The Penguino Legacy Ch 22: Passing for Normal


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The Penguino Legacy Ch 22: Passing for Normal

  1. 1. Falcon Penguino examined his reflection in the mirror, trying to imagine what he would look like in a few days timeonce he left for college.“Hmmm…well I suppose I’ll just get handsomer. I mean, no girl can resist muscles like these,” Falcon said to himself.
  2. 2. He was ready to leave. It was time to get out of the house and out from under his parents. He had been working hardover the last few months, studying and trying to get as many scholarships as possible.
  3. 3. He had also been practicing all of the social skills that he thought he might need, dating a string of random girls. Hewas a bit proud of himself, given that his older brother, Robert, seemed to have always had trouble in finding girls thatwere willing to go out with him. Now he was just waiting for the next semester to start so that he could join his slightlyolder cousins and brother.
  4. 4. In the meantime though, he was trying to enjoy his last few days as a teen, which included a few afternoons with hiscousins. There were only 4 of them old enough to enjoy family gatherings at this point but it wouldn’t be long beforeFerd and Mag’s children would be old enough to join in.
  5. 5. This particular day found Falcon entertaining Gloria while Jeanie and Edith talked about their latest escapades.
  6. 6. Shortly after their teen birthdays Jeanie and Edith had successfully snuck out to the mall to pick up some essentials.
  7. 7. Jeanie picked up a cell phone and mp3 player.
  8. 8. While Edith bought new workout clothing.
  9. 9. And they both scoped the place for teenage boys; Edith with the eye of a Family sim looking for a steady boyfriend andJeanie with the eye of a Romance sim looking for an easy conquest.“Hey Edith, cute boy at 2 o’clock. He’s giving off a desperate family sim vibe. Do you want him or should I take him?”
  10. 10. Edith had stopped and rolled her eyes, “Not all family sims are desperate, Jeanie.”“I know. You certainly aren’t. But that guy is.” Jeanie had inclined her head a bit, indicating the direction Edith shouldlook.Edith had looked over her shoulder, trying to be discreet, “Yeah I can sort of see what you mean.” The guy keptglancing their way but trying to not be obvious about it. Edith hadn’t been about to settle, “He’s all yours Jeanie. Havefun!”“Awesome,” Jeanie grinned.
  11. 11. All-in-all Jeanie had considered it a very successful evening.
  12. 12. Now they planned their next adventure in hushed whispers.“So Grandpa and Grandma are planning on going on vacation as soon as Molly, Ginny, Luna, and Arthur are oldenough and I’m going to be stuck at home with Mom and Dad. I think I’d rather poke my eyes out than have to be athome with just them,” Jeanie was saying.“Well how about we have a sleep-over here for a couple of days. That will get you out of the house.”“Yeah! And I know some fun places we should check out once your Mom and Dad are asleep!” Jeanie said with a grin.
  13. 13. But before any more grandparent vacations could occur it was time for the new semester to start at the Academié andthat meant it was time for Falcon to join his older brother and cousins.“Hello? I need a taxi for one to the Academié! It’s time for college!”
  14. 14. As Falcon hung up the phone his whole family gathered around to send him off.“Be sure to call us when you get there,” Scott said.
  15. 15. And Marla tried not to cry. “Have a good time Falcon and be safe!”“I will Mom!” Falcon said waving.Edith smiled and whispered as Falcon walked past, “Don’t break too many hearts.”“I have no idea what you are talking about, sis,” Falcon grinned back.
  16. 16. Then he grabbed his bags and headed out to the waiting taxi, waving one more time before he closed the door.
  17. 17. It was the early hours of the morning when the taxi dropped Falcon off at his dorm at the Academié but Falcon waswide awake and excited about finally being on his own.“This is going to be awesome!”
  18. 18. He wandered into the currently quiet dorms searching for his new room. He noticed that his brother Robert andcousins Memphis and Viola all had rooms on the bottom floor close to the cafeteria, but his room was upstairs next tothe common room. He wasted no time in settling in and in decorating the room to his liking.
  19. 19. Memphis was, as usual, the first one up the next morning and thus the first to discover that Falcon had arrived. Hefound his cousin registering for classes as he walked to the cafeteria for breakfast.
  20. 20. “Falcon! Wow I almost didn’t recognize you!” Memphis said as he hurried over to shake Falcon’s hand. “Welcome tocollege!”“Thanks!” Falcon said with a grin. It was nice to be greeted so enthusiastically.“Did you just get in? Need help unpacking?” Memphis asked.“I got in around 3am and have pretty much unpacked.”“You should have let us know you’d be here. We could have had a welcoming party for you,” Memphis added.“Really?”“Yeah. That’s okay. We’ll just take you to the Llamarama tonight to celebrate. Want to join me for some breakfast?”“Sounds good to me!”
  21. 21. Falcon and Memphis had just sat down to enjoy their pancakes when Robert stumbled in.“Hey!” he said with a surprised smile when he noticed his brother. “I didn’t know you’d be here today!”“Yep! School policy says I can come in a few days before the start of the semester so I can settle in.”“Well I’m glad you’re here,” Robert replied. “I’ll be right back. Those pancakes look good!”
  22. 22. And a little while later Viola joined them as well.“Good to see you Falcon!” she said as she sat down. “Was your trip here okay then?”“Good to see you too,” Falcon replied. “And yeah, it was just fine.”“So I was thinking that we should all head down to the Llamarama tonight to celebrate Falcon’s arrival,” Memphischimed in.
  23. 23. Viola nodded thoughtfully, “Yeah my last final is at noon today so I could be up for an evening out. What about youRobert?”“My last final is in a couple of days and I finished that big project that was due yesterday so I think I can swing it aswell.”“Sounds like a plan then,” Memphis said.“Awesome!” Falcon replied.
  24. 24. Falcon smiled as his brother and cousins discussed the evening’s plans. It was nice to feel like he was part of thegroup for once and not the unwanted youngest who was just tagging along.
  25. 25. They had a great time at the Llamarama on Falcons first night and once the next semester had started it didn’t takehim long to settle into college life.
  26. 26. And while he was serious about his studies the thing that he enjoyed the most about being in college was meeting lotsof new girls.
  27. 27. In fact romance seemed to be on the mind of many of the female dormies. Unfortunately for some of them the objectof their affections could be rather oblivious.
  28. 28. Because Memphis was focused on a few different missions, none of which involved dating. If he wasn’t studying hewas practicing quite frequently for the gaming competition.
  29. 29. He and the rest of his cousins were also diligently working on fulfilling the requirements to join the Flying PenguinosFrat since they would be moving there at the end of their first year.
  30. 30. And one by one they all were inducted by their Aunts Bella and Vicky.
  31. 31. While the oldest members of the generation were busy with the middle of the semester, back in Antarctica theyoungest members of the generation were preparing to get a little bit older.
  32. 32. With four toddlers constantly underfoot it seemed to Ferd, Emily, Mag, and Angelina that time had just flown past.
  33. 33. Someone was constantly on skill teaching duty, teaching the toddlers to talk.
  34. 34. Making sure the kids learned how to use the potty.
  35. 35. And teaching them to walk, the skill that Ferd and Mag both dreaded as they remembered how much trouble they hadcaused once they were more mobile.
  36. 36. Fortunately, they found that their children seemed to cause less mischief than they had, at least as toddlers. Butperhaps that was because the two sets of twins had four parents to keep an eye on them instead of just two teenagesiblings.
  37. 37. They were certainly a close family with everyone frequently being found in the same room.
  38. 38. On this particular day Captain and Cara were the first to arrive for the birthday party. They had been frequent visitorsand now they wanted to get in as much time as possible with their youngest grandchildren before there weren’t anymore toddlers to cuddle or teach to fly.
  39. 39. But it wasn’t long before the rest of the family arrived and the party got underway.
  40. 40. As Emily put the finishing touches on the cakes the toddlers made one last round amongst the guests. Falcon inparticular was surprised when Luna singled him out.“Snuggles!” she cried and he obligingly picked her up hoping that the rest of his family wouldn’t notice.
  41. 41. Falcon was rescued when Emily announced that it was time for the transitions. She and Ferdinand brought theirdaughters Molly and Ginny to the cakes first.
  42. 42. Followed by Mag and Angelina helping Arthur and Luna with their candles.
  43. 43. Everyone agreed that the pseudo-quads were adorable and after the four of them grudgingly posed for a group phototheir parents let them loose to play.
  44. 44. Gloria was particularly excited about the birthdays and made a point of introducing herself to all of her cousins startingwith Molly.“Hi! I’m Gloria!” she said. “I’m so glad that we can play now! I know we’re all going to be best friends. And now thatyou guys are all big Grandpa and Grandma said that we can all go to the beach!”“Wow! Really?” Molly asked. “That sounds awesome!”
  45. 45. While Molly and Gloria got to know each other, Luna headed straight for Captain.“Hi Grandpa!” she said. “I’m bigger now!”“You certainly are,” Captain said wistfully.“Can you still make me fly?” Luna asked.“Well you are too big to toss now,” Captain replied. “But there are lots of other fun games that we can play.”
  46. 46. “Ooh! Like what?” Luna asked, bouncing with excitement.“Well we could have a snowball fight outside.”“Yeah! That sounds really fun!” she cried.
  47. 47. In no time at all Luna had rounded up all of the youngest children as well as Cara and the whole group enjoyed a veryenthusiastic fight for the remainder of the party.
  48. 48. Over the next few days the children’s excitement about their upcoming trip to the beach with their grandparentscontinued to grow. It was the only thing Molly, Ginny, Luna, and Arthur could talk about when they played together.“I can’t wait to go swimming!” Ginny said.“And hunt for treasure and strange creatures on the beach!” Luna continued.
  49. 49. And it was the only thing they could talk about when Gloria and their grandparents were visiting as well.“Grandma is it true that there is a haunted pirate ship?” Luna asked.“So the tour guides tell me but I haven’t seen the ghost,” Cara replied.“That sounds awesome!” Arthur cried.
  50. 50. There was one other boy in the neighborhood who was looking forward to the trip as well. Cayden Fuches was quicklybecoming friends with all of the Penguinos, Arthur in particular as they were the only two boys their age.
  51. 51. Cayden was the son of Emperor Penguino and the ex-cheerleader Suzanne Fuches, which made him Greta’sgrandson and Captain’s great nephew.
  52. 52. And since he was family and such good friends with Captain’s grandchildren it seemed only right that he should get togo along on the trip as well.
