TL;DR Stu is crying, Oliver hates being touched, broken ribs hurt, end of. Oh also stealing.
Quiet people have the loudest minds
For a brief two-minute reprieve, it felt as though things had calmed down. Oliver, keeping still so as not to irritate his splintered ribs, listened quietly to Stu and Ashley chirping back and forth at each other-- well, mostly Ashley to Stu. Oliver was pretty sure Stu didn't like Ashley very much. Ashley, unfazed, handed a kitkat bar to each boy. Oliver, who hadn't had any real food yet today, was incredibly grateful for the gesture. "Thanks, Ashley!" Oliver never smiled this often. Despite everything, despite whatever had happened yesterday and the injuries and confusion that still remained, maybe this was just going to be a really good day. Maybe he'd finally get to watch Star Wars with Stu and Vered before school tomorrow, like they were supposed to before Oliver got attacked and his friends disappeared, or whatever order those things happened in.
Just as Oliver was starting to have a full-on optimistic outlook on a day for the first time in his whole life, some girl he didn't know came crashing onto the scene, snatching the chocolate bars from their hands and clambering onto the counter, crowing about her encounter with Stu at some point during the time Oliver was unconscious. Something about the girl's mocking tone made him feel like covering his ears. As she gleefully recounted in gruesome detail the story of Stu publicly urinating on the beach last night, she bit down on the kitkat meant for Stu. She'd tossed one to Oliver, who simply held it in his hands, too confused and startled to move. She rinsed her hands off as she spoke,
Then she reached down from her perch on the counter, yanking the still-frozen Oliver closer to her. He shrieked, trying to shove her off, but she didn't flinch. Her position on the counter gave her some height and leverage, and Oliver's panicked and wounded state meant he wasn't in good condition to put up a fight. Wiping her hands dry on the front of his hoodie, she released him with a light and friendly pat on the shoulder.
Oliver hated being touched. It sent shivers down his spine, made his skin crawl, gave him an immediate burning need to run away as fast as possible.
In a blind moment of panic, he roughly slapped her hand away, stumbling back and nearly bumping into Stu, who had burst into tears and quickly ran off into the church.
Oliver couldn't run. Not in the state he was in. He had started hyperventilating, which quickly turned into ragged gasps of pain. He bent over, clutching at his chest, then excused himself from Ashley and Ian and pulled himself away.
Outside the kitchen in the main area of the church, it was mostly empty. The clamoring within muted to a low whisper as soon as the door had closed, leaving only the wide, echoing chamber of the temple. A large wooden cross loomed over the altar in a way that was sort of threatening if you weren't used to being in churches, and the long rows of pews gave the place an orderly and solemn atmosphere. It smelled of wood polish and there were no sounds anymore except his own feet dragging across the carpeted floor. His ribs burned worse than they had when he woke up in the hospital, leaving him at a loss for air... before he knew what was happening, his vision whited out and suddenly the sensations of the room were gone.
He woke up on the floor a few seconds later. Shit. Oh no...
Sadly, this was not an uncommon occurrence for Oliver. If he pushed himself past the reasonable limits of his anxiety or pain tolerance, something that happened far too often, his blood would decide to give up for a second, his brain would panic, and he'd drop like a ragdoll. It was never for too long, not like when Ryan beat him into a coma yesterday, and usually if he didn't hit anything on the way down he'd just get back up again and pray no one saw.
This time, it didn't seem like anyone had, so he picked himself up, rubbing the side of his head with a wince. He reached an arm out to brace himself on the wall and wait for the blurriness to dissipate.
He spotted a small box bolted to the wall, labeled thank you for your donations in debossed black lettering.
People gave money to churches? Who knew.
Oliver needed money for something, didn't he?
He had to pay back...
He and his friends had... COLBY.
That was it. He remembered now. Colby, whose family owned the cafe that the small band of nerds had unexpectedly been backed into dine-and-dashing, had tracked them down with security footage and was demanding payback. Tatum, who'd apparently yelled at Oliver or something about the crab incident before he got the shit kicked out of him, had insisted she handle it as an apology, no strings attached, but Oliver didn't believe that for a second. He'd been burned before that way. People would say 'it's no big deal', then spit it back in his face as soon as they felt he'd gotten too comfortable. He wasn't falling for that again, so he had to acquire the funds himself.
This just so happened to be the perfect excuse. No one was around. No one would be coming out of the kitchen anytime soon, he wagered. The coast was clear, and besides... he was sure the church wouldn't miss a few dollars. It was a church. They didn't even have to pay rent or taxes.
The donation box was locked, but the lock was simple and looked weak. Oliver carried a bobby pin on him for moments like these. The small wire object was bent and rusty from months of use, but it had yet to fail him. Sliding the pin into the keyhole, he nudged the top of the mechanism until he heard a quiet click from the inside. He lifted the lid of the box, slipped a few bills out of it, and closed it just as he'd found it. The box didn't lock up again automatically, which might be a little suspicious next time someone went to collect its contents, but there would be no cause to point a finger at Oliver. This was a church. Churches didn't have dumb security cameras.
He left the building acting as calm as he ever did (which is to say, fidgeting anxiously and looking like he was on the verge of tears.) He didn't remember, in his foggy recollection of yesterday, just who it was that pastored the church.
If he had, he would have died on the spot from guilt.
But as it was, he simply walked himself back to his family's little apartment above the drugstore, hid away in his room, and hoped his mother was gone or too drunk to come and find him. At the very least, he'd have school tomorrow. As good an excuse as any to avoid his home for a day.
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TL;DRFeeling confused about Ben, and annoyed that shes about to have to spend time with ramen head
when you wear a mask for so long, you forget who is behind it.
Harper spent the rest of the night trying to wrestle Sawyer’s boot back on, eventually giving up and turning her attention to homework. Though, Sawyer kept wanting to explore Harper’s feelings on the Max subject, Harper continued to divert the subject back to homework. Ignoring Sawyer’s persistent bugging. Eventually, she went home for the evening around eleven at night.
She didn’t fall asleep right away, she stayed awake talking to Ben, trying to find out what was going on between them. They had been broken up for over a year, but yet there were still unmentioned feelings. They likely wouldn’t have broken up if it wasn’t for college and their parents’ rift. Not that Harper’s dad remembered it, at this point she would be surprised if he remembered much.
But she couldn’t follow him to college, and his parents would never approve. Ben needed to take over the company, and Harper… Well Harper wasn’t leaving Parish any time soon. Her dad needed her, and that was it. She was stuck. He wasn’t, she couldn’t hold him back.
The next morning Harper took a quick shower before getting dressed. She slipped over a plain white t-shirt, slipping into a pair of ripped blue jeans, and wrapping a red flannel around her waist.
She lifted her bag from the hook on the back of her door, before knocking on Hayden’s to make sure he was up and ready for the day. Knowing that after two days off he was going to be struggling to get up. “Hayden!” She called through the door, fiddling the locked doorknob. “You’re going to have to walk if you don’t hurry up.”
She heard crashing behind the door, and Hayden grunting as he likely tripped over his own feet. Harper rolled her eyes; her brother was never a morning person. She wandered downstairs, toasting up a bagel for the two of them to share.
Hayden made it downstairs, his bed head proving that he had just woken up. She tossed the bagel at him, before taking a bite of her own and heading out the front door.
Harper grabbed her science binder from her locker, slipping it into her bag before heading off to class. Though she hadn’t thought that she had turned up late, there was only one table open. Harper took her seat, slipping the bag off and leaving it at the feet of the stool.
There was still a good five minutes before class started, and Harper had pulled out her laptop to write down the homework that had been written down on the board, due for the following evening. But, there was something below that even. A long term project, that would lead to gathering soils and clay on a camping trip in the next few weeks.
Harper sighed, she hated group projects, but maybe she wouldn’t get stuck with someone just horrible.
She looked around the room, everyone was chatting or hanging out with their friends. And she realized two things, she was alone, and one person had not shown up to class yet. And the only open seat, happened to be right next to her. “fucking hell.” She said under her breath.
And like she had called the devil himself, a ramen headed boy walked through the door to the classroom.
Lulu could tell very quickly that she was going to appreciate Lemon's company. She just had an aura that was bright and happy. More people in the world needed to be like that. The younger girl couldn't help but to smile. It was like waking up to a bright sunny day on a camping trip, bright eyed and ready to enjoy the day. Maybe her name had something to do with it but Lemon's presence was refreshing to Lulu, especially after last night and this morning, like a cold lemonade on a warm day. Overall she was just a pleasant person and the brunette appreciated that.
Brown eyes watched as the blonde clambered up onto the counter fearlessly in search of mugs. Lulu tilted her head in amusement a warm smile resting comfortably on her face. "They usually use the excuse of step stools. In my house mother puts anything that I wouldn't need on the higher shelves and everything else lower. Alcohol, wine glasses, things of that nature..." she trailed off for a moment before continuing her explanation. "She isn't keeping them out of my reach because I might take them, it's just more convenient for everyone that way. She knows I like to cook and it would be a hassle to have to use a step stool all the time." As Lulu finished her thought Lemon found cups.
Gingerly taking the ceramic mug, Lulu inspected it. It was white, but was it the right shape? Did the shape matter? She couldn't exactly remember. She nodded quietly to herself. "Yes this might do..." She bit her lip in thought as she poured a cup of peppermint tea for both herself and Lemon. The other girl's compliments received a bashful smile with a hint of a blush in return. "I just poured water in to a cup...it's no big deal..." her fingers tapped on the mug anxiously as she peered in at the leaves swirling around.
