Monday, October 17, 2011

Chapter 0.12: Expecting the Unexpected

Ryder tries to relax as he soaks in the hot, bubbly water, but the gorgeous (and stark-naked) woman lounging in the seat next to him makes relaxing seem like a foreign concept. The fact that she's an international superstar doesn't really help either.

"So you, uh, you like music?" Ryder asks nervously.

Carmen rolls her eyes. "I am Carmen Winters. The Carmen Winters, pop diva extraordinaire. What do you think?"

Ryder mutters a soft "Oh," before looking away awkwardly. Noticing his embarrassment, Carmen backtracks. "Not that you would have known that or whatever," she concedes with a fake smile.

"So Ryder," she continues, playfully bumping her leg up against his, "what's a handsome guy like you doing alone on a Saturday night?"

Ryder grins. Flirting he can handle. Small talk... not so much.

The steamy rooftop setting, the tantalizing pulse of the music, the romantic starlit night... Ryder quickly finds himself giving into the evening's temptations. He is so absorbed in the moment that he doesn't notice the dark man approaching them, he doesn't see Carmen angling herself for the best shots, he doesn't hear the quiet click of the camera.

As the club begins to shut down for the night, Ryder pulls away from Carmen.

"When can I see you again?" he whispers quietly.

Carmen grins. She was hoping he would ask that. "What about tomorrow evening?" she replies. "Meet me at the Underground dance club. I promise I can show you a good time," she tells him with a wink.

Ryder has heard enough. He eagerly agrees. Vaguely, he wonders why Carmen Winters, the Carmen Winters, is suddenly so interested in him, but the thought quickly fades. If he really stopped to think about it, he might realize that her new album comes out next week, that his latest blockbuster movie made him a highly sought after celebrity. But the only thing on his mind right now is Carmen's beautifully addicting smile.

"You look amazing," Ryder whispers as Carmen walks into the nightclub.

She smiles and runs her fingers through his hair. "You're not too shabby yourself," she replies.

After a bit of dancing (or in Ryder's case head-bobbing)...

Things begin to heat up between Ryder and Carmen.

"You know what would be fun?" Carmen asks, a mischievous glint in her eye.

As Ryder shakes his head, Carmen pulls him close and motions suggestively to the elevator. Ryder quickly gets the hint and grins at the idea.

Carmen and Ryder both look rather pleased with themselves, albeit for very different reasons.

They agree to go out again the next time Carmen's in town.

A few weeks later, Ryder picks Carmen up in his brand new sports car. He tells himself that he bought the car as a reward for his latest acting trophies, but really he just thinks that women find the expensive red convertible irresistible.

"Nice ride," Carmen comments. "I didn't realize actors were paid so well."

Ryder grins, satisfied. "Thanks," he replies.

For their date, Ryder takes Carmen to the local movie theater to see his latest flick. Half way through the film, however, Carmen starts feeling ill and quickly excuses herself.

Ryder stops her before she leaves. "When will I see you again?" he asks quietly. The paparazzi are beginning to swarm, and Carmen is looking greener than ever.

"I don't know Ryder" she snaps. "In a few weeks, I guess." Before Ryder can even offer to drive her home, she's already gone.

A few weeks come and go, and Ryder doesn't hear a word from Carmen. He begins to think that her reputation as a heart breaker is well deserved when he gets a call. Carmen's voice sounds sharp and edgy on the other end of the line, but he agrees to meet her at a local park that night.

Ryder frowns as Carmen approaches him. Something about her looks different to him, but he can't really put his finger on it. "Why'd you want to meet so late?" he inquires.

"Ryder," Carmen begins cautiously. "I'm- I'm pregnant," she says after a minute.

Ryder looks shell-shocked. "Oh..." he manages to force out. "And it's mine?" he asks the obvious, hoping for a miracle.

"Yes," she replies without hesitation. "Ryder, you don't know how bad this is going to look." Carmen speaks quickly, her voice edged in panic. "I mean, come on. You're married. And I'm single. And this was just supposed to be a fling. And... Oh my God! What are the execs at my label going to say?! I just- I just-" Carmen looks like she's on the verge of tears.

Ryder reaches out to comfort her, but she pushes him away. "Ryder, I need this... event... to look planned. I need it to appear as though we knew what we were doing."

Ryder stares at her blankly, so Carmen continues. "This is what is going to happen. You are going to dump your miserable little wife, and I'm going to move in. I will tell my agent to play up the pregnancy angle, and who knows? Maybe the attention will help both our careers."

"Dump Jane?" Ryder sounds overwhelmed. "But, I love her..."

