Smoothie Sims, Inc. proudly presents…

 Elle’s Bachelorette Challenge - Day 1
“You’ re gi vi ng me a w hat?”
“A bachelorette challenge,” Mari na Smoothi e repeated, w atchi ng Elle Fi tzhugh’ s face
w orri edly. She w asn’ t sure w...
“It sounds more li ke your ki nd of thi ng, Zuzu,” Elle sai d honestly. “I mean, I
appreci ate the thought and everythi ng...
“I’ m not goi ng to make you do i t i f you really don’ t w ant to, Elli e,” Mari na sai d. “But I
promi se you all the gu...
Elle shut her eyes i n contemplati on for a long moment, and fi nally let out a si gh of
resi gnati on. “Okay. I’ ll do i ...
“I’ m sure you’ ll do great, Elli e,” Azula sai d encouragi ngly, getti ng up to gi ve her
si ster a hug.

“The house i s ...
After collecti ng her set of keys and her earpi ece, Elle sai d goodbye to the tw o w omen
and began the short w alk next ...
“Now w hat?” Azula asked, once she w as gone.

“I just need to fi re up my computer and make sure the cameras are w orki n...
Left alone i n the room, Mari na sat i n front of her shi ny new Apple desktop and got
started connecti ng to the camera s...
Azula came back after a few mi nutes and stood next to her chai r, peeri ng over her
shoulder at the screen. “What’ s she ...
“Okay. Here, I’ ve got pi ctures. ”

“Ooh, w ho’ s that?”

“Hi s name’ s Abraham Munster, Abe for short, and he’ s a Pi sc...
“Yeah, i t does. Thi s one i s Akor Carter, a Pi sces Fami ly Si m from Strangetow n. ”

“I li ke hi s cleft chi n. What’ ...
“Movi ng on. Thi s i s Wi lli am Blackthorne, another Pi sces Know ledge Si m, w ho
generally goes by Ham or Hammy. ”

“…s...
“Ooooooookay. And w ho’ s Tall, Dark, and Handsome over here?”

“That’ s Joss Warner. He’ s a Vi rgo Know ledge Si m and h...
“Thi s i s Li am Whedon, a Vi rgo Fami ly Si m from The Hellmouth. ”

“Now you’ re pulli ng my leg. ”

“No, I’ m seri ous....
“Thi s one i s Meloti Tegenari a, also from Strangetow n, and an Ari es Know ledge Si m. ”

“Odd name. ”

“Not any more th...
“And last, but not least, w e have Stuart Legacy, an Ari es Fami ly Si m from Regalton. ”

“Okay, w hat’ s hi s story?”

“...
“Okaaay, I’ m backi ng aw ay now before I get caught i n the fri endly fi re,” Azula sai d,
eyei ng the si ni ster gleam i...
Meanw hi le, over at the bachelorette house, Elle w as begi nni ng to w onder i f she really
had the ri ght place. It w as...
The i nteri or of the house only made her feel more unsure. There w ere musi cal
i nstruments and artw ork i n the vari ou...
The upstai rs w as just as ni ce as the dow nstai rs, and had a balcony that looked over
the lake below w i th a stunni ng...
“Oh, I guess thi s i s my room.” Elle took i n the old fashi oned bedframe and the yellow -
flow ered qui lt and i nstantl...
Sti ll not exactly thri lled w i th the pendi ng arri val of the boys, Elle headed dow nstai rs
to the pool table and tri ...
They had arri ved.
“Oh, God.” She sucked i n a breath, suddenly terri fi ed. “Mari na, I can’ t do thi s.”
“Can I talk to her?” Azula asked.

Mari na pressed a few keys. “It’ s on speaker now . She can hear you.”

“Elli e? It’ s ...
Elle sw allow ed. “Okay. I’ m goi ng.”

“Good gi rl. Just say hello and go from there. It’ ll be okay, promi se. ”
She put dow n the pool cue and slow ly w alked out to the front hall, w here the boys
w ere congregati ng, and pani cked f...
Elle tri ed to smi le and di dn’ t qui te manage i t. “Hello,” she croaked.

                                             ...
A couple of hours later, Elle found herself setti ng up the buffet table, aw ed by both the
amount of food i n front of he...
She had been saved from a very aw kw ard si lence earli er by one of the bachelors’
comi ng up to i ntroduce hi mself. “I’...
Elle barked a laugh and took a breath. “Sorry. Uh, thi s i sn’ t really my thi ng at all and I
have no i dea w hat to do…”...
“Oh, w ell, that’ s good. Ri ght?”

“Ri ght.” He then caught si ght of somethi ng i n the room behi nd her. “Ooh, you have...
Abe w asn’ t exactly an expert at playi ng the pi ano, but Elle had never heard anyone
play before at all, and enjoyed li ...
That di dn’ t last very long, though, because someone else approached her once he saw
that she and Abe w ere done talki ng...
“I’ m babbli ng, aren’ t I,” she sai d, morti fi ed.

“Only a li ttle,” he assured her. “Would you li ke to begi n that ag...
“Di d you have to travel a long w ay to get here?” she asked, rememberi ng her
conversati on w i th Abe and fi guri ng tha...
So she di d, and at the smell of food the rest of the men came to the di ni ng room to eat
w i th her.

Elle found herself...
Once they all had some food and w ere seated at the table, Elle deci ded to say
somethi ng to the table at large and maybe...
“You’ re w elcome,” sai d the ni ce-looki ng man w i th glasses across the table. “Thi s has
been a very pleasant experi e...
She glanced to her left, and Ham took over w i th a shy smi le. “I am Wi lli am
Blackthorne,” he sai d, “but I generally g...
It w as broken by Joss, w hen he saw that Elle had fi ni shed her gelati n and w as
w onderi ng w hether they w ould thi n...
“Oh, leave her alone,” the other seemi ngly reserved man, w ho had i ntroduced hi mself
as Li am, spoke up sharply. “She c...
Elle hasti ly got up from her seat. “I’ m goi ng to go w ash my plate,” she i nformed the
group. “Be ri ght back.” She pi ...
“You shouldn’ t be so harsh,” Meloti sai d qui etly to Joss.

