Chapter 2 - Part 2: The Chemistry Between Us

Faith had arrived at the lab early to get some reading done before her shift started when she couldn't help but notice a colleague standing in front of her, staring at her somewhat awkwardly.

"I didn't mean to interrupt your reading, I apologize," he started.  "It's just that I've seen you around the lab a lot and you do some really interesting stuff.  Smarts and looks, what a great combination," the man said matter of factly.

Faith was a little taken aback, she had never really had that much experience with guys before and certainly wasn't used to them openly flirting with her.  "Why, thank you, I think.  I appreciate that hard work doesn't go unnoticed," she replied.

They continued talking for quite awhile, neither realizing that they were now running late for their shifts.  She learned his name was Pete and he was in fact one of her own Lab Assistants.  

She had been so consumed by her side project that she been delegating most of her day-to-day work to the other partners and hadn't even met half of the staff that worked for her.

When he asked her out on a date, her face turned an amazing shade of red and she had trouble meeting his eyes.  The guy was forward, she'd give him that.  He was also kind of cute and she'd never been asked out before.

"Okay," she said to the ground, "that sounds like fun."

"Great!" he exclaimed, "I'll see you at seven, then."

After he went inside Faith sat back down on the bench and couldn't stop giggling like a school girl.

That evening Faith spent more time in front of her mirror than she had for her entire life combined.  She wanted to make sure she looked good for her first date ever.  The butterflies in her stomach were certainly doing a very complicated dance.

A little makeup, some lip gloss and a healthy dose of self-confidence was all she really needed.  The only thing going through her mind was "please don't make a fool of yourself" repeatedly.

Pete showed up right on time and the two made their way to the Mountain Bistro to dine outside as the sun was setting out over the ocean.  

For what felt forever, Faith could only sit and gaze at Pete, who was comfortably eating his sushi with a fork, no care in the world while she was a complete tangled mess of nerves and tension.

The conversation was light, revolving mostly around their interests, Faith's being botany and her garden and Pete's in mechanics and machinery.  He was responsible for keeping all the lab's contraptions and gizmos in working order and had even been the one that built the growing gardens that Faith was using in her research.

"What have you been working on in that lab, anyway?" Pete asked her between bites.  "I haven't ever seen plants like those before and no one seems to know what's going on in there."

She contemplated telling him all about her project, but knew it would only lead to more questions that she wasn't prepared to answer.  She deadpanned, "If I told you, I'd have to kill you.  Seriously."

Pete choked on his California roll while Faith laughed.  "Ok, fair enough," he replied after he'd recovered, laughing at her slightly cliche joke.

After dinner, they stood at the edge of the bluff and watched the sun make its final descent.  Pete took Faith's hands in his and told her that he'd had a great time.

"Me too," she replied, finally feeling a bit more relaxed and genuinely happy.  "It's been a very nice evening," she smiled.

As the sun dipped below the horizon and the fog started rolling in, Pete took Faith home as the always full moon made an incredibly rare 'night rainbow'.  Faith took that as a good sign.

Unfortunately for Morand, the evening wasn't going as well as Faith's.  He was on his third call of the day and he was absolutely exhausted.  He arrived to the house to find it already engulfed in flames.  

An unexplained feeling of dread came over him as soon as he slid out of the truck.

He barely made his way inside the door before he was hit with the inferno currently threatening to bring down the whole house.  His exhaustion was getting the better of him as it took him several minutes longer than it should have to contain the room before being able to move on.

What he found in the next room stopped him cold.

It wasn't the first time he'd had to pull someone free of rubble or a caved in ceiling, but it wasn't just debris in the way this time, the woman was trapped under a pile of burning embers.

Morand raced as close as he possibly could, trying to remove the burning pieces of wood from the woman.  Why did it take me so long to get here, why didn't I check the house first, he kept thinking, berating himself for not getting to her sooner.

The woman wasn't moving, he couldn't tell if she was still breathing and the fire was too strong.

He was too late.

Title / Suede

Chapter 2 - Part 1: The Scientist

Graduation day had arrived and Faith couldn't have been more excited to officially begin her new life.

To no one's surprise, she had won the coveted position of class Valedictorian.  She was also voted by her peers as the "Most Likely to Achieve her Lifetime Want", which in this case was to pursue and excel at a career in the science field.

She had already spent the majority of her childhood working with various fish and plants and knew exactly what she was going to focus on at the science lab.  The research she had done on her own had taken her far, but the tools and equipment now at her disposal meant that success was in in reach.

When Faith and Morand returned to the house after the ceremony, Morand followed his daughter up the stairs and stopped her before she could enter her room. 

"I know you've worked really hard at your studies and I couldn't be more proud of you, sweetheart.  I wanted to do something for you to celebrate this new stage of your life, so I took the liberty of having your room redesigned," he said, hoping she wouldn't be upset.  "I even hired a guy from all the way in Branbrook because I wanted it to be perfect," he finished.

