Coin wrappers near me
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2012.07.28 23:39 Weaselbrott CRH: The World's Largest Coin Roll Hunting Community!
Welcome to the world's largest Coin Roll Hunting community! Come meet other hunters, share your finds, give and get advice, and share in whatever else has to do with the hobby of Coin Roll Hunting (also known as Bank Roll Hunting).
2018.07.07 18:00 earnburn LPC-Official
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2014.01.27 07:17 chrono000 BlackCoin Subreddit
BlackCoin is a digital currency similar to Bitcoin. It is a pure Proof of Stake coin, except stage of initial distribution, when it was mixed PoW and PoS coin. For more info, go to http://blackcoin.org/
2023.03.20 17:17 rosewatercinnamon Just writing out thoughts.
Now that I have the proper diagnosis, I'm looking back at my life and ALL the signs were there. Nobody I knew was educated enough on mental illness to realize something was wrong, and obviously that isn't their fault, but it would've saved me a lot of trouble if they'd known. A lot about me and my life makes sense now though too.
Reflecting on the time I got put on prozac, I really thought I was fine. I thought I was depressed. I had gotten out of an abusive relationship and I had all the symptoms of depression. When I got on prozac, I didn't have those symptoms as bad anymore, so I thought "Hey, it's working." When I got diagnosed bipolar, I thought "Nah, I didn't get fully manic. Maybe it just didn't have the same effect on me."
Um... But yeah, I was hella manic. I quit school on a whim, quit my job, made my poor girlfriend at the time miserable with my anger and irritability. I broke up and got back together with her 3-4 times. I've never been the type to do that. I fucked up and we ended up breaking up for good near the end of this episode. I opened up and maxed out 4 credit cards even though we didn't have the money for the payments. I said things I cringe at now without even thinking about it. I talked people's ears off. I was so impulsive. I ran most of the people in my life off by "telling it like it is." I was obviously just being an asshole, but didn't even realize how I was sounding. I had hypersexuality for sure. I nearly got fired from the new job for being so irritable. I was like this for a full year until the prescription ran out.
It lasted that long because I was in a weird situation. I was in college 8 hours away from any family. I'd been living with 3 of my friends, but they had all graduated and moved away right before. My girlfriend was long distance at first, and the relationship was only a couple months old when we moved in together, so she had no idea what I was like before getting on prozac. Nobody around me knew me before the prozac, so I didn't have anyone to say "Hey, that's not right, maybe see a doctor about that."
When it finally ran out, I remember just laying in my (new) girlfriend's bed thinking how I felt like I could relax for the first time in a long time. I thought it was because I'd finally gotten out of my bumpy last relationship (which I now realize was my fault), and was not in school and at a different job that wasn't so hostile. I thought it was all circumstantial. I realize now that it was because I wasn't fucking manic anymore. My brain could finally relax for the first time in a year.
Just weird now, at 28, to look back at my life and think how different it could've been if I'd just known what I know now.
submitted by rosewatercinnamon
to bipolar2 [link] [comments]
2023.03.20 17:15 mattman840 Frustrating Gmail notification error over multiple devices
This problem is driving me up a wall, and I can't seem to figure it out.
Whenever I get an email, the pop up notifications appear out of order. This issue actually happened on my S10+ after a software update and somehow carried over to my 23U.
Here's what happens - first email comes thru and the notification pops up showing email 1. The next email i get, the pop-up displays the info for email 1, even though it's really email 2. The 3rd email I get will pop up and display the info for email 2. That cycle continues where it only displays the info for the previous message and not the one that just came in.
I've done everything I can think of - force stop, clear data, uninstall updates (since it's a default app I can't uninstall completely), flashed the software back to default and reinstalled my backup (with the exception of apps and home screen). I even went to the Samsung experience store near me, and while the guy was nice, he basically said "well, I can flash the software for you..." and didn't really spend much time trying to troubleshoot it.
How do I fix this error? It's driving me insane and has been going on for way too long over the course of multiple devices... this is frustrating enough that I've actually considered going to apple and after years of supporting Samsung to all my family and friends.
Anyone have any ideas what to do?
submitted by mattman840
to GalaxyS23Ultra [link] [comments]
2023.03.20 17:14 kiroyapso2 How to prevent "verifying installation" while in a game but in sleep?
Couple times happend to me because once I just put it to sleep since I thought I could just pick it up again the next day where I left of like a switch. Nope, progress lost.
Now sometimes if I put it to sleep just for a short break it does it too, annoying if you have to step away for abit for anything, but nowhere near a save station and your last auto save was 40min ago because of a puzzle you almost beat or if youre traveling and then it shuts off in-between stops
submitted by kiroyapso2
to SteamDeck [link] [comments]
2023.03.20 17:14 W1SHM4ST3R2 Ads disappeared after a purchase
Hi, two days ago I puechased a pack of gems. I was right seeing the option for accelerating a bag. Right after the purchase, accelerate option disappeared and did not show again anymore. The same with free coins when you run out of coins.
Is the second time it happens to me. With other account right after a purchase happened the same and I had to restart with this new account since it's frustrating with tour 6 unlocked playing tour 1-2 matches to win 100-350 coins.
Someone else happened? Could it be restored? I saw other cases and the replies that the server provider ran out of ads and they will appear again soon and that... but it's not the case. I was seeing the option for accelerate a bag and it disappeared instantly after the purchase for not showing again anymore.
submitted by W1SHM4ST3R2
to TennisClash [link] [comments]
2023.03.20 17:11 Geek70 Sanguine Alchemy rework/buff: Please let my guardian SLAY.
Dear Bungie, Once again, I have pulled my Sanguine Alchemy out of the vault for some playtime. Still love it for being able to stylishly shoot enemies in the face from the safety/empowerment of my “eternal” rift.
With this exotic, I love that my guardian slays while slaying. Whoever created the visual design of this exotic, I tip my ghost to you dear person. On that note and before getting into the rest, can you please fully restore the visual on the back part of this equipment? The “blood orb” (I just decided to call it) is almost black. Should it be red?
May we, you and I - Bungie/Community and myself/Community - explore some non-OP ideas to make this exotic more viable in higher level activities?
Clearly, the original utility that was removed isn’t that desirable (marking targets).
Would be more utility for higher level content in maxing out Resilience? Another thought is to buff either Recovery, Discipline or Strength (or maybe two of those at once), while Blood Magic is active? Given that warlocks now have ranged melees for each subclass, a significant buff to powered melee regeneration would be pretty sweet and something warlocks don’t intrinsically possess (unlike the titan hammer and the hunter dodge near enemies) and I realize this might be an issue with strand but with three powered melees you can’t help but have one in the pocket. Maybe refunding a significant amount of class energy based on number of kills (AND cures, so that it has utility when phoenix dive is equipped). Or, going subclass (fragment)-specific, include uptime as well as mobility to the Void Soul, or an additional Void Soul.
I don’t think any of these would be OP (only my opinion), but could be useful in endgame with some innovation on the part of my fellow guardians.
I want to suggest something else that might fit more with the aesthetic of the lore of this exotic, but my imagination fails me in that regard because, when I read it, I can only envision the original added utility (which I think was a bit too PvP-focused and was a main driver for the initial nerf, if not just because of the “orb explosions”).
Thanks for making to the end of my request and suggestions.
submitted by Geek70
to DestinyTheGame [link] [comments]
2023.03.20 17:09 Anon_Crut368 Dragon Scoll Drop Rate ... Dropping?
Hi everyone. I've been F2P for 2 years now - OK with my slow and steady pace. In a medium alliance with some nice people and enjoy the game to play on a casual basis, knowing I will not ever be in the top players.
Recently though it seems nearly impossible to get dragon scrolls out of the B13s and B14s my alliance has the power to defeat. Joining these marches I take Baibars and put my Luck skill book on Nathanael Greene. I feel like I used to get Dragon scrolls regularly (maybe 25% of the time?) on these guys. I'm K30, no where near big enough yet to get the Ares armor (and see slow & steady pace above). Is anyone else experiencing this?
And/or should I
1 - Change how I join these marches (generals/skill books and if so how)?
2 - suck it up and buy Dragon Scrolls with gems at Black Market (trying to get more 50% Black Market items but currently out and it never seems to drop the scrolls I actually need)
3 - Just wait (probably a few years at this pace) until I can do Ares armor and stick with King's armor since I can't seem to get good Dragon Scrolls?
The Evony developers are not getting my money so coining is not an option here.
submitted by Anon_Crut368
to Evony_TKR [link] [comments]
2023.03.20 17:09 Peeejay18 I think I'm being too sensitive and weak again after my breakup (Long post warning)
Hi, I've (M20) just been through a break up with my gf (F19) just shy of a week as of writing. Here's the story for context. My ex and I are college classmates where we have a mixed mode of online and in-campus class. I also had a steadily worsening family problem throughout February in which I tried to deal with it myself but eventually I went to her to seek some help in organizing my thoughts.
It started on the first week of February, my ex and I, along with half of our class ate at an outside the campus restaurant after a in-campus class. I was gonna go ahead ang order first since I was very hungry that time and can no longer wait for the others to settle down before they made their orders (orders are made at the counter, like fast-food restaurants). My ex called me and asked if I could also order for her, I agreed but turns out she also was gonna settle down for the meantime while thinking about what to order, I got irritated and signed that I'll go ahead and order first. The rest of the day, we didn't talk much outside of academics, and after class I immediately went home to meet with my Mom to eat dinner. Unbeknownst to me, my ex was having a panic attack that time and I didn't know until the next day about what happened.
I got guilty and she was angry that I wasn't there when she had a panic attack and over the following days, I tried to make it up to her and we kinda made up after a few days. Although she was a bit cold.
Flash forward to the following week, we were having a conversation, and I asked if it was fine if I mentioned something a bit related to my ex in the past (just something I learned then) , she said "You decide", we went a bit back and forth over that and it ended with me deciding not to tell since I took what she said as a no. She then made a remark akin to saying "Then why'd you ask in the first place". I got irritated again and basically told her that I'm tired (I've been working on event papers in our student organization) and that I wanna talk to her so I can relax, but if it was gonna be like that, then what was the point? I immediately knew what I said wrong but it was too late, she was already angry at me.
The day after, I was shocked that she was thinking of breaking up, and I tried to talk to her but she didn't budge. I gave her space for a few days until she was okay to talk to me again, she seemed to be alright again after some time. I thought we were fine again that time.
