Author: Becki

Share the Uniqueness

unique-blogger-award

WELL I’ve only been nominated for the Unique Blogger Award by the lovely quackermole, the creator of the wonderfully entertaining Frosted Legacy. These nominations are awesome because I’m extremely lazy inactive in the blogging/Sims community, and they introduce me to lots of really good stories/challenges.

Rules:

  • Share the link of the blogger who has shown love to you by nominating you.
  • Answer the questions.
  • In the spirit of sharing love and solidarity with our blogging family, nominate  8-13 people for the same award.
  • Ask them 3 questions.

My questions from quackermole:

Do you have a ‘dress code’ or style that you always seem to dress your sims in?

I like my characters to be quite individualised (if that’s even a word, haha). Rory I try to put in tomboy-ish/childish clothing to match her personality (when she’s out of school uniform). Hiro I try to dress more stylish/well-kempt, for similar reasons. Natti I wanted a comfortable “mumsy” look. Other things like how affluent they are affects how I style them. For Suitor it’s just a standard ‘historical dress code’  because of the lack of CC.

Is there anything you would change about your legacy?

One thing I’d DEFINITELY like to change is my first few chapters of Suitor! This was my first attempt at a Sims story, so I had no idea how to use camera mods etc; as a result the first 8 – 10 chapters or so are really bad quality, IMO. I guess it shows my progress though, which might be why I haven’t bothered to re-take all the screenshots.

Do you have any non-online friends that also play the sims?

Yes. In fact, I think almost everyone I know has played one of the Sims instalments. Not sure if they blog or have legacies, though.

My Nominees:

In no particular order. These are stories/challenges I used to/am currently reading. Please note that some of these may be ‘retired’, but I think they deserve recognition all the same because they’re great reads!

  1. The Exiled Prince
  2. A Pair of Brown Eyes
  3. The Windsor Legacy
  4. The Ravenwood Legacy
  5. Insanity Doesn’t Compare
  6. Jill’s 100 Baby Challenge

My questions for nominees:

  1. When it comes to writing, do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
  2. What is the first book that made you cry?
  3. How long on average does it take you to write a chapter?

 

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Chapter 13

The Beat

screenshot-299A mechanical rhythm pounded, a hidden lullaby. Everyone moved on the beat, with the beat, in the beat. There was no misplaced sound to echo insultingly into the still morning air – there were no mistakes. The world was perfect and aligned. Nothing but a line existed; a smooth, straight line that slid down a direct path. There was no deterring, no off-course wanderings. Things were simple and ordinary.

screenshot-64“Go. Away.” 

In one diminutive apartment, however, things were completely strange and unordinary; a throbbing wallop on that smooth, stiff line the world was forged upon.

“No. Come out.”

“No!”

screenshot-576Rory’s shoulders slumped. “Please… just leave me alone, okay?”

What happened?

“I-I don’t really think I could explain…”

“I’ve had two and a half hours sleep,” The voice persisted, “You’re going to try.

screenshot-580“So?” Hiro prompted in a dull voice.

“So..?”

“Are you going to tell me what was so utterly devastating that I woke up at 5:30 in a tizzy?”

screenshot-93Rory frowned at the irritation in his tone. Hiro’s face may have been deathly pale and hair tangled, but everything else was in place, everything else was thoroughly… Hiro.

“… who the hell even uses the word ‘tizzy’ anymore?”

screenshot-246Rory did try to explain. She attempted to enlighten him with all the suspicious crap that had transpired through her life. She began with her inability to remember her parents and early childhood, concluding with the strange conversation she had held with Asa.

screenshot-223Hiro hardly said anything; his deep, coal eyes remained glazed with that calculating, deducing stare that was known only to him; gobbling up the words the very second they tipped off her lips. It was only at the end of her explanation that Hiro interjected, somewhat amused.

“Doll makers? He really called us that? How prejudice.”

screenshot-242Rory’s eyes danced frantically in her head. “You’re missing the bigger picture here! Asa knows that we’re cursed. Isn’t that really bad?”

“I guess,” Hiro responded blithely. “Who can really say until we reach the outcome? I think it’s fantastic that nobody in the Hidden Villages knows who you are. It’ll make things all the easier.”

screenshot-374“But that’s the thing, Hiro…” Rory began nervously.  The implication of her next statement felt like a weight on her lungs, making it difficult to breathe.  “Asa sort of implied that I’m – I mean, my parents… Somehow I’m connected with the Hidden Villages…”

Hiro was very, very quiet.

screenshot-2Then he snorted his amusement.

“Well, that’s obvious.”

In fact, he sounded positively smug.

screenshot-240Rory’s mouth fell open unceremoniously as she blinked up at him for a few shocked moments. She felt like a balloon, popped at its rubbery climax.

What?!

screenshot-181Hiro stood. As he did, his shirt slid up a couple of innocent inches and momentarily displayed a glimpse of faultless stone-white skin. “Have you ever really looked at yourself?”

“What do you mean?” Rory questioned, disconcerted. “Of course, I have. What kind of dumb question is that?”

screenshot-270“Look into the mirror.” The dark-haired boy commanded after he had led her into the bathroom, his face smooth with expressionless lines.

Rory numbly did as she was told. She peered into the wide, ornately framed mirror plastered on the wall beside them. It had been one of the only relics to be safely rescued from Natti’s parent’s burning home.

screenshot-261She only saw herself staring back dumbly. Her vest was unbearably wrinkled, and her hair had toppled to rest tiredly in her face. All in all, she looked absolutely exhausted, but nothing out of the ordinary.

“Um… what am I supposed to be looking for?”

screenshot-321Abruptly the distance measured between her and Hiro’s bodies was closed. The boy’s warm breath softly swept her tousled locks. His head appeared over her shoulder, his black stare incredibly straight and directed. His eyes seemed to attach to her own widened gaze and almost… hypnotise her; he was a pale vacuum with sullen dark edges.

screenshot-293Hiro’s hand emerged, gently tracing her nose. Rory’s arms immediately erupted in goosebumps.

“Your nose is too straight. Your skin is too smooth. Despite the fact that you’re sixteen, you’ve never had a single pimple, have you? Your lips, too perfect…”

screenshot-140“But most importantly: these.” His finger slowly trailed one of the long thin lines Rory had only an hour earlier learned were left by her own mother’s nails.

“T-they’re just scars,” She exhaled dizzily. “I told you, Asa said my mom gave them to me.”

screenshot-309“Yes,” Hiro’s voice seemed so disconnected from the small, shabby apartment. Rory thought it would sound more natural echoing in space somewhere. His stare appeared to miss Rory’s form, as if it were peering into another realm entirely; a world with all the answers.

“But how?”

screenshot-323“I told you, with her fingernails.”

“Yes, but can fingernails alone cause the skin to discolour like this? I don’t think so.” Hiro’s hand traced the lines once more, as if creating the lines for the first time. For the life of her, Rory could not feel the skin there.

“T-then what did?” Why was it so difficult to speak?

screenshot-316The hands retreated from her face as Hiro stepped away, leaving a distinctive cold longing in her cheeks afterwards.

“A high concentrate of… something.” He concluded thoughtfully. “But who really knows?”

screenshot-418The air in the room was too heavy a burden on Rory’s shoulders. Her arms began to tremble and her legs yearned to collapse. All muddy thoughts and grimy half-bits of information seemed to howl rancorously through her skull.

“I’m so tired of this,” The words left her mouth before she could stop them; a crushing cold was filling her chest. “I’m so fucking tired of all of this.”

screenshot-480As if sensing an imminent fall two arms wrapped themselves around her.

“Hiro?” Rory questioned hesitantly, wary of possible perverted motives; although there was a blatant tenderness in the weight of Hiro’s arms, as if they were attempting to be as downy and soothing as possible.

screenshot-404“Hm?” Hiro’s breath swirled and stroked the back of her neck. “Uncomfortable?”

“No…”

Just not used to it.

screenshot-192Rory was sure as hell not going to convey how relaxed she was inside his arms. It had always been something rare and precious to her, the fact that she had someone she could go to at times like this, someone who would never turn their back on her. Of course there was Natti, but for the longest time she had secretly thought of that person as Asa.

screenshot-123_zpspcldraelThe image of him disappearing down the steps haunted her again. She kept seeing Asa’s back swaying back and forth as it descended the steps and out of sight, kept hearing his dull, bored voice declaring:

Of course I’m your friend.

screenshot-190At any moment Rory thought she might cry from frustration.Was the child she had erected herself to become formulated entirely from lies? Was her entire being merely a slip of a lie, plastered on a tall, dithering mound of lies? Rory was no longer concerned with appearing strong, she simply wanted to release the backing well that was mounting in her chest.

screenshot-604_zpsci9ros2v Her mind had been spun so completely off its axis that right then Rory wasn’t sure she could even breathe alone. Although she would adamantly deny it, she had always needed other people. She had heard somewhere that ‘sorry‘ was the hardest word, but for her it has always been ‘help‘.

screenshot-611And, at that moment, by coincidence or maybe even fate, only one person remained:

Only Hiro.

Was he her only friend?

screenshot-296The light directly above them haloed his face, highlighting everything for Rory’s eyes to observe and absorb. He was so pale in the shadows of the bathroom, as pale as spilled milk. Rory thought Hiro was beautiful, right there and then; those contrasting light and dark hues made him appear unnatural, almost inhuman, but beautiful like nothing else could be.

screenshot-555A thought suddenly occurred to Rory, shaking her from her tomblike introspection. “What happened to that dizzy hot feeling we get when we touch? Is it gone?”

The warmth around her didn’t feel artificial at all, nor was it all encompassing, it was just simple body heat being emitted.

“Let’s hope so, ne? Maybe our bodies have finally become accustomed to the curse.”

screenshot-519Rory’s eyelids were heavy, but hurt when closed. She contented herself for the next half an hour by lying on the couch, tracing the tattered sewn patterns on the ceiling.

“You know like you said it was obvious that I’m connected to the Hidden Villages? Is it just my appearance that gives it away?”

screenshot-533“No,” Hiro’s groggy voice dripped with sleepiness. “Haven’t you ever noticed how sleepers don’t congregate near you? They’re naturally repulsed.”

Rory immediately sat up. “Repulsed?” She repeated. A bubble of nausea gathered in her throat.

screenshot-516“There’s this innate barrier between you and others.” Hiro explained tiredly. “It’s not bad, exactly. People just involuntarily avoid you. It’s only when they do come into contact with you that things get rough. On the other hand, people from the hidden villages are naturally attracted to you. That’s one other reason I infiltrated your school – I wanted to see for certain how others interacted with you.”

screenshot-443“Is that… normal for you people?”

Hiro made a soft, deep sound in the back of his throat, almost as if he were tasting the thought before moulding it into words.

“Hm… Not really.” He concluded.

screenshot-475Rory felt a sinking sensation in the pit of her stomach. There were many times when she wished she was grossly abnormal so that she could finally have a reason for being shunned and disliked her entire life. Now, she only desired to be completely and utterly normal – in the past she had never yearned for it, because she knew it was longing that would never be satisfied. Still, she craved it, wishing she had a spot somewhere in the world where she connected and fit with others.

screenshot-532“What about Asa? That picture he had…”

God,” Hiro groaned. “Cant we just sleep?”

“Shut up and answer me!” Rory snapped. “I need answers, asshead.”

screenshot-493“How about when we’re both in our right minds then, hm? I’ve been sitting outside in a grungy hallway for six hours and you’ve just learned your entire life is a lie. Let’s just, you know, ignore it for right now. Also, I’ve got a serious backache and you look ready to sob your eyes out like a little girl.”

