Chapter 35, Part 2: So Long, and Thanks for All the Cupcakes

Notes:

This was a hell of a week, y’all. Writing this is what kept me sane.

I cannot adequately express what it means to have a Biden/Harris win. I cannot describe how it feels to look at the White House and see that there is a woman who looks like me as VP. My father grew up in a world of segregated schools and separate drinking fountains. When I took him to vote for Obama in 2008, it was the first time he had ever done so in his life. I remember him remarking that the ballot did not have “colored” on it and that we needed to be quick before they took it back.

This victory is for me, but it’s also for him. He died before ever seeing this day, and I imagine if he were alive and I called to tell him, he wouldn’t believe me. But we have done it, daddy. We are here. And if you think we didn’t come to roll up our sleeves and clean up this mess, fuck around and find out. Gritty for Secretary! Wawa forever! Please rise for the new national anthem. 

Now, onto the story. CW for some child abuse stuff in Vlad’s past. Fluff warning for your heart.

Von Haunt Estate

Vlad

A towering cascade of cupcake mania—that was how Rory described this week’s bake. Vlad pictured, very vividly, wrapping his hands around the sim’s neck. He was retired, of course, but that was from large scale bloodshed.

A sim here or there was perfectly acceptable.

Like Caleb’s book of affirmations said—all things in moderation.  

The book was one of the many things Caleb left behind. Neither he nor Deacon had packed, which gave Alice hope. She mentioned it repeatedly, hoping to draw Vlad into a conversation. She wanted to talk about what went down last night and Vlad, categorically, did not.

“Hey! Don’t you see that I’m standing here?”

Gwendolyn’s voice distracted him. She was humming some inane song from a TV show that he just knew would haunt him until the end of days. Staring down at her, he reminded himself of William’s words. She was no replacement. He cared for her on his own merits because now he was capable of such a thing.  

“And what is the plan this week, hellion? Another batch of stolen pastries?” 

She jutted out her chin. “Stealing is very risky.”

“With great risk comes great reward, but no matter, we have money. You can simply buy the required desserts.”

Presumably

Presumably, they had money. Caleb had always handled details like converting Vlad’s vast wealth into a form of payment sims in this era would accept. But Vlad could learn, and in the meantime, there were credit cards. Why no one told him companies would give him access to thousands of simoleons and not demand a single payment was beyond his understanding. 

“Your boss called you out for cheating,” Gwendolyn countered loudly, again drawing his attention.

“Lies,” Vlad huffed, “What makes you think she’s my boss and not the other way around?”

The look on her face was loud and clear: do not insult my intelligence.

He pressed his fangs into his lip to keep from laughing. He intended for Gwendolyn to be someone’s boss and for the world to quake in fear when she walked.

“Touche,” he replied.

Gwendolyn soldiered on, clasping her hands behind her back and tilting her eyebrows as if in innocent contemplation. “Wouldn’t it be awesome if she couldn’t prove you were cheating?” 

Her emphasis on the word “prove” caused Vlad to pause. He’d taught her to ignore whatever her adversaries offered and zero in on what they truly desired. She proved again that she was a fast learner.

Deliberately, Vlad raised an eyebrow. “Go on.”

Granite Falls

Akira

When Oberon and Titania stepped out of their room, Akira was already dressed and stowing his weapons.

“What are you doing?” It was a question, but Titania didn’t sound surprised, just tired. 

It was as he expected, then. Flexing his hands, he tried to get control of himself. “She’s gone, but you probably fuckin’ knew that thanks to your oracle. She tell you the exact date? The time?”

“You’re being ridiculous,” Titania scoffed, “You think I would—”

“Yes!” Akira growled. “I think you fuckin’ would. Queen of the Fae, She Who Is Most Wily. Ain’t that what they call you? Yeah, I think you knew, and you couldn’t wait to see the look on my face.”

“Don’t be stupid!” she shouted, balling her hands into fists.

She couldn’t slap him; she’d already played that card. Akira crossed his arms and smirked.

“I told you what the Oracle told me!” she insisted, “I’m your sister, I’m—”

“A liar!” he bellowed.

Oberon looked up, eyes as bright as Akira had ever seen them, “Watch yourself, Rushlight.” He jerked his head in Titania’s direction, “Tell him.”

“You don’t own me, Oberon!” The look on Titania face was mutinous. “King of the Fae? That’s nothing. I’m Queen around here, Akira is my brother. I’ll tell you when—”

Akira cut her off with a sharp laugh. “You don’t gotta worry about me, sis. I don’t hold it against you. It’s ya nature to lie to me.” His voice was cold, even to his own ears, “Keep ya fuckin’ secrets.”