"Loved," Carmen corrects, her tone uncaring. "You love me now." Ryder opens his mouth to argue, but she cuts him off. "Ryder, darling, we are going to have a baby. This is no time to get sentimental. We need to think about what is best for our careers and ourselves. Jane will get over it. Besides, you couldn't possibly have loved her that much anyway, considering my current condition."

Ryder hangs his head. Carmen's words cut deep, deeper than he would like to admit. But she's right after all. His current predicament is a direct result of his own actions.

Back at home, Jane puts baby Elijah in his crib for the night. She kisses him one last time before heading downstairs. Ryder still isn't back yet, but she's not worried. She rarely sees him these days anyway.

Ryder arrives home and cuts right to the chase. Despite their rocky relationship, his sudden desire to get a divorce takes Jane by complete surprise. She begs him not to do it, to let her stay around and help raise Elijah, but Ryder stoutly refuses.

"We're done Jane!" he shouts. "DONE! I want you out of this house by tomorrow evening!"

She doesn't even wait that long. She packs up her clothes and leaves that very night.

...But not without letting Ryder know how she feels about him first.

Carmen Winters moves in with Ryder and his family the following week. She finds her new home unsatisfactory and doesn't hesitate to let Ryder know how she feels.

Elijah has a birthday, but only Beatrix and Brian are around to celebrate it.

Elijah becomes a child and inherits the rebellious trait.

The day after Elijah's birthday, a strange feeling comes over Beatrix.

She suddenly feels all tingly inside.

Having lived a full and satisfying life, Bea goes with the reaper willingly.

But Brian is not ready to let his wife go. "I was supposed to be first!" he cries. "Take me! Take me!" he begs. But the reaper does not listen. The reaper never listens.

Elijah takes the news of his grandmother's death particularly hard. He was very close to Bea. She, along with Jane, raised him since he was a baby, and now that they're both gone, Eli feels empty. With Brian deep in mourning and Ryder occupied with Carmen and her pregnancy, Elijah turns to his doll for comfort.

Challenge Notes:

Bea died. *Cries* It was completely unexpected too. She was only a few days past her 95 day life span, and she had the marathon challenge completed. Brian is now 12 days past his expiration date, and he's still going strong. I didn't realize how much I liked her until she wasn't around anymore. Sadness.

For Beatrix's generation, I need to take screenshots of the parks she bought for her awesome goal. I was going to feature it in the story, but I got lazy and forgot. I will post some pictures in next update though. Also, now that she's passed on and Carmen has moved in, I will move the family to their wonderful new home (SO EXCITED!). I can't wait to show it off! (Melissa, I will link to your MTS creations page unless you tell me not to. <3)

In case you were wondering, Carmen Winters is cloned from Savannah Sperie from the Sperie Random Legacy, but with some modifications. I tried to go for the modern pop starlet type look, but I'm horrible at tattoos. Please forgive the eyesores that now cover her body.

So, I was intentionally pretty vague about the custody issues regarding Ryder and Jane's split, because I honestly could not think of a reason why Ryder would get custody of Elijah. In the real world (at least in the United States), custody almost always goes to the mom, unless there is some horrible reason why it shouldn't. Even then, the kids usually end up with their mother eventually. But this is the Sims, and I am doing a random legacy, so whatever. It's just gonna have to be a hole in the story I guess.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Chapter 0.11: Wintery Cold Heart

Pregnant. The word lingers in the air like a damp mist on a cloudy fall morning, leaving a numbing chill in it's wake. Jane envisions raising her child with Ryder and shivers. The thought makes her heart go cold.

Jane knows that Ryder is the father. The timing of her pregnancy tells her that. She knows that this news should comfort her, but it doesn't. In the deepest crevices of her soul, she secretly wishes that the baby was Terrence's, but wishing never helped anyone. Jane knows that she should break it off with Terrence, cut her losses before she loses everything, but she can't. She loves him, more than she ever loved Ryder.

Jane pays a visit to Terrence to tell him the news. Terry begs her to leave Ryder, to take the baby and runaway with him. He wants to marry her.

Jane refuses. Terrence is but a lowly author, with not much talent and even less ambition. Her future with him is uncertain at best, and she enjoys the comfortable life far too much to just leave it all behind.

She arrives home late that evening. Ryder is waiting up for her again. She sees him sitting alone in the kitchen, quietly eating his cold dinner.

"I'm going to bed," she says as she walks by him.

Ryder grunts in acknowledgement. He will sleep on the couch again tonight, for no other reason than to avoid the frigid silence.

