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Part 1 is here

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Billy excused himself earlier than he really wanted to for two reasons. The first was that when it came time for Liam to go to work, the carpool that came for him dropped off Riku, who looked so annoyed at being caught wearing a ridiculous mascot costume that Billy had to retreat before he burst out laughing.

The second, more important reason, was that he wanted to be home before Tristan arrived back from work. If anything worse happened than the fight he and Elle had had that morning—which had been less of a fight and more of a one-sided shouting match—he wanted to be there.



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He arrived just as Elle was getting out instant drinks, in preparation for the family coming home. “Hey,” she said, smiling. There was no trace of the tears from earlier, but her smile didn’t meet her eyes, either. “How’s Snow?”

“She’s great.” Billy sat down at the table. “She says hello.”

“Tell her I said hello, too, next time you see her.”

“Will do. Hey, question for you. Do you remember meeting a guy named Liam at the playground when you were a teenager?”

Elle glanced at him over her shoulder. “Uh, yes, but how do you know about it? I don’t think I ever told you.”

“You didn’t. I met him today.”



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She turned completely at that and stared at him in astonishment as he elaborated: “He’s renting a room from Snow and Riku and mentioned that he’d met you. He wants to say hi when you’re feeling up to it.”

A real smile lit up his sister’s face. “I’d love that. Bring him over after work sometime.”

“Will do,” Billy said, unable to help feeling seriously pleased at that response.

She went back to the instant drinks. “Wow, I can’t believe he’s here again after all this time. It must have been at least three seasons ago.”

“I can’t believe you actually talked to a strange boy when you were a teen,” he teased.

“Some people make it easy,” she said, with a shrug. “He was one of them. Sad, though. I’m glad he’s okay.”

Billy wondered what to make of it. At any rate, it was all the encouragement he needed to follow through and bring Liam home from work with him soon. Maybe interacting with someone who was actually decent might make Elle think twice about how Tristan was treating her.



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As if summoned by the thought, footsteps sounded on the stairs just then. Not just one set, though. Tristan appeared first, but Mya and Gabriel were right behind him. Elle flinched at the sight of her husband and kept close to the kitchen counter, not meeting his eyes. It made Billy angry, and he glared at Tristan.

Tristan’s expression surprised him, however. There was no anger or impatience on it. In fact, he seemed almost penitent. “Can we talk?” he said quietly.

Elle nodded and followed him out to the balcony.

“I am going to make my rounds,” Gabriel told Mya.

She nodded. “Go ahead. Would you mind checking in on Saxon while you’re doing it? I think his parents will be busy for a while.”

“With pleasure, Mrs. Mya.” Gabriel nodded to her and to Billy, then began to clank his way up the stairs.



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Billy, who had not been left alone with his mother since his teenhood, felt very uncomfortable. He had not forgotten what Snow had said about the previous day’s visit, however. “Where’s Dad?” he ventured, figuring it would be better to start with a safe question.

Mya took an instant drink and lowered herself into a chair at the table. “He’s been at Jon’s since noon. He said he’d be home before dark.”

He nodded, then cleared his throat. “Snow said you went to see her yesterday.”

She glanced at him over the rim of the drink. “Yes, I did.”

“Why?”

“I wanted to get to know my future daughter-in-law a little better.” She waited for a moment, as if expecting a reply. Billy had no idea what to say to that, so he said nothing. Mya sighed and went on. “Billy, I…I haven’t always done the right thing by you and your sisters. Your father and I thought that we were making a better world for you all. We didn’t realize…” She laid her instant drink on the table and looked him in the eye. “Especially with you, we didn’t understand how much we were alienating you until the damage was done.”

Shocked, Billy could only stare at her.



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“I barely remember your childhood,” she continued. “Jon and Suzy raised you better than we did. Every time I think about that, I feel so ashamed of myself. Then when you became a teen, I expected to get respect and obedience from you that I hadn’t earned. I didn’t understand that before.”

“But—but why now?” he stammered.

Mya did not flinch. “I didn’t realize how wrong I was until the three of you started coming home to help with the relief. Now…now Azula is stuck somewhere she won’t tell us for the foreseeable future, you barely speak to me, and Elle’s…” Her voice hitched, but she swallowed and went on bravely. “I don’t even know. Somehow I feel like she’s even further away than you and Azula. And I don’t want that.”



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“You should have thought of that a long time ago,” said Billy. He almost regretted it—he had waited so long to hear his mother say something like this to him, and here she was, doing it—but he could not brush aside a lifetime of bitterness so easily. Both she and Harry had hurt him. No apology or admission of guilt would change that.

“I know that now, but I didn’t then. Now all I can do is apologize and beg your forgiveness.”

He hesitated. “I don’t want to be angry with you anymore,” he admitted, after a moment. “I’m not ready to forgive you, but I accept your apology.”

Mya nodded. “So,” she said briskly, “does that mean I get to come to your wedding?”

Billy had to smile. “Sure.”



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The door to the balcony opened, and Tristan and Elle walked back in. Elle had been crying again, but she didn’t look upset anymore. She was holding Tristan’s hand, and while she wasn’t smiling, she seemed all right. Billy raised his eyebrows at her, not daring to ask what he wanted to know out loud. She only nodded in reply and glanced up at her husband.

Tristan smiled at her. It was the most genuine smile Billy had ever seen from him. “So,” he said, “I guess we’re going to be parents again.”

