Generation 2,  Monte Vista Stories,  Stories

Monte Vista Stories | 2.19. The Mason’s Wife

Bastien Villeneuve, stone mason and husband of Georgette Desjardins-Villeneuve, lived in a house past one of Monte Vista’s old bridges. It wasn’t in the town proper, but outside it in a small village where Gina and Carlotta used to go to parties.

Gina couldn’t count how many times the two of them had stumbled over this bridge in high heels, arms draped over each other’s shoulders and laughing. They were both sober today, both armed, ready to do the kind of business she was used to. It was a relief to be back to breaking in and waving a gun around after all the rubbing elbows with rich people… even if this robbery wasn’t a typical job.

The house they were headed to was only inhabited by the mason and his wife. The two of them were unlikely to be dangerous and even less likely to be armed. Despite the scam they had been running, their connection to the underworld was non-existent, apart from the tenuous connection to Leoni.

Maybe Gina was jaded, but after all the trouble they had gone through, it was hard to imagine it could be so easy: Cross to the village, go in, grab the painting from a middle-aged married couple, and it was over. Hopefully.

“This painting better not be fake,” she muttered, only loud enough for Lotta to hear.

“I think we’ve got it this time,” Lotta said. “It’s about damn time, too.”

Gina didn’t say so out loud, but she had a feeling Lotta was right. She could feel the excitement course through her veins, the way it always did when she came closer to a target.

Franco and a few of the others were already by the house. They stood a good ways away and hid just out of sight in the darkness. When Gina and Carlotta came into view, Franco waved.

“As far as we know it’s just Villeneuve and his wife at home. Even so, I’m going to stay outside in case someone comes around.”

Gina looked at Franco, surprised. “Are you worried?”

He sighed. “It’s a symptom of getting older; I always worry. I’m staying out here.”

“Very well. The rest of us are moving in now.”

She took out her gun and moved with the others to the front door. After three, precise kicks, the door gave away and she and her people flooded in. At first, the mason and his wife sat still, with faces like deer in headlights—then she stood up and he followed after a moment.

It wasn’t a surprise to Gina that Enzo’s mother still had an air of haughtiness, the same kind of attitude that hung around Ms. Antonini, Enzo’s sister, and any other woman of the wealthy set.

What was a surprise, however, was that she felt certain she had seen Georgette Desjardins-Villeneuve before. It wasn’t because she looked like Enzo or Rosalia. In contrast to her striking, beautiful children with their gorgeous eyes and black hair, her brown hair was cut into a simple bob that framed a set of grey eyes. If Gina hadn’t known for a fact that this was Enzo’s mother, she would have never guessed there was any relation to the Cavalcantes.

“So, this is about the painting, I take it,” Georgette said. There was no need to say which painting exactly.

“It is,” Gina said. “Save us some time and tell me where it is.”

The woman groaned. “I take it you’ll tear the house apart or shoot us if we don’t tell you, so fine—it’s upstairs.”

Gina waved for a couple of her men to head up the stairs, while she stayed facing Georgette and her husband.

Where the hell have I seen you before?

It wasn’t back in her teens, that much she knew—she never met any of Enzo’s family then. It probably wasn’t around Collesena either, since she couldn’t imagine Georgette would be welcome there. While these thoughts were going through her head, Georgette was eyeing her up as well.

“It’s up here, boss,” someone called down.

Gina spun away from the strange woman and darted up the stairs to where the painting hung. She moved towards it, feeling a pleasant warmth spreading in her body; the second she laid eyes on it, she knew it was the real one.

She had seen so many fakes by now that it made the real piece stand out even stronger. The van der Ast was already a beautiful piece, but to have looked for it so long, to have been through so much—it might just be her new favourite painting.

“It’s the real deal,” she said and laughed when two of her men high-fived behind her. “Take it back to the villa.”

She watched them take the painting down carefully, and was about to say they could leave, when Franco’s voice reached her from downstairs.

“Regina, I was right.”

Anger, quick and fierce, flared in her chest, and she sprang down the stairs.

“What now?”

But she quickly noticed what it was he meant.

Franco held his gun and pushed a man into the room. As opposed to Georgette, there wasn’t any doubt of his heritage. Tall, black-haired, blue-eyed. Apart from slight variations, he could have been a clone of his older brother. Franco gestured to the man.

