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#1 Old 18th Jul 2010 at 11:28 AM Last edited by ramblinghaggis : 19th Jul 2010 at 10:33 AM.
Default Homeless in Sunset Valley
This story is from a challenge I am doing, the homeless challenge which you can read about Here.



Romany was fairly certain that noone visited the dilapidated park anymore. She had been watching it for a couple of days. There was no way she could continue living in the old warehouse in Twinbrook, not after what Seth had done to her. She raised her hand to her face absentmindedly. She knew that if she crossed his path again, she would not get away a second time. Being homeless was rough. There was no room for compassion and plenty of room for agressive territorial behaviour. Seth hadn't been pleased to discover Romany on 'his turf' and after giving her a hiding, he left her a parting gift to make sure she didnt try it again.

With a scar like the one Romany now had, she knew noone would employ her. She would have to carry on living on the streets, doing what she could to survive.

As she stood by the pungent garbage cans at the enterance to the park, she quickly decided that the park would be a good place to sleep, at least for the night. It was so overgrown with brambles and shrubs, she doubted even if anyone did come by, that they would spot her. Pushing through the overgrown undergrowth, she discovered a little worn bench, below a large, creepy, dead looking tree. To the left there was even a little pond. Romany was a bit of an angler, thanks to her Dad. He had taught her the basics of fishing shortly before he died. When Romany still had a home.

Feeling her tummy protesting, as it often did, Romany quickly put her skill to good use. Whipping out her home made fishing rod, her prized and only possession bar the clothes on her back, she skillfully cast her rod. Within the hour she had landed a Minnow, whom she affectionately named Norman. Poor Norman, he would be lining her stomach before the day was out...once she found somewhere to cook him of course.

Now that Romany had a place to sleep for the night, she figured there was no time like the present to suss out the neighbourhood. A park that was actually used was always a good place to start. Opposite her park there was a map of the town. She quickly located Central Park. A nice day like today, there would be plenty of people down there surely. People meant food and possibly money. Romany had become a bit of an old hand at mooching.

Taking a mental note of the way, she set off to Central Park. Many people stopped to stare at her along the way. It was hard not to be self counscious with such a large, badly healed scar on her face, but she had begun to get used to it. Once upon a time people had looked at her because she was beautiful. But Romany knew better than most that nothing in life lasts forever.

Turning into Central Park, Romany was pleased to see that she was right, there were many people visiting. Skimming over them all, she settled on a plump, well cared for looking lady. She would likely have a few simoleons on her.

The lady's name was Dorie and she was actually very approachable. After a small amount of small talk, Romany was able to extract one whole simolean from her. It wasnt exactly going to feed Romany for a week, but it was a good start. Perhaps if the people of Sunset Valley were friendly enough, Romany might be able to save some a lot of her very own. That was her life time wish. Well that and borrowing $50000 worth of goods from friends. Romany was a bit of a kleptomaniac. Survival of the had to be done.

Moving on from Dorie, (Romany had learned it was best to hit people for simoleans sparingly), she got chatting to a well fed looking man called jack.

Once again Romany was delighted to find that Jack was very friendly and after a mutual discussion of their love of the outdoors, he also gave Romany a simolean. By this time though, Romany could feel her stomach really protesting and said a quick goodbye to Jack before going off in search of somewhere to cook Norman. A quick wander around the park led her to the picnic area. It was empty, but on one bench some untidy person had not cleaned up their left overs from their lunch. Never mind cooking Norman, there was rich pickings for Romany to be had!

Feeling much more confortable, after a delicious half eaten hotdog and a slurp of a juice carton, Romany decided she was probably outstaying her welcome at the park. Someone with a face like hers was easily memorable and she did not want to be made known to the local police force. She had really taken to Sunset Valley and hoped it would be home for her, for sometime to come. She set off for her own park, as she was fast coming to think of it.

Along the way, she was passing a house nearby, when she spotted its resident throwing some items away in the trash. Some of it looked practically new! It never failed to amaze, and disgust Romany, that people could throw out perfect good objects. People were so wasteful! She waited until the coast was clear and set to saving the items.

Just as she thought, the resident had thrown away some very good stuff! A worthington stuffed teddy, almost brand new! A tomato, in great condition. It would go well with Norman later on. An old newspaper, which would keep her warm tonight..and plenty of dirt. She would have to find a shower tomorrow, perhaps there was a local gym. As it was, Romany was feeling very tired. She set off for her park once more.

She was nearly there when she noticed a local pawn shop. Very handy that would be. Any treasures from raiding the trash could be pawned in there. She nipped in and came away $50 richer, for the pawning of the worthington teddy! That really would feed her for a week, but she decided she would try to tuck it away, towards buying her own lot one day. She might be a dirty street urchin, but she had her dreams, if nothing else.

Feeling very pleased with herself, she crept through the bushes to the bench in her park, laid down on it, thankful it was quite a warm night and settled off to sleep, wondering what tomorrow would bring.

She hoped she wouldnt have her usual nightmares tonight. She tried so hard not to think of her dad, or of Seth, but when sleeping, there was no control. Maybe one day she could let go of the suspicious death of her father, but not today.

For the reader, can you work out what Romany's traits are, bearing in mind one of them had to be Unlucky? :D
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#2 Old 19th Jul 2010 at 10:25 AM
Default Chapter Two - The Dream
As Romany slept the night away on the uncomfortable, hard bench within her little park, terrible dreams came to her once more. Every night since the death of her father, her sleep had been broken with visions and memories of the things she tried so hard to forget when awake. After the incident with Seth, her dreams had become even worse. Tonight she dreamt about meeting Seth.

She had only just become homeless when she met Seth Snape. After the death of her father, she had been sent to stay with a little known Aunt and Uncle. The Aunt was terrible to her, treated her as a personal slave and the Uncle was even worse, he made passes at her all the time and she lived in fear that one day he might hurt her. After a month, wrapped in the grief and horror of her fathers untimely death and worn down with her Aunt and Uncles constant demands, she ran away. Became homeless, but at least to some degree, she had found peace and even a little contentment, something she didn't believe she could have again after her father died.

Romany had not been very street wise however and living on the streets proved much harder than she ever could have imagined. Night after night, she had to try to find a safe place to sleep, where no one would hurt her, or lock her up. When she wandered into Seth Snape's park, she had thought that being homeless, like herself, he might show her some compassion.

Things had started off well enough. She had shook his hand, smiled to show that she was friendly and explained a little about herself. Not too much of course, just that she was homeless. Seth had seemed quite sorry for her and rather charming.

'Ah so you are now homeless like me! You must be feeling very unsure, life on the streets is hard isn't it?' he had said smoothly, eyeing her curiously.

'Its terrible, I never realised how much people on the streets really suffered. I haven't ate in three days!' she had replied, feeling as though she could trust this friendly young man.

'Well you are in luck, I have just caught a minnow from the pond, if you are any good at cooking, we could share it, if you like?' Seth had replied.

Romany, won over at the thought of hot cooked fish, was delighted and had started to cook the minnow then and there, over Seth's little fire.

They had ate together, huddled around the little warmth the tiny fire gave out. As they ate, the had talked about each other.

'How did you end up homeless?' Romany had asked.

'My mother died when I was eight. I had no other family to care for me, my dead beat dad didn't want to know. I was thrown into care and farmed out to various foster families. I got tired of it all in the end and decided to go it alone. I ran away one stormy night and here I am, thirteen years later,' Seth had stated, his voice very factual, as if he was reading from a book.

'Oh I am so sorry you lost your Mum,' Romany had replied, her voice sorrowful. 'I too lost a parent, my father. He was the most loving, kind man. When he died, I was sent to live with an Aunt and Uncle I had never met. They were terrible to me so I ran away and here I am,' She had shared.

'Looks like we have similar stories,' Seth had said gently, winking at her. Romany had smiled. She had felt safe with him. So much so, she had asked him tentatively, if she might stay over, on one of the benches.

'Sure!' Seth had replied merrily. 'I don't charge rent, be sure to tidy up after yourself though!' he had joked.

Romany had sighed with relief. She had gotten the impression he was a bit of a loner and wouldn't want her to stay long. He was a little odd, that's for sure...occasionally mumbling to himself and going on about mastermind plots to do this that and the other...but on the whole she had thought him perfectly lovely.

'If you are going to stay though, it would be good to know your name!' Seth had laughed.

'Its Romany, Romany Pike,' she had smiled back.

'Pike? PIKE?!' Seth had stuttered.

'Yes, Pike!' Romany had confirmed, a little surprised. She had wondered if Seth knew of her somehow.

'That's a ridiculous name! Romany Pike! Perfect for a homeless pathetic tramp like yourself!' Seth had growled at her.

Romany had been stunned. Where was the nice charming man that she had been getting to know? Why had he decided to turn nasty?

'That's a nasty thing to say! Why are you being so horrible? I suppose you have a wonderful name, all posh and charming, just like you!' she had thrown back at him, sarcastically.

Quick as a flash, Seth had leaned forward and slapped her hard across her face.

'Its Seth, Seth Snape, you cheeky, dirty little tramp and don't you forget it! In fact, I think you need taught a lesson, to make sure you don't!' Seth had roared at her.

