The Madness in the Hearts of Men

Monday, April 18, 2011

He'd given her space. Bradley believed that perhaps having a giant walking, talking toaster suddenly appearing in your living room was a bit of a stressful situation--though he personally didn't really understand why--but it was approaching the second hour that Alesha had locked herself in the bathroom.

At this point, Alesha wasn't just trying to calm down: she was hiding.


Brad left his chair, where he'd been grumpily drumming his fingers on his knee, and walked up to the bathroom door, resolving to keep calm as he tried to reason with his wife.

"Alesha," he sighed, one hand wringing the back of his tightened neck. "Could you please come out? At this rate you're going to end up sleeping in there."




"No. No way," Alesha growled back through the door, violently flailing her arms despite the fact that Brad obviously couldn't see them. "Not... Not if that thing is still out there."

With a firm upper lip, she paced away, wandering the bathroom as if she were a caged tiger--ironically, a tiger quite happy to be caged.


"This is absolutely ridiculous, Alesha. It's not a thing, it's a she, and she's not going to hurt you. I programmed her with strict human relations protocols, she's going to harm you about as much as your mother would!"

"Yeah? My mother, eh? The one that wouldn't even let a cellphone into our house growing up she hated electronics so much? Please, do tell me, how is that thing like my mother again?!"

"You're missing the point!" Brad was starting to become very frustrated. "There's no reason to be afraid of her! You're hiding in there for no reason!"


Alesha smirked. "Yeah, just because you say she's safe doesn't mean she is, Brad. There's a reason my mom hates technology. It's not safe. It goes wrong. It destroys."

"Yeah, and when was the last time I designed something that went wrong, honey?! You're just throwing out excuses!"

"Me? Making excuses?! How about you start making some as to why you made something like that in the first place! Without even ASKING me if it's what I wanted, first?!"


"What?! Alesha, there is nothing I need to answer for. You were desperate for a nanny. We both are tired of looking, and we wanted someone perfect. Someone we could trust."

"Yeah, well, I wanted a person, Bradley! A human being! Not a cold box of bolts and screws! This is our daughter we're talking about! She's not a toy!"

"And neither is Lilobot! You don't seem to understand, she's not just a chunk of hardware and software. She's more! And you're not even giving her a chance to prove herself! You know what? Whatever. I don't care what you think. I made her, I'm the head of this house, and she's doing the job I built her for. So you're just going to have to live with it, alright?"


"Yeah, so long as it doesn't stay under the same roof as my bed and my daughter," Alesha said, rolling her eyes at the door as she turned away. "You can just do whatever you want, Brad. But when it blows up half the house, don't you dare expect me to have a lick of sympathy!"


Brad could feel the anger welling and bubbling inside him as he forced himself to step away from the door. She was impossible, sometimes.

'I go to all that trouble to make something this special, this important for her, and this is the thanks I get?!' His fists clenched so tight the blood waned from his hands, sending his fingers numb and lifeless. If he had the energy, he could've torn that door down, could've screamed right into her face about how terribly unreasonable and ungrateful she was being...

...but no. 'This is all my fault. I never listen. I never pay attention. Of course she doesn't want a robot, she doesn't even know how to use a computer properly! You're an idiot, Brad! Idiot... Idiot idiot idiot...'


The light sound of miniature fans whirring reminded Brad that he wasn't in the room alone. His heart hung heavy in his chest, but he still managed to stumble over to his newest invention. Much as he might like to, he couldn't just leave her there so he could go and sulk.

"Have I done something *bzz...zzrrr...nk* wrong?" came from the machine's head, her eyes audibly refocusing on Bradley as he approached, head buried in one of his hands.

"No, no it's not your fault, Lil," he murmured, still entirely distracted trying to find a way out of this that wouldn't involve sleeping on the couch tonight. "It's mine. I messed up... So... So stupid of me..."


