Author Topic: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty ("Complete")  (Read 203927 times)

Offline Lisa46

  • Watcher
  • ******
  • Posts: 1306
Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 62, 7/1)
« Reply #285 on: July 01, 2014, 08:06:55 PM »
Oh no! Not Bronson!

Offline Shewolf13

  • Queen of the Dragons
  • Watcher
  • ******
  • Posts: 3987
  • Wolf or Jessi is fine ^^
    • Wolfie's Writings
Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 62, 7/1)
« Reply #286 on: July 01, 2014, 10:33:39 PM »
Wait, no!  It CAN'T be!  Please tell me he has the unlucky trait... please?  Don't make me beg...



Registered members do not see ads on this Forum. Register here.

Offline Rowan

  • Global Moderator
  • Watcher
  • ******
  • Posts: 3697
  • Formerly known as ombradellarosa <3
Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 62, 7/1)
« Reply #287 on: July 04, 2014, 11:01:58 AM »
Are you joking? He can't die already! He's much too young! We're meant to have him for many years yet! Why? I know this one's not your fault or anything, but Bronson has been my favourite spouse yet and he and Lily were so happy, and he's so young. It's not right   :'(
Please read and follow the Forum Rules.

   
By samoht04


Online Trip

  • Challenge Board Assistant
  • Global Moderator
  • Watcher
  • ******
  • Posts: 4521
  • Three Chihuahuas in a Trenchcoat
Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 63, 7/5)
« Reply #289 on: July 05, 2014, 03:12:05 PM »
No responses today.

Sometimes, authors do evil things. This is my token evil thing: I’m leaving you hanging on Bronson’s fate for a bit. I’ll respond to your comments when I get to that chapter.

Heh.



Chapter 63: Bugged



The phone rings, and I remember my place in Eight Ways to answer it.

“Just a reminder that the rent is due next week.” It’s the landlord.



“Didn’t forget.” And I almost hang up the phone with a second thought, until a small, pitch-black patch peers out near the mouth piece.

Am I delusional? Regardless, I smash the phone against the wall. I smash it until the casing cracks and I can pry it open with my just-clipped fingernails. I claw it off and let the plastic dig up and pinch. I don’t care, because something has to be under there. I don’t see things. I’m neurotic, not insane.

Finally, I pry the bottom part of the phone off, and a small rectangular bar sits near the mouthpiece, entwined in the wires and with one blue, static LED light. I tear that out, wires and all, just when Agnes comes downstairs after hearing me violently take apart our phone.

“You’re gonna sit me down for a talk?” I ask.

“Precisely.”



We sit down on the couch, her a little taller than my by sitting on the armrest, me sitting on the cushion with my knees up and my head hanging in shame.

“I found something in the phone, okay?” I say, rubbing the back of my neck and looking towards the floor, “And it was actually there. A bug. We’ve been tracked.”

“That’s an odd thing to smash out phone over,” Agnes grumbled, “God, we have to replace that thing and spend all that money on rewiring it.”

“It’s my family. I mean, it probably is,” I say, “I…I ruffled their feathers quite a bit. It’s extreme, and it has me in shambles. I don’t know what to do with myself.” I sniffle for effect.

“Crying for pity?” she asks.

“Exactly. Mostly. Kind of.”

“It is pretty odd for a dynasty family to act like that. The worst I could call my family is kind of sour, and apparently I’ve married into a lot of nice families in different timelines.”

“Consider this the universe’s way of making your life hell.” She can back out. I don’t need to drag Agnes through this quagmire. She’s better off without me trying to be a partner yet staring down every female bosom I come across here in Roaring Heights. She’s better off without me leaving her behind to research whatever it is I’m trying to find.

“Your dad explained it to me when I met him,” she says, “You’re here on research, and I’m glad to be here for you. You’re making my life a heck of a lot less gloomy, for one.”



She takes me by the shoulders, begging. “Just don’t leave me, okay? I haven’t felt happy in a while, and without you, it’s still kind of glum. After losing him.”

It’s the risk she’s willing to take. And I do enjoy her arms around me while I sleep.



“Deal.”

