Everyone in Landgrabb House slept late on Saturday.
When they finally roused themselves to breakfast, Chloe made them buttermilk pancakes (they'd all long since avoided the cafeteria food on weekends). After eating, they gathered in front of the TV, where Chloe demanded to watch the Food Network (which she thought was largely lame, but she was a devotee of Anne Burrell). "She's not only a great cook, but she looks like a normal person," Chloe insisted. "Besides, my boyfriend thinks she's hot."
Chloe--a serious multitasker--was reading "The Alinea Cookbook" while George and Tosha cuddled, Brit worked on a project, and Alvin read the morning paper. Meadow was, as usual, at Orlando's dorm.
"Oh, my God--that woman's knife skills are unbelievable!" Chloe cried.
"Hey--here's the review of 'Seven Brides'!" Alvin exclaimed. Reading from the paper, he said, "'A significantly pleasurable moment was provided by the handsome and lithe George McCarthy, whose finely tooled Northwest slapdance brought some needed authenticity to the proceedings.' Oh, George--there's a photo, too!"
The photo's caption was: "George McCarthy, airborne."
"Hah!--" said Alvin. "'Airborne'--that's going to be my new nickname for you, George." Tosha, laughing, buried her face in George's shoulder.
"Oh, the price of fame!" laughed George.
"Hey, sleepyheads!" Yulia called out as she came through the door.
"Gotta go, Tosh," George said as he got up from the couch. "Yulia has generously offered to give me a massage, and every single muscle I possess is sore."
Yulia had set up her table in the hallway. "Bet you're looking forward to your vacation," said George as he climbed on.
"Oh, I guess I forgot to tell you--we can't go, because Yuri's exam has been postponed a week--his professor was run over by the llama float in the parade. Do you and Tosha want our tickets?" Yulia offered.
"Thanks, but we're going to her cousin's wedding. Why don't you take that guy who came to the show with you last night--Bryan Katz? He seems nice."
"He's very nice," answered Yulia. "But he's just a friend."
"Nothing wrong with going on vacation with 'just a friend,'" teased George. "After all, you never know what will happen. Look at me and Tosh."
"Okay," Yulia called out to her brother. "Bryan's here, so I'm off!"
"Hey," Yuri cautioned, "Rebecka's on her way over--don't let her see you leaving with Bryan."
"Why on earth not?" asked Yulia, confused.
"Because I don't want her to get any ideas about my taking her on vacation."
Yulia gave him a wry smile. "Is the water getting a little hot in the pot for the froggy?" she teased.
"She just moves a little fast for me, that's all," Yuri replied.
So, Yulia had Bryan go out the front door, and she herself went out the back.
But Rebecka, who seemed to be standing guard in front of Pinenut Plaza, still caught them. "Damn!" Yulia muttered to herself as she got into the airport shuttle.
To save money, Yulia had chosen the Blossom Wood Hotel, which was not on the beach,
but had a small pool. "Last one in's a rotten llama!" Bryan cried cheerfully. He changed into his swimsuit in the men's room, and hit the pool,
while Yulia checked them in.
Bryan had been thoughtful enough to reimburse Yulia for the cost of Yuri's plane ticket, and he offered to pay half the hotel bill. After checking in, Yulia went up to the room, changed into her swimsuit, and joined Bryan in the pool.
They paddled around for awhile, then Bryan suggested, "Shall we go see your dead pirate buddy?"
Yulia had been disappointed to discover that, after her first trip to the island, she hadn't learned the Sea Chantey well enough to teach it to others. This trip, she did.
They played on the pirate ship for a while, then went to the Twikkii Beach Hotel (the expensive hotel Yulia had stayed at with her parents) to use the beach.
A native instructed Yulia on the finer points of building a sandcastle ("My father's an architect, but I didn't inherit any construction skills at all!" she told him), and then the man attempted to show Bryan how to "hang loose" island style.
It didn't take. "I'm afraid I'm just not cut out to be cool, Yulia!" Bryan laughed.
"Cool is overrated, as far as I'm concerned," replied Yulia. "You're a good person, which is much more important."
They ate at the food stand at the Double Palm Resort, then Yulia went in search of the masseuse so she could learn another massage technique.
When she was done, she joined Bryan in the sauna. "I learned a new massage, but unfortunately it's not very portable--you have to get the rocks pretty hot, and I'm not sure how I'm going to do that." She explained to Bryan that she liked to take her massage table around to her friends' dorms.
"You mean Tosha Go doesn't mind you having your hands all over her hottie boyfriend?" Bryan teased.
"Tosha's got more sense than to be worried about me," Yulia retorted. "Though I don't think she'd let Rebecka Louie get her hands on George."
"What's your beef with Rebecka?" Bryan asked.
"Oh, I don't know that I have one, per se. It's just that I don't think she's right for my brother."
Bryan stayed quiet and just looked at her.
"Well, I guess it's that I think she's a bit aggressive," said Yulia. "And a bit fake. Not to mention a golddigger."
Bryan coughed. "Gee, Yul--tell me what you really think!"
"Do you know her at all?" Yulia challenged.
"Yes," Bryan admitted. " I lived in her dorm for a while. She's got some good qualities--for instance, I think she'll be a big success in business some day. She's got a lot of drive and energy, and loads of charisma."
