Friday, February 19, 2010

Chapter 9 Jimmy

This morning I wake up with my stomach tied in so many knots, I can't tell what I'm feeling.

Today is the day we head out to the village. That makes it easier to face the day somehow. It's something different. Brandon assures me it's safe. It's what they work to protect. A very valuable area full of resources.

Before I even stand up, I reach a hand out from under the warm covers to grab my glasses sitting on the side table. The small white envelope sticking out of one of my books catches my eye and I pause. Right after we got back from Angel's, I put the letter into a book and tried to forget about it. It can't make anything better. No good news can be contained in that letter.

Some part of me knows Mom would not have approved. She might have something important in that letter. Maybe a warning about Henri or some wisdom that will make it easier to deal with him. But then Mom did the same thing herself. She can't really judge me for not wanting to face the truth right now. She did the same for 16 years with me.

I rub at my face with the palms of both my hands, pressing them into my eyes a little too hard as I take a deep breath.

Hopping up, I put on my clothes for the day and head out of the room to use the rest room. Brandon is already cooking, the small living room is tinged with the warmth from the pan. The smell hits my nose and my stomach burbles, but I halfway smile. After only a few days, there is something nice about waking up to Brandon's cooking. It's a routine for the both of us, and very comforting for me. He can't know that breakfast was the only meal mom and me really had a chance to have together. And at the thought, my hand falls over my chest and begins to gently press as if that's enough to stop the pain.

As I do that, I glance up, my eyes falling on the sight of light gray eyes watching me like a predator watching prey and I freeze.

"Good morning," he says, his face appears blank, unreadable, but there seems to be something light to it. A natural curve to his lips that is almost the shadow of a smile.

Henri's second in command sits at the kitchen table, one arm draped over the back of his chair with the other resting on the table, and he watches me. "Uhm, good morning." My voice hardly comes out of my quickly tightening throat. Right away I want to hide. But I can't back down. Not with a predator in the room. Forgetting my original destination, I have a seat on the couch where I can catch a glimpse of Brandon who steps out from behind the counter. His eyebrows are pulled down slightly, not exactly angry, but he's not happy either.

"Paula," Brandon says with a slight bit of hesitation before he continues, "this is Jimmy. My brother. He invited himself over. And he expects food too apparently."

I glance from Brandon to Jimmy sitting at the table. I'm sure he's smiling now though it's only a subtle pull on his lips. Clearly he's aware of my surprise. Why wouldn't Brandon have told me this?

"You two could always come over to my place," Jimmy says as he watches Brandon go back into the kitchen to get the pan from the stove. "I'd make you breakfast."

Brandon scoops the food out onto three plates before he steps around to hand Jimmy one. "There's a reason I don't eat at your place: Questionable meat source."

Jimmy accepts his plate from Brandon. "For a second there, I thought you were going to insult my cooking."

"There's that too." Brandon hands my plate to me. Even as he jokes with his brother, I can see he still has that mature look to his eyes. "But the other is more of a concern."

"You eat canned meat and you're talking about my bacon being questionable?"

"At least I know where the canned meat comes from."

"You ate it all the time without complaint before," Jimmy says as Brandon sits down at the table, pulling his chair out a bit to sit across from Jimmy.

"It's not like I had a choice."

I eat my food slowly, watching the two of them chatting back and forth, praying that Jimmy doesn't turn his eerily light eyes back towards me. Up close, he's nothing like what I expect evil to look like. He looks almost normal as he smiles at Brandon, casually sitting back in his chair. His hair falls into his face, but he doesn't mess with it like Brandon does. He wears a surprisingly ratty old shirt and an old pair of jeans. I can't help glancing from Jimmy's face to Brandon's face to see if I can find a resemblance between the two. From what little Brandon has said, I'd guess that it isn't Henri who's their parent in common, but their mother. Other than that, the only thing I know for sure is that his brother is the older one, though with the two of them sitting together, somehow it's almost hard to tell.

