I probably should have said this in the chapter before, but I forgot. That's me for you.

Anyway, the whole issue with Fangface was dreamed up on a car ride home from school, and it didn't start off as a stab at Twilight or Stephenie Meyer. I swear! I'm actually a huge fan of Twilight, but I accidently named the fake heroine Belladonna after the poison because it seemed fitting for a cliched character. And then I thought, why not make her a vampire? -gasp- Why not make it a satire on today's obssession with vampires?

And bada-boom, you have Madame Sanguine the crazy vampire porn author. Yayy. It was purely for humor, folks.

So I'd just like to say, before all your Twiheads rip into me, that it was not a stab at Twilight; Rather, it was a chance too good to pass up. I don't like Edward & Bella's split-second fall into love, and everyone's just so obssessed with Ed that I thought it'd be fun to . . . well, poke fun at him. And guess what? It was. :D (And for the record, Charlotte's sample, um, "quote" from the book is a rewording of a quote said in one of Robert Pattinson's interviews. He's a total hater. Who knew?)

Yeah. So I don't take well to imperfection, as you'll see in the coming chapters, and I always relish the chance to turn something into a joke. I love Twilight, but it's just too easy. XD

A word to the wise: Everyone should be able to laugh at themselves sometimes; I know I do. And for those of you who have "Mrs. Edward Cullen" tatooed somewhere on your person. . . you might what to get that giggle box crankin'.

(Jacob totally pwns. muahaha :D :D :D )

r e v i e w | r e p l i e s

katydid2362: Aww thank you (: Little things like that keep me motivated like no one's business.

Chel Bel: bahaha I know, right?! Hopefull my A/N up there will prevent too much hate mail. And I'm glad you think that my characters are realistic/relatable -- that's one of the things I strive the hardest for. They're all my babies, and all I want is for them to be loved. :D Thanks so much for your praise, I'm glad to see that Penelope's not as bad as I feared.

Chapter 6 – The Crazy Things We Talk About

Our names are labels, plainly printed on the
bottled essence of our past behavior.

Logan Pearsall Smith

Life was pretty damn grand for a couple of minutes there. I floated back to the signing table in a cloud of happiness, forgetting about the pile of books next to it that were prepped for signatures. I tripped over them while staring at the crowd, marveling at how colorful they were, and was sent sprawling on my face in front of them all. It was a sufficient enough embarrassment to knock me out of my trance and back to earth, just in time to see Madame Sanguine laughing in great guffaws at my ungraceful spill. II was tempted to growl at her, but figured it was too close to being a vampire to be appreciated correctly.

And to top it off, it turns out that in my moment of pure bliss, I had forgotten about my panicked biffle standing alone in a crowd of strangers. I got a furious text message akin to that of a scarlet Howler (for those of you who don't read Harry Potter – shame!) and had to feign a bladder issue in order to go rescue her. In the end, Reese got to meet her favorite guilty pleasure author, and I got to be miserable for the rest of the day once she left for work.

Well, miserable on the surface. Underneath the still, calm waters was a roiling riptide, sucking in any really horrible feelings, churning them around for a little bit, and then spitting them back out with a brand new set of bubbles that popped excitedly in my stomach.

I'm going to stop with the water metaphor here, because I think you get the point. The fact that I was, for once, dating the guy I wanted to have instead of the one I ended up stuck with was a new and amusing sensation. So while Madame Sanguine pissed me off to no end with her attitude and demands, she just couldn't kill my buzz, no matter how many orders she made involving getting my skinny ass somewhere and back "before I sic Elias on you."

Her fans would laugh at the prospect of their favorite sex fiend of a vampire taking a chunk out of me. I nearly snarled at her in reply, but figured I might just be feeding into her delusions of fantasy.

After some events that's not I'm not exactly proud of involving our esteemed guest's perfectly curled coif and the blasted water she'd been drinking all day, I hopped a train back to the station by the apartment and happily headed home.

"Dude," exclaimed Aaron as soon as I had unlocked my door. "Have you ever wondered why we have names?"

I wasn't expecting him in my own apartment, so I think the stumble backwards I took was completely understandable. He reached out and caught me automatically, wrapping one lean arm around my back and pulling me forward through the door with a chuckle. I hoped he didn't notice the way my heart sped up a little when he touched me, because that was so totally wrong that I couldn't even enjoy it. Shane was sitting in the armchair that faced away from the door; Shane, my boyfriend. So I disentangled myself from Aaron and headed over to him.

"Hey baby," he said when I leaned over the back of the chair to ruffle his hair. "Why are you home already? We were just about to settle down for the long haul."

I shrugged one shoulder. "Madame Fangface packed up a little early."

It was amusing to watch his brow fly up into his shaggy hair, and then scrunch down as he narrowed his eyes at me. "Is this that author you were going to tell me about before I interrupted you?"

My stomach flip-flopped at the thought of that very good interruption. "Yeah, her. She was a total bitch to me all day, making me go do ridiculous things and making fun of me in front of her fans! It sucked," I complained, glad to finally be able to rant about her.

