Tusnelda and Trix

81. Baby Shower

Using today’s feature image as an illustration for a chapter called Babyshower is perhaps a bit of a joke. However, it tells us that we will meet Fatima and Elijah in this chapter. I might end up focusing a little too much on them, because it always strikes me that they rarely take their eyes off each other. I love seeing them together. Instead, I should focus more on Rasmus and Izumi, who have a real baby shower on the agenda. I promise they won’t be forgotten and maybe we’ll see a little bit of Don too.
Until we get there, the chapter picks up where we last left off in Chestnut Ridge where Tusnelda and Martin are still on vacation.

*****

Early morning at Big Sky Reach

As usual, Martin is awake long before Tusnelda.

After breakfast, he puts on his running shoes to go for a long, fresh run in the beautiful surroundings of the ridge.

After a good distance, he approaches one of the area’s information boards where he sees a recognizable figure.

In front of him are Mike and another man from the local area.

Martin happily greets Mike and introduces himself kindly to the unknown man.

The man introduces himself as Umber Grove. He lives with his wife and son in Riders’ Glen. He is not directly related to Mike, but they may well look like they are, thinks Martin.

*****

Oh no. When I return to Tusnelda, I see that the cats have left behind a very critical litter box.

Fortunately, it looks like Tusnelda is awake and ready to take on the challenge. I will safely leave the task to her, but you should put some clothes on first Tusnelda. Who knows if a horseman will pass by.

Martin shows Mike some ball juggling tricks.

He is a skilled soccer player and he is proud of his skills and achievements.

It will soon turn out that Mike is not so bad with a ball either.

At first Martin looks quite impressed with Mike’s skills but later he looks like he fears losing the honor of being the best.

He interrupts Mike’s juggling when he suggests they take a selfie together.

In reality, they have become really good friends because of their intuitive deep common understanding and it’s not worth risking a friendship because of a battle over some rather insignificant ball skills.

Martin kindly asks Mike if he would like to tell more about how he conquered the mountain. Precisely on that point, Martin has no problem accepting that Mike has many more experiences than himself.

They agree to continue the rest of the conversation at Mike’s house.

*****

Morning in San Myshuno

We meet Fatima in Elijah’s apartment, where she looks like she’s in a hurry to find the bathroom.
From this we can calculate that Fatima did not sleep in her own bed last night.

Before she slips into the bathroom, she glances briefly at some pictures showing Elijah’s latest assignment with a male model.

She knows Elijah is quite fond of black, but this bathroom always gives her the chills. It is gloomy and old with worn sanitary ware and ugly tiles.

The bathtub in particular looks like something that belongs in a vampire movie.

On her way out of the bathroom, she suddenly hears some water running.

Damn! Now the toilet seems to have given up the ability to hold water again.

She grabs a mop and calls Elijah.

She watches Elijah struggle with the pipe wrench.

“I don’t get you Elijah?”

“How do you mean?” he asks as he groans with effort to tighten the joints.

“How can you bear to wake up to the sight of this depressingly worn room every single day?” she asks.

“I assume I haven’t thought about it as long as everything works as it should.” he answers.

But it doesn’t work as it should, she thinks, as she prepares to pour coffee into the coffee machine.

On the other hand, she is a guest in Elijah’s apartment so it is not her task to solve.

“Are you in a better mood now?” Elijah asks.

She feels her heart pounding hard as she looks into his glowing black eyes. She turns to pure gel so how can she be in a bad mood?

“Yes, when I look at you.” she says softly.

He tries to maintain eye contact, but now the coffee machine sputters loudly. The coffee is ready.

For Fatima, coffee is the most important start to the day.

She actually doesn’t feel like she’s fully human until she drinks the first cup of coffee.

Wow! This coffee really tastes heavenly, soft and without any bitterness, she thinks in surprise.

“Where did you buy the coffee beans?” she asks.

“Did you buy it from the food delivery service?” she continues.

“I bought them at a stall in the Spice District. Is the coffee that special?” he asks as he sits down.

“It is heavenly! I feel like dancing!” she says cheerfully.

“You’re welcome Fatima. You know I love watching you dance.”

“I doubt it Elijah. I don’t have your talent.” she replies seriously.

“I love everything about you. You should never doubt that.” he says.

“You are such a silly flirt Elijah.” she giggles.

“I’m dead serious Fatima. I don’t understand why that would be silly.”

“I know today is Saturday and you have the day off, but I have a task to finish, some photos I need to process before my deadline.” he apologizes.

“Don’t worry about me, Elijah. I’m going to make a website for a small company, so I have a job to take care of, too.”

“Have you started taking freelance jobs building websites!?… I’m really glad to hear that you are developing your talent and taking your skills seriously.” he says excitedly.

