Destiny arrived home in Appaloosa Plains to an empty shell of a house. The furniture had been sitting, covered with sheets like it had been when her aunt Jenny helped her to close it just 18 months earlier. Without even unpacking her suitcase, she began the process of packing up precious family keepsakes: Charlie’s dance trophy, Fran’s endless boxes of photos, every certificate earned from the county fair for Fran’s perfect produce, Desi’s homecoming crown. She wanted it all, even if she had to store it in the attic or basement of a new house. Jenny and Paul helped Desi with the task of cleaning and selling the old family home, which was sold to the county. The government of Appaloosa Plains was odd. Any homes that could not be sold privately could be sold to the town for the asking price. Desi was thankful for that arrangement, so she didn’t have to stick around longer than necessary.
After the van was packed and Destiny was ready to say her final goodbyes to her past and what remained of her family, Paul and Jenny drove her to the municipal airport to catch the plane that would take her to Starlight Shores. Grateful for their help, she hugged both of them and gave them a check for ten thousand simoleons as a thank you for all of their priceless help. It was the least she could do, and she knew they could use it. She didn’t imagine her aunt and uncle would be around much longer, and she wanted Paul and Jenny to take that vacation that her own parents never got to take. Desi blew kisses to her only remaining family as they waved from the car.
Starlight Shores was brightly lit as though it was early morning, when in fact it was closer to 10 at night. The flashy glitz of the starry city was enthralling for a young girl from a small town, and admittedly Desi was a little overwhelmed. Her taxi dropped her at the small hotel that she had booked to stay for a few days while she found a new home. She didn’t sleep very well that first night. Desi was used to dark nights dotted with fireflies and filled with the sound of crickets and frogs that lived in the creek behind the old house. Instead, the bright lights of a city that never seemed to sleep, and the clatter of traffic outside the main street hotel disrupted her sleep. One thing was for certain: She needed to find a home off the beaten path, but still close enough to be accessible for work.
Within a day or two of arriving in Starlight Shores, Destiny had found a modest home that needed only minimal work, and a job singing for a Sing-A-Gram service in town. It wasn’t much, but it was a start. Instead of earning an hourly rate, she was paid a stipend by the company and tips from the customers if they were happy with her work. She not only had to keep her own hours and book her own clients, she had to be good at what she was going to do. This was the first big test of her skills. Either she had it, or she didn’t.
The moving van arrived with all of her family treasures right on time, and the movers took no time at all to empty the truck and fill her new house. She had a one-car garage, two bedrooms and two bathrooms, a roomy kitchen, a formal living room and a family room on the second floor. Every wall was decorated with at least one item from Appaloosa Plains, sometimes the entire wall had several photos arranged into collages. Outside in the yard, Destiny placed memorial markers for her grandmother Penny, and her parents, Charlie and Fran. In a small garden spot nearby the markers, and under a maple tree, Destiny planted some of the seeds she had kept from Fran’s garden; each one would eventually grow into a prized plant producing perfect produce. If nothing else worked out, she had her degree and a garden that would help fill her time.
Desi settled into her new job, sometimes doing 15 singing telegrams a day. Once the word began to spread of her talent, she became one of her company’s most requested singers. The work was tedious at times, but she made sure she gave each client her business card at the end of every job. Someday, she might make that crucial connection to an agent or talent scout that would change her life.
Meanwhile, she attended the SimFests when they happened, dreaming with each act that someday, she would be on the stage, too. She got her chance at one such SimFest performance, but it wasn’t what she had envisioned. A magician requested a volunteer from the audience for a trick. When no one wanted to participate, the magician chose Desi to help her up on stage. She was put into a box and was able to see that the magician had several long, very sharp looking knives to stick into the box. Knowing the knives weren’t what they seemed, she decided to have some fun with the magician and yelped in pain with every “jab” of the sword. Mortified, the magician stopped the act early and Desi couldn’t help but chuckle as she was escorted off the stage by the proprietor. Afterward, she apologized to the performer and the proprietor because she felt bad about ruining the trick.
Life in the big city wasn’t as glamorous as Destiny imagined. Day in, day out she sang for the city’s residents, but other than her job, no one in town knew her name. On her first anniversary on the job, her boss gave her a promotion and a nice raise to her stipend. But she was growing restless, even though she was making enough to survive, this wasn’t why she moved to the city.
Desi was at what seemed like the tenth SimFest that year when she decided to speak with the proprietor at the park where the contest was taking place. Dressed to impress, she gave her all and sang her heart out, hoping for the chance to headline her own three-hour show. However, her hope turned to despair when he told her he remembered she had ruined the magician’s show, and that she would never sing at his park so long as he ran it. She drove home in tears, wondering for the first time if she had made a mistake in moving to the city. She missed work for the next two days.
On the third morning, she was in the garden watering her plants and out of the corner of her eye, she caught a glimpse of Fran’s memorial stone. She walked over to it, fell to her knees and wept. “Mama,” she said out loud, wishing Fran could hear her. “I am failing here in the city. I don’t know what to do, or where to go next. I wish you were here to give me some advice….” Her voice trailed off, choking back sobs. “I need you, Mama.” Just then, her cell rang, and it was her boss. There was a big job to do and the client wanted their best singer. Desi went inside to clean up and get ready for work, but her heart wasn’t in it.
On her way to her client’s home, she passed a huge crowd gathered around in the park, police cars and fire trucks strewn around the large park green. She stopped long enough to ascertain that the proprietor of the park had died during the scheduled SimFest. While she was sad to hear of his death, she knew that a new proprietor could possibly give her the break she had been waiting for.
A few days later, Destiny read in the newspaper that the new proprietor had been hired at the park, a young woman who was new to Starlight Shores but came with an impressive resume and an eye for fresh talent. I’ve been stagnant long enough, Desi thought to herself. Today is the day I take that leap of faith! She showered and dressed in a brand new dress that she saved to buy, one that she had bought specifically for auditions, with some new shoes she had never worn. She put her hair up in a loose up-do, and touched up her makeup, grabbed her car keys and left her house with a fresh attitude and hope for a better future.
At the park, she introduced herself to the new manager and gave her the best audition she could give. Destiny sang her heart out and poured every bit of emotion into the song she sang. The proprietor was moved and gave her the break that Desi had been seeking… her own three-hour show! She didn’t have much time to prepare her set, because her show was scheduled for the following evening.
Excitedly, she raced home to tell someone, but she realized that there was no one there. She couldn’t even call her Aunt Jenny, as she had passed away earlier that year. Instead, she fixed her favorite meal, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and plugged in her old karaoke machine in the garage. She practiced until the wee hours of the morning, until she was so tired she had to sleep.
Up Next: Chapter Four, Generation Two