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Romancing16 Romancing16 Presentation Transcript

  • Romancing the Apocalypse Chapter 16 –Three Lakes Welcome back to Romancing the Apocalypse! Chapter 15 ended with Romance twins Robin and Rachel as reluctant participants in a family getaway to Three Lakes, delaying their eagerly anticipated, and increasingly desperate, arrival at University. Will they be able to endure seven more days of clueless parents and three young siblings? Pinstar’s complete Apocalypse Challenge, including the Apoca-borg’s new set of rules for FreeTime, Apartment Life, and Mansion & Garden can be found at http://apocalypsechallenge.boolprop.com.
  • First day: getting settled. Former Rock God Mark was immediately drawn to the piano, of course.
  • “All the things we can eat, and you pick burgers,” Robin teased. “They just sounded good. I think the mountain air is making me extra hungry,” Rachel said with a shrug.
  • Rhea had become obsessed with cops and robbers, and dragged Juno and Jenny into the game whenever possible. “Pow-pow, you’re dead!” “Nuh-uh, you missed.”
  • “I didn’t miss. You’re dead.” “How come the cops always have to die?” “It’s not my fault you can’t get a shot off.”
  • “One of these days the good guys’ll win.” “But not today.”
  • Juno had been killed so many times, he was becoming an expert at it.
  • “Rachel and I are going to go out for a while.” “Okay, but it’s our first night here, so not for too long. Say, be back by ten?”
  • The twins’ first order of business was to find cell phones. “Cell phones? Around here? That’s a good one!” “What is this place, a hundred years ago?” “Don’t ya know, people come here to get away from the trappings of civilization?” “Yeah, whatever... come on, Rach.”
  • “Couldn’t...they...just...once...ask...us...what...we...wanted?” Rachel emphasized each word with a vicious stomp. “Stop it, Rach!” “I...do...not...want...to...be here!” “Come on, before someone sees you.”
  • “We can’t even get this lame-o trip started with a piddly 500-point aspiration boost.” “And look around, there’s no one even here. Of all the places to go on vacation, they had to pick the lamest.” “And they did this for us? That’s a joke. Twikkii would’ve been so much better.”
  • “Do marshmallows grow on twigs here? What, are you eight?” “It’s the finest delicacy in the region, don’t ya know.”
  • “Mmm, nice ’n melty, you should try one.”
  • “That cashier wasn’t bad. Did you get his number?” “Didn’t think about it... too ticked about the cell phones.” “Yeah.” “...Well, I guess it’s time for the goody-goody twins to go home and beddy-bye.”
  • “No cell phones... uuuhhhh!” Robin grabbed her injured foot and glancing around, half hopped, half slinked back to the cabin.
  • Morning dawned bright and sunny. The smell of pancakes and the plink of piano keys wafted through the air. A good romance was found in the bookcase.
  • “Psst... look at Dad.”
  • “Tee-hee!” “Haha!”
  • “Who’s hogging the bathroom?” “Rhea and Jenny... I think they’re gonna be a while.” “What’s gonna take a while?” “They’re playing.” “They cannot play in the only bathroom. Tell them to play somewhere else.” “Nuh-uh, not me. I’m sick of dying.”
  • “Pow-pow!” “Noooo, not by the toilet!”
  • “Would you and Rachel mind taking the little ones out today? Your dad is catching up on his Z’s – he was up all night with the piano.” “So we heard.” “You must understand how exciting it is for him to have this rare opportunity to get back into his music.” Robin shrugged. “Sure.” “I can go with you, of course.” Robin weighed the pros and cons and concluded that her mom would be a much bigger drag on their good time than the little guys. “Rachel and I can take them. You look kinda tired yourself.” “I was up all night, too. I admit it was pretty exciting for me to watch him in action. Such a shame he can’t perform music professionally at home...” “Do you want us back at any particular time?” “Mm, no,” Jane said blithely. “You’ve proven that I can trust your judgment.” “They’ll be in very good hands.”
