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:story: The Pleasantview Experiment
equinoxx
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Post Posted: Thu Apr 27, 2006 3:26 am
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My first dip into the pool, as it were. Deep breath, and here we go...

Chapter One
The Hardest Thing


Mortimer Goth gazed wistfully out at the wedding arch set up in his yard, and sighed.



In just a few short days, his only daughter would be marrying that loathsome Don Lothario, and the mere thought sent shivers down Mortimer's spine. Doctor Lothario may have been a rising star among the residents at Pleasantview Medical Center, but in his bones — and they were very old bones — Mortimer knew him to be far from honorable. Mortimer had been just a child when his family emigrated from the Old Country, but his father had instilled in him the deep belief that without honor, a man was not truly a man. His heart ached at the thought that very soon, such a creature would be wed to his Cassandra.

Lothario was a playboy. It wasn't much of a secret. Half the women in town had fallen prey to his charms. There were even rumors that the night Mortimer's wife Bella had vanished, she was seen climbing Lothario's balcony. For that reason alone, Mortimer had cause to despise Lothario. And Cassandra was inexplicably smitten with the cad. Mortimer had yet to find the right combination of logic to pierce the thrall she was under. She loved him, she claimed, long and loud, and that was all that mattered.

So deep in his reverie was Mortimer that he almost didn't hear the soft footfalls padding up behind him, quiet as a thief in the night. But there was no mistaking the cologne.



"Yes, Don?" Mortimer asked, without turning. "Did you want something?"

"I'm sorry to disturb you, Mortimer," Lothario answered, his voice a low, velvety whisper. "Have you seen Cassandra? She asked me to come over, and it seemed important."

"It is important, Don," Cassandra said from the archway to the parlor. "We need to talk." Mortimer and Lothario both turned at the sound of her voice, and both were momentarily taken aback.



"Cass! What did you do?" Lothario cried, surprise evident in his tone.

"It's called a makeover, Don. Women have them every day."

"You look stunning, my dear," Mortimer told her.

"Your father's right, Cass. You look aMAZing," Lothario fawned. The young doctor didn't notice the older man's eyes narrow as he glared at his future son-in-law from behind him. "You should have done this years ago."

"I'll leave you two to talk," Mortimer said, and started for the kitchen.

"No, Father. Please stay. You should hear this, too." Mortimer stopped and nodded slightly. Cassandra turned back to face Lothario. "Don, I... I can't marry you."

"WHAT?!" Mortimer and Lothario cried in unison. Of course, from Lothario, the sound was an exclamation of utter shock, while from Mortimer, it was one more of happy surprise.

"I can't marry you," Cassandra restated. "I've been giving this a lot of thought, and... I'm not in love with you."

"You've got to be joking," Lothario growled. "The wedding's just a few days away. This is just nerves."

"No, Don. I mean it. For months, I've tried to ignore the innuendo and the rumors, the whispers from colleagues about how you carry on with Nina Caliente behind my back. About how you were the last person to see my mother the night she disappeared. But I can't do it anymore."



"They're... it's not..." Lothario muttered. "It's not like that."

"Look me in the eye, Don. Look me in the eye and tell me that they're all lies."

"Of course they're lies, baby. I had nothing to do with your mother's disappearance." He smiled at her. The bright one. The one that made women forget they were spoken for, forget they were sane and rational, forget they were human, even. The one that never failed to win a woman over. Until now.

"That's not what I'm talking about, Don, and you know it," Cassandra spat. "Tell me you didn't sleep with Nina just last week. Tell me you didn't take Kaylynn Langerak lingerie shopping over the weekend. Tell me it didn't happen!"

"It... I—" Suddenly, he couldn't look her in the eye. She took off her engagement ring and placed it in his hand, then gave him a kiss on the cheek.

"Goodbye, Don." She turned and went into the parlor. He started after her.

"Don't." Mortimer. Lothario had forgotten he was there.

"You're behind this, aren't you, old man? You didn't want her to marry me, and now you've got your way. What did you do, threaten to cut her off if she married me?"

"My daughter comes to her own conclusions, Doctor Lothario. As much as I'd like to believe otherwise, my influence on her decision-making is minimal these days. Cassandra is very headstrong... much like her mother in that regard. On this occasion, however, I would be lying if I said that I was unhappy with her choice. She has restored my faith in her sanity and intelligence." Lothario glared at him, eyelids twitching and fists clenching and unclenching. "I think you should leave now," Mortimer told him.

"Fine," Lothario spat, stalking off toward the foyer. As he left the dining room, Cassandra reappeared from the parlor.

"Thank you, Father," she said. "I think that was the hardest thing I've ever had to do." A tear rolled down her cheek, as Mortimer swept her into his arms.



