Friday, December 7, 2012

[Prologue] Chapter 4 - Claude

Ari heads to the park to meet Quincy.  He's there for all of three seconds before he tells her that it will probably be better if they split up, to reach more prospective musicians. Quincy will take the theater district while Ari remains at the park - and at around eight, they'll meet up at the Bistro to go over what to do next.

Ari doesn't argue.  The park isn't usually that busy compared to the theater during the week, and Quincy being the much more charismatic of the two is going to be better at baiting than she will be.

She does manage to hand out some flyers to interested hopefuls, however.  JC Rushing was one of the few that actually tipped her when she busked and is also apparently someone with connections.  He offers to put a few banners on his website advertising their auditions in return for a small favor - that she perform at his birthday party next week.  

A fair trade.  

Ari quickly loses interest in standing around idly.  The park is basically empty save a few children that came here after school, and seeing as there's no Quincy nearby to remind her what she's there for in the first place, she shrugs off "work" to pretend like she knows how to play chess.

Hilary Hatton is not amused by Ari's ignorance of chess rules.  She leaves when the game basically devolves into a game of checkers. How plebian.

After Ari discovers a sudden distaste for chess - and for little girls named Hilary - she attempts to catch one of the many butterflies near the fountain instead.  She names this one Claude.

As providence would have it, just before she sets off toward the Bistro Ari runs into someone else who has taken to busking in Twinbrook.  She places a small tip and a flyer in the cup by the woman's feet. It is the tip the woman notices, not the slip of paper, and she is grateful enough to stop her bass playing altogether to give Ari her thanks.

"You have no idea how much this money will help." She says, wringing her hands.

Ari smiles sympathetically. "Trust me. I do."

Quincy waves down Ari once she arrives.  He's already seated at a table with his dessert in front of him and an order of sushi for Ari.  

"How did you know I like sushi?" Flecks of food are likely flying everywhere when she asks just after stuffing an entire roll in her mouth.  She's famished enough to not care how much of an impression she's making right now - not that it is high on her priority list to begin with.

Quincy laughs as he watches her leer hungrily at her plate in preparation for the next bit of sushi. "To be honest, that was my dinner."

Ari looks horrified, wiping her mouth with the napkin and pushing the plate away reluctantly. "You're eating dessert, I just thought..."

"Who says you can't eat dessert first?" He pushes the almost empty sushi plate back toward Ari with a sly grin. "May as well finish it."

Ari rubs the back of her neck in embarrassment. "I'm sorry.  I'll order another plate and pay for it."

"Nah. Don't worry about it.  When we're rolling in the big bucks, you can buy me dinner then."

"Either you're extremely confident in this venture, or you're being sarcastic.  I can't really tell."

Quincy shrugs with a slight smile. "Depends on how many people show up for auditions."

"You mean how many experienced musicians show up for auditions.  Quality over quantity?"

"I'm hoping for both."

Niles and Cosette return from their dinner date to watch the stars.  It's one of the few nights that the Twinbrook skies are actually clear enough to view them.

Cosette suggests they take advantage of having the house to themselves.

They relax afterward, Niles resting his head contently against their headboard as Cosette falls asleep in his lap. 

"Cosette..." he says quietly, "...are you still awake?"

She stirs at the mention of her name.  "Are your legs falling asleep?" She begins to move herself toward the empty portion of the bed, but Niles places his hand on her shoulder to stop her.

"No." He laughs. "I just want to say I love you."

She smiles blearily as she snuggles in closer.  "I love you too."

When Quincy's original location for their band tryouts turns out to be a bust, Ari asks Niles and Cosette if they can host it at their place.  They both willingly oblige.

Quincy is disappointed only five people show up, but it's honestly five more than Ari expected.  They all sit in the chairs that Quincy brought over, looking hopefully toward Quincy and Ari as they explain their musical style and what it is they're looking for.

First up is the woman Ari handed a flyer to at the park.  She nervously introduces herself as Noemi Davenport, an experience classical bassist.  She's never played jazz-rock before, but she manages to expertly play a rendition of a newly popular modern song, Subway Glances.

She's the only one here auditioning for the bass spot, and luckily for Ari and Quincy, she is obviously skilled.

One spot down, one to go...

The next three aren't exactly show-stoppers.  All three are clearly either new or just learning how to play the guitar.  The last guy, in particular, hasn't even mastered basic guitar scales yet.

Just when Ari and Quincy begin to lose hope, Jarrod starts his performance.  He's cocky, overly confident, and arrogant; but damn, can that man play the guitar.

