CW: Strong language, adult situations, violence, sex, gore, and a character experiencing PTSD.
I know this chapter is super late; I apologize. Work and house projects got really hectic for a minute, and this chapter just kicked my ass. As penance, please enjoy this absolute banger of BBD Alternate Alternate Universe scene by Dollyllama108. If you hated BBD Bernard and wanted to see him get his just desserts, this scene is for you. It involves a flute and “We Like to Party,” by the Vengaboys and…you know what, just read it. I’m still laughing. I have decided that it is canon.
Anyhoo, it’s date night in The Strauds, so things are about to go down…or up…depending on your perspective.
I will not apologize for that joke.
Vlad’s House, Henford-on-Bagley
“I am not nervous!” Vlad snapped at Latimer. “And I don’t need your help.”
“Okay, bucko, you’re wearing a sweater, and it’s 75 degrees outside.”
Vlad glanced down at his outfit. “Fuck.”
“Should we have ‘the talk’ too?” his friend teased as he slipped on a thin button-down, “When two sims like each other very much—”
“I don’t need this from you. I already have a thousand things to keep track of,” Vlad muttered. Dating a mortal was an exercise in theater—avoiding mirrors, discreetly shoving food off his plate while pretending to eat. Despite his earlier bravado, Vlad was unsure if this was even a sane idea.
“I was nervous about Betty too.”
“It’s not the same, I—”
“I was worried,” Latimer continued as if Vlad hadn’t spoken, “Because I knew I’d have to eventually sit down and say: this man is my family. He won’t age; he drinks plasma, and keeping him close in our lives will mean lying and looking the other way. And if you’re not down, then move along.”
“You said that to her?”
“Hell no,” Latimer made an affronted sound. “She cornered me on date number two and asked if you was some kind of government agent, and I confessed the whole thing.”
Now Vlad recalled. Betty had brought some ghastly confection to dinner. Plasma souffle, she called it, and Vlad was forced to consume the thing with a smile out of affection for Latimer.
“You know, this date is a good idea. It’s time for you to get yourself out there again. And you don’t have to be scared; you were married to Anastasia for llama’s sakes! If you can love your enemy, then—”
“Loved. Past tense. As in I loved her when the knife she wielded came at me from the front. Little did I know, I was courting a demon that I should have killed when I had the chance.”
Latimer gave him exasperated look. “Your seething hate of your ex-wife is one of your least attractive qualities. Now come on, I left the brush downstairs.”
Vlad followed without complaint. They’d had this grooming ritual ever since Latimer caught him shaving via his reflection in a windowpane. He tried to explain that mirrors were the only reflective surface that gave vampires trouble (thanks to an ancient witch), but the sim wouldn’t hear of it.
“You like fussing over me,” Vlad teased as he took a seat, “It gives you power.”
“It gives me heartburn.” Latimer opened a container of pomade, and Vlad tilted his head back. “Vampires act all high and mighty, but you wake up from a seventy-year tantrum nap, and none of you know your ass from a hole in the wall.”
“Tantrum nap” was not the exact wording Vlad would use. Yes, he’d gone into vampiric slumber from 1882 until 1950, but what was he supposed to do? Anastasia had taken what he held dear and made a mockery of it, Caleb was playing cops and robbers with the Sages, and Lilith was being…herself. All he did was repay Anastasia in kind, yet he was made to suffer through William’s smug and sanctified rescue act.
“I’m here to help,” the vampire told him.
“You’re here because you think I’m a beast who needs to be put down.”
He would never forget the way his brother hesitated. Vlad vowed they would never speak again, but when he woke up in the 1950s he was starving and confused—a predator startled by everything from motor vehicles to flashing billboards. As was the case since the high middle ages, William saved him, and Vlad, begrudgingly, allowed it.
“Seventy years of vampiric slumber has made me considerably less cranky,” Vlad joked, trying to hide his melancholy.
“Yeah, like a bear is less cranky after hibernation,” Latimer snorted. He set the brush down and patted Vlad’s shoulder, “Alright, I’m finished. I hope you intend to take the jeep and not just mist into existence like some sort of hipster cleaning spray.”