"You will survive this, my dear. This will make you stronger. You will see." Cassandra jumped as the front door slammed. She walked into the foyer on trembling legs, and watched through the window as Lothario stormed off down the street.



A very cold, tight knot formed in the pit of her stomach as she watched him walk away. She knew that she hadn't just lost a fiancé, she'd gained an enemy. She felt a presence behind her, and turned to find her little brother, Alexander, looking up at her.

"So you're not getting married, huh, sis?" he asked.

"Guess not, Little Man."

"You need a hug or something?"

"You know, I really think I do."



She bent down to hug him and as she felt his arms around her neck, she felt a surge of strength. "Go get Father, will you, Alex?" As he ran off, Cassandra steeled herself for the second hardest thing she'd ever had to do.

"Yes, dear," Mortimer said, barely managing to rein Alexander in as the boy led him by the hand into the foyer. "What can I do?" Cassandra took a deep breath.

"Father. Alex. I'm moving out."

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Sita
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Post Posted: Thu Apr 27, 2006 4:44 am
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Very, very good! Thank you and please continue!
dmchess
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Post Posted: Thu Apr 27, 2006 9:37 am
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Ooh, nice! Good ending, too; keep us in suspense. *8)

I'll bet Don was secretly relieved. Unless he really needs the money...
Greg
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Post Posted: Thu Apr 27, 2006 12:46 pm
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Excellent! It's great to see Cassandra headed down the road toward a happy life!

I really like the characterization of Mortimer and Alexander, too. Grin


I did the same thing in my game--sent Don Lothario packing within the first 10 minutes I played the Goth household. You told the tale much more nicely. smile

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equinoxx
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Post Posted: Thu Apr 27, 2006 2:27 pm
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Sita wrote:
Very, very good! Thank you and please continue!


Thank YOU. Glad you enjoyed the opening salvo.


dmchess wrote:
Ooh, nice! Good ending, too; keep us in suspense. *8)

I'll bet Don was secretly relieved. Unless he really needs the money...


Well, I thought about having Mortimer chop off Cassandra's hand with a sword... but it's been done. As for Don... I imagine after college and med school, he's got some pretty horrific student loans looming over his head. I don't think he's quite to the "money is not an issue" stage yet. Relieved? Hmmm...


Greg wrote:
Excellent! It's great to see Cassandra headed down the road toward a happy life!

I really like the characterization of Mortimer and Alexander, too.


I did the same thing in my game--sent Don Lothario packing within the first 10 minutes I played the Goth household. You told the tale much more nicely.


Of course, you know those roads are seldom as smooth as we'd like. We'll just have to see what happens, and hope for the best. With regard to Mortimer and Alexander, thanks. So far, this is turning out to be approximately 1/3 my attempt to tell a story, 1/3 picking up a couple of stray threads the Maxis folk left lying about, and 1/3 the characters surprising me with their own actions. Sometimes they'll just do things and I'm so flabbergasted watching that I neglect to document, and I end up going back with Free Will turned off to re-enact.

And somehow, I don't think the Goth family has heard the last of Don Lothario, M.D.

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equinoxx
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Post Posted: Sun Apr 30, 2006 1:04 am
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More pics from this chapter are at my site.

Chapter Two
Sometimes, People Are Just Jerks


Cassandra Goth had just announced her intentions to move out of her father's house. The silence stretched interminably as she stood in the foyer, looking from Mortimer, her father, to her little brother, Alexander, and back again, waiting for some response. Finally, Mortimer sighed.



"It's a little much for one day, don't you think?" His tone was one of genuine concern.

"I know this all seems to be happening so quickly, Father—" she began.

"That's kind of an understatement," Alexander muttered.

"Alexander!" Mortimer snapped. Cassandra looked at her brother and smiled.

"He's right, Father. But I feel that I need to do this. I need to make a few changes in my life."

"Like your makeover?"

"It's a start," Cassandra admitted. "I just... I need to stand on my own. My whole life, I've been your daughter, or Don's fiancé. It's time for me to be my own person."

"You will always be my daughter," Mortimer told her, with a gentle smile, "a fact of which I could not be more proud." Cassandra's face lit up at his words, and she hugged him tightly. "We will miss you, you know."

"That's kind of an understatement, too," Alexander added. Cassandra laughed, and ruffled her brother's hair.

"Hopefully you won't miss me too much... I'm only moving a block away! I'll be dropping by often, and I expect you guys to come visit me, as well."

"I think we can handle that," Alexander said, brightly. "Don't you, Father?"

"Indeed," Mortimer said.



All too soon, Cassandra's taxi arrived, and it was time to go. She waved to her father and brother, watching from the front yard, as she shut the door of the van, and she was off. In but a few moments, the cab dropped her off at her new home, a modest little place on Main Street, the perfect place to start the next phase of her life.



