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1  Simmers' Paradise / Sims Stories / The Inheritance: Chapter 5 - Part II (Updated 11/14) on: November 26, 2008, 07:42:47 pm
Hello all.

It seems like my bi-monthly Sims 2 meltdown has erased my downloads and sims and lots. I intend to continue with The Inheritance but at this point I'm thinking of something that will require me to invest less time, at least until my semester is over.

Have no fear. Elizabeth, Dante, Josephine, Marco, Dante, and Lara will return! But there will be a delay. Sorry, all.
2  Simmers' Paradise / Sims Stories / The Inheritance: Chapter 5 - Part II (Updated 11/14) on: November 15, 2008, 02:46:27 am
The Inheritance
Chapter 5 - Part II
February 1965



The lawyers came for a meeting at the villa the second week of February to discuss the division of assets. "Of course, Mrs. Moretti should be entitled to remain in the house, given that it is owned by her aunt. Mr. Moretti will need to seek alternative housing," my lawyer said.

"Agreed," said Dante's lawyer. "As for property...my client is willing to stipulate that the Signora can keep any and all jewelry, clothing, furs, and other gifts given to her by him."



"That's well and good, by my client would like to return any jewelry that was an heirloom of Durante's family," said my attorney. "As a show of good will."

I tried for a smile; Dante looked miserable. "I want you to keep your wedding ring," he told me.

"It was your mother's, Dante. I can't. You'll want it to g--" I caught myself before I said that he would want to give the ring to his next wife. "You'll want it for safekeeping."

"No," said Dante. "It's yours."



"As for the debt you owe?" asked Dante's attorney. "Shall we say that Elizabeth shall be responsible for her legal fees, and Dante will be responsible for his hospital bills upon the dissolution of their marriage? Until then, payments can be made out of their joint checking account."

"Sounds fair," said the other attorney. "And as Signor Moretti has already stipulated to a large and generous package of alimony and child-support, I don't think we'll need to go into that, unless of course you want to reconsider, Signora?"

"No," I said dully.



"Well that about sums it up," said my attorney. "We can talk about custody and visitation next time," he said as Lara walked into the room.

"There's the birthday girl," I said cheerily as the lawyers began to collect their papers. "I'm sorry, darling, this meeting ran longer than I expected. I've still got a cake to ice for you."

"It's okay, mom," said Lara. "You don't have to."


Twenty minutes later...


I pulled the cake out of the oven where I had left it for safekeeping, iced it, and brought it to the table. We all sang 'Happy Birthday' to Lara, who seemed anything but pleased. I served the cake and we all sat down.


Was it a coincidence, the way they all sat down, grouped to one end? Looking down the length of the table at a daughter who wasn't smiling, even on her birthday, a son that seemed distant, and a husband who would soon be leaving...


...I couldn't help but feel far away from all of them, and the thought of being apart from my children sent a dull ache to my stomach.

Later that evening...


I was getting ready for bed when Dante came in. I stopped in my tracks as I crossed the bedroom. "What is it, Dante?" I asked quietly, studying him for a moment.

"You look..." Dante said, his voice quiet. "Beautiful."

"Nothing you haven't seen before," I said dismissively. "What's on your mind?"



"I'm concerned about Lara. Andre seems fine, but Lara seems to be taking this hard," said Dante. "Do you think we should sit down with her?"

"It can't hurt," I said. "If she wants to, that is. I think treating her like a child, making her sit down and talk to us, would be a mistake."

"You're probably right," said Dante. "Well, I'll go ahead and take a shower. Good night, Elizabeth."

"Good night, Dante."
3  Simmers' Paradise / Sims Stories / The Inheritance: Chapter 5 - Part II (Updated 11/14) on: November 11, 2008, 12:35:39 am
The Inheritance
Chapter 5 - Part I
January 1965


It was storming outside, a heavy and cold winter rain that wouldn't seem to let up. I finished my cleaning the house and the fish for dinner was broiling under Lara's careful eye downstairs, so I decided to take a bath to unwind from what had been a stressful few months.