“Yeah, we are,” Elle agreed.

Billy watched them a moment longer, then turned away. He didn’t believe that one short conversation could fix his sister’s marriage. It just didn’t work that way, and for that matter, he didn’t think her marriage was worth fixing.

All the same, he would have liked to be wrong.



---



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Elle’s second pregnancy turned out to be as hard on her as the first had been. She barely got out of bed long enough to check the job listings and do a bit of playing or toddler training with her son. Even so, she continued to brush off everyone’s concern, and claimed that everything would be fine once the baby came.

Because she was feeling so poorly, Billy put off his plans to bring Liam home from work with him. He had other worries, though. He had been hoping for a promotion by the weekend, and didn’t get it. It frustrated him a little. He knew that there had to be a reason his uncles were holding off, but he couldn’t tell what it was. As badly as he felt about the idea of leaving his sister just then, he was ready to move on. Home was better, after his talk with his mother, but still not a place he wanted to be for the rest of his life.



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The only one who really seemed satisfied was Tristan. He waltzed in on the night of Saxon’s child birthday with the announcement that Sierra Plains was ready to hold its first mayoral election. “We’ll have a Mayor by the beginning of fall,” he boasted.

Billy didn’t know who else might be interested in running for Mayor. It didn’t much matter. Tristan’s status as the husband of a Fitzhugh basically guaranteed him the position. “Congratulations,” he said, trying to express more sincerity than he felt. The only thing about the news that made him really happy was the idea that Azula might be able to come home very soon.

Elle, however, had more than enough enthusiasm for two. After a very sappy display of affection that Billy considered unnecessary, they gathered with the rest of the family to watch Saxon grow up.



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Saxon had been a fairly affectionate toddler, but not a quiet one. Once he learned to speak, he went around repeating almost everything he heard in a quest to learn new words. He also liked throwing things, including his bottles and the rabbit head that had somehow survived five generations of Fitzhugh toddlers. In addition, he had a penchant for banging on walls and floors with his fists at odd hours, in strangely rhythmic patterns.

But he loved all the big people in his life, and they loved him. Billy in particular took quite a bit of pride in his role as the fun uncle.



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After changing and making the rounds for hugs, Saxon bounced over to Billy. You’re going to be Captain Hero soon, right?” he asked.

Billy grinned. “That’s the plan.”

“Will you take me on adventures, then?”

“Absolutely. I don’t promise flying, though.”

“Why not?”

Somehow, Billy managed to redirect Saxon’s attention away from that topic, and after a few minutes, the little boy hopped off to harass Gabriel instead. Gabriel seemed grateful just to be out of diaper-changing territory for a little while, so Billy smilingly left them to it.



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He started up to the third floor with the idea of studying for a while. On the way, however, he passed Tristan and Elle, who were ensconced on the second floor having a conversation in hushed tones. Afraid he might overhear something he would rather not, Billy hurried his pace.

Then Elle’s voice rose—not a lot, but enough that he could hear it. “Tristan, please believe me. I’m not keeping any secrets from you. You would know it if she’d told me anything at all.”

Billy paused briefly on the top step. If Tristan replied, it was inaudible at that distance. He quickly began moving again and didn’t stop until he had reached the roof.



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There was not a doubt in his mind that Tristan had been asking about Azula. Why, Billy couldn’t have guessed, but he instinctively felt that Tristan couldn’t have any good reasons for it. The entire family had accepted the fact that they would not see her until the new government had been established. Elle had repeatedly denied any knowledge of Azula’s whereabouts. Why would Tristan push her for news now?

Something was wrong. He just knew it.

At the same time, he also knew that there was nothing he could do. Billy had no physical proof of anything. He couldn’t even take his suspicions to his sister. Elle hadn’t listened to any of his misgivings about Tristan before. If he tried it again, it would only upset her and probably ruin their relationship. He loved Elle, but they had never been as close to each other as they were with Azula.

His parents were also out. Whatever they might do would be equally ineffectual.

Who did that leave? He didn’t know very many people he could trust, and hardly anyone who might have the power to do anything.

After another moment’s thought, he took out his phone and dialed the first number that came to mind.



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Lex answered on the third ring. “Hello, Billy, what can I do for you?”

“I need to talk to you,” Billy said, in a rush. “It’s about Elle.”

“Is she in earshot?” Lex asked sharply, surprising him.

“No, of course not.”

“Billy, voices carry in that house. The walls aren’t that thick.”

“I’m on the roof. There’s no way she can hear me, I promise.”

He heard his uncle exhale. “All right, good. Let’s talk in person though, just in case. Come over tomorrow morning. I wanted to meet with you anyway.”

Billy agreed and hung up. He didn’t feel very reassured, though. Something in Lex’s voice had changed the second he had mentioned Elle. Anyone else would have asked immediately what was wrong. Billy had to wonder if that meant Lex knew something he didn’t.



---



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The next morning, he was startled out of a troubled sleep by his sister’s cries of pain. “It’s okay,” she managed, as he rolled out of bed to help her. “It’s just the baby! Saxon, honey, don’t look so scared, it’ll be all right!”

Saxon did seem very afraid, but he only nodded and stuck close to Elle. Billy kept one eye on him, and one on Elle. “You okay?” he asked her.

She nodded. “Where’s Tristan?”