Over the next few days, as she got settled in, Cassandra came to love her cozy little house. She met a few of the neighbors, and established a comfortable little routine. She couldn't shake the feeling, however, that she was being watched.

Also, annoyingly, she was only getting her morning newspaper about half the time. She confronted her delivery person, Derek, who swore that he dropped the paper off every day like clockwork.

"Maybe someone is stealing it," he suggested.

"Stealing? My newspaper?!" Cassandra was incredulous. "Why would anyone do such a thing." Derek shrugged.

"I've seen it before. Sometimes it's neighbors who aren't getting along, sometimes it's someone's idea of a practical joke. Sometimes, people are just jerks." Cassandra thanked the young man, tipped him and sent him on his way, still puzzling over why anyone would steal her newspaper.

A few days later, Cassandra had Mortimer and Alexander over for a housewarming dinner. As she gave them a tour, she watched their faces, her father's especially, for signs of disapproval, thankfully finding none.

"Cool place, sis," Alexander told her. He seemed especially taken with the Xbox 360 in her living room.

"Thank you, Alex. Father?"

"It is very nice, daughter. You have had no problems?"

"Other than my morning paper disappearing every other day, not a one." She didn't notice Mortimer stiffen slightly at her revelation. "By the way, I invited someone else to dinner; a new friend I met my first night here. She should be here any time."

Sure enough, Marisa Bendett soon arrived, and was introduced to the Goth men. The adults stepped out to the rear terrace for drinks, while Alexander got better acquainted with his sister's Xbox.



Dinner consisted of spaghetti and conversation, mainly about the new prescription benefit plan being debated in the legislature. Marisa, a Field Sales Representative, was particularly invested in the healthcare issue. If an illness kept her off the road, she couldn't make her quotas, wouldn't collect her commissions, and wouldn't be able to keep up with her bills.

"Repo men are just frightening," she said. "Even more than burglars!"

"How do you mean?" Mortimer asked.

"At least with burglars, you call the police, there's a chance they'll be caught. Those repo guys are unstoppable. You can't reason with them. They're... they're like tax collectors!" Everyone shared a laugh at this.

After dinner, bringing his plate to the dishwasher, Mortimer glimpsed movement out on the sidewalk. It was Don Lothario, kicking over Cassandra's garbage can, and cackling gleefully for a moment before running off.



Casting a quick glance at his daughter, who was clearing more dishes from the table, Mortimer stretched. "An excellent meal, daughter. If you'll excuse me, I think I'll step outside for a moment to catch a breath." Without another word, Mortimer went to the curb and righted the can, cleaning up the mess Lothario had left.

Heading back into the house, he washed his hands, bid Cassandra and Marisa a pleasant evening, somehow managed to tear Alexander away from the Xbox and headed home.

The following afternoon, Cassandra returned home from work, and just as she was about to enter her home, she spotted movement from the corner of her eye. Whirling, she saw Don Lothario pacing along the sidewalk, an almost deranged glint in his eye.

Suddenly, with the whine of a siren and the roar of a powerful engine, a police car screamed to a halt in front of the house! A young, blonde police officer jumped out and handcuffed Lothario!



"Doctor Lothario," the officer told him, as she maneuvered him into the back seat of her patrol car, "you're under arrest for violating a restraining order. If you come within 100 yards of Miss Goth again, you'll get more than just a quick spin downtown." Cassandra couldn't believe her ears! She approached the officer.

"Excuse me, what is this all about? What restraining order? What's going on here?" After securing her prisoner, Officer Demi Love turned to Cassandra.

"Doctor Lothario was served with a restraining order last night, after he was witnessed vandalizing your garbage can. He was also found to have a collection of newspapers, which he admitted to stealing from you. We've had a couple of extra patrols in the area today, just to make sure nothing happened."

"But who— Father!" Cassandra was shaking, unsure whether from fear or anger.

"Believe me, he was looking out for your best interests, Miss Goth. I've seen this too many times. The good Doctor here needs some time to cool off, and let go of his resentment. Sometimes that's all it takes."



"'Sometimes' that's all it takes?!" Officer Love nodded.

"Sometimes. Then again... sometimes, people are just jerks." She shook Cassandra's hand and walked round to the driver's side door. "Have a good evening, ma'am."

Cassandra stood on the sidewalk, shocked, and watched as the patrol car, her former fiancé handcuffed in the back seat, drove away.

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Greg
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Post Posted: Sun Apr 30, 2006 9:04 am
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Bravo, Equinoxx! They seem so human!*

I loved the incongruity of Marisa praising a government spending program in one breath and complaining about tax collectors in the next. Is that human, or what? Rolling on the Floor Laughing

And the conflict in Cassandra's mind about how to react to Daddy still looking out for her was extremely well done. It's just the right time in her life to be wanting to be independent while at the same time appreciating the comfort of having a meddlesome parent. (Parents wonder about these things, too! My mother still does!)




