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Occasionally Yours: Episode One
Published Mar 7, 2011


Written By

spladoum

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... and we're back! The gang from "Luck Like Hers" is back for more shenanigans in their hometown of Foxgrove. Kick back, grab munchies, and enjoy!

(This is all RatRaceRob's fault, so blame him. And then go read his stuff. Srsly.)

... and we're back! The gang from "Luck Like Hers" is back for more shenanigans in their hometown of Foxgrove. Kick back, grab munchies, and enjoy!

(This is all RatRaceRob's fault, so blame him. And then go read his stuff. Srsly.)
Life in Foxgrove was pleasant, lazy, and semi-productive for most residents. Gwen Glover and Holden Wozny were still best friends and roommates, still living in that shabby two-bedroom unit.

Until it burned down.
For once, it wasn't Holden's fault. In fact, he wasn't even around when the fire started. The wiring was simply old and out of sorts, and couldn't handle all of those high-intensity demands like 'drying clothes' and 'light bulbs.' The lint sparked, the flames spread quickly, and by the time the fire department arrived at the scene, the house was a massive blaze. While the elder Glovers settled up with the insurance agency and haggled over the potential payout, Gwen and Holden walked across the street and moved into the spare bedrooms of her other best friend's house.

The situation was awkward to say the least. Holden was pretty sure that Rosalind and Gwen had dated in the past, and wasn't there some kind of law against crashing at your ex's place or something?
... but here they were in the same house, and Gwen didn't seem particularly jealous. And hadn't that cop guy Connor Frio been dating the girl from the consignment shop or something? ... but Rosalind spent a lot of time with her lips wrapped around his face regardless. And they seemed to be sporting matching tattoos, and rings on their fourth left fingers.

Strange.
Even stranger was that Connor and Rosalind seemed inclined to make out against every available surface in the house. Well, it was their house, but still, the refrigerator? ... ... the fireplace? ... ... the FRONT DOOR?

Holden knocked, anxiously. He'd been stuck outside in the rain for fifteen minutes and they showed no sign of stopping.
“Guys? Hello?” As usual, Gwen saw no problem until it directly affected her. On the day that she locked herself in the garage and couldn't get anyone to come to the door to let her back in for two hours, she finally announced, “We've got to get out of here.” Searching for a new living situation turned out to be more of an endeavor than Gwen and Holden could have predicted. Two-bedroom homes weren't in plentiful supply anymore; most were old, like their previous home, and many had been knocked down to make room for high-rises. The apartments weren't exactly what Gwen wanted, but Holden suggested that they get a one-bedroom just to have somewhere else to stay. Gwen nixed the idea, laughing. “Yeah, right. You really think I'm gonna share a bedroom with YOU?”

“Either we'll share a bedroom or you'd better find us a roommate to help pay for a bigger place.”
And so the very next day, Gwen announced that she had found a new roommate.

She bumped into Harley Wolff at the laundromat. She was fooling around, playing video games; he was washing what seemed to be a lot of clothes for a young man not wearing a wedding ring.
One curious question led to several others, and soon she found that he was working as a maid, trying to earn his master's degree of education through online correspondence courses. He held a bachelor's degree, but it wasn't enough, no school would hire him. The maid job brought in enough money for him to pay for a single course at a time, every other dime went to the weekly rent at an extended-stay hotel. He would LOVE to live in a house with responsible people.

For Gwen, this story was more than enough to satisfy her. Harley had a legitimate driver's license and enough cash to help pay a deposit, and that was all she needed to know to be willing to give him a chance.
She proudly announced her good news over dinner to crashing silence. Holden said nothing, but his beard appeared to be frowning. Rosalind looked at Connor and raised her eyebrows. Connor cleared his throat. “Ah, Gwen. Maybe I should run a background check on this guy? Just in case?”

“What? What am I, a landlord? We need to put down a deposit on a place! We can't do that if I run off every possible roommate!”

“Do you need to put it down so bad that you'll take the first person who comes along with §450?” Rosalind asked.

Gwen scowled.
“Just let me run a quick one,” Connor begged. “Could save you some time in the long run.” And Gwen reluctantly agreed. But first thing the following morning she received a call back from the owner of one of the only two-bedroom rentals left in town. Yes, he'd be glad to let her walk through, but there were other offers on the table, so if she was serious, he needed the deposit along with first month's rent paid in full TODAY.

