She didn't know what hurt the most: Damien's infidelity, or the fact that he didn't even know why she could be mad in the first place. As if he was just an innocent little boy who couldn't hurt a fly, and Carlotta was nothing but a psychopath there to ruin the party. Whether he was truly clueless, or he planned on gaslighting his way out of the conversation, she knew to make sure to not let it interfere with her fury.
"Maybe I am crazy, Damien! But at least I'm not a fucking cheater!" She yelled, painfully aware that their scene was starting to get the attention of some of the other partygoers. Attention she didn't mind - most of the time she reveled in being the center of everyone's conversations. But that desire had its limits, and while she loved the idea of Damien being publicly humiliated for what he'd done, the thought of her classmates seeing her in such a vulnerable moment made her stomach turn. Carlotta was fun! The life of the party! The person everyone wanted to invite to their events and keep around as a source of entertainment. Not someone who would let a man like Damien Slater make her cry. And who in their right mind would stand someone like that?
"I wouldn't," she thought solemnly, "so keep it together, woman!"
Determined, she stuck her hand inside of her corset (her outfit had pockets, and she'd brought a purse, but keeping her things in her bust was more of a fashion statement than something out of necessity) and retrieved her phone. "'I didn't do shit, I didn't do shit. Oooh, look at me! I'm Damien Slater and I'm a perfect little angel!'" she mocked as she went through her screenshots, her voice lowering unnaturally to mimic his voice. "What's this, then? Huh? What brilliant explanation do you have for this?"
Shining bright on her home screen was proof of the messages she'd gotten from JJ detailing Damien's infidelity. Unfortunately, she'd forgotten to ask the girl for pictures of what Damien had actually said - so she didn't know how far they'd actually gone. But knowing him, and based on what she'd been told, she knew it couldn't be some friendly and innocent conversation.
"We had a deal, you slut! We only date each other, we only kiss each other, we only fuck each other! How stupid do you think I am? Think very carefully if you think I want you to answer that," she screeched. "I trusted you, damn it! I don't know why I trusted someone with a nickname like yours but...shit. You constantly demean me, you insult me, you talk about me behind my back, and you constantly try to put me down but that's fine! I've never said anything about that! But the one thing I asked you to do - very simple - was just to keep it in your pants and you couldn't even do that?! She's not even prettier than me!"
Benji's eyes twitched back to Mason's arm, leaving him only to roll his eyes into the back of his head. AJ's voice was of honey and of poison, her spiky words dancing along around Benji's head like birds in a cartoon. The girl's date seemed indifferent, only offering a curt nod in his direction. In that moment, he was the closest he'd ever come to socking Mason Sourpuss Rivera square in the nose.
Somehow, he still couldn't shake that feeling of shock and jealousy that crept up into his chest like brambles, constricting his innards with their aggravating, thorny grip. Benji was always a mellow guy—in fact, it was his shtick—but if it was one thing Addie was good at, it was making him crazy. Fortunately, it was only when she wanted to, and that wasn't to say that he didn't feel some amount of control when confronting her ugly side. Even if her cunning, earthy eyes dared an escape attempt, Benji kept his own locked onto hers, boring into her skull like a laser.
Mason's voice cut through the brief, minute silence, rousing the sparring pair's attention to their raven-haired peer's exit. A victorious smirk tugged at Benji's cheek as he barred himself from the formality of a simple goodbye, watching quietly as the guy pulled away and excused himself from the war he found himself lost in. The space around them fell into a momentary hush just until Mason was safely out of earshot. Benji could only look back at Addie with a lifted brow, condescending on her second-rate ploy for attention.
"Mason? Seriously?" he mocked dryly, losing his capacity for pity moment by moment, "Didn't really see the chemistry, if I'm honest." He would almost say he thought differently of her, but both of them knew that wasn't true.
The unsmiling junior let out a covertly long, deep breath to lower his heart rate, something he learned for a much different problem. Either way, it applied quite nicely for feigning disinterest while this lunatic ran her delicate fingers through her blonde, silken locks. His eyes studied her every movement, which was regrettably a calculation made by Addie during the orchestration of this little game.
"Yeah, seemed like you abandoned post," he retorted with a rough-yet-playful laugh, "I've always admired your sense of integrity, Ads." He kept his words minced and simple, ignoring but never forgetting the placement of his conversation partner's hands, or the subject of her gaze, or the words that spilled so gratingly from her innocently smiling lips. "It took ages to get that glue out of Ash's hair, you know." He hadn't even spoken to the cheer captain at the game, but having her name in his arsenal was a powerful tool.
Benji wavered, nearly choking on his drink as the topic changed to his presence by the door. He placed a fist against his mouth, propping it up with his elbow to assume a pensive, dispassionate stance. "Life is a waiting game, so to speak." A spark of intensity flared in his eyes and just then, it seemed ever so obvious how much he towered over the smug girl before him. "Maybe I was counting the amount of bubblegum bitch and Batman couples walking through the door. Maybe I was waiting for Christmas."
He cocked his head to the side, keeping his wits and his stare sharp as ever. "And what did I find?" he challenged, pausing a beat to let his words sink into the air, "Or rather, tell me Adeline, what found me?" He drew in closer, his breaths hot and heavy while his voice fell to a whisper. "You're the mind reader."
They were close now, Benji's hand making a gradual movement to her hip. "Read mine."
For a really long moment, all Xander could do was kinda... stare at this dude. Well, well, well, how the turn tables had... uhh... turned. The dude had gone from threatening Xander to making a simple deal, all in regards to him just having to help with a little bit of vandalism.
"Alright, alright," he agreed, as he cautiously opened his backpack back up to let Deo take out a can of his voice. "But I only got a few minutes. Gotta get home early to hep with the party we're having tonight, ya know."
Which was definitely totally not being hosted at the Gardner's for the simple reason that a certain someone had been caught doing exactly this. Really, Xander's game could use some improvement -- right now, getting caught twice within the same couple weeks was just an embarrassment to everything that he held near and dear to him. Not that he'd ever been one to really hide his craft.
With both boys now equipped with their weapons of choice, Xander followed along after Deo's lead, and set to work vandalizing whatever the other boy wanted to do. Naturally, he rolled with his dicks, but he also threw a few other things in there. Pretty much whatever tickled his fancy at the moment.
Thanks to being outside in the parking lot, neither boy was hit by the balloons nor the sprinklers so once all was said and done, Xander was able to head back home relatively untouched. Relatively, because his hands were stained with some paint -- a nice of mixture of oranges and greens that had kind of turned to a really ugly brown on the tips of his fingers, but hey, whatever. It was an artist's ahh... something.
But now, the party was in full swing. Xander wasn't really the type to do anything over the top outfit wise, so he'd thrown on a simple black button up shirt, and his jeans. Nothing all too fancy, but fancy enough that he was hoping to not get booted out of his own house.
As he'd made his way around, his dark gaze settled on a girl that had asked to see him here. It was... kind of a surprise, ya know? Xander had just come back to school, so his game was rusty as heck, but he was... strangely excited -- about the girl.
With a nervous smile, he'd made his way over, his hands half in the pockets of his jeans, his shoulders kind of slouched nervously.
"Ophelia, yeah?" He asked, a grin on his face, and he pulled a hand from his pocket -- making sure to wipe it off on his pants leg to remove any sweat -- and then held his hand out for a handshake. "Xander. You know, Twitter and ahh... stuff. You wanted to hang, yeah?"
Some part of him wanted to clarify if this was a date or not, but he kept that question swallowed.
There was a reason Damien had never dated, and the reason was standing right here before him, angrily berating him about... about what? Some fucking accusations that he'd cheated on her? Which he'd definitely not done, and totally hadn't even gotten close to doing.
Well it's true. It's not like he would've fucked JJ, even if she'd wanted to.
Look it wasn't fucking important, because it hadn't happened, and it wasn't going to happen.
He brought a hand up to wipe across his face -- partially to cover the rolling of his eyes, and partially to wipe away the last of the alcohol, before he bothered to try and speak to his fucking psycho ass bitch girlfriend.
"I didn't fucking cheat on you," he said through gritted teeth. His voice was dangerously low, and although people were staring, it wasn't like Slater really gave a fucking shit at this point. They all knew about this fucking disaster of a relationship, and really, what did he fucking care, anyway? They had their opinions set regarding Slater and Carlotta, and no amount of argument was going to change it or worsen their impressions.
"My dick," to make sure that she knew what he was talking about, Slater angrily pointed his hands at his crotch, "didn't go anywhere near that fucking bitch. I don't control the fact that she can't stop talking about it, though."
"And I don't get why you for a second would believe what that bitch said about us. Did you see any proof that I said anything she said I did? Huh? Did you even bother to fucking talk to me? She's a bitch that's had it out for me for fucking ever, but hey," Slater raised his hands up. "If you wanna believe some fake ass slut that tries to start drama just to see people cry instead of your actual fucking boyfriend, then go right the fuck ahead."
A human scavenger hunt sounded like an amazing idea, as far as Justin was concerned. It was the type of game that he could actually get behind -- except that before Amy could finish laying out the rules, chaos seemed to erupt around them. She turned around, and there was a curious expression on his face, eyebrows drawing together in confusion... right up until Amy dodged something in front of them and smack.
A mixture of glue and glitter splattered across his chest. He stumbled back, less from impact and more just because he was confused, as his fingers came up to touch the sticky substance and confirm that -- yep -- this was glue.
"Ok change of plans! how about whoever get's hit less by the time we get to the parking lot wins! come on slow poke!" She giggled and before Justin could give an actual answer back, Amy had whipped past him and taken off.
He stood there for a moment in confusion, until he felt another balloon smash against his back, and then he kind of remembered what they were supposed to be doing, so he took off down the bleachers.
Unfortunately, Justin was not a small target, nor was he very good at dodging things, so by time they'd made it out? Yeah, he was pretty much covered in glue and glitter. He'd made it to the truck after Amy and as he rolled up, there was no denying who'd won. Glue was dripping down Justin's shirt, clinging to his bare arms, and his hair was now styled with a mixture of pink glitter and confetti glued to the strands.
