Last chapter…Carla smiled at her genuinely for the first time, “So…does Memphis have a girlfriend then?”“Not that I know of and he usually tells me everything,” Viola replied. “I should warn you. His mother is JennyPenguino so he’s a bit skittish about competitors.”“Ah…right…I heard about the dance competition she lost. It wasn’t pretty was it?”“Not at all,” Viola said with a grimace. Then she smiled and raised her glass to Carla, “Good luck!”Carla grinned back as she said, “Thanks!” Then she began to weave her way through the crowd toward Memphis.
“Suuure. Whatever you say,” Viola replied as she got up and walked over to pat Memphis on the arm. “Have a goodtime on your not-date with Carla then.” She winked and then left the room.“It’s not a date!” Memphis yelled after her. But then again, when he thought about it, perhaps it was…
The wedding was everything that Vicky and Miguel had hoped for and more. And Vicky was very happy that bothCaptain and Cara were there to see it.
Gloria sighed inwardly, but she was determined that tonight she wouldn’t let the problems in her family trouble her. Itwas her birthday after all and it was supposed to be a celebration.“But it can’t hurt to make my birthday wish be that Mom and Jeanie will learn to get along,” she thought as she blewout her candles.
“CARA PENGUINO. IT IS YOUR TIME,” Death said.“Captain will be right behind me, right?” Cara asked, with a sudden feeling of apprehension.“YES HE WILL,” Death replied.“Well in that case,” Cara smiled and reached for the drink that Grim offered her. “See you in a moment, dear,” shewhispered.
Death turned to Captain after Cara had faded away.“CAPTAIN COOK PENGUINO. IT IS YOUR TIME AS WELL,” Death said.“Let’s not keep Cara waiting, then,” Captain replied as he also took Death’s drink and faded away.
Jeanie was on her way downstairs when she ran into Gloria.“There you are! Are you okay?” Gloria asked. There was a pause as she noticed Jeanie’s suitcase. “Are you, uh,going somewhere?”“Yeah, college. I’m not staying in this hell hole one more minute.”“But…but…Mom and Dad will be upset!” Gloria started to say.“I’m sure Mom won’t even notice I’m gone,” Jeanie replied as she pushed past her sister. “You won’t convince me tostay so stop trying.”Gloria fought back more tears as Jeanie disappeared down the steps.“But I’ll miss you… And it’s my birthday…” Gloria whispered.******
Now…Jeanie was slamming her clothing into her dresser drawers when she heard a knock on her dorm room door.She made an exasperated noise and snapped, “Who is it?” She hoped that it wasn’t her mother or father following her.“It’s me,” a familiar voice called.
At the sound of the voice Jeanie abandoned what she was doing and hurried to open the door.“You’re here!” she said with surprise when she saw her cousin and best friend, Edith.“I am. It was obvious where you were headed last night at the party so I packed up my things and came over thismorning.” Edith paused and then asked, “How are you doing?”
Jeanie looked away and stepped aside so Edith could enter the room. “I’m fine,” she lied.“No you aren’t. None of us are fine,” Edith answered. “We all just lost our grandparents and then you had a fight withyour parents on top of that.”Jeanie shrugged Edith’s hand off of her shoulder and stepped away, “We always fight.”Edith sighed, “Okay. I can see you don’t want to talk about it right now but I’m not going to leave you alone to stewover it either.”
Jeanie nodded, “Okay.” She wouldn’t say it out loud but she was grateful for the company, and Edith knew it. Shedecided to change the subject. “So I was trying to choose what wild and crazy thing I wanted to do now that we’re atcollege. I was thinking of either going to get a tattoo or getting spectacularly drunk. Or both.”Edith gave Jeanie a sad smile, “Well I’d be up for getting a few drinks but I’m not going to let you get an impulse tattoo.If you still want one in a few months I’ll go with you to get it but I don’t think we’re in the right state of mind to makethose kinds of decisions.”“Well then, getting drunk it is!” Jeanie replied with false cheer. “I’ll just finish putting away these clothes and then wecan head out, okay?”“Okay,” Edith replied. “I’m going to go finish unpacking as well. They gave me the room right next door to yours sojust come knock when you are ready to go.”“Give me five minutes,” Jeanie replied.
Edith sighed as she closed Jeanie’s door behind her. It was going to be a long day of making sure that Jeanie didn’tdrink herself to death.
The members of the Flying Penguino Greek house were also subdued that morning as they remembered theirgrandparents who had founded the fraternity.Memphis was trying to cope with his grief and also worrying about the situation with Jeanie when his cell phone rang.
He sighed and reached for it, expecting the call to be from his parents but when he checked the caller ID he sawCarla’s name. He flipped the phone open with a small smile, “Hello?’
“Hey Memphis! It’s Carla,” she sounded chipper on the other end of the phone.“How are you?” Memphis wished he could match the happy tone in her voice.“I’m good…” Carla paused. “Are you alright? You don’t sound like your usual self.”
“No, I’m not really alright,” Memphis replied. “My grandparents passed away last night and my sister insisted oncoming to college and not waiting…”“Do you want some company?” Carla asked, concern creeping into her voice.“I…yeah…company would be nice.”“I’ll be there in a minute.”“Thanks Carla.”
Memphis met Carla at the front door.“Oh Memphis…” she said, pulling him into a hug as soon as she saw the look on his face.
