CW: Strong language, adult situations, violence, sex, gore, and a character experiencing PTSD.
I know this chapter is super late; I apologize. Work and house projects got really hectic for a minute, and this chapter just kicked my ass. As penance, please enjoy this absolute banger of BBD Alternate Alternate Universe scene by Dollyllama108. If you hated BBD Bernard and wanted to see him get his just desserts, this scene is for you. It involves a flute and “We Like to Party,” by the Vengaboys and…you know what, just read it. I’m still laughing. I have decided that it is canon.
Anyhoo, it’s date night in The Strauds, so things are about to go down…or up…depending on your perspective.
I will not apologize for that joke.
Vlad’s House, Henford-on-Bagley
“I am not nervous!” Vlad snapped at Latimer. “And I don’t need your help.”
“Okay, bucko, you’re wearing a sweater, and it’s 75 degrees outside.”
Vlad glanced down at his outfit. “Fuck.”
“Should we have ‘the talk’ too?” his friend teased as he slipped on a thin button-down, “When two sims like each other very much—”
“I don’t need this from you. I already have a thousand things to keep track of,” Vlad muttered. Dating a mortal was an exercise in theater—avoiding mirrors, discreetly shoving food off his plate while pretending to eat. Despite his earlier bravado, Vlad was unsure if this was even a sane idea.
“I was nervous about Betty too.”
“It’s not the same, I—”
“I was worried,” Latimer continued as if Vlad hadn’t spoken, “Because I knew I’d have to eventually sit down and say: this man is my family. He won’t age; he drinks plasma, and keeping him close in our lives will mean lying and looking the other way. And if you’re not down, then move along.”
“You said that to her?”
“Hell no,” Latimer made an affronted sound. “She cornered me on date number two and asked if you was some kind of government agent, and I confessed the whole thing.”
Now Vlad recalled. Betty had brought some ghastly confection to dinner. Plasma souffle, she called it, and Vlad was forced to consume the thing with a smile out of affection for Latimer.
“You know, this date is a good idea. It’s time for you to get yourself out there again. And you don’t have to be scared; you were married to Anastasia for llama’s sakes! If you can love your enemy, then—”
“Loved. Past tense. As in I loved her when the knife she wielded came at me from the front. Little did I know, I was courting a demon that I should have killed when I had the chance.”
Latimer gave him exasperated look. “Your seething hate of your ex-wife is one of your least attractive qualities. Now come on, I left the brush downstairs.”
Vlad followed without complaint. They’d had this grooming ritual ever since Latimer caught him shaving via his reflection in a windowpane. He tried to explain that mirrors were the only reflective surface that gave vampires trouble (thanks to an ancient witch), but the sim wouldn’t hear of it.
“You like fussing over me,” Vlad teased as he took a seat, “It gives you power.”
“It gives me heartburn.” Latimer opened a container of pomade, and Vlad tilted his head back. “Vampires act all high and mighty, but you wake up from a seventy-year tantrum nap, and none of you know your ass from a hole in the wall.”
“Tantrum nap” was not the exact wording Vlad would use. Yes, he’d gone into vampiric slumber from 1882 until 1950, but what was he supposed to do? Anastasia had taken what he held dear and made a mockery of it, Caleb was playing cops and robbers with the Sages, and Lilith was being…herself. All he did was repay Anastasia in kind, yet he was made to suffer through William’s smug and sanctified rescue act.
“I’m here to help,” the vampire told him.
“You’re here because you think I’m a beast who needs to be put down.”
He would never forget the way his brother hesitated. Vlad vowed they would never speak again, but when he woke up in the 1950s he was starving and confused—a predator startled by everything from motor vehicles to flashing billboards. As was the case since the high middle ages, William saved him, and Vlad, begrudgingly, allowed it.
“Seventy years of vampiric slumber has made me considerably less cranky,” Vlad joked, trying to hide his melancholy.
“Yeah, like a bear is less cranky after hibernation,” Latimer snorted. He set the brush down and patted Vlad’s shoulder, “Alright, I’m finished. I hope you intend to take the jeep and not just mist into existence like some sort of hipster cleaning spray.”
Alice’s Cottage, Windenburg
“Is this what I look like?” Alice demanded when Penny picked up the phone.
Her friend was silent. Too silent.
Penny hesitated. “What do you mean by ‘look like?'”
“A leftover flower child! A raving hippie lunatic! A woman who doesn’t have a cute, sexy dress to wear on a date!”
Again the silence.
“Please, for the love of llamas, tell me that this is not my vibe. Tell me I have vibes. That I—” Alice dabbed at a spot on her dress where Gwendolyn flung peas. “Even my kid is against me. I can’t leave the house like this!”
“At least you can leave your house without being fucking terrified,” Penny muttered.
“Nothing.” She blew out a frustrated breath, “I haven’t had my coffee yet. Remember the black dress I loaned you for the romance festival that you never returned because that’s your MO?”
Grumpy Penny was the worst Penny. “You know I didn’t mean to keep it,” Alice grumbled. “And as soon as I find a post office, I’ll return it.”
Loud banging punctuated her friend’s response. “Don’t bother. Wear it and steal me another one next time you’re in town. I gotta go.” She hung up the phone.
“Works for me!” Alice cackled, already slipping the dress on. “What do you think?” she asked Gwendolyn.
“First of all, rude. Black is your favorite color. And second…oh!” Alice squealed and scooped her up, “I mean, yes, good job! Poop!”
She plopped Gwendolyn down on the training potty, ripped off the dress, and cheered her kid on in her lacy underwear like a motherfucking super parent. Sure, the contents of the tiny plastic toilet sloshed everywhere when Gwendolyn got up, but that was fine! Not only did Alice spray a layer of carpet cleaning foam, she did it in heels while Gwendolyn sang “Row Your Boat” as “Whoa Your Butt” at the top of her lungs.
Alas, all hot streaks must come to an end.
“Poop!” Gwendolyn shouted, and Alice swore the look on her face was downright gleeful.
She tried to encourage some independence, get the tiny terror she birthed to go on her own, but to no avail.
“No make me do it!” Gwendolyn screeched, “Need help! You help!”
“Okay, okay!” Alice picked her up, ready to make a beeline for the bedroom. Why was potty training so hard?
“No I walk!” Gwendolyn screamed, “Me walk! No help! Stop helping!” She began to struggle.
“What are you doing?” Alice cried, trying to avoid the toddler’s flailing limbs. “You just asked for help, you’re being—“ Alice froze, horror washing over her.
“Oops,” Gwendolyn said.
Alice looked down at her outfit. “Fuck.”