Interlude: Right Track

Zayne glanced up at the clock on the wall for what felt like the hundredth time. He tried to ignore the uncomfortable sweatiness of his palms and nervous racing of his heart as he waited. God, I haven’t done this in a long time… He thought to himself. I can’t screw this up.

One of the servers came to check on him, but he waved her off gently. “She’s still on her way.” He explained. “I’ll order when she gets here.”

If she gets here… Zayne added mentally. What if she stood him up?

No sooner had the thought crossed his mind than a familiar figure appeared near the entrance of the cafe. He thought that the sight of her would help to calm his nerves, but her presence seemed to have the opposite effect. His heart continued to race, and he felt his throat go dry. Here we go…

Zayne took a moment or two to appreciate the view as the woman drew closer. The years had been very kind to her — she was even more stunning now than she had been when they first met all those years ago. Damn…

“Hey, Victoria.” He smiled warmly at her. “It’s great to see you.”

“You too!”

He hesitated for a moment. How should he greet her? A handshake? A wave? Nothing? Why does this have to be so hard? He’d hoped the fact that he and Victoria had something of a history — albeit an embarrassing and cringe-worthy one — would make this easier. But, if anything, it just made things even more nerve-wracking.

In the end, he settled on a quick hug.

“Sorry I’m late… Traffic was a nightmare.” Victoria explained as she pulled away from him and took a seat at the table.

“It’s fine. I wasn’t waiting long.” He lied. “Have you ever been here before?”

Victoria shook her head. “I don’t usually get down to this side of the city very much… But I’ve heard some pretty great things.”

“Trust me, they’ve got the best coffee you’ve ever had in your life.”

For the briefest moment, his mind traveled back to a time when he’d told Hope the very same thing, but he quickly chased the thought away.

The waitress returned to take their orders, then left Zayne and Victoria to fall back into their slightly forced small-talk. It was strange — Zayne had known Victoria for nearly half his life now, and yet he felt he knew so little about her. After their humiliating breakup, the two of them had fallen out of touch with each other for a few years. However, their similar career paths in the culinary world had eventually brought the two of them into similar social circles, and they began talking more and more as the years went by.

But before today, their only interaction had taken the form of ‘liking’ or commenting on Facebook posts, or exchanging pleasantries when their paths crossed in person.

This was different.

Very different.

While he was busy finishing the last of his cannoli, Victoria’s voice finally brought him back to the present.

“Alright, Zayne, this has been really fun and all…” She sighed. “But do you mind telling me what this whole thing is about? If I didn’t know any better, I’d almost think this was supposed to be a date or something.”

A bright burst of laughter escaped Zayne’s lips at her suggestion.

It was true that he’d been trying to open himself up to dating again, ever since Hope had changed her relationship status on Facebook a few weeks ago. Despite how hard he’d worked to move on over the past several months, the thought of her with someone else still broke his heart. He couldn’t help it. And he’d hoped that finally finding someone of his own would help him cope…

But that wasn’t what today was about. Not by a longshot.

“Oh, no… Definitely not.” He shook his head with a slight chuckle, then realized how terrible that must have sounded. “N-no offense or anything! Like I said in my message, I have a proposition for you.” Zayne continued nervously. “A, uh, business one, obviously…” Smooth, Zayne. Jesus. Don’t fuck this up!

She raised an eyebrow at him. “Business proposition, huh?” Her lips curled into a smile. “I’m listening.”

Zayne took a deep breath and began stumbling over the speech he’d prepared.

And, as promised, Victoria listened.

“So… what do you think?” He asked when he’d finished his explanation. “Ten percent investment in exchange for ten percent of the profits… Plus a salary for your work in the kitchen… if… if you want that part, I mean. It’s up to you.” God, I was NOT cut out to be a business man. He almost laughed.

Victoria did not immediately reply. “Hmm… Ten percent sounds like a pretty sweet deal.” She admitted at last. “And so does this kitchen gig… But how much of a say would I get in how we run things?”

