It was late in the afternoon when Mayor Dimitri Barnes got a visitor. It was Summer Frazier, his Deputy Mayor. He rose to greet her.
“Hello, Dimitri,” Summer greeted, a little too enthusiastically for her.
“Good afternoon, Summer,” Dimitri replied. “Have a seat,” he directed.
“We’ve been very busy, haven’t we?” Summer asked him. “With the developers and all.”
“Oh, yes,” he agreed. “Construction on the new town hall building is in full swing and we’re almost done with the high school. I hope to have all construction of all city buildings to be at least under way by year end. It looks like our deal with Juarez Construction has been very beneficial.”
“Speaking of which, I would like to talk to you about that,” Summer began. “Aren’t we giving away too much with the Juarez deal? A business of that magnitude could easily manage the mandated operating fees.”
“That is true, but we did have to give an offer to persuade them to operate here,” Dimitri explained. “But with what we missed on the BC and tax abatement, we will more than make it up with the incoming developments.”
“But our budget is dangerously low right now,” Summer countered.
Dimitri inwardly sighed. He had already been through this with Summer at the city council meetings. Ever since he began his mayorship, she had been questioning his decisions, no matter how trivial.
“I am aware of our budget, Summer. However, with our new tax code now in effect, this city will finally begin showing a surplus, instead of a deficit. Besides, I believe that is a matter of the city treasurer,” Dimitri added.
Summer pursed her lips, but continued. “And I still disagree with the amount of money being spent for the schools. Our youth population doesn’t currently warrant-“
“But it will. Within the past four months, we have seen a population increase for the first time in, according to Mrs. McCarthy, fifty years. How do we expect to grow our city, if we are not offering adequate services? We’ve wasted enough money busing the youth to Rockport already.”
“But do we want to utilize those funds to hire undesired staff?” Summer countered.
“Summer, it is up to Ms. Meade to decide who she wants to hire as school staff,” Dimitri responded in a firm voice. “If she wants to hire Arcturians or hybrids, she can do so as superintendent. Now, you’ve had a lot to say about the other council members’ tasks, but I have not heard any progress regarding new city culture programs…”
“That impromptu meeting was brutal.” Later that evening, Dimitri was relaying his conversation with Amelia. “She had much to say about your ‘controversial’ staff.”
Amelia snorted. “It’s only controversial because she’s making it out to be. You would think that after ten years of SimEarth joining the IUP, sims would have gotten use to having extraterrestrials as neighbors.”
Dimitri raised an eyebrow. “I despise using the term ‘aliens’. It just brings up negative perceptions on the Arcturians,” Amelia explained.
“But she is…” Dimitri shook his head. “Anyway, I was glad that I nipped it the bud before…”
“Oh, I wouldn’t be so sure. She’s the typical backseat driver. She has a lot to say when someone else is holding the reins. I just think she’s still miffed on getting passed up for mayor.”
“Oh?” Dimitri asked.
“Yeah, I mean she’s a power-hungry, prejudiced snob who is jealous of you: a smart, good-looking man who knows what he is doing.”
Dimitri smirked. “Did you just call me good-looking?”
Alarmed, Amelia backtracked. “Um, no.”
“So I’m ugly?
“No! You’re handsome- I mean…”
He laughed. “I’m just teasing you, Amelia.”
“Oh,” Amelia said. “Sorry,” she said sheepishly.
Neither of them said anything for a while. Dimitri was silently kicking himself.
“O-kay,” Amelia said finally. “I think I’ve taken up your time enough.”
Dimitri stood to walk her to the door. “Well, thanks for listening to me complain. Although, I figure that I shouldn’t have, considering…”
Amelia shook her head. “I won’t tell, if you don’t. It seemed like you needed an ear. It’ll be our little secret.”
They stared at each other for a moment.
Dimitri didn’t know how it happened. He was talking to her, then he was staring at her beautiful mouth. But then…
Amelia pulled away first. “I, um. I have to go,” she stammered.
Although he was too embarrassed to face her, he couldn’t help smiling in spite of himself.
A few days later, Dimitri’s friend from Rockport, Drew, came by to visit him. Drew Weber was in town, looking for a new house.
“I don’t know what happened. We were talking and then…”
Drew laughed. “You know what happened.”
“Alright, I admit it. I’ve had a thing for Amelia since I met her,” he said. “But I tried to keep my feelings in check.”
“As you should. Considering that you are mayor, this is highly unethical. What if someone, especially an insider, found out?” Drew added.
Dimitri immediately thought of Summer and his insides turned cold. “Summer Frazier is definitely out for my job, and if this ever got out…”
“Well, you know what you must do. If you pursued things with Amelia, this could blow up in your face. Big time.”
“Tell me something I don’t know,” Dimitri lamented.
“Amelia sounds like a great woman, but is she worth your career?”
Dimitri didn’t reply. “Well, I can tell you that you have some thinking to do. But you should ask yourself if she is worth the risk,” Drew provided.
After Drew left, Dimitri did think about his situation. How could he have been so stupid? Kissing his colleague? He was screwed.
But Dimitri did reach a decision that night. He called her immediately so he could get it over with.
“Hello, Amelia? This is Dimitri,” he began. “We need to talk…”
- The title is from the song What’s Going On by Marvin Gaye.
- Dimitri might have not known how it happened, but I do. It was ACR. They have a three-bolt chemistry, and they have built up quite a friendship in such a short amount of time.
- The IUP is the Intergalactic Union of Planets, between SimEarth and other planets in the galaxy. Arcturus is a planet in a neighboring star system and is SimEarth’s closest neighbors. They revealed themselves to sims about thirty simyears ago, and helped SimEarth become a citizens of IUP. Despite widespread acceptance, there are still others who are wary and distrustful of aliens, Summer Frazier as one of them. Because Amelia is pro-alien rights, Summer despises Amelia.
- I’ll be putting up a poll. Should Dimitri pursue a relationship with Amelia? Should he kept it on the DL? It’s not going to affect anything, but I’m curious to see what you guys think.