Billy looked around. His sister’s husband was nowhere in sight.

“I think left already,” Saxon said quietly.

Billy frowned. “Did he know you were due today?”

“It doesn’t matter,” Elle gasped. “He can’t miss work—oh, damn it—"

“Ellie, you’re going to be okay. Just breathe. It’s almost over, right? You can do it.”



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He and Saxon continued to talk as calmly as possible to Elle until at last, the ordeal was over.

“Is it a boy or a girl, Mom?” Saxon asked excitedly.

Elle shot him an exhausted grin. “It’s a girl, Saxers, and her name’s Cassandra.”

He made a face. “That’s a big name.”

“Tell you what—we can call her Cassie for short.”

Saxon considered it for a moment, then nodded his agreement. “That sounds good.”



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Since it was clear that Elle was wiped and needed to go right back to bed, Billy volunteered to find Cassie a bottle. Saxon followed him up and down the stairs, completely fascinated with his new sister. He looked very disappointed when Billy put her in her crib. “She’s as tired as your mom,” Billy told him. “We’ll see her again when she wakes up, okay?”

Saxon sighed, but had to accept it. “Now what do we do?”

“I have a meeting with Uncle Lex in an hour,” Billy said.

“Oh, can I come?”

Billy frowned. It was a Sunday, so of course Saxon didn’t have school. Mya and Gabriel, at least, would still be going to the businesses, and Elle would probably be good for very little for the rest of the day. He didn’t want to leave his nephew to that. Saxon could not sit in on his meeting, but Lex did have two child age granddaughters… “Yeah, why not,” he said, smiling. “You can meet some of your cousins.”



---



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“I think Saxon’s just become Idina’s new best friend.” Lex glanced over at the trio of children, and grinned as Idina merrily pelted Saxon with water balloons. “She loves anyone who’ll let her pound them without complaining.”

“Then I feel sorry for Kristin,” Billy said. He wasn’t in a mood to be amused, though. “Thanks again for letting me bring him.”

“Not a problem. You mind if we walk instead of going inside?”

Billy had expected that his elderly uncle would want to sit down, but the request didn’t surprise him as much as the tone Lex had used. Lex seemed worried about something, and they hadn’t even started on Elle yet. “No, not at all.”



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They turned to walk around the house. “So, as you’ve probably noticed,” Lex began, “your uncle Gordon and I aren’t getting any younger.”

“You could have fooled me there,” Billy said, as lightly as he could. He knew that Lex and Gordon were quite a bit older than his own parents, and while both seemed in good shape, he couldn’t help worrying about them.

Lex laughed. “That’s bad flattery, but I’ll take it. Anyway, we talked last night and we’ve decided it’s time to pass the baton. I submitted my resignation this morning.” He looked at Billy. “And I’ve told the office to appoint you Captain Hero in my place.”

“Really?”

“Come on, Billy, you can’t say you’re surprised. This is what all three of us were planning on.”

“Well, yeah, but I didn’t think you’d resign. I never wanted to replace you.”

“Oh, it was going to happen pretty soon regardless. The only reason I’ve waited this long was to make sure that someone I could trust got the suit after me. It won’t be long until we’ve got a centralized government, and our law enforcement will finally have some real clout.” A flash of pain skittered across his face. “And I don’t know what’s going to happen then. Especially since I doubt we’ll ever get rid of Raikov.”



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Billy frowned at the ground for a moment. “Well, I’m…honored. That you and Uncle Gordon trust me so much.”

“There’s no one better,” said Lex. “And I have faith that you’ll continue to do your best and bring in other people who will do the same. You’ll probably want a partner eventually, but I’ll leave that to your judgment.”

“Uncle Gordon doesn’t have anybody in mind?”

“We had hoped to have someone by now, but our plans fell through.”

Billy nodded. “I’ll try my best to pick the right person.”

“I know you will.”



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They walked a little further in silence. Billy knew he should be happier. His promotion meant he could move out and get married. He was excited to have achieved his goal and was eager to get started, but Lex’s resignation was still bothering him. He hadn’t forgotten his sister, either.

There was no good way to lead into it. He steeled himself to just ask. “About Elle,” he began.

“Right, you said you needed to talk. What happened?”

Billy told Lex what he had overheard. “Why would he push her like that? He knows as well as the rest of us that Elle doesn’t know anything new. She’d have said if she did.”

Lex’s eyebrows knit. “I was afraid of that,” he said quietly.

“Afraid of what? What do you know that I don’t?”

“Nothing concrete, but I’ve had some suspicions since before Raikov sent out that military patrol. The General wants to indict Azula, but he doesn’t have a lot of time to do it. Once we’ve got a Mayor, we’ll be able to establish relations with countries like Takemizu and international travel will start up again.”

“But if Tristan becomes Mayor—"



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“Billy, we don’t know anything for sure.” Lex stopped walking, turned, and looked him in the eye. “For that matter, Tristan has broken no law, and it’s entirely possible that the only reason he spoke with Elle was to see whether they could get hold of Azula and give her the all clear once it’s safe.”

“You don’t really think that’s the reason, do you? He couldn’t care less about her! He hasn’t even been treating Elle like she’s worth a damn, and she’s his wife!”

For the first time, Lex seemed surprised. “He hasn’t?”

