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.”
That pic of Vlad covered head to toe in blood was a cool shot. I definitely take Vlad as the kind of person who’d refuse help, even in the state he was in. He’d never outright admit to being saved I don’t think. And as always, one to hide his true feelings and his trauma under jokes. I love Gwen demanding Alice’s help for the potty. Alice is already in for a wild ride of parenthood XD Ohhh no, did she? Right down that lil black dress? Amazing. : P
Ohhh fuck that. Penny is right to roll her eyes at that apology. ‘I’m sorry for attacking you! I hadn’t had my coffee hahahhaahha please don’t get me cancelled I’m supposed to be on the cover of Vanity Fair next month!’ XD Penny can see through that BS so hard though and I love her for it.
Naww Alice’s lil nervous pose ;-;
I like that portrayal of Penny’s werewolf flashbacks. It’s more effective seeing it strike her completely out of nowhere, even mid conversation, you can really see how it’s biting at her when she least expects it to. Seems Alice is an expert in light small talk, but there’s a difference between getting customers to come back and getting your date to see you for another night. But it’s much easier than Vlad is not much of a social bunny either : P
I love how it just cuts from Vlad draining people of their blood to flirting with Alice. Great stuff Vlad : P Well seems whatever he’s been doing definitely worked though!
The way the machinima zoomed out…It makes it seem like someone is watching … or am I just being paranoid? : P
Should I confess how much I enjoy setting up any screenshot where Vlad is covered in blood? I think it’s just part of his aesthetic now lol. Yeah, Vlad has some issues with asking for help. It’s like, he is willing to be vulnerable, but only to a point. There are reasons for this, of course (hello, trauma!), but that doesn’t make it any less of a problem.
Gwendolyn is such a bulldozer. She’s like: help me go to the potty but also don’t touch me. Whew, yeah, that dress was attacked in a way that no little black dress deserves lololol
Penny has to be tough, or else she would wilt under Anastasia and that just won’t do! I was hoping the werewolf flashbacks would feel like random attacks, stealing her attention. I’m so glad that came through! I rewrote that scene so many times.
Oh man, Vlad and Alice dancing around each other is just a blast right now. These two hot dummies trying to act like they are totally normal.
Why would you be paranoid in this story? It’s not like I’m known for secrets or strange twists or putting the main villain in a random background shot ::cue maniacal laughter::
Vlad: Ohhh, yes, there it is. Now I’ll ignore as many rippling abs and raven locks as I have to to get to the good part of vampires: logistics, logistics, logistics, and logistics. Way more baggage than anyone should ever have? Further explanations about mirrors and how basic things like shaving should work? Lifespan-size tantrum naps?! Vampiric hearing as sensory processing disorder?! Genius.
Also he looks high af in that sweater.
Cute—it’s Latimer’s turn to take care of him. And he’s right! No ‘my ex is crazy ‘ talk on a date; all she’ll hear is “my ex is crazy, she kept yelling about blah blah blah ‘you’re cheating on me with my mom,’ woman mouth moving this and that, she wasn’t grateful when I put a sock in the dryer, I’m too cheap to pay a therapist! Uggghhh!” At least he slept through Cold Chip. And he has so many good lines here I’m not going to sit here and copy-paste the whole chapter but just sit here going “Whoa! Good!”
Alice: Well, cute photo in the background, but first of all, she needs to accept “Whoa Your Butt” as the outfit commentary that it isn’t. God. I could watch these two pretend they aren’t crazy all day. Love that you got the banter to feel most natural when they were talking about train robberies; love that you solved the issue of where to go on a first date if there are no med/grad students around to supervise cadaver lab.
(I’m sorry, he cheated on her with Eliza Pancakes?
That Eliza Pancakes?
What is wrong with that boy?)
Penny: I will have her with the side salad: no dried fruit, dressing, or cheese, thank you very much. Perfectly timed City-Living-neighbor hearts indeed. She doesn’t know that pulling a knife out is foreplay for Anastasia, so excellent assertion of boundaries. I’m embarrassed by the number of times I read “Penny hesitated,” before my brain accepted that it did not actually mean “girl, naw.” (She did look good.)
Man, now the trigger warning has me wondering if I’m too jaded and dead inside to tag my work correctly. My triggers tend to be things like battery-powered toy cars or male Francophones, and if I see PTSD etc. as a trigger warning my brain parses it as “warning: lol #relatable.” Which is why CT gets a generic “Warning: No” tag. Are these more for informing people without PTSD that it’s going to be a lot? Like how men are surprised by the scenes in Promising Young Woman but female sexual assault victims are nodding along going “duh, pretty much”?