At the main house Jenny had withdrawn to the safety of her dance studio again as she tried to ignore the fact that, fora second time, one of her children had left without saying goodbye.
“She just needs some time to herself,” Dorian said when he stopped Gloria from trying to go in and talk to Jenny.“Remember she just lost her Mom and Dad too.”Gloria just nodded and sighed.
It was fortunate, Gloria thought, that she had recently made friends with Donna Doran, a girl in her class whounderstood what it meant to have a troubled family and an older sibling who always seemed to be angry.“I just don’t understand why they can’t ever get along,” Gloria complained as she and Donna sat in her room one dayafter school. “I mean Dad told me all about the dance competition and the fallout after it, but it seems like after thismuch time they would have to be over it.”
“People can hold grudges for a really long time, trust me I know,” Donna said. “I mean take my brother, Jack, forexample. He has always been jealous of the fact that our sister, Rose, can talk to plants and make them growanywhere and of the way that our brother, David, can walk through any solid object. He’s even jealous of me despitethe fact that I don’t have any magical powers because I have green skin and he doesn’t. He just doesn’t want to bethe only ‘normal’ one. It’s led to a lot of tension in our family.”
“Yes but you all still get along,” Gloria said. “I mean, you sat with all of your siblings during lunch at school until they allleft for college. I can’t even get my whole family in the same building usually, let alone get them to eat a meal togetherand be civil…”“Well it wasn’t always like that. We’ve been through a lot together and that makes you closer,” Donna replied. “Don’tget me wrong though, Jack still storms out of rooms when he gets upset, especially if Rose or David does somethingthat shows off their gifts.”“I just wish we could all sit down together every now and then and have a normal conversation without anyone yelling.The dinner table is too empty now that Grandma and Grandpa are gone and Memphis and Jeanie have moved out.”
“So invite everyone home for dinner if that’s what you want,” Donna said.“I can’t,” Gloria shook her head. “Jeanie would straight up refuse to come and Mom might come up with an excuse tonot be there because she doesn’t want the meal to be uncomfortable.”“Well then you’ll have to be tricky about it. I know you can do that. Didn’t you trick your Mom into reading that angermanagement book by leaving it out when you went on vacation with your Grandparents?”
“Yeah that did work, didn’t it?” Gloria thought for a moment. “I think I know what I could do to get everyone to comeover but I’m going to have to wait a bit for all the pieces to fall into place.”“Well let me know if you need any help. I love this kind of stuff.”
Gloria smiled and got up to give her friend a hug, “Thanks Donna! You’re the best!”******
Gloria wasn’t the only one trying for family reconciliation, though. Memphis took it upon himself to convince Jeanie togo to Molly, Ginny, Luna, and Arthur’s birthday party; in part because he didn’t want to have to deal with their mother’sreaction to Jeanie leaving on his own. The party was just a few days after Gloria’s birthday and Memphis wasn’t surethat he would be able to talk Jeanie into going back to Antarctica so soon, but he quickly discovered that a little bit ofguilt seemed to help his case.“You should come to the party, Jeanie. I bet Gloria will be sad if you don’t. Remember how upset you were when Iwasn’t at their toddler birthday party?” Memphis asked one evening when Jeanie and Edith had come over to theGreek house.“Just tell Gloria that I had too much homework. It’s not like I’m missing her party or anything.”“Jeanie, you barely did your homework in high school. Gloria would never believe me and I won’t lie to her for you.And, well, we did cut her birthday party short.”
Jeanie threw up her hands in exasperation as she turned to walk away, “Fine! Fine! I’ll go! But you have to promisethat you’ll keep Mom away from me if we happen to end up in the same room!”Memphis sighed. It wasn’t what he was looking for but he figured he would take what he could get, “Deal.”
But Jeanie’s hopes of completely avoiding her parents were dashed the second she walked in the door of her Uncles’house.“You came!” Gloria cried as she rushed over for a hug. “I’ve missed you!”Jeanie felt a pang of guilt at having left Gloria at home alone with just their parents but she quickly pushed it down asshe tried not to meet her parents’ eyes.
Dorian, however, walked straight over to also pull her into a wordless hug. He stepped back to get a good look at herand she knew the second that he noticed her nose ring, which she had gotten on her second day of college after Edithhad insisted again that she wasn’t allowed to get a tattoo. She jutted her chin out, prepared for a possible fight aboutit.Dorian wisely chose not to comment and instead asked, “How’s school?”“It’s fine,” Jeanie replied as she began to back away.
That’s when Memphis stepped in to rescue her, “Jeanie and Edith come over and eat dinner at the Greek house withus most nights.”Memphis and Dorian exchanged a look, which could only be Memphis reassuring their father that he was looking outfor Jeanie. She wished they would stop doing that.Dorian nodded and took a step back to give Jeanie her space, “We’re glad you came. We miss you at home.”Jeanie just shrugged and avoided looking at Jenny who had been standing back behind Dorian as if she was afraid toapproach.
The tense moment was broken when Magellan apparated into the middle of the room, “The cakes are set updownstairs in the game room. If everyone wants to head down then we can get this birthday party started!”
Jeanie sighed with relief and quickly moved to the stairs. Dorian saw Gloria’s and Jenny’s shoulders droop at almostthe same time. A quick glance at Memphis confirmed that he was already on his way to give Gloria a hug so Dorianturned to Jenny.“It will be fine. It’s only been a few days and she’s going to need some time to adjust.”“I know. It doesn’t make it hurt any less that she doesn’t want to talk to me.”“I know. Come on. Let’s go cheer on our nieces and nephews.”
