Myself: I thought we were done with this.
Me: Done with what?
Myself: Smut! Some of this is…::lowers voice:: some of this is downright gratuitous.
Me: ::blinks slowly in confusion:: But they don’t even bone in this chapter.
Myself: ::makes angry gestures::
Me: I really don’t understand what you’re talking about. ::picks up remote::
Myself: ::gasps dramatically:: ARE YOU WATCHING BRIDGERTON? You know people didn’t have sex in England Times!
Windenburg Woods, Dryad Territory
The living room was in such a state that Caleb despaired of ever getting his deposit back. The furniture shoved out of place, the piles of toys and clothing, the plasma dripping from Vlad’s rapidly regenerating fingers—they were all markers of chaos. Expensive chaos. Non-refundable chaos.
“You’ve brought a friend,” Vlad observed.
“And Gwendolyn bit off three of your fingers,” Caleb retorted.
“Four,” Alice corrected. “But we’re working on it.”
Vladislaus did not appear to be working on anything. In fact, the beast had the nerve to look downright delighted. “Her teeth are rather sharp, aren’t they?” he mused, pride coloring his voice.
“Yes,” Caleb drawled, “We all know you believe that few situations could not be improved by someone losing a finger.”
Vlad smirked. “Given your feelings about me, Caleb, I would’ve thought you’d applaud such an act.”
It did endear Gwendolyn to him, but encouraging Vladislaus was never a good idea. “Don’t you think part of raising her is controlling this sort of behavior?” He gestured around the room, “You mean to tell me, this is you working on it?”
“Okay, stow your pearls,” Alice interjected, giving him the finger, “We are like five days into this. Step one: stop her from throwing furniture and get to bed at a decent hour in the morning. Step two through, I don’t know, a million is working on her PTSD. And way, way, way down on the priority list, partially because he brings it on himself,”—she glared at Vlad—“is Phobos keeping his fingers.”
Amisyia failed to stifle a laugh. “What?” she shrugged, “They are funny.”
“They are not,” Caleb ground out, shooting her a look of censure.
“They are,” she insisted, “You said we were meeting the God of Death and Fear Itself, but you made them sound so dreadful.”
“Dreadful?” Vlad repeated, sounding offended but clearly anything but, “Oh, do tell.”
“There is nothing to tell,” Caleb snapped, suddenly feeling hot. He pulled at his collar. “Amisyia misspoke. I merely explained your background.”
Vlad grinned, a mephistophelian sort of energy pouring off of him. “Hmmm. It is wise to make sure your friend knows exactly what she’s dealing with.” He arched an eyebrow at Amisyia, “Do you have any questions about Caleb?”
“Don’t answer that,” Caleb told her, keeping the look of censure on his face. “She’s not a friend; she’s a trusted business associate.”
“I’m paying her!”
“Well, that’s an interesting arrangement.”
Amisyia coughed delicately while Alice bowed her head, presumably to hide her laughter.
Vlad placed his hands casually in his pockets. “I simply wish to understand. We are talking about sexual arrangement, no? Did you want to hide it because you’re running low on funds or because you believe us to be prudes?”
Amisyia’s cough broke off into a strangled laugh, Alice’s shoulders shook and Caleb prayed for a hole to open up and swallow him whole.
“You can’t possibly think your arrangement would shock us. Recently, we’ve begun to—”
“Whoa, whoa, whoa!” Alice cut in, “We are not so committed to this joke that we need to give up details about our sex life.”
“Why don’t we talk in the den?” she continued, motioning at the doorway.
Caleb’s brain was still stuck on the fact that Vlad, who had literally sent him to voicemail because he was too busy breaking somebody’s bones, was joking with him.
“WARNING: butts” — Ferosh, 2020, paraphrased
Gosh, this has been simmering for, how long? Seems like you’ve gotten to the point where individual jokes don’t have to do the heavy lifting and you can rely on characterization and context—or setup—and it is beautiful. There are still fantastic one-liners in every chapter, but now there’s an extra layer of things you have to double-take at, like them gossiping about Amysia only to reveal she’s right there and can hear everything they’re saying, or how Zay-Deeks has any brains left to offer Gwendolyn in the first place. I love this.
Ah, dang, that end scene. It’s perfectly set up so that both sides sound reasonable, even though the reader is more likely to swing one way. Scratch that. If this weren’t a fictional universe, her family would be 100% right. It reminds me of the passage in The Gift of Fear where someone claims there was no way to predict a husband would kill his wife, when the dude in question had a history of stalking, controlling behavior, misogyny, threats, and, oh yeah, his previous wife died from injuries he gave her.
That being said, Mr. Alice Martin’s hypothetical non-toxic parents would warn him the exact same way. “S/he’s a mass murderer” loses its punch when EVERYONE is a mass murderer. But how the heck is Alice going to explain that? And that’s damn funny.
You know my headcanon is that the skeletons are telling shitty Halloween jokes they made up on the spot the whole time Aurelius is fighting them. Speaking of. Thank you for fighting those skeletons, Aurelius! Bam! Emotional labor complete.
And you know how every/almost every shot of Morticia in the recent Addams Family movies has her with a tiny sliver of light over her eyes and the rest of the scene is encapsulated in darkness? Mr. God of Death needs that. Super extra. Now that I think about it, he does have the wings to pull out when he goes full ham.
MVP in this scene, as far as I’m concerned, goes to Valeria for the glorious “mmmmmmno” vibes she’s emanating every second. Glad she’s not my PI because I would die.
