Chapter 14: A Day In the Life of Latimer Jones

Melody’s Tavern, Windenburg

LATIMER, 1:00 p.m.

“The food here’s gone downhill since they lost their last chef,” Latimer grumbled.

“Yes, well, chefs come and go. I’m sure they’ll figure it out.”

Latimer tapped his fingers impatiently on the table, only pausing when the waitress brought their order. “I don’t even know why you stare at that damn menu; you ain’t gonna eat.”

Vlad looked at him, amused. “Why, Latimer Jones, I do believe you’re angry with me.”

“I’m not.” The Old Yorkfield Classic burned as he swallowed it down. “So Alice ain’t returning your phone calls?”

“No. And the mad part is I’m completely delighted. I love children. I never thought I’d miss Caleb demanding non-stop games of imaginary pirate or Lilith drooling on my favorite waistcoats, but here we are.”

Betty and Latimer never had children. Latimer could never imagine a world where Vlad stayed stable long enough to make having a child safe. They fought about it nonstop until one day, Betty was 50, and there wasn’t anything to argue about anymore. 

“And Alice is keeping secrets? That’s what got you on edge?”

“Please. I’ve plenty to keep me on edge without adding Alice’s secrets.”

It was an answer, but not a real one. 

“I heard you tossing,” Vlad observed, shifting the focus of the conversation. “Did you dream about the fire?” 

—Licking heat and a twist of flame, but Latimer would not be handing over his truths. Not when he had almost none of Vlad’s. “You really can’t eat?” 

“No.”

“And how truthful are you with me? On a scale of 1-10.”

Up until this point, Vlad had been drinking nectar and leaning back in his chair. Now, his movements became sharp. Deliberate. “What is the nature of this scale, and why are you asking me?”

Because.”

“Can we not just go to the movies and enjoy the afternoon?”

“No,” Latimer took a deep breath. He was owed this, wasn’t he? “I want to know. We been best friends—family—for over 60 years. How truthful are you? How often do you look me in the eye and lie to my face?”

The vampire set his glass down but didn’t answer.

“Did you lie to Betty all the time? What about Anastasia? Your children? Your brothers? Your—”

“Five,” he snapped. 

“So I’m worth 50% of your effort on a scale of 1-10?” 

An edge crept into Vlad’s voice. “Your scale seeks to measure something overrated.”

“Bullshit,” Latimer pounded the table, “I want you to give me the unvarnished truth.”

“When?”

“Now! When I ask you a question.”

“Then ask.” It was a challenge, or maybe a threat.

“William never talks about that time you woke up. Neither do you. He tells half-truths and you make jokes. You’re a good cook, but you don’t eat. What happened?”

“My organs withered.”

Latimer’s breath caught. “Excuse me?”

“Rotted, really. An awful, putrid, stinking mess.” Vlad’s smile was slow, as if he was enjoying Latimer’s horrified response. “When a vampire goes to sleep, they need to be tended to. Fed. But tending is for those who are beloved, not those who slaughter a theater full of sims and don’t feel bad about it.”

Everyone in the family had told this story, but as far as Latimer could tell, they were all full of shit. Vampires loved half-truths, cultivated them like they were tending a garden. There was nothing they enjoyed more than acting as if they couldn’t deign to reveal the past to someone with a beating heart. “And William? What did he do?”

“Sweet William called wise Ethren and conspired to chain me in the basement like an animal for months. I was—what was the word they used? Difficult. So to answer your question,” Vlad smirked, “I can’t chow down on a hamburger because I am poorly behaved.”

“Bullshit,” Latimer clenched a fist. Vladislaus had never been kept somewhere he didn’t want to be. “I’m not sitting here to be pandered to by your monster act. Why save me if you’re so terrible? If you don’t care about sims? If you never feel bad about anything?” He waved his hands, imitating the vampire’s crisp accent.

“You don’t know what you’re asking.”

“No, I’m not getting any damn answers. I been pretty clear on the questions. Why bother? Did you meet your 5 out of 10 quota already? You’re always going on and on about love and loyalty, but you can’t tell me why it is we’re friends? Why it is you rescued me?”

“I have nothing more to say.”

“Please,” Latimer snorted, “In 65 years, you ain’t never given me a moratorium on words, don’t start now. Why?”

“No.”

“Why?”

“Because I already had my fill of everyone else!” He gripped his hair in clumps, fangs flashing. “I saw you in the dirt, and I was already full.”

“What?” Latimer’s stomach lurched. There had been so many bodies on the field—friends he’d lost and hugged their families and cried and bemoaned the state of war. “What?” he repeated.

“You asked for truth.” Vlad’s expression turned cold—vicious. “Truth, old friend, is that you went to war to fight, and I went to war to feed. That whorl of terror lodged in the back of your brain, the instinct telling you to run, it’s right. You are food.” He leaned in close. “And only occasionally with a supreme force of will and the serendipity of a full belly are you more.”

Threats were a language. They said what you wanted to know. And what you did not. What you were willing to tell. And what you were not. 

Latimer swallowed hard, burying the fear that would make a wiser sim pack and leave and never look back. He’d asked for truth and got sorrow. Maybe it was his plight in life to never get he wanted. “I should sock you in the jaw for giving me such a long-ass answer.” He drained his glass, grateful for how it made his head swim. “At this rate, I might die before you finish answering my next one.”  

He couldn’t read the emotion that flickered in Vlad’s eyes. Was it disappointment? More amusement? Nothing at all? 

Before Latimer could ponder it more, the mask was back on, and the vampire seemed more mortal. His mouth lifted into a half-smile, warm—friendly even. “Well, it is as you say. I am, indeed, long-winded.”

And just like that, they were back to normal.

    6 comments
  • 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

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: