Author's Note: Sorry it's taken so long for this one – I've been really busy with my band and I've been working almost full time too, so again I apologize. On a side note, I've changed Wednesday's age; it just didn't seem all that plausible for her to have traveled the world in so short a time after high school. I'll get to changing the previous chapters some time soon. Without further ado, here goes…

Chapter 9: The Look

I chewed my lip nervously, listening to pages rustle and the tick of the clock on the wall. Technically it was still morning, and the weather outside was just as glorious and sunny as it had been the day before. A few people passed by the window and peeked in, but none of them entered. I spotted the tail of Scratch, Mr. Finnigan's dog, wagging as he stood outside with his master, utterly content. I chewed on my lip some more.

A thin strip of paper had been ripped and bent in my idle fingers, Mrs. Quincy's fortune for the day. "Good things happen to those that wait, for patience is a virtue." How was it the fortunes seemed to predict my problems before they occurred? I glanced up at the clock, swinging my feet about while I sat on the counter.

Time seemed to go by so very slowly, and I couldn't seem to sit still. I'd read in a book that anxiety was a sure sign that you would die of a heart attack. In my opinion, a heart attack was the least of my worries, and would have been a blessed respite compared to the stress at hand. The clock ticked on; my eyes darted to it for the zillionth time that morning: eleven fifty-nine and counting. My fingers resumed fidgeting again in anticipation.

I heaved a deep, impatient sigh. "Can I talk now? I need –"

Fiona held her hand up, glancing at the same clock. "I have forty-two seconds before you begin to yammer my ear off and I intend to enjoy them." A small stream of smoke came from her cigarette and clouded around her, making her seem like an ethereal being instead of an irritating old bat.

Another sigh whistled through my lips and I rolled my eyes, attempting to repress the urge to mutter impolite phrases in different languages. That morning, before I could even open my mouth to tell her about my dinner invitation disaster, Fiona's hand had gone up, silencing me. She had informed me with stern authority that she did not, under any uncertain terms, want to hear my voice until noon precisely. She was Fiona; I'd obeyed with little question. I wasn't all that sure of her motivations for setting such a rule, but I desperately hoped it wouldn't become a reoccurring trend.

Finally Fiona slowly closed her book and pulled out another cigarette, lighting and taking a good puff before turning to me. "You have something you'd like to discuss?"

"I'm doomed!" I poured out, throwing my hands up helplessly. Silence followed.

Fiona looked at me expectantly, her cigarette poised between two yellowed fingers. "That's it?"

I nodded morosely and sighed.

A wry look came upon her features and she stood slowly, shuffling towards the kitchen. I stared after her, a bit dumbfounded.

"That's it?" I called after her, my voice reaching a high-pitched squawk. Good Lord, I was becoming a parrot. "I waited all morning just to pour out my inner woes and now you're leaving me?"

She arched her receding eyebrow at me in the doorway of the kitchen. "You told me you were doomed. As far as I'm concerned, we're all doomed, so unless you have an elaboration…"

I blinked and watched her disappear, listening to her mutter something or other. In my anticipation, I'd forgotten to elaborate. Perhaps I'd simply repeated how the conversation would have gone during the course of the morning that when the time came to actually tell it, it had slipped my mind. Then again, perhaps Fiona had simply forgotten my complex woes – or not heard. She did seem to suffer from a lack of hearing at times, though I couldn't be sure if it was entirely selective or truly worsening with each day. I slid off the counter and went to the kitchen, determined to explain to her my upsetting dilemma.

Fiona sat in her chair with a bemused expression on her face.

"If I tell you, you have to promise to listen and not say a word until after I've finished." I said before she could voice the thoughts that had her smirking like a loon. The reason I said this was to ensure her silence when she would most likely interrupt and criticize and enter sarcastic anecdotes that were entirely undeserved – for the most part. There was the slight off-chance that she would disregard the promise, but better to have been safe than sorry.

She leaned back in her chair. "Alright. Go ahead."

I cleared my throat with a bit of dramatic flare and sat up in my chair. "Okay, so this guy, Tavis has a sister."

