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Optional Soundtrack: How Deep Is Your Love by The Bee Gees
Content Warning: strong language and cleverly disguised nudity
Ella walked back to her room after discovering Mark deserted her and noticed that their "money chest" had been pilfered. Mark had convinced her that in case of emergency, they should get ten thousand simoleans converted into Shang Simla currency and store it in a chest.
"Stupid, stupid, stupid!" she muttered to herself.
"Creator-fucking-damnit! I'll kill that man!"
"No, wait. Get a handle on yourself, Ella..." she whispered as she paced around the room. "Maybe he didn't rob you, but was kidnapped. Yeah, he was kidnapped! A-a-and the kidnapper took all of our fucking money! That sounds great."
After wallowing in self-pity for an hour, she took a long shower to clean all the sweat and grime off of her and cried herself to sleep.
The next morning, she decided enough was enough; she was going to the tourism office to talk about Mark's disappearance. Her broken heart be damned; he stole her money. And everyone knows that you don't mess around with a socialite's wallet.
"Depends on your question, Miss." he flirted. She sent daggers through her eyes that caused him to straighten up his posture and clear his threat. "Ah-em, I mean, how can I help you Miss?"
"Thank you. There's a pale blonde man, just a little bit taller than me, running around this city somewhere." she explained. "Y'see, he took me with him on vacation as well as ten thousand simoleans worth of currency, and now he and the money are gone."
"We'll be sure to alert the local police ma'am, but there's no guarantee we'll catch him. What is his name?"
"His name is Mark Filroy."
The tourism officer quickly escorted her out of the room and outside, away from view of everyone else.
"No, wait! I'm being serious! We were dating, a-and he brought me here. Why is his name forbidden?"
"You're not one for reading about international news, are you?" Ella shook her head in shame, and the officer began to explain. "Alright then. The last time Mark Filroy was here, he was kicked out of our country for raiding the valuable gems in Emperor Lau's tomb, kidnapping Empress Mii and holding her hostage for a six-figure ransom, and physically assaulted one of our officers when the warrant was out for his arrest. He did all this under the name 'Adam Fargrat' and had black hair. We're pretty sure he's got another criminal record back in his hometown, Riverview, but he bribed someone to clear his name before we could access them."
"Riverview? But Mark is from Twinbrook..." she said quietly.
"Twinbrook? Wow, he must have really done your head in, because that is definitely not a Twinbrook accent."
"I know," she pouted.
"Anything. Do you mind if we get your contact info in case we need you? For legal reasons, of course." He was so plainly hitting on her that even blind Ella could see it, but she obliged anyway.
"Sure, whatever. I just need to get home as soon as possible."
"Whoa, shit. What happened, Ella?"
"I'm not asking you to," he whispered. "That night was a mistake, we've acknowledged that, and we can talk about it whenever you're ready. But for now, I'm just consoling a crying friend. Is that alright?" Ella laughed and nodded her head. "Yeah, that's fine." she sniffled.
As she looked around, she noticed that someone was missing. "Where's Bonnie?"
"She's at Shooters for a girl's night out, she told me to give you a big hug for her and a welcome back kiss. Well, I added the kiss part, but..."
"Jordy!" she giggled. "You might want to lead me to the booze before trying anything."
"Right," he nodded.
"Fuck, that's horrible!" he exclaimed, slurring slightly.
"Psh'yeahh, it's horrible! You're telling me? I had to live it! I cried all the way back, and managed to get two hugs from strangers because of it."
"Did you...did you really love him?" he asked, maybe a little too insecurely.
"I honestly don't know. I cared about him, yeah. I trusted him, definitely. But love? It's such a strong word. Right now, I need to focus less on strong words and more on strong drinks." Ella and Jordan both doubled-over from laughing and spilled a little bit of their drinks.
"What 'dealio'? As far as I'm concerned, we're fine."
"Don't play dumb with me, shithead." she slurred. "You guys used to be glued at the hip, and now you guys are rarely ever seen together. I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who noticed."
"Well, maybe you haven't seen us together much because your head was too far up Mark's ass," he joked."
"Come on. Seriously, tell me! I told you my relationship fiasco, and now it's time for yours."
"Well, she's just been saying that I'm 'distant' an' shit, I dunno what to say to her anymore. We're starting to argue about stupid stuff, like laundry." he sighed and took another sip of his drink.
"Laundry? How the hell do you argue about laundry?"
"Well I like my clothes to smell one way, an' she likes'em to smell another way, so we juss...bicker, yanno?"
"No, I don't know. That'ss pathetic."
"Lookit you, you're shlurring all over the place." he laughed.
"Me? What about you?! You're shlurring waaay more."
"What? Are you crazy?" he laughed.
"No, but I'm drunk. Last one naked is a rotten egg!" she squealed. Ella darted towards the pool and threw off her clothes while a confused Jordan stared at her.
"Ah, dearie...you couldn't handle seeing my bug guns in all their glory," he said, admiring his arms. "Sorry."
"Liar!" She splashed him from the pool and started pulling on his boots. "C'moooonnn!"
"Much. You have a cute butt."
"Yeah yeah yeah, I'm getting out now."
"Fine then, spoilsport!" she pouted. Ella attempted to climb out of the pool, but her grip was clumsy due to having four too many beverages. Jordan helped pull her up to safety.
After they put their clothes back on, they relaxed on the deck and looked at the stars.
"Yeah, I should huh? Maybe I should just snap my fingers and he'll disappear," she said jokingly.
"I'm just trying to help you out here, Elle. That man is no good."
"And you should know, right? After all, there's nothing morally questionable about skinny dipping with your girlfriend's sister." she replied.
"Ella, this is different, and you know it." he said sternly.
"Oh yeah? How so?"
Jordan rose to his feet and started pacing slightly. Unsure of what he was doing, Ella stood up as well. "It's different, because...it's different."
"Oh come on, I'm going to need a better explanation than that."
"It's different because he lied to you, stole money from you and committed crimes in various countries, whereas all I've ever wanted to do is be with you! That's how it's different." he admitted.
"Yeah," she laughed nervously. "I'm just now getting over Mark, and you're still with my sister...so this is definitely a little 'fast' for me. I think I just need to be single for awhile and sort some things out, you know?"
"Yeah, I know," he nodded. "And it's a little fast for me too, because I'm still in love with your sister. If she found out, she'd hate us both. Bonnie would be absolutely devastated." he frowned. "My poor Bon Bon..."
"I'm still capable of getting jealous, you know." she teased. "Well then, now you'll know how I felt while you were dating Mark."
And with one last kiss goodnight, they went to their respectful beds to sleep off the remainder of the juice intoxication, avoid the suspicion of Bonnie, and pretend the night never happened; just like the first night.
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