My unedited entry for the Spawn of the Mediators competition on the MCBC…hehe.

Dedicated to Aina, and my two babies, Sammy and Jack. I miss you, you crazy little twins...

Disclaimed to Meg Cabot.

Love Lolly.

- 8 -


My gaze slid away mindlessly from the TV. It was eight o'clock at night, and I was already practically in a vegetative state. I yawned tiredly, before crawling off of the couch.

Jesse, who was sitting opposite me, reading a thick textbook for his medical class, cast me a very amused look. 'You want me to take her, Susannah?'

I shook my head. 'It's okay, you're busy...I'll be right - '


'Alyssa, I'm COMING!' I yodeled. That girl was the loudest human specimen I'd ever come across, I swear.

Jesse chuckled. 'Good luck, querida. You shall need it.'

Traipsing to my darling little brat's room, I rubbed my eyes a little. She wasn't usually up this late...

I finally got to her room, getting the usual shock of pink. Alyssa was in bed, her doll under her arm firmly. Soft auburn curls were strewn all over the pink pillow, and her sharp green eyes snapped to me immediately as she sat up. 'Mummy!'

I stood at her door, just smiling happily. She really was the most beautiful little thing I'd ever tiny...

'Why aren't you asleep, sweetie?' I tilted my head.

Her eyes widened to huge round circles of emerald. 'I can't sleep, Mummy! I just can't! You have to tell me a bedtime story, Mummy! Daffodillilucy wants a bedtime story.'

I blinked in confusion. '...What now?'

She shoved her doll at me. 'Dallodillilucy!'

Funny, I could have sworn yesterday that doll's name had been Bobbalina-Pompom.

I gave her a wry smile. ' know Mummy isn't good with bedtime stories. Do you want me to go get Daddy?

She shook her head fiercely. 'No, no, no! I want you.'

'Okay, okay,' I laughed, sitting beside her on the bed, 'Shhhh... not so loud. So, what do you want your story to be about?'

'A princess!' she squealed gleefully. 'A pretty princess!'

'What do you want her name to be?' I smiled, stroking her hair affectionately. Although, the second that question slipped past my lips, I recognised my mistake. You see…as it might have already been demonstrated, my baby Alyssa? Yeah…she chooses…weird names. They're slightly on the retarded side. Well, I'd think that if she wasn't so damned cute.

She screwed up her face in thought, and I ran my finger down her chubby cheeks. Blossoming at five years old, she was just like her father: intelligent and warm-hearted.

'Rose,' she said decidedly. I sighed in relief. Thank God…a normal name.

Although, that hope was dashed a moment later when she gasped zealously, 'No! No, Rosepickles!'

My face fell. Princess Rosepickles. Mother of Mary…this kid was seriously eating too many cookies. In spite of myself though, I laughed at the insanity of my daughter. 'All right…Princess Rosepickles it is then…'

She clapped excitedly. 'Yay!'

Right. How was I supposed to get inspiration for a bedtime story from a name like that? I mean, my creative skills are limited as it is. I'm no storyteller. I bombed every creative writing assignment I ever did in high school. This was not my thing, you know?

'Uh…' I muttered uncertainly, 'Okay…once upon a time, there was a – '

However, I suddenly broke off, and my face crackled into an evil smile.

Oooooooh. Simon, you're a smartie!

' – there was a beautiful, smart, funny girl called Princess Rosepickles,' I said happily. 'And her mother was taking her to live in a new palace!'

'Was it a big palace?' Alyssa asked, her eyes wide with curiosity.

'Yes,' I nodded. 'A big, pretty, pink palace.'

Alyssa beamed in delight. 'Aaah!'

See? The Suzatron delivers, mo-foes.

'In her new palace, she had three new brothers, but they were all dwarves! Their names were Doc, Dopey and Sleepy. Dopey and Sleepy were really ugly, and they made the entire palace smell sometimes, and all the little girls screamed when they looked at them because they were so stupid and stinky. But Doc was okay,' I added coolly.

Alyssa giggled behind her fingers. 'Hehe…stinky…'

I lay back against the pillows, sliding my arm around her as she curled against me, watching my face intently. 'Anyway. Princess Rosepickles went to her room at the top of the beautiful palace. It – '

'Was that pink too?' Alyssa demanded.

'Very,' I replied dryly. 'The princess was just looking around her room, when she heard a loud cough! She turned around, but there was no one there. Suddenly, there was another cough. Princess Rosepickles wasn't afraid though. She was cool and brave and – and also very pretty. You know, lots of princes were always asking her out and stuff…'

'Who was coughing?'

I narrowed my eyes. Trust my daughter to shut me up on my fictional ego trip. 'Oh. Yeah. The princess whirled around, and shouted, "Who's there?" and there was a voice that said, "You – you can hear me! Omigod!" Well, he actually said it in a different language, but it was a stupid language anyway. One that only really dumb people understand.'

