Til Death Do Us Part, Part 1 (Side Tracks)

I, Joseph, take you Elizabeth…

…to be my lawful wedded wife…

…to have and to hold from this day forward…

…for better, for worse…

…for richer, for poorer…

…in sickness,  in health…

…to love, honor, and cherish…

…til death do us part.

Til death do us part. The words seemed to mock him now.  When he made his vows, pledging anyplace anytime,  for her,  he would always fight,  Joseph didn’t expect to lose his wife in six months.  There had to be some sort of mistake.  This wasn’t how it was supposed to end.  This wasn’t what was supposed to be.  Joseph couldn’t believe his stupidity.  He practically accused Lizzie of an affair, even though she assured him time and time again she was with him. When they recovered her phone,  Joseph saw the last person she called was not Don, or some unknown male name,  but Riley.

Idiot! And then he went and kissed another woman, a practical stranger because of a moment of weakness? A matter of confusion? How could be ever clear his conscience? What must have gone through Lizzie’s head in her final moments?  Pain beyond belief? Paralyzing fear? Staggering betrayal?  How could be ever clear his conscience? He lost the love of his life… and his unborn child and he could never forgive himself.

He hadn’t found time to plan a memorial. He couldn’t bring himself to call her family.  Riley and Annie agreed to call everyone for him as he walked around in a daze, awash with grief. What do you even do after someone dies? Joseph spent a half hour S’moogling the topic before growing too disgusted and depressed to continue. How could a person’s life boil down to doling out insurance benefits and notifying next of kin, employers, and friends? Joseph didn’t want to decide between coffins or cremation or whether to serve chicken or pork at the funeral lunch or if he wanted a wreath of flowers or a simple bouquet. Lizzie was so much more than that.  She mattered so much more than that.

What have I done?

Joseph found an intriguing sidebar in his search. Something about experimental procedures. No guarantees. Highly dangerous. Possible revival from the dead.  It was worth looking into,  he figured. There were many mysteries of the universe that people just didn’t understand yet.  He never really believed in ghosts but now anything was possible.  He needed to believe it was possible. He wanted Lizzie back,  and not just because she was his wife.  He was her husband.  At this point, he was willing to go to hell and back if it meant he could be with her again. Why did I have to be so possessive? Why was I so jealous? It was all utter nonsense.

After learning that high-ranking vampires had the ability to revive the dead, Joseph hopped in his truck and drove through the night to Hidden Hollow. He wasn’t sure how he was going to make it in the door since he didn’t know any vampires personally, but he was willing to try anything. He was willing to pay any price. Anything to bring Lizzie back. I killed her, he wept uncontrollably in the garden behind Tara Terrano’s home. A mere few months before, Joseph and Lizzie spent an unexpected honeymoon in the Hollow, happy and deeply in love. Now all hope felt lost. It’s my fault. I should be dead instead of her. 

The day seemed too bright, the birds too chipper, the trees to green. A few trees stretched dead branches to scrape the sky, but even they had buds of green erupting from the bark. Joseph sank to the bench in despair. The world went on.The sun still shone. The birds still sang. The trees still grew. The bugs still buzzed. The universe didn’t answer his plaintive cries for mercy, for peace, for relief.

Joseph wasn’t sure if he was confused or just insane for doubting Lizzie’s faithfulness, for letting that lady in neon to kiss him. It was like someone pulled out his brain and had a field day with his internal organs. Nothing made sense. Everything was inside out. His world was upside down and everyone else’s was right side up. Well, maybe that wasn’t entirely true.

He had silenced his phone an hour ago after it kept ringing continuously. First, Eddie and Essie, his in-laws. Then Nora and Lee simultaneously. Then Sammy. Then Eddie again. Then Julian. Then a handful of friends. Then his boss. He hadn’t called in and he would probably be fired if he didn’t. Typically missing work for any reason stressed him out, but today he didn’t care. Then Essie again. Riley. Cathy. Sugar. John. Then the cycle started all over. He couldn’t deal with their probing questions. He couldn’t handle their condolences. He didn’t deserve condolences or platitudes or kindness. He killed Lizzie… they just didn’t know it yet. 

“I won’t ask how you are doing,” Tara said, joining him on the bench. “I hated that question when my husband and daughter passed.”

“You had a child?” Joseph sniffed.

“Yes, a little girl. She was…” Tara smiled sadly. “…a rosebud about to bloom when she died.”

Joseph frowned. “How can you say that?”

“Say what?” Tara asked.

“Di…” he couldn’t even bring himself to finish the word. “It’s… so… final…” he shuddered.

“It’s the cycle of life. First there’s life, then there’s death. My people understand this even more than other Sims. Our length of life is often much shorter,” Tara explained. “Everything dies. We must accept this in order to truly appreciate life.”

“Like not take things…or people for granted?” Joseph inquired, swiping at tears forming at his eyes.

“You were granted a gift, Joseph,” Tara said softly. “However brief, it was beautiful what you and Lizzie had.”

“But I plumming ruined it!” Joseph exclaimed, and Tara gasped at his punctuated string of curse words. “I plumming killed her… Tara… I killed her!”

Joseph felt hot anger coursing through his veins as he struggled to control his emotions. His heart bounced all over the place like a pinball in a machine.

