In this chapter, we’re going to see a lot of posing and quite a few interpretations of manliness. Several of the characters come across a defining experience that will forever change their mindset and thus perhaps also their lives.
I move with slightly uncertain steps into an unknown environment. It shouldn’t worry me as I describe vampires and aliens without shaking hands, but we’ll see. Hopefully it all makes sense in the end.
Early morning in Brindleton Bay
“Good morning Rasmus!”
It’s definitely a nice morning.
If you ask the two of them, they are in heaven.
…although Brooke might prefer the old version of Rasmus without all these distractions.
Izumi and Rasmus head towards the bedroom and the bed they have just left.
Just as Fabio leaves the bathroom… which still seems to be Fie and Futte’s favorite safe spot.
To Fabio’s great disappointment, he hears the bedroom door close just as he enters the living room.
The sound of laughter and the creaking of the bed tells him that his presence is not wanted right now.
It’s mornings like this when he wishes he could go back to the time before Rasmus. To the time with just him and his mom.
After eating breakfast in solitude, he gets an idea….. and there is no one to stop him.
Finally, he can tune in to the banned movie channel, free from annoying interference.
The channel with monsters and murderers is prohibited for children under 14 years of age.
Even in this movie, it seems to be all about kissing scenes…so yawningly boring.
Suddenly something happens that wakes him up.
“Watch out!” he shouts loudly!
…but the stupid couple sees nothing around them…it’s going to end in disaster…
The sudden loud noise, causes him to freeze.
Even the cats freeze in their tracks to find out where the threat is coming from?
Fabio screams out loud as the monster arrives.
Rasmus is summoned by the scream.
“Fabio! What are you seeing?” He asks in disbelief.
“Does your mother know you watch that kind of movies? They are hardly allowed for minors.” Rasmus asks.
Oops! Caught in the act!
“My mother is always occupied with kissing and joining your ideas Rasmus, so how should I know when there are no adults to guide me?” Fabio asks.
“Ugh! Gulp!?” Rasmus gasps, blushing.
They both sit for a while in silence.
In the background, they can hear Izumi fiddling around.
Rasmus looks a little embarrassed at Fabio. He doesn’t know what to say…. The boy often gets him on shaky ground with his straight-forward manner.
“You don’t have to worry Rasmus. I no longer want to watch monster movies when you and my mom are busy.” Fabio says smoothly.
“I know what you are doing when your bed creaks. Some boys told me that at school.” he continues.
“Uh-huh?” says Rasmus blushing, followed by a nervous laugh.
“Fabio! Will you please stop teasing Rasmus.” Izumi breaks in.
“Yeah I know mom…. he’s not used to children, ….but I do know what you’re doing together mom.” says Fabio.
“That’s fine Fabio.” Izumi replies calmly.
Suddenly, Fabio lets out a big belch.
“Fabio! Behave yourself!” Izumi says sternly.
“Yeah I know mom! It’s rude to burp in front of others.” he quotes in a grown-up voice.
“Fabio!” Izumi says.
“Sorry mom! I promise to be nice now.” he says.
“I’m glad to hear that Fabio!” Izumi replies.
“Do I have enough time to climb the climbing frame?” he asks.
“Yes you still have an hour, so it would probably be an idea to use your excess energy before school.” Izumi says kindly.
There is no doubt that Fabio has a lot of energy and climbing the climbing frame is his favorite pastime.
Izumi brings in the laundry. She loves the beautiful surroundings around the house and she can no longer imagine living anywhere else but here.
Futte has ventured out into the sun and Izumi enjoys playing with the cat while Fabio plays in the background.
What Rasmus is doing right now is not known, but perhaps he is catching up on some of the neglected sleep.
Morning in Oasis Springs
In Oasis Springs, Don slips out of bed. Katrina continues sleeping on the other side of the bed.
Fortunately, his existential crisis is not so pronounced anymore and he is gradually adjusting to his life as he knew it before the journey to Sulani.
When he comes down the stairs, he stands for a while and listens.
Katrina’s daughters, Dina and Nina both have night jobs so they are still sleeping.
Don enjoys the silence and especially not having to deal with the women’s expectations.
You wouldn’t believe it when you know his reputation, but he is actually a pleaser.
He hates to disappoint women’s expectations.
At least that’s how he wants to explain it himself.
He takes his breakfast to the kitchen counter and sits down on a stool.
In the background he hears that Katrina is awake.
