Toil & Trouble

Raising Questions

13 Jul 2011 14:29  |  by Corrie Kavanaugh
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IC Date: June 24th, 2011 — late afternoon

It's been a while since I've been home. Not out of choice — at least not subconsciously. I've been busy with work, with trying to gain a new client, with setting up my own small PR firm. Even so, as I come up along the drive it hits me — I've missed this. I miss home more than I'll ever admit to anyone.

Rather than wandering right up to the house immediately, I wander out to the barn. Duke catches up and the two of us walk along in silence, just enjoying the evening. Once I slip into the barn, I give Duke a pat on his head and whisper, "Stand guard." There's something I need to get and old Duke can't really climb the ladder to the loft.

As long as it's been since I've come home (really only a matter of weeks), it's been longer since I've climbed up to the loft. It's comforting, really, how nothing's changed all that much up here since I moved to London. Which means, what I'm looking for will still be hidden behind the loose board under the window. Crawling through the hay, I make my way to the 'secret' location and pry the board free.

There, hidden beneath the window are a stack of journals that I've not set eyes on in at least ten years. Drawing out the top one, I open it slowly looking at the still somewhat childish scrawl on the pages. A smile slowly creeps up on my lips and I begin to read.

Daylight has disappeared — I've been up here longer than I thought I would be. It was a happy woof from Duke that made me snap my attention up from the pile of books littering the floor of the loft. "Who's there, Duke?"


"Corrie?" The voice is masculine and causes me to blink.


"Your Mum wants to know if you're planning on bedding down out here."

I grin. Leave it to Mum to have noticed I got here earlier than planned. Not much seems to slip by that woman, and I sometimes wonder if she's got a bit of telepathy — at least where her daughters are concerned. "I'll be right down, I lost track of time." Not an untruth — I was caught up in the past. It takes just a few seconds to stuff the journals into my bag and begin the descent down the ladder.

Reading my old attempts at creating new spells while the other girls did kitchen work has me making two descisions as Da and I walk toward the farmhouse, playing catchup. I will start writing a journal alongside the grimoires I've been keeping, and I'll see if Mum will help me with the kitchen work. I do well enough with what I have, but considering my associations of late? It may be a good idea to actually put in a little more effort where spellcraft is concerned.

Passing the car, I switch one bag for another. The journals are safe enough in the car, and I'd rather have my overnight bag with me now instead of having to run out for it after dinner.

Throughout dinner, I've had this strange vibe from Mum. Like she wants to ask me something, or chastise me over something. I'm not stressing over it too much, though in the pit of my stomach I wonder if Jean's told her that I'm doing PR work for a vampire.

It's not hard for her to corner me in the kitchen, I always tidy the dishes when I stay for a meal — it's the least I can do. My hands are full of sudsy soap as I lower the dishes into the sink but I can hear Mum sneaking into the kitchen, waiting until I'm not holding anything breakable before she starts in on me.

"I've got this, Mum," I say in a somewhat chipper manner. "Go relax in the sitting room with Da." When she doesn't move, I glance over my shoulder and see the pursed lips. Sighing, I draw my hands from the water and carefully dry them on the towel. "What, Mum?" I really am expecting the worst at this point.

"Where on earth did you get that necklace?"

My fingers drop to the pendant, and I can't help but smile. "It was a gift. It's… an antique."

Mum's not having any of that. In her typical Mum fashion, she stares at me. "From who?"

I can't exactly come out and say that a vampire gave it to me because it belonged to one of our ancestors. "It's not from him if that's what you're asking. I've not spoken to him in months." I'll simply assume she was asking if it was from Rhys.

"Corrie Amelia Kavanaugh, stop avoiding the question!"

Taking a deep breath, I exhale it slowly. "It's from a client, Mum. I'm certain they don't even have a clue that it's magical in nature." A lie. A little lie, but Mum's always had a brilliant built in lie-detector. I'm hoping that the truth shines through, because it is from a client.

"Do they know what you are?"

I blink. "Why would they know what I am? It's not like I run around London telling everyone who'd listen, Mum."

Taking me by the arm, she draws me toward the table and points to the extremely old book upon it. Carefully turning the pages, she finds a sketch that looks almost exactly like my necklace. "That would be why, my girl."

I stare down at the page in front of me, the description written in olde English is hard to decipher but it seems to match what Aidan told me about it. He didn't lie. "There were quite likely a few trinkets like this back then, Mum." It's a rather weak argument.

"Exactly like this, Corrie!?" Mum shakes her head slowly closing the grimoire. "Be careful. The last woman in our family to wear that necklace disappeared."