For a moment, she remained silent, but like a child still learning and processing new information, she innocently, emotionlessly, voiced, "It would appear that my presence has increased the tension of this household by a detrimental percentage. If you would like me to leave--"

"No, no, Lil, no one's asking you to leave. Just give her some time, alright? Alesha's a good woman, and she'll grow to like you, she just... doesn't adapt well to things like this."


Still, as Brad really looked at his creation... he became lost in it's movements. Lost in it's existence. He had just created something that recognized it was a problem. That thought of a solution. That asked his permission--albeit, awkwardly. 'I'll have to look into improving her language processing,' Brad thought to himself as he tried to re-focus on what she was saying.

"--lovely, it appears more appealling to my visual cortex than my synapses originally predicted upon activation! It truly is brilliant--" Her words paused, and then was replaced by a recording of Brad's own voice. "--Mr. Bra*bzzzt*dley Kane."

"Just Mr. Kane please, Lil. And please, use your own vocal processes, the voice-overs are likely only going to spook her more."

"Yes, Mr. Kane." Lilobot's response was prompt; it took little time for her to adjust to his request, although her mechanical brows wiggled to indicate confusion for his insistence. "However, I must request I retire to recharge and process all this information; my positronic relays inform me I require approximately 7 hours, 6 minutes and 3..2..1.. seconds to adapt to this environment and initiate total synaptic reactivation."


Maybe he was worn out--or maybe too stressed--but even though he understood what Lilobot was saying, the words just frustrated and tired him. "Yeah, I'll... I'll set up some place for you to er, recharge, in my shop. Just wait here, alright? I'll come get you when I'm finished."

"O-K," Lilobot responded with the eeriely descending pitches of two different voices. However, after he'd nodded and begun to walk away, Brad caught her mouth move again out of the corner of his vision. "Mr. Kane?"

"Yeah?" he asked, his body nearly halfway out the door.

"Is this... guilt?"

Bradley couldn't help but smile. Emotion. He'd loaded every emotion recognition software he could find into her relays, but it was bittersweet, knowing that this one had to be her first to experience. "Yeah, Lil," he said with a pained sighed. "This is guilt."


Brad had had an old bed up in the garage for relaxing between tinkering, so it didn't take too long for him to make it up, as well as a little space, for Lil to "dwell". Hopefully it was far enough away not to bother Alesha, but close enough that Lil didn't seem put out; her full on "guilt experience" was causing her to act quite depressed, however, so Brad felt even worse when he did show her where she'd be living.

"Well... It's not much, but, um... If you need anything, the house is just a few steps away. Feel free to come get me any... anytime."


"Perfect! Thanks a *bzz...* bunch, Mr. Kane! You're the best!"

Brad flinched; he was going to have to tweak her emotion matrix a bit more in the morning to not flip-flop so much--and he was going to have to do something about the buzzing in her vocal processes.

"Well... Um--" Bradley paused. What do you say to your robot the first time you leave them alone? It was awkward--but probably not as awkward as for her, coming into the world only to be treated in such a way. "Sleep--er, recharge--well, I guess, then."


Lilobot respectfully waited for Brad to disappear before her oiled joints loosened and sat her bulk down on the stiff, unrelenting matress that was her bed. She could feel the emotions flooding into her positronic brain, but she didn't understand them; everything was so strange, bizarre--exciting--all but this... this feeling. It was not the same as the rest. It... hurt.

So this... this is what it was, to be alive.




Fury--embarressement--flooded through Travis' veins. His own sister had made a fool of him; granted, he couldn't argue that he was making enough of a right fool of himself, but he thought he could at least trust her enough not to make a scene.

This is Amelia we're talking about, though.


"Are you insane?! You're drawing attention to us, Amelia!" Travis growled under his breath, only moments after the woman on his arm had stormed out of the joint in a huff. "Can't you be quiet for like, 2 seconds?!"

"And why should I be?! Am I, like, supposed to be preserving your image or something? Shoulda thought about that before you started wooing someone behind your wife's back, stupid!"


