“Oh, hon, there’s a coupon for bumbleleaf!”
“That’s nice dear,” Luna mumbles. Why is this burner so hot? she wonders.
“It’s only 17% off, but it could come in handy…”
“Uh-oh,” Luna takes a step back as the burner becomes just a tiny bit hotter.
“F–F–F–FIRE!” Quentin leaps up from his chair.
“Luna, move!” He screams, envisioning his beloved being consumed by flames. He’s frozen in place, though, unable to pull Luna away. The cottage’s fire alarm blares, almost drowning out Luna’s screams.
“Fire! FIRE!” She screams, “What do I do about the fire!?”
“MOVE!” Quentin stops himself before he calls her an idiot.
Suddenly the door burst open. “Stay calm, citizens!” A petite firefighter rushes in, firefighting gear in hand. She quickly extinguishes the fire, a look of determination never leaving her face.
“Be safe,” She barks as she leaves, “and don’t forget to file your insurance claim!” The fire leaves their kitchen covered in ashes and smoke.
“I’m such an idiot,” Luna says as she stares at the destruction, “I can’t believe I caught the stove on fire. I was making pancakes—how does that even happen?!”
“It’s okay, hon,” Quentin puts his arm around her, “it happens to the best of us.” His attempt at consolation is punctuated by his stomach growling. Luna looks crushed.
“I burned the only food we have in the house,” she wails, “and you’re starving! My boyfriend is going to die of starvation and it’s all my fault.”
Quentin ponders for a moment. She did burn the last of their food, and he doesn’t get his first paycheck for another day. An idea occurs to him. “Hold on, I know exactly what to do…”
The Aurora Skies Summer Festival boasts many activities: roller skating, whack-a-gnome, hot air balloons, and—most importantly—a hot dog eating contest.
“Ready to get your ass beat, Bee?” Quentin playfully sneers at Luna.
“Puh-lease, Parker. I’m a pro at sucking down wieners,” Luna immediately regrets her words.
Quentin tries so hard to hold in his laughter. So. Hard. Finally, he can’t contain it anymore, “Sucking down wieners,” he sputters, “If you’re that good, Luna, then why do you never—“
“Stop! I didn’t mean it that way!” Luna’s face turns red. Well, it turns kind of a purpley color, but it’s the mint-skinned equivalent of turning red. “Don’t be gross!”
“You’re the one being gross,” Quentin can’t stop laughing. Suddenly, the starting whistle sounds. The Hungry Games have commenced.
Luna, fueled by embarrassment, starts shoving hot dogs into her mouth. Quentin tries to stifle his laughter by chowing down, but the phallic food makes him chuckle even more. Finally, he gets a hold of himself and picks up the pace.
But it’s too late. Luna had unwittingly used a winning strategy, and she is crowned the Weiner Winner. More importantly, the two are no longer starving.
To celebrate, Quentin suggests taking a ride in a hot air balloon. Due to the rain, there is no line. However, they are only permitted to take the balloon a few meters off of the ground. Despite the underwhelming level of ascent, it’s still a beautiful sight.
“Hmm,” Luna squints through binoculars.
“I can’t see anything through these dumb things,” Quentin pouts as he pushes his glasses back up.
“You know, I don’t think there’s anyone here,” Luna says thoughtfully, “other than the balloon attendant, and he’s too busy playing Pokésim Go.”
“So…” Luna turns and grins at Quentin, “I have a proposal, Mr. Parker.” She pulls her dress up a little to expose her thighs.
“Ms. Bee!” Quentin nervously giggles as Luna tackles him to the floor. He’s honestly a little surprised--she’s rarely this forward, and never this brave. But he’s more than eager to follow along.
It truly is good thing there is no one else around.
***Luna can’t stand being alone while Quentin is at work. He works from the early afternoon and late into the night, which--in Luna’s opinion--is the prime time for a lonesome woman to be murdered in her isolated cottage. So she explores Aurora Skies.
One afternoon, while adventuring in the wooded area near her home, Luna finds an uncut gem. A wave of nostalgia overtakes her--it’s so similar to the gemstones her mother used to bring home. Luna picks it up. It’s been awhile since she’s checked in with her mom. This will give her a chance to do that.
Luna jots a note on a postcard, then tapes it to a gift box containing the gem. She drops the package in the mailbox.
So this is what it feels like to be homesick.
A few days in the future, and halfway across the globe, Polaris Bee pants up the front stairs of her house and into the front door. Crux greets her at the door, holding a nicely wrapped box.
“Polaris, a package arrived for you from Aurora Skies,” while his words are robotic (they always are), there is a slight tinge of curiosity to them.
“Wowee, a package for ME!” Polaris snatches the box from Crux’s hands and almost tears into it before noticing the postcard taped to it.
Found this in my backyard and thought of you. Hope you and Crux are doing well. Tell everyone I said hi.
“How thoughtful,” Crux remarks, reading it over Polaris’ shoulder.
“Yeah, sometimes I feel like I didn’t do that bad of a job raising her,” Polaris forces a smile and surreptitiously wipes a tear from the corner of her eye. She pulls the uncut gem out the box, and the same wave of nostalgia that hit Luna hits her, too.
Gemstones like this were what brought Polaris to Simnation. Just the act of collecting them caused her problems, caused her to explore, and helped her feed her children. It’s funny how an object can mean so much.
“She left a return address,” Crux points out, “now that you know where she is located, perhaps you can return the gift with a note that details your gratitude?”
“She moved halfway across the planet, and I get the feeling I’m part of the reason she did that,” Polaris winces as she remembers a particularly heated exchange she had with her daughter before Luna’s departure.
“Nonsense,” Crux says as he pulls her in for a hug, “Luna just needs to find herself.”
“My other children found themselves here in Sunset Valley. Why couldn’t she?”
“Because your children are not homogeneous,” Crux points out.
Polaris pauses, “Why do you feel the need to win every fucking argument.” Her voice sounds angry, but the twinkle in her eye suggests something else.
Crux grins, “I cannot help that I am objectively correct at all times.” He leans in and kisses Polaris. They have a lot of lost time to make up for.
Luna is surprised when a parcel arrives in the mail for her a few weeks later. She glances at the card attached to it, rolling her eyes at the doofy picture of a gnome. Just the kind of card my mom would pick out, she thinks. The back, however, is cause for concern:
I cut the stone for you—it’s a housewarming present! Crux and I are great (going at it like rabbits, etc., etc.). Everyone says hi. We miss you. Please visit soon, or I’ll be forced to go up there! Hahaha.
***Author’s note: I miss Polly. :C