Anastasia: Oh, goodness, she has too many personal things piling up for a relationship right now. Everyone cool your beans. Instead, Penny should date someone else. A real person. An emotionally stable person who can maintain a long-term relationship. Maybe one who writes SimLit. I don’t know! Just spitballing here.
(Yes, Penny has issues too but i can fix herrrrr)
*MORGYN’S RING APPRECIATION PARAGRAPH*
CONCLUSION: More scenes of people doing other people’s hair, please. Every time Vlad does Gwendolyn’s hair I die and that is a promise. Also I had not heard that song outside of Pitch Perfect.
Finally getting my life together to reply lol. I’m so busy cackling at this comment I fear I can’t make a coherent reply. First of all, thank you for your logistics appreciation! I was worried the Vlad eardrum thing was too subtle but <3 <3 <3
Damn it. He does look high in that sweater.
Thank goodness for Latimer and his infinite sanity. I don't care what Anastasia did, that is precisely how Vlad would sound. Much like Vlad/Gwendolyn in BBD, Vlad/Latimer is becoming one of my favorite duos to write.
Speaking of fave duos to write: I could write those two hot dummies pretending not to be crazy forever. I promise I won't because it would get annoying but whew, we need a few more chapters of them awkwardly doing their best approximation of normal.
Yes, Salim cheated with the recently murdered Eliza Pancakes. Was he crazy? Yes. Look at Alice. LOOK AT HER.
"Whoa Your Butt" is the official theme song of BBD AU.
I love the sheer number of people who are concerned about shipping Anastasia and Penny. I love even more that you have a perfectly reasonable replacement. Of course, you can fix her!!!! LOLOL. This is also me realizing I've made Penny way too attractive. Like I made her up and its done nothing to dampen my attraction lol.
I'm glad you appreciated the jewelry and the hair-doing. Of course, shoes will make a big return next chapter 😉
In RE: the trigger warning, I'm sure there is stuff that I don't tag bc it doesn't phase me. Not just bc #relateable but also because I've been writing these characters and this crazy murder adventure stuff for so long, I forget that it might not be what people are expecting. I think with the original BBD I was very much like you with CT, "Warning: No." I would sometimes tag stuff that seemed extreme and warn ppl about sex in case romance made them want to puke, but I didn't worry so much. I don't know what shifted this time around. I'm an avid romance reader and authors have gotten a lot more consistent about tagging their work, so I think that just carried over for me.
P.S. - I love that you think Vlad slept through Cold Chip and that a Cold-Chip-related flashback/twist is not coming in this AU BBD adventure.
I mean but.
Oh. Uh-oh. While I look forward to more logistics and shoes for Vlad, I assumed the nap from 1882 to 1950 kept him out of Cold Chip’s heyday, but ‘Nard was canonically born in 1864 and died in 1898 (and of course I know that off the top of my head like a sane person), so it’s possible he ran into teeny tiny child/teenager Bernard, I guess? Anyway then it does sound like Worst Bernard was involved with the start of the tantrum nap.
‘Tantrum nap’ is my favorite turn of phrase from this chapter btw. “Do NOT make me angry… don’t you DARE make me angry… because if YOU make me angry… if YOU MAKE ME ANGRY… IF. YOU. MAKE. ME. ANGRY… I’m gonna take a nap.” Understated.
Ahh, I see about the tagging culture! I’m ignorant when it comes to romance writing norms, especially online, and that would explain it.
LOLOLOLOL Listen, Salim is no prize either. Honestly, what was Alice even thinking?
Oh gosh, I cannot wait for you to see what I’ve done with Cold Chip. I think you will lose your mind. The first reference is coming up soon and I want you to remember Vlad’s vibe in this particular incarnation of BBD.
If vampiric slumber is referred to as a tantrum nap from here on out, I have done my job HAHAHA
Yeah, I mean, maybe I’ll tag less as time goes on but for now it feels natural.
silently chants ::shoes, shoes, shoes, shoes::
Could not wait until tomorrow. WOOOOOO
*cough * right. Comprehensive comment. No gibberish. Will try.
Vlad and Alice both being nervous for their first date together is too darn cute. I wonder what Anastasia took that was so dear to him. Is the “repaying her in kind” that he’s talking about that tantrum nap, or did he do something else? I have no idea. Gah, too many secrets. Too few puzzle pieces that fit yet. I will file it away and move on 😄
Hipster cleaning spray 😂🤣 you have a gift with words, you really do.
I thought Alice’s leftover flower child dress looked really nice on her too, but yes, that black dress definitely tops it. Bwahaha omg Gwendolyn as an angry non-potty-trained toddler is hilarious. “Whoa Your Butt” made me snort out loud 😆
Anastasia is more into Penny every time those two meet. I’d ship it, but I’m not sure if I should be fearing for Penny’s life instead so right now my status regarding their “status” will be suspiciously narrowed eyes. No, Ana, saying you’re there to apologize is not an actual apology, and apologizing without actually feeling sorry about your actions is nothing but hollow words.
