It was highly inconvenient to Ms. Antonini that Regina asked for a meeting at this very time. After all, she was busy with her charity work. Oh, and with her granddaughter who had just been born. And there was a function at an old friend’s house soon which she must prepare for…
It took two whole days and much more grovelling than Gina liked before the woman finally agreed to meet with her. On top of everything with Enzo, it left her in a foul mood. The only good part about having to be in Collesena was that she had Carlotta with her.
Her friend had jumped at the chance to get away as she put it. For Gina this felt less like getting away and more like hopping into a fire with both legs first. Lotta lived for this kind of thing, however. She had only taken a break from mingling with the rich folks because Gina had an hour to kill before her meeting.
So they met up in the square and Regina asked her about her progress.
“Anything interesting?” she asked.
“Not really. People are remarkably tight-lipped about it. You can get little snippets of information, but they really don’t want to talk. This guy I played a round of golf—”
Gina looked at her friend with a raised eyebrow.
“You play golf?”
“Yes. I play occasionally.” She shook her head. “We’ve been friends for, what, seven years? Keep up, Gina.”
“Sorry, sorry,” she said, holding her hands up defensively. “I’m sure you’re great at golf. Go on.”
“I am, I’ll have you know. But like I was saying, I played with this guy, a bit younger, so he’s not as careful as everyone else. He assures me that this kind of thing happens all the time, but that’s about all he’d say. I think we have to talk to Antonini to get anything specific, since she’s involved in it. Good luck getting her to talk, though.”
“Oh, I’ll get her to talk.”
Not that she had much luck in getting rich people to spill their secrets so far, she thought, her mind drifting to Enzo. Lotta, unfortunately, noticed that she was quieter than usual, and said:
“Are you going to tell me why you’re so quiet lately?”
“I’m working a lot—working for my ex among other things, that’s why.”
Lotta rolled her eyes.
“Nah, that’s not it. You don’t get quiet when you’re stressed out or annoyed with exes. You snap and tear people’s heads off.” Gina glared at that, but Lotta laughed and said: “So, what is it?”
Gina groaned. “It’s nothing…”
“Cavalcante… said he was… sorry.” She glanced up to see Lotta’s mouth fall open and quickly added: “He didn’t mean it. It’s just because he’s tired of me insulting him.”
“Or it’s because he’s sorry.”
“Don’t make me laugh. He wasn’t sorry back then and he’s not sorry now. The arrogant ass just can’t take it when people are mean to him. Paying me didn’t work, so he moved on to other tactics.”
“Why does it get to you that he said it then?”
Gina couldn’t find her voice for a long while, and for each second she remained quiet, she could sense Lotta getting smugger. Finally, she said:
“It doesn’t get to me. He can fucking die in a hole for all I care.”
“I think he got to you.”
“I know it’s hard.” Lotta tossed her hair and smiled in the most annoying way. “It practically shatters your entire worldview. Maybe he’s not as bad as you imagined, and if he’s not as bad, there’s a chance that not all rich people are irredeemable monsters. Hell, some of your exes might even be redeemable.”
“Why are we friends again?”
“Because we have similar interests and my bright, optimistic nature provides a good contrast to your grumbling.”
“I don’t grumble,” Gina grumbled.
She was about to say something more when a shadow fell over them and she looked up to see the very person they had been talking about. He must be on his way to or from work, because he was dressed in a suit and tie and carried a briefcase.
A biting comment formed in her mouth, something about his suit and the tie and how he looked like a wealthy asshole. But the comment died on her lips. It annoyed her to no end. What, so he apologised and now it’s all fixed and he doesn’t deserve my insults?
“Ladies,” he said.
The two of them stood up.
“I’m glad I bumped into you,” he said.
“Okay,” she said, while more sarcastic comments died before they could leave. “Any news?”
He set down the briefcase he was carrying and looked around, as though he was worried he would be heard.
“Another family acquired the painting.”
