1.8. Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
Something is interfering with her olfactory enjoyment.
“Quentin, why are you naked?’
“I’m wearing boxers.”
“Honey, what if the neighbors see? What will they think?”
“They’ll think, ‘Damn, he’s hot. His girlfriend is so lucky to have him.’”
Luna sighs, “can you just put some clothes on. And take a shower? You smell awful.”
“But I’m gardening. I’m just going to get dirty anyway!”
Luna rolls her eyes. This isn’t a battle worth fighting. Quentin can garden in his man-panties if he wants to. “Just hurry up, okay? Everyone’s going to be here soon.”
It’s Quentin’s night off, and rather than spending a cozy night at home, he’s promised to help Clover--Crimson’s sister--play a gig. The two had met recently after one of Quentin’s shows, and Clover expressed a desire to jam with Quentin at some point. That “some point” came much sooner than expected. She had two gigs this week, and her notoriously unreliable bandmembers were refusing to play with her.
“This is my livelihood they’re fucking with,” Clover ranted over the phone to Quentin, “they have day jobs so they don’t care. I’m the only one committed to Pizza Mouth. And I’m going to lose my in with this guy at the HORR Bar if I don’t show up with a band. Rex,” she practically spits out the bar owner’s name, “is opposed to solo acts.”
So Quentin, being the nice guy he is, agreed to play a gig with Clover. Really, he’s excited to do it--his job in the house band at the theatre is fun, but it’s not the best place for free, unrestricted creative expression. Besides, Clover is by far the most talented musician he has met in Aurora Skies, so he’s stoked.
And Luna, being the supportive girlfriend she is, agreed to go with Quentin so there would be at least one audience member that night. But misery loves company, so Luna also invited the only two other people she knows.
Crimson wonders how Luna talked him into this: a group excursion consisting of Luna (wonderful!), Quentin (okay), his sister Clover (that’s pushing it), and Elysia (no good, very bad).
He tells himself his skin prickles when he sees Elysia because he can tell she’s a haughty, ruthless, selfish person. But in reality, Luna has placed doubt in his very scientific mind. If Elysia is a telepath, she’s a danger to him.
As if on cue, Elysia looks at him and gives him a knowing smirk.
Fuck. Crimson thinks about turning around and leaving--no one would notice he was gone. Except Luna. So he sucks it up.
It’s amazing how different Clover is from her brother. She introduces herself to Elysia with a friendly “shaka bra.”
“You ready to rock out, blondie?”
“Umm….yes?” Elysia is a little surprised. At first, she’s certain that Clover is mocking her. But the gesture is innocent. She can feel a buzz emanating from Clover: excitement about the upcoming show, plans to drink like a fish, maybe a hookup if she can manage it. Elysia smiles. This is just the kind of person she likes to hang around with.
The House of Ragnarock and Roll is a favorite haunt of Aurora Skies’ alternative crowd, who affectionately call it the HORR bar. Tonight, though, it’s empty. Apparently the promise of Pizza Mouth isn’t enough of a draw for a weeknight.
Clover settles into a bar stool for a drink, part of her pre-show routine. “Gimme the usual, Rex,” she orders. Rex doesn’t look too pleased to see Clover. Elysia can tell there’s bad blood between them, but it doesn’t seem unusual. A lousy fling, maybe? She doesn’t care enough to find out. She turns her attention to her sister, who’s chatting with Crimson.
“So I don’t know if you’ve ever been to the little market at the town square, but there’s an old man who sells antique books. Maybe we can check it out sometime,” Crimson tries to act casual. Elysia wrinkles her nose when she notices Luna responding positively.
“Luna has a boyfriend, Red,” Elysia says loudly.
“Crimson,” Crimson turns crimson, “and we’re just friends--”
“Oh, I guess I’m confused because you have like a huge crush on her, don’t you?” Elysia is 90% certain that Crimson is hiding something from everyone, but he’s so difficult to read she can’t be sure. Regardless, she doesn’t like the way he looks at her sister.
“Elysia, leave him alone,” as always, Luna’s protests are ineffectual.
“I don’t know what’s the big deal. He makes it so obvious. Doesn’t that bother you? And what does Quentin think about it?”
Crimson glowers at Elysia, his anger rising. What would it be like to smack her know-it-all face into the counter? It’s an idle thought, but Crimson smiles a little as he thinks it.
