“He just left you?”
Emit stared at Bella in disbelief. They had met for a midnight picnic with sandwiches and fruit atop the bell tower of Champs les Sims, and yet after Bella’s latest revelation, she somehow doubted they would be eating. The stars danced with clouds and shadows as she faced the sleepy hamlet in the valley. She could hardly believe it herself. Mortimer should be boarding a plane about now, she figured, glancing at his watch atop her wrist. It was hard to believe she once was a naive seventeen-year-old girl who just so happened to rescue a drowning man who was nearly lost to the sea because of a timepiece. This watch represented everything – her past and her present, her struggle, her prison. The tiny hands telling time had trapped her in that moment, binding her to a man she barely knew and could not love of her own free will. This watch had been her undoing. Before she could fully think things through, Bella quickly unsnapped the clasp, tearing the watch from her wrist, and chucked it with great effort into the snow-covered street below. She hoped a car crushed the glass beneath the weight of its tire.
“Bella, look at me,” Emit requested, gently.
She spun to face him. For the first time, she had her “out.” This was the moment she was waiting for. This was what she had wanted nearly three years ago. Mortimer had given her a “free pass” as if she was back in high school and wanted to leave class. It wasn’t as though she needed his permission to go neck with a paramour or kick back a can of beer beneath the bleachers on the school football field, or whatever the kids did back there when she was a senior. And yet she had the excuse to leave, to abandon her life for a man who held her heart. Then why didn’t it feel like freedom? Why didn’t she feel free?
Bella closed her eyes. She could nearly smell the water of Lake Misimigan, The smell of her stomping grounds, the place of her origin. The scent of woodland trilliums in spring, the clusters of columbines, and the stunning pink ladyslippers amidst burgeoning birch trees and creeping marram grasses. She could see the darkness roll in as the sun dipped its head to twilight above the vast lake. She could feel the shifting sand dunes beneath her back on a hot summer evening, and hear the soft choruses of the wind whistling between moss-covered logs and creeping marram grasses. She could almost hear the cheerful calls, beckoning her to join them around the crackling of wood and dancing of red-orange light, the smoky haze encircling the flames awarding a protective barrier from the tenacious biting flies and merciless lakeside mosquitoes. She could hear the melodic laughter and the off-key sing-song tunes of her drunk-on-life friends, rocking back and forth beneath star-kissed nights, even in winter, especially in winter, as they wrapped affectionate arms around one another’s necks for warmth and felt like this was the time of their lives. This was it. It couldn’t get any better.
Oh but it could! Bella grew up and learned the lessons of love and friendship and camaraderie. She experienced the fervor of man whose touch left her very nerves ablaze, dancing more erratically than the flames of the bonfire on the beach. She experienced the passion of a man whose touch plucked the strings of her heart, singing sweet music, the ones that lasted long beyond a moment beneath the moon on summer vacation. And yet, nothing…nothing could compare to the yearning she experienced when this beautiful tangled soul of rhythm and dance and mysteries and wonder met her gaze. He was like a nice, tall glass of ice water after swimming laps in the lake on a humid day when her muscles were like gelatin and she couldn’t find the willpower to move another inch, her throat parched, surrounded by liquid she could not drink, her forehead sweating, and her body panting for relief. It was as if she had been swimming in an endless sea of love and had yet to find its true source.
She grasped for his hands, her own shaky, her entire body quivering with anticipation, anxiety, and ardor. He was hers and hers only. She knew it. She could feel it with every fiber of her being, with the darkest depths of her soul. It was as if Mortimer’s departure signaled a new awakening, a part of her she did not know existed, a part that longed to be joined in union with the object of her deepest affection, the man she loved more than she knew how to put into words.
“I can feel it,” he breathed.