Ryder visits his boss Sharla the following day. She's producing a new movie and would like him to star in it as the lead actor. He readily agrees, eager for anything to take his mind off of his home life.

A few weeks later, Jane gives birth to a son, who they name Elijah. She never knew it was possible to love another person as much as she loves her baby. Gazing into his sweet eyes, Jane feels consumed by worry. She wants only the best for her little boy, but she doesn't know what that is.

Beatrix wins an award for her years spent as a firefighter. While she attends the ceremony...

Brian discovers his daughter-in-law's half-naked ex-boyfriend wandering around their house.

He may be old, but he's not an idiot. Brian knows what he saw, and it kills him to have to tell Ryder.

He waits up for him, his wise old eyes filled with concern.

"We need to talk," Brian says quietly.

Ryder knows that tone all too well. Whenever there is bad news, his father's voice changes, his posture becomes more pronounced.

"She's cheating on you," Brian tells him gently. "I caught her with another man this afternoon."

Ryder wants to deny it. He wants to yell and scream at his father, hurt him the way he's hurting now. He wants to break dishes, slam doors, smash walls. But he doesn't. He just cries instead.

"It's all my fault," he whispers dejectedly. "I drove her away."

Brian sighs sadly, his heart breaking to see his son in so much pain.

"I need some fresh air," Ryder says after a minute. "I need to get away from this house."

He heads to the Ritz lounge, a fancy hotel located in downtown Anne Arbor. He immediately finds the bar and orders a drink. Needless to say, he's drunk within the hour.

"Hey gorgeous," a woman says as she approaches him.

Ryder stumbles a little as he gets out of his bar stool, catching himself just before he falls. He takes another sip of his cherry red cocktail before responding.

"Suuppp, beautiful?"

The woman giggles and flips her hair. "You alone tonight, honey?" she asks with a coy grin.

Ryder hesitates. Even through his drunken stupor, he knows better. He's still married after all. But then a mental image of Jane kissing another man flashes through his mind, and he throws all caution to the wind.

"I will be unless you decide to join me," he flirts.

Ryder only manages to sneak in a single kiss before he has to excuse himself to go throw up in the bathroom. Alcohol doesn't sit well with him.

But that one kiss reminds Ryder of what he's been missing. It reignites a spark within him, the desire to feel a woman's body pressed up next to his.

The following night Ryder returns to the Ritz to look for the mystery woman, but she is nowhere to be found.

Instead, he meets Nicole. Nicole thinks Ryder is pretty cute, and they hit it off immediately.

Ryder doesn't think Nicole is all that cute, but he really doesn't care. Unlike Jane, she's more than happy to share her bed with him.

"You were great Nina. Thanks, I really needed that."

She stares at him blankly. "Um, my name's Nicole. Can I at least get your number or something?" she asks with a smile.

Ryder laughs vacantly. "Nicole, look, this was fun. But I'm not up for anything serious or whatever..."

"Unbelievable!" she shouts. "You're such an asshole Ryder!" She storms out of the room, leaving him alone with the room bill. He shrugs. It was totally worth it.

After the same thing happens with Rita and Natalie though, Ryder learns to prepay for his hotel rooms. That way, they can split the cost.

Meanwhile, Elijah becomes a toddler. He receives a mysterious doll in the mail, and Jane doesn't think twice about giving it to him. He seems to like the toy and spends most of his time playing with it.

(Also: He inherits Ryder's hair and eye color.)

After Brian uncovered their affair, Jane and Terrence stopped seeing each other regularly. However, today they decide to meet at a deserted park.

"I miss you Terry," Jane whispers as she cuddles up against him.

"I miss you too babe." Terrence sighs. "When are you going to leave him?" he asks. "I want you all to myself."

"It's not that simple Terry. You know that. If I leave him, he will for sure get custody of Elijah. That's just the way it works in Sim Nation."

"Jane, we could start our own family. Have kids of our very own. Please? I'm begging you."

Jane shakes her head sadly. "I can't," she whispers.

After her meeting with Terrence, Jane takes Eli to the park to think. She can't stand the thought of leaving behind her son, but she knows that the situation between her and Ryder just isn't sustainable. She's heard about Ryder's many affairs. Now that he's a film star, it's been all over the news. But she won't leave her son. She can't.

That night, Ryder and his current fling Juliette hang out at the exclusive Blue Moon Oasis poolside club and bar. After the swimsuits come off, Ryder dumps her, and Juliette leaves in a huff.

He spends the next few hours enjoying the solitude (and the bubbles) when he hears a woman's voice calling his name.

"Ryder?" she asks. "Ryder McKinley?"