“Anger is normal to feel, Joseph,” Tara said. “You shouldn’t feel ashamed…blaming yourself is natural too.”

“I don’t…want… I didn’t want… I don’t know…” Joseph dropped his head. “I feel like I’ve lost everything. I…” he interlocked his fingers behind his head and breathed heavily. “I came here to try and get it back. To make things right. I heard there was a way… to bring back the de…” he still couldn’t say the word aloud. “Lizzie,” he swallowed hard.

Tara exhaled and laid her hands outward. “Do you feel that?”

“Feel what?”

He grimaced as the air seemed perfectly stagnant. The birds had stopped chirping and he couldn’t hear any bugs bustling about anymore. Tara laid her hands out, palms up, and closed her eyes as she tilted her head slightly upward.

“Love,” she replied, her voice barely above a whisper. 

Joseph frowned. He could hear a catch in her tone and if he wasn’t mistaken, an infant smile formed at the edges of her mouth. As an aura of white light formed around her, Tara opened her eyes wide and made tiny fists with her green hands.

“Close your eyes,” she ordered gently.

“Why?” he did as he was told, but still felt the need to ask questions.

“I can feel her. I can feel Lizzie.”

“What?” his eyes fluttered open.

“Yes,” Tara lifted her hand and laid it on top of Joseph’s. “But this is good news. It means she’s close by.”

“Elizabeth?” Joseph called out. “Lizzie? If you can hear me,  I’m so sorry.”

“Shh,” Tara urged. “Close your eyes and listen… do you hear her? She forgives you, Joseph…she releases you.”

Joseph choked back a sob. “She is? She can? Wait…” he narrowed his eyes. “How can you know? How can you hear her? I can’t hear a thing.”

Joseph didn’t understand it, but his heart felt lighter, as if a weight had been lifted. Tara explained that many Plantae were healers with a deep connection to the earth. She could connect with Lizzie if the soul still had corporeal roots. Tara could sense Lizzie, and even if he couldn’t feel her presence, somehow Joseph knew his love was still there. 

When he opened his eyes, Tara was still glowing, but she was no longer smiling.

“I lost her,” she sighed. “It’s very fragile. The tendrils are fresh, but the roots are floating.”

“I don’t…” Joseph shook his head, misunderstanding.

“…um…” Tara scratched her leafy hair. “Think of a hydroponic garden. There are roots floating every which way in the water, but are not tethered to the ground anymore.

“You’re saying she’s in limbo?”

“Yes, The soul is a very delicate thing. In all normality, the soul passes to the next life. That’s what our ancestors have done for millennia, but… do you know the stories of how the PlantSims came to be?”

“Uh…”

“The aliens… they experimented on my ancestors. We were never supposed to be, but we are. The aliens… they are necromancers. They can res the dead. They keep Sims in the in-between for experiments mostly,” she made a face. “Not all dead go there. Just the ones the Xenosi capture. Or the Titanav.”

“So it’s not fairy tales?” Joseph said.  

“Oh no. Titanav is real. On the planet of Titanav rules what you would call the Reaper. They are known also as Kr’v… that is what they call themselves. The Xenosi and their genetic friends, the Orbix and the Reapers… they can hold the dead and bring them back to life. We cannot ask them though. They are inaccessible.”

“You can’t bring her back?” his eyes widened with sadness.

She laid a hand across her heart. “My people can feel them because we were born from roots, but you…” she laid her other hand on his shoulder. “…would need to train.”

“Are you saying I can feel her? Touch her?” Joseph inquired.

“Not exactly. But the in-between is not far from here,” she added. “PlantSims can sense spirits, but we cannot revive them. But there is an alternative…and Joseph… it is dangerous…” she touched his forehead. “You have darkness here. And that is why you are not at peace. That is why you were tormented by false thoughts of betrayal.”

“What are you saying?”

“I have only seen this kind of dark aura caused by one thing. Mind manipulation. By a vampire.”

“What?”

Tara just told Joseph that his mind had been poisoned by a vampire.  How could this be? He grabbed the sides of his head in instinctive shock.

“Do something,  Tara,” he begged.

She shook her head. “Only a pyre can lift a curse.”

“But I don’t feel it in my head,” Joseph protested.

“It’s pretty high level magic.”

“But I have clarity… now… I haven’t doubted Lizzie,  or wondered if she was telling the truth or not.  I know she is.”

Tara frowned. “In some cases,  I’ve heard very trong emotions can break through a pyre’s mind blocks. Like grief…”

“Or love,” Joseph replied,  excitedly.  “Tara? Tell me what I need to do to bring Lizzie back. You said there’s a way.”

“I can feel her… so she’s strongly tethered… to this place,” Tara began tentatively. “It’s possible…” she plucked a leaf from her arm. “…a pyre could resurrect her. I may know a friendly pyre who will help us figure this out, but the cost could be high,  Joseph.  Are you willing to pay?”

“Anything. I have to… make this right.”


