Gabriel, feeling slightly better after having paced for the better part of an hour, goes out to the garden to sit under the sun. He finds Kyungri already sitting there and joins her, wanting to get something off his chest.
Gabriel: You know, Kyungri, we’ve had our disagreements…
Kyungri: Oh, have we? What was it that you said to me that one time? That I hide my lovers in my fake tits? Or did you call me a fake crone? Both? I can’t quite remember.
Gabriel: I don’t want you to think that I still think badly of you, I really don’t. I’m truly sorry I’ve antagonized you for so long. Do you think you can forgive me?
Kyungri: I love it when people beg. It’s music to my ears!
Kyungri: Oh, you. *hugs him* Of course. It’s all water under the bridge now.
Gabriel: That’s brilliant, thank you! After having worked with you a couple times, I’ve really grown to admire you. I hope you know that.
Kyungri: You know just what to say to get people on your side, I’ll give you that. You’re a clever guy.
Gabriel: We understand each other, then. Thanks for being so kind!
Kyungri: Don’t tell the others that I’m getting soft or anything, though…
Gabriel: You, soft? I’m 100% sure that your entire body is taut and smooth.
Kyungri: Good boy. Run along now!
After that fleeting glimpse of a kind Kyungri, the pair go join the others by the pool. All of the housemates have gathered by now, still basking in the glow of the new location and their good will toward each other. Matthieu and Harrison cuddle up on the edge of the pool, while Louise tells jokes to her friends, and Kyungri wonders when their lazy bliss will end.
Kyungri: So when do you think ajmkv will send a messenger dove to announce the challenge? Since he hasn’t actually shown up to give us the challenges for a while now.
Marjan: Ooooooh, do you think he’s going to send one of his birds? He seems like the kind of person to own birds, a lot of them.
Gabriel: The way your brain functions is truly beyond me.
Harrison: Do you think we should spend some time talking to the others?
Matthieu: We’re out here with them already, I think it’s OK if we don’t say much.
Harrison: Good, because all I want to do is kiss you.
Matthieu: Let’s give them a show!
Jessie: So how long do you think those two are going to last after the competition is over?
Enzo: I don’t know, they seem like they’re really in love. It’s heartwarming, seeing these two being so cute with each other. I think Matthison is going to last for a while!
Jessie: I think so, too. Those two are inseparable. Where can I find someone like that?
Enzo: Your soulmate will come someday, you’ll see! And yours, Louise! Unless you’ve already found him?
Louise: I… er…. no! It hasn’t even crossed my mind, you know! There are much better things to do with your life than sit around waiting for some dumb man to come around and make you fall in love with him only to then—
Jessie: Lou, don’t…
Louise: I mean, yeah, no! I have other, better things to do.
Enzo: Forget I asked! I didn’t mean to make you anxious.
Louise: Anxious? Me? Never! I could find a man at any point in my life, you know?
Jessie: Um, sure. Just be careful!
Enzo: What exactly was that? I feel like I hit a nerve. That girl keeps too many things bottled up inside, she really should let her feelings be known a little more often! It would be good for her.
Marjan: …and that’s how I taught my parrot to answer the phone. It totally worked, too! Everyone thought it was me, it was so much fun!
Kyungri: …right. Well, Gabriel, you were telling me how investing in volleyball teams is a smart business move?
Later that night, the housemates are expected to be at a local bar to receive instructions about their challenge. They all show up, excited to see what the producers have in store for them, even though some of them have their minds on other things. They sit at the bar, sipping their drinks, waiting for someone to come talk to them, when they jump as they hear a voice coming out of the speakers.
ajmkv: Howdy, my beauties! Do you miss me? I’m so sorry I couldn’t be here this week—a tropical destination and I’m missing out?—but I’ve been turned into a Plant Sim and I can’t seem to get over the effects. We can’t exactly have me on TV looking like that, can we?