Elysia looks shocked. It’s not genuine, of course. She’s caught people imagining far worse things. “I can’t believe you would think something like that. Why would you want to hurt me,” Elysia’s eyes well up with crocodile tears.
Crimson spins around and walks off. It’s his second time retreating from Elysia, and it definitely won’t be the last.
“What the hell was that about?” Luna wishes she could be more outraged, but she’s unfortunately used to her sister’s behavior. It’s a strange, unpredictable ebb and flow of fun and vicious.
“I’m just looking out for my sister,” Elysia shrugs.
“He’s a friend, and he’s the only person in Aurora Skies who’s been nice to me.”
“Well, I’m here now. And what about Clover?”
“Damnit, Rex! Don’t skimp on the vodka--that’s practically all orange juice!” Clover yells at the long suffering bartender, who sighs in defeat.
“She can be a little...much,” Luna says.
Once Clover has a couple of drinks in her, the show begins. The HORR bar features a tiny stage on the second floor, with a tiny dance floor to match. Quentin and Clover squeeze on to the stage, with barely enough room for Quentin to move around as he plays.
He’s so used to playing with a full band and a crowd full of people. It’s strange to have only a piano backing him up, and only two people on the dancefloor in front of them. He puts his heart into it, though. Despite the fact that there was minimal practice before the show, the duet sounds great. Quentin delivers a particularly bitchin’ guitar solo, to the delight of the scant audience.
“I love you, Quentin!” Luna screams. Elysia pitches in with a “woo!”
To think, he only picked up guitar to piss off his dad.
Clover is also an exceptional performer. She’s probably better than Quentin, actually. When she plays, she puts her whole body into it, her head rolling back and her arms and shoulders moving violently as she pounds the keyboard. Despite the amount of alcohol that must already be in her body, she’s fast and never misses a note.
Elysia and Luna convincingly play the part of adoring fans. Elysia--who completely is in her element--undulates in a way that would probably elicit strong feelings in certain men, had they been present. Luna has a little trouble finding the beat and looks awkward in comparison to her sister. Quentin smiles at her from the stage. He’s so glad she’s here, dorky dance and all.
Quentin and Clover don’t have a set list--instead, they jam out until their continuous song begins to peter out. Quentin looks back at Clover and she gives him a tired nod.
“Thank you! We’re Pizza Mouth, thanks for coming out and supporting us!” Quentin yells out into the “crowd.’”
“Oh Quen, you’re the best,” Clover jumps on him and hugs him from the side as they exit the stage, “Fuck my band! You and I should do this every night.”
“Thanks,” Quentin says. He shifts uneasily, trying to end the hug. He can feel her breasts pressing on his shoulders. It’s uncomfortable, to say the least.
“No, thank you,” she whispers in his ear. Her breath smells like alcohol and citrus.
The group relaxes after the show in a small lounge area tucked in the corner of the bar. Luna sits perched on Quentin’s lap as he and Clover discuss amps, pedals, pianos, and everything else that Luna has no interest in whatsoever. Clover finally breaks her intense eye contact with Quentin and looks at Luna with a smile.
“You’re so cute,” Clover whines, “so adorable. I just want to eat you guys up. You know what you remind me of? Mint chocolate chip ice cream. So cute.”
“Um, thanks?” Luna is unsure of how to respond to the compliment. She shifts in Quentin’s lap, pulling his arms a little tighter around her.
“So you take after your mom? Like, looks-wise I mean. Crimson told me your mom is from Alcyone.”
“Uh, yeah. Our dad is human, though,” Luna doesn’t like the way this conversation. Clover seems to sense that.
“How long have you and Quen been together? You are too cute.” Luna wishes she would just stop.
“Since high school, off and on,” Quentin says.
“Oh, so you have a rocky relationship then?” Luna thinks Clover sounds a little too eager. She glances at Elysia, but her sister is tuned out of this conversation.
“No, not at all,” Quentin chuckles awkwardly, “We met in Lucky Palms and then Luna moved away, so we broke up. We were just teenagers then. The one day we bumped into each other in Sunset Valley, and now here we are. Guess it was fate.”
“Lucky Palms-- that’s interesting,” Clover says before adding, “great music scene, right? I’d love to go there at some point.”
What am I doing here, Elysia can’t focus on the conversation, as paltry as it is. She could be in Egypt or China or Japan or whatever. Instead she’s here, on a backwards rural island in a seedy club watching her Luna and Quentin paw at each other while some idiot interrogates them. Why didn’t she just do her job? How could sitting at home in dirty pajamas be any fucking better than France?