Author Notes: Thanks for reading. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Xenosi (aliens which Tara speaks of), Orbix, and Titanav/Kr’v/Grim Reaper, you can read more on my other blog. Essentially, the Xenosi have long been believed to be the cause of supernaturals, creating them out of genetic experimentation for some unknown purpose, though possibly to prolong their own lives. It would make sense that they would “play” with death. Ghosts are a weird phenomenon in the Sims games, and in my Simworld, not much is known about them. This is the first time anyone has offered an explanation for them. Ghosts exist because the Xenosi (or Reapers/Kr’v) harvest the spirits, trapping them in limbo (or the in-between, as Tara calls it). I’ll continue more Friday on the subject. This chapter featured LegacySims2017’s Joseph and game generated townie, Tara Terrano. 

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Interlude: Recovery [Emit] (LVB)

Exhaustion threatened to devour him as he stepped inside the firehouse. Emit needed to remove all the heavy gear as each piece seemed to cause his aching muscles to disintegrate. On this planet, he wasn’t as strong as on his home world, and he became fatigued much more easily in the higher gravity environment of Simterra. Typically, he did not mind as he could simply train harder, but today had been one of the worst days he could remember.

The scene was still fresh in his head. He couldn’t close his eyes without hearing the screams of the trapped victims and the smoke hissing defiantly. The damage to the building had been extensive, and it was clear that next to nothing would be salvageable. It had been a hopeless situation from the beginning. The call to the dispatch had come too late. The building was already almost entirely consumed with blazing inferno when the first company arrived. As his crew had been called to the neighboring town to assist, the smoke choked any survivors who managed to escape the scalding, angry flames. The death count was eleven so far, but only seven had been identified.

It was days like today that made Emit Relevart wonder whether or not being a firefighter was for him. He had only been a firefighter a year, but already he was thinking about quitting. I cannot do that, he thought. He had made a commitment. He was bound to Bella, even if she had chosen another. He picked this profession so he could be close. He had to remain near should she call… should she need him… should I need her. 

Emit shook his head and pulled his firefighter’s scarf from his neck and wiped his face. Black ash streaked his skin and mingled with his sweat. He couldn’t understand his emotions. Feelings were not encouraged among the men of his world as they unduly complicated things. One might hear rare stories of romance, but a couple in love was the exception rather than the norm.

When he first arrived on this planet, he thought a degree in political science and law would assist his cause. He had been a young, well, young for his world, man, naive and idealistic, hoping his education and skills would help him to negotiate on behalf of his people, to bring about peace between the two sides of the civil war, and broker an understanding with the other races like the Sims. Emit studied negotiation and conflict resolution as an undergraduate, and then worked his way through law school. He was a quick study, and his excellent memory and genetic advantages made school a breeze for him.

Then the Xenosi attacked the Great Southern Air Force Base, less than three months after he received his degree. He nearly gave up hope. His queens recalled him from Simterra, and he was forced to return home. They had a plan,and their plan did not involve peace. Emit struggled with his calling, having found a “better way,” in his opinion and experience off world. As an adviser to the royal court and a member of the sovereign family of Xenosa, Emit had no choice but to serve his sisters.

And yet as the wars continued to rage, and his family grew divided on their reasons for their cause, Emit became more and more disenfranchised. He questioned his purpose. Why go to Simterra? Why live among the people? Why study their ways and learn their customs and look like them? If only to gain a tactical advantage when the Birth Queen, Ai’nam, attacked the planet? If only for her twin sister, At’rom to continue a campaign of terror? He did their bidding, but then choose a different path. He would return to Simterra and spend the remainder of his days in self-imposed exile.

Emit returned to the planet of Sims, chose a degree in the nonthreatening, environmental science, and settled into life as a student once more. He had been happy as a student before. It would be easy for him. And yet this time, he encountered suspicion and prejudice, discrimination, violence, and hatred. There were some Sims who distrusted anyone who was different, and he certainly was not a normal Sim. He created a back story, gained proper documentation, changed his name, adapted his image, and they still were suspicious. Only one person treated him as something more. He never expected to find a love. And he had chosen his career path so he could remain close to love, so he could fulfill his duty as her deval’le’ac, her protector. That was a mission he could not fail.

And yet today, he felt as defeated as when he was recalled to Xenosa. He was unable to save those people, the ones who had died in the apartment fire in Harmony. Somehow the deaths were more real to Emit than just a list of names. He had seen faces that belonged to those names, or the remains of them.  “This is what keeps us going,” his captain had said. “We work to keep days like this from happening.” Keeps us going? The words echoed in Josh’s brain. We failed, did we not? There had been nothing left.

Emit cleaned up, trying to avoid consuming all the hot water in the firehouse showers. He combed his hair, shaved his five o’clock shadow, and changed into civilian clothes. As he walked down the stairs heavily, he popped a piece of gum in his mouth. He hoped the minty freshness would erase the taste of smoke in his teeth. He clocked out, and poked his head in his boss’ office to tell the captain he wasn’t sticking around for the firehouse dinner. Somehow four-alarm chili didn’t sound appetizing even if his stomach was growling. Forty-eight hours on call was stressful enough. Eating a meal with his colleagues, as nice as they were, meant loud, boisterous conversation, and he merely wanted to be alone. It was the middle of the day, so one of his roommates would be at work, and the other was most likely at her garden club meeting at the Arboretum Society. He waved to his colleagues as the shift changed. His colleague, Maura Simpson tried to convince him to stay, if only for a slice of her famous jalapeño and honey cornbread.

