Eye of the Storm

Sunday, December 16, 2012

"Police are still on the lookout for the suspect who allegedly broke into the Critical Care Ward of the Twinbrook Foundation Hospital last Saturday evening. Luckily the wing, which is normally closed off from the public due to the sensitive nature of its patients and the valuable equipment kept in their facilities, suffered little more than a few broken locks and a few unanswered questions.

"The witness accounts suggest that the intruder was a male in his mid twenties, but police are advising the public to be on the lookout for any hooded, masked figures seen in the vicinity, and report any suspicious activity immediately.

"What the masked intruder's intentions were are still unclear; the police report that nothing was stolen, but an unnamed source says that the man looked as if he was in a hurry to find something. His search was cut short when a surprised nurse pulled the alarm, but so far it would appear that no critical damage was caused or anything of importance was stolen. The only thing that they suspect may have gone missing was--"

"Margo,  why don't you shut that off? It's sorta dimming the mood in here--come sit with us!"

"Which may suggest that the hospital was not the--"


"--and that there may be more--"


"Hey, I was watching that!" Margo sulked, turning her head to look at the two girls sitting cross-legged on the floor behind her.

"C'mon, come join us!" Veronica said smiling, patting the empty piece of carpet next to her. "I'm pretty sure they'll be covering the story again tomorrow... like yesterday... and the day before..." She grumbled and rolled her eyes.

Margo shrugged, finally tucking her legs beneath her to settle down next to the other two. "Yeah, I guess. I just wanted to see if found out anything new..."

"Besides, there are much more important things in the news!" Kenzie and Margo gave Ronnie a bit of a 'look', encouraging her to continue. She cleared her throat, adopting her most newscast worth voice, and stated, "An unknown source has reported that Ms. Kenzie Howell, a Sophomore at Westlake High, was seen with her tongue lodged down the throat of Freshman Mack Leman yesterday after Newspaper Club--"

Kenzie's groan cut Veronica off, launching the other two girls into giggles. "Alright alright... Just... quiet, okay! Yeah. I confess. We... kinda might have kissed a little. But it was nothing like that! It was just... I don't know. It just happened. Actually, it was kinda awkward--we rushed to say goodbye and then he just sort of ran away. I'm not sure how to feel about it."

"Oh come on, Kenzie. You two have been oggling each other for months. I bet he was just nervous!" Ronnie gave her a small, knowing smile--the way she did whenever she'd unraveled a particularly troubling puzzle.

Margo nodded encouragingly. "Yeah--who knows, maybe you'll be the first of us to actually get a real boyfriend..."

The other two froze for a moment, then broke out into hysterical laughter.

Margo's stomach turned over on itself. "What? ... W-why are you laughing?"

"Really, Margo?" Kenzie sniggered, wiping a small tear from underneath her glasses. "And what would you call Dylan? Almost everything that has come out of your mouth for the past month has been 'Dylan this' and 'Dylan that'--by anyone else's standards, you guys are totally dating."

"But--I... I don't know. I just--it's just... it's complicated." Margo whimpered. "He's great, but--"

"But you're insane." Ronnie shrugged when both the other girls looked her way, confused. "We all know it. You're in love."

"Am not!" Margo scowled. "I so am not!"

"Are to!"

Suddenly, the bickering faded away as echoes into her ears. Her gaze, which had steered away from eye-contact instantly because of embarrassment, had spotted something particularly unusual just a few feet away from where she sat. She froze, becoming unaware of everything else around her for the briefest of infinities.


I remember that time you told me, you said,
"Love is touching souls"
Surely you touched mine
'Cause part of you pours out of me
In these lines from time to time

You taste so bitter and so sweet
Oh I could drink a case of you, darling
Still, I'd be on my feet
I would still be on my feet

It had not been there before. She would know; she spent most of the time in her room wishing she was elsewhere, which involved quite a lot of staring wistfully out the window.

But it was even sooner than that; she could have sworn that less than a minute ago, her window had been nothing but a blank canvas of fog and frost.

Not now, though. Now, it held one image--the "I Was Here" of romance novels. A heart, etched out in the window's glaze.

"I'll... be right back," Margo stuttered, her thoughts humming so loud that the rest of Kenzie and Ronnie's conversation--and their questions about her sudden departure--were now nothing but futile wastes of breath.

The snow bit at her ankles angrily, but Margo did not care. "Hello?" she whispered bird-like, in a quiet sing-song. "Is... is anyone there?"

Her eyes searched the area, but no living being was anywhere within her range of sight. There was something, though: footprints. And more specifically, hoofprints. They cluttered the ground around the pond, particularly in one spot close to the tallest cattails.

Margo trailed to them, as they almost seemed to be an arrow pointing her where to go; and the dip in the snow helped give her feet a small flat place out of the cold.

She searched the ground, but there was nothing. "If you didn't want to see me, why did you come?" she asked the wind, a hopeful prayer that her words would be carried to him.

Instead, though, she got her answer in the form of not sound, but light.

It has only seemed to be a speck of frost at first, but as the clouds above slowly began shifting and the rays of the moon fell upon the place that she stood, something in the tall grass caught the light and reflected into her eyes. Margo stood still, wary but curious as she tried to tell what exactly it was she was seeing.

It wasn't until the moon was hidden behind the clouds once again that the shape of the object suddenly became visible--and her face split open into a ridiculous, goofy grin. "Oooh!" she gasped to the empty yard, then took a few clumsy steps through the snow-caked plant and reached up to snatch the treasure weighing down it's tallest leaf.

It felt like solid ice in her palm, so Margo exhaled on its surface a few times before taking a more thorough look at what exactly 'it' was: a large, heart-shaped pendant of soft lilac, framed and hung on a long string of silver. It was beautiful in its simplicity; everything that Dylan had always told her she was.

