Chapter 5.10: Hope for the Hopeless

Chapter 5.10 Hope for the Hopeless
A/N: Hello, everyone! Before we get started, I just wanted to say a quick, but sincere thank you for all of the not only kind, but thoughtful responses I’ve received this generation, especially on the last chapter. I can’t even begin to explain how much your comments, and your readership, mean to me. I realize too that I’ve surpassed 25,000 views, and I feel I should do some kind of special for it, but I have no concrete ideas yet, so for now, suffice it to say, I am truly thankful for you and seriously couldn’t be happier that you’re interested in my stories!

So now, here we go again! The song for this chapter is called Hope for the Hopeless by A Fine Frenzy. Oh, and as you can surmise from the title picture, congratulations to those who guessed James 😉

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Stitch in your knitted brow
And you don’t know how
You’re gonna get it out

I woke up slowly, feeling as if I was trapped inside a thick fog that was slowly suffocating me. Furrowing my brows, I became vaguely aware of a deep, throbbing pain within my skull and I tried to get up, but the wave of nausea that immediately followed my attempt to move stopped me. My entire body was sore, and I gradually became aware of the fact that my head wasn’t just throbbing—it was pounding. I suddenly wanted to fall back to sleep more than anything, but as my mind awoke anxiety began pouring into my veins. Where was I and how had I gotten here?

I opened my eyes, wincing as the intense rays of the day streamed in through the massive glass windows. I was in my house and…and…I sat up with a jolt and my stomach gave a nauseating turn. A taste of bile rose up in my throat, my heart racing as I scanned the room….

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….only to see my father’s silhouette outlined against the crystalline windows.

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Crushed under heavy chest

All at once memories from last night hit me like a freight train and I jumped out of bed, racing to the wastepaper bin near my desk and retching violently into it. I thought I heard my father stir, but I threw up again just as suddenly. The acrid smell of vomit and mixed drinks filled my nostrils and I choked, gagging and coughing. It was awful and it all made my head hurt even worse. I shut my eyes tightly, my body shaking as blurred images raced through my mind.

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I remembered loosening my grip on the railing, hearing my father’s panicked shout, and then nearly falling before I felt his arms around my waist. He’d pulled me away from the railing so quickly that’d we’d both fallen to the hard, wooden floor of the balcony. Here, the memories became more difficult to recall as I remembered entering a state of heightened hysteria. I remembered crying, no sobbing into his chest, holding onto him tightly and only able to utter one phrase over and over as he held me, trembling: I’m sorry, I’m sorry, oh god, I’m so sorry.

Eventually, under the comfort of his soft reassurances and the warmth that he exuded, I must have fallen asleep and he must have carried me back inside. I had no idea how long that had taken.

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Tryna catch your breath

I shakily stood up, tears in my eyes from recalling the events. It was difficult to support my weight so I fell heavily against the cold glass of the window behind me, one hand on my desk to steady me. I groaned as my movements caused my head to let out another sharp protest in the form of renewed pain. My stomach was churning—nauseated by the sour taste of vomit in my mouth.

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“Brings back memories.”

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I lifted my head to look at my dad. Although last night he’d been nothing but comforting, now he looked deeply displeased. There was no hint of a smile on his drawn features and even with glasses (when had he gotten those?) I could see the unending disappointment set in his lavender-gray eyes. I suddenly had the sensation that I was drowning—drowning in thousands of gallons of guilt.

“I’m sorry,” I said quickly.

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Dad’s gaze hardened, his jaw set and the frown on his face growing ever more pronounced. I balked under his gaze, praying that the ground beneath me would give way so that I wouldn’t be burned alive by the look he was giving me now. I had never seen him so furious.

“I seem to recall you saying that,” he remarked quietly. His expression did not change.

I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t even know if there was anything else I could say. All I knew was that if I thought I felt bad before, that was nothing compared to the feeling I had now, reunited with my father for the first time in years, and yet under such awful circumstances. What terrible timing for him to visit—or was it good timing? Why had he even come at all, especially at such an insane hour? It was all beginning to confuse me and I opened my mouth to try and say something, anything, but my father spoke again, and when he did his voice was hushed and dangerous.

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But it always beats you by a step
All right now

I thought you knew better,” he hissed viciously. “Of all the things…drinking and…and yesterday and what the hell were all those pills downstairs? Are you fucking kidding me, Jo?! You should have known better!”

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I gasped and averted my gaze as hot tears of shame slowly slid down my cheeks. He had never talked to me like this before, but I understood why he was so livid. I should have. I should have known better. And yet…god, it all almost felt inevitable, didn’t it? Life seemed to like sick, twisted irony and I was another of its victims.

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“I-I was doomed from the start!” I exclaimed, feeling defensive. “I mean, look at me! I’m the product of an anxiety-ridden alcoholic and a suicidal depressive! It’s like…it’s like there’s no point in even trying!”

As soon as I said the words I knew I shouldn’t have said them. This was not their fault—this was my fault and mine alone, and yet I hadn’t been able to stop myself from uttering them. I supposed, in some way, I was trying to make myself feel better about it because, quite honestly, I should have known better.

I forced myself to look at my father again, wincing as I saw the look on his face. He looked like he’d been slapped, but then just as suddenly his anger returned, seething within him like fire.

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“Is that so?” he asked quietly, his voice surprisingly cold given the angry heat he was exuding. I took a step back, afraid for the first time in the world of this man standing before me. I felt like in that moment, he wanted to hit me…and that was perfectly understandable. I closed my eyes tightly, bracing myself. After all, I’d never seen him like this…but then I’d never done anything like this either.

“Well, if that’s the case, I guess you won’t mind if I take this, right?” I heard him ask in a strangely upbeat manner.

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I opened my eyes, confused, only to see him pick up a half-full glass of vodka that I’d left on my desk.

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“Wait—what are you doing?” I exclaimed, taking a half-step forward. I paused, panic pouring swiftly into my blood stream and rooting me to the spot. Seriously, what the hell was he doing?

“What do you mean? There’s no point in trying, remember?” he said with a shrug, and then lifted the glass to his lips.

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“NO!” I shouted hysterically, and darted forward, slapping the glass out of my father’s hand. It flew into the window and shattered—room temperature vodka and needle-sharp shards of crystal raining all over my desk. I couldn’t help it—I started to cry in panicky, pain-ridden gasps. I was so, so afraid in that moment. I covered my mouth, trying to stifle the violent sobs that escaped me. Was I dreaming still? Was this all just some horribly vivid nightmare? Oh, my god, my god….

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“Why did you do that?” I heard him ask calmly, and it took everything in the world to force myself to look at him, still trying to control my frightened sobs. If my head and chest weren’t hurting so much, I really would have thought I was dreaming. I couldn’t believe that any of this was happening.

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“Because” I cried, taking in a sharp intake of breath, “I can’t let you do that! Why would you do that?!” I wailed through my tears.

“You said there was no point.”

“There is! Just—”

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“JUST NOT FOR YOU?!” my dad snapped loudly, allowing a tendril of the fury he was feeling loose. I cried even harder, but he continued speaking in that horribly loud and furious tone. “My life isn’t worth any more than yours is, damn it! I’m no more ‘special’ or ‘deserving’ or anything than you are! If there’s a point for me, then there’s sure as hell a point for you too!”

