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After my birthday, I decided to give into the peer pressure from my sisters and give myself a makeover. I couldn’t stand hearing Jo complaining about how I needed to lose the hat and adopt a more fresh and sophisticated look now that I was a young adult so I lost the hat. I also change my t-shirt, and that was basically it. I guess it wasn’t really much of a makeover but, hey, I like wearing t-shirts and jeans and comfortable boots so sue me!

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Izzy had a makeover as well but I think she did hers better than me. Dad gave her a disapproving look when he saw how revealing her outfit was but he didn’t say anything to her. I think he understands that we’re adults now so he has to give us a little more leeway. I thought she looked great. If only I had her confidence. And her body! People say we’re practically identical for fraternal twins but there’s no way I could look even remotely as pretty and sexy as her if I wore that outfit.

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My internship in the Scientific Research Program was to begin in a week leaving me with a lot of free time to work on my hobbies. One of my favourite hobbies besides gaming was collecting. Our neighbourhood was a breeding ground for crystals, gems and fossils as long as you knew where to dig. My goal was to try to complete a collection. At the moment, I’m not sure which collection I’m aiming for but right now I’m just collecting every new thing I can.

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Cyrus tells me I should try to complete the MySim collection because he read somewhere that it’s the easiest one to complete and I won’t have to travel all around the world to get all of them. He and I have been talking practically every day now whether it’s through text or calls. He’s become kind of like my best friend. Well, my sisters still come before him, but he’s a close third.

And today I received some amazing news from him!

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I was so happy to learn we were going to work together and even happier to finally get to meet him in person. We talked about arranging a meeting before but since we lived in different towns that would mean one of us would have to travel to the other and both of our parents were wary of us travelling to a different town to meet someone we met online and they were against it. Now that we’ll be working together I think that should be enough for my Dad and his Mom to not worry.

I was already looking forward to going to his party on Saturday. I thought about getting Isabel to go with me so that way I wouldn’t be going alone and Dad wouldn’t have any reason to be concerned. He was out in the garden when I decided to ask him and so was Isabel. I knew I could count on her to back me up so it was a good thing she was already there.

“Hey Dad, you have a moment?”

“Vee, we’re going to Windenburg!” Isabel squealed in excitement.

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“What?” Did she just say ‘we’?

“Yes! Isn’t this awesome! Our Aunt Leni just spoke to Dad and she wants us to stay with her in Windenburg for the next few days.”

“But I won’t have time to go on a trip. I have to start my job on Monday.”

“I told her that.” Dad added. “So she managed to reserve two tickets leaving tomorrow night and you’ll be back by Sunday afternoon so you won’t miss work.”

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“But… I have plans for the weekend.” Cyrus’ party was on Saturday and I didn’t want to miss it as it would be our first opportunity to meet in person before we start working together.

“Seriously Vee? This is Windenburg we’re talking about. You were so excited to go the first time and you couldn’t shut up about it for weeks after we returned home.”

“I know but this is kinda sudden. Out of nowhere some aunt that we barely remember just buys us tickets to come visit her in a foreign country? Isn’t that weird?”

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“It’s not weird Ivy.” Isabel clearly had her mind made up. “She wants to get to know us better and I think we should take advantage of this opportunity to meet and build a relationship with our extended family.”

“Izzy is right.” Dad joined in. “Your Aunt Leni is a good person. I have been speaking to her regularly since your mother died and she genuinely wants to have a relationship with her nieces. She bought these tickets as a late birthday present for the both of you.”

“Yes so we’re going and that’s it!” Isabel gently commanded. “Whatever your plans are you can always do them another weekend.”

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She was right. Cyrus and I could always get together on another weekend. I really didn’t want our first meeting to be at work since we probably won’t have a whole lot of opportunity to spend time together since we’d be working. I suppose we could always hang out after work. Plus Isabel was already thrilled about going so there was no way I could refuse.

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I’m glad he understood. Cyrus was such an easy going guy that I knew he wouldn’t be mad. Or was he? You can’t really tell a person’s tone through text. What if he really didn’t understand and was angry with me? But then he sent me a link to a funny video and I realised I was overthinking as usual.

Once we arrived in Windenburg we were escorted from the airport to a port so we could take a speed boat to the island where our Aunt’s house resided. She lived on the island just a mile away from the mainland of the city.

When we got off the boat we saw her waiting for us in her front yard. Seeing her in person for the first time in years brought back fond memories of when she used to live with us when we were little. Now that I think about it, we actually had more childhood memories of Aunt Leni than we did with Mum.

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“Aunt Leni!” Izzy greeted her with a hug.

“Isabel! Ivy! I’m so happy to see you both after so long!”

“Thanks for inviting us to stay with you. It’s really nice of you.” I said to her. She looked just as I remembered with the same long hair and bright green eyes. She was, of course, older but still bubbly in personality.

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“Oh don’t thank me. My offer was purely selfish.” She laughed heartily. “I haven’t seen you two in so long and when your Dad said that the two of you have a week off before starting your jobs that’s when I had the idea to bring you guys out here. Because my daughter has school and my husband’s work schedule is really hectic right now I can’t afford to take time off for a vacation right now but don’t worry we’ll have plenty of time to do fun things this week while Kirsten is in school.”

