Trick or Treaty

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

"Veronica and Kenzie are going to be here any moment, dear--are you sure you don't want any help getting your costume on?"

 A few muffled grumbles came from the other side of the door before she finally got her response. "Nooo, I got it..."

Alesha took a deep breath as she waited as patiently as she could for her daughter.  Recently, Margo had become much more independent--unfortunately, it was not quite the blessing Alesha had hoped it would be. She was obviously trying to compensate for her inability to read, but it was beginning to cause issues. The most every-day tasks were suddenly becoming a lot more difficult than usual, because Margo still had trouble doing even the most simple things--but now she was refusing help with any of them.

Still, it was probably a good thing. Margo would never learn to conquer these problems if she didn't do it on her own--but such as in this case, she was trying to tackle things most kids her age couldn't do. It was nearly impossible to button up a costume with giant fairy wings as an adult, much less a child with short little arms.

Finally, though, after nearly a half an hour, Margo emerged from her bedroom looking incredibly triumphant. Alesha was even opening her mouth to congratulate her... when she noticed a problem.

"Sweetie... don't you want to change your shoes?"

Margo looked down, confused. "No... why?"

"Well... they don't really fit with your costume, do they? Fairies don't wear rubber boots."

She blinked slowly, obviously still puzzled. "Why not?"

Alesha was fighting an uphill battle, but it was a totally pointless one. "You know what," she said with a smile, kneeling down and placing her hand on Margo's shoulder. "I have no idea. I think it's about time I see a rubber-boot clad fairy on Halloween!"

The look of pride on her daughter's face was worth every word--but before either of them could say anything else, a gentle ring came at the door.

"That must be your friends!" Alesha exclaimed, nudging Margo towards the door. "Go on, answer it!"


Margo let out a small gasp of surprise before bursting into giggles. "You guys are silly! I love your costumes..."

"Aw, thanks!" Kenzie exclaimed proudly, her chest puffing up a little. "My mom helped me put it together! I've always wanted to play a princess."

Veronica looked a bit bashful, but was equally as excited. "We got mine on one of our trips to Barnacle Bay." Ronnie looked down and gave a bit of a confused stare at Margo's boots; but remembering that she'd never seen Margo without them, she exclaimed, "You look real pretty!"

The girls trotted inside all aflutter over each others costumes, closely followed by a tall, smiling man that approached Alesha with a friendly hand extended. "Mrs. Kane! A pleasure to finally meet you. Phillip Grant--Veronica's father."

"Oooh, yes yes!" Alesha responded with a smile, reciprocating the handshake enthusiastically. "I must say, my mother in law speaks highly of you. I... er, nice costume."

"Thanks--my wife sure seems to enjoy it," he said jokingly with a broad smile. "Sorry I can't stick around and chat, I'm taking Veronica's sister and her friends trick-or-treating up around our street--I just figured I'd pick up Kenzie on the way to drop Veronica off since I was already halfway here."

"You behave for Mrs. Kane, alright?" he called out who his daughter, who responded with a quiet giggle and a 'Yes, daddy' before he gave Alesha a polite nod, and closed the door on his way out.

"I toldja we were gonna fill our bags super fast on this street!" Kenzie said matter-of-factly as the girls stood quietly on the sidewalk, idly watching the other kids from school milling between each house. "My mom brought me here last year, there's lots of grammas and grandpas who like to spoil kids rotten."

Veronica's expression turned a little smug. "I counted 56 pieces in my bag before Mrs. Kane took it back to the car. My sister's gonna be sooo jealous."

Kenzie smirked. "I'm already jealous. I can't believe you counted them that fast!"

Looking a little embarrassed, Ronnie shrugged and said, "I'm just good with that sorta thing, I guess."

