Kian’s living room was cold, really cold, ice growing on the tip of his nose sorta cold. The hairs on his arms stood on edge while his shoulders shook slightly as he reached over for a blanket over the back of the couch, only then realizing that he was hanging out in just his boxers and a goddamn frog hat. No wonder he was cold, but why was he so sweaty?
“Really appreciate the confidence you’ve got in me, Kiki. Ya mean, you don’t think that I could be the next Mozart? Bach? Picasso? I mean, how do you know that I’m not tryin’ to break into the music world?” Felix chimed in response to Kian’s proposition of music. Yeah right, some lyricist Felix would be. “I mean, just because I have no sense of rhythm and can’t sing and can’t dance don’t mean nothin’.”
“Actually, it does.” Kian teased bluntly as he pulled the blanket tighter around his shuddering shoulders. “Maybe stick in your lane, let the beats come from the music master here.”
Kian scooted over slightly to make room for Felix on the couch, realizing that there had been more than enough space only after pressing his body into the corner. Kian’s feet tapped the carpet underfoot, the hyper drumming shaking his hips and torso with the movement. It was an anxious habit that Kian had just never been able to kick. No, Felix wasn’t making him worried, but the uncontrollable shivers and the throbbing in his skull was more than enough to set him on edge. What the hell had he even taken? Where had he gotten it? Why was it so fucking cold?
“Hey, bud…let’s just say, as Felix Emmerson, I’ve got my ways,” Felix continued as he (rudely) grabbed one of the protruding frog eyes sitting atop Kian’s head before seating himself on the ottoman. “That way just so happened to be the door. Lock it up next time, bud.”
A soft groan fell from Kian’s chest as he tilted his chin towards the ceiling. Kian never forgot to lock the door, that was the one thing that Kian always remembered to do. Well, locking his door and calling his mom every Sunday night. He never missed a phone call with his mom. So, in the absence of his roommates, Kian could only assume that either Lucky or Javi or both forgot to lock the door when they left to do whatever the hell they had to do that day.
“Hmm…so what to do today… I mean…we got the generic, borin’ shit like…nnn, I dunno. A movie. Bowlin’ alley. Texas Roadhouse.” Felix mused as Kian lowered his gaze from the stucco ceiling to the blond boy in front of him, face screwing up at the thought of being in a light-flashing movie or a loud, clanging bowling alley or an overly busy restaurant. Fuck that, they all sounded like hell. Besides, Kian was broke (don’t tell Kelli). “I mean, there’s also zoos, but I think they’d probably put you in as an exhibit if we went there. Guess there’s skatin’. Surfin’…but I can’t surf — oh.”
Kian blinked a few times, his chapped lips pressing into a thin line as Felix continued to ramble on and on and on. He loved the guy, he really did, but how on earth was he so damn dramatic? Would it kill him to cut to the chase for once?
“I almost forgot, maybe this could help, ya think? I’ll expect the payment later, ‘kay?”
A bag of something was tossed towards Kian’s chest, his hands fumbling to catch it in his clutch. Slowly opening his fingers, Kian looked down at the three triangular pills at the bottom of the baggy. He knew exactly what they were, a party drug that was a well-known favourite of Kian’s. Felix used to sell them to him all the time, back when he was using before and after his shows. Kian raised the baggy to his eye level, staring down the pills. He shouldn’t take them, not after the night he had just had. Plus, he knew he wouldn’t be able to pay Felix back anytime soon, not while he was splitting his main source of income with two other people.
But maybe taking one wouldn’t hurt, it would be enough to take the edge off, enough to dull the marching band in his brain and warm the ice cubes in his chest. It would be enough to get him through the day, enough to get him to have some fun with a friend, enough to take the edge off and get him through the night. He’d go back to being sober tomorrow, one more day wasn’t going to kill him.
Carefully opening the bag, Kian fished one of the pills out and swallowed it, zipping the bag back up and closing his fist around it.
“Oh, oh, oh. Ohhhh, Kiaaaaaan.” Kian looked up from his closed hand to Felix and subsequently Felix’s phone that was being shoved in his face. The words and pictures swam together in front of him, Kian’s face screwing together in confusion as he waited for Felix to continue. “See that? West Heights Golf Course is havin’ a half-price day. Eighteen holes, $30 apiece. A real steal if ya ask me. You thinkin’ what I’m thinkin’?”
Kian leaned forwards towards Felix, a hand reaching out to pat Felix’s shoulder as an impish smile crawled across his paled face. “I’ve always wanted to be a middle-aged golf dad.” He joked as he stood up, the blanket falling from his shoulders. “Gimme a few to get ready.”
A short shower, change, and a drive later and Kian and Felix were in front of the main building of West Heights Golf, standing out like sore thumbs amongst a sea of upper-class, fancily dressed fingers.
The steady thrum had dulled in Kian’s head, the shakes and the cold melting away to a normal feeling. Kian felt normal for the first time in days, not high or withdrawing or in that weird stage in between. He was a bit nauseous and his teeth felt a little strange but otherwise, Kian felt perfectly and completely normal. It was probably the Tylenol and water that did it along with the McDonald’s breakfast sandwich that Kian had bothered Felix to stop and pick up for him.
“Well, should we go in?” Kian asked as he gave Felix a gentle nudge in the side with his elbow. “I assume we gotta pay, get the clubs or whatever.” A small grin broadened Kian’s cheeks as he stuffed his hands into the pockets of his jeans. “I used to golf all the time with my dad. Try not to be too sad when I wipe the course with you, you’ll have to find someone else to kiss it better.”
A loud honk pierced through the casual white noise of the golf course, Kian jumping out of the way and directly into Felix as a golf cart being driven by one incredibly angry looking old lady whizzed by him, narrowly avoiding a full on collision.
“Hey! Watch where you’re goin’, Grandma!” Kian called out, shaking an overly dramatic fist as the golf cart began to crest the hill towards the gated rental community beyond the golf course. If he didn’t know any better, or if the cart had been any closer, Kian could have sworn that he saw a wrinkly old middle finger shoot up in his direction as the gates flew open and the golf cart disappeared beyond them. “Crazy old bat.” Kian grumbled as he steadied himself, offering an apologetic smile to Felix. “Shall we?”
The Arts Festival went surprisingly well, but again Luciana wouldn't accept anything other than perfection, her designs managed to catch the eye of some people in the industry, the business cards were carefully saved with the rest that she had received before, after all, this was just a networking event, hide as an event to show to your parents what you have been doing while being here.
Sure, the festival did bring unexpected results first of all her father, even if he wasn't completely thrilled about Luciana's work he did not tarnish her work and confidence so it was a small win for her after all Mr. Marcos Navarro Garrido was a tough person to please, so even his silence and unamused look towards her project really did say more than she was used to if you really knew how Luciana's father really was then him being silent was like the biggest compliments or at least that what she had made up her mind to believe.
Then there was Jared, who at the last minute decided to get back that favor and she had to help him, even if at the beginning she was doing more at the cause of keeping your friends close but your enemies closer mindset. Although Jared was not exactly an enemy, having people like him close was sometimes more useful than you would care to admit and after all, he got her an interview for an internship so she can't really say anything bad after all, she got something at the end that was beneficial for her at the end.
And in the end, there was Damien Slater, someone that Luciana kind of knew because of his constant Twitter fights with almost everyone. Even if she didn't partake in Twitter drama since she had a policy of doing something productive with her life rather than just acting like savages on the internet it didn't take away the fun of seeing people fight and trash each other. Yes, Luciana was the kind of girl that liked seeing the world burn but not burn in it, she was better seeing the rest just fighting while she accomplished things.
In another situation, Luciana wouldn't have take interest in the boy if it wasn't that he was Dalton's stepbrother, she even felt kind of bad after all who would want to be related to Dalton? Even if it was because of their parent's marriage she would have found a way to get emancipated, but in reality, Luciana really thought of Damien as someone that she could use to irk Dalton after all she knew that her presence was enough reason for the boy to become angry his stepbrother wasn't really necessary.
The real reason? Well, Luciana saw in Damien the copy of the dog that her aunt owned; a chihuahua to be exact all bark and no bite, with all his bluff all over social media was just prove of that, and to be honest, the girl liked the dog, so had she decided to have Damien as her own puppy? Maybe, she wasn't sure yet after the Arts Festival, Luciana stopped being busy so boredom was piling up, and have someone to entertain her was something that she got interested and Damien was the perfect person after all the boy did seem like the type of person to think more with his dick rather than his head so he would never have a clue about it.
That was the main reason why she messaged him to come dress shopping with her because she can ensure that he thought that she was crazy over him and he would come right away, sometimes men were so easy to read.
But today, her interest was in finding a dress for the ball, and it needed to be perfect but so far none of the ones that she had seen really caught her interest, why everything was so tacky? "Hey, this one looks good. Let's get it and go." a voice interrupted her thoughts and realized that Damien was finally there holding a hot pink dress, talking about tacky.
"Really? Hot pink? Let me guess, your mom still dresses you up. Anyways you were kind of late, but I'll let it slide this time I still have to lookup around for something that is not as hideous as that dress. By the way, do you have a suit for the ball? And don't you dare to say you are planning to use an old one from a relative."
Ava’s whole scene of panic left Alex… pretty confused, honestly. Why was she so defensive over a question? All Alex had meant in the first place was that she hadn’t heard any arguments from her room these past few days.
They were being surprisingly civil with another.
Not that there was complete bloodbaths whenever they were around each other, there were small things that’d come up and Alex would excuse herself to the nearest room where they weren’t.
After Alex was practically rushed out of the house, she set out to meet Simone.
She had a bad feeling about this. Or, maybe it was just a pool of nervousness that sat in her stomach simply because she wanted this to go well. No, not well as in ‘I hope I don’t get arrested’ well as in…
‘Let’s get things back to normal so we can be friends again.’
Whatever almost happened, was a mistake.
Heat of the moment.
Simone wasn’t anywhere to be found outside the building, and for a second she was a little confused before she realized they couldn’t just walk in just yet.
Alejandra had to admit her curiosity was peaked.
She wasn’t a big rule breaker, at least in LA.
Back home it was much easier to get away with just about anything-- and even then, Alex was the one who tried to keep everyone else out of trouble.
When she wasn’t the one starting it— that was. As shocking as it is to hear, Alejandra Cortez was not the sweetest… fruit? of the bunch? Oh, whatever.
Alex had gotten into a lot of fights when she was young.
Didn’t really matter.
She was just… not the greatest as a kid. It wasn’t as bad when her father was around, after that it started to become a little worse. Once high school hit, Alex had to start taking responsibility for her own actions and slowly by slowly, she became a little less…
So while this was out of her comfort zone now, it wasn’t anything Alex was particularly afraid of doing.
Alex spotted her a little ways away from the bar, leaning against the wall near an alleyway and she shook her head, clearly amused at the sight of Simone seeming inconspicuous.
She wasn’t the type of girl who went unnoticed.
Alex made her way over and she took in her attire.
Was she underdressed?
You look nice.
But she couldn’t say that.
Alex caught herself, quickly changing her choice of words. “Hey. Do I get a fake name? How’s the photo?” She said, her gaze traveling towards the building and the many people who entered.
“We probably look so shady right now, two girls meeting in an alleyway? Either you’re selling me drugs or I’m soliciting you--” She glanced over at Simone, regretting what she’d said.
Alex wasn’t wrong!
That’s what this looked like.
Alex sighed, holding her hand out for the ID as she spoke.
"Look, you’re not a… prostitute in my eyes, don’t worry."
Cue the internal facepalm.
No matter how weird-- or normal things were, Alex would still always have a knack for saying the wrong thing around Simone. She couldn't help it. It was just... when it came to Simone, Alex couldn't think straight. But that's only because Simone had this certain aura of... something.
