(I'm listening to Imogen Heap's 'I Megaphone' presently, and who knew it'd be so...chilling? It's still beautiful, of course, but in a totally terrifying, creepy sort of way.)

Anycoffee (--I've started inserting java and java-related terminology into every conversation, especially when it's inappropriate and/or otherwise hilariously incongruous. Apparently now it's sneaking into the more individual, lexical units of my vernacular. ohdeargod),

Here are the two facts you must know coming into this, ladies and gents: first of all, this is going to be a new series (probably substantially shorter than University Steps, and also! this time there's going to be continuity and a cohesive-ish storyline and EVERYTHING. never done that before), and secondly, you are probably all going to be somewhat confused/alarmed when you're finished reading this chapter. All I'm going to say beyond that is that Derek and Casey are at a dinner party, they're in their sophomore year of college, and that all is not as it seems. *wink, nudge*

The next chapter should be available in a few days (I've got it all planned out), and eventually...when my muse arises from the dead on the third day and traverses the dark caverns of my mind in shining new zombie form, I'll try to make heads and tails outta the next chapter of USteps, which is currently giving me an ulcer.

[i own a magical blanket that fends off ghouls. i'm willing to trade it for Michael Seater.]

::in which the Lie is the New Truth::

"Ah, young man. You got roped in, too, huh? Well, misery's gotta have company, I guess, or he'd have to be at Samantha's side, being 'inherently embarrassing' by the 'mere fact of his existence.'" The older gentleman glares out into the small crowd over the rim of his wine glass. The younger of the two nods at his fellow in commiseration. How well he knows the plight of the subjugated male. (He's skimmed the literature.)

"Tell me about it, my good sir. My girlfriend –that's her over there in the blue and silver—black-mailed me into coming here."

"She does look the type. Beautiful, vindictive…"

"Certifiably insane..."

"Well, I sympathize, young man. Women, am I right?"

"I know. You make one little mistake, cheat on her with just one of her best friends a few times at her dad's funeral –honestly, who wants to be with Weepy McSadsack? I mean, keep it together—and then she starts coming up with tired ways to bore you to death at social functions designed to torment upstanding gentlemen such as ourselves." He nods sagely, hand on his chin, while the other man looks at him in vague, disbelieving horror.

"I, uh…that's hmmm…"

"Well, I s'ppose I should just be glad that she doesn't know that I've been seeing her cousin Vicky on the side. Then I'd really be in trouble." Derek laughs the laugh of the Confiding Male and then catches Casey gesturing at him from across the room. With a final conspiratorial, parting wink up at his elder, he leaves to join her.

If you're not all 'wtf'-ing at the moment, then I have not done my job right.