Margo looked longingly at Veronica, but didn't say anything. She knew it wasn't fair to be envious, but she couldn't help it; Ronnie was smart. Really smart. She picked up on everything incredibly fast--there were even rumors the only reason she was still in the same class was so she could stay with her sister. It wouldn't have been that bad, but Kenzie was pretty smart, too. Not quite in the same way, but she had a particular knack for figuring things out quickly even if she wasn't as 'book smart' as Ronnie was. It gave them something in common that Margo didn't share, which made things a little awkward. They both absorbed knowledge like sponges absorb water; Margo was about as absorbent as a limp noodle.

She wasn't going to let this spoil her night, though. 364 days a year she felt silly for dressing up and playing pretend, but Halloween? It was like a holiday made specifically for her. ... Minus the ghost, ghouls, and haunted houses. And the pumpkins. And the... okay, so it was a stretch--but she still wasn't going to let their smartness get her down.

"We could probably keep going," she mumbled softly, as probably the bravest thing she'd said all week. "My mum'll catch up to us with the extra bags soon, I bet."

"That's a great idea!" Kenzie said brightly. "I'm startin' to get bored waiting."

Margo immediately regretted her suggestion. Kenzie and Veronica looked positively thrilled to be going at this adventure without supervision, but Margo was beginning to miss her mother more and more each step they took.

"Guuuyyss," she said, her voice shakey. "Maybe we should stop... It's taking her an awful long time to find us."

"We're fiinne!" Kenzie remarked bravely. "My house is one block over, and I'm sure she'd call you if she was worried!" Beside her, Veronica agreed with a small nod.

However, it wasn't long before Kenzie and Veronica's opinion began to change. The street sign didn't read what Kenzie thought it would, and it was apparent pretty fast that they were lost. The conclusion left Kenz and Ronnie looking rather frightened, and Margo almost to the point of tears.

"Maybe we should go back," Veronica said abruptly after jumping quite high at something she thought she saw lurking in the shadows.

Kenzie, however, was determined. "No, no, I'm pretty sure my house is just around the corner! Stop worry-ing!"

"Guuyyss... I'm scaaaarreeed..."


The first thing Margo thought next was that her vision was incredibly blurry. There was also a strange tapping sensation on her shoulder. Thud. Thud. Thud... Someone's foot was poking her.

"W-what happened?' she stuttered, coming to quite rapidly.

"Y'all became a bunch of frickin' chickens, is what happened," came a voice that Margo immediately recognized as Ian's. "Pudge and Know-It-All ran off the second they saw me--and you... You fainted," Ian said with a devilish laugh.

All of Margo's fear was suddenly replaced with total embarrassment. "Don't call my friends names," she mumbled as she got to her feet, doing her best to avoid eye contact.

"Whatcha gonna do, cry me to death?" Ian said with a roll of his eyes, but when he realized that she actually was beginning to cry, his shoulders slumped at his sides. "Aw man, come oonn, don't be such a baby..."

Margo tried very hard to take his ill-mannered advice, but it was no use; her eyes were well beyond the welling-up phase.

Just as she thought things couldn't get worse, though, a sudden shuffle of branches and leaves sounded from a nearby bush; only moments later, a girl from their class erupted from it.

"Ian, I put the eggs by the back porch, it looks like the Turner's went to sleep for the--hey, what's she doing here?!"

"Her and her friends were walking past--the other two ran off when I spooked 'em, though."

"And you didn't wait for me? Bugger, I've always wanted to give the Geek Squad a good scare."

"Hey," Ian snapped, his face scrunching up in anger. "Don't call 'em that, alright? She's standing right there, ya know."

"So? Hasn't stopped you before."

"Well... I don't care, Wren. Just don't. She didn't do anything to you."

"Whoa, what's gotten into you? She your girlfriend now or somethin'?"

"Just shut up!" At Ian's raised voice, Wren finally backed down--though she sent a solid, dirty look in Margo's direction. "I'll meet you at the Turner's in ten minutes, alright?"

"Fine... Just so long as she's not with you."

"She won't be. Now buzz off."

As Wren disappeared from whence she came, Ian turned to Margo to say something--but he stopped when he caught her sniffling into her hands.

