Saturday, 9 April 2011

CHAPTER 3.9: Sticks and stones

Finlay reread the mornings headline;

Traytor's secret love child!

It was the latest in a string of scathing stories which had been printed about him and his family.  

There had been unfounded accusations about his Mother brain washing vampires into taking the anti virus, next came sensationalist claims that his sister was working for the local mob boss!

At least today's headline has some element of truth to it, he thought bitterly.
At the office Marcus had plenty to say about the story.

"I knew this would happen Finlay!  You should have let me handle it."  He berated.

"I've got nothing to hide Marcus, my daughter is not a secret!"  Finlay yelled.

"We should have been fighting fire with fire from the very first story."  Marcus countered, "It's obvious that this is coming from Cain's office."

"We don't know that for a fact."  Don interjected.
"Yes we do!"  Marcus argued, "He plays dirty, this has got his name written all over it."

"So what we should play dirty too?"  Finlay asked, "I told you before i don't want to win that way."

"Well you'll get your wish after this."  Marcus spat, "Because we are never going to win unless we fight back."

"Guys come on."  Don pleaded, sensing that the mood was in danger of becoming over heated.

"I have an investigator, he's looked into Cain's past.  He has evidence of all kinds of wrong doing, all we have to do is leak it to the press."  Marcus offered.

"No."  Finlay simply said, "We have the fundraiser tonight, that will give me the chance to talk to the donors and reassure them.  Don make sure that Cherry is invited."

"Great idea Finn, we can get Cherry and Charlie photographed together that way everyone will know that you are all on good terms."  Don agreed.

Don and Marcus headed out to the function room to set up for the fundraiser while Finlay began preparing for his speech.

After a few minutes he slammed the laptop shut in frustration, he couldn't concentrate on the task at hand while the anger over Cain's underhand tactics was still fresh in his mind.

"Finn calm down."  Charlie advised.

"I can't Charlie!"  He replied, "What if Marcus is right?"

"You made the decision to play fair."  Charlie reminded him, "Do you remember why?"  She asked.

"I want to win because people want me to be Mayor not because they don't want Cain."  He answered.
"You're doing the right thing."  She whispered as she hugged him closely.


Finlay stepped up to the podium, the room was packed with both current and potential donors.
He knew that it was crucial for him to reassure his current supporters and to clinch the votes of the undecided Sims.

Thanking the audience for attending, he delivered his speech outlining his policy ideas and finishing by addressing that mornings news story.

"On a personal note I wanted to respond to a story that was printed about me today.  Many of you may be unaware that i have a daughter, her name is Hope and she, like the rest of my family is the most important thing to me."  He began.

"The Tribune would like you to believe that Hope is a secret, that she is a cause of shame to me and my wife, but nothing could be farther from the truth.  It's true that we may not be a traditional family, but we are a family none the less, we have our ups and downs like everyone else.  But at the core of our family is love, understanding and trust." He paused to gauge the reaction of the crowd but the numerous camera flashes were blinding him.

 He glanced over at Charlie who was standing at the side of the stage, she winked at him to show her support which gave him the encouragement he needed to continue.

"If i am elected Mayor of Bridgeport then i will bring the same values which my family holds so dear to each and every one of you and i will make certain that families of all shapes, sizes and creation are held equally.  Thank you Ladies and Gentlemen."  He concluded.
As he stepped from the stage the audience got to their feet and applauded him. 
Making his way through the crowd he greeted each person in turn, as his current supporters rushed to congratulate him.

"Great speech Finlay."

"Way to go Finlay."

He was bolstered by the positive comments but none of the undecided voters had approached him yet. 
Many of them were one time Cain supporters who had become disillusioned during his term as Mayor but they had been reluctant to put their support behind a candidate as young as Finlay.
He was stopped by a tap on his shoulder.
Spinning around he came face to face with Clarice Borden the matriarch of the City's most wealthy and prestigious family.

"Ms Borden, thank you so much for attending."  Finlay enthused, it was quite a compliment to have her here in person, particularly as she had been a staunch Cain supporter in the last election.

"Interesting speech Mr Traytor."  She said clapping her hands together.

Finlay couldn't determine if she was about to congratulate or berate him so he remained silent.

"I must say i am surprised by your candor, most politicians prefer to spin a negative story."  She said.

"Well my daughter isn't a negative story Ma'am, in fact she's the thing I'm most proud of."  He answered honestly.

She smiled broadly at his reply, "Well it seems we have found the impossible, an honest politician.  You have my vote Mr Traytor."  She confirmed shaking his hand firmly.
After the guests had left Charlie rushed to Finlay's side, "I heard about Clarice Borden supporting you, that's amazing news Finn."  She gushed before kissing his cheek.

"It worked Charlie, i didn't think that it would but people seemed to really appreciate me telling the truth." 

"Your instincts are right Finlay, you just need to have confidence in yourself."  She reminded him.


The next day the papers were full of pictures and quotes from the fundraiser, beneath a photo of Finlay, Charlie and Cherry the caption read;

Happy families?

The reporter quoted Finlay's speech word for word but still seemed to query how genuine he was, at least i got through to some people, Finlay reminded himself. 