The fires that heated her metallic brown eyes met the cool, unassuming mist of his rain colored ones. They experienced the intensity of emotions, ones that Emit had longed to release for his entire life, the ones Bella had ached to unveil. Emit reached with trembling hands for the sides of her face, cupping her cheeks with his pale-as-snow fingers, tracing the faint angel-kisses atop her nose. He wanted to know every line and every freckle and every inch of her. Somehow he knew she was his. She was giving all of herself to him. Bella gasped at his touch, like the flittering of snowflakes across her skin, and yet she wasn’t cold. It was as if she couldn’t even experience the chill of the early Simarch night when he was near.
“Take me…” she breathed as his finger traces became kisses down her neck beneath the line of her sweater. “…to where you’ve been staying.”
He carried her to open field, quilted in undisturbed sheets of purest white kissing the edge of a frozen lake. The trees, dusted with a fine layer of flurries, seemed purely magical as they glittered beneath the full moon. Horses gathered, prancing about in the snow, and she smiled happy to see one of her favorite creatures. She blinked rapidly, stunned, when she saw a gorgeous steed with a strange horn in the center of its forehead, like a mythical unicorn. A rainbow mist of light descended from the sky like something from a fairy tale. Bella could sense all of Emit in that moment. As he shared in her memories of childhood nights on the shores of Lake Misimigan with Bella, she experienced memories of his own life. The exchange was breathtaking, overwhelming, and intimate.
“Careful,” he said, setting her on her feet. “If it’s too much…”
“No…” she placed a hand against his chest. “I want to…” she continued hoarsely. “…see.”
She closed her eyes and was sucked into a whirlwind of white, a blizzard, to be precise atop arctic glaciers. She could feel the polar winds whipping about, colliding with her being. She could hear the tantalizing trills of flutes and clanging of chimes as the cool lemon light splattered across the frozen tundra. She could see Emit, approaching in the distance, his face obscured by the falling snow, and yet somehow she knew it was him. Strangely, she did not feel afraid of the storm, or the fact that she could see these thoughts so vividly and tangibly, and yet somehow she was sheltered from the cold, harsh effects of winter. Bella could see a group of individuals, approaching their igloo-esque homes.
“Emit?” she said tentatively.
He didn’t respond. She was fully immersed.
His friends called to him, “Nediti!”
They clapped their hands and began a frenzied dance of joy, dancing in a figure-eight pattern atop ice with intricate star-shaped indentations. The frost-covered buds of flowers in early spring waved in rhythm as the wind chattered all around the snow-laden trees. Pops of moss peeped through the frozen winterland along logs, and as Bella touched their surface, the wood became brittle and crumbled to a fine dust. She could hear a hum and buzz emerge from the hollowed fiddle one of the aliens held as he cranked a wheel against strings and pressed the wooden keys against strings for an almost bagpipe like sound. Bella found herself swaying to the song in an alien tongue she didn’t recognize. The words mattered little; the music was mesmerizing.
As the music slowed, Bella had spun herself into a dizzy circle and collapsed into the snow. She opened her eyes and gasped for breath as the powder flew in her face. She began swinging her arms back and forth to make the pattern of a snow angel, feeling like she was stuck in an infinite loop of “happy.”
“You shared a moment of music with friends,” Emit spoke. “It seemed only fair to return the favor and share a memory of music with you.”
“That instrument, the dancing!” Bella gasped. “It was hauntingly beautiful.”
“It is called ko’lesa in my mother tongue,” Emit explained. “You approve of its tone?”
“Oh yes,” she reached up and pulled him down next to her with a mischievous giggle.
Emit received a face full of snow, and slowly began moving his arms in the same rhythmic movements as Bella.
“What do you call this?” he inquired.
“A snow angel,” Bella said, standing up. “And you can turn over and lie on your back.”
Emit gave a muffled laugh. “Why should I want to do as you suggested?”
“Sarcasm, Emit,” Bella returned to the center of her angel, and used the force of her upper body to flip him over on his back. “You are learning.”
“I suppose,” he said, spitting and brushing snowflakes from his face.
Both Emit and Bella sat up in the snow. He reached for her hand, and they exchanged shy smiles. She felt her heart skip a beat as she stared into his eyes, endless pools of rainwater and love. The music had faded from her ears, and she wondered if she had too much nectar.