“I sai d I w asn’ t attacki ng her! What i s your problem?”
...
“No one i s suggesti ng that,” Stuart sai d calmly. “Mr. Tegenari a and Mr. Munster
have si mply sai d that Mi ss Elli e i...
“I’ m not tryi ng to make her mi serable, i f that’ s w hat you mean,” Joss sai d, crossly.
“But you all are treati ng her...
Completely embarrassed, Elle hurri ed aw ay and deci ded not to go back to the di ni ng
room once she w as done w i th the...
After a mi nute, Stuart found her there and reached for a pool cue. “Do you mi nd i f I
joi n you?” he asked.

“Not at all...
The fi rst couple of moves w ere made i n si lence, and Elle hated i t enough to get the
nerve to speak up. “I’ m really n...
“They must really care about you, then, to go to all that trouble,” Stuart sai d.

“Oh, I know , and I’ m grateful to them...
Elle w as qui te happy, after the aw ful lunch, to take hi s w ord for i t. She li ked Stuart a
lot already and hi s gui l...
“No need to apologi ze. I do not grudge you your curi osi ty.” He smi led. “And you? You
menti oned a si ster.”

“Yeah, Az...
“Really? What an extraordi nary coi nci dence. My grandfather bui lt a busi ness empi re
of hi s ow n before I w as born.”...
“Hey, I w on!”

“Ni cely done,” Stuart sai d, also smi li ng.

She mock-curtseyed. “Thank you. Hey, I’ m getti ng a li ttl...
Feeli ng a lot better about li fe, Elle w ent back to the di ni ng room and found Abe and
Li am already there w i th si gn...
Abe w as a bi t more forthcomi ng. “We just found out that both of us have been
abducted by ali ens,” he sai d. “Only Li a...
Elle gri nned. “Seri ously? That’ s really ni fty. My uncle w as abducted by ali ens, too, so
I’ ve got a li ttle ali en c...
After di nner, she meandered upstai rs and found Akor and Stuart playi ng a round of
poker. “Hey guys,” she sai d. “Do you...
“Hi ghest hand w i ns, ri ght? We each get dealt a hand, look at i t, and then go around the
table maki ng bets unti l w e...
He w i nked at her. “I w i ll defi ni tely be taki ng them all back, though.”

“You sure talk a lot,” Elle qui pped. “We’ ...
And, qui te possi bly out of her determi nati on to sti ck i t to Akor, she w on the fi rst
hand.

“Not bad,” he sai d, i ...
They played fi ve rounds before deci di ng i t w as ti me they headed to bed. “Thanks for
letti ng me play,” Elle sai d. “...
Elle settled dow n to sleep feeli ng si gni fi cantly better than she had that morni ng, and
deci ded that a bachelorette ...
The next morni ng, Mari na dragged herself out of bed before 6am, cursi ng the ti me
and the bri ght i dea that had led he...
Sli nki ng i nto her computer chai r, she rubbed her eyes as she turned on her laptop and
connected to the house. “Elle, a...
“Just about,” Elle repli ed sleepi ly, hoi sti ng herself out of bed. “What’ s up? Is Zuzu
there?”

“Sti ll asleep, as far...
“You’ re doi ng great, Elli e,” Mari na sai d. “I told you you w ould. Now , unti l noon, just
w alk around and i nteract ...
After she took a show er and got dressed, Elle had breakfast w i th Abe and Meloti . It
turned out that Meloti had also ha...
After breakfast, she headed back to the pool room, hopi ng once more that someone
w ould joi n her. When no one di d, she ...
“Abe, seri ously, do you have to play the same etude over and over agai n?”

“It’ s my favori te.”

“Yeah, and i t’ s dri ...
“Hey, guys,” Elle greeted them. “Can you help me gather everyone i n here? I need to
talk to you all together.”

“Sure,” A...
As they all gathered i n the room and took a seat on the couches, Elle looked around and
si ghed. She w as sti ll no close...
“Hey guys,” she sai d qui etly. “Um, I’ ve been havi ng a good ti me getti ng to know you all
and I’ m really glad you all...
She asked Ham to stay behi nd fi rst and told Joss she w ould ask hi m to come i n w hen
she w as done. The floppy-hai red...
“I should very much li ke to stay,” he sai d eagerly. “And I w i ll be sure to spend as
much ti me w i th you as you w oul...
Elle knew the second Joss w alked i nto the room that he w as not i n a good mood and
hated that she had to bother hi m, b...
“Oh, for spork’ s sake,” he grow led, startli ng her. “I already sai d I w asn’ t tryi ng to
attack you and I am so ti red...
“So does that mean you’ d rather I sent you home?” Elle asked qui etly, squelchi ng a
protest to avoi d starti ng a fi ght...
Elle si ghed, getti ng up. “Okay. I’ m really sorry. I w ould’ ve li ked to talk to you a li ttle
more, at least.”

“Eh, f...
So Joss left to i nform Ham that he w as stayi ng, and then he called a taxi to take hi m
back to Belladonna Cove.
And as he w as leavi ng, Elle qui etly made her w ay upstai rs to pour the tea, sati sfi ed at
least that she had made the...
And as a bonus, have a pi cture of Abe and Meloti attempti ng to do the Mexi can Hat
Dance i n the bathroom. <3

Scores

S...
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Elle's Bachelorette Challenge - Day 1