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I looked away from him again, feeling despair enveloping me in its cold, wet embrace. He was being so harsh right now, but I vaguely realized now that he was trying to make a point, and I knew that everything he was saying was true. I knew it, and it all made me feel that much more ashamed. “It’s all just …so much,” I managed to choke out, hugging myself.

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Making the best of it
Playing the hand you get

My dad sighed tiredly, pinching the bridge of his nose by his glasses. It was as if all his anger had suddenly dissipated, leaving him an exhausted shell of his former existence. He’d clearly had enough of seeing me like this, but I could hardly blame him—I had had quite enough of myself as well.

“Maybe,” he started softly, “it wouldn’t be so much if you just started being true to yourself.”

I had no words with which to respond to him. My body was shivering despite the house being warm. He sighed again and then moved to turn away from me.

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“Wait, you’re leaving?!” I asked, feeling panicky all over again. Fresh tears beaded up in my eyes. Even if he was like this I didn’t want him to go. Not now! No! He couldn’t leave me like this! He couldn’t leave me alone.

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Well, you’re not alone in this
There’s hope for the hopeless

“Not yet,” he said tiredly, his shoulders seemingly hunched with the weight of the world. “I’ll be downstairs. Just—go clean yourself up for god’s sake. I can’t stand seeing you like this.”

I watched him go, slowly becoming aware of what I must look like in this moment. Eyes red, hair matted, makeup smeared, tiny wrinkled dance club attire, dirty bare feet, and reeking of alcohol and vomit. It was probably a most nightmarish scene for him to see his daughter in.

“I’m sorry,” I whispered again, but I was so quiet that I didn’t think he heard me, or if he did, he was just tired of hearing it.

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Once he disappeared down the stairs I padded weakly into the bathroom, my eyes burning. My head was still spinning from my hangover and what had just happened. He was so angry, so angry, so angry….I felt my stomach lurch again. I fell quickly to my knees, vomiting one last time into the toilet. It wasn’t nearly as much as before. It seemed that my stomach was running on empty now. I had nothing left to give.

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I moved toward the shower, taking off my clothes with shaking hands and making a mental note to burn them as I tossed them aside. I stepped into the shower then and turned the knob as hot as it could go without scalding me. The sickly sweet strawberry scent of my body wash made me want to gag, but I lathered my bath pouf up anyway, furiously scrubbing at every inch of my body to rid myself of everything that’d happened yesterday. No amount of soap could possibly ever rid every trace though and as I showered, nightmarish images from last night kept flashing through my brain.

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By the end I was shaking, trying to make sense of it all—trying to make sense of the sick swoop of nauseating fear and shame that roiled in my stomach when I thought of Brandon, trying to make sense of the overwhelming guilt I felt when I thought of Gabriel, and wondering how I could have been so insane as to try and lean that far over the railing of my balcony.

I thought I vaguely knew the reasons behind all of it though, and when I realized that, I cried again, feeling wholly lesser and weak. I was damaged, I felt it–felt in my very bones, and I felt too that it was all my fault.

I let out a sob, but eventually, despite my continued agony, I had no more tears to shed, and I was forced to accept the fact that all of this would remain with me like a new, poisoned skin, and there was nothing I could do but wait until it finally shed.

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There’s hope for the hopeless

I felt heavy with the weight of my unendingly horrible decisions, but I did at least feel a little better now that I’d showered, brushed my teeth, combed my hair, and changed into clean, comfortable clothes. It made me feel almost normal again, if it weren’t for my newly contaminated skin.

I made my way downstairs, half expecting to see that my dad had left after all since he was clearly so mad, but he was in the kitchen, making, it seemed, a pot of coffee. Any bottles of alcohol I’d had were gone—the pill bottles too, and I felt that if I walked out to the trash can sitting on the curb, I’d find all of it there.

It can stay there, I thought to myself. I wanted nothing more to do with any of it. Even the idea sickened me to the core.

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I stood awkwardly by the stairs; unsure of what my dad’s mood was now, but when he glanced back at me I didn’t see the white hot fire gleaming in his eyes anymore. I bit my thumbnail, the habit returning to me like an old familiar friend.

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He turned to face me, his hands in his pockets as he leaned against the counter. His face was lined with exhaustion. I wondered if he’d slept at all last night. God, I was so stupid.

“You look better,” he pointed out softly.

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“I feel a little better,” I admitted, but I also felt so small just then. I wanted to curl into a tiny ball and disappear.

Dad sighed heavily and ran a hand through his hair. He suddenly looked so sad. “Joanne,” he began quietly, “I’m sorry I scared you like that and I’m sorry I yelled at you. I was trying to make a point, but I went too far.” Deeply set remorse crossed his features, leaving him looking even sadder.

“It’s…it’s fine,” I said quickly, feeling startled.

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“No, it’s not. I shouldn’t have done that,” he insisted. He paused, thinking for a moment, and then met my eyes. “Jo…I know that if you resorted to all of that…then you really must be hurting and that…that hurts me too.” I pressed my lips together tightly, the tears returning again even though I thought I had none left to shed. “I know that, but seeing all of it,” he shook his head. “And last night….Jesus, you really scared me.”

“I’m sorry,” I whispered. I realized it must have been the millionth time I said it, but I couldn’t stop saying it. I truly meant that I was sorry—meant it so much that it hurt.

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There’s hope

“Don’t be,” he said softly. Dad turned around then, pouring out two mugs of coffee and looking exhausted once again. It made me feel awful. “Do you want to try to eat something?” he asked gently.

“Maybe just some toast,” I answered quietly. “I’ll make it.”

As Dad prepared the coffee, I quickly made a slice of toast for myself, putting just a thin layer of jam on it because I didn’t think my stomach could handle anything too sweet right now. He brought the mugs to the table and I joined him there. Again, it felt almost normal…except there was an awkward tension between us now that had never existed before. It made me sadder than ever—we used to be so close.

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I broke off a piece of the toast to nibble on, but it felt dry and scratchy in my throat. Even the coffee didn’t help much, but it was prepared perfectly. Exactly the way I liked it. I felt tears well up in my eyes all over again, but I blinked them back hastily, forcing down another bite of toast. I’d been crying far too much lately.

“Can I ask you something?” my dad said, breaking the tense silence.

I looked at him, feeling a certain sense of dread. “Sure….”

“Last night…what were you yelling?”

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Cold in a summer breeze

I stared down at my toast, feeling my heart beating hard. I had expected him to ask “why?” or “what happened?” but this question I was not prepared for. My stomach churned. I felt cold. “I-I’m not…sure,” I lied quietly, for despite the fuzziness of my memories since I’d burst through my front door yesterday, I remembered that moment quite clearly, and I was ashamed that I did.

“You were talking to your mom, weren’t you?” he asked. I looked up at him, despite myself, and I knew that he didn’t mean Candice. I looked back down at my half-eaten toast, and I realized that, strangely, I wasn’t hastening to correct the fact that he hadn’t referred to her as my “biological mother.”

I took a careful sip of my coffee. I could feel my father watching me…waiting for me to respond. I put down the coffee…looked at my toast instead.

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Yeah, you’re shivering
On your bended knee

“Yes,” I whispered finally. I continued staring at my toast, and then took in a shaky breath of air. “Dad…do…do you think…that she ever loved me?” I asked stiffly. I heard my dad let out a soft breath of air and he leaned back in his seat. I felt my heart sink a little, thinking that his reaction must have pointed in the negative. Of course she hadn’t—if she had, how could she have left us the way she did?

