Chapter 8: Creature Comforts

RAGE.

Before we start, you should just know that I’m full of it. It began as sadness, shock, and horror and then morphed into something sharper. Keener. More fury-like.

I am trying, best as I can, to channel that rage into something useful. I’ve decided the first step of that is a donation plan. I’ve always supported women’s health organizations, but now I aim to choose a few key places to make monthly donations so that my support is regular and ongoing.

Over the next few weeks, as I research places and form my plan, I’ll share links in case you’d like to donate too. I’ll likely share other things as I think about them, but for now that is where we will start.

If you read this blog and you’re not full of rage (how did you get here?), just know that I support abortion access and bodily autonomy unequivocally. No debate. Cannot be swayed. Cannot be tested.

And now I return you to your regularly scheduled Simlit reading.

CW: Strong language, adult situations, violence, gore, and Penny Pizzazz in a bustier.

San Myshuno, Fashion District

ANASTASIA

“What the fuck are you doing here?” Penny growled as soon as she opened the door.

“Taking you to dinner.”

“It’s noon.”

“Lunch, then,” Anastasia rolled her eyes. “You’re grouchy, and you need to eat. Put on something glamorous and come enjoy an expensive steak.”

“The magazine won’t spring for steak,” Penny argued, a sharp breath slipping out when Anastasia pressed her back against the door.

“Then it’s a good thing that this is a date, and they don’t have to pay for it.” She inhaled deeply. If Penny smelled this good, what would she taste like? 

“W-what about Jimena?” 

“Who?” Anastasia focused on the small dip in Penny’s bottom lip. She wanted to run her tongue over it, tug at it with her teeth. She’d had plenty of lovers over the centuries—queens, actresses, and at least one Sage. But there was something about Penny that—

“Jimena. Your fucking girlfriend!”

Oh. Anastasia peeked up warily from her spot on the floor. Honestly, she’d forgotten the yoga instructor even existed.

“How did I…what did I…do?” Penny stared down at her hands in horror.

Truthfully? Snap three of Anastasia’s ribs, which given her earlier activities, was downright irritating. Mending bones was such an occult-forsaken ordeal. “I realize you’re pissed, but an almost-werew—”

Penny let out a panicked breath.

—Wolf. The rest of the word sat lodged in Anastasia’s throat. Hauling herself up and ignoring the blatant agony as the bones began to knit back together, she turned and winked. “Clumsy, clumsy me. Have it your way, then. Lunch as friends. Now, will I be forced to wait in your hallway again? You can’t let me in, you know; I don’t bite.”

Elmyra’s Boxing Gym

CALEB

“What in the heck is going on?”

Bella’s demand knocked Caleb out of his stupor. He spotted the acolytes powering up from out of the corner of his eye. “No!”

“Step aside, young Vatore,” they intoned simultaneously, “The rules are as written. No mortal who has witnessed—”

“No!” he shouted again. He couldn’t let them wipe Bella’s mind. Her life would be undone. Like a walking nightmare where she had no idea how she’d gotten here or who anyone was. “She already knows about us,” he pleaded.

The sisters continued casting as if he hadn’t spoken. “Step aside, Caleb. The rules are—” 

“She’s family,” Caleb insisted, seizing on a loophole. He positioned himself so that he was standing in front of her. “Bella is the mortal family member of a supernatural unit, and we are working on this investigation together.” 

“Caleb,” Akira’s voice was a warning.

One that Caleb didn’t heed. “Stand down, sisters.”

They pulled back their power, but Caleb didn’t relax his posture for even a second. He was under no illusions about how quickly they could swipe him aside. He might land on his feet, whip around, and tear out their throats while they were distracted, but that would be winning the battle and losing the war.

Eyes glowing, Bobbie fixed him with a look. “Careful young Vatore; your family is growing ever larger by the minute.” 

And with that, the sisters were gone.

    9 comments
  • Snow ~
    June 26, 2022

    Whoops. The woofening has begun. Next up, leaving ‘gifts’ in Anastasia’s laundry. And next up, Caleb having fun with Dark Form again. This can’t be good. (Except I’m here like YES GO FERAL to the pair of them.) Ah, I can see Penny’s mum’s words seep in over dinner. I mean you’ve got every reason to worry about becoming a werewolf, Penny. Although I criticised Anastasia to begin with for having little emotional control at the time, she has an interesting point. I imagine with her being famous, her (lack of) emotional control has often got her what she wants (except until later in the story anyway where it ruined her image), whereas Penny’s constant controlling it to the point where it’s driving her around the bend hasn’t. Maybe they can learn something from each other. If Anastasia learns to try and rein it in now and again, Penny knows that to feel things isn’t necessarily bad.