But even with nothing but the sound of rain slapping the window, a sound I usually found relaxing, I felt tight and stressed. There was something bothering me, something I hadn't had time to think about until recently.

The water grew tepid, so I stepped out and dried off, still pondering the matter.



Was it boredom that caused Dante to stray? Or was he dissatisfied with me? I put my hair into a towel and studied my reflection in the floor-length mirror. I had never had any reason to be ashamed of my appearance before, but now my eyes were sharp and critical.


I wasn't overweight, but I certainly wasn't as slim and shapely as I had once been. I was forty six and I had had four children. Chiara Castelli was just over half my age at 28.


My hair had begun to sprout gray, a fact I covered with regular trips to Judith's hair salon. And my face had the wrinkles that one accumulated over a lifetime--nothing major, or so I thought until I looked in the mirror. My creased forehead, the laugh lines around my mouth, the crow's feet at my eyes--were these why Dante had strayed?

Had he sought youth and beauty? Would he continue to do so?

I didn't have time to dwell now, I realized as I looked at the clock. My dinner guests would be here soon enough.



When I walked out of the bedroom, I found Dante facing his own storm. He turned in his chair when he heard me come out and I went over to where he was sitting. "Nice bath?" he asked, trying to sound genial.

"Yes," I said dully. "How's the search for new lodging coming?"

"Not well," said Dante with a sigh. "We have problems."



He showed me the bills that were piling up; hospital bills from his stay after the shooting, legal fees for my attorney, and rent payments for the house we had stayed in while our house was sealed off.

"I don't have the funds for a new apartment or house," said Dante. "I thought I'd stay with mother."

"Don't be ridiculous," I told him. He looked at me hopefully. "Stay here, with your children, until you can find a convenient place to stay."

"Thank you, B--er, Elizabeth," he said, catching himself before he called me his endearing pet name. "That's very kind."

I shifted uncomfortably. "I need to go and check on the fish."



It was Friday, so I had invited Paolo and Giorgia over for dinner. The truth was, I didn't want another awkward dinner with just me, Dante, and the children. Lara was taking the divorce hard and proved to be upset with both of us.

Speaking of Lara...



She would be sixteen next month; I could scarcely believe it. My little girl, it felt like I had held her in my arms as an infant just weeks ago. Where had the time gone? As she got older, her hair trended darker so that she looked just like her father, from her hair to her eyes.


Paolo seemed to be happy--happier than I had ever seen him. Of course, we met shortly after his wife's death, so perhaps he was coming out of his shell of mourning. Whatever the case, he was witty and engaging and charming, even to Dante.


It was nice to have a dinner that wasn't punctuated by painful silences, reproachful stares, and bitter anger. I was glad that our tradition of Friday night dinners gave me the opportunity to have Paolo and Giorgia over.

And were my eyes playing tricks on me...



...or was another member of my family glad that they came, too?

After dinner...


I waved Giorgia and Paolo off as they began their walk home. "Don't forget next week," I called after them with a smile and a wave.

It was a nice way to end a nice evening.



But never could I guess that soon my smile would falter as I came to suspect the unspeakable truth about one of my dinner guests.

That evening...


I was bundled into my pajamas and sitting on my bed when Dante came in. "Do you mind if I sleep up here? I haven't had the chance to fix that drafty window, so the living room is frigid."

"Suit yourself," I said. "You can take one of the sofas."



"A sofa?" he asked, clearly disappointed. I couldn't believe it!

"What?" I asked incredulously.



"You think you're going to climb into this bed after what you've done? After what you've as much as accused me of doing?" I gave a humorless laugh. "Take the couch or sleep in the rain for all I care."


He settled onto one of the benches by the door, and as I watched him I couldn't help but feel a savage pleasure at his seeming degradation.