"Who's Tavis?" she took a puff of her cigarette.

"The guy that came in here asking about the biographies for his grandfather? The guy who can't speak French to save his life? The guy that has otherwise been the thorn in the side that is my life? The bane of my existence? The same guy who reconciled with me over pancakes at a greasy diner downtown? I talked about him just last week. Don't you remember?" If she was expecting me to spell it out any more than that, she was vastly mistaken.


"Anyway, his sister has four children." I went on, uncaring of whether she truly remembered the boy in the least.

"The sister of Tavis has four children?" was she even listening to anything that I was saying?

I sat down on the chair and found it uncomfortable. "Yes. So Tavis promised yesterday to take care of these four children, but then forgets, and leaves his sister outside of the apartment building without a word. I just happened to be there, as fate would have it." I stood up again and began pacing near the empty space that had been countertop.

"Fate." Fiona muttered skeptically.

It was clear that Fiona had no intentions of living up to her promise not to interrupt. I could even see the humorous gleam shining in her expression, as if she were enjoying this. "Anyway, I ended up taking care of the four nephews and nieces and it was fun, but then the sister came back." I sat down again.

"The sister of Tavis? Isn't he that boy that lives next door? I thought you hated him violently." She took a puff of her cigarette and began rambling. "Did he smell like horse leather to you the last time he came in here? I knew a milkman who smelled like horse leather once. He could never get my order right, which is probably why they fired him. Can't remember if he was an amiable sort…" she trailed, trying to hide a smirk.

I sunk my head into my hands and sighed. "Why do I talk to you again?"

"I really don't have any idea, dear. You should find a bloody therapist like the rest of the lunatics around here." She cackled as I raised my head and shot her a look of annoyance, or at least, cackled for all of three seconds before it became more of a deep hacking cough. Cigarettes were going to be the death of her.

"May I continue now?" I asked her.

She became a bit more serious and composed herself. "Yes, you may."

"Okay, so I took care of the four kids that belong to Tavis' sister who's name is Marisa – and don't ask me to repeat that, please. She's a very pleasant woman. I think you'd like her." I caught her rolling her eyes – typical. "So, after she comes to pick up the kids, she gets this look in her eyes – you know the one; it's the same kind of look Mrs. DeWinters gets when she wants to set me up with someone, only it's not from Mrs. DeWinters, it's from Tavis' sister."

"Whose name is Marisa." Fiona noticed my glare and put her hand up with an innocent look. "I was just clarifying. Continue."

I sighed, resisting the urge to throw a book, or tea cup, or some kind of heavy object. "She asked me to Easter dinner next week, and that's not even the half of it. They're Italian! When they say 'family' they mean half the country of Italy inside one house eating and eating until everyone explodes, and that's no joke."

The mental image that I'd created caused me to grimace and frown.

"Your face is going to be stuck like that if you keep it up." Fiona commented blandly, inhaling some of her cigarette. "Besides, I don't see what the fuss is all about; it's just a bit of dinner."

She didn't seem to understand the potentially dangerous situation that I was attempting to present to her. If she could have, for one moment, looked at the bigger picture, perhaps it would have made some sense. Then again, I'd read somewhere that as one became older, the ability to see the situations as a whole began to narrow drastically.

"No, you don't understand. Italians believe that women were put in existence to get married and make babies and cook food – not necessarily in that particular order. If I show up with Tavis Dane, I will most likely be pegged as the next Mrs. Dane, and who wants that?"

"It's a free meal; who cares?" Fiona gave me a funny look as smoke streamed from her mouth and into the air.

I was beginning to feel frustrated and helpless. Fiona wasn't giving me the answers I had been hoping for, though I really shouldn't have been surprised. She was always doing unexpected things and contradicting what I had previously presumed she would say. Truly, it was safe to say that whatever you hoped the woman would say she did the opposite. Perhaps if I put my mind to use, I would be able to use reverse psychology to get the answer that I wanted, which I was still unsure of.

