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10: Ashton – ‘Brick By Boring Brick’

Lily Ashton (Young Adult)

Lily Ashton moved from Aperture Valley into the city in hopes of pursuing a career in writing music.  She was talented enough, it was just a matter of getting a foot in the door.  It was proving to be more difficult than she had anticipated.

She woke up late most days, a headache forming behind her eyes from the night before.  It appeared that the music types liked to party.  If she wanted to successfully schmooze her way in, she had to keep up.  It made for some pretty interesting nights, at the very least.

Lily had even managed to track down her birth father.  It hadn’t been nearly as hard as she anticipated–he wasn’t exactly trying to hide anymore.  She was a little shocked to find out she had two half-siblings and that one of them had been her former nemesis, Rosalind Redford.

It wasn’t quite the reunion she had expected.  Her father had been a well-respected businessman with a traditional household, until his ties with the Steel family had cost him his business.  His wife was a pretty famous neurosurgeon.  It was no surprise to Lily when he wanted to keep their relationship a secret–if his wife found out about her, she’d surely kick him out onto the street.

Lily was kind of glad Khalid had been her ‘real’ dad.  Jean didn’t really seem like the type to nurture.  She’d been lucky to have Khalid and Cherie as her parents.

Despite the fall chill in the air, Lily still spent a lot of time at the beach.  It was pretty empty this time of year and perfect for some peach and quiet.  Being outdoors helped inspire Lily.  She did quite a bit of song writing on that beach before it got too cold to stay near the ocean for extended periods of time.

As much as Lily loved her independence, she missed having her family around.  She missed hearing Jessica and Jack bickering at the breakfast table over some prank he’d pulled on her earlier.  She missed Khalid’s soft, low chuckling at their childish antics.  Most of all, she missed her mother’s cooking and laundry doing skills.

Lily had ruined an entire batch of clothes with bleach already!  Who knew this laundry thing was so complicated?

It was nice to be an adult, though.  She knew her parents wouldn’t have agreed with all the time she spent out at clubs, but she was well-behaved compared to those around her.  Lily kept to herself unless she was chatting up a potential contact.

She’d even run into a few people who agreed to look over her work.  That thought excited her.  She was finally getting somewhere!

Of course, her parents still checked in on her.  Khalid stopped by whenever anything was broken and Cherie would drop in weekly with freshly made food after Lily complained that she couldn’t cook and was hopeless.  It was only an hour or so between them, but her parents were busy and Lily couldn’t really afford to visit as much as she’d like.

She hadn’t been home since she’d moved, actually.  It had more to do with Mark than anything else.  She just really didn’t want to risk seeing him.  They hadn’t spoken at all in the months since she’d moved to the city.

Towards the end of fall, Lily decided to throw a costume party.  She invited her friends, some of her family, and quite a few of the contacts she’d made.  Despite her popularity and natural charisma, Lily had never been showy.  She didn’t have to be.  Her beauty radiated despite what she wore.  Even a set of zebra print pajamas and ridiculous face paint couldn’t disguise the fact that she was pretty.

She was thrilled when Luis showed up, even if he was dressed almost as ridiculously as she was.  They hadn’t had a chance to see one another since she’d moved to the city.

“Oh my goodness,” Lily breathed, looking him over.  “What are you wearing?  I can’t believe Sacha let you come out like that!”

Luis laughed.  “She didn’t have much of a choice.  We couldn’t get a sitter, so she’s back with Aidan.”

“That’s okay.  I’m glad you came.”

As Lily mingled through her party, she noticed a few unfamiliar faces.  One in particular caught her eye–a rather good looking man dressed as a ringleader.  She’d never met him before.  He must have been friends with one of her contacts.

She approached him unashamed.  Lily had never been one to shy away from people.

“It’s impressive when a girl is confident enough not to dress like a slutty maid or cat,” the man said with a laugh.  “You must be some kind of girl.”

“Oh, I am,” Lily shot back, hands on her hips.  “I’m hot no matter what I wear!”

The party was a success and one of her contacts actually liked what he read.  He passed it on to his friend in music and told Lily he’d get back to her.  She was so excited she could barely stand it.  She immediately started writing more, inspiration flowing like a fount.

