This was probably a refrain you'd heard many times before, which showed just how true and shitty it was, but Dalton fucking hated his life. He hated this school, hated his parents, this fucking shit show of a team and don't even let him get started on his wannabe dad and wannabe dad's daughter, aka his 'girlfriend'. And because there was never enough shit in his life, the universe always had to throw more his way. Literally because now the sprinklers were on and he had some stupid fucking gunk on his clothes that came flying out of nowhere. The big game was fucking ruined, not that it wasn't already going to shit because not one of those damn idiots could keep their head focused on the match and they were down big at half time despite his best efforts. Frankly you couldn't blame him, not even superman could have saved them from that first half disaster. It was like the other team had paid them to lose and maybe they had, in which case he'd skin them all alive. The sport might well be nothing more than a game for them but for him, his life was on the line, and just moments ago, between the beginning of half time and before the bloody sprinklers went off, it was on the line again. Why?
Because of his girlfriend.
Flirting with her little summer fling toy, ex, whatever he was, didn't matter other than the fact that he was supposed to be firmly in the past, not talking to her in broad daylight.
No he was not being paranoid and there was no question he was way better than the lesser Vaughn twin -- the fact that he was the lesser of the twins should already tell you plenty -- there were no confidence issues here. The problem was the public, specifically those damn camera wielding stalkers, had a way of spinning and twisting everything and anything. He should know, he was in this stupid relationship because of them and one Elise West and trapped by all these stupid fucking conditions and rules she had set less she blow his career to smithereens.
Ryder Vaughn could thank his lucky stars that the sprinklers went off and cut short whatever it was that was going down between him and Ashton West, he'd hate to have to shame him in public. For now his only concern was clearing out and getting into a clean set of dry and gunk free clothes. He didn't need reminders of his thus far shitty day sticking to him.
Dalton had planned to spend the rest of the day quietly relaxing at home in the apartment he was renting, aka the apartment that was free of any unwanted intruders like his dad or stepmom and her rat of a son who had somehow landed himself a girlfriend who was equally as unpleasant. As they say, birds of a feather flock together. The thought of ever having to deal with them both? Disgusting. He seriously hoped to hell he did not have to deal with either at the party that ruined his plans for the evening. The sheer amount of messages people had blown up his phone with about the party was appalling
He actually enjoyed parties most of the time and he would have been looking forward to it, if it wasn't for what happened earlier at the game. No doubt there were countless people who couldn't wait to insult him over how shitty the match was. The pains of being captain, being held responsible for your teammates' incompetence.
The party was pretty much in full swing by the time Dalton arrived at which point he had been shuffling through several ideas, find a place to sit and relax until the hyenas came calling, grab a drink (which he did), go find the culprit behind the sprinklers and gunk and show him what's what or you know, find his girlfriend whom he had promptly forgotten about until moments ago. All those ideas took backseat though when he spotted Ryder across the room.
The incident at the game was long over but then again so was whatever it was that had happened between him and Ash over the summer and clearly since he didn't seem to get the message to leave her alone, maybe he needed to be told to his face, reminded that she was no longer on the market and belonged to someone else.
Taking a sip of the drink he had taken, he strolled over to the other teen and fixed him with a hard look. "Hey Vaughn," he started, voice cold and condescending, "kinda pathetic that you can't leave a taken girl alone don't you think?" Dalton paused as he took another sip of the drink. "I know you had a thing for her or whatever in the summer but you should leave her alone now, after all, she didn't choose you and it's just a sad look when you keeping harassing a girl who has a man."
A horrified Ed gazed attentively as CK rolled up his pant leg, staring with morbid curiosity at the bentness of his limb. Sweat beaded at his forehead, a flash of hot running down his body at the realization that something was seriously broken. Then again, it was a little vindicating to know that he wasn’t just being dramatic. A piece of him felt a twinge of a joy that the much bigger guy would surely have to make up for the mess he’d caused.
But he could hardly process any emotion besides consternation when it felt like a train had just ran over the lower half of his body. CK assessed the damage with a serial killer's level of composure, deflecting the slew of whiny shouts Ed hurled in his direction. They soon dissipated into quiet, distressed moans much akin to a boy who fell off his bike, not that Ed had any experience hitting a curb and slingshotting himself into Evie's car, subsequently denting it a little...
All that fell to a hush as CK's stern, yet compelling voice commanded that he shut his mouth. In a way, he was like the haughty but cool older brother Ed never had. By the order of some primal little brother feature, he could do nothing but physically and figuratively look up to CK, mute and ready to comply. In the end, as much as Ed thought he was owed some help for literally being broken by him, CK was obligated to stay by no law other than personal morals.
Ed did manage to make some more noise, but only through stifled hisses as a pain-regulating technique. CK was silent for a bit, surveying their surroundings with a grave look on his face. Time ground to a near-halt as the moment dragged on for another eternity, or at least enough for the damp grass to start soaking into Ed's back. Oh, Christ—this shirt was for sure busted, unless Evie was fine with permanent mud and grass stains on her makeshift model of a brother's back.
When he was told to hold still, he did just that, albeit not without the complaint that they looked like idiots at a wedding. "Hurry, go faster!" he hissed, craning his neck out to check for onlookers. He wasn't nearly as worried about his injury being exposed as he was being witnessed in the arms of this unbearable asshole.
And the journey was not without its bumps. "Ow, fuck!" Ed held onto CK for dear life, running a fist into the older boy's side when he wasn't careful enough. This was so weird. Some guy who just tried to kill him was carrying him to his car, and that's when he got the notion to question whether or not he was being taken care of or taken to a ditch to be buried.
When placed in the car, Ed felt a little more liberty to be loud and pissed at CK, who thought it acceptable to start bitching at him and belittling his height, like that was any more creative than the shitty, tacked-on tough guy act he put on every day. "Fuck you," he spat, crossing his arms like the little kid he was being made out to be. He had a menacing scowl on his face, but it was better than the hysterics most normal people would be exhibiting in this situation.
Somehow, feeling like the world owed him this level of attention was enough to ignore the weirdness of it all. "Evie's going to kill you when she finds out you savagely attacked her only existing brother," he stated matter-of-factly, checking for dirt under his nails, not that he ever had the drive to actually clean them unless told to. The car door slammed with a piercing thud, rattling the whole car. All the movement did wonders to remind Ed of the excruciating pain nestled in his lower left leg.
When the two of them got on the road, the car marinated in a tense round of silence before Ed had the dumb idea to break it. "Why are you so obsessed with Mer's life?" he queried, masking his pointed remark with a genuine curiosity, "She probably doesn't like being surveilled all the time. Or having her friends tackled when she turns her back." He shrugged, resting his chin on his hand while watching the streetlights go by. In this position, he was practically speaking through his teeth. "I don't know, just a thought."
He let out a sigh, reminiscing all the post-injury rides from the little league soccer games of his past. "You really fucked up this time, huh? What's gonna happen now?" He rolled the window down, letting the crisp night air run freely through his hair. If he closed his eyes, it was almost like any other mundane nighttime grocery trip. "You're cool for not leaving me to rot for some reason, but I still have to explain this to my parents... and my sister... and yours." Ed smirked. He was a regular negotiator. "You gonna do something about that, too?"
Casper Deering "Friends! : D"
Vi Williams | demonology
Every second that passed was another that Casper had to fight the urge to giggle and even if nothing else gave them away, surely that would. They dug their teeth into their lip, playing at worry as they looked at Slut. If it had been difficult before, they almost dissolved into hysterics when he called them as dumb as everyone else at the school because, well... Yeah, they were dumb, but what did that say about him?
He pushed past them hard enough it really did rock them and though they didn't end up on their ass they probably could have... But that was all he did. Even though he was pissed at them. They allowed themself a quiet giggle, but well, one thing leads to another and then they ended up really laughing. They practically skipped to the concession stand, which is where they were when all hell broke loose.
Glitter. Glitter everywhere.