Romany, utterly terrified and her face a hot, aching wealth of pain, had tried to crawl away, shouting for help. Seth was too strong for her though and getting her in a head lock, he had beaten her senseless.

It was always at this part of the dream, that Romany jolted awake and she did just that, with a silent little scream. She was breathing heavily and tears were on her cheeks. She would never forget how frightened she had been and how much Seth had hurt her. She touched her face. Her scar.

After he had beaten her unconscious, she had come to the next morning, in terrible pain and covered in blood. She had dragged herself to the pond and tried to wash away the blood. It was there she saw what he had done to her. Cut her, right across her face. So she would never forget his 'lesson.

And she never had.

For the reader: any guesses at Seth's Trait? I will give you one..mean spirited.
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#3 Old 19th Jul 2010 at 10:26 AM
Default Chapter Three - Googles and Rocks
Romany felt very unsettled and tense after her unpleasant dream. She had had that dream many times before and she always felt like she was missing something. What HAD made Seth turn on her like that? Was he just a homeless lunatic? Or was there something more to it? The way he had spat her name, like it was dirt.

Shaking her head, she decided she wanted to get away from the bench and her park for now. A change of scenery would do her good. She set off down to Central Park, breathing a sigh of relief at the welcome distraction she knew it would bring.

Being a sunny Saturday, the park was fairly busy. Romany was feeling hungry by now and rummaging in her back pack, she found the over ripe tomato she had found in the trash the day before. When you are homeless and don't know when your next meal is coming from, even over ripe, spoiling tomatoes tastes like caviare.

As she ate her tomato, she noticed a plump elderly lady wandering her way. Romany had to pay her taxi fare tab this morning and only had $7 to her name. She licked her lips clean of the slightly foetid tomato juice and strode forward to intercept the lady. Time for some mooching.

The elderly lady was quite compassionate and very kindly gave Romany $34. Romany was stunned, she hadn't held so much money in quite some time. Her initial instinct was to go to the grocery store and feed herself up, but she reminded herself of her dream. Owning her very own lot. She would put it away in the little hole in the ground under her creepy tree in the park, with the rest of the money she was saving.

As Romany stood dreaming of her own lot, she became aware of a very pungent aroma. It was not a pleasant one and she began to look around for the source. Suddenly she realised that the source, was her. She needed a bath and fast. Central Park had a lot of things, but a bath or shower wasn't one of them!

Wandering out of the park and over the road, contemplating bathing in the cold river that ran near her own park, she spotted the Wellness Gym. A gym always had showers...just think of all the stinky sweaty people after their work outs! Perhaps she could just slip in unnoticed and give herself a shower. She waited for a gentleman to go in first and slipped in behind him. Pin pointing the ladies toilets, she looked at the floor and made her way in what she hoped was a discreet manner, inside. There were showers! She hopped in one, enjoying the caressing heat the cascading water enclosed her in.

Oh it felt glorious to shower. All the grime washed away, Romany stepped out of the shower feeling a new woman. Unfortunately that tomato hadn't done much but take the edge off her hunger. She still had to do something about that. Scanning the gym, she noticed a little kitchen area in a room off to her right. It was empty. Stealthily creeping in, she quickly helped herself to some bread and jam.

It was a simple meal but all that bread really filled up her tiny stomach. She was so full her stomach actually hurt a little. She washed up after herself, feeling a little guilty and decided it was time to move on before she drew attention to herself.

Wandering back through the park, musing on how to spend the remainder of the day, she saw some lovely colourful butterflies near the swings. She could do with a bit of fun. All this trying to survive stuff, really takes it out of you. She crept up to the butterflies....paused and waited....then leapt forward! She could feel a delicate fluttering in her hands.

She peeped between her fingers and saw the little colourful butterfly within. Romany had seen a local collector store just up the road and was sure this little one would come in at a few simoleons. Tucking it away in a jar within her back pack, she set off to see if she was right.

As she passed the pond in the park, she noticed a man trying to get her attention. She stopped and turned to him as he approached.

'Hi there, I know this sounds strange but you aren't any good at fishing are you?' he asked her hurriedly.

'Well yes, I am a bit of an angler,' she replied haughtily.

'Oh good, I really need to catch three fish for the fish market before the end of the market day but I have an emergency at home and cant do it. My boss will be furious if he finds out. You couldn't do me a huge favour and catch three fish for me? I will pay you $220 simoleons if you do! Just bring them down to the fish market before the end of the day!' he pleaded.

'I suppose I could do that, I haven't got anything else planned,' she replied quietly. In her head she was thinking...$220 simoleons!

'Oh thank you so much, I will see you a bit later on then!' the man said gleefully before running out of the park.

Romany figured there was no time like the present to get started and pulled out her home made fishing rod.

With her Angler skill, she soon landed three goldfish and took them straight to the fish market.

The gentleman was as good as his word and paid her $220 simoleons with his thanks. Romany was delighted, her dream of owning a lot didn't seem quite as unachievable with the money weighing down her pocket.

Feeling rather lucky, on her walk back to her park, she raided a couple of trash cans when she hoped no one was looking.

Raiding bins was a dirty job, but you could get some real treasures if your luck was in. And Romany's luck was in indeed. She found a pair of Simlife goggles, a moodlite candle, another stuffed toy and some space rock. Taking them to the local pawn shop, she walked away with $12400 simoleons. Absolutely unable to believe her luck, she sat down outside the pawn shop and began to cry. Never had she ever had so much money. So much money. That was a point. She was a homeless tramp with $12400 in her pocket. She needed to get back to the park and stash it away as quickly as possible.

Running all the way home she quickly buried the money beneath her tree. It was afternoon by this point and after so much work in the morning, she felt awfully tired. Her emotions were all over the place too, with the bad dream and now the unbelievable sum of money hidden below her tree. She laid on the bench and quickly fell into a troubled sleep.

When she eventually awoke, it was very early in the morning. Around 2am she thought. She couldn't get back to sleep, it was rather cold. She supposed the best way to keep warm would be to get on the move. Where could she go though, that was safe? An image of her late father suddenly came to mind. That was it, she could go to the graveyard. Despite how they might seem, graveyards are actually very safe, noone wants to hang out in them!

She slunk off to the local graveyard, trying to be as quiet and invisible as she could. It was, as she thought, empty. Walking through it, she noticed the door to the vaults was ajar. How creepy. Romany wasn't one to scare easily though and it occurred to her that it might be a little warmer in there than it was outside. She wandered in. It was very very dark, she couldn't see a thing. She felt something between her toes and scooped it up. It turned out to be a rare seed, she didn't know what of. Probably could be sold however. Carrying on, she was just starting to warm up when something cold touched her arm. Spinning round, she saw the most dreadful, terrifying apparition before her. Screaming she whirled on her heel, tripped over and landed hard on the dirty floor of the vault. The adrenalin running through her veins had her spring to her feet and dive for the door.

Out in the dawn, she collapsed on the floor, gasping for breath. She didn't know what it was she had seen, only that it was something no person should see and she would not mention it ever again.

'Hello hello hello! And what are we doing in the graveyard at this time of the morning?!' called a familiar voice.

Romany looked up and sighed. So much for staying out of trouble. It was Jack Bunch, from the law enforcement. He had given her a few simoleons once, but no doubt he would now have to take her in.

'Well, if you haven't guessed already, I am a bit stuck for somewhere to stay at the moment and thought the vault might be a good idea. Just take me away, cant be worse than it was in there,' she sighed wearily.

To her surprise, Jack laughed, a deep rolling laugh that reminded her, painfully, of her father.

'Oh I am not a policeman young lady, I am with the military. You cant stay out here all night, with the ghosts. Why not come home with me, I am sure my wife can help clean you up and give you a bed for the night,' Jack said, warmly. He felt for this little waif of a girl with the unsightly scar across her face.

'I don't have to leave here if I don't....what? Sorry? Did you say I could come and stay with you tonight?!' Romany said, disbelievingly.

'Yes I did, little lady, but only once you have washed all that dirt off you and sorted that terrible hair. You look like you have seen a ghost!' Jack chuckled.

'Oh ha ha, if only you knew!' Romany retorted, following Jack out of the graveyard and down the road to his house. He let her in, and she stood in his lounge, still and peaceful. It had been so long since she had been inside a home, and this was a real nice one. She complimented Jack on it and he was very pleased.

Jack left her to get cleaned up and put out fresh clothes for her to wear in bed, before saying goodnight and taking himself up to his wife. Romany took a long time bathing in a proper bath, eating fresh hot dogs and watching TV. She savoured every moment of being in the welcoming and overall safe abode of Jack, his wife and children.

Finally she felt herself growing sleepy and went to the bedroom. This would be the real treat. Lying in a real bed, with real sheets in a real room, with a real roof over her head. She tentatively slipped between the sheets. Heaven. Absolute heaven. Closing her eyes, she prayed she wouldn't have one of her dreams and scare the Bunch household. Swiftly, she fell into a deep sleep.

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#4 Old 19th Jul 2010 at 10:27 AM
Default Chapter Four - Unanswered Questions
As Romany slept, she dreamed about Jack. He was such a kind man. His laugh, so like her Dad's. She dreamed of the last time she heard her father laughing that rolling boom of a chuckle of his.