As long as she doesn’t find Eight Ways and read the parts with my husband and I plus a mistress or two for me, I’m golden.

“So about that Jamie guy who tracked me down…” I continue.

“He’s up in the hills, in some old barn with one red light outside. Is it for the bug?”

“Exactly. I gotta be sure about these things and where they come from.”



As she said, his place is marked with one single red light, the only artificial light that sticks out after a kilometer on the dirt road. One single red light brings out a few details of the worn wooden siding and the well-trodden path to his door. The cherry trees lay barren, and not a single chicken sticks its head out from the old coop.

The door is unlocked. His sign says Jamie Butler: Data Open Upon Request, and a little bell rings when I push the door open. An air conditioner hums in the corner, and the whole floor is strewn with books and papers.



Jamie himself sits at his desk, facing the door and myself, with his hat at an angle and his eyes following me. His dark grey skin is almost invisible in the poorly-lit old barn, and if it wasn’t for the bright gold jacket, I would think that he was gone and that he left his door unlocked after going home for the night.



I plop down on the couch, with a slightly-collapsed cushion sinking heavily beneath me.

“I’ve heard about you,” he says, “One of Ei’s oddest clients yet. She had a lot to say about that nose of yours.”

“Everyone does,” I sigh. Stupid nose. “But this is unrelated to anything I’ve told her. I found a bug on my phone. Are you good with them?”

“As long as it has a serial, I’ll have something to say about it.”

I hand him the little black bug, a rectangular bar with a magnetic backing, and a nearly-illegible number engraved on the side. He puts it under his magnifying glass, with an extra light focused on its side, and it takes a whole minute to get a number out of him.



NOM2062629HS#361. I couldn’t tell you what NOM is even if you waved your whole paycheck in my face, but the rest is pretty self-explanatory. Made in 2062, shipped June 29th from Hidden Springs, number 361 of its model. Have some enemies up in the mountains?”

“You better believe it,” I say, “My...let’s just say some relative moved up there and she’s probably out for my blood. I’m used to it by now. She has a few projects under the NOM name, so I’m not surprised. How does she know I’m here?”

“Does she have someone to track you down with?” he asks.

“Yup.” My daughter holds that job, as far as I know she still does. She spent her trust fund early too, on a new server and a GPS system to take apart and analyze. She spent it on privileges to track every train and plane in Simnation and an office chair with good lower-back support to operate it all from. “It just saddens me to think that I have to live like that.”

“I will check the train records if you give me names.”

“I guess I’m not here for emotional support, am I?” I ask.



“That’s not my job,” he says sternly, “In fact I’m pretty apathetic to your worries…Jo, right?”



I instead bury my face into my palms. “It’s awful, Jamie. I’m here to just find out a little more about my family and it’s all in ruins if they, they are on my tail!.”

“Have any leads?” he asks.

“On the family?”

“Sure.”

“Just something about a Tegan Stoneham.”



He turns around, deep in thought, organizing his thoughts by wagging his finger in the air. “I knew her pretty well,” he says, “She was a lovely person. You know that she’s Ei’s mum, right?”

“She’s the one who told me. And she kicked me out of the office for it.”

“I mean, she passed away a long time ago. I don’t see why Eileen would get herself in a tizzy over mentioning Tegan.”

“It might be because I knew a Tegan. Stoneham was her middle name, and once the connection came around, I was suddenly some weird monster pulling her leg.”

“That’s downright bizarre,” he says, “You do look a bit like the other half of the twins. You don’t look a thing like Eileen, but you’re almost superficially Moira. Her twin. It’s just the skin, really.”

“Eileen is a rainbow kid?” It was a dominant trait in my family.

“Half and half. Think of it this way, she’s a copy of our Tegan, except for the tan skin. Now her twin, Moira, is the opposite. She has everything from her dad, except that’s she’s as blue and blueberry pancakes. Actually, now that Moira has come up, I think I can sell you on a service.”

“Is that all you guys do? Eileen wanted to sell me on this security option.”

“Exactly. And that security is run by Moira, just so you know. I think of Moira like a little sister, and if you have a bug on you, then those planting it can’t be far behind.”