But immediately there was a pang of guilt; in my heart of hearts I loved Dante, but we were at an impasse. He betrayed me, and thought I killed his lover and tried to kill him.

I could forgive a lot of things, but thinking that I could commit cold-blooded murder was not one of those things.
4  Simmers' Paradise / Sims Stories / The Inheritance: Chapter 5 - Part II (Updated 11/14) on: November 10, 2008, 01:42:58 am
As usual, my game screwed up for no reason as soon as I was ready to start Chapter 5, so I'm delayed for a short time. Sorry all!
5  Simmers' Paradise / Sims Stories / The Inheritance: Chapter 5 - Part II (Updated 11/14) on: November 08, 2008, 08:42:08 pm
I'm working on Chapter 5 now, but also spending some time developing another story for y'all. Hopefully I'll begin the other story and continue this one this evening or tomorrow. Stay tuned and thanks for reading!
6  Simmers' Paradise / Sims Stories / The Inheritance: Chapter 5 - Part II (Updated 11/14) on: November 06, 2008, 02:57:47 am
It's time for a poorly made preview of Chapter 5!



There are some loose ends that I've been letting hang out for a bit, and it seems like it might be confusing, so I'm going to try to explain it all in chapter 5. I've been unable to tell as much of the story as I'd like but I hope it will all make sense at the end.

Thanks everyone for reading!
7  Simmers' Paradise / Sims Stories / The Inheritance: Chapter 5 - Part II (Updated 11/14) on: November 06, 2008, 12:27:10 am
The Inheritance
Chapter 4 - Part X
December 1964


Christmas Day


Some things that pile up in nearly twenty years of marriage are easy to quantify.


There are the things that a couple accumulates, like furniture, household goods, and trinkets such as the serving platter we received for our tenth anniversary.


But what about the photographs and the memories that were attached to them? How did one determine who got what?


And what of the time spent on a marriage, the nearly two decades of time that one invested in a relationship? I could never get it back.

The doorbell rang, stirring me from my reverie. I went into the hall to see my daughter opening the door.



Josephine and Donovan kissed hello while Judith and I exchanged slightly abashed looks. Josephine said, "Merry Christmas, Donovan. Merry Christmas, Mrs. O'Reilly."

"Thank you. And thank you for having us," said Judith.

"Donovan, Dante is in the kitchen if you'd like a cocktail," I said.



Fifteen minutes later we all sat down to dinner. "How's school coming, Josephine?" asked Judith as she cut her turkey. "I hope my son isn't distracting you too much from your studies," she said wryly.

"Not at all," said Josephine with a grin. "I should graduate next year."

"Any plans after that?" she asked.

"We'll see."



"So, dad," said Marco, leaning in to peer down the table at his father. "Have you decided whether you'll run for re-election? They're coming up, aren't they?"

"I've got time," Dante said simply, then looked back down to his plate.

Andre leaned forward too. "Are you all right, dad? You don't sound so good?"

"I'm fine," replied Dante without looking up.



After dinner, but before dessert, Donovan cleared his throat and said, "Signor Moretti, Signora Moretti, if you don't mind. I'd like to give Josephine one last Christmas gift."

I looked across the table and saw Dante finally take interest. A secret smile passed between him and Donovan and then Donovan placed a small felt case on the table between himself and Josephine.

"What's this?" she asked, her voice shaking.

"Open it."



There was a ring with a small diamond inset. Josephine pulled it from the box, finally managing to tear her eyes from it up to Donovan.

"Will you marry me?" he asked.

Josphine laughed and slipped the ring onto her finger. "Of course I will, yes."



There was much cheering. It was the perfect ending to a beautiful family meal. Too bad, then, that it came when another marriage was dissolving. But at least for now, we were together; a family united by blood and love.

And though a part of me was sad, shocked to find that my daughter was no longer the little girl she should have been, I knew that I wasn't losing a daughter, but gaining a son.


One week later...