"But?" Yulia prodded. "Because it's obvious there's a big 'but'."
"Well," said Bryan, uncomfortably. "I was talking to Randy London the other day--he's a friend of yours, right?"
"We're good friends. We grew up together," replied Yulia.
"Then you know that Randy is completely focused on money. And so is Rebecka. So--since Randy doesn't have a girlfriend yet--I asked him whether he had ever considered Rebecka. I mean, she's beautiful--"
"She's not beautiful," Yulia interrupted.
"Okay," Bryan corrected, "she's hot, in that way that guys like."
Yulia had no response to this.
"Anyway," Bryan continued, "I asked Randy why he wasn't interested in her. And he said--and I quote--'I'm afraid if we had a business together, she'd steal it out from under me. And if you can't trust someone as a business partner, you certainly can't trust her as a life partner.' And Randy's call on that is good enough for me."
"As it is for me," Yulia seconded.
They returned to the Double Palm Resort the next day to relax in the hot springs.
They ate at the Twikkii Beach Boardwalk and did some souvenir shopping (and were caught in a terrific hailstorm).
That evening they ate dinner at the Twikkii Beach Hotel, where Yulia had made reservations. The maitre d' remembered her from her family's stay at the hotel the previous year, and made a huge fuss--"Oh, Miss Andropova! How delightful to have you here again--is your ravishing mother with you? Will you be staying with us??" He went on and on as he ushered them to their table.
"Well, that was embarrassing," said Yulia, sliding into her chair. "My mother's really beautiful," she said to Bryan, by way of explanation.
"I know what your mother looks like, Yulia--I've seen her picture in the paper many times."
The waiter came over to take their order, and to present them with a bottle of champagne "Courtesy of the house--we are so delighted to see you again!"
"Your mom must be a great tipper," Bryan said under his breath.
"I think they think we're a couple," Yulia observed.
Bryan looked up. "We're not, right?"
Yulia cocked her head. "If you have to ask...."
"I mean, if you wanted a boyfriend I'd sure be happy to apply for the position, but--unlike a lot of girls--you don't seem to need one. You seem just fine alone."
"I want what my parents have--Daddy says he fell in love with Mother at first sight. And Mother," Yulia laughed, "says she always knew Daddy 'have good potential.'" She mimicked her mother's Russian accent.
"That kind of a relationship doesn't come along every day," advised Bryan.
"I know that," responded Yulia. "But my studies take up a lot of my time, so I'm happy to wait. In fact, if I'm alone all through college that'll be fine with me."
The next morning Yulia checked them out of Blossom Wood Hotel and they returned to school.
"Wow, you've really inherited Mother's nose!" Yuri was killing time waiting for the airport shuttle by pestering his sister while she worked on a term paper.
"I love Mother's nose," Yulia said without looking up.
"Well, that's fortunate, because from this angle there's a lot to love!"
"Don't you have a plane to catch?" Yulia inquired.
She had returned from the islands to discover that her brother was in fact taking Rebecka Louie on vacation. Apparently, after Rebecka had spied Yulia and Bryan leaving together in the airport shuttle, she "let slip" to Yuri that she was considering going on vacation with Ashley Pitts.
"Ash and I are just friends, but, you never know," she said with seeming indifference. That had been enough for Yuri, who had grown increasingly intrigued by this girl.
After Yuri and Rebecka left for the airport,
Yulia finished her work and went to bed, trying not to worry too much about her brother.
Yuri had booked a room at the Double Palm Resort, which had very good amenities for the money--a food stand, hot springs, and a decent pool.
While he checked in, Rebecka checked out the hotel.
"Pretty low-rent by my standards," she said to herself. "But I'll make the best of it."
They decided to relax in the hot springs after their long flight. Rebecka intentionally sent the conflicting messages of donning a skimpy bathing suit and sitting quite some distance from Yuri.
She chattered gaily about school, the stock market, and the art world, occasionally stretching her long, tanned limbs out of the water, displaying herself to her best advantage. Yuri couldn't take his eyes off her.
"Let's get some food," he suggested. "Do you want to go to the food stand, or get room service?"
"Either one is fine with me," answered Rebecka. She made a big production of getting out of the water.
"That's a verrrrry attractive bathing suit. You could be on the cover of Sports Illustrated."
"What a lovely compliment!" Rebecka squealed.
He grabbed her and kissed her, and Rebecka abandoned all pretense that she was fine with being "just friends" with Yuri.
This continued upstairs in their room,
and on the bed,
and one thing led to another.
Afterwards, while Yuri showered, Rebecka consulted her copy of "The Rules for Women" for advice on her next move.
That evening, they returned to the hot springs,
until hotel management asked them to leave the public area. "Sir, there are children present!"
The next day, after they made a spectacle of themselves in a hammock that could easily be seen by everyone lunching at the food stand, hotel management asked them to find other accommodations.
"You're suspiciously untanned for someone who just spent a couple of days in the tropics," Yulia said to her brother over breakfast.
"Never left the hotel, little girl," Yuri replied with an air of satisfaction. "In fact, we hardly left our room."
NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Join us next week as Yuri starts his own art gallery, Yulia gets a new "project partner", and the romance heightens for Meadow and Orlando.