Alex just couldn't place her finger on it just yet.
"So... what's the plan?"
She assumed she had a plan.
Okay, so Alex had hoped she had a plan.
If the plan was to... get plastered drunk at any and every bar they could find, and if it meant they were completely okay after?
JJ hated people like that. The ones who tried to make sense out of everything just to seem right or whatever. Maybe she was just in a bad mood— Let’s be honest, it was rare for the brunette to be in a good mood, but now especially?
Juliette rolled her eyes, deciding not to give Maggie an answer.
All honesty, the whole thing with Ash probably could’ve been avoided if JJ didn’t side with Maggie. But like, it was well deserved.
Why did she side with Maggie?
(Even though in JJ’s eyes, she didn’t really side with anyone.)
Ash pissed her off.
First she invites her to some kind of dress hunt expedition with like forty girls that JJ hates. Like, she could’ve handled Maddie. Because as much as she hates Maddie, at the end of the day she’s Maddie, so JJ couldn’t really like, not hang out with her if that made sense?
It made sense. Too bad.
Anyway, after that.
Ash just leaves her for a man?
Who was like, barely a man in the first place. Who the hell gives a shit about some rainbow haired idiot?
Wayyyy more than she cared about JJ.
So much for fucking ‘friends.’
You don’t ditch your friend for a man. Unless like, it was your boyfriend but even then it was still fucking shitty. Like you didn’t see her making plans with Ava and then dropping her to go makeout with Dorian, now did you?
Yeah, thought so.
JJ apologized, but like, Ash was clearly in some kind of mood, so while they were upset with each other right now, even though Ash had no right to be angry at her for literally anything.
Okay, yeah she shouldn’t have taken Maggie’s side.
(Which she still thinks she totally didn’t, but okay.)
But like she said, she apologized.
Fine. She posted a picture of them that said; ‘I fucking hate this photo.’ But if you knew JJ like, at all? Photos that she hated were like never posted ever.
So, it was a pretty big deal for her.
Fucking whore. She couldn't at least have acknowledged it?
"Well I didn't know I was coming to the mall and dressing to impress today or I'd have worn those fishnets you love so much."
Cue the scowl.
“You looked like a slut.”
She didn’t look bad, but still like a slut.
That was as far as a compliment would get when it comes to JJ.
Although she had to admit, it was different to see her in more... casual clothes. Maggie didn’t seem as intimidating when she was dressed like a normal person.
Okay, don’t get like… weirded out or something. Maggie wasn’t intimidating. Nobody was ‘intimidating’ to JJ. It was just like her whore-ish aura, y’know? It was the flirting, the way she fucking stared at her. Which wasn’t like staring in a weird way, Maggie just had one of those piercing gazes that made Juliette feel uncomfortable with prolonged eye contact.
"So unless you wanna dress me? Be my personal stylist for the day, I think we're gonna just have to suffer together."
“Yeah, I’m nowhere near interested in shopping for you, so, you can suffer looking incredibly homewrecker-esque and I can pretend like I don’t know you.”
Was that a dig for what Ash-- implied earlier? Yes, implied because she didn’t actually say those words. Like, yeah JJ has never seen Ash full-on like attack somebody, but it wasn’t like…
If calling someone a homewrecker was a big deal? JJ was going straight to hell at that point.
It literally doesn’t compare to the shit she’s said to people.
And the difference between her and Ash?
JJ didn’t regret it-- or ‘imply’ anything. She just straight up said the shit she wanted to and made no apologies for it.
Like, sorry if you’re sensitive?
But not her problem.
But anyway, back to what Maggie was saying. The only person JJ tried to dress was like, Ava. Because most of her other… whatever they were had some sort of style.
Not to say that Maggie didn’t have style.
She did. JJ just didn’t really like it.
She liked styling Dorian from time-to-time too. Her boyfriend was super hot and he knew his way around clothing perfectly fine, okay, well, kind of fine.
Rich people didn’t dress like hobos unless you were like… Kanye West.
And thankfully, Dorian was nothing like Kanye West.
Although she’d make a fucking amazing Kim Kardashian.
Juliette picked up a men’s dress shirt, adjusting it on the hanger before setting it back down, changing her mind. Everything in this store was complete and utter-- shit.
Like why even open a shop if you were going to sell literal rags? Like, legitimate trash?
Please. JJ could find a corner store in New York that had better clothes than this over-priced boutique.
She’d take a fake over a designer nobody knew any day.
“These all look too plain for you, let's try someplace a little more fun. What do you say?"
JJ glanced over at Maggie with a blank stare.
“Yeah, fine whatever.”
Maggie, had taken her to where no preppy, rich, sixteen year old girl would ever consider even stepping into.
The store was called ‘broadway.’
Think hot topic, but filled with less nerd shit.
Or, if you wanted to go all the way, a rhinestone studded dildo was sure to be found around here. Well, if JJ looked hard enough. But there was no way Juliette was about to go to the back of broadway, aka; off brand but somehow designer brand Spencers.
“Is this where you shop for pajamas?” She asked, picking up a dress made of leather straps. Nothing but leather straps. Like, someone could practically be naked and wear something like this.
“Ew. Do they even have normal dresses? Like, I swear if you just took me to a sex store--" Her gaze caught on a rack of dresses and she glanced towards Maggie.
Okay, but that didn't mean there was going to be good dresses.
Okay, so there was one good dress. But JJ didn't make a move to take it off the rack just yet.
She was not about to eat her own words or whatever.
"Okay, whatever. So they have normal dresses. Big deal." It was kind of a big deal. It was gorgeous. Not like awe-worthy but like, JJ could totally make it awe worthy just by wearing it. She would've assumed this place would be way more like...gothic-chic? But... they actually incorporated some color into their dresses.
"Go try something on. Shoo demon, shoo." A desperate attempt to get Maggie to turn her back so JJ could easily lie and say she found this dress entirely by herself, somewhere all the way--
no, not in the back.
But hidden where Maggie never would've found it, so her choice of store couldn't be the reason JJ actually found something genuinely worthy of wearing to the winter ball.
Chills went through Anastasia’s body as she looked over the ice of the rink that she owned. It was emply, because she had closed it for the day. She hadn’t been on the ice in skates in over a year, and the situation she had gotten herself in had forced her to be here.
Another chill went through her body. The chills had zero to do with the cold air in the rink, and everything to do with the mental block she had on skating. Her skates were tied perfectly and of course they fit perfectly; the blades sharpened to the precise point they needed to be to glide through the ice.
Gliding through the ice required her to get on the ice, and not just stand by it like a scared kitten. The problem was – she was a scared kitten at this point. Trauma circled in her brain from the last time she was on ice, how she pushed herself and ended up only hurting herself.
Chills continued to cause her body to vibrate as she moved closer to edge of the rink and taking a deep breath as she moved near. She knew how to skate – she didn’t forget that over night and there was no way she would ever forget after years of practice and competition. The problem wasn’t skating. The problem was trusting herself, her body to do the things that she used to do. To make the jumps, spins, and twirls that she did to such a high degree.
She stepped one foot out to the ice, no sound being made as the sharp blade sat on the ice. She swallowed air as her hands trembled as they clutched the wall. She stepped her other foot on the ice, closing her eyes as she slid across the ice slowly.
Ok. First step done. She managed to conquer her first fear of getting back on the ice. Next, she needed to move about the rink. Slowly she kicked and let herself glide. Slow, small strides led her through the ice, her confidence slowly building back up, but a since of paranoia keeping her from doing anything complicated.
She got back on the ice and didn’t die so maybe she could do this after all. The problem was her body wouldn’t let her and there was a pain that didn’t exist in her knee. She reached under her bra and removed two mid dosage oxy pills and threw them back as she dry swallowed. She would continue her slow skate session, taking a break every once a while not really making any progress, until the pills started to finally take effect and the pain slowly subsided. The euphoric effect began to overtake and she closed her eyes again.
The world around her went pitch black before a spotlight shined on her. She opened her eyes and threw her hands up like a gymnast, before she began to skate. Slowly she dipped into a routine. One she had never done before and started to look reminiscent of her old self.
The day had come where she was supposed to have her family skate outing. Stassi had gotten to practice some more before this day, though always on oxy and always after she had closed the rink down (though the last few times she waited until its actual closing time.)
This time she had timed her ingesting of her pills properly (though adding a low dose pill to it too) so that she was deep in the effects before she hit the ice. She also had done a bump in the locker room, but that wasn’t here nor there.
She sat there lacing her skates up and stared blankly out to her sister as she spoke. Stassi had unintentionally become a zonked-out zombie who was a bit jittery and twitchy. She’d lose her delicate ability to play ‘spy’, but she’d be able to skate.
It’s a lovely day for skating, is it not?
There was only a slightly conscious, slow nod when her sister spoke. On any other day she would have said something snappy, but she currently wasn’t all of the way there.
How are you feeling today? Nervous?
She should be nervous, shouldn’t she? Though she had been practicing, it wasn’t as if she had an entire competition ready routine in less than a week. She couldn’t be nervous at the moment. She was so high out of her mind that it was probably dangerous for her to skate but she would, “I’m feeling….bold.”
That was oddly phrased.
Well, your time is about to arrive… Break a leg, and try not to disappoint our parents
She looked at Katya skate away tending to her skates one last time, before getting to her feet and moving out onto the ice. What was she going to do? She didn’t have anything prepared. What was she to do?
She skated to her parents before bowing a bit, “I have a little knee pain so I won’t be able to do a full routine..” she lied as she reached for her wrist and scratched it with her opposite hand, “So I hope you enjoy this um….Рутина.” It was strange. Perhaps from the fog of the of being under the influence, she couldn’t recall the English word for routine, but she recalled the Russian word for it…which was very close to the English word.
She slowly skated backwards away from them, allowing them to hug the ice as she moved to the center of the rink. She didn’t need full space of the rink because she wasn’t going to do anything particularly complicated like she would for competition, though in truth she didn’t know WHAT she was about to do. Drugs..lead the way.
She began to move around the ice doing a short routine (see gif), before gliding to one of the ice when she finished. When they were sure she was done their parents skated up to her and clapped. Her mother was the first to speak.
It was unorthodox and doesn’t belong in competition, but it is nice to know that you’re headed back…Oh your nose.
Stassi blinked for a moment as she moved her hand to her nose to feel blood and then immediately turned to the side to throw up. The drugs giveth and the drugs taketh. Whatever good will she earned from skating just now was erased by what just occurred.
Seeing Ciara move out of her home brought a smile to his lips. He was relieved to know that she wasn’t what was known as a catfish. Not that he didn’t believe that she was some actual catfish swimming along the river – there were too many people at the school to not raise questions about the legitimacy of a profile like that. It was more so about how he felt about pictures. Being royalty, he was very aware of the edits that they did to pictures. He could still recall the day he was supposed to take his family photo and hiss siter had a large pimple on her face. With the help of editing magic and make-up, her skin looked even better than usual.
So a part of him was a little concerned that perhaps that maybe there was a bit of deception in appearance going on. She was gorgeous after all, and people have done worse things to deceive a prince. Especially a prince who isn’t aware that he’s a naïve, gullible young man in a new country.
All that to say he was glad she was not.
It's good to finally meet you in person.
“Likewise, I look forward to our day together.”
Thank you, how sweet.
“Of course. Anytime.”
He smiled again before moving behind the young woman as Amal closed the door behind him, before both he and Zara entered the vehicle. Amal spoke into a radio in Arabic, relaying information about them moving to the next destination and to maintain the perimeter around the vehicle.
Majid took a moment to look at the woman who sat next to him, before making sure his seatbelt was locked in and nodded to Zara (who was driving.)
“This is Zara, she is my head of security. And the big guy over here is Amal. He’s second in charge. There are more guards, but these two will be the only faces you ever see this close.”