“Duty calls,” he lifted the file the fire captain, Goopy GilsCarbo, handed him. “I need to drop this reference off at the civic center dispatch office.”

“Reference?” Maura repeated.

“Yeah, the chief’s niece wants to work at the dispatch office so he wrote a recommendation for her,” Emit explained.

“Can’t it wait, Relevart?” another firefighter, Mitch Lawson, grinned as he placed Emit in a playful head lock. “I’d like to challenge our reigning champ to a push-ups contest after dinner.”

“I am tired,” Emit sighed, wriggling out from Mitch’s grasp without any effort. “Perhaps LeTourneau will take my place,” he nodded to the third firefighter.

“Naw, man, thanks, I’ll pass,” Neil LeTourneau winced as Mitch punched the man’s shoulder. “I’d like to stay upright during my shift.”

“My chili isn’t that bad,” Maura made a mock-pout before turning back to Emit. “We’ll miss you.”

“You’re heading to the civic center?” Neil interjected. “Please say hello to my sister.”

“Don’t sleep too long, dude,” Mitch laughed, pulling a football from within his jacket. “I need to challenge you to something. Maybe you can come back tomorrow and we can toss the ole ball around or something?”

“You will be too busy working, Lawson,” Emit reminded the jovial man. “When our shifts line up, and we are both off duty at the same time… I will…” he trailed off, trying to recall the correct terminology. “…toss the ole ball around… and I will tackle you to the ground.”

“You’re on, Relevart!” Mitch grinned, pointing two of his fingers in Emit’s direction. “And you’re going down…” he laughed.

I hope not, Emit sighed as he walked away. Going down was never pleasant. He walked to his truck and drove the few blocks to the civic center. He plunked a coin or two in the parking meter and didn’t even bother buttoning his coat as he walked up the steps. The chilled air felt good. Late fall and winter temperatures on Simterra did not bother him as he was accustomed to worse on his home planet and on Orb. He held the door open for a woman carrying packages and then entered the building. Walking across the hallway, he took the stairs as opposed to the elevator to the third floor. The enclosed space of an elevator made him nervous and as a firefighter, he felt he should always be prepared.

Zero-zero-zero, what’s your emergency?”

Emit stepped into the office of the city dispatch. Only two ladies sat at the back desks answering calls. Everyone else must have been on a late lunch. He smiled pleasantly as he approached the front desk.

“Ms. LeTourneau?” he greeted.

“Oh,” she looked up from her paperwork, startled. “Emit, you can call me Brandi…” she said shyly, a hint of pink breaching her cheeks.

“Ms. Brandi,” he replied politely. “The captain asked me to pass along this information to the office manager.”

“That would be me,” Brandi LeToureneau stood, taking the envelope, and filing it in a nearby cabinet. “The captain would like his niece to work here. I’ll read it later. I have to know how this novel ends…” she flushed once more. “I mean… I’m in the middle of this important work here.”

“Quiet day?” Emit supposed, leaning casually against the desk.

“Yes, um… uh…” she stammered. “I really am just reading until Marylena returns with our lunch,” she nodded back to the women behind her. “Someone has to stay and hold down the fort.”

“Fort?” Emit repeated, bewildered. “Is this building a fort? I did not realize it needed humans to hold it in place?”

Brandi scrunched her face and laughed awkwardly. “It’s just an expression, Emit.”

“Brandi?” one of the ladies interrupted. “There is a car accident in the alley behind Red’s Sports Bar. Lee Butterworth reported the incident involving Bella Goth. I notified the police. Should I contact fire and paramedics?”

“Bella Goth?” Emit straightened so quickly he knocked over the canister of writing implements. “I will go. You said the accident is behind the sports bar?”

“You’re off duty,” Brandi said. “We can forward the call to the firehouse.”

“No, I will go,” Emit insisted, picking up the items he dropped, clearing his throat. “Lee is a friend and my roommate.”

“Are you sure?” the lady looked at Brandi and then at Emit as she scribbled information down on a piece of paper.

“Emit, you look exhausted. Go home and slee…” Brandi suggested, but Emit cut her off, holding up his hand.

“Please… the situation is personal.”


Author Note: Forever back in the day, I watched a movie where one of the characters pretended to be a lawyer and a firefighter. Oh sure, it’s unrealistic, but Emit’s people live for thousands of years so anything is possible. Plus he wanted to remain close to Bella for obvious reasons. Hope you enjoyed!

Uni Years, Episode 15, Someone (LVB)

Bella tossed and turned most of the night. Finally, at seven in the morning, she heard a knock on her door. A delivery man handed her a huge bouquet of roses, red, her favorites. The card stated they were from M, whom she knew to be Malcolm, with the words “Sorry” scripting across, with no personal note or explanation. Bella gruffly thanked the delivery guy and tossed the flowers carelessly on her desk. If he had showed up last night as promised, I wouldn’t have needed to face Emit alone. 

