“… So… does anyone have anything to say? It is important to me that you say something… please…,” said Bo.
Slowly, each member of his club took in his appearance. Where before there was a head of dark hair, there was now just a bald head. A bald blue head. A bald blue head that clearly belonged to an alien.
Bo: Okay, maybe it is not as bad as it seems. Laurel and Carmen already know my secret and they are silent as well. So maybe the silence is not bad.
Carmen: Oh hell. Why did he do this with no warning?? Gavin is gonna kill me when he finds out I’ve known all this time.
Laurel: Bo! What is he doing?? Okay, how can I keep this from pulling the club apart? Let’s first see how Gavin and Luca react.
Gavin: Okay, so his glow was not like the glow caused by the drinks at city festivals. Just smile and let someone else speak first.
Luca: I knew something was up with this guy!! I plumming knew it! If they handle this weirdo’s secret well, maybe I can tell them the truth about my job.
“Someone please, say something,” said Bo.
Seeing that no one had bolted screaming from the backyard, Laurel spoke up. “How about we all head back inside so we can talk?”
They all silently agreed and gathered again around the dining room table.
“Okay, I will start,” said Bo,” you are all amazing for taking this news in stride!”
When no one responded, he cleared his throat and tried again. “Listen, I did not mean to spring this on you the way I did. I just felt so trapped by my secret. This was the only way I could think of to break free.”
“I may lose my marriage forever because I pushed to be allowed to show my true self to certain Sims, so I may as well embrace this new permission,” said Bo with a sigh. “Who has questions?”
“Keeping your secret, or rather, not keeping your secret,” said Gavin, “is this how you lost your wife?”
Bo nodded but gave no further explanation.
“I have a question,” said Carmen after a quick pause to confirm Bo had no more to say about the last question. “Did either Laurel or I meet you more than once?’
Laurel snickered as Bo responded. “Yes, although I am sorry to admit it. I met you both the week my family came here from Sixam, and I was still… learning the effect of my abilities on Sims. I feel I should apologize for using you as a test subject for that purpose. If it helps, I have not done that since. I only use my abilities for empathy now.”
“Empathy? Wow, so you know how I am feeling right now? Fascinating,” said Gavin.
“Not quite,” said Bo. “But I can choose to either read your feelings or share with you my own. Which would you prefer?”
“Read mine,” said Gavin.
Laurel and Carmen didn’t blink an eye, but Luca put some real space between himself and whatever was happening at the dining table.
“Whoa! That felt so weird,” said Gavin.
“Yes, I imagine it did,” said Bo,” but I am happy to find that I do not frighten you. And I agree with you that aliens are better than plasma-sucking vampires. And I think you will make a great politician one day, you have my vote, especially if you change your cause. And thank you in advance for not sharing my secret with your grandparents.”
Luca: That settles it, I’m not talking about my job around a mind-reading alien and a bloody politician, and I’m never inviting Bo into my mind.
“So, now that we’ve settled that,” said Laurel, “I’d like to talk about our club hangout. If you are all in agreement, I want to have the place totally revamped. We’ll keep all the best bits like the pool and tiki bar and fully stocked kitchen, but I want to do a huge expansion! I’m talking bowling alley, moving the club room to the sub basement for privacy, and an outdoor rooftop hangout for the kids. What do you all think?”
“Laurel, that sounds amazing! I’ve always wanted a bowling alley nearby,” said Carmen. “Maybe we can turn our club into a bowling league?”
Various responses of “No!” and “Hell no!” could be heard from Carmen’s club members.
“Haha, fine, fine, we won’t join a bowling league,” said Carmen. “But I did think of a much better name for our club, and tonight’s gathering has confirmed it. When we get together we chat, we share bits of our lives, and we really have each other’s backs. I say we should start calling ourselves the Counsel Council.”
Everyone agreed on the new club name and the club hangout renovation, but they were adamantly against joining a bowling league together.
Laurel felt proud of how she as club leader was choosing to allocate the points they’d earned by spending those days together in Midnight Hollow. She would start the renovation after Quincy and Daniella had their baby.
“Since we’re making changes,” said Luca, “any chance I can get a version of our Everyday club outfit that doesn’t have the jacket?”
Just like Carmen, he was met with a resounding “No!”
“We want you to be you,” said Laurel, “But we just want you to be you with a few more layers. I’m aging up soon and you’re not too far behind me, so it wouldn’t be the worst thing to plan ahead for when that time comes.”
Luca chuckled in response. “Counsel Coucil, huh?”
“Hey y’all, Bo looks like he’s getting tired,” said Carmen, “and I think him returning to his Sim form is a subtle hint we should wrap this up. But first, I’ve got a couple of things to go over with y’all.”
“First thing,” said Carmen, “we’re definitely going to try the PlantSim challenge, right?”
Assorted grumbles and mumbles answered in the affirmative.
“Okay, cool. Second, the garlic is almost ready,” said Carmen to cheers from the rest of the club. “I have harvested almost enough for Laurel to make what she needs to protect us.”
“Can you up it by another 10 bulbs? I need to make an additional wreath for my son and his ‘baby momma’,” said Laurel, “no offense Luca.”
“Of course,” said Carmen, “I should have everything I need by next week. I’ll stop by and drop it off once I check with Hugo to make sure he can watch Rodrigo. And speaking of Hugo, Laurel did you know he’s a neighbor of Daniella and Quincy? Yeah, he told me when he was by the house earlier.”
“Hugo is at your house all the time woman,” said Gavin,” why don’t you just make things official with him?”
“I’m still considering things,” said Carmen, “and I’ve told you I’m not letting our baby force us together. It has to happen organically.”
“Mmm-hmmm,” murmured Gavin.
“Don’t mmm-hmmm me,” said Carmen. “Tell you what. I was gonna swing by his place as a surprise tomorrow. Come with me so you can finally meet him, then maybe I’ll trust your opinion.”
“I’m in,” said Gavin.”
“On that note, let’s all head home for the night,” said Laurel.
Everyone said their goodbyes, reassuring Bo that he still had a place in their club.
Bo headed to bed, alone again.
Authors Note: This is it for the Blanks for this round. Round 8 continues in the next chapter with Carmen Butler and her adorable baby boy Rodrigo.