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Who: Ming, Michael, Anna, Raul, Kyle, Juice, Gregory, Yansa, Livvy, Dot, Katherine
Where: The Sunset Club
When: Wednesday night, Michael's party, continuation





Ming hugged Michael, and kissed his cheeks. "I sent Juice and Kyle to the kitchen to see if Raul is done with the birthday cake..."

Michael hugged Ming, and smiled. "Awesome - thanks, dear."

Anna smiled. "How's your birthday treating you, Mike?"

"So far, so good," Michael said, smiling. "I bet it'll actually sink in next week, though."

Raul was decorating the cake, and was nearly finished. It was a big sheet cake that read, "HAPPY BIRTHDAY MICHAEL!"

Kyle peered in. "Hey, Raul, how's it going?"

"Muy bueno, my friend," Raul said. "They ready for the cake?"

"Totally ready," Juice said.

Yansa came in through the club door, followed closely by Gregory. "We're not late, are we?" They wanted to be there for the birthday boy.

Livvy was lurking around too, interested in the business of birthdays and why there was such a fuss. She had no idea when she was born.

"Okay, you want to give me a hand with this?" Raul set aside the icing bag.

Nica was relaxing with a drink, and was glad that Michael had liked the watch.

"Yeah, though.. man, that's a pretty cake." Juice looked kind of nervous about the whole transport process. "Maybe I better get the door."

"... Yeah. You should do that," Kyle agreed, after a moment to think of Juice handling cake.

"Okay," Raul said, and grabbed an end.

Kyle snagged the other end, and started carefully heading outwards.

"Not by much," Michael said to Yansa, and waved.

Juice opened the kitchen door and just stayed out of the way of danger.

Raul headed out to a conveniently placed table with the cake, being careful not to trip.

"Looks like we're in time for cake," Yansa said, smiling.

Kyle carefully set the cake down with Raul. "There..."

Gregory nodded. "The most important part, some say."

"Yay cake!" Livvy liked that part of birthday, at least.

There were 18 candles on the cake already, and Raul set about lighting them.

"That look good." Anna said, looking at the cake

"Time for the birthday song!" Ming said, excitedly.

"Happy birthday to you," Nica started.

Gregory joined in cheerfully, "Happy birthday to you..."

Anna didn't sing, but she did right 'Happy Birthday' on a napkin. It was better that way

Yansa, Ming, and Livvy sung along

Juice, well.. he tried to sing.

The door opened, and a woman slipped into the club, glancing around.

"Yay!" Ming said, clapping. "Make a wish and blow out the candles!"

Michael pondered, then leaned in and blew out the candles.

Raul smiled and started to sneak back to the kitchen.

Juice glanced over and noticed someone heading in "Uh, sorry- club's closed tonight- private party."

The woman shrugged. "Birthday party?"

Juice nodded. "My buddy Michael is turning 18."

"Good, then I'm just on time," the woman said, and headed on down the stairs.

"Um, no?" Anna said, getting up

Nica frowned. "Wait, what?"

"On time for what?" Juice said, blinking.

"I don't see Victor here -- did he decide not to show?" the woman added, glancing about.

Juice scratched his head.

"Uh, hey Mike- you know this lady?" Juice called.

Anna walked over to the lady, because she wasn't invited and wasn't listening

Michael looked over. "No... who is it?"

The woman smiled and offered Anna a hand. "Katherine Czajak... I'm Michael's mother."

"Whoa..." Juice blinked.

Anna shook hands "...I'm Anna. Where the hell have you been? What's the entire story?"

Yansa looked up and over at the woman.

Michael blinked and took a second look.

"Oregon," Katherine said, almost dismissively. "And if you don't mind, I'd like to give my son his birthday present, now that he's eighteen and all."

"That depends on what it is." Anna said "Or if Mike says it's cool."

"It's not death, is it?" Juice said.

"I'll make it quick, I promise," Katherine answered, smiling. "I've really been trying to avoid this area, since--" She abruptly eyed Juice. "I beg your pardon?" She looked affronted - and slightly angry - by the suggestion.

