One week later…..
It was the night all of the elite of Windenburg had been waiting for- the annual grand gala at the Sholboi Opera House. The gala was attended by the uber rich of the city and was a great fundraiser for various charities. The line up at this year’s gala was headlined by worldwide opera singing sensation Miss Penny Wind and tickets were selling for over 5k Simoleons per head.
Getting ready to attend her first gala was Brystle Simmington. But instead of excitement at the forthcoming event Brystle had other thoughts preoccupying her mind. In fact she had been troubled by the words of her former lover Mayhew Drysdale on their final meeting the previous week.
Brystle had told Mayhew there would never be any future between them and that her life was with Burke now. Mayhew, deeply unhappy in his own marriage, had left Windenburg and took a job overseas with WindenburgSimmington. But he warned Brystle that Burke must know of their affair and whilst the job overseas in Shang Simla was a great opportunity it was obvious that Burke was sending him there to keep him away from Brystle.
Brystle at first refused to believe that her husband could be so devious. But events since had made her question how much she really knew her husband and what he could be capable of.
As she finished applying the final touches to her make-up Burke walked into her their room and smiled at his wife. Brystle looked back at him through the reflection in the dresser mirror.
Brystle paused and glared at her husband in astonishment.
Brystle continued applying her make up as she revealed just what had been on her mind.
So there it was. Burke had known about Brystle’s affair with Mayhew. Immediately Brystle regretted not saying something to Burke sooner.
‘…will always love Mayhew…’ Burke was paraphrasing the very telephone conversation Brystle had had with Mayhew the night before her wedding. The same conversation that Fathom had listened in on and had been tormenting Brystle with her veiled threats to reveal all to her father.
Burke’s temper began to rise and his voice with it.
Tempers were beginning to flare between the couple.
Brystle got up from her chair and made to push past her husband but Burke stood in her way.
The mention of Mayhew’s name once more sent Burke over the edge.
Brystle couldn’t believe what her husband was saying and she no longer held back her outrage at what he was saying.
As Burke and Brystle bickered and arued in their bedroom, outside in the corridor Tammy Flo was listening in.
Back in the room Burke took a deep breath and sighed. He didn’t like to see his wife so upset. He made a move to call a truce.
Back outside Tammy Flo was relishing in overhearing the heated exchange.
Unaware that Fathom was behind her Tammy Flo giggled as she listened in on her aunt and uncle.
Fathom could hear her father rowing with Brystle too. Now normally she would be the first to listen in but seeing Tammy Flo already there irked Fathom.
Fathom marched up to Tammy Flo and made her presence known.
A change came over Tammy Flo and her face was set in anger. It was clear that Fathom had rumbled her. There was no need to pretend anymore with her.
Back in the master suite things were no better between Burke and Brystle.
Outside Tammy Flo had taken a step closer to Fathom as she got ready to wallop her.
It was becoming too much for Brystle. She felt trapped and breathless and needed to get away.
As she flung open the doors Brystle almost collided with Fathom and Tammy Flo right outside her room.
Just then a flustered Burke burst out of his room not realising Fathom and Tammy Flo were there.
Burke led the way to the top of the stairs and revealed some news.
Fathom had been suspecting that her brother had eloped with Fred. She was very close to her brother and could always sense what he was doing. As they descended the stairs Brystle was glad to hear that Heathen was returning as she felt he was the first person to warmly welcome her to the mansion and she fely very protective of him.
Joseph dutifully handed everyone an umbrella as they all stepped outside. He looked Brystle up and down and decided he didn’t quite care for her dress. Outside, Burke approached his chauffeur Michael. It had been over a week since he’d had him beaten up for having a relationship with Fathom.
Fathom looked away. She hated her father for what he had done to Michael and it also annoyed her that Michael had not stood up to Burke.
Brystle saw how Fathom had turned away. She herself had her doubts about the bruises on Michael’s face.
Burke smiled and patted Michael on the shoulder. It was at this point the truth dawned on Brystle.
Texas had just finished getting ready for her night at the opera. As she sprayed on her perfume her bedroom door opened and in walked Cyril who had been waiting for her in the living room. Cyril eyed Texas up and down in the designer red dress he had bought for her and licked his lips.
Cyril gently stroked her face.
The mention of Burke’s name made Cyril think on whether Texas still had feelings for her ex-husband.
Texas laughed at he mere suggestion of this.
This pleased Cyril greatly.
