Ceth can never pass up an invitation to party, which is how she finds herself at the modest home of Stan Powers, where she and every other guest are bored to tears.
Phil Trice curls up to sleep in Stan's bed, since there is literally nothing else to do in the house. There's no food set out, no games set up, no stereo turned on, and not even a television set to watch the game on!
Ceth grabs some of the pillows from the bed to play fight with Kirstin, who has been slinking around in the back, casing the place. Ceth misinterprets Kirstin's behavior as 'shy'.
Ceth thought they were really bonding, but Kirstin pulls away angrily when Ceth tries to touch and speak to her swollen belly.
"Do people think I like it when they give all this attention to my fat stomach? Ugh, they just look like morons! The baby can't understand what you're saying!"
The only person Kirstin tolerates such behavior from is Milo.
Luckily Milo isn't very keen on chatting with the unborn. He puts his hand over her tummy to see if he can feel the baby kick, sometimes, and has a rather distant expression, as if he can't believe any of this is happening. Kirstin feels bad for him.
She's impressed by the fishtank in Milo's garage. "Octopi? That's kind of opulent."
"Glad you like it. I was worried me living in a garage would turn you off."
"Nah, you saw my place."
"Well, this garage is big enough for two, you know..."
"Right. I don't see a shower installed here, annnd... it's going to get too cold to walk between here and the rest of the house with wet hair soon." Kirstin points out some fairly obvious logistical problems.
"Oh it's just a short dash," Milo defends. Behind Kirstin's back, his gaze darts back and forth across the room, as he tries to mentally work out where he could squeeze in bathroom facilities.
Carlos and Lela living under the same roof has predictable results; the two quickly end up flirting all the time.
Then dating for serious.
Even though Ceth was the catalyst for this series of events, she can't help but feel strange about it. She was never going to get serious with Carlos, but she's never cared about anyone else so much as she cares about him, and she kind of misses the convenient secret thing they had going on.
They have an unusual relationship. From Ceth's point of view, the physical portion was always completely casual, and she doesn't fear growing emotionally distant from Carlos because he's the closest thing to close family she has... which is kind of weird if she thinks about it too hard, so she tries not to think about it too hard.
Why am I moping? she wonders. Am I jealous? I can't be jealous! That's stupid.
Ceth invites herself into Milo's garage, and is surprised to find him preening nervously in front of the new mirror and shower he installed. "Going somewhere?"
Milo nearly jumps out of his skin. "Dammit Ceth at least knock! I might have been showering or something!"
Ceth casts a dubious eye on the wall-less shower fixture. "Uh huh."
At least there's no chance of these two hooking up; Milo is strictly in the 'little brother' category.
"Fine, since you're here, do I look alright? I have to go to some stupid social event with the rest of my team."
"Your shoes don't match your suit, so I guess how 'alright' you look depends on how acceptable that is."
Milo pouts. "It's a party for the investors, if I understand right. We're trying to get them to throw serious money at us. We're being talked up as the first real rivals the Llamas have had in a while. We're not going to be the only team there though. The Pirates and the Roos are-"
Ceth makes a show of yawning. "Great, you can get your mom some autographs."
"Yeah. So should I buy more shoes...?"
"I don't know. If they were judging you by real merits they'd have you arrive shirtless and flex at the investors."
"This is actually pretty serious, Ceth. A lot of, like, rich people will be there. Staring at me."
"Sounds like an improvement to my boring day. Sneak me in! I want to see if they have a fondue fountain."
"What?! How am I supposed to-"
"Just give me a minute," Ceth interrupts, "I want to change clothes."
Milo gives Ceth's outfit a hard stare as they walk into the lobby of the fancy hotel this event is at. "How does that even stay on?" he grumbles.
Ceth rolls her eyes.
Officer Worthington and a pair dressed like pirates join Ceth and Milo in the elevator.
Ceth and Milo try not to feel too judgmental.
The party is as lively as Ceth hoped, boasting music, dancing, important people, an open bar, and several chocolate fountains.
Normally a stage like this might have a live band, but right now it has a magician releasing birds.
Starlight Shores is a weird place.
Ceth hits the dance floor.
