Thursday, January 20, 2011

Sim State U Ch 2 Two Years at Landgraab Pt 2


A month after the night Gareth told all of Lori's childhood secrets to Harvey, there was another strange death in the dorm. This time, it was in the middle of the night and only Gareth was around. He’d had a late class and was too wide awake to sleep. Deciding he wanted something to eat he went to the dining hall. The little fridge in his room was empty. But it was after midnight and the cook was gone so he planned to grab a snack from the dining room refrigerator. Breanna was there quietly eating cereal. It was surprising to see her up this late and Gareth hurried to speak to her a moment. Before he could say anything to her, though, she collapsed without a word to the floor. He ran over to where she was curled up beneath her chair, but he knew right away she was gone because the Grim Reaper was already floating into the room.

“Unbelievable!” Gareth said out loud, asking of no one in particular, “What is going down in this place?”

The Reaper shrugged. He went over whatever was written on his clipboard, then crossed something out and made a call on his cell. The why’s of the matter were not his area of expertise. He soon disappeared along with the unfortunate Breanna.


Gareth could not believe there had been a second death and he was upset that he had to be the one to see it. He felt very bad about Breanna; she had evidently been so unhappy. Although he looked tough, that was misleading; Gareth was a very upbeat and friendly person. He was tenderhearted as well. Those were some of the reasons Melanie was becoming so crazy about him. She tended to be caustic and suspicious herself, somewhat like Harvey. Gareth’s sunny disposition and kindness were very attractive to her. She hadn’t known him well at all before the party at the end of the summer, mostly she’d seen him at school and over at Lori’s when he was there with Trey. Assuming the way he dressed and talked were an indication of his personality, she had not been attracted to him at all. 

Then at the pool party he’d approached her and been tentative, courteous and very sweet. Melanie knew he had been dating Holly, but when she saw Holly flirting and dancing with Andy, she decided to just see where it led. As they talked, she realized he was nothing like she had thought. She noticed for the first time, too, that he had piercing baby blue eyes and great cheekbones. His body was seriously buff; he worked out all the time. In fact, she was getting seriously hooked on the guy. He was interested in everyone and always wanted to help out in any way that he could. For instance, after a while he had been the only one who would let smelly Joe sit next to him; he sometimes could be seen saying a few words to Vamsi, and he said good morning to the old cook every time he went in the dining room. In fact, he was the only one who got any words at all out of that guy, who always smiled at Gareth and said, “Well, hello, there, young man!”


When Gareth told her the next morning what had happened, Melanie was more worried about him than about what happened to the poor dead girl. She felt bad about that fact, but it was true.


 Everyone wondered about this second sudden death, but no one knew what was going on. They’d called the law, but the police didn’t seem interested and put both deaths down as “accidental”.

“Excuse me, accidental?” Harvey was his sarcastic self, “As in, they accidentally fell down dead?”

“That’s so stupid,” Melanie agreed.

“How can they do that?” Lori questioned.

“Just like that, evidently,” Gareth was disgusted, too.

Again, there were no answers, only questions.

Tension was high in the dorm, between the tragic death of Breanna and finals around the corner, everyone looked for ways to cope. Perhaps that was why, near the end of the semester, shy Colby Goth went streaking. Lori had known him since their childhood days, but she felt sure she did not want to remember him naked for the rest of her life. So she did not look up. Harvey had been playing pinball while a silent Vamsi watched, or at least, stared at the wall. To say he was surprised to see Colby do this, of all people, was an understatement. Being Harvey, he did not allow his astonishment to show. Darting all over the small dorm in great bursts of speed Colby would stop from time to time and do a rather good version of the hula. No one that Harvey had seen streak in the past two years had ever gone on this long, Colby seemed to think it was an endurance test. Then again, he'd had been exercising a lot and was in really good condition. Maybe he just wanted everyone to know it. When he finally flashed by yet again, Harvey glanced over and remarked quietly,

“You know, Colby; it’s fun to be shocking; it’s fun to be naked. But you don’t want to make it your life’s work. Seriously, dude.”

Colby ran off but that seemed to calm him down because within minutes he got dressed and headed to the television.



It was now the end of the sophomore year. Nearly time to turn in their term papers and Harvey had been at his computer every moment he wasn’t in class, doing an assignment or sleeping.


Feeling somewhat neglected and with her own term paper done early, Lori skulked around outside his door on the second day.

After several hours she knocked finally, asking in a soft voice,

“Shouldn’t you be taking a break by now, Harvey? I’ll make you something to eat if you want.”

He came to the door,

“I really need to finish this tonight, honey. You’re supposed to be encouraging me.”

“I am! I want you to finish it, but you need nourishment and you need to take a little break. You should get up out of that chair and away from your computer or your eyes will be out on stalks. Please, Harvey? Just for a half hour?”

“You’re just lucky you’re so cute,” he came out the door, locking it behind him. Lori took him by the hand and pulled him farther into the lounge.

He caressed her cheek and hugged her gently,

“I've missed you too, Brat.”

She began to sweet-talk him and, although Harvey knew that’s what she was doing, he didn’t mind going along with it. He knew she just wanted a little cuddling and extra attention. He was happy to give her that.



