Generation 2,  Monte Vista Stories,  Stories

Monte Vista Stories | 2.16. Something Bad

Gina had a long while to look around the dimly lit room after she had broken in. Enzo’s bedroom was decorated with lavish, heavy furniture out of dark wood. She could see from the patina that it was old, though well-kept. It all exuded wealth, but besides that, the room was stripped of personality. The paintings on the wall were generic still-life images and landscapes. The colour scheme didn’t suit the man who inhabited the room, either, and seemed more like it had been chosen to look opulent, rather than stylish.

It wasn’t a very nice room and she suspected the rest of the house was much the same. However much she had ragged on the Napoletani residence, at least it had felt like a home. The tacked on corridors and rooms were placed with love, if not with logic. This felt like a mausoleum for the living.

Appropriately enough, when the door swung open to admit Enzo, she for a second thought he looked like one of the living dead. It was only offset a little by the healthy blush that coloured his cheeks once he set eyes on her. He closed the door quickly and turned to her.

“I let myself in,” she said. “Sorry about that.”

“It’s all right. I suppose I can expect that kind of thing when I invite a criminal into my home.”

She smiled and shrugged, but he could only muster a small, careful smile in return.

“How are you holding up?” she asked, purely out of curtesy.

From his pale skin and tired eyes, she could deduce everything she needed to about how he felt. This, in a way, was a good thing. She could see that he couldn’t even hold up his façade any longer. He talked. Now that he let it out, it seemed to all come in a stream:

“I admit, I’ve been better,” he said. “My sister’s fiancé visited to remind me of the painting, as if I could forget. As for my sister, her and I are not on speaking terms. Lorenzo is ignoring me as well and I don’t take it that you know anything more about the painting.”

“No, unfortunately not,” she said. “But I have my people in Monte Vista rounding up Leoni again.”

He nodded tersely and ran a hand over his face.

“Do you mind if I change? This clothing is driving me insane.” He tugged at the collar of his shirt to illustrate what he meant.

Gina turned to give him a moment of privacy, taking the chance to study one of the paintings while he changed. It was a landscape, painted in a very typical style bordering on impressionism, but not quite with the same kind of liveliness as a Monet or Renoir. There was a French name, F. Desjardins, in the corner. Behind her, she heard Enzo say:

“That’s painted by my great-grandfather. Nothing impressive, I’m afraid.”

“You’ve got some French blood, then?”

“Yes, my mother’s French. I speak the language fluently, though I’ve been told my accent is like nails on a chalkboard.”

“Try.”

She heard him chuckle, and then he said a few sentences. Gina barely understood any of it.

“Sounds good enough to me,” she said. “But then I used to skip French lessons to drink and break into places.”

He let out a soft chuckle. “What a surprise. You can turn around—I’m decent.”

Enzo had changed into a soft, dark blue T-shirt and jeans. He looked many times more comfortable, and more human. Following her eyes to his clothes, he said:

“I usually wear proper attire around my family and then I change when I’m alone.”

Gina wasn’t sure what to say to that. She tried imagining a world in which you couldn’t wear jeans and a T-shirt around family, but then her family was pretty different. It wasn’t unusual for her to lounge around in a robe around her dad. Enzo didn’t remark on her silence. He looked away and said:

“I suppose you want to talk about…”

“Yeah, that would be nice.”

He walked over and collapsed on the bed. Gina motioned with a silent question and when he had nodded in approval, she kicked off her shoes and sat down as well.

“From the top, if you don’t mind,” she said, pulling her knees up to her chin.

Enzo sat cross-legged. In his T-shirt and bare feet, he looked vulnerable. For a long while he sat, hands resting on his ankles and twisting, twisting, twisting, as he thought of how to continue.

“Maybe I should… start with my sister,” he said. “With Lia.”

