While not totally surprised by Chas’ reaction to him, Seb did feel a bitter disappointment from it. Alongside this disappointment was a very real, very overwhelming send of panic and self-loathing that Seb was trying extremely hard to contain. After being shot down by Chas once, he decided to stay quiet while Chas stormed over to... Gen, who’d apparently now joined in. Great. Seb took some deep breaths while nobody was paying attention to him, but when Chas completely walked off without a glance in his direction, it was all for nothing since he felt like he was choking anyway.
Against his better judgement, he pulled out his phone and got involved in Twitter again, feeling like he needed to do something that took up all of his attention or else he’d just explode. At first it worked out pretty well, and then Chas had to jump on. Seb tried to just not interact with him at first, but then that became extremely awkward, so he decided to suck it up, which was yet another in a long line of bad decisions he was making that night. He and Chas quickly became a bit hostile with each other, then Nate and Evie started to tweet as well and it all just built up from there. Seb had never had a breakdown in public before, but this one took him by surprise. All of a sudden all he could think was that he deserved all of this and that nothing would ever be okay again.
Before he knew it he was crying and somehow through everything he’d ended up messaging Charlie, who was helping him through his breakdown. He’d ended up sitting on the ground with his knees to his chest, leaning back against the bleachers and trying to breathe properly so he didn’t feel like he was dying. It wasn’t going great for him so far.
MOOD: breaking down
LOCATION: BEHIND stadium bleachers
OUTFIT: Dark green hoodie, black skinny jeans, dark blue sneakers
Evie knew better than to continue questioning and lecturing Nate. She could see it in his eyes that he had already shut down and while she normally didn't care to talk emotions with anyone it was different this time. Something about what Nate had done and how he'd responded to his own actions just felt...off. She noticed how he tensed up when she'd walked up, almost as if he hadn't expected her to even remotely stand by him after he'd done what he did. It was a valid response. Any normal person would've cut him off right then and there and maybe Evie would've been better off to do so herself. Hell, she'd just lost Gen of all people by choosing not to. She cared about Nate though, even if she didn't say it out loud often, so despite his fuck up she didn't plan on just dropping him like he was nothing.
When he finally realized she wasn't there to hit him or berate him he softened up but his muttering that Chas deserved it made her shake his head. Did she agree that he deserved to be fucked over in the same way he'd so nonchalantly fucked others over? Yes. But not like this. Never like this. He quickly thanked her and then moved to walk away and she sighed. Before she could stop him he was already stopping himself and turning around to face her and Chase once again, this time asking if they were leaving. She was honestly grateful that Chase was still by her side, he was like a brother to her and she couldn't imagine her life without him. Especially after Gen had so publicly dumped her as a friend for not cutting Nate off on the spot. God. What the hell was she going to do about Gen...She once again pushed the heartbreaking thought out of her head and nodded.
"Yeah, I drove my car here. Chase, you can stay if you want but I know you only came for me so if you wanna follow me back to my place that's fine too. I should really get him out of here," she told her friend, understanding fully if he didn't wanna leave with them right now. When he told her he was going to head home she reminded him to text her when he made it. She tugged at Nate's hand, then motioned for him to follow her to the parking lot. Chas or Seb might come out of the woodworks at any time looking for a fight and they didn't need that. Once they were both in the car she pulled off and drove to her apartments not far from campus. It didn't take them long to get there but the silence in the car was still awkward. "I can take you home later or you can just stay over but I'm not just leaving you alone right now," she told him, parking and getting out to go inside the building.
Gen’s hands refused to stop shaking even after her grip on the hem of her cardigan had turned her knuckles pale. Her finger pulsated with waves of pain from the tear in the depth of her nail bed, her nose scrunching up with each thump of discomfort. Stupid fucking Nate and his stupid fucking face breaking her stupid fucking nail.
The blood in her veins continued to boil, the roaring sound of the stadium drowned out by the endless heartbeat thumping in her ears. How dare Nate think he was so high and mighty that he could expose Chas and Seb on Twitter? Sure, Chas was no angel, but no one deserved to have intimate moments exposed online for everyone to see, especially when involved the sensitive topic of same-sex relationships.
There had barely been time for a reaction before Adriane was in front of Gen, whisking her away to find Chas and Seb. She cared? Perhaps that shouldn’t have surprised Gen, Adri wasn’t the heartless bitch a lot of people made her out to be, but it wasn’t typically in her nature to be all soft and caring. But Gen did not protest, following after Adri in long strides until they met up with Chas and Seb under the bleachers.
She really hadn’t wanted to be the one that broke the news to the pair but luckily enough, Adri spoke for her. Gen watched as the two turned their attention to their phones, their faces contorting into a cocktail of pain and fury. This only made Gen’s blood boil further. The look on Seb’s face alone made her want to go back and finish the job on Nate’s face. And perhaps if it hadn’t been for Adriane’s presence, she would have.
It was then that Chas was demanding to know where Nate was and, without missing a beat, Gen answered. What? She didn’t want to cause more problems but, technically speaking, pointing Chas in the right direction was simply helping out a classmate!
“Last I saw, the little bitch was still at the top of the bleachers.. When you find him, give him my best regards before you knock his ass out.” Gen explained with a quick point in Nate’s general direction. No doubt the little coward had scurried off into whatever hole he crawled out of with Evie tagging along loyally behind him. The thought of her friend brought another pang of sadness to her abdomen. She’d deal with Evie later.
The next thing she knew, Seb was crying and Gen was entirely uncertain about what to do. Dealing with intense emotions was Eli’s job, Gen was more of a ‘pick yourself up and dust yourself off’ sort of girl. But Seb didn’t need a pep talk and a makeover, he needed a shoulder to cry on.
“What do we do?” Gen whispered to Adriane, her brain racing a thousand miles a minute. Seb dropped to the ground and pulled his knees up to his chest as the sobs shook his body. Oh no. What was she supposed to do about that? She wasn’t entirely certain. But there was an answer in the question that popped into her mind. What would Eli do?
Gen walked over slowly, crouching down carefully beside him. Reaching a hand out carefully, Gen began to rub smooth circles on his upper back. She remained quiet as she listened to him cry. Physical touch was supposed to be calming, right? Ugh, why are emotions so difficult.
A small figure popped around the corner of the bleachers, her face contorted in worry. Charlie, an absolute angel of the moment, quickly rushed to Seb’s side, her hands grasping his shoulders as she began speaking to him. Giving them room, Gen stood up, wobbling slightly as her heel got stuck in the grass.
“I’ve got this Gen.” Charlie spoke softly, offering a soft smile over her shoulder.
“Okay. Text me if you need me, girl.” Gen answered, turning to Adri. “We should probably give them some space.”
Gen left the spot under the bleachers, a sinking feeling capturing her body. She felt awful. She had been one of the people who saw them in the first place, why hadn’t she stopped them then? Before Evie could have gone blabbing to Nate, before those pictures had been taken, before the night turned from fun to catastrophe. Gen was just as much to blame and she knew it. Against her better judgement, she looked over to Adriane.
“Look, it's probably going to get out so I might as well tell you that I was there, when the picture was taken I mean. Chase pointed them out and I couldn’t stop them, I didn’t stop them. But I swear I had nothing to do with that picture.” Gen found herself trying to justify herself to Adri, her words certain and carefully chosen. Why Adri of all people? She really didn’t know. “I’m gonna kill Nate. The next time I see him, he’s walking away with more than a hit to the ego and a cut on his cheek. How dare he do this?”
“You actually found someone?” One of the many frantic stage managers asked with raised eyebrows. Charlie grinned and nodded proudly, her hands resting confidently on her hips.
“Of course I did! Ask and ye shall receive.” Charlie giggled, the smile plastering her face. They didn’t need to know it was Lin, nor did they need to know that he was entirely unprepared and only agreed because it was Charlie. Well, not just Charlie, it was Charlie dressed like Kim Possible which clearly he had a major thing for. Was it cheating? Of course not, only strategic winning.
With the stage managers rushing off to fix the set list and inform the band, Charlie was left outside the tent. Her phone was blowing up in her pocket again though she was just going to have to ignore them. She had a performance to do!
Heading back inside the tent, Charlie picked up her phone and lodged it on the table in front of the mirror, stretching herself forward to see her makeup up close. Fixing a few stray smudges and pinning down a few rogue hairs, Charlie smiled once again and closed up her kit, throwing it back into her bag. Walking up to Amy, she looked her over and her smile only grew.