That low, pulsing hatred--she has to get it out of herself.
“It is weird,” she looks up, focusing her eyes on Luna, “you guys have been together for so long, and you’re still not engaged?”
Luna looks crushed, “Please don’t do this, Elly.”
“I mean, Lulu, Quentin dragged you halfway across the planet and you’re still just dating. No offense. I can understand wanting to do anything for a guy, but aren’t you ever afraid that you’re, like, stalling out? I’ve totally felt that way with guys before,” she looks as Quentin before repeating herself, “no offense.”
“What are you implying?” Quentin raises an eyebrow. He’s aware that Elysia has had her fair share of boyfriends, and he isn’t about to take relationship advice from a criminal with commitment issues.
“Nothing, just that maybe sometimes it seems like you’re stringing Luna along.”
When Luna is mad, she cries. Quentin, on the other hand, laughs. “What the fuck? Have I ever done anything at all to indicate that?”
“Hey, this is kind of a bummer” Clover tries to intervene, “so let’s just calm down?”
“I gotta get some fresh air,” Luna slides off of Quentin’s lap, ignoring the Clover’s protests and Quentin and Elysia’s ensuing heated exchange.
Downstairs, Crimson has busied himself with a video game. As much as he would like to leave, he carpooled with his sister. Maybe that’s just an excuse, though. He could probably take a taxi home.
“Hey,” he barely looks up when he sees Luna come down the stairs, “where are you going?”
“Outside,” she makes a beeline for the backdoor. A cool breeze hits her when she steps outside. She falls into a chair, her anger subsiding a little when she hears crickets singing nearby. And now that she’s away from her sister, she can think of a million comebacks. It always happens like that.
Having sensed the hurt in her voice, Crimson follows Luna outside. “Mind if I take a seat?”
She shakes her head, “go ahead.”
“So what happened? Wait, let me guess. Our sisters are terrible.”
Luna lets out a sad little laugh, “How’d you know?”
“Lucky guess. That, and Clover is an inappropriate alcoholic and Elysia is,” he pauses so he doesn’t say exactly what he’s thinking, “something else entirely.”
Luna wipes a tear away, “It doesn’t help that I’m basically a human punching bag, doesn’t it?”
This is it--his time to shine. She’s in need of a shoulder to cry on, and he has suitable shoulders. He takes a deep breath.
“Hey bro, mind if I talk to Luna alone?” Quentin’s tenor voice breaks the silence.
Fucking hell, Crimson thinks. He hadn’t even notice Quentin snuck up behind them.
“Of course,” Crimson looks over his shoulder as he leaves. Quentin’s fumbling with something in his back pocket. Crimson’s heart sinks.
Time for a drink.
This isn’t how Quentin had imagined doing this, and he had been thinking about it for a long time. He had selected the ring from a small jewelry store in Sunset Valley, spending most of his savings on it. He had packed it safely in his suitcase when he hadn’t gotten the courage to ask her before they left for Aurora Skies. He carried it in his pocket night after night, waiting for the perfect moment.
This moment probably isn’t it, but damnit, he just wants to get married already. Elysia’s attitude was just the push he needed.
“Quentin, is that--”
“Lunabeewillyoupleasemarryme,” He speaks so quickly that the words run together. Let’s try that again, Quentin: “Luna Bee, will you please marry me?”
Luna pauses for a moment, just to make him squirm.
“Any time is fine, Luna. You know, if you wanna answer,” he says with a pained grin.
“Yes,” she finally says, “yes, of course I’ll marry you.” Quentin beams as he slides the ring on Luna’s finger.
“Why didn’t you ask me sooner,” Luna pulls him in for a kiss.
“Why didn’t you ask me sooner,” Quentin retorts. He has a point--she could have asked him.
“That’s your job.”
“Sexist. Some kind of feminist you are…”
“Shut up and kiss me, you fool.
So the two celebrate with a long kiss.
Inside, Crimson waits impatiently for the bartender to finish making his drink. His mind is racing--he thought that his crush on Luna was waning, but here he is, panicking that she’s going to get married and that door will shut forever.
“Rexie,” Clover purrs as she leans on the counter, “can you make a cocktail for me?” She emphasizes the first syllable of the word.
“Hey, Scarlet,” Crimson grimaces when he hears Elysia’s voice behind him. Why do people keep sneaking up on him?
“Crimson, but I think you know that.”