Gina nodded encouragingly and he went on:

“You already know she’s not keen on Fabrizio, and it was never really part of the plan for her to marry him of all people. She’s pretty and we’re wealthy, so she could pick and choose. Lorenzo is out of the question, but besides that—”

“Why?” Gina asked. “Lorenzo’s rich, right?”

Nouveau riche. His dad made it big shortly before he was born and most of our circle can’t ignore him, but there’s no way he’s marrying into an old family like ours.”

“That’s ridiculous.”

Enzo nodded in agreement. “Pretty ridiculous, but that’s how we do things. We have such a strong standing in town that it would be a major scandal to let just anyone marry into the family. If I don’t produce an heir, the estate will go to Lia’s children, and that would effectively mean that our estate is owned by the Sartore bloodline, as far as most of us are concerned.”

Gina shuddered at his use of words… to produce an heir was the least inspiring way to talk about having kids she had ever heard. She didn’t say anything, only motioned for him to go on. He did:

“Fortunately for us, most unmarried men in our circles were interested in her. It was actually… honestly, they fought over her at one point.”

“Fucking hell,” Gina said, his words sinking in. “It’s like the painting. They’re treating your sister like a painting.”

Enzo lowered his head. “Yes. The similarity hasn’t escaped my notice.” He curled his hands into fists, so hard the knuckles turned white. “Trust me, if we had any other choice, I would keep Fabrizio at a distance, but…”

“But there’s the blackmail thing. I take it she’s marrying him because of that.”

He nodded. “We pretty much have to do whatever he asks of us, or he’ll… well, I guess that’s the next part.”

Gina straightened up, looking at him intently. For a long time, he sat still, staring at his hands, at the knuckles that grew white and the muscles that twitched painfully from the tension. She reached out and covered one of his hands with hers. The action surprised even herself, but it felt right. It was like she wanted to make him feel better.

“It’s fine. I don’t care,” she said.

“But I did something… bad.”

She shrugged and said: “I’m an art thief, soon to be leader of a gang. Whatever it is, I bet I can find you three people in my gang who’s done something worse. Hell, my own mother definitely did worse. I’m not going to take it to the police or judge you or gossip about it. Go on, Enzo.”

He glanced up at her carefully with surprise in his eyes.

“Enzo… Not going to call me rich boy anymore?”

Gina squeezed his hand and chuckled.

“Well, I can’t promise anything, but I am going to drop the Cavalcante. I feel like I’m breaking five bones in my fucking face every time I say it. Enzo is easier.”

“I appreciate it.”

Electric blue eyes met hers in the dim light from the night stand and her heart did a painful leap in her chest.

Fucking hell, you’re gorgeous. She clamped her jaw shut before the words could spill out, then she hurriedly removed her hand from his with a strained smile. The corner of his mouth pulled up for a second. He had noticed her gawping, she realised.

“Go on,” she said sternly.

Enzo leaned back, and his face returned to a more serious expression.

“Okay then. Lia… it all comes back to Lia. Back when everyone was fighting over her, she liked to… test the waters, so to speak. She couldn’t decide who to get with. Around the time this happened, she was with the youngest son from the Conti family. When she got tired of him and broke it off, he didn’t take it well. He hounded her at every gathering, every function. If she went out with a friend, he would ‘coincidentally’ turn up. It got bad enough that she always had Lorenzo or me with her when going anywhere because he just wouldn’t take the hint.

“I tried talking to Conti’s father, but he wouldn’t hear it. Then I tried talking to my own, to see if he couldn’t figure out some arrangement with them to get him to back off. The only thing father offered was that he could arrange marriage between them.”

“She was supposed to marry her stalker?” Gina asked bitterly.

“I’m afraid so. For obvious reasons, Lia didn’t want to, so I decided the best way to fix it was to talk to Conti myself. I cornered him at a party at our house and had a word with him.”

Now, Gina sensed, he had come to the crux of the matter. When he spoke again, his voice was low and shaky.

