“What? What is it?
“It’s me. Brent.”
“Detective Brent Douglas. I’ve got everything you need on your girl.”
“What? Really? Let’s hear it!”
“She’s in Twinbrook. I’ve got the address and the background info. I can give it all to you in exchange for my pay. I’m back at the office now.
“What? You found her in Twinbrook and wasted time getting back before calling me? You f-“
“Look, I sat cramped in a crappy motel room for weeks! Twinbrook isn’t that far away! Besides, it’s not like she’s going anywhere. She has things nicely set up there with her family.”
“What? Damn… all right, all right. You’ll get your stinking money. I’ll be there this evening.”
“Yeah, you’re welcome. Frickin’ creep. I’ll be glad when this case is officially over.”
Even though neither mum nor Patrick where the most romantic people in the world – I mean, they still thought that gazebos were romantic – there was one day in the year when they got real mushy. That was the anniversary of their wedding.
Patrick would always make some extra delicious breakfast then and let mum sleep in. The house would always be cleaned the day before so mum could wake up to a spotless place. And Patrick would buy mum flowers, and… okay, fine, I guess at least Patrick was a hopelessly romantic kind of person.
Mum would think of something nice for her and Patrick to do for the day. And they would both trade way more lovey-dovey words and kisses throughout the day than usual. This year, after Rem’s sickness was already a few months in the past and when I’d finally decided to try growing my hair long again after years of my handy bob cut, was no different.
This year mum had wanted all of us to dress nicely so we could have dinner as a family. After that mum and Patrick would go to the theatre together while we could stay home alone for a couple of hours.
There had been this really nice black dress that I’d seen in a store window and that I’d wanted for some fancy occasions. It had some leaves printed on it, and it wasn’t too girly for my tastes. But I had known even as I’d started asking for it that I didn’t really need a new dress because I could settle for my older, turquoise one. I had decided not to ruin mum and Patrick’s special day by being too dramatic about it, so I had just put the dress on and then gone to play video games while mum and Patrick were still stuck to each other and saying lovey-dovey words. It was pretty gross, and I was glad about the distraction the jumping elephants on the TV screen gave me.
“Okay, kids. Wrap up your game and get ready to eat,” said mum after she and Patrick finally detached themselves from each other.
I rapidly pushed the buttons on my controller and tried to get my character past a particularly tough part, mild swears flooding my mind on each near-failure. Mum especially didn’t like swearing, so I had learned to keep my cursing silent.
“All right!” I said a bit more snappily than I’d intended, “In a minute! Come ooonnnnn! Jump! Jump!”
“Lynn…” she said in a warning tone.
“In a minute, mum!”
Rem hopped down from the sofa, the neat shoes he’d been practically forced to wear tapping on the floor. It was weird to hear Rem’s feet tap in shoes, since he always ran around the house barefoot.
“I’m ready,” he said, “Are we going to the restaurant this year too?”
“We thought it better to eat here this time,” he said, “The last time didn’t go so well, remember?”
I certainly did. The restaurant had been fancy, with shiny tables and snooty waiters and snootier customers and food that made me think that the chef was also an aspiring sculptor who especially liked to pile the vegetables into towers. I’d felt claustrophobic there, and Rem had said his food looked like frogs on lily pads so loud that even the chef had heard and hadn’t liked the comparison, even though Rem himself probably said it as a compliment. We’d got some really dirty looks from the staff, and I’d vowed to myself to never go back to the stuffy place if I could help it. Mum and Patrick had been embarrassed and apologetic, and them being in trouble for such a stupid reason made me hate the place even more.
“Oh,” said Rem with disappointment that lasted for about a second, “Well, if you and mum think it’s fine. It’s your special day, anyway. Did you and my other mum have special days?”
It was his yearly question, one that he always seemed to reserve around the wedding anniversary. Maybe the time just made him think about things that always went back to his other mum. His real, biological mum, whom Patrick rarely spoke of.