Zayne smiled at her question. After what he’d gone through with Denise and Greg, he understood her concern all too well. “I’ll always let you have a say in all our decisions. And I’ll definitely listen to any ideas you might have too.” He promised her. “At the end of the day, I’ll have the final decision.” He admitted. “But I know I can’t do this thing completely on my own… And I don’t need some stuck-up, white collar business guy bossing me around like last time. I need to work with someone who feels at home in the kitchen like I do. Someone who knows about food and cooking… But who loves it too. Someone who really gets it, y’know? That’s what’s going to make this thing work this time around. And that’s why I came to you.”

Victoria’s drive and passion for the culinary arts had always inspired him. In fact, that was a big part of what had drawn Zayne to her in the first place, back when he was still too afraid of a gas stove to even make a grilled cheese.

He filled her in on a few more of his plans — the suppliers he’d been in touch with, the architect he had working on the building design, some of his menu ideas… To his delight, Victoria seemed more and more interested with each word he spoke, and asked a lot of thoughtful and intelligent questions. Maybe this will work out after all…

“Alright.” Victoria said at last as she finished her third cup of coffee. “Consider my interest piqued.” She smiled slightly. “I’m gonna talk this over with my sister, but I’ll be in touch… probably with a ton more questions.” She admitted.

Zayne laughed softly. “Ask away, anytime.” He smiled. “And uh, thanks for coming to talk to me today. I appreciate it.”

“And thank you for the generous offer.” She replied sincerely. “You’ve definitely given me a lot to think about.”

Before he could say anything in reply, Zayne was interrupted by a sudden vibrating in his pocket. He pulled out his phone, glancing down at the screen curiously.

His eyes flicked upward toward the time. Shit. “Sorry… I’ve really gotta run.” Zayne rose to his feet as he spoke, grateful that he’d already paid their bill a few minutes ago. “But thanks again. We’ll be in touch?”

Victoria nodded. “Definitely.”

Zayne gave her one last nod, then headed for the door. Who the hell forgets their own birthday?! He wondered as he stepped out into the bright afternoon sun.

He was supposed to be at his aunt and grandparents’ house in less than an hour for dinner and cake (both of which, despite their protests, he still insisted on making himself), but he’d completely forgotten until he’d seen Hope’s message. He had a feeling that when he finally got around to checking Facebook that evening, a mass of messages from friends and acquaintances would be waiting for him.

He allowed his mind to wander during the long drive to the outskirts of the city, still marveling at how he’d managed to completely forget the date. Things had just been so busy lately… Between meeting with the architect and contractors, contacting suppliers, and fleshing out the menu, preparations for the new restaurant had been consuming Zayne’s every waking moment, it seemed. And any time he wasn’t spending on the restaurant had been taken up by trying to get himself back in the dating scene… Something Dom and Remi had taken great pleasure in trying to help him with.

Zayne was grateful that wasn’t something he had to worry about that evening. A little family get-together for his birthday, he could handle. But another date with some airhead Dom set him up with? Yeah, no thanks.

As he headed up the steps of his grandparents’ home, Zayne finally felt the fact that he was now thirty years old beginning to sink-in. He could still recall a time when “thirty” sounded so old. But now that he was actually here… Well, he did feel very different than he had back in his twenties. But that was through his own conscious effort. Years of trying to better himself, and finally let go of all the things that had once held him back.

It had been more than six months now since he’d parted ways with Greg. And just as long since he and Hope had decided to stop waiting for each other too. There were still moments where he found himself doubting both decisions, but his meeting with Victoria had helped him feel more confident that he was on the right track. After all he’d gone through, everything was finally coming together for him… For real this time. He could feel it.

His twenties had been such a rollercoaster ride… But with how well everything had been going for him lately, turning thirty finally felt like a chance for a fresh start. A better start. A new beginning.

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61 Responses to Interlude: Right Track

  1. Senna says:

    I had a feeling we’d see Victoria again.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. audreyfld says:

    Uh huh! Business partner and maybe life partner too….