He just had to hope it would be enough.

The following morning he collected Hope and took her to the park.

Since Cherry had moved back to town Finlay had spent every other day with his daughter and their bond was stronger than ever.

The park was full of Sims enjoying the summers day and many of them stopped to stare at Finlay and Hope, Finlay could hear their whispers, some were quite unkind.

"Mr Traytor!"  A lady called out to him, she was surrounded by a group of elders who were gathered at the park bench deep in conversation.

Finlay swallowed, he hoped they weren't going to confront him while he was with Hope.

"Hello."  He ventured as he approached the group, the lady who had called him over stood up.

"This must be your daughter."  She said kindly, smiling at Hope and tickling her under her chin.
"She's just adorable."  The lady continued.

The other elders got up to coo over Hope who giggled excitedly at the sudden rush of attention.

"We read about your speech last night."  The lady continued, "We all agree that family is the most important thing."
"Yes."  Another Sim ventured, "I had a child out of wedlock when i was a young girl and the town i lived in treated me like an outcast, we don't want that for our future generations."

"Here, here!"  Another Sim cried.

Finlay soon found himself encircled by Sims agreeing with his sentiments and congratulating him.

Later on he headed for Cherry's house filled with confidence, clearly his speech had touched people and with renewed support he had high hopes for the upcoming election.
Knocking first, he walked into the house to be greeted by the sight of Cherry locked in a passionate embrace with Don!

"Finn!"  She cried out in shock, pushing Don away.
"I wasn't expecting you until 7 o'clock."

"Clearly!"  He retorted, Finlay could feel the heat begin to build, radiating from his ears and threatening to spread so he placed Hope in her high chair and walked away.

"Finn wait!"  Don called after him but Finlay was determined not to have this discussion in front of Hope.

"I'll talk to him."  Don told Cherry before following Finlay into the garden.
"Finn, wait up!"  He yelled.

Finlay came to a stop at the edge of the yard and turned to face his friend.

"What the hell man?"  He asked trying to keep his voice down.

"Finn I'm sorry i should have told you."  Don began.

"She's the mother of my child Don!"  Finlay spat, his anger rising.

"So what she's not allowed to be with anyone else?"  Don retorted angrily.

Finlay stepped back at his friends remark, "I would like nothing more than for Cherry to be happy, what i don't want is for her to be used.  Be honest Don you're not exactly a one woman man!"

"OK Finn I'm sorry i get why you're mad but it's not like that i swear."  Don begged, "I'm not using Cherry, I love her.  Honestly Finn I've never felt like this before."

Finlay felt the heat recede, he had known Don for a long time and he had never once heard him use the "L" word when talking about a girl, he knew he was serious.

"Then why didn't you tell me?"  Finlay asked.

"Look i know how you felt about Cherry, she was your first love.  I'm probably breaking all kinds of guy codes by dating her but..." Don trailed off.

"To hell with the guy code!"  Finlay said, "You're my best friend if you're in love then I'm happy for you man."

"Really?"  Don asked.

"Of course!  Just make her happy OK?  She deserves to be happy."  Finlay said patting his friend on the back.


"Finn!  Come over here!"  Charlie shouted as he walked through the door.

"What is it?"  He asked, his nerves set at edge by her worried expression.

"You'd better look at this."  She said gesturing to the screen.

The page was filled with Sims comments on a bloggers story, Finn skim read it.
It seemed that someone had been investigating Cain and had uncovered regular payments being made from his budget to the health inspectors private bank account, the same inspector who had closed down so many of Bridgeport's restaurants prior to Mayor Cole's defeat.

"I don't believe it!"  Finlay exclaimed, "So Cain was the one bribing the the inspector not Marcus's father, he did it all to frame Martha."
"That's not all Finn."  Charlie continued, she allowed a dozen more sites to pop up each telling a new and more shocking tale than the next.
"Someones been busy feeding this information to the bloggers, whoever did it Cain must be at the top of their hit list."

"Marcus!"  Finlay sighed, shaking his head.
"How could he do this?  We're so close to the election, its going to look like i leaked all these stories to discredit Cain."

He angrily tapped out Marcus's cell phone number.

"Tell me you're not behind this!"  He demanded as Marcus picked up.

"I assume you've read some of the blogs."  Marcus stated, "Finlay trust me i did you a favour, have you read some of the comments?  Cain is toast after this."

"Marcus i gave you strict orders not to do this, how could you go behind my back like this?  I thought i could trust you."  Finlay said disheartnened by his colleagues lack of respect.

"You can trust me Finlay, i just won you the election."  Marcus bragged.
"I just managed to gain peoples trust Marcus, they believe that i'm honest and that's why they were going to give me their votes.  Now they're going to think i did this, and it makes me no better than Cain."  Finlay said wondering how all his hard work could be undone so easily.

"You'll be thanking me come next Wednesday."  Marcus said, "We're going to win this Finlay."

Finn hung up and tossed his phone aside, he hoped Marcus was right.



Enirac said...

Stupid Marcus ;l

PiB said...

So glad that the city was accepting Finlay and Hope...Did Marcus ruin it for them? Did he intend to ruin it?