View Full Version : The Journal **Chapter 4 completed, 23/11/2010**
12th Oct 2010, 9:32 AM
Hey guys. I was kind of bored so I decided to start a story. It's kind of a mistery/thriller/drama sort of story - you get the idea. Yeah, that's basically it.
First off, I gotta tell you English isn't my mother tongue so pardon the lack of vocabulary, grammatical errors, mixed up of tenses and so on. Truthfully, this will have been the very first story I've ever written (or typed) :) Secondly, most of my characters are Sunset Valley's original sims. For now, they'll retain their names as well, for obvious reason that I haven't been able to come up with good ones yet. The city where this takes place is simply referred to as "The City". So that's that. Maybe I'll come up with a fancy name soon but we'll have to make do with this for now. :)
At first glance, this might give you the impression of a series of disjointed chapters and messed up storyline because the timeline is jumping all over the place, but I'll try to keep it as coherent as I possibly can.
I'm not really sure how to introduce you guys to this story so I'll just dive straight into it. Really looking for your readership and suggestions. Thanks in advance!
The Journal: A Murderer's Tale
"How badly do you want to know the truth?"
The Penultimate Chapter
It looked like this was it for him.
Standing in the courtroom for the last time, guilty of mass murder and having no one to defend his case, he knew full well impending death awaited. "It doesn't matter," he thought, "No one will have to be there to mourn for me. No one will cry. The world won't stop spinning."
It was a particularly gloomy day, but as everyone knew, that was not why the courtroom was almost empty for the sentencing of Wallace. Not that people were reluctant to sit in. Not that they were incredibly busy. Not that he was despised. There was just no one, no one who knew him well enough, to bother being present at this final hearing. Til the end, he was alone.
It was, however, public knowledge what had happened to him before all the killing began. Practically every soul in the city had heard of the tales of his tragic past. A year and a half ago, people would talk about him and labeled him 'the single most unfortunate person that had ever walked these streets', 'a living tragedy' or anything along that line. The city had even become well-known for his story: it had attracted media attention, which in turn triggered investments and an influx of tourists. An irony. They grew wealthier and happier laughing at someone else's disaster. But that was a year and a half ago, before he'd woken up. For the past eighteen months, people had been avoiding the topic while the city tried to limit media coverage and sacrificed countless deals full of prospect. Everybody feared a certain something. A secret well kept, a threatening truth that would have brought chaos and turmoil if it were exposed. So they all kept quiet and watched him carry out his every act. No one, not even the authorities really stepped up. All along his murderous streak, it was just him and his victims - who might or might not have seen what they had coming for them. It seemed like it had all been arranged, like it was a divine plan of a greater power slowly being played out. Or was it?
There was still around fifteen minutes on the clock before the hearing commenced. The judge, Nick Alto, glanced at Wallace with caution, as if he feared his returning gaze, and sighed. Alto's return to court duties after his long absence, which had coincidentally started eighteen months ago right after the events surrounding Wallace, generated a buzz amongst the public. Many speculated that the city's most respectable judge had seen everything coming and, for some reason, waited just for this day. Infamous for his lust for glory, it was not entirely unbelievable for one to say Nick Alto had only taken a break in preparation for the greatest achievement of his career. However, a few in the rare population that was present in the courtroom on this fateful day saw something in Alto's eyes that said different. It was genuine fear, with just a little hint of sympathy, something that had been said to be the one quality Alto lacked as a person.
Emily and Cecelia are the youngest in the crowd, and both of them had just recently moved to this city as roommates in pursuit of their law degrees. Cecelia came from the richest area of the country. Almost all of her friends questioned her decision to apply into the Law Institution, as this city where the school was located had always been known for its outrageous crime rate. Besides, all her life she had been named 'The Drama Queen' for her flair for acting, and sudden outbursts of emotions. If anyone happened to be around her when she had a bad day, they should be prepared for the most stressful conversation they had ever have their entire life. However, the brunette knew better. Ambitious as she was, Cecelia had plotted a detailed plan for her future and it included her becoming the top student here. Her roommate, Emily, was not quite as outspoken or adventurous. She did not engage in conversations, avoided strangers and appeared unfriendly at times. Surprisingly, she had always been the first one recognized in the crowd, thanks to her striking dark pink hair and a devious taste for fashion. Her characteristics, however, were the opposite of what she looked like. Thoughtful, optimistic and full of curiosity all the time, she had left many speechless at her sincerity and the ability to see goodness in others. Emily did not have many friends, but the ones she did have considered her the best person they had come to know. Foreign to the tale of Wallace's past, the two young girls wondered about the true motive behind his actions, which were, apparently, an unspoken secret the whole city had known all along.
"Cecelia?", Emily whispered.
Cecelia was stiff. She couldn't turn to face her friend. "I feel nervous."
"First time, huh?"
"No. We're in close proximity of a serial killer. Hello?" The bimbotic-looking brunette gave her pink-haired roommate a matter-of-fact stare.
"Yeah. He killed like, what? Ten? Twenty? But it should be alright. Just how many security guards do you think there are around here?" Emily chuckled.
"I don't know, Emily. This man is dangerous." Cecelia replied, her voice sounded as if she almost reached the point of exclaiming in the middle of the courtroom, "I mean, his two hands have been drenched in so much blood! What if he kills everyone here right now?"
"I'm pretty sure he won't. He only killed people with some sort of connections to his past, right? Now I haven't done my homework so I don't really know what these connections are. But there's definitely a story behind everything he did."
Cecelia was not convinced. "Are you saying this cold-blooded killer isn't cold-blooded?"
"Maybe. He's only human, after all."
It was seconds before the start of the hearing, and time felt like it came to a standstill. He closed his eyes. Some people say one usually sees his life flashing before his eyes before he dies, and Wallace did, although they could only come in blurry, fractured bits and pieces.
It was bright. The life that he had lost, that was.
He came from a prestigious family. Well respected. He was one of the most successful businessmen around. One of the richest men in the world. He had houses, cars. A living icon of the new middle-class generation.
He would go to the theater every now and then, to catch the newest movies, hottest music live shows and plays he loved so much. He would spend hours taking pictures and painting with different media. He would not miss a single soccer match at the local stadium. A youthful and artistic person he was. Full of life and passion.
He was sociable, courteous and caring towards others. Some said he was one of the friendliest businessmen with celebrity status around. Others said he'd gotten such lovable traits from his parents - truly legendary figures of the country's political history. Before the incidents.
And the love of his life. They were getting married.
"Mister Wallace." Nick Alto's voice broke the silence. "Let us commence."
He opened his eyes. And all that was left ahead of him was nothingness.
"He's human, after all?! What kind of answer is that? I'm sure he'd be really 'human' if he were to slit your throat right now." Cecelia mocks Emily.
"I don't know." Emily silently replied, her eyes focusing on the judge and the defendant, "There's definitely more to this. You can think I'm being funny, but this man..."
Cecelia seemed to have lost her patience, "C'mon, Emily."
"...He looks more like a victim to me."
A lot of questions, I know. But I promise you I'll bring you to all the details and revelations and stuff. So stay tuned.
I hope that didn't waste your time. :)
*Edit 1: Added some backstories to Emily and Cecelia. In my legacy, they're sisters actually. Their father is in fact Wallace right there, who's also the legacy founder. And their mother is Holly Alto. Basically if you put this part of the story into the context of my legacy, we'll have the grandfather sentencing the father while the children watch. It's messed up. Haha.
13th Oct 2010, 10:51 PM
Interesting story, I'll be checking this from now on :)
And you edit your photos really beautifully.
13th Oct 2010, 11:36 PM
I agree with the above. I can't wait to read what happens next!
14th Oct 2010, 3:01 AM
The Chapter Somewhere In Between
"Something's up, doc."
"I hate this job," thought Jamie Langeraak, "I would have quit long ago if it weren't for how much they're paying." The blond Medical School graduate had been working at the General Hospital as a part-time nurse for about a year. For her, there really was not much to complain about, other than the occasional night shifts and grumbling elderly patients every once in a while. The habit of overusing ad-misericordiam to gain her family's support on this job, however, had made her look at it so negatively she couldn't love it anymore. Whenever her colleagues went on about how a common General Hospital nurse could make more money than top physicians in other cities, Jamie would point out how much harder it was to actually become a nurse here than any other part of the country. As much as she tended to whine about the job, Jamie couldn't help but feel much prouder about it lately. Four months ago, on Jamie's lucky day, Bethany, one of the Hospital's most experienced nurses was, well, not so lucky, and ran her car straight into a streetlight. You got the rest. No one knew how that happened, but Jamie couldn't be all too bothered; the unfortunate nurse had always played a part in her weekly whining session to her family about the job anyway. What made that day wonderful for Jamie, however, was doctor Ethan Bunch's decision to appoint her to take over Bethany's duties. Jamie was lucky, because the decision was random. Not only was that decision equivalent to a promotion, it also made her known to a significantly greater population of The City. Reason being, her new duty was to attend to the tragic famous Wallace, who had been in a coma for almost a year. At first, she was excited. Constantly staying close and checking on the status of the country's most celebrated young entrepreneur made her feel special. However, after four months, Jamie had grown rather tired of having to carry out the same repetitive tasks every day, while realizing that sometimes grumbling old patients were much better than one who couldn't even speak at all.
Friday night used to be Jamie's favorite time of the week, when she would go out with the girls to nightclubs, dance, drink to the brink of death, and maybe pick up one or two cute guys there for some fun after-parties. For the past sixteen weeks, she hadn't had a single taste of that Friday night fever, being stuck with a motionless patient in a dull hospital. She had always despised the green that could be found anywhere in this place. It gave the building this sort of eerie feeling, and it messed with her eyes. The scheduled check-up time for Friday nights was nine o'clock. Jamie dragged her feet along the corridor to Room 306 as usual, expecting nothing out of the ordinary. She had been so used to these procedures she was simply operating like an automated machine. "Alright, girl. Turn the knob, walk in, look at the pulse, then get out." Jamie thought to herself, "Make it below two minutes today." Realizing how sarcastic that thought seemed, Jamie felt pitiful for herself as she opened the door. "Okay. I'm in--"
Her body froze for some moment she wasn't sure how long. She'd thought she was seeing things.
Then she was shocked. So much that she could not let out a gasp.
Wallace wasn't lying in bed as he had been for over a year.
"--and he's standing there, looking around the room...?!"
"Doctor Bunch?" Jamie's voice sounded hoarse and out of breath as she rushed into the doctor's office.
She stopped at the door for a second or two, not sure how she would break the news to her boss, then slowly stepped towards his desk, half nervous, half excited.
Ethan Bunch was considered one of the most brilliant minds of his generation, much like Wallace, without a similar prestigious family background to back him up or launch him further in his career. To him, fame and recognition used to mean close to nothing. However, since his promotion to the General Hospital's role of head surgeon, along with several successful major operations, he had become increasingly conceited. Knowing full well his own abilities, coupled with an impulsive personality, Ethan Bunch was the definitive representative of the country's current generation: efficient, quick, competitive and pragmatic. It was the very brain surgery on Wallace that had given him a great push in reaching his current position. Wallace was taken to the hospital unconscious, with a severe head injury, a massive loss of blood and multiple body wounds. Almost every doctor available that night refused to take up the duty for fear of responsibility - after all, the whole country would blame them if they failed in saving his life - except for Ethan Bunch. As most of the hospital's employees could still recall, that fateful night, the young surgeon was standing firmly at the other end of the corridor where Wallace was being brought in, almost as if he had anticipated this event, and waited to take it head on. Bunch, then an unknown face in the trade, was fired up and fully ready for the operation. He completely understood the significance of this one event to his whole future. Such a stressful but successful 12-hour operation was unprecedented, and Ethan Bunch was hailed king of the medical world. Always at work and continuously doing research, his world revolved around the emergency room and the computer.
"Here we go again." Ethan Bunch sighed, "Why does this have to happen at least once a day? If it's not Robbie, it'd be Michelle. Not Michelle, it'd be Jimmy. Now it's you?"
Realizing she might be interrupting the doctor's serious work, Jamie tried to catch her breath and replied calmly. "It's no trivial stuff, doctor. Something's up."
"What is it?" Bunch refused to look away from the monitor.
"Correction. Someone's up."
This time, he seemed genuinely surprised. Hardly anyone ever successfully surprise Ethan Bunch, for he could almost creepily tell any point another person was trying to make to him before it could be delivered across. He glanced at Jamie, "Pardon?"
