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Two: Lyric Adrift.

Where had the time gone?

So much for being a teenager. Lyric was a grown-up, now.

Yep. All grown up.

No more school. No more homework. No more pancake breakfasts before sunrise, or 5:00 AM showers, or scrambling out the door after the big yellow school bus to Pleasantview Preparatory Academy. She'd graduated.

No more report cards. Ever!

But is this what it meant to be an adult?

Mom's clothes? Empty days? Waiting for calls from her boyfriends that never came?

She'd KISSED those bastards. With tongue, even.

Jesus, it was just too unfair.

She still slept in the same tacky little twin bed in her parents' room. That hadn't changed, it felt like it never would. Basil and Hannah still talked from time to time about adding a second floor to the house, but there never seemed to be enough money. "Maybe next week," they'd say. But next week had a funny way of never coming.

One of the biggest drains on the family income was Aria, Lyric's newest little sister. She liked Aria. She kind of HAD to like her. Her days at home were usually spent with the baby. She'd been the one to potty-train Aria, not Mom or Dad. And the kid was cute, no doubt about it. Cute and talkative. But she was expensive, too. And Hannah was pregnant with her fourth, now. Basil still wanted a son, after all. Never mind they barely had room for the kids they already had.

Lyric was fed up, dammit. Maybe this was good enough for her hippie-shit parents, but she wanted better. She knew things had to change. She started with her clothes.

She slashed the family bank account in half down at The Well-Dressed Sim. New panties, a new bikini, brand new formal and everyday wear. One more day in Hannah's hand-me-downs and she'd set the kitchen on fire.

She changed her diet, too. Basil's massive gut was enough to put her off her mom's turkey dinners and spaghetti lunches. Lyric began cooking for herself. She wasn't any good at it, true, but at least the lackluster results would keep her skinny.

And she needed charisma. I mean, OBVIOUSLY. She needed SEX APPEAL. She practiced her romancing every day in front of the mirror. She was on a mission, now: She needed a sugar daddy.

Lyric knew early on that steady, 9-to-5 work would never be for her. She didn't have the brains or discipline, probably never would. What she did have was her father's insatiable drive to seduce. She'd seen him grope that skanky heifer Mary-Sue Pleasant at a dinner party, once. She'd never really forgiven him, but it had taught her a valuable lesson. People were easy. Like, in every sense of the word. All of 'em.

Except for one. Her other sister. The middle one.

Coda. Coda was not easy. It was very difficult not to smack Coda.

She was ugly, true, but that was cold enough comfort when she brought home A+ report cards every day. She had friends, too, more than Lyric remembered having at that age. And she ate up all the computer time, chatting and playing that monkey-stupid snowboarder game. And now, as if she wasn't obnoxious enough, she was talking about getting a job. At her age. A JOB. "Just to help out," she said. And you know, life sucked enough that she'd probably manage it.



She'd show that goody-goody, never-been-kissed, overachieving little mutant, one day.

She'd show her good.


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