Beyond the Book's Cover

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

"Don't judge a book by it's cover," my mother always used to say. In our lives, we're surrounding by adages warning us to not always believe what we see. Sometimes, it's to tell us not to skip over something wonderful just because of how it looks, but sometimes, it's as a warning: not everything is as beautiful as it seems, when you take the time to look a little closer.

Unfortunately for the Kane's and their friends, a few of them we're going to learn this lesson...
... the hard way.

"Uuugh. Could Mrs. Curious be any more cruel? I swear, Travis, if I have to write one more essay on the history of Simisouri I'm going to turn in a paper outlining all the reasons it doesn't matter..." Lolly Racket looked up briefly from her homework assignment, but Travis seemed distracted by something. She scowled and doodled a little heart on the corner of her paper, since it's the only thing that came in mind to write.

"You know," she continued, talking more to her paper, since her friend wasn't paying attention. "I can cook a better lasagna than my own mother... Why can't she just give out recipes for homework? Then I might actually pass one of these subjects."

Travis finally turned his head, chuckling a little at her frustration. "I'm sure you would, those cookies you made last week were fantastic. But... Why don't you put that homework away for now? It can wait... And, well. There's something I need to talk to you about."


A rather distraught look crossed Lolly's face when he said that. "Aw, probably thinks I'm mad at her for talking me into that kiss," he thought to himself, but that brought a smile to his face. It was worth it -- he wasn't mad... not in the least.

"Listen," Travis said while taking her hand. "I've been giving a lot of thought to what you said about wanting to date... And well... I guess, since we hang out all the time anyways, and I really like kissing you and... stuff... Well... I mean... What I mean to say is..."

"Of course I'll be your girlfriend, Travis!!" Lolly's reaction was... well, a bit more intense than Travis was expecting. "I was so worried you were never going to ask! I mean, I know you've been really nervous about it and everything, but I like you so much, and you like me, and... It's perfect! We were destined to be together forever, Travis... I knew you'd realize it eventually."

"Well, I'm glad you feel that way, but..." Travis' smile flickered a little, which made Lolly's smile fade away.

Travis continued, "I do really like you, and I'll give this whole relationship thing a try, but... I'm not gonna make any promises on the 'Happily Ever After' stuff. We're young, ya know? We still have all the time in the world to figure out what to do with our lives..." He trailed off, leaving a lump in poor Lolly's stomach.

Well, Lolly Racket was finally starting to realize that perhaps the boy she was falling in love with was not going to live up to her expectations... But for now, she was willing to cast that idea aside, on the chance that he might just be wrong.

He had to be wrong.

Meanwhile, across town in his father's pocket, a cellphone began to ring.

"Tonight? Yeah, I'm free. Half-hour? Sounds great. I'll just put together some of my case files and head on over to the Bistro."

Jebidiah tossed a fleeting glance at his wife, who was busy teaching their latest child how to say different colors. For a moment, he felt a pang of guilt, but... Nothing was going to happen anyways, right? Right.

"I'm heading out for a business meeting," he told Meredith as he gathered up his notes, planting a kiss on  her head as he headed out the door. "It's over dinner, so don't bother waiting up for me, alright? Not sure how long it'll go."

"Alright, honey," was Meredith's response... one that drove that pang of guilt even further. She was so trusting... Why?

And, there she was: Tatianna Solez, the buffest, toughest, grittiest chick he'd ever seen. Oh, mama -- they didn't make women like that back in Riverview... He supposed they did here in Twinbrook, but they all had unibrows and crooked teeth -- definitely not anything he'd be interested in.

"Never stop keeping up on your required reading, huh?" he asked as he approached her table, nodding at the book she was flipping through.

"Required reading? What are you-- ooooh. You mean for ideas on my next published work? Well, I suppose I need to learn something from the competition, huh?"