    I was thinking this before she said it- Alice, you can’t judge Penny for needing to break into a room, what were you doing again before the story started? : P YESSSS GO FERAL GO FERAL GO FERAL! The way you dressed Lilith really suits her! I think after all Bella’s seen, I’m surprised she didn’t pass out earlier! I love the idea of Anastasia asking her own daughter about Penny and how to sort things out with Penny : P

    At least Caleb has had enough experiences with pretty much any kind of emotional distress over the years, so whatever Bella tells him she doesn’t have to feel ashamed for, or Caleb will get it anyway. ‘He wondered if Bella knew about her partner. Probably best to leave that alone for now’ Huh? Did I miss something or is this foreshadowing? : O Oof, that’s a grim image to leave the chapter on X_X And I see we have lots of first dates coming up! Let’s hope at least one of them goes to plan XD

    • feroshgirl
      June 30, 2022

      Well, now the “woofening” is canon. Sorry, I don’t make the rules, lol.

      I have to confess, YES, GO FERAL + OH NO, THIS CAN’T BE GOOD is like this story’s thesis statement. And yes! Penny is so tightly controlled, which makes becoming a werewolf sort of devastating experience for her. Having Ana (who has literally never met the phrase “self-control,” does not know her) might be good.

      TBH I just want more people to love Anastasia as much as I do.

      Lilith is my precious goth murder baby and no, I will not be taking questions at this time. I like the bond she has with Anastasia. Like she is exasperated by her because like, who isn’t exasperated by their mom. But she also has a deep love and affection for her.

      Yeah, I think you’re right about Bella but she’s definitely been in denial.

      Oh, don’t worry about Bella’s partner. It’s totally fine. Everything is fine.

      And the dates go as perfectly as you can expect in this story ::wink, wink::

  • Ninja Pink Sex
    June 27, 2022

    So I’m gonna start this reply by saying how much I love how you set up your photos. I love the way you capture the cities in panorama, and how it sets to separate each story.

    I’m just gonna jump right into how excited I am to see Penny again. NEVER keep her from a story/chapter again, or I will toss you like Penny did Ana. Their foreplay is adorbs. You know how much I love a good toss. ” If Penny smelled this good, what would she taste like? ” The thought on all our minds.

    Okay, weird observation, and most likely incorrect, but did Penny get a bit buffer? Or maybe I just never paid attention to how ripped she is.

    Damn, Caleb totally saved Bella’s ass. I’m surprised the Acolytes accommodated but grateful. That whole scene was nail-biting. I’m wondering what this “She’s family,” Caleb insisted, seizing on a loophole” comment meant, if it was something Caleb pulled out of his ass (doubtful) or if there is some Goth-Straud or Goth-Vampire connection. I mean Patriarchal Asshole Goth was interested in the tome and Vlad went chaos-monster at the theater where Goth-son was. THESE BREADCRUMBS THOUGH. I don’t think I can handle all this teasing, it is much.

    The sooner she informed Miss Pizzazz of her new supernatural status, the sooner they could stop with this charade, strip down, and have fun. “Let’s talk about your steak obsession and its relationship to your werewolf problem.” FINALLY! oh hey let’s interrupt this pre-sexgame-talk with serious topics DAMNIT!!!!! Ugh, one day their worlds will collide. Just not this chapter.

    Oh man the actions… the words…. all SO CLOSE and yet, completely fall away. The amount of teasing this chapter does has me BLUE.

    “She said yes because…what else did you say?” HAHA, Right? If she said no he’d have to have her brain fried, and it doesn’t sound as nice as MIB style. Like honestly I feel so bad for Bella b/c her level of PTSD looks like it might be more severe than Penny’s, which is saying something since Bella has been a police officer/detective, and has most likely seen enough shit to make her immune/thick-skinned. And I don’t know if this is a reflection on what Bella can handle, or how Penny’s life has made her that-level resilient.

    Penny playing maid to break into Ana’s condo. Dude. ANA IS GOING TO BE PISSED SHE MISSED OUT ON THAT ROLEPLAY.

    LMAO Alice still thinking about Vlad’s threat to Salim. I MEAN WHO ISN’T? It was sexxxy af.

    “Alice was shocked that he cheated on her with Eliza, but the truth was, Salim had been boning other women since freshman year.” We’re all still SHOOK from Salim, Pancake-Fucker, Extraordinaire, but yo but if the chick is willing, no point being picky.