Alyssa smiled toothily.

'So the Princess answered, "Yes! Who are you? This is MY room, punk! Now get out!" But the person quickly said, "My name is Jeffrey! I am a very powerful wizard, and I was here first!" Princess Rosepickles was very mad - well, not VERY mad. She doesn't have a bad temper, even if some people think she does...she's actually a really nice person, once you get to know her - '

I stopped.

Oh. Yeah. Entertaining the spawn. Oops.

'Jeffery was invisible! Princess Rosepickles couldn't see him at all! And she wanted her room. So, she said, "Let's fight over it, buster!" So they busted some moves, and of course the princess won because she was the superior - I mean, better fighter. And she rocked the world. After she'd knocked the invisible wizard to the floor, she said, "By the way. You have bad breath".'

I reminisced back, a long time ago, to those old days. He was Cadaver Breath, and I was Querida...

'But even after the princess won the fight, Jeffery wouldn't leave! So the princess, being the awesome girl that she was, let the invisible guy stay with her. Princess Rosepickles didn't like Jeffery one bit. He was bossy and he thought he knew everything, and he was always telling her what to do.'

'He is...he is a BULLY,' Alyssa pouted.

I smirked. 'Yeah. He's a big bully. Jeffery sucks.'

There was a cough, and I looked up quickly to see Jesse leaning against the door frame, his arms crossed. 'Am I interrupting, ladies?' He looked down at Alyssa, and he smiled lovingly. 'Hello, carina…'

Alyssa's eyes lit up. 'Daddy!' she shrieked joyously, 'Jeffery's a BULLY!'

Jesse raised his eyebrows at me, and I tried to wipe all the guilt off of my face. 'I'm telling our little pumpkin a bedtime story, Daddy,' I grinned at him. 'Go away.'

'No, I'll stay, Mummy,' Jesse replied, sitting astride one of the chairs beside Alyssa's bed. 'Go on, don't let me stop your epic fairytale, querida.'

I cleared my throat, and turned my attention back to Alyssa, ignoring Jesse completely. 'Well, one night when Princess Susa...Princess Rosepickles snuck out of the palace to go dance with a handsome boy named Prince Th...Thudeus, stupid old Jeffery followed her! And when Prince Thudeus and Princess Rosepickles were dancing, the invisible wizard Jeffery went up to the Prince and in his ear, screamed, "BOO!" The poor Prince was so scared he wet his pants and ran away crying about ghosts.'

I shot Jesse a sly look, and saw that his expression was the perfect face of, "...What the HELL?"

'Well, Princess Rosepickles was VERY mad at stupid Jeffery! She shouted, "Why did you DO that, you mean old wizard? I really LIKED that boy! He was very cute!" But Jeffery was being bossy, and he shouted at her that Prince Thudeus was a silly poo-head with no brain, who farted a lot - '

Alyssa shrieked with giggles, and Jesse shot me a disapproving look. 'You're supposed to put her to sleep, querida,' he said under his breath.

I shrugged nonchalantly.

Jesse muttered something under his breath, looking a little confused, as if he were trying to remember something from a long time ago.

'Princess Rosepickles told Jeffery to go away and to butt out of her business, and she said that he was just a mean old cowboy - I mean, wizard who had no friends. And she said that he was probably invisible because he was so ugly!'

Before I could continue on with the story though, Jesse suddenly interrupted in annoyance. 'Hey! Is Jeffery supposed to be m - !'

'SO,' I rose my voice so it cut his off, 'Princess Rosepickles refused to speak to the invisible wizard for a long time. One day though, a very handsome knight came into the kingdom - '

Jesse, however, started playing along testily. 'Yes. A very handsome knight indeed. His name was Sir Paul the Small.'

I shot him a quirky look. 'Real cute.'

'Thanks,' he grinned coolly.

Flustered, I went on. 'Sir...Paul the Small, er, was an EVIL knight! He saw Princess Rosepickles one day, and said to himself, "Ah! She is the most beautiful, most awesome and most funniest princess in all the land! I have to take her back to my kingdom to be my Evil Queen!'

Jesse muttered under his breath, 'Even if she is a bit stubborn...'

I elbowed him, and he hissed in pain. Alyssa's gaze was still riveted on me. 'Was Paul a bully too, Mummy?'

I nodded gravely. 'Yes...'

'But he's handsome,' she said, befuddled. 'Isn't he supposed to be nice?'

Jesse snorted. 'Yes, Mummy...tell my carina what a gentleman Sir Paul was...'

I was ruining a perfectly good childhood cliché here...oh well.