"Aww poor Ellie," he said, patting the arm of the chair. "C'mere and tell me about it."

I dragged myself around, kicking off the ballet flats I had been wearing since this morning and wiggling my toes. He pulled me down not to sit on the armrest, but instead on his lap; I was surprised to find that it was a comfortable fit. He held me like a child, which I kind of was, in comparison. I snuggled in and sighed before launching into my tale.

"So this chick is dressed up like she's the freakin' heroine from her novel, I just don't get it. She's supposed to be pretty, this 'Belladonna,'" I exaggerated the way of drawing out the name that the author was fond of doing. "Madame Sanguine was just an ugly old hag. So not grateful, and totally fake. The world needs less people like her in it, we'd all be happier. I told her that, too, after she told me I was an ungrateful wench. Literally, a wench! I poured her mineral water over her head," I added happily, glad for this small victory.

Shane chuckled "I wish I had seen that part."

"If you had stayed for another, say, four hours, you would have. Why were you there in the first place?" The happiness that had stole over me after I had fallen off that bookshelf had kind of glossed over my normal reasoning skills.

He only deigned to raise his eyebrows at me.

"You know what, never mind. I'm not sure I really want to know if you're into reading vampire porn." I don't even know her real name, but she calls herself Madame Sanguine. You know, like bloody and stuff. Probably just inflates her already huge ego—"

"That's my cousin Maybelle.

"Oh. Well if my name was Maybelle I'd go by another name too. Wait, your cousin?" This had taken a moment to sink it. My heart pulled it off much faster.

"Yup," he said, pushing me off his lap gently. "I wasn't aware she wrote 'vampire porn.' She's always made it into something much more honorable than that." He laughed heartily while he stood up, but my insides were churning. Insulting your brand-new boyfriend's relative the day he asks you to be his steady sweetheart? Check that off my list of things I'm an idiot for doing.

I brought a hand to my mouth and chewed a nail, something that I had never done before.

"The phone's next to the table," I called out, trying to be helpful. He called out a thank you, and then there was silence.

Aaron sauntered over and took Shane's vacated spot. "So as I was saying, about names. . ."

I blinked at him in pure surprise. "Did you know we'd end up arguing about that?"

"Nope," he replied cheerily, counterbalancing my anxiety. "Just a lucky coincidence. But seriously, have you ever noticed how people end up living their lives according to their names? When you get married, you take your husband's name – in essence, you end up his property. "

"Well yeah," I said. "That's what it used to signify way back in the day."

"I'm not done. You name your kids, too, another property, but you eventually let them go, right? But their names carry a substantial amount of weight, and we all end up warped by them somehow. I mean look at you," he stated suddenly, turning the conversation in a different direction. I looked at him with interest and a little trepidation. "You were Odysseus's wife, weren't you? And your name is associated with faithfulness. Reese told me before that you never hurt people if you can avoid it."

My eyes widened in alarm. "When did you talk to—"

"And Aaron's not actually my real name. It's Aiolos; Greek," he added at my look of confusion, "And really annoying to pronounce. I've been Aaron since I hit kindergarten. But my family still calls me Aiolos, and it means 'quick changing.' He was god of the winds, I think, but Ma always says it should be for god of the mouth.

"And Shane—well, he's kind of convoluted, because it's a version of Seán, which is another version of John, which means 'God is gracious.' Come to think of it, I'm not really sure how that guides his life." He looked appropriately confused before shaking his head like a dog and looking at me again. "So you dumped a bottle of water over this harpy's head, huh?"

I flopped down onto the floor. "A glass, actually, yeah. You make my head hurt sometimes, Aaron. How do you remember all this stuff?"

It was his turn to shrug. "It's a hobby. I'm usually not so keyed up, sorry." He grimaced.

I waved him away. "Don't worry about it. Shane just kept telling me about how laid-back and quiet you were, so I didn't expect you to go off like that."

"Yeah, I'm sorry," he said again, fiddling with his hands. "I just feel like I have to tell you everything. It's bizarre, but whatever. I'll try to be better about it."

"Don't sweat it, really."

"Thanks." He flashed me a grin. "If I know Farmerboy, he's probably setting up a rendezvous with his snobby cousin now. I say we ditch. You in?"

He was already up and holding out a hand to help me do the same by the time I registered what he was saying. "Um. . . well, I don't know if you heard yet, but Shane and I are kind of going out now. So yeah. I should probably wait for him." I tried to look apologetic; I really did feel bad. But the fact that I could say "Shane and I are dating" now did interesting things to my heart.

"Yeah, I know. Sheesh. He wouldn't shut up about it when he got back. But I highly doubt," he said as he reached down a forcefully pulled me to my feet. "that you want to spend another jiffy in the company of that lady. That's a real measure of time, did you know that?"

