Warning: Foul Language. Pictures may take a moment to load. The song for this chapter is Don’t Let Me Down covered by Sam Tsui which will come up later in the chapter. Enjoy!
Sometime during the erratic, broken clockwork of my heart, I fall asleep.
I dream of blood.
I wake up to find sunshine flooding the bedroom, golden and as crisp as an apple. Outside the windows, a cold blushing sky is dawning over the concrete sculptures of Bridgeport; fall is gathering a cloak of dying leaves and wind-rattled days over the horizon. This is something I would usually be excited for, but right now the terrible anxiety running through my veins blocks it all out, an incoming thunderstorm in my head.
I sit up, pressing my palms into my forehead. Perhaps it was a nightmare. It could not have possibly been real. Lilith and Gabriel, murderers? No, it must have just been a gory dream my exhausted mind made up. Even so… a tiny part of me believes that I didn’t imagine the blood dripping off Gabriel. That the conversation between him and his cousin could be the explanation to why he’s so secretive all the time.
I don’t want to believe Gabriel is a murderer. He’s too gentle, too kind for that. Despite what I said at the coffee house yesterday, I do trust him. You can’t help trusting someone who rescued you from a place and existence you hated. Breaking that trust means for me snipping the lifeline, in a way. And as hard as this is to think, I must admit that I do like being around Gabriel.
Not guilty until proven guilty.
I sigh heavily and ease myself off the softness of my quilt. I saw Lilith and Gabriel just outside the bedroom door last night. Cautiously, I pull the door open. There’s no sign of blood, but there’s a strong smell of lemon polish in the morning air. I frown. Someone had washed the floor before I had woken up. But if I sniff carefully enough, there’s a very faint metallic, salty tinge to the lemon, like copper.
“Waffles for breakfast!” Lilith appears out of the lounge, smiling, making me jump. I stare at her, sudden fear inhibiting my capability to form words. She looks as fashionable as always, in an elegant plunging blouse and fitted trousers, but the deep red of her nails and her lipstick now make me inwardly shudder. “Cherry, are you okay?” She tilts her head, her big grey eyes worried, as if she’s legitimately concerned for me.
I force myself to smile. “Yes, I’m okay. Do you need any help with breakfast?” Lilith agrees, and while I’m cutting fruit for the waffles, she jabbers on to me cheerfully about her work as a clothing designer. I’m silent as she does, and her voice is a meaningless buzz in my head, because all I can think is, did she use a knife like this to stab a man to death?
I give my head a little shake. I’m becoming like my mother; paranoid, unable to trust anyone, always looking for the slightest indication of danger. The blood could have been Gabriel’s own. Perhaps he fell over and cut himself on a night out. But I really can’t imagine him tripping over; Gabriel moves much too gracefully and catlike, and he doesn’t seem like a person to get drunk. And there had been a hell of a lot of blood dripping off him. It couldn’t really have been his. Or was it even blood at all?
Lilith interrupts my fretful train of thoughts, tapping me on the arm. “Cherry, you should be more cautious.” She chides, taking the kitchen knife out of my hands and washing it in the sink. I look down in surprise to see crimson beads of blood welling out of a long, deep cut in my finger. It doesn’t hurt much, but the sight makes me suddenly feel dizzy.
“Careful.” Someone catches me from behind as I stumble backwards. “Are you okay?” Gabriel takes my cut hand in his and examines it. “Of course.” The reply is supposed to be harsh but it comes out as a whisper instead. His arms around me and the carefulness of his slender fingers and the thinness of my nightdress against his body is distracting, and I almost don’t hear what he says next. “Get some cotton and stop the bleeding first. Then you can wash it and take a bandaid from the first-aid kit. It’s under the counter.”
There’s a brief moment before Gabriel apparently realises our proximity, and quickly steps back, leaving me cold. “Sorry, I shouldn’t have-” “No… it’s okay.” I stare at him as he leaves, different emotions clashing within me. He’s wearing a black Henley that fits really well and- no. Gabriel confuses me, and I don’t like it. Before he disappears out of the door, I notice that there is a large bruise blooming on the left side of his face. “Wait.” Gabriel turns at my call, his eyebrows knitted in both embarrassment and a question. “Yeah?”
