Grandmother's Heart

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

It is a running theme, in this forsaken family, that what we see and what really is are two separate things: but what that is, it always changes... A perception that is fact one minute may be false the next.

Then, when does the changed revert their ways? When does Mr. Popular become the outcast? When does the snob become the caretaker? When does the hero become the villain? There is a point for everyone, when an event takes place and the world gets flipped upside down... And everything we wanted to be true, no longer is.

So remember, try not to trust even the truth: even it has a habit of lying to you. Eventually.




"That's absolutely unfair, Dad!"



"That's unfair, huh?" Jeb gave his son an intolerable look, and brought his finger to his ear to show just how little he cared. "Well, tough it. You've been out with Jade almost every night this week, it's about time you spend some time helping your mom around the house."

Travis did not seem all that enthusiastic. All he wanted was to go to the movies that night, but his parents were telling him no? What had gotten into them... They were always cool with him going out when he asked.

Sure, he never was Mr. Helpy Helperman, but he'd done all his required chores, his homework, even helped Amelia -- maybe he hadn't been super social, but it's not like they seemed to want him around, anyways. He just needed to get away, to be with 'her'... Didn't they realize that being around Jade was the only thing that helped him forget what had happened?



"I'm not stupid," Travis growled at his father as he turned away to finish getting for school. "Bradley's turning you both against me. Ever since Emerald died, you've started treating me different... I know what he's doing! And I'm tired of it!"

The silent look that Jebidiah gave Travis gave him his answer: Jeb knew he was right. Though no one said anything, and even tried to defend Travis for the most part... Everyone had begun to blame him for what had happened, even though they knew it wasn't his fault.

Everyone but Jade...



There was a cold distance between the boys, and incomprehensible hatred that neither could truly explain. As time crept on, it only worsened -- the looks that they sent between each other showed know emotion, but deep down, they knew what each other thought. Or, did they?

But what troubled Travis the most is that he was no longer sure he really knew who his brother was. Before Emerald's death, he at least understood him... But this? Who was this Brad? Was he turning into a monster, or was this just a phase -- or was it just towards him?



Things didn't seem to have changed between Brad and everyone else -- if anything, he'd earned their pity. For the first time, Travis felt like an exile in his own life...

But he wasn't sure he could argue that he didn't deserve it.



Meredith couldn't help but cringe as she looked around the house -- in her opinion, the Greenwood's needed her services from the ground up, but, that's obviously not something they could afford.



"I'm glad that you called me, Oliver," she said in a light voice to Mr. Greenwood. "I can't imagine how you guys must be feeling since Emerald passed away. I'm really glad that there's something I can do to help. So what was it that you wanted me to fix up?"

"Well," Oliver said with a sigh. "Jade's been having the toughest time of all of us. She mentioned that one of the hardest parts is coming back to the room they used to share, and seeing her empty bed... She just needs a change of scenery to help with the coping process, if you know what I mean."



Meredith couldn't help that but notice that the room needed a pick-me-up even without Emerald's absence... But she was mindful not to say anything about the Greenwood's decorating skills.

They talked about certain things that the room needed for improvements, and what sorts of things Jade would like...



... Meredith showed him some examples for him to pick ideas from...



... and when she had to finally get started, she knew she had her work cut out for her.



"Well, I hope that Jade feels the same way about it that you do!" she told Oliver once all was said and done, and he'd given her a rather excited review. "I know she's coming of age soon and will want to move on, but, at least she'll have somewhere to come back that won't make her feel alone..."



"... because really, she'll never be alone, not when she's surrounded by everyone she loves."



Bradley knew what the lines on the paper were, but he kept reading them over, and over again, unable to completely comprehend them.



His mind was wandering, restless... It was stupid, how even the most menial tasks reminded him of her.

He was working on his geometry homework, the only subject she was never able to master. The one subject that she'd never get the chance to master, he realized.


They nights he used to spend, tutoring her to try and help her understand... The times she'd become so frustrated she'd almost cry, but the way she'd hug him tightly when she realized she'd always have them there to help her...



... but he hadn't been there for her, that night. Had he?



There had to be something he could do. He couldn't just give up! There had to be a way, somehow... Someone had to know.

And, he suddenly realized -- he thought he might know just who would.



Almost no one went this way in town, and for good reason: the Pidgin mansion stuck out like a sore thumb in the rich division of Twinbrook, a massive house with distasteful decor and an overgrown yard that smelled of rotten earth and mulch. Everything about it screamed "Uninviting"... Not that anyone would want to be invited there.

