Sunday, September 13, 2015

Chapter 3.14- Painful Reflections

            Dust Ceiling More Often, Mariah made mental notes for herself. Buy Better Tape. Well over half of the balloons she’d taped to the ceiling, one by one, had fallen to the floor. She’d kicked the offending balloons off to the side and hoped the twins would think it was intentional when they looked back at pictures when they were older.
            Vivia could care less right now, at least. She’d spent the entire morning watching Mariah hang the decorations, squealing with delight whenever one of them dropped into her waiting hands. The bright chime of the doorbell claimed her attention now.

            “Da-da-da-da-da-da!” Panted Vivia as she sped to the door.
            Mariah wasn’t nearly as excited. She’d still not gotten used to how cool Roger’s visits were.
            As often as he could slip away he came to play with the kids. Tea parties with Dove and Vivia, cars and trucks with Ceeven, trips to the park or to the farm his mother still kept up were highlights of the kids’ lives the past two years.
            For her, however, these visits were no more than punctures in the idyllic bubble she surrounded her family with.
            But she had no time for such painful reflections now. Now is the time for a party.

SPARKLE SPAM!!! (You know I love you guys, right? :D)
            “Chill, bro. It’s not like I cake blocked you on purpose.”


            “My mom would be there, too,” Roger continued. “So it’s not just one adult with three kids in the wilderness.”
            Roger had followed Mariah into the kitchen for cake. Dove had invited a ‘friend’ from school over who was thoroughly annoying Mariah with his rudeness and she couldn’t sit at the dining table with him, watching him shovel cake then chew with his mouth open, belching loudly. Ugh. Not that she’d expected Roger to follow her in here either.
            “I know there is no formal custody arrangement, but a weekend with my own kids should be my right. You know I’ll take good care of them. I have good tents and sleeping bags. There will be plenty of food, we’re not foraging or anything.”

            Closing her eyes, Mariah tried to focus on his words instead of her rising panic.
            He wasn’t asking to see them every other day. He wasn’t even asking for every weekend. It’s camping. Roger was a great woodsman- In His Own Head! He had lots of experience with weekends outdoors- With His Dad in Charge! His Dad’s Dead! Sally would be there- Sally Was Scatterbrained! It was only a few miles out of town- With Limited Cell Service! Out of SCREAMING Distance Even! What if Someone Gets Hurt?!

            “Okay,” Mariah said, nodding once, sharply.
            Offended when he didn’t immediately answer, Mariah was ready to change her answer when he pushed his plate away from him and turned to beam at her.
            “Thanks, ‘Riah,” he grinned and her heart skipped.
            Stunned that he’d used his old familiar nickname for her, Mariah was glued to her chair trying to figure out what it might have meant as put his dishes into the sink.
            “I’ll pick them up bright and early Friday then,” he said before hugging the kids goodnight.
            At least she had three days to think about how wonderful it was to hear ‘Riah’ again before seeing him one more time.

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            “Mariah! What have you been feeding Ceeven? He’s almost as tall as Pat!” Tibi squealed, running in to hug her baby sister.
            “Where is Pat?” Mariah looked around on the floor, as if her nephew might be crawling around somewhere she couldn’t see.
            “Not there,” Tibi chuckled. “Vivia caught us as we came in and insisted he go play tag with them all.”
            “Aw, I wanted to see him.”
            “Well, he is here. You’ll see him soon I’m sure. So tell me,” Tibi got serious. “Have you gotten any letters from the grave from Abuella?”

            “Letters… From the grave… From Abuella Sabria…” Mariah repeated slowly, Tibi nodding.
            “Yeah, I know that sounds crazy but, we’ve found two now. Both of them about the house and something that’s needed attention. Since I inherited the house and you got the Institute I figured you must be finding letters about the Institute also.”
            The Institute Tibi referred to was the Appaloosa Plains Spiritualist Institute their grandmother had founded. It was originally just the building where her clients came for a reading, but she’d added a school for psychics and mediums, spiritualists and other fakers later on. The town wasn’t entirely sure if it was supposed to be proud of such a landmark place or ashamed that their current reputation in the West was for churning out a long line of quack tarot card readers. And Abuella Sabria had thought it fitting to leave it to Mariah in her will.

            “You’ve found?”
            Looking annoyed, Tibi punched Mariah in the shoulder.
            “Ow! What was that for?”
            “For acting like such an idiot, of course!” Tibi frowned. “You know Abuella was psychic! She might not have been the happiest person after Papi died, but that’s no reason to act like that.
            And of course, found. How could she have mailed them?
            Anyway, there was a loose floor board in the dining room. Pat tripped over it and it came up. There was a letter underneath telling us the floor was warping because the foundation had shifted and needed repair. Another one was on a shelf of one of the closets. That one told us there was a leak in the attic. They’ve each got two dates on them. One for when they were written and one for the month we found them. It’s so cool!”

