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An Apocalypse of Ice; chapter 9


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EVERYBODY SMUSTLE--oh, wait. This is an Apocalypse. Sorry.

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An Apocalypse of Ice; chapter 9

  1. 1. Previously on An Apocalypse of Ice: Everyone except Julian had a birthday! Now, Brandon, Mal, and Chris are all elders. Mal found a way to pursue his lifetime want of becoming a space pirate, but Chris and Brandon were nowhere near their LTWs. Will became a teen and chose the Romance aspiration after much hand-wringing. Arthur also became a teen, and he chose the Pleasure aspiration after stating rather simply that he just wanted to have a good time. Will and Arthur also got a long-awaited sister in the last chapter, Sabriel, who is now a child and has never come across an obstacle that she can’t surmount by staring it into submission.Restrictions-wise, both Julian and Chris struggled to lift their restrictions, but the last couple of slides of the last chapter saw Chris finally come home as a Celebrity Chef. I can has cookie?<br />
  2. 2. “I love this—what is it? Cake?” Arthur gushed. “This is absolutely delicious, Mom.”“Yeah,” Will added between bites.“And we can seriously have as much of it as we want?”“Not as much of it as you want. Otherwise you’ll balloon up and get fat,” Chris told them. “But there’s no limit to how much food we can have if we want it anymore.”Will looked like he would have to see this in action before he believed it.<br />
  3. 3. Arthur did decide to sample another piece of cake, but his dad decided to go for a frozen microwavable dinner.“Why are you eating that when you could have this?” Arthur asked his dad.“I want to learn how to cook for myself,” Mal explained. “I’ve been trying to learn from books, but Mom keeps telling me there’s no substitute for getting out the ingredients, mixing them up, and actually cooking them with your own two hands. So I figured I’d at least start with something I’d be less likely to mess up and start a fire with.”“That makes sense,” Arthur said. “Please don’t start any fires.”<br />
  4. 4. “I’ll try not to,” Mal said. He watched Arthur take another bite of his cake and thought about what he wanted to say next. “That’s how we’ve been making life better around here, Arthur. Ever since your great-grandmother Sansa came back to Winterfell, we’ve been learning to do things for ourselves. Sometimes, there’s someone to teach us, but a lot of the time, there isn’t. Of course, your mom, your uncles, and I want to help you as much as we can—but there’s going to be a limit to how much we can help you on your journeys.”<br />
  5. 5. Arthur nodded. He didn’t want to think about anything bad happening to his family, so he tried to forget that part. “I think I know what I want to do,” he said. “It’s not anything big or important, like when you brought back water or when Mom brought back food. I just want to teach people that it’s okay to have fun again. Does that sound like something that’s—I mean, I could try to do something serious.”“It’s worth doing.” Mal smiled. “I don’t think you’d be happy if you tried to do something serious. And I think it would do a lot for Winterfell to throw a party or two.”<br />
  6. 6. Arthur thought that over for a while as people went in and out of the room, then got out of his seat and turned on the stereo.“Aren’t we going to celebrate this?” Arthur got up and clapped his hands several times. “Come on, everyone! No more meditation to preserve food! No more boring plates of hamburgers at one in the morning—no offense, Mom, they’re good, but not every single day—let’s dance!”<br />
  7. 7. “Is anybody listening to me? Sabriel, why are you skilling tonight?”“Because I want to know how to cook that cake stuff, dummy,” Sabriel said as she pored over her mom’s cookbook, fresh off the presses from the publisher.“Yeah, don’t worry about that Amy girl turning you down,” Brandon was telling Will. “There are plenty of fish in the sea. Besides, I heard that she made some kind of deal with the devil to keep this paper route since the days that Sansa first moved here.”“Really?”“Yeah. Don’t tell anyone.”<br />
  8. 8. But eventually, the family figured it out.“This isn’t fun,” Sabriel complained to Arthur. “I don’t know this dance.”“Just watch me, and you’ll pick it up before you know it!” Arthur demonstrated the different smustle steps to her.<br />
  9. 9. Wake up everyoneHow can you sleep at a time like thisUnless the dreamer is the real you<br />
  10. 10. Listen to your voiceThe one that tells you to taste past the tip of your tongueLeap and the net will appear<br />
  11. 11. I don&apos;t want to wake beforeThe dream is overI&apos;m gonna make it mineYes I, I know it<br />
  12. 12. I&apos;m gonna make it mineYes I&apos;ll make it all mine<br />
  13. 13. “How do I do this?” Mal asked Chris.“Are you sure you want to try omelettes now?” she said. “Maybe you should try something a little easier this time.”“I am an adventurer,” Mal pointed out. “That means I’m ready for a challenge.”Chris laughed. &quot;I&apos;m sure this isn’t much of a challenge after disarming warheads.” She took an egg out of the carton and cracked it against the side of the bowl, then opened it over the bowl. &quot;Like this. You try the next one.&quot;<br />
  14. 14. Mal tapped the egg against the edge of the bowl. Nothing happened. He thought he had only hit it a little bit harder, but the egg spilled all over the counter. &quot;Whoops,&quot; he said, picking up a dishtowel and some cleaning spray to clean up the raw egg.

&quot;It takes some practice,&quot; Chris observed.

&quot;And if I don&apos;t start now, I&apos;ll never learn,&quot; Mal said, picking up another egg. &quot;This is not as easy as all those books I read made it sound, dear.&quot;

&quot;No kidding. Hey, I learned all this without anyone to teach me,&quot; Chris said as Mal cracked the egg. &quot;Good job. Keep doing that, and I&apos;ll get the pan ready.”<br />
  15. 15. Sabriel stole Chris’s attention away when she asked if breakfast was ready yet and why they couldn’t just eat now.“You can’t eat the omelettes yet, sweetheart,” Chris told Sabriel. “The raw eggs will make you sick.”“I’m not a sweetheart,” Sabriel said, scrunching up her face. “I have one nice point.”“Yes, but you’ll always be a sweetheart to me.” Chris kissed her daughter’s cheek and turned back to supervising Mal’s cooking efforts.<br />
  16. 16. “Remember when we thought we couldn’t feed her?” Mal asked Chris as he began to beat the eggs with a fork. “Now look at her running in and out of the kitchen, healthy as can be.”

“You thought we wouldn’t be able to feed her,” Chris whispered. “I always knew we’d be able to do it. Even if it had taken longer for me to become a celebrity chef, we would have found a way.”

“I’m just glad no one has to meditate their lives away anymore,” Mal said. “Brandon can finish his novel. Joule...can be Joule. And Will can get to work building his skills for college.”<br />
  17. 17. “You think Julian will make it in time for Will to go?”

“I don’t want to think about a world where my oldest son can’t go to college,” Mal answered. “I think these eggs are beaten enough. What do I do now?”

“Just a minute.” Chris opened the refrigerator door and took out a carton of milk, pouring a little bit in the egg mixture. She put the milk back and picked up the salt and pepper shakers, tapping them over the mixture a few times. “There. My little secret.”

“You wouldn’t have become a celebrity without them.” Mal smiled.<br />
  18. 18. They changed into their outerwear and made their way onto the porch, where the new white stove Chris had brought home last night had replaced the old black grill. “Things have changed so much since I was born,” Mal observed as Chris put the pan on the grill and turned on the heat. “Are these even going to cook properly in this cold?”

“They should. But it’s best to have the stove outside just in case a fire starts,” Chris said. She watched the omelette begin to sizzle. “I remember calling Addison and saying I couldn’t stand going to another party. He told me he worried that the social worker would take his daughter away. But we both did it. Go ahead and pour the eggs into the pan now.”
<br />
  19. 19. Mal poured the mixture in. “I forgot that you’re so much older than me,” he said. “I remember when I couldn’t get past that. Now I’ve gone months without remembering that.”

“I might have known your grandfather, but now we’re the same exact age.” Chris squeezed Mal’s hand. He squeezed back.

“I think Will would make a good heir,” Mal said. “Do you?”

