The Search for Truth

Friday, June 25, 2010

 When something happens in such a small town like Riverview, it isn't long before every neighbor has told their neighbor about a bit of juicy news that was shared along the grape vine; it had become an exceptionally difficult place to even think about keeping a secret. It isn't that people in Riverview are naturally prone to gossip, but that the town seems so deceptively boring at times that the slightest shred of interesting information turns into an adult version of "telephone" only minutes after the news is sprung.

In the driest of times, sometimes even the least interesting news floats between the ears of Riverview's residents. When Wayne Dow accidentally dropped his keys down a storm drain, Riverview's finest found a way to turn public knowledge of the Dow's declining marriage into an event of epic proportion: Trista, having enough with her husband's scandalous cheatings and beatings, broke out into a fight on their driveway, where she ceremoniously tossed her husband's keys down the drain. Naturally, nothing of the kind actually happened, but... Bored residents will do anything to make themselves feel justified living in such a remote, podunk town.

It was the same for the time the Self's mansion caught on fire because of a suddenly outbreak of violent, arsonist teens in the neighboorhood... an incident which was really just Taryn forgetting to turn the stove off before she went shopping. Greg Newbie's scandalous exploits in the bedroom, the Remington ghost causing havoc at the Riverside Swim Club, and the Shallow's locking their children in the basement with only food and homework -- examples of hyperboles spread by Riverview's citizens in order to try, for a little while, to act as if life could be a little bit more interesting.

But Riverview's hungry rumormongers didn't have to wait long for their gullets to be full once again -- and this time, with a story that didn't need an ounce of twisting to become a storybook standard for their homely, boring, small farm town.

The phone calls were sweeping in by the minute. All Meredith had to do was hang up the phone, and once again it was ringing off the hook. The house phone, the cell phone -- eventually, she unplugged and turned off them both, desperate to find a sliver of silence to actually reflect on the pain that was closing her in.

The night before, things had been too quiet. In some matter of sick chance, she knew something was wrong before she picked up the phone, and heard the dark words from the police department: your husband was caught at the scene of both a robbery and murder. "We need you down at the station for a quick statement, Mrs. Kane," she heard over the line. "But I'm afraid we can't let you in to see your husband, yet."

"Travis, I need to go out. Something important's come up -- no, I can't explain right now, I'm sorry -- so please, just go to bed. I'll be home as soon as I can."

"What about Bradley?" Travis whined. "He's gonna start crying the second you're gone, and thenni won't be able to get any sleep at aaall."

"I'm calling the babysitter on my way out, he'll take care of Bradley -- you're just going to have to manage until he shows up. Now go to bed!"

Meredith was considerably unhappy, but nothing could compare to the sinking feeling in her stomach as she pulled up to the police department. She went inside, and as they'd said they'd be, they were quick -- just a few questions to make sure she had been unaware of the situation, a brief explanation of what happened, and a boot out the door without a goody bag... Unless you counted the invisible knife splitting her gut -- and heart -- in two.

"How could this happen," she wailed as soon as she left the building, burying her face in her hands. Her worst fears had come to pass -- Jebidiah had finally been caught for his crimes... With the addition of one she had never believed him capable of.

When she got home, everyone was sound asleep -- thank goodness. But even in the dead silence of the night, she found it hard to sleep herself... A growing trend in the Kane household. With a sigh, she flicked on the light, taking a moment for her eyes to adjust to the time on the clock.

"3 o'clock," she murmured to herself. But, after looking at the time, her eyes turned to the other nightstand... The photograph of their wedding, a painful reminder of how happy and simple things used to be... Pulling her knees into her chest, she began to cry once again. She had never imagined this, not even in her darkest nightmare scenarios.

But no one ever seems to let the Kanes have any rest. As Meredith finally felt the first shred of sleepiness tug on her eyelids, a sharp sound began to resound from downstairs:

The Burglar Alarm.

The cops, having mostly been out at the Strummer Crime Scene and trying to track down any of Jebidiah's accomplices, were mobile enough to get there in the nick of time -- nothing was stolen, but that didn't mean that Meredith wasn't left exceedingly unsettled.

"Go back to bed, ma'am," the police officer said, resting his hand on her shoulder. "There's nothing else you can do right now. We'll keep a car close by for the rest of the night, but we're going to need to send someone by in the morning to ask a few more questions."

As she settled into bed for the second time, Meredith almost wanted to laugh at her predicament -- could it get any worse? Her husband was in jail for robbery and murder, and now a burglar had tried to break into her house for the third time in only a couple of weeks. The same thing that the cops were wondering was haunting her mind, as well: what did they want?!

The first thing in the morning, Meredith sent Travis off to school with heavy circles under her eyes, fighting to answer her son's questions without breaking into tears. "Where's Dad? I didn't hear him come home last night. Does it have anything to do with why you were gone all night? How come people keep trying to steal stuff from us? When's Dad coming home?" Meredith was awful at coming up with excuses... She mumbled her way out of most of them and sent him off to the bus stop -- but she couldn't handle being alone anymore. Without even changing Bradley from his pajamas, she settled him onto her hip and walked across the street to Tana's.

