No Chicken Soup for This

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Time heals most any wound... But, no, not all. You can flip the book to the next page, push forward, forget, and hope that the future will be different -- but that past and all the damage it did is a permanent fixture, and we'd be foolish to think that just moving on would change the pain we feel. But, no matter what, we must -- time does not wait for us... for anyone.

As the hours trickled by, the days, the weeks, things in Twinbrook returned to normal. Life, economy, politics and crime all continued as if nothing had happened, just as if it were yesterday or last year, but many pieces of that whole could not. Since Emerald Greenwood's fatal car accident, a lot of things had changed: stricter rules on teenage drivers surfaced in the law, car companies were investigated thoroughly for possible faulty manufacturing, kids at school were questioned as to whether they thought Emerald may have intentionally caused the crash -- but naturally, the answer was a resounding "no". After a while, people began to accept that 'accidents happen', that flukes of nature are unavoidable, that some things occur without reason or rhyme...

That is, everyone began to accept but Bradley Kane.

Yes, it had been weeks since Emerald's death, but the event still hadn't left Bradley's mind. From dawn til dusk, she remained in his thoughts and his heart... But particularly, his thoughts.

Bradley, for all his brilliance, was convinced that something, or someone, had caused Emerald's death. Yes, there may be accidents, but considering the events leading up to her car crash, things 'didn't fit'. There had to be a reason, outside of random coincidence, that took her from his life: and he was determined to find out what that reason was.

But he wasn't really sure where to start.

He guessed, anywhere was as good as any, so, he decided it was probably best to check out her Simface Page to see if there was anything peculiar. But, outside of a lot of mooshy messages between her and Travis, a lot of 'We miss you!' messages from beloved friends, there really wasn't much to go by.

As far as Brad could tell, there was nothing going on before her death outside of what he knew -- how he'd convinced Jade to break Emerald and Travis' relationship up, and how Travis ended up breaking her heart only minutes before her crash. As much hatred as he had for himself, he had even more for Travis; if anyone was to be blamed, it was him, for being so cruel.

There wasn't a whole lot that Brad could do about that, though -- it's not as if Travis had broken any laws -- so he was forced to remain in a house with that jerk, sleep in the same room with him, go to the same classes as him... So, at least for now, he tried to put those thoughts aside: but it wasn't as easy as it sounded.

In the meantime, he had to go back to doing 'normal' things like everyone else, like helping his little sister with her homework.

"Uugggh!" Amelia whined, thunking her elbow to the table and her forehead to her fist. "I don't get why I have to learn this stuff, anyways! I'm not gonna be a math teacher, why dowai gotta know my multiples?!"

"Because then you'll feel bad if you do decide you want to be a math teacher," Bradley joked snidely, though no one laughed.

After a few more minutes of Amelia and her friend working in silence, Brad got up to fetch a book, and sat down at the table to read, in case they needed any more help.

"Well, I don't like learning multiples either," Alesha said with a broad smile. "But with Brad as our teacher, I bet we could learn anything."

Brad looked up from his book at Alesha across the table and smiled weakly. "Well, I'm glad I can help."

Next to him, though, Amelia began scratching away an answer violently from her notebook. "Yeah, I doubt even Einstein could make this any easier," she grumbled. "Math is stupid."

"Well, it isn't going to get any better if you keep that attitude," Brad said with a roll of his eyes.

Amelia remained quiet after that, though Brad swore he heard 'Just wait til I tell Mom you said that' under his sisters' breath.

With a sigh, Brad mumbled, "Holler if you need me," before tucking his book away and walking into the other room, the old nursery that his mom had converted into her workspace.

It was weird that his mom was working now -- a 'real' job, at least -- but even weirder that her office was only just in the other room. It made it that much harder knowing when she was busy, and when she wasn't.

"Hey, mom?" Brad finally said after a moment of staring over Meredith's shoulder as she worked. After a few more seconds, when she still hadn't responded, he added a quiet, "Can we talk?"

It was several more moments before the scratching of the pencil halted long enough for his mother to answer.