  • “Da-ad! Wake up! We wanna go out!” Jane called from the door, “Honey, let your dad sleep.” “But it’s...” “Rhea, come here. Would you like to go out today and see some really great stuff with your sisters?” Rhea’s eyes lit up, and she ran toward the sound of her sisters’ voices.
  • “Where are we going?” Rhea asked. “How about we’ll start walking and stop wherever it looks good?” “Okay.”
  • Rhea of course insisted on leading the way. Juno and Jenny scrambled to keep up. “Hey, keep where we can see you,” Rachel called. Robin sashayed happily after Rachel. She took a deep breath of the crisp mountain air. “Smell those pines, sis.” Rachel breathed in happily too. “Mm. I wish we could bottle it up and take it back home.” “Yeah. The whole day to ourselves... well, close enough, right?” “Just need to park the kids where they’ll be happy enough to keep out of our way, then...” Rachel turned and winked at Robin.
  • It was getting late in the afternoon by the time they arrived at Lumber Mill Range. Robin headed straight for the axe throwing pit and introduced herself to a boy named Gordon Nott. As seems to be typical with townies on vacation, he was just getting ready to leave. She wanted to make sure this one at least did not get away. “Please say you have a phone so I can call you later,” she said with a winning smile. “I do, and I’d like that. Maybe we’ll see each other around, too.” “Great!” With a wistful sigh, Robin watched him leave. Seeing no one else of interest, she decided to give log rolling a try.
  • “Don’t make me drag you onto this thing, I feel pretty goofy here all by myself,” Robin said, struggling to keep her balance. Rachel, however, was looking straight past her sister. “I’ll be right back.”
  • Rachel introduced herself to Abhijeet, and as is typical of townies on vacation, he was just getting ready to leave as well. Rachel was just as determined not to let this one get away. “Do you have a phone? I’ll give you a call later, okay?”
  • The twins left the little ones to yet another game of cops and robbers. “Not the best of luck so far, but it’s promising,” Robin said, feeling quite happy.
  • At Three Lakes, afternoon quickly turned to dusk. “Who’s up for some cops and robbers?” “I’m sick of cops and robbers.” “Let’s go log rolling then.” “Shouldn’t we ask first?” “I’m not asking first.” Rhea hopped off the stool and headed for the log rolling pool. “I’m gonna ask first,” Juno stated just as emphatically. He hopped off his stool and wandered around, seeking his older sisters. Jenny sat for another minute, unsure where her loyalties lie. She made her decision and headed for the log rolling pool.
  • By coincidence, Rhea and Juno’s paths ended at the same spot. “Can we go log rolling?” Juno asked, dodging Rhea’s bullet out of habit. “I guess, but you guys have to promise to stay around here, and only around here.” “Are you gonna watch us?” “I think Rachel and I will check out the boring old hot springs. Are you sure you’ll be warm enough?” “It’s not that cold.” “And you all are gonna play here, and only here.” “Yeah, you already said that.” “Pow-pow, dead again!” “Stop shooting me!” “I’m going first!” Rhea dashed to the changing room. “Play nice, guys,” Robin said absently and headed to the bathrooms to meet Rachel.
  • “Log rolling should keep them out of our hair for a while.” “All set?” “To the hot springs?” “To the hot springs!”
  • “Let’s see how long both of us can stay on without falling, okay?” “Yeah, okay,” Rhea agreed, getting acclimated to the shifting log.
  • Until the opportunity to win became impossible for Rhea to resist. “Haha! Woo, you got him!” Jenny cheered.
  • “No one can beat me! Who’s next!”
  • “Me.” Juno surprised Rhea by hopping on again.
  • All the times spent playing dead cop to her victorious robber gave him a quiet resolve to beat her, just once. “Wha... you can’t... NOOOOO!”
  • “Haha, yay Juno!” Jenny cheered. “Come here and say that, traitor!” Rhea turned toward Juno. “No fair, I demand a rematch!” But Juno was quitting while he was ahead. He shook his head and with a little grin, stepped happily off the log.
