Justin, Eleanor, Serena, Byron, Alison:
Because of the serial nature of the site, I would frequently start a storyline without having any idea how it would end. Usually, the end would present itself as the story went along. But the storyline I started with Byron & Serena just kept picking up speed as it rolled downhill, picking up my other characters along the way, and I lost all control of it.
I had at best a vague outline of how that was going to end. The most 'solid' bits are those involving Justin, and it's almost as though Byron disappears from the plot. Which is in part why I've never finished the story, I'm not satisfied with the ending, but can't really resolve it in a way that involves al the characters & resolves all their stories properly.
Justin is in fact the son of Larna Lock, the god of love that Serena has been hanging around with. When Larna & Justin meet at the gallery opening, Larna is able to 'see' his progeny's whole history & decides to use that information. He goes to NY in the guise of Justin & takes advantage of the Collared (Justin's 'followers'), getting them to believe he is Justin come back to lead their cult.
He brings them to L.A., and brings them to Odessa (the love goddess who has Byron under her spell).
Serena & Alison find out about this, possibly through Byron phoning Alison demanding her presence on his 'set', I was never quite sure. I also had variations where they have to 'break into' the set with the help of cop friend Ulises (LAPD regularly have cops protecting movie sets that are off studio lots. It is from what I understand a very sweet gig for a cop to get.) Before Serena & Alison go there, they pick up a reluctant Justin, who wants nothing to do with it. But Eleanor pushes him into it & tags along herself. She wants to know what this is about. Eleanor happens to be around because she's going through a bit of a life crisis, she hates her job & feels meaningless. Justin suggests she quit & focus on her gallery, but she doesn't have the courage for that just yet. So she takes a day off to stew about it & hang around with Justin all day.
So, here we are, all characters assembled. What happens? It's kind of vague. I envision a sort of 'mental confrontation' between Larna & Justin. Larna would be not in his usual form, but a younger version of Justin, with all the piercings etc. Justin would have a moment of realization, not exactly knowing he was facing his actual father, but he would understand intuitively that he was facing a choice between being a god & being a human. He would remember his role with the collared, & feel again that euphoria that kind of power over people gives you, and he would be tempted by it, to return to that kind of lifestyle, unfettered by the attachments that come with human emotions. To Eleanor he would say, (about Larna) "He is more me than I am".
Eleanor's reply would be, "He can't be you....he's not my Justin, and you are. Aren't you?." Or something like that, lol. Those words would kind of break the spell on Justin, and his choice would be made.
Which still leaves the whole Byron, Serena, Odessa & Larna mess. I had a few ideas about what to do with all that, but they were rough sketches & nothing I really want to share. It's a big ugly plot hole, lol. Don't get too close, you might fall in!
However, I did imagine, once Odessa & Larna had gone back to their realm or whatever, that one of the 'Collared' who had come from NY would approach Justin. Justin would kind of recognize her, but not exactly: she looks familiar but she wasn't among the Collared that he knew. (There would be 'new converts' to the cult who had never actually met the real Justin). It turns out she is his sister, Jeanette. She didn't 'join' the Collared, she 'infiltrated' them....She's a writer doing a fellowship at NYU, where she found Alison's Collared movie while doing some research, and immediately recognized her long lost little brother. She found the Collared & joined them just in time to be brought to L.A. During this little family reunion, Alison would meet Jeanette. Love at first sight, lol.
Alison's story had a more pat ending, after we pass over the gaping plot hole, lol. She would stay in L.A. long enough to help Byron finish the Sandman movie, after which she would move back to NYC. Byron is so grateful to her for keeping his film alive while he was doing the Odessa thing, he cuts her a check for a million doillars, enough to make whatever independent film she wants, but not so much as to be a Hollywood pic, lol. She would tell her girlfriend that she wanted to move, kind of expecting Kelly would pick up & go with her. But Kelly refuses, saying she's made friends here, is in the middle of studying to become a vet & has no intention of moving that close to her own home state & family that she left behind. It would be a very amicable break up, lol. I wasn't going to follow Alison to NY, but it would be implied she was probably going to get involved with Justin's sister there.
Outside the whole movie angle, Justin & Eleanor also have the other plot things, lol. Eleanor's mother starts calling Justin everyday to chat, to the point where he realises she's in love with him. Disgusting as that is, he uses that to his advantage. He suggests Helen look into purchasing a property in Lake Tahoe (after Helen suggest he & Eleanor buy a house in L.A.) and he points her specifically at the property Mercedes & Bill have been trying to sell. I wasn't sure exactly how I would word it, but the security cameras would be mentioned. The end result would be Helen buys the house for Justin & Eleanor as a wedding gift, and in the process unknowingly frightens Mercedes into bring the tapes to Eleanor herself. Which would all be a huge surprise to Eleanor.