"I got three how'd you fair?" She asked, and her finger brushed across his cheek to spread some of the glue. "Who knew you could rock the sparkle."
Justin let out a chuckle, and then gestured to himself. "Lost count at ahh... five or something?" He said with another laugh, and a hand reached up to brush through his hair... only to coat his fingers in glue. Right. "C'mon, Amy, I can pull of anything." He said and kind of posed, holding his hands out to his sides with a grin. "Think I should show up like this? I'll call it like ahh... Glitter by Ivy or some dumb shit."
"Hey do you mind if we make a pit stop before the party? As great as you look, I'd rather not show up covered in glue." She teased lightly before clasped her hands together pleading to him with puppy dog eyes. "Just a quickie by my place?" Amy wasn't one to usually dabble in innuendos so it completely zoomed over her head and suggestive word choice.
"You can come in and shower too if you want." she offered, "Don't worry It's a co-ed housing so there's guy showers!" she explained.
Justin figured he should probably tell Amy that that was... not a good choice of words, but c'mon... it'd be like correcting a kid or... something. He didn't know, just that he'd never really had it in him to do anything that might embarrass or hurt Amy.
"Yeah, 'course we can," he said as he walked around the truck to the driver's side. He opened it up, unlocking it so that Amy could also hop in, and then he popped open one of the back doors to rummage in a bag he had. Who knew that keeping extra sets of clothes would come in handy some day? "Wasn't really planning on ahh... that, but I brought a change of clothes that should work for the party, I guess."
With a shrug of his shoulders, he closed the back door and then hopped up into the driver's seat, pulling the door closed and starting up his truck. Once it'd rumbled to life, he threw into in drive and they were off.
After the quick pitstop at Amy's place, the two of them were fresh, clean, mostly de-glitterfied, and on their way to the party. Unfortunately, they'd arrived a bit late, so Justin ended up having to park his truck a bit away.
But, well, at least it was a nice enough day in LA for the walk to the actual party. And now that they were there, well... Justin didn't really waste too much time in leading Amy towards where the drinks were.
What? He was ready to get the party started or... so to speak.
As he took a sip of his mixed drink, Justin cast a glance around the crowd, before his gaze came back to rest on Amy with an easy smile.
"Ya know, Jones," he started, "you kinda surprise me sometimes. I didn't know you had such good ya know... dodge moves, and you never took me for the party type of girl."
Well, she didn't. Seemed to kind of go against the grain of what Amy seemed to be.
Adeline studied Benji’s face carefully, particularly focusing on his dark eyes. Though his eyes held the same odd mystery about them that they always held — the frustrating mystery that claimed that there was some part about him that she could never figure out that had kept her intrigue this long to begin with — Adeline had no doubt in her mind that Benji understood exactly what was going on here. Good. So he wasn’t a complete dumbass — though, to give him credit, she never thought that he was — and her efforts weren’t wasted — though, to give herself credit, her efforts were, in one way or another, never wasted. He’d passed at least that part of the test.
“Yeah, seemed like you abandoned post,” he said, giving her an almost taunting laugh, “I’ve always admired your sense of integrity, Ads.”
She pressed her smile wider, ironically playing the innocent, clueless character for a moment and ignoring the implications of his words and his undertones, instead giving him an, “Aw, Benji, so kind. Really. I mean it.”
“It took ages to get that glue out of Ash’s hair, you know,” Benji said.
A flicker of irritation dipped Addie’s brow for a split second at the name of one of the many other blonde cheerleaders who happened to be a member of the school-sanctioned Sluts Anonymous more formally known as the cheer team. That was literally so unrelated to anything — was he trying to change the subject? That was literally the worst fucking way to try and do it.
Serves the little whore right, she wanted to say, but instead, she gave a soft chuckle. “Really? You’re kidding,” she said, keeping her tone that of breezy sarcasm, intentionally playing as though she had focused on the getting glue out of hair part instead of the whole Ash thing. “I really honestly figured glue and glitter would come right out. Color me shocked, hm.”
We’re literally so fucking off topic.
She chuckled, and then she frowned slightly, furrowing her brows as though troubled. “But that seems a little bit…hm…” She reached up to brush her hair behind her ear to reveal a glittering diamond earring, and then breathed a sigh. “It’s just that…well, if I didn’t know better, I’d think you were trying to change the subject or something.” A cunning smile easily worked its way back onto her face. “I’m really, really deeply sorry if I offended you. If I knew that you waiting by the door was such a sensitive subject…”
Calling his attention to her question again seemed to do the trick. For a moment, he wavered, and her smile inadvertently pressed bit wider. After a moment, he placed his fist against his mouth, propping it up on his elbow. “Life is a waiting game, so to speak,” he said finally. In the aftermath of his sentence, his eyes gave a strange flash, as though something had clicked in his mind. God, he thinks he’s in some sort of control here. How sad. “Maybe I was counting the amount of bubblegum bitch and Batman couples walking through the door. Maybe I was waiting for Christmas.”
“Hm…,” she buzzed, cocking her head slightly and trying to determine just what the hell his next move would be.
His head cocked to the side, too. “And what did I find?”
At his pause, she smiled again. “Hm…?”
“Or rather, tell me Adeline, what found me?”
All at once, she noticed how close he was in proximity to her; when he drew even closer, she felt as though she could feel the heat of his body, could hear the sounds of his breaths. Her eyes trailed up his chest as she drew in a long, slow breath and found their landing place on his. Fuck, he was so much taller than him. When he spoke, his words were a whisper. “You’re the mind reader,” he said.
She wavered for a moment, her lips poising themselves open before she realized that they had done such a thing. “I…”
The still, small voice in her head cut in, demanding, What the fuck are you doing, Adeline?
Oh, right. She had to fucking win.
With a chuckle, she closed her eyes for a moment, brushing her hair behind her ear again with a confident smile. “I don’t need to read your mind, Benjamin.” She smiled up at him, looking him almost jeeringly in the eyes. “You’re already speaking for yourself.” She gazed over his body, then reached forward and tapped his chest with her fingernail with a soft giggle. “I can read every bit of you.” With a chuckle, she folded an arm to support her elbow and poised her hand on the side of her face dreamily, adding, in a lilting voice, “Like a book.”
She began to step away from him, taking a few steps toward the drink table, before she stopped. She took a moment of pause, pretending to think in a theatrical way, with a hand beneath her chin and her head cocking this way and that. Finally, she looked over her shoulder, an almost pitying expression on her face. “Oh…but…” She frowned slightly, turning her body back around to face him and stepping toward him again, her hand still beneath her chin and her eyes downcast. “I suppose if…what I’m hearing from you is correct, though…hm…”
A smirk slipped onto her face, and she looked up and into Benj’s eyes.
Go in for the kill.
With a soft chuckle, in a low, girlish voice, she said, “You really are so jealous, aren’t you?”
It was kind of weird, but there was almost a relieved sigh that escaped Ash's lips when Artie talked to her just, like, normally. It was dumb -- she knew that. But it was just nice to start a conversation without someone looking like they wanted her dead, or insulting her boyfriend, or telling her she didn't deserve cheer captain, or that she'd done a shit job with the cheer performance, or--
Basically, it was just nice to have a conversation that wasn't laced with venom. A conversation where she didn't feel like she immediately had to be on guard, and the cautious smile she'd had warmed up.
"You could say that. Thanks for coming, though! You look great." They said with a grin. "Nothing new there, though."
She let out a small laugh, a faint blush coming to her cheeks at the compliment followed by a wink from her friend. Ash looked down for a moment, to kind of kill the redness in her cheeks, and gave a little shrug as she brushed her hands over the dress. "What can I say? JJ said not to wear red and I just, like... totally had to try and show her up."
Emphasis on try, because she knew there was no way she would.
"And you look amazing," Ash continued. She reached forward, her hand brushing against the striped shirt. "This? Looks totally hot on you."
"Wild night, huh?" Artie asked, taking a sip from the cup in their hand. "Anyway, where's your boy toy? Can't believe he'd leave a pretty thing like you hanging."
There was silence for a moment as her hand dropped back to her side, followed by another shrug from her shoulders. "Who knows?" She said with a breathy sigh. "We didn't, like, umm... come together. I mean, like, I don't even really know if he's... coming to the party, actually. I think he is. Maybe. No, probably. I mean, like, I doubt he'd... miss it. I'll find him later, or... yeah, yeah I'll find him later."
Ash kind of found herself stumbling through her words, kind of from a mixture of guilt and embarrassment. Like, what kind of girlfriend was she that she had shown up without her boyfriend? And that she didn't even know where he was? And that she hadn't even texted him to see if he was coming, or how he'd fared following Glueageddon? Like, shouldn't even of those things come to her mind?
Of course, he could've done the same, but...
Her priorities were still, like, way off.
"What about you?" She asked, her troubled gaze meeting Artie's. A little smile spread across her face. "I mean, you've gotta have, like, all sorts of people throwing themselves at you, right?"
See, if she just turned the conversation back away from Dalton, then she wouldn't feel guilty... right?
You know, one thing they didn’t ever tell you about cheer uniforms was just how much they rode up in the crotch.
“This is for the victory, Syddy. Beauty is pain,” he reminded himself in a quiet voice. Wearing a focused expression, he gripped the corners of the grimy sink with one hand as he struggled to wrench a finger between his skin and his waistband to pull the straining skirt straight. “For all the…” He narrowed his eyes at the reflection of his operation, then squinted down at it. “…chicken…dinner…” There were soft scratching noises as his finger struggled to grip the fabric enough to turn it. “…brownie…points…” He sighed deeply, realizing that his plan wasn’t working, and he defeatedly sunk his shoulders for a moment. “Some kinda…food…something,” he finished in a mutter.
Looked like he was just gonna have to deal with it.
Resolving himself to his fate for the sake of free lunch, Syd slipped his finger out of the waistband. There was a small snap! of the elastic against his skin, and he hissed in pain, grimacing. For a moment, he mourned the loss of the one option he momentarily believed that he had for making this experience at least slightly comfortable for himself, gazing sadly at himself in the mirror.