She had been dressed up to go out with Cedric that fateful night. Wearing a purple off the shoulder dress, with hair cut into a flattering feathered crop and black strappy gladiator heels, she knew she looked gorgeous and was so excited. Cedric was the son of her fathers friend and despite the geeky name, which she liked anyways, he was very down to earth and charming. Cedric lived near her father so she arranged to have dinner with her father and be picked up from there by Cedric.

She had gone to her fathers for around 7pm. He gave her a big welcome as always and complimented her on her outfit.

'That Cedric doesn't know how lucky he is,' her father had laughed, admiring her pretty face under the new hair do.

'Oh dad, you always know the right thing to say!' Romany had twinkled back at him. She had always been a daddy's girl. Hardly surprising considering she had never known her mother, Luna Pike, whom had died giving birth to Romany.

Sometimes Romany wondered why her father didn't hate her, and once she had asked him if he hated her for killing her mother. He had smiled in a sad way, crouched down, lifted her chin and wiped a tear and said, 'How can I hate my own heart Romany? You are everything your mother and I always wanted and she would be as proud of you today as I am. You didn't kill her, sometimes these things happen. I know she would happily have gave her life to give you yours. You are her legacy and look so very much like her.'

Romany had burst into tears and they had hugged for a good long time.

That fateful night, she had cooked them both macaroni and cheese. Her father, being quite the business man, was not much use in the kitchen, testament to the fact he only had a microwave to cook with. He was a real workaholic, throwing himself into his career with relish and determination of steel. The fact that he had managed to get to the top of his career and raise his only daughter alone, showed what a man Patrick Pike was.

They had sat together at his small table, chatting about the past weeks happenings then talk turned to more serious things.

'Dad. Why have you never married again after mother died?' Romany had asked gently. As she had grown into a young adult and been able to understand her father more than as a child, she had often wondered why he had never settled with another woman in time.

Her father had paused, put down his cutlery and fell quiet. Romany was beginning to think she should apologise when he spoke.

'Romany, your mother was everything to me. Absolutely everything. I loved her more than the air, the stars, myself. She was one in a million and there never could have been another woman for me after her,' He had replied softly.

'So there was never another woman after mother died?' Romany had probed.

'No Romany, not a single one. Why do you ask?' her father had queried.

'Well you aren't getting any younger Dad, and with Cedric and I getting engaged sooner or later, I worry about you. You need someone to take care of you!' Romany had rushed, knowing that would annoy him even though it was true.

'Oh Romany! Stop worrying about me. You sound more like your mother every day! I will be just fine, waiting for you to give me some grandchildren to love,' her father had laughed. Romany had been glad he wasn't angry.

Outside a horn had beeped. Leaping up Romany had kissed her father quickly on the cheek and rushed out to Cedric. If only she had known that it would be the last time she would see him alive.

Cedric hadn't proposed to her that night. Instead, over a drink in a bar, he had informed her that he had met someone else. That he didn't love her like he thought he had and needed to let her know. Romany had been devastated and there had been only one man she wanted to see. Her Father. She had rushed out of the bar, caught a taxi straight to his house.

It had been in darkness when she arrived. Where was he? He hadn't said he would be going out? She had looked through a window, but couldn't see anyone. Maybe around the back? Perhaps he DID have a woman after all and had gone out!

Making her way round the back, something caught her eye. Something soul destroying. The pool. And at the bottom of it, tied to a chair, was her wonderful, kind, handsome father.

She had screamed in horror and without thinking, stripped of her clothes and jumped in. She tried so hard to save him, but he was so heavy and she couldn't pull him up. She had only been gone two hours, how had it happened? Who had killed her father?

She had tried and tried to save him, until she was so tired she had been at risk of drowning herself. Finally she had dragged herself out of the pool and phoned for help. She had sat there, staring at him, in a state of deep shock, until the emergency services came. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

* * * *

Romany woke up to find Jack shaking her shoulder. Tears were on her cheeks and her heart felt like it had broken all over again. She had dreamed of Seth plenty of times before, but never of the night her father died. Why had he been killed? Whom had killed him in such a cruel way? She wondered if she would ever get any answers.
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#5 Old 19th Jul 2010 at 10:27 AM
Default Chapter Five - A Surprise Meeting
Romany was very embarrassed to have woken the Bunch household with her nightmare. Jack tried to placate her, sensing she was deeply distressed but Romany found the house felt claustrophobic to her now and stopping only to express her gratitude for the hospitality, she left sharpish.

Once again, feeling the need to distract herself from the terrible flash backs of her dream, she went to Central Park and threw herself into mooching. She was so close now, to that $16000 simoleons, only $3000 left to go and she would be able to buy her very own lot. She shouldn't be wasting time dwelling on things she was unable to change.

She choose a volumptious lady, clearly a fashion victim, so presumably had more money than sense, for her first mooch.

Unfortunately, the lady was not very forthcoming and casting a disdainful eye over Romany's shabby clothes, ugly scar and dirty cheeks, she walked off without a word. It always hurt Romany very deeply when that happened, but on the streets you had to be tough and she would never show it. She kept such hurts locked away for a time when keeping up appearances were not needed.

Trying not to lose heart, she tried her luck with a woman dressed in black and white. It just wasn't her day today however as the woman snorted at her request for simoleons and said 'One doesn't fund drug habits!' before sauntering off up the path. Drug habit indeed!

Disheartened and emotionally wrought, Romany plonked herself down beside the fountain, letting its cooling spray calm her temper. This was just no good, she was getting hungry and hadn't earned a single simoleon. Mooching was off the cards for today. She thought of the Simlife googles she had found from raiding trash. Perhaps she would fare better rummaging in the neighbourhood bins.

Raiding the bins was such a disgusting thing to do and she really detested doing it, but she wasn't going to get any food from the park today or any simoleons, needs must.

She trudged out of Central Park and began to eye up prospective bins. There was no point raiding the bins from poor looking homes. The people whom lived in poor homes had sense and didn't waste what they had. Nope the rich pickings were in the wealthier person's trash. She spotted a posh looking house that seemed empty and snuck into the yard where the bin stood, in all its trashy glory. Her luck was about to change, she could feel it. Pulling off the lid, she held her breath and got stuck in.

'Ewww now that is disgusting!' said a deep, shocked voice. Romany, with her head in the bin, froze. Who on earth could that be? The house had looked empty!

'Erm...would you believe, I threw something away in here earlier, I need it back!' she improvised from within the depths of the bin.

'Oh really?! And what would that 'something' be?' said the voice, skeptically.

'This....this...this sock! As you can see, I am missing one!' she stated, groaning inwardly.

'Can you take your head out of the bin please. I would like to see whom I am speaking to,' requested the voice.

Romany sighed. Nothing for it. She unfolded out of the bin, raised her chin and looked square at her addresser. Then quickly looked at her toes. Oh dear, he was quite a handsome looking chap, no doubt he would not be as impressed with her.

'Not able to look me in the eye then? Must be up to no good. I think you had better come with me, dont you?' the handsome man said. He smirked a little. A sock indeed. Good job he had a sense of humour.

'Come with you? Where?! For a walk in the park?' She said sarcastically.

'No no, to the cells for the night for disorderly behaviour and for giving cheek to an undercover policeman' he replied sharply. Romany gulped. This really was turning out to be a really bad day. She supposed there was nothing for it but to do as he said.

'I am PC Dunham, your name please?' he queried, taking her arm and leading her to the car nearby.

'Emily Dawson,' she replied quickly. No way would she tell her real name, she had ran away from 'home'. The word could be out. She sat gingerly in the back of the unarmed car and looked at the floor. When she next looked up, they had arrived at the local jail. PC Dunham escorted her quickly inside.

'Take your hands off me! I can put myself in the cell thank you very much!' she said snappily, pushing him away.

PC Dunham frowned, but stood back until she was inside the cell. She stood, looking at the floor, getting to be quite a habit, feeling sorry for herself. At least there was bed. If you could call it that. It smelled and looked as though the sheets had never been washed. Considering she slept on a bench normally, she wasnt one to be fussy. It would do. There was also a shower and a toilet. There was also another cell. It had a fellow inmate. He was stood with his back to her.

'What are you in for?' she called, curious as always. The inmate turned slowly, until he was facing her.

'Ah Pike, love what you have done with your face,' he sneered. Romany backed away in horror. It was Seth. She was in jail, with Seth Snape.

'You, you, you stay away from me!' she shrieked, backing away until she couldn't back any further.

'In case you haven't noticed, Pike, we are in Jail. J.A.I.L. See these metal bars between us? Unfortunate, but we will have to hook up when I get out tomorrow,' he said menacingly.

'Why are you in here?' Romany asked, fearfully. Had he hurt someone else, like he had her?

'Oh I got caught by Pc Plod over there, in this little abandoned park, helping myself to some simoleons. I thought the park was abandoned, but it looked like someone had been sleeping there. You wouldn't happen to know who, would you...Pike?' he sneered.

Her simoleons! He had been taking her simoleons! She knew that he knew it was where she had been staying. There was nowhere else in Sunset Valley, barr the graveyard, to hide out. Things were going from worse. She had to speak to PC Pl...Dunham, and find out what had happened to her money.

