“Holy cow plant, I can’t believe I’m actually going to set foot inside Lollipop Lair,” Liv squealed. “All the stories I’ve heard… Not that it looks anything like it used to, mind! You guys have done a terrific job with it!”
“You wouldn’t believe this stuff we found in the basement,” Malakai added for effect. “I thought the police would have confiscated most of it, but wow… needless to say, we got rid of it all, of course!”
Malakai and his girlfriend Janet had recently moved in together. However, Janet felt that it could be uncomfortable for Malakai to move into her own mansion, so they decided to buy a whole new place as a first step towards their new life together.
Being that the abandoned Lollipop Lair was the fanciest house in Newcrest, the couple opted for doing the place up to their liking.
First Floor – kitchen, dining and living area
Second Floor – clockwise: bathrooms, Tylor’s bedroom, Monty’s bedroom, Janet’s office, master bedroom
The newly reduced basement
“This is so grand Mal,” Liv looked around, impressed. “I love what you’ve done with the place!”
“It’s more Janet’s taste then mine, but I like it,” Malakai smiled happily.
Liv turned to her friend: “What’s Janet like, Mal? I mean, I know I’ve met her, but I don’t think she’s quite… herself around me.”
“No, she hates you,” Malakai laughed. “She thinks that you secretly want to woohoo with me again.”
“What can I say, she knows what an amazing lover I am so she can’t understand why someone wouldn’t want more of me,” Malakai winked.
Liv burst out laughing: “Seriously, Mal… Leave it to you to answer a serious question!”
“Ok fine, fine… Janet is a sweetheart, once you get to know her. She was born rich, but she’s really humble. She works really hard, because she doesn’t think she’s just entitled to her fortune, she wants to deserve it.
And to be honest, she doesn’t really care about material possessions. At weekends, she mostly wants to spend time in the garden, or going on hiking trips. We’re planning to go camp in Oasis Springs next weekend, actually.”
“Take some pictures for me,” Liv smiled. As the Newcrest heir, she still hadn’t seen the desert. “I’m glad you’re happy Mal. A part of me was thinking that maybe you guys moved in together a bit too soon, but Janet does sound lovely, from what you’ve said.”
“Liv, you overthink things too much,” Malakai shrugged.
“I know,” she admitted. “But look at what’s happened to my parents, and to Newton, with all of his relationships… What if I start seeing someone, Monty gets all excited, and then it all goes wrong?”
“Slow down,” Malakai nudged her. “Yeah, it could all go wrong. But it could also all go right. But if you don’t do anything and stay in the same place the way you have been, it won’t go anywhere at all.”
“Don’t worry about Monty,” he continued. “He’s a big boy now. He can handle more than you think. Think of yourself for once, ask that cute doctor lady out, or go out and meet someone else. You’ve got to live… Liv!”
Janet entered the room: “What’s so funny?”
“Hi Janet,” Liv waved at her. “Mal is just laughing at my love life, or the lack theoreof. It’s so sad it’s funny, I guess.”
“Uh-huh,” Janet sat down next to Liv and measured her up. “Malakai tells me you like women. How come you’ve never had a girlfriend, then?”
“You know what it’s like, being a single mom,” Liv replied. “I’ve focused most of my time on Monty, and when it’s not Monty, I try to get somewhere in my career… I don’t really have time to meet anyone.”
“Yes, it must be terribly hard to meet people as a bartender,” Janet said sarcastically.
“Stop grilling Liv, honey,” Malakai steered his girlfriend away gently. “She’ll find someone when she does. And for the record, she’s not just a bartender, she’s a juice boss. Most of her time goes into picking the juices and figuring out how they go together, not chatting up the bar patrons. Isn’t that right Liv?”
Liv nodded awkwardly. If every visit at her best friend’s house was going to turn out like this, things were going to get rather cringy.
The younger generation was enjoying the garden.
“Finally living together as brothers,” the boys high-fived.
“Well, two days a week,” Monty added.
“Brothers two days a week, oh yeah,” Tylor high-fived him again.
Scarlet just shook her head. Boys…
“What do you think of our new pad Scarlet?” Monty turned to her.
“It is pretty sweet,” she admitted. “I mean, you have a pool and everything.”
“Oh, you wanna have a go?” Monty asked overly enthusiastically. He’d love to see Scarlet in a bikini…
“Maybe some other time,” she shrugged. “I’ve gotta go now. Bye guys!”
“Smooth, bro,” Tylor commented.
Meanwhile, in the house…
“Oh, you’re still here,” Janet glared at Liv.
“Janet, sit down with me for a moment,” Liv invited her.
Janet hesitantly settled at the table. She didn’t say a word. Gosh, I swear her eye’s going to start twitching any minute, Liv thought.
“Look Janet, I have no romantic interest in Malakai whatsoever,” Liv said directly. “He’s a great guy, I completely understand what you see in him, but I just don’t like men that way.”
“That’s what he keeps saying,” Janet interrupted. “But then, why would you have woohooed with him in the first place?”
“We were young, neither of us really knew what we were doing,” Liv shrugged off the awkward memory. “Honestly, don’t you think that if I wanted to get together with Mal, I would have done something about it by now?”
Before Janet could answer anything, Malakai entered the room.
“My two favourite girls bonding,” he smirked as he grabbed himself a plate of food. He wasted no time devouring it.
“Seriously Janet, look at him,” Liv pointed towards Malakai pigging out on the cake. “Why would I possibly want to get with him?”
Janet smiled. Good point, she thought. Malakai ate like a pig. But he was her pig.
The boys were lounging by the pool.
“Life’s pretty good, isn’t it?” Monty beamed.
“It could always be better, you know,” Tylor mused. “We should have a pool party!”
“Good idea,” Monty agreed. “We can invite Scarlet…”
“Dude, you’ve got to chill,” Tylor stopped him. “Scarlet is not the only girl in the world!”
“Maybe not… but she’s the prettiest,” Monty sighed.
“I know why you’re so hung up on her. It’s the lack of comparison! We’ve got to go out and meet some people!”
The boys headed to the games room at the Captain Duckhorse Library, since it was the closest venue Newcrest had to a teen hangout. But it still was a library, so their evening turned out to be a dud.
Nobody was really around. Tylor ended up playing blickblock on the motion rig on his own, and Monty spent most of the evening texting Scarlet.
There was nobody at the café either, so when the boys got hungry, Monty had to step in and prepare a salad for them on his own. He quite enjoyed it, actually. Maybe he should get a part-time job at the library café – judging by the lack of employees, they must have vacancies!
“Dude, this salad is disgusting!” Tylor was not impressed.
“Nom nom nom… What did you say?”
Janet and Malaki were enjoying their evening on their own.
“Someone was giving Liv a wee bit of a hard time today, huh?” Malakai teased his girlfriend.
“I’m sorry Mal… I’ll try to be a bit better around her,” Janet said weakly. “It’s just…”
“I know,” he interrupted her. “But I’m not your ex. You can trust me.”
“I trust you,” she replied. “It’s her I don’t trust.”
Malakai sighed: “Honey, how many times do I need to repeat it to you? Liv is gay.”
“I’ll believe it when I see it!”
Malakai decided to take another angle: “Well, since you seem to be a fan of the whole seeing is believing approach, how about I show you that you’re the only woman for me…”
Tylor made the mistake of looking out of the window:
“Aah, my eyes! Cannot unsee!”