“He wasn’t receptive to what I was saying,” he said. “According to him, my sister had been leading him on and he would only go easier on her if she promised to marry him. Now… I could have told him that my sister wouldn’t marry him for anything in the world, but since I’m an idiot… I decided to insult his entire family instead.”

The next part, Enzo told mechanically, as if he were a piece of software reading aloud a manuscript. It sound robotic and as if he had no concept of the words coming out of his mouth. Conti didn’t take the insults well and the two of them ended up fighting; a fight that didn’t end until Enzo punched Conti and he stumbled back and hit his head on the edge of a fireplace.

“At the time he was fine,” Enzo said. “He lost consciousness for a little bit and then he got up again. Didn’t even bleed. Fabrizio and my sister walked in not long after, and it kind of seemed like… like everything was okay. Conti promised that so long as I didn’t push him into more furniture, he would leave Lia alone. We kind of laughed about it as we left…”

Enzo shifted his legs over the edge of the bed. He put his face in his hands and the rest of his tale came out half-muffled.

The problem wasn’t solved, as it turned out. Conti died less than two days later from his injury, and Enzo spent a week in utter misery. He expected that, at any time, the police would come around and arrest him for killing the man, but it never happened. Instead, he had a visit from Fabrizio Aiello, the only one apart from Rosalia who knew about the fight.

“He said there was no reason to go to the police with that sad affair. It would be a scandal of some magnitude if I was outed as a murderer, so Fabrizio wanted to make a deal. He wanted Lia to marry him, and… he wanted that painting, the van der Ast. It was to be given to him on the day of his and Lia’s engagement party and it had to be in front of all the other men who wanted my sister as well.”

Gina stood up and got off the bed.

“So that’s where the deadline comes from,” she said, observing him carefully.

Enzo nodded. “If I don’t get the painting, he’ll turn me in to the police. Initially, I refused and I planned on confessing. Getting it out of the world, but… Lia begged me not to. Said… said she already lost part of her family when my mother and brother left and she couldn’t lose me as well. So I agreed.”

Gina looked at him with her head tilted. The gist of it, she thought, was true, but there were a few flaws to the story. Most importantly, there was the fact that she couldn’t in a million years imagine restrained, mild-mannered Enzo getting into a fight. It had taken him days to finally snap at her for insulting him, so the story frankly didn’t add up. This, however, she didn’t mention, because she expected he would explain it away. Instead, she settled on another issue:

“You said you only need the painting for a while, though.”

Enzo sighed. “That was to get you to help me. I figured that if only Fabrizio had the painting for a few weeks, it wouldn’t matter if you stole it and gave it to your other client.”

“That’s a ridiculous plan, Enzo. Say I take the painting back and pass it on to Ms. Antonini, how long do you think it’ll take for him to trace it to me—and then you? And even if that doesn’t happen, he won’t stop demanding things. Once he has the painting and your sister, what’s next?”

“I know,” he said, grasping big handfuls of his hair and tugging on it in frustration. “I know, but what can I do?”

“Being honest is a good start,” Gina said. She went to kneel in front of him. “And now you leave the rest to me and the Good Guys. Let’s get the painting for now and buy you some time with this asshole. Once that’s done, we take him down.”

He lifted his head and blinked at her. Gina stood. After a few moments of looking at her in confusion, he followed her to her feet. His eyes were so blue, looking down at her, so blue and full of gratefulness.

“I only hired you to get the painting. You owe me nothing besides that,” he said.

“You kind of saved my ass yesterday,” she said. “If I had punched Doriano, I’d have fucked myself. Considering how I’ve treated to you so far, you didn’t actually have any reason to help me.”

“Like I said, I never wished you ill.”

“I don’t wish you ill, either. Let me help.”

Enzo’s eyes radiated uncharacteristic warmth. Then, even more uncharacteristically, he hugged her.

“Thank you,” he said, his breath tickling her bare shoulder.

He smelled the same as he had eight years ago. The same almond soap and detergent, only now it was mixed with a spicy cologne. It reminded her that the rich boy she met back then was all grown up. Gina hugged him back in spite of herself.