"Look, leave Juice alone. What is it and why have you been avoiding this area?" Anna asked

"I would never hurt my son, thank you very much," Katherine said, still eyeing Juice much like one might eye an incontinent senior on a white velvet couch.

Ming looked over to see what was going on.

"Well, sorry- it's a real possibility in this town. Want a piece of cake?" Juice offered.

"Yes, actually, I would like that," Katherine answered, and then turned to Anna. "Now, then, in case my son hasn't told you, I've been avoiding this area because my husband attempted to murder me by beating me repeatedly in the head with a hammer, and then taking me to the woods with some of his church friends, then pitching me out of the bed of a truck at high speeds in the middle of the wilderness."

"I'd prefer not to receive an encore of that... I have an allergy to truck beds," Katherine added.

Gregory nudged Yansa and murmured something, keeping a close eye on things.

Yansa nooded.

Juice went to fetch a piece of cake.

Ming held Michael's hand and looked curiously at the woman who might be Michael's mother.

"Yeah, I know. So why are you back now? Why didn't you, you know come back to get him?" Anna asked

"People kidnap non custodial kids all the time" Anna added

"Well... wait a second, why am I talking to you?" Katherine answered, bemused.

"Because I'm his best friend, and I am not letting you near him until I know that you won't harm a hair on his head" Anna said

"Here's cake," Juice said.

He offered over a slice.

"Oh, don't be ridiculous," Katherine said. "I've never harmed him, and I never plan on doing so. Thank you," she added to Juice, taking the cake. "I do, however, intend on removing the training wheels."

"...he's got a bike?" Juice said. "Michael- you have a bike?"

"No, Juice, I do not have a bike," Michael answered, distracted.

Anna glanced over to Michael

"Mom, where -have- you been? We've ... I've been looking," Michael asked, heading over.

Anna stepped away.

Ming followed Michael, a few steps behind.

Yansa kept a careful eye on the situation, but didn't get up from her seat.

"Oh, I know. Someday I'd like to meet the person you're training with these days -- he has an interesting texture," Katherine said, gesturing vaguely at the air.

"I trust you haven't been busy inflicting harm and devastation upon the innocent or anything?" she added, taking a moment to cut into the cake and have a bite.

"No..." Michael frowned.

"He's been saving the world" Anna said "And his friends"

"How sweet. Though this isn't much of a place to hang around for too long," Katherine warned.

"I have to be here." Anna said "It's my destiny."

"He's a good person," Ming said.

"Child, anyone who tells you you have a destiny is merely trying to make sure you do what they tell you," Katherine said, gesturing with her fork. "It's like the things we tell our children when they're young, about Santa Claus and Rumplestiltskin and the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy."

Yansa folded her arms, not sure she liked what this woman was saying.

"Of course, it's often to make sure that they're behaving themselves... that they aren't doing things they shouldn't," Katherine added. "But eventually, you have to learn to do things because you want to, not because someone else says you must."

Gregory patted Yansa on the shoulder, inclined his head towards the people, and murmured something.

Yansa whispered something back.

Ming frowned.

"I am not a child." Anna said "And okay, fine. I go away, and I screw all my friends over. Not going to happen. They've done way too much for me."

Katherine shrugged. "But you don't HAVE to be here, any more than anyone has to be here, except perhaps the children. Everyone else is here by their own volition."

"Right, because there's no order to the universe, no such thing as destiny," Nica said. "And you know this because ... ?"

"Philisophical discussion aside," Yansa said, getting to her feet. "What is the nature of the gift you wish to give to Michael?"

Katherine shrugged, and finished her cake. "It's the dual nature of the universe to be torn between destiny and free will -- the desire to follow and the desire to lead. Those who follow blindly are just as dangerous --"

"Oh, that? A key," Katherine answered.

"A key to what?" Yansa asked.

"Oh, I don't follow blindly." Anna said "But I realize if I am not here, and if I do not follow my 'calling' or destiny or whatever, things won't be good. I'm not going to let people die just because I want a normal life- I don't even think I could live a normal life." Anna was annoyed

"Please, spare the martyrdom," Katherine said. "Anyhow, speaking of keys and locks, I suppose I should take care of that now. This might sting a little, son... I'm sorry."

She gave an apologetic smile, then made a gesture, and Michael abruptly dropped like a sack of kittens with his hands to his head.

"That should undo the locks I placed when you were younger, just to make sure you didn't do anything too out of hand. Try not to destroy the world, hmmm?" Katherine smiled again, and then disappeared in a puff of shadow that flowed towards the exit.

Nica had been on the verge of biting off an obscenity at the woman, but when Michael dropped, her eyes got wide and she clapped a hand over her mouth.

"Michael!" Ming dropped beside him to check him over, frightened.

Anna kneeled down to see what was up. "Mike?"

Yansa hurried out the door after the puff of shadow

"Ow...ow...owowowowow," Michael moaned, not particularly helpfully.

Gregory hurried out after Yansa.

"That doesn't sting, it -hurts!-" Michael added, making a few flaily gestures as though his body had just fallen asleep simultaneously.

Anna looked over to Ming, concerned.

"Michael - are you alright?" Ming felt his forehead cautiously.

"I'm not sure-- where did she go?!" Michael inquired, if shouting can count as an inquiry.

"She poofed away." Anna said "Gregory and Yansa went after the poof"

"Goddamnit." Michael shook his head.

"I have Vicodin," Nica offered, trying to help.

"I'll pass... it's going away now. Just... goddamn," Michael said. "I haven't even had cake yet."

Juice hurried over to get Michael a slice of cake.

Dot frowned and hurried over. "I wasn't gone that long, was I? What happened in here?" She'd only been gone long enough to make sure that Satsu made it out to meet her ride, and hadn't expected chaos on this scale.

"Michael's mother came for a visit," Ming said.

"Mom -- yeah." Michael sighed.

"She did? I didn't pass anybody on the way back ...oh...OH." Dot blinked. "She wasn't invited, was she?"

"Not exactly... and ... yeah," Michael said, stretching.

Dot held out her arms. "C'mere, birthday boy. You deserve a hug. That was awfully rude of your mom, sounds like. Did she at least bring a present?"

"I have no idea." Michael hugged.

"Well, she won't get 'Mother Of The Year' if I have anything to say about it. Did she at least leave you a card with some money in it?" Dot hugged.

Ming patted Michael's back.

"No..." Michael looked unhappy.

Dot sighed. "Aw. Can I get you something? Don't get up, it's your birthday!"

"I love you," Ming said, and kissed his cheek. "All your friends love you."

Nica nodded, and gave Michael a hug, too.

"We totally do," Juice agreed, and joined in the hug pile.

Livvy looked confused by the whole matter, and collected a slice of cake.

Michael hugged and mumbled, "... I really need to learn not to make wishes. Birthday or otherwise."

Dot smiled, and gently extricated herself from the hugfest. "Anybody else want anything, while I'm up?" She smiled and waved at Livvy.

Anna got in on the hug pi;e too

"... so, did anyone else get me anything?" Michael inquired, grinning a bit wryly.

"Um, me and V got you something." Anna said "Well, it's from all of us because it's a hell of a good gift."

Anna handed an envelope to Michael

Dot took the opportunity to at least fetch her present -- a tall, brightly-wrapped box, from behind the bar.

Michael took the envelope, but made to open Dot's first -- nobody wants to go after the 'hell of a good gift', after all.

Dot grinned. "It's just a little something. I hope you like it." (The little something is a walking stick, painted to glow in the dark, and carved with a cute little ghost face on the top.)

Michael grinned. "S'awesome... I should do more hiking. And try not to break it on anything."

"Kyle and I totally got you something too," Juice said.

Dot beamed. "Yay!"

"I did as well," Ming assured him. "And I think Yansa and Gregory left their present at least..."

Juice handed over a small package that was badly wrapped and had FROM JUICE AND KYLE written on it.

Dot frowned. "Juice, let me handle wrapping the next present you give anyone, okay?"

"Kyle helped," Juice said. "It really sucked before he fixed it."

"Yeah, it was worse," Kyle said, nodding.

Michael snagged the badly wrapped one. "Okay, let's see..."

"My mom volunteered me as a gift-wrapper when I was little," said Dot. "It comes in handy from time to time, even all these years later."

Inside was a gameboy color (mun thinking that was the system they were up to at that time, if not, insert your game system here)

"So you have ninja giftwrap skills?" Kyle inquired.

Dot nodded. "Yes!"

Michael beamed. "Thanks, guys!"

Dot smiled. "Happy Birthday, again!"

"No prob!" Juice said. "We love ours, so thought you'd totally like one..."

Michael tucked the gameboy into a pocket, and opened Anna's next.

"It's from all of us." Anna repeated "Everyone who signed the card chipped in" Inside was a card signed by Anna, Vito, Becky, Nica, Sam, Tim, Tina, Connie, Hunter and Faith, and a pair of tickets for a vacation. "So, nothing else from me. SOrry"

"Wow... really? Hey, Ming..." Michael scuttled over to show her.

"Oh wow..." Ming smiled and looked at the tickets to see where the vacation was to.

The tickets were to and from Paris, but there were a pair of Eurail passes, as well.

Dot peered around for Livvy, then wandered over to keep her company.

Ming blinked. "Oh wow... Paris..." She looked to Michael, smiling a bit nervously. "Do you want my gift now?It's not Paris..."

Michael nodded. "Yes, please."

Livvy was working through a third piece of cake. "Birthdays are strange," she commented to Dot.

"Well, I thought of all the things I might get you..." Ming began. "But all of them fell short, because they were only matterial things, and you are the man who means everything to me in my life..."

Dot smiled. "Howso? They're good excuses for cake and presents, but mostly it's just nice for friends to get together."

"So I had to give you a gift from my heart," Ming continued, reaching into her pocket. "I think it is the usual tradition that boys do this but- what about us is traditional?" She got down on one knee, and offered over a ring with some chinese symbols carved on it. "Michael... would you marry me?"

"Awwww" Anna thought that was cute

"... alright," Michael said, looking surprised.

Dot squeaked, and impulsively held out a hand for Livvy. "Oh, that is just the most adorable..."

"Whoa," Juice said. "Woo!"

Livvy took Dot's hand - with a cakey sticky hand of her own. "Huh?"

" ... damn!" Nica said, and laughed.

Dot smiled. "I hope you were paying close attention to that, kidlet. Momma Ming just asked Michael to marry her."

"Are they going to live in a house and have babies now?" Livvy asked.

Ming slipped the ring on his finger, then hugged him tightly.

Dot laughed. "That might come in time, but I think they're just going to live together and enjoy each other's company for awhile."

Michael hugged, and buried his face in her shoulder.

"That's sneaky," Kyle commented.

"That's so sweet." Anna said, grabbing cake and taking a seat.

"She was like marriage ninja," Juice agreed.

"So... we have ice cream?" Michael said, after a few moments.

"I'll go get it," Ming said, heading for the kitchen.

Anna followed Ming, because she wanted to squeal and be girly and ask about wedding plans

Dot, was still holding Livvy's hand. Cakey or not, it was comforting, in an unusual way.

Kyle commented to Juice, "Isn't she still underage?"

"I think for like.. .another couple months? When is her birthday again?" Juice scratched his head.

Ming smiled and got the ice cream out, then looked to Anna. "Isn't it exciting?"

"Yes!" Anna smiled "A wedding. We need to start planning. Why the hell am I so excited about this?" She gave Ming a big hug, and yes, was actually feeling girl for once "I can't believe it! "

Ming hugged and giggled, excited too. "I'm so glad he said yes."

"Me too!" Anna said

"I dunno," Kyle said. "But we'd better find out. We might have to get a present."

"I turn 18 in June - do you think we should get married this summer? Or earlier?" Ming asked.

"This summer." Anna said "That way we can plan... and the honeymoon! You can go on it right after the wedding!"

"Yes!" Ming bounced a little, excited

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