Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Chapter 2.3-Shattering

          Breathing deeply of the fresh morning air, Layla was pleased to know just how well she seemed to have adjusted to higher altitude living. Finally feeling more settled, she planned on fully exploring every inch of Appaloosa Plains today. Not just the corners she had visited, but all of it.

          Her little house behind her was finally starting to feel like home. Sally had taken her shopping. Well, Layla had driven the pair to the store and sat as Sally had picked out outfit after outfit for Layla to try on. Finally Sally let her buy this outfit and one more only. She had insisted that the pair needed to travel to one of the nearby large cities to get a more complete wardrobe, but Layla had gently refused to outright agree. The thought of a road trip with her rather boy-crazy cousin was almost terrifying.
          Yoohoo. The whistling caught her ears alerting her to an unknown presence nearing.

        Smiling to herself, her thoughts drift off to Ned. Whistling seemed like something he would do. Finally hearing the rustle of footsteps in the dry spring grass she turned to see who was nearing, hoping her new friend had found her.

          Yoohoo. The man behind her whistles at her again, a roguish grin on his face. His large dark eyes glinting in the sunlight as he took a step or two closer to her.
           A nervous knot twists her stomach unexpectedly. And for reasons she can’t describe, she decides she doesn’t want to meet anyone just now. This is supposed to be her morning. Her morning to explore and be by herself, to process her thoughts and feelings after moving somewhere so surprisingly different.

          And so she turned, keeping her back to him, and ran away. Maybe, if she met him another time, she could be more polite. But today was hers.

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       Lettuce. Lactuca sativa.

          Apple. Malus Domestica.

         Stranger. Shaking her head. Whistling Stranger.

           Blue Flax. Linum usitatissimum.

         Whistling Stranger.
          But this time, she stopped. Watching him fish, she was again pulled back to Ouroboros in her mind. For days now, she’d been struggling to put her past where it belonged, to move forward with where she was now. She didn’t need her thoughts to be invaded every few moments by memories of an island. It was long past time for her to be able to take her lessons and live them, not relive them.

          Shaking her head again, she spotted several seeds laying on the other side of the pond where the Whistling Stranger was fishing and whistling.

          Onion. Allium cepa.
         Watermelon. Citrullus lanatus.

       Apple. Malus Domestica.

          Looking at the seed a heartbeat longer than usual, Layla’s stomach gave a loud growl. She’d been inadvertently thinking about nothing but food almost all morning. There hadn’t been many rocks of interest to catch her eye, so most of what she had picked up were seeds. A quick glance at the sun was all the permission she needed.

          Spreading a blanket on the ground, she pulled out the lunch she’d packed that morning. It might not have been so healthy as what Lilith or Kaila had fed her- No. No. This is her lunch time to eat what she’d cooked for herself. She simply wasn’t adept enough to start her own cooking fires yet. A sandwich that looked suspiciously like a greasy, chemical laden hamburger was lunch today.

          Happily munching, Layla thought through all she had managed to grab that day. She still hadn’t started her garden, so all the seeds she’d found were welcome additions. Though she did have bills to pay also. Maybe she needed to look somewhere else in the area to find some more gems or metals. 

          Train of thought moving on, she mulled over what new recipe she wanted to fix herself for supper than night when the silence grabbed her attention. It surprised her that Whistling Stranger was no longer fishing, or whistling either for that matter, and was now nearly in front of her. A slight grin on his face.

          This time, however, Layla remembered that she meant to be at least polite to him. She’d run away once, now was not the time to be alienating folks in town.
          “You can join me,” Layla offers. “I have plenty of food still.”
          But Whistling Stranger just stood there, staring, no change of expression on his face.
          Layla looked up, raised eyebrows showing her surprise. Indicating the blanket and basket with her hand she asked him to sit again.

          “There,” she said. “See? I don’t bite.”  
          Whistling Stranger didn’t respond, he just sat, looking at her.
          “Go ahead,” again, Layla indicated the basket. “Grab a sandwich. There’s like three more in there. I got a little carried away this morning. I’m still learning to find my way around my own kitchen and it’s kind of fascinating.”

          This time Layla finally registered that his expression hasn’t really changed and she hasn’t heard him speak. Looking at him closer, she made a quick assessment. Maybe he doesn’t understand her.
          “You can eat,” she points at the basket, then to her plate, then to her mouth, and then at Whistling Stranger. “I know I said I’m new to the kitchen, but I’m not that bad really. And honestly, it’s not like I’ve burnt it or anything.”

          Finally, he at least looked at the basket.
          “Go ahead, grab something, eat.” Layla watched him, looking at him narrowly, trying to see if he would betray comprehension. As she traced his features, she came across his mouth and sighed.

          Sharply, he looked up at her. Seeing the concern in his eyes she realized her sigh might have been a little deeper, a little more wistful, than she’d intended. Putting down her plate it’s her turn now to stare at the picnic basket.
          “Sorry, I didn’t mean to concern you,” she still sees nothing betraying response to her words from him. “I’m just missing someone a little.”

          Unable to stop herself, Layla continued to talk to him.
          “Actually, I’m missing quite a few people kind of a lot. I’m brand new here, by my choice too, and it’s proving a little harder than I’d thought it would be.”
          Again, Whistling Stranger turned his eyes back to the basket, still silent.

          “And the fact that I’m missing anyone at all is entirely my own fault. I should be able to handle this. Right? It’s not like I can never see my parents again. And it was my choice to leave the island, so I know I’m never going to see them again.”

          “And as it was my choice to leave the island, to leave Joel behind, I should be able to move on easier right? I was only there a very short time! I should be missing my parents and twin brother more than them! But I don’t. Especially when it comes to Joel.”

          “But, then my heart keeps saying that it was different with Joel-” And suddenly Layla found herself spilling details of the time she spent exclusively with Joel. Of how she reasoned her own behavior, of how he had made her feel, and how she was pretty sure that the fact that she knew a total of seven people in town probably had a lot to do with her pining.

          Finally, really and truly deciding he didn’t understand her, couldn't speak her language, Layla got nearly graphic in her details, pouring her heart out to Whistling Stranger almost as if he was her own personal diary. The things she told him she'd never intended to tell anyone. She told him of kissing in the pools. She told him about staying in Joel's camp, not even leaving it for a few days. What need was there to leave? About her final night in the faerie ring with Joel at her insistence, only darkness giving them any privacy. And a million tiny details about Joel and what the two did together that Layla couldn't otherwise get herself to stop thinking about she poured out into the silent man sitting beside her.
          It took a moment or two to realize that she, herself, had stopped talking, and simply looked at the picnic basket without seeing it. Wrapped as she was in her memories she almost forgot that Whistling Stranger was even there. 

          With the agility of a cat, he suddenly stood up, leaving Layla to her reverie. He hadn’t taken a single bit of any of the food she’d offered.

          Pulling herself back to reality as Whistling Stranger ran away from her Layla was surprised at how light she suddenly feels. 

          Packing up her basket, she looked around. As Layla did, she realized painfully that this is the first time she’s looked around and actually registered where she was.
          She wasn’t on an island. She wasn’t in Riverview. She didn’t live with her parents. She was here. And since this is where she wanted to be, it was time for her to act like it.

          The gentle wwwwwhhhhhhhhhzzzzzzzzzzzz, plop of Whistling Stranger again casting his line caught her attention, just as he began whistling his tuneless song again. For a moment, Layla watched him fishing.
          Thanks, amigo. She thought, assuming he only spoke Spansimlish. You’ve just done me a world of good.
          And smiling, Layla went on in her search for pretty rocks, seeds, and flowers.