The cakes had been set up in a row downstairs so that Ginny, Molly, Luna, and Arthur could all blow out their candlesat the same time.
“Ready when you are!” Magellan said once everyone had gathered around the tables.“And don’t forget to make a wish!” Gloria added.
“Oh yes!” Luna said. “I wish to find a crumplehorned snorkack!”“Luna…” her brother sighed. “You aren’t supposed to make your wish out loud!”“But you have to, Arthur. Otherwise the gnomes can’t hear you to grant your wish.”Arthur just shook his head and made his wish silently.
“Yay! I got my candles all in one go!” Ginny said as she hopped down from her stool. “That means my wish will cometrue, right?”“Shhh! I’m trying to decide on my wish!” Molly said.
A twirl and a few sparkles later and the two sets of cousins had grown into teenagers.Molly is a family sim with the LTW to reach her Golden Anniversary.Ginny rolled Popularity with the LTW to reach the top of the Law Career.Arthur rolled Knowledge (and was given a Pop secondary) and wants to become a Hall of Famer.Luna rolled Pleasure (and was given a Knowledge secondary) and wants to be a Prestidigitator.
After everyone had had a chance to get a piece of cake Ferd and Mag moved the tables to make more room fordancing and socializing.
The older adults headed back upstairs to chat and enjoy cups of coffee while the younger crowd stayed downstairs.This meant that Jeanie was able to stay away from her parents for the rest of the party, despite the fact that it ran intothe early hours of the morning.
There was one more child who was due to teen that week, but after such a late evening the night before Cayden’sparents decided to just have a small party for him. Despite being outgoing, Cayden found that he didn’t really mindthat only his immediate family, including his grandparents Greta and Chase, and his closest friends were inattendance.
A small gathering just meant more time for him to hang out with all of his friends without being cooed over by all of hisextended family. And after a quick change the rest of the afternoon was spent hanging out with his second cousinsand planning all of the cool things they would do together now that they were teens.
(Cayden rolled Pleasure/Romance, with the LTW to be a Game Designer.)
Later that evening after everyone had gone home from Cayden’s party Vicky found herself tossing and turning in bed,feeling restless. She hadn’t been able to sleep well since her parents had passed and tonight she just couldn’t seemto get comfortable. With a sigh she decided to get up and see if she could get something done since she obviouslywasn’t going to get any more sleep at the moment.
It took her by complete surprise when she popped into her second trimester. Suddenly her restlessness made muchmore sense.
“Wow! We are going to have a baby!” Vicky exclaimed. “I can’t believe I didn’t notice I was pregnant until now!”
She hurried around to her husband’s side of the bed to wake him.“Miguel? Honey? Wake up! I need to tell you something!”“Hmm? Whaa?” Miguel slowly rolled over to give Vicky a bleary look.“I’m pregnant,” Vicky said with a grin.That woke Miguel up.
“Really?” he was out of bed in an instant. “That’s awesome! How come you didn’t tell me sooner?”“I only just realized it!” Vicky replied. “I mean I didn’t even get morning sickness!”“Your sisters are going to be jealous when you tell them that,” Miguel said with a smile. “Man this is so exciting!”
“I know!” Vicky replied. But then a ghost of a frown crossed her face.“What’s wrong, Vic?” Miguel asked.“I just…I wish I could tell my parents,” Vicky began. “They would have been so excited. Especially Dad. He wasalways trilled when he found out another grandkid was on the way.”“I know. I wish I could tell my Dad too,” Miguel said.
Then big grin lit up Miguel’s face, “But Vicky! Your parents did know!”“What?” Vicky asked confused.“Remember! At the party? Your Mom said you were glowing! She knew! She just didn’t want to spoil the surprise!”
Now Vicky was smiling again, “You know. I think you must be right!”“And she would have told your Dad. You can bet she couldn’t keep that completely to herself,” Miguel continued as hegave Vicky a hug. “Now lets go wake up your sister and cousins. I can’t wait to tell them!”Vicky laughed, “Okay! But you have to wake up Bella. She gets cranky easily.”******
Since he was beginning his second year at school Falcon was allowed to move out of the dorms and into the FlyingPenguinos Frat house as soon as the semester had started. Memphis was the one who greeted him and showed himto his room.“So this is it. I’m sorry you are on the first floor right next to the living room. It might be a bit loud, especially when weare throwing parties, but this is the only empty bedroom left unless you want to share Robert and George’s bedroom.”“No this will be perfect,” Falcon replied as he took in the double bed and the fact that the room was right next to thefront door. He might be able to sneak in more girls than his brother and cousins would realize this way and it would beeasy to slip in here during parties as well.“Well I’m glad you like it,” Memphis said with a smile. “I’ll let you unpack.”
“Thanks!” Falcon replied. “Oh and hey, Memphis?”“Yeah?” Memphis turned around as he reached the door.“I was thinking that maybe we should go out to the Llamarama to celebrate the new semester and the fact that Edithand Jeanie have joined us. Think everyone would be up for it?”“Yeah. I think we could definitely use a night out to relax. I’ll pass on the word.”
It hadn’t taken any effort to convince all of the college-aged Penguinos to head out for a night at the local college bar.It was a welcome respite from the tension and grief that they had all been trying to cope with for the past week andthey were all determined to have a good time.
While everyone else settled into various games, Robert slid into the stool next to a pretty black-haired woman at thebar. “Hi! I’m Robert. Can I buy you a drink?” he asked.The girl gave him a once over. “You can. But I don’t think I’m your type,” she replied.“How can you know when I’ve only just introduced myself?”She smiled, “I just have a sense for these things. You may be a guy who likes to have a fun time but in the end youare looking for commitment. And that means I’m not the one for you.”
“Oh…you are good at reading people aren’t you?”“One of my many talents,” the woman replied.“Well at least let me still buy you that drink,” Robert said as he signaled the bar tender.
“Thank you. You are sweet,” the woman responded as the bar tender handed her a drink. “Some other girl will bevery lucky to have you.” She raised her glass to him in a toast before getting up and leaving him at the bar.
Robert resisted the urge to bury his head in his arms and stood up with a sigh to go and join Memphis, George, andSpacely who were playing pool at the table near the door.“How’d it go?” Memphis asked when Robert approached.“She said I’m not her type,” Robert replied, sighing again.“Tough luck, man,” George responded.
Robert looked over to the poker tables on the far side of the room where the woman had gone with her drink andnoticed that she had join the table where Falcon was playing with Jeanie and another woman.“Looks like my brother might be her type though,” he said, the hurt evident in his voice.Memphis and George followed Robert’s gaze, noting how when Falcon leaned over to say something to the womanshe gave him a brilliant smile in return.
“Well that’s gotta sting,” Memphis said under his breath as George nodded.“Do you want in on this next game?” George asked, hoping to distract Robert.“Yeah, thanks,” Robert replied, reluctantly tearing his eyes away from his brother and the woman.
But as hard as he tried to avoid watching he couldn’t help but notice when Falcon and the woman slipped away fromthe poker game and headed toward the darker back room of the bar or that when they emerged a little while later bothof them looked a bit tousled.“How come Falcon never has any trouble with women…” he wondered.
Robert was still miffed about the rejection when everyone left the bar together a few hours later and he was trying tofigure out what he should have done differently when Jeanie and Falcon’s conversation cut into his thoughts.“That bar is fun!” Jeanie was saying. “Thanks for suggesting we all go out tonight.”“It’s a great place to pick up partners too,” Falcon whispered to her quietly.“Yeah I saw you with that one girl,” Jeanie gave him a wink. “Nicely done.”“She was so hot!” Falcon grinned.Robert really wished that he hadn’t overheard…
“So how do you do it?” Robert asked Falcon later that night.“Do what?” Falcon asked as he looked up from his textbook.“Get girls to want to talk to you. I can’t seem to be able to. Like the black-haired woman tonight. She didn’t wantanything to do with me. But then you two seemed to hit it off quite well.”
“You hit on her?” Falcon asked as he got up.“Bought her a drink.”Falcon sighed, “You have to find the right type of woman, bro.”“That’s what she said, too. What does that mean?”“It means stop trying to pick up girls who are looking for a quick trip to the photobooth and that’s all.”
“A quick trip to the photobooth? What do you…” Robert began and then suddenly the meaning of Falcon’s words hithim, “Ooooooh! You mean that you and her…in the…in the photobooth?”“Don’t tell me that you haven’t,” Falcon said.
“I haven’t! That’s disgusting! That’s not what they are for!”“That’s your opinion.”“Ugh! I am never going in one of those things again,” Robert said, throwing his hands in the air as he left the room.“Suit yourself!” Falcon called after him. “But they can be quite fun!”******
While Robert was having girl trouble other members of the Greek House were definitely not.It was a few weeks into the semester and Memphis and Carla had been spending more and more time together. Theyhad even gone out on a few “not dates” as Viola tended to call them.This evening Memphis had invited Carla over to play some video games and watch a movie and the other members ofthe house had tactfully made themselves scarce.
“Nicely played!” Carla said as they finished a mission in Halo.“You were awesome too. As always,” Memphis replied with a grin.“Thanks!”
Memphis stood up and stretched, “I think I’ve had enough Halo for a bit though. Want to watch the movie we rentednow?”“Sure!” Carla replied.
Memphis put the controllers away and started the movie. When he sat down Carla surprised him by sliding over to hisside of the couch and snuggling into his shoulder with a mischievous grin. Memphis decide to just go with it and slidhis arm around her shoulders.
She casually placed her hand on top of his as the previews ended and the movie began. Memphis managed not tosay anything for almost five minutes but then…
“Hey Carla?”“Yes?” she asked, giving him an innocent look.“So I’m having trouble concentrating on the movie…” Memphis began.
Carla laughed as she slid into Memphis’ lap, “Really? Why’s that?”“Well…umm…because…” Memphis found that he couldn’t think. Or breath for that matter. Carla was just too close.And there was only one logical thing to do about that.
A few nights later Memphis found himself playing a friendly game of pool with a few of his cousins.
“So Memphis, spill the beans,” Robert said as he lined up his next shot. “We all know you and Carla were downstairsalone a couple nights ago and you haven’t said one word about it.”
Memphis suddenly became very interested in his cue stick, grabbing the chalk and pretending to be getting ready forhis next shot.“A gentleman never kisses and tells,” he replied.
