Imagine: The List
Fic posted by members of Vo's Imaginings YahooGroup


Jessy smiles as the last of the garments is put in the containers.


“That's it?” Faith asks, looking over at the silence from the counter.


“That's it.”


“Oh yeah, we'll have these done by August easy.” She looks at the piles with a practiced eye after putting the totes of pattern envelopes back in the closet. Everybody nods. The boys bring over the partial bolts of cloth and spools of lace and ribbon and it's measured and put on the shelf before they lock the doors.


“Got everything ready?” Larry asks as they walk in an hour early.


“Yeah, got all the garments ready to work on, the remnants measured and on the shelf to be used, and the cardboard tossed in the bins. Tomorrow's good enough to start.” Rupert nods from his door. “Jessy, did you get a call from Mr. Stark?”


Jessy sniggers. “Yeah, he finally realized who my family was.” He chuckles. “At first he was wondering why Baxter would have him contact me about a business he wanted to work with, then the penny dropped and Pepper said he just moaned. Because he knew my grandparents. Not well. . .they more worked with his father in the few ventures they worked on together, but he knew them.” Jessy finishes the first rough-sort of her mail and drops the junk in the recycling bin.


“No, the lawsuit against you from your former boss isn't going to be dismissed..” Monroe's own lawyer snorts. “Grow the hell up you stupid little sack of shit.”


“But I gotta work. . .” she wails.


“Good. That will keep you from being a stupid little sack of shit that should have been drowned at birth. “You're going to be paying that man money for the rest of your worthless life you little bitch.”


“But he was being mean to me.”


“How, by making you work? The others at the store are still finding stuff you shoved behind other stuff when you 'shelved' because you were sulking that you couldn't get that order canceled so you could have the printer.” She ducks her head. . .yeah, maybe she shouldn't have done that. But she wanted that printer. It wasn't fair that a paying customer was put in front of her. She gulps when she realizes she actually said that out loud.


“You stupid little bitch.” Her lawyer roars as he gets to his feet. “Grow the hell up you goddamn little brat. No, the case is going forward and I hope he destroys you to the molecular level.”


“But you gotta make them hire me back at the store.”


“The hell I do, they're better off without you.”


“But I gotta work. . .I can't shove my assignments off on anybody else.” she wails.


“Retarded whore.” The office manager snorts as she runs off wailing.


“Please, like anybody would pay to have sex with that fool. They'd be too afraid of getting whatever STD rotted her brain.” One of the law clerks snorts. The lawyer shakes his head. . .he should be chiding them but when they're right, they're right.


Jessy looks over as the door opens and Max and a couple of his friends come into the building. He looks at the piles of containers in satisfaction. “I figured you'd be pretty far along by now. Are the oldest kids in class now?”


“Yeah, for a few hours three times a week, right now they're learning their numbers, their letters, their colors. . .Wesley's sneaking in lessons during playtime.” One of the women with him chuckle as Jessy brings out the sketchpads.




“Spending part of her time with her Daddy learning how to rule the world from behind the scenes with Amanda. I say she's a little too young yet, but. . . “ Jessy shrugs. “Now if he and Cordy were teaching the girls. . .they'd have the world at their feet by the time they finished university.” Max puts his head on the counter and just laughs.


“Friend?” One of the women asks.


“You've met her, my dark-haired associate.” Max says between cackles.


“Ahhh, yes.” She chuckles. “She works here?”


“In the main business, she's got a daughter turning four and a son who's going to be a year old in November. Jessy's twins are their siblings, Xander donated sperm for them while Larry donated for her daughter. She's a couple weeks older than than their boy.”


Jessy drops three receipts on Larry's desk when she walks in, kissing Marie who's babbling in the playpen in a corner of the room.


“Max is out early.”


“Yeah, he's got a major photo shoot that's going to have him gone for nearly three months. A couple of his associates will be picking up the outfits when I give them a call.”


“Fabric warehouse?”


“I'm going out next week, the trucks are going to be busy for the rest of the week with the 4th this weekend.” Rupert nods in satisfaction. “Nobody expects us to start the new orders until these are done anyway.”


“Are you goddamn stupid, no I'm not going to allow you to sue the office supply store. Goddamn idiot, you tried attacking a customer. You're fucking lucky not to be in jail right now.” A judge snorts as he dismisses the lawsuit. “Grow up you stupid little brat.”


“But I gotta work long hours. . .I can't shove my assignments on anybody else anymore. It's not fair.” She wails as she's dragged out of the courtroom.


“Miserable bitch should have been drowned at birth.”


“Oh yes, she's sulking because she's an idiot. She went whining to her godfather in corporate at the store she wanted to sue and her former manager got a demotion and was moved to another store. He's already sued corporate and got nearly thirteen million dollars in a settlement, she's afraid of how much money she'll have to pay him for her part in what happened., Because not only was he sent somewhere else, his wife had to work two jobs to pay the bills because he was only making two-thirds of what he used to, his kids had to leave their private school.”


Another person whistles. “She doesn't do it halfway when she destroys somebody's life, does she?”

“Nope, stupid bitch is going to be miserable for the rest of her goddamn life. She never went to college so she doesn't have any education for a career.”


“But it's not fay-yay-yay-yay-yur that I have to work.” She wails out in the hallway. Everybody ignores her and she grabs at people to make them pay attention to her, getting her ass handed to her for her stupidity.


“Too damn bad,” her father snorts as she wails about how people were so mean to her. “You don't ever grab other people because they're ignoring your little temper tantrum you stupid little shit.” He continues to tell his stupid daughter off until she runs off wailing.


“And leave people alone. Nobody has to bow, scrape, and kiss your useless ass.”


“Mark, welcome back.” Margo smiles as her co-boss walks into the store. “How are Maddy and the kids?”


“Very glad to have me home. And I am just as glad to be there.”


“Did the kids get back in their school?”


“No, we're going to keep homeschooling them, that school might have been good academically but it was full of self-absorbed brats like Monroe. . . including in the administration. The little bastard in charge had to admit that. . .welllll yeeessssss, we did pay through the end of the year but we don't want your children around the other students. . . the other parents might complain about a bad element at the school.”


“Your kids are seven and nine, the other damn students would be more the damn bad element because they'd be making fun of them if they learned what had happened.”


“Yes, that's what my lawyer told him when they sued for the return of the tuition and for pain and suffering. The fool finally blubbered that he might have made a mistake in treating our kids like garbage and tossing them to the curb.”


Margo rolls her eyes. “Yeah, he's bleating now that the publicity is making the school look bad. Students are being pulled by their parents. Because they might have to associate with poor people.”


“Good riddance to the brats then. Because unless they get a big dose of reality upside the head, they'll turn out as stupid as Monroe.”


“Schools like that are a place to be seen by the right people more than a real school.” James snorts.


Margo snorts but nods, “I expect the school to shut down because of the bad publicity and the students whine because other schools will actually make them work for their grades. Monroe would have been in hog heaven to have gone there but even they had standards.” She sighs as she grabs a flatbed cart and starts really stocking shelves.


Monroe wails as she gets the final judgment against her for going to her godfather and getting her former manager out of the store. “Aren't you going to appeal it?”


“Fuck no and fuck you, you got what you deserved you stupid little shit.”


“But they're going to be garnishing my wages.”

“Yep, because they know that's the only way he'll ever see a dime of the money.” And she'd already been threatened with prison if she tried quitting her job so she didn't have to pay the money.


“But it's not fay-yay-yay-yay-yay-yurrrrr.” she wails as she's removed from the courtroom.


“Life isn't fair you stupid little brat. Get over it. . .and yourself. You had no business trying to destroy his life because you're a little shit who didn't want to work.”


“Dumb bitch, she could be having to live on what she makes instead of living with Mommy and Daddy and wailing about how life isn't fay-yay-yay-yay-yay-yurrrrr.” Margo snorts as she listens to the gossip about their former coworker. “She'd damn lucky that it's only a third of her check that they're taking to pay off her judgment and Daddy's only taking another third to repay all the money she spent. She's still got a third of her check and she can get off her ass and get a second job if she wants more money. Not that the court won't take their cut out of that too.”


“And no bank would loan her the money to pay off the the judgment, she doesn't have good credit or anything for collateral.”


“And no bank would loan anybody that kind of money period.” James snorts. “My family's did a lot of construction in the past. Even with proven money coming in, banks don't want to lend money. . .”

“Unless it's for a home and they can make oodles and gobs of interest.” Margo snorts. “You can get better loan rates looking online. . .they whine but if you can't pay the damn thing down ahead of time. . .”


“Well of course they don't want you to pay it down ahead of time. . .they won't make the fantastic amount of profits in interest.” Mark rolls his eyes. “Because you're only paying interest for over twenty years on a thirty year mortgage. Thank god we'd worked with our families when we brought the house and renovated it instead of having a mortgage. . .we'd have lost the house.”


“And of course Monroe wouldn't have been the least bit upset. . .it was your fault for making the stupid bitch work.” Margo sneers. “I expect the little fool to be in prison by the end of the year.”


“That long?” Both men snort.


“She's going to show us. ..she's getting involved in organized crime. She'll be rich beyond her wildest dreams instantly and we'll all come begging for scraps.” Both men snort again. “Stupid damn fool.”


“Oh please, that kind of fool always think they're so damn special. And just end up proving to the rest of the world what they already knew. . .they're too damn fucking stupid to live.” Margo goes to the door and turns the sign from closed to open and unlocks the door.


“But I didn't know that this would happen.” the now former head of the school wails as he's summarily removed from his cushy office and his belongings packed in a couple of boxes that are put in the trunk of his car.


“You had no damn business tossing out two children that didn't do a damn thing wrong except have their father lose his position because of a stupid little brat's temper tantrum because she doesn't like having to work.” The last few words is said in a singsong voice. “Grow the fuck up you stupid little sack of shit. This is a school. . .it's not a damn playground for the rich and famous. Their tuition had been paid through the end of the year and their grades were good.”


“Weeeelllllll, yeeeessssss . . .but the other students.”


“Are stupid little shits just like their parents. Good riddance to them.” His former secretary snorts “Little bastards always came in to complain that their precious babies were having to think for their grades, I told the fuckers off and they ran off wailing.”


“Janice. . .” Her former boss starts to complain.


“Shut up moron, she's right. If they don't want to think, they have no place being in our school.” He's escorted off the grounds wailing as his. . .his secretary is promoted to his old job. How could they do that to him. He was gonna sue. He starts the rounds of the law offices and runs off wailing, how can they possibly not be wanting to take his case. . .don't they know who he is?


No, and they don't care is the general consensus as he's told to grow the hell up and get over himself. And out of their offices.


He frantically looks through the papers over the next several weeks to find anything on the school being shut down. . .dear god, how can his secretary run the school. She cares more about the students grades and not about them being seen by the right people. The world doesn't run that way. . .


Moron is the nicest thing said about the fool over the next couple of weeks.


Jessy and the others ooze out of the vehicles. “Bad trip?” MacGyver asks.


“Damn accident that got us moved off the interstate so we had to come back the back way.” Jessy straightens up with an audible crack. “We stopped to eat hoping it would be cleared so we could get back home but . . .”


“It wasn't so you had to go around.”


“Yes, and I swear the damn road was unending.” Jessy sighs as she opens the back of the truck and they start sorting stuff out and putting it in golf carts. They walk into the main building, Larry looking at them. “Damn accident made us get off the interstate, we've been driving for hours.”


“I swear the damn road was seventy thousand miles, not seventy.” Xander says. The other three nod as they sort through their mail, Jessy looking at first an opened letter then at Larry.


“That goddamn fool. . .your order should have been canceled so she could use the printers to plaster the city with ads for her fabulous party. It's your fault the party bombed. . .ignoring the fact that nobody showed up because they didn't want to spend five hundred dollars. You have to be punished for that. . .the oodles and gobs of money she gets from you will take care of that 'pesky' other matter. She'll never have to work,” The last word is sneered, “Again. I told the lawyer what really happened and she about took her head off for her stupidity. Then her precious Daddy about killed her. She's wailing that she's got to work . . .” Jessy mock booo hooo hoos. “Goddamn retarded stupid sack of shit. . .I should have beat her ass bloody with a tire iron when she tried coming after me. The police would have given me a medal.” The others snigger.


“Fuck you, you stupid little sack of shit. . .grow the hell up. Nobody's going to give you oodles and gobs of money for existing.”


“But if I'd been able to put up all the posters I wanted.” She wails as her father points at the door.


“The damn party still would have bombed and I'd be out even more money. Nope, get the hell out of my house. Enjoy sleeping in the car for a few days.”


“But Daddy. . .”


“Hell no, you little shit. I told you to stop trying to bother people because you're a miserable little sack of shit and I meant it.”


“But I can't sleep in the car.” She tries to push past him to go upstairs and screams when he grabs her by the hair.


“Listen bitch, you don't live here anymore. I want you the hell out of my house and the hell out of my life.” He tosses her outside. . .followed by her purse. “I don't care where the hell you go but you're not staying here. You can come with the police to pick your shit up.” He shuts the door behind him and leaves her wailing on the sidewalk. The neighbors are giving her disgusted looks and she picks up her purse, the change of clothes he flung at her, and scurries off. She arrives with the police an hour later and tries to force her way back in, the police giving her disgusted looks.


“No, we're not going to make your Daddy kiss your useless ass. Grow up.”


“But where am I supposed to go?” She whines.