“I was not!” Rory bristled.

screenshot-615She wasn’t nearly as comfortable as it would take for her to joke on the matter, but Hiro’s humour did hearten Rory somewhat. He was a complete asshole (and she was pretty sure that she still hated him), but—

“I wasn’t going to cry. I’m not a pussy.”

“Whatever.” Hiro scoffed. “Just go to sleep, okay?”

screenshot-633As Rory shifted more comfortably a hand began to gently run through her hair. It was a startlingly personal gesture, and it suffused Rory with a soothing warmth. Slowly, she closed her eyes.

“Everything is fine for right now.”

For the first time that morning she truly began to believe that.

screenshot-751A mind-sweeping heat glossed her brain. Her mind began churning slower and slower into numbness. Too numb to resist the fleeting thoughts of her mother, so long ago.

Screenshot-74_zpstsxnzujrHer mother’s face—

Just as pale.

screenshot-19The delectable scent of maple syrup and the muggy heat emanating off the stove composed a stuff, but relaxing atmosphere in the apartment. The frying pan emitted delicious crackling noises as Natti tenderly tossed the pancake sizzling inside the air and caught it again.

screenshot-746Rory sat, sulking, on one side of the dinner table as she listened to her adoptive mother’s current speech on love. It was the sixth one that morning, and the least subtle, consisting of all the fluffy things she had ever read inside of greeting cards.

screenshot-758_zpsulzwsat1They had woken up an hour ago to find Natti perched over them as they slept, wrapped desperately around each other on the couch. Even though Rory had fruitlessly defended herself (because it was definitely not what it looked like), Natti claimed gravely that she was in horrible denial and had been relentless with speeches on love ever since.

screenshot-741 “— and so love really does have no boundaries, you see! It conquers all: class, gender, race and um, any of society’s skewed views…”

“For the last time Natti,” Rory interrupted fiercely. “It’s not like that!”

screenshot-29“Oh, don’t be that way, Rory.”

Her eyes immediately snapped to Hiro, who sat across from her.

“If Natti accepts our love, then why hide it any longer?”

screenshot-661He had remained mostly silent up until now, responding with courteous remarks and polite gestures only when addressed. Now his lips flaunted the most teasing, arrogant, asshole-ish smirk she had ever seen depicted on that face.

Hiro…” She seethed in a dangerous, growling low voice.

screenshot-9“Don’t be mad at me, my dear Rory,”

Hiro’s voice practically swelled with artificiality.

“I don’t think I can hide our love for a single day more.”

screenshot-716Natti had turned away from the sizzling pancakes to adoringly watch the confession, a faint blush on her cheeks.

Rory was, quite simply, stunned into a revolted silence.

screenshot-707“” I always had such a crush on you. I’d watch you everyday as you walked out of class so frustrated and I’d wish to hold you close and make you feel better. I’d see you walk down the street alone and curse my terrible shyness that I could not trot beside you and hold your hand. There is not a girl in that entire school that could rival your beauty.”

screenshot-740Rory had begun growling steadily through Hiro’s monologue; she had a ghastly insult prepared to launch off her tongue which was unfortunately interrupted by her guardian.

“Oh, that’s right,” Natti declared absently. “Your friend Noah… he’s not Mayor Landgraab’s son, is he?”

screenshot-735“Yeah,” Rory responded, feeling slightly put off by the abrupt conversation change. She often talked about Noah to her guardian, blabbing on about his kindness, his good heart. She felt a growing trepidation as she observed the solemn gleam that had appeared in Natti’s eyes.

screenshot-723Natti’s distressed gaze drifted.

“Oh dear. Noah’s mother, Anesta, came into the flower shop today. She’s a very beautiful woman.”

screenshot-595_zpsfyqe3wwx“She ordered a huge bouquet. She said they were “get well” flowers for her son. Apparently, he’s in the hospital.

Poor woman, my heart really went out to her.”

screenshot-744“Noah’s in the hospital?!” Rory’s stomach sank. “Why? What’s wrong with him?”

“I’m sorry, Rory,” Natti’s voice was soft and sad. “The doctors don’t seem to know what’s wrong with Noah.”

screenshot-585_zpslyaezth8

“He… just won’t wake up.”

screenshot-656The pancake in Rory’s stomach gurgled threateningly. Suddenly, it was as though her eyes were pulled up by an outside force to rest on Hiro, whose own eyes seemed to have been heaved toward her’s as well.

screenshot-764There was… something guttering inside those dark depths; a message they were impatient to translate. The black ice glazed his eyes, meticulous as ever, glistening with secrets, dissecting thoughts and theories in milliseconds. However, in that one moment, they were finally revealing, their un-inked words imprinted in her brain.

screenshot-734

… this has something to do with us.

A/N: HAPPY NEW YEAR! Okay, so it’s not Suitor, but it’s a post nonetheless! And it’s only been, what, 3 months? It’s a record for me! Roll on 2017 for slightly more frequent posts XD Since I update these alternatively Suitor update next. Any feedback is appreciated, as always x

Chapter 12

Scars

screenshot-229_zpsypewnxvd“It is really like a river.”  

The Shaman, whom I met the year my studies took me abroad, told me.

screenshot-234_zps4r0eitdkThereafter, he promptly corrected me every time I accidentally dubbed it ‘Virdis’. According to him and his people, the word ‘green’ does not even begin to expand upon the vast inter-workings of this prevailing force. He does not believe it should carry a name.

screenshot-226_zpszutvfyngI, in my ignorance, contested that humans must strive to label and organise their world to better preserve themselves. By defining this force as Viridis, we are one step closer towards discerning just what it is.

For, when you define something, you define what it is not.

screenshot-9_zpsgddmckj0He stopped me there and then proceeded to tell me the story of two great fishermen. Apparently, these two fishermen were very good friends – the best fishermen of two local villages – and together they often trawled in the unchartered waters to the east.

screenshot-7_zpshfe5ikznOne day, during one of these routine trips, they had heard a soft growling, whose remitter appeared to be a small fin tracing the surface of the deep ocean. The fishermen marvelled at finding such a weak, pitiful creature.

screenshot-14_zpswjm1tcauBoth pointed and laughed and sneered as it approached their vessel, growling its pitiful growl all the while.

‘Why, it’s a shrimp that thinks it’s a shark!’ mocked one to the other.

kraken_kw_big_zpsowrx3butWithout warning, a monstrously huge creature emerged from the depths. It happened that the small fin they had mocked had actually been the tip of the creature’s great tentacle.

The monster swallowed them whole.

Screenshot-29This isn’t happening.

Rory felt hollow until panic welled up inside her. She stared at the photograph, a deep cold splashing her spine. She parted her lips to say something – anything at all – but the truth before her was condemning.

Screenshot-79_zpsuurnfqwxDistant memories of conversation flooded her, abstract moments falling into unnerving context.

(And where did you get that crap? An 18th century guide to etiquette?)

(A 19th century guide, actually.)

(Oh, haha, you’re hilarious. You must be a hit with all the ladies.)

(I wasn’t joking at all.)

screenshot-105She shivered, suddenly terrified. “No… It’s not—“

“Possible?” Asa finished for her. “All things are possible until they are proved impossible. That’s the problem with you Sleepers, you never seem to understand that there is no fundamental connection between seeming and being. Wisdom can wait behind a foolish smile, bravery can watch you from eyes that cry fright.”

screenshot-398“You look at Hiro Yui and mistake him for his mask; you see light dappling on the water but forget the deep, cold dark beneath. You are not wise enough to fear him as he should be feared.

Now I’d like a question answering myself. What happened the day you met Natti?”

screenshot-405Rory blinked, feeling as though her brain had twitched and missed a monologue. “What?”

“Just tell me.”

“But I already told you – like three or four times!”

screenshot-257“No, you only told me that you ran away from the foster home. When I asked you why you came up with something incredibly stupid and off the wall. A three-headed mule was attacking your roommate? A fire-breathing gecko was crawling under your bed?

Why would you even make up that crap?”

screenshot-438“Because if I lied you’d know, like you always do. And I didn’t want to tell you.”

“Why?”

“Because it’s not something I want to tell anybody.” Rory muttered quietly. “It’s… scary.”

screenshot-514_zpsog7gha2yHow did she begin this? Rory had escaped from the group home plenty of times. Who hadn’t wanted to escape in those soulless, dingy houses? It was tempting to see how far they could run until they came back, either too cold or too hungry. Some of the teens went missing for days; most came back to a firm scolding just hours later. Rory herself had only gone missing for days three times – the last one for good.

screenshot-520_zpshamppwktRory wasn’t a delinquent, but she did have a habit of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. She responded when provoked, which tended to end with her sporting a number of black and blue lumps. Those sorts of incidents had already earned her two strikes on her juvenile record.

screenshot-363Knowing that this was her one-shot at releasing some answers from her friend’s guarded mouth she exhaled. It was time to negotiate her past secrets for the revelation of others.

“It was really weird that day…”

screenshot-331_zpsdvnike6x“A couple were going to adopt me. That was weird in itself, because no-one had ever shown an interest in me before. It’s like there’s this— this barrier between me and other people.

So I was thinking: finally, y’know? I’m getting out of here!”

screenshot-68“But, um, the weird part was they’d never met me – I’d never even had a conversation with them.

They just arrived at the group home one day out of the blue and sort of… picked me.”

screenshot-285_zpsnqbhvcal“Anyway, I was supposed to be in my room packing for our trial weekend together. I knew they were in the kitchen and I wanted to know whether I should bail or not, so I went downstairs to take a look at them. That’s when I heard them talking…”

screenshot-318_zpsatis5b57“You look completely ridiculous dressed like that, you know.” The woman had said. 

“This whole thing is completely ridiculous.” The man replied tiredly. “It’s not as if the girl’s crimes are even that violent.” 

“She punched a kid just for calling her a runt, Chris. You don’t think that seems to spell out an underlying tendency towards violence?”

screenshot-187_zpsn5lvpr5n“She’s thirteen, Elise. She shouldn’t be expected to act like a responsible adult.

And in case you haven’t noticed, she is horribly short. I mean, what normal kid wouldn’t be agitated in her situation?”

screenshot-301_zpsb5iwcvt9“Agitated?

That poor other kid has a black eye, broken nose and he lost a tooth. She’s pushing her privileges a bit too far, if you ask me. Something should’ve been done at the first transgression.”

screenshot-220_zpscllomxcfThe man sighed.

“So, to solve all her problems, they’re going to put her to sleep?”

screenshot-411“They said they were going to put me to sleep and— and I didn’t know what to do, Asa! I wanted to open the door, catch them in this huge plot and turn them in but… the guy who was rooting me on…

He seemed really nice but…”

screenshot-309_zpswfgpnh3u“One of his eyes… well, it was red. After that I just sort of… ran.”

“And then you ran into Natti?”

screenshot-367Rory smiled, recounting the memory.  That was the moment that her life was finally set on the right tracks – the life that she was supposed to have from the very beginning.

“Yeah. I ducked into that stinky-ass alley when she was coming out of the side-door to the apartment building. I scared the living shit out of her, yelling ‘they’re going to kill me!’ over and over…”

screenshot-161“But you know what? As weird as it sounds, Natti was the first person I ever felt like I could trust. She was the first person I’d ever really – clicked with. Is that the right word? I don’t know.