“No! He doesn’t care about anything outside the office. Elle’s been exhausted and sick ever since I got home and he can’t even spare two seconds to be concerned. He even yelled at her when she found out she was pregnant with Cassie.”

“How long has this been going on?”

“He’s always been an asshole, Uncle Lex. I told her not to marry him, but she didn’t listen to me, and no one else seemed to see it. I was hoping I was wrong, but it’s just gotten worse.”

“Harry and Mya didn’t…”

“Oh, come on, you know how they are. I mean…they know she’s not well, they’d have to be blind not to, and I think Mom at least knows something’s not right, but…and even if they did, what can they do? If Elle wouldn’t listen to me, do you really think she’d listen to them after everything that’s happened?”



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“I see.” Lex looked troubled, which gratified Billy just a little. At least someone besides Snow was finally taking him seriously. “Well. We suspected Tristan might have been working with Raikov, but not this.”

“You and Uncle Gordon did?”

He hesitated. “Billy, when are you going to move out?”

“What does that have to do with anything?”

“Just answer the question.”



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Billy sighed in frustration. “I don’t know, tomorrow I guess. Maybe today if Elle doesn’t need me. Why?”

“I want you to do me a favor. Move out, get settled, have your wedding. Don’t say a word about any of this to anyone and try to put it out of your mind for now. Then come see me.”

“What for?”

His uncle smiled slightly. “There are some people I’d like you to meet.”



---



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Author’s Note

HOLY CRAP IS THIS AN UPDATE?

Yeah, yeah it is. Hi, guys :D And happy Apocaversary to meeeeee! On this day in…2008… *sob* Actually, the real Apocaversary was yesterday, but trying to get it ready for then was pushing it. Today still counts! I didn’t even think I’d have this update ready by today, but the writing ended up going so quickly I thought I might as well aim for it. It’s nice to be able to move the story along. I am not saying I’ll be done by the end of the year, but I’d like to be, and I’ll be using the rest of March to work on Episode 24.

If you’ve read this far you have no doubt noticed that this update is not in slideshow format. That’s because I’ve decided to reduce the amount of pictures from this point forward. It’s my own fault, really, since I took on a rather ambitious plot in terms of filming and then played two episodes ahead of where I’d written (in game, I’ve reached the beginning of episode 25), and the idea of staging just makes me tired. I considered abandoning pictures entirely and decided I couldn’t. This is the compromise—half the pictures, same amount of text. What’s important to me at this point is that I finish the challenge and give the story an ending. I hope you’ll all still enjoy the story despite the change in format.



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Meanwhile! A lift happened this episode! Billy took care of Law Enforcement for us, which means that we can now have fire and burglar alarms, call the cops for robberies and missing teens, and leave the house without having to earn ten body points first! HOORAY! Good grief, you guys don’t even know how many times my Sims got hit by burglars before I lifted this. The Morgans in particular got robbed probably five or six times. Poor Gordon. It was like adding insult to injury.



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Also, we have a new baby in the main house! Since this episode and the next are unfortunately light on the kids, let me introduce Cassie to you now. She is also named after a Doctor Who villain—Lady Cassandra O’Brien, the “last human,” who was the villain in 1x02 and 2x01. She will also be the last Fitzhugh to lift a career because once Tristan and Elle are done with theirs, there will only be two left to go!

She’s also super cute. <3



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Finally, for those of you who are wondering when Elle and Liam met, I am retconning this drabble that Rose and I wrote. There’s a specific reason for it, which you’ll see the beginnings of next episode. Meanwhile, reading the drabble would be helpful but it’s not required—I am not sure the conversation went exactly that way, but the situation is the same.

I could say quite a bit more about this episode, but I’m going to save it, because this arc isn’t finished. After Episode 24, it will be. Then you get a meta I’ve had mostly written since 2009. No, really. :P Cross your fingers for April! We’ll see what happens from there.

Until next time, Happy Simming and thanks for reading :)

Guest Sims:

Snow Bohemian (The Bohemian Legacy)

Liam Whedon (A Buffyverse Apocalypse)

Comments

( 27 comments — Leave a comment )
biglenny
Mar. 9th, 2013 10:29 am (UTC)
Happy (belated) apocaversary!

The military searching for Azula and Dom? Wow, I'm so worried for them! I just hope they'll stay safe and away from Raikov's clutches. And boy was I relieved that the searched households, particularly the Fitzhughs, turned out fine.

Grr Tristan... He really needs to be punched in the face. Elle, Saxon, and Cassie really don't deserve him, especially at his anger at Elle when she was pregnant with Cassie. Glad that Lex is starting to feel skeptical about him. I just hope Tristan will get what he deserves soon.

Yay for Billy lifting Law Enforcement! Even more so because he and Snow can get married and start a family. And it's nice to see Liam in Sierra Plains. Definitely eager to see him and Elle meet again.

I'm looking forward to the next update. Glad this one finally worked out for you! :D
smoothiesims
Mar. 11th, 2013 01:48 am (UTC)
Thank you!

[Spoiler (click to open)]Zuzu and Dom are nowhere near the area, don't worry. Raikov just isn't taking the chance. He wouldn't actually hurt anyone, because that would come down badly on him.

Yes, yes Tristan does need a punch in the face. >.<

Liam and Elle reunion soon! I've already written a good chunk of the next episode. It was nice to finally get Law Enforcement lifted, too :P Billy is definitely happy to be moving on.

