SEASON 1: OPENING CREDITS
CW: Strong language, adult situations, violence, and reference to overdose (I use the in-game mechanics of the bubble blower but still want to flag it just in case)
Straud Manor, Forgotten Hollow
“You know, if I had a completely abandoned mansion waiting for me outside of Glimmerbrook, I damn well wouldn’t be sleeping in a crappy apartment above a broom shop.” Akira’s voice echoed through the house.
“It’s a coffee shop now,” Caleb cracked open an eye and stared at the fae’s boots, “And you do have a mansion waiting outside of Glimmerbrook.”
“Yeah,” Akira smirked, “But my mansion has Titania in it.”
Caleb laughed and then winced. His head felt stuffed with cotton. “You act like being the Queen of the Fae’s brother is a bad thing.”
“I thought if anyone understood complicated family dynamics, it would be you.” Akira offered him a hand, pulling him to his feet.
They made their way to the kitchen where Caleb filled a grimy glass with water and sucked it down until it sloshed in his stomach.
“If you hate this place so much, why are you here?”
Caleb didn’t answer.
Akira spread his arms wide. “It would be helpful to know exactly which Caleb I’m dealing with: Depressed Caleb or Depressed Caleb.”
It was a fair question. Caleb set the glass down, his head clearer. Why did he come here? If he wanted Straud Manor, it was his. No one lived here anymore, including his father, who abandoned the place in 1882. Now there were only the squatters who were too afraid to steal, but not too afraid to trash the place.
“Hey,” Akira snapped his fingers, “We got a case if you’ve sobered up enough to come to work.”
Caleb turned around to find his partner smiling.
“I wasn’t that drunk.”
“Do you want to know how many times you referred to yourself as Vatore Caleb?”
Brindleton Bay Country Club
“The thing is, film sets are different.” Martin Prowl, movie producer and notorious close-talker, swirled his nectar glass sloppily. “Don’t be surprised if you find it overwhelming. Take it from me. I got age and experience, sweetheart.”
Anastasia’s byline as Blythe August in the first talkie said she’d forgotten more about movies than he’d ever know. But that was the thing about being a 950-year-old vampire actress. You had to do a lot of pretending, even when you weren’t on camera.
“Excuse me. I’ve gotta see about the little boy’s room,” Martin said, letting his glass slip from his fingers and roll on the floor. He tripped on it, and though Anastasia was supposedly Simnation’s sweetest actress, she didn’t move a muscle to help.
Maybe if she got lucky, he’d break his neck.
The catering spread was nothing compared to the warm, slick taste of—
She gripped the wall and leaned against it, trying to get control of her hunger. The only reason Anastasia set foot in Brindleton Bay was because of a celebrity fundraiser. With the smiling, autographs, and pretending to care about the Deadgrass Island Lighthouse complete, it was time to escape this hellhole of terrible memories.
The decision came just as her girlfriend, Jimena, entered the room with a reporter from The San Myshuno Times.
Quick as a whip, Anastasia ran out the other door. She’d already suffered through a conversation with Martin Prowl. A gossipy reporter asking about her plans for marriage was too much.
Her nonexistent plans—
Anastasia was married once.
It hadn’t worked out.
Besides, she had no interest in explaining to her girlfriend why she had a list of aliases long enough to impress the Sim Mafia. Or that she had seen and sometimes caused the fall of empires, tangoed with despots…
…been a despot herself.
The second floor was busy too. Desperate to avoid more mortals, Anastasia slipped into the other ballroom, crossing her fingers that the silent auction was empty.
A sullen-looking girl stood by a registration table in the corner. “You can’t be in here. The silent auction doesn’t open for another hour.”
Anastasia plastered on a fake smile, fanning her hand across her chest. “Yes, well, I need to leave early, so I’d like to bid on something right now.”
The girl cocked an eyebrow. “If you bid on it now and then leave, you won’t be here to collect if you win.”
“Oh, silly me. Why didn’t I think of that?” Anastasia felt her eye twitching. Fucking teenagers. “Let’s skip the whole bidding part, and I’ll just buy something.”
“But the value of the items is—”
“Twenty thousand simoleons. What does that get me?”
The girl seemed to perk up. She gestured at some rare books—sims and their damned antiques—when a 19th century evening gown caught Anastasia’s attention.
It was beautiful, the sort of thing she might’ve worn herself a lifetime ago. In fact, she remembered when this design was all the rage. Lilith bought a matching set for her and Morgyn, and they were the toast of the Solstice Ball. The entire family managed to spend the evening together, not a single stabbing or argument between them. Even Vladislaus had been on his best behavior. Astounding, really, since things so quickly went to shit.
But it was a nice memory, and a mother was entitled to those. “I’ll take that gown,” she said, “Whatever the cost.”