A/N: As the story begins, we're assuming the castaways have been living on the island for approximately a year... in medias res, so to speak. They've accepted their lot in life, come to terms with the fact they are not going to be rescued, and they've realized they need to forge a new society and are working toward that goal.
I'm sorry if the story seems disjointed. Sometimes the gameplaying happens a lot faster than the storylines can be developed. ;)
Warnings: teen/adult romance. I do have Inteen installed now, and this is the first time I've ever really played with it for any length of time. I'm using it here because of the lack of adult females in this Prosperity neighborhood, and also because it seems to make sense in this situation (assuming this situation would exist, lol.) Hopefully it won't be too offensive to anyone. :)
Round One: The Less Family
Hope Less was finding her new life on the island, overall, to be very good.
When she wasn't helping her grandfather with the vegetable garden,
gathering food for her family,
or helping her father and grandparents look after her younger sisters,
... she liked to lie on the beach,
... and spend time with her new best friend, Rose Petal.
Rose had lost her parents in the shipwreck, and was doing her best to raise her two younger sisters on her own. Since Hope had two younger sisters herself that she was helping to raise, she understood Rose's responsiblities, somewhat.
However, while Hope had both her grandparents and her father, Rose had no one.
"It's so hard, sometimes, Hope. There are nights I don't go to bed at all, because it's the only time I have to do anything for myself or even do things like clean the house or wash the clothes."
"That has to be terrible, Rose."
"It is." Rose hesitated, then continued. "Your father is a big help to me, though. He brings food and supplies...
... He even volunteers to watch the girls so I can get out of the house and do things with you. He says we all need to help each other here, because we're all we have." She sighed. "He's been a real comfort to me."
"You're so lucky to have him, Hope. He's a wonderful, caring man."
Hope gazed at her friend. She knew her father was spending a lot of time at Rose's house, helping with the younger girls and bringing what provisions he could.
Hope assumed it was because her father felt a paternal type of responsibility toward Rose, seeing as how she was his oldest daughter's best friend.
The tone of Rose's voice, however, suggested something else entirely.
Hope shook her head to dispel the thought. No, Rose likely just had a simple crush. Surely her father wasn't reciprocating it. Surely!
"I'm glad he's been there for you, Rose. You know if you need anything, you can count on us."
"I know that, Hope... and I'm so grateful for it."
Hope understood how Rose felt more than she let on. She also had a crush on an older man...
One of the island's scientists... Lazlo Curious.
Hope had first met him while exploring a derelict pirate ship that had washed up on the beach. The two of them searched the wreck for usable resources together, decided there was nothing worth taking, and ended up spending the afternoon sitting on the sun-warmed wooden deck... just talking.
That night, Hope dreamed about him... and the next day he was all she could think about. His swarthy skin, his dark hair... his sense of fun and adventure...
She was thrilled when, a few days later, he stopped by to see if she wanted to accompany him to his "special fishing spot." Even though all they did was fish that day, the attraction between them was undeniable.
Hope fervently wished she was older... even just a few years...
...but when Lazlo kissed her as they stood on the beach in the glow of the moonlight a few weeks later, she decided the age difference didn't matter.
Apparently, Lazlo felt the same way.
Sleeping together wasn't something they set out to do, but Hope didn't regret it whatsoever. Lazlo was so gentle with her, and afterward when he pulled her close to him and whispered "I love you," in her ear, Hope knew she wanted nothing more than to be with him always.
Still, she worried. What would her father say?
Meanwhile, Cheer and Joy were thriving under the care of their father, grandparents, and older sister.
Joy seemed to struggle with some emotional issues at first...
"Oh, I just love you, Coconut Monkey!"
"What? What did you do? Bad Coconut Monkey! Bad!
"And that! See if you do ever that again!"
"Oh, poor Coconut Monkey! Did you get hurt?"
"Oh, I just love you, Coconut Monkey!"
...but for the most part, Island life agreed with Cheer and Joy.
