It was Jaye's 21st birthday. Screw classes. She spent the first part of it driving back to Niagara Falls without saying a word to her family she wanted to enjoy this thank you and goodbye, to hang out with Mahandra before they headed off to the bar where she worked.

Since Mahandra wasn't working tonight, she too a seat next to Jaye and called over the bar, "We're going to be needing drinks over here. Card her, okay? She'll like it."

When asked for ID, Jaye turned over her brand new driver's license, a real one that said she was 21 instead of a fake one that said she was 21, and the bartender got her a beer. "You know, you're right? This is kind of awesome."

"Told you," Mahandra said. "But you didn't wanna listen."

Jaye took her first sip, put the bottle down, and decided, "Aaaaand now drinking seems to have lost some of its fun." Now that it was legal. Dammit.

The bartender frowned. "...Haven't you been coming here for like two years?"

[She did bring her phone with her, should anyone want to call.]
Jaye's Thanksgiving hadn't been that bad. She'd been forced to go off with her family to her cousins' for the holidays, which was made bearable by the fact that there was more than enough wine available while they waited three freaking hours for the food to finish cooking. In her opinion, if you said dinner was at four, dinner should damn well be at four, and then you could leave.

Just before dinner, Jaye excused herself to the bathroom, mostly just because it got her out of an awkward "Why don't you have a boyfriend?" conversation. Happy to be free for at least a couple minutes, Jaye locked the door and looked up-

And every rubber duckie on the shower curtain looked toward her at once.

Jaye opened the door and stepped back outside. "Um. Is there another bathroom in the house?" she asked her uncle, passing by on his way back to the kitchen.

"No, we're remodeling the other one. That's the only one," he told her.

Jaye frowned. This was not going to work for her.

"Jaye! There's a burger here with your name on it!"

Jaye sighed and tried not to roll her eyes. "Thanks, Dad, but I've already got clogged arteries from the last three named Jaye," she called back.

"Okay, but if you don't claim it, it's going to Aaron," Darrin warned.

"I'd love one, Dad," said Aaron, giving his sister the look of someone who really didn't want his fifth burger of the cookout, but was more concerned with kissing ass.

Jaye'd been here a couple hours now, and by now was pulling out her cell phone to check the time and see if she could make a reasonable escape yet. This much time with her family, there needed to be a limit on it.

"Are you looking at the time again?" asked Sharon, sitting in one of the plastic lawn chairs to light up a cigarette next to her.

"No. I got a text," she lied.

"Because you can't leave yet. Mom got cake," Sharon told her.

Jaye sighed, bowing her head in defeat. There was a bakery her mom went to- or rather, that she made Yvette go to- that had seriously some of the best cake she'd ever had, and there was no way she could pass it up knowing it was there and she only had to hold out until her dad finally got tired of the grill or burned up all the charcoal or something. "Dammit."

[Establishy, cuz I love holidays with the Tylers, though she'd love anyone who called her today.]
Thanks to that stupid koala puppet (which Jaye had swiped from someone's shopping bag in the mall, shhh don't tell), Jaye's coworker Pete now thought she was crazy. Raise your hand if you're shocked.

She'd followed him all the way to a small shopping center, where she pulled up to the curb illegally and got out of the car. "Wait!" she yelled to his retreating form. "I just need to talk to you!"

"Catch him up," the koala said from her hand, complete with Australian accent. (Being made in China, it was a very fake Australian accent.) Yes, she was wearing the stolen koala puppet. Don't judge. This probably didn't help with the crazy-looking, though, did it?

"Yeah, I know," Jaye snapped at it, and tilted her head as she saw Pete get in another car and start speeding away. "Where does he think he's going?"

"Catch him up, mate!" the puppet insisted.

Jaye rolled her eyes and got back into the car, not even putting on her seat belt before she turned the key in the ignition and shifted into reverse to pull out of the same-

-And heard the crunching sound as she backed right into the Mercedes that had parked behind her.

For a moment she stopped, her jaw dropped, and then she looked in her rearview mirror to make sure the owner wasn't around.

"You didn't see that," she told her koala hand, and drove off without leaving a note.



Jaye Tyler

September 2015

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