“Where were you all night? You missed the show.” For once, Elysia’s words aren’t laced with venom.
“Staying away from you,” Crimson gladly accepts his drink from the bartender.
“Well fuck you then” Elysia shrugs, already distracted from Crimson. She can feel happiness radiating from the back patio. It’s about time. She knows Quentin has been thinking about it since before they even came to Aurora Skies. And she feels guilty that she picked a fight with him, but it seems like in the end, it helped more than it hurt. She’ll pretend she knew this was what was going to happen. “I think Luna and Quentin just got engaged.” She turns and looks expectantly at the patio door. A few seconds later, Quentin and Luna enter the bar, Luna holding her hand out.
“Look!” In her excitement, Luna can only manage to get a single syllable out.
Clover squeals and high fives Quentin, while Elysia pulls her sister into a hug. All previous transgressions are forgiven as the group of friends focuses on celebrating. Crimson, however, sneaks out the front door. He doesn’t want to suffer through this, so a taxi it is.
Elysia challenges Quentin to a friendly game of darts, which is her way of apologizing and making amends. The two exchange playful banter as they take turns, though Elysia is winning quite handily.
“Hurt my sister, and I’ll kill you,” Elysia smiles as she throws a dart with deadly precision.
Despite the cliche nature of the threat, Quentin laughs nervously, “That’s ridiculous. I’d never hurt Luna.”
“Don’t doubt me, Parker. I will kill you if you hurt her.”
“I don’t doubt you. Not even a little."
While Elysia terrorizes her future brother-in-law, Clover hands Luna cocktail. “Drink up, friend-o. And if you decide to have a bachelorette party, I’ll plan it for you. I’ve been itching to hire a stripper for forevs and that would give me an excuse.”
“Oh, I don’t know about that,” Luna blushes.
“Think about it and let me know,” Clover smiles with a mischievous twinkle in her eyes, “I really wouldn’t mind planning it.
“Uh, I’ll think about it. Wow, this is good,” Luna smiles after taking a sip of the drink.
“If you like this, you should have Rex make you a big mistake. You’d love it.”
“But I don’t usually drink much…”
“Sweetie, you just got fucking engaged. If that isn’t cause enough to drink yourself into a stupor, I don’t know what is.”
Good point. Luna hesitantly approaches the bartender. “Clover recommended the--”
“Four big mistakes, coming right up,” Rex’s voice is gruff.
Luna watches in amazement as Rex makes the drinks--his hands are blurs as he twirls the tumbler around and fills four glasses with a pretty, rainbow drink.
“Thanks,” she hesitates, “um, put it on Clover’s tab?” He nods.
Luna barely makes it back to her friends before Elysia and Clover snatch up their drinks.
“I love these,” Elysia really does seem to brighten up when she sees the drink.
Quentin hesitantly takes a glass. He doesn’t normally drink cocktails--he’s a craft beer man, really--but if it’s free, he’ll take it. He looks around the bar to make sure none of his bandmates are around, lest they see him drinking something so girly.
The drink works fast, overwhelming the better judgment of those who imbibe them Clover and Luna dance together in the way that drunk party girls often do, giggling as they spin around and grind.
Luna, meanwhile, climbs onto a table, a makeshift stage for her inebriated performance. She feels like she’s glowing.
Quentin is a bit better at holding his drink--an occupational benefit, one supposes. “Hey man, what do you have that’s really, really greasy?” He asks the bartender. Rex wordlessly begins to make some chili cheese fries for his current favorite patron.
Rex sighs again as he looks around his bar. He doesn’t know why he even has these kinds of drinks on his menu. He hopes that the blue girl dancing on the table doesn't break it.
Luna continues to sway back in forth, the table shaking under her, until it collapses. Thankfully, she blacks out so she’ll have no memory of this mortifying experience.
She has this nightmare at least once a week: a patchwork of images all running into one another, and a cacophony of voices that all seem to call at her at once.
She’s relieved when she wakes up, though she’s surprised to find herself at home, in bed, wearing yoga pants and running shoes.
That’s right--I was going to go jogging, she winces. Her head is pounding.
Yeah, that’s not going to happen.
Author’s Note: This chapter is the result of Quentin and Luna rolling a million social and group-based wishes. I’m trying to be a benevolent sim overlord (overlady?) and let them have fun sometimes. However, Crimson was impossible to work with, probably because he has the Loner trait, so that’s why he’s in very few pictures.