Saturday, February 2, 2013

Day 38: Luckiest Investigative Reporter on Earth!


Things have been pretty slow at work this week. Joanie's not worried, she says it gets that way sometimes. It's the summer months, so many local families are heading out to bigger beaches and tourist destinations, so the local planning board tends not to run much. Meanwhile, I'm running out of people to interview. I was just sitting around the house today when I randomly remembered that sparkly dust Flora Goodfellow gave me before she died. Eh... why not... not like there was anything better to do...

It's pretty stuff. Very fine. I decided to sprinkle a little on myself, Peter Pan style, just for kicks.

All of a sudden I'm seeing this weird glow... I thought maybe it was just residue hanging in the air. But then...

Holy crap! It IS fairy dust! This stuff seriously works! I was hovering in the air like a flippin' balloon for two straight hours. My feet weren't even touching the floor! I had to experiment with more, of course, so I tried moving and worked out a sort of unsteady locomotion. It seems like just willing myself to go a certain way and leaning in that direction works for locomotion. After figuring that out, I had the bright idea to test the hovering power over different surfaces. I thought about running a bath to see if I could float over water (Could this be the same stuff Jesus used for his famous walk on water?), but then I had a better idea. There's a pond in the local graveyard. Not much bigger than a hot tub, really, but it works for what I was trying to test. So I headed out into the night to test my theory, literally flying to the graveyard. SO COOL!

Well, unfortunately, it doesn't work over water, so I had to scrap that theory, but I did discover that it had a luminescent quality that made the gloomy, misty graveyard light up within a few yards of wherever I was standing. It was such a beautiful night out I decided to stay and experiment further. I even skipped a few stones.

That's when I heard some weird noises coming from the catacombs. Well, me and my stupid self, I totally forgot about the reports of local bears coming down from the mountains and sightings around the edges of town, so I went to investigate.

Yes. I got mauled by a bear. Well, sort of. It knocked me down, but apparently it was only a cub because I managed to frighten it off by yelling and waving my hands once I got back to my feet, and after that I beat a hasty retreat to avoid backlash from its mama. But still-- fairy dust, and walking away from a bear attack on the same night?! Seriously! How cool is that?! And wait, it gets better!
I was just hurrying back out of the catacombs and about to head home when I spotted this weird bluish light over by the fish ponds. I figured I was already a mess, may as well check one more thing while my luck was holding, so I headed over to investigate.

As I drew closer, the light began to coalesce... into the form of a woman, standing by the pond, looking out over the water. But it wasn't a woman, because I could see right through her. It was a ghost.

Yes. I, Sophia Buenavista, discovered magical fairy dust, wrestled a bear, and met a real honest-to-god ghost... all on the same night! So much for a slow news week! I've got the makings of half a dozen articles right here!

Day 36: Moving Day

Needless to say, I've been working my ass off. Joanie surprisingly didn't hassle me at all about that piece I wrote on her dirtbag husband, so either she's been too distracted to notice it, or she doesn't mind. Kinda makes you wonder what kind of relationship they have behind closed doors... and there I go sticking my nose where it doesn't belong.
Anyway, more importantly, I'm finally out of that crappy little trailer! After my latest raise, I finally decided to take the plunge and started looking around town at available realty. I was a little nervous at first... I mean, I honestly hadn't made the decision to settle down here long-term yet, but when I found this little place on the north end of town, I felt like the decision was made for me. It's perfect, just what a single working girl needs. Plus it's pretty secluded, just a block from the local graveyard and brisk jog away from Moonlight Point, a secluded local beach. I made an offer on it the same day I saw it, and I moved in yesterday!

Just for kicks, I decided to jog home from work, see what kind of a run it was, and-- just like everything else-- it's perfect.

I love my new place! I love this town! I guess you could say I'm becoming a local...

