Enzo’s appraiser was one Gualberto Pesaro and to Gina’s surprise, he greeted Franco like an old friend—because that was just what they were. It immediately shot a hole in her theory that the rich man had hired a fraud who worked with the forgers.

Adding further holes to the theory was his reaction to seeing the painting. He looked at Franco, then Gina, then Enzo, his eyes wide with confusion.

“Is this a joke?”

“Afraid not,” she said.

“This is not the painting I appraised,” he told her with emphasis, looking over at Enzo with a look that radiated professional pride. “The painting I saw was the genuine article, no doubt about it. I wouldn’t have written out the certificate otherwise.”

Enzo stood to the side, next to Lorenzo who had insisted on being there. He sat on the bed, and his eyes shifted from Gina to Enzo. Lorenzo kept sending her warning glances as well. It were as if he was afraid that she would suddenly get out a gun and start shooting up the place.

Then, there was the sister

If they hadn’t told Gina that Rosalia Cavalcante was a relative of Enzo’s, she could have guessed. She had black hair and that cool, noble attitude, not to mention the startling blue eyes and high cheekbones. The smile on her face was as fake as the van der Ast her brother had bought.

Gina took deep breaths and focused her attention on the painting. The oddly popular painting. She placed a hand on her hip and said:

“So if I get this right. Ms. Antonini owned this originally and it was stolen from her by a friend.”

“That would be Mr. Amoretti,” Enzo said.

She rolled her eyes. It would be a bad business move to chew him out in front of the appraiser. She did think it was typical, though, that one asshole rich guy would know another asshole rich guy.

“Right, but then she told us that it was stolen from Amoretti by…” she glanced over at Enzo. “You, I assume.”

“Um…” he pressed his lips together and said: “I bought the painting from a merchant. I wouldn’t know where he acquired it.”

Gina did another eyeroll. If she had to spend much more time around the man, they would get stuck permanently. Franco smiled at her and continued for them:

“Then, at some point after you bought the painting, it was stolen and replaced with a forgery.”

Gina nodded and looked over at Enzo.

“We need the name of your ‘merchant’, Cavalcante.”

“It’s Leoni.”

She immediately turned to Franco to see his eyes light up in recognition. Unsurprisingly, he knew the man. Good old Franco knew everyone. Confusion, though, soon took the place of recognition.

“Leoni isn’t a scam artist,” he said.

He explained the gist of what had happened here: Sometimes, a dishonest merchant would come across a real painting and sell it. After selling it, he would steal it back, replacing it with a fake. It was a way to make money on a painting for a long time, but without raising the suspicion of buyers. Leoni didn’t do that kind of thing, Franco said. At least, not normally.

“Whatever the case may be, we need to meet him.”

Franco sighed. “He won’t meet with us—he’s paranoid. There’s a silent agreement that he doesn’t infringe on our business and vice versa.”

She got a sinking feeling as she looked over and locked eyes with Enzo.

“I can’t believe I’m fucking saying this,” she said, glowering, “but in that case I’m going to need you to set up a meeting. We’ll be there.”

She could tell from the challenge in his eyes that he would be, too.

Coming back to the house, Gina was surprised to see Gabriele, her nephew, bound towards her down the path. His hair was as vividly red as his mother’s, and it danced around his face. She hadn’t been aware that he was going to be over. The same could be said for her brother Giuliano and his girlfriend Flora. Marta as well. A spontaneous visit, she wondered?

Her dad came to greet her, though, and Gina realised what was going on. She gave Gabriele a big hug before looking up at her dad.

“I told you I’m fine, dad. It’s nice of you to want to cheer me up, but…”

“It wasn’t me,” he said, holding up his hands. “They invited themselves—I just made lunch. I swear on your mother.”

Gabriele grabbed her hand and pulled her down into a crouch.

“I completed the mission, auntie Gina. I did just like you said, and it worked.”