"Margo... Pleeaaase, could you please not cry?"

"W-why?" Margo sniffled, slowly beginning to walk away. "I thought you liked it."

"Well... It's kinda funny, yeah, but--" She sniffled, causing him to groan. "--Aw come ooonnn. Seriously?! Margo..."

"Juz go 'way."

Ian reached out his hand and carefully grabbed her by the arm, which she recoiled from--but it did cause her to stop. "Hold up a sec... I swear, I didn't mean to upset you. I was just tryin' to give you guys a bit of a scare, alright?"

She looked at him, puzzled. "Why?"

"'Cause... It's Halloween? And it's fun?" Margo looked unconvinced, so he sighed and continued. "I... guess I don't know. It's just what I do."

Margo wasn't sure why, but Ian continued to follow her as she walked down the sidewalk towards where she assumed Veronica and Kenzie ran; she occasionally worked up the nerve to ask him why he was still with her, but the second she opened her mouth all her courage evaporated.

"Ya know... I really am sorry, Margo," he finally said, out of no where.

"... Why?"

"Sheesh, is that the only thing you know how to say?"

He immediately regretted his choice of words. "What I mean is--frick, why do you make this so difficult?! I just am, okay? I just wanted to tell you, I'm not gonna be mean to you anymore. Or... I'm gonna try."

She didn't even have to open her mouth all the way for Ian to know what her next question would be. "It doesn't matter, alright? I'm just bored with it. That's all."

As they turned the corner, Margo spotted her mother--closely followed by a princess and a pirate--but Ian was still by her side, so she stopped and gave him a long, rather confused look.

"Marrgoooo, come here honey!" Alesha called from the distance, but Margo didn't turn and move away immediately.

Instead, she gave a long, puzzled look into Ian's eyes, and uttered: "You're really not gonna be mean to me anymore?"

Ian paused. In a way, his words had been a crutch, to try and get her to stop crying--but at the back of his mind, his conversations with Alesha continued to float... along with the wrenching pain in his gut he had felt when Wren had called Margo a geek. So--bravely--he took Margo by the arms and nodded. "I can't promise, but... I'll try."

There was an awkward silence, after that; boy looking at girl, girl looking at boy, and a menagerie of emotions and confusion on both sides that made them both want to run away screaming as much as they both kind of wanted to smack each other. But, to Ian's surprise, Margo didn't. She stayed.

"Ya know... your make-up is really creepy," she finally said with a small cringe, eyeing the length of his costume.

"Thanks," he said, obviously quite proud of this fact. "I guess... your hair isn't as poofy as it usually is. It looks... pretty?"


"Well... I better go. See ya round, I guess." Margo said with a brief smile, before, with a shy shrug, she turned from his side and began running down the sidewalk towards her mom.

It wasn't much of a step, but in the end... it was probably the biggest one he had ever taken. Why she trusted him, he would never understand--but at least, for now, a solid weight had been lifted from his conscience. Margo really was more forgiving than he had ever imagined.

"Yeah," he said slowly, a weak smile spreading across his own cheeks. "See you 'round."

Just a short little Halloween themed post to give y'all something while I focus on Dipped for a little while, as well as get my game all set up with Pets!

This post is sort of a "special" because I literally had no plans to do this until Amelia suggested it to me the other day, so I put it together over the last couple of days even though it diverts from the storyline slightly. I hope you all have a WONDERFUL set of holidays! Happy Simming! <3


Short: Caged

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

She could feel his eyes on her.

No, not sense them--feel them. It was a gaze that traveled from her worn shoes up the length of her prison uniform to the messy splay of hair she no longer wished to deal with. He didn't know it, but she could see what he saw--feel the fear that he felt. She knew he was looking for her lips--her teeth. Looking to see if everyone was telling the truth...  if she really was a vampire.

"Go, or I will sink my teeth into that scrawny little neck of yours," she spat, remaining motionless from her position on the bed.

