The first couple weeks at Hollywood Arts was a showcase in the absolute worst that teenagers with privilege could be. She had seen it all. She saw fights. Ok fights weren’t a thing that was specific to kids with privilege, but the threat for suing was nothing she experienced before. She could concede that no one deserved to be bullied. Though she may have been guilty of participating in a smidge of bullying in her own past, it wasn’t quite the thing she was most proud of. It just tended to get things done. Still – bullying wasn’t cool. So if suing was a defense against such low-brow methods, so be it.
Kinni herself would never do it – if she got into a fight and found her nose gushing blood everywhere. Then so be it. It was her loss to take. But not everyone nor their situations were the same.
Still the consistent fearmongering was a bit off-putting for her. She couldn’t count how many times she heard the threat ‘I’ll/they’ll/we’ll ruin your life’ thrown out at someone, including her. She was not afraid of any these haoles nor did she fear their connection. She had full confidence in a bind that her mother, a Marine Lieutenant Colonel, would be able to pull some strings and get her out any situation. Well, mostly any situation. Only so much US senators who owed her favors could do in certain situations. Either way fear of others was not something Kinni did. Whatever happened? So be it.
Despite all of that in which she witnessed these past weeks she had to admit, the cutthroat nature of the school was a little exciting. Could you imagine the type of people who survived this school? What could they be like? Well, ignoring the whiny guy on twitter who was threatening to sue everyone. She was confident he wouldn’t amount to anything if he was crying about suing people on social media.
Now the others? Like that Maggie girl or the Gen woman. Despite their rough edges, those were the people she’d like to be around. Iron sharpens iron, right? Even the what’s her face girl she couldn’t remember because outside of her abrasiveness, nothing was memorable, even she was someone she’d be around.
The Arts Fest had come close and Kinni did not have a project to work on. She was excused, but that did not mean she didn’t have anything to do. She was instead piled on with papers and make-up work for the countless days she missed being the greatest version of herself she could be. No worries, despite the Gold Medal(s) she had as a part of being on US National Team volleyball teams, she would be dropping volleyball. Wasn’t worth it when her dream was to have a luxury fashion line. Plus, it achieved exactly what she had planned for it. It was how she became lead though, she might consider playing for Hollywood Arts. It would be extremely fun for her. She was on an elite level after all, and they weren’t. She would know them if they were.
So now that she was at the fest itself, she felt a little less irritated by it all. It was still a time to showcase her talent, even if it wasn’t officially apart of the fest. So, she spent the leading weeks designing something simple, but very much fashion forward. The outfit she was wearing was perfect, like everything she designed.
She had done her make up perfectly – also using that time to record this new tutorial and upload it to YouTube. When opportunity presents itself….she knew her brother would make a crack at her amount of makeup, but to be honest she didn’t seem to care. Her face was beat to the GODS and not a single thing that the Giant Behemoth of man could say what dissuade her from that fact.
Right, her siblings were coming even though she wasn’t participating. Leilani, her younger sister, was here to scout for her eventual matriculation to the school and well Jordan. Jordan was just here because his team sucked and they weren’t in their championship game so he had some time off before bowl game practices. She was going to talk stink about him when he came around and she knew he was already probably ready. They were the closest of the siblings, and they spent a lot of time picking and teasing each other. It was a subconscious defense mechanism that they developed when their father disappeared, because Jordan had taken on more of a fatherly roll with the lack of presence of their two parents. The constant jousting and jabbing, allowed their relationship to feel like brother and sister still even though he was doing things for them like cooking, cleaning, and dropping them off to school.
She missed him. She missed her. She missed them. Her siblings were her world and the only thing that helped her feel the connection to her home island. Of course, her mother wouldn’t be making it, she had some assignment in East Asia, but it was ok. She had come to her volleyball tournament and she wasn’t participating in the fest this year so.
She checked her phone a little getting an ETA from her siblings and their uber ride. She still had some time to kill before they got here so why not enjoy some of the fest herself. She took a step forward before she felt something rush into her and cause her to stumble a bit in her heels before she felt on her that helped keep her balance.
Her first instinct was turn and rip a new one into the person that had bumped into her. She actually started it,
“YO! Watch where the fuc-…”
she stopped herself mid-sentence when she made eye contact with the person.
Who in the hell thought it would be okay for Kinipela Kimberly Masoli-Palakiko to meet the love of her life as a freshman in high school. His eyes had her in a trance and and,
“No..I’m sorry. I was looking at my phone …I’m fine.”
It had been a long two weeks getting here. thankfully their group stopped letting nerves get the best of them so rehearsals went smoother...they also went longer due to wanting to get everything perfect which was admirable but took a serious toll on Stella's social life. It wasn't anything she wasn't used to but that didn't mean she liked it. The only saving grace was there was only one person she really WANTED to spend time with and he was like her in the sense he was working long hard hours too.
She always said she wanted someone who matched her work ethics and drive so when times like this came up it wasn't a strain on the relationship. well now she had that. It's weird seeing things you used to long for come true in uncanny ways. She just chucked it up to one of the many reasons they work well together that she should've realized long before now.
The point is they were both able to work to their hearts content and perfect their performances without feeling like they were ignoring the other. What also helped in her performance? Having one of the best leading men in the department be her scene partner. She was ecstatic when Dorian agreed to swap in and be the Danny to her Sandy. She had no doubts in her mind that it was going to be an amazing performance now.
They had worked on creating a largely non-musical version of Grease. They kept all the dialogue and even most of the lyrics from the songs, they just took out the music and outlandish dancing. Turns out when you make those adjustments the majority of the play actually looks like a serious drama. Not as edgy at what Riverdale did to Archie, but along those lines if they'd tweaked the script more. However to keep some nostalgia they did still keep the last two songs in place. Their Tech team had their work cut out for them as this was bound to be a damn near Broadway level stage set up with all the tricks they had up their sleeves to make it pop and be realistic.
Speaking of life savers for this project Luciana was another one. she was the costume designer that Evie had suggested to her. Thank goodness she found time to tweak her final costume for the show because otherwise Stella was going to die tied up in the skin tight leather outfit. No it was more then skin tight that would've had to peel her out of that thing if she wore it. If she was singing standing still? No problem but she had to move around the stage and fairly quickly so that just wasn't going to do. Luciana's re-design was perfect. IT kept the time period essence but Stella could breathe. She'd have to say thank you later once her performance was over.
She'd spent the majority of the morning rehearsing, but she had snuck away to watch Zeph's performance. Him and Maeve had done absolutely amazing. It left her speechless in the best of ways. To bad she couldn't tell him that because one of her co-stars grabbed her and whisked her away once the show was over to run a scene with them. She figured she'd bump into him eventually or see him after her performance so it wouldn't be a big deal. She had a gift for him stored away so she knew she'd have to find time eventually.
She also planned to keep sneaking away to watch Landon and Maddie's as well since their production was so big and included so many people it was later in the day then most of her friends which she didn't mind.
It also worked to keep her nerves down. Something you wouldn't think a seasoned veteran like her would have anymore. Thing was? She hadn't done live stage performances in a few years now. She'd done tv series and while she's not one to require many takes that's still an option. Performing for a crowd of this magnitude and that is this important for future gigs was a lot on the girls shoulders. Nothing she couldn't handle, but none the less a lot. She couldn't mess up and just re-do the shot, she had to play it off and keep going like nothing was wrong.
Once she made her way back to the others of the group she ran the quick sleep over scene with the girls, and then left to find Dorian. She figure he might wanna go over a scene or two as well before they go on. Personally her hardest one was the drive through date because it's the one scene she never fully understood while watching the movie or the play. She never understood why Sandy got so upset but still went on the date just to dip and sing how in love she was? It made no sense so remembering the lines for it was difficult.
She finally found him and tapped him on the shoulder, "Hey Dori, mind running through this scene with me real quick one last time?" She asked script in hand just in case. They'd been off script for over a week, but it made her feel better to have the back up in hand.
Going shopping with Josie and Lucky had been a ton of fun! How could skipping school to hang with your best friends not be? Maybe the fact that something felt off...On the surface everything seemed normal for them just talking, drinking, and smoking while hanging out. Lucky seemed off whenever he got close to or looked in Josie's direction and Maggie might not have noticed herself if she hadn't become hyper-sensitive herself to Lucky's actions and presence.
She was certain that by now this twisted feeling in her gut would've died off, but nope it was still there and stronger then ever since it had been so long since she'd seen or spent time with him. It had her almost doubting if she should go through with her plans with Kordei tonight...
NOPE! that's exactly WHY she needed to. She needed to kill whatever this was she was feeling, and yes she was still referring this to a whatever instead of what she knew in the back of her mind this was. Something about admitting it even in her mind made it seem too real, and she didn't want to to be real. She wanted it to be a fleeting feeling that would be gone as quickly as it'd arrived.
This wasn't how things were supposed to go, and she'd be damned if she let it get the best of her. So if that meant fucking around with randos till the feeling was gone so be it. Nothing was worth their friendship, not even her own feelings.
They got their dresses and everything they needed for the ball and headed back to school since she needed to make sure Jared didn't notice his car had been taken for a joy ride. She was supposed to fight some girl from twitter, but by the time she got back to school nice and under the influence she was largely over it. The girl was sassy, so what? Everyone was so there was no need to get in a mood over it. Especially since they seemed to be suspending people left and right for it today.
FIVE! Five people had been suspended and Maggie couldn't be more upset that on the one day she skips school all the excitement happens and dealing with her own friends. As exciting as it was she wasn't interested in joining them. Helping where she could, but not joining. Especially since there was a rumor going around that one of them had been banned from performing at the Fest and she'd worked too hard to throw that away over twitter drama.
The next few days also went by in a blur from her night with Dei (which was great, but wasn't successful in it's side purpose), to hanging out with a few of her friends for their little surprise adventure. She dropped her location to some cheap hardly visited amusement park after hours. Her and Lin brought snacks, drinks, and hot wired the go karts to ride around the park in. They might have taken it a little too far by actually turning on the breakers to power some of the rides because soon after they all had to dip out to not be caught by the cops, but hey, FUN!
No one could ever say a night out with her was boring. Went back to the apartment with those who were down to drink and hang out.
Then their was Kayla's show which was awesome. Free food, drinks, and great music? Perfect end to the weekend. Though she was certain her and Josie almost drank that place into bankruptcy. That was their fault for offering an open bar though. It's felt a bit weird talking to Kayla again. She not one to hold grudges, but the random up and disappearance for a year to come back and act like it didn't happen was...odd. Even for Maggie. She tried to play it off though figuring she'd tell her eventually if it was serious. Assuming they were as good of friends as Maggie thought they were.
The next couple weeks were actually serious however as the Festival was approaching and she still wasn't done recording her song. She spent the entire time actually going to class and working on her project getting the sounds just right, learning a bit of choreography, but thankfully the song she choose to sing didn't really require it. She decided to go with a softer melody then a upbeat club banger.
Which now that she knew who was in the audience was a good choice. Their parents were apparently coming to the show thanks to Jared. She didn't understand why but she also didn't care what they thought of her performance. They weren't who she needed to impress outside of showing them "Hey I'm good at this, and I've actually been working hard so suck it." Type deal.
She'd spent the whole morning of the Fest seeing other performances of friends and prepping for her own. Once her own had come and gone she felt like this giant weight of responsibility had come off her shoulders. Finally it was time to get back to having fun! She'd put on a damn good performance, her best yet and now there was nothing to do but hope the judges liked it just as much. She was proud of herself no matter what they decided.
She walked off back stage after finishing still high of her performance adrenaline when she turned a corner too quickly and bumped into another student. "O-oh hey sorry about that!" She apologized still in a daze of her own excitement. "Hey, are you busy!? Please say no." She asked curiously, clasping her hands together with glee in her voice, and pleading eyes for him to say no. What? She wanted to go start celebrating and she needed someone to go with her, and he was here!