“Somehow, Elijah, you convinced me that it’s possible to be a freelance website builder, so I’ll try my hand at it when I’m not at the clinic.” she says with a big smile.

“Of course you can do it. Never doubt yourself Fatima.” he says, standing up.

In order to concentrate better, he goes into his bedroom and closes the door behind him.
Fatima can very easily send his thoughts astray, and the task he has taken on is too well paid for him not to take it seriously.

Meanwhile, Fatima sits in Elijah’s living room with her laptop and communicates with the customer about their expectations and needs.

She must agree with Elijah that there is much more peace and space here than in the crowded apartment behind the clinic. There is always someone at home and a television or some noisy music that takes the attention.
She realizes with surprise that she might mentally have begun to let go of that freedom she claims she has by not officially moving in with Elijah.

*****

Morning in Chestnut Ridge

Tusnelda has agreed to meet Martin at Mike’s place. On the way down the ridge she finds several interesting materials she can collect. It’s a habit she has that the scientist inside her never sleeps, even when she’s on vacation.

Mike and Martin have long reached their destination and the stallion greets Mike with a loving touch with his nose.

“Good boy Horchata.” Mike says softly.

So that’s the stallion’s name, Martin thinks, while nervously keeping an eye on Mike’s dog. Martin is not fond of dogs, although he can’t quite put into words why.

He is interrupted by the mare who gives him a gentle push. He finds an apple from his pocket.

He has learned that the horses are very fond of apples, but Mike has explained to him that he should consider an apple as candy for a horse. Too many apples can cause them problems with digestion.

The chickens love grain. He finds it amusing to see how they come running from near and far when he throws some grain on the ground.

Now Tusnelda has arrived and she and the mare immediately greet each other.

*****

It is surprising how quickly Tusnelda has become good at riding. She sits securely in the saddle even when the horse runs at fast speed.

It is the first time Tusnelda and the mare jump together and not even that experience seems to make her insecure.

She is still securely in the saddle when the mare turns around.

Then it goes at full speed in the opposite direction. It seems to amuse them both equally.

*****

Martin has lit a fire and found his guitar.

Both Horchata and the dog Snowflake seem to be getting restless and it is not clear whether it is the fire or Martin’s guitar playing that upsets them.

Martin puts the guitar away and goes to calm the stallion down.

Horchata will never say no to an apple. It’s like a lollipop to him.

Tusnelda pats the mare on the neck to say thank you for a good ride.
Of course, the mare also has a name. Her name is Pecan.

After Tusnelda has removed the saddle and halter, Pecan seeks out her foal. I love to see how the foal eagerly sucks on his mother’s udder.

Horchata squeals loudly and rears, but right now Martin seems more likely to send a concerned look at Snowflake, than the stallion wagging its hooves menacingly in front of his nose.

Tusnelda sits down by the fire and Martin sits down next to her.

“Are you having a great time, Martin?” Tusnelda asks.

“Absolutely Tusnelda! I love being here and I’m impressed with Mike’s hospitality. The guy is so relaxed and cool.” he answers eagerly.

“Yes, I’ve noticed how well you two get along.” she says.

“What do you want to do this afternoon? Shall we go for a ride together or go down to the lake and swim?” she asks.

“Maybe we can combine both. Ride down to the lake. I’m sure Mike thinks it’s ok…” she continues.

Here my gaze is caught by the three chickens standing eavesdropping. I find the sight really amusing and it made me laugh for several minutes. 😂

Over time, the brown hen finds the discussion about swimming or riding rather boring. None of these topics are of any decisive importance to chickens.

As the brown hen goes in search of delicious earthworms, the black hen also remembers that there are more important things to spend her day on than listening to human nonsense.

Only the rooster remains as he wants to prove that he is intellectually superior to his wives.

Is there even such a thing as being intellectually superior when it comes to chickens?

Even the rooster has doubts when he discovers that both his wives have left him, so he sets off at high speed after the black hen.

With this, I end my fables about chickens. Maybe it’s mostly because I have a peculiar sense of humor, but the chickens in the game often make me laugh. I know, I should rather focus on what is going on between Tusnelda and Martin.

*****

Pecan has taken over the chickens’ place and she follows the behavior of the humans with interest.

Tusnelda has of free will started to roast a marshmallow. It’s a habit she has every time she sits by a fire.

This may surprise Martin, as she often seems to burn herself on the hot sticky mass.

Marshmallows don’t have that much appeal to him, but that’s how people are different, as with much else in life. It’s these small quirks that create a personality.

Now Tusnelda and Martin are interrupted in their thoughts and conversation by Mike. He kindly asks if they would like to see his winery?

They both confirm that they would love to learn more about viticulture.

