Chapter 1.22: Parties and Kidnappings

It is another warm summer’s day at the Kingston Legacy -golden as an apple, rainless and breezy, perfection as usual. A new house, painted sea-blue, perches high above bustling Sunset Valley downtown, which is full of Sims going about their typical holiday pursuits. The cheerful drumbeats of a beach song welcome party guests into the home. Among the chatter and laughter of the guests, Krissy Numbers dances unnoticed (luckily) on the gleaming white counter of the new kitchen. How rude.

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No one notices as they are either exclaiming over the spectacular view from the second storey, or talking and eating around the buffet table. “Max, do you know where Ash is?” Fern shouts a little over the music. Max shakes his head, tapping his feet contentedly to the beat. “Last I saw of him was when he left my house earlier this afternoon. He said he was going to do some research. Dunno why… we didn’t get any homework for the holidays…”

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“Well… okay…” Fern gazes out of the window, thinking.

{Fern looks so young and pretty in this picture, in her wedding dress and all~}

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Sitting quietly at the empty dining table -all the adults have moved upstairs to explore the house- Allie Beard frowns at her paper, trying to ignore the happy whooping of Krissy behind her. Her cousin has always been the loud, exuberant one, and she never listens to Allie’s chiding, so Allie does not bother to tell her off. As her pencil scribbles across the paper, she keeps a look out for Ash; she had come to the party in hope of meeting her friend. There is no sign of him.

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Nearby, Briar is having a good time attempting to dance with Max. “Stop it.” Briar splutters with giggles as Max flails his arms, miraculously keeping a straight face.

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“Okay, okay.” Max laughs and looks up to the balcony, for there was a outburst of clapping. “Must be my brother showing off again.” He grumbles, and Briar casts her violet eyes up. “Do you want to play darts in my room? I’d rather not see you dance again.”

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As the two friends climb up the spiral staircase and up onto the mezzanine, they find the source of the noise- Max’s older brother Will is strumming on a guitar, to the delight of the guests. Isla’s guitar, in fact.

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Speaking of Isla, she’s playing with her brand new Scary Beary Fairy in her bedroom. She doesn’t like parties because she often knocks a glass over or something just as klutzy. As a result, Isla spends most of her time in there- her fantastical nature-themed bedroom is officially her favourite room in the house.

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Briar’s room is a lot more grown up, and darker. Max eyes the dartboard hanging on one of the walls. “Bulls eye!” He whoops, and the dartboard emits a happy Las Vegas slot machine-type jingle.

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“My turn.” Briar throws her dart and screws up her face in disgust. “Damn it!” The board gives a sad sort of pew-pew-pew. “I seriously need to practise.”

Max watches from the corner of the room as Briar tries again. “Don’t worry, you’ll have plenty of time. You can play against Ash or something.” He checks his silver wristwatch. “Where is Ash, anyway? It’s getting late; he’ll miss the housewarming party altogether.”

“I don’t know. He’ll probably come home soon from the science facility or something, that nerd.”

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The boy looks so peaceful like this, quiet snores issuing softly from his nose, bathed in the soft twilight shining in through the window. Behind him, the lights of downtown Sunset Valley twinkle into life. A pleasant, perfect and idyllic sort of sight. For other Sims, mind you, not him– the man is glad he can destroy it soon.

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The man folds his hands in his lap, silently waiting for the drugs to wear off. It had been so easy, so convenient- one drop stirred into a cup of tea, one unconscious boy later. The boy has too much curiosity for his own good. Then again… maybe that is why he needs the boy. The mind works in different ways when it’s especially curious.

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He hears the door opening behind him, and the impatient footsteps that follow quickly after. He doesn’t need to turn around to know who it is. Just the sound of his tread echoing upon the attic floor yields enough information.

“Is he awake yet?” Xander Clavell asks roughly, none too quietly.

“He is awaking now.” The man answers, and his eyes narrow slightly. Blundering fool, for a thief.

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Ash sleepily pushes himself to sitting position, pressing his hands against the soft red velvet of his seat. Red velvet? Since when was there velvet in his bedroom?

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Suddenly, his mind awakens with a sharp jolt and he opens his eyes. No, this is definitely not home. Panic rushes through him as he takes in his surroundings. A long narrow dusty room, weakly lit by a red tri-headed lamp in the far corner; a heavily bolted door, and two men. One of which is a stranger, sitting unnaturally still in his armchair, looking oddly like Dracula, and the other…

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“Xander.” Ash looks up at his father with pure hatred. Xander crosses his arms. “Now, that’s no way to greet your old dad, is it?” His voice is exactly as Ash remembers it from years ago; cold, drawling and supremely lazy. “You stopped being my dad when I was five.” Ash snaps.

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“Rude. Whatever. You’ll pay for that later!” Xander laughs and gives a childish hop of excitement. The man sitting in the armchair looks utterly unamused. One of his eyelids flicker strangely over one icy grey eye, in irritation, most likely- but it still creeps Ash out.