Monday, December 31, 2012

The Hemlock Chronicles: Updates and Pic Spam

I was going to write this up into another chapter, but frankly, after writing three intensely emotional chapters in one day, I'm beat. Not to mention, in the game I forgot about Lilah's impending graduation and moved Moriah and the kids out the night before her graduation ceremony so the only person who came was Timo, and I just didn't feel like making Moriah out to be THAT bad of a mother that she would skip her own daughter's graduation ceremony, especially after everything else she's missed during her mourning period. ::sigh:: Poor Moriah. Poor Lilah. Poor Xander. Poor Mattei. I am just a big meanie to my characters... ::evil grin::

Anyway, here are some shots from Lilah's graduation.

Lilah attending her graduation.
She was voted "Most Likely to Offend."
Poor girl just can't catch a break.

Lilah thanking Timo for attending her ceremony.

Can't you tell he's bored and doesn't like you, Lilah?
Geez, just leave the poor kid alone so he can go hit on that cute blond girl.
"Hey baby, that guy's a joke. You wanna see what a real wizard can do?"

Timo came, but more than anything, it was out of a sense of familial obligation. He doesn't like Lilah at all, and doesn't trust her as far as he could throw her. He really only stuck around the house because he likes the old place, and because there'd be more room for his imaginary friend with everyone else gone.

Yeah... he's special...

Did I mention he's also a witch? Well... wizard. Warlock. Whatever. He has the Magic, and he's more talented already than his mom ever was.

Timo casting a conversion ritual on a toadstool.

And voila!
Okay, well, maybe a fish is the most impressive thing ever, but it's a start.

"Bubble, bubble, toil and... tribbles?
Hey! Who swapped out my alchemy book for Star Trek fanfic?" 

Drinking a home-brewed potion.
This may be the best pic I have of Timo.... sadly.

That's all the extra pics I have for now. Don't worry, though. This is not the last you'll see of the others. I'm already working on something special for Mattei, since he's such a good-looking and sweet guy who just didn't get much of a role in The Hemlock Chronicles. Be watching for him in The Buenavista Diairies!

As for who I pick for the legacy heir... I guess you'll just have to wait and see, won't you?

Chapter XVI: Bridges Burnt

(Disclaimer: There is some adult language in this post. Read at your own discretion.)

Everything has changed.

Mom is a different person now, if you can even call her a person. I'd call her a zombie. She doesn't even get out of bed in the morning, not even to take care of the triplets.

The other day I had to skip school because Timo and Mattei had finals and couldn't stay home with them. The school called. I heard Mom's cell phone ring, but she never even picked up. She didn't come out of her room all day.

I hate her. It's bad enough that Dad died. But she's our mother! She has six kids! She can't DO this! It's not fair to Timo and Mattei that they have to get up with the babies in the middle of the night, and it's not fair to me that I'm missing my senior year to stay at home and play mother to my little siblings.

I've tried the gentle route. I've tried talking to her, yelling at her, even dragging the blankets off her. But she just rolls over, doesn't say a word. She's so selfish! It's not like the rest of us didn't lose Dad, too. It's not like we don't miss him! But we still go on because we have to. Because that's what you do! Because the triplets need us!

What the hell does she think she's doing? She's so weak! If she's going to be so useless, I just wish she'd up and die, too.

* * *

Mom finally came out of her room just now, an hour after I'd put the triplets to bed. The boys are doing their homwork in their room, and I'm watching a show on TV while I eat ramen noodles for dinner. She doesn't even look at me, just goes straight to the fridge, gets out a container of yogurt and a spoon, and starts eating it at the sink. She doesn't say a word. I watch her expectantly, but when she finishes, she just goes right back into her room.

I can't help myself. “Bitch...” I mutter under my breath. She stops, halfway through the door and turns to look at me.

“Excuse me?”

I look her straight in the eye and raise an eyebrow. “Well, obviously you heard it the first time. Do you really want me to repeat myself?”

“Lilah Hemlock--” she starts, but I cut her off.

“Don't you even dare speak to me like I'm just a child! While you've been holed up in your own personal two-month pity party, the boys and I have kept this household running. We have had to cook, clean, and take care of ourselves, not to mention the triplets! Mattei even got a job at the funeral home so that we can pay the bills and keep the house. I bought that yogurt you just ate at the grocery store during my lunch period yesterday!” I could feel my voice rising, but I couldn't help myself: the last two months of built up grief and rage were blowing out of me like air from a popped balloon. “So don't you DARE act like any kind of parent right now, because you are NOT my mother! She died when Dad did!”

