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Saturday, May 13, 2006

My last day of high school was yesterday. God, I'm so happy I could do pirouettes... I dislike my high school quite a bit. But I had a good day, anyway. And I got a notification in the mail that I should come to the school awards ceremony, because I'm receiving something. Yay! It's probably the AP Literature award. I love my Mrs. Harbin.

Something else really good happened yesterday, too. I won this local writing contest with my short story, Mandarin Oranges... so now I get $100, and a lunch with the mystery writer, James Patterson. I mean, my classmate won a national contest and about $3500, so no one at school thinks much of it, but... screw them. I'm really happy. :D

Love you all!

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Tuesday, May 9, 2006

   I love lamp.
zomgfinals. I have three days left of high school, and still have an infinite amount of busy work to finish. As I type this, I'm finishing my abysmal half-hour play. I hate my school.

I am, however, in love with my new laptop, Caspian. He's an infinitely sexy little Dell notebook, dark gray, very sleek. We shall be together forever, oh yes. *grin* Now I just have to move my writing and such over there.

And speaking of said writing. I completely understand that a lot of people are too busy to read and/or comment, but when I post it to complete silence, I don't know if I'm spamming y'all or not. *grins* If you'd rather not get the flood of writing posts, do throw something at me.

New House tonight. Anyone keeping up with House? I know there's a few LOST fans around here waiting anxiously for this week, because dude. Michael. Whoa.

Back to playwriting!

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Monday, April 17, 2006

*Kicks something*
Sorry for the whole no update thing! I've been so busy these past few weeks it's not even funny. *falls over* Have been doing so much crap for the writing department while almost everyone else sits around and talks about nothing... kinda makes you want to cut a bitch.

The Writer's Festival itself was a lot of fun, though! Once you got past the part where the keynote speaker was a demanding bitch and a kid dropped from a seizure in the middle of book-signings. But I got to meet this really great author, Carl Horner (who gave me his home number. Hee!) and bitch drove her car into a portable classroom. It was hi-larious.

Although another thing makes me want to cut a bitch. I'll spare you my rantage on FictionPress and FanFiction.net because most of you have already heard it (they suck about leaving comments), but if you all are bored enough, here's some linkage:

http://www.fictionpress.com/~cafecliche - My FictionPress account. The two poems at the bottom are from when I was fifteen, so bewaaaaare.

http://www.fanfiction.net/s/2895939/1/ - If you enjoy xxxHOLiC, that's a one-shot I wrote for my friend's birthday. Don't read anything else by me on that site, I, once again, wrote it when I was fifteen. I cringe at my subpar writing skills.

http://www.deviantart.com/deviation/26911369/ - And, if any of you were reading it, the next two chapters of In Descending Order. Decided to just link it from there from now on, takes up less space.

And I know a lot of you are busy, but if you have today off (like moi) and have some time on your hands, I would absolutely love any and all opinions on... anything.

Love to everyone!

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Thursday, April 6, 2006

So, just in case today wasn't frustrating enough, Life has ensured that I can't even have my fucking therapy.

The iPod is acting like a little five-year-old holding his breath until he gets to skip dinner. That is to say, NOT WORKING. I was listening to it just fine on the way home, switched to a song, and it didn't start. None of the buttons are working, including the 'hold' button, and the computer isn't even reading it.

Why is this happening TODAY, of all days. I've been busting my ass all week to take care of various things for everyone, and how do they show their gratitude? Ignoring me, of course. Talking over me, making plans, acting like I'm not at all important, and not allowed to get upset, or I'm being childish. How can they say all these things about how I'm so sweet and dependable and tear me down in the same ten minutes? Make me feel so unimportant and alone when I've been trying as hard as I can to become more confident.

And now I don't even have my music.

I'm going to go punch a hole in the wall now.

EDIT: I fix it. Yay tech support.

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Saturday, April 1, 2006

Busy week. *is braindead* Must try and get some writing done today... I hope it'll be coherent XD

New chapter time! Thank you, Red and Shanny, for reading last week ^__^

DISCLAIMER: This is the eighth chapter of my novel, In Descending Order, which I've been posting in parts every Saturday morning. All past chapters can be found here:

Chapter One:http://www.myotaku.com/users/nightbeck/posts/681527
Chapter Two: http://www.myotaku.com/users/nightbeck/posts/687577
Chapter Three: http://www.myotaku.com/users/nightbeck/posts/693902
Chapter Four: http://www.myotaku.com/users/nightbeck/posts/700653
Chapter Five: http://www.myotaku.com/users/nightbeck/posts/708712
Chapter Six: http://www.myotaku.com/users/nightbeck/posts/715459
Chapter Seven: http://www.myotaku.com/users/nightbeck/posts/723021

So if you're new, and you want to join in... start with chapter one, please? XD If you start with this chapter, I promise you that it won't make an ounce of sense.

Characters and plot are my intellectual property, and are guarded by a group of rabid gnomes. So please, don't steal.

Chapter Eight

Tobias sauntered into the sunroom with a catlike stretch, yawning. The brusque autumn air, undiluted by the sun's warmth, sharpened his senses better than any cup of coffee, and he pulled off his suit jacket to let the breeze cool off his burning skin.

