1.4 – A Stiff Drink & Stiff Muscles

 After the absolute catastrophe that was Pepper and Chase’s short lived relationship, Pepper felt like the only thing she needed was a drink. A big one. Some of the girls at work had spoken about this new bar downtown, so Pepper hailed a cab and made her way to Rattlesnake Juice.

The room was packed, so Pepper pushed her way to the bar and ordered a Ridgeport with a double shot.


07-12-15_1:24 PM


What seemed like only a few drinks later, Pepper noticed that the room was empty, the sun was coming up, and that she’d been dancing on her own for quite a long time. With the buzz of the drink quickly dying down, Pepper’s embarrassment returned and she hastily got home and went straight to bed.


The following morning (or afternoon), Pepper felt horrific. A cold shower and a full plate of scrambled eggs certainly helped, but she still didn’t feel 100%. There was only one thing for it, the gym. Pepper knew that sweating it out and getting pumped would absolutely cure this hangover.


07-12-15_1:08 PM-2Pepper noticed a guy working out on the weight machine, and went over to ask about his technique.


“Hey, I’m Pepper, I was just doing some reps over there and noticed some of the stuff you’ve been doing. You seem to really know your stuff, are you a trainer?” Any part of her that usually got flustered and embarrassed was dampened by the fact that she knew it couldn’t get much worse than last night with Chase. Pepper had a new attitude – just go for it, she had nothing to lose.


“Hi there, my name’s J. Yeah, not J-A-Y, just J, dumb I know but blame my parents! I’m not a trainer, it’s all pretty much self taught. You look pretty fit yourself, wanna train together?”


Pepper liked this guy, he was funny. And cute too, but she’d learnt to not base everything on good looks and sweet nicknames. “Sure just J, let’s see what you’ve got!”


The next day was Sunday, and J rang her first thing in the morning.


“Sup Pepper! How are those muscles?”


07-12-15_1:30 PM


“I’m dying!!” Pepper laughed, hoping that J didn’t hear the flush of the toilet in the background – she hadn’t wanted to miss his call! “Honestly, those leg curls killed me!”


“Haha! Well, how about I come round to your place later and I’ll show you some sports massage techniques? It’ll help you recover loads quicker so you can get back in the gym!”


“Sure, sounds great. Come over whenever!” Pepper said, not mentioning the lack of walls. She’d decided not to bring it up, she didn’t think it was a big deal, so why should anyone else?


07-12-15_1:33 PM


J clearly didn’t think it was an issue either.


“Look Pepper, I’m fine, muscles are good to go, I’m so energetic – you must just be weak!”


“Yeah, yeah J, whatever!!” Pepper laughed. J was funny. Really funny. And Pepper just liked being around him.

“I’m not all brawn either! C’mon, bet I can beat you at chess.”


07-12-15_1:36 PM


And he did. A few times. Pepper got so competitive, they played long into the night just so that she could say she beat him once.

1.3 – Lies or Withheld Truths

 Trips to the library soon became a daily part of Pepper’s routine. With so much research to do, and no internet connection at home, she tended to stop off at the library straight after work, and stay there until late in the evening.


07-12-15_11:52 AM



“Hey Peps.”


“Oh, hey Chase. How’s things?”


“Yeah not too bad Peps, not too bad. How you getting on with that big old mansion of yours?”


“Uhh, yeah, great. Erm, there’s almost too much room, if you know what I mean, haha… ha.” Pepper cringed internally, why had she started off this lie in the first place? What was the point? Chase was going to find out sooner or later, if he didn’t already know.


“Sweet. Hey, I never got that phone call you promised me, what gives?’ Chase said, with a wink.


“Oh, erm, I don’t remember promising, haha, I mean I’m sorry, erm I don’t really…”


“I’m just messing with you Peps, chill. Besides, I’m sure you’ll be ringing me soon, right?” His eyebrows wiggled as a cheeky grin formed on his mouth.


“Yeah Chase, sure, I’ll call, whenever you want, ok.” Pepper blurted out, her face almost burning up with embarrassment. “Well, anyway, got to go, see you.”


