Edelweiss slept in late. On the floor. On her face.
The events of the previous night had really proved one thing to Ede: she didn’t know plum about plum. She had never thought of herself as “sheltered” before, but damn.. she was feeling lame.
When the stove and neighboring counter caught fire at the party, Ede had spent all but 1200 of the family’s cash reserve to replace them. With no job and mom only having one more payday before the bills came — and she needed to have at least $17k by then — Ede was in trouble. So she started to dig.
By the time she got home from gathering all she could, the garden was already thoroughly out of control again. She could swear she just took care of that yesterday. Or maybe that was the day before yesterday. Either way, Frankenplant was emitting its own toxic plume.
Viewing her family estate from an outsider’s perspective, there were some things about it that just didn’t add up. The whole building was just shaped weird – the external walls didn’t line up in places. There were pillars at odd intervals that supported nothing..
And the roof didn’t even cover the entire house! But the worst thing of all, as far as Ede was concerned: they had a huge, beautiful lot and there was very little unspoiled space left.
Ede felt like demolishing the whole thing and starting over would be easier than trying to figure out how to “fix” it. Just build something basic. Smaller. Functional. But she didn’t know anything about actually designing a house, either.
She checked the value of her collected harvestables. Combined with the produce she’d been carrying around, it was just enough to cover the bills – whew! But, what about next time? If Ede was going to survive as heir to this legacy, and master of this giant estate, she was going to need some training.
The obvious thing would be to ask her surviving parent for assistance, but given her mother’s recent foray into dark self-exploration, she really didn’t think that would be fruitful.
Ede had heard that you can learn skills faster at the right kind of community lot, and there had to be some expert type folks around town she could hit up for some tutelage. She’d wash up and go downtown – maybe post an ad on the board. If she could just get some basics down, things should become a lot more manageable. Plus, staying busy would help her keep her mind off of that itch she couldn’t scratch.
Oof. First stop: the community maker space slash library. Ede checked the jobs board out front, but nobody was really advertising what she needed.
The place itself was nifty, though. They had a community garden and all sorts of tools there for making pretty much anything, and it seemed like there was always someone around that she could ask about specific skills.
It did seem like it was a bit easier to concentrate here than at home – after just a few minutes on the bonsai tree she’d already managed to learn more about gardening. She’d definitely be back to work on some of her skills later. For now though, she needed to use the computer.
She checked local listings for tutors and things. Nothing really stuck out.
“Maybe it’s time to just bite the bullet and post an ad on Simslist,” she mused aloud.
“Famous last words,” said a familiar voice.
Ede was surprised to find that the object of her confused affections was also here. He walked past and sat across from her, and she felt a wave of emotion that twisted her face into in an embarrassing display of longing.
“Hello, Edelweiss,” smiled Malcolm.
Ede snapped herself out of it, at least enough to smalltalk him.
“Hey. No deliveries today?”
“Ah, no,” he said. “No more deliveries for me. They let me go.”
“What??” she demanded, a bit too loudly. “Why!”
“They like their employees to keep their identities secret,” he said dramatically. “Once there’s a name and an address it’s pink slip time!”
Ede frowned, not sure whether he was just being funny or making fun of her moment of vulnerability on the balcony.
“Sorry,” he smiled, noticing her sensitivity. “I’m a little tense today.”
He explained honestly, “I voluntarily agreed to terminate my contract so I wouldn’t have to accept transfer. They don’t like to keep us in one location for too long, and I didn’t want to leave the area just yet. So I’m here looking at job listings.”
Ede wasn’t sure if it was safe to feel flattered by this or not. But then she remembered why she’d come here in the first place, and smiled thoughtfully. She got up and moved around to his side of the table.
“You know,” she said, “I could hire you.”
“New guy already that bad, huh?” Malcolm joked nervously.
“Very funny,” she said, “But it’s not your mad mailman skills I’m after, and I really do need the help.”
“Might as well humor her,” he thought. “And what, praytell, would this position entail?”
“Well.” Ede took a deep breath and went on, “Basically, I need a life coach.”
Normally Malcolm would have been way too polite to actually facepalm, but, y’know, he was tense!
Ede laughed at his reaction. “Hear me out first! I just inherited a huge estate that’s kind of a mess and I don’t know how I’m going to keep paying the bills. I feel like I don’t know how to do anything.”
“You’re not that bad, Edelweiss,” he said.
“Last night I caught the house on fire trying to make a grilled cheese sandwich,” she argued.
This was true. He was there.
“Point taken,” he laughed.
“Mom has been really off lately, and that’s not helping,” she confided. “I’m just stressed out all the time. Things that used to come natural to me are choking me up — I don’t even know how to talk to boys anymore, for plumsakes. I need some help figuring this stuff out.”
Wow, okay. There was a lot of stuff there.
“It wouldn’t be a permanent thing, just enough to get me pointed in the right direction. Say, a week?”
“So,” he summarized, trying to wrap his brain around what she was asking, “you want me to teach you economics, cooking, stress management and.. dating etiquette? In one week.”
“Yep.Though I’d be happy with just the first two things,” she added. “I know it’s a tall order.”
“Whaddaya say?” she asked, half-begging, “it could be fun!”
Now she was just being silly. This whole thing was silly. He couldn’t believe he was actually considering it.
Malcolm threw up his hands and gave in. It’s not like he was going to be able to say no to her anyway.
“Oh, thank plum!” she said, relieved. “You have no idea the kind of freaks that would’ve responded to an ad like this if I posted it on Simslist.”
“I think I can imagine, actually,” he laughed.