Me too! Thank you :D
bellemistoire
Mar. 9th, 2013 10:54 am (UTC)
Happy Apocaversary!

The new format is good!

In all honesty, while I really admire the staging that so many do, I think that a couple of staged pictures often serve as well or sometimes better than 100 staged pics. My personal feeling is that part of the fun of reading a sims story is knowing that the person writing is having fun playing and if there are a ton of staged pics, I know that isn't happening.

Anyway, back to the story. I think you are writing an excellent portrayal of the roller-coaster of an emotionally abusive relationship and the way it led naturally from where Elle was with her parents and siblings in her core family relationships, as well as how Billy and her parents are now having to come to terms with how their relationships have limited the ways in which they can be supportive of her. And I CANNOT WAIT to see what you have in store next!

Also, yay! Baby! Cassie looks darling and if Tristan didn't want her he sucks and he should have gloved up.
smoothiesims
Mar. 11th, 2013 01:55 am (UTC)
Thank you!

Good, I'm glad it works for you as well as for me :D

Well, some people love staging more than they love writing. I just do not happen to be one of those people. This solution is working out well so far and I hope to just power through from here. I know for a fact that a good chunk of Episode 24 is already staged, and that's a weight off my chest.

[Spoiler (click to open)]Thank you, that's one of the things that had me dragging my feet on this plot, and I'm glad it's working. You will see! Episode 24 is half written as we speak.

Yeah, Cassie is adorable and Tristan's a dick. Neither is going to change.
docnerd
Mar. 9th, 2013 05:33 pm (UTC)
:D UPDATE!
[Spoiler (click to open)]Ugh Tristan, UGH UGH UGH UGH, THERE ARE NOT ENOUGH UGHS IN THE WORLD FOR YOU, YOU ARE A TERRIBLE PERSON.

Billy and Snow, still cute. Raikov, still needs to DIAF. Mya, it's nice that she's trying to make amends.

This is me hoping that Zuzu and Dom sent Raikov a photo from Twikkii that's just the two of them giving him the finger with "SUCK IT, LOSER" scribbled on it in eyebrow pencil.

HAI LIAM! Please don't drag everyone's cheerfulness down with you!


Anyway, so happy to see you back!
docnerd
Mar. 10th, 2013 03:35 pm (UTC)
[Spoiler (click to open)]You know what? Tristan is Jerky Jake in a suit instead of a smoking jacket. And it might be a little worse, because Jerky Jake took advantage of the fact that Cass was already an emotional wreck, while Tristan is actually MAKING Elle one. Too bad Spider is dead in Sierra Plains, or he would be PISSED OFF.
smoothiesims
Mar. 11th, 2013 02:00 am (UTC)
INDEED!

[Spoiler (click to open)]This is a true fact! I hate writing him and what he's doing to Elle. BUT IT IS ALMOST OVER.

Yep, and yep :P Mya is trying to be better. It's not going to be happy fuzzies but maybe there will be less bitterness in the end.

I really want to stage that, now :P They'd be tempted, for sure.

Liam is actually here to help! He proves quite useful.

As to Tristan vs. Jerky Jake, Gordon dies right after Episode 24 ends and I'm sure he and Spider would meet in the Dead Realm, so that would be an opportunity for him to find out. I really wish I could have Spider and Cass go and kick Tristan's ass, though, because he would deserve every second of it. You know who IS still around? Larch.
docnerd
Mar. 11th, 2013 04:50 pm (UTC)
[Spoiler (click to open)]OTOH, Larch didn't so much care that Cass was with Jake. He'd probably care MORE about Tristan and Elle since there's no personal advantage to him there. I'm sure he's driving you crazy with Baby Fever, though. He wouldn't be Larch if he didn't want ALL THE BABIES.
smoothiesims
Mar. 12th, 2013 01:05 am (UTC)
[Spoiler (click to open)]He got two bio babies and a Zane, which is more than the rest of the neighborhood did :P So he's fine. He better be, anyway.
leilia
Mar. 9th, 2013 06:08 pm (UTC)
Yay! It's lovely to see you back!

[Spoiler (click to open)]

I do not like Tristan. No, I do not. He's nasty and mean and he needs to wear the cone of shame. Make him wear the cone of shame. It feels like Tristan his trying his hardest NOT to become mayor. Then there's how he treats Ellie. I bet he says nasty things all the time about Elle and then goes "Just teasing!" Because that's what people like him do.

It's nice to see Liam. He's a cool sim and I like him a lot. He can kick ass and take names. *Nods sagely*

Don't worry about this format. Write and publish how you want to. We'll read however you put it out.
smoothiesims
Mar. 11th, 2013 02:07 am (UTC)
It's nice to BE back :D

[Spoiler (click to open)]Oh, I have something better than Tristan wearing the Cone of Shame. You guys can have it between Episodes 24 and 25. :D He sure is taking his sweet time about it for reasons, but he doesn't NOT want to be Mayor. He and Raikov benefit more from his having the position than his continuing to sabotage it. And I'm sure you're right, but I can't bear writing too much of it. Just doing the bed scene was nine kinds of awful I don't want to repeat. You guys get the message.

