Hihi! Things have been sucktastic over here. First my beloved pet mouse dies, then I get deathly sick, then I get better and sick again and now I'm fluctuating between the two.

So yeah. I'm working on it, people. Stay calm; I'm just busier than usual.

Did I mention I gotta pull up my grades before I fail English (Probably should stay awake.) and French (ditto)? Yeah.

Either way, I've been asked a lot (In real life and online) where I draw my inspiration from. I get my inspiration a lot from ideas I have. All it takes is a simple phrase to stick with me, and I'll be able to work around it entirely. I'm also inspired by nature. I love to watch the flowers grow and watch the sun come out after the rain. I also love to stand outside in the thick of the storm with my arms spread wide.

Plus, listening to music helps me majorly. Right now, I'm mostly listening to the band 'Paper Mache' (They rule. Seriously.) and the Japanese song set called 'Dear You.' It's very inspiring for me.

So there you have it. A look into my head. (It's pretty messed up in there, so I claim to responsibility for any complications you run into there.)

--

The next day I woke up to the smell of pancakes.

Yes, I was at my house. Yes, I smelled pancakes. Enter in what is known about my family and I was pretty sure I was dreaming.

"Rupert!" came the light and cheerful voice from my doorframe. Yup, definitely dreaming. Elira had never set foot within two yards of my room. Why would that have changed overnight? "Come on, Rupert. You only have an hour, you know."

An hour for what? I rolled over and stared, bleary-eyed, at my alarm clock. Eight thirty? Why wasn't I in school?

I shot out of bed like a rocket and tripped over a pile of pirated DVD cases. Next thing I knew my lips were getting intimate with the carpet.

"Oh my gosh!' cried Elira's voice. It sounded almost like she was... Amused. "Are you okay?"

I turned around from my position on the floor towards where my psychotic delusion seemed to be coming from, and lo and behold.

Elira was standing in my doorframe, covering her mouth to keep from laughing out loud. The light in her eyes was dancing with merriment.

"Elira?" I asked, too shocked to believe what I was seeing. "What the hell are you doing here? Aren't you supposed to be, like, I dunno, at your house or something?"

"Did you forget?" asked Elira, looking surprised. "Your Mom asked me to come by super early this morning. Hurry up, now. Kim's gonna be home any minute from looking at that apartment, and then we've gotta start getting ready to go."

"Go where?" I asked, temporarily stunned by the thought of Elira standing in my actual room.

"Dentist appointments, of course," said Elira. "I'm going with you, cause someone's gonna need to babysit Stew when you guys are done having your teeth examined. Rupert, we have to be out the door in an hour. I'm not trying to nag or anything, but you might want to hurry up just a bit."

My sluggish brain finally remembered what was happening. A week ago, Mom told us that we had a dentist appointment today and that Elira would be over early to babysit.

But that didn't explain the pancakes.

"What's that smell?" I asked curiously. Elira blinked for a second before she realized what I meant.

"Oh!" She said. "I made some pancakes from the instant batter I found in your cabinets. I hope you don't mind."

Mind? Okay. This chick came over early to my house to keep my Brother from waking me at an ungodly hour and to top it all off, she made pancakes. God, this woman must be the devil!

"You made pancakes?" I asked, In shock. Elira nodded mutely.

"For us?" I clarified. Elira nodded again.

"Sweet!" I said, and my face split into a huge grin. "I haven't had pancakes in ages! Thanks Elira!"

With that, I stood up and headed for my dresser. Elira took the hint and kindly dismissed herself. The room felt strangely empty without her.

But I couldn't dwell on that for too long. There were pancakes waiting to be eaten!

--

As expected, breakfast was a work of the Gods. I couldn't believe how good generic-mix flapjacks could taste, but man, Elira could make a killing just going to people's houses and preparing meals for them. Hell, I'd pay her double whatever Mom was paying her to come over every morning and make us an actual breakfast instead of having us eat nutrient-packed cardboard cereal.

"Do you need more syrup?" asked ELira sweetly. She was wearing an old apron from god-knows-where, and she'd pulled her hair back from her face, accentuating her soft doe eyes. I was momentarily rendered speechless.

"U-uh," I stuttered. "Sure. Why not? Syrup is good, right?"

Luckily for me, Elira just ignored my blathering. She reached out and poured some more syrup on my pancakes. Her face was the perfect picture of innocence, making me feel guilty for alternating between studying her face and her... erm... Assets, which were poured out onto the counter in her low-cut shirt.

Damn, could today get any better?

"There you are, Rupert," said Elira, drawing back from my plate and settling onto her feet on the other side of the counter. She beamed merrily, showing off her perfect white teeth. You know her dentist probably went to bed fantasizing about more people with those kinds of teeth. "Is that enough for you?"

At first I thought she meant the eyeful I'd gotten of her. It took me a second to pry my brain out of the gutter and acknowledge that she was really talking about maple syrup.

Who knew that Aunt Jemima could look so sexy?

God, I needed more sleep.

Of course, that was just too bad, because Kim entered the kitchen a second later.

"Is everyone almost ready?" she asked. "Rupert, come on. We have to leave in about thirty-five minutes. Don't forget you need to find that CD of soothing noises for Stew. I can't help him if he starts freaking out at the dentist."

