Saturday, 29 March 2014

Chapter 2.4 - Perfect...?

Chantia ran her hands nervously down her sides, trying to make sure her dress was sitting correctly. She was going to see someone at the bank to try and take out a loan for the house, but she wasn’t sure if the dress created the image she wanted to go for. She wasn’t the type to wear dresses or makeup, but she wanted to appear slightly older and hopefully more mature in order to increase her chances at the bank.

“I’m not so sure about this dress…” she fretted nervously. She hadn’t had a lot of chances to prove herself at her job, so she was rather worried that she’d be refused a loan. Weren’t people supposed to be properly established in their jobs to qualify for a loan?
“Chantia, you’ll be fine,” Evelyn reassured her daughter. “You have a well-paying job and no bad debt on your name. There shouldn’t be a reason for them to refuse you. You shouldn’t worry so much.”
Chantia sighed heavily and dropped her hands from her sides. She couldn’t help that she was worrying so much – this meeting was going to be the making or breaking point as to whether she’ll be able to buy the house or not! Add to the fact that she had only recently started working and she was pretty sure it was acceptable for her to worry.
The doorbell rang. Chantia took a deep breath, knowing it was time to face the challenge lying ahead of her.
“Hey,” Sam greeted her with a smile. Chantia was irrationally glad to see him. She had asked him to accompany her to the bank (as moral support) and she had been half afraid he would refuse. Instead, he had smiled at her and promised her he’d be there. He wouldn’t be there at the actual meeting itself, but he would be waiting for her when she was done with the meeting.
“Hi,” she greeted him back nervously before giving him a hug. She was nervous, but already she was slightly calmer. Sam really was a good influence on her. He patted her comfortingly on the back before he pulled back and smiled reassuringly at her.
“Come on, let’s go,” he told her and led her to the taxi that was still waiting for them. Yes, she had a perfectly functional car, but she didn’t want to arrive at the bank in a car that looked like it was held together by duct tape.
On the way to the bank, Sam drew Chantia’s attention away from the upcoming meeting by threading his fingers with hers.
“You know, today’s the last day the spring festival will be in town,” he reminded her. “Do you want to go? After the meeting, I mean,” he suggested.
Chantia smiled at him. “Sure,” she agreed happily. It might be fun to go to the festival. She hadn’t attended a festival in years. She was suddenly reminded of the last time she had attended the fair, causing her to burst out laughing. Plumbob, she’d been a sulky child.
“You know, the last time I attended a fair it rained out,” she informed him nostalgically. “I refused to go home, so instead I stayed at the fair and got soaking wet. The pollen in the air also caused my allergies to flare up, so in the end the day was such a let-down,” she laughed reminiscently. She continued telling Sam about her first festival visit for the rest of the trip, and by the time they reached the bank she had completely forgotten about her nerves.
Of course, the moment they arrived at the bank she was instantly reminded again. Who was she, a girl in her early twenties, to think she’d be able to qualify for a loan? She continued fretting until Sam reassuringly squeezed her hand.
“You’ll be fine,” he parroted her parents. “Good luck.”
Chantia smiled shakily at him and nodded before entering the building. It was time to face the music.
In the end, the meeting was a bit anti-climactic. Chantia didn’t know what she had been expecting, but the woman behind the desk only asked her to complete an application form and hand in some documents before taking everything and telling Chantia that she’d be informed within several days whether her application was approved or not. After that Chantia was brusquely dismissed, leaving her to stare at the woman in bewilderment.
“Wait, that’s it?” she asked, somewhat confused by the proceedings. The woman looked up with a slightly irritated expression.
“Yes. We’ll contact you if your application gets approved,” she repeated impatiently.
Chantia decided it would be better to leave the woman to her work after that, leaving with Sam for the spring festival instead.
When they arrived at the festival it was already quite busy. There were people at every activity, either participating or just mingling around. The entire atmosphere surrounding the festival was filled with infectious excitement and it wasn’t long before the excitement infected Chantia as well.
“This was a great idea,” she informed Sam smilingly before pulling him away to attempt the activities provided by the festival.
They spent the rest of the day at the festival, trying out the numerous activities available and simply enjoying the wonderful weather. By the time they broke for lunch they had done the horseshoes (which Chantia had won), the greeting card and the Love Tester (where their love had been declared as passionate).
After lunch, they spent the afternoon doing the more physical activities, like skating and dancing. Chantia was somewhat sceptical about the skating rink at first – sure, she had gone ice skating before and there wasn’t a lot of difference between the two…but skating in a dress was a different story entirely.
“This is a bad idea,” she complained nervously once she got onto the rink. “What if I fall? Wearing a dress is pretty, but it really doesn’t provide much protection,” she explained worriedly. Sam chuckled at her and put his hand of the small of her back to help her along.
