Guilt and Innocence

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Man... cannot learn to forget, but hangs on the past: however far or fast he runs, that chain runs with him.
~ Friedrich Nietzsche ~

The ride home was a series of nightmares for Jebidiah. Either he went to jail, or his family had to uproot -- again. Neither were things he wanted, but... What choices did he have? Turn himself in, hope for a pardon? Hope for real justice? He knew he didn't murder Carl Strummer... But did the cops? If he turned himself in, would he spend the time for his real crimes, or for the crimes he had been framed for?

The black folds of night had begun to rise across the horizon and overtake the sky, leaving Twinbrook overcast with the same darkness he felt in his heart. If he weren't in his right mind, he would have silenced Tatianna then and there, but... Then he'd just be committing the crime he was adamant he didn't. Besides, someone knew she was here... Someone else had known he was here. Who? Who had ratted him out, and why?


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But now was not the time for questions. He slammed the car door, and walked briskly up the sidewalk... But as he did so, his wife turned to look out the window, and saw that he wasn't alone.

From the backseat of his black Evasion, a woman she'd never seen emerged -- at first, her instinct was anger, believing that Jebidiah was bringing one of his 'women' home... But when she realized that Jebidiah didn't seem to notice the woman at all, something entirely different crossed her mind: panic.


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By the time Meredith rushed across the living room to tell Travis to go upstairs, Jebidiah realized that Tatianna had slipped in beside him. He was caught, frozen; now, it was not just him... His family was about to get involved.

He didn't even bother looking at Tatianna, or telling her to leave; what could he do to make her? She'd just call the cops and expose him, once and for all.


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It was Meredith who first jumped at the unknown woman with accusations. "Who are you, and what are you doing in my house?!  This is trespassing! Don't make me call the p--"

"Meredith..." Jebidiah was the first to respond, setting a hand on his wife's shoulder. "She works for the bail-bond company... A bounty hunter. The cops aren't going to care one cent that she's trespassing once she tells them who I am."

"But... Jeb..." His wife turned to him, confused.


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Tatianna decided it was a good time to finally step in. "Your husband is a fugitive! One way or another, he's going back to Riverview, and is going to be tried for the crimes he c--"

"But he's innocent!" Meredith pleaded, trying to cut Tatianna off.

Tatianna continued with a roll of her eyes. "And is going to be tried for the crimes he committed... Whether he actually committed them or not."


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"No... No please. You can't take him. Take... Take me instead." Meredith raised up her hands in defeat. For a moment, both Tatianna and Jebidiah simply stared, completely baffled by her sudden, non-sensical plea.

"Mrs. Kane, it simply does not work that way. Your husband is the one that committed a crime here, and he's going to jai--"


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"It wasn't my husband." Meredith hung her head and sighed, closing each eye to try to fight back the tears she knew were welling up inside her, screaming to get out. "I know who murdered Carl Strummer... I know who murdered him and framed Jeb, because -- I killed them."

"Meredith, sweetheart, stop trying to get involved in this, you don't know what you're talking about--" started Jebidiah, but Tatianna cut him off with a raise of her hand.

"No, wait. I want to know what she's talking about."

"Over the past few weeks, I've started to remember what happened right before we left, and... The real reason we ran from Riverview wasn't because of what Jeb did. It's because of what I did. My sister was trying to protect me... I killed Carl's murderer. And I have the proof."

"But... If your husband didn't murder Carl Strummer, than who did? And how did you find out?"

..................

And so, Meredith began her tale. The tip-off from Mimi Brown... The email she wrote to the murderer... And how, after arranging the meeting, the person that showed up was none other than Chandra Hawkins.

"But Meredith," Jeb broke in. "That doesn't make any--"
"Stop cutting her off, Kane! Please, continue. Well... What happened?"


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"W-we argued, for quite some time... She told me her story, of her childhood, of her love for Jeb. How she waited patiently for the day when he'd leave me for her, but it never came -- instead, he ran off to one of his co-workers for an affair."

"I only had an affair because my boss wanted me to reign in his employees, it had nothing to do wi--"

"Kane, shut UP! Go on."

"Well... She was angry. She framed him for Carl's murder, to punish him for abandoning her. To punish me for stealing her life..."


"And then?"


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"I told her I was going to turn her in, but she wouldn't have that. She said only one of us was going to leave there, that night..."