“Fine,” I mutter. He keeps talking.



“Just remember, neutrality goes both ways.” I look to my left, through the arch and curtains and to the stone statue beyond them, with a crown of stone flowers and a veiled face. I step away from Jamie.

“I’m not on your side, I’m not on your family’s side, but I’ll eagerly serve anyone who pays.”



I instead approach the shrine, biting my nails. A little piece inscribed on the bottom gives context: Máire, give peace for the dysfunctional and warring and exiled.

“Oh, that?” Jamie says from the other room, “It’s an old-country thing. I kept it here for those who want it. Jo? Are you listening?”



I kneel down in half-adoration, half-despair.

“I will as easily share information with your enemies as I will with you. I’m not on your side. I won’t protect you. And it’s $50 for the train information. I'll get that to you soon.”

As the next morning dawns, I get wind of a party happening that night. It’s big and lavish and everything I thought I should avoid but shouldn’t. The juice runs free and the views of the hills from the host’s mansion are apparently the best in town, as they stretch for miles into the surrounding countryside.

There is still a cavity in the wall at home where the phone once was, and I need to call someone to fix it. Moira’s business card is tucked into the band of my bra, and there’s a payphone somewhere around here. There are quarters in my suitcase and jacket pockets once I dig for them. There’s a bodyguard out there for me, at whatever cost is worth keeping me safe and sane.

One quarter slips in. A 555 number for Moira. An instant response on the other end, sounding like the same little Bridge that answered Eileen’s phone.

“Mommy is busy at the moment,” she says.

“Is she?” I ask.

“That’s enough Bridge, you silly goose. Sorry ‘bout that. Magpie Security.”

“I think I need you,” I say, “24 Riverside Terrace, tonight. It’s a party.”

“Lucky for you, I had plans to go there anyways. So it’s free tonight,” Moira says, “I’ll see you by the bar. Any hints as to what you look like?”

“I wear a lot of red, have my hair in a messy bob, I’m kind of odd-colored.”

“Good. White shirt and blue skin for me too. I probably stick out like a sore thumb.”



So when Agnes and I walk up the steps, I’m slightly petrified, as opposed to non-functionally petrified.



I first check the bar, and Moira is late. The only person seated is a man with pink or peach skin, and the bartender fits the description only in that he does have a white shirt underneath his vest. I consider a drink until the piano starts. A white piano is situated on the deck, in a corner near the railing. At that point, Agnes has caught up to me. I told her about Moira, she has no directions. No Moira in sight yet.

“Keep your guard up,” she whispers, “I saw that Garcia officer in the foyer. I guess he has his guilty pleasures too.”

“Typical,” I sigh, “Feel like dancing?”



As long as the piano keeps going, she does.



For once, I danced with another person who I felt everything right towards, someone so feminine and gentle that my heart melts whenever I look into her eyes. Even as commitment looms over my head.



And the piano kept going for a good ten minutes, with the pianist concentrating. I doubt he saw me.



I grab a drink and head up the balcony for some coveted alone time. It’s fizzy and burning and everything I wanted in an illegal drink, though the cocktail menu is long and I need to try a little more. I almost turn around, drink in hand, until heavy, commanding footsteps resonate through the floor louder and louder.

I face the pianist.



His arms are crossed. “I know who you are,” he snarls, while I’m mid-sip, “And if you dig up anything more, I will snap you in half.”

“I don’t know who you are,” I say.

“Tank Engel.” He doesn’t uncross his arms for a handshake, “I work for the McGrails. They’re as against you as the police are, and you’re walking right into their net.”

I think I need another drink to process that. I’ve forgotten about Moira at this point.



However, she is at the bar. White shirt, blue skin, as she said. Brown pants, dark hair, big ears, hooked nose, as she omitted.

But as I get closer, the details come together.



Am I seeing things? Annette surely would have slain that doppelganger and salted the earth from which she could grow, or someone would have for her. But as I get closer, each little detail comes together. Moira is something more than my bodyguard. And my mouth is frozen out of fear of blurting out “Annette, I left you for a reason, get out!”