And then there was you, Asa. I felt like I clicked with you.”

screenshot-378Asa lingered in a wordless contemplation, his dark eyes edged with something too foreign for her to read.

“And have you ever… clicked with anyone else?”

Screenshot-56“…Hiro.”

Could the loitering quiet in the room be considered an actual silence? Rory couldn’t tell. It felt more like a pause, a sudden shift in direction.

screenshot-313“What are you really doing here, Asa?”

 “I’ve already answered that.”

“Bullshit.”

Asa’s eyes narrowed. “What do you mean?”

Screenshot-62“I mean bullshit!” Rory yelled. “I can tell that you’re lying!”

The other teen snorted. “I don’t know what you want me to say but I assure you, that is what I do here.”

“Maybe… but you’re lying to me about something.”

Screenshot-50Asa’s expression hardened; it was a subtle change, but Rory did not miss it. It was obvious that he could not effortlessly lie his way out of displaying vital secrets; she was just too good at detecting them.

“Just what do you think you know?”

screenshot-457Rory gazed directly into Asa’s flat, uncaring eyes.

“I always knew that you hated me.”

screenshot-391Asa’s face slackened in disbelief and Rory took it as a kind of victory, even if he was still wound tighter than steel.  “What?

“When we first met, you hated me. And for a long time afterwards, too.”

Screenshot-137“You always hung out with me reluctantly – like you had to. At first I thought someone had dared you to and it pissed me off – I didn’t want anyone making fun of me… so I tried to act detached and really, really cold. But even then you just dragged after me, day in and out; and the way I was acting… it seemed to make you hate me even more.”

screenshot-306“Then there was the day you pulled me out of the way of that bus and I saw the look in your eyes. You were genuinely scared. And that’s when everything changed because I realised: you were really worried about me.

… it was one of the best days of my life.”

screenshot-266Asa turned around abruptly, slinging his shoes on and walking toward the door.

“Wait!” Rory cried in shock. “Where are you going?!”

“Somewhere I have to be.”

“Are you serious? You’re really going to leave me alone, after all this crap?”

screenshot-91“I’m not leaving you alone.”

Asa answered in a way, very unlike himself.  There was a pulsing undercurrent to his voice, but it wasn’t his standard agitation, it seemed… deeper, as though conflicted with sadness.

“I’m leaving you to Hiro.”

screenshot-470“He’s been standing outside the apartment all morning.”

Hiro was here, now?

Why?  The question, unbidden, corroded Rory’s defences.  For… me?

screenshot-267A sudden panic cropped up in Rory as she watched her only source of information continue his lazy stride toward the stairs. Her frenzied mind gargled out the question she had been mulling over all night:

“You know something about my family, right? I know you do!”

Screenshot-123Asa sighed. “Later, Rory.”

“No, please!”  Rory’s cried out desperately as he began to undo the latch on the door. Her eyes begged to release at least one tear to ease the pressure brewing behind them. “You’re the only person I’ve got!”

screenshot-127“My mother…!”

Asa stopped, his white-knuckled hand frozen on the doorknob.

“Did she—was she—um…”

screenshot-106“Was it my mother…

… who gave me these scars on my face?”

screenshot-131“… yes.”

Asa’s toneless reply reflected the room’s eerie stillness.

screenshot-103Rory swallowed, incapable of saying anything to that.

The thought made her want to cry, or be very, very sick.

screenshot-471Asa opened the door then, revealing Hiro leaning against the wall facing it. What was so frightening, Rory noted, what that there was no pulsating tension stringed between the two. There was nothing more than a clean, sterile detachment as Asa stepped out and passed by.

screenshot-509It made Rory feel sick regarding it.

Or maybe that was just the nausea that had been bubbling in her belly all morning.

screenshot-498Obsidian eyes fixed unblinkingly on her’s from the doorway. Rory felt abruptly isolated under that emotionless, dark gaze; almost as if she were being buried alive, walls of dirt slowly collapsing in on her.

screenshot-135She waited for Hiro to climb the stairs, Asa’s earlier words ringing in her ears.

You are not wise enough to fear him as he should be feared.

But Rory didn’t even have the energy to cry at that point, much less the will.

A/N: I’d like to thank thewindsorlegacy and blamsart for donating their sims to me. I gave them a little makeover. Here’s a full shot of Elise Erza and Christopher Canter used in this chapter:

screenshot-353

Aren’t they cute? Hope you enjoyed 🙂

~ Becki x

Casting call

Hello Guys,

Firstly I hope you’re not too disappointed when you realise this isn’t an update (I’m working on it!) which brings me to the point of this post.

 I need two sims for a re-occurring part in my story:

-Both a male and female Sim
– Of adult age (they can look however you like)
-With an unusual feature; nothing too freaky as they need to blend into Bridgeport society

couple-silhouetteFeel free to post pictures (and a brief description) on your blogs and drop the links in the comments section below. Please ensure uploaded sims are CC-free so that I can install them (recommend their CC, please).

I was planning to update this weekend, so the sooner I get them the sooner I can publish Chapter 12! I can’t wait to see what you guys come up with.

Also, I would like to thank Blamsart and Quackermole for nominating me for both the Spirit Animal and Sunshine awards. I am planning to submit a proper blog post a little later (once I have caught up on all my favourite stories)!

~Becki x

Chapter 11

Genetic Anomaly

Screenshot-32_zpsttvzwg7bYour parents are dead,” The administrator at the hospital had stated resolutely. “They are never coming back, you understand?  You are only allowed one photo of them – even that is only by extreme grace.”

Screenshot-37_zpslva5ofw2Rory had peered wistfully at the two crumpled pictures in her hands, focusing on each miniscule detail of the fading pigments. In one a baby swaddled in a blanket, tucked inside the cusps of masculine arms. The other was wedding photo.

screenshot-14_zpsomrkkywhThe groom was a handsome young man, with a cheery, if smug, smile; the bride, on the other hand, was most miserable looking woman Rory had ever seen. It had been taken in a black and white film, probably to add a rustic look to their wedding – their clothes were clearly not modern.

Screenshot-48_zpstcjebnycLooking at the pair, Rory began to wonder. Did these two people ever suspect that their future daughter would be looking at this picture, wondering what colours were veiled behind that gray pigment; why the woman with the thick glasses looked as though she were ready to cry?

Screenshot-15_zpsidyhmexuRory comprehended that she was asleep, but these were not dreams. These were memories– pieces of her lost self squeezing through her brain.

She had never remembered this much before.

Screenshot-51_zps6svikbab–her hand was above her, clasped inside someone else’s. She couldn’t remember whose hand, but this was an ordinary, standard action… it didn’t feel strange at all. They were walking along a cobbled street. She called out to people as they passed by:

Hé làSalut!

Screenshot-41_zpsbss72egoThat’s where the memory fell to a jagged edge and only a voice remained above her, faceless and laughing:

Taisez-vous, Cecily.

Screenshot-12_zpsv3oqa8q6Simlish was not the language she had been born into – she had not spoken it her earliest memories.

How could she have forgotten this? Looking back now, it felt like another person’s life entirely. But Rory could see the memories so clearly now, like looking through an objective lens.

Screenshot-7_zpspveazl2w—she was sprawled on a carpet so soft that she felt she might sink into it.

Snippets of conversation floated around the room as she fiddled around with the stuffed toy in her hands, making it take off and land as she growled artificial engine noises.

Screenshot-142_zpsvd7g2sscAnd there were others, wisps and slips of moments without a context or timeline:

There was red fogarty dress draped over a chair by a four-poster bed. There was a brown-eyed boy peeking at her through a gap between his fingers. There was another street, this one with people clad in bizarre, old-fashioned clothing. There was—

Screenshot-42_zpspewmexmd-1The memories abruptly darkened.

There were thin lips, glossed red, and hands on her face. A beige pearl necklace was aligned around a thin, white neck. It glinted eerily in the wan light.

Screenshot-46—the hands pulled, pointed fingernails slicing through her skin. A fierce burning erupted and she screamed. A soft, strangled chanting assaulted her ears as a thick, hot liquid dripped from her face.

Son visage… son visage…

Screenshot-39_zpsuohlr6ziThe pain abruptly ceased, but the distraught voice lingered, increasing in volume. Now it sounded as if two voices were tearfully murmuring the same inconceivable words, clinging to each other as if a lifeline.

Son visage… son vis—

Screenshot-18“-–age.”

Rory’s eyes snapped open and she realised it was her own voice.

Screenshot-50Muffled grunts resounded from the sleeping bag where Asa slept. In the weak light that slithered off the broken streetlight near the window, Rory cold see a sliver of her friend’s face. He kind of looked like a sleeping soldier – slept like one too. Rory knew he was a very, very light sleeper.

Screenshot-175It was late, she knew, even if her alarm clock had long since suffered too many beatings to actually depict time anymore. Being as quiet as she possibly could, Rory tip-toed across the living room. She switched on their old, out-of-date computer, waiting several minutes for the ancient thing to boot up.

Screenshot-25She doubled clicked on the internet insignia. A particularly loud grunt from the couch made her jump as she feverishly typed in the name she had borne before her adoption, into the search bar:

RORY WILLIAMS

Screenshot-82A screen of websites cropped up and there, sitting innocently at the bottom of the page, was a title that made her mouth go dry. The article was archived from a local newspaper; it was very brief, obviously unimportant next to whatever headline had been spread across the front page that morning.

WLLIAMS TRADGEY 2012: MARRIED COUPLE KILLED – ORPHANED CHILD IN CRITICAL CONIDITION.

Screenshot-23Rory read on:

John and Rita Williams were tragically killed last week when an intoxicated youth barrelled into their car at a high speed of 60mph. Police have confirmed that the married couple were killed on impact. Their thirteen-year old daughter was flung from her seat and virtually crushed by the two front seats.”

Screenshot-55“Medics pulled the unconscious child from the wreckage and rushed her to Sacred Spleen Memorial Hospital, but doctors doubt whether she will make it through the week…”

Hope swelled in her like a tide. With a shaking hand, she scrolled down and there, latched onto the short summary of the disaster, as if sealing the article air-tight, was a picture.

Screenshot-178_zps0yibqpayA man and woman stood beside each other wearing ordinary, toothy grins. They appeared fairly well to do, and both had faces that were simple and practical. But what made Rory’s stomach drop was the couple’s colouring:

Both had blond hair, green eyes and pale skin.

Screenshot-128Of one thing she was absolutely certain: these were not the people in the tattered black and white wedding photo hidden in a shoebox beneath her bed. They were different people.

Very different people altogether.

Screenshot-4“Natti is at work,” Rory had been so engrossed in her mismatched genealogy that she hadn’t noticed Asa wake. “I told her you got sick during the night and that I’d stay to keep an eye on you.”

Rory switched the computer off with a heavy sigh. She honestly wanted to say ‘good’, but her vocal chords simply couldn’t wiggle out the words.

Screenshot-173The sun’s cheery beams slipped through the windows, throwing its gleaming strands on the bookcase and the pictures hung above it. Rory looked over them – all the people and moments Natti cared for purposefully captured. There, alongside Natti’s parents and the first class she had ever taught, were pictures of Rory. A sense of guilt enveloped her.

Screenshot-114“Asa… Have you ever heard me talk in my sleep?”

“Yes. You do it all the time.”

“Is it always nonsense like that?”

“It’s never nonsense.” Asa’s mouth tightened suddenly, as if he had said too much.

