Warnings: electrocution/lightning strike, seduction, non-explicit sexual happenings and references
“Ahoy matey! It’s a beautiful day, the sky is clear and so is my conscience.”
“I apologized to Mrs. Tricou for derailing her husband’s funeral! With a cake! That I made!”
“—well, Servy helped me.”
“I was just there for moral support, Miss Dina.”
Nina really didn’t know what to think of the robot. Her therapist would say Dina was using him to work through the issues she had with her own semi-humanity, or maybe just viewing him as some sort of life-sized, cooking, cleaning Ken-doll. It was probably the best he’d ever been treated, but still patronizing.
She also suspected he wasn’t as innocent as his cute little perma-smile would suggest.
Dina continued. “Anyways, I think all is forgiven. Mrs. T is a little hard to read so who really knows? But she at least got her granddaughter to stop cussing me out. Do you think it’d be inappropriate to ask her to play at the wedding?”
Nina briefly considered whipping up a “sorry I killed your husband” cake, but figured now would be too long after the fact. “Did Ocean apologize?”
“No, but I forged his signature on a beautifully written apology letter.”
“That’s setting a good precedent.” Nina rolled her eyes.
“What? Forging his signature? Don’t worry; I’m not going to make a habit of it. It’s like the pick-pocketing thing, locked away for emergencies only!
“Still got it though! —Ooh, and before I forget, hon, I have this month’s rent for you!”
“You don’t have to do that; you don’t live here anymore.”
“But my wedding dress does! And obviously you can’t rent out my room until I clean it out—which I will do—or have done— as soon as possible.”
“I’ll take that as my cue, Miss Dina,” said Servo, standing up.
“Wait!” Nina blocked his way and he stopped immediately. “Wait ‘til after the wedding.”
“Why?” Dina asked, slowly getting to her feet.
“Do you think I’m going to change my mind or something?”
There were things Nina wanted to say, but not in front of present company.
Surprisingly though, present company had something to say. “Um, Miss Dina, no offense, but it is kind of a large undertaking. Maybe it would be better to wait so that we can put all our energy into the wedding plans?”
Dina narrowed her eyes. “Okay then. After the wedding.”
Nina threw Servo a grateful look and quickly changed the subject. “Can I get a ride to Bella’s house?
“That’s today?” Dina’s frown evaporated. “Oh my gosh, you have to tell me all the details. Take pictures!”
“I’m not legally allowed to take pictures of my clients, Deeds. Them being kind of naked and all.”
Dina giggled. “Oh my, I didn’t even think of that.”
“Sure you didn’t.”
“Can he hear us through that thing?” Nina asked, pointing to the privacy divider in the limousine.
“What don’t you want him to hear? He’s perfectly trustworthy,” said Dina, smirking. “You know, the two of you have a lot in common. You’re both shy, serious, hyperactive, neat-freaks—did I tell you the other day he got grape nectar out of my satin cocktail dress? It was amazing.”
“Deeds, tell me you’re not trying to set me up with a goofy-looking robot.”
“Nooo, of course not!” Dina said, batting her eyelashes. “Though just between you and me, I think he has a little crush on you.”
Nina tried to remember her original thought. “—what I wanted to ask was: have you told Ocean about dad?”
“…well, he wants to meet him, of course. I figure we can fly him in sometime soon.”
“You know what I mean.”
“It hasn’t come up,” Dina said, avoiding eye contact.
“Do you think maybe you should bring it up?”
“I don’t know. I guess. It’s just not something I consider a part of my life anymore. In fact, sometimes I wonder if Grandpa just made the whole thing up.”
“I haven’t seen any evidence whatsoever that his story is true. You know, he didn’t meet Dulcinea until Dad was five and there are no living witnesses or pictures or records. The only—” she whispered “—off-the-spaceship alien I’ve ever met is Jenny’s husband and he never mentioned anything about it to me. So all we have is Grandpa’s word, and you know what he was like.”
“So where do you think Dad came from then?”
“Adoption? Doorstep? A basket in the river? I don’t see why aliens are the only conclusion.” She didn’t suggest he was the long lost king of Al Simhara and they were secret princesses, but knowing Dina that’s what she had firmly convinced herself.
Now was the time. “Deeds, I have to confess something. You know how Donald’s pre-med now? Working as an EMT?”
“Don’t remind me. The thought is too horrifying.”
“Well he did his term paper on alien hybrids, and I sort of let him use me for research purposes.”
“Oh no, Nina! How could you?”
