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comealongpond
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comealongpond


Amy
 
Name: Amelia "Amy" Joyce
Race: World Walker
Age: 24
Birthday: December 29, 1992
Height: 5'6"
Hair: Red
Eyes: Green
From: La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland
Manhattan, NY
Family: AJ, Older Sister
Nit, First Cousin
Mother, Father, Aunt, Uncle, Nit's siblings
Occupation: Restaurant Owner

10/29/16, apollosgirl and comealongpond for “Halloween 201?” replay quest

 

“So I know that this is a bit… unorthodox, to purposefully introduce humans to the supernatural,” I started to my boyfriend, Cecil. “Especially species that are less okay with people knowing who and what they are, unlike World Walkers. But I’ve noticed that the show Supernatural has a low of fans now. And I just thought that maybe it’d be fun to gather up a bunch of my supernatural contacts to make a quick buck. The only thing that really gets people motivated is money after all.” I snapped a five dollar bill in his face, and he laughed.

“I think that you’ll find that money is a good motivator for a lot of people,” he agreed with a nod. “It sounds like a good idea to me. So long as you can drum up enough people to act in your little play. Of course, I can find you about as many witches as you’d like.”

“Okay, so here’s what I’m thinking: it’ll be like a week-long event, where there’s a different supernatural creature that the group would have to ‘defeat’ every night. So witches is one. Got any other suggestions?”

“Hmm… I might be able to drum up some of my old contacts. I know a guy who knows some werewolves.”

“Okay, cool,” I said as I jotted it down on a list that I’d started.

“And I know that ghosts are staples on the show, but I’m not quite sure what a ghost would want, since they have no use for our currency, of any country.”

“Ooh, that’s right! Well, I have some family members, and maybe they could be talked into doing some stuff. You could ask yours, too. I’m sure that they get bored from time to time, and maybe would enjoy scaring some kids? Well, it wouldn’t hurt to ask.” I jotted it down after “werewolves”, and put a question mark after it.

*

In the end, it took over a month to get everything set up. We had to get people to agree to be “killed” by what basically amounts to a bunch of wide-eyed tourists. Scheduled had to be arranged. The tour plotted out. We had to think of ways that would remain in canon to “kill” the monsters without actually killing them.

It was a lot of hard work, but I felt like it would be worth it in the end. I’d put out fliers all over the country so that I could drum up some business, and I already had a lot of people emailing me about booking the tour.

“Cecil, we’re booked up for a month solid, and the event hasn’t even opened yet!” I exclaimed cheerfully one night.

“I’m so proud of you, Amy. You put your mind to something and you saw it through to the end. A lot of people would have given up after a bit. Especially with that ghoul in Sri Lanka…” We both shivered at the memory.

“After starting up a restaurant in a drug-lord filled area, doing this seemed like a cakewalk,” I said with a huge grin on my face. “We’re going to do a practice run starting tomorrow, and then the first group will start the week after. You’re coming on the run-through, right?”

“I wouldn’t miss it, Ames,” Cecil said. He pulled me close and kissed me on the temple.

*

The practice run went well, but it’s hard to judge if it went so well because of how many of the kinks that we’d worked out, or if the people in the practice group just knew that all of the supernatural creatures were simply actors in a week-long play.

“Well, it’s now or never,” I said to Cecil the night before the first real group.

“You’ll do well, Ames. You were amazing with everybody during that run-through, and you’ll be even better in front of a group of strangers.” He kissed me on the nose. “Now get to sleep! You know how anxious you get, and that sleep will be hard to come by for the rest of the week.”

I rolled over in bed and closed my eyes… My dreams that night were filled with supernatural creatures, and Sam, Dean, and Cas…

*

The first part of the tour was a haunting. I asked several of my relatives if they’d like to scare a bunch of humans, and they quickly agreed. It was staged at an old house that somebody had let me use for the sake of the tour. The best part was that the house had already been filled with old furniture and several layers of dust and cobwebs. No need to decorate at all.

My three-times great Aunt Hazel was doing things tonight, and was doing a really great job of spooking everybody.

“Here’s the ring!” one of the ladies on the tour exclaimed after the group had been digging around in the attic for a few minutes. I trailed after them as they raced down to the ground floor, where a roaring fire was going in the fireplace.

The ring itself was something that I’d picked up last week. It was only just costume jewelry. Ghosts don’t actually attach themselves to objects in the way that’s implied on Supernatural. But at the same time, I also didn’t want people going around and digging up random holes every week. And I also didn’t want to spend a whole lot of money on a prop that would only be destroyed in the long-run.

If any of the people in the group thought that the ring looked cheap or phony, nobody said anything before the lady tossed it into the fireplace.

Hazel appeared before them and wailed a bit before she vanished.

“We did it!” everybody cheered with glee before they slowly began to leave the house.

Once I was alone, I called out to Hazel. “It was a great job tonight,” I said to her when she appeared before me.

“Hehe, it was fun, Amelia. I haven’t had this much fun in centuries! I’ll be sure to tell all of the others what great fun that this is, and you’ll have lots of ghostly volunteers in the future.”

“Thanks, auntie!”

*

The vampires were trickier. We had to get a bunch of dummies and make them look like they’d been mutilated by the kind of vampires that they have on the show, since there aren’t anything like that around here. Then,we had to get some vampires, who wanted to be reformed. Think if Carlisle Cullen wandered into an episode of Supernatural.

The goal was to try and “convince” him that he could live off of animal blood, rather than to feed off of humans.

It would help that I wouldn’t give anybody any real weapons, and that, even if one of them did decide to take a swing at the actors, they were fast enough to get out of the way. After all, most of these people were out-of-shape couch potatoes, and were in no way as fast or skilled as Sam and Dean.

*

The demons were easy enough with the help of some shape-shifters and a bit of magic. A puff of smoke, a blink of the eye… and suddenly the little girl looks possessed, and talks in a deep tenor. That one was easy, because all they had to do was exercise a room full of students at a church meeting, and then drive the “demons” out from the building until dawn.

*

I decided to get a little bit bloody for the werewolves, since the only known way to stop one in the show was to kill them. I gave all of the tourists air guns that would make a sound as if being fired, but only just shot blanks. Then, the “werewolf” that I’d hired to be killed would pretend to die by activating a blood pack under his shirt.

*

The final night, it was set up for the witches. Cecil had come through for me and gotten three of his female friends to pretend to be cackling, evil, PTSO bake-sale witches who kept cursing their town’s “rival”, and making them lose every single sports game against their town.