It was nice to have a distraction from all the thoughts moving through her head.  As much as she loved her new life in the city, there were still things back in her old life that haunted her…

Not that her parents would let her forget about them.  She assured her mother with every phone call that she wasn’t just dancing around the apartment in her pajamas all day.  Lily really was trying to get a job.

Cherie didn’t need to know that the pajama dancing only took up about twenty-five percent of her day.

The man from the party had also contacted her, wanting to hang out.  They became fast friends and anytime Lily had to go to a party, she pulled him along for the ride.  His name was Garrett and Lily was quite fond of his company.  He was the athletic type–a little older than Lily and a seasoned player for the football team.  He traveled amongst the likes of Dominic Cosaro–who she’d met and actually gotten hit on by–but would shirk that all just to spend time with her.

While their relationship never crossed the line of friendship, Lily found herself flattered by his endless attentions.

Her good friend, Lucy Canales, was nowhere near as impressed with Garret.  She made no move to hide that fact, either.  Lucy wasn’t the partying type and it was everything Lily could do just to get her to stop studying and hang out with her.

“Geeeze, Luce,” Lily whined at her friend as they played darts.  “Give it a rest, okay?  I’m just trying to enjoy myself–”

“And forget.  You can’t just brush aside your feelings, Lily.  You’ve got to weather them out.  You can’t just rebound on some random guy you barely know!”

“There’s nothing wrong with Garret,” Lily shot back.  “And I’m not rebounding.”

“Oh, you so are.  Trust me.  I’ve done it.”

“You’re such a joykill.”

“And one hell of a shot.”  Lucy nailed the bullseye and smiled before aiming her next shot carefully.  “Look, Lucy, I’m just warning you, okay?  As charming as this guy is, you don’t know him.  Your experience with guys is limited.  You didn’t exactly date in high school…”

“It was a mistake,” Lily sighed.  “I thought…”

“Oh, Lily.  I wasn’t trying to make you sad.  I just want you to be careful, okay?”

“Yes, yes, I know,” Lily groaned in agitation.  “It’s not like you’ve got any right to lecture me!  You’re in just as much of a hole as I am.”

“That’s different.”  Lucy lowered her arm and tried to quell her anger.  “I made the mistake.  Mark’s just an idiot.  There’s a huge difference there.”

“Whatever you say.  Just shut your pretty mouth and shoot.  I’ve got a ‘date’ tonight!”

“Were you even listening to me?”

Lily smiled.

Garrett had been over quite a bit.  It was always pretty casual.  They’d chat, watch television, or meet at the door and head out to wherever it was they were going for the night.  This night seemed different, somehow.  The flirting was a bit heavier.  Things really ramped up when they were discussing past relationships and Lily admitted she’d only ever kissed someone once in her entire life.

“How is that even possible?”  Garrett was taken back.  Lily was a pretty girl and very extroverted.  It didn’t make any sense.

“Oh, uh,” she stammered, suddenly shy.  She felt like an idiot all of the sudden.  “I guess I was just kind of hung up on someone…”

“What an idiot.”  He was smooth, catching her eye.  She was unable to look away.  “We need to fix that.”

Lily had never been properly kissed before.  She’d seen it in movies, she’d seen her parents share passionate kisses when they thought the kids weren’t looking, and she’d even heard about it from her friends.  Experiencing it was beyond what she’d ever had a chance to imagine.  Garrett was older than her and obviously a lot more skilled.

From that point on, their relationship moved from friendship to romance, though undefined.  Lily was happy to just take things as they came.  She never let Garret stay over though and any attempts to go further than kissing were quickly stopped by Lily.  She wasn’t quite ready for that leap yet.

By the time winter rolled around, Aperture Valley was blanketed in a fine coat of white.  It’d been a particularly frigid start, snowing for two days straight.  It cleared up enough for Lily to make a trip to the Valley.  She was going to visit her family.  Garret was off with the team doing promotion for the start of the season.  It was as good a time as any to make a visit.

Lily was finally confident enough to return.