“Hey wait up! I want to show you something!” Chase called out. “Come outside with me.”


07-12-15_11:56 AM


Two hours later, and Pepper was still laid outside on the cold, hard pavement, looking up at the sky with Chase.


“And that one there, that’s the Big Dipper. Can you see?”


“Yeah, it’s beautiful Chase. Why did you want to show me this?”


“Because Peps, I just thought that you would like it. I mean, they are beautiful. Just like you.”


Pepper’s tongue felt like lead in her mouth, but her heart almost melted in her chest. A small smile on her lips gave her away, and Chase replied with one of his own.


“Anyway, I have to go Peppy, I’ll see you soon yeah?”


“Yeah Chase, see you soon.”


07-12-15_12:07 PM


Work really began to take over Pepper’s life, and soon she realised that she simply didn’t have the time to go to the library every day. She needed to be able to work from home. She took a look at her bank balance, spent some time planning a budget, and managed to put aside enough for a basic chess set, and two wooden chairs.


She called the delivery company and placed the order, who said that they’d be with her tomorrow night. This was the first big purchase that Pepper had ever made, she’d never had enough money to think about something like this before, and the feeling of pride was almost overwhelming.


Finally, another day of work went by and Pepper was counting down the minutes until her chess set would arrive.  She was washing up that night’s dinner, when she heard a voice behind her.


“Peps?” Pepper froze. Chase. What was he doing here? She spun round to face him.


“Oh hi Chase, what are you doing here?”


“I’m dropping off your chess set. My dad runs the delivery company, and when I heard you’d placed an order I offered to do him a favour and drop it off. I really wanted to take a look at what you’d done with the place… now I can see for myself…”


07-12-15_12:12 PM-2


“Chase, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to lie, I was just embarrassed, and once I’d said it I didn’t know how to take it back. I’m sorry, I was just so ashamed.”


“What is there to be ashamed of Peps? If anything, I really admire you. You’re doing this all on your own, building up a future for yourself. You should be proud, not ashamed.”


“Really? You’re not mad at me?”


“I could never be mad at you Peps. Now, do I get to have a go on this chess set or what?”


Pepper exhaled a sigh of relief. She really had thought that Chase was going to leave and never speak to her again. She definitely learnt her lesson about being open and honest. Chase and Pepper played chess into the evening, and Pepper was pleased that her skills seemed to be improving – her boss would be happy in the morning.


“So, Chase, do you do deliveries for your dad a lot then? Are you going to be taking over the family business?”

“Oh, no, I’m not really the working type, I was never cut out for a full time job.”


“So what do you do then?”


“I’m a stay at home Dad, Melissa works and she earns enough to cover both of us and the kids.”


Pepper’s jaw nearly fell off.


07-12-15_12:14 PM


“Stay at home DAD?! Who is MELISSA??”

“I thought you knew, I guess not…”


“You’ve got children? And a wife?! And you thought that I just somehow KNEW?! ARE YOU SERIOUS???” Pepper screamed. She felt like she was about to explode.


“Chill Peps, what’s the problem?”


“DON’T TELL ME TO CHILL, CHASE. You don’t stargaze with someone, and tell them that they’re beautiful, and make up stupid nicknames like ‘Peps’, if you have a wife and children!! It doesn’t work like that!”


“It’s just a bit of casual flirting Pepper, I think you need to calm down.”


“GET OUT! NOW!” Pepper turned her back on Chase as the tears started to run down her face.


“I’m sorry, I just…”


“NOW!”

1.2 – Not So Bad After All

 Pepper called up the local furniture company, and ordered the cheapest, most basic items she could find. Because the things she ordered weren’t exactly popular items, they were all in stock and the delivery guy said they’d be round in an hour.

A lot of moving and grunting later (they didn’t stick around to help get things put together), Pepper’s very humble abode, looked a little more liveable. First things first, food!

07-12-15_9:40 AM-2

Once Pepper had managed to salvage a bite to eat, she began to think harder about her situation.

