Friday, April 2, 2010

Chapter 14 Time

"Being one of Henri's children is no big deal. It's our mothers that make us special."

I sit staring at the envelope again, Brandon's words ringing through my head. After hearing a little about his past, he slipped that gem in. Maybe he can't control thoughts, but he's good.

My breath is heavy. The liquid in my eyes is heavy. I don't want to think about it, but I have to face facts. She's practically gone. Maybe she's already gone. And the only thing left are my memories of her and the things she taught me. I'd like to imagine that she's always been preparing me for this moment like she knew I was destined for something not in the norm, but I'm really just a human with Neutral sensibilities.

As I reach for the letter, pulling it from between the pages of my book, I get a little dizzy and realize that I wasn't breathing for a moment there. I'd put all my focus on the letter and just somehow forgot. My sigh is so loud in the quiet. I'm aware Brandon is out there, probably trying his best not to hear me and my thoughts. I can imagine him relaxing on the sofa, looking up at the ceiling with his hands behind his head, probably trying to listen in on the neighbor's thoughts to give me some privacy.

I slip my finger under the top flap of the envelope and begin ripping it open along the seam. The paper the letter is written on is so thin and so small, but at the sight of her handwriting, my stomach tightens. For a moment I can't get past the hand writing. The squiggles are all too familiar. They remind me of the notes she'd write for me when she was going to be out late when she missed dinner. And even before that, she was the kind of mom who'd stick notes in my lunch boxes wishing me luck on spelling tests when I was a kid until I eventually told her it was nice, but asked her to stop when I became too old. Now I'd kill for just one of those notes instead of this one.

It takes a moment for my eyes to clear. I sit on the edge of the bed aware of my breathing, trying to take deep breaths until they stop sounding so pitiful and wet. For a moment, I rest the letter, written face down, on my leg while I give my hand a violent shake to get rid of the tremble before I pick up the letter and just dive in, reading the words in large gulps like water on a hot dusty day.


I've written this letter many times. Nothing I say is enough. But I've run out of paper and time and there are things I should have told you that I didn't.

Henri Smith is your father. He's also the leader of a large group of Wildlanders and the one who started the Revolution that ended the labs so many years ago.

You, my dear, have very little of him in you. You also have very little of me in you, and that couldn't make me prouder. You've taught me so much. You've changed how I look at the world. The truth is that things are never set in stone. They're never black or white or all good or all bad.

Henri is a man like that. Not good or bad, he does what he does for whatever reason he does things. There isn't much I can say or do to prepare you. He will come off gruffly, and you might even be frightened of him, though I hope not. I would like to tell you that there is more to him than that. You'll be safe under his care.

I'm sorry. I'm sorry for all of this. After living with a secret for long enough, you forget. You learn to live with the lie and forget that it's a lie. You tell yourself that things will always be okay and that there is always more time. All the things you do as precautions become second nature and you forget they aren't natural.

This is definitely my fault. No words will ever be enough. But I am sorry.

I love you.


My stomach hurts. It twists painfully in my belly making me wake up with a start as I realize that today's the day I go to Henri's and leave Brandon's place.

For a moment, I lie in bed clinging to the blanket and pillow. It's like those mornings when under the covers is so warm, but outside the covers is so cold that you don't want to get up. Only, in this case, under the covers is just as cold. There's a chill that works its way through my muscles making them sluggish. I don't want to move.

Brandon already said he'd take me. It's better than waiting for someone to come and get me. He said we'd go after dinner, though I think I'd prefer it right before dinner. I can tell my stomach is going to be all kinds of rebellious today.

I can't eat much of my dinner. It makes me feel horrible to waste any of Brandon's food. He'd tried to keep it light, probably knowing I wasn't going to feel much like eating, so it's just some veggies. Brandon gently assures me that it's okay. He can re-warm them in the morning. I still feel guilty though. Or maybe that's just nerves.

We stand up, Brandon looking more mature than ever when he gently asks if I'm ready to go. All I can do is nod my head. My duffle bag sits close by, and I go over to grab it. Just before my hand has even reached the bag, there's a knock at the door.

I stand up, my hands empty, my stomach really twisted. I glance over at Brandon who has his brows drawn down like that one day when I first got here. It's a look partially of annoyance and anger and it sort of worries me.

Brandon opens the door, and without waiting for a word from Brandon, he walks in, his light, icy eyes falling on me and sending a shiver down my spine that makes me jump.

"Time to go," Jimmy says darkly.

"I'm going to take her." Brandon says it simply, his eyes hardened as he looks at the back of his brother.

Jimmy looks at Brandon sharply like a razor. "I'm to take her."

"I'd rather take her."

"It's an order he gave to me."

Brandon crosses her arms, looking for a moment as if he were going to block our exit and refuse to let Jimmy leave with me. "One, you don't take orders. Not even from Henri. You never have. And two, Henri would never give you an order."

"He did this time."