"It's Wallace, doc. He's woken up." Jamie tried her best to hide the excitement in her eyes as she spoke.
However, it was not excitement that she got in return from Bunch's reaction. All she saw was a bizarre look of bewilderment and fear on his face.
After a brief moment of silence, Ethan Bunch replied.
The door to Wallace's room was left open, and both Jamie and Ethan were still in too much shock to realize they should always knock before entering.
The man whose life was now filled with myths and mysteries stood with his back facing them, looking out the window into the night street.
"Mister Wallace?" There's a rare lack of confidence in Ethan's voice.
As of this point, nobody could tell what had really happened to Wallace's brain. Right after the operation, Ethan had run a series of tests and analysis, and concluded that there was a strong possibility that Wallace might suffer from a temporary memory loss, the extent of which could only be determined by the recovery ability of his brain functions.
The patient's eyes seemed to have suddenly regained their light and snapped back to reality. He turned and replied, "I'm-- sorry. Are you calling me?"
Jamie whispered and nudged the doctor, "You were right. Congrats."
However, Ethan Bunch did not seem to be in the mood for jokes. Jamie found it strange, as she'd figured the doctor should have been relieved seeing his patient wake up and well.
"Do you remember anything?" Ethan asked.
"I've-- I've been trying. No good. This is-- weird. What's happening to me?" Wallace seemed to be struggling to string his words together, as if his brain needed to kick start again after resting for over a year. His eyes, though, were as fresh as his current bank of memories.
Ethan appeared slightly more confident now. "You're suffering from a temporary loss, due to an accident. Pretty nasty. But don't worry, we're doing our best and you'll be fine."
Jamie was practically on the sideline from this point onwards. All she could do was watch the conversation between the two celebrities. "He's actually pretty cute," Jamie mumbled to herself, as her eyes followed Wallace who had walked towards the mirror.
"Am I really-- ? I don't even know who I am. What I do. Who knows me. Who I know. It's like-- I've lost my whole life!" There was a clear sense of desperation in Wallace's voice.
"Look, hey." Ethan Bunch approached Wallace. "Your memories will return. Rest assured. For the time being, you'll go home, relax, and think of nothing else. Alright?" His words were meant to be those of reassurance, but they somehow came out sounding like direct orders.
Wallace's train of thought was not quite intact yet. He had no sense of mental direction and had trouble trusting Ethan's advice. "Home?", he doubtfully asked.
"I must have had a family. I did-- didn't I?"
"You did. One helluva family."
Wallace seemed to have missed the connotation in Ethan's choice of words. "What are they like?"
Ethan decided to go along with the questions and not directly tell Wallace the fact his whole family had been murdered, figuring he could find out for himself. "The best one around. Rich. Famous. Powerful. And they love you."
"Really?" Wallace was extremely surprised about his own heritage.
"Really. Plenty of houses, cars. You were a player, man. You had a whole damn company to yourself. Ruled the world." Ethan Bunch was now in the mood for conversation.
Jamie noticed the drastic change in her boss's attitude. She just couldn't quite figure out the reason why.
"A company?" Wallace was even more stunned.
"Accounting, graphics software. Computer chips. Games. You name it." Jamie suddenly cut in, surprising the two gentlemen. "I, um, did a little research." She was immediately embarrassed and tried to avoid Wallace's eyes.
There was a brief awkward silence hanging in the air. Wallace continued. "Thanks. Wow. That's... impressive. Big company, huh?" He felt rather accomplished and reassured knowing that little bit about his otherwise disastrous past.
"You don't say. Oh, but. It got closed down." Ethan deflated the mood.
Wallace was visibly disappointed. "Oh..."
"Don't worry though. There was a special governmental agreement with your family to not seize all your properties. Big shots, all of you. So yeah, you're good." Ethan tried to rectify the situation.
"I see." Traces of Wallace's brilliant mind slowly came together and he started questioning the facts that had been brought up by the two people in front of him. "How-- Why did it get closed down though? And how was it even possible for my family to come to terms with the government?"
Realizing carrying on with the conversation might be risky, Ethan decided to back out. "It's a long story. And it's yours. You'll find out everything in time."
Reluctant, Wallace replied, "Yeah. I guess you're right. Thank you." He was still trying to process the fresh info that had just been delivered across.
Jamie had been observing all this while, and noticed Ethan's attempt to divert the attention away from Wallace's past. She, as any other Citizen would have, understood and lent Ethan a hand. She quickly ran out of the room and came back with a file that included basic particulars about Wallace's condition and treatment, along with belongings he had had with him upon admission - an empty wallet, an engagement ring and an empty backpack. Ethan noticed and gave her a slight nod, to which Jamie smiled. "Another promotion for yours truly." She thought, "No more of these shitty Friday night shifts". As she handed Wallace's stuff to him, Jamie suggestively whispered, "If anything, come back and find me okay?" She then left the room, took out her phone to call her girls for the first Friday night out in a long time, feeling completely satisfied with the events that had taken place. Wallace didn't seem to take note of her hint, though.
Seeing that Jamie had left the room, Ethan spoke. "There's one more item." He seemed hesitant as he tried to churn out the words.
"Oh, there is?"
Ethan opened a locked drawer in the room using a combination he looked like he had had all along, and took out a dark green notebook, used but left untouched for a long time. "Your journal."
Wallace took the notebook. "Thank goodness. This will really help. Thanks for helping me keep it." A rather natural sense of privacy came at the same time. "Did you, uh--"
"No. Not a single word." Ethan seemed sincere. "So, you're going back to one of your houses now. I'll call your driver."
"I have a-- You know my driver?" Wallace was puzzled.
"Please. Almost every driver in this city is your driver." Although it was intended as a joke, there was a hint of jealousy in Ethan's tone. After all, he was a talented and successful man that had not been able to achieve Wallace's past status.
They spent the following half hour finishing up necessary paperwork. Afterwards, Ethan showed Wallace out of the hospital where they both waited for the car to pick him up. It was silent. Rather than awkward, the silence was tense. For the man who had lost all of his memory, everything in his head was still a mess and he felt as if he was navigating in the void. For the doctor, it was some unspoken uneasiness. Ethan seemed like he had been bearing a secret, deeper and darker than just the one the whole city was going to bear from this point onwards, and he would have to continue bearing it.
"Thanks, doctor Bunch." As he entered the car, Wallace smiled, suggesting his utmost gratitude for all that had been done for him.
The car zoomed into the black night, leaving Ethan alone on the sidewalk. He let out a sigh of relief. But there was something that was still bugging him, and a certain fear that wouldn't go away.
"I still can't believe he wasn't sentenced to death!", shouted Cecelia across the City Library's newspaper archive.
"Jesus, girl. It's dark, it's spooky and we're alone in the library. Please don't scare me." Emily replied. "Mind you, we broke in and we don't wanna be found out!"
Cecelia and Emily were still in shock after the conclusion of Wallace's sentencing earlier that day. They were left with no answer and even more questions about the case. From a learning law student's point of view, the court hearing was a total failure. While Cecelia was enraged and wanted to block the whole deal out of her memory, Emily was instead curious, as she always was. So the both of them sneaked into the City Library's newspaper archive, hoping to find out more details and actual revelation to the case by digging up and stringing past events together. It was Emily's idea, and Cecelia was in it for the movie treat and Emily's promise to introduce her to a certain school football (author's note: NOT soccer) captain named Ryan.
"Roger that, boss. Got anything yet?"
"Not really. A couple things about his old company. How his innovations led to success. Nothing we haven't known. How about you?"
"I got a bit on his daddy-- here, listen. "There was a dispute amongst elected officials on the controversial topic of whether or not we should be launching nuclear warheads targeting the suburbs of Nation X, (author's note: some random country) as a form of military warning. Minister of National Defense, mister Michael, has publicly voiced his disapproval of such an aggressive and threatening move. He instead suggests diplo--" whatever. This happens all the time. Can't be linked to why his whole family was assassinated."
Emily spent a few moments to think. "Or it could be. Keep looking."
"Don't you find it weird? People in this city seem to know so much more than stuff in printed materials! If only they would tell us!" Cecelia voiced out her immediate thoughts.
"True. But this is way more fun." Emily smiled as the inner curiosity told her how enjoyable this detective game was.
Cecelia rolled her eyes, "Yeah yeah, sure. Not like I really care about the guy anyway. I care about Ryan, though!" For girls Cecelia's age, with the exception of Emily, ambitious or not, having a boyfriend seemed pretty much of a priority.
Cecelia had another thought. "So, this Wallace guy. Revenge?"
"Can't be sure. He did kill quite a few government officials though." Emily was rarely hasty in her conclusions. She enjoyed figuring out details and considering alternatives.
"Yeah! And a dozen others! And guess what he got? 50 years in prison. ONLY! Ridiculous!" Cecelia was still furious.
"We'll find an explanation, okay? There should be a good reason why he wasn't sentenced to death."
"Stop trying to invent good sides to bad guys, Emily! He murdered many people, and there's seriously NO excuse for that."
"We'll have a bet, yeah? If I lose, I'll introduce you to Robert too, how about?"
Cecelia appeared vulnerable to such deals. "Ooh, now we're talking. And if I lose?"
"I'll think of something."
"I won't lose anyway, Em. There's no redemption for such animosity so you won't find it."
"I'd like to prove you wrong." Emily was firm with her stand. "Okay, if we can't figure out the reasons for his killings. Let's trace back the recorded events then. What have you got over there?" Emily walked towards Cecelia as she spoke. "His first victim, for example? I remember it was some pretty well-known guy."
"Let's see here. Oh, here we go. His first victim. Ethan Bunch."
Thereeee we go. Took me a long ass time to type. I'm gonna need way more time to make my storyline coherent now. If I go off track some time soon, please help slap me back to my senses all right? Haha.
And, taking screenshots was actually pretty tiring. I needed to create the sets and everything. And my computer is slow as snail.
Hope you guys enjoy reading this. :)
*Note, on the significance of Emily and Cecelia: As you might have understood from the first 2 chapters, the role of Emily and Cecelia is to be some sort of indirect narrator. They won't be involving with Wallace per se, but they will help uncover the story, rather than me typing "Oh, so then Wallace kills this guy because blah blah blah". These two characters are also here to bring out a few of my social commentaries, if I can manage to show all that using them. Cheers. :)
**I just realized these two posts alone stretch over 12 MS Word pages at font size 12. I think that's a bit long for a forum post, which might be an eyesore to read through? Should I cut up every chapter into smaller pieces? :S
14th Oct 2010, 3:24 AM
Interesting story, I'll be checking this from now on :)
And you edit your photos really beautifully.
I agree with the above. I can't wait to read what happens next!
Thank you. I'll try my best to make it good. :)
14th Oct 2010, 12:41 PM
thanks for the story
the plot is interesting and it keeps u reading!=)
14th Oct 2010, 3:00 PM
Oh by the way, guys. I'd also very much like to find out from you which characters you guys find more appealing, and which ones not so much. Just so that I have a rough idea of how I should go about developing them. Y'know. That'd be really helpful and appreciated. Maybe there's not enough content for you to comment on them yet, so I'll write more and we'll get there, but I'm just trying to make a point in advance. :)
14th Oct 2010, 5:29 PM
I think everything is fine the way it is. Your doing great keep up the good work! Be confident in your work because its great!
15th Oct 2010, 1:01 AM
You write better than the majority of people whose native tongue is English. Normally I don't like dramas much, but I am actually curious to find out the reason behind the murders etcetera. One of the best stories I've ever seen on this site. And no, I don't think you should cut the chapters into the smaller bits. Love the long chapters.
15th Oct 2010, 2:45 AM
Thank you very much. :) I myself am learning as I type, since I'm not much of a reader and had quite some difficulty figuring out the formats and everything. (I actually had to Google 'how to use dialogue in a novel'. Haha.)
15th Oct 2010, 3:05 PM
The Opening Chapter
"Nice is good."
**Warning: coarse language ahead.**
"So I told him, "Mr. Dodds, you can either continue sitting there on your throne doing nothing, or you get down from it, hand it over to me, and I'll pay you ten times as much as what you're making right now."
"Yeah! You really should've seen his face, dude."