He leaned back into his seat and looked out the dark, tinted windows as Los Angeles passed them by. He glanced back over to her and smiled, “I hear good things about where we’re going. They have an um how do you say…brunch? That’s apparently really good.” It wasn’t that he struggled with English, on the contrary. He had been speaking English since he was young, and there was little to no trace of a distinct accent when he spoke. He was a polyglot though, and more colloquial words were harder for him to keep track of.
It wouldn’t be too long before they arrived at the restaurant and Zara opened Ciera’s door and Amal his own as he looked over the outside of a restaurant. It was some fancy smancy one that his brother had recommended, that included some rooftop seating with a nice overlook on the ocean. Though the inside had its normal business operating, Majid had ensured that the rooftop was clear for them and they would get their own staff. This meant their own server, their own chef, their own host, and their own busboy. (Also their own DJ too but that was less important)
They also had their own private entrance to stairs to the rooftop. Majid watched as Amal moved up the stairs and disappeared for a second, before his voice cracked through on Zara’s radio.
Perimeter set. Amir and Zaid have vantage points for spot b and c. Everyone else will complete their normal tasks, send them up.
The Arabic was quick and hard to understand for even a native speaker, but Zara and Majid knew Amal well enough to easily decipher it.
Majid reached out for Ciara’s hand, more to help her with the first couple of stairs than to make a move or anything, “Our brunch awaits us love.”
When Simone woke up this morning -- or really, this whole week -- she’s been experiencing a series of emotions that were foreign to her. The aftermath of Arts Fest wasn’t what she expected. She didn’t think she did that magnificently. After spending most of the immediate time after her performance with Alex, Simone kept thinking it wasn’t that great. She knew she did her best, but something told her it wasn’t amazing.
Alex disagreed, of course, but she didn’t seem to think so.
And she didn’t understand why she didn’t think that. Simone didn’t understand why she felt so down and out about it.
Yeah, you do know why but you just don’t want to say it.
Okay, so maybe she was feeling hurt. Hurt because her family couldn’t make it. Hurt that she wanted them to see that the past four years of her being away from them wasn’t for nothing. To see that she could make something out of nothing. And maybe it wasn’t that she didn’t think she put on a great show, because maybe after those initial moments of pity-disguised-as-disappointment/rage, the neon sign detailing what she really felt just made it that much worse.
They didn’t make it on the night that was supposed to prove to most of them that she wasn’t just hiding away from her damn papi and that she was actually achieving something. Instead, she felt a wave of strange anger that she couldn’t put a word or phrase on for people who she knew would have been there if they could.
It made no sense, but as the days went by, Simone was just trying not to succumb to it all. She did this by distracting herself with anything she could. The week was easy because homework didn’t take a break just because the Arts Fest literally just happened. Usually, Simone did everything she could to avoid that, but for the first time, she actually wanted to dive headfirst into it.
But when she did everything she could, she knew she needed something else.
Or, more accurately, someone else. Someone named Alejandra Cortez.
Simone’s brilliant idea to convince Alex to come with her on a grand adventure, one that might involve breaking a few laws, was going to be nothing short of exhilarating (assuming they don’t get arrested). She went to a friend of hers for this.
Well, when she says friend, she really means her cousin Raul Guiterrez. He lives in Long Beach and he technically goes Long Beach University. Simone never did know his major specifically, but he was the only person she knew who lived within driving distance who could make fake ID’s as good as the DMV did (ya know, other than it being illegal). And considering she was family, he always gave her a discount.
But the problem she always faced when going to him was that he wanted to ask how she was. Every single time. Thankfully, he wasn’t the type to go past “how are you”.
Just twenty minutes after he dropped them off in the back alley of the bar that she and Alex were gonna hit first, her partner-in-crime finally arrived and Simone finally gave her first genuine smile all week (well, ya know not counting the other times she was with Nickie and Alex).
And then a flood of questions came and all Simone could do was kind of giggle at how Alex was way more nervous -- maybe even anxious? -- about this. She wanted to get a word in, say something, but before she could, Alex went on and she just let her favorite Amazon go on until she finished.
“So, what’s the plan?”
“Well…” Simone’s voice trailed off into a chuckle. “First off, no we don’t have fake names. There’s no point since I don’t think they care enough about our names enough to run it through a database I’m sure they don’t have.” There was another small chuckle. “And don’t worry about the photo, chika. Raul is a maestro. He made it work.”
She smiled again and finally looked at what she was wearing. “You look hot, by the way,” Simone said that so casually that it came off as a second-nature kind of comment.
“As for the plan? Well…” There was a silence that was followed by a chuckle. “There is no plan. I mean, there was a plan, but it wasn’t any good so I threw it out. We go into the bar with our obviously-at-least-21-years-old heads, act like we belong, and have some fun!” She grinned and grabbed Alex’s hand, pulling her along out of the alleyway. “And if all else fails, just do what I do!” She shot Alex a wink before they’d begin their crazy adventure.
See, in Felix’s humble opinion, golf was the unrightfully forgotten sport. When you thought of sports, you always thought of things like basketball or football or baseball or soccer, and over there in the corner sat lil’ ol’ golf, like the dejected outcast forty-year-old uncle at the family dinner. But if you looked real hard at it, it’d surprise ya, y’know? Continuin’ the uncle analogy…maybe it had drugs to offer you or somethin’. That was an awful analogy to go with…but drugs were fun, yeah, and they could give ya a real good time. Not exactly Felix’s cup of tea — he only sold, not used — but nothin’ was sayin’ you couldn’t resell the uncle’s stuff to get some good money, and, as they say, money makes the world go ‘round. Had you kept underestimatin’ that weird uncle and not approached him, you never would’ve gotten the joy of resellin’ crack cocaine to —
Anyway, where was he?
Oh right. Golf.
Golf was fun was his point. Underrated. You got to swing long, skinny metal rods at balls. What wasn’t fun about that?
As they strolled down the sidewalk towards the building, Felix whistled a soft tune. Dressed in his t-shirt, jacket, and jeans, he didn’t quite blend in with the wrinkled, designer polo-wearing crowd, but his buddy to his side stood out even more dramatically than he did.
“Well, should we go in?” Kian asked, nudgin’ him with his elbow. “I assume we gotta pay, get the clubs or whatever.”
“You’d figure. Kinda need those,” Felix agreed.
Kian grinned at Felix, shovin’ his hands in his pockets. “I used to golf all the time with my dad. Try not to be too sad when I wipe the course with you, you’ll have to find someone else to kiss it better.”
“I think you’re projectin’ your future onto me, bud.” Felix grinned back at Kian. “I’m sure one’a the geezers here’ll give you a big ol’ smooch an’ maybe even make you a nice batch of cookies to calm your d —“
As Felix looked to his left, Kian slammed into his body, and he stumbled back a step. “Oof,” he said, confusedly lookin’ for an explanation as to what’d happened.
His eyes caught on a retreatin’ golf cart as Kian, shakin’ a fist, called, “Hey! Watch where you’re goin’, Grandma!” The golf cart, unfazed, continued to pull towards…was that a gated community on that hill? Felix cracked a grin, snickerin’. Of course there was. Old farts loved them some golf, ya know.
“Crazy old bat,” Kian grumbled. In his periphery, Felix saw him give him a smile, but his eyes were still focused on that gated community on top of the hill. “Shall we?”
Felix continued to stare blankly at the community on top of the hill for a moment, a grin vaguely on his lips and a playful gleam in his eyes.
He turned his head to look at Kian, and his grin broadened. “I’ve got an idea,” he said, and he followed it up with the most sure confirmation in history that something stupid was goin’ to happen:
Mike's reaction kind of led Nate to doubt what he'd said -- about having done this before -- but he didn't really care enough one way or another to loiter too long on it. It was what it was. If Mike wanted to lie and said that he did these even though he clearly didn't on a normal basis, then whatever.
It was none of Nate's business.
Even if it was, he probably wouldn't push for more information.
“You got anything to drink?” he asked. “Preferably alcohol?” He sighed. “I’m really in the... ‘get shit-faced and start a riot’ kind of mood.”
Nate paused for a moment, and then gave a nod of his head. Although heading back up to the apartment wasn't his ideal way to start the day of fucking around (it kind of felt like taking a step back), he also liked to entertain the idea of alcohol. Like it just sounded really fucking good right now.
"C'mon," the super verbose boy (and yeah, that was sarcasm) said, and he pushed away from the hood of Mike's rundown, shitty car to lead him back towards the apartment. And then it was retracing his steps from just minutes earlier. Up the stairs (he preferred it to the elevator for whatever reason) until they arrived on his floor, and Nate led the way to his apartment. He pulled his keys out to unlock it, but interestingly enough, the door was unlocked.
He slid his keys back into his pocket and then turned the doorknob, pushing the door open and stepping inside. Nate held the door open for Mike to follow after him, but stepped away after Mike had taken the door. What, he wasn't going to wait and close it. Mike had hands. He could to it himself.
Nate walked into the apartment and started back towards his bedroom (as if he kept his alcohol within reach of his roommates), but he came to a halt when he saw some dude standing in his apartment. For a moment, Nate just stared at him. Blinking. The dude looked rough as fuck.
"You don't live here," Nate stated the obvious, his dark lazy eyes scanning Lucky's figure for a moment. "Look like shit." He commented, and then he looked towards Mike. "Wait."
With that, he walked past both of them and towards his bedroom. That door was also unlocked and stepping in, he was greeted by the familiar scent of weed (although that wafted through the entire apartment), mixed with the scent of his paints, and a touch of BO which Evie liked to cite as a reason for her not staying at Nate's apartment.
He opened up his closet, eyes scanning the top shelf, and then he grabbed a couple bottles down. The closet door was shut, and Nate headed back out of the room into the living room.
Without really saying... well, anything, Nate handed a bottle of tequila to Mike, followed by holding out a bottle of whiskey to Lucky, and then he popped open his own bottle of rum to take a drink.
Alcohol really wasn't his favorite thing.
Weed was better.
Speaking of, he'd definitely forgot about his blunt and dropped it outside.
After he let the bottle hang by his side, he looked towards Lucky once more. "Come with us?" he asked, although it probably came out sounding like more of a statement, and then he glanced in Mike's direction with a raised eyebrow. That was babro code for you cool with this, babro?
The shower had helped Spencer clear his head, unfortunately, he’d also ended up spending more time standing under the shower head as it blasted with a jet of cold water than he should have and so now, he was making his way through the streets, looking for the fountain they had agreed to meet up at and completely late.
He seriously hoped he hadn’t been keeping her waiting too long, especially after she’d been kind enough to offer to spend her weekend showing him around the city. Maybe he should have asked Ez to drop him off before his surf trip.
No, he’d bothered his older brother enough, he should have just watched his time better and left earlier.
Spencer paused mid step to pull up his phone and try and check his location. The GPS was telling him he was in the right area, so the fountain should be somewhere nearby, but where?
Slowly he made his way through the park trying to locate the fountain they had agreed to meet up at.
Not there, didn’t seem to be there either, or in that direction, where…ah!
Was that it?
Spencer edged closer in that direction, tucking his phone back into his back pocket as he made his way through the small crowd.
Bingo. He’d found it. He’d also found it very late. Thankfully, it didn’t take long for him to spot Beth, seated on the edge of the fountain waiting.
He quickly jogged over, coming to a stop just to the side of her.
“Hey,” he greeted with an apologetic smile, one hand running through the back of his hair, “sorry I’m so late. I got a bit turned around trying to locate the fountain.” Not entirely true, but not entirely false either.
Beth didn’t need to know about what happened earlier in the morning or burdened with any of his troubles. They were his to bear after all and he didn’t want to waste any more of her day with a long winded explanation.