    “I’m fine,” she repeated. And then there were no thoughts left in her head at all. ABSOLUTELY TERRIFYING. Did she werewolf-blackout?! Because THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT I THINK HAPPENED. THE FERALNESS is just RAW. I am down for this ride. who needs seatbelts?! There are NO seatbelts, just the wind and crazy and I got a ticket to ride.

    Considering how Lilith has been portrayed as “off the handle” in previous chapters, she’s rather quite down to earth and mature, and I am wondering WHY? Like did she actually get to this level of maturity or is it a façade? Or does she just appear mature b/c compared to Ana who is batshit crazy ANYONE could seem sane/mature. But, I will also throw in how mature Ana is (despite her lack of boundaries) in conversation with Lilith.

    Does eating hearts gain insight?

    I am so in love with the portraits. The essence of sexy-hot vampires does not escape Caleb and Vlad. I just wanna dive right into those paintings and be feasted on by vampires.

    Her mother looked bereft. “That’s so many things.” LMAO. Ana gets the award for best lines. No doubt.

    He wondered if Bella knew about her partner. Probably best to leave that alone for now. …. Does this have something to do with why Deacon won’t curse among the dead? OH I BET IT DOES.

    GREAT STORY, Ferosh!!! Looking forward to some FIRST dates and whatever other “first” milestones may come afterwards 😉

    • feroshgirl
      June 30, 2022

      I respond well to threats when they involve Penny. I can promise that you’ll get plenty of Penny/Ana for the next three chapters. Then I’ll be swinging back to some other storylines because, you know, ensemble 🙂

      DING! DING! DING! You get a prize for noticing Penny’s buff-up! I was trying to subtly signal her shift to werewolf and find ways of doing it before the pack existed (damn it! Now it’d be dope to give her bite mark or a claw mark).

      Yes, the acolytes were very accommodating. Maybe too accommodating? What do they know that Caleb doesn’t? LOL. I’m glad that scene read as tense and I cannot comment on the rest of your statement because you are very wily and I’m gonna end up giving up the ghost! GAHHH I love that you have not forgotten about Old man Goth or the prologue…

      I won’t apologize for making you blue. WE’RE ALL BLUE. WHEN WILL I GIVE US RELIEF? ::cue evil laughter::

      Glad you brought up the PTSD-ness of it all. I think Bella and Penny are both dealing with it in different ways. At some points, it seems like Bella is unfazed. But underneath that, she was just numb. Now it seems like Penny is handling it, but is she really? She breaks into Anastasia’s apartment, after all. But you’re right about experiences building resilience and Penny’s is definitely shaping her responses.

      Speaking of which, we are again confronted with Alice’s seemingly bizarre decision to date Salim for TEN YEARS. lol. I can’t wait to have more of him in this story. Will Vlad make good on his threat? Or will it be Penny?

      This scene was so much fun to write. Yes, you’ll see this play out but she definitely has a werewolf blackout, for lack of a better term. I’d consider this to be more a rage blackout at this point, since she’s not completely through her transition. But yeah, Penny is scary.

      In RE: Lilith, you are asking some GOOD questions. It has been over a century since we last “met” Lilith so a lot could have changed in that time. But people contain multitudes so I guess I’d just say…uh…stay tuned.

      Eating hearts is also good for the skin LOL.

      Yay for Ana love! I really loved writing her this chapter. She just is like: why do I have to be vulnerable and create trust and…what were the other things on the list?

      Hehe, oh don’t worry about Deacon. NOTHING to see there…. ::innocent whistling::

      Thank you 🙂

      • Ninja Pink Sex
        July 16, 2022

        Jusssssst know that if I have any Penny/Ana withdrawals I’m coming for you, Ferosh. I ain’t gentle 😀

        I feel a little awkward noticing such a thing about Penny (or anyone really). Getting jacked looks nice on her. I’mma leave that there and step away before Ana comes for me. A claw mark looks like a very sexeh tat on simmehs so uh all I’m gonna say is that I vote YES for that option.

        Oh now to place a watchful eye on Deacon. Not that I haven’t since the chauffer scene but you know…. :p

  • Yimiki
    July 4, 2022

    Hard agree on the rage. Oh my actual gods. What is happening with the world.
    Right- back to simlit distractions.

    Anastasia is making me laugh but there are some very clear downsides at the one knowing what’s going on with Penny being an immortal vampire who thinks getting stabbed and thrown across rooms is good foreplay. Poor Penny must be starting to think she’s going insane. Especially with Ana’s reactions being less “what the actual heck just happened” and more “mm, I like this”. There’s nothing quite like your surroundings not reacting to crazy things happening in the way you thought they would to make you lose your marbles.

    Speaking of losing the marbles. Good on Caleb for getting rid of the magic marbles and then realising Bella was in shock and helping her regain her mental marbles. She’s family? What is the story behind that revelation, I wonder?

