While Daniella was away at school, Luca decided to go out and play. For him, “play” meant find some enemies for his Public Enemy aspiration. He knew Daniella wouldn’t approve of his behavior if she was with him, so going while she was at school was the perfect plan.
He ended up at the Bathe de Rill, talking to what looked like a perfect target. Some old man, Mr. Kim or Mr. Spencer or Mr. Lewis, or something like that. Seated on the edge of the pool, he mischievously dared Mr. Kim-or-Spencer-or-Lewis to jump off the diving platform.
Luca: A man of his age? There’s no way this doesn’t end poorly, bahaha. I hope he takes the bait.
Mr. Kim-or-Spencer-or-Lewis declined to take the jump, frowning at Luca as another old man swam up.
Luca: I seriously need to pick a better hangout. Nothing but old retirees tempting strained muscles and death here.
“Fine, be that way old man. You’re boring me anyway,” said Luca.
“Eh, what can I say? I have never had an interest in impressing young men such as yourself. Ask my beautiful wife,” replied Mr. Kim-or-Spencer-or-Lewis.
Luca: Did this plumhole just imply…? Ugh, old people are the worst.
Luca opened his mouth to tell off Mr. Kim-or-Spencer-or-Lewis about making insinuations that weren’t actually offensive and how age wasn’t a replacement for common decency. But he never got the words out because he was interrupted by a voice that, thankfully, didn’t belong to another old man.
“Is this seat taken?”
“It’s a free country, sit where ever you want,” Luca replied.
Then he looked up and saw nothing but curves topped with a funky hairdo. Instantly, his demeanor softened.
“Please, sit down. Your company is preferred over these two grumpy old men,” Luca said.
She sat down and introduced herself. Luca wasn’t really listening, he was just trying to figure out the color of her eyes. And trying not to stare at her boobs.
“–and then I said, ‘what kinda crazy man would even think that?’,” said No-Name-Hottie.
“I know exactly what you mean,” lied Luca. “Just crazy.”
She smiled at him, happy he understood where she was coming from.
“Hey, do you want to watch the clouds with me? It’s so inspiring, and I love taking advantage of the roofless pool area,” she said.
“Sure,” replied Luca.
Luca: Staring at the clouds will definitely help me look somewhere other than her boobs. They’re just so perfect. I wonder if she’ll let me touch them. Okay, okay, focus. What were we talking about? Clouds!
They headed off to the side of the pool, laid down next to each other, and began describing what they each saw in the almost-cloudless sky. The congenial atmosphere made them feel like fast friends. Luca wondered how to take that from friendly, to more-than-friendly. They stared up towards the sun, trying to focus on the clouds, and eventually Luca gave up trying to transition to flirting.
He noticed the time, and realized Daniella was going to be home soon from school. He say goodbye to his new friend and left the pool feeling pretty good about himself. He was already planning the next time he’d see Funky Curvy Girl. He promised himself he’d at least learn her name before taking her to bed. Or not. He figured she wouldn’t mind anyway, as long as she got a piece of him.
Luca: Oh yeah, I don’t have to have the Alluring or Romantic trait to draw women in. She approached me. I mean, sure she didn’t flirt, but I could tell she wanted me. Score one for Luca.
He arrived home to see Daniella already preparing lunch. It smelled like macaroni and cheese, but to Luca, it was taking far too long to cook. He had a goofy smile on his face that he hoped Daniella wouldn’t notice. Luckily, she seemed to preoccupied with fumbling over the meal to notice any unusual looks on his face.
They each grabbed a plate, and returned to the couch, watching another rerun of The Nightly Show.
“You know, you’re not a half bad cook,” said Luca between bites.
“I know,” replied Daniella. “One of us has to keep us fed.”
She inhaled her food, pleased with how it turned out in spite of the mishaps along the way.
“Hey, your focus on keeping us fed is well placed. I’m the only one bringing home the bacon. The least you could do is continue to cook it properly,” said Luca.
“Ew! Gross! Why–just–what–,” said Daniella. “You’re my brother not my husband. You shouldn’t say things like that to me. You sound creepy.”
“I just realized something,” replied Luca. “You have resting bitch face. Yeah, it’s pretty bad. If you’re not smiling, you look sad or angry. It’s even worse when you’re focused. You might wanna work on that.”
“Luca! Why would you say that to me?! You’re so rude sometimes,” said Daniella. “You–”
“Ah, look at the time. I’ve got to rush off to work, dear little sister. Make sure you do your homework, and get to bed at a reasonable hour, mmmkay?”
Daniella rolled her eyes at Luca one his way out to work. She was headed to her room to complete her homework.
Daniella: I don’t need him of all people telling me I need to do my homework. As if his measly income keeps this house afloat. I could get a job after school and make that much. Resting bitch face?! Ugh, he makes me so mad sometimes. He’s lucky I love him. And he’s lucky I don’t want to be all the way out here by myself. And he’s lucky I need someone to watch The Nightly Show with. And he’s lucky I’m all he’s got.
Daniella finished her homework, even though it took her longer than she intended. She was still replaying their last conversation in her head. It wasn’t like Luca had yelled at her or anything. But he was hardly ever unkind to her. She hoped the isolation of living way out in the boonies wouldn’t paint a target on her back, being Luca’s only option for mischievous or mean interactions.
After dinner, she grabbed a new book to read. Somehow she ended up in the bathroom. She liked the quiet of that room with the door closed. It wasn’t her comfy corner in the living room, but something about the echo of silence in that small space spoke to her.
She noticed the time and went to put the book up so she could turn in for the night. She paused for a minute, trying to become aware of her face. It did seem as if the corners of her mouth were slightly turned down.
Daniella: When did that happen? I guess I never noticed because I’m usually always smiling. Living out here in the boonies of Windenburg is teaching me a lot about myself. I always considered myself Cheerful. But I guess being Outgoing doesn’t equate to Cheerful. I wonder if other people notice my resting bitch face. Thanks Luca, now it’s all I can think about.
She went to her room and took to her yoga mat. The focus that she normally had to do boat pose properly was waning. All she could think about is what her face must look like.
Soon enough, the focus took over and she stopped worrying about how her face looked. All that focus paid off. She gained a skill level for Wellness, and she learned a new pose, Triangle!
As she struggled through the new move, she still felt proud of herself for retaining her focus in spite of the distractions.
Luca arrived home from work. He’d done okay in his new job. He still struggled with the older guys in the crew. They didn’t take kindly to outsiders. He felt if the boss was okay with Luca, they should accept that, but they were slow to come around. He figured he’d wear down their defenses in time.
Other than work, he had Daniella. He didn’t think he’d said anything wrong at dinner, but she seemed so upset. He’d never known his sister to be sensitive before they moved to Windenburg. He figured they’d have to get some more people around so she could complain about him to someone else, rather than to him.
Luca: The last thing I want is to live with a complaining woman. Oh crap, Daniella is right, I do sound creepy. Ugh, that settles it, I’m not apologizing to her for something I didn’t even do. I’ll save the few apologies I have inside me to give for if I ever get married.
And with that, Luca headed off to bed. He slept like a baby, his last thoughts being of how he was going to upgrade his bedroom once he got a promotion.