Even if we didn’t get to go anywhere off the island that would be fine by me because the house was amazing. There was an upper deck with an amazing view of the island and the ocean surrounding it. Plus there would be so much stuff to do there. Isabel can lounge on the sandy beaches while I can go around and see what kind of collectibles the island had to offer.

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Aunt Leni’s husband Ayden is really nice. He works a lot so the only time I’ve ever seen him was when he was either getting ready to go to a concert or just returning home from one. Their love story is the stuff of romance films. They were friends in high school who fell in love, got engaged right after graduation but then broke up because they were too young at the time for marriage, then reconciled a few years later and got married, struggled with infertility for years until they finally had their daughter, and now it seems as if they found their own happily ever after.

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It’s great to hear stories of true love like that. My parents weren’t much of an example for me when it came to relationships. They were always estranged from ever since I can remember.

I ended up getting sick shortly after I arrived. It was a food allergy that left me with a fever and a nasty rash. I had to see a doctor who put me on three days bed rest and a prescription for antibiotics.

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Because of my sickness, I was stuck at the house on bedrest. The rash went away within a day but the fever remained so while I was lounging around the house Isabel and Aunt Leni got to go out and about the town shopping, having lunches at cafes, clubbing at night time and going swimming at the bluffs on the hot afternoons. Sure they always brought me back stuff and told me all the stories from their adventures but I still felt a little jealous that Izzy was getting to spend so much time with her and I wasn’t.

Instead, I was stuck with my monster of a cousin, Kirsten, who at first seemed like a little sweetheart…

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…Until she revealed her true colours.

“Did you move my stuff?” She asked in a disgruntled tone.

“No, I haven’t been in your room.”

“Are you sure? Because my dolls aren’t where I left them so that means someone moved them!”

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“Why the heck would I move your dolls? Do I look like I play with dolls?”

“You look like a dweeb and dweebs like you like to provoke little girls by messing with their stuff!”

I was getting agitated by her attitude towards me. Maybe I’m just spoiled by Gabriel’s sweetness and politeness because I could not for the life of me understand why this child flipped out over the littlest of things.

“Listen, little girl, I’ve had enough of your attitude. I’m your cousin, your older cousin, and you will talk to me with respect, otherwise I’ll tell your mother about how rude and disrespectful you are.”

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“Go tell her, see if I care. You better not touch my stuff again Ivy!”

“I didn’t touch your stuff!” I yelled but Kirsten had already left the room. What an attitude she had on her. And she only behaves that way with me. I’ve never seen her talk back to either of her parents or even be rude to Izzy. She likes Izzy! They’ve become BFFs in a matter of days. Just imagine, she lets Izzy go into her room and use her dolls and stuffed animals while they’re playing but then yells at me for touching her stuff when I wasn’t even anywhere near it!

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I tried to avoid being around her as much as I could, choosing to spend my time chatting with Cyrus on Simbook. I never wanted a Simbook account because I didn’t like social media. The idea of a bunch of people who aren’t really your friends in everyday life being able to see and comment on your pictures and status made me uncomfortable. Even my sisters couldn’t convince me to sign up for one even though they tried to pressure me into it for months before eventually giving up. The only reason why I changed my mind was because it was the only way for Cyrus and me to communicate with the data on my cell phone being too unreliable here on the island.

“You really like this guy, huh?” Izzy said as she sat down next to me.

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“He’s my friend.”

“Sure.”

“What?”

“Nothing. Don’t you think he’s a good looking guy?”

I shrugged. I tried to play it cool but Cyrus really was kinda cute. In all the time we’d been chatting with each other I never saw his picture and I had no idea what he looked like. But then I joined Simbook and saw his profile pic and I was impressed. I don’t know what I expected him to look like, but certainly not what I saw and it made me wonder what a guy as handsome as him was doing talking to a plain Jane like me.

 “Ivy, you’re so full of it!” She laughed.

“What?”

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“You like him a lot. I can see it on your face. Don’t lie.”

“I’m not lying. Yes, I like him. He’s my friend and soon we’ll be co-workers so I don’t want things to be weird. I think it’s best if we don’t cross that line.”

“Whatever. Soon you’ll come crying to me saying ‘Oh Izzy I’m so in love with Cyrus, the hottie I met online, oh what to do?’”

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We both laughed and then moved on to talk about something else but Izzy was right. I do like him a lot more than just a friend and I think I started feeling this way long before I even saw his picture but I kept telling myself it was foolish to have a crush on someone I’ve never seen. Now that I have seen him, and now that we will be working together, as excited as I was initially I’m nervous about meeting him in person and having a more unplugged relationship with him now. Obviously, he doesn’t feel the same way, and why would he? I’m sure there are more attractive girls throwing themselves at his feet for him to bother with me. Come Monday morning it’s going to take a lot from me to keep my feelings in check. Until then I was going to enjoy the rest of my vacation here in Windenburg.

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