Half the people in town believed the Pidgins to be insane.

But Brad, he wasn't so sure.



There were gears churning in his gullet as he climbed the steps to the front door, but while he wasn't sure what to expect, he at least knew who he wanted to see: Milly.

Ever since their encounter at the Library -- a wordless exchange of glances, and the keen interest she seemed to have in his choice of reading -- his suspicions grew about what she might be... Or what she might be capable of. She was no scientist, but, people didn't get a reputation for being insane for no good reason: she knew something, something that he was going to find out.



Milly looked rather surprised when she saw Bradley at the door, but ushered him in quickly while she waited for his explanation for the visit.

"Look, I know we've never really been properly introduced, but... I'm Bradley Kane. You probably remember me from the library? We've run into each other quite a few times, there."

"Mhm," she responded shortly with a nod.

"Well," Brad continued, a bit of a quiver in his voice. Why'd he come out here, again? "There's something I wanted to ask you."



"I imagined you'd come to me sooner or later," Milly began, her face morbid and cold. "They all do, eventually, when someone's been lost. Well, I guess you have a lot of questions, you may as well come in and sit down."



This room seemed colder and cleaner than the others -- probably because it wasn't used much. Brad couldn't imagine that the Pidgins used it for anything besides visitors. He was glad she was stooping down to light the fire; it meant the room would get a bit warmer, and Milly couldn't see the nervous look he was giving the rest of the room.

Or the scrunch of his nose when he realized he could smell something burning in the other room... something that smelled oddly of mac and cheese.



"Well, out with it," Milly said with a wave of her hand. "Don't be shy, I haven't got time for shy."

"I-- well uh... I've heard that you know things... About death... And you seemed so interested in what I was picking up at the library, and... I was wondering if..." Brad got up off the couch so he could pace the room; he honestly had no idea how exactly to just come out and say it. He hardly knew this woman, he didn't want to be seen as a complete idiot.



"You want to know how to bring back the girl you love." Milly asked his questio for him, and then shook her head. "I know all to well the pain you've suffered. Ever since that Greenwood girl died, you've been digging through everything Twinbrook has to offer that might bring her back to life." Before he could respond, she cut him off with a quick, "Brad, if you think you were being secretive about it, you'd be sorely mistaken."

"Well, yeah." Brad sighed and shrugged. "I guess I've been a bit desperate... But... Can you help me?"



"I'm sorry to disappoint you, but that isn't where my specialties lie. I can offer you a bridge into the world of the dead, I can help you to speak to those that have passed, but I can't bring back the dead any more than dog can read a book. And, if it were easy, don't you think you'd see half the cemetary up and about walking around town by now?"

"But it can be done, right?" Bradley asked nervously. "I mean, the research..."

"Yes... It can be done. But there is only one person in this town that knows how, and... They are not likely to share their secret. With anyone. Even you."



"Please, can you tell me who? That's all I ask... Just help me talk to this person, so I can at least get them to help me..."

"Bradley," Milly said with a shake of her head. "Messing with death is risky, dangerous business... I only seek to help give people peace with what they've lost, not give them false hopes that they can bring back the dead. I'm not sure if I--"



"Look, I know you mean well," Brad said with a shrug. "But no matter what you tell me, I can't back down. Not now. Emerald deserves another chance... She was... is... everything to me, Ms. Pidgin. Just saying goodbye isn't an option."

Milly sighed and again shook her head. "I knew you would be one of the stubborn ones. Well, I can give you the name of the person who could help you, but I can already tell you that they likely aren't going to."

"Why? Why not?"



"Because," Milly said with a very concerned, painful look. "That person happens to be your grandmother."




Bradley hadn't felt this frustrated or betrayed in a long, long time - not since Travis ran off with his girl... Not since Travis broke her heart.



So his grandmother had known the secret to bringing her back, all this time, and she'd never said a word to anyone, or to him. She knew how much pain he was going through, she knew how much it would mean to him: why did she say nothing?!

He wasn't sure if he was right to blame her, but he couldn't help it: he did. That she'd keep this from him, anyways. The oh-so-amazing Farah Kane had always been "above" her family, but this was the final insult that sent her snooty attitude into realms beyond comprehension. No wonder his mother cringed whenever Farah invited herself over for dinner.



Still, Brad resolved that he wasn't going to get to the bottom of this unless he confronted her. His relationship with his grandmother was... trivial, at best, but he was still her grandson: if she would tell anyone, it had to be him. Right? Right.