  1. 1. Smoothie Sims, Inc. proudly presents… Elle’s Bachelorette Challenge - Day 1
  2. 2. “You’ re gi vi ng me a w hat?”
  3. 3. “A bachelorette challenge,” Mari na Smoothi e repeated, w atchi ng Elle Fi tzhugh’ s face w orri edly. She w asn’ t sure w hat she had expected Elle’ s reacti on to be, but confusi on and fear hadn’ t been on the li st of possi bi li ti es, and seei ng them now concerned her. “You’ re goi ng to spend a w eek i n a ni ce house w i th seven guys, get to know them, fli rt a li ttle, and send one home each day, unti l you’ re hopefully left w i th the one you li ke best.” “Doesn’ t that sound li ke fun, Elli e?” Azula, bless her, w as completely on board w i th the i dea and doi ng her best to pi tch i t to Elle. Havi ng found someone she w anted to spend her li fe w i th, she w anted the same thi ng for her si ster and fi gured letti ng Elle get to know a handful of guys over a set peri od of ti me w as a good start.
  4. 4. “It sounds more li ke your ki nd of thi ng, Zuzu,” Elle sai d honestly. “I mean, I appreci ate the thought and everythi ng, but I don’ t know how to talk to people I don’ t know at all, let alone strange guys, let alone seven of them at once.” “Well, you have to get over that i f you w ant to fi nd someone speci al and get marri ed someday,” Azula sai d. “Guys generally li ke to be the ones to approach the gi rls, but the gi rls have to make themselves approachable, and your i nsti nct i s to run and hi de i f someone so much as bli nks at you.” Elle gri maced. “Poi nt taken. Sti ll.”
  5. 5. “I’ m not goi ng to make you do i t i f you really don’ t w ant to, Elli e,” Mari na sai d. “But I promi se you all the guys are good people and w orth getti ng to know . And i t mi ght do you a li ttle good to get out of your comfort zone.” “I suppose…” “And i f i t’ ll make you feel better, I can tell you that Azula and I w i ll be w atchi ng the w hole thi ng behi nd the scenes.” Elle perked up a bi t at thi s. “Really?” “There are cameras i n the house, and I’ m goi ng to gi ve you an earpi ece that w i ll allow you to talk to us,” Mari na explai ned. As far as the tw o gi rls knew , all Mari na w as to thei r fami ly w as a long ti me, trusted fri end, and she i ntended to keep i t that w ay i f possi ble.
  6. 6. Elle shut her eyes i n contemplati on for a long moment, and fi nally let out a si gh of resi gnati on. “Okay. I’ ll do i t. I guess i t couldn’ t be that bad.”
  7. 7. “I’ m sure you’ ll do great, Elli e,” Azula sai d encouragi ngly, getti ng up to gi ve her si ster a hug. “The house i s ri ght next door,” Mari na added. “You can head over w henever you w ant, and I’ ll gi ve you a couple of hours to look around and fi gure out w here everythi ng i s before I send the guys over.” “Okay,” Elle agreed. “I mi ght as w ell go over there now . Thanks, Mari na. I really do appreci ate i t, and I’ ll do my best.” “That’ s all I ask.”
  8. 8. After collecti ng her set of keys and her earpi ece, Elle sai d goodbye to the tw o w omen and began the short w alk next door.
  9. 9. “Now w hat?” Azula asked, once she w as gone. “I just need to fi re up my computer and make sure the cameras are w orki ng, and w e’ ll be good to go,” Mari na sai d. “We’ re i n for a long si t, so i f you w ant to make yourself a snack, now’ s a good ti me.” “Okay, I’ ll be back i n a mi nute.”
  10. 10. Left alone i n the room, Mari na sat i n front of her shi ny new Apple desktop and got started connecti ng to the camera system at the bachelorette house, gri nni ng to herself. “I’ ve mi ssed thi s part,” she murmured.
  11. 11. Azula came back after a few mi nutes and stood next to her chai r, peeri ng over her shoulder at the screen. “What’ s she doi ng?” “Walki ng around, mostly,” Mari na sai d. “I probably should have w arned her about the si ze of the house, huh?” “Yeah, that mi ght have been a good i dea,” Azula repli ed, w i th a snort of amusement. “It’ ll be a bi t unti l the guys get there. Want me to tell you about them w hi le w e’ re w ai ti ng just for some background?” “Sure.”
  12. 12. “Okay. Here, I’ ve got pi ctures. ” “Ooh, w ho’ s that?” “Hi s name’ s Abraham Munster, Abe for short, and he’ s a Pi sces Know ledge Si m from Chocolate Falls. Ki nda seri ous, but very ni ce. ” “Oh, he’ ll get on just fi ne w i th Elli e, then. ” “I hope so. Abe’ s been, uh, unlucky i n love. Hi s ex-w i fe w as a horri ble w oman w ho used hi m because she w as i n love w i th hi s brother, and di d all sorts of nasty thi ngs to thei r fami ly.” “That really sucks. ”
  13. 13. “Yeah, i t does. Thi s one i s Akor Carter, a Pi sces Fami ly Si m from Strangetow n. ” “I li ke hi s cleft chi n. What’ s hi s deal?” “It’ s not nearly as compli cated. He just graduated from college and w as li vi ng w i th hi s brother i n an apartment for a w hi le. Hi s si ster w as havi ng a hard ti me for a w hi le w i th an emoti onally abusi ve boyfri end and hi s psychoti c mother, but that’ s over w i th now . ” “You had to pi ck the angsty ones, di dn’ t you?” “Well, i t’ s not hi s angst. ” “Detai ls. ”
  14. 14. “Movi ng on. Thi s i s Wi lli am Blackthorne, another Pi sces Know ledge Si m, w ho generally goes by Ham or Hammy. ” “…seri ously?” “To di sti ngui sh hi m from hi s grandfather. It’ s deri ved from a mi ddle name. He’ s from Si mshi re. ” “That sounds li ke a place out of a Jane Austen novel. ” “It…sort of i s. ” “Get out of tow n. ” “No, really, i t i s. You’ ll see w hat I mean w hen he starts i nteracti ng w i th Elle. ”