"Of course we can, sweetie," Meredith said as she looked down at her sketch thoughtfully. "But can it wait a until after dinner? I'm kinda busy at the moment, I need to finish this construction plan by tomorrow and I'm already behind schedule..."

"Yeah, it can wait, I guess," Brad mumbled as he scuffed his feet against the floor and turned to leave the room.

When he did, though, Alesha was standing right outside the door, her ear pressed up against it. Brad sighed, and walked right past her -- but she uttered a quick "Stop!" before he left completely.

"I'm sorry, I was just curious," Alesha offered as a feeble excuse. "I was just getting up to get a glass of water and I overheard..."

"It's fine," Brad said with a shake of his head, his voice coming off a bit more grated than he intended.

"Well, I mean... If there's something you need to talk about... I can talk to ya...."

"I appreciate the offer," Brad said with another sigh, his gaze still pointed towards the door to his mom's office, secretly hoping she'd erupt to come save him from this pesky little kid. "But it's big kid stuff, ya know... You wouldn't understand."

"Well, if you change your mind," Alesha began, still determined. "I'm always willing to listen!" She tried to give him a bright smile, but Brad's grimace still wouldn't fade.

"Look, no offense, but I'm gonna have to pass, alright?" Bradley rolled his eyes again, trying to remain as nice as possible despite how irritated he felt. "You're a sweet kid, you just aren't old enough to know what I'm talking about, and you're Amelia's friend so it'd be awkward, and... Just, no thanks."

Alesha still tried to smile. "Well, still, if you change your mind... You might be surprised how much a little kid can know."

Brad smirked, but it wasn't until she walked away that he realized, she probably at least knew what was wrong -- he'd forgotten, she'd been in the house that day, the day that Emerald died, spending the night with Amelia. It made a rock sink in his stomach; great, just what he needed, one more person that knew what a basket case he was.

When Meredith finally finished her project and was able to barbeque some burgers for dinner, the family sat down to eat -- all but Jeb, who was off working a stakeout far across town.

"So you finally finished, huh?" Brad jested with Amelia as he took a bite of his burger.

"Yeah, but you're gonna need to check 'em like you promised," Amelia groaned. "I'm pretty sure they're like half wrong!"

Alesha giggled as she hopped up onto her chair. "You're too hard on yourself Amelia, I bet they're fine."

The last to join the table was Travis, who made a point not to look at Brad as he sat down next to him. It was as if both had denied acknowledging each other's existence... But, at least they were on the same page.

However, when Travis sat down, Alesha looked up at Amelia's eldest brother and, with a smile, asked, "Hey, Travis. You're the one that killed your girlfriend, right?"

To put it mildly, Travis began choking on his burger, his eyes wide and surprised at the words that came out of the little girl. Everyone else at the table was rendered speechless -- but as for Alesha, she only smiled smugly to herself, and went on eating as if nothing she'd said were out of the ordinary.

Needless to say, not much was said for the rest of that meal.

But it wasn't a long meal; everyone rushed to get through it as quickly as possible, especially Brad, who escaped up to his bedroom long before anyone else finished eating. As soon as Meredith was as well, she hurried to stick her plate in the dishwasher and raced upstairs to see where Bradley had gone.

She found him just where she imagined - in his bedroom, staring at the picture of Emerald still sitting on the top of his dresser.

"Look, Brad," she said as he turned around to face her once he heard the door to the bedroom close. "I know you're having a hard time right now, but being rude to your little sister? Telling her friends that Travis is a killer? I'm sorry, but that's way out of line, and definitely not what I expected from you, of all people."

But, when she was finished ranting, Bradley's face fell... a lot further than she expected. "I'm sorry, mom, I didn't mean to upset you... I just..."

Aaannnd he collapsed into Meredith's arms, crying.

Meredith couldn't help thinking, 'Oh, great.' She was not real great at this comforting thing. She made light of situations through humor, but she usually needed comforting herself... Still, this was what being a mother was all about, and she had to do her best.

As his sobbing began to cease, she gently pulled him away from her shoulder, and knelt down to be at eye-level with him.