On one hand, going to a family dinner and experiencing the atmosphere would have been wonderful. On the other hand, I would be going with Tavis Dane, and everyone would most likely presume that we were a couple on the brink of a marriage proposal. I wasn't sure if I could deal with that kind of pressure, much less Tavis. The pros and cons were limited and it wouldn't have been fair to weigh each side by those points alone. I sighed again.

Fiona looked somewhat annoyed. "All of that hot air, and nothing worth listening to."

I'd forgotten she hated sighing.

"Let's just say, for a minute, you were in my position." I propositioned rather hesitantly. Fiona looked at me skeptically. "What would you do?"

The elderly woman took another puff of her cigarette and stared out the window for a moment. "Well, first of all, this woman with the kids would still be sitting out on that step if it had been up to me. There's no point in bending apartment rules because of a horde of whiny children. You're just too nice, Wednesday." She patted my knee twice and flicked the ashes into the ashtray, a giant ceramic fish from another garage sale.

I waited for more, as I had already come to the conclusion that I was too nice. Up to that point in time, I was most surely going to die of niceness and a heart attack; there was nothing new about that.

Silence enveloped the room, and Sam came to take his usual bath on top of the table.

"And?" I asked rather rudely.

Fiona shot me another annoyed look, pressing her lips together. "And I think you should stop reading so deeply into dinner invitations and get out of your damn apartment building; it's making you quite insane, dear."

I blinked and stared at her.

After a few seconds she cast an exasperated glance at me. "Oh, stop it. You look absolutely silly with your jaw hanging like that."

Not only that, but I was probably inhaling more second hand smoke than I should have. I closed my mouth, but didn't speak. She had just told me that I didn't get out enough, while she herself spent her nights cooped upstairs watching old re-runs of MASH and Sherlock Holmes. If there were any contradictions to be had, they were epitomized in the older woman who sat before me. I gave up on her and left the room

The rest of the day went on smoothly. Someone dropped off a box of books that left me with an activity to do as I sorted and labeled each one, pricing them as I went. Nothing interesting caught my eye; they were mostly books about teenagers, and a few older history books.

Molly came to join me for a few moments, sitting silently next to me, as if she didn't mind my company. The cat surprised me, because usually she would take one look at me and slip into another secret niche among the maze of books. Perhaps she was warming up to my charm – or hoping for some food. The latter seemed more likely.

Even the subway was a disappointment. Not one person seemed especially photogenic, and the entire car had been crowded, making it impossible to take a decent picture without being spotted. I scowled as I stepped off the train and trudged home.

To add to the frustration, Mrs. DeWinters happened to be poking about the mail boxes at just about the same time I attempted to get inside the building. She rushed over to the door before I had a chance to extract my key and run a few blocks in the other direction. All I could do was hide my grimace and endure her overly dramatic greeting.

"Oh, Wednesday, dear, I was hoping to run into you this afternoon! I was just telling that Mr. Dane how I was hoping to run into you – and here you are! Wonderful! Simply wonderful!"

Listening to her felt like listening to chipmunk music during a sugar rush – not that I had any idea of the experience. Fine; so what if I hadn't read it in a book?

I pasted a smile on my face, not bothering to hide the enduring look, the kind that gave hint to my displeasure at having to converse with the bothersome nag. "Hello, Mrs. DeWinters. How are you?"

"Oh marvelous as usual, as long as my Irritable Bowel Syndrome doesn't fizzle, and I do mean fizzle." She chuckled and I wanted to cry. The woman just did not understand the meaning of personal privacy in the least. Perhaps her syndrome was also the reason she wore so much toilet water. Ugh, I didn't even want to think about it. "But enough about me," she waved her hand and got this look in her eye, and it had nothing to do with the syndrome she had so well-informed me of just a minute earlier. I recognized it immediately – The Look. Marisa had taken on that same look that Mrs. DeWinters had shining out of her green eyes right at that very moment. It was nearly enough to strike fear and panic in my very core. "I've heard you're becoming quite cozy with that boy next door, although who could blame you. The man is quite charming."

He was far from charming. In fact, he took the charm out of charming; he mutilated and sullied charming into something far from gentlemanly. If Mrs. DeWinters had read any books other than her Oprah magazines and Harlequin romances, she would have known that a gentleman was more than simply good looks.