  • A natural diplomat, Jenny knew right away she had blown it by favoring her brother so openly. Visions of chicken clucks danced in her head, and she knew it would be easier to just pick up the gauntlet and get it over with.
  • Jenny’s intention was to let Rhea win right away. “Haha, you know what traitors get around here?” “What?” Jenny squeaked. “Haha, not what! Wet! They get very wet!” “Whoa-oa-oa..!”
  • Jenny wasn’t quite sure how she managed to recover her balance.
  • Or how she pulled off a surprise victory.
  • “Aren’t we gonna go again?”
  • Not once, but twice. “Log rolling is stupid! This whole place is stupid!” Rhea rushed to the changing room, blinking back angry tears.
  • Rhea had never lost at anything to her brother and sister before, and she didn’t want to be around them... mostly because she didn’t want them to see she was a big crybaby.
  • “Stop, where are you going?” “Yeah, we’re supposed to stay here!” Rhea quickened her step. “...Wait for us!”
  • “I barely had time to get Gordon’s number before he had to leave, but he’s nice and really cute.” “That’s nice.” “What about you? He must’ve been all right for you not to go log rolling with moi.”
  • “Yeah, well... do you think guys can smell desperation? Because I’m getting pretty desperate. He seemed nice at first, then it all went downhill as usual. Just like Tyson... he had the nerve to come to our house because he just wanted to see aliens? Like they were circus freaks? What a...” Robin gasped. “What?”
  • “How long have we been here?” “I dunno... why?” “The circus freaks! We’d better check up on them.”
  • Robin had a feeling the kids wouldn’t be where she had left them. “Idiots, you promised!” she muttered, a sick feeling developing in the pit of her stomach. “Why couldn’t you stay like I told you?”
  • Each girl took half the lot to scour, but neither could find the wayward trio.
  • “We are so dead,” Rachel said flatly. “What are we going to do, Rach?” “Well, we can’t call Mom and Dad, and we can’t just leave here, in case they come back.” “What if just one of us stays here and you can go back and tell them?” “Excuse me? I’m not going to tell them.” “Well, I’m not going to!” “So we’re back to, what are we going to do?” “What about the tour guide over there? Maybe..?” Grateful for even a tiny bone, they ran over to the tour guide.
  • “Excuse me, but we’re... we can’t find our brother and two sisters.” “Were they in pink dresses with a little alien boy?” “YES!! Where did you see them? Are they still here?” “They went that way,” the tour guide said, pointing in the direction of the woods...
  • Time for the kids slowed to a snail’s pace as their destination became increasingly unclear. “I think we should turn back,” said Jenny. “Yeah, it’s spooky around here,” Juno worried. “Oo-OOO-oo.” “Cut it out!” “I’m getting tired, we’ll just find a shortcut,” said Rhea.
  • “I don’t think this is a shortcut.” “We’re lost, aren’t we?” Rhea remained stubbornly silent. “I’m scared.” “Juno, you are such a fraidy-cat.”
  • “Jenny, are you scared?” “...Yeah, pretty scared.”
  • Rhea marched back to Juno. “Stop being such a fraidy-cat! It isn’t helping, okay?!” “I wouldn’t be scared if you hadn’t picked such a crummy shortcut!” “Take that back or I’ll... push you in the lake!” “You can’t push me in the lake. You can’t even catch me.” “Oh yeah?” Rhea started after him. “Hey guys... look.” Something in Jenny’s quiet tone snapped Juno and Rhea to attention. “Huh..?” “On the other side of the lake...”
  • Time slowed to a crawl as the fate of their brother and sisters became more uncertain.
  • Unbeknownst to the twins, time was flying by for their parents, who were completely taken by the piano. Mark stretched and stood up. “That’s enough for me. Your turn.” “Me?” “Yeah, you!”