It seemed that they were always in this position; Brad had always been the most sensitive of her three children, but Emerald's death had made him far worse than she would have expected.

"Sweetheart," she began. "I know you miss Emerald, and that you loved her dearly, but she's gone. She's been gone for weeks now... It's time to start letting her go."

"You don't get it, mom... What if Dad died? Would you just bounce back in a couple weeks too?"

"I... no, I guess I wouldn't, either. But you need to start moving on, someday, otherwise you're never going to be happy. I want the best for you, and I want you to be happy. Alright?"

"... Yeah. I know. And mom... I wasn't mean to Mia, and I didn't say a word to Alesha."

"Alright. I trust you. I know Amelia can be a little... over dramatic. I'll keep it in mind the next time she whines. But you need to realize this isn't Travis' fault, either. It's no ones fault, Brad."

Outside, the two little girls were having a conversation entirely of their own.

"Yoooouuu have a crush on Braaaddd, don't you?" Amelia giggled, looking at her friend with a wide grin. "I haven't seen anyone be that nice to him since Emerald was around."

"I do not! I just thought he could use a friend right now..."

"Haha, yeah riiiiggghht. You like him!"

"Well..." Alesha looked away as Amelia bent in earnestly, awaiting her friend's admission. "Alright. I like him a little. He's kinda mopey, but he's real cute... And he's always been nice to me when I came over. He's going through a hard time right now, and I dunno.. I like helping people."

"I knew it!" Amelia said victoriously. "I kneewww it! You always stank at keeping secrets."

"Hehehe, yeeaaah, I suppose I do," Alesha laughed. "Just don't tell him, alright?!"

"Oh maaan!" Amelia was barely able to say through fits of laughter. "I can't believe you like Braadd! Ewww! You're so weird!"

"But you're not gonna tell him, right?!"

"'Course not, Alesha... You're my best friend."

The next day, Amelia decided to go on a walk to the park (what good is a weekend if not to get out of the house?!), and as she walked up the sidewalk, she saw a girl her age she'd never seen before.

Normally, that would not be such a big deal, but in a town as small as Twinbrook, you knew practically everyone -- especially the people in your agegroup at school.

"Hey, hey, wait up!" Amelia called as she ran up to the sidewalk to the other girl and -- what she assumed -- was her father.

"Hi! I'm Amelia!" she said with an incredibly excited giggle in her voice. Although it seemed rather formal, the other girl extended her arm for a handshake.

"I'm Naomi," the girl responded with a very faint smile.

"You're new in town, huh?"

Naomi shrugged in response as her dad walked off. "Yeah, we just moved here about a week ago, somethin' to do with my dad's work."

"Oooh, that's cool," Amelia responded, her voice still giddy with excitement. "We don't get many new people in town, so it's always real cool to have more kids around to play with!"

"I bet, this place is tiny... Say, you wanna play tag? Me'n my bruh-ther were just about to start a game."

Amelia soon realized that she was way out of shape. These city kids were much, much more athletic than her, and were running her poor socks off long before they'd even got past two tag-it's.

"You're it!" Naomi giggled before running off, leaving poor Amelia trailing in her dust.

'Well,' Amelia resolved. 'I guess that means it's time to break out the big guns... Pretend walkie talkies!' Who she's talking to... Well. Beats me.

I never understand these kids.

Nor do I understand why Tatianna went to such great lengths to put on that ridiculous disguise... Or what she's doing with old man Juan Darer.

I suppose we'll never know.

At home, as the stars began to rise above the horizon, Bradley and Bunny Curious had decided to unwind through a little dancing -- some praticing for Travis' next big party, probably.

"C'mon, Brad, you're hardly even moving!" Bunny joked as she shook her hips and spun around. "You're barely even trying."

"Sorry, I'm just having a hard time concentrating. Why were we dancing to begin with, anyways?"

"Because it's fun Brad... You know? Fun? Don't you remember what that is?" Bunny quirked an odd little smile before winding down, and dancing way below Bradley's chest...

On her way back up, their eyes met, and the long glance sent uncomfortable shivers up Bradley's spine.