She giddily--but carefully--slipped the chain around her neck, then carefully bobbed through her previous path through the snow. As she did, Margo considered what exactly she was going to say to her friends, who were probably still probably grumbling in her room about how confusing she was. Should she tell them about the necklace, or make something else up?

It definitely wasn't going to help her case of "Margo vs. Love Towards Dylan", but even with the weight around her neck, she still wasn't exactly she what it was she felt. Was a necklace enough to make her love him...? Most of her said no, but a shallow, fickle voice at the back of her mind was still screaming with glee. How could she not?!

Whatever the case, she knew one thing for sure: when she figured out exactly how she felt, there would be no one in the world she would be able to hide it from.

Korva pressed her hand against the door handle lightly, pretending that every 'tick' was the dial on a bank vault, with guards and alarms poised to react if she made even the slightest mistake. Ordinarily she would make as much noise as she pleased, but so far, she had remained invisible; doctors had gazed right past her, nurses brushed past with urgency, and patients didn't question her.

It was an amazing feeling, to be unnoticed. Every day, someone new with something to say--for once, the silence was comforting. She wanted to maintain it as long as possible; that, and being caught meant failure. That was unacceptable.

But as the door clicked shut, a voice behind her sent electricity up her spine.

"Sweetie... aren't you supposed to be at school? It's only 10 o'clock."

Korva wheeled around poised for action with a snarl on her face, but it immediately melted when she saw the deep, concerned smile held weakly on her father's. "They don't want me there, and I don't want to be there either. It was... a moot-ually benfishul decision," she responded, trying to sound mature but failing to grasp the words she was trying to say. "Besides. I missed you."

Bradley's face seemed to gain 20 years of age in one moment. "And I missed you, but you can't just decide to leave whenever you want to." He sighed as he lost her eye contact. "Alright... tell me what's bothering you."

"It's just. It's everybody, Dad. Nobody gets it." When she saw in his expression that he wasn't quite following, she tried to explain. "They act like the world is going to last forever, like nothing they do matters. They can kill the environment, kill wild animals, and not even care. And it just... it hurts, Dad. It hurts."

"Yes, but Kory--that's no excuse for some of the things that you've done. No matter what anyone else does, hurting someone else is never the answer. Never."

"But Dad--how will they ever get it? How will they ever see how much the world is hurting unless they start hurting too?" Korva pleaded, pacing the floor back and forth as she tried desperately to get him on her side.

"That's no way to get someone to understand, and I'm very disappointed that you would even think about inflicting pain on someone else as a way of trying to scare them into doing what you wanted."

"I--" Korva gulped, suddenly turning a shameful glance towards the floor. "--I'm sorry. I thought you woulda been proud of me, for trying to make a difference. I really was trying, Daddy."

"I know."

"It's just... I hate them all. I hate them all so much for what they did to you. You're so sick, and even after what you did, it's like no one cares, and I just want to fix that, but nobody will listen, and--"

"Sssshh, Kory..." Brad's scowl slowly shifted to a smile. "Listen to me: what is happening to me is no one's fault but my own. There is no one you can punish and no way you can fix what happened. I know it's hard to accept, but I need you to. You're a big girl, now--so close to becoming a teenager. You're so smart, so brave... and I really am so proud that you want to make a difference. I just want you to learn the right way to do it."

"I don't think there is." Kory glowered at the blanket on Bradley's bed, still refusing to meet his eyes. "All everyone wants to do is talk, but no one wants to listen. I gotta do something, something loud enough no one will ignore."

"I think," Brad chuckled as his mind finally made a connection he had never thought of before. "I may actually have the answer to that, Kory. Something you could do, to make a difference--something you could do just for me. But you have to make me a promise, first."

"What's that?"

"I want you to promise me--under no circumstances, unless your life is threatened, will you ever hurt anyone."

"You mean... physically?"

"Well..." Brad stifled a laugh. "I know that there's no way you can protect someone from your words, and... you have quite the mouth on you... but..." Bradley reached out, grabbing his daughter's hand tightly within his own. "There is so much strength in you, Korva. Almost too much. You could burn the whole world down if you wanted to, but all that would do is destroy exactly what you're trying to protect."

Kory shrugged. "I guess."

"Promise me--you will never hurt anyone ever again, even for me. Especially because of me."

Korva hesitated. Although she did many things without thinking about them first, this... this meant something. To herself--to her father. It meant trying to become someone that, up until now, she never thought she could be, or even wanted to be.

But he always asked so little of her, and right now, she did not know how many more requests he would ever be able to make. And he asked her to do it, for him--in exchange for the opportunity to do something even greater. What it was she did not know, but with all her heart, whatever it was, she would circle the world to accomplish it. Sure, it would be hard, but the alternative--saying no--was not just hard. It was impossible.

"I promise, Dad," she said as she lept into his arms, drawing herself into his lap and wrapping herself around him. As she did, something very small and very human stirred in her eye. "I'll never hurt anyone, ever, ever again. I promise."

Margo slowly peeled her numb fingers off the handlebars of her bike with a painful whimper as she rested it against a bush in front of the Pesce house. 'I really should learn to drive,' she thought to herself as she considered how much warmer it would have been if she could have borrowed her mother's car. But, the terrifying image of barreling down the icy streets, steering a motorized vehicle suddenly reminded Margo why she didn't drive.

"Yeah, bad idea," she spoke aloud.

The snow on the Pesce's front porch hadn't budged much, and Margo didn't really blame them. Winter had hit Twinbrook like a brick purse to the face, something no one had quite been prepared for and everyone was taking a little bit longer than usual to recuperate from.

"Just in and out, just in and out," Margo chanted to herself, picturing how lovely it would be to rush home and curl up in front of the fireplace. "Just get what you came for, and go home. You can do this." After a deep breath--which she exhaled onto her frozen hands--she pushed her thumb against the doorbell.