I shrugged. "In some universe or another, I'm sure."

She chortled and snorted a little, her short curls, lined with thick patches of silver, barely moved, which I found oddly distracting and fascinating. I had thought that elderly people didn't use hairspray to the point of non-movement. Personally, I went through enough hair products to feed a small country every month, but I hadn't pegged Mrs. DeWinters as the hairspray type. "Oh, Wednesday; you and your humor. Some young man should snatch you up before it's too late."

I tried hard to contain my curiosity. What in the world did she think would happen to me? Would I become too old and suddenly become – God forbid – like her? Of course, she had been married at some point in time, but when did it become 'too late' for someone? For goodness sakes, I was only twenty-one! Instead, I shrugged good humouredly and fought the urge to inquire as to what she meant.

"Someday, maybe." I said noncommittal. I'd read in a book that the more nonchalant one seemed, the less they would be bothered; it had rarely worked.

"Oh, don't get so down on yourself; there are plenty of young men out there."


"I mean, of course, they can't wait all day,"


"But I've read in that Oprah magazine that women your age are more forceful."


"Of course, you don't seem that type, but I'm sure there are the more conventional kind of men out there for you."


"Take that Mr. Dane; he seems like a good, traditional young man."

I would use rope.

"Perhaps you could invite him for dinner some night."

No, a paring knife.

"Just the two of you! Oh! Wouldn't it be so wonderfully romantic?"

I would use rope and a paring knife. Fiona would have been elated at my masterful scheme, in some obscene kind of way.

Somehow, her reference to dinner filled me with watery panic. She knew. I knew she knew because she was Mrs. DeWinters and she just knew. I swallowed hard and tried to think of something clever to say rather than threaten to steal the rest of her year's worth of Oprah magazines. When in doubt, resort to wittiness and subtle hilarity. I'd read that in a book once, at the walk-in clinic.

"Well, Mrs. DeWinters, if you really have your sights set on him, I think you should go for it." My attempt at being funny was taken like most of my meaningless drivel: as if I hadn't spoken at all.

"Oh, Wednesday, dear, you're so very darling." Her sugary sweet tone was nauseating. "Don't give up on that catch you have next door." I hoped she was referring to Felicity, though I didn't have any idea as to why that would be so. "He's utterly delightful once you get to know him." She didn't have any proof of that, as I was sure Tavis was better at avoiding her than I was, and hadn't had to endure her continuous prattle riddled with underlying meanings and less-than-cryptic 'advice'.

I sighed quietly, resisting the urge to roll my eyes. "Well, I must be going, unfortunately. I have some cleaning to do – it keeps getting put off, and if I don't do it this very afternoon, it just won't clean itself, I'm afraid." To myself I sounded more grown-up than I felt; it was an odd sort of feeling, like being out-of-body. So that was what the books had meant! "I'll talk to you more…later." I could never say what I wished to say: 'next year.'

The woman patted my arm, and her syndrome came to mind with disgusting clarity. Her green eyes were still staring at me with The Look. "Alright, dear. You have a wonderful afternoon. We should have tea some time, just to chat."

I must have nodded and said something rather polite, but I couldn't remember. I had made it through another encounter with The Gossip and had come out relatively unscathed, though I couldn't get the image of The Look out of my mind, nor the less important Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

A funny noise came from my apartment as I clumsily opened the lock and pushed open the door. My T.V. was on and who should be sitting on my couch than Kirsten and Daniela. I hadn't expected Daniela to have been home for at least another two weeks – just in time for Alice's wedding. The two Willow sisters glanced up at me as though it were ordinary for their presence within my home.

"Uh, hi?" I greeted awkwardly, a little clueless, hanging my bag and coat.

They each glanced at me at separate times. "Oh, hey." Kirsten greeted, and resumed watching whatever it was they were watching.

