Hey, y'all! Let me just say: I am sorry. I deeply apologize for taking so long to update. I've been busy...and lazy (but we can just forgive that, can't we?) This whole writing thing is turning out harder than I thought it would. I have so many ideas, it's just really really hard to put them down on paper, or word document, or whatever...oh, and this story is going to be obscenely long. I think. We shall see…
And of course, I own nothing...
"Robert, what are you doing?"
"Hey, Mom. Never mind me, I'm just torturing Alice."
"Robbieeee! Put me down! Mom, make him stop!"
"Robert, put your sister down."
"Nah, don't think I will. Hey, Henry?"
"Wanna come torture our sister?"
"Yeah! Whatever it is, count me in!"
"Hey! NO! No tickling! Robbie, Henry stop it!"
"Nope. Don't think we will."
"Dad! Save me!"
"Oh, you're torturing Alice, eh? Lemme join!"
Alice woke to the sound of her own laughter. She shut her mouth with a snap, killing the noise mid-chortle. It had all been a dream. A dream! Her life was reduced to nothing but a dream. More than anything, she wanted to stay there; to turn reality into a dream and her dream into reality. Her life had changed, and not for the better. Now, she would never be able to see her family ever again. They were reduced to wisps of themselves, to tendrils of memories floating in her mind. She curled inward on herself, trying valiantly to hold back the tears that threatened at the corners of her eyes. A sob ripped violently from her throat, a stark white cry against the darkened room. She hugged herself tighter. She didn't want to remember how happy she had been. She didn't want to be reminded of everything she had lost. She didn't want to remember what she couldn't remember. She struggled to hold herself together.
Alice settled herself in front of the television. It had been two days since she had first landed in this world, and she was falling into some semblance of a routine. It wasn't that bad overall, just mind-numbingly monotonous. The worst part was that she had nightmares every night. They weren't nightmares in the traditional sense of the word, in fact, in her world, they may have been really good dreams. Given her current situation, however, she had to redefine the word. Every night she dreamt of her family and relived her memories. Every night she woke up crying. She wasn't living with them anymore. It was always just a dream.
At least there were still entertaining TV shows available. The trashy reality shows were a blessing in disguise, since they distracted her from everything else. And the sports! Thank God it was still baseball season, and that baseball still existed! And thank you, sweet baby Jesus, that Olivier had cable, and that his cable package included HBO and Major League Baseball Network. And that her teams were televised and actually doing well. Their success made her feel better.
Olivier had been very accommodating to Alice. So far, he hadn't been around that often. Always working, he told Alice. But he still managed to find the time to get her some general necessities. He put a bed in the spare room for her, and even got her a laptop so she could explore her new world more fully. Despite all this generosity, however, Alice was lonely. She was alone on a scale that astounded her. Normally, she'd at least have her brothers lazing around the house with her, but here she just had Olivier, and he was hardly at the house anyway.
"What do you do during the day?"
"Y' know what I do, Alice. I have work."
"Yeah, but what do you do while you're working?"
"Jus' work stuff."
"Well, that makes things wonderfully clear." She glared at him. Olivier looked up from his plate and frowned.
"It's jus' work stuff, petite. Nothin' terribly 'citing. Why y' so curious?"
"So y' thought it'd be a good idea to pester me?"
"Mmmm…pretty much." Olivier laughed.
"Well, why don' y' go find a job den?"
"Maybe I will." Alice said defiantly.
"Well, allrigh' den. Just don' get lost."
"Yeah, about that…" Alice laughed nervously. Olivier looked at her suspiciously.
"Abou' what, chère?"
"Where are we? …I mean you told me we were in New Orleans, but I have no idea what street we're on or anything and I've never been to New Orleans so I don't know where anything is and that makes me kind of nervous. I've just kind of been wallowing in self pity for the past couple of days, which is kind of pathetic, now that I think about it, so I've been kind of delinquent about stuff. And, so, yeah…" Alice trailed off, avoiding Olivier's eyes. He sighed and leaned forward across the table, drawing her eyes with his own.
"Ch-Alice. Y' been somehow transported t' another world. Y' can' even contact any o' y' friends o' family. It's expected dat y'd be a little bit shook up. Olivier'll print y' out some stuff on de city, 'kay? Den y'll know what's what. Does dat sound good?"
"Yeah, that'd be great!" They continued eating in relative silence. Alice looked up suddenly. "What do you think I should do? I've never worked before! I don't even know what I'd be considered good at. I don't have any references and I never even finished high school. I mean, graduation was the next week before I fell into your world and all, but still. Officially, I don't even exist here. I don't have a Social Security Number here or anything. Oh, my God! I'm an illegal alien! I could be deported…except they wouldn't know where to put me, so maybe they'd just put me in jail. I don't think I could stand that." Alice started hyperventilating.
"Alice." Olivier said loudly. She ignored him. Her eyes were wide as she stared down at her plate, and her knuckles were white as she clenched her eating utensils. "Alice." He tried again. This time, her eyes rose to meet his again.
"Y' gonna be fine, Alice, ma chérie. Olivier'll pull some strings for y'. Jus' go look around town, find someplace y' like, and let ol' Olivier take care o' de rest, okay? Olivier knows people; he make sure y' takin' care of." Alice blinked and relaxed.
"Oh." She paused to clear her head. "I think the shock finally wore off from me getting here." She smiled tentatively.
"Tha's allowed. Y' feelin' more like y'self, now?"
"Yeah. I think I am." Alice smiled a real smile, one that was full of confidence, and went back to eating. Olivier watched her for a second before resuming his own meal. "Wait a second." Alice paused again. "You 'know people.' Are you in the mob or something?" She laughed lightly. "Wow. I will believe anything when I'm having a panic attack." Olivier laughed easily.