'PC Dunham! Pc Dunham,' she yelled. He stuck his head around the door to the cell area.

'What do you want Dawson?' he muttered.

'I need to talk to you please. Please, I do really need to talk with you,' she pleaded. She could feel Seth's eyes on her, watching her every move.

'Oh, it better be important,' PC Dunham retorted, thinking of the macaroni cheese he was in the middle of cooking. He was due a dinner date with the lovely Bethany tonight and ever the romantic, he was cooking it especially for her.

'What is it then Dawson,' PC Dunham said, appearing before her cell.

'You found some simoleons today didn't you, that he was going to steal,' she whispered to him, jerking her thumb towards Seth.

'And whats that got to do with you Dawson?' he replied.

'Its MY money!' She cried, 'All $13409 of it!'

'How do you know how mu....oh. A likely story. How would someone, like yourself, come by $13409 simoleons, bound to be illegally,' he stated, looking at her coldly.

'Look!' she said, catching hold of his hand, 'It IS my money, I pawned some items, I have the pawn tickets here to prove it. Okay it doesnt account for it all, but for most of it. I was living in the park, I am homeless and that money was for me to buy my own place with. Please, I need it back,' she beseeched him.

Tobias Dunham stared at the little tramp before him. She had soulful eyes. He found himself wanting to believe what she was telling him. He had a good heart and despite his job, tended to want to believe the best of people.

'Oi, PC Plod, come 'ere! You dont believe that little tramp do you? She is a liar!' Seth called, from his cell.

'And how would you know Snape?' snapped Tobias. He didnt like Snape, he talked to himself too much and generally made Tobias feel pretty uncomfortable even though he was no coward.

'I know her name is not Dawson for a start, is it PIKE?' he spat at her.

'' she stuttered. Tobias turned to her.

'Is that correct?' he frowned.

'Yes, yes it is,' she sighed, 'but I had to give a fake name, you see I have ru-'

'BE QUIET! A liar, that is what you are. I don't want to hear anymore from you, other than your real name. What is it?' Tobias ordered.

'Walked right into that one didn't you Pike?' Seth chuckled, darkly.

'Don't you speak to me Seth,' Romany seethed. 'You are insane, you need help!'

'I am waiting Pike?!' reminded Tobias tartly.

'Okay, okay, its Romany, Romany Pike. But you have to believe me, it IS my money and he IS insane, he is the one that gave me this scar!' She pleaded with him. Tobias looked at the terrible scar across her face and felt a little part of him begin to soften.

'No...NO, I dont believe you, you raid bins and you tell lies, I am going back to the staff room and I dont expect to hear from you for the rest of tonight Pike! I suggest you get some sleep!' Tobias barked before spinning on his heel and stalking off back to the staff room.

'Yes Pike, get some sleep, you will need your energy for tomorrow, when I get out of here,' Snape said darkly. He climbed into bed and turned his back on her, giggling quietly.

Romany felt tears of rage, or was it fear...prickling her eyes. Pc Dunham would not believe anything she said now, and Seth really seemed to have it in for her. She feared tomorrow, where could she go that would be safe?

There was nothing more she could do tonight and feeling vulnerable, she did climb into bed. Eventually she fell asleep.

She dreamed about butterflies at first. Then some pretty fish, being an angler. But then images of Seth filled her mind and she tossed and turned. What would the morning bring?

For the reader, can you guess Tobias traits? One of them is Family Orientated.
Test Subject
Original Poster
#6 Old 19th Jul 2010 at 10:28 AM
Default Chapter Six - Sometimes Dreams Do Come True
After a shoddy night's sleep, Romany woke up feeling pretty snappy and tense. It took her a few moments to gather her thoughts and remember where she was. Ah yes, in jail with Seth Snape, her nemesis for some reason. She supposed insanity didn't need a reason.

She sat up and looked into Seth's cell. She realised quickly that the cell was empty! Where was Seth? Had she slept late and he had been released?!

His bed was freshly made, so it was quite clear he had gone some time ago. Romany felt very worried and disappointed. She had been hoping to question him today, with the protection of the bars between them, about why he hated her so much. She had to know where he was, he had hurt her once and she was sure he would do it again.

'PC Dunham! Are you there?' she yelled, standing up from the bed. The door to the cell area creaked open and Tobias looked in at her.

'What do you want Pike?' He asked coldly. He had not forgotten her blatant lies as of yet. Even worse, the beautiful Bethany had not liked his macaroni cheese dinner and had split up with him by the end of the night. His mood was not good.

'Where is Seth? Has he been released? I have to know, he is a danger to me,' Romany said, worriedly.

'He was released first thing this morning. Technically I couldn't keep him in custody as I don't know whom the money belongs to, as such he wasn't exactly stealing. Why do you ask? Worried what other lies of yours he might have revealed to me?' Tobias said.

'You dont understand PC Dunham, I only lied about my name because I have run away from a horrible home after my father died, I could not stand to be sent back there! Seth is dangerous, he is the one that gave me this scar on my face. He hates me for some reason and I am sure if he got half the chance he would do a lot more than what he has already done!' she cried, feeling near to tears.

There was something so vulnerable about Romany, with her skinny little face and big dark eyes, Tobias felt himself almost believing her. Perhaps, just perhaps, she was telling the truth and if so, maybe her life actually could be in danger. Then he remembered how she had lied to him so smoothly, without even a moments pause, when asked her name. Naive innocent people didn't tend to be able to lie so easily. He should remember that there was no room for believing the best of people in his line of work.

'And why would I believe you Pike?' He queried, nastily. 'You lie like a professional.' He hardened his heart to her and unlocked the door to the cell.

'It's time you were going. I won't caution you this time, but if I catch you stealing from people's rubbish bins again, I most certainly will. Goodbye,' He said tartly and walked away.

Romany panicked. She couldn't just go out on the streets again, it wasn't safe. She desperately wanted PC Dunham to believe her, she could see the kindness in his eyes sometimes. She felt he wanted to believe her. What could she do to convince him she needed his help?

'PC Dunham, may I please use the phone before I leave?' She queried, sadly.

Tobias looked at her. Most people were desperate to get out of the cells. Romany looked frightened.

'Um, well yes you can, just don't be long' he said, a little more kindly, before turning out of the cells.

Romany sighed with relief and picked up the phone. She called the only friend in the world she had. Jack Bunch. She couldn't sleep on the bench again, Seth would find her.

The phone rang and rang. Romany silently pleaded for Jack to pick up. Still it rang, until eventually the line just clicked off. He wasn't home. That was it, she was done for. She would have to try to hide from Seth and he would find her in the end. She had no money, no one to help her. Defeated, she stood, head bowed, and began to cry quietly.

' one answer? I am just going off shift, I could give you a lift somewhere. If you like,' Tobias said gently. He had come back in unnoticed and observing her, felt just maybe there was some truth in what she said. He could at least get her somewhere safe for the night to come.

'I don't have anywhere to go. Why do you care? I am just a lying little tramp, remember?!' Romany sobbed, past caring what PC Dunham thought of her. Then an idea came to mind. She couldn't make him believe she was telling the truth, but she could show him that she was.

'Actually, if you are going off shift, why not come with me and see how I live? See if you believe me then?' Romany asked, confrontationally.

Tobias thought about it. What was the alternative? Go home and be down about Bethany? Maybe he should humour Pike. Hell...why not?

'Al right then Pike, why not? But as I am a plain clothed PC, you must call me Tobias when out on the streets. I don't want people to know my job,' he stated.

'Only if you call me Romany, its a bit nicer than Pike,' she said, flashing him a small smile. Maybe he wasn't so bad after all.

'You don't want me to call you Emily then?' Tobias teased as they walked out of the cells.

'Oh very funny!' Romany twinkled back. Despite herself, she liked Tobias. He had a good heart, she could tell.

She decided the best place to start would be Central Park. It took ten minutes to walk there from the Jail but they filled the time with idle chatter. They discovered they both had the same taste in music.

Arriving at the park, she turned to face him.

'Welcome to Central Park, the best restaurant in Sunset Valley!' she said, with a little flourish.

'Restaurant? You mean you EAT here?' Tobias asked, surprised.

'Yes!' Romany replied, amused. 'There is often a picnic, I can beg for a meal from. There is the grill to cook any fish I catch from the river. Sometimes there is even hot dogs. If I need the toilet or a wash, there is bathrooms. Best of all, its outdoors, clean and pretty to look at!' she laughed.

Tobias thought of Bethany and her disapproval of his macaroni cheese. He doubted Romany would have turned down a meal, not if she lived off park food. No wonder she was skin and bone. Oh, there he went, feeling sorry for her again. He reminded himself that plenty of people these days pretend to be homeless, just to mooch money out of people, when really they had perfectly good homes!

They sat down on a bench near the fountain. For a moment neither of them spoke.

'How did you become homeless?' Tobias queried.

'Its a long story, but in summary my dad was murdered, someone tied him to a chair and threw him in his pool and I was sent to stay with my Aunt and Uncle whom were cruel to me, so I ran away,' she said flatly. No point beating around the bush.

'Patrick Pike! That was your father wasn't it!' Tobias suddenly exclaimed. 'I was one of the policemen called to the scene. The whole town of Twinbrook was horrified by his death, he was well thought of. I remember seeing a girl must have been you, but you look very different now!'