Daniela had streaked her naturally dark hair with bright orange, like the fruit. It reminded me of some of the more bohemian neighborhoods in Jamaica, and a small suburb in Spain. Other than her hair and skin tone, nothing about her had really changed, at least from the outward view that I could see. She still chewed on her nails while she watched T.V. and she still sat in an almost yoga-esque position on the couch, her bent knees practically touching the back of the couch.

Dog came to me as I hung up my coat and sat down, staring up at me with an almost irritated 'Meow!' as if the intruders were terribly unwanted. I gave him a bemused sort of smirk and pushed him out of the way with my foot. "I'm not feeding you until dinner time, and I don't care." His ears flattened and a grumpy glare graced his features. The King had been dismissed, crabby cur.

With a tired sigh I flopped over the couch and found myself upside down, my legs hanging off the back of the couch and my head just about ready to roll off the seat cushion. "So," I began casually, "what brings you to my humble abode?"

"In a word: Alice." Daniela answered first, not bothering to look at me, but grimacing all the same. I was slightly surprised that she hadn't tackled me with a hug since we hadn't seen each other for at least three or four months. The idea of it faded at the mention of Alice.

"She's officially lost all sanity and reason." Kirsten agreed.

"Does this have to do with the imminent wedding?" I asked, partially in sarcasm. The woman had been planning her wedding since she was the sixth grade – or so Kirsten had claimed in exaggeration. It was no more possible to botch her wedding than it was for me to find a permanent residence.

They both nodded and my eyes widened.

"She got a call from the florist this morning." Kirsten began.

"Apparently tiger lilies aren't in bloom this season, and the florist – who doesn't have a G-rated name today – claims that she is unable to acquiesce to our bride's request." Daniela finished with a dramatic air. Each of them had a kind of smirk on their face, as if they had been in on ruining their sister's wedding. Perfect sisters were often the target of secretly repressed jealousy. I'd read it in a book.

Kirsten laughed. "You should have seen the look on her face, Wens."

"Like a volcano!" Daniela attempted to do an impression and could only giggle insidiously like a thirteen year old.

I frowned. "That's not very nice. What if she's sitting in her apartment all alone, bawling her eyes out because there's no one, not even her own sisters, there to comfort her?" Knowing Alice, she was in no such state, and instead was probably storming about her apartment trying to find another florist – preferably with a G-rated name.

They looked at me quite dubiously before grinning and returning to their show.

"By the way, how was your day?" Kirsten asked with mild interest.

This was just the subject I had wanted to discuss. "I'm doomed!" I cried, much like I had with Fiona, only with less gusto than before. The first effort had drained me of my enthusiasm. Without glancing to either of them to see if they were truly listening or not, I began with my story. It all came tumbling out of my mouth in a kind of run-on sentence that went something like this: "I took care of some relatives of Tavis and now they want me to have Easter dinner with them and it's horrible because they're Italian and they're all going to think that Tavis and I are going to get married and I don't want to offend them but Marisa seemed so nice and how could I not say yes because they're Italian and they'll probably send the mafia to my door if I say no and now I'm doomed because I don't want to get married!" I took a breath and felt slightly purged of my eminent doom.

Dani grunted something like 'Hm.' They were probably less helpful than Fiona had been, the thankless lot, sitting on my couch, watching my television, paying little, if any, attention to me. I felt so used, and just a little egocentric.

"Other than that small fact, I believe I'm officially one of the most maleficent, pernicious persons on Earth." The statement was meant to draw attention to myself, and it did, but not in the way I had hoped.

"Worse than Josef Stalin?" Kirsten mused.


"Worse than Hitler?"


"Worse than that Cuban guy? What's his name?"

"Fidel Castro." I informed with a frown. "And no."

"I don't think you make the top ten of History's most pernicious persons." Daniela said, though she was only partially paying attention because her eyes were fixed on the bloody television screen.

Kirsten glanced at my frowning face and became just a little curious. "Did you finally push Mrs. DeWinters down the stairs?" she seemed mildly anxious to hear my answer. We had once joked about it, but she had seemed more serious about the idea than I had. I'd read in a book that the serial murderers to look out for were ordinary people waiting to snap at any particular moment.