She would have to finish this job, she thought, and quickly.

Author’s note: I’m leaving this without comments. I’m really tired and sort of grumpy, and if I write much I’ll just be complaining about all things I’m unhappy with in these pictures. Let’s not get into all that negativity. This is as it is, so I hope you guys enjoyed it and I’ll be seeing you for the next post 🙂

Cheers!

26 Comments

  • amyqueen

    Woah, so everything is now out in the open at last. I can’t even remember what my last suspicion as to what Fabrizio had over Enzo was because I’ve flipped around my theories a bit as the story continued, but murder wasn’t quite the image tarnisher I had in mind, at least not coming from Enzo himself directly. Gina appears to think something was off with his story since he’s definitely not the violent type, so unless he was drunk and is misremembering the story – which I doubt – and assuming he did uncharacteristically lose his cool, I think Fabrizio may have offed Conti himself in order to acquire this particularly powerful bargaining chip over this esteemed family… people are capable of scary things, and that would make more sense to me than this tussle killing a guy that long after being injured 🤔 Blackmail aside, this chapter had a lot of tender EnzoxGina moments (do they have an official ship name btw? My bad if I’ve forgotten, hehe~ Feel free to enlighten me) Like the fact that she finally called him Enzo again and will no longer be saying his absurdly long full or last name for starters 😆 Then there was all the not so subtle bits of hand squeezing with even a hug at the end! I suppose expecting something more would be inappropriate given the circumstances with Enzo being riddled with guilt and all, so I’m a happy camper for now 😇
    I have to say I have no idea how you could be displeased with all of the lovely shots this chapter, especially the flashback photos that look like gorgeous paintings 😍 Since the story has revolved around and included constant mention of various art pieces and artists, I thought that was a wise and excellently executed stylistic choice. But I understand how you’re feeling, so I shall end this by saying this was a wonderful chapter and I hope that whatever you share next, be it the chapter or another photoshoot, you are personally more satisfied with it, as I know we shall be! 🙂 <3

    • NotJustaBook

      There’s been a lot of theories coming from the comments about this whole thing, ha, ha :’) Sadly, I believe it’s not unheard of for people to hit their hits and be seemingly fine only to die later from the injuries. That’s what I based this on 🙂 Saying that, though, something fishy is definitely going on. Gina’s speculations are solid 😉 That’s all I’m going to say, though!!
      I enjoy adding in more and more cute, tender moments as well as nice conversations between the two 🙂 I think someone’s been calling them Regenzo? XD I don’t know. Usually it’s others coming up with these names and me just going ‘Sure, that’s cool!’ 😛
      Aaw, thank you <3 It's mostly a bunch of clipping I couldn't fix. Sometimes, Gina's tattoos are just a massive pain because they man fixing stuff so much harder. Glad you liked the flashback pics, though. Those, I'm a bit proud of. I originally had another grainy type of effect, but then I remembered that brush stroke effect and it's just thematically on point, I think 😀
      Thanks so much for your nice comment, Amy <3

      • amyqueen

        Well, the gratification that comes from being right or close in a theory is what makes coming up with them in the first place extra fun :3 (Even though I often fail to come up with any explanations and enjoy just watching things unfold in the background, lol) That being said, I have unfortunately seen cases where people seemingly fine have died later on from head injuries, but the nearing two days made me suspicious, I’d have thought it would be a few hours… So if the injury/death combo is legit, I shall amend my previous guess and instead think that it was Lia who shoved Conti over and Enzo is covering for her. I’ve seen family members attempt to take the fall for someone they love before, and that could also be the reason for Lia’s intense rejection of the idea of Enzo turning himself in, but I still don’t have a firm enough grasp of the strength of their bond to be 100% behind that, since their mother and brother are out of the picture, they could very well be inseparable… I suppose I’ll have to wait and see. As evident by the horror that is Caislyn lmaooo, ship names aren’t my forte so I can’t throw anything good into the mix XD I like Regenzo though 🙂 I shall be using it from here on out~ My bad, you got two extra long comments from me today, I can’t help it 😇