Alice’s Cottage, Windenburg
“Is this what I look like?” Alice demanded when Penny picked up the phone.
Her friend was silent. Too silent.
Penny hesitated. “What do you mean by ‘look like?'”
“A leftover flower child! A raving hippie lunatic! A woman who doesn’t have a cute, sexy dress to wear on a date!”
Again the silence.
“Please, for the love of llamas, tell me that this is not my vibe. Tell me I have vibes. That I—” Alice dabbed at a spot on her dress where Gwendolyn flung peas. “Even my kid is against me. I can’t leave the house like this!”
“At least you can leave your house without being fucking terrified,” Penny muttered.
“Nothing.” She blew out a frustrated breath, “I haven’t had my coffee yet. Remember the black dress I loaned you for the romance festival that you never returned because that’s your MO?”
Grumpy Penny was the worst Penny. “You know I didn’t mean to keep it,” Alice grumbled. “And as soon as I find a post office, I’ll return it.”
Loud banging punctuated her friend’s response. “Don’t bother. Wear it and steal me another one next time you’re in town. I gotta go.” She hung up the phone.
“Works for me!” Alice cackled, already slipping the dress on. “What do you think?” she asked Gwendolyn.
“First of all, rude. Black is your favorite color. And second…oh!” Alice squealed and scooped her up, “I mean, yes, good job! Poop!”
She plopped Gwendolyn down on the training potty, ripped off the dress, and cheered her kid on in her lacy underwear like a motherfucking super parent. Sure, the contents of the tiny plastic toilet sloshed everywhere when Gwendolyn got up, but that was fine! Not only did Alice spray a layer of carpet cleaning foam, she did it in heels while Gwendolyn sang “Row Your Boat” as “Whoa Your Butt” at the top of her lungs.
Alas, all hot streaks must come to an end.
“Poop!” Gwendolyn shouted, and Alice swore the look on her face was downright gleeful.
She tried to encourage some independence, get the tiny terror she birthed to go on her own, but to no avail.
“No make me do it!” Gwendolyn screeched, “Need help! You help!”
“Okay, okay!” Alice picked her up, ready to make a beeline for the bedroom. Why was potty training so hard?
“No I walk!” Gwendolyn screamed, “Me walk! No help! Stop helping!” She began to struggle.
“What are you doing?” Alice cried, trying to avoid the toddler’s flailing limbs. “You just asked for help, you’re being—“ Alice froze, horror washing over her.
“Oops,” Gwendolyn said.
Alice looked down at her outfit. “Fuck.”
San Myshuno Fashion District
Anastasia didn’t want to sign autographs, but when a video leaked of you screaming your head off, leaping onto a table, and punching a reporter, you smiled at your fans and said nice things, so they knew you weren’t crazy.
Which was why she was here at Penny’s apartment, trying to do something about the latest headline:
Anastasia Barrister, Addicted to Passionfruit Bubble Blowers?
If it wasn’t for that stupid body in the park, she wouldn’t have suffered a three-hour meeting with the studio heads where they expressed concern that things were getting a little too “Eliza Pancakes.”
Who better to counter the story than the reporter she (allegedly) hit for reasons she would not dignify? She hadn’t even seen the ghost since the incident and yet, she was still paying the price.
Cracking her neck, she forced a smile as she approached Penny’s door. The aura of being a predator was hard to overcome. Mostly, she succeeded, but something about Penny Pizzazz made her want to play with her food.
Chase, pin down, tie to the bed and—
Penny threw open the door. “Why the hell are you knocking so hard?”
Shit. Anastasia swallowed. She pretended to enjoy eating salads, but what she craved was a rare steak, a glass of nectar, and a side of Penny Pizzazz.
“And why are you staring at me?”
“I’m…I’m here to apologize.”
Penny was silent.
“W-What are you doing?”
“Waiting for your actual apology.”
Anastasia clenched her jaw so hard she nearly cracked a tooth. Apologies set a terrible precedent; it was best to avoid the words whenever possible. “That was me apologizing.”
Penny rolled her eyes and started closing the door.