Something that was pretty clear is that Maeve was thinking way too much into this sculpture, did it represent a commentary on the
livestock industry and the damages to the earth? Maybe the person was just a fan of cows and she just needed to accept the fact that she might never understand the meaning behind it and just move on.
She was about to leave when a voice coming from behind startled her “Hello… Are you…simply admiring my piece?” Maeve felt as if she was just caught doing something illegal and was going to get in trouble even if she was just looking at it and she kept her distance to not be as close to it, the last thing she wanted was to mess up with someone's project.
So this was the artist behind the sculpture, was he some kind of misunderstood artist that really took pride in his creations and they were meant to be comprehended by souls in pain just like him? Okay, maybe she was exaggerating and was losing her mind over a cow. Only Maeve Ackerman would have a crisis over this, she was really the type to make her thoughts storm out of a glass of water.
"Hi..." She started saying awkwardly "I...was... I mean, yes I'm looking, sorry admiring your piece, quite impressive if I care to say... It looks extremely realistic and it really makes you question a lot of things and you know start a conversation" she added, just blurting words she didn't have a clue on what to say, she couldn't be like "Oh yeah, I'm admiring it and at the same time I'm extremely confused about what's in front of me" That would be rude and Maeve didn't want to show that she was uncultured on what Art could be, was she making a good job at pretending she understood what was going on, not really, main reason why she wasn’t an actress she knew she suck at it.
"So, what was your inspiration behind your sculpture? I have never seen something like this before so I'm quite intrigued to know what you really wanted to express with it" she asked, at least she could pretend that she got the idea behind the meaning of the cow instead of wondering if it would be bad to say that she had a hamburger the day prior.
Location: arts festival | Mood: confused
Outift: Here | Interactions: Saint (Ditto
“Fine,” grumbled Beth, and Tori smiled slightly, letting go of her sister’s arms. “I’ll like, keep from fighting or whatever for today,” Beth relented.
“You will?” Tori cocked her head, scrunching up her nose and narrowing her eyes at her for a second. She smiled patronizingly, patting her sister on the head again. “So sweet, Lizzie. Thank you.” She rolled her eyes and mumbled beneath her breath, “That’s the literal effing bare minimum, but thank you, anyway.”
See, listen, she shouldn’t’ve had to compromise. She shouldn’t’ve had to tell her sister off for inviting their mom in the first place, but she’d had to do that, too. She guessed that she would take what she could get. That was not the way it should be on her senior effing Arts Fest, by the way, but whatever. Whatever. She’d let it go. Tori would be the ”bigger person” here, even if it was well within her rights to pitch a fit (because, again, her day).
Honestly, it really sucked being the mature one. It really, honestly sucked ass being the responsible adult in the situation — yes, adult, since she practically was one (shush) — but it was the sad, constant reality of Victoria’s life.
“But you were just as stupid to invite Dad, especially with not telling me,” Beth said.
Tori crossed her arms, her brows knitting. She inclined her head back slightly, pursing her lips. “You’re kidding, right?”
“Like, we could’ve done something or whatever so they would’ve come at different times and we could’ve avoided the fighting altogether, but whatever,” Beth continued.
Oh my God, seriously?
She would say, ”You’ve got to be kidding me,” and, seriously, anyone else would probably be kidding her and doing this just to get her riled up (looking at you, Mikaela), but unfortunately, Victoria knew her sister, and, no, she was definitely one-thousand percent serious with the pegging of all of the blame for this holy fuckup onto Tori — yes, even after Beth had promised to keep her mouth shut and not fight or whatever. Seriously, her sister’s mouth had gotten her in a lot of trouble throughout her life, but she never seemed to learn her damn lesson.
(Unlike Tori, she had to add. Tori was mature enough to know when to let things drop.)
Plus, wasn’t that, like, majorly hypocritical? And Beth wanted to call her a hypocrite? Wow. Unbelievable. News flash, Liz: you didn’t tell Tori about Mom coming, either, which was honestly (hardly even debatably) worse because you know Mom, so couldn’t you just, like, agree that it all boiled down to being your fault, since the only thing you were really responsible for was just existing today without fucking things up for your older sister and you already failed at that?
“This isn’t just my fault, Tori,” Beth said. “Like, you’re just as much to blame as I am.”
Tori held up her palm. Talk to the hand. “We’ve been over this.” She rolled her eyes. “Obviously you’re not going to admit you’re wrong, so I don’t want to hear another word about this shit unless you’re, like, groveling at my feet or something.” She pursed her lips, narrowing her eyes scrutinizingly. “Tsk, Elizabeth…” She dropped her arms, bringing a hand up to hold her forehead. “Ugh, Jeez, you’re such a pain.” She sighed deeply, looking at the ceiling. “You broke your promise not even thirty seconds after you made it, too.”
And you wonder why I don’t trust you.
“I deserve an apology for that, by the way.” She sighed again, rolling her eyes once more before focusing on her sister. She smiled a small smile. “And, honestly, I also deserve compensation for putting up with your ass twenty-four-seven, too, but we’re not going to open that can of worms right now, either,” she joked.
No, but seriously, if anyone wanted to start paying her for her constant babysitting, she would deeply appreciate it and, hey, maybe she’d even be a bit nicer. Probably not because she wasn’t mean, only honest, but you never knew, right? Let’s see…twenty dollars an hour, seven days a week, almost constant work? It was really a cheap price for the kind of care she was giving, didn’t you think? With that money, maybe she could buy, she didn’t know…a crate and enough postage to ship her overseas to get her out of her hair? Smart investment, didn’t you think?
“Did…” Tori heaved another sigh, adjusted her purse strap. “Did Mom tell you where she was going to meet you? And is it seriously going to be, like, same time as Dad?”
She was still kind of holding onto the hope that her sister would say, "Sike!”
"I dunno," Damien said, shrugging. "Not complaining, though. You look hot as fuck — seriously. Whoever styled you…they did a hell of a job. Maybe the school's just serious about their biggest stars looking good as they can while they're wandering, ya know?"
“You’re too sweet.” Nickie’s eyes flicked away. “Seriously,” she laughed quietly.
She looked hot as fuck? Maybe he meant a hot fucking mess.
His response to her comment about his outfit, though, made her look up at him with a curious, somewhat confused look on her face.
So Slater’s mom dressed him.
Like a fifth-grader.
Or a toddler.
Like, that was…sweet? Like, at least his mom cared about him, so that part was sweet. But, uhm…your mom dressing you for Arts Fest? That was just…kind of…
It explained why he thought she looked hot in what she was wearing, honestly.
The clothes were cute, and he looked nice in them. Nickie hadn’t lied about that. The shoes…needed some work. Converse had never really been all that, ever, but they hadn’t been in style since…literally seventh grade? Something like that?
His mom had picked his clothes out for him. At age…how old was he, even? Fifteen? Fourteen?
Nickie committed the fact to memory, just in case he, like, just so happened to turn out to be a shit person or whatever. She’d have some ammunition, which she could, like, never have too much of. Insider scoop or whatever. Maybe that was why he was hanging around her: he was, like, Mama’s Boy Extreme and everyone else thought that was weird, too. That would explain it.
He smelled like a hot guy should, though, not like baby powder, so…at least that.
Was that why JJ didn’t like him?
Then again, Nickie couldn’t really judge. Or, well, she could, but she couldn’t be too picky with her friends, she should say. She was literally the attention whore who was loathing her existence over fucking Hunter Drake after she outed, what, three people for pretty much no reason? Yeah, so Mama’s Boy would do just fine, she guessed. Plus, he was, like, super sweet, so…
The mom stuff was…kind of endearing? Maybe? If…like, if you squinted.
She could let it pass because he was hot. Or cute. Or, like, cute enough? Was that the right term for him? She didn’t fucking know.
(Honestly, thinking that other people or other guys were hot right now felt kind of wrong. It made her feel like such a fucking whore.)
"Ramble away," Slater said with a little dismissive wave of his hand, which made her smile slightly.
Seriously, like she’d said, past the, like, mommy shit, he was a sweetheart.
“I don't know why you're so worried, though,” Slater said.
“Uhm…” Nickie shrugged, inclining her head slightly. “I’m…just…nervous, I guess,” she laughed slightly, fiddling with her hands. “I get, like, pretty bad performance anxiety.”
They all look at me.
Her stomach twisted in knots just thinking about it.
Plus, she always, like, feared another wardrobe malfunction. She was still pretty sure that the first one was still a, like, malevolent, purposeful thing by Evie, but still, like…another incident where they almost saw, like…all of everything up there — which they literally would have had she not held the damn thing to her chest — would probably be a, like, full on disaster. She probably wouldn’t be able to catch it this time, and then everyone in the crowd would have seen —
Fuck. Even just thinking about it…
She swallowed hard, then forced a slight, soft laugh. “I’m just…stages…and all that, y’know?” She tried to gesture to help with her words, but her motions were just nervous and not at all helpful with locating the way to voice her thoughts. “Like, like…you know? Like…yeah.”
“I bet you're gonna go out there and kill it,” he said. “And hey, I'll try to come and watch it if I have time."
She smiled softly, looking away at his confidence. “I, uh…I think you have, like, way too much faith in me.” She shook her head slightly. “Honestly, I’ll be lucky if I get through it without, like, a disaster. Last year, it was the wardrobe malfunction — long story, like…trust me, you honestly don’t want to know…freshman year, it was, uhm, my speakers blew out mid-performance because of…something or other, I barely remember. This year…I don’t know, I’ll probably wind up wrecking my larynx accidentally or some shit,” she laughed quietly.
She was shit at taking compliments.
“But thanks,” she added, so she didn’t look wholly unappreciative. “Maybe I will kill it, just so you don’t lose your bet money there, l-o-l.” She looked back up at him. “It, like…it means a lot that you, like…want to come and see me, Slater,” she said honestly. She gave him a small smile with her glossed lips, though it barely traveled up to her tired, blue eyes. “I’ll have, like, at least one person in the crowd who wants me to do well, you know, l-o-l.” She chuckled. “You seriously, like, do too much for me, and we, like…barely know each other. You’re so, like, insanely nice, and I appreciate it. There…you know, aren’t too many people like you. I mean, it might not be the best idea for you, but I…like, I still appreciate it.”
That was the truth. It was nice to have someone…nice, but also…wasn’t he, like, too nice to someone who he didn’t know from the next random person on the street?
Maybe the ice cream bonded them. Maybe? Like…even then, him just offering to be her ice cream chauffeur in the first place was, like…super, super weirdly nice. And, come to think of it, him being so nice to her at the lock-in.
Which was, she guessed, part of the reason that she’d complimented his work — to pay him back a little bit.
"This ahh…yeah, this is my first time,” he said, answering her question about his film showing. He lifted his hand to rub the back of his neck. "Kind of intimidating — working with all these actual like celebrities and shit and all I've done is make a couple like ten second movies on YouTube that got maybe a thousand views, but uhh…I guess I'd say I like it. I'm happy, anyway. Glad that I'm finally doing this shit for real."
“Oh, you make YouTube videos?” she asked curiously, cocking her head slightly. In spite of hanging out with him these couple of times, she, like, hardly knew anything about the guy. (And he knew, like, way too much about her, so it didn’t really seem fair.) “What kind of stuff do you do? I’m guessing, like, animation, obviously, but…man-eating octopi, like, Adult Swim-type stuff? Or, uhm…what’re those videos with the cute cartoon animals with a lot of blood and organs or whatever…? Or is it, like…those dancing animations to music, or…?”
Moving on from those questions, Nickie shook her head slightly. “I’m glad you like it, though. It can definitely, like…yeah, I remember being totally shook, too. But also, like, don’t be intimidated. Y’know, you’re literally, like, one of the celebrities now, right? You’re here because, like, obviously you deserve to be here.” Speaking of being here, like… “Where are you from, by the way?” She cocked her head again. “Like, are you from around here, or was it just, like…one of those things where you kind of just totally changed your entire life, moved across the country, bam?”