Well, you almost left everyone too; a voice in the back of my head reminded me. Does that mean you don’t love anyone either? I grabbed my coffee mug, desperate now for something to hold onto—something to keep me grounded in this moment. Of course it didn’t mean that.

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“Yes, I do,” he said firmly, surprising me. I couldn’t help but look up, meeting my dad’s gaze and trying to figure out if he was lying. He must have noticed, because a small, sad smile kind of pulled at the corner of his lips.

“I know it doesn’t seem like it,” he conceded, “but I think that she did…as much as she could. I mean…she did try, you know? She could have given up when she was pregnant with you, but she didn’t. She kept moving forward because she wanted to make sure you were born healthy…and, to her credit, you were. 7 pounds, 3 ounces…a perfectly healthy baby girl…albeit a really difficult one,” he admitted with a ghost of a smile.

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I smiled a little as well and took a proper bite of my toast, feeling a bit more relaxed now for reasons that I could not explain. “Hey,” I said suddenly, meeting Dad’s gaze again, “was…was she the one who named me?” I asked, encouraged by the thought. I couldn’t explain it, but in that moment what I wanted more than anything was some positive connection to her—some proof that she did indeed care for me, but Dad’s face fell a little, and so did my hopes.

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Still, when your heart is sore

“No,” he admitted, and he sounded regretful, realizing what I was looking for. “She asked me to, but she did try to take care of you, at first. It just…all became too much for her.”

“Oh.” I had to admit, I was a little disappointed, but I wasn’t sure what exactly I’d been expecting. I looked up at my dad, suddenly worried about the fact that we were talking about this at all since I knew it was a difficult subject, but he didn’t look upset…just pensive. It encouraged me to ask more—to learn what I’d never bothered to before.

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And the heavens pour

“So…it…it became too much and she just…killed herself? Out of nowhere?” I asked.

“Was it out of nowhere for you last night?” my dad asked quietly, and although by no means did he say it sharply, I couldn’t help but feel rebuked.

“I-I didn’t mean—I didn’t actually want to—” I tried to say, but my throat kept getting tighter, my remorse for everything that had transpired threatening to consume me.

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Dad sighed, reaching up to run a hand through his hair again. “Sorry…I shouldn’t have said that,” he relented, looking briefly frustrated with himself. “Look, I…I honestly don’t know what was going through Maddie’s head in those last days,” he explained, “all I know is that right before it happened, she seemed to be getting better, and then she just…left.”

I took in a shaky breath, trying to relax again, but I didn’t blame him at all for being upset. After all, I had almost made him relive the worst nightmare of his life. The nightmare that, I felt, broke him in the first place. I covered my face with my hands. I could have broken him again. The thought sickened me, and I felt for a moment that I was going to throw up again.

“Jo…?”

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I uncovered my face, hugging myself instead as I tried to stay focused on the present. “Dad, I—I can’t say this enough. I’m really sorry. I didn’t—I don’t want to die,” I whispered, hearing my voice break.

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“I know,” he said softly. “You just wanted to stop hurting. …it’s what she wanted too.”

I furrowed my brows, feeling suddenly strange. All of this time, I never understood how she could do something so selfish, so…so horrible, and no matter how many times people told me it was a desperate act to get rid of pain, I always thought that that made no sense. But now….

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I placed my hand shakily to my mouth. There were other ways of dealing, surely. Better ways—ways that I suddenly found myself desperate to find, because although I felt I understood now, I still never wanted to put my family through that. I loved them too much. Why couldn’t she see that? Why couldn’t she love me enough? If I had been less difficult as a baby, would she have loved me more? Would she have stayed? My shoulders shook with renewed sobs.

“Why wasn’t I enough?!” I cried out loud.

Dad winced. “You should know now that has nothing to do with it.”

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I groaned, pushing away my empty plate and burying my face in my arms. I hated how correct he was right now. I hated that I knew now too—hated that I understood. It made me feel guilty for all the anger I’d been holding…it made me feel guilty for all the hate I’d been holding.

“Joanne?”

“What?” I asked hoarsely.

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“Did I ever tell you that she left a note?”

I lifted my head away from my arms, looking up at him in surprise. “I—no. ….what…what did it say?” I asked, sitting up a little straighter.

Dad shook his head slightly, looking down at coffee, which by now was getting cold and he hadn’t taken a single sip of it. “It just said ‘I’m sorry’, so I never thought about it much, but….” he hesitated, his fingers tracing the handle of his mug.

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“But what?” I asked, my voice hushed.

He looked up at me. “I don’t want to make assumptions because I really don’t know about your mom’s last moments alive, but…now that I think on it she left that note in your room. It…it makes me think she meant it more for you than anyone else. ….it…it also makes me think that…that she probably said goodbye to you, Jo. Our room was on the first floor…and your nursery was up on the second. She could have easily just left, but she didn’t. She went upstairs first…to you.”

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Like a willow bending in the storm
You’ll make it

I stared at my father in surprise, fresh tears falling down my face, but I didn’t bother to wipe them away this time. There it was—some tiny connection, some miniscule item of proof, and even though my Dad wasn’t sure if it was true, I somehow felt that it was. Why else would she have bothered to go upstairs? Why else would she have left the note in my nursery? I closed my eyes, covering them with my hands. I wished that I could remember. I could picture it vaguely…this tall, blonde woman leaning over the railing of my crib to give my forehead a soft, tearful kiss, but the image, I knew, was more than likely a creation of my imagination.

Still, I took comfort in it because it was the first time I’d ever been able to even pretend up an image, and with that comfort, I allowed myself to finally mourn the loss of the woman who had given life to me…a woman who, despite the dark cloud she found herself entangled within, probably still loved me as much as she could.

“Why didn’t you tell me before?” I asked, wishing that I had known this long ago.

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“Er, well,” my dad began awkwardly, “if you remember, you didn’t exactly want to hear it,” he said gently. I looked up at him once more. I could still feel tears falling down my cheeks. He was right, of course. I’d spent the majority of my life suppressing so much anger for my mom that I’d always shot down any new information about her, simply not desiring to hear it. Thus, I’d obviously never thought to ask about her either. Never thought to think that maybe she did care for me, contrary to what I had always assumed. My throat felt tight again, and as I remembered the words that I’d shouted out to her last night, I felt guilty all over again. This woman who cared for me…my mother…she never would have wanted that for me. Never. I knew that now.

“Could you tell me more about her?” I whispered hoarsely. “Please?”

He looked at me, surprised, but then nodded slowly. “Yeah…of course. What would you like to know?”

***

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My dad ended up staying with me that day and for the first time in years we just…hung out. We watched TV and as we watched, we talked about my mom and he told me stories about her. He told me sad stories about her past and what happened, but also funny stories about how she used to get up in class and go on long tirades whenever there was something chauvinistic or sexist in the books they were reading, or how when they’d first met she practically stole fifty dollars from him just to go buy chips and beer.

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At some point we even fell asleep and when we finally woke up my dad made fun of me and laughed because he claimed I was drooling, which I so very much was not. Still, I hadn’t been able to help but laugh too, and if I wasn’t so entirely sick of crying, I could have done so in that moment—not because I was sad, but because I was so incredibly happy.