But they got their cotton candy slurpee and really, what else mattered in the end? They were washing their hair tomorrow anyways. Don't worry, they rinsed all the glitter and glue out... as much as they could, given the state of their hair and the circumstances surrounding it. They'd get the rest tomorrow--They really didn't want to go through all their product faster unless absolutely necessary.
Of course, after hair came clothes and clothes could be a difficult thing but thankfully they had a friend willing to help. They ended up going with their first choice, a heart dress and strawberry cardigan, and
with a bit of luck and some harmless flirting, off they went.
And… Okay. So maybe Casper always thought they’d enjoy a party more than they really did. Like… it was a bunch of drunk and high people and Casper didn’t really like being drunk and high. And there was always tons of drama Casper didn’t know enough to care about and it sucked more when Casper did care… but there were also a lot of people around their age looking to hook up and this party in specific apparently had catering, so it was definitely worth it.
They’d also brought a travel sketchbook they wouldn’t be too bothered to lose and some of their cheaper pens in a tote bag, so worst case scenario… Stealthy drawing. It wasn’t weird. They didn’t think it was weird.
They were doing their initial pick through their food options when they spotted Violet. Immediately, they’re smiling hard enough their cheeks burn, waving back just as enthusiastically as she runs to them. “Hi!” they call back to her, switching their plate to their other hand in case she wanted to hug them.
But instead, she complimented their outfit and maybe it wasn’t the most mature thing they could’ve started to do, but they started to bounce. Their teeth dug into their lip as they giggled, about to tell her she looked good too when she mentioned the game.
Their eyes blew wide, then rolled as they groaned, though they couldn’t keep out the giggle. “There was just glitter everywhere, wasn’t there?” And then they started giggling more. “I just wish they hadn’t gotten it in my hair…” They quieted a moment in thought, then said, “I’m soaking my clothes at home… Hopefully they’re not ruined.” Could that happen? They weren’t sure, but they weren’t taking chances—They didn’t have enough clothes for that.
They snapped back, suddenly remembering where they’d been before that detour. Their free hand reached out, brushing her arm. “You look good too, by the way.” And like that they were smiling big again, rocking ever so slightly. “We’re matching.”
Dez didn’t really… do sports. So she didn’t go to the game, homecoming or not. She figured if anything important happened, he’d find out Monday.
And Dez, asocial as she was, barely did parties either. But this party promised food and a chance to wear her suit, the nicest clothing she owned… And Ant was starting to worry about her social life, which was just about the worst thing that could happen. Next thing she knew, ey might start trying to talk her into clubs again.
So she showed up. She got some fancy food that her parents would’ve rolled their eyes at and gave it a nibble… Okay, a couple nibbles. She sampled the wares booze-wise.
And when it started getting too busy inside, she decided to… explore a bit. At least enough to climb out a window. Sure, she’d stuck to the walls and hadn’t bothered to interact with anybody save the couple of fellow nerds who wanted to say hi, but she’d gone to a party. Ant didn’t need to know about the not interacting with others bit.
Or at least, that was the plan. Except someone else had the exact same plan at the exact same time and as she climbed out onto the roof, plate of hors d’oeuvres carefully balancing a glass of ginger ale, so too did someone else.
For a second, she simply blinked at them, face coming to one of mild agitation, and then she realized what she was doing and shrugged, pulling herself the rest of the way onto the roof. This was, after all, prime real estate, and she wasn’t about to go find some other part of the roof she wanted to sit on just because someone else got here… not even first. Tied for that honor.
She took a sip of her ginger ale, fighting the urge to glance over at the stranger she didn’t even recognize from the halls, and finally her scant manners dug into her that this was a little… awkward. A little gruffer than she’d have liked, she asked, “You not a big fan of all these people either?”
Stephen Gould "Oh thank God for Buck"
Buck | jazzyball
Glitter? So much glitter? So much glitter wrought upon him by the hands of a friend? He wasn’t joking about hoping someone kicked Drake’s ass about it… That didn’t mean he wasn’t impressed Drake managed to pull it off. Really, how many people had he needed to draw in to make that work? And the sheer balls necessary to do something like that on homecoming.
But also, Stephen had gotten absolutely covered in glitter and he’d been on glitter strike for the past year and a half, so he was allowed some malcontent.
That didn’t mean he wasn’t showing up to Evie’s party in the best-fitting suit he’d been able to find. The euphoria of wearing a suit in public was too much to let himself be bothered by the glitter he was sure was still sparkling in his short hair, still a recent enough change to leave him running his hands through it some nights.
He hadn’t expected to feel so laid-bare here, bouncing around in an outfit he wasn’t sure of, feeling a bit like someone new, still adjusting to the ripples the change had caused in his social network. It was harder to find his groove now, even if he preferred the places he ended up now that he wasn’t pretending to be someone he wasn’t.
And like a blessing, Buck called his name, loud and… very clearly Buck. He straightened with a grin, half-turning as he spread his arms, calling back, “Buck!” as the other made his way over post-haste. His arms wrapped around his shoulders and Stephen let his eyes slide shut, a smile on his face. This--This was the reason Stephen had stayed in cheer. The moments of community like this. Fuck the backstabbing and bitching and turf war bullshit, being in public and suddenly having a friend from an activity they both liked a totally normal amount was worth it.
...Even if he didn’t always know quite what was coming out of Buck’s mouth. But he could follow it closely enough and with the joy of the night once again pulled up top, he nodded. “Man, I’d love that.”
Now that he’d found some sort of anchor for the event, he was fully intent on sticking to his side for as much of the event as he could. Stumbling around for something to discuss, he settled on, “They get you with the glitter too bad?”
JJ sure did give her a ton of shit for someone who could be just as pathetic when she wanted to be. But Laurel sipped at her own fruitier concoction, giving the bare minimum in attention and nothing in terms of sympathy. She’d feel worse about it if JJ wasn’t still a massive bitch—Which, don’t get her wrong, it was one of those times where it was funny. Her lips quirked up, not quite nice as she began to lay into her outfit.
Thankfully, Laurel had learned early on not to rely on JJ for outfit approval, especially when her dress rocked, thank you very much. A shiny, not quite sparkly number somewhere between gold and champagne, smooth and running tight and bunched to the back of her knees. In all honesty, she was kind of glad the dance was now a party, because that meant she could go with spaghetti straps and an open back.
So maybe it did look a little slutty, but it’s not like she didn’t know. And it wasn’t like she wasn’t hot as shit in it.
Who the fuck did the asshole interrupting them think he was?
Her face exited content and maybe a little amused and went straight to absolute annoyance. She let JJ handle it—Or at least, she was going to let JJ handle it, but apparently she had to speak for herself.
She let out a long-suffering sigh as she half-turned, and said with half a glance back to him, “I’d rather drink bleach.”
She turned back to JJ before he could finish calling her a bitch. “Listen, Ash has to be allowed to make her own mistakes if she’s going to grow as an individual, and sometimes that mistakes wearing a red dress even though she knows it’s going to piss you off and, honestly, she doesn’t even look good in it. Maybe it’s just me but she might as well have worn her cheer uniform.” She arched a prim brow. ”I look great, though. Because I know how to dress myself. You look great, too, of course, and definitely better than most of the others.” She brushed her hair back over her shoulder absentmindedly. Still a little damp. Her mouth ticked down. When she found out who pranked the game… Well, she didn’t know what she’d do, but it’d be something. “Of course you do—You’re JJ.”
In a moment of distraction, she picked her eyes over those outside. “Have you seen Ash? I need to call her boyfriend a cockatoo to her face.”
"Thanks" She smiled softly at his reassurance about her outfit. She supposed so long as her friends thought she looked good that's what mattered.
Well that and of course that she liked it. Though her people pleasing tendencies and insecurities tended to make her forget that last bit. It was good to have friends around who reminded her of that, and Alex was always so kind towards her.
She couldn't help but giggle at his response. She would have to remember from now on to sit near the band if she ever went to another football game. Tho the chances of that were pretty slim after all this mess. Sure she wanted to be more outgoing but even she had limits.
She shook her head. "I didn't notice the sprinklers at first cause I was talking to Justin and not really looking at the field. Hell I didn't realize the balloon thing till one pegged me in the back. But I definitely got the hell outta there after that. I wasn't hit too much...can't say the same for Justin sadly." She bit her lip trying to hold in the laughter from remembering the sight of him.
She wondered if anyone was got worse then him? probably the cheerleader since they had to deal with that AND the sprinklers. She wasn't close to any of them but that didn't stop her for feeling bad for them even the meaner ones.
"From the sound of twitter though I think Drake might've had something to do with it." She shrugged unsure. She been peeking into twitter on the drive over to the party but not really getting into too much. Seemed like a lot of drama that had nothing to do with her or any of her friends.
After finishing off her drink, "Wanna grab another drink and maybe a snack before it's get's too crazy crowded? Then maybe find something fun to do around here?"
Cause drinking was nice and all to make her feel more relaxed...but it wasn't fun. She wanted to figure out how to have fun here like others did.
Brody gave a little snort of laughter and shook his head. “You’re real funny, little dude.”
“Little dude,” Syd repeated beneath his breath, frowning slightly. “Not cool, man.” It was always about his stature, wasn’t it? He couldn’t even catch a break from one of his closest friends. Maybe in the future, they would invent some kinda…growy thing that could make him bigger, and then who’d be laughing then? That was right, he would be.
Oh, wait. They already had those. They were called steroids.
On second thought, Syd could pass on being bigger. Sounded like that was a lot more trouble than what it was worth.
“But alright,” Brody continued, and Syd’s face brightened up — before he remembered that he really didn’t want Brody to bite on that offer, because he really didn’t want to be called “Cheer Skirt McGee” for the rest of his high school career. “Name your price. Money or some shit? Whatever it is, I pay, and you gotta ditch the rest of…” A gesture to Syd’s outfit from Brody made Syd’s hands instinctively touch at the zipper of his jacket to make sure it was zipped all the way up. “Everything that’s not cheer uniform.”
Syd’s mind raced as he searched for some idea of how to get out of this situation. Option A: he completely chickened out, showed Brody that he was, in fact, a little bitch who couldn’t take the heat in the kitchen or hold to his bets, and thus took a big honking shit on his friend’s respect for him — and Syd couldn’t handle that, so that was out. Option B: he diverted Brody’s attention, ran away, and broke a leg or something so that his friend had bigger worries than seeing Syd in the uniform — but there was also the fact that, if he broke his leg, he would be out for the soccer season, and soccer was most of his will to live at this point, so that was a no-go, too. So that left Options C and D.
Option C: Brody got drunk that he didn’t remember anything about the uniform.
Option D: He got so drunk that he didn’t give a shit anymore.
That was pretty much all he had right now, so he guessed he would go for those — and whichever happened first would prove to be the better option.
“Money?” Syd repeated, a small grin on his face. He shook his head, chuckling. “Oh, no, no, no.” Though his pockets were abysmally dry. Thanks, Aunt Wanda, for telling Aunt Paula that I’m some miscreant who can’t be trusted with any kind of money before you sent me here, just ‘cuz I was flunking a couple of…okay, most of my classes. Could he be trusted with money? No — but seriously, hearing it from other people really hurt his heart. Plus, that meant he was mega broke, which meant he had to bum off of his friends — which, to be fair, was kind of fun, but it also sucked not having money. “Money would be too easy, you know,” Syd said. “Nah, this is somethin’ that’s a once in a lifetime kinda view — money isn’t gonna be enough.” Throwing caution to the wind for a moment — high risk, high reward, as they said — he quickly unzipped the front of his leather jacket to flash Brody again. “Ya get me?”
He zipped his jacket back up, and then put his hands in the pockets of his jacket. “But, uh…lemme think on what would be good enough,” he said, and then he held up a palm as though he were swearing on a Bible before giving testimony in court. “And, hey, you can hold me to it, I swear on my, uh, deceased hamster Hammy…” He clasped a hand over his chest, mournfully looking toward the ceiling. “God rest his hammy little soul.” He looked back at Brody with a grin. “But I, uh, wanna do some jello shots first, ya know. Or maybe actual shots.” He shook his shoulders a bit. “Wanna get loosened up so I can, ya know, give the best show with this uniform.” He gave a slight sway of his hips before he thought better of making a big show, and then, grinning, he threw an arm around his taller friend’s shoulder — or, at least, he threw his arm around him as best as he could with the height difference. “C’mon, man,” he said, starting to tug him toward the drinks. “Lemme get a drink or two in me — and, uh, you a drink or two more or something. And maybe a cookie — you think they got cookies?”
As they walked to the table, he saw a few people smoking here and there — weed and cigarettes — and Syd felt the dry-mouthed, throat-scratching, mind-tugging itch for a cigarette. He stopped by the table, and he took a couple of steps away from Brody over to a guy smoking a cigarette by the wall. “Hey, mind if I bum one?” he asked.
The boy scowled for a moment, then gave Syd’s outfit a once-over. Trust me, guy, I don’t like it, either, he thought, trying out an awkward smile. With a confused expression, he held out the box for him, and Syd plucked out a cigarette. “Thanks, man,” he said, poising it in his mouth, taking the lighter the guy was offering, and lighting his cigarette.
The taste wasn’t any more pleasant now than it used to be, but he was used to it by now, and the rush the nicotine gave to his head made him quickly overlook the taste. He turned back and walked toward Brody as he exhaled a puff of smoke, then grabbed a cup from the table. Filling the cup with mostly soda and a touch of alcohol, he held out the cigarette for his friend. “Here,” he said. “Don’t think just one puff will give you lung cancer.”
Silence had made itself tonight’s theme. Tuneless, beatless, and rhythmless, it didn’t make for much of a song, made for no pleasant atmosphere, and yet, it was the purveying music of tonight. It was heavy, almost smothering. Though it had no sound, it seemed almost to speak — to speak clusters of soundless words, all at once, so that none of them were heard at all.
Tension. That was another way to put it: the air was painfully tense, just as it had been when Mer was in the passenger seat. But there was a difference now.
Chelsea had no urge to break this silence, and he wasn’t sure, if the other party decided to, that he could maintain the level of self-control that it took to keep his eyes on the road, his foot steady on the gas, and his hands on the wheel.
They rode in the heavy silence for several minutes, and though it wasn’t quite peaceful, CK was growing accustomed to it. Hell, with the angle his head was at right now, the boy beside him was hidden from his periphery, and it was almost as if he didn’t exist, as if Chelsea was just having a nice, peaceful night’s drive, as if he weren’t driving a boy whose leg he broke to the fucking emergency room.
Then, the dumbass decided to break the silence — with a fucking hammer.
“Why are you so obsessed with Mer’s life?”
Chelsea drew in a deep breath, his grip tightening on the wheel. Hundreds of words rushed to be the first ones out of his mouth, but he didn’t allow any of them to leave. Instead, he breathed out the breath in as quiet a manner as he could and tried to will himself to remain calm.
“She probably doesn’t like being surveilled all the time,” Ed continued, stupidly. “Or having her friends tackled when she turns her back.” The boy moved forward in CK’s periphery, resting his chin on his hand and looking out the window, as though pretending he were in some kind of movie.
Chelsea was silent; his jaw began to work itself.
“I don’t know,” Ed said, “just a thought.”
It was quiet again for a moment, and Chelsea’s muscles lackened slightly again, his grip on the wheel growing looser.
Ed sighed; Chelsea’s muscles tensed again. “You really fucked up this time, huh?” he said. “What’s gonna happen now?”
Shut the fuck up, kid. His jaw clenched, and he glanced over at the boy as the kid began to roll his window down, as though he fucking owned the car.