It was a rare beautiful Saturday afternoon in The City. The sun was shining ever so bright, but there was enough cloud cover on this fine day to prevent the heat from agitating every Citizen, as it did almost every other day. This weather was ideal for lots of outdoor fun and a fulfilling weekend break from hectic work schedules. However, as a Citizen, one would come to understand that this rapidly developing city neither rested nor slept. The idea of holidays or vacations had long been put aside for the sake of becoming rich and famous, and we all know who is to blame for creating that mindset. Places like The City Cinema, the Tropical Theme Park or the West Lake were forgotten by most people, except for maybe a very small portion of the population. Here's the deal: If you were a Citizen and decided to enjoy the weekend, you would most likely be filthy rich, have filthy rich parents, have a filthy rich friend or just know that you couldn't make it here anyway and might as well stop trying.
The West Lake used to be a weekend fishing hot spot for enthusiasts, before a certain Wallace finished his double degrees, opened a company, achieved almost unimaginable success and indirectly inspired every other Citizen to become a workaholic. It was now common sense to know that places such as this one, no matter how visually appealing, should by right be empty. And even if there were actually people here, the number would not go beyond three. Available scenarios to consider: Wallace by himself, Wallace with his mom, Wallace with his dad, Wallace with both his parents, or Wallace with his childhood friend - the mysterious mischievous Angela Doom. On this breezy Saturday afternoon by the lakeside, it was the last scenario that took place.
Wallace and Angela's families had been friends for generations, even though they departed into very different directions. Wallace's family embarked on the political path while Angela's had always preferred the free, on-the-move lifestyle. As the surname Doom suggested, Angela could prove to be a terrifying physical force at times. She feared no one, and played by no one's rules. The world was her playground and she wanted to wreck it up in every way humanly possible - or invent new ways, if she ever ran out of those humanly possible ones. Unlike Wallace, who was friendly and enjoyed the company of most people, Angela included, the girl initially found it hard to relate to him. The first two years of their friendship, Angela had tried to disturb Wallace in more ways than anyone could imagine, only to find out how witty and gutsy he actually was. Despite being vastly different in characters, Wallace and Angela could always share their secrets with each other. She was the source of his determination sometimes, and he acted as her very own psychiatrist other times. They were destined to be best friends, as some would say.
"Right, I shoulda seen his face." the brownish-orange-haired gothic-looking Angela smirked as she jokingly repeated Wallace's words. Having been best friends for over ten years, it was almost second nature for Angela to know exactly what was on his mind.
His eyes still focusing on the fishing rod, Wallace noticed Angela's tone. "C'mon. I did tell him those exact words!"
"Did you now?"
Wallace understood that he had once again been read, "Okay yeah, not those exact words."
"Why did you even try to impress me anyway, you big idiot?" Angela burst into laughter. She was infamous for having a loud sinister laughing voice, which had, coupled with the unique family name Doom, managed to scare the living daylight out of many - something she was immensely proud of, too. "You're too nice to even intimidate a cat."
"Nice is good." Wallace replied. Hanging out with Angela had never failed to help him relax after a stressful working week.
"And what's the deal with those specs? They aren't even real."
"It's supposed to be fashionable. You should get yourself a pair, too."
"So very fashionable." Once again, Angela had completely read Wallace's mind "Or is it your attempt to look geeky, hoping to drive away the fangirls that are probably still flooding your doorstep right now?"
Although he tried to keep a straight face, Wallace couldn't help but smile, knowing Angela would always understand any of his problems. "You're seriously annoying."
"Well, at least it works. You look like a dork."
"Not saying you look any less of a dork without those specs, by the way."
"Thank you very much."
Being someone easily over-sensitive to other people's interests, Wallace often made compromises at the expense of his own well-being. For as long as anyone can remember, Wallace had lived the life of a shy and humble young man, always hiding his true capabilities and personal needs.
"I would ask you how your last night went, but since I already know you spent it at Club Zero with those ugly boys, we can skip that question."
"Dead on." Wallace indeed spent his Friday night on a few rounds of pool with his WalCorp employees, who would then go back to work, sleepless until Sunday night. Applying into WalCorp was a tiresome and competitive process, which would ultimately be determined by answering Wallace's one interview question correctly. The right answer was "no", and the question was "Are you human?"
"So," Wallace continued, "how was your Friday night?"
Angela spent a few seconds recalling everything that she had done, and nonchalantly summed it all up, "Oh, just the usual. Busted up a car, got busted by the cops, got busted out by the gang. Standard stuff."
"I'd imagine." Wallace always found his best friend's rebellious adventures rather amusing. In fact, he used to go with her to play pranks on neighbours when the two were still going to school. Lately he had just become too overwhelmingly busy for all those adrenaline rushes.
"Don't you find it weird though, Wally?" Angela asked.
"Find what weird?"
"You're this city's golden boy. Hell, you're the most well-known motherfucker in the whole wide world these days. And you're stuck here hanging out with the neighbourhood's hugest troublemaker." Angela seemed concerned.
Wallace saw where Angela was getting at, but decided to go with the flow anyway. "And your point is?"
"Aren't you afraid being friends with me will tarnish your reputation?" The question came out sounding almost matter-of-factly.
Wallace replied at once. "Alright, I find your question weird. We've been friends for the longest time, and if I had to choose between my reputation and you, I'd pick you in less than one millisecond."
The answer brought a beatific smile to Angela's face. She was grateful for having Wallace as a friend, and she knew the feeling was mutual.
"Wow, what a charmer." This was Angela's way of expressing gratitude without revealing too much of her real emotions. Not that Wally didn't know her well enough to comprehend her true feelings.
"It's true. Besides, without you, I wouldn't have survived high school. Remember the guys on the basketball team? Wanted to beat me up--"
"Yup, for utterly owning them at one-on-ones and stealing their girlfriends' hearts in the process. You're the man."
Wallace was now in high spirit. His college days were enjoyable and full of the recklessness of a young man in his early twenties. "Right. And you. You came out of nowhere when they were surrounding me. You gave Charles, was it, a stare. And he was frozen. Frozen!"
"Guy's a pussy." Angela enjoyed reminiscing good old times, especially those where she owned.
"See, you were like my guardian angel or something."
"Quit being humble to your best friend, you dumbass. We both know you could've totally handed all five of their asses to them by yourself. All that karatedo you had in you."
"But I didn't, did I?"
There was a brief moment of silence. Angela spent a short second within her own thoughts.
"When are you gonna stop playing nice, Wallace? You can easily rule the world if you so wish. You're the best!" The usually mean-spirited girl quickly realized she was being uncharacteristically encouraging and clumsily tried to cover up. "For awesome me to say such things to a pansy-ass like you, that means a lot."
"Told you. Nice is good. And I'm nice." There was just a passing shift of expression on Wallace's face that indicated what Angela said had made him think. Able to think as quick as he could, it was next to impossible for any person to detect the slightest trace of disturbed emotions from his facial expressions.
Angela seemed far from convinced. "Dude--"
"Hold on! Whoa!"
The cork was being pulled vigorously from under water. Wallace had successfully baited a humongous Siamese catfish. He quickly released his strength and wound the reel. Even though she had seen him done this time and time again, Angela was still amazed by how skillful Wallace was with the fishing rod, and pretty much anything else she had seen him do.
"Gotcha!" Wallace heavily exhaled with satisfaction upon catching the biggest fish of the afternoon.
Angela checked her watch, suddenly realizing she had something on at her father's auto-repair shop that night, "Shoot. It's six. I gotta go over to my old man's."
"I'll give you a lift." Wallace swiftly headed towards the car park before his best friend could react to the offer.
It was eight o'clock. The West mansion was solemn and silent as it had been ever since Michael and Christine's only son went to university and started fending for himself. It was one of the biggest buildings in the whole country, yet occupied by only the two of them, Wallace's parents. It was their long-time habit to let the maids go home for the weekend, out of generosity, not that they didn't know these maids would just look for extra jobs elsewhere.
Michael West was the Minister of National Defense. Always wearing a serious face, he made everyone felt as if his brown hair could turn white any time due to unbearable stress levels. Michael was amongst the most respected, and feared, figure of the whole government body. His decisions were always carefully thought out, for the interests of all parties involved. However, other people's welfare had never gotten in the way of Michael's line of action when it came to exacting justice. That was probably why his voice carried so much weight in the political world: a reasonable man with the iron hand. People were guessing every now and then that Wallace had inherited his acute decision making ability from his father, but Michael often tried his best not to comment. To him, the field of politics was a deadly battlefield, and the soldiers participating in it would be burdened for life. He dreaded the job. He dreaded aggression. He did not want his son, who was relishing with talent and passion, to follow in his footsteps and therefore avoided any form of contact with Wallace. Wallace, on the other hand, had never shown any interest in the war game. They rarely spoke, but there was a mutual understanding and agreement between the two men that this lack of communication was all for the best. The father and son bond was firmly secure.
On this chilling night, Michael seemed to have some thoughts on his mind. He had been staring out the window for an hour. He was weathered by the workload, and things that were constantly going on in the country's government office.
From the top floor, he could see a sport car approaching. He didn't know his son had decided to pay a weekend visit, for the simple reason that Wallace owned too many cars for anyone to finish registering into their memories.
Christine was resting by the indoor pool of the mansion. She was a classy woman, always beautifully dressed, regardless of where she was. An advocate for women's rights within The City Council, she had made significant contributions to the rise of women here, bringing them to equal footings with the already competitive men. Her passion for activist works could only be matched by perhaps the love for her husband and Wallace. His entire primary school year, Wallace did not eat a single lunch that was not prepared by her. Even now when he thought of it, he would not be in the slightest bit embarrassed for being a such a mama's boy. Christine was truly a mother and wife to be proud of.
"Baby? Is that you?" Christine turned to take a peek at the door.
"Who else could it be other than dad?" Wallace walked towards her with a warm smile on his face.
"Come here kiddo."
Wallace bent down to kiss his mother on the cheek. "I missed you. How are you?"
"Still alive and kicking. All the girls around here will be so, so dead when your mommy's in the coffin." She jokes.
"Mom, that's disturbing." Wallace frowned. He got the point, but didn't really appreciate the dark humour.
"Disturbing? I thought you've forgotten the meaning of that word thanks to our dear little Angela?" Christine had never been particularly fond of her son's best friend, even though the two families were so close to each other. However, she didn't dislike her either.
"She'd never say she'd die. She'd say she'd kill death."
Christine laughed. "Will you be staying tonight?"
"Yeah, yeah I think so. After all, the party is tomorrow, right?"
The party was being thrown by the big guns of the government, the Armed Force General and the Minister of Social Welfare, to celebrate the country's successful discovery and ceasing of advanced biochemical weapons Country X had been stockpiling and developing for war purposes. This operation was led mainly by Michael West, and it was decided that it was only right for the party to be held in The City. All the nobles, famous celebrities and businessmen were invited to the event. It was almost funny how Wallace could be labeled with any of those titles. Michael, however, was not thrilled. He had never been so much of a parties' man as his son.
"Yeah. Tomorrow. At Cedric's Restaurant." Christine made another loving joke.
"C'mon mom. I never renamed it to Wally's Restaurant, did I?" Wallace looked around the first floor as he replied. "Where's pops?"
"Oh, he's upstairs. Go talk to him. He's acting weird, but he'll be more than pleased to see you."
"I miss this place." Wallace thought to himself as he followed the staircases to where his father was, still silently staring out into the dark.
"Pops?" Wallace spoke up, noticing Michael twitched just a little. "I'm home."
"The party isn't til tomorrow." Michael turned and stepped towards his son. He tried his hardest to regain the firmness in his voice.
"Wouldn't kill to check up on my folks first."
Even though it was not shown on his face, much like how Wallace had always masked his emotions, Michael felt reassured inside upon hearing so.
(Michael) "I hear you're doing well."
"Oh, yes. Business's been pretty much alright."
Both men were keeping the conversation formal, even though it was between father and son.
(Michael) "Is that so?"
"Yeah. Yes. In fact I just landed a merger yesterday. Bought Richard Dodds's Landon Global. Y'know. That telecommunication company-- ?"
"Yes, I know them alright. Good work. You'll be on top of the world in no time."
"So I've been told." Wallace chuckled a little as he attempted to lighten the mood, but to no avail. Michael still seemed to be brooding over something, which bothered Wallace. "So. How are you, dad? How's work?"
"Well, you know politics. They never rest."
Wallace seemed to have scratched the right spot. His father's reply had greenlit him to try to find out more. "Is it the Country X thing?"
"More or less. They want to nuke the place." Michael's facial expression turned much gloomier as he spoke.
Wallace seemed rather shocked. "Nuke the place? But that's crazy! What are you gonna do?"