Lotta and Gina shared a look, then glanced back at him.
“You’re fucking kidding me.”
“Nope. It’s the Napoletanis this time. They’ve invited everyone to a small charity function in two days. According to an acquaintance of mine, it’s to show off the painting.”
Gina slapped her forehead. “Wait, so these morons bought a painting that everybody wants and they’re going to flaunt it to all the people who might steal it from them?”
“What’s the fun in having it if nobody knows?” He shrugged.
Fucking rich people, she thought.
Lotta tapped her on the shoulder and gave her a meaningful look.
“That party… it’s a perfect opportunity.” When Enzo questioned, Lotta turned to him and explained. “Well, there’s a chance they still have the real painting. If not, I think I can charm them into telling us who their merchant was. If we find the merchant…”
“We find the real painting.” He nodded. “But do you really think you can…?”
“If anyone can, it’s Lotta. Can you get us into that party?” Gina asked.
“Both of you?”
“I’ll have to see if the painting is real and Lotta will mingle. Lotta can’t tell a real painting from a forgery.”
“And Gina can’t mingle.”
Gina shot her best friend a sour look, then turned her attention away. “Well?”
He was quiet for a long time, his face doubtful. She half expected him to say that it couldn’t be done. ‘No, I’m sorry, you would simply clash with the curtains.’ But then he nodded.
“I believe I can work you in as daughters of Primo Voltorini. His girls are always looking for husbands and no one can keep track of them.”
Lotta blinked. “He has a lot of daughters?”
“Yes, and not a single legitimate one.”
Gina crossed her arms. “Lucky us. We get to spend more time around rich people.”
Enzo shrugged. “At least there’ll be wine.”
“Right, we’ll be there.”
“In that case…” Enzo bent down, picking up the briefcase, and nodded. “I’d better get on with it. I’ll send invitations over with fake names for you. To your aunt’s house?”
Gina nodded, and she couldn’t resist saying:
“Yeah, you know… the one with the red car parked outside.”
He smiled an annoying and, admittedly, very handsome smile before leaving.
Ms. Antonini’s glossy façade faltered slightly at Gina’s question. She recovered quickly, however, and if you didn’t look closely, the moment of hesitation wasn’t visible to the naked eye.
“I beg your pardon?”
Gina explained once again, calmly, that she had left out the whole feud with other collectors.
“You need to spill the details, and now.”
“I have no idea what details you’re speaking of,” the older woman said. “Tea?”
She started pouring tea for the both of them and stubbornly refused to look at Regina.
“So, you don’t want to me to get the painting anymore?”
Antonini looked up. “Of course I do.”
“Okay. In that case, I highly suggest you tell me everything you know about the feud, or we don’t have a deal anymore.”
Ms. Antonini looked at her, every bit the polite aristocrat, but when she spoke it was with a steely edge:
“I’m sorry to hear you don’t want to work for me anymore, Ms. Mancini. Is there nothing I can say to make you reconsider?”
Gina frowned “Tell me about the feud—”
“There’s no feud, Ms. Mancini. You’ve simply heard a nasty rumour from… did you say an art thief? What makes you think he’s telling the truth?” Before Gina even had a chance to continue, the woman went on: “There’s no truth to any of it, or, if there is, I’m not involved. The painting was stolen and I would like to have it back.”
Gina counted to ten and thought of how her dad would handle this. He’d never be anything less than polite and gracious. Unfortunately, she wasn’t him.
“Look, I can’t work with you if you’re not telling me—”
“Oh, I am sorry to hear it,” Antonini said. “I don’t want to go looking for someone else to help me, but if you insist…”
“That’s not what I meant, but I need to know—”
“I have told you what I know, which is nothing, Ms. Mancini. Now if you’d still like to work for me, perhaps we should change the subject.”
“Fine,” Gina said between gritted teeth.
It was all she could do not to storm out and let the damned woman find someone else to go on this wild goose chase. The stupid painting was becoming an even bigger headache the further she dug into it.