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Trip says:

    +1 for Mark and Joce in the same picture together, and for him hovering over Zayne for sustenance.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. O'jenn says:

    Look at Zayne! I am so beyond proud of the adult he is becoming he has come soooo far in his life and to see him making smart business decisions like this is awesome. I can’t believe he is 30 already! Feels like yesterday that he was that little kid who lost his parents.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Bugsie2016 says:

    Ok, so this might be a little late but is this really the same person as the guy living off whatever because he refused to touch an oven at 16 years old? (Ok, he had a good reason but you get what I mean).

    How could he forget his own birthday? Also, glad he isn’t dwelling on the fact he is now the same age as Luc when he died,like when he was 28 with being the same age as his mother. (I wonder how Joce is doing knowing her nephew is know 30). Let’s hope he doesn’t do what Joce did on her 30th ( *thinks to self* But wait he doesn’t have a twin…….or does he? Might explain the whole cooking thing?)

    Also, i’m totally thinking this ‘business partnership’ is going to lose the business bit pretty soon. He is now definitely the oldest heir to have a child, even if he isn’t having one for a while. Although, I can’t imagine him as a dad, (but I couldn’t imagine Toby or Joce as parents either). Also, Zayne really needs to get a move on with becoming a parent or he might be still raising his child when he’s 50 and earn both oldest new time parent (heir edition) and oldest newtime grandparent (heir edition).

    Liked by 1 person

    • CitizenErased14 says:

      Hahahaha I can promise you that Gen 6 will be born before he’s 50 😉 And yes, this birthday wasn’t quite as bad as his 28th. I think his 31st will be the hardest one of all… but he has time before that happens!

      And another shipper, huh? Haha we will see! 😛

      Like

      • Bugsie2016 says:

        I’m on the plank between Zaytoria/Zatoria (think I like Zaytoria more, reminds me of Zootopia) and Hozay right now. Only because there will be quite a while before we get another chance for Hozay to happen. Why not enjoy some Zaytoria while it’s here?

        Although I think the Zatyln ship died? Or not. There’s always a chance.

        Liked by 1 person

        • CitizenErased14 says:

          LOL Is the Zaytoria really “here” though? Well, I guess as much as Zaitlyn was :tongue:

          Like

          • Bugsie2016 says:

            I think we all just really want nooboos.In loyalty to Hozay, which seems to have been kidnapped (see what I did there), i’m hoping she has a boyfriend.

            If she does, hopefully Zayne finds out before he tries anything. I don’t think he needs to be in the emergency room for about the third time in his life(third chapter).

            Zaytoria seems to be a ghost, your not sure if it’s there or not. 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

  6. witchazard says:

    Shipper: Well look you got your hot female business partner now what?

    Anti Shipper: I see what you’re doing! Giving me this taste of what I wanted then changing the ending this wasn’t my vision!

    Shipper: Sonyounthought after losing money on his previous investment he was suppose to just blindly trust a random stranger over someone you know that’s reaching for those stars don’t you think!

    Anti Shipper: For me the stars are always within reach after all I got you! Well he’s thirty now that means he’s going to make more mature decisions hopefully! But I think he should leave the romancing for awhile and focus on his business getting off the ground first!

    Shipper: I agree get that money man!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. skcaga6 says:

    Well if it’s been 6 months since he last saw Hope, then I guess it is safe to say there’s no baby there. She would have told him by now if there was. Damn!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Allyson says:

    The statue in the café window whilst Zayne is checking his phone– Ha!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. JOCE AND MARK!!! I SEE MY SHIP!

    And as for this Victoria… KEEP THOSE HANDS OFF ZAYNE. He belongs to Hope!

    Liked by 4 people

  10. nichole1011 says:

    If he and Hope can’t be together, I suppose I can support Victoria. BUT UNLESS HOPE IS DEAD, THEN MY HOPE IS NOT DEAD! So for now, back if off woman! Why can’t Zayne have a nice easy romantic life? Being an heir to this legacy means no romantic happiness for more than a few years until you get older. This should be a disclaimer on their diaries or something. 😂😂 I’m glad Zayne is maturing though and finding himself both personally and professionally. Mentally he’ll be on much better ground once he’s professionally stable.

