It's late when Tula finally arrives in Bridgeport. Instead of going straight to Bridgeport, Tula rented a car for a roadtrip. It's been almost a week since she left her hometown behind and her camera is now full of photos. But once she reached Bridgeport she returned the car to an agency and got a taxi. The taxi driver was able to find Jessica and Rafael's address with ease.
"Tula, it's so nice to see you!" Jessica greets with a friendly grin. She extends her arms for a hug.
Tula warmly returns the hug, a bit surprised at Jessica's bubbly attitude.
"And is this a new look? It's very flattering," Jessica looks Tula up and down when they pull apart.
"Well, new city, new rules. I thought it would help me fit in better."
Jessica nods approvingly, "You look like a local. Except those shoes," she eyes Tula's flats critically, "You know most girls here wear heels, right?"
Tula rolls her eyes, "One step at a time- I'm from a small, rural town, remember? I'd rather not twist an ankle on my first day." She punctuates the sentence with a light laugh and a wide smile.
The elevator suddenly pings and its doors slide open. Rafael emerges and smiles when he spots Jessica and Tula.
"I see our guest made it safe and sound!" He glances at Tula's bags in the corner of the room, "Let me help you with that, I'll put it in your room."
"Isn't it cute? I'm a soldier and a vampire and yet he insists on doing all the heavy lifting at home. Anyways, would you like to come in? I imagine you must be hungry and quite tired."
Tula smiles, grateful. The journey was long and what she'd love to do right now is take a long hot shower and go to bed.
"Lead the way."
After a warm soak in the bathtub, Tula unpacks her things. The guest room is small, but still larger and with more amenities than her accommodations in Shang Simla. She shuts the last drawer, now filled with neatly folded shirts.
She eyes the heavy books on her new set of drawers. They were recommended readings for her internship. She's skimmed most of it, but isn't sure if she should really waste her time reading all of it. She's just going to be polishing podiums, after all.
Next to the books is her massive makeup box. She insisted on buying professional quality makeup before coming here, the only (late) birthday gift she asked her father for in addition for a new wardrobe. Appearances aren't all of her new job, but they sure are important. She won't be caught looking plain or dowdy, even if she is from "the middle of nowhere".
She eyes her reflection critically. Right now, she looks every bit the young small town girl. Thankfully the makeup and clothes her father bought for her hide it well.
She flicks her lights off before climbing into bed. Her last thoughts before she falls asleep are of her new internship.
Work starts at 9, so Tula wakes up groggily at 7. Rafael made macaroni the night before, a small post-it note on the fridge telling her to heat up as much as she'd like for lunch. She decides to just have it for breakfast instead.
She puts her bowl away in the dishwasher afterwards and looks at the clock behind her. 7:20. She should probably get ready.
Her first day goes alright. Lots of new faces and introductions. She hasn't done any real work yet, so she's not sure what to expect exactly. She's made a point of memorizing all the names and faces she met today, wanting to establish good relationships with her colleagues as quickly as possible.
Almost on cue, her phone rings. She's not surprised to see that it's her father calling.
"Tula, hi! Did I just catch you at the end of your shift?"
Tula smirks; her dad is a terrible liar, "You would know."
She can almost hear the guilty smile in his reply, "Aw, you caught me..."
They chat about her day, and how things are at home. Haliya is doing well in her classes, but her teachers told Sun that she's a bit "scatterbrained" and now she's always nagging Haliya to do her homework and study as soon as she gets home.
"Well maybe she's right dad. You remember what Guy was like...."
Paolo's tone becomes stony, "Haliya is not like him."
"You know what I mean. It's no big deal if she needs a few reminders. Would you rather that she forget?"
"I never reminded you to do your homework..."
Tula laughs, "I got good grades, but I got in trouble a lot for handing things in late."
Tula rolls her eyes, "My point is, maybe Sun's overreacting a little bit, but that doesn't mean she isn't right."
Paolo sighs, "It's just weird. She doesn't care about what Haliya eats, but she gets all panicky about her schoolwork."
She senses tension in his tone, "Did you guys fight?"
"It was just right after you left, I told Sun we should be more proactive about Haliya's diet, but maybe the way I approached it was wrong... because she got all defensive, said I was accusing her of neglecting our daughter and of being a bad mother! Where the hell would she get that idea?"
"No idea dad. You think she was just projecting?"
"What do you mean?"
Tula shrugs, "I don't know. Maybe she's already worried about being a bad mom? It is her first kid, after all."
Paolo mulls this over, "Hmm... maybe... Anyways," his tone becomes more upbeat, "Haliya wants to know... have you met any cute guys?"
"That kid has read too many love stories."
"Yeah, but she does have a point. Bridgeport is filled with attractive men. But you have to be careful, Tula. They'll think that since you're young and from a small town that they can take advantage of you..."
"Don't worry dad, I can defend myself. I took kung-fu lessons for a year, after all. I could just kick their asses."
Paolo laughs at the mental image, "Yeah, right. You got knocked over by a four year old with a water balloon."
They chat for a few more minutes before hanging up, Sun needing help with the garden.
The sun is still high in the sky and Tula doesn't feel like going home just yet. There's a car pool for work meaning she didn't have to take the metro but she'll have to familiarize herself with Bridgeport's subway system sooner or later. She decides to go to the park, an easily recognizable destination.
She emerges about ten minutes later. Seems easy enough...
Bridgeport also has a summer festival, but Tula can't help but feel that it's a bit lackluster compared to the one in Appaloosa Plains. There are a few snowcone carts, a food stand, and even a tanning booth, but there doesn't seem to be much in the way of games.
Tula has had it drilled into her that the denziens of Bridgeport aren't as trusting as the people in Appaloosa Plains, but all this means to Tula is that she has an interesting challenge in making friends.
She scans the park, looking for someone open to conversation. She spots an elderly woman petting a stray cat and hones in.
She approaches her and asks for directions to Doopeas's Corporate tower.
"I was just trying to find the journalism office," she laments, "But my phone is dead and I've been wandering for hours. I was supposed to deliver some papers for work, but this city is so damn confusing!"
She happily gives Tula some directions, and introduces herself as Aria Trill.
"I'm always happy to meet new people. What's your name, dear?"
Tula introduces herself and gives a truncated version of what led her here. Aria seems excited at the prospect of seeing Tula again and gives her an email address.
"If you ever want to see a concert here for a discounted price, you just contact me, alright? I work at the theater."
Well, that was easy.
After heading to Doopeas to familiarize herself with Bridgeport Streets, Tula heads home. She finds Jessica lounging on the couch and watching the news.
"Anything interesting?" Tula asks.
"Elections in Moonlight Falls- an anti-supernatural mayor is running- and an economic revitalisation programme in Twinbrook. Nothing crazy. And how about your day?"
Tula shrugs, "Lots of shaking hands and meeting new people. I'm not sure what it'll really be like yet."
"You look a bit tired."
Tula stifles a yawn, "Yeah, you're right. I think I'll turn in early tonight. See you tomorrow?"
Jessica nods, "Of course."
As Tula heads to her room, she wonders if all her days will be so easy.
AN: Maybe it's because it's still early days, but the Bridgeport save actually isn't laggy!
Now, Tula might not be my heir, but a significant portion of the story is going to be focused on her for the end of generation 2. Haliya isn't terribly interesting as a child, Paolo is nearly at the top of his career, and Sun spends most of her time gardening or inventing. I have been using the family's significant funds to remodel some of the house to make some room for the next generation and to make room downstairs for an actual living room >_> So the next time we see the house the upstairs will be expanded and the green half of the downstairs will be emptier.