How Lance Met Eskimo
by Lucy Jun
Lance had at that time a reputation throughout Paris for being an incorrigible playboy. He drifted aimlessly from one woman to the next, enlivening party after party with his unrivalled charm and youthful high spirits. Though only seventeen years of age, Lance was already on his own in the world, his wealthy parents having been tragically lost in a train wreck. Lance himself was relatively unfazed by his parents' loss. The truth is, he had only met the couple four times, and each time they were too busy makin' out to pay any attention to the poor boy. Lance had lived most of his life in a boarding school in America, where he had been known campuswide as a daring and handsome knave.
Several high-society aristocrats had had high hopes for marrying their daughters off to Lance: after all, he was well-to-do, good-looking and lacked relatives of his own who might reject the match. All that had to be done was to convince a seventeen-year-old boy that he was in love with a beautiful girl. This seemed a relatively easy task, especially with a boy such as Lance who was known to be delighted with most every girl he met. It was this enchantment with womankind that acted against these couples, in the end; no sooner would the young girl in question have Lance under her spell than the boy would find another girl who captured his fancy, and be off gallivanting once more.
Eventually, people got the hint and gave up on taming the wild Lance. "He will never settle down," they proclaimed, in French. Who could predict what would happen next?
"Good morning, young master," greeted Maurier, the butler. "Am I to presume you will be taking breakfast now?"
"Yeah, cool." Lance stumbled dreamily into the dining hall wrapped in a light blue bedsheet. Maurier followed, signalling to the other servants as he went. The kitchen chef went right into action, preparing a breakfast of Froot Loops and Coke.
As Lance munched on the brightly-colored cereal rings, Maurier sorted through the day's mail. "This looks interesting," he said finally. "A letter from Mademoiselle Jeanne Darkskies."
"You remember Jeanne, don't you, sir? She came to visit your parents two summers ago, a companion of your cousin Marienne. Jeanne was a bright little redheaded girl, about twelve then."
"Was she the really cheerful one?"
"Yes. You went sailing with her and she was infatuated with you."
"That hardly narrows it down. But I think I know who you mean."
"She says she just heard about your parents, and she offers her condolences. She says she's sorry she's so late, but the news doesn't travel to her quickly…. She's on some island in the Spanish Main, in training to become a pirate."
"Also, she wants to know if it would be quite all right if she came to see you this summer. She also asks if she can bring a friend from school… or as she puts it, 'my sworn rival, the personification of all the festering wrath in my soul.'"
Lance swallowed a big spoonful of sugar. "Whatever."
Jeanne dropped her suitcase on the floor as soon as she entered the foyer of the Redcloud estate. She had just endured a three-hour carriage ride with only one pit stop. Now she ran at top-speed through the mansion, remembering the fun she'd had there two years ago. She'd only been a little girl of twelve then, happy to play with any good-natured servants who would pay attention to her, and only interrupting her aunt and uncle's swimming and kissing to ask for money so she could go out on the town and impress the local children. And they had been impressed, hadn't they! This mansion out in the middle of nowhere, three hours from any civilized city, was only a fifteen minute walk from a little town full of little townies who loved to listen to Jeanne's glorified stories of her illicit city life.
Eskimo walked in behind Jeanne, and with a polite smile and how-do-you-do she let the butler take her bag. "Your friend has blasted off somewhere," the butler informed her.
"That's a good way to describe it." Eskimo looked around her in awe. "It's so big. Where do I go?"
"Anywhere you like, except the West Wing."
Eskimo nodded and headed up the stairs. On the second floor, Jeanne was flicking the blacklights on and off. "This wasn't here last time," she declared.
"What wasn't here? The blacklight?"
"None of this! Not the disco ball, or the shiny streamers, or the rising sun flag, or the miniature shark tank, or any of this. Lance must have redecorated when he got the house. Hey!" Jeanne's voice shifted suddenly into her usual high-pitched shout. "Let's go find him."
Lance awoke to the familiar feeling of lips pressed up against his face. He blinked and found himself staring into the big, blue-green eyes of a perky teenaged girl. "Morning, sunshine," she purred.
"Mmmnnmmngngh?" Lance blinked back the blinding sunlight, grabbed his sunglasses and put them on. His vision cleared. He became aware that the girl was perched on his stomach, hands resting on each side of his pillow. She stared down at him with those big green eyes of hers, a big grin on her face. "Unnngh," he gurgled decisively.
"Didja miss me?" Without waiting for an answer, she grabbed his hand and jumped up, pulling him up with her. "Grrr! Come on, big guy! Get up like a man!"
"Come on, Jeanne," Eskimo called out from the doorway. "Stop it. He just woke up."
"And I aim to keep it that way." Jeanne dragged the unresisting Lance out of bed and led him to the shower. "Otherwise, he'd just go back to sleep, and wouldn't wake up till two or three in the afternoon. And I can't wait that long! Isn't that right?"
"Wuzzzuuuggghh," Lance agreed.
Eskimo smiled to herself. She had an unusal first impression of Lance: instead of the dashing scoundrel seen by most people, she saw a tired, lazy teenager, just like any of the Academy boys. Therefore, she was not intimidated by his
oh dear. I've run out of writing ability