“I’ll make it up to you later. Shall we get this city tour started?” He asked, waiting for her instruction on where they were headed first as he tucked his hands into his pockets.
Newt’s comment about strangers made Mikaela smile as she remembered their night out by the pier. It also made her wince internally for a brief little second as she remembered that her little lie about a David Preston to Chanel had probably landed an innocent stranger in the police department. “Nope, thankfully all is clear on the stranger coast because my stranger taser is still under repair.” She joked without missing a beat. Technically her stranger taser was working perfectly fine, and also it was a person not an actual taser. No prizes for guessing because the answer was pretty obvious if you asked her, but in case you weren’t sure, the stranger taser she was referring to was Chanel. With her favourite stick in the mud around, she wouldn’t be getting to meet any strangers any time soon. Not that she really wanted to at the moment anyways, but you know when she wasn’t feeling so shitty, she might, and then that perfectly working stranger taser of hers would be a problem.
“So Ash…dresses? That’s what we’re doing?”
Ah right. Shopping for dresses. How long had it been since she’d last gone shopping?
…. She couldn’t remember
Oh well, wasn’t like that was important anyways. Mikaela was far from a fan of little trips down memory lane. Nostalgia was just not her cup of tea.
Ash took charge, as she should being the clear organiser of the trip and started walking towards a dress store and tugging Mikaela along. Ash’s little chatter about what kind of dress she would look good in kinda went in one ear and out the other. She was distracted. So Mikaela kinda just nodded along and smiled, pretending like she had actually paid attention to and retained whatever it was that Ash had said. “I trust your judgement.” She told her little blonde friend, which was kind of a lie since well. Really, it wasn’t so much that Mikaela trusted Ash’s judgement on anything (sorry Ash) as it was that she just didn’t want to make any kinds of decisions whatsoever.
She was more than happy to just be strung along like a ragdoll, which was kind of what happened. She tried on what others pointed out, smiled and laughed when appropriate and threw in a few words here and there which were mostly teasing comments directed at some of the others. Mikaela continued to go about the shopping trip in this way, not really paying attention to or caring about anything until Ash came up to her holding a dress so ridiculously sparkly that you’d have to be blind to be able to ignore it. Especially when someone was holding it right up in your face and telling you it was your style.
Which, it most definitely wasn’t Mikaela’s. She almost burst out laughing, might have if not for the fact that well this was an absurd choice, even for Ash with her sometimes godawful taste. I mean she couldn’t be that far gone that she genuinely believed what she was saying right? Or was she trying to mess with her? No, as far as Mikaela knew, Ash wasn’t that twisted.
Ash didn’t stop at telling her the dress was her style though and continued, telling her that her date would be fawning over how hot she was, which, considering who her date was, (if not for their little rivalry/enmity stemming from their childhood when Casey set her stuffed penguin Mr Bubbles on fire), he might actually be a fan of the dress. His fashion sense was absolutely horrid though. If it was possible, he’d probably wear actual fire as clothes every single day and believe it made him the hottest person on earth, which it would. Temperature wise.
Still the thought and the fact that things would probably be more awkward otherwise, made Mikaela laugh and then thankfully, Ash hung the dress on a nearby rack. So it was looking like the whole thing was just a joke by Ash to give her a little scare. Phew. If she had tried on a dress like that, she’d be attracting attention from ten miles away, and she did not want to attract attention.
“So…” Uh oh, apparently Ash wasn’t done with her quite yet, “do you have a date to the Ball?”
The slight tension that had built up in Mikaela’s shoulders as she steeled herself for whatever it was Ash was going to say dissipated the moment she heard her question.
“Do I have a date?” She repeated slowly, deliberately taking her time as she busied her hands by also rifling through the dresses on a nearby rack.
She did have a date. Well, ‘date’ was just the technical term, the reality was that she had a watchdog, a watchdog that was sent by Chanel to keep an eye on her. Somehow she was making Mikaela regret that little white lie she told about dinner with David more and more each day.
“Do you have a date?” Mikaela replied, turning the question on Ash, just because, well she could and it seemed like a fun idea. “I’m sure our little Ashy has a sexy date to the ball,” she continued, a teasing smile on her lips, “for which you are going to need an equally sexy little number.” Her hands pulled out a dress with a plunging neckline, exposed back and a long slit along the side from her leg could peek out. It was made of a gorgeous flowing red silky material with little sparkles all throughout the dress. Basically very, very sexy and very eye catching.
“Excuse me?” she called out waving to nearby shop attendant, a cheeky glint in her eye as she gestured to Ash. “Can we get this dress in her size? Thank you.”
As the lady disappeared to do as she asked, Mikaela rounded back on Ash, grinning. “So who is the lucky man who’s going to get to escort you in this sexy little number?” yes she was acting like it was already decided that Ash was going to be wearing the dress she had just plucked out. “Is it Mr DuMe? Newt? Or is it someone else?”
Truthfully, Mikaela couldn’t care less what Ash’s answer was or whether she actually wore the dress, she just wanted to see her reaction because it’d probably be very entertaining, and she loved and needed entertainment.
The physically bigger baby (he was talking about Junior) tried to reassure the other big baby (the whiny Mr WTF) that everything was going to be alright before turning to shoot Dalton a look that screamed ‘can you not’, and well….
He could but…
Dalton made a point of deliberately looking away to show Junior exactly what he thought of his little request.
Why should he bother with playing nice? Especially on Junior’s request?
He was going to do whatever he wanted to do today so the giant baby could just deal with it.
“Good morning ladies.” Ah this unfamiliar voice and that cheeky tone, it had to be the new boy who had driven almost everyone on twitter crazy. What was his name again?
“Ezra, good to see you.”
Ah Ezra that’s what it was. Not that he was likely to ever use the guy’s name anyways.
Dalton turned to see a pair of giants had joined them, the shorter one offering his hand. “I don’t think we’ve met before. You must be Dalton, yeah? Nice to meet you, I’m Ezra.”
Which meant the taller one was the French coward Cortes. “Yes, it’s a pleasure to finally meet the guy who drives His Chasness absolutely crazy.” He gave the offered hand a quick shake as he returned the greeting.
Surprised? Well so far, he had been thoroughly entertained by Ezra’s antics on twitter.
“So, are we going to hang out and have morning tea? Or should we teach these surf virgins how it’s done?”
Dalton scoffed, a half smirk on his face as he shifted his grip on his board. Tea. He really was treating them like ladies. This guy was a riot.
“Don’t worry. We’ll be gentle.” Junior added as he started to make his way to the water.
“We meaning Junior and him.” Dalton interjected, jerking a hand in Ezra’s direction as he too made his way towards the water, a faint smile on his face. “I’m just here to catch some waves and watch them try to keep you two from falling flat on your faces and getting eaten alive by the ocean.”
As he passed by Junior’s personal pet, the little critter uttered something absolutely hilarious that had Dalton laughing hard. “Bunny slope?” He repeated in disbelief and amusement. This guy was actually more of an idiot than he thought which he hadn’t believed possible since well, in his mind the guy was pretty much at the top of his idiot scale.
“Don’t worry baby West,” Dalton said, still smiling, “if you wipe out and get split in half along with your board I’ll help retrieve your remains so you don’t become fish food.”
No sooner had he delivered the line, he continued heading down to the water. The clock was ticking and he had some waves to catch.
Also believe it or not Junior, this was him being nice and well if he wanted him to continue being nice it would be in his best interests not to push the issue.
You know those kids in the candy store? The ones who were running about inside with sticky hands and gummy smiles while excitedly exploring the various treats available and squealing in delight? Well for the longest time, 11 years to be exact, Avery was the child standing outside the candy store on the street, watching the children inside with great yearning and the hope that maybe one day, that would be him. Today, that little wish of his was about to be fulfilled. He was going to be in the candy store exploring the candies, the candy store in this case being a haunted house and the candies he was going to explore being the different props and tools they used to scare people inside a haunted house, the experience that a haunted house provided. To say he was bubbling with excitement like an overboiled cauldron would be an understatement. So he was just endlessly fidgeting in the backseat of Ava’s car as she drove them to haunted house.
Ava was awesome. She was so cool, almost like a big sister. He’d met her by chance one day while he had been bumbling around in the lit department and Ava being an awesome and really nice older student who was also in the lit department had helped him out and had been helping him out here and there since. The fact that she was just as excited about the haunted house as he was had been an awesome discovery. And then there was Sawyer, he didn’t know her as well, but she was here with them as well on this haunted house trip and so far she seemed really cool and nice!
No sooner did the car pull up in the parking lot outside the haunted house, Avery jumped out of the car. Well he tried to just get out calmly and quickly so he didn’t accidentally fall over or cause a mess or something, but he was too overcome with excitement to properly control his body. His eyes immediately fell on the haunted house and lit up like a disco ball.
He was finally here!
He was finally going to explore a haunted house and he was so stoked!
In his head he was already starting to imagine all the things they would get to see inside, the blood, dead bodies, guts, skeletons. How realistic were they going to look? What if the props were not just props but actual human bones and blood and such? What if they were real?
Oh, he just couldn’t wait to find out!
“I got money!” Avery piped up at Ava’s question, reaching into his pocket with fumbling hands to fish out his wallet. Said wallet eventually emerged from his pocket, except it kinda flew out and landed with a splat on the ground, sending a few coins and his dorm keys scattering across the parking lot.
Avery dropped to his knees and quickly scampered about trying to gather his wayward belongings. He didn’t want to delay them from getting into the haunted house and cause them to miss out on something because of him. “Sorry!” he squeaked as he grabbed at the last few coins and hurried to his feet to follow after Ava towards the haunted house. “I’ve got money right here!” Avery announced happily, holding out his palms to Ava on which the loose coins and his wallet sat. “What do we need it for?”
I'm so excited I don't know what to do with myself
What about Damien's face and obviously cool as fuck aura just attracted absolute bitches? First it was that psychotic bitch that had tried to stab him with a fucking knife, and now it was the tiny, spiteful little bitch standing in front of him in a goddamn dress store.
Yeah, he still couldn't quite get over the fact that he, Damien Slater, was so set on getting his dick wet that he was now surrounded by frills and glitter.
If glitter got stuck to his clothes, he could just tell anyone that asked that it was from a stripper, though. That was cool.
"Really? Hot pink? Let me guess, your mom still dresses you up. Anyways you were kind of late, but I'll let it slide this time I still have to lookup around for something that is not as hideous as that dress. By the way, do you have a suit for the ball? And don't you dare to say you are planning to use an old one from a relative."
An annoyed frown downturned Damien's lips, his eyebrows drawing together as he let go of the fabric of the pink dress. He'd been banking on this being easy as shit, but she clearly had different ideas. And then to have the audacity to insult his style or fucking whatever, as if he was going to borrow one from a dead relative.
Yeah, I'll just wear the suit my dad wore to court.
As fucking if.
Damien had his own suit.
"I was just gonna wear the shit I wore to Arts Fest," he said with a tilt of his head, as if he was gesturing back to the past. "Gonna get new shoes, though."
You know, so he didn't show up to the Winter Ball in fucking Converse like he had at the Arts Festival. Nah, believe it or not, but Damien actually had plans to show up looking somewhat classy.
"What're you looking for?" He asked, changing the topic back to her own clothing because well, his suit shouldn't be any kind of issue. "Color? Frilly? Sparkles or nah?"
Kinni appreciated the brevity in which Stella was showing. She managed to do it without appearing rude, something Kinni was working on still. She’d be lying if she said it wasn’t something she could learn from the young woman. It was a brief interaction, but still, there was a lot of wisdom in how her classmate moved. Perhaps that was the difference in experience.
