Friday, April 30, 2010

Closing in

This time Mary knew the knock.

It was a soft knock, almost polite like he didn't want to bother her. She knew exactly who it had to be though she wasn't expecting him back so early. Brandon was sleeping, hopefully, the next room over where all the extra beds were for the children who had to stay over night. Jimmy had left Brandon with her to head out on an important mission the day before.

She opened the door and there he was, as she had expected. "Brandon?" He softly inquired.

"He's asleep." She pointed over at the room next door. Jimmy glanced that way, looking exhausted himself. She took in the sight of him before her. Though they'd known each other for a few years, she always felt surprised when she saw him. Each time it was like he was slowly morphing into someone else completely. Not just growing up, but really changing. His muscles seemed more developed. He seemed taller. The look on his face more exhausted, worn out, and older, though he never lost that charm when he smiled at her.

She stepped back to let him in. It seemed natural in an unnatural way. She couldn't help the memory from months before that surfaced as she gave ground, inviting him to follow. Her stomach flipped when he stepped in after pausing at the threshold, shutting the door behind himself softly. His eyes seemed locked onto hers as he stepped forward enough to shut the door putting him very much in the center of her small room. But his gaze was different from that other time. He wasn't sizing up her weaknesses. For a moment, he almost looked their own age.

She smiled up at him. She hadn't really been expecting him until the morning at the earliest, but most likely not until the afternoon. He had the entire night to himself without his little brother to do whatever he could possibly have wanted. Most people his age hung out at the various fire pits and bonfires or spent the night fucking away.

Jimmy glanced around her tiny room his eyes falling on the stacks of books. Most were presents from Brandon and him, but there had been plenty of books she'd owned before and plenty she'd managed to save on her own since.

"My parents always had books," she said as if he'd asked. "Their house was full of them. I think I spent my first few years sleeping on them."

Jimmy watched her with eyes so clear she could almost see the natural faucets in the irises that made them sparkle from time to time. "You've never mentioned your parents before."

Guilt pumped into her heart, freezing it. She could almost picture the guilt as a black liquid suddenly reaching for her heart. "I know." She glanced up at him, his gaze almost softening (or perhaps it was just all in her head like everything regarding him). "You don't talk about your parents either."

It wasn't really fair to expect him to. She knew that. No one really discussed their past. It was over and done with and there was no use in thinking back. But part of it was also because in many cases, her included, it was all they had left were the memories of a life lived differently.

In one smooth movement, he slipped an arm around her waist gently so that they were standing closer than they ever had before. "I'll tell you about mine if you tell me about yours."

Mary closed her eyes. The black liquid of guilt inside her heart sat in her chest threatening to drown her. "I left them." Her voice was low with shame. "There was an attack on our village, and we were taken. It wasn't going to end well." She leaned closer to him, her lips almost on his shoulder as she remembered that day. There had been another family taken, the woman hurt badly for amusement. "Mom distracted them. Dad covered me and told me to run before they noticed. And so I left them behind."

Jimmy pulled her closer, and she put her arms over his shoulders, aware of his hand slipping around her back. She could feel the tears waiting to spill. It had been years since she'd last cried; she couldn't even remember what she'd cried over. It always seemed to happen that way. Tears came when she was least expecting them and never when she wanted them and never at any of the times she thought they would come.

He was nearer to her than he'd ever been, and it wasn't her imagination. They were standing nearly cheek to cheek, his hands on her waist. Mary knew she should fear him still without knowing the exact reason why, but standing there together so close, she was already in too deep for anything more to matter any way. She couldn't call it love, but it was something that existed without a name that pulled her to him.

Without time to think there was no time to fear, so even without knowing exactly what to do she did the only thing she could think of doing and placed her lips on his. For one frightening moment she expected him to shove her away, but he didn't. His lips grazed hers, gently taking her bottom lip between the two of his. She could feel his hand on her back holding her steady while pressing her to him gently.

Her heart was beating too fast. The new blood pumping quickly pushed away the black liquid of guilt she carried with her constantly. It flooded her chest the same as the guilt had and for a moment she felt as if she couldn't breathe.

