September 27, 2014

Eva: Week Twenty-Two, Day Two

Perfectionist To-Do List: Sign Permission Slips, Plan Haley's birthday party, Wrap present, Get cake

"Happy birthday to me... happy birthday to me..." Haley sang to herself as she pulled her breakfast from the E-Z-bake oven.
Mmm, "I love birthday cake!" she said happily as she sat down and began eating her morning treat.

***

"Mom? Do I have to go to school today?" Ian asked grumpily.
"Don't worry Ian, it's a new adventure! I'm sure you'll love it!"
"I don't know about all that..." Ian grumbled.

"Come on, Ian, it's time to go!" Haley called out as she skipped down the stairs.
The kids hopped on the bus and sat down next to each other.  "Don't worry, Ian. You're going to love it!" Haley promised.

***

"Good filming today," Layla Ranger told Nathaniel before she left.   They were filming on location  at the seedy bar for part of their western movie. 

"Yeah, you too," Nathaniel said, nodding to her boyfriend, Brendon Black.  He checked his watch.  He had to get going soon. He'd promised Eva that he wouldn't be late tonight.

But there was one thing he wanted to talk to Nikki about before he left, though.
"Hey Nikki, got a moment?" he asked as he approached the director.

Nikki shrugged, "Sure. What's up?"

"I was just noticing during the shoot today that the scene wasn't really coming together." he said cautiously.  "I was thinking that if we tried approaching from a different angle, it might work better."

"What do you mean?" Nikki asked, cocking her head to the side. 

"I just thought that a camera that rolled from the ceiling might better show the bar fight, rather than the smaller camera that they were using." 

Nikki tapped her lips as she considered his suggestion.  "You know, I can totally dig it. Let me talk to the cameramen about it. We'll re-shoot tomorrow..." 

"Great! See you tomorrow!" he promised.

Nikki playfully slugged him on the shoulder. "You've got an eye for the camera work, buddy! A real eye! I'm going to run some of the production issues by you from now on!"

Nathaniel headed out of the bar whistling happy.  Normally he couldn't wait until the acting contract had been served so that he could walk away from the entire entertainment industry.  But, more and more he'd been thinking that he could do a pretty good job behind the scenes, maybe even behind the camera!

***

"Mom! It looks great!" Haley said excitedly when she saw the balloons and the cake.  "When is everyone getting here?"

"Soon!" Eva called out as she finished cleaning up the living room, stuffing toys under the couch and chucking Ian's dirty socks into his room.
"Knock! Knock!" Tomas called out as he followed his daughter inside. 

"Rachel! I'm glad you could make it!" Haley said excitedly.  "I love your dress!"

"Thanks! My mom got it for me for my birthday!"

Soon the rest of her family and friends had shown up and were ready to celebrate.
"Blow the candles out!" her dad called out as her mom blew on noise-maker.  Haley took a deep breath and blew out the candles on the cake.
"Open your present!" Rachel called out.  "Let's see what you got!"

Haley eagerly ripped the wrapping paper away.
"Oh wow! A tablet! AWESOME!"
"I love it, mom!" Haley said excitedly, giving her mom and dad a big hug. 

Everyone gathered around the table to grab a piece of cake...

...everyone but Johnny...
"You didn't want any cake?" Haley asked after she'd cornered him.

Johnny shrugged, "Eh, whatever. It looked like a girl cake."

Haley laughed. "It's pink because it's strawberry - not girly!"

"Yeah, whatever," Johnny responded.

Haley awkwardly shifted.  "Well... thanks for coming," she said, not really knowing what else to say.
"Yeah, well, my dad made me," he said, acting as though he wanted to be as far from her as possible. 

Haley's eyes widened. "Oh, well... thanks anyway..." she trailed off.

"Looks like everyone's heading out. Catch ya later," he said, scurrying away.