Chelsea bartered with himself in his head for a moment: he was already fucking dead because he broke this little shithead’s leg, and dead was as dead as he could get. Perhaps adding a murder charge to it wouldn’t be all that bad — at the very least, it could provide a bit of catharsis.
No, stay fucking calm.
“You’re cool for not leaving me to rot for some reason,” Ed said, “but I still have to explain this to my parents…and my sister…and yours.” Chelsea’s expression remained stoic as he fought the urge to punch the boy beside him. “You gonna do something about that, too?”
Chelsea remained silent for another few moments. Again, the car filled with only the sound of the motor purring, the wind whizzing by, and the noise of the wheels against the road. It seemed, for a long second, that CK was going to stay quiet, to leave it at that.
But finally, he said, “I don’t owe you any fucking conversation.” His grip tightened on the wheel, his eyes glaring at the road. “You fucking realize that, right?” His voice was low, his stoic, almost monotone voice unreadable beyond “kind of pissed”. “You always act like you’re owed some shit — you aren’t.”
He breathed out a soft sigh, working his jaw and loosening his grip on the wheel. What was the fucking point at being angry with the fucking idiot in his passenger seat? The bitch was at his mercy, anyway. “I’m not fucking obsessed with my sister,” he said, his voice less ”kind of pissed” than before. “I protect her from dumbasses like you, that’s all. I’m her fucking older brother, fucking idiot. It’s what older brothers do.”
He glanced over at the boy. “Second,” he said, “are you trying to fucking blackmail me?” He let out a soft scoff. “You realize, I could dump your dumb fucking ass in a ditch somewhere, right?”
He turned his face back toward the road. Oncoming headlights reflected in his eyes as they drove toward him, then reflected red in the rearview mirror as they drove past. The roads were mostly empty at this time of night, with only a few cars milling around here and there. Those that were driving were, for the most part, leaving town, having finished their indulgent Friday nights.
For a moment, he was caught in his own little world as a trickling sense of unknowingness crept into his mind.
“What’s gonna happen now?” he said, in a quieter voice. “Don’t ask me like I fucking know.” A beat; the sounds of the road filled the air in the absence of his words. “It’s not like I can fucking do anything about it now. What’s done is done.”
He breathed out a soft sigh, then glanced over at his passenger. “But that’s not what you’re asking. What the fuck do you want, huh?” His voice sounded tired, almost resigned. “I know it’s not money. Do you want some kind of…fucking clout from this? Just what the hell is it?”
As a woman with blonde hair and green eyes is wondering around Ivy Rose Academy's studne house with her headphones on her head, everyone around her was wondering who she is.. Well, that answer is the person who is leaning on a pillar outside of the student house is Avery Ljungberg. She came to Ivy Rose with a determined look and confident persona as she wanted to become either a IndyCar driver or being part of a GT3 team as she does have a lot of open-wheel experience but she has to study in Ivy Rose until her senior year. Avery is now a senior and some female students adore her because of her good looks and charming personality, she also tends to be a bit heated when things get majorly serious that she is involved with. But with the things she'll do, how would someone want to talk to Avery? She was listening to Am I Wrong by Nico y Vinz on her headphones, and she is just wearing men's clothing because she also is a tomboy and likes to be a kind yet calm student currently. But she was currently leaning on one of the pillars, mumbling some lyrics whilst waiting for something or someone to come and is talking to her.
But there was a small gush of wind being blown right on her face, thinking about what else could have happen right now.
'What things could've happen right now,' Avery thought to herself. 'It is like bullcrap would just been the usual thing that I got involved in.'
It is like the sounds of someone does not have any euphoria on their own mind and the only thing they do have in their own body and soul, is deep sadness. But it wasn't the case for Avery though, she has that same euphoria with a hind of deep sadness in her own mind because she just wanted to find true love.... but she doesn't want to end that true love in a devestating way.
Too many drinks of that vodka cran, Benji had surmised, were the culprit of tonight's dangerous erring toward cold, hard emotional investment. Was this still Benji we're talking about? In all honesty, he probably hadn't even consumed that much alcohol that night. In fact, he knew exactly how much he'd downed: two and one quarter of a cup with a margin of error of... hm, let's say one fluid ounce, so about a sixteenth of the cup. Benji reckoned, with as good of a glimpse as he could get in the ambiently dark room, that his cup contained a solid ten fluid ounces of drink granted he'd poured two ounces of vodka and twelve of cranberry juice before a quarter cup disappeared down his throat.
Then, if the last two cups had a similar liquor-to-juice ratio, Benji would need to drink about half of what was left to feel a buzz. A minor buzz, that is, but the drug peddler had enough experience experimenting with his body that the math held true to his case. If he could just ignore Addie and take a swig in a cool way with well-calculated wittiness, then maybe he would gain the courage to skip this dialogue, plant a kiss on her lips, and migrate the party elsewhere...
And though he was perfectly in tune with his mental faculties, Benji was growing drunk with victorious self-assurance. With the gamble he was taking, it felt right to get greedy with the stakes knowing just how sure of his wit he was. He and Addie played the long game for quite a while, and the endgame was no time to shrink back into the safety of sangfroid. There was always that quietly crinkling baggie in his left pocket, but... no, not now. Right now, Benji was his true, unadulterated self.
As a result, he left himself open, gaining a reckless momentum with every word that beat at the girl's defenses. Even then, it was a calculated risk she was sure to notice when cautioning herself during her heart's steady approach toward his. Their breaths drew in and out as one, raising walls mightier than castle gates only to come crashing down like toppled sand. There had to be the illusion of unobtainability, all while beckoning the other forward. Benji did it enough with his eyes, challenging the blonde further. She did much of the same to him.
"So you admit it," she breathed, eliciting an automatic chuckle from the curly-haired boy who could only have said exactly what he meant. When was Benji ever one to mince words or lie without a cause? "Hm. You care about me?" she continued, not without a moment's hesitation. He cocked his head to the side, putting an answer on hold because he knew she didn't really need one.
But AJ was far from done done, and she remarked with what Benji almost picked up as a hint of disappointment, “So this is it, then…hm? We’re laying it all out?” His brows came together in a perplexed lift then stayed there as he pondered her meaning. Shit, had he ended the game too soon? Was he the one to pussy out after all?
...Or was it another one of Addie's mind games? Tch, like she hadn't done enough, and like she hadn't played a part in Benji's most recent, frankly too candid words. Alcohol wasn't to blame, but that still wasn't a factor he was sure the girl had cleverly ruled out yet. Regardless of the road leading up to this, it was true that she held all the power now; given the propensity for just a smidge more heartlessness, Addie could quite easily smirk, turn on her heel and leave Benji in the dust, who would only stare and frown like an idiot. Like a pawn knocked to the wayside. This whole ordeal involved way too much blind trust.
Sheesh, is this what compromise feels like?
Of course, that wasn't it for the two of them who, no matter what outcome, would end this farce in a glittering blaze of fireworks and neon rain. Benji steeled himself for her next words, slipping his feelings behind a mocking smirk that beamed downward at her. "Then I guess..." were those words, drawing him out to the very edge of his seat, subconsciously leaning him ever so slightly inward. "Now that the jig is up..." It was up. Always had been, as a matter of fact. Was she still not getting that? "I'll say it," she finished, not to say this was anywhere near the end.
Adeline then set his cup to the side with such a nonchalance that the former water polo player had hardly raised a protest when it was ripped away from his very fingertips. And thus it sat undrank, red outside and in, trembling to the beat of the trap music blaring throughout whoever's big ass house this was. He should have drank it while he had the chance, if only to stop looking like he didn't know what to do with himself every time she smiled at him. With their fingers now entwined, he squeezed back, all but diminishing the intensity in his gaze.
“I feel the same about you," Addie spoke, punctuating this "surprise" with a laugh. Morally, Benji felt obligated to comfort her in this moment of openness, but he had to admit that it felt good to watch her flounder a little. “And I guess that means that there’s only one course of action from here, isn’t there?” Was there, or was she just new to this? In that moment, the tall boy had to wonder if she had ever felt love the way he once had. They were both whores, but in their own separate rights.