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“You look different, by the way,” I said as we munched on some pizza that we’d ordered after we’d woken up. Man, it was so delicious. I hadn’t been allowed to have pizza in years. Still wasn’t allowed to actually, but oh well.

“Yeah, it’s called getting old,” he pointed out, distracting me from my worries over whether or not I should be indulging.

I laughed a little, shaking my head. “You’re not old. And besides, I mean like, your clothes. I don’t think I’ve ever seen you not wearing jeans, except maybe your wedding day.”

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“Ah,” he said, flushing a bit. “My agent says I should be a little more ‘cleaned up’ in public, what with all the success I’ve been having or something like that. I kinda like it though—picked it out myself,” he remarked, lightly snapping one of his suspenders. “It’s….swanky.”

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“Swanky!?” I laughed before taking a huge bite of my pizza. I chewed a bit and then added, “Oh, I see. Is that why you have the glasses now too?”

He reached up, adjusting them self-consciously. “Er, no. They’re because my eyes are shot to hell after decades of staring at a laptop screen,” he admitted sheepishly.

I laughed, shaking my head a bit. “Well, I like them!” I decided with a nod.

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“Glad you approve,” he replied with a sarcastic smirk, and then chomped down on his own slice.

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Running against the wind

And so it went, until the night grew old and Dad turned away from the television to look at me seriously. The movie we’d been watching had just ended, and now the credits were slowly scrolling upward, an instrumental rising with the words.

“Jo,” he said gently, and I felt my heart sink, because I had the feeling that I knew what he was going to say.

“Yes?” I said uneasily.

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“You know that I have to go back now, right?”

My heart sunk even more, my suspicions confirmed, and though I knew that I could technically go back with him, I also knew that, honestly? I couldn’t go back. Not yet at least. I didn’t want the others to see me like this.

I bit my thumbnail, feeling my eyes beginning to burn as the prospect of being alone again began to tear away at me. It made me want a drink…it made me want my pills…and those realizations, made me just want to cry. “Yeah,” I said tightly, unable to say anything else through the frog in my throat.

He paused and I continued to stare at the television even though it was just the credits. I chewed on my thumbnail so much that I could feel the acrylic begin to break away from the real nail it lay plastered to. I could taste blood.

Dad took my wrist then, pulling my hand away from my mouth and not allowing me to have it back. I pressed my lips together, really trying not to cry again in front of him. I didn’t want to give him cause to worry about me—not after I’d worried him so much already. I wanted him to think that I was fine now, so he could go home feeling peaceful, and not as awful as I felt right now.

“What has you so afraid?” he asked quietly.

“I’m not afraid,” I answered quickly. “Just…tired.”

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Playing the cards you get

Dad sighed, letting go of my wrist and rubbing his head, perhaps to fend off an oncoming headache. “Joanne…you think that I don’t see when you’re putting up a front, and maybe once I didn’t, and I’m so sorry for that, but I see it now and you can’t do this anymore. You can’t keep lying to me—to yourself.”

“I-…I’m not,” I said, forcing a small smile.

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Dad took his hands away from his face, adjusting his glasses and then shooting me an unimpressed look. The smile slid from my lips. Was I that bad at pretending now that anyone could see through it, or was it that my dad knew me too well now to fall for it? My heart beat hard with anxiety. The feeling reminded me even more that I had to stay strong—anxiety was so paralyzing, and I knew no one that suffered from its grasp as much as my father did.

“You’re not helping me by doing this,” my dad continued, and my heart clenched as I realized he knew what I was thinking. “You’re not helping anyone actually—you’re only hurting them…and for no one is that more true for than yourself.”

Tears beaded up in my eyes once again.

“I’m going to ask you one more time, Jo. What has you so afraid?”

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Something is bound to give

Unconsciously, I lifted my thumbnail to my mouth once again, but Dad, exasperated, grabbed my hand again, and I finally cried out in a panicked yelp: “Being alone!” before collapsing into uncontrolled sobs. Hysteria was eating me alive again, and this time I felt that I could not be saved.

Dad grabbed both of my hands so tightly that it hurt. I looked at him despairingly, wanting him to let go—not just of my hands, but of me. I wanted him to just leave me alone, because I was not worth any of this pain. I was not worth any of his time. I was a person who had made one awful decision after another and now I had to suffer for it. I deserved to suffer for it, and I needed him to let me do that.

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There’s hope for the hopeless

“Joanne,” he said softly, and I forced myself to look at him, my entire body trembling. “There exists in this city a house filled with people who love you and care about you. It is the same place that you are always welcomed to. It’s the same place where you will always be welcomed, no matter how long it’s been, no matter what you might have done, and because this place exists, you are never actually alone…nor will you ever be.”

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I cried harder and Dad sighed, releasing my hands and then pulling me into his arms like a little kid again. “Joanne,” he started gently. “I know that you feel…ashamed right now. I know that you feel…unworthy…undeserving of any of this. I know that because I’ve been there too, way too many times, but I also know, because of this, and because I know who you are, that you are worthy. You are more than worthy, and you are smart enough, and good enough, and you are definitely strong enough, no matter what you might think.”

I took in a shuddering breath, trying desperately to get a grip on myself. “I have made so many stupid decisions,” I whispered through my tears. “So, so many stupid decisions.”

Screenshot-767

There’s hope for the hopeless

“So did I,” he admitted, “but it is never too late to start making the right ones.”

I thought about that. I thought about the fact that I’d casted everything aside in the struggle for my own personal utopia, only to find, of course, a dystopic reality that tore away everything, everything that was good, and true, and me.

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There’s hope

I thought this, and then I thought, god, what kind of fucking thinking is that?! I had not lost everything! I was here and I did have people who loved me, and even though I felt like a warped, lost version of my previous self, I knew also that I could find myself, because she was never truly gone—lost, yes, but not gone.

Screenshot-769

There’s hope

I may have been like a puppet now, held hostage by the strings that retained me and the puppet master who manipulated them, but I was not an actual puppet. I was a human being…and, as such, unlike the actual puppet, I could break those fucking strings.

Screenshot-773

I stood up, adrenaline suddenly coursing through my veins. “Could you take me to the store? I don’t trust myself to drive,” I announced quickly, looking around for my purse.

“What?” my dad asked, clearly alarmed.

“The store!” I said loudly, finding my purse and snatching it up. “I need to go to the store now. Will you drive me?”

Screenshot-772

“I—yes? Okay….” he said, more confused than ever as he stood up, and maybe just a little bit frightened too.

“Where’s my phone?” I muttered to myself then, searching through my purse. I had my wallet and that was what I needed, but seriously, where was my phone? Now that I thought about it, I hadn’t seen it all day. It was probably exploded by this point with missed messages and calls.

“Oh, your co-worker has it,” Dad said, grabbing his keys off the coffee table where he’d set them.

“Wait, what?” I asked, now the one to feel confused.

“Yeah, the one who used your phone to call me last night? He probably looked at your speed dial or something. Anyway, he said that you dropped it, but that wasn’t why he was calling.”

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“Then why did he?” I asked absently, trying to figure out what ‘co-worker’ could possibly have my phone.

“Because,” my dad said, glancing over at me, “he said he’d seen my daughter and that he didn’t think she should be alone right then.”

My breath caught in my throat, blurred images from last night sweeping past my eyes and the memory of hearing those exact words spoken in soft, subdued tones: you shouldn’t be alone right now.