"I--I'm just bringing you your food," the new night watchman stammered, the bundle in his hands nearly trembling out of his grip. "I--I didn't mean to-"

"Just leave it on the floor."

"You think I can't break through those bars and break your spine?!" she snarled as the boy still continued to stand at her cell, gaping at her as she carefully lifted herself from the bed. "GET OUT!"

They often sent the freshest police academy graduates down to see Amelia. It had become some sort of game; they let her initiate some of the more egotistical recruits in exchange for them not coming and spitting at her during their breaks. Probably a fair trade, but it had come far too late. She had long since lost the ability to forgive them.

As he scurried away--and she dived hungrily for her food--she briefly recalled the one time she had actually wished she could have broken free.

They were cruel, her captors. Even her fellow inmates. It didn't matter that Amelia had never once pierced flesh with her fangs; the mere fact she could, that she had brought this dreadful disease into their peaceful, quaint town of Twinbrook, was enough for them to despise her existence. If she had murdered two men accidentally because of her appetite for blood, what more would she be capable of if she put her mind to it?

Much more, she savored as the juice of the sour plasma fruit dripped down her cheek.

Suddenly, Amelia recoiled from her unexpected lust for retribution; the fruit dropped to the floor and her body hurled itself against the back wall of the cell violently.

"No," she whimpered aloud. "You need to fight this... You're stronger than this!"

In a way, she was--at least, she was now. Before she'd been thrown inside this cage, she had been anything but strong. Weak, emotional, infantile... but no more. Prison had changed her, in ways that nothing else in life ever could--even this wretched virus. Every day, her humanity was stripped from her inch by inch, taking from her everything but the smallest glimmer of hope: a photograph. Her last anchor to her life outside this place.

She fell to the floor and turned to look at it, but to see that face looking back at her brought only shame. "I'm so sorry, Naomi," Amelia gasped from lips no longer able to sob. "I didn't mean to let you down."

The sound of footsteps approaching broke her concentration on Naomi's unmoving face. "What is it?" she growled when the footsteps stopped in front of her cell, reaching a hand to wipe the plasma juice from her chin.

"Clean yourself up--you have a visitor."

The "walk of shame", some called it, was something that Amelia dreaded every time she had to be let out of her cell. There weren't many inmates in Twinbrook's tiny prison, but every one of them knew her name and her crime--as everyone in Twinbrook did--and any time they got to see her they let out a ringing call of humiliating, sexist jeers. They were the kind of low-life scum that even her father would never hire.

"Knock it off, idiots," one of the cops sneered in a rather poor effort to defend her. "Don't make me tell you again."

She didn't mind so much today, though--she was willing to put up with anything, to see her.

To see Naomi.

"Heeeey, what fine minx is that?!" As she walked past each booth filled with inmates and their visitors, Naomi got her own barrage of cat-calls--but these were far different than the ones Amelia received. Heads turned almost any time Naomi entered a room, but these men had no problem offering whistles and beckons as well--but for a woman like her, they were easy to ignore.

She definitely wasn't there to see any of them, and she only had one thing on her mind.

"It is you... You came. You actually... came." Mia's voice was weak, but full of painful joy.

"Of course I did, silly... Why would you think I wouldn't?"

Amelia opened her mouth, but immediately shut it; Naomi didn't need to know about the games some of the less-that-noble guards liked to play with her.

Quickly, though, that train of thought was lost. Naomi. Naomi. In this colorless hell she'd been exiled to, Naomi was like an angel of mercy. Just seeing her face--her real face--made Amelia's heart come to life in ways she thought it had forgotten to move.

"You're lookin' a little rough there, sweetness," Naomi said with a small smile as she looked down across the table at Amelia. "Forget to brush your hair this morning?"

"I--uh--er, yeah... I'm sorry, I didn't know you were coming."

"Amelia. Honey. I'm just teasing... you look beautiful."