It had been difficult to figure out where to have this event, until one of Cecil’s witch friends said that her little town was mostly just witches, and that the town could do with the boost in tourism.

After that had been settled, it was beyond easy to get the town to play along with everything just for one night. The kids staged a good game of baseball— which would be rotated around as the seasons changed— and the “rival” team lost spectacularly.

In the end, the group found the hex bags and destroyed them, and the day was saved once again.

“And now that you’ve proven your worth, I hereby dub you all Hunters,” I said as I pas.sed around Saumlets that I’d ordered off etsy to hand out as prizes.

“It was a great show, Amy,” Cecil said as he came over to me. He’d been in the last town, acting like an angry sports dad at the game. “Are you ready for week two?”

 

“Bring it on.”

 

5/11/16, comealongpond and flautistgirl42 for “Araméo and Juliwen” quest

 

“Ugh, this stinks,” Amy complained. She fanned the paper that the teacher had handed out just before cla.ss ended over her face. “I hate writing essays.”

“Then why did you sign up for this cla.ss?” Molly asked with annoyance. She carefully slipped her own paper into a folder that was clearly marked. “You knew full-well that there would be essay as.signments in this English cla.ss, but you still signed up for it.”

“Yes, yes I did. But I thought that it would be all… You know. Dramatic readings of MacBeth and stuff,” Amy said as she followed the brunette out from the room. “And then, you know. I’d be asked to do a reading of Juliet, and the hottest guy in the cla.ss would be tasked to read Romeo, and then we’d kiss, and we’d both realize that we actually did love one another. No really.”

“Dream on, Ames,” Molly said with a roll of her eyes. “Stuff like that only happens in the movies. And not even like… good movies. I’m talking like F-ranked Hallmark Chanel movies.”

“I liked that movie,” Amy protested with a sour look on her face.

“It was decent, but even you have to admit that the entire thing lasted for like three days and the cla.sses only seemed to last for like five seconds,” Molly said with a roll of her eyes.

Amy let out a long sigh of frustration as she looked at the paper that she held in her hands. It was crumpled a little now, thanks to her fanning herself with it.

“Hey, I’ve got an idea! We can go-”

“No,” Molly interrupted her.

“But you didn’t even hear what I had to say!”

“I don’t need to know! It’s going to involve magic and we’re going to get into some deep doo-doo and we’ll end up missing like five weeks of cla.ss or something,” Molly said as she walked away.

“Come on! You and George can act out scenes from Romeo and Juliet!” Amy called out after her.

“Romeo and Juliet is a horrible play! It lasted for three days and seven people died!” Molly yelled out over her shoulder.

“But then it doesn’t have to be Romeo and Juliet!” Amy said as she ran after Molly. “It can be something else! Something with a happy ending!”

Molly gave her a weird look. “You’re new to the entire romances from this era, aren’t you?” she said after a moment.

Amy pouted slightly. Molly rolled her eyes and left her friend behind.

*

“Hey, how were your cla.sses today?” George asked as Molly came in through the front door.

“Fine,” Molly said as she dropped her backpack down by the door. It vanished as soon as it hit the ground in a shower of sparkles; George’s magic. “I like my cla.sses well enough, but I’m getting really fed-up with Amy.”

“What’s she doing now?”

“She just doesn’t seem to be interested in taking her studies seriously,” Molly said as she flopped down on the sofa next to her husband. “She wanted for the two of us-” she gestured between herself and George- “to reenact scenes from Romeo and Juliet to give her inspiration for our essay.”

“But soft, what light through yonder window breaks? It is the east and Juliet is the sun! Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon, who is already sick and pale with grief that though her maid art far more fair than she,” George whispered. He picked up Molly’s hands in his and kissed her knuckles gently.

Molly only rolled her eyes. “It’s not very romantic when you remember that he’s like seventeen and she thirteen,” she said sourly.

“Come on, live a little,” George said. He leaned over and kissed her tenderly on the lips. “You seem to have completely forgotten all about our own relationship struggles.”

Molly put a hand on George’s chest and half-pushed him away. She was lost in thought for a long moment. “Molly?” George asked with a frown.

“Yes, yes, that is an interesting angle,” she finally said, more to herself than to George. “I have an idea! I need my phone!” It appeared in front of her a second later with a shower of sparkles. She instantly dialed Amy. “Amy! I have an idea! And you’re really going to like it!”

*

The old Victorian house was filled with people wearing black clothes. They talked quietly amongst themselves as they moved throughout the various rooms on the first floor. The only person who didn’t fit into the surroundings was Amy, who was sitting and taking notes in the corner; she was wearing jean shorts, a t-shirt, and flip-flops.

From the back door crept George and his friend, Cosmo. Cosmo was wearing a bright Hawaiian shirt “Aw man, this is a funeral,” Cosmo said. In an instant, his shirt changed into a suit top. “What a bummer party that we’re crashing. Thought you said that it was going to be fun.”

“This will be fun, I promise Cosmo!” George said sharply to his friend. “Look, there she is.”

“She’s really pretty,” Cosmo said. “Of course, not nearly as pretty as on your wedding day, but if you ask me, no girl is ever as pretty as when she gets married. You go talk to her, and I’ll go have me some crab puffs!”

“That’s not in the !” George hissed at Cosmo. He yanked his friend back. “It’s never says that Romeo’s friend stuffs his face while Romeo makes awkward small talk with Juliet!”

“If you ask me, if Romeo and Juliet had spoken to one another in a more casual setting, then they might have decided that they weren’t meant for one another,” Cosmo said. Molly, Amy, and George all stared at him.

“What?” George asked with confusion.

“I’m saying that if they’d actually tried to talk with one another without thinking about the stuff in their pants, they might have realized that they were ill-suited for one another,” Cosmo said.

“I didn’t know that you knew how to read!” Molly said with a laugh.

“Yeah, well, you’re as old as I am, and some stuff is bound to rub off on you sooner or later!” Cosmo agreed with a laugh.

“THIS IS GOLDEN!” Amy screamed as she started writing faster and faster in her notebook. “I’ll have my essay done in no time!”

“This might be very good for you, Ames, but this isn’t exactly helping me much,” Molly said. With a wave of George’s hand, the house and the people around them vanished; they were standing in a field in the middle of nowhere. “I was more thinking to focus on my own ‘forbidden’ relationship with George.”

“Well, Cosmo helped me to get a lot of good ideas for my essay, so maybe he’ll help you,” Amy said as she pointed her pen at the other fairy.

“Jimmy crack corn, and I don’t care! Jimmy crack corn and I don’t care!” Cosmo was singing. The three of them exchanged sour looks.