"Stupid?! Stupid?!" Travis had a hard time keeping his voice down; the bar was virtually empty at this point so it likely didn't matter, but shame still forced him to try to be reserved. "Amelia, what would you know about my marriage? Don't you dare judge me when you have absolutely no clue going on!"

At this point, Naomi threw up her hands in disgust; she wasn't buying it. "Yeah, and I doubt Jade has any clue what's going on either, from the looks of things."


"Look, I just--" Travis froze. If one could calculate the embarressment and guilt of being caught with your hand in the cookie jar, this was a good thousand times worse. Here they were, his little sister and her girlfriend, berating him for being a sleeze. They had every right to, but as reality came back into focus and the nectar in his system slowly ebbed away, he lost all excuses he could think of. "I just... I'm just hopeless."

A truth, painful to admit.

"I'd say hopeless is the least of your worries," Naomi exploded, her tolerance level to his bull' already long gone.


"Just please, please don't tell anyone, alright? Especially Jade. We're trying to work things out, but if she knew, it'd just throw everything we've been working on out the door. I made a mistake... It won't happen again, I promise."

"Travis? If you honestly think I believe you, you'd be a right piece of idiot to let that thought pass your brain. This isn't the first time, and it won't be the last, I'm not stupid..." Amelia scowled, but, the glimmer in her eye betrayed the love she had for her brother. It was easier to keep a secret then to hurt him. "... but I won't say anything. It's your job to fix this, not mine." With a roll of her eyes and a hand to her hip, Amelia glanced away.

So, Travis then turned to Naomi. "And... and you?"


"I'm not promising anything, Travis, except that Jade's my friend, and the last thing I want is to see her hurt. So for now, I won't say anything, but if you hurt her any more than you already have..." Naomi raised a hand in frustration, turning her face away to prevent herself from spitting in his. "... you're toast."

Travis flinched. If Amelia's words of scorn had cut the skin, Naomi's had stabbed his chest. It was one thing to hear all this from Mia, who not only was a sister he frequently fought with but a woman who could never keep her mouth shut... It was another to hear it from someone as reserved and restrained as Naomi. For her to have said that, she had to be very, very angry.


"Now if you'll excuse us--" Amelia began.
"I came here to take your sister on a date, and I'd prefer the rest went unspoiled," Naomi finished.

With a heavy-hearted sigh, Travis nodded to the blondes and turned to move away. There wasn't any reason to stay any longer, anyways; the sooner he left, the better. He'd already made such a fool of himself, it wasn't worth chancing making it any worse...

... and his craving for drink had already taken it's toll.





Jebidiah's face ran hot. There was anger, but he caged it, fighting back his initial impulse to skewer his leuitenant on a spit. But as his lips ran dry, Jeb finally spoke, his voice cold. "I'm disappointed in you, Notorious."


"There's no way we could've forseen this, Mr. Kane. No one else was supposed to know where the shipment was being held, outside of my boys, Shark, and yourself. It just... doesn't make any sense."

"Well, why don't you try making some sense of it, then, Junior? Who do you think it was?"


"A nobody. One of the employees there, maybe. Nothing was even taken, there was just a couple of opened crates, they probably didn't--"

"Notorious, it doesn't matter if anything was taken. They know the goods are there. They know what's in them." Jebidiah raised a hand to his face, rubbing it to try and soothe himself from losing his temper. "It's possible they didn't even find what they were looking for. In cases like this, you make no assumptions."


"I wouldn't be making any assumptions if you weren't asking me to, Jebidiah! What do you think, I just left the crates there unguarded?" He didn't take being spoken to in such a way lightly; Junior was a Notorious, not just another one of Jeb's petty thieves--if it weren't for Jeb's connections, he knew it might be him in that place of power. Connections Junior would happily break, if there weren't so many. "It's not my fault that my boy decided to run off snogging his girl when he was supposed to be watching the goods."

"Yes, Junior. Right now, it is most certainly your fault."

"Yeah, well it wasn't my bright idea to seperate this shipment from the rest. Or to hide it in your wife's shack of a business."


