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Monday, November 26, 2012

In Brist's Time - Chapter 4

Chapter 4


            “Brist, dear, your father and I are going – Oh! I didn’t realize you had company!” Brist’s mother exclaimed upon finding guests in her daughter’s room three days later. It was the day before Brist’s birthday, and Ellen hated to leave her alone tonight, but perhaps Brist wouldn’t mind if she had company.
“Mom, this is Belana and Randy. They’re from the town about a mile away from Treepass,” Brist introduced the two friends she had spent most of the last three days with.
“Nice to meet you,” Ellen expressed with immaculate manners, modeling to the cousins just exactly where Brist learned her manners from. Brist denied that hers were anywhere near the perfection of her mother, but Randy and Belana knew better. Brist exuded the aura of a well-bred lady, albeit a teenager, and manners were just a part of the package.
“Brist, I just came in for a moment to inform you that your father and I are going to a dinner party, and seeing as how it’s the night before your birthday, and I’m feeling ever so guilty for leaving you alone tonight, I’m going to give you a few thousand to go shopping with. If your friends would like to join you and spend the night afterward, well, I see no problem with that,” Ellen permitted, embracing her daughter, then handing her the envelope containing money that she had prepared in anticipation of giving it to her daughter.
“Also, here are the keys to the Rolls. Tell your brother that while your father and I realize that he has made up his mind to return to Minnesota tomorrow afternoon, we would have no objection if he wished to spend his last night in Atlanta doing God knows what. Or if he would prefer, there are some chips to the Silver Star casino in Dunwoody. Maybe if finds some entertainment here in Georgia, he might decide to stay.” Ellen sighed somewhat wistfully. Even though she would win no medals for mother of the year, she certainly wouldn’t get jailed for parental neglect, but for reasons of control more than anything. She hated to have either of her children out of her range of influence for very long.
“Ellen! We’re going to be late!” Edward called as he made his way to Brist’s bedroom.
“Coming Dear,” Ellen responded, obeying her husband’s request to hurry. Just as she was about to exit the room, Edward entered it.
“I don’t know where my son is, Brist, but if you should see him, please tell him for me that he can spend however much he wants if he goes to the casino, and anything he wins is his to keep.”
“I will Daddy,” Brist answered.
“We’ll not be home until after 10. I can’t say exactly when. I love you honey, have fun,” Ellen wished, standing by her husband.
“Yes, have fun princess, and be a good girl, okay?” Edward added to his wife’s instructions. Then he held his arm out, which Ellen took, and the two of them departed the room. Soon, they were completely out of the house, safely ensconced in the car that had been waiting for them.
“Do either of you want to go shopping before the mall closes?” Brist asked her two friends.
“Sure!” They answered simultaneously.
“Okay then.” Brist smiled.

*******


“Hey! What do you know, they have what I need here, cool! Now I can go home and test out my mini digital video camera, woohoo!” Brist said to herself in a softly excited voice.
“Are you done shopping then?” Randy asked.
“It’s time we got home, or else my mom’ll get pissed,” Belana added.
“Sure, just as soon as I purchase this,” Brist replied.
“It’ll be quicker if you just stuff it down your shirt.” Randy grumbled, and Belana nodded. Both were truly afraid of what Belana’s mom might do if they were late.
“Not if I got caught, besides there’s no line.” Brist pointed to the lane that just opened, then quickly got into it before anyone else discovered it. Gently, Brist set her shopping basket on the counter, allowing the clerk to ring up the tower of 100 DVDs that she had decided to buy.
“That comes to $31.86.” The clerk stated. Brist handed her the money, and then held out her hand for the change. Once it was placed in her hand, she gathered up her belongings, thanked the clerk, then left the store with Randy and Belana close on her tail.
Soon, the trio was at Brist’s car. Brist opened the trunk and motioned for Randy and Belana to place their bags inside it. Belana thanked Brist again for the outfits she now owned. Randy followed suit, waiting for Belana to get out of his way so that he could place his bag in the trunk.
“You guys! It was nothing!” Brist demurred. “I happen to have parents with money, and most of my friends do not. I just consider this my way of sharing the wealth.”
“Still, you are way too generous. You bought each of us not just one new outfit, but practically a whole new wardrobe, and accessories to match!” Belana said in awe, still not able to believe how much money had been spent on just shoes alone.
“My mom doesn’t buy me this many shoes in a year, let alone at the same time,” Randy added. “I really appreciate it. We – and all the kids in our small town – go to school with a lot of kids whose parents do buy them these kinds of clothes, and now, for once, we won’t look so different.”
“I agree, but I hope you don’t think of us as the type of people who will be your friend so long as you give us stuff,” Belana stated, worried.
Brist smiled and shut the trunk. She had spent the last few moments fussing with the contents of the trunk in order to hide her modest blush, but since she could no longer pretend to organize their things, she had to close it and fend off these compliments before she burned up completely.
“Listen, I know what kind of people you are; you proved your niceness before I ever flashed any money. If you were just being friends with me to get money out of me, you wouldn’t have been able to spend these last few days giggling and playing silly games with me without some ulterior motives creeping in. So what if I am way too generous, it’s in my nature and I can’t help it! Now, let’s get y’all home before you get in trouble,” Brist demurred. She climbed into the driver's seat. The cousins shrugged and joined her in the car. Belana sat in front; Randy lay across the back seat.
The two girls chatted on about everything from favorite colors to favorite actors. Belana curiously asked Brist more about sex, and Brist answered as accurately as possible. Meanwhile, Brist was doing her best to get the cousins home on time.
“Damn!” Randy exclaimed as he happen to see the speedometer and how fast Brist was going, but all too soon they were in front of Belana’s house. They were even on time!
Belana’s family, like just about every family that lived in this tiny town, had a farmhouse that had started out small, and then grew over the years. Each of the town’s families had a small parcel of land that they worked, not really for profit, but for themselves. They all kept most of what they grew, and only sold their crops when there was an excess.
All in all, the town was self sufficient, but not monetarily well off. Which was just fine by them, they were simple folks and they took care of their own. Usually, their children didn’t attend school beyond what was required by law, and nearly everyone who had ever been born here, died here. There were only a few exceptions, one of those being Randy’s great-grandmother. She had married a man who asked her to move to another state, they became ranchers and were prosperous enough to last for a few generations, but Brist had learned over the past few days that Randy’s mother had fallen ill a few years ago, and caring for her had taken up all of their resources. Then, she had cruelly died anyway. (His father had died when he was still very little.)
Naturally, his mother and her ancestors had always kept in touch with their relatives in this small town. So when she died, they hadn’t even hesitated a second in deciding to take him in.
Brist looked admiringly at the house as they approached; it had survived so much. Amy was waiting on the porch when they arrived, and she did not look pleased to see Brist. In her mind, in addition to any prior reasons Amy had for hating Brist, she now hated her for stealing her friends, the only two people in the whole town who were exactly her age.
“What have you been doing all day?” She snapped. She looked positively pissed-off.
“We shopped,” Randy answered simply.
“Will you stay awhile?” Belana asked as her mother stepped onto the porch.
“Actually, I’m feeling a little tired, and so I think I’ll go home, but tomorrow – since it’ll be my birthday – I’ll ask my parents if we can use the jet to fly to Disneyland and stay in our beach house for a week, or maybe to Paris and stay in our house overlooking the Champs Elysee,” Brist suggested.
“Disneyland!” The cousins exclaimed. “How cool is that?!”
“I’m sorry, but you two can’t go,” Belana’s mother stated with a firm frown.
“But-” Belana protested.
“No buts! I said no!”
“No problem, we can go somewhere closer to home, say more shopping at the mall?” Brist suggested, directing the question at Belana’s mom.
“We’ll see,” Belana’s mom responded. Brist smiled one of her dazzling and disarmingly charming smiles that lit up a whole room.
“Marvelous! I’ll come by about 10 am then, Okay?”
“Sure,” Belana’s mom said dryly, tempted to roll her eyes.
“Bye Belana, bye Randy.” Brist turned to wave at Amy, who looked about ready to kill her, then got in her car and left.