The hopefuls are released once the auditions are over; Quincy informs them that they'll get a call by tomorrow letting them know they're final decision.  Ari can understand Quincy's hesitation to give Jarrod the spot, he might cause more problems than he's worth with his attitude, but she also doesn't want to drag this whole business out longer than needed.

Quincy sighs.  "You really want Jarrod in the band? He's an asshole."

"But he's a talented asshole."

"He's probably going to leave us high and dry.  I know his type."

Ari frowns. "So do I, but I say we give him a shot."

"Or you could ask your brother to join?" Quincy almost pleads.

"I tried.  He has a good thing going at the theater; stable, you know? He doesn't want to risk it and I can't blame him."

Quincy shrugs his shoulders in defeat.  "Then I guess we're out of options.  I'll call and let Jarrod know he's in, but I say we keep our eyes open for someone else.  I have a feeling he won't be with us long."

"Quite the pessimist." Ari smirks. "But I agree."

Quincy's hug catches Ari by surprise, but it's not necessarily unwelcome.  It's more a congratulatory embrace than anything else - they did just get through the hellish process of auditions unscathed, after all.

"Now we need a band name, and gigs." Quincy mutters.

Ari laughs.  If she's learned anything about Quincy since their short acquaintance, it's that he's an over-planner.  She, however, would rather fly by the seat of her pants. "One thing at a time. Let's just focus on the success of tonight before tackling the rest."

After helping Quincy get all the furniture back into his truck and seeing him off, she heads to the bathroom for a much deserved bath and that's when she hears it - the distinct sound of someone upchucking the contents of their stomach into the toilet.

Cosette walks out a few moments later with a tired frown.  "Your auditions are done already?"

"Not many showed up." Ari places the back of her hand on Cosette's forehead, feeling for a fever that isn't there. "You sounded like you were puking up your insides."

Cosette clutches her stomach with a groan.  "I feel like I'm going to do it again."

Ari helps Cosette brush her teeth and get into bed.  She tried changing her into her pajamas, but Cosette was too exhausted to stand any longer.

As soon as Cosette falls asleep, Ari whips out her phone to call Niles at work.  She's sure it's nothing serious, but he should know nonetheless.

"Is everything okay?" He answers worriedly.

"Cosette is... sick." For lack of a better word. "She doesn't have a temperature, but she's been throwing up Exorcist-style for the last hour or so."

Ari hears the muffled sound of her brother saying something to one of his co-workers. "The rest of my shift is covered.  I'm on my way home."

Ari always looks like she's perma-smirking when she smiles - like she's mocking other sims rather than actually smiling.  Also, Quincy's hair-clipp'age is driving me insane.  He's getting a makeover soon.

Ari really likes butterflies.

Nothing new to report beyond my minor annoyances.  ONWARD!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

[Prologue] Chapter 3 - My Maudlin Career

The title of this chapter is named after a song by Camera Obscura.

Ari quickly gets over her fear of possible contaminants in the water; especially when going two days without a proper shower begins to... become ever more apparent.

Besides, if the water is contaminated, the effects of exposure will likely produce a latent health issue that won't present itself until much, much later. 

Meh.  At least she won't smell anymore.

Niles leaves the newspaper from that morning on the table.  Ari picks it up reluctantly after eating breakfast and peruses the job section.  Her situation isn't quite desperate yet, but if she isn't able to make some money soon she might be forced to eat her own words and, Maker forbid, actually apply for one of these positions. Or, worst case scenario, even take Niles up on his offer.

Not in this lifetime!

Ari grabs her brother's guitar and heads straight to the park.  She'll play that guitar for measly tips until her fingers bleed before she gives in. 'TIL HER FINGERS BLEED DAMMIT.

Cosette's garden is growing and no one is more surprised than she is.  What produce she doesn't save for the house, she sells to the local grocery store.  Apparently there's a large market for organic, local grown fruits and vegetables which brings in a small, but consistent income.  

Cosette corners Niles as soon as he returns home from work and before he can pass out in their bed.  After his recent promotion, he's been working long hours and as much as she appreciates his dedication - she would like to spend time with him every now and again.

"Let's have a date-night." She proposes.

Niles finishes brushing his teeth and then pulls Cosette into a tight embrace.  He smirks slightly when she gasps in surprise by the sudden contact.  "Are you saying you miss me?" 

"Every day." She says, bringing her hands up to cup his face affectionately. "And now more than ever with your current work schedule."

Niles sighs as he pulls her closer. "I know, sweet heart.  I'm sorry about that." 

"Don't be.  Just promise me that we won't drift apart.  That we take time for just us."

