18 March 2011


"Jane... Why are you playing Madden?" 

In the week since she'd brought Izzy home from the hospital, Jane had grown increasingly bored. Quitting her job had seemed like a good idea post-pregnancy, but now that her brain was unclouded by hormones and baby-related happiness, she'd begun to wonder if it had been a good idea after all. True, she had gone into teaching because she loved English and wanted to teach countless generations the value of literature and proper grammar; but after her promotion to assistant principal, she'd begun to face every day with a sense of grudging obligation, rather than actual happiness or joy. 

Playing computer games was all she really felt like doing, day after day. After Sophie and Ethan, Izzy was painfully easy to manage, and with everyone but mother and baby gone during the day, she was bored, lonely, and restless. 

Quitting had been easier than she'd thought. One push of the button, a brief conversation with the principal, and a small amount of paperwork later, she was unemployed- and surprisingly happy. But after the initial elation, she realized that she was now back in the sea of unemployed Sims, struggling to find her dream job. 

Immediately after pregnancy probably hadn't been the best time to do this, but she was feeling oddly driven. And so she'd sent out her resume, made a few phone calls, and tried to figure out what exactly she wanted to do with her life. 

It was hard to remember what she'd wanted to do before she started teaching. Once, she'd wanted to be a writer, and she'd never fully abandoned that dream, but with three children to raise and a husband who'd already made a sacrifice in his career, she didn't feel comfortable sitting around trying to write a bestselling novel. 

So what was there left? 

"... Jane?"

"Huh?" Jane barely looked up from the keyboard. "Oh, hi, honey. One second here... Just have to get this one... last...." Her voice trailed off as she concentrated on her game.

"Jane!" Moe's reprimand did not have the effect he wanted, so he reached out and turned the computer screen off.

Jane finally looked up, glaring at him as she waited for an explanation. "I was playing that, Moe!"

"Yes, I know, dear, but you've been playing it for days. Every time I come home you're glued to the screen, and I don't think it's very good for you," he pointed out hesitantly. "I think you need to get up, out of the den, and start getting back into the swing of things."

"I'm just saying!" Moe added hastily as she started to speak. "I know you're happy about quitting your job, but you've got to do something with your time, other than playing computer games."

"No, you're probably right. There's only so much Madden I can play before going crazy," she conceded, stretching as she went into the kitchen and filled up the basket in the coffee maker. "I just don't know what I want to do and it's driving me crazy. I haven't heard back from anyone, and I'm not even sure which jobs I'd want to take even if I got any offers," Jane admitted. 

"You don't have to go back to work if you don't want to," Moe pointed out. "We can get by without a second job. But a hobby, or something, just so you don't go crazy." He was trying to be as tactful as he knew how to be, but there weren't many ways of saying "get your lazy ass off of the computer chair and start doing something." 

It probably wouldn't have bothered him if she hadn't seemed so uninterested in everything. As a doctor, he knew the signs of post-partum depression, and he wanted to make sure that Jane didn't suffer from it- or if she did, that he got her the help she needed. 

But so far, she hadn't seemed depressed- just directionless, like a sailboat with no wind. He hadn't even been aware that her job made her so unhappy, but apparently it had. All Moe wanted was for her to find something to care about again, so he wouldn't have to worry about her being bored, home alone playing football against some thirteen year old in Florida all day. 

"Who's the best baby on earth? You are!" Jane tickled the baby's stomach and blew her a raspberry, smiling as her daughter giggled happily. So far, Izzy was a much quieter and docile baby than either Sophie or Ethan, and it was a welcome relief. She ate when she was supposed to, slept when she was supposed to (for the most part), and responded to Jane's playing with appreciative gurgling. Yes, Isabel Pesce was shaping up to be a dream child.

Jane's thoughts were interrupted by the abrasive jingling of her cell phone. "Hold on, Izzy, we'll keep playing, Mommy has to answer the phone... Hello?"

"Yes, Mrs. Pesce! This is Celina Lay from the the Daily Sim. I'm calling regarding the resume you dropped off at our offices last week. I was wondering if you were available for an interview tomorrow morning at ten?"

"Ten? That's perfect! Thank you so much!" Jane hung up the phone, smiling happily as she contemplated the phone call. She'd never pictured herself working as a reporter before last week, but it did involve writing, and the pay was definitely more than she would have received at any of the other places she'd applied.

Still, was it really something she wanted to do? It was difficult to say, so she resolved to at least give it a try.

A few days later, Jane began working on her first article, a piece on the museum and some of its contributing local artists. Not exactly groundbreaking material, but she was excited to write her first piece.

If it ever got written.

"Jane, you've been staring at that paper for an hour," Moe pointed out. "Shouldn't you be doing this on the computer anyways?"

"I already tried," Jane replied glumly. "I wasn't getting much done there, either. I'm just not sure how to format this... There's so many directions I could go with it, and I don't even know where to start."

"Maybe focus on only a few of the artists and their exhibits?" Moe mused. "There was an exhibit by a local artist that Ethan rather liked last time we were there. Amy Jenkins, I think it was."

"Yeah... I've come across a little bit about her in my research. Kind of sad, actually, she was murdered out at Hollowlog Springs earlier this year."

"Really?" Moe's eyebrows raised in surprise. "I hadn't heard anything about it- do they know who did it?"

"No, it was dismissed as a mugging in the end, so there's not much I could really use for the article," Jane admitted in defeat. "Still, it might be a point of interest I could use... I'm just not sure. And I can't get anything done around here!" 

"Why don't you try the library? It might help to get out and away from the house," Moe suggested. 

And it actually did. 