Kinni had worked in the industry for the last couple of years, but she was merely a child. She always had supervision in her interaction, usually one of her aunts from Hawaii. There was also a lot of leeway that they gave her because she was just that – a child. She was getting older now- she was in High School. Besides, she had rarely ever been front and center in anything she did. Yeah she modeled and did YouTube content and sport, but she wasn’t a SUPER model or anything. So, though her designs may have been front and center, SHE never was. So picking up some things from Stella wouldn’t be a bad thing.
"Where would you like me to stand?"
Oh that was a good question, one in which Kinni had already had an answer for. Except that she now had her hands full with a tape measure in one hand, adhesive tape in the other, and a hipcurve in her mouth. So instead of answering directly, she moved over to Stella and placed her foot on a spot (that was in front of white wall/floor used for photography.
“Here,” came out of her mouth, or at least something that sounded like hear. Her words were muffled by the hip curve, as she dropped the tape and took a stool to scoot it to close where she just pointed. Finally in a comfortable place, she removed the hip curve from her mouth and sat it and the tape measure on top of the stool.
She moved away from Stella and moved to a table that had some hand sanitizer on it, squirting it in her hands, and rubbing them together. She cast a glance her nails once sucking some air between her teeth, noticing that she had poked herself a few times, and cut herself a couple of others and would have to put off her manicure until they healed. She shrugged a bit, sliding black latex gloves on and moving back to where she had put her stool.
She moved the items off, and took the tape measure going to work on. When she was putting it around Stella’s waist, she figured she’d break up the “intimacy” of them being so close with some mundane talk. At least the girl before her smelled good, “Uh. So…you’re a dancer?”
@If.U.Seek.Amy has set their status to: A lil Retail Therapy
@If.U.Seek.Amy has set their outfit to: Dressed down (Minus the purse and switch the glasses to regular ones)
@If.U.Seek.Amy has set their location to: The Mall
@If.U.Seek.Amy has mentioned: Trev, Josie, Lin
@If.U.Seek.Amy has interacted with: Charlie (geminiy
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It seemed as if Charlie wasn't planning on fighting her as much this morning as usual. Maybe because Charlie knew that some of her stubbornness was slowly rubbing off on Amy and this was one of the things she wouldn't let go. Maybe Amy's words were finally starting to sink in, or maybe Charlie was simply too tired to fight back against her anymore. Whatever the reason Amy was appreciative of it. She silently hoped it was the second option of the three.
"They should've just kicked me," Amy hear Charlie grumble un her breath,"It would've hurt less."Amy internally sighed not wanting Charlie to hear the despair in her tone. It stung to hear Charlie speak like that, but she still didn't hold it against her. Truth be told if Amy was in her same shoes, she'd probably react the same way if not similar. Maybe even worse since going back home to her parents with that kind of stain on her character would not go very well if her parents also choose not to believe her.
However that was even more of a push for Amy to stand by doing this. To not just let her wallow. Because if the roles truly were revered she knows with out a shadow of a doubt Charlie would be the one in her face cheering her on and not letting her just sink into the darkness. Charlie has been her light for so long now, and it was time for Amy to try and return the favor. Charlie needed to have a beacon in the mist of this storm and even if Amy wasn't always sure she was doing it right, she still had to try because Charlie deserved no less then her very best effort.
Still Amy knew her best friend, and knew that simply saying all that wouldn't change her mind. She couldn't really say anything that would probably make it hurt any less, as comfort hasn't always been Amy's strong suit despite her best efforts. Logic was her strong suit, problem solving. There she could excel but emotions? Psychology and mental healing? Not so much.
She she let the comment slide.
Though for Amy at least she felt she was wrong. This wasn't worse. This at least gave them a fighting chance where as kicking her out would've been the end of it right then and there. Maybe that was just false hope, but Amy couldn't afford to give into that sort of thinking, not yet.
She couldn't afford to fall into the pit falls of thinking thing were hopeless, or believing what the media said, or falling prey to the backlash threats. Was there backlash right now for standing beside Charlie? Sure there were, which is why her management team had been trying to get her to distance herself. But Amy refused. The only reason she wasn't more vocal about her support was because she knew Charlie didn't want her to. She knew Charlie wanted to protect her career.
But wasn't that the mark of a truly amazing and loyal friend? While her life and dreams were crumbling around her Charlie still was trying to look out for and do right by Amy till the end. How could Amy in good conscious ever even think of giving up on someone like that? Loyalty demands loyalty in return in her book.
Charlie was innocent and that would come to light soon enough. Amy believed that with all her heart. She had too. While Amy may look all put together, in reality she was one more crack away from falling to pieces in a way she wasn't sure she'd ever recover from. Her eyes didn't shine as bright anymore, her smile not as wide, and the depths of her kindness were slowly but surely turning into more shallow waters.
No one else seemed to be able to see it, but Amy could feel it. She knew she was on the edge of snapping, and every step she took was her holding her breath hoping and praying she wouldn't fall. Her composure was fragile and the mask of success was apparently a strong one as all she still heard from everyone's lips was just that. Loosing Charlie would shatter all of that.
No amount of success, or fame, or fortune would put her back together again. Nothing would heal such a deep wound. So the only solution was to prevent it from happening.
Amy continued on her pep speech that honestly probably wasn't working like she wanted. Just when she finished like clockwork there was a ding on Charlie's phone. There were only so many people Amy imagined it could be for Charlie to actually sit there read and respond to it. In fact there were only three she could think of. Trevor, Josie, and Lin. Whoever it was she was thankful because it seemed to be the final nudge she needed to get up and get ready.
Seeing a slightly more vital Charlie Amy took it as a win. So while Charlie got up to gab her stuff and get ready Amy did the same. She smiled back as Charlie mouthed her thank you.
True to her word Amy quickly went back to her room and changed herself into something more casual. She threw on an over sized jersey shirt from a team she didn't even know. She took out her contacts and dawned her big prescription glasses feeling like Clark Kent rather then superman...but the effect was wanted. Last but not least some regular jeans and tennis shoes coupled with no make up and tossing her hair up into a messy bun.
She looked at herself in the mirror and if you switched the jersey with a sweater she look a lot like the Amy you'd have met three years ago. Shy, timid, book worm Amethyst Jones. Back to her roots, and the sad part was she really did believe no one would recognize her like this. It was so far removed from the personification of herself she'd created freshman year.
To say public transportation sucked was an understatement. Amy hadn't realized how spoiled she'd gotten the past year with Trev being able to drive them, and having a boyfriend who could also drive. Even without that having someone who could help pay for her Ubers was always handy, but as it stands they were still trying to save as much money as possible, and Amy didn't want to have to ask for any more favors. So here they were. On the overly crowded bus on a Saturday afternoon.
She couldn't be happier when they finally stepped off the bus and made it to their destination. "Finally." She breathed out semi amused and semi irritated because...well humans.
She glanced over at Charlie once she started to speak wondering if she was going to suggest they go back home. Amy of course would protest that they'd already made it this far and to give it a try, but Charlie seemed to get the feeling and her tone changed. She felt the blonde take her hand and gave her a light squeeze in return to let her know she was here with her.
It's not like Amy didn't realize how hard this had to be for her. To be out and about like this in public. To be doing this for an event at a school that'd wronged her and might not attend for much longer. To put on a brave face and act like she was ok when she definitely wasn't and had every right not to be. It was difficult, and Amy knew that.
However Amy also knew that Charlie was strong. Stronger then she was by a landslide. The fact she was still willing to be here despite all that made Amy immensely proud. She admired that push back. The bravery it took to stand here with her. For better or worse Amy saw nothing but the best of Charlie especially in times like this because it was despite the nerves and all the pain she was still here.
Charlie wasn't perfect, no one was. But Charlie was a fighter, and that meant the world. "Yah you're right." She chimed a bit excitedly.
"In fact I already think I know where I wanna start!"She grinned warmly tugging slightly at their interlocked hands to lead her. Amy wanted today to be fun for Charlie so the sooner they got started the sooner they could start to forget about everything else and just be two bestie on a shopping trip to look super cute at a ball with their dates. "Though I do believe Marylin Monroe rocked a potato sack in a photo shoot so that'd be kinda iconic." She giggled.
Amy wasn't some fashion guru by FAR. Most of her style came from inpo from 90's R&B singers early 2000's because honestly her natural style was sweaters and jeans all day every day. Point being she didn't know a bunch of stores to even begin to look. What she did have on her side was an impressive memory. Mental notes she could access easily when the time came, and she just so happened to remember one cute little dress shop that she'd window shopped through over the summer while looking for an outfit to go on her date with he who shall not be named.
Oddly enough she committed it to memory because she saw something she thought he'd like to see her in for the winter formal. despite the change in original plans it still could be a good starting point. Not to mention it was fairly close to the entrance of the mall they came through.
All things considered the goal was still not to be recognized. She didn't want to pull to much attention on them because she wasn't sure how the public viewed them right now or the situation. Well she knew how a lot of people felt because she was no stranger to the internet, but in person was different. Internet trolls were just that trolls. They said things behind the mask of a screen and that was easy enough for Amy at least to ignore. But in person? That'd be a different ball park.
"Here we are!" She grinned as they reached the store entrance, "We'll fine something super cute, then celebrate with corndogs or pretzels from the food court." She giggled as they made their way to the store. Amy's eyes widened a bit in awe at how pretty some of the dresses were. It was even better then she remembered it to be. They must've gotten a lot of new stock since then."So let's do you first! Have a color or style in mind?"She hummed flipping through a rack, "We thinking short, long, Starch, or veggie?" She teased giggling a bit.
Although Zeph was waiting for an answer to his question, Lin apparently wasn't as pressed to answer -- because instead he did the ol' lol too slow high five thing, and of course Zeph played along because haha, it was real funny, and he chuckled along, even though he'd definitely known what Lin was gonna do.
And then Lin said "let's go," and off went the junior. Curiously, Zeph followed after him because, well, even though he didn't know what was happening, he was curious. Plus, they were still at the apartment, which meant that Zeph could probably cross anything illegal off the list, so there was a certain air of relief.
The tenseness in his shoulders relaxed, a lazy smile on his face as they came to a stop outside the door. Lin dropped to the ground beside his dog, giving her pets and what not, until Mitsubishi wandered her way over to Zeph. He smiled and leaned forward, scratching the dog behind her ears.
He wished the dorms would let him have a dog or some kind of pet. It was lonely, just being himself... well, and Avery, and of course he had his friends, but it'd still be nice to have some kind of companion animal. Except he supposed that it would be difficult when he went back home for the summers and holidays.
At the thought of home, his stomach lurched, and he found himself plagued momentarily with the memories of his argument with Stella. If it could be... considered an argument? He wasn't sure. Zeph had never dated someone before, and her certainly wasn't sure what was an argument.
It had kind of felt like one, but one of those really tense ones, because there was no yelling or big insults -- obviously, it had been over text. It had felt... odd.
He was distracted from his thoughts by Lin opening the door to the balcony and, with one final pat, Zeph straightened up and followed after his friend, pulling the door shut behind him.
And then Lin ripped his robe off, letting it fall to the ground.
“Okay, Zeph,” he said. “Just follow my lead.”
Zeph's eyebrows drew together, because he didn't have a robe to throw off. All he had was his jacket, so he kind of... awkwardly slipped his arms out of it.
But while he was removing his jacket, well--
“COWABUNGA!” Lin screeched.
And then he was running.
And then he threw himself over the fence into someone else's yard, oh god, oh god, oh god.
With his jacket only halfway off, Zeph stood there, staring blankly at the fence.
What the heck?
What was he supposed to do?
Well that was a dumb question.
The jacket was dropped to the ground at his feet, and then Zeph followed Lin's lead, albeit a lot less enthusiastically. He took off for the wall. His taller frame meaning that he didn't even have to jump to read the top of the fence. His hands gripped it and he heaved himself up, for a moment holding himself on the top of the fence.
"What're we doing?" Zeph hissed, his voice low in case the neighbors overheard them. He cast a glance towards their place, and then threw his leg over and fell down to the ground beside Lin. His eyebrows were drawn together in a look of confusion, his gaze shooting between the home and Lin's face.
"Isn't this breaking and entering? That's ah... that's real, real illegal."
Oh my god, Mikaela had just completely dodged her question, and that fact wasn't lost on Ash. Of course, she couldn't quite figure out why Mikaela would be avoiding answering. Like, if she didn't have a date, it would be so easy to just say that -- and even if she did, why not tell Ash?
Unless she was, like, embarrassed of her date or something?
Or it was like a top secret date that she wasn't allowed to tell anyone about?
“Do you have a date?” Mikaela replied.
Spinning the question back on her. Clever. Ash's thoughts, of course, immediately slipped back to Trevor. Like, he was obviously technically her date (because he was her boyfriend, duh, and that's just how it worked), although she couldn't say it. And damn it, there was nothing more frustrating than that.
Absently, her fingers found the necklace he'd gifted her, and she started to mess with the little star pendant. Her teeth bit into her bottom lip while she tried to think of a good way out of this--
Well, all she'd have to say was like haha, no.
Except Mikaela kept talking
“I’m sure our little Ashy has a sexy date to the ball,” she continued, “for which you are going to need an equally sexy little number.”
Ash's jaw dropped open in shock, her eyes widening as Mikaela pulled a dress of the rack. And like yeah, sure, it was gorgeous. All red, but with a super low neckline, the back was exposed, and of course, there was a slit up the side of the leg. All very sexy, all very Gen and Evie and hot girls, all very not Ash.
"Oh, no, no--" Ash started, but she was cut off by Mikaela waving over a shop attendant.
“Excuse me?” Mikaela asked, and then gestured in Ash's direction. “Can we get this dress in her size? Thank you.”
"No, no, wait, you don't--" but her voice was kind of just a mere squeak, and she watched helplessly as the shop attendant headed off with the dress. Like, she guaranteed it wasn't even going to be in her size, and even if it was, she would look ridiculous in it. Her cheeks were already burning a dark red just at the thought of it, and her nervous fingers again found the necklace pendant and went back to messing with it.
“So who is the lucky man who’s going to get to escort you in this sexy little number?” Mikaela asked, and Ash's helpless hazel eyes shifted from the retreating attendant to Mikaela. “Is it Mr DuMe? Newt? Or is it someone else?”
"Huh?" Ash asked, and then Mikaela's words hit her, and she gave a really quick shake of her head. "Oh my god, no. Not with Lucky. He's going with umm, with Amy. Like as friends, I think, I don't really know." She gave a shrug of her shoulders, her fingers letting go of the necklace to start rummaging through the fabric of different dresses. Her eyebrows were furrowed together as if she was concentrating on the dresses in front of her. "Not that I would've, like, gone with him, anyway. Like he's great and all, but umm... yeah, no, that would be weird."
Because her boyfriend hated him, because of what had happened at the Arts Festival, and again at the Harlow's family dinner, and because she needed to distance herself.
They were friends -- just friends -- and the close calls were making her sick.
Her hand lightly touched the necklace again, as if to remind her of Trevor, and then she looked back towards Mikaela, this time returning the other girl's mischievous smile.
"And I'm not going with Newt," she responded. "Like, he's cool or whatever, but..." Ash shrugged.
She let go of the dresses and smiled in Mikaela's direction. "So... again, do you have a date?"
Oh yeah, she wasn't leaving until she had an answer.
"If you don't, I could totally find you one. I'm, like, amazing at setting people up."
TL;DR: Last week was crazy, huh? Let's never talk about it again
Auguste glanced over at Ez. Well shit. Live wire nerves and general awkwardness did not help. Auguste could step outside himself for a moment though, try to see where the disconnect was. And quite frankly he had no fucking clue how to fix it.
See, Ez was used to probably dumping people the second they wanted more. Easy. Done. Auguste, however, wanted less. Wanted a whole lot less than what had happened. In fact, if Ez could ever forget that Auguste had any kind of personality outside of “Slightly sarcastic coward” that would’ve been great. Would’ve been a great boon to everyone. But Auguste had flashed all of his cards, and now he felt too close. Flew too close to the sun.
The silence hit and Auguste despised it. He decided to offer Ez any kind of consolation. Honesty and straightforwardness with his friends were something he tried to keep. His snakey nature was more for people that tried to get too close.
“… I’m sorry for being a bit… odd. I just need time to think. I am just not used to people getting close - or trying to at least - without strings attached… Even with just the platonic friendships. I will adjust. Just need a little bit of time.”
Simple. Short. He let the rest of the ride pass in complete silence as he stared out the window and watched the people that they passed with a relative amount of
Auguste got out of the car with a little hop and a small smile for a thank you. He collected a surfboard from the back of the car. A glance around at the people gathered. Landon - fellow giant, Jace - fellow coward, Dalton - fellow anger management issue haver. Though, he suspected that Dalton’s anger management was more keeping in line to how he was in middle school and freshman year rather than his grasp on his temper now.
Fun. Fun fun fun. Cool. This was cool. Okay.
He followed the conversation, not really having much to say, his eyes bouncing between the different members of their group as they spoke, they were beginning to move towards the beach now, and Auguste politely fell in line with them. Easy. Done. Still trying to not stand out - even in a small group of five.
Bunny slope? These were… waves. And waves… generally didn’t have.. Set heights to have a-
Auguste was struck with the sudden realization that this was going to be a sink or swim scenario.
“Ehm… How far up exactly do we go here.” He asked Landon, trying to remain as polite as possible, keep the genuine fear out of his voice. Yeah yeah, his life was a cruel irony. The 6’7 guy was afraid of heights. He objectively found it hilarious as well; however at the moment, he couldn’t be bothered to really find that too funny.
He did like the beach though. His friend was a descendent of former nobility - old money. Old, old money. And he was lucky enough that every one of his friend’s older brothers were absolute failures. He’d been taken into the family so that they could have another success story. Therapy, travel, extracurriculars… They’d been, in part, funded by them. He was in debt, owed them his life really. And sometimes his friend would take him to the beach on their little family outings.
It was nice. More than nice, it was fantastic. A getaway from the worries and stress of… uh.. The rest of Auguste’s trainwreck of a life. He also just really liked warm things. Warm sand. Sunlight. All the good stuff. And swimming. Swimming was also fun. And sometimes his friend brought a frisbee and-
Okay, maybe Auguste was less “unofficially adopted brother” and more “sad stray dog they’d picked up on the side of the road” but he was still in debt and he still had a lot of fun times on the beach.
The nerves that he felt as he got closer and closer to the beach were good nerves, though. The type of nerves he got right before a performance. Not the type at that shitshow of a play, the type that made him want to be Not Auguste. Loud, boisterous. But he kept things contained as well as he could as he glanced about the beach.
Blink, a glance around the beach, at the people around them. Careful consideration and notation of them. And then he stared at the ocean with somewhat of a blank expression. He knew how to swim. Enjoyed swimming. No idea what to do with a surfboard. He glanced over to the willing instructors.
“... so ehm… how exactly are we supposed to do this?”
Katya was watching her sister. No shaking, no fear. That was odd. But she also didn’t seem as aware as she usually was. That wasn’t really a good sign for Stassi. Fantastic. This was going to actually go down in flames.
Feeling bold meant that she was going to crash and burn somehow. Wasn’t this going to be fun to watch. She glided next to her parents. A part of her wanted to fly, to go as fast as she could and see if she could maybe take flight and get out of here. But that would be incredibly undignified. So she instead made idle small talk with her father - the state of the company and its internal politics. How the politics of Russia was doing. All the easy topics that she was forced to know about from a young age.
The routine was good for anyone that wasn’t her. She’d been an Olympic skater. It looked amateur compared to the stuff she used to be able to do. But, it was a start. And good for something improvised - like Katya knew it was.
Was Stassi aware of her nose bleeding? Katya genuinely couldn’t tell as it began to drip. Definitely not a good sign. There were only a couple of explanations that Katya’s fast working mind could come up with.
And then she threw up and Katya glided over past her parents to rub a circle on her older sister’s back.
“Stassi! Are you okay? What’s the matter!” She acted the concerned little sister. The worried little sister. The act that she always had to put on. But the humiliation of Stassi tasted sweet on her tongue. The game of chicken that they’d been playing since the Arts Festival was finally over and Katya had won.
She had won.
This was the kind of thing she lived for - the long con. The long con that allowed her to simply outlast her opponent. Ice, a brick wall that could reflect anything back until the person had no choice but to submit.
She gently led her sister off the rink, ushering her gently to the bathroom to help her clean up or continue throwing up. She knew that just her mere presence caused Stassi grief - the haunting reminder of her replacement. Her sister was consistently awful to her because of it and now at her humiliation, Katya sure as hell wasn’t going to let her run away from it.
“Is there anything I can get for you?” Her tone was a lot less emotional away from prying eyes. “Water? Coffee? Your pride?”
She checked her nails “Y’know, I thought you were just going to fall or something, congratulations for surpassing one expectation: How badly you failed.” Airy and lightly, but still grinding her foot into the open wound. Almost sing-song in the way she was taking joy in her sister’s misery now that they were away from prying eyes and ears.
“At least you did… a routine. Hope it was worth it.” And then Katya left the bathroom to leave her sister to her misery.
Naomi listened faithfully to Bailey's words, "That's true." She liked their optimism. Considering Naomi didn't really have much of that naturally it helped to keep people who did close. Her pessimism that she paraded around as realism had a nasty way of holding her back from her full potential.
Conversations like this reminded her of her father, and a few other family members. They always seemed to see the bright side of things no matter how bad things got, and boy did things get bad in her family. When it rains it storms when it comes to her family luck...or rather curse in her mind. Still no matter the storm they stood strong and tall knowing the sun would shine again.
A sentiment Naomi didn't fully grasp.
For her it was more their will always be a calm before and in the eye of storms. She never really felt like their was ever an end.
Despite differing opinions it was people like them who helped Naomi and Toni be as successful as they were and that was a fact she couldn't deny. Talent aside, having people who believe in you even when you don't believe in yourself in more valuable then any paycheck or award.
She couldn't help but stifle a small giggle as she watched them cough a bit after taking the first hit, "Aye, that was better then my first go.Estaba tosiendo mis pulmones!" She chimed with laughter at the memory. Easily slipping into a bit of her native tonged due to being so relaxed.
She remembered hitting the bong way too hard and thought she was going to die from all the coughing trying to catch her breath. Her eyes had turned bright red and watery with seemingly nothing to ease the feeling. Thank god she wasn't one for make up or she'd have looked like a racoon on top of that. Yes she started with a bong instead of a blunt because sort o like Bailey here her first experience was with people way more experienced then her. Mistakes were made, and lessons where learned, but overall not a memory she regrets in the least.
Still it's a wonder she ever tired again. Well despite the being in what felt like good company... once the pain subsided and she was breathing normally again, the feeling she was left with? That lazy drawl? That haze? That? That felt kinda nice.
Even with all that she didn't get angry like she normally would've and that was the first taste of something that actually sedated her rage. That cooled her blazing fire within to a clmost charming ember. That alone was enough for her to keep going, enough to spur an addiction. Not that Naomi would ever say she's addicted to weed. She could stop, but why would she? She was a much better person when high. At least she thought so.
And everyone's faces that'd been spared due to it should agree. Because it's a lot.
Bailey's words mirrored Alex's from earlier. In fact Naomi knew anyone she told this news to would probably say the same or similar. Which in theory meant they couldn't all be wrong, and Naomi should in fact give it a try. The only person who might understand her hesitation was her cousin. To bad right now he was off on some book signing tour or whatever.
She took the blunt back from them and took a good long hit herself letting the words sink in alongside the smoke. Letting it really linger in the back of her throat, a nice rough burn to settle the senses. "I do like my privacy..." She trailed off letting the smoke out slowly as she spoke.
It was true, but not her main concern. She considered herself to be quite boring so long as she was in fact high which she stayed constantly. So even if she was thrust into the limelight she wasn't too worried about interest staying on her long. They'd be wowed for.5 seconds that she's stoner then move on because that's old news compared to the type of drama her peers engaged in on a daily basis. Even among her fellow stoners there were more interesting headlines. "But that's not it."
When the final question left their lips Naomi had to be honest with herself and Bailey. "If we are being literal? Nothing. I've recorded demos of my songs for artists to hear before they sing their rendition of it."
She supposed this was more turning into a case of 'if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself' type deal. She knew her was decently around a recording studio it's not like it was new or rocket science. "I just wanted the rights to my music you know? The right to have it sound the way I want it to. I guess I just never saw myself as the type to be on stage myself. Bit of stage fright you know?" She added.
"I don't normally do well in a crowd either." This was something she felt most people should know by now about her, but she didn't usually ever admit. Even at parties she's never in the thick of it always on the outskirts always outside, or somewhere there was space so she felt like she could breathe. She wasn't claustrophobic, but too many people made her extremely anxious.
"So I guess my problem is just...I don't believe I have the right personality type needed to do what they need me to do..." She finally admitted. She was above all else afraid. Afraid of failure, afraid of not being able to live up to what seemed like impossible standards for her. "They don't know me, so how can they be sure I can actually do this? Not in a matter of lacking talent but lacking...I don't know? Gut?"
With her final admittance now out their in the open she grabbed at the snacks to stuff her face a bit. Who knew she's be a comfort food eater?
She wasn’t sure what she was expecting, but she surely wasn’t expecting Nickie to say—
Oh man, now Liv was about to spiral in all the ‘what ifs’ ‘ands’ or ‘buts.’
“No… you don’t accept my apology… or?”
“No, like…if you were a shitty person…if you were, like, at fault for any of that shit…you wouldn’t be here right now. Like, you wouldn’t be beside me. Like…you wouldn’t’ve been hanging out with me. That’s, like, literally, literally social suicide. You realize that, right? Like, hanging out with me means that you get, like, zero, zilch respect from anyone because of it?”
Did Liv ever really get respect before? That was going a little too far. Liv knew people didn’t love her, but people didn’t necessarily hate her either. She was around for a good time.
That’s about the only time she was tolerated. She was fun to most and annoying to some. That was okay. Not everyone would like her. The sooner she realized that, the sooner she'd stop caring so much about what... people like Hunter thought about her.
"I don't care, though." She muttered under her breath.
That was a lie.
She cared. She did.
But... if somebody hated her for who she chose to hang out with, that was their loss.
Liv had excellent taste in friends.
And once she had a friend, she was loyal to them. Not somebody else who thought she shouldn't be friends with them at all. If social suicide was this fun, she didn't care if the whole world hated her at this point.
“And still, like…you’re here beside me and Hunter isn’t. You’re…you’re…”
Nickie turned around and Liv did the same, now facing each other instead of their reflections.
She waited in anticipation, and yet again, Liv didn’t expect her to say those words.
Nickie was becoming really, unpredictable.
“You’re my best friend. He isn’t.”
Liv rose her eyebrows in surprise.
A genuine smile appeared onto Nickie’s lips. “That’s what matters, right? If you did anything wrong, I’m pretty sure that makes it all better.”
She wasn’t entirely convinced, but… Liv found herself smiling-- and at ease anyway. It was becoming sort of a pattern whenever she was around Nickie.
“Now, like…let’s figure out what the hell to do now that we’ve found our dresses, yeah?”
She nodded eagerly, quickly jumping into character.
“Uh... Arnold! Jefferson Moore is ready to check out!"
His name wasn't Arnold but Jefferson Moore didn't have time for real names. She was a very busy man.
"And, uh. We’ll be taking those glasses to go.”
Just because she was rich doesn’t mean she didn’t like free champagne. Free was free and gifts were gifts.
A decent amount of money was spent for the most gorgeous dresses in the entire world.
Liv should be here thinking about the ball, who’d she go with, how she should ask Kayla— because that’s what she should do, right? Kayla liked her. They kissed. She expressed interest and now the only thing to do was for Liv to just… show that interest back by asking her to the dance.
Liv should be thinking about that.
But instead her mind kept going to Nickie’s choice of words from earlier.
‘You’re my best friend, not him.’
Her heart practically swelled at the thought of it and she was— oh, she was just excited, okay? Liv had deemed Nate as her best friend purely because she’s known him the longest.
Maybe second in-command.
Today? This was one of the first days she’s had in a long time where her mind didn’t travel to Gen, the stress over her career had even subsided when she was with Nickie. Liv felt like she could be herself— and actually feel wanted enough to be there.
Free of worries and judgement.
Free of… all the negativity.
And yeah, she does that with other people but the difference is? If Liv suddenly just opened her mouth and expressed how sad she was, Nickie would probably actually listen.
Weed wouldn’t be offered.
Alcohol wouldn’t be offered.
Drugs, sex, or clubs wouldn’t even be brought up.
They’d just talk.
And sometimes, as surprising as it may be to some people.
Liv liked just talking.
“I’m pretty sure I’d kill a man if he tried to get me to call him Daddy,”
“Eh. I could do it. Wouldn’t bother me."
That depended on the person, really.
“Like…that was a grown ass woman calling a short ass man Daddy…like? How much do you think she’s getting paid to call him that? Oh my God.”
“I don’t think heigh--” Was there a man shorter than Liv? Could she date a man shorter than her?
She thought about it for a second, scrunching her nose and shaking her head.
“Nevermind, nevermind, you’re right. It’s weird. But… the short guy aside, Dalton Kirby is still daddy material. I swear I’d call him that all night long, seriously no shame.” Liv put her hands up in defense before Nickie had the chance to protest and call her crazy for even thinking it.
“He’s hot! I don’t care what you have to say, you’re just a hater.” She said, popping a cinnamon tiny pretzel thingy in her mouth.
Extra coated, by the way.
She was practically eating cinnamon sugar with a pretzel nugget as a topping. That’s how much sugar was on top.
They took a seat and Liv sighed, dropping the heavy dress bag onto the chair beside her and sliding the pretzel bag towards Nickie. She watched as her friend ate her boring, normal pretzel. She never understood like… why people liked savory over sweet.
Pretzels were cool and all, but like…
Cinnamon pretzels were better than…
A younger girl ran up to them, bright eyes staring up at Liv with admiration. “Liv Moor—“
“No, sorry, kid. I’m Jefferson Moore. The author.” She corrected, and the girl’s mother had whisked the very confused and disappointed girl away.
“My stomach is sore from laughing so much, Like, seriously, you’ve got to stop that, Liv.”
“I have to play the part! I’m in character.” She said, flipping her imaginary free hair to one side. Because like, her hair was kinda like in little buns right now so she couldn’t…
Nickie’s gaze caught something and Liv was like, 180% sure she was about to go buy another dress or something before Nickie excused herself. Liv sighed, watching her run off before returning her attention towards her phone.
Maybe most of the day went by and she didn’t think about Gen.
But that wasn’t entirely true.
Liv never had the heart to change Gen’s contact name, so it kinda just stood that way.
She didn’t mind.
It was a constant, hurting reminder but she didn’t mind.
Thai or Italian?
but just because cannolis
She honestly didn’t know why she was asking, but Liv wasn’t about to ask why. They’d been texting and off, she kinda just assumed Gen was making dinner plans for her and…
her stomach churned as she thought about Landon.
She can be friends with her. She can… somewhat stomach the idea of her dating someone new. But that meant she was moving on... and she couldn’t handle the possibility of her moving on.
She probably already did, hence-- the whole boyfriend thing. But it didn’t mean Liv was suddenly okay with it.
I’ll make the reservation tomorrow
follow up statement: wear something nice
So, they were getting dinner too, tomorrow. Her stomach was doing literal flip flops this time and it was either butterflies or the pretzels not agreeing with her.
It was probably a terrible idea to hang out with the ex that--
She was hanging out with a friend.
A friend she had a lot of history with. Liv’s lips subtly quipped into a soft smile and she hesitated before typing a reply back.
“Heyy, miss me?”
“Duh. I’m already in withdrawals.”
A bag was placed onto the table, blocking her view from her phone and Liv’s eyebrows furrowed, clearly confused but her eyes sparked with curiosity.
She narrowed her eyes at Nickie, slightly suspicious of the sudden present in front of her, and the brunette’s patient gaze and irritatingly pretty smile had been contagious. That and Liv absolutely loved any kind of presents. So, that’s probably why she was grinning like a kid on Christmas right now.
Liv opened the bag and saw a very… oddly wrapped… thing?
And it hit her almost instantly.
“Oh my gosh. No. Freaking. Way.”
She glanced over at Nickie in disbelief.
“You didn’t!” Liv said, unwrapping the stuffed, decently sized plushie.
Can you guess what kind it was?
You’ll never guess.
Okay, fine. I’ll just tell you. Hold your horses.
In the fucking flesh.
She was a little different.
Much more chunky, slightly off-colored, and one of eyes was a little buggy, but other than that, it was almost identical to the one Nickie threw off the ferris wheel all those months ago.
Okay, so like two months ago or something. But who was counting?
“You did! Aw, you did! Oh my--” Liv threw the unicorn onto the nearby chair and she wrapped Nickie in an ever-so-tight hug.
“Awweeeeeeeeee! I-- you didn't have to."
She didn’t have to.
"I love it. Seriously, Nicks. It's so ADORABLE."
Liv was completely fine without a giant stuffed unicorn. She had a funeral and everything. It was completely okay that Nickie shattered her happiness that night because she made up for it like, seriously all day today. Liv pulled away, inches away from Nickie.
“Guess what." She said, watching her blue eyed friend in pure admiration.
"You're my best friend too."
She didn’t know why Nickie got such a bad rep. Sure, she outed like… three people. But… She didn’t mean to.
Like, look how nice she was.
And her amazing decision making in gifts.
Like true Liv manner, she was quickly distracted by another thought.
“Ohmigosh. I can tell people I have a hot best friend and--” Her phone buzzed again and her shoulders slumped forward.
Well, now that they were best friends.
She could tell her anything.
Picking up her phone, she showed the text to Nickie.
“I’m hanging out with my ex tomorrow. It’s gonna be…”
“I don’t know, I never worry about what to wear but now I’m worrying. I shouldn’t worry because she has a boyfriend now and that’s probably gonna complicate things a lot because I’m still really-- why am I even worrying? It’s not like there’s a chance we’d get back together so is there a point to even care about what I’m wearing or what she thinks? Well obviously I’m gonna care about what she thinks, I mean she’s Gen and--”
Liv took a breath, mostly to calm herself and to stop rambling but also because she placed two and two together.
Nickie and Liv both had messy exes.
How crazy was that?
Practically soulmates. That’s what they were.
“I don’t think we’re good with exes. Is that a best friend thing too?” She questioned, furrowing her brows with slight curiosity.
Okay, now that she was really on board with this best friend thing, expect her to milk it for all it’s worth. It’s new. It’s fun. It’s exciting. And once Liv found something new and exciting, she was addicted to it almost as much as--
“I don’t even know what I’m doing for the ball, I probably have to ask--”
Probably, though? Who says probably?
Someone who likes someone shouldn’t say probably.
“If you kiss someone, are you kind of inclined or forced to ask them to the dance? I mean, she kissed me but I kinda asked for it? That sounds really wrong but I kinda really did imply that... like, it was a good kiss!"