Romany was open mouthed. He had been there that night?! She had been so distressed she couldn't remember much of that evening past trying to save her father.

'Yes, Patrick was my father. He was a great man,' she said quietly.

'They never found whom did it, did they?' Tobias queried softly. 'All we found was a small yellow duck, floating in the pool.'

Romany jerked her head up. 'What? A duck you say? I never knew they found anything? Why didn't you tell me that?' she said, startled.

'To be fair, I remember my colleague did tell you, but you were in such a state, I don't think you took it in.' Tobias replied.

Romany sat still, pondering over it all. She rubbed at some dirt on her hand. She needed a bath, then she could think about all this later. Standing up she told Tobias they were moving on to the next place, in the tour of 'a day in the life of Romany Pike'.

She took him to the Wellness gym, trying not to think of the new information she had just been told. She didn't want to break down in front of Tobias. She didnt like to be vulnerable. She left him overlooking the pool whilst she had a quick shower, then rejoined him. They both stared down at the water.

'I believe you now, Romany' Tobias said softly. He put his hand into his pocket and pulled out a bundle of simoleons. 'I can give you your money back, but I don't know what you want me to do. I could take you back to your Aunts? Maybe find you a hostel to stay in? I could report Seth to my colleagues but without any actual evidence and no way of knowing where he has gone, I don't know how seriously they will take it.'

It seemed hopeless. All the red tape meant that Tobias couldn't actually do anything for Romany. She was too old to be taken home like a naughty school girl and there really was nothing else he could do for her. They looked at each other, each feeling a touch of despair.

Romany was glad Tobias now believed her and held his gaze. Suddenly she felt self conscious as she looked into his warm dark eyes. She looked down, bashfully.

'It's okay Tobias,' she said quietly. 'I will figure something out.' She turned to walk away.

Tobias couldn't just let her walk away and caught her arm. Turning her to face him, he saw how sad she looked and before he could help himself, he leaned in and kissed her.

For a moment, Romany kissed him back, feeling his strong arms and steady heart beat against hers, enjoying the comfort that only physical contact could bring. It had been so long since she had been that close to anyone. Then she remembered what she was...and what he was and pulled away angrily.

'What did you do that for PC Dunham!' she threw at him. 'Did you feel sorry for me, the pathetic dirty tramp that I am? This isn't some sort of theatre show you know, with a nice happy ending. My life could be at risk and you think kissing me will help?!'

She turned and ran down the stairs, out of the gym. Tobias stood, rooted to the spot. What had just happened? Why on earth had he kissed her? He realised that there was some chemistry between them. Romany was right though, he was a police constable and she was a homeless thief. It did sound like a theatre show, but with Seth out to get her, how could there be a happy ending? He should just let her go.

Romany ran down the street, crying a little. She knew why. She did like Tobias, she liked him very much. She had loved his kiss, but look at how she lived. Raiding bins, sleeping on benches, no prospects, nothing. She wasn't good enough for the likes of him, with his nice house and job. Better to stay away and not bring trouble to his door.

One thing she was sure of, was that she needed to find $3000 simoleons and in a hurry. It was now the only way she could get off the streets and away from Seth. She was so close, all it would take is one more good find in the trash and she could buy her lot. Refusing to let herself think about Tobias, she went in search of some trash cans.

Spotting one outside a wealthy looking house, she got stuck in, hardly caring if anyone saw her or not. She pulled out a bottle of bubble bath. A newspaper. A Worthington teddy and finally, some space rock! It was worth $3200 simoleons! She stared at it in awe. That was it, she had done it, she had $16236 simoleons! She could by her own lot, get off the streets!

But not tonight. It was now very late and the estate agents would not be open until morning. What was she going to do? Seth was on the streets. He knew where she hid out, but there was nowhere else to go. She would have to chance her luck, hide in her park and hope he was not around.

She snuck back to her park and carefully surveyed it. All was quiet. She looked at the mud on the ground, no obvious fresh tracks. She was pretty sure the park was empty. She sat on her bench, tense and listening. Still nothing. Seth probably knew that the police may still be keeping an eye on the park and had stayed away. Romany however, had nothing to lose if she was discovered there.

She sat on the bench and thought about the day. Tobias and the kiss. The yellow duck found in her fathers pool. What did it mean? Her father hadnt owned a yellow duck. It had to be relevant somehow. She could feel herself getting sleepy as she turned different ideas over and over in her head. If she could just get through the night, she would have her house tomorrow. She would be safe. That was her last thought, as she fell asleep.

She needn't have worried about her safety. There was a policeman in the park. He stood watching over her sleeping. Tobias knew it was well over and above the call of duty and that Romany would not be happy to find him in her park, but he would just make sure she was safe tonight and be gone before she woke up.

He hadn't told Romany, but he had her Aunt's number. She had been reported missing, but he couldn't make her go home. It was however, his duty to let her Aunt know that she had been found and was okay. He took out his mobile and dialled...
Test Subject
Original Poster
#7 Old 19th Jul 2010 at 10:29 AM
Default Chapter Seven - Changing Times
The very first thing Romany did when she woke on the hard park bench on Sunday morning, was thank god she was still alive. Seth hadn't done away with her in her sleep.

The very second thing she did was go straight to the phone box and call the estate agents. Within an hour she had viewed a property and bought it in simoleons then and there. It was the most expensive property she could afford and was situated right over the beach. It left her with $25 but at least she had 4 walls, a roof over her head and a door that locked.

At first she had been a bit doubtful over the property, it took a bit of talking through with the estate agent, but she could see the potential. It was going to need a lot of work but it would give her something to focus on.

There was some furniture included. A toilet, bed, shower and fridge. The essentials. She had spent a little bit of money on a mobile phone, so she could stay in touch with her friends the Bunch family and for emergencies.

Okay, so the house looked like its previous owners were tramps from the mud covered floor, filthy toilet, dirty shower, unmade bed and cheap fridge, but it was rather fitting really that she, another tramp, should become its new owner. There wasn't even electric, no light bulb.

She knew if she was going to do up the house and extend it, she was going to need money and a lot of it. She went round the town, asking everywhere she could for work. It just wasn't going to happen. She hadn't been able to afford new clothes and it would take a lot of money to do anything about the scar on her face. Her kind were generally not taken on, when it came to careers.

Disappointed, she returned home and sat on the bench at the side of her new home. She needed to earn simoleons. Perhaps she could catch fish in the pond on the corner of her lot, sell for money? There was also a little garden area, she could try growing and selling produce? There were possibilities.

She was stood mulling over some ideas when she heard someone calling her name. Spinning round, she came face to face with her Aunt Davina. Shocked, she stuttered a wary hello. How had her Aunt found her?!

'ROMANY!' her Aunt screeched, throwing her arms out wide. 'I have been so terribly worried about you! Thank goodness that lovely policeman let me know where you are! You MUST come home with me right away, look at you, skin and bone! What on earth has happened to your beautiful face, that scar, its horrible!'

Romany groaned inwardly. Her Aunt was always so melodramatic. It set Romany's teeth on edge. Such insincerity and down right snobbery.

'What do you want, Aunt Davina?' She asked through gritted teeth.

'What on earth do you mean? I want you to come home! What a silly question! Come, lets sit on this bench and catch up, there has been lots of changes since you vanished,' Davina replied.

'Why the concern, Aunt Davina?! You never cared about me, dont pretend otherwise!' Romany threw at her.

'Oh Romany, don't upset me, you know I struggle with confrontation, I am a very delicate person emotionally! Of course I care for you, would I have reported you missing if not?' her Aunt implored. 'Now come, sit down, we need to talk.'

Romany warily sat down beside her Aunt.

'That's better. Now lets stop this nonsense and you come home with me. Look at you, hair grown long, dressed in rags, in this...this...cesspit of a house! You are wasting away!' her aunt chastised.

'No Aunt Davina, I worked very hard to earn the money for this house, it may not be much, but its mine and I am staying' Romany said firmly.

'Besides, what makes you think I would go back to living with Uncle Brian and his...habits?!' Romany queried tartly.

Her Aunt recoiled as if Romany had slapped her.

'I suppose you wouldn't know would you?' Her Aunt said stiffly. 'Your Uncle Brian died two weeks after you left. It was very sudden, a stroke. So you see there is no reason for you not to come home with me. What do you think you will do for money? With a terrible scar like that on your face, I cant imagine the job offers are rolling in,' her aunt said critically.

'I intend on fishing for a living Aunt Davina. I have a bit of a skill for it, not that it has much to do with you. I already earned $220 simoleons in one day fishing!' Romany flashed back.

'You will need a lot more than that to do this house up Romany!' her Aunt said,smugly.

Romany's temper got the better of her. She stood up and began to shout at her Aunt.

'How DARE you come round here, to my house, and look down on me. I don't even KNOW you! Call yourself my Aunt, where were you when I was growing up? Call yourself my mothers sister, where were you when she needed you? Where were you after she died and my father and I were alone? Take your fake concern and clear off!' she yelled, seeing red.