*****

Mike has shown them both down to the basement under the house where he keeps his large brewing vessel.
In practice, the tub is built on the spot, he explains.

He explains to Tusnelda that in principle it is possible to make wine from all types of fruit, but for a beginner he would recommend grapes or apples.

Martin is not much into gardening, but he anyway starts thinking about where they could find space for a cellar under their house.

“Is it even possible to create a basement under a house that has already been built?” he suddenly asks.

Mike seems a little taken aback by the question, which has little to do with winemaking. However, he will assume that an engineer or skilled craftsman knows how to stiffen the foundation so that the house does not collapse.

“A cellar is not absolutely necessary to grow wine, but it is recommended to store the bottles at cellar temperature, while the wine is maturing.” Mike says.

This answer seems to satisfy Martin and then Tusnelda takes over the conversation again with some more specific questions about cultivation methods and recipes.

Martin listens a bit superficially to Mike and Tusnelda’s voices and he starts to feel a bit off.
Gardening has never been his hobby and he hardly ever drinks wine.

Finally, they get ready to climb out of the basement again.

“Does this mean you are going to be a wine farmer, Tusnelda?” he asks a little uneasily.
He knows Tusnelda quite well and her propensity for impulsively jumping into new projects.

“No, Martin, but you know horticulture interests me and who knows where we’ll end up sometime in the future. It’s good to have your options open.” she says.

Martin nevertheless lets out a relieved sigh as they leave the basement and thus also the subject.

Tusnelda has a full-time job and a large vegetable garden in addition to a rocket, a club and a shop that she almost never has time for. How is she supposed to fit a winery into that schedule.

*****

After the show in the basement, Tusnelda and Martin borrow the horses for a ride together.

Their trip together soon ends when it turns out once again that the horses choose their own paths.

Even though Martin has become very fond of Horchata, it still looks like riding is a pain for him. Furthermore, he cannot figure out how the steering on a horse works.

Although Tusnelda looks much more comfortable on horseback, I can’t remember if she reaches the lake on this occasion.

Therefore, I will now allow myself to bring a picture of the small lake on Mike’s farm. I still find the scenery breathtaking.

*****

Afternoon in Oasis Springs

Elijah and Fatima have finished today’s freelance tasks and they now have a late lunch date at the Italian restaurant.

I can’t remember when I chose this party outfit for Fatima, but the colors of their clothes harmonize quite well. You would hardly think it was a coincidence.

The restaurant will not be unknown to the readers as both Rasmus, Tusnelda and Martin have visited the place before.

For Fatima, however, it is the first time she has visited the place with my knowledge.

Elijah asks the hostess for a table for two.

I immediately recognize the hostess as the woman Rasmus tried to date long ago in his drunken state. Fortunately, life has moved on since then.

*****

“I sent my preliminary draft of a website to my client and they seemed very pleased….I’m so glad you gave me the courage to take on this challenge.” says Fatima excitedly.

“It’s mostly yourself you have to thank, Fatima. I think my role is modest… It’s my motto in life that you should never be afraid to take the chance when it opens and never postpone a good opportunity to develop yourself.” he says encouragingly.

“It seems like you’re good at living up to that motto, Elijah. I’m still learning” she smiles.

Now the waiter comes to take their orders.
Elijah orders some lamb and Fatima orders salmon. They both order a glass of red nectar.

After this, they are ready to continue their conversation.

“We work so perfectly together Fatima. I think you should move in with me. It will make so much sense.” says Elijah.

“Moving in together is a serious decision. Life may not always be as easy and rosy as it is now that we are in love Elijah….Besides, in practice we’re almost always together regardless of our addresses.”

“As you yourself said this morning in your bathroom….Why change something that already works.” she adds.

“Did I really say that? It sounds stupid …. I will never stop loving you Fatima.” he says seriously.

We don’t get to hear if Fatima has any objections because now their waiter brings the food.

“Thanks, it looks really delicious.” Elijah says kindly.

Fatima sits a little in her own thoughts and watches Elijah eat.

“Don’t you feel like eating your food Fatima? I hope you’re not sick?”

“I’m not sick Elijah. I’m deeply in love with you and it’s ruining my appetite.” she laughs.

“Is that so? I’ll have to see if I can do something about that, because you can’t stop eating.”

“Like ruining my crush on you?” she asks.

“Hardly, I don’t want to do without it.” he answers.

Fatima lets out a surprised loud gasp as he flips her over in a deep kiss.
Whether it will regain her appetite is not certain, but she loves the feeling of weightlessness in his strong arms.

*****

Fatima really needs a toilet now.

Like the attentive gentleman he is, Elijah follows her straight to the door.

Well yes? Maybe even longer than that…..?

We already know that his motto is to take advantage of the moment and not to postpone good things….

Right here at this moment it doesn’t look like there is any disagreement between them.