It's nice to finally introduce Liam to the story! I've been sitting on this since the BC. Rose was the only person who knew. :D

Thank you, I appreciate that! It's working well for me so far.
scribal_goddess
Mar. 9th, 2013 08:30 pm (UTC)
It's back! *Glomps.*

Oooh, scary military - and Tristan's not going to help any even if he lifts the mayor. Azula's going to have to lie low for now. And you've got just the four careers left, you're so close.

This seems to be the episode where Billy comes into his own: he's mostly made it up with his mom (as much as he can at this point,) he's captain hero, Snow is amazing and they're going to have a very wedding-ly wedding, and honestly, Sierra Plains seems to be in the home stretch, except for the persistent existence of that waste of pixels known as Tristan. :/

*Gets in line to kick Tristan in the teeth.*
smoothiesims
Mar. 11th, 2013 02:11 am (UTC)
Indeeeed!

[Spoiler (click to open)]Well, Tristan IS going to be smoothing things out with other countries, but you are right that Azula's situation will still be kinda precarious even after he hits Mayor. They'll get into it more next episode.

It was nice to give Billy the spotlight in this episode even if he had to deal with some unpleasant things. He's trying his best and becoming a more mature person all the time.

LOL it's a looooong line. But you're welcome to your turn.
tatdatcm
Mar. 9th, 2013 08:57 pm (UTC)
Happy Apocoaversary! So awesome to see this up!

Ugh, Tristan! What a jerk. I can't wait for Billy to figure out that he's working for Raikov and kick the living "bleep" out of him. It's nice to see Billy so protective of Elle.

Glad that Mya is trying to make things right with him as well, and that he's at least open to her efforts.

I totally thought that Liam was Stuart when Elle went by him at the salon and got all excited and squee-y. I liked how you worked that explanation in when Billy first met him at Snow's place.

Saxon and Cassie are both adorable.

Good luck getting the next chapter out. You can dooo eeeet!! *\0/*

*hope the spoiler tags work* *never remembers the right coding*
smoothiesims
Mar. 11th, 2013 02:14 am (UTC)
Thank you! I was glad to finally post it :D

[Spoiler (click to open)]Tristan deserves everything that might potentially come to him, yes, although an ass-kicking is not in the immediate works. Billy's trying his hardest to help, though.

Mya is trying to get better, it's true. It won't make everything all right, but at least maybe there won't be so many bad feelings between her and everyone around her.

MWAHAHAHA faked you out so good :P No, it's not Stuart. I hope you will all like what I do with Liam, though!

I love them to bits and pieces. More Saxon next episode.

Thank you! It's nice to have the momentum going again! Hopefully next update early April or sooner.
penguingirl03
Mar. 10th, 2013 04:44 am (UTC)
EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!YOU UPDATED! Oh man this made my morning when I saw it. I have missed your stories.
[Spoiler (click to open)]Okay so please tell us that the simselves get to torture Tristan when this is all over. He is SO slimy! My skin was crawling during the scene when he and Elle were in bed and I just wanted to punch him when he yelled at Elle about getting pregnant. Those scenes were really well written.

Poor thing. I feel like a good portion of her not feeling well and always being tired is depression, yes? Poor thing. I just want to hug her and send Stuart back and make everything better.

Oh you had me convinced for a second or two that she was passing Stuart around town and not noticing. Very clever use of Liam there.

Hmmm...Is Billy going to join your protector group? Or at least be introduced to them?


Excellent update as always! I can't wait to see what happens next.

Edited at 2013-03-10 04:45 am (UTC)
smoothiesims
Mar. 11th, 2013 02:18 am (UTC)
:D Your capslock fills me with glee, thank you.

[Spoiler (click to open)]I am not going to do a Simself torture fest only because I don't want to stage it. HOWEVER, I have something that's as good, I think. You guys get it between Episodes 24 and 25. :D But yeah, he is all kinds of awful and I hated writing that scene. It gets the point across, though, so I was able to move away from Elle for a while.

Yes, Elle not feeling well is due in a large part to her depression. She's been depressed for quite some time and living with Tristan is only making it worse and worse. BUT HE WON'T BE AROUND FOREVER. This is not a spoiler, I have not been subtle about it in the slightest. :P

MWAHAHAHA FOOLED YOU. Not Stuart yet :P but I hope you will all like what I'm doing with Liam in the meantime.

In time, you shall see. :D I'm aiming for early April or sooner.</lj-spoiler.
lorinsv60
Mar. 10th, 2013 05:50 am (UTC)
There's a palpable pall on the legacy house with Elle (sad) and Tristan (ugh) at the helm, and it makes me more than a little concerned for their kids. What a contrast Billy and Snow are! It was nice seeing Billy shine in this update, and Mya trying to make amends without demanding instant forgiveness from her kids.

I was amused to find myself feeling rather guilty watching your poor simmies eat the endless rounds of chef salad, lunch meat sandwiches and instant meals, after eating my own chicken enchilada dinner!

The new format worked just fine for me as a reader, and I'm glad you found a way that works better for you to move your story along. Yay for being so close to the finish line!
smoothiesims
Mar. 11th, 2013 02:21 am (UTC)
Thank you! It's working pretty well for me so far, so I'm hoping to keep up the momentum and finish :D

[Spoiler (click to open)]The situation is definitely going to have an impact on Saxon and Cassie, that's for sure. I will hopefully get to it in a timely fashion. Billy and Snow's functional relationship was a breath of fresh air to write, that's for sure. Same with Mya even though it's not a magical fix-it solution.

