Monday, September 5, 2011
Chapter 0.3: Misguided Mission
The evening had been amazing. No, better than amazing. Spectacular. Brian had never met anyone like Beatrix. She was so strong, yet so vulnerable. He felt such a connection with her, beyond anything he could imagine. As Brian heads to the door, he glances back at her out of the corner of his eye. He doesn't really want to leave tonight.
Brian decides to walk home. He just lives a few blocks away, and he hopes the fresh air will help clear his head. As he strolls down the street, his thoughts keep turning to Beatrix.
"I wasn't supposed to like her so much," he mutters to himself.
He shakes his head and tries to focus. As a top-level secret agent for the Sim Nation CIA, he's spent years perfecting his skills. He's trained to be cold and emotionless, robotic in his approach. Distance your feelings and get the job done, he was told.
When his boss assigned him this mission, he didn't even blink. It was supposed to be completely routine. Seduce the woman, locate the criminal, fight the bad guy, take him to jail. No problem. But for the first time ever his feelings were interfering with the job. He was falling for Beatrix, and falling hard.
Brian grimaces as he thinks about the goal of this mission. He's after a man named Ethan, a dirty, thieving scumbag who happens to be Beatrix's ex-boyfriend. Brian's not sure what he despises more: That he's a thief or that he used to date Beatrix.
Even though he doesn't know the entire history between Bea and this criminal, he knows that their pasts are intricately intertwined. In order to find out more about the target, he needs to gain Bea's trust. And once she opens up to him, he can use her to find Ethan.
Ethan. The name leaves a bad taste in Brian's mouth. According to preliminary reports, Ethan von Hagen was a high-level officer in the Sim Nation army. Apparently, he joined the military at a young age and quickly rose through the ranks to a position of authority. He used his power to gain access to confidential documents regarding a secret undercover sting operation against a dangerous vampire cult. He stole the information and passed it on to his father, a Kristopher von Hagen, before going into hiding. He's been on the run ever since.
And Brian intends to catch him. He loathes crime, but especially crime against the government. Brian will do everything in his power to make sure this Ethan fellow is brought to justice. He knows very well that treason is punishable by death, and honestly he hopes for nothing less.
The next morning, Brian gets a call. The muffled voice on the other end of the line tells him to meet at 5 o'clock p.m. The usual location. Before he can respond, the line goes dead.
That afternoon, Brian stands nervously outside the office building, anxiously awaiting her arrival. Secrecy and stealth is all part of the job of an undercover agent, but nevertheless these impromptu meetings put him on edge.
"Hello Agent Locklear," a middle aged woman greets him. "It's been awhile since we last spoke. I flew in this morning from Shang Simla, China to check up on your progress." The woman speaks quickly, keeping her voice low and quiet. "I'm hoping to hear good news," she adds as Brian hesitates.
Brian glances around nervously. He's stayed calm during shoot-outs and underground raids, kept his cool while fighting criminals and dismantling bombs, but this woman, his boss, terrifies him.
"Yes," he says delicately. "I've located Beatrix McKinley, and I believe she holds the key to finding Ethan. I'm currently working on cracking her."
"I sense uncertainty from you Brian," she replies calmly. She scans his face, and her eyes narrow suspiciously. "I'm not used to such little progress from you. What seems to be the hold up?"
"Bea is much stronger than I originally thought."
"Bea?" she repeats slowly. "I didn't realize you were on such casual terms with her."
Brian looks down, flustered.
"Ahh, I see," the woman says, her voice no louder than a whisper. "You've developed feelings for this woman. I thought you were better than that Brian," she stares at him intently, carefully watching his reaction.
"No!" he exclaims, his eyes full of defiance. "There is nothing between Beatrix and me."
The woman frowns. "If you are developing an attachment to the McKinley woman, it could compromise the operation. You are one of my best agents, but I can't risk losing Ethan von Hagen to carelessness. Perhaps I should assign someone else to the case."
"No," he says decisively. A look of resolute determination crosses his face. "I am the best man for the job. Beatrix means nothing to me, and I will be sure to keep it that way."
"Good," his boss replies firmly. "Then get out there and do your job."
Brian nods, and the woman turns and leaves. With renewed conviction, Brian heads home to begin working out the details of his plan.
Meanwhile, back at the McKinley household it's Skylar's birthday. Beatrix and Sky have a private celebration at home.
Skylar becomes a child. His mediocre surroundings do not please him. Not at all.
Skylar is a very independent kid. He has a vivid imagination and can spend hours entertaining himself. One of his favorite activities is taking the sofa for a joy ride. He doesn't have many friends, but it doesn't really bother him all that much.
Being a single, working mother, Bea finds it hard to manage a career, a family, and a social life. Something's gotta give, and unfortunately Skylar doesn't get all the attention he deserves. She worries about her son's peculiar behavior, but she figures that he'll probably just grow out of it. At least, she hopes so.
His only true companion is his classmate Irma. Irma Parsons is the adopted daughter of Paul Parsons and James Michael. She is their fourth child, with three older brothers and one younger sister. She and Skylar bonded over being the class rejects, and soon they became best friends.
They don't really care that no one else at school likes them. They are just happy to have each other to play with.
