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Nano - Day 10

The three of them made small talk while they waited for their food. Ronni was having a decent time, and was quite amused by trying to get Jamie to open up. He seemed very stiff and closed off, not wanting to let her to far into his personal life. She wondered if that was just how he'd grown up to be, or if this was his business self. She wasn't sure.

Their food arrived just in time for when Ronni ran out of things to say. She took one look at her juicy burger and her stomach growled. She did like burgers, but this one was huge and dripping... and she wasn't sure if she could eat it all.

Jamie was looking at her burger too, and he gave her a knowing smile. She smiled back.

"I hope you're hungry," he said, picking up a fry from his plate and popping it into his mouth.

Mark was already digging into his fish and chips, and didn't even look up from his plate as he reached for his second beer.

Lunch went fairly quickly, and Ronni was pleased with the progress she had been making with Jamie. Even though he hadn’t had one beer, (Mark had had two and a half) he was beginning to relax. He had even recounted a time in college when he spilled his cup of beer all over his crush at a party. This story opened up to more college stories, and pretty soon the whole table was laughing. Ronni’s laugh was genuine, and Jamie seemed happy.

Just before dessert was to come, Mark stood up. “I gotta make a quick call,” he said. “The construction team wanted to do an informal Q and A around one.”

“Construction?” Ronni piqued up. “Are we seriously that close to closing this deal?”

Mark winked at Jamie, a gesture Ronni didn’t particularly care for and went off to make his call.

Ronni turned to Jamie. “I didn’t read anything in any of these papers you left me that said anything about a construction company,” she said, trying her best not to sound panicked.

“We just chose one this morning,” Jamie explained. “You do recall a list of possible companies in there somewhere, right?”

“Yes, I guess I didn’t realize the pace you had in mind for the project.” She went on, “Now I have a better picture in my mind.”

“I’m sorry. I should have given you a more specific timeline.”

They were quiet for a moment while Ronni put yet another fry drenched in ketchup into her mouth and chewed.

Nano - Day 9

*****

Ronni got into Jamie’s fancy BMW and shut the door. She looked back at Mark and smiled. “So, what’s your favorite place to eat in Boston?” she asked.

Mark buckled up in the back seat. “James and I go to the Purple Shamrock pub every Wednesday for lunch. Great fish and chips.”

Jamie stepped into the car, put his seatbelt on. “Mark gets the fish and chips every single time,” he told Ronni. “The man has no variety in his life whatsoever.”

Ronni laughed. “Maybe it’s really the best there is,” she said, smiling back at Mark, who winked at her.

The Purple Shamrock wasn’t very far from the Walker building, and they arrived there in no time. Mark fed quarters into the meter while Jamie and Ronni stood by. When he was finished, the three of them walked into the pub and were led to a booth near the back of the pub. Ronni thought that Jamie would sit next to her, but Mark squeezed his way in beside her in the booth. When he smiled at her, she wasn’t really surprised. What, was he going to put the moves on her or something?

“Can I get a beer right away?” Mark asked. “Killians.”

Ronni’s eyes widened. A beer in the middle of the work day? Well, that was something new.

“Water for me,” Jamie told the waiter.

“Same for me,” Ronni chimed in. “With a little slice of lemon, please.”

The waiter smiled and walked away, and the three of them were left alone at the table. Mark didn’t seem to be shy at all, and started right in.

“So, Veronica,” he said, turning his body so that he was facing her. “James tells me you’ve lived in Salem your whole life?”

“Yes,” Ronni replied. “Well, not including college. I went to Boston University and graduated a few years ago. I’ve been doing real estate since then. It was going pretty well… I was just getting bored of it. So, here I am.” She smiled. “Where are you two from?”

Jamie leaned back into his seat and Mark leaned a little bit towards Ronni. “West coast… California,” he said. “I started working for James dad fresh out of college. When James opened up the Boston sector, I jumped right on board. I’ve always wanted a chance to see what it was like to live on the other side of the country.”

Ronni nodded at him. “I’ve wondered that too, but I have so much family here, that I don’t think I could leave them.” She turned to look at Jamie. “How about you?”

Jamie took a second before speaking. “My father liked to move around a lot,” he said finally. “But I went to UCLA and have been in California until this year.”