        • NotJustaBook

          If people generally die quicker from that kind of injury that’s probably just because I don’t know what I’m doing :’) It wasn’t something I researched terribly much, so yeah – blame it on silly old me x)
          I’m liking all the theories, honestly – it’s so fun to hear what you guys are thinking.
          And honestly, I don’t mind extra comments. Now I just feel special 😀 Thanks again, Amy <3

          • amyqueen

            I could be the one who’s off the mark since I’m going off of what I’ve seen in like two cases and not actual medical facts loool. So you’re probably fine 😂💕

          • NotJustaBook

            I hope so XD But I’m like going off something I saw in a tv-show once and a lot of guesswork. But I don’t think dying within 48 hours is too off the mark. Oh well, this is my story so reality can just go away x’D

  • Lila Remonn

    Aww yes, Enzo opened up!
    To be honest, at first I didn’t think it was weird that in Enzo’s story he punched Conti, since that dude being a stalker is just creepy and disgusting. I want to punch him myself. These stupid rich men, sigh. But when Gina noted that part of the story was off, I saw what she meant. Like Amy, I am wondering if it was Lia who was the puncher — she is much more fiesty than her brother and it wouldn’t surprise me if she lashed out. If that was what happened, I then wonder why Lia seems so… careless about this situation, if the whole thing stemmed from that. Hmmm….
    Their father is useless. Someone is stalking his daughter and he suggests she marry him? What a wonderful dad you are 😒
    I just love the small gestures that show Gina’s icy attitude towards Enzo is melting. That end hug was adorable! It’s all so cute, I want to jump up and down in excitement!
    The picture of Enzo and Fabrizio really caught my eye. The symmetry and portrait painting is just 😀 And all the other shots look great as well!
    Awesome chapter <3

    • NotJustaBook

      Indeed, Enzo’s not the type to loose his cool like that. 🙂 Though whether he’s telling the truth I won’t say.
      Their dad’s pretty useless, yes – it’s more important for him to avoid a scandal than to assure his daughter stays happy. As Gina would say: fucking rich people.
      Heeeee, I’m so excited about them getting more friendly! Finally getting to all the stuff I’ve been looking forward to write, sappy sap that I am.
      Thank you so much, Lila <3 And thank you for commenting!

  • audreyfld

    Hmmm. Like Amy, I think he is indeed covering for his sister. But I’m happy that he let his guard down, even if he’s still holding back. And she’s learning more about why he is like he is. And she’s going to help! Yay! He notices every time she softens as well. ❤️❤️❤️ By the time they get through this…yep. Genzo! Haha.

    • NotJustaBook

      They’re getting rather close because of all this, yeah, so by the time this is all over, they may very well get together 😉
      Thanks for commenting, Audrey <3

  • Jowita

    This was sweet. I love that we’re finally learning more about his motives, although maybe not all. Hm, it definitely seems odd that someone as composed as Enzo would punch the awful creep. Maybe he did indeed, though? After all, he barely controlled himself when it came to Lia and Lorenzo’s affair. The pictures were so beautiful, so were the interiors. I especially loved seeing the family portrait hung on the wall. The sweet, tender gestures were definitely appreciated.
    I kind of think it would be hilarious if the ship name was Engina, because it sounds so much like engine. 😂

    • NotJustaBook

      Thank you Jowita <3 You're right - he was rather angry about the thing with Lia and Lorenzo. Who knows what's really going on? (I mean, I do, but besides that...)
      😀 I'm glad you liked it. The house I used for this is so gorgeous, and it's mod free! The family portrait is of my making, he, he 😛
      Oh my god, that's actually an amazing shipping name hahaha XD

  • socallucyfan

    Well, everything is out in the open. About damn time!!!
    Although, I am not convinced that Enzo is being 100% truthful. That maybe he is covering up something else. I am happy that he is able to talk to Gina again. It reminded me of when they were younger.
    And, can I say how disgusting it is the way they are treating Lia. It is so creepy how her father is using her like a piece of bait to catch a big fish to enhance the family’s standing. So sad, I feel bad for the poor girl.