Don stays in his own thoughts. He would like to know what Rasmus is up to these days…….the last time he saw him he was completely stunned by the meeting with a woman.
Rasmus is quite a sensitive guy with a surprising steely courage… it doesn’t really add up in Don’s way of thinking. At least not in his mindset before he met Rasmus…. Now he is no longer sure who has the most confidence in life.
Katrina sits engrossed at the grand piano, honing a tune.
She has recently found a new job in showbiz, as a pianist at a theater café.
Don has been promoted to Personal Trainer. He is quite proud of the body he has acquired due to hard daily training.
The dream of a career as a Professional Bodybuilder is right in front of him.
Shortly after Don has gone to work, it is Katrina’s turn to go.
We will therefore leave the Caliente household for this time.
San Myshuno, 920 Medina Studios
Elijah has just woken up and on his way to the kitchen he looks at some pictures on the wall.
The pictures of Jade in lingerie don’t quite fit the nightwear advertisement he was tasked with, and knowing that Jade might have been seduced by his flattering talk, he has chosen to keep these photographs in his private collection.
He has sent a selection of pictures of Jade in nightwear to the advertising agency and now he is waiting for their approval before he can start a new assignment.
He starts a painting at the easel to get new inspiration, as he lets his thoughts fly..
Maybe he can persuade Jade to pose for an artistic interpretation of the ancient Greek goddesses….an erotically inspired photo session. Not for one of the tacky morning papers, but for an art magazine with the right approach. She definitely has the right personal radiance.
Let’s fast forward before Elijah shares the nitty-gritty details… artistic though they are.
Fabio hangs by his legs and swings on the climbing frame.
It was nice of Rasmus to provide this climbing frame for him…..Even if Rasmus is a bit silly, he has no doubt that he really wants to be his friend.
Rasmus is actually ok, he thinks, even though he is demanding quite a lot of his mother’s attention.
Suddenly, Fabio discovers that he is about to be late for school.
He needs to hurry now.
Elijah empties his mailbox and finds a letter from the advertising bureau.
Fortunately, several of the submitted images have been approved, so now he can upload the photos to the profile on his professional website and look for a new assignment.
He looks thoughtfully at the pictures of Jade. He should probably talk to her before committing to a task regarding his previous idea.
He opens the computer and scrolls through the list of freelance tasks. He decides to take on the task of a photo series called ‘The sophisticated metropolitan woman’.
Elijah knocks on the neighbor’s door, hoping Jade is free for a new task. Unfortunately, she is currently on her way to work.
Another of the apartment’s residents kindly introduces himself as John.
He is not very suitable for a photo session on the subject of the sophisticated woman, so Elijah is content to introduce himself briefly.
A woman introduces herself as doctor Kristine Paulsen….She could be suitable.
Now the ever vigilant Fatima joins the small gathering.
“What is your errand?” she asks with almost rude suspicion.
Elijah kindly introduces himself as a freelance fashion photographer.
“I have just moved to San Myshuno and I am looking for some interesting characters who would like to earn a little extra as a model.” he says.
“It has no interest.” Fatima says dismissively.
“Kristine, was it? Maybe it was something you want to participate in?” he says, addressing Kristine directly.
Kristine kindly declines.
She has neither the interest nor the time for such a task. Today, there are many patients in the public hospital there depending on her expertise.
“Thus the ball lands in front of you.” says Elijah cheerfully addressing Fatima…”The sophisticated metropolitan woman… How does that sound to you?”
“You must be insane. There has never been anything sophisticated about my appearance.” Fatima says stunned.
It will turn out that Elijah is hardly insane, but a man with extremely well-developed persuasive skills.
After a longer pep talk, Fatima is less sure of her resistance.
She hesitantly follows Elijah into his studio.
She is driven as much by Elijah’s flattery as by a curiosity to see what hides behind his front door.
As we already know, she is used to be in control of everything that goes on in the Private Practice area.
“You have really beautiful and smooth skin…may I ask your name?” Elijah ask welcomingly.
“My name is Fatima.” she replies.
“Fatima! What a beautiful name! ” Elijah exclaims.
Please sit down Fatima, so I can tell you about what’s going to happen….First of all let’s talk about your outfit…You’re going to look amazing!” Elijah says enthusiastically.
Fatima feels how her smile grows more and more. Even she is coming to realize how she already loves Elijah’s exaggerated flattery.