“So you kissed her?” Spacely asked, grinning.“I didn’t say that,” Memphis sighed with exasperation. “It’s a figure of speech.”
“Oh, he totally kissed her,” Jade said with a grin. “Told you guys. Pony up, Robert, I won that bet.”
“You have no way to prove that,” Memphis said as he headed toward the table.“Oh come on, Memphis,” Spacely replied. “You can’t pull that one on me. Not when I’ve been dating Ginger for solong.”“Besides, you’re blushing,” Jade snickered.“Okay, okay, I kissed her,” Memphis said, unable to hide the grin that followed.
“Awesome man!” Robert replied.Jade cleared her throat.“Yeah, I know Jade. I’ll get you the money after this game,” Robert said before continuing. “So how was it? Does thatmean you’re officially an item now?”
“It was amazing,” Memphis said. “And yeah I guess we are dating now.” He grinned as he lined up his shot. That wasa very satisfying thought.******
On another part of campus, Edith was starting to notice a pattern to Jeanie’s behavior that troubled her.Jeanie would suggest that they go out somewhere on campus, ostensibly to get some food, to study, or to relax.
And inevitably Edith would end up sitting by herself while Jeanie disappeared with some guy.
This time was more upsetting than usual because Jeanie had abandoned her within minutes of arriving at the studentcenter.Edith sighed, “Might as well get a coffee and actually get some school work done since I’m here.”
“Could I have an espresso, please?” Edith asked once she had reached the upstairs coffee bar. “Actually, you hadbetter make it a double.”“I’ll have the same. And I’ll buy hers as well,” a male voice said behind her.
“You really don’t have to do…” Edith trailed off as the guy gave her a brilliant smile.“You sounded like you were having a stressful day. I just thought a nice gesture might cheer you up.”“Thanks,” Edith replied with a blush.
“You’re welcome,” the guy said as he paid for their drinks, raised his glass in a toast, and then turned and walked overto a table and sat down to drink it.
Edith hesitated for a moment before approaching him.“Do you mind if I join you? I could use some company,” she said.“Don’t mind at all! I’m Colby Parker by the way.”“Edith Penguino. It’s nice to meet you.”
“So can I ask what’s got you down or would you rather not tell me?” Colby said.
Edith sighed and sipped her coffee before replying, “Well I kind of got ditched by my best friend for a random guy.Again. So what was supposed to be a fun afternoon of hanging out was quickly becoming a lonely afternoon bymyself.”
“I see. Well I’m happy to keep you company until she shows back up. If you want me to, that is.”
“Oh she’s not likely to turn back up for awhile. But I’d like to have some company for at least part of the time.”
Edith and Colby sat and chatted about everything and nothing for the next few hours until Edith happened to glance ather watch.“Oops! I have to get going or I’ll miss my evening lecture,” she said as she got up. “Thanks again for the coffee andfor keeping me company.”
“My pleasure. Umm…before you go…do you think I could get your number? I mean so that maybe we could do thisagain?”Edith beamed, “Sure! But only if I can have yours as well.”
Later that week Robert answered a call from Edith on his cell phone, “What do you mean you can’t make it to dinner atthe Greek House tonight? Are you sick? Do you need me to take you to the doctor or something?” Robert paused fora moment as Edith explained, “You have a DATE? Is this the first date? Well then I’m going to come over and makesure he’s okay to date my baby sister! I can too do that!.....Okay, okay, fine. I’ll let it go this time. But if you go outagain I’m meeting him first! Hello? Are you still there?”
Robert glanced at the display on his phone, “Huh, she hung up on me.”He was about to call Edith back when Falcon walked inside in just his bathing suit.
“Falcon! Did you know that Edith has a date tonight?” Robert asked.“I did not. Good for her!” Falcon grinned.“I wanted to go over there and put the fear of God in him but Edith wouldn’t let me.”
Falcon snorted, “Really Robert? We don’t live in the nineteenth-century. She doesn’t need a chaperon or someone toapprove the match. I’m sure he’s a nice guy if she’s willing to go out with him.”“I suppose,” Robert replied. “It means she won’t be over here for dinner tonight though. And apparently Jeanie won’tbe either.”“And I also won’t be staying,” Falcon replied. “Cause I also have a hot date tonight!”“Really? With the girl who is here now? Isn’t that a rather long date for someone you just met?”
“Nope, Nerissa actually just went home. My date tonight is with Gretchen.”“Wait? You have TWO dates today?” Robert began.“Yep,” Falcon cut him off. “Now if you’ll excuse me. I should go get ready for this evening,” and he turned and headedinto his bedroom.
Robert was left staring at Falcon’s closed door in shock.
After a moment Robert shook himself out of his daze and hurried to the room he shared with George. Once he hadshut the door he sank down on the floor next to his bed, “How come everyone else seems to have no trouble finding adate and I can’t get even one?”
Robert was still sitting in the exact same spot on the floor when George found him a few hours later.“Memphis? Could I get some help in here?,” George called.
