Chapter 20

– Season 1 Finale –

Grace caught up to the slow moving train as it chugged its way down the railroad tracks.

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Tossing her bag up into the open railcar, Grace grabbed hold of a metal handle and pulled herself up. Once inside, she headed for a small corner by some wooden crates.

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Standing there, thinking of what she had just done, she thought of Alex and Hazel all those years ago. Imagining how it must have been and how brave they were to do what she had just done and at such a young age. Lost in her thoughts, Grace closed her eyes and noticed that the gentle rocking of the train was making her sleepy.

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Looking around for a place to rest, Grace decided to close her eyes and try and get some sleep. Nothing could be heard but the soft click-clack of trains as they passed each other on the tracks.

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As she dozed off to sleep, she decided to jump off the train where ever it was at when she opened her eyes. Hopefully it would be near Magnolia Promenade, near Sophie Templeton. Reaching into the duffle bag, she pulled out Chompy set him next to her as she fell asleep.

And now… a toast of gratitude. Everyone raise your glasses…

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Now that Season 1 is over I wanted to thank everyone for coming by to read Grace’s story. I still don’t have a clue how to do all of this as this is my first Simlit, but the combination of my confusion and writing Grace’s story has been somewhat entertaining to others and that’s pretty cool. Thank you for commenting, reading, and clicking the follow button. I’m enjoying this wild ride and sharing it with others.

Season 2 will be posted soon. In fact…

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So thank you for coming by and hanging out. I’ve enjoyed having you all here.

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Chapter 19

Grace waited until Miss Derby had finished her third bottle of wine. It was about now when Miss Derby would start leaving her bedroom door unlocked because she was too drunk to remember to lock it behind her. This was Grace’s chance. She knew she didn’t have to worry about Damien catching her. He didn’t come around much anymore. He aged up to a teen about a month ago and just stopped coming back to the orphanage. It was just Miss Derby and Grace that were left behind.

Standing in front of Miss Derby’s bedroom door, Grace raised her hand to the door handle and twisted it slowly. Opening the door quietly, she saw the statue on the mantle and could hear Miss Derby singing in the bathtub.

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Stepping into the room, Grace walked slowly over to the fireplace. If she was going to leave tonight, she decided to hit Miss Derby where it really hurt the most, Miss Derby’s beloved statue was coming with Grace. Taking the statue off of the mantle, Glace placed the statue into her duffle bag with Chompy, and turned to walk out of the room. But as she turned, her foot got caught on the corner of the coffee table and Grace fell over.

“Ouff!” Grace grunted as she hit the floor. The glassware on the coffee table clinked loudly.

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The singing stopped momentarily. Frozen and holding her breath, Grace laid very still as not be heard. Then she saw something interesting. Looking under a chair, she saw the black bag Miss Derby had at Barkerman Steel.

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It was open slightly and Grace could see that it was still filled with cash. Grace blinked hard. She couldn’t believe her luck. Reaching her hand into the bag, she could feel that there were stacks upon stacks of banded bills still inside. Miss Derby began singling loudly again. Grace stood, smiled, and took the bag.

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Hearing the drain pull in the tub, Grace started to panic. She ran through the front door, across the yard and fled.

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After quite a distance, Grace stopped and tried to catch her breath. Numb, scared, and in shock of what she had done, it started to sprinkle as Grace stood there in the road. Standing there in the light rain, Grace turned her face to the sky. She couldn’t tell if it was rain drops or tears running down her face.

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She decided at the last minute to run away. She didn’t have any clothes or food. All she had was the bag of money, the mysterious statue, and Chompy.
“This is crazy,” Grace thought, pulling herself out of her fear, “I can’t just keep running on foot.”

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Then, she heard it. In the distance, a train whistle blowing. Looking out to the horizon, it filled her with hope. “That’s it. My ticket out of Oasis Springs.”

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Chapter 18

“I found her.” The man said.

“Where?” Grace’s heart was racing.

“Magnolia Promenade.”

“That’s all you’re going to tell me?” Grace said, angrily. She had already left the money hidden behind some pipes at Barkerman Steel. She felt cheated.

