This chapter is all about relationships. Relationships between people and whatever brings them together.
People are basically alone, but the relationships with their surroundings determine whether they feel lonely or met and heard. Although chance often has an influence, much depends on their own active choices.
As the header image might suggest, Rasmus falls back into an old unhealthy pattern. Don’t despair….. All may not be so hopeless when we reach the end of the chapter.
Warning: The chapter mentions drinking in a very unhealthy way and a hint of nudity.
Morning in Oasis Springs
Living up to its name, Desert Bloom Park is almost deserted. Most people are still eating breakfast and getting ready for the day’s work.
A single man is heading towards the toilets.
He seems quite determined in his direction.
Without hesitation, he chooses the last door in the row.
If anyone thinks they’ve seen him before, they’re not wrong.
They will definitely also recognize the guy he has come to meet.
Marcus and the mysterious J. briefly greet each other.
They have not come to have an intellectual conversation.
They may hardly have anything in common beyond this one purpose and their resistance to entering into a committed relationship.
Their bodies have a purposeful language of their own.
A language governed by a lustful desire for a time of oblivion in the sparkling stars.
However clinical and unromantic the surroundings may seem.
Morning in Brindleton Bay
Rasmus starts the day by making scrambled eggs and toast.
After eating his breakfast, he finds a novel.
It is one of the things he has learned after the time he met Jonna at the Hare and Hedgehog cafe. He has begun to appreciate reading once in a while.
However, there’s no need to overstrain his eyes, so after a while he puts the book away and does the dishes.
He has just finished when he receives a text message from Martin. It’s an invitation to have lunch with him at the Italian restaurant in Oasis Springs.
Rasmus quickly sends back a confirming text.
He looks forward to meeting Martin. He misses Don and having someone he can share everyday experiences with.
Brooke, on the other hand, benefits from the fact that Rasmus is not constantly occupied with other tasks than scratching her behind the ears.
She turns pleasantly onto her back and lets him scratch her soft belly.
Rasmus turns on the television. He just has time to watch an episode of the cooking competition before meeting Martin.
He hopes that in time he will reach as far as these champions.
Morning in Magnolia Promenade
Tusnelda has decided to spend a few hours in her shop.
It has not been open to customers for a very long time and everything needs a thorough overhaul.
Not least the plants… and then the shelves and counters need to be washed.
She decides to take the rest of the day off. The laboratory must do without her assistance today.
The small space plants have finally sprouted.
When everything has been thoroughly inspected, she opens to customers.
“I’m so glad the store is finally open again. I need some seeds….can you help me?” says a customer.
“Of course! I’m at your service!” replies Tusnelda welcomingly.
A little later she hears the doorbell in the extension.
A customer is ready to buy a tablet.
Tusnelda serves him quickly.
It’s relatively quiet, so she fills up the product right away.
A guy looks quite interested in a set of summer clothes.
A little later he moves on and loses himself wondering about some Hover lamps.
Tusnelda serves some customers in the old part of the store.
She curiously asks a boy if he isn’t a little too young to spend such a large sum as he wants to buy a painting.
Soon she will be back in the store’s new department.
It is the comedian Johnny Zest who has spotted the summer outfit.
“I think it will look good when I perform. What do you think?” he asks Tusnelda.
“I think you look amazing!” replies Tusnelda.
With this, the trade is at home.
The most important thing is a satisfied customer and Johnny looks really satisfied as he leaves.
It will be a long day with lots of sales. She runs from one section of the store to the other. She really should hire some staff.
Since it will probably be too boring to follow every sale, we will leave Tusnelda here.
At noon in Oasis springs
In Oasis Springs, Martin and Rasmus have just arrived at the restaurant, where they are received by a friendly hostess.
“Hello, my name is Martin Andersen. I have ordered a table for two.” says Martin.
Rasmus stands a bit in the background and looks at the interior of the room. He is always looking for inspiration and good ideas.
“It seems like a nice place, with a good atmosphere.” he says approvingly.
“Tusnelda and I have been here once and I would say the food is excellent.” Martin says happily.
“How are things with you and Tusnelda? How are you?” Rasmus asks kindly.
“Yes, as you have seen, we suddenly had two small surprises in the house.” laughs Martin.
After a pause for reflection, he continues.
“As you know, for a long time we have tried without success to make a baby. We have both been through a difficult time but we are doing well together…. I think that is the strength of our relationship , that we can give each other space to be precisely who we are. Go through our individual process at our own pace.”
Rasmus falls a little into his own thoughts as he listens to his friend.
He feels a bit of envy. He really wanted to have a relationship like Martin and Tusnelda, but that kind of relationship is not at his feet.
In the meantime, Martin has started to talk about his work and the fantastic results his team has achieved. He seems so happy and satisfied with life that it almost stands in contrast to Rasmus’ own lonely life.
Somewhere, Rasmus feels his self-pity are beginning to gnaw.
“How about we order the food?” Rasmus asks. He could really use a glass of nectar.
Desert Bloom Park
The meeting in Desert Bloom Park ends almost as wordlessly as it began.
“See you another time!” says J, after which he disappears out the door.
Marcus waits another ten minutes before following.
They might have had a drink. Got to know each other, but it is an unspoken agreement between them that they meet incognito and keep their privacy to themselves.
Marcus could definitely use a drink now.
The bartender hasn’t arrived at work so Marcus helps himself and pours a solid amount of alcohol into the shaker.
He adds some ice cubes and shakes the drink together.
His thoughts flow like the liquid he pours into the glass.
What the heck is he doing?
Maybe Jade is on to something when she says they’re not getting any younger and fooling around feels empty in the long run?
In Henford-on-Bagley there is a little girl who has to do without her father because he insists on continuing his life, governed by his lust as a hormone-filled teenager.
Marcus quickly swallows the drink.
Something is about to shift and he no longer feels good about being the man he is. He is a renowned doctor in his early thirties and one would expect him to be an adult by now.
The Italian restaurant in Oasis Springs
In the restaurant, the food and drinks have arrived and Rasmus takes a big sip of his nectar.
“How was your holiday in Sulani Rasmus? Did you enjoy your long stay?” Martin asks.
“It was amazing!” he replies.
“Don and I experienced so many exciting things…We went on a trip to a volcano……”
“…and I spent so much time swimming and diving… The water is so indescribably blue and clear!”
“In the sunset it changes color to gold. You should see sunsets in Sulani, Martin!”
“It sounds like a fantastic experience…..Have you seen any mermaids?” Martin asks excitedly.
Rasmus bursts into a big laugh.
“I’ve heard numerous tales of Mermaids, but they’re probably a myth that I can’t confirm…if they exist, they don’t show themselves very obviously.”
“You should taste the food Martin! You can buy the most amazing food in a simple stall.”
Rasmus falls into thoughts when he sees Don for his inner gaze. He misses him.
“I think perhaps most of all I enjoyed being able to experience it all together with a friend.” he says seriously.
Martin has gone to the toilet and Rasmus is studying the nectar list while he is gone. He could use another glass.
He sits and enjoys the atmosphere while his eyes try to take it all in. His gaze falls on the hostess.
She works diligently and has complete control over all orders and guests.
I guess he should also hire a hostess when he gets his own restaurant. His passion is cooking and it may be difficult to keep track of both food and guests at the same time…
He returns to the list of nectar when Martin returns.
Rasmus calls the waiter’s attention.
“Would you like to order dessert?” asks the waiter politely.
“No thanks. I’d like to order two glasses of red nectar.” Rasmus replies.
“What’s it like to get back home and get back to work?” Martin asks.
“The work is fine enough, but I have to admit that the house feels pretty empty after Don and I have shared daily life for so long.” replies Rasmus.
“You sound like you’re missing someone to share your life with…Have you started dating again?” Martin asks curiously.
“No, after the experience with Blue, I have chosen to find my life content elsewhere…. I am working hard to become a skilled chef and to open my own restaurant in Sulani.” says Rasmus.
“It’s definitely important to have a personal goal, but a life partner definitely also makes life richer. If you don’t take a chance, it won’t be any different than it is now.” says Martin
“Yes I know.” says Rasmus seriously.
They have received their nectar and Rasmus has finally started eating his serving.
Martin has eaten a long time ago so he takes a sip of the nectar.
He sits in silence philosophizing over the half-full glass….. Does he go too far when he encourages Rasmus to date again? His friend seems content in many ways, but he expresses a feeling of loneliness several times.
Martin empties the glass.
“It’s nice here, but I have to move on….I have some training that needs to be taken care of.” he says.
“It’s been so nice to hang out with you again Rasmus. Let’s meet again soon… and remember, he who dares nothing wins nothing.” says Martin.
“Thank you Martin. I also enjoyed your company,” Rasmus replies.
Before they part, Martin gives his friend a huge hug.
“You’re a good guy Rasmus…Up with your head and chest forward, then soon there will be a woman for you too” he says.
“Exactly like that! See you Rasmus.”
After Martin has left, Rasmus continues up to the first floor.
He should probably go home now, but the empty house in Brindleton Bay doesn’t seem very appealing…besides, the conversation with Martin has given him something to think about.
Instead, he heads for the bar and orders another glass of nectar.
He kindly greets the bar’s other guest.
He tries to start a conversation with the man next to him, but he seems quite dismissive.
Rasmus sits in silence and follows the waiter who pours nectar into the glass.
He takes a large sip from the glass.
He looks at the red liquid with satisfaction. It really is a comfort in loneliness.
He empties the rest of the glass in a large mouthful.
“I really hate the acid splash,” the man next to him says angrily.
“Oh? What would you recommend?” Rasmus asks kindly.
On his recommendation, Rasmus orders a drink of a considerably stronger nature.
Rasmus should not be fooled by the fact that this drink tastes like candy.
Later he orders another drink and decides to find some nicer company than the old nagging pot.
He has no doubts about where to find her.
“Hey, is it okay if I take a seat?” he asks.
“That chair is not intended for guests,” the hostess replies in surprise.
“Has anyone told you that you look like an angel?” says Rasmus gently.
“Thank you sir! No one has ever said that,” says the hostess in surprise.
Perhaps it is the surprising flattery that makes the hostess lower her parades.
“I’m about to open my own restaurant and I could really use an angel like you,” says Rasmus.
He’s starting to feel quite dizzy, which should probably be an indication that he should go home now.
“Where are you opening your restaurant?” asks the hostess with interest.
“In Sulani! ….I am like a shark in the water…I am opening a fish restaurant and I catch the fish with my fists…none of them can escape me.” Rasmus brags.
“Oh? That sounds a bit unlikely,” says the hostess with a raised eyebrow.
“I might be exaggerating a little bit, but how else can I impress you?” says Rasmus.
“Are you trying to date me?” the hostess laughs.
A date actually sounds like a fantastic idea, thinks Rasmus, after which he swallows the rest of the candy juice.
Rasmus is feeling quite dizzy right now and he therefore thinks it makes the most sense to call work and give them a sick note. He can hardly tell them it’s because he’s going on a date.
As immoral as it is, he’s probably right that it’s best for him to stay away from the job.
Rasmus sits down on the chair and dozes off as he scans the wine rack.
The restaurant is not running out of nectar for the time being. That’s good to know…even if he feels reasonably covered right now.
Maybe he should take a break before it ends up somewhere he can’t control?
He sleepily opens his eyes when the sweet hostess returns.
She looks like an angel, which he immediately informs her in a touched voice.
“Thank you sir!” she says with a giggle.
“Would you like to meet me later? Perhaps we could continue the conversation when you are free?” he asks.