Still, she wanted more. Or at least thought she did. He wouldn't have to ask for it; she would just willingly give it to him. She was tired of her half lived life. Her life lived this way, in a dark room underground, wasn't worth the price of the lives of her two parents.

One of his hands moved to her cheek, firmly holding her when he moved back, conflict clear in his eyes. With the same hand he brushed her long hair away from her face.

"We aren't doing this." His voice was soft and quiet in the small room.

It still stung. She didn't move. Her bottom lip became caught between her teeth as she bit down trying not to think. The thoughts rushed her anyway. She was definitely reaching above her station. To him she had to be no more than a servant girl. This wasn't one of her fairy tales. Things like this couldn't happen in real life.

"You know what can happen. I'm not doing that to you."

Her heart almost cracked open at the sound of his concern. She had seen the little girl with the mother who often seemed to sneer at Mary. The little girl had a very familiar smile that matched his rarer ones and straight silky brown hair that looked as if it'd been plucked right off his head. He knew what could happen from personal experience.

Still, she wanted something. When the other girls wanted to exclude her they talked about it as if it were greater than not being owned and greater than her strange friendship with Brandon and his big brother, Jimmy, even though she knew some of them didn't have a choice. They knew that it was most likely something Mary would never experience.

This strange new curiosity frightened her and gave her a boldness that she wouldn't normally have. She still reached for him intent on seeing him and testing their boundaries. His hands wrapped around her arms, and with one smooth movement, he had her sit on the bed next to him. He lifted one foot and began untying the laces to remove one boot then the other without a word before he lay back on her small bed beckoning her to follow. She lay in his arms as he wrapped the blanket around the two of them, though around her mostly, in a tender touch of concern.

There simply couldn't be anything better than that. Safe and warm in his arms, she could feel a warm darkness overtaking her slowly before a thought occurred to her. "You didn't tell me about your family. What happened?"

She could feel his stomach muscles tighten as if she'd punched him in the gut. It seemed to take him a moment before he finally said, "My dad was unstable. He used to beat me. Before he could kill me, I killed him."

Mary peeked up at him, hair in her face partially covering her eyes, not that he looked at her. He seemed to look over her, still tense and waiting for some blow. "How?" She asked softly. Brandon had said once he'd never known Jimmy's father; he'd died before Brandon was born. Which meant Jimmy would have had to be very young.

He glanced down at her. "No one knows how. That's why they're scared of me."

Laying there in the dark next to him, the wall at her back, hearing his confession, she finally knew the reason people feared him. He lay before her tensed as if he expected her to hop up and run away. But she didn't, and it wasn't because she had nowhere else to go.

The differences between them were so obvious that it hid their one similarity very well. He had no more choice than she had. His path in life had been set long before she'd ever met him and his brother.

In the dark, she wasn't sure if he could see it on her face or if he would understand it if she were to say it out loud. He still seemed to be waiting for the blow that would come, and so she moved closer to him, deeper into his arms.

Ages: Mary & Jimmy ~16/17 (Brandon ~10)

The Other Brother -->


Title for this entry came from the song Closing in by Imogen Heap. Just one of those happenstance things where I was listening to my playlist while writing and suddenly realized that whoa... this is probably Mary's song. We are not at the end of her story yet though, just so you know.

Also, a few weeks back, some of you might remember I mentioned a really good photo shoot where an idea worked out. This was it.

And so as a companion piece to this one (because hopefully someone out there is wondering how I got this shot), I present my story telling exploits. Every trick I use is actually an old trick picked up in the old days of TS2 before the infiltration of pose boxes, so I hope even my Sims 2 story telling friends will get some use revisiting the old tricks.


  1. After reading what you gave back to me about fairy tales, this hit me hard. You used everything, all of it, and turned it around a little bit while retaining the power.

    The line that stunned me? When Jimmy says, "No one knows. That's why they're scared."

    This piece changed my view of Jimmy. Totally.

    and I will go take a look at what you've done on shots. I'm always desperate on that thank you!

