Shanni was starting to get a grip.
In fact, she wasn’t too bad at this job at all. Beau Andrews promoted her!
She was no longer a trainee, and she could do in-home makeovers. She was really started to enjoy her job.
Of course, you couldn’t please everyone. Iqbal Jolina-Alvi wanted a new hairstyle with his new look, and he wasn’t at all happy with what he got.
Shanni didn’t have the heart to tell him that he just didn’t have enough hair to style.
As she was getting ready to leave work for lunch, her phone rang.
“Our little girl was born this morning!” Adjo crowed on the other end of the line. “We named her Charmaine.”
Wow. Adjo’s life was moving forward so fast. She knew that was what he wanted, and she was happy for him. She didn’t want to jump into commitment and responsibility. She wanted to have fun. Right?
Fortunately, she ran into Willem Yo in the park, He made her feel a lot better about her life’s decisions.
(Willem is the son of Michelle Yo, my attempt to make a look-alike of Michelle Yeoh. Man, my game is just madly in love with that hairstyle. He started a conversation with her in the park bathroom while she was neurotically checking out the sink, and I couldn’t come up with any way to get them to leave, so they decided to go steady standing in the bathroom.)
To celebrate her promotion, Shanni bought the family a hot tub.
Willem showed her a whole new world of uses for it.
He was a ton of fun, even if he did have a bit of a fashion problem.
The new hot tub led her to spend a whole lot more time lounging around the house in a bikini. Fabian would never let anyone know just how much he enjoyed that.
Hey, he could look, right? So long as he never let Zahra know he was looking. She’d probably still cut his balls off.
The thing with Willem faded after a while. He was a police officer, and he and Fabian turned out to have more in common than Shanni and WIllem did. Eventually, they just stopped calling each other.
Which was convenient when Israel Bauer called her up and asked her out on a date. Shanni barely remembered Israel from school, but she was game for hanging out at least. She arrived at the theater before he did and sat down to wait.
And who was hanging out by the bookstore?
“Wow,” Shanni said nervously. “I didn’t expect to run into you again.”
Agnes smiled sourly. “I’m around, you know. I didn’t vanish in a puff of smoke when your brother-in-law dumped me on my ass.” She threw up her arms. “What a world! What a word!”
“I don’t think you’re a witch,” Shanni said. “Fabian did all the damage.”
“Thank you,” Agnes said. “I didn’t set out to wreck your home. I’m glad you know that.”
“We should do lunch sometime,” Shanni said on impulse.
“I’d like that,” Agnes agreed.
Then Israel showed up, and Shanni had to go.
The thing was, Israel kind of lied about his age. By the time the movie was done, Shanni had clued in. He hadn’t graduated from high school yet. When she nudged him on it, he just said, “Well, I’m the same age as Mortimer Goth, and I knew you were dating him for a while. So I was kind of hoping you’d be cool with it.”
Well, he was right, but somehow dating a high schooler now that she was out in the big world didn’t feel right. She let him down gently. It wasn’t hard. All she had to do was talk with him until curfew hit.
And then Xander Clavell just happened to be around.
Xander’s reputation preceded him. He was a true bad boy. Harvey Ursine’s right-hand man. Just talking to him made Shanni feel incredibly naughty. She couldn’t help herself.
Then whole time Xander was talking her up, this girl kept watching.
“Who’s that?” Shanni asked after a while.
“Her? Nobody. Don’t worry about it. Maybe we should go someplace, you know, more private-like.”
It wasn’t until later than Shanni realized that he’d probably dumped that other girl for her.
(Which is, I believe exactly what happened. I think Xander was at the theater on a date with Bebe Hart. Bastard.)
So Shanni took him home, which was much more private.
What WAS a true bad boy like in bed?
Not terribly remarkable, it turned out. Willem had more flair.
By the time morning came, Shanni’d had enough with her walk on the wild side. Xander wasn’t much for conversation, and he wasn’t much for conversation alternatives either. She tried to cut him loose. That’s when the trouble happened.
“Nobody walks out on Xander Clavell,” Xander told her with tight lips. “You stay with me until I tell you otherwise.” He grabbed her wrist, and she knew he was too strong for her to fight. What could she do?
“Hey there,” Fabian said as he headed off to work. “Didn’t I just let you out of jail?”
“You live with a cop?” Xander exclaimed. “You didn’t tell me!” He got lost immediately after that.
Shanni could barely meet Fabian’s eyes. “Don’t say anything,” she said. “I’ll be more careful.”
(I’m back and trying to get back into the swing of things. My daughter has been sleeping much better this week. Woot!)