Screenshot-777

There’s hope

Gabriel,” I whispered, wide-eyed.

“Uh, yeah. I think that was the name….But yeah, I figured if he was willing to call up a stranger in the middle of the night…and if he was saying something like that…well…I raced over here as fast as I could.” He looked at me then, raising an eyebrow. “How else did you think I knew to come?”

“I didn’t really think about it at all,” I admitted, but now that I did think about it, it made so much more sense. After all, how had my father, who I hadn’t seen in years, suddenly shown up right when I’d needed him the most? Of course, the revelation that Gabriel had been the one to call didn’t clear up everything. Although I was more than happy it was my father who showed up and it was obvious that he was exactly who I’d needed, some small part of me couldn’t help but wonder, well….

Screenshot-775

If he was that concerned, why hadn’t he followed me himself?

He couldn’t have known my father would have been helpful—it must have been a gamble. So what made the gamble worth more than the certainty of seeing for himself? Or was he not actually all that concerned, but it made him feel better to call someone? But then, calling someone in and of itself was surely an act that only someone who cared would carry out anyway, right? And, I realized, because he cared, I was still alive. I owed this man my very life thanks to his concern.

The thought warmed me for a moment, but then I felt seized by feelings altogether different.

Screenshot-778

I wasn’t deserving of such care from him, even if I wanted it so badly that it hurt. I wanted this man’s care, and I wanted this man’s kindness, but I had…I had ruined that, hadn’t I? I was someone lesser now and completely unworthy. I was weak and I was stupid and–

Screenshot-779

“Jo!” my dad snapped just then, looking alarmed, and I wondered what my face must have looked like for him to be so frightened. “Whatever thoughts just went through your head, stop. It’s one of the first things I had to learn to do, Jo, and it’s one of the first things you need to learn too. You can’t let the dark thoughts gain strength because that’s when they take over, but instead of chasing them away with…with drinking or…or pills or whatever, you have to chase them away yourself.”

Screenshot-781

“How?” I whispered tearfully, hugging myself. Dad put his arm around my shoulder, but I barely even noticed, still feeling too lost and helpless.

“You do it by not just knowing, but believing that no matter how much you may feel otherwise, you are stronger than them…and then you prove it,” he stated firmly.

Screenshot-783

“I am strong enough,” I repeated absently, remembering my dad’s words from earlier.

“Exactly.”

“I…I forgot what I wanted to do,” I whimpered.

“Er…something about the store?” he said uneasily, as if he were uncertain whether he should be reminding me or not.

I looked at him in confusion for a moment, feeling still lost, feeling still small, but then I remembered. I gritted my teeth, clenched my fists: I am strong enough.

“We’re going to it,” I affirmed with a nod, and then strode out the door.

***

Screenshot-787

“So, how do you feel?” my dad asked later that night, the two of us long returned from our trip. He was getting ready to leave now, and this time, my little mission completed, I felt neither hysteria, nor the cold grip of loneliness bother me at all. I was determined to not let them either. After all, I was strong enough and if I needed help, there was a house full of people willing and able to lend me it—and maybe even someone back at the studio too.

This wouldn’t be easy though. I knew it wouldn’t be, but at least I knew those things—at least I had those people. I planned to face my family again as soon as I could because I knew now, no matter how ashamed I’d been to face them before, none of it mattered because they loved me…and I needed them.

Screenshot-789

“I feel a lot better. Brave even,” I said with a careful nod, “but…somehow…still scared,” I admitted with some difficulty.

“That makes sense though because you can’t be brave if you aren’t afraid first.”

“Thank you, oh wise one,” I said with a roll of my eyes, but there was still a smile on my face, and inside, my heart felt…warm.

Screenshot-785

Dad smiled too, a genuine smile that reached his eyes. “I missed seeing you like this.”

“You mean happy?” I asked, perplexed.

“Well, yeah,” he admitted, “but what I really missed is seeing you…like you.”

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I looked over my Dad’s shoulder, glancing at my finally familiar reflection in the mirror on the wall. The smile on my face only grew stronger. “Yeah,” I said softly.

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I missed that too.”

There’s hope

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

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36 thoughts on “Chapter 5.10: Hope for the Hopeless”

  1. Yay! A chapter! I’ve been having an exceptionally crappy day, so seeing this helped my mood! (Wow… that makes me sound lame…)

    I had originally thought it was Gabriel that called out to her, but I’m actually happy that it was James. They had always seemed to be a “father/daughter duo” when Joanne was younger, and it’s nice to see them get that back… Plus out of all the people that would be able to help her, James is the most qualified because he had been in her shoes.

    It was nice to read that James was finally able to give Joanne some type of closure over Maddy’s death, and I’m happy that Joanne isn’t going to feel like that is hovering over her for the rest of her life.

    The moment that she said that she wanted to go to the store, I thought “Yes! She’s dying her hair back to black!” I think she looks better with her original color and style. She always seemed more “homely”, which I liked! Jade’s style was so… blonde, and cutesy, and… PINK! Not that it was bad… but it was so NOT-Joanne. I can’t wait to see everyone at her job react to her change… I hope she stays strong though… it’s one thing to say that you are strong, and decide to be… it’s another to be strong while everyone around you is pressuring you to do what they want…

    As strange as it sounds… the person that I want her to rekindle the relationship the most isn’t her family, it’s not even Oliver! The person I most want her to reconcile with is Hannah… While they are practically opposites, and Hannah was rather blunt, and could be rude… Jo and Hannah always seemed to be two peas in a pod. If it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen… but part of me hopes that it does… XD Maybe they could do that band idea that they had years ago…

    Awesome chapter. I’m excited to see the uphill climb! Can’t wait to read what happens next!

    PS. So… you probably have a crap load of blogs to read, but I was hoping that you could check out my other blog. It’s not story driven or anything… it’s a dual isbi… when you have the chance of course… if not, that’s alright. 🙂

    http://thehugginsisbi.wordpress.com

    1. Pfft, that doesn’t sound lame at all! I always get excited when I see updates from blog I like, lol. If it makes you feel any better, I just spilled coffee all over myself. Might not actually change the fact that you’ve had a crappy day, but maybe the image of my shocked and flailing self will make you smile a bit 😀 I hope your day gets better!

      ANYWAY, I think most people were probably expecting Gabriel, but I always had it in my mind that it would be James because, as you said, he is the most qualified to help pull her out of this mess. Plus, they really HAVE always been a duo, even in game, so I really loved writing this chapter and having them reconcile. That being said, Gabriel is the one who called him…hehe.

      Woot! I’m glad that you picked up on the fact that she was going to go dye her hair back to black! It’s a simple little act of rebellion that starts Joanne on the path to finding herself again. I think she’s freaking adorable with the black hair–it really makes her eyes stand out. Like, I almost forgot how striking her eyes were until I went back and gave her the dark locks. So cute! Jade, in all her blonde cutesy “glory” was always so nauseating to look at, or at least for me, lol, so I’m truly relieved XD

      It is definitely one thing to say that you’re strong enough and quite another to actually be strong enough…especially when the pressures around you are so strong. The people at her work are not going to be happy with her changes, and Joanne is still very much insecure and vulnerable right now…so it’ll be a struggle for sure :/

      HMMM, interesting! Gosh, to be honest, from here Joanne’s story is still so open. I have one story arc planned, but the extras I’ve yet to work out, and that includes Oliver AND Hannah, though I do have some ideas in the workings for both (including not bringing them back at all -__- lol). You’ve definitely given me more to think about. They did used to be really close. Hannah always stuck by her side in grade school….