    Liked by 2 people

    • CitizenErased14 says:

      Hahahaha true, that disclaimer might be necessary, given the Rosebrooks’ track record! Poor things.

      I think you’re so right about Zayne needing his professional life stable to help bring stability to his personal life too 🙂 Hopefully that’s where he is headed!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. fabtiffsim says:

    Victoria was probably thinking similar thoughts about Zayne but a little more “That young dumb boy is one hunk of handsome man now”

    Liked by 2 people

  12. 30!!! I’ve been waiting for this. Remember there was a time when I was terrified Zayne would never grow up. Well hell, he’s spending all his time working on opening a new restaurant (when not being setup with bimbos, lol). He’s using his connections from Greg, who I guess was good for something because at least he taught Zayne a few things before completely sucking as a business partner. He’s adulting so well now. Is there some song that sings “welcome to your life”? That’s what I — and Zayne — would like to listen to right now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • CitizenErased14 says:

      Hehehe I love reading about how proud everybody is of him 🙂 He’s has quite the journey! And I will have to try to think of a good song that fits that 😛 Hehe

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Jes2G says:

    Well! Happy birthday, Brat Prince. You will find 30 to be a completely awesome year because of the attitude you have; that is what makes 30 amazing.
    Hello again, Victoria! Gosh…all the anti-Victoria sentiments are crazy. She hasn’t even done anything yet LOL. We don’t even know if she’ll say yes to this…although we totally know she will. I mean, why wouldn’t she?

    Liked by 2 people

    • CitizenErased14 says:

      Hahahaha I’ve noticed there seems to be an uproar if any female gets within a 10-foot radius of Zayne, I think 😛 Once a girl steps in the circle, it’s over. Half the readers get angry and see her as a threat to HoZay, the other half rush down to the harbor to scramble onboard a new ship 😛

      But it’s true — we have no idea if she’s even gonna accept this offer anyway. But we’ll find out relatively soon 😉 Thank you again for letting Victoria make a re-appearance 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  14. OnyxRaven says:

    Victoria looks quite pretty! It seems like Hope isn’t carrying a nooboo, but we’ll see. But we sure need one. Zayne is making his way to the later parts of life 😞. And I miss nooboos.

    Liked by 1 person

    • CitizenErased14 says:

      Yeah, I can confirm that there is no HoZay nooboo, sawwy. 😦 He’s definitely getting older now, and still no babies in sight! But I don’t think he’s in any rush right now 😉 Gotta focus on his career first! 😛

      Like

  15. “His twenties had been such a rollercoaster ride… ” Boy, you’re entire life has been a roller coaster ride. You know it. I know it. Everybody knows it. You are not fooling anyone, sweetie.

    It’s cool to see Victoria again. I had a feeling she’d be back. Here’s to hoping this partnership works out for both of them. Zayne definitely deserves it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • CitizenErased14 says:

      Okay, that’s true. This poor kid has been stuck on a ride since birth! 😂 Glad you liked seeing Victoria again! Hopefully she accepts Zayne’s offer!

      Like

  16. Elizabeth says:

    How refreshing. It’s not often that one sees turning thirty as the time good things start coming. But then, poor Zayne never seems to expect good things. I’m so glad things are looking more positive for him!

    Liked by 1 person

    • CitizenErased14 says:

      That’s so true! This type of positivity is rare for Zayne! But I think he’s finally feeling really good about where life is taking him 🙂 Thank you so much for reading!

      Like

  17. raerei says:

    Agreeing with everyone. Zayne is so grown up now! Very confident. Women like that in a man. I wouldn’t be surprised if he starts getting lots of offers to be the replacement for Hope… That is, if she can be replaced.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. sonniejj says:

    Good for you, Zayne! He’s making some wonderful, wonderful progress 🙂

    I like Victoria, I think she will be a good business partner. She seems to know what she wants, but also quite capable of compromise.