  2. When you posted that post up, I had already written this piece and was like, "Well that was uncanny!" I have to admit I was looking forward to your input on this piece a little anxiously, lol.

    I've used the virgin myth a lot, I know. But you know you kinda write what you know and well, there it is.

    Subconsciously, I gave this character the place holder name "Mary" for a reason, and then I decided to keep it as an acknowledgment of my own themes.

    But I told you I'd have the most fun with you on this storyline. I'm glad I've shed some new light on Jimmy. I think, in a way, my twist on the fairy tale is to examine the prince, not the princess. Though, I like to imagine that if Mary had her choice, she wouldn't be the virgin princess.

    For anyone wondering what we're on about, SB recently brought up the topic of the virgin princess myth over at her simming/writing blog. I was very highly tempted to link to it as an extra companion piece to this one, but chose not to because my cat posted the entry up early, lol.

  3. You use what gives you power. What gives you juice to write, what you can use. I did see the connection, and the name, well yes of course. The ultimate power in that name.

    And you know, it is interesting that those myths are told from the female perspective although they are all about the man. So I am thrilled you used it and turned it around the way you did!

    I hope people do think about it.

  4. Very powerful chapter, and beautifully done! I'll be reading the piece about the posing, too.

    I was struck the most by this line:

    "She was tired of her half lived life. Her life lived this way, in a dark room underground, wasn't worth the price of the lives of her two parents."

    That's just...perfect. It explains why her guilt lessens some when she thinks he might give in. She yearns for something exciting and wonderful, even if it is ill-advised. I so get this desperate need to take a risk every now and then....

    I'm really, really surprised that Jimmy won't do this for her. What makes her so much more special than some of the other humans he's had no second thought about putting in that position?

    Amazing (as usual)!

  5. Ok, read the amazing stuff over at S.B.'s writing blog and came away with a few ideas...

    I think the power of the virgin today could be in her potential or mystery-what kind of lover will she make? What does it say about the person she finally does give it up to that it was her choice to give it up to them?

    There's something I've noticed in heterosexual fantasies I've heard about (in frank discussions) with some of the men I've known--so many times, they describe what they want to do TO the object (and I'm not using that word by accident) of their fantasy. I thought that was strange, because you'd think a lot of them would think about what they wanted the object of their fantasy to do TO them. I think this is why experience may not always matter to a man--if they get most of their pleasure out of what would typically be the "giving" in the sexual encounter, then they don't need an experienced partner.

  6. Do they? But the giving is expecting the girl to react. To respond to what they are giving. I agree. And the girl is never going to fake it, because she's so in love with the guy. I'm actually sort of sympathetic for the guy who doesn't know if what he's done is great or horrible. Because the girl won't tell. He doesn't know. She does. So again, she has the power. I love it!

    so sorry for doing this to your blog! I really do apologize.

  7. OK, so I really hope this doesn't show up twice. I think Blogger ate my first comment but I'm going to try to remember what I said.

    I loved this chapter. It was wonderful and beautiful and the more I think about it, the more I like it.

    I was struck by this line, like Rachel:

    She was tired of her half lived life. Her life lived this way, in a dark room underground, wasn't worth the price of the lives of her two parents.

    Jimmy is so much more to her than that old "girls love a bad boy" cliche. I almost said he breaks her out of her drudgery. I think that's part of it but there's more to it than that too. Something deeper.

    I can't remember if I said anything at the time but when we first met Mary, I started wondering what fate befell her and who was responsible. At the time, I was so sure it was Jimmy but you have me reconsidering that now. I started pinning my suspicions on Aaron last week and this week has pushed me further in that direction.

    And so Jimmy killed his father, no one knows how and that is the source of the fear he inspires in everyone? That wasn't exactly a surprise to me but it got me thinking. Not sure about what yet but I am.

    The last thing I have to say (or at least, the last thing I remember from my first comment!) was that "I'm not doing that to you" is such an interesting line coming from Jimmy and what we know about him and his views on sex. Makes me wonder what he sees in Mary that is so special. She's certainly a strong character, which Jimmy has shown that he values but there must be something else there for him.