“Oh we are totally gonna kill this, Ames.” Charlie chirped, bumping her hip into Amy’s with a laugh. “Come on, let’s go warm up. Performance is in ten.”
On their way over to the warm-up area, Charlie’s nosiness got the better of her. Pausing her walk, she made her way back over to her phone and unlocked the screen. She had only meant to see what was going on and then silence her phone, her intentions had been good. But then Chas and Seb were having a mutual fallout on Twitter and soon enough, a full scale community argument broke out and no one seemed to be noticing how frantic Seb’s messages seemed to be getting. Charlie’s face dropped. She had to perform, there was no other option, she didn’t have time for this.
But she messaged Seb anyways. Perhaps they had gotten off on a bad foot due to Charlie’s dislike of Chas but Seb was a good person. If no one else was going to even try to give a shit, Charlie was not about to leave him alone in a time of need.
“Amy I gotta go.” Charlie said quietly, staring down at her phone screen as she typed out a carefully worded DM to Seb. “Seb’s alone and he’s having a panic attack, I’ve gotta go. He can’t be alone, I refuse to let him be alone.”
Her words became more rushed as her mind switched off, focused only on two things: find Lake and get to Seb. She was operating on a limited timespan but at that point, fuck the performance. He was alone, scared, panicking, probably feeling so many different flavours of hurt that Charlie could never understand and everyone was too busy trying to pick fights to help him. Then there was Briar. Charlie really hadn’t meant to be a bitch but it happened, her mouth flying before her brain could catch up. She wasn’t really in the mood for making enemies but Charlie couldn’t give less of a shit if a new kid disliked her. People were in need, what else mattered?
Charlie spun around to face Amy, her face pale even under the blush and bronzer. Charlie had no clue why she was getting involved, she was fairly certain she was the last person Seb wanted to be seeing anyways, but she was at least going to try. Everyone else was silent, too busy absorbed in their own drama to care about their peers.
“I’ve gotta go find Seb. He’s alone and he needs someone.” Charlie explained with a more calm tone. “If the stage managers ask, I’m… Oh! I’m throwing up! Yeah if they ask, I’m puking from the stress. Tell them I’ll be back though. Just buy me some time!”
Shoving her phone in her pocket, Charlie burst out of the tent and straight into the chest of Luca, a chest that the significantly smaller girl bounced right off of. Luckily, his hands gripped her shoulders and kept her upright as she stumbled backwards, her heart thumping wildly in her chest.
“I’ve gotta go, a friend needs me. I’ll be back, but I’ve got to go.” Charlie rushed, patting Luca’s hand on her shoulder as she spun out of the way and around Luca. “If the stage managers ask, I’m puking profusely in the bathroom!”
With those final words, Charlie took off in a sprint. Her eyes were scanning the bleachers and the field for Lake, her heart pounding against the inside of her ribcage. Each step she took as she bounded across the field counted down the valuable seconds she had until the performance. Fuck. What if she didn’t get back on time? Would they start without her? Would they wait? Either way, Charlie was fucking up the entire performance. Leave it to her to screw a good thing up.
Spotting Lake, Charlie picked up the pace and raced over to him. She nearly skidded right into him as she pulled herself to a halt, her chest heaving with laboured breaths.
“Seb. Needs. You.” Charlie panted. “Have to go find him.”
Charlie did not wait for an answer, grabbing Lake by the hand and pulling him along behind her as she sprinted around the back of the bleachers, scanning every nook and cranny for Seb. Where was he? Her calves burned as she ran, her grip on Lake’s hand not loosening. She was certainly on a role of stealing people and dragging them around, now wasn’t she?
Finally she heard Seb. A gentle cry, just barely detectable over the roar of the crowd. For anyone not paying attention, the noise would have been lost in the crowd. But for Charlie, it was enough to tell her where he was.
Bursting around the corner, Charlie was more than shocked to find both Gen and Adriane there, Gen crouched awkwardly by Seb’s side. Charlie stopped running and dropped to a crouch in front of Seb as she grabbed his shoulders gently, attempting to make eye contact as she gently began to speak.
“Hey, shh, we’re here now.” Charlie spoke, forcing her voice to be level and calm despite the burning ache in her chest. “You’re not alone, we’re here for you. Everything is going to be okay, Lake’s here too.”
Looking over her shoulder slightly to Gen, who was standing awkwardly behind her, Charlie forced another smile to her face.
“I’ve got this, Gen.” Charlie reassured, her thumbs gently rubbing the sides of Seb’s arms.
With a nod, Gen and Adri left the tent leaving her, Seb, and Lake alone. With the privacy now available, Charlie’s face softened. Anxiety burst through her chest, telling her to get back to the stage, but she couldn’t leave Seb yet. And she certainly wasn’t going to show that anxiety, not when someone needed her. She needed to be strong for everyone. All she could hope was that the managers were going to buy the whole ‘getting sick in the bathroom’ thing to give her enough time.
“It's okay, we’re here now. You’re not alone. I’m here for you. And I brought Lake too. Try to breathe for me, okay? Deep breath in, deep breath out.” Charlie reassured, pulling him forwards into a hug. “You’re safe. Everything is going to be okay.”
The entire night was, as far as Elias was concerned, royally fucked. He was in no mood to fight with the others to get them back on board, definitely not in the mood to go round up the strays. He was tired and, by all accounts, just wanted to go home. First the entire school blew up on Twitter, then he ran into a passive-aggressive Charlie, then his plans with Ken got cancelled, and now the team was scattered to the breeze and entirely unmotivated.
Eli placed his head in his hands and let out a heavy sigh. How long would it be before word got out to the whole school about Chas and Seb? The fallout would be devastating for them. And what about the cheer team? They were a total mess! Cheerleaders were always responsible for the halftime show and there they all were completely broken apart and crumbling under the slightest amount of pressure.
Kennedy’s sweet voice brought Eli back to reality as he looked up to the girl, the tension on his face softening slightly. At her question, Eli gave a sad shrug as he shook his head.
“I don’t know. Revenge, I would assume.” He attempted to explain, resting his arms on his thighs. “Regardless of the reason, it's sickening. I know that Chas isn’t a wonderful person but two wrongs never make a right.”
The next thing he knew, Briar was showing up. Eli forced a friendly look onto his face, the effort required to do so scaring him slightly. But that was his job: be happy, be friendly, be kind. Even when no one else cared, Eli had to. There was no other choice.
“Anytime.” Eli said to Briar’s thank you. His back stiffened slightly at the mention of what was going on before she arrived. “It’s nothing. We were just talking about cheer.”
Elias had almost gone back to drowning in his own thoughts when a source of inspiration hit him, a source that he had never expected to be a source at all. Eli didn’t look up when Trevor asked about the cheerleaders on the field until his words hit him. Certainly Trevor hadn’t meant to spark a drive in Eli, it was definitely a happy accident. Eli looked up to the cheerleaders and began to count.
“Where is everyone? We have a performance in a few minutes.” Eli asked himself, his voice barely above a soft hum. “Holy shit, I’ve gotta go!”
Jumping off the bleachers, Eli made his way over to the group in a jog. Before he could get to the group, however, Lake was being whisked away by Charlie to who knows where. Eli sighed once again, slowing his pace and walking over to the group just in time to hear Ash talk about giving up.
“No way are we doing that.” Eli said confidently as he made his way over to the group. “Look, I know today hasn’t been ideal for anyone, but we’ve worked hard for this. We might be missing a few people but that doesn’t mean we just lay down and not perform. We have a job to do.”
Eli thought for a moment, growing quiet as he assessed the team. Okay, so maybe they were missing more than a ‘few’ people, but it could still work. The routine would need to change slightly and sure it might be a little less fluid, but it could work.
“Alright, we can do this. But I need everyone here on board and participating. I know it's been a really bad evening but we have tried out, we have practiced, and we have worked overly hard to be here. The fact that any of us are still standing here after what’s transpired this evening shows that no one really wants to give up, that there’s still a part of each of us that wants to perform.” Eli rambled, attempting to pull every inspirational word from his mind into a cohesive sentence. His team was not about to give up, at least not without Eli trying to save them first.
Making his way over to Nickie, Eli gave her a smile and wrapped his arm around her shoulders protectively. He had no idea how to relate to the pain she was feeling over the situation with Chas and Seb. Part of him wished he could do more to help her. The only thing Eli knew how to do was to wing it and that’s exactly what he was going to do.