Go To Chapter 5

Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Lightstones - Chapter 6

This book has now been published on Kindle, if you have a Kindle or the Kindle App, please buy my book :-D The Clan Chronicles - Book One - The Lightstones

Thursday, November 22, 2012

In Brist's Time - Chapter 3

Chapter Three


“Brist Anne Southerland! I don’t know what you think you are doing, but Dad will definitely not be pleased!”
“Drew! What are you doing here?”
“The air conditioning isn’t working properly, so mom gave me directions to get here figuring a swim might cool me off, but never mind what I’m doing here, what are you doing, hmm?” Drew demanded.
“I’m swimming with my friends,” Brist said defensively. She was now sitting, hugging her knees to her chest. So was Belana, but Randy was trying to hide behind Brist.
“Swimming! That’s funny, cuz it looks to me like you’re naked, lying on a rock with a naked guy and another naked girl, and to make matters worse! My baby sister is kissing what has to be the first male she’s seen since she was dumped by her boyfriend of a year,” Drew said over-protectively. Belana saw the wounded look that fixed itself on Brist’s face at her brother’s words, and decided that she had had enough.
“Drew Southerland! I don’t know what you think you saw, but your sister, my cousin, and I were innocently tanning in the sun. You obviously don’t have much trust in your sister, so I will tell you, nothing was going on!” She snapped, angered by the fact that he was making them all feel like naughty toddlers than the near-adults that they were.
“Oh really? Nothing?” Drew asked in a condescending manner.
“Drew, you are absolutely disgusting! What do you think would happen? Did you think that I would have sex with her cousin right in front of her? Or did you think that she would join us?” Brist would have stamped her foot in anger if she hadn’t been sitting on her butt, trying to keep herself as covered as possible.
Drew stammered for a moment then grunted. “Well I came to swim, and I’m not leaving until I do,” he stated matter-of-factly.
“Fine, Drew, whatever. Could you just give us a few moments to get dressed?” Brist asked. She loved her brother dearly, but he could be so immature sometimes.
Drew nodded, then wandered off to a secluded spot to change into his swim trunks.
The three skinny-dippers took that moment to jump off the rock, wade to shore, and get dressed as quickly as possible. As soon as Drew deemed it safe, he returned to the pond and pulled Brist into an embrace.
“I’m sorry I went off like that, I was just freaked is all. I’m mean admit it, you would have been concerned if you’d been in my position, wouldn’t you?” He asked, sincerely sorry that he had over-reacted.
Brist nodded slowly. “I guess.”
“Hey listen, you guys don’t have to leave just yet,” Drew offered, not wanting to be left alone.
“Oh we weren’t going to, see? I brought a picnic lunch for us to enjoy.” Brist held up the basket she was about to unpack.
“Oh,” Drew uttered, then left them to swim in the pond alone for a while.
“Oh Belana! Of all the days for the a/c to break down!” Brist sighed.
“Yeah too bad, I was actually having fun. Question?”
“Yeah?”
“Were you and Randy actually kissing?” Belana asked curiously. “I mean I was half asleep and didn’t see or hear anything.”
Brist smiled and looked at Randy, who cleared his throat, and blushed.
“You were!” Belana exclaimed.
“Well, I could tell that it was his first real kiss, and I was trying to determine if Jesse had ruined me for other guys,” Brist said.
“Hey! It wasn’t my first kiss,” Randy protested in a whisper so that Drew wouldn’t hear. “Can we please talk about something else?”
“Sure. Um, thanks for today Brist, I’m glad Amy stormed off and left us to get to know you,” Belana told Brist.
“Yeah, me too. I’m having fun, and we rarely ever have fun around Amy,” Randy added, glad for the change in the conversation.
“You’re welcome, but don’t worry, today isn’t over yet,” Brist said as she unpacked their picnic lunch.
“Pack enough sandwiches,” Belana remarked dryly when she saw the heaping plate of them that Brist withdrew from the basket.
“What kind are they?” Randy asked.
Brist laughed. “Our cook makes hundreds of these sandwiches everyday for the servants to snack on. Egg salad sandwiches are a favorite among the servants, so is tuna.”
“Mmm, delicious,” Randy murmured.
“Mmhmm,” Belana agreed.
“What’s to drink?” Randy asked after the three had gorged themselves on the sandwiches and humorous conversation. Brist pulled a couple of fancy looking bottles out of the basket.
“Wine?” Belana giggled.
“Don’t worry guys, it’s non-alcoholic,” Drew said as he joined the group.
Belana and Randy made exaggerated sounds of disappointment, causing Brist to laugh.
“Hey, do I know you?” Drew asked Belana.
“No.” She shook her head, smiling.
“Then how’d you know my name?” He wondered.
“Easy, we were talking about you before you showed up,” Belana teased.
“You were?” He asked gullibly.
“Actually yes, but we were talking about who might happen upon us. I mentioned that you probably wouldn’t. Guess I was wrong,” Brist chuckled.
“So Brist, if anything had happened here today, you would have told me, wouldn’t you?” Drew asked.
“Of course Drew, you’re my big brother, I tell you everything. I told you about every time with Jesse, didn’t I?” Brist answered.
“Yeah,” Drew nodded, reassurred.
“Just like you tell me everything… like you told me about you, Lillian, and certain events that took place under the bleachers,” Brist prodded, causing Drew to snort in laughter. Then he sighed.
“I don’t know why I had to come here, I would have rather stayed in Minnesota so that I could see Lillian every day. God I miss her!” Drew lamented.
“Drew, you are 21 now, why don’t you just tell dad that you’re old enough to stay in Minnesota without parental supervision.”
“What and miss seeing my beautiful sister everyday?”
“Ha! I’m not beautiful and you know it! God, just look at me!” Brist exclaimed. Drew shrugged and shook his head, as if to say “whatever you say babe.” Randy looked puzzled.
“What do you mean you’re not beautiful? I think you’re gorgeous,” he admitted.
“Gorgeous! Do you have glass eyes!? Just look at me, I have this horrible shade of red hair, and my eyes are purple! Look at them,” Brist ordered, slightly pulling down her right bottom eyelid to give Randy a better look at her eye. This caused her three companions to laugh. “And, I’m short. It’s so infuriating that Drew is a whole 8 inches taller than me. Take it from me, I am not beautiful.”
“If you say so,” Drew chuckled.
“See,” Brist said as if Drew had just confirmed her opinion.
Everyone finished their lunch, except for Drew, and sprawled out on the grass in relaxation. The quartet chatted amicably for a while, until a natural lull occurred in the conversation. Brist took this as a cue to unpack dessert.
“I hope everyone likes my surprise,” she said mysteriously. She deliberately created an air of suspense by removing half a three layered milk chocolate cake – having a generous amount of lush fudge between the layers, whole and pieces of ripe raspberries imbedded in the cake, and an opulent frosting made out of melted dark chocolate chips and crushed raspberries – out of the basket. After it was safely out of the basket, where it had been in its own protected compartment, she set it down with an exaggerated flair.
“Voila!” She announced.
“Mmm,” Belana moaned appreciatively. “If you had told me about this, I would have saved more room!”
“Hey, it’s half gone!” Randy protested.
“Randy! Don’t be so selfish, there’s plenty left to go around!” Belana chided. Together, the group polished off the delicious cake in no time. Not wanting the day to end, but not wanting to swim again so soon after eating, and yet antsy to do something, Brist decided to pack up and bring her new friends to her house.
“Coming Drew?” She asked her older brother.
“Naw, I’m gonna go tanning on the rock a while,” he replied lazily.
“Ok, but be careful, you just ate.”
“I will, don’t worry. Where you off to?”
“Our house.”
“Oh, well, I don’t know how you got here, but you can’t take the golf cart back.”
“Don’t worry, we’re riding horses.”
“Ugh! I don’t know how you can stand those things!”
Brist shook her head and laughed. This comment from a would-be hobby farmer!
“What?” Drew asked suspiciously.
“Some farmer you’ll make.”
“Hey, I like petting animals, not riding them,” Drew defended himself.