I feel the slap before I even see it coming. It stings and I feel a spreading heat on my cheek. I blink. Mom is staring at me, wide-eyed, hand still hovering stupidly in the air. I stare back at her for a few seconds, then realize my mouth is hanging open. I shut it abruptly, then turn and walk into my room, slamming the door behind me. She doesn't follow me.

* * *

Mom tried to come and talk to me after my outburst. But I locked my door. She tried the next day too, but I just ignored her. Then today, several weeks later, she comes out of her room while the boys are helping me feed the twins and makes an announcement.

“We're moving,” she says.

Shocked silence fills the room. I look at the boys for a clue to this sudden decision that maybe Mom's been keeping from me, but they look as surprised as I feel. Isabella chimes up, “Mama!” and reaches for Mom, and she absently strokes her hair, then faces the rest of us again.

“Your grandparents' house never sold, and it's bigger than this old place. It has more rooms, and a nice big yard for the triplets to play in, too. Timo and Mattei, you boys could have your own rooms. What do you guys think?” She smiles like she just invented Christmas or something.

I'd like to tell her exactly what I think, but I don't want the triplets picking up that kind of language. Ever since their birthday, they're fond of gaining attention through unsavory methods. I don't need another meeting with their elementary school principal right now.

“No,” I say, and Mom looks at me like I just refused money from the tooth fairy.

“No?” she echoes, confused.

“I'm not moving,” I insist. “This is our home. We grew up here. I'm not leaving.”

“But, Lilah, I really think we all need a fresh start.”

“We? I don't think this has anything to do with the rest of us. This is all about you, Mom, just like things usually are.”

“Lilah, please--”

“You can't deal with the memory of losing Dad, and you think moving somewhere else will just fix it. But that's not gonna work Mom. No matter where you live, Dad will still be gone.”

“Lilah!” Mom says sharply, and the triplets are staring at me wide-eyed now. Mattei and Timo are silent, but I see something like agreement in the set of Timo's jaw as I continue.

“Besides,” I add. “I'd hardly call the house dad grew up in a 'fresh start'. Just because you threw everything out and had the place gutted after Grampa died doesn't mean there aren't still memories haunting that place.”

“Grampa's house is haunted?” Inigo asks, voice filled with awe and not a little interest.

Mom has gone silent now, and her mouth is set in that firm line that says she's not changing her mind. She glares at me for a moment, then folds her arms.

“Pack up. Moving day is Saturday,” she says, and turns to go back to her room.

“I'm not moving!” I call after her. The only answer is the soft click of her bedroom door shutting behind her. I can feel my siblings eyes on me as I take the bowl of macaroni and cheese back to the counter. I put it down and sigh, gazing out the window at the coastline below. I meant it. I love this house. As many bad memories I have here, I have good ones too, and I won't trade those for the uncertainty of a new place, especially where Grampa might have even more metaphysical energy to waste on interfering in my life.

“I'm staying too,” Timo says, and I turn, surprised. He looks at me from under his shaggy mop of strawberry blonde hair and shrugs. “I like it here.” We both look at Mattei, but he's just pushing food around on his plate, avoiding our eyes. It's obvious he's already chosen. He's a born and bred mama's boy, and he'll follow Mom wherever she goes, even if it means leaving his twin and older sister behind. “You don't HAVE to do everything she says, Mattei,” I try, but he says nothing, and I sigh again. It's settled then.

I cross the living room and knock on Mom's door. She opens it and gives me an annoyed look. “You can go if you want, Mom, but Timo and I are staying,” I tell her.

She shakes her head. “Don't be ridiculous. I'm not going to move away and leave my children behind. We're all moving together.” Rolling my eyes, I sweep past her and close the door behind me. I hear Mattei reminding the triplets to eat their vegetables as I turn to face Mom, and I take a deep breath, preparing for battle. I am determined to do this in an adult fashion.

“First of all, Mom, we're not children. I'm eighteen, and Timo is almost seventeen.”

“No you're not! Your birthday isn't until...” Mom starts, then pauses, shocked.

“Last month,” I finish for her. “You slept through it. I baked a cake and everything.”

When she looks at me again, Mom has tears in her eyes. “Lilah... I missed your birthday?”

I simply nod. She steps close to me, and she looks like she wants a hug, but I just can't bring myself to humor her after everything she's put me through. “Anyway, I'm staying. Timo wants to stay too, and since I'm legally an adult, I can take care of him for one more year until he graduates.”

Mom looks away and seems to be intensely interested in the pattern of the wallpaper, but when she turns back to me, she seems to have softened. “Lilah, are you sure this is what you want?” I nod.

“Well... how would we do this? I mean, what was your plan?”

“You sign over the deed to the house to me,” I say matter-of-factly. I'm actually surprising myself with how well I've thought this through. I guess somewhere along the way I must have grown up.

“And Timo...?” she adds.

“He'll get an after-school job to help with groceries and bills, and when he's eighteen we can talk about it and see what he wants to do.”

Mom studies the wallpaper a bit more, then drops her head, defeated. She sighs. “Well, I guess you guys are practically adults now... You've certainly had to act like adults for awhile. If this is what you really want--” She peeks at me, and I fold my arms. “-- then I guess it's only fair for me to say yes.”

I breathe a mental sigh of relief. She steps toward me to embrace me. “Lilah, I'm so sorry about everything I've put you guys through...” she starts, but I step away.

“I don't want your apologies, Mom,” I answer, putting my hand on the doorknob. “I just want you to leave.” I walk out, closing her door-- and the proverbial door of our tenuous mother-daughter relationship-- behind me.

Timo looks up, and I give him a short nod, then move to the sink to start on dishes. Mattei gets up, brings his and the triplets' dishes to the sink, and heads to his room to start packing.

* * *
It's Sunday night. The moving van has already come and gone. The triplets' room and my room have been stripped bare of furniture, all my stuff having been moved into the master bedroom while we had the manpower readily available. We've already said goodbye to the triplets and Mattei, who are waiting by the door. Now we're down to Mom. She gives Timo and I each a hug, which I do not return, and assures us that there's “always room for us if we change our minds.” I don't bother to reply. She takes one last, sad look at us, then heads out to the car, the triplets walking out after her. Mattei attempts a half-smile, sheks Timo's hand, and mutters a meek goodbye, and then he's gone too.

Good riddance. I feel a short pang of regret at losing Mattei and the triplets, but mostly, I'm just relieved. I've been longing for my freedom from that woman for years, and now I finally have it. I close the door behind her, turn to face Timo, and grin. “Just you and me now, bro! How many teenagers own their own house, huh?”

He gives me a disgusted look, then turns and walks away. “I'll be in my room,” he says. I shrug. Well, at least I'm going to enjoy it! 

"That's the spirit!" Grampa says enthusiastically, and for once, I'm in too good a mood to tell him to buzz off.

Chapter XV: Unexpected Goodbyes

It's weird... how life can be going along great, for the first time in years, and then suddenly just dump on you like a trash truck straight out of Hell.

Dad is dead.

It's not fair! He just retired! He hadn't even gotten a chance yet to go golfing in the goofy plaid shorts I bought him for his retirement, and he just up and died! The doctor said it was an embolism. One minute he was standing there in the kitchen. The next, he was dead on the floor. Just dead! We didn't even get to say goodbye! I was trying so hard to be good, to earn his trust again, and now he's dead... he probably died thinking of me as the same horrible daughter I've always been. And whereas I can't get rid of Grampa, dad is just gone. I'll never get to apologize to him, to tell him I love him. I can't stand it... I... I just wish...

Grampa's here. I've gotten so I can sense him, even before he speaks. “Lilah?” he says tentatively, close to my ear. I roll over. “Hunny, are you okay?”

“What the hell do you think, Grampa?”

“Oh, my dear...” he says, and his voice draws closer.

“Go away!” I growl, throwing a pillow in the direction of his voice. It thumps softly again the wall, and I hear the conversation in the living room pause for a moment before resuming. Everyone out there is probably just thinking I'm having another crazy-episode again. I'm used to it.