“You obviously don’t know Cosmo very well,” George said dryly.

“He’s your friend,” Molly said to her husband. “Let’s move on and do the balcony scene.”

*

A few minutes later found Molly sitting on a stone bench in the middle of a beautiful garden. Much like in the previous scene, Amy was sitting off to the side in the same, plastic chair that didn’t quite fit in with anything else around her. “Now see, our story differs from Shakespeare’s original story in that I was old enough to know better,” Molly explained to Amy. “I’m not some sniveling thirteen year old who just didn’t want to not do what my dad told me to do. I mean, orphan status aside and everything…” She gave a dismissive wave of her hand. “If you ask me, I think that it’s important to remember how young that Romeo and Juliet were. Because if you made it a story about a couple of early 20’s people, it would be very different.”

Amy threw back her head and laughed soundly. “And if it was middle aged people… Well, that’s like You’ve Got Mail or something!”

“Aw, I like that movie,” George said from behind the gate.

“Me too,” Molly agreed with a bright smile.

“Okay, so let’s have the scene then,” Amy said.

George strode into the garden, but he paused when he caught sight of Molly for the first time. She was wearing a lavender and golden gown, reminiscent of Greek togas, only fit for a queen.

“Your beauty is not a conventional beauty,” George said as he slowly started over to her. “I’ve been with super models, with the most beautiful women in all of FairyWorld. Your hair is too curly, and most of the time, I’m not even certain that you take the time to brush it properly. Not like I’m blaming you, though. Having lived with you for over ten years now has taught me a thing or two about the maintenance of curly hair.”

He’d reached where Molly was sitting. She looked up at him, silently, just allowing him to go on. “I remember the first time that I was ever overly captivated with your appearance. It was your hair. It was right after you’d gotten out from the hospital. You were standing at the sink in the kitchen, taking a pill. You threw your head back the way you do, and… I don’t know. There was just something about the way that the light hit your hair in that one moment. Your hair, it’s not like what Hollywood would have me believe is the most beautiful. But I was captivated by the way that it moved, the way that the light hit it. It’s got some red streaks in there, you know? You can only see them when it’s really bright.”

He reached over and gently stroked the side of her head. She leaned her cheek against his hand slightly. “And again, maybe a few hours later, you’d fallen asleep on the sofa. You were so vulnerable in that moment, and I couldn’t help but to muse over that fact. I normally cannot stand those who reek of vulnerability, but I remember, sitting by your hospital bed for those two weeks. I didn’t leave your side for more than a few hours. I was all that you had left in the world, Molly, the only thing that you could rely on. And I let you down, consumed as I was by my hate of Trixie.”

“I didn’t know that you were still holding onto those feelings, even after all this time, George,” Molly whispered.

“Well I am,” George said through clenched teeth. “Because I cared more about Trixie than you, I allowed you to get hurt.”

“That wasn’t your fault,” Molly whispered as she leaned closer to him. “None of that was your fault.”

“Molly, you are my sun, my moon, my stars, the very rotational spin of the earth,” George whispered to her. “I’m no Romeo, but I would have and will slay a thousand armies for you.”

“You’d be foolish to think that I’d kill myself over you,” Molly whispered with a slight smirk. “Mainly because of Saoirse.” George nodded in understanding. “But men aren’t exactly worth killing yourself over in the first place, in my opinion. I don’t think that I have an exact moment when I realized that I loved you, not like you do. Maybe it was when Wanda told me that you’d never left my side while I was in that coma. Maybe it was just realizing that you were the only thing that I had who actually gave a fudge about me. But no matter when, I knew that I loved you, and that’s the only thing that matters to me.”

“Molly, my sweet, I wish that we weren’t married so that we could get married all over again,” George whispered to her gently. Molly closed her eyes and leaned in to him, as George started to lean into her-

But before they could kiss, they were interrupted by the loud sound of Amy blowing her nose. “That was just so beautiful! So very beautiful! Old Bill’s got nothing on you two! That’s true love right there!” she exclaimed as she rubbed the tears from her eyes.

Molly flashed George an apologetic smile as they pulled away from one another. “Let’s do the final scene now,” she said.

*

George and Molly walked hand-in-hand through a cemetery, while Amy trailed after them. “Now you see, in Romeo and Juliet, it was largely their warring families who kept the two of them apart. In our instance, it was the FairyWorld government who found it unsuitable that there should be human-fairy hybrids,” Molly explained to her friend.

“But wasn’t it the guy who as.signed George to be your fairy godparent that was the one who suggested that George should try to conceive a child with you in the first place?” Amy asked with a slight frown.

“It was,” Molly agreed with some hesitation. “But he was acting alone. He’d had George’s case file for a long time, and he was very frustrated with, not only George’s inability to make the children under his care happy, but also with his inability to… uh… meet the government mandated reproduction standards. That is to say, fairies are a rare breed, and while they can live for many millennia, that doesn’t mean that they don’t also need to reproduce.”

“So he thought that having the two of you hook up would be a good second best?” Amy guessed.

“Two birds, one stone and all that,” Molly agreed. “However, the rest of the government didn’t exactly see it as such. In a lot of ways, they sort of started reacting like Hitler, and started yammering on and on and on about race purity and all that. It was… a bit much, if you ask me. And confusing, because, you can’t honestly mean to tell me that in however many billions of years that fairies have been around, nobody’s ever once reproduced with a human before?”

“Well…” George said slowly.

“That’s a story for another time,” Molly said as she flashed her friend a wink.

“We were already very madly in love with one another by then, so the thought of being away from her hurt,” George said. “And I knew that I was in some real trouble, because I’d never felt like this before. Not with Trixie, not with anybody. Ever. I found meaning in my relationship with Molly.”

“They wanted to separate the two of us, to erase my memories and rea.ssign George,” Molly went on. “I wasn’t sure about it at the time, but I panicked. I told them that I was pregnant. It was a little stretch of the truth, but I figured that it might buy us some more time, time for us to think of what to do.”

“Okay, but Juliet didn’t get pregnant,” Amy pointed out.

“How can you tell?” George asked. “The story only lasted about three days. It was too soon to say if she was or wasn’t.”

“So you think that things might have ended differently if the story had lasted longer? If Juliet had played the pregnancy card, regardless of if she was or not?” Amy asked as she jotted something down in her notebook.

“I’m not saying that it was an overly smart move,” Molly said carefully. “But we had been ordered to reproduce, so we did so. Okay, so there’s a lot more about it that I’m not telling you, but what I’m saying is that it wouldn’t have been smart if Juliet had just blurted out that she was carrying Romeo’s baby.”

