“This isn’t going to work,” Winston said. “It’s much too cold for swimming.”
“It’s not that cold!” Victoria protested.
Winston raised his eyebrows and said nothing.
“OK, it is kind of cold. But just a little bit! I brought my wetsuit.”
“Hey,” said the first arrival to Victoria’s birthday party. “You aren’t seriously planning to swim in this weather, are you?”
“All right, all right,” Victoria said as she stalked out of the water. “We’ll have the party in the clubhouse.”
The clubhouse was warm and dry and much more comfortable for everyone.
“Here we go! On to adulthood!”
“Better you than me!” Winston called.
“It’ll be you soon enough!” Victoria cried.
“So this is adulthood, huh? Am I supposed to feel responsible or something?”
“Hey,” Danial Ibari-Saunders said. “Now that you’re legally an adult and all, have you thought about settling down and having a family?”
“What? Are you kidding? Don’t I at least need a boyfriend to do that? Are you volunteering? Because if you are, I’m going to tell your wife.”
“Woo!” Danial shouted. “She’s into me! Do you hear that, guys? She’s totally into me.”
Victoria just had to roll with it. “You’re so persuasive. Where is your wife, anyway? Does she even know you’re here mingling with recent high school grads?”
Victoria was actually rather surprised that Danial had accepted her invitation. He’d been a senior when she was a freshman, and he’d been out of school for quite a while. Plus, he was the only one of her friends who was already married.
“Sasha’s not feeling well,” Danial said. “She sends her regrets.”
“Aww,” Victoria said. “Tell her I hope she’s feeling better soon.”
“Sure thing. You want to break out the karaoke machine?”
“You kidding? I love that thing!”
“So let’s fire it up and sing!”
They sang, and everyone else gathered around to listen.
But it didn’t take Victoria long to realize she was seriously outclassed.
“Hey, you make a great backup singer, Vickie!” Winston taunted. But he was right. Danial could fill the room with his voice. He sang like a pro.
“All right then,” she said as Danial completed his big finale, “time for something else!”
“Aww,” Danial called after her. “I was just getting warmed up!”
“I’m afraid to hear what you sound like when you’re at your best! But, seriously, let’s do something everyone can join in. This thing has to have something we can dance to.” She punched the buttons on the clubhouse jukebox.
“Eek!” Roderick squealed. “I love this song! Let’s dance, Vickie!”
“Hey, you’re not a bad dancer!”
“Well, I kind of practiced after your party when you folks went on vacation.”
“I’m hoping to make a career out of dancing,” Winston admitted to his classmate, Roderick’s brother Angelina Winter.
“Performance careers are a lot of work,” Angelina pointed out.
“I’m not afraid to work hard,” Winston said defensively.
“I don’t think dancing should be work anyway,” Angelina said. “And aren’t we supposed to be doing that now?”
“I think this party is getting too loud,” Edmund said. “Would you like to go someplace else?”
“Gladly,” Joy said. They slipped out the door together.
The clubhouse was full of friends having fun. Victoria couldn’t think of when she’d last felt so light hearted.
When Roderick went to get a drink, Victoria stole some time with her best friend Judith.
“What do you think of Roderick?” Judith hissed. “Isn’t he adorable?”
“Well, he is cute,” Victoria admitted.
“He’s totally into you!”
“Oh, come on,” Victoria chided. “Roderick’s into everyone.”
“I think Danial Ibari is the cutest guy in the room,” Judith admitted.
“Bite your tongue!” Victoria said. “He’s a married man. Hands off.”
Judith laughed. “I know, but I can look!”
At last, people began to trickle home. Victoria stood and watched the sunset through the picture window. She could see her parents flirting down on the beach.
In the silence, after all the laughing and excitement, she felt a little forlorn. Where did she go from here? School was over. She was supposed to have some idea of a career. But the only thing that really called to her was the sea. Could you get a job playing in the ocean?
Maybe things would be a bit clearer in the morning.
Well, here we are, at the start of Generation 7!
I and I thought Vickie was beautiful as a TEEN. She’s just captivating as a YA.
She’s proving to be more interested in diving and building things than she is romance. She’s not going to turn around and get married a day or two after aging up the way Dylan did. I had been brainstorming a romantic storyline for her based on the attraction notifications and interactions from when she was a teenager, but I think she decided to spite me and fall for someone else. I guess we’ll see. I am DYING to see Gen 8 babies, but I want to give her time to do things the way she wants to do them.
The bit about Danial Ibari-Saunders being so great at karaoke is because I just learned that he entered the Singer career.
Roderick Winter, if I failed to mention it before, is the grandson of February Callender. It’s pretty cool to see her hair color still floating around. He and his two sisters are the kids of Sawyer’s half-sister Rosie Winter and Dylan’s high school girlfriend Corinna Shepherd. Those two gals have had a lifelong happy partnership, but they never bothered to get married.
Comments from the peanut gallery on Vickie’s romantic prospects are welcome. I can use all the input I can get.