Screenshot-43Rory waited for more and clenched her jaw irritably when it didn’t come, feeling strangely reminiscent of her conversations with Hiro. “Well?”

“… it’s French.” Asa admitted reluctantly.

Screenshot-116French? Was that the language she had been born into? In the foster home nobody had ever wanted to share with her because she was said to murmur incoherent babble all night, but she thought that had stopped when Natti had taken her in.

Screenshot-150As if sensing her train of though, Asa continued:

“You know that article didn’t necessarily pertain to you. Williams is not that rare of a name, neither is Rory. You’re being melodramatic.”

Screenshot-97“Then explain how it’s dated the exact same year my parent’s supposedly died in a car crash. I woke up in a hospital in 2012 – don’t you remember me telling you that they said I had been asleep for long time and that my memories would probably be jumbled? I couldn’t speak for the first couple of months!”

Asa’s continued silence only served to aggravate her already fraying nerves.

Screenshot-64“I hardly recognised my own name. And unless I’m some sort of genetic anomaly I can’t be the child of those guys – I’m even speaking French in my sleep.

What the hell is this?! It’s like some sort of fucking conspiracy!”

Screenshot-94A sudden, terrifying thought occurred to her.

“Is… is Rory even my name?”

Screenshot-123“Rory,” Asa interrupted flatly. “Have you ever stopped to think that maybe you were adopted by the Williams at a young age?”

Rory sighed and looked away. “But I don’t even recognise those people.”

Screenshot-46Asa’s eyes widened slightly as his stiff spine became straighter still.

“You remember your parents?”

Screenshot-23Rory’s thoughts trailed back to her early delirium, to the thin, red lips that were stretched into the same miserable line as the woman in the wedding photo.

“A little. Plus they aren’t the same couple in my parent’s wedding photo.”

Screenshot-172Asa appeared unexpectedly alarmed, a mute horror glittered in his dark eyes as he leapt from the couch. “What picture?!”

“A man gave me two in the hospital.” Rory had forgotten she had never told her friend about the ragged picture – it had just been too personal.

Screenshot-73Asa’s serenity vanished at once and anger painted his features. “How come you never told me about this?!”

“W-what? I don’t have to tell you everything. And what’s wrong with having a picture of my parents?” Rory stood perplexed, wondering what on Earth she had done to deserve Asa’s sudden flashfire anger.

Screenshot-118Very much unlike himself, Asa dropped back onto the couch, covering his distressed face with his hands. In all the years that Rory had known him, Asa had never openly portrayed himself in such a manner. He was always so fluid and relaxed. A nervous chill churned in Rory’s stomach to see him so affected.

Screenshot-142“I can’t believe how complicated this had become…” he muttered. “So many years of sacrifice and toll straight down the drain.”

“What do you mean…?” Rory trailed off, her tongue no longer pliable enough to construct sentences.

Screenshot-150Asa sighed deeply before peeling himself off the couch.

“Natti’s is going to be hella mad when she sees I didn’t stay with you. Will you tell her I had somewhere important to be? And tell her I’m sorry. She really was worried about you.”

Screenshot-62“You’re seriously just going to leave me like this?! Completely alone and confused after I just learned that something is really fucked up with my heritage and the facts I’m getting from people are all complete bullshit?!”

Screenshot-19“Before you start pestering me with a limitless amount of questions I want you to know two things: the first is that I will only answer so many before I leave. The second is that I will not tell you anything more than you honestly need to know.

You’re in so far, your mind will probably be re-arranged anyway.”

Screenshot-148The words Rory had prepared immediately died in her throat.  There was a formality – a distance – behind Asa’s dark eyes as he regarded her. Those eyes, flatter than polished obsidian, chilled Rory to the bone. This was not the lazy companion that had walked beside her all these years…

This person was a stranger.

Screenshot-52“There are many things that Hiroto Yui is known for,” Asa intoned darkly.

“But, at the very top of that list, he is known as the only living carrier of an exceptionally rare curse.”

Screenshot-177 The room seem parched and thirsty as the sun’s rays slowly receded from the room. Rory’s mind spun; she could only gape at this unveiled, raw being before her. Rory tried to find some coherence to the events unfolding around her but her mind felt so submerged in fog that she felt no amount of help could ever yank it back out again.

Screenshot-129“Asa,”

Rory’s words, spoken so quietly, were almost lost to the apartment’s clanking boiler.

“… are you really even my friend?”

Screenshot-166Asa remained so unaffected by the question that it terrified her.

“Of course I am,” But he spoke with little warmth in his voice. He appeared to Rory almost like an actor, rehearsing his lines dispassionately from a script. “Why else would I be hanging around you?”

Screenshot-117The question felt like a trap. Asa was waiting, like a hunter, for her little ideas to poke their innocent heads out from her imagination and then he would bash their skulls in. Rory knew the only way to counter a trap was with another trap.

“Who are you really? What are you doing in this dumb town?”

Screenshot-72Asa’s face remained smooth, but Rory thought it tightened a fraction; the trap had sprung with no animal caught inside.

“Business. Beneath the library is another library – this one restricted access only. You must be a member of, or have strong personal ties, to the hidden villages to gain admission. I help protect it.”

Screenshot-63“Why?”

Because the books are mostly all on the subject matter of Viridis,” Asa muttered. “–or ‘magic’, as you’d call it. Most consist of theorems so complex that even the very best of your modern sleeper scientists couldn’t begin to comprehend them. We don’t want our secrets spilled out to the world.”

Screenshot-145Rory could hardly believe it.  All those agonising hours she had spent labouring in the library, and beneath her were people from the hidden villages, frolicking about, learning from their cryptic, unintelligible science books.

Screenshot-159Rory worked her mouth, trying to get a little moisture to ask what she felt was the most important question of all.

“How do you know Hiro?”

Asa sighed deeply. “You’ve probably already figured this out by now but I’m from the hidden villages, too.”

Screenshot-74“As I said before Hiro is a pretty famous character among us. He comes from a very talented clan  – excellent spell authors, and world-renowned hypnotists. They were probably one of the most well respected clans inside the hidden villages.”

Screenshot-134Asa grunted disparagingly, as if to discredit the statement. “Nothing more than doll-makers, really…”

Doll-makers?!”

“Yes, but that’s the Yui clan. Hiro is famous for a number of other reasons as well.”

Screenshot-161 “… which reminds me,” Asa paused to search through his pockets. “I took this from the archives in the library. Anything familiar about it?”

Rory’s eyes widened as they caught sight of what Asa held: a picture.

Screenshot-79_zpsuurnfqwx“I’m not sure why Hiro has attached himself to you out of all the sleepers in Bridgeport, but the theory I have regretfully been supporting lately is that his legendary curse may have finally found its intended mate.”

A/N: FINALLY! AN UPDATE (OF SOME KIND)! 

 This chapter was already written except the last few sentences, so I’ve once again put off my Suitor update which requires actual creativity on my part 😛 Hope you enjoy!

Chapter 10

 

That Shorter String

Screenshot-23_zpssuiyffwp“In the rare instance that a curse involves more than one person, a certain dominancy is created between the differentiating parties. This is typically bore from casting a curse on one individual and then multiplying the span to include others with a simple engorging spell.”

Screenshot-18_zpsfdcawsyc“It can also be constructed from a self-awakening curse that settles on an individual, and then erupts at a chosen time to drag the selected party member into the curse. In these situations, a pecking order is created.” 

Screenshot-20_zpsfwb5t39d“The original cursed individual is typically the Pre-dominant; other members vary from Sub-Dominant to Lower-Subservient. As with some curses, there are instances in which the Pre-dominant suffers a stronger pull from the curse and, consequently, holds a certain direction over the other cursed party members…

…although I use the term ‘direction’ very lightly indeed.” 

Screenshot-8What were you thinking?!”

Rory’s voice, which had been steadily rising, was now reverberating through the barren stalls and tiled walls.

Screenshot-340Hiro who was, and had been, eerily calm through the entire ordeal peered flatly at her.

“I wasn’t.”

Screenshot-396“First you pull that stunt at the library… then you claim it’s a curse—not your fault.” Rory’s voice was soft, but beneath it a fury was rumbling and causing her words to quake. “Then you come to my home and do something weird and suddenly I’m feeling the worst pain in the world… you follow me and now you—you—”

Screenshot-4“— I don’t understand why you have to be here!”

Hiro opened his move to answer but Rory cut across him.

“No, no, no! No more excuses! No more saying it’s a curse – no more bullshit! If I can restrain the urge to make-out with you, surely you can do the same for me!”

Screenshot-403“You really do not understand at all,” Hiro declared, his voice steadily rising in volume. “If you’d only let me explain and stop yelling—”

“NO! The set perimeter— got that. But you don’t need to be around me at all! You said so yourself, didn’t you? As long as you intend on coming back, you can go!”

Screenshot-399“THEN GO! You don’t have to be around me! Go figure out this curse crap and THEN come near me once you’ve learned how to control these weird urges to k-kiss me! I mean, how am I going to explain that little show out there to the entire student body?!”

Screenshot-122“You could tell them we’re lovers,” Hiro smirked. “Although I’m pretty sure they already think that by now.”

You asshole!”

Screenshot-379_zpsmggl42lo—but Rory’s next threat was severed short when a pair of lips suddenly pressed softly onto her own.

Her brain’s functions trudged to a halt; a bleary, warm sensation infested her senses and converted her inhibitions to mush. Her arms yearned to shove the offender off, but the neuron signal tapped on sleeping ligaments and muscles; bones ached helplessly in her skin.

Screenshot-384_zpsyl39yar6Slowly, her own lips, which seemed to have developed an entirely different motivation from her brain, began to move against Hiro’s. Tingles rolled from her mouth and pooled at her toes. Her chest felt like warm jelly and her lungs were empty, yet strangely…

Content.

Screenshot-45_zpsnjgbwnzk“Well that certainly shut you up.”

Hiro muttered, brushing his swollen lips and appearing as if in another world entirely.

“It’s just as the book read. I guess it’s true – I am the Pre-dominant.”

Screenshot-62_zps37ldojj2Rory slid down to the floor and leaned her heavy, tepid head against the sink, eyelids drooping downward. She felt high— carefree and completely out of her mind. It was no use trying to muster up the fury she was supposed to be feeling right about then, especially when the little bubbles of warmth in her stomach made her feel almost giddy.

6dc76448-ca7f-4567-acda-7f94f0ca59c1_zpsnrncgxre“I told you we were bonded, Rory. Incredibly, invisibly tight.

However, we are not bonded equally.”

Screenshot-389Somehow that pulled a nerve in Rory’s jumbled mind and her eyes snapped open. The welling bubbles of bliss were beginning to pop and melt back into her stomach lining.

“What?”

Screenshot-374“It’s like explaining quantum physics to a three-year old…

Imagine two threads that are exactly the same length coming from two separate spools. If you tie them together, one string will appear shorter because more of it was used in the actual knot.”

Screenshot-350“Essentially, I am that shorter string.”

Rory was sure that, even though she had no idea what Hiro was implying, it was something monumental in their already awkward relationship.

Screenshot-93“As for why I came to your school…”

Hiro began quietly moments later as Rory finally found her feet,

“There are many reasons. I didn’t come to pester you, if you think that’s one of them.”

Screenshot-127“…although it is a perk.”

Rory glowered.

That bastard.