Saturday morning arrives, and Beatrix gets a call from Brian.
"I hear the Ritz Lounge is the place to be tonight, and lucky for you I have two passes for the VIP section," he says, the words rolling smoothly off his tongue.
Beatrix laughs. "Lucky for me? Or lucky for you?" she teases.
"Come on, Bea. Let's go together. A real date, just the two of us."
Bea hesitates. Now that Skylar is old enough to stay home by himself, she doesn't need to hire a babysitter to watch him. And she has been wanting to experience Anne Arbor's night life...
"Oh, alright," she agrees.
"Awesome! Meet you there at 7:00?"
"See you then," she says with a smile. For the rest of the day, Bea can't stop grinning. It will be her first real date since Ethan, and she can't wait to see Brian.
That night, Beatrix digs an old dress out of her closet and decides to wear her hair down. She's quite pleased with the result.
"Wow Bea. Just wow." Brian gazes at her in amazement. "You look beautiful," he tells her softly.
Beatrix blushes and looks down shyly. She feels nervous all of a sudden, and she wishes Brian would quit looking at her that way. She wonders if perhaps she should have worn something a bit more modest.
Once inside the lounge however, Beatrix feels her nerves dissipate. Brian buys her a drink, and they stand around talking for hours.
As the bar begins to close up, Beatrix hugs Brian good night.
"I had a great time tonight," she whispers in his ear.
Brian smiles. "You know, the night doesn't have to end here," he tells her.
"Yes, well I'd better get home to Skylar. He's probably wondering why I'm out so late."
Brian sighs. "Well, why don't you come over to my place tomorrow night? I'll cook dinner," he offers.
Bea laughs at his persistence, but she readily agrees. She's eager to see him again.
The following evening, Beatrix arrives at Brian's large townhouse. She's shocked by how nice the place is. She had no idea how wealthy he was.
After dinner, they decide to watch a movie. Before long, the pair finds themselves getting cozy on the couch. As things heat up, they decide to head upstairs.
Beatrix and Brian make their way to the bedroom. Brian pushes Bea onto the bed and kisses her passionately. Deep down, he knows he shouldn't be doing this, that sleeping with Beatrix would compromise every aspect of the mission. But in the passion of the moment he doesn't care. He wants her, and he wants her now.
Afterward, as they lay together quietly on the bed, Brian decides that now is his chance. Never is a woman more vulnerable than when she's lying half-naked in your bed, cuddled up in your arms.
"So, tell me about your past," Brian says casually. "How did you end up raising Skylar all on your own?"
Beatrix sighs. She knew this was coming. He deserves to know the truth, she tells herself. If they have any chance at a future together, he needs to know about her past.
"I was 17 years old when I found out I was pregnant. My parents couldn't handle it, that their only daughter was going to be a teenage mother, so they kicked me out as soon as Sky was born." Beatrix watches Brian carefully, not wanting to scare him away but not wanting to hide from the truth either.
Brian nods, and Beatrix continues. "I was so angry with them. I wanted to get as far away from my family as possible, so I hopped on the first train out of town and ended up here, in Anne Arbor."
"And Skylar's father? What about him?" Brian asks carefully.
"Ethan. He joined the military straight out of high school, and I haven't heard from him since."
Hearing his name, Brian's heart begins to race.
"Surely you must know something about his whereabouts? Have some way of contacting him?" He glances at Beatrix cautiously, hoping to avoid arousing any suspicions.
"No. I don't. And I never want to either," she replies with disgust. "He is out of my life and out of Skylar's life for good. Why do you care anyway?" she inquires with a laugh.
"Oh, just curious." He tries to sound nonchalant about it, but he feels deflated.
Then, he suddenly gets an idea. "Does Ethan know about Skylar?"
Beatrix frowns. "Yes, he does. Brian, why do you care about Ethan so much?" she asks, a hint of confusion in her voice. "He's out of my life. Forever. And besides," she adds with a smile, "we have you now."
Brian grins. For the first time in a long time, he feels the warm sensation of happiness in the pit of his stomach, the feeling of being loved and cared about.
He decides not to push it anymore tonight.
After a few more minutes, Beatrix gets dressed and leaves. She needs to get home before Skylar wakes up, and she has to be at work first thing in the morning. She kisses Brian goodbye and heads on her way.
As she walks home, Beatrix can't help but feel like she's being watched. She stops to look around, but no one's there. She shakes her head and continues the short distance to her building.
However, just before she arrives she feels a strange gust of wind on her face. She whips around and...
Comes face to face with Ethan.
"Hello darling," he murmurs quietly. "Remember me?"
It's a bit longer than my normal chapters, for which I apologize. I kept trying to find a decent place to stop, but I just couldn't bear to cut it short.
So Ethan's back. *Happy Face* I adore that Sim. I had several plots in mind for him, but I finally settled on this one. I quite like how it's shaping up, but as always I'm curious what you all think.
And I've decided that Skylar will NOT be the heir. I'm taking a risk here, because he is quite handsome as a teenager (if I do say so myself). But I really want the heir to have Bea's hidden firefighter trait(s). In game, I'm pretty much where I left off in this chapter (more or less), so the father of Bea's second child is a mystery (even to me, lol).