Naomi gracefully settled into the seat across the table. It was a little difficult to hear Amelia through the dratted speakers they had in lieu of the glass halfway between them, but since it was the tail end of the visiting hours for the day, the other inmates were quickly departing and leaving the competition for sound at least a little better.

It didn't make this any less awkward, though. "So... How you hangin' in there?" Naomi asked, trying to sound at least moderately upbeat.

Amelia shrugged. "Better, I guess. Been a rough couple of weeks, but," she looked behind her, to make sure no one was listening. "My dad came to see me a few days ago, managed to have a word with some of the guards to get them to be a little more... friendly."

"Better than nothing, I guess," Naomi sighed, sending a rather dirty look through the glass at a distracted officer.

"What about you?! Did you get the promotion?" Amelia asked, the corners of her lips turning up slightly.

"As a matter of fact... They're putting me on a jet and sending me to Barnacle Bay for a bit of corporate mind-numbing brown nosing, but when I get back I get a shiny new Vice President plaque on my door."

"Oh Naomi... That is amazing," Amelia squealed, even letting slip a little bit of her Southern drawl in her excitement. "Baby, I am so proud of you. They should've given it to you months ago, but at least they finally saw what they had in their pockets all along."

"Thanks, love," Naomi responded with a wry smile. "Alesha and I are going out to celebrate tomorrow night, but... It just won't be the same, without you there."

"I... I know." Amelia took a brief pause, before asking the question that she knew Naomi dreaded. "So... Have you talked to your brother lately?"


Her heart sank. "What is it."

Naomi took a deep breath. "Well... I did talk to Lamont, yesterday. There's been some... complications." When Amelia didn't respond, Naomi's gaze dropped towards the table, where she began to carefully scratch at a small indent on the surface. "Bradley had a little bit of a breakdown. Tossed all the others out on the street. He's still working on the cure, but he probably isn't going to get much of anywhere until he lets them come back."

"No... No, no this can't be happening," Amelia murmured, her eyes frozen wide open in horror.

Naomi frowned. "Honey, I'm sure he'll come to his sense soo--"

"No, no you don't understand my brother, Naomi. He's smart, but he's also a right stubborn git. We may as well put a death sentence on me right now and get it overwith."


It was too late. For months, Amelia had built up a stone cold, solid exterior, only to be broken down in seconds with one small piece of bad news. "It's over. I'm doomed, Nami."

"Mia. You are not doomed. This is a setback, nothing more. You hear?"

"No... No, you don't get it. I've been in here for almost a year, Naomi. A year! Brad promised it'd be done in 6 months, and if he's gotten so frustrated he's even lashing out at his friends... it's hopeless."

"Amelia, don't you dare say that. There is always hope."

"But what's the use?!" She felt a tear beginning to trickle between her fingers. "I'm dying in here, Naomi. I don't know how much more I can take..."

"You can take as much as you have to. You may not think you're brave, but you are--and I'm not going anywhere. If I have to, I'll pull some strings and see if I can come see you more often, but you can't let them win, Mia. You can't."

As Amelia slowly began to nod, Naomi made a come-hither motion from the other side of the glass. "C'mere," she said with a small smile.

"I--I can't, they're right there," Amelia said softly, turning around towards the two guards talking behind her.

"They're distracted--for now, anyways. C'mon, we don't have much time left."

Amelia warily eyed the guards for a few more moments, before curling up tighter and pulling herself up onto the table between them.

Glass--it was always glass. That nearly invisible barrier between the world she once knew, and the world she remained trapped in, was something Amelia cursed every time she got to see that blessed face. It tortured her with the ability to be near, to see, but never to touch.

But it never stopped Naomi. Fearlessly, she planted each fingertip against it, and then, finally, her lips; Amelia smiled, watching the way her lover's mouth and chin flattened against the invisible wall between them.

What was left over, though, was something more than just a smudge of lipstick on a windowpane. It was more than an act of bravery, or will, or desire. In reality, it was all these things--but Amelia saw it as something much less tangible. It was an imprint of hope, like a wish upon a falling star; and, above all...