Despite the villa's size, Bateman always insisted on cramming the group into as few bedrooms as possible, and Tobias usually ended up sharing a double bed with Silas. Both men grumbled that it was hot, claustrophobic, and cramped, but, of course, neither of them was willing to sleep on the floor.

Tobias leaned against the window, seemingly staring off into Bellerophon's lush suburbs, but after a moment, a smile twitched at his lips. "Are you just going to stand there, or did you need something, Miss Lily?"

Lily tiptoed down the steps, avoiding Tobias' amused glance. Her hair fell around her shoulders, the high pigtails let down, and she picked uncomfortably at the outfit of Liv's Kate insisted she borrow. "I didn't know you were here."

"Well, now that you are, you can come keep me company!" Tobias gestured for her to come to the window with him. "Is your brother still asleep?" Lily nodded. "And what about you? Just can't sleep?"

"I don't need much sleep." Lily shrugged.

"Ahh," Tobias said with a nod. "I'm the same! I always have so much energy before a job. You're not nervous, are you?"

Lily shook her head. "It's a waste of energy."

"Good philosophy, that," Tobias laughed. "Especially considering who you're working with!" Lily made a small noise of affirmation. "Rest assured, Miss Lily, if anything comes up, you'll be perfectly safe."

"I don't need any special treatment, Mr. Locke." Lily offered a small smile. "There's only one thing I want from you."

"Name it, my dear."

Lily hesitated, fiddling with the buttons on her blouse. "…can you promise me that my brother will be safe?"

Tobias raised an eyebrow. "Why wouldn't he be?"

"You can promise to protect me, why is Aidan any different?"

"Now, I didn't say that," Tobias assured. "Simply curious as to why you're so concerned."

"Does it matter?"

"Well… no, I suppose it doesn't." Tobias smiled. "Very well. I promise you, Miss Lily, that as long as Aidan works for me, nothing will happen to him."

"…and you're not going to go back on that, right?" she asked.

"My, you're a skeptical one, aren’t you…" Tobias looked around. "Don't see anything I can sign… will it be good enough if we shake on it?" He extended a hand towards Lily, the quick motion making her jump.

Lily eyed Tobias as if searching for some sort of catch, folding her hands behind her back. Then slowly, she withdrew one hand, closed it around Tobias’, and shook his hand. “Deal.”


“I hoped I’d never end up wearing one of these again,” Theo grumbled as she looked into the hall mirror, pulling up the straps of the red silk gown she’d borrowed from Bateman’s mother. "How am I supposed to carry a weapon dressed like this?"

"That, my dear, is why they invented garter belts," Tobias laughed.

“It’s only for a few hours,” Silas assured. “We just don’t want to draw attention to ourselves.”

“No offense, Si.” Loki was drowning in his borrowed tuxedo, flushed with embarrassment. “But d’you really think we’re gonna blend in with them?”

Loki gestured into the burgundy sitting room, where a crowd of mostly middle-aged socialites sat on the velvet couches, nodding politely as Bateman showed off his painting. The rest of the canvases were blank, marked with price tags and titles like “Violet Lilies.” Bateman had explained earlier that he planned to auction off his unfinished ideas.

“You gotta wonder why they still look so nice,” Theo whispered. “I thought they were supposed to be… y’know… refugees?”

“Oh no, those people are from Bellerophon!” Tobias explained. “The ones from the city look slightly less presentable.”

The migrants stood in a tight circle in Bateman’s ballroom, talking in low voices. They still wore formalwear, but most of it was obviously borrowed, fitting some of them too loose and some far too tight. Most of them frowned, fidgeted, bit their lips, and self-consciously smoothed their hair back; they seemed as if they’d forgotten all the confidence and decorum of the crowd in the sitting room.

“…I can blend with them,” Loki conceded.

“Well, let’s get this over with,” Theo sighed, fixing one of the hairpins in her long, black curls. “This bun’s cutting off the circulation to my brain.”

"What do I do?" Aidan asked. He'd been hanging back, fiddling with his tie and trying unsuccessfully to break into the conversation. Lily trailed behind him, frowning disdainfully at her petticoats.

"You'll be coming with us, of course!" Tobias leaned over and tugged on his sleeve. "You and Lily already know those people, right? You can help us blend!"

"But…" Aidan frowned. "Lily really shouldn't—"

"This is the safest place for your sister to be," Silas said. "We can all keep an eye on her this way."

"Besides," Tobias added, "the only target is the master artiste over there."

On cue, Bateman strode out of the sitting room, smiling smugly. "I hadn't anticipated so much interest in my painting," he boasted. "I expect that it'll be bought before the end of the evening. But I suppose I should give equal time to my other, less fortunate guests…" He offered Theo his arm.

"Good idea!" Theo wrapped her arm around Anton's instead. "Turn on some music, will you Bateman? It's way too depressing in here."

As the couple sauntered into the ballroom, Bateman turned to Lily expectantly, offering his arm to her in turn. Before Lily even had time to react, Loki took her arm and hurried her after Anton and Theo.

"Well, as long as we've all got a buddy!" Tobias grinned and threw an arm around Aidan. "Be my date, Aidan?"