Screenshot-130“One of those reasons, as you’ve probably already guessed, is that I know Oda. He can sense magic, or rather, he can smell it. Anything that has even a trace of my essence is in intimate danger. Along with that, I needed to be—“

Screenshot-115“Wait, wait, wait!” Rory butted in. “I don’t want Mister Oda smelling anything around me! And how did you even get into school, anyway? You need transfer papers and birth certificates and stuff!”

“Forged.” Hiro replied simply. “I travel with one of the best forgers in the world.”

Screenshot-137Rory was startled for a moment. She hadn’t thought of Hiro travelling with anyone. Besides, who would opt to spend time with him willingly? It made her wonder who he was trekking around with. Were they as weird (and perverted) as Hiro? And why on Earth had they congregated in the single most mundane district in Bridgeport?

Screenshot-98Then something occurred to her.

“You…. just complimented somebody.” Rory noted, shocked.

“I’m simply stating facts.” Hiro sighed. He appeared perturbed with the constant interruptions.

“So even a hard-ass like you…”

Screenshot-404Along with Oda,” Hiro cut across her sharply, “There are a lot more people from the Hidden Villages than I first suspected and I’m someone that’s well-known throughout them. It’s not wise to blindly through something of mine into an environment that may damage it.”

Screenshot-393Something of his? IT? Was he talking about her?  “I am not your’s, goddamnit!”

Hiro waved a hand heedlessly. “It’s a figure of speech.”

“The hell it is! You clearly said ‘something of mine’ and I am not—“

Screenshot-100“The final reason is more profound than the others – the curse wants us to be together.”

Hiro’s presence commanded silence, as if every word were a rare morsel, a sweet nectar he did not bestow casually.

Screenshot-47“Did you not feel terribly sick this morning? Didn’t your head feel heavy, your body temperature unbearably cool? Did you feel a hunger you could not satisfy?”

With every passing word, Rory felt boxed in. It was as if every noun and verb in his questions had settled on the tip of her nose to stare her accusingly in the eye.

Screenshot-103“And have you noticed that you no longer feel that way?”

Actually, she hadn’t. She had been far too preoccupied (what, with the public humiliation, the kissing, that warm dementia that swiped her brain clean of clutter). It hadn’t actually occurred to her that her stomach now felt content, that she could easily lift her head without her neck whining.

Screenshot-94“For almost a week, we had contact every day and then the next I did not see you. Our souls are wound around each other so tight, that it is becoming difficult for the flesh to recognise which is which, who is who.

Our souls cannot handle separation.

Screenshot-119“So you’re telling me that today that ki— that thing that happened was sort of like… a reunion for our souls?”

Hiro snorted grimly. “It’s far more complicated than that, but fundamentally yes. After all, the only medium the soul has is the body.”

Screenshot-132I should be mad, Rory’s mind produced uselessly, over and over again in her head but anger seemed like a abstract idea just then, not an emotion with which she was so familiar. She wondered whether this standard, boring bathroom had ever contained a conversation as bizarre as theirs. What did it think of the two of them; such incredibly dissimilar individuals, stealing privacy in its confines?

Screenshot-84“Hey Hiro…”

Rory asked with hesitation.

“What did you mean earlier when you said you were the shorter string?”

Screenshot-364Hiro’s thin, pale lips tightened.

He had long since abandoned the subject to drown in the deep waters of their conversation afterwards.

screenshot-37_zps3l0hjidyWhen the bell chimed outside the door, Hiro looked outwardly relieved. He strode over to Rory, unexpectedly laying a hand on her. Instantly, Rory was overcome with an incredible heat, only this time with such startling vigour that she almost collapsed to the floor.

screenshot-49_zpsaf8mynfpShe felt blinded. She was suddenly an unthinking entity with no sense to its name. She was breathing harder, as though the air in her lungs was unsatisfactory. Her picky organs begged for the purer source of oxygen.

Screenshot-50_zpslegh1somIf you don’t hurry to class, you’ll be late.”

Those words, and the sound of the door clicking shut, were all that echoed through her hallow head.

Screenshot-15Not seconds later, Asa barrelled into the bathroom. His eyes, alert and searching, caught Rory muddled and dazed on the floor. Asa’s eyes narrowed in distress as he lent a hand to her. Rory took it wordlessly and stood, bones creaking as she did so.

Screenshot-55For the rest of that day Asa stayed close by her at school. He didn’t ask again whether Rory was feeling all right.

It was obvious she wasn’t.

A/N: SPOOOOKKKKYYYY! Or I hope it was… a bit!  

It’s really hard to make being stuck with a handsome/intelligent counterpart seem so undesirable! Hopefully I’m succeeding somewhat.

 

Chapter 9

Ice Queen

Screenshot-151The mirror depicted a girl with glassy, red eyes and a befuddled, sagging frown.

Her skin appeared to be a disturbing shade of grey. Her eyes were bloodshot. Her bones felt like frozen stones inside lukewarm skin. Cold beads of sweat littered her forehead and moistened her hair.

Screenshot-146I look sick…

But Rory didn’t register anything as physically wrong; her joints ached and felt chilled, but nothing serious. There was no foreign pain, no gurgling stomach, not even a hint of a sniffle. She was just hungry. Ravenously so.

Screenshot-33In the kitchen Natti was already bowed over a steaming skillet. “Good morning, Rory. You’re up early. What’s the joyous occasion? Morning detention?”

“You’re always so pessimistic, Natti,” Rory answered. “Can’t I just be up because I love the sunrise and want to get a fresh start on this bright new day?”

Screenshot-70“God, you look horrible,” Her alarmed guardian voiced as Rory passed, lethargically seating herself at the dining table. “Do you feel sick? Is your stomach hurting? Have you been coughing? Do you feel hot?”

Screenshot-76“I feel fine, Natti.” Rory groaned. She placed her cool, damp forehead into her palms. They felt scorchingly hot against her brow. And her head… it just felt so unbearably heavy

What was wrong with her?

Screenshot-94“Well there’s something wrong, I just know it.” Natti affirmed. “Are you getting enough sleep?”

“Yesssss.”

“And you’re sure nothing hurts?”

Yesssssss.”

“Are you sure there’s nothing bothering you?”

“Yessssss — I mean, nooooooo.”

Screenshot-96“Aha! You can’t hide anything from me, Rory Cauthon! It’s Asa, isn’t it? Are you still mad at him for turning you in the other week? You know he was only looking out for you…”

Rory gave a start. “Wha—? No, Asa is fine. I mean, he’s sick all the time, but fine. Really Natti, there’s nothing going on.”

Screenshot-48She felt utterly exhausted all of a sudden. Maybe I didn’t get enough sleep last night… Natti nudged her the plate but Rory shook her head.

“I’m not hungry.”

Screenshot-51Wait… what?

She looked down at the pancakes she would normally find delectable. She was starving; every single atom in her being trembled with the need to eat but the food… for whatever reason, it just looked so– unappetising. 

Screenshot-75The feeling reminded Rory of her time in the foster home. She had always possessed a terribly erratic attention span and often her day-dreams saw her mopping floors until well after dark. In those awful hours her stomach would always cry for food and her eyelids would slump downwards, desperate for sleep…

Screenshot-57Sometimes, the two needs became so overwhelming that they would manifest into a single, superior yearning so desperate that it clouded her vision and made her very bones shake. She felt that same yearning now, only this time she didn’t know what it was that her body wanted…

Only that she desperately needed it.

Screenshot-125Natti gazed down at her attentively, staring down at her as if she were a puzzle to piece together.

“Well how about your new friend, Hiro? Are the two of you still getting along alright?”

Screenshot-154Rory felt her eye twitch. ‘Getting along’ was definitely not the proper term to describe their unstable and incredibly weird relationship.

“Yes,” She grunted. “Splendidly.”

Screenshot-122“Oh. He seemed like such a lovely boy, too. And so nice-looking…”

No, he’s a mean, arrogant, stuck-on-himself asshole with a freakin’ God complex!” Rory glared fiercely at her guardian. “And he doesn’t look nice, he looks like an ice queen!”

“What did he do to you?”

Screenshot-64“He didn’t do anything— he just… UGH!” Rory threw her hands in the air exasperatedly. Without thinking, she allowed her inner frustrations to spill out. “He’s so frustrating! One minute he’s nice and just about bearable, the next he’s cold and aloof, and then there are these other times where he’s just all over me!

Screenshot-111Without breaking eye contact, Natti sat down on the adjacent chair solemnly. Whenever her soft, green eyes narrowed into that concentrated stare, Rory knew that a long winded speech was collecting on her lips.

“Rory, you know that I love you, correct?”

Screenshot-82Her guardian always informed her of her maternal love as often as she could, almost as if to seal away the undefined twelve years that were void of that doting presence.

“I know, Natti.”

“And you know I would love you no matter what you choose to do?

Screenshot-102“…Well, except if you joined a gang. Then you’d be disowned in a matter of seconds, maybe sooner.”

Rory sighed. “Yes, Natti.”

“And you know I hold no prejudice against any people of any kind, correct? …. Well, except for gang members.”

Screenshot-79Natti cleared her throat nervously.

“And I know you’re getting older… and… well – with you and Hiro seeming so close – I just want you to know that you can talk to me about anything…

Screenshot-104At the mention of the boy’s name an unpleasant sensation crawled into Rory’s stomach. She wasn’t sure she liked where this was heading.

“Um, okay… but I still have no idea what you’re talking about.”

Screenshot-103Natti hesitated. “Um, well, I suppose what I’m trying to say is that… if you happen to ever need advice you wanted to ask me about, um…

… boysandthingsofthatnaturethenidbeokaywithit.”

Screenshot-71Rory looked up toward her guardian’s nervous face. Slowly, carefully, she spoke suddenly feeling exceedingly self-conscious.

“… what did you just say?”

Screenshot-100Natti breathed in and gazed determinedly at her.

“Are you and Hiro in a relationship?”

Screenshot-156

Screenshot-119

WHHAAAATTT?!

Screenshot-131Several agonising minutes later, Rory found herself ambling hazily to school. She had tried convincing her guardian that just because she had brought a guy home to help her study did not mean she was suddenly participating in illicit underage sex.

Screenshot-175Of course, she neglected to inform Natti as to that little kiss/mouth-rape scenario in the library that one time…

That was one shameful event in her life that she would surely take to the grave.

Screenshot-133God, but she was beginning to feel truly terrible. Her head was stinging as though someone was prodding areas of her mind with needles. And that terrible aching longing made her gut clench and fold in on itself constantly…

Rory.”

Screenshot-185“Eriol!”

Rory honesty wanted to sound more excited because she hadn’t seen him in a week or two, but the exhaustion she felt seemed to have spread to her vocal chords.

Screenshot-135She wasn’t great friends with the slightly creepy and mostly stoic college student, but he could be nice company as they both caught the same subway line to their destinations. Rory figured he lived somewhere down the street from her, even if the young man’s stately and groomed appearance suggested a home in the lighter side of town.

Screenshot-136Typically their conversations were one-sided, seeing as Rory’s mouth felt betrayed if it didn’t utter a word every 30 seconds. Eriol never seemed to mind; he would nod courteously and mutter words of agreement whenever appropriate.

Screenshot-186Overall, his demeanour was pleasant, but those pale, colourless irises and hair kind of made him seem slightly…

…. sinister.

Screenshot-167Eriol’s pallid eyes narrowed. “Are you feeing okay? You really do not look well.”

“I’m fine!” Rory chimed, “Just a little sleepy.”