'No. Sir Paul the Small LOOKED nice, but he was really an evil, mean, nasty man! But Princess Rosepickles didn't know that!' I said urgently. 'So she the beach with him, and he PRETENDED to be nice, but really he just wanted her to come back to his evil kingdom to be the Evil Queen, Alyssa!'

Her mouth fell open fearfully. 'What happened?'

Jesse started talking before I could. He moved in close to Alyssa, his facial features twisting extravagantly as he maintained his father-like enthusiasm for his baby girl. I swear...parents have no shame when their five year old darling is involved. It's uncanny.

'Well, as much as the beautiful princess liked to think she was strong and powerful, she really needed help sometimes. So Jeffery the invisible but amazingly kind wizard, followed Princess Rosepickles when she went out swimming with the evil picaro, Sir Paul.'

'Stop swearing in Spanish!' I hissed at him.

Jesse smirked. God, he looked so hot when he did was infuriating.

I tried to steal back my power in the story. 'So, while they were swimming, Princess Rosepickles was being very careful with Paul the Small - '

However, Alyssa looked back at Jesse, urging him to continue instead. I shot him a grumpy look.

Jesse chuckled haughtily.

'Just while Susannah and the - '

'Not Mummy!' Alyssa squealed, 'Rosepickles!'

Jesse's face went blank. '...Oh. Oh...lo siento... Princess Rosepickles and the Knight were swimming, the Evil Paul was about to grab her and drag her back to his castle to be his Evil Queen when suddenly, Jeffery cast a very powerful spell on the evil Knight that turned him into a - '

'Dragon,' I inserted sneakily, eager to shove more conflict at my darling Jeffery.

Jesse looked irritated. 'All right, a dragon...'

Alyssa grabbed my hand, her forehead creased in distress. 'Mummy, it's a DRAGON!'

'I know,' I stroked her hair, 'Well, since Princess Rosepickles was such an awesome princess, she started kicking the evil dragon's butt - '

'Susannah, you're breaking every single rule of fairytale here!' Jesse whispered harshly.

'I'm a rebel,' I sniffed in indignation. 'The princess - '

'Was knocked unconscious,' Jesse said arrogantly. 'After the dragon threw her off of a rooftop into a hole in the ground.'


'But they were swimming!' Alyssa frowned at the inconsistency.

Jesse shrugged. 'They were swimming in a pool on top of the palace roof, carina.'

'Oooh!' Alyssa glowed. 'Wow!'

'Anyway,' Jesse repositioned himself on her bed, lying over her protectively. I smiled at him, forgetting about who was dictating the story...he really loved her... 'Jeffery the wizard, who was invisible, picked up a magic...number two pencil. And he aimed it at dragon's heart...and since he has actual talent, he didn't miss, like SOME people did - '

'Oh shut up, cowboy,' I smacked his head irritably. Jesse made a noise of shock, and Alyssa cackled.

'And the dragon died,' I concluded. 'Princess Rosepickles woke up, and was perfectly safe.'

'Well, she was a bit crazy, but that was okay,' Jesse said.

'At least she wasn't INVISIBLE,' I retorted.

Jesse was thoughtful. 'Can't leave that open-ended, can we...? Hmm...' His gaze went back to Alyssa's eyes. 'Anyway, after Jeffery the wizard helped the beautiful princess out of the hole, she was upset, so he held her in his arms to calm her down...and then he kissed her. And he told her that he was deeply in love with her...'

'And,' I added, smiling softly at Jesse, who was still staring into his daughter's eyes, 'She told him that she loved him back...'

'But the wizard was still - '

I took over. 'So they went to their - not their Fairy Godmother, but their Fairy GodFATHER, who's name was Godfather Dominic.'

Jesse snorted in surprise, probably after getting the mental image of Father D. in a tutu.

Alyssa, not knowing what was funny, giggled shyly at Jesse. Her eyes fluttered sleepily.

'Fairy Godfather Dominic waved his magic wand, and POOF! Jeffery was uninvisible again!' I grinned animatedly. 'And when the Princess saw him for the first time, she loved him straight away.'

'Of course, it did help that he was an attractive man of Latino descent,' Jesse kissed Alyssa on the forehead. 'Goodnight, carina...' he cupped her tiny face.

She smiled, touching his nose with her finger, as her eyelids flickered again. Then, she rolled over against me, yawned once, and closed her eyes.

I looked down at her curled against my side in some awe. She was so small...

'I love you, baby,' I kissed her gently on the cheek before peeling myself away. She stirred a little, before settling again, her little chest rising and falling.

I walked over to Jesse, sliding my arms around his neck. 'So...what happens next in our story, Cadaver Breath?'

Jesse's chocolate eyes twinkled down at me.

'Why, the stubborn princess and her ghost live happily ever after...just like they should.'

The End.