September 16, 2014

Eva: Week Twenty-Two, Day One

Perfectionist To-Do List: Prepare speech, Set up fundraiser, Send out petitions

Haley hummed as she made a batch of muffins with her little baker oven.  She'd been practicing for a few days now and was able to make them without burning them!
Just a quick mix with some of the muffin mix they sold and she was ready to go!
Proudly she carried it downstairs.  "I made breakfast, mama!" she said.

"Blech!" Ian cried out behind her.  "She's probably trying to poison us!"

Haley turned around and glared at her little brother.  "Only your muffin, Ian..." she muttered darkly.

"Nobody's muffin is poisoned," Eva said, rolling her eyes.

Haley made a slashing motion across her throat as she gave her brother the stink-eye.
"She has to eat it first!" Ian said when they were all seated.  "If she turns purple and dies, then I'm not eating it!"

Haley lifted the muffin to her mouth, suddenly self-conscious.  What if it didn't taste any good?

The brief worry had been unfounded. "Mmm...it's yummy! Try it!"

"Of course it is," Eva said staunchly, taking a bite as well.  "Delicious!"
They were just finishing up when the doorbell rang.

"I'll get it. It's probably Stacy," Eva said, hopping up.  "Are you ready to go Nathaniel?"

Her husband followed after her.  "Ready when you are!"
"Thanks for coming Stacy.  We should be gone all afternoon."

"That's okay, Mrs. Black-Wolff, I brought my books with me so I can study."

"Wonderful! Feel free to call if you need anything!"
Stacy headed inside and propped her hands on her hips. "So? What are we up to today?" she asked brightly.

"Playing with blocks!" Haley and Ian responded in unison.

***

Eva headed to Crystal Springs, excited and nervous.  "What if this doesn't work?" she asked for the 10th time.

Nathaniel reached over and rested his hand on his knee. "Then we gave it our best.  But, it's going to work, babe!" he reassured her.
When they reached the springs, Eva was so glad to see the turnout.  "Thanks for coming out everyone!" she called out, "Let's save our Springs!"
Eva drifted between groups, sharing with them her opinions on the protection and preservation of Crystal Springs.  "A treasure like this should belong to everyone in Sunset Valley.  The sad fact is that a gated community built around the Springs will make it so that only those who purchase homes in this area will be able to enjoy it." 

She answered questions and then moved on to give them time to consider.
"Mayor Landgraab hasn't even considered the implications to our city's wildlife.  Tearing down the forest will remove a natural habitat from all the deer, raccoons, squirrels and other animals that make these Springs their home," she said with feeling.

Tomas grinned, "And the unicorns?"

"Well, I've never not seen a unicorn," she teased.  "Who knows?  They might very well make their home right here at Crystal Springs!"  She glanced around.  "It's certainly a magical enough place."
"Thanks for signing, Lyle," Eva said after he had signed the petition against razing Crystal Springs, as well as donating a small check towards a preservation fund. 

"You certainly know how to make a compelling argument," he told her.
When all was said and done, Eva had received 20 signatures for her petition and had managed to raise $10,000! 

"You did it, babe!" Nathaniel said as he helped her take down the table. 

Eva took a deep breath. "I just hope it's enough!" she said cautiously hopeful.

***

Stacy set her book to the side and watched the kids play.  She was surprised they were still so enthralled with the blocks!  All day long they'd built up little castles and then giggled as they knocked them down.

She glanced at the door when she heard the key being turned.
"Hi, Mr. and Mrs. Black-Wolff.  How did it go?" she asked cheerfully, hopping up.

"Mommy! Daddy!" Ian called out, rushing up to hug his parents.  "You're home!"

Nathaniel grinned down at his kids.  "Thanks Stacy. How much do we owe you for the day?" he asked, pulling out his wallet.