"Disappeared? I thought…" Bloody hell. Now I'm going to have to be careful in how I respond to what I know is coming.

"Thought what?" There it is.

"Well there's no mention of a disappearance in our grimoires. The family trees are quite complete." Only, they're not. Centuries ago, someone was erased. I can't say that because then I'll have to answer how I know that, and bringing up the whole vampire thing — just not a good idea.

"Not everything is in the books I've let you and your sisters have access to."

I blink at Mum, although I already knew that she had other books. There are some things that it's just not smart to share with your entire coven. Of course she had hidden grimoires. "I'll be careful, I promise. I stopped speaking to the sorcerer, didn't I?" Only that really wasn't by choice.

I feel bad keeping things from Mum, but sometimes it's necessary. The less she knows right now the better. I'll explain it all in my new journals, and leave them to the family — even if they contain things that the family would rather not know.

Mum picks the grimoire up to return it to the attic. "Good. That was just trouble begging to happen."

I want to argue with her on that point — Rhys isn't that awful a person, despite his heritage — but I don't rush to defend him. She's upset enough over the necklace. Instead I offer a nod of agreement. "Mum, while I'm here this weekend, do you think you could help me with my kitchen work?"

She pauses as she exits the kitchen. "Cooking? I suppose I could help you with another recipe. We're having a roast tomorrow night."

"Not cooking, Mum. I was thinking, if you want me to be careful, what better way than to become a bit better with the magic?" I'm trying desperately to make it sound as though it was her idea, with the whole mention again of me being careful.

"Oh, Corrie! I knew you'd come around in time. Let me just put this away and bring some tea to your father and we'll get to work."


15 May 2011 19:25  |  by Corrie Kavanaugh
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IC Date: April 29th, 2011

Things are a tad complex these days.

Working for Amber Bardot is generally just tiring, and at times it's difficult to play the balance between getting articles written about her charity work, and keeping her out of the news for her exploits. I honestly don't think I've slept a decent night since the before the 9th.

I've been working with her both day and night, going on a small tour around the UK to promote the bit part she's got in a coming movie. She's only got a line or two, and she's the worlds most horrible actress, but it's good publicity and PR for her — something she needs after the bad press of firing her new manager after sleeping with him. That was a piss poor thing of Randall to do, really, as it could have been settled quietly, but I suppose it did bring press attention to his firm.

It's surprising how much has happened since that night — I've gotten one of Gwendolyn Bishop's journals and read it front to back about twenty times. I still think Aidan is playing some sort of game, and I'll never trust him, but I am partially grateful to him for sharing a portion of my ancestry with me. It would seem I'm not the only witch in the line to favor gardenias and sapphires, or get embroiled in affairs I really shouldn't be.

The frightening thing is that I can understand the point of view she had on Aidan. I can see where she was coming from on it all, and how much she actually wound up caring for the soulless demon. It's understandable. When he's not being a complete and utter arse, he can lean toward being quite charming, gentlemanly, and friendly. It's almost romantically tragic, actually. How much she cared, how she tried to keep her family from harm, and how her life was cut short.

It honestly makes me think of Rhys. Granted, that's hardly to be considered 'romantically tragic'. Just well played. Still, I do miss talking with him. I call the Reese Entertainment Media offices every so often to check up on Dumnonia, but I generally get through only as far as the secretary, or get redirected to their new manager. I can't say as how I actually like the man, but he's been doing a wonderful job in so far as the record goes (according to Connor — I've not spoken to Tristan in a while, I should call him really).

Amber has been pushing me to actually do something about it. As she puts it, if I'm not going to shag the restaurateur, I should at least boff the 'gorgeous old corporate flunky'. I've not been going out of my way to really make contact beyond that call once a week. If he really wanted to talk with me, he would. I have, however, sent both Rhys and Gideon invitations to Amber's Saints and Sinners party at Flare. I've sent some to the band as well. I doubt they'll bother to show, but I really don't care either way.

No, that's a lie. I do care. Not that I want Gideon Reese in attendance, but Rhys…

Rereading the previous sentence, I sound like a sad, sad individual. I hate myself for it.

Almost as much as I hate myself for meeting with Mr. Boyle in regards to a business proposition. He's looking for PR Rep to promote the business via social media outlets. It's an easy enough job, and the pay actually seems pretty decent. Most of what he's looking for can be done in the morning, with the odd evening event at the restaurant — which I would only need to attend for an hour to ensure things were underway.