Kyungri: *under her breath* Surprise, surprise.
ajmkv: Anyway, I wanted to announce your challenge! This one is going to be exciting, so I hope you’re ready. In pairs, you are tasked to find your way back to the center of this lovely beachside resort. It may seem easy, but the jungle around here is thick and you could easily get lost! You all will be timed and your arrival times will heavily influence the callout order this week. However, that is not all… I said that you’ll be working in pairs, but not with someone you know. In fact, your partners are waiting outside!
ajmkv: Their names are Tyler, Cielo, Russ, Lara, Perry, Jennie, Branden, and Ayaka, and they’re all dying to meet you! Make sure you make a good impression on them, because I will be asking them for their opinions on you and they will influence your score this week. You won’t receive a map or anything to help you out; you need to work with your partner to be able to read the clues of nature and find your way back. The winner of this challenge will receive a special tropical photo spread in Vista Magazine! Also, don’t forget that Marjan has immunity and can choose one housemate to be up for elimination, so be extra nice to her! Before your challenge, though, we’ve planned a little party so that you can all meet your guests!
The guests walk in, and introduce themselves. Some of the housemates seem wary of these new people, but most of them relax when they see that the guests aren’t scary. At least, not all of them. A couple of them don’t seem to be too excited to be there.
Ayaka: Hey there, I’m Ayaka. I can’t say I’m too enthused to be here, especially because I can see that most of these people are probably going to be unbearable. I’m doing this as a favor to the production team, though, so I might as well suck it up and enjoy this… ride… as much as possible.
Russ: I’m Russ. I’m happy I was invited to be on here! I’ve wanted to apply to be on this show since Season 1, so this is a nice taste of what I would have here if I was competing! I hope that I can help out whoever I’m paired with. This will be fun!
The party gets going quickly, as everyone has a bit to drink. Music is playing loudly over the speakers, so many people get up to dance while they get to know each other. No one knows who they will be paired with, but everyone seems to be getting along so the housemates relax. There is some tension in the air, though.
Cielo: *voiceover* I wasn’t sure about coming on here, and now that I’m here I must say… this is an interesting collection of people. Interesting being a euphemism here. But I guess I can play nice for the night.
Most people are having fun, though.
Harrison: *voiceover* I’m having such a great time! I’ve been feeling self-conscious all throughout this competition, but everything is going well with my housemates, I like them all a lot, and I have Matthieu by my side, so really, could this be better? I finally feel like I belong here!
Meanwhile, Lara has been observing Marjan with a glint in her eye.
Lara: This is great! So many beautiful people around me, I feel like I’ve stumbled into some sort of secret society that only accepts gorgeous people. It’s such a visual smorgasbord and I’m laaaaaaaaaaahving it. Marjan especially is such a snack, ugh. Just so gorgeous!
Marjan, though she seems to be happy and enjoying the party, looks down at the floor and frowns several times during the night. She doesn’t say anything, though, and nobody notices at first.
Marjan: I just don’t understand what SHE’S doing here. I’ve been good!
After a long moment of silence from Marjan, Enzo thinks it’s odd that she’s not being her usual bubbly self, so he dances his way over to her and puts his arm around her, trying to brighten her mood.
Enzo: Yoooo, ‘sup, pretty lady? You enjoying the party bombardy?
Marjan: Whaaa…? Who’s getting bombarded?
Enzo: Why the long face?
Marjan: What? Oh! No, there’s nothing wrong, my face has just always been a little longer than everyone else’s, my mom always told me that!
Enzo: Really, Marjan, are you OK? You seem down.
Marjan: It’s really fine, Enzo. I’m just a little tired. But your energy is contagious!
Enzo: Hey, that’s just E-dawg for you. The life of the party!
Marjan: That’s for sure!
Enzo: Mhm, girl, you better shake those hips!
Marjan: I will indeed! And… Enzo?
Marjan: Thanks. For asking, you know. It gets hard to keep up the front.
Enzo: Anytime, really!