Another in-campus class came and I was in a bad state then, I didn't have energy to go to school because of how drained I was at home due to family problems (I don't feel comfortable disclosing this I'm sorry). I barely made it on time however, and went on with the class. I noticed that it was like she as avoiding me, I made no big deal since it was during class but I noticed that it was like she didn't want to talk to me. After class, I let her know that I was gonna pick up a delivery near campus and might go home directly depending on if they were gonna eat outside or not. They didn't went through with the plan and I went home directly.
On the commute home, I asked her if there was a problem and she replied that there's no problem, I then asked why she was avoiding me and she said that she didn't know how to approach me anymore, that she was afraid I was gonna have something to say about what she was gonna do. It went in circles for a bit, I explained that I was gonna ask for help since I was in a really bad state mentally. It suddenly went to her saying she doesn't know herself anymore, that she wasn't the girl I met when we started dating. Then it suddenly went into her saying we should break up, that it wasn't fair that I knew how to help her when she had problems and that she can't even speak when I'm asking for help.
It felt like my world was crashing down, that I was powerless to do anything. I eventually convinced her to rest for a while, that she may just be tired from a stressful day and that she might want to think things through as it was all so sudden. She eventually said that she'll stay and she wanted things to be back to normal. I was energized then, but the damage had been done. I began overthinking a lot, and not being confident at all at what I was doing. I still tried my best.
I noticed however, that it was as if nothing much changed, she was still cold, even though I always tried to be cheerful in our conversations, like how it was at the start. Eventually I learned that she was only staying with me then because I needed someone. I got very hurt and started preparing myself.
A week ago, she told me that she was happier without my company, she enjoyed if I wasn't with her or talking to her. She also repeated her reasons on why she wanted to break up in the first place, I then knew that it was time for me to accept it. We broke up.
Am taking it better than I thought I would but I began to overthink again and again and worry about her health (she was diagnosed with a form of TB the day after the break up). My friend joking about me and her, even though he knew we broke up, made things worse for me. As of right now, I can't seem to stop worrying about everything and her.
I know I have my faults too, that I played a part in her reason to break up, but I didn't expect that these past problems of mine would resurface as an aftermath. How can I move on more easily?
P.S. Our relationship was very smooth before February actually, we would have arguments but we would talk it over and come to conclusions or compromises.
submitted by Peeejay18
to offmychest [link] [comments]
2023.03.20 17:08 First_Low1244 boss wants to increase my hours
My boss wants to increase my hours, only by an hour, but when that makes my day 7am til nearly 6pm I'm not having it. I've got ongoing physical and mental health issues and being on my feet for an extra hour a day definitely is not gonna help with that. I plan on giving my 2 weeks in later this week when I see her, which I do feel a bit bad about because most of the staff go on holiday that same week, but fuck it. I need to focus on me
submitted by First_Low1244
to antiwork [link] [comments]
2023.03.20 17:07 Worrywartlady Accidentally touched wrapper
My husband is on suboxone. And he left an empty wrapper in our bed on accident (fell out of pocket ) and I woke up with it stuck to my leg. I feel tired and weird and my neck pain went away, but I don’t know if it’s all in my head. Could this hurt me? The small amount that would be on the wrapper? I’m freaking out.
submitted by Worrywartlady
to suboxone [link] [comments]
2023.03.20 17:07 WarmBank5850 Need Help with Decisions on Failing Out Of College
I have been on scholastic warning and probation and now after this semester, I won't be over a 2.0 because I didn't listen to people when they said don't schedule 19 hours and I did it anyway and it tanked my grade. It put me behind in trying to get ahead. I now have to drop so many classes that I will be part-time yet again. I really did improve and finally, have my head in the game this semester I just couldn't handle that many houres. I emailed the people who deal with people failing and was told even if my grades have improved and even if its .5 away I will still be scholastically dropped but I am so confused about what that means. Do you have to submit an appeal and sit out a semester or is it just sit out a semester? I honestly just really want to change universities all together so that way I can focus on school and not have to work so much just to make it by and get a meal when I could be at my parent's house going to a really decent university saving a ton of money.
I emailed the other university to see if there is any way I can take a test or something to be able to transfer since my GPA has to be even higher than a 2.0 to transfer (2.25). Not to mention my mom lives near there and both of my parents went there and they do discounts if your parent went. I haven't heard back yet as I just sent it but will update you.
IMPORTANT: I feel that this is really important to note and for me to do. So my mom thinks I have been doing well for the 2 years I have been in college with the expectation of a W I did this semester. I caved and told her I don't want to do my major and wanted to change to something else but what she didn't know is that I actually really like it but am being forced to change it by my university. She is cosigning on all the loans for my school almost at 50k now so no backing out of being in university now I would never do that to her. Anyway, I feel like since she is cosigning on all these loans and even just because she's my mom I need to be honest with her about what is going on maybe she can help me and I won't be all alone. We went through other majors and found one I liked. Its still a STEM major but we compared it to jobs that i may like and settled on a few options.
After finding a job and a possibly new major I feel so much better about everything but I am so nervous on if my school will kick me out and money and just everything any ideas on what i should do. For some context I go to LSU it’s 12k and my other option is UL that is 10k so not significantly cheeper but with my parents living there it would save a lot more so I wouldn’t have to take out loans for housing since Baton Rouge’s cost of living is significantly higher than Lafayette.
They also have the option of community college which damn that would save a lot but I really really really don’t want to go to a community college but if I have to I will.
More background I was a pre med student wanting to do it just for the money and now that I’ve matured a bit more I realize I just want to live life doing what I love and be happy. I really think I would be super happy in a lab job.
submitted by WarmBank5850
to college [link] [comments]
2023.03.20 17:06 jaimeframboise How are winters in Boulder? (From a midwestern perspective)
I’m a Wisconsinite who might move to Boulder to go to law school there. I hate our bitter cold midwestern winters (snow doesn’t bother me as much as cold) and want to move away from them. I have options in warm-weather states in the Southeast, but I love Colorado and the culture and would love to live there.
I have heard Boulder is pretty mild in the winter. Obviously it’s nowhere near tropical, but compared to Wisconsin, do you guys think I would find it to be an improvement? Do other transplants find themselves getting out more in the winter because it’s milder?
Thanks all, I would love to hear your perspectives on this.
submitted by jaimeframboise
to boulder [link] [comments]
2023.03.20 17:05 Particular-Set-6212 [Cast & Crew] - Chapter 0
"Cat-astrophe"– a prequel short story
This is a prequel story I wrote for one of the characters in my book. If ppl enjoy, I think I'd like to post the full novel.
Set in early 1900s Boston, "Cat-astrophe" is about wealth, celebrity culture, and chronic depression. When these factors combine, we get an interesting character study :-) When someone repeats the same patterns over and over, at which point do you give up on them?
TW: depression, domestic abuse
Catherine Ophelia Hughes was born on June 16th, 1893. She was quickly nicknamed Kitty, her mother believing that it was a darling name and therefore fitting for their daughter. She was a darling child. By the age of 6, she had big, dark eyes; long, carefully curled locks of brown hair; and a pale face, like a blank canvas, against which the other two stood out.
In the Hughes’ drawing room, Kitty banged on the piano while singing a ditty of her own creation. Her piano playing was imperfect, to say the least, and her song lacked a melody or coherent words, but her voice was high and sweet.
“You didn’t tell me your daughter was a musician,” some visiting man laughed to Mrs. Hughes.
“She might have a real talent,” mused Mr. Hughes through the pipe he was smoking, sitting in his armchair. He took the pipe out of his mouth and turned to his wife. “We could get her into lessons, couldn’t we?”
Mrs. Hughes looked at the girl doubtfully. “If she’s old enough. Kitty, come here.”
Kitty hopped off the piano bench and stood in front of her parents. Her hands fidgeted with the folds of her white, lacy dress. “Stop that,” said her mother, and she stopped.
“Kitty,” said her father. “Do you want to learn how to sing properly? Professionally?”
“Yes,” she said.
The visitor laughed again. “And do you know what the word ‘professionally’ means, Kitty?”
She turned to him. “Yes,” she said more emphatically.
“This is a smart one,” the man commented.
Mrs. Hughes took Kitty’s hand. “All right, then. We’ll see about it. Now, let’s leave Father and his friend, shall we?”
Kitty and her mother left the room, and a few weeks later, Kitty had her first lesson with her new singing teacher. Through practice, Kitty quickly learned to refine her musical ability, and by 9 years old, she was regularly performing for friends and neighbors, and several times in Christmas pageants and other children’s plays.
One night, her mother was out of town visiting family, and Kitty thought it would be the perfect chance to escape the confines of their home. She had only seen the rest of Boston on occasion, mostly just her parents’ friends’ houses, and of those, mostly the upstairs rooms, where she and the other children were placed during social events to keep them from causing trouble. Tonight, Kitty wanted to cause trouble. She escaped her nanny with an excuse and snuck into the carriage. She hid under one of the seats and covered herself up with a black blanket so she would be less visible.
Her father had said he was going to the theater, and she wanted to see a real play, not just a Christmas pageant. She was going to sneak out of the carriage when they arrived and form her plan from there about where to go and how to not get sent back. Kitty knew she could think quickly on her feet, so she would find a way.
Waiting in the carriage grew hot and boring, although it was winter. She could barely breathe under the blanket. She hoped that they would leave soon and that no one was in a panic about her disappearance. If they worried, her father might not go to the play, and all this would have been pointless.
But just minutes later, her father sat down in the seat opposite her, and the carriage took off. It felt as though they hit every bump on the road. At some point, Kitty was jolted so hard that she smacked her head on the underside of the seat. By the time they slowed to a stop, she was feeling nauseous.
The door opened, and Kitty got ready to follow her father out into the theater. But he didn’t exit the carriage. Instead, someone entered.
They sat down next to Father and closed the door. She could hear them kiss.
“I missed you,” said the newcomer with a giggle. It was a woman, and it wasn’t Mrs. Hughes.
“I’m sorry it took so long for me to get away,” Father said in a low whisper that sounded very unlike him. “Life has been… hectic, to say the least.”
“It doesn’t matter,” said the woman. “Where shall we go?”
“Wherever you want.”
Kitty didn’t know much, but she did know that her father and this woman were romantically involved, and that they shouldn’t be. She threw the blanket off her head and crawled out from under the seat. The woman screamed, and she and Father quickly separated.
Kitty stood up and stared at the two of them. Fresh, cool air hit her face, and her hair was all frizzy from her time under the blanket.
“Kitty,” her father spluttered. “What are you doing here?” His tone turned angry. “You snuck out? That was dangerous, and you know it.”