  15. 15. “Ooooooookay. And w ho’ s Tall, Dark, and Handsome over here?” “That’ s Joss Warner. He’ s a Vi rgo Know ledge Si m and he’ s from Belladonna Cove. ” “He looks fami li ar. ” “He w ould. Hi s grandfather’ s frequented your mother’ s shops a few ti mes. ” “Oh, the guy w i th the dreads and the no shi rt? I remember hi m. He w as hi lari ous, alw ays goi ng on about nurses and w edgi es. ” “Yeah…Joss has a si mi lar temperament, w i thout the constant w edgi es. ” “Aw esome. ”
  16. 16. “Thi s i s Li am Whedon, a Vi rgo Fami ly Si m from The Hellmouth. ” “Now you’ re pulli ng my leg. ” “No, I’ m seri ous. It’ s a place a lot li ke w here you come from, actually. ” “Post-apocalypti c? Seri ously?” “Di sasters can happen anyw here. Li am’ s from a regi on that w as much w orse off than Si erra Plai ns w hen he left i t, though. Ki nd of li ke i t w as back i n your great- grandmother Nari ssa’ s day. ” “Ouch. Well, I guess i t’ ll gi ve hi m and Elli e somethi ng to talk about. ”
  17. 17. “Thi s one i s Meloti Tegenari a, also from Strangetow n, and an Ari es Know ledge Si m. ” “Odd name. ” “Not any more than yours. ” “Shush. I li ke my name. ” “He li kes hi s too. It means ‘ butterfly.’ He comes from a very…scholarly fami ly. Oh, and thi s i s perti nent to your i nterests…he w as abducted, li ke your uncle, and had an ali en baby. Hi m and Abe both, actually. ” “Sw eet! Automati c poi nts from me! ”
  18. 18. “And last, but not least, w e have Stuart Legacy, an Ari es Fami ly Si m from Regalton. ” “Okay, w hat’ s hi s story?” “He’ s from another old-ti mey place, li ke Ham, only the Vi ctori an era i nstead of the Regency era. ” “Oh, that’ s goi ng to be fun. Elli e’ s goi ng to get her nerd all over these guys. ” “Well, anythi ng that gi ves her a conversati on starter w i ll help. Stuart’ s li kely to be easygoi ng about i t, though. He has a speci al place i n hi s heart for people li ke her. ” “Why’ s that?” “Long story, mostly havi ng to do w i th hi s horri ble mother. ”
  19. 19. “Okaaay, I’ m backi ng aw ay now before I get caught i n the fri endly fi re,” Azula sai d, eyei ng the si ni ster gleam i n Mari na’ s expressi on w ari ly. “Sorry. I’ ll save the pi tchforks for another ti me.” The Author coughed a bi t. “So w hat do you thi nk?” “They all look li ke pretty decent guys. I’ d hate to have to choose betw een them.” “Lucki ly, you don’ t have to.” “Yeah, but Elle does. They better be ni ce to her.” “You can borrow my pi tchforks i f they aren’ t.” “Rocki n’ .”
  20. 20. Meanw hi le, over at the bachelorette house, Elle w as begi nni ng to w onder i f she really had the ri ght place. It w as a fai rly normal house by modern standards, but she had been li vi ng on an 8x8 patch of land her enti re li fe and never seen a bui ldi ng remotely that large before.
  21. 21. The i nteri or of the house only made her feel more unsure. There w ere musi cal i nstruments and artw ork i n the vari ous rooms that she knew w ere i llegal back i n Si erra Plai ns. “Okay, I’ m not i n Si erra Plai ns anymore,” she muttered, tryi ng to calm herself. “Thi ngs must be di fferent here. It’ s okay, Elle, get a gri p.”
  22. 22. The upstai rs w as just as ni ce as the dow nstai rs, and had a balcony that looked over the lake below w i th a stunni ng vi ew of the countrysi de beyond. That made Elle smi le, and she li ngered a bi t before movi ng on to the di fferent rooms.
  23. 23. “Oh, I guess thi s i s my room.” Elle took i n the old fashi oned bedframe and the yellow - flow ered qui lt and i nstantly felt at home. “I li ke thi s. It’ ll be good to have somew here I can be alone for a mi nute i f I need to, too. When I need to.”
  24. 24. Sti ll not exactly thri lled w i th the pendi ng arri val of the boys, Elle headed dow nstai rs to the pool table and tri ed to calm her nerves. Pool w as an i nteresti ng game that requi red qui te a bi t of math, i f you thought about i t, and math w as somethi ng Elle w as good at. She calculated her angles carefully and managed to si nk most of the balls she ai med at on the fi rst try. It proved to be a good di stracti on. So good, i n fact, that the sound of the front door openi ng made her jump tw o feet.
  25. 25. They had arri ved.
  26. 26. “Oh, God.” She sucked i n a breath, suddenly terri fi ed. “Mari na, I can’ t do thi s.”
  27. 27. “Can I talk to her?” Azula asked. Mari na pressed a few keys. “It’ s on speaker now . She can hear you.” “Elli e? It’ s me.” “Zuzu, I can’ t do thi s! ” her li ttle si ster practi cally w ai led, as w ell as one can w ho i s tryi ng to keep from bei ng heard. “Yes, you can. Come on, don’ t w i mp out now . Just go out and say hello.” “But--” “They’ re not goi ng to eat you, Elle, just do i t. We’ re ri ght here.”
  28. 28. Elle sw allow ed. “Okay. I’ m goi ng.” “Good gi rl. Just say hello and go from there. It’ ll be okay, promi se. ”
  29. 29. She put dow n the pool cue and slow ly w alked out to the front hall, w here the boys w ere congregati ng, and pani cked freshly. They all looked so ni ce, and cute…w hat the heck w ere they doi ng comi ng here, to spend ti me w i th a gi rl li ke her? “Say hello,” Azula’ s voi ce hi ssed i n her ear.
  30. 30. Elle tri ed to smi le and di dn’ t qui te manage i t. “Hello,” she croaked. ***
  31. 31. A couple of hours later, Elle found herself setti ng up the buffet table, aw ed by both the amount of food i n front of her and the fact that she had made i t through the morni ng i n one pi ece.