"Promise." Niles nods. "And we can start tonight." He waggles his brow suggestively as he leads the way to their room.

Cosette doesn't object.

Across town, Ari heads to the newly opened dance club after a mildly unsuccessful day of busking.  She did manage to make 50 simoleons, but that was nowhere near how much she wanted to make.  Blowing a few dollars on a drink didn't seem like it would do much harm...

... plus, perhaps she might be able to convince some of the sparse patrons in the bar to donate to her "I'm a loser" fund. 

The sound of someone playing the piano catches Ari's attention.

She motions to the drums near him on stage, silently asking him if he wishes for some company.  He smiles in reply, slowing the tune so she can join in.

The rhythm he sets is slow, but melodic.  Calming - with just the right amount of jazz to keep her interested. She speeds the tune up a bit, the piano player happily changing tempo to keep up.

They continue playing song after song, each challenging the other.  Ari relishes this - the feeling of creating something with someone else - and it's clear that the man enjoys it too.

But all too soon, the bartender is closing up shop and shooing them from the stage.

Ari nods her head congenially as a goodbye, but the man stops her short - blocking her way. "You're a great drummer!" He enthuses.

Ari smirks. "I damn well better be.  I've been playing since I was a child."

"Well at least you don't lack in confidence." He laughs. "Listen - I want you to help me start a band."

Ari's smile disappears as she takes on a neutral expression.  She's been down this road before - bands never work out - but then, maybe it can this time.  This guy is certainly talented and they played well together, that's always a plus. "I... am more of a solo act."

"And I can respect that, but maybe I can convince you otherwise."

"Oh?" Ari asks, quirking her brow.

"I've seen you around town, playing on corners for money.  There's money in joining a band, especially in Twinbrook."

"I wasn't doing that just for the money." She lies, but it's obvious he can see through her.  She sighs heavily with a deep frown. "Can I have the night to think about it?"

His hopeful smile as he hands her a card with his contact information temporarily dissipates her initial reservations a bit - but only a tiny bit. "The name's Quincy. Take the night, please.  Take the next week! Just promise me you'll actually consider it.  We would make a good team."

And she keeps to her promise as soon as she gets back home.  Assuming she and Quincy are able to put together a semi-decent band and score some good gigs, this could turn into just what she needs - at least financially.  The prospect of having to work with others isn't exactly enticing, given her past experiences of being in a band, but Quincy seems nice enough and - fuck it. Why not?

She calls him that night to confirm that she's in, for better or worse.  If it doesn't work out, she'll just be back at square one.  No harm done.

Ari is up earlier than noon for once.  Quincy called her that morning asking if she had the time to help him pass out flyers for band auditions at the park.  Niles is happily surprised when she spills the beans on her daily plans.

"A band huh?" He smiles. "This will be a good thing for you."

"You think?"

"Hell yeah! It will get you out of the house a bit and even if it doesn't bring in the cash you're hoping, you'll meet some people in town who aren't your family."

"Is that your subtle way of telling me you want me out of the house more?" Ari smirks.

"Me and Cosette have something planned for tonight if you don't mind staying out a bit later.  Help a brotha' out?" He pouts, earning a snicker from Ari.  

"Oh fine.  Just... keep your activities far from my bed okay?"

Niles laughs. "Sure thing sis."

Cutting it short because this would have become the longest chapter on the planet...

I already stated this in the MTS chat thread, but the family tree (link found in the sidebar) is updated and all three Dean's are up at the RLC Uploads Blog'adoodle.

YARR! Moving on...

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

[Prologue] Chapter 2 - Cereal Murderer

Niles wakes early the next morning determined to make breakfast before he has to shuffle off to work.  Waffles are easy, right?


Apparently he and his stove are on entirely different wavelengths.  Or he didn't read the directions in a fit of overconfidence and put them in the stove for too long.  Psh. Details.

Never one to let failure sting for too long, he takes one last look at what could have been...

...then proceeds to the fridge to fix a bowl of cereal.  There's no way he can fuck up cereal.

And he might as well leave the burnt waffles out, while he's at it - to show his girlfriend and sister that he made the effort to create something edible.  At the very least, he'll get a laugh out of it.

Or a pity make-out from Cosette.

Off to his first full day of work.

His boss may think ripped shirts are hip, but Niles just thinks they're needlessly drafty. 

Whatever.  A paycheck is a paycheck - he can deal with substandard uniforms and questionable boss decisions for that fact alone.

Ari wakes sometime in the late afternoon - she's not entirely sure and doesn't particularly care.  It's not like she has anything important to wake up for anyway.

