Laurel and Hodges Funeral Home
It was a truth universally acknowledged, that breaking and entering wasn’t a crime if you didn’t break anything. At least, that was the excuse Alice gave herself as she jammed a hairpin into the lock on the basement door. Ben tried to define his contribution to the effort as “keeping watch,” but Alice was having none of it.
“You’re a non-corporeal being who doesn’t exist outside of my body except for in graveyards. You can’t keep watch.”
Creaking wooden stairs gave way to freshly scrubbed tile that did nothing to mask the sharp chemical smell of embalming fluid. Here, among the many coffins and urns there was no doubt that Barbara Jean Jeffries was dead.
For Alice there was nothing fancy or mystical about raising the dead. She just called them and waited—sort of like dialing a phone.
“What in the devil? I haven’t even started my rest! Whoever it is snatched hold of my spirit better explain themselves!”
“Uh…hi…it’s me,” Alice waved, awkwardly.
Barbara pantomimed a scythe.
“Oh no!” Alice jolted. “That’s uh Ben’s—er, my employee. I’m Alice.”
“Mmhmm,” Barbara Jean narrowed her eyes. “Then who, pray tell, is that gentleman behind you?”
“Ben. The God of—”
“I don’t need all the pomp and circumstance,” she scolded. “Also, you’re not the God of Death. She is,” Barbara added, cocking her head in Alice’s direction.
“Yeah, kind of…for now,” Alice took a steadying breath, “And as The God of Death I was wondering if I could trouble you for your banana bread recipe?”
“My what? You woke me up from eternal rest for that? What ails you child?”
Alice flushed and then cringed. “Well, I mean I figured you weren’t using it so…”
The argument sounded pathetic even to her own ears.
Barbara Jean sighed and motioned for Alice to help her out of the coffin.
“You know, I didn’t teach my kids a damn thing about that recipe, kept thinking I had more time to pass it on when they would truly understand. Now, it’s too late. I’m dead and all that waiting ain’t mattered a lick.”
“That’s not true,” Alice assured her, thinking of her own mother. “Maybe they didn’t always show it, but I’m sure they appreciated you.”
“Please, child. The worst thing your own flesh and blood can discover is that their parents are but mere mortals—regular sims making it up as they go along.”
Barbara looked down at her outfit and laughed. “All dressed up and nowhere to go. Death comes to wake me up over some damn banana bread.”
Alice dipped her head. What she wanted from Barbara Jean was selfish. This woman thought she died having no impact on her family when here, the whole sainted lot of them was sitting in a vestibule prepared to wait anywhere from 45 minutes to 3 hours to bid her adieu.
“Ms. Jeffries, why don’t you come with me? I think…I think there’s something you should see.”
Vlad landed on Windenburg Island wearing a coat he didn’t want and sporting haircut he also hated. He did not have much use for the collection of luxury homes that had popped up in recent years, but he was here on a mission.
Taking a deep breath, he knocked on the door.
Footsteps sounded and after a few seconds, Gwendolyn Barrister appeared. Vlad savored the shocked look on the child’s face. She had proved to be a formidable enemy, but he would not be bested.
“Run any good cookie schemes lately?” Vlad asked, his tone casual.
Gwendolyn looked around nervously. “How did you know where I lived?” She wrinkled her nose. “Is that vampire stuff?”
He rasped a laugh. “Oh my dear little hell spawn, no, it is not ‘vampire stuff.’ It’s adult stuff. Speaking of which, I’d be delighted to talk to your parents about your cookie-related activities. Are they home?”
“Parents? What parents?” Gwendolyn smiled serenely. “This is my house, obviously, I live here alone.”
It was an awful lie, not unlike the kind Atorn used to tell. Vlad’s throat tightened at the memory and he had to cough to clear it. “Nice try, hell spawn, but I won’t be fooled by such ridiculous stories.”
“Ugh, fine! What do you want, old man? I got a good thing going here and I can’t get kicked out again,” she complained.
“Listen, this is my sixth family and I’ve finally got my own room. Foster parents don’t keep difficult kids so I can’t be getting in trouble.”
Sixth family? Gwendolyn was a little monster, to be sure, but that anyone would put her out on the street…Vlad bit down on the murderous emotion that bubbled up inside of him. Why was he so angry? Was this anger?
“I need your help with a project of a technical nature. And it won’t get you into trouble.”
Vlad stopped to sniff the air. “Are you aware that you live with witches?” he demanded, unable to keep the disgust out of his voice.
Gwendolyn shrugged, “Witches, vampires, whatever, they’re loaded.” She hesitated, the carefree look on her face disappearing. “Vampires and witches aren’t worse than sims.”
A few long seconds ticked by where Vlad feared the protective instinct clawing up his throat would suffocate him.
“No,” he choked out, refusing to patronize her. “They aren’t.”
He followed her into the house making note of the alarming number of windows, doors, and other possible breach points. What kind of layabout witches did she live with? He couldn’t smell so much as a single protective spell!
“So this thing you have to do, is it super embarrassing?” Gwendolyn grinned. “You can pay me to keep quiet about it.”