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          Tonight’s new recipe was something called goopy carbonara. She was excited over this one. Aunt Estella had given her the recipe, assuring her that Sally had been making it on her own for a while now. If Layla needed to know that she could indeed do it, that was all she had to hear. Sally’s attention span was delightfully short.

          Mmmmm. At least it smelled yummy.
          The day was warm, and Layla had propped the back door open, hanging netting over it to discourage bugs. The makeshift curtain fluttered gently behind her, dancing a little. The windows open in the front rooms created a nice breeze, cooling the house just enough to make it comfortable for her to cook over a hot stove.

          Hearing a soft pop she thought came from the pot, Layla frowned, reaching to stir some more. She wasn't supposed to let the mixture actually boil according to Aunt Estella.

The directions ‘Stir Occasionally’ were the directions she had been giving when she asked how to keep the burner up that high while keeping the contents of the pot under boiling point. Of course, 'Stir Occassionally' still confused her.
          How often was occasionally supposed to be? Was she not stirring enough? What happened if you stirred too much? Could you stir too much?

          Sniffing timidly, she sighed. At least it didn’t smell burnt. Her greatest fear was burning what even Sarah could make on her own. That would be pretty embarassing. Sally would forget her own head if it wasn't attached was how Aunt Estella put it to Layla, smiling fondly at her somewhat impetuous daughter.

          Inhaling once again, this time more confidently, she decided to add a little more pepper. Grinding at the mill was still confusing to her. She was so used to using a shaker that sometimes she forgot and tried to shake the mill. Those were the times she was most thankful she was alone in her little house. There was no one watching to see her blunders.

          Salt this time. That was a little easier. At least it still came out that end. Smiling to herself, she imagined how good it would taste. She was quite hungry after a day running around outside. And tonight, she was going to turn on the stereo in her living room and dance. Just for fun. Phedra would have laughed, but Layla had decided that with no one else in her house she could let loose and make a fool of herself with her poor dancing skills if she wanted to. And she wanted to, so she would.

          Grabbing a plate out of the cupboard next to her, she prepared to pour her pasta onto her plate, smiling to herself, humming a little, feeling slightly smug. It looked just like Aunt Estella said it should. Another kitchen success she could chalk up to herself.

          She had just set the hot pot back on the stove, straightening, ready to turn to eat when a deep, soft voice sent her heart racing.
          “You should really lock your gate. Leaving it unlocked means strangers can get in. That could be dangerous.”
          Turning slowly, she braced herself to throw the contents of her hot dish onto the intruder. Suddenly she paused, breath caught, heart stopped, eyes popping, jaw dropped as her plate slipped out of her limp hand and crashed to the floor, shattering.


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So, who’s having fun yet? I am!

Oh, and BTW- THIS - is kinda what I meant when Layla hears Whistling Stranger the very first time. Though I imagine his whistle is a little stronger and smoother. If anyone is curious about that bit. Just to put off the inevitable "WTH" comments I'm going to get about ending that right there- oh fine. Go ahead. I'll listen now. Doesn't mean I'll give any answers yet. It just means that I'll listen to whomever decides to comment on that lovely little end sequence where Layla ruins the dinner she slaved over. Come on. That's what it was about. You know that right? She's going to be all hungry now! That's totally what everyone is thinking about I bet. Maybe I'm rambling again... *wanders off to go and look for some shiny objects to obsess over for a little while

Friday, Gemma. Friday. ;) lol.


  1. Squeee! Cyrus found Layla without her having to go looking for him! :)

  2. Oh, snap. CYRUS! WHAT! WHAT?! My life. How could you leave on such a cliffhanger?!

    1. Because it's so much fun to leave it there! MWUuuuaaaahahahaha! lol!

  3. CYRUS!! I so knew that was him, his hair is unmistakable! Oh and look how handsome he is! Yay!!

    What happens Friday?? o.O

    Loved how she was identifying all the seeds she found, that was neat.

