Chapter 7.5 – Misdirection

After submitting the first few chapters of a new mystery novel based on the school cheating scandal, Amber finds at least one publisher interested in purchasing the remaining chapters of her story.
Wendel Colt, the editor and owner of a small publishing house, comments that he has not seen such a purely entertaining sleuth story in quite some time. Amber laughs during her phone call with Wendel, when he suggests that the next teen-vampire-romance story he sees will promptly have a wooden stake put through it, before it gets tossed into the fireplace. But with kidding aside, he liked her story enough to pay her in advance for the next couple of chapters.
Writing comes easy for Amber. It helps with organizing her thoughts, and it forces her to think about the facts in all new ways. Writing lets her explore the motivation behind some of the things she has seen sims do. It also helps her to put unrelated facts together in ways she would have not have otherwise thought to. Amber provides a nice sucker-punch ending to her mystery novel and sends it off to Wendel. It should be a fun read for whodunit fans.
She just wishes the real mystery would tie up as neatly. Writing about the scandal has helped her to look at every facet of the case. But no matter which way she looks at it, things just don’t add up. It has been a long time since the incident happened, and her weekly visits with Mr. Dworkin have yielded no new leads or clues. She has grown somewhat frustrated with her lack of progress; frustrated enough to begin to taking some risks.
Billy Jones has actually been hitting on her for the past few months. If he weren’t such a sleeze, she might actually consider going out with him. He’s good-looking, rebellious, and lives a little bit on the wild side. Just the kind of boy a girl could get into trouble with. And unfortunately, warming up to him may be the only way of gaining new leads.
Now that she thinks about it, all of the guys at school have been paying a lot of attention to her. Her cell phone rings constantly with boys trying to score points. Most of the time, she just ignores the calls. If she didn’t, she’d be talking on the phone twenty hours a day.

Tina Barimen (Brave, Couch Potato, Easily Impressed, Hopeless Romantic)
She just doesn’t get why they’re so fond of her. As far as she can tell, she’s not all that attractive compared to somebody like Tina.

Tanya Barimen (Artistic, Athletic, Excitable, Mooch)
Even Tanya has grown out of her nerdy kid-sister persona and into a ruggedly athletic kind of pretty. Amber does her best not to stand out, and stays mostly with her core group of friends; which obviously include Tina and Tanya.
But most of the time, she just spends time watching other sims; alone in a crowd, so to speak. Amber has learned that sims are creatures of habit, and she is no exception. As a child, she would go to the park every day after school. It was a predictable pattern that she realized as soon as she became a teen. She has decided to choose a new venue randomly every day. If for no other reason, than to avoid some other observant sim from discovering her routine.
Over the course of her travels, she has noticed that one sim in particular has a routine of his own. Every day after school, Billy Jones makes a bee-line to the old, abandoned warehouse.
The Barimen family owns a stake of just about every business and leisure property in town. She has gone with her parents and grandparents on many occasions to visit each one of them, nearly twenty different places in all. They spend a couple hours at each place; speaking to managers, going over the accounting, and approving any needed reinvestment. But there is one building that they do not visit.
Amber has asked about the warehouse on a number of occasions. Each time, regardless of whether she asks her parents or grandparents, the answer is the same. The warehouse is strictly off limits. But it is on this particular day that Amber decides to see exactly why it is off limits.
She parks the car at a nearby shop and walks the remaining distance to the fenced and barbed-wired building. She walks the perimeter of the seemingly abandoned structure and makes note of numerous concealed doors. After ruling out an attempt to enter through secure front entrance, Amber picks a hidden door and pushes it open.
The interior of the warehouse looks about the same as the exterior, run-down and abandoned. Voices echoing off of the high, vaulted ceiling indicate that she is not alone. Amber navigates the cob-webs and crates, moving toward the source of the voices. She soon realizes that one of them is quite familiar.
Amber hears Mr. Dworkin and Brand arguing about something just around the corner, out of sight. Poor Mr. Dworkin sounds terrified. It seems the sequel to her first book just got a lot more interesting.
Amber’s eyes narrow when she hears carefully muffled footfalls approaching. She turns to see Billy Jones attempting to sneak up behind her. His face wears the expression of the cat who caught the mouse; though he is clearly shocked that she noticed his approach from so far away. She senses that being found by Billy is far less dangerous than being found by Brand. So she takes charge of the situation with a misdirection that Billy likely does not see coming.
She glides gracefully up to him and scolds him for trying to ditch her in this gross place. She pulls him close with a more-than-friendly hug, then demands that he stop avoiding her right here and now. She plants a soft and potent kiss on his lips and senses his demeanor change instantly, while he tries to rationalize through the scenario she has just manufactured. Evidently, he had not caught her snooping around, as he had thought. But rather, she had come here looking for him.
She brushes her lips against his ear and giggles softly, asking him if there is somewhere else they can go; somewhere where the mood is less creepy. She plays the part perfectly and hides the fact that her heart races with adrenaline from the danger that lurks only few hundred feet away, should Brand discover her presence here. For all Billy knows, her heart is racing for him. Or is it?
Billy’s reaction is so predictable that it might as well have been scripted. It is the change in her own demeanor that Amber finds troubling, however. What began as an act, has quickly turned into something very, very enjoyable. She wonders how long has has she been wanting to kiss him, without realizing it.
A few hours later, Amber returns home and contemplates just how stupidly dangerous her adventure was. She ponders what might have happened if her misdirection had not worked so perfectly. Amber and Billy had retreated silently from the warehouse to a quiet fishing spot to make out under the stars. She refused woohoo with him, and he went home pretty upset.
Despite the near disaster at the warehouse, the odd experience with Billy was not terrible. She buries her confused emotion about Billy, and focuses, instead, on what she saw at the warehouse. The time has finally come to ask Mr. Dworkin about this mysterious Brand character. She falls asleep thinking about her next visit with the retired teacher. Her last thought, before the fog of sleep eclipses her consciousness, becomes lost as it slips away into her dreams.
An unfortunate thing, really. It was a thought warning her of another, more elaborate misdirection. And that, perhaps, there may be no real mystery after all.

2 thoughts on “Chapter 7.5 – Misdirection

  1. I think I was as shocked as Billy when she kissed him.

    For a minute I thought your warehouse screenshots were ones from City of Heroes. I don’t know if you ever played that, but I swear it was so similar!


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