Neither of them look at me. Brandon says, "Please tell me you're not going to the village today."

A half chewed piece of fruit makes its way down my throat. Jimmy going to the village? Quietly I pray that he isn't.

"Can't tell you that. Should I just not say anything?" Then he actually does smile at Brandon, a real little smirk directed at his brother that is so natural it almost hurts to see it knowing what I know. How can someone so scary be so normal at the same time?

Suddenly it hits me, that thought from last night, and I think, "Who are you when you're not around me?"

Brandon's head is down over his plate as he scoops up a bite of pancake, but his eyes lift up to fall on me.

Jimmy glances over at me then. I catch his gray eyes sliding over to me right before he turns back to Brandon. "So have you told her already?"

Brandon pauses, his gaze falling on his brother. "I'm working on it."

I'm sure they are talking about me. I watch the both of them looking at each other over the small table. Jimmy raises one thick eyebrow in an unspoken means of communication between people who know each other too well.

"Do we need to do this now?" Brandon asks in a low voice.

"I'm surprised you waited this long already."

I don't like the sound of this at all. Despite this one lapse regarding his brother and Henri's second in command being the same person, I trust Brandon. Whatever it is that Jimmy is pushing him to tell me can't be for my own good.

Brandon wipes at his mouth with his hand before he turns to me, his blue eyes softening. "I catch stray thoughts."

I'm not sure what he's saying at first or what it means. "Like a mind reader?"

"Yeah, but I can't control it. Thoughts that are really strong reach me. The only exception is Jimmy," Brandon says with a slight nod of his head towards his brother. "And I have a few guesses about that having grown up with him. The main one is that he just doesn't think."

"Sometimes thinking just gets in the way," Jimmy says with dead pan seriousness.

"I can also connect minds. But they have to be trained for it and familiar to me. It's not perfect, and it's not easy. Still, I can't control their minds and they don't seem to hear mine.

I glance from Brandon to Jimmy who now seems to watch me, scrutinizing my reaction to this news, and I'm not sure how to react. Somehow, I never thought to ask if Brandon had powers. I sort of just assumed that because I don't have powers, he must not have powers either. But now that I think back over the last few days, I probably should have known. There were plenty of times he seemed to understand me too deeply. He knew what I needed usually when I needed it. And it's like a light bulb goes off. I wonder if that's why after so short a time together we're so close.

Brandon clears his throat, his hand scratching just above his ear. "That might be." When Jimmy turns his cool gaze on Brandon, Brandon explains the thought he obviously caught from me. "I bond easily."

Jimmy nods, a tiny stern nod. His mouth is no longer upturned in that tiny little smile. Now it's a straight line that almost reads like annoyance.

"Why didn't you just tell me this before?" I think of all the thoughts I've thought around him, suddenly slightly embarrassed, and then I try to push them away.

Brandon looks slightly abashed, but it's Jimmy who answers. "Because you're Neutral. And human."

Things are awkwardly quiet between the three of us. It takes a moment, but then I realize that the unspoken assumption both of them are making is that I wouldn't have been able to handle this information well.

I hold my plate on my lap, thankful for the thing which helps to hold my hands steady. "So, uhm, why don't I have any powers?"

Both Brandon and Jimmy look at me with matching blank expressions, and then I sort of see a similarity. There's a similar set to their mouths and a clarity to their eyes that makes it a little unnerving to have both sets on me.

"That's complicated," Brandon finally says. "You could just have weak powers."

Jimmy brings a hand up to rub at his chin. "Not everyone is born with powers even if their parents are experiments."

Breakfast is pretty much over after that. Jimmy finishes off his plate and heads off with a vague, "See you," that I decide I distinctly don't like.

Next Chapter -->


Ok, who didn't see that coming? XD I will say that Rachel was the first to guess that one. WTG!

This week not only is this chapter longer than normal, but I'm giving you extra reading which I hope some of you find interesting. New profile up on Jimmy. (I think I mostly just love taking pictures of him.) And an entry about powers.

I'm taking next week off since I've given you enough reading for two weeks here, lol.


  1. first I just have to go eeeeeeee!!! Because I've been waiting for so long to learn more about this guy! Jimmy. I'm so very happy he's back in the picture, and still so mysterious and scary.

    He and Brandon seem to have a bond, but it's difficult to tell whether Brandon is happy with that fact. Brandon seems very apologetic and regretful in this one--he's worried about Jimmy interacting with Paula. I can't wait to find out why. :)

  2. Interesting.

    Something about her behaviour suggests to me that she does have powers, but isn't actually aware of it...

    That's my theory, and I'm sticking with it :P

  3. Haha, during the part where Jimmy suggested going over to his house for breakfast, I literally shouted "NOOOOOOO!" and started flailing my arms. I must care a lot about poor Paula. :p

    This was a lot to process! I'm glad to learn more about Jimmy (who's an adorable sim, by the way haha) and the way he interacts with Brandon. Even though he's a cutie, he's also very creepy and I don't trust him. (same old, same old)

    I also agree with poida in saying that I think Paula has powers of her own, but she isn't aware of them. Oooh, I can't wait to see what happens next. :D

  4. Sweet, I really didn't see that one coming, that Jimmy ended up being who he was and that Brandon had those powers. Man, I kind of feel sorry for Paula because who knows what he's "heard" coming from her.

    Although, I don't think he intentionally lied to her or hid the truth from her, he just didn't know how to tell her without making her jumpy around him and destroying the tentative trust they have going on.

    Still, I agree with Paula about Jimmy. Seeing him again would be too soon for her. He really gives me the shivers, especially after the comment about the meat.

  5. That was creepy, the idea that Brandon catches stray thoughts. Somehow it feels like more than that. I can understand why he didn't tell Paula but it seems like the tentative trust between them will suffer.

    Jimmy is fascinating. the fact that he is sitting there being "brotherly" and yet dangerous is unnerving. I wonder of the two, Jimmy or Brandon, which is the stronger.

    I am also wondering if the reason Paula was allowed to stay one more week had anything at all to do with Brandon's abilities and him wanting to glean anything else from her. My money is on Paula having some abilities as well.

    Off to read the extras!

  6. Rachel, I'm glad you want to know more about him. There will definitely be more forthcoming about him eventually.

    Brandon, Henri and Jimmy are like a triumvirate with Brandon being his actual son and Jimmy his second in command. Definitely fun relationships to play with.

    Very astute observation. He is worried. I hope I'll show you why.

    Poida, you know, I get that feeling too sometimes when I'm writing her. Since powers are always present, she really might not know if she has a special power of some sort.

    Nicole, LOL! I love that image. Thank you.

    There is quite a lot in this chapter. That's another reason why I'm taking a week of and letting this all sink in.

    He is definitely meant to be cute, but his sim turned out better than I could have made him.

    Carnaxa, you really didn't see this coming? Awesome! And well the powers thing, I only barely hinted at it. I'm glad it wasn't picked up on, but if you look back, you'll see it in chapter 2 mostly. Though in chapter 8, there is that scene where Brandon laughs for no apparent reason.

    And yeah, you're totally on the same wavelength I am on. How could he tell her something like this? Plus he couldn't know how she'd react.

    And, lol, I was wondering if anyone would catch onto that. Sort of dark humor on their parts which Paula did not catch herself.

    Gayl, I think you're catching Jimmy's thoughts there. :x

    I find Jimmy a fun character to explore. There will be more from him, but not in a way I think everyone will expect.

    Hard to say who's stronger, but he is the next leader so that should say something.

    And oh, that's a good question.