  32. 32. She had been saved from a very aw kw ard si lence earli er by one of the bachelors’ comi ng up to i ntroduce hi mself. “I’ m Abe,” he sai d, w i th a bi g smi le. “I’ m Elle,” she repli ed, hasti ly, “b-but you can call me Elli e, cause everybody else does and all.” “Hey, don’ t be so nervous. We’ re just havi ng a conversati on. People do that all the ti me.”
  33. 33. Elle barked a laugh and took a breath. “Sorry. Uh, thi s i sn’ t really my thi ng at all and I have no i dea w hat to do…” “I know w hat you mean. Thi s i s my fi rst ti me doi ng somethi ng li ke thi s, too. As far as I can tell, you’ re doi ng fi ne, just relax a li ttle.” “Okay, I’ ll try.” She cracked a smi le. “So, uh…w here are you from?” “Chocolate Falls.” “That’ s a long w ay from here, i sn’ t i t? How w as the tri p?” “Eh, pretty uneventful really compared to everythi ng else that’ s ever happened to me.”
  34. 34. “Oh, w ell, that’ s good. Ri ght?” “Ri ght.” He then caught si ght of somethi ng i n the room behi nd her. “Ooh, you have a pi ano? Do you mi nd i f I--” “Not at all,” she sai d qui ckly.
  35. 35. Abe w asn’ t exactly an expert at playi ng the pi ano, but Elle had never heard anyone play before at all, and enjoyed li steni ng to hi m. Secretly, she w as also thankful to be off the hook as far as talki ng w ent, for the moment.
  36. 36. That di dn’ t last very long, though, because someone else approached her once he saw that she and Abe w ere done talki ng. “I hope you w i ll allow me to i ntroduce myself,” he sai d, also w i th a w arm, di sarmi ng smi le. “I am Stuart Legacy.” “I’ m Elle. Fi tzhugh. Um, ni ce to meet you.” “It i s a pleasure to meet you as w ell, Mi ss Fi tzhugh.” She bli nked i n surpri se at hi s poli teness. “Oh, just Elle’ s fi ne, really. Or Elli e. That’ s w hat my fami ly calls me, except Gabri el calls me Mi ss Elli e because he thi nks i t’ s too i nformal not to or somethi ng ri di culous li ke that. Uh, Gabri el i s our Servo.” “I…see,” Stuart sai d slow ly, sti ll smi li ng, but a li ttle confusedly now .
  37. 37. “I’ m babbli ng, aren’ t I,” she sai d, morti fi ed. “Only a li ttle,” he assured her. “Would you li ke to begi n that agai n? I w ould not mi nd.” She shot hi m a grateful smi le. “Thanks. Call me Elli e.” “If that i s w hat you prefer, I w i ll be happy to. Now , Mi ss Elli e, how are you doi ng thi s fi ne day?” “I’ m…hangi ng i n there, I guess.” She shrugged apologeti cally. “How are you?” “I am very w ell, thank you. Thi s i s a ni ce, comfortable house i n a sceni c area. I feel qui te at home.”
  38. 38. “Di d you have to travel a long w ay to get here?” she asked, rememberi ng her conversati on w i th Abe and fi guri ng that w as a safe enough questi on. “I hai l from Regalton, w hi ch i s a consi derable di stance,” Stuart repli ed. “It w as not an unpleasant journey, though. The i dea of attendi ng an event such as thi s i ntri gued me. My father’ s cousi n parti ci pated i n somethi ng si mi lar.” “Oh, really? How di d that turn out?” He smi led. “He w as apparently very uncomfortable w i th the i dea, but i t ended w ell. He courted and subsequently marri ed the w oman left at the end.” “Aw w w , that’ s sw eet,” she sai d. “Good for hi m. Hey, are you hungry? I w as thi nki ng about openi ng the buffet table soon.”
  39. 39. So she di d, and at the smell of food the rest of the men came to the di ni ng room to eat w i th her. Elle found herself si tti ng betw een tw o guys she hadn’ t talked to yet--a sli ghtly i nti mi dati ng man named Joss w ho w ore a bandana and remi nded her of her scary ali en cousi n Ri ku, and a much more reserved fellow w ho murmured that she could call hi m Ham, i f she w i shed, w hen she asked hi m not to call her Mi ss Fi tzhugh, and then di dn’ t speak agai n the rest of the meal.
  40. 40. Once they all had some food and w ere seated at the table, Elle deci ded to say somethi ng to the table at large and maybe get a conversati on goi ng. She cleared her throat. “Uh, hi . I just w anted to say thank you, to all of you, for comi ng here to meet me. I’ m very flattered, and, um, I’ ll do my best to be a good hostess. And I hope w e’ ll all be fri ends.”
  41. 41. “You’ re w elcome,” sai d the ni ce-looki ng man w i th glasses across the table. “Thi s has been a very pleasant experi ence so far. I’ d say you’ re doi ng a good job.” “Why don’ t w e go around the table and i ntroduce ourselves, si nce w e’ re all here?” the jacketed man next to hi m suggested. “That’ s a good i dea,” Elle agreed. “I’ ll start, I guess. I’ m Elle, and you guys can call me Elle or Elli e. I answ er to both.”
  42. 42. She glanced to her left, and Ham took over w i th a shy smi le. “I am Wi lli am Blackthorne,” he sai d, “but I generally go by Ham, or Hammy.” They conti nued clockw i se around the table unti l everyone had taken a turn, and then fell i nto a bri ef si lence.
  43. 43. It w as broken by Joss, w hen he saw that Elle had fi ni shed her gelati n and w as w onderi ng w hether they w ould thi nk she w as runni ng aw ay i f she got up to take i t to the si nk. “Is that all you’ re goi ng to eat?” he asked her. He di dn’ t mean i t i n a rude w ay, but she w as sti ll taken aback by the tone of the questi on. “Um, for now ,” she sai d slow ly. “I mean, I’ ve never had gelati n before, and I have a li ght appeti te.” Joss rai sed hi s eyebrow s. “You’ ve never had gelati n before? What planet have you been li vi ng on?”
  44. 44. “Oh, leave her alone,” the other seemi ngly reserved man, w ho had i ntroduced hi mself as Li am, spoke up sharply. “She can eat w hatever she w ants to.” “I w asn’ t attacki ng her, geez,” Joss retorted.