I take my seat at the bar like a normal patron.

“You called?” she asked. I don’t answer.

“You fit the description. The name’s Moira. I’d like yours now.” She turns towards the bartender. “I could use some more drinks. The night’s just started.”

Yep. That’s Annette and one thing never changed.



Word Count for this chapter: 2,272
Word Count so far: 103,373
No respect, no chance, cease and desist when I chant-

Forum Rules / Outrun / Defunded

Offline Lisa46

  • Watcher
  • ******
  • Posts: 1306
Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 63, 7/5)
« Reply #290 on: July 05, 2014, 03:42:03 PM »
That was really nicely written, Trip! I love the backstory of your characters.

Offline Shewolf13

  • Queen of the Dragons
  • Watcher
  • ******
  • Posts: 3987
  • Wolf or Jessi is fine ^^
    • Wolfie's Writings
Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 63, 7/5)
« Reply #291 on: July 05, 2014, 06:48:50 PM »
Oh my!  Cruel, Trip, so cruel!  But this was certainly an intriguing chapter!   Looking forward to more!



Registered members do not see ads on this Forum. Register here.

Offline Trident

  • Occult
  • ****
  • Posts: 320
Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 63, 7/5)
« Reply #292 on: July 06, 2014, 08:08:26 AM »
Oh Annette, you recognizable drunk person, you.

Offline AkonIsAwesome

  • Courtier of Mania
  • Occult
  • ****
  • Posts: 321
  • Scion of Madness
Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 63, 7/5)
« Reply #293 on: July 06, 2014, 01:04:18 PM »
Wow, this story just goes from one cliffhanger to another! That's one of the things I love about it. Now there are so many more things I can't wait to find out.


Offline RaiaDraconis

  • Crazy Rat Lady
  • Watcher
  • ******
  • Posts: 2275
Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 63, 7/5)
« Reply #295 on: July 06, 2014, 04:59:10 PM »
The backstory adds an all new dimension to it. It's almost like we're getting two stories in one, and that in itself is pure awesomeness. :)

That being said...darn you on the cliffhanger. :P

Offline Rowan

  • Global Moderator
  • Watcher
  • ******
  • Posts: 3697
  • Formerly known as ombradellarosa <3
Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 63, 7/5)
« Reply #296 on: July 06, 2014, 08:09:02 PM »
Torn. On the one hand, getting more information on the family, especially THIS information, is golden. On the other hand--Bronson!
Please read and follow the Forum Rules.

   
By samoht04

Offline Malley

  • Watcher
  • ******
  • Posts: 1514
  • Simming since 2002
Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 63, 7/5)
« Reply #297 on: July 06, 2014, 08:21:05 PM »
I just got caught up, Trip, and this is such a great story!  The backstory was great, but that cliffhanger...my goodness.  We all are waiting with bated breath  ;)

Offline audbooh

  • Lurking in the Shadows
  • Llama Wrangler
  • **
  • Posts: 72
  • Video Games = Life
Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 63, 7/5)
« Reply #298 on: July 07, 2014, 03:40:29 PM »
Ack! Bronson no! Trip you can't leave me like this! This cliffhanger is... one of the best cliffhangers! I can't wait to hear more!  ;D
People assume that time is a strict progression from cause to effect, but actually, from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint, it's more like a big ball of wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey stuff.

-The Tenth Doctor, Doctor Who

Online Trip

  • Challenge Board Assistant
  • Global Moderator
  • Watcher
  • ******
  • Posts: 4521
  • Three Chihuahuas in a Trenchcoat
Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 64, 7/7)
« Reply #299 on: July 07, 2014, 11:31:05 PM »
So many replies! I better do these cliffhangers more often, actually. Evil pays. ;D

That was really nicely written, Trip! I love the backstory of your characters.

Thank you!

Oh my!  Cruel, Trip, so cruel!  But this was certainly an intriguing chapter!   Looking forward to more!

My cruelty fuels some pretty great things.

Oh Annette, you recognizable drunk person, you.