“What makes you think that?” Amy asked with confusion.

“Because then her father would have killed Romeo! For touching his daughter!” Molly exclaimed with frustration.

“Oh, right…” Amy said as a strange look came across her face. “And then maybe her dad would have quickly had her married to Paris anyway.” She looked over to George and Molly. “Did something like that happen with you?”

“No,” Molly said with a slight shake of her head. “No, because I was pregnant. And no angry family to kill George for me. And the FairyWorld government takes babies very seriously. What had turned into wanting to separate us forever turned into talks of our life together. Because in the end, the plan had worked. It worked out for literally everybody. The government got George to have a kid, he got a happy godchild, we ended up in our happily ever after…”

“And I think that I have enough for my essay now! I’m outta here before you guys start getting a kissy-face again!” With that, Amy vanished.

George and Molly exchanged a look. “Well, my dear, your mom has Saoirse for the rest of the day. Whatever shall we do?”

 

“Reenact that specific scene?” he said. And Molly didn’t need ask him for clarification on which scene he meant. 

12/9/15, comealongpond for “DollzTube” quest

 

My name is Amy Joyce. I live with my sister in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland. Sometimes, I’m not quite certain where it is that my life is going. I graduated from my studies as a World Walker, but I don’t know what it is that I want to do with my life. My elemental magic is earth, specifically, plants.

One day, my sister, AJ, was watching youtube and she told me that I could make a better plant-based video than any of those imbéciles. And I decided that I should do that. Just to have something to do. I enlisted AJ’s help, and made a couple of videos about the best way to grow different types of plants.

But my videos weren’t exactly a hit.

“You’ve just got to give it time, Ames,” AJ told me after my fifth video and the most hits that I’d gotten on any of my videos was no less than a dozen. “These people did not become sensations overnight, and neither will you.”

But still, I was very angry. When AJ went to the store later, I took the camera, used a bit of magic to make me follow me around, and then I just went berserk. I made all of the plants break out from their pots and broke the trellis that was nailed to the side of the apartment building. I would have done more, but I didn’t want to have to pay to have all of the things in the building fixed, nor did I really want to have to erase the memories of the humans who lived in the building with my display of power.

But, my little rage-fit went well, and I felt much better. I went back inside and ate cake while I watched reruns of Law & Order.

*

I’d completely forgotten about the incident until the next afternoon, when AJ was looking through her camera for some reason. “Ames, this video that you made yesterday… It’s brilliant!”

“What? No, not really,” I said with a scowl. “It’s awful. I was angry, and I just wanted to get some rage out.”

“Well, I will admit that it’s a bit startling, but I think that I’d like to upload it to MagicTube.” MagicTube was the magic user’s version of youtube. Despite the fact that the world that we lived in was mainly occupied by non-magic users, there were still enough people who did use magic, such as World Walkers, to warrant a section of the int.ernet devoted to us. However, we were different than all of the pagan/wiccan/in touch with nature kind of websites. It was for people who could actually use magic, and not people who went out and danced naked under the light of the full moon.

“Do whatever you want,” I said with some irritation. If I told her not to do it, she’d just upload the video anyway. Because that’s what sister’s do. So I might as well tell her that it wouldn’t bother me if she’d upload it.

*

I forgot about that conversation, too, to be perfectly honest. Content that my life as a youtube star had fizzled out before it had even really gotten started, I moved on with my life. I replanted all of my plants after my little hissy fit, and fixed the trellis so that the ivy could climb back up it again.

But a month after my fit, AJ called me into her room. “Look, Ames!” she exclaimed, and showed me a page on MagicTube. I flushed with anger when I realized that it was the video of my hissy fit. “Look at this!”

My jaw dropped when I saw that there were over a million hits to the video. “The people love you!”

She handed me the computer, and I absently sat down on her bed and I started to scroll through some of the comments. “It’s understandable. I feel like that sometimes, too,” one person wrote.

“We all just have to break stuff from time to time,” another comment read.

“Maybe I’ve been talking to the wrong kinds of people,” I said to AJ after I’d spent about five minutes just reading through similar comments. “Maybe if I talk to the magic community about how I raise plants— and I mean REALLY raise plants, I’ll be the big star that I’d hoped to become.”

“Hm, maybe,” AJ said absently. “If it’s something that you want to try, I’ll help you. Because that’s what sister’s do.”

“I do!” I agreed quickly.

*

And so, I filmed the first episode of my new series, Gardening with Magic, that afternoon with AJ’s help. I uploaded the video to my own MagicTube account. With that first episode, I got a lot of hits thanks to the popularity of the video that AJ had uploaded, but people really seemed to like my advice.

I got lots of fanmail, and lots of requests for how to grow certain things, how to grow during the off seasons, and so on. I was almost never at a loss for episodes because of this.

That was well over a year ago now. I had made my way to MagicTube stardom, just like I’d wanted. Only, it had just taken me some time in order to get there.

“Hey, Amy, you’ve got a package,” AJ said to me one afternoon. She absently tossed it at me, and it was only my magic that saved it from falling to the floor and probably breaking.

However, it was thanks to me levitating the package with my magic that I felt the odd magical signature around the package. Curious, I reached for the scissors and tried to open it. But the scissors wouldn’t cut through the brightly colored paper or the string that tied it.

“Hey, AJ, can you come help me with this?” I said carefully. AJ gave an annoyed sound and got up to come and help me. However, within a minute, AJ had run into the same problem that I had.

“That’s odd,” AJ said as she tried to rip the paper off with her bare hands. Then, when she tried to unwrap the box with her magic, she yelped and quickly drew her hands back. “It tried to effin’ kill me!”

“Here, let me,” I said. I took the package back from her, and tried to slice through the paper with my own magic. This time, the paper let me rip it, and I quickly tore it off. On the inside was a clear, plastic box with a beautiful star trophy inside.

“Oooh, that’s pretty, but what is it?” AJ asked. I lifted the lid off and pulled the star out from inside. A letter was taped to the bottom of the star, which was flat so that I could set it on a shelf.

“’Congratulations Amelia Joyce, you’ve been nominated for the 2015 MagicTube Star of the Year Award!’” I read on the note. AJ and I exchanged an excited look. I kept reading the note, which detailed the time and place of the award ceremony.

“Oh my gods, we’ve got to go shopping! Those things are live on MagicTube, and literally everybody will see you!” AJ exclaimed.

*

The date of the MagicTube awards rolled around. AJ had talked me into this ridiculously poofy gold and white dress; honestly, it looked a bit like a wedding gown, but AJ told me that it was fine.

When I went to the venue, I was surprised at how legit that the entire thing was. It reminded me of Hollywood red carpet events. I knew that YouTube had a similar event, but I’d never seen it before, and I had no idea how fancy that theirs was. But it would make sense that MagicTube would take after their non-magical counterpart, and it made even more sense that the magic community would go all-out for theirs. After all, with magic, you can turn a dingy, old rug into a glamorous red carpet, and you can turn a tiny little lego figurine into a full-on statue.

As I walked down the carpet, the fans called out to me. They weren’t all middle-age and pudgy, either, like I’d sort of expected for a lot of my fan-base to be.

“Ms. Joyce, you’ve turned gardening hip,” a reporter said at the door. “How do you feel about that?”

“I feel like I just wanted to share with people something that I’m super pa.ssionate about. And if other people find enjoyment in the hobby, then I’m glad that I could have shown them how,” I said.

“Good luck tonight.”

“Thank you!”

*

The ceremony itself wasn’t like a lot of the other Hollywood events. The announcer would name each of the people in the category who were nominated for the award, and then we’d watch the video. If the people were like me who had a lot of videos to choose from, then they would show their most up-rated video. There were a lot of super talented people here, and I almost didn’t want for somebody to win, because then all of the rest in that group would go home losers.

But finally, it was time for the 2015 MagicTube Star of the Year Award!! I was super nervous.

The announcer said all of our names, and then we started to watch the videos. Honestly, how could I possibly compete with some of those people? Their videos were so useful. And then I just taught people how to grow begonias in the dead of winter.

“And the winner is…” A dramatic drum-roll started up. “Amelia Joyce!”

Wait, what?! That’s me!

I jumped up and ran up onto the stage. I accepted the trophy, which was a bigger version of the star that I’d received weeks before. “Thank you,” I said as I took the trophy. “This is very beautiful. I just wanted to share my love of gardening with everybody, and I never really imagined that I’d become as popular as I have. I love each and every one of my fans, and I couldn’t have gotten here without you. Thank you!”

*

The next day, I got to work on a video on how to make plants grow up around decorative trophies. I used both of my awards as examples, and draped them in beautiful, golden flowers.

 

9/23/15, comealongpond for “True Love” quest (part 2 of 2)

 

I watched from a window in the library of the manor house as David walked Julie up the path to the front door. But, I turned away when he went to kiss her goodbye. I feel very low at the moment, and all of the plants in the room drooped with the reminder of how very alone that I am.

A few months ago, AJ finally got married to her long-term boyfriend, Justin. Nit, of course, has Valko. Molly has always had George for as long as anybody can remember. Momo has her reverse harem that nobody can really understand but also nobody ever really questions.

Julie has David, but not in a way that she’s ever been really happy about. Sure, they’re raising their kid together, but he’s three times her age, and has never once mentioned divorcing his wife.

And it’s Julie’s bad situation as well as my lonely one that’s lead us to want to be in a Bachlorette-type of show. Just the two of us in a house with twenty-four single men. Neither of us have seen the men before, nor do we know their names. We’re going to meet them all tonight, and then we’ll spend the next several days getting to know some of them.

I’m not quite certain how I feel about this.

For starters, exactly how much will the men from the Time Travel Agency know about World Walkers? It’s super important to me that any man that I’m with be at least understanding of what I am. After all, being a World Walker isn’t just something that I can stop. It’ll be like if somebody is born black and then their boyfriend says “Well, have you tried NOT being black?” just because he doesn’t understand black culture. It just doesn’t work that way.

And that fact alone makes me more than a little uneasy.

*

That evening, we had the meeting ceremony. It was beyond boring. Each man had about thirty seconds to introduce themselves to us, to portray to us what kind of a person that they were. I thing that you can imagine how disastrous that something like this can be. It was super awkward to watch, and I just about died from second-hand embarra.ssment.

However, once we started in on the one-on-one time with each of the men, I started to understand a little bit more about why they did what they did on the meet-and-greet ceremony.

Not a lot of the guys really stood out to me. Yes, twenty-four men is a lot of men for a girl to date all in one sitting, but still. I was not overly impressed by the selection that had been provided for us. I wondered what Julie thought about the guys, if she was having the same thoughts that I was about them.

Between our dates, when the cameras were off from us, we’d talk about the guy that we’d just spent time with. Apparently, there was a reason why we were still friends, and it was because we had the same, general taste in men. Or, as the case might be, a lack of taste!

I hated having to give interviews about how I thought of each of the guys, how each date went, whenever I wasn’t either conferring with Julie or on a date. It got old super fast.

But finally, we’d both meet with each of the men, so Julie came into my room that night so that we could discuss everybody.

One of the rules for our dating show was that we couldn’t send a guy home if the other person liked him. So, even if I hated Andy, he wouldn’t be sent home if Julie liked him. (Not like that was likely to happen, but that’s besides the point…)

“I really like this Paul guy,” I said shyly as we looked over the photos of the contestants.

“I sort of like him too,” Julie said with some hesitation. “If he yours or mine?”

“I don’t know; it never really came up,” I said. “We had so much other stuff to talk about.”

Then, I stared at Julie and she stared at me. What if we both whittled down the selection and we both still liked Paul a lot? That would be horrible. I don’t know what I’d do if I lost Julie as a friend. And all because of this stupid reality dating show idea we’d had one night while we were drunk!!

“Well, there’s 23 other guys that we can pick from, so let’s not be too hasty, okay?” Julie said after a while. “And anyway, we’ve only each been on a one-hour date with the guy.”

“Yes,” I agreed with a grateful sigh. She was right. This was stupid to start fighting over boys now!

*

Julie and I spent another couple of hours together, just talking about the different guys. We decided to send six of them home the next day.

I was more than a little surprised that we could only come up with six names, but I guess that our taste in men didn’t over-lap nearly as much as I thought that it did. Or maybe Julie’s dates with the men that I disliked went better than mine had.

Well, it wouldn’t hurt me to give some of them a second shot, I supposed.

After Julie and I had a ceremony where we gave flowers to the guys that would be staying, we went out into the back yard to catch some rays. Some of the guys came out to swim and generally hang out with us.

“You know, I understand now why Momo’s stuck with her reverse harem for so long,” Julie said absently as somebody brought the two of us more drinks and some burgers.

“Why’s that?” I asked as I sipped on my fruity drink.

“Because the guys literally are here to serve us! Watch!” She snapped her fingers, and instantly, three men were at her side. “I want a chocolate chip coo.kie.”

“Coming right up!” one of them said, and they raced off. A minute later, all three came back with boxes of coo.kies. Even though all three boxes were identical, Julie took her sweet time in picking a coo.kie out.

“You may go,” Julie said once she had two coo.kies in her hands. Once they were gone, she flashed me a cheeky grin.

“Nice,” I said and we drank to that!

*

As the weeks went on and there were less and less contestants at the house, Julie and I really started to fight constantly.

And our fighting usually circled back to one thing in particular: Paul. He was completely perfect. He was a World Walker, but, aside from that, we had so much in common!

However, it would appear as though Julie was completely smitten with him, too. Which is where our fighting came in. I didn’t want to concede defeat, and we were at a stale-mate by the time that we cut everybody but Paul, James, and Nathan.

Finally, the producers decided that we should go and visit all of our families, so that maybe we could come to an agreement about who we’d pick. Paul’s family was up first.

Paul hadn’t spoken a lot about his family, but I was more than a little surprised when we came into his house. We went to visit his parents, but also, he had an eight year old daughter with his first wife.

As I watched as Laura and Julie talked, I briefly recalled Paul mentioning Laura. I’d been so focused on who Paul was as he existed in the vacuum of the reality show that I’d never really considered much of who he was, and would be, outside of the show.

Divorced, single father was not something that was overly appealing to me.

I was quiet throughout dinner with Paul’s family; I had a lot to think about, after all.

When we got back to the hotel, I lay in bed for a while and thought about Paul and Nathan. Then, I got up and went to Julie’s room, next door to mine.

“Look, Jay, I’m sorry about everything. I… Paul had mentioned to me that he had a kid, but I wasn’t overly interested in that. I guess that I sort of… I don’t know? Blocked it out or something? I’ve seen how you are with Sarah, and I think that you’d be a great step mom to Laura. It might be good practice for you later down the road with Sarah, because you’ll know what to expect. I mean, aside from future!Sarah telling you stuff, but that doesn’t count, because if you can’t objectively say what you were like when you were eight, then neither can adult Sarah.”

I felt like I was rambling, but Julie probably knew what I meant. “Okay, but what does this mean for the competition?”

“I’m going to pick Nathan,” I said without hesitation. But I couldn’t look Julie in the eye and watch her face as I admitted defeat.

“I still really like Paul, but, I’m not old enough to be a step-mother on top of being somebody’s wife. And… I’m sorry about all of the hurtful things that I’ve said about you recently. I… I just get so angry sometimes!”

“It’s okay; me too.”

“Are we okay?” I asked her gently.

“I’ve hurt you, you’ve hurt me, but we’re being adults now about the entire thing, and we’ve agreed to put it behind us,” I said with some hesitation. “And, quite frankly, that’s the important part in all of this. So, yes. We are still friends now.”

“Good, I’m glad!” I exclaimed as I tackled her onto the bed and held her tightly, like we used to do when we were younger and in school together. “I’m glad because it wouldn’t be a proper wedding with you in it, Jay!”

*

The producers insisted that we still had to visit James’s and Nathan’s families, even after we’d made our decisions. Julie might have been bored at Nathan’s place, but I was anxious to meet his family, because we’d be officially dating, soon.

When we finally got back to the manor house, I found that a nice room had been set up on the enclosed patio for a romantic evening with me and Nathan.

“I… I’m not good at making big declarations and stuff like that, but I’m picking you,” I told him after we’d sat down to dinner.

“What? Are you serious?”

“Yes. I wouldn’t have brought you here to tell you that I’m kicking you out of the competition,” I said without hesitation.

“I’m so happy, Amy,” Nathan said with a big smile on his face. “James and I were certain that it was going to be Paul.”

“Julie got Paul,” I explained. “I… I really liked him, but seeing him with his daughter made me uneasy. You’re a lot closer to my age, and, like me, you’ve never been married. I think that that makes for a better fit.”

“Yes, I do, too,” Nathan said, and then we shared a pa.ssionate kiss.

 

8/5/15, flautistgirl08 and comealongpond for “Save the Animals” quest

 

“Amy, where are you?!” Molly called out as she burst through the door of Amy’s modest apartment.

“I’m right here,” said the other girl as she came in from off the balcony. Even through the curtains, Molly could see that the balcony was covered with greenery of every imaginable shade. “What is it?” Amy asked as she brushed her dirt-covered hands off on her coveralls.

“Animals are dying!” Molly exclaimed with a very serious look on her face.

“Um… Yeah,” Amy agreed with an odd look on her face.

“Humans are to blame! They destroy their habitats in order to develop land for more buildings, they hunt sweet creatures to extinction because they believe some bullroar about how something could cure them of some disease or another… Or, even worse: they hunt animals because they get a kick out of having a trophy to display in their homes.”

“Mol, this isn’t exactly news,” Amy said as she walked closer to her friend so that she could put a hand on Molly’s shoulder.

“I know this, but it’s just so sad!” Molly exclaimed. “Humans are destroying the planet, and they’re killing lots of species! We’re a horrible and we deserve to die!” And with that, Molly burst into tears.

“Er… There there…” Amy said as she hesitantly patted Molly on the shoulder.

“Sorry… I’m just… I’ve been having trouble sleeping recently, so I go downstairs to watch TV, and late at night, you know how they have a lot of those animal doc.umentaries on and such? I watch those. And it’s just so depressing!”

“I know it is,” Amy said calmly to her.

“What do you do to help?”

“I donate money when I can to various conservation efforts,” Amy explained. “And I volunteer my time at the local animal shelter. Just because dogs and cats aren’t exactly endangered animals doesn’t mean that it’s okay to sit by and watch them be put to death because nobody wanted them. Some of them are older, and people don’t want them because of that. They want puppies and kittens for the ‘cute’ factor. But the thing is: if you get an older pet, you already know what kind of a personality that they have.” Molly nodded with agreement.

“How much money do you send to them, though?”

“Not much, I’m afraid,” Amy said. “Living in Switzerland is expensive. I sometimes get residual money from the books about the adventures that I’ve gone on, but none of them were overly popular.” She pulled a face. “You know that I work, but, like I said: living is expensive.” Molly didn’t even bother to ask why she couldn’t just move to a less expensive part of the world. Amy had been born in and raised in Switzerland, and the rest of her family lived there, too. Even though AJ kept a summer cottage in England, she spent most of her time in her native country, too.

“We need to come up with a plan to help raise both money and attention for the animals,” Molly said after a moment of hesitation.

“Okay, but what?” Amy asked a bit skeptically. Molly pulled her wand out and waved it over herself. She was instantly dressed in a glamourous, beige gown.