Rasmus has put on his running gear and is heading towards the beach.
There are some questions that concern him and that he needs to think through. The beach seems an obvious place to find peace from external disturbances.
Izumi feels a little uncomfortable so she takes a shower hoping it will refresh her.
She is not quite able to define what the cause of her discomfort…It can’t be, can it? No, Rasmus and she have always used protection, so that can’t be the cause… there must be another reason?
She looks online to find a possible cause.
She finds the suggested medicine.
When she swallows the medicine, she notices how all her symptoms ease.
Fortunately, it was just a cold, easy to treat.
She sits down at the television as the program ‘Home decorator’ begins. It’s one of her favorite shows.
Today’s episode features a home that looks like it has been hit by a hurricane.
It is always very fascinating and inspiring to see how the interior designers can make the most dilapidated house end up as a tasteful home.
She dreams that one day she herself can study as an interior designer.
“Look at me Fatima! You look gorgeous…” Elijah exclaims.
Fatima directs her gaze at the camera and Elijah begins to take pictures.
She knows he flatters her for no reason. It was all just a stupid interlude.
She has never been gorgeous…or sophisticated for that matter.
Now she tries to look relaxed as best she can.
It is with some skepticism that she lets Elijah show her the pictures.
“Do you see what I said to you? You look amazing, Fatima! Very fashionable. You are very photogenic.” says Elijah.
“I actually look sophisticated.” says Fatima, surprised.
“Absolutely! Let’s try something else now.” Elijah answers laughing.
It is with greater self-confidence that Fatima turns to the camera this time.
She even feels confident enough to pose in different positions.
“You know what, Elijah?” she exclaims suddenly, with a surprised outburst.
“I love being a model!!!”
“You are wonderful!” laughs Elijah loudly…”Let’s finish for today.”
“Thank you for giving me this experience, Elijah. It has been an unforgettable day. I almost feel like a changed woman.” says Fatima.
“Thank you Fatima! You can keep the clothes. It will be a pleasure to use you for another task.” he answers.
Fatima gives him a huge hug before she leaves.
Rasmus is on his way home after a very mindful run. He has made up his status.
The ‘Home decorator’ is over and Izumi sits and considers whether she should watch the film that is now being shown on the channel.
At the same time, Rasmus comes home and he immediately sits down next to her.
“How was your run?” she asks kindly.
“The beach was so beautiful today. Blue sky and … maybe we should go for a walk together?” he answers.
Suddenly Rasmus reaches out for Izumi’s hand
“Izumi…I want to talk to you about something serious.” he says.
Izumi feels a nervousness, her heart beats hard….. This has gone way too fast. Maybe it’s all too overwhelming for him?… Fabio’s lack of good behavior… Rasmus didn’t know she had a son….and her constant presence, and…..?
“What Rasmus? Please tell me what worries you?” she says.
“Nothing worries me, quite the contrary.” he replies in a soft voice.
“You look strange Rasmus… What’s going on” she asks with an inquisitive look.
“Will you please stand up Izumi?” he asks.
Rasmus is blushing and coughing awkwardly.
“You make me nervous Rasmus, can we sit down again?” she says.
Rasmus gets down on his knees and holds out a ring to her.
“Izumi, will you marry me?”
“Yes Rasmus! Yes!” she says overwhelmed.
“I would love to marry you….but Fabio? I know he can be a challenge and…”
“Should I buy him a ring too?” Rasmus asks.
“Oh Rasmus! Be serious you prankster.” she exclaims, diving into his beard.
“I am serious.” he laughs.
“Very serious indeed.”
Is there any better way to celebrate the proposal than with fireworks?
It’s not a minute too early, because now Fabio is coming home from school.
Harbor Quarter Gym in Windenburg
“I’m glad you came, Paolo. I don’t know where the rest of the Powerhouse group is hiding.” Don says.
“Marcus is busy with his career and he has started dating Jade. I don’t know anything about Rasmus. Clara is probably trying to save her marriage.” replies Paolo.
“Well, yes, Clara.” Don says hesitantly.
He stands for a while lost in his own thoughts. Dating a married woman is definitely a mistake…it causes too many problems…besides he settles for Katrina for now…He hasn’t quite found his old form.
“I have reason to think Rasmus has got a girlfriend. He seemed quite flighty the last time I saw him.” Don says…
“…but, let’s train. I’ve been tasked with being a mentor before I can call myself a professional bodybuilder.” he continues.