"Olivier's just glad y' back to y' normal self. It's nice t' have y' not depressed o' panicky. Makes la vie plus facile, n'est-ce pas?" Alice grinned.
"Yeah, that's for sure." Olivier paused mid-chew.
"Y' thpake Frnch?"
"Yeah, I took it in school. I also happen to speak Mouthguard, which is a distant cousin of Speaking-with-my-mouth-full-while-eating." Olivier glared at her, swallowed, and grinned boyishly.
"Mais, Alice! Ça, c'est fantastique! Tu parle français, Olivier parle français, et maintenant nous pouvons parler ensemble !"
"Yes, yes, we'll speak French together, calm down. Let's not get too carried away. Finish your dinner and find me some maps, d'accord?"
"Ouais, d'accord, chère."
Olivier was glad that Alice had managed to finally pick herself up again. He had been a bit worried about her emotional state, but Guild work had kept him busy, so he hadn't been around. He ate breakfast and dinner with her to give her a connection to another person, but beyond that she'd been on her own. It was only natural that she was so inquisitive as to his profession. He was relieved that he'd managed to avoid answering her and hadn't aroused any suspicion. He picked up his phone.
"Ah, Olivier, mon cousin. Quoi de neuf ?"
"No' much. Olivier 'as a favor to ask."
"Ah, ouais? A favor, from little ol' moi?"
"Ouais, ouais. Une de mes ami needs a job, but she doesn' have any ID o' anything."
"D'accord. So, basic Driver's License? J'ai besoin d'un photo and basic info. And who is dis friend o' yours? Do I know 'er?"
"Non, y' don' know 'er. Y' probably won' ever know 'er. She doesn' know anyt'ing abou' de Guild." Olivier leaned back in his chair to glance out the door. Alice was absorbed in the television. The Yankees were playing the Red Sox.
"Oho! One of does friends. Y' sly dog."
"Non, non. Elle est seulement une amie. Not'ing more."
"If y' say so. Send me a picture and I'll get it back t' y' by tomorrah."
"D'accord. Merci, Jacques."
"Eh, pas de problème. Y' owe me."
"Ouais, ouais, d'accord."
Olivier leaned against the door frame. Alice was engrossed in the game. Eyes glued to the screen, she didn't even move when he spoke.
"Shhh. The game's on. Wait for a commercial break."
"Dieu, but this is a role reversal." Olivier rolled his eyes and sat next to her on the couch.
"D'y' wan' me t' get y' a beer, too?"
Six outs, three runs, and twelve curse words later, Alice turned to Olivier.
"You were saying?" She asked, turning down the volume on the pirate man. ("They say a man should always dress for the job he wants, so why am I dressed up like a pirate in this restaurant?")
"I called a friend of mine. He'll get you a driver's license and some ID."
"Isn't that illegal?"
"Eh. Depends on who y' ask."
("…it's all because some hacker stole my identity…")
"I'm normally all for legality, but in this position I don't really have much of a choice, do I?"
"Non, no' really."
"Well, I guess that settles that. So, what does your 'friend' need?" She asked.
"Picture. Basic info. All de stuff y' would need fo' a real license."
"'Kay. Do you have forms or something?"
"Ouais. Got it all in de office. Olivier'll be righ' back."
("…so you don't end up selling fish to tourists in t-shirts.")
Alice was taking things in stride. She had finally gotten over her shock, which had resulted in a rather embarrassing panic attack, but now that was over and she had a purpose. She was going to get a job! She didn't know what kind of job yet. Whatever it was, it would be hers. Maybe she could even chip in for groceries and stuff. Oh, she could get some new clothes! Olivier had been really nice and picked her up some items, but she wanted the experience of spending her hard earned money to get something for herself. Plus, shopping could be really fun…
"Dere y' go." Olivier handed her a few pieces of paper and a pen. "Jus' fill dese out an' Olivier'll take y' picture and we be good to go." Alice gave the pages a cursory glance.
"What about the Social Security Number? I don't want to be responsible for someone's identity being stolen. That would suck for them and I would feel really bad and…" Olivier held up a hand to stall her stream of conscious babbling.
"Alice. S'all right. Mon ami will take care of it."
"How could you be so sure?"
"Would you like me to explain?"
"I would love to hear this!"*
"Mon cousin makes fake IDs and stuff. He's done it since we were kids, so he's pretty good at it now. Olivier'll make sure to tell 'im to be extra careful wit' yours."
"Okay, then. Ah! Sh! The game's back on!"
"Y' sure y' don' want dat beer, sweetie?" Alice dragged herself away from the game long enough to smack him and shove him off the couch.
*Kudos to anyone who gets this quote...
Y' thpake Frnch? - You speak French?
chère/(ma) chérie - (my) dear, darling, etc.
[Makes] la vie plus facile, n'est-ce pas? - [Makes] life more easy, right?
Mais, Alice! Ça, c'est fantastique! Tu parle français, Olivier parle français, et maintenant nous pouvons parler ensemble ! - But, Alice! This is fantastic! You speak French, Olivier speaks French, and now we can speak together!
d'accord - okay, alright, etc.
Allo - Hello
Ah, Olivier, mon cousin. Quoi de neuf ? - Ah, Olivier, my cousin. What's new?
Une de mes ami - one of my friends
ouais - yes/yeah
non - no
J'ai besoin d'un photo - I need a photo
Elle est seulement une amie. - She is only a friend
pas de problème - no problem
mon ami - my friend
Yup, I think that's it. Review?