“Hey,” he said aloud, still in his quiet, half-whispered voice, and then he jabbed a finger at the mirror, touching his finger’s reflection. He squinted his eyes at himself. “You’re bringing home the bacon, Sydney,” he said in a commanding voice, “you hear me? You’re gonna go to that party and wear the cheer uniform the best that anyone has ever seen anyone do it, because you’re…uh…”
Anything positive slipped his mind, and so he just gave himself a reassuring nod. A smile unconfidently weaseled its way onto his lips. “Yeah,” he agreed in a whisper, and then, more surely, though still in a quiet voice, “Yeah! I got this!”
Behind him, one of the stalls pushed open, and Syd jerked in surprise. SHITITHOUGHTNOONEWASINHERE. In a panic, he spun around, hiding his hand behind his back as his face reddened deeply. “Hi!” he said, with a nervous chuckle, closing his eyes and smiling as widely as he could. “I was just, uh —“
When he opened his eyes, he was looking down at a six-year-old boy.
“Oh, shhhpoop,” he muttered.
The kid blinked at him, and then gave him the stranger danger weird look and darted for the door.
He stared after him, his face deepening in its red hue until it overwhelmed him. He glanced at his side profile in the dirt-encrusted, rusted mirror. The shiny garments did not even extend halfway down to the place where they were supposed to fall, instead straining around his small, muscled frame like children’s clothes on an adult mannequin. The skirt rode up especially, and, though thankfully the sewn-in underwear half helped to keep everything from hanging out, every move was a gamble as to how much of his moon would show.
“Oh…” He slowly covered his eyes with both hands. “Oh…” He hunkered his back over. “Oh…no…” He walked backward until his butt hit a wall, and then he slowly sank down the wall, inch by inch, until he was sitting on the floor of the concession stand’s men bathroom, upright in a fetal position, muttering, over and over and over again, “Oh nonononononononono.”
Syd had done a lot of things, okay? He’d sold a used vacuum cleaner to a demented old woman who lived as his neighbor for a few months, saying it was a new luxury brand. He’d stolen his friend’s hamster and kept it as his own until it died of old age and never told his friend about it. And yeah, sure, fine, he’d done parkour off of the side of the Chinese restaurant down his street at two A.M., fractured his ankle, and claimed it was from a really bad fall last year. But all of those things had been private, okay? And, uh…
Look, don’t tell anyone that he’s telling you this right now, but Syd’s really not that much of a “center of attention”-type guy, nor is he really a “crossdress to become the center of attention”-type guy, nor is he really much of a “give the entire school fuel to make the rest of your high school experience miserable”-type guy. So…you know…even for the lunch…
Sighing deeply, standing up, and walking back to the bathroom stall he’d been in minutes before, Sydney Welsh muttered, “Fine, Brody…you win.”
• • • • •
Well, okay, so maybe Syd wasn’t accepting defeat that easily. See, he might not have been that smart, and he might not have had that much brain power, but he did always find away.
And so, yes, he had gone home and changed back into the uniform before going to the party…but he had also put on an oversized leather jacket, which he zipped up, and a pair of very loose cargo shorts.
Brody, I’m wearing the uniform, he practiced internally as he wove through the crowd of people to find his friend, wearing a wide, proud smile on his face and muttering “excuse me”s when he bumped into people. His eyes searched the crowd for his friend, though Syd’s shorter stature didn’t help much with providing much vantage. Finally, though, he spotted him past a small cluster of people, and his smile brightened.
Putting on an almost cocky air, he strutted up to his best friend. “Alright, Brody, get ready to experience the biggest defeat of your life.” Glancing over his shoulders quickly before yanking down the zipper of his metal jacket with a whp!, he smirked proudly. Holding his arms out from his body in a boo-yah sort of way to show of the uniform he was flashing, he said, “Getta loada this sexy body, and —“
His eyes flicked to a girl who stood beside him, and then back to Brody’s face. He stared at Brody in confusion for a moment, and then his eyes widened in an oh shit moment. Chuckling nervously, he scrambled to zip up his jacket, staring the girl square in the eyes, his face turning a bright red as he stalled with a long, drawn-out “uhhhhh” as though that made everything he was doing right now invisible.
When Syd’s jacket was finally zipped, a closed, awkward smile made its way onto his lips. “Uh...hi,” he said to the girl with a little wave, and he stood stick straight for a moment, unblinking, before he realized that he should do something. With a chuckle and a scratch of his now reddened neck, he said, “I’m, uh, Sydney. Uh…Brody’s — er, Justin’s, Brody's, same guy —" He nodded over to Brody. "That guy's best friend.” He held out his quivering hand for her to shake. “I, uh, don’t…think…I’veevermetyou, so. Ahaha, you’re, uh, getting quite the, heh, intro, uh, duction.”
Leave it to Syd to make things as awkward as possible.
He waved his hand, trying to dismiss everything that had just happened. His face was still a bright red. "I, heh, I'm usually dressed, uh, even more fashionably, if you can, uh, if you can believe it," he added, looking over at Brody to make sure that his joke got his approval.
Oh, you so nailed it, he thought sarcastically, kicking himself internally.
As the initial embarrassment began to subside, Syd felt a jealous sort of pinch. Who...is...this girl?
It took everything in Amy not to bust out laughing at the sight of BJ walking up to the truck. She could understand why...but dodging really wasn't his forte huh? One thing this school always provided? A good story to tell. I mean come on a glittery, confetti, glue filled balloon fight? That's one for the scrap book.
And yes Amy has a scrap book so shush.
However him striking a pose did it for her and she couldn't contain the bubble of laughter that escaped her lips. "You know that might be a million dollar idea." She chimed. She had to admit that unwavering confidence was one of her favorite things about him.
Amy was relieved when he agreed, though in the back of her mind she figured he wanted to be able to change too. Win-win for both of them honestly. They got cleaned up and she changed into a much more party type outfit. Just a cute little black dress with sunflowers on it, nothing special in her eyes. Fixed her hair up a bit and was ready to go.
To no ones surprise the first stop of the night once they got to the party was the drinks table. She wasn't usually one to over indulge, but it's not like she never drank before. She actually liked to drink in small doses, and the sweeter the drink the better. Her mind sometimes was always on go and so focused on tasks that drinking was a nice forced relaxer.
"Hm? Oh um." She giggled a bit shyly brushing a few strands of her hair behind her ear, "Well that's good! It means the master plan is working." She giggled raising up her cup as if to toast, "Also statistics show video games do great for the reflexes especially now with more VR and fully immersive type games."
That coupled with childhood trauma of being bullied and having to hide out away from people made her kinda flinchy which also helps her dodging skills...not that she's gonna include that part tho. So please don't ask her to catch a ball... or shoot one. You WILL be disappointed.
"Can't have you getting bored of me now can I?" She teased playfully taking a few more sips of her drink. Not that she was genuinely afraid of that because Amy truly did believe Justin was her best friend. Sure she's had some issues so far in trusting the wrong people, but she was sure she'd gotten it right this time with him.
Before she could say anything else she noticed someone approach them. Their attention seemed to be solely on Justin...which lets face it is understandable. As tall as Amy was she blended into the background very well.
What did she expect? A hey, maybe some kind of bro hand shake or whatever guy buds do to say hi to each other. What did she get? A near heart attack because it looked like he was flashing them, but luckily it was just exposing himself in a cheer uniform.
Still shocking, still almost made her spill her cup because she didn't know what to expect, and still awkward as hell as her own face turned a light pink shade feeling like she was interrupting something between the guys. Like this was some funny insider joke she was not supposed to know about. His stumbling afterwards kinda solidified that.
"H-hi! Nice to meet you... Sydney? Right? I'm uh I'm Amy." She was still looking down at her cup at the moment a bit too nervous to think straight. "I uh " She finally found some courage to look up at the boys face after he made the joke feeling a bit better. "Yah I think I've seen you around the school before. Total fashionista. You should give me some tips sometimes." She smiled bashfully trying to help lighten the tone like he was.
He said they were best friends, which Amy knew Justin had other close friends because well he was the social one of the two of them. But it was still weird to hear sometimes. "And same here. He's one of my best friends too so I guess it's about time we met right?" She chimed giving him a wave. She stayed and talked for a few more minuets, but then her phone buzzed and it was Alex.
That's right she did say she hang out with him for a bit while she was here tonight if he came out. "Hey I'll catch you guys in a bit ok? I've gotta go say hi to a friend." she smiled and gave BJ a warm hug, "Thanks again for everything. Text me when you're ready to dip out." She hummed before giving Syd a wave goodbye too, "Hope we can hang out sometime." With that she turned and left into the crowd with her phone and drink in hand.
She walked around a bit until she spotted him from across the room. Thank you height and heels. She grinned walking up to him and tapping his shoulder, "Hey there stranger" She chimed.
For the most part the game was uneventful for Magnolia. She left the little smoker group and found Mik where they proceeded to pre-game like the rock stars they are. Taking shots for every point scored because that was the only way she was going to give a damn about the scoreboard. They also stuffed their faces with food. All in all ordinary day for them.
The only interesting part was the best prank she'd seen in a while from her peers. Glue and confetti filled balloons AND sprinklers on the cheerleaders? Chefs kiss to Drake that glorious bastard. She was only mad he didn't tell her cause she definitely would've joined in on the fun and nailed a few people. Namely a cheerleader or two because they already were wet anyways, so why not?
Speaking of cheerleader's there was one she knew to avoid until she'd calmed down and that was her furious little cinnamon bun of a princess. Did Maggie actually have any sort of crush on JJ? Nope, but it was damn sure fun to make the girl flustered thinking she did. Their bond was a weird one for sure, but she enjoyed it. Her words never really hurt her cause let's be real a slut comment was a dime a dozen and meaningless. She was funny and while she knew it was one sided, she for some reason felt like if JJ needed her she'd try to be there.