"Okay," I said, in a good mood. "How was the apartment?"

"Nice, a little small though," said Kim absently. "I'm used to sharing a bathroom, but the second bedroom is just a few feet larger than Mom's closet, and the carpet was coming up in the Master bedroom."

"So, you buying it?" I asked. I had made a pact to try and be more aware of my family, and Kim moving out fell into the catagory of things I'd want to know. Nothing like waking up one day and finding out you have a guest bedroom and a hell of a lot more bathroom counter space.

"I don't know," replied Kim. "I sent some pictures to Nina, but she'll probably want to see it for herself."

"Oh," I said. I took another bite of the godcakes - I mean, pancakes. "Mmm. Kim, you have got to try some of these pancakes. They're so good!"

"Who made pancakes?" asked Kim in shock. Apparently, she just now noticed what I was devouring like a ravenous wolf.

"Elira," I responded, heaving another huge bite into my mouth. Elira, who had previously been washing the dishes that had been piled into the sink since Jesus died, turned and smiled sweetly at Kim.

"I made lots," she said. "Please, fell free to chow down. I'll get you a plate and some syrup if you want. We've still got a half-hour, so there's no excuse for missing breakfast."

Kim bit her lip. I knew that she was torn between keeping up with her unhealthy eating habits and enjoying gourmet cooking from the comfort of her own kitchen. (That pancake batter container wasn't kidding.)

"Um...," she said out loud. "Sure, I'll take one. A small one."

"Okay," said Elira. She grabbed a clean plate (We still had some of those? Here I thought we'd run out three days ago!) and picked up a decently-sized pancake and set it on the plate. "Syrup? Butter? Jam?"

"How about a little bit of syrup?" asked Kim.

"Sure," said Elira warmly. In one swift motion, she'd snatched up the plate and the syrup and poured just the right amount of syrup on Kim's breakfast. "Here you are!"

She cheerfully handed the plate to the stunned Kim.

"Whoops!" exclaimed Elira. She picked up a clean fork (Okay, where were these things coming from? Last clean fork I saw five days ago. We'd been using plastic utensils for nothing?) and handed it to Kim. "Forgot your utensil. Now, if you need any more, just tell me. I've gotta help Stew gather up his games for the trip and the waiting room. We have about twenty-five minutes, so there's no need to rush."

She headed out towards the living room, leaving us stunned Neanderthals in her wake. Both Kim and my faces must have been the perfect pictures of shock.

"I can't believe I'm having an actual breakfast," I said aloud.

"I can't believe that the place wasn't in shambles and you were actually awake before noon," said Kim, absently taking a bite of pancake. "And I can't believe these pancakes! Is there anything this girl can't do?"

"I don't think so," I said seriously. I mean, so far Elira had pretty much overcome the odds and all that crap to work in a nice house and get however many square a day she was getting. Which reminded me, I hadn't seen Elira eating.

"Hey, Elira!" I called into the living room. Elira turned to look at me. "Did you eat?"

Elira looked stunned. After all, what was I, Rupert, doing by offering her breakfast?

"Y-yes," she said. "Before you woke up I ate with Stew. Thank you though, Rupert." She beamed at me and almost caused me to go blind.

"Mom may suck at parenting, her job, driving while talking on the phone, and being nice, but she sure knows how to pick 'em," said Kim, still looking stunned. Half her pancake was gone already, and the rest didn't look like it was gonna last long. I smiled into my final bite of Heaven.

"Tell me about it," I said. "You know Delores couldn't do that."

"Delores is too busy getting her roots died and clipping her pedicured toenails to do such a simple task," said Kim. "God, I swear, is it just me or does that woman's hair look more and more like a tomato every time I see her?"

I laughed. I couldn't help it; it was true. Delores was always getting her hair dyed red. She seemed to think no one would notice, but NOBODY had hair that badly-colored naturally. I'd seem people with horrible chemical imbalances with psycho-red hair and even they looked better than red-haired Delores.

"What does Dad see in her?" I asked, wondering seriously. I got up and walked around Kim to put my plate and fork (Hey, another fork! Had it been clean when I was eating off of it?) in the sink.

"It's the old effect," said Kim knowledgeably. "Well, that's what Nina calls it. The older Dad gets, the more reassurance he needs that he's still young. So he gets a young girlfriend thinking that'll knock a few years off of his age. It doesn't work because she's too young and tacky. However, Dad in his old age does not realize this. Therefore he also doesn't realize that Delores is only interested in him for his money."

"Wow," I said. "That summed it all up perfectly."

"Yes, I know," said Kim. "Sad, isn't it?"

I nodded. Doesn't get much more pathetic than that. God, I hoped I didn't wind up anything like my Father.

"Now," said Kim. "Get your butt in gear. Find the CD and get some shoes and socks, okay? We've got twenty minutes to get out that door and we're nowhere near ready. "

"Damn!" I said, catching a quick glance at the clock. Kim was right. We didn't have much time at all left. "Okay. Right. I'll get on all of that if you get all your crap together."

"Sure," said Kim. "Elira? We've got twenty minutes, so start getting ready."

"'Kay!" called Elira. "I'll definitely have everything ready by the time you guys have everything together!"

Well, this could be an actually decent day.

--

So there you have it! Reviews welcomed. I'll be happy to hear from you.