"Bradley!" Farah exclaimed as she answered the door. "Goodness me, you have quite the timing... I was just about to go out for my daily jog," she said with her usual sophisticated aire.

"Well... Think you could put that off for a little bit? There's something I wanted to talk to you about."

"Anything for you, sweetheart," she said, waving him inside. Bradley couldn't help and feel that that statement was a bit ironic; well, he'd have to see.



As Bradley settled in the living room, Farah quickly produced a tray of coffee and set it down on the table before taking a seat next to him.

He wasn't sure where to begin; 'Hi Grandma, so, tell me - how do I make a dead person breathe again?' Even a son of Jebidiah could tell how tacky that would be.



"So, tell me," Farah began with a hint of humor in her voice. "What brings my wayward grandson to finally visit me after all this time?"

'Great,' he thought to himself. 'She had to open with the guilt-trip line.'



"Well, Gramma," Bradley began slowly. "I know this is just kinda out of the blue, but things haven't been going so well for me. Ever since Emerald died, well... I just haven't been the same."

"Oh?" Farah said, gently sipping a mug of coffee before setting it back down. "Well, that can't be all... continue."

"I need your help," he added quietly. "So I can fix this, all the awful things that are happening to me, to our family... I need to bring her back."



"Oh really?" Farah's eyes thinned, and her expression turned sour. "And who told you that I was the one to ask about this?"

"Milly, Milly Pidgin."

"Mmm, she has been one to spin all sorts of tall tales," Farah said with a snorted laugh.

Bradley shook his head, unrelenting. "I know she wasn't lying, Grandmother. I don't care what you want me to believe... I know the truth. You're a brilliant doctor, if anyone should know how, it's you."



"Dear..." she began, her voice growing weaker by the moment. "I understand the incredible pain you must be going through, but even if... I... Just... Brad, I can't help you."



Bradley shot up from the couch, angry. "I knew you'd say no. I knew you would refuse!" He sighed deeply, before turning around to face her. "You've always been so... selfish."

Although the words stung Farah deeply, her composure was unaltered by her grandson's words -- she had always been a cold, stoic woman... Even the dislike from her son's son would not be able to change that.

"Sweatheart," Farah quietly began. "I know I have not always been the greatest grandmother to you and your siblings, and an even worse mother to your father... But I assure you that my reasons for keeping what I know a secret has nothing to do with selfishness."



"Yeah?" Brad began, frustrated. "Then what's stopping you?"

"Bradley, I once loved a man so deeply, yet I destroyed our future completely because of the mistakes I made. I developed a way to raise the dead to try and right my own mistakes, but I realized that no matter what you do, you can't. The dead will only be a shadow of what they once were, forever connected to the moment they truly died..."



She continued to look at him with weary eyes, her face suddenly aging another 20 years under the pain of her own memories and choices. "To allow you to make the same mistake I did, of trying to bring back the dead, would be the greatest harm I could ever do to you. I do not want you to suffer as I did, Bradley... I do not want you to dwell on the past."



Brad realized, there was no way that she was going to tell him. All this work, trying to discover how to bring Emerald back, and this -- this is where he ended up. His face fell yet again.

"Bradley... Are you alright?" his grandmother asked, a look of concern falling over her.



When he didn't respond, she pulled him into her arms. "You are a very smart, courageous, and wonderful boy, Bradley," she began. "Do not ruin yourself over what could have been. It will only destroy you, and you will live your entire life in regret. I do not want that for you..."

As he drew back, he weakly wiped a tear from the corner of his eye, his gaze still settled on the floor.



"I just miss her so much, Grandmother," he said with a cracking voice.

"I know," Farah said, her own tears held back from the painful memories that Bradley's love reminded her to recall. She rested her hand gentled on his shoulder, squeezing it briefly before letting it go. "I know."



"Now, run along home," she said with a forced smile, her eyes still watery and glistening. "Your mother will be wondering what you're up to."

"Alright. And... thanks, Gramma."



In truth? He wasn't that thankful... In the end, he learned nothing, and still didn't feel any closer to finding what he could do to bring Emerald back.

There had to be another way... His grandmother's words of wisdom be damned: he had to find a way.

10 comments:

Kaleeko September 15, 2010 at 11:05 PM  

And the melodrama returns!

As you would've imagined, Bradley is a complete wreck. However, while I do imply that he's changing, it may not be permanent. How permanent is what I'm going to let you guys help me decide, in the end.

Anyhow: lots of blubbery dialogue in this one! I'm glad I squished it all into one post, was gonna do it in two, but then I realized that'd be a drag. ;D

Need to decide how I'm gonna put together the next post... hmm.

M.J. September 16, 2010 at 12:18 AM  

Great update! Ooh, Bradley. I don't know what to say about him. He has a big curiosity + regret. I think he will have difficulties to finally learn something or will keep on refusing to accept things that had already happened. But, that makes the story interesting. His attitudes is slowly changing too. O.o

However, anything could happen in The Sims ;) even the almost impossible things.

It's about time that Travis should be sympathize to others and not only to think for himself. However I don't know, maybe he felt regrets without anyone knowing it. Even though, I must agree that it was not his fault. I hope Bradley will understand that someday.

Meredith is doing great now. At least, not all the Kanes were in "black moments".

Your writing is wonderful, as always.

M.J. September 16, 2010 at 12:23 AM  

I'm glad that Sarah tried to make him realized by looking on her own experience. They shared almost the same grief. It must be hard for both Sarah and Bradley.

PiB September 16, 2010 at 1:32 AM  

You do have to feel for Travis. Yes, he is an idiot teenage male. But he didn't actually deliberately do anything to kill Em. Death is not a common side effect of a break up.

And then there is Brad. Poor little geek, so desperate to find a way to get Emerald back. Very desperate, talking to Milly Pidgin. I like the idea that Milly holds séances helps people talk to the dead.

Ah Brad, actually talking to your grandmother. But not listening with your head. Just with that yearning in your heart. Because if your head noticed that Farah said the dead are forever connected to the moment they died - not a nice thought.

Well, Kaleeko, another amazing chapter. Lovely pics and good story telling.

mmmcheezy225 September 16, 2010 at 2:42 AM  

Aww, it was sweet to see Brad and Farah have a tender moment. *holds back tears*

Chrysame September 16, 2010 at 4:31 AM  

Wonderful update! I was glad to see Farah back. She's such an interesting support character.

Brad needs to read Pet Cemetery.

I felt for Travis, too. Good job there. You have a way of getting the reader to feel the emotions of your characters.

I was so happy to wake up and see this update! YAYYYYYY! *tired kermit flail*

Kaleeko September 16, 2010 at 10:26 AM  

Thank you, guys. :D

Brad is definitely in a really rough place right now, and the easiest way to show that is how he associates with other Sims; he's going through the 5 Stages of grief, sort of. First, denial that what happened to her was an accident, and now anger, that no one is willing to help him get what he wants.

Travis is getting a bit of a reality check, but he doesn't really deserve the way he's being treated. Even *I'm* guilty of it. I just don't like him that much, for some reason, so poking him with a stick feels good. ;D But, he needs his sympathy, too... They all do. No one is feeling really good right now.

Meredith doesn't have much drama in her life for a while now, I think. She's lucky -- she's the only one who's so busy I don't have time to torture.

Wish I could've spun this update out sooner, but, at least I got it out! Whew! ;D

Dee September 16, 2010 at 10:28 AM  

Another great update from Kaleeko.
I am always pulled in opposite directions regarding Travis. He's a typical teenager and at times I want to hug him and at other times I want to kick his butt. This is one of the times I want to hug him. Everyone is blaming him for Emerald's death even if they aren't openly accusing him.

Now for Bradley. We know he isn't going to give up. He wasn't really listening to his grandmother or either he is just in denial. He is only hearing what he wants to hear. Nothing is going to stop him from trying.

Oh I just love this story. Back on the edge of my seat. I just know he is going to end up doing something really stupid.

I agree with Chrysame. Read Pet Cemetery Bradley. I doubt even that would change his mind though. He would still think there is a way to bring her back as she was.

I'm a little slow getting around to things today.

Jennifer September 19, 2010 at 5:49 PM  

Oooh lots going on in this chapter!

A say haha to Travis having to stay in and help Meredith. He can't spend all his time with Jade and I think he should really be trying to mend his relationship with his brother anyway.

Meredith seems be quite the interior designer. This profession really suits her. I haven't yet explored the professions. Other things seem to have kept me occupied.

Oh Brad. If he doesn't accept what has happened and more on soon then he's going to be one unhappy chappy for a long long time!
At least Farrah was honest with him though, I'll give her that.

And he needs to stop pulling that sooky baby face otherwise the wind might change! lol

Looking forward to seeing what happens next. :)

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