I couldn't change her much, could I? She's the type of character who actually works pretty well in a vintage world. Beautiful, timeless looks, but with a party-hard attitude that no era can wipe away. ;)

Wow, this story just goes from one cliffhanger to another! That's one of the things I love about it. Now there are so many more things I can't wait to find out.

Cliffhangers are some of my favorite things to write. Thanks!

Ooh, you token evil thing, you! :D

I'll keep at it! ;D

The backstory adds an all new dimension to it. It's almost like we're getting two stories in one, and that in itself is pure awesomeness. :)

That being said...darn you on the cliffhanger. :P

I wanted to frame the dynasty by having a character look back on it in retrospect, but I'm quite liking how my vision spiraled out of control. Thanks!

Torn. On the one hand, getting more information on the family, especially THIS information, is golden. On the other hand--Bronson!

Bronson's in limbo and only the continued comments of my readers (plus me using my time correctly for writing) can save him now. ;)

I just got caught up, Trip, and this is such a great story!  The backstory was great, but that cliffhanger...my goodness.  We all are waiting with bated breath  ;)

Thank you! Hopefully you have enough breath to last a few more chapters.

Ack! Bronson no! Trip you can't leave me like this! This cliffhanger is... one of the best cliffhangers! I can't wait to hear more!  ;D

I do wonder if I can make a greater one. This cliffhanger certainly attracted some attention!



Chapter 64: Pastille





Just take it easy on the drinks, Olive, while you’re young.



Moira gets her drink, mixed with carbonated water and one sugar pastille dissolved in, nothing too fancy. I still haven’t given my name, but to Moira, her juice is all that matters.

“Fine, be that way,” she grumbles after downing the whole drink in one gulp, like a shot, “It’s not like you should be scared by my type, should you? Now who do I have to look out for?”

I head towards the pool, down the stairs from the tall deck and at the back of the property. Agnes beat me there ten minutes ago. She left her dress in the bathroom, whichever one of the many here, decided that underwear enough for swimming, and found a pair of round sunglasses on an end table.

“Come on, you can’t just bail on me,” Moira says, her voice trailing off as I walk further and further away, “You should be lucky that I’m here! You try partying with a kid to tuck in each night!”

Yes, I know what that’s like, Moira.

“Ah, to hell with it. I’m not juiced enough yet.”



I will say, the view is far better by the pool, between the dim garden lights, the shrubbery, and Agnes. The lights of the pool are enough to bring out the details of her, such as her slender body in a matching bra-and-panties set, and every strand of her creamy blond hair tightly tied back, even after ten minutes of treading water.

“Find your guard yet?” she asks.

“Yes, but it’s a little more complicated than that.”

“Family?”

“I don’t know why I didn’t guess that sooner.”

“How about you get it? Mr. Dandy keeps the pool water heated, and, goodness, I do like seeing you in your undies.”

“Sounds good,” I say, winking. After a minute of wrangling with and nearly freaking out over a stuck zipper, I throw my dress into the bushes, and kick off the five-inch heels in the same general direction.



The water touches my toes, but without the burn of chlorine. Mr. Dandy keeps a saline-cleaned pool, that’s my best guess, and on a cool summer night, the gentle heat helps me ease into the water much better.

I tread water too, near a jet stream that blasts more warm water onto my flank. Moira is probably getting buzzed, and considering that one or two men are swimming laps around the pool in high-waisted speedos, I could use whatever she’s having. But then again, I lasted for a lifetime and then some going to the pool with my elderly father and his regular speedo. Am I supposed to complain now?

Moira comes down the stairs, two drinks in, or more. I know Annette could go through a tray of cocktails in fifteen minutes, so Moira might have more juice than plasma in her veins by now. Her footsteps are very quiet, as if she forgot her shoes. Oh, she is barefoot. She walks in a straight line, defying the juice’s powers, and doesn’t miss a step on the staircase.

“Look, if you don’t need me, just tell me,” she says, “You listening, blondie?”

I am.

Moira then crouches down by the pools edge, knees up and scowling almost as bad as Bill or Franco could. I get out to wipe the grimace off her face, or try to.



I might be soaked and in the wrong fabric to go swimming, but Moira deserves a job tonight, right?

