Sunday, January 22, 2012

Gen 6 Chapter 1: Juniper is on the case

Working late at the computer. That's where I found myself most evenings now, which was a blessing and a curse. It was great for my business and therefore my pocketbook, but not so great for my social life. 

I finally finished the last few notes on the case I had been working on, and decided I better call it a night. Yes, I was still living at home, but that was all about to change, as I had placed a down payment on a cute little house across town. 

Technically, I could move in whenever I was ready now, but there was one thing I was being stubborn on, and that was having my Private Eye office completely constructed behind the house before I moved in. I was beginning to realize how easy it is to let work take over your life, and I knew that in my new house, if I didn't have a separate area for work, I'd have a hard time switching gears, and I didn't want to do that to myself, or to my boyfriend. 

Jazz and I of course were still together, but since he became an official 'informant' (or as most people call it, a 'snitch') at the police station, and since my investigating jobs were finally more than just "who put junk mail in my mailbox" type of cases, we were seeing less and less of each other. I was determined that my new place would help Jazz and I grow closer, not hinder us.

I started out my work day earlier than usual the next morning because I was anxious to go see the progress on my office, and get some more stuff moved over. But, first things first...
"Your neighbor Luisa confessed to having anger problems. She was the one kicking your gnomes. But she promised to go to counseling for her anger."

"Hm, well, I suppose if she's willing to get help, I won't press charges."
"Ah, yes, that's good to hear. Well, I guess this case is solved!"
"Thank you so much Ms. Song, you really are the best!"
"No problem, anytime."
I really loved my job. Helping people, whether their case was big or small, was so much fun. Of course, I was always excited to move onto bigger and better cases, but I wouldn't turn anyone away, no matter how trivial the case.

Before checking in with my next client, I got a call from City Hall asking me to step in and see the mayor. I wondered what that was all about?
Turns out, it was a wonderful thing! Apparently word had spread of my benevolence with the citizens of Barnacle Bay in my Investigating profession, and they gave me an award for my efforts! Not only that, but they wanted to contribute to my business, and they gave me an official Private Eye door! It was a great final touch to my new office I was building. 

I looked at my watch. It was still early. I had time to touch base with my new case, and then spend the rest of the day moving in! My sudden recognition from City Hall was the confirmation I needed that it was time to move out, and begin working out of my new office! That was one of the beautiful things about being self-employed. I got to set my own hours.
"Don't worry, Mia, I'll find out what happened to your book."
"Oh, thank you. It's a special edition, you know."
"Uh, yes, I got that. I'll contact you as soon as I know something."

It was a good paying case, but an easy one. I could definitely afford to start on the case tomorrow, which meant I was now free to move in to my new house! Good bye Mom and Dad, hello independent living!

So, here it is! My own little corner of the world. 

It's just the right size, in my opinion. My office in the back turned out awesome. The door was the perfect touch, it looked so professional! 

As I wondered through each of my rooms, making sure things were like I wanted them, I couldn't help but smile at every bouquet of flowers I laid eyes on. Each one of them was a gift from Jazz. I had enough to put some in every room, and they made my house feel so cozy.

It was nightfall by the time I felt good enough about my progress to stop fussing with things and consider myself fully moved in. It was so amazing to finally have completed something that I had been working on for months, getting myself into my own place. Home. Just then, my phone rang.
"Hi Juniper, dear, this is Mom."
"Hi Mom! Aren't you working?"

"Yes, but I'm on break, so I thought I'd call and see that you got settled in ok."
"Oh, yes, I'm all settled in, everything is great. You'll have to come by and see it when you can."
"Of course, just as soon as I can. And listen, you don't be a stranger, ok? You come and visit your mom and dad whenever you can, ok?"
"I will mom, promise."
"Ok, well, I'll let you go now, Love you dear!"
"Love you too Mom. Bye!"

So, hm. what to do next? It was a little early to turn in. I would have called Jazz and told him to come over and see my new pad, but he was working tonight. Besides, I was going to see him tomorrow for my brother's birthday party that my sister was throwing. I guessed it was a great time to try out my new office!

I got settled in at my desk and started in on research for the "missing book" case. I know Mia said her book was a special edition, but it wasn't a famous or valuable book by any means.  Hm. It lead me to think that was possible that the book wasn't stolen, but just misplaced. I would check in at the library tomorrow and see if anyone turned in the book there by accident.

I changed into my pajamas, and tucked myself into bed. This would be the first time I slept alone in a house, ever. Luckily, I had picked out one super comfortable bed, because all too quickly I dozed off before I had a chance to even think about being scared.

There was a noticeable difference in how quiet this house was in the morning, compared to Mom and Dad's.  It was nice. I took my time making my breakfast, enjoying the fact that I had a kitchen all to myself to do so. 

After checking in with the library and spending a little time investigating there, lo and behold, I found Mia's book! I had her meet me at the library to return it, but then she wanted me to find out who stole it. At least she paid me for my services thus far! 

I checked in with the book store, to see if the employees had heard of a book thief in the area and they pretty much all laughed at me. Especially when I told them which book I was wondering about. They knew, like I did, that it was highly unlikely that someone stole that book. I decided it would be a waste of time pursuing this case, and went to tell Mia that my services were done, and if she wanted to take it further, she could notify the police department.