“What are you doing with her?” she interrupted.
Neither responded. They looked at each other.
Kitty studied the woman. She was obviously an actress, with long hair that she wore in styled ringlets. She was heavily rouged, and she wore massive earrings and strings of pearls and feathers on her bodice, which may have looked appealing on a stage from far away– but up close, she looked chaotic and disorderly and the opposite of Mother.
“I should go,” the woman got out.
“Wait–” Father said, and tried to hold onto the end of her shawl, but she tugged it out of his grasp and left the carriage.
Father closed the door and gestured for Kitty to take a seat.
“You shouldn’t have been here tonight.”
“Because you were going to be with another woman!” she burst out. “How could you? Does Mother know?”
“No,” said Father, “and we’re going to keep it that way. Don’t you see, Kitty? If she finds out, she’ll be heartbroken. You can’t tell her.”
She shook her head in disbelief. “But… but what you’re doing… It’s awful. And I’m not supposed to lie to people.”
“Think, my dear,” urged her father. “You don’t want to hurt Mother. Sometimes…” He paused. “... We must do bad things for good reasons.”
She briefly wondered what the ‘good reason’ was behind his relationship with the actress.
Father stepped out of the carriage to tell the driver to take them home.
When they arrived, before they left the carriage, he nodded to her. “You’re a good daughter, Kitty. You’re doing something very kind for Mother.”
Kitty said nothing, just combed her fingers through her messy hair and jumped out of the carriage. Father held her hand on the way into the house and dropped her off with the nanny, who gave her a good scolding.
And Kitty never did tell Mother about her father’s infidelity. Her knowing the truth would have made everything far more difficult. She didn’t know how much longer his affairs continued for, and she never asked.
Only a year after the carriage incident, she was sent to finishing school.
She was assigned a room, which she shared with another girl of the same age. Later on, she wouldn’t even be able to remember the roommate’s name. They spent their first few years together in a friendship filled with constant conflict: they’d fight, then make up and swear it wouldn’t happen again, but it always did. When Kitty was 13 or so, the other girl was moved back home with her family, and she never saw her again.
Kitty had already become popular from that drama, but after the other girl left, she became popular based on her own merits. She was growing beautiful: her hair had darkened to an ebony shade, and her face was starting to gain definition. She was at the top of every class. She could sing prettily, dance gracefully, and write with eloquence, and her manners improved every year.
With her newfound superiority to her peers, Kitty found that she quite enjoyed toying with them, playing little mind-games. Lies could preserve your mother’s innocence and keep your family together; they could also make you beloved, get you easy revenge, and reassure you that you were still, and had always been, the smartest one in the room.
Sometimes it was for tangible benefit, like scheming to become head of the school’s choir, and sometimes it was for no benefit at all, like making another girl cry just because she could. Kitty never found it difficult to outwit anyone, and she felt the need to keep testing the theory over and over again, trying to see how far she could go. It turned out that the answer was ‘as far as she wanted.’ She never received consequences, and she remained one of the most well-respected, envied girls of her grade, if not the whole school.
At some point, she developed her first crush on a girl, but she quickly ignored those feelings.
By the time of her graduation in 1910, Kitty was 16, about to turn 17. She was finally wearing full-length skirts and pinning up her hair. She had made it. In an environment full of wealth, delicate connections, and competition, some girls didn’t. They broke down, gave up on their schooling, and went home to their country estates; or they suffered an embarrassment and became forever shunned; or they drifted by, pathetic and unnoticed, their faces unremarkable and conversation bland, and went off to average marriages with average men.
Kitty was none of those girls. She had made it through by being more beautiful and talented and intelligent than all of the others. A bright future awaited her– one that she unquestionably deserved.
She accepted her diploma gratefully and drove back down to Boston with her parents and one sister, who had come to see the ceremony. Kitty didn’t know or care much about her siblings. She had two sisters and a brother, but she had never been close with any of them. As they traveled over the bumpy country roads in their automobile, Kitty opened the window and let the breeze run over her face to avoid a conversation.
When Kitty was presented in society, everyone was immediately impressed with her, as she had predicted they would be. It wasn’t a surprise when her parents started to talk about giving her a career beyond being a simple socialite; how would she feel about involving herself in the theatre? She wondered briefly if this idea was inspired by her father’s particular interest in the industry, but she ignored the thought and said that yes, she would like to try.
Her father got in contact with one of his oldest friends, Mr. Reed, whom Kitty had known for years. He was a director, and he found a way to get her a minor role in a production, and then another, and then another, until she was playing Ophelia in Hamlet– fitting enough, considering her middle name. This was the first role that she had had that had really shown off her talents. When they took their final bows at the end, the audience roared in approval for the young woman with the sweet face. She had been so endearing and convincing and true and tragic that she had won all of their hearts at only 17 years old.
After the performance, she cleaned up in the dressing room– the first time she had ever had one of her own. She stared at herself in the mirror, pleased with how everything had gone, thinking that she should reward herself somehow. Once she finished changing, she left to reunite with her family.
They were standing with a young man, who was the first to greet her. He shook her hand enthusiastically. “Miss Hughes, I just adore the theatre, and you… you show me exactly why.”
She gave him her nicest, most confident smile. “Thank you.”
“This is Mr. Sheehan,” her father said.
“Nice to meet you,” she said, and the man blushed. She turned to her mother. “Should we be going?”
The next day, Kitty went out in the city by herself, wearing a basic day dress so that she didn’t attract unwanted attention. She didn’t know exactly what she was looking for until she paused by the front window of a jewelry store. She liked jewelry. She should buy herself something nice.
Inside, she found a beautiful pair of earrings, silver and tiny and delicate. She bought them immediately, knowing that although they were expensive, she was soon to start earning far more money than what her father would give her as allowance. She left the shop with the earrings in a velvet box, feeling immensely satisfied.
In the next few weeks, she started seeing more and more of Mr. Sheehan from the play. He appeared at every dinner party and dance, and he visited her father to talk business in the hopes that Kitty would be around. Sometimes she was, sometimes she wasn’t. She found his devotion oddly adorable. Eventually, she decided to act on it. When he asked if they could begin courting, she said yes, not thinking much of it.
Their whole relationship was her not thinking much of it. Had she been seeing Sheehan or not, her life would have been mostly the same. She continued to perform in Hamlet. Her going out with Sheehan didn’t even make much of a difference in the amount of suitors she attracted, since everyone still refused to accept that they didn’t have a chance with her. She moved on from Sheehan to Danny, and then to Joe. None lasted long, and she hadn’t been in love with any of them. She wasn’t going to lie to herself: she knew it was because she had never trusted a man. She simply hadn’t met any good examples. Her father was a cheater; her manager, Mr. Reed, was a pathetic little man who complimented everything she did; Sheehan had been unremarkable; and so were the rest. At some point, she carried out a brief relationship with a girl, a fellow socialite named Amelia. It was nice, and Kitty didn’t carry much fear of being discovered because, as far as she had seen, she could do whatever she wanted and her parents would be none the wiser– but she didn’t love Amelia, either.
Next came Roger.
She didn’t love him any more than the others, but she couldn’t deny that he was a handsome, charismatic man. He was young, wealthy, and well-connected, and they were something of a golden couple together.
In private, he drank too much and threw her around like a rag doll. He had always been too physically aggressive, but one day, when she told him that she wouldn’t be seen with him in that state, with his face glowing red and strands of his hair falling over his forehead, he slapped her.
Kitty stumbled back, not so much from the blow as from the icy shock running through her veins. He stalked closer to her.
“What’s wrong with you?” she said in a high-pitched tone. “I won’t be near you when you’re like this.”
“Fine,” Roger said, and thankfully didn’t try to lay a hand on her again. He just stood there in the center of his parlor, swaying slightly. “You can go.”
Kitty took her things and practically ran out the front door. She stopped at the stone walkway to catch her breath. She’d never been hit before, not even when she was a child. A hatred for Roger started to bloom in her stomach.
But the next day, he rang her up to apologize. “I wasn’t myself,” he said. She could hear him sigh into the microphone. “Will you forgive me?”
She did forgive him. She didn’t leave him. He was still handsome. And it had only been one slap, after all. She could handle that.
But she still didn’t love him. She developed a relationship on the side with a man named Paul. She didn’t feel so bad about cheating on Roger because he deserved it. She gained some sort of sick pleasure from the idea of making him upset, although she didn’t want to see what the consequences would be if he ever found out. She wasn’t going to test her luck.
The motion picture industry was starting to become more popular. For a while, films had been growing in length and scope. A decade ago, you could see a single gymnastics routine captured in moving images; now, you could see a full story play out. Kitty and her family sometimes went to showings at movie palaces. Even the poor could go to little nickelodeon theaters and witness the magic of film.
Mr. Reed, Kitty’s manager, proposed getting her a role in a film. She agreed. Her parents fawned over Reed, as usual. You’re so good to her– The reason for our success– Our dear friend. She didn’t dislike Reed, but she didn’t care for him. If she was going to do a film, that was her choice and hers alone. She could have easily refused.
When Kitty started in the film industry, she didn’t have to work her way up. The first role Reed found for her was a main character. At the film premiere, she and her co-stars were called up to the stage for a bow. They forced her forward to do a curtsy all by herself. She gazed into the crowd but couldn’t see any faces she recognized, which somehow made her feel better. It was a shapeless mass of smiling people, and all of them liked her.
Beaming, she touched her own cheek, feeling a pretty blush starting to form. She was wearing her Ophelia earrings. She gestured for everyone to join her in another bow.
She starred in several more films, and her fame grew. Instead of being simply popular with the rich, she was a figure beloved by all classes, as movies were more accessible to the general public than the elite theaters she had been performing in.
Kitty grew an obsession with checking her reputation over and over again. She perused magazines to see what was written about her. (All positive things.) She listened to others’ quiet conversations, paying attention to how they described her. (Positively.)
Roger hit her on two more separate occasions.
One day, she was walking in the street, watching the poor people go about their day. There was an advertisement for a nickelodeon posted on the wall next to her. Lightly curious, she paid her nickel and went inside.
A man was playing piano in the corner of the dark room. Everyone was clustered together, whispering, eyes fixed on the screen.
“Who’s that actor? He’s gorgeous,” said a woman in front of her.
“Don’t you know anything, Millie?” said another. “That’s Abie Myers!”
“Well, I know now,” Millie shot back at the girl who must have been her sister.
Who the hell was Abie Myers?
Kitty moved closer to the screen. He must be the lead. Some guy with a stupid-looking mustache and dark eyes. Come to think of it, she might have heard the name before.