I grimaced. "Of course not, that was your idea. I can't even believe you would ask that; it's so…premeditated."

"Come on, Wends. I think everyone in this building, including you, have premeditated some kind of murder of the old bat." She shrugged. "And besides, if I did it, she'd know where I live. At least if it was you, you could be clear across the world before she could wake up from her coma and sue you."

Daniela and I both looked at her peculiarly.

"What?" she asked with wide eyes. "I was only hypothesizing!"

"I did want to kill her today," I admitted, "With some rope and a paring knife."

Now it was their turn to stare at me peculiarly. The next time I voiced my murderous thoughts, it would be to Dog, as he was more likely to look at his food dish and expect dinner.

The sound of a young man chuckling caught my attention and I glanced at the screen the girls had been so fixated with. "What are you two watching, anyway?"

"The Bachelorette. Alice got it from one of her friends, so I stole it just as she began screaming into the phone." Daniela explained with a twinkle in her eyes.

I twisted my head so I could see the television right side up and watched for a few moments. From what I gathered it was one of those reality shows, where they flash back to the person in an interview, explaining what they were thinking at that exact moment in time, like we cared. The one the camera seemed most intent on was a young, beautiful bachelorette with a perfectly curved figure – skinny as a toothpick – blonde hair and sparkling blue eyes. She was about as striking as a movie star, surrounded by ogling young men in suits and ties, and sat demure as a kitten in a dress that barely covered her breasts. I despised it already.

"As if she needs a television show to find a man," I rolled my eyes in disgust and somehow got off the couch, awkwardly, of course.

Kirsten shook her head. "Of course she doesn't, but look at all the eye candy that gets to fight for her attention." Her gushing was enough for the nausea that Mrs. DeWinters had stirred to kick up again.

"Let's go out – do something, take pictures, go for a walk, play Nicky Nine Doors on Mrs. DeWinters." The last suggestion had been out of pure boredom – and that was the honest truth.

The two sisters sat comatose on my couch, unmoving, unblinking, practically catatonic. My eyes narrowed in a kind of devious determination. "If you don't turn that off, I'm phoning Alice to tell her where you're hiding." I threatened, removing the phone from the cradle, coughing a little as a rather thick layer of dust went flying into my nostrils. The plastic communication device really could have used a cover of some kind when it wasn't in use, but it seemed rather pathetic.

Their heads turned in my direction, little flashes of horror and disbelief coming over each of their expressions. I felt a glimmer of wicked satisfaction in that.

"You wouldn't," Daniela shot back. "You hate the phone."

"And besides, if you phoned Alice at this very moment, she would probably scream at you." Kirsten added wryly, as if this added some kind of incentive not to.

I pressed the 'Talk' button and watched their anxiousness grow.

The door to my apartment suddenly burst open and who should be standing there, but the dear bride-to-be, nostrils flaring, eyes glittering, face frantic. She reminded me of a bull I'd seen in Spain during the 'Running of the Bulls' festival; it had nearly speared a young man in a white suit and red bandana. "This is a disaster!" she practically shouted before slamming the door behind her. Apparently everyone had a key – a well cut key – to my apartment. How had that happened? I made a mental note to confiscate them all, in the middle of the night, in a black mask. The note was halted before it became a far-fetched and childish fairy tale…that included a sidekick in the form of a black cat.

"Tell me about it." I agreed quietly, though referring to my own situation with having to go to a family dinner with a family I had never met, with a guy I hardly knew. A heart attack would have been perfectly timed at that moment, however my aorta continued pumping at an even pace.

"Why didn't anyone tell me tiger lilies were out of season?!" she threw up her hands, as if accusing us, as if we'd known all along.

I shrugged. "I don't pay attention to seasons all that much, and Kirsten hates plants."

"Hey, I was clear across the ocean when you were choosing floral arrangements." Daniela put her hands up as if Alice had pointed a gun at her.

"Daisies!" Alice shouted as if she were a crazy person, shouting out ridiculous spur-of-the-moment words that none of us had any idea as to what they meant. I'd read that the insane did this on a regular basis. "I have to have daisies at my wedding! Daisies! What kind of wedding has daisies?!"