*******

“Wow! You live here?” Belana asked.
“Yes.”
“This place is cool!” Randy exclaimed.
“It’s okay.” Brist shrugged modestly.
Okay?” Randy questioned as he jumped off his horse. He immediately offered to help Belana down from Cream.
“Well it’s kinda weird. It looks like an old plantation, which it is, but it has everything uncharacteristic of that time period. It was built by my really-great grandpa. Anyway, I think it would be cool to have lived in it back then.”
“Not me! Life was probably horrible! No video games, no TV... How did they live?” Randy asked emphatically.
“Apparently they managed somehow!” Brist laughed. She snuggled up to Cream’s face a few moments, then told her and Honey to go to the stables to be rubbed down. As she watched them walk to the stables, she noticed Renee watching them come towards her, and motioned for Renee to care for them alone this time. Once she received a nodded confirmation from the stable master, she led her friends inside.
“Hmm, the air must be working again,” Brist remarked as she showed them into the library, which was the first door to the right of the entryway.
“Do you two want anything to drink?” She asked.
“Sure”
“Yeah, I am a little thirsty.”
Brist went to a table that was somewhat centrally located, opened what appeared to be a tiny laptop computer, touched the part of the screen that said ‘kitchen,’ and waited for an answer from the cook.
Moments later, Rachel, the cook, was heard asking what was needed. Brist ordered three glasses of her favorite juice, and after she received confirmation of prompt service, she re-closed the intercom panel and turned her attention back to her friends.
“Brist! What an awesome picture of you!” Belana exclaimed. “I’ve always wanted to dress up in a beautiful old-fashioned dress like that.”
“Amazingly enough, that’s not me. It’s my really-great grandma, and as if that weren’t weird enough, her name was also Brist. Brist Southerland Evans to be exact, and it’s so freaky because my mother’s name is Ellen Evans Southerland.”
“No way that could be anyone other than you,” Randy said, examining the portrait of the long dead woman of Brist’s ancestry.
“Want to know something even weirder?” Brist asked.
Both Randy and Belana nodded. Brist carefully reached behind the huge painting and pulled out an age-yellowed envelope.
“This letter is addressed to my mother and was discovered when she was 16. Her parents had decided to restore the painting, and – for the first time since it was placed here – it was moved. Lo-and-behold, this was wedged into the corner of the frame. On it are instructions for it not to be opened until 10-7-2001. Hey! That’s my birthday! Anyway, it says it’s from my really-great grandma Brist,” Brist informed them, passing the envelope to them to examine. Once she got it back from them, she replaced it behind the painting.
“That is so weird!” Randy exclaimed. Belana agreed, rubbing the sudden set of goosebumps off her arms.
“Well, stories are passed down through the generations about how crazy she was, and how she thought she was from the future. Isn’t that funny?” Brist asked.
“She thought she was from the future?” Belana questioned.
“Mmhmm, I can’t remember from exactly when she claimed to have come from, but they say that she had in her possession the most odd machines. Machines that could capture a person like a photograph, yet it moved when viewed. Not to mention the machine used to view it with. Then, there was a machine that made such horrible noise that no one could bear to be around it except for her, and they say that she called the horrible noise music, and whenever she listened to it she would dance in the most unseemly way. In fact, her love of dance inspired my, ahem, male ancestors to keep a very sharp eye on their daughters to insure that they never exhibited any of my many greats grandmother’s undesirable behaviors.”
Brist made a sound that indicated she was puzzled, and then continued on. “Odd, I recall hearing tons of stories about Brist, and they’re all told in order to discourage inappropriate behavior from the females of the Evans family, but I don’t recall ever hearing of any other females in the family other than my mother. I mean not even anything about the wives of my male ancestors that helped continue on the line, nor anything about any of the female children that died at a young age and are buried in the family cemetery. I find that insulting, don’t you Belana?”
“Yes, my family is abound with stories of courageous women starting with my first ancestor to inhabit the area. They say that she and her husband had a somewhat sad life to begin with, but that she was able to give up her most precious possession to ensure the continuation of our line. Apparently, she made a very good friend with an influential woman of what must have been the Evans family, who helped her and all those people who were depending on her to survive, and founded the town that we live in,” Belana explained.
“Well, my favorite story passed down to me from my Grandmother is about thieves,” Randy informed them, deciding to contribute his own stories to their musings about the past. “As my Grandmother told it, our family once resided in England, in a fair sized – but by no means huge – castle, and for some reason, the castle and all its inhabitants fell on hard times. In hopes of a better life, they packed up and moved to America. However, the trip itself cost everything they had, and the enraged and desperate men took to raiding the owners of the ship that had transported them to America. They watched carefully over the owners and their family, and at every opportunity robbed them of everything valuable they had on them at the time,” Randy told them with an excited gleam in his eye.
“How vexing that must have been for the ship owners and their family!” Brist laughed, taking another drink from the glass of juice that had arrived during their discussion.
“Mmm! This is the most delicious juice I’ve ever had, is it watermelon?” Belana asked.
“Yes.” Brist smiled, a low moan indicating that this was her favorite juice. Randy continued his examination of the library. He thought that there were certainly a lot of books, but not really one interested in reading, he made no comment on it. However, there was a cabinet made entirely out of glass which was filled with an amazing amount of different liquors.
“Nice liquor cabinet Brist. Think we’d get in trouble if we sampled its contents?” He asked.
“Well if you and Belana were of a legal age to drink, then no, we could all, ahem, sample until we couldn’t see straight and started seeing visions of fish swimming in the air, but since you are not, then we cannot,” Brist stated, coming to stand next to Randy in front of the cabinet. Belana following her, her breath catching at the sight of not only a variety of liquor, but a wide range of ages on them too.
“Wow this brandy is labeled ‘1695!’” Belana exclaimed.
“Amazing isn’t it? Do you know how much work goes into the upkeep of such an old alcohol? It needs to be strained every few years, and even then this particular vintage must never be drank in large quantities, or else the drinker may die of alcohol poisoning. See, alcohol continues to ferment, grows stronger over time, and never stops. That is why the finest wines are of an older vintage, but more than that, they must come from a decent batch to begin with, for adding age to bad alcohol just makes it worse,” Brist explained simplistically, not wanting to confuse them with technical terms.
“How do you know so much about alcohol?” Randy wondered out loud.
“Ever since anyone can remember, there has always been a cellar full of ‘homemade’ alcohols, and every member of our family has been taught the basics of it creation. It was especially a passion of my mother’s, and she taught it to me. Therefore, I know a fair amount about alcohol.”
“Was Drew taught too?” Belana asked, curious about Brist’s handsome older brother.
“Yes, but my father would never let him truly pursue the subject, Drew was bred to take over the company, and I was taught to pursue whatever subject that pleased me as long as I also learned those subjects that would make me an asset when it came to hosting business dinners, or parties. I am the perfect hostess; I can make drinks – especially martinis – oversee preparations, and make small talk all while keeping an ear open for any profits to be had. It’s all quite horrible when you think about how it’s almost discrimination. I must be made ready to compliment my future husband perfectly, yet in a way, it’s allowed me such great freedom. I mean I’m not quite yet 18, but I have come to appreciate that while Drew’s the boy and must one day take over the business – or so Dad would like to think – I have been allowed to do as I please because I’m female,” Brist informed them.
Suddenly, she blushed. “I realize that it may sound like I’m bragging, but I really can do anything. I’ve personally made sure that not only am I able to do anything I set my mind to, but also to do it better than anyone else. Okay, I’ll stop singing my praises now!” Brist blushed harder, not sure why she had felt compelled to tell them so much. She took another sip from her glass.
“It’s getting late, Randy and I had best get home,” Belana stated abruptly after she glanced at the clock.
“Bei’s mom will be pissed if we aren’t home by 8:00,” Randy added.
“No problem, let me drive you home,” Brist offered, then for the second time since they’d been there, went to the tiny laptop computer-shaped console on the centrally located table and opened it. Since she was unsure of where her mother was located, she touched the box on the screen that indicated that the entire house would be able to hear. “Mom?” She questioned, waiting a few moments for a reply.
“Yes dear?” Her mom’s voice asked through an almost invisible speaker on the table.
“I’m going to borrow a car for a while, I’ll be back in about a half an hour,” Brist informed her.
“Sure thing honey.” Brist was infinitely surprised that her mother hadn’t argued, or insisted that she have Drew drive her. Hmm... she must feel bad for me...

Go To Chapter 4

Sunday, November 18, 2012

2- Color Tri Ring, Triquetra, or Triple Knot Chart

As promised in a previous post, I was working on a new Crochet chart for this:

It's called a Triquetra or a Celtic Triple Knot, and is an image most people have probably seen somewhere before. Most famously, on the cover of the book in Charmed.