But not as many times as she had heard praise of herself. Logically, she knew that she had nothing to worry about. People liked her. She and Myers could exist in the same industry at the same time.
But she still wished to be seeing herself up on that screen. Why had the girl known Myers by sight, but not her? She’d been standing right behind them.
She’d have to work harder than before, keep working until she was easily recognizable. It occurred to her that she still lived with her parents. She should get her own place. She should get more control over the roles she took. Her parents and Reed would see that she could take care of herself. Myers would be jealous of her.
That idea made her very happy.
So she bought her own penthouse apartment, where she wouldn’t be bothered by anyone. She still visited with her family several times a week and came to realize that she much preferred her parents and siblings in small doses. She liked to bring entire plates of food to her room and eat them sitting on her bed. She could do whatever she wanted.
Although she grew fond of isolation– a little too fond–, she still attended gatherings and parties. On New Year’s Eve, Roger hosted a celebration at his house. He invited most of his friends, all of whom were rich people in their 20s. Kitty felt far more free without the oppressive presence of her parents’ crowd.
Paul was there. She spent much of the night staring at him from Roger’s side. Which one should she kiss at midnight? She liked being able to choose– it was her own delightful secret.
She drank some champagne and started to feel lightheaded. Not enough to make her actually drunk– that would have been unwise. She wanted just enough to feel she was floating. The dress she had chosen was silver, patterned with black embroidery. She held a transparent black shawl around her arms demurely.
A little before midnight, she pulled Paul into a side room. She didn’t know where Roger thought she was, and she didn’t care.
“I wanted to get away the moment we walked in here,” she whispered, her hands wrapped around Paul’s shoulders. She tilted her head up so that their lips were almost touching. “You-know-who just wouldn’t let me go.”
“It doesn’t matter,” he said softly. “What do you want to do?”
“Whatever you want.”
The door opened, and a man peered inside. Kitty pushed Paul away, but it was too late; he had seen them.
“I was looking for the coatroom,” the man said timidly.
Kitty recalled that he was a friend of Roger’s, and her heart sank further. Mr. King. That was who he was.
“What are you… doing?” said Mr. King. “You’re still together with Roger, aren’t you?”
For the first time in a long time, she was lost for words. Her whole body was paralyzed with fear. She had been playing her little game against Roger, but whenever a thought came up of what would happen if he found out, she pushed it back and back. He wasn’t going to find out, so what did it matter?
But now King might tell him, and drunk, violent Roger might make a return. He was drunk right now on champagne and brandy. Oh, God. Her parents weren’t here. She didn’t know how she was going to get out of this.
“You didn’t see anything,” she said to Mr. King, her voice quavering. “You– You can’t tell Roger.”
Paul had his hands in his pockets, his face turned down uncomfortably.
Mr. King just looked deeply offended on behalf of Roger. “I can’t believe this.”
He turned back and walked through the door. Kitty ran to catch up with him.
In the dark hallway, she fought to remember his first name. King… William King. “William!” She spun him around. She was breathing heavily, panicked. “You can’t tell Roger. You don’t know what he’s like. He’s drunk right now, and he gets angry and physical. He’s going to beat me. He’s hit me before. He’s going to do it again if you tell him.”
William shook his head, confusion etched across his face. “Roger? Roger wouldn’t hurt a fly. I’ve known him a long time.”
“So have I!” she exclaimed.
“Why should I believe you’re telling the truth?” he said. “You’re lying to him every time you’re with… the other man. How could you do it? Roger’s a good friend. He doesn’t deserve to be treated like that.”
She shook her head, still too shocked to cry. “No, he’s not. I can’t stand him.”
Kitty realized that what she was saying wouldn’t make sense. She was going out with Roger, yet she hated him. She was usually a liar, but she wasn’t lying about his abuse.
William turned away and went down the staircase to the hall where everyone else was gathered. Kitty remained frozen in place in the dark.
Paul was probably still waiting in the room, too scared to leave. Asshole.
The clock struck midnight, and everyone cheered. It was now 1915.
Kitty pulled herself together enough to gingerly walk down the stairs. Her hands wouldn’t stop shaking.
When she made eye contact with Roger, it was obvious that William had told him what had happened. There was a dangerous glint in his eyes. He came to her and kissed her soundly on the lips.
“Happy new year,” he said. “Can I walk you home?”
She nodded but then realized her mistake. She should stay here, in a crowd of people, where Roger couldn’t hurt her.
But it was too late. They headed out. The walk back to Kitty’s penthouse was the worst five minutes of her life. She didn’t know how her legs kept moving. She thought she was going to faint at any moment.
She unlocked the apartment door, and Roger followed her inside.
He traced the patterns on her tablecloth with his finger. “Where were you just before midnight?”
“You disappeared.” He slammed a hand down on the table. “King told me that you were off with some other man.”
“I was with Paul.”
“Paul?” He looked up at her, his face a confusing mix of expressions. “And you’re not going to deny it?”
“Stay away from me,” she said weakly. “I don’t love you. I never have. I hate you.”
He took her by the hair and hit her in the face.
Hours later, Roger had long since gone, and Kitty was lying broken on the floor. The maid came in the early hours of the morning, found her, and immediately called for help.
If the maid hadn’t arrived, she might have died. Roger had given her a face covered in bruises, a broken arm, two broken ribs, and God knew what head injuries. She had passed out from the pain and dizziness.
The recovery took two months, most of which she spent in her room. It was a testament to her stellar reputation that no one thought she was hiding a pregnancy.
Or maybe some people thought that. She refused to leave the house to find out.
She allowed her family members to visit her, but not until her face healed up. After all evidence of a beating was gone, and only her broken arm remained, she said she had suffered a fall. The stairs at her building were notoriously steep. She didn’t want to go out in public until she could take her arm out of its sling.
She spent lots of time staring into her mirror, trying to make sure that her features were unchanged. Her nose hadn’t broken, so it went back to its nice, smooth slope. Her split lip healed up, and the small, pouty shape of her mouth returned.
The only visible sign of what Roger had done to her was a tiny scar on her upper cheek, which she guessed had been inflicted by a fingernail. Over two months, it never went away. She took to applying a tiny bit of foundation and powder over it each day to cover it up.
She finally started going out in public again. She signed her contract to do another film. She had had a brief illness, she told Mr. Reed, but she was ready to start working again. How glad he was to hear it!
The sickly sweetness he employed to speak to her made her uncomfortable, rather than proud and superior, as it always had.
She was changed, and she knew it. She looked upon everyone she met with suspicion. She didn’t carry on any more relationships with men, preferring to have affairs with women in dark rooms. Every man reminded her of Roger in some way or another.
Roger moved out of Boston in the two months she remained convalescing. She didn’t have to see him, and she was glad for it.
But she always wondered what would happen if she were to encounter William King again. He had been instrumental in the destruction of her spirit. She took to spreading rumors and falsehoods about everyone she interacted with, feeling that people as a whole were like King: naive but not harmless. She had to stay one step ahead of all of them. But, at the same time, she had to hide her overwhelming hatred for everyone around her; revealing it wouldn’t do for her fame and reputation.
So she perfected the persona that she adopted around everyone, including her family: chin slightly down to show off her eyes, hands folded, gentle smiles. At some point, she met Abie Myers, who turned out to be just as obnoxious as she had imagined. It took effort to keep her pretty, neutral face, but she did so, knowing that she was simply biding her time.
She was unstoppable.
Roger had tried to harm her, humiliate her, and take away her strength, but she was going to get the last laugh. She was going to increase by tenfold everything that had made her so successful: her talent, her beauty, her intelligence, her ability to lie and manipulate. She was going to become so powerful, adored, and controlled that she would never feel weak again.
Kitty’s next film premiered in the summer of 1915. She got ready at her mirror, making sure to cover up the tiny scar on her cheek. She put on those earrings she had bought four years ago. Looking at her reflection, she decided that they didn’t match the rest of her outfit, so she chose different ones.
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2023.03.20 17:05 MjolnirPants Jerry and the Apocalypse: Part 52
At sunset on the third day, we set up camp on a tall ridge overlooking the city. As the sun was still low in the sky, I looked out over the glittering ruins. We had appeared right around the center of it, and it was about a day's walk from there to the edges in any direction.
We were west of the city. To the east, the skyline got lower and lower and the buildings further apart until it turned into a rotting, sprawling suburb. To the north, it ended at a large lake whose wooded far shore was visible about thirty miles distant. The water around the docks was speckled with the rusted remains of sunken ships, parts protruding above the surface. At the southern edge, the mess of tall skyscrapers gave way to a band of low, sprawling industrial buildings that wedged up to a cliff face.
Forty miles in diameter, or thereabouts. A forty mile diameter mass of towering skyscrapers, crumbling and rotting away. Glass still occupied many of the windows, glittering like stars as they reflected the setting sun behind us.
The narrowest point was half again as wide as the longest distance through New York City. And that wasn't counting the suburbs or industrial sector. And it was much taller. The tallest building still standing was, according to the marks on my rangefingers, about twenty-five hundred feet tall. And I suspected that it wasn't the tallest building originally. The piles of rubble around the bases of some of the runners-up were significant. And there were a lot of runners-up.
I did some math in my head. Assuming twenty-five percent more population density, owing to the taller buildings, taking into consideration the size of it, there had to be upwards of forty million people living there. A little larger than Tokyo, I thought. Plus another two or three million in the suburbs. Which was impressive, to be sure. What was more impressive was the similarly-sized cities, peeking above the mountains to the south, behind the low, wooded hills on the other side of the lake, and behind us. I hadn't gotten a good look at the city behind us, but it seemed to be about twice the size of this one.
Just within eyesight of the hill I stood on, peering around, I could see the former homes of somewhere around two hundred million people. Half the population of the US. That was the impressive part.
Footsteps behind me announced Avarisa's approach.
"Camp's set," she said. "What are you looking for?"
I shook my head slowly. "Nothing in particular. Just surveying the area. How many people lived here?"
"Um," she said, rubbing her chin. "In this world, I think seventeen billion, just before the war. Kvenland had a total population of six billion. Norumland had eight billion, but it was much larger."
"So most of the population lived in only two nations?" Avarisa nodded. "There were seventy three nations in total, but Kvenland and Norumland dominated this world."
"And they're all dead," I said.
"Not all of them," Avarisa said. "I read about several trips other gods had taken here. There's a few thousands transplants, mostly from Earth, but also survivors of some of the other worlds. They're on the other side of this planet, though. There's another populated region, about seven hundred miles to the south. There's maybe three hundred thousand, scattered over an area of about two hundred and fifty thousand square miles. Then some scattered pockets, a few hundred to a few thousand all over the place. About two or three million."