“He was lurking outside, trying to help his parents, I’d wager.”

“Amadeo Cavalcante,” she said.

The only one of her children that Georgette had deemed worthy enough to bring.

“I don’t know who you are, but the police are on their way,” Amadeo said.

Gina snorted. “No, they’re not. Wouldn’t want to tell them about that stolen painting, would you now? Especially not considering you and your mother are the ones who stole it.”

He pressed his lips together, and she laughed. She finally realised where she had seen Georgette before.

If Gina hadn’t been angry and frustrated at the time, she would have realised right away; the resemblance was that strong. While she was trying to make her way through the house without Enzo’s help, she bumped into the two of them—pretending to be waitstaff of all things.

“That’s where I’d seen you before. The party at the Napoletanis’ house.”

Gina turned to Georgette. The woman was shaking her head with a sigh and then she looked at her son.

“I did tell you I had a bad feeling about her when we saw her at the party,” Georgette said. “She didn’t fit in.”

“I don’t, no,” Gina said. “Frankly, I’m glad I don’t. I wouldn’t walk out on my fucking kids, so I don’t have the right kind of mindset.”

She knew it wasn’t the professional thing to say, but something about the woman’s tone—her assertion that she didn’t fit in, as though it made her lesser—made her blood boil. The reaction from Amadeo and his mother was instantaneous. Both stepped forward in anger, and his nostrils flared as he said:

“You don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“I know enough.”

“So, I take it my ex-husband hired you,” Georgette said, her voice thick with disdain.

“No, but my client is none of your business.” She thought of Enzo, of the obvious distress and misery these people had put him through, and she couldn’t hold her tongue: “And since you’re a cold, heartless bitch, you don’t even have a right to talk about your former family. You’re lucky I’m not going to shoot you right where you stand. We’re done here.”

She spun and waved for everyone to follow.

“Are we sending it to Enzo right away?” Carlotta asked on the way out.

Before Gina could answer, she heard Georgette draw in a breath.

“Are you talking about my son? Did he hire you? What—?”

“I’m done talking to you.”

It surprised Gina when Georgette sprang forward and grabbed her arm hard. The French woman didn’t blink for a second, despite the many guns that were currently aimed at her, curtesy of Carlotta, Franco, and the others. Gina tried to shake her off, but her hands were like vices—even Georgette’s husband begging her to be careful couldn’t get her to back off.

“Is he all right? Please tell me, I’ll do anything.”

And she would. It was clear from the expression on her face.

Not so heartless after all, I see.

“Why that painting?” Gina asked. “Why is it everyone wanted the van der Ast?”

Georgette took a few seconds to understand the sudden change of topic, but then she nodded and released her grip. Information for information.

“Mum, don’t…” Amadeo said, but Georgette quietened him.

“It’s about an inheritance. The old man who owned it originally hates everyone—his children, his friends and acquaintances, even his wife. A while back, he promised that whoever has the painting when he dies will get his fortune. As we speak, he’s on his deathbed and I imagine he enjoys seeing everyone squabble over it.”

Gina snorted. “So, it’s about money.”

“Of course.” Georgette frowned and said: “My son. Tell me how he’s doing.”

Not one to go back on a deal, Gina said back in return: “He’s fine. Traumatised because his fucking mother didn’t want him, but nothing that can be fixed with a few decades of therapy.”

“That was unnecessary,” Amadeo said. “If we’d had a choice…”

“You had a goddamned choice, asshole. If you want to know how he’s doing, talk to him. That is, if he wants anything to do with you. We’re leaving.” In the doorway, she stopped one last time and added: “Oh, and you’ve been running your little scheme on the Good Guys’ territory. You will regret it if you pull that shit again. Good evening.”

The painting was safely hung on a wall in the living room, and now all that was left to do was to call Enzo and arrange transport. However, before that could be done, Gina felt like she needed a break. Her and Carlotta kicked off their shoes and settled on the rug in front of the fire with a glass of wine. For a blessed amount of time, they didn’t talk about anything in particular. They enjoyed the warmth of the fire and each other’s company and the wine. Even so, soon the conversation drifted to topics that again made her feel uncomfortable. Cold.