Over dinner, they talked about -- what else -- business. "And so everyone I talked to at the gym had either a relative or friend that was dating this gal, or was dating her themselves... She'd hoodwinked half the town into thinking that she was the real deal, had made almost 10 grand in gifts from all these 'lovers' of hers."

"And you caught her, right?" Tatianna asked, so involved in his retelling of the case that she'd paused in eating her food.

"Eventually, yeah. She was a performer at the local theatre, apparently revelled in being an actress in all aspects of her life -- once the cops got involved, it was over for her."

"Sounds thrilling," she responded, but as Jebidiah dipped down to take a bite of his food, Tatianna scowled... and Jeb looked up just in time to see it.

He frowned, himself. "Something the matter?"

"Oh, I--" She shook her head, shrugging. "Just... so much information, you know. Couldn't possibly get it all in over dinner. Do you think... You could drive me back to my place, so you can leave all the case files with me? I jogged into town, and it'd be hard to carry them all home."

"I uh..." Jebidiah puzzled over this for a moment. He shouldn't -- but it's not like she was being suggestive -- and well... Who knows. "Yeah, yeah sure."

As they popped into Jebidiah's fancy black investigator car, Tatianna fell into silence, with something obviously hanging on her mind... And Jeb thought he knew what she might be thinking.

He was wrong.


From the moment that Bradley Kane set eyes on Emerald Greenwood all those weeks ago, his heart had already began to grow fondness for her. She was his closest friend ; she was always supportive of his latest gadgets, helping draw diagrams on the computer for his next project... but he knew, even in his short years as a Sim, that there was something inside him that felt more for her than that.

Bradley Kane was experiencing his first crush.

But, as kind as she was, his heart always dropped through his stomach every time she said those magic words:

"You know, you've got such a funny nose!"

Dangnabbit! Why couldn't she say, "You've got such handsome eyes," or "You're so smart," or... You know... anything that didn't mention his nose?

"Aww, Brad, don't worry, I think it suits you... Besides, I wouldn't like you if you were perfect."

As Emerald pulled him into a hug, he began to feel a little better... Maybe she didn't just see him for his looks. Well. That's a plus!

"C'mon, Brad, stop looking so sad! You're gonna make me sad, too!" She was always so happy, Bradley thought... Always so eager to please. And she knew all the right things to do to make him laugh.

No... Bradley could not get that girl out of his mind... But he hoped that someday, she'd be able to see past his funny cover, and care more about what was inside...
... But maybe, she already did.

Jebidiah and Tatianna pulled up to her house in silence. There was something about her lack of words, the dark, cold look on her face, that started to churn butterflies in his stomach. Butterflies, in Jebidiah Kane's stomach? Preposterous. But, he couldn't deny... Something didn't feel right.

They approached her front steps, but as he waited for her to show him the way inside, he heard her feet suddenly crunch to a halt.

"Well, Blackjack Kane... This is where it ends."

Jebidiah's heart stopped. He hadn't used that callsign in ages... A remnant fragment of a past he'd been trying to forget.

"What... What did just say?" He turned around, only to find himself immediately confronted by the sour face of a very -- very -- vindictive woman.

"That's what they used to call you, isn't it? Blackjack? Foxiest hacker in all of Riverview County? The man who could break the unbreakable code?"

Jebidiah stepped back, shaking his head. "No... No, you're mistaken. I have no idea what you're talking about."

"You're a fool, Kane. An absolute fool! There's no lie you can tell that I'll believe. Your face is on every wanted poster in all the state of Simtana. And, here you are, in Simisouri, hiding out using your real name... You're the thickest bounty I've ever chased. And, ironically, the biggest."

"You don't understand, Tatianna... I'm innocent. Agent Strummer, I didn't-- I didn't kill him..." He began to back away, the branches and leaves crackling beneath his feet with each step he took.

"Do you honestly think I care whether you're innocent or not, Jebidiah? With the amount of money on your head, I'd be willing to throw my own mother in jail... Heh, not like that's saying much." Tatianna actually laughed -- laughed!