But the gang and her reputation relied on jobs from women like Antonini. If she stormed out now, both of them would suffer. She took a deep breath and changed her line of questioning:
“I understand that the painting is very desirable in collector’s circles,” she said. “There’s a family on my radar, the Cavalcantes. Do you think they could be our thieves?”
Ms. Antonini laughed.
“Dear me, no. They wouldn’t be involved in something like that. Vincente—the elder Vincente, that is—wouldn’t be caught dead involved in something like this. However did you think of them?”
Gina thought carefully. She didn’t think it was wise to tell her about Enzo’s hiring her, so she instead tried:
“I heard a son from that family has been asking for the painting.”
“That must be the older son. He used to get intro trouble constantly when he was younger, though as far as I know he’s improved a great deal since his mother and brother left…”
Regina frowned. This wasn’t exactly relevant to her job, but she couldn’t help but dig deeper:
“Their mother left?”
Antonini nodded. “Indeed. Ran off with a plumber or… maybe a carpenter or something. She only took her youngest son with her. Plain refused to take the other two as far as I heard. Well, not that I can say I blame her. Like I said, he used to get himself into all kinds of trouble and the daughter…” Gina only had a second to wonder at that description of Enzo before she continued: “Well, the daughter has very loose morals, quite glad of attention from any man she can get. I can’t imagine what that nice Aiello boy wants with her…”
“What do you think he—Vincente the younger—would be doing with the painting?”
“I can’t imagine he would want anything with it. Neither him nor his father are collectors; no, I think you must be mistaken. Are we done? I really must get on.”
Gina left for her mother’s house after promising Antonini to keep her up to date. She had a long, unpleasant walk home.
She regretted asking Ms. Antonini about the Cavalcantes. First, because it was unprofessional to sit around listening to small-town gossip. Second, because it made her like her client even less. She could imagine Ms. Antonini talking to Enzo and his sister at one of those hoity-toity charity functions, all smiles and praise. Then she turned around and talked about them like that.
Maybe rich people weren’t all, as Lotta said, irredeemable monsters, but they certainly weren’t nice either.
Author’s notes: Hi guuuuys 🙂 Another Saturday, another chapter. This one was hard to write, and I literally wasn’t happy with it until yesterday when boyfriend read it and gave me his comments. If I haven’t mentioned how awesome he is for being my beta-reader, well there it is. He’s awesome. I honestly don’t have much else to say this time – this is hardly a high-stake action chapter. Thank you guys for reading and commenting and I’ll see you for the next post.
sempreviva · August 25, 2018 at 12:12 pm
Wow, I just love the banter between Gina and Carlotta… they’re hilarious! 😁 I can totally see how Enzo saying sorry might be confusing… he depraved Gina of the pleasure to insult him whenever they crossed paths, and he just might have changed Gina’s entire point of view as far as rich peopld are concerned (although I guess she won’t admit that very easily)! But I think the main reason is that she still likes him deep down… although that’s another thing I bet will be practically impossible for her to admit! 😉
Hmmm Antonini sounds like she’s lying… and it seemed to me that she’s veeery good at dodging difficult questions which probably means she’s used to lying a lot?
I wonder if the painting will be in its place until that party… or it will be stolen again until then, hmm! And I can’t wait to read about that party – and, of course, see Gina trying to mingle lmao!
Great chapter <3 <3
NotJustaBook · August 25, 2018 at 4:10 pm
So glad you like Gina and Lotta – they’re so much fun to write :’)
There are going to be hard times ahead for Gina. Enzo has definitely forced her to reconsider some thing and that’s not exactly fun 😛
Ms. Antonini is definitely not telling the whole story – that much I can say 🙂
I honestly can’t wait to share the party chapters myself – they were so much fun to write.