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"... and before I realized what was going on, she struck me in the stomach, knocking the wind clean outta me."


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"I knew if I didn't fight back, then my life was already forfeit. So I jumped her... But she put up a heck of a fight."


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"And I just wasn't made to fight, not like that. She hit me on the head, hard... I fell to the ground, barely conscious..."


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"I can't remember clearly, but I know, I opened my eyes just in time to see her about to land a blow on me with her foot -- I barely made it out of the way in time."


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"I tried so hard to get away, scrambling across the grass, but I was hurting so badly, all over, and so weak from when she struck me in the stomach, that it took everything out of me just to shrivel away. Chandra... She... She reached into her sweater, and... and I pleaded for my life! Pleaded for her to stop! But, there is only one thing she wanted to do, and.. that was to kill me."


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"'Say goodbye, Meredith', she said to me... I begged her to stop her madness, begged her to spare my life, that I'd do anything if she just walked away... But there was no way to change her mind. With a yell, she started to bring her knife down towards me..."


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"I don't know what came over me. It was like an awful, horrible dream... My life passed before my eyes, but deep in my heart, I knew it couldn't be over. As she moved her hand to use her final blow to kill me, I raised my own, and... I...'

"I grabbed her hand -- she was completely surprised, she didn't expect me to try to stop her -- and I moved the knife towards her, shoved it as hard as I could away from me, and... I.... I killed her."


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"She clutched her stomach, but she knew -- we both knew -- it was too late. She crumbled to the ground so slowly, I almost thought she had to be faking, but... I knew she wasn't. I knew what I'd done."


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"As she died, she reached her hand towards me, and... cursed me, with her last breath."


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"And then... And then, I blacked out, and fell."


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"I don't know how long I laid there, how long I slept next to her body, but..."

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"... when I woke up, I had no idea where I was. She'd struck me so hard, I couldn't remember anything -- all I knew was how I got there, and that now...


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"Chandra was dead."

"But... No one ever found a body. The only death in Riverview ever recorded was Agent Strummer's, and--"


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"My sister made sure that no one found out. She works for the CSI division, she knew how to take care of a crime scene, and hide the evidence."


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"She went up to Willow Park to see if what I said was true..."


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"And while I'm not sure about the details, I know she cleaned up after me."


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"But, she never did tell me what she did... Only that it was 'taken care of'."


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"But, whatever she did, she saved some of the evidence. She got rid of Chandra, but saved the knife, and gave it to me, in case I ever remembered what happened, and could use it to bring Jeb's innocence to light."

"But, I... I buried it, after... Well... It doesn't matter. What matters is... Chandra may have poisoned Carl Strummer and framed Jebidiah, but she's dead -- because of me."

............

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"Please, please... I beg you. My husband has cleaned up his act, he's changed so much since then, given up crime and even returned almost everything he stole... If anyone should go to jail, it's me. Take me back, instead. I'm the one running... Not him."


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"This is... I can't believe this." Tatianna was beyond frustrated. "This isn't my job! I came here to collect a wanted man, and... I just want the freakin' reward money! But... This... This... I'm not meant to handle this. I'm going to give you 12 hours to reconsider. I know you have no where to run, so don't even try anything... I'll be back tomorrow afternoon to bring you... one of you... in."

With a great deal of grumbling about "stupid justice" and "why in the plumbbob's name" and "why is crime so complicated", Tatianna left the Kane house with a rather loud slam of the door, and disappeared out of sight.


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Meredith ran up to their bedroom to cry, but Jebidiah was only a few steps behind her. "Meredith... Meredith, are you sure you want to do this?"

"I...Yes. The past few weeks, I've slowly been remembering all of this, and... I can't live with the guilt, anymore. I know what I did was only to protect myself, but... It was wrong. And maybe... Maybe by doing this, I can get you proved innocent, a-and I can make sure our kids aren't raised by a m-m-murderer--"

"Meredith. You are many, many things, but none of them is a murderer. You are a brave woman who made a hard decision to try to protect this family, and... Now, you are again. I... I'm so sorry I ever put you in this position. And even more sorry I ever doubted you."


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Meredith collapsed into Jeb's arms, and held him closer than she felt she ever had before. He supported her weight, gently carrying her frail body to the bed to rest her down.

"I would do anything for you, Jeb," she said, still holding him in her arms. "I love you..."