Don positions himself in front of the mirror.
He’s been training so hard since he came home from Sulani. It shows… and still?
He feels a disturbance in his body and finds a set of boxing gloves.
“I’m in control and I can do it!” he says out loud.
Paolo looks at him.
“Don’t you have an assignment Don. Someone to mentor?”
“Yeah, I know. I’m ready now.” he answers.
Most of the gym’s guests reject his help, but he finally has the luck with a woman.
The woman soon looks like she has already given up.
“You can do it! Just three more pulls on the barbell!” he shouts encouragingly.
“You really did! You are really diligent and strong.” he says.
Maybe the woman feels encouraged?
We will never know the answer because now we are moving to another place.
Oasis Springs, Military Camp
In the military training camp, a group of young recruits are warming up for today’s training.
Allan finds himself at the opposite end of the camp, training his combat techniques.
He lands a well-placed finishing kick to the training dummy.
It’s time to go on an expedition round the camp.
He approaches the group of young recruits. They are a pitiful sight.
They seem to be more concerned with chatting and flirting than running.
Allan especially notices a recruit at the far end. He exhibits an overly casual attitude.
The young guy, Ezra Duvall, can feel the lieutenant’s gaze and he looks inquisitively at him.
Allan sends him an angry look and yells a command, but the distance and the noise from the treadmills make it impossible to hear.
Ezra looks at the lieutenant fearfully. It is only a few weeks since Allan has been transferred to this division, but he has already exposed himself as a hot-tempered superior.
Now the lieutenant is standing right in front of Ezra.
“As punishment for your sloppy behavior and your disrespect for a superior, I order you to do forty push-ups!” roars Allan angrily.
“But why? Which rule did I break, sir?” Ezra asks in wonder.
“It’s called ‘Yes Lieutenant’! This isn’t a debating club!….You do forty push-ups because I say so!….No! You get a new order… make it fifty! NOW!” roars Allan.
Fortunately, Ezra immediately starts the push-ups without any further protests. He dares nothing else for Allan’s temper is already into the red zone.
Allan has a lot of difficulty controlling his anger and he is shouting curses loudly into the air.
Now the Grand Marshal emerges from his office, summoned by the angry shouts.
He looks worriedly at the stage.
“Fourth Lieutenant!” exclaims the Grand Marshal and salutes.
“Salute Grand Marshal!” Allan greets back.
Ezra has just finished counting to fifty, but as he senses that Allan might be reaping a reprimand, he decides to continue his push-ups.
He won’t miss this….
“I caught this recruit exhibiting lax and disrespectful behavior.” explains Allan.
“Private Duvall. You are exempt.” says the Grand Marshal.
Damn it! Ezra stomps angrily towards the punching bags, annoyed at being deprived of the sweetness of revenge.
The Grand Marshal looks at Allan with a mournful look.
“Don’t get me wrong Fourth Lieutenant Chandran. I don’t know the details of your military upbringing, but I want to say something about respect….”
“If you want to achieve real respect, it is not a question of threats and fear…But by being a role model. A man whom the commoners choose to follow of their own free will out of trust and loyalty.”
“The way I see it Lieutenant, you are your own worst enemy when it comes to gaining the respect you desire from your subordinates.”
The longer The Grand Marshal talks, the more Allan lowers his head and shoulders and the more he feels like a failure.
“Take courage lieutenant. I have noticed you’re strong, fast and resourceful. There’s nothing here you can’t fix with some exercises.” adds the Grand Marshal seriously.
Most of all, Allan had expected a punishment trip or perhaps a transfer to another camp, but it soon turns out that his superiors have a completely different plan.
“I would suggest you change into lighter clothing and then we meet here again in half an hour.” he says.
It’s afternoon in Brindleton Bay and Fabio is still hanging out in the climbing frame.
Fie stands sniffing against the wind when Futte comes out to keep her company.
“What are you up to sis?” Futte asks with a meow.
“I’m caught on a scent…are you in?” Fie answers.
But Futte feels no urge to go on an excursion. She is still adjusting to her new home.
Fie doesn’t let herself be slowed down.
Sometimes she lifts her nose to get a better hold of the scent.
She leaves behind her sister and Rasmus’ house.
She speeds up more.
It is getting dark and the moon is already rising in the sky.
In the distance she hears waves and the smell of the beach grows stronger as she walks through the viaduct under the highway.