The school holiday was over, and Dante volunteered to drive Josephine to the train depot while I got Andre and Lara ready to resume school the next morning.

"I'm sorry about the divorce," said Josephine to Dante as they drove through the darkness. "I don't know what to say."

"Sometimes there's just nothing to say," Dante replied, smiling at Josephine sadly. What a fine girl she had been, and grown into a fine young woman. He couldn't have been prouder if she was his own flesh and blood.



"Do you really think mom...tried to kill you?" Josephine asked incredulously. "I realize you're hurt, but I can't imagine she would do anything to hurt anyone, regardless of how..." her voice trailed off.

"How I hurt her," Dante said, his voice catching a little. Josephine nodded and Dante continued. "No, I don't think she did anything of the sort. But...it's complicated."



"Daddy, I'm not a little girl anymore. I'm going to get married myself, soon," she said, twisting her engagement ring. "Don't think I won't understand. Try me."

Dante sighed. "I know you're not. It's just so hard for me to accept that you're not a little girl anymore. It seems like yesterday you were small enough to fit in the crook of my arm."

"Dad," she said. "Do you love mom?"

"Yes."



"Then how can you let her think you suspect her?" Josephine demanded.

Dante was silent for awhile, thoughtfully looking out the windshield. Finally, he confessed, "It's easier for me to pretend to be angry with her than to admit to myself that I hurt her. It's easier for me to be silent than to do what I know I should: beg for her forgiveness and throw myself at her mercy."

Josephine reached out and touched her father's hand on the steering wheel. "You have to tell her."

"I'm afraid," Dante whispered, his voice cracking. "She could refuse to forgive me."

"That's the price you pay for what you've done," said Josephine sadly.



Dante nodded his head, and they were silent for a few more minutes until he parked at the train station. "Let me help with your bag," he said.

"I'm fine. Donovan's waiting for me," said Josephine. She kissed Dante's cheek and said, "Tell her, daddy. She loves you."

Dante watched Josephine walk into the station with her bag and then stared at the train as it pulled out of the station. He was still watching a long time later when it disappeared from his view, deep in thought.


An hour later...


We had agreed to tell Andre and Lara about our plans to divorce that night when he returned. I was nervously waiting on the couch, watching the news with them when Dante finally returned. As he came over, I switched off the set and sat back down. "Andre, Lara, there is something that your father and I need to tell you."


"What's going on?" Andre demanded suspiciously.

I hesitated, twiddling my thumbs. "Your father and I have decided that it would be better for both of us if we get a divorce," I finally said. "He's going to move out of the house."

"What?" Andre said incredulously.

"How come?" Lara demanded.



"Sometimes, two people just...can't live together anymore," I said, my heart breaking at the look of sadness in my daughter's eyes. "But we'll both still be here for you, and we both love you very much. You and your brothers and sisters," I added, looking warmly at Andre.

"Liar!" said Lara.



"This is your fault," she said, pointing at me. "You left for all that time and then when you came back it was different. You did it!"

I felt the couch shift and looked to see Dante sitting next to me. For a moment I longed for him to put an arm around me and pull me close...



...but he didn't. He simply said, "Lara, don't speak to your mother that way. If I ever hear that you did, you're going to be in serious trouble."

He paused, then blew out a sigh. "This is hard, for both of us and it will be hard for you. But it's my fault, Lara. My fault, Andre. I did something wrong, not your mother. She's only been kind and gracious and loving for you. So you will respect her, do you understand?"



"Yes sir," chorused Lara and Andre, but the former still looked angry.

I glanced at Dante as if to say thank you, and he smiled. It was the first genuine smile he had given me in months. And then tears welled in his eyes and the wall of coldness fell over him again, leaving me on the outside.

"Bedtime, my darlings," I said, clearing my throat. "We can talk about this more tomorrow if you have questions. But everything is going to be fine, I promise."

But was that a promise I could keep?