"And I could never stop loving you, Meredith... I could never, ever, love you less."

23 comments:

Kaleeko July 22, 2010 at 5:57 PM  

Wooo. Lots of stress over this post, but... Finally done and out there. Yay.

And, before anyone asks: yes, those flashback screenshots look different because I did have to go back recently and re-do them. I had some from when it happened initially, but not near enough, and not near detailed enough. Now that my screenshot taking skills are a bit better, it was a lot easier. Oh, and yes: Knife = Photoshop.

Dee July 22, 2010 at 6:27 PM  

Oh my, you are putting a lot of time and effort into this. I'm still so immersed in this story. I can't think of another word right now.

I can't help but feel that Jeb has just realised what he has in Meredith.

Kaleeko July 22, 2010 at 6:43 PM  

A wee bit of time, yeah. :) It'll change once I finally get my work visa, but right now I have so much time I don't know what to do with myself.

I think you've hit upon Jeb's feelings spot on... Meredith has done so much out of love for him, it's about bloody time he realized it.

Chrysame July 22, 2010 at 7:02 PM  

Well, well, isn't this a fine pickle. Nice photoshop work.

I'm so past speculation. There's just so many things that could possibly happen next and I know you'll think of something I never imagined. :P

I'm beyond hooked on this story. Jeb and Meredith are definitely made for each other.

Dee July 22, 2010 at 7:07 PM  

How long does it take to get a work visa there?
If I remember right you are in Canada? I've only been there once and that was to Cornwall. My husband took me there on one of our visits to his hometown in upstate NY.

mmmcheezy225 July 22, 2010 at 7:14 PM  

Wow, I can't believe it. Wow. Meredith had a bit of explaining to do, haha! I hope a window of opportunity or something happens that will keep Mere and Jeb together, even if that means relocating. That darn Tatianna.

Kaleeko July 22, 2010 at 7:26 PM  

Gotta keep you on your toes, don't I? ;) I'm glad that you're enjoying it! I can't believe this part of the storyline is over, I feel like I just started it.

Mere and Jeb definitely have issues, but I can't imagine them with anyone else. They're soulmates, I guess. :)

And Dee -- I'm not positive how long it takes. And yes, I'm in Canada (am American), and am applying for permanent residency, so it shouldn't take *too* long... Generally they give you a temp work visa when you apply for residency within the country. I've got a job lined up at the start of September, so I've got until then.

PiB July 22, 2010 at 7:26 PM  

Stunning story telling and talented photoshopping.

Ah, lack of work visa - been there, done that and have a few short stories and one novel to show for it. Have to see if the novel is something worth resurrecting sometime.

Dee July 22, 2010 at 7:34 PM  

September is not long from now but I'm sure it seems to be taking forever when you're wanting something. I've always been impatient and when I want something I want it now. I have more patience now since I'm older than I used to have.

Kaleeko July 22, 2010 at 7:43 PM  

Thank you, PiB. :) <3

I'm a bit nervous about going back to work, but at least it's a low-stress job. Just something to bridge the gap again until I can go back to school and get my degree. September is really close, isn't it... Just gotta remind myself that by working, it means I'll be able to afford the next EP when it comes out. ;)

Oh, and something funny about this post:

Tatianna wasn't actually in Jeb's car, but... She wasn't in *any* car. When Jeb arrived home, she just.. teleported right behind him. Apparently, she'd arrived to knock over his trash can, but she couldn't get to it, so she just stood outside the front door until I invited her in. It was totally spontaneous and bizarre. ;D

Dee July 22, 2010 at 7:45 PM  

Talk about timing. Like I said before, sometimes the things that happen in this game are creepy.

Chrysame July 22, 2010 at 7:51 PM  

I've had the same thing in the Mayweather blog. Mick was just everywhere Gwen was and then he showed up at her place on his own more than once. Who expects a sim to show up on your active's sims yard playing the guitar at 4 in the sim a.m.?

It really adds something to the game.

Kaleeko July 22, 2010 at 9:47 PM  

lol, Chrysame. I think, if Sims randomly showed up at my house at 4am... Jeb would have a thing-or-two to say. ;)

I still can't believe some of the other things Mick has done, either. He is one weird Sim!

