Friday, January 4, 2013

Chapter 1.5

Chapter 1.5- Nothing but Respect

                Leaving Cyrus with ‘Steve’ for the morning, Helen took a train over to the art gallery. She still wanted to use her old Hikon to take photographs and wanted some inspiration. She also was looking to learn from the compositions the gallery featured upstairs.

                Helen had been caught by a huge copper statue just inside the main hall when a figure caught her eye. It had to be Trenton, Sha Sha and Bianca’s brother who had snuck over. Getting an itch to see if she had what it took to be a paparazzo she pulled out her camera and snapped a shot.
                The flash charge made the marble in the room gleam momentarily giving her ghosting in her vision when she blinked, while the noise of the shutter echoed off the walls. Her stomach sank as he turned to face her. With any luck, he would just think she had snapped a shot of the statue.

                “Was that the melodious tones of a Hikon?” He asked her with an infectious grin.
                “Yeah, it was. I hope I didn’t disturb you.”
                “Not at all. Trenton.” He extended a hand, then crushed hers with it.
                “Elena,” she answered, forgetting that she meant to drop the alias, using her real name instead. Besides, he ought to know her by reputation at least. And he was acting like she was a complete stranger. Anonymity, however, suited her when his smile was so breathtaking, his eyes so deep.

                “I’ve always wanted to snap a few shots with one of those babies,” he continued, not noticing her flushed cheeks… she hoped. “I’m a bit of an amateur photographer, and not too bad if I do say so myself. Though I’m still using an old-“
                Helen barely heard what he was telling her. She was formulating how to keep him around, how to get him alone, maybe get a few ‘tips.’ Her mouth was slack and shoulders dropped. Thankfully, he seemed as oblivious as she did.

                “-I was amazed, myself. It came out perfectly!” Trenton’s expansive monologue on his photography prowess went unabated. “I just knew that the shadows the trees cast were tricky under even the best circumstances. But, seeing as I’ve made similar attempts, even during high winds-“
                Helen watched his lips moving, but wasn’t really hearing any sound he made. He made her knees weak.

                “-legendary photographer. Never met him before then, but he was duly impressed by my attempts. Even gave me some pointers. Then asked for my advice on an upcoming shoot! I could hardly believe such a revered man in the photography world would ask for my advice, but I told him I would gladly come to the shoot and assist him in any way he felt I could be useful. Once I got on set I had to set him straight about his model composition-“
                Helen’s nods were automatic and slow. She was surprised he was still talking to her.
                “-We still keep in touch, I send him my shots, he sends me his for critique. I try to be kind, but sometimes it’s hard not to rip his work to shreds. Not many people would be so bold with him.” Trenton finally paused praising himself to take a breath.

                “Oh, gosh!” Helen gushed.
                Trenton nodded humbly, smiling at her.
                “I would love to get a few pointers from you,” Helen was nearly breathless. “Maybe, sometime, you could even use my Hikon. Would that be ok?”
                “Of course, it would be wonderful,” he simpered. “It’ll have to be another time, though. I work as a chef and it’s almost time for my shift. I’ll have to call you later, Elaine-“
                “But, I’ll definitely have to catch you another time. Especially on using that Hikon! I can’t wait!” Waving merrily at her, he turned to go.

                Helen was left standing alone at the art gallery. She didn’t really want to view the exhibit now, not without Trenton. He could tell her what was lovely, and what was really mediocre.
                Sighing, she decided to cut her morning short. She snapped a few photos downstairs and went to the consignment store, hoping to get a large enough sale to earn dinner. Perhaps, with Trenton’s help, she could one day earn enough for a bigger house for the three of them.
                ‘One day,’ she thought, sighing her way out the door.

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                Steve had gone to work leaving her home with Cyrus. She had bathed the small boy, fed him a final time, and tucked him into his crib. She was hoping to only get up twice during the night.
                Helen had just settled onto the couch with a book when the doorbell rang.
                Sha Sha Black had then walked in without a word, closing the door behind herself. Helen scrambled over, trying to get a closer look at her friend who had much preferred people call her ‘Zazzy.’
                The two stood, staring at each other.
                “Bianca said you were knocked up,” Zazzy said without preamble.
                “Hey,” Helen shrugged. “Birth happens.”