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“What am I doing here, and who the bloody hell are you?” Ash turns his full attention on the man, fear and confusion swirling inside him. The man leans forward with no change in expression whatsoever, but when he speaks, it is gentle, cold as snow, maybe, but soothing and fatherly. “Forgive me for my lack of introduction. You may call me Mr. Goth. As for what you are doing here, I merely need to talk to you without… distractions.” Mr. Goth’s delicate pause tells Ash that ‘distractions’ means preventing him from running away.

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Mr. Goth must have read his mind, because one thin eyebrow arches. “I must warn you that you should not try escape, and listen to me for a short while. You will be returned to your home within the hour if there is no complications.” The pale eyes hold his for a moment and Ash nods tersely. The cold, emotionless look in Mr. Goth’s eyes indicate that he is completely serious.

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Xander steps forward and Ash quickly stands up, wanting to look his father in his face. “So, explain why you have kidnapped me?” Xander grins at him. “Oh, we couldn’t possibly tell you all of it. But I can tell you that I’m proud of you, son. I’ve learnt about your success in school. Top of the class. Straight A+’s in every single subject. And you winning the science competition last week. Good job, son, good job.”

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Ash glares at his father. “Do NOT call me son. And since when have you cared about my school marks, Xander? I thought you didn’t like anyone smarter than you- which is like, most of Sunset Valley.” Xander waves the insult away with an airy hand. “Oh, that’s the past. Now Mr. Goth and I are interested in this amazing brain power of yours. We want you to help us in a little project of ours.”

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Ash snorts. “Psh, no way. Why would I want to help a criminal like you?” Xander simply yawns at that proclamation. “Again with the criminal… that doesn’t matter.”

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“Well, it’s why my mom left you, right?” Fury suddenly flares up in Xander’s previously bored green eyes. “DON’T TALK TO ME ABOUT FERN!” “Why? You were the one who cheated on her with Blair, you were the one who broke her heart.” Ash says heatedly.

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Xander brings the back of his hand across Ash’s face, hard. He falls back, stars spinning around his head as he struggles to regain his balance. Ash curls his hands into fists and fumes, ready to leap at the bastard-

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“That’s enough.” Mr Goth stands up suddenly, having watched the argument with no emotion. “This is really quite uncivilised. Mr. Clavell, do not touch the boy. Ash, please calm down.”

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Mr. Goth turns to Ash and spreads his hands. “Ash, please listen to my proposition.” He says this in a fatherly fashion, but with a cool note of an order in his voice. “I have a job offer for you. I would like your help up at the Science facility, once a week, to do some research- you would be paid, of course. It’s all quite harmless, I assure you. It, in fact, will be a great service to Sunset Valley.”

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“No way. If you think I’m going to help Xander with anything, then you are dead wrong. I want nothing to do with your lot- a gang of dirty, low-life thieves, probably!” Ash bursts out. An ugly look comes over Mr. Goth’s sharp-angled face, and when he speaks, his voice is suddenly very dangerous.

“I thought it may come to this.” Mr. Goth says softly. “You see, this gang of ‘dirty, low-life thieves’ is considered quite harmless in Sunset Valley- friendly, as some clueless dimwits might say. In reality, we are growing stronger, without any notice of the police. I’m afraid they’ve gotten rather lazy.”

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“Also, and you may know this, there are a surprising number of household products that, when consumed, are fatal. It would be quite saddening if one morning, your parents are found lifeless, due to ‘accidental’ consumption of one of these products. It would be even more saddening, if for some reason, your twin was found with some of it on her. She would be shipped off to a mental asylum, of course. The people of Sunset Valley have always thought of her as a bit strange in the head. No one would think anything else, of course.”

Mr. Goth says this all in a very quiet, soft voice, and Ash feels sick to his stomach.

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“You wouldn’t.” Ash balls his fists again.

“Oh, I wouldn’t.” Mr. Goth says delicately. “But I assure you that Mr. Clavell will be very pleased to. He’s had quite a grudge against Fern and Christopher Kingston.”

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“So what do you think, Ash? Will you accept my offer?”

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12 thoughts on “Chapter 1.22: Parties and Kidnappings

  1. Oh no! Xander you… GRRR! This is getting serious.
    I don’t know what I would do in Ash’s position. It seems like he doesn’t have much of a choice unfortunately… :/ Maybe he can get on the inside and involve the police to take them down. I’m very interested to see what will happen next! Good luck, Ash. Looks like you’ll need it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Can’t believe Xander would kill his children, Fern and Christopher all for some silly project that Ash does not want to participate in. I really dislike Xander, he needs something bad to happen to him…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow you’d think Xander was talking to some stranger and not HIS OWN KID, man this dude is messed up, Don’t know how Ash is going to weasel his way out of this while keeping his family safe…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh okay… So Will is Max’s older brother. I didn’t quite pick that up in the last chapter. *facepalm*

    Xander is such a creeper. What is happening? Can someone please call the cops and arrest Xander for hitting Ash? I’m so mad at this jerk. But that’s not gonna happen, because they’re in some sort of criminal lair. Ugh.

    I feel so bad for Ash. This is definitely an Ash chapter, and I hate that he is in this predicament. But yeah… it makes total sense that Xander would be creeping up from the past to wreak havoc on his children’s lives. Especially having a genius son like Ash, he wouldn’t be able to stay away. He’d want to use that in his favor.

    Liked by 1 person

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