"Aww, dad!  You didn't have to do that," Faith responded, a little nervous at the thought of having her bedroom done by a complete stranger she'd never met.  However, it was the thought that counted, though, and if she hated it, she was sure she could find some way to re-do it without hurting her dad's feelings.

Smiling, he stepped aside and let her through the door.

To a room that she absolutely loved.  The color was a perfect shade of lime green, her favorite of all.  The inclusion of a fish tank was brilliant and he'd even brought up Bozo, her prize clown fish she'd caught a few days before.

Her school life was enshrined on the dresser.  From her picture and crown from the prom, to the two after school awards she'd achieved through the Art Club and Shop Class, as well as her Valedictorian and Most Likely To ribbons.  Even her High School diploma and a picture of her from graduation were part of the decor.  That designer sure works quickly!, she thought.

Morand could hear her squeals of approval through the door and knew he'd done a good job.

The next morning Faith made her way to the science lab to begin the job that had been offered to her.  She was thrilled and nervous at the same time.  She certainly didn't want to disappoint anyone, as they had seemed very excited to have her working there

As she made her way inside she reminded herself not to forget her own research in the process.  Gaining access to the labs and the science facilities' private collection of rare flora was her main reason for taking this position and she didn't want to get too sidetracked from her personal work.

What she had forgotten about was that the lab was next door to the cemetery.  After work, she walked over to the mausoleum to visit the mother she'd never known.  Wondering if the woman would be proud of her, of what kind of advice her mother would have given her.

Mostly Faith tried to not feel guilty about being the reason she had died.

"I'm so sorry," she sobbed, "Dad misses you so much and it's all my fault."  She sat in the cold mausoleum until her tears stopped flowing, the stark surroundings bringing her back to the present.  The walls were so cold and the feeling of the room only added to the sadness.  "I know I can't bring you back, but I can make sure that your resting place is a better one than this, I promise you that." she stated.  

Kissing her fingertips, she placed them on the urn, "Goodbye, Mom", she said as she walked out.

Later that night, Faith was catching up on some of the latest gardening tips, staying up far past her bedtime when she heard a sound come from downstairs.  Wondering why her father was still up, she put her book down and started downstairs to see what he was up to.

Only it wasn't her father that had made the noise.  Faith nearly ran face first into the burglar at the bottom of the stairs.  She screamed and ran into the study and called the police.

Luckily the police were already on their way and showed up just as the bandit was making his way towards Faith.  The tussle didn't last long before the crook was thrown the ground.

Morand raced into the room just as the officer was placing handcuffs on the guy, and watched as she escorted him out of his house.  Luckily nothing had been stolen, though he was a little upset that the cop got there so quickly as he would have liked to get in a few punches to this guy himself.

Morand's biggest issue lately, however, was not enacting revenge on burglars, but were people who were void of all thoughts of common sense when it came to emergencies.  More often than not, he was forced into saving people from themselves.

Why were people so willing to stay in danger's way at the risk of their own lives just to try and protect a few meager possessions?  One of these days someone was going to be killed trying to save a chair or a couch that wasn't worth it.  Perhaps the job was finally starting to get to him.

Faith's job, on the other hand, was going extremely well.  She had already started taking clippings from some of the plants at tech and had built herself a little garden on the side of the house.

It had become part of her routine to check on the plants every morning before going to work.  She watched them very close, as this was as important to her than the job they were paying her for.  More so even.  

If this experiment worked, it could effect the lives of many in Harmony.

Some randomness throughout the neighborhood

 My piddly gnome collection.

Faith gained a celebrity star and constantly had this woman in her face.

Upon going to a party at Cecil's, I found the hosts dressed like this.
Had I known it was a costume party, I would have dressed accordingly!!

Title / Coldplay

Chapter 1 - Part 14: Put Out the Fire

Out of the blue Faith received a call from the science facility.  They had somehow been informed of her interest in all things biological.  She had been making quite a name for herself with her teachers, being top of the class in every subject and even tutoring other kids.

It turned out that they were eager to know what Faith's plans were for after graduation and were quite hoping that their facility would be a part of them.  They were willing to give her free reign of the compound, including access to their private garden which included some very unique and rare plants.  Faith had to admit it was a pretty intriguing offer.

While Faith was busy being courted by her prospective future bosses, Morand was sent out on an emergency.  His heart sank when he realized the address was Cecil and Jett's apartment complex.

Please, please don't let anyone be hurt, he silently prayed to himself.

Cecil and Jett were safe outside.

"Khalilah!!" Cecil was screaming, "Dad, Khalilah's in there, you have to save her!  Please!!"

Morand immediately sprinted inside and up the stairs, his heart pounding in his chest.  If anything happened to his granddaughter, the devastation to his family would be irreparable.

He burst into the apartment to find it completely engulfed in smoke and flames.  He could barely see anything in front of his face.  Sweeping the room he didn't see a sign of her.

