Now that you have been roped into the story, I would like to welcome you back. Yes, I was gone for a LONG time. I had a lot of personal problems, and a lot of writer's block. But this story has got me all excited. Expect many twists and turns, and dark humor. If it wasn't at least a little dark, it just wouldn't be me, right? Right. Enjoy.

Theodora settled as calmly as could be into bed. The events of the day, however, did not permit sleep as they looped over and over again in behind her eyelids.

She'd woken up to what seemed like a normal day. She opened her eyes, stretched her limbs, and grabbed the TV remote off of her nightstand to turn on the early morning news. Child pornography and increasing terrorist threats were the news du jour, though the latter news was receiving infinitely more attention. The president, who could barely craft a proper English sentence-despite the abundance of Ivy League graduates in his employ-was telling his less-than-rational-or-intelligent clones that he was to spare no expense at bringing down these dictatorial devils and their hate-fueled regimes. What he didn't openly specify, was that he would even plunge his beloved and once-proud country and all of its citizens into unfathomable debt and depravity.

After she'd had enough of the grinning ventriloquists' dummy, she forced her lefts over the side of the bed, put her feet on the unwelcomingly cold hardwood floor, and with all her strength, propelled herself into a half-assed, Neanderthal-like stance.

Zombie-like, she made her way to the bathroom at the other end of the hall. She flipped the switch and heard the familiar hum of the fluorescent lights. She looked in the mirror, and as always, saw the harsh, unflattering, bizzaro Theo looking back at her. She looked pale, chapped, cracked, and beaten. Lovely.

Thankfully, Nature called immediately as it did pretty much ever day. That in itself took altogether much longer than she would have preferred-as she was sure by now her ass would be stuck to the seat-

"But," she mused to herself, slightly smirking, "what else are you gonna do?"

Momentarily amused, she made her way to the stairs.

The trip down wasn't particularly difficult, but it definitely was by no means on Theo's top-ten-things-to-do-when-you've-just-woken-up-and-haven't-had-any-coffee-yet list.

"If only the coffee maker was by my bed, things would be a lot easier."

In reality, she knew she could easily put it on her nightstand, but she also knew if she work every day to a freshly brewing pot of coffee, she wouldn't be able to rationalize a good enough reason to get out of bed in the first place.

As she made her way to the kitchen, she stopped to say good morning to her cat Chuckles. This had become his name upon the discovery that when rubbed in the right place, he made a sound, not like purring, but a human laugh.

When she finally found her way into the kitchen, she immediately went to the freezer to liberate the lonely canister. When she opened it, hysteria ensued.

"Are you fucking kidding me?! No, no, no, no, NO! Goddamn fucking cock shit cunt CHRIST!"

It was empty. Hell hath no fury like a woman with no coffee.

Through the dizzying haze of temporary insanity, she remembered that she'd made a mental not the morning before to stop at the store to get more coffee.

"I either need a lot more coffee, or a shit-load of post-it notes."

She shut the freezer door a wee bit harder than she'd intended to, opened the fridge to grab the last can of soda-her last hope-and sourly made her way to the little table in the corner of the room, under the window. The table had always reminded her of a huge, gaudy chessboard, and, in today's especially smug sunlight, it seemed even more hideous than normal.

Theo dropped her head into her hands. She was supposed to see her so-called-boyfriend Jared later, though she wasn't really sure that she even wanted to. He was good looking, had a well paying job at a top lawyer's firm, a huge house, nice cars, he was respectful, attentive, outgoing, romantic, charming, and a good listener, but, for some reason, she just couldn't stand him. Every time he held the door for her, or took her coat, or pulled her chair out for her, or tipped 20 beyond necessary, or even if he just flashed that too-perfect smile of his at her, Theo wanted to puke. She felt so inferior around him, despite the fact that he did nothing but try to make her feel like a queen. She wanted to feel like that on her own-and not because someone was gently and lovingly coercing her to play the role of who she desperately wanted to be, but in all actuality, was not.

Her soda can empty, and her heart even emptier, Theo got up from the chessboard, and decided to take a shower.

As the steaming water streamed down her tense body, she thought about why she felt the way she did. She should be happy for herself. How many women were lucky enough at any point in their entire lives to be in the position that she was in now? A good man was obviously head-over-heels in love with her, and was soon going to pop the question-she was overwhelmingly sure of it. So, what was her problem? The problem, Theo decided, was that Jared was in a state of, what she considered perfection. He loved his job, his life, and his girlfriend. He knew what he wanted, appreciated what he had, and knew he would do anything and everything to continue to live his dreams. All Theo had was a dull ache where she assumed her heart and soul were sharing a cell. She'd never known who she was, or what she wanted, and she didn't think she probably ever would.

Done debating over all of these problems, Theo needed to focus on the day ahead. Work.

Too mentally disheveled to even search for a towel, Theo brazenly left the bathroom, drip-drying on the carpet on her way back to her bedroom, the Heavenly cage she had so despairingly dragged herself away from not so long ago.