Kinda hard when they run in totally different circles and JJ seemed to hate everyone Maggie hung around. But hey what's a girl to do. It's why she wasn't surprised when the message did finally come through. Something simple acting like that catastrophe didn't just happen. 'pick a color.' Easy. And fairly obvious what the reason was for considering there was a party tonight. Maggie was honest with her suggestion. The girl looked hot in red, she liked a good color...but she also knew JJ would hate to admit Maggie's opinion had any sway and that was a safe choice.
Good thing Maggie knew better.
Maybe if things got boring with Andres she'd go mess around with her. Since she'd be 'ignoring her' pff. One thing Maggie prided herself was being hard to just ignore. There were certainly worse kinda 'friendships' to have.
Thanks to their little game Maggie was already nice and tipsy by the time the driver dropped her off at the party. This wasn't anything new for the girls. Show up together, maybe party a bit more but ultimately they usually wound up going their own ways, and if they found their way back to each other by the end? Great! If not? Hope you got somewhere safe by the end. The life and times of party girls she supposed.
She made her way to someone she could bum a blunt off of and sent a text to Andres while she hit it, 'Hey you here yet? Or did you have to go wash off the glitter glue lol ; ]'
Standing on the edge of the field, where he tried to get a good angle of a referee talking to one of the coaches, he stopped in confusion for the first few seconds before feeling water spraying on the side of his face. It took him a minute to remember his camera was weather-sealed, but still, he immediately shielded it under his thin grey jacket and dashed out of the sprinkler’s range.
He hid behind a wall nearby, stowing away his camera in his backpack there. When he peeked around the corner he saw flying balloons hitting people on the bleachers and benches. He clicked his tongue in disapproval at the scene. His camera was not glitter-and-glue sealed.
Quickly and quietly, Matty ducked away to the nearest exit unseen and came home half soaked with sprinkler water.
He wanted to hide away in his room for the rest of the night, and enjoy the peace and quiet. After a quick shower, he learned about a house party, which acted as a replacement for the homecoming dance that was canceled for some reason. He didn’t plan to go at first, but then he heard Mason, the only guy he knew more than everyone at school, would be there. And if Mason wasn’t sober by the end of the party, then Matty would have to be ready to drive him back home.
That was one of his reasons for going. The other was something his therapist kept pestering him to do. She’d assigned him to try participating in his school homecoming and tell her about it in his next session.
He knew taking photos at the game for the school newspaper (and perhaps the yearbook) and the extra credit he needed for his photography class wouldn’t be enough, especially since he didn’t talk to anyone there or do anything notable besides getting a free extra pretzel that had a little too much butter on it. His therapist would to be disappointed with that.
Try to get out more, be a normal teenager, she told him a few weeks ago. She's a pretty blunt therapist.
• • •
He was beginning to regret not staying at home.
He quickly muttered an awkward apology to the person he almost sat on. He hadn't noticed someone already lying across the sofa. Ignoring the scowls and narrowed eyes burning on his back, he walked away and constantly reminded himself to keep his eyes up in front of him. Don't step or sit on anyone.
Matty spent the first half an hour or so exploring aimlessly inside the house he didn't know, listening to the blaring music with indifference, avoiding colliding with partygoers. He ended up in the kitchen, ate a few snacks there—several minutes later, he left, found where the drinks were, poured Pepsi in a plastic cup for himself, and walked away again.
SIlently, he glanced at his surroundings. Everyone was walking and sitting. Chatting and laughing. Drinking and dancing. Smoking and flirting.
An uncomfortable tightness grew in his chest, like a ping pong ball gradually expanding against his sternum and struggling to get out. Matty was leaning against a wall, with only his nonalcoholic drink in hand, seeing no one he knew. The room he was in was growing stuffier by the second (maybe it was just him) and crowded—wondering if he had overdressed or underdressed for the party...
He just noticed his Pepsi was half an inch away from the top of his cup.
Outside. There’s where I should be, Matty decided. After untucking his button shirt with one hand and one long sip of his soda, he left his solitary spot and trekked to the doors to the backyard. Once he was there, he took a moment to breathe in his inhaler and felt his lungs (and about 80 percent of his nerves) relax.
Right after he tucked away his inhaler in his pocket, he felt a sudden nudge from behind. Some of his drink spilled out of his cup.
He turned around. Instead of a random drunk weirdo, he found Mercedes Camus. One of Drake’s friends. Someone he partially knew but was still somehow a bit more familiar than everyone else at the party.
“Hi…” he replied, with just the slightest uncertainty in his voice. He didn't know what to say next.
A pause followed.
“It’s fine,” he said, slightly frowning at his more-than-half empty cup and his hand that was now wet and sticky with dark cola—at least it didn't stain his shirt. He looked at Mercedes when she spoke again.
“Hi, sorry. I was actually looking for…” A second or two passed. “The bathroom.”
“In the backyard?” He looked around for a moment, wondering if that backyard had a portable toilet box he didn’t notice earlier.
There wasn’t one.
Matty looked back at Mercedes curiously. “Are you... do you need someone to look for it with you?” he asked.
It was so easy to get lost in Mer's words. They had an airy, whimsical quality about them, no doubt in part due to her constant use of conversational improv. Her "natural charm", as she put it, was addictive, and the very thing that drew Edwin around her orbit at any given moment.
He felt like an idiot trying to draw out their conversation, but the sunny girl's attention eluded him. His watchful eyes followed the suble drift of her irises, hunting for answers in their reflection to no avail. Seemingly out of nowhere, a glimmer of hope presented itself in the form of rekindled energy that caused Mer to lift her brows and stand a little taller. Was she really that excited over Gatorade bins?
"I don't even think I have your number," she managed to answer, shooting a bolt of electricity up Ed's veins. Was that an act of rejection or an act of interest? But he missed his chance, as the pace of the conversation spontaneously started to quicken. A joint was brandished, and as one final triumph, Ed proposed a private smoke. Mer smiled, her attention elsewhere. She was teasing him, and he was none the wiser.
Not until her head tilted, following something on its course out the back door. A clue popped into Ed's head, lightly suggesting that his efforts may have been futile; it was while he had retreated into his thoughts when he noticed the soft caress of Mer's hand gently lowering his hand, bringing about a blushing, perplexed look on his face. "Later?" he repeated, as though to seal the promise of time spent alone.
That seemed to be enough for the girl, as she finally left Ed with a much-needed compliment to go pursue the object dragging her attention left and right. He mumbled his thanks, turning around to get a glimpse at just what was lifting his distracted crush's head to the clouds. It was hard to see through the crowd of people bouncing and shaking and chatting over cups of jungle juice, but it was clear that Mer was on a mission.
If Evie were here right now, she'd be laughing up a fucking storm.
Ed ran his hand along the table beside him, perusing through sloshing bottles of liquor and two-liter soda bottles. He was going to need about six more drinks before he had the confidence to land any girl worth his time, so what better time to start than one's deepest moment in the trenches? He reached a hand for a bottle of tequila, tapping his finger on its glass handle. He didn't even feel like drinking, to be honest, but he knew he'd get over it before long.
His grip loosened, and he hesitated as the air around him began to stagnate and fester, raining down upon him like scalding acid. It was concentrated behind the unsuspecting boy's back, enough for him to immediately whip around and look up at the bulky figure commanding the attention of everyone in a twenty foot radius. It was a face he knew all too well, and it was trained right on his much smaller form. Shit! That familiar face was one he confirmed as Chelsea Freud's, Mer's rageful older brother even the rest of the football team knew not to fuck with. Probably even the coach, to be honest.
"Wait—" he cried, but not quick enough to prevent himself from being essentially raised into the air by the collar and shaken like a Caesar salad. His hand slipped off the tequila bottle, knocking it over and spilling its rank, caustic contents into a crystal-clear pool. It seeped off the edge, wetting the back of Edwin's dress shirt. Evie would kill him for that. As he collided with the table again, more cups and bottles fell to and fro, erupting into a clinking cacophony.
The giant spoke, its breath hot against the smaller boy's ice-cold veins. By reflex, he began to tremble, but he had the sense to ball his up fists and hide his fear. "My night isn't so great eith—" Before he could finish, Ed was rattled some more, his body dangling like a ragdoll against a force of sheer, unbridled wrath. More furious words settled into his ears, leaving him only to wince and shield his eyes from the fire CK was breathing.
"I was just," he choked out, grasping a hand onto his veiny wrist of steel, "Talking to her." He jerked his head to look at the wall, directing his attention to a painting in the hopes that it would distract from his free hand discarding the joint. "We're friends. What fucking gives, man?"
Now that the joint was by their feet and a moment had passed, adrenaline seemed to catch up with him. "I'm not the one who threw a ball of glitter glue at your face. If you're so mad..." No, he would never direct this monster onto Mer. How would he be able to do that to her and sleep at night? Would he have to hide that as long as they were married with kids? Would he even be able to tell her on his deathbed?
"If you're so mad, go take a chill pill and get laid, freak. And also, you're fucking short." In a sudden move, Ed ripped CK's hand off his collar and darted through the crowd, pushing past all the crop-topped girls and tie-wearing boys, spilling drinks on his and others' shirts as he went. For a split second, he felt disappointment for half the party's disregard for a simple dress code. Although, very few of them had probably ever had the chance to witness a real red carpet.
Off a frenzied Edwin went, breathing ragged breaths and not daring to look back at what he could only surmise to be a hidden avatar of the Grim Reaper. His feet ground to a halt at the base of a staircase, and he gave one rapid look over his shoulder before racing up the stairs, slipping and stumbling because he knew his life depended on it. His heart was thumping a mile a minute, nearly hopping out of his chest faster than the thoughts running through his frantic, disarrayed head.
Somehow, sitting upright for the entirety of a game she clearly gave very little about. While the fanfare with the sprinklers had been entertaining, Ophelia had a better idea regarding the evening's events. Of course, Rat had been a fantastic viewing partner.
The bathroom had become a safe-haven, one which allowed her to dress without seeing her mother. She'd been on her mind most of the game, but nothing as blatant as right this moment. The chill of the countertop ate at her hand, and she wrinkled her nose at the smell and the memory. Her throat made a gargled noise, somewhere near a grunt but not quite. The fishnets brushed past her skin, pricking at it, and slipped over her head. It was swifter than she intended, and her eyes catch themselves in the mirror.