“I don't know, I don't care. Get the hell off my property Enjoy prison bitch, I know you blew off work to file that lawsuit and the factory fired you. I called the judge over your case and he's not happy, he's adding the money you still owe me to your judgment and plans on filing the arrest warrant tomorrow.”


She wails and runs off. “Goddamn retarded whore. You don't make enough money to suit yourself working in the factory with the court taking a third of it and me taking another third. . .you're going to have a helluva lot less when the prison only gives you fifteen cents an hour.” The officers nod, apologize for bothering him, and drive off. She tries slinking back onto the grounds and is met with a shotgun. The officers who'd drove off come back and arrest her for trespassing.


“He told you you didn't live there anymore you little fool, what the hell did you think you were doing trying to get back in?”


“But he's my Daddy.” She whines.”He's gotta take care of me. . .doesn't he?”


“No he doesn't, not when you're a stupid spoiled little brat.” The one officer snorts as she's shoved into the back of the car.


“Really?” Margo says the next day as she talks to one of Monroe's neighbors.


“Oh yes, the police had just left when they came right back. The dumbass bitch was wailing because she'd blew off her job to file a lawsuit against the person who had put in that order so she couldn't use the printers to plaster the city with flyers for that damn party of hers.” Mark and James sigh as they come out of the office. “Oh yes, her father snorted that if she thought she couldn't 'live' on what was left after the court took a third of her check for her judgment and her daddy took a third to pay back all his money she spent she really won't like prison where she'll only get fifteen cents an hour.”


“Serves the little fool right. She thought she was so special.”


“I'm sure the fool will whine about it not being fay-yay-yay-yay-yay-yurrrrr,” The neighbor snorts as the last of her purchases is rung up and carried out to her car.


Jessy walks into the seamstress building a couple days later and nods in satisfaction. “Working week?”


“Week after next, we'll have the racks full by then.” Jessy nods and walks into her office, sorting through the stack of mail that had grown impossibly huge the couple of days she'd been gone. She leaves a blistering voicemail message that has Faith sniggering in the outer room then a calmer one to his boss. “Goddamn fool, trying to tell me he was going to take my business away from me for not bowing, scraping, and kissing the ass of that useless bitch who's miserable nobody showed up to her party.”


“And leave her alone.” His boss says through clenched teeth a couple hours later.


“But boss, she said she got fired because of her.”


“Yes, because the bitch swore she was on her deathbed and couldn't come to work, yet was there to try to harass the other woman when she come in to pick up her order. That's why the miserable bitch was fired.”


“But she's going to prison.”


“And it's not got a damn thing to do with Ms. Michaels, it's because she's a miserable excuse for a human being who. . .” the stupid little brat's problems are laid out for him He ducks his head. “Yeah, the little bitch just doesn't want to take responsibility for her own stupidity. The other prisoners are going to beat the stupidity out of her once she arrives. Because they hate spoiled brats. . .and that's what that fool woman is, nothing more, nothing less.”


Maxy sighs as she looks through the university catalog from Birmingham listing the new degrees they're going to be offering next fall. Unfortunately for the girls, while their degrees are available. . .there's no spots for them in the program that year, there'd been so many students affected. They were on the waiting list for next year and guaranteed a spot, but it meant two more years before they could get their degrees.


“I should have beaten your brother to death with a shoe when he was arrested for driving into the mall. . .none of this would have happened otherwise.” Their mother mutters as she looks at the school catalog.


“It was just luck of the draw Mom, the ones who were closest to graduating were the first ones to get in the program, then so on. We were just under halfway through the degree.” Bianca sighs. “Just the luck of the draw. The ones closest to graduating should have been accepted first, I don't begrudge them that.”


“No, not at all.” Her mother sighs. “But you two should have been able to attend the schools you wanted and not have to worry about finishing degrees thanks to schools playing with your lives.”


“But they didn't sign up for classes.” Their brother wails in prison. “It's not fair I still gotta send them money. . .haven't I paid everything back by now?”


“Your sisters are on a waiting list because so many students were affected by the school dropping the degree programs asshole. . .they won't be able to start classes again until next fall.”


“But that's another year of me having to send them money.” he wails.


“Boy, you're going to be sending your family money for decades to repay everything they spent on your useless ass.” One of the biggest cons in the prison snorts. “Now grow the hell up before one of us finally beats you to death for your stupidity.” He runs off wailing “Goddamn fool. . .he doesn't care about anybody but himself.”


“Never has and never will.” A guard snorts. “Useless little brat. . .but that seems to be a lot of kids these days. That stupid bitch who was just sentenced to prison because she couldn't be bothered to keep a job is a good case in point.” The cons look at him and he tells them the entire story. “I'm sure the ladies are having fun beating the stupidity out of her.”


Jessy smiles as she leans against the door of Larry's office. “Rupert back from his trip to the other dimension to check on the crops?”


“Not yet, he's supposed to be back in a couple hours.” Larry looks at the time. The Banzai Institute, Stark, and the House had gotten together to grow crops in the growing dimension. This would be the first step in an eventual planned colony. . .either on another planet or another dimension.


Jessy sniggers as she comes back from Miami. “Rupert, that fool brat who had a fit about her precious party is now working two jobs, one outside prison as part of a pilot program and one inside with all her money from the outside job going to pay off her judgments. And she's still only getting fifteen cents an hour from the inside job.”


Xander and Larry laugh as Rupert stares at her. “How would they keep her from leaving?”


“A guard going to be there with her since she is proven she can't or won't fucking take responsibility for her her own actions. The job's going to be only six weeks as a pilot program, if it works out well they'll do it permanently with more convicts.”


“Awwwww, the poor baby will be miserable.”


“Can't happen to a more useless bitch.” Jessy snorts. “Living proof people grow old but they never grow up. Her, that retarded cunt that caused the accident, the retarded cunt that destroyed my old car and is miserable in prison because nobody believes her bullshit that I was awarded five hundred thousand dollars for the car, not five thousand, and the moron who drove into the mall twice. He's bleating in prison about all his money going to his family to repay everything the father took from the girls education fund. . .they're on a waiting list for Birmingham to start taking classes again, the ones who were closest to graduating got in first.” The others nod. “He's whining that since the girls aren't in school anymore, he shouldn't have to pay back the money.”


They shouldn't have had to go to a substandard school.” Rupert snorts. Everybody else nods. “Unfortunately, they were the only game in town and they knew it, they had the students over a barrel.”


The others nod.


Jessy puts the boys in the big cart at the store in town, Xander pushing the cart as she takes a second one. The necessities of cat food, litter, and other stuff is taken care of first before they go to the boys clothing and start looking through everything. Their cart is soon half-full of clothes for the boys and their sister and they check out.


The dressers are filled with their new clothes and Jessy nods in satisfaction as the boys run to their classes with Wesley. Joyce looks through the dressers and nods in satisfaction at the new clothes and the outgrown stuff set aside for future kids or to be used in patchwork quilts if they're too worn out.


“When are you going to Miami?”


“Week after next, I'll be out two days for the library and the seamstress shop.”


“Have you heard how the 'pilot' program is going?” Xander asks a couple days later at dinner.


“Stupid bitch is more than happy to work outside the prison, it means eight hours she isn't getting yelled at and the other convicts aren't trying to beat the stupidity out of her. She tried writing to Daddy saying everybody was being mean to her and the letters came back return to sender. Until then she was sure her Daddy was going. . .”


“To swoop in and kiss her forehead, telling her it was all a stunt? Figures.” One of the cooks snorts. “Well Hell, dumbass who drove into the mall twice is still blubbering he doesn't have a problem, he doesn't deserve to be in prison. . .everybody's being mean to him. Little bastard is sober and miserable about it.” Jessy snorts. “He's gotta repay every cent his father took from his sisters education fund and he's miserable about that too. Because all his money should be going to him. I know the second the bastard got out of prison he'd be at the nearest bar and drunk off his ass. . .because he still swears he doesn't have an alcohol problem.”


“More likely he'd die from alcohol poisoning.” Ryan says.


“No great loss there.” Xander snorts. “Because I can see the fool as one of those old guys on skid row living from bottle to bottle. Because unless they finally hit rock bottom and admit they have a problem, there's not a damn thing you can do to help them.” The others nod. “He's going to keep drinking and driving and end up killing somebody.”


“Drop dead you goddamn retarded whore.” Jessy screams as she stands over the woman who'd tried grabbing her. “I don't know who the fuck you are but you are sure as hell not my mother, my mother died 21 years ago.”


“Are you sure?” An officer sneers.


“Yes moron, I'm goddamn sure my mother died 21 years ago. I had to claim her body and arrange for her burial. I never met this bitch before in my life.”


“But she said she was your mother and you were an endangered runaway.” he bleats.


“Moron, do I look like a kid? I'm 44 years old. You can ask your boss. . .he's known me for twenty-two years.”


“Yes I have, what's going on Ms. Michaels?”


“This moron tried grabbing me. . .now she's blubbering she's my mother. Your idiot boy here just said that she told him she was my mother and I was an endangered runaway.”


“Bullcrap, you've been coming to the mall to buy books for the private library you run for years.”


“I. . .I might have been mistaken.” the woman blubbers as she tries scurrying backwards. The head of security grabs her by the collar. “You've been told to stay out of the mall, you've repeatedly accosted customers who are buying stuff you don't like.”


“But she was buying books. Nobody should buy books. . ..wait, did you say library?” She wails louder. If she's buying books for a library. . .all this was for nothing.


“Yes moron, library. As for you kid, stop to think a second. Because nine times out of ten it's a damn scam.” They walk off after apologizing to Jessy.


“Goddamn moron bitch.” One of the other shoppers say.


“Always going to be one who thinks they're so damn special and everybody else should do what they want.” Another snorts. “I'd almost think it was that fool who didn't like people buying what she didn't like but she died several years ago.”


“Good riddance to the miserable bitch, she was a distant cousin and everybody hated her.” A man snorts as he walks away. The group of shoppers get back to what they'd been doing as Jessy walks to her next store.


“But I didn't know she was buying all that for work.” the dumbass woman wails in a cell in jail since the mall had had enough and was pressing charges.


“You were told to stop being a miserable bitch and trying to shove your opinions down everybody else's throats you stupid bitch. And trying to claim you were her mother? That she was an endangered runaway?”


“But she was buying books. . .nobody reads anymore. . .do they?” she wails.


“Dear gods moron, yes people read.” Her husband snorts as he gets up and walks to the door.


“Aren't you getting me out of here?”


“Fuck no, you can rot in here for all I care.” he snorts as he walks out the open door. “You're a miserable excuse for a human being who needs a good swift kick. My divorce lawyer will be in touch.”


“But I didn't know she was buying it for work.” she wails to her lawyer. Who just gives her a disgusted look.


“Are you okay?” Jessy is asked when she returns to the house.


“Yes, stupid bitches like that need to be slapped stupid in jail before they realize they're not all that. I'm sure the bitch will be begging for a book to read as she sits in a jail cell without nothing to do but stare at the walls. The others laugh but nod. “Always going to be somebody who thinks they should be able to tell everybody else how to run their lives when they can't run their own.”


“Of course. . .do as I say not as I do.” Michael sniggers in his seat. The others look at him. “Mom was getting after me years ago for only having yogurt in my refrigerator. . .I don't eat well and I'm always getting shot at, I told her her lecture would be more believable if she wasn't always smoking.”

The others snigger.


Jessy walks through the storerooms, moving a couple of items but nodding in satisfaction.


“Jessy, can. . .” Francine comes into the storeroom.


“Need me to help out at the soapmaking building.”




The idiot girl wails in her cell as she reads a letter from her own lawyer. . .she'd tried suing to make her Daddy let her come back home. . .after all he was her daddy. The judge had threw her case out and told her that no, her Daddy didn't have to kiss her ass. She over 21 and had a job, she could get a place of her own.


“What's her problem now?” One of the other convicts asks.


“Stupid bitch was trying to get a court to make her Daddy let her move back home. He'd tossed her ass out before she was arrested. 'But he's my Daddy, he's gotta take care of me'.” A guard snorts. “Monroe, get your ass out of your cell, it's time for your other job. And no, you're not on your deathbed. Get your ass out of there and get to work.”


She wails louder and is summarily dragged out of her cell and sent off to work, a write-up going in her record. A second one is added a couple hours later as she tries to attack another prisoner who isn't believing her shit and gets her ass handed to her for her stupidity. . .again.


“I'd wondered how long her 'precious angel' persona would last.” Jessy snorts as she gets a letter. Rupert looks at her. “That fool party girl, she wanted the courts to make Daddy take her back in when she got out of prison, he'd kicked her out of the house before she got sent to prison. . .”


“And she didn't go quietly?”


“Hell no, the police showed up because they'd make her Daddy let her back in. She couldn't sleep in a car. . .” The others boo and hiss. “Yeah, the police told her hell no would they make her daddy let her back in, she ran off wailing. They drove off. . .then returned less than ten minutes later because she'd sneaked back onto the grounds and her Daddy had a shotgun on her. She was trying to say it was an illegal eviction. . .she's got rights.”


“Everybody's got rights but the people leeches like those are living off. I miss the old days where you could just throw somebody out of your house and be done with it.”


“Yes, now everybody has to be done legally. that couple that went to court to get their thirty year old son to move out. 'Oh, I'll move out . ..eventually'.”


“I'd beat any of my children who pulled that nonsense.” More than one person mumbles in the cafeteria.


“Well hell, we all know some kids are self-absorbed brats.” Jessy snorts. “None of our kids will ever act that way.”