"I'm not exactly sure. They did try to launch an attack on us first. They had a detailed plan for that. Advanced too, in fact. The nation is currently in fear and the government under pressure. We need to take action to regain our status and restate our position as a world power, so to speak." It seemed that Michael had given a fair amount of thought into the matter.
"Damn. Is there another way around?"
"It's either brute force or negotiations. Now we don't know if they're willing to discuss anything. I'm positive, though, that whatever it is that we're about to do, I will be the one to give the signal. And I'll make damn sure nothing goes wrong."
There was silence. For the second time of the day, the first time being after Angela's words, Wallace had to think.
"Whatever it is, dad," he said, "I trust you'll do the right thing. You always have."
"I certainly hope so." Michael's thoughts seemed to be clouded by doubts.
Wallace took a step forward and took his father into his arms. "I won't be able to be on top of the world without your help, old man. You're that great."
Wallace's reassurance had managed to calm his father down. For the first time in many continuous hours, Michael could genuinely smile. He was glad his family was always there to be a supporting pillar through thick and thin.
"I don't know about that, but if Christine and I have done anything right, it's you."
Sensing life had returned to Michael's voice, Wallace felt relieved.
"It's late, pops. You should go to bed. You need some good sleep or the hangover on Monday will be terrible."
Michael was now much less tense than before, and his sense of humour had started working again, "Thank you, sir. That's very nice of you."
"That's good, isn't it?" Wallace replied with a smile.
He then turned towards the staircase, about to head down to his room. Michael still stood there, looking at his son, now all grown up and reliable. He couldn't help but think it was time the new generation stepped up to receive the baton. He got the feeling that the future of this country would one day be entirely in his very own son's hands, although he was not sure how to make sense of it.
"Good night, son."
"Love you, dad."
As if he understood Michael still had more to say, Wallace paused at the steps for a moment.
"I'm proud of you." Even though these are the exact words that Wallace had heard from his father throughout his childhood, this time did not feel the same. Michael meant it differently. He had acknowledged his son's growth and was ready to entrust the future to him without question.
"Good night, dad."
Wallace smiled as he walked down the stairs to his room.
It's getting longer and longer. xD But this is not the entire second chapter yet. So far it's been pretty much of a backstory to Wallace's past. A bit of background on what might have led to future events too. There's a lot more to it, so stay tuned. :)
Quite a few things will happen at the party, and there'll be relevant connections to the previous chapters too. So if you're confused at this point, don't worry too much. (I think? xD)
Page count is currently at 22. Yay me. Haha. :P
I'd like to read what you've made out of the first 3 chapters, if possible. Like possible evidences you've managed to pick up on/themes being addressed/hidden messages that you can find. Just so that I could assess and improve my own storytelling ability. That'd be awesomely helpful. :)
Also, feel free to take wild guesses as to what's going to take place in future chapters. A bit of fun is always welcome in the thread! ;)
*Edit 1: Added some dialogue pointers and corrected certain grammatical errors/awkward expressions.
*Note, on the treatment of Wallace, as a character: He will most likely never be given detailed characteristic, appearance or ambition descriptions, since that's mostly the point. He is the mystery here. :)
Til next time. :D
15th Oct 2010, 4:44 PM
good so far... I would just suggest that you put the name behind who is talk
example Wallace: Good Night
Micheal: Good Night
I dont know if its going to mess up the format or not
15th Oct 2010, 4:58 PM
The format I use is simple, actually. If all the dialogue is in the same line, it's from the same person. New line, it's the other person. And I have descriptions tagged along too, most of the time. :)
15th Oct 2010, 8:11 PM
EEE! I am loving this story, and the chapters are awesome!
Can't wait for the new one :D
15th Oct 2010, 10:10 PM
Brilliant post as before. You got the information across efficently but also entertainingly.
16th Oct 2010, 1:43 AM
Thanks for the support. :) New inspiration has just hit me so I'm off to try to put together a little more. :P
17th Oct 2010, 5:48 AM
The Party Chapter
"Sing for me."
**Warning: Coarse language ahead.**
"Slow down, Emily. I'm not as durable as you are." Cecelia appeared exhausted, both physically and mentally, even though it was only eight in the morning. "Have you any idea how far we've been running?"
Despite being known for its unbearably hot weather, The City was still occasionally blessed with cool days, or at least mornings. And this was one of them. Located by the ocean, if there was anywhere in this city that enjoyed the most sea breeze, it was the White Sands beach. One of the favourite tourist hotspots, the White Sands had generated millions worth of Simoleons for The City in the past three years. It was loved by both the young and old for its extensive stretch along the coast, coupled with eye-catching architectural designs that brought a refreshing festive feel to the entire area. A perfect party and wedding destination, the White Sands was usually fully booked throughout the year. It was said that only very few powerful figures or incredibly lucky people could land an advanced booking on this place.
Following the "Wallace phenomenon" - no, that's not referring to the rise of Wallace, but rather his downfall and the murderous streak - The City had lost its brightest icon, together with the inspiration that had reshaped the city over five years ago. Nowadays, when asking a random Citizen anything regarding his career, you would most certainly receive a standard answer along the lines of 'Career? No, I'm not crazy. I don't want to become a murderer afterwards." That could be one of the reasons explaining the increased number of people visiting community areas, shopping malls and places of attraction these days, especially the White Sands. The City had flipped a hundred and eighty degrees, from one characterized by uptight competitiveness to a heavenly holiday destination - at least now that Wallace had been caught and locked away.
It was Sunday, the day after Wallace's sentencing. Cecelia and Emily were still hanging around the area, letting some steam off after their late night detective attempt.
"I'm sorry," Emily replied as she tried to slow down, "it was just so, so scary!"
"It was your idea." Cecelia grumbled.
"I'm sorry, okay?" Emily knew how much her roommate disliked adrenaline rushes. Cecelia only wanted to do things she could firmly get a hold of. Expecting the unexpected was definitely not in her list of hobbies. "At least they didn't even come close to catching us." Emily tried to calm Cecelia down.
"Oh, you have no idea. I was the one waking up to the security guard's approaching footsteps!" Cecelia seemed furious, but childishly so. "What if we'd woken up a few seconds later?"
"Well, we made it out! And it's all thanks to you." Emily attempted another recovery. "I owe you one."
Once again, Cecelia was quickly flattered. "Make it two. Now you have to treat me to two lunches, and introduce me to another guy!" The boy-crazy brunette made her demands and laughed inside with devious pleasure.
"Awww c'mon!" Emily surrendered.
"Tommy, alright? Introduce me to Tommy." Cecelia pictured herself dating the hunky Drama club talent and giggled. She then mumbled, "Emily you lucky duck. Why must all the cute boys be in the same course as you?"
"Fine. But you gotta admit, you did enjoy all that action."
Cecelia laughed, "Yeah, okay. A little. Just because it made me feel like I was in a movie." She recalled the sequence in her head, "All that sneaking around, crawling on the floor, climbing in and out the windows."
Emily was excited, too. "I know, right? Let's do it ag--"
"Nuh-uh. Not in this lifetime, girly." Cecelia cut her adventurous friend mid-sentenced. "Besides, we got what we came for. I suppose you're satisfied?"
"More or less." The pink-haired girl flashed a smile and a look of fulfillment on her face.
"Wait. Tell me again, what have we got?" As usual, other than boy fantasies and her own ambitions, Cecelia's mind was not able to retain much information pertaining to others. However, she was confident she would not face many problems because of that, as long as the reliable Emily was around.
"Well. We now know that he--"
"Wait, wait! Look over there, Em!"
The two girls directed their attention towards the White Sands' famous outdoor restaurant - formerly known as Cedric's Restaurant, before it was signed over to none other than Wallace West. Eight o'clock in the morning was now considered too early for any adults to be awake on a Sunday. They'd sleep in til noon, get up, have lunch out and go to the theater for the regular weekend extended plays. However, Cecelia and Emily had caught a rare sight of an elderly couple relaxing at a table on this fine Sunday morning, and that was not the only surprising thing. As the two girls quickly recognized, it was judge Nick Alto, whom they had witnessed giving the final call on Wallace's sentencing to fifty years of prison the previous afternoon, and his wife Vita.
Having been married for over four decades, Nick and Vita Alto shared a bond of love, friendship and compassion for each other, and each other only, stronger than most other married couples in The City. As dangerous as his line of work could get, Vita was the one and only person Nick could entrust with any secret at all.
As the curious young girls could immediately tell, Nick and Vita Alto were having some kind of serious discussion. Suspecting it might have something to do with Nick's first court duty in eighteen months that had just taken place less than twenty hours ago, Emily and Cecelia decided to find a safe position to eavesdrop on the conversation.
"You've been silent since you came home yesterday." Vita spoke up after she took a sip of the restaurant's trademark apple juice. "Why is it do you want to drag the conversation out here in the open, when it could've been more private at home?" Vita Alto was always known as a vicious woman. Brutal with her words, she was said to be the only person that could handle an overly proud Nick Alto.
"I needed some fresh air." Nick Alto was still stressed. The pressure of the court had worn him out.
"Better now?" Vita patiently looked at her husband, waiting for the catch. "So, what is it?"
"It didn't go the way I wanted."
"Didn't the go the way anyone wanted." Vita had anticipated the words that came out of her husband's mouth. She knew him all too well.
"No. A lot of people in this city sympathized with him."
"Just because he was a little unlucky in the past." The cold-hearted lady spat out the words in disgust. "Doesn't justify any of his unthinkable crimes."
"I know he really did it."
"Of course he did." Vita thought her husband was being disappointing. She had expected more to the conversation.
Nick Alto understood that Vita was not impressed. "You don't get it. I know he consciously did everything that he did. With a motive. A drive."
"You mean, not because he got over-emotional after reading his own journal and decided to take it out on everybody?" Her tone was clearly full of sour sarcasm.
"As I've told you over and over again. For Christ's sake, I saw with my own two eyes, Vita."
Emily and Cecelia, hiding in a bush nearby, were both shocked and completely puzzled at the same time. They looked at each other, wide-eyed and lost, then turned back to continue observing this very curious conversation.
Nick Alto's mistress sighed. She was most probably thinking her husband was being paranoid. "So then, why did you let him live?"
"I couldn't overrule on that one. His brain signature clearly indicated he had not regained his lost memories. There were no definite evidences or witnesses other than some of his fingerprints, strands of hair and the fact that he confessed he'd carried out the murders without real motives. Fifty years in the Gorgon Heights was the best I could go for."
"Pity." Vita Alto remained unmoved.
"Now everybody's beginning to question the system." Nick continued. "While the people supporting him are saying what he did was exacting the justice the system failed to protect and it's only reasonable that he can't be executed, the people who are against him are also opposing us for being ineffective."
Vita stayed silent.
"In no time, they're all going to switch to his side. Doesn't that mean he's won?"
"A bit far-fetched for someone with no memory, don't you think?" Vita seemed to disagree with her husband's logic. "And that's assuming what you saw was right, and that he does actually have a motive."
"Unbelievable, though," she scoffed, "to think that that charming kid we once met could be capable of such things."
"We met him that one time, where--"
Vita glanced at Nick, "Frankly, your memory isn't that good either, Nicky." She took another sip. "Right here. Exactly five years ago."
The blurry images were slowly forming in the judge's mind. "That's right. The party."
Wallace rushed down the stairs, out of the mansion to where his car was parked. Noticing her son being in a hurry, Christine West shouted over from the garden where she was tending her beloved sunflowers. "Where are you going, Wally? Isn't it a bit early?"
"No mom, I'm meeting Angela. Then I'll see you guys at the beach." Wallace quickly replied as he hopped into his cherry red Ferrari.
"You kids dating?" The loving mother joked.
"Very funny, mom. I'm off." Wallace started the engine and zoomed away to the North Cafe, where Angela was waiting for him.
The North Cafe was located at a humble corner of The City. Only the most experienced people would know this place, and the owner intended to keep it that way. Unlike most Citizens, he disliked crowds and competitiveness, and instead cherished peace and tranquility. Knowing her best friend's trail of fangirls and paparazzis, Angela had picked this strategic place for their occasional hangouts and heart-to-heart talks. In fact, Wallace himself would not pick any place other than this, for he was in love with the simple yet cozy decor put up by the very artistic owner.
Angela took a quick glance at her wristwatch. "You're late, dickhead."
"You're early." Wallace playfully replied as he walked towards the table where his best friend was seated.