"Don't be an absolute fool, Notorious!" Jeb spun around in a wave of sudden fury, coming very close to shoving his henchman down to the ground for his spite. "Those goods are worth more to me than to have your head still resting safely on your neck, so don't you dare belittle my wife's generous offer to keep them safe. Which they still would be, if you knew how to do your job!"

"My job isn't to babysit your treasure, Kane."

"Well it soon will be, if your gang can't mind 8 bloody crates."


You could nearly see the steam rising from each men's skin; if it weren't for their mutually beneficial relationship, their hands would be latched firmly to each others throats. It was lucky, then, that Junior took a moment to compose himself before responding.

"Look, I don't know how anyone might have found out about your little present from Simcott, or that you were keeping it at the Bottega," Junior responded, his stance firm. "And it's not my job to find out. Nothing was taken. Nothing will get taken. That's all I can guarantee."


"Fine," Jebidiah snapped. "If you have to, move the goods someplace else. Mindfully. Place some decoys, and put someone you can actually trust in charge of watching them. If whoever it was comes back... Then we'll know who broke into them. Understood?"


"Right, so I have to spare someone I need to do your dirty work..." Junior rolled his eyes, but knowing there was little he could do to get out of agreeing, he stiffly nodded while glaring back at his boss. "Fine. I'll spare one man a night to watch your precious fake cargo. But for two weeks. That's it. After that, you'll have to get your pretty little wife to install video cameras in her garage."


"Just make sure they do their job this time, Notorious," Jeb growled, his patience long since spent and his tired eyes growing weary of Junior's face. "Without another word about my wife. You're a replacable commodity, son, don't think I won't send you to the bottom of Simslaus Lake if it means I don't have to listen to your tongue any more."

Junior, amused, simply smirked back. "Sorry, boss. I'll try to keep in mind her... generosity."


"Good," Jebidiah responded with an equally evil, equally dire glower in his eyes. "With any luck, it'll be our mysterious intruder with concrete shoes instead... Let's just hope the bait is enough to get them to come back."

And if they knew what it was--and the thief was who Jeb thought it might be--the lure would be far too great to resist.

18 comments:

Cami April 18, 2011 at 3:04 PM  

I haven't read seasons 1-5 yet but I am reading 6 now! I'll have to catch up in time though!

Thanks for a fun read!!

Kaleeko April 18, 2011 at 3:32 PM  

Awww, thank you, lovely! <3

Good luck getting through all those seasons! Though your own probably put mine to shame, hehe. ;)

Cheers!

Amelia April 18, 2011 at 5:19 PM  

Bradley, Bradley, Bradley. When will you learn- robots will always gain sentience and try to take over the world. ALWAYS. Poor Alesha, hiding from the scary robot!

Still can't believe he said that to her. BITCH PLEASE, BRAD. At least he felt bad XD

Lilobot's adorable! Poor thing, thinking it's all her fault. I love how she talks! She's so cute. First Simbot I've seen in a blog, and you're portraying her so well!

Oh Travis, Amelia ALWAYS makes scenes. It's why we love her. Besides, you're the one doing something wrong. YOU LIEEEEEE. I really have no tolerance for cheaters, so Travis is not on my good side at the moment ;)

Uh oh, Notorious is in trouble! Love how he called him Junior XD Felt very Sean Connery to me. Using the Bottega as a hiding place for their contraband? Hope Mere knows what she's getting into!

I want to know who the thief is!!

Kaleeko April 18, 2011 at 5:33 PM  

*snicker* Apparently Brad hasn't watched as many Robot Apocalypse movies as Alesha has. Still, he believes Lilobot is foolproof; not to say that she isn't! Brad is basically a genius, after all.

Yeah, his words were pretty harsh at times--I had a feeling what he said might be a bit 'contraversial' or whatever, but that's part of the point. People doubting his abilities REALLY set him off, that and it's important that Brad show off his dark side a bit. ;)

Lilobot is SO cute. I feel kind of lucky to be one of the first to try and make a simbot main character work. And she's.. interesting, to say the least.

