Reaching Out

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Though the tension between Brad and Alesha Kane was palpable over the next couple of days, things steadily grew back to normal in the Kane household--at least, as normal as they could. Alesha, having few ungrateful bones in her body, quickly forgave Brad his choice of nanny--and his choice of words--though Brad, feeling as though he'd let his wife down, took a bit longer to recooperate.

However, as days passed and their stress levels waned, Alesha and Brad once again fell into the passionate embraces of their honeymoon years, where things between them had never looked brighter.


... And then there was Lilobot.

Much to Alesha's amazement, Lilobot turned out to be exactly the type of nanny Brad said she would be. From dawn til dusk, she waited on Margo hand-and-foot as if she was some sort of princess; too young to know the difference between sim and simbot, Margo regarded her new caretaker as she did any member of the family.

After not too long, Margo ceased to cry any more in the night; Alesha discovered, one morning, that it was because Lil had started taking her 'recharge' cycles right in the baby's room, so that she had nothing to fear. Lilobot's level of care was a thing of beauty.




But, not only had she proven herself a worthy babysitter, she'd also shown herself to be a worthy maid. It was a welcome surprise to Alesha that not only had Brad programmed her with such gentleness towards their daughter, but a particularly strong neat streak.

What can you say; when Alesha came home from work to find her entire house radiant and fresh from roof to floorboards, she just about smooched their new metal companion right on the cheek.


... However. To say that Lilobot was 'perfect' would be an unfortunately misplaced overstatement. In all capacities she had been specifically designed for? Yes; perfect, exceptional, brilliant. But everything else? ... Well. There are some things that Brad could not forsee, for all his levels of genius.

See, it's a dangerous thing, to build a robot that you never intend to leave the house and yet program them with an insatiable curiousity for the world. It wasn't long before every nook and cranny of the house had been inspected, cataloged, and re-cataloged in Lil's positronic matrix... and that's when the trouble started.

Lil began to grow restless. Bored... Caged.


It started with simple things.

"If I just stick this screwdriver straight into the input receptor, and turn it a radial degree of 16-percent, I can increase our reception by three hundred--"

Lilobot paused, and cocked her head to the side.

"Wait, is the screen supposed to crack like that?"


Needless to say, Bradley was not pleased.


And then, there were those pesky things called rules. Bull-plumbob she couldn't immerse herself in water! Come now, if she was going to get clean, she was going to do it the same way as everyone else!

"Bubbles, bubbles, bubbles! Soapy surface tension really is so remarka--"

BZZZZZzzZZTtzttztztztttttttttt.


After they managed to get the power back on, and after three hours of Brad and Alesha boredly blow drying Lilobot's electric components, Brad finally was able to fix her back into operation mode.

Needless to say, Bradley definitely wasn't pleased.


Though there was a junkyard only several hundred feet from the house, Lil's duties--and her rules--restricted her from traveling there when she was running low on supplies, and sometimes when Brad was a bit late getting her her next collection of scrap...

"Why, this looks like it has all the components I need!"


Unfortunately, Alesha was not as excited to see her mother's record player about to be smashed as Lilobot was.


And then, there was the art that Lilobot just couldn't seem to master.

"Guys! GUYS! Come look! The blended mixture of flour and eggs appears to finally be baking! Can't you smell them?! I'm making COOKIES!"


Needless to say, Bradley was furious.


Day after day, it was the same ol' drill. "Don't do that, Lil!" "Lil, NO!" "You're doing it wrong!" "Lil, you're going to burn down the house!"

All she wanted was to have a bit of fun. You know, fun? Didn't human sims understand fun? Lil was starting to think that they didn't--or that, she didn't.

"Maybe I'm b-broken," her mechanical voice wheezed to herself at night, when her melancholy box of bolts had begun to consider giving up. Maybe she'd stop trying, maybe she'd turn off her emotion matrix... maybe she'd run away.

Things just weren't looking up for Lilobot. At least... not yet.