  • “How do I start?” “Okay, first thing to remember: Every Good Boy Does Fine...” And with Mark’s guidance along with a few helpful little tricks, Jane showed a natural aptitude for the piano. “Darlin’, you are doing great!” “Not bad for a novice,” Jane grinned before becoming completely engrossed in her playing...
  • After what seemed like hours, but in reality was not much more than one, Robin heard three familiar little voices. She turned to find a primitive cabin, and in its doorway, the flickering glow from a campfire.
  • “AHEM!” “Yay, you found us!” “Hi Rachel! Hi Robin!” “Do you want a marshmallow?” “Noooo, we don’t want a marshmalloooow. What were you guys thinking, just leaving like that?!” Robin demanded, but way too relieved to be seriously angry.
  • “Are you mad at us?” “Yes we’re mad at you! We were freaking out when we couldn’t find you!” “We tried to go back, but Rhea got us lost...” “Did not!” “But then we found this place!” Jenny said proudly. “Are you all okay?” “We’re great! Alon Bigfoot said we could stay here ’til morning, then he’d help us find our cabin!” “Yeah, and I was really sleepy, so he let me take a nap on his hammock!” Rhea bragged. The twins exchanged a worried glance. “Bigfoot?” “Yeah, bigfoot lives here!” “And you’re not afraid of him?” “Course not! Alon Bigfoot isn’t scary!”
  • “Er... where’s bigfoot now?” Rachel asked. “His name is Alon,” Rhea cut in. “Whatever.” “He started a fire for us and gave us sticks and marshmall0ws,” said Jenny. “Then he said he’d be outside,” said Juno. “Well, we certainly can’t stay here all night,” Rachel insisted. “But he said we could stay!” “Look, we’ve got to get home before it gets too late or Robbi and I will be in serious trouble. Mom and Dad would never let us take you guys out ever again.” “Aww...” Rhea sulked. “Can we come back?” Juno asked. Rachel exchanged a look with Robin, who just shrugged. “We’ll see. If you guys don’t say anything about getting lost, we could probably bring you back here.” “We won’t tell, we promise!” “Like you promised to stay put earlier?” Robin couldn’t resist making the dig. A dig that was followed by sheepish silence.
  • The kids followed Robin out of the cabin, leaving Rachel behind to make sure the fire was completely extinguished before she too stepped outside. She froze in her tracks when she saw a figure move in the darkness. “He-hello?” The figure stopped and looked at her. “A-are y-you...?” she gulped. “You are their big sister?” She could hardly believe she was conversing with bigfoot! She gulped again. “Yes, I-I’m Rachel. Thank you for, um, my brother and sisters.” She would never admit to the little ones that she had a fear of encountering bigfoot. “W-we’re taking them home now, okay?” He nodded slowly. “You bring the little ones back to visit Alon Bigfoot? My pond has the best fish in Three Lakes.” “Right. Okay, bye!” Rachel turned on her heel and ran at full speed to catch up with her siblings.
  • “Hey, I saw him,” Rachel panted. “I saw bigfoot.” “Did you tell him we’re coming back to see him?” “I... well... I didn’t exactly say that we would, but the subject did come up.” “We should go back and tell him.” “No, we really have to get you home, it’s getting late.” “...Don’t let Rhea go first or we’ll probably get lost again.” Rhea glared at Juno. “Shut up! We never were lost. If it wasn’t for me, we never would’ve seen bigfoot!” “Hey, I saw him first!” Jenny insisted. “Stop it, now,” Rachel scolded, “or we’re not coming back.” “No...!” the three protested in unison. “Then be nice to each other, and no...more...arguing! I’ve had enough of your shenanigans for one night.”
  • Robin set a brisk pace, and much to everyone’s relief, they found the walk home took much less time than they thought it would.
  • They were famished by the time they arrived back at their cabin. “You missed dinner, I hope it isn’t too cold.” Robin figured the less said, the better. “Oops.” “So, tell me what you did today,” Mark inquired indulgently. “Oh, log rolling mostly,” Robin said, half bracing for the other shoe to drop. “You should’ve seen Jenny’s dorky rubber ducky suit,” Rhea snickered. “Winning isn’t dorky,” Jenny replied smugly. “Jenny, please don’t slouch at the table.”