“Damn it! Wait, wait!” Anastasia threw up her arms, “I was not trying to injure you. You just caught me off guard during a difficult moment.”
“And?” Penny prompted.
“And you’re sorry you acted like a complete psychopath when I tried to help you.”
Anastasia lifted a shoulder. If it soothed the sim to think that then so be it. “Are you going to invite me in, or must we discuss this in your hallway?”
He clicked the lock on his car and checked his phone. Alice texted at the last minute, asking to choose the location, which wasn’t a problem; there was nowhere in Windenburg Vlad hadn’t been. He only wished he didn’t have to fake being surprised.
It was one of the many headaches of his age. If he wasn’t referencing a location that no longer existed he was calling streets by their original names and getting strange looks.
The closer he got to the docks, the more unsure he became. He liked Alice, but he wasn’t made for…public consumption. When it came to other creatures, his instincts were to break them…and maybe poke at their corpses while they lie there flinching. He didn’t like other sims when he was technically alive; less so now. Was he really going to contain himself just for a few dates and some (probably fine) sex? He didn’t need—
“Hey,” Alice waved nervously.
Everything he thought before this moment was stupid. Conjecture. The ravings of a mad man. This date was an excellent idea—Alice was an excellent idea. He’d play mortal all day long just to have her look at him like that.
“So this is the place!” she exclaimed, grabbing his hand and tugging him inside.
He got the lay of the land pretty quickly.
And followed it up with a swift exit.
San Myshuno Fashion District, Penny’s Apartment
There was absolutely no reason to let this woman into her apartment. Penny was sleep deprived from the nightmares and hungover from the barley bales she’d been downing to counteract the nightmares. Meanwhile, Anastasia was caustic, pushy, and rude. The exact sort of thing to worsen her headache, not improve it.
Ugh, and Penny was still attracted to her.
“You’ve probably heard the incident isn’t playing well in the press,” the actress mused as she studied the photos on the wall.
The incident? The only incident Penny knew was…
Claws around her throat.
“You hated college?” Anastasia asked.
“What? Uh, no,” Penny coughed, “College was fine. Do you want a drink?”
“I’d love a drink, if you tell me why you’re not really smiling in that picture.”
Wasn’t it obvious? Her parents were disappointed and Penny was—
Sharp teeth. Claws around her throat.
“I offered you a drink, not a personal story,” she managed to croak out.
“Oh, so you like asking questions but not answering them.”
“It was an interview!” Penny shouted, “The purpose of an interview is to ask questions!”
“Basic questions! And yes, read the freaking room; I don’t want to talk about—”
…sharp teeth, claws around her throat, ragged breathing…
The actress chuckled and studied her nails. “I see, so you want others to respect your boundaries, but you don’t return the favor.”
Boundaries? Penny felt like she wanted to crawl out of her skin. What the fuck did Anastasia Barrister know about boundaries? About—
“It was an interview,” Penny rasped around the lump in her throat. “You agreed to an interview. You are being crazy.”
Anastasia’s expression darkened. Before Penny could blink she was on the floor, the actress pinning her down.
“Crazy? What a fascinating choice of word,” she crooned, radiating malice. “Last time I checked, crazy was your beat. Or do you cover something else besides the harrowing experience of middle-aged sims wearing silk mermaid tails at the local pool?” Her breath was a whisper against Penny’s throat, “If I were you, I’d be thrilled for an interview like this. And I’d think very fucking carefully about calling that interview crazy.”
Run. Adrenaline flooded Penny’s system, and she shoved Anastasia as hard as she could. “Fuck you, you monster, get off me!”
The actress flew back across the room, slamming into the wall. She stumbled forward, shaken. “Penny, I—”
“Get out,” Penny croaked. She backed into the kitchen and opened a drawer, pulling out a knife. Nausea grabbed hold of her as she tried to stamp out the panic.
Claws around her throat.
“Get the fuck out, or I’m calling the cops.”
Alice bit her lip as she dabbed at Vlad’s ear with a napkin. “I’m so sorry!” Then, remembering how badly his ear hurt, she switched to a whisper, “I’m so, so sorry, you have no idea.”