  45. 45. Elle hasti ly got up from her seat. “I’ m goi ng to go w ash my plate,” she i nformed the group. “Be ri ght back.” She pi cked up her plate, and w hen she saw that Akor w as also done, offered to take hi s as w ell. He nodded i n thanks and left to w ash hi s hands. She hurri ed out of the room, but not fast enough to avoi d heari ng w hat w as sai d as she w ent.
  46. 46. “You shouldn’ t be so harsh,” Meloti sai d qui etly to Joss. “I sai d I w asn’ t attacki ng her! What i s your problem?” “I thi nk Elle i s a li ttle afrai d of us. She’ s not comfortable w i th thi s ki nd of thi ng and w e should try to make i t as easy on her as possi ble,” Abe sai d, glanci ng at Meloti , w ho nodded. “Yeah, w ell, I’ m not goi ng to treat her li ke a baby and I don’ t thi nk she’ d w ant the rest of you to, ei ther.”
  47. 47. “No one i s suggesti ng that,” Stuart sai d calmly. “Mr. Tegenari a and Mr. Munster have si mply sai d that Mi ss Elli e i s i ll at ease and that w e should respect that and not make thi s harder for her.”
  48. 48. “I’ m not tryi ng to make her mi serable, i f that’ s w hat you mean,” Joss sai d, crossly. “But you all are treati ng her li ke she’ s goi ng to melt i f you look at her the w rong w ay, and I’ m not goi ng to do that, ei ther. And now I’ m done talki ng about thi s, so leave me alone.”
  49. 49. Completely embarrassed, Elle hurri ed aw ay and deci ded not to go back to the di ni ng room once she w as done w i th the di shes. She w as tempted to run out the door as fast as she could and never come back, but she knew that i f she di d that, Azula w ould be angry w i th her, so she forced the urge dow n and made herself stay. Instead, she w ent back i nto the li vi ng room and started another game of pool, fi guri ng some of them w ould joi n her i f they really w anted to, but not actually expecti ng them to do so.
  50. 50. After a mi nute, Stuart found her there and reached for a pool cue. “Do you mi nd i f I joi n you?” he asked. “Not at all,” Elle sai d qui etly.
  51. 51. The fi rst couple of moves w ere made i n si lence, and Elle hated i t enough to get the nerve to speak up. “I’ m really no good w i th people,” she sai d. “It’ s not that I don’ t li ke people, but I just…don’ t know how to i nteract w i th them. Strangers absolutely terri fy me because I’ m alw ays scared I’ ll say the w rong thi ng and they’ ll hate me or somethi ng.” “Thi s seems a rather odd program for you, i f you feel that w ay,” Stuart sai d, gently curi ous rather than accusatory. She smi led fai ntly. “It w asn’ t my i dea. My si ster and a good fami ly fri end organi zed i t because they w anted me to meet people.”
  52. 52. “They must really care about you, then, to go to all that trouble,” Stuart sai d. “Oh, I know , and I’ m grateful to them for thi nki ng of me. I’ m just w onderi ng i f i t’ s really good for me to be doi ng thi s.” She glanced at hi m. “And I don’ t w ant any of you to feel obli gated to stay because you feel sorry for me.” “Not at all!” cri ed Stuart. “I assure you I completely meant w hat I sai d earli er about looki ng forw ard to meeti ng you, and I stand by i t, now that I have. Please do not thi nk I w ould rather be somew here else.” “Okay, i f you’ re sure.” “I am.”
  53. 53. Elle w as qui te happy, after the aw ful lunch, to take hi s w ord for i t. She li ked Stuart a lot already and hi s gui leless manner helped put her at ease. “So,” she sai d, as they conti nued thei r game, “w hat’ s your fami ly li ke?” “I have qui te a large extended fami ly,” he repli ed, consi deri ng hi s next move. “I li ve w i th only my grandparents, my father, my stepmother, and my older brother, Berti e.” “What about your mother? Where does she li ve? Or i s she--” Stuart’ s eyes clouded a li ttle. “My father di vorced her w hen I w as small. It i s not somethi ng w e speak of often.” “Oh, I’ m sorry.”
  54. 54. “No need to apologi ze. I do not grudge you your curi osi ty.” He smi led. “And you? You menti oned a si ster.” “Yeah, Azula’ s her name. I’ ve also got a younger brother, Bi lly, and w e all li ve w i th our parents and the Servo my dad made for my mom.” “Ah, yes, you menti oned the Servo earli er. What exactly i s a Servo, may I ask?” “It’ s a robot, uh…a mechani cal man? Maybe you haven’ t got them w here you’ re from.” He shook hi s head. “I do not thi nk so. We have very li ttle machi nery i n Regalton.” “Okay. Yeah, uh, my dad bui lt Gabri el for my mom. She’ s an entrepreneur and ow ns a lot of busi nesses, and he thought she could use the extra help.”
  55. 55. “Really? What an extraordi nary coi nci dence. My grandfather bui lt a busi ness empi re of hi s ow n before I w as born.” She laughed, li ni ng up her next shot. “How about that. I have to say, i t’ s a lot less exci ti ng w orki ng on them than i t i s after the fact. My si bli ngs and I w ere requi red to w ork at the busi nesses pretty much full ti me.” “I i magi ne i t w as hard w ork.” “It w as, but…I love my mother, and that’ s w hat she really w anted to do w i th her li fe. Zuzu and Bi lly w ere a lot less passi ve about i t, though.” Taki ng the shot, she sunk her last ball and gri nned i n tri umph.
  56. 56. “Hey, I w on!” “Ni cely done,” Stuart sai d, also smi li ng. She mock-curtseyed. “Thank you. Hey, I’ m getti ng a li ttle hungry agai n. Do you w ant anythi ng?” “I am perfectly fi ne for the moment, but thank you for aski ng.”
