily accept a date. Maybe some day.
For now, I turned my attention to my clipboard.
Author’s notes: Hi guuuys! Welcome back to some stuff that I wrote. I’ve been excited to start posting generation 3 and I hope you all enjoyed reading this. I wanted this to be out sometime in January, but unfortunately a rather intense work project slowed my picture taking significantly, so today was the day. Thankfully, from today I have a whole week off, so I’m going to be cooking good food (I’m obsessed with Korean cooking lately), cleaning, gaming, visiting family, writing… oh, and of course I can’t forget my sweet kitty who will no doubt demand my attention and if I don’t give it to her, she’ll hop on the desk and paw at the monitor, trying to catch the cursor.
Anywayyyy, that’s it from me for now. I hope you’re all doing well and that you’re ready for more story from this old blog of mine. I won’t set myself a schedule because it’ll probably slip no matter what, but I hope to get something out at least once a month – we’ll see, though.
Thanks for making it this far and I’ll see you in the next post.
Magpie2012/Ravenangel888 · February 5, 2022 at 1:47 pm
Her boss is a bitch! There, it’s been said!
Great first chapter hun and I can’t wait to see more of Gen 3!
NotJustaBook · February 6, 2022 at 1:17 pm
It had to be said! 😄 And I completely agree. Looking forward to sharing more of the story. Thanks for reading, dear. 😊
audreyfld · February 5, 2022 at 2:50 pm
Oh! So fun to see you back with your gorgeous sims sims and fun story. Can’t wait to see where this goes.
NotJustaBook · February 6, 2022 at 1:18 pm
It’s so good to be back and I’m excited for the story to really unfold. Thanks for reading, Audrey! 💕 And sorry for being so behind on yours. I hope to catch up soon. 😊
Lila Remonn · February 5, 2022 at 11:41 pm
Whoop whoop for Generation 3 off to a start! ❤
Firstly, I love the street set and the details you put in, plus the crisp & bright pictures, it definitely sets a different urban tone compared to Artful (where is the story set, if it isn’t Monte Vista?). And the thing that struck me most about Adriana was how different she feels to her mother! Like, I’m sure Gina would have cussed out the boss over the phone, said “I’m the boss now”, and hung up LOL. She seems quite work-minded but not very confident/assertive in her worth/abilities, and it sounds like the boss + coworker Raffaele could be taking unfair advantage of that. She better not compromise that week off vacation 🤔 Also, ooh, an interesting change to first person writing, this is new for your simlit, right? 😮
Nico, you tall, dark, and handsome stranger 😌 He’s making an excellent first impression on both Adriana and me 😏 What a cute and very “memorable” first meeting LOL. They’re getting along really well already! I do wonder what the deal with Adriana’s bad past relationship is. My feeling is that Nico is more relaxed and outgoing than Adriana is, and that might help her be less consumed by work obligations, because with Emanuela’s disappointed reaction it sounds like her giving up personal time is a common habit, or at least a recently developed one. Speaking of Ema, she’s super cute and a supportive best friend, I like her a lot already 🥰
A great first chapter 💕 It’s an interesting new direction from the previous generations, and also sounds like you’re drawing partly from real life experience! I’m excited to read more and see how Adriana + Nico (what’s your ship name for them?) pan out from the first nose-bleeding meet-cute, haha. Please give adorable Myma a pat from me 😸
NotJustaBook · February 6, 2022 at 1:34 pm
Yay, I’m so excited to be back at it! 😊
So glad you love the pics. They definitely got better after my reshoots, lol. I definitely wanted the vibe here to be very different from both Artful and Heartwood. 😄
The story takes place near a big city (Cossaria, where Lia’s flat is located!), but in a smaller neighbourhood of that city that’s home to a community of artists and artisans – hence the festival that celebrates the local art scene. Maybe I should actually write some of all the ideas I have about this alternate universe Italy down some day. 🤣
Adriana is very different, yes, and you may just be right about her boss and co-worker taking advantage. Gina wouldn’t have put up with any of this. Tbh, she wouldn’t have lasted a day in a regular office environment. 🤣
The first person perspective is definitely new to MVS! CoM is actually first person as well. No matter how I tried, though, I couldn’t get the third person to work for Clarity, so first person it is – it’s a refreshing change of pace. 😄
He does make a good first impression here, doesn’t he? 😊 And yeah, nobody’s going to forget that time you met someone for the first time and accidentally gave them a nosebleed. It will live on in their memory, for sure. You might just be on to something with Adriana and Nico’s personalities there. He does seem a lot more laidback and easygoing than she is.