Jebidiah began to lose his cool. "So all this time, that's what you were? A freakin' bounty hunter?"

"Well, you never did come back to your court summons, did you? The bail-bondsman want their money back... So even if they did manage to find evidence of this so called... innocence you claim, you're being held in contempt. Besides, with all the other things you've done--"

"But why now? Why you? If they know where I am, then why aren't the cops here to get me?"

"Yeah, right, like Riverview County actually has the money to look for you, with all that you managed to steal... And all that jurisdiction-smiction. But me? I'm beyond that. And, I managed to look a little deeper, and had a friend willing to drop a hint... But, regardless -- you're mine, Kane... Even if I don't bring you in myself, there's no where you can run, now, that the law won't find you! Your reward is mine!"


"Not if I can help it!" Immediately, Jebidiah lurched forward, tackling Tatianna -- but he was amazed at what a fight she was able to put up... She certainly was no soft cookie; more like a frozen scone...


... but, he managed to knock her down, defeated; she yelped, rubbing her back, grumbling at the butt-whooping that Jeb had just shown her.


As quickly as he could, while she was trying to nurse her wounds, he ran off to his car, and slammed on the gas to get away -- there was no speed he could drive that was fast enough to get him out of there...

... but he knew, no matter what, it was too late.

Edit: Cast page has been updated to include Lolly and Tatianna. Engage!


Unknown July 21, 2010 at 12:45 AM  

Depending on how busy things get over the next couple days (my husband is on holidays right now), and how long next post is going to be, it might take me a while to crank it out. I'm going to try to get it out tomorrow, as usual, but just saying it prooobably won't happen. We shall see!

Hope you enjoy the post. :)

PiB - Nicarra July 21, 2010 at 3:39 AM  

Ah three Kane males and three females they find interesting. One is less than happy because she wants more than he's comfortable with. One less than happy because he wants more from her.

And one who has just discovered that he's in a world of trouble. His family won't be far behind.

I've realised that you are giving me the sense that Jeb might do a number of things because he's bored, a player etc. But also that he'd do *anything* to ensure his family's well-being. That's why I like him even if he's not using his brains at the moment. :)

Unknown July 21, 2010 at 9:08 AM  

That generally is the sense I'm going for. :) There's no 'good' or 'bad' characters in this story, really (well, I suppose Tatianna is pretty bad), everyone's sort of dancing around on various degrees of gray.

Jeb's Evil, which I take to mean he's capable of doing Very Bad Things without much guilt... but even Evil people can fall in love (ever see Dr. Horrible?). It's an inner conflict he has to fight constantly -- which is more important, his selfish needs or his family? -- and I don't think either side will ever totally win.

I'm not sure whether he'd have actually done anything with Tatianna, though. I *think* he's learning his lesson... he hasn't hit on any girls/tried to kiss any since.

Anonymous,  July 21, 2010 at 10:27 AM  

Gray is much more interesting to play and write about. And it's very fun to read.

So, Tatianna scared Jeb off other women? Maybe for a while but I can't see Jeb forsaking that pleasure forever.

Lolly is about to get her first harsh lesson in love. There are lot of guys like Travis out there. They're nice, fun guys but not interested in anything resembling a relationship.

I'm trying to figure out how Jeb is going to get out of this mess. And how he'll explain it to Meredith. I got nothing.

Kudos for the Dr. Horrible mention. "It's curtains for you, Dr. Horrible. Lacy, gently wafting curtains."

Unknown July 21, 2010 at 10:39 AM  

Well, he's stuck off other women, so far... But, it may not all be Tatianna's "fault", so to speak. And it may not be permanent. Only time will tell. :)

But *is* Jeb going to get out of this mess, is the real question? ;) Bwahahaha.

I keed. He does. Sort of. Agh, I'm teasing again, aren't I...