            “Well, no,” Mariah felt a little ashamed. She’d had precious little to do with the Institute over the years. “I haven’t found any letters. But I don’t really go up to the Institute much. Or at all.”
            “Why Not?!?” Tibi punched her in the other shoulder.
            Not feeling a reply was necessary, Mariah contented herself with scowling at her sister while massaging what she was sure was a blooming bruise.
            “Your kids are about to be in school all the time,” Not that Tibi waited for an answer. “You don’t do anything with your time but clean. And trust me, your house is plenty clean.”

            Seeing Mariah still unconvinced, Tibi plowed on. “I don’t know how much Layla left you, but after all you’ve done to the house, I’m sure it’s not nearly as much as it once was. And with three growing kids? Pat and Lee cost us a fortune in food, clothes and shoes! I can’t imagine having another one to pay for! If Abuella’d left it to me I’d be up there every day making sure it’s making me a buttload!”
            Tibi had hit her secret sore point, and Mariah scrambled to put on a poker face. Of course funds were short. And all three kids would be in school next week so it wouldn’t be like she’d have to pay for daycare or a babysitter. All recent correspondence with the Directress had been a plea for money. Why couldn’t she go up there and make the Institute make ends meet for her? And if that didn’t work, might as well put on the old ‘act’ and pretend she was psychic too. A paycheck is a paycheck.
            Finally, she met Tibi’s eye again.
            “There it is,” smirked Tibi. “I knew you’d see it my way. And I want to hear about all the letters you find.”

-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --

            The first Friday of fall had arrived. At seven A.M sharp Roger had arrived to whisk her kids away for a camping trip. His smile accompanied a jerk in her stomach. She’d not forgotten his recent thaw. Nor had she forgotten how wonderful he was.
            But the moment they’d left she’d raced inside to shower and dress before finding herself standing all too soon in front of the legacy her Abuella had left her. The Institute. An entirely different jerk in her stomach reminded her that standing out here did nothing for her dwindling savings and she stepped forward.

            “Finally. Ten minutes later and the entire place might have gone up in flames. Everyone panicking, thinking she might have been wrong about something... anything.” the woman behind the desk scoffed, though she was visibly relieved as she came around the desk to take Mariah’s hands. “It would have ruined our reputation if such a thing had happened... and gotten out. But no matter. You’re here, darling. You’re here. And you’re going to make us famous.”
            Mariah fixed a grin on her face, hoping her bemusement wasn’t showing as she tugged her hands out of the strangers grasp. “I’m sorry,” she said. “People don’t touch me. I don’t touch people. No- No offence. Prophecy? My grandmother made a prophecy about me? And you... you are... hang on.”
            Trying to shake off being so horribly wrong footed she pulled up mental note after mental note from the paper work about the Institute. This must be the lady who’d been managing... Del... Della? Daphne? Delphine.
            “You are Delphine.”
            “Yes, Mariah.” She leaned in conspiratorially, too close for Mariah’s tastes. “You really will be a wonderful asset.”

            Mariah chuckled, ducking her head, feigning a modesty she neither knew nor felt.
            It had been so long since she’d had pretended being psychic she’d almost forgotten how easy it was sometimes. People had short memories. Mariah might have mostly ignored her inheritance, but she’d usually attended the annual meetings. As Directress, Delphine’s name was always brought up. Especially in light of the shortage of funds lately.
            “Oh, there’s no need to be shy about it. You’ll love it here, darling. We all know the burden of the inner eye. Hold your head up. Be proud of it! In fact, I can show you so much more to be proud of. We’ve worked hard to uphold your grandmother’s traditions here. Safeguarding her papers and prophecies, carrying on her legacy. This building, even. Sabria had very strict standards for how it ought to look. We recently had the entire lobby redone to update and modernize. Come this way.”

            Stepping through a set of double doors, Mariah snorted.
            “I'm sorry, darling. Did you say something?” Delphine half turned .
            “No. No. I didn’t say anything,” Mariah said aloud. Just give me a wand and teach me Flagrante and I'll be Hermione for Halloween! HAHAHAHA!!

            This is the Camera. I know this room is a little daunting for first-timers, but you’ll soon know your way around it. Your grandmother designed it as a portal; a place to pass from coldness to warmth, to get your bearings and check your compass- quite literally, darling. Bathrooms are the South West and North Eastern doors. Classrooms are West, North West and South East. The Eastern door leads to the meditation garden. We’ll go North. The North doors lead us to reading rooms, as well as stairways to the offices.”
            Mouth open, Mariah shot her side-eye. Seriously? She needed a compass to navigate the building? She couldn’t wait to tell Ro- ... *ahem

            “Anyone wanting to work here as a psychic was required to take tarot lessons from your grandmother before they were granted a position. And then only the best were accepted here. We’ve continued that tradition and added extra tarot meditation classes to refine our skills and abilities. So despite our warning about the magnitude of your gift, we’d still like for you to attend tarot classes before we assign you a reading room, darling.”
            Mariah nodded sagely. Whatever they wanted. ‘Magnitude of her gift.’ *snort
            An open door ahead allowed the *rrrrrrrrripp *rrrrrrrrip sound of someone shuffling cards to filter to them.
            “Delphine?” The voice that floated toward them was low and melodic.
            She smiled and looked down as though embarrassed.
            “Ah. That will be Christie. You should meet her.”