It wasn't long before Mrs. Pesce's face showed up behind the frosty glass. "Oh Margo honey, you get in here," she gasped as she quickly drew the door open. "Where are your gloves?! You look like you're going to freeze your fingers off!"

"Oh, I'm okay Mrs. Pesce, don't worry," she lied as she scooted through the door, with the help of Jane's urget pokings-and-proddings. "I had some... Dropped them in a snowbank and couldn't find them," Margo added, hiding her eyes in shame.

"Mmm, make sure your mother picks up some new ones. Now--what can I do for you, Margo? Is everything alright with your Dad? Do I need to go get Moe?"

"Oh no, he's... fine... or... unchanged, I guess," Margo said with a shrug, biting her lip as she finally brought her nervous stare to meet Jane's. "I'm actually here to see... Ian."

"Oh sweetie I'm sorry, but Ian's sick with the flu--he really shouldn't be seeing anyone today. I already had to turn away Thane today. Twice," she tutted with slight annoyance.

"I know, that's actually kinda why I'm here," Margo said nervously, scuffing the floor with her boot. "My friend and I are doing a project at school with him, it's due at the end of the week and I came to, er, pick up his... section." She gulped.

"I'll just go get it for you then, if that's--"

"--Actually," Margo cut her off, quickly regretting it when she saw the look of surprise on Mrs. Pesce's face. "I... need to uh... ask him some questions and uh... stuff. I promise I'll be quick?"

Mrs. Pesce clearly wasn't pleased, but with a defeated sigh, she nodded and pointed towards the staircase. "He's in his room, up the stairs, down the hall, second door on the right. Just make sure you don't get too close--I don't want you getting sick, too."

Margo gave her a wary half-smile. "I won't."

I'm an angel bored like hell
and you're a devil meaning well
you steal my lines and you strike me down
come raise your flag upon me

and if you want me I'm your country
if you win me I'm forever - oh yeah!

'cause you're the storm that I've been needing
and all this peace has been deceiving
I like the sweet life and the silence
but it's the storm that I believe in

"Second door on the right, second door on the--" Margo stopped in front of it and took a deep breath. Well, this was awkward--but the longer she put it off, the harder it would be. Raising a fist to the door, she gently knocked.

"Come in~" a wheezy, pathetic voice responded from within. "You finally bring that soup I--oh."

"Yeah... sorry, it's just me." Margo awkwardly met Ian's gaze, clearly just as uncomfortable with the situation as he was.

"Yeah, I see that now," Ian growled as he began to shift his weight onto his side, turning his feverish face in her direction. "And what are you doing here?"

Margo shifted from foot to foot, uneasy; she wasn't sure if she should enter any further, so she continued to hang by the door, hiding behind it as much as possible. "T-the report... it's due Friday... Ronnie and I kinda need your part to finish the paper..."

Ian sighed. "Ugh. Friday? Yeah... that's not good for me. It's gonna have to be next Thursday, at the earliest."

"But... that's not when it's due. It's due--"

"--Friday, yeah, but... Yeeaaaaah, but that just doesn't work for me." When Margo continued to look at him dumbfoundedly, he nodded towards the desk in the corner. "I really don't have that much done. See for yourself."

Ian pointed towards the papers scattered on his desk; Margo slowly approached, catching a glimpse at what looked like a half a page on the subject Ian was supposed to be handling.

"Well... it's better than nothing," Margo said under her breath, trying to think of what she was going to tell Ronnie to try and calm her friend's imminent panic attack. This is exactly what she was afraid of, though, and exactly why she didn't let Mrs. Pesce come get it for her. The last thing she wanted was to start a fight if Ian didn't have it finished; but in a way, seeing it for herself made her feel even worse.

"I guess I'll go ahead and just take that, then. We'll... manage." She started to tiptoe further into the room, despite the fact that Ian was obviously both awake and aware of her presence.

As she moved, Ian's burning stare followed her; she occasionally glanced back at him, only to be met with the fiercest glare. It made her incredibly uncomfortable; not only was he giving her that... look... she was in his territory, and he was--in Margo's opinoin--practically naked. It was not helping.

"What are you looking at," she asked without the lilt of a question in her voice, sheepishing steering herself behind Ian's desk chair.

His scowl deepened. "Never seen that necklace, before. Your boyfriend give it to you?"

"M-my boyfriend?" Margo shook her head violently, covering up the pendant with  her hand when she felt a surge of embarrassment flood over her. She'd never even thought to hide it; it never occurred to her that someone like Ian would notice she never usually wore stuff like that. "No," she finally responded. "No, I don't have a boyfriend."

"Then what's that pretty Irish thing I've seen dragging you around town everywhere? A new pet?"

"No! He's just--we're just friends. That's all."

Ian rolled his eyes, dropping back onto the bed with a loud *flump*. "Yeah, whatever. I don't really care, anyways. So's that all you came for?"

"Yeah. J-just this."

"Alright then." Ian turned his head towards the wall, averting his gaze away from her. "Whatever."

All the awkwardness in the room suddenly doubled; Ian refused to look at her, but he also seemed to refuse to say goodbye. She was stuck, hovering in the middle of the room, a gray zone that had no good entrance and no good exit.

She wasn't left with much alternative, though. "Well... I guess I  better get going, then," she said as she eased herself towards the door. "See ya at school... feel better."


Margo froze and turned her head over her shoulder. Ian was sitting up again; but this time, he wasn't looking at her with a judgmental stare. What this was Margo wasn't sure, but it made something in her stomach do a very odd sort of dance.

"Please, don't go."

Margo's eyes swiveled from side to side. "Uuuh... o-okay." She stopped leaving, but still stood near the door, a frigid and awkward statue.