"Stayed over at your parents', mama's boy?" Angela smirked.
"Yup. They're both alright."
"I didn't ask."
"Well, just in case." Wallace saw that response coming, and he knew she would've asked if he hadn't said anything. "How did it go at your dad's last night?"
"Shitty. People love tiring themselves out with work. They use their cars more, screw them up more often, more work for my dad. And when that happens, I have to waste time helping." That was, in a sense, Angela's way of saying she had fun.
Wallace noticed one or two blisters on Angela's fingers. "Hmm. Let me see that hand?"
"The only thing I might let you see is my fist going up your ass." Angela quickly flipped her hand.
"My old man said you got cuter every time he saw you, by the way."
"Whoa, thank you uncle Doom. That's slightly creepy, though." They both laughed.
"He only loves your money. Imagine how much motherfuckin' alcohol he'd get if he got his hands on a thousandth of your income."
"Exactly why you've always rejected my offers to help him, right?"
After a brief pause, Wallace moved on to what he had wanted to ask Angela since he'd gotten the invitation to the party. "Dude, about the party later? Wanna come with me?"
Angela was surprised. "You off your freakin' rocker? Where's my place amongst you big shots? Besides, I wouldn't even receive such an invitation in another few hundred years, being who I am." She felt rather bitter about her own social position as she spoke.
"Surely they'd allow a plus one."
"I'll trash the place if I ever step foot there, and your dad will kill you for that." Angela made a clumsy excuse and tried to mask it with laughter. She felt awkwardly embarrassed, while being afraid her pride would be hurt if she agreed to tag along. "So I'll pass."
Wallace understood, although he had had his hopes up. "Well. It'll be really boring for me there. I don't talk politics."
"Pick up a chick." Angela tried to console her friend.
"Well, I know Vita Alto is gonna be there."
"The Vita Alto?"
They both laughed.
"What are you gonna do then?" Wallace asked.
"Fight club, probably."
"Good luck to the dude." Wallace knew exactly just how competent his fearless friend was at hand-to-hand combat. After all, they'd undergone the same karatedo course.
"No amount of luck will help the motherfucker."
"Then may he beg for your mercy."
"Sorry buddy. No mercy. Well, except for maybe you."
They traded warm smiles and a big hug. It was five o'clock and the party was starting shortly. Wallace said goodbye to his beloved friend and was gone to the beach in a flash. "This street corner is really fucking empty." Angela thought to herself as she finished up her avocado milkshake. She stayed at North Cafe for a little longer, alone.
Nightfall. The White Sands was brightly illuminated with a highly sophisticated lighting system designed by Wallace himself - one of his humbler innovations. Booming with a mishmash of music, ranging from classical to death metal, catering to the large and diverse group of party goers on this night, the city coast was shaken alive at the expense of nearby residences. Night time at the White Sands was indeed quite a sight any night other than this, when its true beauty was not overwhelmed by the, more often than not, overly festive mood. After all, when such extremely loud and exaggerated parties as this did not take place, the White Sands was usually chosen as a wedding location for its mesmerizing beauty during sunsets and soothing sounds of far ocean waves crashing into giant breakwaters.
It was only a few minutes past seven, but the party seemed to have begun hours ago. Everyone was present, in high spirits and chatting their lungs out. All the most prominent faces of The Country can be spotted here, from national leaders - the hosts - to movie legends, rising teenage pop stars. And Wallace. The best part was, thanks to it being hosted by the government, this party was a private event. Every single person present here was completely free of pressure of the press, fans and even hooligans. They could safely call this a night to enjoy. Conditions were perfect for socializing, making contacts and grabbing opportunities. Wallace walked around the party room, feeling slightly out of place, partly due to the fact that he was hardly interested in politics, and also because he felt like a moving target for advantage takers.
In the main hall, where just about everyone was roaming, Michael and Christine West were sharing a moment.
"I don't like this" Michael said, frowning. "They make serious national matters look like child's play."
Christine gently smiled. She adjusted her husband's bow tie and quietly reassured him. "Well, then you go up there and remind people that they're not. Then relax, and try to enjoy yourself. You've worked hard. You deserve this."
Michael was still thoughtful. "Why do I not feel like I've achieved something?"
"Because you're a big, humble and nice man, Minister." Christine patted her husband's shoulder. "I'm here for you."
His wife was truly his salvation. Michael West felt completely at ease as he took the microphone to the stage to deliver an opening speech.
"Ladies and gentlemen. We are gathered here today to celebrate one of the most vital moments in our great nation's political history. A success."
Christine pleasantly stood by and watched her husband carrying on his speech. She knew she couldn't have asked for a better man to rely on.
Wallace was outside, taking a break from talking to people, when he heard the thundering hand claps that followed his father's awe-inspiring words. Even though he had gone to so many parties that his feelings for them might have saturated altogether, Wallace still found it difficult to deal with socializing sometimes, especially when facing people who tried to make an impression by promoting themselves. As his mind wandered off for a moment, he bumped into a man who was walking in his direction.
"I'm so sorry." Wallace quickly apologized.
"It's al-- Wait, are you Wallace West?" The man enthusiastically replied upon realizing the famous figure in front of him.
"Oh, shit", thought Wallace. "Yes, I am. I'm sorry, you are?" He asked.
The man immediately offered his hand. He appeared overly excited, finally being able to approach his role model of sorts. "Bunch. Ethan Bunch."
"Nice to meet you." Wallace was keeping to his manners as they shook hands.
"I can't begin to tell you how incredible it is to finally meet you in person!" Ethan, younger, livelier and more innocent than we had come to know, expressed his immediate feelings to Wallace.
"Thank you." the celebrity flashed a friendly smile and tried to avoid further conversation. Even though he was considered a celebrity, he was a shy one at that.
Ethan noticed Wallace's uneasiness almost right away, being perceptive as he always was. "Oh. Yes. I'm very sorry for taking up your time" He did not forget, however, to introduce himself a little to try to create a memory, if possible. "If there's ever any need, I'm more than willing to help you out in the future. I work at General Hospital. Brain surgeon."
Wallace paused for a second, glanced up as if to memorize Ethan's face - a gesture suggesting that he had acknowledged the then unknown young man - and replied, "Thanks. I'll keep that in mind."
"Wally, baby, there you are!" Christine's voice calling out disrupted the conversation between the two people. The classy mother was approaching them from afar, together with two other ladies.
"Oops. Mommy calling, gotta head over there." Wallace nodded his goodbye to Ethan Bunch, who was then fully satisfied for successfully making an impression and agreed to move away. He knew Wallace would help him rise up in his career. He just had no idea in what bizarre fashion would that happen.
"I believe you have met my dear friend, Ms Agnes Esperanza. And this is her daughter, the very, very beautiful Catherine."
"She's also a rising singer." Agnes Esperanza added in excitement, wanting to help her daughter socialize with bigger figures in order to boost her career.
Wallace tried his best to recall distant childhood memories of Agnes, while looking at Catherine and attempting to register her appearance into his memory, just in case they ever met again after this party.
Catherine appeared to him as a girl in her early twenties. Youthful, attractive and daring. She had a bourgeois sense of fashion, wearing the most trendy clothes that appealed to the masses - one of the basic marketing moves in the current music industry. Her dark shades, however, made her hard to read and all the more attractive. Still appreciating Catherine's looks, Wallace was caught off-guard by words that he did not often receive, coming from her. "Checking me out, big boy?"
While the Wests were stunned, Agnes quickly tried to cover up for her daughter. "I'm so sorry, she's very impulsive."
However, rather than being offended, Wallace was intrigued by Catherine's attitude. He saw a strong-willed woman in her. "No, it's alright. I was kind of checking her out, and I'm sorry, Catherine." He smoothly replied.
Catherine appeared more interested. "Is that what you hotshots always enjoy doing? Checking girls out and forget about them the next day?"
Christine West seemed angered. Agnes noticed, and immediately attempted another apology. "Gosh, I'm so sorry." She turned to her devious daughter, "Catherine. You're being inappropriate. Apologize."
"Alright." Catherine apologized, sarcastically. "I'm terribly sorry, your highness."
Wallace did not reply. He was still being left speechless by this very interesting person's character.
Taking advantage of the situation, Agnes quickly whispered to her close friend. "Christine, I'm begging for a favour from you here."
Being a kind-hearted woman, Christine willingly agreed to Agnes's plead and played along with the little scheme that she had planned for her daughter. After all, hardly anyone ever had a chance at directly socializing with the famous Wallace. Such a precious opportunity could take one's career to another level, and if it was made good use of, he would never need to worry about his life ever again. Unless he got killed, that is. After a short second listening to Agnes's whispers, Christine looked up and said to her son, "Wally? Agnes and I are heading over there for a bit. You stay here with Catherine, alright? You're a man, and she needs looking after."
Wallace fully comprehended that this was a sloppy socializing set up. A women's rights advocate like Christine would never have said anything along that line, and no one understood this better than her own son.
Catherine muttered to herself, "What the hell, mom?"
The mothers hastily fled the scene, leaving their kids standing there on the beach in awkward silence.
Wallace took the initiative, "Do you wanna, uh--, go over there?" He gestured towards the further side of the beach.
Not replying to the offer, Catherine proceeded to walking in the suggested direction, not waiting for him. Wallace became even more stunned. Never before Angela had he seen another girl who was not blinded and submitted to him simply because of his status. This had made him want to truly get to know her in person. A socializing session to make friends, rather than plain and dry professional purposes.
17th Oct 2010, 6:02 AM
"So, what's it gonna be?" Catherine got straight to the point.
"No business. If that's okay with you."
"So you wanna get a room?" Catherine seemed to have misinterpreted Wallace's intentions.
"I'd actually love to. But no, that's not what I meant."
Witty and humorous in his immediate response, he had made Catherine feel like laughing. She stopped herself by pretending to adjust her shades and looking away. "You're not actually saying you want to make friends." Catherine had appeared more approachable now. "The Wallace, making friends with a cheap, unknown singer?"
Wallace was impressed by Catherine's every sarcastic sentence and her choice of strong, sometimes even offensive, words. "Wow, you're a handful. You remind me of my best friend." There was indeed a resemblance between Angela's fearlessness and hers. Angela was considered by Wallace as the definition of 'awesome' in his own personal dictionary. Every time he came into contact with a woman, he would use his best friend's qualities - or some might say, lack thereof - as a measuring yardstick.
"Great. Now I'm just reminding you of someone else." Catherine scoffed.
"She's also the only close friend I've ever got."
The admittance struck an impact on Catherine. She realized he was not taking this conversation lightly and meant to get to know her. Having rough teenage years of being her high school's head cheerleader, Catherine was used to being objectified by men. All she was to them was more or less a sex toy. In Wallace's eyes, she saw something different: genuine interest and sincerity. She felt appreciated and had come to take him seriously in return.
"Well, I don't know her but she should be pretty awesome then."
Wallace could not deny the fact that that was funny. He allowed himself to laugh out loud. The mood had lifted significantly. "She is. Very. She can't quite sing, though." Angela was constantly in his thoughts, even though he did not realize it.
"And you think I can? Try listening to this song called "Keeping Your Promise". You'll absolutely detest it." Catherine was opening up now.
Wallace immediately recognized the song's name as he was a frequent music radio channels listener. "No way. You sing that song? It's lovely!" He meant every word, and started humming to the tune of the song.
Catherine was happier by the multitudes. Not only was her music appreciated, Catherine realized how much of a nice and talented person Wallace actually was, and decided at this moment that she was going to place her trust in him.
"That was quite good!" She exclaimed.
"No, was not."
"Sing the whole thing. C'mon."
"Nah, nah." Wallace felt slightly embarrassed.
"Sing for me."
Wallace could feel her eyes opening wide, gazing at him, even when they were behind those dark shades. Reluctantly, he began singing. He started soft, and grew louder as he let his mind gradually immerse into the song's melody.
Catherine sang along. Although she hadn't become widely recognized or had any sort of established fanbase, there was no doubt that she was a singer gifted with an angelic voice: strong, clear, and full of emotions. She was now animated, entirely different from just a short while earlier. Wallace and her made a great duet match. Their voices were in sync as if their hearts were linked, and they were harmonizing beautifully, pitch-perfect. As they reached the end of the piece, Catherine let out a loud scream, as if she had been completely loosened and relaxed. Wallace smiled as he watched her dancing round.
"Thank you for that." Catherine said as she applauded. "You made my night."