Who indeed. I hoped they were the colorful kind, like in those cheap pictures you could buy for your bathroom at dollar stores. What were those called again? I needed to look it up in one of my flower books.

"Okay, Alice, we get it. Why don't we just be thankful that you got it all sorted out, and you didn't end up with roses like every other bride in this city." Dani said calmly and smoothly. She'd always been the peace maker in the family, and she did it with an alarming kind of tranquility. Whenever she performed her way with soothing words I imagined her in a peace core, as odd as it seemed.

The words had an opposite kind of effect on Alice. Her face became stony, and her eyes became blue laser beams that looked ready to melt us all into the floor. The story would have made even Mrs. DeWinters' head spin, and perhaps bring on a bout of her Irritable Bowel Syndrome for good measure. The three of us – Daniela, Kirsten, and I, the most innocent of them all – shrank back and tried to think of something to distract the homicidal maniac being formed at the hands of an imminent wedding.

"Wednesday's getting married!" Kirsten blurted suddenly, breaking the moment with earth-shattering force. I was sure that it traveled through the vents, though hopefully Mrs. DeWinters had departed the building by then.

I stared at my supposed best friend with horror, my eyes as wide as tea cups. "Kirsten wants to kill Mrs. DeWinters!" I blurted with equal desperation.

Dog meowed from the hallway, as if adding his own kind of conversational topic to the tense room.

"I have to go to the bathroom." Dani left Kirsten and I at the clutches of the blue-eyed madwoman.

The instant the bathroom door closed and locked we two sad victims sat in silence, watching Alice with cautious glances. I suddenly turned to Kirsten and frowned. "Why couldn't you have picked on Dani? What have I ever done to you?"

Alice blinked and looked at me as if I'd said something terribly obscene. She just stood there, looking angry, and then suddenly quite defeated, like watching a blow up house lose all its air. I'd watched one once or twice at the carnivals that had come through town years ago. Alice kind of sagged, and then her eyes filled with tears that came streaming down her face like tiny waterfalls.

"Oh, Alice, don't cry." I got up and took the Kleenex box sitting on the coffee table with me. "I'm not getting married," I shot a dark look to Kirsten who raised her hands quite innocently as if to say 'What?', "Believe me, I can't even decide on a country to live in, much less find a potential husband." The comment was meant to appease my friend, but it only perpetuated my feelings of depression, and her tears.

"I had it all laid out perfectly," Alice blubbered and used several tissues, "and it was supposed to go perfectly, and now…" she blew her nose rather loudly, so loudly in fact that Dog paused in his trek from my bedroom with wide eyes before bolting back from whence he came. "Now it's ruined!"

I patted the hysterical woman on the back gently. "There, there," Kirsten gave me a funny look, most likely due to the fact that I sounded like an old granny. "How about you sit down and I'll make some tea, and we'll watch that stupid reality TV show that your sisters stole from you."

She sniffed and reluctantly nodded, moving to sit on the couch. "Alright."

"Your wedding is going to be perfect, Alice; believe me." Kirsten added as she gave her sister a hug.

Dani seemed to reappear as soon as the hysterics were over, which no one commented on, but I noted. We all curled up on the couch, which accommodated us rather snugly, and watched the most idiotic show I have ever seen in my life. I did it for my friend, and no other reason than that.

By the end of the night I was able to share my story of doom to the girls, in a way that they actually heard. They stared at me a little befuddled before Alice spoke up.

"I don't see what the big deal is; it's not like you have any intention of marrying him anyway."

Dani nodded. "It's just dinner."

Kirsten, on the other hand, instead of joining in with her sisters, had a different idea. Her eyes took on a glow, the kind that I had been seeing all day, the kind that I didn't want to see because I knew what it meant; it meant doom. She looked at me with a sappy smile. "Aw, that's so cute!"

Her high-pitched cooing haunted me for the rest of the night. The Look had everyone going insane.

Author's Note: Not quite satisfied with this chapter, but I'm kind of excited for the next one. Stay tuned! I have no idea when it will occur. Please review!!