Ash let out a soft giggle, smiling. "Well I think it's sweet. Like, that she cares so much about it. It's just like...yeah, it's just sweet.”
“Not sweet,” said the undyingly pessimistic Trevor who couldn’t fecking allow one positive thing to be said without commentary. “She’s so feckin’ on my case all tha damn time. That’s not cute. It’s obsessive, overbearing, and annoying as hell.”
Those were the more polite words for it, and they majorly understated the severity of her fecking inability to stay off of his arse for even a millisecond.
His nana was constantly breathing down his neck all the time, even when she was overseas. The only reason why she wasn’t latched onto his side like a goddamn leech at this very moment was that she was still situating everything at the hotel she and his grandfather were staying at, last he heard.
And yes, they were staying all weekend, and yes, they were forcing him to go out with them Sunday.
Run me over now. Quick. While you have the chance.
Did he mention that he felt like he was going to pass out? He really fecking felt like he was going to pass out right now.
“Even if her style, and like her choice of clothes is ummm…” Her lips pulled down into a frown, and she smoothed his tie, then rested her hand on his chest. Beneath her hand, his heart thudded rapidly and anxiously in his chest, squeezing queasily. ”Questionable. I mean like it's not really that bad, if you just had like…normal pants. And not…” She tugged at his cardigan. “…whatever this is."
“I like the plaid,” he huffed, his brows furrowing. “Not the pants, but the plaid. It was the one thing I kind of had any say in. This cardigan, though, should be doused in lighter fluid and put to an open flame. These clothes are so fecking itchy, too. The pants are tight and keep ridin’ up in my damn crotch, and I don’t fecking need long sleeves inside.” His words hardly even hid his true, burning, passionate fury towards his attire.
At him joking that Ash should try and be his stylist, she asked, “Does that mean I get to, like, meet your grandmother? So I can like, convince her that I can help you?"
No. Nononono. No, no, no, no, no. No, no. Haha. No. No, no. No, absolutely not.
She could never meet his grandmother. Never.
He laughed, and his brain gave a throb. He grimaced slightly, swallowing hard, though his throat and mouth were bone fecking dry. “Ah, rain check on you meeting the biggest micromanaging short-tempered bitchy banshee Ireland has ever known?”
It was more for his own sake than Ash’s.
His grandmother had the tendency to love his friends more than she ever loved him, he knew.
"I mean, I don't really blame her for not trusting you,” Ash said with a smile. “You'd probably show up in that, like, ugly pineapple t-shirt and sweatpants or something."
“Hey!” he said defensively, though he smiled and chuckled. “That was true fashion.” He snubbed his nose up in mock indignation.
(It wasn’t that bad, though. She didn’t have to bring that up. Also, he was…pretty high then, so that also had a lot to do with that choice in clothing.)
She seemed taken aback by the fact that he’d, ya know, come here to do what he’d come here to do. She blinked a couple of times, and he blinked back, his brow furrowing. Was she…alright there?
But then she smiled softly. "Well thank you. It means a lot — like, seriously."
“Oh, it’s, ah, it’s nothin’,” he laughed softly, lifting his hand to his tie to adjust it, not fidget with it…and then adjust it again and again as he continued. “I jus’ know that, ah, being wished luck tends to make things go swimmingly-er.”
He should’ve thought of the end of that sentence before he started it.
Her eyebrows knit together, her lips downturning. "Are you okay?”
“You seem like…I don't know, just like…nervous or something."
“Nervous?” he repeated, accidentally putting way too much emphasis on that word to sound convincingly disbelieving. He tried to scoff and laugh dismissively, but it came out more sheepish and nervous than anything. “N-nooo, no, I’m fine.” He nodded emphatically, as though that helped his case. “I, ah, just…it’s…”
There was no way he was convincing anybody.
Sighing deeply, he sunk his shoulders slightly. He closed his eyes for a second. “Christ, my head’s killing me,” he whined beneath his breath, and then he reopened his eyes and smiled down at Ash. “Yeah. Yeah, I guess kind of…lots of…ah…things…going on, overwhelming, it’s — too. Much.” His voice was breathy and queasy, and his sentence (?) came out more like a garble of random words, so he cleared his throat and shook his head and chuckled. When he spoke again, his voice still had that airy, nauseous quality. “I’m fine, just a little bit…antsy. My film, our date, your thing, Lucky — er, with Lucky, not Lucky, definitely not Lucky — my grandmother, I can’t be high, our date.” He chuckled again, reaching up and rubbing his neck, and he swallowed hard. “But, ah, I…I’m fine,” he reiterated. “Nothing myself plus a couple of aspirins can’t handle.”
That was a damn lie, but Ash surely didn’t know that.
“Are you…nervous…too?” he asked, and he immediately realized that that was a terrible way to continue the conversation.
“Hi…,” started the girl, and Saint took the moment after she spoke to study her, dropping the arm from his chin to cross it over his chest. She was a few inches shorter than him, redheaded, freckled, and seemed to be at least a couple of years younger than him. He had a knack for remembering faces but not particularly names or places where he’d seen said faces; all he really knew is that he’d surely seen her around school once or twice, but he couldn’t place a name to her or remember ever meeting her before. That said, he doubted that they ever had met, seeing as Saint didn’t speak to too many people or put himself out there all too much.
“I…was…I mean, yes I’m looking, sorry admiring your piece,” she said. She seemed nervous, for some reason, though perhaps that was just the way she was. “Quite impressive if I care to say…it looks extremely realistic and it makes you question a lot of things and you know start a conversation.”
He looked back at his project, nodding. “Thank you…,” he said in his low, stoic, somewhat monotone voice. “You seem to be the art appreciation-type…” His eyes shifted over to her. “There aren’t too many like that.”
There was Jo, and that was about it.
(This didn't count as a time of him thinking about her.)
Hearing compliments about the realism and the depth were typically things that he heard from pretentious collectors, not from underclassmen, but perhaps this girl was someone in a different department who wished to break into visuals at some point, or maybe she had an admiration for other artists. Beyond that, his only guesses were that she was trying to impress him or that his art simply evoked such deep feeling that anyone would make that commentary.
It was most likely the former. Upon first glance, he didn’t get the impression that she was the intellectual type.
"So, what was your inspiration behind your sculpture?” she asked. “I have never seen something like this before so I'm quite intrigued to know what you really wanted to express with it.”
“My inspiration…,” Saint repeated, and his eyes moved back to his grey cow. He studied it for a moment, the thing that he’d worked so hard on the past two months, and he breathed out a small sigh through his nose. “Cows,” he said.
That was the obvious answer, and Jo would have found that half-joke funny.
(This also didn't count as him thinking about his ex.)
“Cattle has always fascinated me…,” he continued. “I’m Southern, but I’m from Memphis…urban, as you may know. My aunt and uncle own a cow farm, though…and in the summers, I would visit…” He breathed out a soft sigh; he always spoke as though it exhausted him to talk, seemingly trailing off rather than punctuating his sentences. “I would hang out with the cows often…after all, there wasn’t much to keep me company besides my aunt, my uncle, a couple of farmhands, and my thirty-year-old cousin out there. I would take my sketchbook with me to the field and sit on a bucket, and I’d spend all day drawing the cattle…”
He paused another moment, following the spine of the heifer up to its face. He made eye contact with the sculpture for a few moments before he began to speak again. “They’re large, but they’re generally gentle…and they have a kind of wisdom in their eyes. People like to think that animals don’t think or comprehend things, and they don’t on human level…but sitting around the cows made you realize that they do have an intelligence…” He uncrossed his arms, glancing over at Maeve. “They’re just beautiful animals, and I wanted to sculpt one and try and capture that…”
The way that he finished the sentence made it seem as though he wasn’t finished, but he didn’t say anything else.
Back in New Zealand, Spencer had gone to some festivals, visited talent showcases with his family and friends, but Hollywood Art’s winter arts festival was something else. He had expected but the congregation of talent was amazing. His own performance was scheduled to happen later in the day so after arriving, he had spent most of his time wandering the grounds and checking out the different performances. He’d seen some plays, short films, dances, fashion showcases and had just finish watching one the music students perform a song.
Honestly, when he had first heard them announce the performance and the title of the song, his first thoughts had gone straight to his own ex and he had considered leaving but then, that would have been running and well, he couldn’t always run. Besides, it had been almost a year, he had healed, that was why he had come here. The memories still stung but that was normal. It was normal for it to hurt. That was ok. He was fine, and he had been.
Once the song had begun, he’d found himself moving to the beat of her voice, getting lost in the music. No painful memories had surfaced, instead he found himself wanting to break out into dance right there and then, to perform right away. Unfortunately for him though, his own performance was still quite some time away. He could still feel the beat in his bones, even now his head was still bopping slightly and the urge to dance that he had gotten from listening to her sing was still there.
Spencer adjusted the collar of his Nat approved outfit as he continued to explore the place. She’d insisted on picking out his outfit when he had called her that morning and well, when Nat asked him to do something, he had a hard time refusing. The floral shirt wasn’t exactly what he would have gone with, but it was comfortable and Nat had smiled and said he looked good in it. If it made her happy, that was good enough for him. Besides, wearing an outfit she picked out made it feel like she was here in Los Angeles and not halfway across the ocean in New Zealand. It lessened the guilt of leaving her behind a little.
Lost in his thoughts, Spencer failed to watch his surroundings and next thing he knew he felt someone bump into him. His hand reflexively shot out to grab their elbow and steady them, probably an unnecessary gesture given that it hadn’t been a hard collision or anything and the student seemed plenty steady.
"O-oh hey sorry about that!"
“No, it’s alright, I should have been watching where I was going as well. Are you ok?”
She looked unharmed but then you could never be certain. An ankle could have been twisted or something in even the lightest of bumps.
“It looks like we’ve avoided any major injuries.” He concluded with a faint smile.
As his gaze returned to her eye level after giving her a quick glance over he remembered that his hand was still on her elbow and withdrew it.
"Hey, are you busy!? Please say no."
Spencer blinked in surprise at the sudden question. Well he wasn’t but why…wait?
He had been caught up making sure she was alright so he hadn’t quite registered her face until now but she was the singer whose performance he had just listened to. What had they said in the introduction again?
“Magnolia… Darrington right?” He asked slowly a warm smile spreading across his face, “As it happens no, I’m not busy.”
He held out a hand towards her. “I’m Spencer Gray, a dance junior by the way. I saw your performance just now and your voice is something else. It was amazing, got me wanting to break out into a dance right there in the middle of the crowd.”
A couple of students rushed past them as he spoke. It was starting to get a little hectic, well they were backstage after all, probably best to leave before they accidentally got in someone else’s way.
“Shall we move somewhere else first?” He gestured to a spot a little further away from the backstage, and took a step forward, waiting for Magnolia to join him before continuing to make his way away from the backstage.
“So,” he began, tone light and friendly as he glanced down at her beside him, “you asked if I wasn’t busy, I assume that means you have something in mind that you’d like my help with?”
After his encounter with them two weeks ago, the topic often surfaced in his thoughts. They had given him a drug called weed to smoke, not a candle.
He’d smoke a drug. Drugs were bad. They ruined your health, damaged your organs.
And he had taken a drug.
Saint and Adriane had made him smoke one.
They had seemed so nice then so why did they?
Were they not aware that drugs were bad?
He had read that sometimes, taking drugs could make you feel good or something, though it had left him feeling sick. Did they perhaps think it was good because they only felt good when they took it?
If so then he ought to tell them right?
But then Bella had told him to stay away from them and Bella was a good person. She’d looked after him when he had been feeling sick and she was his friend. Not listening to her words felt rude.
“Averyyyy,” he called and came to a stop beside the freshman, and tossed an arm around his shoulders with a grin on his face.
The arm landed on his shoulders before he could fully turn around to see who had called him and Casey’s face popped up next to his.