“What happened to your eye?” I frown at him, trying to keep my voice concerned instead of suspicious. “Oh, this?” He rubs the back of his head absentmindedly, not looking at me. “Had an accident, that’s all,” Gabriel says evenly. He doesn’t sound like he’s lying, but I don’t believe him.
Despite my misgivings, I nod and then tend to my finger, taking an ibuprofen as well. All this worrying is giving me a headache. I rub at my temples, sighing. There’s not much I can do right now about this problem, because I can’t well go up to Lilith and say, hey, is there any chance you and Gabriel happened to murder a man last night?
For now, I’ll just keep my eyes peeled for anything suspicious. Gabriel didn’t bring me all the way to Bridgeport to kill me. He brought me so I could build a new life here for myself. My dream since childhood has been making a name for myself in the music industry, and that’s exactly why I’m here. Right?
“Lilith, do you know any recording studios I could apply at?” She’s chatting with Raphael and it’s a moment before she replies. “What do you do? Do you sing or play an instrument?” Lilith asks curiously. “I can sing. I play piano and, um… I write songs.” I bite my lip, knowing how lame that sounds. However, Lilith brightens. “We have a music room where you can practise, if you want,” She offers, surprising me. Why would the Torres have a music room? As if sensing my confusion, she smiles and explains, “Gabriel likes to play the piano.”
Figures. I can sort of visualise him sitting quietly at a piano for hours, his long fingers dancing over the keys. I think I must have smiled at the thought, for Lilith claps her hands happily. “I can show you now, if you want.” The room I follow her to is on the other side of the penthouse. It’s beautiful, in a stark way, with big windows opening up to the grey harbour, and a baby grand piano taking centre stage in the middle of the room.
I gravitate to the piano at once, carefully running my fingers over the glossy black lacquer. “Spend as much time as you want in here,” Lilith calls from the doorway. “I’m going to go shopping with my boyfriend soon, and quite frankly, I know nothing about music.” And then she departs, the door closing softly behind her, leaving me in silence.
The keys of the piano are cool and well-worn, telling me it must be used often. I press the C key down gently and the note rings in the room — a much older and soulful sound than my electronic keyboard produced back home. It takes some getting used to, but when I try some of my songs on the piano, it adds a layer of depth that I didn’t know was possible.
One song, in particular, which I think I wrote about a year or two ago, comes to mind. The notes sound beautiful on the grand piano, and I smile at the sound. Music has always made me smile like this; ever since Mom bought me a keyboard for my 13th birthday, I’ve spent hours alone experimenting with different tunes on it, while Cara and Cinna did normal teenagery things. Songwriting, too, has been an exquisite distraction from all the underlying anger due to the bullies and later, Gabriel’s disappearance. It’s not very long before I begin singing the words to the song, closing my eyes and letting my fingers follow the familiar routine over the keys.
An hour or two passes easily, the sunlight creeping across the chilly room and warming my skin. To be able to play my songs in such a beautiful room, the still ocean glimmering below, gives them such a different feel. Maybe it’s not just the room. Since my arrival in Bridgeport two days ago, I’ve been feeling a lot more relaxed and free, in a way, however corny that sounds. It’s the truth, except maybe for the stress that has been gradually building up from last night. I can forget it, for now.
“You have a lovely voice.” I jump slightly to find Gabriel suddenly standing behind me. It’s either he has a silent tread, or I had gotten lost in my music again. “Thank you.” I stop playing, shifting over to let him sit on the piano seat. “Can you play the song you were singing before? I haven’t heard of it.” I bite my lip at his request, blushing for what must be the tenth time since I arrived here in Bridgeport. I have never played my songs in front of anyone else before, not even my own family, and it feels like I’m exposing some secret part of me.
Hesitantly, however, I go back to the first bars of the song and replay it. Gabriel listens to it for a moment before joining in with a different tune, a harmony to mine. Clearly, he’s very experienced at the piano, his hands light and quick and sometimes crossing over mine. I glance at him, unable to stop myself from smiling. This is the first time who I’ve met someone that can play music so easily next to me, and it’s good knowing that Gabriel and I have something in common, and the gentle pressure of his arm against mine makes me happy, too — but I must remember that I don’t know him well, and he is not someone I should trust just yet.