So help me, I'm honestly considering taking him up on the offer. If only because it would eat up a portion of my day so I won't sit and consider coming up with yet another reason to contact Rhys.

Late Night Call

15 May 2011 17:30  |  by Corrie Kavanaugh
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IC Date: April 10th, 2011 — early morning
This episode is a followup to 'Dancing with Danger'

I've been having trouble falling asleep tonight. My mind has refused to shut off, and even the cool shower before bed hasn't really helped matters. Groaning, I draw the thin blankets up over my head and try to force myself into a peaceful slumber.

I'm not certain how much time has passed, but I eventually pop open an eye and pull the blankets back enough so that I can peer at the large, bright red numbers on my digital alarm.

Three o'clock.

In the morning.

Too early. Definitely too early. It's not as though I'm scheduled to work tomorrow. In fact, thanks to the abrupt change of plans with Reese Entertainment Media, I'm not scheduled to work for the forseeable future. I'll go back to freelancing without a contract at a firm, that's not a big deal. Still it's the humiliation of it all that's keeping me from sleeping properly.

Tangled up in the blankets, I kick out my legs and begin to stretch. I really don't want to get out of the comforting cocoon that the bed offers, but if I'm going to keep awake, I may as well get a bit of water for my parched throat. Something about sambuca always seems to dry me out.

Just as my feet drop over the edge of the bed and my toes wriggle their way into the soft, fuzzy slippers at the side of it, I hear the shrill ringing of a phone. The sound causes a wince and I fall back to the mattress and rub my temples. I know I've not had that much to drink, but the bloody thing is giving me a headache. It takes at least three good rings for me to suss out that it's the cellular, and I reach to the side of the bed and grab it.

Before I answer, I peek at the clock again. Only five minutes have passed. Who the bloody hell would be calling me this early? This late?

"Hello?" The sound of my voice is dry and cracked. I knew it would be. I rub my fingers gently over my throat before quietly clearing it. "Hello?"

"Corriiiiieee~! Why'd you have to go and quit on me?"

The voice is high-pitched and annoying enough I want to hang up. Instead, I settle the phone on my shoulder and hold it in place by leaning my head to the side. Padding toward the kitchen for that glass of water I reply, "I didn't quit on you. I left Randall's firm."

"But I can't work with Brendan!"

I don't say a word for a bit, waiting for her to extrapolate on it while I sip from the water. When she doesn't say anything, I kill the silence with a sigh. "Why not?"

"'cuz I just shagged him and he's a lousy lay."

I drop the cell phone into the sink, but quickly grab it again. "Amber, you can't fire your public relations manager on a whim just because you shagged him."

I can nearly hear the pout on the other end of the line. "Well I did."

"Good lord, Amber. He wasn't even working for you for a full day yet! Why on earth would you call him a lousy lay?"

"'cuz he's like, ancient, and he wanted to cuddle afterward."

If she were my sister, I'd likely throttle her at this point. It's probably a good thing that she's not in the room with me. "I'll call Randall in the morning and have him find you a replacement." I try to keep my voice even as I point out, "Brendan was only what? Eight years older than you? Nine at the most."

"Like I said. Ancient. I need a movie star on my arm. Or… ooh! Who was that guy you were with at Flare earlier?"

I don't recall seeing Amber at the restaurant, but then again my mind was definitely elsewhere at the time. "Which? I was having a business dinner," I say slowly and neutrally as possible.

"The really hot one. The one that sort've looks like Brendan."

I quirk my brow a little, and move through the flat until I find the couch. The slippers are kicked off and I bring my legs up under me as I lean against the arm. "I've never met Brendan," I point out.

"The one with the dark hair!" There's a giggle from Amber, and I know she's likely quite sotted at this point. I may still be able to salvage the fact that she fired Brendan while drunk, but if she's determined not to work with him…

"Aidan?" I blink. "Mr. Boyle is the owner of the restaurant. He was there as a courtesy to the di —"

"Nuh uh. I saw you with him at Vortex afterward. So are you dating him?"

This conversation is hitting ludicrous, and I've half a mind to hang up on her. I don't owe her anything. I no longer work with her. "No."

"Are you shagging him then?"

"Definitely not."


"He's…" I can't exactly tell her that he's a vampire. She'd never believe me, for one, and I did promise not to tell anyone else about it except those that are already aware. "… involved."

"So? I didn't see a ring on his finger! If I were you, I'd shag him. All. Night. Long. I bet he's really good in bed."

Oh, no doubt. He's had hundreds of years to perfect those skills. I don't say that though, I simply scoff. "Miss Bardot, it's three in the bloody morning. So let me make this perfectly clear — I'm interested in someone else. Now, if you're not in any dire trouble, I'd really like to get back to bed." Not that I'll be sleeping, but she doesn't need to know that.

"Oh." She sounds a bit crestfallen, and I almost feel sorry for her. "Well I want to hire you back. You can't skip out on me right when my party is coming up!" Beat. "And then you can introduce me to this Aidan."

"I'll consider it. You get some sleep, and if you're still interested in hiring me when you're sober, have your solicitor call me in the morning." I don't bother waiting for a reply, I disconnect the call and throw the phone to the other side of the couch.

Bloody hell. That's all I need is for some twenty-something celebutante getting mired in my non-existant love-life. Really!

At least, it seems, I don't have to worry about going hungry. Freelancing may not keep me as busy as having contracted myself out to Randall's firm did, or signing with Reese Entertainment Media would have, but it's not as if I haven't done it before with Dumnonia. Things may just be looking up.

Lessons Learned

08 Apr 2011 20:29  |  by Corrie Kavanaugh
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IC Date: March 4th, 2011 — middle of the afternoon.
This episode is a followup to 'Trust Me'

I'll likely rewrite the entire story later for the grimoires — or rather, my own grimoire which is going to be a compilation of what I can take away from the family books, and what I've learnt on my own. Something that will have multiple copies so that pages don't mysteriously go missing like they have in the family books. Bring the books to the digital age as well so they can be more easily shared between the Coven… but I digress.

I've gotten myself into a right mess. This is even far worse than any I've had to fish Jean out of, and really it's my own fault. My own curiosity, my own stubborness, my own use of a false name that has put me in the current predicament.

Amelia Owens was apparently the name of Rhys' grandmother — a rather powerful witch in her own right. This was a fact that I did not know until informing Rhys of using his surname as a false name. The name choice wasn't intentional — my middle name with his surname, it was a great cover. However, I've researched the name since then, and I can see why he was upset about it. Which brings me to point #1:

When using a false name, do not use a name that belongs to anyone you know, it's not worth the trouble.

I squared that away with Rhys as best I could, I offered to make up for it. In fact, I was on my way to the Undercity to procure magical charms that would protect against vampires. The plan was to gather a few — at least one for myself and Jean, and one for Rhys' mother since I indavertently put her into danger. Things would have been fine after that, I'm sure, if I'd not run (quite literally) into the Vampire again.

I did try to avoid him, but he had other ideas. A chat. I could have lived with the chat. In fact, I chatted though I'll admit to being less-than-cordial, and then something happened and we were acting beyond civilly to one another. I know now that it was a glamour — the very thing I'd gone to the Undercity to obtain charms against. Which brings me to point #2:

Always watch where you're going, even if you've a fear you'll run into a sorcerer.

Speaking of which, wouldn't you just know my luck… that's when Gideon Reese turned up, giving my real name to the Vampire, and putting my whole family in danger. I was okay with that, because I'd decided already to give the full name to Aidan (the Vampire) when it was done for me, and tell him that if he wanted to mess with my life then fine. If he troubled my family, that would be a different story altogether.

Only then I had to go and lose my temper when the sorcerer implied I was a prostitute. Par for the course, really. The comment, not the loss of temper. It was almost like something took over me. Something deep inside had a need to grasp control of something in the whole situation, and tossing a knockback spell at him was the only thing I could do. Which brings up point #3:

Try not to use sorcerer magic on a sorcerer. They don't like it when a witch can use their spells.

That's when the Vampire stepped in to 'save' me. I'm sure there were other reasons there besides removing me from a situation that could have been dire, and while I can make guesses as to what they are, I'd honestly rather not know his reasoning. Either way, it leaves me in the odd position of wanting to throttle him for messing with my mind, and thanking him for getting me out of the Undercity safely.

Not that it mattered overly much, as soon as I was out of the Undercity, I was 'rescued' again by a woman named Ghost, who brought me to a safehouse on Rhys' orders. Not because I attacked his brother and he was worried about the fallout, but because he wanted to keep me away from the Vampire. It would be far more simple if it was just to keep me away from Gideon (though I'm positive that Gideon is well aware of this 'safehouse'). As it is I feel like I'm nothing more than a troublesome burden for the proprietress to have to deal with while I await a verdict. I'm not exactly stuck here. I could come and go as I please, it's just easier to remain here and not cause further trouble. Which I suppose brings me to point #4:

Be careful of your actions as you'll never know who you'll wind up beholden to due to them.