“We both know what it is," she said matter-of-factly, but it didn't seem to matter or be a fact, “You’ve all but said it yourself.”
He probably had said something like that, but the two of them were in way too deep to trace just which of his twisted words she was citing. With a momentary pause, Benji gave a short response. "I hate to ask, but... keep going?"
She laughed a little, and it was one of her recognizably quiet, cryptic ones. Benji always thought they sounded trained, but maybe she just did it enough to the point that it became second nature. Either way, it was cute, not that he could outright say it. But, conversely, her next response sounded so real that Benji almost completely discarded his former theory. “And you know?" she said, "I think, even though it’s damned to hell, that I would like us, being an us, too. It would sure as hell be better than whatever we have going on right now, at least.”
Benji snorted, having now thrown away any shred of the grace he maintained for their little performance. "Heh, you know, you may be onto something," he remarked through a laugh, "Even though its damned to hell and all." There was no denying just how inescapable their embrace was now; things were already starting to feel like that critical rom com moment. "But we've got a few more hours on the clock, so fuck it."
They held each other for a little while longer, with a notable silence emanating from Benji. He didn't look it, but so many thoughts had run through his brain that he just short circuited and cleared it altogether. And it didn't matter, because Addie was doing a good enough job doing the talking, though some of the things she was saying were still doing great at poking deep into his mind. Guess old habits die hard?
“So this is it, I guess. We’re a…thing, hm?” Benji nodded slowly, running a finger through her locks without a visible care in the world. He supposed they were, but he was trying not to care all that much about it. It really was no big deal anyway, even if she had just made him a very happy teenaged boy.
“Heh,” she chuckled to herself. “Didn’t see it coming.” Guiltily, he still couldn't take his mind off the pills in his pocket, but he could put it off as long as they needed.
"That's kinda the beauty of it," he whispered thoughtfully, thinking of all the ways he was going to kiss AJ like in the movies, "Don't tell me you're already thinking of optics?" The more Benji thought about it, the more it was kind of crazy that their relationship ended up unfolding this way, especially with how invisible she was to him just last week at school. Just who was he protecting with that?
“But just for the record," she added breathily, "and just so you know…” Benji's heart nearly leapt out of his throat. There was more? She still wasn't finished? “You,” she said “still lost.” Oh. He rolled his eyes, releasing a sigh of relief. Whatever. Might as well end this right here, right now, as the two of them drew in ever closer.
"If that's still what you're after, I'll take the loss," he answered in a voice raised just slightly enough to hit her right in the face, "And though the battle is lost..." His eyes moved in a triangle from eye to eye, then down to her lips. He hadn't even gone in yet and his eyes were squinted a little, raring to go. "Considering how far you let me get, I think the war..." He coughed out a self-deprecating heh. This was so dorky. "...is mine."
But, if Benji was going to take any pride in himself tonight, he would go in and shut her up once and for all. "And you've let me kiss you over dumber exchanges, so..." Reaching his free hand for a secure spot on the back of her neck, his lips promptly made his way toward Adeline's to lock in a cranberry-flavored, public party kiss. It was gauche, crude, and untimely, but totally a couple thing. It was probably the most stereotypical high school thing she was going to get in a while, at least.
He had to admit that it was so satisfying, though. Like "Hey, we're a committed pair of hot people who show it off in front of everyone because their misery tastes like Skittles." And now that he and Addie were a "thing", as she put it, Benji could afford to be a little more toxic than he let on. With the sound of music, shouting, and poor singing fading in and out of their minds, some part of Benji really felt in tune with who he was supposed to be, like this level of depravity really was his calling.
With that out of the way, he merely smiled into her eyes for a while, then relaxed himself from their formerly intimate position. "I've had enough conversation for one night," he admitted, scratching at the back of his head, "But I got what I came here for, so if you don't have anymore business around here..." A lopsided grin spread across his face. "Maybe you wanna...?"
It was safe to say that school dances weren't Jade's scene. The whole slow dance and playing dress-up thing was just nauseating. She usually only crashed to spike the punch or cause some kinda mischief, ya know, make things fun.
She'd just planned on just skipping this dance and finding something better to do with her time, like smoke or something...until she'd heard there was a change of venue and saw the words "no adult supervision". Then, of course, she decided why the hell not because what was better than a party in LA with NO adults?!
Unfortunately, there was one small problem and that was that Jade didn't have a car of her own anymore. According to her mother and step-daddy Warbucks, they had grown tired of it getting impounded after the last three times. Since Jade definitely wasn't catching a ride with Alex the fucking band nerd, aka her stepbrother, she had to find a lift.
Obviously one of the first people she thought of was Mason because well, he had a car and they were friends... if you count sometimes hanging out before or after a hook-up to be friends. Acquaintances? Okay, she thought he was decent enough company and they did have some shit in common but Jade wouldn't consider them besites or anything. Not that she would really consider anyone to be her bestie, even the idea sounded stupid...
Look, she was a girl with tons of "friends" but no real...friends. Not because she was fake or anything like that but because she just didn't really trust anyone. From a young age, Jade was given the impression the only person she could count on was herself and that stuck with her. Getting close to other people, leaning on them, and creating these deep bonds, none of it made sense to her. Why set yourself up to be disappointed? It was dumb.
Anyway, she had texted Mason but in an unsurprising turn of events that no one saw coming, he was an asshole and made a bunch of excuses about why he couldn't be her ride, eventually declaring that he was carpooling with one of those airheaded cheerleaders, Addie whatever-the-fuck.
Honestly, the girl seemed like one of those typical self-obsessed rich bitches who like yells at staff for not putting a lemon wedge in her water so the highlight of his night was bound to be listening to her bitch about how her new shoes were the wrong shade of pink or her daddy bought her the wrong Corvette for her birthday. Pfft.
Not that she was jealous or something. Jade didn't get jealous. Okay, so, that wasn't entirely true...but Jade's jealousy was an odd thing. She wasn't one of those girls that got all "omg that's my man" because she didn't actually care about all that stuff, it was more fueled by her daddy issues or whatever. Shut up.
Mason might've said no but Jade still needed a ride, so, she did what any logical person would do...she "borrowed" his car. NO, IT WASN'T STEALING. SHE WAS GOING TO TAKE IT BACK BEFORE HE NOTICED. Plus, despite the fact that she'd just hotwired a car and was driving with both weed and alcohol, Jade managed to make it to the party safely so no harm no foul, right?
An hour and a half in and Jade had already lost count of how many shots she'd taken but when one of the people she'd been playing drinking games with announced that their bottle was empty Jade was the first to offer to grab more. What? She might've been drunk but she wasn't done.
The brunette slid off the arm of the couch, stumbling slightly as she walked toward the beer pong. "Don't be a pussy! I thought you could outdrink Joey here!" Jade joked, draping her arm around one of the guys, who claimed he was about ready to tap out. "I'll find another bottle. My team gets the winner," she added with a wink before disappearing into the crowd. Did she even have a team?
Moments later Jade was stumbling up to the drink table, slamming her hands down on the plastic to scare a few of the freshmen away. As she did this, she bumped into someone who she wasn't even gonna bother acknowledging, unless they made a big fucking deal of it. Well... until she heard them say her name. A mischievous grin came to her face as she turned around to face the source of the all too familiar voice.
Right about now, she should've remembered she'd just stolen (borrowed) his car but she was too wasted to think about that so. Fuck it? "Riveraaaa! Your date really did get bored of you already." Jade teased, rummaging through the liquor bottles on the table. "Don't feel so bad, you probably dodged a bullet," she shrugged, "I heard she screams her own name in bed," she added with a whisper before letting out a short laugh.
"On the bright side, I've been told I'm great fucking company so looks like you got lucky after all, huh?" she slurred the last few words a little bit, still searching for a decently filled bottle of anything at this point. She finally managed to hit the jackpot when she plucked a half-full bottle of some fancy vodka from the bunch. Fucking score!