“Can you teach me the words to it?” Gabriel’s voice jolts me out of the storm of thoughts in my head. I really flush red this time, and can’t bring myself to meet his curious silver gaze. To be very honest with myself, I think stupid, stupid 17 year old me might have written this about him, and with his sharp senses, Gabriel will probably pick that embarrassing fact up right away.
My mouth opens without my permission. “Um… yes, sure.” I silently curse at myself, but it’s much too late to back out now. I sing the words very softly and self-consciously at first, but as Gabriel listens attentively, my confidence slowly grows and I forget whatever anxious thoughts I was thinking before. “Can you repeat the chorus?” I sing it again, louder this time, and I see him smile slightly out of the corner of my eye. Crap.
Then Gabriel sings it, and I’m shocked at how good his voice is. I haven’t heard anyone sing like this before, with a sweet, powerful tone I don’t expect at all.
Running out of time
I really thought you were on my side
But now there’s nobody on my side
I need you, I need you, I need you right now
Yeah, I need you right now
So don’t let me, don’t let me, don’t let me down
I think I’m losing my mind now
It’s in my head, darling, I hope
That you’ll be here, when I need you the most
So don’t let me, don’t let me, don’t let me down
Don’t let me down, don’t let me down…
“Um… wow.” I tuck a strand of hair behind my ear as Gabriel’s slender fingers come to rest on the piano. “Your voice is amazing.” To my surprise, he shakes his head, a strange mixture of sadness and frustration on his face. “Well, it doesn’t help me much. This is the first time I’ve sung in years, actually.”
I look at him with wide eyes. “You should sing more often, seriously.” Gabriel closes his eyes, and I wondering if I’ve offended him somehow when he opens them to look back at me. The intensity of his gaze is surprising and I take a quick, sharp breath. His grey eyes seem to be searching for something in my own, and it makes blood creep up my face, but I’m caught in his silver-blue gaze.
“Gabriel?” I whisper, suddenly feeling anxious for a reason I can’t exactly pinpoint. Gabriel doesn’t speak, instead gently sliding a finger under my chin and lifting my face up to his. My heart skips a beat at the gesture. What is he doing? He leans in, his lips so close to mine I can feel his breath, and he smells clean, like soap, and suddenly I understand and my eyelids flutter shut of their own accord-
“Shit.” Gabriel’s hand drops from my face as he swears, and I feel a rush of cold air as he jerks back from me. I open my eyes in alarm to see him standing, with terrible horror and shame on his face, which sends my heart plummeting. “Gabriel, what-” “I’m sorry, Cherry.” He apologises for the thousandth time, and then he’s gone, the music room door slamming behind him.
Hot tears begin welling at the back of my eyes instantly, and even though I try to force them down, they burn my cheeks as they fall. What just happened? Gabriel was about to kiss me, I think, and his reaction when he realised… the aghast look on his face was directed straight at me.
Of course he would be horrified, look at yourself, I think dully. Haven’t you been called a freak for half your life? My chest contracts painfully and I wipe furiously at the tears that just don’t stop coming. I’m suddenly cold and shivering in my nightdress and I wrap my arms around myself, digging my nails into my skin.
I hate how Gabriel makes me feel.
Why does he make me feel like this? Ever since I met him in the woods it’s like my emotions have been thrown completely off course and down an unimaginable path. The unpredictability of the feelings makes me feel weak. I hate how I’m attracted to his beauty when I have none of my own. How I’ve let myself fall for his soothing voice and tender touch and handsome features. I’ve been utterly deluded and made a fool of myself. Of course Gabriel doesn’t feel the same way! There is no reason why he should.
My tears are stupid and pointless and a show of no self-control and strength, as my mother would so bluntly say. I hate him for doing this to me and I hate whoever set off the fire and most of all…
I hate myself for thinking things could be any another way.