    Penny in a maid outfit is… surprisingly not good-looking. I do wonder why on earth Alice dated Salim for that long, and also how much background information it would take for Vlad to actually dismember him. Not much more, is my guess. Salim did sound very much like he wanted to “have it live and in colour”. I agree with Penny that it would cost Alice everything. All of her pride and dignity, most likely. I hope she doesn’t end up going through with it – don’t sleep with the guy so he pays you, sue his hairy bum so he pays you. Child support does in fact have an expiration date but it is not when Gwendolyn is a toddler and-

    Oooh dear. Hoo boy. That’s not good. Werewolf Penny is happening sooner rather than later. Good thing we have actual werewolves now and oh dear gods everyone in that apartment’s vicinity is going to end up dead, aren’t they?

    Angsty teen goth Lilith is the best thing ever. Also, her talk with her mum about feelings and intimacy had me snorting out loud. Anastasia is hopeless. 🤣

    • feroshgirl
      July 10, 2022

      What downsides? Anastasia has only ever seen a relationship with her as a plus! Lol. Really though, you’re right. All I can say is that Penny is not a fool and Ana’s reaction definitely makes her suspicious.

      Ooohhh yes Caleb is good in a crisis right? All will be revealed soon, but what I can confirm is that Caleb was just pulling an excuse out of thin air. And as far as he knows, he is lying.

      Hahaha Penny in a maid outfit was supposed to be like the ultimate thirst trap, but yeah, it’s not quite as thirsty as I thought it would be lol. Oh man, who knows what kept Alice with Salim? Does Alice even know? I think we’ve all had bad relationships that we stayed in for way too long. I can’t say more than that for now hehe.

      Ummm, yeah, Vlad needs no additional information to go on a Salim-themed rampage. Gods help him when he does get more information.

      Oh no, werewolf Penny turning in a rage out of nowhere in Anastasia’s apartment is going to be totally fine. Nothing bad will happen! Do I look like an author that would make something bad happen?

      Lol Lilith is my comfort characters. Writing her in all her goth-y brilliance is just the best. I’m glad you love her too!

  • Dolly Llama
    July 26, 2022

    Quick confirmation here that I read this blog and am full of rage, RAAAAGGEEEEE. Despite being really late to comment. RAGE. Runnin’ on rage despite the lateness. And love! Love for women; wishing the best for them, ready to fight.

    Zero surprise, though. None of that.

    Anyway this comment is late because just like it did to Anastasia, Penny’s choice to wear the lace bustier did kill me. (Then the maid outfit brought me back to life. Weird couple of weeks.)

    ANASTASIA: “If Penny smelled this good, what would she taste like?” That’s it; that’s the vampire joke. All other vampire jokes can pack their bags. Go to bed, bitch.

    Fine. “I don’t bite” can come too. And the hidden running gag about her stealing hearts as well.

    She gets back some of the points she lost for stealing Penny from me by being a less annoying estranged parent than most others. “Hey, how do I fake intimacy to manipulate someone?” beats “Huh? What? I have no idea what you’re talking about. I’ve never manipulated anyone in my life. If you actually knew anything you would understand that I’m actually a caring and rational person and not the total monster you make me out to be [ed.: by flatly describing things I have done without commentary].” She even talked to her child about emotions, acknowledging that they were her emotions, not blaming the kid for them, and accepting in passing that she has faults! She came to Lilith’s room to genuinely listen to her! What??!?! Mother of the year.

    PENNY: Oh, well, of course she can throw me across the room any day and I’ll be there to reassure her from my hospital bed that’s no big deal. But the real focus here is her offhand “Pizzazzes don’t feel emotions” comment, which of course hints at a taxing family dynamic. Her family did seem to be overachievers, last we saw them, who contributed to her feelings of discontent with her professional life. Coming from an enmeshed family, the question is obvious. Is Penny going to have to cut them out in order to heal? Because everyone picks up and has to identify harmful patterns from their family to some extent, but there’s a fundamental difference between BBD!Alice, who was able to invite her family back into her life after a period of no contact, and Vlad, who had no choice but to cut off his awful parents entirely. Team, uh, “We Don’t Have Enough Information Yet and Need to Know Whether There Is Some Emotional Force Besides Status that Drives the Pizzazzes to Crave Interaction With Each Other.”

    It would also be understandable if Penny wanted to take some time to figure herself out regardless of the rest of her family’s desire to change. She doesn’t have to wait for them.

    ALICE: Shout out to the “women supporting women” conversation where Penny stops breaking into a whole-ass house to let Alice know how much of an asshole her ex is and how little she deserves this. It seems like werewolfery in this universe follows Turning Red rules where strong emotions trigger her powers and it’s so significant that just hearing her friend being mistreated by an ex makes her do this thing and we both know the importance of developing fierce self-confidence to solve conflict in a world that tells us to bend over and take it and TELL ME WHERE YOU’RE GOING WITH THIS METAPHOR I CAN’T WAAAAIT.

    JIMENA: Is a yoga instructor? Is she Valencia from CxG in this universe?

    TARYN: So the bite’s coming from inside the police force.

    DEACON: Has my favorite background detail in this chapter, which is when Bella’s freaked at the acolytes busting out the glowy balls and the glowy eyes, he’s not looking in the same direction, but rather studying Bella for her reaction. It’s being foreshadowed at every level that he’s got supernatural associations, huh? And with this series, I’m not assuming all the major players are on the table yet, not until the end.

    Okay—taking a wild shot at it.

    Clearly it’s not the same as in the Sauce spinoff that will never be publicly released or finished, where I have him as an undead creature who doesn’t know he’s undead or even remember dying, and doesn’t think to question why he can see the Reaper. Deacon clearly has enough background and memory to recognize what the magic people are doing. It seems like most supernaturals in this universe become supernatural through contact with others, while Deeks appears to be operating on his own, which is weird. Crappy family? There are probably clues hiding somewhere, but I’m side-eyeing that “it’s rude to the bodies” comment—hey Deeks, you know something about having died? I’m leaning towards atypical undead.

    He’s into yoga, too?! Oh, god damn. Yoga boys are crazy. Unless if this is a hint that he knows Jimena.

    CALEB: Ok, so you can see Caleb recognizing Bella as family would lead me to think they aren’t going to get involved b/c their DNA is too similar. Yeh? His monologue at the end makes me think of vampirism as carcinogenesis—the long-lived vampires accumulating memories and trauma, the long-lived cells accruing mutations that may or may not fulfill the requirements needed to become cancerous. So from here on out I’ll be reading the personality changes & lived experiences caused by vampirism as commentary on what the root cause of toxic behavior is, what makes behavior toxic, etc. Like that one Weinberg paper.

    UUUGGHGHGHH this is why this was my ‘gateway’ supernatural story. I used to not see the appeal of supernaturals b/c I thought of them as a crutch for the unimaginative (i.e., holy shit everyone, please move on from elves and vampires and magic and werewolves and turn on your brain to make something NEW. There’s also an element of salt there that people who do try to innovate in that respect have a naturally smaller audience ’cause they can’t rely on a concept with an existing fan base), but then the spin you put on them, using them to explore personal growth and trauma healing, is frankly addictive. But this is a long enough comment & more on that later maybe.

    • feroshgirl
      July 28, 2022

      You know, screaming into the void is always an option! Welcome to rage town! Good thing I brought down the temperature with that lovely dinner scene.

      Sorry, lunch.

      I sometimes get bustier, I mean confused.

      Anyway, I think you’ve accurately identified my best vampire jokes. It’s all downhill from here.

      You’re warming to Ana! Haha! I mean listen, it’s all part of my experiment. Where is the line between batshit and toxic? What makes a character irredeemable?

      Penny has a lot going on. A lot. Ugh I don’t know how much to say without spoilers, but yeah, you are hitting the nail on the head: sometimes your family is so toxic you have to cut them off. And sometimes, things between you get broken, but there is still space for healing. Which one represents the pizzazzes…whew…jury is still out.

      Interesting what you’ve said about penny taking some time to herself to figure things out. I’m sure Ana will take that really well!

      Ahhhh okay, Turning Red, the best fucking movie OMFG. I am definitely stealing from that and the new werewolf game mechanic which ties your rage to some sort of emotional hangup—romance, guilt, distrust of late-stage capitalism.

      Penny is angry about Alice yes, but the part that really consumes her is her guilt over the role she played in Alice staying with Salim by not telling her about the cheating.

      At least, that’s Penny’s belief. Penny has a lot of rage tied up in how she “should” be, and that’s all I’ll say about that for now 😈

      Valencia from cxg I am 💀💀💀💀💀💀💀 lolololol

      Yoga boys are crazy! I’m trying to avoid your comment because I’m afraid I won’t shut up and spill everything!!

      Caleb is 100% lying about Bella being family. They are not blood related. (Sorry, I got romance plans). But there is more than one way to become family than just being born into the same line…😏

      But hold onto that thought about long-lived vampires and trauma and carcinogenesis because holy shit, you are into something and now I will really shut up!

      ♥️♥️♥️♥️👏👏👏👏👏

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