Chapter 14: A Day In the Life of Latimer Jones

Princeton’s Barbershop & Salon, Windenburg

Latimer, 11:00 a.m.

Latimer had been coming to this barbershop since they moved to Henford-on-Bagley, while Betty went to the salon next door for her braids and twist-outs. When she got sick, the owner, Princeton Williams, promised to buy the place and knock the wall down—an idea Betty had been pitching for years. 

“You just have to live to see it,” Princeton insisted whenever he visited her at the hospital. 

Betty didn’t live to see it, but Princeton followed through anyway. Latimer came to the grand re-opening but couldn’t force himself out of the car. Vlad handled him like he was made of glass. He asked no questions, merely buckled Latimer’s seatbelt and drove them home. Every few months, when his hair grew too shaggy, the vampire would sit him down and quietly reach for the scissors. He never cut it to any style, as if he somehow understood that Latimer couldn’t bear to see himself put back together.

You’ll take care of each other, Latty; that’s why I can let go. 

As they walked into the shop, Latimer steeled himself for a cool reception.

“Well, if ain’t just the devil and his father,” Princeton crooned, “What, you forgot how to dress in your long absence? You need lessons from your son,” he flung a hand in Vlad’s direction. “How you let your father leave the house like this?”

Vlad arched a brow, “It may surprise you to learn that my father is not a man whom you can tell anything.” 

“Yeah, you hear that, Princeton?” Latimer huffed, “You can’t tell me shit.” 

There was a tense silence, and then the shop burst into laughter. Latimer gave a small smile of relief. 

“Come on,” Princeton patted a chair, “I think I know which one of you needs a cut.” 

Latimer complied, watching as Vlad was instantly drawn into a chess game.

“By my count, you’ve missed about sixty game nights, so I reckon it’s your turn to host,” Princeton said as he sorted through clipper attachments. 

Before Latimer disappeared, his heart having shattered into a million jagged pieces, the Joneses rotated hosting game night with the other staff at the shop. Vlad served them barbeque and McDillons and preened at the compliments about the house. Betty hustled them out of every dime before declaring an “early bedtime,” and then Latimer and Princeton would sit up until all hours talking. 

“It’s Betty’s day, ain’t it,” Princeton jerked his chin in the direction of a photo and a vase of flowers, “Miss DeeDee always sets them out for her.”

Latimer nodded, his throat tight. He could still remember the first day he saw her, working at the lab by the base in StrangerVille. He cut out of drills early for months to flirt with her, following as she collected her samples. 

I am a scientist, Latty, and I say a supernatural heart needs love just as much as a mortal one. And he does love you. 

Love was complicated. It came with a hair-trigger temper and violent nighttime pacing. His wife, llamas rest her soul, was wrong. 

“Whatcha looking to get?” Princeton asked.

“Anything,” Latimer mumbled, “It don’t matter.”

Princeton shook his head, “That’s the grief talking. But you’re here now; that’s what matters. Might I suggest something fresh? Betty would rise up out the grave if she seen you wandering around all floppy-haired and sorry.” He flicked on the clippers and motioned for someone in the shop to turn up the radio. “Hey, Michael, show Vlad that Sims Tok dance!” He nudged Latimer, “Just watch; you’ll love this. All the young folks are doing it.”

Latimer snorted. Young folks. If only they knew.

  • Dragoncat
    November 14, 2022

    Aww, interesting seeing things from Latimer Jones’ perspective and how much history him and Vlad have together. LOL, and you even did the tag: “Best Friends Forever.”
    That tag makes me a little sad, though. Latimer Jones is not going to live forever. I’m trying not to think about it, but one day he’s gonna be gone.

    I also love the videos. Like, geez- they are sooo good. Speaking of which, just a thought, but I love the poses you use for everyone. Like, even just looking at the images of the chapters below this one, Vlad has a certain way of staring and looking around.

    I’m writing a simlit at the moment -very slowly- and it’s interesting figuring out peoples body language. I’ve never written a story with pictures of the characters before, so it’s quite new figuring out which poses to use and when to just use the games natural poses.

    Anyway, can’t wait to see the next chapter!