"I mean, you gotta admit partying with me is a lot more fun than hanging out with barbie," she added, looking up at him with a smirk. "Come onnnn. I'll even let you be my partner in beer pong," she said, as if it were some huge honor. It kinda was though... she's a fucking pro.
Without warning, Jade shoved the bottle into his hands and grabbed a few plastic shot glasses before motioning for him to follow her through the crowd. Now she had a team.
There was nothing he'd rather do than be able to be jostled around at a party surrounded by fellow students that, to be perfectly honest, he didn't like one bit.
In case you were dense and hadn't picked up on it, this was sarcasm.
Jace would rather be nearly anywhere else than where he was currently, his whole body kind of hunched up, his arms pulled inwards a bit to try and keep people from touching him. Of course, it hardly helped, and he kept having people touch him and bump into him. Which, naturally, Jace did not take to well.
"This place is small," he grumbled, mostly to himself, although his complaints were loud enough for companion to hear, although it was probably clear that he wasn't speaking anything of importance. "My party would've been better -- my house is better."
He continued to ramble, his temper continuing to rise as he tried to avoid the cramped people. However, one more stumbling into someone was enough to send Jace over the edge.
"Watch where you're going," he snapped to the girl, glaring before turning his attention back to Harvey.
Location: Student's House Interaction: Jace, Harvey
If it was one thing did a man whose clothes was fully covered in glitter stumbled onto Avery, he just snapped back to her as well. How could someone get so frustrated to her without even knowing her? She wasn't playing any games right now, known for talking back to someone if things might get heated so she decided to approach to the man. It is a sight of heated moments before the party got even more excited and as she grabbed the man's shoulder and turns him, she is in a no mood right now. Her eyes were like menacing, like a panther was watching its prey and devours it with ease, meaning that she is now totally pissed off.
Avery was clearly wanted to find out why the man that he accidentally stumbled onto her, snapped back at her. And it surely does lead either a fight or just a simple case of taking it like a man on fighting Avery Ljungberg. She doesn't want any 'beef' with any students or classmates at Ivy Rose but it'll lead to either expulsion or a indefinite suspension, so she must need to find a way to talk some sense.
"Look, I don't know what the fuck did you just say to me," Avery spoke to the man whilst having a cold yet devious smirk. "But I don't wanna have any trouble here, okay? It's just you taking the piss or you're drunk right now, so at least we should be not fighting about this."
The senior wasn't playing any games right now as she has the definition of Black Air Force 1s within her soul right now. Giving him a simple push and would try to either laugh or just wait for the man in glitter to respond after the push. Yet she brushed off any glitter is within her navy blue jacket that she wore here in the party.
AJ Jumper and Benjamin Bahi, in a loud party that smelled of booze, raging hormones, and weed smoke, surrounded by acne-ridden, drunk peers, were kissing. If she saw herself doing this, it would be nothing but dreadfully vomit-inducing and cringey — and yet, she couldn’t help but feel a rush of…power from it, a sort of satisfaction. They were together now, two of the hottest people at school, and it was like she could feel the envy toward her growing around her in the room — envy that anyone watching would quickly try to cover up with disgust.
Boohoo. Go cry her a river or get off in the bathroom or whatever the hell your existential self-pitying sparked by the sight of her publicly kissing the quiet guy who most people probably didn’t even know existed caused you to do.
When Benji pulled back from her, he smiled down into her eyes, and she smiled up into his. She could say a million snide, snarky things right now — and she wanted to — but something in her held her back. Maybe it was the color of his eyes, or the proximity of the two, or the realization that, God, she was in the first relationship she’d been in since the summer before sophomore year, or maybe it was all of those things, or maybe it was none of those things and was something else entirely. Whatever it was, it kept her mouth shut for once.
Finally, he moved out of the position they’d been in, reaching up and scratching the back of his head as he said, “I’ve had enough conversation for one night. But I got what I came here for, so if you don’t have anymore business around here…” He grinned in his lopsided way. “Maybe you wanna…?”
Immediately catching his drift, Adeline felt a smirk crawl onto her face. With a chuckle, she reached forward and put a hand on his jaw for a moment. “Maybe I do.” She slipped her hand down from his face and to the absurdly small pink leather purse slung across her body — designer, of course — that had worked its way to rest on her right hip. Her manicured hand rested on the top flap, and her smirk sunk into a softer teasing smile, her eyes flicking up toward the ceiling in a manner that seemed almost thoughtful. “Hm…but you know…” Gracefully, without looking, she opened up her purse and reached inside. “It just so happens that my parents are out,” she said, her smile slipping into a smirk again as her eyes found Benji’s once more, “so…”
She slowly pulled out her keys, and she poised the keyring on her lacquered thumb; they swung back and forth slightly, the key to her Mustang glinting in the light. She leaned toward Benji, lowering her voice. Slowly, accentuating each syllable of each word, she said, “What would you say to a luxury ride to down pillows and silk sheets, Bahi?” Reaching over to the small table, Addie picked up the cup of Benji’s that she’d sat down and took a sip with the scrunch of her nose and a broad smile, and a brow of hers poised up, punctuating her question.
• • • • •
Adeline was more of a car person than she would let on.
Her father did car restoration on the side for the longest time before he’d begun just golfing or fishing instead, and he would often let she and her brother come in and help him with whatever he was doing — though her mom was never amazingly happy about it. And though she never even admitted it to them and always played reluctant, she enjoyed helping, learning about cars, seeing all the old vehicles become new again.
She’d actually driven a car that she’d helped restore when she first got started — a vintage Mustang, actually. But her mom had pressed her on why she was driving such an old, “out of fashion” vehicle, so her mom’d bought her a new Mustang, and she’d reluctantly begun to drive it.
Oh, the tragedies of being rich.
The purr of the engine was perhaps the best part, and she had the music playing so low that she could hear it as they drove along the road. Outside, vehicles whizzed by, probably jealously murmuring about how they wanted to drive such a beautiful car as hers.
She glanced over at Benji, and then she chuckled beneath her breath. God, he’d probably never even been this close to a vehicle this nice before, much less rode in one. He must have been having the time of his life. How quaint.
You’re, like…steady with him now, she reminded herself, looking back toward the windshield. How the hell…?
She chuckled again. “Hm…I wonder if anyone saw us…,” she mused in a soft voice, and she glanced over at him again. “How fast do you think the news will spread, hm? By the end of the night?” The questions were mostly rhetorical. She tapped her fingers lightly on the wheel. “I am always the talk of the school…” A thought crossed her mind, and she chuckled once more before she said it aloud. “Ha, so I guess you’ll be the topic of conversation now, probably more than you have in your whole life.” She smiled over at him for a second. “Congratulations on the social boost, Bahi,” she teased, “and you’re welcome.”
She glanced down at the radio, and then sighed softly, tapping the screen in her console before replacing her hand on the wheel. A curiosity sparked within her, and she chuckled. “But you’ve had enough conversation for one night, hm? So pick our music, Benj,” she prompted. “Don’t worry, it’s not a test,” she added, and then, with another chuckle, she said, “Or maybe, it is. Who knows, hm?” The end of her question curled up remarkably, as though it were punctuated with one of the various heart or kissing emojis that had become her texting trademark.
Amid the silence and CK's supposed non-reaction to his provocative words, Ed shook his head and puffed a sigh of disbelief. At this point, he had to laugh. Whatever stick was up the guy's ass, it was clearly there long before the two of them ever crossed paths. And if anyone wasn't in the business of sleuthing deep-seated issues, it was Ed. Like, what-the-fuck-ever. Was it such a crime to at least have a simple fucking conversation in the middle of all this? Could he at least spare that much humanity?
Much to his surprise, the boy in the driver's seat spoke up, albeit in a voice so guttural Ed had to take a beat to decipher what was said. It didn't matter what he said, though, because the sophomore inevitably rolled his eyes and raised his hands defensively into the air. "God, okay, forget I said anything." Why should he take the whole thing seriously when the reality of the situation was, frankly, sad for the both of them?
It was in that moment that Ed realized he was a nervous talker. He never did have the introspective abilities to fully understand what that meant for himself, but he did grasp it enough to know that his attempt at conversation was mostly for his own sake. For fuck's sake, it was weird. The guy just broke his fucking bone and now they were on their way to hopefully the hospital and not a hidden burial site. Were they just going to pretend this was fucking normal?
“I’m not fucking obsessed with my sister,” CK said, a little less harshly this time. Ed kept his eyes trained on the streetlamps passing by. He was kind of tired now.
"Yeah, you are."
“I protect her from dumbasses like you, that’s all. I’m her fucking older brother, fucking idiot. It’s what older brothers do.”
That was a little fair, but it's not like he even knew what Ed's intentions were. There wasn't a chance he could have seen the joint in his hand from that far away... right? Not like he could ask. To that end, he couldn't offer a solid protest, so he instead threw his voice to the wind whooshing past the car as silence began to set in again.
But interestingly, it was CK who broke it this time. "Second,” he said, “are you trying to fucking blackmail me?” He let out a soft scoff. “You realize, I could dump your dumb fucking ass in a ditch somewhere, right?”
Safely looking away, Ed gulped. Could he? The thought (and the cold wind pelting at his sulking body) was enough to spring about a fresh array of goosebumps on his body. They dimpled his legs down to the point where his broken leg started to twist unnaturally. For a second, the grimacing boy had forgotten about the seething pain that brought him here in the first place. CK could do worse. Far worse.
Ed had enough sense to be wary of what Mer's anger-issued older brother could do to him, but he also had enough sense to reckon that the same conscience that decided to carry him away wouldn't let him drop Ed in a ditch to get eaten alive by wolves or gangrene or whatever came first. Keeping his wits about him, the boy turned to face the one questioning him, putting on a quizzical, innocent expression.
“What’s gonna happen now?” CK said, quietly. “Don’t ask me like I fucking know.” Ed made a note that he hadn't snapped at him like last time, which had to have been an indication that playing the quiet game had its uses. “It’s not like I can fucking do anything about it now. What’s done is done.”
"You're not capable of leaving me anyway," Ed remarked matter-of-factly, all traces of worry having long left his voice, "I've met lots of people like that, and you don't fit the bill. You're one of those guys who fronts like a superhero with an honor code or something. I know the type." What's the worst he could do? Punch him? He was a driving a car and Ed was crazy enough to grab the steering wheel if he wanted to.
He peered down at his nails for the tenth time in a row, feigning less interest than he let on. "You know I'm right." He didn't expect a real answer. Would have been nice to get one, though. "So, what now?"
Like the sharp snap of a whip, CK spoke. “But that’s not what you’re asking. What the fuck do you want, huh?” Oddly enough, there wasn't much resolve in the voice that had not too long ago roared for his death. “I know it’s not money. Do you want some kind of…fucking clout from this? Just what the hell is it?”
The clinic was approaching from down the road, looming with the sickly fluorescent light that never failed to remind Ed of all his visits before. God, it was such a drag. If he squinted his eyes, the stoic, irritated tiredness pulsating off CK almost reminded him of his robed-up father smoking a cigarillo out the window. How was it that some people grew up so fast? And how, after all these years, was Ed still in the same seat, feeling as small as ever?
"Christ, I don't need your money! Would you loosen up a little?" he hissed defensively, crossing his grass-stained arms. Some people were also naturally gigantic buzzkills. "Are you this much of a dick to all your murder victims?" The shorter boy huffed while rolling up the window, freshly-irritated because parking lot people were the nosiest of all.
"All I'm saying is that you do not want to fuck with Evelyn or Lucca or especially Gianna Sinclaire. They're going to ask questions." He shot him a grave glance. "So, if you don't want sister dearest to discover the truth, you're going to have to chill the fuck out. That means you help with our story, leave me and Mer alone, and maybe go find a fucking hobby or something." It was his overbearing-ness that caused all this in the first place. Why was Ed even helping clean up his messes anyway? "Capiche?"
Another idea wormed its way into his ear, and he perked up right away. "Oh, and you're taking me to McDonald's after this."
Atlas laughed as Angelina’s shove sent him stumbling backwards and into a series of exaggerated wobbling movements before finally landing in that baseball umpire ‘safe at home’ semi squat stance. “And he is safe! A spectacular recovery by the amazing Atlas Reddinger.” His grinned widened as he straightened up and walked back over to Angelina who was rolling her eyes at the absolutely terrible homecoming game. He was in complete agreement with her, the sooner they moved on to the party the better, majority of that sentiment was because he simply loved parties and he was really looking forward to tonight’s party.
“Dang, wish I’d come up with that idea then. I’ve never gotten any fun awards.” Atlas chuckled as he spoke, half joking, half serious. If he ever got caught pulling such a stunt and his family got called to the school, that might well be the end of his ability to hear, especially considering that it was just last month that he unintentionally foamed an entire classroom which meant he was in his no ‘getting called by authority figure’ type incidents period. Also it was an empty classroom in his defence, so no human beings got harmed… at least not physically…
And that was all last month, in other words, it was time for some serious fun, the kind that wouldn’t get authorities involved of course. He was a good boy after all. Just regular good old party fun like TikToks and party games and dance offs and so on.
"We are still going together, right? I turned down like two dates for this whole going-to-homecoming-with-friends thing"
Atlas nodded. “Definitely! What kind of friend would I be if I left you hanging? By the time the night’s over we’ll have filmed a TikTok video that gets you to a hundred thousand followers and then I’ll have the bragging rights and benefits of being the friend of a TikTok famous influencer!”
No sooner had he finished talking, chaos exploded around them. Literally. Atlas ducked and shielded himself with his arms but there was only so much that could do in the face of raining glue bombs. He burst out laughing as the sticky substance pelted them, flying everywhere, painting the whole area in glitter and glue.
“This is insane!” He shouted between spurts of laughter as he picked off some of the glue and glitter on his shirt and flung it at Angelina and the other people nearby. “Incoming!”
Whoever it was that came up with this prank? Brilliant. Probably in for a world of trouble and pain if they got caught but definitely worth it. The washing machine was definitely going to disagree with him as was his sister but that was a problem for another day.
“Alright, I think that’s the cue to head home and get ready for the party. I’m gonna go clean up. See you later.” Atlas gave his head a good shake, sending a few splatters of glitter glue flying as he walked away. This was going to call for a long shower to clean up.
Cleaning off the glitter glue bombs took up a good chunk of time so once Atlas finished, it was basically go time for the party, and nothing said party quite like a colourful shirt and knee length shorts with sneakers. Fun, versatile and easy to move in for any and every party activity. The only thing missing now? His homecoming dates, party, entourage, whatever you called it. He would have picked up Angelina and Micah, but he didn’t have a car. His sister did but then she would have killed him for taking it and there was also the teeny tiny fact that he didn’t yet have a license, so here he was, walking up to the house, eyes on the lookout for his best friend and girlfriend.
A massive smile lit up Atlas’s face when he spotted Micah, closing the distance to envelope her in a huge hug followed by a kiss on the cheek. “Hey beautiful, you look amazing.” He grinned as he took in her outfit, holding her by the hands. “Ready to have fun? Cause it’s part of my mission to make sure you keep a smile on that face the whole night.”
Atlas let go of one hand and led her further inside by the other, grinning, fist bumping and greeting people as he went, eyes sweeping through the crowd, glancing back ever so often to check on his girlfriend.
Unsurprisingly, trying to find one pint sized cheerleader in a crowded house was no easy task. Thankfully, it didn’t take that long to spot her, his grin widening as he glanced back at Micah and sped up, pulling her along. “Come on, this way.”