Vlad snorted. “I don’t think so, hell spawn, you have nothing to bargain with.”
But he was unsettled by his retort.
I can’t get kicked out again.
“One bar of gold and not a penny more,” he snarled at her before answering his phone.
Miss Hell’s crisp voice sounded on the other line, rattling off a stream of questions that he had no interest in answering. Vlad let her get through three of them before he hung up the call with a curt: “I’m busy, Anastasia.”
Turning back to Gwendolyn, Vlad gave her a serious look. The entire place was a death trap. Her so-called “parents” might as well post a sign on their door that said: Enemies welcome. Please kill us in our sleep.
This would not do.
“Tell me, hell spawn, has anyone taught you how to wield a sword?”
Laurel and Hodges Funeral Home
Alice held Barbara’s hand as they crept quietly to the back of the vestibule. The casket was there, though no one knew it was empty. Folding her arms around herself, Barbara Jean watched in stunned silence as sim after sim stood up and testified about how “Mama Jean” changed their life.
“…she was always there with a handkerchief! I thought to myself, who carries these anymore? But thank the llamas she had it whenever my heart got broken.”
“By hook or by crook, that’s what she taught me. If there ain’t no way, you make a way. I carried that with me my whole life…”
“…settle yourself, Marion. That’s what she used to say. I’d be getting all worked up and she’d make me stand in the kitchen and snap beans until I finally got quiet…”
“You didn’t come for my mother unless she sent for you. But she was always there to listen…”
Alice lowered her eyes. “No one gives a shit about that recipe. They only care about you. I’m sorry I bothered you for it.”
“Sorry?” Barbara chuckled. “All the dead should be so lucky as to see how folks talk about them once they’ve gone! Now, if only I had been consulted on the choice of flowers.”
Alice giggled. She was beginning to understand why Ben liked being the God of Death.
“Alright Death, or Alice, or whatever you’re calling yourself these days,”—Barbara Jean cracked her knuckles—”Let’s go see about learnin’ you how to make this banana bread.”
In the kitchen…
It turned out that the secret to Barbara Jean’s world famous banana bread was an extra plantain and unsalted butter. Alice practically moaned with pleasure when she bit into a piece straight out of the oven.
She was just wiping her hands off on a towel when her phone vibrated. It was Vlad, but not with another text message…
::Do you want to open this video message: Y/N?::
Alice clicked yes so quickly, she was almost afraid that she deleted the video.
His face took up so much of the frame that it was difficult to make out where he was…some kind of bedroom? Was that a Voidcritter poster in the background? He looked both incredibly handsome and wildly uncomfortable.
Was he wearing red?
Before Alice could determine if it was her imagination, he started fussing at someone off-camera who he kept referring to as “hell spawn.” He then proceeded, in perfect ye olde simlish, to recite the final part of the poem Alice told him about on the train. He looked positively gleeful at the last line, which he had obviously tweaked: “And so the witch tore out the man’s heart because he mansplained too much.”
Llama’s help her, Alice blushed.
“You gonna make that man wait or respond, and put you both out of your misery?” Barbara prodded, cutting through Alice’s romantic reverie.
“Please,” Barbara dismissed. “The dead can see all kinds of things, though I don’t need to be dead to know you’ve got a soft spot for each other.”
“You wouldn’t be saying that if you knew what he was,” Alice mumbled under her breath.
“Psaw! I ain’t the one who can’t see!” She came to stand at the window. “Me and my Alex was married 39 years before I passed. Worked my ever last nerve, that one, but I never loved a sim more.”
Alice didn’t respond. She already had Ben up in her business, she didn’t need to add an undead celebrity chef to that list.
Though she did surreptitiously text Vlad her location.
Taking in the longing that was written all over Barbara’s face, Alice decided that they had time for one more activity.
“Hey Barbara, Want to go to a party?”
In the Ballroom…
No one expected the dead to rise, so with a large enough hat and a dress borrowed from Agnes Crumplebottom’s shop, Barbara Jean was able to enjoy herself without giving anyone a fright.
Alice stood by the dance floor, wishing she had a glass of nectar. She hadn’t expected Vlad to show up but at the very least he could have—
“Alice ‘Not Madame’ Martin, a funeral for a date? Is this because you’re concerned about my dietary restrictions?”
The flash of color in the video hadn’t been her imagination! Alice couldn’t hide her shock. “I…I didn’t know you owned anything that wasn’t black.”
Vlad gritted his teeth, “I don’t, as a rule. But I wanted to impress you and after some…debate, I was convinced that you might like me in something other than black.”
“And the haircut?”
He gave her a hard look. “I didn’t want that either, but Caleb made a good argument.”
“What argument was that?” Alice asked.
“He put a sword through my femoral artery.”
Alice fell out laughing. The idea of Vlad getting a makeover and losing a few pints of plasma just to impress her was almost too much.
“In the old days, you were hung for laughing at a king,” Vlad quipped.
“Is that so, your majesty? Well then, how can I ever make amends?” Alice teased, dipping into a terrible imitation of a curtsy.
“Provided you can behave yourself, I think a dance will do,” he admonished, eyes promising mischief.