Travis is a simple person, which makes his flaws a bit less forgivable. I don't tolerate cheating much, either. Granted, all he was doing with Miss Floozy Whatnot was hugglesnuggling, but if he hadn't been interrupted...

Hahaha--his name is actually Junior Notorious, so calling him Junior is just using his first name; but MAN. You're right. Sean Connery! :D

LordCharles April 18, 2011 at 7:20 PM  

Okay,
i think that Brad could've handled the situation A LOT better! He needs to work on his people skills.

Honestly, I can't say I'm surprised Travis was cheating. I mean, Jade just doesn't seem like a great person. I'm not saying that its okay to cheat on your wife just because she's awful, but still... he does have commitment issues...

And also, was Junior Notorious a townie of Twinbrook, or am I just losing my mind--I feel like I've heard his name before!

Love the update, and keep up with the great work.

PiB April 18, 2011 at 7:34 PM  

Arggh, lovely long comment and I lost it! ok try again.

I really can't blame Alesha for hiding. That was a big thing Brad did without any consultation or even a proper warning. The comment about "I'm the head of this household..." dangerous boy. Very dangerous. You'll be lucky to get a couch after that.

Poor Lil, that is a confusing first day.

--

Travis needs to keep away from the nectar and learn to deal with his wife.

I like that there are at least two Kanes that are a more than a bit worried if Naomi Leman finally starts being angry. :)

--

Jeb and Junior Notorious. What an interesting pair. Who is looking at the shipment? And will they be back to take some of it? And will Jeb get to use the axe of Pandu to remove another head from shoulders? Be careful Junior, that one isn't an idle threat. :)

More please.

Kaleeko April 18, 2011 at 7:53 PM  

@LordCharles:

Brad with people skills?! What a strange world that would be! ;D But I agree, he could've handled it a LOT better... But his inventions are SrsBsnss. He takes things regarding them WAY too personally.

Yeah, Travis definitely has commitment issues, and Jade's... a little off. She's not really a bad person, but their relationship was incredibly tainted after everything that happened with Emerald.

Junior Notorious is not a townie--he's a sim made by Seaweedy! Seaweedy's written a blog about the Notorious family, so if you ran into it at any point, it's likely you recognize him from there.

Thanks, babe! <3

Kaleeko April 18, 2011 at 7:57 PM  

@PiB:

Awwww, I hate when comments get eaten. D;

Yeah, Brad said some things he'll REALLY regret. Alesha won't hold it against him--she's too nice--but it'll eat away at him. Unfortunately, the grumpiness is still beyond his control! And yeah... Poor Lil indeed. SHe needs a hug. :(

Hehehehe. Yeah; the Kanes ph3ar Naomi! She's a badass lady.

I *really* am glad I introduced Notorious, because I don't see him as the type to really take being '#2' very well. Him and Jeb butt heads over just about everything, which adds a really great dynamic to their evil empire. ;D

More on Thursday! :D

Chrysame April 18, 2011 at 8:58 PM  

It looks like Brad has some control issues. He's the head of the household, he's the creator, he makes the decisions. Oh boy.

I'm really interested in Travis. He's skirting some darkness there in his life. Brad's life is all about control and Travis' life is skidding out of control. Nice contrast, Kaleeko.

Kaleeko April 18, 2011 at 9:09 PM  

@Chrysame:

After everything that's happened in his life, I definitely imagine Brad would have issues letting things out of his control--that and he dislikes feeling inadequate. I don't think he'd intentionally force anything on Alesha, but feeling rejected makes him very ill-tempered. XD He didn't REALLY mean anything he said.

Skirting some darkness in his life--that's a really good way to put Travis, right now. His career's booming, but his home life is miserable. He's definitely hitting his destructive stride... to whatever result it may bring. D;

Thanks for stoppin' by, lovie! <3

Mackenziie April 20, 2011 at 8:29 AM  

Hi! This is my first time commenting, but I had to say that the pictures of Brad and Alesha fighting were amazing! And totally realistic! My husband has definitely said that to me before, and let's just say the couch isn't too comfortable in my house! I love your story so much!