“Did you settle on a sofa yet?” Lotta asked.

She referred to the fact that Gina had been looking at furniture catalogues constantly since finding out the house would soon be hers alone. All alone.

“The grey ones,” she said.

“Yeah, they were nice. It’s going to be great.” Lotta looked around. “Though I’m going to miss the old a little.”

Gina didn’t reply. She took a deep drink of her wine, hoping that alcohol would defrost the ice making its way through her veins. It didn’t seem to work as it normally did.

“Your dad did talk about staying for a bit,” Lotta said after a while of silence. “That would be nice, right?”

“I told him not to. I don’t need it.”

“Of course you did. You know it’s okay to need your dad, right?”

“Sure, but I don’t.”

“For heaven’s sake, Regina,” Lotta said, rolling her eyes. “You’re so convinced that you’re a mystery wrapped in an enigma or something, like, you’ve got this façade and nobody can see what’s underneath… but you’re the most transparent person I’ve ever met.”

Gina craned her neck to look at her friend.

“I’m not!”

“Yes, you are. Everyone can look at your face and see exactly what you’re feeling, because you can’t hide it. Same for your dad, really, but at least he’s aware of it.”

“Give me one example of me being transparent,” Gina sneered.

“Like right now, you’re angry. That’s a given of course, since you spend a good seventy percent of the time being pissed, so…” She glanced with a smirk. “There’s also your obvious fondness for our client; and I’m talking about the tall, dark, and handsome client—not Ms. Antonini.”

“I still hate him.”

Lotta rolled her eyes. “Yes, indeed, that’s why you went off on his mother like that. I bet it’s also why you’ve been carrying on those late-night conversations with him for the past three days.”

Gina’s jaw fell.

“How did you… if you’re tapping my phone—”

“Please, Gina, I’m more sophisticated than that.” Lotta rolled her shoulders and took a sip of her wine before explaining: “After I heard your dad was going to retire, I called to make sure you were okay, but your phone was busy and it was busy for hours. For days. I wasn’t sure whom you’d be talking to so late, for so long, but then I realised: You only have long phone conversations with me or your boyfriends. Considering the way you look at him lately, it could only be Enzo.”

“Except he’s not my boyfriend.”

“Yet.”

“I hate you.”

Lotta smiled and said: “You hate me about as much as you hate him, which is to say not at all.”

“I’m talking to him for his sake. He found out his mum was involved in the painting stuff, so he needs someone to talk to.”

“Didn’t know you were a therapist.”

“I’m not. I… I’m…”

“His friend.”

The simplicity of the statement took Gina aback for a moment. Her instinct was to deny it vehemently, but then she couldn’t bring herself to do it. After all, she cared for his wellbeing, much the same as she did for Carlotta or one of her other friends. It hurt her to see him in pain and she felt a distinct dislike for his mother and brother, for the simple reason that they had hurt him. She turned Lotta’s words over in her head for a long time. The room was silent, apart from the popping sounds of the fresh wood her friend placed in the fireplace, and her own breathing in her ears. She felt warm and soft for once, the cold finally leaving her limbs—Gina hated to admit it, but she had a point.

“Maybe,” she said at last, with hesitation.

Lotta smiled. “And who knows, now that you’re friends with him, maybe—”

“No,” Gina said. “That’s all it is. I’m glad he’s my friend and that he’s not as bad as I thought, but I’m not going to fall for him again.”

To her surprise, Lotta threw back her head and laughed.

“Relax, Gina, I was going to suggest that now that you’re friends with him, maybe you can make up with some of your other exes. They’re not all bad either.”

Lotta stood up and Gina followed her to her feet.

“I’m not going to make friends with all the guys who dumped me,” she said.

“Didn’t say you had to, just that it might make you think.” Lotta pushed a lock of hair out of her face and said: “I’d better leave so you can call our client. And consider what to do about Ms. Antonini.”

“What do you mean?”

“Word will spread fast that you have the painting and Ms. Antonini will want it. I don’t take it that Enzo’s plan to steal it from his future brother-in-law will work.”

Gina shook her head, feeling a stab of sympathy for Enzo yet again. The poor guy may be good at rich people stuff, but he was extremely bad at this.

“It would backfire on him. We’re ditching Ms. Antonini.”

