Thursday, 24 March 2011

CHAPTER 3.5: Election

Eliza woke that morning with the guilt from the night before still fresh in her mind.

Orlando had left in the night, he never stayed until morning. 
She felt disgusted with herself.  Sleeping with her cousins boyfriend was lower than she ever thought she could go, but when Orlando promised her that he would end things with Delta soon, Eliza believed him.

Sipping her coffee she picked up the mornings paper trying to distract her thoughts. 

The front page was emblazoned with the headline:

Mayor Cole open to bribes?

She flicked to the second page reading the lines of the story, how did they know about this? 
The case was still open, nothing had been proved against the Mayor yet? 
Who else knew about the investigation?

She read on:

When asked about the rumours opposing
candidate John Cain commented
"Corruption has no place in politics"

FINLAY!  She had told Finlay and he had evidently told this John Cain.

Slamming the paper down on the breakfast table she stormed into his bedroom, he was in for a very rude awakening.
Finlay had finally managed to drag himself up from the floor when his sister burst through the bedroom door her face full of fury.

"What the hell did you do?"  She yelled throwing a newspaper at him.

He just stared blankly back at her as the paper landed flat on the floor at his feet.

"Finn what is it?  What's happened?"  She asked noticing the distraught look on his face.

He said nothing but nodded to the crumpled note on the floor.  Eliza retrieved it and instantly understood her brothers forlorn face.

"Oh Finn, I'm so sorry."  She exclaimed pulling him to her, "I had no idea, I'm sorry i yelled at you, but you need to look at the front page of the paper."

Finlay did as instructed and read the headline story with horror, how had this gotten out?
Suddenly the pain he was filled with was replaced with anger at yet another betrayal of his trust. 

Wiping the remnants of tears from his eyes he dressed hurriedly and headed straight for the campaign headquarters.

"Whoa Finlay, wait!"  Charlotte called trying to block his entry to John's office, she could see how angry he looked. 
"You can't go in there!"  She called in vain as he burst through the door.

"Finlay what's the meaning of this?"  John barked.

"I'm sorry Mr Cain."  Charlotte gasped, "I tried to stop him."

"That's alright Charlotte, leave us."  He demanded.

Finlay tossed the paper onto John's desk, "Did you do this?"  he asked.

"I don't know what you're trying to imply Finlay but i do not care for your tone." John replied, rising to face him.

"What happened to corruption having no place in politics?"  Finlay spat, "That's what you told me isn't it?  Was it all just BS?"

"Son, you need to calm down.  I have no idea how this story got out, but don't you think the citizens of this city deserve to know the truth?"  John reasoned.

"Yes they do, but I told you that there was no evidence against Mayor Cole.  You leaked this story just to smear her good name didn't you?"  He challenged.
"Now you listen up kid."  John snapped, his demeanour shifted and Finlay saw the anger in his face.
"The only one to blame for this story is you and that sister of yours, I told you i had nothing to do with it and if you repeat that accusation to the press I'll have you arrested, do you understand me?"

Finlay looked John Cain square in the eye, he knew he had unsettled him, the truth often did.
"I understand that you're a fake and i will do everything i can to make sure that you lose this election."

He straightened up his tie and smoothed down his jacket to compose himself before turning and walking to the door, "Oh and in case i didn't make myself clear John I quit!"  He said smiling.

"You're done in this town Finlay, I'll make sure of it."  John threatened.

Finlay walked from his office, slamming the door behind him.
"Finlay, are you OK?"  Charlotte rushed over, "What happened?"

"I just realised that everything i thought i wanted for my life was wrong."  He replied, "You were right about it all, the marriage the career the white picket fence, who was i kidding."

"Hey don't talk like that."  She soothed, taking hold of him by both arms she looked deep in his eyes,
"You weren't wrong Finlay.  Do you know how much i envy you?"

"Me?  Why?" He asked unnerved by her sudden closeness.

"Because, you're so sure of yourself, you know exactly who you are while the rest of us are just scrambling around from day to day with no real clue." She replied.

"You've got me all wrong Charlotte, I'm just as lost as the rest of you."  He answered her sadly,
"Tell Don i said goodbye."  He added before walking from the office.
Finlay had not been the only one angered by the article, Detective Malone had flipped out on Eliza as soon as she reported for work that morning.

"How many times have i told you not to blab about our cases to your friends."  He lectured.