Dr. Horrible is my hero. Correction: Joss Whedon is my hero. ^^

Anonymous,  July 21, 2010 at 10:52 AM  

Joss Whedon rules. Nathan Fillion is hot. That is all.

No, no that's not all. I don't assume anything with Jeb. I get the feeling he does whatever he feels like at the moment. That's kind of refreshing, actually!

PiB - Nicarra July 21, 2010 at 2:41 PM  

I still haven't properly played an evil Sim. Thomas Leman's third child in his original game has his dad's hair colour, his mom's nose and one of his traits is evil. Poor kid usually wants to cuddle his baby brother and steal his candy at the same time. But he has been stuck as a teen for months now.

And once I played the Shallow family (back when I could use store content and Riverview) when Dallas was the boyfriend of one of the freewill Sims. It was odd playing a family with Evil sims but Dallas was very sweet on the girl. I'm not sure how he did as a daddy, I ended up abandoning that game mostly because I couldn't keep track of who was who and what was happening (pre Twallan)

I really need to randomly roll traits a bit more. There are a number that I've never used and I should at least try them. :) At least the freewill Sims end up with random ones at most life stages - I'm not there when they grow up.

Dee July 21, 2010 at 5:21 PM  

Oh man,and the mystery and the drama continue! Oh Jeb, what are you going to do now? The past always comes back to haunt. She's not going to stop.

I must say Travis is blunt. He's not leading her on but she is still hoping.

Poor Brad. His first crush and she said hi nose was funny.

mmmcheezy225 July 21, 2010 at 6:47 PM  

I don't even know what to say except I'll be hanging off the edge of my feet until the next update.

Unknown July 21, 2010 at 7:04 PM  

@Chrysame: Yes... Yes he is. *sighs and daydreams*

@PiB: Jeb was my first Evil sim, and it's... I dunno. They could've done more to make the trait 'actually' evil, but... It is a Sims game. :) It really doesn't seem to effect wishes much, either... He rarely wants to be mean to anyone, which is a bit strange to me.
I've always been tempted to completely randomize traits, but in my luck I'd end up with an Artistic, Disciplined, Handy, Angler, Virtuoso, which would make me go insaaaaane.

@Dee: I think it's good Travis is being upfront with her, buuuttt... All things considered, a Hopeless Romantic should never be paired with a Sim with Commitment Issues. ;) I do feel bad for Brad. His life, to be frank, never goes the way it should.

@mmmcheezy: Aww. Thanks! :D Hopefully I don't have to make you wait too long.

Anonymous,  July 21, 2010 at 7:15 PM  

Obi-Wan Kaleeko, I need your help!

I wish to add a "negative trait" to Mick Mitigate. His current traits are Clumsy, Party Animal, Brave, Virtuoso, Great Kisser, Athletic.

I'm willing to part with Brave, Party Animal and Athletic.

You're our only hope!

Dee July 21, 2010 at 7:31 PM  

I have made and played at least two sims with commitment issues. They were fun but if I remember right they both were flirty and that made for more fun.

Unknown July 21, 2010 at 7:32 PM  

*dies* Chrysame... I adore you.

Well first, to pick which one to go: of the three, I'd say either Brave or Athletic. Brave, because (iirc) it's a trait you've probably used a fair bit, and Athletic, because I personally usually don't like letting a sim have two "skill" traits. It's just unfair! ;)

Second: which one to replace it with? Well, from what I've seen of him so far, I'd almost want to say replace Brave with Coward. Why else would he keep running away from the girl he loves? They also have incredibly amusing idles, pee their pants in confrontations, and just... they're just hilarious. Only annoying thing about them is a) when they're ghosts, they're still afraid of ghosts? and b) OMG BURGLAR *faint*. ;) But, both are good for storytelling.