***

Under the cover of darkness, Arturo hurried up the steps and rang the doorbell, fidgeting as he waited.  Amelia would kill him if she knew he was over here... let alone about to do what he was going to do...
"Arturo!" Eva gasped when she saw her old friend.  It made her sad that over the years she'd seen less and less of Arturo.  But, Amelia's irrational jealousy had served as an effective buffer between their friendship.  "What are you doing here?!"
Arturo guiltily glanced down. "Crystal Springs means a lot to me," he started out.  "Amelia and I have gone round and round about it..."

"I can't even imagine how hard that must be," she said sympathetically.  She and Nathaniel hardly argued over anything.  Thank goodness! She'd had enough of fighting when she'd been growing up!
 
"Take it," Arturo said as he quickly pressed a check into her hand.  "Just put it down as anonymous." 

"Oh Artie!"  Eva whispered. "I'm so sorry..." she trailed off.  Arturo was supporting a cause that was in opposition to his wife's campaign.  It wouldn't have been an easy decision for him...

Arturo shrugged, "I just had to do my part..." he said by way of explanation. 
Then he hurried away.

Eva glanced down at the check and gasped, "$10,000?!"

September 13, 2014

Eva: Week Twenty-One, Day Seven

Perfectionist To-Do List: Save Crystal Springs!

Haley snuck up into the attic and rooted around the stuff strewn around.  She stopped short at the little witch gnome.  "Creepy!" she said, hedging past it carefully. 

"Ooooo... a chest!" she muttered, dropping to her knees and opening the lid, her eyes lighting up with delight.
"Pretty!" Haley put on the princess dress, then slid the gloves onto her hands.  She wondered if this was her mom's when she was little.  
Giggling, she spun and danced, prancing around the bare-wood floor in the attic. 

But, suddenly she felt uncomfortable.  She shivered and looked around.  Her eyes fell on the witch-gnome.  It almost felt like the gnome was watching her... 

"Grow up..." she muttered, but, feeling unsettled, she hurriedly pulled the play clothes off and stuffed back in the chest and scurried downstairs.

***

"Hey Mom! Can I go over to Rachel's?" she asked.
"Dad?" she tried again when it was clear her mom wasn't paying attention.  "Dad, Can I go over to Rachel's?!"
Nathaniel looked up from his script and blinked.  Kiki had given him another script - the last one he was contractually obligated to complete.  "What? Rachel's? Eva? Are you okay with that?" he asked, looking across their desks, deferring to his wife.

Eva glanced up, "What?"

"Haley wants to go over to play with Rachel."

"Oh, yeah.  Go ahead, sweetie."  Eva smiled ruefully at her daughter.  "I'm sorry. I'm distracted.  I'm trying to figure out how to save the Crystal Springs."

Haley grinned and whooped, sprinting from the room.

"Be home before dark, though!" Eva called out after her daughter.

***

Haley hoped on her bike and headed over to her best friend's. Haley was in ballet with Rachel because their Dads were best friends. 
The girls always had fun together, laughing about school, dumb ballet, or that bratty Penelope Landgraab, who always made sure to rub it in that her mom was now mayor.

Pulling up onto her friend's driveway, she was glad to see Rachel outside.  "Hey Rachel! I came over to play!" she announced.
Rachel's eyes lit up.  "Yay!" she cheered.  "I was getting so bored."  Suddenly her  eyes lit up.  "Oh I know! Let's see if you can spend the night! Let's go ask Daddy!" she added eagerly, pulling Haley inside with her.
"I'm so glad you're going to get to stay the night!" Rachel said.  "We're going to have so much fun!"
"Tonight is going to be awesome!" Haley agreed.
Haley glanced towards a noise at the door and saw Rachel's half-brother, Johnny, sneaking in.  Johnny motioned her to be quiet, but before she could say anything to Rachel, he hurried up behind her.
"BOO!" he called out, shaking his sister's shoulders.
Rachel jerked up, scared to bits.  "You SCARED me, Johnny!" she said testily.

"Say you're sorry, Johnny!" Haley said, sticking up for her friend.
"Aw, come on, Haley, she's being a baby!"

"I am not!" Rachel said stomping her foot.