“It was not a hallucination,” he spoke. “In my culture, we call it k’olek’tiv’na z’go’dba… the collective story. It is a meeting of our souls on an intimate mindscape…” he squeezed her hand. “I have…” he gasped. “…never shared with anyone but my people before.”
“I am the first?” Bella was surprised.
“Yes,” he stroked the back of her hand with his fingers tenderly. “You are my first… Bella… in everything…”
“Everything?” she quirked a brow, wondering what he meant.
“Yes…everything…” he whispered.
He lowered his head, though not in shame – in awe and wonder of her. She could sense it. She felt honored, a lump forming in her throat.
“Tell me of your planet,” she said, feeling uncomfortable by the sudden prospect of their joining. “Is it really that beautiful?”
“More so,” Emit replied, pointing into the night sky. “Do you see that star up there?”
“Now look over to the far right… in that general direction… that is where home is,” he said. “The colors are more vibrant than you can imagine with blue ice mountains and grape colored sandy beaches and hot springs… the shade of your…” he tenderly stroked her face. “… blushing cheeks, my love.”
As if on cue, she flushed.
“We have forgotten our roots,” he said sadly, turning his face away. “…the reasons for our existence… the meaning has become twisted to further agendas of the queens. That is why I left. I could not be happy even in such a stunning environment. The people are my home, and the planet will only be destroyed because of our greed for resources. We neglect the land in favor of harvesting humans… in hopes of achieving immortality.”
Bella tilted her head in his direction. “It is not your fault, Emit.”
“No I shall bear the sins of my people equally…” Emit cleared his throat. “For that I am certain.”
“Let’s talk about something more pleasant, shall we?” she snuggled close, linking arms. “Like… how did you end up out here in Champs les Sims?”
“I told you. I could sense your distress,” he frowned.
“No, in this field…” she swept her arm around. “With these horses and with that…” her eyes bugged. “…is that a unicorn?”
Emit chuckled. “A rog’konja from my world… a horned horse… yes…she follows me.”
“She’s beautiful…” Bella breathed, and lifted her hand in its direction. “May I?”
Emit helped Bella to her feet, and they approached the white steed with the twisted golden horn in the center of its forehead. Bella slowed her pace, though her heart beat wildly, as she beckoned the shimmering creature. Bubbles of golden light popped in the air around her, an effect of the creature’s magic, Emit explained. She smiled as the horse nickered and nuzzled her hand before prancing away almost shyly.
“That was…” Bella began slowly, and then she laughed and breathed heavily simultaneously. “…amazing! You have unicorns on your world!”
“Yes,” Emit replied. “We do. This creature is named Čas.”
“Čas?” she repeated. “Like the C sounds like the ‘c’ ‘h’ in chocolate.”
“Yes,” he murmured.
“So almost like chas?” she remarked.
“It sounds similar, but the word would translate differently into your language… um…” he rubbed the back of his head. “Almost like a ‘k’ sound.”
“So kas?” she tried. “What does it mean in your language?”
“I suppose… like kas… it means something that is hard to describe in your wording…” he puzzled. “I shall try…” he paused. “…something like ‘purest representation of time‘ with time like a stream of water flowing endlessly from one end of the universe to the other and back.”
“Like pure time?”
“Like time that is unmoving.”
“Like frozen time… time…” she stepped closer to him, her heart beating frantically as she reached her arms around his body. “…standing still?”
Their lips met in glorious union. Bella found his heart beating in unison with home, with the same erratic skips like a record player that longed to replay a perfect note over and over and over again. Somehow she lost all track of time in that moment… as if time literally stood still, the snow endlessly falling, their souls colliding in space. The breaking of dawn was the only thing that could pull her from Emit’s arms. Soft hints of daylight shattered across the split sky and the stars began to dissolve into the night.
“Like time standing still,” he said hoarsely.
“Have we kissed for the whole night?” she asked, befuddled, her forehead creasing between her eyebrows, almost annoyed at the arrival of morning.