Touching up her eyeliner, Ophelia thought of her counterpart, whom she'd missed at the game. They heads appeared to be intertwined, constantly butting. Two rams conjoined by their horns. A small pit in her heart ached like a cavity, pricking. In her mind, the bathroom was far less smelly if she pretended Oph was sitting on the sink, watching her and chatting while she prepared. A faux rant played in her head, telling her all about yelling at her mom.
She might even talk about the lies, if she was feeling bold enough.
Instead, Ophelia dressed in silence, pretending to be far more melancholic about a little bit of innocent squabbling and a missed opportunity than necessary.
Puck gave her another ride, unfortunately. His own complaints about Artie, primarily made on behalf of Jace, marred the leather seats, and Ophie ran out the minute she could.
The party set itself at a tidy pace, and Ophelia quickly blended in upon entering. Suddenly, she regretted not joining in on the bleachers smoke sesh, particular as the anxiety regarding crowds hit her. Thankfully, she managed to grab an unopened can of soda, stolen unintentionally (or not) from a table as she passed by. Cracking it open as she walked passed, she settled into a spot mildly out of the way, cocking a hip out and sipping her soda. No one who pissed her off had arrived yet, and truthfully, neither had anyone she wished to see.
Then, a boy sided up next to her. No, actually, it was the boy. She squinted at his face as he walked up, slowly but surely tracing the outline of his physique to the profile picture she'd seen not too long ago. Then, he proceeded to speak at her. To her, rather, which she appreciated as she preferred to do the former and receive the latter. A smirk played at the edges of her lips. He oozed of anxiety, and for a moment, Ophie considered following suit, but instead, his blatant nervousness emboldened her.
"Hey," she said coolly. A small slurp of her root beer. "I'm surprised a tentative date made in the public eye of the Internet got you runnin', but yeah," she finally let him off the hook, "I do."
She studied the room, examining the inhabits and carefully considered what to do in the way of 'hanging out.' She smiled at the words. It was a bit dorky, clunky even, to phrase it that way. "Do you have something other than root beer?" she asked, scoffing at her own words. "I've been abysmally sober for that entire game."
Glitter soaked her hair, but she opted to keep it as it added to the 'fit. A little bit of drama, flair, and she event added a puffy, red ribbon to her hair, which poof'ed in a frizzy reaction the water. The sprinklers? What a joke, one which she admittedly giggled at. Until she got soaked herself.
Scrunching her face, she used her cheer skirt to squeeze out some of the water from her hair, even as the remaining heat of the late summer dried the strands. The silky top ruffled against her body, soft and milky. Smiling at Casper's message, she grabbed the heart-dotted sweater from her closet, just in case they picked the pink dress. Of course, matching wasn't a priority, but it certainly gave her a theme to base her own party outfit around.
Lining her eyes with a surprisingly heavy-hand, she stuttered, marring the heart on her cheek, as a voice called out to her.
"Etta!" A cough. Then, quieter, "I need my meds."
Sighing, Vi wiped at the mistake, erasing it with a makeup wipe, and quickly redid it before placing the pencil in her to-go bag. With a heavy click, the bathroom light, ancient and timeless, clicked off. She looked longingly at the solace of the bathroom as the light from the kitchen quickly shrouded her view. Harold was sitting at the kitchen table, shrouded in his plush, gray robe a church attendant had gifted him once he got diagnosed. Her eyes lingered on it a few seconds longer than necessary, before averting themselves.
The fridge swung open, bathing her in a delightful chill, before shutting. The apple sauce contained thudded on the counter, and the plastic cup scraped. Like clockwork, she set the pills in front of him, the apple sauce, a glass of water, and refilled the pill caddy all before the clock struck a quarter hour had passed.
"Good?" she asked curtly, allowing an edge to creep into her voice.
"Watch it," he grunted, but nothing else whispered past his lips. Etta was free to go, and Violet was finally allowed to come out.
Her red bag thumped against her thigh, and the empty pill bottle metaphorically rattled around her head. The joint, bought carefully pre-rolled, was a siren calling to her, as though her father had asked for anything other than the usual.
It was a party, she reasoned, but instead, she walked towards the Gardner home, carefully avoiding the subject in her mind.
Thankfully, the faux-prom provided more than enough entertainment to hold her attention. Furthermore, she quickly spotted Casper, giving an overzealous wave and running after them. "Hey!" she called out, excited and giddy. Admittedly, it was actually quite enjoyable to have someone who she could talk to, someone who didn't know her history. Of course, she expected Casper to discover sooner or later, but hopefully by then, they would already be a fan of hers.
"You look so cute!" she damn-near squealed, her accent slipping out. Biting her tongue, she breathed out before adding, "Did you see the atrocity that happened at the game?"
Addie hated her cheer squad. She hated competition. She hated other blondes. She hated girls who looked at her funny, and who wore the same brand of lip gloss as her. And, to be fair, it always did look better on her. Her subtle break in composure was a victory far grander than apparent to the naked eye, especially because the subject had been more or less seamlessly changed.
Benji could take light sarcasm; it was nothing compared to the far more complex insinuations being made in front of him. The blonde maintained a casual tone, peppering her playful words with cutesy rounds of laughter. "You're right, I should have just shaved her head," the tall boy remarked, his brows creasing while his smile stretched from cheek to cheek. He was deep in focus, but couldn't show it.
Much to his surprise, the conversation didn't linger on the topic of Ash for long, circling back to their battle of wits. With Addie's hair swept behind her ear, Benji noted that he could easily pay next month's rent with the lustrous stones punched through her lobes. It angered him a little, but that was what drew him in in the first place. Did she know how dubious of a case study she was?
Now that they were closer, Benji could shrug off her retort with a brief chuckle. Of course he didn't want to explain why he was standing by the door. He wasn't that interested in upholding a cool kid high school reputation, but he still wasn't going to make himself out to be a loser. Even Benji could be a fickle teenager sometimes. It only made having his bluff called even more exhilarating, because he knew Addie was going to keep him on his toes.
For once, words seemed to elude her as a faint "I..." trickled off her hesitant lips. Benji's brain turned into a stethoscope, guessing the tempo of her pattering heart. Their breaths drew as one as he pressed himself closer, moving his body idly to the beat of the music. From the outside, not one would be able to surmise the nature of their quick-witted conversation. He had her where he wanted her, and as his hand crept slowly further toward her waist, he could feel his own heartbeat quicken.
Just in the nick of time, the fire returned to Addie's eyes and she spoke, wryly Benjamin-ing him once more. His hand froze in place, withdrawing from her side. Dumbstruck, he listened to her response with a hanging jaw, brows furrowed to question the meaning of her sweetly derisive speech. "I haven't said—" he began, grunting a little as a manicured nail drove itself into his chest.
Oh, so they were making empty assessments now, were they? Benji shook his head with disbelief, drawing away from Addie and releasing a flippant laugh. "Oh, I'm sure you'd like to think that," he scoffed, shaking his head. She was so dramatic, she way she gestured like a movie character. If she wanted to see a good performance, well, she should get him alone and—
"Oh...but..." she continued, enticing Benji with her coy display, almost certain with acute intention. He hung on closely to her every move, taking in every word like gospel. His breath was inconsistent, catching and releasing in rhythm with her slow, careful steps. I am just a man..., he thought, unflinching as Addie drew ever closer, gazing upward with her duplicitous eyes. They were carved from amber and jade by a god crueler than fate itself; that was most certain.
“I suppose if…what I’m hearing from you is correct, though…hm…” Benji begged to pull away, but his body stood in place, his glistening stare fixed onto the image of the Lorelei before him. In this situation, how could a man possibly muster a word?
“You really are so jealous, aren’t you?”
Benji's heart leapt out of his throat, but he stood still. A chill ran up his spine, but all he could manage was a startled blink. By instinct, he breathed a choppy heh, his nostrils flaring in line with a toothy grin. "Wow..." the casual-clothed junior managed, nodding slowly. He looked around the room, running a hand through his curls. "You really are a regular reader, AJ. Consider me taken aback."
He reined in his smile, fixing his lips into a plush pout. "But, you know..." She left herself wide open. Every turn, every twist in this encounter was all leading toward this crest, built upon the subtext of two teenagers who thought they knew it all.
"I really am flattered that you went through all this trouble," Benji uttered breathily, openly filled with satisfaction, "Must have been torture escorting some dickwad jock to the party..." The tension was palpable, and the stakes were ever higher. His heart was pounding like crazy, but he was sure Addie's was going even faster. "...when all you can think about is the brooding skater boy leaning against the wall."
An olive hand rose to meet the girl's cheek, dragging itself to inspect the diamond on her lobe. He rubbed it gently with his thumb, creasing his brows in thought. Finally, he let it go with an irreverent smirk. "Are you that desperate for my attention?"
Alex was lucky enough to avoid getting covered in glue and glitter. As soon the the sprinklers turned on, he simply left the game.
On the bike ride home, he wondered if he'd get in trouble with Ms. Shellings for just abandoning his post. He didn't really care, though. He and Jace could be dishonorably discharged from the marching band together.
Not that he... ya know... cared about Jace or anything. It would just be nice to be... not alone... in his... whatever.
Once he was home, he peeled himself out of his soaking wet uniform and sprawled out on his bed to airdry. As he stared up at the ceiling, he contemplated just staying home for the rest of the evening.
But no, fuck that quitter's talk. He got his sorry ass up, got ready, and rode his bike to Artie's place.
After shooting a quick text to Amy, he waited patiently in the corner until he felt a tap on his shoulder and heard a familiar voice.
"Oh, thank god," he said, turning to face his friend. As much as Alex put on a macho facade, he hated being alone at these kinda things, and Amy was the kinda person he felt comfortable enough around to be honest about his anxiety. "I almost didn't come."
He glanced around the room, chewing his bottom lip.
Anyone who knows Cappie Caplan would know how deeply he cared about his hair. His haircare routine was more extensive than Ash's. So, washing off the dry glue mixed with glitter and confetti from it was not fun.