"Mr. Locke…" Aidan ducked out from under his arm, flushed. Tobias contented himself with grabbing Aidan's sleeve and parading him into the ballroom.

Bateman stood staring after them, looking faintly disappointed. Silas sidled up next to him, stony-faced.

"Shall we?" he deadpanned.

"You have no idea how wonderful it is to see you, Aidan, and Lily, as well," a middle-aged woman gushed, touching Aidan's shoulder. "Bill and Muriel have just been frantic looking for you both, and I was starting to fear the worst… why haven't you called them?"

"It's been hard to reach them, Mrs. Goldthwaite," Aidan replied with a polite smile. "And besides, I'm sure they're both very busy with helping Mr. Wittenberg."

"Oh, absolutely," the woman shuddered. "There's plenty of work to be done there, cleaning up… not to mention dealing with those horrid people. But all the same, dear, you really should give them a call… they're worried sick about you both, especially with Lily being so ill lately."

"Lily's fine." Defensiveness crept into Aidan's voice as he put an arm around Lily. "She was just going to take a bit of time off work."

"Understandable, your job must be so stressful," Goldthwaite simpered, patting Lily's head. Lily only shrugged, and gave Aidan a small smile before slinking off towards the corner where Loki stood.

Aidan tuned out Goldthwaite's babble on the kind citizens of Bellerophon and glanced around to make sure neither Tobias nor his crew were offending anyone. On the contrary, they seemed to be doing rather well: the small group of older men Tobias was chatting up were looking at him a bit incredulously, but Silas had acquired a sizable group of middle-aged women around him, all of whom eyed him appraisingly. Theo was in the center of a rather large crowd, still holding onto Anton's arm as if trying to keep him from bolting.

"Enjoying the party, Aidan? Heh." Bateman slicked his oiled hair back as he pushed his way into the conversation.

"It's such a nice party," Goldthwaite cooed. "Dante, these friends of yours are just lovely! Who's the charming young lady over there?"

"Oh, Theodora?" Bateman smirked. "Yes, isn't she just a vision? We're going to get married, you know."

Aidan eased himself out of the circle, wandering around the ballroom. Even with the casual conversations around him, he could still feel the tension in their voices. He knew it wasn't the displacement making them so nervous; the people in the Back Wards would kill to evacuate to someplace like this. But he could understand it, to some extent. It was a bit unsettling, knowing that they might never be able to ignore it again.


"I've never been to a party like this," Loki babbled as he paced the floor. Lily leaned against the wall, watching him with a raised eyebrow. "I've never been to a party, period. I mean, I'm always on the road now and everything, and I wasn't exactly in a position to just go to parties before I met Tobias, and I don't really have the right clothes for it 'n all—"

"Is something wrong?" Lily asked.

"Huh?" Loki stopped. "Why would something be wrong?"

"You're gibbering."

"…so what if I am?" he huffed. "In case you forgot, there's supposed to be a hit tonight."

"It's too early for that," Lily said, glancing at the clock. "Relax."

"Easy for you to say," Loki grumbled. "You've done this before."

"Been present before an assassination?"

"Been to fancy parties."

"Only for appearances." Lily smoothed down her skirts. "After a few minutes, it's quite easy to leave without much notice."

"Smart." Loki nodded. "I thought rich girls were supposed to… I dunno, socialize and waltz and all that?"

"The latter isn't too bad, with a good partner," Lily said absently, eyeing the clock again. "Do you know where the bathroom is?"

"Yeah, down that hallway." Loki gestured. "Want me to show you?"

"I'll find it myself, thank you." Lily smiled. "I'll be back in a minute."

She left the ballroom. She slid past the sitting room, where Bateman's guests were still sipping brandy, and with a quick look around, she turned and began to walk up the stairs.

After the first few steps, she stopped, pulling off her shoes so as not to make any sound. Reaching the top of the stairs, she turned to the door that led to the bedroom wing, which hung slightly ajar, and carefully, she pushed it open.

It took a moment for her eyes to adjust to the dim light as she began to walk down the long hallway of bedrooms. As she passed each room, she slowed, straining to hear any sound of movement, but the only noises she heard were those of the party downstairs. Finally, as she reached the room that she had stayed in the previous night, she heard the faint creak of a floorboard, and everything seemed to fall silent again.

"Time to come out now," Lily said softly.

"Well… took you long enough, Princess."

Hope you enjoyed! I am a feedback-whore.

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Saturday, March 25, 2006

Can't sleep... cold's keeping me awake. Rawr.

Thanks to everyone again for coming! That was really nice of you all. ^_^

Anyways. Onward with the story!

DISCLAIMER: This is the seventh chapter of my novel, In Descending Order, which I've been posting in parts every Saturday morning. All past chapters are here, you can find them by scrolling down... so please, if you join in, start with chapter one? XD The plot and all characters are my intellectual property, so please, don't steal. Or I'll gnaw on your fingers.

Chapter Seven

"At this rate, Bateman'll be dead by the time we get there," Silas grumbled as he climbed into the van.

"I was brushing my teeth!" Tobias whined as he made a move to get into the driver's seat.

"What d'you think you're doing?" Loki elbowed Tobias out of the way, frowning. "Only person who can drive Blue Heaven 'sides me is Silas."