“Does the passing of time matter to you, Maribella?” he asked.
His words were simple and soft. They lacked judgment, but they were full of emotion, especially on the mention of her full name. When Mortimer said it, she felt his dissatisfaction with her. When Emit said it, she felt his delight in her. Bella took his hand and led him into his small tent beside the lake. She removed each one of their layers with care until they both lay bare before one another. She placed her hand on the center of his chest, and returned to his lips.
“This first time…” he said between her kisses. “…it should not be… here… in a tent… in the middle… of a forgotten… field.”
“Shh,” she laid a finger across his mouth. “This is magical. I could not ask for more.”
They surrendered to their passions, engulfed in the intoxicating spell of wintry bliss, the two souls finally arriving fully in Čas – time standing still.
Author Note: I am super delighted to present this chapter to you. I have been waiting for this moment forever… and I imagine some of you have also. I knew I wanted Emit and Bella to be together in winter given his love of the cold, but I never expected this chapter to turn out as well as it did. As you well know, there’s a lot packed in here so let me unpack some things.
If you recall back to the chapter, Breathless, Mortimer nearly drowned because he was trying to rescue his watch. He left this as a gift to Bella in their hotel room, and so when she tosses it aside at the bell tower, there’s a whole lot of intended and punctuated meaning there… she’s come full circle.
Emit and his people are powerful telepaths. For all my intimate scenes, I like to pick a theme. For Emit and Bella, it was winter. She shared memories of her times at the beach for winter bonfires in Pleasantview and he shared a moment from his home planet during a winter dance. The aliens in the Sims always seemed bee-like to me – their eyes, the queens, the drones, the “hive mentality,” etc. so I based the “dance” Emit shared with Bella on a buzzing bee waggle dance, which includes figure-eight motions, though I imagine their dance to be more fluid and human-like.
I found the song ‘The Longing’ Storm Seeker awhile back, and wanted to include it in the story, and this was the perfect moment. The song includes an instrument known as a hurdy-gurdy or a wheel fiddle. I liked the buzzing and humming sounds, again with the bee imagery, and also this song is just wicked cool. For the lyrics to the song, you can read here. The line about the ‘alien tongue she didn’t recognize’ is a little humor by me… English… alien tongue to the Sims. Haha! [FYI, as an aside, if you want to hear more songs on my Simspiration playlist and the stories that accompany them, click here].
Emit’s language, or mother tongue, is based on Slovenian. I’ve added a few apostrophes and changed a few letters to make it more alien-esque. I am not a native speaker by any means so this is solely Google Translate and my imagination combined. It is my intention to try and remain as respectful as possible so forgive me if I got some words wrong.
For the record, in game, several things happened to inspire the happenings of the last few chapters. I had always planned for “this” – Bella and Emit to be together – but it worked out in game too. First of all, thanks to NRAAS Traveler Mod, I had visitors in Champs les Sims. Bella carried on romantic interest with both Emit and Mortimer autonomously. Also, Dina Caliente was one of those visitors, and Mortimer carried on romantic interactions with both Bella and Dina autonomously. Mortimer also decided to return home early… which I think was the result of a glitch. I panicked momentarily, backed out of the game, and re-loaded, sending Bella home and Mortimer was there. Then I sent Bella back to Champs les Sims alone, and the events of this chapter… transpired… autonomously.
I’ve been wanting to write about unicorns and why they exist, and this scene in Champs les Sims couldn’t have worked out more perfectly. And the name… yes… packed with so much meaning. Čas is the Slovenian word for time. I added the whole interpretation of “pure time that is unmoving.” It is a “fictional” word after all. The Č is actually pronounced like the “ch” of chocolate if I am correct, but for the sake of the story, Emit explains that it would be pronounced differently in Simlish – with a ‘k’ sound… so ‘kas.’ The name ‘Kass,’ by the way, means “pure” in Greek and is an alternative of Catherine/Katherine. I’ll say no more. 😉
For all of you whose minds are exploding about now… you’re welcome! 😀 Hope you enjoyed.