"C'mere," he lulled, suddenly sounding twice as sick as he did before; Margo was pretty sure he was feigning it, but something deep in her gullet made it impossible to resist, so she timidly followed his request, coming to the side of his bed and gently settling down next to him.

"W-what do you need?" she asked softly, trying to hide the glowing blush rising up her cheeks.

He averted his gaze, almost seeming embarrassed, himself. "Lay down with me."

"... Lay with you. ... Why."

His face shifted back to a scowl again, almost seeming offended at her tone of question. "I'm cold and I'm sick and I feel miserable," he snapped. "You're warm and you're nice and you're here. Do I really need any more reason?"

"You're kind of pathetic when you're sick, you know," Margo stuttered under her breath as she pulled her legs up onto the bed, tucking them under her. She tried not to giggle; it really wasn't that funny...  but no, it really was.

"So sue me," Ian growled, shrugging. "I dare you to act better when you feel like death."

Margo was at a loss for what to say; he wasn't entirely incorrect, and pure look of weakness in his face--genuine or not--garnered some sympathy for him.

But she couldn't help but realize: there was something more. His eyes, usually piercing and cold, revealed the briefest glance of sadness before shutting tightly, his hand now reaching out in his blindness to grab and tug on the side of her sweater.

She obeyed; and not, to her surprise, because she was afraid to say no. As her body rested gently next to him, she found herself laying in total peace and comfort. Every moment with Dylan had been a roller coaster, leaving her heart racing and her lungs out of breath... but this, this was different. It was serene, despite who she knew the boy behind her to be.

A monster, some days; a fighter, a bully, an outcast. But not to her--never, to her.

He had never touched her before, either... At least, not like this. She could feel his hand slowly raise from his side, and settle--finger by finger--onto the side of her ribs, each one testing the waters of her permissibility, making sure it was alright. And Margo did not object.

"I'm sorry... about the other day..." Margo muttered, realizing that their fight had never entirely been addressed.

When he spoke, the words felt so close to her ear that it tickled, sending goosebumps down her entire body. "I know. It's... fine, though. I really don't blame you." After a few moments, Ian continued. "Thanks, for staying," he said, gruffly. "I'm feeling better already."

Margo snorted and rolled her eyes. "You better be," she said, half-jesting. "Anything else you need to me do?"

"Actually, Margo... There is one more thing."

Margo's nose curled up a little. Great. She wasn't actually seriously. "What's that?"

"Please... Stay away from that Dylan guy." Margo could sense the vulnerability in his voice; it was unlike Ian to make such a request so calmly, but even in the softness of it was a quiet, pained intensity. "He's not the person you think he is."

"You know I can't do that, Ian--he's my friend." She shifted uneasily, suddenly feeling a surge of confusing emotions at the mention of Dylan's name. "Why would you even say that?"

Ian sighed, his body moving to close the distance her movement had caused. "Just trust me, Margo," Ian said stiffly. "I just... know. If you can't stay away--just... be careful, okay?"

Annoyance suddenly bubbled up from within Margo; why was Ian constantly telling her what to do? What was his business, trying to interfere in her life? Sure, things weren't perfect, and maybe he was right about some things, but this was Dylan--Dylan, of all people. "Why do you even care?" she finally asked bitterly, biting her lip when she heard how accusatory it sounded aloud.

Behind her, the bed  began to quiver at the movement of Ian's chuckle; a reaction that Margo was certainly not expecting, and--for whatever reason--actually made her feel more comforted. "You're like Alice in Wonderland, Margo," Ian said with a whimsical tone, briefly lifting his hand from her ribs to tug lightly on her ponytail. "Someone has to watch out for you, or you're just going to keep falling back down the rabbit hole."

It went silent for a moment as Margo considered this--and it actually made her smile. Perhaps, she'd listen, but for now she wasn't going to worry about it too much. Ian was almost as crazy as she was.

"Well, I really should get going home--" Margo began uneasily--almost sadly--but the word 'home' caused Ian's grip on her side to tighten, stopping her mid-sentence.

"No," he said, simply, the word hot against the back of her neck.


"Please... Just a little longer. Please."

From then on, it fell quiet for a short while; Margo lost track of the passage of time, attempting to count her heartbeats, but lost them in the feel of Ian's through the palm of his hand. Even the back of her head was teeming with warmth, heated by hot breath that was soaking into the mass of her hair.

It was weird--but not in an unpleasant way. Just weird enough that the awareness of every movement, every second, lasted a lifetime in her thoughts. He was still so far away, but today, just a little bit closer.

Still a storm, but today, next to her, a happy moment in stillness.

Hi guys!

I'm tacking this on here because I forgot to do a seperate post about it earlier: if you haven't already, be sure to check out my most recent Short, "Good Enough!"

It gives a little bit of a glimpse into Ian's life, and though it really is very short, I think it's important to see where Ian is coming from and why he reacts so strongly whenever anyone tries to tell him to change. (I still haven't added it to the Short's listing, so you'll have to go read it via this link here.)

I've been doing a rather abysmal job juggling all my projects and such lately, so I'll apologize now for not responding to your comments right away, but even though I plan on doing that soon, I appreciate every single one a very, very great deal. You are all so incredibly special and kind to give your time to read and provide feedback, I feel so blessed to have each and every one of you.

Normally this is when I would say 'Happy Holidays' as well, but fear not--I have a Christmas Special on the way, that should go up a few days before or on Christmas itself.

Until then--Cheers and kisses! ♥


Devil You Know, Devil You Don't

Saturday, November 17, 2012

"Now, I'd like to get this newspaper out by the end of the month, so if any of you are having trouble, please let me know at least a week before the deadline. If you have any questions about your assignments, meet me in my office after school tomorrow--I'll be around until 5 o'clock, at least."