Here's the chart I made so that I could crochet this Triquetra. If you know how to crochet, but have never done filet or color charts, the basic concept is that any square that is blank is crocheted using one color, and any square that is colored in is crocheted in a different color. (With Filet, the blank squares are open, and the colored squares are filled.)
 The chart is made to that each piece overlaps so that you could print them all out and then tape them together. That's why this picture - top - is "off center."


 This is the bottom left of the chart.


This is the bottom right AND the missing bit from the right side of the top. Despite the fact that I posted them from the top of the chart down, I find it easiest to crochet the pattern from the bottom right on up :-D

Here is what it looks like when crocheted in a basic 2 colors:

I also have plans to crochet this someday in 3 colors. It'll have a background color, a 2nd color for the outline of the rings - basically everything that's light green, AND a color for the inside of the rings, which will get tricky, lol!

Have a happy day :-)

Saturday, November 17, 2012

In Brist's Time - Chapter 2

Chapter Two

They arrived in Georgia late the next morning and drove directly to their mansion. It was an old plantation handed down from father to son until it was given to Ellen Evans, Brist’s mother, who was an only child. It was built by – Brist supposed he was her many times great grandfather – David Evans, and has lovingly been kept in as perfect a condition as possible over the years.
Immediately, Brist set her bag in her room and ran to the stables. “I’m going into town, be back soon!” She called over her shoulder as she ran.
In the stables, she greeted Cream, the horse that she herself had trained from a foal. The creamy white mare pranced in glee at the sight of her mistress.
I’m glad to see you too!” Brist smiled, running her hand over the amazing Arabian thoroughbred.
And I am glad to see you Brist. That horse is the most stubborn, obnoxious-“
No, she is the smartest horse in the whole world, and she doesn’t take kindly to insults,” Brist said with a haughty air, then she hugged Renee – the head of the stables – warmly. She filled Renee in on the events of the past few days as the two of them quickly prepared Cream for a ride. Once Cream was ready, Brist waved goodbye to Renee and rode Cream out to the edge of the approximately 10 square miles of property.
Stay here cream, I’ll be back shortly.” Brist crossed the property line by walking between two trees. There was just enough space between the two giant oak trees for a person on horseback to ride through, but even so, one had to know exactly where the space was in order to find it. She would have ridden Cream into town, but she didn’t want to look odd or silly, and so decided against it.
Thinking more about Treepass, she curled her lips in to an appreciative smile for the planning the whole project must have taken. It was odd enough that there was a thick line of trees surrounding the property, but the really odd thing was the fact that there was not one other single spot large enough for a person to squeeze through, well at least there hadn’t been, until one of her great grandfathers had decided that his new fangled car needed a driveway.
Brist’s many times great grandma – the one she had been named after – had named the narrow space between the trees “Treepass” on her 20th birthday, and cheekily declared the day a national holiday.
Sounds like something I’d do,” she thought aloud and laughed softly as she tried to picture the spirited, long-dead ancestor that she had so much in common with naming something a silly as a passageway between two trees. She continued to chuckle softly to herself as she walked to the town.
What’s so funny?” A girl about her age fairly barked.
Brist whirled around to face her. She was standing with a girl and a guy, both also about her age. They had apparently followed her down the street.
None of your business.”
Who are you?”
Where do you come from?”
We don’t like strangers walking through our town.”
Brist looked from person to person as they each spoke. “Where’s a store?” She asked, needing a reminder.
Answer us!”
None of your business!” Brist said snobbily.
We don’t like strangers, leave!”
Fine, don’t be courteous. I am none of your damn business, and since your town’s only about three streets big, I’m sure I’ll run into it on my own.” She stormed off.
She had been in this town before, but it had been 9 years since the last time and she didn’t remember much about it... Except that she once had a friend in town named Amy, who had up and decided to hate her one day because her daddy was rich and Amy’s wasn’t.
All of a sudden, she was slammed against a wall.
What the hell!” Brist exclaimed, suppressing her natural instinct to roundhouse the snotty girl holding her up against the wall.
I asked you who you are and you are going to answer me!”
Why does it matter?”
There are twice as many girls in this town as boys, and we don’t need another moving in on our territory.”
Territory? What are you? Dogs? Look my name is Brist and I don’t want any trouble. I just want to get to a store, buy what I came for, and be on my merry way! Now, let me go.”
Amy, let her go; she’s not really a stranger,” the other girl said, placing a hand on Amy’s arm.
No Belana, she’s worse!” Amy said, shaking Belana’s hand off her arm, then storming off.
So, you’re Brist. Amy sometimes refers to you as the bitch,” the guy informed her.
Still hates me huh?” Brist more stated than asked, staring after her one time friend. A wonder she hadn’t recognized Amy from her glossy black hair and cold blue eyes.
Apparently.”
Randy, hush!” Belana admonished, lightly tapping Randy on the shoulder. “Come on Brist, we’ll take you to the town store. So… what brings you into this town? I wouldn’t think that our old general store would have anything to interest you.”
Well, actually, part of the reason I came here rather than go into the city is because I wanted to ride my horse, and I figured I could figuratively kill two birds with one stone. The only thing I need is to see if your store carries some rewriteable DVDs. See, I was given a mini digital video recorder that records directly onto DVDs yesterday for my birthday, and I only have a couple to record onto, and I wanted more, in case I need them,” Brist rambled an explaination.
Oh! Well, we don’t have any of those here. Hmm… I didn’t know you were born on October 2nd,” Belana remarked conversationally.
Actually, my birthday’s on the 7th, why?”
It’s just that my little sister Sarah’s birthday was yesterday, or rather would have been if she were still alive,” Belana replied.
Oh no! What happened?” Brist asked with genuine sadness.
Exactly three years ago, she was swimming and she drowned.” Belana stated succinctly, unable to go into more detail because it still hurt to think about.
To the day?”
Mmm-hmm, she had just turned five.”
Oh how sad, I’m so sorry,” Brist murmured sympathetically.
Here’s the old general store,” Randy changed the subject. Brist checked her wallet.
Well, since you’re sure that the store doesn’t have what I’m looking for – and since the smallest bill I have is a $50 – I suppose I should just go back home,” Brist said as her tummy growled at the smell of home made brownies coming from the store.
Are you hungry?” Randy asked.
A little, I guess,” Brist answered. Amazed at the casual way Brist discussed having a lot of money on hand, Randy faltered a bit before continuing with his suggestion..
Well, the General store sells three brownie’s for 99 cents, but all I have is 50 cents. Belana, do you have any money?”
Yeah, I have about 50 cents too.”
Great! We can get some brownies!” Randy exclaimed. Taking Belana’s quarters from her, he ran into the store and returned a few moments later with the brownies.
The two of you are so generous, spending the last bit of money you have on brownies, just so my tummy would stop rumbling!” Brist said, her mouth full of the brownie Randy had handed to her. “So, to show my appreciation, I’m going to repay each of you.” She said as she handed each of them a $50 out of her wallet. They were too flustered to protest or even express their thanks. Her face lit up as a brilliant idea hit her. “Can either of you ride?”
When I lived with my mom, I had a horse, so yes I can ride, but she can’t,” Randy explained.
I would, but our family hasn’t been able to afford a horse since the last one died, and that was before I was born,” Belana added.
Hmm… wait here, I’ll be back in about 20 minutes,” Brist stated before running out of town, her feet fairly flying due to all the running she did in strength training class. Soon, she was back through Treepass and Cream was carrying her home.
Cream was more than happy to race the wind. She somehow knew she was the fastest horse in the state, possibly all of history, and she loved having any chance to prove it.
Saddle another horse, a gentle mare, um… Cream’s mother,” Brist called to Renee.
Sure thing, she’ll be ready in a jiffy,” Renee answered.
Good thing, because Cream, her mother, and I will be leaving again as soon as she’s ready,” Brist informed her as she ran to the house. Inside the kitchen, she begged the cook to pack her a picnic for three.
Thanking the cook as she accepted the full basket, Brist ran back to the stables, hopped on Cream’s mother, directed Cream to follow her, and was back at Treepass in no time.