Patrick laughed and picked Rem up, spinning him around and hugging him tight.
“Well, son. We had a couple, but these ones are much more special!”
“Was my other mum as nice as Margaret?”
There was sadness in Patrick’s eyes, but he quickly masked it and smiled.
“Margaret is much nicer. Trust me, Rem. We’re doing fine like this.”
Rem kissed his dad’s cheek and laughed. Patrick’s sadness seemed to disappear for real in that instant again, and he was again the happy father who loved his cheerful, chirping son more than anything.
“Yeah, I know that,” Rem said.
Because he’d heard it many times before. Every time he asked about his mum.
Sometimes I thought it was odd. I mean, my mum didn’t talk about my real dad much either, but she had told me enough to know that mum had left him because he’d turned out to be a nasty man not too long after I’d been born. She’d called him a slob, a deadbeat, and a crook sometimes, when she thought I wasn’t close enough to hear. But I knew the main reason she didn’t want to talk about him was because she wanted to remember as little of him as possible. And I was fine with that. I believed mum when she said my dad was a crook, and while I sometimes hoped he wasn’t a crook and had never left us, I had to admit that Patrick was a great dad and I was content here.
With Rem… well, he was certainly content as well, but for him there never was a crook-explanation. There never was much of an explanation at all. Patrick just said that he and his ex-wife never talked, and that she didn’t want to see them. That was it. I figured there was something too painful behind it. I think the only one who really knew were Patrick, his ex-wife, and mum, to whom Patrick could tell everything.
This year Patrick didn’t tell us anything more than what he had told the years before, and we moved to the kitchen table to eat the delicious salad Patrick had made us. Mum had wanted to eat in the gazebo, but the day was uncommonly chilly for the end of summer, so we’d have to settle for indoors. At least our house had big windows, so we could watch the deceptively sunny weather from the warmth of our home.
After dinner mum and Patrick left us and made me swear I would keep things in order around the house while they were gone. I felt a tickle of pride somewhere in the back of my mind at that. Mum and Patrick thought I was old and responsible enough to stay at home without a babysitter. The few times we’d had one had been pretty annoying anyway. The sitters usually didn’t try enough or tried too hard. A couple of hours of looking after my brother felt much nicer than trying to act natural around a bored girl only a few years older than me, who’d try to talk to me as if I was five.
As soon as the front door was closed, I ran back upstairs to change back to more casual clothing. The turquoise dress was getting a little too small for me, but again, I’d decided to complain about it later. Mum would notice it soon enough anyway. Maybe then I could have the black dress I wanted. Rem chirped something about wanting to play with blocks in his own room and asked if I wanted to play with him. I didn’t, not particularly. Blocks had never been my favourite thing, and I felt like I was too old to play with them anyway. But I’d promised mum and Patrick, so I said yes and trudged into Rem’s room.
The blocks and the table they’d come with were pretty old, almost as old as Rem, and they’d been tasted for who knows how many times. Mum had washed them multiple times, thankfully enough. I wasn’t by any means afraid of germs, but the thought of stacking blocks that had been salivated on wasn’t appealing to me. Nowadays Rem didn’t like the taste of blocks any longer, thankfully again, and he usually focused on building castles or tunnels or whatever his fantasy-oriented mind wanted to think up.
Rem was sitting at the table, and he already had something shaping up. I sat next to him, idly picked up a pile of colourful blocks and started stacking them. They fell over almost immediately.
“This is going to be a castle,” Rem said enthusiastically, “For kings and queens and heroes to live in. Your prince Jace could live in it too.
“I don’t think Jace is the castle-y type,” I said dryly, trying to balance as many blocks on top of each other as I could, “And I can’t believe you’re still on about that. What’s with you and fantasy nicknames?”
Rem looked up from his half-done castle and quirked his eyebrow as if I’d said something funny.
“They’re not nicknames,” he said, “They’re just how I see them.”
