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September 25, 2011
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(Contains: strong language)
Part 5
You know, it's kind of silly to try following someone when I don't even know what she looks like. I should just relax and enjoy this party as much as I can.

And actually do the work I came here to do.


"But what?" Scott asked, giving him the strangest look of confusion. "What'd that fag say to you that's got you so disjointed?"

Nathan snapped to attention immediately, giving his partner a glare that would have made Gabriel proud. "Hey, watch it. That fag happens to be my friend. I don't care what your opinions are on the subject, so keep them to yourself."

Scott snorted and shrugged. "Whatever floats your boat, kiddo. Anyway, you gonna go with me to the stage or what? The Citizen won't like it if we don't at least try to get some shots of the performance."

"Yeah, yeah. I'm coming."

Their press passes proved to be valuable once again, as Scott demonstrated: by flashing them at other guests, they were able to move with ease to a nice spot right in front of the stage. People were still chattering loudly until the music died down and the dance lights dimmed. And a cow walked on stage.

"Oh my god," Nathan breathed, trying not to laugh. A man in one of those gag costumes (complete with udders) walked up to the microphone in front of the band's equipment and held up his hands -- hooves? -- to silence the remaining talkers in the crowd. Once he had their attention, he spoke. "Thank you, everyone, for attending tonight's charity celebration. It is with great pleasure that I announce just how much our little town has raised to build a new homeless shelter."

"Woo! Go Pastor Lawr!" someone shouted in the crowd, followed by a small round of laughter. The pastor chuckled before he continued.

"We raised," he paused, "$15,000." A cheer rose from the audience, and he had to wave his hands to calm them down again. "Indeed, this is better than we could have ever hoped for, and construction will begin the second week in November. With any luck, we'll beat the weather and have a nice place for the homeless before winter." Another cheer.

Nathan turned his camera towards the crowd and snapped a quick picture, spotting Alton and Micah not far from them. Micah was smiling again -- really smiling -- like he was finally enjoying himself, and Alton was happy as ever. Nathan smirked and looked back at the stage as the noise died down again.

"So, we will continue our celebration of this fantastic accomplishment with a performance by Virtue's own rising stars," the pastor leaned into the microphone and lowered his voice. "Bytch. Let's welcome the band to the stage!"

He made his exit during the applause, revealing the band that had snuck in behind him on stage, the lead singer stepping slowly forward to the microphone, her head lowered as they began to play. The eerie introduction was very fitting for Halloween, with dark, growling riffs from one keyboardist played beneath light and ghostly notes from another. The drums kicked in next, like a spider's skittering, and the singer lifted her head. Enya had changed her costume to a black leather corset and mini skirt, with knee-high buckled boots and thigh-high stockings, striped black and neon green. A bone straight neon green wig fell down her bare shoulders and glowed brightly under the black lights. The guitarist jumped in with his driving chords, and Enya lifted her hands, moving them as she sang:

"Come to me. Baby, follow my lead. I've a confession to make: it's always been this way..."

Nathan felt a chill go down his spine. No way. No fucking way. He couldn't watch her perform anymore. Not when she had Marni's face. Not when she was doing that. He took the camera off and shoved it at Scott. "I have to step out," he muttered, not caring if he heard him or not as he pushed his way back through the crowd and hurried to one of the exits. He had to get away from the stage, away from the music, but especially away from Enya. Watching her sing reminded him of the terrible truth:

Marni was dead.

Nathan slipped into the hallway again and closed the door, leaning against it. "September sixteenth, this year," he said quietly to himself, unable to stop tears from rolling down his cheeks. The wedding was only two months away. Marni wanted to get married on the winter solstice. They were supposed to meet his parents, her parents, her brother and his wife for dinner, but en route...

Voices further down the hall caught his attention. Nathan wiped his eyes with the back of his hand and edged forward, welcoming the distraction from his memories of that fateful day. As he drew nearer and the voices became louder, he began to hear the conversation.

"...understand why you didn't leave. You're not needed here anymore, Ava."

Alton. Nathan knew his voice immediately, but didn't like the uncharacteristically smooth tone. It reminded him too much of how Lucifer was usually portrayed: a seductive, silver-tongued manipulator who wasn't afraid to get his hands dirty. The last time he acted the way the Devil should, Nathan almost had the life ripped out of him. What was he doing now?

"Aww... Mephy..." Despite the whininess of the second voice, Nathan recognized it too: the woman who'd threatened him. "But I'm having so much fun..."

"Avaritia!" Alton scolded, the growl in his voice inhuman. "Enough! This isn't debatable. You must leave."

Nathan paled and he stopped approaching them. Avaritia. Avarice. Shit...

I don't like what I've heard so far. Was Alton in control of Avarice the whole time? It certainly sounds that way, but I need to hear more...

But I'm going to be in deep shit if I'm caught eavesdropping. What do I do?
By some miracle, I am off today, so I was able to write up this chapter without feeling rushed by work. That said, I am very proud of this one, especially as it gives proper background to some of Nathan's feelings about Enya looking like his fiancee (as opposed to my notes in comments and his summary), and why it has him so jarred.

Whatever the results of this week's poll, you are guaranteed to get some interesting revelations next chapter.

THE CHOICE HAS BEEN MADE: Read Part 5b to see his decision!

<<< BACK TO PART 4

ON TO PART 5b >>>

START AT PART 1
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:iconultimamage578:
UltimaMage578 Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2011
The fag comment just entirely put me off. It's kind of like the N-word. Only people who the N word applies to should actually use the N word.

My god I can't wait for next chapter...
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:iconcei-ellem:
Cei-Ellem Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
I hate comments like that myself, especially because I have several friends who are gay/bisexual. Intolerance annoys me. Immensely.
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:iconultimamage578:
UltimaMage578 Featured By Owner Sep 26, 2011
Mhm. Just the word "fag" just has that shiver effect. That flinch and scrunch, ya know? The kind of word that leaves a bad taste in your ears.
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:iconcei-ellem:
Cei-Ellem Featured By Owner Sep 26, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
Unless, of course, you're talking about cigarettes.
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:iconultimamage578:
UltimaMage578 Featured By Owner Sep 27, 2011
Maybe, but I expect that to come with a British accent.
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:iconcei-ellem:
Cei-Ellem Featured By Owner Sep 27, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
*snerk*
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:iconvera-san:
vera-san Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
Aw, I just want to give Nathan a big old teddy bear hug...I bet he and Marni would have had such a happy life together.

I'm not sure if I like Scott yet. =P He seems like a cool character, but his homophobia puts me off. I mean, sure, not all people are comfortable around homosexual men or women, but that doesn't mean you have the right to be a jerk about it.

Congrats on the off day, too, by the way. Glad you got to relax a bit. :)
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:iconcei-ellem:
Cei-Ellem Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
Yep, I ran out and got my hair cut and did laundry today, plus wrote this and worked on editing book one. It has been a fuitful day, and I still have several hours left before I have to go to bed. ^_^

I'm actually very glad you have mixed feelings about Scott. I don't want every main character to be either easily likable (like Avery) or easily unlikable (like Micah).
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:iconvera-san:
vera-san Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
That's excellent! I guess days off are really handy, huh? ^_^ I'm glad you were able to get so much done. I was hoping you wouldn't stress too much about getting the chapter up with work and all.

And yeah, you can't have too many completely likeable/dislikeable characters, or else the story would grow boring, ne? You've been doing really well. c:
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:iconcei-ellem:
Cei-Ellem Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you ^_^. I guess it's a good thing I based Scott loosely on someone I know, exaggerating his homophobia. It looks like that's going to be his one nagging flaw.
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