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All I Got Was the Headache
Amelia Fantastica Misadventure: Book 1
The folks who dink around with fairy tales? You know, Disney and the Grimm brothers and that French guy—what was his name? Perrault? Him especially!—they got it sooooo wrong.
I suppose you can’t blame them. You can’t blame the general public, either. They’ve all been brainwashed to believe that’s what fairy tales are: tales. Stories. You know, fiction.
They’ve never had to face what some of us have to deal with every single day of our lives: Knowing it’s all real.
Okay, maybe not all of it. The stories with giants and ogres and magic bean sprouts and stuff, those really are pure fiction. But the stories about fairy godmothers and the mess they can make of your life? Those are real.
I know because I’ve got one of ’em. A fairy godmother, I mean.
Yeah, yeah, I know what you’re thinking. You read Cinderella and you watched the Disney movie, like, a million times, and now you’ve got your three little girls, who deserve better, watching the darned thing, too. And you’re thinking that if you only had a fairy godmother, even a bumbling one, life would be a whole heck of a lot better than it is.
Well, I’m here to tell you, it wouldn’t.
In fact, if your fairy godmother were only half as incompetent and annoying as my fairy godmother, you’d go off on the whole idea altogether.
To be fair—or at least scrupulously honest, which is a whole other thing—there probably are some decent fairy godmothers in the world. Bound to be. Sweet, hard working, dedicated fairy folk who’d never, ever think of dropping by when they aren’t wanted and who always make sure their gifts will make their godchildren’s lives better and happier and safer and all those other good things. And most would never, ever touch so much as a drop of spirituous liquors—I’m talking the alcoholic kind here, not the magical stuff.
And then there’s Amelia.
Amelia Pomeroy Fitzgerald Fantastica, to be exact. (I suspect the Fantastica part is her own fabrication, though she swears not.)
Amelia dropped into my life (literally—she’d been dipping rather deep in a cask of twenty-year-old single malt they’d just broached in Glengarlie) the day I turned eighteen.
Up until then, my life had been pretty well perfect, despite the zits, the extra ten pounds that I was sure was keeping me from having a body to die for, an unreasonable mother (what mother isn’t?), and a pair of boobs that had only just, barely, made it to a B cup. (I’d been close to suicidal before I finally managed to move out of trainer bras at sixteen.)
And then I turned eighteen, a day I’d been eagerly awaiting because it meant I could get a job, an apartment, and move out on my own, and Amelia shows up.
My life has been a hell of a long way from perfect ever since.
Take right now, for example.
Right now, my chief client (all right, my only client), Jameson John Montgomery the Third, was lying on the floor in my office with what looked suspiciously like my letter opener through his heart.
Fortunately, he hadn’t bled much. Getting blood stains out of that old carpet would have been a bugger.
Unfortunately, he was very dead.
And then Amelia showed up.
As if that weren’t bad enough, her style for the day was a too-tight pink sweater and short black leather skirt skimming thigh-high, high-heeled boots. Disney would have had a cow, right then and there, if he could have seen her. Flora, Fauna, or Merryweather she most definitely is not.
The red hair didn’t do much for her, either. Never has. But she never listens to me.
“I could make him disappear if you like,” she said, eyeing Jameson with beady-eyed interest.
“Like you made my neighbor across the hall disappear?” I said.
“That was a just a little glitch,” she said airily, waving her wand dismissively. “Oops!” she added as my coffee pot exploded. Good thing there was only the dregs of yesterday’s coffee in there. It could have been a real mess, otherwise.
“How many times do I have to tell you?” I demanded wearily. “Put the wand away.”
“Not to worry. I’ll just fix—”
I snatched it out of her hand before she could do any more damage. “No, you won’t.”
“I’ll buy a new pot. It’s safer that way.”
“Anyway, I got your neighbor back, didn’t I?” Amelia could be easily distracted, but she always returned to the point of contention eventually.
“Three days later. After he almost lost his job because he didn’t show up at work when he was supposed to.”
“I fixed that problem, too!”
I snorted. I do a lot of that when Amelia is around.
“You sure did. He says they’ll be releasing his boss from the psychiatric care home next week if everything goes well.”
She huffed in irritation. She does a lot of that whenever I’m around.
“Spells of forgetting are really very tricky. You know that.”
Boy, howdy, do I know that. I still haven’t decided if I really want to find out what happened that weekend I spent in Bermuda with Bryan Marsh. It’s been two years, yet he still makes a point of crossing to the other side of the street whenever he sees me coming. Even if it means jaywalking in rush hour traffic three seconds after the light turns green.
“Let’s concentrate on the problem in front of us, shall we?” I said.
Amelia frowned at me, then she frowned down at Jameson, and then she squinted. She should have gotten
glasses years ago, but she’s way too vain. (I haven’t told her about the wrinkles when she squints.)
Taking care not to poke myself with the wand—Amelia insists on having a pointy gold star on the end of the thing, even though she admits it’s not strictly necessary—I crossed my arms, and then I frowned even more than Amelia. (I’m not vain, so I don’t worry about the wrinkles.)
Jameson was still there on the floor in front of us, and he was still very, very dead.
Clearly, this was not going to be one of my better days.