----------
*And Cassandra seems so mammalian! Where'd she get that rack?

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Post Posted: Sun Apr 30, 2006 9:57 am
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She got a makeover, remember? Probably came with a pushup bra!

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equinoxx
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Post Posted: Sun Apr 30, 2006 11:27 am
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Greg wrote:
Bravo, Equinoxx! They seem so human!*

Thank you, thank you. :bows:


Quote:
I loved the incongruity of Marisa praising a government spending program in one breath and complaining about tax collectors in the next. Is that human, or what? Rolling on the Floor Laughing

Ah, but note that she didn't say tax collectors were unneccessary. Just unreasonable. Grin


Quote:
*And Cassandra seems so mammalian! Where'd she get that rack?

Once more, I must praise the fine folks over at MTS2. In this case, Duddly's Breast Augmentation mod.

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dmchess
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Post Posted: Sun Apr 30, 2006 11:44 am
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Good story! Characterization very well done, as Greg says. Maybe I'll have to play Pleasantview myself someday...

(Did Marisa have a makeover too? That's not the hair I remember from back when she and my Ransom Zoom were a young couple.)

(And while we're on the Behind the Scenes subject, how'd you get Don arrested?)
equinoxx
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Post Posted: Sun Apr 30, 2006 12:08 pm
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dmchess wrote:
Good story! Characterization very well done, as Greg says. Maybe I'll have to play Pleasantview myself someday...

Thank you. I'm glad you're enjoying it. I worried it might be going a little too dark for a bit there.


Quote:
(Did Marisa have a makeover too? That's not the hair I remember from back when she and my Ransom Zoom were a young couple.)

A slight one. Her hair, like Don's, is one of the new OfB styles. I tend to do some touch-ups on pretty much any Sim who looks like they're going to get a little camera time; usually just fairly minor things like eyebrows, hairstyles and makeup. But Marisa's nothing. Wait 'til you get a gander at Sandy Bruty (coming soon... in the cosmic scale)!


Quote:
(And while we're on the Behind the Scenes subject, how'd you get Don arrested?)

One of Danny's DMA mods gives you the ability to call the cops and have troublesome NPCs "escorted" from the lot. It's part of the "Miscellaneous" package, I believe.

Still more BTS: in-game, Don really was stalking Cassandra. After the taxi dropped her off and before she even made it to the front door for the very first time, he walked by. Then, every few hours, he'd walk by again! It got so just about every time I'd turn around, I'd hear this nasty snicker, pull back the camera and there'd be Don out on the sidewalk, stealing a newspaper or kicking over the garbage can.

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dmchess
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Post Posted: Sun Apr 30, 2006 9:04 pm
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equinoxx wrote:
Thank you. I'm glad you're enjoying it. I worried it might be going a little too dark for a bit there.

However the story takes you!

Quote:
But Marisa's nothing. Wait 'til you get a gander at Sandy Bruty (coming soon... in the cosmic scale)!

Looking forward to it. *8) Much as I try to love my Sims as they are, my own Sandy's really tempting me to have someone at Rooms To Let get into the show business career; I really like Sandy, and she just deserves a smaller mouth! (Wow, I really haven't posted much lately about Rooms To Let, have I? Sandy's tried out lots of different outfit and makeup combinations, but she always comes out sort of scary...)

Anyway, looking forward to more of your Pleasantville!
Sheba
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Post Posted: Mon May 01, 2006 7:13 am
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equinoxx wrote:
Once more, I must praise the fine folks over at MTS2. In this case, Duddly's Breast Augmentation mod.


I want it! I want it! I want it! I want it now! blob6

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Greg
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Post Posted: Mon May 01, 2006 7:32 am
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Sheba wrote:
equinoxx wrote:
Once more, I must praise the fine folks over at MTS2. In this case, Duddly's Breast Augmentation mod.


I want it! I want it! I want it! I want it now! blob6


And just why am I not surprised?

I dunno. Duddly does good work, but replacing the original mesh for every sim in the game could be risky.

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Sheba
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Post Posted: Mon May 01, 2006 7:36 am
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Greg wrote:
Sheba wrote:
equinoxx wrote:
Once more, I must praise the fine folks over at MTS2. In this case, Duddly's Breast Augmentation mod.


I want it! I want it! I want it! I want it now! blob6


And just why am I not surprised?

I dunno. Duddly does good work, but replacing the original mesh for every sim in the game could be risky.


Coward! Never mind! I did it Myself!


"Now I feel more like Me!"

Well? So? You like? smile


Last edited by Sheba on Mon May 01, 2006 7:56 am; edited 1 time in total

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