  8. Beautiful Chapter.

    I'm beginning to readjust my views on Jimmy. It sounds to me that, not only are others scared of him, but that he's scared of himself...

  9. Rachel, oh thank you.

    I imagine she carries this guilt with her constantly. Her parents gave their lives for her life, and she almost seems to feel it was a wasted effort on their part, her life is nothing.

    You pose a VERY interesting question actually. And you make a very interesting assumption. Mary says she's seen a little girl around, and her mother who seems to sneer at her when she's dropped off. That woman is not a human.

    In Chapter 9, Paula asks if she has powers, and Jimmy tells her, "Not everyone is born with powers even if their parents are experiments." Because he knows from this same personal experience. (And if my math is correct, which it isn't always when I do it off the top of my head like this, this adds another interesting layer to his untold present day story.)

    I know, what? More stuff left unspoken that should one day get shared in another story.

    Also, interesting. I actually asked my partner his thoughts. He said that it's kinda like a little badge on your card to be there first, but other than that, yeah not the ideal situation.

    And in that sense, when they talk about what they want to do to the object of their fantasy, I love that you make the giving sound dubious, because it does sounds more like taking to me.

    SB, that's another good point. More experienced women know that really, they have the power. Maybe the myth/fantasy for men does come out of that. It's definitely a tie into the innocence too.

    And for what? Turning this blog into a discussion on sex, lol. I've always been an analytical perv. I think it's one of the things my partner likes about me.

    Carla, awww! Darn blogger has been eating comments lately.

    Thank you so much!

    I think I do remember you mentioned something about wondering if Jimmy ends up doing something bad to her in the future. Haha, I LOVE that I've got you so suspicious. I mean, it's a little cheap for me to draw this out, but you know, it'll all be important in some fashion or another. Hopefully in ways you won't see coming.

    Also, really? That wasn't a surprise? I actually felt a little weird telling Jimmy's story. It's that whole wanting to avoid turning him into a caricature thing. But his killing his father has always been a part of his character since he first told me his story. One of those things I just couldn't give up or change.

    It's true, it wasn't expected behavior for him. And actually, it surprised me too, but it felt right. Generally, he's pretty casual regarding sex, but then I threw in that one weird little tidbit at the very end. "Oddly, I see him having issues with a girl he really cares about going down on him." I don't know if that clears things up, but for as casual as his view on sex seems, there is another layer of understated complexity to it I think. (Oh man, have I gone insane yet? Talking to characters, and analyzing them like they're real and not figments of my warped imagination? LOL!)

    Poida, thank you. I think you're right to be honest with you.

  10. "No one knows how. That's why they're scared of me."

    Really? Even Jimmy doesn't know what he did? That statement had the greatest impact on me.

    I have read this today more times than I can count. I can't even begin to say that I understand either Jimmy or Mary. But the stark realization that she may never experience real love and intimacy is there as is the fact that Jimmy may never experience it either. And I think deep down he really wants to have that connection.

    I keep looking at the consequences of their relationship. Brandon has bonded with her, a connection that probably goes beyond a child's attachment to a nanny. Jimmy is clearly attached to her. If things were different they would make a perfect couple. As Mary said, for all their differences, they are the same. But Mary is a liability to both Jimmy and Brandon because of this.

    I didn't think it was possible that you could add more depth to Jimmy but you have. I am more curious than ever about what changed with him from then to the present. And I am more disturbed about what might happen to Mary. And why. And by who (or is that whom?) Possibly my most favorite chapter to date.

    And following the thread from SB's blog, I think what you did with the fairy tale aspect of this, the way you turned it and made it yours was fantastic. By no means a traditional turn. And while Mary may represent a lot of things, the focus on Jimmy is what really shines through here.

    I hope I am making sense. I'm going on around 4 hours of sleep and should be trying to sleep right now.

  11. Lunar, no, "surprise" wouldn't be quite the right word for what I felt when I read Jimmy had killed his father (though it was the word I used in my first comment, so maybe it's a good thing Blogger ate it!). It was something we didn't know before, sure, but it just seemed like it made a lot of sense. So it was new information but more in the way that it was another piece of the puzzle, as opposed to reading it and thinking "WHAT?!?" If that makes any sense at all!