  • “You were saying... dork?” “Hey!” “Girls, settle down... no need to wind yourselves up right before bedtime.” “Yuck, I’m going to bed,” Rachel said, feigning disgust while secretly approving the girls’ antics.
  • But Rachel was too wound up herself to sleep.
  • “The paper says there’s vandals on the loose in Three Lakes!” “Vandals? Here? That’s strange.” “What are vandals?” “Troublemakers. Who wants pancakes?” “Me!”
  • Before Robin could whisk the paper out of sight, and hopefully out of mind, into the trashcan, Jane picked it up and resumed reading. “It says flower beds by the souvenir shops have been trampled... t-t, such a shame. I wonder if this has anything to do with our mystery trashcan kicker?” “Shouldn’t we focus on the beauty of Three Lakes instead of vandals and trashcans?” Robin gagged a little at her own words. “Mm, good point,” Jane said, folding up the paper. “Here, let me take that,” Robin offered.
  • After that, newspaper delivery at the lot mysteriously stopped.
  • Everyone was happy to hang around the cabin the following day after the previous night’s excitement.
  • The next day at breakfast: “Your dad and I were thinking of doing some exploring ourselves. Would you like to join us?” “Can we go see bigfoot?” Jenny asked without thinking. Robin choked on a bite of pancake. “Are you all right?” “Syrup hurts in the wrong pipe,” Robin rasped. “Where were we? Oh, yes... bigfoot. I was thinking more along the lines of some pampering like a massage, but I suppose we could take you to see bigfoot. If we can find him, that is.” “Rachel and I can take them... if we can find him, that is.” “I’d be crazy not to take you up on your offer. Thank you.”
  • Jane got her massage and liked it so much she decided to try the day’s special:
  • The Glitchy Massage.
  • “We came back, Mr. Bigfoot! Your place sure is pretty.” “Alon Bigfoot is always glad to have visitors, especially such polite ones.”
  • Bigfoot...Alon...wasn’t nearly as intimidating in daylight, and Rachel never lost aspiration points despite her fear of meeting him. “You weren’t kidding, you do have the best fish in Three Lakes! These are good for stuffing, right?” “Best stuffed trout comes from Three Lakes.” “All righty then!” Rachel happily put the trout in her inventory, eager to try a new recipe.
  • Even novice fisherman Juno caught one of the pretty ones.
  • Rhea went off to fish by herself, for no particular reason other than she was just being... Rhea.
  • Robin was of a different mindset. She never forgot how she felt after catching her first fish with her sister Rose, and had vowed never to kill another one. She pried the hook from this one’s mouth, and smiling a little at the slimy feel, placed it back in the water. Like a flash, it swam away. “I’m done,” she declared, rinsing her hands and drying them on her skirt.
  • “So, Mr. Bigfoot, I was wondering: What is your deal?” “My deal.” “Yes. Are we supposed to keep you a secret? Will people say we’re crazy if we say we saw you? You know, your deal.” “Ah... My deal here is simple. Here I am known as Alon Bigfoot. My brothers in other realities are known by many names: simply as Bigfoot, or Yeti, or Sasquatch among others. Their ‘deals’ may not be so simple. Then there is Snorkak...” “Which one is Snorkak? I haven’t heard of him before.” “Snorkak was thought to be a delusion of Xenophilius Obsession, but my brother Snorkak is very much real in LucyPeppeR’s reality.” “Well, my brother and sisters think you’re the best thing to happen on this trip. They will want to do as you wish.” “Then tell them I wish for them to tell their friends that if they search, they will find me, and Alon Bigfoot welcomes visitors.” “I like your deal, Mr. Bigfoot. Thank you for your hospitality.” “Alon Bigfoot always enjoys visitors, especially such nice ones.”