"You're so suspicious, Loki!" Tobias reached over and ruffled his hair, causing the younger boy to squirm. "Now, where're our little lovebirds?"

Picking up a small rock, Loki lobbed it at a window on the second floor. "Oi! Theo, Anton! In case you hadn't noticed, time is of the essence!"

"We're right here, you idiot," Theo grumbled as she strode onto the porch, looking rather disheveled and dragging her husband behind her. "Don't let Kate see you pelting her windows with rocks."

"I wasn't pelting," Loki pouted. "And it was more of a pebble."

"Now, Aidan, are you ready?" Tobias chirped.

"I've been ready," Aidan sighed, buckling his seatbelt. "Shouldn't you be a little more concerned? The man might be dead already."

"Nothing's gonna happen to Bateman." Theo rolled her eyes. "Unfortunately."

"He can't be that bad," Aidan reasoned as Loki turned the ignition key.

The sound of the door slamming open drowned out Theo's retort. The Langleys had finally pulled themselves away from their squabbling long enough to stick their heads out the door, nearly falling over each other.

"Don't let Bateman stick you with any IOUs!" Kate yelled at the van. "And don't let 'm sweet-talk you, either!"

"Be careful, Anton!" Liv shrieked, her wildly waving hand catching Sofia across the face and pushing her back inside. With a nervous chuckle, Loki stepped harder onto the accelerator, kicking up dust behind the tires as he floored the van towards Bellerophon.


The lack of sleep finally caught up with them about halfway through the trip. Most everyone in the back dozed off, except for Tobias, who stared out the window as if each rundown house or tree he saw was an astounding thing, and Anton, who sat up straight and tensed. After Loki nearly mowed down a row of mailboxes when he accidentally leaned against the wheel, Silas forced him to switch, even though he looked as if the only thing keeping him alive was the cup of lukewarm coffee in his hand.

Finally, the van lurched from dirt onto a paved road, jerking everyone out of their stupor. Rows of lavish houses replaced the empty fields, and polished sedans and SUVs sat in their driveways instead of pickup trucks. Suddenly, Silas slammed on the breaks, throwing everyone forward.

"Missed the turn," Silas mumbled, backing into the nearest driveway and pulling out again.

The next driveway they pulled into sat on top of a steep hill, so steep that Aidan thought the van would come crashing back to the street. The driveway leveled out at a lush cream-colored villa, with high gables and a large sunroom facing the road. A tanned man dressed in a bathrobe sauntered out almost immediately, brushing his dark blond hair out of his eyes.

"Certainly took you long enough, heh," the man remarked, smirking. "I could've died, you know."

"We got here as fast as we could, Mr. Bateman," Tobias assured as he bounced out of the van, shaking his client's hand. "We were all very concerned, of course!"

"And yet, you don't look all that concerned." Theo said stiffly as she stepped up behind Tobias. "You better not be messing with us, Bateman."

"Theo!" Dante Bateman seized her hand, kissing it in what he seemed to think was a chivalrous gesture. "Missed ya," he said, grinning. Despite Anton’s earlier assurance that Theo imagined the flirting, the look he gave Bateman as he sidled behind his wife exuded venom. Oblivious, Bateman held onto her hand for another triumphant second before she pulled it away. “Well, of course I’m concerned, but it’s not an immediate issue.”

“Not an immediate issue?” Silas frowned. “You told Kate that someone was trying to kill you.”

“Yes” Bateman sighed. “Not until tomorrow.”

“…you could’ve told us your assassin specified a time,” Silas said calmly as he crumpled the empty coffee cup in his hand.

“I did,” Bateman chuckled. “Your hired help leaves something to be desired, heh.” Theo and Loki opened their mouths as if to start yelling, but Tobias clapped them both hard on the back.

“I’m sure she just forgot, Mr. Bateman,” Tobias laughed. “We’re all a bit overworked, right Si?”

“Sure.” Silas fished around in his coat pocket for a cigarette. “How do you know it’s tomorrow?”

“Because of the note.” Bateman looked around at the quizzical faces. “You forgot that, too?”

“We didn’t forget anything,” Theo snapped. “We ain’t psychics, Bateman.”

“’Ain’t’ isn’t a word, Theo.” Bateman reached over and pinched her arm. “How many times have I told you that?”

“She gets it,” Anton said coldly.

“Well, like I said, the note’s inside.” Bateman started to turn around, when his eyes rested on Aidan. “Aidan Connors?”

Aidan smiled stiffly. “ Mr. Bateman… it’s been quite a while.”

“Dante, call me Dante! Nothing less for my best friend! And – is that Lily?” Bateman’s face lit up as he looked her up and down. “I almost didn’t recognize you… then again, little girls don’t stay little girls forever, right? Heh.”

“Yes, Aidan’s kindly agreed to be our medic, you’re in great hands if we screw up, what about that note?” Tobias interjected.

“I was getting to that,” Bateman huffed, walking up the stone front steps. Dubiously, the rest of the group followed. As they stepped into the sunroom, Bateman snatched a piece of paper off of the table and thrust it towards Silas. “See what I tell you?”