“Fashion, of course. Fashion that’s inspired by the animals that are currently in danger, and that we hope to raise money for.”

Amy considered this for a long moment. “Okay,” she said at last. “You know who we should talk to about putting on a show? Janan.”

“Yes! That’s right! She used to be a model, didn’t she?” Molly asked with a huge grin on her face.

“Yes, and something tells me that she’d be more than willing to help us out. Let’s go and talk with her.”

*

David’s oldest daughter and middle child opened the door when Amy and Molly knocked on it. “Um… Julie took Sarah to the park,” Alex said.

“Actually, we came here to see your mum,” Amy said.

“My… mom?” Alex said with a look of confusion.

“Yes,” Molly agreed quickly.

“Um… Come in?” Alex said as she opened the door wider. Molly and Amy stepped inside the beautiful house. “MOM! THERE’S SOME PEOPLE HERE TO SEE YOU!!”

“Alex, how many times have I told you to come and get me rather than to stand and yell? And what do they want?!” Janan yelled from somewhere upstairs.

“I don’t know!” Alex yelled in response. “What do you want?”

“We wanted to talk about fashion,” Amy said.

“THEY’RE SOME OF JULIE’S WEIRD, MAGIC FRIENDS AND THEY WANT TO TALK TO YOU ABOUT FASHION!!” Alex said. A second later, Janan appeared at the top of the stairs and made her way down.

“So sorry about that,” Janan said as she greeted both of them with a bright smile. “Alex, run along and do your homework. What can I do for you?”

“We want to help raise money for animal conservation efforts and we thought that we could do so by putting on a fashion show,” Molly explained. “All of the outfits would be inspired by the animals that we hope to help.”

“That sounds like a very wonderful idea,” Janan said as she clapped her hands together and gave a bright smile. “Ever since that horrible eye doctor shot that leopard, people have been all up in arms about protecting animals. It’s just the right time to do something like this. What can I help you with?”

“If we get the others together, we can probably come up with enough outfits,” Molly said. “And with all of our magic, it would be more than easy enough to make the outfits, too. However, what we’re looking for it for people to notice us so that we can raise money.”

“I can handle things on that end,” Janan said. “I’ll start to contact some of my old model friends, see about getting you a space for the fashion show… I think that this will be a big hit, girls. Like I said: saving the animals is very ‘in’ right now.”

Just then, Julie came into the house. She was pushing Sarah in her stroller, and she had a big diaper bag over her shoulder. “Hey, guys, I didn’t know that you were coming by?” Julie said.

“We actually came here to see Janan, but since we’ve talked to her already, we need to talk to you,” Amy said. “Actually, call up the gang, because we have a group project!!”

*

All of the girls, with a little bit of help and advice from Janan, worked for the next few weeks on their fashion designs. They found a list of critically endangered animals online, which consisted of 17 animals. They divided the list so that they all got three animals that they needed to design outfits around, except for Molly, who only did two.

Molly’s magic was a little different from the other World Walkers, because hers was nearly limitless. With that in mind, she was the one who ended up turning their designs into reality.

Janan also got them real runway models to wear the outfits, which pleased the girls to no end. This way, they had a little less to worry about besides tripping on the runway.

Finally, the day of the fashion show arrived. The girls bustled around in the backstage area, touching up hair and make up and making last-minute fixes to their outfits. “Five minutes to show time, everybody!” Janan said. She was in charge of everything, since she had the most experience. “Girls, it’s completely standing room only out there! You should be proud! I have yet to hear how much money with ticket sales that we’ve made, but it’s probably a lot! Plus, the auction after the show is sure to raise a ton more! Good luck out there!” She ran off.

Finally, the first model walked out onto the runway.

“Here we have an outfit inspired by the Amur leopard, or as it’s also known as: the far Eastern leopard,” Janan said, who was the MC for the events. She gave some basic information about it, and then said that there were only about nineteen to twenty-six left alive.

The fashion show went on like that. They went through the Black Rhino, Cross River Gorilla, Hawksbill Turtle, Javan Rhino, Leatherback Turtle, Mountain Gorilla, Pangolin, Saola, South China Tiger, Sumatran Elephant, Sumatran Orangutan, Sumatran Rhino, Sumatran Tiger, Vaquita, and finally, the Western Lowland Gorilla.

After the model wearing the Western Lowland Gorilla-inspired dress walked off of the stage, all of the models started back out again, starting with the first model and ending with the last one. Then, the girls came out, and the models surrounded them.

“Thank you, thank you so much for coming to the show today!” Amy said. “Supporting helping these animals out really means a lot to all of us. If everybody would please make their way into the lobby for refreshments, the auctions for all of the beautiful outfits that you saw today will begin in about half an hour. Thank you.”

The six girls went backstage and helped the models to get changed out from their costumes. Janan came back to help them, and to put all of the outfits onto mannequins for display. This way, the models could rub elbows with the crowd, but they wouldn’t get the costumes dirty on accident.

*

“That went very well,” Amy said as the girls collapsed into chairs in Janan’s living room once everything was all over.

“Yes, I thought so, too,” Molly agreed. “The ticket sales alone will be a nice chunk of chance to send to the conservation efforts, and… Jeez! How crazy was the auction, though? Sure, I always think that our fashion designs are really great, but I didn’t think that they were two or three million dollars worth great!”

“Shut up, it’s for such a great cause!” Amy protested.

Janan walked into the room with a slip of paper. “I just got off the phone with the accountant… Guess how much that we made today?”

“I don’t know, just tell us, Janan,” Julie said. “We’re all super tired.” Janan flipped the piece of paper around and the girls all gasped out with delight.

“Holy hell!” Molly whispered under her breath. Then, she looked around at the other girls. “What other things could we raise money for? How about starving children?”

 

4/22/15 comealongpond for “Welcome to the Hamptons!” quest (part 2/2)

 

“Hey, have you talked with Dan?” AJ asked as she plopped down onto the windowsill next to me.

“No, you told me that I wasn’t allowed to call him while we were on our little holiday,” I said a bit sourly.

“No, silly, that’s not how it works,” AJ said with some irritation. “I tell you not to call your sweetie-pie, but then you go around my back and you do it anyway!”

“…If you say so,” I said as I turned to resume looking out the window.

“Amy, what’s wrong?” AJ asked with some concern. “Are you having second thoughts about everything?”

“No! I love Dan!” I said quickly.

“It’s just… When Nit got married, she literally would not stop talking about him. When we took her away for the day to have her bachelorette party, she was so sad to be away from him, even for a few hours. We’ve been gone for three days now, and the only time that you talk about Dan is when one of us brings him up first.” AJ took my hands and glared at me. “Now, are you going to tell me what’s wrong or am I going to have to tickle it out of you?”