My muscles ache just from watching the two of them nervously. The two of them seem to be glaring at each other. Brandon's jaw is tight as if he were biting back whatever it is he wants to say.

"I'll go," I say, the words escaping too quickly into the tense quiet between the three of us.

Brandon looks at me with that frightening mature look of his, the one that speaks of responsibility. I couldn't bare to see him hurt. Especially by his own father or his brother. "Paula--" he starts.

"I'll go."

"C'mon." Jimmy motions with his hand for me to step between them and leave through the door.

I do it very quickly and without glancing up at either of them. Once I'm out, the door shuts behind me and I don't dare look back. Assuming Jimmy will walk past me so I can follow him, I wait. But then I feel his large warm hand on my back at that spot just below the back of my neck gently pushing me ahead of him and I go. His touch is gentle, but his hand is heavy. I don't dare shake his hand off any more than I dare to look back at him. I swallow roughly and forge ahead into the dimming light.

Intermission -->


  1. Ooh, the dreaded day has arrived.

    That picture of Cheryl with a black eye is... discomforting. You truly have to wonder how safe Paula will be with Henri.

    Definitely looking forward to the next chapter.

  2. much here.

    We didn't learn much from Paula's mother, did we? But we did learn a bit from the pictures...I'm thinking that picture of her with the bruised eye (is it bruised, or is she just very tired) is from where they are keeping her locked up...

    Why would Henri insist on Jimmy bringing Paula? I can't think of a reason....but maybe Jimmy lied? Maybe he wants to tell her something... Or maybe Henri wants to break Paula's ties with Brandon? We have no idea whether she'll ever see him again. Man. Awesome chapter, as usual!

  3. Uh this the last chapter for this story?!

  4. I assumed the picture of Paula's mother with the black eye was from her imprisonment but Poida has me wondering about whether it is actually a flashback picture, to when she was with Henri. Hmmm. Such a sad picture, whatever it's from.

    I'm worried for Paula but the fact that her mother seems to trust Henri with Paula might speak volumes.

    I hope this isn't the last chapter! I'm going to be sad when this ends!

  5. Thanks, Poida. That is a very good question.

    Rachel, oh all good guesses! I can't promise we'll find out all the answers, but I had fun with some of the images in this chapter.

    Carla, it could be a flashback picture. Though her mother does seem to trust him.

    As for whether this is the last chapter, you'll just have to wait until next week!

  6. The photo of Paula's mother is certainly at odds with the tone of her letter. She seemed to intend to reassure her daughter. Talking about forgetting 'normal' though, maybe she started to consider whatever physical abuse she took as 'normal'. It happens.

    The leave taking was terrifying. Jimmy insisting, Brandon giving in to him, Paula offering to go, although it doesn't seem like she had any choice. Maybe she did prevent a fight between Brandon and Jimmy though.

    Sad, and so frightening. Wonderful, evocative writing.

  7. I had been wondering about the letter and when Paula was going to read it.

    It's surprising that her mother defended Henri but maybe there is more to Henri than anyone ever suspected. I mean we don't really know all that much about him.

    As for Jimmy coming to escort Paula, I'm curious whether Henri actually did order that or whether Jimmy has other intentions.

    I can say, I really do not trust Jimmy at all.

  8. It's true, the photo doesn't match the tone of the letter. Part of that is my fault, but I'm going to run with this until we hear Cheryl's side. Would she essentially lie to make her daughter and herself feel better with what may be her last words?

    As for forgetting normal, well, she has been raising a child who's technically half Wildlander and against the laws. Paula never knew, and no opne else was supposed to either.

    Paula really didn't have a choice (well she kinda did, it was between whether Brandon would take her or Jimmy, but she was still going to go!), but her stepping forward is a very important first step I think.

    Oh man, I think I'm going to have the most fun with you coming up. ;) Thanks SB.

    Carnaxa, you know, I hadn't intended to put the letter here. I've been writing it and nothing felt right, and then after their talk last chapter, then it felt right.

    You know how I am about that. There better be more to him, though he's proving a tough nut to crack.

    As for Jimmy, well, that is a very good question!

    Sorry it took me so long to reply to your guys' comments! (I know you've just been waiting, lol.) I do appreciate them greatly, you know.

  9. Henri in a tux, interesting. Bespeaks of a life now gone.

    I loved the tone of the letter, Henri is neither good nor bad, could describe Brandon as well. Jimmy? I don't blame Paula for having the chills down her back. He creeps me out as well.
    "You never take orders..." Really? Not even from Henri? Jimmy is scary indeed.

    Loved the tension between the three at Paula's leaving. Silent, simmering just under the surface, great update!

  10. Or an unexpected life. ;)

    Oh, you're right. It very well could describe Brandon too. And Jimmy is a little creepy, lol.

    Thank you Drew!

  11. I finally caught up with reading! After trying to start my new sim blog, it's taken me so long and I apologize!

    I'm really anxious to see how Paula fares living with Henri. That picture of Cheryl is really disturbing for some reason. The photos in your blog are so amazing and it makes me so jealous! Reading your story inspires me to do something really awesome creatively speaking.