However, he was grateful for the prank getting the game canceled at halftime. It saved him from losing a bet and forty dollars, so he didn’t entirely mind. Just only a little.
Although, he wasn’t happy when he found his beloved old Bronco with a dick spray-painted on her door—well, now it’s “his” door. It had been rubbed off (not like that) from the surface by the time Cappie arrived at the parking lot, but the faded shape was still noticeable, more or less.
He argued with his cousin about it while dropping him off back at his dad’s place. Deo denied drawing the crude image on the Bronco and refused to say who’d done it. When Cappie questioned him about the other cars that were found with colorful doodled dicks and middle fingers, he shrugged his shoulders nonchalantly, and neither denied nor admit any involvement with the subject.
Cappie dropped the issue. He did notice Deo's hands stained with dry black ink and his mysteriously newly acquired spray can in his pocket.
• • •
When he heard the homecoming dance was canceled, Cappie was worried that the rental suit he’d paid for the day before the other silly graffiti incident would go to waste—renting a good suit was not cheap. Thank goodness for Evie’s stubbornness in making a backup party. Why at Artie and Xander’s place, Cappie had no clue, but he appreciated their contribution.
He decided to forgo the blazer, because climate change could not be any more real as tonight’s weather was a bit too warm for him to wear it. After putting on his black boots and adjusting his stripe necktie, Cappie joined Ash in Jace's car for the drive to the homecoming party.
There were probably a few tiny glitter particles still stuck in his hair, like shiny dandruff.
He was left to his own devices after Ash went somewhere else and lost track of time. He was gently tipsy after winning his third flip cup game (he lost the previous two games). While wandering around the house, he was thinking about finding an ice luge that he heard was somewhere at the party.
Along the way, he saved someone’s life.
Well, no, not really. But he did catch someone from falling over. It took a while for Drake Martin to recognize him until that lovable dopey smile of his confirmed that he finally did.
"Cappieee! My man!"
Cappie returned the same energy, ruffling Drake’s hair. “Heeey, Drake-eyyy! Chase-eyyy! How’s it goin’?”
"Chase and I were just 'bout to hang, weren't we, buddy? Wanna come with?”
“Hell yeah. I’m up for anything with you guys.” Cappie stood on the other side of Drake and draped his arm over his shoulder, completely the trio. With his free hand, he picked up a random cup from the side table that was within his reach—no idea whose cup it was or what was in it, but he drank it anyway. “So what’s the plan, D-man?”
To be honest, Buck thought the prank was kinda ingenious.
He'd never let the rest of the squad know that, though. Most of them seemed pretty pissed, and Buck was never a fan of being an outlier. So he just kept his chuckles to himself and pretended that he was pissed about the game getting canceled.
Now, though, he was at the party -- which is really the only event tonight that he cared about. Cheer was fun, sure, but he didn't take it anywhere as seriously as most of the team.
"Steve!" Buck shouted once he saw his friend from across the room.
Making a beeline for the other cheerleader, Buck practically pounced on him once he was close enough.
Wrapping his arms around Stephen's shoulders from behind in a sort of hug, Buck gave the smaller boy a gentle shake.
"Let me git ye a dram, aye?" he said, loosening his vice grip on his friend's shoulders.
Now that he had his hands on the little fucking idiot, CK realized that the boy was none of there than Evie’s fucking little bitch of a brother. What the fuck was his name — Eddy or some shit?
He’d definitely have to fucking explain this to Evie later. Yeah, I slaughtered your shit-for-brains brother — he was trying to fuck my little sister, and everyone knows not to fucking do that somehow didn’t seem like it would get much of a pass from Ed’s sister.
Here goes me fucking Evie ever again, he thought. Oh fucking well.
Ed grasped desperately at CK’s wrist. “I was just talking to her,” he choked, jerking his head toward the wall. “We’re friends. What fucking gives, man?” As though a vial of misplaced self-confidence had been suddenly poured into the little fucker’s veins, he said, “I’m not the one who threw a ball of glitter glue at your face. If you’re so mad…”
The kid floundered for a moment. Beat his ass, Chelsea’s mind commanded, and he balled his free hand into a fist and began to lift it — but slowly, because he wanted to get the most fucking catharsis out of this beatdown, and another look of sheer terror would be fucking liberating.
Against his better interest, the son of a bitch seemed to find his words again. “If you’re so mad, go take a chill pill and get laid, freak. And also, you’re fucking short.” Like throwing sand in the eyes of an angry bear to disarm it for a moment, the words worked to catch the furious Chelsea off-guard just long enough for Ed to rip free of his loosened grip on his collar and dash off into the crowd for dear life.
As he regained his composure, Chelsea turned, staring at the path that Ed had just shoved through confused, angry-looking partygoers, many of which’s drinks were spilled out onto the ground. He glanced back at the table behind him, looking at the broken bottle and scattered unused Solo cups that his thrashing Ed against the table had rendered.
Then, CK’s face screwed into as his fury spiked again, his teeth baring and all of his muscles tensing as he swung his head back in the direction that Ed had disappeared into.
If there was any doubt in what CK had said before — which there hadn’t been — it was certainly fucking gone now; this kid was really, literally, actually fucking dead.
Running completely on instinct, Chelsea took off, his long, muscled legs and the speed he’d acquired through football training allowing him to cover ground quickly. He paid no regard to the people around him, who he shoved down or forced his way through with his shoulders or barreled over; he was in a blind sort of rage, with tunnel vision completely focused on the boy who still was not in sight as he followed the path of confused-looking partygoers and left destruction in his wake.
CK came to the back door just as it was swinging shut, and he let out a scoff, knowing that the backyard was where it all fucking ended. Shoving open the door with a shove of the muscular shoulder, Chelsea’s eyes immediately zeroed in on his target, who was trying to make a desperate getaway toward the fence.
Without thinking, CK rushed him, going full-force toward the boy. Leaping forward and grasping the kid’s shoulders, he tackled him to the ground. There was a loud CRACK!, and something gave way beneath CK as he wrestled the kid to get him to face him, but nothing but adrenaline, the victory of finally having captured the little bastard, and the anticipation of finally getting to let out the night’s fucking fury were coursing through his veins.
When he managed to finally get Ed to face him, though, something felt fucking off; the kid was already screaming, as if in pain, and already seemed like he was losing his fucking mind. This only angered and confused CK, and in a yell he demanded, “Why the fuck are you flipping out?! I’ve not even fucking done anything yet, you fucking idiot!”
Benji froze. For a few moments, he stood, blinking, as though shocked. AJ heard him breathe a soft “heh”. Check, she thought, her smirk tugging wider, just as Benji’s own mouth pulled into a toothy grin.
Instinctively, Addie stiffened slightly. What, did he think he had something? Or was he just trying to make her think that because he couldn’t accept the fact that he’d just lost this spar?
“Wow…,” he said, nodding slowly, and he looked away and around the room, running a hand through his curls. “You really are a regular reader, AJ. Consider me taken aback.”
She managed to mask much of her confusion, instead silently watching him, her smirk fading from her face, her green eyes scrutinizing every detail of his face as she tried to determine just what the hell he was doing.
His lips shifted into a pout. “But, you know…I really am flattered that you went through all this trouble.” His voice was riddled with an almost cockiness — a confidence, or a satisfaction.
The tension between them was palpable, and growing by the second, like a beast that had gained a spirit and mind of its own, and Addie’s heart pattered in double-time. No, AJ. Fucking calm it. Breathing in as deep and sure of a breath as she could manage, she pressed her tongue to the roof of her mouth, swallowing and attempting to also swallow any insecurity she was feeling. No, doubting herself was the point of his ploy here; there was no way he had actually figured something out.
“Must have been torture escorting some dickwad jock to the party…when all you can think about is the brooding skater boy leaning against the wall.”
A shock ran up AJ’s spine as Benji’s hand lifted to her cheek, then moved to rub her diamond earring. She glanced at his arm, followed it up to his face, practically holding her breath. With a smirk, Benji let go of her earring and delivered what he surely thought was the finishing blow:
“Are you that desperate for my attention?”
AJ’s heart rate spiked, her stomach flopping in its place. Benji had read her like a book.
But more than defeat, irritation flickered in her mind. Adeline Jumper could take a lot. Call her a bitch, and she would tell you that you were right with a proud smirk on her face. Call her a whore, and she would laugh about it and ask if it was your boyfriend who had told you that. Call her an untalented, life-ruining bottle blonde, and she would do little more than blink at you and ask if you were done exhausting your two poor braincells for insults. But there was one thing that Adeline never was, would never be.
And that thing was desperate.
There was no way she was losing now.
Did he think this was some checkmate moment? Up until now, they had only been playing checkers.
Taming her physical reactions for a moment, Addie let out a soft chuckle, smiling gently. “Oh, Benji…,” she said, in a soft, dreamy voice that was too pleasant to be anything by firmly tongue-in-cheek, “I’m so glad you’re finally seeing it.” She placed a hand on her heart melodramatically, closing her eyes as though her passion made her unable to keep them open. “My whole world revolves around you, Benjamin. I’m so in awe of…” With a dreamy sigh, she looked into his eyes, her slight venom seeping in through her gaze as she feigned some girlish, boy-obsessed nature. “You, Benji. You are the reason I even came tonight — you’re the reason I breathe.” With a giggle, she placed a hand on her cheek with a look of condescending forced-admiration, like an elementary school art teacher gazing upon a student’s scribbled “masterpiece” that looked like little more than a freak crayon accident. “Isn’t that what you wanted to hear?”
As she continued, a bit more of her determination slipped into her tone, of her stubborn self-confidence that didn’t go away, even though it seemed like definite defeat. “Aren’t you so flattered? I mean, this had to be the victory that you were dreaming of, right?” She reached forward, plucking a stray thread off of the side of his shirt and disinterestedly tossing it away. “Catching Adeline right in her tracks! Finally trapping the beast. Are you relishing in this feeling?”