*****

Later, when I see Elijah step out of the bathroom looking completely confident, I have the crazy thought that he somehow reminds me of Don.

They may share the same life philosophy of seizing the joy in the moment. The difference is that Don incessantly allows himself to be enticed by pleasures that later cause him a lot of trouble and a feeling of loneliness.

Elijah seems to retain his integrity and there should never be any doubt that he is completely faithful to the one he loves.

Fatima should not doubt that Elijah absolutely adores here, no matter what she is used to thinking about herself.

They sit down at the bar to have a drink or two to end the day.

We will leave them here in each other’s company in the safe belief that they have no shortage of topics to talk about and they will not get tired of looking for answers in each other’s eyes. That’s what true connection is all about.

*****

Afternoon in Chestnut Ridge

The sun is already low in the sky and it is not long until sunset.

Martin sits proudly in the saddle. It has taken some time and quite a few painful jolts in his rear, but now he has finally gained control over the horse and his own body.

“We should go home now buddy.” he says.

Perhaps he has overestimated his abilities after all when it comes to who is in control, because these words set Horchata into a fast gallop.

“Whoa! Steady now Horchata!” he says with effort, but it doesn’t seem to have any effect.

Impressively, Martin is still in the saddle when Horchata lands on the back of the house after a short fierce ride.

“You gave me a surprise there, Horchata.” Martin exclaims out of breath as he dismounts from the horse’s back.

After the ride the horse needs to be groomed and I will let the readers enjoy the sunset without comment while Martin takes care of the necessary.

*****

Some loud squeals and startled outbursts make me aware that Tusnelda is back.

Tusnelda also needs to take care of the horse before she can take time off.

As the sky in the background changes color to a dark purple blue, I catch sight of Martin and Mike.

The two friends have once again retrieved the soccer ball.

However, it seems that their rivalry is on a friendly level.

Pecan casually enjoys Tusnelda’s grooming as it gets dark.

It’s Martin and Tusnelda’s last night in Chestnut Ridge and neither of them will soon forget these eventful days.

*****

Later, Tusnelda lights the grill to cook some dinner.

Mike also has some tasks so suddenly Martin is left alone. However, it is not long before he is approached by Horchata.

“Hey sweet boy! Mike has told me you shouldn’t have any more apples today.” Martin says.

Horchata puts his soft muzzle against Martin’s cheek. Who can resist such a loving gesture?

Martin can’t and another apple finds its way out of his pocket…but only a small one.

*****

Late night in San Myshuno

Now that we’re talking about loving gestures….

Fatima and Elijah have finally reached their shared destination in front of the apartments and now they are sharing a passionate kiss.

The question is how they move on from here, even if it might look easy to the outsider.

“Can I offer you something?” Elijah asks her gently.

“I could use a cup of the blessed coffee you offered me this morning.” she replies flirtatiously.

*****

Fatima walks towards the kitchen with quick, familiar steps.

“You are in a hurry to get to the coffee?” he says.

“Do you have any objection?” she asks.

The next moment he’s standing right in front of her, looking her in the eye with a adoring look.

“Maybe you could skip the coffee?” he asks with a wink.

“Or maybe you could find something sensible to entertain yourself with while I make some coffee.” she laughs.

Whenever Elijah gets restless or overwhelmed with emotion, he always starts dancing. Right now, this is the most sensible thing he can concentrate on.
If Fatima wants coffee, he will not be the man who contradicts her desires.

*****

Late night in Chestnut Ridge

Martin and Mike are sitting by the campfire. They have talked about climbing and horses but very little about viticulture.

Now Martin looks seriously at Mike. He is very grateful for his hospitality and he wants to give him something in return.

He gets up and hands Mike a present.

“It’s your soccer ball!” Mike exclaims in surprise.

“It’s a soccer ball with the autographs of the entire star team.” adds Martin.

Mike spontaneously gives him a huge hug.

“Thanks Martin, but it must be worth a fortune…”

“I’m not sure of the value. I guess that requires a collector to come by, with an interest in soccer?…You can play with it or use it as you like. It’s your decision now.” Martin says kindly.

In the background you can see that Tusnelda has the food ready. She is starving to death.

“Hey boys! Food is ready now!” she calls.

After all, they are all hungry. It’s getting close to midnight and it’s been a long time since they last ate.

Martin takes a deep breath as if to take in the surroundings.

“I love the ridge and the smell of the horses…this holiday has been something I will never forget.” he says.

“Are you going to stay here? Shall I travel home alone?” Tusnelda asks.

“I don’t have your spontaneity Tusnelda so it’s not going to happen.” He says seriously.

“You should be welcome to stay here another time.” Mike interjects calmly.

“Thanks Mike! We might take you at your word.”