“Nickie is an amazing captain who has been through a lot this evening. We are not going to let her down.” Eli continued, his voice laced with confidence. “We can’t just perform for the audience now. After what’s happened, it's more than that. We need to come through for our school and we need to come through for each other. If you’re not planning on giving 110% right now, do me a favour and see yourself to the bench. Even if I’m the only one left on this field, I’m performing. Not for the audience, but for each of you on this team. If we can’t at least try to be a beacon of fun during what seems to be the most dramatic football game in American history then who will be? We can do this, we just need to work together. There will be time for sadness and everything later. But we have a job to do now, so let’s get it done. Let’s prove it to ourselves that we’re more than this drama, more than the people who aim to ruin a good time. We can do this. Who’s with us?”
feeling like he's in one of those sappy coming of age movies
He barely had time to process what was going on when Charlie’s smaller form ran up to him all the way from backstage. Maybe it was a miracle that she was reading his mind, no wait that’d be scary if she had those powers. Who knows all the things she’d have heard him think about, that’s way too deep a well to explore even on his own. Not to mention that he’d totally have the weight of that knowledge on his mind and of course protect Charlie from the government officials that would be after her. This night was getting more complicated by the second. First Seb in trouble and now superpower conspiracies? Who knows what’s next, maybe Ash will start talking about her feelings for real.
No, he needed to get his head back on track, thankfully Charlie pulling him away from the field helped. He was tripping against his own limbs like a baby giraffe as he tried to keep up with the other, scanning the back of the bleachers for any sign of their immediate concern. He hadn’t heard the other man, but with a little leverage of seeing above the crowd, he could definitely see in the distance a curled-up figure. It was obvious it was Seb, and it broke his heart to see him like that. The closer they got, Lake was surprised to see Gen and Adriane, definitely not the girls he expected. Then again, with a night like this he was seeing people all over the place he hadn’t expected them to be. Still, as soon as they passed by them, Charlie quickly getting down on Seb’s level, the girls were as good as gone. Whatever, Lake didn’t care about them enough to ask them to stay. Besides, the position that Seb was in was one that clearly didn’t need a crowd.
“Hey Buddy, it’s Lake. You already know that but I’m here for you man. Crazy night huh,” he squats down just a little ways away from Charlie as she pulls the other into a hug, “Think you can get some air in for us bud? If not that’s okay! Here look!”
Getting fully onto his knees he scoots over to wherewith his physique he could cover up Sebastian from the sight of others. He even turned around to make sure no one else was looking, giving an unnatural glare to his face at some people walking by. If his friend needed to cry, no one else was getting the chance to hurt him more because of it. This is what Lake would’ve wanted years ago had someone been there for him and my god he was not about to repeat history.
With one more glance over his shoulder, he returns his gaze to Sebastian, immediately softening back up with a loose smile. “There now you don’t have to worry too much. Think you can try breathing for me, my man? Look at me, Seb. Follow my inhales and exhales if you can, okay bud?”
MOOD || getting over it, just a little bit. filler OUTFIT || cheer uniform filler LOCATION || the sidelines filler INTERACTIONS || Winona
(elias), Wayward Son
(mimi) filler MENTIONS || chas, sebastian, hunter, ronnie, the cheerleaders that are not present
"You got this, Nicks!"
It was a faint, but the voice that Nickie heard made her ears perk up, and she looked in the direction that it had come from.
Her broken heart caught up in her throat, and she choked out a small "thanks".
Hunter. Hunter. Hunter. It was Hunter. Hunter, smiling, bidding her a thumbs up. Smiling.
Even though she knew and told herself in her head that he would hate her if he knew the reason why she was crying, she felt something swell in her chest.
You got this, Nicks! His words echoed in her head as she looked at him, and when Ronnie, beside him, joined in, she felt a strange burn that was a mix of confidence and the urge to prove herself.
She'd just made a fool of herself, getting out on this field on her first effing day of being co-captain and buckling on her knees while holding back tears. She would, most likely, get a stern talking to by the coach, if not be fired from her position. She knew how much she had failed.
But those words gave her a little bit of hope that she could do this, despite her broken heart and despite the swelling of tears in her eyes and her blurred vision.
Plus, who would she be to let that little Ronnie girl look down upon her?
"Thank you," she mouthed once more, and a small, itsy-bitsy smile teased at her lips. It wasn't confident, nor was it the most evident thing, but it was there, and it was...genuine once again.
She looked at Mimi, who was at her side, and at her words, she gave a wider, if wobbly, smile. "I-I...I'll be fine. You don't have to be there for me-- be there for yourself first. We're going to perform," she said, in her scratchy voice.
Ash's worrying didn't register in her head, and, as Eli talked, Nickie felt the brokenness of her heart fall to the wayside.
It'd just as broken after the game; right now, it didn't need her attention. Her squad did. Her team was worrying.
Nickie was one of their leaders. It wasn't her job to sit by and cry. It wasn't her job to mope about or whine in the game or fall down and embarrass herself, and, if she did any of that, it was not her squad's job to pick her up.
The coach's words floated into her conscience. "Now, I won't say that there's no crying in cheer. I will say, though, that the crying we do here is part of our work. There are four things we need to work: blood, sweat, trust, and tears. The last of those things is okay, as long as you learn how to manage it. The tears, however, have no place on the field. Performing isn't a you thing. It's an us thing."
She could do this. She could be a leader. She was a leader, and now was her time to help lead.
"I'm with you," Nickie said, stepping forward. Her voice was as firm and as confident she could muster, and she looked around at the remains of her squad. "This isn't about what's going on out there right now. I apologize for me crying, but this isn't about me, and it isn't about Sebastian or C--..." At trying to say Chas' name, she felt herself grow choked up, but she shook her head and move on. "This isn't about any one of us. It's about all of us as a body. Half of us aren't here, for some reason...but that's not important, okay? We're not here to worried about those not dedicated enough to this squad, and we aren't here to worry about what's going on out there. I'm not here to cry, Ash's not here to worry...none of this may be going right, but that's not important."
Though her voice was scratchy, her eyes watery, and her knees shaky, Nickie continued with a fierceness in her voice. "Why are we here? To support the team. If we can't do that, then there's no point. We're going to get out on this field, and we're going to do a good job, end of story. We didn't come here to let everyone down. We've worked so hard for this-- not just me, not just Eli, but all of us, okay? There is no 'giving up' at this point. There is no 'backing down' at this point." She looked out at the empty field, and then up to the monitor. "Three minutes. We've got three minutes until we perform. In those three minutes, we're not going to worry, we're not going to cry. We're going to pick ourselves up, put on our game faces...and then, once those three minutes are up, we're going to get out there and kick some ass, okay?"
So much for not cursing, but she was feeling it.
"I won't ask 'who's with me'. I'll ask: will you trust in me enough, as one of your captains, to follow my lead and set an example for the whole school and for the others around us of exactly who we are? Will you prove to them what we're made of? Will you show them that we're more than just flowery boys or prissy girls? Will you prove to them that we don't frolic in the meadows or giggle and cry in practice?" She smiled boldly. "Will you show them that we run this shit?"
Seb had never been around other people when having a panic attack before, and now both Gen and Adriane had seen it, as well as anyone else who might have been lurking under the bleachers. That embarrassment only worsened his condition, but it did help that Gen tried to comfort him. Even if he could barely hear her, since he felt like he was underwater, her touch on his back was grounding. He tried to choke out an ‘I’m sorry’ but it just became more sobs, so he quickly gave up on that and just cried.
Then, as Gen stood to leave, Charlie and Lake were there like goddamn angels. Seb was so relieved that he couldn’t even focus on his embarrassment, instead watching Charlie as she spoke. He tried desperately to breath deeply like Charlie asked, holding her tightly when they hugged, but he still struggled. When they parted and he turned to look at Lake, following and imitating Lake’s breaths was very helpful, and after about a minute he was starting to breathe normally.
Once he could form a coherent thought, Sebastian groaned and squeezed his eyes shut, dropping his face into his hands. “Oh, God. I’m so sorry, guys. Fuck.”
LOCATION: BEHIND stadium bleachers
OUTFIT: Dark green hoodie, black skinny jeans, dark blue sneakers
"Hey, babe," It only took two words for a shiver to run down Kordei's spine. The tone of her voice put him at complete easy, like a drug granting him a high. He found his eyes softened after she said that, and like a baby, his was was cradled over Amy's shoulder with the softness of her fingertips slowly stroking his his cheek. If Dei had it his way, he'd have thrown Amethyst over onto his back and escaped with her into his car. Whether or not they did the dirty in his backseat, or his apartment was purely up to his willpower (which honestly, wasn't a lot).
