Episode Nine « The Caliente Affairs

Act 4: An Uncertain Future

The next day, Dirk called Meadow and invited her down. When she arrived she seemed happy, which made his job so much harder.
“So, what was so important that you just couldn’t wait until Monday to tell me?” She asked. Dirk decided he’d kept the truth to himself for far too long and wanted to just get everything out in the open.
“It’s about Alex.”
“Oh yeah, how was it, having dinner with your new UNCLE?!” Meadow joked. Dirk cringed, he never before realised that if his dad and Cassandra got married, Alex would become his step-uncle.
“It was… really bad.”

“Oh come on and just face it! Cassandra’s going to be your new mum and then you’re going to be related to Alex which will eventually mean that I’ll become your Great-Step-Aunt or something like that.” Meadow thought, becoming confused at the amount of connections everyone in Pleasantview had.
“I wouldn’t count on you and Alex getting married, Meadow, there’s something I have to tell you.” Dirk tried to soften the blow of his heart-breaking news.
“Let me guess, you’ve finally come to your senses and realised that it was me you wanted all those years ago and not Lilith? Well I’m sorry, you made your choice and I guess you choiced wrong. I’m with Alex and you’re with nobody and that’s the way it’s gonna be forever.” Dirk felt confused, he never remembered choosing Lilith over Meadow. Had he been with so many girls that he was beginning to forget which ones he had dated and which he hadn’t?

“When didn’t I choose you?” Dirk asked.
“What? Back when you first started to date Lilith you and I were great friends and you said, wouldn’t it be fun if we kissed? And I said…” Dirk tried to tune out Meadow’s annoying voice, her ego was obviously feeling so bruised that she felt the only way to heal it was to recite from one of her many journal entries – most of which contained Dirk’s name, he confidently assumed.

“I went to school the next day and you acted like nothing had happened and it killed me so much inside that all I could do was try and forget it had ever happened so that’s what I did and it eventually became another small memory trapped away at the back of my head… but then that’s you all over, Dirk, isn’t it – small!” Dirk opened his mouth wide, a grin spreading across Meadow’s face. Lilith must have been spreading rumours at school too. Consumed with anger, he forgot all about sensitivity and hit Meadow straight between the eyes with his confession.
“Meadow, Alex is Gay! Yeah! AND he tried to kiss me.” His smug grin lasted only one-tenth of a second, as he realised just what he had said. Meadow looked kind of like a lost puppy, Dirk thought. He expected her to deny it, but instead she walked out of the door. Not wanting to let her go before he explained things, Dirk ran after her.

“Wait! Aren’t you going to say anything?” Dirk asked.
“Are you lying?” She asked. Dirk shook his head.
“You don’t sound surprised.”
“Alex is my best friend. How could I not…” Meadow began, before choking back the tears. Dirk didn’t feel any better – maybe Orlando wasn’t as much of an expert as he thought.
“I shouldn’t have told you.” He said.
“You think?!” Meadow shot back, but she didn’t have the energy to feel angry, she just felt… alone. Unsure if he would be forced away, Dirk went to hug his friend.

Wrapping her arms around him, Meadow tried not to burst into tears. She sort of felt like she should be mad at Dirk, but she realised that she shouldn’t push away a friend like him. Underneath his sexist attitude and tough-guy exterior was a kind person that Meadow had once hoped to get to know better. But now she didn’t know what kind of guy would want to get to know her better, especially if word got out that she was a girl who turned their boyfriend gay.
“You haven’t told anyone else have you?” Meadow asked Dirk.
“No, I would never do that to you. I wanted to tell you because I didn’t want to see you get hurt.”
“I understand why you told me, I just wish I knew why HE didn’t.”
“You have to understand, I don’t think Alex felt guilty about what he did. In fact, I think he felt surprised I turned him down. He told me he wasn’t sure how he felt about you. Did you ever get that impression?”
“No! God, why can’t he be honest?” Meadow said feeling angry.

Not saying much of a goodbye, she left Dirk’s porch and passed Cassandra on the way out. Turning back, Meadow stared at Cassandra with a scorned glare, but Cassandra couldn’t understand why. As Dirk went inside, he passed Darren.
“Big celebration tonight, don’t make any plans.” He told his son.
“Don’t worry, I won’t.” Dirk said out loud. I don’t think anyone will ever want to go out with me again, he thought.
Darren went to greet his love but she stopped him. “Why was your son hugging my brother’s girlfriend? I’ve stood back so far and said nothing about his cavalier attitude, but I draw the line at him going after my brother’s girlfriend.”

“What? No! I… just think those two are friends. I mean, I know they’re only friends. Dirk wouldn’t want to steal Alex’s girlfriend. He’s a good guy, really. Besides, what makes you think Alex’s girlfriend would even cheat on him?” Darren managed to deflect all of Cassandra’s accusations away from him and turn them back against herself.
“I never said that! I think those teenagers have enough going on in their lives without us causing more gossip. Now, what was it you wanted to show me?” Darren smiled, as he led Cassandra inside and up the stairs. “I hope you didn’t ask me over just so you and I would…” Cassandra started, confused at why she was being taken upstairs.
“Cassandra! Did you ever stop to think that I enjoy your company and value your opinion? I wanted to share with you my great news.” Darren said, stopping in front of his easel.

“I just sold three of my paintings for over one-thousand simoleons. Isn’t that great?” Darren asked, showing Cassandra his works of art.
“Darren, that’s unbelievable!” Cassandra yelled excitedly, rushing to hug her fiancé.
“I think this might be the start of something big, Cassandra.” Darren thought out loud.

“The guy even wanted my painting of Mortimer. I figure that must mean that he thinks I’m so good that people will buy anything I paint.” Darren assumed. Cassandra wondered if Darren had understood the buyer correctly.
“Darren, he did buy your paintings exclusively didn’t he?”
“What do you mean?” Darren wondered.
“Well, it sounds to me like he might just go and auction off your paintings for even more money than he gave you.” Cassandra shared her thoughts, hoping that Darren wouldn’t be offended.
“You think?” Darren asked, sounding concerned.
“I’m afraid it sounds that way.” Cassandra sighed, but Darren’s smile got even wider.

“Then that means even more people will know about my work. You just wait and see, Cassandra, this is going to be it. Pretty soon, I’ll be selling paintings for big simoleons every week. I could even get Dirk to build me a website so I can sell them direct. Do you know what this means?” Darren asked, picking Cassandra up and spinning her around. Cassandra laughed, catching the excitement off of Darren.

“We can finally get married.” Cassandra said, assuming that’s what Darren meant. Darren put his fiancée down and paused.
“Oh, yeah. I didn’t think of that, I guess we’ll have enough money by next year to afford a decent wedding.” Darren answered honestly. Cassandra looked at him confused.
“Next year? I meant now, Darren, I thought you and I were going to get married as soon as possible. I mean, we have the money. What are we waiting for?” Cassandra asked him.
“Honey, I can’t put my life wants before those of my son.” Darren confessed.
“Excuse me?” Cassandra asked, feeling confused.
“This money’s for Dirk. I can finally afford to put him through college now, even without a scholarship.” Cassandra’s hopes of a beautiful Christmas wedding were shattered. She tried to hide her disappointment, as she congratulated Darren one more time.
“That’s great. He’ll really appreciate that.” Cassandra said through gritted teeth.

He had better, Cassandra thought, and looked at the painting of her father, wondering if he’d ever get to see her walk down the aisle.

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