“Uh-huh,” I said without much conviction, “And I’m still a bird?”
“A phoenix, yeah.”
“How am I a bird?”
Rem set yet another block on his castle with a careful click. He frowned at his work.
“I… don’t know,” he admitted in an oddly uncertain voice, “I just see things sometimes. Like people look like other things if I look at them right.”
“Yeah, I’ve noticed,” I said, surprised at how casual I sounded. In all these years, Rem had never seemed to question the things he saw, just like no one else did. But now he almost sounded uncertain, like it wasn’t just imagination or fantasies. I’d got so used to just questioning it all quietly on my own that I almost didn’t know what to do when someone else – and Rem of all people – kind of almost agreed with me.
My block tower crashed and the ensuing clacks and clatter shattered the awkward silence. I stared at the pile and then at Rem’s wavering smile and asked the first question that came to my mind.
“So what’s your thing, then? If Jace’s a prince and I’m a phoenix and whatever, then what are you?”
Rem didn’t answer in a long while. He looked almost spooked, as if it was the most unexpected question anyone’d ever asked him.
“I’m… I’m not anything special,” he said finally, “I’m just a kid.”
I stared at him. I probably shouldn’t have been surprised around my brother anymore, but somehow his childish cluelessness could still catch me off guard sometimes.
“Rem, you just said you see weird things. And remember what happened when you were sick? That was not ‘just a kid’.”
Rem bit his lip. I’d just talked about the thing we didn’t talk about. Yes, I knew being sick had been horrible for Rem and he didn’t want to remember it, but what I’d seen back then still bothered me. Why wouldn’t it?
“I don’t remember what happened,” Rem said, “Just that I felt really awfully bad. And then I was back in that forest, but I’m in there often anyway.”
Well, now we were at least getting somewhere. I remembered the hours of web searching and even digging through the library for things that would have helped me make sense of my brother. Until now, actually talking to him hadn’t been very enlightening.
“I’ve been meaning to ask you about that,” I said, “What’s with that forest? I don’t know if you remember, but I saw it back when you were sick too.”
“You did?” Rem asked incredulously, “But you think I’m weird.”
“Yeah, I do sometimes,” I admitted, “But you know I still like you. I mean, you’re sort of my brother and all. So sometimes I try to get your weirdness.”
Rem was blushing now, and his freckles made him look like a strawberry.
“Thanks, Lynn. Well, the forest… it’s not really that special. It’s just something I see, but I know it’s not real when it’s indoors. I mean, it’s pretty and feels like a nice place to live in, but I like it better here. At home.”
I piled another set of blocks into an awkward formation and wondered what to say.
“Yeah, so do I,” I managed to say, “So try to keep the things you see… out of this house at least, okay?”
Rem tilted his head.
“Of course. I don’t make the things I see anyway. Except sometimes with paint or blocks.”
He smiled suddenly, all uncertainty gone in a flash.
“Hey, maybe for my next painting I could paint a phoenix for you!”
“Meh, you know I’m not a fan of birds. But that does give me an idea.”
I touched the purple tips of my hair.
“I’ve been wanting to get some new colour for my hair. Purple’s been nice, but I think it’s time for a change. What do you think of orange? You know, like flames?”
Rem nodded enthusiastically.
“That’d be awesome!”
“I thought so.”
So my hair colour changed, but not much else. Mum and Patrick got down from their romance trip quickly after the anniversary, and could speak intelligently again. Although I think that mum’s next article was unusually fluffy and filled with the power of love for some reason. It was one of those things about adults that I didn’t get.
After a few weeks our doorbell rang, and it was unexpected because we were not supposed to be having guests that day. I left my half-finished homework when it was clear I was the closest one to the door. The doorbell dinged very impatiently again, and I pushed the door open.
“All right, keep your socks on,” I muttered and then looked up at the blond man standing at the door.
“Hello,” the man said in a rough voice, “Is this Margaret… Farley’s house?”