“I think so,” Chris said. “I remember how Will doted on Sabriel after she was born. He was always running to get her bottles and give her cuddles. I think he’d be a great dad, in spite of his aspiration—maybe even because of it.”<br />
  20. 20. “I think he might have been trying to prove that even though he’s Romance, he’d still be a good heir. And he will be. I’m really proud of him. All of them, really.” Mal smiled. “Should I flip it now?”

“Go. I’ll get the cheese.”

Mal grasped the pan’s handle, not sure if breakfast would wind up in the snow somewhere this morning. He jerked it forward in an upward motion and watched the omelette rise into the air.<br />
  21. 21. Then, it landed on the pan, well-cooked. “I did it!” Mal cheered.“Good job!” Chris said, coming back outside with the cheese. She sprinkled it onto the omelette. “Go ahead and slide that onto the plate I had the cheese on. We’ll cut it up, and it’ll be breakfast for anyone who wants it.”

“I did it,” Mal repeated.

“Congratulations.”<br />
  22. 22. Unfortunately, the family couldn’t invite anybody over because it was Saturday, but a few people walked by the house.“Meadow,” he repeated. “It’s nice to meet you. I’m Will Stark. Do you want to come in for a cup of hot chocolate?”“That sounds amazing!” Meadow gushed. “I haven’t had a cup of hot chocolate since forever and a day ago.”<br />
  23. 23. “It’s great to see you,” Mal said as he hugged Lily.“You, too,” she said. “I wanted to come by and congratulate Chris once I heard she’d li—brought back food. I know I was getting tired of lunch meat sandwiches. How’s the family doing?”“We’re celebrating good times,” Mal said. “Julian had to go to work and didn’t seem that interested in the smustle anyway—I can’t imagine why—but the rest of us are all here taking a load off for the rest of the day. Come on in and celebrate with us.” <br />
  24. 24. I keep my life on a heavy rotationRequesting that it&apos;s lifting you up, up, up and awayAnd over to a table at the gratitude café“You are not going to beat me,” Meadow told Sabriel.“Am so,” Sabriel retorted. “I’ve been playing this game since I first became a child.”<br />
  25. 25. And I am finally there,And all the angels they&apos;ll be singing&quot;I love this.”“Confused?” Brittany Amana asked Will.“No.” Not today, he wasn’t. Everything was going to work out just fine.<br />
  26. 26. I don&apos;t wanna break before the tour is overI&apos;m gonna make it mine, this I, I know itI&apos;m gonna make it mine, yes I&apos;ll make it all mine“Wheeee ha ha ha ha!” Sabriel shouted as she jumped on a bed.<br />
  27. 27. And timing&apos;s everythingAnd this time there&apos;s plentyI am balancing careful and steadyAnd revelling in energy that everyone&apos;s admitting“What’s it like being part of this family?” Meadow asked.“Cool. It’s nice to be actually doing things to help people around here,” Will said. “But—there are a lot of expectations now that I’m going to be the heir, you know?”<br />
  28. 28. I don&apos;t want to wait no moreI want to celebrate the whole worldI&apos;m gonna make it mineBecause I&apos;m following your joy“How’s the law treating you?” Mal asked.“I’m learning,” Lily said. “I’m working in a firm here. I wish I could say all the corruption was gone, but it’s not. I just hope I’ll be in a position to pick things up when Brandon can’t do it anymore.”<br />
  29. 29. I&apos;m gonna make it mineBecause I, I am openI&apos;m gonna make it mineYes, I, I want to show itI&apos;m gonna make it mine all mineGonna make, gonna make it mine…Julian came home with the news that the family had been waiting for since they were all teenagers. He had become Education Minister, and his first act had been to open the colleges and universities to everyone, including the Starks. His nieces and nephews were now officially college-bound.<br />
  30. 30. “I’ve set up a scholarship fund, because housing is going to be a problem,” Julian explained. “We might have a lot of money, but the Citadel doesn’t have any dormitories yet, so you’ll have to rent a house. Normally, that wouldn’t be a problem, but there still isn’t very much that we can give you to take to college.” Julian continued to explain the types of scholarships that they were offering, including one for being abducted by aliens: “Even though there are no aliens and we couldn’t see them because it’s snowing all the time even if there were, one member of the school board was very insistent, and we added that scholarship just to placate him. How do you think you’re doing on those scholarships?” “Um…” Will actually hadn’t built any of his skills up very far, except for body and charisma. “Pretty good.”<br />
