Lance shut the laptop and pulled back from his desk with a sigh. "That's that, then. I'm fired."
"You're WHAT? They can't!"
"Just did. No more Ambassador. No more big car, no more Embassy. We have to move. Right away."
Elenore was distraught. "How can we afford to keep Piers, our butler, on?"
"Don't fret. I'll think of something."
"I'll go talk to him. Oh. Don't worry, he's already left!"
"But why did they sack you?"
"Some disagreement with - erm. Influential people. Don't worry, I'll get online and call in a few favours."
"Maybe I should get a job?"
"YOU? My dear, what would you do?"
"What I've done for you all these years; keep you organised!... Let me look at the paper. Perfect! I'll be a professional Blogger!"
"You can't write!"
"Does that matter? Pfah! I can take a course."
Eleonore sighed and began to pack the finest ornaments in tissue paper.
"No, we have to leave everything here; that's part of the deal. All we can take is the cats and our clothes."
"I've had a message from a friend who works at the Studios. They need me to play a small part. I'll see how that goes. And what about the cats? It will really unsettle them, moving out!"
They looked at a few houses but there really was not much choice. In the end, Lance's former employers made it clear they would have to leave Manu Valley.
"We're living in Ruffling Water now. Yes, renting - I'm hoping to buy something soon. No, we had to leave. I can't work in Politics any more. I was hoping you might have some opportu... Oh. I see. You know of anyone else who might be... oh. Well, good to talk to you. Let's catch up sometime... oh. Bye then."
They rented a house for a few weeks while looking around, but Eleonore was quite broody. The house had all kinds of baby furniture and she kept giving Lance "the Look".
"It's my biological clock, you see. If I don't have a baby soon, I never will!"
But they couldn't. No matter how hard they tried. Lance privately thought Eleonore was getting too old anyway and in spite of all her efforts to look younger, she was just "past it".
She joined the Stylist Profession. "This town NEEDS my skills!"
In spite of, or perhaps because of all his contacts, Lance was unable to get a job.
"I'm a political bird. It's hard to find work doing anything else."
"You can't get a job, and you can't make me pregnant. What use are you?"
"We have enough money that neither of us needs to work. And I have news for you; I've arranged to adopt a little boy."
"A boy? A baby?"
Lancelet was in fact Lance's clone.
Eleonore was more or less appeased. Lancelet was a sweet little boy, bright and helpful.
"I know what you want."
Lance went to the future for a quick look around. Came back with some seeds, some Nanos and an illness. He was constantly dizzy and felt as if he was winking in and out of existence.
The world is Legacy Island III by RFLong, available on the Exchange.