I studied the man quietly for a while. I didn’t recognise him, but it wasn’t like I knew every one of mum’s friends and acquaintances.
“Yeah,” I said, “She’s cleaning the toilet, though. Mum! This guy at the door wants to see you!”
The man stared at me weirdly then and took a deep, almost shocked breath.
“You’re Maggie’s little girl? Damn, you’ve grown.”
“Um… yeah?” I said uncertainly. Was I actually supposed to know this guy? “Margaret is my mum. I’m not little, though.”
The man chuckled, but it sounded forced.
“Right. Yeah. It’s been so long. You were really little when…”
“Lynn? Who is it-?”
I heard mum pause at the door and freeze there. A myriad of emotions was scrolled through on her face in a second. I was usually pretty good at telling how mum was feeling, but right now I had no idea what was going on in her head.
“Nils?” she gasped.
The man named Nils looked at mum, a smile creeping to his face.
Mum stared at him for a long, tense silence. She didn’t seem to know what to do or say. I stood at the door, wondering if I should go back inside and leave mum and the strange man alone to sort out whatever was going on or just give in to my curiosity and stay right where I was. Curiosity won hands down. Mum finally snapped out of it and led the man a bit farther away, casting me a look that told me to go inside. I politely ignored it.
“Maggie,” Nils said almost sheepishly, “I’m sorry to barge in like this. I know… I know you don’t want to see me, and believe me, I understand that. I was a mess, but I… damn, this is difficult. I wanted to see you again, Maggie. I’m sorry that-”
Mum raised her hand to stop the man’s flow of awkward apologies.
“Nils, slow down. This… this is a bit too much right now. Just… tell me what you want.”
Nils took a step towards mum, but mum stopped him with a gentle hand.
“Nils, I’m sorry to be so rude, but…”
“No, it’s alright,” said Nils in a tone that indicated that it wasn’t alright, “I’m here because I need a little favour. Just a bit of help. I… think we should talk about this more indoors, if it’s not too much to ask. Please, Maggie, I’ve worked for months to find you and to get here to talk to you.”
“What?” mum snapped, “You tracked me down after all these years and right away start asking for favours? I… I’m sorry, this is just… strange, Nils! I…”
I’d been quiet so far, but at this point mum was waving her arms, trying to find the words, and this Nils-guy was getting slightly annoyed and the whole situation was – as mum had just said – so strange that I couldn’t stay quiet anymore.
“Um… what is going on here?” I asked.
Mum and Nils looked at me, both surprised and I thought they had forgotten I’d been standing there. Mum’s eyes widened and her raised voice was toned down immediately.
“Lynn, honey,” she said, “Just go inside, this…”
“Come on, Maggie,” Nils sighed, “Are you going to keep the kid in the dark?”
He looked at me.
“Hello, Lynn. I’m your dad.”
The crook mum didn’t want to talk about if she could help it? The deadbeat she wanted to forget? This was him. And more importantly, he was here now? But he… I… now… what?
“What?” I said, because that was the only word my suddenly short-circuiting mind could come up with.
Mum sighed deeply.
“I… yes. This is Nils Laketon, your father. Now please, go back inside.”
“Maggie, you’re not trying to keep me from seeing my daughter?” Nils asked almost teasingly, “After all I’ve done to get to see my girls again, cold shoulder is all I get?”
Mum rubbed her face with her hands. I knew the kindness that was probably coded into her soul wouldn’t let even a man she obviously didn’t like stay outside in the cold if he was being so apologetic and pitiful.
“Well, you’ve been civil so far,” she said at length, “so I guess I do have to let you make your case. Come on in, both of you. It’s getting really cold.”
Mum told Nils – my dad?! – to sit down on the sofa and called Patrick over from upstairs. I sat in an armchair and tried to be as inconspicuous as possible in case mum decided she wanted me out of the situation. Patrick recovered surprisingly quickly when he heard who Nils was. He’d sputtered something incoherent for a while, but then just settled for some friendly fascination.