Lotta went silent.

“And then we won’t have a job for a serious collector ever again.”

“We’ll manage.”

“But…”

“You heard Georgette,” Gina said. “It’s all about money, getting some dumb old guy’s inheritance even though Ms. Antonini’s already got money coming out of her ass. Enzo’s being blackmailed. He needs it more. As for us making money, we can do any old thing to get by.”

Carlotta’s eyes grew warm and then she hugged Gina.

“Your dad has good reason to be proud.”

Hearing her say that, with such sincerity and a complete absence of mocking, made Gina nearly tear up. It wasn’t that Lotta didn’t like or respect her—she knew she did—but she was also the first person to point out her mistakes and her flaws. The times when she gave any kind of genuine praise were more precious for it. She only nodded in response and then her friend left.

As soon as Lotta was out the door and Gina had shaken her hair down, she called Enzo. She made no introduction, instead saying:

“I have the painting.”

He was silent for a long time and when he spoke, he sounded dangerously close to tears:

“Thank you, Gina.”

“I’m going to send it tomorrow and it should be with you soon.”

He hesitated. “I thought I might come get it myself as soon as I can get away. If you don’t mind, that is.”

She felt like she had just downed a mouthful of wine and felt it’s warmth radiate through all her veins.

“Of course I don’t mind.”

“That’s wonderful, thank you,” Enzo said. After a small pause he continued: “You wouldn’t have time to talk now, or…?”

“Sure, what’s up?”

Gina closed her eyes and smiled. If Lotta called her tonight, she would get the busy signal again.

 

Author’s note: No but seriously, I promise they have the painting now – that storyline is pretty much over (almost). And we met Enzo’s mum and brother. If you go back, you’ll indeed see that I sneakily inserted them into chapter 14 (or maybe not so sneakily). It was hard to decide how to go about it. I ended up using DOF to hide their identities. I figured Georgette wouldn’t matter, since she doesn’t look like her kids, but I had a feeling that if Amadeo’s face showed up, it would be totally obvious who he was. It’s not the first time in this gen I’ve hidden something in a chapter with DOF, either, but you guys didn’t notice 😛 The DOF is a little TOO good for hiding details in the background, ha, ha 😀

I’ve got to say that changing the schedule is the best decision I’ve made in a while. Since doing that, I’ve managed to completely write 6 (!!) chapters and if you don’t already know, I’m doing a rewrite of gen one. You can read a bit about it here and see the chapter listing here. Basically, changing the schedule has freed up a lot of energy. I know I’m going to need it this coming week as well. I’m doing a big school project, the biggest one we’ve done so far. Wish me luck, because the start hasn’t been super great so far – group work is hard, guys.

That’s it for now. Thanks for reading if you made it this far and I’ll see you in the next post.

Cheers!

12 Comments

  • Kymber

    You are so sneaky, hiding characters like that! 😀 Sneaky… and clever. I can’t believe this is wrapping up, I’ve enjoyed it so much! And oooooo la la, the late night calls. I’m all aboard that ship!

    • NotJustaBook

      He, he, DOF is pretty useful like that! 😛
      The painting plot is getting wrapped up, but at least the gen is far from over. I think I’m a little over halfway at this point (And almost at 50.000 words… how did I get so wordy???), so there’s plenty to come 😀
      Glad you’re aboard. I can see it sailing before too long 😉
      Thanks for reading and commenting, Kym <3