            The woman behind the desk didn’t stop her endless shuffling of cards as they entered. Up and over, around and around. Mariah’s jaw dropped as she watched the show. This woman wasn’t just shuffling the cards. She made them dance and fly in her fingers.
            “As I’m sure you've noticed, Christie, darling,” Delphine began, “Mariah has arrived!”
            For several long moments, Christie didn’t move. Then, at last, the corners of her mouth inched upward fractionally. With a long, lazy blink she finally looked at Mariah.

            “My greetings to you.”
            The sneer behind the words made Mariah’s blood boil.
            “Would you indulge me?”
            Still the cards flashed and continued their endless rearranging.
            Bringing her chin up, Mariah curled her own lip with a brief nod.

            Before she could see how, the cards were laid in front of her, a perfect ribbon of eyes staring unfixed.
            Christie sat back in the chair, her gaze unwavering.
            “Choose your card,” she lilted, her hand lightly sweeping through the air.
            Her gesture was as elegant as her voice and Mariah had to fight back a frown. How could a woman so sloppily dressed have such a voice? Such grace?
            Barely had she formed her thoughts than Delphine’s muttered ‘Showoff’ gave a clearer picture.
            Carelessly glancing over the cards she chose one, placing a finger on it.
            “You can turn it over.”

            Mariah nearly lost the card trying to give a graceful flourish as she flipped it over. Blushing, she looked at it. The card was... weird looking. Not what she was expecting. Where was the stained glass looking picture? 

            “The priestess!” Delphine exclaimed.
            Mariah looked up to see Christie looking at her in puzzlement. At least she wasn’t the only one in the room confused.
            “Well! That’s certainly enlightening. We’ll leave you to your meditations, Christie, darling. I’ve got the letter set aside and I’m dying for her to read it. Come on, Mariah.”

            Delphine chattered contentedly, endlessly, as they passed by more reading rooms, up a flight of stairs and down more corridors with yet more doors.
            The farther in she was taken, the more Mariah felt lost. At this rate she really needed some of these rooms to have signs on them or she’d never know her way around.
            “This is my office,” Delphine explained as they neared the end of yet another hall of doors. “Inside, on the table by the window is a letter your grandmother left for you. She dated and timestamped the envelope even. We all joked that we had our very own Forward to the Past letter to deliver. It seemed too good to be true. But here you are. We have much to discuss, but I’d let you read the letter in private first. I’ll be down the hall whenever you’re ready.”

            The letter was right where Delphine said it would be. The decade old glue of the envelope was flaked and cracked, disclosing its contents with ease.
            Sighing at the thought of how much she hated Abuella Sabria, Mariah threw herself into the wicker chair thoroughly prepared to be insulted.

My Dearest Mariah,
            Don’t fool yourself. That heading is for those who will be seeing the top fold of this. However, I’m sure even you already knew that. If you’re reading this, you’ve followed your path to the letter haven’t you, my little liar? How many more people will you lie to before this finally ends? Too many. But you will make my Institute famous, no matter what happens to you in the end. And so I shall end this with a final warning you’ll ignore. Change. Now. Stop the lying. Stop the deceit. For the sorrow you sow now, your children will reap tenfold.
            And tell Del there’s a leak in the South West bathrooms.
            And listen to Ceeven about Poppy please. He doesn’t need more grief from you than you’re already going to give him.

            Liar. All she’d ever heard from Abuella Sabria was “Liar.” She didn’t lie as a child. Unless she wanted to scare people into leaving her alone. It never merited the antagonism she’d received at the hands of her grandmother. And now? What was she lying about now? Well... She was going to be lying if she intended to make up visions and predictions to earn a little bit of money.
            Who was Poppy? Ceeven was barely babbling. There was no Poppy. His creepy little doll was Poppet. Or Puppet. She wasn’t entirely sure. Baby babble was baby babble. Babble. Like the letter. Stupid letter.
            Mariah let it flutter to the floor with a sigh.

            The mention of her children reaping what she’d sown ate at her. Her children were her darlings. They were perfect! And she would make sure everything was smooth and easy for them. No bullies at school bothered her darling without Mariah making sure the child was punished. She helped Dove do her homework when Dove wanted to do it. She’d made Dove’s week last May by taking her Charles C. Cheddar’s kiddie casino instead of going to school when a substitute teacher was in class. Her children would take nothing from her but happy memories.
            And Charles C. Cheddar’s had eaten away the little bit she’d had squirreled away. If Sabria wanted happy great grandkids, she never would have left her that letter. She should know that money makes the world go round. And right now, Mariah needed to lie her way into a little more money.
            But wouldn’t she just be affirming Abuella Sabria if she did this?
            Glancing at the table she had a flash of inspiration.
            Grabbing the deck of tarot cards she clumsily shuffled them, finally pulling out a card from the middle.

            Great. Another picture she didn’t understand. But she’d learn it. She’d learn it and fool them all.

-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --

            “And the fish went flopping around all over the ground and slapped up against Dove’s leg and got her socks all slimy and then she screamed, but I didn’t scream ‘cause I wasn’t scared. It’s just a fish. Fish aren’t scary. They’re kinda gross though. I mean, they really really stink. Even the water smelled like the fish and then they eat worms. EW! Worms! But Daddy made us each put a worm on a hook. Ceeven couldn’t do his and I hadda do it for him because he didn’t wanna hurt it, but it’s just a worm. It don’t feel nothin’. Dove did do her worm but she wouldn’t do the fish when it ate her worm. And we ate the fish for dinner one night and I wanted to know if that means I ate a worm. Daddy says-”
            Vivia danced around on the spot, talking a mile a minute. Obviously at least one of her kids had a grand time with their grandmother Sally and their dad camping.

            “Bye, Dovey! Love ya, honey!” Mariah heard Roger call before speeding off in his bug. Watching her oldest trudge past she wondered if she was going to miss Roger that much.
            “Dove?” Mariah called, and received no answer.
            “But the skunk stayed way far away which is good because I don’t like tomatoes and Gramma said I’d have to take a bath in tomato juice if I got too close and scared it. But the porcupine-”
            “-let us get way close to it which Daddy said was really rare because porcupines are super shy. But he didn’t wanna let me try to touch it. I tried to anyway but it did this thing where it sounded like it growled and then it puffed all up and all its fur went stickin’ up and Daddy grabbed-”
            “-me and made us run. Ceeven didn’t run though. He wanted to see if he-“

            “Do you know what’s wrong with Dove?”
            Vivia gaped at her.
            Almost missing it as it was so gentle, Ceeven tugged at her sash.
            “Kelly?” his question was almost as soft as his touch.
            “Kelly?” she repeated, looking from one twin to the other.
            Vivia closed her mouth and looked thoughtful.
            Sighing in frustration she rephrased her question louder.
            “Who is Kelly?”

            A cry rent the air making even Vivia jump.
            “Kelly is Dad’s new girlfriend and I HAAAAAATE HEEEEERRRR!!! AAAARRRRRGGGHHH!” Dove screamed, throwing her backpack aside and bolting into the house.
            Mariah felt as though shed been punched in the stomach. Roger had a girlfriend? Who went on camping trips with him? And his mom and his kids?? Without her knowing?!? Without… her??

            Another gentle tug on her waistband.
            “Kelly,” Ceeven repeated himself, nodding slowly.
            “Yeah, Dove really didn’t like Kelly. Kelly helped with the porcupine and was the one who got Ceeven out of the way since he just stood there when dad told him to back away before it charged. I didn’t know porcupine’s would charge. I thought that was supposed to be a bull when there’s a red flag. And Ceeven wasn’t wearing red so no bull would charge at-”
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --

Roll reveal!
Career is: Psychic- Con Artist Branch
Not like that’s a surprise.

The Charles C. Cheddar’s is a reference to Chuck E. Cheese’s. A place American over indulgent parents take their hyper children to teach them the joys of gambling and gluttony via pizza and coin gaming. I hate that place. lol.
For the young-uns and unenlightened? Forward to the Past is another joke, in particular referencing Part II and III. As for the priestess and the last drawn card? Well... I'll let you decide. ;)   FOR THE RECORD: The meanings of the cards aren't really important right now. If you don't know them, don't want to look them up, it's okay. I'll explain The High Priestess when it's time. The second is The Fool. Because Mariah is about to do something not entirely... wise.


  1. Ah, always listen to Abuella Sabria, Mariah!

    The Fool has always been one of my favorite of the Major Arcana. And perfect for Mariah at this point, as she's starting off on a new journey. =)

    So, Roger has a new girlfriend, huh? I'd say 'poor Mariah' but she did kind put herself in this position of her own free will.

    1. Oh yes! Abuella Sabria knew. Unfortunately, Mariah isn't going to listen to gloom and doom from her, beyond the grave or no.

      I will admit that I have quite a soft spot for The Fool too. Though I think Justice is my favorite. <3 Oh, those cards were chosen very carefully. Very very carefully. I changed the card Mariah chose for Christie about 3 times trying to refine just what her query was and exactly where this is headed. But her choosing The Fool in the end was a constant. More than just the new beginning, the headstrong heedlessness of what she's about to do. lol

      Yeee-up. I'm not sure if Kelly will be around too long, but no matter if she does or doesn't he's moved on. Mariah shattered any illusions he cherished regarding who, and what, she is with her rejection. He was always too good for her. He deserves happiness. And Mariah needs to see that she's not first in his life.

