Sunday, January 27, 2013

[Prologue] Chapter 6 - Electricityscape

The title is named after a song by The Strokes.

Quincy swings the door wide to their temporary apartment.  He places Ari's suitcase unceremoniously on the floor as he sweeps his arms in front of him dramatically to show off the place. "What do you think?" He smiles.

Ari shrugs tiredly. "Looks... large." She yawns and stretches, working out the hard spots in her back she earned from the cramped plane ride to Bridgeport. "Who's place are we crashing in again?" She asks.

"Noemi's husband's cousin's place." Quincy ushers Ari to the couch before he heads off to place her suitcase in the open room just beyond the front door. "This is your room." He bellows from the bedroom. "I had them save it for you."

"Thanks." Ari smiles when Quincy returns to sit on the other couch.  Over the past month Quincy has proven to be a close friend, much to her surprise. "Where is everyone else?"

"Jarrod left an hour ago to go check out the bars.  I've gotten a few texts from him asking us to join once you get into town.  I think he just wants a 'wing man.'" He laughs. "Noemi is in her room talking to her husband.  She misses him already."

"Married couples." Ari retches jokingly, earning a chuckle from Quincy.

Quincy's phone vibrates loudly from his pants pocket.  He frowns when he sees who is calling. "It's Jarrod.  Again."

Ari smirks. "He's just going to keep bugging you unless you meet up with him."

"So come with me."

Ari lays down on the couch. "No." She says stubbornly.

"Fine." Quincy sighs. "You've forced my hand."

Ari narrows her eyes as she watches Quincy hit a few buttons on his phone with a satisfied smile on his face.  A few seconds later and it's her phone that is ringing annoyingly.  She sits up lazily to read the screen.  As expected, it's Jarrod. "You told him it's my fault you aren't going, didn't you?"

"Yep." Quincy smiles in triumph.

"I hate you so much." She was so damn close to finally having a peaceful nap. SO DAMN CLOSE.

"Eh." He shrugs. "Come on lazy ass. I'll buy you a few drinks to make up for it."

The bar is dark, dank, and makes Ari nostalgic for the city life she left behind when she had to relocate to Twinbrook.  It's exactly the kind of place she would have frequented in her former life; cheap beer and sketchy individuals were always something of an attraction to her.

Ari and Quincy order their drinks from the bar before joining Jarrod.  He prattles on about this girl or that girl and which one he's going home with tonight, much to Ari's annoyance.

"Does any of this actually work?" She asks, interrupting Jarrod's musing about pretending to be some famous foreign celebrity or something; one of his many lies that he uses to persuade girls into spending the night with him. "I mean, what kind of women fall for this shit?"

"Wanna see for yourself?" Jarrod smirks.

Ari downs her drink in one swig and hops down from her seat. "Why not."

Jarrod picks his prey and stalks over to her confidently.  Ari is to pretend she recognizes him as Sergei Azarov, a fake famous director from Russia.  She delivers the lines he told her to recite and watches as he expertly persuades the woman to take him back to her place.  It only takes a few minutes and the two are leaving the bar together.

Quincy laughs when Ari returns to the table. "That was his quickest yet.  You're a better wing-man that I ever was."

"Wing-woman." She corrects. "I can't believe that worked." Ari's smile is one part perplexed, one part grudgingly impressed.

"Consider the audience. Jarrod has a nose for lonely, gullible women."

"Well at least she won't be going home alone..." Ari reasons.

"But she'll be waking up alone." Quincy downs his drink and waves to the waitress for another order. "Let's get a few more drinks in our system and then see what else Bridgeport has to offer."

It's cold outside when Quincy and Ari take to the streets, but they've consumed enough alcohol to keep the chill at bay.  They follow the shiny cement of the sidewalk, pointing out sights and memorizing the location of restaurants that they should go to along the way.  Ari figured they were going to hit up another bar, but it's a park on the far eastern side of the city that they visit instead.  Ari flops unceremoniously in a swing as she laughs at one of Quincy's jests.

"Do you ever miss living in the city?" He asks suddenly, his feet planted on the ground as he moves his swing to and fro slowly.

"Sometimes, although not as much as I thought I would. Why?"

"I just thought, you know, maybe Bridgeport will be a fresh start.  For all of us."

Ari quirks her brow. "What do you mean by fresh start?"

"I know we've only been here a day..." Quincy starts, "... but I can already see the opportunity here.  If I decided to stay here, at the end of our visit, would you consider staying with me?"

"I... we should talk about this with the rest of the band.  And see how we fare here first." Ari answers tactfully. "It's too early to talk of moving."

"Yeah. You're right." Quincy sighs.  It's cold enough outside to see his breath. "I had my whole life planned out from childhood.  I'd start a band, create great music, be successful. But here I am, an adult still living off the last of his college fund and wondering if I'll ever make it.  I guess I'm just getting more impatient the older I get."

Ari nods in understanding.  Before her setback in Elmira, she was just as impatient to make her dream a reality.

"We should probably head back.  Noemi is going to wake us at the butt crack of dawn to meet her friend, the bar owner."  He stands, offering his hand to Ari to help her up from her swing.

Ari grimaces as she accepts Quincy's outstretched hand, both of them slightly swaying drunkenly on their feet. "Great. I can feel the hangover already."

"Oh Maker. Me too dammit." Quincy laughs.

It hasn't been said yet, but the name of Ari's band is The Swamp Things.  Real original.

Quincy and Niles have been the nicest sims I've ever played with.  Quincy keeps wishing to hang out with Ari and Jarrod, or make food for Noemi - it's adorable.  And Niles is just Niles.

Niles and Cosette's baby will be featured sometime within the next two chapters.  She's adorable. <3

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

[Prologue] Chapter 5 - We Stick Together

Cosette and Niles return home from the doctor with startling, but not unwelcome, news. She is pregnant.  

They use what little they have left over from Niles' promotion check to buy a second-hand crib and reserve his next check for the house payment and whatever other baby essentials they need.  They are quickly realizing that babies are expensive.

After the news is shared with Ari, she heads outside under the pretense of doing the laundry.  In reality, she wants some fresh air and a smoke to calm her nerves.  Any day now, Niles and Cosette are going to ask her to leave.  A baby changes things and she's already an addition that takes up precious space.

Maybe Quincy has a room for rent...

"I hate that you still smoke." Niles says, interrupting Ari's thoughts. "It's not good for the environment."

"Don't you mean the body?" Ari turns to stamp the lit end of the cigarette in one of the small puddles forming near the porch fence.  She frowns as she watches the last remnants of smoke sizzle away in the water.

"I already tried that argument with you, to no avail." Niles smiles pitifully. "Maybe this approach will be more successful."

Ari shrugs morosely in response.  She'd rather not have this conversation again. "So... a baby. Congratulations."  Thankfully, he doesn't fight her change of subject.

"Thanks, sis. That means a lot." Niles wrings his hands nervously in the ensuing silence.

Ari releases an irritated sigh when she realizes she doesn't know what else to say to him.  What can she say anyway? Great. You're becoming an adult and starting a family, when do you want me out of here? A slight pang of guilt brings her back to her senses.  She's being selfish.  Her brother offered her a place to stay in her time of need, the most she can do is give him a damn smile of encouragement and get out of the way for once. "I think I might know a few people willing to let me stay with them." She lies.

"Okay..." He frowns. "You want to leave?"

"I don't want to be in the way." 

Niles pulls his little sister in for a hug. "You're always in the way." He laughs. "But I wouldn't have it any other way.  No matter what happens, we stick together."

Ari smiles as she remembers when her brother had said those exact words to her when their father passed away.  She was afraid.  It seemed like everyone she cared about was disappearing, first her mother and now her father, and soon it would be just her left.  Niles shook his head when she admitted her fear to him after the funeral. I won't disappear, he said.  No matter what happens, we stick together.    She felt a little more secure after that.  Niles would never leave her.

"I feel stupid for bringing it up." Ari admits.

Niles smirks. "You should."

With Niles working extra shifts and Cosette being pregnant, Ari has to step up and take care of the house most days.  Juggling a band, all-night gigs, housework, and attending to Cosette has left her little time to do much else besides sleep.

It doesn't help matters that her band members decide to have all of their meetings at her house, given that Quincy and Jarrod live in apartments that can barely fit themselves let alone four people and Noemi has a husband that works at home and doesn't appreciate the interruption that visitors cause.  Luckily, according to them, Ari has lenient roommates and a "spacious" house for their frequent sessions.

This meet-up is different though.  Noemi is the one that calls everyone, saying that she has great news to share.  "I have a friend in Bridgeport who just opened a new bar," she says excitedly.   "He's willing to hire us for the month and the pay is well worth it."

Ari zones out while Quincy, Jarrod, and Noemi plan everything to a 't'.  By the time she snaps back to the present, they're on to discussing when they're going to leave for Bridgeport - as if her consent has already been given.  She doesn't much care, she'd rather they finish up without her so she can take a nap already.

"Is that all right with you?" Quincy finally asks once he realizes Ari hasn't said a word. "We won't go unless we're all in."

Her band mate's hopeful faces sway her to give in.  "Sure. Whatever."

The only condition Ari gives is that she can't leave until after Cosette gives birth.  

Cosette goes into labor just one week later.  Niles is definitely not prepared for this. Truth be told, neither is Cosette.

They return home with a healthy baby girl named Amaya.

Ari spends what little time she has before her trip to Bridgeport with her new niece. She's never spent more than ten minutes alone with a kid, but she seems to take to it easily enough.  That is, until her diaper needs to be changed and Ari pawns Amaya off to her parents with an apologetic smile.

Ari's flight to Bridgeport is scheduled just three days after Amaya's birth.  Niles and Cosette see her off to her cab.

"I wish I could stay a bit longer to help you both out." Ari frowns.  Everything feels so rushed, and although she missed being in the city since leaving Elmira, she is going to miss her brother and his small family more.  

Cosette smiles in response. "We'll be fine. Concentrate on what you need to do..."

"... and be careful." Niles interrupts. 

The taxi pulls up in front of the house, cutting off Ari's snarky reply.  It's probably not in her best interest anyway, judging by her brother's worried expression.  She settles for a serious nod and a quick hug goodbye before getting into the cab.

Bridgeport, here she comes.

Happy belated New Year? It's 2013 already... where has the time goooonnnneeee??!!

Oh gawd; the story is FINALLY moving on.  Seriously, there was a grand bit of puttering to get to this point because I wasn't sure where I was going with it yet (and I may have had about 5 stories planned ahead of time that didn't work out for one reason or another), but I think I finally found a plot that I can accomplish.  Maybe...