“So you’re Marilynn’s dad?” he asked finally after finding his words, “I’m Patrick. It’s nice to meet you. Wow, I have to say this is really unexpected.”
“Yeaaaah, I’d say so,” Nils replied awkwardly. He looked at Patrick with obvious disdain. I figured it had a lot to do with the fact that Patrick was happily married to his ex-wife.
Mum crossed her arms. I don’t remember when I’d seen her so unfriendly towards anyone. Wariness and outright hostility were basically radiating out of her right now and it was so unlike our fussy but gentle mum that it started to weird me out.
“Now then, Nils. What did you want?”
“Margaret, aren’t you being a little harsh to the guy?” Patrick asked, “He’s obviously come a long way just to see us.”
“Well, to see Maggie, anyway,” Nils said coldly, “I’m glad to see she’s well. And Lynn as well, of course.”
He added my name as an afterthought without even looking at me. I studied him silently, realising my mind was trying to find signs of crookedness mum had told me about. She’d never gone to too many details, deeming them unnecessary or not appropriate for me, but I could guess things like alcohol and breaking the law were involved. I really hoped there was no hitting, though. Just the thought of mum being hit churned my stomach. Right now, sitting on our sofa, Nils Laketon looked fidgety and uncomfortable, and there was this clear, tense coldness I could almost sense from him. Like he’d detached a lot of himself from basic compassion. I studied his worry-lined face and tried to see myself in him. His eyes were a very startling light shade of blue-grey. They looked eerie and dreamlike, almost not real. I had to say I was glad I’d got a darker shade of blue instead. Nils was friendly now, but there was something about him that was ready to fight or flee. Okay, I think it could have something to do with where and with who he was at the moment, though.
“Maggie, when we split up, we agreed to stay that way, and I know that,” Nils said, “But I’ve had some bad times, and there’s no one else I could turn to. I know you’re a good person, and I thought…”
“You thought I’d help you with… what exactly?” mum asked.
Nils thrummed his fingers against his knees and sighed.
“Yeah, well, I’m in trouble, and I kind of… need a little bit of money.”
Mum stared. Patrick stared. I think I was staring too. My dad, who’d been missing for, what, ten years, suddenly came back just to ask mum for money? That was… not the thing I’d ever thought of witnessing whenever I’d had a moment when I’d pictured my dad suddenly barging in on us. Mum turned to me and said very calmly:
“Lynn, I think it’s time for you to finish up your homework. Upstairs.”
“But mum!” I argued, jumping up, “I want to know what’s going on!”
“Look, Maggie,” Nils said as if he was still a part of the conversation, “I just need a few thousand simoleons and I’ll be gone again. If I don’t get the money, they’ll-“
Mum held up her index finger.
“This is not what my daughter needs to hear!”
“She’s my daughter too!” Nils snapped.
Mum took a deep breath, and I saw this as a rare sign of holding back actual anger. I figured it really was time for me to leave.
“Hey,” said a peppy voice from the stairs, “What’s going on here?”
Everyone paused to look at Rem, who walked into the scene with a completely oblivious smile on his face. He got a look at Nils, stopped his skipping walk and his smile faded.
“Oh, who’re you?” he asked, “You look like the boogeyman.”
“Rem,” Patrick said with a quiet warning in his tone, “It’s not nice to say things like that to people.”
Nils glared at Rem with a mix of shock and anger.
“What? You have another kid?” he asked, “If that’s even supposed to be one.”
There was a dead silence, then Patrick cleared his throat.
“And that is definitely not what you should say to my son, Mr. Laketon.”
His mild, controlled anger was drowned out, however, because then mum finally exploded. I’d never seen her explode before. It was pretty awesome, the situation considered.
“Now listen to me, Nils!” she shouted, “You come to my house after holding onto the agreement of not showing up for years, ask for money to get out of some trouble and then insult my family! You haven’t changed a bit! I want you to get out, right now!”