“Wow,” Ronni said in awe, leaning a little forward. “I wonder what it would have been like to move around like that. Was it interesting to live in different places? Or did it stink to change schools all the time?”

Before Jamie could reply, the waiter came back with their drinks. “Waters for you and you,” he said, setting the glasses in front of James and Ronni. “And…” he put the pint of Killians Red in front of Mark. “Your beer. Are you ready to order, or should I come back in a few minutes?”

“Give us a few minutes,” Jamie said, picking up his menu and opening it.

“No problem.”

Ronni watched the waiter walk away and then picked up her own menu. “So,” she said. “Besides the fish and chips, what’s good here?”

“It’s all decent,” Jamie said, setting his menu down. “But I usually get a burger. They have great burgers.”

“Hmm,” Ronni pondered as she looked down the list of greasy burgers. Her eyes found the greasiest burger with the most bacon, cheese, and fat, and smiled. She knew from her older brother, Edmund, that guys liked a girl who could eat like a guy. “That sounds like a good idea.”

The waiter returned a few minutes later, and everyone put their orders in; Mark, with his fish and chips, Jamie with his burger, and Ronni with the grossest burger on the menu.

Nano - Day 8

“I’m just wondering how I should go about this whole Walker Industries situation. I start tomorrow, right?”

“Right,” Cora echoed.

“So, do I buddy up to him and get him on my side so I can convince him that this whole project is a horrible idea?”

“Oh!” Cora grinned. “I love it! I would die if I could buddy up to Jamie Walker. He’s so sexy…”

“Cora!” Ronni scolded, feeling her face heat up a bit. “People are going to hear you!”

“So what,” Cora brushed her off as she scooped another forkful of noodles into her mouth. “Everyone thinks he’s hot AND sexy,” she mumbled through her food. “It won’t come as a surprise to anyone, trust me.”

Ronni sighed. “Just let me finish the story before we gush about his hotness, okay?”

“Fine,” Cora agreed, as she continued to eat.

“So, I’m not sure if I should try and get him to see things my way, or if I should go behind his back, mess a bunch of stuff up so it’s impossible to go through with the project. Of course, if I do it the second way, I won’t come out smelling like a rose to anyone but the Gallows community. Also, my reputation as a real estate agent might be at stake, and I could lose my regular job all together.”

“Hmm,” Cora pondered. “The second way seems really sneaky and manipulative… but you are a… you know what. You have a way of turning things to your advantage. I guess you could work either situation to your benefit.”

Ronni crammed a mouthful of sweet and sour chicken into her mouth and chewed vigorously. She took a sip of Sprite, and swallowed. “You are not very helpful, Cora. Not at all.”

Ronni left the restaurant that evening with no plan whatsoever. Cora hadn’t given her any insight on the situation other than letting her know exactly how hot she thought Jamie was. So, with no real decision made, she decided to test her luck with everything on day one of the job, and see where things went from there.

*****

The next morning, James got to the office earlier than he usually did. He was in his office on the top floor, getting his paperwork ready for the day, and checking with his secretary to see if he had any meetings that day. After he hung up the phone with her, and wrote some notes down, he heard his secretary’s voice over the intercom.

“Veronica Eveleth is here for her first day,” her voice said.

James looked over at the clock on the wall. She was awful early… but that was fine. He pressed a button on the intercom. “Send her in.”

He had two seconds to think over his strategy. Mark had stayed in his hotel room until midnight last night, and by the time he went back to his own room, James had decided to lay low and see what Ronni’s next move was. He figured if she was on the up and up, there was no reason to worry, and maybe he would tell her that he remembered her from way back when. But if she was acting weird in any way, he would stay on his guard.

His main goal would be to work on the Gallows project… and no one would get in his way.

There were a few taps on the door, and it cracked open.

“Come on in,” James said, and watched as Ronni stepped through the door. Now that he knew that she was the little girl he used to spend his afternoons and summer vacations with so long ago, he looked at her in a slightly different way. He stood up to shake her hand. “Congratulations on your new position at Walker Industries,” he said. “We’re all very happy to have you with us.”

Ronni reached out and shook his hand over his desk. “And I’m very happy to be here,” she told him. “And excited to get started on the project.”