      Lastly, not gonna lie, I DO have a crap load of blogs to read, and currently have like 5 tabs open with a bunch of them, but I’m currently in a weird transition period in my life where I have a lot of downtime, so I’ll go ahead and add it to the list 🙂 I just might not get to it right away, lol.

      Glad it helped your mood to read my update and I hope it continues to improve 😀 Thanks as always for reading and commenting ^_^

  2. Oh. My. Gosh. I almost cried repeatedly. What a great chapter and I’m so glad it’s her dad above all people that was there to help her in her darkest hour. And Congratulations on so many views! That is incredible!

    I can’t believe this chapter wasn’t showing up in my viewer too! I almost missed it.

    Oh James. How I miss him. He is such an inspiration for how he has managed to overcome so many obstacles and I know he is going to be able to help go so much. I like Gabriel even more for calling Jo’s dad to go and see her. I forgot that she must have dropped her phone. I hope Jo and her father can rekindle their relationship and she will start going home to visit her family more. I can’t wait to see how she handles everything with the record label. I’m so excited for another chapter!

    1. I almost cried repeatedly while writing it!!!!!! Thank you! In my head, it never could have been anyone else but her father. He really is an inspiration and he’s the perfect person to help Joanne through this. I really missed having him in the story too–the whole time Joanne and her dad were separated stressed me out, lol. It’s so sad–Joanne actually does live in that house by the ocean, but it’s owned by the Winters’ family (they have two houses), so everyone is in the big house and she’s all alone and then James and her roll wants to like, play chess together just to HURT ME and GAH, NO MORE, lol.

      The sooner I get Joanne reconciled with ALL her family, the better!

      Oh man, the record label. They are not going to be happy, but hey look, it looks like she may have people on her side there afterward 😉 I know of one person at least who has a cellphone to return…hehe.

      1. 😀 I am so glad Gabriel is growing on me. I’ve always linked him to James in my head since the first time I saw him. So I think I will eventually really come to love him and want him to stay around a lot more. I feel guilty sometimes because of Oliver but then again, I’m sure he’s moved on, successful, and very happy.

        1. I’m glad too ❤ He's only just been introduced, so perhaps you will with time ^_^

          I know….Oliver, lol. I don't think it's too much of a spoiler to say that you're definitely correct. He really has moved on, is successful, and is very happy. We'll just see if I can actually work in a way to show that and prove it XD

  3. It was an amazing chapter ^^
    I’m glad that it was her father who helped her when she needed help the most ^^
    He was the only one able to help her in that situation given what he went through too in his life ^^

    And I agree, his glasses suit him well 😉

    And I’m really happy to see her with her usual black hair, she’s so much prettier like that, compared to Jade who was just a “barbie doll” even if she was pretty in her own style ^^

    I can’t wait to see the face of her team, I’m already laughing at the idea XD
    But I don’t think they’ll all be pleased to see her like that XD

    Can’t wait to see her get to the top again after her fall 😀

    And congratulation for your views 😀

    1. Thank you! He really is the perfect person to help her. I’m glad you agree about the glasses–I love him in them XD

      I way prefer Joanne with her usual black hair too–she looks a lot more unique and pretty in my opinion. Her team definitely won’t be happy with her, but it’s about time Jo started being true to herself again, instead of living this fake Barbie doll life that has clearly left her miserable.

      Also, thanks again! It’s really amazing to see so many people checking out this blog ^_^

  4. This was amazing!

    I also assumed it was Gabriel who called out to her in the last post, so I was surprised! The explanation made perfect sense, though, and was far less stalkery than Gabriel actually following her home after she told him she didn’t need help. That was possibly the smartest thing he could have done.

    In full disclosure, I DID cry. You’re take on the realities of suicide — both the act itself and the people left behind — was so real.

    1. Thank you!

      I figured it would be pretty stalkery if Gabriel followed her, especially considering the fact that they really don’t know each other all too well at this point. It’s like if you saw a co-worker you’d only spoken to a couple times extremely upset. You might ask if they’re alright…offer to call someone for them or something…but you probably wouldn’t FOLLOW THEM HOME, especially if they’d just turned down your offer for help. Therefore, the call made a lot more sense. Gabriel doesn’t realize just how smart it was to call James of all people though, heh. He just kind of went with the first number on speed dial, figuring it would be someone close to her that could at least check up on her. Turns out, there was no better person that he could have called.

      No worries about crying! I honestly think that if I hadn’t been the one directly writing it, I would have been a complete mess. As it was, I definitely teared up…especially when James tells Joanne that she is good enough and strong enough to overcome this, because strength was actually the biggest thing that James himself struggled with–he never felt like he was strong enough, even though he really was, so for him to accept that now, and then to impress that fact upon his daughter as well…gah! *emotional wreck*

      Lastly, I’m really glad that you thought it felt real. I feel like the topic of suicide gets skirted around a lot in today’s society, so through both the last generation and this one my goal has definitely been to NOT do that and instead tackle the subject head-on, all the harshness and messiness and scariness included. Ignoring the reality, just because its painful, really helps no one–especially those dealing directly with it.

      Thank you as always for reading and commenting.

      1. BTW: I hate the self-promotion thing, but I don’t know any better way to try to build community. If you have any time in your busy Sims life ;-), I invite you to take a look at my legacy story, http://sims3sample.blogspot.com.

        In some ways, it’s pretty minimalist compared to your style — more gameplay as writing prompt. But hey, narrative simmer unite :).

  5. I meant to comment two days ago, but computer wouldn’t let me 😦
    But! I am very glad Jo and her father had that talk, very glad. I feel like many unknowns that were hanging above Jo’s head and maybe even her dads’ were cleared up. I was hoping that they would have a conversation like that 🙂 Very good chapter.

    Hopefully Jo will start to feel like herself again….

    1. Haha, no worries ^_^

      I’m glad they had that talk too 🙂 At first I was actually a bit worried about devoting an entire chapter to, essentially, a single conversation between Jo and her father, but in the end I felt it was entirely necessary. I have no regrets either way, but I’m glad that you felt it was good they had that talk too! It makes me feel okay that not every chapter is about crazy action happening, haha. XD

      I think it definitely cleared some unknowns for James as well, especially when it came to realizing that Joanne was pretty much infamous for “putting up a front” and pretending that everything was okay. James was unfortunately blind to it before….but he sees it now. Plus, I feel like they both got some additional peace regarding Maddie in the first part of their conversation ❤

      Hopefully she will, but it won't be easy what with the image of Jade still looming over her head…..

      1. I know what you mean! Sometimes when I write, I have chapters like that too, and I always worry too! But, I actually enjoy reading chapters like that 🙂

        Yeah, I really think Jo wanted someone to secretly realize how she actually was and help her, even though she tried her hardest to hide it. I like the many layers your characters have for that reason.

  6. I finally caught up with Jo!! Your blog is wonderful, Lily! I love your screenshots… they really tell the story well. I’ll admit that at first I wasn’t sure how much I’d like using song lyrics in the entries, but I really love what you’ve done with it! It never seemed forced or cheesy. It’s such a great way to frame Jo’s generation.

