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5: Cosaro – ‘She Sells Sanctuary’

Dominic Cosaro (Young Adult), Asha Steel (Young Adult)

Asha met her brother, Xavier Steel, late in the night far from her house.  They had arranged the meeting so that Asha could give him what she’d obtained from the man’s house.  When Xavier finally arrived, Asha was beginning to doubt her resolve.  She did her best to maintain her confidence.

“Weird place to meet, sis,” Xavier began, looking around as if he were afraid of being followed.  “Though, I do hear this place has amazing burgers and I want a chance to try them…”

“Hamburgers, Xavier?  No one is watching us.  We’re not here to discuss burgers.”

“Fine, fine… where’s the data, then?”

“First thing’s first, where’s my signed piece of paper saying I’m out?”

“Well, that’s the thing, sis… there’s something else they need from you before–”

Asha cut him off.  “I should have known better!  Good thing I didn’t bring the data with me.”

“Stop being ridiculous, Asha.  This isn’t a game.  Things are getting serious.  You have to give me that data.”

“I don’t have to do anything, Xavier.  If they want to threaten me, let them.”  She turned to leave only for Xavier to stop her.

“Asha, seriously… this is going to get ugly… you have to cooperate.”

She shrugged him off.  “I don’t have to do anything, Xavier.  I’m tired of this.  Consider this me throwing down the gauntlet.  Let ‘them’ know that I’m declaring war now.”

She got into her car and sped off before Xavier could say another word.

Telling her brother that she was declaring war and actually declaring war were two entirely different things.  Asha could scarcely keep her thoughts together as she tried to act as normal as possible around Dominic.  She wasn’t ready to tell him everything–not yet.  She needed time to think, to plan.  The obvious course of action wasn’t available to her, not if she wanted to keep Dominic in her life.

That didn’t mean that the obvious course of action was willing to keep out of her life.  He had a way of calling when Dominic was around, forcing Asha to make up silly conversations that kept Dominic from learning the truth.  She was barely ready for him to find out about her family, much less about her infidelity.

Thankfully, he was generally disinterested in Asha’s phone calls.  His team had recently declared him M.V.P., so he was busy riding the high of that.

Asha eventually met up with ‘him’ again.  She had no other choice.  The only one capable of battling it out with her family was him and if she wanted to survive this mess, she’d need him.  They met in Aperture Valley, a place where Dominic was least likely to find out about it.

“I guess I shouldn’t be surprised,” Clark began, smirking.  He looked her over and shook his head.  “But I still can’t get over the thought of a Steel turning on their family.”

“Believe it, because it’s happening.  I gave you the data.  I told you about the plots.  What other proof do you need?”

“I’m not doubting you.  I’m just questioning your ability to follow through.”

Clark Klein had spent the better part of his later years climbing through the criminal ranks.  He’d started out as a legitimate businessman and when that became boring, he saw an opening in the criminal underworld.  The Steel family was old and antiquated.  Their old world ways couldn’t keep up with the changes the world was undergoing.  Violence and outspoken bravado were nothing compared to subtle manipulation and lots of money.  Clark Klein had those in spades.

“They’re little more than a bother to me.  It would be nothing to chase them out of Aperture entirely.”

“Then do it.  What are you waiting for?”

He smiled at her and placed a hand on her shoulder, “come on, Asha.  Don’t feign ignorance.  I can only do so much.  You are the final piece to this puzzle.  You are the secret trick up my sleeve.”

Asha frowned and looked down at the ground.  “I can’t leave Dominic.  I love him.”

“You and I both know that there are things out there far more important than love, Asha.  Besides, can you guarantee that he loves you just as much?  I think that if you could, you’d have told him everything by now.”

“I… I can’t.  It doesn’t matter how he feels, I know how I feel and without him… I just–”

Clark shook his head sympathetically.  “You deserve to be appreciated for all that you are, not just who you pretend to be.  When you’re ready to face that, call me.  I’ll keep you safe… for now.  But remember, there is a price for everything in this world and if you want to survive, you have to be prepared to pay it.”

Meanwhile, Dominic arrived home to an empty house.  He walked out into the backyard only for his phone to ring.  It wasn’t Asha, but Kelly Novak.  It had been awhile since they’d spoken.

‘Dominic, hey…’

“Kelly, are you all right?”

‘I… yeah.  I’m great.  Um, Dominic… look… I don’t know how to tell you this, but…’

“What is it?”

‘It’s about Asha.  I think you two need to talk.’

Dominic wasn’t entirely sure what to do with the information Kelly had given him.  She was a good friend of his and she had no reason to lie, but he still had trouble believing it.  He waited a day or two before approaching Asha about it.  He came in late after practice to find her heading up to bed.

“We need to talk, Asha.”

“No, we don’t.  I’m going to bed–”

“Asha, please.  Sit down.”

Asha sat down apprehensively.  She sighed, preparing herself for what was to come.  She tried to preempt it by saying:

“Look, whatever you’ve heard, it’s all lies…”

“You know, that’s not a very comforting way to start any sort of talk.  Anyway, Kelly called me and told me that you’d been hanging out with some ‘shady types’ and that I should talk to you about it.”

“Damn her,” Asha said, trying not to smile.  “I knew that little goody-two-shoes would be my downfall.”