“And I’m sorry to disprove your little theory but he did all sorts of research on people like us, and a thorough examination on me—”
“Oh lord, I do not want to hear about you two playing doctor,” Dina said, rubbing her temples.
“We found out everything you could possibly want to know—”
“I do not want to know. He didn’t use your real name, did he?”
The limo had stopped in front of the Goth house. Nina waited to get out because Servo was already making his way around to get the door for her.
“Nobody saw the paper except us and the professor—but I wish they would. It debunks every stupid alien myth that’s out there. I’m ready now if anyone wants to accuse me of pollinating or abducting them!”
“I don’t know how you can be so critical of Ocean when you’re still taking booty calls from Donald Lothario.”
“It’s just a casual thing. And he’s really changed since high school; you probably wouldn’t even recognize him. Plus, he’s totally cool with the alien thing and I don’t just mean he’s willing to overlook it. He says it’s a turn-on!”
“He’s turned on by everything!” Dina called after her as she approached the house.
As she reached the porch she could hear Bella yelling from inside. “Get out of my house you despicable lascivious man! I despise you and your ridiculous haircut! Why can’t you act your age? Especially now!”
“Hello, love!” Bella appeared at the door with a huge grin on her face, but her cheeks were red with fury.
“Is this a bad time?”
“It’s a perfect time. Mortimer and Cassandra are up at Aspirational Laboratories for the evening, so we have the whole place to ourselves!”
“Uh…there’s no one else here?”
“Now that the maid’s gone, not a living being.” Bella’s eyes went glassy at that last phrase. “Follow me; the massage table is in my study,” she said, pronouncing ‘massage’ in the most pretentious way possible.
Bella Goth was extremely tense.
“It’s my daughter,” she explained. “She thinks she’s psychic.”
“Is she?” Nina glanced at the occultic relics adorning the room. She hadn’t asked about them, though Bella was probably hoping she would.
“I don’t know and frankly, I don’t want to know. The things she’s seeing are very dark, and I think there are just some things Simkind was not meant to know.
“Oh, I know it sounds hypocritical of me. Sure, I know my herbs and cauldrons, and even use the occasional protective spell—” she paused, waiting for a cry of ‘OH MY STARS, YOU’RE A WITCH?’ but Nina did not oblige her. “—but I believe there’s a line where it gets dangerous and seeing the future —or talking to the dead— are miles beyond it.
“Anyways, there’s no proof that her visions are anything but normal dreams and an overactive imagination, and one thing she predicted is truly impossible.”
“She said I was going to be abducted by aliens. Wishful thinking on her part, maybe? But impossible, not by the blood in my veins. The alien culture has no comprehension of magic, so it’s very easy for even a casual spell-user like myself to utilize a defensive enchantment against them. Believe me; if it were feasible for them to so much as touch this house they’d gotten have my husband years ago, but as it stands me and my loved ones are quite off limits.
“Speaking of my loved ones, have you met my brother Michael? The ‘normal’ one? He’s very handsome and charming with his own house and a steady job. I have no idea why he’s still single…
“But he is. Hey, aren’t you single, too?”
“Yeah, but I’d prefer to keep it that way. I’ve kind of got ‘commitment issues’.”
“Oh. That must be fun. Living the single life, hitting the town, all that jazz! – I never got to do that. Not that I’m complaining! At the end of the day Mortimer is enough for me, which I dare say is quite impressive on his part. I’ve never had anyone else, and I think if I did I would find myself seismically disappointed.” Her voice wilted. “During the day, however, things do get a little lonely around here.”
Nina said nothing and just listened, which Bella seemed to like. It was rather uncomfortable to hear all of this, but suddenly Bella Goth’s whole persona made a lot more sense. All these hobbies, talents, skills, idiosyncrasies were…outlets. Bella was like Nina and Donald: a “romantic”.
“Say…have you ever caddied before?”
“No, but I’ve—become friendly—with some of them over at the country club where I work.”
“My usual caddy, Nyllisit, is in mourning and I need someone to sub for her. Would you like to come with me to Twikki Island this weekend for my tournament? It’ll be just us girls, and the rest of them time you could ‘carouse’ or whatever is you single folks do.”
Nina had never been to Twikki Island before. “I’d love to.”
Bella went to call her husband while Nina cleaned up. The candelabra flickered out as soon as she left the room, but the glow of the cauldron made for enough light to see.
Then she heard a strange noise.
