Thursday, July 15, 2010

Blog Only! One-Shot -- Network Universe -- "The Sisterhood"

So, this takes place sometime after The Chaos Child (spoilers, beware!) and after Imperfection's Glory. Just a short piece.

"I am so, so sorry."

Viola tore her eyes away from the scene a few feet away and patted new her friend's twisting hands sympathetically. A particularly loud crash and familiar voices shouting out streams of expletives had both women wincing. "I keep telling you not to worry about it, Celia. Besides, if anything, I should be the one apologizing. It's my demon-dar that went off two blocks from the restaurant."

"Oh, please." Celia's nose wrinkled. "Like we wouldn't have gotten the call about it anyway. I suppose I should be thankful that it happened before dinner. Calls like that always come during -."

"Dessert," both women finished in unison. They shared an eye roll and giggled.

Viola was glad she'd met Celia Buckley, the New England Region Director's girlfriend. It was nice having someone who understood what it was like to have plans ruined by demons. She glanced down at her watch and frowned. "Do you think we're going to miss our reservation?"

Celia went still as she checked the timelines. "Not if your husband...," she broke off to shove Viola's head down seconds before a metal garbage can lid flew through the air. "Yes, yes we are going to miss our reservation."

While Celia dug her cell phone out of her purse, Viola hopped over the short wall they'd been sitting on to retrieve the lid. After calling out Duke's name, she tossed it to him as if it were a Frisbee. She tried to use their link to ask if he needed any help, but he shut her out before she could form the question. Furious and hungry, she crossed her arms over her chest and rejoined her friend.

Celia bit back a sigh as the restaurant put her on hold. If the Buckley and Whittier names weren't enough to get the stuffy man to cut her some slack, she was going to have to resort to bribery or threats. It made her jealous of Jeremy's influence over people. If he was on the phone, the droll Mr. Baines would have been tripping over himself to accommodate them. Then again, if Jeremy had been free enough to be on the phone, there wouldn't be a reason to change their reservations.

Fortunately, the Buckley name, and sympathy over her brother's recent death, were enough to get their reservation bumped back thirty minutes. That gave the boys twenty minutes to take care of the rampaging D'vork and ten minutes to get cleaned up. Celia snapped her phone closed and shoved it into her small evening bag. She smoothed the knee-length pleated skirt of her grape sateen dress. The '50s style dress was perfect for a night out with friends but not a night with demons.

"I love your shoes," Viola remarked, eyes on Celia's sparkly silver platform sling-back sandals. Her own black-and-rhinestone ballet flats looked dull in comparison. Even though the short, black sheath dress was one of her favorites, and Duke's if the glimmer in his eye meant what she thought it did, she felt frumpy seated next to fashion-plate Celia.

"Thanks. Wish I could pull off your look. That dress is amazing." Celia fingered one of the ruffles along the hem of Viola's dress. After three weeks of wearing nothing but black, she'd opted for a bit of color to cheer herself up. Was it too soon, though? Would people think her tacky or disrespectful of her brother's memory? "I can't wear flats with evening wear. I end up looking like a little girl caught playing dress-up. Not the look I want to go with in a room full of gold-digging sharks after my Jay."

Petite by modern standards but inches taller than Celia, Viola understood completely. Luckily, her job allowed her to dress casually and back home in Houston she and Duke weren't social butterflies. She'd go crazy if she had to wear heels or fancy dresses more than a couple of times a year. "I know I'm sidelined because of the spawn," she patted her slightly rounded stomach lovingly, "but why'd Jeremy bench you?"

"Oh, he does this all the time. He thinks that being chivalrous and acting like a superhero is going to help him get lucky at the end of the night."

"Does it work?"

"Not if I pass out from starvation first!" Celia snapped loud enough for Jeremy to hear. Her eyes narrowed when he impulsively tried to tackle the D'vork and ended up being thrown against a brick wall. She could already picture tiny rips and tears in the fine fabric. "I told him to take that jacket off. He's going to ruin it."

"Is that why you packed an extra in the car?"

"Of course. I never go anywhere without a spare set of clothes for Jeremy. Honestly, sometimes it's like having a three-year old."

Viola chuckled. Duke was the same way. He couldn't go a rotation without ruining a pair of jeans or a shirt. "You mean he doesn't listen to you when tell him you've seen him tear up his clothes?"

"He swears that the timelines don't cover fashion issues," Celia huffed. Sometimes she used the timelines for fashion issues. With the sometimes unpredictable weather in Baltimore, it was a necessity. "He can be such a... guy... sometimes."

Viola didn't need premonitions to predict that a night in the guest room was in Jeremy's future. Ripping a pair of old jeans or a t-shirt like Duke often did was one thing. Ruining what looked like a very expensive tailored suit jacket was a hundred times worse. She couldn't blame Celia for being miffed.

Viola's stomach rumbled to remind her that all she'd had for lunch was a salad and that had been hours earlier. Feeling out Duke through the link only told her that it was still on lock-down. Stupid, overprotective idiot. "Think we should step in to help?"

"Help? Oh, honey, we're taking over." Celia yanked off her shoes and set them on the wall beside her purse. She leaped off the wall and bounced daintily on her bare toes while waiting for Viola. "I'm through watching those two screw around. It's cold, I'm hungry, I’m going to ruin yet another pedicure, and if I end up missing Flavio's tiramisu, I will feed them to a pack of savage Zilas."

"Amen, sister." Viola grinned. She linked her arm with Celia's and marched across the asphalt. "What's the plan?"

Celia paused for a moment to check the possible timelines. "Swing around to the D'vorks left side and distract him. I'll shoot it in the flesh part of its neck with Jeremy's tranq gun. We'll let the boys do the clean up."

"Works for me and, since I'm just the distraction, it should keep Duke from flipping his lid."

Viola watched with amusement as her blonde friend angrily tapped Jeremy on the shoulder. When Jeremy turned around, Celia ripped the gun from his hands. He looked as stunned as Duke had when Viola shoved him out of the way. Oh yeah, she definitely liked spunky, little Celia.

"Tag, boys, you're out. Let the pros handle this one."

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