Thank you for your kind words and for reading along 🙂 <3
Kymber · August 25, 2018 at 12:13 pm
Another amazing chapter! I like how Lotta called Gina out on how Enzo got to her. haha Best friends can usually see the truth. lol I liked Enzo’s line about how at least there will be wine. And, since I’m talking about him, poor Enzo. I feel bad about how his mother left and only took the little brother with her. You know, that Ms. Antonini is a real piece of work. She’s so hoity toity and unlikable.
NotJustaBook · August 25, 2018 at 4:12 pm
Gina definitely needs someone to cut through her defenses at times 😛 Even if she doesn’t always appreciate it.
Yeah, Enzo’s family is pretty messed up, and so is most of that social circle.
Thanks so much for reading and commenting, Kym <3 It means so much that you like the stuff I put out :)
twinsimskeletons · August 25, 2018 at 1:59 pm
Why is Ms. Antonini being so secretive and suspicious… Hmmmm.
It’s interesting the divide Gina has in her mind about the rich. Like, correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t her family considerably wealthy by normal standards? I imagine a criminal family, especially dealing with art now, must at least be financially secure. Or perhaps it’s not technically ‘old money’? I just find that distinction Gina has in her mind interesting. I, too, dislike the rich. Darn conservative bawbags that they tend to be 😉
NotJustaBook · August 25, 2018 at 4:15 pm
Those rich folks aren’t happy to share with ‘outsiders’! 😛
No, you’re definitely right. The Mancinis aren’t old money and they wouldn’t be welcomed into the circles Enzo moves in, but they’re very well-off. Like, Carlo’s suit budget alone… it’s high, man, ha, ha, ha 😀 She’s being pretty hypocritical 😉
Thanks for reading and commenting <3
twinsimskeletons · August 26, 2018 at 5:41 pm
I just had a sudden flash of that scene in Archer when he’s got all his turtlenecks in black and slightly darker black xD
audreyfld · August 25, 2018 at 2:11 pm
I love Lotta and Gina’s vibe together. Lotta sees right through Gina’s tough girl exterior. Who k ew there was such a huge market for paintings and parties to show them off! Lol. Ms. Antonini totally knows more and she’s a huge gossip! Of course Gina wanted to know more about Enzo! Ha. Great chapter and I can’t wait for more!
NotJustaBook · August 25, 2018 at 4:18 pm
So glad you like those two – for sure, Lotta is one of a few people who can get past Gina’s shields 🙂
Ha, ha, it’s those crazy rich and their paintings 😛 And yeah – Ms. Antonini isn’t fond of sharing with anyone outside their social circles.
Thanks so much Audrey, and thank you for reading along <3
Jowita · August 25, 2018 at 2:59 pm
I’m sorry that it took me so long to comment. I was busy doing other things and it doesn’t help that I’m feeling under the weather today. In fact I’m barely keeping my eyes open as I’m typing this.
““I don’t grumble,” Gina grumbled.” That was a golden line!
Also, I liked the one about spilling the details and that the woman asked about tea. Gina should have said spill the tea, would have been much more fitting, wouldn’t it?
Oh, I really like your new header. Gina looks as pretty as a picture. Also kind of… sweet?
The case with this painting is getting more and more tricky as the time passes… And Enzo’s mother left? No wonder he’s so bitter. I wonder if it has anything to do with their break-up.
NotJustaBook · August 25, 2018 at 4:23 pm
Don’t worry about it, Jowita <3 I haven't gotten around to reading your stuff yet either because we've been away for some family stuff. Sorry to hear you're not feeling well - hope it'll get better soon.
Thank you so much for pointing that one out. I was so proud of it, and very happy when boyfriend didn't hate it, ha, ha :')
Nice connection there - didn't spot that one 😛 She should have said that, yeah. Don't think she would have gotten anything out of it though 😛
And thank you for the nice words on the header as well - spent aaaages editing that image :') Maybe that's why Gina looks sweet... or maybe it's the hair.
