Chapter 4.19 – Boundaries

Hope Barimen has become a different sim.
 
She has always been friendly and outgoing, and never one to shy away from socializing. But before now, there were boundaries she had been careful not to cross. For some sims, like Michael Nava, the very existence of such boundaries is reason enough to cross them. Life is what a sim makes of it, he tells her. And it should be experienced at full volume without the burdens of antiquated ideologies or fear of some mythical cosmic figurehead.
 
Live free and die young, is what Michael preaches during the next few weeks of her life. The release is intoxicating. She does what she wants, when she wants to do it. If the thought crosses her mind, Michael makes it happen for her; bereft of any moral consequences. She experiments with all manner of substances at the parties he takes her to; and she experiments with many different sims, as well.
 
The change is so drastic, and happens so quickly, that her parents are caught completely off guard. At first, they misinterpret her many “sleepovers” as an innocent symptom of growing up. But when her grades begin to plummet, and her sleeping habits change, they make strides to find out what is going on.
 
Hope is not the kind of sim to become defensive and shout at those who hold some authority over her. Instead, she assures her concerned parents that she is just simply going through some social adjustments and will try harder to focus on school work. While some aspects of her personality have undergone change, her sweetness has not. She easily wins over Mark and Mei with her sparkling eyes and infectious smile. But while telling her parents she is staying overnight with friends,  her truancy continues, and she parties all day and late into the night with Michael and his “friends”.
 
As the weeks progress, Hope finds that there is not enough time in the day to do all the things she wants. Giving up school is easy enough. But when sleep itself becomes an obstacle, she resorts to artificial means of staying awake. She is able to stave off her exhaustion through chemistry for a while. But even that begins to wear on her, as her body protests the strain of this non-stop way of life. Whether it be from the substances Hope has been regularly consuming, or the lack of sleep, or the stress of slowly discovering what kind of sim Michael has become; she finds herself weak and perpetually dazed. Days and nights begin to blend together to form a long and sleepless quest to keep the “buzz” going.
 
To make matters worse, Michael does not treat her well. He seems okay when sober. But as he fills his body with drugs and alcohol, he becomes angry and violent. Hope often bears the marks of his rage. She conceals the visible bruises with makeup for when she does return home or go to school. Still,  she tunes out any criticism of her choices, including the efforts of her family to reclaim their wayward daughter. In a final, desperate attempt to rein her in, Mark says something about her being “cut off”. But the gesture is lost, because she does not understand what he means.
 The understanding comes when Michael takes her with him to pick up some new stuff  for her to try. He promises that it will keep her ready to party for days at a time. But when they stop to get money from her account, she finds that she no longer has access to any of the family funds.  Michael becomes explosively angry when he learns that his newfound flow of cash has vanished. And due to the “delicate” nature of the transaction, he is forced to pay for the goods using his own funds. Michael snaps when they return to the “party house”, and viciously attacks the unsuspecting teen with shocking brutality.
 
She is not sure how she managed to get away from him. All she remembers is a sense that he was not going to stop hitting her until she was dead; then running until she could no longer run. Although she had managed to escape with her life, Michael had still inflicted some serious damage. She eventually finds herself wandering near an old fishing hole where her grandfather had once taken her.
Something has drawn her here. Perhaps it is the bright lights shining at the old mine her grandfather had told her about. It is just over a rocky hill, several hundred yards away. Hurting, tired, scared, and feeling pain where pain shouldn’t be, Hope surrenders to the sudden wave of nausea that washes over her. She empties the contents of her stomach onto the ground, then rests on an old bench she sees nearby.
 
For how long she lay there, she is not sure. But it is sometime before the break of day when the sound of footsteps startles her. She cringes and prepares to be hit again, thinking Michael has found her. But it is a woman’s voice that speaks. It is both gentle and strong; intelligent, yet colored with the unmistakable hint of fear that she has become so familiar with. She asks Hope if everything is okay, and if she can help.
 
