Wednesday, January 11, 2017
Chapter 89: A Spook Story
Lela helps Fairuza learn to walk. She spends a lot of time with her nieces and Acheron, getting in some practice for when she has her own child.
So far no luck, though.
Orazia does well in school, but doesn't have much of a social life. She turns down some kid's invitation to ice skate in favor of staying home to finish a book. Or at least, to read the notes hidden between the pages. Izalee left lessons on witchcraft tucked away inside awful drivel like The Secret History of Lost Lemuria.
Milo doesn't have to much in common with a shy bookworm, but this one is his daughter, so he is constantly making an effort to get to know her better.
Since she isn't too chatty, he often resorts to finding some activity they can do together. Like building snowsim armies.
Or playing catch.
Put some gloves on, you guys! Brrrr!
Milo adds a table and chairs to his garage home. His days of partying, drinking, and passing out on the bed with a plate of cheese fries are over. Now his concerns involve making sure his girls have clean clothes, and balanced meals, and good dental hygiene...
It was not difficult to put on this mask. It was as easy as changing his behavior to match what he imagined a good parent would be like. The lifestyle he had before... that was just to feel like he fit in, too. Just another social role he was playing. It wasn't important to him.
I'm a good guy, right? he thinks to himself. I have my priorities and stuff.
Ceth has it in her head that Milo's new approach towards daily life is more about avoiding any chance to meet more women. "You gotta get out of this slump! Not every woman is Kirstin or Guadalupe!"
"Or me? Honey, nobody is me. Except me." Ceth stares at him for a moment. "I don't even know what you're getting at."
"The Acheron. Thing. You didn't even tell his dad... kind of like Guadalupe didn't even-"
"That is totally different! How could you even think something like that, you idiot! Anyway. That creep friend you have, Ernesto, is always asking why you aren't there as an excuse to talk to me. You have to make this stop."
"I think you're perfectly capable of decking Ernesto on your own, Ceth."
"With these scrawny arms? Are you crazy?"
With someone always in the house to watch Acheron when necessary, Ceth has been able to get back to her old ways: late nights out on the town.
When she is home, she'll have you know she takes good care of her "little man", finding joy in watching his first steps and reactions to the world around him.
Lela isn't pregnant yet, but a third crib has been added to the nursery.
"Brown owl this time. So boring. Just like Carlos." Milo yawns, settling Fairuza into the empty crib since she's messed in her own. His brother won't mind...
Just a cute picture.
Lela is working hard. The kitchen table is not great for a home office, but she makes it work.
Phil hires Lela to look into some weird happenings at the graveyard. One of his ancestor's urns was stolen, along with some other urns and gravestones, and what appeared to be ectoplasm was strewn around the crime scene. Phil believes it was ghosts, but also believes his ancestor's spirit will curse him for his incompetence if it turns out it's thieves instead of ghosts.
"And how many bubbles have you blown today, Mr. Trice?"
"None yet. I was on my way to my favorite spot just now."
Lela snoops for clues!
The snow does not hinder her progress in the slightest.
A stake-out at the graveyard at night reveals two suspicious characters: Becky Lack and Courtney Foster.
Becky is Lela's sister in law, so she hopes this won't be another instance where she lands a family member behind bars. Becky and Barry also just had their first child, a baby boy named Lysander. Lela is a bit annoyed her little brother was the first to give their parents a grandchild.
Luckily, Lela cannot find any dirt on Becky, but a quick rummage through Courtney Foster's garbage can reveals a ton of empty containers of corn starch and food coloring. This is definitely the "ectoplasm". But... why?
Lela feels nauseous after digging through the garbage.
Lela confronts Courtney about her suspicions. Courtney is intimidated by Lela's giant-eyed stare, and quickly confesses to stealing urns and headstones for use in an occult ritual to contact a dead lover.
"Have you been in any way successful?" Lela asks.
"No," Courtney moans. "Witchcraft is all fake. I shouldn't believe every stupid thing I read on the internet. But I just... I was hoping beyond hope, you know?"
Lela tilts her head.
"Just don't tell my husband, okay? Bryce would freak out..."
Lela and Courtney return the stolen urns and headstones to the mausoleum. Case closed.
Lela is still thinking she shouldn't have resorted to sifting through that garbage.
Ceth is fed up with the bad fashion in this town.
The townies are thoroughly enjoying the deep snow. I'm finding snowmen and igloos everywhere.
"Why did you put a target on his chest?" Carlos grumbles around his morning coffee.
"I don't know? I thought it looked cute," Ceth defends her son's wardrobe.
Acheron is an abnormally fussy toddler, often screeching in what seems like frustration, for no apparent reason.
Ceth picks up drink mixology as a hobby, after rolling several wishes about it.
Ceth's bedroom will always be a party.
Too bad Orazia is too young to taste test.
Or maybe it's for the best. Ceth is mixology skill level 5, but most of her drinks are still absolutely awful.
Orazia does everyone's laundry while they aren't looking. She'd really like to be useful.
Also, some of the rooms in the house were starting to smell bad.
Lela has a sudden intense craving for hamburgers.
Some girl talk.
Ceth thinks Milo needs some kind of intervention.
This guy heard Lela is some kind of hacking wiz, which makes sense since she's called in so many favors from Worthington to help solve several romance and infidelity cases with minor hacking. Lela is not ready to disclose that a friend does the hacking, not her... and she's also not willing to hack into any businesses to erase debts. This potential client goes home disappointed.
Milo tells Lela about the butterfly collection he had when he was growing up.
Thinking about butterflies makes Lela feel sick to her stomach.
The nausea issues persisted several showers after the garbage-digging. Turns out they were a sign of pregnancy. Lela is so excited to finally have a use for this new maternity dress.
Etc.: I cracked up when I found The Secret History of Lost Lemuria in my game. See, my boyfriend and I found something called Beyond Lemuria on one of those Netflix knockoffs, and we started watching it, thinking we were about to witness a bad attempt at someone making a movie of their D&D roleplay. Nnoooope...
It was a film made by some occult crackpots, about how their occult nonsense is totally real.
After noticing that most "reviews" of the film online were actually from its "actors" or from other people responsible for the atrocity, my boyfriend left a bad review of the film, and amazingly, later that day received hate mail from the director. We were in shock. That angry email made it all worth it.
Anyway, Lela is pregnant with child #4, which will finally complete the family structure roll. The house is feeling tiny, but I love how it looks, so Melissa very kindly added on to the structure for me, and those changes will show up next chapter as well. <3