“Don’t worry so much,” he teased her with a fond smile. “You can use me to break your fall, if you really think it’s necessary.”
“It’s a bad idea,” Chantia repeated, but her broad smile took the sting out of her words and she allowed Sam to guide her along on the rink. In the end, she did fall, but because Sam went down with her and only laughed when they fell, it didn’t bother her that much.
Still, after that Chantia decided the risk for falling was too high, so instead they retreated to the dance floor (where the risk for falling was much lower).
By the time they had enough of dancing, the fair was winding down and darkness was starting to fall. One by one the lights started to come on and the noise level started getting down as the park were depleted of children and filled with couples celebrating Love Day instead.
“Thank you for today,” Chantia told Sam as they relaxed at the fountain. “I had a lot of fun. We should do this again.”
Sam smiled happily at her. “I’m glad you enjoyed it.”
Chantia sighed contently and wrapped her arms around Sam, enjoying his presence. The time she spent with him always seemed so endless. She could honestly see herself spending the rest of her life with him.
A slight breeze started blowing softly, rustling the leaves in the park and causing the water of the fountain to patter slightly louder onto the residue water. In a bush to their left, a cricket started chirping, creating additional ambient sound. Chantia allowed herself to just relax and enjoy the moment, but the moment lasted far too short before Sam pulled away from her.
He rubbed his neck, a sure sign he was nervous.
“I, uhm, there’s something I want to tell you,” he told her somewhat nervously. At her quizzical ‘okay’, he took a deep breath and started talking.
“People have told me before that I have a gift with words; that I have a very beautiful way of stating things and provoking emotions from people’s hearts. The thing is, I tried extremely hard, but I just simply couldn’t find the words to describe you,” he confessed. “There are so many ways to describe you, and yet, none of those ways quite manage to do you justice. So, Chantia, instead of waxing fancy poems and the like, I’d rather keep it simple and let my actions speak for themselves.”
In conclusion, he did something Chantia really hadn’t been expecting at all.
Time stopped. She couldn’t tear her eyes away from the man in front of her, and the small black velvet box in his hand, opened up to reveal one of the most beautiful rings she had ever seen. It was perfect. Sam didn’t even need to ask the question anymore, but he did it anyway.
“Chantia, will you marry me?”
She couldn’t speak. She couldn’t breathe. All she could do was stare at him and hope her growing smile and nearly imperceptible nod would answer him.
“Yes,” she finally agreed breathlessly. “Yes, I will marry you.”
Chantia walked around on clouds for the next couple of days, constantly pausing to look at the ring on her hand. She honestly couldn’t remember ever being so happy before. How many times had she daydreamt before to spend the rest of her life with Sam? He was the only person she’d ever dated, but he was so perfect for her. He was everything she could ever hope for.
Her happiness only increased when the bank finally contacted her and informed her that her application had been approved. It would take several weeks before everything would be finalized, but pretty soon she’d be the proud owner of the house on the hill.
The wonderful news caused Chantia to make a long-overdue visit. 
“I missed you,” Chantia told Charlotte as she gave her oldest friend a hug. Between attending university and making arrangements for the house, it felt like she hadn’t seen her friend in ages.
“It’s been a while,” Charlotte agreed with a smile, just as happy to see her friend. Chantia took a deep breath and launched into conversation, explaining the real reason she visited the ghost.
“I’m buying the house,” she informed her best and oldest friend. The ghostly girl hadn’t changed at all in all the time Chantia had known her. “I’ve made arrangements and signed a contract and everything, so it’s official: I’m buying the house. Now you guys don’t have to worry about losing your home.”
For a long minute Charlotte just stared at Chantia, before a broad and genuine smile appeared on her face.
“It wasn’t really necessary,” Charlotte assured Chantia, “but thank you. Really, thank you. You have no idea how much this means to us.”
Chantia gave the ghost a hug, happy she made the long-dead girl smile again. It had been a long time since she’s seen such a genuine smile from the ghost.
“Oh, and I’m getting married!” Chantia continued enthusiastically. “To Sam. Well, his name’s actually Samuel, but we just call him Sam. He’s been my boyfriend ever since high school,” she explained excitedly. “It’s a pity he’s unable to see ghosts – I’d have loved to have you meet each other.”
“Oh,” Charlotte replied with surprise in her voice. “Well, congratulations then. I hope the two of you are happy and I wish you the best of luck.” She hesitated slightly before continuing. “What…kind of person is he?” she asked hesitantly.
Chantia smiled happily and told Charlotte everything she could about Sam; about how supportive he was of her; of how he just understood her; of his dream of being a professional writer and everything else she could think of. By the time she finished, Charlotte had a carefully blank expression on her face, but then the light flickered slightly across her face and Chantia was left uncertain if the expression had really existed.