"That's a lot of dead people," I said. "Dead in a war that wasn't even theirs to fight." Avarisa looked like she might want to object to that, but she didn't say anything.
I heard more footsteps. I glanced back, expecting Kathy, but instead, I saw Spectre approaching. She was in a physical body, not the usual apparition. With a real body, she actually had some color in her cheeks and some life in her eyes. It made her look younger, around Aaina's age.
"Kathy wants to know if you want beef ravioli or chicken and pasta in vodka sauce."
"Ravioli," both Avarisa and I said at the same time. She met my eyes and smiled briefly. The raviolis were the best of the camp foods we'd brought.
Instead of heading back with her answer, she walked up to stand next to us. Her torn, rotted dress fluttered in the breeze, the stained white fabric a stark contrast to the jet black hair that flowed around above it.
"It's about a day's walk from where we came through to any edge of the city," she said. "So Ixy should be around the edge, right?"
"That's assuming he's in this world," Avarisa said. "There's hundreds of portals in the city proper that lead to other worlds, if you have the magic to open them."
"He's got to be in the Sixteenth World," I said.
"Why do you say that?" Avarisa asked.
"Because that's how this works," I said. "We're here on information from Fulla. She gives her secrets out as clues that we have to follow to get the answers we really want. And when you look at her, magically, while she's doing this, you can see that the way she puts her messages together is very similar to the way an oracle's visions congeal. Which means that it's a probabilistic clue with a narrative structure."
"I don't get it," Spectre said.
Avarisa did. She answered for me. "Most of the portals are to the Sixteenth World. And the Sixteenth World is a giant mystery, which is right up Fulla's alley."
I made a so-so gesture. She was right, but for one of the wrong reasons. Magical thinking was so very different from the rational, critical thought I'd spent so much time and effort developing in school, but it was quite useful at times. And though it still felt a little weird to engage in it, I'd learned to turn in on at times. Avarisa was, like Sarisa, a very rational thinker.
"You're right about the number of portals, but wrong about it being up Fulla's alley," I said.
She gave me a skeptical look. "It's not that Fulla likes mysteries, but that it's a mystery that I only learned about as a result of following her clues."
"Ahhh," she said. "Narrative. As opposed to thematic, which was what I said." I nodded. "And you're sure it's the one, and not both," she continued, making me look at her with a raised eyebrow.
"Themes matter, Jerry," she said with a self-satisfied smirk. I shrugged. "Fair enough," I said. She was probably right, which was something I should bear in mind.
I looked back at the city in front of us, then pulled out the map we'd found. It was on a plastic-like material, thin and foldable like paper. Avarisa had been the one to find it, and after playing with it a while, she'd figured it out. It was tech, not a simple printout. Pinching the creases flattened them out, then squeezing the outermost of four small circles at the bottom left made the light-grey sheet fill with a diagram of the city below. I squeezed the third circle, then handed the sheet to Avarisa.
"Mark all the portals you know about that lead to the Sixteenth World," I said. She took it, and began to press the tip of her finger to different spots, marking them with a red dot.
"I don't know all of them, but like you said, it's almost certainly going to be one of the ones I do know."
I waited for her to mark about a dozen spots, then draw a circle around one near the far end of the city.
"I think this is the most likely one," she said.
"Why is that?" I asked.
"It leads to a place where..." She trailed off, her face flashing through a pained expression and back to a neutral mask.
"What's wrong?" I asked. I tried to fill my voice with the usual levels of concern it would have when asking that question in response to that look, but like everything else I've said in the past few weeks, it came out cold and harsh. I couldn't even work myself into being upset about that, so I just waited for her to answer.
"Sarisa... I told you that she gave me memories of our time together, until you met Inanna," she said, speaking slowly as if this was a grave admission.
"I made it sound like those were the only memories I had, but she... She gave me others, including one in which I accompanied Tientus to the Sixteenth World, mere days after what calamity befell it. This portal leads to the place where we first appeared on that trip."
I nodded and looked at the map. "That will be more than a day's walk. We should probably fly. I don't want to camp in those ruins again."
The previous night, we'd camped in the city, as we had the night before. Only this time, we were attacked. A pack of unusual, canine animals had come sniffing around, likely drawn by the scent of our dinner. Magical alarms woke Kathy and I as they entered our small camp, and when we emerged from the tent to investigate, they animals attacked. We were forced to kill three of them before the others fled.
Of course, that wasn't what made the choice for us. Instead, as the seven or eight remaining animals fled into the night, we'd heard a roar, followed by more of the same yelping and growling we'd heard as we fought them off. It didn't last long. The ensuing crunching sound was very reminiscent of Ixy, but when I'd put in the buttplug and flown off to check, I'd found a rancor, instead.
Yes, like the rancor from Star Wars
. The resemblance was shocking. a bipedal animal with short, stubby legs, a powerful upper body, long arms with clawed hands and an enormous, forward-thrusting head with massive, fanged jaws. The only way in which it differed was the brown-and-gray coat of fur the thing wore. The coat was thick and full, reminding me of a bear's fur. It also blended in with the surroundings quite well.
I returned and we shifted our camp to the base of a large satellite dish on top of a thirty-story building that looked less likely to collapse than others nearby. This morning, I'd examined the dog-like creatures.
They reminded me of a thylacine. They had stripes on the back ends of their backs. Their rear legs had the same short thighs and long, thick calves as thylacines, and like the rancor, they had thickly muscled forelimbs and chests. During the brief fight, we had seen them open their jaws almost ninety degrees, a sight which is uniquely unsettling, even though they didn't pose much of a challenge to us. They had the same smooth, almost cat-like faces, narrow muzzles and distinctly dog-like noses as a thylacine, with subtle cranial ridges.
I'd seen videos of thylacines moving about, and read descriptions. One thing I recalled was that they were not particularly fast nor agile, a feature that clearly did not apply to the animals we'd fought off. They had moved lightning fast and struck like snakes, snapping bites and slinking away.
In any event, we had decided that since the ruins were the homes of several dangerous predator species, it would be best to to move outside of the city. With the map Avarisa had found, we could plan our forays better, in any event.
"I can't fly," Avarisa said. I turned to her, a look of disbelief on my face. "Kathy can fly, and she's about the least talented flyer of all of us."
"I'm going to tell her you said that," Spectre said with a little smile. I tried to smile back, really, I did. But my lips didn't twitch. "She knows. She's possessed of enough talent in other areas that she shouldn't be insecure about it."
Spectre's smile faded. She'd been trying for a little levity, which I appreciated, so I put an arm around her shoulders and kissed the top of her head.
"I've tried," Avarisa said. "I can't. I can levitate, but once I'm in the air, I can't seem to make myself move around. It feels like I should be able to, but I just can't. I think Sarisa did it. On purpose."
"I could check, with the right circle and tools, but I don't have the tools in hammerspace," I said. "But that can wait. I'll carry you when it's time to fly."
"Won't that slow you down?" she asked. I shrugged. "Not enough to matter. I'll most likely have to stay close to Kathy in any event. We should still be able to make it there before nightfall, tomorrow. We'll leave the camp here, unless we encounter more predators. If we do, we'll bring the camp and set it up on top of one of the buildings again.
Avarisa had assured us that there were no winged predators in this region that would pose any threat if they caught us unaware. I trusted her, because I'd seen the library she had been reading back at the gods' camp. It wasn't the Library of Souls, but it was nonetheless extensive. And I knew she read lightning fast. Like a speed reader, except she absorbed everything she read.
"Come on, I'm getting hungry," Spectre said. All three of us turned and walked down to the small copse, just off the peak of the hill, where we'd made camp. To my surprise, there was a second tent,a small pup tent, on the other side of the fire from the one we'd been sharing until this point. Kathy was busy heating up beef ravioli in a camp pot. She looked up as we approached.
"I found a pup tent buried in hammerspace. Might be a little less crowded in there with just two of you."
I nodded, taking one of the folding seats set around the fire. I produced a pair of plates, with utensils fitted into slots on their underside and handed one to Avarisa as she sat. Spectre made a circuit of the fire, then leaned down to speak quietly to Kathy.
"I'm going to go now," she said. Kathy smiled at her. "Will you tell Lya what we're up to?"
Spectre nodded. "Of course. I'll keep her company. She's working all week and coming home to an empty house."
"She'd appreciate that. I would, too," Kathy said. She kissed Spectre, to my surprise, not on the cheek, but on the lips, and the spirit vanished.
I didn't say anything about the kiss. Just because it surprised me didn't mean it interested me.
After a few minutes, Kathy doled out the food, producing her own plate at last. We ate quickly, washing it down with little plastic barrel-shaped containers of what tasted like watered-down koolaid. I kept several cases of them, pre-chilled, in hammerspace, mostly for my younger children, but.... I wanted them gone. Used up. So we drank them, three or four at a meal. It was tastier than water.
After we ate, the sun had fully set, so I cleaned up, scrubbing the plates with sand and then rinsing them in a stream at the base of the hill, and then we retired to our tents. Avarisa and I in mine, Kathy in her pup tent. I set my magical traps and alarms and then sat there for a bit, Avarisa laying on her side, next to me.
None of us had bathed since we got here. And though it was cold out, we'd been on our feet all day, every day. I could smell myself when I paid attention, and I could feel the grime and sweat built up under my clothes. I had a camp shower in hammerspace, and I sat there and considered whether it was worth retrieving, setting up, and heating up some water for.
"Would you like a shower?" I asked Avarisa after a few minutes. She lifted her head and eyed me.
"Fuck yeah," she said. "I feel like I've got a second skin, right now."
"You'll have to either share one with me, or we'll have to heat up two full pots of water over the fire. That'll take a while."
"We can share one, if you're okay with that," she said, her voice sounding a little strange.
"Okay," I said. I stood and unzipped the tent, stepping out.
"Kathy, I'm going to set up a camp shower, if you want to use it when I'm done," I said in a normal voice, knowing she could hear me through the thin material of her tent.
"Just leave it up, I'll use it in the morning," she said.
I retrieved it from hammerspace. It was a folding metal and fiberglass frame. It had a large bladder with a hook at the top to tie a rope through, to hoist it. There was a plastic plate that the bladder rested on, angled so as to make it easy to slide in and out of place. It had a hose at the bottom that connected to a shower head that could be used to spray yourself down, or hung just below the plastic plate. There was a tarp that wrapped around the whole thing for some privacy. The whole thing was packaged in a large pot.
