"I don't want you to feel crowded in," Perenna explains. "There are way too many empty bedrooms in this house for that. So you have a choice: you can keep this room, and we'll move the nursery stuff upstairs, or you can pick one of the rooms upstairs to take over. We'll even repaint the walls in any color you like."
Izalee appreciates Perenna's enthusiasm for being a good parent, but insists the baby doesn't bother her. Izalee has the heavy sleeper trait, so the crying in the middle of the night doesn't phase her at all.
"Well, the offer'll still be open when you're a teenager," Perenna shrugs. Surely Izalee will want her own space when she hits the teen stage.
A pic of Reggie on his sick ride, for all the doubters and the haters.
Rainy day egg hunt = no competition.
"Why does it rain so much, Dad?"
"I don't know."
Vox is getting old. Like this newspaper.
Polka does not even notice.
Lucida ages up.
Man, isn't she cute and all that?
Like a little spotty, blue-eyed, less dark, near-clone of her mother.
Complete with an inhuman hunting instinct.
Lucida also howls to get attention. Not a cry-howl, you know, but a wolf howl.
Possibly a long chat about not scratching up Izalee's toys.
Reggie meant to get rid of the hot tub, since it was just something he bought for Venessa...
But then Perenna came along, and she really likes the stupid thing too.
Perenna gets kind of scary when she's feeling frisky.
Lol, you guys.
Perenna recognizes Venessa when the two awkwardly bump into each other at the club Perenna was ordered to promote studio stuff in. "So, um, here's our flyer. I think most of the artistic circle here would be really interested in the event."
Luckily, Venessa has no idea who Perenna is. She takes the flyer. "Thanks. But I'm really busy."
From Perenna's point of view, it seems like Izalee's mother left and just never looked back...
Perenna isn't sure how a mother could do something like that, but she's kind of glad it happened.
"Ugh, the new guy is being a pain," Perenna listens to her boss complain about an actor they brought in from another sector. "Says he can't work without a Strawberry Slush, melted. I mean what the grass? Melted?! Take care of that, would you?"
"Yeah, boss," Perenna yawns. With enthusiasm like this, she'll be production manager in no time.
Melted Strawberry Slush in hand, Perenna goes searching for the crazy actor. Space Cactus 5 was supposed to star Trip Bricks, but Bricks quit on them last second, leaving the studio scrambling for a suitable replacement. Perenna hasn't met Percival Archer, that replacement, yet, but from what she hears he is a total chick magnet and spacier than NASA.
Those two things don't normally go together...
This industry does weird things to people's brains, though.
Perenna's hunt for the difficult actor is stalled when she smells some peculiar psychic energy lingering around...
He doesn't even notice she's there.
"Hey!" Perenna calls out fearlessly, "Who're you? What's wrong?"
The stranger puts on a big fake smile. "Hi! Oh, is that a melted Strawberry Slush? I... I really just asked for one so I could stall for time. I don't actually want it."
Perenna tries not to laugh at the absurdity. "Well that's a relief. Melted slushies are kind of... well... gross."
The guy continues to smile awkwardly at her. "...Yeah."
So this is the actor she's supposed to prod into doing his job. "And why were you stalling for time?"
"Give me a minute," he says. "I will think of a really good lie. Really good one. I promise. Wait for it."
"Your scent is very familiar," she says. "Your spiritual essence, I mean."
"S-sorry I am not religious," he stammers, with just enough nervousness to let Perenna know she's not mistaken in at least some of her assumptions.
"Relax! I am quite fond of mages! Where were you from, again?"
"Not having this conversation," he says sharply. Percival Archer is perfectly human, in every way that counts, and he's sick of hearing otherwise.
"But I have something to ask you!" She leans in, needing to be sure. This random actor looks so familiar! Could he know something about her in-laws' forgotten past? "Did you ever know anyone named-"
Archer frowns skittishly. "You are very pretty, but I'm actually kind of busy ri-"
Footsteps coming towards the door interrupt this terrible miscommunication.
A woman walks in, pushing a kid along in front of her. "Found him."
Perenna recognizes her as Desdemona Pesce, one of the makeup artists imported along with the new actors.
"Lo-Lo!" Archer rushes over to hug the child, overjoyed by this sudden turn of events. "You scared me! You need to stay with Des, alright? I have work to do, I can't watch you this whole time..."
"I was looking for something," the little boy mumbles apologetically.
Desdemona rolls her eyes at Perenna. "And what are you? His latest screwtoy?"
"Excuse you? I'm here because the director said there was a problem. What's going on?"
Desdemona jerks her thumb back towards Archer and the child. "Little brat stowed away on the train. Didn't realize it 'till we got here. Percy's kids are the worst. Especially that one. Always running off and getting lost. And then who has to run around looking for him, because we're in some shitty foreign country where we don't know anyone else? Me."
"Des, please," Archer hisses. He looks at Perenna. "We would have called the police of course, it's just he does this so often... he gets lost easily, he really can't help it... and he's bad with strangers... and I thought he was right behind me..."
"Kid needs a good beating!" Desdemona mutters.
Perenna looks between them, incredulous. So this is what the stalling was about. A missing child.
The child looks at her.
It feels like the gravity in the room is warping, heavier and heavier as somewhere outside a fairy pounds against the protection wards keeping them safe in this room. Another two minutes, and she'll be here, and it'll all be over.
"I'm sorry," Perenna growls. "I shoulda seen that was a trap." She fell to her hands and knees to keep balance, and to keep whatever's still in her digestive system from making an emergency evacuation via her mouth.
"Can you translocate yet, little cousin?" the vampire casually inquires. As if it weren't a matter of life and death. She's responsible for the wards, but they're just no match for the destructive powers of Foxglove.
The teenager with them shakes his head. "No. I can't. They messed me up pretty good."
"I promised I wouldn't be any trouble," Perenna says, mostly to herself. "I lied. I didn't mean to lie..."
Perenna blinks. "What are you doing?"
"Imprinting," he says. His bloodied fingers are just shy of contact with her face. Luckily he doesn't need to physically touch her. "Higher magic. I'm leaving a memory on your spirit. It'll reform next cycle, and, well, this is one of the only ways I can send messages to later timelines. If another me runs into another you, he'll see. Just a small piece of information."
Perenna smiles faintly. "Cycles. You really believe that, don't you?"
"I still think you're crazy."
"I usually do lose my mind," he admits.
"What information are you sending?" She's got nothing better to do than humor the kid. They're all going to die, there's nothing to be done about it, they're trapped...
"Where to look for Lethe," he says.
"You're not getting away this time..." the fairy does nothing to mask her glee.
"We want the male alive," the high-pitched voice of Foxglove's companion reminds her. Because reminding Foxglove is usually necessary. "But get rid of his accomplices."
"She freaking fainted." Desdemona states the obvious, after overcoming her surprise.
Archer releases his son so he can fish out his cell phone and call for help. "D-don't just stand there! Do something! She could have a concussion!"
Desdemona throws her hands up in the air. "What do you want me to do?!"
"Sensory overload," the kid whines. "Processing error."
Etc.: With names like Trip Bricks, you know I am taking my blog seriously.
Special note to readers of my old blogs: hey! It's those guys! ...Or is it?
Note for others: Percival is the son of Scarlett's sister and Greta's brother. If you look closely, he does have Scarlett's eyes and Greta's nose, just like Gysael. They also have a few other facial similarities.