“He sounds nice,” Charlotte replied with a smile. “Even so, I’d really love to meet him. Maybe…Mia’s potion?” she suggested hesitantly. “If Mia can replicate her potion, then…Sam…will be able to see me, right?”
“Hmm,” Chantia mused before she nodded. “You’re right, it should work. I’ll ask her when I see her again,” she promised.
As promised, Chantia talked to Mia. Mia still had her notes of creating the potion, so she had absolutely no problem with giving one to her sister. Charlotte was an important part of Chantia’s life and Sam was also an important part, so Mia could understand why her sister wanted the potion.
“As promised, one ‘ghost potion’,” Mia stated as she handed the potion over. “Don’t drink it – it must be thrown on the ground. Once you step into the vapours it should start working,” she delivered the instructions.
Several days later, Chantia managed to convince Sam to use the potion. He was a bit sceptical, but Chantia had to admit his expression was pretty funny when he noticed he had turned into a ghost.
“What the – did this thing kill me?!” Sam asked in a panicked voice. Chantia laughed and pulled him closer to her, proving he wasn’t quite as incorporeal as he appeared. Of course, the fact that it was Chantia touching him instead of someone unable to interact with ghosts didn’t exactly help his cause.
“You’re still alive, silly,” Chantia assured her fiancĂ©. “I told you this would happen, remember?” Sam raised an eyebrow, clearly disagreeing with her.
“Not quite,” he disagreed. “You told me this thing would make me see ghosts, not make me become a ghost.”
“Details, details,” Chantia waved her hand dismissively. “The end result is the same. You’ll be like that for three hours, and then you’ll be able to interact with ghosts further on.”
Sam agreed to meet Charlotte, so Chantia took him to the house she now owned and introduced him to the ghosts. Charlotte in particular made sure to talk a long time with, seemingly trying to decide whether she approved of him or not.
Chantia, meanwhile, took the time to reconnect with the other ghosts again. While she still considered them as some of her best friends, it had been some time since she had last spoken with them.
“Clint’s gone?!” Chantia asked incredulously after hearing the news. She had noticed the blue ghost had been missing the last couple of times she had visited, but she had never considered that he might actually be gone.
“Yes,” Angelica confirmed with a complex tone – Chantia could hear sadness, happiness, and yes, even a bit of envy in the ghost’s voice. “That sweet girl of his passed away, so he moved on to be with her again,” the age-old woman explained. “He was so in love when he died, and she was so heartbroken, that he decided to stay and watch over her,” Angelica explained reminiscently. “She’s joined him now, so they moved on together.”
Chantia stared at Angelica, her eyes burning slightly. Clint was her friend, and she’ll really miss him, but the way Angelica talked about it…she couldn’t help but to feel happy for him.
“Oh,” she said, her voice catching slightly. “Well, in that case, I…well, I guess I’m happy for him. I’m really going to miss him, though.”
Angelica smiled sadly. “I know,” she agreed tearily, “but I’m so happy for him. Life as a Lost is very lonely, and so very few of us get the chance to resolve our reason before being forced to move on. That Clint satisfied his reason…” she wiped away ghostly tears, shaking her head. “He is such a lucky man.”
“Yeah,” Chantia agreed softly, feeling her chest tighten. She couldn’t help but be sad that he was gone, but put like that…she really was happy for him.
“Anyway,” Angelica changed the subject, wiping away the last of her tears, “I hear you’re getting married. I just want to say congratulations,” the woman congratulated Chantia with that decidedly proud tone that only elders seemed to get correct.
Before long, the sky started to darken, heralding the end of their visit. Just before Chantia and Sam left, Charlotte pulled Chantia away, anxious to talk to her.
“Your Sam is…he’s a very nice person,” the ghost informed her diplomatically, but Chantia wasn’t blind. She could see something was bothering her friend. She crossed her arms across her chest, slightly on edge.
“But something is bothering you, right?” Chantia asked suspiciously. “Like what?” Sam was a wonderful man. Why would Charlotte have a problem with him?
Charlotte hesitated slightly before taking the plunge. “I don’t trust him,” she stated bluntly. “He’s a nice guy, Chantia, but…” She shook her head, “…he’s too perfect. Nobody’s that perfect.”
Chantia scoffed, highly offended. “Excuse me? Sam is a wonderful person – there’s nothing wrong with him! I can’t…why would you say something like that?”
“I’m not saying he’s a bad person Chantia,” Charlotte protested, “I’m just saying you should –”
“No Charlotte. I don’t care what you say. I have never been so offended,” Chantia interrupted angrily. “How can you say that? You know how important he is to me!” With that she stalked away with angry tears in her eyes, ignoring Charlotte’s calls to listen to her.
Sam was a wonderful person. She knew him. Nothing was wrong with him, and he wasn’t hiding anything from her. She couldn’t believe Charlotte would implicate he wasn’t to be trusted. Sam was everything she had ever wanted in a man. He was amazing and understanding and loving and supportive and perfect and –
- and nobody’s perfect, her mind whispered traitorously.
So Chantia managed to get the house after all. I’d say she had some interesting ups and downs in this chapter. The wedding was originally supposed to be in this chapter, but the scenes with the ghosts sneaked in so I had to move the wedding to a later chapter. But I managed to sneak some plot in, so I’m happy.  :)

Friday, 14 March 2014

Chapter 2.3 - High Hopes

*Warning – slight reference to mature events. Though after the last chapter you really should’ve expected it :P*

Chantia look at the sight in front of her just long enough to register what she was seeing before she turned around, both embarrassed and disgusted. She did not want to see that. Plumbob, she did not want to see that.
"Lock your damn door if you're going to do things like this!" she ordered disgustedly before leaving the room with flaming cheeks.
It wasn't fair. She was the oldest. She was supposed to be the first to sleep with someone, not Mia! But no, every single thing in Chantia's life Mia just had to do first or be better at! She was sick and tired of always being the loser!
For several days the atmosphere between the two sisters was slightly cold and tense. Mia was angry at Chantia for walking into her room without knocking, while Chantia was angry at Mia for one-upping her again. Their little spat continued until Cora reminded Chantia just how childish she was being.  
“So what’s up between you and Mia? You guys have been truly mean to each other for the last couple days,” Cora asked curiously at breakfast. Chantia shrugged slightly, not really in the mood for answering.

“She slept with Gary, and I walked in on them,” she mumbled into her plate. She could feel her cheeks flame up again at the memory. Cora choked on a piece of her waffle in surprise.
“She what?!” she asked incredulously once she got her breath back. “Gary? Sweet, naively innocent Gary?” Chantia felt her mouth pull with disapproval. Really, couldn’t Cora get the hint that she didn’t want to talk about it?
“Yes, ‘sweet, naively innocent Gary,” she snapped. “Except he isn’t nearly as naively innocent now, is he?”
Cora snorted. Then she started sniggering and eventually her sniggers became full-out laughter. Despite her irritation and anger, Chantia felt her own mouth corners pull up in mirth. Maybe the whole situation was funny. When put that way, Mia sleeping with Gary was actually hilarious. The guy was so sheltered he blushed when he saw cleavage. Him sleeping with Mia…it was actually funny.

“Oh Plumbob, I can’t stop laughing!” Cora gasped amusedly. “Do you think he actually managed to find the right place, or was he too entranced by her –”

“Cora! This is my sister we’re talking about! I do not want to hear about Gary being ‘entranced’ by Mia’s…I don’t know, whatever innuendo you can think of!” Chantia’s words set Cora’s laughter off again, this time joined with Tiffany’s.
“Oh come on, you have to admit it’s funny!” Cora protested. “I mean, let’s face it – Mia is hot, and Gary is not. I can just imagine him going ‘Oh Mia, you’re so –”
Chantia stood up quickly and slammed her hands on the table. She really, really didn’t want to hear that.
“That’s it, I’m out of here,” she decided and stalked off with a burning face, Cora and Tiffany’s laughter following behind her.

