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.

[Prologue] Chapter 1 - Pink Zebra Suitcase

Ari never had much foresight when it came to... anything really.  She exchanged her ticket for an earlier one to Twinbrook, without warning her brother, and now she is stuck on his front porch waiting for him to return.

She stomps the cigarette unceremoniously with her shoe when the smoke can no longer be distinguished from the fog now threatening to engulf her entire being.  The sensible thing to do would be to call her brother and let him know that she's here squatting on his front porch, but as soon as she pulls her phone out, it's the taxi company she dials.

"Where you goin'?" The taxi driver asks.

Ari looks around, completely out of her element in this foreign and utterly green environment. "Anywhere with alcohol." She concludes.

The taxi driver simply nods with a congenial smile that looks anything but genuine. Anyone that drinks this early in the day is bound to look like an alcoholic.

The taxi driver drops Ari off at a small bar not far from her brother's place.

It is small, unassuming, and not somewhere she would normally go - but then, this is not Elmira City and she will have to get used to these kinds of places given the town she's now in.  Whatever. The inside has to be better than the unspectacular outside - and if not, she has enough money in her pocket to purchase a few drinks. Maybe through inebriation, the whole situation will be a little more bearable.

Ari seats herself in the nearest bar stool, placing her heavy suitcase on the floor next to her chair.  

The bartender doesn't lift her eyes from the glass she is cleaning when she finally asks what Ari would like to drink.  The drink menu is small and relatively unsurprising, but something with Molotov in the name calls to her.

"Good choice." The bartender responds with a sly side-glance. "Nothin' like setting your insides on fire to get through the day." 

Ari nods with a smile, not entirely listening to the lady while she adjusts her suitcase below.  It was only days ago that her apartment was robbed of everything that she held dear; she'd be damned if someone swiped her lone suitcase as well.

Ari thought the bartender was kidding about the fire.  She thought wrong.

Her body was going to hate her later.

She had to give it to the bartender though; the drink certainly hit the spot.

"You aren't from around here, are ya'?" She asks as she watches Ari down her drink.

Ari smirks into her glass, setting it down on the bar with a slight laugh. "Was the suitcase not enough of a giveaway?"

The bartender shrugs. "Havin' luggage doesn't always mean you're comin' in to town.  You could just as well be leavin' it."

"Good point." Ari concedes as she peruses the menu for another drink.  She points to something that she can't pronounce as her new order.

The blonde bartender immediately starts concocting whatever the hell it is that Ari just ordered, the smile on her face an indication that it is another one she approves of.  "So where ya' from?" She asks.

"Elmira City."

Ari watches as the bartender's brows scrunch together in confusion.  "Why would you leave there for here?"

Ari taps the glass lightly with her fingernail as she mulls the answer over in her head. Why did she leave? Elmira had everything an up-and-coming musician would want at their disposal, a place to discover herself and be discovered - but that was all crushed the moment someone violated her privacy and ruined her financially.

 Now she was here in Twinbrook, mooching off of her brother's kindness.

"I needed a fresh start." She finally answers, taking a sip from the cup in her hand.

"Then you came to the wrong place." The bartender says. "Twinbrook may seem like a quaint little town to escape your worries, but it's all an act.  You shoulda' stayed in Elmira."

Ari frowns. "If it's so bad here, then why stay?"

"Easy to get in, tough to get out."  She replies cryptically. 

"Right." Ari narrows her eyes at the lady behind the bar, willing her to continue, but she doesn't.  She shrugs it off as someone fucking with the newcomer, instead turning her attention back to her suitcase to fumble around for her pack of cigarettes.  "Are we allowed to smoke in here?"

"Bad habit." The bartender smirks, leaning on the bar to peer at another customer entering the establishment.

"I have a lot of those.  So is that a yes, or do I need to go outside?"

The new patron and the blonde share a glance before she turns her attention back to Ari. "The smoking area is outside, darlin'.  And I suggest you bring your belongings with ya' - I'm closin' up shop."

Ari doesn't bother arguing with the lady that bar sign outside says they're open until 3 AM; it was getting stuffy in there - and the bartender was starting to irk her in a bad way.  

She stands on the porch enjoying her cigarette and the last bit of sunlight, before she takes out her phone and dials the taxi company again.  Her flight was supposed to come in around this time, so her brother is probably expecting her.