  53. 53. The morning of the trip found Ferd and Mag’s kids wide awake and almost too excited to eat their breakfast.“I heard there were crumple-horned snorkacks in the forests around the beaches!” Luna said with excitement.“Those aren’t real Luna, Daddy says so,” Ginny replied.“Just ‘cause no one has seen them doesn’t mean they don’t exist!” Luna said, completely unfazed.Ginny opened her mouth to argue and then closed it again. You just couldn’t argue with that logic. She decided achange of topic might work better, “Well I want to find some cool seashells! Grandma says with some if you hold themup to your ear you can hear the ocean.”“Oooh ocean songs!” Luna replied. “You have to be careful though because they can hypnotize you!”Ginny turned to Arthur, “Sometimes your sister is weird.” Arthur just shrugged in reply.
  54. 54. At the Penguino house Captain and Cara were enjoying one last quiet moment together before taking charge of 6energetic and excited children.“Ready for this trip?” Captain asked as he pulled Cara close.“Yes. I think it will be fun. There will be a lot less drama hanging in the air than there was on the last trip at least,”Cara replied as she leaned in for a quick good-morning kiss.
  55. 55. They were interrupted by the sound of their door opening as Gloria burst into the room, forgetting to knock.“Grandpa! Grandma! Can we go now?” she cried.
  56. 56. Captain laughed and began dancing Gloria around the room, “We’ll leave in about an hour so I suggest you getdressed and get some breakfast! Did you sleep well?”“I couldn’t sleep at all!” Gloria giggled and then scampered off to her and Jeanie’s bathroom.“Oh well. At least she might sleep on the plane,” Cara said.
  57. 57. There was one grandchild who wasn’t looking forward to the trip though and that was Jeanie. The idea of spendingmost of a week in just the company of her parents was more than she could stand so, as planned, she headed over toEdith’s house for an extended sleepover as soon as Captain, Cara, and Gloria had left. Once it was late enough sheand Edith changed into their pajamas and headed up to Robert and Falcon’s old room, where they would be sleepingsince Edith’s room only had one bed. Armed with a stack of fashion magazines the girls were set to wait for Scott andMarla to go to bed.
  58. 58. A short time later Scott poked his head in to check on the girls, “Having fun?”“Yep!” Jeanie said with a grin. “Thanks for letting me come over Uncle Scott.”
  59. 59. “You’re welcome Jeanie,” Scott replied. “Now Edith, your mother and I are heading to bed. Don’t stay up too late,girls, okay?”“Okay, Dad! Goodnight!” Edith replied.
  60. 60. They waited until they could hear Scott snoring lightly and then Jeanie and Edith changed back into their everydayclothes and snuck out the garage door. Borrowing the family car, they headed out for a drive.“So what should we do this time?” Edith asked. “You said you have an idea on where to go?”“Yep! I want to try out this new club I heard about!” Jeanie replied. “Head downtown.”“Sounds good!”
  61. 61. Once they pulled up in front of the place Jeanie had directed them to though Edith changed her tune.“Are you sure this is it?” she asked.“Yep! The Crypt-O-Night Club! Doesn’t that just sound fascinating!”“It sounds and looks kind of dark and scary…” Edith replied.“It’s supposed to! That’s just the marketing gimmick. Come on!” Jeanie jumped out of the car and Edith had no choicebut to follow.
  62. 62. When they entered (Jeanie flashed their fake IDs at the door) the dance floor was already hopping.“I think I want to get a drink first,” Jeanie said as she headed for the bar.“Are you serious?” Edith asked. Their many previous adventures hadn’t really taken them much farther than the malland she was feeling a bit exposed.“Totally serious,” Jeanie replied.
  63. 63. “One of the house specials,” Jeanie said, signaling the bar tender as she sat down.He looked her over, “How did you two kids get in here? You aren’t old enough to be drinking.“Showed my ID at the door. I’m older than I look, I’ll have you know,” Jeanie replied.“Got in with a fake then, huh? I’m going to have to talk to the door man about that. Anyway, gonna let you stay but I’mnot serving you any alcohol. So what else do you want?”Jeanie sighed, “A Shirley Temple then I guess.”
  64. 64. “There you go, $3,” the bartender said a few minutes later. “You want anything?” he asked turning to Edith.“Nope I’m good,” Edith replied trying not to look uncomfortable.The bartender walked away and Jeanie threw down the $3 without a tip.“Well this sucks.”
  65. 65. “Actually I’m fine with it,” Edith replied. “My parents aren’t stupid, you know. They’ll smell alcohol on us tomorrowmorning if we come home drunk tonight. Besides, I have to drive back.”“Oh, come on Edith. Relax. This is just juice and ginger ale. We can still dance right?”“Yeah we can,” Edith said. That she was at least comfortable with.
  66. 66. So the two girls enjoyed dancing.
  67. 67. And successfully snuck back into the house.
  68. 68. But Edith resolved as they got into bed that she wouldn’t let Jeanie come up with any more ideas without first checkingthem out herself.
  69. 69. As Jeanie and Edith were falling asleep the shuttle was pulling up outside the Penguino’s vacation home on Twikkii.“Wow! This place is awesome!” Gloria said with a smile as she climbed out of the taxi. “And it’s so warm too! I didn’tknow it could be this warm outside!”“Me either,” said Arthur. “I wish I had worn a t-shirt!”
