I don’t know what was more irritating, the fact that Shawn was in Twinbrook and living at my house, or the fact that he was living here and totally ignoring me. Paul had said that Shawn came here to find me, but by the way he was acting, I didn’t believe it. He hadn’t even spoken two words to me since the night we met at Euji’s.
He’d changed so much! He’d taken up inventing. I hadn’t even known he was interested in building things. I knew he liked art and music, but not making little things out of scrap metals. He had a work table outside by my sculpting station. The funny thing was that I hardly ever saw him there when I was working.
Him not being around meant that I couldn’t stop thinking about him. I even made a replica of his stupid fish tattoo! I was so disgusted with myself I took the piece and sold it at the consignment shop before anyone saw it.
Finally, I had enough of Shawn’s elusiveness and I confronted my brother. I’d gotten up early and was working on my new book. It was a drama set in France called Statues in the Dark. The main characters were loosely based on me and Francois.
“I don’t get it, Paul. You said that Shawn is unemployed, but he’s never home. What does he do all day?”
“This and that, I imagine,” Paul evaded.
“He bartends at night, right?” Paul nodded. “So, why does he get up and leave the house so early? Is he avoiding me?”
“You’ll have to ask him, Sis.”
But I couldn’t ask Shawn because I never see him! Instead, I caught my mother one morning and asked her. She was a lot more forthcoming than Paul had been.
“I think he goes to the town square and plays his guitar and sings for tips,” she said. “He comes home sometimes and gives me what he calls ‘rent money’ on days when he’s been particularly successful.”
“Well that’s good. Wouldn’t want him to mooch off of us, would we,” I said snidely.
“Kara! Shawn could get a job if he wants. Paul and Juliette both offered to find him something at their work places, but he doesn’t want to do that.”
“What does he want to do then?”
Mom shrugged. “I think he likes bartending and he sells his little mechanical toys at the consignment shop. Add those incomes to his busking, and I think he does all right without a job.”
“Seems fishy, Mom.”
“No fishier than your job, Kara. All you do is type and paint and chip away at wood all day. A lot of people wouldn’t call that work.”
“I make art, Mom.”
“So does Shawn.”
I threw my hands up in exasperation and stomped away to type and paint and chip away at wood. But I was determined that I would figure out a way to confront Shawn.
As it happened, later that afternoon, I came out to my sculpting station to find Shawn working on one of his little widgets. Ok, so I’d been sort of waiting for him. I heard the sound of his hammer and blow torch and ran downstairs.
I had some hope of talking to him while we both worked, but his tools were so loud that I couldn’t get more out than “Hi, Shawn,” before his work drowned me out. Fine, I thought, exasperated, two could play that game. I threw myself into my work. Eventually, I got so absorbed in it that I hadn’t noticed that his work had stopped.
“What the heck is that thing you’re making?” Shawn asked, nearly causing me to miss my next strike at the chisel. I looked up at the statue I’d created. It was triangular, like an upside down pyramid. It had weather motifs on it, the sun, clouds, a rainbow. I was getting used to working outside and it showed. Before I answered, I blew a little of the wood chips away from the statue’s surface.
Finally, I shrugged in response to Shawn’s question. “I’m not sure yet, what it is. Looks like something sort of modern Egyptian…only not.”
“You mean you don’t know what it is until it’s done?” Again I shrugged in response. I tapped a little at the line I was making. “Sometimes I know. Sometimes I don’t. Sometimes the material just speaks to me and sort of makes itself, you know?”
I turned to look at him, finally, brushing wood chips off of my clothes and hands. This time he shrugged. “I guess I get that.” I looked over at his work station. It was clean, so he must have finished whatever it was he had made. “What were you working on?” I asked.
“Little wind-up dog,” he said, looking slightly embarrassed. “I make them for the consignment shop. They’re sort of popular here. The new thing in kids’ toys.”
“That’s cool,” I said, though I wasn’t sure if it really was. Kids’ toys? The punk-kid I used to know as a teen hadn’t seemed the type to make kids’ toys. Of course, I had no room to talk. I was a famous children’s book author.
After working next to Shawn that day, I often tried to join him when he was doing his little toys. We mostly worked in companionable silence. But sometimes we talked about his other jobs. He was working at Morgan’s Ale House now. It was a new watering hole in town. Shawn said it was often really slow, so tips weren’t that good. However, Mom was trying to help him out by hosting a party there.
She invited all of our extended family, though only our second cousin, Kyle Fields (the second son of Ronald and Alanna Fields) showed up. He and mom were pretty good friends. I thought they might have a thing together because Kyle wasn’t married, but Mom insisted that they were just friends.
Eventually, others started hanging out at the pub and the place became moderately busy. I learned from Shawn that most of the patrons were people that knew of it because of his band. Rich Harold, Meili Kendrick’s husband and the band’s manager, brought in a lot of customers, Shawn told me.
I got the impression from Shawn that he didn’t much care for Rich, but I’d never met the Sim. I hadn’t even known that Meili was married. Actually, I thought that maybe Meili and my brother had a thing going on. She was often at our house. The band rehearsed there after all, but I also saw her just hanging out with Paul in our new hot tub.
After getting his new job at the Ale House, I noticed that Shawn was spending more time at home. I almost wished he was still avoiding me, though. It was disconcerting for me to be working on a painting, for example, and turn around and see Shawn checking out my work.
“That looks like it’s going to be interesting,” Shawn commented. I hardly knew what to say. “Thanks,” just seemed so platonic. I started to feel like Shawn was another brother in my life. And I didn’t want another brother!
One night, when I was sitting down watching an old romantic movie on television, Shawn sat down next to me. “What’s on?” he asked.
“Siman Holiday,” I said. “Gregory Hepburn and Audrey Peck. It’s a classic.”
“I didn’t know you liked classic romance movies,” Shawn said.
“That’s because we hardly ever watched TV when we were together.” We’d always ended up making out. I looked over at Shawn and wished I could be doing that again.
I panicked at the thought of how much I wanted to kiss him. What was I thinking? “I think I’m going to bed,” I suddenly couldn’t stay on the couch with him.
“But the movie isn’t even half way over,” he looked at me strangely as I leapt up.
“Too tired,” I fake yawned hugely. “Big day tomorrow.” I nearly ran up the stairs to my room on the top floor while Shawn watched me from the couch like I’d grown a second head.
A few days later, I found myself working next to Shawn again outside. We weren’t talking. We hadn’t spoken much since the awkward moment on the couch. I knew I hadn’t fooled him with my act about being tired.
Then something awful happened. Shawn was making one of his toys, using the blow torch like he often did when I heard a sort of pop-whoosh noise. Then I smelled the scent of burning flesh. As soon as I smelled it, Shawn started screaming, “I’m on fire!”
Luckily, he had an extinguisher at his station. Shawn was panicked, and so was I, but I managed to grab the extinguisher, release the nozzle, and point it at him.
My heart was racing and in my head I was repeating, “Please be ok, please be ok, please be ok,” over and over. Shawn had dropped to the ground, remembering to drop and roll, even as I was dumping as much of the white extinguisher chemicals on him as I could. I kept spraying until they ran out.
Finally, the little fire had been put out. Shawn was singed, but mostly he was unhurt.
“Oh my Sims! Shawn!” I screeched and pulled him into my arms as soon as he stood up and I could tell he wasn’t going to need to be rushed to the hospital. “Oh my Sims! I thought I was going to lose you! You were on fire!”
“Kara, Kara, shhhh, shhh, it’s ok. I’m ok,” He rubbed my back to reassure me. He treated me as if I was the one who had been hurt and not him. He was soothing me.
“Shawn,” I pulled back. “I couldn’t bare to lose you. I love you!” Then I hugged him again and suddenly we were kissing like we’d never kissed before. Eventually, we had to part from each other. Shawn seemed reluctant to let me go.
“Kara. I missed you so much. I wanted to see you, talk to you every day, but I didn’t know what to do. That’s why…that’s why I came here. I wanted to be with you.”
“But why…? Why did you avoid me? Why haven’t you said anything to me before now?” I asked, puzzled all over again at his aloof behavior of the past few months since I’d been home.
“I don’t know,” Shawn shrugged. “You seemed to have moved on. I guess I thought I was being foolish. You didn’t seem to be interested in me anymore. And I was a little…” he cleared his throat and looked down at the ground. “I was a little afraid to say anything to you because I couldn’t stand it if you rejected me…again.”
“Oh Shawn!” I hugged him again and kissed him shyly. “I was afraid you didn’t like me anymore.”
That night, Shawn took me out to The Grind, a dance club, where we had a nice meal, drank a little, and danced a lot—almost as much as we made out. It felt so good to be a couple with Shawn again.
We talked about our lives after I’d left Desert Shores. He told me how he got a part time job at the tattoo shop—that’s where he got his sleeve. He showed me each of the tattoos on his arm and explained them, but he didn’t show me the one under his t-shirt. I knew it was a heart with writing on it. I wondered if he’d had some girl’s name tattooed there. I was too afraid to ask. I told him about being in France and going to art school. I left out the details about Francois and Vincent. I mostly talked about seeing the sights and about the work I had done.
I loved the feeling of being held by him and having his mouth on mine. I didn’t want the night to end. We ended up going to the second floor of the club where there were some discrete couches scattered about and everything was weirdly dark because of the black lights. We talked a lot up there, but mostly, I have to admit, that we just made out like a couple of teenagers. We ended up not leaving until the bartender announced that it was closing time.
I thought we might go home and continue what we had started, but when we got to the house, Shawn gave me a lingering kiss outside my bedroom door, but he didn’t follow me inside.
“Good night Kara,” was all he said, and I was left alone in my room, stunned. What had gone wrong?