    Why hello there Whistling Stranger! I'm betting we'll be seeing a bit more of your non-simlish speaking self =D

    1. Lol! Hubs saw him through that curtain and started pounding on the desk yelling "Turn around dummy, Turn AROUND! It's Cyrus!" when he was proofing. That hair stands out a mile doesn't it?

      *snort Friday is when the next chapter goes up. Y'know. The one where we actually get to see a reaction other than "Layla goes limp."

      Thank you! I liked that too. She's taken Shane's way of recognizing seeds to a new level. lol

      Yes. Yes we will. =D

  4. LOL! I just died at that last line. You know me too well ;)

    Well, hey, Cyrus, how ya doin'? Been a while...
    OMGHEGREWUPSOHOT!!!! *swoon*

    So, whistling stranger, the 'Spansimlish'(LOL!) speaker. What a good listener. I think we all need a whistling stranger at some point in our lives, and he may well have come alone just in time to save us from hearing about Joel and Ouroboros *again*.
    I have never heard anyone whistle that tune before... I tend to get the wolf-whistle (just 'cus there's always building work where I live, not 'cus I'm a supermodel.) or that short, sharp, loud one to grab your attention. So, the 'yoohoo' whistle will be my new thing. Congratulations, you've started a trend ;)

    Loved how she knew latin... er... latimlish? and could identify all the seeds. And her super-healthy lunch that she felt she had to explain to herself. I do that. "Why are you eating that, Gemma?" 'Oh, well, I only had a salad for lunch, so y'no, 3 bars of chocolate and 8 pints of Ben and Jerry's makes up for the calories I lost out on there... I'll totally make food for dinner tomorrow' "Oh, but will you? I mean, look, there's a ready meal in the freezer, how easy would that be? Just get home from work, put your feet up..."
    Ok, enough, you geddit.

    But what about that cliffy, 'eh? I mean, if I was her I'd hit Cyrus for ruining my dinner like that, I mean, she spent ages making it, even worked out what 'stir occasionally' meant, and now it's all over the floor. He better have oney for pizza...
    Come on, what's she gunna eat now?! Argh, the suspense!

    1. Well, of course I do! Haha!

      Yeah, he's a little man morsel. Looks just like his daddy. I always thought he was a really awkward looking teen and so was really thankful that he grew out of it.

      I had no idea what to call it so I just smooshed it all up together. And it makes me feel bad. Seriously. Oh he totally saved the world from another recital of her trips. Of course, I kinda gave her something equally important to think about to *force her to think other thoughts.

      Lol! I'm so glad to have given you a new whistle!

      *snort. Latimlish. That's so perfect! *snort. And she really did feel the need to justify why she wasn't doing the sensible thing to herself and to Whistling Stranger, but it's because she so wants to prove to herself that she could have stayed on Ouroboros and made it just fine.

      Too right he better feed her! lol. You know how people can get all grumpy when they're hungry. She might just toss him out for that. Rofl!

  5. Yay! Cyrus! I can't wait ti hear what he's got to say.

    1. Me, too! Though at first, it's not a lot. Just a warning.

  6. Cyrus!!! Wowsers---he sure grew up nice!!

    I sure hope that whistling man wasn't just shy, lol That would be quite embarrassing if she met up with him later and he said, "Hello." :P

    1. He did! I'm so glad he grew out of his teenage look. He was such an awkward looking teen. And at first, he was still kind of frail and skinny, but he seems to have been working out a little. =D

      I don't know if someone too shy to speak would walk up and invite themselves to sit by a stranger just to listen. But, embarrassing, Ooooo yeah. She really let loose to a completely unknown person!

  7. So, one day I hope to die laughing that 'whistling stranger' understood every word. He was kinda weird.

    Dang it! I only have time for one chapter right now!

    1. Deffo a little odd. ;) We'll see if you're laughing or not if it happens. Though with so much time spent with him, you know he'll be back around.