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“That’s all $1,500 will get you. It was nice doing business with you.” The line went dead. He was gone.

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Chapter 17

“You can come out now.” The man said, without turning around. Grace drew in a breath. He knew she was there. Hesitating for a moment, she decided it would be best if she just came out of hiding.

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“How did you know…?” Grace said, shaken.
“It’s my job to know everything.” He said, matter of factly.
“What job is that?”
“You asked too many questions.” The man said, smiling.
“I have a brother?” Grace asked, holding back tears.

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“I’m sorry you heard that. But I’m not at liberty to tell you anything.” The man said, sternly. Grace looked down at her shoes and thought for a moment.
“Can I hire you?” Grace asked, quietly.
“You can’t afford me.” The man laughed.

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“I have $1,500.” Grace offered. It was all she had. Years of babysitting, mowing lawns, and cleaning houses had amounted to just over a grand.
“How is that possible?” The man asked.
“I’m sorry. I’m not at liberty to tell you anything.” Grace said, defiantly.

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The man laughed. He found her courage endearing. “Alright, what can I do for you?”
“I need you to find someone.” Grace said, with a touch of hurt and anger in her voice.

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“I don’t know where your brother is and I can’t help you with that.” The man said.
“I don’t care about that,” Grace said, pretending not to be hurt, “I need you to find a girl that got adopted from the orphanage. Her name is Sophie Templeton. How soon can you get me any information on her location?”
“I can give you her address in an hour.”

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Chapter 16

Stepping outside and into the road, Grace looked down the street in the direction toward Barkerman Steel to make sure that Miss Derby was no where to be seen.

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Deciding it was safe, Grace tied her sweatshirt around her waist and ran hard to the abandoned steel mill determined to beat Miss Derby and her mysterious cohort there and find a safe hiding place.

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As she got to the old mill, Grace looked around and noticed that she had arrived before anyone else. Grace ran inside and hid in a storage room closet. Hiding in the dark, Grace waited anxiously to see who Miss Derby was going to be meeting.

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She didn’t have to wait long. A man with a dark suit walked in and placed a black duffle bag on a table. Moments later, Miss Derby walked in. Standing across from each other, Miss Derby opened the duffle bag and pulled out some of its contents. She clutched stacks of money wrapped in neat bands. Setting some of the money on the table, Miss Derby spoke to the mysterious man.

“She turns 18 next week.” Miss Derby said, staring the mysterious man down.
“What’s your point?” The man said, in a gravely voice.
“My point is that I put up with her for eighteen years and this is all the anonymous benefactor will be paying me on my final payment?” Miss Derby said, gesturing angrily at the duffle bag of cash.

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“You were compensated very well, you know that. Trust me, my boss isn’t someone you want to challenge.” The man said, threateningly.
“But I have taken in two of his illegitimate children over the years. I never even told Grace that her brother was actually at the orphanage with her. I never told her about Alex. Doesn’t that earn me more money than this?” Miss Derby said.

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The two of them stared at each other and the man calmly pulled open his suit jacket and reached for his waist, pulling out a gun. Pointing the gun directly at Miss Derby’s face, the man spoke, “Take the bag and leave.” He cocked his gun and continued to stare at Miss Derby.

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Miss Derby, gathered her composure, slammed her hand onto the black duffle bag and with a grunt, said, “Fine.”

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Grace braced herself against the cool storage room wall. Placing her head in her hands, she let everything wash over her. She couldn’t believe what she had heard. Alex was her brother. “I should have left with him when I had the chance.” Grace thought to herself, heart broken.

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Chapter 15

Grace kept thinking about the man that came earlier in the evening. It bought up her worries about where Alex and Hazel had ended up all those years ago when they ran away from the orphanage and hopped the midnight train out of Oasis Springs. Heading into the kitchen, lost in her thoughts, Grace heard Miss Derby mumbling secretively into her phone.

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“Okay, I will meet you at Barkerman Steel in 45 minutes.” She paused, someone was talking on the other end. “Yes, I will make sure to come alone.” Miss Derby snapped her phone shut and looked about the room to make sure no one heard her. Gathering her keys, she ran out the front door.