“It’s just so lucky that I’ll be free soon and there happens to be room in my calendar. We have a date.” she says.
Somewhere on the outskirts of Oasis Springs
Rasmus is still a bit blurry when he meets the hostess in front of a Diner an hour later.
He gallantly gives her a rose.
“Thank you sir! You’re a romantic, I see?….not that I mind a little romantic background music.” says the hostess flirtatious.
“Maybe we should just skip the Diner? Should we continue to your place or my place?” she continues without inhibitions.
“What!?” Rasmus asks in surprise.
“Oh! you know…should we continue the ‘conversation’ in your apartment or mine?” she continues while blinking vigorously with an eye.
Rasmus shakes his head in confusion. What the heck is he doing?
Suddenly, Rasmus feels embarrassingly sober.
“This is a big misunderstanding! I guess we better end it here.” he says unhappily.
“What the hell are you imagining? You’re inviting me all the way out here on the outskirts of town to tell me it’s all a misunderstanding?” says the hostess perplexed.
“I’m really sorry, but I think it’s best we part ways here.” says Rasmus embarrassed.
Rasmus enters the Diner. He could really use a drink. He feels terrible about himself.
He has behaved so horribly to a woman…. He has not even asked her name.
Maybe he should go home?
There’s an inner voice that tells him that loneliness and self-pity are a really bad cocktail, so he decides to find a seat in the Diner.
He doesn’t pay attention to the people around him as he automatically orders a drink…. which he chooses to leave untouched on the counter anyway.
He is such a jerk!
Suddenly he hears a voice and when he looks up he discovers that there is a young woman sitting next to him.
“Hey! You look like you’ve had a really rotten day.” she says.
“I’m such an asshole.” he answers heavily.
“Do you want to talk about it?” she asks welcomingly.
“Not really.” he answers.
But when he sees her friendly face he starts talking anyway.
“I’ve been acting like such a fool! I had lunch with a friend at an Italian restaurant and I guess it all started with me drinking way too much nectar and some really strong drinks on top of that…..In my hazy state I got the idea that I had a world in common with the restaurant hostess, that she was an angel sent from heaven to fulfill all my dreams…. ”
” …. the end of it all is that I suddenly woke up on the pavement, in the company of a woman who thought I had invited her home into my bed…. I had to reject her and I don’t even know her name!” says Rasmus.
Much to his surprise, the woman next to him begins to laugh. She laughs with a sparkling laugh as tears roll out of her eyes.
“By my watcher! You are a funny man!” she laughs.
“Do you really think so?” Rasmus asks in surprise.
“Usually men don’t tend to turn down that kind of unexpected invitation.” she replies.
“I went too far down that road once and it cost me a long time in grief when I fell deeply in love with the woman and she turned out to be married.” says Rasmus quietly.
“Oh! I see…I’ve been there too….It leaves its mark.” she replies kindly…….”By the way, my name is Izumi.” she continues.
“Hi Izumi! My name is Rasmus. It’s nice to meet you” he answers.
“Tell me Rasmus, what else have you spent your time doing when you’re not seducing angels?” Izumi asks.
“I work in a restaurant. I’m training to be a chef and I’ve just been with a friend in Sulani…It’s my hope that one day I can open my own restaurant in Ohan’ali.” replies Rasmus.
“Sounds like you have some interesting dreams. Would you like to tell me more about them?” replies Izumi smiling.
“Where do you want me to begin?” Rasmus asks.
It will be the start of a long conversation and we will now turn our attention elsewhere.
Oasis Springs at Katrina’s house
“Hey Don! Are you ready for a nice surprise?” Katrina says.
“I’m always ready for nice surprises from you.” Don says kindly.
“I bought a little spicy thing I think you’ll like,” Katrina whispers.
“Oh!?” Don exclaims as he begins to sweat at the thought of a whip and handcuffs.
“I’m not really sure that’s my thing?” he says hesitantly.
“You’re a stupid boy… handcuffs? What gives you that idea?” Katrina whispers.