“Sometimes it's the parents who try to damn late to be parents and not their children's best friends.” Phillip says. The others nod.


“You were saying she was told no by the law firm?”


“Oh yes, and she set up a wailing fit her life was over, she was on her deathbed. . .” Snorts from everybody in earshot. “Oh yes, she refused to come out of her cell when she was told to go to her second job. . .how could they expect her to work when everybody was being so mean to her. . . She got a write-up for that and another one for starting a fight during work.” The others shake their heads. “She's not going to get out of there.”


“Nope, her or that stupid woman who destroyed my car or the little bitch who caused that accident, all three of them have writeups a mile long. And that little bastard who drove into the mall is going to get his stupid ass beaten to death by the other cons. They know to the penny how much he owes everybody and once that's paid off, he's going to get a real beating.”


Halloween comes and the fabulous foursome drive into Miami, stopping at various stores and then going to the mall. Jessy has a thick bundle of mail when she returns. “Huh, must be running out of businesses to buy stock in, the distributions are going back to real estate.”


“More like the government is looking at the large investments. Make sure there's no insider trading going on.” Larry says dryly. Rupert nods from the office. “Even with splitting the stock orders through various accounts people are going to start looking. If they were a legitimate brokerage. . .”


“It would be different, they'd have our orders to back up their orders.” Jessy sighs. “Oh well. . .” she stretches and yawns. “Are we expecting rain again?”

“Yes, it's supposed to be raining for the next three days.” Xander snorts as he walks past to check his own mail. “Rupert, the truck will be coming to pick up my stuff tomorrow, I just got the call.” Larry nods in satisfaction and writes that down on his desk calendar.


“You are a goddamn idiot.” The head of the soapmaking building advances on the man who had burst in blustering about them buying all that coconut oil, don't they know it's bad for them. “This is a soapmaking business.” He looks around the building now and wails. “Get the fuck out of my business and don't ever come back you damn fool.”


“I. . .I didn't know you could make soap with it. . .all I saw was the barrels of coconut oil being sold instead of being thrown out like I wanted and I was furious.” He says a few hours later when his boss is blistering his ass for his abject stupidity.


“You were told to mind your own damn business. Your precious studies were shown as nothing more than fabrications,”


“But they said that it had all that saturated fat.”

“So? So does lard and butter and nobody has stopped using them in cooking.”


“Weeellllll, yessss. . ..but why won't anybody just listen to me?”


“Because the damn 'pundits' change their damn mind about everything. It's bad for you, no. . .it's good for you. People are tired of the so-called experts trying to tell them how to run their damn lives. Now, I moved you so you'd stop bothering people and you go ahead and do it anyway.”


“But I just saw all those barrels being loaded onto a truck .. .I didn't know you could use it for other purposes.” He whines. He's called ten different kinds of fool and told to grow the fuck up, He goes over his head to complain and is told the same damn thing. He ends up with a complaint in his permanent record over that and runs off wailing that people are being mean to him.


“Fucking fool.” is the nicest thing they call him at the House. “Goddamn idiots always going to think he's so damn better than everybody else in the world.”


“Always going to be somebody who jumps on the 'oh my lord, this is bad for you' bandwagon about something that's been eaten for years. And then jumps on the next one when they change their damn minds about that.”


“Oh please, people won't be happy until they take away all choice, you eat what we tell you to eat, when we tell you to eat it.” Jessy snorts.


“Please don't let it ever get that bad.” Joyce shudders.


“Are we making plans to have to move to the other dimension?” Jessy asks quietly late that night before heading to her house.


“Yes, thanks to all your information about being able to move between dimensions and bring all our buildings with us.” Rupert sighs. “But hopefully we won't ever need to do it.”


“Amen.” Jessy mutters. “Between the power outages and the damn hurricanes . . .”


“And general human stupidity, don't forget that.”


Thanksgiving is loud in the cafeteria.


“Max's orders?”


“He plans on coming out next week, we've got. . .”


“five outfits to work on in the other room.” Faith says. “And we'll have them done in a couple days. That will give us until the House closes to fill containers.”


“Lady, I don't know who the goddamn fuck you think you are but Jessy Michaels is a woman, not a man.” Larry says in disgust.


“Are you sure?” She sneers.


“Yeah moron, I'm sure. Now get back on your broomstick and toddle off, there's no way in hell that she sweet-talked a young girl, got her pregnant, and left her high and dry with the baby.”


“Then who is. . .” She says a name huffily. Then deflates at the round of laughter and the story that goes with it. “Are you sure?” she whimpers.


“Yeah moron, if you'd done some damn fact checking you'd have seen the charges against her. Stupid bitch is swearing up, down, and sideways that Jessy got five hundred thousand dollars when she sued after the bitch destroyed her car, not five thousand. She's already called in one of your coworkers to try to get Ms. Michaels kids away from her . . .she'd have to give her her money back then. She didn't want the kids. . .ask Maggie Jenkins, she's the social worker who came out to the House.”


She taps on the other woman's cubicle a couple minutes later, laying out the story.


“Oh dear god, that girl . . and I shouldn't call her a girl the woman's in her thirties, is going to get her ass killed one day.”


“Then this cock and bull story?”


“Is the absolute truth, the stupid woman destroyed Ms. Michaels car. . .because it wouldn't get out of her way. The car was parked. . .in a lot.” The other woman moans. “the other cars that were damaged got a helluva lot more out of her but for some damn reason she won't stop targeting Ms. Michaels for her stupidity.” She faxes a copy of that blubbering letter to both her parents and the prison.


“But I thought they'd give me the money. . .” dumbass whines in front of the warden.


“You stupid bitch, she doesn't owe you a goddamn dime. You destroyed her damn car. . .SHUT UP!” he bellows. “The car was parked you retarded whore. . .in a lot. And quit blubbering about how she got five hundred thousand dollars from your parents. . .she got five thousand dollars and you damn well know it.”


“But she got the insurance too.”


“Insurance only paid the blue book value of the car.”


“But I had to work.” she wails.


“Yes, that's what a goddamn grownup does. Now shut the fuck up and leave her the hell alone. Your cell is being searched right now and . . .”


“NOOOOOO! You can't go in my cell.”


“Listen you little bitch, get something through your head right now. You're not special. You don't tell the guards and staff what they can and cannot do.” The warden gets right in her face and she gulps and backs into the corner.


“God damn retarded whore.” Larry says as he walks into the cafeteria. “That stupid bitch who destroyed Jessy's car.” he says at Rupert's look. “The dumb bitch sent a whining letter to a social worker that Jessy had promised her the moon and stars, got her pregnant, then left her.”


“Oh dear lord.” Rupert moans.


“Yes, I told the social worker to talk with Ms. Jenkins, she told her exactly what the bitch had done. I got a call from the prison, the stupid bitch is wailing the authorities can't go in her cell to find all the contraband she has hidden.”


“Did the woman not see the return address on the letter was a prison?” Wesley asks.


“Please, the stupid bitch isn't that stupid. She probably had plain envelopes and paper in her cell.” Joyce snorts. Kiara nods. “She somehow snuck it out, none of the other prisoners would do it for her.”


“Probably hidden in another envelope, some fool on the outside who thinks she's an innocent victim passed it along not realizing she's a goddamn fool.:”


“Or that they might be doing something illegal, immoral, or just hinky.” Andrew snorts. Larry nods. They'd both got letters from family members not on prison stationary and had turned them in to the authorities.


“Is your mother out of prison?”


“No, she still has another year of the original sentence plus the six months for fighting with my sister. My sister got more time tacked onto her sentence too, but since she's got years it doesn't matter. The warden told me if she does get out and gets in trouble again, she'll be sentenced under the habitual offender laws.”


“She's in her forties now?”


“Yes, by the time she gets out, she'll be in her seventies. They'll probably put her in a halfway house or something like that.”


“Arthur, is DW still in prison?”


“Oh yes, and she's absolutely miserable. The authorities aren't putting up with her tantrums, she's having to attend classes to get her GED. . .nobody's kissing her ass and telling her she's the victim. The counselors have actually read her damn file instead of just looking at her age and seeing how long she's been institutionalized and thinking they're going to make a name for themselves getting her out.”


“Has Kate heard anything yet about law school?”


“Officially not until the letter start going out in a couple months. Unofficially her advisor says she's in. I'm sure some fool will start blubbering about favoritism until his records are looked over and he's sent off with a foot up his ass and a bug in his ear.”


“Because if there was favoritism. . .it should have been for him, not her.”




“Well hell, that fucking fool back when Xander and I were taking our business classes.” Jessy snorts. Xander nods. Everybody who hadn't been at the house at the time looks at them and the whole story is told. “Yes, there's fools out there just that damn stupid. . .on both sides.” Adam says dryly. Amanda giggles and nods. She'd come out to tell Jessy and Rupert what she'd done with the bearer bonds Jessy had given her, Jessy now owns a good chunk of land outside Manhattan that used to be under Mob control. The bonds had brought the land, buildings, and there was enough for necessary repairs on the properties. Amanda had said she'd made the buildings rent control and both Rupert and Jessy had nodded.


“It's 'found' money.” Jessy had said. “I don't need to gouge the renters, I'm sure the previous guys already were.”


“Yep, that's one of the reasons I brought the buildings. They got good people living there.”


The last outfits are finished and Max nods in satisfaction as he looks everything over before moving them to the trucks. He pushes envelopes in Jessy's hands before they drive off. “Okay everybody, Sunday we're sharpening scissors and Monday we start filling containers.” She passes out the bonuses and locks the building.


It's all hands on deck Monday and the building is hopping until the last day the House is open as they fill containers. Jessy locks the door until after the first of the year and hops onto Xander's lap for the trip back to the main building.


“Cordy's going to complain.” She says dryly. Sam Winchester sniggers behind the wheel.


“Cordy is giving me 'go the fuck away' looks, she's going to be 45 next year and will have a two year old and a five year old.”


“Yep.” Last weekend they'd had a party for Aaron and Marcus. All the children but Laura, Michael, and Marie were now in classes all day three days a week with Wesley. Next year it would be all day five days a week. Somebody from the homeschooling places had come out to the House and had nodded at Wesley's lesson plans. A fool had been blubbering that the kids shouldn't have all been in the same classroom since there was about six months between Amy, Albert, and the twins. And about three months between the twins and the others but he'd been told to go sit in a corner.


“Always going to be somebody who thinks they're all that trying to tell people how to run their lives when they can't handle their own.”


“Jessy, I got called in to NASA and passed along the plans you brought back for the city-ship along with the information from the other planets.” Rupert says after waving her into his office and shutting the door.


“Are they interested?”


“They're talking an international mission once it is built.”


“Which won't be decades since they'll need to find a place to build it, people will try to change everything and whine when their precious changes don't work. . .” Rupert snorts but nods. “Decades to get the parts made to build the ship, decades to get in supplies. . .and more years to argue do they really need this, this, this, that, that, that. . . and finally argue about who's going on the first mission.”


“And that argument will last the longest.” Rupert sighs.


“Okay, the tropical dimension?”


“We have our first crops in and if the shit hits the fan we can move the House and other buildings there. Now, the House isn't as off the grid as I'd like, while the buildings all do have the septic units and can switch to alternate power, we still have propane.”


“We can slowly switch the buildings. . .” A shaking rumbling has Jessy swaying and Rupert grabbing for her and something to steady himself.


“Jesus, is this an earthquake?”


“Yes,” Jessy yells. “I lived through plenty in California. If you can, stand in a doorway, if not fall to the ground and cover your head. Hopefully this won't last too long.”


The rumbling ends several long minutes later.


Rupert gets on the intercom.


“Security, check in. If you have to be elsewhere for other duties, call in and go once you've been replaced. Maintenance, start checking the buildings for damage. We are on lockdown. ..repeat, we are on lockdown.”


“Everybody else, report to the cafeteria unless you're hurt or trapped.” Rupert sighs as everybody starts straggling into the cafeteria. Security and maintenance had already reported in that they were all fine and on the job. Ryan and Calleigh had headed to Miami, running into the lab.


“Oh good Mr. Wolfe, Ms. Dusquene. . .with the two of you everybody is here.” The Chief of police says. “Okay, what we got was a major earthquake. . .the good news it was nowhere near us, but the quake was felt for hundreds of miles.”


“And the bad news is expect aftershocks that might be just as powerful and felt just as far?” Eric snorts. The Chief of police nods. “So we're on duty until further notice, just like a hurricane.”


“The House?” Horatio asks quietly as he sees uniformed and detective cars pull out of the parking areas.


“On lockdown when we left. Maintenance was checking all the buildings for damages and everybody else was heading to the cafeteria.”


“Anybody hurt beyond bumps and bruises?” Rupert asks later that night after everybody has been sent to their homes after maintenance has looked them over. Not that he expects them to get much sleep tonight, waiting for aftershocks.


“No,” Methos says as he leans against the door frame. “Have we heard anything about the epicenter yet?”


“No, so far all we've heard on the news is 'oh my lord, this part of the country has never seen an earthquake before.”


“No shit, really?” House drawls from his spot in front of Rupert's desk. “I'm sure some 'religious' group is trying to claim this was god's punishment for not doing what they want the rest of the world to do.”


The other two men nod.


“The other houses?”


“Not in the earthquake's path. Hopefully our orders won't be affected by the chaos left by the tremor.”


“Yes, I'm sure the National Guard is already trying to get in supplies to the hardest hit area but nobody thinks about the other areas affected. They're not as damaged but shipments will be up in the air for the foreseeable future.” Methos drawls. Rupert and House sigh and nod.