  31. 31. So at the earliest opportunity, Will retreated to the reading nook to finish gaining his body points. He had a lot more work to do if he was going to make it in college, and it was becoming clear that he should have spent a lot more time working on his skills. Maybe college wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.<br />
  32. 32. It wouldn’t have made Will feel any better if he’d known about the phone call someone was preparing to make that very moment from a house a few blocks away.<br />
  33. 33. “Yes—hello? Is this the Grim Reaper?” She waited for a response. “Yes…yes. I’d like to speak to Sansa Stark.”<br />
  34. 34. Shenanigans in the outside world aside, I invited the Starks over as soon as I could get a telephone line out.<br />
  35. 35. Games of kicky bag and pillow fighting soon commenced, because these are the Starks we’re talking about.<br />
  36. 36. “Well, when we have so much money stashed under the beds and nothing to spend it on but random wallpaper changes—maybe I shouldn’t go around shouting this from the rooftops, but I’d be surprised if anyone didn’t know, and nobody’s broken into the house since my grandma was a teenager—why would anyone think that money is everything?” Arthur said.“Exactly,” Lily said. “I don’t see anything wrong with the Pleasure aspiration. I don’t see anything wrong with any of them.”<br />
  37. 37. Will was a little nervous when Lily approached him, considering that their previous conversations had consisted of a go-round of “What do you want to be when you grow up?” and “I don’t know.” But instead, she patted him on the shoulder and congratulated him.“You’ve grown up really well,” she told Will. “Your dad told me that you’re going to be the heir, and I think you’ll be great at it, no matter what you decide to do with your life. I know I need to stop bugging you so much about that—I just want to know what you’re going to choose.”<br />
  38. 38. “Well, thanks,” Will said. “You know I’d like to know what I want, too. Well, I know I want to be a celebrity chef.” Sometimes, he liked to emphasize that to show that he wasn’t one of those Romance Sims. “But I’ve got to do something before that.”“Maybe college can help you decide,” Lily told him. “Sometimes, a change of scenery and a chance to focus your studies can help you figure out what you really want.”<br />
  39. 39. “Yeah.” Will didn’t know how he felt about that. He’d never thought of college as something that would actually happened to him until the day before, and he didn’t like thinking about it.“The thing is, I don’t even know if I’m going to have a choice,” he continued. “Mom didn’t want anything more than to become a mad scientist. The things she could have invented would have helped our family a lot. My dad told me that he and Uncle Brandon talked about two things that would help the family most—food and scientific advancements. But no one got to do that. So even if I decide what I want to do, like Arthur has—will the job even show up in the paper?”<br />
  40. 40. “Well, being a college graduate will at least mean that you’ll have a better chance of finding what you really want to do,” Lily told him. “Even in a tight job market like this one, it can be a big help if you have a degree in something an employer is looking for.”“You really think they’ll care.”“I do.”<br />
  41. 41. After a moment of silence, a big smile broke out on Lily’s face. “I’m just so glad that you finally get to go to college! This opportunity is going to be so wonderful for all of you.”Yeah, whatever, Will found himself thinking. Is it really worth getting that excited over?<br />
  42. 42. Will couldn’t explain why, but he found himself wishing that Uncle Julian had never brought back the high schools and colleges. He knew he was supposed to be grateful, but thinking about college made his stomach start knotting up.<br />
  43. 43. He tried to put it out of his mind and enjoy the rest of the evening along with the rest of the family.<br />
  44. 44. Unfortunately, the first day of school was right around the corner.“Okay, kids,” Mal said, poking his head in the door. “We’ve got to head back. You two have got a big day tomorrow.”<br />
  45. 45. “Are you looking forward to school?” Chris asked Arthur.“A little bit,” he answered. “I barely remember school.” Arthur mainly remembered being bored, which he didn’t want to admit to his mom.<br />