LOL! I hope it was delicious! The Fitzhughs aren't suffering too badly, they have tasty Jumbok fumes to help after all :P
dicreasy
Mar. 10th, 2013 11:08 am (UTC)
Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay! A new episode! *does happy dance*

[Spoiler (click to open)]I'm so excited to see this back, I can't tell you. I've missed your characters and your writing so much. Apart from Tristan that is, but that's hardly surprising. Whilst I'd love for him to meet with an accident like right now, I know he's integral to your story and so will wait patiently for him to go away, whilst remembering how much fun it was to push him down a hole.

Anyway, onto the chapter. I feel so much for Ellie. I love her to bits so watching her go through this is hard. I just wanted to hug her throughout this chapter, you're capturing her depression so well, it feels so real to me. As is the fact she doesn't or can't acknowledge that is what she's feeling. Poor thing.

It was nice to see Billy come home and I'm glad to see Mya making an effort to apologise and that she realises what she and Harry have done.

Urgh Tristan go DIAF right now! Seriously, your wife was asleep and said NO when you asked her. Don't pressurise her into sex by emotionally manipulating her you bastard. I did want to congratulate you on how you are portraying Tristan. Yes he is very easy to hate, and you are definitely showing how emotionally abusive he is, but you are keeping it believable and subtle at the same time. Also, you do not get angry about your wife being pregnant you dick. I really cannot wait until you can kick him to the curb.

Ok, Elle honey, you do not need to feel bad about having to give up your job in culinary. It was not your fault your husband took the truck when you needed it to get to work. *hugs her*

Snow and Billy are still very sweet and I'm glad we get to see a more healthy relationship this chapter. I'm also happy to see more of Billy in general and to see him coming into his own. Although Elle is your heir, I do think you've got a good balance with the plot and the three children of the main house. I'm guessing that Billy is about to meet Saffy et al as part of the plot.

I'm still worried about Azula and Dom, but I'm glad they're safely out of Takemizu and that Raikov still doesn't know where they are. I'm also glad that Ellie doesn't know either, because that bastard she's married to would find out and it'd get back to Raikov, because Ellie has no reason to suspect that Tristan and Raikov know each other.

Ahh, I thought that was Liam who walked past while Ellie called a cab. Clever use of angles there. It's good to see him in Sierra Plains and I look forward to seeing more of him.

Saxon and Cassie are gorgeous and I look forward to getting to know them better.

Congrats on another lift!

I thought the balance with the words and pictures was just right. I prefer more words to pictures for episodes like this, and thought the pictures illustrated the scenes perfectly.

Hmm, I think that's enough of my rambling. I really enjoyed this chapter and can't wait for more, or to see Tristan kicked out. Happy belated Appocaversary!
smoothiesims
Mar. 11th, 2013 02:33 am (UTC)
:D Your happy dance makes me happy too!

[Spoiler (click to open)]I really enjoyed helping you push Tristan down a hole, not gonna lie. Seeing that picture for the first time will always be a happy Simming memory for me :D so at least you have that consolation for now!

I am glad it works. It's been difficult to write, but I'm happy to just be powering through it so I can get to the recovery part.

Mya making the effort won't magically fix things, but it's nice to be at a point where she's trying not to be part of the problem, and it means there won't be as many bad feelings between her and her kids, which is as much as anyone can hope for.

Yeah, I hated writing that scene. :( But I'm glad at least that it's believable and that you guys get it without me having to elaborate further. There's a reason most of this update was in Billy's POV. SOON! The end is in sight, I promise, and things will get better from there although not immediately.

Billy and Snow were a breath of fresh air. I don't just write about dysfunctional marriages, see! :P It was nice to give Billy the spotlight for a bit. Generally, I LIKE to focus on the main house and bring the spares in as it's relevant, but Billy and Azula are really important to what's going on right now and I like writing them a lot.

Exactly! It's better that the family doesn't know, even though they're upset about it. Elle doesn't even suspect that she shouldn't trust Tristan at this point. He's her husband and therefore part of the family.

MWAHAHA surprise Liam! I've been sitting on his appearance since the BC. He'll be around again next episode.

More kids next episode, too! Or at least more Saxon. I was sorry to skip over his toddler time, but there really wasn't a good spot for it.

Thank you!

I'm glad the new format works! It's helped me a lot (although I was still glaring at my screen in doing the minimal amount of staging that ended up being necessary :P). You know I prefer the writing, after all. It is really nice to have another update out and be moving things along.

Thanks much! Next update HOPEFULLY early April or sooner.
dicreasy
Mar. 11th, 2013 08:54 am (UTC)
"I really enjoyed helping you push Tristan down a hole, not gonna lie. Seeing that picture for the first time will always be a happy Simming memory for me :D so at least you have that consolation for now!"

I may have gone and read RB again just to get to that picture and see him fall. Ah happy memories. :D
smoothiesims
Mar. 12th, 2013 01:06 am (UTC)
LOL, I miiiiiiight have to follow your hypothetical example, there.
rosefyre
Mar. 11th, 2013 09:55 pm (UTC)
YAY UPDATE! :D

[Commenty]The exhaustion is at least partly due to the depression, isn't it? Poor Elle.

I'm glad Elle is connecting to her (uber adorable) kids, at least. And being unemployed is excellent for being able to connect to your kids!