Maybe forced was the wrong word choice.
“I just... I don’t know if I wanna go with them. I mean, I know that… I don’t wanna go alone, but also isn’t it a really bad thing to kiss someone and then just not invite them to the ball? Isn’t it kinda... wrong?”
Liv sighed, leaning back in her chair pretzel style and taking a hold of the unicorn, clearly in deep thought as she squeezed the little thing’s neck. It was probably suffocating, but… there were worse ways to die. Like getting yeeted off the ferris wheel.
Jasquisha 2.0 was in amazing hands.
Just like Liv was right here in this moment, confiding in her new best friend.
See Bailey was really occupied right now with trying to not choke too much on the smoke. But apparently they were doing well so… that had to be good, right? Something like that?
Eh, whatever, that really wasn’t the issue here. They reclined on the couch a bit, making themselves comfortable. Prime relaxation and attempt at good advice posture.
Bailey was of the opinion that honestly what did Naomi stand to lose - she was already going to be a part of the music industry to begin with if she was going to be composing music, right? Writing songs? Like, that was already 60% of the work right there, how much more could there possibly be.
Mmmm stage fright and the personality thing was something to consider though. Bailey let the whole thing roll around in their heads for a while before trying to formulate a response. Obviously the correct response was going to lead to “You should really just do it, man” but it was more a factor of how to get to that conclusion. Something like if x = true then y = true. Was this what their dad did literally all day? Man, this type of shit was tough. They didn’t really like this kind of thinking - a lot easier when it was just some kind of dick on Twitter.
“But like, there are a lot of musicians though that aren’t really the most extroverted of people that perform anyways.” Bailey was… becoming used to the burn as they breathed in the smoke. Naomi was grabbing snacks now, fair enough. They were getting a bit hungry too. A handful of Cheez-Its were grabbed as they reclined back in the seat.
They tilted their head as they tried to think of ways to solve the problem at hand: Naomi suffered from stage fright, but everyone suffered from a bit of stage fright, right? And not having the right personality? Well, that might just fill a new niche of performer.
They nibbled on the Cheez-Its as they thought, a bit reminiscent of a hamster.
“And I’m pretty sure there are like.. Public speaking courses that you can do, y’know? Like… How are you going to know if you don’t try?” The tailor shrugged “Worst comes to worst you just stay a composer, right? Like… And if you don’t think you’re the right personality, that might just be like… a new niche to fill of performer that hasn’t been filled yet, y’know?”
They themselves suffered from horrific stage fright. Couldn’t get words out. Really quiet. Didn’t like looking into the crowd. All words from their mind gone. It was absolutely awful, but this wasn’t about them.
Probably should fix that some day probably, but hey, they weren’t performers. All they had to do every now and then is pitch their ideas. That didn’t require a lot of… public speaking (derogatory).
“I mean, like, does that make sense?” Just a little check-in to see if whatever nonsense they were spouting made sense.
Just take the money. That was all he wanted. Then maybe he would feel better. That this entire ordeal was just a business transaction that got a little out of hand. Instead of the truth. He hated the truth. The truth was he knew exactly why he chose Saint. Cause he knew that he could get what he wanted…what he needed. A distraction. But now that the high has worn off…he just wanted to disappear and pretend like none of it happened. Like he wasn’t the type of person who’d do this to the person that calls herself his best friend.
Lucky’s eyes darted toward the door and then back to Saint’s. The dude looked just as surprised as anyone. “Expecting someone?” Hopefully he could get rid of them fast. Maybe just someone else looking to pick up or at least someone who had no idea who Lucky was.
His heart sank. He knew that voice. That always cheerful voice. The voice that no matter what mood he was in could always make him smile…or at least feel better. Panic rose. “Lucky.” Saint’s fear was evident. He scanned the room as if there was going to magically be some escape route. Some way that he could get out of this without causing irreparable damage. But he knew. Knew that it was useless. Pointless. The universe didn’t give him breaks. It liked to shove his mistakes in his face. It was almost comical.
Saint dashed towards the door while he attempted to do up his pants. He didn’t think that it would make any difference. Saint was in his boxers. The bed was a mess. It wouldn’t take a brain surgeon to figure out what went on.
He swallowed hard as his eyes met Josie’s. Momentary confusion. Then her smile fell. And his heart broke again. He wanted to speak. Knew he owed her something. Some form of explanation. But he had nothing. What could he say? ‘Sorry?’ It made him laugh inside his head because that’s all he could think of and it was a joke. He was a joke. He fought so hard to prove that his father had been wrong about him. That his aunt was wrong about him. That Elise West was wrong about him.
But maybe. Maybe they weren’t. Maybe he was just some piece of shit from the poor side of the tracks. Some sewer rat desperate to get out from the gutters. “You slept with my-“ His eyes fell to the ground. He couldn’t look at her. He knew what was coming. He knew that Josie wore her heart on her sleeve and he didn’t want to face how much he hurt her.
“Why would you even? God. Char was right…about both of you. You’re complete assholes.”
“Jo…” He whispered. Taking a deep breath, he mustered up the strength to look at her. She deserved at least that. “I—“ He had nothing. Like his brain had shut down. He watched her turn to leave and he knew that he needed for that not to happen. Maybe if they talked it out…if she yelled…screamed…hit him…they could move past this. He moved quickly to follow her, reached out to grab her and stopped suddenly when she spun around.
“Don’t fucking touch me, Lucky!”
He stiffened. His eyes avoided hers once more. “You know, I get that you don’t make friends easily and you hate people or whatever but I thought you actually gave a shit about me. I really thought our friendship meant something to you. You don’t know how to be a friend so what could I really expect? I was only kidding myself.” He lifted his gaze to hers. Was she right? Had she been kidding herself? Had he been? He kept himself at arm’s length for a reason. Kept himself safe. He’d gotten comfortable. He’d dropped some of his walls. He’d done the exact opposite of what he had set out to do. And look where it got him?
“You’re a shitty person and I wish I’d never met you and I never want to talk to you again.” He was defeated. It was best to let her go cause he’d only end up hurting her again. It’s not like he could argue. Maybe he kept people at a distance for two reasons…to keep himself from getting hurt and to keep himself from hurting others. He was damaged. Had been the minute they pulled him out of that car wreck. Everything he touched since then went to shit and he could make excuses, but it was him. He knew it was. He’d fought it. Tried to pretend like it wasn’t the case, but you can’t fix the unrepairable. And maybe he needed to stop trying. Maybe he was destined to be what everyone thought he was.
Saint chased after her. He didn’t really care. Not anymore. Caring made him weak. Made him vulnerable. It’d get in the way of what he set out to do. It always has. And he didn’t want to feel bad anymore. He didn’t want to feel anything anymore.
He heard rumblings that brought him out of his head as he realized he was no longer alone. “You don’t live here.” No shit, Sherlock. He met Nate’s eyes and glared. “You’re not just a pretty face, Nate. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.” He said sarcastically as Nate left the room. His eyes trailed toward Mike and he gave a slight nod. This was awkward and really not what he was hoping for.
Was that whiskey? He perked up as Nate returned with several bottles of alcohol. Nate held out a bottle toward him and he took it with an appreciative smile. “Thanks.” He said as he twisted off the top. “Come with us?” He took a large swig, relishing the burn as he poured down his throat.
“Where are we going?” Booze. Some debauchery. Another distraction. It’s what he did best. Best way to not feel was to get drunk or high…or all of the above.
by Olivia Holt & Ross Lynch
Josie, Saint interactions
Mikaela prided herself on being pretty observant, when she, you know, had her wits about her and a working brain, one that wasn’t high, intoxicated or just, dead inside. At the moment, she was not any of the above.
…Well, she had kinda been dead on the inside until a few moments ago when she started teasing Ash. What could she say? Nothing revived her quite like her cheeky streak and Ash never failed to deliver on providing her with entertaining reactions. I mean that jaw drop, those wide nervous eyes, the tiny unfinished squeak of protest. It never failed to make her smile and liven her spirits. And then of course, there was that little nervous fidget that her sharp eyes had picked up on. Do it once and she might just miss it, but do it twice, thrice, as many times as Ash had, and well, Mikaela was not drunk, high or dead enough to miss that.
She hadn’t missed out on the fact that Ash hadn’t answered her first question either.
Now Ash fidgeting that cute little necklace she wore around her neck could have been anything. It could have just been nerves and her fingers latching onto the first small thing it could find and fit in its grasp. Or… and she much preferred this reading, the necklace was from someone important and she was trying to use it to calm herself down. And of course, with her devilish little cheeky streak, her immediate thought was boyfriend or crush or something along those lines. Yeah it could have been from her parents or just a friend, but where was the fun in that line of thought? Answer; nowhere. Plus, everyone pretty much knew that Ash wasn’t exactly close with her parents. Her father maybe but definitely not her mother who could probably give the devil a run for her money.
Anyway the important thing was she had another little clue and thread with which she could tease Ash. After all Ash’s answers to her teasing questions had otherwise been pretty boring. I mean, she wasn’t going with Lucky or Newt and she hadn’t told her whether she was actually going solo to the ball or not. To which she said boo.
She supposed she could have teased her about the little line she’d said about her and Lucky going to the ball together being weird, but what was that next to the delightfully scandalous idea that the necklace was from some secret crush or admirer or even better, a secret boyfriend. The answer was pretty obvious if you asked her.
Mikaela could just pocket that little comment of Ash’s in her back pocket for further teasing later on. For now, she was running with the fun and juicy speculation of the possible story behind the necklace.
As Ash attempted to spin things back onto her with the date question and offer to set her up, Mikaela let out a chortle of laughter. Oh Ash, did she really think she was going to let her off that easy? As for the unfortunate fact that she was going with Casey to the ball, she'd tell her that much later. Mikaela wasn't going to supply her with the ammunition she needed to slip out and change topics.
“Oh sweetie don’t worry about setting me up. You should focus on setting yourself up first.” She said smiling as she pretended to busy herself with looking through more dresses, which was really just an act to try and work Ash up and add in a natural pause for dramatic effect, you know create a little tension.
Yeah, she’d clearly watched one too many movies and shows. When three of your family members all acted on the big screen, you got surrounded by a lot of acting talk over the dining table. She’d lost track of the number of times her siblings had talked how to play out a scene or sort her opinion as a viewer on what she thought of the way they were acting out the character. Plus acting related games like charades were a staple on the family game nights they held back when her dad was still alive. You’d think they’d want a little distance from their line of work at home, but when you loved what you were doing, you kinda always wanted to surround yourself with it. It made her jealous to think about now.
Everyone around her was doing what they loved except for her. It wasn’t that she hated music but… it just wasn’t her thing the way it had been for her father, the way acting was for her siblings and mother. The way ice skating had been.
Annnnd she was getting sidetracked. Where was she on this little teasing excursion of hers again? Ah yes, the curious little necklace around Ash’s neck. Right she’d been setting up to deliver a line on that.
“Maybe…” Mikaela started slowly as she gathered her thoughts and reminded herself of where she had been headed with all this, her hands slowing as she turned to give Ash a sly knowing smile, “with the special someone who gifted you that adorable little necklace since they obviously think of you as their special little star and all.”
Very, very presumptuous of her to say all those things, hell who knew if they even had a smidgeon of truth in them, and all the accompanying actions were nothing but an act despite the confidence they might have conveyed to anyone watching. That wasn’t important though and the goal here obviously wasn’t to be accurate or anything. It was to entertain and tease, and acting as if she knew something (which she definitely didn’t) and making such presumptuous and bold statements about the giver of the necklace?
All part of her attempt to elicit a most entertaining response from Ash.
A little push there, a tiny tease here, throw in a fake knowing smile for effect, and now we wait and watch to see what happens