  12. I've just started reading these stories, so I'm not sure what's going on yet, but I wanted to tell you that your pictures are awesome; I love how you've done the lighting in them. More, more! :-)

  13. First of all, the images you used here are very striking. Not at all what you might have expected, or at least not what I expected, from Henri and Cheryl. I'm leaning toward that last shot being a reflection of Cheryl's current state but maybe it was a stark contrast to whatever courtship she had with Henri. They never lived together right? So it was sort of a wham, bam, thank you ma'm type of thing that left her pregnant? The letter was not very revealing so I seriously wonder what Paula's take on it is. There was so much regret in it but I think somehow it was meant to give some hope.

    Very disturbing scene between Brandon and Jimmy. It doesn't surprise me that Paula stepped in and agreed to go because I am sure it would have somehow ended in violence. It feels like Jimmy has a deep motive behind this action and I seriously doubt that Henri would have ordered him to pick her up. It reeks of power-play to me.

  14. Nice to see you again Amelia. ^__^ Awe, thank you very much. I'm not much of a photographer. Maybe knowing that helps me, lol. It's just fun to play around with TS3, you know?

    Hi, Jen! Welcome. :) And thank you very much also. Lighting in TS3 is so awesome at times, and once again something else that we can customize! It's just too fun to play with.

    Gayl, wow, what insight in your comment! You've touched on all of the stuff I was aiming for!

    Nope, Cheryl and Henri couldn't have lived together. I love the sound of "courtship" used when referring to whatever it was they had, lol.

    The letter was so difficult to write. I probably rewrote it as much as Cheryl would have if she were real. It was very tough. I would definitely imagine that she does have a lot of regrets, and she has to wonder if she could have done something differently.

    Also, good nose. I'm glad you're smelling that.

  15. Oh how I'd like to get a story of the time Henri and Cheryl were together, even if it was only for one night! They just seem like they're from such different worlds, I wonder how they even met each other. Because of Paula's age, he must have been at least some form of the man he is now in the present.

    Okay, so I actually read this, as usual, the minute it was released. But then my sisters happened and I fell hopelessly behind, lol!

    The letter was so beautifully written. I know we all wanted information from it, but it turns out to be an apology instead. So I'm scared of your comment about how they could be the last words between them.

    I'm so suspicious of why Jimmy insisted on taking her. Hmmm, but that hand on the back is very interesting! Almost like it could be reassuring - but that could also be a power thing.

    Oh, how can this be the end?!? This can't be the end - we need to know what happens to Paula!!!

  16. *can't say anything* LOL! I will say that getting the pictures for those two turned out to be a little more fun than I was expecting. Maybe it was just getting to put Henri in a suit.

    As for the letter, I know I wanted information too. But it didn't sound right.

    And I love that you see the dual nature of that gesture. When it cropped up in the scene I felt the same!

  17. Lunar, you are so gifted! This chapter took my breath away.
    I had tears in my eyes when I read the letter. I speaks of so much love, so much sorrow and explains the mistake Paula's mum made: complacency. She sounds like a person I would love to know and be friends with.

    The blurred pictures of Henri and Paula's mum are very glamourous and evocative. I'd like to believe they felt wildly attracted to each other and had a secret and passionate affair from the word go. I'm not sure Paula's mum actually 'loved' him.

    The picture of Paula's mum in prison (?) is one of desolation and acceptance. I think she has just given her letter there and now quietly waits for whatever happens next because she knows her daughter will receive these (final ?) words.

    I got that dry feeling in my throat when I read the parting scene. Saying goodbye is so difficult and it is even worse when there is no chance to do it properly.

    I am amazed that Henri gave Jimmy an order and even more that Jimmy accepted it. I still thin he was not unkind to her that morning when he dropped in for breakfast and I don't believe he would harm her. I'd like to think his touch was meant to be protective/comforting even if it feels heavy. He does not need to touch her after all.

    Oh and it just occurs to me that if he likes strong women, he must have a lot of respect for Paula's mum (if he is capable of such emotions).

    I got very fond of Paula and feel sorry the story ends here. Maybe she'll be back later?

    Thank you for another great story! :)

  18. *blush* Oh, thank you Moondaisy.

    I am loving her mother. I think you'll definitely like her mother too. It's true she's not like Paula at all, but for this one thing. She did become rather complacent. She didn't start out that way. Meanwhile Paula started out complacent...

    I had so much fun taking the pictures for Cheryl and Henri here. I definitely know where they met and what happened. Well, kinda. I know about as much as they do, lol.

    I'm glad you got that in-between picture of her. I think a part of her is relieved to have sent off her final words to her daughter. And her final words are basically, "I'm so sorry."

    Jimmy says that Henri gave the order, but others make a good point. Can we trust him? Did Henri really give the order?

    As for Jimmy and Paula's mom, that's assuming he even knows her of course. ;) (I promise we'll definitely get answers.)