Ryder doesn't even bother to open his eyes. "Yes?" he replies, wondering if he will actually need to get out of the hot tub to sign an autograph. 

"May I join you?" she asks, not waiting for an answer. Ryder's eyes pop open, and he almost gasps from surprise. Standing in front of him in her full, unclothed glory is Carmen Winters, the famous and notoriously unattainable pop star.

Challenge Notes:

I seriously never thought I'd do the whole imaginary friend bit, but I think it might actually play into my plot for generation 3. I'm hoping the child size version doesn't creep me out too much. Elijah will be my heir, and I already have some ideas for him (hints the IF).

I feel like I wrote and wrote and wrote for this chapter, but yet nothing was resolved. I'm excited for the next chapter though, cause hopefully it will tie up a few loose ends. Also, it is such a downer to work on such depressing subject matter. Ryder makes me sad, and I've actually really started bonding with Jane and her plight. I almost feel bad for her now.


I should probably wait and introduce this news into my story the proper way, but whatever. I am excited. Sharla and Ethan had twins! *Happy Dance*

The oldest is Cyrus Starr. (He's a boy, I swear.)

Ethan (now an elder) and his daughter Scarlett. I don't know why I put him in a turtle neck, as it totally doesn't suit him, but oh well.

And just because I like this picture I'll throw it in too. Ryder was skinny dipping with Carmen Winters when Juliette stole his clothes. For whatever reason, he changed back to his old hairstyle in the towel outfit, but I still think he's rather handsome.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Chapter 0.10: Today Is Tomorrow's Regret

After Ryder proposes, Jane moves in with him and his parents. The couple maintain separate bedrooms, despite Ryder's best attempt to persuade her otherwise. She claims that she wants to save herself for their wedding night.

Although Ryder easily secured a job in the film industry, his career seems to have stalled out before it even began. The only acting gigs he ever gets are minor, non-speaking parts, and while it doesn't really bother him that much Jane finds his lack of progress infuriating.

In his spare time, Ryder learns to play the guitar. He's always loved music, and he dreams of mastering the skill one day. Jane watches him unhappily, wanting him to focus on his career instead.

To prove her point, she takes him back to the salon where they had their first date.

"You're never going to get anywhere in the film world if you look like that," she tells him.

Ryder frowns. "But I like my long hair," he explains.

Jane rolls her eyes. "That's the first thing that needs to go..."

As the last lock of his beautiful blonde hair falls to the floor, Ryder begins to sob. His manhood be damned, he really loved his hair.

"How could you do that to me?!" he exclaims angrily. He knows it's completely irrational to be so upset about something as trivial as hair, but he feels like she's betrayed him.

Jane shows no remorse. "I want my future husband to be successful," she explains, her voiced edged in irritation. "I was only trying to help!"

That night, Ryder goes to bed still fuming about the makeover. For the first time ever, he consciously questions whether they are meant to be together, but he quickly dismisses the thought as pre-wedding jitters.

The day of their wedding arrives at last. Despite her parents not contributing a single simoleon to the party budget, Jane insists that she and Ryder get married at the elite Lighthouse Country Club. She also insists that Ryder wear a tuxedo and scarf to match her wedding gown (hints the pink).

Ryder grins like a doofus during the entire ceremony, unable to hide his glee. Jane tries her best to act happy and excited, but inside she feels like screaming. She tells herself that it's just cold feet, that all brides feel this way, but deep down she knows better. As she places the ring on Ryder's finger, she thinks about her first boyfriend, Terrence, and a frown crosses her lips. Luckily, Ryder is too absorbed in the moment to notice.

Several hours later as the party begins to wind down, Ryder pulls Jane aside.

"I think we've waited long enough," he whispers into her ear. "Are you ready yet?"

Jane blushes and nods her head.

Back at the house, the newlyweds make their way upstairs. As they lay on the bed gazing at each other awkwardly, Ryder wonders why he feels so nervous, why it feels so forced.

Jane wonders the same thing.

With her own mother removed from the picture, Jane decides to confide her worries in Beatrix.

But Bea is more interested in watching TV than listening to her daughter-in-law drone on and on about her problems. Jane seems to get that a lot.

Though most of her high school cronies stopped talking to her ages ago, Jane knows of one friend who will always listen to her. Terrence Little, her ex-boyfriend, lives on the other side of town in a high rise condo, but she decides to pay him a visit anyway.

"I just don't know what's wrong with me lately," she tells Terrence as they stand around chatting in his living room. "Ryder is great. Better than great. He's perfect. But... I don't know. It's just, I just..." she pauses, her eyes bright with tears. "It doesn't feel right."

