As time passes, autumn sets in in earnest, bringing cold morning temperatures.
"Good luck on your audition."
Unfortunately, Ceth's solo act is beaten out by a four man band called Thundercube. MN8 thinks Sister Sell Out is getting far too mainstream to take the prime time spot they had open.
Ceth feels sore about it. When she was new to the business, they kept telling her they loved her music and to come back when they had a spot available, but now that they have spot available, she's overqualified? Or rather, no longer obscure enough to appeal to their crowd?
The place is a dingy hole anyway, she comforts herself with thoughts about how she really is too good to perform here, while she introduces herself to Thundercube's keyboardist.
They call him 'the Egg Man' for some reason.
"You're Sister Sell Out!" he gasps, before she can even properly identify herself. "I recognize you from one of your album covers. "Unguilt Me" is probably my favorite song ever. I'd give up my left arm to write even half as good."
Ceth stares at him. "Wouldn't that interfere with your career?"
"I can play one-handed," he says cheerfully.
Apparently Thundercube is a pretty famous band all the way in the Redwood Harbor / Barnacle Bay area. They intend to make big waves in Starlight Shores.
Ike Featherworth, the guitarist, rudely cuts in on his bandmate's conversation.
"The ladies are already all over you, it's just not fair," Ike teases.
Egg Man shrugs. "This happens to be a noteworthy vocalist..."
Ike looks Ceth up and down, then goes back to ignoring her. "Uh huh. Listen they want us set up at 7 tonight soooo we're going to run back to get out stuff quick."
"Don't break anything," the keyboardist warns, with a tone that indicates something has been broken in transit before.
"Just be here at 7."
"Think you could help me find, like, the grocery store and stuff?" It's such a bad pick-up line, Ceth decides it isn't one at all. Egg Man is serious. "We only just got to town, we're running late and starving, and my mates can't be trusted with such delicate tasks as buying food..."
"You're their Carlos, huh."
"You're the responsible one. Never mind! I'll show you where the grocery store is."
Egg Man is amused by the buff fruits and vegetables. "Wow... that is adorable."
"Yeah some days I just subsist on broccoli... the fans probably wouldn't like it if I got fat. Oh, and right across the street where those giant gnomes are is the arcade. It has some rad bubble machines on the second floor, and a cafe attached. So this one street is all you need really."
He seems more interested in the cafe portion of the establishment. After talking about broccoli, Ceth is inspired to order a giant slice of cake.
"So your name is actually Eggbert?" Ceth nearly chokes on her dessert. "Did your parents hate you?"
"Haha, I guess it's possible."
"Unguilt Me" is about a woman abandoned by her birth parents and raised by other people. The woman tries hard to impress them, hoping to make up for being a burden, only to fail hard and realize far too late that she never had anything to make up for in the first place. Ceth will never find out why her new friend likes the song so much.
Milo jogs through the park, stirring up the fallen leaves as he whooshes by. After several dates with Kirstin, he is a man in love, still working up the courage to tell her that, though it is clearly written all over his face.
Perhaps he can get his feelings out in writing. He is not as skilled with the written word as Carlos and Ceth, but it's never too late to pick up a new skill.
Carlos prepares his garden for the colder temperatures. It has fed them all well over the summer, and he intends to see it survive for next summer.
Every once in a while he glances over his shoulder, expecting to see his stalker, but she is careful to not be caught bothering him here. That could lead to actual legal intervention.
A pizza date. Kirstin is tired of hearing about how great Monte Vista's pizza is in comparison.
Fun times at the fair are more her speed.
"This ride is giving me way too many ideas," Milo complains.
Luckily, Milo is an expert at woohoo in inconvenient places, having once done in the deed in a wardrobe.
Whoa! Kirstin is definitely keeping these...
She doesn't need him to walk her home, but allows it, at least half the way. She hovers close to him, feeling the chill of the night air and using his bulky body for a shield. Soon she will have to ditch the skirts.
"You know, I thought the blue on your face was some sports thing. But it wouldn't wipe off."
"It's a rare genetic condition," Milo replies.
Hey, look! The Erutuf has a new toy!
Oh. Of course the stalker is here to ruin all the fun.
"You know," she says, "you may be alarmingly normal after all."
"Thank you," Carlos snaps. "Does that award come with a cash prize, or no?"
"I've realized you're not going to humor me about the aliens. I will stop asking." She pauses, trying to judge by his expression if this has made him feel more positively towards her. She glances left and right and lowers her already hushed voice, "Could I buy a meteorite sample from you instead?"
"That's a weird request." Carlos considers how easy it would be to break off a chunk of one of their samples and sneak away with it. If he strikes before the samples are weighed, it seems unlikely he would be caught.
"You scientists make a point to get hold of most meteorites before the common people can... but I found one once, and I... I'd like that feeling again..." she trails off.
"Why would I do anything for you? I'm trying to get you to leave me alone."
"I will leave you alone if you do this for me. If that is what you really want."
Carlos frowns suspiciously. "Just like that?"
She twitches. "The science centers sell the meteors in this sector for educational purposes only. It is very hard for me to get my hands on any."
"I just realized, I don't even know your name."
"It's Lela. Lela Whitfield."
"Right." He isn't sure why he was expecting her name to ring any bells or be important at all.
Etc.: It's like Thunderball, except squarish, and there was no reason for a James Bond reference this chapter at all???