“There’s nothing wrong!” I insisted. AJ released my hands and I cringed away from her reaching fingers. “Okay, okay! It’s just… I feel like… I don’t know. Everybody else is getting married. Nit and Val finally got married, and so did Molly and George. Momo has her reverse harem, Julie has David and Doug, and you have Leo. And then there’s me. The youngest of the group, only really included because mom made you bring me along.”

“Amy, just because the rest of us have found our stride doesn’t mean that you have to hurry up and settle for something that’s going to make you this unhappy,” AJ said gently.

“I’m not unhappy, I swear!”

“Amy, if you really loved Dan, you’d be so sick with love. Instead, you’re just sick from drinking yourself to sleep so that you don’t cry yourself to sleep.”

I gave her a wounded look. “Hey, I’m your big sister. I know literally everything that you do.” She leaned in so close that the breath from her nose stirred my ear hairs. “Everything,” she whispered. We laughed. Trust AJ to cheer me up. “Now then. Rather than to wallow in self-pity alone, let’s go out tonight! Julie said that there was a cute bar down by the docks, so let’s go get the others and check it out!”

I hadn’t exactly been feeling very up to going out, let alone to bar-hopping and partying with the others, but after a shot of tequila courtesy of the bar owner, I felt much better.

…Well, a little better. I still didn’t exactly feel like dancing, which is what the others did. I sat at the bar, nursed a daiquiri, and watched as they cut loose. “So then, which one of you is the bachelorette?” the bar owner asked as he came over to me.

“That would be me,” I said glumly.

“Ouch,” he said simply. “Cold feet?”

“I don’t know… Maybe. Maybe I just came to the realization that I’m settling. I mean, I love Dan, really, I do. But I’m not in love with him.”

“Then why are you still going through with it?”

“Because I’m really afraid that if I don’t, then I’m going to live the rest of my life, completely unloved,” I said. I hadn’t had that much to drink; honest!

“You are very pretty,” the man said. “I can’t imagine that guys would p*** you over.”

“Oh, but they do. Or maybe I’m just not looking at the right men. It’s really hard for me to be around people; I’m really awkward. And even when somebody tries to get in, I never know how to properly open up to them.”

“You’re opening up to me. I’m a virtual stranger.”

“Yes, but I’ve also had a bit to drink, though,” I reminded him.

“This is very true,” the man said. He set a coke down on the counter in front of me.

“What’s this?”

“Can’t a man buy a pretty girl a drink?”

“You own a bar; I don’t think that it counts,” I said with a slight laugh.

“It’s the thought that counts?” he said and offered me a sheepish shrug. I laughed again. “I’m John.”

“Amy.”

*

It was very easy to loose track of time while I sat at the bar and talked with John. Even though his establishment seemed like it would be filled with more than just some small, bridal party, we were the only patrons for hours. The others were content to dance and drink, and only ever came up to the bar to order another round of drinks.

“It’s two,” John said as he consulted his watch. “I have to close up now.”

“I’m honestly a little sad to say goodbye,” I told John honestly. I was having such a nice time with him, too. We had so much in common; I’d never felt more connected to anybody like this. Ever.

“Just because I have to close up doesn’t mean that we have to say goodbye,” John said as he leaned on the bar. He offered me a smile that made my stomach feel like I was going down on a roller-coaster. “Would your friends mind?” I looked over to where they were in the booth.

“They’re so drunk that they wouldn’t notice. Help me put them into a cab?” Why was it that they’d come out to get drunk with me, but I was the only one who’d only had a drink and a shot? But then I remember John offering me coke after coke, and I realized that it would have been hard to be open and honest with him if I’d been too drunk to realize what I was doing. That didn’t count.

John helped me to get them into a cab, an I told the cabbie where to go. “Would you like to see my boat?”

“You have a boat?”

“This is Florida; everybody has a boat!” John laughed. I agreed, and followed John around the back of the bar, to the docks. It was a privately owned dock, the kind where you couldn’t get in unless you had a key. There were two boats moored back there, and John lead me up onto the larger of the two. “May I kiss you?”

“Yes,” I agreed, breathless with nervous anticipation. John leaned in and kissed me gently. That first kiss lead to another, which lead to five more.

*

We woke up at dawn to watch the sun rise, and then we went back to bed some more. Only, we didn’t exactly go back to sleep right away. About ten, I was awoken by the ringing of my phone, and I fished it out from my bag on the floor. “Amy, where are you? Please tell me that you’re okay,” AJ frantically said.

“Who is it?” John asked groggily from beside me in bed.

“OH MY GOSH. Please don’t tell me that you didn’t go home with some random bar dude?” AJ screeched.

“I didn’t,” I told her honestly. “I’m with the owner of the bar.”

“AMELIA ELIZABETH JOYCE! ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR FLIPPING MIND?! YOU ARE GETTING MARRIED! TOMORROW!”

“I think that we both know that it wasn’t going to work out. I was settling. And who knows how long that the marriage would have lasted… a month… a year… five years. But it would have eventually ended. I like Dan a lot, which is why I think that I’m going to do the right thing and break it off right now,” I said as calmly as I could. AJ was silent for such a long time, I thought that the call had either been dropped or she’d fallen asleep. “Artemis?” I asked hesitantly after about a minute.

“If this is what you want…” she said.

“It is,” I agreed. “I think that I wasn’t willing to put myself out there enough to find somebody who likes me for who I am. Dan and I don’t exactly have a lot in common, and I realized that last night when I was talking with John.”

“Will you put him on?” AJ asked. I handed my phone over to John, who sat up in bed to talk to her.

“Yes, this is John. I own the bar that you were at last night. …Uh-huh. Yes. Yes. Okay. Okay. Okay. Okay. Alright. I understand. Thank you.” He handed my phone back to me, but AJ had already hung up.

“She going to cut things off if you hurt me?”

“No, she said that you would,” John said.

“Good. You know, just so that we’re on the right page. Did I mention to you last night that I’m a serial killer?” I said with a perfectly straight face.

“Um…” John said, and I laughed.

“No, but I am a witch. Watch.” I held out my hand and made a ball of water appear. John’s eyes grew big.

“Holy-”

I offered him a coy smile. “Do you want to see something else that’s really super amazing?”

“Yes,” he said without hesitation. I reached into my purse and pulled out the mirror that I use to open up portals. “Get dressed, because they don’t take too kindly to dangly bits where we’re going.”



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