“Where are you…” Titania started as he pushed past her, “You can’t know where she went; she could be anywhen!”

“Then, it’s a good thing I’m bound to her.”

Titania lunged forward and grabbed his arm, forcing him to turn towards her. “You won’t find her! You never do! You want to know what the Oracle told me? Fine. Miko has been breaking the laws of Fate and the Universe to loop all of time over and over again. Once, you cheated on her. ONCE! In one time-loop out of a thousand. And she’s been punishing you for it ever since.”

“I…what?”

“She broke your heart a thousand times. None of us remember, but she does. And I…”—Titania’s voice broke—”I hate her for it. I hate her and I can’t forgive her. You are my brother, and you deserve better.”

He stumbled over to the couch, clutching at the sides of his face.

How could…

But it couldn’t be…

Akira scrambled to catch the thing that broke loose inside him before he completely fell apart. 

He was not fast enough.

    10 comments
  • Dolly Llama
    November 8, 2020

    This was indeed a hell of a week and thank F it’s over. Petition for Motownphilly to be the new national anthem? I’ve been listening to it/yelling DOIN’ A LITTLE EAST COAST SWIIIING all week. I kiss the ground at Atlanta’s & Philly’s feet. So! Much! Sanity! And we all know who deserves the credit… and who needs to do the most work.

    Getting the wild guessing out of the way first. Let me take a shot at some possible pop-culture Easter eggs the Halloween extras primed me to spot:

    “Pack your bags, dummies. We’re going on a trip” = “Get in, loser. We’re going shopping”?
    Gwendolyn’s precocious taunting = this?

    Because if either of these were intentional, GENIUS.

    Wait, Summer Holiday is a producer? Summer?! Dammit.

    I still can’t find the outfit, but based on hair color and who we know has it in for Miko and knows about the time loop, I have… suspicions.

    Vlad’s exchanges with Gwendolyn are the best. The absolute best. ‘Hellion’ as a default pet name? Her adorably standing on that box? Everyone underreacting to Vlad’s golemn going kaput? Yelling at the movie every fifteen seconds? Crushing her enemies and rending them limb by limb? (Did I float my Gwendolyn-is-the-Owl theory? Did I do that yet? Sure we also have a parent whose child’s identity is unknown and a child whose parents’ identities are unknown, but, meh, could be the wind.)

    Shout-out to Alice for breaking through her Awkward and Clumsy label and owning the competition through skill alone. I almost glossed over this because I expected her to master baking anyway, but that monologue drove in how significant this moment really is for her. Sorry, Alice 🙁 I’m proud of you but you can’t see me 🙁 She better get Star Baker.

    The make-up scene was cute—and I recognized the poses; recent, huh—but Miss Hell’s manipulative inner monologue worries me. Where’s Caleb? Caleb? Someone should to be told they need therapy.

    “It’s the complete opposite of what I said before, but fuck waiting until the end of the contest. I don’t want to leave her in that house tonight.”

    HEY. VLAD. LISTEN. VLAAAD. LISTEN. When the narrative switched to Penny right after, I was like… dammit. Nooooo.

    Nooooooooo.

    • feroshgirl
      November 9, 2020

      YES THANK F ITS OVER OMFG FINALLY.

      Boyz II Men for the defense cabinet!

      I’ve been listening to Georgia on My Mind on repeat, myself. I am so insanely, deliriously happy. I don’t have words. I mean, there is a reason Joe Biden gave that shout in his speech. And it’s not just black women (though…stares into the camera until it becomes uncomfortable) but lots of communities of color. Navajo Nation brought it in AZ.

      Okay, onto your comments because I’m sober and can write again (ha):

      – If the Sims had cars, I would have been able to land that Mean Girls joke!

      – But also, shopping, aka clothes, aka timeline clues. Rory is wearing the same outfit as from the final auditions (100% That Weirdo). Liberty is inexplicably wearing that orange wrap dress on the opening day of baking (A Kiss is Just a Kiss). She still has it on when she appears to Titania as the Oracle. And Oberon’s lover in Sulani was also wearing it…hmm…no wonder Liberty looked so tired in that chapter…

      – Has my love for the Addams Family been fully realized yet? LOL. For someone who has never seen the Internet, Vlad is certainly A+ at trolling Alice. I think Gwendolyn is a bad influence on him.