“Hi Casey,” he smiled at the taller blonde boy. “You look great!”
Thanks to Bella and the chair he had sat down on, he had felt better that day in the music room, well enough to follow the conversation and listen to Casey turn Bella’s poem into a song.
"How are ya, my man? Ready to go out there and just kinda," he dropped his arm from Avery's shoulder and leaned back, pretending to shred an air guitar, "ya know? On stage? While I guess ya won't be really doin' that, huh? Ya ready to hang backstage and watch me just," -- again, he mimicked shredding an air guitar -- "with Bellalala? Don't ahh... don't tell her I called her that, yeah? She'll kill me."
Casey was funny and really nice. He always seemed to be full of energy and smiling about everything and he did some interesting things, like now with his waving hands.
The first few times Avery had seen him do that, he had absolutely no clue what those hand gestures were supposed to mean. Now though, he had kind of figured out what they meant after the many practice sessions they met up for. Those gestures seemed to refer to his music.
He didn’t know why Casey did that to replace his words, but it was funny and interesting to see him do.
“Bellalala?” He repeated, cocking his head to the side. Was that his nickname for her? Bellalala…
Friends came up with nicknames for each other, right?
Maybe he ought to come up with one for Casey…
“Bella won’t kill you for calling her that. She’s so nice. Also yeah! I can’t wait to see you guys perform! I'm getting excited just thinking about it!”
Truth be told he was very excited about everything. The school was alive and bustling. Everywhere he looked there were crowds of people and tons of activity. Being a part of this art festival and getting to experience it?
Avery was glad it was on campus and that he stayed on campus in the dorms. If it had been off campus and he had missed out because he had gotten lost it would have been really upsetting. He had woken up bright and early so that he could catch as much of the action as possible and made sure to dress nicely.
It was an arts festival. He had never been to a festival before but whenever his parents went out for dinners or events, they always dressed nicely. He wasn’t underdressed or anything right?
“Where is Bella by the way? Did she come with you?”
He looked around to see if he could spot her but the girl didn’t seem to be anywhere in sight.
Magnolia loved the rush and energy from performing on stage. She truly did feel like it was the one place she belonged. the one place she could let the light inside her truly shine, and the only reason it hadn't died out yet. It was the one place she felt truly heard, and oddly enough the only place she didn't feel judged despite that being part of the nature of this whole thing. Music was the one thing that made sense in this senseless world, and she made sure to savor every second of it.
Plus her music showed a side of her most people didn't get to see. Most people looked at her and saw the wild rebel party child image created for her and perfected by her. They were expecting music to match but her song EX wasn't your typical break up song. Firstly because most people wouldn't assume she wrote it from personal experience. She's only had the one very short lived relationship and obviously it didn't work out. Which perpetuated her self proclaimed non-relationship material mindset.
Now her relationship didn't crash and burn or anything like that, it just fizzled out because they just weren't a good match in that way. So her song wasn't some power ballad about how hurt or angry she was. It wasn't bashing him or anyone else involved. It was simply her sharing what she'd already told him and that was the fact she wanted to stay friends. She didn't wanna pretend like he was some stranger or like they'd wronged each other because they were wrong for each other. She didn't wanna play the victim or anything like that. They'd been friends before and she simply wanted that back.
And they were for the most part. Did they talk everyday or share personal stories anymore? No. But that was to be expected. You can't just go back completely, and she understood that. But could she still hit him up for a favor or drugs without feeling awkward or some type of way? Yah of course. She's done so on several occasions already since. Finding a new dealer that can be trusted would be a pain in the ass. Crisis averted, song masterfully inspired and released now.
Just so the record is straight she is in fact over him. No residual fleeting feelings. Now if only she could say the same for another.
Spencer's voice broke any previous train of thought as he asked if she was ok and had no major injuries. She couldn't help the bubble of laughter that escaped her lips as he'd done so because she'd definitely been in more harmful situations then running into a cute guy and come out unscathed. Not like he'd know that, but the fact that anyone would look at her and think delicate enough to get hurt from a bump was...different. Not bad, just different. That wasn't the normal aura people perceived.
"Yah, I'm all good. Thanks for the concern." She chimed letting a soft smile grace her lips as she looked up at him. His hand had lingered on her elbow as he looked her over. His gaze was like he was actually checking if she was ok and not trying to be slick and check her out which was also...different. He was actually just being nice...like an actual nice guy, not a token "nice guy". Just like that once he checked he released her. "You good?" She asked feeling like she should return the favor. "No stubbed toes or anything?" She giggled.
Of course her question threw him off guard being a stranger and all, but that was kinda part of the fun for her. Keeping people on their toes so they never know what to expect. Kept life interesting. She's lived life on the wild side too long to ever be able to go back to some dull lull even without her parents influence.
Well she thought of him as a stranger till he said her FULL name, and suddenly she wondered if they'd met before and she'd just forgotten. Look Maggie does a lot of partying and quite a bit of drugs so she couldn't really remember all the faces and names she's met. Her only saving grace from that thought lingering was the fact that he'd said Magnolia instead of Mags or Maggie. Only work and family really used her full name, and even then it wasn't too often.
Oh wait she'd literally JUST performed! Of course he'd know her name. Duh Maggie.
"Yup that's my name don't wear it out." She chimed playfully with a wink, "But you can call me Maggie. Most people do." She hummed, "Feels less formal, and we're classmates so there's no need for formal.". It wasn't she didn't like her name, it was pretty just a mouthful for casual conversation. Also it made her feel like she needed to be on guard since it meant she was either about to perform or she was in trouble. She'd just done the former and she didn't want the latter. Not today at least.
Her heart soared hearing that not only was he free but he'd seen and enjoyed her performance. The excited sparks that filled her eyes like fireworks as he spoke could probably be seen a mile away. It really meant a lot to her hearing other people outside of her friends talk about her music in such a positive light, and really warmed her heart. "Nice to meet you Spencer. Next time you should! Hop on up on stage with me and bust a move I'll cheer you on." She grinned truthfully flashing him a bright grin and a double thumbs up. Artist supporting each other and building off each others energy was a wonderful thing in her eyes. She wasn't someone who cared about having all the spotlight, she liked to share.
As the space become more crowded he suggested moving and she nodded in agreement. They were kinda in the way of the next set going up and this being an all day event due to the sheer amount of performances happening meant they were on a tight time schedule. She followed close behind him as they walked in the direction of an area with a little more elbow room. She'd almost forgotten that she'd asked him anything her mind was buzzing so much it was hard to keep her thoughts straight.
"Oh yes! I want you to help me celebrate for a bit!" She chimed excitedly clasping her hands together as she looked up at him. "I don't know where my friends are right now...probably getting ready still since mine was earlier then all of theirs." She explained. She had a long list of performances she should technically check out, and she didn't honestly wanna walk around alone right now with all this energy inside her.
"I don't know when you go on, but if it's not soon could you join me!? I'll for sure go see your performance too by the way." She hummed. Maggie believed in reciprocity. He was no longer just a nameless face in a crowd. He was a potential friend and someone who supported and liked her music which meant she'd go see his dance and cheer him on too. "I'll try my best not to bore you, Promise." She chimed raising her pinky finger slightly hooked up towards him.
He was pepped up. He was ready. Just standing outside of the theater talking with Avery was hyping Casey up even more than he'd already been, which was hard to believe in and of itself, because he was already pretty hyped up by this point. Like he was just excited -- excited to perform, excited to prove Bella wrong.
Because yeah music made everything so much better.
Plus he'd even dressed nicely today (yeah, the casual shirt and jeans he had on was Casey's version of "nice") in clothes that had been at least Cami approved. He doubted that Chanel would've approved, because it was Chanel and she pretty much didn't approve of anything that Casey did.
She didn't approve of Casey's crush, she didn't approve of Casey's clothes, she didn't approve of Casey's friends that just wanted to smoke the weed--
He'd never tried the weed, despite his hardcore rockstar lifestyle (kind of came with the territory of being a hardcore rockstar that traveled with your parents), but Chanel had said it was bad. But she'd never tried it, so how would she know? And standing right here in front of him was someone that had tried it. Someone that had experienced and survived and could give Casey a better idea of if it was good or not.
“Where is Bella by the way? Did she come with you?” Avery was asking.
Casey shook his head, and then he made a shushing noise and brought a finger to press against Avery's lips. "Don't worry about her, Bella'll be here when Bella'll be here, but I gotta ask ya something. Like something that's real, real important 'cause my new friends wanna do it but Chanel was all 'grr no bad' but if you say it ain't bad, then I'll have somethin' to argue her back with, and then maybe I can be hella cool."
He dropped his hand from Avery's lips, giving a quick glance around them to make sure that there was no one listening in or eavesdropping, and then Casey tossed his arm around his little striped buddy's shoulders once again and pulled him close. Casey leaned down so that he could whisper to Avery.
"Ya do the drugs, right? Like the ya know," he brought his free hand up to his hand, mimicking taking a hit from a blunt, and then he mimed blowing smoke circles out before looking at Avery expectantly. "Right? Like ya tried it the other day when we saw ya, yeah? So tell me all about it."
He released Avery's shoulders and spun around so that he was standing in front of Avery, his hands gripping his smaller friend's shoulders, and then he pulled Avery closer so that he could stare him down. Except that Casey pulled him a little too fast and a little too harshly, and he ended up banging his head against Avery's.
So again, he let go of Avery, wincing as he brought his palm to rub against his forehead.
Charlie Howell never learned her lesson. For someone that constantly had so much going on, she really did suck at time management. That is precisely how she ended up staying up way too late working on a stupid essay which ended up being way too long which then required her to stay up even more to edit it and…
Look, she slept right through her alarm. No one should be surprised, really, Charlie was infamous for fucking up her sleep schedule on a moment’s notice.
Luckily, she woke up just as the concert livestream was starting. Flicking through the channels of the performances going on, Charlie stopped on Lin’s. She felt guilty for not being able to be there for him but damn, he had been amazing. She had heard him rehearsing a few times so she had expected nothing but pure amazingness from him.
After sending him a quick congratulatory text (and threatening to kill his dad but that’s a whole other story), Charlie closed up her laptop and stared at the ceiling in the curtained darkness of her bedroom.
Charlie was so damn excited to perform, she’d been busting ass for weeks to perfect her songs, but there was something about the day that was causing a small knot of anxiety to twist around in her stomach. Stage fright was not a phenomenon that Charlie experienced usually, not while she has an abundance of confidence and a genuine disregard for what people think of her. But usually, Charlie was performing her own music and not someone else’s. She wasn’t about to let Naomi down.
Eventually gathering the drive and energy to pull herself out of bed, Charlie walked down the hallway to Amy’s room with her hairbrush running through her hair and a spoon of yogurt in her mouth for a very filling breakfast. Pushing the door open with her hip, Charlie wasted no time walking into the room and flopping down on Amy’s bed.
“Ughhhhhhhhhhhhhh.” Charlie groaned rather dramatically, chucking the hairbrush at the mattress as she flipped over onto her back. “Amyyyyyyyyyyy I don’t wanna get upppppppppp. But I gotta because I’ve got a performance to go to and we’ve gotta get you ready and ugh I do not wanna person today.”
Sitting upright slightly, Charlie balanced her weight on her elbows and offered Amy a clever smirk. “How about we ditch? We’ll be doing everyone a favour because the second we perform, they’re gonna all feel super inferior and shit and it’s not gonna be good for their self-esteem. Especially you. You’re gonna kill it today, Ames, no doubt about it.”
@MiniMimi has set their location to: vending machine
@MiniMimi has mentioned: Alex
@MiniMini has Interacted with: [not yet] Eli (geminiy
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Naomi wasn't naturally a very social person. She has become a lot better due to her time here at HA and the few people she actually considers to be her friends. Talking to people via Twitter is easy because you are just writing, and you are looking at a screen. Parties are easier because well...she was usually high, drunk, or both and even at that she was never the type to be at the center of the party. Usually minding her business chillin in the corner or against the wall or outside with her fellow stoners.