Ok, so if I’m really gonna make this work, I need cash, and fast. I wonder what job openings they’ve got at the moment.

So she quickly got online, and found an advert for an Agency Clerk. It looked simple enough, so she dialled the number straight away.

“Uh, hey, is this the company looking for an Agency Clerk? Yeah, ok, I’d like to apply for the role please. Monday? Yeah, I can be there on Monday. Ok, ok, see you then!”

07-12-15_9:42 AM

And just like that, Pepper was a full time employee of S.I.M.S Corp, with a real wage and a real uniform.

Hey, this real-life adult stuff isn’t as hard as I thought! What’s next? Huh, I need to do a bit of research before I start on Monday – off to the library I go!

With this new found positivity, Pepper felt she was unstoppable, and as she hopped into a cab to take her downtown she felt extremely optimistic about the future.

07-12-15_9:47 AM

Updating my status on Facebook to say how amazing my new life is… uh… I mean… researching really hard into new career path… Oh look at that cute guy in blue!

Pepper managed to stay focused to finish her research off, and then made a beeline for the ‘cute guy in blue’.
07-12-15_9:50 AM

“Hey, my name’s Pepper. Pepper Denniger.”

“Chase, nice to meet you. So, Denniger huh? You taken over the old place on the hill?”

“Uh, yeah, have you heard of it?” Pepper suddenly felt ashamed. It was one thing to brag to her friends back home about her life, but this guy knew the truth. She didn’t want him to know that she literally didn’t even have a roof over her head.

“Sure, everyone has. Your ancestors go back a long way with this town. How’s it going, fixing things up?”

“Erm it’s great, it’s going really well. I’ve got some really nice furniture, and the contractors are coming to fix up the roof next week!” Pepper lied.

“Oh sweet!” Chase replied, a broad smile breaking out across his face. “Well if you ever need a hand, just give me a ring, here’s my number. I’d be happy to come and help out.”

Pepper’s face turned a luminous shade of red. “Oh, wow, ok, well yeah, I mean sure, if you want, maybe sometime…”

Chase chuckled at her, “Well, see you around Peps.”

“Uh yeah, around, see you, bye.” She wanted the ground to swallow her up. How embarrassing! The cutest guy she’d seen so far, just gave her his number, and she couldn’t even string a sentence together!

It was definitely time for bed. Pepper flagged down another cab, and paid the small fare to the top of the hill. As she crawled underneath her blanket, warm dreams came quickly, and Pepper really began to feel that Oasis Springs wasn’t so bad after all

1.1 – Too Good To Be True

I still can’t believe my luck. Me… Pepper… owner of Denniger Manor… heir to the family fortune! I never knew my family were rich, but I’m not going to argue with this piece of paper in my hand. I mean sure, it doesn’t mention any money, but who has a manor without any cash?

The gravel crunched under Pepper’s feet as she made her way up the hill. She’d spent 7 hours on a coach from her old foster home in Sunset Valley, and was well and truly ready to soak into the luxury she knew would be waiting for her at the top.

07-12-15_9:26 AM

Oh look, that must be it! Mmm… it’s not as big as I thought it would be… maybe there’ll be more to it inside.

It was only as she was walking up the path to the front door, that Pepper realised she didn’t have a key. She dug the letter from Uncle Dennis out of her pocket.

Huh… no mention of a key in here. Perhaps someone’s in, I’ll just knock.

07-12-15_9:28 AM-2

The door wasn’t locked, and swung right open as Pepper knocked. “Hello? Helloooooo? Is there anyone home?” Pepper called out. She took the lack of response as a no, and stepped right in.

Oh my… Wow. This is really all mine?

Pepper had never seen such luxury in her life. The sofas were coated in the finest fabrics, and the television was bigger than her one bookshelf had been back at the foster home. She really couldn’t believe her luck.

07-12-15_9:30 AM

She quickly bounded up the stairs to pick out which bedroom she would have for her own.