      – Summer is a producer. I did something very insane early on this story and you clocked it and I CANNOT wait until the next chapter because I think you might scream.

      – Can I confess to you that writing Vlad/Gwendolyn/Alice as the Addams Family of my dreams is one of my absolute favorite things? I’m reminded of something you said about writing Catastrophe Theory and how it took a while for you to get the groove and figure out what you wanted to do. I feel similarly about BBD. It’s like the origin story, and now Underworld Summer Vacation can be a tighter/better story.

      – Yes! I think the reader has seen Alice come into her own, but this was her moment to own it. She would be delighted to know that you noticed since Golem Vlad was too busy malfunctioning, and Jimena was caught up being manipulated by Miss Hell (Natalia-Auditore, carrying the poses for BBD on their back along with Simmerberlin LOL). God, in a universe where I did not have a million storylines to wrap up and a war to deal with, I would have spent an entire chapter dealing with the fallout from Golem Vlad. Next time, Gadget, next time (see the note above).

      – LOL, Caleb’s codependency radar pinged when Alice made that comment about therapy.

      – It’s all fun and games until a heretical order monks make plans to steal a child from Fear Itself and the God of Death. Guess it’s a good time for Alice to come into her own. I hope it’s not a minute too late…

      Oh…

      ohhhh.

      (cackles evilly)

      • Dolly Llama
        November 9, 2020

        YES!!! Arizona’s also killing it! So many people came through!

        I called something? And—ooooh—a lead on some fancy clothing hints? Gosh, I need a refresher on all this. Tracking down one bonkers thing in the entire story shouldn’t be too hard; it’s not as if there’s eight different plots and bonkers supernatural stuff going down in every chapter.

        For what it’s worth, though I can tell you’re having fun and getting in the zone writing it, I’m guessing you already started from a strong, cohesive spot if you’re only just now revealing crucial details you’ve been hiding in plain sight this whole time. It shows a sinister amount of planning right from the beginning and IT’S SO FREAKING COOL. If I weren’t already behind in everything, I’d go back and reread with my Pepe Silvia corkboard.

        (While looking back, I did realize that my reaction to “100% That Weirdo” was not commensurate with my actual reaction. What actually happened was I read it once, yelled, read it again, and recounted the plot to everyone who would tolerate me yelling about how great it was. BECAUSE.)

        Yes, I’m also charmed by the Addams family dynamic but there’s not going to be an Addams family if Penny gets there first. RUN.

        (hahaha, I spelled golem with an extra ‘n’—to rhyme with solemn? what? hahahaha ahhhh)

        As for the Gwen=Owl comment, uh-oh. ‘Interesting’? If I call a problem ‘cute,’ I know it’s going to take my students the whole period to solve it, and if I call a problem ‘interesting’—well, let’s hope your ‘interesting’ doesn’t carry the same implication of mindfuck.

    • feroshgirl
      November 9, 2020

      Oh and Gwendolyn as Owl theory…noted. Very interesting…

  • theplumbob
    November 18, 2020

    Oh, I missed a chapter! How did that happen? Maybe I’m in a time loop myself.

    Poor Akira. Titania is right, he does deserve better. Not that he’ll listen. What a plot twist would it be if Miko has entirely broken timelines and somehow even caused this whole mess of imending god wars through her neverending quest to punish her ex. Titania is rad, mind. I feel like I have a newfound appreciation for her.

    Golem Vlad was hilarious, as were actual Vlad’s scenes with Gwendolyn. Bless.

    Alice has come a long way since we first found her. Let’s see if that will be any use. Haha. Darn, she is one understanding girlfriend though. Barely fazed when her partner confesses to the brutal murder of his mother and daughter. Somehow I though Neva was Vlad’s wife, must have gotten that wrong. Anywho, I guess Alice did know that his past is messed up, so having something concrete is a step in the right direction.

    What else. Oh, Jimena. I wonder what happens to her now, as she has no use to anyone anymore. I did find it weird a couple episodes back when she was saying she’d screw up a couple of entries to lure Alice into a fall sense of security. Like, ain’t this a reality show? They eliminitate people, Jim… I feel like she’s so screwed now. The only question is if it will be Miss Hell that offs her, or her own mother.

    I feel like this comment is all over the place, sorry! I’m way too distracted these days. Probably missing a bunch of stuff. But I guess that’s a good argument for that re-read 😊

    • feroshgirl
      November 19, 2020

      Haha aren’t we all in a time loop?