All that to say...crowds weren't her thing, being the center of attention wasn't her thing. That's why she worked behind the scenes it's why she wrote songs not performed them. The anxiety of performance was almost enough to cripple her. Just giving speeches usually made her sweat, even if just for the class. She did her best to play it off, and act like that wasn't the type of person she was, but it was much to her distain.
This was the reason why as the Arts fest approached the more she locked herself away in her room. It went from being her usually self just a bit more distant, to skipping a class here or there, to skipping school all together, to not even having much social media presence if any at all the few days leading up to today. It seemed no amount of weed could quell her anxiety as it grew. She hated this time of the year.
She threw herself into making a last minuet second piece for the Arts Fest because she needed something to do. She needed to keep her hands moving so her brain didn't have time to process anything else. The piece she'd given Charlie to do had been out of her hands for a while, so she couldn't rely on that.
She'd heard Charlie's rendition of her song to be performed and while she loved it and knew it'd be a hit...a part of her didn't love it completely. She did as most artist do with her songs because it's what's in and popular, and will sell the best. She turned it into an upbeat pop and probably iconic tune. That's show biz for you! She didn't really have a say past the lyrics on how the song came out and she understood this, it wasn't her first rodeo. She didn't fault Charlie for it at all because that's what artists do they take the lyrics and they fit it to their personal sound. It's what they are supposed to do, it's expected yet it still always twisted her up inside hearing her songs on the radio be different then the songs in her mind. She liked that song she really did! Naomi just envisioned the song to be...softer?
She'd written that song from a very vulnerable place. She didn't feel confident and sexy when she was writing it she felt confused and slightly hopeful, but hesitant. The only part that felt close to her original style was the last bridge of the song. 30 seconds of serenity that Naomi truly could connect with. She'd never admit it aloud but the song was partially written about Alex and her confusing feelings towards her on if this was in fact what she thought it might be, or was this still just what it always was. Should it be? Should it just be fun, or something more. Was she ready to take that step with someone, or would it stay just an almost love.
It didn't feel 100% right that her final song at HA after all this time of appeasing the masses, and the judges, and the world giving them what they wanted just for some cash would be yet another piece like that. So...she picked up her pen to steady her nerves, but also give one last shot...possibly her only at writing something that felt real and could stay real.
Now what where the odds of finding someone to perform it? Zero.
What did that mean?
Naomi was going to need to be high as hell so she could recite the lyrics to this stupid song. Not sing. Recite. She would be lucky to make it to the chorus before dipping off the stage. She'd count that as a blessing. Though if she was lucky her idea was to find someone from the drama visuals dept. who was finished preforming before her turn was up and convince or bribe them to say the at this point poem for her.
This was assuming she kept the nerve she had to even present it. She could still very much change her mind and just let Charlie's song be the only presentation she makes. She was lucky to even have shown up at all with how she woke up feeling this morning. The anxiety turning to nausea. She smoked a whole blunt on her own before even getting dressed. Something she also would rather not have done. She put together her best outfit because she'd be damned if she was going to wear some uncomfortable dress to this thing.
Now look at her? Fancy clothes wouldn't save her now. Standing in front of a vending machine with her head pressed against it, her eyes pressed shut, and her fist balled up lightly tapping it repeatedly because this monster ate her dollar without giving her what she paid for. "Damn it I just want my snack!" She grumbled under her breath giving it a hard kick in frustration.
She was high as a kite and the munchies were kicking her ass right now. She should've just went to an actual vendor, but nope she couldn't deal with people just yet. Especially not strangers. She was lucky to have even gotten on twitter earlier. No she needed a kind face that she recognized right now. Damn it where was that stupid cousin of hers when she needed him? It was taking everything in her not to have a break down right here right now in front of these strangers...over a honey bun.
She glanced towards a clock on the wall to see how long until she had to go out there for her own performance -- or, rather, until she had to kick Trevor out of her dressing room so she could finish getting ready. Like warm up or whatever. Find Lucky and make sure that he was actually ready and not, like... fucking around or something.
Not that she thought he was, but like, it would make her feel better if she could put eyes on Lucky and know that he was ready. Like, it'd help with the nerves in her stomach.
“Oh, it’s, ah, it’s nothin’,” he laughed softly, and then started fidgeting with his tie. “I jus’ know that, ah, being wished luck tends to make things go swimmingly-er.”
"Swimmingly-er?" She echoed, a half-hearted wistful smile on her face at that.
To her question about him being nervous or something, Trevor started just like... rambling along. “Yeah. Yeah, I guess kind of…lots of…ah…things…going on, overwhelming, it’s — too. Much.” He explained. “I’m fine, just a little bit…antsy. My film, our date, your thing, Lucky — er, with Lucky, not Lucky, definitely not Lucky — my grandmother, I can’t be high, our date. But, ah, I…I’m fine,” he reiterated. “Nothing myself plus a couple of aspirins can’t handle.”
Yeah, Ash was totally buying that.
God, god, god, she didn't know what to do. Especially because, like, he'd mentioned their date twice or whatever which meant like, was he actually really nervous about that? Or was it, just, like too much or something?
She didn't know.
"Well..." Ash started. She stepped forward, wrapping her arms around Trevor in a gentle hug. "It's just, like, a little bit -- like my performance is only, like, three three minutes, and then there's your movie, and umm... whatever else." She explained, smiling up at him. "And then we can leave and it'll just, like, be you and me which'll be really, really nice. And you can get high or whatever if you want, and we don't have to like... like go on the date if it's, like, too much or whatever. I mean, like, I'm going to be happy with whatever we do as long as I'm with you."
Yeah, sure, she'd be disappointed by the lack of date, but it wasn't like she would be upset. Today was going to be a long day, anyway -- it already had been a long day -- so it would've been fine. Like, they could go on a date literally whenever now that she wasn't going to be busy with Arts Festival practice, so it was whatever.
“Are you…nervous…too?” he asked.
Her smile faltered and she let go of Trevor, taking a step back. "Umm..." her lips pressed together as she reached up to tuck some loose blonde hair behind her ear, and then her arms crossed and pressed across her stomach. "Yeah, yeah -- no, I mean, no. I mean, I'm not... not nervous. I'm not like... like, I know, I know it'll be fine. Like when we go out there, I know that like, there's nothing to worry about, but then there's just... there's just like... like all of these like what if's and like, what if they happen, and then we're really, really bad?"
"Like, I mean, like... what if I trip? Or like, what if my voice cracks? Or, or, the music just... the music just stops? Or the lights go out? Or there's something wrong with the mics?" As she continued to fret about possibilities that probably wouldn't happen, Ash started to pace, and it felt like her chest was starting to squeeze. Like her lungs or whatever, because she was pretty sure she wasn't breathing, because her breaths were starting to come in shaky little gasps and she felt light-headed and sick to her stomach at the same time.
"Or like, what if I puke on stage again? Like, I didn't eat today, so like, that should be fine, right? Or, or, like, my parents are supposed to see it, right? So like what if my mom just really, really hates it? And then she's just all 'I told you so, you shouldn't've done that song with that guy,' and then I just lose like... all my credibility. And then my teachers also think the same thing, so then they like, fail me and Lucky. So then like Lucky hates me because we failed and he gets kicked out of the school, and then I get kicked out of the school because I failed, and then you know what'll happen?" -- and no, she didn't wait for an answer before answering this herself -- "I'll end up in a really, really snobby private school where I have to wear, like, those real short skirts and like the little ties and the tall socks and I don't want to."
Her breath was shaky as she walked over to the little dressing room table and took a seat on top of it. She was biting into her lip as her hands, now shaky, started to tub against the rough fabric of her shorts. Her unsteady gaze was focused on the ground in front of her.
"I, I... it's just, like... I'm not, I'm not that nervous, I just... I'm not scared, but I'm not ummm... I don't know." She finally admitted with a shaky sigh and an equally shaky, forced laugh.
The whole situation was awkward, bizarre, unconventional any adjective that was the opposite of comfortable would sum up the whole interaction between the two, between her that didn't know how to continue the conversation because she didn't have a clue what to say referring a sculpture of a cow and this guy who almost seemed like he said anything and at the same time everything with the few words that came out it was just a recipe for disaster.
“Thank you…You seem to be the art appreciation-type…There aren't too many like that.” Was she? Well she really found it impressive how some people could be so talented and come up with paintings and sculptures, etc. It was something admirable in her eyes if she was honest, was she the type to understand all kinds of art, not really. She could still remember that time when she was in elementary school when they went to a museum and her teacher was mesmerized by a painting of some fruits she explained the meaning behind it and all the feelings that each fruit represent at that time Maeve only thought that the painting had a weird looking peach, so she was for sure not the most knowledgeable when things were extremely metaphorical, she was more of a girl that preferred facts.
When he started replying to her question Maeve felt as if she was finally able to solve the biggest mystery of her life. She was almost on the edge of her seat to know the answer and then he said just one word cows. If this was a sitcom, that exact moment would be when Maeve would turn to face the camera and make a face that would say "Is this forreal?"
So, she spent breaking her head over analyzing the meaning of this when the answer was just cows, what kind of simulation she was living? Sometimes the mind of the men was something undescriptible to the point she would just have to look away and accept how things happened and she was experiencing that in that moment.
Maeve was shocked to say the least, then he started to get in depth his answer and his love for cattle, his family and how the cows were his company and how they were smart and gentle. Maeve never thought that she would be hearing about cows in the Arts Festival, but hearing him talk about something that he was fond of was quite endearing.
"I'm from Mississippi, Ocean Springs to be exactly, so I guess that makes both of us Southern" She started saying not sure if this guy would be interested in knowing where she was from, but since he told her the least she could do was to share the same information "I once visit a farm too, one of the friends of my father has one, I fed one of the calfs it was pretty adorable so I think I understand what you mean when you say they are gentle animals" she said with a light shrug.
"Animals are really smart, I'll be brave enough to say that sometimes they seem more intelligent that some humans"She added "I think you were really able to capture that, that cow really seems like a kind one" she said with a light smile. "Oh! I haven't introduce myself I'm Maeve Ackerman. Ju... I mean Sophomore from the dance department"
Location: arts festival | Mood: in a simulation
Outift: Here | Interactions: Saint (Ditto
@If.U.Seek.Amy has set their location to: Apartment
@If.U.Seek.Amy has mentioned: Remi, Trev, Lin
@If.U.Seek.Amy has interacted with: Charlie (geminiy
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Two weeks went by in a flash once she refocused herself back onto her project primarily. It had mostly been spent working on a music video to accompany her live performance so working with student directors and videography focused individuals, and techs took a lot of time and effort.
She could've used her management resources, but she figured this would be more true to the point of the festival. students presenting their best work, but also collaboration with future collogues. Networking and building relationships that will outlast just HA. Sure it's nice to work with the current big wigs of the industry, but they were being groomed to be the next big wigs right? That was the point of the school.
So as complicated as it was, she wanted to do this right, and with only student support. Luckily most people seemed to think of Amy as a very likeable person and had no problem agreeing to work with her. More people knew who she was this year then ever before and she hated to admit that a large reason behind that was her relationship of Dei. She hated thinking that he had an impact on her...but he did. For both better and for worse, and all she could do now was grow from it and use it to her advantage.
It was easier to not think about those kinds of things since she started talking to Remi more. Not a whole lot due to they were both obviously busy with prepping for the Festival, but enough to ease the anxiety. To give a bit of comfort and solace, and to apparently partner up with her best friend to embarrass her by cheering super loudly at her performance...or at least they apparently planned to. However she wasn't against it because even though Charlie said she didn't 100% support it...she seems to like Remi more then she ever did Nate or Dei and that's a win in her book right now that no one could take from her.