Eleanor would decide in the end to quit her job & focus on the gallery, which for her would be more meaningful work. And since her gallery manager, Rebecca, decides suddenly to up & quit & leave L.A. altogether, it's the perfect time for her to choose to manage it full time herself.
Sadly, I have nothing to say about the Byron/Serena part of this story. I really had no idea how to fit them into it once I got Justin involved. I did imagine them getting back together in the end, a happy romantic ending if you will. I just never could figure out the path that got us there, lol.
The following is excerpts from some email correspondence about this plot line, written way back when. I thought they might give an insight into what I was thinking at the time.
> So....I've gotten the idea lately that Justin might actually be Larna's
> son. (Larna being the defunct love god in the Serena/Byron story.)
> Which would make Justin a demi-god, actually. Am I pushing my weird
> envelope too far with this?
--- <everfallingfaster@y...> wrote:
> To me, this could 'explain' why Justin is so attractive and magnetic - the scene where you're describing Alison taping him (in Zachs' chapter, i think) is very memorable, and kinda gives off an otherworldy feeling. It actually seems like a very natural thing, you'll surprise people but they won't be surprised/unbelieving. i'm already very curious about several things: if/when justin finds this out about himself, what is his reaction?, whether anyone else will know about it, and obviously how he will be involved with Odessa, how he will react to Larna, if he is the 'distraction' that Larna thinks she needs, lol. and whether that damn movie is going to get finished!
Melissa Hayes <hayes.melissa@c...> wrote:
It's funny because it's almost like I've been setting Justin up for this from the start, right in his first chapter I describe his feelings of not being fully human. I had no idea I would think of heading this way.
I'm still working out the details of all this, lol, there are so many different ways I could go.
Justin may never find out at all, I don't know how directly he'll be involved.
It's like I have all these pieces: Justin & his cult, who are still active without his knowledge, Alison, who's ex-girlfriend sells the Collared tape online & is important if not the 'leader' of the Collared in Justin's absence. And Larna as potentially Justin's father. I always had in mind that Justin never knew his father: the 'backstory' I have for him is his mom has several kids, all with different fathers. Justin's the only boy. I've named 2 sisters, Jeanette & Josie, and I also think there is a Justine...because Justin's mom has a theme going, lol. Jeanette is older, then Justin followed by his other sisters.
So having Larna come in to fill that role fits nicely, lol, and it does explain a lot about Justin, lol, in all his weirdness. But it makes me sad to remove him from humanity like that. I mean, in that he was such a flawed person and yet such a great character. So I'm a little torn.
I don't think Larna actually already knows Justin is his son...or I should say, Larna breeds casually, and doesn't pay attention to his offspring. But somehow, Alison's movie will come to his attention, or he'll meet Justin at Gavin's party, and recognize his own.
Justin is somehow going to be key to resolving the Odessa thing, I just haven't figure out yet how directly he'll be involved...I have one idea that has Larna assuming Justin's form & reappearing to the Collared, making them worship his 'Eleanor'...who would be Odessa, lol. But there are other ideas as well, It's quite a difficult thing. I'm just betting the pieces will come together for me, the way they are...they better, lol, or I'm screwed....
Coby, Xtina, Rebecca, Heather & Ulises
My main problem with finishing these stories was syncing them together properly. I had a pretty good idea of where the Coby/Xtina thing was going, and what would happen with the Rebecca/Heather/Ulises thing, but the relationship between Coby & Rebecca made it difficult to get both storylines together. LOL, that likely makes no sense.
Rebecca & Xtina live in the same building, La Leyenda Apts. I decided the building needed to burn. That thought has been in the back of my mind since I built the lot, because it was named for a building I once lived in, and when were there, there was a fire. So when it came time to wind the stories down, I really wanted to burn it. I actually did start a kitchen fire, but I forgot that Sim walls don't actually burn, lol, and I could not get the devastation effect in the pics that I wanted. Just some ash piles in the kitchen, lol. The fire would not have harmed anyone, but both Rebecca & Xtina would lose their apts & stuff. Rainier, Xtina's current 'boyfriend' also lived in the building. He would have been out of town altogether during the fire. I had largely decided only Xtina would be at home during the fire. Rebecca was probably out with Heather, I wasn't sure. Left alone with no home, she goes to Coby's apt.