Texas smiled seductively at her lover. Cyril smiled back for he did have many memories of all their illicit rendezvous in this studio. All the times he would sneak in for woohoo sessions with Texas whilst Burke was away on business…
Cyril opened the patio doors and stepped outside where he plucked a rose from a nearby bush before returning back inside.
Cyril’s spontaneous proposal took Texas by surprise. This was not part of her masterplan however tempting it sounded.
Texas could see that a refusal would wound Cyril and possibly turn him away from her. She could not risk losing him at this stage. Besides, he was an amazing lover and fabulously wealthy so what was not to like?
Clothes were frantically peeled off as they both climbed between the sheets and began to make frantic woohoo together.
It looked like their entrance at the opera would be somewhat delayed….
In the week since both Mother Drysdale and Mayhew had left the household both Malaudia and her daughter Mimsy had gotten closer. It had been a rocky start between daughter and mother as the young child’s mind had been turned against her mother by her spiteful grandmother. But with Mother Drysdale out of the house on a round the world cruise Malaudia was able to get close to her daughter without any interference. Without the negative influence Mimsy was able to quickly bond with her mother again.
Malaudia was also coping rather well with Mayhew gone too. He was technically overseas working for WindenburgSimmington but for Malaudia she felt that she had separated from her husband altogether. It was obvious he was in love with Brystle Simmington and only with Malaudia because he felt duty bound to protect her. Well Malaudia was feeling much stronger within herself and did not need protecting. If her husband didn’t love her for who she was then perhaps it was time to go their own ways. Malaudia loved her husband deeply but she could not stay with a man who loved someone else.
But all that was for another time to worry about. Mayhew wouldn’t be home for several months. Perhaps that time apart would give them both something to think about. In the meantime, Malaudia was at the front door seeing off her daughter who was off for a sleepover at her friend from school.
Malaudia watched as her daughter got into the waiting car where Lindsay sat with her mother. She waved them all off and waited until the car was out if sight.
There was a rumble of thunder in the distance and a strong breeze blew by. It felt as if there was a storm starting. Malaudia shivered and went inside. The house felt deathly quiet. It was the first evening she had ever spent alone in the house since coming home from the hospital and Malaudia was a bit apprehensive about it. But if she were to be living life as a single woman going forward she would need to start getting used to it. She made to go to the kitchen to get a hot cup of cocoa when her phone started to ring.
Malaudia kept a phone on her at all times now. Dr Broscanni had specifically instructed Mayhew that there were to be no phones in the house upon Malaudia’s return from the hospital. It was part of the reason whey Malaudia had a breakdown in the first place as she believed a demon had been calling her on the phone instructing her to do wicked things. Before he left for Shang Simla Mayhew had given his wife a phone in case of emergencies. He was unaware that Malaudia herself already had had a phone when she had gotten out of the hospital. And they were both unaware that it had been Mayhew’s spiteful mother, Mother Drysdale, who had been making the secret phone calls to Malaudia which had driven her insane the first time. Those phone calls had started to happen again sporadically over the first few weeks since her release from the hospital but had since stopped. But tonight they would return with a vengeance as Mother Drysdale, who allegedly was on a cruise, would launch a full scale attack upon her unsuspecting daughter-in-law in the hope to push her over the edge….and straight back to the simitarium.
Malaudia took the phone from her pocket and answered it.
There was no reply. Just the sound of someone hanging up.
Malaudia tried to think nothing of it. It was simply a wrong number, nothing more. So what if the caller hid their number? It didn’t mean anything at all. It was all purely innocent she told herself. But as she went to the kitchen to make that cup of cocoa she was already starting to get the jitters.
Across town the gala opera was beginning and the richest Sims in town were arriving for the fundraising performance. Sitting at a bar on the upper level was Burke with his lawyer Andre Wayward. Brystle was out of earshot so Burke was taking the opportunity to discuss his plans for Fred’s mother, Devonique Domino, secret arrival at the opera.
Satisfied that his unveiling of Devonique to expose Fred for the hustler that he was, Burke moved the conversation along.
Andre knew all too well what Burke could be capable of and thought better of saying anymore. Just then he caught sight of Brystle approaching.
Burke chuckled at the mention of the charity. It may be Brystle’s chosen charity that she was patron of but Burke didn’t fully support it as a self made billionaire.
Brystle was aghast at what Burke said. She could see that Andre himself was uncomfortable with what he’d just said and as Burke chuckled some more and patted his lawyer on the shoulder Brystle was finding it more and more difficult to relate to her husband.