"Finn's my brother, and he didn't know this would happen."  She defended herself.

"Well now I'm gonna have to investigate this for real."  He sighed, "If the Tribunes printing false information that came from this office then i could be in serious trouble"

"Let me help you."  Eliza pleaded.

"I think you've done enough."  He retorted gesturing for her to leave.

Both Finlay and Eliza headed home with their tails between their legs.
As they walked up the cobbled path to their door neither one of them could muster the strength to speak.

But as they entered the house their spirits were lifted as......

they were greeted by both their parents.

With the return of Audra and Tate the household was restored to some semblance of normalcy, although Finlay was still down over the split with Cherry and the loss of a job he had loved, having his Dad around helped to bring him out of his sorrow.

Tate had headed straight to his beloved garden which to his dismay he found in a state of dire need.

"I see you didn't catch the gardening bug while i was away!"  He reprimanded Finlay.

"Sorry Dad, i guess i never really understood the appeal of gardening."  He confessed.

"Sometimes it's good to come out here and just clear your head, you know get some alone time."  Tate advised.

Sitting down Tate encouraged Finlay to unburden his troubles, and he found himself spilling the details of the awful past days events.

Tate listened carefully to his son, he hated to see him so fraught over Cherry and the campaign.

"Son, i know that you're hurting right now and this may seem like nonsense to you, but believe me when i say that all of your troubles will pass.  One day not too long from now you'll be sitting here wondering what you ever had to worry about, i promise you."

"But my life is such a mess."  He cried.

"Just trust me son."  Tate answered resting a fatherly hand on Finlay's arm.
"That John Cain has a lot to answer for, I'd like to give him a piece of my mind."

"Dad!  That's all i need."  Finlay moaned, "Besides it's my fault i should have never trusted him, i guess politicians are all liars!"

"Maybe not.  Mayor Cole has always seemed fair to me, that's why she always got my vote."

"Well it doesn't matter she's never gonna give me a job after i ruined her career." Finlay moaned.

"You should pay her a visit, at least you'll get to apologise for your mistake."  Tate suggested.

Meanwhile Audra and Eliza were having a much needed heart to heart indoors.

"So how far along are you?"  Audra asked, eying her daughter sympathetically.

"What are you talking about Mom?  I'm just a bit bloated that's all."  Eliza replied rolling her eyes.

"Eliza i have two children and i was a doctor for many years, i know a pregnant Sim when i see one.  Now let me examine you."  She demanded.

Eliza relaxed her arms as her mother felt her swollen stomach, if she was right then Eliza was carrying Orlando's baby and her world was about to turn upside down once more.

"Yes I'd say in about seven months I'll be a grandmother."  Audra concluded.

"Oh Mom no!"  Eliza cried bursting into tears.

"Here, come on now."  Audra cooed holding her daughter to her until the sobbing ceased,
"You'll be alright, I'm here and I'm not leaving you again, i promise."

"It's all such a mess."  Eliza sniffed. 

She would have to tell Orlando and Detective Malone who would probably never take her back on as a private eye, her life was officially over!

The next day Eliza waited for her parents and brother to go out and she called Orlando over. 
She had started to get her head around the thought of being a mother she even felt a little excited.

She knew Orlando would be surprised by her announcement but he had told her so many times that he loved her that she didn't worry overly about his reaction.

But much to her shock Orlando was aghast at the discovery.

"Pregnant!  But we were careful."  He exclaimed.

"Accidents happen."  Eliza soothed, "I know it's a shock but now we can really be together Orlando."

"Be together!  Are you mad?  I'm not leaving Delta to come and play happy families with you.  We have a life together, a fun life that doesn't involve dirty nappies and crying brats."  He spat the words out as thought the very thought of a child repulsed him.

"If you're so happy with her then why do you come to my bed every night?"  She cried in frustration.

The sound of the words coming from her mouth made her realise what a fool she had been, he had used her all along playing on the schoolgirl crush she had developed on him years before.

"You know what Orlando don't answer that because it doesn't matter, just get out."  She demanded.

"Are you gonna tell Delta about this?"  He asked.
"Answer me!"  He yelled grabbing her arm roughly and shaking her.

"I think you've outstayed your welcome Mr Belle."  A gruff voice called from behind them.

Eliza spun around to see Detective Malone place a firm hand on Orlando's shoulder before shoving him unceremoniously out of the door.

When he returned he was dusting of his hands, "Well that's the garbage taken out."  He stated.