"Bunny... I think I know what you're trying to do, and... I'm just not ready for anything right now," Brad said with a sigh, which turned to a groan as he watched Bunny's face spectacularly fall.

"Brad, you are never going to get over Emerald if you don't at least give someone else a chance. You're chasing after a dead girl. Emerald's not coming back. At least let someone try to comfort you..."

"I can't," he responded, now looking away. "And I won't. I'm sorry. You should probably leave."

After raising quite a huff, Bunny grabbed her jacket and disappeared down the front steps and out of sight... She could crash her car in rage just as Emerald had, and he wasn't sure that that would  bother him all that much.

And that it didn't bother him, was what bothered him most of all.

In treacherous times, it can be difficult to be content with what we have...

.. and as time passes by, we'll always miss those 'good ol' days'...

... but, at least for some of us, we'll find a way to make due with what we've got.


Unknown September 1, 2010 at 7:45 PM  

Couple of notes!

#1. New site theme for S4, woot woot. As well, Archive+Cast+Family Tree have all been updated to reflect the new season.

#2. There is a poll on the right hand side at the top! Please select one, and be honest. I'm having a hard time deciding how much to post. I'd like to have a regular schedule, but since I tend to write rather long-winded posts, it's hard to know how much people are comfortable reading.

#3. Guess who got her Machinima featured on TSS?! Woot woot!

mmmcheezy225 September 1, 2010 at 8:54 PM  

Haha, congrats on the feature!! I'll have to check out the updates. :) I voted on the poll, and I chose 3 because I figured that would be the easiest for you. Plus, it kind of drags out the story and creates suspense. I like suspense.

Alesha's a peculiar one, isn't she? I figured she'd crush on Bradley, but saying something like that at the dinner table? Kinda harsh.

I wonder if Brad is reading too much into Emerald's death, or maybe he's really onto something. hmm

LOL @ Tati's new duds, and did Bunny by chance have a botox injection? ;) I *love* how absolutely expressionless sims can be sometimes. It seems that they often overreact, or under-react.

Bad Jeb, no stealing candy!

Unknown September 1, 2010 at 9:49 PM  

Thanks, mmcheezy! :D

I'm sorta leaning towards 2-3 a week myself. I'm fine doing 5, but it's a lot of work, and I know writing that much is a stretch for some readers who don't get a chance to read every day. As long as I'm doing more than 1 a week though, I'll be happy.

Alesha is... interesting. I like to think of her as blunt. She's an obscenely nice person, but between her crush on Brad and how much distaste she has for Travis (and people like him), she is a bit poisonous for a kid. ;)

I definitely laughed-out-loud when I saw Tatianna in that getup. She must've had a bad runin with the stylist. I'm blaming it on being some sort of disguise, but... Man. At least it has her signature style, animal print.

I swear, Bunny is SO expressionless. I think it may be the eyebrows, but.. I dunno. I cannot for the life of me capture a screen of her looking happy.

Jeb can steal all the candy he wants, my precious little evil klepto... Bwahahahaha!

Raisin Hale September 1, 2010 at 11:14 PM  

congrats on getting featured! i think its too cute that alesha has a crush on brad. her outburst made everyone uncomfortable, i'm sure. i wonder how long brad and bunny have been friends. their names look cute together... but i'm not sure that they do. i love your updates, i wouldn't mind seeing 5 a week!

PiB - Nicarra September 2, 2010 at 1:33 AM  

Poor heart-broken Brad. Not willing to accept much of anything about Emerald's death yet.

Alesha is an interesting child. Hooked on Brad, upsetting Travis, she'll be around a lot.

Oh, warm fuzzies! I see a Thomas and his kids. Nice! Yeah, Thomas.

Titania has gone for an interesting look! Hey, she needs Antonio as a housemate. :)

Bunny doesn't look very expressive.

Jeb, Jeb stealing candy? LOL Always funny.

Deema316 September 2, 2010 at 5:42 AM  

I have only read to the first page break but want to comment.
That Alesha is a very blunt outspoken little girl. A little nosy too. She probably knows a lot more than others give her credit for right now.
My first thought when I read that part was, OMG, I was speechless.
Poor Bradley, Mom assumed he told Alesha that Travis killed Emerald. Mom needs stop and think about how bad that made Bradley feel.