  • Jowita

    Ah, your pictures are always a delight. 🙂 ♥ I will probably never obtain that level of beauty in mine. But then again, I don’t have the gorgeous Monte Vista to set my scenes in. Also, the outfits are on point. Love how they match both Gina and Lotta’s styles. Perfect!
    Finally a real one! Woot! I almost felt like we’ll never see the end of this chase after a painting. And we finally know the cause. I should have been able to guess it would be about the money. 😛
    So it was about these people! I would have never guessed. I mean, I don’t think you can expect us to recognize characters blurred by DOF that we’ve never seen before. A bit unfair, isn’t it, Louise?
    “I don’t, no,” Gina said. “Frankly, I’m glad I don’t. I wouldn’t walk out on my fucking kids, so I don’t have the right kind of mindset.” –> Love this response! It’s so Gina-like.
    Tall, dark, and handsome sounds just like Nadir to me. Reminds me of Genevieve. I don’t mind, though, because that’s my type, as well (don’t get confused by all the blondes in my story!).
    By the way, fun fact: I have Gina’s hair in my game and used it previously on a stripper (I know, lol) and almost gave it to Shari for today’s chapter, but I just couldn’t because it belonged too much to Gina in my head.
    I love how much emotion and expression you’ve put into the gesture of Georgette grabbing Gina’s arm. It felt like a desperate mother wanting to know something about her child. Maybe there were other reasons to her leaving him and others behind… I know Gina’s into Enzo and she sympathizes with him but I can’t help but wonder if maybe there’s more to the story that doesn’t meet the eye. It just seems too unbelievable to me, she doesn’t feel like that cruel woman and mother that Enzo pictured her as.
    And I think I noticed two little slip-ups in this chapter? “nothing that can be fixed with a few decades of therapy.” – I think it should be can’t? But I just had to ask you, because I think two could fit in this context, with my option being more ironic. I don’t know, I just pay attention to little details, don’t take it personally.
    At the end, it definitely should be *its* warmth, though. Sorry, I just had to. 😛
    Anyway, this was a great one. Maybe I should consider reverting to your schedule, because I’ve had such a busy week I really considered not posting today. So, what I have up in half an hour is pretty bad, sorry about that. I also want to post the poses, do things in my game, edit old stuff as you do. Ah, so many things and little time to do that, huh? Wishing you luck on that school project!

    • NotJustaBook

      Aw don’t be hard on yourself. Your pictures look awesome 🙂 Monte Vista is probably a large part of my stuff looking good, lol. Thank you <3
      I know!! Honestly? The thing with the painting was supposed to last until the end of the gen. Thankfully for everyone’s sanity, boyfriend made me see sense :p
      I didn’t expect it no, lol 😛 I didn’t focus too much on them either, so I didn’t think anyone would pay attention to a couple of waiters - which is of course why they dressed as waiters 😉
      He, he 🙂 Gina’s type is definitely tall, dark, and handsome as well! The difference between her and Genevieve is that Gen doesn’t have a type as such 😆
      Gina actually has a couple of hairstyles I think I use three or four different buns for her, though maybe mostly this one 😛 girl looks good with nearly every hairstyle as opposed to her mother who looks good with like... two.
      I think you’re right about Georgette. Gina just cares too much about Enzo to notice.
      Gah, I knew something like that might happen! I usually read my chapters aloud to myself in the morning before posting, but I have a super persistent cough. Only made it little over halfway before I had to stop because of coughing so badly 😕 I stopped around the time I made it to your first one (it is supposed to be “can’t”).
      I absolutely love this schedule, it’s got to be said 🙂 it feels awesome to have time for stuff other than this! So I do recommend it! 😃
      Thank you Jowita, and thank you for the long comment <3 I won’t read your stuff until I’m back at my computer- can’t see the pics properly on the phone! But I’m excited! 😃

      • Jowita

        I’m not being hard on myself, I just consider you an absolute pro! 😀
        I’m so glad it didn’t last until the end of this gen. I’m very glad that we didn’t have to wait THAT long!
        LOL, but you mentioned more. I wonder who they are.
        Ha, ha, tall, dark & handsome is the absolute best!
        I think you use this wavy bun the most. I’ve grown very used to it. I know the struggle with hairstyles! I sometimes like having a couple of months between the chapters so that I can give Sims longer hair and pretend it’s grown. That what happened in today’s chapter.
        Ah, please don’t feel bad! I only pointed it out because I thought you might want to know it since I know you’re a perfectionist and a bit of a grammar nazi. I mean, I have to correct myself all the time, especially since I started writing as Ron. I’ve already told Carys I will have been illiterate by the end of this gen.
        I really have to consider taking up a similar one. Once a week is quite a tight schedule if you have so much real stuff to be taken care of!
        Oh, take your time! I think it’s not the same with your phone. And mine sometimes has trouble loading the pics at all. I’ll see you when you get around to reading when you’re free! ♥