*****

Mike gets up to collect the used service. Tusnelda turns to Martin.

“You haven’t eaten Martin. You’re dreaming the time away. We’re going back to our lodgings to sleep.” she says.

“Since when did you become the sensible one.” he replies in amazement.

Martin quickly finishes his meal and turns to Horchata who sends him a muffled squeal.

“Goodbye Horchata! You’re a lovely boy and I won’t forget you.”

We can be sure that Horchata won’t forget Martin either…. or the lovely sweet apples he hides in his pockets.

*****

Midnight in San Myshuno

“How was the coffee?”

“It was tasty Elijah, just as tasty as I remember it from this morning….Maybe I can get you a cup to boost your energy?”

“Thanks but I don’t feel like my energy level needs a boost right now.” he answers.

“That sounds perfect, so maybe you’re ready for a game?”

“Which game? Something tells me you have something naughty on your mind Fatima?”

“Absolutely not Elijah! It’s a game we used to play when I was a kid. It’s called ‘Hide and seek’. You count to one hundred and I hide and then…”

“I know that game Fatima. You might as well start hiding now.” he says.

*****

Elijah’s apartment is not that big and it only contains one separate room with a door, if you ignore the bathroom. We must assume that Fatima has not considered hiding in the bathtub as she has clearly stated how much she detests this gloomy room.

This consideration quickly points Elijah in the direction of the bedroom and he immediately discovers that Fatma is surprisingly easy to find.

“I found you Fatima!” he says.

“It didn’t take you very long.” she says as she sits on the edge of the bed.

“I’m sorry about that…but what on earth are you wearing?” he asks in surprise.

“Can’t you recognize the lace EA creation you gave me?” she asks.

“I thought you were into women in lacy lingerie, but maybe I misunderstood you?” she goes on laughing.

“Oh yeah, I still like lace, but I wonder what I’ve gotten myself into?” he says.

“Perhaps you could spend some time on a closer investigation?” she says.

“Absolutely, but I’m a little unsure about the rules of this hide and seek game…. Do you expect me to hide now?” he asks.

“You are the artist Elijah, I wonder if you can come up with something that will not disappoint me.” she replies.

“Is that so Fatima? I’m sure I can.”

*****

Of course he can come up with something that doesn’t seem to cause any complaints. He is an artist after all.

Whatever goes on under the covers becomes their secret.

However, I will not cheat the readers of the sight of some pretty pink sparkles. Who doesn’t love sparks to brighten up the end of a day?

*****

Um?…..

As for my previous statement about no complaints, I may have been a little cocky?

Suddenly I become aware of some furious knocking on Elijah’s front door.

Salem!?

I see that he finds himself in a new role, as it is mostly his own front door that is the target of angry blows.

Go home Salem! No one is available to answer your call tonight.

*****

The arrival of night would usually indicate the end of a chapter, but I still have a task I have not completed.

Take a break if you need to. If you are a coffee drinker like Fatima, you might want to drink a cup of coffee before continuing. I promise the end is not as far away as it has been so far.

We will return for the last time to Tusnelda and Martin at Big Sky Reach.

Early morning in Chestnut Ridge

Tusnelda and Martin are fast asleep.
The experiences of the past few days have been rich in experience and stress-relieving, and this helps to provide a good sleep.

Very unusually, it is Tusnelda who wakes up first this morning.

She quickly gets dressed and goes down to the kitchen to make breakfast.

Mike’s chickens have provided the eggs she uses to make a vegetable quiche.

She has just finished cooking when Martin comes down the stairs.

“Ummm! It smells delicious. Spinach I can see.” says Martin.

“So it’s the last morning and I don’t have time to run and we didn’t even get to swim in the lake.” says Martin a little regretfully.

“I figure if we’re quick to pack everything up, we’ll have time to run down to the lake and take one last dip.” says Tusnelda.

“You got a deal Tusnelda!” he says.

*****

It is still early morning when Tusnelda and Martin reach the lake.

One last refreshing swim before they and the cats have to travel back to Brindleton Bay. They have an invitation to a baby shower they cannot fail, no matter how hard it must be for them to attend.

*****

At the same time in Brindleton Bay

Rasmus is up early to prepare the food for today’s party.

He starts by making breakfast. The day doesn’t really start until they’ve had breakfast.

Fabio is the next to wake up. Fortunately, his time as a ferocious bear is long over.

He looks with satisfaction at the plate of pancakes in front of him.
He has never been a fan of Rasmus’ vegetarian dishes, but pancakes are one of the dishes he does not mind.

Why can’t they eat pancakes every day? he thinks as he inhales the smell of melted butter and crispy fried crust.

He eats quickly and washes the dirty plate before running out to play.