Kordei nodded slowly at Amy's words. Amy was a hard worker, and she deserved this opportunity and more. Often mixed in with the nerds because of her high ass 4.0 GPA, and her eagerness to ask questions in class, Amy was a singer. A kick-ass one at that. It was time people recognized her for that, and seeing her on the big stage-- he couldn't be any happier for her. "I'm so proud of you, baby. You're performing live tonight. You better draw every speck of attention from Charlie. It's gon' be your show." Dei smirked at his words, and planted another peck on Amy's cheek. "Okay, maybe you can give Charlie a little love." He teased. Kordei arched a brow at Amy's next words, but shut his eyes when Amy turned to kiss him. "I'm betting on free tickets for the show though, right? For your number one fan?"
Dei's eyes turned to the field once more, watching equipment managers rushing back and forth as they assembled the stage. He'd forgotten about the pain in his head until Amy brought it up-- part of the perks of having a girlfriend as stunning as his. "I hit my head a couple times but I'm alive. We're down one right now-- and if I wasn't so busy carrying the damn team I'd probably give everybody on the defensive line an ass-whooping." His eyes darted awkwardly over at Amy, trying to read if she understood what he was saying. While extremely supportive, Amy couldn't always understand the terminology he used when it came to football. "It's like in the Injustice video game when you've got that one hero-- like Superman doing all the heavy-hitting, but your second character-- uh, Harley Quinn's getting her ass kicked cause her stats are barely up to par. It's an imbalance of responsibility!" Dei and Amy had played their fair share of late-night Injustice at his apartment, along with Hunter when he wasn't already too busy in his room. Taco Tuesdays were dangerous.
"The scout came though-- the one from UCLA that I was telling you about? I think he likes me. He's either been eyeing me all game, or the piece of dirt stuck in my cleats." Kordei smiled proudly, and found himself nibbling gently on the bottom of Amy's ear. Out of the corner of his eyes though, he could make out an anxious Charlie darting out of the tent. So much in a rush that she hadn't even acknowledged him!
"What's her deal? Did somebody die or somethin'?" He whispered into Amy's ear, though his eyes continued to follow the blond.
As the weight of what he did started to weigh more heavily on his shoulders, Nate may have started to question that brief moment of spontaneous decision. Seriously, what was wrong with him? Nate prided himself on his ability to blend into the background like a chameleon and just... disappear. It was a lot harder to disappear when you put a huge target on your back. Fucking idiot.
He was also immensely grateful that Chase didn't want to come with. A sigh of relief escaped his lungs, and then it was back to following Evie out of the disaster that the Homecoming game had become. Part of that -- no, most of that -- being his fault.
Nate went from being strong and confident and leading the way to being more like a dejected, stupid puppy trailing behind Evie as she led the way to her car. It was embarrassing to know that he was relying on a girl that he considered nothing more than a hookup to defend him online but to also get him out of here. He liked being on his own -- relying on just himself. Instead, he was relying on someone that probably knew him less than most of the students at Hollywood Arts. Well, not that any students knew him super well.
Except for fucking Chas.
The car ride to Evie's apartment was quiet. Painfully so. Nate slid down in the passenger seat and stared, almost numbly, at the floorboard at his feet. He didn't bother looking up until they pulled into the driveway and Evie spoke. Nate hesitated. All he really wanted to be right now was alone, so why did Evie have to be so stubborn? Nate knew that even if he said no, he was going to walk home, Evie would refuse to let him do so and it wasn't like he could handle more arguing or people hating him.
So, still glowering at Evie, he opened the car door and stepped out, slamming the door after him. "Fine," he said, a heavy sigh escaping his lips. "I'll come up to your apartment for a while."
He trailed after Evie as she led the way to her apartment. Nate was a little more jumpy than usual, like he was afraid of Gen jumping out of the bushes to claw his face again, but he relaxed when the door opened and he was able to follow Evie into the safety of her apartment. A breath he didn't know he was holding in was exhaled as he walked over and collapsed onto her couch.
"You didn't have to get involved in this, ya know?" Nate started. "I could've handled this all myself. I was super fucking prepared for this kind of backlash." He wasn't. And he couldn't. Well, he technically could've, but Nate coming out on the other side totally unscathed? Yeah, totally not something that would've happened.
She watched as Chas marched away on a mission to... what? Beat Nate up? If he tried, she was pretty sure that he would just makea fool of himself -- not that anyone would blame him for fighting Nate. It was just that if Adriane had to bet on someone in the fight, she was betting on Nate. Sorry, Chas.
Sebastian caught her attention and drew her back to the issue at hand. Right. Adriane was notably horrible at comforting people when they were down, or crying, or upset. It was something that she couldn't handle, so all she could really do was stand numbly and not moving as Gen moved over to comfort the boy. Well, at least someone here knew what they were doing. It was sweet to see Gen being gentle and caring when all Adriane ever really saw was the bitch side.
Thankfully... she was pretty sure it was Charlie and... River? Yeah, that sounded about right. Charlie and River had come up to comfort Sebastian and even waved her and Gen off. Perfect. Adriane had been stuck between just walking away or waiting but now, with people there with Sebastian that were shooing her off, she could leave without being labeled as a bigger bitch that doesn't even hang around sobbing messes. Not that she really cared what everyone thought of her -- it was whatever, after all.
Adriane turned and followed after Gen as they left the bleachers and was prepared to go find Chas and try to convince him to go home, but instead Gen turned to her and started talking. All Adriane could do at first was blink at her, trying to process what she was saying. Everything had happened so fast that her brain still felt somewhat frazzled.
"I believe you," she stated -- normally, she probably would've gone off because there should've been something that she could've done but... it was Gen and Adriane maybe had a little bit of a soft spot for her. "I mean telling anyone about it was wrong, but it's not like any of you could've predicted what Nate would do." Except Adriane. She knew about the bad blood between Nate and Chas -- just a bit, not the entire thing that had happened, but... even she had to admit that she never would've expected this from him.
She wasn't mad at anyone, really. Other than Nate, obviously, and maybe at Evie for standing up for that little coward.
Subconsciously, she brought her thumb up to her mouth and started biting at her nail. Her mind was still going what felt like a million miles a minute, but her hand dropped back to her side as Gen continued. "Oh please do. He deserves whatever's coming for him and I know that Chas will probably do something, but... more justice the better, right?"
And then it clicked that she hadn't even seen that coward past when he had shoved her on the bleachers, and her face paled for a moment. She should have tripped him or something. Bought some time. Maybe that could've saved Chas from all of this, but deep down inside, Adriane knew that it was a stupid thought. She just hated feeling so helpless and useless.
"Where is he, anyway?" Her eyebrows knitted together and she started to peer around the crowd, but saw no sign of him. Adriane wasn't an aggressive person normally -- well, not physically aggressive -- but she didn't care right now. She just wanted to send the heel of her boot through his face.
As Callum realized the cheer performance was certainly not going to proceed as normal given over half the team had ran off somewhere, he quit standing alone idly and reconvened with the rest of his team. He appreciated Ash's candid hopelessness, her words enticing him more to join the rest of the cheer deserters. He gave the anxious girl a nod of agreement as he spoke, crossing his arms. He hadn't stretched much prior to the performance and was already starting to feel the autumn's chill again thanks to his rather small uniform.
Much to his disappointment, Eli had returned to the group just after Ash was finished speaking with a resolute look in his eyes. He had made a comment on how the day wasn't "ideal for anyone" which is just about the only thing Callum agreed with. Why should he owe anyone a performance when he was only a part of this stupid team for a boyfriend that was currently very pissed at him? How was Callum supposed to be even remotely peppy without Oates to coax him out of his shell?
The only part of him that really wanted to perform was the piece of him that still cared about Oates. After whatever he had done wrong this time, who was he to disappoint more people than just Oates? And Rome, who he had chewed out over text and leered at all night. Yet after Eli's invitation for those unwilling to give all of their energy to sit on the bench, he began to waver again, not too keen to try that hard, no matter the cause.
Just as he was ready to turn around and throw in the towel, Nickie stepped forward and spoke. As much as Eli's attempt at an inspiring speech got on his nerves, Nickie's strength in her own crisis did inspire him. Just a little. Her words repeated over and over in his head, scolding him for even considering disappointing Oates once more. However mad his boyfriend may be right now, it would only make things worse for Callum if he didn't stick with it. He secretly hoped Oates seeing him give it his all (or at least 60% of his all) would renew his faith in him.