I nodded absently and then shook my head with more purpose. "No, Aaron, I really can't, I should stay—"

"Go with him, Elle," came a voice from the doorway. I snapped my head around to see Shane leaning there. "Maybelle will probably flip a shit if she knows I'm dating the girl who, and I quote, 'ruined the perm I just got yesterday! The insufferable wench!'"

I groaned. "There she goes with the wench stuff again. Are you sure?" I really was reluctant to leave him. I felt like as soon as I let him out of my sight, someone more worthy and attractive was going to swoop in and snap him up.

Aaron pushed me toward my abandoned shoes. "Come on, you pain. He's not going to disappear while he's out on a date with his cousin."

"He's right," said Shane as he strolled over and dropped a kiss on my forehead. I blushed, again as I slipped my feet into my flats. "Go get something to eat. Aaron, don't be stealing my girl." And with that, he shoved me all the way out the door.

What was it with people pushing me today? And why was Shane relinquishing me so quickly? Weren't guys supposed to have some kind of gene that makes them stupidly possessive over their girlfriends? Maybe I just didn't inspire that kind of protectiveness. Not like I wasn't used to it.

I sighed and started to walk toward the elevator. Shane was better than all of them put together in every other department, I told myself. Look on the bright side for once.

Aaron unknowingly dispersed my melancholy moment when he slung a companionable arm around my shoulders. "Alrighty, beautiful. Where are we going?"

I laughed, letting my haphazard curls swing in front of my face to cover my faint blush. He was such an upbeat soul, it was hard not to let yourself be the same when you were around him. "I don't know, Aiolos. Why don't you tell me?"

"Hey, you got it right!" He looked astonished, but happy all the same. "Nice one, I usually have to coach people on it. But let's just stick to Aaron, shall we, Penelope?"

"Only if you never call me that again."

"Well I've gotta have a nickname for you, it's customary when you're friends with me. Or dating the Farmer. Oof, there were some pretty bad ones in the past."

"Oh, were there now?" I asked while punching the down button for the elevator.

"You don't even want to know," he said in a low voice, looking pained. "You're the first one I like, let's put it that way. It used to drive Shane crazy that I couldn't remember their names unless I called them something ridiculous. But as the great Ralph Waldo Emerson said, 'No orator can top the one who can give good nicknames.'"

His ability to remember things like that floored me. I'd have to think of a good one for him; "Font of Useless Knowledge", maybe.

"So anyway," he continued. "I was thinking I like the sound of 'Penny.'"

"Who are you, my mom?"

"That'd be pretty freaky, not gonna lie."

"No shit, Sherlock," I mumbled, earning a laugh from him and a scandalized look from old Mrs. Henderson from two doors down, who was cradling her poodle next to us.

Our bantering continued as we made our way down in the elevator to the first floor. We stepped out onto the street, still arguing over what my potential moniker should be.

"Oh come on. I thought 'E-Dawg' was pretty good!" he exclaimed, arms extended high over his head.

"No," I stubbornly refused. "I'm five and half feet tall and Italian/Irish. I'll get beat up by gangsters if you call me E-Dawg in public!"

"Okay then, 'Penny' it is," he said quite smugly.

I stopped dead in the middle of the sidewalk and glared at him. "I already said—"

I was cut off when someone slammed into me from behind. "Watch where you're going, carrot top!" yelled the anonymous city dweller as Aaron reached out and caught me for the second time that day. I shook him off to scream back a few choice words only acceptable in the Big Apple.

Brushing myself off, I straightened up with as much dignity as possible as stalked off. Aaron followed a few seconds later. We continued in silence; I think he was in shock.

Finally, he spoke. But all he could say was, ". . . Wow."

I turned to raise an eyebrow at him. "What?"

"That was . . . quite impressive."

"Thank you," I said stiffly, resenting the awkward silence falling between us. "Have you thought of a nickname yet?"

He just looked at me before he burst out laughing. "After that," he chocked between chuckles, "you want to discuss nicknames?"

"Sure," I said, shoving my hands in my pockets. "Just not anything having to do with my hair, please."

"Aw damn," he drawled. "And here I was gonna call you Lincoln."

That one nearly made me stop again. "Lincoln? Like, the president?"

"Yeah," he said, squinting up at the blazing sun. Its rays ricocheted off the metal towers of the buildings around us, gleaming into our eyes and making the city shine. "In the light, it looks kinda . . . coppery. Like a penny. So, Lincoln."

And because I'm a moron, I said, "Makes sense."

It stuck.

Bwarharhar. Funny nicknames = teh shiz. 3

Not much else for me to say, except that this is the last of the prewritten stuff right now. DD: So yeah, I'm working on Chapter 7 at the moment, but I can't say for sure when it'll be done. I'm taking off of school for tomorrow, and then it's the loooong weekend (for Thanksgiving, for all you non-USA readers out there . . . if there are any. o.O?), so I have like 6 days to do whateva.

I'll try to write, I promise! (:

thank youuuuuu to everyone who reads this, even if they don't leave a review. (nyehhh. :P)
3 romance at short notice.