In due time, a triple-birthday came up. Zahra was turning into a teen, and the twins were ready to be toddlers.
Zahra had spent most of her elementary school days trying to attract the attention of Laura, who never seened to be interested in getting to know here. The afternoon of her birthday, she finally got Laura to come home with her.
It was a disaster. Laura didn’t like geek-talk at all.
And she was utterly creeped out by Cycl0n3.
That was just a deal-breaker. Nobody was allowed to diss Cycl0n3 in her presence.
Layla threw a big formal shindig for the triple birthday. Mostly, she invited her and Lance’s friends, including Layla’s dear Antonio Bauer, Kyra the amazing maid, and Rachel and Julian Ursine. But she did invite Fabian Branch, who had made it to high school just before she did, and Rachel’s son Jess Ursine. They pointedly didn’t invite Rachel’s second husband Harvey, a now legendary town gangster and all-around creepy guy. Rachel’s taste in men was just epic. Her enormous pink formal gown was doubly-epic.
They gathered about the birthday cake while Zahra blew out the candles.
At which point Julian discovered that Layla had set the grill on fire.
Layla? You’re supposed to be the responsible chef!
Lance was up on the nursery, entangled with the bables this time. Nobody who discovered the fire could do anything but panic. In fact, Jess Ursine fainted dead away. Cycl0n3 was his own brand of useless.
Soon it was a raging inferno that threatened to catch the house itself on fire.
Zahra, completely upstaged by the hellfire in the back yard, aged up alone.
She then raced to the back yard with a fire extinguisher, called the fire department on her cell phone, and got to work on the flames herself.
She’s a level-headed one, our Zahra.
And Kyra arrived!
Followed by Lance. All three of them attacked the fire to get it under control. It was a real father-daughter bonding moment.
After everything was under control, two (!) firemen arrived and admonished them to be more careful. No kidding.
With a big chunk of the back yard a smoldering cinder, Layla hastened to get the remaining guests, i.e. those who hadn’t already fled in terror, back into the house. (?) was never going to speak to Zahra again, but that was OK because the feeling was mutual. Fabian didn’t run off, and he was still her friend.
Cycl0n3 did his part by challenging Julian to a ranked chess match, during which time they did nothing but blather about the fire.
Zahra changed clothes, retrieved her glasses (forgotten by the age-up), and redid her hair. Much better. All that mauve didn’t really suit her.
Layla and Lance brought down the babies for their hopefully more sedate birthday.
With change of clothes, she looks like a heartbreaker in the making.
With his change of clothes.
(Not bad, either one of them, though they needed new clothes. The bald look suits Adjo, I think.)