End of Chapter 4
8  Simmers' Paradise / Sims Stories / The Inheritance: Chapter 5 - Part II (Updated 11/14) on: November 05, 2008, 01:27:41 am
The Inheritance
Chapter 4 - Part IX
November-December 1964



I gathered with Judith, Angela, and Adela in the hallway outside the courtroom. We all embraced to celebrate my victory. "Well," said Adela, dabbing her eyes with her sleeve, "Now that you're free, you can get back to hosting our gatherings."

"We've been fasting," Judith explained. "No gatherings without you!"



"It'll be so good to be home. They're unsealing the villa so we can move back in," I said with a relieved sigh. I could hardly believe that the trial had ended so abruptly. "I..."

My voice trailed off as I looked across the hall.



"Could you ladies excuse me?" I asked. "I'll be in touch...we can plan a get together after the holidays."

"Sure," said Adela, and I moved over to Paolo.



"Thank you," I said, embracing him. "You saved my life."

"It was the truth," said Paolo, smiling. "It was the very least I could do to prevent a serious miscarriage of justice."

"Elizabeth?" a voice said from behind me. I turned to see Dante waiting.

"I have to go," I said. "Thank you, Paolo. Goodbye."



It was dark when we stepped out of the courthouse and began the drive home. I was elated and couldn't help but to gush, "Oh, what a relief. I'm so glad to be able to be back with the children. They must've been so worried."


"They were," said Dante dully.

"What's wrong?" I asked. "Is anything the matter?"

"Nothing, except the whole town knows our personal business," said Dante. "And Chi--Signorina Castelli's killer walks free." He glanced covertly at me.



"You can't possibly think--" I began, then fell silent. "I was cleared, Dante!"

"You weren't found not guilty. The charges were dropped."

I gaped at him. Could he honestly believe that I would hurt him? That I would hire someone to shoot at a house that had my friends in it? My children?

"You do, don't you? You think I was behind all this."



His silence spoke volumes. We continued on in silence for several long minutes.


"Dante," I said coldly, without looking over at him. Struggling to keep my voice in control, I said simply, "I want a divorce."

Two weeks later...


Christmas was in the air, and Dante and I had decided that we would try to make this a pleasant Christmas for the children before we officially filed for divorce.

Josephine and Marco came home a week before Christmas, and that Saturday, Josephine and I went out shopping for gifts.



When she came out of the store she had left me outside of, we began walking up the street to another shop. "So how are you holding up, mom? Are you and dad working things out?"

I shrugged nonchalantly. "Do you think Marco could use a new desk set? He's always saying how much he writes."

"I got him a diary," said Josephine. "But really mom, I mean it. How are you?"



We stopped to look into a shop window and I hesitated. "Do you feel like some coffee?" I asked. "I know a nice little place nearby, and it's so chilly."


We settled in for coffee. "Oh!" said Josephine before I could bring myself to tell her. "Mom, do you think we could have Mrs. O'Reilly and Donovan over for Christmas dinner? He's going to be in town."

I smiled at her. "Of course, dear. The more the merrier." I reached out and stroked her hair lightly. "Just promise not to wear that ridiculous hat."

"Deal," she said. "So tell me about you and dad."



I hesitated. "I wasn't going to say anything because it's Christmas, and I wanted it to be pleasant for you kids," I said. "But I know you're relentless and won't give up until I come clean."

"And?" asked Josephine.

"I asked him for a divorce."



The look on my daughter's face, of resigned sadness and mingled shock, sent guilt rolling in my gut. I took her hands between mine and offered a smile, tinged with my own sadness.

"Marriage takes a lot of sacrifice," I told her, tears welling in my eyes. "But I don't think I can live with a man who believes I tried to kill him."

"Don't worry, mother," said Josephine, squeezing my hands. "I completely understand."

But I don't think she did. I hoped that she did not and never would understand what it felt like to be betrayed by the man you loved on a level even deeper than infidelity.