She wished she could say she had spare time to do anything else, but nope because if she wasn't working on her project, or trying to squeeze time in with Remi she was helping Trevor as a actress in his movie. Which she enjoyed more then she thought she would. Sure thank good she didn't have to really speak much, but the whole process was a lot different then she imagined it to be. She was really excited to see how it all actually came out in the end.
She wound up waking up early and unable to fall back asleep. Today was the big day and so nerves were getting the best of her. She was doing everything she could imagine to quell them from playing her switch in bed for an hour, to studying for her math class...that she would eventually have a test in, right? So why not get the jump on it? Keeping her grades up during this whole mess all semester has been the real struggle, but because she is here on scholarship she also knew better then to let them slip too much.
As much as Amy was known for being a nerd even she couldn't just straight study with no realistic purpose forever. She eventually got up and got herself a bowl of cereal hoping that if she had her usual breakfast she could trick her brain into thinking this was simply a normal brain and then her brain could send that memo to the rest of her organs like her heart and stomach. Was she successful? Marginally. It worked while she was eating cause she threw on an episode of assassination classroom her favorite anime to watch as she ate, but once the food was gone and the episode over she resumed back to her previous state.
It was a long morning.
She finally distracted herself with her indecisiveness by completely changing her mind if she liked her pre-planned outfit. She began rummaging threw her closet like a madwoman trying to throw something together last minuet that won't look last min. She couldn't just do the sane logical option of keeping her original...well she still could because it's her and why wouldn't she be panic changing her wardrobe? Even though it's been planned for weeks...
Her panic was broken by the sound of Charlie coming in causing her to peek her head from inside her closet. She caught the sight of her plopping onto her bed causing a bubble of laughter to leave her lips. She could be so dramatic, but it was hilarious and playful. "Trust me Char, you and me both!" She giggled and stepped all the way out in her own pajamas to plop beside her also on her back and sticking her tongue out playfully. "Is that an option? Can we opt out of being people today? Cause I've been feeling rather partial to duck all morning." She chimed jokingly.
Listening to her encouragement softened her insecurities even if only for this moment. Charlie was always brimming with confidence and Amy couldn't wait for the day some of that genuinely rubbed off on her enough to where she could walk around without Charlie being near by and still feel that way. In the mean time she'd savor these moments and this feeling.
She raised her brow at the blonde bombshell next to her as she sat up more letting a grin grace her lips. "As true as that is especially for you because both of your performances are going to bring the house down! I don't think they deserve that much mercy from us." She smirked flashing a wink.
"Not our fault they aren't ready for the dynamic duo, and we wouldn't be us if we didn't come to win." She chimed thinking about the winter tour. Charlie had been on both years prior and Amy had only done so once, but she wanted to be certain that they'd both get on again this year. For sure Charlie if not. Was Amy naturally this competitive? Clearly no. Unless it is a video game, but Charlie was. It was partially why her and Lin were so perfect together.
She mentioned getting ready and Amy suddenly remembered what she was doing before Charlie came in and shot up, "As for getting me ready? First, a correction. We need to get each other ready."She giggled wagging her finger, "Secondly, I know how I want my hair and make-up no problem...but I'm suddenly having doubts on the outfit. I know it's last min but..." She flashed her the best puppy dog eyes she's ever made, "Help" She clasped her hands together before jumping up from her bed.
"Saving grace! I've been up all morning, so I've narrowed it down." She was rambling a bit now and it was obviously due to her nerves starting to rise up, "There is the original, and I've made a back up."She quickly grabbed her phone off the charger on her nightstand to scroll a bit before finding a picture she took a few days ago of herself in the original outfit. "Here's the Original." She tossed the phone next to Charlie on the bed before darting into her closest. She didn't really give Charlie a chance to decline helping her, but let's face it she wasn't going to.
After causing a commotion in her closet she came out with the pieces of a second option,"And this is the basics of the back-up. What do you think?
“Well…” Ash stepped forward, wrapping her arms around Trevor in a hug.
Trevor tensed up, which was his default reaction to being touched because he wasn’t really too big of a fan, and then —
Inside his chest, his heart squeezed queasily yet again. You’d think, Trevor, if you’re this queasy in this situation, maybe you should drink some water, sit down, separate yourself from it. Breathe. In. Out.
That would be logical. That would be very logical. Good ideas. Hahaha.
Er, actually, those would be great if he wasn’t doing so grand. Yes, he was doing fabulous. Not at all on the edge of a nervous breakdown. No, what were you talking about?
No, he was fine.
He was seriously fine.
He wasn’t going to faint over his girlfriend’s shoulders. That wasn’t a thing he would do. No. No. Never. Never would Trevor do such a thing.
…but if he were to do something like that, now would be the time.
His brain throbbed within his skull.
But Ash was hugging him, so that helped some.
Yes, that helped, Trevor.
Yes, that helped.
Yeah, it did.
“It’s just, like, a little bit — like my performance is only, like, three minutes, and then there’s your movie, and umm…whatever else.” She smiled up at him, and he gave her a twinging halfcocked smile back. “And then we can leave and it’ll just, like, be you and me which’ll be really, really nice.”
“Yeah,” Trevor agreed. He knew that — it was the one thing keeping him sane today after all: the promise of the date with Ash, the thing he’d spent the past two weeks obsessing over the details over because it gave his life a little bit of grounding. “Yeah, right.”
“And you can get high or whatever if you want, and we don’t have to like…like go on the date if it’s, like, too much or whatever,” she continued. “I mean, like, I’m going to be happy with whatever we do as long as I’m with you.”
“No,” he said quickly, and then he chuckled because that probably sounded a bit too enthusiastic. “Aha, no, no, there’s…no, I’m fine. I don’t…this date. I’m looking forward to it — have been — so…nooo cancelling needed.” He nodded emphatically, his pulse drumming rapidly in his ears.
Did she not want to go on this date? Was that what that meant?
That was probably what that meant.
No, no, no.
His head hurt worse when he thought. Er, uh, overthought.
Like at Fall Fair.
Pretty much, when he had to be sober.
Her smile faltered at the dumb fecking question he asked that he definitely wasn’t supposed to ask, and she took a step back. “Umm…”
“Youdon’thavetoanswerthatquestion,” Trevor mumbled beneath his breath quickly, though she probably didn’t hear it — or, if she did, it wasn’t intelligible enough for her to understand it.
She pressed her lips together, tucking some hair behind her ear and then crossing her arms over her stomach. “Yeah, yeah — no, I mean, no. I mean, I’m not…not nervous. I’m not like…like, I know, I know it’ll be fine. Like when we go out there, I know that like, there’s nothing to worry about, but then there’s just…there’s just like…like all of these like what ifs and like, what if they happen, and then we’re really, really bad?”
That sounded like him.
“Like, I mean, like…what if I trip? Or like, what if my voice cracks? Or, or, the music just…the music just stops? Or the lights go out? Or there’s something wrong with the mics?”
Hearing this was not helping.
It was really fecking not helping.
He could rip out his hair right now.
Or burst a blood vessel.
Or pass out.
Watching her pace was starting to cause his limbs to shake slightly, but he clasped his hands behind his back and tried to keep smiling.
"Or like, what if I puke on stage again? Like, I didn't eat today, so like, that should be fine, right?”
His brows lowered slightly. “That’s…not…good…”
“Or, or, like, my parents are supposed to see it, right? So like what if my mom just really, really hates it? And then she's just all 'I told you so, you shouldn't've done that song with that guy,' and then I just lose like…all my credibility. And then my teachers also think the same thing, so then they like, fail me and Lucky. So then like Lucky hates me because we failed and he gets kicked out of the school, and then I get kicked out of the school because I failed, and then you know what'll happen? I'll end up in a really, really snobby private school where I have to wear, like, those real short skirts and like the little ties and the tall socks and I don't want to."
And now Trevor was thinking of the fecking what ifs, too, as he watched her with wide eyes and a barely shellacked-on smile.
What if Tracy Schmidt missed a part in the editing, and then I missed it when I watched it, and then the teacher also fecking missed it, but then it gets up there on the small screen and there’s this big gaping hole where it’s one shot that’s full of mistakes or there’s just a section that’s missing so none of the movie makes any sense, and then audience thinks that the movie was shite because they didn’t understand it, and then word gets around about the dumb fecking Irish kid — probably from that fecking Lucky prick or something — and, oh, did you hear he drives a minivan, no, I heard it was a pedovan, do you think he really steals kids with it, I bet he’s killed someone, and suddenly I’m getting fecking tried for a murder that got pegged on me because I’m an easy target — because six-foot-one, tall, dark, and handsome weed boy with “abysmal” fashion sense was a nice, suitable scapegoat?
She walked over to the vanity. "I, I…it's just, like…I’m not, I'm not that nervous, I just…I’m not scared, but I'm not ummm…I don't know.” She followed it up with an obviously-forced laugh.
He was making this so.
“Oh, Jesus Christ,” Trevor mumbled, reaching up to put a hand on his forehead, but then — oh shite, she probably heard me. He swallowed hard, and then chuckled. “Ash, you sound jus’ about like you’re thinkin’ of everything that could go wrong, but that doesn’t help anyone. It’ll only make things worse, and then you’ll wind up like me, with shot nerves and a pounding headache before you even go on,” he half-joked.
Oh Christ, he was such a fecking hypocrite.
He made his way over to her, smiling slightly, and he reached out to put a hand on top of hers. “Hey, look at me,” he said in a soft voice. He looked at their reflection in the vanity’s mirror, and then looked into his own eyes for a second.
He looked into Ash’s eyes’ reflection, and he managed another slight smile. “You’re going to fecking kill it.” His voice was steady and sure. “More than that…you’re, ah, goin’ ta go out there and give the best damn performance I’ve ever seen. I’m sure you will." He swallowed hard, and he managed to give her a broader, surer smile. "I know you will.”
Spencer chuckled when she asked about the state of his toes and made a little show of making sure they were okay, lifting his leg slightly and staring at it briefly before setting it back down and presenting his conclusions.
“No stubbed toes, no injuries, guess I won’t need to charge you for any damages.” He’d joked.
There had been a part of him that worried that she might think he was being weird or something when he’d checked to make sure she was alright after their mild collision, if you could even call it a collision.
Back in New Zealand, Nat would often complain that he was being excessive and worrying too much whenever she tripped or fell, but then his sister had been in poor health and sometimes you did get injuries from the smallest of things. Looking after her had conditioned him to just be more cautious and concerned he supposed. His friends had started calling him worrywart and mother hen because of it.
It was nice to see that it hadn’t made things awkward or anything and the conversation was still flowing.
Nicknames. He had one nickname not counting the mother hen and worrywart nicknames his friends had given him. He was working on trying to shed them, to not take the caution and worrying too far. Work in progress but he had moved, no need to bring those nicknames with him.
“You can call me Spence if you want, though I don’t know if it’s any easier on the tongue.”
Possibly, probably, made it single syllable instead of two.
He found himself laughing again when she invited him to jump up on stage whenever she next performed and bust out a move. That sounded like something that would get him tackled by security and frankly more Ezra’s kind of thing than his.
If he ever actually got tackled by security for jumping onto a stage during someone else’s performance to dance, between Ezra and Nat, he might never be able to live it down.
It was nice to hear Maggie say that though, and offer to cheer him on, especially considering that they had only just met, and she didn’t even know how well he danced. Well given that he was a student at HA, she was probably expecting a high standard, after all, the school didn’t just admit anybody.
Even if she was just saying it to be kind or polite, it was always encouraging to hear people say things like “I’ll cheer you on”, or “I support you.”
“I’ll keep that bit of information tucked away safely in my back pocket for future reference then.”
Maybe he was being too cynical with those thoughts. It was kind of hard to tell sometimes whether he was taking his view of things too far sometimes or not.
In any case, just as those words could well have been said just to be polite or kind, they could also be genuine. He didn’t know her well enough to say so he probably ought to just do away with such thoughts to begin with.