Gwen thought about waiting a little longer to hear back from Connor, but figured that since she knew several of the families that Harley worked for, it wasn't like she couldn't track him down if need be. She walked through, decided that she liked the place, and wrote a check before anyone could stop her.
So Gwen got her new place, Harley moved in and kept studying when he wasn't cleaning toilets, and Holden's new job was going over better than anyone could have predicted, though he was still Holden, and that just meant trouble. Gwen chuckled every time she heard the wailing ooo-eee-ooo of the fire truck going by. “Going by” was the word for it—the damned thing was so slow that once the paper boy raced it on his bike and won.

At least Holden seemed to be adapting well. He wasn't complaining about his job when he came home, and he didn't seem miserable. Actually, he seemed pretty happy.
“So you think you'll be fighting fires for a while?” she asked as Holden staggered in for the afternoon and began to strip out of his singed work uniform.

“I think so.”

She looked away quickly as he lost the black shirt and left the coveralls in the middle of the floor. If nothing else, the job forced him to work out daily, and he was growing in places that had always just kind of been there before. Modesty had never been a strong suit for either of them, but now she had to consciously remind herself not to ogle her roommates when they hung around shirtless, which Harley had begun doing now that Holden was doing it. Competition, maybe?
“Hey Gwen,” Harley called from the corner of the living room. He was always over there; that was where they had shoved the computer desk that neither Gwen nor Holden ever used. “Your mom called for you while you were at the park. She said you need to call her right away. She sounded kind of mad.”

Holden laughed. “That's just how her mom sounds.”
“Pretty much,” Gwen agreed and dialed home. The phone would ring three times before someone picked it up.

Oooooone …

If she had to guess a good reason for the honor of a call from her parents, it was probably because they had just gotten the bill from her rat of an agent, reminding them that she was supposed to be embarking on an actual career.

Twooooooo ...

“Glover residence.”

That was Maria, the family's long-term head of household.
“Maria! How's it going?”

“Miss Gwendolyn? Madre de Dios, your mother is so angry, she's had most of the bottle of 1996 Gewurztraminer this morning!”

“No crap? She's drinking from The Bottle?"
“Miss Gwendolyn, she is furious. You should not laugh." The matron lowered her voice. "She and your father saw something on the internets that has made them so angry. They have been shouting all day, they say you are wasting your talent, ay dios mio, she is coming.”

The phone changed hands.
“Gwendolyn.”

Gwen HATED her full name, but she could tolerate it from Maria. Hearing it slurred out only tempted her to laugh. She quickly suppressed a titter. “Mother.”

“Gwendolyn, before your father comes on the line, I suggest you explain—and quickly—what you're doing with your life.”

“Mother—”
“You listen to me, young lady!” The slurring became worse. “We spent quite a bit of money for you to attend a superlative musical school and to get you signed by a talent agency, and this is how you repay us? By squandering your talent and training to make idiotic videos on SimTube and wear clothes that barely cover your behind?" Gwen winced. She and Rosalind had recorded a few jam sessions--nothing too heavy, just them laying out some impromptu licks on a few different instruments--and posted them on SimTube. Then she made the mistake of doing a short series of semi-professional videos in a studio with an actual videographer. She already knew which one had her mother in this state: "Candy Cane," where she danced around wearing little more than a string bikini, her hair, and a smile for four minutes straight. It was one of the most watched videos on RedHeadedFoxes.com. As bad as that was, the real humdinger was receiving a fanworship cover of "Photograph" through her website. After squealing about it to everyone in earshot (particularly Holden, who soon wished he'd never heard of Def Leppard), she recorded "Jessie's Girl" as a direct response to user lookingforthejoke, or whatever his name was. She sent out the link to a few friends. Hours later the resulting spike in traffic crashed the website. The video subsequently migrated to SimTube as a result and went viral.