Staring at the roses, Bella decided she wasn’t going to visit Emit. Instead, in the next two hours, she cleaned her room, shoved all her possessions into bags and boxes, called Daniel, and had him help her move out of her building with his pickup truck. Daniel was only too happy to oblige as recently he had been seeing less of a certain Professor Boyle, as the man’s wife became hysterical just last week, suspecting the affair between the older and younger man. Daniel was distraught and needed a distraction.

Daniel ordered pizza during the drive across town, and Bella protested, insisting she pay given he was the one helping her, but he insisted. They drove up in front of a beautiful redwood estate with a wrap-around porch. Jennifer had mentioned an open room in the house she was renting across town, and it seemed like the perfect solution to sharing a dorm with a Xenosi. Bella wasn’t sure she could be under the same roof. The very thought churned her stomach. She was a chicken, she knew it, but she would be an alive chicken if she never encountered Emit again.

Jennifer was surprised but happy to see her best friend. She explained Victoria, the widow of the late famous puppeteer, Robert Crumplebottom, was only too happy to rent her husband’s lakeside house to bright young students. Apparently, Robert was a patron of education and had donated significant amounts of his fortune to the university. Until this past year, the family summer residence had remained unoccupied, but Victoria had hoped opening the place to university students would bring life and laughter into the home again. Unfortunately, Mrs. Crumplebottom had been unable to find students willing to stay long enough within the walls because the house was supposedly haunted, something about Mr. Crumplebottom predicting his tragic demise on the stage and penning morbid letters in the attic. Jennifer had scoffed at the idea of ghosts and had been the only tenant to stay. She was only too glad to find Bella taking her offer.

Bella managed to settle in, and for the first few days out of the Landgrabb Boarding House, she tried to ignore the gnawing guilt in her abdomen. I should have at least heard him out. Her somersaulting stomach competed with her logical brain. I should report him… but to whom? Her compassionate heart conflicted with her thoughts of anger. He doesn’t seem hostile. 

After the fourth sleepless night, Bella decided she had enough. She didn’t even bother getting dressed or putting on shoes before walking across campus, and knocking on the appropriate door, ready to face the truth. Emit answered, looking as though he had not slept much either, still only in his shorts. He directed her to the couch. Part of her wished she hadn’t come, but another part was morbidly curious, even if it cost her.  She sank onto her couch, dumbfounded by the truth of Emit’s identity. She wasn’t sure how to feel, a whole host of emotions surging through her body. Emit seemed to understand this, as he took a seat on the floor. Before she realized what she was doing, Bella reached out and offered him her hand, pulling him up onto the couch.

“I am xekzo,” he began. “I was born on a colony world of the race you know as Xenosi. We are a fierce and proud race, ruled by the iron fists of our ruthless queens. The men of my race are bred specifically for service. We are, what you would call, second-class citizens. We have no voice in the council. We have no say over what kind of service our bodies are used for, and we are raised with the notion a  from birth that females are dominant.”

“Our queens are living goddesses, the embodiment of O’dam, the spirit of all things living. Their task is to reign ceaselessly in the service of O’dam. None of our former queens have managed to live forever, and so, we, the people, are enslaved to find the answer to immortality, conscripted to find the cure for death. This is why the Xekzos have attacked your world and countless others. We seek eternal life. I am bound by oath to protect my people, and I have just broken my oath by telling an outsider my truth.”

“Why are you here?” Bella interjected with a squeak, and cleared her throat before continuing, “Why are you on this planet?”

“I am considered unique among my people. I have special protein in my blood that allows me to carry time in my cells.”

“Time? Like literal time?”

“Yes I am…timekeeper.”

“What does that mean?”

“It has the meaning of I can travel through time.”

Bella shivered. “But that doesn’t make you a monster.”

“On my home world, I maintain and keep records for people. My father before me did, and my grandfather before that, and my great-grandfather before that.”

“That doesn’t sound so bad.”

“”The Xekzos seek immortality and believe they will achieve such a thing through the direct manipulation of their genes. They will stop at nothing to achieve this, and we have warred against countless worlds, abducted countless numbers of people, and meddled in the affairs of every day life for millennia. Someone back in the day decided our women are too pure to suffer through untold experimentation, and our men are needed for breeding and protection, so the Xekzos seek out other races to purify the processes for immortality. It is a shame we all must bear,” Emit dropped his head and sighed before lifting his head with fierce determination as he balled his fists.

“About a century ago, my people were dying from an unknown disease we have come to know as… time anomaly. Instead of choosing to withdraw from our military tactics, we increased our efforts, bringing more and more people for experiments and ruining countless more lives. I was chosen from birth to carry on the tasks of my family, to study as a time apprentice in the temples of O’dam. I was raised and trained with the express purpose of keeping correct records of the timeline,” he explained.

Emit continued, looking wracked with guilt. “I collect dissidents among my people. I collect Sims. I bring them to my people in whatever time they would be most efficient. The Xekzos are trying to rebuild time to reflect their greatness and glory by ruining and ridding the universe of people who oppose them.”

“Are…are…are…you here to kill me?” Bella stammered.

“No,” Emit shook his head vehemently. “I would never kill you, milady. There is a movement of people against the queens. They call themselves the Orbix. It means ‘the eyes which see again.’ We have fought against the queens for a century, trying to take back the power, and restore our honor. They live on a planet called the Orb, and they have come to Simterra and other worlds in order to find a way to stop the spread of the diseases and infirmities that come with supernatural genes and transforming Sims and splicing one race’s DNA with another.”