  • Juno might have appeared timid in the shadow of his sisters, but he was actually very outgoing, and it was he who became Alon Bigfoot’s friend.
  • “You know what I want? A real date with you. Spend the day together... have dinner out... the whole shebang. What d’you say, sweet Jane?” “I say we’re not spending much time with the kids?” “Want to invite them along? I don’t think they’ll want to, but hell, give it a shot.” “Ooh, such sweet talk! How can I say no?”
  • So Mark and Jane went out on their date. “Six kids and you still are the hottest thing I’ve ever seen.”
  • Back at the homestead, where the twins had so generously offered to babysit: “Hi, Gordon? It’s Robin, remember me from the Lumber Mill Range?” “.....” “Hehe, really? Are you busy? My parents are out, would you like to come over?” “.....” “A friend! Perfect, bring him along!” “.....” “Okay, see ya!” Robin hung up the phone and squealed, “Rachel, we’re gonna have company!”
  • Gordon’s friend was named Juan, and he definitely was not the aloof type.
  • “I hope you’re planning on sticking around for a while today? Because I’d really like a date with you.” And Robin had everything queued up for that to happen.
  • She giggled in surprise when Gordon tickled her and said, “Did you think you were the only one?” She had lucked out! The first boy she liked, liked her just as much!
  • “I like your style, Rachel.” Rachel’s heart skipped a beat.
  • “So...Juan. Gordon has really good taste in friends.” “He’s got really good taste in girls, too.” “...Would you like some lunch?” “Are you making it?” “Yes, I am.” “Count me in for lunch.”
  • “You’re being awful quiet.” “...It’s just, they’re all growing up so fast. I never thought we would take separate vacations... from our kids!” “Ah, darlin’, it’s natural that they would rather do things on their own now. Things will go back some once Rachel and Robin hit college.” “You think so?” “I do.” Jane sighed. “Are you hungry?” “...Famished.” “Let’s go have that dinner out...”
  • Robin chuckled quietly to herself at Rachel’s attempt to wow Juan. “Great stuffed trout, Rach.” “You can cook for me anytime, Rachel.” Juan bumped his foot playfully against hers under the table. This is it, Rachel thought, this is the happiest moment of my life. She quoted with pseudo authority, “The best stuffed trout comes from Thr...” she stopped, a look of consternation crossing her face. “Will you please excuse me?” “Sure, sis. Everything okay?” “Fine.” Rachel ran up the stairs. “Need any help there, Rachel?” Juan called. Robin frowned at him. “Rachel can take care of herself, Juan.” “Maybe we should go back outside,” Gordon suggested tactfully.
  • “What happens to you once you leave Three Lakes?” “Go to Sim State U with my sister, of course. It’s something we’ve dreamed about since we became teens.” “I’ve always wanted to go to University. I don’t have a lot of money, though.” “But isn’t University great here? I mean, it’s great that you don’t need a lot of money to attend, right?” Gordon looked into her eyes and nodded.
  • “So once you achieve your dream to attend University with your sister, do you have another?” Robin blushed and stammered, “I... I... uh...” Gordon’s gaze became fixed on the trunk of a nearby tree. “Sorry, that’s none of my business. I know it sounds cliché, but I hope our paths will cross again some day, Robin. Thanks for inviting me over.” “I-I’m really glad you came.” “...Well, it’s getting pretty late, and I’ll take a guess your parents won’t like two strange guys in their house... with their daughters... after dark.” Robin didn’t want him to go, but she knew he was right. Her mom would have a conniption. “Juan! Time to go!” Gordon called. He turned and met her eyes again. All she could do was shrug and give him a sheepish smile. “Bye, Robin.” He returned her smile and waved, turning to leave. “...Wait!”
  • “Bye.” “Bye.”
  • “Juan! What are you still doing here?” “Waiting for Rachel, of course.” “She still hasn’t come down yet?” “No, and now I’m thinking, it doesn’t matter.” “What?”