She deserved better.
9  Simmers' Paradise / Sims Stories / The Inheritance: Chapter 5 - Part II (Updated 11/14) on: November 04, 2008, 12:54:44 am
The Inheritance
Chapter 4 - Part VIII
November 1964



You can learn a lot from the conversations that people have in a courtroom. As I made my way to the defendant's table, I overheard snippets of a conversation by my friends who had gathered, whether for support or because they would testify.


Paolo came to sit in the back of the courtroom. I hadn't seen him since the night of the shooting. It had been too confusing to seek his presence after the shooting, and he seemed content to keep his distance. He was talking to Judith.

"I'm sure she'll be acquitted," I heard Paolo tell Judith, who was wringing her hands. "I'm sure of it."



I opened the gate and stepped up to the table; the prosecutor was standing near the table talking to my attorney. They didn't look up as I approached. I heard the prosecutor say, "There's still time to make a deal. Ten years for third degree murder."

"We'll take our chances," said my lawyer. I had already told him that I did not want a plea agreement: I was innocent.



I felt a tap on my shoulder and turned to see Dante standing there, looking downcast. He tried to offer me a smile, but it came off more as a grimace.

"Feeling all right?" he asked me awkwardly.

I nodded, swallowing hard. "I think so."



"I'm right behind you," he said and patted my forearm.

"Thank you," I said. Judge Vicenzi came across to his desk and gaveled the court into session.

"Order! Order in my courtroom. The prosecution may begin."



The prosecution called Judith to the stand and proceeded to harass her about my role in the departure of her husband. "She helped me," said Judith hotly. "She didn't hurt anyone, she didn't hurt my husband. He just left."

And then finally...



...it was my turn.


"Signora Moretti, when did you first find out about your husband's affair with Singorina Castelli?" asked the prosecutor.

"Capricia Volante hinted about it in...I believe it was the first weekend in August. I heard conclusively later that month."

"You found out about it the same day that Giovanni Giorelli went missing? The day that Signora Giorelli's house was robbed?" demanded the prosecutor.



"That's what I understand, yes."

"And where were you that evening?"

I hesitated. "I don't know. I...I spent the evening with a friend and I...well, I'm afraid I had too much to drink and I blacked out." I blushed profusely at this, flames rising in my cheeks.



This continued until the prosecutor ended his questioning. My attorney began his cross-examination. "Signora, you fell asleep and woke up at the same place that night, didn't you?"

"Yes."

"And you have no reason to believe that you left that location under the influence of alcohol?"

"No."

"The prosecution has no evidence to suggest that you did, either. And the night of the shooting, you were upstairs."

"Yes."

"Signora, at any point have you conspired with, paid, asked, requested, or been otherwise party to knowledge about a plot to assassinate, or attempt to assassinate, your husband and his assistant?"

I raised my chin defiantly and said firmly, "No."

"No further questions."



The prosecutor stood to re-direct. "Signora, if you were at a friend's house, why have you not named them? Why have they not come forward? Are we expected to take your word on this matter? You could have been organizing your husband's assassination and stealing the rifle to use in the shooting."

"I ... I can't," I said, flushing profusely. What would they say if they knew the truth? What would my husband and friends think if I'd spent the night, drunk, in the house of a single man? "It's...I wasn't doing any of that. I was..." I was interrupted when someone else shouted in the courtroom.



"She was with me," Paolo said loudly. "I was the one who told her that Signor Moretti was having an affair. She had too much to drink so she slept on my couch."

The courtroom went into a roar, and the judge banged the gavel, shouting angrily, "Order! Order! I will have order!" He pointed his gavel at Paolo. "You sir, come forward."



Paolo came forward; I covered my mouth in embarrassment. The judge said, "State your name and business."

"Paolo Esposito, your honor."

"And would you take an oath on the truthfulness of your...outburst?"

"I would, your honor."

He waved the bailiff forward and Paolo was sworn in. "It was all true, your honor. The Signora was there the whole night."