Arms still crossed, Callum spoke with feigned unenthusiasm, "Fine, fine, you've convinced me. Let's kick some ass." The fervor of his teammates was infectious; Callum felt a fire stir within him, giving him the hope that the night wouldn't end with another fight. He scanned the stands and around the field for Oates and Rome, but couldn't find either of them, discouraging him just a bit that they couldn't bear witness to his (albeit reluctant) perseverance. Even so, he forced a subtle smile as a token of appreciation for his teammates' determination.
Amethyst couldn't help but giggle at his words, "You're the best you know that?" She hummed softly. She truly felt lucky to have him in her life. His words of support meant the world to her. Sure she had plenty of friends who were always in her corner building her up and telling her how wonderful she was, but something about hearing it from him made her a bit prouder of herself for herself. She supposed he had a point that she should also view this performance for herself too.
She'd always struggled since her first year here at Hollywood arts feeling confident in herself and her art. It was much easier to just be a class nerd. It was what she'd always been despite her best efforts upon arriving to NOT be seen as that. She couldn't hide who was was for too long from anyone who tried to get to know her truly. A part of her hated it, but she knew one day the two halves would have to come together some day. Someday she'd have to figure out how to find the balance in who she really was. She'd never be able to do that if she keeps trying to deny and hide a whole half of her. So support from people like him who saw both halves and supported both, and seemed to love BOTH...well that was a miracle in her eyes and she loved him all the more for it.
She grinned, "Of course! backstage passes and the works for my number one fan." She chimed happily with a wink. She's been told she can be very flirtatious without meaning to be, but when it came to trying to be flirty or sexy on purpose it didn't always convey properly. Luckily he was flirty and charming enough for the both of them all the time. Honestly this was some great restraint they were showing right now compared to normal. She never thought she'd be the type of girl who couldn't keep her hands to herself or be down for whatever whenever with someone...but here she was. All he had to do was say the word and it'd be on and poppin. In fact he wouldn't even have to say a word, a simple touch could ignite their flame. They burned brighter then any relationship she'd ever been in before. She just hoped it was a lasting flame.
The problem with having insecurities is they can pop up whenever.Sure there were the personal insecurities she had in her body, and talent. Thanks to a certain EX she now also had insecurities in her ability to keep a relationship. That tends to happen when someone disappears on you without a trace, without a reason why, without any hint of what happened, and acts like it was nothing. To her everything was fine, better then fine, things felt really good! Then nothing, getting nothing, and being treated like nothing. Truly messes with your head. So as much as she adored this, as much as she adored him...It took a lot of effort to keep the dark thoughts like that from popping into her head saying that he'd do the same. Comments from others about the possibility due to his track record didn't help either. Maybe that's why she was so all in so fast? If she wasn't all in she'd be too paralyzed with fear to do anything.
So she hid that deep down inside her, and did her best to not let it show. Especially when Dei was around her. Being cuddled up like this though most of the time helped keep such thoughts away. If he was holding her then he wasn't leaving her. at least not at the moment, and in the moment was where she needed to live.
He started talking about the game and a defensive line, and yah she got a little lost, but she felt she got the big picture at least, so she nodded slowly at his words. Luckily he knew her well enough and used a comparison she could actually wrap her head around. "Oh!"
She thought for a moment before responding, "I don't know if it'll translate to this game since you are real people and not fictional but, every character is good against someone. Yes some stats seem terrible, but there's a reason they are so different. If you pin Harley against Supes and try to play her like she's superman and not like she's Harley Quin then yah she's gonna get wreaked, but if you pin her against someone slow like Grundy, she pack enough of a punch and has so much more speed on him, she can take him down. Gotta play to the characters strengths instead of trying to make them like someone else. She'll never fight like superman, but she can kick ass as who she's meant to be. Also just because Superman CAN fight the lot of them, doesn't mean he should. Give the guy a break and let his second do some of the ground work." She smiled at him, "Remind them what they are better at then the other guys, and lighten your load. Plus."She hummed and slowly turned around in his arms so that now she was facing him rather then away, but she still let his head sit back on her shoulder, just now she could lightly wrap her arms around his neck,"The only ass I want you to be focused on tonight is mine." She whispered in his ear.
She got a bit giddy as he mentioned the scout, "Of course! I knew he would, and how can anyone keep their eyes off you!? You're a superstar out there! I'm so proud of you! He'd have to be blind not to love you." She was so proud of him for all his hard work on and off the field. That scout would be absolutely blind not to love Dei. Especially if he was the one carrying this whole team on his back. If he keeps up the good work, she knows he get all the invitations! IT was bitter sweet knowing at the end of this year he'd be going onto bigger and better things, but it was definitely more sweet then bitter at least.
Feeling him lightly nibble at her ear caused her to blush even harder. She was glad he was resting on her shoulder and not looking at her face because she was bright red by this point. She looked like she'd put on quite a bit of blush when in reality she rarely put it on and definitely hadn't put any one yet now. She was definitely weak at the touch and knew she needed to compose herself if she was going to be anything other then puddy by the time of the performance. Technically she needed to be sassy due to the song choice not love struck.
What snapped her out of it was his comment about Charlie, "H-huh? Oh! Oh..." her tone definitely shifted to be a bit more nervous and skeptical"That's right you've been in the game. Uh no one is dead, but I've got a lot to fill you in on after the game. This has been an eventful night, but don't worry I'll tell you all about it later tonight."She gave him a quick peck on the cheek while sliding her hand down from around his neck down to his biceps before turning her head to look in Charlie's direction. She knew he didn't like Nate, and Hunters words rang in her ears. Dei definitely didn't need that mess of a distraction right now. They could deal with that mess much much later.
Plus she didn't want to think about, hear about, or talk about Nate right now. She'd had her fill earlier via twitter and that was more then enough. "I hope she's on her way back soon, we're literally about to go on. I know I said I'd cover for her if they ask, but I can only stall so long." She admitted. She knew Charlie was a damn good friend so if someone was in need she was going to be there for them come hell or high water. She just hoped Charlie could have her cake and eat it too tonight and wouldn't have to sacrifice one thing for another. She didn't wanna think of the possibility of actually having to perform by herself right now, though she'd understand if Charlie stayed with Seb after everything that's gone down.
Charlie’s mind was running rampant inside her skull, each thought contradicting the next as they crashed into one another. She had to be everywhere and nowhere all at once, involved and avoidant. Her energy was growing dull and she still had an entire performance and a party to attend to along with any more drama that transpired that evening. Not that Charlie minded being there for Seb, she’d much rather him feel safe and supported than to not be pulled thin.
There was something soothing about Lake’s voice and, without noticing it at first, Charlie found herself listening to his instructions. Deep breath in, letting the air fill the entirety of her lungs, long exhale. As Seb began to regain his composure, so did Charlie. Her mind began to calm the more she breathed, though she hoped that no one noticed the verge of anxiety she was on herself.
Seb’s words made her heart sink as her eyebrows scrunched together in worry.
“Hey, you never have to feel sorry for needing help. You never need to apologize, we are here for you whenever you need us, okay?” Charlie spoke steadily, placing a gentle hand on Seb’s knee.
Charlie couldn’t help but continuously check the time on her phone, her heart thumping against her ribcage in synchronization with each tick of each second flying by. People had left the bleachers and began to converge in front of the stage they had set up, excited voices calling for the start of the show. How long could Amy cover for her? How long until the stage managers decide to call it quits and go on without her? By the way the crowd was forming, not very long.
Pure guilt smacked into Charlie’s abdomen, her lower lip catching habitually between her teeth as she looked around. There was no way everyone in the scenario would end up happy. If she performed, she was abandoning Seb, but if she didn’t go on and chose to stay with Lake and Seb, she’d be letting Amy down. Charlie couldn’t decide what was more important: professionalism or community.
She finally came to a decision, though it pained her to do so. Looking at Seb and Lake, Charlie’s face was a portrait of regret as she slowly rose to her feet.
“I’m so sorry, I’ve got to go perform. But I’ll be back after, I promise.” Charlie apologized, dusting a few specks of dirt off of her dark green pants. “If you guys leave, please message me where you are and if you’re okay. Again, I’m so so sorry.”
And then, as she had been for the entire night, Charlie began to run. There were only a few minutes left before the show. She probably looked some level of disheveled, she hadn’t warmed up, and now, on top of everything else, she felt guilty as hell for leaving Seb and Lake. What else was she supposed to do? Give up entirely by throwing away the performance and leaving Seb and Lake anyhow? Or perhaps she should have stayed by Seb’s side, clearly he was in need.
