"Something kind of bizarre happened with Julian the other day," Jilly starts, and Fergus immediately folds his arms over chest, suspicious.
"I'm listening," he says, when his cousin pauses, put off by his frown.
Jilly takes a deep breath, and carries on. Fergus isn't exactly being encouraging with his attitude about her new boyfriend, but who else can she go to with a problem of lost memories? "So, Julian has this tattoo on his back, and I asked him about what it meant. And it was almost like he didn't even know he had a tattoo. He couldn't tell me when he got it even. He said when he tried to remember, he only got glimpses, and they felt like another man's memories, like it wasn't him. Then he got this nasty migraine. He told me this has happened before, and he's seeing a doctor. But I thought maybe you could help. You know, find his lost memories."
Glimpses of memories that feel like they belong to someone else; that's Fergus' day to day reality. But Julian is no Hawksquill, he's a Landgraab. "I checked his memories the day I met him," Fergus tells her, "To make sure his story about being a distant cousin to the MorcuCorp Landgraabs was true."
"Do you know when he got his tattoo?" Jilly asks.
Fergus shakes his head, "I was looking mostly for his family connections and things that would either corroborate his story or expose it as a lie. I found nothing that stood out as unusual."
"Could you check again?" Jilly asks, "Look for the tattoo this time?"
"Of course, coz. But, I wish you'd think twice about seeing him. There's something just wrong about me having a Landgraab for a roommate. Even if he is what he says, MorcuCorp could somehow be using him..." Fergus' sentence drifts off as he considers the possibilities. It wouldn't be impossble for MorcuCorp to implant someone with a spy chip...
"I like him, Fergus," Jilly says, as though that's all that matters, "I wish you'd at least try to get to know him a little. Because he's going to be in my life for awhile. If he weren't a Landgraab, you'd probably already be friends by now."
Fergus snaps his attention back to his cousin, "But he is a Landgraab, Jilly," he says, "And there has to be a reason he's here."
Cosette always feels like she's stealing when she harvests vegetables from the free community gardens, but her need for organic, locally grown produce outweighs the twinges of her conscience and she comes here frequently to replenish the household's food supply, since the warehouse isn't the best place to grow her own. When Julian approaches, calling her name, she startles, almost expecting him to accuse her of thievery.
"I wanted to ask you," he begins, shifting his weight, "Did it bother you at all when a Landgraab answered your ad for a roommate?"
"Well, Niles and I don't like to judge people," Cosette says, brushing the dirt off her hands, "And we figured you probably weren't the CEO of MorcuCorp or anything creepy and nefarious like that. And at least you'd always be able to pay your rent. Why, are you saying we should have run background checks on you?" she ends with a laugh.
"I just don't understand why Fergus has such a chip on his shoulder about me," Julian tells her, "He's not even that political, as far as I can tell. Normally, I'd just get over it, but I'm dating his cousin..."
"Well, maybe that's it," Cosette suggests, "Could just be an over-protective impulse."
"Maybe," Julian says doubtfully. But Fergus was on him before he'd ever met Jilly, and he doesn't seem all the protective of her, since he had to twist his arm to get him to call her the day she she didn't show up for class. But Cosette obviously doesn't have the answers he's looking for, so Julian lets her get back to her gardening.
Fergus comes up behind Julian while he's browsing the bookshelf in the warehouse's study area, placing his hand on is shoulder where Jilly said his tattoo was, making direct contact with the object whose memory he wants to find. At least, as close to direct contact as he's likely to get, since Fergus won't go as far as to ask Julian to take his shirt off for him.
People have so many memories, sifting through them all to find one specific moment in their lives can take days. Fergus focuses on the tattoo, looking for its moment of creation, the day it was inked into Julian's skin. He looks, and he finds nothing.
Fergus' hand snaps back when Julian turns to face him.
"Hey, Fergus. What's up?" Julian asks, his smile a little forced. He's obviously trying, for Jilly's sake, to deal with this situation.
"Hey, well, Tasha and I are going bowling this evening. I thought maybe you and Jilly would join us?" Fergus stumbles over an invitation. Hostility is not in his nature, and Fergus is working on a way to keep his guard up without being so obvious about it.
"That would be great," Julian enthuses, smiling a little too hard, not ready to trust that this sudden invitation is actually a gesture of friendship.
"You hired a couple of catalog models to accompany us?" Tasha whispers, taking Fergus' hand as the two couples walk to the bowling alley together.
Tasha has a sarcastic streak that can be hard to read, but Fergus has learned to tell when she's joking, and plays along, "I thought if we hung out with them, our chances of getting our picture in the yearbook would go up," he whispers back.
"Do you think he was grown in a lab?" Tasha leans in closer, conspiratorial, "He's a little too perfect. It's kind of creepy."
She is joking, of course, but that's pretty much exactly the sort of thing Fergus is worried about.
"I get the feeling I was invited along to be observed," Julian whispers to Jillyan.
"You're probably right," Jilly admits.
"Well, at least it's a step up from the cold shoulder," Julian laughs, "Maybe by the time our fifth child is born he'll get used to me."
"I'm not having five kids," Jilly slaps his arm playfully.
"I don't really want five kids, either," Julian whispers in her ear, "But if that's what it takes to get your cousin to lighten up..."
Jilly laughs, "If it takes five kids, then the two of you can just agree to disagree, or whatever. Because it's not happening."