Yeah - I'm really hoping I can keep track of everything going on with that damned painting :') mostly my "notes" are just in my head! And yeah - Enzo's family life is kind of a mess. You're onto something with the break-up, there, but that's all I'm going to say 😉
Thanks a ton for reading and commenting, Jowita <3 Now I'd better go check out your stuff :)
Jowita · August 25, 2018 at 4:28 pm
Yeah, it’s just… uh… I feel like the epilogue sucks, because I really wrote it and then didn’t even go through it, because I’m feeling so bad. I can’t even think of doing it right now.
It’s totally okay – I posted way too much today, because my O.C. Tags are somewhat freaking over 5,000 words long and I can’t even begin to describe it, so I suggest everyone to speak them if you’re so done with gen 5.
That was super good!
Yeah, I think it’d have been fun had she told it.
Oh, it shows! The header’s great! I hope you can keep track of it too.
I can’t wait to find out more about what caused the break-up.
If you wish so. 😉 Are you on a different device today? Because I got views from Denmark and I usually don’t, so I was surprised.
NotJustaBook · August 25, 2018 at 4:33 pm
I completely understand that <3 Don't worry about it. I don't think the epilogue was bad 🙂 It was a nice wrap-up to the gen!
Thank you 🙂 I had a lot of fun editing it - even made the poses from scratch for it because I wanted it to be just right - glad it panned out 🙂
Huh, well, I was reading your chapter on my phone, so maybe my phone says it from Denmark. Because I'm not writing these comments from a different device from usual. That's so weird that you don't usually get views from Denmark - maybe from Germany or something? Sometimes the systems that track country can't figure out if you're from Denmark. They end up giving you for example a web page in German or something. It's a bit frustrating xD
Jowita · August 25, 2018 at 4:40 pm
Thank you so much. Yeah, I’m lying down now under the blanket. Not well still. It’s just some people have a hobby in tracking me misspelling words which happens more often than it should. Like “take a sit” “leave” instead of “live” and such. Then I feel like an idiot.
This is super pretty!
No, I think I don’t get views from you at all. My views from Germany I know are from my friend from Germany indeed. When you were catching up on the story, I only get notifications of likes, but never views. My friend once had the same issue, she wasn’t showing up in stats (Poland), then she got her computer updated and now she’s showing. I remember that I was getting views from you when you said you were on your boyfriend’s computer. Today I got two views from Denmark only because you were on your phone. It really is weird!
NotJustaBook · August 25, 2018 at 5:03 pm
That sounds really petty and mean-spirited 🙁 So sorry to hear that. Everyone makes mistakes every now and again and it doesn’t make you an idiot – though I understand how you feel.
So weird! Guess I just fly under the radar 😛 I’m an untraceable spy! 😀 Unless I drop likes and comments, lol…
Jowita · August 25, 2018 at 5:07 pm
No, I’m pretty sure they just mean to correct my silliness. I know some people believe I make those mistakes because I’m not a native, but that’s not true, I’m just absent-minded and I do similar stuff in Polish.
Yes, you are in fact a spy! I wonder if it’s just for me, though.
socallucyfan · August 25, 2018 at 9:55 pm
“Because we have similar interests and my bright, optimistic nature provides a good contrast to your grumbling.”- that right there is why I love Carlotta!!
I can see that Enzo’s appology has still thrown Gina for a loop. How dare me say he was sorry and deprive her of the joy of insulting him!
I can tell that everyone knows more than they are willing to let on. This party is going to be interesting. I can’t wait.
NotJustaBook · August 26, 2018 at 6:56 am
That Lotta is a fountain of good lines, ha, ha :’D So glad you like Lotta <3
I know, right? It's just rude of him 😛
Nobody's very forthcoming right now. The party was a lot of fun to write, so I'm hoping it'll be fun to read as well. Can't wait to share.