  70. 70. Everyone dumped their bags unceremoniously in the front hall, planning to claim rooms later and then made a bee-linefor the beach. All 6 of the kids quickly put on their bathing suits but it was Gloria who was the first to wade into theocean.“Wow! Even the water is warm! It’s like the heated pools back home!” she said.
  71. 71. Being Penguinos all of the kids loved to swim and once they were in the water it was going to be awhile before they gotback out.“Do you think there are any sea monsters in here?” Luna asked Arthur as he swam past.“Maybe in the deeper water but I can see the bottom here and all I see are fish,” her brother replied. As her twin Arthurhad quickly learned that sometimes it was easiest to just go along with Luna’s ideas. She wouldn’t give them upanyway.“I hope we can take a boat out to the deep ocean then!” Luna said.
  72. 72. As the kids enjoyed the ocean Captain and Cara settled into the lawn chairs.“Oof,” Captain muttered as he sat down, feeling his back creak and his arthritic joints complaining.“Are you alright?” Cara asked.
  73. 73. “Mostly,” Captain replied as he gingerly settled back into the chair. “I was just thinking back to our first trip here withMemphis and the older grandkids and wondering how we kept up with seven kids when just six is already tiring meout.”“Well we were younger then,” Cara replied softly.
  74. 74. Captain nodded, “I’m feeling old, Cara. Old and tired.”
  75. 75. “Me too,” Cara replied.
  76. 76. As they were talking Molly discovered a batch of water balloons in a bucket over near one set of steps and, aftersplashing Gloria with the first, quickly had an epic fight going between all of the cousins.
  77. 77. Cara looked over at the fight with a grin on her face, “I’m not feeling too old to join in on a water balloon fight though!Come on Captain!”
  78. 78. As quickly as they could Captain and Cara got up and joined in. The battle lasted most of the rest of the afternoon.
  79. 79. As the sun started to go down, Captain grilled dinner and the group gathered around the table. Then it was off to anearly bedtime so the kids would be well rested for the next day’s adventures.
  80. 80. The kids were all up bright and early the next morning and Captain and Cara gave them some time to play down in thebasement while they got breakfast ready and organized who got to take a shower when.“Grandma says we’re going to see the pirate ship today!” Gloria said to Luna as they played a game of darts.“It’s haunted,” Luna replied.“That’s what Jeanie told me too. She didn’t see the ghost though. I wonder if we will.”“Well he’ll probably come out if you ask nicely,” Luna replied.“That’s a good idea! Want to try it?”“Sure!”
  81. 81. When they got to the ship later that afternoon Luna and Gloria were initially distracted from their quest.“Let’s play pirates!” Cayden suggested as they ship came into view.“Okay. Can I be Captain?” Gloria asked.“Awww…I wanted to be Captain,” Cayden replied.“How about you all take turns?” Cara suggested.“Okay. Want to go first Cayden?” Gloria asked.“No you called it. You go first. But I get to go second!”“Deal!”
  82. 82. “First mate Luna reporting for duty!”“Very good, Luna. Please climb up to the crows nest and keep an eye out for enemy ships!” Gloria commanded.“Aye, aye, Captain!” Luna replied.“I don’t think pirate Queens used the word ‘please,’” Arthur muttered as he walked past but Gloria and Luna ignoredhim.
  83. 83. Luna quickly scrambled up the rope ladder that led to the crows nest and was just about to call a report down to Gloriawhen…
  84. 84. “Luna! Not so high please!” Cara called from where she was sunbathing on the beach.Captain chuckled to himself as he watched their granddaughter scramble back down. “I could have rescued her if sheneeded it.”“I know,” Cara replied. “But I’d rather that not become necessary.”
  85. 85. With their game of pirate captain spoiled Gloria and Luna took to other pursuits, specifically exploring the Captain’scabin.
  86. 86. Where Gloria got a bit of a scare despite the fact that they were intentionally trying to find the ghost of the ship’sCaptain.
  87. 87. “That wasn’t very nice,” Luna said to the ghost as Gloria ran away.“Well it isn’t very nice to wake someone up when they are sleeping either,” the ghost replied. “All you tourists think youcan do that and I never get any sleep!”“Well you should make yourself invisible if you don’t want to be bothered. I know ghosts can do that.”
  88. 88. “Fair point, young Miss. Pirate Captain Dregg at your service. What can I do for you?”“Well you can start by apologizing to my cousin,” Luna replied. “And then can you tell us a story about one of youradventures?”“I can do better than that. I can teach you an epic song about them!”“Deal! I’m Luna by the way.”“It is nice to meet you Luna. Now go and fetch your cousin.”
  89. 89. Luna quickly convinced Gloria to return to the ship and Captain Dregg was true to his word.“I am very sorry for scaring you, young Miss.”“That’s okay. I’m sorry for waking you up,” Gloria replied.“Allow me to make it up to you by teaching you a song about my life.”“That sounds really neat! Thanks!”
  90. 90. Luna and Gloria had an enjoyable rest of the afternoon learning the song from the Captain and listening to his tales.
