Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Ch. 102 : Make Up Your Mind!

He’d found the remains of the Khan Archer’s old simbot in the ruins of the art gallery. He brought with him everything he could carry, but its no easy feat to try and understand the half broken hard drive. Thats why he came to her. The genius he became friends with. 
Perhaps its best Ximena never got around to furnishing the back rooms of the house. It makes it easier for Nero to find a good place for his few belongings.

She’s promised to do what she can to unravel the mess of the simbot’s memories, but her technical skills aren’t as good as he seems to think. She really has no idea what she’s supposed to do.

Like her papa before her, she vents her frustrations out through fighting.

She’s not above beating up little old ladies to get answers (or a stolen wallet).

“I’ve found your wallet, sir.”
“Please, it’s Devon. And you have no idea what this means to me. Perhaps I can take you out for dinner sometime to-”
“No thank you!” Ximena interrupts quickly. “Just pay the office and I’ll be on my way. Take care!” She makes a note to try and keep away from the young vampire in the future. His interest in her is flattering, but still makes her very uncomfortable.

Ximena agreed to let Nero stay with her if he got a job, but he isn’t exactly qualified for anything after graduating with such mediocre grades. Like half the town, he decides to get a job in the warehouse and goes to talk to his old friend David about a reference. 
David isn’t really cracked up to be a dad. (But he is a happy newlywed!)

Nero takes over with Carlos while David heads inside to call his boss (And maybe take a nap).

Carlos isn’t a bad baby, he just needs attention. And Nero is more then happy to dish out all the attention Carlos needs. 

And thats when it hits him. He loves kids. And there are so many parents in this city who need a good babysitter during the day. He could open a daycare centre! Its brilliant! Now... how to convince Ximena to give up another room of the house?

Making dinner seems like a good idea. Instantly Nero can tell Ximena hasn’t touched her kitchen even once, and has probably been eating out daily. Making dinner will totally win him brownie points.

“Oooh Dinner! Thanks Blue Boy. I’m starving.”

“I just thought I’d do something nice for you...” A moment passes and he decided to just say it. “I want to start a daycare. In the house.” 

“That’s a... great idea.” Ximena answers, choosing her words carefully. She’d rather not have a bus full of stinky diapers and snot nosed brats in her house, but he’s making an effort to bring in an income. Plus it’d better then having him work at the warehouse. 
“You can use the glass room at the front of the house, if you’d like.” She’d been planning on opening it up into an indoor garden or rec room, but with work picking up she wouldn’t have gotten around to it for a long time.

An idea hits her and she’s out the door that same night and back onto the streets while Nero makes a call to register as a babysitter. 
Her cousin(aunt?) Anne is waiting for her as if expecting her. 
“Anne, I know you’re a computer genius. Is there any way you can help me extract some usable information from a half destroyed Simbot brain?”
“I assume this is for your blue boyfriend?”
“He’s not my boyfriend.” Ximena corrects. “But yes. It is.”
Anne wants Ximena to find her missing car as payment. Ximena doesn’t mind at all. A case is a case, and she’s finally really helping someone.

“You’re up early.” She greets the following morning, noticing Nero on her way out the door. 
“Actually its almost ten. The kids will be here any minute.”

“A hug for good luck?” He pulls her in for one anyway without waiting for an answer. She hasn’t told him about her talk with Anne, just in case it leads to a dead end, but for a moment she can’t think about that. Just the fact that she’s in his arms, and their hug feels a moment too long to be just friendly. 

And then the kids arrive and Ximena is out the door. 
Carlos was the first child signed up for Nero’s daycare. David couldn’t get him on the list fast enough. And grandpa Chale drops him off.

It feels like grandparents day today. Simone brings little Betsy by and drops her off without saying a word. She and Alejandro are still happily married with only two children. Caroline is Betsy’s mother, and was the other pregnant teen I mentioned back in ch. 100.

Nero swears he doesn’t show favouritism. Watcher just finds this picture adorable.

Ximena meanwhile spends her entire day doing stakeouts and looking for clues along the beach. Watcher still can’t believe this disguise actually works...

On the way home she catches some butterflies, just so that her entire day hasn’t been a total waster. Nero has been collecting a lot of bugs lately to try and decorate the baby room. She figures she’ll help out a bit.

David picks his son up. Have I mentioned no one ever got around to teaching him to drive?