Now her agent smelled publicity and wanted to take advantage, and Gwen was a pseudo-celebrity for all the wrong reasons.
"I can explain—”

"Oh no ma'am. I don't want to hear a word out of you. You listen to me, Gwendolyn Meredith Glover, and listen well. I will not repeat myself. You are twenty-five years old. You have had more than ample time to 'find yourself.' We expect more from you than for you to waste your life plunking a guitar. You will stop this nonsense immediately. You will put that guitar down NOW and you will not pick it up again. You will begin your career as a concert pianist tomorrow. The next time I speak to you, you will be informing me of your upcoming concert status and giving me an itinerary to see you performing in concert. Do I make myself understood?”
“Yes ma'am.”

“Well, sweetheart, whatever you want we want too. Your father wants to speak to you.”
Her father had more of the same scolding to pile on her, with slightly more practical information to follow. She was to go to the Night Owl and apply for the position of lounge pianist so her skill did not completely rust away while she re-established her credentials.

And Gwen said that she would.
She rolled her eyes the entire drive there, but she was just where they had told her to be, just when they told her to be there. She had no choice. As long as her parents paid the bills, she had always done as she was told, with only one notable exception. If they had known that she wasn't actually a lesbian as she had been insisting for years now, she would definitely be married, most likely to one of the sons of their country club buddies, and a mother. Of at least two. So she hung on to that story as best she could, particularly in Holden's presence. Though he had nothing but the best of intentions, if he knew the truth, he'd inadvertently blab to the wrong person and it'd get back to her parents, who would be on the next flight over to frog-march her back home. He wouldn't mean to cause problems—he just would. The only person who knew the truth was Rosalind, in whom Gwen had confided drunkenly one night after a vicious piano bar battle that left her fingers utterly numb. She wasn't in a position to just tell her folks the truth. She HAD to keep up the illusion, or she might as well pack up her stuff and get ready to move into her childhood bedroom suite again.

Rosalind agreed to help, though there wasn't much she could actually do anymore now that she was married, besides maintain the lie to anyone who asked.
The situation was inauspicious. In between her regular gig at the Night Owl and preparing for a more serious job at The Register, Gwen still tried to play guitar in the park, but so many people had taken up guitar as a hobby that her tip pool had evaporated. Not that the other instrumentalists were better than she was (they usually weren't), but the general public had become so sick of hearing guitars that they avoided musicians like plague now. After a six-hour marathon, Gwen had nothing but blisters for her trouble. Her case was completely free of coins and cash.

Disconsolate, she packed the guitar away and walked down to the music studio to practice some keyboard scales.
Rosalind tried to comfort her. “Why don't you want to play piano, Gwen? I've heard you play, you're fantastic. Do you actually NOT enjoy it? Or are you just mad with your parents?”

“I don't know,” Gwen mourned. “I know that my parents want the best for me, and I'm trying to be grateful. It's just well, I feel like I'm missing something, you know?”

Rosalind shrugged. “Not really.”

“Of course you don't understand.”
“Hey, don't start that. Being married doesn't automatically make life awesome. I know this is going to be hard for you to believe, but Connor and I have fights. And complain about whose turn it is to do laundry and dishes. And bore each other. And hurt each other's feelings. Married people still totally have problems. Besides, what are you really complaining about? The fact that your parents expect you to do what they say since they pay all of your bills? If you don't like doing what they say, you have to get off their meal ticket. You have to grow up, Gwen.”

As little as Gwen liked hearing that, she knew her friend was right.
Meanwhile, Holden Wozny was at the fire station, working on the fire engine's water pumps. All of his bad luck with plumbing had made him into a very capable mechanic, and he had quickly become the station's unofficial maintenance man. The old toilets, the rickety sink, the wonky alarm system—all his responsibility. The senior firefighters took pleasure in bossing him around while they goofed off. At first he seemed doomed to fail. His first fire was a complete disaster; he responded to a call for a grill fire that had started on the patio in good time, but he ended up smashing a glass door on the wrong side of the house and infuriating the homeowner. The fire chief reprimanded him, but to his amazement, didn't fire him. “They'll be getting an insurance settlement, they'll be fine. And next time, aim for the handle. Easier to replace than an entire door.”

In shock that he still had a job, he wandered into the kitchen and popped open a can of soda.
“Wow, aren't YOU a freakin' klutz.”