“Okay, I’ll just need another drink.”



“Listen, you juicehead,” I barked, getting up my feet in an instant, “I might have gotten off on the wrong foot with you, but I’m not letting you near the bar again. You actually do have a job tonight.”

“I can’t do this sober either. It’s hard being sober. I have a flask under my belt anyways. You can’t stop me, Jo.” She puts her hand on her waist, on top of a rectangular bulge in her shirt. “A girl’s gotta do her job.”

”Well, it is my job,” Olive said, as she mixed a new recipe of fermented cranberry juice and cherry coke in her cocktail shaker, “And life sucks, doesn’t it?”

“Save it for widowhood, darling. All of us elders are addicts, and do I want you to go down that path? No, not while you’re young. I expect you to be hitting the bottle when you’re old and weary like me. But do you really want to wake up each morning, just to crack the locks to your place under the counter where you keep the strong stuff? Do you want to wake up in a bunch of cattails because, heck, that’s where you fell asleep after exhausting another bar? Do you want group therapy like your mum and grandpa Phil needed?”



“I mean, I get enough therapy,” Olive muttered, pouring liquid as maroon as her long hair into a glass. “Is there some turning point that makes juice okay?”


“You don’t have to do this,” I say, as if defending my great-great-great-grandmother, instead of a glorified thug I hired for the night, “Do you want to be an addict?”

“You’re five years too late, blondie. Now, who am I protecting you against?”

“Peter Garcia, the tan one. He and his cop buddy aren’t too happy with me.”

“I waved to him on the way out. He’s long gone. So much for a job tonight. I can still drink.”

“Why?” I ask her, “You’re probably not even 30 yet. And I met your daughter at Ei’s house, she’s lovely. Why would you want to drink?”

“Maybe!” Moira yelled, “Maybe life isn’t too peachy when you’re widowed and a single mum and hanging on to your family’s estate by a thread, and guess what? I’m not 30 yet and dealing with all of this crap. Forgive me for having a few drinks.”

”The turning point is widowhood. You’ll lose like the rest of us, and you can drink a whole tray of those in one sitting if you feel like it when that happens. Speaking of which, I’ll take half.” Annette walked away with a rounded glass in each hand, red liquid sloshing as she balanced her steps and each sip.

“I’m sorry,” I say in a hushed tone, “Drink up.”

She chugs from her flask, until it fails to make a swishing noise when she puts it back under her shirt. The tears flow from her eyes, and she turns towards me again.



“I’m sorry for all the anger,” she says, with a sniffle, “It’s been five years and recovery ain’t going well for me. I just want a new friend.”

“It’s fine, it’s fine. I need another rainbow chick, right?” Moira leans on my shoulder, her breath thick with fermented fruit and her tears likely pure juice too. “The name’s Jo, by the way.”

“There’s totally someone suspicious behind the columns by the way. I can do this job.”

“Can you?” I ask.

“Yeah, she really can,” one man says from the pool. I guess Moira gets better business than I thought.



As Moira runs towards the figure, with a slight stagger, I make out the figure too, with red hair and patches of ivory-esque skin sticking out of a mass of black clothes and shrubs, though what makes her suspicious is anyone’s guess. Maybe Moira is the reverse of the police here. Or the juice really doesn’t help her job.



“Tricked ya! You’re one those Alto mooks, aren’t you?”

“Aw crap,” is the only other thing I hear.



“Don’t worry guys, I got this!” Moira proclaims to the whole backyard, “There’s a nice bedroom upstairs to take care of this lovely. Follow me, Jo. I think you’ll like this.”

Okay then.



“Well, well, well,” Moira says, after the suspect is seated on the bed, “Thought that my family is worth fighting?”

“Shut up, blueface,” she says.

“Ooh, we hit the jackpot tonight, Jojo. This redhead didn’t even think that a McGrail would see her.”

“Can I ask some questions?” I ask, “You’re probably a little, shall we say, buzzed.”

“Shut up, blondie. Now, gingerbread, I don’t care about your name right now. Would you rather face our authorities or your own?”