  2. The Devil was my personal favourite for all the different meanings it held.

    I'm actually REALLY happy Roger has a new girlfriend, and its sweet that she was protecting Ceeven. I hope she makes Roger really happy, and that she's everything he ever wanted in Mariah. Because considering how she reacted to Abuella Sabria's letter, she'll never be the girl he needs.

    1. I did a focused reading where I pulled The Devil, The Fool and The Tower. One of the most insightful readings I've ever managed to eke out. So.Much.Info! So many different ways to look at the situation with The Devil in there. I still meditate on that one. lol

      Right now, Kelly is opening Roger's eyes in so many ways. He's tremendously happy. She's not his ideal, but his idea of the ideal (I need a new word, lol) is shifting and changing. One of the biggest changes is he's seeing that he didn't deserve the third class treatment Mariah dished out toward him. He's no one to settle for. That's Kelly's biggest contribution to date. It makes me happy to make him happy like that too. :D

      Mariah has a lot of growing up to do still. Lots of hurts that she still holds far too personally have got to be let go of before she could even be a good *friend* to anyone. And she's going to have an opportunity to see what her lies have already led to very soon. It'll be a wake up call. Too bad she didn't get it here. Her loss.

    2. Is it going to have anything to do with Dove and her genetic donor?

    3. ..
      It will, but probably not in any way that resolves anything... yet.

  3. I'm intrigued by the fact Mariah got the fool card, because it has the meaning of new beginning mixed with the High Priestess... Is Mariah psychic after all? Her cards seem to be perfectly pointing that way (just for the record. Orcale cards> Tarot in my opinion. Not as much learning and it's more open for interpretation, unlike tarots).

    Oh 'Riah. When you let a pretty much perfect guy go, someone else is going to realise that he's perfect. *cough*arerogerandkellygoingtobethe'main*cough*people'whenyoumentionedthatyou*cough*neededachurchforacert*cough*ainthing~thatthoughtcametomeinREwhenyoumentionedthatyouwouldneedachurch*cough* Goodness, what a bad cough ;)

    Poor Dove <3 (too many heart thingies)

    The letters from Aubella Sabria are kinda creepy, but who is Poppy? Why will Mariah dislike her? What actions will Mariah do that will cause her children trouble? Too many questions, sheesh Sabria. Don't tell half the story.

    1. Woah, blogger just got rid of par of my comment! (just ignore the poor Dove bit with the heart, that was supposed to be a broken heart but I guess blogger just isn't having it today)

    2. Damn you blogger!! *shakes fist at broken malfunctioning site

      Ah! But she pulled two cards for two different queries. I haven't revealed Christie's query. Yet. ;) And since it's Christie's query is The Priestess reversed??? lol. Now I'm just messing with you. Sorry. I will say I'm using a slightly deeper, more obscure meaning for this card other than what Delphine implied it meant (And which you hit on the head. Delphine did indeed take it to mean that Mariah is Psychic.)
      No, Mariah isn't psychic. In fact she has the Supernatural Skeptic trait, even. lol. Abuella Sabria did say she'd make the Institute famous though. So there *is* that. ;)

      Aw. I love my cards! I love all the different ways they can be interpreted and all the hidden things they reveal. ;)

      *cough* nope *cough* xD This is only chapter 10! There's meat still coming up in the story! In fact, Next chapter is the final set up before I can start letting Mariah learn her lessons. Or pay for her sins, whichever. >:D Just you wait and see. ;)

      Yes, poor Dove. She remembers Roger and Mariah together and wants that back so badly. That's tough on some kids. Ceeven is pretty laid back and is okay with her so long as Vivia is okay with her and Vivia is Vivia and probably never let the poor woman get a word in edgewise that whole weekend. lol

      LOL! Yes, they are. Why would she sit there and focus so hard on her granddaughters she'd know when there's a leaky faucet after she's dead? But Sabria knew when bad things were coming.

      Poppy... I think we'll get our first mention of her... chapter after next? Should be. We'll find out in time who she is, but the letter didn't say Mariah was going to dislike Poppy. Only that Mariah had the potential to cause Ceeven *more* grief by not *listening* to him about Poppy.

      Oh, Mariah has already done things that are hurting her kids. She's just not finished. Not by a long shot. At least current plans are that Generation 4 is going to learn from her mistakes. If that's anything. Ha!

