Thursday, September 29, 2011

Chapter 89: Felicity Lays The First Stone

Thurs December 10, 2074 9:48 pm: Pleasantview 23rd Precinct-- New Alderton, Pleasantview

The rain was coming down in spates on the roof of the police station. Felicity thought that it sounded like an infernal marching band playing a thousand tin drums above her head.

She lost count of the number of times that Beau rolled up his sleeve to check his watch. He was doing it so compulsively that she knew he was just looking for an object to spend his scrutiny on. Felicity rubbed her blue-inked fingertips on the seat of the chair, hoping to leave a mark.

They had been detained for disorderly conduct and would be fined, pending trial. Felicity was certain that if they had not been Residents, they would have both been spending a few nights in jail. Part of her felt as though she had cheated the system somehow by getting off so easy. Still another part of her remembered that they should not have been arrested in the first place, and that the house always wins.

Beau was staring at her now as though he had something to say. Felicity did not turn. Doubtless, he wanted to talk about what happened that night but Felicity knew without discussion that this was not a shared experience. The two of them had been watching the same events unfold but from entirely opposite perspectives-- That of a Townie-born and that of someone who wasn't. A chasm existed between them now, one that she could not force herself to throw a rug over and pretend away.

"Is it too early to say that I don't regret this?" The sound of his voice forced her to look at him. "I mean, this isn't exactly how I imagined our first date would end but I'm glad. I'm glad that a whole restaurant full of people saw us get arrested for doing-- what exactly? For wanting to pay thirty-eight simoleons for a plate of scallops? It's about time someone took a stand in public like that. People in this country need to wake-up."

For a moment, Felicity was quiet. It was not that she did not agree with him but that he did not understand the problem with the same intimacy that she did. When the restaurant hostess told him that they did not serve Townsmen, he was offended and discouraged. He was angry. He could not have understood how calloused Felicity had become to injuries like that. How those hurts seeped beneath the skin and festered. How the only way to truly deal was just to walk away. She could not have made Beau understand this if she wanted to. But she could make him understand the stakes.

"You really don't get it, do you? Beau, I could lose my residency over this."

"Well, maybe it was never worth having in the first place. Think about it. I could fake an accent, buy my clothes second-hand and tell people my name was Abhijeet Carr. The only reason why I have rights that aren't afforded to the majority of people is because some pointy-eared bureaucrat in Veronaville signed off on it when I was born. It's meaningless. It's all meaningless." Felicity shook her head at him slowly, her lips parted.

Maybe things did seem that way for him but for Felicity, the stigma of being a Townie coursed much deeper than the way she talked or dressed. It was more than what her birth certificate assigned and it could not be over-written by the caste on her identification card.

Being a Townie was the lower school lunch period when Gillian Bosch, a mid-caste girl that Felicity had no prior or subsequent interactions with, poured hot soup down the back of her dress unprovoked, in front of three teachers who all looked the other way. Being a Townie was the time a complete stranger pushed her little brother into moving traffic. Being a Townie was the night that her grandfather died from multiple strokes in the emergency room while the doctors were busy treating Residents for sprains, flu, contact dermatitis. Being a Townie was watching her mother breakdown into tears when at age six, Felicity declared that she wanted to be a jet pilot when she grew up. If Beau were to cut her open just then, he would have found legible traces of her Townie birth right down to the marrow. Felicity met Beau’s stare.

"If you can say that, then you have no idea what my life is." Beau leaned back in his chair and faced forward.

"You're right. I don't."

"When I asked you to leave, we should have left. Period. I pick my own battles. I don't need you doing it for me." The words were heated. When Beau looked at her again, his eyes denied that the chain of events could have unfolded in any other way.

"Felicity, I couldn't have allowed them to treat you like that. I couldn't have allowed them to treat someone I don’t even know like that."

"You owe me an apology." Beau exhaled heavily through his nose.

"I'm sorry." Two police officers were chatting and joking just a few feet away. Their voices filled the silent pause between Beau and Felicity. When Beau spoke again, he was looking down at his shoes. "Did you mean what you said back there,” he muttered. “About me being your boyfriend?" Here, he caught her glance and tried not to grin.

"I said that?"

"When you told the manager not to threaten me and made some erectile remarks."

"Oh." The moment replayed for her. Calling Beau her boyfriend had been inconsequential, comparatively. Felicity leaned her head back against the glass. "I reckon it doesn't matter anyway. My mom is never going to let me see you again after this."

"That's a long time to hold a grudge."

"You don't know my mother." The edges of his mouth flattened to form a sober line across his face, and she felt culpable. "Look, Beau, I don't want you to think that I don't agree with you about all of this or that I don't admire you for doing it. Really I do but there are just so many reasons why that was not the time."

Beau looked away. Felicity followed the contours of his face with her eyes. He was a good person. An earnest person. He daydreamed half of his life away but so did she. He was trying to do the right thing.

Felicity took him by the hands. Beau narrowed his eyes in questioning when she slid from her chair and into his lap.

Beau was breathing fast now, and she wondered if he would have had the same reaction to her closeness on a normal first date. She smoothed his feathered hair away from his face and pressed her lips against his cheek, laying the first stone to bridge the chasm.


  1. Poor Felicity :(

    Beau will never understand what she goes through every day and I think he realizes it, even if not to the same extent that she does. That being said, I hope her mother doesn't crack down on him too hard, or that they can at least sneak around her. I think they have a lot to learn from each other.

  2. Felicity is the girl of Beau's dreams and he's not going down without a fight no matter how scary-motherly Angelica is.

    And his understanding is evolving.The social inequalities that exist in Simcity and the psychological impact of oppression effect people that Beau really cares about-- not just Felicity but Jack, Orlando and Haven. There was a time when his sentiments would have been like those of the manager in the restaurant. Sort of, "It's too bad but you know how things are." Not so anymore. He's angry. Felicity discounts the fact that he is being shaped by his experiences just as surely as she is being shaped by hers. And I totally agree, they have a lot to learn from one another.

    I am really happy to have finally written this set of chapters because I see it as the introduction to larger story arcs. Felicity and Beau are my heroes, you just don't know it yet. ;)

  3. Argh I meant to comment on these chapters but I just completely forgot! So sorry about the late comments on this.

    Hmmm I really like where this is going. The last chapter reminded me of a (fictional)book that I read about the apartheid in Africa and how blacks would be turned away. Same sort of thing except it's being decided by castes now.

    I'm really hoping that Beau, Felicity, and eventually other people will start fighting the system.

    Really glad you're back. I've missed this story.

  4. Sorry for the double comment. Blogger's being a ***ker. Feel free to delete one

  5. JOSEPH!!!! *hugs*

    Yeah, Blogger is a... what Felicity called the restaurant manager.

    *looks around frantically, afraid of being smote by the Google Gods*

    And thank you, I am mostly drawing on my knowledge of the civil rights movement in America but the miniscule amount that I know about South Africa from novels (mainly Coetzee) might come into play as well. I'm definitely cheering for Beau and Felicity right now, as well as the Townie protesters that were alluded to in this chapter. (Someday, I promise you a front and center box seat to the situation in Veronaville.)