"Hey Liiiiillllll," Alesha voice cried from the kitchen one Saturday afternoon. There was a particular spring in her step that morning, and it just wouldn't go away. Ever since Lil had joined their household, Alesha had never felt more relaxed and free... And she had come to realize, it wasn't because of Brad. It was because of Lil.

Despite Lil's shortcomings, she truly was trying. There was an innocence about her that Alesha identified with, and she knew: it was time to give this a shot. It was time to stop treating her like a simbot, and start treating her like family.

Food was always a good place to start.


"Yes, Mrs. Kane?" Lilbot asked in a bright voice as she happily bobbed into the room--a voice that had improved considerably since her creation day. "Was there something you needed?"

"No, no, not really--" With a glance down at the plate, Alesha mustered her courage and continued, "See, I just... I made you cookies!"


Lil's mechanical eyebrows wiggled in surprised. "Cookies? For... For me?"

"Yeah! See, Lil, I--" This was a lot harder than Alesha had imagined. "I know things have been rough for you lately, but I haven't shown you how much I appreciate everything you do for the family. Any... Well... I want to make it up to you. I know it's not much, but, well..." Her eyes averted to the cookies again. Man, did they smell good.

"That is very generous of you, Mrs. Kane!" Lil responded, her voice perky and clearly surprised. "I am most grateful! However, my internal processes are designed to digest raw metal for repairs and maintanence--but I'm sure I'll enjoy them anyways!"


"Ah... Oh. I... didn't think about that." DUH. Duh, Alesha. Robots don't eat food. 'Great, I could not look any more stupid right now,' she thought to herself. "I just thought that, since you're always trying to learn to make them..."

"Oh, I just saw on TV that children particularly delight in the partaking of baked goods! I wanted to learn, for when Margo is old enough to *bzzt* insert Nom NOM *bzzt* them. However, my olfactory synapses detect that that chocolate would likely not damage my internal crushers--so I will gladly put some in my belly!"

"Er... okay." Alesha's eyebrows raised; but... At least Lil's conversation skills were getting better.


Watching Lilobot eat her first cookie was possibly the most bizarre--and most adorable--things that Alesha had ever seen. Crumbs were flying everywhere despite Lil's tragic attempts at neatness; she was constantly bobbing her head from side to side, back and forth, to try to get the pieces to fall the right way down her throat. "Nom nom!" she remarked occasionally--clearly, she'd watched too many lolcat videos.

And yet, her face betrayed a happiness Alesha had never seen her experience before. She wasn't sure if Lil could even taste the cookie, but the sensation... the new experience... Being, for once, allowed to act like a human.


Alesha couldn't help but feel a hint of pride.


Their afternoon cookie-fest was ended abruptly by Margo's cries, and for several more hours Alesha didn't get a chance to converse with Lil about the experience. By the time she got some one-on-one time with Lil again, Brad had already returned from his fishing trip, Margo had already been put to bed, and the sun had already set.

"So?" Alesha asked, a sheepish smile on her lips. "How was it?"

"It was... thankful."

Alesha furrow her brows, clearly confused. "What do you mean?"

"I thought I was broken, and that I would need to be fixed for you to like me. I didn't want to be fixed. I am... happy... I think... with who I am. I want you to be happy. So I am... thankful... for your gift. Now I do not have to be fixed."

"No, Lil," Alesha said with a soft smile. "In fact, the only thing Brad has talked about upgrading is your speech... cortex... thingy. So you can communicate better."


"Oh, but I am working on that! I am fixing it myself, through adaptation and processing of arduous amounts of television content!"

Alesha laughed. "Yeah?"

"Allow me to demonstrate!" Lil responded with a particularly dramatic bow, and a fake "clearing" of her throat.


"Hey! Yo! What up, dawg! You my homey! How 'bout you jump in mah low rider, yo?! Fo shizzle, nizzle! *bzzzt* I ain't tellin' you, whaaaaaaaaaaat?! You so sly! I'm gonna bounce yo Plumbbob so high you gonna think the sun turned green, yo!"


It took every muscle in Alesha's body to try and not burst out laughing--and unfortunately, they all utterly failed. "That.. That was..." She nearly doubled over in tears.