Seeing the streets where she’d grown up had made her nostalgic.  She spent the first two days locked up in her house, spending much-needed time surrounded by her family.  She even walked down the street and visited Luis and his baby.  They weren’t family by blood, but Cherie and Khalid had adopted him and Lily would always see him as her brother.

The nostalgia didn’t end there.  She found herself traveling up to the top of the waterfall where she’d spent a lot of her days with Mark.  The water there was iced over.  Lily pulled out her skates and decided to try something she hadn’t done for years.  She wasn’t very good at it, which was fine, until she realized she had an audience.  He was already approaching her before she could react.

It was Mark.

“What are you doing here?” She asked, just barely able to stop before she ran into him.  It was a stupid question, but it was the first one that came to mind.

“This is kind of my spot,” Mark commented dryly, quirking a brow.  “What are you doing here?”

She shrugged, trying to hide her unease.  “Visiting.  I missed this place.”

Mark nodded, but said nothing in response.  They stared at one another awkwardly, neither one wanting to face the ‘elephant in the room’.  Their last meeting hung unresolved between them.

Lily stumbled suddenly, losing her balance.  Mark caught her, his hands on hers as he steadied her.  He was laughing as Lily’s pride quickly deflated in the wake of her misstep.

“You were always terrible at skating, Lily,” Mark joked, shaking his head.  “You’re going to fall and snap in half.”

Lily wanted to rebuke him.  She wanted to pull her hands away harshly.  She couldn’t.  His were so warm and she felt frigid all of the sudden.

“Your hands are freezing,” he commented, looking at her.  “How long have you been out here?”

“Long enough,” she replied firmly.  She hated it when anyone patronized or coddled her.  She pulled away from him only to stumble again.  “Ack!”

“Whoa.”  Mark caught her again, hands seizing her arms before moving back to her hands.  He folded her frigid digits between his own, trying to warm them.  “Calm your pride a minute, Lily.  You’re going to fall.”

Lily stared at him, at their breath mingling into a mist between their faces.  The last time they’d been this close, she’d made her declaration–she’d told him how she felt and he’d said nothing.  It had hurt every single time she thought about it, but now, facing him down, it hurt ten times worse.

One slight movement and Lily crumbled.  She fell forward, sending them both down against the hard ice.  Mark made a sound as he bore the brunt of the impact.  Lily’s knees throbbed, taking what little of her weight was left.  They laid there, sprawled awkwardly, for a split second before Lily skidded upwards.  It took her several attempts to move away from him.

“Damn it, Mark,” she grumbled.  “That was your fault!”

Mark couldn’t help but laugh.  “Are you serious?  You fell on me, remember?  Ow…”

They stumbled to their feet, Mark helping Lily, who continually shooed him off only to nearly fall again.  She allowed him to guide her to the edge, where she gratefully replaced her skates with her boots.

“You’re such a jerk,” Lily murmured, kneeling down in the snow.

“It’s not my fault you suck at skating,” he countered, looking away.

“Hmph,” Lily began, packing the snow in between her frozen fingers.  “I may suck at skating, but I’m awesome at snowballs!”

It hit him hard in the back of the head, stunning him.  He turned to see her preparing another one, which he dodged just in time.  He grabbed her and shoved snow down the back of her coat.

The battle devolved into them playfully pelting one another with snow.  It was as if they were teenagers again and everything was simple.  For that brief moment, the tension between them was forgotten.  Lily hadn’t realized how much she had missed his companionship.  She’d always been friends with Lucy, but Mark had been her very best friend of all.

It was Lily who finally called for a truce, frozen through her clothes.  It was no thanks to Mark.  He was bigger and stronger, able to grab her and shove handfuls of snow under her coat without remorse.  It was almost difficult to picture him as the awkward teenager he had been.  Back then, Lily had been the victor in their battles of physical prowess.

When they met again, the tension returned.  Lily was leaving the next day, headed back to the city and her life there.  She’d hoped in vain for some resolution to their whole issue–in fact, she’d hoped that maybe Mark had finally come around.  When she saw him at the coffeehouse, she knew that he hadn’t.

He took her hands in his and gave her a sympathetic look.  “Sorry about making you freeze.”