“Oh my gosh!! You scared the living daylights out of me!!!” Pepper exclaimed, almost running into the man at the top of the stairs. “Didn’t you hear me call out when I came in? I’m Pepper, Pepper Denniger. You must be the butler? I’ve just arrived from Sunset…”

“WHO ON EARTH ARE YOU?”

“Excuse me! There’s no need to shout, do you have a hearing problem? I’m Pepper, I just told you.” she kicked her shoes off and bounced down onto the bed.

“WHAT ARE YOU DOING IN MY HOUSE?”

07-12-15_9:34 AM-3

“Stop shouting! What are you talking about? This is my house now, I inherited it, from Uncle Dennis. Surely you must know him?”

“WHO THE HECK IS UNCLE DENNIS?”

“Clearly there’s been some sort of misunderstanding here, I think you must have wandered in here by mistake. The door was open when I came in too, it’s an easy mistake to make. Is there someone I can call to pick you up? A carer perhaps?”

“Young lady I don’t know where you think you get off walking into my house, and accusing ME of being the crazy one, but you are sadly mistaken. I am Geoffrey Landgraab, this is my house. My family have lived here for generations. Now who are you, and what do you want?”

“I’m sorry, I think you’re the one who’s mistaken. I’m Pepper Denniger, I inherited this house and all the land and furnishings from my Uncle Dennis.” She fished the letter back out of her pocket. “See – Pepper Denniger, you are hereby given all of Dennis Denniger’s land, furnishings and property in its entirety – this is Denniger Manor, right?”

Geoffrey let out a snort, and began laughing almost hysterically.

07-12-15_9:34 AM

“What’s so funny?” Pepper snapped.

“Denniger… you think that… hahaha… this is… hahaha… Denniger Manor!” Geoffrey was almost in tears from laughing so much. “My dear, I’m afraid… hahaha… I’m afraid you’ve got this all very wrong. Didn’t they give you more of an explanation in that letter?”

“What do you mean? No, this is all I have…” She replied cautiously.

“Pepper, there is no Denniger Manor.” Geoffrey’s laughing subsided, and his tone became sad as he realised that Pepper really wasn’t joking. “The Denniger’s were a huge family, extremely rich and very powerful. But that was hundreds of years ago. There is nothing left of the manor now, only the land that it once stood on. That must be what you’ve inherited.”

“What?! There’s no house? No posh sofas or big TVs?”

“There’s not even one brick anymore Pepper, I truly am sorry, but it appears you’ve been led on a bit of a wild goose chase. If you want to see where the manor was, it’s right across the road. There are no trespassing signs, but I guess that’s your land now so you’re free to do what you want.”

Pepper had nothing more to say. She needed to see this for herself. She got up, and ran out of the Landgraab house and down the steps outside. Opposite the house, across the road just as Geoffrey had said, was nothing more than a barren piece of desert.

07-12-15_9:37 AM

This is really it, huh. I knew it was too good to be true. Nothing like that would ever happen to me, how could I have been so foolish?

Pepper opened her purse, and had a look inside. §1,800. That was it. That and a big dusty bit of land, were all that she had to her name. Pepper couldn’t bear the thought of going back to Sunset Valley, and facing the humiliation. As soon as she got the letter, she had very quickly informed everyone she knew how rich she was and how huge her new house was going to be. No, she could never go back there.

The only option was to stick it out here, and see what sort of life she could forge for herself in Oasis Springs.

Introducing Pepper

For my version of Pinstar’s Legacy Challenge, I’ll be following the rules Equality, Strictly Traditional, Democracy and Brood.

My founder is Pepper Denniger. She’s ambitious, athletic and a bit of a goofball.

Pepper Denniger

Pepper was orphaned as a baby, and spent most of her childhood moving between foster homes. When she turned 18, Pepper received a letter to tell her that her only living relation, her late father’s estranged brother Dennis Denniger, had passed away and that she had inherited the historic family home – Denniger Manor.

Pepper immediately packed what little she had, and set off for Oasis Springs, which is where her story begins…