Mr. Hobbs gave a look around the computer lab, but every teenager in the room had their eyes fixated on the screens in front of them, oblivious to the fact he was even still there. In the silence, the hum of the computers filled in where crickets could not.

"Alright then," he said with a nervous chuckle. "If that's all, I'm taking off. You guys have a good afternoon--make sure the last one out locks the door, alright?" He paused, waiting for a response; only Kenzie, with her back facing towards him, craned her neck around to give him a small smile. "Alright, then. Bye guys."

As the door to the lab clicked shut behind their teacher, Margo looked down on the slip of paper in front of her with dread. Margo Kane: Community Spotlight was written in bold letters at the very bottom, almost as an afterthought. Community Spotlight, the bland vegetables of the school newspaper. Margo was used to being given the projects no one else wanted, but this one was positively insulting. Community Spotlight meant actually talking to people. In the community.

Margo's eyes traced over the rest of the Club member's assignments with resentment and envy. Ethan was doing a piece on the art department's most recent projects; Mack Leman, known for his dopey wit, was assigned to write a humor column; Kenzie, to no one's surprise, was writing about some of the new Tech installments at the school; even Daisy got to cover sports, which half of her friends either participated in or cheered for.

There was no doubt in her mind: Margo had been given the leftover. The misfit in the bunch, just like her.

"Ah c'mon Margo, it won't be so bad," Kenzie said from across the table, eyeing the sick greenness flushing Margo's cheeks. "Mr. Hobbs wouldn't have given it to you if he didn't think you could handle it. Maybe he thought it would be good for you, to get out and do some interviews?"

"He's crazy," Margo mumbled into the hands cupped over her face, trying not to whimper. "You wanna trade?"

Kenzie's face fell a little. "I love you Margo, but... Technology? You couldn't even plug your mouse into the right port, this morning. You wouldn't know half the stuff you'd be writing about."

Margo knew Kenzie was right--and honestly, it was probably true for every other topic going into this edition of the newspaper--but it didn't make her feel any better. If anything, it just made her more aware of the gaping hole where her "specialty" was supposed to be. Everyone else had their little niche... Ethan and his art, Mack and his jokes--but her, just a channel for someone else's greatness. Fabulous.

"There's got to be someone you know you can interview--I mean, your family is full of big shots, isn't it? Your grandpa used to be a detective, your grandma owns the art studio--there's lots of possibilities, there?"

Margo scowled. Yes--another reminder that everyone in her family was amazing but her. And yet... "Actually..." Margo, who'd started pacing to get her thoughts moving, stopped beside Kenzie and gave her a quizzical look. "Maybe I could interview my Dad? I mean, he made the first sentient simbot, his time machine, discovered a way to--"


"--get murderous lunatics out of prison?" A loud, angry guffah came from behind Margo, startling her. "Yeah, sounds like a real awesome role model to be writing about."

"Daisy, you don't know what you're talking about," Kenzie snapped, grabbing Margo's hand and lightly tugging her in the opposite direction. "It's Margo's article, she can write about whoever she wants to."

Daisy rolled her eyes. "No, I'm pretty sure it's you that's blind, four-eyes. But fine--she can write about her father. It's not like anyone will read it, anyways."

Both Kenzie and Margo took a rather deep breath as Daisy started to turn away, but their relief was short-lived. "Actually, you know what, Margo?" Daisy retorted, spinning around to face them again. "Write about your Dad. I think it's a great idea."

Margo's hands shivered. "R-really?" she asked, skeptical.

"Yeah. That way, when he finally croaks, you don't even have to write an obituary--you'll already have one."

Kenzie gasped. "Daisy--!"

"What?! It's true, and everyone knows it! He's only got what, 5, 6 months left? Really, it would be convenient--all you have to do is rerun the piece, and add a little tagline at the end: The Great meddling Bradley Kane, finally bit the dust after a long battle with his big, fat ego.

"DAISY! Don't talk about her Dad like that!"

"Why? I mean, it's only fair--if my Dad has to die because of her idiot of an aunt, hers might as well, too."

"Why you stupid--Margo... Margo? MARGO!"

Please try to be patient
and know that I'm still learning.
I'm sorry that you have to see
the strength inside me burning.

But where are you my angel now?
Don't you see me crying?
And I know that you can't do it all
but you can't say I'm not trying.

-- The Hill, Marketa Irglova ~ CLICK TO LISTEN ♫ --

The whole world spun. Underneath Margo's fingers and knees, the cold tile rolled back and forth, barely holding up her capsizing stomach. The smell, the cold, it all made what was left of her lunch keep coming even when she thought she might finally be able to stop.

The sick feeling in her gut began to subside as she weakly collapsed against the back of the bathroom stall's door, but when she raised her hand to wipe the corner of her lip, she saw her fingers shiver through her foggy vision. It wasn't the world that was shaking: it was her.

When she finally was able to put her weight back on her feet, Margo carefully slipped out of the stall and stumbled to the sink. She smartly avoided looking at what she was sure would be a horribly accurate reflection of how she felt.

Margo cupped her hands under the faucet, bringing water to her lips and swishing it inside her mouth--but it did little good. She could still feel the sour taste of bile at the back of her throat, threatening to escape again each time she remembered Daisy's words:

It's only fair, that he's dying.

It's only fair.

After several more minutes of just trying to squeeze some air back into her lungs, she decided to escape the horrible stench the bathroom now had. Margo's fingers tenderly pushed the door open, and she shuffled back out into the hall.

Several steps out, she heard a small chuckle behind her. "Your stomach finally have enough of those crappy school lunches, Klinger? Sounds like you were barfing up a whole year's worth, in there." Ian's voice was thick with amusement--the kind that made Margo's stomach do another double-dutch in her belly.

Margo angled her face away from him and kept moving. "Leave me alone, Ian," she spoke--instantly wishing she hadn't when the sobs suddenly began flooding out again.

"Hey hey hey, quit the waterworks, Margo--I was only kidding!" When she didn't turn around, Ian's hand reached out and snatched her arm, pulling her to a stop; but still, she didn't look at him. "What the hell's the matter?"

"Just go away," Margo said softly as she reached her free hand  up to her face, gingerly trying to erase her tear stains. "Please. Just let me go."

"Not until you tell me what's wrong," Ian snarled, his grip becoming tighter on her arm. "C'mon, spit it out."

But Margo remained silent. She became a ragdoll in his hand, limply swaying with the forceful sobs she tried to stifle in her chest. The longer she stood there, the angrier he became, until he finally couldn't take it anymore.

"Margo, look at me!" he barked, tugging her arm and swiveling her around to face him. "Talk to me, dammit!"

Margo continued to resist, raising her hands to try and shield her face; in response, he latched his fingers around her wrists and drew them down against his chest. She turned her face to the side; he tried to follow it with his own. They continued their clumsy pasadoble until Margo finally became too weak to fight, and her weight slowly shifted against him.

"Daisy," came her soft answer.

Ian made a noise closer to animal than human. "What did she do."

"She said... my dad... deserves to die."

"She what?!" Margo felt Ian's body begin to shake with rage; even his fingers felt as if they were vibrating against her skin. "And you did what--you ran away?!"

Margo's head bobbed loosely to the side. "I didn't know what to--"

"Yes, you do! You're not an idiot, Margo--you know exactly what to say!" Another tear began to trickle down Margo's face and her hands started to pull up to hide it; Ian tugged them back down, shaking her whole body along with her arms. "Why can't you stand up for yourself, Margo?! Why do just sit there like a dead fish and let her walk all over you?! Don't you see what this is doing to you?"

"I--I just--I just can't, Ian--"

"FINE!" Ian's fingers released her, almost making her lose her balance when her weight was suddenly her own responsibility again. He walked past her, taking the first few steps up the staircase to the computer lab. "If you won't stand up for yourself, then I will!"

"NO!" Her voice reined him to a halt. "DON'T!"

He looked back at her over his shoulder and threw his hands up in frustration. "Margo, someone has to shove that girl's head into the floor, and if it's not going to be you--"

Margo's sobs turned to wails. "Why is your s-solution to fix everything always breaking something else?!"

The air surrounding them became still and cold. Ian had stopped moving; his foot had frozen mid-air above the step, until gentle gravity pulled it back to rest on the floor. The emptiness swallowed them, until Ian came completely off the stairs--but in a strange role reversal, it was now Ian's eyes that refused to meet Margo's.

"Ian, I didn't mean--"

"Yeah, you did. And you're right. You're always right." She watched through tear-burned eyes as his hunched shoulders began to fall from his ears, weighing everything--even his gaze--towards the floor. "Breaking things... it's all I'm good for."

"That's not tr--"

"I'm sorry, Margo. I keep forgetting nothing I'm capable of is good enough for you."

She would have followed him, but she knew her words had cut deeper than what an apology could repair. And she felt sick--sicker than she had before--but there was nothing left in her tummy except regret.

For once second, he had let himself become vulnerable again, and she wasted it--wasted the ounce of good she had been trying to dig up for years. All he wanted was to help. Maybe not the right way, but he hadn't backed down. He never had when she needed him.

But now she did, more than ever before, and all she had was silence.

"I'm not leaving until I get some answers, Lamont! You don't just wake up one day and totally forget about someone's existence! It's impossible--even for me!"

"Lil, please... Can we talk about this later," Lamont grumbled, trying to avoid Lilobot's earnest gestures as she followed him around the science lab. "I just want to finish your diagnostic and go home."

"What, so I can go home worried that I am going to wake up tomorrow and not remember my family or my friends? Something is wrong, Lamont! I know it! Please, I need you to--"

"Alright, fine." Heaving a heavy sigh, Lamont leaned against a nearby machine. His eyes were clouded with frustration, Lil could tell--but she wouldn't back down. This was too important.

"What happened," Lil asked, plainly.

"When you told me about what happened with Tanner... how upset you were... I couldn't bear to see you suffering like that. It was too much. So when I transferred you to your new body--I just... didn't transfer those memories. I thought you would be happier without them."

Lilobot immediately felt her Positronic Emotion Chip flaring into anger. "You deleted part of me without asking?! Those were MY memories, Lamont! MINE! If you thought I would be better off without them, you should have asked me, first! It was not your choice to make!"

"You're right," Lamont sighed, nodding. "It was foolish and... selfish. I'm sorry."

Lil opened her mouth to continue ranting, but when she registered what was saying, and studied him for a moment--she suddenly became even angrier. "What else did you delete, Lamont."

He shook his head, avoiding her eyes. "Just Tanner."

"Do not lie to me. I can tell when you are lying--your ears turn red and your eyes run away. Stop avoiding it--just tell me! These are my memories we are talking about, I have the right to know!"

"We kissed." Lamont's head flopped down onto the machine, 'facepalming' against the back of his hand. "You happy now? We kissed. And I freaked out, and I erased it."

"We... we kissed? But... but when?!"

"Right after the procedure. You were so happy, and I was so happy, and my marriage was already on the rocks, and just... I don't even know how it happened. I came over to help you up, and we just--it just happened."

"You don't understand, Lilobot," he continued, growing more and more upset as he recalled the events. "I couldn't do that to my son. It wasn't something I would usually do, and... it was just such a huge mistake. I didn't want it to be a mistake you had to live with, too. I didn't want anyone else to know. So when I hooked you up to make sure everything had transferred fine--I made sure you wouldn't remember. If I could have done the same thing for myself... I would have."