The picture on the wall was crooked; though she was sure it hadn’t been a second ago. She recognized it as being from the gallery at Mr. Tricou’s funeral. It was apparently supposed to be Bella but something about it seemed …off, as compared to his other work.
The noise was coming from behind the bookcase.
Nina stumbled over to the couch, nearly falling into the cauldron on her way across the room. She could hear Bella coming back up the steps.
She entered the room, now fully dressed in her usual red sheath. “Oh I’m sorry, are you sitting here in the dark? Mortimer thinks it’s a fabulous idea for you to come with me, he’s ordering your ticket as we speak.” She didn’t notice how heavy Nina was breathing.
“Would you like some cake?”
Nina didn’t mention what she’d seen to Bella, figuring it was hidden for a reason. She tried not to let it bother her; of course Bella Goth would have a secret passageway. That was probably the Bella-fied version of a storage closet. And obviously the yelling she’d heard beforehand had just been Bella reciting some sort of dramatic poem or something. She may have been unstable but she wasn’t dangerous. It was still perfectly safe to go to Twikki Island with her.
It wasn’t the birthday cake plant that gave Nina chills when she thought about it. It was, strangely enough, that crooked painting, the extinguished candles, and the way bookcase had swung open by itself.
The doorbell provided enough momentary distraction to keep Nina’s brain from breaking once again. “Who is it?!”
She was answered by a slightly pained, metallic voice. “I’m really sorry to bother you, but Miss Dina forgot her purse and she insisted that I pick it up for her now.”
That was total shenanigans on Dina’s part. Her sister would sooner forget her underwear than her money. But it was serendipitous timing.
“Miss Nina, did something else happen to upset you? You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”
“Don’t worry about me. How’s the dress?”
There was always a brief pause before he spoke, like he was double-checking everything he was about to say. “Satisfactory, but I always strive for perfection.”
Nina sighed. “Could you please not tell my sister about this?”
“If you say so, but I think she would forgive you even if it was ruined.”
“I don’t want her to think I’m trying to sabotage her glorious fairytale wedding.”
“You don’t like Mr. Big do you?”
“Does anyone like Mr. Big?”
“I think Miss Dina does, and the people who hire him must have their reasons.” He finished with the dress and started on the carpet, though she hadn’t asked him to.
“Do you like him?”
“…I’ve met worse. He has a tendency to be insensitive, but I believe that’s more due to obliviousness than malice.” He shrugged. “But I like Miss Dina more, and I can’t complain that she’ll be joining the family.”
“You don’t have a crush on her, do you?”
“…no. Is this all right, Miss Nina?”
“It’s perfect. Thank you.”
“I should go.”
“No, stay! Would you like some—er—I’m sorry, you don’t eat, do you?”
“Well, actually, I can. It’s just not necessary.”
“Can you taste anything?”
“I have a simulation of all five senses. I don’t know why; I guess it’s just for—”
“Tell me more about your functions. What else can you do?”
“Well, uh, the simulation is pretty thorough. I don’t know why they didn’t give me a more human appearance or facial expressions, but I can pretty much do anything you can as long it doesn’t involve total submersion in water.”
“Anything?” Nina said, licking frosting off her finger.
“Miss Nina, are you intoxicated…?”
“No, I spilled my drink, remember? Why would you even think that?”
“I’m sorry; the person who activated me—whoever it was— was awkward in social situations. So it’s hard for me to figure out social signals or how to respond or even what exactly is going on. So, I should probably just leave before I make a fool of myself.”
“Please don’t go!” she shouted.
“There’s a ghost in here who’s trying to get revenge on me for smacking him to death and I don’t want to be alone.”
“Oh.” He fidgeted and sat back down. “Well, I guess I can stay if it would make you feel safer.”
She scooted closer to him. “I’m also trying to seduce you.”
“…oh my goodness.”
“You can kiss me if you want to.”
“Miss Nina, I want to, but I’m afraid that I’ll break your nose….with my face.”
“Your concern is adorable, but I think we can work around it if you’re willing to give this a try.”
“…very willing,” he whispered.
“So is it true they renamed the town after you?”
“Well you are a pleasant view.”
"Wanna go make some purple hearts, baby?"
“Did a thunderstorm just roll in? Because I think I’ve been struck by triple bolts!”
“Would you like to form a casual group?”
Michael’s exes are Lisa Bunch, Holly Alto, and Bebe Hart from The Sims 3. I showed them at the end there to make it clear they survived their encounters with the Goth family ^_~ Thank you to psychosim, rurouniidoru, and sounddecision for coming up with Don’s pickup lines.