“I have to say Fabio, your scout lessons have taught you some great skills. I’m really proud of you.” Rasmus says kindly.

Fabio loves to hear Rasmus’ praise and therefore he doesn’t hesitate when he hears Rasmus’ next proposal.

“I still have quite a bit of food to cook so how about helping your mother set the table?”

Fabio loves to feel like an indispensable part of the family and if he is quick to his work, he might even manage to climb the climbing frame before the guests arrive.

He distributes the blue and yellow placemats. The gender of the child will not be revealed today, but he assumes that his mother and Rasmus know it?

Now Izumi has woken up and got dressed. She goes outside to remove the dry laundry. Laundry should not be on the clothesline while they are having a party.

Finally there is time left to climb, but in his eagerness Fabio loses his grip and falls down. Ouch!

Fortunately, he is not seriously injured.

*****

Morning in the house next door

Martin and Tusnelda have come home and Tusnelda gives him a kiss on the cheek.

“I’m so grateful you followed me on this adventure without protest. I needed to get away.” she says.

“I have loved every minute Tusnelda and I really feel I have become a handy horseman now.” he answers confidently.

“You sure are.” she says.

She notices that Trix looks miserable. He must have been up and fighting with a squirrel once again.
Fortunately, she has a stockpile of health treats that will soon get him back on his feet.

“Stop squirrel hunting! Do you understand Trix?” she says in a firm voice.

“You better believe so.” Trix replies with a meow, but neither of them believe it will last.

Tusnelda and Martin look each other straight in the eyes. It’s time to get going now.

They quickly get into their party clothes and head up the hill.

Rasmus’s house is only a short walk from here and the Babyshower is about to begin.

*****

Rasmus and Izumi have ordered a professional bartender, but until that person arrives, Rasmus takes care of the bar.

“I see who’s bartending. Lots of red nectar I see.” Clara says teasingly.

Besides Martin and Tusnelda, they have invited all the members of the Powerhouse sports club and Izumi’s friend Faiz Jaleel.

I won’t blame the readers if they don’t remember him, but it’s the guy in the pink suit. Rasmus only knows him superficially after meeting him on his and Izumi’s first date. Since Faiz often sends Izumi messages, he is of course invited to this party.

There seems to be a special connection between Paolo and Izumi.

After discovering that Paolo has an unknown child with an actress, I don’t quite know what to think of him. He immediately has an ability to go more under the radar than Don and Marcus, but that does not make his relationship with women more stable.
Oh yeah. He is a member of the Partihaus club and household, so that probably explains a lot.

One thing that strikes me about this picture is that Martin is dancing in the background. The vacation at Chestnut Ridge seems to have done him a lot of good, as he often seems stressed and tense in large gatherings.

“I have a present for the baby. It’s a car.” says Fabio and hands Rasmus the package.

“Thanks Fabio. I’m sure your sibling will appreciate it.” says Rasmus moved.

Now Jade arrives at the party and it’s clear to see that she doesn’t look very happy.

She immediately goes to meet Marcus.

“Hey babe! How are you?” Marcus asks.

They do not radiate a great joy of reunion and I wonder once again what the two of them are doing together?
It is the most contradictory couple in my story, formed without my intervention.

First of all, it’s Baby Shower party time, so let’s enjoy the sight of some festive people.

It should be noted that the bartender has finally appeared so Rasmus seems to be a little confused about what his task is.

Izumi still seems to be enjoying Paolo’s company.
Fortunately, I know that she could not in her wildest imagination dream of failing Rasmus, so all is well here.

However, it seems that all is not well between these two. Jade doesn’t seem pleased.

Maybe she should have scored Elijah when she had the chance, except I wouldn’t wish that on Elijah.

Rasmus has declared the buffet is open so all the guests start finding something to eat.

The blueberry pie seems to be especially popular. Even Fabio has taken a piece which he eats with satisfaction.

I wonder what Tusnelda and Martin think when they recognize their fertility doctor among the guests?
None of them try to talk to him and I would probably react the same way. That would be really weird.

Other than that, the guests seem to be mingling pretty well. I am impressed by how relaxed Martin seems.

Now Rasmus has found a glass of nectar. He will shout a toast to thank the guests for coming.

That toast will have to wait because now the guests start giving Izumi gifts.

First Paolo…

Now Don has stood up to present a gift to Izumi.

Don, I’m really touched by your thoughtfulness and Izumi seems to be too.

On the other hand, Don has probably not become so popular with the women without being able to show a certain kind of empathy and good manners.

Faiz also seems to be quite taken with Don and I later discover that he is trying to flirt with Don. He kindly turns him down.

“I’m honored, but I have a reputation for being a womanizer so you know…I’m not really there.” Don says.

In the background, Rasmus has given up on getting attention for toasting, so he chooses to drink the nectar unnoticed.