"Was something *bzzt* wrong?" Lilobot asked, quite confused what was so funny about her performance.

"That's... not how you should talk, sweetheart. I think you need to start watching some different stations... But, for an impression? That was... pretty... good," she managed to get out between heaving laughter.


"But I... But... Oh, well. I believed all human content to be relevent--"

"Look, how about I show you some real television, alright? As long as you promise never to talk like that again... I think I can promise that Brad will never try to 'fix' your speech mabobby. Deal?"

"Er... Deal," Lil said with a heavy, robotic sigh.

"Alright," Alesha said with a slight squeal, grabbing Lil's hinged elbow and tugging her towards the stairs. "Now, let's go watch some Simmore Girls and introduce you to some real TV!"




She could feel the guitar string tremble under her fingertips. In a way, it made her feel alive again. Whole again.


Amelia had taken to performing, again, though not for work. She'd picked up some two-bit job at the theatre, just doing maintanence for the upcoming stars that graced the stage that she had used to walk. Naomi was clearly the bread-winner, but Mia had taken her mother's advice and started working just to keep herself occupied. It sure beat sitting around the house, waiting for an undead monster to walk through her front door and finish the job.

But, music was still her life. The Steel Stallion was getting tired of it's old bluegrass performers, so twice a week Amelia got to strum her stuff to a crowd of drunk rednecks grinding it up on the dance floor. They didn't hear her--didn't see her--but she knew, she wasn't there for them. She was there for herself.


But who that was... she wasn't sure anymore. Her face was not the same. Nothing had changed--and yet, everything had changed. There was something within her she didn't recognize anymore, and to look upon her reflection disgusted her.

It was the emptiness, in her eyes. She tried to hide it, tried to fight it, but it was no use; something that night had been taken from her. Something she'd never get back.


"So tell, me, Amelia... How have you been feeling, lately?"

Doctor Harris de Wynter. Nice enough guy, Amelia guessed. Had his heart in the right place, and was clearly a brilliant psychiatrist. Clearly, because he was expensive. Naomi footed the bill without hesitation, but it didn't make the whole thing less dreadful when Amelia sat down on the cushioned chair for Crazy People to spill her guts to Mr. Stranger.

"Amelia?"


"Oh, sorry, I was just... I was just thinking."

"About?"

"Just the Steel Stallion. Been playing there off and on the last couple of weeks. They did some remodelling, it looks pretty nice now--just was thinking to myself that it's too bad they can't remodel the people that go there."


"Any particular reason why you'd want them to be remodeled?" Dr. de Wynter asked, with what Amelia assumed was feigned curiousity. He was just trying to get his money's worth outta her, she knew it!

"They're just... typical Twinbrookians. Don't know how to shower, can't dance worth a penny, don't tip, hump anything that moves..."

"Do you wish they were more like the people you knew back in Bridgeport?"


"Bridgeport? I... Maybe." Amelia paused. He clearly was trying to direct her someplace she didn't want to go, so, still avoiding eye contact, she continued rambling to the opposite corner of the cieling. "It's more just that every time I go in there, I see someone that has no business being around other sims. Like, my brother. I mean, seriously. The guy can't stay faithful to his wife for one second. All I wanted to do was go and have a nice drink, but no, he's gotta be there wooing some tart like he's--"

"Amelia," Harris cut her off.

"What?"


"Ms. Kane, I must be frank. You clearly are avoiding the reason you're here. I understand, this is very hard for you, and I do want you to take your time to get comfortable, but this is your third session in my office and you've made every possible attempt not to talk about your experience in Bridgeport... And unfortunately, if you do not talk about it, we cannot fix it."

Dr. de Wynter clearly was right, but it didn't make the topic any easier. She didn't talk to this to anyone, not even Naomi... What made him so different? The fact he had a certificate of Prudeness on the wall?


"Look, it's just... It's just not easy. We're talking, I went through things that most people don't even believe are possible. I don't want to sound crazy. Because I'm not crazy. But what happened... was crazy."