“Come on, Maggie, don’t do this to me!” said Nils, “I’m desperate! Just give me a hand and I’ll leave!”
“Don’t call me Maggie!” mum snapped, pointing at the door very meaningfully, “This conversation is over.”
Nils growled something that I couldn’t make out.
“I used almost all of my money to find you and get here. Trust me, this isn’t easy for me either.”
Mum looked at him very coldly.
“Then you should have saved that money for solving you problems instead of grasping at straws that have been out of your reach for a decade. Good bye, Nils.”
She and Patrick ushered him to the door then, and I watched his retreating leather jacket from the window. Mum looked shaken, and she told both of us to go upstairs right now, and mum was so un-mum-like that Rem and I immediately knew this was no time for arguing.
I felt hollow. The blank face of my biological father had now become someone recognisable, but what I’d seen hadn’t been very nice. It wasn’t like I’d doubted my mum, but as long as it had been just words, it had been easier to dismiss.
When I climbed up the stairs, I heard Patrick’s comforting words and mum taking deep, calming breaths.
I finished my homework in silence, then dutifully took a shower, brushed my teeth and changed into my pyjamas. Mum and Patrick were still talking, and I figured they’d be talking for some time more. My curiosity wanted to tiptoe to the staircase and listen there, but I realised mum would just get sadder if I did. So I stayed in my room, and Rem joined me after a while. He sat on my bed like a professional personal space invader and looked at me solemnly.
“Why’s mum so sad?” he asked, “I mean, the boogeyman was scary, but… mum’s never sad like that.”
“Rem, that ‘boogeyman’ was my real dad.”
Rem stared at me.
Rem tucked his knees under his chin, fidgeting awkwardly at the revelation.
“Why do you call him the boogeyman?” I asked.
“Because he’s a bad man. Is he coming back?”
“I don’t think so.”
“Good. If he does, it will be very bad.”
“Is that one of your feelings? Or one of the things you just see?”
“He could see me like you do. You think I’m different. He thought I was a… wrong thing.”
I frowned, and then grinned to hide my discomfort about the whole thing.
“Yeah, well, you don’t have to worry about what he thinks. He seemed like a jerk.”
“But he’s your dad.”
“Look, I’m kind of too confused to really get upset about this, so how about we keep it that way for a while longer?”
“Oh. Okay, I guess.”
“It was at least pretty neat to know what my real dad looks like,” I said, trying to find at least something good about the unpleasant evening.
“Yeah,” said Rem, “I wonder what my real mum looked like too. I’ve seen like one picture, and it wasn’t very good anyway.”
A bump in the staircase alerted me to look at the time. It was almost midnight.
“Oh, shoot. Mum and Patrick will get mad when they realise we aren’t asleep yet.”
Rem hopped down from the bed and went to pick up Candinsky, which he’d brought with him.
“It’s alright. I’m sure they understand. I mean, I couldn’t sleep without dad telling me goodnight because of boogeymen when I was little, and then they weren’t as real as now.”
“Uh-huh,” I said, “That doesn’t make any sense, but whatever works for you. Good night, Rem.”
“Good night,” he hesitated, “You’re sure he won’t come back?”
“If he’s any smart, he won’t.”
Mum walked into my room soon after Rem had left, already wearing her bathrobe over her nightgown and looking fresh after a shower. Her face was worn, though, with worry and sadness. She sat on the edge of my bed, and we sat in silence for a long while.
“Are you okay, honey?” mum then asked.
I nodded slowly.
“I guess so. It’s just… weird.”
Weird was an understatement. An emotional blender would have been a more accurate description. I honestly didn’t know what to feel about it. Disappointed came to mind first, but other than that, was I supposed to be sad? Afraid? Angry? Happy? I really didn’t know.
Mum sighed, like she’d been doing a lot today, and I couldn’t really blame her.