Wallace was pleased. He tactfully replied, "You're really something, you know. I've never sung for anyone other than Angela."
"Oh, that's-- my best friend."
"And she said I was crap." He continued.
"Nonsense!" Catherine genuinely enjoyed Wallace's company and how easy it was to be free around him.
It seemed that Wallace had not imagined this night to turn out so wonderfully for him. He had met one of the most special people that he'd come across his whole life. And he was sure she would play an important part in his life if they were to stay close together. For Catherine, the feeling was mutual.
However, not everyone was happy tonight.
Angela Doom had come in her most decent outfit. She'd thought Wallace's night had been hard to enjoy, and wanted to be there for him.
She saw different.
Oh no. This is really getting longer and longer. Hope I haven't bored you guys out! :P
I'll add more comments when my brain activities get back to normal levels. Haha.
The content load is becoming heavier though. As you can see, we've got on our hands a huuuge mystery, various characters being developed at the same time, AND a little love triangle here. Is it okay or should I make the pace slower? Do you feel that there are too many things happening simultaneously?
And, what do you think of the individual characters as of now? I've introduced quite a few: Wallace, Angela, Catherine, Cecelia and Emily, Wallace's parents, Ethan Bunch, the Altos and the minor Jamie Langeraak. It's weird, but I personally enjoy characterizing Angela. She's probably my favourite character now. :)
(And if you're wondering: Yes, Agnes Esperanza IS Agnes Crumplebottom. I just didn't like her original surname is all. Sounds too comical for this type of story. :D )
I've also been thinking - sorry if this sounds like ranting - about the possibility of making this a normal story (without pictures), since taking screenshots is time consuming on my laggy computer. However if you guys would prefer pictures, tell me and I'll try to keep them going. :)
17th Oct 2010, 9:11 PM
Since character design has been a painstaking process for me, I thought I should take a few clear mugshots for you guys to look at their facial features. :3
22nd Oct 2010, 1:09 AM
"Turn on your stereo."
"Good evening." Wallace greeted the driver as soon as he entered the car.
He received an almost immediate and seemingly well-rehearsed line, "Welcome back to the land of the living, sir."
Still having trouble arranging his thoughts after the first conversation he had had in forever, Wallace took a deep breath and closed his eyes, hoping to find a peace of mind. It was about ten o'clock in the evening. At this hour, there were barely signs of any traffic on the roads, allowing the driver to have his way with the speed limit. As Wallace slowly opened his eyes, blurry sights of the The City's bright lights and beautifully decorated neighborhoods zoomed past his view from the car window. Colorful streets, tall buildings, flashy billboards and catchy advertisement taglines were this city's superficial and only way to sell its image, now that the once productive inhabitants had become sorry shells of themselves - aimless and unmotivated. Unable to filter the countless incoming questions out of his head, Wallace felt an urge to communicate in order to gather as much information as possible. Although still fresh from the recovery, Wallace's brain functions had readjusted themselves to work systematically, as if they were following an automated master programming. Despite feeling uneasy about initiating a conversation with the complete stranger sitting next to him, he decided to speak up.
"So, uh," Avoiding direct eye-contact, Wallace tried to catch a glimpse of the driver's face by glancing at the rear-view mirror, "have we met before?"
"No sir." The man replied almost instantly. "I've just transferred to this city. New guy."
Wallace was curious. "How did you get this job? I mean-- I couldn't have hired you, right?"
The driver seemed to have anticipated the situation. "So the rumors about your brains being all screwed up are true."
Wallace appeared upset by this. It wasn't a pleasant feeling for him to be the only one unaware of what had happened.
"I'm bad at this stuff," the driver continued, "but since it's a long drive, and I'm sure you're dying to learn more about yourself, I guess I could try to explain one or two things."
"Please. By all means." Wallace's face was once again lit up.
"Sure. And please don't feel obligated to keep your manners. You're the boss." The red-haired driver, with dark shades and unevenly shaven stubble, who appeared to be well in his thirties, gave him a right elbow nudge. "I'm Sylvester, by the way." His self-introduction was followed by a wide carefree grin across his face. As much of a slob as he might come off to be, Sylvester took up this job to enjoy the refreshing night breezes, rather than for some cash just to waste it all off at some bar like most of The City's real slobs would go for.
Wallace seemed to be rather impatient. He paid little attention to Sylvester's introduction and flashed a quick smile, suggesting his driver should get a move on.
Getting the hint, Sylvester immediately tuned back in to the topic. "So, once upon a time, you had a multimillion-Simoleon company all to yourself, and it sort of got closed down--"
"Yeah, I'm aware of that."
"Oh, thank God. I didn't want to be the one breaking the news to you." Sylvester chuckled, looking to his right to check Wallace's reaction. No change, apparently. Wallace remained serious. Understanding that this was no time for jokes, the driver cleared his throat in an attempt to diffuse the rising tension and continued, "So, I was saying. Although that happened, you got to keep all your wealth, and--"
Noticing Sylvester was mentioning the same thing that Ethan Bunch had spoken of earlier, Wallace demanded to have his query clarified. "Wait. Why is that?"
"Well, I'm not exactly from around here so I can't be sure. But I guess it was out of sympathy?" Speaking directly from the back of his mind, Sylvester then realized his words could have hurt Wallace's feelings. "No, I mean-- No offense, boss. It's just that-- you lost everyone dear to you, and then suffered from that terrible accident--"
"I-- lost everyone dear to me?" Wallace's voice was soft and solemn. He could not believe the words he had just uttered. Shock and devastation had filled every single muscle in his body. He stiffened and felt lost right now more than any other point in the past few hours.
"Oh shit." Sylvester understood that he might have to deal with an extremely emotional Wallace from this point onwards. "I'm so terribly sorry, sir. We could stop this conversation right here if you wish."
"Please carry on." Wallace's words came out almost as if he was whispering. He questioned himself whether waking up was a blessing or just to further torture his already damaged soul.
Following orders, Sylvester resumed. "And-- And so, you still have the capital to maintain your family's long-standing command over personal services. Drivers, bodyguards, maids and all that. At all the houses. Probably for the rest of your life, even."
There was a brief moment of silence. Sylvester held his breath, nervous.
However, Wallace seemed to have quickly regained his calmness. Not having any memories of his loved ones could, in a sense, be considered a fortunate thing, as there was nothing left in him to trigger a severe emotional breakdown. "I see. Which one are we headed for then?"
Sylvester was both surprised and relieved as he heard the firmness returning to Wallace's voice. "Your favorite one. I was instructed to take you there."
"By whom?" Wallace was puzzled.
"Your doctor. You did want to go there, didn't you?"
Wallace raised his eyebrows to his driver's answer. He started questioning Ethan Bunch's actions and whether or not there were hidden intentions behind his good looks, decent manners and consoling words. For the time being, however, he decided to keep these thoughts to himself, until he'd learned enough about his own past to make accurate judgments. "Yeah. Yeah I did." was all he answered. Wallace glanced down to his side at the bag which contained his journal. "This thing is the key." He thought.
For a few minutes, it was quiet inside the car. While Sylvester was looking forward to calling it a night and getting home to his wife, Wallace was trying to imagine what the journal had in store for him.
"And we're here." Sylvester announced as he killed the engine. Like a professional valet, he got out of the car and opened the door for Wallace in a matter of seconds.
It was "Thank you" followed by a "Wow" as soon as Wallace stepped out of the car and took a look at his own place. In front of his eyes was an elegant three-stories house, painted all white. The design was modern and classy, yet not bloated like most other buildings in The City. Its clear large windows allowed him to see the exquisitely planned interior, which beautifully simulated the feeling of a vast open space, despite the actual compact size. Perfected by a green surrounding with full-grown trees and a lake in the backyard, it was no wonder to Wallace why this house had used to be his favorite. He fell in love with it almost right away.
The next thing that managed to capture his attention was the two men standing perfectly still in front of the house. As he could immediately tell, they were both wearing the same type of uniform as Sylvester, just different colors: the black man wore white, with black gloves and shoes, the white man the total opposite, Sylvester in gray and red, and all three of them used different types of shades. He could only take a wild guess that these were once WalCorp uniforms.
Curious, Wallace turned to Sylvester. "And these are?"
"Professional bodyguards. Your own resident supermen."
Wallace seemed amused by the fact that he had personal security guards. He made an awkward and rather childish attempt to introduce, or perhaps reintroduce, himself to the two. "Hey guys." He threw in a forced smile, trying to appear friendlier.
They remained silent, not one muscle fiber moved.
Sylvester chuckled. "And when I said professional, I meant very professional. These guys will never drop character. Except maybe in death."
Wallace was impressed. "Cool. And-- their names?"
"You may call them by their codenames." Sylvester pointed at the silky white-haired bodyguard, who looked more like a charming university graduate more than anything upon first glance. "This guy here is Prime. Master of Jujitsu and Taekwondo. Clever. Agile. Perceptive. Hardly anything ever escapes his sight."
Wallace was now much more relaxed than earlier on. "You sound like a live advertisement." He laughed.
"Well, it's part of my job description. Every driver assigned to you had to undergo a training course on all this stuff, which could either be used only once or be totally useless. I guess I got to be the only useful guy." Sylvester joked. "And over there, we have Zero." He turned towards the dangerous looking black man, whose bulky features and clenching fists might be able to frighten the fiercest fighters.
"Should be pretty amazing too, huh?"
"Strongest guy in the agency. Brutal. I mean, you can consider yourself lucky if you get punched by him and somehow manage to not have your skull broken in half."
"That indeed makes me feel so much safer." It seemed as though Wallace's sense of humour were resurfacing bit by bit. He took a deep breath and looked around the neighborhood, feeling at truly ease for once since he'd woken up. That feeling did not last long, however, as the questions crept back into his thoughts, urging him to look for answers.
"So," Sylvester spoke as he headed back towards his car, "I'll leave you to enjoying the rest of the night, sir. If anything, you've got those guys. Or you can just summon anyone up, as far as the phone book goes."
The driver waved his goodbye and quickly zoomed away. He was gone in no time, and the street went back to silence. After spending a short moment on the sidewalk, with the two statues of men standing still as ever, Wallace decided to head inside the house. He was not even thinking of checking out the many different rooms, the pretty potted plants or the expensive classic paintings. All that was on his mind now was the journal. He knew it was the map that would help him solve his own maze, the key that would help him unlock all the doors to revelation. The moment he slammed the front door shut, Wallace took it out of his bag. Hesitant, as if afraid of accidentally releasing some dark mystical force by opening it, Wallace stared blankly at the front cover of the dark green notebook as he carried it from room to room. Reaching the second floor's corridor, he stopped, and decided to take a look at the very first written page.
He flipped the book open.
The first page.
"Note to self: always turn on the stereo."
"Great," disappointed, he thought, "just when I thought this would help make things easier."
Wallace closed the journal and went around the house, hoping there was actually a stereo system somewhere in this one. He paused for a short second every room he stepped in, in order to appreciate the masterful aspects of the house's design, unaware that he was in fact its very architect. As he walked up the stairs to the third story, Wallace noticed bright lights coming from a particular room. This was his bedroom, and where the stereo was located. Like most other parts of the house, it was equipped with large transparent windows, providing a flawless neighborhood view at night. However, the fact that its surface area was significantly smaller than others, and that it was furnished with a sofa and stereo system made the room that much cozier.
Wallace took a seat and turned on his stereo with the remote control found on the sofa.
Right that moment when the music came booming from the speakers, a strange feeling struck him. Something had changed, and he could sense it. His senses told him a series of events were being set in motion. He was simply too clueless at this point to make anything out of anything.
After seemingly frozen in time for a moment wondering about the sensation that he had just experienced, Wallace opened the notebook once again, determined to read through the rest of it. As he flipped past the first page, he noticed signs of pages being previously torn out of the book, but chose to overlooked them for now. Wallace proceeded onto the second page, with the first one that looked more like a proper journal entry:
Today. No, yesterday, to be exact. Okay, wait. Let's just call it today. Today, was actually awesome.
It's been forever since I last allowed myself to sleep through lunchtime, and I did that today. Must be this place. Staying over at Mom and Dad's has never failed to make my day so much better."
"Mom and Dad's..."Wallace spent a moment trying to recall any lingering memory of his deceased parents from the deepest corners of his mind, but to no avail. Given up, he went back to reading the entry.
"Saw Angela again this afternoon to invite her to Dad's party at the White Sands. Well, that didn't work out. She said she'd screw it all up if she came, but I know that isn't exactly what was on her mind. I just wish I could do something more to keep her from feeling out of place when being around me.