The woman’s shining, silvery hair immediately catches Hope’s attention. Hope sits up and fights another wave of pain and nausea. She regards the pretty young woman, who looks to be only a couple of years older than her. Her voice cracks as she tries to lie that there is no problem at all. But her emotions betray her as she breaks down into an inconsolable mess. The woman sits next to her and provides a shoulder for Hope to cry on. It couldn’t have come at a better time.
 
Having been somewhat taken aback by the scope of the girl’s injuries, the chrome-haired woman realizes she has not yet introduced herself. She tells Hope that her name is Kacey. She had seen the bright lights shining over by the old mine a short distance away, and found Hope laying here while coming to investigate. Hope apologizes and begins to explain why she is covered in bruises. She contemplates the reasons why she can bear her soul to a complete stranger so easily, yet chooses to shut out her own family. She continues, expressing her fear that Michael may have really hurt her this time. Her insides feel like a knife has been stuck through them, and the pain won’t stop. She asks Kacey, sobbing, why he keeps hurting her despite all of the love and devotion she has shown to him.
 
Kacey pauses for a moment. She knows the feeling of abuse. She had lived with it for some time under her brilliant but evil brother, Reid. But strangely, her mind wanders from her deranged brother, and instead to a dear friend who had posed this exact question to her so many times before. It had nothing to do with the physical abuse both she and this poor girl had suffered. Rather, her friend had been referring to the love of the Father for all of his children; many of whom, including herself, deny His very existence. That she should think of this now, is certainly an interesting coincidence, to be sure.
 
Kacey asks the girl if she can stand and walk; and offers to stay with her as they take a taxi to the hospital. Hope nods, and leans on the frail, yet strong woman for support. Kacey feels as though she ought to know this girl, and asks for her name as they walk together toward the road, some distance away. She draws in a sharp breath, and her knees threaten buckle from under her as the delicate and battered, young girl speaks her name.
 
Hope Barimen.
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6 thoughts on “Chapter 4.19 – Boundaries

  1. Well, things just got really interesting, really quickly.

    I wonder what exactly Kacey is going to do now that she’s found out who Hope is? And I feel like Hope is slowly coming around, which I’m glad for – maybe Kacey will be the one to give her that push she needs?

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  2. FortA says:

    Wow! Excellent job with this chapter. The end sent chills up my spine – Kacey has met the future of the Barimens! How will she react, and what result will her actions have on the heiress.

    I feel awful for Mark and Mei – it is as if they see what their daughter is doing, but there is nothing they can do to stop it. I only hope that they will see past their daughter’s smiling face and cheerful eyes and realize that they do, in fact, need to step up and help.

    FortA

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  3. Oh, I hope Kacey’s return is good news for the family. Poor Hope, reality checks can be cruel. I’m glad her parents’ actions may keep her from Michael for the time being.

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  4. Although I’m appalled with Hope’s behavior, I’m more angry with Mark and Mei. You’d think that both of them being trained officers would give them a little heads up to what’s happening with their daughter. I know they love her and trust(ed) her, but they should also know their daughter well enough to realize that something is wrong. Sweetness does not an entire personality make!

    I’m starting to wonder what Kacey’s role in everything is. I’m excited and eager to find out.

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    • I absolutely agree with you (about Mark and Mei). If you look back to the previous posts in the chapter, Mei’s main character flaw is that she fails to discipline Hope throughout; opting to let it go and discipline her the next time. Hope just kept pushing it farther and farther. It was a neat contrast between being strong for Mark, but incredibly weak for Hope. And Mark… oy!
      I’ll have to admit that there is a bit of commentary there for parents who put their careers ahead of their children. I know it is a personal opinion, but one I’m not shy about voicing.

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  5. Im so happy to see Kacey! I wonder what all her role is and how she is still so young…all those burning questions Im sure everyone has. XP

    Hope has disappointed me terribly, and I cant help but agree with everyone that wonders why Mark and Mei havent found out yet about her ways and Micheal. Im sorry to see all that she had to go through, the abuse. I hope that this talk with Kacey opens her eyes a little more…because they are closed so tightly.

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