  • “I’m thinking you’ll do just fine.” “Jua-Juan, what do you think you’re doing?” “We’re all Romancers here... Rachel told me. Nothing wrong with sharing the love...” “Ooh, Juan! Come closer...”
  • “I’m not interested in sharing any love with you! You stay away from me and my sister, got it? Don Juan?”
  • “Now get out of here before she finds out what a creep you really are!” Robin hissed. “Yo yo, I ain’t leavin’ ’til Rachel says so.” “Robbi, what’s going on out there?” “Um, nothing, Rach. Juan was just leaving.” “Actually, Rachel, I’m not. Not without seeing you first.” “Then come back in, silly!” Robin whirled away and stomped up the stairs. With a satisfied smirk, Juan went back inside...
  • “Ah, darlin’, didn’t you like the dinner?” “It was very good.” “Want some dessert?” “No thanks.” “...Want to go home and have some with the kids?” She turned and gave him a watery smile. “You’re so good for me. I love you.” “I love you too.”
  • “What was that all about? Robin looked pretty upset.” “Beats me. Maybe she’s jealous.” “Jealous? Why would she be jealous?” “Because I like you, Rachel. I like you a lot.”
  • Rachel laughed nervously, a bit disconcerted that Robin could be jealous of her. “My parents will be furious if you’re here when they get home. I’ll meet you out back by the trees, okay?” “Yo yo, sure thing, Rachel.” Pointing his finger at her and holding her gaze, he backed out of the room and out the back door.
  • Rachel couldn’t find Juan in the dark, but she heard rustling sounds coming from one of the tents. “Oh Jua-an, is that you?” she giggled. “Juan? Who’s Juan?” Jane demanded. Rachel jumped. “Mom! I was... I was just...” “Who is Juan?” “.......” “I said, Who...is...Juan?” “.......” “I thought so. Get in the house.”
  • “You can’t order around me like that! I am not a child anymore!” “You’re not an adult yet, either. I want him to leave, now.” “How can you humiliate me like this?! I could be in college right now, and you couldn’t... couldn’t do anything to stop... stop anything!” “Are you going to tell him, or am I?” “Y0u can’t do this to me!”
  • “Oh, I can, and I will.” “Mom, this is not a big deal. You can hear he’s just sleeping, for crying out loud!” “Just sleeping?! Strange boys are not allowed to just sleep at our house!”
  • “Yo yo, Rachel, how’s about you come here for a little... OWW!! What the f... You’re not Rachel!” “You just figure that out, lover boy?” Jane whapped him a good one on the head. “Hey, I could get you for... for assault or something!” “Yeah? Who ya gonna call? We have no Law, and as for calling the police... what police?! Now get out of this tent and get off our property!”
  • Juan scrambled out of the tent, no match for livid mothers on a rampage... livid mothers with ten Body points.
  • Rachel watched, mortified, as Jane marched Juan off the lot. “Nice to meet you too, lady.” “Just stay away from my girls.”
  • “Rachel! Where are you going?” “Anywhere but here.” “... I’m going with you.”
  • “You might want to slow down there, Rach. It’s gonna be hard enough to scale back on food when we get back home.” “We’ll be fine with just two of us.” “I know, but aren’t you worried about..?” Robin stopped, looking straight ahead. She didn’t want Rachel to think she was sizing her up. “Being fat?” Rachel finished bluntly. “Er... what happened exactly?” “What happened? What do you think happened? The chicken pot pie, pancakes, flapjacks...not just your ordinary pancakes, mind you, pork chops, oodles of marshmallows happened! And to top it all off, my damned stuffed trout happened! My butt exploded, right in front of Juan!” Robin gaped. “That’s why... Oh, Rachel...” “At least he still likes me.” Robin thought she was going to be sick. “I’ll be back in a minute.”
  • Robin returned and gasped softly when she saw Rachel crying quietly. She backed up several paces and called nonchalantly, “Hey Rach, we haven’t done any souvenir shopping yet.” “In a minute, okay?” Rachel replied, sniffling and wiping her eyes.