“Cherry, how do I look?” Lilith finishes her smoky eyeliner, critically turning this way and that in the mirror. I raise my eyes wearily from the rose quilt, the one I have been lying on for the past few hours. She looks flawless, of course; in her black satin bralette, slitted skirt and heels, she looks far more sexier than I’ll ever be. “Perfect,” I say with a tiny sigh, and Lilith smiles at me, her sanguine lips and ebony hair and porcelain skin making for a dangerously striking combination. My own reflection looks so plain and messed up next to her’s, and-
I swallow my rising tide of anger down and take a sip of the cup of hot tea nearby, which calms me down a bit. When Lilith found me, curled up on my bed with tear tracks still glittering on my cheeks, she had said nothing, but seemed to understand something was wrong, bringing me a fresh mug of green tea and a soothing rub on the back.
Lilith flips her long hair over her shoulder, apparently satisfied with her makeup. “Where are you going tonight?” I speak up suddenly, and my voice is cracked and sounds horrible. I’m genuinely curious, but the flower of suspicion is opening in my chest again, too. “The Grind!” Lilith replies brightly. “It’s a popular rave, and although it’s not to my taste, I’ve heard that today a lot of celebrities will be there.” She gives me a sideways look. “Not your kind of scene, I suppose.”
So she’s going clubbing tonight. Of course. I’ve never been in a club or bar before, since there have never been any in Sunset Valley, and I’m glad Lilith assumed I wouldn’t want to, because she’s right. This kind of thing is just so… intimidating. I think she sees the face I’m subconsciously pulling, for she laughs lightly, the Spanish cadence in her voice rich and loud, and pats me on the head. “I’ll take you one day, but have a rest tonight, cariño.”
Gabriel and Lucifer seem to be preparing to go out, too, when I look out of the bedroom door. I bite my lip when Gabriel looks up at me as he pulls on his shoes, his eyes dark and stormy. We stare at each other, and I know from the silent apology in his eyes that we are thinking the same thing. “Cherry,” He says quietly, as the expression on his face settles into a blank sort of calm. It’s eerie, and now it seems like he’s ignoring what had happened this morning. “Are you going with Lilith?” I ask lightly, because if he’s not going to say something, I’m not. He exchanges some sort of communicative glance with his brother before answering me. “All of us are.” Gabriel stands up and gives me a somewhat pressuring look. “Stay in the house, okay?”
I frown at him as he resumes tying his laces. Something about this is a little off. It might be the way he told me to stay in, or the fact that Gabriel just really doesn’t seem like the guy to go out partying, but alarm bells set off in my head. I watch him carefully as Raphael and Michel join him, both dressed in dark clothing. Raphael — his hair now dyed black — looks as bored as always, but Michel’s normally sweet-natured face looks worried and a bit stressed. The suspicious feeling in my chest grows painfully as I examine him. Again, Michel is someone I can’t imagine at a club, not least because he’s underage. Luc… yeah, but still.
Lilith moves past me, wearing a leather jacket over her outfit, and the group heads towards the elevators. As she does, a flash of silver at her wrist catches my eye. It’s gone the next second, but there’s no mistaking it — light from the nearby chandelier had reflected off a knife hidden in her sleeve.
I stare at them as they leave, my heart beating fast and anxiously. Should I follow them? I’m over being more blind than I already am. I don’t want to spend another day wondering what the hell is going on with these people. Besides, this apartment is, somehow, already growing to be much more of a home than Sunset Valley ever was.
On the other hand… do I really want to know what secrets they are hiding?
The frantic beats of my heart tell me the answer.
I’m really sorry guys, this chapter was shorter than usual and I think a disappointment after the long waiting time! I realised that I had underestimated the number of pictures I would need to take and so to be able to post this week, I would have to cut the chapter in half. I actually finished writing it ages ago but you know me, getting distracted by other things on Sims lol.
But I have a consolation gift to make up for it! I’ve created a new page called ‘Characters’ and you should go check it out right now! It’s full of juicy information/history of side characters which I never released or explained throughout the legacy, a collection of character facts that have been floating around my head all the way from Generation One! Right now I have written about Max Oliver, Allie Beard, Anastasia Payton, Cinnamon Kingston and Ashley Kingston. I will update it every so often with new pictures of them (updated with new cc) and more characters which should be interesting.
Also, please ignore the fact a few pictures don’t have Cherry’s cut/bandage or Gabriel’s bruise, I’m just super lazy haha. Hopefully I can get the next chapter out in a week or two this time!