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 Wailing Toddler, IC - Elliot | ISO - Grace
Ethereal
 Posted: Oct 31 2015, 05:14 PM
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Elliot A. Mercier
SUNDAY SUMMER 8, YEAR ONE • MORNING • CLOUDY • ELLIOT'S OUTFIT OLIVER'S OUTFIT
"I've got this now, my legs are steady now, the angels warned me never to fall down"



It was a part of their weekly routine, now. Every Sunday, the Merciers would head up to the church dressed in their best clothing, ready to listen to the week’s sermon. They’d been doing it for a few weeks now, and Elliot was all too happy with how it had been going. But today, things were different.

Oliver has been unsettled all morning. Elliot referred to it as Oliver waking up on the wrong side of the bed, even though Oliver’s tiny bed was pushed right against a wall so there was only really one way Oliver could get out. He hadn’t been happy to wake up, putting on his frowny face, and it was clear to Elliot that for whatever reason, Oliver hadn’t gotten enough sleep last night and was tired as a result.

Maybe it was what Elliot had told him before bed – that he’d heard rumours of a Summer Carnival coming to town tomorrow.

Or maybe it was that Oliver’s night light had broke, so his room was dark and he’d laid there a little scared for an hour or two.

Or perhaps it was that Oliver just hadn’t retained enough energy from the sleep he’d had.

Despite that his son was so obviously irritable, Elliot hadn’t thought much of it. Sure, Oliver didn’t look quite so cute when he was frowning, but it wasn’t like Oliver had been unruly this morning. He’d allowed for his father to put on his suit without complaint, and he’d nibbled at a little bit of toast before telling his daddy he didn’t want any more because he wasn’t hungry any more.

Now, however, Elliot regretted that he hadn’t decided to go to the afternoon sermon instead.

The moment the two had arrived and had taken their seat on a pew, Oliver’s attitude had changed. He’d gone from a little ball of frustration to a little ball of sleepy. His eyelids were drooping as Odette’s voice soothed him, and soon Elliot found himself with a warm lump resting against his arm. Oliver had fallen asleep, and Elliot couldn’t see the harm in letting his son sleep.

By the time Oliver awoke again, the sermon was almost over.

He opened one eye, then the other, and blinked as he tried to remember where he was.

Though his mind still felt foggy from his nap, Oliver’s nose was wide awake. Oliver could smell the faint, yet undeniable, scent of cakes and baking and sweet treats, and his stomach was reminded that it had only a few bites of toast this morning. It growled.

Oliver tugged on Elliot’s sleeve. Weakly at first, then with force.

“What’s wrong, Ollie?” Elliot whispered, struggling to keep his attention on the priestess whilst trying to address his son.

“Hungry,”Oliver replied simply.

Elliot gave Oliver’s hair an affection ruffle. “We can get something to eat in ten minutes, okay, Ollie?”

“No!” Oliver cried out, and Elliot became hot underneath the collar as a few church-goers turned around to see what the sudden shout was. “Hungry now!”

“Ollie, sweetie,” Elliot said in urgent hushed tones. “You’re going to have to wait a little bit. You can wait a little bit…”

Oliver didn’t think so and began to wail loudly, tears streaking his face.

Elliot put up with it for a few seconds, trying to soothe Oliver by rubbing his finger against the soft of his cheek, but the crying didn’t stop and Elliot was bright red.

“Sorry, I’m so sorry,” he mouthed to Odette, to the blonde sat on the pew before him, and to every other patron in the church as he picked up Oliver and began to carry him outside of the church.
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Belle
 Posted: Nov 3 2015, 10:24 AM
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Grace McKinnley
Summer Eighth, Year One ֎ Morning ֎ Cloudy ֎ Wearing


Grace was up earlier than Odette this Sunday as she wanted to try a few new recipes before the service began that morning. Grace had given in and parted with a few G to buy a very small property for a bakery. The job hunt had been a bust and she felt like a leech just staying with Odette at the church and not contributing. Of course, it didn’t matter anyway because Odette refused to take the girl’s money, so instead Grace would drop a few spare G in the church donation box every so often.