“So where’s my grub, woman?” he asked finally.

Lori sighed. Her mother had told her that the old saying “the way to a man’s heart was through his stomach” was not an old wives’ tale. “You’re father fell in love with my fried chicken as well as my…er, as well as me. So learn to cook, and make sure you learn to cook comfort food. You’ll have to disguise any healthy food you make, but it can be done.” And perhaps her mother was right.

“There’s not much food in the fridge out there, but how would you like a western omelet? There are no bell peppers, but I spied some canned ham in there.”

“Actually that sounds really good,” he admitted, subconsciously rubbing his stomach, “I don’t know when I ate last. Breakfast, I guess.”

“Yeah, a can of instant meal, and it’s after midnight now, hours and hours with no food. If you’re going to pull an all-nighter, you need fuel,” Lori confirmed, working at the counter. 

Harvey flipped one of the chairs backwards and sat on it watching her.

“You always cook like this? I mean, except for my birthday cakes, you haven’t cooked while we’ve been here.”

“I cook much better than this, in fact; my mother taught me well. But the supply of groceries in this kitchen is pretty slim. I never have time to cook anyway what with classes and assignments, and you can’t get in the kitchen when the old cook is here anyway.”

“My mother loves to cook, too; so that’s what I’m used to, good food. But a lot of girls now don’t really want to spend many hours in the kitchen with their careers taking up a lot of their time.”

No one could ever believe Harvey could put away the food he usually did. He had broad shoulders but a lanky frame. But he also exercised like crazy.

“Not me, darlin',” Lori was finishing the omelet which smelled really delicious to Harvey, “I love to cook and bake.”

“You know, I guess maybe…” he started, but she was bringing over his food and silverware and a napkin.

“I know you always drink milk with your meals, let me just make sure it’s still fresh,” she ran and got him a tumbler of cold milk.

Then she sat down across from him. The dining room was deserted, except for them.

He forked into his omelet. It was topped with melted cheese and filled with the ham and bits of onion, and the omelet itself was light and delicate.

“Now what were you saying?” she asked.

He finished chewing and then looked at her.

“This is really good. I think you might make an excellent wife, say two-three years from now, for a hard-working young man who has a good job and a place to live."

She grinned at him,

"Ya think?"

"Definitely."

The next day Melanie and Harvey were doing their assignments in the dining hall. When they finished Melanie, thinking of Colby’s recent adventure, asked Harvey,

“Do you think Lori would ever streak? I mean, she says not.”

He laughed, “No, not happening. She likes to tease; streaking is too much exposure with no control for the Brat.”

He leaned back in his chair and thought further about it,

“She’s kind of crazy about me; but she wouldn’t like to make me that happy.”

Laughing, Melanie said, “You really do know her, don’t you.”

“Pretty much, but she can surprise you big time.”


Melanie looked away, her laughter dying, and thought of Lori’s “Brian thing” as Melanie called it. Melanie wanted to believe that Lori had let go of her old obsession. She certainly seemed wrapped up in Harvey, even washing his clothes along with hers at the Laundromat. For his birthday, both years they'd been here, she’d made him a cake by waiting until the old cook went home at midnight to use the kitchen. She was very affectionate with him, hugging and kissing him, holding his hand, leaning against him, often making the first approach. Whenever she went to the store she always managed to pick up one thing or another for him. Nothing particularly expensive, but thoughtful of his wants and needs. And, probably most significant, she never mentioned a word about Brian to Melanie. It was true the girls didn’t have much time together, even though they were in the same dorm. It was amazing to Melanie, in fact, but between classes, assignments, their term papers, sleeping and eating, and admittedly the time they spent with Gareth and Harvey, she and Lori had very little chance to talk to each other in depth. And just forget about getting a chance to talk to the other kids at Pinenut dorm except once in a while by phone or when you crossed paths on campus.

Melanie watched Harvey now, trying to be subtle about it. There was a time, almost three years ago now, that she had been “hopelessly in like” as Lalique put it, with Harvey. For a while she had eaten her heart out over him. It had really bothered her that Lori had not seemed to appreciate him at the time. Now she knew that, whether things worked out with Gareth or not, she would never feel that way about Harvey again. He was a wonderful person, attractive in an exotic way, too funny and extremely smart, but they were all wrong for each other; she knew that now.  They were way too much alike. Still she cared about Harvey as a good friend and wanted him to be happy. So she worried from time to time that Lori would drop him at some point and run after Brian. No one knew where the sexy guitar player was to this day. At least practically no one. Lori could be so obstinate when she had an idea or wanted something that she would not and could not let it lie. Back when she had wanted Brian at 16, Melanie had known that one way or another she would get him eventually or die trying. Lori put the dream aside before their senior year when Brian left, but even then Melanie believed it would only be for a time. She assumed that once Lori was old enough she would want to see Brian again. Then they got to college and Lori went back with Harvey and Melanie was happy but unwilling to let go of her apprehension. To all appearances things were different now, but perhaps they only seemed different. If only Brian would stay away.