"Amelia, you have to trust me, that I do believe you to the fullest. I don't believe that you are delusional, or that what you went through wasn't true. I've been briefed fully on the specific facts of what happened... But it's your job to fill me in on the details, from your perspective."


"The details? The details? You mean, the fact that my boyfriend betrayed me for immortality? Selling my blood to the highest bidder, so he could get a pair of fangs and kill more innocent women?"

"Were you in love with him?"


"Yeah. I was. I loved him... More than I thought I loved anything in the world. He was everything I wanted. Artistic, cool, dark, dreamy, exciting, daring... He treated me like a goddess. Treated me like I was the love of his life until he tried to suck me dry, watched me fall to the floor at his feet. Laughing. Like it was some sort of game."

"And then..."


"He died. Right before my eyes. I watched him kill me, and then I watched him die. The man I loved."

"Jerod Grant was clearly a very disturbed individual, Amelia. But you shouldn't think that what you felt for him was fake because he was fake. You were mislead, like so many people are, and  you were betrayed. There is no greater pain then that. And it will take time, for you to learn to feel that way again. To trust someone, again."


"Can we please... can we please talk about something else? Like, daddy issues or something? I don't feel very good," Amelia croaked as she looked down at her knees, trying to keep herself composed.

"Of course. I think we've covered enough about that topic for one day."

She wanted to cry, but the emptiness filling her prevented it. She would have died just to have one tear...


... but deep within her, part of her knew: she was already dead.

13 comments:

PiB April 21, 2011 at 4:39 PM  

Ah poor Lilobot. Boredom does seem to be a problem with Simbots. A bored Simbot will cook till the fridge overflows and trying to improve the household appliances seems like a natural thing. And trying to be just like everyone else in the house...

Bradley seems to be unhappy with his creation rather frequently.

Lil does seem to be trying. But I'm glad that Alesha is going to help her find some better tv to watch. LOL Lil's choices seem to be rather interesting...

----

Poor Mia. Seeing herself as one of the undead. Waiting to be one of them...

Can't blame her for not wanting to think about Jerod though. It was all going so well as far as she knew - until he nearly killed her.

Another stunning episode.

Christina April 21, 2011 at 4:54 PM  

OMG kaleeko,

"I thought I was broken, and that I would need to be fixed for you to like me. I didn't want to be fixed. I am... happy... I think... with who I am. I want you to be happy. So I am... thankful... for your gift. Now I do not have to be fixed."

^^this made me teary eyed!

And this? "He died. Right before my eyes. I watched him kill me, and then I watched him die. The man I loved." <---deep, lovely in a dark fantastic sort of way. Very poetic line.

<3 I'm reading..I need to go back and read the synopsis, but your updates pull me in!

Kaleeko April 21, 2011 at 4:57 PM  

@PiB:

Well, Lil technically has done absolutely zero cooking, as of yet; luckily she's not a butler, because it would drive me NUTS if she cooked nonstep, lol. XD And I think her one attempt to try cooking will keep her away from the stove for a looong time.

Bradley gets quite grumpy when his inventions don't operate as intended. ;) He's such a goose.

Yeah, Mia's definitely quite tore up over Jerod and the last thing she wants is to be probed about him. Poor thing is in serious need of a few thousand hugs. :(

Thank you, PiB! <3 *squeeze*

Kaleeko April 21, 2011 at 5:01 PM  

@Christina:

Thank you sooo much! <3 I honestly get a little teary eyed myself writing them, myself... My characters suck me in and force me to feel their pain. D; Makes me worry how I'm gonna feel after I finish next post... It's particularly heart breaking. :(

*squee* Well, I hope the Synopses help you get caught up! Unfortunately I don't have one done for Season 5 yet, but that may be for the best because it'd be worth reading it's ending as-is because it's probably the best writing I've ever done on this story.

Thank you so much for your comments, lovie! <3

Christina April 21, 2011 at 5:14 PM  

That's one of the greatest parts of being a writer though..having that connection with your characters. It's when they start telling the story that you know you're on a whole new playing field.