    The fact that you analyse your characters the way you do is part of what makes this all so interesting to me, I think.

  12. Explosive chapter in terms of character revelation. Jimmy is an intriguing character right from the moment of his appearance and back then, it would have been somewhat hard to imagine this gentleness to him, however, we were seeing him through Paula's eyes back then and Paula was a complete stranger to him. However, Mary is linked to Jimmy through Brandon but unlike Paula, Mary reached out to befriend him. Maybe it was the first time someone had ever done that and curiosity became fondness. I doubt it's love but it's some sort of affection, perhaps the same affection he has for his brother, not as strong or deep though.

    It could also be that he has never had anyone to talk to about the things that trouble him and Mary seems trustworthy and unlike the other people, the ones he trains with and the ones who fear him.

  13. Oh, *sigh* the intimacy in this post was just a joy and pleasure to experience! :) I don't know if I expected this from Jimmy, but I don't think I'm surprised either.

    Wow, that Jimmy doesn't even know how he killed his father! That is something I'm hoping to find out more about, but if he doesn't know, and no one else knows, I wonder if we'll ever be able to find out.

    And virginity, lol! You know I love a good sex discussion ;)

    RL quote from my hubby: "Most men just want to be first, like being the first to comment on a YouTube video." He really said, that, lol! No joke! Oh, how I love him! :)

    I was never particularly attached to my virginity, lol! I don't remember any of my teenage boyfriends really eager to take it either, and thus, held onto it until I was almost eighteen. (This is not a bad thing, I know!) But I think the fantasy of it is much more appealing than the reality.

    Hmmm, I'm interested to wonder how women feel about taking a man's virginity. I've never done it, so I can't say, but it could be interesting. It's a power thing, maybe. An ego thing, like going down in history. Everybody remembers their first, no matter how awful, so I can imagine men like to do it, because you know men and their egos.

    But I've also heard men pressured by it, especially the older they get. And maybe that's Jimmy's case, in this entry. He is mature beyond his years. I was wondering about the line "You know what could happen." - I didn't know if he meant pregnancy, or something else more terrible. (Though I'm secretly hoping, in the long run, he'll eventually do her this favor, lol!)

    But anyway, when they're fifteen, probably all of them are lining up for it - get to be twenty-five or thirty, probably not so much.

    Funny enough, I have an entry about a virgin coming up in my own story (Vicky).

    Oh, and I'm just glad I'm not the only one who has real live characters living in her head - they talk to me, I swear it! ;)

  14. Gayl, there isn't much I can say, you've said it all! I think you're right on the money.

    I think Jimmy does long for that sort of intimate connection, but there is a danger in it. I mean, even for normal people, there's a danger in it, it's always frightening, y'know? Maybe I'm just grasping at straws here, but intimacy on its own is a frightening powerful thing. And then add on his responsibility to his brother, and his age, and his rank.

    I'm always worried with Jimmy as a character. He's so alien in some ways, but at his heart, he really isn't, I think. And there is still more to cover, and I think it will answer your questions.

    Also, thank you, very much about the myth. I play around with this myth so much that it sort of worried me to be honest, but I think I have bits to add to the old myth/fantasy.

    Carla, I'm glad you came back and cleared that up because I was thinking, "How in the world did she see that coming?" LOL!

    Carnaxa, exactly-- never trust my first person narrators. Besides, first impressions and all that. Poor Paula already had an impression in mind when she met him, and it wasn't pleasant.

    And in a way, in this scene, at this age, there is still something of an innocence to Jimmy, I think. Or maybe he would like there to be? Heck, lol, even I don't know with him sometimes.

    But I do think he's never really had anyone to talk about the things that bother him. He's got Aaron and Henri, but somehow I doubt it would really be the same.

    Laura, thank you. Haha, I can't say I really expected it from him either.