Today Grace was playing with a triple berry pie. She had gone to the market for fresh fruit the day before and began work on crafting up the perfect recipe for her to sell in the small shop. Once the pie was in the oven and baking, Grace began getting ready for the service that would be taking place shortly. Hopefully the villagers wouldn’t object to the church smelling of baked goods as Odette preached the sermon.

Just as Grace was removing the pie out of the oven, she heard Odette call that the sermon would be starting soon. Sitting the pie out to cool, she followed the priestess down to the main hall of the church, where many villagers were already seated and waiting.

She sat in her pew listening as Odette talked on the Valley and the Goddess. Everything was going as normal until she heard the little boy behind her begging his dad for food. No doubt the little boy smelt the pie Grace had pulled out. She felt bad for causing the little rumblys in his tummy.

She could hear the father trying to calm his son as Odette was reaching the end of the sermon, but the poor boy just cried, wanting the delicious treats he smelt to be inside his tummy. She heard movement behind her and she turned slightly to see the father and son headed towards the exit of the church so she got up to follow.

She couldn’t very well tease the boy with the smell of her baked goods and not offer him a slice. Finally outside of the church, Grace could see the father and son getting further away “Hey wait up!” she called, running to catch up with them. Catching up to the pair, Grace gave them a smile. “Hi sorry. But a little birdy told me that someone was hungry and I happen to be in need of a taste-tester,” she said looking at the little boy who had tear stains down his cheeks. “Maybe someone wants to try my new pie and tell me how it is? If it’s okay with papa that is?” she asked looking to the father now.
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Ethereal
 Posted: Nov 9 2015, 11:56 AM
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Elliot A. Mercier
SUNDAY SUMMER 8, YEAR ONE • MORNING • CLOUDY • ELLIOT'S OUTFIT OLIVER'S OUTFIT
"I've got this now, my legs are steady now, the angels warned me never to fall down"



Outside of the church, Elliot could be more frantic, and consequently louder, in his attempts to stop Oliver crying.

“Sh, sh…” he tried to soothe, jiggling Oliver lightly on his hip as he hurried down the hill. Not even halfway down, Elliot became distraught and came to a halt, pulling Oliver close to his chest and cradling him. “Ollie… We’re going home now, okay? Please… please don’t cry.”

Elliot couldn’t bear the sound nor the sight of toddler tears. And it appeared somebody else couldn’t, too.

“Hey wait up!” somebody called, and Elliot turned around to watch as the blonde who’d sat in the pew before them came running down the hill to meet them.

Curiosity silenced Oliver for a moment, but soon enough the intrigue wore off and Oliver was crying once more. The cries were weaker now, his face red and his lungs exhausted. Elliot didn’t know what else he could. He just continued to rock his son back and forth.

“Hi sorry,” the familiar stranger began, and Elliot gave her a weak smile. He really, really didn’t have the time to chit-chat right now, and he really, really needed to get home for Oliver’s sake, but Elliot was too shy and too polite to do anything but smile.

The pretty lady was looking at him, so Oliver looked right back up at her. She was unfamiliar and in his sobbing state, Oliver felt shy. He clutched to his daddy’s shirt and stopped the crying to listen to what the lady had to say.

She was a nice lady, Oliver found out. Elliot came to a similar conclusion.

Pie – that was the smell lingering around the church today. Elliot had thought it either a faint smell or a conjuration of his mind, but it seemed it hadn’t been his imagination because there really was a pie and it hadn’t been faint for Oliver had smelt it too. He’d perked up at just the mention of it, nodding his head.

“That’s… that’s perfect,” Elliot stammered out, relief being the primary emotion. Of course he wouldn’t turn down the offer. And, if he did, Oliver would enter a new phase of crying known as screeching. Elliot would never want that.

“P-p-please,” Oliver mumbled afterwards. At this moment in time, Elliot wouldn’t have noticed whether Oliver was being polite or not, but it was still a little proud moment to see Oliver had remembered a manners lesson.

“Is it back inside the church?” Elliot asked.

The sermon had finished now. People were exiting the church and making their way past the three of them.

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Belle
 Posted: Nov 14 2015, 04:32 PM
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Grace McKinnley
Summer Eighth, Year One ֎ Morning ֎ Cloudy ֎ Wearing


Grace felt bad pulling the father and son away from what they were doing. The poor boy was in tears from hunger though and Grace knew it would be easier and faster if the boy had some pie here, rather than cry all the way home.

Grace explained that she had baked a pie before the sermon and offered it to the young boy as long as it was okay with his papa. “That’s… that’s perfect.” “P-p-please.” Grace smiled as the young boy asked politely for some pie. She felt bad for causing him to get upset earlier; her pie smell having taken over a lot of the church.

“Is it back inside the church?” Grace nodded. “I’ve been staying with Odette for a while. I’m sure she wouldn’t mind if you two came upstairs. Plus the sermon is over now.” She looked back to the young little boy, wiping the tears from his cheek. “I hope you like berries,” she told the little boy. “Now, what’s your name, dear? Mine’s Grace,” she said with a soft smile.
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Ethereal
 Posted: Dec 13 2015, 05:13 PM
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Elliot A. Mercier
SUNDAY SUMMER 8, YEAR ONE • MORNING • CLOUDY • ELLIOT'S OUTFIT OLIVER'S OUTFITSleighBelle
"I've got this now, my legs are steady now, the angels warned me never to fall down"


Elliot smiled a little brighter and gave a nod at the mention of Odette. She hadn’t mentioned she currently had a visitor, but, then again, Elliot wasn’t exactly sure what their relationship was. Were they friends? He liked to think that they were. It was nice to call Odette a friend, because they got along well, even if their encounters were shy and awkward. Elliot wondered if the girl was a friend of Odette, or maybe if they were related, but he knew he could never be nosey and ask.

Oliver hadn’t really been paying much attention to the conversation. He’d made his plea for food, and now he was occupied listening to the occasional little rumbles of his tummy and feeling incredibly sorry for himself.

The hands that brushed his cheeks weren’t the hands of his daddy, and Oliver picked up on that immediately. His daddy’s hands were larger and though they weren’t callused, they were still a little rough. These hands were softer and, well, prettier. Oliver blinked up at Grace.

“I like berries,” he mumbled back. He paused before speaking again. “Oliver.”

Oliver’s tone had picked up. His voice was louder and though there were still little hiccups present from his recent crying, there was that tinge of cheeriness.

,
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Belle
 Posted: Dec 26 2015, 04:11 PM
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Grace McKinnley
Summer Eighth, Year One ֎ Morning ֎ Cloudy ֎ Wearing
Tag: Ethereal


Grace knew it wasn’t her place to wipe away the child’s tears. Many parents were overprotective of their children and didn’t want strangers touching them. Grace couldn’t help it though, she hated seeing an upset child. She knew she could make the young boy happy with just a few bites of her berry pie.

“I like berries.” Grace smiled at the young boy. “Oliver.”

“Well that’s a very nice name, Oliver,” Grace said speaking to the small child. “Now how about we get you some of that pie, yeah?” She turned, walking back towards the church, motioning for the father/son duo to follow her. She waved to a few of the regular congregation members who were still hanging around outside of the church to get their weekly gossip as she walked back into the main room of the church. The familiar smell of the pie wafted through the sia again as she led them up the stairs to the small apartment like upper floor of the church.

“Make yourself at home,” she said as she made her way over to where she had left the pie to cool. The scent of the pie was stronger now that they were in the same room as it. Grace busied herself getting out cutlery and plates from the cupboard. “Would Daddy like a piece as well?” she asked.
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Ethereal
 Posted: Dec 31 2015, 01:50 PM
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coolest kid this side of the atlantic

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Elliot A. Mercier
SUNDAY SUMMER 8, YEAR ONE • MORNING • CLOUDY • ELLIOT'S OUTFIT OLIVER'S OUTFITBelle
"I've got this now, my legs are steady now, the angels warned me never to fall down"


Both Elliot and Oliver smiled brightly at the name compliment. Oliver, because that was his name and he liked it when others liked his name. And Elliot, because that was the name he had personally chosen for Oliver. Oliver’s mother, Emily, hadn’t cared to pick one out. She’d simply shoved the name-choosing decision into Elliot’s hands and had left it at that, like she had with everything else. For a moment there, Elliot wondered if that should have been the first warning sign that she was set to flee – when Emily couldn’t be bothered to think of a name. Elliot quickly pushed those thoughts out of his mind. Not now.

Elliot, with Oliver still in his arms, followed Grace back up to the church. When he stepped back inside the church, the smell of pie seemed so much stronger to Elliot. Maybe that was because he was aware of it. Oliver simply beamed even more at the prospect of getting some of that delicious food he’d been able to smell throughout the duration of the sermon.

He’d never been upstairs before. Elliot had only ever seen the first floor and all of its pews, and that was the extent of what he knew existed inside the church. So it was surprising to go upstairs and find a small, yet cozy, apartment.

“Make yourself at home,”
Grace said, and Elliot couldn’t help but reflect on how very homely the place felt.

Elliot put Oliver down on a sofa, who immediately jumped down and tried to totter over to Grace. Elliot wrapped a pair of arms around him and pulled him onto his lap.

“Don’t go bother the poor lady when she’s busy getting you pie,”
Elliot lightly scolded. Oliver heeded the scolding and sat still and patient. He daren’t jeopardise his chance for delicious pie.

“Would Daddy like a piece as well?”


“I’m good, thank you,”
Elliot responded politely. Even though Grace was clearly a lovely person, Elliot was forever anxious. It already felt rude and intruding to be in her home, and it would feel even worse to have her give a plate of pie to both him and his son. “It looks delicious though. Do you bake often?”
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Belle
 Posted: Jan 6 2016, 08:40 AM
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"I want people to be afraid of how much they love me."

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Grace McKinnley
Summer Eighth, Year One ֎ Morning ֎ Cloudy ֎ Wearing
Tag: Ethereal


It was rare that there were guests in the upper part of the church. The only two who ever came up here were Grace and Odette, though sometimes Grace felt as if she was being a burden on the priestess. She wouldn’t accept any kind of rent money from Grace, which is what led her to open the bakery. She needed some way to bring money in, and the Valley was lacking in the restaurant business.

She had to cut into her savings to purchase the small building, but she was hoping she would see profit and be able to buy back her home before the end of the following year.

She pulled out a knife and began slicing into the pie, asking the father if he would also like some. Grace certainly wouldn’t turn down more taste testers.

“I’m good, thank you.” Grace nodded and finished cutting the piece for his son, placing it on a plate along with a fork. She turned to place the knife in the nearby sink. “It looks delicious though. Do you bake often?” Grace smiled. “All the time. It was my way of passing my time in the city, until I could come back here. I own a small bakery now, so I like to try out different recipes.”

She sat the pie on the small kitchen table, pulling out the chair slightly. “Here ya go, Oliver. Why don’t you sit up here so you don’t get your nice church clothes messy?”
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Ethereal
 Posted: Jan 17 2016, 05:14 PM
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coolest kid this side of the atlantic

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Elliot A. Mercier
SUNDAY SUMMER 8, YEAR ONE • MORNING • CLOUDY • ELLIOT'S OUTFIT OLIVER'S OUTFITBelle
"I've got this now, my legs are steady now, the angels warned me never to fall down"


She baked all the time.

That explained the delicious smell.

“Westhaven City?”
Elliot asked. “Oh, I used to live there. Though, I never really got the chance to practice my cooking. I worked an awful lot.”

Grace took her pie and brought it over to a kitchen table. Elliot immediately rose from his seat, but Oliver was less than enthusiastic. Rather, he sunk down a little further into the couch he sat on.

It was Grace that managed to coax him into moving. Otherwise, Elliot thought he’d have put up a fuss. It felt like Oliver was in that kind of a mood today, one that wanted to be troublesome, and all of that bothersome nature had stemmed from the fact he was hungry. Oliver would have refused to move for his dad, but he moved for the nice lady.

Oliver slid off the couch and toddled over to the chair. He pulled himself up, and made grabby hands at the pie. He could smell it now, that scent now irresistible, and Oliver wanted it. He got what he wanted, and Oliver wasted no time digging in. That almost-insatiable hunger he’d built up meant a disregard for table manners (Oliver ate with his hands), but Elliot chose to overlook that, just this once.

“A bakery, you said?”
Elliot spoke up, after swallowing his first mouthful of pie. “What street is it located on? We’ll have to come visit sometime. This pie is really, really good!”
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Belle
 Posted: Jan 20 2016, 06:03 PM
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"I want people to be afraid of how much they love me."

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Grace McKinnley
Summer Eighth, Year One ֎ Morning ֎ Cloudy
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Both had lived in the city, and both had moved back to Ioana. Grace took comfort in knowing she wasn’t the only city slicker to leave city life for the quiet calm of the valley. It gave her hope tat Ioana could reclaim its land and leave the city’s grasp.

Grace nodded as he explained how he worked a lot. “I picked up a lot of odd jobs when I was old enough to save money to move back here. In the time I had left I baked. My father blames me for the weight he gained,” she said with a slight chuckle.

She watched as the two delved into the pie Grace had laid out. She let out a giggle as the young toddler dug into the pie with his hands, smearing the dessert in his face as it made its way into his mouth. “That good, huh?” she said jokingly as she moved to grab extra napkins for the young boy.

“A bakery, you said? What street is it located on? We’ll have to come visit sometime. This pie is really, really good!”

“Oh thank you so much. It’s the little blue shop on Chestnut Street. Feel free to stop by anytime.”

She moved back to the fridge and pulled out a carton of milk, pouring both of her guests a glass. She brought them to the table, sitting one glass in front of each of them. “You can’t have pie without milk right?” she said with a smile.

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Ethereal
 Posted: Jan 21 2016, 01:18 PM
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coolest kid this side of the atlantic

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Elliot A. Mercier
SUNDAY SUMMER 8, YEAR ONE • MORNING • CLOUDY • ELLIOT'S OUTFIT OLIVER'S OUTFITBelle
"I've got this now, my legs are steady now, the angels warned me never to fall down"


Oliver nodded his head enthusiastically at Grace. Vereeey 'ud,” he chimed out, spraying crumbs everywhere.

“Ollie,”
Elliot sighed, taking the extra napkins Grace had moved and using them to wipe up the crumbs that laid all over the table. “Sorry about that,” Elliot directed to Grace. “Toddlers are messy things.”

It was good to know there was a bakery nearby. Chestnut Street, like the rest of the village, wasn’t too far of a walk away from their home. In the city, Elliot had never encountered a bakery, or at least not one he’d consider a true bakery. He didn’t count shops that had imported their products and placed them in a window to be a bakery. Packaged goods could never compete against homemade things.

“I’ll be sure to visit,”
Elliot replied. “Oliver really likes his sweets and cakes… and he’s definitely taking a liking to your pie.” Elliot laughed as he paused to watch Oliver scooping the last bit of pie into his mouth.

Oliver finished his pie and licked his lips. He wanted to seize every last crumb possible. He’d been hungry, oh so hungry, and that delicious pie had settled magnificently in his stomach.

Grace went into the kitchen and came back with glasses of milk. Three of them, one for each person at the table. Oliver made an immediate grab for his glass, his mouth now dry, but his hands were steady as he took the glass in both hands and lifted it up. Elliot, on the other hand, let the glass stay sat on the table.

He hadn’t had a glass of milk since he was a child himself. Elliot had milk sometimes, but only when it was incorporated into something else, like tea. He’d forgotten what milk tasted like on its own, or whether he even liked it.

Elliot picked up the glass and took a sip. The flavour was familiar, and Elliot found he did like it.

“Graceee,”
Oliver piped up. “Wan’- I mean, canna ‘av more?”

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Belle
 Posted: Jan 23 2016, 11:48 PM
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"I want people to be afraid of how much they love me."

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Grace McKinnley
Summer Eighth, Year One ֎ Morning ֎ Cloudy
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“Vereeey 'ud.” Grace chuckled. “I’m glad you like it sweetie,” she said, helping his father clean the crumbs that had been spilled over the table. “Ollie. Sorry about that. Toddlers are messy things.” Grace waved it off. “Trust me it’s okay. I did a lot of babysitting so I know what it’s like.” She took the soiled napkins and tossed them into the trash.

“I’ll be sure to visit. Oliver really likes his sweets and cakes… and he’s definitely taking a liking to your pie.” Grace smiled. She would love to see the two of them again, and of course she welcomed any business that made it’s way into her shop. “I look forward to it!” she said happily. “Feel free to stop by anytime. I’ll make sure to have plenty of sweets stocked for the both of you.”

Grace knew that their mouths would be dry from the pie, and she quickly poured milk before the young tyke finished the rest of the morsel on his plate. He was a cute little thing, he reminded her of the young boy Jimmy she use to babysit back in Westhaven. He was always wanting to bake with her and afterwards, when they were enjoying the delicious treat, he would make such a mess of the table.

Messy pie hands grasped the sides of the glass, leaving a stain of berry on the sides. She watched as the both drank hungrily at the glass of milk. She reached back to the fridge pulling the carton out again. He would probably want another glass.

“Graceee, wan’- I mean, canna ‘av more?” Grace smiled at the boy. She refilled his milk glass for him. “Well we have to check with your daddy first. I don’t wanna ruin your lunch or anything if he has plans.” She ruffled his hair lightly. He was an adorable kid.


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Ethereal
 Posted: Jan 27 2016, 06:21 PM
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coolest kid this side of the atlantic

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Elliot A. Mercier
SUNDAY SUMMER 8, YEAR ONE • MORNING • CLOUDY • ELLIOT'S OUTFIT OLIVER'S OUTFITBelle
"I've got this now, my legs are steady now, the angels warned me never to fall down"


“I don’t see why not,”
Elliot replied, laughing at the crumbs smattered around Oliver’s mouth and the milk moustache. It wasn’t like he’d planned lunch and had anything slow-cooking. He’d considered making Oliver a simple sandwich, and Elliot wasn’t silly, he knew homemade pie was far better than his plain sandwiches.

“I like pie,” Oliver stated, enthralled that he was getting another slice. “I dun get much. Daddy don’t make it. Canna have pie every time I see you?”

"Oliver!"
Elliot quickly chided, turning red in the face. "Don't be rude."

"I don't bake often," Elliot admitted to Grace. "It's not that I don't know how to - I actually do bake quite well, albeit not nearly as well as you - but I don't have the time to do so... or the money. It's cheaper to buy the ready-made food in the grocery store, and gosh, that sounds so bad of me. I'm trying to incorporate more home-cooked stuff into our diets now, more so for Oliver than myself when I'm strapped for time and money, because it's a little easier to afford groceries in Ioana than it was back in Westhaven."

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Belle
 Posted: Jan 29 2016, 09:03 AM
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"I want people to be afraid of how much they love me."

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Grace McKinnley
Summer Eighth, Year One ֎ Morning ֎ Cloudy
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His father okayed another piece of pie, so Grace went ahead and cut it out for the young boy, placing it on his plate. With extra napkins aplenty on the table should he make a mess, Grace took a seat at the table with her two guests.

“I like pie. I dun get much. Daddy don’t make it. Canna have pie every time I see you?” "Oliver! Don't be rude." Grace smiled at the boy. He was an excited young toddler, quickly filling with energy now that he was being fed. Luckily for his pop, once the boy was full, he would probably drift off to dreamland for a midday nap. “Feel free to come over for pie whenever you want. I never say no to company.”

Grace could tell Elliot was a little embarrassed by his son’s outburst, but she didn’t mind it. Not everyone had time to bake like she did. "I don't bake often. It's not that I don't know how to - I actually do bake quite well, albeit not nearly as well as you - but I don't have the time to do so... or the money. It's cheaper to buy the ready-made food in the grocery store, and gosh, that sounds so bad of me. I'm trying to incorporate more home-cooked stuff into our diets now, more so for Oliver than myself when I'm strapped for time and money, because it's a little easier to afford groceries in Ioana than it was back in Westhaven."

“That’s why I love Ioana so much more than Westhaven, everything is so much more affordable, though we all know why that really is.” She didn’t want to say that everything was cheap to entice people to move back to the town, but she really hoped it would work. “Plus it’s so much friendlier here, a much better place to raise your son. I know I never felt safe in Westhaven, but here, well everyone’s your friend. It’s nice, having so many friends.” She smiled at Elliot. She hoped he would consider her his friend. She barely knew him, but she would be willing to help him with whatever he needed. It was just who she was.

“I’m sure you could find some quick recipes for home cooked meals. There’s gotta be some out there. Like homemade mac n’ cheese. That probably doesn’t take too long to make, and what toddler doesn’t like mac n’ cheese?”


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Ethereal
 Posted: Feb 20 2016, 09:00 PM
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Elliot A. Mercier
SUNDAY SUMMER 8, YEAR ONE • MORNING • CLOUDY • ELLIOT'S OUTFIT OLIVER'S OUTFITBelle
"I've got this now, my legs are steady now, the angels warned me never to fall down"


Elliot couldn't say he'd take up the offer, the notion of dropping by unannounced far out of his comfort zone and even more so when the idea of coming with a motive was introduced, but it was nice to have it anyway. Grace was a nice person, and Elliot was glad that she was so kind to him and Oliver. The city had been a place that had treated everybody like foreigners, regardless of how long they'd lived there. Though Elliot was plenty aware that the village was different in that the villagers cared for each other and that its small size meant everybody normally knew each other, it still came as a surprise even after almost a year when he was subject to the genuine kindness of others.

"It's definitely more affordable,"
Elliot agreed. "I only get paid a small stipend for working at the library, which is just to cover living expenses and a little extra for pocket money. My wage working in Westhaven was higher, but money was always a struggle. I'd work long hours and even then it was a regular occurrence where I'd find myself at a till, hoping I had enough to pay for all my groceries. At least working in the library, I have more freedom. It's a day job too, so I have a normal sleep schedule for the first time in Oliver's life."

"It's also, by far, a better place to raise children here. It's quiet and, though I'm not exactly the socialising type, the few people I've met have all been so lovely to us. For example, nobody in the city would ever have offered us a slice of pie and milk,"
Elliot said, going a little pink.

"There's quite a few cookbooks in the library,"
Elliot recalled. "The only problem is, they're scattered all over the place. I know they exist because I've seen them listed, but... the place is still very disorganised. I've tried but I just don't seem to be getting very far with it. It's a very large library. Beautiful, however, though it's a little rundown..."

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