  7. Mr Brown Suit! LOL, I'm glad to see a little more from him (seriously, I'm not being a perv!)

    "Questionable meat source" may be one of the creepiest things I've ever read but that may be my own hang up! It made me think of Soylent Green, a movie I cannot think of watching without feeling a little sick. ;)

    "I catch stray thoughts" is so casual and almost vague. Is Brandon trying to downplay his abilities for Paula's benefit? It sort of read that way to me.

    Off to read those profiles now!

  8. Ooh, that's a good reference. Yes, definitely going for that level of creepy.

    And he might just be. I think it was very hard for him to tell her, to be honest.

  9. Oh, stubborn girl, read your mom's letter! Why are teenagers like that??? And ugh, "questionable meat source," doesn't that just say it all?!?

    Wow, I am officially scared of Jimmy, because even Brandon is put off by Jimmy, his own brother. There's unease in every exchange between them, and that tells me a lot!

    But even if he screams DANGER!!! I'm with Carla, and I'm glad to see more of him... (even if in the pervy way, lol!)

    But anyway, ha! Brandon and his mind reading, we knew it! I can't wait to see Paula explore if she has her own powers or not... I'm still thinking Henri knows that she does, and wants to put her to work ;)

    I love that picture of Brandon and Jimmy looking over at her at the same time. Just when Paula mentions the resemblance, I really see it there too, just the right angle, very striking!

  10. Jimmy is one of my most frightening characters, in his own way. I have to work hard to not make him a caricature.

    But, yeah, he's a fun character to take pictures of! We will definitely see some more of him.

    That's a good guess, lol!

    It's eerie how much the same they look sometimes. Wow, Sims 3 genetics somehow didn't completely fail for once.

  11. Hi Lunar,

    I'm always late, because I need to digest the story before I comment. But I want you to know that I actually read the posts as soon as they come out on Saturdays. :)

    This one was fascinating! So much revealed in the space of waking up and having breakfast and yet the pace is picking up considerably. Masterful!

    The first detail my attention keeps returning to is the little envelope. So Paula puts it in a book trying to forget about, but the next morning it is 'sticking out' of the book... Did someone read it while she slept?
    I was worried about her not reading it at all, but I feel a bit better now... At least she is thinking of her mother.
    That's quite a deep thought about her not facing the truth and 'mum did the same with me for 16 years'...
    It makes me wonder what their relationship is or was like (and the remark about having breakfast with mum helps somewhat), but most of all, how much truth Paula expects to find in her mum's letter...

    I'm surprised that Henri has chosen a stepson to be his second in command.(I love the angle in that first close up of Jimmy's face.)

    'Meat of a questionable source' had me shudder. I hope cannibalism is not part of the customs in the Southlands - although it would not surprise me if it was. So, I really hope Jimmy's bacon comes from a pig...

    When I read 'stray thoughts' I thought: 'Yes, he did that at Angel's dinner table.' It's the first time the phrase was coined and I remember thinking how strange it was. He was laughing about Paula comparing their table seating to salad forks, wasn't he?

    He calls it 'stray thoughts' which for me meant 'fleeting thoughts', but apparently the thoughts have to be quite 'strong' before he can pick it up?
    And is he suggesting no one can read his mind 'even though' he is able to conect minds or 'when' he connects minds?

    I love the way they all keep 'scrutinizing' her for her reactions... Brandon, Henri, Angel and now Jimmy... Is it so different for them to be around a Neutral or is it so different for them to be around Paula... because she is Paula? I'm glad she is becoming more and more aware of it too.

    Ah! And finally...Jimmy helpfully says that 'not everyone is born with powers even if their parents are experiments". He means that in general, I suppose, like an off-handed remark even if they were discussing the possiblity of Paula having powers? For a minute I started having questions about Paula's mum there... only because he said parents - in plural.

    Great chapter! :)

  12. Oh Moondaisy, thank you so much for your insightful comments. I always greatly appreciate it.

    I love how much you're looking at that picture of the envelope. Really, I imagine that she just tossed it into the book semi-carelessly. Stuffing it aside in an attempt to not deal with it, but halfway leaving it out guiltily as if her subconscious is telling her she really should deal with it and read it right away.