"Yes you are!" he retorted smoothly.

"Am not! Am not! Am not!" Rachel fumed, stomping her foot.  "I'm telling Daddy!"
Haley sighed. "Now you're going to get in trouble, Johnny. Why couldn't you just apologize?"

"Aw, come on, you wouldn't have gotten so scared! You're not all girly-girly!" Johnny argued, frustrated that Rachel had run off to tattle. 

Haley thought back to this morning when she'd found the princess dress-up clothes and gotten scared by the witch-gnome. 
"I wouldn't be so sure of that," she muttered, leaving Johnny alone in the room.  She could already hear Rachel sobbing to her parents.

Johnny mulishly crossed his arms and waited for his Dad to come talk to him...

***

"Come on, bud.  You promised you wouldn't pick on your sister this weekend.  But you weren't even in the door five minutes before starting something!" Tomas Vasquez said, his voice edged with frustration. 
"I just startled her, Dad. It wasn't a big deal!" Johnny said, looking up at his Dad innocently.  "I didn't know she was going to get so mad!"

Tomas sighed.  "You embarrassed her in front of her friend.  Girls don't like that."

Johnny scowled.  "It's just Haley!"

"Promise no more teasing," Tomas said sternly, ruffling his son's hair.

"Yeah, yeah. I promise..."

"Johnny, I mean it!"

"I know, I know!" Johnny groused, following his dad out of the room.
"DINNER!" Sonja called out.
Haley sat down next to Rachel, who was shooting dirty looks at her brother.
Tomas and Sonja finished first, taking their bowls away.  "There's more if you want another helping, kiddos.  We're going to go watch a movie in our room," Tomas said, winking at Sonja.
Sonja smothered a laugh as they headed to the sink with their dishes.  "A movie?" she teased.

Tomas wiggled his eyebrows wickedly.  "It's better than announcing I want to make love to my wife, isn't it?"

"TOMAS!" Sonja said, slapping his shoulder and glancing around to make sure the kids weren't listening.  "Behave!"

"Race you to the room," he whispered in her ear.
Rachel rolled her eyes when her parents ran off giggling.  "They're probably going to do it," she announced confidently.  "They're always doing it."

"What's it?" Haley asked.

Rachel paused. "I don't know," she finally admitted, which was really hard because she always liked to be right.
"You guys are dumb. They're going to have sex." he announced confidently.  "That's how babies are made!"

"Come on, Haley, let's go get ready for bed!" Rachel said with a little sniff, completely ignoring her brother.

Haley sighed and followed after her friend, looking back to see Johnny following after them.  
"So how did you know what 'it' was anyways?" Haley asked. 

Johnny shrugged, "That's what my mom told me."

Rachel gritted her teeth, "Haley! You're not supposed to talk to him!"

Johnny rolled his eyes.  "I'm sorry I scared you, Rachel, okay?" he apologized, but ruined any hope of it sounding sincere by adding, "Geez!"
Haley turned her attention back to Johnny, "But why did your mom tell you?" she asked.  She wondered what other things her parents hadn't told her!

Johnny shrugged again, looking sheepish.  "I guess cause I'd asked her why she didn't get pregnant like Sonja is..."

Rachel glanced down at her hands, feeling embarrassed for giving her brother a hard time. She knew that her dad had gotten both of their mom's pregnant at the same time and then had chosen her mom.  She wondered if Johnny hated her because of that.  
She opened her mouth to ask him when Sonja popped in.  "Alright kiddos, lights out!"
"Awww..." they all groaned in unison. 

"Night mom, Night Keely!" Rachel said, hurrying over to give her mom and little sister hugs and kisses goodnight.
And then the kids slowly settled down to sleep.

***

Eva sighed as she closed her laptop lid, a sense of peace stealing over her.  She might not be able to sway Amelia from destroying Crystal Springs, but she knew how she could stop the negotiations in it's tracks!

She had the perfect idea and she just had to be successful!