None of the seven underworlds pay for a Cooking Channel subscription. Demons on the ruling council select a sim to provide them with a password in exchange for admittance into the First Underworld. The Grim Reaper, obviously, does not approve of this practice. – The Book of the Dead, Revised Edition
The next thing Alice knew, she was being bustled up on stage. Rory had somehow pulled off a costume change, Vlad and William stood off to the side, and…was it her imagination, or had the room just gotten three times as full?
“It’s not your imagination folks! The room did just get more lively now that the bake-off is about to begin! Is it the sims from the Spice Festival that our producers gave free t-shirts to? Who knows?” Rory shouted loudly, his arms spread wide.
Alice grimaced as the crowd began to cheer loudly. She hated this. Five minutes ago with Vlad, Alice had begun to relax. She was flirting! And Vlad was flirting back! And not because they were trapped in a jail cell together!
Alice turned. Rory, if it were possible, had grown even more animated. “So, Jimena, are you nervous about going up against such a strong baker for this challenge, which is technically not part of the contest but will totally be reviewed by our judge later?”
She put her finger to her mouth, tilted her head and pretended to think. Then she gave Rory, and the camera, a huge smile. “You know what Rory, can I call you Rory? I’ll admit that I am a little nervous. But it’s only because I’m standing so close to you!”
Rory returned her sickly sweet smile. “Oh my! It’s my job to host, not to make the contestants faint!”
She fanned herself briefly and then gave another high-pitched laugh. “Rory! You charmer! Well, I’m so excited to compete and really show my stuff. I know when most people look at me, they just see a pretty face,” she paused and gave the camera a solemn but pouty look, “But I’m more than that. And I plan to prove it!”
“That’s the attitude!” Rory shouted in agreement.
Alice watched their whole exchange with a burgeoning sense of unease. This was a nightmare. She was caught inside an actual, living, nightmare.
“And how about you Alice? Ready to show this beautiful but totally laid-back supermodel/actress that baking is serious stuff better left for the professionals?”
“I’m…umm…” Alice stammered. The lights were blindingly bright. When did they get so bright? “I’m not really a professional baker. I’m a clerk at the Route 309 Convenience Store so…”
Rory didn’t miss a beat. “I’m sorry, Alice, repeat that for the folks in the back. You’re a convenience store clerk and not a professional chef? Why would you start a rumor like that?”
Alice’s cheeks burned with embarrassment. “I didn’t—”
“Folks, we want you to bring your a-game, not your ‘fake’ game. Alice, I hope you learned a valuable lesson. We’ll be keeping an eye on you!”
Rory then launched into an explanation of the contest rules. He motioned to Vlad to step forward when he mentioned the judging portion, but Vlad gave him a withering glare that seemed to indicate his desire to tear Rory limb from limb.
Alice appreciated his loyalty. Rory was being a real dick and she couldn’t say anything as a contestant, but she was glad that Vlad had her back. She caught his eye and gave him a grateful smile. He scowled in response.
Just when Alice thought she might be able to make an excuse to leap off-stage and disappear, a horn sounded and Rory did a well-choreographed step-ball-change.
“Bakers! Start your ovens!”