Needless to say, these are the lessons I've learned (or re-learned) in the last week. They are things that I'd generally tell to my youngest sister, but this is not her mess. I'd rather not involve her in it. It's mine. I need to clean it up on my own. Deal with whatever is coming my way in the best way that I can. Accept retribution with grace… although this last point will be difficult.

The Trouble with Lying

02 Apr 2011 00:34  |  by Corrie Kavanaugh
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IC Date: March 26, 2011 — Late Evening
This episode is a followup to 'Mind Games' and 'Sister Secrets

Flopping back into the chair, I twist my body so that my legs spill over the arm. I've not been to the flat in ages, but I know where everything is, just as I know without asking that Tristan is already at the bar preparing a glass of lager Shandy for me. It feels nice to relax and forget the troubles I've been having of late. To visit with my old friend without stressing over the business aspect of things — something we've not been able to do for the last six months. Undoubtedly, this outting will turn into another business conversation but at the moment I'm simply Corrie Kavanaugh — best friend in need of a shoulder and advice, not Corrie Kavanaugh — public relations and pseudo manager.

Tristan sets the Shandy in my hand, taking a drag from his bottle of lager as he eases his way onto the couch. I want to loathe the ease with which he seems to wander through life, but I know that a great deal of it is just show. He knows things. He's not a telepath or the like, but I've never once felt the need to lie to Tristan about who and what I am. Just like I'm not going to keep the most recent goings on from him.

"I don't know why I did it, Tris. I suppose it had more to do with what he is, as opposed to who he is. When have I ever lied about my name in the past?" From my position on the chair, I can easily watch his face. I catch the frown and know that I'm not going to like the answer.

"First term. Bobby Davenport." Tristan smirks at the recollection. "You told him you were Sarah Stewart to get him to ask you out. That was a lark, since Sarah was standing not ten steps from you."

I can't help myself. I reach behind me and toss the pillow, hoping to wipe the smirk from his face. "That doesn't count, I wasn't being serious."

He catches the pillow with one hand and tosses it back at me, being careful not to spill my drink. "You asked. But I gotta ask, luv, why you used Owens' name."

"It was the first I could think of. Besides, Amelia Owens has a nice ring to it."

"It does, but you shouldn't have done that, Cor. You're apt to make the man bonkers, and he'll pull out of the contract."

"Tris, it's a done deal. The paperwork has all been signed, and if he tries to back out of it now, based on a personal matter I'll contact the solicitor. I'd never jeopardize you or the boys, you know that." I take a good long sip of the Shandy, and then sigh. "I like him, Tris. I don't want to spoil our business relationship."

"Which him are you talking about, Ducky?" God knows I hate that pet name for me, but he's always been insistant on calling me that since I showed up one night in bright yellow Mac & Wellies.

I blink. Which him indeed. There's only a potential of three…

"The dark haired, blue-eyed, charismatic vampire, or one of the two sorcerers? Have ya ever thought, Ducky, that you'd be better off with a regular bloke?"

I nearly choke on my drink. Not because of what he's said, but because of who he sounds like in that moment. "Christ, Tris, you sound like Mum. Find a normal bloke, indeed. Next you'll be asking me to go out with a friend of yours who's an accountant, or a dentist. I really don't think I'm the type of girl to date a dentist, do you?"

Tristan's only reply is a shrug of his shoulders. For a long while, we sit in silence. Until I sigh again. Then he says, "Musician, maybe. Television star, possibly. You never were one to go for the normal blokes. Too boring for you, I'd wager."

I snort, still not saying much of anything. Flipping around in the chair, I lean forward. "Question is, Tris, do I call him up and tell him I used his name, or do I just pretend like I didn't say a bloody word?"

"You've got to tell him. Bad business if you don't. It'll be bad personally if you don't too. 'specially if the crush is reciprocated or whatever."

Making a sound akin to a grunt of acknowledgement coupled with a frustrated nnngh noise, I close my eyes. "Fine, I'll call him. In the morning. Tonight though I want to forget about all that supernatural crap."

And this is what I love most about Tristan. Without me having to say another word, he's off the couch and setting up Trainspotting on the DVD. I move over to the couch and relax against the arm, setting my feet to his lap when he returns. "I hope you'll still do this when you're famous."

"Screw that. When I'm famous, I'm forgetting all about you." He's got a grin a mile wide on his face, and we both know he's trying to get a reaction from me.

"In that case… when you're famous, I'm sending you a bill." Winking at him, I rest my head on his shoulder and settle down to watch the movie.

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