Unable to bury her emotions any longer, she begins to cry, warm tears streaming down her face.

He pulls her into a hug. "Shh," he soothes softly. "It's alright sweetheart. Everything is going to be just fine..."

Their innocent hug turns into a not-so-innocent kiss.

...Which turns into an all-out affair.

"Where have you been?!" Ryder demands when Jane gets home late that night. "I was worried sick about you!"

"What does it matter to you, anyway? Am I not allowed to hang out with my friends anymore?" Jane shouts back.

Ryder glares at her. "What is going on with you?! You've been so temperamental lately!"

"Whatever Ryder. I don't need this shit," she yells as she storms upstairs to bed. "Oh, and you can just sleep on the couch for all I care!"

Jane has to make a detour to the bathroom before she can go crawl under the covers and cry. Her affair with Terrence, the fight with Ryder, her whole confusing life; it's all just too much. She throws up in the toilet but leaves still feeling oddly nauseated.

A Few Weeks Earlier:

Sharla Starr stands alone in her basement apartment, savoring the moment. Already an adult for far too long, she finally left her intolerable family and their wretched little house and moved out on her own. Free at last, she feels giddy with excitement.

Sharla grew up a lonesome child, the result of a quickie marriage and mismatched parents. Her father, in all his infinite wisdom, despised her. Claimed she was "evil", whatever that means. Her mother ignored her, preferring to dote on her three younger sisters instead.

But Sharla refuses to pity herself. Ever since she was a child, she's known she's special. She could feel the vampiric power coursing through her body, sense the potency of the undead beneath her skin. Stronger, faster, smarter. She is all these things and more. Even compared to her own sisters, she knows she is by far superior.

A few weeks ago, she met Ethan. Bitter, lonely Ethan. He is so dark and moody, always sulking about some human woman who ripped out his heart and broke it into a million pieces. Needless to say, Sharla fell madly in love with him from the moment he said hello.

She can sense that he is different too, that under his human exterior he is far more powerful than he lets on. And she feeds off that power, her hunger aroused by just the thought.

At first he refused her advances, explaining that he could never love another woman again. But if there's one thing Sharla knows above all else: Sharla gets what Sharla wants.

In no time, she brought him around. She's always been able to seduce men with her charms, and Ethan is no different. Who cares if he doesn't actually love her? She does't need his love, as long as she can sleep in his arms.

Sharla is walking home late one night after a particularly grueling day at the studio when an unfamiliar man stops her just outside her building.

"Excuse me, ma'am, you dropped your keys."

"Hmph," she says as she bends over to pick them up. She stands up slowly, her back aching from her long shift at work, when she locks eyes with the stranger. Immediately, she freezes. A fully matured vampire stands before her, larger and more terrifying than anyone she'd ever met. His eyes glow faintly in the moonlight, his pale skin shimmering with an unearthly iridescence.

"Sharla Starr, it's a pleasure to meet you," he says as he extends his hand. His voice is low and deep, and oddly soothing. "We have much to discuss, you and I."

"Who are you?" Sharla asks nervously. "Wh-What do you want?" She tries to sound cool and collected, but this man rattles her.

"You are carrying my son's child," he replies calmly. "And the last hope I have to fulfill a prophecy."

Challenge Notes:

I really struggled writing this chapter for multiple reasons. First,  I didn't have any idea how to handle my generation 3 roll. Here it is, in case you were curious.

Generation 3 Information:

Marital Status- Couple
Number of Children- 3
Primary Income- Criminal (Thief)
Secondary Income- Job Hopper
Generation Goal- Property Mogul
Miscellaneous Fun- Fashion Diva

Not a bad roll, but it's hard to come up with a plausible reason why my heir would choose to become a criminal when the family is already ludicrously wealthy. I even deleted Ryder and Jane's wedding presents, using master controller to remove the money out of my family's account. (Even one that was worth half a million simoleons!)

Also, I couldn't quite figure out how to illustrate story progression's autonomous events. I wanted to write about Sharla and Ethan's relationship, but I couldn't for the life of me think of a plot line. Finally, I decided to draw on a super old story line from my last legacy (the West legacy) and try to incorporate it into this legacy somehow. Not that I expect any of you all to remember it or anything, I just think it has interesting potential. And I happen to love this particular character.

Finally, I didn't realize that writing about Jane's affair would be so difficult! I don't really understand why people cheat, but I didn't want to make her out to be some cold, heartless sex addict either. So I did my best to try to get behind the psychology of her actions and actually give her a soul. Lol, whether I succeeded or not is questionable, but at least I tried.