I pulled the assembly out of the pot and began to set it up. It didn't take long at all. Once I had the frame assembled and wrapped in the tarp, the hard part begun. I carried the bladder down the hill to the small creek and filled it about 3/4 full of water. Using a bit of paracord through the hood, I hoisted it on my back and brought it back. I flung the free end of the paracord over a tree branch that looked capable of taking the weight, then grabbed the pot and headed back to the stream to fill it.
Lugging it back, I placed it on the cooking rack over the fire while Avarisa added some more fuel to build it back up. We then had to wait for the water to boil, which took about fifteen minutes. When that was done, we opened the bladder again, the mouth forming a large funnel, and poured in the boiling water. I tested it after we emptied the pot, and it was nice and warm.
"Okay, get undressed," I said as I hoisted the bladder up. It slipped up the plastic platform and I reached up to close the gate to hold it in place. I tied off the paracord (the gate alone wouldn't take the weight) and the quickly stripped as Avarisa stood next to the door, waiting for me. We had to move quickly, because the chilly air would cool the water quickly. The bag was not insulated, but rather a thick, black plastic so that one could use the sun to warm it over the course of a day.
I stepped in, producing two bars of soap from hammerspace and I opened the valve to spray both of us down with warm water. Once we were thoroughly wet, I closed it and handed Avarisa a bar. We soaped up quickly, the night chill getting to us.
Once we were thoroughly soapy, we ran the water to rinse again, then I sent the soap back and produced a combination shampoo and conditioner. We sudsed up our hair and rinsed off again. About two thirds of the water still remained in the bladder.
"Want to just enjoy the soak?" I asked. She nodded, so I left the valve open. She pressed against me, both of us sharing in the cascade of water. I watched the top of her head, and when she put her hands on my hips and looked up, I met her eyes.
"This is nice," she said.
"Yeah," I responded.
Flashes of memories swept through me. Aaina, when we first brought her home, afraid to be alone, needing me or Inanna in the shower with her. Sara and Junior, joining me for my showers once they were steady on their feet because it was just easier to bathe them that way, when time mattered. Normally, we let them play in the bath, but I'd scrubbed them down a few times in the shower.
And of course, those memories all gave way to the countless showers I'd shared with Inanna. It may come as a surprise, but most of the time, we simply helped each other get clean, and then got out. We had fooled around in the shower many times, of course, but that wasn't the norm. The falling water could be a distraction, whereas the possibility of getting clean and then fooling around as soon as we got out was almost always there.
Without even thinking about it, I put my hands on Avarisa's hips and pulled her into me. She didn't hesitate or resist, stepped forward and running her hands up my sides. I bent down and kissed her, and she quickly moved a hand to the back of my head, pulling me in, clinging to me.
We kissed for a long moment. It wasn't until I grew chilly and realized that the water had given out that I drew back. She rested one hand on my shoulder while the other slipped around to my front, to grab me.
"Are you sure?" she asked quietly. I shook my head. "Don't make me question myself," I said. "I just want to stop thinking."
She nodded, then met my eyes.
"I just finished my period," she said. "Yesterday was the last day. Tamp down on your fertility, Jerry, and I can all but guarantee you that I won't get pregnant."
I nodded. I lifted her up in my arms and carried her to the tent.
The next morning, I was woken by Kathy holding my pants, which I'd left draped over one of the folding chairs last night, peeking through the flaps of the tent. "Seriously?" she asked.
I blinked away the blurriness and focused on her. It took me a second to recognize what I was seeing, and another to put the pieces together in my mind.
"Shit," I muttered. "Sorry."
"It's your own clothes that have ants in them," Kathy said. "And hers."
I pulled Avarisa's arm off of me gently and slipped out of the sleeping bag. "I'll get it," I said.
"Good, I'm going to refill the shower. I already got a pot boiling. You two can start breakfast while I'm showering."
She handed me the pants and pulled her head out of the opening. Checking them, I could see that there were, indeed, tiny ants crawling all over them. I sighed and summoned clothes from hammerspace, then retrieved my stuff from the pockets and transferred it over. I walked out and picked up all the clothes we'd left out.
The ants had gotten into all of them.
I brought them down to the creek, passing Kathy as she walked back with the bladder three quarters full of water. She shook her head slowly, not saying anything as we met and then parted. I rinsed all the clothes out, letting the little ants get swept away in the current. When I returned to string up a paracord clothesline and hang them to dry, I could see Avarisa's silhouette in the morning glow, moving around inside the tent. I climbed in.
"I left my clothes out there," she said.
"Here," I said. I pulled a t-shirt, a hoodie sweater and a pair of pants from hammerspace. "These should fit. I don't have any underwear, though."
"I normally don't wear a bra," she said as she pulled the clothes on. "Going commando will be a new one, though..."
She finished dressing and we both went out to make breakfast. Kathy was in the shower, singing quietly as she scrubbed off. I got a good scramble going, eggs, cheese, bacon and potatoes, along with fried naan bread. When Kathy was finished, she toweled off and immediately sat down, not bothering to get dressed. We ate quickly, and I let Kathy get a large portion than the rest of us, because she seemed to need it.
When we were done, Kathy summoned clothes and I made a harness out of paracord.
"We're going to fly to the first portal, it's more than a day's walk," I told Kathy. She stared at me for a second.
"Shit, Jerry, you'd better stay close to me and help me with the landings," she said. I nodded. I intended to do just that. When I had the harness ready, I had Avarisa put on her armor, and then I secured her back to my chest, adding a few lines of paracord from her plate carrier that passed between her legs to be sure. I had her pad them out with one of the still-damp towels, which she giggled and protested over the chill about. I asked her to imagine her body weight all on the paracord lines between her legs, though, and her protests ended. The giggles continued for a few minutes, though.
Thus secured, we layered more magic over to the camp to ward off any curious animals and took off. Kathy wobbled a lot during the flight, but she managed to keep up with me, just fine. It took about two hours to reach the spot. I took Kathy's arms, reaching around Avarisa to do so, and we settled down on the ground in front of what looked like a high-end clothing store.
The clothes on the mannequins had all rotted away, and green mold coated the glass windows, making the insides dim. The doors were locked, so I smashed the glass out of one of the windows and we stepped in.
Avarisa led us to a wall, where I pulled down some shelves. Once clear, I touched the keys in my pockets mentally and a section of the wall shimmered. It seemed to fade from view, showing a desolate cityscape not too different from the one we were in. We all stepped through.
"Welcome to the Sixteenth World," Avarisa said, her voice a little choked. I wondered what memories Sarisa had given her that caused this.
We were in a much smaller city than before. Only four skyscrapers stood, each one immaculate except for the layer of dust dulling the windows. Lower buildings surrounded them, all looking to be made of concrete. The last city had brick and even a few wooden structures, but this place all seemed to be made of the same, light gray concrete. Streets, sidewalks and buildings alike.
Piles of rust stood here and there, the remains of vehicles left exposed to the elements for hundreds or thousands of years. And bodies.
In the last place, the bodies had been skeletons, mostly partial bodies, many with signs of being worried by the local fauna. Here, there were mummies.
I could see dozens of them, including at least one in every pile of rust. Desiccated corpses, clad in sun-bleached fibers that still kept their shape. I recognized T-shirts and button-down shirts, sundresses and skirts, pants and shorts. Avarisa wandered off, towards a smaller, one story building with a line of bushes in front. I followed her gaze to see a curious site.
Most of the vegetation was brown, but intact. Leaves still clung to tree and bush limbs, grass still lay across the ground. But where she was moving, there was a circle of... I'm not sure how to describe it.
The bushes in front of the building simply melted away as they approached the circle. Bushy brown limbs gave way to bare limbs, which gave way to shattered, sparse limbs, which gave way entirely. The grass grew sparse, and then faded out into dark, rich soil.
Right at the center of the circle lay two small skeletons.
Scraps of rough fabric still clung to their limbs. They were both small, young children, I thought. And they had no flesh left on them. Unlike every other corpse, these had been subjected to the process of decay.
"What happened?" I asked.
Avarisa knelt at the edge of the circle, staring at the remains in the middle. When she spoke, her voice cracked with grief.
"When Tientus first learned of what happened here, she grabbed two children. She brought them here, as guinea pigs, to see if whatever happened affected them. They hadn't done anything to displease her, they were just... The first humans she saw when she went looking, I think. She brought them here. Nothing happened, so I took them and was going to bring them home, but..."
She sobbed once, her shoulders hitching.
"She stopped me. Made me leave them, because she didn't want to wait the thirty seconds it would take me to bring them home. They died so that she wouldn't be inconvenienced in even the mildest way.
"These two children, whose names are long lost, they're the inspiration for the war. Because of them, I began creating the spell to strip a god's divinity. Because of them, I reached out to Astoram, who had always been at odds with the other elder gods, and secured his aid."
Kathy and I stood behind her, looking at the two small skeletons and listening to her words. When Avarisa stopped talking, we remained in place, thinking about the death and destruction that had resulted from the casual murder of two children.
"This is pretty heavy," Kathy said after a while. I nodded.
"Yes, it is," I said.
We must have stood there, reflecting on the bodies for ten minutes, when a sound came to us from the distance. All three of our heads came up and turned in the direction it had come from.
"Was that..." Kathy said. I nodded.
"Ixy's roar," I said.
submitted by MjolnirPants
to JerryandtheGoddesses [link] [comments]
2023.03.20 17:04 eridreamingofaharp New ob/gyn
So i managed to get an appointment with a new ob/gyn in the hopes that she will clear things up. Maybe some people remember, i posted earlier how after the diagnosis and lap I was prescribed dienogest and decided to do the hormone saliva test privately after initially starting dienogest (10 days in) bc my doctor didn't want to run any tests on me. And the results didn't look good at all, estrogen was so high they couldn't even tell how high exactly just that it's way out of the max measurement, Testosteron was 3 times as much as it should be and dhea was also about 40% higher than the max of the norm. So i went with those results to my new ob/gyn today, she was nice and talked to me but she didn't say anything particular. She told me she can't see anything from those results bc I was already taking the visanne and that estrogen can be regulated higher at the start of taking it and that i should just continue. She doesn't want me to stop it to run tests. To my question about why Testosterone and dhea are so high she only said "all the hormones are linked to each other"... Which to me just sounds like "we don't know what's wrong but also we won't do anything to get to know what's wrong". I've been taking visanne for 1,5 months by now, i definitely see my skin getting worse and my last period was 14 days long, heavy, though not nearly as painful as before the lap. I'm also constantly spotting. Not the worst side effects but not the best in the long run either.