Charlie gently pushed her way through the crowd and to the performance tent, her lungs squeezing shut with fatigue as she approached the tent. Skidding to a stop beside Amy and Kordei, Charlie bent forwards and braced herself on her knees as she let out a few heavy breaths.
“Sorry I’m late.” Charlie once again apologized, straightening her posture to allow the stitch that had formed in her side to pass. After a few more breaths, Charlie turned her attention to Kordei and smiled warmly. “Great job out there, by the way. I’m afraid I’m going to have to steal Ames, though, we’ve got a performance to kill. I promise to return her unharmed, scout’s honour.”
Charlie slipped inside the tent and made her way to a mirror, rushing to straighten out her hair that had been moved by the wind while running, dabbing at a few beads of sweat on her forehead with a tissue. Deciding that she looked put together enough to perform, Charlie turned to Amy.
“Let’s do this thing.”
Looping her arm through Amy’s, the two walked out of the back of the tent to the entrance to the stage where the managers, Luca, and Lin stood waiting. Their faces lit up as Charlie and Amy appeared through the canvas flap of the tent, one woman visibly sighing.
“Oh thank goodness you two are here, we were just about to start without you!” The woman exclaimed, motioning to the sound techs to equip the mics on Amy and Charlie. “Are you okay to perform?”
Charlie waved her hand dismissively as she carefully placed her plugs in her ear. “I’m good to go, I just ate some bad shrimp.”
Internally, Charlie winced at her own choice of words. Of all the foods, why did she choose shrimp, a food she had an absolutely horrific allergy to? If she really had eaten shrimp, she’d be at a hospital. Maybe it wasn’t Charlie’s brightest move but clearly the stage managers either didn’t know or didn’t care as they pushed Charlie and Amy to the stairs.
Breath hitching in her throat, Charlie took a few deep breaths as the managers explained the setup. First, the duet with her and Amy flowing right into Charlie’s solo. Then, without stopping, right into Lin’s song and, finally, Luca’s. The next instruction came as a change to the original plan: all four of the performers would be on the stage the entire performance, only leaving once Luca started his solo, and were encouraged to interact with one another as well as to engage with the audience.
Looking to Amy, Lin, and Luca, Charlie forced a confident smile onto her face. At least she wouldn’t be alone.
“I’m ready when you guys are.” She chirped, placing her hands on her hips. Behind her, she could hear the opening instrumental notes to her and Amy’s duet song and the sudden hollers of the crowd. “Shall we, lady and gentlemen? We enter the stage together and we stay until Luca’s solo starts, got it?” Charlie asked the three, a playful look washing over her face as she began to pick her way up the steps.Still hidden by a column of the stage, Charlie took another deep breath, smiling to her peers.
Kennedy couldn’t even fathom why someone would post private business like that on social media but it broke her heart. No, Chas wasn’t perfect but he was human. Before she could say anything else about it, Briar showed up and she shoved her phone back into her pocket. Instinctively she nodded in agreement with Eli. She definitely didn’t want to be the one to bring the topic up again. Her eyes flicked to Eli when he jumped up and she called out after him as he rush off. “Good luck!” she yelled.
Her attention fell back onto Briar and a smile fell across her face replacing the worried expression that had been plastered there first. “Hey! Oh my god, you are seriously so sweet! And even more beautiful in person,” she swooned as the girl took a seat with them. Ken liked anyone who was outgoing and nice which she noticed Briar was and that drew her to the girl. “How are you? Are you enjoying the game? Eli is about to cheer and then Charlie and Amy are singing tonight!” she started to ramble on before hearing Briar’s question.
“There is a party tonight!” she was honestly still upset that she’d promised to go. It meant she had to cancel her plans with Eli which she was really looking forward to. Kennedy had only recently realized that she’d developed a crush on her friend which made her get a little flustered around him sometimes. Like when he’d called their idea to get milkshakes together a date. She knew what he meant but it still caused her to trip over herself. Now, she was going to some party but at least she was catching a ride with him still is that was something. Right?
“I think we are all going! You should too! It’ll be fun. It’s at Amy’s boyfriend’s place, I think...” she added. When it started to look like the show was starting she pointed to the field. “Oh!! It looks like they about to perform.” she squealed, looking over at Trevor. She wanted to be close enough for to cheer her friends on and to hear their amazing vocals amplified over the speakers. She stood up from her spot in the bleachers and leaned over the railing that was nearby, trying to get a better look.
she would rather walk in darkness than in someone else's shadow...
In all honesty, making out under the bleachers was not high on Ruby’s list. She had her own thoughts about that and usually was very vocal about the losers who couldn’t find a room. For god’s sake, it was like a fricking swingers sometimes! But she would be the girl joining it once in a while. And if that made her a hypocrite, little did she care. Moreover, if she had to choose between watching a game she had no idea what was about or letting Cole make her forget where she was, it was the visit under the bleachers all the way.
Right after she got down there, she could see a few couples already there. Wrinkling her nose, she started towards her own boy. “That’s what I thought.” she muttered under her breath on her way but then tried to forget it and focus on her mission which was her messy haired puppy who was not that much of a puppy when it came to certain things. As much as Ruby tried to deny it, he meant something to her. It all started as her selfish need to calm down when he found her on one of her bad days and ever since then, they kept doing this. Empty classroom, dark alley, poorly lighted hallway of a club, anywhere Ruby felt like she wanted to feel him close. And then he would always take her home. Her home, of course. Like she would ever set a foot into that stoners den.
The game was forgotten the second his lips crushed against hers and whatever bothered her, was now gone. This is why she always returned to him. He could make everything steady, her problems were gone and she felt balanced. Probably because his arms were wrapped around her so tight, igniting small fires everywhere they touched. Ignoring everything and everyone except the boy in front of her, Ruby made sure that the kiss was one of those unforgettable ones. The kind that was going to ruin all other girls for him if he ever tried to find a girlfriend. Not that she would allow it. But he could get ideas. After all, he was a boy.
Since everything left her attention, Ruby had no idea something was up. Only when Cole pulled away and Ruby flashed him a small frown, they realized they were alone. Not caring the least bit what it was about, the girl was ready to continue when Cole slipped his little comment and it was exactly that lazy smirk he could do so well that gave her the second breath. Her hands slipped in his, fingers laced. “Good.” she gave him a smirk of her own and pulled him further in the shadow of the bleachers.
It was there where she let him slam her back against one of the pillars and they started their second round, much bolder, much hotter and much more dangerous if someone saw them. Of course, Ruby was not the trash to have sex under the bleachers. But they still had their own fun. And it was more than clear who she was going home with tonight.
he'd rather die than become just another face in the crowd...
After a while of people going crazy about shit which had nothing to do with the football game, even Nico, who didn’t give two shits about the school drama, understood it had something to do with Nate and that he did something, causing mayhem among the student body. After Cole left to make Ruby happy again, it was just Nico and Toni. Not that he minded. He had the best company anyway. The two agreed on mostly everything from the smallest thing like Cole and Ruby up to all the important opinions.
“What did Toto do this time?” Nico asked Toni as he couldn’t be even bothered to take his phone and have a look. Nico was not the one to scroll through millions of Twitter posts to find out what the fuss was about really. It was so low on his list of priorities that even meeting with his dad was higher. And that was saying something. And if Nate fucked up, well then the good dude had to find his way out on his own. Keeping to himself all the time was not exactly helping him, Nico thought. Sure, he liked the kid but quite frankly, didn’t know a lot about him.
Nico had no idea how much time had passed. Maybe a few minutes, maybe even hours. He had this little habit of getting lost when talking to Toni because it was always more than fun. They usually went from hating on people and things to serious conversation and then changed to making fun and even mercilessly mocking everything around them. So yes, it was definitely hard for Nico to tell the time.
Only when Ali appeared, he looked at her and flashed her a mysterious smirk. Something was telling him the girl would not appreciate if he blabbed about where they had met before so he just greeted her quietly. After the blunt, he was really feeling lighter than air and nothing was bothering him at this point. And Ali had to see that both guys were gone a bit, eyes red and slightly puffy. Well, that happens when people are dragged to places they don’t want to be at in the first place. Not that Nico was complaining. His bitchy mood receded and he started to focus on more pleasant things anyway. Plus he promised Toni not to be sour this while time, right?
But when Toni proposed the plan B, Nico was on his feet faster than he should have been able to do. “Yeah, Cole bailed on us for a girl, good friend he is. And I assumed your sister did the same, right?” he grinned at Ali. “Come on, let’s get something not rich and snobby.” he added and casually hung his arm around Ali’s shoulders, steering her down the stairs. “Lead the way, mate.” he clapped Toni’s back and followed him outside, absolutely glad they got out of there. He still held Ali close to him, not to lose her in the crowd.