He pointed over his shoulder at his parents. At first, she didn’t understand what he meant, but then she remembered and caught him by the shoulder.

“Oh my god, he finally did it?”

Her nephew nodded and grinned and Gina pulled him into another big hug.

It had taken ages for her brother to find the courage to propose to Flora, but it couldn’t have happened at a better time. Gina fawned over the ring he had bought, and only teased him a little.

“We could have helped you… acquire a ring,” she said sweetly.

Her dad grinned and added: “The place where I got your mother’s ring is…”

“Thanks, I’m happy with my legally purchased ring!” Flora said loudly and more back and forth followed. Love and laughter and life filled the air. Once the latest news were exhausted, they sat down for lunch.

Seeing them all washed away the events of the past few days. Pain, anger, and frustration vanished in the clinking of glasses and the laughter of her family. She could feel her heart practically burst looking at Gabriele’s eager eyes. Her little accomplice was overjoyed that their little scheme had worked, and he wouldn’t stop talking about it over and over.

“I didn’t propose because of your scheme, Gina,” Giuliano protested at the other side of the table.

“No of course not,” she said, but to Gabriele, she mouthed: He totally did.

“I did just as you told me,” her nephew said in a conspiratorial whisper—or in as conspiratorial a whisper as a seven-year-old could muster. “I left those magazines everywhere.”

“I was so confused when I started finding bridal magazines in the kitchen drawers,” Flora said from across the table. “At least they’ll come in handy now.”

Gina could hardly contain the squeals. She looked over at Flora eagerly.

“Where are you going to have the ceremony? And the party? Oh, are you going dress shopping soon and do you need…?”

Flora assured her that she wanted to bring her dress shopping. Same for Marta. The rest of lunch became a storm of questions for her brother and Flora. They were planning to have the ceremony and the party in Collesena, so that their mother could be there. Her dad nearly cried when Flora said it. He had been the one most in doubt about telling Flora and her son about Vittoria’s hiding out; but Flora could be trusted.

Regina felt cleansed when they walked from the table. Her dad and Marta lounged in the grass talking, while Giuliano pushed Gabriele in the swing. Meanwhile, she dragged off Flora to talk, fully intending to quiz her on wedding dresses. However, her future sister-in-law had other ideas.

“I was sorry to hear about the break-up,” she said. “You and Rico seemed so good together.”

Gina’s stomach sank and she wished she’d had a little more wine to dull the ache. She kept her face as neutral as she could.

“It just didn’t work out, you know.”

“I just really thought you two would…”

“Well we didn’t,” she snapped.

She could have kicked herself. Gina bit her lip and said: “I’m sorry, Flora. We have this client…”

“It’s okay,” Flora assured her. “Your dad told me about that. Do you need to talk?”

Gina had already turned down her dad and Carlotta’s offers of a heart-to-heart, so she wasn’t about to say yes to Flora. Even if she was the nicest person in the world, and almost a licensed therapist.

“It’s nothing. I was bound to bump into an ex at some point,” she said. “It’s just unfortunate that it had to be him of all. At least it could have been Manuel or something—we ended on good terms.”

Well, they sort of did. She had managed to keep her temper in check when he dumped her, and the one time she had bumped into him since, he’d waved. And he only looked a little panicked. She was still proud of that.

Flora smiled, but then her face grew sombre. Gina placed a hand on her shoulder, urging her on with a careful smile. Her sister-in-law heaved a sigh and said, shakily:

“This… this ex… Is he worse or better than Doriano Montanari?”

“Better. Pretty much everyone is. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to dredge up memories of that…”

“No, don’t worry,” Flora said. “Look at those two. With those two, how can I complain about anything? You’ll see, Gina, it’ll all turn out well for you, too, and then it won’t matter. It’s all as it should be.”