    Ooooh, you bring up a good point. You know how we're always getting distracted by other stories crowding in... yeah that was one. So I will say there is someone (technically two someones) who will be able to tell the story one of these days...

    Your husband, LOL! So long as they don't shout out "First!" when they're done.

    Oh man, you don't wanna hear how long I held onto it for, lol. Jay's been the only one, and it wasn't that I was attached to it, but I craved intimacy. Plus I was so shy and had so many self esteem issues that I kept to myself for a long while.

    I wonder how girls feel about it too. I don't have any girlfriends I could ask that of. I think though, so long as one person knows what they're doing, well that helps it a lot, lol.

    Also, why do I keep seeing a man on the moon planting the American flag?

    Honestly, I think Jimmy is still a lot less experienced than his peers here. Hmm. That would add an extra pressure to it for him too.

  15. Since I tend to see things, or at least see some stories through a romance-type fuzzy filter, that is how I see this update.

    Jimmy still scares me, but my opinion on him has shifted somewhat, I am looking at him now as a type of paranormal romance hero, alpha, dark, mysterious, sexy, dangerous, secrets deeply hidden, maybe he is even scarred inside. But, that's me! LOL!

    His soft knock, his soft voice, his soft gaze, or is it all Mary's wishful thinking?
    Very telling that Jimmy did not take advantage of her invitation.
    And his stark honesty regarding his father, wow. (Or the man who raised him, LOL! I still think he is Mr. Smith's!)
    Great choice of song, I love using song titles for updates!
    This had a very intimate, close feel, lots of simmering emotion, great update, Lunar!

  16. I MUST MUST comment on one of Laura's points. Laughed so hard, and did ask husband about it. So, what does a woman think about taking a man's virginity?

    How would you know? Unless Virgin Man bashfully admitted he was, how would you know? Total incompetence doesn't mean much.

    Husband snorted and said women spend too much time watching chick flicks. No man is going to say he doesn't know more than the woman. "Got to deal with that about everything else as it is."

    So yes, experienced women have more power. So yes, men probably prefer a woman who obviously and physically doesn't know as much.

  17. Drew, that's one of the things I love about you that you bring that to the table. I think secretly deep down (or okay, maybe not that secretly) I fancy myself a bit of a romance writer. Just a little, lol. At least a bit of romance sneaks in when I least expect it.

    And you bring up an important question, is it all Mary's wishful thinking? It might be! You'll have to keep an eye out for clues on that. I have one that's been in my head for a while, but has yet to be posted. Jimmy through someone else's eyes...

    Thanks, Drew!

    SB, LOL! "Total incompetence doesn't mean much." XD

    BUT, here's the kicker, the virgin myth isn't the man's fantasy. It's the woman's fantasy more often that I can see. The idea of a dream lover who comes in, more experienced and with a lot of patience to show the girl/woman what to do. To gently guide her through the perils of inexperienced sex and onto to womanhood.

    It's a fantasy, I know, but it's like make-up. I fully believe that make up is a female forced social construction. Most men I know really prefer no make up. And frankly, I don't wear any! (Ooooh, I am a rebel about some things, lol.)

    So generally, this virgin myth appears in things that women have written for other women like romance novels. I don't believe that men prefer virgins over experienced women, though I've seen them fall for the fantasy a little once or twice. But I've known men who said they would actually walk away from a girl if they found out she was a virgin.

  18. You're right that the virgin myth appears in work written by women for women. Is that because women really like that, or is it because they think men like it? I am completely baffled. I guess if they write about it all the time, they're getting pleasure from the fantasy. I've got a couple of fantasies of my own, and I wouldn't indulge in them if I didn't enjoy them, so that's a stunning point. If there was no way to prove virginity, I wonder if women would fake it. And listen to me refer to women as 'they' like I'm not one of them LOL! This is just going to be one of those things I do NOT get.

    and thank you for putting up with my bewilderment on this topic!

  19. I have loved exploring this topic. I do write very heavily from this point of view, you know? And I think talking about it has actually helped a lot to understand it and maybe understand why I gravitate towards it.