“Hunny, I just want to be here for you,” Grampa says, and I laugh coldly.

“Right, because you're so selfless and caring like that.” He doesn't say anything, and I pull the covers over my head. Dad is dead. Daddy...

I want to die too. Just drop dead, like my dad did, and not have to deal with any of this anymore: Grampa and his insane scheme to get me pregnant with his new body. Mom and her awkward attempts at parenting. The kids at school who torment me... I just want it all to end. Before I know it, I'm sobbing. “Lilah,” Grampa tries again, but I don't answer, and I feel him fade. Darkness mercifully steals over me, and when I open my eyes again, it's dark out.

Something woke me up, a noise... like a grunt. I roll over, groggy. My eyes feel swollen and I'm stiff. But all that fades into the background when I see her standing there, shadows and light from the lighthouse outside playing over her face, which is paler than I remember.


“Hey, sweetie,” she says, and her voice seems to have changed too. It's lower, richer... I sit up, confused, and slide out of bed. “Sandi? I... what are you doing here?”

She shrugs. “I was in town on break, and I heard about your dad. Thought I'd come see you and make sure you were okay.”

“Oh... okay...” I say. I'm feeling a little fuzzy-minded, like I've had too much to drink. I can still hear people out there in the living room. The funeral party hasn't ended yet, then. I look at my cell phone, and it's not as late as it feels.

“So... um...” I stammer, feeling a little embarrassed. I've had dreams where I wake up and she's there, but I've never actually expected it to happen, and now I have no idea what to say. “Uh... what... what are you doing in my room?”

“Well, checking out your painting for one,” she replies, and I blush. “Is that supposed to be me?” she asks, and I nod, dropping my gaze. I can't believe she actually recognized the figure in the painting... this one is still in the early stages, but I have whole stacks of paintings in my closet of her. I've never showed them to anyone of course. I don't want people to think I'm obsessed, but the truth is... maybe I am. Even after she left for school, I couldn't stop thinking about her. Ever.

“Sandi... um... you seem different,” I say, trying to change the subject. “What happened?”

All of a sudden, it's like someone flipped a switch. Her normally beautiful face tranforms into a vicious scowl, and she glares at me in a hostile, almost murderous way.

“Different? What? You don't like it?” she says, and I flinch at her tone.

“Um... no, I was just noticing. I mean--”

“What's wrong, Lilah? Can't deal with a little change? Am I too much woman for you now? Or too much of something else?”

Suddenly she bares her teeth and hisses at me, and I swear, in the darkness, I see fangs glinting on her lips.

“S-Sandi?” I say, backing away, but my knees hit the bed, and I fall gracelessly on my butt. She seems to relax immediately, and holds her arms open to me. I stand back up, hesitant to go to her, and she sighs.

“Oh, Lilah, I'm sorry,” she says gently. “I'm just a little on edge,” she explains. “I haven't had much to eat lately.”

Not knowing what else to say, and-- more importantly-- what won't set her off, I just shrug.

“Come here, beautiful,” she says, her voice barely a whisper. I raise my eyes to meet hers, and notice her eyes are different now too... maybe she's wearing tinted contacts? They look weird in the dim light... unnatural.

“I've missed you,” she says, staring at me intently, with a need in her eyes that is unmistakeable. I feel my heart beat faster, and as if reading my mind, she holds her arms out to me again. I don't hesitate this time, but rush into them, and she enfolds me, her grasp almost squeezing the air out of me. I feel the tears start to come again.

“Sandi!” I manage, and them the sobs make any other words impossible. She merely holds me tightly, stroking my hair and murmuring comfortingly.

We stay like that for a long time, neither of us speaking, until finally I hear people moving around in the living room. People are starting to leave. Sandi releases me, and like a huge stone, I feel the weight of everything settle back onto my heart. “I should go,” Sandi whispers, and I shake my head, desperate for her to stay. She smiles sadly at me, then raises a hand to stroke my cheek. “You're getting more beautiful everyday, Lilah,” she whispers, then turns and leaves. Everything in me wants to run after her, grab her, and hold on until my last breath. I don't want to let her go. Ever. But I merely step back, and fall onto the bed, overwhelmed. Grandpa doesn't come back, and as the house grows quiet, I fall back asleep.