Gina did look at her brother and her nephew. Gabriele cried out for his daddy—for he was the only daddy the boy had ever known—to push higher, higher, higher… She smiled. Maybe, she thought, Flora was right. Someday, hopefully, it would all turn out well for her, too.

EDIT 13/8 2018: I changed the wording on this chapter a bit near the end to clarify when Flora is talking and when Gina is. I also changed one of the pictures because I noticed that I had left the walls down. For shame.

Author’s note: Hi guys! Welcome back to Monte Vista. This was probably a pretty short chapter and not a very significant one in the grand scheme of things. The lovely ladies of the Facebook writing group will know that I struggle with filler lately – to filler or not to filler, that is the question. I added a bit here, because I wouldn’t want to throw the next one at you right away. I was afraid this was a boring addition, though boyfriend said it was nice.

Now, I’ve been making poses lately and some of them aren’t even that shitty! Might share some in the next couple of days. Don’t get me wrong, I regularly make poses, but in the case of, for example, the ones used for the lunch scene here, they’re of so poor quality, I won’t bother the world with them. Another creation of mine I’d like to draw your attention to is the pattern on Flora’s dress. Not the dress itself (though it is a nice one) – just the pattern. That’s my first recolourable pattern that I made a while back, and looking at it now it’s… actually not entirely bad (see how it looks per default down below). So there’s that 🙂 Not sure if I’m going to share patterns; though if I make more, it’s a possibility.

Anywayyyy, enough about all of that. I’d like to thank you guys for reading along this far, and I’ll be seeing you in my next post 🙂



amyqueen · August 11, 2018 at 9:26 am

Aww this was a sweet and heartwarming chapter~ and also quite funny, haha. I wouldn’t consider it a ‘filler’ since they did get the ball rolling on the next step in finding the missing art piece for the first half. But, if you feel like writing a random side story/ back story/ unrelated story in-between or within the chapters themselves, I think I can speak for most of us and say we enjoy reading anything you put out, so filler away if that’s what you feel like doing! ☺️
Aww Franco, he is such a sweetie and veryyy sociable, lol 💖 Gina’s low tolerance for Enzo makes me laugh 😂 Yay, Flora makes her official appearance~ I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again, I love her hair! Yay x 2 for the wedding news. They seem like such a lovely pair and I look forward to seeing the celebration whenever they get around to having it 🎊 I liked seeing the more girly side to Gina, I fell under the impression she wouldn’t be as passionate about dress shopping and wedding prep as she was, but I suppose that’s because I have her image first and foremost as a badass who’s not the luckiest when it comes to romance, hehe. She also seems to be good with kids; her moments with Gabriele were precious 😆
Girl, your poses are wonderful, I have no idea what your are talking about. I love the pattern color combination – reminds me of cotton candy 😄 This was a lovely chapter! ❤️

    NotJustaBook · August 11, 2018 at 9:42 am

    True, the first part isn’t filler, though the second part is 🙂 He, he, I’m just always so eager to get the plot moving forward, what can I say 🙂 Though writing this and finding that it’s not all bad has made me want to do some unrelated/side stuff.
    I couldn’t resist the chance to include a wedding in this 😀 I’m looking forward to setting it up! Gina is definitely part girly girl. She’s got her soft sides, much like Carlo does.
    But you only think they’re nice because I just post the good ones :’) I swear, the ones used here are super flawed! Thank you though <3
    And thanks for reading and commenting, friend <3

twinsimskeletons · August 11, 2018 at 12:40 pm

I think filler isn’t an inherently bad thing, I was just as engaged with the story in both halves. Filler is necessary to give character background and ground the story I think, so I wouldn’t worry about it. It was a good balance here! In fact I think it’s important we see that our favourite criminals have a loving family life, as it gives them depth and shows they have a good heart.
I actually really like the lunch poses. I don’t often spend a lot of time looking at pictures (though I’m trying to rectify that to improve myself) but I did here and I wondered if I already had them in my pose directory.. I’m always on the look out for more 😛
I adore Gina. She’s just so fun. I’m like the opposite in that I’ll always be civil and kind even when I want to roll my eyes and let my temper go, so it’s very fulfilling to live vicariously through her, haha!
Is the facebook group you mentioned a simming one? O:

    NotJustaBook · August 11, 2018 at 1:01 pm

    I’m glad you think so <3 I'm not against filler either, I just naturally prefer to get the plot rolling, ha, ha, and I'm always afraid that stuff like this was boring 🙂
    And thank you! You may have some of them since I think I made just two/three of them recently. Two I think were by others and one is an older one of mine. I might release these if I ever bother to make them look better. The child one is particularly bad from other angles :')
    I think that's why I love writing her as well - I'm exactly the same. It would be extremely cathartic to just say stuff like that sometimes, but I leave it to her!
    It is, yes 🙂 Started by Kymber of Booomcha.

      twinsimskeletons · August 12, 2018 at 11:50 am

      Ooh I’ll have to find a link somewhere!

        NotJustaBook · August 12, 2018 at 3:12 pm

        I’m sure you can get it from Kym or something. Or from me, I guess… anyway, you should definitely join us if you’d like 🙂

          twinsimskeletons · August 12, 2018 at 5:27 pm

          I did try to find the link on Kymber’s page but wasn’t successful, would you be able to link me? 😀

          NotJustaBook · August 12, 2018 at 8:45 pm

          I’ve sent it through Tumblr 🙂

audreyfld · August 11, 2018 at 1:13 pm

I loved this. And I echo the other comments. It doesn’t feel like filler, it feels like we see another side of Gina and rounds her out. I loved it. And it did move the story forward. Great chapter!

    NotJustaBook · August 11, 2018 at 1:33 pm

    Thank you, Audrey <3 I'm glad you liked it. Thanks for reading and commenting!

Jowita · August 11, 2018 at 1:38 pm

I finally fit in time to read this one. And let me tell you this first – the photos are ever so dreamy.
The whole art forging stuff is so messed up. It I apparent you did your research and you did your homework well. But oh my, I wonder how they’re going to eventually find the original painting. It is going to take them long, I fear. Seems that Enzo’s appraiser is actually a good one. Now having Gina and him on board, they will know whether the painting is the original one or not… At least until someone else steals it again :/ Is it all really worth it?
These family moments were very cute and I enjoyed reading about them. I am so happy for Flora and Giuliano. They are a perfect fit 🙂 And I think that they won’t leave Gabriele without a sibling, not for long. Ah, I can sense their wedding will be wonderful!
Don’t worry about filler. As I’ve said on our Facebook group (btw, I do love our writing discussions on there), they are important for character development and such. And it’s lovely to see the whole family together! Well, except Vittoria, that is.
Ha, ha, your pattern kind of looks like a transgender flag. I think I spent too much time looking on the Pride flags, but the colors kind of match it 😛 Please do share poses and patterns if you want!

    NotJustaBook · August 11, 2018 at 1:44 pm

    Thank you <3
    I have at least done a bit of research on forgeries, the rest I'm just kind of basing on what I know about scams and scam artists (I'm weirdly fascinated with scams - even wrote a uni paper on it once). Glad it sounds like I know what I'm talking about... I only kind of do :')
    I hope I can make it a nice wedding, at least, because I completely intend to include it in the story <3 Of course, Gina will have a wedding, too, but theirs come first 🙂 I originally had a little remark where Gina told Gabriele that their next mission was to get him a sibling - lol! 😀 That's probably still going to be their mission, tbh.
    (I love the writing discussions on there, too! Such a great group of people). I'm glad people like this. I do worry ever so much about every little detail.
    Hah, you're right - that's pretty close to the transgender flag. I didn't even do it intentionally, but I'm 100 % okay with it!
    Thank you for reading and commenting, Jowita <3

socallucyfan · August 12, 2018 at 6:47 am

Awe, this chapter was so sweet. I think it is very cute to see tough overly emotional Gina gush over her nephew and future sister-in-law.
And props to Flora for knowing about the “family business” and not heading for the hills. This girl is a keeper!!