Izumi wants to take some pictures but she gets a shock when one of the bartenders is about to fall.

I don’t know if it’s normal to have two bartenders for a baby shower since it’s the first and only one held in my game. Perhaps one of them is a kind of waiter, because a lot of tea and coffee is handed out for this occasion.
Sparkling water is also part of the serving, but the nectar definitely seems to be outside the norm.

Izumi takes some pictures of the guests and here I must note that Jade and Marcus are now sitting at the same table without arguing.

Marcus actually looks quite happy.

I notice that Clara has not tried to seek out Don, which is probably very wise.
Unfortunately, I also notice that Rasmus is now standing with a new glass of nectar in his hand.

I promise you Rasmus, that bar will be packed away in the inventory when the party is over.

Even Futte tries to distract Rasmus from continuing his unfortunate habit.

Marcus seems to peak in his excitement and start dancing.
Rasmus has taken over his chair to talk to Clara. He doesn’t see much of his friends in the Powerhouse club anymore.

Rasmus seems a bit tipsy and unsteady on his feet when he starts dancing and Izumi gives him a concerned look.

The party is coming to an end and Tusnelda gets up to say thanks and congratulations to Izumi.
I think she has a bit of a hard time with the bulging stomach Izumi can display right in front of her.

At the last minute, Clara has finally sat down at Don’s table.

I don’t know why Izumi suddenly looks so worried. None of the three Partyhaus members should give off that vibe. It is probably something Rasmus should pay attention to.

*****

The party is over and all the guests are leaving.

It has been a long day, but all goals have been met so it must be said to have been a success.

All that’s left is the clean-up and some leftovers that need to be put in the fridge.

The guests have just left when Fabio is visited by an acquaintance from school.

He’s been such a well-behaved and helpful boy, so Izumi thinks he deserves time off now. She and Rasmus have to manage the rest of the clean-up together.

I don’t remember the girl’s name and she and Fabio only seem to know each other sporadically.
Nevertheless, children are children, so they quickly find a distribution of roles and some rules they agree on.

Izumi stands and looks at Rasmus, with an expression on her face that I cannot quite decipher. Is it disappointment or perhaps concern?

Rasmus seems to be affected by the same doubts.

“Sorry honey. Was it the nectar? Are you disappointed in me?”

Izumi can’t find an answer. Here she is with the perfect man and a small scratch in the paint must not be allowed to ruin her happiness. Should it?

The answer gives itself and she embraces Rasmus and gives him a kiss.

Fabio and his playmate are still engrossed in their play, so they go into the house together to repair the small gap that has arisen between them.

As we all know, love conquers everything ❤

*****

Evening in Oasis Springs

Oh I know I’ve barely mentioned Don in this chapter, but I do not think that his behavior gives rise to remarks today. In fact, he doesn’t seem to have gotten himself into any kind of stupidity….

Here he is sitting after the party and considering a chess move. Nothing outrageous in that, but I can reveal that he will soon face a challenge that will be even more difficult for him to solve.

Of course, this chapter cannot continue indefinitely and therefore he is allowed to concentrate on the game that is right in front of him for the time being.

You, dear reader, are now exempt. Thanks for reading this far ❤

*****

12 Comments

  • cathytea

    What a lovely chapter! I especially enjoyed the Chestnut Ridge sections. Aren’t chickens the greatest? They always make me laugh! Big personalities.

    • MonaSolstraale

      Thanks for the comment cathytea 🥰
      Chestnut Ridge is a beautiful neighborhood. However, I must admit that I have not seen whether it applies to all seasons.
      I am very tempted to put henhouses at both Tusnelda’s and Rasmus’s, but I am afraid I will forget to keep an eye on other than the hens 😅

  • SirianaSims

    Tusnelda going to change kitty litter in her underwear is amazing, not a care in the world.

    I adore Elijah and Fatima, I can see why you keep focusing on them, they’re so sweet together. And you’re right, Elijah definitely has that charm and zest for life that Don has, he just has more integrity and makes better decisions. I think Elijah knows himself and what he wants much better than Don does, where it feels like Don is still running from some demons.

    Eavesdropping chickens! I laughed too, it’s so funny how they’re lined up like a tiny audience 🙈 Maybe they’re hoping that Martin has more food. I really loved the tiny drama of the rooster trying to prove his intellectual superiority until he realised that his wives didn’t care and had left 😂

    Such a lovely baby shower! I can see why Izumi is worried about Rasmus, but it’s a big occasion and as long as it doesn’t become a habit, they should be fine ❤️

    • MonaSolstraale

      Sorry for my late response. I really appreciate your comment ❤

      Tusnelda is probably not a woman who cares very much about how she appears, even if she likes to dress in playful clothes. There are just far more important things to focus on in her world.