 She might not have wanted to listen to their speculations, but Cora did help her see the humour in the situation. It was time to get back at Mia.

Mia was sitting in the common room, reading a book as usual. Trying to act as nonchalantly as possible, Chantia joined her sister on the couch.
“So…Gary, huh?” Chantia commented lightly after a couple of silent seconds. “Was he good?” She couldn’t keep the grin off her face. Now that Cora had made her see the humour in the situation, she couldn’t stop finding the whole thing hilarious.
Mia snapped her book close before slowly turning to Chantia, staring incredulously at her sister.
Chantia gestured slightly with her head. “Gary,” she repeated, “you know, the guy you slept with. Did you have ‘fun’?”
Mia raised an eyebrow at Chantia. “Extremely,” she replied drily. “What’s it to you? Jealous?”
Chantia snorted at the thought. No, she wasn’t jealous. How could she be? Sleeping with Gary…there was nothing to be jealous about there. Yes, sure, she was disappointed that Mia got her first experience before she did, but really. Gary? At least Chantia knew she had better prospects waiting for her when she returned home. The only reason she hadn’t ‘been’ with Sam yet was because she was saving herself for marriage. Oh, they’ve talked about it, but Sam had been respectful and deferred to her wishes. She wanted her first time to be meaningful.
She shook her head in amusement. “Why should I be jealous? It’s Gary we’re talking about here. He’s got nothing against Sam. I mean, seriously, if I was to sleep with someone at least I know Sam would be able to –”
“Okay, TMI Chantia, TMI,” Mia declared, throwing her hands up into the air. “I really don’t want to hear about what you’re planning on doing to your boyfriend. Or just ‘doing’ him at all, for that matter.” Chantia broke into laughter, delighted at getting a rise out of her stoic sister for a change. Mia glared slightly at Chantia before returning to her book, but the atmosphere between the two sisters was as casual again as it had been before the incident.
 Classes for the new term started again, and before they noticed final exams were upon them again. Both girls passed with flying colours, graduating their degrees with highest honours. To celebrate their graduation, the girls went bowling with Cora and Tiffany for one last time.
The evening was fun, relaxing and satisfying. They talked and played until early the next morning, promising each other to stay in touch after returning home. By the time the evening was over, Chantia was relaxed, happy and smugger than she should’ve been.
Seemed like ‘perfect little Mia’ was quite as perfect after all.
Before the official graduation ceremony started though, Mia had something to do. Nobody was really surprised by the events, except the guy in question. As everyone had suspected, poor Gary didn’t even see it coming.
“B-but…I thought w-we had something special! I thought you loved me!”
Mia scoffed. “Love you? Why would you think that? It was just some innocent fun, Gary.”
He looked at her with betrayed eyes. “So what, it didn’t mean anything to you?”
Mia’s answer was short and to the point, and brutally honest. “No, it didn’t.” With that she turned around and walked away, ignoring the broken-hearted guy staring after her with a betrayed expression.
The next day was graduation, and with graduation Chantia received a pleasant surprise.
“Guess who?” a very familiar voice whispered into her ear. When she turned around, she could barely contain her shriek of glee.
“Sam! You’re here!” Chantia exclaimed and immediately threw her arms around him. “You have no idea how much I missed you!”
Sam tightened his arms around her. “Oh, I think I do,” he breathed into her ear. Chantia just sighed happily, revelling in the feeling of his arms around her.
“When did you get here? How did you get here?” she questioned him once she let go. Sam laughed embarrassedly at her question and gestured to her parents.
“I came with your parents,” he confessed. “They told me they were coming and invited me to come along.”
Chantia smiled happily and gave him a kiss. “Remind me to thank them later,” she murmured in reply.
Chantia used the time while they waited for the ceremony to start to introduce Sam to her friends. Cora in specific was quite impressed.
“Oh, I approve,” Cora informed Chantia, looking appreciatively at Sam talking to Tiffany. “Now that I finally met your mysterious boyfriend, I really can say I approve. Great catch girl. He is hot.”
Chantia just smiled smugly. Really, why had she ever been jealous of Mia? Gary didn’t even come close to Sam.
Dressed in togas and surrounded by an excess amount of ceremony, the girls finally received the physical representation of their success at university, graduating cum laude.
(Chantia clearly thought togas was overrated, since she never got into hers)
The girls would’ve loved to go home with the rest of their family, but they had several things to do at the dorm first before they were set free. With the help of their roommates, everyone cleaned the dorm for the next batch of students before saying their good-byes to everyone.
Gary was still heart-broken over Mia, so he deliberately acted like he didn’t see her, waving over her head at Tiffany and saying good-bye directly to Chantia while ignoring Mia.
“Awkward,” Cora whispered to Tiffany, who struggled to keep her giggles at bay. Everyone felt sorry for Gary, but everyone found the whole situation hilarious as well. Except Gary, of course.
It was with relieved hearts and high spirits that the girls finally returned home.
“You know Mom, that isn’t exactly the first thing we want to see upon coming home,” Chantia quipped smartly upon walking in and seeing her parents lip-locked. Gustave and Evelyn immediately separated, turning to the girls with broad smiles instead.
“Welcome home, girls,” Evelyn greeted them, welcoming them back with a warm hug. “I just want to say that I’m very, very proud of you girls.”
Chantia smiled in her mother’s arms. While she had gotten used to the continuous greyness of university and actually had had a lot of fun, she was still extremely glad to be back in Sunset Valley. The saying held true – there was no place like home.