Her Aunt Davina drew herself up off the bench. Her lips were pinched and face was white. She took a deep breath, and putting her hand out, she said,

'Stop right there little madam! What do you know about anything? You were just a tiny newborn when your mother died! How do you know that I wasn't there! I loved your mother, my sister, deeply and was devastated when she died, but nothing, nothing could make me come and console that terrible father of yours, not after what he did to her! Imagine, just imagine, cheating on your wife when she is all but newly pregnant! She died of a broken heart, knowing what he had done to her and didn't even get to see you! I hold him entirely responsible!' her Aunt burst out.

Romany fell silent. Surely that couldn't be true? Her father would never have cheated on her mother. He hadn't after she had died why would he before? No her Aunt was making it up and it wasn't like her father was here to defend himself, or her mother!

'That's a wicked thing to say! My father is barely dead, totally inappropriate! You should be ashamed of yourself Aunt Davina! Why should I believe you anyway, you were terrible to me, terrible! I ran away because of how you and Uncle Brian treated me and I am glad karma got him in the end!' Romany spat, seething.

Her Aunt looked guiltily at her.

'You are right, I did treat you terrible. I couldn't help myself. You were so slim, so beautiful and my Brian didn't look twice at me any more. He told me how fat and ugly I was, compared to the likes of you and I was too cowardly to leave him, so I took it out on you. I am also glad he is dead and I am sorry for the way I treated you. I will always be sorry, my sister would be so ashamed of me,' her Aunt said.

Romany was surprised. It actually sounded pretty heartfelt. She thought about it and yes, it must have been hard, having a young adult sent to live with you that your partner was lusting after whilst insulting and degrading you. She actually did feel a teeny bit sorry for her Aunt. But...

'Even if that's the case, you think you can come round here and drag my fathers name through the mud?! He never had any affair, he died having never been with any other woman since mother died. You take your lies and clear off, don't come back!' She yelled, glaring at her aunt and crossing her arms, to show she meant business.

Her Aunt sighed and smiled.

'Romany, you are still very young. Only just really starting out in life. You don't want to believe the worst of people, but when you get to my age, you have a better idea of human nature. You will learn. You hold on to your image of your perfect father, if it helps you. But it did happen and that IS why I was not around.'

With that, her Aunt walked away.

Romany sat on the bench shaking still. But why was she shaking? Was it rage, or perhaps the possibility that there was more to her mothers death than her father let on? Had he broken her heart? It couldn't be true. Could it?

For the reader, can you guess Davina's traits? One is no sense of humour. No cheating and looking at the exchange page!
Test Subject
Original Poster
#8 Old 19th Jul 2010 at 10:29 AM
Default Chapter Eight - A Special Day
Romany found it very hard to calm down after her Aunt's visit. She tried to put her Aunts words out of her head, but she knew that she would always wonder if there was any truth in the matter, from now on. Her memory of her father was tainted.

She began to scrub the house, taking out her temper on the filthy toilet and shower, until the little house was gleaming.

She might still look like a tramp, but she didn't have to live like one. Making the bed, she sat on it with a heavy sigh. The happiness from buying her house was gone. She felt very depressed and the surroundings just weren't helping.

Looking in the fridge, she took out two lettuces of the three she found. If she was going to sustain herself, she would need food. Going out to the little garden at the side of her house, she crouched down and earthed the lettuces. Hopefully if she took care of them, she would have more to eat in a short while.

Gardening seemed fairly easy and Romany found herself enjoying it. But all the gardening in the world wouldn't help her do up her house. She really wanted to get electricity put in, the gloom really got to her. It seemed like all she ever thought about was money. The only way she could think of to get some together, was rummaging in the trash again. At least now she had her own shower to get clean afterwards.

Gritting her teeth, she snuck into her neighbours garden. Noone seemed to be at home so she began to sift through their trash. She found two teddys, twenty bits of scrap metal and two yellow ducks. The ducks made her think of her father. Maybe the duck that was found was like these little ones in her hand. They looked like they used to belong to a child...had a child been at her fathers house the night he died?

She quickly pawned in the items and came away with $250 simoleons, a good starting capital to fit a light and at least redecorate! Making a quick stop at the local B&Q she picked up some red paint, a white blind, new duvet cover, fridge stencils, a red carpet and some red towels. She liked red. Cycling home, she couldn't wait to get to work, making her new house a home.

The morning passed in a nice blur of paint, bread and jam sandwiches and a quick shower to wash the paint off, once she was finished. Standing back to admire her handy work, Romany felt really proud. The house may be tiny, but it really was a home now. She had not had enough for more than one blind, so unfortunately two windows were not covered, but all in good time.

She felt much calmer after all that physical work. She was, however, still very cross. Not with her Aunt now, but with Tobias. He was the one whom had told her Aunt where she was! How dare he? She decided she was calm enough to confront him about it. He had upset her and she was going to make sure he knew it! Whipping out her mobile phone, she rang his number and waited for an answer, tapping her foot.

'Hello? Tobias Dunham here,' He said, picking up the line.

'Tobias, its me, Romany. I need to talk to you. Are you busy? Can you come to my new house?' she asked coldly.

'Yeah sound a bit cross? Has something happened?' Tobias asked, warily.

'Yes it has, but I dont want to talk on the phone, I will see you when you get here,' she replied, hanging up.

She waited impatiently by her front door. As soon as he arrived, she confronted him.

'Tobais, why on earth did you tell my Aunt where I lived?! Do you know she has just been round here, telling me nasty things about my father and looking down her nose at me?' Romany said fiercely.

Tobias had the decency to look a little ashamed.

'I am sorry Romany, but I AM a PC you know. She had filed a missing persons report, it was my duty to let her know,' he said sheepishly.

'Well you don't always have to be such a do gooder you know! Would it have hurt to pretend I had gone missing after you let me out?! She told me my father had an affair you know! When my mother was newly pregnant with me!' she exclaimed.

Tobias looked a little guilty. Romany looked a little closer at him.

'Hang on, you don't look very surprised to hear that Tobias. Do you know something about that?' she said, forcefully.

Tobias shuffled his feet.

'I am really sorry I upset you Romany, but please understand, it was my duty. It's done now anyway. As for your father and an affair...yes. There was some allegations made that he had been seeing a young woman from the next town, an ex customer of his I believe. No proof was ever found, as after your father died, when we tried to locate the lady, she had passed on thirteen years previous. All she had left behind was an eight year old child whom disappeared shortly after her death,' Tobias shared. 'You know I shouldn't be telling you any of this don't you? I could lose my job, you must not tell a soul,' he finished.

Romany sat down suddenly. Her father may have been having an affair? He wouldn't. But what if...? Perhaps there was a jealous partner whom had killed her father? It would at least make some sort of sense. But she didn't want to believe he would have done that to her mother. Not her father.

'Look Romany, you have had a really stressful time of it lately. I hate to see you looking so worn out. You have done such a lovely job redecorating the place. I think its time you had some redecorating too...don't you?!' Tobias queried gently.

'Come with me, I want to treat you,' he said, taking her arm and guiding her into his car before she could refuse.

Romany protested, but Tobias wouldn't listen. He took her to Landgrabbs Sell and Swap Shop and pushed her in the door.

'Look, here is my card. I want you to buy yourself some new clothes, you are too lovely to keep wearing those rags and you need some shoes! Its not a loan, its a gift, take it please,' he said, firmly.

'Tobias, you don't have to do this, I don't want to spend your money, I will buy my own clothes in time!' she said a little hotly.

'Romany, you are so stubborn! Learn to take a gift when its offered! Now look, this little dress is gorgeous, I bet you would look lovely in it, go and try it on,' Tobias ordered, fishing a black and white shirt dress off the rail.

She flashed him a little, grateful smile and nipped to the changing rooms. Standing in front of the mirror, she couldn't believe what a difference it made. Tobias was right, it suited her very much!

Tobias joined her clutching a pair of black patent leather gladiator heels.

'I think these would go great with that dress Romany, try them on, I will wait for you over here,' he said, handing her the shoes.

'You are in the wrong job I think, Tobias!' Romany giggled. Once again he was quite right though, the shoes were perfect. Tobias told her to keep it all on and took the tags to the till to pay. Romany was delighted, she felt so special in the new clothes. She gave him a sudden brief but tight hug.

'Thank you Tobias, I love the clothes,' she whispered, feeling tears behind her eyes. He was being so nice to her.

'Oh it's not over yet! That's just the clothes! Into the taxi with you!' he insisted. Laughing and protesting, Romany did as she was told.

He took her to the salon and tattooist just down the road.

'In you go!' he ordered,'You can have whatever you like! Hair cut, make up, tattoo, whatever you want!'

'You come with me Tobias!' Romany said, grasping his hand. 'You were so good with the clothes, I will need your opinion for my hair and make up too! Thank you so much!'

Tobias went in and sat in the chair whilst she had her hair and make up done. Every so often she turned to him, seeking approval. She looked more and more beautiful each time. He had totally forgotten about Bethany since Romany came on the scene. Bethany...who was that?

Finally she was finished and turned to him.

'What do you think?' She asked shyly?

For a moment, Tobias couldn't speak.

'You look absolutely beautiful Romany. A real stunner. Would you come out to dinner with me? Now?' Tobias asked, hopefully.