“Of course!” James sat back down and looked at her. Her eyes were crystal clear, and exactly the way he remembered them. Her hair was much longer, and shinier… and her body… was obviously much different from back then. “There are just some forms to fill out before we get started. You know, the customary ones about employment and where to deposit your checks.”

“No problem.” Ronni picked up a pen from his desk and was ready to get to work.

Together, they finished filling out the necessary paper work, and then James took Ronni to see her office.

“Now, before you say anything, I just wanted you to know, that you’re not required to work from here at all times. I know it’s a little bit of a drive to get to Boston every day in traffic. I have a company cell phone ordered for you and it should arrive in the next few days. Once you have that, you can work from home, or anywhere else you have internet access. However, there will be… is something wrong?”

Ronni was staring out the window. “No,” she said. “It’s the view… it’s gorgeous! My old office was a hole in the wall.”

“Oh…” James muttered, looking around the office with a more careful eye. It appeared to be quite a small office to him. “It’s up to you where you choose to spend your time. But as I was saying, there are days where we’ll have meetings, and on those days, it might be more convenient to work from here since most meetings will be in the building. Of course, some meetings will be in Salem when we meet with the city.”

“Right,” Ronni said, still obviously enjoying her view out the window. “That’ll work just fine. I’m flexible with my schedule.”

James patted the large stack of folders and notebooks that were already sitting on her desk, and she finally turned away from the windows. “Why don’t you get started by reading up on the project and making yourself familiar with the details. I have some phone calls to make, but don’t hesitate to ask if you have any questions. There’s a meeting at eleven that we’ll both be attending. There, you’ll get a pace for things here at Walker Industries.”

Ronni sat down at her desk and opened up the first folder. “I’ll get cracking then,” she smiled.

He smiled back at her and walked to the door. “Once again, we’re very glad to have you.”

*****

Once Jamie left the room, Ronni let out her breath. This was going to be a little awkward, she couldn’t help but think, but nothing was more important than saving her neighborhood. Her dad had called her that morning… he had told everyone on their block and several other blocks that his daughter was going to save the neighborhood, and they were not to sign anything under ANY circumstance.

Everyone was counting on her, and there was no way she could back out now… no matter how weird it was to work with Jamie.

So, instead of worrying about how she was going to get along with him in the next several months or so, she focused completely on the work in front of her and devoured it. This was going to be her victory… there was no doubt about that… and she would make sure of it.

The morning went fairly well for Ronni. She met several of her new coworkers and was slightly surprised that a company that made a living in building boring buildings in places where they shouldn’t be, were so nice. They seemed to have no clue that knocking down people’s houses or plowing down trees wasn’t such a great thing.

But, she smiled and greeted every one of them that came by her office to welcome her, anyway.

By the time the meeting started, she was acquainted with quite a number of people, and she seemed to fit right in during the proceedings. She even made a few contributing comments and received quite a few approving looks from around the table.

Things seemed to be going quite well.

*****

Just before the meeting ended, Mark leaned over to James. “Let’s ask Ronni out to lunch,” he whispered. “It’ll be the perfect chance for you to start winning her over.”

James sighed. Mark was completely relentless.

“You know,” Mark went on. “Put on the charm. I know you have it in you.”

James shot him a look. “I’m not going to hit on her,” he hissed.

“That’s not what I said! All you have to do is win her over. And I’ve seen you with clients before… and other people…” he coughed. “You’re good at it!”

James frowned. He couldn’t deny he was good at charming people, but it seemed weird to be doing it to Ronni.

“C’mon, James…” Mark went on. “You said you wanted to know whether she was on the up and up. This will be the perfect time to test your theory. And it’ll be better to do it sooner rather than later, right?”

A board member cleared his throat. “James, I’d like you to comment on that last point I made. Would you?”

It took James a second to catch up, but he recovered nicely, but shot Mark a glare before getting up from the table at the end of the meeting.

Mark grinned.

*****

Nano - Day 6 and 7

James stood outside one of the houses in the Gallows neighborhood with a clipboard in his hand. He grew up across the street from here, and this house seemed really familiar to him. He wondered if he knew anyone who used to live here… then again, James had done a really good job of blocking out a lot of his memories from that time period, so he wasn’t sure.

He looked down at his clipboard.

Arthur Eveleth.

Eveleth.

Wait a second… the woman he hired to be his housing director for the project….