sempreviva · August 12, 2018 at 7:11 pm

This was such a sweet chapter! At least the second part of it, hehe 🙂 We’re finally seeing Flora and I must say, she won me over ever since she appeared! I love reading about moments like that (keep ’em coming ☺) and this was double lovely because of the wedding news! But hmmm I wonder about this Doriano Montanari guy… he sounds like Flora’s ex/Gabriele’s dad? I have a feeling he’ll play some major role to the story later!
The painting mystery gets deeper and deeper! I wonder what happened… but until then, I’ll happily read Gina’s snarky comments towards Enzo, that stuff is golden! 😁
Great chapter <3 <3

    NotJustaBook · August 12, 2018 at 8:48 pm

    I’m so glad you liked it. Indeed, the name Doriano Montanari will come into play at a later time 😉 And there will definitely be more snarky Gina comments 😀
    Thanks so much for reading and commenting <3

Lila Remonn · August 13, 2018 at 10:20 am

Oooh, so it seems Leoni may have pulled a scam… I wonder why, though, if he did, since Franco mentioned he isn’t that kind of person. Damn, this painting is very popular 😛
I love the outdoor lunch pictures, they are so idyllic and I can almost hear the cicadas buzzing around. Flora is just as beautiful, I am looking forward to the wedding 🙂
It was really nice seeing the girly-girl side of Gina. She is a very interesting combination of badass and softie, which is great to read about, her interactions with little Gabriele were so cute!
Ooops, I got a little confused with the dialogue near the end… was the line with “Doriano” said by Flora? If so, does that mean this said client is connected to both Flora and Gina? Since Flora seems to have bad memories of this person…
Lovely chapter <3

    NotJustaBook · August 13, 2018 at 4:27 pm

    It’s an extremely popular painting, yes 😛 The mystery behind it will slowly unfold…
    I can’t wait to do the wedding for Flora and Giuliano, though I doubt it’ll be as pretty as the ones you’re planning 🙂 Glad you enjoy Gina’s girlier side as well – some of it she left behind as a teen, but she’s still nuts about weddings and kids 😀
    Ah, sorry about the confusion! Basically, Gina is upset about the whole Enzo thing – he’s a client, but also her ex. When Flora asks if Enzo is as bad as Doriano, she’s not talking about him as a client, but an ex – and yes, he’s both connected to Flora and Gina. Both, but particularly Flora, have bad memories of the guy – and then Gina’s telling her that Enzo may be bad, but not as bad. I’ll go in and clarify that. Thanks for mentioning this 🙂
    And thank you for reading and commenting, friend <3

thewindsorlegacy · August 13, 2018 at 1:27 pm

I’ve finally caught up! Your writing just keeps better and better…you’ve done a brilliant job of making it seem like there is a fully developed world out there. I love how unique your sims’ features are as well! I adore Gina and honestly would love even more pictures of her 😉

    NotJustaBook · August 13, 2018 at 4:30 pm

    Thank you so much and thanks for taking the time to catch up and comment – it means a lot <3 I'm really glad you like both the writing and the looks of the characters 😀 Honestly, I could easily fill this entire gen with glamour shots of Gina and still have pictures of her left-over... she's so freaking photogenic, it's obscene.
    Again, thank you <3 :)

Kymber · August 18, 2018 at 1:33 am

Gosh, this was so good, filler or not. I really enjoyed it. You already know how I feel about filler. LOL 😀 It is necessary, in my mind. I really love your characters a great deal.

    NotJustaBook · August 18, 2018 at 7:59 am

    Thank you, Kym 🙂 <3 I'm glad you liked it. It means a lot.

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