Seeing Vlad and reading [he clicked the lock on his car and checked his phone] threw me for a loop so bad for a second. Looks like The Strauds Vlad has a leg up on technology-hating Baking By Death Vlad! Bwahaha, the hearts 😆 I love how Vlad has way more of them than Alice does.
Straight for the personal details, Ana goes. My brain is getting angry over her so obviously fishing for something to manipulate Penny with. … … oh dear. That went south very fast. And she’s aggressive when she doesn’t get what she wants, too. From mildly interesting to highly dangerous. Poor Penny has enough to deal with without a crazy vampiric murderer trying to make her into her personal reputation polisher.
Alice hiding Gwendolyn’s existence because she wants to get laid is… look, I get it. I think. Everyone has needs. But if she intends for him to stick around past a one-time thing, then he should know. You don’t hide the fact that you have a toddler. Heck, most of the time you should lead with that.
Bwahahah omg they’re bonding over robbery techniques and bribery because of course they are 😂🤣 Ah, so that is why she’s hiding Gwendolyn’s existence. She doesn’t believe Vlad will stick around anyway, because she doesn’t believe that anyone would stick around for her. That’s very sad.
Know she wouldn’t hurt her?! She pinned you to the floor a couple of hours ago Penny! And not in a fun way 😆 Hoo boy. Oh lordy. This will be interesting.
Writing an angry non-potty trained Gwendolyn has been the joy of my life. I cannot wait until she and Vlad have some page time together because whew boy 🙂
Obviously, I can’t answer any of your speculation but gahhhh I want to so bad. All will be revealed soon…
Similar to BBD, Vlad is wildly in love with Alice from moment one. It has been fun to write a version of Vlad that is much more engaged in the world. He drives, he uses a cell phone, he texts. Part of me just felt like, if he was going to survive this world for over a thousand years there was no way he wasn’t going to learn how it worked. Otherwise, he’d be bored out of his mind. I wanted to challenge myself to write his lack of humanity in different (ugh harder) ways.
LOLOLOL listen if you don’t want to ship Penny/Anastasia there is another Penny ship that Dolly is rooting for. I mean, I can’t say anything other than yes, Anastasia is dangerous and yes, Penny’s good relationship radar is a little broken.
<3 that you picked up on Alice's toxic belief about herself. And you're right, she should prolly lead with the toddler thing. But you know what? I'm sure it's fine and it won't be a problem *at all*
You know what THE MOST terrifying aspect of your stories have been (to me)? Potty training. I am having my own PTSD. That straining look. Ooof.
Him wanting to throw in the towel, before the date even begins, b/c he’s overwhelmed. Hahah, relatable.
Dating is such a charade.
Did Vlad go all f’ing vampire rage at a Pizza Palace lol. Is that his way of uh… “taking care of business” so that he can last longer, intimately, with Alice??? My mind is a filth-trap.
I’m glad that Alice was able to let down some of her guard (crazy?). Although that whole laundry stunt. Goodness, Alice, you really have some strong emotional barriers. I will say that it was a nice way of showing Alice’s “criminal” side.
Uhhhh they got their woohoo on at a laundromat? LMAO …. yeah, I can’t even say anything or I’d be a hypocrite, so …
Nice music choice for that sex vid lol Honestly, the lovely-dovey way they acted in previous blogs, I for sure thought the song was gonna be more along the line of Marvin Gaye’s, “Let’s Get it On,” or Boyz II Men’s, “I’ll Make Love to You,” lol but they were down to tear the F outta each other. I guess all that adrenaline from their previous uh… forbidden… activities actually riled them up more.
Awesome backstory info: Anastasia and her “falling out” with Morgyn & William, but also FUUUUUCK she was a vampire hunter… THE vampire hunter. I fucking LOVE Anastasia. I might have to switch teams. Sorry, Vlad.
” Now unlace my dress so we can be rid of this temptation before I gut you.” Ana, your bluntness lol. Penetrate me, milord, so I can penetrate you in return. Well, we know HOW that ended. Ana got banged then fanged, or maybe fanged while banged. I may need more backstory 😉
Oye, Ana and Penny. UGH!!! I AM SO ANNOYED AT THE WEREWOLVES. Now that Penny has PTSD, I can’t get snarky Anastasia and Penny to tear into each other with sexual undertones, overtones, sidewaystones. /sadface
Hahahaha although it was pretty nice how Anastasia took being flung across the room like a little vampire ragdoll.
I can’t wait to see those two finally hook up.