The next couple of days passed in a flurry of activity. Mia officially became an employee at the Landgraab Science Facility, starting out at as an Aquatic Ecosystem Tweaker with an insanely high starting salary in Chantia’s eyes. Chantia herself applied at the Facility for a job in parapsychology and got the job without a problem. The Facility had a close working relationship with the Police Station regarding paranormal cases, so they agreed to forward any relevant cases to Chantia.
The next major change that happened was that Mia moved out of the house. She loved Evelyn and the house she grew up in, but university had given her a taste of independence and she was eager to continue that independence. It was with tears (both of happiness and sadness) that Evelyn sent the girl off, but Mia left with the knowledge that her family would always be there for her whenever she needed them.
Before she left though, Mia gave Chantia something.
“Here, take this,” Mia ordered and pushed the box in Chantia’s hands. “Inside is a special fruit called a ‘flame fruit’. I started developing it in high school, but I couldn’t manage to complete it until last term, with my professor’s help,” the genius explained. “If you use it in a recipe, the ghosts will be able to taste the food.”
Chantia looked up, astonished by Mia’s words. Charlotte had once explained to them that one of the things they missed the most about being alive was the ability to taste food.
“How did you manage to make this?” she asked with astonishment. Mia just sighed and shook her head.
“You should know better by now not to ask me those kind of questions,” she gently reprimanded. “You won’t be able to understand the answer in anyway. Just find a way to give these to the ghosts, okay?”
After Chantia promised to do that, Mia left the house, moving away to her own apartment. 
Mia’s request reminded Chantia about her friends, so she started making plans to buy the house on the hill, but she hit an unexpected snag.
“The house is already sold?! When did that happen? And who bought it?” she asked incredulously. She really hadn’t expected that to happen. After all, nobody wanted to buy a haunted house!
Sam shrugged slightly and took a sip of his coffee. “The Fenrir family bought it,” he admitted. “Audra, the youngest daughter, recently got engaged, so her parents bought the house for her to live in after she gets married. They don’t believe ghosts exist, so it doesn’t matter to them that it’s supposed to be haunted.”
Chantia gaped at him. For several seconds she was completely speechless. “B-but…the house…and the ghosts…they won’t be able to live there anymore if the Fenrirs move there! That was why I was going to buy the house!”
Sam nodded. “It’ll be the Newby’s, but yeah, I know. Anyway, I talked to Audra, and apparently she isn’t very keen on living in the house, because she believes ghosts exist and the whole ‘haunted’ thing is a bit of a negative thing for her, and her fiancĂ© shares her views. So neither of them wants the house, but they can’t just refuse it for fear of insulting her parents, and they can’t sell it immediately either for the same reason.”
Chantia sighed and slumped in her chair, folding her fingers further around her mug of coffee. “So either way, I won’t be able to buy the house,” she concluded dejectedly. How could she have been so stupid? Just because no one ever showed interest in buying the house she had assumed it would still be available after she came home from university, even though she knew the agency had been trying everything just to get the house sold.
Sam smirked at her. “Not quite,” he disagreed. “As I said, Audra doesn’t want the house. So when she heard you do want the house, she agreed to try and get her parents to think about selling the house. So far they’re not convinced, but Audra is fairly certain that if you approach them with a good deal and a solid motivation for wanting the house, they’ll sell it to you.”
For several seconds Chantia stared flabbergasted at Sam. “You…convinced them to sell the house to me?” she asked incredulously, unable to believe her luck.
“No, we helped convince them to consider selling the house to you,” he corrected her. “It really is up to you now to close the deal.”
