Sunday, December 18, 2016
Chapter 85: Law
"Did you know the guy you were with last night is married?" Milo hisses.
Ceth blinks a few times. "No, he didn't mention it."
The two of them stand in silence for a few moments before Ceth shrugs and says, "Well, it's not like I'll be seeing more of him. His marriage problems are not my problems."
"Where are your pants?"
"You mean where's my dress."
Milo facepalms. "Where's your dress?"
"No idea! Kind of misplaced it during the night. Your boss gave me this shirt though."
"Did you sleep with my boss last night too?!"
"Is your boss also secretly married?"
Milo makes gagging noises instead of answering.
Ceth rolls her eyes. "Okay... mature..."
Lela gets caught rummaging through the neighbor's mail.
She didn't find what her client was after, but she did find some secrets dirty enough to stop her neighbor from calling the cops on her.
As a PI, most of Lela's work involves stealthily finding out if people's spouses really are where they say they are. Not very exciting.
This scientist, though, wants her to gather data on a local gnome kicker.
"Probably just a llamas fan," she hypothesizes.
The man with the impressive degree frowns disapprovingly. "I'm sorry, do you want to get paid or not?"
Milo reacts negatively to the sink upgrade in the upstairs bathroom. I guess he was hoping for unbreakable, but Carlos keeps putting "self-cleaning" on everything.
Huh? Why is this guy even in the house? Did someone invite him over?
Some random pictures...
...the passage of time...
Carlos and Lela get engaged on the first day of winter.
Ceth feels creeped out about the finality of this, but also angry with herself for feeling that way, and also determined to be happy for them, and also excited about helping them plan a big wedding party....
"Weddings are special! This has to be an exception to the no house parties rule! We have perfect beachfront property for it!"
Milo gives his brother a congratulatory hug.
Milo's own bit of interesting news comes the next morning. Kirstin sends him a text about the birth of their child. The baby is a girl, born in the dark hours before dawn.
"She just got home with her!" Milo squeals. "I need to get over there!"
"Congratulations!" Lela says.
Milo surprises his soon-to-be sister-in-law by pulling her into a tight hug. "Thank you!"
"Have you named her?"
"Kirstin liked the name Fairuza for a girl. So, um, Fairuza Law, I guess." It just now hits him that his last name is probably not on his daughter's birth certificate. He decides he doesn't care; Fairuza Goldbeard-Rossi is too clunky anyway.
When Milo shows Lela the pictures of Fairuza in Kirstin's arms, Lela's smile fades.
Little Fairuza seems normal for a baby, but the laptop on the table next to Kirstin has a distinctive sticker on it, matching one Mimi Olivia reported missing.
Kirstin was the main suspect in a string of art robberies several years back, but no evidence was ever found to link her to that or any crimes. Now a glaring piece of evidence has shown up... for a case Lela has been put on. Lela has kept quiet about Kirstin's suspected past, but now...
"Tell Carlos and Ceth where I've gone when they wake up," Milo says, not noticing the expression change.
He turns to leave, positively gleeful, while Lela trembles in another unstable trait fit.
What should she do?
Carlos hardly knows what to say. Lela's financial future with the police station could be riding on this stroke of luck, but if she takes Milo's phone photo to the authorities, the mother of his newborn niece will definitely end up in jail. Furthermore, who knows what a proper search warrant could uncover in Kirstin's house? The police couldn't even get one before, according to Lela.
"This is going to break Milo's heart, but we can't not tell him. I think you should go to the police."
"And not to your brother first?"
"No, he would just corner Kirstin about it."
"...And then she would have time to hide any further incriminating evidence," Lela murmurs.
Milo spends the whole morning with Kirstin and Fairuza, and would be spending the afternoon that way too, if not for Officer Docket and Officer Worthington knocking at the door with a search warrant.
Kirstin ended her day in cuffs, and Milo ended his in tears.
Carlos and Lela do their best to comfort him, and decide not to mention Lela's role in busting Kirstin.
"I can't believe it!" Milo cries. "I have a freaking type!"
"Calm down..." Ceth says softly.
"Seventeen counts of theft, eleven counts of breaking and entering, one count of stalking Darren Lott with malicious intent?! They said someone noticed a stolen laptop in that pic she took of Fairuza... the one I sent to practically everyone!" Milo doesn't know who to be angry at. Logically, he wants to be angry at Kirstin, but thinking back on all of her obvious lies over the course of their relationship makes him angry at himself, too.
When Milo leaves the room to check on Fairuza, Ceth turns to Carlos and Lela. "So we live with a PI, and Milo's response to his girlfriend being arrested is still 'who could possibly be responsible for this'?"
"Please don't say anything," they beg, in unison.
Lela sleeps in Carlos's bed, now, so the baby has the nursery all to herself.
Fairuza is too young to understand or miss the mother who didn't plan on being a big part of her life in the first place. Milo hopes he will not be as terrible at parenting as he is at dating.
Ceth tells The Egg Man about the wedding planning, about the new baby, about Kirstin getting arrested, and about meeting The Pirates.
"Ew. Quill is one of the main reasons I left home to begin with."
"Really? It wasn't to get rich and famous?"
"Yarr, it was mainly to get rich and famous," he slips into his native accent to amuse her.
Ceth laughs. "Okay, what's wrong with Floyd Quill?"
"Ehh, never mind it."
"Well, he was a big jock in high school, and I was smaller and bookish, and he liked to pick me up and hang me by my clothes off this beam on the second floor, because he knows I'm irrationally afraid of heights."
"Is that why you always give the stairs a weird look..."
"Aw, you noticed. I'm trying to get better about that."
"The Ceth notices all," she says. Ceth decides not to mention she slept with her friend's childhood tormentor.
She has more important things to worry about than the moral character of men she was just using as objects to make herself feel better.
Such as performing in front of huge audiences at a crowded stadium!
After all this time, Ceth still uses than rainbowriffic guitar she received as a child.
She's thought of replacing it with something more edgy, but... she just loves it so much!
It's her most loyal friend.
Sometimes, when the crowd is so full of strangers, Ceth wonders if her biological parents could be in that people-sea somewhere. It's a very silly thought, she thinks, but the thought comes back like some kind of recurring nightmare, again and again.
Ceth jogs home after her show. The stadium is not very far from where she lives.
Halfway there, the weather changes from clear to light drizzling rain.
The last time Rayna Ramos tried to rob this house, things went poorly. She's been having nightmares ever since, and hasn't been able to steal a single thing since. Tonight she returns to take her revenge and conquer her fear.
Unfortunately for Rayna, this family installed an alarm since she was last here.
She didn't notice it because it was on the garage, but it definitely notices her.
Things quickly go from bad to worse as Milo spills out of the garage, eager to fight.
He won't be turning into a werecreature outside where the neighbors can see, but he's more than capable of taking her down, even in his "weak" state. And oh boy, is he ever itching to destroy someone right now...
Officer Nancy Docket, one of the cops who arrested Kirstin, saves Milo the trouble. Carlos cheers! This is the third robbery he has survived, but only the first where the criminal will get booked.
Rayna trembles. Milo looks perfectly normal. Was she only imagining his monstrous change before?
Officer Docket slips Rayna's umbrella into her cuffed hands. How sweet.
Ceth arrives late to the event. "Oh wow," she laughs. "Milo is like a criminal chick magnet!"
Carlos doesn't think this is funny.
Etc.: C'mon, Carlos. It was pretty funny.