As for Lori, she did not feel the same about college as the other kids, Melanie knew. Her grades were excellent, she was an extremely intelligent girl, but she didn’t really care about a career at all. All Lori really wanted was to get her degree to please her parents, marry a man she loved and have a home and kids. That wasn’t very politically correct now, but Melanie knew, if anyone did, that was what Lori wanted. Melanie was just scared that she still wanted it with Brian. However; it was possible, maybe even probable, that she truly had let go of this “Brian thing” and was in love with Harvey and committed to him.

“Well, I’m going to go meet her; she’s on her way back from class and I don’t like her walking alone since all this happened,” Harvey said suddenly, looking at his cell, “Later, Mel.”

She nodded. Should she just be upfront and ask Lori about it?

The next day they were all running around taking the finals. Harvey, Lori, Gareth, Melanie and Colby had all been talking about who it was that might have murdered Joe and Breanna. They now felt sure that it was murder, although they could not deduce what “weapon” had been used.

They considered possible suspects:

Lucy Lam, the rogue cheerleader was frequently an irritant to everyone in the dorm, even to the old cook--but was she a secret sociopath? 




She’s okay,” Gareth argued, “Just a little high strung.” Of course Gareth was the only one among them who talked to her much. Usually he was able to get her to stop and listen to a joke or two.


 What about the old cook?

“Blake is really a good guy once you talk nicely to him,” Gareth huffed.

“Blake? His name is Blake?” Harvey asked incredulously.

“Blake Menon; yes, that’s his name,” Gareth sounded a little defensive.

“Well if you think he’s not a suspect, we’ll cross him off the list, Handsome,” Melanie comforted him. In her opinion if Gareth said it was so, you could take it to the bank.


And Vamsi Mellon? She didn’t look as though she had the presence of mind to kill anyone, and she had no motive. Motive didn’t mean anything, though, if she was deranged. 



Spencer Grundstrom?

Colby spoke up,

“Nah, he’s just a regular guy, doing homework and going to class like the rest of us”. Colby had talked with Spencer a number of times, so they took his word on it.


There was a new girl who had moved in to the dorm when Breanna died, Emmy Landry. Colby also talked to her and had a small crush on her. He didn’t think she qualified either since she hadn’t even been in the dorm when the murders had been committed.


“Hey, what about Llama Aaron or the Cow, what’s his name?” Melanie asked.

“They can irritate you to death,” Harvey said, “But I can’t see them as murderers. They’re more likely to be victims, especially the Cow with that electric buzzer. One day he zaps the wrong person and, hey, it's steak tonight!”

“That’s not funny,” Gareth was stern.

“It’s a little bit funny. Anyway, I just can’t help myself, Gareth.”

That left only the maid, KayLynn.  She wasn’t there enough to take a dislike to anyone, but she did have caustic materials with her when she came.  No real motive, though, unless….

“Hey, did we catch the mail and pay the bills yesterday?” Lori asked suddenly. Colby shook his head no and dashed out to the mailbox.

Harvey dismissed this idea,

“The first murder was months ago. If we forgot to pay one week, I don’t think she’d have waited all this time and murdered two people just to get reimbursed for an unpaid invoice.”

Everyone nodded in agreement. They were disappointed that they hadn't solved the mystery.


“Well, continue to lock your doors; and don’t go out in the middle of the night to the dining room unless you have someone with you. I don’t see what else we can do at this point,” Harvey said.

“We could double up in our beds; two people to a room. You know, safety in numbers,” Gareth suggested eagerly.

Lori rolled her eyes and scoffed, “Oh? And who would bunk together, Gareth, you and Harvey, you and Colby? I’m sure Melanie and I would just love to cuddle up as close as kittens in a dinky twin bed.”

Melanie clapped her hand over her mouth to stifle a laugh.

“Well, no, I thought maybe Melanie and I could be roommates and you and Harvey could, then maybe Colby could talk Emmy into…” Gareth’s enthusiasm dwindled noticeably as he trailed off, “Or not.”

“We’ll just have to take our chances alone in our rooms,” Lori said sounding braver than she felt, “No doubling up. I just hope nothing else happens.”

“Another innovative idea bites the dust,” Harvey said, shutting the notebook he’d been using to write everything down. He stood up, faced the large oil painting of Ezra Landgraab, who had donated the dorm years ago, and brought his fist to his chest like a gladiator,

“We, who are about to die, salute you.”

“That’s not funny, Harvey,” Gareth protested.

“You’re right, Gareth, you’re right. I know you’re right.”

Nevertheless, this second murder had unnerved their parents who began to think about where the kids might be safer. They were two years in and all making the dean’s list every semester so John and Melora, Remington, Errol and Olivia, Shep and Madeleine and Glenn hated to interrupt the process. Yet something had to be done after two mysterious deaths in the dorm. They had to know their children were safe.


Next update: Sim State U Ch. 3 Two Years at Pinenut

To follow Lori Lassiter and Melanie's move go HERE

To follow Harvey, Gareth and Colby to Horrible House go HERE 


2 comments:

Sim Girl said...

Poor Breanna! Haha I love them talking about who murdered 'em :D This is a better College visit than I've had lol

Lorelei said...

Yeah, I had fun writing that part lol