Exactly 20 minutes after she had left, Brist was back at the old General Store.
Come with me you two. I’ll take you swimming.”
Swimming? Around here? In what?” Belana asked.
Well, we can swim fully clothed.”
Where?”
Come, I’ll show you,” Brist replied mischievously. They followed her as she led them through the woods, through Treepass, and to the horses. Both were too excited to really notice where they were going.
Oh! But I don’t know how to ride!” Belana exclaimed.
That’s why there are only two horses, Randy will ride one, and you will ride behind me,” Brist explained.
Which one do I get?” Randy asked.
This is my horse, Cream. You will ride her mother, Honey. Honey is the world’s second smartest horse,” Brist remarked as Randy mounted Honey and she helped Belana onto Cream.
Oh really?” He asked, his tone indicating that he didn’t take her seriously.
Yep! She obeys every command to perfection, she’s very gentle, and she can sense a person's moods. She even tries to comfort her rider when they're sad,” Brist informed him as she mounted her horse.
Then why don’t you ride her?” He questioned as they began to ride at a leisurely pace.
Because she mated with the world’s wildest stallion – who won’t let anyone but me touch him – and had the world’s smartest, not to mention fastest horse. Cream here has her mothers brains, and her father’s spirit.”
She doesn’t seem too spirited to me,” Randy said to mock the way Brist was bragging about her horse. Cream looked at him and snorted. “Why, I’ll bet that she doesn’t have a brain in her head!” Cream whinnied loudly at his remark and stopped short.
Hey! She is listening you know!” Brist protested. Randy turned his horse around and stopped.
Can she really understand what we’re saying?”
Well, she has always appeared to know exactly what people are saying, she even talks back to me. Right baby?” Cream nodded her head. “Randy was just joking and he’s very sorry. Right Randy?”
Yes,” he replied. Cream looked at him for a moment, trying to figure out if he was telling the truth. Then, satisfied that he was, she nodded her head at him like a queen pardoning a criminal, and began to walk again.
Wow,” Randy breathed.
Yeah,” Belana agreed. The three chatted amicably for a while until Brist took a look around and smiled.
Our destination will come into view shortly,” she said proudly.
Just then, it was as if the trees decided to pull up their roots and make way for them. All of a sudden they were in a clearing with the most spectacular view of a slim waterfall with crystal blue water gently spilling over an elegant edge, into a darling little pool with a perfectly huge tanning rock in the middle.
Wow!” Belana praised.
Yeah,” Randy agreed.
Let’s dive in!” Brist suggested, dismounting. She playfully kicked off her shoes, and then held out her hand to help Belana down.
Um Brist?” Belana stammered. “It looks very inviting. Do we have to swim fully clothed?”
Well, usually I skinny dip, but since you–”
Sounds fun!” Belana grinned mischievously, cutting Brist off.
Uh-huh,” Randy agreed, looking at Brist. He smiled and mentally rubbed his hands together.
What about Randy?” Brist asked shyly.
He’s my cousin, he’s seen me naked before,” Belana answered.
I guess I don’t mind if you don’t.” Brist smiled, only slightly nervous. Her mind wandered to the last time she was naked in front of a guy. She and Jesse had been in the back of her limo and she was very glad that the driver couldn’t see into the backseat. Coming back to reality, she gave an involuntary sigh as she slid her shorts down her leg.
Is something wrong?” Belana asked as she removed her shirt.
Not really, I was just remembering the last time I had sex with my Ex-boyfriend,” Brist answered, proud that she didn’t start to cry.
Huh?” Randy nearly choked, glad that his shirt muffled the sound as he pulled it over his head.
Was your ex cute?” Belana asked.
Extremely. Look at the ring he gave me when we broke up yesterday.”
Broke up? Randy was paying rapt attention now.
Ooooo! Was he rich too?” Belana asked.
No.”
What’s it like?” Belana asked, unconcerned that she was completely naked, the first of the trio.
What?” Brist asked, puzzled.
Sex. How does it feel?” Belana asked, very curious. Randy dropped his boxers, joining in Belana’s nakedness.
Well… I thought it was extremely pleasant,” Brist answered honestly, removing the last bit of her clothing.
This isn’t what I want to be hearing when I am standing here naked with two naked girls!” Randy frowned.
Well then, let’s jump in!” Brist exclaimed, then proceeded to do just that. Belana and Randy wasted no time in joining her, and in no time the three were splashing each other and having a grand old time. Finally, Randy’s curiosity got the best of him.
Brist, can I ask you a personal question?” He asked.
Sure.”
I didn’t let you finish answering Belana’s question, and now I’m curious as well. What is sex like?” Randy asked shyly.
What, is everyone in this town a virgin?” Brist wondered aloud.
You see, there’s really not too many of us in town to be having sex,” Belana answered.
Which was true. There were more girls than boys which meant that there was fierce competition amongst the girls. Plus, most of the girls who managed to snag and keep a guy made it a point to make him wait...
I can’t describe it exactly,” Brist shrugged. “The last time I had it was in the back of my limo as we were on our way to his house. Once we arrived, I was still naked from the waist down and it was because I couldn’t find my undies. So, he got out to give me more room to look, and I saw them hanging out of his pocket. Giggling, I grabbed them, and quickly finished getting dressed. Then, I got out, and helped him get some stuff out of the trunk, and we nearly did it again. Apparently, the vision of me sitting on the edge of the open trunk was more than he could handle. Suddenly, his best friend, who lives across the street, shouted ‘way to go Jesse!’ which was followed by a round of wolf whistles from our friends. We busted up laughing. It was definitely a memory I’ll never forget.”
Belana was quiet for a moment as she tried to imagine herself in Brist’s place. She suddenly got a spurt of energy, jumped atop the rock in the middle of the pond, and began to dance. She motioned for Brist to join her, which she did, and then the two of them danced somewhat provocatively, just for Randy.
He blushed and slightly turned his head, but made no real attempt to stop looking.
Belana! Randy’s your cousin, you shouldn’t be dancing naked in front of him,” Brist jokingly scolded her.
Well, actually… we’re not that closely related, our great-grandmothers were sisters,” she retorted.
Well ok then!” Brist laughed. The two girls danced wildly, passionately, and seductively – like gypsies – until they had exhausted themselves and collapsed onto the rock in a fit of uninhibited laughter.
I am so glad that my brother Drew doesn’t know where this place is. He would be upset if he saw the way we were dancing,” Brist snorted with laughter.
What about somebody else? Does anyone else ever come here?” Belana asked.
My Mother used to, but she ‘outgrew’ such ‘childish frivolity’ a long time ago, and none of the servants are allowed to come here. At least not when were home,” Brist answered. She lazily stretched out onto her back, enjoying the sunshine on her nude body. She smiled over at Belana, who was lying on her stomach, completely relaxed, and looking absolutely contented almost as if she were sleeping. There was the perfect amount of room between the two of them for Randy. “Randy, why don’t you join us on this surprisingly comfortable tanning rock?” Brist asked.
I will, in a minute.” Randy replied, mentally urging himself to go soft. It was embarrassing for him to be so turned on by the sight of two naked girls, and he prayed that neither of them noticed. Once he was as relaxed as he felt he was going to get, he crawled up onto the rock, and settled himself between the two young women sprawled out on the rock.
Brist silently appreciated Randy’s good looks. He had short black hair, brown eyes, his body was about 5’10”, and was pleasant to look at. The only thing that could make it better would be if he worked out a bit to add a toned look. She compared his looks to those of his cousin. Belana looked nothing like him, having blonde hair, brown eyes, and a slightly hexagonal face that was strikingly beautiful. Brist considered Belana much more beautiful than herself, even though Belana’s breasts were nearly flat, maybe an A cup.
Chuckling slightly to herself, Brist indulged in a moment of vanity. She herself may only be a mere 5’ tall, and she may have an ungodly shade of red hair and purple eyes, but she did have a large chest going for her. It was really only a C cup, but it seemed bigger due to her shortness. Also, her body was in better shape than Belana’s due to the fact that she took all those hours of kickboxing, and strength training classes. Not that Belana wasn’t as small and firm in her waist as she was, it’s just that she wasn’t as toned, or as, well, buff as she was.
Her attention re-centered on Randy. He was giving her a look of innocent – uncertain – curiosity. He leaned over and kissed her. It was a hesitant kiss at first, but when he discovered that Brist wasn’t going to stop him, it deepened into an open-mouth exploration of her sweet tongue.
Brist let the kiss continue past the initial wonderment on Randy’s part, because she was curious herself as to whether or not this would help her get over Jesse. Like a rebound relationship.