It all came back to him, hitting him like a ton of bricks. Veronica Eveleth… Ronni! He used to play with Ronni when he was a kid! Why didn’t she say anything to him when he had interviewed her? Maybe she didn’t recognize him and put it together?

And why would she want to work on a project that would turn her childhood memories into a treeless, cookie cutter, townhouse neighborhood? It just didn’t make sense.

That is… unless she was trying to derail his plans for the Gallows project. She couldn’t logically be for it… I mean, her family had lived here for years, and it looked as though her father was still living in her family home. How in the world could she be willing to support the project?

James found himself walking away from the Eveleth family home and back to his car. He was surprised that he hadn’t thought about Ronni or her family in years, and was a little ashamed for starting the project in the first place. Then again it had been years… how would he know that her family would still be living there? Especially if he barely remembered his own time there?

He finally took a deep breath as he pulled into the hotel parking lot and exited his car. Just as he was about to go into his room, Mark, his employee and friend who had come down with flu like symptoms, rounded the corner and smiled at him.

“Hey, James,” he said. “How are the signatures coming?”

James didn’t really care to talk about the signatures. “You sound better… are you feeling better?”

“Much!” Mark told him as the two of them went into James’ hotel room. “So, you never answered me about the signatures. Coming along?”

James threw his brief case next to his desk and sat down on the chair by the window. “Actually… not so great. I’m having a really hard time getting people to even answer their doors. Apparently, news spreads fast in Gallow Hills.”

Mark sat down on the edge of his bed. “Not a one?”

“Not a one.”

“Well, I’ll be able to go back to work tomorrow…” Mark told him, “But now I’m not really looking forward to it. Not that I was before…”

James put his head in his hands and sighed. “And now, I think I have a little problem…” he said through his fingers. “I hired the housing director today. We’ll be filling out her paper work tomorrow. She’s got all the qualifications we’re looking for, she seems very bright, and perfect for our team.”

“Then what’s the problem?”

James looked up at him. “Well, let me start from the beginning. Did you know that I grew up in the Gallows?”

Mark’s eyes widened. “You did? Then how come you’re wanting to do this project at all?”

“The neighborhood means nothing to me,” James explained. “I had a horrible childhood, and most of my awful memories happened in that neighborhood. I’d like it to be torn down, believe me.”

“Then I repeat… what’s the problem?”

“Turns out, the woman I’ve hired as housing director used to be a playmate of mine from back when I lived in the Gallows. She was ten, I was twelve… we used to run around the neighborhood together. She was the only good memory I had when I lived there.”

“Maybe she had a bad childhood as well?” Mark suggested.

“But her father still lives there,” James explained. “I realized it when I stood in front of his house staring at his name on my clipboard. It all came back to me… and I put two and two together. The strange part is, Ronni, that’s her name, didn’t say a word to me about us having known each other in the past. I’m wondering if she didn’t recognize me.”

“Well, you didn’t recognize her,” Mark pointed out. “It stands to reason that she wouldn’t recognize you, either, right?”

“I suppose…” James relented. He stood up from the chair and paced around the room. “But then I got to thinking… is this girl trying to mess with me? I can’t imagine she’d want to displace her father so that she can make a few bucks. That doesn’t make sense.”

Mark turned to watch him. “We are compensating these families quite nicely. It’s not as though we’re stealing their houses from them… we’re practically paying them twice the value that their houses are worth. They can go buy a bigger and better house somewhere else.”

“I’m not sure that matters to these people. They all slam their doors in my face.”

“We’ll just have to make the deal a little sweeter,” Mark said with a smile. “Throw in an extra five grand or something. And hey! This girl you hired as housing director… you say she grew up in the neighborhood and her father still lives there? Well, maybe we can use that to our advantage!”

James stopped pacing and watched as Mark stood up. “Use her to our advantage?”

“You said she didn’t recognize you, right? Then don’t let on that you know who she is… get her on OUR side… do whatever it is you need to do, but get her to see things our way. Then she can go around and convince her neighbors that this is the best solution for us all. This could be the best news I’ve had all day!”

James raised an eyebrow. “You’ve been sitting around your hotel room doing nothing all day.”

“So what? This is fantastic!”

James sat down again on the chair. “I don’t know… It sounds a little like manipulation to me.”

