On the morning of Desi’s show, she woke with renewed purpose. She had some time before her performance, so she went for a run on her daddy’s old treadmill, a cherished hand-me-down. Then she went to the spa to have a muscle rub and a mineral soak, a fresh mani-pedi, and her hair cut and styled. Her show was scheduled for 7pm at Verde Park, and she was at the park two hours early, chatting with concert-goers who had no idea that she was the headliner. In her car, she had CDs that she had made with the songs she had written. If she ever had a chance to sell them, it would most likely be after the show.
Before she knew it, the stage lights dimmed, and the proprietor of the park introduced her. Her stage name, Destiny Hill, had great significance. Charlie watched Desi play in the yard atop a dirt mound in the backyard. He called it “Destiny’s hill.” So when it was time to choose her stage name, Destiny Hill seemed like the natural and obvious pick. She stood in the dark on stage, the music starting and as soon as her voice came over the speakers for the first time, she was standing in the spotlight. She swallowed hard and remembered that this moment was what all of her sacrifices were about.
Her three-hour time slot went faster than she could imagine, and when it ended she and the audience were left wanting more. She thanked everyone for coming to see her show, and afterward, she stood in the crowd under the stage for what seemed hours signing autographs and selling her CDs. The proprietor approached her after the crowd thinned out, and congratulated her on a fabulous show.
”Miss Hill,” she said, “I haven’t heard a voice like yours in a long time. You have a real command of your audience. You have a bright future here in Starlight Shores!”
Destiny blushed. “Thank you. I have spent a lot of time getting here, and it feels incredible!”
”The reviews should be in the newspaper in the morning, but I expect to see great things from your show, and from you.” Destiny thanked the woman again for the opportunity and picked up the few remaining CDs she had left, and headed home, beaming but exhausted.
Over the next few days, word got around Starlight Shores about Desi’s show. The manager of the coffee shop called her to request her audition, and she scored a steady gig after her highly successful show at the Flying V. But her big dream was realized when she was invited to participate in the SimFest later that month, and she won the top prize! She brought the trophy home and placed it on the shelf next to Charlie’s dance trophy. Sometimes, she had to remind her that it was all real, and she was well on her way to realizing the dream she had envisioned in Appaloosa Plains.
In the middle of Destiny’s rise to fame in Starlight Shores, the proprietor of a private club on the main strip, Arthur Atwood, took a particular liking to Desi. He had heard all of the buzz around town, so when she came to his club asking for an audition, he was eager to sign her on. After her show at his establishment, he took her for dinner. Over the next few months, their friendship grew to something more. And Desi found herself at the club when she wasn’t running around town doing Sing-A-Grams or at a show.
One night, about a year later, he surprised her with a beautiful necklace that looked to be worth more than a year’s pay, a dozen bright red roses and a promise to love her for the rest of his life. She admitted her love for him as well, and though they didn’t get engaged that night, they became inseparable. Arthur accompanied her to shows and was always in the audience when she sang, whether it was Friday night at the coffeehouse or Monday afternoon at the park.
Seven years to the day that Desi moved to Starlight Shores, she was the most promising act in the city. Everything was looking great for Destiny and Arthur, who was by her side every step of the way. She even inspired him to follow his own dreams of being in music himself. So, Arthur quit his job at the club after 15 years of employment after the right audition landed him a job at the studio on the soundboard. To celebrate, Arthur invited Desi to the best restaurant in town and spared no expense.
She dressed in her finest gown, a black, fitted dress encrusted with rhinestones that shimmered when the light caught it. Her usually curly hair was pulled up into a loose, but elegant bun. And Arthur bought a new tuxedo just for the occasion. He picked her up in a black stretch limousine, a smile on his face and a 2-carat diamond ring in his pocket.
He was the first to exit the limo when they arrived at the restaurant, and he held his hand for her to take. Her violet eyes sparkled like they did when she was on stage, and he was taken aback at how incredibly beautiful she looked.
“Wow, Babe,” he said, trying to catch his breath. “You look stunning.”
Destiny blushed. “And you are the most handsome man in this city,” she replied. And she truly meant it. His dark complexion, his crystal blue eyes, his dirty blond, unkempt hair. She finally understood the love that her parents shared because there was nowhere else she wanted to be that night.
When they were seated, the table had 18 long stem roses waiting for her. In the background, a violinist played classical music, wandering table to table. The candlelight gleamed on her red hair, making it seem to glow. Outside, a few flurries of snow began to fall, for it was the last day of autumn. Destiny’s birthday. Which of course made the event all the more special for Arthur.
“Oh, Arthur, you shouldn’t have gone through all this trouble.” Destiny was very overwhelmed by the extravagance of the evening. Even with all of her recent success, she never forgot where she came from. “I mean, the roses, the candlelight dinner, the fancy restaurant—”
Arthur stopped her mid-sentence. “Well, it is your birthday after all, my love.” His eyes danced in the light, his heart ready to burst from anticipation and excitement. “And, we are celebrating my new career in Starlight Shores style!”
She glanced around the room and saw the biggest star in town. She was giddy with excitement, but tried not to show it. Even though Destiny had been living in the city for most of her adult life, sometimes it was still a bit much. The waiter appeared, and Arthur ordered a bottle of champagne. The bubbles tickled her nose as she sipped it when Arthur stood up.
“My love,” he began, “These last few years with you have been the best of my life. And I knew from the moment we met, someday we would be here. At least, I hoped we would be. I know it’s your birthday, and 32 years ago who would have known that life would bring you here to me?” Arthur reached into his pocket and pulled out the small box, opening it. “Will you make me the happiest man in Simville, Destiny Penelope Farmer?” The diamond was bigger than anything Desi had ever seen, and her jaw fell open in shock. She began to tremble, and her eyes welled with tears.
“Yes,” Desi cried, still clearly overwhelmed with everything that was going on. “Yes, I will marry you!” With her answer, the entire restaurant, who had been watching the event unfold, stood on their feet and applauded for them.
“That’s right, guys,” Arthur gloated, “She’s off the market now!” He pumped his fist uncharacteristically, then waved to the crowd and held Desi’s chair for her to be seated.
The rest of their evening was just as magical as the first part. They danced in the ballroom until the restaurant closed, and then they went to the park and just stared at the stars together. It wasn’t until Desi was shivering cold that they decided to head back home. She tried to invite him in, but instead, he went back to his apartment, worn out himself. Their kiss goodnight was tender, but there was a hunger in both of them that they spent the next 15 minutes trying to deny. Finally, he gave her one last kiss and turned to go home. Desi sat on the sofa in her formal living room, happier than she had ever been, but profoundly sad that she had no one to share her big news with. She dozed off, watching familiar faces on a picture frame slide show, faces of her much-missed family.
Up Next: Chapter Five, Generation Two