“I prefer strong self-confidence men like you.” she continues, looking him lovingly in the eyes.
It absolutely boosts his confidence. He knows he has a special attraction when it comes to women. Not least women hungry for love like Katrina.
“I love your new bathing suit. It is really a nice sexy surprise.” he says with a wink.
Katrina leans over him and gives him a deep, warm kiss.
Her kiss is sweeter than honey and so indescribably hot and seductive and he feels how his whole body and soul are casually surrendering to her.
He gives a startled gasp as she leads him into the waterfall with a firm grip…
Don is shocked by reality as the surprising movement causes him to wake up from his dream….
No!!! Not again!
“I’m so sorry Katrina, but I can’t do it.” he says in despair.
“You better get your shit together!” Katrina says grumpily, as she gets out of the water.
“What happened to you on that vacation? Have you contracted a tropical disease?” Katrina asks frustrated.
Don clutches his head in despair….. He can’t talk about Delphine with Katrina….. Even though she probably knows he’s not very faithful, she probably won’t take it very well. Maybe throw him on the street? ….He just wants his old life back.
Katrina looks somewhat surprised at his reaction.
“Calm down Don. It’s not meant to be harsh but maybe you should see a doctor.” she says.
Don looks after Katrina as she goes back into the jacuzzi. She looks really hot.
What the hell is going on with him?
It’s like the meeting with Delphine has broken something in him.
The longing to hold her in his arms almost tears him apart at the same time as he hates her for what she does to him.
How can you love and hate a person at the same time? It makes no sense…. He feels like he’s losing his mind.
Don goes out to his exercise equipment on the balcony.
For the next hours, he trains so hard that the sweat pours and the blood seeps from wounds in his hands.
He must regain control of his body! He can’t lose this fight.
Evening in Brindleton Bay
Martin stands with Trix in his arms.
“Oh! I really like that dress!” he says in a hoarse voice.
Tusnelda has just come home and she turns to him in surprise.
“You can?” she asks
“Yah! I really like what it reveals too, It makes me want to unwrap the contents” he continues.
Although Trix enjoys sitting in Martin’s arms, he feels quite neglected.
“Martin! Perhaps you should put me down and keep me out of this?” he says with a short meow.
“I really like your outfit too,” says Tusnelda.
“But what did you say before about the content? Maybe you can’t figure out how to approach it,” she continues teasingly.
“Woman! Come with me and I’ll show you what I’m capable of,” he replies brusquely.
“Oh! you naughty man” she giggles.
Tusnelda follows him without hesitation.
Their household is full for now and the hunt for an offspring has been paused.
One benefit of the fact that the seriousness has disappeared from their bedroom is that the sparks between them have thus returned 💖
Evening in Oasis Springs
In the Diner, Rasmus and Izumi are about to go their separate ways.
“Thanks for the conversation Izumi. It’s been really fun.” says Rasmus.
“Just one last tip before you go… maybe you should skip the alcohol the next time you’re in the mood to ask someone out.” Izumi says seriously.
“Yes, you’re probably right,” replies Rasmus… “By the way, do you like swimming?”
“Swimming? I guess so….What a strange question…..You’re a funny man.” she answers in wonder.
Maybe it’s because Rasmus wants to drag out the time a little longer because suddenly he asks Izumi if they should take a selfie together.
It will be a lasting memory of a surprising end to the day when he tripped and slipped back in self-anesthetization and self-pity, to later land on his feet again.
Izumi has been so easy to talk to and he gratefully gives her a big hug before leaving.
The sun has long since set when he comes out into the street.
It has been a long, eventful day and he is looking forward to coming home.
His first act when he gets home is to go to the pictures of Sulani’s sunset.
Sooner or later he will have his dreams fulfilled..
….as long as he keeps his gaze alert and never loses his focus again.
Rasmus meets Izumi in the Updated 1950 Diner. It is found in the gallery and is built by lilsimsie