Mark sighed. “You know as well as I do that this deal is going to be great for Salem. The neighborhood is run down and… a little creepy if you ask me. Reminds me of the whole witch trial thing from back in the day.”

“It’s a bit… run down, if that’s what you mean. And it’ll look much nicer, and be a better asset for Salem if we go through with this project.”

“And all you have to do is get Ronni on your side… she can take care of the rest!”

James rubbed his chin. “Hmm.”

*****

By the time Ronni got back to her apartment on Monday night, she was feeling a little uneasy about the whole situation. Seeing Jamie through the blinds, knocking on her father’s door while she and her dad hid in the dark, wasn’t exactly the most comfortable circumstance. On her drive home, she thought about backing out of the whole deal all together… but then she remembered her father telling her that he was proud of her, and she knew she couldn’t turn back now.

She’d just have to go through with her plan no matter what.

Tomorrow morning she would call Coldwell Banker and inform them of her leave of absence. It was going to be a whole new start for her… and not necessarily a welcome one… but she couldn’t let her father down, now.


*****

Ronni had spent all of Tuesday finishing up her real estate projects or passing them onto other agents. By four o’clock, she had received word that her leave of absence was approved, and everyone who was taking over her clients had gotten back to her. Everyone was very nice about her decision and it all went much better than she thought it would.

So, around five o’clock, Ronni began thinking about the next day and her plan of derailing Walker Industries Gallows project. She figured she could look at it two ways. The first way was to play up all her charm and then feed him a sob story. If she could win him over and then appeal to his sympathies, she might be able to get him to change his mind.

On the other hand, she could do her job very, very badly… and mess up the project so much that it would be impossible to complete.

She needed some good advice, so she called Cora and arranged to meet her for dinner at a Chinese buffet by Cora’s apartment complex in downtown Salem. By the time she got there, Cora was already sitting down at their booth sipping a coke.

“Oh, thank god you’re here!” Cora said, standing up when she saw her friend. “I’m starving!”

Ronni motioned to one of the waitresses that she would like her usual, and then followed Cora to the buffets. “Sorry I took so long,” she said as she took a plate and moved along to the sweet and sour chicken. “I got a call from my dad wondering when I would be doing something about Walker Industries harassing the neighborhood, and I had to remind him that I don’t start till tomorrow, so that would be the earliest I could do anything.”

Cora chuckled. “Your dad is something else.”

“Don’t remind me,” Ronni smiled as she scooped up a nice portion of chicken. “But I need your advice on something. I’m a little at a crossroads and I’m not sure what to do.”

The two of them loaded up their plates and made their way back to their booth. Ronni took a sip of her Sprite, while Cora dug into her noodles.

“Spill,” Cora mumbled while she chewed.

Nano - Day 5

Ronni put on her cutest pant suit, and did her hair up in a way where it looked professional, but stylish with a few strands of black hanging down. She wanted to make a good impression on James, but she was also a little nervous to see if he would recognize her. If he didn’t, she wasn’t sure if she would bring it up. Maybe, because of what she was trying to do, it would be best if he didn’t recognize her.

She was still deciding what she would do as she walked into Starbucks twenty minutes later.

And then she saw him. This was going to be really difficult, she thought as she looked at him. He was gorgeous... and even better looking than when she had seen him the day before.

He was shuffling papers around on the table, trying not to knock over his coffee, when she walked up to him.

"James Walker?" she said, looking down at him.

Jamie stood up and held out his hand to shake hers. "Veronica Eveleth," he said. "Pleased to meet you."

Their eyes met, and she smiled, trying not to convey that they had already met years ago, but it was his hard. His face might have aged into a man, and his hair was shorter and more kept... but his eyes were exactly the same.

They shook hands, and Ronni sat down across from him. She almost told him to call her Ronni instead of Veronica but stopped herself. He might remember her by her nickname.

"Great to meet you as well," she told him. "I'm really excited about this position."

He took out a note pad and grabbed a pen before looking up at her and smiling slightly. “Why don’t we start out with a few questions, if you don’t mind.”

“Oh, no, not at all,” Ronni replied. “Ask away.”

Jamie looked as though he might say something, but paused before anything came out, and stared at her. “I’m sorry, but I just can’t get over the feeling that we’ve met before.”