    Poor Jo… she’s had a really hard time of it, with no one but herself to blame. I love that it was James who rescued her! On some level, I know it’s got to feel affirming for him to “be the dad” and be the one to save Jo, since she’s been trying to save him since she was a toddler. It seems like Jo is still going to have a long road in front of her… while she is learning to be herself, she still doesn’t seem to know how to really trust other people yet. And honestly, with the life she’s led, it’s not surprising! I imagine those two things are intertwined… she won’t “be herself” because she doesn’t really trust herself. Everything from having sex with Oliver to signing the contract to clinging to Gabriel has been a non-decision born of desperation and a search for a stable identity.

    If I could break the fourth wall and talk to her, I would definitely tell her to talk to a good therapist. It’s possible she’s inherited her father’s Generalized Anxiety Disorder, even if she doesn’t experience panic attacks like James did. I have GAD myself, and I rarely have panic attacks, but in the past I have struggled with value and identity issues very similar to the kinds of things that Jo has been dealing with. The fact that she makes all of her decisions based on anxiety: signing the contract out of fear that she can’t negotiate anything better, sleeping with Oliver out of fear that he’ll leave her, etc, tell me that she struggles with it on a very fundamental level. I hope she can find peace, regardless of what path to that peace she chooses.

    1. Hello and welcome! ^_^ It makes me really happy to hear that you’ve not only caught up with the story, but have also really enjoyed it! Your comment made me smile–thank you a ton!

      The screenshots! Gah, lol. I often struggle with getting those “right” so hearing you say that you think they tell the story well is a relief o_o; They can be really tricky, especially within the limits of the game. I’m glad you feel the songs are done well too. Sometimes I regret having made that decision for Jo’s generation, since it makes her chapters much more difficult to write, but then I’ll finally get to the finished product and I always end up being glad that I did. That being said, I’m looking forward to Generation 6 when I finally get to leave the added challenge of songs for good! XD

      You’re completely right about James–it’s certainly affirming for him, especially in the sense that he’s all too often felt like he wasn’t a strong person, so to be the strength now that his daughter needs has to feel good for him. More than anything though, it really shows just how far he’s come that he’s able to do that now.

      As for Joanne, as you stated, she still has quite a long road in front of her. There’s so many issues that she needs to work out and the fact that she clearly does have anxiety issues of some sort is not at all helpful. I’m really glad that you picked up on that by the way! Pretty much every bad decision she ever made was borne out that anxiety, and more specifically, fear. Not to mention the fact that she desperately does need to work out her issues, as you’ve stated, with both value and identity. I’m especially glad you picked up on that actually because of all the issues that Joanne needs to sort out in the rest of her story, the struggle to accept and love herself for who she really is will be the most important of them all, as this is also the biggest thing preventing her from establishing, and keeping, any meaningful relationships. Hence why she’s found herself so alone now….

      I’m happy to hear you’ve overcome those issues yourself and admire your strength to do so!

      It certainly won’t be easy for her, but hopefully Joanne will be able to do the same…. 😉

  7. By golly. I just realized that I only just realized that Jo’s eyes are green. (whoops.) I always thought they were blue, probably tricked by the endless parade of blue polk-a-dots. (I miss them.)
    She just looks so different from black hair, to made up blonde, to having-a-lazy/existential-crisis-day. I was super excited when she dyed it back to black. 🙂
    AND JAMES!!!!! I missed him so much. I actually said that out loud. And he’s right. He does look swanky. Especially the suspenders. And the glasses are dope as well. Where are they from?
    And I saw her spiraling and I was like, no downward spiral! The little sepia flashback at the beginning was slightly heartbreaking. Well done. 🙂
    I feel like Gabriel is a superb person, though I wonder what he and Ryan were dancing around… (INTRIGUE!) thb, tho, I like Ryan better. I think it’s the hair. And the fact that he isn’t so serious.
    Also, well done with the songs. I feel like they match all of the chapters very well. I’m about to go read some more, but just wanted to put a little comment so I don’t have to write a novel later.

    1. Oh goodness, I know. I adore both Jo’s blue polka dots and her black hair, so finally getting to the point where she returned to those was such a relief. She really did look different as a blonde. I would often have moments while playing the game where I’d be like “where the heck did Jo go?” only to find she was right in front of my face. Oiy, lol.

      YES JAMES!! I was so excited to bring him back for this chapter–that beginning, heart-wrenching scene had actually been planned out before Jo’s generation even properly began. I always knew he would be the one to save her. I totally dig his new look too XD After doing a bit of searching, I am almost sure that these ( http://tamosim.blogspot.jp/2010/08/mock-mods-glasses.html ) are the glasses that James is wearing.

      Hehe, intrigue indeed. Ryan is definitely the more light-hearted of the two–I totally have fun writing him, as he tends to often irritate the crap out of Gabriel, which amuses me XD Of course, I love his hair too! lol!

      Thank you, thank you! There have been times in this generation when I regretted incorporating songs because it’s a lot of extra work and it can even be frustrating, but in the end I’m always glad I did 🙂 That being said, it will be a bit of a relief in Generation 6 when I can drop them again XD Still, it’s good to see they’re appreciated ^_^

  8. Awww, so cute, I had a feeling she wanted to dye her hair back to black. *thinks of an Amy Winehouse song* LOL.
    OMG, James, my favorite Sim of yours. LOL. He’s still so hot. *fans self* I’m glad the stubble is back, and his glasses are sexy too. ❤ I'm glad I was wrong and that it wasn't Gabriel, but so happy that it was Gabriel who called James. In Joanne's whirlwind of crazy that had become her life, for some reason I thought she had left the town her parents lived in, I'm not sure why, maybe it's because you did a nice job sort of transporting Joanne into a world so different from where she had come from that it just felt like she was literally worlds away. I like that you picked James to be the one to save her because of all the times she saved him when she was little.
    Yes, Joanne, see, self-destructive thoughts, feelings of worthlessness, and feeling like you don't deserve things. That's how Maddie felt. Hmph. You understand now, Joanne, but you're still being all stubborn and whatever when it comes to her? *growls a little* LOL. Lilyshadow, you were right that Joanne would probably frustrate me. XD *sighs heavily* Joanne is still lying and putting on a front? *rolls eyes at Joanne* What will it take for her to just open up, to her father, even, like I understand not opening up to strangers, that’s not very wise, but your own father? How is he supposed to help her when she’s just pretending she’s fine? *rubs temples* Yeah, she opened up a little, but there’s so much more crap she didn’t tell him. I didn’t think communication problems were hereditary, LOL, but it seems like for Joanne they definitely are.

    1. LOL THANKS now that song is stuck in my head too! *plays it while I write this comment….bobs head…SINGS* lol

      Hahaha oh my god I know *fans you too* LOL. I love his glasses so much ❤ Also, James is my favorite heir too, lol. I mean, I still have lots of generations to go, so this could change, but as of right now he’s positioned prettyyyy high up there, lol. Although, I will say that although he isn’t an heir, Gabriel ranks pretty damn close…but you haven’t gotten to know him too well yet soooo we’ll see what you end up thinking 😉

      Thank you! Joanne was actually away when she was on tour for a year, but she did settle down in the same town when she returned 🙂 She was just so isolated that it really did seem like she was worlds away :O

      I’m glad you liked the choice of James! I always knew that it would be him to save her, even in the very beginning drafts of this generation. I admit I was a little nervous that I chose James though because so many people thought Gabriel would be the one, but that just didn’t make sense to me considering they don’t know each other all too well yet, lol. That and James was the perfect person to save her, not only because of all the times she saved him when she was little, but also because there is no one who could understand Joanne and be able to help her as well as James could ❤ That being said, yes, Gabriel was the one who called James 😉

      LOLOL. Yes she understands now, or at least about as well as she ever will! Hahaha yes Joanne is very frustrating, and will continue to be actually, heh. Change is possible, but it is very difficult, and this is clearly apparent with Joanne. She’s beginning to open up, but you’re right, she’s not all the way there yet—there is still so much that she kept to herself and that’s going to bite her in the ass AGAIN. She’ll get there eventually….OR WILL SHE? Lmao.