  4. Oh how I've missed Mariah!

    "Dust Ceiling More Often, Mariah made mental notes for herself. Buy Better Tape." - That's a LOT of balloons. I really like the way they look on the floor though. And who dusts their ceiling anyway? :P

    The Quack Center is very beautiful. ;) And I even saw my own CC flash by, yay! *does a little dance* Other than that, I'm confused since I never caught up on the previous generations, so Abuella Sabria is a new person to me. I probably should catch up then. *kicks own butt* She doesn't sound very nice! I tried learning tarot in my teens but I lost interest, so now the cards are merely pretty to me. But I guess The Fool is a wildcard, pretty much like the Joker in regular cards? I guess I will have to wait and see.

    Vivia is quite the chatterbox. Ceeven looks so much like Roger! Such a pretty little boy. And Dove, was she hotheaded by any chance? Grumpy maybe? I don't remember. Porcupines are so cool, I would be so excited if I got to see one as a little kid. Actually I would be pretty excited now as well!

    Thank you for explaining Charles C. Cheddar’s! I had no idea such a place existed.

    I'm really excited to see how a supernatural skeptic will do in the psychic profession. This should be fun! Or potentially a disaster..

    1. Yup! Tons of balloons! Mariah's 'parties' for her kids are slowly escalating in intensity, even though she freaks out when strangers are invited to the lot (That random kid Dove brought home is actually her one friend, Gordon. He comes home with her every day or I wouldn't have him there. lol) I dust my ceiling. lol. I'm terrified there are the beginnings of cobwebs where I can't see. Haha.

      Thank you! I didn't want a 'gypsy wagon' trope since Sabria took her abilities very seriously and felt such trappings demeaned her gift. (Sabria: That explains a lot about... a lot. lol Aaaand... You don't need to read all of it, maybe the first 5 or 6 pics. That ought to clear up the relationship between her and Mariah.) And thank YOU for such lovely paintings to put put on my simmies walls. <3 Believe it or not, wildcard would be the right word, but not quite the right concept. Uh... The Fool is the beginning of the journey through the major arcana, and happens to also be a person starting out foolishly, heedlessly on a journey. They've packed a very small pack for such a long way to go and left things undone when they began. But they have begun. (Very very broad meaning.) Really, the meaning behind The High Priestess isn't important here yet. And when it does, I will be sure to explain it in story. However, the broad meaning does usually include Higher Intuition, or Spiritual Knowledge. Delphine is assuming Christie wanted to know if Mariah really was psychic and that card confirmed she was. I am NOT using that meaning here. That wasn't Christie's question. We'll find out just what it was at the right time in the story.I hope that helps a little. Sorry!

      Lol. Vivia is excited. She's not used to being away from Mariah for such a long time and she wanted to tell her everything. She won't be a chatterbox all the time. :D Ceeven is so handsome. <3 He's going to be my heartbreaker. Ah! I haven't revealed the traits for the kids just yet. I want to wait a bit before I do. However, that scene was entirely posed. I used the HotHeaded Trait animation and pulled those poses from it.
      ITA! I'd love to see a porcupine in the wild! That would be so cool. lol.

      It's an evil evil place. Eeeeevvvvviiillll.

      Let's hope fun. Ha! I've never played through the psychic career, much less the con artist branch of it. (As it was, I feel bad making my character do something I'd find totally despicable. lol) Though with Mariah's rolls, I'm predicting it's all going to blow up in her face. HA!

  5. It's probably a bit bad that Mariahs thoughts about dusting the ceiling made me take an unfortunate look on my own.

    The whole Abuella letter thing was really interesting, and fun. Makes me wonder if there are letters hidden around Mariahs house. Probably not though, since she's so tidy and all. But what is all this that Abuella writes about? Will it be a sad next generation because of Mariahs choices? Interesting cards, atleast from what I can see they can be both pretty spot on in several ways, but that's kind of the point with tarot to after all; supposed to be open for interpretation. But I do want to know more about this Christie? Is she an important character, or doesn't she like outsiders?

    Ouch Kelly. That was a bad one, especially Roger throwing his kids together with her for a full week as a first introduction. Tsk tsk Roger.... I was wondering why he seemed so happy. But atleast he goes against the stream of many dads that gets a new girlfriend; spends more time with them instead of the kids... Ehm.. or so I've heard. Poor Mariah though. Hopefully she'll get the quack- factory up and going.

    Vivia looks like a little woman, and Ceeven seems so sweet so far. I'm just worried that he'll be a bit "forgotten" by Mariah. Unless she takes the whole curling/bear/hen- mum thing way further than she has already.

    I'm still hoping for Mariah to take a terrible revenge over Andre using her "supernatural" skills ;)

    1. Lol. Each time I read that line my eyes did the same. xD "Are there cobwebs lurking???" O_o

      Not any around Mariah's house. She knew Mariah would most likely have burned them before reading them. lol. Uhm... Next generation will be more mellow, as of right now at least. They'll deserve a break if nothing else. After that, the stories next generation shouldn't be sad or... volatile... at least. The Fool I took at it's most literal. The Priestess will be better understood when Christie reveals, eventually, what her question was. Christie won't be a big character, but since I won't get too much of an opportunity to explain this later I will say this: Delphine was trained by Sabria. Sabria did NOT train Christie and Delphine recognizes that Christie is probably much better attuned than she is and is jealous/ashamed of it. She knows she'll never be the psychic that Christie is and knows that she probably ought to do more to promote her and doesn't because of her jealousy. Christie smells a rat hanging about Mariah, she just doesn't know *how*.