"T-Thanks."  Eliza managed to stammer, "What are you doing here?"

"I came to apologise to you for what i said the other day and ask if you'd come back to the agency."  He replied grudgingly as though the apology was foreign to his lips.

"You came to apologise to me?"  She clarified, "Well wonders never cease!"

"OK lets not make a big deal of it."  He replied screwing his face up in discomfort at her teasing, "Are you alright he didn't hurt you did he?"

"Not physically."  she mumbled, "I'm fine but i can't come back to the agency, not in my condition."  She looked at him shyly from the corner of her eye trying to gauge his reaction to her news.

"Oh."  He shifted uncomfortably, "Well you still got a few more months right?  Until it comes, you could still help out if you want?"

Eliza smiled, at least something was going her way today.
Finlay found himself standing outside Mayor Cole's house with his father who had persuaded him that admitting his mistake was the right thing to do. 

His palms began to sweat, he was both nervous and afraid that she would not be able to forgive him.

"Come on Son let's get this over with."  Tate said striding over to the intercom and pressing it firmly.

Martha Cole buzzed them in.

"Wow this is quite a place."  Finlay enthused as they stepped inside the gates of the Mayor's estate.

"Yes it is, especially the gardens."  Tate answered.

"This is your handy work?"  Finlay asked.

Tate nodded, he was particularly proud of this garden as Mayor Cole had been his first real client.

"Tate!"  She called from behind them, "What a pleasure."
"Martha!"  He replied in equal pleasure, "Lovely to see you again, I see the garden is looking well."

"It misses you since you retired!"  She flattered him, "To what do i owe the pleasure?"

"My Son has something he wants to discuss with you."  Tate introduced, nodding to Finlay to take up his part in the visit.

"Mayor Cole."  He began, swallowing his nerves, "It's my fault that the story about you was published in the Tribune."

The shock and disappointment registered across her face instantaneously.

"I'm so sorry it was never my intention for that to happen. You see my sister is a private investigator, she followed Mr Henley here and put two and two together."  He started rambling trying to excuse his actions.

"And she came up with five."  The Mayor concluded.

"It's true that Mr Henley visited me but we are old friends and he has been a long time contributor to my campaign.  But corruption and bribery, i would never be involved in such a scandal."  She said, shaking her head.

"I realise that now, but you have to believe me when i say that it wasn't me who leaked the story.  I can't prove it but I'm certain it was John Cain."

"It wouldn't surprise me."  The Mayor spat, "The man is a cretin, lowest of the low.  And now thanks to this story he's going to win the election."

"We can't let that happen."  Finlay burst out.

"Finlay i appreciate the courage it took for you to come and face me today, and you are clearly passionate about this election but it's a lost cause.  Cain has the support of the majority of Bridgeport and i don't have enough time to change their minds."

"We have to try Mayor Cole, please."  Finlay begged.

"We?"  She said raising an eyebrow quizzically.

"I'm sorry i know it's presumptuous after what I've done, but if you'd give me the chance to redeem myself I'm sure i can help with your campaign."

Mayor Cole pondered Finlay's offer for a while and replied, "Well it certainly can't make things any worse, lets give it a shot."

Over the week, running up to the election, Eliza and Detective Malone worked hard to get to the bottom of the scandal. 
While Finlay worked every hour God sent calling all his previous contacts and trying to persuade them to switch allegiance to Mayor Cole, but it was a tough sell and many a Sim slammed the phone down on him.

When the day of the election arrived and the voting booths were opened at City Hall, the entire city converged on the plaza to register their votes. 

Finlay greeted some of the campaigns loyal supporters who had queued to vote for Mayor Cole.  He was buoyed by the numbers he saw, he started to believe that they could win this.
That evening, as the votes were being counted, the candidates and their campaign workers gathered at the Prosper Lounge to await the result. 

John Cain took to the stage with Ethan following closely behind like a loyal lap dog. 

He addressed the crowd.
"Ladies and Gentleman and my esteemed opponent."  He began nodding to Mayor Cole, "I wanted to once more say thank you to all of my supporters, i truly believe that the good people of Bridgeport will vote for change today, a change from the old regime of the past and welcome a new, better way of governing our beautiful City."

As he droned on and on Finlay sighed and rolled his eyes impatiently, and in doing so he caught a glimpse of Charlotte in the crowd.

She looked stunning in her floor length gown, he had never seen her look so elegant. 

Tearing his eyes away he focused once more on the stage.  John was still preening and congratulating himself while Ethan smirked confidently next to him.

Finlay could feel the anger welling up in him at the injustice of it all, Eliza and Detective Malone had worked so hard to uncover the true story but still found no new evidence to help undo the damage of the leaked gossip about Mayor Cole.

"And remember that a vote for John Cain is a vote for honesty, decency and the family values which we all hold dear."  He concluded winking and gesturing to his whooping supporters.

Urgh!  Thought Finlay, how can anyone be buying this?  But the crowd appeared to be eating up his every word.

Mayor Cole took to the stage next and Finlay cheered and applauded as loud as he could supported by Audra and Tate who had insisted on attending too.

She surveyed the crowd and smiled, she had served Bridgeport for the last forty years in one capacity or another and genuinely loved the City and it's people.

Stepping forward she decided to make, what may be her last speech count.

"Good people of Bridgeport, i want to thank you all from the bottom of my heart.  But not just for your votes."  She began.
"I want to thank you for making this City what it is today, a thriving and prosperous place to live and a safe and loving environment to raise a family.  I wasn't fortunate enough to be blessed with children but by allowing me to care for each and every one of you throughout my many terms as Mayor you gave me more than you could ever possibly know.  So i say thank you Sims of Bridgeport."  She smiled wistfully and raised her glass in toast.

The whole room applauded her, and Finlay caught a tear before it formed in his eye. 

Hearing Mayor Cole speak like that reinforced everything that he had ever believed in and reminded him that there were good and well intention Sims in the world of politics. 

He couldn't now imagine how he had ever looked up to John Cain he was so transparent to Finlay, he could only hope that others had recognised this too.

The votes were in! 

The announcer took to the stage and congratulated both candidates on their campaigns before ripping open the envelope and revealing the newly elected Mayor as............................................................

John Cain!!

Finlay could not believe his ears, it was like a nightmare from which he could not wake. 

He looked around to see people congratulating John Cain and Ethan, who was grinning from ear to ear threw a smirk his way.

"I'm sorry Mayor Cole."  Finlay said before running from the room. 

He couldn't bear to be in the same room as John and his supporters, he knew it was all his fault that the election had been lost.

Running from the lounge he headed out onto the streets of the city, not caring where he ended up.  He ran so far that when he finally came to a standstill he was at the banks of the river.

Panting for breath he looked up, the moon was heavy in the sky, it would soon be dawn.

"Finlay."  A voice called out behind him.

He spun around to find Charlotte, "How did you find me?"

"I've been driving around for hours looking for you."  She replied, "Are you alright?"
"Not really."  He shrugged, "I cost Mayor Cole the election and now Bridgeport is in the hands of a liar."

"Finlay, it's not your fault."  She replied, resting her hand gently on his arm, "People voted for John that's why he won not because of some story, you're being too hard on yourself."

Finlay looked into her ocean green eyes, filled with concern.  Why had she spent half the night looking for me?  He wondered, then it occured to him, Charlotte likes me!
If you asked him now he couldn't recall why he thought it was a good idea to try and kiss her, but that's exactly what Finlay did.
But unfortunatley his idea did not pan out as he'd hoped as she dodged his advances and pushed him away.

"Finlay!  What are you doing?"  She yelled, stumbling backwards.
"I'm sorry I thought that's why you were here!"  He exclaimed, confused at how he had managed to misread the situation.

"I'm here because i was worried about you and i thought we were friends." She said eyeing him suspiciously.
"I have a boyfriend Finlay!"  She threw at him.

"I'm sorry Charlotte."  Was all he could think to say before turning and once again running away from his shame.



mEgA32306 said...

Oh! A Very exciting chapter! Loving it ;)

Anonymous said...

awww damn i was sure they'd get together.

angiebeno said...

Ha! patience Minty you never know what might happen next ;)

Enirac said...

Aww poor Finlay :( Can't believe Cain won ¬_¬

By the way, it's 'normality' not 'normalcy' :)

angiebeno said...

Oh yeah! (Blushes!)

PiB said...

Poor Finlay. Not the best of times for him.

Valpre said...

Damn, I hope things look up for Finlay soon. And I think 'normalcy' and 'normality' are interchangeable really. I would have gone for 'normalcy', sounds less formal IMO.

Great update.

angiebeno said...

Thanks for reading Valpre!