      Akira, that big handsome dummy. Talk about denial. He’s like: oh have I been betrayed in a fundamental way that should make me question this relationship I have, or at least stop punishing myself? Nah, let’s go on a rescue mission.

      What if Miko caused this mess for incredibly selfish and personal reasons that she is in complete denial about? We shall see…

      I am so glad you like Titania, I have a blast writing her. As much as Miko and Akira have an epic love story, I really wanted to have two characters that epitomized sibling love. Like they might argue and give each other a hard time but they are really ride or die for each other.

      LOL GOLEM VLAD. Man, so glad that the StrangerVille pack gave me the ability to do those poses. Obviously, I am obsessed with Gwendolyn and Vlad and I just want them to go on adventures together haha!

      Alice is really coming into her own, right? Yeah, I mean, on the one hand, he was manipulated into being a vampire, losing everyone he loved, and having his body become a vessel for magical incarnation of Fear so…you know…makes sense he freaked out. But on the other hand, he murdered his mother and sister in a haze of rage and confusion so…there’s that. I think early on Alice had to decide on radical acceptance of his past coupled with a demand that he do better for his future. If he wasn’t making any progress, I imagine that conversation would have gone differently.

      WHO WILL OFF JIMENA?!?!?!?!?!?!?! So exciting. [Like, ain’t this a reality show? They eliminitate people, Jim…] – YEP. I mean, I think she got in a way over her head tangoing with Miss Hell, and her mom is def gonna be mad.

      Lol I often feel like that commenting on your stories. There is so much to squee about I can’t even fit it all in. I’m always sure I’m missing something vital while I’m yelling about Morgyn.

      • theplumbob
        November 19, 2020

        Haha, yes, I suppose we are! Miko better get her ish together because I’m not so impressed with how this timeline is going this year 😆

        Anyhow, I knew my brain was only half-engaged last time, because I completely forgot to comment on the fact that Akira, Titania and Oberon are also foing to the library of magic!!! Squeal! But now… while I would love to have a climactic moment of having this lot and William and Morgyn reach the Book of Longing at the same time… I don’t think that’s going to happen. These guys are in different time loops, or at the very least, at different points in time… I think 😆 But which is it? If they’re in the same timeline, but at a different point in time, that means that one of the groups will get to the library and the book will be gone, because the others took it. If they’re in different time loops, they moght both reach the book, but both timelines can’t succeed, if they both exist, so… oof. I feel like this library trip will be very telling about what’s to come. But yes, I’m loving the sibling relationship! Haha.

        Yes, both Alice and Vlad have really grown! Let’s hope a certain fate will not undo all that progress *glares at Miko* Though I guess Miko currently has plenty going on, lol.

        Haha. I’m sure Morgyn would highly approve of you getting too distracted by the. to focus on anything else. Centre of attention, as it should be, for better or for worse 😆

      • feroshgirl
        November 21, 2020

        LOL he would. I’m about to do my catch up reading and I fear I won’t be able to contain myself.

        Time is a construct!!! LOLOLOLOL yes they are!!! What will happen when they’re there! Who will get the book first? Good question…::evil laughter::

  • Yimiki
    March 9, 2021

    Oh, bloody hell. I thought that there was something between Titania and Miko in the previous chapters but wasn’t sure what it was – so that’s what is brewing between them. Oh that is horrible. I wonder if Miko started in the timeline where Akira cheated on her, or wound back and ended up in that one. Oh that’s just heartbreaking.
    Do we know what kind of consequences there are for changing timelines and going back in time and re-doing paths? I can’t imagine that it does not come with a cost. What are the chances that Miko’s meddling is what keeps making everything worse and is the thing that truly led to this impending god-war?

    Bwahaha, Vlad the golem 😂😂 that picture of him squawking with his face to the side totally got me again. My sides are going to be destroyed by the time I’m caught up all the way. Oh, lordy.

    • feroshgirl
      March 9, 2021

      Ouch. Yeah. Umm the thing between Akira and Miko is messed up. Like oof, painfully messed up. I want to tell you it gets better the more you learn but uh ::nervous laughter::

      There are definitely consequences to all this meddling. What are the chances that its the thing that truly leads to the impending god-war? Whew. I’m looking at the weather report you just drew up and uh, looks pretty accurate to me, boss.

      I needed to balance out the heartbreaking revelations about Akira and Miko with some Vladislaus Straud phyiscal comedy lolololol

      Once again, you prove to be a VERY dangerous reader 🙂 <3

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