    Also, no Hope/Zayne baby! I don’t know if I’m relieved or disappointed :p

    Liked by 1 person

    • CitizenErased14 says:

      Hahaha I think there’s a lot of both feelings right now 😉

      Glad you’re enjoying Zayne’s progress! I also think Victoria could be really good for his business. Hopefully she’ll say yes!

      Like

  19. julyvee94 says:

    I do think Zayne is on the right track 🙂 I hope Victoria accepts his deal!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. sourocha1 says:

    Ahhh, how nice! Zayne seem like wine, he get’s better with time! Maybe he will be like Mari? Made a lot of mistakes in their lifes, so knows how stuff really goes…Because I doubt he will be only ”flowers and rainbows” from now on, mostly because he dosen’t have an heir yet, and unless we get, like, a massive time skip and Zayne is still happy and with his daugther and family, I don’t think he is going to eb 100 porcent happy just yet…

    Liked by 1 person

    • CitizenErased14 says:

      Haha it’s usually not flowers and rainbows for too long… but maybe I’ll be nice this time? 😛 And yes, Zayne is definitely getting better with age (both in appearance and personality 😉 )

      Liked by 1 person

  21. SilentWolf101 says:

    I know I don’t come here often anymore, but just know that I will never stop reading this story. 🙂 It’s grown on me heavily (As has Zayne). I’m realy proud of the progress he’s made so far. 🙂

    Also, where is Zayne’s hair from? The bun, specifically. I love it, and would totally use it on a guy that will eventually appear in my own story (in black, though. Not red. Though I do have a thing for red hair). :3

    Anyways, as always, loving this story. Can’t wait to see Hope’s baby that I know is coming soon, because #ShipWrecker wouldn’t miss the opportunity to wreak havock on her poor sims lives… I just wonder how you’ll break the news…

    Liked by 1 person

    • CitizenErased14 says:

      It means a lot to see you commenting, Wolfy! ^_^ Don’t feel like you have to though. It’s enough to know that you’re reading it and enjoying it, even if you live up to your “silent” name while doing it 😉 I’m really glad Zayne and his story is growing on you too 🙂

      I genuinely can’t remember where I found Zayne’s hair/what it’s called… but I’ll try to find out and let you know!

      And another who feels sure we have a baby in our future, eh? Haha we will see 😉

      Thank you again! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    • CitizenErased14 says:

      I still couldn’t find the actual hair (I do not organize my cc well 😂 ) But Trip/Infragreen is a hero who helped find it for me 😛 Here you go!

      https://birkschessimsblog.wordpress.com/2016/09/20/men-halfknot/

      Liked by 1 person

      • SilentWolf101 says:

        THANK YOU! 😀 ❤ ❤ ❤

        Oh my goodness, you have no idea how happy I am right now.

        Also, thank you for the kind words. I don't feel like I have to — I want to. 🙂 And yes, I am living up to my name, aren't I? XD

        Liked by 1 person

  22. lisabeesims says:

    Very tricky with the whole “we thought they were on a date” thing … and one little tiny crushing blow to our Hope hearts (the coffee memory) … and then leave us totally in the dark LOL nice

    Liked by 1 person

  23. maladi777 says:

    I’m happy to tell you I liked this chapter and haven’t find anything negative to say about it as you always expect me to do. 😀 I’d call it a success! Zayne is finally on the right track, leaving the miserable past behind. I hope that in his case 30 won’t be just a number and that it will reflect on his future actions.

    Liked by 1 person

    • CitizenErased14 says:

      Hahaha I’m glad you enjoyed it 😛 Hopefully this is truly the start of a new beginning for Zayne… but we’ll see! 😉

      Like

  24. kaffepigen says:

    I’m a little confused. Is Victoria the girl he was seeing when he lived on his own as a teenager? The relationship that ended at that party where they played Truth or Dare?

    Like

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