I like the new header. I see lots of hints of what is to come there.
That looks like Bradley has been going back in time. Hmmm, I wonder if he is going back trying to see Emerald again and change things. Maybe even to discover what really happened?
Congratulations on your feature!

Yes, I voted. :)

I can't wait to read the rest of this update.

Di Al Martini September 2, 2010 at 6:09 AM  

Congrats for being featured. Awww... Poor Brad. I hope he will accept Emerald's death. Although, i also still could not believe myself. :(

Alesha looks so much like Eva. she's cute. I think she will be around much.

Jeb stole a candy, probably because of his evil trait.

Lovely updates and great screen shots.

Anonymous,  September 2, 2010 at 10:32 AM  

Excellent start! Oh boy, I love little Alesha. She's creepy and funny and I bet she'd understand exactly what Brad had to say.

I just hope she dyes her hair when she gets older. That green brown that EA puts on sims is not attractive. Go red, Alesha!

Tat saw the stylist. That's one of their signature looks. Maybe she's trying to impress someone? Heh.

Brad, keep on keeping on. And Brad + time machine = Hell, yeah!

Unknown September 2, 2010 at 10:59 AM  

Starts are always a bit slow -- and I was really worried that I wouldn't have a lot of content this season -- but my game actually threw me a couple doozies to keep things interesting. I can't help but love you, EA.

Alesha definitely will be around quite a bit, as well Naomi Leman. There may be a few unexpected regulars, too. ;D Not my fault. I blame Twallan.

I'll already admit that Bunny will not be one of those regulars. She and Brad are friends, but his life is absorbed bit too much with Emerald right now to make time for anyone else, really.

Glad you like the header, Dee -- your wonderings are pretty close to the mark. ;) I don't mind saying so, I wouldn'tve put it in the header if I didn't enjoy dropping tidbits about things to come.

Jeb stealing candy is actually a bit of one, too. Teehee.

So, the vote is in a 4-way tie right now. lol. Well, that doesn't help me much! Heeee.

Anonymous,  September 2, 2010 at 12:06 PM  

Jeb looks so happy in that last pic with the stolen lollipop. Aw, it's the little things that make our sims happy.

PiB - Nicarra September 2, 2010 at 2:23 PM  

I didn't want to comment on the header till others had a chance to see it. :) Cause the centerpiece and a time machine is very interesting clue.

Glad to hear that a Leman will be back. But what happened to her brother that was going to play tag? I had to check the album to see that there is one red head in the Leman family next gen.

Sounds like it will be an interesting season.

Deema316 September 2, 2010 at 4:40 PM  

Finally read the rest of it. It's great. I agree with the comment about the green/brown hair. Yuk.
Well hellooooo Thomas and little 'uns. They are so cute.

Laughing at Jeb. I don't remember him having a moustache. That is some more 'poop' eatin' grin he has there in that last pic. :D

Unknown September 2, 2010 at 5:15 PM  

Jeb sure does love his stolen candy -- and he does have a moustache. :) I have switched between him having different facial hair, and one of them had a very faint moustache... I think it's the shadow on it in the last frame that makes it stand out so much.

The little boy (Lamont) is somewhere around there.. I forgot to take screenies of him while they were playing tag. He hasn't really gotten to know Amelia much yet, so he's not in the story a lot yet.

He's a redhead, but looks a lot like his mummy. :) As far as I can tell, the littlest one is almost a carbon copy of Carolina.

Deema316 September 2, 2010 at 5:37 PM  

I'm still laughing at that grin on Jeb's face when he stole that candy.

Jen September 5, 2010 at 8:50 PM  

Oh Jeb you really are so childish....although that candy does look quite scrumptious. lol

How cute is Bunny? I'm sure many girls like Brad because he is 'so nice'. And I knew a Alesha had the hots for him! Hahaha, she's only a kid but this is so cute.
Can't wait to see her and Amelia once they are teens. ;)

I wonder how Travis is feeling. Alesha knew exactly what she was saying when she made that snide remark to him. Very unfair.