... A promise: that someday, somehow, she would receive it.

"I love you," she whispered softly, pressing her fingertips against Naomi's.
"I know," was her response, eyes still closed to hide her pain. "And I love you."

Naomi could walk a million steps in heels and still make the next one look dignified. It wasn't that she didn't feel the pain: she just didn't show it. Not with heels... not with Amelia.

Her car was back at the office, but she had no desire to face any staff that might be working late. They all always had too many questions: How was Amelia? How'd she take the news? Is the HVV getting worse? They all meant the best, but she'd rather walk 30 miles in heels than lie through her teeth to people who had no business asking about her personal life.

At least she didn't live 30 miles away.

But her head hung lower and lower the longer she walked. The more distance she got from Amelia, the more her mask faded. She would never dare to let Amelia see; she had so little hope, how worse would she be if she knew Naomi had none either? But, for years, Naomi had carried the banner as the strong one... and she was getting tired.

She barely even registered when a cab slowed, its driver calling out to ask if she needed a ride; naturally, she declined. Naomi never took help, even when it was offered.

What's the use, though, she asked herself behind clenched teeth. You can't do this alone, forever.

She entered their empty, quiet house and tossed her keys onto the table by the front door. The lights all flared up at once, but even the array of colors that Amelia refused to get rid of didn't give the sense of warmth Naomi needed tonight.

With a heavy sigh, she kicked off her heels and stretched. It'd been almost a year, and Naomi still hadn't gotten used to making meals on her own... Delivery again tonight, it would seem.

She made a quick call to Hogan's diner for that pizza she knew was going straight to her thighs--and then let out a small gasp when she took a long look at her coffee table.

"I'm so sorry, Hootie, you must be starving," Naomi consoled Amelia's fondly named blowfish as she dumped in more fish-food than poor Hootie knew what to do with. "Mia'd kill me if she found out I forgot to feed you..." ... if she even still remembered he existed.

Things had changed so much since Amelia's trial--Amelia herself most of all. Every time Naomi saw her, something was different; from the smallest dimples in her cheek to the fact she didn't even remember that Naomi's birthday was only a couple of days away. The old Amelia would never have forgotten...

At what point did she know if the girl that had entered prison was still going to be the same one that exited? No--that idea was preposterous. She definitely wouldn't be the same... but would Naomi still be able to love this woman?

Naomi tried to imagine it, but it was simply impossible. Even though Mia had begun to grow in many good ways--she was definitely much less fragile than she used to be--there were still so many things she couldn't predict. Their relationship had withstood so much, but there was a breaking point for everything.

It was worth holding to, though. Beneath the pain of the empty home was still the memories lurking beneath it's surface: the sunburn Mia had gotten her first time falling asleep on the deck, when she popped her scooter's tire and together they had to try and figure out how to fix it... even the first time they lay underneath the sheets together, watching the stars through their window.

"I miss you more than you know," she spoke aloud to the forest surrounding their home.

Naomi turned and walked inside. The piano... it had stood silent since Amelia had gone. Part of the joy of their relationship was the music they created together--without the sound of her guitar, the keys felt cold under Naomi's fingers.

But as she sat down, fingertips draping the ivory and her bare foot clutching the pedal, Naomi couldn't bear the silence any longer.

Her mother taught her never to cry. Amelia had accused her many times of being emotionless, vapid, and cold... but her piano knew her better than that. For Naomi, music was her sobs and her tears--but tonight, she would be the only one to hear them.

Her, and those stars.

(Best viewed in HD.)

Naomi's hands fell away from the keys--and for the first time in many, many years, she began to cry.

Amelia was there in every room through Naomi's memories, but she couldn't help but feel that every moment, Mia was beginning to fade further and further away.

Maybe Mia really was dying slowly inside her cage--but where no one else could see... Naomi was as well.


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