    • feroshgirl
      November 15, 2022

      Haha thank you for noticing my tags, which are completely unhinged <3

      You are right, this is a chapter drenched in mortality. Latimer is not going to live forever, he is an old man, and he has refused to be turned. I'm not sure Vlad is ready for this. I mean, I think I can say confidently, he is not ready.

      I'm so glad you enjoy the videos! They are a labor of love and madness <3

      Ughhh I could talk about characters and body language for conservatively a million hours. First of all, hooray for writing simlit! I look forward to checking it out when you are done. I have a set of poses that are mostly for Vlad, mainly because I want to visually communicate his presence. Also, since we don't have height sliders in the sims, I try to use ones that make him appear tall and wiry, which is how I imagine him in my head. For me, the hardest thing about the game animations is that they are one-note. They work really well for big scenes or walking, but when I want to have an emotional conversation, it's limiting. My basic rule is that if I really need characters to show personality or have a big moment, I'll use poses. If it's just them doing something lowkey, or the game really does have an animation that is perfect, I won't worry about it.

      Thank you for reading!

      • Dragoncat
        November 15, 2022

        I don’t think anyone is truly ready for death. It’s tough, having a friend or close loved one die.
        And throughout this chapter, I can tell that Latimer is getting up there in years.

        And I reeeeally need to reread this series properly. I have the same problems with webcomics or fanfic, which releases chapters slowly, that I forget key details. So I don’t know what’s going on some of the time here, but I’m happy to be included and I’m enjoying it.

        As for poses, I’m doing the same thing. I have sets of poses for certain characters, and that seems to work.

        And ugh, the movements in Sims 4 are very one note, so I use them sparingly or for if someone is walking. (I also had to find and download a mod to stop Sims from looking at their phones while walking because of the High School update! AHHH!)

      • feroshgirl
        November 16, 2022

        That mod is a lifesaver! I also have one that just tones down phone use in general. It’s a bit ridiculous.

        Haha, I get exactly what you mean! I know a SimLit author who does a little “here’s what you missed” post and I’ve always wanted to emulate that. I just can never get my shit together 😂

        I’m glad the ride is still entertaining!

  • Yimiki
    November 18, 2022

    I really feel for Latimer in this chapter. He’s lost his family, he’s gained a new one that is utterly alien to his own perception of life, and he’s in perpetual mourning for his partner. I understand his frustration in having to deal with Vlad and his dangers, instead of just being left to mourn on his own. But Vlad also seems to be the one thing that is keeping him from slipping off the edge these days. And there’s a decades-old bond there that’s made permanent by Betty’s influence. Those two have a unique relationship.

    Aww. He loves him too. Took a whole day and throwing up on the bed to get to that point of honesty but they did reach it. That last scene is just heartwarming.

    I’ve always wondered why people don’t want their loved ones to mourn them after death. They lose an incredibly valuable connection to them, you, and they’ll never be able to be around you or speak to you again. Mourning acknowledges that. Telling someone they shouldn’t mourn you, to me, is like telling them not to value the relationship they lost when you died. Does that make sense?

    Slaughter summer with bubble blowers and an insane Ex-wife that sounds suspiciously like Miko, huh? I wonder what happened there.

    I can’t watch the videos during work break, but I’ll eagerly get to both of them after work ends 😄

  • Snow ~
    November 20, 2022

    Ohhh no, Latimer’s backstory hurt ;-; The sole survivor and all the guilt that comes with it. And oof at that argument X_X There we go, fancy new haircut! Suits him! All of these memories of the past catching up w him it just…hurts ;-;

    That admission on top of all that X_X but still, I guess after so many years you just have to accept your monstrous side, and let’s face it who’s gonna have normal emotions after hundreds of years? You really would just end up faking them as best as possible for whatever the best outcome is, and detach yourself from others over fear of eventually losing them. Though IDK actually…after that scene after he has the traumatic dream maybe Vlad really is telling the whole truth there at the end. It’s hard to explain properly but I guess there’s a difference between feeling love and showing it, and you can technically do one without the other. Even if Vlad doesn’t feel anything much, he still (most of the time) knows how to show he ‘cares’. I feel that. You just kinda go by context and hope it comes across the right way which it rarely does. The fun combo of a spicy brain + neurodivergency huh? XD

    I did love the bar scene though, and Vlad just acting like Latimer is just a senile (and drunk) old man XD

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