Meanwhile in the lobby Fathom was busy posing for the paparazzi while Tammy Flo looked on.
Tammy Flo watched on with growing disgust as Fathom flaunted herself in front of the flashing cameras. Fathom lapped up the attention.
Fathom finished posing for the cameras and made to go up the grand staircase but Tammy Flo stood in her way.
As the evening moved on a storm was moving in. The rain was falling quite heavy now and the wind was picking up. Malaudia was home alone. The second phonecall of the evening had just begun. Nervously she answered it.
No! It couldn’t be!! Malaudia quickly ended the call. It was the same voice she’d heard before on the phone. It was the demon who liked to terrorize her. He was back!!
No, it wasn’t real Malaudia told herself. Remember everything Dr. Broscanni taught you. Pasimzu was not real. There were no demons.
However if Pasimzu was just a figment of her imagination then who had been on the phone?
Burke was getting tetchy. The performances would be starting soon and there was no sign of Heathen and Fred. Nor Devonique. Why couldn’t people be on time? Brystle was standing in the lobby of the opera house with her husband and notice how he was pacing back and forth looking at his watch whilst Andre seemedto be keeoing an eye on the front door and who was arriving.
Andre took a phonecall and quickly hung up before marching over to tell Burke his news.
In his haste to tell Burke Andre had forgotten that Brystle was not in the know of Burke’s plans to reveal Devonique as Fred’s mother. Burke was quick to step in with a lie to cover up his lawyer’s mistake.
Burke gave Andre the look to show that he was not pleased. He only hoped it would not end up paying for his mistake later.
Meanwhile from an upper level bar, Heathen and Fred looked down upon the Simmington’s in the lobby.
Fred was nervous, that was not a lie. But his nerves was not stemming only from the jitters about telling Burke that he was his son-in-law but rather from the fact that he had a gut feeling that Burke and Andre were on to him. This was coupled with the fact that Fred had received instructions from Cyril Dolby that he had to murder Heathen in order to break Burke and thus enable Cyril to completely destroy him.
Fred wanted to take Heathen away from this corrupt ritzy glitzy lifestyle. He reluctantly agreed to sty for a while. But then he intended to take Heathen away and never return…
The newly weds went downstairs where Fathom and Tammy Flo had joined Burke and Brystle.
The news stunned everyone not least Burke. Brystle urged her husband to say something.
Fathom hugged and congratulated her brother. Burke was not feeling the good news.
What he had said was true, Fred really did love Heathen. The money did not matter. Everyone seemed touched by Fred’s words. All except Burke. He was about to launch into one of his infamous tirades when Andre stepped in to diffuse the situation.
Burke knew his lawyer was right. To verbally accuse Fred of being a hustler without any proof would mean alienating, and potentially losing, his son forever. Burke thought better of it. Fred’s mother would be here shortly. He would then reveal all.
Burke glared at Fred. It was a look that said that he knew who Fred really was. And Fred knew his time was up. Burke was playing with him. He had to make a run for it tonight.
Burke forced a smile and patted his new son-in-law on the arm before urging him upstairs and the rest of the Simmington clan followed.
Malaudia was spending the evening watching some TV. It had been over an hour since the last phonecall and she was beginning to forget all about it. That was until her phone started ringing again…
She looked at he mobile phone that lay on the cushion beside her on the sofa. The display showed that it was another unknown caller. Should she answer it or ignore it? Malaudia decided she couldn’t and reached for the handset. She pressed answer and moved the device closer to her face.
The caller did not speak. She only hear the sound of their heavy breathing before they hung up on her. Damn it, she thought. Who was this and why were they doing it to her? Malaudia didn’t know but immediately her panic was flaring up. A sudden clap of thunder and a flash of lightning made her jump out of her seat.
Quickly she got up and made her way over to the window.
Right now she had never felt so alone, or so vulnerable, as she did right now. Even compared to being in the hospital. It felt as if someone was after her and they were closing in. Malaudia tilted the blinds and looked out into the tempestuous night.
Someone out there was making her life a misery. Someone, or something, by the name of Pasimzu….
A the bar, Heathen and Fathom were relaxing and joking with one another like old times while Fred nervously watched on. All the while he kept glancing over at Burke who stood nearby eyeing him intently. He knew he had been caught out by Burke but what was he playing at? Why didn’t he just come out with it? Fred wished he would in a way and at least it would be out in the open. He would confess all about how Cyril Dolby hired him for an insidious plot to gain access to the WindenburgSimmington empire and destroy it from within. He would hope all would be forgiven and that the real villain, Cyril Dolby , would be the one Burke inflicted his severe revenge upon. But judging the way Burke and Andre were watching Fred made her think otherwise. The best thing her could do was run…and soon.