"As long as you're on my side," Julian gives her hand a squeeze.
The double date goes well enough, despite the strained efforts both Julian and Fergus make to ignore the uneasiness of their situation.
After they bowl a couple of sets, Tasha and Julian get sent off to buy snacks while the cousins have a quick conference.
"I got no memory at all from his tattoo," Fergus informs Jillyan.
"But it's there," Jilly say, "How could there be no memory of it?"
Fergus shrugs, "I really don't know. It is possible that I just haven't been able to locate it," he ays, though really, the direct contact with it should have brought him right to the memory he was looking for, "I only had a second to look for it. I've got the memories in my head, though, and I can sort through them later to see if I missed anything. You said he has other gaps in his memory, too?"
Jilly nods, "That's what he told me. That he'll get these, like, fragmentary memories that feel like they belong to someone else. And that if he tries to focus on them, he gets a migraine. Maybe he's remembering a past life?"
"But he has the tattoo now. Even if he past life thing were possible," which Fergus highly doubts, "Any missing memories of his tattoo would have to be from this life. And probably recent, unless he got inked as child."
After bowling, the two couples split up and go their own way. Julian and Jillyan decide to stop at Club Coral for a bit of shrimp and a little dancing before calling it a night.
"I'm glad we did that," Jilly says as they sit down with their shrimp cocktail, "Fergus and I grew up in the same house, you know. We've always been close. And I'd really like for the two of you to be friends, if you and I are going to be together."
"We are going to be together, Jilly," Julian says, "And I'd love it if Fergus could get on board with that. Why is he so against me? What have the Landgraabs ever done to him that my having the name could put him off so much?"
"Well," Jilly says, pausing to think before she answers, "The fact that you don't know my family's history with yours is probably a good sign."
"And you don't trust me enough to tell me," Julian finishes.
"It's not that I don't trust you..." Jilly protests, "It's not my secret to tell."
"It's okay, Jill," Julian says, "I don't want to press you for it. It's just frustrating that this has to be between us."
"It's not between us," Jilly insists, "I'm not letting Fergus' concerns get in my way."
During a slow song, the couple dances a few steps, arms around each other, moving slower and slower until their dance becomes an embrace and the music is forgotten.
"Take me home," she whispers, caressing his cheek.
"So soon?" he answers, hating for the night to end before morning.
"Take me home and stay with me," Jilly clarifies.
"Are you asking me to stay the night?"
"I'm not really asking, Julian," she answers, brushing her lips against his.
Up in her bedroom, he lifts her easily, holding her up against with one hand while the other braces against the wall, her legs wrapped around him, grinding as she pulls him close for a deep passionate kiss.
Between kisses, they begin undressing each other as they stumble onto her bed.
It's not until he's inside her that he realizes it's her first time. It's so like her not tell him something like that, he thinks, she's fears nothing except appearing inexperienced. Memories intrude on him then, flashes of women he's sure he's never met, let alone made love to, yet there they are in his mind, breasts, legs, lips, some of them mouthing a name, not his name.
"Julian," Jilly moans, bringing him back to this moment, where he belongs. There is no other girl in the world except this one. He looks into her eyes as he moves gently inside her, watching her bite her lip, enduring the pain as she takes pleasure in his caresses.
The effort of shutting out the intrusive memories leave his head throbbing. Julian wraps his arm around her, holding her close, hoping that sleep will bring him relief.
She draws a ragged breath, whimpering a little. "I'm okay," she whispers defensively, trying to hide her tears.
Julian squeezes her tightly against him and kisses her neck. "I love you," he whispers.
"I think...I think I love you, too," she whispers back, her voice catching on a sob.
"I'll have to work harder, then," he answers, laughing just a little. She's not an easy girl to get to, but she's more than worth the extra effort.
Morning dawns almost as dark as night, bringing a heavy rain.
"I hate rain," Jillyan pouts, leaning against Julian's chest, watching the downpour from her bedroom window. "I hate being trapped inside. I feel caged."
"I'm sure we can think of something to do inside," Julian murmurs, caressing her.
"Let's get out of here. We can go to Isla Paradiso. I bet it's sunny there."
"Right now. We'll take a little vacation together. It will be fun," Jilly insists brightly.
"What about class tomorrow?" Julian ask.
"Ugh, class. I can't believed I signed up for more school. Like high school wasn't enough of sitting around being bored. Let's blow it off for a week and get out of here."
"I'm supposed to be here for my education," Julian laughs at her attitude.
"Life is an education. C'mon, Julian, I want to go. And I'd rather you come with me than just going off by myself."
"Love sacrifices all in its name," Julian answers with a laugh
"Hey, what's wrong?" Jilly asks when the sudden pain in his head rocks him.
He meant the words lightly, as a joke. A kind of stupid joke actually. But they stirred something inside him. The pain comes and goes in a flash, but it leaves a strange taste in his mouth as the words echo in his memory. "Nothing. I'm fine," he insists, "Let's go. I think a vacation together is a great idea."
I just added Elliot, Farrell, Shadow, Iola and Fergus to the Sims downloads page
Yeah, that's not awkward.
Action shots of Jilly
Cosette has been like this since she and Niles got married. They also adopted a cat named Twink.
Julian is also a giant sap.
Preview of diving in Isla Paradiso. My first experience with diving was in Evansdale, and I was blown away by the difference in dive spots in IP. I mean, they are gorgeous here. Just, wow.