    I think it just has to do with personal experience. In my life, I've always felt as if I was on the edge watching others. While I fully realized I'd put myself there, I also noticed that there were plenty of other people there with me who felt as if they'd been pushed there because they didn't fit.

    I think that most people feel they don't fit. And so I believe in its own way, this myth has a deep and hidden current of being the story about those of us who just don't fit anywhere, who sit on the outside looking in, and then experiencing someone who notices us and invites us in, shields us when we're overwhelmed and unsure what to do.

    It's not the virginity on its own-- at least not for me. I think someone can be the "virginal maiden" and not be a virgin.

    Does any of that make sense or am I just babbling? LOL! I do spend lots of time thinking about these kinds of things.

    Anyway, I saw this comic and for some reason it made me think of this discussion.

  20. Dear Lunar,

    Don't think for a moment that I abandoned your blog!
    This entry was so powerful, so thought-invoking that at first I didn't know how to respond. I can't really express the feelings it stirred in me. Feelings I had tried to forget, feelings I can't dream of noo longer, because those days came and went... Feelings that are almost too scary for me to contemplate, because I was very much like Mary once, in another life... long ago.
    I don't dare to think of where you got the experience to write this scene.But then again, I do. Sorry, that may sound patronizing. It isn't meant that way at all. You write beautifully, you cristalize emotions and expose them poignantly clear... I meant to do that you must have lived what you write about.

    I am happy to see this sight of Jimmy. I felt that way about him when he ushered Paula out of the house and he does me proud in a way. Is that ridiculous? Maybe it is... I'm glad that his sense of self-preservation doesn;t hang on muscle power and prowess in the arena alone... He is capable of caring, of loving... I knew it.

    Mary, I told you previously, is one girl I could call my own. I simply adore her.

    My favourite lines?
    "She could feel the tears waiting to spill. It had been years since she'd last cried; she couldn't even remember what she'd cried over. It always seemed to happen that way. Tears came when she was least expecting them and never when she wanted them and never at any of the times she thought they would come."

    Outstanding! And so me too.

    I love you, Lunar, I truly do.

    I will read your next update, which I know is already there, when I recover from this one...

  21. Moondaisy, I had to admit I wondered. But then I'm just being silly and moody lately. I blame lack of chocolate and cheeseburgers.

    Your words surprised me, and they touched me at the same time. Thank you. Anything we write will probably have some bit of ourselves inside it.

    I love that you're sort of Jimmy's cheerleader. You can see that there is more to him. It's always interesting to see how everyone perceives these characters, and you always want to see the better side of them, and always believe it will be there before I've even shown it. So I am happy to deliver this one to you-- proof that you're right. There's always more to them. They are human after all, just they've all suffered through a lot.

    *hugs* Thank you Moondaisy. Reading your comments always make me feel better. Honestly, I wasn't even sure I'd be able to get an entry out this week, but after reading your comment, I will do it.

  22. Ooooh, I've loved this little side story with Mary, it's giving me a side of Jimmy that I have a feeling few, if any, see. I love how much of his "power" comes from what people suspect/perceive, not what they have witnessed - the power of suggestion.

    He must truly care deeply for Mary to not want to put her in the position of being seen as just another of his harem, a human good only for breeding and is then discarded. We caught a tiny glimpse of this side of him in the banter with Brandon over breakfast and in this flashback as he looks after his brother, but this seems to be something more.

  23. Yes, exactly! I think in my free writes, other characters have remarked about that very fact-- that much of his power is given to him by the way others perceive him based on things they may not have seen. (Though to be fair, some probably have seen quite a bit or just enough-- like Paula in one of the earlier chapters.)

    And even knowing that, I've had characters still fear him even once they realized that most of his power over them was given by the people themselves.

    There were quite a few issues going on in Jimmy's life here, but I do think he cared very deeply for Mary. Enough that he didn't really want to make her a pet. She loved her freedom, and even though she couldn't go anywhere, she was still free. Maybe he respected her for that.

    And yes, we did catch a glimpse of this side of him over breakfast with Brandon. I think Jimmy wears many masks, but with his brother, that's a glimpse of the truest Jimmy.