  • Robin couldn’t bear the quiet sniffling any longer. “Only two more days and we’ll be at Sim State U!” she said cheerily. “Free at last, huh?” Rachel said quietly. “What should we do first when we get there? Furniture shopping or... oh great.” “What?” “There’s Juan.” Robin couldn’t keep the disdain out of her voice. “Really?” Rachel’s face lit up and she turned.
  • “Yo yo, Rachel. How’s it..?” Bzzzzzzzzt CRACK!!!!!! “RACHEL!!” “Uhhhhhh” “OHGOD,OHGOD,OHGOD!” “Yo! Rachel! Are you..?” “Get out of here, Juan!” Robin shrieked.
  • “Should we find a doctor?” “I don’t need a doctor, I need a bathroom.”
  • “So this is what a walking jinx looks like...”
  • “That was so freaky! Didn’t it hurt?” “It was no picnic, I can tell you.” “How are you feeling now?” Rachel coughed and took a sip of water. “Except for this trip being one long series of unfortunate events? I’m... I’m great, just great, never been better.”
  • “Things will get better, I promise!” “They can’t get much worse, can they?” “Hey, in a couple of days we’ll be living our lives the way we want to! You deserve it, Rach... we deserve it!” “Robbi... What would I do without you?” “Good thing we never have to find out, right?” “...Uh-oh, Robbi? I need you to leave. Now.” “Rach?” “Now. Please.” “Oh! Gotcha.” She gave Rachel a sympathetic grimace and stood guard outside the door.
  • After suffering the ultimate blow to her dignity, Rachel was able to wash away the last remnants of her ordeal.
  • “Take that, Three Lakes!” “Does that actually make you feel better?” “I don’t know.” “Do you know what would help you feel better?” “Maybe... cookies?”
  • There’s nothing quite like a lightning strike and fresh-baked cookies to mellow out a mother’s anger at her daughter.
  • And what were a couple more cookies on top of a bottomed-out fitness level, anyway? Especially since there was no such thing as dessert, or much of anything good to eat, back home.
  • Rachel had had enough of Three Lakes, and really, who could blame her? “We never did get to do our souvenir shopping,” Robin said in her latest attempt to get Rachel out of her funk. “Why would I want a souvenir from this place?” “Do you feel like doing anything?” “Let’s see... I haven’t burned the house down yet, so... yeah, I think I’ll whip up something in the kitchen... Baked Alaska grab you?”
  • “This was the best vacation ever, Mom!” Ever-practical Jane practically melted. “Oh, honey, you don’t know how much Mom needed that.”
  • Final day: pack up and leave. The vacation was fun, but I’m anxious to get back to the Apocalypse. It was hard to stop playing Rose when she’s at Level 8 in Law, but no way was I going to elixir those poor twins.
  • “How are you feeling?” Rachel turned away and stared blankly out the window. “...I’ll be just fine, Dad.”
  • And this ends my family’s Three Lakes Vacation chapter. If you couldn’t guess, I love the Three Lakes vacation destination, even more than Twikkii Island. Stay tuned as Rachel and Robin attempt to go wild at University, and thanks for reading! Following is a very brief, totally optional, non-spoilery sneak preview: >>
  • Welcome home, Jane! >>
  • Robin and Rachel finally arrive at Sim State U! Thank you Eileen for lifting Show Business! Rachel will not be seen wearing this in the next update. Whew, huh? Now for some shopping at the Zombie Outpost! >>
  • Where Rose and Lucy happened to show up... guess they decided to take Rose’s own clothing tragedy into their own hands. “Boots?” “Check. They can see ’em in the next chapter.” Oh, and one more thing, completely unrelated... >>
  • Sake’s ghost finally made an appearance on Nemo and Ciel’s lot! *happydance* Sake! Good to see you, old boy! And that’s The End of this very brief, totally optional, non-spoilery sneak preview. Aloha, dear readers. Happy Simming!