"Khalilah!" he shouted, his voice barely audible over the roar of the flames.

Morand pushed his way through the apartment and broke through the door of the nursery, fearing the worst.  The flames reached up to the ceiling, almost everything in sight was on fire.  His granddaughter's crib was starting to char and melt and it took everything he had to look inside.

It was empty.

Constantly shouting the girl's name, Morand continued to put out the inferno, only hoping that she was safe and he wouldn't have to retreat downstairs with news that would break his son's heart.

Finally, after what seemed an eternity, the last of the flames died down and the physically and emotionally exhausted Morand looked around, searching for his missing granddaughter.

Who he found hiding in her toy chest in the living room.

He scooped up the girl and hugged her close, on the verge of tears.  "Pappy!" she squealed when she realized it was him and snuggled herself close into Morand's sooty chest.

One more crisis narrowly averted, Morand thought with a huge sigh of relief.

Faith awoke early Saturday morning and rode her bike out to her favorite fishing spot.  True, her latest passion had become horticulture, but there was always a soft spot for her first hobby, fishing.  

And the fish really seemed to be jumping today, which made her happy.  There would be fresh fish for dinner tonight!  The rule of the house was if Faith catches it, Morand would cook it.

However, the main reason for this fishing trip wasn't for catching tonight's dinner, it was to use this solitary time to think.  There was a lot going on in that genius brain of hers.  Thoughts of the future, of where her life was taking her, of where she wanted it to go.  

All these thoughts of the future were particularly important today, because this was Faith's birthday.

When she got home, she was shocked to find the place completely decorated.  Balloons in her favorite color were scattered all around the house and the radio was even tuned to her favorite station.

"Surprise!" Morand said, smiling wide, clearly proud of his decorating abilities.

Faith shouldn't have been too surprised, though.  She knew her Dad would make a big deal out of her birthday, even if she didn't.

"I know you don't like big parties and whatnot, so I didn't invite over a ton of people," Morand told her, "but I couldn't let your biggest birthday come and go without any kind of celebration.  Because I only have one daughter, and you know who that is..." he teased her.

"Me!" she laughed.  Her father sometimes forgot that she wasn't a kid any more, but she couldn't help herself from playing along with him.  He was the only one that could ever make her act like the kid she was, to everyone else Faith had been 'one of the adults' since she was a child.

"Thanks, Daddy," she said, giving him a hug.

"I love ya, kiddo," he replied, not quite ready to see his little girl grow into an adult.

Morand had only invited over Cecil and his family for the party.  Unfortunately Khalilah wasn't feeling very well and ever since the fire, Jett and he decided she wasn't to be left without one of them home at all times.  So, Cecil came by himself.

The three of them continued the family tradition of turning every party into a dance fest, with Morand breaking out some of his signature moves.  Cecil, being the big time sports star he was felt that dancing was a little above his pay grade, but obliged his sister's request.  It was her birthday after all.

While Morand prepared the fish that Faith had brought home, Cecil took the time to catch up with his little sister.

"How have you been, girlie?" he asked her.

"I've been great," she answered, "I've been basically guaranteed a job right out of school, at the science lab, so that's great news.  I'm pretty sure I've also aced all my finals as well, though I think I might only be getting an A- in advanced history" she finished.

"Yes, yes, I'm sure that's all very fascinating, Faith.  Work and school aren't the only things in life, you know," he teased her.  "What about friends?  Boys?  You seeing anyone these days?" he asked.

Faith bit her lip.

Cecil caught her hesitation, "So there is a boy!  Spill it, girl, tell me all of the details," he persuaded, a large grin spreading across his face.

His sister didn't seem too eager to share, "it's not really like that.  I'm just trying to help him out.  I haven't even talked to him in months," she finished, a hint of disappointment in her voice.

"And what is this cassanova's name, pray tell?" Cecil asked her.

Once again, Faith hesitated, "Drake Dracul," she eventually confessed.

"Oh, Faith, no," her brother said worriedly, "please don't tell me you've gotten involved with the Vampires.  They're dangerous!  They hurt people, they drink blood.  You are far too good to get caught up in all that!" he begged of her.

"But Drake is different, Ceece!  I mean, yes, he drinks blood, but he doesn't like it.  He doesn't want to have drink it.  That is why I'm helping him, because he's different.  Don't worry about me, I'm not 'getting involved', I'm just interested in seeing if there's something I can do for them," Faith defended.

Like father, like son, Cecil could only say, "Just please be careful, ok?"

She hugged her brother and told him she would, as their father yelled "Dinner!" from across the room.

After the outstanding meal of fresh caught fish came the cake.  Faith thought long and hard about what to wish for.  Her mind automatically went to "Getting straight A's on the finals" to "Reaching the top of the field" in her dream career.  However, she eventually settled on something a little more... personal.

These two really enjoy parties.

While her father and brother cheered her on, Faith blew out the candles and entered adulthood...

Title / Queen