Maggie explained why she had asked him if he was busy and he smiled. A celebration huh? Why not. He hadn’t done much celebrating outside of when the doctors at the hospital had given Nat a clean bill of health, and even that one celebration had been undermined by the fact that things could very easily go south at any point in time. Even now while he was here in LA, his phone could buzz with news that she had taken a turn for the worst again. When he remembered that, he couldn’t afford to waste the time he was spending here, or it wouldn’t be worth leaving his sister behind for.
Celebrating without any such underlying worries or anything would be a pleasant respite of sorts. Besides, it was definitely a performance worth celebrating.
“I don’t perform for another hour or so I believe but it’ll be nice to have a familiar face in the crowd when I do.” Hearing people say they would come watch him always lifted his spirits. There was nothing he loved more than performing and well, it wasn’t much of a performance unless you had an audience there to appreciate it.
“Well you’re doing good so far. I’m definitely not bored yet. Let’s see…”
Now that they were a safe distance away from the chaos and activity of the backstage, Spencer and surveyed his surroundings. Being on the taller side always helped at moments like these since he could see over the crowd and get a better sense of his surroundings.
Celebrate, celebrate, what would be a good thing to do to celebrate?
Where would be a good place to go to celebrate?
Hmmm. It really had been too long since he properly celebrated anything.
A grin lit his face as he spotted something in the distance. That would be a good place as any to start a celebration.
“Alright, follow me.”
His hand instinctively reached out to hold Maggie’s as he started to lead her through the throng of people, weaving in and out as they edged closer to his destination. As expected of a festival being held by a school like Hollywood Arts, it was packed. Hopefully the queue wouldn’t be long.
“Here we are.” Spencer said, turning to glance at her as they came to a stop in front of a food stall. He released her hand as he stepped forward to survey the menu. Wait. Her hand. He had just grabbed onto it out of habit so that they wouldn’t lose each other in the crowd but…
Was he overthinking things again? Agh, it was hard to tell. He was either always overthinking things or not being wary enough. Like that time with the girl at the froyo store when he had thought she was just being nice and unintentionally led her on, and then that time with one of his dance partners, when he had mistaken her being friendly for flirting.
Forget it. He was supposed to be helping her celebrate a great performance, not worry about stuff like this. And Ez wasn’t around to make things confusing with his habit of flirting from the get go. It was fine.
Don’t overthink. Food. Think about the food and what you’re gonna order instead.
“When celebrating I’m pretty sure there’s a rule that food and drinks are a must. I’ll buy so order what you want. Consider it my thanks for that great performance.” He told her with a smile as he stepped up to the counter.
“Hello, I’ll get an order of pork ramen and a soda, and,” he didn’t have much for breakfast because of all the festival prep so he supposed this was doubling up as his breakfast. Spencer turned towards Maggie as he retrieved his wallet from his back pocket.
“I’m from Mississippi,” said the girl beside him. “Ocean Springs to be exact, so I guess that makes both of us Southern.”
“Ah…,” Saint said, nodding slightly. He didn’t particularly care about the specifics of this girl’s origins. To be frank, her origins weren’t quite what Saint expected; in a place like Hollywood Arts, it was simply a fact that many people who he met weren’t from anywhere near where he was. That said, he truly cared very little about where this stranger was from.
It was a fact that he never would have expected hear unprompted, either. It wasn’t something that one shared often about oneself in the first conversation one had with someone else unless they were specifically asked.
Perhaps this girl was simply odd. Maybe that was the explanation of her interest in his bovine project as a non-visual student.
“I once visit a farm too,” she continued.
“One of the friends of my father has one, I fed one of the calves.”
“Ah…” Was she…hm.
Was this her attempt at conversation?
Saint used to attend church on Sundays with his mother when he was back in Memphis, and often, he’d get swept up two feet in the door by an old lady who had questions to demand him to answer, as though she hadn’t seen him just last week. To every answer he gave, she would relay a five-minute story about something that happened to her that was only tangentially related, with far too many details about people whose names he didn’t really recognize, and they always ended with no real conclusion, lesson, or theme.
This felt like something like that.
“It was pretty adorable so I think I understand what you mean when you say they are gentle animals.” She gave a slight shrug.
“Yes…they are very peaceful…,” Saint said. For the most part, they were. “Cows are often stubborn and noisy, too…but they are still such serene animals aside from that, and that…calmness was what I wanted to work into my piece…”
“Animals are really smart,” she said. “I’ll be brave enough to say that sometimes they seem more intelligent than some humans.”
Saint breathed out amusedly through his nostrils. “Than some, certainly…I’ll agree with you on that.”
“I think you were really able to capture that, that cow really seems like a kind one.” She smiled.
“Thank you…,” he said, nodding slightly.
"Oh!” The girl suddenly seemed to realize something. “I haven't introduce myself I'm Maeve Ackerman. Ju…I mean Sophomore from the dance department.”
Ah, dance. It was no wonder that he hadn’t seen her around very much.
“Maeve…,” he repeated. The name didn’t sound familiar either. “I’m Saint…Saint Taylor. Senior, visuals. Pleasure to meet you.”
Mikaela had almost forgotten how much fun it was to hang out with Newt until their little well, let’s call it the “Kidnapping Trip”. Her ‘kidnapper’ with “rugged good looks and unusual hair” had taken her down to the beach, a cool little spot under the pier with a rocky area where they could stash things. After a little game of hiding little trinkets amongst the rocks and taking turns to see who could find them the quickest, Newt said he had something cool he wanted to show her. He’d scrambled up one of the support beams of the pier and reached down to help her up once his own position was secure.
The well-meaning gesture irked her a little, reminding her of her injury, the fact that her leg limited her, that she could no longer move the way she used to, the way she wanted to. But at the same time, it had made her happy, the fact that he didn’t let her injury stop him from wanting to show her what he did. Keep her from doing an activity like climbing up a support beam which she was sure several of her friends and her family would surely have objected or not been supportive of.
With his assistance, she joined him and they spent the next few minutes spotting stars through the cracks in the boards above them before returning to the ground to play frisbee.
Her leg not being what it used to and all, protesting every now and then with little jolts of pain or stiffness that impeded her movement, Mikaela had fallen a couple of times trying to catch the frisbee. Her adorable little kidnapper seemed to worry when she fell but he didn’t press her when she said she was fine and wanted to continue. In her defence, she really was fine. The sand cushioned her falls even as they contributed to them, and her leg had already been ruined, it wasn’t like it could get worse.
Well it could, but also, it couldn’t.
It had been nice, a fun night. Not being treated like she was wounded even though her medical reports said that she was, she was grateful. Her family tried to be encouraging, to not suffocate her or treat her like she was wounded, but they would inevitably worry and try to stop her the instant they thought any activity was a little dangerous or that she was at risk of further injury or something. It was frustrating.
She got it. She understood. They meant well, but…it wasn’t like there was a point anymore…
In any case, all in all, a fantastic day. The best she had in a long time. She had convinced Tori to join her on an adventure, her ‘kidnapper’ had treated her to a fun night, even filming for Alex and Chas’ film had been entertaining in its own way, though she was definitely not getting in front of the camera again.
At least it was a film and not a play. If they told her that she had to act in front of the audience they had here today at the art’s fest, she’d have a panic attack. Being part of the crowd and around a crowd was one thing, she could handle that, but being in front of the crowd? She might have grown up with the spotlight always not too far away because of her family but she still wasn’t used to it.
But she digressed. Two weeks ago, she’d had the best day in a long time. Fucking fantastic. Ten out of ten.
She had been wandering the school grounds, enjoying the festival since she had done her part already with the short film. Knowing you didn’t have to stand in front of these crowds and perform really helped you to relax, but again, she digressed.
The festival performances had been fun, and she had been on her way to find Jace, to give him her secret concoction to help with his nerves when she had heard loud cheering and figured Jace could wait a few minutes while she satisfied her curiosity.
Now, her curiosity was satisfied and… her mood had tanked.
Just straight up bottomed out.
Because the universe was fucking unfair. That was why.
The performance she had seen?
A dance duet by Zeph and Maeve.
Maeve as in Maeve Ackerman.
The girl who had miraculously made a comeback from a serious leg injury.
So she had heard some students in the audience say.
Before this, she had no clue who Maeve Ackerman was.
Now, she knew and she just…
Mikaela bit her lip and clenched her fist.
It wasn’t like she hadn’t tried. She had. She’d worked her damnedest. Done everything – everything that she possibly could to get back on the rink. To put on her skates again but she –
The doctors –
Her leg –
Fuck! It just wasn’t fair!
Why couldn’t she?!
(Because your rper said so)
She hated this. Why only her?
Why not her?
Why, why, why…
The taste of blood warmed Mikaela’s tongue and her teeth released their death grip on her lower lip.
The hand she wiped her mouth with came away with faint traces of blood.
She didn’t even realise that she had been biting that hard. She’d have to settle it before she met Jace. Prying questions were the last thing she wanted to deal with at the moment.
Speaking of Jace, she had to deliver him her special drink that would help with his nerves. Maybe. How you asked? Well, since this was Jace she was dealing with, she had to alter the recipe a little and basically the trick was to make it taste as strongly as possible, sour, sweet, spicy, salty, awful, bitter, anything really that would linger on the tongue for some time so that when it was his turn to perform, he would be too bothered by the taste to notice the crowd and be affected by his nerves.
That was the idea anyway. In theory it worked, in reality…they were about to find out.
There he was, just around the corner, standing, waiting.
Now then, big smile, no blood, happiest, brightest voice you can summon and lights, camera, action!
“Jace!” Mikaela rounded the corner and pounced, throwing her hands around the scrawny boy in a big bear hug.
“Sorry I took a while," she said as she released him from her hold, "got a little turned around trying to locate the stage where you were performing.” She held out a small opaque flask to him, winking.
“As promised, my secret drink to help you with your nerves, take it quick now, before they call you up.”
She’d prepared the drink on her way over, somewhere between seeing Maeve’s ‘miraculous comeback duet’ and arriving in front of her nervous friend.
“Like I said before, recipe’s a secret so I’m not telling you what’s in it, no matter how much you ask.” A cheeky grin spread across her face as she wagged a finger at him.
She slapped him hard on the back, probably a little harder than she should have given his frame but damage was done so. Ooops?
“You’ll do great! Don’t worry too much! Now go out there and kill it!”
Empty words on empty words if you asked her really but they helped some people. Sometimes.
There was a time in the past when they’d helped her. Not those exact words she told Jace or anything close really. Not from what she remembered.
It wasn’t surprising that one of JJ’s favorite parts of performing was getting ready.
The outfits. Hairstyles. Makeup. All eyes were on her, appreciating every inch of her most likely because she looked amazing.This outfit had cost her a fortune. Custom made obviously. Would you expect any less from Juliette Jameson?
When it came to herself, she always had the best of the best.
She heard Ava’s voice from outside the dressing room, holding a bobby pin in between her teeth to avoid ruining her nails as she pried it open. “Mhm.” The brunette replied, sliding the bobby pin underneath the elastic rubber band that was holding half of her curls up.
“Hey, you look..."
JJ turned to face Ava with a smile as if she had just won a jackpot, smugly awaiting her payout.
"You look amazing."
Jules fluttered her eyelashes, half-heartedly shrugging.
“I know.” She said, adjusting the straps onto her shoulders a little more. They had to be tightened. Jules made a mental note not to forget it.
She added an extra dab of blush over her cheekbones, glancing towards the left and right side of her face to make sure both were even.
She couldn’t help but roll her eyes at Ava’s question.
“Definitely not. I’ve danced in front of tons of people before.”
Jules’s gaze fell everywhere but Ava’s face.
She couldn’t help it. As much as they practiced, and as much as Juliette believed she could practically do the routine blindfolded, she was nervous.
Only a sophomore and those little whores from Stardom already knew who she was? Juliette was clearly on the right path. She wouldn’t want to ruin it. So, yes. Maybe JJ’s heart was quickening in pace every minute that passed closer to performing.