Memphis stuck his head in the room, took one look at Robert and said, “That’s it. We’re having a guy’s night at the bar.Come on, Robert!”******
“So maybe this wasn’t our best idea,” Memphis said a few hours later as he and George struggled to help Robert get inthe door. They were both tipsy but Robert was completely drunk. Spacely trailed behind them, completely sober.“Come on! Help us get him to the couch,” George called to Spacely.“No I don’t wanna go to the couch,” Robert slurred. “I’m sterv…starv…I’m hungry.”“Please, Spacely? A little help?” Memphis asked.“Hey, it wasn’t my idea to go out tonight and get him drunk. I’m supposed to head over to Ginger’s place once I madesure you three got home okay. It’s getting pretty late so I need to grab my stuff and head out or she’ll already beasleep.” Spacely said.
“Do you think it’s a good idea to let him eat?” George asked, as Spacely headed upstairs.“But I’m hungry…” Robert whined.“I think we’d better at least get him some toast,” Memphis replied. “It’ll soak up some of the alcohol.”“Good point,” George agreed.
The two helped Robert into a chair in the kitchen where he slumped over the kitchen table.“What’s going on?” Viola had suddenly appeared at the door. “I ran into Spacely upstairs and he said Robert wassmashed.”“Yeah, well, apparently taking him drinking so that he could forget the fact that his brother has slept with half thecampus and he can’t get a date was not the best idea ever,” Memphis mumbled.“I could have told you that,” Viola replied. “How come you aren’t taking him up to bed?”“He’s hungry so we thought we’d maybe get him some toast…” George replied sheepishly.
Viola rolled her eyes, “Okay but let me do it so you drunken morons don’t burn down the house.”“Thanks Vi!” Memphis and George chorused.
A short time later, Viola set a plate of toast down in front of Robert who had been resting with his forehead on thetable.“Still hungry?” she asked.“Huh?” Robert’s head jerked up. “Oh yeeesssh! Toast!” he said and began to munch on the crunchy bread.
The four cousins were quiet as Robert worked his way through two pieces before suddenly saying, “Youguysss! Guess what? You’ll never guess, so Ima gonna tell you.”“Oh this is going to be good,” George whispered to Memphis under his breath. Memphis grinned back.“I’ve been thinking long time…really long time ‘bout this, guys,” Robert continued. “And you know what I figured out?”“What?” Memphis prompted.
“I am MADLY in love with...with…” Robert managed to say.Memphis and George exchanged a look. This was not what they had been expecting.“With who?” Viola asked.
Viola, Memphis, and George cracked up.“S’not funny!” Robert cried looking indignant. “I’m in love with the toaster!”
"How long exactly have you been thinking this?" Memphis asked. "Five minutes?""At least ten," Robert replied, a serious expression on his face.“And why,” Viola managed to get out between giggles, “Do you think you are in love with the toaster?”
“Soooo many reasons,” Robert began with a blissful look on his face. “One. Toast is a wonderful thing. It’s socrunchy…and…and…good…and crunchy.”“Now he sounds like Aunt Adelina when she’s talking about grilled cheese,” Memphis whispered to George.
“Annnnd…” Robert continued. “B. The toaster is dependable. It never turns me down when I ask it to make toast. Italways makes it perfectly. And…and…four. I’m gonna marry it.”“You’re going to marry the toaster?” Viola said, trying hard not to laugh.“YES!” Robert cried. “And I’ll never be turned down by a girl that prefers my brother again!”
And with that Robert put his head down on the table and fell asleep.“Geez that’s pathetic,” Viola said as she stood up and cleared away the remaining toast. “Can you two get him up tobed or do I need to get Jade to help as well?”“No we got it,” Memphis replied, rubbing the back of his neck and feeling embarrassed for Robert.“Good. And next time guys, you should find him a decent date instead of taking him to a bar,” Viola continued as sheleft the kitchen.
“Why is she always right?” George asked as he walked over to Robert and prepared to help Memphis carry him up thesteps.“Cause she just is,” Memphis replied.“Where are we supposed to find him a girlfriend though?” George asked. “I mean I don’t have one either…”“Well I suppose I could ask mine if she knows anyone who would want to go on a double date with us to the concertnext week…” Memphis said. “I mean her friends seem pretty cool.”“There’s an idea,” George said. “Want to set me up as well?”“I think I’d better only ask for one favor at a time,” Memphis said. “But maybe next time?”“Fair enough,” George said, and the two heaved Robert to his feet and helped him up the steps to his bedroom.******
The next week, Robert found himself on a date with Tara, one of Carla’s dorm mates. It was a date to which Roberthad reluctantly agreed after Carla and Memphis teamed up to convince him.Tara was nice enough, Robert thought, but he was having trouble paying attention to anything she was saying. Shejust kept going on about fashion and some other nonsense that Robert didn’t have any interest in.
It didn’t help that the date Memphis had arranged was to see a concert of classical music at the Opera House.Memphis, by the sheer fact that he was his mother’s son, had procured really good seats for the show and Robert haddutifully managed to sit between his date and Carla to give Memphis the alone time with his girlfriend that he desired.“I am so bored…” Robert thought. He was no stranger to concerts. With knowledge sims for parents he had frequentlybeen dragged from one cultural event to another as a child and teen and had gotten quite good at letting his mindwander. But tonight he was twitchy. “I wish that we had just gone bowling or done something else active…”
The current musician ended his set and Robert clapped automatically.“He was so good!” Tara practically squealed in his ear.“If she does that one more time I am going to get a headache,” Robert sighed to himself.
But then something happened that called Robert’s attention back to the stage. He stopped fidgeting and sat upstraight in an attempt to get a better look at the woman in a gorgeous red evening gown who had just walked out frombehind the curtains. She walked directly to the piano without turning to look at the audience and prepared to play herpiece.