I couldn't figure out how to fit this one into the story, but the picture was too bizarre not to share.

Moriah greets the reaper.

Chapter XIV: Teens will be Teens

For the first time since Buster's insidious revelation and subsequent death, things have been peaceful in our home. Xander got another promotion and was able to cut back on his hours, so he's home a lot more often, which is wonderful. Not only do the kids get to see more of him, but they also seem to behave better with their father around, and I have more help around the house.

The twins have been a big help too. Timo especially seems to have formed a strong bond with little Isabella, and I often catch him playing with her or tickling her when he thinks nobody is watching. He loves the boys too, but I'm certain Isabella is his favorite.

Mattei, as always, is my angel child, constantly helping change diapers, clean up around the house and even cooking dinner occasionally when the triplets have had a rough day and I'm exhausted.

But the most surprising change is Lilah. Oh, she still gets into trouble often enough. The other night I caught her sneaking inside after curfew on a school night, and we had words.

But instead of her typically snide or hostile reaction, she genuinely apologized. “I lost track of time, Mom, it won't happen again,” she assured me. I hid my smile so she wouldn't get the wrong idea, of course, and I did chastise her and send her to bed, but I was so pleased afterward that I actually cried tears of joy. She's not as open with me emotionally as Timo, or even as helpful around the house as Mattei, but I really feel like our relationship is starting to mend, and I couldn't have asked for anything more precious.

But despite things going well, six children in one house comes with the usual chaos and misadventures.

Last Thursday night, Xander and I were invited to a party for him and his teammates because they made the state championships, and Timo and Mattei happily volunteered to look after the triplets, so we left without a care in the world. The party was supposed to run pretty late. I suppose I would have been a little more anxious if I had left Lilah in charge, but she had gone out to a movie with some friends from school, and I wanted to encourage her to take some time to have fun now that she was back on track with her grades and behavior. My mind was at ease that I had nothing to worry about with the twins taking care of the house. Well... I suppose even good kids make bad decisions sometimes...

From what the boys confessed, I gather that Timo had the bright idea to throw a party while we were out. They called a bunch of friends from school and put the triplets down to bed. Mattei told me Timo was likely just looking for an excuse to get to know a girl from school he has a crush on, but the party apparently got out of hand. The few guests they had invited apparently invited others and before they knew it, the house was full of teens, dancing, making out and passing out on the living room floor. Mattei says Lilah had no idea about the party, and when her friends dropped her off and saw what was going on, they all decided to come join in. Apparently someone brought a keg, and someone brought a sound system, and, well, one thing led to another and the cops came. I came home to Timo getting a lecture from a very irate police officer.

He and Mattei are both grounded of course, and they sheepishly submitted to the punishment, so I'm pretty sure they've learned their lesson. Lilah, on the other hand, I only talked to. I want to be fair, and even though I feel she should have called us and reported what was going on, I know it wasn't her idea, and she's been punished enough lately. She did seem a little overly smug about the boys getting in trouble, though...

* * *
Today was the big day! Xander just retired from his job. He's getting older, and even though I still see the same dashing young brigand I fell in love with every time I look at him, his age is starting to show. Several months ago, he started complaining of pain in his joints, and when a doctor's appointment revealed he was developing some pretty bad arthritis, we talked about it and decide3d it was probably time for him to give up the career in sports. He discussed it with his coach, and the coach agreed to a decent pension.

Even though he insisted he didn't want a party or any big celebration, the kids and I threw him a mini party anyway. I waited until he got in the shower and then we all gathered outside the bathroom door with homemade signs, streamers, and confetti, and after he'd gotten dressed we burst in and surprised him with hugs and gifts. Even Lilah was smiling proudly. Xander was so overwhelmed he teared up, and it was one of the best memories I think I'll ever make with my children...

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Day 20: Confrontation

I am just fuming right now! I just don't even know what to do, I'm so mad! I just... UGH!