        • NotJustaBook

          You’re too kind 🙂 See, I consider Lila an absolute pro, and she probably compares herself to someone else… so that way none of us are ever happy, lol 😀
          Yeah, in hindsight, I don’t know what was up with me thinking I could stretch this painting thing for the whole gen *eyeroll*
          He, he, it’s just a small detail I hid in two pictures in chapter 6 😛 No more secret relatives of Enzo’s hidden away!
          You’re right! I went back to check my pics and I’ve absolutely used this one the most. I didn’t even notice 😛 But I think it is the one that fits her best. He, he, I always try to give my sims hairstyles that are similar in length 😛 Except in CoM – when their hair have different lengths it’s because magic 😛
          Don’t worry – I don’t feel bad. I’m just cursing my cough/sore throat for being such a bother! 😛 There’s no guarantee I’d have caught those mistakes without it, but it would have certainly been easier to read aloud if I wasn’t coughing up my lungs…
          It’s so true. Since I started school, I just can’t keep up the once a week anymore. I can always go back to it when I have summer holidays and such. But I really can’t recommend it enough – it’s a relief to be able to take my time with stuff 🙂
          I’m finally back at my computer, so I think I’ll need to sit down with a cup of tea and some simlit soon 🙂

          • Jowita

            I actually like your style better than Lila’s but definitely is a matter of personal taste. But I like my own pictures, still, and am proud of them and how much work goes into taking and editing them.
            Yup, I can’t even imagine this plotline going on and on and on… I myself rushed Becca because it’s been a long time on my break and such. I wanted to be done with it.
            Oh, thank god, it’s not Enzo’s relatives you’re talking about!
            Yes, I’ve gotten so used to her wearing that hairstyle. It’s insane, though, how much I’ve gotten used to Dellie’s initial hairstyle. I refuse to use it for any other Sim ever. 😛
            Yeah, mine too, they just vary in length when there’s a time skip. My females tend to have their hair cut short at one point… It’s true for Maddie, Gemma and Hailey.
            I’m sorry about your throat and hope you feel better! I never read aloud because there are so many people in the house and I’d feel embarrassed.
            I will have to think about it – and if I change my schedule, then will I post the chapters on these days you do or the other weeks?
            AH, I see you’ve read it already. Going to read your thoughts now.

          • NotJustaBook

            No, I was having trouble stretching it, so when boyfriend suggested that I put more time into the blackmail and such instead, I realised he was right.
            Ha, ha, no, not at all. It’s just a little funny detail in a few pictures in chapter 6. Doubt people would have even noticed if they weren’t blurred!
            I think I must have, too. It’s just kind of hers, now 😛
            I like the idea of sims cutting their hair shorter as they age, because it looks mature in a way. Guess it’s what happened to Georgette as well – she had quite long hair when living with her ex-husband.
            Thank you – it’s been going on since last Friday, so over a week. I’m afraid it won’t just go away very easily which is a huge pain 🙁 I read aloud when boyfriend isn’t awake. It’s a big help in catching mistakes, but I don’t think I would have done it when I lived at home with my parents.
            That’s totally up to you, Jowita – whenever you feel like it! 🙂

          • Jowita

            I like that idea, too. It’s also a symbol of a new chapter in life. It’s happened in many of my stories before NDIA. But it happened in this one, too. At the start of generation 1 Maddie has short hair but she used to have a very long hair which she often wore in a plait. Freddie remarks on that when he is first introduced and I also included old pictures of her in the bonus post from this gen. It was just hinted at, though.
            I’m so sorry it’s been bugging you for so long now! Oh yes, it’s definitely a disadvantage for my story to live with my parents and my brother sometimes.
            I will definitely think about it.

  • audreyfld

    Great chapter. I love your pictures! Amazing – as always. Then real painting! Yay! And meeting Ezio’s mother and Gina’s reaction tomher. She has deeper feelings for Ezio than she wanted to admit. I loved the convo by the fire. Lotta’s so right and I’m glad she made Gina think. I knew he would want to pick it up. Any excuse to see Gina again. ❤️❤️❤️

    • NotJustaBook

      Thank you so much, Audrey <3 And yes! The real painting. It was about time, too. I think at this point Gina is the only one who doesn't realise how deep the feelings go. Or at least she won't admit it...
      He, he, I think you're right - Enzo would want to see Gina and let's face it, she's happy to see him as well 🙂
      Thanks for reading and commenting <3

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