"Your honor," said my attorney, drawing the prosecutor's attention. "Sir, with all due respect, I ask you for a mistrial. The prosecution's entire case was that my client could have broken into the Giorelli house and could have kidnapped Giovanni Giorelli, framing him for the assassination. Since she has a sworn alibi, the prosecution has no case."

The judge frowned. "I want both of you in chambers. We will recess for ten minutes."


Ten minutes later...


"The defendant will please rise," said the judge.


"Ladies and gentlemen; Signora Moretti," began the judge. "I am hereby declaring a mistrial. To be honest, I had misgivings about issuing a warrant for your arrest, Signora, on the slim evidence that the prosecution had, but it was sufficient."

He turned to the prosecutor. "Signor Bemelli, bear in mind that should the state wish to re-issue charges against the Signora, you will need a far stronger case. Frankly, you haven't got it."

"Signora," he said, turning back to me. He offered a sad smile. "You are free to go with the court's apologies."
10  Simmers' Paradise / Sims Stories / The Inheritance: Chapter 5 - Part II (Updated 11/14) on: November 01, 2008, 10:37:55 pm
The Inheritance
Chapter 4 - Part VII
November 1964



The trial progressed. Judge Vicenzi said, "The prosecution may call its first witness."

The prosecutor rose. "Thank you, your honor. The prosecution calls Signora Adela de Luca."



When Adela had been sworn in, they began their questioning. "Signora de Luca, you are a friend of Signora Moretti, are you not?"

"Yes."

"And you and she share personal things?"

"Yes."



"How would you describe Signora Moretti's marriage?"

Adela looked at me, and then looked past me. By the way her eyebrows furrowed, I could tell she was looking at Dante. "It was happy, as far as I could tell. I've known Elizabeth and Dante for almost twenty years and not until about a year ago did I think that Elizabeth was unhappy."

"And why do you suppose she was?"

"Her husband was spending much time away from home in his job."

"And when did you first find out about Signor Moretti's infidelity?"



"I don't remember the day. A few days before the fundraiser. We had our usual meeting and we were talking about the things that were going on in our lives. And she told us she found out that Dante was having an affair with his chief aide, Chiara Castelli."

"Was she angry?"

"I don't know."

"Let me rephrase: did she seem angry?"

"No," said Adela. "She seemed sad, and hurt, but she didn't seem angry."



"Thank you, Signora de Luca. No further questions."

"I have no questions, your honor," said my attorney, and before she stepped down, Adela gave me a sad, apologetic smile. I felt the corners of my mouth turn up, as if to tell her that she had nothing to worry about.

"The prosecution calls Signora Capricia Volante."



"Signora Volante," said the prosecutor after she had been put under oath. "You are friends with Signora Moretti as well, are you not?"

"I am. I also have an apartment next door to Signor Moretti's apartment in the city."

"I see. You were there when Signora Moretti revealed her knowledge of her husband's infidelity?"

"Yes," said Capricia. "It was precisely as Adela de Luca described. Except..." she hesitated.



"Except what, Signora?" asked the prosecutor, leaning towards her over the podium. "Please be reminded that you are under oath."

She sighed. "She did seem angry to me. She looked like she might hurt someone."

"Thank you. No further questions."



"Signora, what makes you say that my client looked like she might hurt someone?"

"I can't say," said Capricia. "It was a feeling."

"I see," said my attorney, clearly discounting her. "Did she say anything to that effect?"

"No."

"Did she do anything to suggest that she intended to hurt her husband?"

"No."

"No more questions."



The questions went on and on. They called Angela next and badgered her until she confessed that my family had been at odds with hers for years, and that her husband had been attacked under mysterious circumstances.


My attorney seemed unable to walk that back, even with sworn affidavits that I had been home the entire day. The prosecution suggested that I may have paid a hitman, both to attack Giorelli and my husband, but there was no evidence that I had withdrawn any money beyond the usual expenses.


