Paolo has felt a little lonely since his sisters aged up; now that they're in high school, they're too busy to even tease him. His dad has been trying to help fill the void by playing lots of games with him, but it's not really the same.
Well, at the very least, Paolo himself will be a teenager soon.
"Hey mom, can I borrow some money? I want to read 'Nautilus', but the library doesn't have it yet," since entering high school, Tulip has become a voracious reader. Her favourite author usually writes coming of age novels, but has recently released his first Sci-fi/fantasy, a door-stopper of a book called 'Nautilus'. The family doesn't have a computer so she can't even pirate the PDF version! The local library's computers have an abysmal internet connection, so downloading the book, even in parts, would take several sittings over many hours, and because it's so new, it's not available for public libraries yet.
Seeing that the book will cost over 70 simoleons without the cost of shipping it from Bridgeport, Persis balks.
"That's pretty expensive for a book, Tulip. I can't loan you that much money, I'm sorry."
Tulip briefly looks disappointed, but then perks up again.
"What if I could pay for it myself?" She would throw in that this writer is an absolute genius and that 'Nautilus' already has great reviews if she thought it sway her mother. Unfortunately, Persis isn't much of a reader. However, Tulip figures if she can convince the most reluctant parent, the other will follow suit.
"Well, you would need a job first," Persis points out the obvious, "But if you got one, it would be your money to spend. Just make sure you find something that doesn't conflict with school," Persis knows that now that the idea is in Tulip's head that she'll pursue it. Who knew I'd ever have an A-type kid? Persis thinks to herself as she watches Tulip pull out her phone, searching for the book store's phone number. It's only logical that she gets a job for the same chain that supplies her with her reading material, no?
Appaloosa Plains' teen population isn't exactly fervent in their search for employment, much less at the small and boring bookstore, so Tulip is immediately hired. She doesn't start until tomorrow, so having nothing to do, she heads out with Xara to the nearby pond. After that fateful night at the beach and camping for scouts, both of the twins have picked up fishing as a skill.
Tulip can't help but wonder what a jellyfish is doing in a fresh water pond...
"Look, look, look! I caught something!" Xara cheers. Tulip rolls her eyes; this happens every time she catches anything.
Persis and Marko take Paolo out to the Love Day festival. There's some other children here, so Marko encourages Paolo to introduce himself.
"Hi, I'm Paolo," he greets Shelly Lansing-Whiston, a fellow classmate. Shelly already knows who he is (what other kid has black hair with dark blue tips?), but this is the first time they've actually talked.
Out of curiosity, Persis takes the love test by herself. The machine says something about eternal love being just around the corner, causing Persis to roll her eyes. What a waste of money.
Paolo takes a page from Tulip's book and decides to make friends with a ghost story. Being a scout has prepared him for this moment.
Turns out he has quite the flair for the dramatic. Marko would be so proud!
Speaking of Marko...
Seriously!? Two tone glitch? Why??
It goes down the entire body, apparently. Even Marko's hands are different colours.
"I had a lot of fun," Xara tells her twin. She knows Tulip will be working soon and will have less time to hang out with her later on.
"So did I," her sentence is cut off by a yawn. "Let's go home."
Seeing how dark it is, Xara is more than willing to return. There might not be a full moon, but she'd rather avoid another zombie encounter.
For the first time ever, the washing machine breaks down. Sure, it was one of the cheapest ones available, but Persis never thought it would actually stop working someday. She mops the floor, hoping in vain that once enough water leaks out that it'll be fine.
GAH, you too? The two tone glitch is truly merciless.
Persis must concede defeat and fix it herself. Thankfully electrocution by washing machine seems to be impossible, so the repair is tedious but without incident.
Freddy the Yeti watches on silently.
She manages to get it fixed in time for dinner.
"So how was the love day festival? Meet anyone cute?" Tulip asks her younger brother.
Paolo makes a face, "No."
"How about that girl you were talking to?" Marko asks.
Paolo shoots his dad a "why are you doing this to me" look and replies, "She's okay, I guess..."
Before Tulip can interrogate Paolo any further, he finishes his salad and moves to put his plate away. After placing it inside the dishwasher he turns to Tulip and says, "I was the first one this time!"
"Hey, you didn't even announce it-,"
"You snooze you lose." He smiles triumphantly at his older sister and skips off to bed. Tulip can't help but laugh. Paolo isn't so hopeless, after all.
Xara's first game of darts is so record breaking that it crashes the game and I'm forced to play the last 2 days over again.
"Where's dad going?"
To bond with his daughter. Gosh!
"If you do anything, do it to win."
"Do you ever get deja-vu?"