Other good choices: neurotic (they constantly think everything will go wrong!), loser (everyone makes fun of them, they're always crying.. the evil part of me finds it funny), or *maybe* Dislikes Kids (because it could cause some interesting drama with Gwen if she wants them).

There's some suggestions! Ignore them if you want, but hopefully I gave you some ideas nonetheless. :D When all else fails... Hit 'random' half a dozen times and hit 'okay' when it feels right. ^^

Anonymous,  July 21, 2010 at 7:40 PM  

I can live with Coward. I'm trying to remember the rules. One Core, One Negative, One Social, Fluff and Skill Are optional.

Core - Virtuoso
Social - Party Animal
Fluff - Clumsy
Negative - Coward
Replace Athletic with...still stumped.

Anonymous,  July 21, 2010 at 7:44 PM  

Three options for replacing athletic.

Dislikes kids

Unknown July 21, 2010 at 7:51 PM  

Awww, you're actually using my chart? I totally feel all mushy inside now.

Hmmm... That's a toughy. I like all three you listed! I'd say... either pick from a hat, or make a poll. :)

Both Inappropriate and Dislikes Kids could add drama to the relationship. Slob is.. slob, but it's cute. So far, his actions have *seemed* a little inappropriate... Playing over top of her, following her around, then running away when she tries to get close.. It's like he's in opposite-land. :)

Anonymous,  July 21, 2010 at 7:57 PM  

It's like he read a book about the rules of dating for men.

PiB - Nicarra July 21, 2010 at 8:10 PM  

Nah don't use slob, that's Sammy's job description. :) Though slob does have some real uses for very busy Sims or one with a LOT of kids. Sam has no fear of triplets, no matter how messy toddlers get.

Inappropriate might be more interesting. I played the Wolff's for awhile and Thornton who Dislikes Children acted pretty much like every other daddy around his sons. A small negative moodlet but he even wanted to teach toddlers skills.

@Dee - Jon Marsh - flirty and commitment issues. Loves the ladies but no marriage...

I'm so jealous that it's Obi-Wan Kaleeko. Very jealous. I'm stealing Han Solo and you ain't getting him back!

Anonymous,  July 21, 2010 at 8:19 PM  

You grabbed Hans but...dang it...I guess that makes me Yoda. Yoda I am, rue the day you will!

Unknown July 21, 2010 at 8:27 PM  


Slob is probably one you've played quite a bit with though, yeah. I always like to suggest trying out new traits, or ones that you haven't played with much. :)

Dislikes Children does have very little effect, PiB is right. :-/ For me, it's more about how you perceive the character than what they actually do/wish for, but... It'd help if they actually coded the trait properly. :P

PiB Solo, Chryoda. ^^ Sounds good to me! Bwahahaha.

Anonymous,  July 21, 2010 at 8:35 PM  

Heard your advice and will make my choices, I have when I see mick. Yessssssssss.

(My yoda speak sucks.)

PiB - Nicarra July 21, 2010 at 9:47 PM  

You did pick Yoda. There was still one kick-ass princess, the overgrown fur-ball, the farm boy and the droids to pick from. LOL

Anonymous,  July 21, 2010 at 9:53 PM  

I'm keeping Yoda. He doesn't have to wear a metal bikini. That's a plus.

To wear a metal bikini, I have not!

Di Al Martini July 22, 2010 at 6:21 AM  

Great update! I wonder what will happen next!

Unknown July 22, 2010 at 12:02 PM  

But Chrysame, metal bikinis are totally in these days! ;) *tease*

@MJ : Thank you! <3

Jen August 15, 2010 at 4:13 PM  

That was a very cool chapter!

Travis shouldn't worry too much about the whole 'ever after thing', all girls are like that when their teens. lol

Little Bradley and his crush for Emerald is just the cutest. Wonderful shots of these two.

And what a surprise at the end. Poor Jeb, he really had no idea, too blinded by his, um.... anyway he really shouldn't have trusted Tatianna. She looked suss to me! lol

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