Niles greets her as soon as the taxi comes to a stop in front of his house.  Ari can't help smiling at his excitement.  "Hey big bro."

He pulls her into a hug. "Hey little sis."  He frowns when they separate. "Our neighbor told us he saw someone fitting your description camping out in front of our humble abode earlier today."

"I went to the bar to kill some time."

"As your older brother, I feel it my duty to lecture you on not calling me and meandering around town by yourself."

"Well as your younger sister, I feel it my duty to tell you to fuck off." She smirks.

Niles laughs as he grabs her suitcase.  "Stop being a brat and get in the damn house."

As soon as they enter the house, Ari is assaulted with another hug.

"Ari!" Cosette squeals. "It's been too long.  How was the flight here?"

Ari grimaces. "Long. And turbulent."

Cosette nods sympathetically, leading Ari to their dining area where Niles is already seated. "Sorry to hear that."

"So what exactly happened in Elmira?" Niles interrupts.

Ari wilts pitifully as she takes a seat at the far side of the table.  "Some asshole broke into my apartment and stole anything that had value."

Cosette shakes her head angrily.  "I don't understand how someone could do that.  Steal from someone who clearly doesn't have much to begin with."

"You still have money in the bank though right?  That will help get you back onto your feet."  Niles furrows his brow when his sister sinks further into her seat.  She was never exactly the responsible type - but he had hoped that perhaps living on her own would have changed that.  Judging by her averted gaze, that is clearly not the case.

Ari sighs heavily.  "There's not much in there.  Enough to help you both out with the house payments for a few weeks maybe, but not much else."

"Well - you're free to stay as long as you like." Cosette smiles.

Niles nods his head in agreement. "We have a spare room that was used for Cosette's parents when they lived with us, so there's plenty of room."

Ari grins with relief.  "Thanks. Seriously. I'd be living on the streets if it weren't for you two."

Niles reaches across the tables to pat his sister's hand with a tired smirk.  "No sister of mine is going to be homeless." He yawns. "I have to go in to work early tomorrow, so I think I'm going to bed."

Cosette pulls Niles back in his seat for a quick kiss goodnight.  "I'll meet you in a bit.  I want to show Ari to her room and make sure she's comfortably settled."

"There's no need..." Ari interrupts, but Cosette shoots her a determined glare that kills any objection she might have made.  "Never mind." She corrects with a small laugh. "Lead the way."

"Sorry for the lack of... everything.  My parents only left some of their furniture when they moved out and we never really had the motivation since to get this room fixed up properly." Cosette frowns.

"It has a bed.  That's all I need."  Ari answers.

Cosette places her hand on Ari's shoulder, squeezing it gently in a reassuring manner. "We're glad you're here.  The circumstances aren't ideal, but we're glad nonetheless."

Ari smiles. "Thanks."

"Well..." Cosette removes her hand and heads toward the door. "... if you need anything, you know where to find us."

Feeling too confined in her room and not particularly tired, Ari heads outside to get some fresh air.  

Twinbrook certainly offers some... intriguing sights.  A green sludge waterfall is certainly something she's never seen before and makes her wary of drinking water from the tap... or showering, for that matter.  Her first purchase shall be water bottles.  Lots and lots of water bottles.

Her brother's drum set sits idly on the deck, begging her to play it.  She settles into a rhythm with practiced ease, relishing in playing her favorite instrument and finally working off her stress and frustration.

It wasn't her drum set though; the one that she learned to play on and poured money into over the years to make it uniquely her own.  Those drums were gone - likely pawned off in pieces somewhere by the asshat who had stolen them from her apartment.

But that didn't matter right now - none of it did.  All that was important was the sounds that she could produce and create a worthwhile beat from.

She can put the blunder in Elmira City behind her and move on from there.  Maybe Twinbrook will be better for her than she thought.  She grimaces when the smell of something chemical and not altogether healthy wafts in her direction from Maker knows where.  Or maybe not.

Shiny new legacy and fresh new start! 

Side note: Ari and Niles are the grandchildren of Harlan and Dafne Harris, as will likely be evident from their noses and chins.  Having said that, not much else besides genetics, and perhaps a few later cameos, will tie into the Harris Legacy.  This is a completely new story.

(Although, Adamaris and Uther might appear at some point. I CAN'T QUIT THEM!)

I'm currently working on the Generations tab - so Ari's generation roll will be revealed once I fix that up.

Anyways - ONWARD!