Ronni felt her cheeks heating up, but quickly recovered. “I think I might have seen you… actually, right in front of this Starbucks… yesterday when I was helping my friend get her car started. You had on dark sunglasses.”

“Oh… oh!” he said, recognition sweeping over his face. “Now I remember. She was driving the old Pontiac, right?”

“That’s right! Hopefully she’s still driving it. I swear it breaks down every other day.”

He chuckled as he looked at her in a strange way. “Are you a mechanic or something?”

Ronni laughed uncomfortably. “Actually,” she said, thinking up a lie as fast as she could. “In high school I had a friend who was into cars, and he showed me a lot of quick fixes. You could say I knew a little about fixing cars.”

Jamie seemed to be impressed. “That’s a skill you don’t see in many women,” he commented. “Do you have any other unusual skills?”

Ronni didn’t know how to answer that. She was obviously skillful at one thing in general, that made her quite good at a lot of different things, but she couldn’t exactly tell him that. She didn’t even tell him about her ‘special skills’ back when they had been friends. Her only friend that wasn’t a witch or warlock that knew about her magic, was Cora… and Ronni had known Cora three years, and been her best and closest friend for most of that time, before she told Cora of her talent.

“I guess you could say I’m good at a lot of things…” she said.

*****

On her way home from a fantastic interview with James Walker, Ronni was in high spirits, but she was still a little nervous. Her previous experience in real estate, coupled with her special talents (some of which she made up), she was almost positive that Jamie would give her the job.

But along with being happy that her plan was moving along perfectly, she also felt a little guilty. Jamie hadn’t changed all that much… from all she could tell from the brief impersonal meeting she had had with him, and she still liked him. Although, she had yet to discover why he wanted to smash her neighborhood to bits.

And that thought alone made her guilt almost completely disappear.

She turned down the radio, and grabbed her cell phone from the passenger seat of her car, punching in Cora’s speed dial. “Cora!” she said when her friend answered. “Do I have a story for you!”

“What? What is it?”

“I came up with this scheme…”

“Oh no, Ronni!” Cora interrupted. “Bad things happen when you scheme! And this time, I’m not sure I want to be involved.”

“It involves Jamie Walker.”

Cora didn’t hesitate. “Spill!” she demanded.

Ronni told her the whole story from her idea to get a job within the company up till her fantastic interview with Jamie. Cora didn’t say a word till she was finished. She just listened.

“How hot was he today? As hot as yesterday?” was all she could say when Ronni had finished.

“Cora, I just told you about my big plan to manipulate and scheme against Walker Industries, and all you care about how hot Jamie looked?”

“Well, did he!?”

“YES!” Ronni practically yelled as she slammed on the breaks at a stop sign. “He was hot, okay?”

“Oh… I wish you would’ve had a camera…”

“Cora!”

“Okay, okay! I get it. You don’t want to talk about Jamie’s hotness...” Cora sighed. “But you really need to be more careful, Ronni. I mean, if you start messing with things in his company, you could get in real trouble.”

Ronni smiled, stepping on the gas when the light turned green and crossing through the intersection. “See, that’s why it’s perfect!” she told her friend. “I’m a witch. I can fix anything.”

“Then why don’t you just put a spell on him to change his mind?”

Ronni frowned. “I wish! But there are certain spells that are illegal in the witch community… I’ve explained this to you before when you wanted me to put a spell on Bobby Johnson to fall in love with you.”

She heard Cora sigh through the phone. “There are sure a lot of restrictions on magic. It’s really kind of a bummer if you think about it.”

“It’s been this way for years, and there’s nothing I can do to change it. If anyone ever wanted to change a witching law, it can sometimes take up to 200 years to actually change it. And you can imagine why that’s a problem… you basically have to recruit your grandchildren to finish the job for you.”

“Okay, so I guess we won’t be changing this law. You’ll just have to make sure you can play by the rules and not get yourself into trouble with the regular police at the same time.”

Ronni turned into her apartment complex parking lot and pulled into an empty space. “Don’t worry about me,” she assured her friend. “I’m good at covering my tracks.”

Cora was quiet for a moment. “That’s what scares me,” she finally said.

*****

Ronni was taking care of some of her Coldwell Banker work, when she got a call from Jamie, apologizing for calling her so soon after her interview, but he had discussed her over with some of his coworkers and they agreed with him… she should be hired for the job. Ronni accepted immediately with a huge smile on her face, agreed to start that Wednesday morning in the Boston office, and hung up the phone, still grinning ear from ear.