Chantia couldn’t help it. She launched herself out of her chair and threw her arms around Sam’s neck, thanking him profusely. He really was the perfect boyfriend.
The two of them spent hours discussing ways to convince the Fenrirs to sell the house, but in the end Chantia didn’t have to use any of those ways. She received her first job as a ghost hunter and ironically enough, her first clients were the elder Fenrirs.
“We don’t believe in this ‘ghost’ nonsense,” Sarah Fenrir informed her snobbishly, “but I can’t deny that strange things have been happening in this house. We’ve seen lights float around at night; just floating around with no apparent reason. At first we thought it could’ve been fireflies, but fireflies don’t get that big. It started happening on the last full moon and since then it happened every night. Now, I don’t care what it is, I just want you to get rid of it. The people at the Science Facility said it sounded like ‘wisps’ or something like that and said you’d be able to get rid of it.”
“Of course,” Chantia agreed. “If the lights are indeed will-o’-the-wisps, I can get rid of them,” she assured the woman. Inwardly, she was rather excited. She’d finally get to put her university training to the test. Little was known about will-o’-the-wisps, but they had been taught how to deal with it.
Sarah watched Chantia the whole time she did her job, making sure the younger woman didn’t break anything while catching the wisps. By the time she finished the older woman was grudgingly impressed.
“I suppose you know what you’re doing,” she grudgingly complimented Chantia before abruptly changing the subject. “My daughter informs me you’re interested in that house up by the waterfall. Are you?”
Chantia was slightly taken back by the abrupt change in conversation, but she immediately jumped on the opportunity.
“Yes ma’am, I am. That house holds a special interest to me, so –”
“Special interest? Like what?” Sarah interrupted suspiciously. Chantia bit her lip softly, thinking of a safe answer. Sarah was indeed incredibly sceptical, so Chantia had to approach it cautiously.
“Well, as a paranormal investigator, the house’s haunted reputation can provide me with valuable data. I’ve visited the house before and it seems that ghosts are present there,” Chantia answered cautiously, silently hoping she chose the correct approach.
“Ghosts don’t exist,” Sarah argued stubbornly.
“Maybe not,” Chantia agreed good-naturedly, feeling a bit satisfied when her answer seemed to take the woman back a bit, “but I can’t deny that paranormal experiences do occur there. There are many possible explanations for such events, and it is my job to find the correct explanation. That house holds an extremely valuable source of data.” Thank you Mia, she thought, for teaching me how to say simple things in an extremely over-complicated way.
Sarah just harrumphed.  “You can get your money for the job from my husband,” she informed Chantia and walked away with her nose held high.
The next day, Chantia got a phone call from the woman.
“§48 000,” Sarah declared the moment Chantia answered the phone. “We’ll sell the house to you §48 000. If you’re serious about buying the house, we’ll give you until the end of next month to provide us with the money. After that, the deal is off.”
Chantia felt her heart leap. She had the chance to buy the house.
Now she just had to get the money.
I had some crazy weird glitch at the graduation ceremony. First, Chantia never changed into her toga. Irritating, but manageable. Then, while everybody was in the rabbithole, Chantia graduated first, coming out triumphantly, throwing her diploma in the air etc. Everybody else was still inside the hall. Then, when it was time for the ceremony to finish, everyone reset. So everyone dressed in togas both graduated and didn’t graduate, since they had the option to throw their diplomas in the air, but they didn’t get the extra trait slot. I was so worried the girls were going to be stuck at uni forever. Luckily, Mia completed graduation when she returned home. So that is the reason Mia is in a toga in the coming home shot and Chantia is not.
All that time and effort I placed into Mia as a child and teen seemed to pay off. I allowed her to get a job before I kicked her out, and she started at level 6 of the science career. Now the rest is up to her.