I totally agree, Dee, the game has an uncanny knack for throwing the extremely spontaneous. I know in my case, Twallan's SP helps out a ton with that, but even the vanilla game has a funny sense of humor, or something. ;)

Another random note: setting Chandra on fire (even if it was fake.. lesigh) was such a guilty pleasure. Now if only I could do the same to Shamus.. And Tatianna..

Chrysame July 22, 2010 at 9:52 PM  

Well, it worked for Mick. He got an invite in and lots of woohoo.

PiB July 22, 2010 at 9:57 PM  

It's nice to see Mick finally showing some character. I've had him in several games and he usually doesn't manage to interest me.

I do love some of the spontaneous things they do. Like party crashers, you never know who will show up to a party. Unless you happen to play the SV Landgraabs, every last one of their parties was crashed by Nick Alto. Who *HATES* every last one of them with a passion. Nancy had to learn how to give a great party even if he were there.

Chrysame July 22, 2010 at 10:02 PM  

A few trait changes and a tiny makeover and Mick isn't quite so dull. I'm going to keep the new improved version of Mick in my bin and lose the old version.

Kaleeko July 22, 2010 at 10:09 PM  

Lots of woohoo, indeed. :D

Oooh man, party crashers can be so irritating, but add so much flavor. Like when Chandra's friend/town gossip crashed Jeb's work party... Juan Darer (the reeaaaally creepy looking old guy in Twinbrook) crashed Bradley's toddler-to-kid birthday party... It was... um. Well. Let's just say, I told him to leave right away.

That's too funny, about Nick Alto. That whole family is... something else. I'm surprised you tried to manage the party with him, I'dve just given him the boot. ;)

PiB July 22, 2010 at 10:13 PM  

I was trying to get Nancy to build a small relationship with him. She's ambitious, he was her boss and the attitude of her boss did influence how fast she could rise. Seriously did not work at all. :)

Besides, I like a little chaos in my parties. Nick didn't spend the whole party badgering Landgraabs, just at least one part of it.

M.J. July 23, 2010 at 12:13 AM  

This is just so amazing... really!!! **clap**
I can see there were a lot of works to write this post, and you made a great job. Great screenshots and storytelling. Just fascinating!!
So, it's so clear now that it was really Mere who killed Chandra. Can't wait to see the next update. And how did you make the scene when Meredith got scared by Chandra and lying on the ground?

Kaleeko July 23, 2010 at 12:35 AM  

@PiB: Oooh, that'd stink for Nancy then. That would be quite the challenge to overcome. I think I need to have my Sims make more enemies... My parties are never chaotic enough.

@MJ: Awww, thank you. <3<3 This one did take me a lot longer than I expected to put together, because I didn't realize how much effort I'd have to put in to get all the shots I wanted. I probably could've spent a few hours perfecting the writing, buuuttt... I need to stop being so over-critical of myself.

That particular scene, with Meredith laying "pleading" and Chandra above her with the knife was definitely the most annoying part of this to put together. (I was using Chaos Painting Mod for the animations, if you didn't already figure that out.)

I had to give Meredith the 'Unlucky' trait, first. Then, I used the Painting to Kill her by Starvation -- it's got some cool little 'pleading' moments in the death animation. Because of the 'Unlucky' trait, the Reaper wouldn't take her, so I was able to keep redoing the animation over and over until I got it right -- which was nice, because the first few times, I had her in the wrong clothes. Doh!

All the other 'laying down' was done with the Dramatic trait "Fake Passing Out" ability, or the CPM's "bored_to_death fall y" animation.

And there -- Kaleeko strips all the mystery away from her screenshots. (It was magic! Really! ;) )

M.J. July 24, 2010 at 3:34 AM  

Hey! You really are a smart woman, Kaleeko :) **still clapping**

Jennifer August 15, 2010 at 4:39 PM  

Wow. That was awesome! The story, the shots, everything! ;)

Can sims actually kick other sims when they are down? That fight looked so harsh....

Btw, I installed Twallans Mod on the weekend and I love it! Why I waited so long to install it is beyond. lol

Season 3 here I come... :)

Kaleeko August 15, 2010 at 5:53 PM  

They can't kick a sim when they're down, no. :) Not technically, at least. I had to do some really tricky acting with Chaos Mod. It's very useful for setting up animations, but can be a bit annoying to mess with.

You installed Master Controller, or both MC and SP? Master Controller is definitely worth it, it takes a while to learn all it's capabilities, but it is sooo useful.

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