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“That’s odd.” Grace thought. “Even for Miss Derby.” Grace watched Miss Derby hop in her old beat up truck and watched it head down the deserted street. She looked at the clock in Miss Derby’s office. If she left right now, she could make it in time to see what she was up to.

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Chapter 14

Sitting on the front porch of the orphanage, lost in her thoughts, Grace tried her best to enjoy the cool desert evening. Looking out into the yard, she saw a man standing on the sidewalk. He looked distressed. Taking a piece of paper out of his pocket, he sighed then looked up and saw Grace.

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“Excuse me,” He called out, a slight panic in his voice, “have you seen any of these people? My son and his friends have gone missing.” The man said, walking across the yard, then handing Grace the flier.

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As Grace took the flier, she saw how deeply concerned the man was. Looking at the faces smiling out from the paper, she felt saddened. She hadn’t seen any of them.

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“No, I’m so sorry. No one comes around here. This part of town has been almost abandoned since Barkerman Steel went out of business years ago. I’m so sorry. They all look like sweet people.” Grace handed back the flier. “I hope you find them.” Grace added, sadly. Looking into the man’s eyes saw fear, worry, and exhaustion.

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“Thank you for your time.” The man said, disappointed. Grace headed into the house and as she got to the door, she looked back. She saw the man standing on the sidewalk. It looked like he was wondering where to go next.

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**This awesome story is part of an ongoing collaboration with the amazing CathyTea and the Sims writing community. You can read more of CathyTea’s stories and more of Free Jon’s Time Travel adventures as his father, Elder, continues the hunt for his son (in different saved games) on CathyTea’s Blog.


Chapter 13

On the evening of her birthday, a young teenaged Grace lays on the cool desert ground and looks to the stars. Reflecting on her life and how she never forgot Sophie’s betrayal, hate and hurt festers in Grace’s heart.

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Memories of friendship, love, and trust are quickly followed by Sophie’s words that echo in Grace’s head, “Oh that’s lucky Grace. I call her lucky because she got adopted this morning. She’s out front waiting for her family.”

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Looking at the moon, a breeze sweeps over Grace’s body and she mumbles her favorite quote.

“In its wake came an age of silence. Yet with each fond remembrance, we knew those encountered were not forgotten, that some day we would see them again. Perhaps it was no more than wishful thinking. But after the long calm, there are the beginnings of a stir. The reunion at hand may bring joy, it may bring fear, but let us embrace whatever it brings. For they are coming back. At last the promise has been made.”

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Quote Credit: Final Fantasy 7 Remake Teaser Video

Chapter 12

Grace had an awful day at school. All she could think about was if she still had any chance at being adopted. As the day went on, Grace realized that Sophie never showed up for class and as the final bell rang, Grace slowly began to realize that maybe her only friend had actually betrayed her.

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Grace got back to the orphanage, walked into the front door and looked around. Something was wrong. Everything was too quiet.

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Grace looked around the small house. She looked in the kitchen.

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“Sophie?” Grace called out as she entered the empty bedroom. Sophie wasn’t anywhere.

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Grace was so preoccupied with her anxiety at school, she didn’t even realize that she hadn’t see Sophie at all during the day. Confused, Grace sat at the kitchen table.

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Miss Derby walked into the kitchen and saw how confused and upset Grace was.
“The little brat is gone.” Miss Derby said as she reached into the fridge. Realizing she wanted to see the hurt in Grace’s face as she told her the news of where Sophie was, Miss Derby walked over to where Grace was sitting.
“She got adopted this morning.” Miss Derby announced, pleased to see the hurt in Grace’s face. “A sneak, that child. She actually told her new parents that you weren’t available to adopt.” Satisfied that she had broken Grace’s heart, Miss Derby chuckled and walked out of the room.

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Chapter 11

Grace was so excited that today could finally be her day and her chance at a real family, that she ran up the steps to the orphanage and put her ear to the door to hear what Molly and Drake would say to Miss Derby. But instead, she heard Sophie. She heard everything.

Grace was shocked. She couldn’t believe that Sophie would lie and say that Grace had been adopted.

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“How…could…she…” Grace whispered, broken hearted.

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