“What’s going on, Asha?”

“It’s my family.”

“What about them?  I don’t get what that has to do with the weirdo you were hanging out with the other night…”

“That ‘weirdo’ was my brother, Dominic.  And the guy in Aperture Valley… that was a family ‘associate.”  She took a long, deep breath.  “My family… they’re criminals.  They’re a ‘crime family’, Dominic.  The Steels have been in the ugly underbelly of Aperture since it was founded.”

“What?!”  He snapped, visibly upset.  “Are you talking like mob movie stuff, Asha?  That’s crazy!  That isn’t real.”

“It is real.  I know it is because I’ve lived it.  My family–the Steel family–they were always the strongest in this area.  They had everyone in their pocket.  Of course, times have changed and they refuse to change with it… so they started losing power.  Now there’s a big war going on.  Someone is trying to run them out of Aperture.”

“This is just unreal.  This has to be a horrible dream.”

“I wish that it were…”

“I’m sorry, Dominic.  I wanted to tell you, but I was afraid.  And now I’ve put you in danger…”

“I don’t even know what to say.  Is it even safe for things to continue?”

“For now… but not forever.  I–”

He raised a hand to quiet her.  “No more.  I’m not sure if I can handle any more surprises.”

Asha sighed and watched him get up and walk away.  It certainly wasn’t the way she had wanted things to go, but it was the way she had expected it to happen.  How was she going to tell him the rest?  She didn’t want to think about it.  Maybe he’d dump her before she had the chance to tell him anything else.

Dominic met up with Camilla Novak in an effort to clear his mind.  He still hadn’t talked to Asha.  He wasn’t even sure what to say.  What do you say when your girlfriend tells you that your life is in danger and its her fault?  He didn’t want to think about it.

“That’s a pretty serious look for someone who is doing horribly,” Camilla chirped, sinking the ball once again.  “Another win for me!”

Dominic sighed.  “Did you know Asha’s family was into crime?”

Camilla tried not to be taken back by the question.  “Of course, my dad did some work for one of their shell corporations.  Didn’t you know?”

“I feel like a complete idiot.”

She laughed.  “Probably because you are.  How could you have missed all the signs?  Did you think Asha just walked on clouds of amazing because she was?  She’s got power, Dominic.  More than you and I will ever know.  It’s why people are afraid of her.”

“I guess I just got to know a different Asha than everyone else…”

“I guess so.  Look, are you okay?  I mean, we can talk about it if you–”

He shook his head.  “No.  I don’t need to drag anyone else into this mess.  Thanks, though.”

“Sure thing.  If you ever need a lawyer, well, you’ve got the hook-up!”

“I’m not sure I want to think about that, thanks…”

—————-

Sorry I’ve been MIA.  Diablo III was released last week and we’ve been enjoying it quite a bit!  I am slowly getting caught up with blogs/etc.  Everyone who knows me knows I fall under gaming rocks now and again.  I always reemerge eventually, though.  ;)

Not a whole lot of gameplay notes for this one.  Dominic got a wish to meet Clark Klein, which means he is probably going to find out about Asha’s little indiscretion.  Kelly really did call him and talk about Asha.  I figured it was time for Dominic to find out about her family.  Dominic isn’t a bad guy, but I don’t see him wanting messed up in this kind of situation, so their relationship may be on its last legs… :(

Yes, Clark Klein is related to Lana and Alex… he is their father.  Clark isn’t your atypical criminal.  This is the first time he’s even pursued criminality in any of my worlds.  Asha may soon be the only Steel left in Aperture!  Poor girl.  She hasn’t been dealt an easy lot in life.  I am enjoying the fact that my other families have found ways to make themselves present in the stories, though.

Title is from The Cult – ‘She Sells Sanctuary’.

6 comments to 5: Cosaro – ‘She Sells Sanctuary’

  • Yeesh, I was hoping that coming clean with Dominic might smooth things over for him and Asha but I don’t think it’s going to go that way at all. Not now that he’s suspicious about Clark. I’m a bit bummed that this could be the end of Dominic and Asha but I’m curious to see how it will all unfold.

    • Mao

      Yeah… if only Dominic were a bit more okay with not being completely normal. He’s not a big fan of things getting “complicated”! In his defense, it’s a pretty messed up situation all around.

  • Josh

    What a scandal. This is so sad, I was waiting for Dominic and Asha to get married! And OMG at Lana’s father being a criminal! You really know how to twist a plot, Mao! Does this mean there’s hope in the air for Dominic/Camilla? ;)

    • Mao

      LOL! I don’t think Dominic has outgrown his unnatural fear of marriage yet. I was definitely surprised when Clark stepped up and took over the evil empire! As for Dominic and Camilla… their sims seem pretty intent on it, but we’ll see.

  • I am not surprised in the least by Dominic’s response, it was a lot of information that Asha kept from him, it’s serious and dangerous, and he’s never been a big commitment type guy. I actually think she could do better with someone who was there for her, long term, and wasn’t afraid of making that move. But I think she should wait on that until things are squared away with her family! Wow they are all kinds of awful!!

    • Mao

      Dominic is not the kind of guy you want by your side during this. He’s got no experience ‘being there’ for someone or even dealing with this kind of thing! As much as he cares for Asha, he’s pretty useless as a companion right now. :(

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