“At first Nils seemed like a good man. Then he started to be away from home a lot. I never found out the details, but like I’ve told you, he was not a very decent man in the end.”
I was almost afraid to ask the most burning question in my mind:
“Did he ever… hit you?”
Mum wrapped her arms around my shoulders.
“Oh, honey, no! It was never that bad. Don’t worry about it. He did yell a lot, though.”
Mum’s arms were reassuring around me.
“He didn’t seem to care much about me,” I said.
Mum’s hug was even tighter now. She smelled like soap, and it comforted me, made me feel like I was home, which I was, of course.
“He didn’t, but don’t think for a second that it’s in any way your fault. You’re my lovely girl and Patrick and I and Rem love you, and that’s enough.”
“Yeah,” I said quietly and smiled, “That’s enough. Why do you think that Nils-guy needed money from us?”
“Who knows?” mum said, “He used to need a lot of money years ago too.”
“Was it for booze?” I asked, because I’d read things, “Or some criminal stuff?”
Mum sighed yet again.
“I should probably watch what you read even more.”
“I’m already twelve.”
Mum smiled sadly.
“Fine, fair enough. I… I found out that it was both. After that I didn’t want to know more. I got a divorce and left. I thought he’d stay away like we agreed.”
“He did so far,” I said quietly, “What’s going to happen now?”
“Nothing,” mum said, “If he keeps pestering us, then we can call the police. But I think he got the message.”
What she really thought was “I hope he got the message.”
I went to sleep a bit restless that night, but a few days later Nils Laketon hadn’t returned, and I could do the same to him that I’d done to Rem’s weird episodes and start thinking of my biological dad showing up on our doorstep with his hand out as a thing of the past.
Something I didn’t have to worry about.
“Stupid bitch! Who does she think she is… just shutting me down like that… How the hell am I supposed to get the money now? It was a stupid idea anyway…”
“I should show her…”
“Excuse me, is this seat taken?”
“What? Who the… Well, hello, there, gorgeous. Aren’t ya a little too dolled up for this kind of shithole?”
“My date stood me up. You look a little down yourself. Is it something your woman said? Sounded like it was.”
“Yeah, my ex-wife. That bitch. Hey, you know… if ya weren’t so hot and I wasn’t this drunk, I could swear you were some kind of freak. Like that kid in the house… damn pointy-ears, whatever they are…”
“Really? Well, now you’ve made me interested. If it isn’t too much to ask, there’s an offer I’d like to make you.”
“You had trouble with money, didn’t you, handsome? What say you if I could make those troubles go away?”
“I’d say that kind of miracle would be worthy of a very special f… favour, babe. But why’d you be so nice?”
“Does it matter?”
“I… I don’t thhhhink so…? I feel a bit weird, you know…”
“Then you wouldn’t mind coercing this strange boy to come with you? Bring him to me, and your debt will be settled.”
“What do you want that kid for?”
“I just want to take him home. You saw him; he doesn’t really belong there, don’t you think?”
“Yeeah… yeah, you’re right. He was a freak. And that’ll show that bitch too… Hey, you think it’s safe to talk about shit like this here? In a bar with people around?”
“Don’t worry about them. People never pay attention to anything. Well, except for you. You seem like the smart, strong type. Don’t let me down.”
“Hey, don’t worry, babe, I won’t.”
Author’s Note: Must… not… make… a Bioshock Infinite reference! This chapter makes it pretty obvious that whoever is the “narrator” of the pictures is clearly more omniscient than our text narrator. I don’t think I’ve ever tried doing that kind of thing, so let’s see how it works out. I had a lot of fun getting this done and especially taking some of the pics. But it’s about to get funner (to me, although my poor Sims probably won’t find it so fun)! Stay tuned, if you’re interested.
The pose where Margaret is holding Lynn is from http://twinsstar2005.pixnet.net/blog/post/79478635. It was just what I needed for the finishing touches for this chapter so I’m so glad I found it!