Thank you for reading and commenting, friend 🙂 <3
socallucyfan · August 26, 2018 at 8:00 am
I am so very excited to read all about it!! 🙂
amyqueen · August 26, 2018 at 12:49 am
Alright, before I even read the chapter I have to scroll down here to comment on your new header. Gina looks lovely~ and Enzo is dashing per usual. Though I’ll miss the edginess of the gun, haha. Annnddd now I’m off to read!
And I’m back, though you won’t be able to tell the time that has transpired between my prior comment and now, haha.“I don’t grumble,” Gina grumbled <- That had me laughing, there's always an immediate denial when refuting a true statement that makes it even more apparent that it's true XD I love Lotta and Gina's relationship, and how they balance off of each other with differing strengths. You always get different perspectives when you have people around you that are different, and I think Lotta was pretty spot on with her assessment of Gina. It's cute that just his apology, even though she's attempting to convince herself was insincere, is getting to her. Look at her refraining from an insult for an entire chapter, well, at least out loud XD I was also wondering the same thing Carys was; the Mancini's aren't lower class, and I figured the good guys got paid well considering their clientele, so seeing you say Gina is a hypocrite makes sense, haha. Ms. Antonini is the definition of sketch. That bit about Enzo's family seems interesting, though I'll take any gossip old socialites share with a grain of salt… and if it is true, I wonder what the full story is. I'm looking forward to the party and seeing the girls all dolled up~ 🙂 This was great! <3
NotJustaBook · August 26, 2018 at 7:05 am
Thank you so much 😀 <3 I spent ages on that header - made poses for it and edited it heavily and everything hahaha :'D So glad you think it turned out well!
I was so proud of that line when I wrote it - still am 😛 The truth will often come out.
Yeah, Lotta and Gina are good at balancing each other out 🙂 I'm glad you like the relationship. It wasn't very well-defined to begin with, but I feel like I'm nailing them down!
In my experience, someone apologising is the simplest, most mature way of changing the status quo. There's just something instantly likeable about admitting a mistake and apologising... unless, of course, you're determined to hate that person, in which case it's just highly inconvenient! 😛 That's what Gina's running into here.
Oh, Gina is definitely a hypocrite. She has her reasons for being hard on the rich, which will be revealed at a later date... but she is overreacting to little things.
It's probably a good idea to take some of Antonini's gossip with a grain of salt, for sure 😉
Can't wait for you guys to read about the party. It was so much fun to write (though not to shoot for because so many Sims -_-).
Thanks so much for reading and commenting <3 It's always a treat reading your thoughts :)
Lila Remonn · September 5, 2018 at 2:55 am
Gina’s stubbornness and reluctance to admit Enzo apologised to her was rather funny to read, haha. Lotta getting smugger was also me! Gina has had this concrete image of him as a dickhead for so many years, I’m not surprised at how wobbly-footed she now is with Enzo.
“Fucking rich people” > Perfectly worded, Gina. It’s like they have so much money and lack of problems that they share a hobby of stealing from each other, not even trying to hide it 😛 I’m lost on why they have a feud over it and why Ms. Antonini is hiding it (I am very suspicious of her), and why the Cavalcantes are involved when Antonini insists they aren’t, but I’m looking forward to learning what is really happening here. Such a juicy mystery 😀
I do have to agree with others on Gina being hypocritical. She doesn’t give me a rich person vibe — with those cool, casual outfits she wears — but thinking about it, she must have grown up in a very ‘comfortable’ house and lifestyle. The Mancinis are certainly a different brand of rich though!
Great chapter 🙂
NotJustaBook · September 5, 2018 at 4:02 pm
It’s very hard to let go of strongly held opinions – and it’s so fun to shatter a characters’ preconceptions 😛
Oh yeah, these rich people and their silly ideas. That painting wouldn’t be changing hands so often if those silly rich folks didn’t show it off! I can’t wait to reveal all about the painting. It’s been so fun (though hard) to come up with this mystery.
Definitely! They wouldn’t be mingling with rich folks, but they’re definitely well off. Even if their money comes from very different sources 😛
Thank you for reading and commenting <3
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