“Could you make these tighter?” She glanced over at her and adjusted to the straps of the outfit.
Her gaze traveled over the costume in the mirror, eyeing every detail.
JJ let out a huff of breath, shaking her head at the mere thought.
“Can you believe that I thought Dorian might think this was too revealing, I could’ve easily gone with a mesh skirt or something a little longer but I don’t think he cared.”
Believe it or not, if Dorian had asked— JJ would’ve obliged.
And she hated whores like that. Like? It’s your outfit, not your boyfriend’s. He shouldn’t get a say if he doesn’t know fashion.
But she’d still do it for him.
That says a lot. Doesn’t it?
Dorian was literally the best boyfriend ever. Minus his ability to always be late. He always made up for it. He was just fucking amazing. JJ’s parents don’t know yet, and honestly she’d like to keep it that way for now.
The arrival of Art Fest came as a welcome moment to breathe for Ezra. For all the jokes he had made to Auguste about him working too much and not having enough fun, Ezra had ironically worked himself to the point of mild burnout. Between his display, which he had to take a temporary pause on because of an issue with the school’s kiln, and the movie and all the other little tasks he had been doing to help out the younger students, Ezra had barely had time to do anything for himself since he had arrived at the school.
Well, there was sneaking off to the pottery room with Auguste and meeting Tori, but that was ruined by the fact that he eventually had to go back to the studio. And there was also the street racing and the hook up with Chas’s incredibly hot leading man, but that had just been some shallow, silly fun, not a true reprieve from the exhaustion.
As always, Ezra was up before the sun with enough energy to fuel a small house. Leaving Spencer to his own devices (as he often did when he was busy, his little brother didn’t need a babysitter), Ezra had left for the gym. By the time he returned, showered, and made himself breakfast, Ezra was alone in the apartment to prepare for the day.
It would come as a surprise to many but Ezra Gray had rather horrible stage fright. Presenting pottery wasn’t like singing a song or performing a play. If someone messes up a lyric, they can carry on like nothing ever happened. If a prop breaks, actors can improvise the mistake into an act of comedy. Pottery, however, had to be perfect. The people who were going to be analyzing his work were not the typical nobodies that didn’t know one piece from another. No, these people were specialists in the field, the royals of perfection and preciseness. Flaws were unavoidable but they were also unhidable, forcing the artist to put it out on display without hesitation or restraint. That was the part that Ezra hated: he had to be perfect and he couldn’t hide the fact that he wasn’t.
By the time Ezra had finished setting up his display, a rather interesting number of carefully crafted pottery pieces along with a few clay sculptures topped with hand-built shelves and carefully woven fabric backdrops and perfectly placed hand picked flowers. Ezra was almost sad when the whole display was up and running; now he had to talk to people.
Each person that came by offered their congratulations and a welcome, some warm some cold, before digging right in and staring his pieces down to ash. Ezra stood quietly as each person came, saw, and left, sometimes offering him another congratulations or compliment before moving to the next station. His designated hour of presentation droned on at an agonizingly slow rate. Ezra counted the minutes on the large brass wall clock, his eyes keeping careful track of each tick of the second hand.
“Mr Gray? Your time is up. Please move your display to the storage building.”
Ezra breathed a heavy sigh of pure relief and did as he was told. In record time, his display was pulled down, moved, reset, and he, himself, was gone.
Small bouquet of red carnations tucked in hand (yes, he had remembered Auguste’s favourite flowers from their brief text conversation, don’t act so surprised), Ezra dipped into the theatre where the dance performances were happening. Some random group of girls occupied the stage and all Ezra could do was silently slip into a seat in the back row and hope he hadn’t missed Auguste’s performance.
A few groups of dancers came and went with no sign of Auguste. Ezra had begun to sink into his seat with the dread that he had missed his friend’s performance when Auguste’s name was announced.
Ezra is a man of many talents and many interests but dance had never been one of them. He had spent more than his fair share of time in studios and at recitals to watch Spencer, he had played an overly critical and insanely clueless judge more times than he could count. But even with all of that experience, Ezra still didn’t have a damn clue where to start with telling if a dance was technically good or if the dancer just looked good doing it because, surprise surprise, there is apparently a difference.
Auguste’s dance was no different. Ezra had no clue if the dance looked so beautiful because it was technically good or if he was just proud of his friend who just so happened to capture a new, previously unseen beauty and grace in each of his movements. Nonetheless, Ezra found himself captivated and squinting to see the dance more closely.
With the last notes of the song fizzling out in the theatre air amongst the chorus of applause, Ezra pushed his way back out of the studio and back towards the dancers’ dressing rooms. With a quick flash of his student ID to the guards, Ezra pushed past the crowds and began scanning the rooms for Auguste’s name. Carefully knocking a few times on what Ezra had hoped to be the correct door, he pushed it open carefully and leaned against the open frame.
“My my, Auguste,” Ezra said smoothly from his slanted position against the door, “I must say, that performance was honestly incredible. I was afraid that I had missed it and I am so glad that I didn’t. I knew you had to be good but… wow. You really surpassed the expectation I had in my mind of what a good dancer looks like.”
Ezra extended the flowers in his hand, the bright red contrasting the darkness of his shirt.
“These are for you, by the way.” Ezra continued with a warm, genuine smile. For once, no smirks and no snarky comments. “Every amazing dancer should get flowers at least once in their lifetime. Figured now was as good a time as any.”
Gen paced the floor anxiously as she waited for Mike to call out in response. She hadn’t seen him yet that day, having been far too busy with preparing everything to take some sort of kindergarten style roll call, so all she could hope was that Mike hadn’t bailed and was actually somewhere in the building. If he was late or if he wasn’t there at all or if he wasn’t ready Gen was going to…
A heavy breath fell from Gen’s lips. She wasn’t going to do anything, at least not until after the show.
"What do you take me for? Waste that sentiment on others if you must. I will be impeccable as usual."
“Yeah, yeah, we know you’re hot. Get over yourself.” Gen spoke bluntly, though there was the slightest hint of a teasing undertone in her voice, as she pushed a few strands of hair away from her face and hair spraying them down to her head. “Unfortunately, naturally attractive and hygienically inclined or not, we all need to be perfect today. I’m not going to have either one of you fuck up my reputation and all the work we’ve put into this because of some stupid pride. It’s not happening.”
“Hair’s already fixed enough. I’m all ready to go on and get this over with, as long as you two are.” Mike’s voice spoke from behind Gen. As if her hair was no longer a concern, Gen spun on her heels and faced Mike with her manicured hands placed firmly on her hips.
“Could it have taken you any longer?” Gen groaned as she pushed Mike down into one of the three chairs lining the wall-long vanity. “And enough? Seriously? Your goal for today is to do enough? I swear, I have to do everything around here. Hold this,”
Shoving a mirror into Mike’s hand so that she could see the front of his head, Gen spun the chair around and began to examine his hair from all sides, carefully smoothing the few fly-aways that were left down with a toothbrush and hair gel. Grabbing a compact from the counter, Gen patted a thick brush into the substance and began to trail it across Mike’s nose.
“I’m not going to have you looking greasy as hell, not on my damn runway.” Gen grumbled to herself. Taking the mirror from Mike, she grabbed his jaw and moved his face around in the light. With a quick and light run of her fingers through the ends of Mike’s hair to break the strands apart, Gen nodded and patted Mike on the shoulder. “There. I’m going to get dressed. If either one of you,” Gen spoke sternly with her index finger pointing to the two boys in front of her like some stern mother trying to round her kids up for a fancy trip to Grandma’s house, “ends up messy or fucked up, the only thing that will be on that stage is your blood. Just sit still and look pretty, you’re both really good at that.”
Without another word, Gen went to the back part of the room and pulled the curtain closed. Tugging off the robe and tossing it onto the back of the bench, she unzipped the garment bag and pulled the dress free. Carefully doing up her heels before she was into the dress, Gen eventually wiggled herself into the dress. With the back still open far down past her lower back, Gen groaned and struggled to close it up. Stupid nails, stupid design flaw, stupid fucking dress.
“Hey, uh,” Gen’s head poked out through the curtains, “Mike can you give me a hand? I can’t get the damn zipper and unless you want me to walk the stage with my whole ass out, I’m gonna need you to zip me up.”
Stepping back inside the closed off area, Gen took a deep breath. She was getting nervous.
Gen spun around to present the back of the dress to Mike and watched in the floor length mirror as he worked the zipper up her delicate spine. Part of her was admiring how damn good she looked in the dress but more than anything, she was admiring how damn good she and Mike looked beside each other, all matching and in formal clothes. Gen hadn’t really seen him so dressed up before.
Fuck, he cleaned up nicely. If they didn’t have a show to put on in fifteen minutes, she knew damn well that both the stupid dress and Mike’s fancy suit would end up on the floor.
“We should go to Ball together.” Gen suddenly blurted out, her mouth speaking words without her mind’s permission. She looked shocked at her own words, glossy red lips slightly parted as she looked at Mike in the mirror. Fuck fuck fuck, say something. “We look really good together. Like this, I mean, all done up and fancy. It would be a shame if the world only got to see us like this once.”
There was no ulterior motive or meaning in Gen’s words this time: she was asking Mike on a real, genuine, fully purposeful date. With a deep breath, Gen turned around to face him.
“I’ve been thinking a lot lately, about us. After what you said that day at lunch, every time we hook up things just feel… different, like we aren’t…” Gen sighed, her pinky linking with Mike’s as her other fingers followed suit. “Like we aren’t just friends anymore, not even with the ‘benefits’. It’s more than that, you and I both know it is. We aren’t people to just sit around and wait for things to happen, so why don’t we just admit it and deal with it like we always do?”
Suddenly, Gen was horribly aware of the weight of her hand in his and pulled away, silently pleading for him to say something, anything, in response.
How long had he been at this Arts Festival? A few hours? And here he was, already knocking into strange girls and nearly sending them falling over. Luckily, Zeph had stopped her from falling over, especially since she was in heels and although he'd never worn heels, he'd been told that it was hard to keep your balance in them.
Err.... well.... it looked like it was hard to keep your balance in them, anyway. All... thin and pointy.
The girl he'd bumped into started to go off on him, which Zeph had expected. He'd braced for impact of her harsh words as he let her go and leaned back, but then she looked up at him and made eye contact and then she... just... stopped? A little confused smile found its way onto his lips, and he tilted his head slightly in confusion.
Where was the bite? The harsh words? The snapping at him because he'd stupidly bumped into this girl before him? What the heck had happened?
He glanced over his shoulder, thinking that perhaps a teacher or maybe her parent had seen or something (or maybe Stella, because there was no way Stella would probably settle for someone yelling at him), but all he saw were people going about their days. No one was looking in their direction, no one was approaching, so there was nothing weird about the environment to cause her sudden change.
Girls were weird.
“No..I’m sorry. I was looking at my phone …I’m fine.” She said.
"Oh, guess we were doing the same thing," he said with a casual chuckle. Zeph lifted his phone up, which he'd managed to keep gripped his hand despite the whole bumping into this girl thing, and gave it a little wiggle. Ya know, just in case she didn't pick up on his totally hilarious little joke.
"No harm, no foul, though, yeah?" He continued, and then seemed to remember that he didn't know the girl before him -- and hey, maybe she went to his school, and hey, maybe introducing himself would be polite, so he held out his free hand, a relaxed smile on his face. "I'm Zeph. Evermore. Zeph Evermore. Well, Zephyr Evermore, but no one really calls me that. So it's... it's just... Zeph. Or, well, I guess my sisters don't even call me that. I'm just Zee there."
Another little chuckle when he realized that he was kind of rambling, which was kind of typical of Zeph when he didn't exactly know what to say, so he gave an awkward little grin.
"Uhh... and you are...? I don't recognize you. Are you new?"
i'm too lazy to come up with a good mood right now