Her palpable sarcasm dared him to answer and made the claim that, no matter what he said, she already expected his response, already knew it five minutes ago. No matter how untrue the claim her façade made was, Adeline gave no hint or inclination that there was anything to doubt about it.
“What do you want me to admit?” she asked, poising up an eyebrow, a prodding smile on her gloss-shellacked lips. “That Mason was a pawn?” She laughed. “Big whoop. We’re sluts, and it was one night, like, literally last semester. He’s a walking definition of trailer trash who tries to act like he’s tough shit when he’s a senior-year-dropout-turned-alleyway-pharmacist waiting to happen, and I’m me. Pick any of the people here, and they would piece together what he was, too: nothing more than a variable to use in a little…” She placed a hand on her chin, tapping her finger for a moment and looking up as though trying to find the right word before casually shrugging. “Experiment,” she concluding breezily.
Stepping closer to Benji and looking up toward him expectantly, as though waiting for an embrace by the doorstep after a date they had never gone on, that neither of them had made any real hint that they were interested in going on — though her expectations were quite obviously not the same as they would be in that moment. “Alright then, Benji,” she said, sighing and frowning in a way that made it seem as though she was forcing a sense of defeat, “I’ll say it: I like to stir shit, just to see what’ll smell. I don’t think that’s news.” A smirk played at her lips again, and she looked away. The words, it seemed, she was trying to make appear easily chosen, like the highly calculated words were little more than puzzle pieces she’d had expectantly waiting by the wayside. “And I was feeling that way tonight. I wanted to just…try something.” She shrugged, poising a hand on her hip, and then she looked back up at Benji, a pout on her face, before looking down at her feet. “So, yes…” She sighed again. “I’ll admit it. Mason was a pawn. You really caught me there.”
When she lifted her eyes again, her demeanor shifted: the feigned defeatedness gave way to her cocky, almost smug victoriousness that was displayed only in its slightest form in the smirk she wore and the twinkling of her green eyes. “And I’ve got a question to ask you, as another observer of this…hm, what did I call it?” She looked up, pretending to think once more, and when her eyes moved back to Benji, her smirk tugged wider. “Experiment, so to speak.”
She paused a moment, looking Benji up and down slowly. Her heart was pounding in her chest. They were so close, almost chest to chest, and there was a frustrated part of her mind that wanted to resign and just lay it out, just to get it over with. Still, her pride kept her from cutting any losses. She was so close, and she could feel it.
So, almost vindictively, she lowered her voice and began, “Did you know that I took Mason home the night we hooked up?”
Her eyes remained steady on his, her words chosen carefully. “My parents weren’t home. I figured why the hell not.” She paused, letting her words sink in, her focus moving from each individual eye to the other as she analyzed the impact of her calculated words. “He woke up in my bed the next morning, and I had to sneak him out of my second story window myself. He’s got no fucking sense of humor, but my God was that funny. I don’t think I’ll ever forget it…”
The things she was saying were bullshit. Mason hadn’t come to her house, or been anywhere around her place. She’d made a vow to herself never to let any hookups see the inside of her room; it was too personal, and there were too many things in there that could be used against her.
She’d refused Benji to come over to her place the one night that it was an option. She’d made some flirtatious comment intended to make the boy a little bit pissed and a little bit more intrigued with her, as most of her comments went. And it had never come up again, but she was sure that he remembered it — or at least, recalled it vaguely.
And yet, Mason “had seen” that part of her. He’s seen more of me than you ever will, she was saying. Does that make you jealous?
“But that was forever ago,” she said, dismissing it as she was sure he was doing in his head, breathing out a soft sigh, and glancing away for a moment. “No…” She looked back to Benji. “…see, but tonight? It was like fate orchestrated this herself.” Her heart was pounding; could Benji feel it? They were so close, so close. “Mason hit me up, was in my dms as if he owned them. And I? Well…I’m a single woman.”
There’s the kicker.
“And so…tonight, he was in my luxury car.” It was true. “The whole ride here, he sat in the passenger seat.” It was true; does that make you jealous? He’s been in my car, and you probably have never even seen the inside of a Mustang. “On our way here, we listened to the music that I played over my speakers, and we talked the whole time. Conversation wasn’t deep, but it was amusing.” He listened to my music, talked to me about something that wasn’t sex when we don’t even do as much; but don’t you want that to yourself?
“And when we got here?” She smiled, lowering her voice even further. “I got out and went right to him. My arm was in his. The two of us walked in together. He walked me in.”
My hands were on him, his on me — there are probably already rumors about he and I. He was seen with me, seen with me publicly, no shame. And what do you and I do?
Her smile widened. “I guess I don’t have to tell you that, though.” She chuckled lowly. “You saw it yourself, observed it just like me.” She didn’t move, didn’t want to be the one to give in and break the tension that had risen to new heights between them, so she purposefully kept her hands to herself, letting her eyes do all the prodding, all the taunting, all the baiting. “So tell me, Benji, because I am so curious: how did my experiment go?”
She cocked her head slightly, glancing away as though realizing that her choice of words weren’t correct. “Or, I guess what I mean is…”
She looked at him again, her eyes trained as though focused on a target; it was clear she was going in for the kill. “What will you do about it, hm?”
There was half a grin plastered on Justin's face that had started when Sydney had waltzed over. At first, he'd thought that his buddy had given up on this whole idea of wearing a cheerleading outfit to the party, and Justin wouldn't have blamed him. It'd make sense, really, because surely nothing good would've come out from being well... dressed like that. But then, Syd flashed them.
Holy shit, he'd really done it.
Syd: the myth, the man, the legend.
He'd worn a freaking cheer uniform to a high school party.
It wasn't hard to read the uncomfortable feeling between Syd and Amy, but Justin was so distracted by the stupid uniform (and perhaps a bit from the alcohol) that he didn't really pick up on it. Plus, after a few minutes of awkward small talk, Amy excused herself, which left Justin with his other bestie.
God, he hadn't even picked up on the total bestie squabble. They'd definitely been fighting over him just a smidgen. Just a wee little bit.
"You gonna go full out?" He asked as he took a sip from his cup, and nodded in the direction of the shorts covering Sydney's probably gorgeous skirt. "Kinda cheating having it half covered, yeah?"
You know how cool people all have catchphrases? Like, uh, ya know…Michael Jackson and his “heehee”, or, uh…well, that was the only one who Syd could think of right now — but you know what he’s talking about, yeah? Syd was thinking he should have one, too. He’d, ya know, tried a few things over the years, but they’d never quite…panned out. Like when he tried “shaboom” as his catchphrase, people would start singing “Life Could Be A Dream”, which, like, I mean, he liked that song, but that wasn’t the point of that. Or, more recently, “straight up”, but Oph and Benji had riffed on it as a gay joke, which was funny, but ya know, they kind of made it their own thing, which meant that it couldn’t be just his, ya know?
But he had a new idea: ”Lemme just nope outta this one.” Pretty catchy, right? And really useful. Especially because, uh…Syd had a knack for digging holes for himself, conversationally speaking, and then having to, ya know, climb his way back out, which was really just a pain in the butt, and honestly, every time that happened, he just kinda found himself thinking, Please God, end my suffering. Really marketable catchphrase, in his opinion. He should totally put it on a t-shirt.
Where was he? Oh, right.
Standing in front of his best friend and crush and a complete stranger, having just flashed them his kinda-stolen-but-we-don’t-talk-about-that cheer uniform top, which he’d worn to a party to get clout with said best friend and crush.
Yeah. Things were just going great. Now, say it with him, kids:
Lemme just nope outta this one.
Unfortunately, though, he was too courteous to actually do as his catchphrase would suggest, and so he just kinda stood there.
"H-hi! Nice to meet you...Sydney? Right?” said the girl. “I’m uh I'm Amy.”
“Amy?” he asked, because at least repeating her name would fill another second of time up. “Dope, dope.”
She looked down at her cup, and then back up at Syd, who found himself just kinda driiifting a little toward Brody. “Yah I think I've seen you around the school before. Total fashionista. You should give me some tips sometimes." She smiled. "And same here. He's one of my best friends too so I guess it's about time we met right?"
That set off another little jealous ticker in Syd’s head. Still, he cleared his throat and tried to dismiss it from his head. “Oh, uh, really?” he asked, forcing a soft little chuckle. “That’s craaaaazy, man. Guess it is about time.”
Somehow, the conversation kept going. Like, kept going. And yeah, the girl seemed really nice, but honestly, he was just begging for the conversation to end.
And finally, it did. After checking her phone, Amy finally said, "Hey I'll catch you guys in a bit ok? I've gotta go say hi to a friend." Then, with a smile, she turned to Brody and gave him a hug. "Thanks again for everything. Text me when you're ready to dip out."
What makes you think he’s riding with you? Syd asked, turning his head away to give a self-indulgent scowl while his friend and his friend’s friend hugged one another.
When he turned his head back to Amy, he slipped back into “friendly best friend Syd” mode, holding up a hand and giving a polite wave.
She waved goodbye to him, too. "Hope we can hang out sometime,” she said.
He gave her a polite smile. “Yeah, hope so,” he agreed disingenuously, dropping his hand.
Look, Syd wasn’t some kinda territorial dog, ya know? He wasn’t super possessive and creepy. Like, his friend was allowed to have other friends — more than allowed to, ya know? But there was something that got him a little bit — not much, but a little, just a little — about Brody being so…close with someone else.
Especially, ya know…a girl, since the guy was kinda into that sorta thing.
Still, Brody liked her, so Syd had to act like he felt anything but a mild jealousy toward her. Turning to Brody but still following Amy with his eyes, he said, “She seemed, uh…” Nice would sound unconvincing, so he turned to Brody and gave him a thumb up. “Pretty cool.” With a grin, he added, “She at least understands fashion.”
There, that’s all that needs to be said about it. Now let’s just act like that never happened.
"You gonna go full out?" Brody asked, sipping from his cup, and he nodded down at Syd’s loose cargo shorts, which he’d made a poor attempt at keeping on himself via a pair of old earphone tied as a belt. "Kinda cheating having it half covered, yeah?"