      Well, I do have to say that since he lives in another town, and she lives in that same town, that it's easier for him to see her than it is to see his kids. However, he really wanted her to meet his kids and he does take as much time as he can to be with them.

      Aw, honey. Give Angus a big ole hug from me and his American Girlfriend Emma. <3

      Mariah should have known this day was coming. It's been two years since she turned him down and he ended it all. She might stay at home and stay hung up on him, but he's moving on.

      She's so perty for a child sim. <3 I love my Vivia. and Ceeven is a sweetie. Takes so much after his Daddy. Ah... This is Mariah we're talking about. If it's not all about her, it doesn't exist. The good thing is Ceeven isn't ever going to be forgotten by Vivia or Dove or Roger. Ever. And his outlook on life won't be affected by Mariah too much.

      Lol. Oh, Andre is indeed due for justice. It'll come! xD

  6. I'm really glad that Roger has moved on and hope that whoever he ends up with makes him as happy as he deserves. That said, I do think that he should have brought Kelly up with Mariah beforehand. I mean, the kids are old enough to talk and he'd have to know that they'd tell their mom about the girlfriend. Not only did he not bring it up but he deliberately skirted around it when he mentioned his mom being there. It just seems so underhanded and passive aggressive.

    1. I was hoping someone would pick up on that!!! You get a cookie. Notice he got her permission, shoveled cake and shoved off before she could question him. When he dropped the kids off, he didn't give her any details or 'you should knows,' he dropped them off and drove off. He's not being nearly as forthcoming with Mariah as he would expect her to be. It's 100% passive aggressive. And I'm so glad someone picked up that he's using Kelly to hurt Mariah. Hence why I don't think Kelly is going to be the one to last.

  7. Cake block. xD

    The institute is pretty over-the-top, but that must have been the effect Sabria wanted. I know barely anything about tarot cards, so thank you for explaining about the fool. Very interesting. I hope Mariah at least follows Sabria's advice for Ceeven. Sounds like she might make some quick judgments in the future.

    So pulling her kids out of school and taking them to places like Cheddar's is not unusual for Mariah? I can see how she thinks she's the best mother in the world, but she's really just creating a bubble for herself and the kids. I hope it doesn't harm them irrevocably. (Also, Chuck E. Cheese was awesome as a kid! My parents didn't have much money, so I only went there rarely, but it was so fun! But I don't advocate skipping school for it.)

    I also noticed Roger's slip. That's really sneaky, deliberately not telling Mariah about his girlfriend coming along. Whether or not Mariah would care that he has a girlfriend now, she would be mad that he introduced their kids to someone she doesn't know at all. And I'm wondering if Roger's use of 'Riah is to sort of distance himself, or say that he's moved on and they're just friends.

    1. Congrats on catching up! *confetti!

      I'm so glad someone got that! =D

      Oh yes. Sabria was going for show with the Institute. That and I was having fun with the concept of a 'rabbit hole.' This infinite world contained within a shell. xD I believe Sabria gave that particular advice for several reasons. One of which is that... for once... Mariah might think before acting/speaking. Maybe. lol. She's certainly got a history of snap judgments.

      Yup! Mariah doesn't care much for the institute of 'public education.' Not that she's given a moments thought to any other form of education. And bubble is exactly that. Her hope is for no one to really see *her.* The kids will most likely be alright in the end, but they're going to learn a lot from Mommy's mistakes.

      (We're going to Chuck E Cheese's tomorrow for babygirls birthday. I'm totally the parent spoiling my over indulged child. xD We loved going when we were kids. I had cousins whose parents loved to do parties there.

      Man, it was sneaky on his part. Whether Mariah cares or not is for next chapter. ;) But yes. He used the old familiar nickname for his own ends as well. Certainly not his fault she chose to misinterpret it.

  8. I think I would get lost in that Institute, I am notorious for getting lost in a paperbag, let alone some circular thing with lots of doors... O.o lol
    My kids liked going to Chuck E Cheeses for the games, but the rat scared the heck out of them. Especially this animatronic Chuck E Cheese gang band that started singing this really awful song, my kids would start crying, ha! Trauma at such an early age...ahem. Happy belated birthday your babygirl, I hope she had lots of fun. =)
    I loved the whole scene with the kids coming back from camping with their dad, with Vivia talking a mile a minute, and Ceeven clinging on to his mom, and then poor Dove who is old enough to have a better idea of what is going on. =(
    Looking forward to the next chapter, where Mariah reveals just what she thinks about Roger dating, lol =)

    1. I had a lot of fun playing with the endless world contained inside of some of the EA rabbitholes there. xD Took me two sets to get that looking just right. Ha!