“The Orbix?” Bella repeated. “I have not heard of them.”

“They have not yet made contact with the governments on Simterra, but they will soon. The Xekzos would kill me if they knew I have defected… if they knew I…am telling you.”

“Then why?” she started, struggling to find the words. “Why did you tell me?”

“I have told you because we have shared space,” Emit said, his rain-colored eyes clouding with lonesome sadness.

“I do not understand,” she shook her head.

“If a woman were to enter my space while I was naked as you did earlier, she would be imploring me to mate with her,” Emit explained.

Bella flushed.

“I would have no choice. I would become bound to her.”

Bella resisted the urge to reach for his hand. Something deep within her cried out for and craved his touch.

“It is the binding,” he said hoarsely. “The urges you feel… they are natural. You project them like waves and I can see them and sense them in my innermost being”

She flushed.

“…and they are what draws me to you, though…” he lifted his hand as if to touch her face, and then lingered a few inches from her cheeks. “…not as strong as the desires of a pure-blooded female of my race.”

Bella flinched, conflicted feelings rising in her chest. Emit dropped his hand and returned his gaze to the floor.

“Your world does not host the same customs,” he said quietly. “I will not hold you to the binding. I will wait until you are ready to have your way, and when we are finished, I would die.”

“Die?” Bella cried out. “This is…” she rubbed the sides of her face. “This is all too much… why…why…why would you die if we…um…were…?” she wasn’t even certain she wanted to know. “…were to have sex,” she burst out.

“I would have served my purpose. I could not do anything other,” Emit replied, his face serious.

“But don’t you have love on your world?” Bella asked, bewildered.

“Love is a Sim concept,” he said blankly.

“No, love is a universal concept,” Bella sat up and took Emit’s hands. “I do not wish you to die. I do not want you to take your own life. I do not want any of this. Emit…  I don’t know what to say, but please don’t die. Your cause… sounds like a noble one. I don’t hate you…” she couldn’t believe what she was saying. “I thought I would,” she made a face. “…but I can’t. You are too beautiful of spirit.”

“You pay me a high compliment, milady,” he bowed his head reverently. “I can hardly look at myself for what I have done. I only wish I had done something sooner. I am a coward. I ran from my service. I ran away from the Xekzos when I recognized the horror of my mistakes. I ran away from the Orbix when I realized I might do them more harm than good. I am cursed to wander through time, struggling to living a normal life on a dozen worlds in a half dozen lifetimes to atone for my mistakes but the real work is being done out there.  And what am I doing? I waste time cleaning pools and obtaining  a university degree.”

Bella covered her mouth to keep from crying. “Emit…” she lifted her hand and turned his face toward her own. “You wanted to be Sim. You wanted to do be normal. I know what that feels like because I want to be normal. You serve with such devotion.”

“It is my nature to serve without question,” Emit cried. “I do now what I can… what I can to help those souls that are lost. I carry them with me in my own soul. I try to reverse the effects of the Xekzo genes. I have tried to help you too, though you would not know it. It is not enough. I have taken the lives of many and pressed them into endless agony for the supposed betterment of my people but it is torture.”

“But you don’t do it anymore, do you?” Bella tried to assure. “There is only so much one Sim can do. You cannot beat yourself up for striving for things that the rest of us want too. You want to be someone. I think you’re someone. Someone special.”

“My sole job is to manipulate time and space so that the outcomes are favorable for my people, regardless of how unfavorable they are for other people,” Emit cried, ignoring her high praise. “I am a traitor to my own people and a monster to everyone else.”

“I do not think you are a monster,” Bella said softly, tears rolling down her cheeks. “Emit, you are not a monster. Please stop saying you are. The man before me is too kind and too wonderful and too sweet to be a monster. Please… please… you are not the thing that you say you are. Not anymore. Not ever again.”

Emit reached out and caressed her face and she flinched, surprised at the tenderness of his touch. His eyes were filled with surprise and gratitude. Her phone began to jingle in her pocket.

“Hold on,” she said softly. “Hello?”

Bella, it’s Malcolm.”

“Great,” she groaned, and to her dismay, realized she did so aloud.

Hear me out, okay?” Malcolm begged.

“What do you want? Aren’t the flowers enough?” she bit out, still annoyed at how he never showed up the previous night.

What flowers?”

Bella was trying not to be distracted by Emit. He was looming behind her. His hand brushed her waist, and she breathed out nervously. Quickly, as to cover up her reaction, she snapped at Malcolm, “Don’t play dumb. You sent me flowers.”

He sounded sincere. “Well, yes, but um… listen, Bella. . .”

“I am!”

You’re not making this easy.”

“Am I supposed to?”

Why are you so angry?”

Why am I so angry? Is it because my entire world was turned upside down and my lover wasn’t here to fix it? Or is it because I haven’t seen him for a long time and he keeps blowing me off? 

Please don’t do this to me.”

“You’re doing this to yourself,” Bella practically growled.

“Are you alright, milady?” Emit nearly breathed in her ear.

Instinctively, her hand reached up for the spot on her neck which he tickled.