'Dinner as well?! Tobias, you are wonderful, I would love to!' Romany replied, excitedly. What a great day it had turned out to be, after its very rotton start. She had all but forgotten her Aunt and the affair. For once, she was focusing on herself.

Once again they got in the waiting taxi and Tobias took her to the Bistro. It was a little cold out, so they ate inside, a lovely meal of stu surprise, Romany's favourite. Over dinner they chatted light heartedly, getting to know each other a little better. Both of them knew there was a real spark growing between them.

After dinner, they sat outside for a short time, waiting for their taxi to arrive.

'Tobias, thank you so much for such a wonderful day. I was so sad and angry this morning, you have made me feel a million simoleons. Can I do anything to thank you?' Romany asked shyly.

Tobias smiled and taking her hand, said 'No, you don't have to thank me, I have really enjoyed today too. You are a special person Romany, I am glad I took the time to get to know the real you.'

Romany blushed.

'Actually, there is one thing you could do...' Tobias said alluringly. He stood up, pulling her up with him. He didn't have to say anything, Romany knew.

Putting her arms around him, she gave him a gentle, deep kiss.

'And I was only going to ask you to pay for the taxi!' Tobias joked afterwards. Romany laughed softly.

'I have to go to work now, on the night shift,' Tobias said, a little sadly. 'I will call you tomorrow okay?' He helped Romany into the taxi and gave her the money for the fare.

Romany nodded, also feeling sad to say goodbye.

'I will speak to you then. Thank you Tobias,' she said as the taxi pulled away.

As soon as she got home, she went straight to bed. It had been a special day. She knew she was falling in love. She only hoped Tobias felt the same.

That night there was no bad dreams for Romany. She had forgotten her Aunt. She had forgotten her father. She had forgotten Seth. She dreamed only of Tobias.

Someone had not forgotten about her however. Staring down at her, through the bare window, Seth smiled. An evil smile.

'So, Pike. This is where you live now...going up in the world. Not for long...' he said to himself, sinking back into the darkness of the night.
Test Subject
Original Poster
#9 Old 19th Jul 2010 at 10:30 AM
Default Chapter Nine - Seth's Story
As Romany slept the night away, Seth was wide awake and unable to sleep. He was sat at his little cooking fire, staring into the flames. He couldn't believe the little tramp had gone and got herself a house, along with a boyfriend, a policeman at that. Seth had been following her for a few days and knew all about her. She made him sick.

He had heard of the Pike's. The whole town had been humming with Patrick's murder. Everyone had said they felt for the daughter the most, losing her mother and then her father. Seth had wanted to shout, 'At least she had a father for a while!'. He bet she had been spoiled as a child, given all the toys she could have ever wanted. Not like him. Not like his childhood.

As he stared into the fire, he remembered. He remembered his mother, before she died. Maria Snape had been fairly beautiful and hardworking. She hadn't been very emotionally stable though. Ever since she had fallen pregnant and the father hadnt wanted to know, she had struggled with episodes of depression, followed by extreme highs. Manic behaviour. Growing up with that as a child is hard.

He remembered how he would sometimes wake up in the night and hear her crying. He had only been a young child, around five or six, and hadnt understood why she cried, only that he wanted to comfort her.

She had raised him all on her own, with no support from anyone. The house they had lived in had been tiny and tatty. His mother had done her best to make it nice, but all of her money went on feeding them and paying the bills. There had been no toys.

His mother worked so hard, she was often tired and grumpy. She would fly into rages with him, slapping him and screaming abuse. She would say things like...

'Why weren't you good enough? Why cant you be better! If you were better your father would want to be here with us! You are such a disappointment! '

'I wish I had never had you, I don't love you or want you here, you are the reason your father left, I wish you would just go and never come back!' was another of her favourite sayings.

For a small child to hear such things, is devastating. Seth had begun to get confused. Was he a bad child? Had he made his father leave? Did his mother hate him? He would dwell and dwell until he couldn't control his own thoughts anymore. It was around the age of seven that he started to go insane. Rare in children, but his mind was broken with trying to cope with the constant ups and downs of his mother and her words.

Sometimes his mother would be in a good mood, rare, but sometimes. Those days he lived for. They would sit side by side on the worn old sofa, watching the black and white tv together.

One particular day stuck in Seth's mind the most though. The day his mother beat him so hard, he thought he might die. His mother seemed to realise at the last minute, that she was going overboard and stopped, dragged him to the door and threw him out of the house, told him not to come back. He was eight.

He had made his way to Central Park, to sit on the swings, trying not to show he was in any pain. He didn't know what he had done to upset his mother that day, but sometimes he didn't think he had to do anything. Just existing was enough.

As he tried to make his way to the swings in the park, a little girl had noticed him and come running up. She was full of beans and asked him if he wanted to chat with her for a bit. He thought she seemed nice enough and let her ramble on for a bit, as girls tend to do.

But then she had started going on about how she was at the park with her father. That he was the best father ever and would always push her on the swings. She went on and on about how she had the best father in the world. Finally she turned to him and said, 'Where is your father? You do have one dont you?!'

Something had snapped in Seth's head. Years of grief from his mother about his absent father had seen to that. All that repressed anger and humiliation. He had turned on the girl, dragging her down to the ground and fighting with a terrifying fury.

He wanted to hurt her so badly, like he was hurting. However she took him by surprise and gave as good as she got. In the end, he had to give in, she was a better fighter than he. As he lay on the ground, trying to catch his breath, he heard a man calling the girl.

'Romany! What ARE you doing with that dirty little boy?! Come away this minute!'

Yes, that little girl had been Romany. Romany Pike, he had found out a few years later. The daughter of the great Patrick Pike, the perfect father. She had humiliated him, beaten him in a fight...she had everything he didn't have. He hated her.

After the fight, he had gone home, hoping his mother might have calmed down. Luckily for him she had. She was feeling guilty, knowing she had gone a bit far. Summoning up his courage, he asked her about his father.

'Mum, why don't I have a dad? Like all the other kids?' he said, fearfully.

'I have told you Seth, he didn't like you. The minute he found out I was pregnant with you, he left. He came to visit once after you were born, to tell me that he didnt want you and didn't want anything to do with me ever again. You made him leave!' his mother had said, sadly.

'What was his name? Do I look like him?' Seth had chanced.

'You don't need to know his name, he doesn't want anything to do with you. You look more like me than him. Now I don't want to speak any further about it. If it will keep you happy, there is something under my bed that your father left you. The only thing he ever gave you. When you see it, you will see how much you meant to him. Now go away and leave me alone, you have upset me enough for one day and I have to get some sleep before my next shift,' she had said vaguely.

Seth had been shocked. He hadn't known his father had left him anything! Rushing into the bedroom he dug deep under his mother's bed, until he found a little box. Opening it quickly he had looked inside and....shut the lid again. His mother was right, it showed how much his father cared about him. None what so ever clearly.

He had never asked about his father again after that day. Not just because he didn't want to know, but a few months later, his mother had been electrocuted to death at one of her jobs. Seth had ran away from the social worker who came to get him...and that had been him, on the streets ever since.

Coming out of his fire induced trance, he felt renewed hatred towards Romany. Her and her perfect father. He still wanted to hurt her. Like he had been hurt. In fact, he thought he might actually want to kill her.
Test Subject
Original Poster
#10 Old 19th Jul 2010 at 10:31 AM
Default Chapter Ten - The Show Down
Romany awoke the next day, still high on the wonderful feeling of being in love. She was none the wiser to Seth's little night visit. She had a quick shower and ate some cereal whilst she thought about the coming day. Tobias wanted to see her after his shift, he said he would give her a call. She would just have to try to find some way to pass the time, until she could see him again.

She started off with tending her garden. The lettuces were growing well but regularly attracted slugs and weed. She was finding gardening fun, but it took a lot of attention. Perhaps she would be able to gain enough skill at it to grow more exciting things, but for now, she was hoping selling fresh lettuce would support and sustain her.

As she tended the garden she spotted the mailman putting in her first letters since moving into her new home. She knew it must be the first bills and gulped. She only had $14 to her name currently and doubted that would cover it. Tentively, she took the letters out and opened them one by one. The total bills came to $24 simoleons. She needed to find some money as soon as possible! The only thing she could do at present, was either try mooching some money or raiding the trash. It was still early morning in Sunset Valley, so she doubted there would be anyone around to mooch off. Trash raiding it would have to be.

First, she needed the loo. As she did her business and flushed, she watched in horror as the water in the toilet bowl rose and rose. It was blocked. Nothing for it, she would just have to get stuck in with the plunger and get it cleared. A waste of her time but necessary.

It took her a good half hour and her arms were sore by the time she was done. She was also pretty dirty, but that wouldnt matter considering she was about to go bin raiding. She wanted to get started before people started getting up and going off to their work. Slipping out of her house, she sidled up the her neighbours bin and got rummaging. Luck was shining on her today and to her amazement, she pulled out another pair of simlife googles! That would cover her bills and let her expand her house!

Pleased with herself, she went home and showered to get clean. By then the shops were opening and she pawned in the simlife googles. She now had $9025 simoleons to spend! Romany was responsible and put aside the money for her bills, then she went straight to B&Q, buying what she needed to extend her house and decorate the extention. Taking her shopping home, she spent the rest of the morning working hard on the expansion.