  9. Thank gods James was there, thank the gods he’s helping her recover and giving her a cold dose of reality, last chapter I thought that maybe it was Gabriel who shouted out, however I’m so glad that it was her father who he called.

    1. Hehe, I think most people thought that it was Gabriel who shouted out to her on that balcony, but as they really are relative strangers at this point, he didn’t feel comfortable following her. As it was he felt awkward as fuck calling her father, but as I mentioned in a previous comment, he’s got a really bad feeling surrounding all of this and, as part of his own character, could not bring himself to sit back and do nothing about it.

      Little did he know though 1.) how dire the situation really was, and 2.) that he called the person most able to help her ❤ Thanks gods for James indeed!

  10. Holy hell…pardon, but holy HELL! I think this is the first chapter I’ve ever actually cried over. Teared up before sure, but…I’m downright bawling! Thank god James got there in time! And thank god for Gabriel! So, I’ve been hoping you’d bring back Oliver this whole time, but…Gabriel, yeah, he’s earned my vote!

    1. Gahhhh, yesss T_T Tears definitely formed in my eyes while writing it. Thank god, and thank god Gabriel thought to make that call! Many people hoped I would bring back Oliver, but Gabriel is a potentially good choice too, yes? 😉 So humbled that you’ve become so engrossed in my character’s lives. They, and I, appreciate it so very much! ❤

  11. I’m so glad she went back to black, she so did not suit blonde! Hope life starts moving upwards from now on for Jo. Loving this generation!

    Also three questions:
    1. Where do you get their eyes from? They don’t look like the ordinary eye colours in CAS
    2. Where do you get your tears from? I’ve been looking but can’t find any/how to make them cry.
    3.How do you make them vomit without being pregnant/having food poisoning?
    And ok there’s a fourth ^_^
    4. Where do you get your poses from? Even just the place you use most often.

    Thanks so much! So looking forward to the next chapter!

    1. She’s finally taking the first steps toward finding herself again 🙂 I’m glad that you’re enjoying this generation so much- thank you!

      1.) I use CC eye defaults, which automatically replace all the EA eyes in my game. There are LOADS of different ones out there (google “default eyes sims 3” and you’ll see lots of different options come up), but I use these: http://modthesims.info/d/355433

      2.) The tears are makeup! I use these: http://dd709394.pixnet.net/blog/post/37143673

      3.) I don’t–I use poses for that XD For instance: http://sunnyccfinds.tumblr.com/post/116657818000/simmedmywayuptothetop-sick-poses-by-traelia-i

      4.) So actually the NUMBER ONE way I get poses is to do specific Google Image searches for what I want. For instance, if I’m looking for couch poses I’ll literally type into Google Image: “Sims 3 couch poses” and then I click the images that I like and go to “Visit Page” to download/find out where to download them.

      You’re welcome ^_^ I hope you continue to enjoy what’s to come 🙂

  12. I’ll admit to thinking it was Gabriel at first (though in a way it was), but this is a lot better. I’m pretty sure Gabriel wouldn’t have been able to pull Jo out of it like her father. Jo would’ve probably pushed him away.
    Good! A first step! And her changing her hair color back is going to inevitably piss her manager off, giving her the oppurtunity to stand up for herself and realize that, you know, maybe she should find a different label to work for.

    1. I thought that it was a lot better too =) There was no better person that could have pulled her away from that edge (both literally and figuratively) than James. Besides, Gabriel and Joanne barely know one another. Sure he knows her well enough to be concerned after seeing her in that state, but not enough to say, follow her home. That…would have honestly been a bit creepy, even if he did have good intentions.

      Haha, yes, let’s hope that’s how it turns out 😉

  13. this was such a heartbreaking chapter, I’m so glad James showed up 🙂 like everyone else said it was a great idea to have him come back and for them to have this conversations, I think it was the best thing for Jo right now 🙂 (I got so addicted to your story I’m reading this at work so I had to take breaks in most awkward of places and I’ll have to reread it when I get home because I really loved it :D)

    I like the way you wrote Jo’s character, I could really relate to her in places, and she too seems very real 🙂 I really loved the chapter in which she loses Hannah and Oliver, I don’t like those thing happening but it was very well written 🙂

    and I like the thing with the lyrics, it was a good idea 🙂

    1. A heartbreaking chapter!? But it’s one of my favorites! ….Oh yeah…that’s WHY it’s one of my favorites, haha. But no seriously, I definitely remember tearing up big time writing this one. Such a huge turning point for Joanne, and admittedly such an empowering moment for James who was able to be strong and helpful to her. For once, he was able to feel like he could repay her in some small way for all the times she saved him.

      But aw haha, I’m honored to hear that having to take a bunch of breaks while reading this chapter would compel you to want to re-read it to get the full experience. ….which might entail a dose of heartache too, heh.

      Thank you =) I think having a realistic feeling character is one of the most important things to me in my writing and probably what I spend the most time working on and developing. Well that and tugging on those heartstrings, hehe. Ohhh Chapter 5.6: Already Gone, yeah? Another of my favorites. Hmm, admittedly I have a lot of favorites in this generation. I guess it’s the first generation when I really began to gain some real confidence in my writing. Of course, watch me call this crap 5 years down the line, hahaha. But hey, not necessary a bad thing, eh? Because then I’ve improved? It’s fun at any rate to look back and see the change.

      Glad you like the lyrics too! I regret the decisions at times because it takes so much extra work, but I have to admit, I like the effect and am glad that you enjoy it!

      As always, thank you reading and commenting❤

  14. I can’t even imagine how difficult it would have been for James to see Jo like that. No wonder he was so angry. But still, he really was the only person who could snap her out of that. Gabriel is a sweetie for calling her dad.
    I wonder what Oliver and Hannah are up to, hmmm.
    Ugh, so many feels. Okay, next chapter!

    1. Seeing Joanne like that was like a nightmare coming to life. That was everything that James hoped his daughter would never experience, and here it was laid out before him, this nightmarish scene come to fruition. And his first reaction was anger, like how could you, after everything you’ve seen, and yet…the fact that she got to that point made him so deeply sad. He was truly the best person to snap her out of that, plus now after all those years of Joanne taking care of him, he could in turn feel like he was there for her now.

      Yessss, Gabriel totally is o___o It was a bit of a debate in his head, but in the end he couldn’t get over the idea of what could possibly happen if he didn’t call, so…a moment of awkwardness on the phone was worth knowing that someone would at least check in on her that night. Of course he couldn’t have imagined just how dire the situation was (he was mostly imagining her passing out outside of her house or something), but it is so very lucky that he did call o___o

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