In her house Jessy looks in on her children again, being watched by the house elves and heads to her workroom. . .there's no way in hell she'll sleep tonight so she might as well keep her hands occupied. The New York school had called as soon as they'd learned about the quake, not knowing if they'd been affected or not. Learning that they'd felt the quake had everybody worried but telling them everybody was fine except for some bumps and bruises. They'd sighed with relief and agreed that picking up everything would take the longest.


Looking over the drawings for the wedding dresses she picks one and starts cutting the fabric. She hadn't known why she'd brought everything for the dresses over the last few trips to the fabric warehouse but having everything on hand will keep her busy.


She's not the only one yawning as she walks into the cafeteria the next day and the tv is on the national news channel where they're showing the destruction at the quake's epicenter and how far out the quake was felt. The remote is fumbled and the volume turned up, everybody recognizing Horatio's voice as he's interviewed.


“Unfortunately, the lab will always be needed. . .even in times like this.” He's saying on the screen. “The. . .criminal element uses the distractions of this and other natural disasters to hide their work.” He puts on his glasses and turns when he's called by somebody


“Okay, am I the only one who thinks there should be theme music when he does that?” Larry snorts as the volume is turned back down.


Choruses of Nopes and Noes fill the cafeteria.


“Are you fucking stupid?” A con hisses at the fool who drove into the mall. “In times like this the prison is on lockdown. If you try to escape or otherwise cause a fuss they can and will shoot you. And while you dying wouldn't bother any of us here it would mean your family is out the money they spent on your worthless ass.”


Similar threats are being made against three women in various prisons. They gulp and quickly get in their lineups to be counted and put in their cells for the foreseeable future. Monroe whines because under lockdown she won't be having to work but this will mean so much longer that she'll be having to work two jobs to pay off her judgment. Her cell is boring without a tv, dvd player, and everything else Daddy normally brought her. She can't even afford one of the tvs that the commissary offers. Quickly looking through the papers she gets weekly that tells her how much money is in her account and how much money she still owes everybody she whines. . .she doesn't even have enough to buy a DVD. . .let alone a tv or dvd player. Why won't Daddy send her money? He can't still be mad at her, can he? The stupid woman who destroyed Jessy's car wails in her cell until another con tells her to shut the fuck up and the dumbass girl who'd caused the accident is very quiet in her cell. . .finally realizing that Daddy wasn't going to be kissing her ass anymore and maybe she should have made a real effort at listening to everybody who was telling her what a miserable excuse for a human being she really is. She thought she was so damn special. . .now look at her.


“Thank god I stocked up on everything last month,” Jessy sighs as she looks out the window.


“Store shelves already getting empty?”


“Yup. . .some asswipe tried claiming the quake was an attack against Christmas but nobody was stupid enough to believe his crap and he's sulking in a corner. There was a lot of complaints about not being able to get in the last of their Christmas shopping but people with some damn sense are just glad they and their families are safe.”


“Yes, and the people who lost their homes or family members really aren't up to celebrating this year.” Kiara snorts. “People are already complaining that the earthquake was an attack against them.”


“Oh. . .of course they're complaining.” Jessy snorts. “Miserable fools think the world revolves around Black Friday and Christmas shopping. And I don't mean the people who make their major money at that time of the year. . .” Joyce nods behind them.


“Gentlemen. . .and I use that term loosely, do you think I am as stupid as you are? Get the Hell off my land. I know damn good and well there is no reason for you to be trying to take the land by eminent domain. You're just using the earthquake as an excuse to try to steal my land.” Rupert says icily as he gets off the golf cart. The men in the car gabble at him as he dresses them down like they were two years old taking a cookie from the jar after being told no. He calls their superior and he cusses them out long and loud before firing the entire pack of them. They threaten to sue and try rushing the gate, getting weapons in their faces and the police picking them up.


“Are you lot goddamn stupid? No, you can't sue the man for false arrest. . .you were told to leave his land and you didn't. Instead you tried to rush the gate. And no, you can't fucking sue your former boss for wrongful termination. You were engaged in illegal activities. . .trying to use your position to steal Dr. Giles land.”


“But Mr. Rattling said that we'd get a share of profits from all the businesses out there. They wouldn't give him anything.. .”


“And why would businesses in Florida give anything to a man who lives and works in Wyoming? He's never had anything to do with them. He's just sulking because he didn't have aaaaallllll the money in the world. Well he's going to be wailing when the court takes everything away from him as punishment for this stupidity.”


“Let me get this straight. . .some fool in Wyoming we've never heard about attempted to steal your land out of thin air?” Horatio sighs.


“Yes, his own lawyers are trying to claim he's troubled but everybody in the area just says he's a greedy sumbitch to quote the vernacular and has done this before whenever we wants something. I don't know how he got the idea to go after me.”


“You're rich and successful . . .he's miserable.” One of the House's lawyers snorts. “He's used crooked politicians to get what he wanted before, he thought the earthquake would let him sneak this theft through and by the time anybody realized what was going on. . .it would already be over and he'd have the land and everything on it hidden under so many shell companies nobody would find out what had happened.”


“Where's Amanda?”


“Seeing if she can buy some more land in the area devastated by the Earthquake. No doubt there will be people willing to sell cheaply.”


“But I don't know why I do these things.” The moron tries blubbering in a courtroom after the first of the year. “If I could just get some help.”


“You were offered help when you were caught doing this before and that time you claimed you didn't have a problem.” The prosecutor snorts. “You can't have it both ways.”


“But he's got all that land. . .all those trees. . .All those businesses. If I bulldoze the trees we can put up more businesses. . .he's leaving all that land to nature. ” The last word is sneered.


“And what about it? The area won't sustain the damn billions of stores you want to build. They're just an attempt to make you the big man.” The prosecutor sneers. “Real men don't have to push their weight around to make themselves look better. Real men just do what they need to do.”


Jessy sighs as she unlocks the door of the seamstress shop the first day everything is open. The news of the earthquake had been moved from the lead and front page to later in the news and interior pages of the paper.


Faith looks around. “You'd almost think nothing happened.”


“Yeah, but we got off damn lucky. Hurricane standards were close enough to earthquake standards that everything stayed in one place here. Miami's been hit by enough hurricanes that they're mostly up to code. . .excepting the morons who build to be seen.”


Jubilee nods as she grabs a container and gets in line. “Stanley should be up to code too after the hurricane.”


“Yep, every building was inspected and if they could be updated they were. Some of the older homes. . .”


“Got grandfathered in?”


“Yes, and while they're no doubt gorgeous to look at. . .they'll be destroyed in a good storm. Thankfully we're mostly protected from hurricanes.”


“Yep, nobody was expecting an earthquake to rip through Florida. Now California. . .”


“Yes, they've got the San Andreas fault and are used to them.” Jessy starts sorting through her mail and cradles the phone between her ear and shoulder as she calls the New York school's number.


“Davison school of textiles, please call . . .”

“Mona, it's Jessy Michaels.”


“Ms. Michaels, how is Florida?” the women around her make grabbing motions and she puts it on speaker.


“'back to normal. . .if you're not in one of the areas that saw major property damage you'd think nothing had happened except for several bare spots on the store shelves.”


“Because shipments aren't getting through?”


“Or the factory shut down because of damages.”


“How did you handle it?”


“Damn it, I grew up in California but I'm not used to quakes anymore. I found myself jumping at noises for about a week.”


“No doubt a lot of people were doing the same thing. And the children?”


“Have no idea anything happened beyond shaking and Mommy and Daddy grabbing them. They were fine, we. . .”


“Were nervous wrecks?” Everybody in the room nod vigorously. They wouldn't have been any better.


“Yeah, I knew better than to even try to get any sleep that night, I started working on another gown and from the way everybody was dragging the next morning nobody got much sleep.”


“Another gown?”


“Yes, the last couple trips to the store I was getting stuff for it. At the time I was. . .okay, I'll use it eventually. . .that night I was damn glad to have everything on hand to take my mind off everything but that.” More nods.


“Shut up and get to work you stupid bitch.” The 'dear' woman who'd destroyed Jessy's car is told. “I don't give a damn if it's not the work you like, you were told to do it. You're gonna learn you don't have any rights anymore.” A guard sneers. “Now get to work or be wrote up.”


She wails again as she's forced to start sorting through debris that's being dumped in empty lots, sorting it into recyclables. . .stuff that can be salvaged, and stuff that needs to go to the landfills. Not only is she being forced to sort through garbage she's not being paid for it. She's being forced to 'volunteer'.


“Idiot.” one guard says to another one.


“Yep, the others will knock the stupidity out of her. Moron doesn't realize this is a chance to be out of her cell for a few hours.” She gulps and gets back to work.


Jessy sighs as she looks over the cleaned and empty front room, everything put in the side room for the upcoming prom dress rush. “How's Max?”


“Busy taking pictures of all the damage along with Madison and Peter. It's not their usual format but it needs to be done.” The two older men had come to the house and grabbed Peter, his cameras, and his laptop. The money was good from the federal government and the work needed to be done for the records. Including insurance payouts and federal assistance.


“Is Rupert back?”


“Yeah, he got back from taking care of the debris that would otherwise be going to landfills last night.” Jessy says. “We were lucky.”


“Yes, even with that asshole coming in to try to steal the land we were damn lucky.” Faith says. “There's a lot of people left homeless after the quake and unless you're right there at the epicenter. . .”


“The government agencies tend to forget about you.” Jessy sighs.


“Yep.” A woman says as she comes into the building with her daughter and niece. “I spent weeks arguing with the insurance agency for the claim about my property damage.”

“Act of god.” Faith drawls, parroting the catch phrase insurance companies use to deny coverage.


“Oh yes, though the government is trying to crack down on cases like that. There's specific clauses for earthquakes the insurance companies like to pretend don't exist. Unless people know about the clauses the agencies aren't going to tell them.”


The rush of girls coming in for prom dresses slows down a couple weeks later.


“Seven hundred and ninety-eight dresses, a little over a hundred and fifty are two outfits. Yes, we've been getting interest from towns around the area. . .people that might have otherwise driven to the big city to buy off the rack.”


“Do you see the seamstress shop hitting a thousand prom dresses?”


“God I hope not,” Jessy shudders. “We're looking at having to work over a few days and do some finishing Sundays to get everything done.” The others who don't work at the seamstress shop snicker, it's something they'd be doing anyway.


“Stupid woman would be wailing about not making money off your hard work.” Larry says.


“Oh yes.”


“Has anybody heard about the prisons. . .the morons in prison.”


“The bitch who destroyed my car is whining about having to sort garbage. . .she's being made to work and not getting paid for it. Moron shut up when she realized this was a chance to get the hell out of her prison cell for a few hours. The moron who ran into the mall was told to shut the hell up and get his ass in line by the other cons, at a time like this the prisons are on shutdown and he could be shot if he tries anything. While they don't think him being shot would be any great loss, he still owes his family money and he's not getting out of it that easy.” Snickering from the others. “That bitch Madison is still whining about how Daddy won't do anything for her. . .she doesn't have enough money for a tv in her cell. . .or a blu-ray DVD player. She doesn't even have money for a DVD. . .why won't Daddy put money on the books for her. She's working hours and doesn't have a thing to show for it.”


“I didn't know you could get blu-ray players, DVDs, and tvs in prison.”


“Ohhh, it's some of the same foolishness that ended up with my mom having all that shit in her cell.” Jessy waves a hand. “The difference is my mom have an extra source of money coming in and could afford all that. . .stuff in her cell.”


“And she's had money all her life and is miserable.”


“Yes, I'm sure like Mom she'd have containers of stuff everywhere. Once she got a tv she'd whine about there not being cable or satellite tv in her cell. Moron's wailing that the quake is a direct attack against her, now she can't pay off her judgments as quickly as she could before. Fool doesn't realize that the damn judgments aren't going to be paid off quickly, and even if by some miracle she could. . .she still wouldn't be getting all the money from her jobs. Just like that stupid shit who ran into the mall, he was stunned that even if most of his money wasn't going to repay his sisters everything taken from their education fund, he still wouldn't be getting all his pay.”


“Stupid shits never do.” One of the house's lawyers rumbles.



The last prom dresses are carried out of the front room a few weeks later and the door to the inner room opens and containers brought out for the few weeks they'll be working on everything before the graduation outfits start to be ordered.


“Are we seeing any problems with the orders?” Faith asks.


“I haven't had to put in an order here since the earthquake. I haven't heard of anything being short in the house's orders, but then we do put in some good sized orders. There's still some lingering empty spots on the shelves but employees can be seen with carts filling shelves so. . .” Jessy shrugs. Faith nods. “The drugstore is still having trouble filling some orders completely but that's the big drug companies, not the earthquake.”


“Wouldn't be the least bit surprised to find some fool trying to use the earthquake as an excuse and blubbering when he's shown to be nothing more than a lying fool trying to cash in on the problems.”


“How are you on Max's friends orders?” Larry asks when they come back to the house after work.


“Figure on being done next year, even with the increase in the prom and graduation dresses. It'll be tight.” she drawls. Everybody in earshot sniggers. “We got the containers out and working on them, the dresses in the other room are done or nearly done.”


A few weeks later the door is shut on the other room, there's only a handful of containers yet to be worked on. The girls start coming in for their graduation outfits and a woman walks into the room, seeing a familiar form on the wall across from the door and smiling as she walks away. Oh yes, this will figure nicely into her plans.


“Are you fucking stupid?:” A police officer says as he looks at the woman whining across the desk from him an hour later. “No, it's not illegal to have a doing business as name.”


“But why would she use a different name?”


“Because Michaels is her grandmother's maiden name.”


“Ohhhh, I thought she'd just plucked the name out of thin air.”


“Not even close.”


“But can't you make her change her name? If I can use the name all her customers would come running to me. . .right?”


“No, and she'd fucking destroy you.”


“But she'd got so much business. . .it's not fair.”


“Because she's worked for years to build up her business. There's no way she'd let your games destroy it.” The woman runs off wailing and the officer picks up the phone to call the Sunnydale House.


“Jessy, some fool went to the police station in Marley, trying to complain that it has to be illegal for you to be using a DBA name. Then it turned out she wanted the name. . .all the people who come to you would . ..”


“Go to her instead? Figures.” Jessy snorts as she hands Maria to her Daddy.


“Yes, the little fool ran off wailing when she realized you'd spent decades building your customer base and wouldn't let her games destroy it.”


“Dumbass fucking moron.” Faith snorts.


“Oh, there's always going to be somebody trying to take what somebody else has spent years building because they think they're special.” Cordy snorts.


“Yep, that stupid bitch who wanted me to move into her building and up my prices a hundred dollars case in point. As opposed to the other dumbass fucking morons out there. Three of whom who are in prison thanks to their own stupidity.”


“Are any of them going to be out in less than twenty years?”


“Dumbass who ran into the mall twice. He's got ten years left on his sentence, he's due up for parole again in another year but he's been such a fucking dickhead in prison he won't get it. Because they fucking want you to take responsibility for his own actions. . .and he won't. Fucker don't wanna admit he's got a problem. Or that he's the problem. His parents already told him, he gets out of there, don't bother coming home. . .he wouldn't be welcomed for continually trying to stop having to pay back his sisters because they're not in classes.”


“Jessy, closet.”


“Oh dear god.” Jessy looks at the thick bundle of mail wrapped in rubber bands.


“Another fucking distribution?”


“Most likely.”


“I haven't heard of any large robberies.”


“No, but there's been all that insurance money from the earthquake, crooked insurance adjusters, crooked contractors. . .”


“People using the earthquake as an excuse not to deliver on contracts?” Faith smirks.


“Probably.” Jessy settles in to open letters in the reading room, their daddies can look after the kids for a couple hours. “Huh, I'm back to stocks. More investments in companies I only had small investments in.”


“Probably figured the earthquake would take attention off their trades.” Rupert says. Jessy nods as she covers the table with stacks of envelopes and brings out her phone, signing into her banking program and scanning the checks to deposit them after she signs the backs.


Rupert drags her away after an hour to eat dinner, she kisses the kids foreheads as Arthur fills a tray for her.


“A lot of new stuff?”


“Myeh.” Jessy makes a yesnomaybe hand wiggle. “A lot of it is more stock in companies I already had so I have two letters, the original dividends and the new stock. I'm getting into a few areas I didn't own stock in before.”


Jessy slumps into a seat in Rupert's office a few hours after dinner.


“Forty new companies, another seventy that I already owned stock in, a few I've gone to a majority stockholder, a few businesses I own outright now.” Rupert moans. “And more land. A few of the stocks are on the downslide but they should be turning around. Right now some stocks are on a decline.”


“The Earthquake?”


“And general downturns. They'll bounce back. Even if you do hear businesses going bankrupt and closing all the time.”


“Too big too soon.”


“Or they were just pushed out of the market by online stores.” Methos says. Jessy and Rupert nod.


Jessy puts everything in her records when she gets home and drops into bed. A couple days later she gets a call and nods. “Yes, I'm in. The kids can stay with their Daddies for a few days.” Larry looks at her as Rupert walks to the door of his office. “The school, Jim's calling us out for a show going to Ireland.”


Jessy pokes Janice and sits down beside her, the other woman pausing the screen and grinning at her. “How are you coming along at the shop?”


“Good, we had nearly 800 prom dresses. A lot of people who would normally have driven to the big cities came to us instead. We're working on orders right now, when we get back it will be time to start wrapping up outfits for the graduation rush.”


“Awww, my kids would love these.” She says a couple days later as they look through a store.


“You have children?”


“Twin boys turning five in December and a girl turning two in November. I waited until I was at a good place to have my children.” The other women in the group nod in satisfaction as her purchases are bagged.


Jessy looks at a POD parked behind the store when she walks in a week later. “We got an order from the state, you know those quilted bags?” Faith says, looking at her.


“They want us to make them?”


“Yeah, the factory that would have made them was destroyed in the earthquake and the insurance isn't enough to rebuild it.” Jessy shakes her head. “It's good money for the house, it's a permanent job and we can work on it a few hours at a time. And the factories making the supplies for the job won't lose their contracts.”


Jessy shakes her head but nods and walks into her office to sort through the mail.


“Jessy, got a special customer here.” Jubilee says, tapping on her door a couple hours later.


A few hours later Jessy slumps into her usual seat in the cafeteria. “Anybody going into Miami tomorrow?” She looks around. The others look around then shake their heads. “Okay, I'll take my van in then.”


“You won't need a truck?” Rupert asks.


“No, it's just one outfit but I'll need to buy a lot of special stuff. Fancy stuff. Stuff I don't normally buy because I don't have a need for it.”


Jessy slumps into the seat the next night.


“Get everything?”


“Yes, it's all in the other building so I have plenty of room to spread out and work on it.”


Jessy unlocks the other building a couple days later and starts laying out fabric. Two months later the last of the graduation outfits are picked up and a car pulls up to the other building, a woman stepping out of the building a half-hour later with a garment bag that goes into the back of the car. Jessy locks the building and joins the others walking to the carts that have pulled up.


“Are you done now?”


“Yeah, it was a good bit of work but I charged a good bit of money for it too.”


“Is it going on the wall?”


“Nope, total privacy. They tried getting me to sign a non-disclosure thing and I pointed them to the door and told them to go to hell. They needed me, I didn't need them. Some fool who thinks they're all that.” Jessy snorts. “I don't even know who I made the outfit for, it was a cash deposit and a series of cashier's checks every two weeks with one last one today.”


Xander shakes his head. “Hey, it was good money. They paid through the nose for me and me alone to work on it.”


Jessy kisses the boys foreheads as she walks into the cafeteria a couple days later. “Sorry I'm late, some damn fool was protesting something at the complex my rheumatologist has his office at.” Rupert sighs. “Yeah, she was being drug off by uniforms as I walked out. It took a while for the parking lot to clear out so I could leave. Not the police. . .damn news crews. It must have been a slow day in Miami.”

“Or she was related to somebody important.” Larry says, rolling his eyes.



The next morning Jessy opens boxes of supplies for the bags, starting to lay fabrics together and pinning the pieces in place. Two production lines are set up, one station quilting the sides, the next sewing the bag, the next attaching the zipper, the next the straps, checking the bag, and putting them in boxes.


The next morning everybody arrives at the shop after breakfast, the boys bringing in bolts of fabric as Jessy calls out outfits. A couple days later the containers are full and Jessy thanks the boys.


A woman comes in the next day and nods in satisfaction as she looks over the bags, Jessy, Faith, and Jubilee taping the boxes and putting them in her truck. She looks over the remaining supplies in the POD and gets on her phone. A few days later a truck arrives and fills the POD, Jessy and Xander ticking off the supplies as the others work inside.


“Are you going out to New York this year?”


“Nope, they're working on more segments for their show. It's a good time to do the work.”


“What do they do with the bags?”


“Fill them with supplies during disasters and hand them out. Fill them with school supplies and hand them out to low income students. Hand them out to kids in the foster care system. Fill them with groceries for the backpack projects. . .stuff like that.”


Jessy walks into the main building and lifts Marie into her arms. “Have a good day with daddy?” Marie grins.


“Another eighteen months and she'll be starting classes with Laura and Michael.”


“Gods.” Jessy sighs. “Any more complaints from that fool in the government?”


“Nope, not a peep since he found out the local school wouldn't kiss his ass for bringing them more students, not when they didn't get money from the state for them. He can't make anybody kiss his ass and he's sulking. His boss won't give him any good assignments after the shit he pulled here and he's miserable as the little people in the office get both the plum assignments and the promotions he think he's due.”


Later that night Rupert taps Jessy on the shoulder and nods. “Andrew,” she calls over the hubbub in the cafeteria. He looks at her. “Congratulations Daddy, we have a baby in the chamber.” He stares at her then runs over and hugs her. “I told you you were on the short list to be the baby Daddy. And you're a wonderful father to Brandon already. Not to mention doting on all the other kids.”


“Actually it's two children you two, I fertilized two eggs.”


“Then it's a good time to tell you I'm hating breakfast.” Harmony calls from across the room. “Cordy?” She'd been giving Xander disgusted looks.


“Yes, I'm pregnant again. These are the last children, five is enough with the boys.” She tells Xander firmly. “I know women are having babies later in life but I'm 45 years old damn it.”


“Faith, Willow, Kendra?”


“Yes, we've been inseminated, but we don't know if they took yet. Andrew, Larry, and Oz are the fathers again if they took.”


“Rupert, what's the progress on the other dimension?” Methos asks after dinner.


“We've got the first large gardens in and have plans for plantations. This year is supposed to be a bad one for hurricanes, everybody around us is busy getting in supplies while they can. I've increased the shields, they should be able to stand up to a direct hit from a nuclear bomb now, but in that event we'd be leaving immediately. We have a location set up already, the others have told us we're in the worst position with the hurricanes. I told them they're as likely to be affected by them as we are but. . .” Rupert holds up his hands in a 'what can you do' gesture. “We still have a good selection of supplies and we are supplementing the gardens with the hydroponics.”


“The cistern?”


“Has been enlarged to the nth degree. It will be needed as backup to the bottled water supply. Which has also been enlarged.” Methos nods in satisfaction. “We've got enough MRE's stored away to last everybody a hundred years and we can replicate more. There's still areas that are having trouble getting in supplies from the earthquake. If a hurricane hits the area. . .”


“They'd be devastated. At least thanks to the boxes power will be restored quickly as long as the buildings are sound.”


“Mack, how are we on weapons and ammunition?” Rupert asks a couple days later when he walks out to the security center and shuts the office door.


“I never stopped ordering the new amounts, even when things started getting better. I don't have the gifts you and the others do but I still had a bad feeling that the other shoe was attached to a slowly fraying rope.” Mack Bolan snorts. “and I've talked to the others at the other houses. They've got just as many bad feelings as I do and all the houses stocked up on weapons and ammo. I can't say we're doomsday survivalists, but . . .”


“We're doomsday survivalists.” Rupert says. “I've told Jessy to stock up on fabric and other supplies again, I told the candle and soapmakers to double and triple their regular orders so we can have plenty on hand. Thanks to the information Jessy passed along from her friends we've got plenty of room.”


Mack shakes his head, he'd been allowed to read the reports from the other dimensions. “Do we have other planets we can move to if we have to?”


“Buckaroo is looking at the moon and Mars but I'm afraid it would be a lot of work. Jessy's friends have told her that we're welcome to move to their planets if we have to, there's plenty of room. Pray to god it wouldn't be a one-way trip.”


“We'd need a list of people who we'd want to bring with us if possible.” Methos says from the corner.


“Yes, and it wouldn't be just our house moving.”


“The other houses.”


“And possibly the school in New York. And some friends in New York.”


Rupert comes back into the main building and finds the mayor of Marley waiting on him. “I'm sorry to bother you Dr. Giles, I know you've been keeping an eye on the hurricane forecast and we're expecting to be slammed.”


“Yes, how are you getting along on supplies?”


“Everyplace we can put supplies we're stashing them for the year. Literally every office has walls of supplies and you only have a path in the middle of the room to their desks. Every other place that can get in supplies is as well. Every citizen is getting in supplies, the school in town is being filled as soon as it closes for the year and will be used as a shelter again. I wanted to make sure your family out here would be good.”


“Yes, we've got a good number of supplies in and can 'hunker down' to ride out the storm. Thankfully we're not in the direct path of one.”


“Yes, we're far enough inland we don't get the major damage the coasts do. But this earthquake. . .”


“Made everybody sit up and take notice, realizing that we're not as safe off as we could be. You're a good mayor and the citizens thank you every day for taking care of them. Not many communities could say the same.”


“I know. I feel like I'm overcompensating but I have a meeting with somebody from the state who's coming out to look over our preparations. I don't want them to give us a failing grade, I've heard stories from other mayors who had the same inspection and failed. They lost money from the state that they'd have got if there was a disaster, thankfully there wasn't any disasters but they had to spend a hell of a lot of money to get everything up the way the government wanted it. The inspectors grudgingly passed them the second time, though they still would have lost ten percent of the money.”


“Sounds like a bunch of wonderful bastards.” Larry snorts as he comes in with Rupert's mail.


“Oh, you know the government. They want you to jump through hoops for the crumbs they'll grudgingly drop for you.” He snorts as he walks off. A few days later he slumps in his office chair after the inspection and his secretary looks in on him.


“We good?”

“We're very good. He was quite happy to see all the supplies on hand and nodded in satisfaction at the plans to use the school for a shelter. He complimented us, a lot of communities he inspected didn't have any plans or their plans weren't up to par when the earthquake happened.”


His secretary nods in satisfaction. “They got too complacent. . .ohhh, this will never happen to us. The earthquake knocked that idea out of a lot of heads.”


Mayor Watson nods. “Now we can just concentrate on our preparations and hope the hell they're not needed.”


Sammy Jo nods.


Everybody start cutting plastic after the last pallet is put in the middle of the main entrance. A bucket brigade is set up for the water bottles and the first of ten pallets is soon emptied and they start on the second.


“I swear everything is bulging at the seams but I know we're going to need all this is the hurricane system is half as bad as they say it is.” Faith mumbles a couple days later. She looks over at Ryan. “How's your precinct doing?”


“Good, we've got tons of supplies in and as soon as we get the official word we'll be locking the building down until it's over.” The first hurricane of the year has been forecast to hit Miami a glancing blow and everybody was preparing to lock down in a couple days. The last tray of food is brought out of the cafeteria and the pair head off to start delivering it. A couple days later the alert goes out and Jessy shuts the shutters on her house and settles in to wait out the wind and rain.


Several long days later she gets the all-clear and throws open the front door, Marcus, Aaron, and Marie heading to the main building with a house elf while Jessy starts taking down the shutters over the windows. Scott grins at her as he comes over.


“Any news in town?”


“A lot of down lines thanks to the wind. Not much flooding since most houses in the area don't have basements. Thankfully after the earthquake everybody in town got in stocks of supplies and bottled water. Which people in hurricane areas should be stocking up on as a matter of habit instead of making runs to the stores.”


“Well that would only make sense. People would rather rush around like chickens with their heads cut off just before the storm. ” Arthur snorts as he walks up with a cart of containers. He looks at Jessy and she nods, he goes into the house and finds the clean containers stacked by the door. Putting them on the cart he heads to the main building. Jessy's house had been the last building to stop at and he takes the cart to the cafeteria, filling the dishwashers and starting them running as the cooks who live in town start arriving. Like the rest of them if there's no damage to their houses they want to get the hell out of them.


“Bless you Arthur.” The head of the day shift says as she sees the dishwashers running. She knows the containers would have been washed in their homes but the commercial dishwashers they use are hotter and would sterilize the containers. “How is everybody?”


“Opening windows for fresh air. How is the power situation in town?”


“The boxes mean most of the stores don't have to worry about generators during a big storm. Most of us in town have the boxes so we're good no matter how long it takes. Because all the crews will be sent off to handle more heavily damaged areas instead of ours.”


Nods from the others as they start coming into the room. “Okay, how are we on stuff made up?”


A cooler is opened and large containers start to be brought out and put in the ovens or uncovered as frozen pizzas start to go in the ovens.


“How is the New York House?” Joyce asks a couple hours later after she's looked in on everybody.


“Good, I contacted them and Mr. Stark. They're getting the rain but not the wind.” Rupert says. “I saw video of subway trains under waterfalls from the rain.”


“Did you talk to your friends?” She asks Jessy next.


“Yes, they're thankful they're not getting more than days of rain. Annoying but they're not seeing the flooding unless they go into the city itself. Thankfully being hit by that outage means everybody has the boxes and if the lines go down. . .” Jessy shrugs. “I told them I was going to be a mother again and I could hear the squeal even with the phone held at arm's length.” the others snigger.


“I want to start education funds for the babies.” Andrew looks first at Willow then Jessy.


“Wait until we find out if it's just one baby, or two in my case.” Jessy says. Willow nods. “Did you tell your family?”


“Yes, and Uncle Gil says Grandma is hopping up and down. They're coming out after the baby's born. Uncle Gil likes the plans for my house,.Grandma and Aunt Susan say it's about time.” She looks over at Harmony.


“I like my apartment and have plenty of room. Kids grow up in apartments all the time and there's no lack of yard space for them to play in.” Rupert nods in satisfaction. “All our kids know they're loved by both parents even if we don't live together. Too many kids grow up with parents who live together but fight all the time.” Nods from everybody. Buster and Muffy grew up with single parents, Jessy and Cordelia basically raised themselves. Their parents were there . . .but not for them.


Jessy leans in Rupert's doorway a few hours later.


“I just got a call from the prison, that fool Stein was taken out of protective custody. The courts are tired of paying to keep his stupid ass in a cell 23 hours a day.”


“Awwww,” Larry purrs. “I'm sure the other prisoners are just waiting to 'welcome' him into the general population.”


“Yep, I doubt the fool will live through the end of next year. Cons don't like dirty cops. And now he's got to work not just one but two jobs.”


“D'awww, the poo' baby will be even more miserable.”


“Yep, because being in protective custody he didn't have to work before.”


The next day the mail starts arriving at the House and everybody starts grabbing handfuls from the containers and sorting it into cubbies on the wall.


“This is the bad thing about the sorting center holding our mail during a storm.”


“Could be worse, we could have lost our homes and be getting bills in the mail because the mail must go through.” Xander snorts. The others nod and grab their next handful of mail. All the cubbies are full and second piles are started.


“Jessy, are you going to the sale next month?” Larry asks as the second piles start growing and they break to start sorting through the mail.


“Yeah, I head off in a few days. I'll be gone not quite four days total.” Jessy says over the sound of envelopes hitting the recycling bin in the middle of the room.


“Do we have room in the recycling for this?” Betty asks.


“Yes, this is just what we'd be getting anyway, it just seems like a lot since we have it all dumping on us today.” Larry sighs. They look at the remaining containers and start grabbing handfuls of mail again. It takes three stopping and sorting breaks but all the mail is taken care of and the containers put aside to be taken out to the guardhouse.


Over the next couple weeks everybody works extra hours at the seamstress shops including Sundays to get back on track. Max and his friends had just chuckled at the 'we're doing this for us' emphatic head nods. The bags are beginning to pile up again and are picked up, the woman talking with Jessy.


“Is the orders ending?”


“Nope, we're getting more patterns.” Faith nods in satisfaction. “And a second POD of supplies. Expect the PODS to be refilled three times a year. . .or more. Because it's not just bags for the government now.” The folder that had been left with her is passed along and everybody nods. “”This means a second shift.”


“Won't hurt us.” Faith says. Everybody nods again. Jessy's phone rings in her office and she goes in to answer it.


She's rolling her eyes when she comes back out. “That guy again, another special outfit.”


“Sucks to be you.” Faith snorts.


“Rupert, the bag order is increasing. We're looking at having a second shift. We'll. . .”


“Need more stations, I was thinking about it.” He says from the door of his office. A cat is in his arms and Jessy scritches his chin. “He's new.”


“Yes, we got a request from the humane society they're overwhelmed since a 'breeder' was taken down. I would. . .”


“How many animals?”


“A couple hundred, several breeds. Both dogs and cats.”


“Contact whoever you can to get the animals. I got somebody who can take them.” Rupert and Methos look at her. Shutting the door, then opening it and rolling her eyes and pulling Larry into the room she shuts it again.


“Haven, they've taken in shelters full of pets that would otherwise have to be put down as well as rescuing animals from disreputable breeders.” She sends off a message getting an immediate response. “She'll take them, if they don't find homes on Haven they will on the other planets. Contact people to get others so they don't inbreed?” Larry immediately gets on the phone. A couple weeks later vans start arriving with animals. They're thanked profusely as the animals are unloaded and later that night the animals that hadn't been snatched up by the others are picked up by Josette.


“Will they be okay?” Faith asks a couple days after they've left.


“Oh yes,” Jessy shows her footage of the cats in a large building full of toys and climbing areas. The cats are investigating everything and lounging on large windowsills. Baskets have Moms laying down with their babies and larger kittens are tussling on the floor. Not all the animals had made it to Haven, some had found permanent spots in the main building or homes or apartments. Faith has a half-grown kitten purring in her ear and she reaches back absently to pet him behind the ears.


“Now, are we adding more machines?”


“Yes, when we shut down at the end of the year.” Faith nods in satisfaction.. “Now, changing the subject. The special order?”


“Going into Miami tomorrow to get the supplies. Stupid moron didn't learn from last time and not only tried to make me sign an non-disclosure form he tried slipping in a clause to keep me from taking other jobs. You know, the clause that keeps people who sell businesses from opening new ones in the same area. A non-competition clause the lawyers call it. His own lawyer gave him a look of pure disgust and ripped them up saying that I'm a business person and I can take any job I damn well want. He pouted and I pointed to the door again, he realized he's not all that and I'm going to the mall too. For me, not the library. That trip is going to be after I come back from the sale since I'll have the usual order and another trip to the fabric warehouse.” Faith and Rupert nod in satisfaction.


“Jessy, that container?”


“Josette.” The story is told and Faith pretends to prance down the hallway, swishing her skirt.


“Exactly, she didn't care if the colors would get dirty quickly, she wouldn't be washing it. Josette asked me if I could use it. I've already made inroads in it.” Rupert nods in satisfaction. The next morning Jessy gets behind the wheel of her van and drives through the gates, returning late that night and putting the fabric and other material in the other seamstress building. Dropping her bags on the table she looks at the time and heads to the main building. Grabbing her mail she walks to the cafeteria and fills a tray.


“Get everything you needed for your special order?” One of the cooks asks.


“Yes, and I'm making the moron pay through the nose for annoying me. Try to tell me I couldn't take orders from anybody else. Hmmmph. Stupid twit. I'm sure he's still blubbering about how it's not fair. Not only did I not sign the papers he wanted, when he tried hinting that this design belonged to him and I couldn't make it again I about took his damn head off. So did his attorney.”


“Idiot.” the cooks snort.


“Ohhhh, but he's special and expects everybody to kiss his ass for existing. When he can't get somebody to roll over for him he's stunned.” Jessy rolls her eyes. “Anyway I'll work on it until I leave for the sale. Moron wanted me to cancel all my plans and his lawyer had enough and dragged him away.”


“Yep, we could hear him calling him a damn fool from the soapmaking building.” Francine says as she comes into the cafeteria. “How far along are you going to be when you get back from your sale?”


“Far enough I can take a week or two off and help out in the soapmaking building. Longer if you need me to, I can work on it nights.”


“Thank you Jessy, we're expecting another rush on the soap at the 4th of July sale.” Rupert says, walking into the cafeteria. Francine chuckles and fills her tray again as Jessy starts sorting through her mail.


“Are you taking pictures of your dresses?”


“Yep, dumbass might pout about it but I want proof I made them. He started fussing but his own lawyer called him a fool. I'll have copies of the dresses in various stages and the paperwork.” Rupert nods in satisfaction.


Jessy slumps onto the hotel room bed the day before the sale.


“You okay?” Janice asks.


“I've been dealing with an annoying customer. He wanted a special outfit, wanted only me to work on it, wanted me to sign a non-disclosure form, I ripped it up and told him to go to hell. Fool came back with a lawyer and tried making me sign the paper again, his own lawyer ripped it up. Moron wanted me to sign a thing so I couldn't make outfits for anybody else, his own lawyer called him a fool. He ain't that damn special. He didn't want me to leave for this sale. . .”


“Moron.” Angie says from the other bed.


“Yeah, It's good money though. . .he paid through the nose for both outfits. Fucker tried claiming he owns both designs and I can't make them for anybody else, his own lawyer about took his head off.”


“Gods, one of those fools.”


“Yep.” Jessy drawls. “When I get back home I'm going to be spending at least a week in the soapmaking building helping them fill the shelves again after the sale.”


“I've been to that sale the year this sale was moved, the soap flies off the table.”


“Yeah, the soapmakers have boxes of soap made up for the sale. Basically anything that's not a special order goes out and not much comes back. The sale is their moneymaker for the year.”


“Did you get much damage during the quake?”


“No, mostly stuff falling off shelves that had to be picked up and sorted out.” Jessy sighs. “We were lucky but it made us get in a lot more supplies, even more than normal since this has been such a bad year for storms.” Both women nod. “Marley's mayor came out to make sure we'd be okay out there, he's been working on hurricane preparations putting supplies wherever they could put boxes or water bottles. He'd been expecting an inspection from the state people and of course there was a lot of horror stories about the inspection. . .”


“From communities that didn't prepare for it? Figures.” Angie snorts. “Dinner?”


“Yeah, I could eat.”


Jessy returns to the House a couple days later and drops the receipts on Larry's desk. “This will take care of the order that we'd be sending out in a couple months.” Rupert nods in satisfaction from the door of his office. “I'll start at the soapmaking building after breakfast tomorrow, I worked extra on the outfit to make up for these two weeks. . .and yes, I'm charging the fool through the nose for it.”


Two weeks after she'd returned home she looks at the outfit in satisfaction and calls the number the lawyer had left her, leaving a message that the outfit was completed. Locking the door of the second building she walks to the main house with Jubilee and Illyana.




“Yes, thank you gods.”


A couple days after that there's a knock at the door and Jessy unlocks the other building, the outfit being looked over and the garment bag zipped back up before one last check is handed to her and the lawyer thanks her and drives off. Putting the check in the lockbox, it's too big to deposit with her phone, she turns her attention back to the others. The next morning she deposits it in her account in Marley before going grocery shopping and picking up her pills.


“Sissy?” She asks when she returns to her home.


“Miss Jessy?”


“How are the baby clothes supply?”


“Good, good. Anything too wore out put aside for quilts. Big kids though. . .?”


“Yeah, Us mothers are planning on going into the mall this weekend to go clothes shopping while the guys take care of the kids.”


Jessy walks into the main building and Larry points firmly at the closet door.


“Oh dear god.” she moans when she sees the 'it's a boy, it's a girl' balloons, two of each. “I'd been halfway expecting it. Josette says there's a good chance of twins in the chambers they use.” Larry laughs and nods. “Andrew seen it yet?”


“No, he's not due back until tomorrow. Scott and Dexter are bringing out two more cribs and other baby supplies once you found out.” The two men grin at her as they pass the door with the supplies.


“Well, I'll have to hit the second-hand stores for more baby clothes.”


“Are we still on this weekend for the mall?” Harmony asks.


“Yes, the kids are outgrowing everything.” Nods from the other parents. Grabbing her phone she dials the number for the New York school.


“Good afternoon, Davison school of design. How may I direct your call?” Mona says into the phone as she stops typing.


“Mona, it's Jessy Michaels. Since I know the others are going to descend on me en masse in a few months. . .I just found out it's two sets of identical twins, boys and girls.”


“Oh dear lord Ms. Michaels.” the phone is put down and Mona lays her head on the desk and starts laughing. Natalie is in the office and had heard Ms. Michaels, she picks up the phone.


“Jessyca?” she listens to the 'oh dear god, the shoe dropped' tone of voice on the other end of the line and valiantly keeps from joining Mona in laughing.


“Oh go ahead and laugh, everybody out here is.” Jessy snorts. “We're waiting for Andrew to come home from the conference he's attending and learn he's going from the father of one and expecting three more babies in a few months to being the father of one and expecting five more babies in a few months. General betting is he's going to go out like a light.”


“I would as well.” Natalie's biting her lip. “I'll pass on the news to the others and we'll come out after the babies come.”


“Four babies.” Mona laughs. “Oh dear god, she started out late but she's going big.” Mona's the mother of three herself, thankfully all having come one at a time.


“There's always a good chance of the egg splitting after implantation.” Natalie sighs and looks at the time then triggers the intercom.


“Attention everybody, we just got a call from Miami. Ms. Michaels is expecting two sets of identical twins, boys and girls.” The sound of stunned silence then laughter from the building around them.


At the house Jessy puts her phone away. “I'd been halfway expecting it, that's why I've been putting off starting the kids education funds.”


“Yes, no use starting some then having to go and start more.” Harmony sighs.


“Oh really?” Jessy purrs.


“Yes, my doctor just confirmed it earlier today. Another reason we need to go to the mall.” Scott stops and grabs Dexter. “Harmony's having twins too.”


“We'll bring out another crib for you Harmony and set them up tomorrow, the batteries are charging on the hand tools.” Dexter says.


“No hurry guys, we won't need them for a few months yet. Identical?” Jessy asks Harmony.


“Looks like it, twins run in my family.”


“Gentlemen, how are we on batteries for the hand tools. I know they eventually wear out. . .”


“We dropped the old ones in the recycling box at the contractor warehouse when we brought these new ones. We've got boxes of them to have on hand.” Scott says. “And they're on the replicator in case things go to hell and we can't get replacements.” Rupert nods in satisfaction. He looks out the window. Laura and Quentin would be wailing about their daughter having so many children out of wedlock with three different men but Matthew and Annabelle would be over the moon.


“Andrew, closet.” Larry says in an 'absent' voice the next day when he returns from his conference.


“I wasn't expecting. . .” his voice trails off as everything goes dark. Two arms grab him and he's shoved into a chair, his head between his legs.


“Two sets of twins?” Andrew babbles several hours later when Jessy sits down across from him at the table.


“I've been halfway expecting it, there's a good chance of the eggs splitting after being implanted. I'd be worried about Marie feeling left out by not having a twin but I have the feeling she'll be crowing about not having to share a birthday and everything. And there's more than enough other 'single' children she's growing up with so the others won't be able to start pushing her around because she's not a twin.”


“Unlike in the legion of super-hero comic books where that one planet where everybody has twins and a single birth is looked at as 'ohhh, that pooor baby'.” Andrew grins.


“Rupert, you'd probably know this better than Francine. . .but I was watching Dr. Oz and they had something about essentia. . .” Harmony asks.


“We buy from reputable companies that back up their claims with lab tests.” Jessy says absently. “Soapmakers tend to police their businesses a lot better than somebody buying it in a store for health claims since we use so much of it.” Rupert nods.


The next day Andrew and Jessy drive into town, walking into the bank and going to a teller.


“Ms. Michaels, Mr. Wells, is there a problem?”


“No, we need to open four new accounts. For our babies.”


“Four?” the teller squeals.


“Yes, we went with two surrogates and two eggs. Both of them split.” Jessy shakes her head and laughs. “When it rains it pours. Because Willow, Faith, Cordy, Harmony, and Kendra are expecting too. And Harmony's having twins too.” Since her sister works at the diaper service run by the church this is killing two birds with one stone, opening the accounts and letting them know they'll be contacting them about diapers soon.


They're shown into an office and the accounts are created with each of them putting in fifteen thousand dollars in each account. The paperwork goes in her office back at her house as she walks into the newly enlarged nursery and finds Dexter, Scott, and Sam working on the cribs and putting changing tables up. The second dresser has been brought back into the room, for the time being they can share a dresser. It won't be until they move to toddler beds that they need more room for their clothes.


“Are they going to be sharing rooms?”


“Yeah, at least until they get older and want their own space. When they're old enough to do that they can find their own rooms and arrange everything the way they want. Lord knows the girls will want their own spaces at least.” Nods from Scott who has a daughter and Dexter who has a sister and a daughter.


“Jessy, I hear rumors you're going to be a mother again?” Max grins as he walks into the seamstress building to pick up his latest batch of outfits to take to the others.


“Yes, it's two sets of identical twins, we used two surrogates this time and both eggs split.”


“Oh dear lord.” he splutters as a laughing Faith opens the door to the inner workroom. He looks at the boxes of supplies against the wall then looks at them.


“We got a permanent government contract to sew bags, we put up a second shift so we can work on them and the outfits at the same time instead of having days where we work on everything assembly line style. As it is we work on it in stages so each stage has plenty of work.” A box of quilted sides is moved to a station and started to be put together in bags. Meanwhile another station is busy making handles for the bags.


“Boys or girls?”




“Have you got any special requests?”


Jessy snorts and tells him about the two outfits before they go over the outfits. He sighs, nods, and laughs as the boys take everything out to the truck and strap the rolling racks down.


“Yes, he's a little fool who believes his publicity and hasn't had the stupidity knocked out of him so he gets some sense yet.”


“He tries it with me and he'll get the stupidity knocked out of him.” Max grins. “I'd pay money to see that fight.” He looks at the list of remaining outfits and nods. “I'll come out next year with the others for the new orders.”


“We'll be here. Unless a damn hurricane blows us away.” Faith snorts as she looks at the boxes. “Jessy, we're getting low on the zippers and pinned layers.”


“I'll go out and get it, one or two boxes?”


“Two should do it. Are you bringing in more blanks?”


“Yeah, I might as well while I'm out there.” Jessy takes the envelope Max hands her, waves as he drives off, and then goes to the POD. The boxes go against the wall or by a table and she opens them, pinning the layers together and putting them in a container that goes against the wall when it's full. The next box is different fabric and she looks through the file of patterns and lays out everything, filling that container by the end of the day.


The next day everybody is back at the shop and Faith and Sam bring out the containers of patterns, the other boys bringing out the fabric as Jessy calls out outfits and Faith calls out materials needed. Two days later they finish filling enough containers until the shop closes for the end of the year.


“Jessy, phone. It's for you.” Illyana calls.


“No, there's no way in hell I'm shutting down my seamstress shops to kiss your fucking ass. Get the hell over yourself, you're not all that and your outfits are a fraction of my work.” Jessy continues to calmly tell the fool off over the phone and he blubbers as he ends the call.


“Moron, what the hell did you think would happen? You've been trying to get her business closed since your first outfit. She doesn't need you, she's got plenty of other work.”


“But if she came to work for me exclusively, she could make maybe a half-million dollars in a few years.” he blubbers.


“Idiot, she routinely make ten times that multiple times a year. You're not all that special, quit trying to get her to sign a non-disclosure contract, a non-competition clause, and stop trying to steal her designs. She's got a damn good case against you, she could end up getting everything you own.”


“She could?” he wails.


“Yes moron, she could. You've tried forcing her to shut down her business with your whiny demands, you've tried stealing her designs. . . you're nothing more than a pathetic fool who's trying to shove his weight around and can't do a damn thing except make things more difficult for himself. Now shut up, let me deal with her, and go sit in a damn corner until you grow up.”


“But she can't make that much money.” he wails.


“And how did you learn about her, hmmm?”


He rattles off a list of big names who routinely get outfits from her then slumps. “Ohhh.”


“Yeah, ohhh. And now her seamstress buildings have a permanent government contract to make bags for them. Like she said, she doesn't need you. And she's going to be a new mother in a few months, she's expecting two sets of identical twins by surrogates according to the people who know her.”


“Knock the stupidity out of the damn fool?” Jessy asks a couple days later when the lawyer walks into the office.


“Yes, I'll fax him sketches.” they walk into the other building and settle down to work, a largish check for the deposit being wrote out. The others are closing up boxes of the bags when she walks into the building and she puts them in the third POD that had been delivered a couple days ago to hold the boxes until they're picked up.


“More stupidity?”


“Nope, the little fool got his ass handed by everybody and firmly told to sit in a damn corner until he grows up.” Faith laughs.


“An outfit?”


“Yeah, he says I'll probably have three or four a year, dumbass thought I might be able to make a half-million dollars over a few years if I work just for him. He was stunned I make ten times that multiple times a year.” The others laugh.


“Anybody need a ride into Miami tomorrow?” Jessy says at dinner. “I'm stopping into town to deposit the deposit for this latest outfit, picking up the order forms for the seamstress shop, and then going to the fabric warehouse.” Everybody looks at each other but shake their heads. “Okay then, next week I'm going in for the library and getting in our regular order from the warehouse.” Nods from the others. “Need me to get the book and DVD closets while I'm out there?”


“Please Jessy, thank you.” Joyce wraps an arm around her as she hands out assignments.


“Jessy, not a ride but can you pick up an order for me at the homeschooling store?” Wesley asks.


“Yeah, it's on the way.”


Jessy leans in Rupert's doorway the next evening. “They have a new store in the area that's all puzzles. Want to come in with me next week or should I just buy a half-dozen of everything every time I go out?”


“I'll go out with you.”


Rupert looks around at the store and smiles. The clerk nodding at the woman who'd come in last week and basically brought them their month's sales in one trip. The man with her nods in satisfaction and starts wandering the aisles, pointing at puzzles that are put in the carts. More than one copy of a puzzle is brought. The total isn't even blinked at they take catalogs, looking at them then at her.


“Can we order them through you?”


“Yes, and it would save you shipping.”


Jessy makes a sound that has Rupert sighing and looking up at the ceiling. “As my goddaughter so quaintly put it we don't care about the shipping but it would no doubt mean profits for your store?”


“Yes sir.” she says quietly.


“Good, we always want to help out local businesses.” The bags and boxes are put in the back of the truck and they drive off. A local business owner laughs at them. “You just met Jessy Michaels, she does a lot of shopping in the area. I don't know the man with her. . .”


“He called her his goddaughter.”


“Ahhh, the boss then. She usually comes out with two or three other guys, they all work together in the same place.”


The next morning Wesley blinks at the boxes and bags being put in a room for the time being. Looking in he nods, that will be something for everything to do while they're locked in during foul weather. Looking at a table he nods again when he sees small puzzles for the kids.


Jessy slumps into her usual seat at the dining hall for dinner, covering her mouth and burping a number of times.


“You going to live?” Methos asks, looking over at her.


“Yeah, I just took some alka-seltzer and it's beginning to work.” She yawns. “Faith?”




“I'm expecting a package for the outfit in a couple days.”


“I'll put it in the other building when it arrives.”


“Thank you. It's not something the warehouse normally carries, high end shit.” Since she's making finger quotes around high-end Faith figures it's probably gaudy crap. “Exactly.”


“Jessy, do you need another container for recycling at the shops?” Scott asks from another table.


“No, most of the boxes are being reused with the bags since we're not packaging them, just putting them in the boxes, writing down the pattern and number, closing them with tape, and putting them in the POD to be picked up. The next stop will see them inspected and formally packaged.”


“Is there any news on the power grid?”


“Ours should be ready to go online sometime next year. Between the earthquake and hurricanes. . .things got delayed.” The others nod.


“The other power plant?”


“Failed the inspection, we'd been expecting it for years. But the new one is nearly done and will start operating by the end of the year. Gods willing something else doesn't happen to delay it.”


“The other power grids?”


“Should be finished over the next few years. That should take some pressure off the main grid and allow it to limp along until all the new grids start to interconnect.”




“Larger plants not only produce for their area, but send power further up the line. There's not enough smaller power plants and operations to handle everybody.” Scott says. “Once all the lines of the new grids are up they'll be replacing all the fried lines, substations, and the plants that caused the outages.”


“Do we see people switching back from the boxes?” Somebody asks.


“Not really, it's going to be years before all that is done, people are going to be used to the boxes by then. Not to mention they're paying for the power they use, not the damn fees.”


“I see more the power plants sending out the power to the rest of the grid.” Xander says. The others nod. “Okay,. I'm heading into Miami tomorrow to the contractors warehouse, do you have a list?” he asks Scott. “I gotta stock up on tools again. Even with good maintenance. . .”


“I'll ride with you, we've got a couple places to stop.” He nods.


Jessy laughs as she finds the others peering in the windows to try to see what she's working on. “Trust me, it's not that damn exciting. He might think he's gods gift to humanity and there's spies everywhere trying to get hold of his outfits.”


“They're not and he's a fool?”


“Yep, but the money's good.” The doors are unlocked and they walk in for the day's work. Less than an hour into the day the power goes out.


“I got a bad feeling about this.” Faith says from the door linking the two buildings once the alternate power had come on.


“Yeah, so am I.” Jessy sighs. “We've been damn lucky so far. Nothing we can do, listen to the news in a couple hours and we'll find out what happened from Larry tonight.” she looks at Faith. “Check the internet.”


“Already did, massive outage. . .DC got hit again.” Paige says behind Faith. “All the way down to the coast and inland. We're looking at an outage twice the size of the others. They don't know yet if we're the area that had fried wires or just got hit by a surge.”


“They won't know for a while.” Scott says from the doorway. “At least Marley can turn the school into an emergency shelter if the power is off long.”


“If it's off long school won't be opening until the boxes start to be released. Thankfully anybody who can get them has generators.”


Scott nods. “Don't expect to see Ryan, Speed, or Horatio for a while.” The owners or managers of the soapmaking, candlemaking, pottery, and candy buildings are gathered behind him.


“Nope, they'll be needed in Miami until the power is restored. I don't doubt every policeman has been called out to keep the peace and stop the looting you see on the news. Even in Marley they'll be calling in all off-duty officers.”


“Yeah, and National Guard troops will be heading out to the affected areas as soon as they can fill the trucks.” The head of the candlemaking building has a son and daughter in the National Guard reserves so she knows what she's talking about.


The buildings are quiet later that day as everybody continues to work and those who live in town head home at closing time. They walk into the main house and after grabbing mail head to the cafeteria.


“Needless to say, all scheduled sessions are canceled until we find out one way or another if we're in the fried zone.” Rupert says dryly. Snickering from the various tables. He gives them looks but everybody knows he's not upset.


“Jessy found a store in Miami that only sells puzzles, right now they're in a room but we hope to have them set up with a similar buying option as the book and DVD closets. Catalogs have been scanned into the server and we can order them through the store.”


“It's that new store by Hank's shop.” she tells Xander, Larry, and Andrew.


“I'd wondered what was going in there. I'll have to check it out.” Is said nearly in unison. “Once things have settled down.”


“You might miss the last trip to the mall this year.” Joyce says, her lips twitching. Jessy's response is rude to the nth degree and has everybody laughing.


The next morning finds no new information and Jessy sighs and shrugs as she walks into the second seamstress building, turning on the satellite radio for noise so it doesn't feel like she's the only person in the world. For all that the others are right next door.


“Any news?” Rupert asks Larry as Arthur and Buster walk down the hall with the cart of food that's going out to the seamstress shop and Xander's workbuilding for their lunches.


“No restoration update at this time.”


“There won't be.” Scott says as he walks into the building. “I just took a line checker and shimmied up a pole by the guardhouse. The lines are fried. . .I didn't even need the meter, I could see the lines were fried.”


“Oh dear lord.” Rupert sighs.


Faith moans as Arthur repeats that when he brings their lunches to the seamstress building, Jessy's audible cursing as she walks through the linking door has her smirking. “The experts told that fool Bush that this would happen. Thank god the local grid should be up and running in a few months to replace it.”


If we didn't lose any substations and power plants.” Jessy snorts. “And if the new wiring didn't get fried too.”


“Oh dear god, I just saw a truck of boxes being delivered to Disney world. For all the buildings and the rides.” Jubilee moans.


“How would they do all that?” Buster asks.


“One master, the rest slave boxes, that's how we'd do it here if we didn't already have the alternate power. At the end of the billing period the slave boxes would send their usage to the main box and one bill would be generated with all the boxes listed. If their power plants weren't destroyed in this. . .” Jessy waves a hand, the others nod. “I rather see them waiting until their power grid is up and running.”


“Or relying on generators. But that would be one hell of a natural gas or propane bill.”


“Okay, as everybody no doubt knows by now, Scott says the lines leading to the House are fried. I talked to Mayor Watson and he moaned at the news. We're waiting on the official news but. . .”


“Another week or two and the boxes will start to be released.”


“Yes, the National Guard should start delivering supplies in a day or two.”


A couple days later a National Guard truck comes up to the gate, looking over some records and then getting waved through the gate, taking the road to the area used for deliveries and bringing the boxes off the truck.


“Okay everybody, we know the drill, open boxes and move them to wherever they go.” Xander says. “Is there any official word about when they're going to have to admit the power lines are fried?”


“Nope,. This administration is just as close-lipped about the other one. The only difference is they know the power grid is failing and is expediting the new local grids. Instead of doing everything they can to stop them.” Larry snorts. “It should be about a month before they admit the power isn't coming back on and start delivering the boxes. Because other places are going on fall and its going to start getting damn cold at night. Commerce is going to take a massive hit if snowbirds don't flock to Florida.”


“Not to mention all the damn Black Friday and Christmas shopping.” Jessy snorts as she opens a box and calls out what it is. Rupert looks at the list of what they'd gotten and tells them how many they should have got. Everything's counted and a second box is found and moved away.


“Are we taking you away from the garment?” Joyce asks.


“I'm at a stage where I need that stuff I talked to Faith about and according to the shipping record it's been delayed in a sorting center that's not got power. Everything's being moved to other sorting centers but it's delayed it by about a week. I called Fred when the power went out so some fool doesn't try suing me for not getting it done in a timely manner. He said he'd gut anybody who did. . .this falls under the unforeseen events clause in any contract.” the house's lawyers all nod.


“Dr. Giles, I'm sorry to bother you. I'm sure you're just as busy as I am with the power outage.” Mayor Watson sighs as he settles in a chair across from him.


“There's always something.” Rupert chuckles. “Coffee?”


“Please no, I've been living on coffee since the power went out.”


“Are they any closer to admitting that the power isn't coming on than they were when it went out?”


“Not that I've heard, by now some of the areas that lost power should have got it back if it was just a surge caused by so many lines going out.” He looks at Rupert. “Are you sure the lines leading to your building are fried?”


“Mr. Lang is an electrical engineer and climbed the pole the day after the outage, he could see the lines were fried.” Mayor Watson sighs but nods. He's not doubting the man's word, he's just hoping for a miracle.


“Yeah, so did a couple of the engineers in town. I. . .”


“was hoping that somewhere close had power and we weren't sitting in the bullseye.”


“Yeah.” Mayor Watson sighs.


Arthur leans against the wall outside Rupert's office. “No Kate, I'm glad your school has power, we're doing very well with the solar panels and generators. Mona would tell you the same thing. You get settled in for your last year of school. You need power, you're going to be seeing furnaces coming on soon. Here we can just add an extra blanket to the bed.”


“Oh hell, all the growers and their fans.” Mayor Watson moans.


“No doubt run by generators or they will have found other sources of warmth before they are needed.”


“Yes, and they can't complain about something we did causing it with so much of the country without power. How long do you think it will be until the government throws up its hands and says the power's not coming back on?”


“Another few weeks at the earliest, even then it will be at least another month before the boxes arrive. Bigger cities and those areas that get snow will be seeing them first. . .all for the fact that Florida is snowbird central and the governor is already demanding the power come back on NOW. Because he said so.”


“The man's a menace.” Mayor Watson snorts. “Are you okay out here?”


“Yes, the National Guard brought out supplies yesterday but we've been getting in extras since the power problems started. On top of what we order for hurricanes.”


“Dear god don't let one hit while we're out of power.” Mayor Watson mutters. “So much preparation depends on having a steady source of power before the hurricane hits.” Thanking Dr. Giles for his time he heads back into Marley and walks into Town Hall.


“Everything's quiet here boss, we're just waiting until the feds decide to finally admit that yes, the power isn't coming back on and start sending out the boxes. School's starting in two weeks and will stay open to allow everybody who doesn't have a generator to get water, recharge batteries, and charge their cell phones and other devices.” Mayor Watson nods. “Every business that can shut down to save their generators are. The stores hope to start getting shipments again once the power is restored.”


Jessy sighs as the package of ugly ass crystals arrive and she looks at the container, the outfit and hand waves the crystals onto the dress. There, she's still going to make him pay through the nose for it though. In the doorway Faith sniggers. “Did that fool CPA go off with a foot on his ass?”


“Yes, he didn't know it was his own firm that did all our accounting. He just saw the shops making oodles and gobs of money and we couldn't possibly be reporting all that income.” Jessy sighs. “He's one of those little twits who think they're going to make a name for themselves once they get out of school by hunting down scofflaws and making sure they pay their fair share of taxes. Moron's wailing because all the people he's swooping down on and demanding accountings already are paying their fair share of taxes. He's heartbroken, he can't find a big bust to make him somebody.”


“The damn government won't be happy until all your pay goes to them and they give you a weekly allowance.” Jubilee snorts behind them. “Jessy, Max is here with a special order for us. It's not something we normally make. . .”


“but it's Max.” Jessy comes out and holds up a finger then walks to the bathroom. Max laughs and leans against the counter. “How are you all doing with the power out? Any word on when it's coming back?”


“It won't, Scott climbed the pole outside the guardhouse with a meter. . .but he didn't need it to see that the lines are fried.” Faith says. Max moans. “Oh hell, I was hoping.”


“Yep, we all were. The engineers in town told Mayor Watson the same thing, thankfully with the generators and solar panels everybody's getting along well. Even if our beloved governor. . .” Faith sneers. Max laughs. “Hey, I didn't vote for the fool, is demanding the power come back on this very second because he's looking at all the losses of tourism dollars. I see snowbirds coming if they own houses, trailers, or have apartments out here to get away from winter if they can but. . .”


“The Black Friday and Christmas shoppers will be heartbroken. We'll probably be last on the list to get the boxes since this area isn't big in tourism and we don't have real winters.” Jessy makes a rude sound as she comes out of the bathroom and Max snickers. “Jessy and the others make one last trip to a mall in early December and flatly refuse to enter one until after the first of the year.”


“I can't blame them there.” They talk over everything and Jessy makes notes on the order. The other man puts down a deposit and Jessy whistles and waves for the boys who are lurking around pretending they're not lurking and they start emptying the back of the van, putting the fabric and other notions in the empty storeroom.


“Thank you for letting me vent and finding me people who can make my uniforms.” He says as the van drives off. Max waving to the others. “I would never have heard about these people, it's too big a job for just one person and . . .”


“None of the bigger outfits would touch it.” He snorts. “Figures, they get big orders and they get small ones. . .neither by itself would keep them in business forever but together. . .” He waves a hand. “I'm glad the area's doing well despite the power being out.” People had been out directing traffic in town once they'd got off the interstate and everybody had waved when they recognized Max.


“Do we need to cut out plastic?”


“No,” Jessy says, looking in the box. “They already are and sorted into envelopes by size and pattern.” Faith nods in satisfaction as she looks at the list. “A few good Sundays should see this done.”


“Yep. Now, need me to bring in supplies for the bags?” She can see they're running low on everything.




Jessy stacks the boxes on the wall, grabbing boxes and starting to lay out fabric, putting together layers and pinning them together. Jubilee grabs a stack and starts working on them, Paige opening boxes of zippers and the handle pieces and starting to work. Neither shift limit themselves to just one item, sewing bags during the day shift and working on outfits in the afternoon.


“Sunday, we'll fill the containers?”


“Yeah, might as well.”


“Do we have enough pattern pieces for all of them?”


“No, we'll have to use the pattern when we lay it out then put it back for the next person.”


“Any special finishing?” Illyana asks.


“No, not that I see.” Jessy looks at the list, the patterns, then pulls her big girl pants on and lays out everything for one. Faith nods in satisfaction. “Have you heard from your brother since the power went out here?”


“Yes, he's willing to send me money but I told him the House is still operating thanks to the solar panels and generators and I'm still able to work. I expect his next letter will have a bank check. What can I do?” she chuckles.


“Love him, that's all you can do. He worries since you're his only remaining relation, just like Sam worries about me and Jay even though he sees us every day.” Paige chuckles. “Jessy, any idea when they're coming out for the bags?”


“Two weeks. I got a call from them yesterday and they were very happy to hear we can still work on them even with the whole fucking state being without power. They're bringing out all the pieces that were made up before the power went off, work on everything until we run out and hopefully by then the boxes will be going out.”


Nods from everybody as Betty finishes an outfit and holds it up before sliding it on the hanger and taking it to the other room with the container.


“We're going to have to do a finishing week.”


“Yeah, I was going to say something, the racks are getting full.”


Jessy pokes her head in the room and nods. “Okay, no starting anything new unless you can finish it by Friday.” Looking over the instructions for the first outfit she cuts the fabric, lays out the patterns, and starts to work.


Rupert shakes his head but laughs at the news that they have another order that will be done within a few weeks.


Jessy shrugs. “It's helping out a friend of Max's. What's the latest on the lines?”


“The government is holding silent about the boxes, rumor is it they're waiting for some hotshot expert to come in.” Larry snorts.


“What? Is he going to wriggle his nose and magic them back to pre-fried state?” Faith snorts.


“Probably. Lord knows they don't want to listen to the people actually going up the damn poles and seeing, yes. . .they're fried.” Andrew snorts as he comes back from work at Stark. “Probably the guy will come in, look at the pictures, look at them, say 'yes, they're fried. . .why didn't you listen to the people telling you that' and leave. . .that's usually what the so-called experts they call in do.”


“And the taxpayers lose more and more trust in the government. And they can't understand why?” Jessy says sourly.



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