    It's a very good question about her mother. I will definitely get to her relationship with her mother when she's ready to face it.

    And calling Jimmy Henri's "stepson" is a good one actually. Yes, that friendship/relationship will be very important, I think in a slightly surprising way. Or so I hope.

    Cannibalism isn't part of the customs of the Southlands. But it is rumored of the Lost Landers though!

    And lol! That's a good catch. Yes, in the chapter with Angel, when he laughed, he caught Paula's stray thought. She's a very visual person, so she was actually imagining forks sitting at the table without really realizing she was doing it.

    Yes, I imagine stray thoughts as generally strong thoughts. You know those thoughts that pop into your head when you hear something where you brain gets all quiet and then you think something completely random. I think these happen a lot more than we realize, and I imagine that more often than not, if we could catch these thoughts they'd be interesting weird little surface thoughts that would probably be more amusing than we realize.

    He's suggesting that even when he connects, no one seems to read his thoughts. I suggest this is because he's more of a passive mind reader. It's more like he's hitching a ride rather than actively searching through a mind.

    They are indeed scrutinizing her. It's sort of both I think. She's a Neutral, and because of who she is.

    And yes, I would say he means that in general although oops! I didn't notice that he said "parents" plural. Now that is interesting! That line, I will admit, was the one that gave me some trouble when I was editing/rewriting. I wasn't sure why he would offer up this bit of information. Then in a free write, I came up with a possible idea/explanation that has nothing to do with Paula or this story at all really, but has interesting ramifications and adds an extra layer to his character I think. Don't know if it'll ever come out later on or not, but definitely keeping a lid on it in case it's needed later.

    Thank you Moondaisy!

  13. I think what surprised me most was not the mind reading, or the extremely creepy reference to 'meat sources', or even Jimmy's smirky supercilious attitude.

    It was the parentage.

    So, do I have this right? Brandon is Paula's brother. Jimmy is Brandon's brother. Henri is not their father. That has to mean that Paula's mother, the letter writer mother, is their mother. Right?

    And there's Creepy Jimmy with his attitude and odd diet and there's the letter. Man, I'd rip open that letter! She's their mother?

    What is exactly is a Neutral? I thought that was a political/social position. So they're assuming she is because she hasn't said or done anything. Or they are telling her she is. Either way, it's something you are by choice.

    I thought it was sweet and sad that Brandon told Paula "I bond easily." If I'd spent days with someone I thought understood me because he liked me or he was my brother, and realized it was nothing of the sort, it would be sad. It would not be a happy moment. And he seems to realize that.

  14. Sorry SB. It wasn't clear enough...

    Brandon and Paula ARE brother and sister. Jimmy is Brandon's brother, but he is NOT Paula's brother. Paula says, "I'd guess that it isn't Henri who's their parent in common, but their mother." She's not talking about her mother or I think she'd be MUCH more disturbed to have Jimmy be related to her. Instead he's related to her brother and close to her father, which is creepy enough given what she knows about him. Don't worry, we'll get to learn about their mother a bit eventually. Because I think she's important.

    lol, and his diet isn't all that odd (uh, that we know of). Brandon's mostly teasing him as these two are prone to doing. I think it's a jab that he's as alien as a Lost Lander. (I think? Yeah, seriously, I'm just the writer. I know nothing.)

    Neutrals are people from the Neutral Territory. (See the background at the top for the map.) They weren't always called that, but they are using it in that context as a political position. But the average everyday Neutral is figured to be highly judgmental and prejudicial due to the teachings of the Neutral school system. The Wildlanders aren't the only one fighting a war here. ;)

    (Also, I'll point to the glossary at the top of the page just in case I throw out a shortened or adapted word that leaves you scratching your head. Usually I have them on that page, hopefully.)