"So all this time.. you have been lying to me, about us. About your feelings for me."

Lamont shrugged. "I have a wife. I have a son. If you knew what it was like, Lil... you would know why I did what I did."

"I may not understand completely, but... I get that you had the best intentions. I have to know, though--do you still feel that way? About me?"

She scanned his face, hoping for some sort of reveal; she waited for his words, but they never came. After a moment, she knew, he wouldn't say; either he would hurt her all over again, or he would hurt his wife. There was no win, no matter what he said.

"Okay, fine, you do not have to tell me--but you understand, Lamont... Why I have to ask you to give me my memories back. You still have them, right?"

Lamont nodded slowly, and pointed towards a nearby computer. "They're on a harddrive marked XR-1010 Backup. When we do the diagnostic... I'll put them back. If that's really, really what you want."

Without hesitation, Lilobot nodded. "It is."

An hour later, when she left the Science Facility, everything was finally as it was. Tanner. Lamont. Every moment, down to the last exquisite detail, just as clear as they day she'd lived them.

She couldn't say if it's exactly what she expected--there's no way she could have known just how much hurt she had endured, and would now have to suffer alone--but... oh, it was worth it. 

Even though every memory resurfaced a brilliant new wave of pain, she had two things back that no one should ever have to lose: her first love, and her first kiss.

And so they linked their hands and danced
'round in circles and in rows
And so the journey of the night descends
when all the shades are gone.

-- Mummer's Dance, Loreena McKennitt ~ Click to Listen ♫ --

As the hours crept up on midnight, Margo tossed in a restless sleep. It had been years since she'd had night terrors, but even though they'd passed, she always felt like she was always half asleep, searching for a comfort that no nightlight or heavy comforter could give.

She tried to pull the blankets closer, but the frosty window radiated the chilling night straight through to her bones. Fall days were wonderful--fall nights, not so much.

So, when the noise began, Margo was awake enough to hear; she sat up in her bed with a start. "What the--" she gasped, her eyes glued to the front window.

Someone was on the porch. At first she thought it might be Mud, but he hadn't been back since the night she followed him home. That and, as she listened closer, the footsteps had a distinctly solid *thump* to them; unless Mud had gotten himself a thick pair of boots, it was definitely human.

The better part of Margo wanted to hide, or scream for Alesha, but the curious side of her always won. She climbed from her bed, shrugged on her slippers, and tentatively inched towards the window as if it would arise from the wall and snap her with a large set of jaws.

In a way, it did.



Margo's eyes met upon the fierce face of the demon horse, sending her arms waving wildly as she stumbled back and fell, *fwump*, onto the floor.

"Marrgo? Margo? Ye in t'ere?" came a muffled voice from the other side of the glass. Dylan's face appeared in the window shortly after, lighting up with a smile when his eyes met her own.

"Dylan," she said, her mouth gaping. "What are you doing here?"

"Oy've come teh rescue you from certain boredom," he responded, flashing her a whimsical smile. "C'mon outside, I can barely hear yeh."

Margo tiptoed through the front door as quietly as possible, latching it shut with her breath caught in her chest. "Vvv vv v vv v vvvv, ugh it's cold out here," she grumbled, regretting not grabbing her jacket as well. "So what are--ah ah, I think your horse is going to eat me."

"Badger? Neeeh, he's a bit ornery but he won't bite yeh 'less I tell him to," Dylan chuckled.

Margo frowned with disbelief. "So why are you here?"

"Well, I'm goin' on a bit ov an... adventure, yeh might call it--and I thought, well don't I know teh perfect girrl to take wit meh. You do like sneakin' out in teh middle of teh night, don'tcheh?"

"I--not really," Margo sighed, biting her lip. "That was kinda just a one time thing. Besides, I really shouldn't. My mom might notice, and... I have school tomorrow... and..."

"Do ye always make t'is many excuses? Come now. You want to come. I can see it in yehr eyes."

Margo flinched away, shaking her head. "I shouldn't."

When her head dipped, she felt Dylan's rough fingers thread through the loose locks around her face, gently combing them back to uncover her eyes. "Course yeh should. What's a pretty lass like you gonna do boxed up in here, anyways? Yehr comin' wit meh." When she remained unmoving, he continued. "Come now. Say it. I'm cohmin' wit yeh."

"I--" Margo finally looked into his gaze and suddenly became lost in the piercing, hypnotizing insistence in his eyes. "Okay. I'm coming with you."

When she finally relented, he grabbed her hand, and led her and Badger to the edge of the road; once there, he swung himself up onto the massive horse's back with the acrobatic grace of a feline. Margo couldn't help but feel the sting of jealousy.

"Are ye sure you don't want any help, t'ere?" Dylan said with a laugh as he looked behind him, where Margo had begun to try to pull herself up, as well.

"No, I want to do this, myself," she insisted, determined that this time, she would make it without the helpful guidance of her riding instructors. "Just... gimme a second..."

"C'mon now, yehr struggling--here, Alley Oop!" Dylan slung his arm under Margo's shoulder and hoisted her up, looping her behind him. "See? Bettehr. Yeh ever been on a horse before?"

"I--once," Margo sighed, her face flushing red.

"Aah, well--just hang on, then? Ol' Badger's got a bit offa jumpy trot, but he won't t'row us--I slipped a bit o' beer into his trough earlier, that usually puts him in a nice good mood," Dylan laughed. When Margo gave him an uneasy smile back, he gave her a wink, and softly clucked Badger from stillness.

Dylan wasn't exaggerating--Margo could feel her brains bouncing up and down in her head as they rumbled down the road, leaving soft hoofprints in the frosty sidewalk behind them. Compared to this, Bean had been a dream; now, without even so much as a saddle blanket, her rump felt like it was slowly turning to mashed potatoes.