  91. 91. While Luna and Gloria got to know one (past) local, Molly and Ginny were busy meeting another.“Hi! I’m Ginny and this is my sister Molly! We’re visiting the island with our grandparents!”“Nice to meet you both. I’m Tracy,” the local replied.
  92. 92. “So what do you do all day here on the island?” Molly asked.“Lots of the same things that you do. We cook, get together with our friends, and go to work,” Tracy replied.“But what do you do that is special?” Ginny asked.“Well we like to get together as a community and dance.”“Oooh! What kind of dances do you have?” Molly asked.“Well the hula is our specialty.”“Can you show us?” Ginny asked.
  93. 93. “Sure! I can teach you a few steps too if you’d like,” Tracy replied.“That sounds really fun!” Ginny said with a smile.“Alright well then let me show you the basics,” Tracy began.
  94. 94. After some instruction and practice the two girls were starting to catch on.“How am I doing Tracy?” Ginny asked.“You are doing very well,” Tracy replied.
  95. 95. “And what about me? How am I doing?” Molly chimed in.“Wonderfully,” Tracy replied. “Would you two like to give a quick performance for your Grandmother?”“Yeah!” the twins chorused together.
  96. 96. They quickly called Cara over and she cheered loudly as Molly and Ginny performed a very basic hula.“I can’t wait to show Mom and Dad what we can do!” Molly said as they finished their short routine.“Me neither!” Ginny replied.
  97. 97. While the girls learned about the local culture Arthur and Cayden were busy doing what young boys do best, playing inthe dirt.“So what kind of tower do you think we should build?” Arthur asked.“A tall one that we have to rescue princesses from,” Cayden replied.
  98. 98. “Yeah! And it will probably have a dragon inside it too!” Arthur agreed.“We better make it wide then. Dragons are really big!”“Definitely.”
  99. 99. “What do you think?” Cayden asked a short time later.“I think it’s looking pretty good. But maybe we should go find some seaweed or something to decorate it with,” Arthurreplied.
  100. 100. “Great idea!” Cayden nodded as he jumped up. “Let’s go look for some!”“I’m right behind you,” Arthur said as the two boys headed off to explore the beach and look for more treasures.
  101. 101. The cousins all had a wonderful time at the pirate ship so they were even more excited to see what the rest of theisland held in store for them. The next morning Captain and Cara took them down to the boardwalk.
  102. 102. The girls and Cara went off to do some clothes shopping but Cayden pulled Captain off to another small store.“Uncle Captain I want to buy a present for my Mom and for my Grandma. Can you help me pick out some jewelry theywould like?” Cayden asked.“Of course I can,” Captain replied with a smile.
  103. 103. When they were done shopping the group separated further to explore all the fun things to do near the boardwalk.Ginny quickly found the play ground and asked Cara to push her on the swings.
  104. 104. While the other kids began an epic game of tag on the beach.
  105. 105. Gloria soon got distracted, however.“Hey a fire dancer! Cool! My Mom knows how to do that too!” Gloria cried when the fire dancer lit the ends of hisbaton.
  106. 106. “Does she?” he asked as he prepared to start his routine. “And who is your Mom?”“Jenny Penguino,” Gloria replied.“Ah yes. I remember her well. I taught her how to do this dance.”“You did? That’s awesome! Can you teach me how to do it too?”“When you are older, yes I can.”“Sweet! I’ll be sure to come back and visit then.”
  107. 107. “Very good. Now would you like to see the show?”“Yes please!” Gloria replied as she stepped back a bit to watch from a safe distance.
  108. 108. And she cheered through the whole show.
  109. 109. While her youngest enjoyed the fire dancing, back in Antarctica Jenny was thinking that the house was too quiet witheveryone away and she found herself searching for things to occupy her time.
  110. 110. “What are you doing?” Dorian asked as he joined her.“It’s too quiet in the house so I’m reading this book on Anger Management,” Jenny replied. “Someone left it out on thecoffee table. I’m betting it was my Mother.”
  111. 111. “Perhaps,” Dorian replied, thinking that he would place his money on Gloria having left it out on purpose. It looked likea book he had seen in her room recently. “It does seem awfully quiet though doesn’t it? I suppose we’ll have to getused to it since there will be at least a year when we have the house to ourselves when all three kids are in collegetogether.”Jenny nodded but frowned, “I don’t really want to think about that.”
  112. 112. Dorian was silent for a few minutes before he asked, “So how is the book?”“It’s pretty good actually,” Jenny continued. “And it has a whole chapter on parent/kid relationships. I just hope I canfind something that will help me reconnect with Jeanie.”“Me too,” Dorian replied.
  113. 113. Back on Twikkii Island, the vacation seemed to be passing by too quickly.
  114. 114. And in no time at all it was drawing to a close. Since it had become a tradition, on their last night at the beach houseCaptain built a bonfire on the beach as his grandkids gathered around.
  115. 115. They were all tired from a fun-filled day and Gloria fell asleep before the fire was even lit. She had just sat down for amoment to wait and was out almost immediately.
  116. 116. Cara gently woke her back up once the fire was going.“Gloria, honey, Grandpa is getting ready to tell a story,” she said softly.Gloria jerked awake, “I wasn’t sleeping!” She paused and noticed that the fire was now burning merrily, “Oh I guess Iwas wasn’t I?”Cara just laughed, “Yes you were. Don’t worry you’ll get to bed soon enough.”