I’m so glad you like Ema. I’ve become so fond of her and I can’t wait for everyone to get to know her better. 💕
He, he, I can’t deny that I draw a lot on real life experiences, so expect some things that mirror stuff I’ve written about my own personal life… even though my life is (thankfully) a lot less dramatic than my sims’. 😬
Hmm, never thought about ship names – tbh, if there are ship names, others have come up with them, but… Adrinico is all I can think of. 🤔
Thanks so much for reading, Lila and thanks for the lovely, thoughtful comment. 😊
freja64 · February 6, 2022 at 9:10 am
Are all bosses bitches? Or is it just more fun hearing about those who screw up your life? Your story is off on a great note, can’t wait to hear more about Adriana and Nico and Ema and… You’re set up to making me read and crave more!
NotJustaBook · February 6, 2022 at 1:36 pm
Ha, ha, I thankfully have a boss who’s not a total ass, but I suspect it varies greatly. This one’s definitely firmly in the Bitch Boss category – it’s dramatic, at least. 😋 I’m super excited to be sharing more of the story with everyone. Thanks so much for reading, Freja. 😊💕
Jowita · February 16, 2022 at 1:05 am
I’m ashamed to say I read it practically just when it came out and was naively waiting for the better time for my brain to function and make up a good comment. Never happened I guess, so I’ll be trying eventually 🤷♀️
I love how it kind of has that vibe of the beginning of a cheesy romantic comedy where a stiff businesswoman bumps into a guy one day and then the whole movie happens. It’s such a classic cliché! Except of course Adriana is no classic stiff businesswoman. Even if she has a clipboard and appears like she has everything under control. She is obviously young and ambitious and has trouble saying no to anyone, sure a quality any actual movie-like businesswoman must possess. Gives her layers and makes her all that more interesting. She also kind of appears to be sort of a little cheesy romantic herself with that few lines thrown here and there about instantly fantasizing over a random guy she’s just met (nice to learn and see things from her perspective!). I like how Nico is civil after the accident happens and actually acts decent. Definitely earned some brownie points there. At first glance, he seems much more self-confident and assertive than Adriana, we’ll see how it plays out between them.
I like Ema a lot already, she seems like just the kind of friend anyone would need!
Ooh, but Francesca’s going to be in town. I think it will be nice to see how much the sisters differ from each other. Will we get her point of view as well in this gen?
This is such a good start to gen 3 😁
NotJustaBook · February 16, 2022 at 4:28 pm
Ha, ha, don’t worry about it, Jowita. I do that myself *glances guiltily at Lila’s story*. 😅
I like your take on this, because I guess you’re right that it is very like a typical rom-com. Adriana is a tad more insecure than your typical business woman, yeah. I’m glad you think she seems interesting and layered.
No matter how hard I try, I just can’t have my main male characters being alpha assholes – they don’t do it for me. So, we get another decent guy.
And glad you like Ema, too, and you’re right – everyone needs a friend like that.
And yes, Francesca is on her way and there’ll be chapters from her point of view as well. 😊 Adriana, Nico, and Francesca are the viewpoint characters for this, at least that’s the thought so far – we’ll see if other perspectives sneak in. It could happen. 😉
Thanks, Jowita, and thanks so much for reading along. 😊
lisabeesims · March 1, 2022 at 8:13 pm
WB … Glad to be in on the ground floor of a generation!
NotJustaBook · March 8, 2022 at 9:00 pm
Woo, glad you have you along for the ride! 😊