    • NotJustaBook

      The instinct to keep things hidden are so strong with these rich folks, so I think you’re right they’re hiding something, Stephanie 😉
      And I’m glad you’re getting that vibe like they were younger. I think Gina’s feeling that, too, and that it’s helping to defrost her.
      Indeed, Lia is treated pretty poorly 🙁 It’s generally not fun to be in this family at all.
      Thanks for reading and commenting, friend 🙂

  • Antoinette

    Wow what an amazing story. I am so excited that I found a Sims 3 blog still being written instead of being 5 years late for the party. 😀 Also love the dramarama. How do you make the pictures look so good? I mean my sims are sexy but yours just… glow?

    • NotJustaBook

      Hi there! Glad to have you! I, too, always love finding sims 3 stories that are still active.
      I use ReShade for my pictures, among others, and for some pictures various editing trickery. Thanks for reading along and for your kind words! 🙂

  • sempreviva

    Oh my god, I am so sorry for yet another super late comment! I can’t seem to keep up these days! :O :'(
    It was nice to finally hear what Enzo had to say about the painting, but I think Amy hit a bulls eye when she mentioned that he’s probably hiding something, and that is quite possibly the fact that it was his sister the one who actually murdered Conti… But I really wonder, what on earth does Fabrizio has on Enzo? Especially now, after all this time, how could he even prove that Enzo or Lia killed him? Does he hold any evidence?
    It was very sweet and exciting to see that Gina has finally warmed up to Enzo, although I’m sure she’s only able to warm up so much, haha.
    And I have no idea what you’re talking about as far as those pictures are concerned girl! They are amazing! So clear and atmospheric, and so carefully detailed! I especially loved the one with Enzo’s family portrait, such a wonderful touch! Great chapter, as always! <3 <3

    • NotJustaBook

      Don’t worry <3 🙂 I always say that because seriously - no worry. Anytime you want to read and comment, I'm more than happy to hear your thoughts 🙂
      Well, I can say that even if Fabrizio doesn't have physical evidence of the murder, rumours have quite the effect in their social circles. Simply opening an investigation that involved Enzo could damage his family's reputation. Badly.
      Ha, ha, true - it'll take a little more nudging before she'll truly open up.
      Thank you so much <3 🙂 I was mostly upset about some clipping I couldn't fix, but it doesn't seem like people are focusing so much on that so... Thanks a lot. I'm really glad you like the pictures.
      And thank you for reading and the nice comment <3

  • twinsimskeletons

    Ah, I really like the texture of the flashbacks! And I accepted his story at face value (I’m terrible at sensing dishonesty) but when Gina thought parts of it were bollocks, I realised she was right. But it’s not hard to get defensive of one’s sister when she’s being stalked by a man who will only ‘go easy on her’ if she marries him. Just a shame Enzo didn’t nail him in his nads.
    I wonder if Enzo didn’t kill him though. If his guilt is misplaced… Either it was a freak death that was never explained enough for Enzo to realise it wasn’t the injury he’d caused, or if Fabrizio is even more cold-blooded and cunning that I think and did it himself. I’ll admit that is incredibly far-fetched, but since it was where my mind went, I thought I should put it in a comment 😉

    • NotJustaBook

      Thank you 😀 I initially had a grainy texture, but then I realised that with the over-all artsy kind of theme, a brush texture made more sense 😛
      I imagine there are soooo many times in Enzo’s life when he’s wanted to punch people around him, especially guys treating his sister like an object. There’s a few options here for what he happened – but Gina’s right. Enzo isn’t normally someone to resort to violence, so we’ll just have to wait and see.
      Thanks for reading and commenting 😀

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