Silas took the piece of paper and scanned it quickly, reading aloud. “Dear Mr. Bateman, it is with regret that I inform you that your life will be ending tomorrow – that is, unless you can return something of value to me. At 8:00 PM, dismiss the guests from your gallery opening and wait for me in the second floor bedroom wing. Then perhaps we can discuss a favorable outcome for the both of us, hm?” Silas looked up from the paper, frowning. "Something of value… what's that?"

"It's obvious, isn't it?" Bateman replied. "He's after my painting."

"Your painting?" Silas raised an eyebrow.

"Why else would he have chosen tonight, when I'm about to show my work for the first time?"

"He?" Anton asked.

"I was just assuming," Bateman replied.

"Wait, wait, hold up," Theo interrupted. "You have a gallery?"

"Contrary to popular belief," Bateman said loftily, "I am quite productive with my time."

"I'm just glad to hear you're adjusting so well," Tobias said casually. "Barely a day since your home burned down and you're already arranging socials."

"…I'll have you know that I wasn't spending much time in the city, anyway," Bateman mumbled. "And besides, many of those unfortunate people are staying here in Bellerophon… just doing my part."

"I see your charity didn't extend to offering those unfortunates a place to stay," Theo commented.

"Guess that means you don't want to sleep on a bed? Heh."

"All right, all right, that's enough," Silas said. "What exactly is it you want us to do, Bateman?"

"Easy," Bateman replied. "You're going to catch this letter-writer and make sure he never bothers me again."

"Sounds pretty taxing to me," Tobias sighed. "And we have precious little energy as is…"

Bateman gritted his teeth. "And you'll be compensated fully, of course."

"Wonderful! And just a note, our rates've gone up, but hell, I'm sure you can handle that." Tobias patted Bateman on the head. "Now, you said this was tomorrow, right? Then if you'll excuse me…"

"Wait… where're you going?" Bateman frowned.

"To bed." Tobias grinned. "Obviously."

"Not a bad idea." Theo yawned. "I'm dead…"

As everyone trudged into the house, Lily quietly made her way over to where the letter lay, picking it up and reading it. Her expression remained blank, but her grip tightened, ripping the paper a little.

"Lily, we should go inside too. You really should get some sleep." Aidan rested a hand on her shoulder, steering her towards the door. It was a moment before he noticed she still held the letter. "What's wrong?"

"The handwriting…" Lily trailed off, finally lifting her eyes from the paper to look up at Aidan. She carefully laid it out on the small table in the front hall. "…it's nothing. I thought I recognized it for a moment."


Despite Loki's best efforts, he couldn't sleep. Which irritated him, of course, he didn't remember the last time he was so exhausted. His mind just seemed to want to go over the events of the last twenty-four hours over and over.

"…just the troubles again. I hadn't given much thought to it."

'You can't just not give much thought t' something in front of your face,' Loki thought, rolling out of bed. 'What's so horrible about that place that no one wants to talk about it? It's gotta have something to do with that marble place, right? And that guy… hell, I barely know Lily, but she doesn't strike me as a girl who panics easy. But when she saw that Hawthorne guy…'

Loki wandered down the dark hallway, eyes scanning the closed doors in the hope of seeing a light on. Tobias and the others were all frequent insomniacs; Loki usually found company on sleepless nights. But to his disappointment, it looked as if everyone had gone to sleep. Sighing, he decided to take a walk around the villa to get rid of all his nervous energy.

As he descended the stairs, he noticed a faint light coming from the study. Hopeful, he looked around the corner, but deflated when he saw Bateman pacing. He began to tiptoe in the other direction, not eager to talk to their client, but before he knew what he was doing, Loki turned around and walked towards the study.

"I gotta ask you something," Loki blurted out. Bateman jumped half a foot and whipped around, deflating when he saw Loki.

"Oh, it's you." The fearful expression melted into a bored one.

"What're the troubles?"

"Sounds like a euphemism. Heh." Bateman smirked.

"I'm serious." Loki crossed his arms. "What happened in that place? Why is everyone so vague about it?"

Bateman didn't look at Loki. He simply stared at the opposite wall. "Vague, huh… maybe it's habit." Loki didn't like the way he smiled then. "Tell me, kid, do you really want to know?"

"…no," Loki answered quietly. "I really don't."

"Well… not sure how much there is to tell," Bateman began. "Or, at least, how much there is to tell that makes sense. There's always been a bit of an unspoken agreement among the upper class to… try and ignore the whole thing."

"And did you?"

"I'm not an idiot." Bateman frowned. "I used discretion, of course, but some things were just hard to miss. You'd have to be blind not to realize that Mr. Wittenberg was doing whatever the hell he pleased."

"Mr. Wittenberg… that important guy that Tobias was talking about?"

"He's not just an 'important guy.' You could say he sort of… runs the city. Has for the past five years. Most of the time he's lauded to the skies for all he's done, lifting the city out of a twenty-year depression, financing all the new facilities… you'd have to go two hundred miles outside the city to find someone that didn't know all about him."

"But you can't keep the lower classes happy forever," Bateman continued. "The gap between them and people like myself and Aidan started to grow again, everyone was complaining that Mr. Wittenberg only serviced his friends… got pretty toxic pretty fast. And it didn't help that Mr. Wittenberg… liked to indulge himself. The man deserves a little fun, of course, but I do think he should have shown more caution—"

"Indulged himself how?" Loki asked.