The library was mercifully empty this late in the afternoon, and Jane was glad for the peace and quiet. It didn't solve the problem of what to include in the article, but she at least felt more productive. She flicked through the first few pages on the library's website, hoping that she'd find inspiration in one of the articles. 

Out of sheer boredom, she pulled up the library's newspaper archives and began scanning the ones from earlier that year, entering in the keywords and filtering the results to bring up anything that discussed the artist's murder. "Amy Jenkins, age 28, found dead in Hollowlog Springs... survived by one daughter..." Jane skipped ahead to the end of the article, her eyes drawn like a magnet. 

"Investigation underway... Main suspect brought into custody.... main suspect-" Jane stopped reading, her mouth frozen in mid-word. The police's main suspect had been... 

Chase Cruz?


Oooh! That was a really good way to tie in Jane's new job with the overarching story. :D

I must admit, I totally sympathize with Jane. A sailboat without any wind... I know how that feels. Great to see she jumped on her ambition! I'm sure it makes Moe happy too, haha!

And: dun dun dun... She discovers Chase was a suspect! Oh dear. She doesn't even know that Chase and Amy were together at one point, either, yet. Can't imagine what's going through her head, now!

Can't wait to find out what she does now! Also, I've pry said this before, but I really enjoy your writing style. Always keeps me chuckling! Love it. :D

Why thank you! I had been planning that since she kept rolling the wants to quit her job and take up writing.

I so sympathize with her too, haha. This post was heavily taken from real life, not going to lie!

Nope, she doesn't know that back story (to be fair, she hasn't thought to even ask Chase, as she's too busy villifying him). It probably won't be that difficult for her to clear his name from her suspicions- IF he's innocent, that is.

Thank you again for the compliment! Most of the time, I'll admit, it's totally unintentional. I suppose I don't take my writing seriously ;) But some, the one with the twins burning down the house, for instance- those are definitely meant to be funny. I'm glad you enjoy it!

IF he's innocent?! IF! Gah! I'm sure that's definitely what Jane believes right now, though. Oooh Chase... The mess he's found himself in.

What I really look forward to, actually, is *Moe's* reaction... If Jane even tells him, haha! Even if it's not difficult for Jane to clear him from her suspicions, I don't see Moe doing the same.

Sometimes the best humor is totally unintentional. Like, I loved the expression on Moe's face when Jane turned to look at him after he turned off her screen. It's like... "Oh god don't hurt me!" If you don't take your writing seriously, then it must just come naturally to you--which I must say, I envy. ;)

Well, humor comes easier to me than drama, so I'm envious of you in that respect! I'll admit, focusing on the dramatic aspects of the plot takes a lot more effort, which is why I don't put as much effort in the humor! But I agree, some of their expressions are hilarious. I'll constantly screenshot something just to show my friends how funny it is (and they politely pretend to care, aha).

Yes, will she tell Moe? Is he innocent? What will she do with this knowledge? ONLY TIME WILL TELL! Moooohahahaha.

Tee hee hee! Good of your friends to be tolerant! XD Yeah, drama definitely comes easier to me, though. I'm the type of person that comes up with a good come-back line a day late. :P So I certainly admire humor when I see it!

OH YOU TEASE. BAH. ... Well, I guess I'm JUST as bad, so I can't talk... BUT STILL! ;D Eehehe.

In real life, I cannot come up with a good zinger to save my life. But in writing, your characters can be as witty as you want, because you have a long time to think up good lines and you're not on the spot!

Drama, on the other hand, involves finesse and crafting a good storyline and thinking ten moves ahead, so I really admire that quality in stories! It's one of the reasons I started this blog, because it's something I really wanted to improve in my writing.

Bahaha. Well, I will tell you that I've tried as hard as I can to make the culprit NOT obvious. But of course, maybe the boyfriend doing it is so obvious that it's NOT obvious anymore! The hardest mystery to solve is one where the solution's right in front of your face.

But I will say this: I doubt I could pull off my plans for him next season with him in jail ;)

Well, I'll have to wait to give my verdict til the end of this Chapter, but, I think you're doing just fine crafting a storyline. :D So you're succeeding at that goal!

Hee! Well, I do have some theories about who the killer is, but I'mma keep my mouth shut just in case by some fluke I'm right. ;D I agree though, sometimes the most obvious answer is the one last seen!

HEE! Yeah--I kiiinda figured that he wouldn't be in prison for that reason alone, but... you never know. I stopped making too many assumptions about stories a long time ago. ^^

Drat, my other browser ate my comment!


At any rate, Kaleeko is right, you do capture some great expressions on your Sims and Moe is particularly expressive. He's a sweetie. :)

Nice way to get Jane into a new job and move the Amy storyline into the main plot. Somehow, Chase can't be the prime suspect by now or he wouldn't be taking care of little Lucy.

Thanks, Kaleeko! That means a lot. It's one of the things I worry about with my writing.

I'm interested in hearing your theories, particularly because I BET YOU'RE WRONG haha.

Comment-eating browsers are teh suck, PiB! Thank you :)

And very good point- he wouldn't exactly be awarded custody if he were still under investigation.

I really idenitified with the characters ( as some of your other readers have also mentioned) and I am really getting intrigued on whats going on in their lives.

...something tells me that maybe Chase was the one offed Amy Jenkins...

I knew Chase would come back into this! He's going to cause all sorts of trouble isn't he. lol

Jane and Moe are so funny. The way you write their conversations is very amusing.

Little Izzy is so adorable too. :)

Your doing a really wonderful job with this story, Amelia. I will be back to read more but for now I must get some shut eye. ;)

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