Screenshot-180Regardless, the older student stepped closer, brushing Rory’s tousled hair away; placing a hand to her tepid skin. The contact made her shiver – Eriol’s hand seemed at least two degrees cooler than the average human being. Another notch on his growing creepiness scale.

Screenshot-172Feeling awkward that Eriol had yet to move his hand, Rory stepped back.

“Oh, l-look at the time! If we don’t go now, we’ll miss our train!”

Screenshot-330

Rory ambled forward quickly, grinning. Eriol trailed a respectful distance behind, scrutinising the world with his pale eyes as if a silent bodyguard, waiting for terror to leap out from every dingy alleyway.

Screenshot-260“Are you sure you’re feeling alright?”

“For the love of a godly things in this fucking world I am fine, Asa!” Rory finally snapped after the 10th question regarding her well-being had been voiced.

Screenshot-286Her friend’s small, brown eyes narrowed until they appeared to be mere dots. “You look like you did  that time you ate that rotten hotdog.”

“It was a cheeseburger, actually.”

Screenshot-243Asa’s russet coloured iris seemed to darken and merge with his pupil as his lips drew into a tight frown. The voice that next escaped his lips was so uncharacteristically stern that Rory’s back stiffened in surprise.

“I can sense something is off. As one of your only friends, you would think you could confide something like that to me.”

Screenshot-291“Okay, fine,” Rory snapped, “I feel like dog crap. Happy now?”

Asa seemed to relax a bit. “Not in the least. Doesn’t your stomach hurt? There’s supposed to be some sort of virus going around…”

“I’ve already told you – I’m sure.”

Screenshot-292Rory was really beginning to regret speeding out of the apartment this morning, because standing at the school gates, tapping an impatient foot and looking highly irritated, had been Asa. The moment his perturbed stare had landed on her person, she had been bombarded with questions…

Screenshot-265“You know, if your stomach is bothering you, maybe you should let me take a look.”

“And how is that going to help? Why can’t you just be a normal friend for once and offer me some freakin’ painkillers or something?”

“Because your choice in friends is deplorable and I left my bottle at home.”

Screenshot-235“You know,” Asa continued, “If you start puking up your breakfast all over school, I’m not going to be the one dragging you to the infirmary—”

Rory spun around to confront her bothersome friend.

“For God’s sake…! Fine. I surrender – I’ll tell you everything.”

Screenshot-226“It all started a couple of months ago… you know, when I went to the Maloney hotel? Well, before you turned up, I met this weird guy. He took me to his insane party… only I think he slipped something in my drink because I woke up the next morning and I couldn’t remember anything…”

Screenshot-197“Asa—“

Rory eyed her friend gravely.

“I think I’m pregnant.”

Screenshot-233Another pain was unceremoniously added to her tender head as Asa whacked her on the head and stomped away. Rory’s hand reached up to rub the sore spot, and then—

And then—-

Well, she wasn’t exactly sure.

Screenshot-202_zpst2ixl8ceSuddenly, everything was moving in slow-motion. The pack of girls that had glared at her only moments before slowly walked beside her, each foot lifting so slowly it was as though a weight was tied their shoes.

Screenshot-245_zpsdkpgtk43Rory’s gaze fluttered over to the corner where a dark-haired boy was sliding a book back onto a bookshelf at snail’s pace, stray papers fluttering to the floor eerily slowly around him. Her head, which also seemed suspended in this slow-moving delirium, turned inch-by-inch until she fully faced the boy.

Screenshot-313_zpsm97wkielThat dark stare rose slowly from the floor to meet her own gaze and unexpectedly—

All traces of the room vanished.

screenshot-231_zps470529081All that mattered

all that was important at all

were those gleaming eyes.

Screenshot-304The next few moments would be recounted as the most delicious gossip ever to grace the walls of the mostly quiet public school. Out of nowhere, resident nobody and self-proclaimed weirdo Rory Cauthon was backed up against a wall and then kissed senseless by one handsome transfer student: Hiroto Yui.

Screenshot-215Girls squealed in delight, relaying the aggressive, almost possessive way Hiro had crossed the hall and smothered his lover against the wall; the slightly forceful way he had captured her lips…

Screenshot-219….and then the fiery passion that had interlocked the two in a crazy make-out session that had lasted up to two and a half slow minutes.

Screenshot-293And then, the particularly close girls, who had been mesmerized and moved in for a closer look, would say to their friends the way Rory’s bottom lip had finally slipped from the transfer students teeth, the hazy glow that had surrounded the two as they stared dazedly into each other’s eyes…

Screenshot-224No one really chooses to remember the way Rory’s eyes had grown to the size of dinner plates after seconds of muddled staring, the way she had scrubbed her tongue afterwards howling of tongue-rape, calling the authorities and lecherous bastards who couldn’t keep their mouths to themselves.

Screenshot-228No, that was definitely unimportant.

Definitely not important.

A/N: I’m back! This was supposed to be longer, but I cut it because I’m lazy 😛

Liebster Award

Hello everybody!

So I’ve been away for a while and in that time it seems I’ve been nominated for not 1, but 3 Liebster Awards!!! My thanks to LilyParker (Jill’s 100 Baby Challenge) , theeyesofbecca (Thornheartsims) and vampireXheart (The Ravenwood Legacy)!

b1e59-liebster2

Okay, questions – let’s get started!

Why do you write?
I think this is because I generally don’t have another creative outlet and, with The Sims being a sandbox type of play, I think creativity comes naturally to people who play in order to keep the game interesting. I’d been playing forever before I decided to turn one of my unpublished ‘legacies’ into a blog/sims story – for example, the Afonsine family from Suitor.

What other things besides writing do you do and enjoy?
I love to travel and I do this quite often (I’m talking real travelling here – it’s all about hostels and being on the move  -none of that poolside/beach stuff :P). I also enjoy the simple things in life, like reading and walking my dog.

What is your favourite book and why?
This is SO hard! I love books that really stay with you and the two that immediately spring to mind are Wuthering Heights and (more recently) The Broken Empire Trilogy. They’re both dark, bleak stories but there’s something in them that really resonates with me. I just love that bittersweet stuff.Broken-Empire

Is there a published writer you would love to meet and who?
Not one that springs immediately to mind, to be honest. I go to quite a few book signings so I think I’m good 😛

How does being nominated makes you feel?
Surprised, flattered, happy ^^

What scene in your story caused the most controversy among your readers?

I’m not sure about controversy (I feel like sometimes that can cheapen a story if done in an untactful way), but maybe the most shocking was in Suitor when Estelle was attacked by a nobleman and the aftermath.

Where do you find inspiration for story lines?
Imagination and, weirdly enough, expansion packs. Both Suitor and Curse of the Red Thread were inspired by the Supernatural expansion pack and Midnight Hollow, with it’s gothic/steampunk undertones and the introduction of magic. Also other bloggers and literature – I actually started Curse of the Red Thread because I liked the darkness of the Ravenwood Legacy and how it explored the occult.

Do you have any other story ideas brewing besides the blogs you’re currently publishing?
YES! I decided not to start it though, since I’m rubbish at updating the two stories I already started. It was about a college dropout who gets entangled in a complicated love triangle. I actually made two of the three main characters when I was procrastinating! See below:

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The tagline was going to be something like: At the most inopportune moment in his life (boy) meets the woman of his dreams. Not too long after he meets the man of his dreams too (…strange, he never even realised he had one). Did love – and life – always have to be so complicated?

Screenshot-9_zpsqfxvzrbwIf you were to spot one of your male characters across the room without knowing anything about him, which one would be most likely to catch your eye?
Although he’s technically/physically too young for me I’d say Hiro from Curse of the Red Thread. Everything about him is almost too perfect – ethereal, unnatural and somewhat inhuman – that would make my eyes instantly seek him.

Have you written from both male and female points of view? If so, which do you prefer, and why?
I have! I honestly like writing both equally. I try to write female emotions more openly while my male characters brood inwardly. I have brothers and have noticed this difference between us (i.e. I tend to react to things more emotionally and they’re much less so). It’s fun (and challenging) to write like that sometimes as it can skew how people interpret a characters thoughts and feelings. I think a prime example is my introverted Charles Landgraab from Suitor. It’s a very ‘does he, doesn’t he?’ situation that I never expected to develop!

If you could recreate the sims 4 base game, what features would you include or change (graphics, seasons, open world, rating etc)?
The reason I didn’t purchase Sims 4 is because of the lack of open world. I feel like this is a huge step back for the franchise and it gave me horrible flashbacks to the Sims 2 and those long waits on each loading screen! Otherwise, I’m pretty much the only person who liked the change in graphics. I thought it looked unique and quirky. Lack of customisation of clothing kinda sucks though.

I’ve not been doing so much reading recently so I bet most of them have already been chosen, but my favourite stories are:

Jill’s 100 Baby Challenge
A Pair of Brown Eyes
Ravenwood Legacy
Twisted Colour
Bloodlust

This is hugely lazy, but I want to ask the same questions I was asked, so my questions are:

  1. Why do you write?
  2. What other things besides writing do you do and enjoy?
  3. What is your favourite book and why?
  4. Is there a published writer you would love to meet and who?
  5. How does being nominated makes you feel?
  6. What scene in your story caused the most controversy among your readers?
  7. Where do you find inspiration for story lines?
  8. Do you have any other story ideas brewing besides the blogs you’re currently publishing?
  9. If you were to spot one of your male characters across the room without knowing anything about him, which one would be most likely to catch your eye, and why?
  10. Have you written from both male and female points of view? If so, which do you prefer, and why?
  11. If you could recreate the sims 4 base game, what features would you include or change (graphics, seasons, open world, rating etc)?

P. S. Working on an update (at last!) 😀

Chapter 8

The Most Curious

Screenshot-61Rory could not remember a time she had actually enjoyed the mundane in her life, but here she was, practically giddy with the normalcy the day had thus far provided.

screenshot-84The past week had gone perfectly typical. She had woken at seven and swiped her alarm clock to the floor. From there she had thrown on the closest shirt that did not smell strange and stumbled into her uniform and into the kitchen where she bickered briefly with Natti over the state of her burnt toast.

Screenshot-66At seven thirty she had sprinted out the door and to school. To her immense surprise there, leaning nonchalantly against the gate when she arrived, was her long lost companion.

Screenshot-12Asa!” She cried, tackling her slightly stunned friend. “Where in the world have you been?”

“I had the flu.” Asa answered simply.

Screenshot-379It was then that Rory noticed that Asa’s movements were more tense and guarded than usual. He seemed… distracted, his eyes kept darting from student to student, almost as if he expected one of them to hurl a knife his way.

Screenshot-10Then Asa pulled away and peered at her with concern. “And you? Have you been… alright?”

Rory sighed. “No. It’s been Hell. Utter Hell.”

Screenshot-166The rest of the day progressed with startling boredom. Rory even secretly believe she hadn’t bombed her science test. Not an A by any stretch of the imagination, but definitely somewhere in the passing vicinity.

Screenshot-4The best part of it all was that the last week had been Hiro-less. Not one sudden appearance of the dark-haired boy had occurred. Rory had been lolled to sleep both those nights by gentle music of her boom-box and the angry horns and sirens of a part of town that never let its guard down.

Screenshot-182For a moment, her dreams had been delayed by panicked thoughts that Hiro wasn’t ever coming back… maybe the name of her baneful science teacher had frightened him away (it was certainly enough to scare Rory into submission).