  46. 46. Sabriel got on the school bus first. Since it wasn’t the first day of school for her, she wasn’t anywhere near as apprehensive as her siblings.“Why isn’t she getting on the bus?” Sabriel wondered as she watched Amy Jones.<br />
  47. 47. Arthur followed, but Will hung back to talk to Amy.“Will, go to school,” Mal told him as he walked to his car for work.“Just a minute. The thing’s not going to leave without me.”<br />
  48. 48. “Yeah. So, school is open, the sun is shining, it’s a lovely day, blah blah blah,” Will continued as soon as his dad got into the car. “I’d rather not go, to tell the truth.”“I hear you!” Amy said. “There’s a reason why I’m still hanging out with you on this paper route today. But there will be new people to meet.”“I guess there’s that.”<br />
  49. 49. Sansa sat at the chessboard and tried to remember what Winterfell had looked like the last time she had seen it. But as she searched her memory, only a few images came back to her. Ferns hanging from a ceiling. A baby boy with black hair and brown eyes. And snow…so much snow. That definitely hadn’t changed.<br />
  50. 50. At least this house had a well-stocked bookshelf. She had read for hours, trying to understand what was happening, and learned about the new code of laws (the black-haired baby popped into her head as she read the words Brandon Stark), freedom to travel, and the return of clean water. She also learned before long that she could eat whenever she wanted now.<br />
  51. 51. But there was still so much that was wrong with this place. It was nice that there was a code of laws now, but how idealistic could Brandon Stark have been to expect that people would sit down and obey words just because they were written? Sansa had believed that once, but after seeing her world get torn apart, she knew that people weren’t actually that good. People still didn’t leave their houses despite the freedom to travel. They couldn’t communicate with each other. And the winter still continued on.The Starks still needed Sansa, and they didn’t even know it.<br />
  52. 52. How was she supposed to help them from here, though? For just a moment, Sansa wished she was still dead and didn’t even know what was going on. No, she told herself. I’m here again for a reason. There has to be something I can do.To start with, she would have to change her name. News still traveled slowly, but if anyone found out who she was…. She had a dim memory of calling herself Alayne Stone. It sounded like a good name. Her hair had become a different color somehow. That should do well.<br />
  53. 53. Then, she would have to get to know the family and figure out how she could help them. But wasn’t marrying an heir the only way to help?“If that’s what it takes,” she whispered. None of this had ever been easy or pleasant. Why would that end now?<br />
  54. 54. Arthur looked back as he got off the school bus that afternoon. “Of course you brought a girl home,” he told Will.<br />
  55. 55. “Of course I did,” he answered. Meeting her had been one of the better parts of his day. “Why didn’t you?”<br />
  56. 56. The girl in question was named Annie Kosmokos. She looked like a prim and proper young lady, but she and Will had spent more time passing notes than taking notes in history class. He didn’t need to know history, he reasoned. His family was history. Annie was a little bit more interested in the class discussion, but she’d always had a thing for redheads, and Will had caught her looking over her shoulder at him. With a wink and a smile, he had handed her the first note when the teacher wasn’t looking.<br />
  57. 57. “So, this is the house where it all started,” Will said, tilting his head to the right. “Doesn’t look like history happened here, does it?”“Not really, when you put it that way,” Annie told him.<br />
  58. 58. The cheesy line popped into his head—history could happen here, with the two of us—but he threw it out. Annie was really cute. Will didn’t want to mess this up.<br />
  59. 59. Arthur did not need to see his brother putting moves on Annie in any way, shape, or form. He decided it was a good time to go upstairs and take a nap.<br />
  60. 60. But Arthur didn’t need to be worried. The two of them mostly sat around and took the chance to get to know each other better.<br />
  61. 61. Mal came home a couple hours later with a promotion to International Sim of Mystery, only one step away from his goal.<br />
  62. 62. “Hi, Sabriel!” he called to his daughter, who was getting off her school bus. “How was school today?”<br />
  63. 63. She peeked at her report card and pumped her fist. “A plus again! Yes! I’m gonna go tell Mom!” With that, Sabriel ran inside the house.<br />
  64. 64. “Mama! Mama! I got an A plus!”Will could care less about his sister’s grades. Sabriel had only reminded him that he would have to do homework tonight.<br />
  65. 65. Mal needed one more charisma point, so he headed into the bathroom and took a look at himself in the mirror, then smiled.”I’m the heir to my family,” he told himself. “If you don&apos;t let me go, there will never be lights, dates, phone calls that aren&apos;t on Tuesday afternoon or evening, et cetera et cetera et cetera. It is really in your best interest to let me get back to my family.” If Mal got into trouble with anyone on his adventures, he was going to tell them in no uncertain terms how bad things would be for them if they hurt a Stark. Politely, of course. And if they cooperated, he could make things better for them.<br />
  66. 66. The continuous shouts of “ARTHUR! PHONE!” for the last minute or two had finally woken Arthur up. He dashed down the stairs, hoping that it was who he thought it was.“Hey, this is Arthur.”“Hey, it’s Ricky. What’s up?”Arthur smiled. He called! I didn’t just give him my number for nothing!<br />
  67. 67. “Well, it was weird being back at school today. I thought I’d never have to go again.” Arthur kept thinking. Ricky couldn’t have called him because he liked him—could he?<br />
  68. 68. “Who was that?” Sabriel asked.“Nobody. Just a friend from school.” Arthur’s hands shook as he said that.<br />
  69. 69. Will took a nap of his own, then went downstairs and asked his dad for help with his homework.<br />
  70. 70. But most of the things his dad said weren’t sinking in. Will struggled to see the words on his assignment notebook. Even when he could see them, he didn’t want to think about what they meant or answer the questions that they were asking.<br />
  71. 71. There wasn’t anything that Will wanted less than to go to school the next day. And if he dreaded this so much, what would college be like?He tried not to think about it as he headed for an available bed.<br />
  72. 72. Ali Merana advanced one of her chess pieces forward, hoping that it would make everything better if she slammed the piece down on the board as hard as she could. It didn’t help. <br />
  73. 73. Ali had always imagined Sansa to be—she didn’t know. Good. Kind. Somebody with a heart who could give her advice about how to get by in these times. Ali wanted to be a hero, but she didn’t know how to do it. Why not talk to the biggest hero this region had seen in hundreds of years? It seemed like such a good opportunity when it presented itself.<br />
  74. 74. But instead, she had gotten someone who absolutely was not Sansa Stark. She was obsessed with going back to her family, which she could never do, and she kept telling Ali that she couldn’t understand what was happening because she wasn’t a Stark. Of course Ali could understand. She had to live in this world, just like everyone else!<br />
  75. 75. But Ali was going to fix this mistake somehow. She would find the Starks before Sansa (no, never Sansa—Alayne) did so that she could warn them. Until then, she would do everything she could to keep Alayne away from her old family. <br />
  76. 76. The next afternoon, Will spent some time building his body points. When he finished, he announced that he was going to take a walk. He had to get out of the house if he was going to stay sane.<br />
  77. 77. When night fell, he turned to go home, but stopped as he saw someone coming out of one of the new homes along the street.“I know you.” Will searched his memory to try to remember where he had seen the man’s face before, but nothing was coming up.“I’m Spencer Fitzhugh,” he said. “I met you at Lily’s place.”“Nice to meet you. Again.” They shook hands.<br />
  78. 78. “Thanks for letting me in,” Will said. “I needed to get out of my house.” “Sure,” Spencer told him. “Is everything all right?” Was it really that obvious? Probably. “I’m the heir,” Will blurted out. “Supposed to be Lord of all Winterfell after my dad dies and keep fixing this place up. And I have no idea how I’m supposed to do it.” Should he really tell someone he barely knew about why his dad never should have entrusted him with this responsibility? That he wasn’t very smart? That he didn’t want to think about finding one person to love and getting married?Could it be worse than telling someone he did know?<br />
  79. 79. “There isn’t only one way that you’re supposed to be an heir,” Spencer said.  Now that Will was talking, he couldn’t stop. “But there is. It feels like there is. My dad and grandma were both Fortune, but I just couldn’t choose it. I’m Romance. That couldn’t be any more different.”“I’m Romance, too. And I was also my family’s heir. Your aspiration isn’t going to stop you if you want the heirship.”<br />
  80. 80. “Then—” Was he really talking to someone who knew where he was coming from? “How did getting married work for you? If you don’t mind me asking.”“I don’t,” Spencer said. “I did date around in college, but I loved my wife, and we were happy together. When you find the right person, making a commitment is worth it.”That made sense, Will thought. He didn’t know how to find the right person, but he had time. <br />
  81. 81. “And you won’t always know exactly what to do,” Spencer continued. “It would be a rare heir who did. But life here has improved a lot already, and it sounds like you’ll do fine.”“Thanks,” Will said. It was nice to have someone who believed in him, even if it was someone he had just met who didn’t know very much about him yet.<br />
  82. 82. Julian celebrated his birthday as well as he could, transitioning in a corner after he’d had a bite to eat.<br />
  83. 83. He couldn’t tease his brothers about being old fogies now that he was one too, he thought to distract himself from the lack of any jobs in the Athletic track over the last few days.<br />
  84. 84. “How are things going with you and Jan?” Mal asked after Julian came back from the shower wearing a suit that he liked far better than his old overalls. <br />
  85. 85. “Pretty well, I guess.” Should he tell Mal? Would his brother just find out anyway and be mad that he hadn’t told? Why did Julian care so much.“Why do you look so sad, then?”“She’s a theorist,” Julian blurted out.<br />
  86. 86. “That’s great!” Mal clapped his hands. “Maybe she can help us out!”“Help us out?” Julian repeated.“She must be inventing all kinds of interesting things! Maybe she’d be willing to help the family!”<br />
  87. 87. “No. She can’t.” Julian’s voice shook.“Why not?”“Why not? Are you blind?” Julian shouted, oblivious to the fact that Arthur was sitting at the dinner table. “You can only ‘help the family’ if you’re part of the family! She’d have to marry Will!”“Oh…”<br />
  88. 88. “Yeah. ‘Oh.’ Because that’s how much my happiness matters to you.” Julian could barely force those words out. He felt almost blinded by rage. “I should have known you were going to do this to me!”“Joule, that’s not what I meant!”“This conversation is over, Mal. And don’t call me Joule.” Somehow, that nickname represented everything Julian had suffered. Mal had everything. He had love and respect. He was going to have eternal happiness within a day or two. Julian only had one of those things, and that was about to be taken from him.<br />
  89. 89. Will had heard the shouting from upstairs, but he had tried to drown it out from his thinking cap as he tried to build more skill points. Even though he had hoped to earn more, he was scared that the phones would go down again and he wouldn’t be able to go to college, so he went down the stairs and placed the call to Oldtown University.“Did you get your scholarships?” Chris asked.“Yeah.” Will had actually only earned two, but he didn’t want his parents to know that. <br />
  90. 90. So Will approached the taxi that had come to collect him, not knowing what might be waiting for him. He felt like he might be doing the right thing, but he couldn’t help but worry. He had never been so far from his house.<br />
  91. 91. “Goodbye, Will.” Mal waved. “Call us when you can get a line out. I love you. You’ll do so well!”<br />
  92. 92. Will looked back. “I love you, too,” he answered. “I’ll call when I can.”<br />
  93. 93. If he looked back any longer, he would run back into the house and tell everyone that he couldn’t do this, and then they’d be disappointed in him. So he closed the door of the taxi and turned to the driver.“Oldtown University, please.”<br />
  94. 94. Special guest star: Spencer Fitzhugh, The Fitzhugh Legacy and A Villainous Apocalypse, by Marina (smoothiequeen87)Music credits:“Make It Mine” – Jason Mraz<br />
  95. 95. Next time on An Apocalypse of Ice:+ Things aren’t as easy in college as Will might have hoped.+ Alayne continues plotting.+ And the family has to figure out whether it’s worth marrying Jan in.<br />
  96. 96. “I am absolutely not related to any of you hooligans.”Happy Simming! --Lily <br />