“Jerk,” Lily replied playfully.  Both were trying to avoid the obvious.  Lily swallowed hard and decided to, again, be the one to face it to down.  “Mark…”

He stopped her before she could continue.  “It can’t be like it was, can it?”

“No,” Lily said softly, her voice suddenly tight in her throat.  “It can’t.”

He sighed and gave her that hopeless look he had mastered through his teenage years.  “I’m sorry, Lil.  I just… I can’t.”

“Yeah,” she said tersely, taking a step back.  “See you around, Mark.”

She left as quickly as her legs would allow.  She couldn’t get home quick enough.

Her mother was there with comforting words and hug.  Lily didn’t need anything else.

“It’ll be okay, sweetie.  Just go back to your life and do your best, okay?”

And she would.  She’d return to Aperture City and she’d go back to the life she’d been living before she’d returned.  Lucy had been right.  It was time to forget Mark McMaster and move on for good.

—————

OMG, Mark.  WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?!  I want to slap him, guys.  For real.  I hope he spins up some wishes for Lily next round so she can just be all, “OH NO YOU DIDANT” and cuff him.  Why are the men in this world such cads?  /facepalm

Lily met Jean on her own while I wasn’t playing her, so that’s why I included that.  She’s also working her way to getting her foot in the door for music.  She’s gotten enough exposure to actually start the career, but she’s going to be stuck on the bottom until she has her big break with the writing thing.

Garrett showed up at the costume party and they had 10 of 10 chemistry and were constantly chatting each other up.  So, they kept hanging out and then she wanted to kiss him.  Aw.  Then she went home and Mark popped up and well, that whole mess opened up again.  I have way too many pictures of them in the snow.  It’s just too adorable.  /cries They are like my Aperture OTP at this point.

Lucy and Lily have always been friends.  Lucy popped up as a teen in Lily’s teen updates.  It’s good Lucy has someone to commiserate with, since Regan and Andrew moved in together.  Poor Lucy.  She’s just so cute, like a Disney woodland creature or something.

I laughed out loud for like three minutes when Mark and Lily fell.  Why?  Because it was hilarious.  Dorks.

They autonomously do crap like this when I’m not looking.  If I leave these two alone, they’ll probably autonomously woohoo, which makes no sense.  You don’t get any of that if you’re not going to cooperate, Mark!

Title is Paramore – ‘Brick By Boring Brick’.

6 comments to 10: Ashton – ‘Brick By Boring Brick’

  • MARK!!! GET WITH THE PROGRAM ALREADY!!!

    Ahem. Let’s just say I’m with you on this! But then Garrett…he does seem like a good guy too!

    I’m really glad Lily met Jean. Now she knows and she has a new appreciation for Cherie and Khalid. They gave her a much better childhood than Jean ever could.

    • Mao

      I KNOW, RIGHT? So frustrating.

      Garrett has his own skeletons, which will be revealed soon enough. I love how I can know more about potential love interests (by looking at the world/etc) than my sim can figure out. Bahaha.

      Oh, yes. Jean as a father, can you imagine? There’s a reason Rosalind was so terrible to her. Khalid was an amazing father. She was jealous!

  • Oh man Mark, I knew he was not cooperating from your tweet. I do want you to just FORCE him into it! I can’t believe he’d just let Lily go like that, and nothing against Garret, but he’s not Mark, and they’d be sweet together. I get it not working though, and I’m glad that Lily isn’t hung up to the point that she doesn’t live her life. I’m glad that she is doing alright in starting her career, I worry about her though in that city, with all those criminals, and jerks.

    • Mao

      I know, I know! I have to resist the temptation every single time. And you’re right, Garrett isn’t Mark. I’m glad she’s branching out, though. I like it when things are complicated and take some time. I keep holding out hope that it will happen.

      I don’t think I’ll ever give up on it, LOL!

      Hahaha, your summary of Aperture City cracks me up. I’m pretty sure that’s what the people from the Valley say about it. ;)

  • Aaaaah! I am working on catching up and I was just going to quietly go through and only comment on the most recent chapter once I did catch up, but the Mark/Lily thing is so infuriating! I want them together, the little jerks! I’d really just love to know what is going on with him.

    Well…on to the next chapter!

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