Syd shook his head, chuckling. “Hey, the only thing we betted on was me wearing it to the party,” he said with a confident grin, tugging his waistband away from the skirt beneath to flash it at Brody. (Internally, he was cursing himself for going through with this in the first place.) With a shrug, he casually let go of the waistband and retightened the earphones around his waist. “If you wanna see more, ya gotta pay the price, man,” he said breezily, “ ‘cuz I don’t think just a week of meals’ll cut it for this kinda fashion show.” Proud at his word-smithing and extortion skills, Syd paused, proudly crossing his arms and giving a sure nod.
It was in his pause that he realized how what he’d just said sounded, and he opened his eyes and blinked a couple of times with a start, glancing around. Holding up a forefinger finger defensively, he said, “Aaaaaaaaaand, yeah, okay, before you say anything, I definitely realize that it kinda seems like I’m a little bit of, like, a cheap stripper right now, with the whole…” He popped out his shoulder and swayed a little bit in his best stripper impersonation, giving a come hither curl of his finger. “…if ya wanna see more, big boy, then you gotta pay…” He slumped his shoulder again, crossing his arms determinedly. “…routine… but my point stands.” He placed a hand on his hip and held out a palm, though his request wasn’t necessarily for monetary pay. “You wanna see the goods, ya gotta give me somethin’ good in return.”
He gave a sure nod of approval for his own speech, and then grinned at Brody. “So whatcha got? C’mon, sway me," said the mild-mannered boy who was perpetually more concerned with saving his own ass than doing anything else, knowing full well that nothing could really sway him at all.
Ed's quivering body lunged forward, making a desperate grab for the freedom of the night's air. Somehow, all the could think about in that split second was the weed he had so regretfully jettisoned at the base of the drink table. It was better than CK snatching it and burning his arm with it or something, so he let the thought go as he made a break for the fence.
Before he could even make it halfway, the weight of his consequences struck his back and sent him to the ground with a sharp, violent snap. For no more than a fraction of a fraction of a second, the world seemed to stand still, all noise muffled by the echoed thumping in Ed's ears. Something was on top of him, and as the short boy came to that realization, an intense ache began to set in.
He let out a desperate gasp for air, squeezing his eyes shut as his mind raced to detect the source of his pain. It grew by the second, centralizing around his left leg, which was covered by dirt-coated slacks. First, he was winded, unable to produce a sound thanks to the feeling of his stomach being constricted into a knot. Words still escaped him as he finally grunted and groaned, hyperventilating instead of releasing the sharp cries welling in his throat. He reached to clutch his lower leg, but his path was obstructed by the raging footballer raising his fist in the air.
And then, the pain continued to develop as the shock slowly subsided, slipping away into a warm, burning intensity. "F-fuck!" he yowled, shrieking unintelligibly for the punishment placed on his leg. CK's furious shouts fell on deaf ears as Ed laid in a pool of his own agony, releasing dry, whiny sobs. "What did you do?" he moaned frantically, his head falling to the ground defeatedly.
"What did you do, you fucking dumbass!?" he hollered again, his better judgment eclipsed by the extreme torment of having a giant, muscular man seated atop his broken body, "Get off me! Get off! Now! Please! Get off!" He repeated himself over and over, begging for relief from an ache he couldn't even begin to compare to any other. No soccer sprain, nor any rolled ankle had ever felt this bad to Ed.
"You killed me!" he wailed, beating his fist on the ground. No threat from CK mattered anymore, because all he could focus on was his leg and how it literally felt like it was about to explode in a haze of blood, flesh, and bone. "You're a piece of shit! I hate you! Look at what you did! Look!" He kept slamming his fist into the dirt, weeping tearlessly as he waited for this nightmare to dissipate into mist.
"SOMEBODY CALL THE COPS, HE'S KILLING ME!"
What would he do now? Would his legs fall off? Now CK was the least of his worries toward getting with Mer, and then he'd die of loneliness all because this stupid, self-centered prick decided to start wailing on him because of his anger issues. It wasn't fair. Ed deserved better. The world owed him, dammit, and now he was being kicked to the ground and sat upon like a mongrel.
Under his breath, he whimpered, "Where's Evie..." And then he said it again, weakly, straight to his assailant. "Where is my sister?" She would murder him and Ed would finally be vindicated. And then Ed would get a ride home. Then sleep. Then wake up to a new day where none of this happened.
"Royals! Royals! Ro-" Angel's shouts were cut short when Mercedes rushed into the group's formation late, stepping on the toe of Angel's sneaker in the process. "OUCH!" the brunette cried out, dropping one of her pompoms as Mer mouthed an apology. Angel gave her fellow cheerleader a glare as she reached down to retrieve the prop, making a mental note that Mercedes was paying to get her white shoes cleaned before jumping back into the routine (flawlessly, duh).
After a few more mediocre cheers, they were instructed to take their break time and Angel wasted no time heading to the bench to grab her makeup bag. What? Cheerleading is hard work so sometimes makeup needs to be fixed. Do you expect her to look like shit when she has an audience? No way. ~ And yes, she tells herself every game that the fans are there just for her. Why wouldn't she? She is the main character here...obviously.
As Angel reapplied the perfect shade of red to her lips, some of the other girls had started a game of smash or pass and roped her in "Seriously? Pass. He's not even that hot and I honestly don't get why all the girls are into that whole brooding, bad boy thing anyway," Angel shook her head in reference to the name they had given her.
Of course, Mason Rivera was "that hot" but he was also the older brother of one of her friends and she wasn't lying about the broody thing either. It was so played out and not her type at all. Plus, he had a kid, and like...kids loved Angel but she wasn't trying to be anyone's stepmom or something at sixteen.
Angel slipped the cap back on her lipstick and dropped it into the small bag, zipping it up and looking out towards the field. Who was she going to ask about in this little game? Ryder? Amir? Artie? Ooooh, what about-- She didn't have time to decide before she was suddenly being picked up from behind provoking a squeal.
"What an incredible move by Angelina Cruz!" ~ As soon as Angelina's feet hit the ground she spun around to face Atlas, shoving his shoulder with a decent amount of force. "You could've dropped me, you idiot!" she reprimanded though the smile on her face countered the scolding as she took a step back. Sure, Angel might've acted a certain way but she loved the attention... All kinds of attention. Sue her.
"I'd ask if you're enjoying the game but it's kind of a shit show," she rolled her eyes, looking over to the football field. What? She wasn't impressed. This was HOMECOMING. They should've been putting on a show but instead, the cheerleaders were the main attraction...if you asked Angel. Not that anyone was.
"Oh my gooood, I'm so ready to get out of here and go to this party! It's going to be ten times better without Mr. Nelson hovering over people the whole time. Whoever drew those dicks all over the school deserves an award for getting this thing a change of location, in my opinion," she laughed.
"And we are gonna take sooo many videos for my TikTok tonight too," she warned him, pulling out her phone and opening the app to their last video together. One of them doing that dumb best friends trend where they pose to different parts of that TWINNEM song or whatever. "This got tons of views and I'm almost to fifty thousand followers," she added, totally not gloating...what? It wasn't even a big deal. She just thought it was kinda cool. Shut up.
"We are still going together, right? I turned down like two dates for this whole going-to-homecoming-with-friends thing" Angel asked, her brown eyes flickering back in his direction as she said it.
The idiot sitting next to Liv must've been having a lucky day because anything he'd been ready to spew was cut short by Liv and Evie's conversation. "In love? Are you delusional? We dated for like six months, Liv, that's hardly long enough to fall in love in the first place and even if it was..." Evelyn's words trailed off for a brief moment as she looked back in Nate's direction. "I assure you that I don't love Nathan," she added, abruptly turning back to face Liv.
Of course, the brunette was lying. She knew it, Liv knew it, but what was she supposed to say? 'Oh, Liv, you're soooo right. I'm in love with Nathan and your profound words have made me realize I should go get him back.'? Yeah, right! Okay, sure, so there wasn't some big cheating scandal and she hadn't broken up with him ultimately over the drugs, well, it was kinda the drug thing...
He said he was clean and Liv seemed to believe it but there wasn't much credibility in that vouching. Plus, the last time he'd said that and Evie believed him, he'd been lying to her face the whole time. She just couldn't trust him and she definitely wouldn't watch him ruin his life any further with fucking coke and shit. Even if she had been willing to, he fucking up and moved back to Kansas without a second thought.
Evie's shift in conversation seemed to work though and she didn't have to rehash that in her mind...so she thought. “But… what are you wearing? You gotta look like a knockout– I mean, you always do but Nate’s gonna be there, and–” Liv suddenly dove into her phone, no doubt working on her master plan to try and get Evie back with Nate.
It was ridiculous. She'd definitely gotten the "not-gonna-happen" memo because Evie made it a point to hand deliver it but Liv was Liv. She did her own thing, much to Evelyn's dismay. "Nate isn't invited," she said nonchalantly before moving on as if it wasn't a huge deal.
"You're a terrible liar... How could you forget to buy a dress? Jesus, Liv. What? Were you gonna show up in something from Forever21," she rolled her eyes in obvious disgust. "You have to be more prepared. What if I didn't have anything for you to wear?" she added with a frustrated groan, Liv knew Evie enough to know better though.
As expected, she is a fashion goddess after all, Evelyn was able to find Liv a brilliant dress from her collection. It was a gorgeous shade of blue, one that perfectly complimented her skin tone and made her almost glow. The sleeveless cut was flattering, plus, it was a shorter style so it felt spirited and fun which also...felt very Liv.
Once they were all dolled up and ready to go, and after she made her idiot brother swap his hideous sweater for a nice dress shirt, the three of them hade piled into Evelyn's car and headed for the Gardner residence. Unfortunately, the ride was anything but peaceful between Liv's rambling and Ed's constant bickering, and not even the music could drown them out.
Finally, as they pulled into the driveway of the large house, Evie slammed on her breaks causing her two passengers to slide forward a bit. She threw out a slew of insults and threats in her brother's direction as he exited the vehicle, rubbing her left temple once he was finally gone. "I need tequila..." Evie groaned.