Cheer soon grew into a gregarious and curious child, and while walking on the beach one afternoon, she made quite a suprising discovery.
"Oh my gosh!" she squealed. "Are you... are you really a mermaid?"
"Mer-boy." The creature wrinkled up his somewhat flat nose in disdain. "Not maid. I'm not a girl."
"But you're... you... you have a tail!"
"Yes..." the young merperson frowned. "And you don't!" He looked at Cheer somewhat wistfully with his large eyes. "What's it like to walk on land?"
Cheer sat down in the wet sand near the water's edge. "Well, it's cold... sometimes. Look, I get goosebumps! What's your name?"
"Reef. What about you?"
"Cheer. Um... Are there more mermai... I mean, people like you... around here?"
Reef stroked his fins and shrugged. "There's my mother and father... and my older sister. I suppose there are more of us somewhere, though. We go to a Gathering every now and then. But we all live sort of separate."
"I've never seen any humans before." Reef seemed just as curious about Cheer as Cheer was about him.
Cheer smiled. "Do you think we can be friends?"
Reef grinned back. "Yes!"
"Cheer!" Penny's voice called. "Cheer, come in the house! It's time for dinner!"
"I have to go." Cheer stood up slowly. "Will you come back?"
"I sure will!" Reef laughed, splashing as he turned over in the water and dove out of sight.
Cheer walked back to the hut, thinking about Reef. She wasn't sure if she should say anything about him to her family or not.
Maybe it would be fun to have it be her little secret... for now.
"Grandma, I'm seeing someone." Hope said unceremoniously as she sat on the sand beside her grandmother. "I'm seeing someone," she repeated, "... and I think it's serious. I love him and I think he loves me. But I don't know how to tell Daddy,"
"He's a lot older than I am, Grandma. Eight years."
Penny sighed and smiled. Hope wasn't telling her anything she didn't already know. She was well aware of her granddaughter's budding romance with the young scientist, Lazlo Curious. Penny had met Lazlo on several occasions, and she realized that although there was the age difference to contend with, Lazlo was a respectable, kind, decent young man.
"You know, Hope, when I was a girl, it wasn't unusual for this sort of thing to happen. It's really not as bad as it seems. It might have been frowned upon in our former society, but we're not in the same situation we were in a year ago."
"But Daddy will have a fit. I know he will. There's no way he'll accept this."
Penny looked away. "Oh, I don't think he'll have much to say about it, Hope."
"Well... let's just say he's become interested in someone a bit younger than himself these days. I can't say I exactly approve, of course, but there's simply not many options for romantic partners here on this island, and..."
Hope's heart sank. "Who is it?" she demanded, although she already knew. "It's not... Oh, Grandma! Is it Rose?"
"Calm down, Hope."
"What do you mean, calm down? She's my best friend! How could she?" Hope stood up angrily. "Oh my God... my own father!"
"Hope... sit back down." Penny demanded. Hope obeyed.
"Now, Hope... don't you want your father to be happy?"
"Yes, I do, but..."
"Then let it be. I told you, the situation here on this island is different than how it was back home... back in our other home. We've basically gone back in time here... and the rules have changed. Rose is a beautiful and sweet girl, and she makes your father very happy. He feels guilty enough without you adding to it."
Hope refused to be mollified. "But why didn't Rose tell me?" she whined. "She's supposed to be my friend, and I can't believe..."
Penny grew stern. "She probably figured you'd act just like this, Hope. I'm telling you to let it be. Didn't you just get through telling me about your relationship with Lazlo Curious?"
"Well, yes... but he..."
"Let it be, Hope. Your father will be more likely to understand that, if you are understanding."
Hope knew that was true.
"If you like, I'll even break the news to your father," Penny continued. "... about Lazlo, and about Rose. It will be good to get everything out into the open at once."
"Oh, Grandma... could you?"
Penny smiled. "Of course. I'll tell him tonight after everyone is in bed."
More to come...