Robert had never seen anyone like her and he quickly scanned the program for her name, having missed theannouncer’s introduction. “Emina Legacy” he read and was about to flip to the back of the program to read her biowhen she started to play.
He had never heard anyone play like that. It was like she was one with the instrument. He noted that while there wassheet music arranged on the piano she never once looked up at it so she must have been playing from memory. Thatwas the last thought he had before the music completely swept him away.
Eventually the song ended and Emina stood, made a formal bow in response to the enthusiastic applause and quicklyexited the stage. Robert stared at the spot that she had just left for a few seconds before coming back to the present.He hurriedly flipped to the back of the program, wanting to know more about this mysterious young woman.
Emina Legacy is the youngest member of a very important family in Regalton. She is a musical prodigy and has beenplaying and composing her own music since the tender age of two. She has performed for royalty and in the elitemusic halls of Europe. She is currently an exchange student at Académie Le Tour, where she is studying in theschool’s internationally ranked music department.
Robert had to re-read the last sentence. She was a student. At his university. “Now if only she’s single to boot…” hemurmured under his breath.“Robert? Hey! Robert!”
Robert’s head snapped up from the program and he realized that he was the only person still sitting in the row.Memphis laughed, “The concert just finished up. We were thinking about maybe hitting a club before we head back toschool. Are you okay with that?”“Oh. Yeah. That sounds like fun,” Robert replied, still distracted.Memphis frowned but let his cousin’s odd behavior go. “Well come on then. Let’s not keep these ladies waiting.”
Robert nodded. As they walked out of the theater he allowed himself one last look back at the stage. He had beencontemplating going to the green room but with Memphis and the two girls there he supposed that trying to meetEmina would have to wait, although he had no idea how he would find her later.
“Did you like the concert?” Carla asked as they entered the lobby.“Yeah! It was good. And that last player, Emina Legacy, was really amazing!” Robert said.“Oh yeah, Emmi’s a star,” Tara nodded.
“Emmi?” Robert asked. “Wait. Do you know her?”“Not very well. She lives in our dorm but is always holed up in her room practicing or off at the music school,” Tarareplied.“Really? That’s cool!”
Robert couldn’t suppress his grin as they left the Opera House. It sounded like finding Emmi was going to be easierthan he thought.*******
While the college crowd was busy with their social lives, hobbies, and homework, back in Antarctica Gloria was finallyready to put her plan for a family dinner into motion. But she was going to need some help.“Hey Dad?”
“Yes, Gloria?” Dorian replied as he set down his paper and gave his daughter his full attention.“So I was wondering if you could help me with a project…” Gloria began.“For school?” Dorian asked.
“Umm…no. More like a plan to get everyone together for a family dinner…”
“Well that would be nice although I think it will be difficult. What were you thinking?”
Gloria told her father her idea quickly and quietly in case Jenny happened to walk in.“Hmm…I think that might actually work,” Dorian said at the end.“Really? You think so?” Gloria grinned.“Yes. I do. Now you concentrate on getting Memphis and Jeanie here and I’ll worry about dinner and your mother.”
It didn’t take much work to convince Memphis to come to dinner but Gloria hadn’t expected it to.“Yeah I can come home for an evening. What day were you thinking?” was his immediate response when Gloriacalled.“Next Friday? And I’m going to ask Jeanie to come too so you might need to give her a ride,” Gloria replied.“Friday is good but I’m not sure you’ll convince Jeanie to visit…” Memphis trailed off.
“Just leave it to me. Let Jeanie call and ask for the ride and don’t mention that you’ve already talked to me or that youare coming for dinner until you are actually here, okay?”“What are you planning Glory?”“Just trust me.”“Okay…”
Jeanie, as everyone had predicted, was trickier.“Hey Gloria? What’s up?” Jeanie asked when she answered the phone.“Hi! How’s college life?” Gloria began.“Decent. I’m keeping really busy. It’s nice to be out from under Mom’s thumb.”“So going to lots of parties then?”“You know it.” Jeanie thought it was best to change the subject at that point, “How are things for you?”
“Good. I got to go hang out at the bowling ally with our cousins this past weekend so that was fun. Oh! And I wantedto tell you! Tilapia’s kittens are all grown up now!”“Wow! Are they cute?” Jeanie asked her previously bored tone of voice switching to actual excitement.
Here was where Gloria had to tread carefully. She took a deep breath, “Yeah! They are adorable! Dad wants me topick out which one we are going to keep, though, and I’m having lots of trouble deciding. Do you think maybe youcould swing by this weekend and help me pick? I thought you might like us to keep one of the kittens for you for whenyou graduate as well so you could also pick that one.”There was silence on the other end of the line for half a minute before Jeanie responded, “Can’t you just send mesome pictures and I can tell you from them?”“Yeah I thought about that cause I know you don’t like to come home, but they all have really different personalitiesand those just don’t come through in photos or video so I think you need to see them in person,” Gloria replied.