Screenshot-183But, by turning up the volume on her radio, all thoughts of perverted stalkers dissipated like whispers in a crowd…

Screenshot-130And here she was today at school, feeling slightly confused and all around mixed about Hiro’s abrupt absence. Where was he? It made her feel guilty to admit that maybe she had enjoyed having the favourable attention of someone other than Asa and Natti.

Screenshot-116Sure, she didn’t understand all this curse gibberish, but it was nice knowing there was another person in the world who took the time to notice her (and being noticed was very important to her). She hadn’t accepted him as a confidant or friend.

No, it just meant she acknowledged herself as, well… lonely.

Screenshot-71A flicker of anger sailed through her.

And the bastard took advantage of it, too…

Screenshot-126“Hey, Asa, do you think if I made a B on that test I could possibly pass science?”

Her companion regarded her lazily.

“I don’t think there’s a chance in—”

Screenshot-128Rory cocked her head as she watched Asa’s lethargic brown eyes suddenly sharpen to alertness. She had only once seen him alarmed before and that was just before she had mindlessly wondered in front of an oncoming bus.

Nothing startled this boy, it was as if he had seen it all before.

Screenshot-114Rory turned around to see just what had enough caiber to widen her friend’s eyes…

and suddenly her insides felt dunked in ice.

Screenshot-87“Even though it’s out of season and highly rare we have a new transfer student.”

Their homeroom teacher announced.

Screenshot-88“I expect you to make yourselves friendly and helpful to…

Hiroto Yui. Hiro, welcome to Bridgeport High.”

Screenshot-92

The pencil Asa had previously been tapping dropped to the floor.

“He’s really here

Screenshot-97_zps906aee71But Rory hardly processed it.

Was she even still breathing? She wasn’t exactly sure. Her chest was slowly expanding up and down, but she felt so incredibly disjointed she wasn’t sure what bodily functions were happening.

Screenshot-137“There seems to be an empty seat next to Noah Landgraab. There, at the back of class…”

The mousy homeroom teacher intoned.

“If you’d like to take that seat, Hiro?”

Screenshot-159Noah… Who’s that again?

Rory’s shocked mind could not grasp the information. All her muddy mind could comprehend was that Hiro was sauntering languidly down the ally she sat in.

Noah! He sits… somewhere behind me...

0c3ef4e8-e772-4cc6-9555-1ef51ae9e6a0_zpsda140678She glanced upwards to momentarily lock gazes with two glinting black eyes. The shared moment lasted only a second. It was ephemeral. No eye could perceive the split second when a boundary was a broken and swept away.

— no one noticed at all.

Screenshot-183Neither did anybody notice that that was the only day Rory did not tap her pencil idly against her desk. No one noticed the stiff, rigid muscles in her shoulder blades, that she kept frighteningly still throughout all of their first four classes. And only one person noticed that the new transfer student’s eyes never once deviated from Rory.

Screenshot-181_zps2d03aada

Noah Landgraab watched with vacant eyes.

Screenshot-385At lunch, Asa had suddenly announced that he was going to the infirmary, claiming to still have a touch of flu. Despite Rory’s protests, he insisted on going alone.

Screenshot-320When Rory finally had time to collect her thoughts she was left feeling utterly pissed.

She decided to corner Hiro during class changes. However, he remained impassive to her heated stares and the sporadic arsenal of wadded papers hurled at him, bouncing uselessly against his head.

Screenshot-173Occasionally, Hiro would glance her way and stare blankly at her, but when Rory attempted to actually converse with him, he would slink away suddenly and disappear.

Why was he here?

Screenshot-190In Mr. Oda’s class she saw a chance to finally slip Hiro a note. Hiro had plopped down in the seat in front of her, promptly ignoring her annoyed whispers and ‘psssts’. She had employed a battery of techniques to divert Hiro’s attention her way, everything short of howling his name and waving like a madwoman.

Screenshot-243What are you doing here, Hiro?

Her mind wound around the thought over and over, clutching the sides of her desk until her fingers went white.

Screenshot-205As inconspicuously as possible, Rory began to scribble a short, heated note.

Bastard! What the hell r u doin here? how did u even get in skool? u got to have papers n shit. Why would u come here?

Screenshot-192It bounced and landed in the middle of Hiro’s desk. For his part, Hiro remained completely unresponsive until Rory growled and kicked the back of his seat hard enough to jolt him.

Screenshot-228Slowly, his long, white fingers unwrapped and smoothed out the paper. He jotted something down and then folded it neatly, throwing it lazily over his shoulder.

Screenshot-208Rory hastily unfolded it and glowered: Hiro had corrected all her grammar and spellings.

ばか, 

You should pay attention; it would do your grade some good. We’ll chat after class.

Screenshot-64It had become habit for Rory to speed out of Mr. Oda’s class. It was only after she was safely outside that she remembered she had left Hiro behind. She knew their confrontation could not occur anywhere within a 15 mile radius of school (she was sure it would boil down to a terrible fight) but she wouldn’t let him slip away as he had been doing all day.

Screenshot-356She made her way back and plopped down to the floor, leaning against the wall as her classmates poured out of the classroom. She waited a good three minutes as the last dregs came out, but there was still no sign of—

Screenshot-158Hiroto Yui…

At the sound of the sly, throaty purr, Rory immediately stiffened against the wall.

Mr. Oda…!

Screenshot-322What does Mr. Oda want with Hiro?  Scooting closer, behind the open door, she eavesdropped with a sinking, cold feeling bubbling in her stomach. Maybe he knows that something isn’t right… Maybe Hiro doesn’t have the right papers or—!

Screenshot-285“Of all the curious people to end up in this city, you are the most curious, Hiro-kun.”

— or maybe he already knows him.

Screenshot-343“I don’t see many other curious people.

 This place is teeming with sleepers.”

Screenshot-312“Ah, but as the old saying goes: birds of a feather flock together.

Enchantments attract other enchantments – the flow of Virdis draws all its children together.”

Screenshot-346“Surely I taught you this much, Hiro-kun?”

“They are well hidden.”

“Yes, aren’t we all?”

Screenshot-325There was something wrong with Hiro, Rory noted nervously. Along the edges of his authoritative voice, an undeniable hate polished each syllable into sharp, hot pokers.

If they had known each other before, Rory was sure their relationship had been tumultuous.

Screenshot-270“Forgive me, but it seems slightly humorous that one such as you would be engaging in the frivolity of a highschool.”

Mr. Oda’s tone resembled an eel and Rory felt slimy as it slithered over her.

Screenshot-3Mr. Oda continued slyly,

“I wonder, has something here sparked your interest enough to pull you away from your research?”

Screenshot-370You could say that.

Hiro was swiftly becoming angry, but how did she know that? Rory didn’t understand why or how she knew – she simply knew, like a natural instinct buzzing in the back of her head.

Screenshot-327_zpsd106d958Mr. Oda made a thoughtful sound.

A particular loud-mouthed brunette, perhaps?

Rory’s heart froze and then galloped over several beats.

Screenshot-298“I noticed you didn’t appear to be particularly surprised when my name was called.” Hiro responded.

“The world has long since lost its glossy wrapper.  Nothing surprises me anymore – everything has become predictable. I smelled the fragrant odour of your curse the very second that girl walked through into my classroom weeks ago.”

Screenshot-303“I thought you would have forgotten about that by now.”

Hiro was at the pentacle of his frustration. In moments he would snap.

How did she know this?

Screenshot-354Mr. Oda flashed a hard smile that barely bent his lips.

“I’ll never forget.”

Screenshot-362Hiro’s silence flooded the room like a mist, thickening and chilling. The air that poured out of the room felt polluted and thick, almost too globular to circulate the lungs.

Screenshot-371Suddenly, the dark-haired boy stalked out of the doorway, making Rory jump. His movements seemed more taunt than usual, as if straining to keep his distaste in line with his stoic mannerisms.

“We’re leaving. Now.”

Screenshot-392Clumsily Rory scurried up, blushing furiously. Quickly, she made to peak inside the open classroom door…

And froze.

Screenshot-389Mr. Oda was smirking deviously, eyes glinting yellow in a sun’s ray that had snuck under the crinkled blind.

“Is there anything I can do for you, Cauthon?”

Screenshot-397

Screenshot-406

Screenshot-387Rory shook her head vigorously and scampered forward to catch up with Hiro.

Screenshot-324… but she could remember Mr. Oda’s eyes all too well, and imagined them watching.

— By the time she reached the hall, she was running.

 

A/N: After another HUGE delay, I’ve updated ^^

Hope everyone had a lovely Xmas ❤

Chapter 7

Person of Pride and Character

Screenshot-334“What the hell are you doing here?!”

“I came to walk you home.” Hiro confirmed simply from the bench. “Is there something wrong with that?”

“Uh, yeah! There is, actually!”

Screenshot-123Rory felt her face grow warmer as the throng of girls behind her openly pointed and giggled. Hiro, Rory had begrudgingly learned, possessed the unique (and highly irritating) ability to pop up ay any given time or place and frighten the living crap out of her.

3cefb2d4-2162-4383-b3ca-96df276c5dfd_zps894219ccFriday night, he had appeared a her bedroom window again. Monday morning, he had accompanied her on her walk to school. Thursday afternoon, Rory was forced to fabricate an extravagant story to explain his sudden appearance to Natti at the grocery store.

It was almost as if he was warning her he was always there.

Screenshot-352_zpsb8d10a39Typically, Hiro matched her stride whenever she was alone, as if his presence was purely natural. He would ask her pleasant, detached questions such as:

“How was your day?” “Where are you going?”  “Do you have a test tomorrow?”

Screenshot-325_zps57b147feRory’s rebellious demeanour was snuffed out at these times. She would open and shut her mouth until the words hobbled out. She had never been so uncomfortable with her words. She was constantly frightened that she would suddenly say the wrong thing and she’d be submerged into that horrible, mind-nmbing pain again.

Screenshot-342Today, however, all thoughts of pain were eradicated as she stared incredulously at the pale figure leaning nonchalantly against the school fence.

“Look, you can’t just… you can’t just appear in front of everybody I know!”

Screenshot-256“Hey, Rory!”

The voice sounded from behind. Immediately, Rory’s heart rate quickened. Of course, she would recognise that voice anywhere. Noah Landgraab.

Screenshot-315Noah was the pampered son of Bridgeport diplomat Malcolm Landgraab and his artist wife Bambi. While undoubtedly handsome, what attracted Rory to Noah out of all the other boys in her school was his kindness.  He always asked her about her day and while he did so his lips would compose a soft, bright smile that affirmed he actually cared to know; that it wasn’t just another reason to flaunt his perfect white teeth.

Screenshot-273“Oh, I… uh… hey, Noah.” Rory stammered, feeling her entire face kindle with heat as she returned his smile with a goofy grin.

“So, how do you think you did on that math quiz?” He asked.

Screenshot-284Rory’s mouth muscles twitched with the effort to remain locked in place. Well, she had answered most of the questions with wicked-looking smiley faces.

“Pretty good,” she lied. “It wasn’t that hard. How ’bout you?”

Screenshot-281“Okay I guess, but I don’t think I got number 37 right…” He trailed off as his eyes landed on Hiro. “Oh! I’m so rude! I barely even noticed your friend, Rory.”

“H-he’s not a friend!” Rory cried.

Screenshot-285“I mean… um, he’s not really— um—“

She stole a glance back at the smirk slowly blooming on Hiro’s face. Bastard.

“He’s… Hiro.”

Screenshot-302Noah’s eyes seemed to brighten momentarily. “It’s nice to meet you, Hiro.”