But as she approached, she realized her sister wasn't alone. Peeking through the window,  Meredith hugged Bradley tighter when she saw that there were cops in her sister's house, one of which having a rather heated discussion with her in the living room. "Martin, as much as I am really enjoying this conversation, there's someone at the door. Why don't you go join the rest of the department in sacking my home while I go see who it is?" Tana's voice resounded through the door in such a way that Meredith could've sworn she saw it shiver -- she'd never seen her sister so angry before.

As soon as Tana opened the door to greet her sister, Meredith set Bradley down to go find the toys inside to play with. "What the heck is going on?" she asked her sister, almost pleading. "Could you please explain to me what's happened?"

"Listen... Meredith," Tana started in a low voice, peeking carefully over her shoulder. "I'm only going to say this once, so I need you to listen very carefully. Jebidiah was working for one of the largest crime syndicates in the State, based here in Riverview... The heist last night was supposed to be it's biggest job yet, but a mole in the Company completely blew the operation. Jeb got caught, and now the mole's forking out information that will bring the whole Company down."

"But what does that have to do with you?"

"I've... Meredith," Tana groaned, her voice slipping down to a whisper. "I've been working as an insider for the Company for almost 6 months."

"You what?!" Meredith had a hard time keeping quiet. She'd known about Jebidiah's job in crime, but her sister's involvement had only been a sneaking suspicion... One she had always hoped to keep that way.

"I know, I know, I get that you're angry, and I'm really sorry Mere," Tana sighed, looking away from her little sister's gaze. "I wish I could've told you, but the Company... They've got rules..."

"Scratch their rules, how about everyone's rules? You know, the law?!" She groaned. "Isn't anyone in this family anything but evil?!"

"It's just who we are, and we don't need your approval to be that way, Mere, you can't change anything," Tana said. "But you can yell at me about it all you want, later. Right now... Sis, I really need your help."

"My help? Why should I help you, after everything you've kept from me all this time? After everything you've done?"

"Because otherwise, your husband is going to rot in jail for the remainder of his life, and I know you don't want that."

"Jebidiah..." Meredith sighed. All she needed was a painful reminder of what her husband had done. "There's nothing I can do to help him. He's killed someone, Tana..."

"No. He didn't." Meredith looked at Tana with her eyes thinned, suspicious... but Tana continued. "Look, I know it's all really hard to take in right now, but even though Jeb's a thief and a dirty rotten liar, he isn't a murderer. Something went tragically wrong last night, and as far as what I've picked up down at the department, even the mole doesn't have an explanation for why the Strummers were home, or how Carl just dropped dead. Until the autopsy comes out, no one will know for sure, but even then... No one even wants to begin to think anyone but Jebidiah committed the crime."

"I don't want to be a bloody criminal, Tana," Meredith said, exasperated. "And I certainly don't want to help you, now that--"

"Mere, this isn't just for me. I've got my own butt covered, no one at the department, even the mole, has any way of tracing anything back to me, yet, and as long as I'm careful, it'll stay that way. But if you really love your husband..."

"But what the hell is so important you need me to do it?

"I need you to talk to the mole. She's concealing something about what happened, and no one else at the department gives a damn but me... And she hates my guts. But, I know she's a sucker for family, and I've got a feeling she'll open up to you if you hit the right chords. You just need to find out what she's hiding... It might be the key to figuring out who the real culprit is."

Meredith hung her head, but as angry as she was at her husband... Deep down, she knew there was no other answer she could give. "Alright. Who do I need to talk to?"

"Mimi Brown."

As they'd already been outside longer than was safely non-suspect, Tana went in and Meredith followed -- she'd need to pick up Bradley before heading home. However, as soon as Tana went off chasing a cop into her bedroom ("Hey, could you please try not to break anything?!") Meredith was pulled aside by an officer -- the same one that had arrested her husband the night before.

"Mrs. Kane, I'd like to ask you a few more questions about last night."

She didn't have much of a choice but to go through yet another interrogation... "Do you have any idea what the burglar may have been after, last night?" "Did your husband ever bring home anything from work that seemed suspicious?" "After we're through here, we're going to need to come across the street of your house and do an inspection, do you have any problems with that?" ... Things of that kind.

As Meredith tried to answer his questions as loosely as possible -- judging by what Tana had just asked her to do, the last thing she wanted was to give  these cops any ideas -- but she agreed to the house inspection.

"So long as I don't have to be home," was her only request.

She had somewhere else to go, today.
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Anonymous,  June 25, 2010 at 10:11 PM  

I'm glad I couldn't get to sleep! Meredith is really being put through the wringer. The shot of her sitting in bed is excellent. I know it's a shot of her getting into bed but the way you captured it really makes it look like she's sitting with her knees up, thinking about what has happened.