She smiles wryly when she witnesses the blackened waffles still sitting on the counter-top - Niles' handy-work, no doubt.  Her brother was never capable of making anything that required more than two steps to prepare/cook.

The house is entirely empty, as far as she can tell.  Cosette had mentioned briefly last night that she was heading to the community gardens to harvest some seeds or something and Niles had work.  Everyone was busy except for her.

Chores would keep her busy for a small time.  As much as she hated them, she owed her brother and Cosette that much.  Although, she's still skeptical about exposing her bare skin to the tap water after seeing that discolored waterfall just outside their house.

She shrugs in defeat and dips her hands into the soapy water to clean the dishes.  If she does develop any health issues from this, she's totally blaming her brother for moving here in the first place.

Ari heads to the bistro to busk with Niles' guitar once the boredom of being alone in the house gets to be too much.  If this were the city, she would have plenty of people to sway into tipping her - but Twinbrook is a different beast altogether.  Parking her butt by a busy restaurant seemed like a brilliant option when she first set out, but there's no one to be found.  It's like the damn town is devoid of life.*

True to her word, Cosette heads to the gardens to harvest some seeds.

She knows that it is called the "community" gardens, but she can't help feeling like she's stealing something whenever she comes here to harvest.  Or that she somehow partially owns the property as she's the only person in all of Twinbrook that really cares enough to tend the garden during her visits.

When she returns home, the fog rolls in from the lowland swamps engulfing her new garden and obscuring the soil so she can't even inspect if it's rich enough to grow plants.

Worth a shot anyway.  Worst case scenario - nothing grows and she feels like a failure for a few days before trying again.  

She's not sure how she managed it, but Cosette breaks both the sink and toilet within two minutes.  She could call the repairman, but that would cost money.  Money that they don't have.

Cosette rolls up her sleeves and prepares for the long haul.  She will fix these things dammit.  SHE WILL FIX ALL THE THINGS... or break them further.  

Ari returns home just after Niles, who she finds playing his guitar alone outside.  As soon as he sees her walking up the steps toward their house, he motions with his head toward the drums - inviting her to join.

"I missed this." He says, yelling over the cacophony that they're creating.

"Me too." Ari raises her voice as much as she can over the noise, a small smile forming as they both finally start playing in harmony.

Being the only person in the house that actually knows how to cook, Cosette is stuck doing dinner-duty - not that she necessarily minds.  Her father had taught her to cherish not only growing food, but having the ability to make meals out of the fruits of your labor; so to speak.

Not that tonight's dinner is any indication of that.  It's store-bought macaroni and cheese, but even that isn't safe for Niles, and by extension Ari, to cook.  They'd burn it in a heartbeat.

"So what did you do today?" Cosette asks.

Ari frowns.  "I tried to busk to make some extra cash, but all I managed to make was five dollars from some weirdo that kept asking me to take requests."

Cosette and Niles share a look, before laughing.  "Twinbrook is one of the sparsest towns in the district population-wise."  Niles says. "Five dollars is probably the largest amount you'll get."

Ari raises her hands dramatically. "Busking is how I paid my rent back home."

"I could probably get you a job at the theater.  It won't be glamorous, but it will get some money in your pocket."  Niles offers.

Ari's frown deepens. "Thanks, but no.  I'll find some other way to get cash."

Cosette laughs at her refusal.  "Still not a fan of regular work hours?"

"More like not a fan of being told what do and receiving pittance pay in return."

"You're making pittance pay right now." Niles points out.

"Not forever." Ari corrects. "And I'd rather be making only little than dealing with stuffy bosses, dramatic co-workers, and having to work predetermined hours."

"Hear, hear." Cosette adds with a smirk.

Niles smiles wryly at both of them.  "Thanks for the not-so-subtle dig at my life choices."

"You're welcome." Ari replies with a laugh.

*Twinbrook only has about 22 residents as of this posting, mostly because I wanted to keep the population relatively small, but also because I'm not a big fan of the pre-mades EA placed.  So... yeah.  The town is pretty much empty right now.

Random Factotums:
-Ari is at level 7 with the drums and level 4 with the guitar.  Since there's not much to do in Twinbrook as of yet (I'm rebuilding portions of the town center), she's been mostly confined to the house.
-Niles is at level 5 with the guitar and level 2 of his job in the Music Career.  
-Cosette is at level 5 with gardening and has already managed to grow one perfect plant (for her LTW), although I'm not exactly sure how that happened.  As far as I know, there are no perfect seeds or harvest in the community garden... I'll have to double check that again.

Whew! Off to work on Chapter Tres.