      The animatronic Chuck E Cheese band was totally terrifying. I'm with your kids! Emma Lou had a ton of fun. As did her friend. We just went (again) for my son's birthday and I think my parents had more fun than he did. HA!

      Yup. All three with a different reaction to being away. Vivia is excitable and happy. Dove is all too aware, and Ceeven just wants to know that he's really home again.

      Aaahhh, yeeeah finding out her reaction will be fun. Should be fun. I hope. lol I'm kind of stuck right now trying to figure out exactly how to... show it. =D

  9. Kelly?


    Don't worry Dove, I hate Kelly too. She sounds like a right bitch.

  10. I read this; I got really angry; My dryer beeped; I decided to rotate the laundry before commenting to hopefully cool my temper.

    Didn't work.

    NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO!!!!!!!!!!!
    NO! Roger is supposed to pine for Mariah forever. He's supposed to be understanding and loving and stuff because that's who he is and he knows her more than anyone that she just needs time. But NOooooooooo..... He had to go and fucking assume that she's still in love with Andre. Then he had to get all pissy and shit.

    What really pisses me off:
    THAT is a shitty thing to do. They are HER KIDS TOO and she should've gotten word that he was bringing his girlfriend along. If I were Mariah, I would be EXTREMELY leery of ANYTHING Roger says he wants to do with their kids. Oh, he just "casually" forgot to mention it. Asshole. I want to claw his eyes out and rip out every piercing the hard way. That he "forgot" to mention to Mariah that he was bringing that woman along shows that he is untrustworthy.

    Don't get me wrong; I get it. I get that he has every right to move on with his life, contrary to what I said a minute ago. But that doesn't mean that I want him to. I realize I don't always get what I want.

    Oh, I hope Mariah lays into that sonofa....

    Of course, none of this is directed at you. Good that you can pull this out of me. :)

    1. Teehee! Chapter 3.18 will have a section dedicated directly to that when he asks for time with the kids alone again. Mariah, thankfully, only blows up when she can get away with it. Otherwise she's deadliest when she's quietest. (Gooooooo that did not sound right.) She's most deadly when she's quiet? O_o There. I'll take that. Still sounds awkward.
      He's really really pissy and still very very hurt over his own conjectures and her final rejection of him.

      For the record? I really really want them together too. She needs him in ways she doesn't even understand yet and he needs her to keep an edge and not get too soft. But it wasn't going to work out that way with the story or the rolls. Ah well.

      Oh, no! I get it! It's all good. Honest. I'd rather hear what you really think than what you think I want to hear. I can't be a better writer if I don't know. So thanks!

    2. I am salivating with anticipation.
      Yes, that really does look that weird.
      I CAN'T WAIT.
      I'm also deadliest when quietest. Hm. I am at my deadliest when I'm most quiet. Bah.

      Oh, and in reference to the ADHD thing: They first told me it was just ADD, but when I got evaluated for extra time to take my Regent's exam in college (I failed it twice... But that was before I took writing as seriously as I do now. I had to take that remedial course...and THAT is what turned me into a grammar freak. Funny how stuff happens.), the lady said I was hyperactive but was very good at controlling it. She said I was calm, but I hadn't sat still the entire time. Then's true that people should NEVER hand me a clicky pen. (Autocorrect tried to make it a colicky pen. Hahaha!)
      Not saying you're the same. It just made me remember that.

    3. Yeah! It's weird trying to get that phrase to come out sounding right. So odd.

      Aaaah. Huh. I wonder if I've gone that way as I've gotten older. There's no way I could sit in a desk chair. I have an exer-ball that I bounce on all day long. I don't even think about it but it drives the kids crazy when they come in here.

      *snort. A colicky pen. I do believe I've used one or two of those before. Ha!

  11. All those balloons at the birthday party looked amazing! And wow, the institute! Such a cool idea, first of all, and then it looked really neat too. Delphine the oracle, lol.

    I'm still so curious about Dove...

    1. Re Delphine the oracle: SOMEONE GOT IT!!! YAY!!! You get a cookie. =D That made my day! Thank you on the balloons, too! Yes! A true Rabbit Hole. lol. I mean, sims go into them for hours and have all kinds of adventures and gain promotions, so... Of course it's huge and twisty and wind-ey inside a tiny building. lol.

      I'm sorry I can't satisfy that yet! ='(

    2. Yay, I love cookies! And I'm glad I could make your day :D It's a really fun detail and made me chuckle :)

      All these objects and sets you make are amazing, really. You have my greatest respect for putting so much love into every single scene!

    3. I'm just glad someone got it. I thought I'd went to far. lol. Happy to give a chuckle! :D

      Aw! Thank you!