“I don’t even care at this point,” she says, “Can’t you just call me by my real name? It’s Candy.”

“Yeah, I do need that for…whoever. Getting all of gingerbread’s info?”

“Sure, sure.” Candy is a pretty distinctive name, after all.

“Oh fine, the police back in Sunset Valley are pretty used to me by now. Candy Ashleydale, and you know what? I’d rather be in a cell with my prisoner buds than around some buzzed banshee.”



“Sweet, that’s a new one,” Moira says, “Oh, and one more thing.” She takes Candy’s arms and lifts her off the bed, then hurling the woman towards the carpet. Her foot keeps Candy restrained down, as she dials the authorities’ numbers. “Oh, Officer Nest, you’re on right now? It’s your absolute favorite devil girl, darling. I have an Alto mook over here. I’ll drive her over. No, I didn’t have a drop! You know me by now. Alright. Buh-bye. Be kind to us rainbow folk, why doncha?” It’s loud enough to hear “yeah, that’s enough, Moira” multiple times on the other end.

“Should I drive?” I ask, “I don’t know if you can.”

“Nah, I’ll live,” Moira says, holding Candy’s wrists together, “I’ll clear up. I always do.”

In the meantime, I find Agnes and explain the story to her. At the first mention of “Altos,” we both nod, if in confusion as to why they’re here. I mean, I lived in Sunset Valley for five years, and my seafoam-colored skin didn’t tip them off in that time, did it? And dad, well, I’ll trust him on the “laying low” promise he gave. I left hampers full of dirty laundry to drive him crazy and keep him occupied.

“I think we’re safe,” I say, panting, “That is a pretty scary surname to work for. Maybe the McGrails are scarier, but I dunno, they could be charity workers for all I care.”



As the sun’s first rays greet the beautiful Roaring Heights, Moira, in her juiced glory, screeches up to the curb in a black convertible. Maybe she sobered up, but when she nearly drives into the bridge after Agnes and I pile into the car, it’s clear that she still has a way to go.



By the time we get to the café, Moira orders a cup of water and a paper packet of salt, dissolving the crystals in the water and finally ready to face the morning light with a forlorn, weak frown.



It’s just coffee for Agnes and I, though. By the time the sky is as hazy blue as, well, Moira, she’s gone, but someone is on the ground level. I investigate while Agnes bugs the barista for coupons.



“You okay?” I ask Moira, “I know I sound like a worrywart, but it’s because I am.”



“Fine, fine,” she says, exasperated, “Okay, Jo, I think I’m mostly sober now.”

“That’s nice.” She walks up me, reeking of old banana peels. “Sorry, it’s a habit. I love repurposing trash, and other things left out. It, um, brushes me up for my other job. Security is a euphemism for most of us here.”

“Lemme guess, thievery?”

“You’re a smart cookie, aren’t you?”

“I am still very sorry about being a jerk about your drinking,” I say, “It sounds rough.”



“Eh, I’m alive, so sometimes that helps. And you’re right about my little Bridget. She’s an angel. It keeps me going, but I wish I had more in life, you know?”

“Sure.”

“If there’s one thing I’ve learned from this, it’s that arranged marriages suck. I’d never force that on anyone. Kill me if I do.” And that’s when I freeze.

“So, maybe lunch sometime?” she asks, “Bridget has swim lessons every Thursday.”

No response.

“We’ll keep in touch,” she says, walking across the street to where she parked.

“Yeah, you hate arranged marriages, and I’m secretly a Vanderburg. Sure,” I say under my breath. Agnes walks around to where I am, near the full parking garage under the café, looking like she saw an eldritch god or a bad ex stroll by.



“You’re not gonna like this,” she says, nauseated, “Look behind you.” The tap of flat boots grows closer. I turn my neck, and my brows form five new wrinkles just by furrowing so much.



“Ladies,” he says, with a curious smirk.



Word Count for this chapter: 2,099
Word Count so far: 105,472

The little cut-scenes with Olive (one of my later immortals) were something I quickly whipped up after getting the idea during my lunch break today.
No respect, no chance, cease and desist when I chant-

Forum Rules / Outrun / Defunded