She comes out on the other side of the road and there she sees Tusnelda.
Oasis Springs, Military Camp
The Grand Marshal tells Allan and Ezra (still seething with pent-up anger about the unfair punishment) to find a yoga mat.
They are both uncertainly trying to find their positions.
“Gentlemen, look at me and follow my instructions.” says the Marshall.
It will turn out that the old Marshall is surprisingly agile.
Both Allan and Ezra try their best to follow his instructions, but it proves to be very difficult.
They both struggle with the pace, as well as finding their balance and the outer positions of the stances.
Allan feels the sweat pouring out while his brain works at high pressure.
To his frustration, the Marshall doesn’t seem to be making the slightest effort.
It is only Allan’s greatest concentration that prevents him from falling to the ground with a bang.
The very last exercise involves making the body completely rest.
For once, it’s not difficult at all. Even if he wanted to, Allan is sure he can’t lift an arm or a leg anymore.
Allan feels like a total failure and he doesn’t even have the energy to get upset about it anymore….He just wants to find a place where he can be alone.
He is followed by the Marshall as he leaves. He looks like a broken man
“I usually know how to fight, but I hardly know what is up and down anymore. I’m such a failure.” Allan says.
“You’re not, Lieutenant. Anyone can learn these exercises, but your obstacle is you want it too much….. You try to enforce the positions, but the exercises must teach you to let go of your own will and let the body guide you.” says the Marshall.
The beach in Brindleton Bay
“Fie! Hey sweet girl…what are you doing so far from home?” Tusnelda asks.
Tusnelda picks Fie up in her arms.
“How are you doing?”
“It’s so nice to see you.” says Tusnelda as Fie purring puts her head against her chest.”
She decides to follow Fie home. Fie surrenders confidently to Tusnelda’s arms.
Soon they have completed all the way to Rasmus’ house.
Fie still purrs comfortably in Tusnelda’s embrace.
Tusnelda gives Fie a treat when they reach the front door. It will teach her that this is a good place to be.
Fie looks for Tusnelda as she walks up to the house.
A moment later she knocks on the door.
Evening in Oasis Springs
It is evening and Dina is on her way to her night job.
Katrina is sitting at the piano practicing a classical tune.
Finally, Don returns from the Harbor Quarter Gym.
He managed to find several beginners who needed a mentor at the gym.
He goes into the living room to watch Katrina playing.
“That sounds really beautiful Katrina. I can hear you making progress.” he says.
“Hey Don! What have you been up to?”
“I have mentored some amateurs and practiced some poses.” he replies as he shows off his muscles.
“How was your day?” he asks as he approaches.
Katrina gets up and comes closer.
“You are a very sexy man.” she says.
She knows what she wants and in many ways it is a relief that he does not have to take a stand.
He does not mind her suggestions.
Katrina doesn’t mind taking the lead.
So that’s why he ends up where he always ends up.
Fortunately, the time of paralysis is over.
He still has a special talent when it comes to women.
Sometimes when he forgets his present an image appears before his inner gaze. A picture of a clear blue water. A naked woman fades into a blurred outline. Nothing alarming.
Nothing to worry about.
Oasis Springs, Military Camp
“To put it bluntly lieutenant, I cannot recommend you continue the exercises today. Your body needs to rest.”
When the Marshall sees Allan’s extinguished face, he makes a new decision.
He can sense that Allan needs a victory.
With each pose Allan completes, he becomes more collected as he compose himself up anew.
His will is truly insignificant.
With that realization, his mindset begins to change forever.
It is very late when Allan comes home.
Andy is sleeping and Alice is writing a book.
He looks at her intently as they sit on the edge of their bed and she thinks that he surely expects something from her.
To her surprise he for once seems more concerned with what he has to give.
The day is far from over. There are several unfinished threads, but we’ll save that for the next chapter.
We will leave, with Allan and Alice in the process of composing their togetherness with a changed mindset.
Maybe there is still hope 💖
This song is for Allan because he might need it.
Yodalucy has built the training camp where Allan has his daily base. In the last chapter, Allan receives good advice from the Grand Marshal in his office. In this chapter we see a little more of the outdoor training facilities. It can be found in the Gallery: Military Camp
To populate the camp I have found a group of recruits in the Gallery. The Barrack Buddies is made by DaydreamSims.
The Grand Marshal, who is Allan’s superior and yoga instructor (and perhaps the father figure he has been missing) is made by me.