                Zazzy laughed. “Guess it does!” They grinned at each other a moment.
                “What on earth did you do to get the boot out of the capitol?” Helen asked.
                “Oh,” Zazzy was non-plussed. “The usual. Set the school on fire a couple of times, bombed a police car, totally tore up a couple of junk yards with a special new detonator I came up with. Bigger boom and all that.”
                “Yeah, the usual!” Helen recalled easily her friends pyromaniacal tendencies. “You can’t tell me their military didn’t want your skills?”
                “Of course they did!” Zazzy adopted an offended air. “I had to booby trap the commander’s house three times before they finally got that I was seriously just wanting to come home.”

                “Enough about my exploits,” Zazzy was mischevious. “Mr. Norris? Algebra teacher and it seems… lover extraordinaire? Did you tap that? Seriously? And under that witch’s nose? He SO better have been good. Did-”
                Helen felt slightly sick, and rather offended.
                “-Naw, Zazzy,” Helen said. “I’d rather not go into that. I have Cyrus. That’s all that will ever be.”
                “Oh, come on,” Zazzy pouted. “We used to talk about that stuff all the time. Who was good, who wasn’t. Who made you-“
                “-I mean it,” Helen was stern with her friend for the first time. “I’m not going there anymore. I’ve got a kid. I can’t do that anymore.”

                Zazzy looked carefully at Helen’s face trying to make sure she was being for real. She couldn’t imagine what had happened to her to make her not want to compare notes. It was their driving ambition in school: ‘testing the waters’ per se.
                Seeing that Helen was serious, she shook her head, letting it drop.
                “If that’s what you want.”
                “It is,” Helen said simply.

                Helen took a deep breath.
                “What are you going to do here now Zazzy?” Helen asked. “What is going to keep Sha Sha Black going when there are next to no people here, and the police chief and local military commander don’t have nearly as many people to keep tabs on.”
                “Well,” Zazzy’s eyes were wide, and she seemed genuinely excited. “I actually want to help, kind of.”
                Helen was taken aback.
                “Being out there, in the world, made me see that sometimes you’ve got to use what you love to be the change. I’m going to be a firefighter.”

                Helen could do nothing but respect that. If anyone knew how to put out fires, or start them for that matter, Zazzy would be the one.
                She threw a salute at her friend, suddenly ready for her to leave. They had drifted apart more than she had realized.
                “Got nothing but respect for that,” Helen told her. “Go be the change, Zazzy.”
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                How could someone so small, make such a big smell?
                The sun was up, but neither of the adults was fully awake yet. The stench coming from the crib in the corner had roused them both, though.
                Helen’s eyes were wide as she stared at the tiny sim. Steve just wondered how far away he would have to go to get away from the smell.
                “That’s a crime, that is.” Steve broke the silence.
                “Did you get him something to eat with garlic in it?”
                “PlumbBob, no,” Steve answered. “He don’t eat yet. He just drinks. All… The Time.”

                Helen changed the diaper, tying it in a sack that Steve threw out a window.
                She had picked up Cyrus while Steve relocked the window. When he turned around, he was caught again by her sleepwear.
                “Nice to see you out of that gown, again,” he teased ‘Elena.’
                She chose not to respond, rolling her eyes quietly instead.

                ‘Elena’ prepared to feed the baby as Steve made his way back to the bed. He was still tired. His shift at the cemetery had run long, he was going back to bed.
                Watching her handle the infant tenderly for a moment, he shook himself, crawling under the covers, trying to let it go.
                ‘She’s outta your league, boy,’ he heard in his mind, the memory floating to the surface. ‘She needs a boy with a backbone, you ain’t got one. Now head on home. I got a boy in mind for her, and she’ll like him better n’ she ever did you. Fergit her.”
                He punched his pillow, gritting his teeth. ‘This time, I’m all she’s got. There is no league,’ he thought.