"It's really not important, I think the whole thing was blown entirely out of proportion. Like the situation with that reporter, for instance."

"So? You gonna explain that, or just brag about how knowledgeable you are?"

"…you didn't hear about that?" Bateman shook his head. "You really don't know anything, do you?" He paused, leaning against the wall. "Name was Brian Vandoren. Wrote for the newspaper, always had to have the edgiest story, never could keep his mouth shut…" He shook his head. "I still remember the day, about a year ago, when he gloated to everyone in sight that he was writing an expose about Mr. Wittenberg."

"And what was in there?"

"Don't know." Bateman leaned in close. "He vanished. Along with his entire team." He smiled mirthlessly as Loki's eyes widened. "You could say that everything just…" Bateman snapped his fingers. "…exploded… after that."

"…he died?" Loki whispered.

"Now, I didn't say that." Bateman began to walk towards the door. "But those people you turned in back at the city seem to think so. But hell… maybe they know more than we do." He stopped at the door. "Go back to bed, kid. Gotta be rested if you're going to protect me tomorrow, right?"

Bateman walked out the door, and Loki stood frozen, feeling more awake than ever.

Thank you for reading! Feedback is delicious.

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Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Wahhh. I just wanted to thank everyone SO much for their birthday wishes! You guys seriously rock. <3333

And now, I am off to enjoy life as an 18-year-old. :D

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Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Since I asked this on my LJ too...
So, as of tomorrow, I will be eighteen years old and a legal adult. (Which is incredibly scary, by the way.) So I have a question for you all:

What should I do on my last day as a minor child?

I could...

-Commit a crime and zip through juvenile court in the same day, therefore cheating the system.

-Illegally download porn off the internet.

-Seduce an older man and turn him in.

-Attempt to sneak into a club and cry "Injustice!" when I'm thrown out.

-Do exactly what I did for much of my seventeenth year: lie around the house and write.

Your opinion counts! ^_~

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Saturday, March 18, 2006

... just wanted to get your attention. ^_^

Nah, I kid, this is really more of a bridge chapter. Rest assured, we'll get things moving again next chapter~!

Disclaimer: This is my own original novel, which I've been posting regularly on this site. Past chapters can be found by scrolling down. Oh, and this story and these characters are my own intellectual property, so please, don't steal. Or I'll bite you.

Chapter Six

It took two hours to get everyone to the Back Wards, a process that involved several trips back and forth in the packed van. The first few went without incident, but by the later trips, the refugees became less and less appreciative.

"They could stand to clean this piece of junk," whispered one elderly man to the woman sitting across from him.

"Excuse me, Grandpa?" Loki swiveled around. "For your information, Blue Heaven's a hell of a lot cleaner than you are!" He turned back to the front again when Lily tapped his shoulder. "What, girly?"

"Keep your eyes on the road," Lily said simply.

"Nothin' here to hit, if that's what you're saying" Loki grumbled.

"No, but you just missed the turn to the South Gate."

Loki cursed, yanking the steering wheel so the van did a full turn, rocking onto its left two wheels. Half the passengers in the back shrieked.

"Do you know what a turning radius is, young man?" screeched an older woman.

"Do you even have a license?" the old man barked.

Loki bit his lip as they turned into the junkyard, willing himself not to speak until the last of the grumbling passengers climbed out of the van. "So much for gratitude," he finally spat out.

"Such is the life of a good Samaritan," Tobias sang as he sauntered up to the driver's window.

"Of course," Loki sighed, climbing out of the driver's seat. On a second thought, he opened the passenger door and extended a hand to help Lily out. Then, to Tobias, "So, how goes the sitting around?"

"Don't be like that, Loki," Tobias charmed as they walked to where the others were crowded around a small fire. "We've been discussing a plan of action!"

"What's to discuss?" Loki asked as he flopped between Anton and Silas. "We’re finished here, right?"

"Not quite," Silas replied.

"It wouldn't hurt to wait around a bit, would it?" Theo looked around at everyone. "Just until someone shows up."

"I'm sure someone'll be here soon," Tobias said confidently. "We did tell that Mr. Wittenberg that the people here needed assistance—"

"Which means they're on their own," Anton cut in.

"Don't be so sure," Aidan muttered. "Elections're coming up, he can't afford to lose anyone's vote."

"Come on," Tobias pouted. "Do you all really want to stay in the smoldering city of depression any longer than necessary? Besides, we really should be getting back. Don't want to miss any valuable customers, after all."

As everyone shuffled back to the van, Aidan hurried alongside Tobias. "Back to where, exactly?"

"Our central offices, of course," Tobias said with a nod.

"Mercenaries have central offices?"

"Again with the M-word!" Tobias closed his eyes as if Aidan uttered some horrible curse.

"I don't see how you still have the energy for hysterics, Tobias," Silas sighed as he climbed into the driver's seat.

"Youthful energy," Tobias retorted. "Everyone in?" Murmurs of assent drifted from the back seats. Theo uneasily gazed out the window at the cluster of people outside. "All right, then, wave goodbye!"