So I'm not sure how to proceed from here, what do i do. I'm kind of scared but also don't want to be that person who pushes everyone into doing tests and goes to doctors endlessly just to find something wrong with me.. I'm honestly so tired I just want to give up, I feel like noone is there for me and I don't have a family to talk about that to either, I'm all alone with that
submitted by eridreamingofaharp
to Endo [link] [comments]
2023.03.20 17:04 yagirlhunter Intolerant to Peanut Butter
Hey all, trying to get on the fitness train and I currently don’t eat much (IBS and I don’t ever really have an appetite? Trying to give up gluten for the most part as I’ve noticed it makes me full way quicker than other foods, and then I don’t get enough nutrients overall).
I just realized I think peanut butter is causing intense bloating issues/I might be intolerant. 🤦🏻♀️
Wondering if anyone has a favorite cheaper nut butter? I live near Harris TeeteAldi/Target/Publix if that helps. Need it to be cheaper cause I eat like 5 tbsp. a day roughly for kicks and giggles as a snack.
P.S. Do any of you work with a health coach virtually? I have a call with one in a few hours to see if they’re a good fit, but she’s not vegan. Would prefer a “vegan-minded” coach.
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to veganfitness [link] [comments]
2023.03.20 17:02 retroverted_uterus Hiking with a toddler
Those of you who hike with a toddler - how? I used to be an avid hiker and would like to slowly get back in to it with my favorite little person. The hikes I would be looking at doing at this point are more like nature walks with little to no elevation change and under an hour in length.
She will NOT sit in a pack, but I’m thinking a toddler leash? I want to be able to keep her near me and pull her back away from any potential dangers (wildlife, steep edges, dogs because she loves dogs but hasn’t quite learned how to greet strange dogs appropriately). Any recommendations?
Also, any tips or tricks to help it go smoothly?
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to toddlers [link] [comments]
2023.03.20 17:02 tf2_over_fortnite3 『Runaway Train』,never going back; Wrong way on a one-way track. Seems like I should be getting somewhere; yet Somehow I’m neither here nor there
This stand is not just a train, it’s way cooler than that
Stand Typing: 『Runaway Train』is a long range, sentient, post mordum, sub dimension manipulation. Please bear with me.
Potential: E (post mortem’s should have like 0 potential, fight me)
Stand Ability:『Runaway Train』has the ability to, once being physically seen by a person under the age of 17(usually a child under 13, though) that is currently,or unavoidably about to be, kidnapped, or should leave the care of their current guardian, will be teleported to a place that seems to be a random spot on a rail that stretches forever. It’s actually『Runaway Train』’s sub dimension. This spot will have a lamp-post and one of those bus benches with a cover over it. It begins raining softly l after 6 seconds, getting more and more heavy every second. After the child has sat down on the bench for 10 or more seconds, the chugachug of a train can be heard faintly in the distance. The sound gets louder and louder, until the train is close enough to stop, releasing that hissssss of the break, with the fourth train car out of 7 being equal to where the stop is. After that, the train will open its doors, and the rain will seem to clear in a tunnel to the door. The door is quite high, so the child needs grab something to pull themselves up. When they get close enough, a hand outstretches. If the child takes their hand, they get pulled aboard, the train doors close. The hand belongs to the human disguise of『Runaway Train』 , a kind man named Hanks Allsburg. The child is sat down at one of the empty seats, and a ticket that the child will find in their pocket will be punched. The train will start moving, with the destination labeled “Neither here nor there”. Eventually the train will stop again, and if our child was meant to be getting off there, then they will either be dropped off at either where they live currently with time having been sped up 10 times the time they were on the train or at a relatively unknown orphanage without any time seeming to pass. They are dropped off at the orphanage if their home would not be safe, their guardians are no longer alive, or their guardian(s) are the reason that『Runaway Train』effected the child. The child can also choose to not get off, they won’t have to or be forced off, but they will never have another opportunity to get off the train again. Yeah, it is based on The Polar Express.『Runaway Train』can manipulate this this sub space in every way and quickly at that, due to its precision and speed, and can position itself so perfectly so that nobody but the child can see it and guarantee the child will see it, also due to its precision and speed. More so, if it ever feels it needs to protect the children from something, it’s speed and precision allows for it to make swift and weakening blows to weak spots with its arms or slightly slower and heavier blows with its feet.『Runaway Train』’s user died over 10 years ago, and at this point who he was no longer matters. His name, if you want to know anyway, was John Allsburg.
Humanoid Appearance:『Runaway Train』has the appearance of a tall bipedal humanoid with an over all metallic like body, with a dark green color around most of its body, with a wide head. It’s head is like a soap bar with much smoother, more head-like curving corners and edges. On the back of its head is four lines up rusty steam whistles you find on trains, three pointing down and one pointing up, that every often make a in-and-out whistle sound as some light blue-grey steam comes out of it. The front half of it’s face has bronze-yellow gears that twist continuously, like a machine, covering front half. It has a thin neck that looks way too small to support its larger than usual head, with two flat yellow conveyer belts longways on both sides, going in opposite directions. It’s torso is quite slender, with a grandeur bronze cage with barbed wiring on it. It’s torso on the inside is open, revealing elevator-like pulley system going up and down, with the inner walls being filled with gears twisting. It’s arms are quite slender as well, with sections of it being spiked with microscopic, but still able to pierce, spikes, lining it’s bronze sections. It’s hands are metallic and has 4 fingers, missing the ring finger. Its fingers begin thick and blocker, but become thinner the further you go, but it isn’t sharp. It’s legs are blocky and quite a bit heavy, being thicker the more you go down. It’s feet are separated in the middle, with the sides still being connected. This empty section is a lot like a double sided hydraulic press, with a crusher on the top and bottom, with a lollipop wrapper nailed onto the top crusher, and lollipop stick stabbed into the bottom one. The bottom of its feet converge into a slightly smaller square at the bottom, like some fancy chair legs have.『Runaway Train』is around 6’6 ft tall.
Train Appearence: On the side of the fourth car, where it stops to pick up the children, It says that it’s named the The Runaway Express. The Runaway Express has a likeliness to the Puffing Billy train model(google it) in appearance, with the green sections being replaced by a dark blue; the marine by a turquoise, as well as the bumps in the front being replaced by more steam pipes, near constantly blowing out endless steam.
Human Appearance: (Hanks from the voice of the Conducter in Polar Express,Allsburg is who wrote the “The Polar Express” book) Hanks Allsburg is a quite rotund older white man who appeared around 86 in age, with a grey beard and grey hairs connected by grey sideburns, with the common grandpa face. He wears matching marine red overalls and undershirt shirt underneath a checkers pattern brown and light brown sweater old men wear. He has old dark blue bowler shoes. He wears a sailors cap with the anchor replaced by a conductor train car matching the one at the front of The Runaway Express. He is around 6’7 ft tall. He is quite kind and caring in nature, and plays games with children on the train whenever『Runaway Train』doesn’t have to go out to save another child. When he does have to go, he will say that he has to do something on a different part of the train, before jumping off the train somewhere, bringing it to the real world, somewhere within 2 kilometers of a child fitting the conditions of『Runaway Train』’s ability’s activation.
submitted by tf2_over_fortnite3
to fanStands [link] [comments]
2023.03.20 17:01 Ok-School-7376 2 months into introductions…Not sure what to do next. Do I need to rehome my new cat?
I am 2 months into introducing my resident cat, Pixie (F 1.5), to my new cat, Valentine (F 3), and they still have to be separated at all times. Pixie is Deaf and a wobbly cat (she has mild CH). Both girls are more attention motivated and are very attached to me. This is my second attempt at reintroducing them following Jackson Galaxy’s method. Valentine is being kept in my bedroom as her safe room and Pixie gets the run of the rest of the apartment, which includes my roommate’s room and our common spaces. Thus far, they can only handle eating breakfast together at the screen door in front of my bedroom door. If they are at the door without food, Valentine hisses and growls at Pixie, who appears to be totally oblivious to Val’s distress and thinks they’re playing. When they have supervised playtime, Pixie cannot be distracted from staring at and walking towards Valentine. Valentine also lurks around Pixie as if she is curious, but will hiss if Pixie gets near her. As mentioned before, Pixie is completely oblivious and just keeps trying to go up to her and even chases Valentine (Pixie is trying to play, but Valentine doesn’t like it). The other day I tried having Pixie in a carrier while Valentine sniffed her out, but Valentine kept hissing, lunging, and swatting at Pixie (not sure if this is a positive or negative, but Valentine didn’t try to hide from Pixie while she was in the carrier. She was always lurking around her). What further complicates things is my roommate’s dog, who is extremely hyper and will bark at Valentine whenever she catches a glimpse of her. I’m trying to leave her out of the introduction process at the moment, but obviously, that’s another inevitable step. I read online that I could try putting both cats in their carriers and slowly move them closer? Are there any other things I could try? I love all three girls (dog included!!) and want them all to live together peacefully, but I also acknowledge that Valentine might have to be rehomed. Any and all help is much appreciated!
submitted by Ok-School-7376
to CatAdvice [link] [comments]
2023.03.20 17:01 nevsid Can someone please help me?
Please help I feel like I’m losing my mind and there is no way out of how I’m feeling. I’ve been dealing with false memory ocd for nearly 2 years now and I don’t even know what’s real and what’s not. Im constantly scared and I don’t know how to get better anymore, I feel like the only way I can move on with my life is if I truly find out if I’ve done something horrible. Im going to therapy and taking medication, and nothing seems to be helping or making me feel better. Im scared im going to live the rest of my life like this and if that’s the case I might as well end it. I feel like I’m lying to everyone and I don’t know what my true memories are anymore and all I want is to be honest but how can I do that when I don’t know what is real and what is fake. Please can someone help.
submitted by nevsid
to OCD [link] [comments]
2023.03.20 17:00 pythonqueen1 Worried about day care
Hello fellow parents,
Bare with me because im writing this with glassy eyes and a heavy heart.
Im a ftm. Baby is now 7 months and we just started sending her to day care. We are on the 3rd week. Today i did a surprise visit just to see whats happening in the baby room. When i arrived, i saw my baby crying. The educators were near her but they kinda ignored her until they saw me. Then they started attending to her. I mean they were holding other kids who arent crying so i dont understand the ignoring part. Also it could be that because its my baby i feel extra defensive. I dont know if this is just me, but im getting the vibe that when they soothe my baby, they kinda just put her on the swing and made her sleep. No hugs or trying to distract her from crying. I dont see her bonding with the educators there except for one. (Unfortunately when she wasnt there during my surprise visit)
Another thing im worried about is whether they are offering milk to her. Baby is used to breastfeeding but she’ll take a bottle when shes almost asleep but according to them she flat out refuses. So im kinda baffled here. Going for 8 hours plus with no milk makes me hella worried. I bought sippy cups, straw cup, but according to them nothing works.