“I’m fine,” she nodded to him, and then returned to speaking to Malcolm, “You’re the one who called, and you knew you were going to get this. . .”

Bella, can I come over?” Malcolm cut in.

“When?” she asked sharply.

Now? Bella, I need to see you today.

“No, I can’t. Not now. I don’t have time for this,” she snipped.

But I do,” Malcolm sounded almost desperate.

“I can’t… I’m out… with…someone else,” she nearly giggled because Emit brushed her face with his smooth cheek.

He looked at her in surprise. “You are?” he mouthed.

You are?” Malcolm exclaimed at nearly the same moment.

“I’m. . .”

Bella started to reply, and Emit, nodded in agreement as he moved behind her and caressed her cheek. She closed her eyes, and for a moment, all she could think about was Emit. Suddenly she wanted to kiss him more than anything in the world. . .to feel his pale pink lips against hers. She wanted to drink him in and forget about the Xenosi and about the Orbix, about Mortimer and the forced engagement, about her parents seeming to abandon her, about her strange desire to slaughter animals when there was a full moon, and Malcolm. Most of all Malcolm. Malcolm.

Bella, are you still there? What do you mean you’re with someone else?”

But it was too late, she was lost in Emit’s embrace, and her skin tingled in excitement.

“Do you know. . .” Emit said intimately. “…how much I want to kiss you, milady?”

Her lips were vibrating inches from his, and before all her senses went numb, she respired dramatically, “I’m going to have to call you back.”

The phone slipped from her ear, and she lifted her arms and pressed her hands into Emit’s bare chest as his hands wrapped around her waist. After that, she was lost to all other sights and sounds, engulfed completely at the man in front of her as his lips grazed hers harmoniously.

Uni Years, Episode 13, Shock (LVB)

Bella ignored Emit’s insistence that he would clean, and picked up the bowls, carrying them to the sink to be washed. Perhaps she should go knock on his door and apologize, though she hadn’t the faintest idea why. Was it because she teased him about being a spy?

Retiring to her room, Bella sat on her bed, legs folded, trying to concentrate on her homework. She needed to finish writing a short play by the following Thursday for her script writing class. Try as she might, she couldn’t focus. She kept thinking about Emit. A space ship… he had said. He had spent time in space. Perhaps he was one of the “lost children,” an orphan due to the Food Riots on Luna. Perhaps he had been conscripted into the Simterran military. She had never met an orphan in the Youth For Good program, formerly the Youth Corps. In fact, she had never met anyone from Luna. Perhaps their lifestyle on the moon really was different from Simterra, though she doubted it was quite as matriarchal as the description of Emit’s society. Where in the universe could he be from? 

Poking her head into the hallway, Bella awkwardly smiled at some passing students, both of whom gave her strange looks. She walked to the hallway where Emit had disappeared, and then paused, twisting her foot behind her other ankle. She didn’t exactly know which room he was in. Biting her lip, she ran a hand through her hair, undoubtedly messing up her ponytail. She didn’t really care. Why does it matter where he’s from? she wondered. Timidly, she tiptoed through the hall, listening for the sound of his voice or looking for something to indicate where he went. She was about to turn around when she heard what sounded like singing, coming from the common bathroom. Bella softly pushed the door open, listening, and a cloud of steam puffed into her face. Without thinking, Bella walked inside.

Emit was evidently showering, and she realized she was probably intruding. She walked daintly to the sinks, turning the faucet ever so slightly so she could wash her hands, and have some excuse for being in the room.

“I can see clearly now, the rain is gone,” Emit’s deep and rich baritone voice floated up and over the shower curtain.

“I wish I could,” Bella muttered to herself, and then smiled at her sarcasm.

“Who is present there?” Emit called out, over the shower curtain.

Her smile dissipated. Panicking, she whipped her head around and backed into the doorway, hitting the marbled glass with her head. Ow! 

“Emit…it’s me…” she admitted, rubbing the back of her head with her hand, grinning sheepishly. “I’m…uh… sorry to barge in here… I just…wanted… I can come back…” she turned and gripped the handle.

The heard the shower curtain push aside, and Emit stepped from the fog. Bella’s heart pounded as she leaned her head against the door, almost afraid to turn around. She had no idea what to expect. Instead, she felt Emit’s bare chest brush her back, his hairs tickling her skin, as his arms came up and around her frame. He embraced her from behind. Okay not the reaction I was expecting. 

“Do you wish to mate?” he inquired as if asking her to hand him a pencil.

“Mercy! No! What? Um… ah!” Bella shrieked, throwing his arms off of herself, and turning around to see a fully naked Emit standing before her.

Averting her eyes, she darted to the side, throwing her hands up to her face. “What? Put some clothes on! Or a.. er… something…um…” she glanced about frantically for a towel, and chucked one in his direction without looking. “…or…um… I’ll leave…”

She tried to walk to the door, eyes still closed, but found herself wandering the opposite way into the showers. She batted at the curtains like a cat, and cleared her throat, feeling like she would die of embarrassment.

“Why would you…um…ask that?” she squeaked, still looking at the ground.

“Because you have entered my space,” he replied, drying his face with the towel.