Sadie Mason recognizes and congratulates Ceth on her career success. Sadie has had a much harder time as a singer, since she had a child with her longtime boyfriend Rich Richmond. Rich has a stable job as a corporate drone, so between his regular income and Sadie's unpredictable gig schedule, it was obvious who was going to end up handling most of the childcare.
On top of sounding like she has sacrificed her dreams for her family, Sadie recently caught Rich cheating on her with her best friend Mercedes May.
Ceth decides to escape Sadie's sad story by heading upstairs.
The VIP lounge is greener and has a hot tub and bubble machine.
It's also open to everyone for this party; everyone is a VIP! Yay! So Sadie makes her way upstairs after a few drinks, free to torture everyone with her low level piano skills.
Since she's single now, Sadie feels free to flirt with this blue guy named Shannon Seabottom.
She figures the blue paint is a sports thing she doesn't understand.
Shannon's buddy gets
Milo feels as weird at this party as he felt at his father's campaign fundraisers. He's on display, and he isn't quite sure what he's supposed to be doing.
Whatever it is, he must be doing it right, because Mithun Khan tells him they are "killin' it".
After an unwise amount of bubbles, Ceth decides she will approach two of the Pirates, who are goofing off and seem to be debating the merits of jumping into the hot tub.
"Fashion alert," she stage whispers to Doctor Gooder, "please call the fashion police."
Natasha Gooder quirks an eyebrow, but does not otherwise acknowledge Ceth. Trendy vocalists come and go in this town. As Natasha's old money parents would say, very few of the entertainers Starlight Shores fosters know how to spend money properly, so even when they run into serious luck, they squander it. They are not social equals.
Ceth marches up to the foreign yokels and criticizes their choice in attire.
"I know your team name is The Pirates, but do you know how absolutely stupid you look?"
"Yarr, lass, you be insulting Barnacle Bay's traditional garb. That's culturally insensitive." The brunette pins her with a strangely serious stare.
Ceth tilts her head. "Alright, I have a friend from that area, so I know that accent is fake."
Turns out this guy's name is Floyd Quill, and the stupid sexy accent is only half fake. Shannon watches his friend use hand gestures and the same brag stories as usual to pick up yet another girl in yet another town.
Ceth has finally found someone with an ego the size of her own.
Ceth would like to get this musclebound athlete into the hot tub, but she didn't bring swimwear, so she settles for more party bubbles.
As the skies grow darker outside, Floyd and Ceth retreat to Floyd's hotel room, where they can get their hands on each other without an audience.
"I'm only in town for a few days," Floyd reminds her.
"That's all the time I need," Ceth purrs, indicating she isn't looking for a long term relationship.
Floyd does not seem like her type, anyway. He doesn't even have the genius trait. "Let's get you out of that pirate cosplay," she says, trying to put thoughts of what kind of man she'd rather be with out of her mind for the night, so she can focus on this one.
Ceth has never been in a building so tall as this, but she's too preoccupied to take notice of the glorious window views the hotel has to offer.
It's past time to leave, and Milo cannot find Ceth. He last saw her chatting with one of those Barnacle Bay weirdos, so he stops to question Floyd's teammates.
"Is she your girlfriend?" Shannon asks.
"No, she's like my sister. Cousin. Adopted," Milo isn't sure why he bothers clarifying.
"Floyd took her off to his room," a female pirate informs him.
"That is just like her. Disappearing with a random guy at a party," Milo grumbles.
"Hope she isn't looking for anything lasting," Shannon warns. "Quill's married."
"That low down scum..." Milo growls.
"I keep telling him it will bite him in the ass, but he won't listen," Shannon says. "He's been like this since high school. Giving us jocks as bad name."
"I'd feel bad for Floyd's wife instead of feel protective over easygirl," ladypirate sneers at Milo.
Milo stands very still and silent for a moment, willing the rage buildup inside of him to go away. He sits down with Shannon and orders a drink. "Whatever."
"You're staring at me," Shannon says. "I'm not into guys."
Milo looks away. "Uhh sorry. My nonno had blue skin."
"There are some Goldbeards in our town," ladypirate pipes up again. "I thought the name was unique to our region, actually. Maybe you're interrelated!"
Ceth doesn't get home until the next morning.
Etc.: I guess she lost her dress at some point during the night???