  57. 57. Feeli ng a lot better about li fe, Elle w ent back to the di ni ng room and found Abe and Li am already there w i th si gni fi cant helpi ngs of turkey. Deci di ng i t had to be good, i f people w ere eati ng i t, she took some herself and sat dow n at the table w i th them. “How are you guys holdi ng up?” she asked. “We’ re good,” Li am sai d w i th a shrug.
  58. 58. Abe w as a bi t more forthcomi ng. “We just found out that both of us have been abducted by ali ens,” he sai d. “Only Li am’ s happened w hen he w as a teenager so he di dn’ t get a green baby out of i t.” “Abe,” Li am hi ssed, looki ng morti fi ed.
  59. 59. Elle gri nned. “Seri ously? That’ s really ni fty. My uncle w as abducted by ali ens, too, so I’ ve got a li ttle ali en cousi n. He scares me a bi t, though, not gonna li e.” “Why, because he’ s an ali en?” “Not really, i t’ s because he’ s just…hi m.” Abe nodded. “I’ ve heard of half-ali ens li ke that. My daughter Chelley i s as sw eet as can be, though.” “Where i s she ri ght now ?” “Stayi ng w i th fami ly unti l I get back.” “Okay. I’ d li ke to meet her someti me.” “Maybe you w i ll.”
  60. 60. After di nner, she meandered upstai rs and found Akor and Stuart playi ng a round of poker. “Hey guys,” she sai d. “Do you w ant a thi rd?” “I don’ t know ,” Akor sai d, w i th a teasi ng gri n. “How ’ s your poker face?” “Better than you’ re assumi ng,” she shot back, before she could thi nk about i t. “Pull up a chai r then. Do you know how to play?”
  61. 61. “Hi ghest hand w i ns, ri ght? We each get dealt a hand, look at i t, and then go around the table maki ng bets unti l w e’ re ready to show them and see w ho w i ns.” “That’ s about ri ght. Do you w ant to deal?” “Maybe next game? Are w e betti ng w i th anythi ng?” Stuart laughed. “Only the chi ps. How ever, Mr. Carter i s beati ng me senseless. Perhaps you can help me turn the tables.” Akor passed her a stack of chi ps. “You can have some of mi ne to start, Elle.” “Thanks.”
  62. 62. He w i nked at her. “I w i ll defi ni tely be taki ng them all back, though.” “You sure talk a lot,” Elle qui pped. “We’ ll see w ho’ s gloati ng w hen thi s hand’ s over.” In her earpi ece, she heard surpri sed laughter and a cry of “Go Elli e! ” from Azula, and couldn’ t help gri nni ng.
  63. 63. And, qui te possi bly out of her determi nati on to sti ck i t to Akor, she w on the fi rst hand. “Not bad,” he sai d, i mpressed. “Have you ever played thi s before?” “My cousi ns li ke i t. I play w i th them someti mes. Another round?” “Sure, i f you w ant.”
  64. 64. They played fi ve rounds before deci di ng i t w as ti me they headed to bed. “Thanks for letti ng me play,” Elle sai d. “It w as fun. I’ ll see you guys tomorrow .” “Pleasant dreams, Mi ss Elli e,” Stuart sai d. “Yeah, you guys too.”
  65. 65. Elle settled dow n to sleep feeli ng si gni fi cantly better than she had that morni ng, and deci ded that a bachelorette challenge w ouldn’ t be such a bad thi ng after all. What she had forgotten, of course, w as that she w ould have to send someone home at noon the next day. ***
  66. 66. The next morni ng, Mari na dragged herself out of bed before 6am, cursi ng the ti me and the bri ght i dea that had led her to start the w hole thi ng i n the fi rst place. College students di dn’ t ever get up that early unless they had to, and she w as no excepti on. How ever, she had to make sure to catch Elle before she w ent out to mi ngle w i th the boys, to let her know w hat the plan for the day w as.
  67. 67. Sli nki ng i nto her computer chai r, she rubbed her eyes as she turned on her laptop and connected to the house. “Elle, are you up yet?” she asked softly.
  68. 68. “Just about,” Elle repli ed sleepi ly, hoi sti ng herself out of bed. “What’ s up? Is Zuzu there?” “Sti ll asleep, as far as I know . I’ m goi ng to go get her i n a mi nute and w e’ re goi ng to go to the computer dow nstai rs after w e have somethi ng to eat. Li sten, I w anted to talk to you about w hat you’ re goi ng to do today. ” All of a sudden, she remembered and groaned. “That’ s ri ght, I have to send someone home at tw elve. How am I goi ng to do that?” “Pi ck the one you feel you’ ve connected w i th least. You don’ t need to feel bad, Elli e, all of them know how i t’ s goi ng to go dow n. ” “I’ m goi ng to anyw ay, you know .”
  69. 69. “You’ re doi ng great, Elli e,” Mari na sai d. “I told you you w ould. Now , unti l noon, just w alk around and i nteract w i th the guys li ke you di d yesterday, no pressure. After you’ ve sent one home, go up to the tea set on the second floor and brew the tea, then ask the guys to joi n you. The fi rst three that get there get to chat w i th you for three hours. After that, get some one on one ti me w i th all the remai ni ng guys, chat them up a li ttle. Thi nk you can do that?” “Yeah, I thi nk so. You and Zuzu w i ll help me i f I get stuck, ri ght?” “That’ s w hat w e’ re here for. Let us know i f you need anythi ng.” “Okay. ”
  70. 70. After she took a show er and got dressed, Elle had breakfast w i th Abe and Meloti . It turned out that Meloti had also had an ali en daughter, and li steni ng to the tw o men compare stori es of thei r abducti ons fasci nated her. She di dn’ t have much to contri bute, but i t w as a good conversati on anyw ay.