“What? Um… no… your space?” she chuckled awkwardly as she tilted her head to the side, and tucked one leg behind the other, making a point to look only at his face. “…the common bathrooms?”

“Yes, but I am unclothed,” he stated the obvious. “You have entered my space,” he repeated, seeming to be completely comfortable with his nudity.

She shook her head, her cheeks the brightest red they had ever been. What was he talking about? Mating? What the hell? Bella gasped for air, suddenly feeling claustrophobic. The thick steam seemed to clutch her throat, impairing her ability to think clearly.

“Would you like me to keep singing?” Emit inquired. “I can see all obstacles in my way.” He offered a genuine smile,  completely oblivious to her intense discomfort. “I like this song of Simterra.  I apologize for the distraction. You must want to mate with me. I am ready for this if it is your wish.”

“Um… well…er…no…but I… well… I was making sure you were okay. That I didn’t make you mad. I didn’t come because I’m into you or anything like that,” Bella rambled. “…I mean… you wouldn’t understand into, would you? I…uh…”

“It appears as though you want me,” Emit stated simply.

She was shocked at his calmness, and there wasn’t a hint of licentiousness in his tone. He seemed to be stating a fact,  a normality for him,  without any lascivious intent or desire to embarrass.  Nonetheless,  Bella felt awkward,  and that was an understatement.

“No…I mean…yes… I mean… no,” she stammered. “Emit… I just wanted to see if I could buy you some ice cream to um… make up for upsetting you at dinner.”

“You did not upset me. I wish to protect you,” he walked toward her, and with every step, she felt like her heart would leap out of her chest. “…and that is why I did not answer your question. My people are unfailingly honest, and so I cannot lie to you, but I cannot tell you the truth. I do not wish to frighten you.”

“Frighten me?” she narrowed her eyes. “I was afraid I would frighten you.”

“Why?” he puzzled, reaching for her hands.

She trembled, completely aware of his fully naked body, but refusing to look down. “Because… I am…”

What am I? Mortimer called me a hybrid,  a special Sim being.  Mom said I was a witch. Dad said I am a vampire.  I am north,  but I am neither.  I’m not fully Sim.  

“I’m a monster.”

Emit lifted her hands up and looked into her eyes with a deep compassion. “Oh my dear lady, I am the monster.”

“You couldn’t be,” she mouthed as he squeezed her hands against his chest, the tears welling in her eye corners.

“I know what you are,” he said.

“You do?”

“Yes, you are a supernatural.”

“How did you know?” she breathed heavily.

“Because I am…” he sighed. “I am not from here.”

“Well that I know.”

“I will tell you something I have told no other. I fear for things changing for you but I fear for things staying the same for me. I fear for being alone on this life. I am afraid you will hate me but I cannot bear the burden alone any longer.  You must promise me that you will not repeat what you hear because it could put your life in danger.”

“I swear,” she bobbed her head.

“I am… what you call… Xenosi,” he replied. “And we created you.”

What? 

Bella expected the panic to settle at any moment. Her heart felt as if it had been squeezed, and every drop of life remained frozen within her veins. Blue-haired Emit Relevart, the man who had been face down, crumpled, beaten, and bleeding outside her door two years ago, had just confessed to being the enemy. The green-skinned Xenosi? It wasn’t possible. It couldn’t be. Her world had just finished a war with the alien race. This was beyond unreal.

“Bella? Milady?” Emit’s voice cut through the fog.

She shook her head.

“This…can’t…be…happening…” she bent over and grabbed her knees, wheezing as she attempted to catch her breath. “You…you…are…one of them?” she glared up at him, uncertain how she should feel.

Her entire body trembled and her voice vibrated with anger. “You are the…you are a Xenosi? You killed my people? You threatened my world? You abducted us? Your people made us… made us the monsters we are? Made me a supernatural?” She shoved him back into the shower room with surprising force.

“Milady?” he dropped to his knees, naked and dripping wet, hanging his head.

Bella yelled in frustration, holding the side of her head as she seethed with rage. His people were the reason she was cursed.

Emit spoke meekly. “If you should so wish it, I will gladly take my own life to spare you the further shame of fraternizing with the enemy.”

Bella’s hands trembled, and she collapsed to the wet tile floor, feeling the full weight of what he had just offered. Her heart softened, and she immediately felt guilty. Here was a man who had been nothing but kind to her and he was offering to commit suicide in order to fulfill her desire for vengeance. This was not the face of a man who was her enemy.  Emit was nothing like what she had imagined the green-skinned aliens to be.

“I…” the word fell from her lips, and a wail escaped from her throat.

She covered her mouth in horror, and cried, muffled sobs into her hands. “How can this be?”

“Let us stop discussing for the night,” he suggested gently, pushing her hair over her ears. “I think you need to gather your thoughts and feelings, and you would be more comfortable in another setting.” Emit lifted her from the floor. “Will you meet me in my room at nine tomorrow morning.”

“I…” she began.

She wanted to figure everything out tonight. She wanted the truth, but exhaustion was threatening to devour her whole and her shoulders slumped.

“I will,” she promised.


Author Note: Time traveling Emit Relevart is a Xenosi. Yes, you read that right. If you have no idea what a Xenosi is, please read more about these aliens on my other blog here.