Yes, the trial seemed to go on forever, until we were nearing the end of November. Every intimate detail of my life, from my marriage to Dante to the humiliating affair was aired before the court. But they still had nothing to link me to the crime.

Their biggest support came from the fact that I had no alibi for the night Giovanni Giorelli went missing and Angela's house was ransacked. Try as I might, even I couldn't remember where I had been. But I knew that I hadn't stolen Angela's husband's rifle and used it to kill Chiara Castelli.

I knew it, but would anyone else believe it?
11  Simmers' Paradise / General Sims 2 Help / Changelotzoning Trouble on: October 31, 2008, 11:54:06 pm
Where do I find the residential mailbox and trash can?

That is, where do I find it in the catalogue?
12  Simmers' Paradise / General Sims 2 Help / Changelotzoning Trouble on: October 31, 2008, 11:45:39 pm
I'm trying to convert a community lot into a residential, so I use the cheat, save, and go to the neighborhood. It lets me move a family into the lot, but when I go in to play them, I only have buy and build available and the phone and trash can are still there. What am I doing wrong?
13  Simmers' Paradise / Sims Stories / The Inheritance: Chapter 5 - Part II (Updated 11/14) on: October 30, 2008, 10:12:49 am
It's all circumstantial!

Thanks for commenting, guys and girls. I really can't say how much it means that you're enjoying my little yarn.
14  Simmers' Paradise / Sims Stories / The Inheritance: Chapter 5 - Part II (Updated 11/14) on: October 30, 2008, 01:53:55 am
The Inheritance
Chapter 4 - Part VI
November 1964

The following morning...


After spending a long and sleepless night in my cell, I woke for breakfast with the half-dozen other inmates. Afterward, we exercised and then showered, and I was told that I had a visitor.

I walked into the room and saw my husband and a stranger standing there. I walked towards the glass, and Dante looked up at me with cold, distant eyes.



"How are you?" he asked stiffly.

"Fine," I lied, my eyes steeling in response to his coolness. "The children...?"

"They're with my mother. I'm trying to...isolate them," said Dante evasively. "They don't know anything."

"Thank God. Who is..." I turned my eyes towards the man behind Dante.



"Horatio Vespuci," the man said, introducing himself. "I'm your lawyer."

"Oh," was all I could say. So this was really happening.



Dante cleared his throat and made to stand up. "I'll let you two strategize," he said.

"Dante, please," I said, my voice trembling. "Please stay."

"Elizabeth, I have work to do," he said stonily. "Hiring a new Chief of Staff not least of all."



I caught my breath. I couldn't say anything as I watched him stand and offer his chair to Horatio. He turned and watched me for a moment while pulling his coat on.

No matter the outcome of this ordeal, I knew that I was already tried and convicted in the eyes of my husband.

"Now," said Horatio. "Let's talk strategy."


Meanwhile...


When Josephine returned to school, she was delighted to find that Donovan was a student there also. He was studying business management, so their coursework never overlapped. Through the ensuing weeks, they caught up on the comings-and-goings of their lives...


...and rekindled the romance that they had shared years before.


For Josephine, she was entering the happiest time in her life, thankfully unburdened by my marital problems. And at least for my daughter...


...life would only get better in the foreseeable future.

The following week...


Every criminal trial has the makings of a fairy tale. And though the people in the roles changed, there were certain archetypes in these stories.


There is a prosecutor, charged with building a case against the accused...


...and a defender who acted as a shield for the accused.


There are victims who survive and victims that are no longer with us...


...and a judge whose job it is to rule justly.


For Judge Vicenzi, who was familiar with the archetypes, it was not clear in this case just who was the villain, and who was the hero. He hoped that, before all was said and done, he knew just who was which.
15  Simmers' Paradise / Sims 2 Apartment Life Chat / Since AL on: October 29, 2008, 05:57:56 pm
Sounds like it might be a conflict with an un-updated mod.
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