Go To Chapter 3

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Crocheted 2 Color Star Pattern and Chart

I've been working on charting patterns, mostly for practice because I want to be able to crochet swirls on this skirt I've been dreaming about making. One picture seriously intrigued me and I wondered how well I could make a chart and crochet it. Here's the original picture:

I found it online, so I did NOT create this picture, but I also don't know who did :-)

To get the level of detail in the original picture, I'd have to make the finished piece MASSIVE. After all, doing it in crochet pixelates the end product, and to smooth it out as much as possible, you have to add a ton of pixels, lol! So, here's the basic image in a basic and easy to crochet chart... Broken into two because I only have regular-sized graphing paper.


One would work this pattern from the bottom of the bottom chart up. NOTE: The first chart(bottom) - or rather the graph paper - was not big enough to show the entire pattern, but the missing part IS on the second chart (top) which is therefore missing a piece that is shown on the 1st chart (bottom).

Here's what it looks like crocheted in a basic two color format:

Keep in mind that this has not been blocked, and will stretch so that it is square rather than rectangular if I blocked it. (Incidentally, I unraveled it since it was only a test sample.)

I have also charted - but not crocheted yet - this picture, so y'all have something to look forward to :-D

Have a happy day!


Saturday, November 10, 2012

Pumpkin Smoothies, Ice Cream, and Pie

A week ago, just after Halloween was over, I decided to use all the pumpkins we somehow had all over our house. I'd only bought 1, and it was an organic one just a little bigger than a basketball that I'd gotten at the Good Earth Food Co-op for $2.99. The boys had gotten one from a nearby community garden at some point, and it was little... A little bigger than a softball. Then they had gotten two free balloon-sized ones to paint from Sam's Club because their Gramma brought them on the right day when they were giving them out for free. Lastly, we had several HUGE ones put out in our yard at some point, probably by our land lord. (Like could almost win a prize at the county fair huge.)

I cut up and baked the small one, but it burned and was thrown out. The seeds from it - which we had had the longest - looked like they had germinated and were ready to sprout and they baked up oh so crisp and tasty :-)  One of the two medium-small ones had started to rot and so it was thrown out too.

From just the ONE medium-small pumpkin that remained, I managed to bake a small portion and the rest was steamed. The steamed pumpkin equaled approximately 4-6 cups. (The baked part that I ate like mashed potatoes was probably almost another 2 cups worth!)

I didn't even touch the basketball-sized organic one!

I decided to make pie using this recipe:

2 cups pumpkin
3 eggs
1/2 cup sucanat
generous dash or two of RealSalt
1TBSP pumpkin pie spice
1cup cream

I put the eggs and sucanat in the blender and creamed them together until pretty well blended. Then I added the salt and spice and blended again. Next was the cream and a light blend. Finally, I added the pumpkin and blended again until it was all together.

I ended up with about 5 or 6 cups of mix and poured a little more than half in a glass 6x9 rectangular baking dish to make crustless pie. Or maybe they were more like bars, lol! Honestly, if I was going to make bars, I would have taken it out of the oven when it was done baking - about 30 minutes at 350 degrees - let them cool a bit, completely flipped the whole thing over and baked it again for a while before cutting them up because you know how the bottom of the pie is always kind of mushy? Well the bottom of this comes out mushy, lol!

The rest of the mix I poured into two small glasses and told my boys that it was a smoothie. They LOVED it and BEGGED me for more! Still having quite a bit of pumpkin, I decided to make more. I WAS going to make more pie, but it was such a tasty smoothie that I thought to myself:

Hmm... I bet this would make some DELICIOUS ice cream!

So, the entire second batch went into my ice cream maker et voila! Pumpkin Pie flavored Ice Cream :-D Oh Man! This stuff was SO GOOD! My hubby noisily enjoyed it while over the phone with his friend, and his friend demanded that I save some for him, lol.

Fast forward to today. A couple of days ago, I'd cut up and steamed 3/4ths of my basketball-sized pumpkin - baking and eating the other 1/4 like mashed potatoes. I let the entire thing cool and set it in the fridge. Today, I took two cups out of the at LEAST 8 cups of pumpkin chunks - probably closer to 10 or even 12 - and made this recipe once more. This time, I divided the whole recipe up into cups. We all drank pumpkin smoothies, and I plan to make another batch and turn it into ice cream, mmm mmm mmm!

The rest of the pumpkin is going into the freezer! I'll definitely have enough to make pies for Thanksgiving, lol!

And tomorrow, hubby says we are going to cut up and do whatever we can with the one HUGE pumpkin we saved from the squirrels, oi! There were several in our yard, but the squirrels dug into most of them and stole the seeds, and the pumpkins turned to mush. We looked and saw that just one only had a few small bite marks and scratches, so we brought it inside. I can't WAIT to get my hands on those seeds!!!

Enjoy and have a happy day :-D

This blog post is part of Traditional Tuesdays blog carnival :-)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Yuko Ichihara

One of my all time favorite mangas - and Animes - is XXXholic - which is pronounced holic, and is NOT pornographic, lol! The exes represent the unknown and can be anything. Such as Alcoholic or Shopaholic. The series is about helping people get over their addictions by granting wishes... for a price. It's a supernatural suspense manga (and anime lol!) for the most part, but is peppered liberally with comedy.

I posted a pic of Yuko a long time ago in this post, but have decided that since I still love this manga, I'll post some more pics of her :-)

 In this pic, you can see the level of detail that the creators - a group of women named Clamp - put into almost all of their drawings. This is awesome on the one hand, but often makes my head hurt trying to look at everything, lol!
http://jonadrian619.deviantart.com/art/xxxHoLiC-Yuko-Ichihara-Vector-202374073


 In this pic, you can see Yuko's personality. She's a bit mischievous, a bit perverse, something of a bitch, but always good at heart :-D
http://www.akihabara-no-sasayaki.com/t525-yuko-ichihara-xxxholic


 And, of course, she's usually sexy as hell, lol!
http://mangaclamp.forumactif.com/t1955-yuko-ichihara-sakura-hime
Have a happy day!

In Brist's Time - Chapter 1

Remember how I've said that I have a BUNCH of stories that I have written over the years that are just lying around my house in notebooks waiting for me to finish typing them onto my computer? (Or start typing them as the case may be.) WELL this is one that I got more than half typed up back in 2010. The story itself is finished, it's just not fully on my computer. I've decided that I'm just going to post what I have and make use of the Mercury retrograde this month to focus on typing up the rest of it and working on other things I need to edit and polish. I originally started writing this story in 1997 (I'm not certain. It could have been anytime between '96 and '98), then I refigured parts of it in 2001. When I typed it up in 2010, I decided to stick with the timing I set in 2001. I also haven't gone through and edited it since 2001, SO if you see a few obvious mistakes that I usually don't make, remember that this was typed up before I got pretty good at editing. Enjoy :-D