The day of the fire, before Xtina shows up at his place, Coby hears Hayley gleefully shouting 'Rainy' outside the building. Thinking there's been a sudden weather event, lol, Coby looks out the window to see the usual sunny skies, and Hayley bouncing around 'the French Guy, Ti's French guy, what's his name...Rainier...Rainy?' while he loads her luggage into his car. The couple kiss & take off. Coby remembers Hayley chirping at him recently about how her European boyfriend was going to take her on yet another weekend trip, and correctly puts 2 and 2 together. He doesn't always get that equation right, but this time, he does, lol. He mulls over calling Xtina to tell her what he just saw & decides against it, figuring she wouldn't believe him & probably accuse him of making it up or something. A few hours later, Xtina herself shows up, crying & distraught & Coby immediately assumes either Xtina found about about Rainier & Hayley herself, or Rainier broke up with her before leaving town or something. What follows is a mini comedy of errors, Coby greets Xtina with affectionate sympathy, Xtina asks if he saw it on the news, Coby is amazed that Xtina's self-centeredness extends to believing her life makes the breaking news. Before he can reply to that, Xtina moans about her whole life, everything, being gone, and Coby is hurt that she feels that way about Rainier, but not about him. Finally, they each learn what the other is talking about: Coby learns about the fire & Xtina learns that Coby saw Rainier & Hayley take off together.
This is where it gets weird for me, I have 2 separate threads that lead off from this point. Coby would of course be immediately concerned about Rebecca after learning about the fire. But Xtina's main concern would be about discovering Rainier is cheating on her. I have mental scripts for different conversations & I just couldn't merge them coherently. In the end, I wanted to mirror the scene where Coby & Xtina kiss for the first time, repeating the Xtina drowning in her own self-created misery while Coby gentle coaxes her out of it.
At one point, Coby would become so exasperated with her, he would face up to sky, waving at whoever is out there that Xtina thinks is watching her pathetic life, and yell "Hey, I know something about Xtina..she's a natural blonde and her Daddy calls her Chrissy." Xtina would howl in outrage & flail at him, screaming "Stop it! Why do you hate me so much?" To which Coby would reply, "Yeah, I hate you. I hate you so much, I take all your shit & let you cry on my shoulder & crash at my place."
When Xtina later start to moan about how her life is ruined, Coby says "I know I'm the last person who should ever say this to anyone, but maybe it's time for you to grow up & take responsibility for your life. You've got a job, you can find an apartment. Take some classes & prove to your parents you are serious about going back to school & maybe they'll forgive you & pay your rent again. If not, at least you'll be doing something for yourself."
In the end, Coby & Xtina do not explicitly get back together, but it would be heavily implied that at some point in the future, it would happen.
Coby is of course still 'seeing' Rebecca at the time of the fire, though he knows she doesn't feel about him the way he does for her. Not that Coby really knows how he feels for Rebecca, he just knows the whole thing feels wrong. He wants out but can't actually get out. He wants to hope that if he keeps on, someday it will change, but he knows that it won't, Rebecca is getting what she wants from the relationship & won't change for him.
So part of my difficulty with finishing Coby & Xtina was from fitting in the how & when of Rebecca leaving altogether.
Rebecca is not home during the fire, and not with Coby, so I figured it was likely she'd be with Heather. Once she finds out about the fire, she asks Heather if she can stay with her. Heather is very hesitant, but agrees. Rebecca would have been a difficult house guest, dropping nasty comments & such around Ulises, because she has such a strong bias against the police. She would cause much stress for poor Heather.
I had a lot of different ideas floating around for this storyline & none were firmly resolved on. Now it's hard for me to pick which to talk about as the most likely events....I think I would have gone for the Ulises is injured in a shoot out. There was a particular news story that inspired that, though it's always been an underlying theme of the story, that Ulises job is dangerous & potentially fatal. His injury would not be fatal, I didn't want to do that. But it would be grave enough to cause serious alarm in his family. Rebecca would see Heather really grieve & worry at her husband's hospital bedside & finally 'get' that Heather actually loves the guy & isn't being extorted in some weird way.
Rebecca's boyfriend, Shannon, from San Francisco would also come onto the scene, I'm not sure exactly when. He would tell Rebecca he was leaving for __ (I would pick a country embroiled in some kind of war or devastation at the time) and ask her to join him. Unless she wants to stay in L.A. to gaze at her own navel. Rebecca is ready to go.
I know, that is all too pat, lol, and kind of corny. And once again, I had no place to fit Coby into Rebecca's equation during all this, it was like they had already broken up or something, like they weren't even crossing paths. I couldn't even resolve on when Coby would learn Rebecca was leaving town, if she would tell him or just take off & leave it to Heather to tell him.