So I found out that Benino Rossi's default outfit was actually somehow still in Marko's list of everyday wear. I think aging up to adult must have triggered it. Since it's green, it's now his spring outfit. The glasses stay because I'm lazy.
In this timeline, Marko and Persis have a romantic festival date and leave Paolo under his sisters' supervision.
Not like they have much supervising to do. Paolo's a pretty self-sufficient kid and even makes himself dinner. But before he can even touch his freshly baked muffin, his phone rings.
"...Shelly?" I guess some things are meant to happen, and Paolo meeting Shelly is one of those things.
"Sorry for calling so late... but I'm stuck on a math problem from the homework..."
Paolo patiently goes through each step of binomial expansion with her. They're both in accelerated maths, but some of the newer concepts are really putting everyone's head through the wringer. Paolo had to do the problem four times before he got an answer that made any kind of sense.
"Thanks Paolo! I hope you have a nice evening," Shelly says before hanging up the phone. Paolo shrugs, then gleefully takes his muffin. He wants to taste the blueberry goodness the instant mix box promised.
"I got promoted!" Marko was recently assigned to teach a high school class. It looks like his wishes to go into administration will have to wait.
"I'm sure the girls will be overjoyed," Persis says sarcastically. She remembers being a teenager and well... if one of her parents were her teacher, she knows how she would have felt.
Marko laughs, "I only get to teach the first years, so our daughters won't have the privilege of learning with me."
"Paolo won't either," Persis points out. By the time he gets into high school, Marko's current first year students will be in their second. Marko will probably be reassigned to a different year, or maybe might not be a teacher any more.
They stop talking about Marko's job and swivel to the music. They're the best dancers here!
"We're the only dancers here," Persis reminds her husband.
Marko ignores her. A man can dream, right?
Paolo wants to know if his dad is behind his classmates suddenly having his phone number. Marko deliberately pretends he doesn't see Paolo's vaguely annoyed expression and chats about "Nautilus" with Persis. Doesn't she understand the priceless value of a good book!? How could she not let Tulip buy it?
Persis just rolls her eyes.
Now that Tulip and Xara are teens, they are given some chores around the house. Tulip gets the distinguished honor of unclogging their cheap toilet.
Persis hums as she gardens, happy that for once she's not being the family's plumber.
Marko is still responsible for cleaning the thing. He wonders if there's a way to make the toilet clean itself... a genius idea, really, but it's not like he can just hammer at the toilet for a few hours and make it self-cleaning...
Early morning crowds.
There are a lot more teens than children at the moment, with Paolo and his classmates teetering on the edge of teenhood themselves. And Glenn Bedlington, the kid with the muscle shirt in the background, is spending his last day as a child apparently ditching school. Nice.
Tulip pretends not to notice Mitchell Blanco-Riffin, her twin's childhood "not-crush". Upon becoming a teenager, it became apparent that Mitchell is a stuck up jerk, laughing at girls who tried to approach him and always sighing derisively at "the other kids his age". Thankfully it seems that Xara is no longer interested in him.
Glenn Bedlington is too chicken to actually skip school. I don't know what he's so confused about here, but the expression he's making is funny, so it stays.
The girls and Marko come home from school.
"Mom, oh my gosh, put some pants on," Tulip groans, averting her eyes. Why in the world does her mother do her gardening in her underwear? Her family is so weird.
"Is it safe to look?" Xara wants to know, her back turned to her pants-less mother.
Tulip takes one for the team and sneaks a glance. Persis has gone back to the master bedroom.
Everyone sighs in relief.
Tulip only has an hour before she needs to go to work, so she (reluctantly) gets started on her homework with Xara.
"If I have to read another geography case study I think my head's going to explode," Xara grumbles. This week has not been easy for the twins with tests left and right and projects due every other day.
"Ugh, tell me about," Tulip agrees. Tulip is taking as many advanced courses as the school will allow her to, meaning she has hours of homework and studying to juggle every night. Some of the subjects are really draining the life out of her- Chemistry and geometry namely- and take up more of her time than she likes.
"You still wanna be valedictorian?" Xara asks as she flips over to the back of the worksheet, "Or will you be like the rest of us and admit defeat?"
Tulip sighs. She kind of regrets telling people about her goal to get the highest GPA in school because now everyone thinks she's an annoying over-achiever.
"Is there something wrong with wanting to do well?"
"It just seems really stressful, is all. I don't want you to burn out."
Tulip smiles softly at her sister's concern. "Thanks Xara, but I'll be fine... really."
Apparently without her twin to occupy her now that she's working, Xara picks some...unusual...ways to spend her time.
I'll just leave this picture of Xara telling ghost stories to herself here.