    And OMG... you thought something one of the characters did was sweet? XD I'm so glad you weren't mad at him for not telling her sooner! But I imagine that he didn't want to scare her, and considering what he thinks he knows of Neutrals (what they think they all know), he wasn't sure she'd be able to handle it well and that it would only add extra stress to her life.

    Thank you, SB! I'll make a rudimentary family tree I think so you all can see it visually so it makes more sense.

  15. I am sitting here with my jaw open, especially the last shot with the matching blank expressions, are these guys clones? Grown in the same petrie dish? Twins? It's uncanny, and a tad creepy. It's like this old film I saw once' Children of the Damned' that's what Jimmy and Brandon look like in that shot, LOL!
    I have a feeling there are more of Brandon's siblings out there. A virtual army.
    And Brandon has powers? Interesting indeed.
    I got this nagging feeling Mr. Smith is Jimmy's father, I know you say the connection is with the mother...but...Lots to digest, great chapter~

  16. lol, Drew. I had the same reaction. I took quite a few shots of them at that table, and they did look almost exactly the same in all of them!

    But I can verify that they do indeed share different fathers. Although Henri's involvement in Jimmy's life is interesting. He did act more like a father to the man than he did with his actual children.

    And that is a really good feeling. There's only one other one though who really matters. We've heard from him before. We'll hear from him again.

    Thank you, Drew, for taking time out to read and comment. ^__^

  17. Omg, where did my comment go to? D: I came back to check your reply and realised that my comment was posted at all! @#$%!! I cannot remember what I wrote then, but after reading chapter 9 for the second time, here are my thoughts (which differs greatly, since new ideas popped into my head, which I find rather surprising. Reading it a second time somehow gave me a new perspective :D ):

    I wonder why Brandon wouldn't want Jimmy to go to the village too. Unless Jimmy going there means something bad will happen (like, a massacre, from what I gathered from his profile? I LOVE all the profiles, by the way!) or something Brandon don't want Paula to see.

    Aaaand, Jimmy's ability to be so friendly towards Paula gives me goosebumps. I wonder why he's pushing (actually, pratically forcing) Brandon to tell Paula about his powers when they assumed her to not take the info well. :\

    "Who are you when you're not around me?"
    This question made me sit up and think for a while about how true it reflects real life, outside this story. Seriously, I never gave much thought about it concerning the people around me before. I think it just became my favourite line. ;)

    Also, I think I will repeat this every chapter, but Brandon is so sweet! X)

  18. D: I'm glad you came back though. Your comments make me happy. ^___^

    You're probably pretty close as to why Brandon wouldn't want Jimmy going. He'd probably worry about Paula and protecting her from anything possibly questionable.

    Oh perfect. Exactly what I was going for too. Jimmy has a reason for pushing, and I think you've pretty much got part of the reason right there. He assumed she wouldn't take it well. That's half of it.

    And thank you! I've personally always been obsessed with that question. The masks we wear fascinate me. And this story used to be all about that.

    And please continue repeating that, haha. I love Brandon.

  19. I am so kicking myself that I didn't figure out Jimmy was the second-in-command! With hindsight it is soooooo obvious. I'd guessed on Brandon's power though, it was fairly obvious even if Paula didn't see it (didn't want to see it?). I can fully understand her questioning who he is when she isn't around.

    Does she have powers she doesn't know about? Powers that haven't manifested because she's never been in a situation where she has had to use them? I guess only time will tell.

    I'm intrigued about the village and can't wait to read about.

  20. Good guess on Brandon's power. Paula didn't even think about it. Where she's from, people with powers don't exist, so it's not a normal thing for her to think about.

    As for Jimmy, that was the only one I didn't consciously try to give hints about, so if you can see it, that's awesome.

    As for Paula and powers, I pretty much say that I don't actually know. Nothing has been revealed to me story-wise, though I have a strong suspicion. The boys here are right. She might not have any, or they might be very weak.

    Of course there's more to consider which is life in the Neutral territory...