Tana better look away in shame. She's been a naughty evil sim.

Meredith is going to confront Mimi! Mimi was just doing her job, Meredith. Should be an interesting conversation.

Unknown June 25, 2010 at 11:33 PM  

Like I've said before, Jebidiah soooo does not deserve Meredith. She's not perfect, but she goes through a heck of a lot for him. If she didn't have a reason to be neurotic before, she does now! :P

I really like the bed shot, too -- in particular because seeing the contrast between the happy couple in the picture and the depressed, alone woman is just :( :( . The pose worked out really well, though still not as perfect as I'd like. Sims need more animations!

Mimi definitely is one of the more honorable characters in the story... But that's not saying much, considering. ;D

Di Al Martini June 26, 2010 at 1:19 AM  

Interesting update, Kaleeko. I really like the conversations and shots of Meredith and Tana. The pictures and storyline blended so well. I also like the beginning of this.

Dee June 26, 2010 at 5:53 AM  

I love how the storyline works so well with the pics.

Poor Meredith. Now they are dragging her into this. She already has so much to deal with, I'm surprised she hasn't had a nervous breakdown. She's a lot stronger than even she realises.

Small town gossip. Everything gets blown way out of proportion. In this case though, the gossip mongers are really going to have a blast.

PiB - Nicarra June 26, 2010 at 6:08 AM  

It's a damn fine story and I'm waiting impatiently for the next part.

How will Meredith do with the Mimi?

I also noticed Meredith alone in bed with the happy wedding photo behind. Such a sad contrast.

Unknown June 28, 2010 at 12:24 PM  

I'm probably the only person alive that is glad the weekend is over. I finally have time to respond!

@MJ: Thank you so much! As for the intro, I try to model intros sort of close to the ones from 'Desperate Housewives' (which may hint to where I got the name for the blog), but I'll never do them justice. Still, very fun to write up. :)

@Dee: I've had some amazing luck with random events fitting in with the story. You have no idea how shocked I was when I sent Meredith over to Tana's, and the same service sim that arrested Jeb was at her house. It was a true "Wtf?!" moment. ^^

Poor Meredith really is a few wheat thins short of a cracker box right now, but she's plugging through it well. Her love for Jeb pushes her to some pretty... remarkable... feats. >.>

@PiB: Mimi is an incredibly reasonable person, considering. Like I mentioned before, she's probably the least crooked person in the entire story... so we'll just have to see. ^^

I do really feel bad for Meredith, but... Well. I shouldn't say too much. Next post should be up sometime today!

Anonymous,  June 28, 2010 at 12:42 PM  

Today? See how I ignore the "should" part of that sentence. :) It's a gift.

Unknown June 28, 2010 at 1:03 PM  

Hahaha! How about, it *will* be up today? It's in-progress, but I don't like guarantees, cause... Ya know. I could get hit by a bus. ;)

Anonymous,  June 28, 2010 at 1:15 PM  

I like "will". And about that bus? No way. I'm doing my superwoojie dance to make sure you're safe from buses, rabbit attacks and malaria. You're on your own for everything else.

Dee June 28, 2010 at 4:37 PM  

LOL, I'm helping her with superwoo.... hoo?, joo, oh well whatever it is.... I'm helping.

I love it whe the game give me opportunies. Like when the cop just happened to be there. A little creepy at times though, when that happens.

Unknown June 28, 2010 at 9:41 PM  

Ach! Well, I must've gotten something your superwoojie dance didn't protect me from! However, I did get the post up, if 15 minutes after midnight. For shame.

When I say that 80% of what happens in my story is totally random, I really mean it. I have to kind of piece together "what happened" from an outside point of view for the most part.. The only really scripted posts I've had so far was "The Deadly Sins", and the post coming up of Meredith confronting the killer. I do a little nudging here and there, but I find it so stupidly remarkable how whacky Sims can be on their own, I just kinda.. watch.

This game is so wicked awesome sometimes. ^^

Jen August 3, 2010 at 8:15 PM  

Another great chapter!
I have a feeling that this conversation between Meredith and Mimi will be heated. Mimi was the leak and she only caused havoc for Jeb the night he went to steel the jewel. But then I guess Meredith doesn't know this.
I'm sure she has her suspicions though.

I think that is what I love about your story, Kaleeko, it's not completely staged. The events are so random. Like the shot where Meredith went to visit Tana and she was talking to a police officer.
I totally agree with you that these are moments great or a WTF moments as you called it. Hahahaha
Isn't it awesome when that happens. :)

Another great chapter. ;)

Unknown August 3, 2010 at 8:34 PM  

Thanks, Jenn!

Admittedly, lately I've been staging things a bit more than I used to, but usually only in major circumstances or plot events I planned out beforehand. I still think the greatest happenings are the ones that you never saw coming. ;)

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