Tara Cleary had a problem. She had a big problem. A problem that drove her to drink, in fact. It was occurring to her, slowly and against her will, that she was no longer in love with her long-time mate, Aki Tanaka. How could this happen? They'd been together since high school, and she was middle-aged now! He'd brought her back from the dead, for god's sake. They'd built a home and a business together. But no matter how many times she told herself these things, she couldn't deny that there was simply no spark anymore. More than that, there wasn't even a very good friendship. They lived in separate spheres in the same house, moving independently and hardly talking more than a cursory hello and goodbye. Something had to be done, she finally knew. It broke her heart.
Though she knew it was wrong, one day while Aki was at work, she called a local "magic woman" of sorts, a woman of gypsy blood who apparently had "skills" in the area of matchmaking and love. She handed over five thousand hard-earned simoleons and asked to meet her perfect match. The old woman peered into her crystal ball and cackled through missing teeth. "I sense you two will be perfect for one another!" she cried. Tara hoped so. She wanted to see if there was feeling in her beyond this boredom and blandness she felt with Aki.
What she DIDN'T want to see was Aki's car pulling up to the front of the house. He'd arrived home early! And here she was, obviously entertaining a male suitor right on their front lawn. She was mortified for him and for herself, that she'd been so careless in her upset state. Aki strode across the lawn and slapped her hard against the face. "I knew it!" he shouted. "I knew there must have been someone else!" She tried to explain that there hadn't been...at least not until about an hour ago, but Aki was furious and inconsolable. It turned out to be the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back.
Aki, so furious at Tara's betrayal, decided that two could play at this game, and he immediately employed the gypsy woman to bring HIM a new lover as well. She did as she was told, and a woman appeared seemingly out of nowhere. In the meantime, Tara tried to explain to her potential soul mate and beg him politely to leave.
Unfortunately and sadly for both Tara and Aki, both of their dates ended up disasters. Tara's date was furious that she had made him an accomplice in her cheating. And Aki's date was already a taken woman! The two matches waited in the shop while listening uncomfortably to Tara and Aki arguing outside on the driveway. What an uncomfortable mess.
That very night, Tara sat down at the computer and found herself a new place to live. Aki was going to kick her out anyway, she knew, so she may as well go ahead and preempt him. When she walked, empty-armed, out of the house, they didn't even say anything to one another. They were both too angry and too hurt and too...confused...by what had happened. It was heart-breaking, but Tara climbed into the cab and watched her former life and former love disappear out the back window. Thus began her new life.
With her new life, Tara desired a new career. She'd achieved her goal of becoming the education minister of Rosebud, and now she was in a new house, with a freshly broken heart and a desire to have something new to distract her. She decided that distraction would be a change of career. No more smelly school hallways for her. She was trading them for smelly hospital hallways.
Of course, even though her new life was a new start, it didn't mean her old life didn't insert itself once in a while. Aki was still around...he still lived in Rosebud, and she hoped the town was big enough for the two of them. It was hard to be hopeful when he was so furious that he came all the way across town just to kick over her trashcan, though.
Tara had a lot of time to think now in her peaceful mediterranean home. It was quiet and solitary, and she liked it that way, though she had to admit she missed having another person around. And she missed Aki, in a strange way. She missed the Aki and Tara they used to be. Her thoughts were always roiling around in her head, whether she was tinkering on her bench or cooking spaghetti for one.
She built herself a SentyBot to protect against the roach-causing trash can accidents, though she couldn't really blame Aki for being furious. She'd overstepped a line, even if she'd done it with subconscious purpose. Perhaps it had been her cry for help, her way of getting out.
She watched the next night as Aki came to kick over her trash in his usual rage, and it gave her no satisfaction to see him get zapped mercilessly by the SentryBot. She was glad to see him run away and hoped it would keep him away, but she didn't wish him any more harm than she'd already caused him. Life was so complicated.
Being the handy girl she was, she built herself a CleanBot as well, so that the SentryBot could discourage Aki's nightly visits and the CleanBot could clean up after them. She sighed at having to do all this to protect her house against the man she used to love.
Her love of Aki had transformed into love of her house. It was gorgeous. She was so delighted that she'd found this gem in Rosebud, and the pool allowed her the relaxation of cool water, the peacefulness of a mediterranean grotto.
In fact, she decided to stop moping around and do something fun: have a party. She loved all of her friends and family, after all, so why not? It might be just the ticket to feeling better. She called up everyone she could think of that might have a day free and invited them over for a pool party by the barbeque. [[Pictured L to R: Catalina Villalobos, Meadow Beaumont, some dude Tara met somewhere who looks like a landlord, Neal Cleary, Tessa Cleary.]]
Everyone ended up having a great time, thanks to the little stereo Tara had had installed so smustling was ALWAYS an option. She even cooked ribs on the grill for everyone, which was a treat no one expected. The smell of chlorine and barbeque were in the air, and everyone had an amazing time, even despite the party crasher. [[Note Aki on the right side, lol. Also pictured: Dorotea Villalobos, Nerissa Villalobos, some dude in the pool.]]
When the festivities were over, Tara settled herself in her new living room with a book, reading about couples counseling. She didn't want to reunite with Aki, but she hoped that maybe someday they would be able to be friends again. That was when she heard all the racket.
When she climbed down the spiral staircase to her grotto, she found that her CleanBot was on the fritz and spraying trash and garbage all over her lawn. How had the CleanBot even HELD all of this trash? she wondered. As she approached the flailing robot with the remote control, Tara said only two words in a sigh, "Why me?"
She fixed up the CleanBot and went to bed, exhausted from her day of entertaining and internal drama.
The next morning, she slipped into her swimsuit for a quick refreshing swim. She just hoped that life would even out to a comfortable place soon; everyone deserved a happy life, she thought. Even Aki. Even her.
[[Author's Notes: Whew, I finally got these two apart. They were awful together, and I'm sad that it didn't work out, but this is much better. Tara seems a million times happier, even if she IS all sad and lonely because of the breakup. Next up is Aki in his new house, and he seems happier as well. I'm pleased with my decision to do this; these two can find true love with someone, I know, even if it isn't with each other. :)
Tara's gypsy match rolled up this want while they were on their date. Never seen it before, but it must have been a pretty bad date if he was contemplating robotics during it. ]]