Enzo: I have no idea what’s bugging her, but I’m happy I could be there for her even for that brief moment. And I don’t know if it was just me, or what, but I feel like she was an entirely different person when she thanked me. I don’t know, but I feel like the real Marjan is much deeper than I initially thought…
Perry takes a break from dancing and sits down at the bar. He strikes up an animated conversation with the bartender.
Perry: So, you know, I was telling them that the money that we raised could be used to open up the center to children from the neighborhood! You know, no one’s really offered that sort of arts program to them before, and it would be awesome to see what they can do with it. I’ve seen some of the work produced by artistic kids before, and it’s really awesome, man!
Jessie: I’m sorry to intrude, but did I hear you talking about fundraising for the arts center in San Myshuno?
Perry: Yeah! You know the one?
Jessie: I’ve wanted to apply for a job there for a long time! I used to volunteer and fundraise for a lot of art centers in New York City before I moved over here.
Perry: Brilliant! I’m into filmmaking, what about you?
Jessie: Me too! I really love it. I wish I had been exposed to it at a younger age, but once I got started, it was so fulfilling. I want to be able to share that with the kids in my neighborhood, and with my little sister.
Perry: That’s the dream, right?
Perry: That Jessie, she’s all right! I really liked talking to her, she’s super laid back and I love that she and I do pretty much the same thing. I meet lots of artists in my city, but not a lot of people interested in film for some reason, so it was awesome to meet her. And she’s pretty cute, too!
The party continues.
Kyungri: *voiceover* I’m not really talking to anyone, but I’m having the time of my life! I look great, I’m a sexy little thing, and I know that all eyes are on me even when they’re not. I’ll have time to win the challenge tomorrow, but for now I’m OK with looking great and feeling great!
Louise has a lot on her mind, so she momentarily leaves the party to take a breather outside. She sits alone for a while, lost in her thoughts.
Louise: *voiceover* I don’t like feeling stupid, but I do right now. I was so hopeful and I can’t get over the rejection. It’s dumb! I guess I’m just lonely.
Branden: Is it OK if I sit here? It’s too hot in there!
Louise: Sure! Knock yourself out.
Branden: Thanks. What’s your name again?
Louise: I’m Louise. You’re Branden, right?
Louise: So, do you like our little group so far?
Branden: Yeh, you all seem pretty cool.
Louise: Just wait until you get to know us a little more, you might regret what you just said! *laughs*
Branden: We’ll have to get to know each other better, then!
Louise: Oh… that sounds great!
Branden: Yeh, I like that Louise girl. She seems chill. I wouldn’t mind getting to know her a little bit more.
Back inside, Gabriel is also dancing by himself, not really talking to the people around him. He’s lost in his thoughts, as well, but is mostly taking his nervous energy out on the dancefloor.
Gabriel: *voiceover* It’s eating me up, man. I feel like I really hurt her, and I feel like a jerk. I want to make things right with her, but I don’t want her to get the wrong idea. I really don’t know what to do, it’s just such a weird situation.
And while the party starts to die down, another housemate is outside taking a breather.
Russ: So, what did you say you do?
Harrison: I actually wish I could make a living writing music. I play the guitar as a hobby, but I’d love to make some money off of it.
Russ: No kidding! I actually busk around the city whenever I can. There’s nothing like performing your own music in front of an audience, even if most of them ignore you.
Harrison: That’s just so dreamy. I love the idea, but I’m too shy to do that!
Russ: You’re too shy until you do it once and then you get hooked on the feeling. You should come with me sometime, I can show you what it’s like!
Harrison: That’s excellent! I’d love to!
Russ: You’ll have to give me your number once you win this competition, eh?
Harrison: *blushes* Oh, er… of course! I don’t know about the winning part…
And while this conversation happens downstairs, someone upstairs stares out the window, waiting for Harrison to come back.
Matthieu: And just who does that Russ guy think he is? I don’t know what he’s doing talking to Harrison, but he better make sure that he doesn’t have any other intentions in mind…