Brystle sat down with her husband. She did not like the way he was behaving to Fred.
Before the conversation could continue a familiar voice rang out and killed their conversation…
Burke sighed at the sight of his ex-wife. For someone who claimed to be of limited financial means it was a surprise to see her at this gala.
It became apparently clear to Burke what was happening. His ex-wife had reconnected with her former lover and his greatest enemy Cyril Dolby. The thought of the two of them together again sickened Burke to his stomach.
Brystle quickly had had enough. Whenever Texas appeared there was always trouble.
Brystle smiled as she realised Texas knew nothing of her son’s marriage.
Texas quickly turned and marched over to Heathen.
Mother and son hugged it out before Texas welcomed Fred as her new son-in-law. Then full of happiness she took Heathen by the hand and led him over to Burke’s table.
Texas smiled at Burke and Brystle for she wanted them to know what while she was last to know about her son’s wedding she was delightfully happy for him and his husband. She would welcome Fred into the family and accept him immediately as her son-in-law and she knew this was something Burke would not. She had gained more of Heathen’s trust and , more importantly, his support.
Texas led him back to the bar where Fred was waiting. She then beckoned for Cyril to join them.
Cyril glanced over at Fathom, his former lover. It felt awkward being with Texas in the same room as Fathom but it was something he had to get used to. Fathom giggled when she saw her former lover glance her way.
Cyril ignored Fathom and a look of disappointment came over her face. It did not go unnoticed by Burke. He got up and ushered Brystle and his daughter to go into their private balcony for the evening’s performance.
At the bar Texas introduced Cyril to Fred. Unbeknown to her that Fred was actually hired by Cyril to con his way into Heathen’s life.
Cyril played along with his ruse.
With Texas and Heathen out of earshot Cyril joined Fred at the bar. He seemed to delight in the obvious discomfort of the young man but he persisted still.
Fred made to get up and leave but Cyril grabbed him by the arm forcing him back onto the barstool. He was getting tired of Fred’s insubordination. It was time to make him listen.
Fred gulped as anxiety took hold of him. He was now in a precarious position. On the one hand he had Cyril Dolby threatening his life if he did not do his bidding and actually murder Heathen. On the other hand he had Burke Simmington who obviously knew Fred was a hustler but seemed to be toying with him and biding his time before he revealed the truth. And in the middle was Heathen, the man who Fred had grown to love more than anything in the world. Heathen didn’t deserve any of this. Perhaps it would be best if Fred left right now. Run out the door and never look back….
With the storm raging outside Malaudia stood by the window with most of the lights out in the house and her phone in her hand. It would only be a matter of time before it rang again she thought and she was right. The phone vibrated in her hand as her mystery caller returned.
Malaudia answered and with shaking hands raised the device to her ear. Her voice was trembling as she spoke.
Malaudia dropped the phone upon hearing what the caller had to say.
Quickly she retrieved the phone and ran over to the sofa. It was time to call the police and put an end to this.
After a moment or two Malaudia got put through to someone.
The thought of trying to engage in conversation with her mystery tormentor was almost too much. But it would be the only way to prove that someone was actually calling her and it was not something she was imagining. Reluctantly she gave in.
Morelli was met with silence save for the gentle sobs of Malaudia. He tried his best to reassure her.
After Malaudia thanked him and hung up Morelli got up from his desk and moved over to his crime scene board. A series of prank calls had been plaguing the city in recent weeks.
Legendary opera singer Gabriella Montaballe had opened the gala by taking to the stage first. Rumour had it the opera diva was none to happy not receiving top billing. That honour went to the recently discovered, and much younger and prettier, Penny Wind whose vocals had been featured on the box office smash hit musical movie ‘The Greatest SimPerson’.
The truth was that Ms Montaballe’ s vocals were not as they once were. And this was notable to everyone in the auditorium except the grand lady herself. She took to the stage and began her warbling in traditional Simlish.
Sitting in a private booth in the upper circle of the theatre was Texas, Cyril, Heathen and a very quiet Fred. Texas was oblivious to Fred’s unease but was horrifed by Gabriella’s singing.
Across the way Burke was in his own balcony with Brystle, Fathom and Tammy Flo. He himself was not impressed but was less scathing than Texas.