In Brist’s Time
Part one Chapter one
October 2nd 2001

The girl lying on the bed in just her undergarments – talking on the phone – was a normal, energetic, 17 year-old, teenage girl. Except for the fact that her father was the owner of a large electronics development company. Currently, she was reliving the previous weekend, both in her mind and visually as she watched herself on the video her brother – her biggest fan – had recorded for her.
This past weekend, she had won her second national kickboxing championship. She had been taking kickboxing classes since she was five, and was going to be one of the more interesting contestants in the upcoming world championships. She also took strength-training and wrestling classes in school.
Her boyfriend was a big fan of the martial arts, and during their relationship – they had been going out for exactly a year today – she had taken up his hobbies as well as her own in order to spend more time with him. He, in turn, had done the same. However, he had not started any of these athletic pursuits until about a year before they had met, and so she was by far the more skilled of the two.
As she was watching herself win the final match of the national championship, she was unconsciously in the yoga lotus position, alternating it with the rowboat position. She had taken up yoga many years ago to balance her more strenuous activities with a gentler one. She was mildly annoyed by the phone when it rang, but her annoyance passed quickly as she realized that her boyfriend had just gone on break at the Footlocker he worked at in the Mall of America.
“Do you wanna meet me when I get off work?” Jesse asked.
“I’d love to Muskles,” she replied, calling him by his last name, which she adored.
She normally enjoyed acting like an overly feminine twit around him, which was a long-standing joke between them because nearly every girl in school was, and she most definitely was not. However, today was their one-year anniversary and she was excited and nervous, and found that she was not merely acting, but rapidly degenerating into an ultra feminine twit.
“Great, see ya at 4:00 then!”
“K!” She giggled as she placed the phone back on its cradle. She glanced at the clock. “AAAH! I only have an hour in which to find something to wear!”
In a state of mild panic, she looked at herself in the mirror; at least her make-up was perfect. Flinging open the closet door, she withdrew and tossed to the floor various clothing items, in search of the perfect outfit to wear for her precious Muskles. Even though, they had been going out for exactly a year today, she still felt the need to look at her very best whenever he was around.
“Absolutely nothing!” She exclaimed in exasperation, kicking the extremely large pile of clothing that now lay on her bedroom floor. A random shoe flew from the pile, hit her full-length mirror, thereby bringing it to her attention.
“Ohmigod! I look as if I’ve never ran a brush through my hair in my entire life!” She exaggerated. “That is the last time I play tackle with Drew!” She vowed vehemently. Just as she uttered the insincere vow, her older brother walked by her room, and upon hearing his name, entered to see why it had been mentioned.
“Did I hear my name?” He asked.
“Damn it Drew! Can’t you ever knock?” She wondered loudly as she slipped into the nearest pair of shorts and a shirt.
“Sorry, I didn’t know you were in the process of changing,” he apologized. “What’s this Brist? You’re actually wearing that outfit again? I thought you had a limit on how many times you wore the same thing, like 5 or something.”
“Shut up Drew!” She said with a snotty air. Then she noticed that she was wearing a shirt that Jesse always asked her to wear, along with her favorite pair of shorts. They were skin-tight, knee-length black denim shorts that matched perfectly the baggy purple with large black polka dots short T-shirt that Jesse so loved. Secretly, she believed that the fact that the shirt always insisted on falling to one side – showing off one of her adorable shoulders – was the reason he loved it so, even though he insisted that it was because the shirt perfectly complimented her oddly purple eyes.
Ecstatic with the outfit, and the fact that her brother had brought it to her attention, she gave him a hug exclaiming, “Dude, Drew! I love you.” She rushed off to locate her mother.
“Whoa! Sis, are you running a fever?” He called after her disappearing figure.
“Mom, I’m going to the Mall, ok? So I need some money,” she stated upon discovering her mother in the kitchen. Her brother, having nothing better to do at the moment, had decided to follow her.
“But honey, didn’t you just run up my charge card last weekend at Macy’s?” Her mother wondered.
“Yeah, well that was for home-coming. Today is just as important, and Jesse and I are kinda going to the mall together, so I need some money,” Brist stated with an air of impatience.
“I told your father that he should just give you your own charge card and teach you to use it wisely, or maybe he should just let you foot the bill,” her mother remarked sagely.
“Well Mom?” Brist said, holding out her hand.
“I don’t know... The chauffeur’s with your father, and I would feel safer if you didn’t drive yourself.”
“But Mom!” Brist protested her mother’s insane fear that her baby, whom she trusted to engage in all sorts of possibly dangerous sports, would somehow seriously injure herself once behind the wheel of a car. Even though she’d had her license for nearly two years now.
“I really don’t think you should.”
“But it’s our year anniversary!” Brist exclaimed, afraid that she wasn’t going to get her way.
Her mother sighed in defeat. Yet, unwilling to give up completely, she decided on a deal. “Now Honey, I know this is special to you, so I’m going to give you use of the Rolls, and a few hundred dollars, but under one condition…”
“Uh huh…”
“Drew has to drive you there and back,” her mother insisted in her do-not-argue-with-me tone of voice.
“But Mom!” Both of her children started to protest at the same time. Brist wasn’t generally prone to wasting time thinking things weren’t fair, but in this particular matter, she could not see why her 21 year-old brother was any more qualified to drive her around. Especially since he had grown up using the family chauffeur and hadn’t seen any reason to get his own license until Brist had decided that it would be a good idea to get hers.
“Now Drew, all you have to do is drop her off and pick her up a few hours later. Ok?” She said in the same tone of voice. A duo of sighs were released, and then Drew answered.
“Yes Mom.”
“You needn’t look so down-hearted, it’s not as if you’re about to be hanged.”
Again Brist sighed as she began to walk towards the door.
“Um Brist?” 
“Yes Drew?”
“Aren’t you going to fix your hair?” Drew asked, amused by the way her hair was in wild disarray due to their earlier wrestling session.
“OHMIGOD! I forgot!”

*******

“Muskles, let’s stop at the food court quick. I’m hungry,” Brist suggested, twirling a lock of her red hair around her finger, subtly calling attention to the fact that her hair was once again flawless – not a strand daring to be out of place.
“Actually, I wanted to go into that store over there,” he said as he pointed to a nearby store.
“Hoff Jewelers?” Brist puzzled.
“That’s the one,” Jesse replied as he led her into the store. She smiled as she tenderly brushed a lock of his hair out of his face. It promptly fell right back to where it had been resting, gently brushing the top of his ear.
“I bought you a present.”
“Really Muskles, you remembered?”
“Remembered what?”
“Our one year anniversary of course!”
“Oh!” He cleared his throat, and dropped his crystal blue eyes to seemingly study an interesting spot on the floor.
“What’s wrong?” A shadow passed through Brist’s dark purple eyes and a frown touched her lips.
“I, um, b-bet yoooou can’t, um, guess which ring I bought you,” he stammered.
“Welllll…” Her eyes left his to wander over the display case in front of her. “Oh! That one!” She exclaimed as soon as she saw a breathtakingly beautiful good-sized opal framed by the intricate pattern formed by the gold band around it.
“Wow! That’s it exactly!” He exclaimed as he pulled a small box from his pocket. Removing the ring from the box, he slipped it onto her right ring finger. “I don’t quite know how to say this, Brist, but…”
“Yes?”
“I…I…” He took a deep breath, then sighed. “I wanted you to have a ring for being the best girlfriend a guy could have, but I just don’t love you anymore, and I wanna break up.”
“What!” She was in shock! What just happened?
“I want to remain friends, but there’s someone else I want to go with.”
Tears began to stream down her face.
He took another breath, and then continued. “I’m sorry, I didn’t know today was our anniversary, or I would have waited until tomorrow, but… Um, Brist I’m sorry, but I have to go so I can be home by curfew.” He kissed her with far more passion than a boyfriend who didn’t love her – and had just dumped her – should, then ran off.
Drew came up behind her just as Jesse ran off.
“Hey, where’s he going?” He asked.
“Home!” She wailed softly as she fell into Drew’s arms.
“What happened?”
“He dumped me… He-he dumped me! That bastard dumped me!” She wailed in disbelief.
“What? Why?”
Brist was crying so hard that she couldn’t talk to reply to his questions.
“I saw the entire thing, Drew. He gave her a ring, told her that there was someone else, and then ran off so that he wouldn’t have to see her cry.” One of Drew’s friends, Lillian, who happened to work there, informed him.
“I’m gonna bring her home. Call me later. Okay?” He said. Then, he led a numb Brist out of the Mall, thanking God that they had been close to the correct exit. As gently as possible, he guided her to their car.
Brist was so miserable that she couldn’t see, couldn’t think, and could just barely breath. Somehow, Drew got her into the car and brought her home.