As Blue Heaven jerked to life, Aidan stared in the direction of his former home; the high flames had dimmed and the skeletal remains of the buildings looked like tall, glowing coals. As if just remembering something, Theo turned around in her seat.

"Do you need to get in touch with anyone before we leave?" she asked Aidan. "Your parents, maybe? Let them know you're okay and all… maybe we could meet up with them on the way out, in case they wanted to take Lily—"

"It's fine, thank you." Aidan glanced over at his sister, and then back to Theo with a small smile. "I can talk to them later."


The three-hour drive passed mostly in silence. Aidan rested his chin against his palm, wondering why people built these long stretches of country road without building anything to look at along with it. The only things to see for miles were endless farms, pastures, and cows.

The loud bump as the car rumbled onto a bridge, followed by the rattling of the medical supplies in the back, jostled Aidan out of his daze. He squinted into the blue early morning light to see a flat marsh below them, surrounded by tall, swampy grass.

"Finally," Loki mumbled sleepily. "Is it just me, or does the drive get more boring every time?"

"Not so. I think I saw a bull this time." Theo yawned, stretching across her seat.

"Ohh, Aidan!" Tobias turned around. "I haven't warned you about our secretaries yet, have I?"

"Warned me?" Aidan frowned. "About what?"

"Well, there're some things to keep in mind when meeting the Langleys," Tobias laughed. "They hate it when you mix them up, for one: Liv's the youngest, Kate's the oldest, and Sofia's the other one."

"Never comment on how short Liv is," Loki added with a shudder. "She's a hair-puller."

"Don't… well… it's best you avoid Sofia altogether," Theo said delicately. "Actually, she might like you… high society and all that."

"And I wouldn't point out that Kate looks nothing like the other two," Tobias intoned. "She's sort of adopted."

"She's sensitive about that?" Aidan asked.

"No, she just hates when people point out the obvious." Tobias grinned.

"…if you don't mind me asking," Aidan began, looking slightly uncomfortable. "If these women are as… volatile… as you say, why are they handling customers?"

"Runs in the family, I guess," Tobias chirped. "Their oldest sister helped start the business, after all!"

"Will I be meeting her, too?"

"Evie? Nah." Tobias shrugged. "She's no longer with us." He turned around again, wiping his hand across the foggy windshield.

Aidan settled back into his seat, frowning. That flippant way Tobias said it, Aidan told himself the woman had retired… but there was something about the finality of the words, and the uncomfortable silence in the van at the mention of her name. Aidan decided he didn't want to know.

As the car squelched down the muddy road, Aidan could see a cylindrical building in the distance, emitting black smoke, which Aidan recognized as a power plant. 'Guess we must be close to civilization after all,' he thought.

The van sharply turned into a driveway, and Aidan found himself staring up at a four-story building that seemed to be built taller than it was wide. The white paint was muddy and peeled, making the house look almost grayish, and the white railing on the porch looked like it would fall apart under a person's weight. But the stained glass French doors and oval windows gave him the impression that this had been a nice house, just one that no one bothered to maintain properly. Above the door hung a faded sign: "Locke, Bristow, and Langley."

A small, blonde girl stood on the front porch, elbows resting on the rickety railing. When she saw Blue Heaven, her face lit up.

"Anton!" she sang, bounding down the porch steps and throwing her arms around his waist. "I missed you!"

Anton closed his eyes, resigned, and patted her on the head. "Good morning, Olivia."

Theo climbed out of the car, smiling at the girl. "Hey, Liv!"

Liv stiffened, and politely inclined her head towards Theo. "Hello, Theodora." Theo just laughed, ignoring the venom in the girl's voice.

"Nobody got burned?" A taller, but just as thin, version of Liv glided out onto the porch, haughtily gazing down on them. "That's a shame."

"Your concern touches my heart as always, Sofia," Tobias sighed, a hand on his chest.

Sofia looked as if she was about to reply scathingly, but a dark-skinned, curvaceous older woman pushed her aside and marched onto the porch. By deduction, Aidan figured this was Kate.

"Is it true?" Kate demanded. "Is it really on fire?"

"Well, it was," Silas drawled. "It's pretty well crispy now."

"Damn," Kate breathed. "Please tell me you still got paid?"

"Sort of!" Tobias walked up the steps, handing Kate the card with Wittenberg's number. "We're supposed to make an appointment with him next week, be sure to hound him 'til then."

"Dammit, Tobias," Kate sighed. "Next week… isn't now," she lamely finished.

"Excellent observation!" Tobias laughed.

"You know what I mean," Kate grumbled. "We've got ten people to feed here—wait. Ten?" She counted everyone, frowning. "…Tobias. Why do we got two extra?"

"Oh, that's right!" Tobias gestured towards Aidan and Lily. "Kate, Sofia, Liv, this is our new medic, Aidan, and his lovely sister, Miss Lily!" Aidan could see the sisters exchange looks, as if trying to formulate a reaction. Finally, Kate offered a lopsided smile.

"Welcome, I guess?" she laughed. "Hope you don't mind the mess. If I knew we had guests comin', I would've cleaned up a bit."

"That wouldn't be necessary, Katherine." Sofia smirked. "So where'd you pick this one up, Tobias? Side of the road?"

"Actually," Tobias corrected, "he's an intern back in the city."