That was the easiest job she’d ever gotten… and it was her lucky day.

Unfortunately for Jamie, it wasn’t his.

*****

After Ronni finished up her work, she decided to pay her father a visit. Ronni’s father was a pretty big figure in their witch community. Back in the 70s he had saved them from a reveal when some stupid warlock had gotten drunk and went showing off the things he could do to humans. Arthur Eveleth was the first one to come up with the solution of making each and every one of the people who had seen the spectacle to think that they were dreaming… which wasn’t technically against Witches’ Law.

Ever since that incident, the community had treated him as if he was some sort of leader, and all throughout Ronni’s childhood, people had come to her father for advice on how to deal with awkward situations. Ronni had went through a phase where she thought she knew everything and refused to ask for her father’s help, but now that she was older, he was the number one person she came to when she got into a scrape.

Which is why she thought she should inform him of her plans to put a fast one past Jamie Walker. He might have some useful tips for her.

She stepped up to her family home and rang the doorbell.

It opened before she had her finger off the buzzer.

“Veronica!” her father exclaimed. “Didn’t I tell you not to ring the doorbell? I thought you were that evil developer that’s been walking around the neighborhood.” He put his hand behind her and pushed her, closing the door once she was inside. “Melvin Burbridge from down the street said the guy just left his house a few minutes ago, didn’t he Melvin.”

“Walker Enterprises or something like that,” a disembodied voice said. “Some young guy thinking he can buy out the neighborhood! Can you believe the nerve!?”

“Yes, yes, Melvin. I understand. I’m turning off my lights as we speak! The Eveleths are not home!” Arthur snapped his fingers and all the lights went out. Ronni put out her hands so she wouldn’t bump into anything as she made her way to the couch.

“Actually, dad… that’s what I came to talk to you about,” she said.

There was a loud popping sound, signaling that Mr. Burbridge was no longer in on their conversation.

“What is it, Veronica?” Arthur asked. “Do you know something about all this hoopla going on?”

Ronni could see his shadow pass in front of her. “A little…” she admitted. “Dad… do you remember the family that used to live across the street from us when I was growing up? They moved out when I was around twelve or so.”

Arthur’s eyes widened. “You don’t mean… The Walkers? That little kid you used to run around the neighborhood with… the only non-witch family in the whole area…? Is one of them the one who’s trying to tear down our homes?”

Ronni nodded, almost sure her dad couldn’t see her through the darkness. “Actually, the person who now owns Walker Industries is that boy I used to run around the neighborhood with.”

“No kidding.” Arthur didn’t sound too surprised, but then again, he was the kind of guy who had seen many things, and it took a lot to shock him. Of course, that didn’t mean he wasn’t angry about things. But instead of showing it, he tended to do something about it.

“As you know, this information didn’t make me happy to see him again. I won’t live with someone tearing this neighborhood down. Where would everyone go?” Ronni paused, and then went on, “So, I had this idea to… well, let’s say… derail his project. I went to Boston yesterday and applied for a position in his company. I had an interview this afternoon and he offered me the job almost immediately. Housing director.”

“Housing director?” Arthur echoed. “What about your job at the reality?”

“I’ve thought about that, and I think I’ll take a leave of absence. I mean, what’s the worst that can happen? I could lose my job, but if I don’t try and save the neighborhood, it could be torn down to build some crappy cookie cutter townhouses.”

“You’re right,” Arthur agreed. “And I’m so proud of you, Veronica. You truly are my daughter.”

Ronni smiled at him through the darkness. “Thanks, dad,” she said.

At that exact moment, the doorbell rang.

“Shh!” Arthur hushed softly.

Nano - Day 4

James had gone to two houses in the Gallows and was already discouraged. The first person had slammed the door in his face and the second had cursed him out just before slamming the door. Unfortunately, being in his old neighborhood had brought back several unfortunate memories.

James hadn’t had a great childhood, and being back in Salem reminded him of those rough days growing up. How could it have been anything but rough when it was around the time when his mother became an alcoholic that they lived in Salem? It was where their family had taken a turn for the worse… and the worst part of it was that his dad didn’t like the kids he hung out with in junior high. When they broke the news to him that they were moving to the west coast, his dad had made it sound like it was James’ fault for hanging out with the wrong crowd… and as a side note, he wanted to expand his business west.

Now that James was older, he understood that it wasn’t his fault… and looking back, he didn’t see anything wrong with the kids he used to hang out with… well, besides the fact that they were a bit strange. He boiled it down to the fact that his dad was an unhappy person who just strived to make other people’s lives unhappy, and being his son, James was his prime target.

It wasn’t until his father died that James felt a huge weight lift from his chest. He should have been sad… but instead, he was relieved. Now free from under his father’s watchful gaze, James became more confident in himself and his decisions… and actually made his father’s business more profitable. So, he had moved the company back to the east coast, where it had originated, while keeping a wing over in the west coast still. Profits were soaring, and it was all because of James and his hard work. He had never been more proud of himself in his life.

But for some reason, something felt missing. Maybe he wanted his father to see what he had become. Or maybe it was something else.

So, instead of going to a third house, he went back to the Starbucks he’d been to the day before and opened up his laptop. He was still missing several key people in his team for this project and wanted to see if there were any new applications turned in.

The first several that popped up on his screen were for a secretary position in the Boston office. James closed out of those without reading them. It was his regional manager that would be hiring for that position. The next one that came up was for Housing Director for the Gallows project.

Veronica Eveleth.

Veronica Eveleth… where had he heard that name before? It sounded so familiar… but he wasn’t sure why. Maybe it was someone he used to know as a kid? Or maybe a family friend of his mom and dad’s from back in the day?

James scanned down further into the application, raising his eyebrows. Not only did she already live right here in Salem, but she seemed to have very desirable qualifications for the position.

After reading over the rest of the resume, he picked up his phone and dialed the contact number.

“Hello,” a pretty feminine voice came through the line.

James cleared his throat. “Is this Veronica Eveleth?”

“It is. How can I help you?”

“My name is James walker, CEO of Walker Industries, and I’m looking at your resume. Actually, I usually have my secretary arrange interviews, but I’m a little crunched for time, and not currently in my office, so I thought I’d give you a call directly. Are you interested in the Housing Director job?”

“Oh! It’s good to hear from you!” she said. “Yes, yes… I’m very interested in the job. When would you like to meet for an interview?”

James looked at his watch. “Well, I know it’s short notice and all, but I’m currently at Starbucks here in downtown Salem, and I’m wondering if you’d be available to meet me sometime soon.”

“I’ll be available around noon…” she said. “That’s in thirty minutes. I can meet you there then. Will that be okay?”

“Perfect,” James agreed. “I’ll see you then.”

After he hung up with Veronica, he called his secretary to inform her that he would not be trying for signatures until after one PM at the latest. He just hoped this interview went well. After he had a housing director, he would be one step closer to actually beginning the construction.

Nanowrimo

Nano - Day 1 and 2

Salem Masquerade
By Lori Finnegan
Chapter One
2009

Ronni Eveleth paged through the heavy book and tapped her foot impatiently on the hardwood floor of her one bedroom apartment. “No, no, no,” she said. “That’s not it either.” Her black and white cat, Macy, sat on her foot and looked up at her, and Ronni stopped tapping.

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Never the Same - First part of ch2

Anna and I went crazy again. I should be sleeping. that's for sure. But this story is really turning out well. I'm really liking it!


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Luci felt the throbbing in her head as soon as the sun came through the windows. She opened her eyes slightly and then shut them again. She could feel his warm breath against her skin, and his hands around her naked waist. But she could still feel his lips on her body from the previous night, and she shivered.

She mentally kicked herself as she tried to slide out of the bed without waking him. There was no way she could face him after last night. She had to find a way out of there and quick. After she found her pants and shirt, not caring about her bra and underwear, she stood up slowly and started to dress quickly.

“Hey,” Luci heard a soft voice from behind her.

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Anna and I are such dorks.

We finished chapter one of Never the Same. And I stayed up way later than I had planned. I have to get up for class in 2 hours... heh.

Read the first part of the chapter here: http://community.livejournal.com/storyramblings/17868.html

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LOL, you can tell I didn't write the grinding dancing part, can't you? LOL XD; And oo la la, what happens next?

oh, and I made a banner for it...