      Elijah and Fatima came so unplanned in my story but I love them together. Their mutual contact is quite inspiring to me ❤
      Don is so complex. He is both a really nice personality and at the same time he behaves recklessly. He clearly shows in my game that he doesn’t really thrive. He lacks the grounding Rasmus represents.

      The chickens are simply so much fun to watch and after one of my friends got chickens, they have gained an extra dimension.
      Yes, perhaps the chickens in the game have discovered that Martin is a generous source of food 😂

      I don’t think you should worry about Rasmus and Izumi. Their Baby Shower went really well and all their guests seemed to enjoy themselves. However, one must assume that they are quite tired and perhaps a little oversensitive afterwards. It takes a lot of effort to be responsible for such an event.

  • GlacierSnow

    A fun chapter! Good to see everyone enjoying themselves. Fatima and Elijah are adorable.

    The end of the chapter definitely gives me the impression that some drama may be happening soon, though…

  • Yimiki

    I like how Martin seems to be at ease just about everywhere. Granite falls, home, Chestnut Ridge… on his own, with Rasmus or dragged along on Tusnelda’s adventures. He’s always so steady and calm, like a peaceful rock in the chaos of life.

    Elijah is fantastic at cheering on Fatima and giving her confidence <3 he’s figured out the right intensity, too. It doesn’t sound insincere at all. Not many people can lavish someone with praise while still sounding genuine, but he is very good at it.

    Bwahaha, those chickens are up to something, I just know it! 😂

    I like that comparison between Don and Elijah. They are both very confident, interested in women and eager to seize the moment, like you say. I wonder if Don would be this happy if he’d meet Delphine again, or if he’ll flutter from woman to woman for the rest of his life.

    Aw, seems like Martin and Tusnelda’s vacation ended too early for Martin. He seems to have really fallen in love with the area and the people/animals in it. They’re right that they can’t miss that baby shower, though! I wonder if Jade is unhappy because it’s Rasmus and Izumi’s baby shower, and she had been “planning” to settle down with him before? Or maybe it’s something else entirely.

    Seems like they had a lovely party <3 and props to Rasmus for not drinking too much, though that might only be because of the timely end to the open bar, haha.

    • MonaSolstraale

      Martin is very stable and solid, although he is not without worries. I think I’ve only let him lose his temper once in my story. The time when Tusnelda crashed with her rocket 😬
      Tusnelda is his opposite, flighty and always curious to explore the world around her, no matter what the cost. She is quick to draw her conclusions, which actually stands in contrast to her scientist job. This makes her emotionally unstable at times. Martin is her solid anchor.
      They both enjoyed their vacation at Chestnut Ridge and I don’t think it will be the last time they have been there 🥰

      I have already commented quite a bit on Elijah and Fatima. Elijah is rock solid and honest. For that matter, Don is his opposite.
      Delphine is not completely out of the picture. Maybe she’s Don’s anchor? She herself believes that fate has chosen it that way. We will see more of her soon.

      I have not thought at all that Jade could be unhappy because of Rasmus. She was a bit taken with him and now she sees that he is giving another woman what she dreams of. Surely that can make any woman sad? 🤔
      Her relationship with Marcus is complex. He is struggling to find his point of view and Jade is not completely uncomplicated when it comes to that. I really have doubts about what will happen to the two.

      As far as Rasmus is concerned, the bar is tucked away 😂
      Thanks for the comment ❤

      • Yimiki

        Martin as Tusnelda’s anchor, Elijah as Fatima’s and Delpine as (potentially) Don’s sounds about right <3 I am very curious to see what will happen with Marcus and Jade, too. They have such chemistry but they are also so volatile at the same time. Hopefully their relationship will not end in a giant explosion.

        • MonaSolstraale

          I really thought about your last comment about who is the anchor in the relationships.
          When it comes to Elijah and Fatima. I think they are each other’s anchor. They both seem self-confident in relation to their surroundings. It is only in their private space that they show themselves naked, in a mental sense. If Elijah has to describe himself, he is still a lanky guy with pimples.

  • Haneul

    Elijah and Fatima are such a passionate couple. They even woohoo in public. I like how kind and encouraging they are to each other about their work. And Elijah’s accepts Fatima’s coffee addiction. They’re fun to read about.

    I’m glad that Martin and Tusnelda returned in time for the baby shower and that Don behaved himself this chapter, but I hope that Martin and Tusnelda are able to return to Chestnut Ridge for another vacation before too long.

    • MonaSolstraale

      I love Elijah and Fatima as a couple. They are always very passionate and attentive to each other ❤

      I would love to send Tusnelda and Martin on holiday to Chestnut Ridge again when I find a suitable occasion 😉

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