Tristan, you are a total ass. Guilt-tripping Elle into sex and blaming HER when she gets pregnant is NOT OKAY AT ALL. Asshole.

IS Elle trying to push Billy out? It does seem a bit like it - possibly because she knows he'll see what's really going on, what she's not willing to admit to herself yet - that Tristan is an abusive ass. On the other hand, her actions are logical - the one who needs to move out SHOULD lift first, so they don't have to stick around, and lifting IS important, and, well, of course Billy wants to spend time with his fiancee. But on the other hand...Elle is being almost too solicitous about that, if that makes sense.

The fact that Elle lists "keep everyone else happy" in her list of things to do is not healthy. That girl is seriously depressed and putting all of her self-worth in making everyone else happy, which...not good, not good at all.

Joining the group of "thinking Liam was Stuart from that angle," and I KNEW Liam was entering this chapter! :P Well, they have the same hair and skintone, from the back if they dressed the same there would honestly be no way to tell them apart.

Ugh, Elle being scared to tell Tristan about the pregnancy is not of the good.

I see you got around the house issue by just taking the picture in front of the street. :P

I'm glad Billy realizes that he and Azula did throw Elle under the bus, because they really did. Someone had to do it, and Elle was used to sacrificing herself for others, while the other two chose to do what THEY wanted. Which, I mean, it's not to say that either of them absolutely should have taken the heirship even though they didn't want to, but at the same time, they have to realize that Elle did take it even though she didn't want to, and it would be nice if they actually tried to make things easier for her rather than harder. Has Azula come to this realization as well? I admit to being curious.

Hi Liam! :D :D :D

Riku in that outfit = utterly hilarious.

Oh, Billy. *shakes head* Trying to set Elle up with Liam is not going to work, though at least you can get them to reconnect as friends.

Now I want to know what changed with Tristan - did he change his mind about the baby? Did Raikov say something? And what did he say to Elle during that conversation? While I'm generally happy you switched POVs to Billy (Elle would have been too depressing), I do kind of wish we'd gotten to see this conversation.

Definitely glad Mya's realizing how screwed up things are as well, and working to fix that, even if it's going to be slow going.

Hi Cassie! Lovely to meet you. :D

Hrm, I'm guessing either Liam or Dom for his partner? Since Dom will be back eventually, after all.

Ah, time for Billy to get introduced to the watchers! :D

Yay lifts!

I'm fine with the new format - while I prefer slideshare for my own stories (I like the way you can't see the next picture ahead of time, and being able to put more than one picture per slide in more interesting layouts), I'm totally fine with reading in blog style. I'm just happy we have an update!
smoothiesims
Mar. 12th, 2013 01:37 am (UTC)
INDEEDY :D

[Spoiler (click to open)]Yes ma'am it is.

Elle really does love her kids quite a bit, and she's grateful for the time she gets to spend with them.

It is absolutely not okay in any respect and I hated writing that scene. D:

Elle might unconsciously be trying to get rid of him for those reasons, yes. Her instinctive reaction right now is "I don't need help I don't need help I DON'T NEED HELP, OKAY, IT'S FINE" and Billy is perfectly aware that things are Not Fine. Plus, given how he reacted when she got engaged, she understandably doesn't want to hear any more of that. But the only reason she's consciously acknowledged is "I want my brother to be happyyyyy"

She does think too little about her own needs, it's true.

MWAHAHA I can't believe I fooled YOU. *victory dance*

SHHHH don't go around giving away my secrets :P

Yeah, I don't think there was a solution that would have made everybody happy, to be honest with you. It might not have gotten this bad, but unfortunately no one in this family learns their lesson before things get bad. That said? This option is the most interesting from a story standpoint in spite of how awful it is for Elle. You get the answer to the Azula question next episode.

I don't think Billy's really aiming for that at this point, but after the divorce it crosses his mind more than once. (Elle's reaction is LOL NO, and Liam's would be, too, as you know :P)

Tristan was either advised to play penitent or decided it was the best way to salvage things. He has to stay on Elle's good side until he becomes Mayor. Mayhap I shall write that conversation, we'll see. He's just awful to write.

It's going to be really slow going and she's lucky it's not too late, frankly. But it's a start.

You will see who eventually becomes Billy's partner!

MWAHAHAHA.

Good, the new format is working for me and I'm happy to just be putting something out at this point :) so I'm glad it's still readable.
profbutters
Mar. 13th, 2013 07:39 am (UTC)
YAY and congrats! It's nice to see the Apoc back again! And yay for Billy.

I'd offer to kick Tristan's rear all around Sierra Plains three times running, but I think the wait in line would be too long.

I like the new format, actually. I didn't like the scroll down format once, but now it seems so much easier and as you point out, there's still plenty of plot.

EDIT: I'd have to go figure out to do the darned spoilers, but I hope that wasn't exactly very spoilery.

Edited at 2013-03-13 07:41 am (UTC)
smoothiesims
Mar. 15th, 2013 01:29 am (UTC)
:D Billy's great.

[Spoiler (click to open)]The wait is actually pretty long, I think. Alas for I have no plans to do a Punishment for him.

:D Good, I'm glad it's working for people, because it's definitely working for me.

LOL, the code is < lj-spoiler > without the spaces. It's a lot like the way it worked on Boolprop.
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