The fat lady had sung but the opera was far from over…
Later at the interval Brystle was in the powder room when in walked Texas. Brystle looked in to the mirror and tried her best to ignore the woman who was fast becoming her number one enemy. Texas, on the other hand, had been waiting for a moment alone with her. She decided to break the ice with some conversation about the forthcoming performance of Penny Wind.
Brystle rolled her eyes. She could not bear to listen to Texas any longer.
And there it was. The awful truth and Brystle’s secret shame. She had indeed been in prison prior to moving to Windenburg. She had tried her best to leave her past behind her. But deep down she always feared that it would come out. And now the secret knowledge was in the hands of the woman who hated her…
Texas revelled in knowing the truth of Brystle’s past and what this would do to Burke.
Texas gave a final triumphant smile before leaving the powder room. Once she was alone Brystle broke down in tears.
After splashing some water on her face and retouching her make up Brystle stepped out of the powder room and went to re-join Burke. She just wanted this night to be over. She woul;d have to tell Burke the truth about her past and hope for the best. But it wasn’t the night for it.
Both Brystle and Texas had been unaware that they were not alone in the powder room for Tammy Flo was also there. She had been in on of the toilet cubicles and had overheard the whole showdown.
Meanwhile at one of the may bars in the opera house Fathom seized her chance to speak with Cyril whilst he was alone. Texas was busy circulating around the well to do of Windenburg and getting reacquainted with some old faces.
Cyril was tired of explaining to Fathom that their days of woohoo were over.
The horrible reality of the situation dawned on Fathom. Her shock turned to revulsion and then to anger. How could Cyril do this to her?
Cyril watched as Fathom stormed off and thought of her as a petulant child. However she was volatile and could be dangerous. She was as wily as her mother and would bide her time choosing the most inappropriate moment before spilling the beans on her relationship with him. She was right Cyril mused. Texas would be horrified knowing that he had woohooed her daughter and many times at that. The question though was what would he do about it…..?
Detective Morelli was determined to identify the prank caller who had been tormenting poor Malaudia. After re-reading his case notes on the multiple prank calls made throughout the city he felt a renewed energy in cracking the case and as he made his way to the control centre he felt that tonight would be the night.
Morelli had not been seated at the tracking monitor for too long when a message came on the monitor showing that a call of unknow origin was being made to Malaudia. This could be it he thought. He just hoped Malaudia remembered to keep the creep talking long enough for him to trace the call.
With trembling hand Malaudia picked up her phone and pressed the receive call option. This was taking every bit of strength that she had and she hoped Morelli would be listening in.
Even Morelli was shocked by what he was hearing.
Malaudia closed her eyes. She wasn’t sure how much longer she could take this…
Whilst Burke and his family had taken their seats for the night’s top billing performance, Andre Wayward had just received a call from Shang Simla that would spell disaster for Burke’s company…
Andre listened on as his Simlanese counterpart revealed more.
Mayhew Drysdale had been arrested and charged with spying in Shang Simla!! This was absurd. Mayhew was not a spy! But there was worse still to come…
The call was abruptly over. It was made clear to Andre that the Simlanese government would no longer do business with WindenburgSimmington and that the billion Simoleon contract that they had set up was now null and void. The financial implications for WindenburgSimmington could be catastrophic…
Upstairs in their private balcony Texas was being scathing about Tammy Flo to Heathen.
Heathen didn’t share his mother’s viewpoint.
Before Texas could reply the house lights went down and a round of applause rang through the opera house as the star attraction, Miss Penny Wind, took to the stage.
There wasn’t a sound as everyone waited for her to sing. And she delighted them all by singing her worldwide smash hit single taken from the soundtrack to the movie ‘The Greatest SimPerson.’
Her angelic voice and the touching lyrics were already having an emotional effect on Fred.
Penny brought the house down with her performance. She received the honour of a full standing ovation as bouquets of flowers were thrown to the stage much to the outrage of Gabriella Montaballe. Penny was deeply moved by the rapturous reception.
Still the applause continued along with cries of ‘More,More, More’ (not to be confused with the disco hit by Moreba Mela). Penny closed her eyes as she thanked her lucky stars.
The last word, however, belonged to Texas.
Malaudia listened on as her mysterious caller continued their horrendous verbal assault on her. It fianlly became to much for her and she yelled down the line at them.
Detective Morelli was still listening in on the call as he frantically traced the number before the caller cut off. Suddenly the data he was confronted with started to not make any sense.