That would be River McIrish, one of the more adept firefighters. She was completely obnoxious. She had been on his back since he was hired. He drank the soda. It was flat, and diet. Terrible combination! If only he could spit it out on her shoes!

“So why'd you take this job, hmm? Besides the obvious.”

“Who obviously wants to become a firefighter?”

“Oh, I don't know … muscle-bound guys who couldn't quite hack it in sports?”
He stared at her oddly. “Did you just call me muscle-bound?”

“Mm-hmm,” she said sweetly. “You are definitely a gym rat. Look at those guns. Verrrrry nice. You're still a total freakin' klutz though. Want me to show you how to not be a klutz? I mean, you'll learn on your own, but you're not gonna be able to get away with destroying people's custom doors forever.”
Holden wasn't entirely sure what to make of this offer. But then River brushed against him while reaching for a water bottle, and it quite suddenly became very clear.

"Strip down and meet me at the poles," she purred.
They raced up and down for the rest of the afternoon. River won every race. When Holden wasn't losing, he was falling. A lot.

River laughed at him, but there was a distinct twinkle in her eye.
“H-4. A-8. B-3. E-7.”

“Whatcha doin', Harley?” Gwen called from the kitchen. Rosalind turned on the counter stool to look over her shoulder towards the computer nook. Harley didn't look up. “Chess strategy. Sorry, I talk out loud. Need me to be quiet?”

“No, it just confused me.” Gwen went back to trying to put together a pot of bouillabaisse. She smiled at Rosalind, who didn't notice. “You alright? I'll be done cooking soon.”

“... yeah.”

Rosalind looked over her shoulder again, and swallowed hard. She was too familiar with chess to be fooled so easily. That wasn't a strategy.

It was, however, the way her old criminal boss set up his hijackings.
Abruptly, she slid off the stool. "I'm going outside for a little bit, Gwen. I'm kind of warm."

"Okay, but stay in sight in case I need you to help me cook!"

Rosalind nodded and went outside, plopping down on the deck, thinking. Something else about that guy was bothering her. What maid, pinching every penny for school and rent, could afford a top-of-the-line laptop?

She wanted to run this all by Connor, see what he thought. But then she considered Gwen's plight, and remembered that her friend's independence and happiness was in the balance. So what if Harley muttered chess notation out loud. There could be a perfectly innocent reason for it. Maybe he was like her, had gotten mixed up in some bad stuff in the past and was trying to start fresh now. After all, she herself knew how to do a lot of things illegally. But she was different now.
Maybe things would be alright.

Maybe.

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25 Comment(s) so far


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#16fabrizioammolloMar 10, 2011

It'a awesome see how are they doing... Love the irony all along! \:rah\:

#17astroparagnosteMar 11, 2011

i liked it congrats \:rah\:

#18Mar 12, 2011

great story

#19MangioMar 13, 2011

The cast is back! Woot! \:rah\: Always enjoyable.. Gwen sure needs to grow up.. those guys look delicious now \;\) \:wub\: I wonder what Harley does for a living.. certainly suspicious.. Can't wait for more

#20MangioMar 13, 2011

Congratulations on the feature, too \:rah\: Well deserved \:wub\:

#21ohgodcaitlynMar 13, 2011

I am so glad you continued this series!

#22simsjeanieMar 18, 2011

I'm totally new to this crew - but I loved reading your story! (Though I had to ask Mr leo more than a few times) I had great fun and - sorry - laughed a lot - all alone the title had me laugh out loud! \:D Great for me that I found it - great  what you did! Love it! Hugs from Jeanie waiting already for the next chapter... \:wub\:

#23CloudwalkerNZApr 28, 2011

Nice story\:rah\:good pictures \:wub\:I love it\:wub\:

#24orlovVIPMay 10, 2011

So relieved it wasn't Holden burning down the house! Glad for me he hasn't lost all his bad luck, as that's part of what I love about him. . .. . .very interesting twists here, so now I must read on. . .Loving it. . .\:wub\:

#25ShelleyBJun 21, 2011

\:o  (hangs head) I had to review the "Luck Like Hers" series to catch back up on Holden's run of bad luck before. I'm glad the cast of characters is expanding; this has all the earmarks of your classic storytelling panache. Racing on to the next chapter!!! \:D

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