I can definitely see interesting times ahead for the Kanes again. :)

Jen September 5, 2010 at 9:07 PM  

Oh I forgot to had congrats on having you video featured. It was definitely well deserved! I loved it!

Love the banner for this season too... I wonder who that is creeping out of the hole or maybe it;s grave? ;)

Oh and I voted on your poll, 2! lol
I like to read one or two a week. I'm following so many stories now and I also want to post some of my own. I'm finding that in between RL and other stuff it can be hard to read any more than that. :)

Unknown September 5, 2010 at 9:31 PM  

Hehehe, thanks, Jen. :D

Bunny is not the cutest gal, really. You can tell how she got her name, her nose is very... bunny-like. Nice enough gal, but, I can guarantee you pry won't see much of her after this.

I can't wait 'til Alesha and Amelia are teens, either. I wish I had a chance to sit down and play a bit more the past week so I could actually get to that point. I think I'm about 10 game days away. So close!

I can understand why you'd only want 1 or 2 a week Jen, which is part of the reason I think that's why I'm gonna go with about that amount, maybe 3 if I'm really crunching it. I don't want to unload *too* much, and I haven't had as much time to write lately and I have a feeling it may remain that way for a bit. Got lots of things going on, I don't wanna make promises I can't keep. ;)

Anonymous,  September 5, 2010 at 9:36 PM  

Do you know when the next update will be, Kaleeko?

Anonymous,  September 5, 2010 at 9:44 PM  

Listen to PiB. *nods* Please?

Unknown September 5, 2010 at 9:47 PM  

Probably sometime tomorrow. :) Last couple days have been a bit of a drag, which is why I haven't been about much.

Gonna put together the images tonight so all I have to do in the morning is write (heh). I'm gonna aim to do M/Th and/or M/W/F updating, we'll see how that works out.

Unknown September 5, 2010 at 9:55 PM  

Sorry I couldn't have it out sooner! :( I will try to get it up as early as possible tomorrow, though. You shan't have to wait too long!

Anonymous,  September 5, 2010 at 9:59 PM  

The real question is were you successful in your search for new patterns?

Unknown September 5, 2010 at 10:08 PM  

Ahaha! Yes, yes I was. I think I installed somewhere between 30-40, although I forgot to check them out in CAS the last time I was in the game. I should do that before I go to bed.

My CAS is already pretty laggy, so this may make it 10x worse.. but it will be so, so worth it. Hopefully. ^^

Anonymous,  September 5, 2010 at 10:14 PM  

Where did you find this motherlode of tasty patterns?

Unknown September 5, 2010 at 10:21 PM  

TSR. While I don't honestly like TSR much, the CC talent there is pretty superb, and since I only download from the more notable artists that I've gotten from before, I trust them not to give me glitchy content.

Unknown September 5, 2010 at 10:44 PM  

Final verdict: Some very very lovely ones, some very pixellated ones I need to uninstall. I wish it were easier to tell in the previews, but sometimes you just don't know what you'll get.

I'm very much looking forward to when Amelia becomes a teen, now. I am no expert wardrobe designer, but I definitely shall have fun. :)

Anonymous,  September 5, 2010 at 10:56 PM  

I will, of course, lust after the good ones and find a way to acquire them myself.

Di Al Martini September 6, 2010 at 2:38 AM  

I'm waiting too. I just have to remember that your time is 11 hours behind my zone time. In here, it's already Monday in the afternoon.

Jen September 6, 2010 at 6:00 AM  

Haha yeah, maybe I meant Bunny's personality! lol

Sometimes I don't get a lot of time to check the shots out as I'm normally reading your updates during a break at work.

Whatever amount you want to post, I will always be back here to read em'.
This family is too interesting not to read about. ;)

Deema316 September 6, 2010 at 6:05 AM  

I am sooo looking forward to the next update. I want to know what Bradley is going to do.

I still laugh every time I see that look on Jeb's face in that last pic.

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