Swing music blared from the record player but Vlad lead her into an old fashioned dance that Alice had only ever seen on an episode of So You Want To Marry a Prince?
“How old is this dance?” she giggled.
“Older than I am,” he replied, arching an eyebrow as he lead her into the turn. “Is dancing not a skill one looks for a partner to have anymore?”
A partner? He wasn’t just trying to sleep with her?
“I didn’t say that, I just had no idea you knew anything about dancing.”
“I contain multitudes,” Vlad smirked, holding her gaze as they continued their circuit.
“And where did you learn such dances, Alice Martin? The same place you learned about ye olde simlish poems?”
“Reality TV,” Alice challenged, as he grabbed her hand and spun her into his arms. “Look it up.”
“You say that like I don’t already hang on your every word,” Vlad whispered and Alice tried very hard not to be flattered.
He paused to swallow, the unnecessary movement making him seem almost mortal. “I apologize for my behavior the other day.”
Alice’s eyes widened. Had she misheard him?
“I wasn’t ashamed of you. I did have a family once and my father…” Something dark passed over his face and shook his head to clear it. “They’re gone now.”
“But you’re still here,” Alice observed, her voice gentle.
He nodded. “I had grand romantic plans for making you forget about my mistake.”
“I’ll allow it,” Alice wagered, but her voice came out breathless.
With his hand on the small of her back, it was hard to concentrate.
She closed her eyes and tilted her face towards him.
Vlad responded to her invitation by pressing his lips against hers. He tightened his grip around her waist and nipped at her bottom lip. Alice forgot all about the fact that they were in a room full of strangers, until one of Barbara Jean’s relatives cleared their throat.
Later, standing by the bar, they watched an incognito Barbara Jean dance with her husband, who was obviously not fooled.
“Why did you come here tonight?” Alice asked, still not taking her eyes off the dance floor. “I mean, what if I was still pissed and just wanted to yell at you?”
“Because you asked me.”
When she turned, he was staring at her, mouth slightly parted and those stupid fangs she liked so much peeking out. “I would probably do anything you asked.”
His response made her feel way too vulnerable. “Even help me bury a body?” she joked, trying to get back onto safer ground.
His response was immediate. Vlad began unbuttoning his cuffs and rolling up his shirt sleeves. “Are they already dead or do you need me to make them that way?”
It was, by far, the most romantic thing anyone had ever asked her.
“Nah, I just need help with the burying part,” she explained. And then, thinking of Miko’s warning to not go broadcasting her godhood to everyone, she pointed a finger at him. “Oh, and you can’t ask any questions or there won’t be another date.”
Vlad’s Office, Downtown Windenburg
Miss Hell hung up the phone. He had called her Anastasia. It would have wrecked her, if in the ensuing centuries she had not learned to grow thicker skin. Names meant something to vampires. Among the eternally dead, they could be hurled as insults, adorations, and even used as a means of destruction. A name signaled intimacy.
Once she and Vlad had talked like lovers…like friends. They were two empty souls who held everything in contempt. She’d always known how to maneuver him, but over the last few months, things had changed.
Bloodvein came up behind her. “Well, that wraps up—”
She didn’t let him finish. “I know what he was doing in San Myshuno. Do you think I ask questions for my health?”
For years, she’d suffered under his sickening weight, enduring as he moaned and ground his hips seeking his own pleasure. The Sages had promised Bloodvein the position of King if he delivered them Vladislaus Straud and so, to protect her own plans, Miss Hell was forced to play the fawning lover.
As if she aspired to so lowly a position as Queen.
“Find that bitch he was out seducing in the city. Jimena. She must be in Windenburg by now,” Miss Hell commanded.
“Should be easy,” Bloodvein laughed. “He brings those two lap dogs to help him fill his bed! I’ll just follow the smell.”
Miss Hell closed her eyes. In her mind, her hand was fast. A slap hard enough to break Bloodvein’s jaw. As he crawled around on the ground to reset it, she would bend remind him of his place.
Vladislaus Straud was still a king and Vlad Bloodvein—real name Richard Leonine—was a sniveling, pathetic wannabe.
But she didn’t do that. She didn’t even let herself wallow in the fantasy because warm feelings towards the enemy was a good recipe for failing at betrayal.
And Miss Hell did not intend to fail.
Instead, she lowered her voice and curved her body, shifting her hips to remind Bloodvein of the things they did in the dark. “Do it for me please, my love. I only want to see you as King.”
Simcity 4 Funeral Chapel Items by necrodog
Funeral Chapel Items Poses by necrodog
Paloma Dress by Colores Urbanos
Male Stand poses by Natalia-Auditore
Emotions 1-9 by Simmerberlin
Miss Mystic Falls Dance Poses by Atashi77
Slow Dance Couple Posepack by Simming for fun
Poses Battle Thracian vs Dimachaerus by AoiHana2510
Twin Swords by Karzalee
Lookbook V.14 poses set by Flower Chamber
From the Sims 4 Gallery
Dignity Funeral Parlor by whyeverr
Hair Salon by LouLou_0303