Let's be honest here. She's always there for me, and that makes me take her for granted sometimes. Alright, A LOT of times. The reason I asked her to join me at the party was selfish. That was for me. And it was only right she turned it down. Hell, she should've turned me down all the time! Come to think of it, she never asks me to do anything for her. I used to think she had too huge a pride to do so, but now I know it's not that. She's just that selfless and cares about me that much. All I've been is being busy making money. That's not fair. Time I changed and be a real friend. Angela should be above everything else.
Take a breather, Wally.
The party started out a little boring. As most other parties usually start out. Dad's speech made an impact, though. I'm proud to be his son, I really am. Bumped into a man named Ethan Bunch today. Said he was a brain surgeon. He [unreadableunreadableunreadableunreadableunreadableunreadableunreadableunreadable]. But the highlight of the night was definitely Catherine Esperanza. She's an incredible person. Totally electric, strong-willed. Beautiful too. She actually managed to make me sing. I'd be lying to myself if I said she didn't actually make me feel something. Never since Angela have I met someone as intriguing as her.
We exchanged cell numbers and I'm going out to dinner with her tomorrow. I admit I'm feeling quite excited about that, even though it's far from a first date. Why the hell am I even thinking of a first date, anyway? She's just so, so unpredictable she makes the idea of a conversation become that much more interesting. And she's got a good voice. With a bit more practice she could hit big, and I think I should help out.
I'm looking forward to learning more about her in person.
Wallace took some time to digest the amount of information he had just come in contact with, and realized that there were still too many missing links for him to go anywhere close to regaining his lost memories. Who was Angela? Who was Catherine? What was that whole party deal about? Why did he cross out lines about Ethan Bunch, the very doctor that had helped him survive his darkest hours?
Frustrated, he quickly flipped through the following pages, almost all of which fully filled with writings. However, he suddenly stopped flipping as he reached a rather special entry, very much similar to the first entry about the stereo. Except, this time the writing was much bigger in size and seemed to display a great deal of anger. Moreover, it was the content that had truly shocked Wallace, forcing him into utter confusion and desperation:
"DO NOT TRUST ETHAN BUNCH!!!"
Wallace's train of thoughts were abruptly interrupted by a knock on his room's door. Immediately alerted and still infuriated, he raised his voice. "Who's there?!"
Entered Codename Blue, his new personal secretary, appearing in a striking all-blue outfit, hair included. Well-known in her line of work as "IceBlu" for having an attractive yet emotionless face, tanned skin, a nicely toned body and fluency in various languages, Blue was considered one of the best assistants one could hope to have. In battle, she was every bit as deadly as Zero or Prime could be.
"It's Blue, sir." Blue kept her introduction short and sweet.
Wallace was still keeping his guard up, something that his instinct had told him to do. "And I wasn't properly introduced to you because?"
Blue replied in an instant, cold as ever. "The driver did a poor job." She confidently approached her new but old boss. "I'm your secretary."
Seeing that Blue seemed genuine, Wallace relaxed and replied to his assistant, "Blue, was it? Nice choice of colors." He gestured at Blue's hair and clothing.
"Thank you, sir." Her facial expression remain unchanged. Null, to be exact. "How are you feeling?"
"Okay, I guess? For a guy who's just woken up from a coma." He had a go at trying to crack a joke, just to see if Blue would display any reaction at all.
"Not okay, sir. This is terribly weak, considering you are the world's smartest man."
Caught off guard by the witty choice of words, Wallace knew at once that this assistant was to be of tremendous help. "I'll just take that as a compliment, alright?"
"Whatever helps you sleep at night. Sir." Quick and precise in her responses, Blue swiftly fulfilled her duty to check up on Wallace's status for the night, and inform him of activities for the following day. "You should get some rest. You have a scheduled training session from eight o'clock until noon tomorrow." She turned her back and moved towards the door as she finished relaying her message.
"What training?!" Wallace felt helpless as he was continuously being dragged along by other people's plans for him, while having no idea what really was going on.
"Kung Fu." Blue had walked out the door, but her voice could still be heard.
There was no more reply.
"Do you know anything about Ethan Bunch?" Wallace asked aloud as he tried to follow Blue, but she was nowhere to be found. "Blue?!"
There was only silence.
22nd Oct 2010, 1:10 AM
It was nine o'clock in the evening. Most shops in the West District had closed at this time of the night, except for a few that ran 24/7, such as The Diner. It had long become a custom that Citizens would get up and out of the house late, while going home and heading for bed early every Sunday. Hence, it was a common sight to see empty streets, even those around the most popular shopping malls. In response to this city-wide attitude, The 24/7 Diner had adopted a strategic operating method for the past six months: maximize sales of its dishes around lunchtime every day, cook as little as possible every night, sell all of its special dishes during daytime on Sundays, and limit its dishes to only bread and jam on Sunday nights. So, on this Sunday night, the Diner's only two customer Cecelia and Emily had to help themselves to unappealing plates of bread and jam which they could actually make by themselves back at the dorm. For free.
"Gosh, Em. The past two days somehow felt like two whole weeks." Cecelia ranted as she chomped on her piece of bread. "The stress!"
"Yeah. I don't think exam preparations will be anywhere near that stressful." Emily agreed with her roommate. The two of them had been spending two entire days out of the dormitory, sleepless.
"To think that school's starting in another eleven hours. If I'm getting eye bags after this, you're paying to undo all the damage it's caused to my face!" Despite being tired, Cecelia still managed to keep her bimbo moments going strong.
Emily flashed a cheeky grin. "C'mon now Cecelia. You did enjoy it too!"
"Oh no. Don't even mention it again." Cecelia grumbled. "Although, I must admit the conversation between the Altos was quite intriguing" And once again, she was distracted.
"I know, right? Nick Alto did say Wallace had no memory of any killing plans, which could mean it was really just all for revenge. He wasn't all evil."
"Selective hearing much?" Cecelia quickly swallowed her last bite of bread to continue the sentence. "Didn't you also hear him saying he himself had witnessed...something?"
"I did. But what something?" Emily defended her case. "I'll keep it in mind, but until we have more evidence, that theory is weak."
"Geez, Em. Do you have a crush on him or something?" Cecelia rolled her eyes. "A crush on a serial killer? Why do you keep denying the truth that he simply is a sadistic mass murderer?"
"Because-- After reading that article last night, I'm even more certain that he can't be all bad."
"Which one?" Cecelia tried to recall the hundreds of relevant articles that the both of them had gone through at the library's archive.
"The one where he saved those four families from that lab explosion the same night his parents were killed."
"Oh. Right. Those four X-ians scientist families. And you kept rambling about how it was a double government setup in the same night, to get rid of both the problematic X-ian biochemical weaponry researchers and the Wests who were against the nuclear attack on X."
"Exactly. Two separate events, one common purpose. They wanted to kill them all. But he survived, and saved all those people too."
"It was unfortunate Wallace was with the scientists then." Cecelia was sarcastic. "If he had been with his parents, he could've saved them instead, and none of that stupid vendetta would have happened."
"Cecelia." Emily had not given up on trying to convince her friend, "If there was one single prominent trait about him that we'd learned last night after reading all those interviews, it was that he hated political events. Choosing to go for a scientific event was not an unpredictable move at all, even for him. They probably wanted them all dead, but they definitely wanted his parents dead really badly."
"So the death of Wallace's parents meant more to the government than the death of those researchers? That what you're saying?"
"You and your conspiracy theories." Cecelia shook her head, feeling it was pointless to continue trying to argue with Emily.
Emily smiled. "They've all been discussed before. We're just behind time."
Cecelia let out a long sigh. "So I guess they didn't take into account what Wallace being alive might mean for them."
"Guess so." Emily let her mind wander around. Her thoughts were completely filled by the curious case of Wallace.
Cecelia replied bitterly, "Well, too bad for them." She checked her hair for what seemed like the twenty-fifth time that night, using the reflective screen of her uPhone. "So, what about Ethan Bunch?"
The two young girls hung around the Diner for a couple hours, and left before it was past midnight.
That's about it for now! I'll do some touching up later. :) Do read and leave comments. I'd appreciate that a lot. Thanks.
The purpose of this chapter was mostly to...troll you guys. xD Meaning, there's a littleeee bit of revelation, and a lot more mysteries. This is gonna be one really, really bumpy ride. I did warn you. ;) I think I'm leading myself into deep shit with this storyline. Haha.
Well, actually my main focus was to build up a sense of isolation for Wallace, at the same time bring him up to the level of a myth that he is, and most importantly to create suspense.
For this chapter, all fingers seem to be pointing at Ethan Bunch. It's not like I hate the guy or anything, but yeah. Haha.
And the house is actually the Cullens' house that I downloaded. Not intentional though. So please don't compare my house description with the actual description in Twilight! (not that I could come anywhere close. Haha. :p )
24th Oct 2010, 8:59 AM
More character screenshots:
Sylvester the driver:
Deep Blue the assistant:
26th Oct 2010, 10:35 AM
You, sir have just made my day!
Can't wait for the next chapter :D
26th Oct 2010, 12:19 PM
Haha thanks. Just when I thought nobody reads this thing anymore. :p
2nd Nov 2010, 8:25 PM
MORE MORE MORE!!!
Please. : )
3rd Nov 2010, 2:07 AM
Thanks for the support! :)
Now that I've got Late Night, it'll be much more convenient to create the sets for the upcoming chapters, so I'll be doing it. :) Give me a while.
13th Nov 2010, 3:59 AM
Hi guys, sorry for the long delay. I'm gonna start working on the next chapter really soon. Just thought I should mention some changes. After installing Late Night, my Sunset Valley save file was apparently screwed up so I had to delete it along with everything I had in it. Luckily I'd saved my characters to the bin beforehand (except for Emily, which I recreated and will look a little different), and now I'm shifting them to Twinbrook, rather than Bridgeport. Stay tuned
22nd Nov 2010, 10:05 AM
hey ur really good at writing stories! =))
keep it up!
23rd Nov 2010, 3:44 PM
This is the best story I've read in a while.
You're good. I'll be waiting for the coming chapters.
24th Nov 2010, 4:04 PM
The Invisible Crossroad
"I'm sorry, Angela."
Angela splashed water at her best friend. Despite being fearsome as she usually was, Angela Doom appeared nothing unlike a playful and harmless little child at the pool. Since she was a kid, Angela had always found joy in swimming. It soothed her thoughts, cleared her mind and brought her body to life, at least while she was in the water. One good way to calm Angela's nerves was to get her to the local swimming complex, where she had once made friends with a sworn mortal enemy - well, before she became hostile again and broke his nose the following week, that is. And the best way was, of course, to get Wallace to accompany her to the local swimming complex.
"Oh no you don't!"
Wallace struck back by continuously splashing water at Angela until she started shrieking. Thanks to the fact that the two had chosen to hang out here on a Monday, there were not many people around to be disturbed by the noises they were making, except for the lifeguard on duty, who kept shaking his head watching two adults acting all childish. However, there was a tinge of sadness hidden deep inside Angela's eyes, behind her mask of laughter and nonchalance, and Wallace did not miss it. Remotely sensing its source, he decided it would be best to shelf his concerns for the moment.
"So, why did you call me out again today?" Angela asked after their laughing feast that followed the water fight, "I'm starting to get bored of seeing your ugly mug."
Wallace had to admit to himself that despite her possible troubled thoughts, Angela's wicked sense of humor remained impeccable. He regained his composure and responded. "I was supposed to spend last night with you. I'm making up for that."
Angela rolled her eyes, "Whoever said I wanted to spend the night with you?" She knew she did, and her tone gave her away.
"Touché." Wallace smiled and nodded understandingly. "How was fight club then?"
The question caught Angela off guard. She was obviously not at the fight club the previous night, and the images of what she saw at the White Sands came gushing back like painful blows to her heart. Her liveliness was gone for one split second.
"I-- What's there to ask? I had them all at my mercy." She was stiff in her answer. Realizing so, she quickly changed the topic to whatever came to mind at that moment, "Tell me about your party." Angela quickly regretted her question, for she knew she was in for a lot of pain if the story about that gorgeous new girl was to be brought up.
To her dismay, Wallace seemed especially excited, although he tried to look as neutral as he could. In fact, he was dying to let it out, and Angela was the only one he trusted enough. As both of them climbed up the pool ladder, Wallace replied, "Well, most of it was extremely boring for me," as a safety precaution to prevent the quick-tempered friend from thinking he had fun without her, "but things took a turn for the better." It was difficult to contain the gleefulness in his voice.
"Care to elaborate?" Angela asked while drying herself off with a large towel, trying her best to avoid eye contact.
"My dad's speech was...awe-inspiring." Wallace was looking for a sublter way to get to the point.
"And I was approached by this guy, Eric or something, I can't quite recall now. Anyway, dude said he was a sur--"
"And then?" Angela wanted him to cut to the chase, just so that this whole conversation would be over and done with as quickly as possible, and she could leave before her emotions overflowed.
Very hard to spot, but Wallace appeared to have blushed a little as he was about to mention Catherine. "Well, alright. You remember miss Agnes Esperanza?"
Vague images of a childhood memory of the two breaking into Agnes Esperanza's home and raiding the kitchen crossed Angela's mind. "Yeah, I remember her fridge alright. What about her?"
"She has a daughter." He replied with a wide grin across his face.
Angela felt as if her gut had been cut multiple times with a knife after hearing that sentence. "She has a daughter," she bitterly repeated the words.
"Yeah." Wallace continued with great excitement, "Well, since Agnes moved away from our old neighborhood a really long time ago, I kinda forgot all about her. But she showed up last night at the party."
"She was invited?" Angela played along.
"She was the plus one. Her daughter was invited."
"Right." A ball of jealousy was stuck in Angela's throat. She found it distasteful that she was going to lose her best friend, for the first time since forever, to some girl he barely knew. She demanded to know what qualities this girl possessed and she did not, "And what's so special about her?"
"She's like you," He spoke with complete honesty, "Smart, gutsy and cynical." Wallace chuckled.
Although it was not displayed on her face, Angela had died a little more inside. All this time, she had been right in front of him and yet she was most definitely losing him to someone that was, ironically, similar to herself. Part of her was furious with Wallace for fear that he was going to replace her with a shiny new girl, while another part deeply regretted that she had never found enough courage to make her true feelings known. Forcing herself to smile, Angela quietly replied, just to let him know she was still listening. "Oh."
It would not take a too perceptive person to notice Angela was not being her usual self, and Wallace immediately got a rough idea of where the problem lay. He hesitated to continue. Seeing as her facial expressions might be giving her away, Angela raised an eyebrow and attempted to get back in character, "Well if she's just like me then this girl isn't so special now, is she?" She slapped in a sloppy half-smile.
"She's a rising singer. Got herself a few contracts, all on her own. Has a past full of ups and downs, and unique perspectives on the world." Wallace's thoughts seemed to be focusing solely on Catherine for the moment. "Best part is, she's ready to take the world on. Her own way."
Angela was apparently upset by this. She had given up on chasing her dreams long ago. Trouble making and adrenaline rushes were her means to escape from the cold brutality of the real world. Despite her understanding that Wallace had not made a deliberate comparison between her and the new girl, Angela hated to have to admit her own shortcomings. She unconsciously frowned, and Wallace did not let that slip his sights either. "So, yeah. I just thought she was pretty cool is all." He added.
"Go on." Almost an autonomous reply coming from Angela. She did not want a breakdown in front of him and tried to put up a tough front.
Wallace was silent for a second. He stared at Angela, who was avoiding his direct gaze, as if thinking hard about something.
"I'm meeting up with her later for dinner. To talk, and discuss stuff about her career." He resumed.
The statement was like a slap in Angela's face. She could feel herself snapping. Sadness and what seemed to be jealousy were swelling inside her, and she had to draw out every ounce of willpower she had left to keep her body from trembling. Pride kept Angela from walking away that very moment, and she was also afraid she might lose him forever if she did. "Nothing's actually happened yet. She's just some girl," she thought to herself, "he'll lose interest in her very soon--"
Wallace cut right through that thought of hers. "This has never happened before, but I think I might've met the right person."
Like a splash of cold water, his honest admittance had snuffed out any last bit of her small glimmers of hope. She was on the verge of whimpering in pain. She bit her lips shut to keep her voice boxed in, then flashed a poorly done fake smile and nodded. One could immediately tell Angela was a terrible actress.
To make matters worse, it was today that Wallace appeared uncharacteristically insensitive. Where he would have normally backed off and left her alone, he went on and suggested something else instead. "Hey, I've got something I want to show you later." Wallace spoke as he took their clothes from the locker and handed Angela hers.
"Sure." Angela's voice was soulless. The emotional torture had made her mind fatigued. She sluggishly took her things and walked into the female shower.
It was a twenty-minute drive from The City's local swimming complex to the Central Industrial District, during which Wallace and Angela sat in silence. The only sounds were made by the hot and humid afternoon winds blowing at their faces and cars in the opposite lane zooming by.
The Central Industrial District was located at a unique position on The City map. Accounting for about half of The City's rapid development in the past decade, this highly industrialized area consisted of high rise factories and advanced research facilities, together with its ever so fast-paced activities. Five of Wallace's production firms were also located here. The District was surrounded by an extensive forest range and isolated from the other parts of the City by the Northlight River, which ran through the whole country.
Instead of entering the District and parking his car where almost a thousand others did every day, Wallace took a left turn and drove straight into the woods when they were only a couple kilometers away from the District's main gate. Angela's visions were blurred by her jumbled up thoughts and she did not bother to ask where they were really heading. This forest was always known for its extraordinarily tall trees and their wide green crowns. Upon entering, it would give one the illusion that he had been trapped inside an unsolvable maze. However, Wallace seemed to be maneuvering his ways through the woods with ease, as if he had been here many times before. He killed the engine as they reached the edge of a rocky slope covered in green moss. In front of their eyes lay what looked like a concrete wall that was as tall as the trees and extended around one hundred meters within the woods.
"We're here." Wallace said.
"What exactly are we looking at?" Angela was not the slightest bit interested in the structure she saw. Her mind was already occupied.
A sense of pride suddenly appeared in Wallace's voice. He sounded almost as if bragging, "You told me the other day that I should, y'know, rule the world. So I've decided that I should let you know."
"This is a facility," he looked up at the wall-like structure, which turned out to look more like an enclosed military base, "where I've been dev--"
"Oh shut up." At this point, Angela could not take it anymore. "I can't believe you had to choose to go on about yourself now!"
Wallace did not have time to react.
"I'm outta here." For a short moment there, a drop of tear could have been seen rolling down Angela's cheek as she turned and walked off. Her left hand was covering her mouth to prevent herself from crying aloud.
"Let me take--"
"You could be lost in there!"
But she had disappeared into the forest.
He did not chase after her, for he knew Angela could find her way out. Instead, he stood there for another while, looking at the woods. His face was solemn. Pain ran through his veins. But his eyes were full of anticipation.
"I'm sorry, Angela." He whispered to himself, before turning to look at the wall of his facility again.
It was a few minutes past seven o'clock in the evening when he showed up at the Wild West - West, for Wallace West, as he owned the place. Entering the dimly lit bar, one of The City's young people's favorite night time destinations, for its exotic drinks and dance floor, he scanned through the room, hoping to spot Catherine Esperanza. Before he could find her, Catherine had walked towards him, with a faint yet attractive smile on her lips. Wearing a casual everyday dress, unlike her usual stylish and eye-catching outfits, she still managed to show off the very fine curves of her nicely proportionate body, and mesmerized most people at the bar that night.
"You're late." She mouthed the words to Wallace. Much like Angela Doom, she enjoyed being the one on time, rather than being mad at the latecomer.
"I'm sorry," Wallace replied, "I had to fight my way through your fans to get here."
Catherine was once again amused by his wit. "I figured. So. What are we having for dinner?" A beautiful smile was displayed on her face as she asked.
"I've got that covered." He signaled for the bar manager to lead them to a luxurious reserved table, freshly served with the bar's most delicate dishes and finest wines. "Take a seat." He pulled out a chair and invited Catherine, who looked deeply impressed, to her seat like a true gentleman.
"This looks like something you would prepare for a date." Catherine remarked, "And we're not on a date, are we?" She winked.
"I'll make sure to do something else if we do have a date." Wallace sketched up a quick-witted response that could also be passed for a flirt. "So, let's talk about your latest album."
Catherine Esperanza was genuinely passionate about music. She had a firm grasp of musical theories and history, and studied her source materials thoroughly in preparation for every album. She had already projected a detailed plan on how she was going to secure and extend her fanbase, as well as land considerable record deals. Wallace listened to Catherine patiently while pointing out possibilities where he could make use of the contacts he had to assist her. Their conversation was strictly professional but nonetheless interesting, as both of them were charismatic in their own right.
As they were finishing up their dinner, one of Catherine's new ballads was played. Seeing as the song's tempo was not exactly fitting to be played in a night club, Catherine looked at Wallace and smiled appreciatively, knowing he was the one who requested for it. He nodded in recognition, and offered his hand. 'Would you like to--'
Before Wallace could finish the question, Catherine took his hand and pulled him towards the dance floor. "I thought you never asked!" She exclaimed as they walked past the loud speakers.
Catherine learned how to dance here and there in rocky past, mostly from the many boyfriends that she had gone through. A natural dancer, she did not miss a single step and followed a professionally trained Wallace West almost flawlessly. They were a graceful couple on the dance floor, and everyone else made way for them willingly.
"You definitely are better than the quarterbacks." Catherine murmured to herself.
"You're really good at it yourself." He stepped closer to her as he replied.
"I know." Catherine Esperanza was happy. She had not had such a fun date for a long time. If only this were considered a date. In order to keep herself from giggling, she asked, "So what's your aspiration?"
Wallace seemed to take the question seriously and took a few seconds to formulate his answer. "I'm going to change this world."
"But you already have."
"Well, I'm looking for something different." He was not really looking at Catherine as he replied.
Sensing uneasiness, she pulled him from the dance floor towards an empty table nearby. "Well, I could be different." She then stepped on top of the table, to Wallace's surprise. "I'll show you the entertainment quality of an entertainer."
This was a pleasant night for many who were present at the Wild West. Not every night did they get to watch a good performer dance, let alone dance on a table top. Catherine Esperanza was a good performer, and an extremely sexy one at it. Wallace could hardly take his eyes off her wonderfully timed movements, the flow of her body and the attractiveness coming from her facial expressions. As the spontaneous routine ended, she received a round of standing ovation from everyone in the bar, including Wallace. He helped her down from the table, slightly gripping her arm as he did. "Wow. You're different," he whispered. Flattered and slightly embarrassed by all the applause she was getting, Catherine suggested they should get out of the bar.
It was nine o'clock and windy at the City Bridge. Connecting the Main Economic District with the residential area, it was understandable that this bridge was empty around this time in the evening, since most had either gone home or decided to spend the night at work. Overlooking the city, this was one of Wallace's favorite spots.
"It's nice tonight." Wallace said after a long exhalation. "I hope you've had a good time."
"I have. Thank you." Catherine replied softly. It seemed all the high from the bar had subsided, and replaced by calmness and a rare peace of mind. Finding someone around whom she could be herself had been difficult, but Catherine felt that person was finally here. She was glad they had met at the party the previous night.
"So what are you up to tomorrow?" Wallace asked while still looking at the brightly lit City Hall afar, his mind seemingly wandering off elsewhere, thinking of something bigger, further away.
"I don't know. I haven't actually made any plans." Catherine glanced at him.
Wallace joked, "I could ask you out again."
They both laughed.
He added, "No, really. You're incredible."
Catherine smiled and looked up at the starry sky. She quietly replied, as if talking to herself.
"You're alright. I think I'll keep you."
Phew! At last. Sorry for the really long delay. I was like, pretty caught up with stuff. I almost forgot what the story was about. Lol. xD
Anyway, this chapter seems to be at a relatively lower pace than the previous ones. But I believe it has a strong impact on how things will turn out next too.
Let me know what you think! :)
8th Dec 2010, 2:59 AM
Hi all, I'm currently having my hands full working on a manga project, so progress on this story would slow down quite a bit. I'd still love to receive feedback from you though, if any. :) Thanks.
17th Dec 2010, 11:22 AM
hi there! just dropping by to say that, your story is one of the few Sims stories i've really, really, been following! all the best with your manga project! (:
5th Jun 2011, 3:22 PM
Sorry for the thread necromancy. Just felt I need to officially state that this story is dead-ish, considering I have uninstalled TS3. (However if I'm allowed to continue the story without the pictures and there is still someone out there reading, I am still willing to come back to it :) )
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