*******

“Ellen, I think we should spend the rest of the year in our house in Georgia.”
“I thought we had planned to spend it here.”
“Yes, I know, but I’ve changed my mind.”
“I don’t think the kids would like that very much,” she told her husband.
“Why not?” He wondered.
“Well, Brist is celebrating her year anniversary with Jesse,” Ellen frowned as a snort emitted from her husband. “And Drew is never thrilled when we go to Georgia.”
“I am their father and I make the rules! I say that we are going to Georgia and they will NOT argue with me!”
“Edward, don’t you dare take that tone of voice with me! I am your WIFE!”
Just then the door burst open, cutting off whatever Edward was going to say. Ellen gasped.
“Oh! Brist honey, what’s wrong?” She questioned.
Drew got tired off dragging her with him and decided to just carry her the rest of the way. Neither option was easy for his athletic younger sister had a good amount of heavy muscle on her body. Deftly, he scooped her into his arms and carried her up the stairs into her bedroom. He laid her on the bed, then pushed his parents out of the room, closing the door behind him.
“What’s wrong?”
“Is she hurt?”
“Jesse broke up with her today.” Neither Drew nor his mother noticed the brief look of triumph that crossed Edward’s face before quickly being replaced by an appropriate frown of concern.
“She’s taking it awfully hard, is she okay?” He asked, then he told them to wait there a moment as he ran off. Quickly, he retrieved an item he had stashed in the bedroom he shared with his wife.
“What’s in the box Dear?” Ellen asked her husband once he had returned.
“Brist’s birthday present,” he replied as he handed the large, rather heavy box to Drew, then paused a few moments to catch his breath before knocking on his only daughter’s door. “Brist, honey… Can I come in? I have something for you.”
“Go away, I don’t wanna talk about it.”
He opened the door. “Okay, so we won’t talk about it.”
Brist sniffed and wiped her eyes. “Huh?” She asked, taken off guard.
“I’ve got your birthday present here,” her father informed her, motioning for Drew to place it on the foot of her bed.
“But my birthday’s not for five whole days.”
“Well, I thought you might like it now.” He motioned for Brist to open it. She complied out of curiosity. “It’s my company’s new line. See, we feel that the way of the future lies in solar power, and so we have come up with a line of everyday products that are powered by the sun. There’s a solar powered CD boom box, a TV, DVD player, mini digital video camera that records directly onto DVD’s, and a solar powered battery charger complete with batteries so that you can use your equipment even when the sun’s not out.”
“Wow dad, that was some presentation. If you make that into a commercial, I bet you’d sell millions.” Brist smiled, and wiped any remaining tears from her eyes. “Thanks dad, I really appreciate all this.”
“You’re welcome sweetie, and I also wanted to let you know that I have decided that we are going to Georgia after all for the duration of the year.”
“You don’t have to do that for me daddy.”
“I know, but I want to.” Drew caught his attention with a rather colorful curse spoken almost inaudibly. “What was that son?”
“I hate Georgia dad, it’s always hot there, and I have friends here that I don’t want to leave behind.”
“Well, we are going to Georgia and we are going tonight, so I would suggest that the two of you get packing. Come Ellen, we have to pack as well. Oh, and Drew? Once we get settled in, if you still want to come home after 2 or 3 weeks, you can.”
Drew sighed and stormed out of his sister’s room. After both her parents had given her a hug and a kiss on the cheek, they left her alone to pack for their rather sudden trip.
Somewhat listlessly at first, Brist grabbed an enormous bag out of her closet and began to pack. The bag was at least 4’ long, and had to be just over 2’ wide and about 2’ tall. She had found this bag in a shop that specialized in sports clothes and accessories. She thought back to the day she and Jesse had been debating on the pros and cons of her remaining in the school strength training class while they were shopping at the place she had bought the bag.
“I’m already in kick-boxing and I have been for years. I’m also taking a self defense class, which I find repetitive, seeing as how I am the undefeated champion in my kick-boxing class,” Brist had reminded him, trying not to bring up the time before they had been going out, when they hated each other, and she had kicked his ass.
“I know you’re the almighty kick-boxing Goddess, and that I should pity the fool who crosses you, but I still think that strength training classes after school could only supplement your other after school ass-kicking classes. Besides, I’m in strength training class and I love having you there to spot me and keep my butt in line. You keep me humble and you keep me in that class. Don’t get me wrong, I love that class, but I would have given up a thousand times by now if it hadn’t been for you,” Jesse said.
At that point Brist had melted and would have agreed to anything to make him happy. That was also the exact moment that the bag had caught her eye. She thought it was the perfect symbol to represent her agreement with Jesse. They had agreed that they would both stay in that class, and that he would re-enroll in a kick-boxing class so that they would have even more in common. So, she’d bought one for them to share, for lord knew it was large enough for both their stuff, with plenty of room to spare.
She emptied the bag on the floor and almost began to cry again at the sight of some of Jesse’s belongings. She separated their things, leaving a note for the maid to make sure that his things were returned to him in the morning.
Brist stood staring at the bag for a moment, as if packing were a completely foreign subject to her. Numbly, she remembered some advice of her mother’s: always put your underthings on bottom. That way, if the bag is left open or spilled, they’re less likely to be seen.
She sprayed a light coating of her favorite perfume on the bottom – to combat any lingering gym smell – then proceeded to put everything from sox to pajamas to very tiny, yet highly erotic lingerie on the bottom of the bag. (She wanted to feel sexy and confident, even though her boyfriend had just destroyed her self-esteem.) Next, she sprayed another very light coating of the perfume over them, also to ensure that they would not smell like the gym.
After that, she packed the small solar powered presents that she had just received. All were amazingly tiny, except for the TV, which had a 13” screen, making it just over a foot square. The boombox, including its detachable speakers, was only about a foot and a half long, and about 9” wide, which left plenty of room in the bag for the mini digital video recorder and battery charger. The DVD player was fairly flat and compact, and had no trouble fitting into the bag.
Again, Brist was struck by the sheer size of the bag, for there was still tons of room left in it for her clothes. On top of and around her solar powered presents, she packed a variety of clothing from her closet, and – as an afterthought – she packed her Renaissance festival costume. She couldn’t remember when the festival passed through Georgia, but she wanted to have her costume just in case.
Into the right side-compartment, she placed her jewelry box – which was full of expensive jewelry. Finding she still had room in the compartment, she tossed in her makeup bag and all her hair supplies. She even brought extra of the shampoo and conditioner that she insisted upon using, because it was hand made by a woman here in Minnesota.
Into the left side-compartment, she packed her menstrual cup, her small bag filled with a variety of different colored gel pens, her diary, her photo-album, and as many books as she could fit. As an after thought, she removed a few books and replaced them with a good-sized box that contained her small handgun, a spare clip, and a good supply of bullets. She figured now would be a great time to continue her sharp-shooting practice. There was a range with an awesome teacher not too far from their Georgian home.
Brist briefly wondered why it was that she was so interested in the many athletic and self-defense classes that she seemed to be addicted to, and yet her brother was only interested in them as much as he had to be to support her. He had played high school football and that was it. Yet, even that he had stopped doing when he had graduated high school and had decided to forego college.
He was going to inherit so much money that he truly saw no point in college. His dream – one which he hadn’t been able to share with their father – was to buy a little hobby farm with a cow, some chickens, a few goats, a couple of sheep, and lots and lots of dogs. He was fairly certain that the only person he wanted to share his life with was Lillian, yet his father was such a businessman down to his very bones that he would never, could never understand why his son didn’t want to make lots of money just as he did.
Brist, on the other hand, wasn’t the farm type. However, she wasn’t exactly the business type either. She would most likely settle down with Jesse and enter law enforcement, specifically the FBI or CIA.
Brist gasped and realized that she was still doing it. She was still picturing Jesse as her life partner. She realized that everyone had been right when they told her that the guy she started dating just before her 17th birthday probably wasn’t going to be the same one she spent the rest of her life with. Brist sobbed deeply for a few moments before telling herself that she was wasting tears, and that if Jesse Muskles didn’t love her, he didn’t deserve her.
She took a mental inventory of the contents of the bag and realized that it was missing something. She grabbed what almost appeared to be a mini brief case – but was actually just a decorative carrier – off a shelf above one of her dressers. Inside it was every CD she owned, which surprisingly wasn’t as many as one would think a spoiled teen would own – only about 200 or so.
Once her bag was packed to her satisfaction, she carried it over to the door, setting it down on a chair next to the door. She looked at the bag wryly and mentally thanked Jesse for making her stay in strength training class. As a result, the rather heavy bag was not a problem for her to carry. Tears welled in her eyes at the thought of Jesse, and she stood moping over their breakup for a few moments.
“I am not going to cry over him, I’m not!” She vowed. “If he can’t see what is good for him, then that’s his problem. Brist, girl, get a hold of yourself! If we don’t cry over him now, we will hopefully be less tempted to kill his new girlfriend when we find out who she is. OH GOD! Now I’ve resorted to talking to myself as if I were two people! Two CRAZY people at that!”
Just then Brist’s mother walked in, “Are you okay Brist?”
“Don’t worry mom, I’ll be just fine.”

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