“Yo, but there’s a party after that shit show is over. Maybe we could go and check that out?” he asked, first his friend and then he turned his head to Ali. “What do you say, gorgeous? In a mood for a bit of dancing? Or shots? A smoke? All of the above?” he laughed and tightened his arm around her shoulders as if they were a couple, walking down the quiet dark street and somehow, he already felt much better.
Cole was happy to just be with Ruby, whether they were under the bleachers or anywhere else. When he'd first met her, he hadn't expected to feel this way about her. Cole wasn't the type to judge, not really. He smoked too much for that, and plus he'd been judged pretty much his entire life. He didn't want to do the same to others. Sure, some of the decisions people made were stupid, but then again, when did he make great decisions?
All of that aside, he'd connected with Ruby straight away and he was glad he did. At first it was just little things, like giving her a piece of gum after she'd come out of the bathroom, usually followed by a piece of candy. And then it became candy more often, just because he wanted to see her smile. She was a beautiful girl, and he still remembered the first time he'd kissed her. To be honest, he was surprised she'd kissed him back.
And look at them now. She lit a fire in him as she kissed him with all the passion in her tiny body, and he didn't want to let her go. Having no idea about the drama occurring up on the bleachers, he didn't even notice Nate walking away, wanting to leave. Cole's keys were tucked into his pocket. If he'd seen Nate, he would have offered him a ride back, with Ruby riding shotgun.
She murmured into his mouth and Cole's thoughts circled right back to her and not all the hustle and bustle of the game and the other students. Pushing her up against the pillar, he reached up to cup her face with his hands, not giving her a chance to even breathe. Not for a while, anyway. When he did pull away, he was breathing harder, and his face was flushed, but he was smiling. "Are you going to the party after this?"
Toni greeted Ali with a peace sign wave and a small 'hey', and the greeting in itself brought a smile to her face. Though she'd tried to avoid looking at Nico, it didn't work, and she caught sight of his smirk and quickly looked away. She didn't know much about him, despite them being in therapy together. He wasn't much of a talker, at least not about the stuff you were supposed to talk about there. Then again, neither was she, so she couldn't say she blamed him.
When Toni suggested plan b and started to stand, Ali followed suit, nodding. "That sounds amazing, actually. Ruby was my ride, but you can trust me when I say I'd rather walk." Not only was Ruby a shitty driver, but Ali wasn't about to be shoved in the backseat while she and Cole played touchy touchy in the front seat. Gag.
Before she could move from her spot, Nico moved next to her and draped an arm around her shoulders. Her head swiveled in his direction and she started to protest. "I don't need-" But then he was steering her to the stairs and carefully down them. Huffing slightly, she allowed him to keep his arm there, expecting him to remove it when they reached the bottom. But he didn't, and next thing she knew, they were weaving through the crowd and out of the gate.
Nico mentioned the after party, and Ali glanced between him and Toni. And then he turned to look at her. “What do you say, gorgeous? In a mood for a bit of dancing? Or shots? A smoke? All of the above?” Scoffing, though she was smirking, she shook her head. "I don't dance." Which wasn't a complete lie. Her talents lay in singing. She still remembered her almost failure of learning how to dance with Zeph. Another secret.
"I could go for some shots, though." She added, almost as an afterthought. She wasn't much of a partier, and had been dragged to more than one, usually by Ruby or others. But she liked Toni, and for some reason Nico's arm draped over her shoulders didn't seem to be such a bad thing. "So, corner store first? I kinda like Toni's idea for snacks that aren't crazy ass expensive."
Kordei grinned at Amy's words, and actually felt heat resonating in his chest because of them. Usually when women told him he was the best, it either came after they were in the sheets following the dirty, or he'd done something to get himself in the school paper. With Amy though, just being there to support her seemed to be enough. His words carried weight, and true emotion with her. In the past, they'd done nothing more than seduce and entice. It was all so new to him, the emotion that was knotted into his words, and now it seemed Amy was having the same effect on him.
Dei found his heart had skipped a beat at that thought. How comfortable was he letting people in? Amy was different but... she made him vulnerable. She could hurt him at any moment, and he realized it now. If she was any bit like him-- oh, he wished she wasn't like him. Kordei gulped, and found himself holding Amy just a bit tighter in his arms. That was all he could do now.
He smiled at Amy's breakdown of Injustice in relation to football. Surprisingly enough, she'd grasped the concept of his comparison, which was distraction enough to shake away his darker thoughts. His eyes glided over the pink of her lips as she went on, and on, so beautiful whenever she got lost in thought. She was his little nerd, and never in a million years did Kordei anticipate himself thinking that. Before the end of junior year they'd hung with different cliques, were separated in interests, and held a completely different set of values. Yet for the couple of seconds in the room when Amy broke down the meaning of E=MC2, somehow he understood it. That's what was going on now, and if he could, he'd have stopped to take a photograph of the moment. Experiencing it was so much better though.
"Fine, I'll encourage the little strengths those losers have. Just for you." He answered followed by a soft chuckle. At her whisper, Dei's eyes widened in surprise, and he was just left gleaming at the thought. Since when did anyone leave Kordei Grant speechless?
Dei nodded at Kordei's words concerning the coach with a smirk. He did end up arching a brow when she said it'd been an eventful night, but just as quickly as she'd discarded the topic, Charlie came rushing into the tent. "Scout's honour my ass," Kordei teased with feigned aggression. Still, he wanted Amy to stay with him much longer than the short time they'd had. "Go kill 'em, babe." Dei said with a soft kiss onto her cheek, and another placed on her lips. Reluctantly, he let Amy slip out of his arms, and watched her venture deeper into the tents like a child without its mother.
He sighed, and waved just in case she decided to look back, before finding his way out of the tent. What the fuck was he going to do next?
Even though Antonio had zero way of knowing this, but him and Nico were probably having the best time at this game compared to everyone else and their friends. Well he could've known if he ever bothered to check twitter, but that wasn't his style. Letting the time pass just laughing, joking, and talking with Nico for the vast majority of this first half of the game was the best part of being here. To be honest they could've done this at the apartment too and not had to be so loud considering there were a bunch of people here. However he did agree to come partially because it was a change of scene so he supposed he couldn't complain. He'd have been good just doing this the whole night with Nico up in this corner that was slowly becoming their own little world away from the drama. Nico was a lot of great things to Toni, and ironically a safe space was one of them.
Toni merely shrugged at the question, "Fuck if I know." Whatever it was it was too much effort to look into, and he didn't wanna get mixed up in anything that might result in Gen b*tch slapping the hell outta him. He liked his face just like it was, thank you very much. With Ali now with them it was the perfect opportunity to ditch this place. Everyone's eyes were about to be on the halftime show anyways, so he gladly lead the way outta here. He hadn't realized that Nico and Ali knew each other so well. Or at least that's what he assumed based on how comfortable they looked with his arm around her. If that was the case the three of them should hang out together a lot more often.
Toni busted out laughing at Nico's remarks about Cole and Ruby, "Yah we'd probably die on the way back if Cole drives anyways." It was dangerous in the first place for him to have a license, and Toni had hoped he could've convinced Nate to drive them back...that was looking highly unlikely at this point. Especially since...wait where'd he go? He could've sworn he was standing just over by Evelyn a second ago...Man maybe he really was outta it and in need of some fresh air.
As the topic of the after party popped up he turned to look at them both with a shrug, "Yah, sure" It seemed they both wanted to go, and he had no other plans for the rest of the night anyways. "You don't wanna see me try to dance." He chuckled. "Last time I dance it's cause I was forced to in a musical" He shuttered just remembering it. Darn elective courses. Not to mention he misunderstood that it was a performing musical theater course, not a writing musical theater course. "But shots I'm down for, for sure." Usually the one dragging him to parties was Nikkie whenever her other friends didn't wanna go, so this was a interesting change. Speaking of Nikkie just before they left down the last part of the bleachers he turned to look out onto the field where the cheerleaders were to see if he could spot her. She was the only Cheerleader he kinda knew after all. Everyone else like Eli was just an acquaintance. Maybe a hello if passed in the hallway.