"I'm sorry I couldn't track down a thief. I have a feeling the book wasn't stolen, just found somewhere and taken to the library? Of course, if you'd like to pursue this further, I'd be happy to put you in touch with a law enforcement official."
Mia looked at me in a strange, almost guilty way. I had a feeling she wasn't telling me something.
"Oh, Ms. Song, you've been such a great detective, I can tell you really have a gift. Because, you are right. My book wasn't stolen."

"Huh? You mean, you knew it wasn't stolen?"
"Yes. it was a ruse. You see, I'm writing a crime novel, and I needed some firsthand experience with thieves, investigations, that type of thing. So.... I kind of... faked it."
I took a deep breath. Part of me was super annoyed that she wasted my time. But, she did pay me, and well at that.
"I don't even know what to say. I'm speechless."
"Now, I know you went to a lot of time and trouble, and I've paid you well for it. I hope you won't be mad. You've been a great inspiration to me and my story! I'll give you a shout-out in my acknowledgements when my book is published!"
"Thanks Mia. I think."

"Oh, there's my ride, gotta go. Thanks again!" She slipped a little extra cash into my hand and took off to meet her taxi. Well, that settled it. I wasn't going to pursue another case today, I was too aggravated for such a thing, what I needed to do was de-stress.

And, that's where my handsome boyfriend Jazz came in. I called him and asked him to meet me at the park. He was just what I needed. After seeing how peeved I was, he dragged me over to play hopscotch, and my sour mood slowly melted away. Good thing too. I didn't want to be in a bad mood for Sage's birthday party!

"Oh, Jazz, you always know how to cheer me up."
"Well, that's what I'm here for. To make you smile."

After the park, we went back to my house where I gave him the grand (yet small) tour and changed for the party. Then we headed off together. I was excited to see my brother Sage, and my sister, Ginger. It seemed like now that we were all grown up, we never got to see much of each other.
"Sister!!! You're here!"

"Of course, silly, I wouldn't miss my little brother becoming a man! Speaking of which, where is Sage?"
"Oh, he's not here yet. He should be soon."
"Haha. Late to his own party. Sounds about right."

Finally the birthday boy arrived, and we partied the night away.

I was asked to play a little guitar for everyone, and I have to admit, it was really fun to play for an audience. 

Eventually I was ready for a break and when I put the guitar away, everyone wandered back inside. Except for Jazz.
"Wow, your guitar playing has really improved since the last time I heard you play."
"Thanks. It's become my ritual to play a little to unwind after work."
"You were the hit of the party I'm pretty sure. Especially in that dress... you are, mesmerizing."
"Aw, thanks honey."

I couldn't help myself, I kissed him.

He cradled my head in his hands, and said, "Oh, I almost forgot, I brought you something."

"Another one! Jazz, you spoil me, and I'm running out of places to put them!" I laughed. 

"Well, I couldn't help it, when I saw them they made me think of you, so I bought them."

I was swamped with work all through the next week. I finally started getting referrals from the police station as well, and that also led to me needing to do low-level police work at the station. I didn't mind that too much, because I got to drop in on Jazz and see him during times I probably wouldn't have been able to otherwise. But it was always a headache doing paperwork up there, and I usually left there pretty stressed out.

My cases started getting a little more involved, but I made sure that if I had went too long without seeing Jazz, we would meet whenever we could for a date. One of our favorite places to hang out together was at any of the beautiful parks on the island, Jazz and I both couldn't get enough of being outdoors.
I brought some hot dogs to grill for dinner, and Jazz and I caught up with one another on our lives over our meal, and under the stars.

"So, my Mom and I had an interesting conversation today."
"Oh really?"
"She told me that she thought it was time I moved out and found a place of my own."
"What?!? You're mom? Really? I thought she loved having you and your sister there."

"Well, she said that she is proud of the young man that she raised and doesn't want to hinder me from having an independent, grown-up life."
"Huh. I guess I could see that. I'm enjoying my freedom living in my new house."
"Yeah. I told her I would look around and see what's available."

After dinner we gazed at the stars; we could name most of the constellations now. One of our favorite games was to quiz each other on them to see who remembered the most.

Much later in the evening than was probably sensible, we said our good-byes, as he had early morning work, and I had more clients to meet.
"Yes, Ms. Caliente. I'll make sure your flamingo is returned to you as soon as possible."
"Oh thank you. I know it sounds silly, but he's so special to me. I've had him since I was a child."
"Of course, I'll be in touch."

After a full morning of filing reports at the Police station and meeting clients, I was ready for some lunch. I stopped my mom's restaurant, just for a treat.
I was in luck, because I ran into my brother and dad there, apparently meeting for lunch as well! We all ate together, and chatted away. I missed them so much!

While Dad was paying, Sage and I chatted and gossiped and caught up with each other.

My Dad told me to come by and see them sometime, that Mom's health wasn't the best, and she would like to see me. That came as a shock, because as far as I knew, she was still working full-time, and never mentioned any health issues when I'd chatted with her a few times on the phone.

I made a mental note to do visit home as soon as I got another break, for now, it was back to work! Time to track down a pet flamingo!

*buckey's notes*- So, Juniper's 1st chapter is finally here! I'm so glad you all like the new blog layout, inspired by Juniper herself.  :) I guess there isn't a whole lot more to say for this time, except for I'll get busy on the next chapter! Still no Jazz and Juniper babies, but I'm hoping that will change. Thanks for reading!