I'l check it out, if I have any questions, I know where to find you :)

Likewise!

PiB April 21, 2011 at 5:18 PM  

Ah, so they have made some improvements since the days of the servo cause a bored servo did cook a lot.

Gotta love Brad.

I feel so guilty that Shrimpy broke Mia that badly. Course Jeb broke Shrimpy even more thoroughly.

Kaleeko April 21, 2011 at 5:24 PM  

@Christina:

I agree, completely. :D And--Cool beans! <3

@PiB:

Hehe--yeah, the Simbots are basically JUST like any other sim. The only thing that Lil does that's out of the ordinary is talks to the appliances when she's bored, cries when they break, and when she's hungry she eats scrap from her inventory instead of hitting up the fridge.

Heheheh--don't feel bad! If anything, I should feel bad for terrorizing my poor sims... But, a story isn't a story if it's all bubbles and smiles. XD

Amelia April 21, 2011 at 6:07 PM  

First things first- I adore Lilobot so much XD Poor thiiiing. I just want to give her a hug and find out a way she can take a bubble bath safely.

Alesha and Lilobot's conversation made me laugh so hard I almost cried! She needs to start watching different shows ;)

Mia's depression breaks my heart! :( Does make it very surprising that she's actually able to trust Naomi right now- and makes me wonder how much of an issue she has doing that.

Intriguing post, overall! I love how you balanced the hilarity and the sadness. I don't know which made me sadder, Lilobot telling herself she's broken, or Amelia telling herself she's already dead! I just want to give them all hugs.

Kaleeko April 21, 2011 at 6:59 PM  

I knoow. :( Lilobot seriously needs a hug or ten. She's trying to hard and she just can't quite do anything right. D;

Yeah. XD I had waaay to much fun writing Lil's gangster voice.

The only reason Mia's able to trust Naomi is because Naomi's done everything in her power to look out for Mia in the past, so she has no reason to believe she'd betray her. Unfortunately, she kind of abuses that love a bit. :( Naomi's gonna crack under the pressure if Mia's not careful.

Awww, thanks, Amelia. <3 :D

Jennifer April 25, 2011 at 9:02 PM  

Oh gosh Lil got herself into a bit of trouble there didn't she. Awww, who could blame her either for wanting to try out thing that normal sims do but agh, maybe she should learn the handiness skill if she wants to repair stuff. lol

Sweet of Alesha to bake her cookies - even though she couldn't eat them.. lol

Awww, Amelia is having a real tough time. She just doesn't want to talk about any of what happened does she. I don't blame her but it was all pretty scary, and being in love with him probably made it all worse. Poor darl, I hope she gets through this.

Great shots and as usual loving your writing!! :) Oh and sorry I took so long to stop by.

Kaleeko April 25, 2011 at 11:11 PM  

Hehehe--well, Simbots come with level 5 Handiness skill already, but Lil is taking a while to really *understand* the knowledge she came with. That and she wants to be human so bad she's sort of disregarding her robot-ness. D; Poor thing.

Amelia's having the toughest time, which is made worse by the fact that she knows of no one else that went through anything remotely similar. It's not like Amelia to feel alone, yet she's more alone than she's ever been, now.

Thank you so much!!! And no worries, I'm happy that you're able to read it regardless of how long it may take. <3 Hope all is still going well for ya dear!

M.J. April 25, 2011 at 11:47 PM  

Lovely update, Kaleeko.

Poor Amelia. She even could not talk about it to her family or friends. It was a very traumatic event for her.

Lol, about Lil. I love it. Her curiosity had really pushed the level and almost got her in danger. ( It was quite hilarious ). So lovely to see that Alesha and Lil had come into terms.

Kaleeko April 26, 2011 at 1:24 AM  

Amelia's definitely having a really hard time coping right now. :( Will she learn to cope? Only time will tell.

I'm glad you found her mishaps as funny as I did. ^^ She tries so hard and just can't do it all right! But, at least Alesha found it in her to give her a chance. :)

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