“How was work?” Nero asks when his roommate finally gets home.
“Horrible.” She answers. “I spent all day on stake out for absolutely nothing and I think I may have used stupid poison ivy! I didn’t even know we HAD poison ivy in the Valley! I’m never going to find Anne’s car! And then she’ll never tell me what on that stupid simbot! I hate my life.”

Distantly, Nero wonders if she’ll ever get less dramatic, but then quickly focuses in on her actual words. “Wait. So you’ve sent Paula’s remains to your cousin?”
“Actually I think she may an aunt, I’m not sure. But yes. She’s a computer whiz and her husband Deshawn is an inventor. So I figure if anyone will be able to get a message from what you brought me, it will be them.” She pauses, unable to read his face. “You’re not mad, are you? I tried to do it myself, honest!”

“Ximena I’m not mad. I think you’re brilliant. I never would have had the courage to ask your relatives for help. You’re amazing, you know that?”

This time she’s sure he moves in first. It’s sweet, and its soft, and he... smells like something vaguely familiar.

“You smell like diapers.” She teases and he blushes. 
“Well... there’s one easy way to fix that you know.”
“I don’t want to let you go though.”
His smile makes her heart race. “You don’t have to.”

The passion doesn’t end there.

But in the wee hours of the morning, long before Ximena will ever wake up, Nero slips silently out of her bed. He feels sick to his stomach. Much the way he did after their prom, the night he kissed her for the first time. Something in him tells him this is wrong that he should stop. But he can’t control himself around her.

He’s made up his mind. It won’t happen again. He has enough resolve to say no... right?

Monday, August 29, 2011

Ch. 101 : On My Own

Her dream house was expensive. And that left little money for renovations or furniture. With what she had she managed to paint the house and add in a fairly nice kitchen and dining room.

And of course a comfortable master bedroom. She’ll need it with the long days she’s planning to pull at work.

She’s decided to become a Private Investigator, you see. Like her dad, she wants to make a real difference in the world, but she doesn’t want to go oversees and fight mummies or partner up with the fabled Dick Daring to save the world. No... she’d prefer to save the world right here at home. 

Anne Silverman, a distant cousin (Or is she an aunt?) is her first client. She seems to have some credit problems and would “appreciate it” if Ximena would fix it for her. 

Ximena struggles with her ethics for a while, and eventually decides to go for a run while she thinks about it.

In the end, she decides to just do it. Money is money, right? She may not be saving the world just yet.... but everyone has to start at the bottom. 

 After that, cases are coming in one after another. The distant relative with the used toothbrush.

The third aunt who teaches her that she needs to work on her fighting skills if she want to intimate anyone else for answers.

At least she wins the rematch. 

And of course her uncle’s half-brother, Devon who studies her face closely before asking her to find his wallet. He's also married to a great great... something aunt, but they've been having martial troubles lately. She doesn’t think it’ll be too difficult a case, but his curiosity of her might be cause for concern... nonetheless, she takes the case.

She even decides to wear her trench coat for this one! (For once)

Looking for clues turns up nothing so she decides to ask around town instead.

She tries to ask her second cousin Pablo (Gabriel’s grandson) if he’s heard anything at school, but most of her attention is taken up by his parents in the background. They’ve been together since high school and are still madly in love all the way into full adulthood. They’re even expecting another baby soon. 

She and Nero had a connection that could have been like that, if he’d wanted. She wonders what happened to him after he left. Did he make it to Riverview in one piece? It was deemed safe for rehabitation only weeks before he left, so did he choose to stay? Did he ever find his Wren? She tries not to think about it. It just depresses her.

She finally takes a day off. She’s found some more leads in Devon’s case, but she can’t bring herself to work on it today. A girl needs some time to just have fun, right? And she is determined to just spend today enjoying herself.

But you know what they say about the best laid plans...

She sound of someone settling into the seat next to her rouses her from her nap. The familiar blue face smiles at her when she turned to glare at him. 
“Sorry, didn’t mean to wake you.”

“I’m not so sure I’m awake really.” She answers with a teasing smile, just happy to see him again. “Maybe you should give me a massage to be sure.”

“Very funny.” He says before falling serious. “Ximena, be serious for a minute. I need your help.”

Short update, I know. Sorry. Thought it flowed nicely though. Anything more felt like padding. As a nice bonus you get a picture of elder Gabriel. He lived to be 118 days. Louna lived to be 115.