"Come on, don't be shy--yeh can squeeze in a littow tighter," Dylan teased, noticing her queasy expression. "It'll seem a bit less harrsh that way."

She reluctantly obliged, and in a way, it did help; but the foreign smell of him might have been part of it. Campfire, patchouli, and a touch of something spicy she couldn't quite place; it all filled her lungs and warmed her, melting away the last unease she had being so close to what was, to her, a complete stranger.

"Where are we going?" she finally asked, opening her eyes to see the autumn world slowly passing by.

"Someplace special--you'll see."

Margo didn't open her eyes again she felt Badger's trot slow to a stop; releasing her deathgrip from Dylan's tummy, she gently slipped off to the ground with his help, and then looked up.

"My grandmother's art studio?" she asked, her eyebrows scrunching up in confusion.

"Oh, yehr grandmot'er owns it, eh? Ain't t'at a coincidence," he said, surprised but not annoyed. "She has good taste. C'mon, let's go 'round back."

As they slipped up the back steps, sudden realization hit Margo over the top of the head. "We're not... going inside, are we?"

"Why ov course we are," Dylan said, slyly winking. "It'll just be a minute, this lock's a wee bit tricky."


"Don't worry, I do it all the time!"

"But--it's illegal!"

"It ain't illegal unless someone finds out, lass," Dylan chuckled, before turning back to the door and sticking something in the lock that, to Margo, looked like nothing but a long hairpin.

All her previous hesitations suddenly flooded back, tenfold. Her eyes flitted along the road, searching for any sign of movement; there was nothing, but it didn't change the fact that Margo could swear, they were being watched. "I don't like this," she whimpered, biting her lower lip.

"All done! C'mon, Marrgo--let's get that shiverin' body of yehrs inside before yeh to ice."

Margo had been inside the Bottega hundreds of times since she was born--she'd even had several birthdays, here--but now, with everything coated in shadows and silence, it felt like a a haunted graveyard.

"I w-want to go home," Margo stuttered, hiding her face in her hands. "Please, let's just--"

"Nonsense, we just got here! Besides, there's somet'in I want to show ya," he responded, his smile wicked. "Just stay there and look pretty, mmm?"

She watched as he darted around the room, chucking various tools into his pockets and dragging a clay block to the sculpting stand. The ease at which he did it--and the innate knowledge of the room he seemed to have--left her breathlessly uneasy.

"Are you sure this is okay?" she wheezed, biting her nails.

"Who cares?" he shrugged, raising his chiseling to the block to begin working.

"Well.. maybe the person who owns all this stuff?"

Dylan shrugged. "Does anyone really own anyt'ing, Margo?  Besides--you said yehrself, yehr grandmam owns all t'is... so I guess t'at just means ye'll be able to smooth everyt'ing over for us." He sent her another confident, easy wink that weakened her knees and silenced her tongue.

It was a long time before she said anything else; occasionally Dylan made a sly comment, but the sensation of watching eyes left her unable to relax. "What about Badger?" she finally asked, realizing that she hadn't even seen Dylan tie him up outside.

"Ah, he's fine," Dylan smiled. "He won't wander off. If anyt'ing he'll just curl up and go teh sleep."

"But what if someone sees him?"

"Eesh, yeh sure know how to work up a storm worryin', don't yeh? So what if he's seen? So what if we're caught? Rules only matter if you let 'em."

"I just don't feel good about this," she said in a hushed whisper, looking out through the foggy glass of the door.

"Sounds like you don't feel good about lots of t'ings," Dylan sighed. "But it's no matter--I'm finished, anyways."

He reached out a hand and guided her to his position, looking over her shoulder as she looked at his 'final product'. "Whatcha think, Marrgo?"

Margo wasn't sure what she was seeing--was that... was that her?

"It can't be," she gasped, shaking her head. "I'm not--and it's so--"

"It's beautiful, just like you," Dylan lulled, resting his hands on her shoulders, dipping his lips towards her ear. "She's a little rough around the edges, but t'at's what makes her perfect."

"Hey--hey Margo, where yeh goin'?!" Dylan's eyes grew wide as Margo suddenly bolted from his grasp, darting down the hallway and disappearing into the kitchen. "Come back!"

When he caught up with her, she tried to hide her face--but it was impossible. There were already tears forming, and Dylan was anything but blind.

"What's teh matter? Was it t'hat hideous?" he said with a rough chuckle, reaching his hand out to stroke her arm.

"No, it's just... I've had such a bad day, and that--the way you're treating me--I'm just so... so confused, Dylan, and--"

"Ssssh, sshhhh, t'ere's nothing to be confused about, Margo." She turned around to face him, only to be lightly grabbed and tugged towards him. "Yehr a beautiful girrl, you deserve to be shown."

"Maybe, but--" she tried to draw away, but Dylan's hand was bracing her back, leaving her no where to move but closer. "This is all just moving so fast, and--"

"Life is short, Margo. Do yeh want to wait one more moment before you live it?"

She had no arguments left--and even if she did, he wouldn't have it. And why would she want to say no? He was gorgeous, and he smelled like mulled wine, and he rode a horse like a bird rides the wind, and his voice could melt chocolate, and his eyes could see right through her, and--

Their lips touched.

As a kiss, it was everything she had ever imagined--and more. All else in the world, in that moment, became meaningless. He felt so wrong, and yet so right, with nothing now that could stop her from saying yes. 

He was a shadow on the moon, a breeze on the fire, a knock on the door: but in that moment, she was his moon and his fire and his door, and there was nothing else she'd rather be.


About This Blog

This Blog is a fictional story written using the Sims 3 (tm Electronic Arts); it is written by the:

  © Blogger template On The Road by Ourblogtemplates.com 2009

Back to TOP