"…oh." The sneer vanished, and in its place was a coquettish smile. "You never said he was a professional."

"It's… very nice to meet you all." Aidan bowed.

"Likewise," Sofia simpered.

"Well, let's not just stand out here," Kate interrupted. "I'll see if I can make some breakfast out of what we have left, then we can talk business?"


"So, Miss Kate." Silas took a bite of his pancakes. "There's business to talk?"

"Well, Dante Bateman called right before you showed up," Kate began. "He wanted to reschedule, since your last appointment was… you know… cancelled due to fire."

"No," Theo groaned. "I thought I'd escaped him, for once."

"C'mon, Theo, it's a job," Kate wheedled.

"Easy for you to say," Theo grumbled. "You don't have to deal with him. What is it this time? He thinks someone's trying to steal his paintings again? He thinks the fire was an elaborate attempt to destroy his work, right?"

"Actually, he says he received a death threat this morning… says someone's tryin' to assassinate him."

"Lovely!" Theo clapped her hands. "Give them my blessing."

"What happened to focusing on the positive, darling?" Tobias pouted.

"That disappeared when he tried to grope me."

Anton turned to look at her. "He tried to grope you?"

"Well… no," Theo admitted. "But he's always flirting, and hugging me, and talking about how nice guys finish last and all that bullshit while he pets my kneecap—"

"It's probably all in your head," Anton interrupted.

"Don't take it personally, Theo," Kate reassured. "He falls madly in love with anything with boobs and a pulse."

"Why is it just me, then?" Theo ranted. "Always talking about how selective he is, like he deserves a prize or something, sayin' he'll only go for a petite woman—"

"That's funny," Kate mused. "With me, he's always talking about full-bodied women."

"…either way!" Theo crossed her arms. "I won't work for him again even if I'm starving."

"I got news for you, honey." Kate poked Theo in the ribs. "You are starving."

"Wait," Aidan cut in. "Dante Bateman? As in Harry and Maria's son?"

"That's right, you prob'ly know him, don't you?" Kate nodded. "After the fire, he evacuated to his parents' villa in Bellerophon."

"Oh, are we close to Bellerophon?" Aidan sighed in relief; they hadn't left civilization after all.

"Barely a half hour's drive," Kate said cheerfully.

"But… but but… we don't actually have to go, right?" Theo pleaded.

"Oh, please!" Sofia let out a loud sigh. "At least Dante is more civilized than you."

"Sofia," Kate growled. "What d'you think your sister would do if she were here?"

The tension in the air was palpable. Aidan and Lily exchanged a look of confusion, and the others looked at each other, unsure if they should break the silence. Finally, Sofia, who was steadily turning red, stood up, nearly taking the table with her.

"Evelyn'd put you on the street where you belong, you uncultured pig!" she shrieked.

"What's that?" Kate hollered, standing up as well. "Evie would take a belt to that prissy hide of yours!"

"You guys," Liv whined. "She'd tell you to stop fighting!"

"What makes you the expert?" Sofia snapped.

"She liked me best," Liv whimpered.

As the sisters crashed into an argument about exactly whom Evelyn liked best, Aidan watched, wide-eyed. '…is everyone in this business a raving lunatic?' he thought. It seemed Tobias' frivolous attitude was contagious.

"Anton and I are just gonna… take a shower before we leave," Theo laughed nervously. "Right, Anton?" Anton simply nodded, standing up and nearly dragging his wife away from the table.

"I better go put some gas in Blue Heaven, so we can get to Bellerophon," Loki mumbled. "Uh… you wanna help, girly?"

"Why would you need help?" Lily asked.

"Well, y'know, I might need someone to… hold the can?"

"Very well." Lily allowed herself to be shepherded out the door.

"Excuse me?" Aidan tried to cut in weakly. "I'm sure your sister wouldn't want you to argue—" As soon as the words left his mouth, Tobias and Silas grabbed him by the arms and began to drag him outside.

"Mind the china, ladies!" Tobias yelled back into the kitchen as they hurried onto the porch, leaving the crashing and screaming behind them.

Hope you enjoyed! Feedback is good for my soul!

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Wednesday, March 15, 2006

It be Wednesday.
Day of Lost, hump day, and all sorts of other wonderful things. And this particular Wednesday is rather nice, because in exactly a week, I will be eighteen! Rock on, Becky. Rock on.

Where're all these pageviews coming from? It seems like I've been getting quite a few lately. *shifty-eyed* Stealth-pageviewers of dooooom.

Anyways. Since I'm going to try to upload the entirety of the PeaceMaker Kurogane anime series for the lovely Mimmi, I now ask: who wants it? I'll post the links here if everyone wants to mooch; be as greedy as you like, I'm probably using MegaUpload or something, so it's not my bandwith or anything.

Tomorrow's the last day before Spring Break, AND "Senior Takeover Day," which means I get to be my Fiction teacher for a day. Should be awesome.

I leave you with an exchange between myself and my insane Calculus teacher.

Mr. Floyd: You're gonna walk out of that test [AP Calc test] feeling like you failed it, when you really what?
Me: Tried?
Mr. Floyd: NO! You PASSED it!
Me: ... *blink*... *sigh*

Love to you all!

Oh, and by the way...


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