Kaleeko April 20, 2011 at 12:14 PM  

Why hello, Mackenziie!!! Lovely to hear from you! <3

Hehehe; the pictures of them arguing through the door were *really* fun to do, especially because I'm all too familiar with that scenario myself. I hear ya, though; I've heard those words a lot from my dad... Never from my husband though, he knows better! *cackle*

Thank you SO much, darlin! *tacklesnug!* I'm so glad that you enjoy it!

seaweedy April 23, 2011 at 6:06 AM  

I am so intrigued by Lilobot. I have never made a simbot and I am really impressed with how she looks. Also, I like how her life-likeness is evolving.
Ha, Junior is in trouble! He'd better be careful. It is so much fun to seem him featured!

Kaleeko April 23, 2011 at 1:55 PM  

@seaweedy:

It's been a new experience for me, too! I had a Servo in Sims 2, but this is the first time I've made one in Sims 3; I'm really stoked with the possibilities she offers for the story.

I looove writing Junior, so much! I just hope I present at least partially how you see him. :)

Jennifer April 25, 2011 at 8:50 PM  

Haha poor Alesha. She really is scared of Lil.
I felt really said for Lil. Seeing her metal shoulders slump as she went to recharge. :(
I love your robot talk btw. Very cool! ;)

Not sure how Travis is going to get himself out of this situation. Yikes, he has children to think about, and that from two women too! *face palm* lol

Jeb putting Notorious in his place was classic. That's what he's good at! Look forward to more on this.

Wonderful writing Kaleeko, I drawn in as usual! :)

M.J. April 25, 2011 at 10:10 PM  

Hi, Kaleeko! I have written a long comment here but it didn't work. Sorry for not being around lately. Few matters back at home.

Wow, great update! Awesome. I love the pictures and the scene set as well.

Poor Alesha. She was quite irritated and afraid. No wonder, her mom is a technophobic.

Bradley is very genius to have programmed Lilobot with human's emotions. It's very interesting.

Poor Travis. He has it all: a wife, a good career, a family. But still, everything is not so perfect as it is from the outside and he just has to do something to ruin everything. Travis, open up your eyes! You have to be grateful, instead. **sighed**

I'm glad that everyone in the family agrees with Amelia and Naomi's relationship. I've noticed Jeb, and now Travis. But, maybe in Travis's case, he has a few problems of his own that he cares less about other's matters. ;)

Whoa, who's the stealer? Love the conversations.

Kaleeko April 25, 2011 at 10:51 PM  

@Jennifer:

It's always sad to see how people treat things they don't understand. :( Lil did nothing wrong, yet she's already seen as a monster. These next couple posts with lil really made my heart cry a little.

I loove writing her robot-speak though. ;D

Travis has really gotten himself in deep this time. He hasn't done anything *too* major but... He and Connor have quite a lot in common, don't they? ;D Good intentions, just... bad self control.

Thank you so much, Jen! *squeeze*

Kaleeko April 25, 2011 at 10:57 PM  

@MJ:

Don't worry, babe! :) You read and comment when you can, and that alone makes me happy! I just hope that RL gives you a break soon, even just so you can relax. <3

Yep! Eva was technophobic, and it rubbed off on her daughter quite a bit. Alesha's kind of... not so much afraid of technology, but very poor at using it.

Considering Brad invented time travel, a robot with emotions would be easy! He's really turned into quite the genius--but unfortunately a bit too proud of his work.

Travis: good at ruining things that don't need ruining. Unfortunately, he is the way he is.

The family has coped to Amelia/Naomi being together fairly well, though I think for the most part they just want her to be happy and recover, so they're willing to accept her change of sexuality as good for her.

You're right, though--Travis is self absorbed enough he probably wouldn't care, anyways. XD The dolt.

Thank you so much for your comments, MJ! *squeeze!*

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