Blunt force trauma...too much blood... gone.
Paolo squeezes his eyes shut. No matter how much he thinks about it, it doesn't make sense. Krista was just here. She can't be gone. It's just not possible.
She has to come back. For Tula. For him.
She has to.
Marko quietly prepares dinner. The past two days have felt like a dream to everyone in the house; the person they've all been living with, a member of their family, was helping criminals.
Money launderer, fraudster, an accomplice.
Or an inventor, mother, wife?
Could she have been all of them?
They'll never really know.
Marko swipes at his eyes. Krista's absence has been hanging over everyone like a sickly shadow; he can't look at the inventing table without feeling nauseous, or at his son without feeling an uncomfortable pinch in his chest.
He glances over at his shoulder at Tula. He's tried to get Paolo to explain things to her, but this was met with a heavy silence. He's not sure how much she's aware of; a part of him hopes not much, but he knows kids need stability and transparency. They can't keep her in the dark forever.
Tula scowls at her sullen father. Ever since that thing with her mom happened yesterday, he's been a depressed mess. Everyone's been walking on eggshells around her, as if she couldn't piece together what happened herself. Her mom got arrested then murdered. End of story. Why can't they just get it over with so she can cry her sad little girl tears and they can move on?
Well, at least, from observation, they expect the tears. It's supposed to be "healthy" to cry in times of grief. She doesn't really get it; the way her dad is grieving seems anything but healthy. Why should she do the same?
And Tula herself? Aside from frustration from being ignored, she doesn't feel...anything.
Just a strange emptiness.
Though this emptiness persists even in the company of others, Tula is somewhat grateful to Guy for his distractions.
She wonders if he feels the same way. Does he understand what's going on? Would it even affect him? He seems to be...somewhere else... mentally most of the time.
But really, is that so different from her? She gets lost in her thoughts, the adults call her "brooding" and "mature". Guy gets sidetracked and he's "disturbed" and "not quite there".
Are his vacant smiles really so different from hers?
"What was that for?" she asks when he pulls away. She can't remember Guy ever hugging her before.
"I just wanted you to feel better," he mumbles.
She gives him a hard stare. Did she look down before? Isn't that what she's supposed to be doing?
What makes him want to comfort her? Is it because he's trying to fit in with sim society better? Is it because as "best friends", he fulfilled a role?
Guy is staring out into space, so he doesn't notice the intense scrutiny. Nobody will tell him why Tula's mom hasn't come home. He clenches his fists tightly; is it because he's crazy? Are they afraid to set him off? Or is it normal for sim adults to just disappear like this? Is it another thing he doesn't get? There are a lot of things here he doesn't quite understand...
Tula breaks her gaze and glances at the floor.
"Thanks, Guy," she says, smiling sadly, "I-I do feel better." She wonders if she should blush now. Sometimes the other girls at school do that when they're near boys. But then they also say boys are "weird", especially their brothers. Guy isn't really her brother, but people seem to treat them as a pair.
Guy looks surprised. He half expected Tula to yell at him, or threaten to beat him up. But maybe that didn't really happen. He seems to remember things no one else does, or forget when things really do occur. Maybe Tula's mom was never here. Or maybe she went on a trip and he just forgot.
Maybe Tula's dad crying behind him is the illusion. Or Tula's grandpa cooking. He never cooks.
Or does he?
Guy's brow furrows.
"I'm tired, so I'm gonna sleep. Night," Tula says, unceremoniously ending their conversation. Guy looks after her and blinks.
Tula passes by the tense dinner table. For a moment, their deliberate silence fills Tula with white hot rage. How dare they treat her like this, like she's a stupid child? She is so angry that she practically seethes, "Good night." She opens her bedroom door, and tenses her arm to slam.
Then as soon as the violent anger overtakes her, it disappears. How silly of her. She closes the door softly behind her.
For a long moment, no one says anything.
Paolo looks up and sighs heavily, "You're going to say that's my fault, aren't you?"
"I wasn't going to say that," Marko says wearily, "But Paolo, for god's sake, Tula's nearly in high school. She's old enough to hear about Krista."
At the mention of Krista's name, Paolo's eyes fill with tears. "C-Can't we give it a bit of time? Do I really have to hurt her now?"
Persis smiles sadly. "Tula's a smart girl...she probably already knows, Paolo. Her dad keeping the truth from her won't make it any better."
"Why should I make her feel like this?" he asks bitterly. "Why does she have to know that Krista's gone? I wish I didn't know."
Persis feels a hard pang of sympathy for her son; everything happened to him so early. Becoming a father, getting married...and now, being a widow. She reaches over and squeezes his hand. She wishes she knew what to say to comfort him.
But words often fail at times like these.