Weaving in and out of the crowd, he finally reached Angelina, tapping her on the shoulder. “There you are. For a moment I thought I was going to have to crawl to find you in this crowd or look on the floor and find your trampled figure somewhere.” He teased.
“Alright then, now that we’ve got everyone, let’s get partying!”
So you didn't need to be an expert in Jace to know that he was having a shit time--You didn't even have to know much about humans in general. Hunched up, with people bumping into him with no regard, it was enough to leave him feeling a little bad for the guy.
Now, did Harvey really think a party at Jace's place would've been better? No. Did he think Jace would've liked said party better? Also no. But if imagining this fictitious party his friend went to that he actually liked helped him cope, he could nod along supportively. It was honestly one of the easiest acts of support someone could ask of him and he'd done a lot worse for friends.
However, there were some pretty set limits on what he was down to take in silence, and knocking into someone pressed against a pillar and then bitching at them? Kinda obligated to speak up.
"Jace, bud," he said, pulling in closer so he was easier to hear. "You walked into her on that one. Let's step outside. There's bound to be less people out there--It'll help you cool down."
And who knows, maybe through the power of his amazing skill called ollying the fuck out, he'd have even gotten Jace to recognize that maybe he fucked up a bit. No guarantees, but maybe.
But there was no way to find out, because a world where Jace responded to him unimpeded did not exist--Instead what existed was a world where this random chick had apparently just about had enough of this party shit and grabbed Jace out of nowhere, turning him around to threaten him at the party.
Because that was what Harvey needed in his life right now.
He barely followed what happened next, but she sure did push Jace after saying they shouldn't fight.
So he reached into himself and spoke. Again. Now to both people. "Alright, sure, he was an asshole. Now you're both being assholes. You two can apologize to people or maybe"--He locked eyes with Jace--"We can go outside and chill the fuck out now?"
Nothing about this was routine. The warmth in AJ's eyes, Benji's relative sobriety, and all the attention locked right on them like there weren't crazier things going on in just the other room. If he closed his eyes, Benji could almost believe the two of them were on the red carpet, cameras flashing and all the pretty boys and girls around clad in their gaudiest formal wear.
To most of them, he could be anybody. He could have been prom king at the rival school, a gun-toting gang leader, or Elise goddamn West for all anyone knew. He wasn't like the girl beside him, whose reputation was engraved deep, deep in stone. At that realization, he couldn't help but space a little even in the middle of an intimate moment. Sure, most of it was her own doing, but it was a dismal life indeed. The worst part was that she probably had a clue by then if she was as complex as Benji insisted she was.
At the prospect of leaving, the blonde gave a soft maybe. Benji rolled his eyes, the life returning to his face as his mind made its trip back to real time. He wanted to smack that little purse right out of her hands. She knew he found it ridiculous, like a costume piece straight out of Beverly Hills Chihuahua. He looked her up and down with an incredulous grin, waiting for her to give the green light.
But she could do him one better. “Hm…but you know…” she started, reaching into her purse, “It just so happens that my parents are out. So...” Benji's smile spread at an exponential rate, opening up big and toothy like a kid's on Christmas Day. For all the misfortune he'd been born with, it was at the very least a kindness from God that his jaw was straight, lining his pearly whites in two tidy rows. In another life, the patty flipper was surely a movie star.
Oh, hell yeah.
A ride in the Mustang was a enough of a privilege, but an invitation back to the exclusive residence of Adeline Jumper? Could an honest man could say no to that? "What would you say to a luxury ride to down pillows and silk sheets, Bahi?” she offered slowly, each breathy syllable more enticing than the last. It sounded like a dream, in truth, except... Mason had done it first. Benji knew better than to fixate on something so arbitrary, but there was nothing that could sweeten the bitter taste it left in his mouth. So, he decided to not think about it anymore.
He snickered watching her down the rest of his cup, praying this meant he would have the honor of taking the Mustang for a spin. "You make an offer I can't refuse, sweetheart." His eyes followed the cup, understanding quite well what it meant that she was discarding it. Finally, they didn't have to keep acting under the guise of innocent party guests.
"So, no going back now." His voice was giddy and lifted, far more than the quiet terseness he was known for giving. After taking his now-date by the hand, the two made their hurried way out of the house and past his much more modest ride, which would unfortunately have to be retrieved in the morning. Hope Addie didn't mind too much chauffering, especially if he didn't want his mom stressing about it. Their chariot awaited and tonight, Benji was a debonair.
Perhaps the most magical part of the night was the mellow purr of Adeline's car, which was smoother than a glass of whiskey on the rocks. It was like she was five steps ahead at all times, carefully tailoring each part of their night and her persona to drive Benjamin positively wild. Oh, and it was doing it for him alright. There were no words to describe the way he felt right then. The air was crisp, massaging Benji's elbow while it dangled out the window. Get him a glass of champagne and he would be riding the high life for eternity, no doubt.
Breaking away from the view of the bright, big city before them, he met a pair of jade eyes thinking all over him, seemingly taking an x-ray of his inner being. He offered a silent, easygoing smile, waiting for her to complete her thought; her thought that was definitely all about him. “Hm…I wonder if anyone saw us…,” she spoke softly, just as pensive as Benji had predicted, “How fast do you think the news will spread, hm? By the end of the night? I am always the talk of the school…”
Before he could stop to think if that was even possible, he was quickly reminded of the huge, gaping maws of their friends and enemies alike. He sighed and twitched his eyebrows, bracing for a whole lot to come. "You're not the AJ they like to talk about," he corrected, shaking his head, "Who would even believe that? You, me? Us?"
A moment passed and she chuckled again. "What're you laughing about?" the curly-haired boy giggled.
“Ha, so I guess you’ll be the topic of conversation now, probably more than you have in your whole life.” Benji released a heavy breath, eyes wide and exasperated. “Congratulations on the social boost, Bahi,” she teased, “and you’re welcome.”
"What, so now I'll become even more of a pretentious douche?" He couldn't just be in the spotlight like it was nothing. He was a real private guy, not even considering all of the illegal shit he did on school grounds. Someone like him couldn't afford to play these games, not in any capacity of the word. "Like hell that's happening, Sharpay."
Attention turned to the radio, which had been beneath a whisper up to this point. Was Addie that addicted to the sound of her engine? He couldn't blame her, but that made the notion no less amusing to assume. “But you’ve had enough conversation for one night, hm? So pick our music, Benj,” she prompted, “Don’t worry, it’s not a test.” If it was, Benji hadn't a worry in the world about failure. “Or maybe, it is. Who knows, hm?”
There it was. He made a quick reach for the girl's phone, running a finger along its shiny, much newer screen and case. This model was all the rage, even he knew that much. He made himself quick gliding down her playlists, curiously snooping through her recent favorites. Contrary to popular belief, Benji wasn't a stuck-up indie snob, but he did know the kinds of things they would say had they gotten their hands on Addie's phone. He had to look further to form any opinions, but a piece of him was praying this girl wouldn't cause him to stray from his opposite-of-popular roots too far.
He could only assume the way the kind of guys she'd been with worked. Put on some famous 50's jazz, act all sensitive and pull a bouquet of roses out of their ass... or he could play the typical hit-and-quitter: switch on whatever trap artist was in and tactlessly ask for head in the backseat.
In all that rumination, he noticed he was beginning to take too long, which was probably worse than playing the wrong thing altogether. Hurriedly, his thumbs tapped at her phone screen and placed a few songs in queue. He then looked up as the first song began to play, his chocolate eyes and grinning teeth glittering like diamonds in the moonlight. In his head, he knew she wouldn't remember, but as the gentle strum of a guitar wafted out of those sleek speakers, he hoped she would at least subconsciously recognize the song that played when they first met at that kickback in the Valley.
It was the perfect backdrop to a ride straight into those formerly forbidden silken linens, which would be nothing but well worth the wait. They were laced with the cozy ecstasy of young, budding romance, an omen of all of the best and worst things to come. And for that, Benji truly braced himself.