“Likewise.

This was far too strange, seeing Hiro, with this tangible reality to him, in the sunlight with Noah beside him. It made Rory’s chest constrict for reasons she couldn’t even begin to explain.

Screenshot-268Noah’s lips conducted an iluminating smile once more.

Rory felt her heart melt all the way to her knees…

Screenshot-292… but that smile…

….it wasn’t directed her way.

Screenshot-310A sudden torrent of jealously propelled Rory to seize Hiro’s wrist, ignoring the tepid flow that rolled through her upon contact with his skin. She dragged the irritating attention-stealer away, sparing Noah a rather rushed explanation over her shoulder.

“Sorry! We’re late to—uh, to basketball practice! Later!”

Screenshot-313Noah watched the pair hobble away, bickering loudly. His pale, blue eyes suddenly dampened into a darker, emptier hue.

“But you don’t play basketball…”

Screenshot-355When they were at least a safe mile away, Rory finally released her white-knuckled grip on Hiro’s wrist. He rgarded the red blotch blankly, rubbing it with his long, pale fingers.

Screenshot-385“Just what the hell were you doing at my school, Hiro?! There’s absolutely no reason for you to even be there!”

Screenshot-288“You’re jealous.” Hiro deduced. Rory turned to see him smirking knowingly. “You like Noah.”

“N-no! He’s just nice and kind… and… and an all-around good person.”

Screenshot-351She hurriedly walked into an alley between two apartment buildings. Many of the kids that went to her school lived close by and the last thing she needed them to see was her interacting with Hiro. Her communications with the boy did not exactly go ‘well’.

“If you like him so much,” Hiro continued,”Why did you lie to him?”

Screenshot-425Eyes widening slightly, Rory found herself feeling abruptly sick.

… what?

“You completely failed that math test. I watched you— you hardly finished any of it.”

Screenshot-379Rory squirmed uncomfortably. The fact that Hiro had just casually admitted to ogling her for the past several hours made her feel violated and used; as if her skin were transparent and anyone could see anything they pleased.

“I wish you’d quit that.”

Screenshot-374“It’s not as if I want to, in fact, usually I don’t.”

Rory blinked. “What else do you do while I’m at school?”

But really she was yearning to discover what else she could do.

Screenshot-410“On a typical day?

I go to the library and conduct research.”

Screenshot-392What?!”

Rory’s eyes popped open as she stared incredulously at her companion.

“But when I went far from you I—“

Screenshot-438“It’s all about intentions. You wanted to run from me, something forbidden by the curse.”

Hiro peered at her; one dark eye mustered a vast intensity that drew enough stifling silence for two.

“So it took action: it stopped you.”

Screenshot-423It stopped you…

The words rang coldly through Rory’s brain. Involuntary shivers racked her body as she recalled the ghost of the pain from that night.

Screenshot-442“However, I go the library and research, knowing full well that I will return to you. In this instance, the curse slackens its proximity.”

Rory frowned. “This all sounds like absolute bullshit, you know that?”

“Yes,” Hiro sighed, “I know.”

Screenshot-122A crowd of students from her high school passed the mouth of the alley, giggling and chatting about some hot guy who had been stood by the school’s gates. Rory watched them longingly, a pang of loneliness crossing her chest.

Screenshot-401She felt so isolated, with only this boy for company. Asa still hadn’t come back to school since he had betrayed her to Natti. Rory needed her lazy friend now more than ever.

screenshot-20_zps9287d21cNormally, Asa would nag her endlessly until she at least attempted her homework; under his influence, Rory had always teetered over the low B, high C grade threshold, but without Asa her grades had taken a rather dramatic plummet.

Screenshot-390Crap,”

Rory suddenly remembered.

“I have a science test tomorrow.”

Screenshot-405“You should study for it.” Hiro suggested. “I don’t think your grade point average can take another failing grade.”

“Shut up!”

Hiro smirked slightly. “Well? What are you covering?”

Screenshot-408“I have no idea. Cellular perspiration or something like that.”

Rory murmured.

“I can’t even get the goddamn name right. Shit. I’m so going to fail.”

Screenshot-407“Not necessarily. I can help you study.”

A quiet moment passed and Hiro’s smile twitched; his mouth appearing as if it desperately yearned to be back in its standard frown again.

“… this is where you grab my hand and we skip happily off into the sunset.”

Screenshot-427Rory’s eyes narrowed.

“Why are you being … nice?”

Screenshot-361Hiro’s mouth slipped back into its comfortable, stern line again.

“What are you talking about? I’m always nice.”

Screenshot-349Rory’s distrust deepened.

“No, you’re not. You’re a dick. Why are you suddenly acting nice?”

Screenshot-389Hiro sighed, turning away from her.

“To be completely honest, my research has sort of reached a dead end. I think that we might be locked like this forever.”

Screenshot-393Rory gaped, horrified. “You mean—“

“Now, would you like to know the finer points of glycolysis rare you just going to sit by idely and watch your grades drop?”

Screenshot-411Hiro began to stroll away purposefully. Rory began to amble behind after him somewhat more inelegantly.

“Huh? What’s glycolysis?”

Hiro sighed raggedly. “You’re hopeless.”

Screenshot-13— and after four hours of dutiful studying, Rory was beginning to believe it.

“So… ATP was converted to oxygen in the transport train?”

Screenshot-23“No,” Hiro’s voice portrayed his exasperation and weariness. “NADH and FADH2 are converted to ATP when—“

“Hold up! Is this still on the transport train?”

Screenshot-103Black eyes flashed with irritation. “On the electron transport chain.”

“And this is the Crab’s cycle, right?”

Kreb’s.” Hiro corrected coldly.

Screenshot-32It was during Hiro’s fifth simplified speech on ATP and the electron transport chain that Natti entered the room.

“Hello, Rory. I’ve been home for a while, but I didn’t want to disturb you, but I thought you could use a break. “

Screenshot-70Rory’s stomach dropped when she saw Natti glance over at Hiro’s emotioness face.

“Especially you, um— you’re the boy from the grocery store, right?”

Screenshot-29This was certainly not a scenario Rory was happy about. The whole situation seemed off-centre… wrong, somehow. Usually it was Asa beside her, Hiro’s presence felt so… different. It was so strange that her mouth could not even rally up a proper lie to explain the sudden appearance of his boy in her life.

Screenshot-35It simply hung there, like a open man-hole until Hiro stood to introduce himself, face  smooth and flawless.

“I’m Hiro Yui, ma’am. I go to school with Rory.”

Screenshot-65“Well, I want to thank you for taking the time to help Rory study, Hiro. I know how stubborn and hard-headed Rory is sometimes, but I’ve found she’s a perfectly capable student. She’s actually quite good at science, she just gets bullied into thinking she isn’t.”

Screenshot-40Natti frowned, her focus shifting to Rory again. “He hasn’t said anything mean to you lately, has he?”

Rory sighed.  “No, Natti.”

Screenshot-4At that moment, all Rory wanted to do was bury her face into her hands, to escape the situation entirely. She didn’t really know what he was so embarrassed about; she wasn’t ashamed of Natti -or even Hiro, but there was something about their meeting that felt as if it shouldn’t occur.

Screenshot-58Regardless, they seemed to get along fairly well, and soon enough, Natti was enlightening Hiro on all the dastardly science teachers that had bullied her into failing grades in the past.

Screenshot-67“—then there was this one jerk last year who just wouldn’t leaved Rory alone! Whenever he marked a test, he would tack the highest and lowest grades to the wall. And even if she didn’t earn he lowest grade, Rory’d still end up on it!”

Screenshot-30Natti’s cheeks had collected an angry flush. “What did he call it again, Rory?”

“The wall of fame and shame…” she uttered quietly.

Screenshot-22“What an idiotic name.” Hiro intoned.

Rory noticed he seemed slightly less rigid than he had before. Natti had that effect on people; she was an incredible host who could make a sultan feel at home in a pigsty.

Screenshot-59“Isn’t it? Well, I went to the principle and, of course, got written off! They say she is a trouble maker who needs to be reprimanded like this. They say it will make her a better person later in life— ‘a person of pride and character’.”

Screenshot-69“Well, let me tell you, Rory already has more character than the entire faculty and student body put together!” Her eyes gleamed proudly as they landed on Rory again. “And as for pride? It’s never done anybody any good!”

Screenshot-72“… but that man is nothing compared to this year’s biology teacher! He is a truly horrible, horrible man.”

Hiro was a picture of polite interest. “Oh? How so?”

Screenshot-45“Well, other than failing Rory for no good reason, he openly humiliates her in class, calling her an idiot—! Oh, what did he say again, after you told him how hard you worked, Rory?”

Screenshot-77Rory adopted an unnaturally slick, wispy voice and spread her lips in an attempt to emulate an insulting leer.

“Tell me, how does it feel to know that hard work and sacrifice does not have to be repaid in the end? That everything you believed was false? Does it hurt? Does it burn?”

Screenshot-79Her face and voice resumed its normality, and she slammed her fist onto the table.

“Gah! He’s such a dick!”

Screenshot-81Natti gasped, chastised. “Rory!”

“Oh come on, you know it’s true!”

“Yes,” Her guardian agreed, “But that is not a nice word. Use jerk, or meanie—“

Screenshot-57“Meanie would be appropriate if I was eight like your students, but seeing as I’m almost 17, ‘dick’ is pretty much conducive to my age.”

Screenshot-62Natti sighed.

“Rory, what am I going to do with you? Well, I’ll leave you two to your studying. It was nice meeting you, Hiro.”

“Likewise.”

Screenshot-86Rory returned to the table, glad for the jovial intermission. She felt looser and more relaxed than she had several moments ago.

Screenshot-249Hiro, however, looked tenser than she had ever seen him. His back was stiff and his shoulders were clenched; his eyes narrow.

“Rory, tell me more about this particular teacher.”

Screenshot-11Rory blinked.

“Well, he’s tall,” she began absently. “He’s young for a teacher, I guess. Asian… you know, like you: black hair, dark eyes. Some girls think he’s hot, but that’s only because they’ve never had him as a teacher. He’s a total ass—“

Screenshot-9“His name.”

Hiro growled demandingly.

“Tell me his name.”

Screenshot-247Rory was momentarily speechless, struck by a sudden lack of confidence in her own words.

“M-Mister Oda.”

Screenshot-26Hiro’s eyes widened. Rory was utterly surprised to see a crack in his smug facade, to see the slight… fear that was sputtering through.

“I don’t really remember his first name, but it was on the sheet we got for—“

Screenshot-97“I have to go.”

Hiro declared at once, climbing to his feet and unlatching the window.

Screenshot-95“Wha—? But why?”

Rory’s stomach twisted uneasily. She looked up at him expectantly, feeling somehow… hurt by his abrupt exit.

Wait!”

Screenshot-91Hiro hastily glanced back over his shoulder.

“Don’t worry. I’ll be back. I promise.”

Screenshot-237And with that, he leapt from the window, climbed gracefully down the ladder and melted into the dark streets with their flickering, orange lights, leaving Rory utterly alone once more.

Did she even want him to come back?

Screenshot-3Hell no.

Rory thought forcefully, returning to her textbook once more, where diagrams and indiscernible words waited to mock her. 

Asshole.

A/N: I’m ALIIIIIVVVVVEEEEE!

Hey! So, it’s been a while since I’ve done any much posting, but I’ve finally finished one! Anyhu, Suitor chapter up coming up next 😀