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                “So I’ve got an idea,” Helen began. She had fallen back asleep, too, after taking care of Cyrus earlier in the morning.
                “I’m going to be a photographer,” she was gushing a little bit as Steve had made no objections.
                “I’ll go down and register today, then I’ll go and put an ad in the paper for my services.”

                “You really think a town this size has need of the services of a ‘photographer?’” Steve asked levelly.
                “Hey! I thought you wanted me to make money!” Elena was offended that he wasn’t taking her idea very seriously.
                “I do think a larger place would be nice, Princess-“
                “-I just don’t think photography is going to get us very far very quickly.”
                Elena looked at him carefully. He truly wasn’t trying to be mean. It was like when he asked about Cyrus. He just wanted to make sure she had thought it through.
                So, for a moment, she sat and thought, watching his mouth as he ate. He had a nice mouth.
                Steve looked up, catching her, making her blush.
                “I’ve-I have thought it through,” she stammered. "I'm going to be a photographer."
                Steve smiled.

                “So long as you know what you’re doing, Princess.”
                “Please don’t call me that,” Elena snapped at him, getting up to wash her dishes.
                She stood at the sink, waiting for his dish. She didn’t notice when he slid it onto the counter next to her. She had been lost in thought, wondering what it was like to kiss Trenton.

                Not noticing his dish next to her, she turned and walked off after finishing her own.
                Steve grumbled as he soaped up his own mess.
                Elena glanced over, thinking hard. She sighed heavily, deciding that she’d also call Trenton today. If she was going into photography, she’d need all the help she could get.

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At this point in my game ‘Steve’ had already rolled wishes to kiss Helen, marry Helen, be in a romance with Helen (I didn't even know that wish existed), etc. I hated doing this to him, poor thing.
Also, Helen's eyebrows randomly turned purple again in the scene with Sha Sha Black. Strange.
Also, updated Generational Goals Tab.


  1. Poor 'Steve'! C'mon Steve! Make a move before Trenton gets her! And uses her!

    1. lol. I love 'Steve,' too. It was a tough decision to do this to him... and not to whop Helen upside the head.

  2. About the eyebrows: maybe the dye wore off/grew out? I honestly thought you'd done it to show that, and was a bit confused as to why you hadn't changed her root colour :)

    Poor Steve :( he basically in love with her, but can't find the guts to say anything. I've decided I don't like Trenton or Zazzy. I don't know why, they've not even done anything but be introduced, but I just have a feeling about them that they're not as nice as Helen first thought they were.

    1. Eyebrows: yup! I finally did just that. you'll see it in upcoming chapters. It was really easy as I had opened the save and her hair had changed back to it's natural color completely. The game was plotting against me. O_o
      Zazzy's not really too bad, just a bit of a trouble maker. Which in her defense simply equates to 'fun.' Trenton... yeah... he's an ass.

  3. I feel sorry for 'Steve', I hope we get to find out more about him and his background.

    1. We will, I promise. He just has his past buried a little deeper than Helen. Besides, making him mysterious is fun. ;)

  4. Yeah, c'mon, Steve! Grow that spine! You can do it!
    I like Zazzy. =D

    1. Lol. He is completely lacking in that department, isn't he? She suggests the cemetery, he goes. She says keep the kid that has absolutely no connection to you, he does. He pines from a distance, she... well... she's Helen. ;)
      I like Zazzy, too. I'm most likely going to change her name in game as I had no idea the name Sha Sha was even on the name list. It makes me think 'poodle,' something she fights against tooth and nail! She'll appear again.

  5. Poor Steve. I can't wait to hear more of his backstory.
    Yeah, that Trenton, idk. I'm suspicious since he didn't recognize her when he should've. Right?

    1. Poor Steve indeed. :D

      Yup! However, he's about as deep as was written above if that's any indication. Ha!