He didn't expect what he saw which was her standing up from the ground after what looked like a few of them hugging on her. All their faces looked worrisome...weren't they supposed to be peppy right now? What had happened to them!? Had she been a lone and sad he would've gone to check on her, but she had her whole team beside her and he could hear some of the other students specifically cheering her name, so he figured she'd be fine."Yah, we'll get some munchies, chill, and then find our way to the party after. That game is sure to be over by then." He smiled and turned to continue walking out of the stadium area and towards the nearest corner store.
The wave of relief that washed over him as they got farther away from the game and all the cheering and yelling started to fade. Not completely because there were too many people for that, but just enough for his anxiety to finally go away and feel at peace. The crisp night air did wonders for his mind. He took out his phone opening it to Spotify before tossing it to Nico, "Pick a song for us." They might as well jam out a bit as they walk. The top of his hair was in a small bun so he took out the hair tie and put it on his wrist as she shook his hair out to let it fall, "Much better. So Ali it's been a while how you been?" He asked casually.
I became Insane with long bouts of terrible sanity~
If Oates didn't have a concussion from faceplanting directly into the ground, he certainly would've had one after getting sat down on the ground and pulled back up by Rome for what was like the 7th time in the last minute. For a guy that could fit into a middle school class with no problem—what for his face, what for his height—he was hella strong. Of course, dancers worked on their bodies daily, so it did make sense that he was stronger than an average twink, but if Oates and Rome were to arm wrestle for whatever reason, there was a very high probability of the shorter boy taking the win. Maybe if this hypothetical arm wrestling match wasn't so hypothetical, the two boys could even go to hooters afterward to look at boobs, or whatever it was that straight boys did after fun straight person activities. Happy heterosexual day, everybody!
By the time the two boys managed to navigate their way to the nurse's office—most certainly leaving droplets of blood behind them like they were some Carrie gay platonic version of Hansel and Gretel—the nosebleed eventually stopped, rendering the whole adventure to the nurse's office pointless. But it was what it was.
The nurse was helpful, at least, and explained to Oates how to wash the bloodstains from his cheer uniform, and also told him to come in if he felt the symptoms of a mild concussion, but basically diagnosing him with 'little wuss complex'. She was like the only person that cared about him, and you know what... Callum could learn a thing or two from her.
Pass a few minutes more, and Oates was now by his locker, getting out his spare clothes, which were just a plain gray shirt and shorts he had there just in case he faceplanted and bled all over his cheer uniform. "So, in conclusion, I don't understand why there isn't a bonsai tree forest. You can't say it wouldn't be amazing to walk around pretending you're like a giant or Godzilla or that lady from Monsters vs. Aliens."
Callum wasted no time stretching after the cheer performance, grabbing his bag and powerwalking inside the school building. He had been texting his boyfriend every moment he had the chance to all night. Their fights in DMs left him increasingly puzzled, as Oates was never so direct with him about his moods. He didn't appreciate being urged to reflect on his own words and actions, especially when it was impossible to comprehend how he was making Oates feel.
The boy kept insisting he was being callous and insensitive and, no matter how many times he explained why, Callum just couldn't believe their fights were all his doing. He had enough of a grasp on his own character to get he was the jealous type, but how could he not? Oates was leagues more kind and social than he was, which was easily reflected by his abundance of friends and constant conversations with people he knew well and not well at all. How did the two of them end up together, despite being such polar opposites? It wasn't so farfetched to imagine Oates one day realizing how much more deserving he was of someone more on his level of friendliness and extroversion and leaving him altogether.
Every time Callum saw Oates sharing jokes with Rome and every time Callum listened to Oates' stories about his wild Friday nights with his friends, he felt himself drifting further apart from his boyfriend, one of the only people that still cared enough to spend time with him despite how difficult it was to hold a conversation with him.
Callum had a way of convincing himself of things that were both true and untrue. He was positive Oates felt the same sense of drifting apart, knowing he was probably ready to bid him a final farewell at any moment. He had also convinced himself of some imaginary sexual tension between Rome and Oates. It made an incredible amount of sense in his head, but every time he explained it he was met with intense opposition and was treated like a paranoid asshole. Callum wasn't one to worry about others' opinions on him anyway, but nonetheless it hurt when even his own boyfriend treated him like he was making things up. Even if he truly was in the end.
Worst of all, all of this was enough evidence to suggest to Callum that Oates didn't love him. How could he? The guy had so many better options. It felt like a waste of time explaining this so deeply when he knew it was only a matter of time before all of this speculation blew up in his face and made Oates resent him more than he probably already did. With all of these thoughts festering in the back of his head, it was easier to think about how Oates hated him instead of how Callum loved him. If there was a class for resenting one's boyfriend because of a warped perception one has of his thoughts, Callum would pass with flying colors.
Finally making it to Oates's locker, a spot he had grown very familiar with after his daily groaning about how tired he was between periods, Callum could make out two figures. As he approached the two, he realized Rome was still hanging around Oates. And worse, Oates was most definitely half-naked. The rational side of Callum knew it was just his boyfriend changing into his spare clothes, but the sight of him in underwear next to the one guy he suspected the most of having romantic feelings for his boyfriend sent him into a rage he hadn't felt for maybe... say... 25 minutes.
"What the fuck are you two doing?" he hissed accusatorily, keeping his voice semi-low since they were inside a nearly empty, echoing school hall well past normal operating hours.
On the way to the nurse's office, Rome was of course worried about his friend, but not overly so. It was just a nosebleed, anyway, and Oat didn't seem extremely bothered by it. Sure, he was bleeding, but he kept his trademark peppy positive attitude. As such, Rome was happy to let him go into the nurse's office by himself while he waited in the hallway. That was, until he hopped onto Twitter, and was quickly convinced that Oat was at a very serious risk of sudden and tragic death. Charlie was explaining why it could be deadly.... or why it couldn't. Rome wasn't sure, the conversation had gotten very confusing very quickly. As a result of being so stressed out about his friend's condition, Rome had to literally sit on the chair outside the nurse's office. Really, he wasn't handling this news well at all. He was still furiously typing when Oat came out of the room, and at a glance, he looked totally fine, so Rome promptly forgot the entire Twitter conversation and shoved his phone back into his pocket before the pair headed for the lockers.
In all honesty, Oates had lost him at 'bonsai trees', so Rome was kindly nodding his head and pretending to listen to his friend's speech. He wondered if that new crop top he'd ordered online had arrived yet... was it 7 business days or 9? And how long had it been already? He was still pondering this when Oates had reached the conclusion of his persuasive argument - at least, Rome assumed it was persuasive - and he barely had a moment to figure out how to respond when he was being whisper-yelled at. He looked over at Callum boredly, furrowing his eyebrows. "Oat bleed from nose," he explained briefly. "I accidentally tripped him. But was accident, I promise!"
LOCATION: school hallway
OUTFIT: Cheerleader's outfit, complete with crop top and booty shorts.
Even if the two didn't seem to stop fighting in the last few days, Callum still managed to find new but effective ways to make Oates' mood considerably worse time and time again, this particular time not even being in the same room, but doing it via a single text message. How can he think I don't love him? Almost gripping disbelief flowed through his mind, what from Callum genuinely thinking that Oates didn't care for him, what from now knowing how it felt to be asked the darn question he kept asking Callum over and over again. Did the taller boy feel what Oates felt at this moment? Was that the reason he didn't want to answer the said question? It had to be...
On the outside, a smile seemingly always on the boy's face slowly faded as his eyes said things. Not that his friend had noticed, having been on his own phone as well. Oates felt too many things to handle at once and wanted to just run away and not look back at whoever was waiting for him—but he couldn't do that to Callum, he couldn't disappoint him once again.
Taking off his clothes, keeping on only his corgi briefs and his socks, the boy put the dirty uniform in a bag, exchanging it with the spare clothes mentioned in a previous post (don't judge me, Karen—I haven't even mentioned your DIY glue snorting problem). He put on the black running shorts and was going to say something to Rome about what Callum stated, but, before he could, a voice startled him, his eyes looking up and settling on the one person he didn't want to see, the person whose tone was less than satisfied with whatever it was that was wrong now. Callum.
Rome spoke next, and his tone was tired, most probably annoyed. He tried to defend, or just explain what the two were doing, but Oates was familiar with how Callum talked when he was bothered, and that was definitely it. Quickly putting on his plain grey shirt (also for running), he looked Callum straight in the eyes, and everything he wanted to say just vanished from his mind. All the arguments and reasons or the things he thought because he was upset. His mind was a clean slate, but it probably wasn't for the best.
Wiping his forming tears with the back of his hands before taking hold of Callum's, it was some time before the boy finally spoke, his voice breaking mid-sentence: