Friday, April 19, 2013

[Prologue] Chapter 8 - C'mere

The title of this chapter is a song by Interpol.

Ari wakes to the clatter of plates and laughing in the kitchen.  She grimaces when she reads the time on the clock.  It's still morning dammit; which means she got, at most, four hours of sleep.

She's tempted to crawl back under the covers and continue sleeping, but the smell of pancakes wafting into her room makes her stomach growl.

Ari stumbles out of her room and plops into one of the empty seats, trying to both ignore Noemi's inquiries about Quincy's date and the eyebrow waggle that Jarrod gives her as he places a plate in front of her. Maker, it is far too early to be dealing with this level of awkward.

"We're going on a second date..." Quincy stops himself when he catches a glimpse of Ari's hurt expression before she has sense enough to change it. "Are you okay, Ari?"

Fuck. "Yeah." She lies. "I'm just... hungover."

Noemi seizes the opportunity to change the subject and regale them with how much Twinbrook hasn't changed at all since they left, while Jarrod eases himself into the seat next to Ari with a smirk. "Nice save." He whispers.

She hopes that her glare will silence him for the rest of the day.

Noemi drags Ari out for a "girl's day." Being away from the apartment is definitely welcome, given that one of her band mates puts her in a jealous rage and the other saw her naked, among other things.

Their first stop is to the local salon where both Noemi and Ari get a haircut.  It's been years since Ari has had her hair this short, and she's surprised how light her head feels once the inches are chopped away. It feels strangely liberating.

Noemi is happy with her new 'do. At least now she somewhat looks like the bassist in a rock band, instead of someone they just threw on stage last minute to fill a gap.

"We should get a tattoo." Ari chuckles when Noemi protests nervously, not at all a fan of the idea of being drawn on with a needle; but in the end, Ari manages to push Noemi to the parlor to watch as she gets one.

Noemi turns her attention to the conveniently placed tattoo display as soon as she hears the tattoo gun begin to buzz.

"Oh man! I think I'm drawing blood. Noemi look!" Ari and the tattoo artist share a smirk when Noemi clutches her stomach in disgust.

Not cool, Ari. Not cool.

Ari treats Noemi to dinner in payment for, almost literally, scaring the shit out of her back at the tattoo parlor. 

When Ari sneaks out back for a quick smoke, Noemi is right on her heels.

"When are you going to talk to him?" 

Ari tenses. There's no way that Noemi knows about her romp with Jarrod, so this has to be about Quincy, which doesn't lessen how uncomfortable the topic is. Ari sucks deeply on her cigarette to stall the inevitable.  When Ari continues to let the silence hang, Noemi snuffs out her cigarette in annoyance.

"Talk to who?" Judging by Noemi's deepening frown, Ari's attempt at playing coy isn't going over very well either. "Why are you asking me this now?"

"I've only been back a day, and I'm already tired of seeing you pout every time you're around Quincy. And I don't want this to be something that gets between you two. You need to be honest with him and tell him how you feel now or you never will."

"Maybe I don't want to tell him? Relationships in bands don't mix well." Ari can feel the bile building up in her stomach. She had no problem fucking a band mate the other night, why should she have any reservations about this? "Let's say we do get serious and it ends up not working out; I don't want that to be the reason the band splits up and -"

"- don't you dare." Noemi interrupts. "Don't you dare use that as an excuse to be a coward. We're friends first and band members second. Talk to him. Whatever happens, I'll be there for you. And so will Jarrod."

Ari leaves the conversation feeling worse than before.

Jarrod had enough sense not to ask Quincy earlier in front of Ari, but the curiosity is now too tempting to resist... "So how is what's-her-name in bed? She looks like someone that knows how to have fun."

"Her name is Veronica." Quincy purses his lips. "And that is none of your business."

"You're not going to give me any details? Seriously? Help a friend out here." Jarrod sighs in defeat when Quincy remains silent. "Fine. What I have cooked up in my mind is probably more entertaining anyway."

The taxi driver is not amused by the conversation and worse yet, she's sure she slept with that asshole. 

The movie the guys went to see was horrible. Quincy is disappointed that the screenwriter didn't stay true to the book, and Jarrod is offended that he paid for that mess of a film.

"Do you think we can get a refund?"

"I don't want it unless they can rewind time and refund two hours of my life." Jarrod scoffs.

Noemi thinks that whoever painted this monstrosity *cough*Quincy*cough* should stick to their day job.

Later that night, the band plays a show at the bar.  Ari steps outside for a smoke when the atmosphere gets a tad too crowded for her. With their new found fan base growing everyday, it's becoming more and more difficult for her to relax after gigs without someone interrupting to inflate her ego or ask for an autograph.

"There are benches here, you know?" Quincy leans against the fence with a tired grin. The attention is apparently getting to him as well.

"Benches are for losers." Ari quips. 

Quincy laughs. "Always the contrarian. So... beside trying to escape our rabid fans, what are you doing out here anyway?"

Ari shrugs as she gets up from the table to stamp out her cigarette. "It's stuffy in there."

"You're a terrible liar."

"So says everyone, but I think I'm pretty damn good at it."

Quincy grabs Ari's arm when she starts walking back toward the bar entrance. "What's really going on? You've been avoiding me all day."

She contemplates shrugging him off again and going back inside.  She'd rather deal with the people in the bar than with this conversation, but Noemi's advice stops her. Tell him now or you never will. This will get between you two if you aren't honest with him. Don't be a coward. 

With reluctance, she faces Quincy. "I have feelings for you." 

Ari says it so quickly that she's worried Quincy might ask her to repeat it, but by the confused look on his face, it's obvious he heard her.  Quincy clears his throat awkwardly to break the silence, clearly as uncomfortable as Ari is at this moment . "You do?"

Ari nods mutely, her grip tightening on her sleeve. If he doesn't speak soon she might tear her damn shirt in pieces purely out of nervousness. "Will you please say something already." She snaps.

"I... don't really know what to say."

"That's not the response I was hoping for."

"You're one of my best friends." Ari steels herself against the rejection with a thin smile. "I do care about you, but you're like family to me. There's a lot riding on us remaining close and I don't want to jeopardize that, or the band, by getting intimate. I've seen that kind of stuff break people in this business, and I don't know what I'd do if I lost you as a friend. You know?"

"I do. Maybe I shouldn't have said anything."

"No. I'm glad you told me. I just wish I could return your feelings. You know you're awesome, it's just... well... you know."

Ari laughs. "I'm a mess?"

"I was going to word it a bit nicer, but yeah. You are totally a mess." Ari punches him hard in the arm with a feigned look of hurt.

"I'm kidding, I'm kidding!"

Ari furrows her brow. "So what now?"

"We... go raid the bar as friends?" He shrugs.

"I could use a few stiff drinks right now."

"You're okay, right?" 

"No, but I will be." Ari admits. "I say you owe me some strong alcoholic beverages of the vodka variety."

Quincy chuckles lightly as he leads the way back to the bar entrance. "I think you're right. Drinks are on me."

The sting of rejection. Ouch.

Holy shit ladies and gents - Ari is quickly becoming one of the most downloaded sims of all my legacies. What is this sorcery? On a serious note: I'm glad people like her enough to have her in their games. Or hate her enough to murder her in their games. I don't judge.

I've discovered a new glitch since patching.  Ari now has four steady partners, 3 girls and one guy. She's never met any of them, never socialized with any of them, never even freakin' been in the same vicinity as any of them (redundancy, yay!!).  But somehow she's dating all four.

Stop it, game. Just stop it.

(TLDR; Ari has imaginary significant others, possibly as a way to cope with the blow of Quincy's rejection. Or because my game is stupid.)

Sunday, April 14, 2013

[Prologue] Chapter 7 - Never Happened

Noemi didn't wake everyone at the butt crack of dawn as Quincy predicted, but she did wake them up before noon, which is as good as dawn given the lack of sleep and splitting headache that Ari is now experiencing.  When Quincy finally joins her in the living room, it's obvious he's feeling the same.

"You two look like shit." Jarrod plops down on the couch next to Ari. "Busy night?"

"Busy drinking." Quincy grimaces.

"Worst.idea.ever." Ari mutters. "I'm never drinking again."

"Taxi's here." Noemi shrugs on her jacket and grabs the apartment keys. She frowns when Ari and Quincy trudge slowly from their seats to join her by the elevator. They both give a sheepish smile in apology. "Just promise me that you won't throw up in front of Weston."

Ari and Quincy nod placatingly.

"Not good enough." Noemi says, placing her hand over her heart and waiting for them to follow suit.  Ari narrows her eyes at Jarrod when he snickers at the scene. "Now repeat after me. I, say your name, will not release the contents of my stomach in front of Weston."

Ari and Quincy repeat her words with matching grimaces. "Good." Noemi smiles. "Now we can go."

They all meet at Weston's bar, The Warehouse.  Only the stage and general bar area are open for business, but from the short tour Weston provides, Ari is excited to christen the place.

Weston leads them to his upstairs office and leans back against his desk with a serious expression as Noemi introduces everyone.  Ari doesn't like the way he practically stares into your soul while he supposedly "commits your name to memory," but he seems nice enough and doesn't linger long with idle conversation. Thank the Maker. "So... when would you like to start?"

"Tonight?" Noemi offers.

"Itching to get out there, eh? Tonight is perfect." Weston clasps his hands together in satisfaction. "Be back at 7.  We'll work out payment once we see how your first night goes."

Their first night goes well enough that Weston officially hires them as a bar exclusive. He can't afford to pay them every night, so they only play twice a week. The pay is enough that they are finally living somewhat comfortably.

Jarrod showing off, as usual.

At least they're building a small fan base.

It is one night - two weeks into their stay - that Quincy accepts a date from a woman who frequents their shows.

And it is this night that Ari discovers she has feelings for Quincy when he accepts.  He seemed so happy, that she didn't want to spoil it.  And now here she is, spending the night alone again, wondering how Quincy's first date is going and hoping that it turns into a disaster.

Ever since she had reluctantly admitted her feelings for Quincy to Noemi and Jarrod, they had been constant companions.  Noemi played the "nurturing and reassuring" role, while Jarrod fixed himself as the "I'm going to convince you that feelings are ridiculous" person, not that she needed much convincing otherwise.

Both were obviously worried in their own ways and Ari appreciated that they cared enough to be concerned, but she also hated it.  Really hated it.

Especially when they stared at her, full of pity, like Jarrod is now.

"How are you holding up?"

"I'm fine." Ari stirs her drink absentmindedly trying not to appear as downtrodden as she feels.

"You are fine." Jarrod quips, eyebrows waggling suggestively. "But you're also a liar."

Ari chugs her drink and wipes the excess from her mouth with her sleeve. "I'm fine." She repeats more firmly this time.

"All right, all right." He puts his hands up defensively, his sly smile telling her that he's about to try to persuade her into doing something stupid.  "I just don't see the point of stewing here all alone."

"The point is to get thoroughly sloshed, enjoy a few cigarettes, and pretend that I'm still not one of those pathetic girls that pines after some guy."

"Good plan. Almost flawless. It's missing one key ingredient though."

Ari narrows her eyes. "If you say meaningless sex.."

"Meaningless sex." He answers at the same time. Ari rolls her eyes. "Anytime I'm feeling down, I find someone to feel up. If you know what I mean."

"Ew. And no." Ari makes a move to leave the bench, and this conversation.

"Okay. Okay. No sex." Jarrod laughs. "But at least get out there.  Get a few numbers. Flirt. It may be just the thing you need right now."

Ari sits back down with a pout. "Why are you so hellbent on this?"

"I don't like watching my friends suffer."

"Or you just really want someone to hit the bars with you."

"That too." Jarrod smiles. "Come on. Please. It'll be fun. I promise."

It may be the drinks she's consumed, but Jarrod's idea is sounding better by the minute. And he seems genuine in wanting to help. "Hmph." She sighs. "Fine."

The guys that Ari attempts to flirt with aren't her type, as Jarrod tactfully points out, but she isn't looking to do anything more than score a few free drinks and keep her mind off Quincy.

One of her goals is successful. She's sure her liver is thanking her right now.

Jarrod and Ari return to the apartment to find it unsurprisingly empty.  Noemi isn't expected to return until the next day, having spent some of her money on a trip back home to visit her husband, and Quincy isn't home yet - meaning his date has apparently gone successfully.  Maybe he's spending the night at her place.  That last thought alone makes Ari's stomach churn.

"Why did you really take me out tonight?" Ari asks in a feeble attempt to distract her own thoughts. "You could have picked up any of those girls tonight and brought them home.  Don't think I didn't see you turn away that redhead at the last bar."

"I was your wing-man tonight and since you weren't in the mind to bring anyone home, then neither was I.  Besides, she wasn't my type."

"Yeah right." Ari smirks. "She's practically every girl I've ever seen you hit on incarnate."

Jarrod shrugs as he joins her on the couch. "In truth, Noemi was worried about you and wanted me to keep an eye on you while she's out of town."

"Sounds like her.  So this was just a favor then?" Ari thought that she and Jarrod were friends, but if he was only hanging out with her because someone asked him too...

"No." He interrupts. "Well yes.  But I wanted to do it.  You're, uh, someone I like to be around."

Ari is painfully aware how close they are now; how they've both been inching slowly until they are touching.

"I am?" She asks quietly.  She likes the way his hand feels on her back as he slowly traces circles with his thumb, and the way he smiles with surprise when she leans in to his touch.  She shouldn't be doing this, they shouldn't be doing this.

Ari doesn't back away when Jarrod kisses her.

She doesn't protest when they both move to his bedroom.

And she definitely doesn't stop him when things get more heated.

It's only afterward that they both realize their mistake.

"Uh..." Jarrod mutters, not even sparing a glance at the side of the bed that Ari is occupying, "... we fucked up, didn't we?"

Ari nods mutely, bunching the sheets around her tightly. "I'm going to go to my room now." She gets up to dress quickly. "This never happened, Jarrod. Not a peep to anyone."

"What never happened?" Jarrod leans back on his pillow with a light laugh when Ari frowns. "It's already forgotten."  Ari doesn't respond.  All Jarrod hears is the door of his room click shut.

Ari slips quietly into the hallway.  The apartment is empty besides her and Jarrod, but she still feels like she's been caught doing something dirty.  Her feet pad silently across the floor until she reaches her own room.

This is the moment that she most regrets not having a damn door. She needs some privacy, some time to think, but instead she settles for changing into her pajamas and going to sleep.

Sleep is always better than thinking about a mistake.


Uh-oh spaghettios.

I had an editing mishap this go around and decided not to fix it.  And by "not fixing it," I mean I was far too lazy to re-edit everything - so overly contrasted pictures it is! : /

Quincy, Jarrod, Noemi, and her yet-to-be-revealed husband Gunther are all available at the RL Sims Blog.