Okay, I need to start at the beginning:

So on Wednesday this week Joanie pulled me into her office again to let me know I was getting another promotion, this time to a freelance writer. At first I was leery, but then she explained that this will give me more freedom to determine my own hours and sniff out the good stories, since I will be only indirectly affiliated with the town's newspaper. In other words, she wants me to find the nitty-gritty stuff that people might not want to tell someone they knew was a reporter for the local paper the stuff that makes the really big headlines. And... well, when she told me the new salary, I was on board.

Well, that evening I decided to go try out another local haunt to celebrate my promotion. But when I arrived, I discovered that Joanie and her family were all there as well, apparently celebrating one of her son's birthdays. I met both of her sons, good-looking young men named Joe and Jules, as well as her husband, Flint. Joanie and I enjoyed a drink together at the bar and chatted about work for a little while, and then they all headed home while I had another and went home, too.

Well, then on Friday night I decided to head over to the Red Velvet Lounge and check out what sort of people (or non-people, as the case may be) frequent a lounge that advertises itself as a “premier vampire hangout.” Joanie had asked me to start doing more interviews, so when I arrived I quickly introduced myself and struck up a conversation with a friendly-seeming Goth fellow named Malcolm Harris.

I was in the middle of asking him about his fascination with vampires when I saw Flint MacDuff walk in. I smiled at him, but he apparently didn't recognize me in my more formal attire and with my hair down, because he moved past me to the bar and got himself a drink. I made a mental note to catch him after I finished my interview and reintroduce myself, but before I had finished, I snuck a peek only to find him chatting up another woman, very evidently flirting with her.

Well, I couldn't help myself. I hate two-timers, and not only is Joanie a great boss, but I consider myself her friend. I grabbed my own drink and headed over to confront Flint. The other woman was just wandering off as I stepped up.

“Hello,” Flint greeted me, with a smarmy grin on his face.

“Hi, Flint. You don't remember me do you?”

“Should I?” he asked, sipping his drink.

“I would think so, considering we only met two days ago. Sofia Buenavista.”

“It's a pleasure,” he said, extending his hand.

“I work for your wife.”

The color drained from his face. Apparently it wasn't such a pleasure after all.

“I noticed your friend,” I said, jutting my chin in the woman's direction. “Not exactly your type, if she? I mean, based on the fact that you're... I dunno... married?”

That got him. He narrowed his eyes at me. “What are you implying, Miss...”

“Buenavista. And I'm not implying anything. I'm coming right out and saying it! You're a two-timing jackass!”

Well... it pretty much degraded from there, but we basically got into a brief shouting match during which I threatened to tell his wife and he threatened to get me fired and insisted I had no proof that he had done anything wrong. I threw my drink in his face and stormed out. In the cab on my way home, I realized that he was right. I don't have any proof. But I did have a handle on public opinion, courtesy of my job. I didn't have to tell Joanie he was a two-faced liar to get him to stop cheating on her. All I really had to do was smudge his reputation a little, and get all the single women in town to back off. So as soon as I got home, I sat down at my computer and wrote two stories: one positive one on Malcolm Harris (I was feeling charitable, and even though he's kinda weird, I know he could use the good publicity since he's looking for work) and one bad one on Flint.

I kept the piece on Flint pretty low-key. I don't want to get on Joanie's bad side, after all. But I did make sure to prominently declare that he's married with four kids and a hefty mortgage. Hopefully that'll deter any gold-diggers after him.

I just don't get it though. Joanie is a great woman. They seemed to have it all, a beautiful house, great jobs and reputations, awesome kids... why would he gamble all that on a pretty face? I mean... I know it's none of my business and all, but I just don't understand it.

Ugh! Listen to me! I really need to get a life of my own and quit prying into others'. Uncle Saul's always asking me if I have a boyfriend yet.

Oh no! I just received Doreen's email with the obituaries she wrote (she still sends me her stuff for proofreading occasionally , and Flora Goodfellow just died! Of natural causes, it reads. Well... I suppose that's likely. But still... how will I find out about that “fairy dust” she gave me? And it says the funeral is closed to friends and family only. Great... I knew I should have pursued that lead sooner. Damn my lousy timing!

This day is just sucking more the longer it goes on. I'm going to bed.