  71. 71. After breakfast, she headed back to the pool room, hopi ng once more that someone w ould joi n her. When no one di d, she assumed they w ere getti ng w ashed up and ready for the day and used the ti me alone to thi nk. She really di dn’ t w ant to send anyone home. There w ere a few she had barely talked to at all, and she di dn’ t w ant to pass up a chance to get to know them. She w as sure she could be good fri ends, at least, w i th most of the remai ni ng guys. It w as a di ffi cult deci si on. By the ti me noon rolled around, she had narrow ed i t dow n to tw o she couldn’ t possi bly deci de betw een, and deci ded to call the guys together to tell them and see w here i t w ent from there.
  72. 72. “Abe, seri ously, do you have to play the same etude over and over agai n?” “It’ s my favori te.” “Yeah, and i t’ s dri vi ng me nuts. Please stop.”
  73. 73. “Hey, guys,” Elle greeted them. “Can you help me gather everyone i n here? I need to talk to you all together.” “Sure,” Abe shrugged, getti ng up. Li am glanced at her face and frow ned. “You look ki nd of si ck, Elle, i s everythi ng okay?” “I’ m fi ne,” she sai d qui ckly. “I just need to talk to everyone real fast.”
  74. 74. As they all gathered i n the room and took a seat on the couches, Elle looked around and si ghed. She w as sti ll no closer to a deci si on and she really, really hated confrontati ons.
  75. 75. “Hey guys,” she sai d qui etly. “Um, I’ ve been havi ng a good ti me getti ng to know you all and I’ m really glad you all came. Unfortunately I’ ve been told that I have to send one of you home today. “Thi ng i s, as far as I can tell all of you are great people and I’ m not thri lled about pi cki ng anyone to go home. I’ ve spent more ti me w i th some of you than others, though, and a couple of you di dn’ t seem i nterested i n talki ng much at all.” She shrugged. “And, w ell, I’ ve been thi nki ng about i t and I can’ t really choose betw een those tw o. So before I deci de w ho goes home, I’ d li ke to talk to Ham and Joss alone for a mi nute. The rest of you can go have lunch or somethi ng w hi le you’ re w ai ti ng.”
  76. 76. She asked Ham to stay behi nd fi rst and told Joss she w ould ask hi m to come i n w hen she w as done. The floppy-hai red young man smi led, but seemed nervous. “So,” she began, unsure how to go about i t, “um, I don’ t know i f you’ re just shy or w hat, but I saw you once, at lunch yesterday, and w e barely talked then, so…” “Oh, I do apologi ze,” Ham sai d qui ckly. “I di d not i ntend to i gnore you, Mi ss Elli e. Please forgi ve my rudeness.” “It’ s okay. I get the shy thi ng, I really do. I mean, you saw me.” They shared a qui ck laugh. “Thi ng i s, though, I need to pi ck someone to go home, so I need to know i f you w ant to stay. Si nce I hardly talked to you, I really don’ t know .”
  77. 77. “I should very much li ke to stay,” he sai d eagerly. “And I w i ll be sure to spend as much ti me w i th you as you w ould li ke i f you w i ll let me.” “You’ re sure?” “I am qui te sure.” Elle smi led. “Okay. Can you send Joss i n then? I just need to talk to hi m for a mi nute before I deci de for sure.” “Of course.”
  78. 78. Elle knew the second Joss w alked i nto the room that he w as not i n a good mood and hated that she had to bother hi m, but to be fai r, she had to try. “Hey.” “What’ s up?” “Well, um, I di dn’ t w ant to say thi s i n front of the others, but I’ m not sure I w ant you to stay, or that you w ant to stay, because you di dn’ t have anythi ng ni ce to say to me yesterday at lunch and I haven’ t seen you at all si nce.”
  79. 79. “Oh, for spork’ s sake,” he grow led, startli ng her. “I already sai d I w asn’ t tryi ng to attack you and I am so ti red of havi ng to explai n myself!” “I di dn’ t say you w ere--” “Yes, you di d. You sai d I w asn’ t bei ng ni ce to you, and that’ s the same thi ng. Look, sorry i f I hurt your feeli ngs or w hatever, but i f you’ re looki ng for someone to treat you li ke a deli cate snow flake, you’ re better off aski ng someone else, because that i sn’ t me.”
  80. 80. “So does that mean you’ d rather I sent you home?” Elle asked qui etly, squelchi ng a protest to avoi d starti ng a fi ght. “I guess you’ d better,” he sai d.
  81. 81. Elle si ghed, getti ng up. “Okay. I’ m really sorry. I w ould’ ve li ked to talk to you a li ttle more, at least.” “Eh, forget i t. It’ s probably better thi s w ay.” He smi rked a bi t. “Good luck, anyw ay. And, as a bi t of advi ce, try grow i ng a spi ne. You’ ll be happi er that w ay.” “I’ ll, uh, do my best.”
  82. 82. So Joss left to i nform Ham that he w as stayi ng, and then he called a taxi to take hi m back to Belladonna Cove.
  83. 83. And as he w as leavi ng, Elle qui etly made her w ay upstai rs to pour the tea, sati sfi ed at least that she had made the ri ght choi ce, i f a choi ce had to be made. *** That’ s the end of Day 1, everyone! Look for Day 2 to be up i n a few days, and unti l then, Happy Si mmi ng! Many, many thanks to Cai t (charri s) for the cover, i t i s beauti ful ^_^ Turn the page for the day’ s scores -->
  84. 84. And as a bonus, have a pi cture of Abe and Meloti attempti ng to do the Mexi can Hat Dance i n the bathroom. <3 Scores Stuart Legacy ( A Vi ctori an Legacy by Di creasy) - 53/8 = 61 Abe Munster ( The Munster Legacy by Hurri Katy) - 9/2 = 11 Li am Whedon ( A Buffyverse Apocalypse by RoseFyre) - 5/5 = 10 Meloti Tegenari a ( The Sci ence of a Legacy by Gi ntasti cNecat) - 3/3 = 6 Akor Carter (The Barsoom Legacy by tlhs0) - 2/2 = 4 Ham Blackthorne ( The Regacy by charri s) - 0/0 (ti ebreaker - 15/0) Joss Warner (Yakko’ s World by ladylarkrune) - 0/0 (ti ebreaker - 12/0)

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