She kept wiping at the plasma. Did his eardrum explode? Should they go to the hospital?
“It’s fine.” He caught her wrist.
“But you’re bleeding!” Mortification warred with panic. This was going to go down as the worst date in history. She was going to end up in the dictionary under “failure,” as in “failure to get your groove back after breaking up with your asshole baby daddy.”
Vlad stood. “Alice, it’s fine; I have sensitive hearing. It’s just a quirk of being an elder va—it’s a condition I have.”
“And I didn’t even notice?” It was official; she was the worst sim.
“Well, it’s difficult to notice anything inside of”—he made a pained face—”Discotheque Pan Europa.”
“I know,” she groaned, “That was sort of the point. It’s dark and loud and you wouldn’t have to see me like this.”
“See you like what?” He stared at her intently.
Was the stain that noticeable? She slapped a hand over it. “Dressed in my clothes.”
Vlad opened his mouth, blinked rapidly, and then closed it again. “But I see you regularly in your clothes.”
How could she explain the fantasy of looking glamorous when you had a toddler without actually explaining that she had a toddler? “You’ve seen ‘Work Alice.’ I wanted you to see ‘After-Hours Alice. But she’s hanging on a clothesline in my backyard because my ki—uh, I mean I had an accident, and I’m broke and—” she gave a strangled cry, “Holy llamas, stop me from talking. You don’t need to know all my crazy shit.”
She started to bury her face, but he caught her wrists again. Slowly, he lowered them and gripped her hip to pull her closer. “On the contrary. I am very interested in getting to know all your crazy shit.”
“Not this early,” she managed, breathless, “I’m trying to save some of that crazy for later, like a present that you get but didn’t ask for.”
He chuckled, tilting her head back to graze his knuckles along her chin. “I like presents.” The way he traced a pattern into the small of her back was enough that her libido began diverting rational thought from her brain.
Please, for the love of llamas or gods or whatever is out there in the sky, I will be chill, I will be normal, just me get laid tonight.
“So, other than Discotheque Pan Europa, where, in this fine city, would you like to go?”
Windenburg Inn & Laundry
To be fair, “Where in this fine city would you like to go?” was an open-ended question. Alice was free to answer it however she wanted, and giving her a hard time about it was likely to raise all sorts of red flags. He sighed. Vlad remembered when this place was a tannery.
Clearly, conditions over the last three hundred years had not improved.
“It looks closed.” And like a death trap, he added silently.
“Closed? I know this place. It’s not locked. I’ll pop in, and by the time you get back, I’ll be ready!” Alice’s voice went high-pitched and Vlad worried a little for her sanity.
The dress wasn’t about him, that much he knew. But her desire to deal with it here was a mystery.
“Isn’t there somewhere else you can do laundry?” he asked.
“Uh, yeah, but we’re not driving back to some downtown laundromat just so they can charge me an arm and a leg for one garment. That’s like highway robbery!”
Vlad counseled himself not to respond to this. To simply nod his head, move along, and not to—
“Highway robbery is hardly that lucrative.” The words were out of his mouth before he could stop them.
“If you’re robbing an armored truck after they make a deposit it is.” She looked indignant, which because he was warped, began the process of diverting the blood from his brain to another part of his body. That was the only way to explain his next sentence.
“Even when they sent deposits by trains the number of creatures you had to bribe, threaten, or blackmail to pull it off hardly made it worth the headache.”
“Bribe?” She looked at him like he was an idiot. Vlad tried to suppress a shiver. “You don’t bribe,” she continued, huffing, “You do your research, because if you bribe someone—”
“You probably have to kill them.”
She laughed nervously, “I mean, we’re talking about that new movie, right? The Sheriff of Alpha Centaura?”
They made it into a movie? “Of course,” Vlad said. And why in the occult was it from the sheriff’s perspective? “Absolutely. I love movies. So you’re going to dry your dress and I’m going to—”
“Get us something to eat,” her smile was bright. “You don’t need to stay here. I’m fine. Actually, I’m starving and there’s a Pizza Planet right down the street.”
She walked around the side of the building and waited for five minutes. Thank llamas when she came back, Vlad was gone. She hoped this particular detour still counted as normal and chill, thus not endangering her “get me banged” prayer.
“Are you listening, deities? It’s a lowercase breaking and entering. And I’m just doing it because I need my confidence. It’s been a while, and I had a kid, and I just need to feel like myself.”
Alice didn’t expect an answer; in fact, it would have been strange if there was one. But she did get a warm feeling that made her think whatever was out there heard her. That or it was the adrenaline rush from a potential break-in. Could she crack the change machine open, too? Was that too much? It would be better if her tools weren’t rotting in an evidence locker back in Newcrest, but such was life.
And anyway, improvising was a necessary part of the trade.
She loosened a nail with a swift kick to an old newspaper dispenser. Then, using her dress to protect her hand, she punched the center of the glass pane, hard enough for it to crack, but not shatter. With this, she could easily lift the glass, push the nail out, and not draw any attention to the sound.
Elegant. Simple. Slight risk of tetanus but, hey, no one was perfect.
It had been two and a half years, fourteen days, and 7.8 hours since she last picked a lock. She was good at this. Alice respected the art. She would never let desperation for notoriety or some gold-digger promising a hefty payday tempt her into carelessness.
Fuck Salim Benali. And fuck Eliza Pancakes too. Ugh. They deserved each other. And to burn for an extended period of time in the netherworld.
With a flick of her wrist, she twisted the nail and heard the telltale click of the lock opening. Sirens drowned out her small yelp of celebration, and Alice slipped through the doors, plastering herself against the machines.
Once the coast cleared, she went about her business. In less than fifteen minutes, she was changed and reapplying her lipstick.
She probably weirded Vlad out earlier. Discussing theoretical robberies was not date conversation. Or conversation in general, really. If she didn’t dislike other sims so much (Penny notwithstanding), she’d know what the hell she should talk about. Bartending was easy, she just filled in the gaps with soothing noises and made sure everyone was buzzed enough to keep ordering. But this? Intimate conversation while she tried to hide everything about her kid and and her past. Ugh. Pass.
But she did like him. A lot.
It didn’t matter. There was no way she could pretend long enough for this to become something serious. She’d seduce him in this dress, scarf down some pizza in the car to his place and end her dry spell. If she was really lucky, she could do it all before the babysitter started charging overtime.
Pizza Palace? Vlad might not eat but when it came to the food he pretended to consume he still had standards. That was why he waited until Alice walked around the side of the building before misting out of the parking lot and into the dining room of one of Windenburg’s taverns.
Picking up dinner was exhilarating.
By the time he lit the candelabra and set out the nectar, he was practically vibrating with anticipation. Alice stepped out of the restroom, obviously pleased with her transformation. The dress was a showstopper, but more exciting was her mischievous expression.
“What?” She tucked a curl behind her ear.
He was staring. He knew he was staring and needed to stop, but—
“I want to kiss you.” He also wanted to sink his fangs into the pulse fluttering in her neck, but there wasn’t a good way to ask permission for that.
“Oh,” she bit her lip. “Yeah, I’m down with that.”
If Vlad had a heart, it would have ricocheted out of his chest by now. She felt, tasted—fuck. He stepped back to give her space because she only agreed to a kiss. “If you’re still hungry,” he gestured at the table, “Dinner awaits you.”
Her eyes widened and she let out cross between a snort and a laugh. It was scary how much he liked that sound.
“When I said dinner, I wasn’t expecting all this,” she marveled. “Actually, how did you get all this? I mean, the only thing closer than Pizza Palace is Marcus’s Burger Hut and—”
“Money,” Vlad coughed. “It was just money. Completely uneventful. And you?”
She licked her lips. “Fine. Cool. This was…uh…totally boring, too.”
They were both silent for a minute.
Alice spoke first. “So, do you wanna…?”
Highway, Del Sol Valley
Anastasia shifted the body she was carrying as cars roared on the highway below. They didn’t concern her. If the last 950 years taught her anything, it was that mortals were largely unobservant.
She made her way across the field and dropped the body. “Women are such shit drivers, and actresses don’t have a thought in their heads,” she sneered, imitating the whiny voice of the man who rear-ended her. She eyed the now-corpse. “Funny how you forgot to call me a shit driver when you were begging for your life.”