Jeanie was silent again as she tried to think of another way to pick a kitten without going home. It was time for Gloriato play the trump card, “And it would be nice to see you again, even just for a little bit. I haven’t seen you since thebirthday parties!”And now Jeanie felt guilty. She sighed, “Yeah, okay. I can stop in for a few minutes. I’m bringing Memphis with me todistract Mom though. What day were you thinking?”“Awesome! I haven’t seen him in forever either! And I was thinking Friday evening?”“Yeah, sure. You are going to owe me one for this though!”“Fair enough! Thanks Jeanie! I can’t wait to see you!”“Yeah, I bet. I gotta run to class now though. I’ll talk to you later,” Jeanie said and then hung up.
“Crap. I just agreed to go home,” Jeanie fumed for a moment. “How does Gloria do that?”
Then she picked up her cell phone again and dialed Memphis’ number, “Hey. So I need you to do me a huge favorand come with me to Mom and Dad’s on Friday evening…”
“I can’t believe I let her talk me into doing this,” Jeanie sighed as she and Memphis walked toward the house on Fridayafternoon.“She misses us. I’m sure she’s really excited that we’re here,” Memphis replied.“I know…I just…don’t want to make a scene.”
Memphis stopped walked and pulled Jeanie around to face him, “So don’t. At this point, I don’t think Mom is going tobe the one to start any fights.”“Yeah… but…”“Jeanie, ever since you left Mom has been keeping her distance. Did you see her at the twins’ birthday party? Shedidn’t approach because she didn’t want to set you off. I’m pretty sure she’ll do the same tonight. Look, she’s notalways my favorite person either but just give her a chance. She’s definitely been better with me ever since I movedout.”Jeanie shrugged out of his grip. “Yeah. Sure. Whatever,” she said but with less venom then usual.
Memphis sighed as she turned away and began walking towards the house. “Please let this go okay. For everyone’ssake…”
Gloria was there to greet them at the door and neither of their parents were in sight. Memphis saw Jeanie visibly relaxwhen she realized she wasn’t going to have to deal with their mother immediately.“You made it!” Gloria cried with obvious delight as she rushed to hug them both.“Of course we did,” Memphis replied. He gave her a meaningful look over Jeanie’s shoulder that asked what exactlyGloria was up to. Gloria just winked.
“So do you want to see the kittens?” she asked Jeanie.“That’s what I’m here for. Where are they?”“Well we’ve finally moved them out of the nursery and back into their area on the porch. Come and see!” Gloria saidas she turned to lead the way.
“You were right! They are all adorable!” Jeanie said a few minutes later as she knelt down to pet Mackerel.“Who do you think we should keep?” Gloria asked.“It’s a hard choice,” Jeanie replied. “But I think you should keep Tuna.”
“Do you want one of them as well? Mom’s already agreed that you can have Koko when you graduate if you wanthim.”“Really? I mean he’s your cat too.”“Well he was your birthday present remember?”“Yeah. Thanks.” Jeanie surveyed the cats again. “Could I maybe have Mac as well?”“Absolutely,” Gloria smiled.
“Well then…that didn’t take long…” Jeanie said.“You don’t have to go just yet though,” Gloria said. “Dad’s cooking dinner and since you are already here you shouldjoin us!”
“I…” Jeanie began.“Please?”Gloria’s face was so hopeful and it did seem rather stupid to have driven all this way for just five minutes. And a freemeal was a free meal. Jeanie was a student after all.“Okay. Fine.” Jeanie said.
Dorian had timed dinner perfectly and Gloria was able to get everyone to the table before Jeanie had a chance tochange her mind. But Gloria wasn’t entirely sure what to do about the awkward silence that had settled around thetable once everyone was served.
“So, Jeanie, how is school going?” Dorian asked in an attempt to break the silence.“Oh…you know…fine,” Jeanie replied. “My classes are interesting and I really like a couple of my Professors.”“Have you made lots of new friends or gone on any dates?” Gloria chimed in, eager to keep the conversation going.
“Umm, I’ve met a few interesting people…” Jeanie trailed off. Being the center of attention was making heruncomfortable and it was time to redirect the attention to someone else. She gave Memphis a wicked smile, “But theperson you should be talking to about dating his Memphis. He’s got himself a girlfriend!”
“Jeanie…” Memphis gave his sister a pained look that he hoped conveyed “You weren’t supposed to bring that up!”
“You have a girlfriend!” Gloria cried. “I didn’t know that. What’s she like? How long have you been dating?”
Memphis sighed and resigned himself to telling the rest of his family about Carla, something that he had been hopingto keep to himself for a little while longer.
And Jeanie relaxed as everyone turned their attention away from her and to Memphis instead.
In the end, everyone managed to make it through dinner without a single fight, which was a record as far as Gloriaknew. But Memphis was a bit frazzled after being grilled about Carla for an hour and was more than ready to leavewhen dinner was finally over.“Thanks for having us,” he said and then elbowed Jeanie in the side.“Yeah. Um…thanks. It was nice to see the kittens,” Jeanie said, directing her comment to Gloria instead of herparents.
“Drive safe and give us a call when you get in,” Dorian said as he gave them both a hug.“We will,” Memphis replied.
“Well done, Glory,” Dorian said quietly so that Jenny couldn’t hear as they all stood on the front porch waving goodbye.Gloria just smiled. It was nice to feel like they had finally made some progress towards family reconciliation.*******
That’s it for now! I am really hoping to get one more chapter out this year but we will see.I want to say thanks to Di for the loan of Emina Legacy, to Fuzzy for the inspiration for the scene with Robert and theToast, and to Rose and Lily who brainstormed possible chapter titles with me.Until next time, happy simming!