By lunchtime, she was stood outside her house admiring her handiwork. There was now another room, the bedroom. There were four full length windows looking out over the neighbourhood. She was very pleased. She even had a double bed. Tobias came to mind and she blushed. No time to be thinking about things like that!

Almost as if he knew she was thinking about him, her mobile phone went off. Fishing it out of her pocket, she answered swiftly.

'Hello? Romany Pike,'she said.

'Hi Romany, its Tobias. That's me just finished my shift. One of my friends has reminded me I am meant to be going swimming with him today but I really want to see you, so I thought maybe you would like to come to?' Tobias queried.

'Yeah sure! I would really like that, I haven't been swimming in ages!' she said excitedly. 'I will just pack my swimming things and cycle to the gym, see you soon!' she said, hanging up. Rushing around her house, she was soon packed and cycling off to the gym. So excited was she, she had no idea she was being watched.

Arriving at the gym, she found Tobias was already swimming so quickly changed and jumped in. Before long she was splashing him and having a great time. They got on so well, never short of things to talk about.

The rest of the afternoon passed quickly for Romany, as time does when you are enjoying yourself. After a good swim, Tobias and herself went for a dance in the upstairs studio. Tobias turned out to be quite the little mover, Unfortunately Romany was a terrible dancer, it wasnt her strong point.

Finally, feeling rather tired and hot, they went down to the bar and had a refreshing glass of fresh home made lemonade.

'Tobias, thank you so much for inviting me to the gym,' Romany said, shyly. 'I have had a really wonderful time! I might go for one last swim, I am feeling so hot.'

'No need to thank me, your company has been enough. I...I really like you Romany and I hope we can see more of each other?' he asked gently.

'I would like that a lot,' she affirmed softly.

'Well unfortunately I can't go for another swim, I need to go home and get some sleep before night shift again tonight. Enjoy youself though and I will phone you tomorrow,' Tobias said sadly, leaning in to give her a shy kiss.

Romany blushed and waved him goodbye. She really was very hot, another little swim would cool her down. Changing quickly, she jumped in and began to swim to the other side. The gym was empty by now and she was enjoying the peace of it. She reached the other side and as she pushed off to swim another slow length, she spotted something floating on the water. What was it? As she swam towards it, she strained her eyes and stopped suddenly. It was a yellow duck. What was a yellow duck doing in the pool?

As she tread water, staring at the duck, she became aware of someone's eyes on her. Turning round, she looked up and screamed. It was Seth. A smirking, evil eyed Seth.

'What are you doing in here?!' She said, swimming into the middle of the pool.

'Its a free country, didn't you know Pike? This gym is open to anyone. Well it was. Until I locked the doors,' Seth replied smugly.

Romany could hardly think, such was her panic. She was in a swimming pool, with Seth watching and the doors were locked. Saying things didn't look good, was an understatement.

'What do you want from me Seth?' She asked angrily. 'Why do you hate me so much?'

Seth glared at her.

'You don't remember me, do you Pike? Let me refresh your memory for you. Do you remember when you were a little girl, around 7 or 8 say? A day at the park, with darling daddy Pike. A day where you got into a fight, and won? Do you remember that day?' Seth spat coldly.

Romany did. Up until he had reminded her, she had forgotton about it, so insignificant had it been to her. She remembered a skinny, dirty, bruised boy that she had got talking too that day. She had been having such a fun time with her father. When she asked the little boy where his father was, he had exploded and leapt on her, punching and kicking. She did remember she won.

'Are you saying that little boy was you Seth?' she asked.

'Give the girl a medal!' Seth retorted sarcastically. 'Yes that little boy was me!'

'Well thats not a reason to hate me!' Romany said, confused. 'We were both little children! Little children say strange things!'

'Its NOT the reason I hate you! The reason I hate you is because you had a father! You had MY FATHER!' Seth roared at her, his eyes looking almost red with his hatred of her.

'What do you mean?!' Romany said, really puzzled now. Seth was clearly insane. 'Patrick was MY father, not yours?!'

'He was my father too! Yes, thats right. Your perfect daddy was my daddy too! He had an affair with my mother, Maria Pyke,' Seth stated, flatly.

Romany struggled to keep treading water as she tried to take in what Seth was saying. Seth was her fathers son...her half brother?! The yellow duck...the yellow duck! Seth killed her father!

'You killed him didn't you!' she accused. 'You killed my father! They found a yellow duck there, just like this one!' she said, pointing to the duck in the water. She was really starting to get tired now.

'Yes I did, I killed him and happily so! He got my mother pregnant the same day as your mother except he stood by your mother and left my mother a broken woman! My childhood was miserable thanks to him! My mother blamed me and beat me all the time, whilst you...YOU....lived in the lap of luxury! Daddies precious little girl! All he ever gave to me, was a stupid, useless, yellow duck!' Seth screamed at her.

Romany was feeling very frightened by now. She was so tired but if she got out, he would kill her, she knew it. She couldn't keep swimming forever.

'Yes thats right, Pike. I can see you are thinking over your situation. You are going to drown and people will think its a terrible accident. If you try to get out, I will kill you! All they will find of you is a little yellow duck!' Seth laughed happily.

Romany got it now. The little yellow duck was his 'calling card'. She was about to plead with him to let her out...when the lights went out. Only the pool was lit with its emergency lights. She couldn't see Seth.

'Seth? Seth? Where are you? Please don't do this. It wasn't my fault, what my father did, I was just a little girl! Please let me get out of the pool, we could talk about this, you are my half brother!' she pleaded, desperately.

She was really starting to flag now. She knew that if she didn't get out of the pool in a few minutes, she would not be able to keep going and drown.

Suddenly the lights came back on. She saw Seth by the switch at the end of the pool, and beside him was Tobias! How had he known?!

'I heard everything you said Snape, you are one evil man! You are under arrest'! Tobias said, grabbing Seth's arm.

'You are forgetting, PC Plod, that there is only one of you and one of me..and yes I am evil!' roared Seth. Before Tobias could get a proper hold, Seth launched himself at Tobias and pulled him to the ground.

Romany screamed.

'Tobias! Seth let him go, I will get out of the pool, you can kill me, just let Tobias go!' she begged.

They were fighting so furiously that she couldnt see whom was winning. She was so tired....she felt herself going under. She had no energy left. Everything went dark.
Test Subject
Original Poster
#11 Old 19th Jul 2010 at 10:32 AM
Default Chapter 11 - Epilogue
Romany leapt out of her bed. She was very very excited and had slept fitfully all night. Today was a very special day. She was so glad she was still here to be a part of it.

After she blacked out in the pool, Tobias had managed to wrestle Seth to the floor and cuff him. He had jumped in, fully clothed and rescued her. Thankfully she had come round quite quickly, coughing up only a little water. Any later and it would have been curtains for her.

He had pulled her up to her feet and hugged her fiercely. Then he had done something that nearly had Romany blacking out again. He got down on one knee and asked her to marry him. He said he had come so close to losing her, it had made him realise how lucky he was to have her and wanted to have her forever.

Romany had gone to see Seth afterward. Perhaps she just had too big a heart, but she knew that he wasn't well mentally and as such, wasn't entirely responsible for his behaviour. She also understood it was his terrible upbringing that had made him the way he was. She had asked him how he came to find out that Patrick was his father.

He told her that the day after his mother died, he had been going through her things, looking for a special card he had once made her. He had come across a letter, written by his mother to Patrick. He had sworn then and there, that he would kill Patrick for what he had done to Seth and his mother.

Romany found it in her to forgive him, though she would never forget. A few months later, Seth was sentenced to life in prison. No matter his state of mind, he had killed Patrick in cold blood. Romany tried to visit him once a month.

And now here she was. On this special day of all days. The day she was to become Mrs Dunham. When she thought back, from the day her father was murdered, to living on the streets and then to now, she was amazed at how far she had come and just how strong she was. She knew that no matter what life threw at her from now on, she could stand up tall and strive on, and with Tobias by her side, she was sure she would never fail.


That is it for this story. I will be using Romany for the no job legacy challenge, but it wont follow directly on from this point here. Thanks for reading
Field Researcher
#12 Old 19th Jul 2010 at 1:13 PM
Wonderful job!

There were some mistakes, but hay, no ones perfect!

I didn't notice at first, but at the very end, her scar is gone!

What the Golden Army really was: Ginormous alarm clocks who wanted to kill you!
Test Subject
Original Poster
#13 Old 19th Jul 2010 at 1:51 PM
Thank you yes she had some good makeup for her wedding (sheer cover, covers anything, shame she forgot her tattoo :O )
Field Researcher
#14 Old 19th Jul 2010 at 1:57 PM
Makeup? Silly me!

Thanks again for the good read!

What the Golden Army really was: Ginormous alarm clocks who wanted to kill you!
Test Subject
#15 Old 19th Jul 2010 at 6:56 PM
Very nice! your story telling style is very engaging. you can write a narrative that lets me know what your characters are thinking without explicitly stating it, and that feels very smooth. I actually gasped out loud "It was Seth!" when I finally started piecing the story together, lol.
Top Secret Researcher
#16 Old 24th Jul 2010 at 4:57 AM
That was so good! I loved it!!! Nice job!

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