  117. 117. “You’re going to tell us a story, Grandpa?” Ginny asked as she finished toasting her marshmallow.“Yes I am,” Captain replied. “If you’ll all sit down…”
  118. 118. “Have you all heard any of the stories about the early days of the family? When I was little and we didn’t have enoughmoney for wallpaper let alone a fancy beach house like this?” Captain began.“Oooh no!” Molly replied. “Dad just tells stories about his and Uncle Mag’s pranks.”“Yeah I haven’t heard it either,” Gloria said.
  119. 119. Captain smiled, “Well let me tell you about Krill the cat, yes the same one that lives with your Aunt Greta. Or yourGrandma,” he added nodding to Cayden. “And about my Mom’s grilled cheese, and how I wanted nothing more thanto learn how to fly…”
  120. 120. The kids and Cara sat spell bound as Captain reminisced for an hour.
  121. 121. “And then I met your grandma and I asked her to marry me, and that was best decision of my life,” he concluded.Cara just smiled at him.“Now I think it’s time for all of you to head off to bed! We have to catch the shuttle early tomorrow morning!” Captainsaid as he got up.The kids all grumbled but were too tired to protest much and soon were on their way to bed.
  122. 122. “I don’t think I’ve ever heard you reminisce that much,” Cara said later once everyone was tucked in and they hadretired to their own room.“No, I don’t think I ever have before,” Captain replied. “But I’ve just been thinking about my early days and thought thatthe kids should know some of the history.”“Well they seemed to enjoy it,” Cara replied.“Yes I think they did too. And Cara?”“Hmmm?”“I meant what I said. Marrying you was the best decision of my life.”“I love you too,” Cara replied.
  123. 123. Everyone was reluctant to leave the next morning and return to school and the cold.
  124. 124. Gloria, however, was her usual cheerful self. “Goodbye beach house! Thanks for the awesome time! I hope we get tovisit again soon!” she said, waving to the house before getting into the taxi.
  125. 125. But Captain was pensive. He sighed as he got into the shuttle, knowing that it might be the last time he saw thehouse, even though his grandchildren would certainly see it again.
  126. 126. The shuttle dropped Captain, Cara, and Gloria off just as Jeanie was returning from her extended sleep-over.“Jeanie!” Gloria cried, running to give her older sister a hug. “Did you have a good time while I was gone? I reallymissed you!”“I missed you two, squirt,” Jeanie replied. “And yeah I had a good time. How about you?”“It was awesome! I can’t wait to tell you and Mom and Dad all about it!” Gloria said as she grabbed her suitcase andhurried toward the front door.
  127. 127. “Mom! Dad! I had the best time ever!” Gloria cried as she ran to Jenny for a hug as soon as she was inside. “I foundsome cool seashells, and met the fire dancer who taught you, and Luna and I met a ghost…”“And how was your stay with Edith?” Dorian asked Jeanie over Gloria’s recitation of her adventures.“It was good,” Jeanie replied. “I should really go unpack though.” And she continued on up to her room withoutgreeting her mother.
  128. 128. Jenny forced herself to not sigh and turned all of her attention to Gloria, “So did I hear you say you met a ghost?”“Yeah and it was awesome!” Gloria said and then launched into the story.
  129. 129. While Captain, Cara, Jeanie, and Gloria settled back into the main house, on campus Memphis was getting in somelast minute practice for the gaming competition.“You’ll do great, you know,” Viola said from the couch where she was studying.“I’m not so sure about that,” Memphis replied. “I’m just hoping to have fun and to not be out in the first round.”“Well that’s a good way to approach the competition,” Viola smiled. “You want me to come along and cheer for you?”
  130. 130. Memphis stopped playing and turned to face her in his chair, “You don’t have to do that. I know you have that exam tostudy for.”“I don’t mind,” Viola replied. “I could use a break and besides, I’ve come to all of your other competitions.”“Well it would be nice to have someone to cheer me on…” Memphis began.“Then I’m coming,” Viola replied.
  131. 131. The next morning was cold and clear, with just a hint of snow in the air.“I still can’t believe you came along,” Memphis said as he and Viola approached the club house. “I mean I can’timagine this is going to be all that entertaining to watch.”“Hey this is the kind of thing best friends do. Besides, I’m sure it will be less painful than dealing with your mother anddancing in front of practically everyone in this town.”“Fair enough,” Memphis replied.“Besides,” Viola shot him a finger gun, “You need a cheering section.”
  132. 132. They were greeted when the walked in the front door by a young lady seated at a sign in table.“Here for the SSX competition?” she asked.“Yes,” Memphis replied.“Name?” she asked glancing down at the sheet in front of her.“Memphis Penguino.”
  133. 133. “There you are. Sign in here, please,” the woman said handing Memphis a pencil. “You’re in seat number 5 behindme. And are you here for the competition too?” she continued, turning to Viola.“Nope, just here to cheer him on,” Viola replied.“We have spectator seating in the back to your right as well. Good luck!” she said as Memphis handed the pencilback.
  134. 134. Memphis took the seat that had been indicated and started up the computer. He was beginning to feel nervous. Thiswas an unknown style of performance and even though he had practiced he was worried that he might make a fool ofhimself.“I just hope I don’t get kicked out after the first minute…” he thought to himself.
  135. 135. Viola, meanwhile, took a seat in the spectator section and was pleased to find that the chairs were actually verycomfortable instead of hard plastic folding chairs.
  136. 136. It wasn’t too much later that the head of the Gaming Club walked to the center of the room and turned on themicrophone that had been set up there.“Good morning gamers! Welcome to Games of Glory and our semi-annual SSX tournament! For those of you whodon’t know me my name is Makoto and I am the head of this hobby club. We are going to have a great time today andwe’ll be getting started in just a few minutes but first I wanted to go over the basic rules of the competition.”
  137. 137. Each contestant has been given his or her own computer and unique login for the competition. The game will startautomatically once I give the go ahead. Play until you run out of lives. At that point your game will shut down and youwill be out of the competition. The last player standing is the winner! That’s simple enough, right?”
  138. 138. “And now let me introduce my assistant, Jill. She and I will be patrolling during the competition to make sure there isn’tany cheating going on. Jill will also keep track of when contestants are eliminated so that we can award the properprizes at the end. Are there any questions? No? Good.”
  139. 139. “Then contestants man your stations! This competition will start in 3…2…1….GO!”
  140. 140. As the loading screen on Memphis’ game disappeared he checked to be sure that his fingers were on the right keysand then began the downhill race track that everyone else was also playing. It was one that he had played before andhe knew all the twists and turns of it well.“Sweet!” he said to himself. “I think I’ve got this one!”
  141. 141. All around him, the rest of the contestants were playing just as seriously and the room was suddenly filled with the ingame sound effects. It would have been distracting if Memphis hadn’t been concentrating so hard.
  142. 142. The spectators were also adding to the noise, cheering on their friends and family.“Yeah! Go Memphis! You’ve got this!” cried Viola.
  143. 143. Memphis didn’t register Viola’s cheers, however, as each course was getting progressively harder and it was takingmore and more skill to navigate them successfully.
  144. 144. And as the courses became more difficult players began to be eliminated from the competition. Some of thecontestants took it better than others.
  145. 145. The game continued to become more challenging and Memphis was giving it all he had. He had no idea how manycontestants were left as he couldn’t spare a moment to check.
  146. 146. So he was surprised when at the end of a course there was a brief pause in his game as Makoto made a quickannouncement.“Ladies and gentleman! Jill tells me that we are down to our two final contestants! Good luck to you both!”
  147. 147. Memphis had just one moment to register what Makoto had said before the next round began.“Final two? Really? Wow! I just might actually have this!” he thought.
  148. 148. He didn’t know who the other contestant was. He or she was probably at the other cluster of computers because hecould see out of the corners of his eyes that the contestants at his table were sitting still and were watching him.
  149. 149. Viola was still cheering from the sidelines and Makoto had come over to observe his final round but again Memphiswas too focused to notice them.
  150. 150. Everything was going well and then, suddenly, it wasn’t. The next course that loaded was one that he rarely made itthrough on the first try. He mentally prepared himself, trying to remember where the turns and tricky jumps werelocated but just a few seconds into the course his skier when over the edge of the cliff.
  151. 151. For a moment he was upset as he realized that he had lost but he checked it. He would not act like his mother. Hecould lose graciously.“And second place is really good for my first ever competition,” he thought.
  152. 152. “And we have a winner!” Makoto announced. “What a competition! I haven’t seen one this close in ages! Let’sannounce our top three contestants! Come on up here when your name is called and claim your prize!”
  153. 153. “In third place we have Benjamin Long!”Memphis watched as Ben walked up and took a small trophy from Jill after shaking hands with Makoto.
  154. 154. “In second place, first time contestant, Memphis Penguino! Congratulations!”Memphis smiled as he received his trophy from Jill, and grinned even harder when he heard Viola cheering.
  155. 155. “And finally, our first place winner and long reigning champion, Carla Carr!!!!”
  156. 156. The building erupted into cheers and catcalls. Memphis turned to see who was coming up to accept the prize and hada moment of panic.
  157. 157. He saw the red hair and green eyes out of the corner of his eye and for a brief horrible moment he thought he hadbeen beaten by his mother.
  158. 158. Then he registered the much shorter hair, that her eyes were lighter, that she was definitely younger than Jenny, andthat she was most emphatically not wearing plaid. In fact, he had to admit to himself that she was pretty cute.“Yes but he said reigning champion when he called her name. I bet she’s a competitor. Like Mom,” Memphis thought.
  159. 159. Carla accepted her trophy graciously and then held it up to the cheering crowd before Makoto dismissed the winnersand reopened the building to anyone who wanted to play games and not just the contestants.
  160. 160. Memphis was heading over to Viola when Carla stopped him.“Nice job today! You really gave me a run for my money there. It’s been awhile since that happened. I’m Carla by theway,” and she held out her hand.“Memphis. It’s nice to meet you. Congrats on finishing that last course. As you can see it always gets me,” he gaveher a wry smile as he shook her hand. He would be a gracious looser.
  161. 161. “Yeah that one took me a lot of practice,” Carla said. She looked like she wanted to say something else but Memphisdidn’t want to get caught up. The red hair and green eyes were just too familiar.“Well it was nice to meet you. I have a friend waiting for me over there though,” he said pointing towards Viola.
  162. 162. “Ah, right,” Carla said. Her face seemed to fall momentarily as she turned to look at Viola. “Well have a good rest ofthe day. It was nice to meet you.”“Nice to meet you too. And congrats!” Memphis said before he walked away.
  163. 163. Viola greeted him with a huge hug, practically knocking Memphis over. “Congrats! Second place in your very firstcompetition! That’s awesome!”“Thanks! I’m really happy with it. I even have a shiny new trophy that I get to keep for myself instead of Mom locking itup in the case in her dance studio.”“So how do you want to celebrate?” Viola asked.“I was thinking a greasy burger at Red’s might be in order,” Memphis replied.“Sounds good to me. Lead the way,” Viola said.
  164. 164. As they walked toward the door chatting about the competition Viola noticed that Carla was watching them with a lookof disappointment on her face. Memphis didn’t seem to see her and Viola had a good guess as to what it meant.She didn’t notice that she was also being watched by someone else who had an identical look of disappointment on hisface.
  165. 165. Once they were safely outside she casually said, “So Carla is pretty and she seemed really nice.”Memphis shuddered a little, “She reminds me of my Mom. Red hair, green eyes, and competitive.”“Well she certainly didn’t crow about winning the way your Mother would have,” Viola said.Memphis just shrugged, “Why are we talking about her?”“Oh, no reason,” Viola replied, thinking it might be best to just wait and see what happened.
  166. 166. The remainder of the semester seemed to pass by in a blur of studying (for some) and not studying (for others). Soonit was time for Memphis and the rest of his older cousins to move into The Flying Penguinos Fraternity House.
  167. 167. “I can’t believe our Freshman year is over already!” George said as he helped Memphis move some boxes out of thedorms.“No kidding! Where has all the time gone?” Memphis asked.“It’s going to be nice to get out of the dorms though,” George replied. “I don’t know about you but I’m tired of burntmac-and-cheese.”“Yeah, me too,” Memphis nodded his head. “Viola promised to cook something awesome tonight in celebration.”
  168. 168. Just then Falcon arrived back from one of his exams.“Moving out?” he called.“Yeah,” Memphis gave him an apologetic smile. “I’m sorry you can’t move until next semester. The university rules onthat are kind of stupid.”To Memphis’ surprise Falcon just shrugged and smiled, “It’s okay. It’s only another semester and if Viola’s going to bethe house cook I’ll probably just show up for dinner on a regular basis anyway.”Memphis smiled back, “Can’t blame you there.”
  169. 169. Once Falcon was inside George turned to Memphis, “Huh, I would have figured Falcon would be more upset aboutbeing left behind. It’s always bothered him in the past.”“Yeah, it is a bit weird,” Memphis replied. “Maybe he’s just outgrown that phase?”“Let’s hope so,” George replied as they headed inside to get another load.
  170. 170. In truth Falcon was a bit miffed about the university rule that said he had to live in the dorms for a full year beforemoving to a fraternity house or off campus but he also knew that not having any relatives in the dorm could be a goodthing.So he promised that he’d be over for dinner as he waved goodbye to his cousins and then he went inside to make animportant phone call.
  171. 171. “Hello! I’d like to upgrade to a double bed in my dorm room for next semester please!”
  172. 172. At the Greek house Vicky and Bella were very excited to have their nieces and nephews move in.“The house has just been too quiet since Emperor and King graduated,” Bella said. “Of course Vicky and I will bemoving out as well in just a couple of days but that doesn’t mean we can’t live it up. After all we have to teach youwhat living in a Greek house is all about.”“Sounds good to me,” Robert said as he gave his aunt a high-five.“Awesome! I’ll get a toga party lined up for tonight then!” Bella said as she headed toward the phone.
  173. 173. Everyone agreed that it was a great way to celebrate the end of their Freshman year and the beginning of newadventures.
  174. 174. Just a few short days later Vicky and Bella graduated and Bella threw another large party to celebrate.
  175. 175. “Congratulations! We are so proud of you,” Cara said as she hugged her youngest daughter.“Thanks Mom!” Bella said with a smile.
  176. 176. “Yes congratulations! And does this mean we’ll be having more weddings and grandbabies soon?” Captain askedhopefully as he gave Vicky a kiss.Vicky gave him a sad smile, “Not anytime soon I’m afraid, Dad. You know that neither Bella or I have boyfriends.”“Ah well. You still have plenty of time for that,” Captain said with a smile.“Yes I suppose we do,” Vicky replied. Then she perked up, “Perhaps I’ll meet someone when I start my new job nextweek!”“Perhaps!” Captain said with a grin.
  177. 177. The party was a great one with everyone enjoying the variety of amusements available at the Greek house.
  178. 178. It ended with a large group smutsle, with Captain as the most enthusiastic dancer.
  179. 179. And when it was over Victoria and Bella headed out to their new life back in Antarctica.
  180. 180. While the oldest cousins were finally left alone with the Greek house all to themselves.
  181. 181. And that’s where I’ll leave you this time! Sorry for the long delay in getting this out. I wanted to make progress on myOWBC (which I did) and then I got stuck on the gaming competition. But it is out now and I hope you enjoyed it! Mygoal for sim_spiration’s Sim Story Creation Month (SimStoCreMo) is to complete chapter 23 so keep an eye out foranother chapter sometime next month!Happy Simming!