Thank you! In a way, the story has become more fun to write because I’m not spending so much time trying to establish who they are or give context. I’m also trying to set up their stories/conflicts for book two while I work towards the finale.
I imagined Deacon like: oh, you don’t like hikers? Wanna try some brains? I know he’s supposed to be the “older brother” but we all know who is really in charge lol.
Ah! Yes, you are so right about Alice’s family. We’ve been in this little bubble with Alice and Vlad, but her family is like: you’ve only been gone for like 6 months, how are you almost married to a warlord and parent of a kid? We know Vlad would never hurt Alice, but nothing about his behavior or actions indicates that to her family.
Oh man, Alice and Vlad and her family is gonna be fun. VALERIA MARTIN DOES NOT TAKE ANY SHIT. She is terrifying. Definitely earns MVP title.
Those skeletons are defintely practicing their comedy set. Haha literally slaying the skeletons in your closet. I didn’t even think of that but now I love it.
I’ve been thinking about a title sequence for the next book and Mr. Alice Martin definitely deserves the Morticia Addams treatment.
OH. Deacon’s brains being the brains that are in his possession that came from other people, not Deacon’s brains being the brains that are purportedly in his head.
Your explanation makes more sense, but I’m going to stick with mine, if that’s okay.
Damn, but I like the idea of Deacon offering the brains in his head. Such a better joke hahahahahahaa
Yay, a reunion of Vlad and Alice with Caleb, and with Amisyia in the mix! And a delightfully hilarious one at that! The first page just had me in stitches. Who would have thought Vlad would be cracking sex jokes at the beginning of this… Also, Caleb squirms so well. It’s almost a skill, haha.
Ooh, sexy bathtime with Morgyn and William, and- oh, that conversation got deep fast, dang. Morgyn does not waste time. And William is actually opening up. Hoo boy. Now excuse my while I swoon for a while 😀
OMG I didn’t think I’d get my wish of Alice’s two families meeting so soon! *squeals* This is fabulous! So much madness, and I’m here for it.
Ahahaha Caleb’s enjoying this payback far too much. But he actually helped. All’s in the open now. I maintain that Alice’s family can handle this. Aww, one big happy family.
Also, can’t believe you cut away from Morgyn and William just as they were about to enter the library, tsk tsk. I guess that means we have that to look forward to in the next chapter, hopefully. Then again, who knows what they’ll find there, so it might be best not to rush towards it, haha.
Vlad making sex jokes is the character coming full circle! He has ascended!! HAHAHA.
God and Caleb is so uncomfortable. This scene was so fun to write. I just wanted to do “Meet the Parents” a million different ways.
And Caleb gets his revenge 🙂
Morgyn came to play this game and to win. They are wearing William down for sure. They are about to be center stage for a little bit, so I’m super excited. Don’t worry, you’ll find out what happens in the library…
You know, they aren’t the only ones due for a visit.
Oh yes, don’t you worry, I have not forgotten about my faves. Even though they’ve sort of been overtaken by Penny on my preferred list now. Damn. City living came with some good premades, apparently. Though who am I kidding, the credit is all yours, I never paid them any mind in my game 😊
Oh gods, that meeting between Alice & co and her family was hilarious 😂 such chaos in one scene, and somehow they made it all out unscathed. Well, almost all of them, but Deacon is a zombie, so he doesn’t really count. Aaaaah all the confusion and Alice reigning in Vlad and Valeria angry at her daughter and gah I loved it. 🤣
I’m really starting to like William and Morgyn together too. It took me a while to warm up to them, but slowly and surely I’m starting to ship it.
“Oh, you are mistaken. I am a siren. Evil mermaid. Friend of the family.”
Oh my gods Caleb, you’re making this so much worse but hilarious at the same time and I’m loving it. “Courted her.” With his finger lifted like that hahaaaa 😂
I wonder if Vlad and Alice even remember their original purpose for the owl. Vlad wanted to get rid of his feelings of morality, and Alice wanted to get rid of her godhood and cast out Ben. So much has happened since then. If they got their hands on it now.. what would they use it for, I wonder?
Man, that’s a mountain of information for her family to swallow. I wonder if they’ll believe her – if they can believe her. Then again, they’ve fought supernatural creatures like a well-oiled machine and seem to be pretty open-minded. Fingers crossed that this giant explosion does not end in a second giant explosion.
Ah squee!!!! This was such a chaotic scene to write but glad you liked it. I was just like: what if this went completely off the rails? Caleb using this exact moment to take Vlad to task? Amisyia chilling, watching them in amused silence except for the occasional one-liner? GAH. so fun. so exhausting to screenshot because anytime you’ve got multiple sims a scene it’s a problem.
WELCOME TO THE WILLIAM AND MORGYN SHIP! THERE IS PLENTY OF ROOM, PLEASE WATCH YOUR STEP WHILE BOARDING THE BOAT!!!!!
You made a really good point about Alice/Vlad and The Owl. So for clarity’s sake, I will say that Gwendolyn is The Owl of Undoing. She is the one that gave Alice her immortality and turning her into The Owl is how Alice/Vlad saved her (there is a very specific reason why Alice is able to do this).
That said: YOUR POINT IS SO GOOD OMFG AND I CAN’T WAIT UNTIL YOU GET TO THE END OF THE STORY (Okay I gotta finish writing the end of the story). But yeah, as far as Alice and Vlad are concerned, The Owl is their kid. And that’s gonna create some problems given that everyone else sees The Owl as a weapon, a tool to be used to achieve their own ends…
dannnnnggggg you are a dangerous reader!