She started dragging him towards the bushes, cursing the challenge of walking through the grass in a pair of pumps and a shattered ankle that had never healed quite right.
Times like these, she missed William and Morgyn. Morgyn was supremely talented at covering their tracks and William was a problem-solving genius.
She’d probably been hasty in severing those ties. What were her last words? If you choose Vladislaus over me, I will scorch the earth of everything you love.
Ugh. That was a bit much.
And, of course, she was paying the price. No one spoke to her except Lilith when she needed money and Latimer, who Anastasia ignored because even though he wasn’t alive in 1882, he’d chosen Vladislaus too. This was, in fact, Vladislaus’s fault. He destroyed what she most held dear. Made a mockery of it. He was the reason Caleb was running around with the Sages playing cops and robbers.
She wiped the plasma from her mouth with the back of her hand, intending to abandon her car and take on bat form when the phone rang.
It was Penny. “You get a do-over.”
“I do?” She didn’t even try to hide the relief in her voice. Stupid and weak as it was, she felt bad for scaring the sim. She liked her. A lot. Even more so that somehow Penny managed to shove her across the room. What was it they said about the power of adrenaline? Penny’s was so elevated Anastasia could practically taste it…
“Yeah. And I’m sorry I drew a knife on you and threw you out. It’s just…I’ve had a weird week, seen some weird shit, and I’m on edge. I know you wouldn’t hurt me.”
Anastasia looked down at her plasma-soaked dress. No one, not even her own children, thought that. “You sound very sure. Maybe I do hurt sims.”
“Maybe,” Penny agreed, “But I’m not talking about them. I’m talking about me. I mean, I get it. I have a temper. I was trying to provoke you in that interview, and that was shitty. You don’t owe me personal information.” She paused and then let out a small laugh, “Although I’m not gonna lie, I really do want to know who taught you to fight like that.”
The devil, Anastasia thought automatically. As a mortal she hunted vampires, and because she was very good, because she had slain kings and pirates, they sent her after Vladislaus.
“If you aim,” he whispered when she drew her dagger, “Make sure you aim for the heart.”
Maybe it was those raven locks, or the vow of chastity the Good Order Monks insisted every vampire hunter make, but she couldn’t bring herself to do it. Instead, she cut his throat.
They warned her was not like other vampires. He didn’t cough or pretend to be wounded, merely grinned and winked at her. “Are you flirting with me?”
“No. Now unlace my dress so we can be rid of this temptation before I gut you.”
“The man who taught me that move is no longer in my life. And I try, best as I can, not to think about him.”
Penny laughed, a warm and genuine sound that Anastasia liked. “Started out good, ended badly?”
Ended horribly. She should have killed him when she had the chance. “Isn’t that how it always goes?”
POSES & ANIMATIONS
Getting Dressed Posepack by Natalia-Auditore
Hairstyle Pose Pack by Beto_Ae0
(hairbrush by LeeLeeSims1)
Jeremie Shirt by Belaloualure
Shaving Poses by JoanneBernice
(razor by soloriya)
Phone Emotions by Threethousandplumbobs
Clingy Crybaby Pose Pack by Cement
Interview with a vampire Pose by Natalia-Auditore
Pose Request #129 by sciophobis
Pose Request #64 by sciophobis
Slowly Pose Pack by CazMari
When I’m With You Pose Pack by WyattSims
It’s a Date Poses by Simmerberlin
Dead Body Outfit by Natalia-Auditore
Halloween Poses Vampire Victim by helgatisha
Sims in Distress by JoanneBernice
Phone Talk 3 Friends by Natalia-Auditore
Guilty Death Posepack by Natalia-Auditore
Spellcaster Outfit by kennetha_v
Hold the Phone by Quiddity-Jones
Mimosa Dress by Sentate
Motel|Restaurant by BellePinte
Highway with Car Lights by Brip33k (I cannot squee about this build enough. It’s genius)
HAWT Kiss by FlowersSimFactory
Song is “S&M” by Rihanna (CPR Remix)