Am i going out of my mind here? 😭
submitted by pythonqueen1
to NewParents [link] [comments]
2023.03.20 17:00 KamchatkasRevenge Out of Cruel Space Side Story: Of Dog, Volpir, and Man - Ch 187
She had never been more exhausted in her entire life save for the one time she'd been exposed to null, and even that was a closer call than she'd have ever believed was possible. Everything was sore. Even with the warmth of axiom, the warmth of her husband's embrace, his gentle massaging and caresses.
Firi had been in labor for nearly ten hours. One of the last kits had been a stubborn little brat and taken their sweet time coming out. Even if her last daughter had been more compliant delivering eight kits was something her husband had described as a Herculean labor. Jerry having to explain what that phrase meant had been a nice distraction. That he'd made it in time at all was a small miracle. She'd even had a brief moment with Inara before she'd been taken back to the delivery room.
Then there'd been a fair bit of pain, a fair bit of effort, and a mix of hormones and emotions that had laid Firi out flat and left her damn near dead to the world after nursing the kits for the first time. Thankfully Jerry and a nurse had been on hand to assist moving the kits around as needed. Better still, the bed had been designed with recovery with a decent sized litter... or one or two very large babies and a similarly large mother, in mind. So Firi had been able to snuggle up with Jerry and her babies and get some badly needed rest before heading back to the Den.
Jerry had insisted on carrying her. While some of her half sisters had come to help move the kits home. It had been slightly embarrassing being carried through the passageways of the Tear... but if she was honest, it made her feel like the luckiest woman in the galaxy at the same time.
If anything, she felt even better now. Comfortably installed in the master bedroom with Jerry, her litter, Syl and her litter, and joining them as a special guest for a family cuddle, Mama Inara! Firi can't help but radiate with positive energy as she considers how nice it is to have her mother, her real mother, not the creature who'd spawned her, with them at long last. She hadn't realized just how much she'd missed Inara's presence. Even the kits seemed to know her instantly, bonding with Grandma when many of the kits were normally a touch suspicious of strangers, a fairly natural behavior for Volpir infants, but one that Inara's raw 'big mom energy', as Sharon described it, overcame with the same effort as taking out a soup cracker with a laser cannon.
Speaking of Inara, the venerable older Volpir's namesake squirms over towards her father, always able to find him even if she was blind folded, truly the biggest Daddy's girl in the Bridger children by a long shot. All of them were affectionate with their father, but Little Inara's bond with Jerry was something special, and she curls up against his hand, shortly followed by her brother, who was the person Little Inara loved most in all her tiny universe save her parents.
Her own children were mostly curled up against her, snuggling into their mother's warmth on pure instinct. Her own son, Chad, a name she'd been told was a human reference to a great or powerful man of legend, snuggled in most aggressively of all, clearly something of a Mommy's boy, something that made Firi's heart weep with joy. There couldn't be a luckier, more blessed or happier woman in all the known galaxy, Firi thought to herself, stroking her son's back as he fusses just a bit. Lucky as there were so many sons in the family already, and she too had been blessed to present Jerry another of his sons, something she knew pleased him greatly. Blessed because all of the many children of their family were healthy and strong, and they, and she, were surrounded by love in great abundance. Happy beyond measure, because Firi could only sleep from pure exhaustion now. How could she want to sleep, when her reality was better than any dream she'd ever had? Any fantasy she'd ever even dreamed up. Never. Not once. Could she have dreamed of something this blessed. Something this outlandish.
To be married was a dream. To have children was a dream. To be loved was a luxury beyond even many of the wealthiest women in the galaxy. To have all three, to have love in such abundance that it was hard to describe it all. How could she be anything but happy? She had to stop herself from singing with the sheer joy of it all sometimes. Even now. Even bone weary and exhausted, Firi Bridger knew only contentment and joy. Not even the presence of her birth mother, locked away in a cell far from the den could darken the shining beacon that was her life at the moment, as Jerry idly kissed her fluffy ears and combed her long red hair with his fingers.
Mama Inara too looked absolutely blissful. She was opposite Firi and Jerry, while the dozing Syl bridged the gap between them. Inara had been in more or less exile for a long time. Parted from her favorite daughters. Parted from what had always mattered most to her, her family. Blood shared meant a lot to Mama Inara, Firi knew that well. Blood of kinship, blood of oaths, it didn't make her any less a mother, Firi knew Mama Inara had given all of herself that she possibly could to the orphanage she'd been serving at as a nun. Still. It wasn't home, and at long last, Mama Inara was home again. Firi wondered for a moment if having Grandma in for a family cuddle was a bit awkward for Jerry, but considering her husband's taste in women, and that Mama Inara was as beautiful as ever from the healing coma that had sent her into hiding in the first place, Firi considered it probably wasn't too much of a hardship to have another Volpir beauty around, especially one that so strongly resembled his wives, being mother or aunt to all the Volpir wives in the Bridger clan had that effect.
Not that she could tell one way or another from Jerry, he was clearly half asleep, and utterly focused on Firi and the kits. A fantasy father for her children come true. Many men were uninvolved with their children, just as a matter of practicality, not a lack of desire to be actual fathers to their daughters, but with so many demands on their time, to include fathering more children for wives who wanted their own offspring... well. Someone had to lose out in the end. Another thing to appreciate about her husband. The concept of being uninvolved with his children had absolutely horrified him, and reinforced his strong desire to keep his family small, and more importantly, together. No living separately for the Bridger women. They all pulled and stayed together, guided by the sheer force of will of their husband, who would move heaven and earth alike for them, to ensure they all stayed together.
Firi lets herself relax back into Jerry more, practically melding with him as her consciousness expands, basking in the warmth, love and beauty of her little slice of paradise... and in a flash, she finds a small storm cloud in her sunshine. Something is upsetting her mother. Firi frowns, wondering at the brief caress of the thought. What could be troubling Mama Inara now? This should be a purely happy moment shouldn't it? For everyone? Firi wanted this pure happiness for Mama Inara too. Wanted the whole family to know her joy and peace. She reaches out, leaning forward gingerly to avoid disturbing the kits, and strokes Mama Inara's shoulder.
"Mother... is something the matter?"
Inara gives Firi a somewhat guilty smile. "You always were such a perceptive girl Firi. There's so much right at the moment that I can't help but feel a bit guilty for still being upset. I just... It's. You know what it is. Indra. Your mother-"
"You're my mother. Not her." Firi cuts Inara off before covering her mouth with her hand. She hadn't intended to be that sharp.
Still instead of scolding her, Inara simply smiles, easing Firi's worries. "It does my heart good to hear you say that, and in some ways I am, but Indra is your mother too, and my sister... and I wish she was here. Here the way I remember her. Instead she's locked up in a cell like an animal, and it hurts to know that that is the safest place for her to be. For me. For you. For the kits. She was... she spoke to me. While she was waiting for her chance to kill me. I really... I just don't understand. I desperately want to understand."
"Well we're going to have to deal with her eventually." Jerry props himself up on his elbow, joining the conversation. "Today however, we have more important things to focus on. Including you coming home to us Inara." A smile sparkles in Jerry's eyes. "Plus it means we can ask you to babysit a bit."
That got a smirk on Inara's face. "Ah, such is the lot of grandmothers everywhere. I take it you have something specific in mind, young man?"
Jerry nods solemnly. "Yep. If you could stay and support Syl with the kids for thirty minutes, maybe an hour so I can carry this woman down for a nice long, hot soak in the bath and a well earned massage."
"Hmmmmm." Inara weighs the request as if she was a government official considering a petition for a moment before breaking into a big smile with a laugh. "Of course, I'll do it gladly. It's no hardship to spend time with my now numerous granddaughters and precious grandsons, but honestly I'm happy to assist. It truly lightens my heart that my sweet girls married so well. It's beautiful to me. A loving, attentive husband, I couldn't ask for more for you all in terms of a marriage partner. So please, take Firi off for a well deserved soak. Syl and I will mind the wee ones. I've minded far more boisterous kits than these sleepy dearies... including Firi herself as it happens.”
"Oh goddess, husband, please, carry me away before she fetches her communicator and starts showing off baby pictures."
"I suppose show and tell will have to wait for later then. Perhaps after dinner."
Before Firi can say anything more, Inara is bringing the kits over with a touch of axiom and wrapping them in her tail, and Jerry is hoisting her into his arms into what he told her was called a bridal carry. Being in his arms made her feel so warm and safe. Her arms slide around her husband's neck as she gently leans up and kisses his cheek.
Her mother couldn't overstate Firi's luck. Her blessings. Her joy. Her pride. Because she was loved so readily, and after a life of hard work, and hard choices, finally had a chance to do something easy. Being a wife. Being a mother. Both weren't easy. All of life's choices had their hardships. A careless word that came off as cruel, or some other strife between spouses. Children could be a handful at any age, be it a crying kit who wouldn't calm, a toddler throwing a tantrum or an older child testing their parent's patience.
All of it took will and determination.
What was easy was loving her husband. Loving her sister wives. Loving her babies. It had always been what Firi was best at, and now at last she could let her greatest gift truly shine. First Last
submitted by KamchatkasRevenge
to HFY [link] [comments]
2023.03.20 16:59 YeetGawdMcNeckAss Looking back, what should I have done
Last year I had an offer accepted on a house after months of trying. We agreed to a very extended, 6 month close at a good discount because they needed time to look for a new house.
Every month we check in and are told things are moving along, but 1 week before close they ask for another extension. I was locked into a 3.75% rate and could only hold it until our agreed closing date.
After I say no, they decide not to sell the house to me. Here's the kicker, I sold the house I was living in to move into this new one.
I ended up firing my realtor, and ripping the selling agent a new asshole for nearly making me homeless. My lawyer suggested that I sue, but a case could take a year to get into court because "COVID" and I needed somewhere to live.
The first offer I made with my new agent got accepted on a different house for the same exact price, but at a 5.25% rate. It ended up all working out, but the extra few hundred bucks a month in my pocked because of the interest rate would be nice.
submitted by YeetGawdMcNeckAss
to FirstTimeHomeBuyer [link] [comments]