Lulu brought her mug to her face and inhaled the sinus clearing aroma. She loved tea. She was convinced it held the tiniest morsels of magic within, part of why she had become so interested in Tasseomancy. She had really wanted to try it but felt it wouldn't be accurate to do so on herself. "I can tell your future with tea leaves..." she said absentmindedly. That wasn't entirely truthful, she had no idea if she could or not yet but no one wants to get their fortune told by someone who can 'maybe do it'. "Think of something you really want to know the answer to. Focus all your energy and thought into that question. Make sure it's as specific as possible because the reading will match your specificity." Lulu let Lemon come up with her question while getting a plate. Another slight deviation from what she had read, hopefully it was okay to make do with what was on hand.
The Woods girl guided her (hopefully) new friend through the steps of setting up the leaf reading. As they continued the excitement became more and more evident on Lulu's face. She was thoroughly enjoying herself as she would never get the chance to do this kind of thing at home. Her mother didn't really like hearing about 'whatever new weird thing she was into'. Once everything done, to the best of Lulu's memory that is, she peered inside the cup...and realized she didn't remember any of the symbols meanings. A frown formed on her face that was turning red with embarrassment. Realizing how that may look she stammered out an explanation. "I-I've seemed to have forgotten the symbols. It's not bad, at least I don't think it is." this was so embarrassing. "I have a book at home, I'll take a picture and send you a message with the results...sorry if I got your hopes up for an answer today." Hopefully this wouldn't tarnish the friendship that was hopefully forming. Elf_Ruler
she wears darkness, like some wear the little black dress
Maxine had only a moment to speak to Isa before she ran out of the soup kitchen. Maxine got out the three hardest words in her vocabulary. ‘I love you…’ before Isa pulled away. Maxine regretted having told Isa to leave her alone, even if she had her reasons. Isa didn’t deserve it. She always did so much for everyone, and Maxine hated that she was likely the reason Isa was running away.
Lesser Max had freaked out on her, and maybe he was right, maybe she was a shitty friend and Colby just didn’t want to tell her. But- Colby was always honest, he told Maxine off when she was being a bitch, and he didn’t say any of that.
Maxine threw her hair in a ponytail and got dressed in a pair of semi dry jeans that she had left hanging up in the bathroom after handwashing them in the sink after she got home the night before. Throwing on a sportsbra and slipping a zip-up sweatshirt over her arms.
She kicked on a pair of old torn up sneakers, before throwing her backpack over her shoulder and walking out the front door. Maxine looked over her shoulder one last time at a very empty apartment, at least it was clean for once. She flicked off the lights before pulling the door shut behind her. She fiddled with the doorhandle to make sure it was locked securely before she made her way to Hartfield.
Spanish was her third class of the day and she was already so drained from the day she could have fallen asleep right where she was. She hadn’t even made it into class, leaning her head against the cold wall outside of the classroom. She looked at the boy in front of her. Chewing on the side of her cheek she pondered what his name was. “Hey.” She stopped for a moment gaining his attention. His eyes went wide as she spoke again. “Yes you.”
“Peter right?” Maxine pushed herself off the wall beside her. “Was there homework for this class? Honestly after everything happened this weekend, I have forgotten what was due.”
Maxine shrugged; it was just late last night that her apartment had even gotten its power back. Honestly, at this point she was used to it. Her power had been turned off a numerous amount of times, this time they just lost it to a storm.
“Come on dude, I’m not going to bite you.” She chuckled leaning her back against the wall. “I mean unless you’re into that.” She raised her eyebrows tilting her chin to look at the boy next to her.
Maxine started to belly laugh at the boy next to her. “Dude, I’m gay, you’re safe.” She elbowed him in the side. “Why haven’t we ever talked before? We definitely grew up in town together. I recognize your name.”
TL;DR Just a little zazzed, Ivy shows up to Parish Bay High ready to scare the children.
You say that I'm kinda difficult, but it's always someone else's fault
(TW: Substance abuse.)
It was cold in Ivy's shared, cramped little group home room. It was always cold: apparently, the heater didn't work, or the building was just so poorly insulated that the autumn night wind swept right through the rickety building. Ivy dragged herself out of her bed, sleepily rubbing her eyes and going over to her old chipped blue dresser to pick out some clothes. She settled, after some pondering, on a vintage pink gingham dress with white socks, oddly paired with black converse and one of those little trendy black lace chokers. She looked like she was simultaneously a 1960s church girl and an emo loiterer. One might say that wasn't too far off from her idiosyncratic personality.
Her roommate, Alison, was still asleep as always, passed out half falling out of her bed, auburn hair tangled and tumbling over her bony shoulders. Alison was 16 and already seemed to have some sort of death wish when it came to substances.
Ivy, though, was perhaps only a little better off. At least Ivy was able to be awake and lucid for most of the day, but Alison...
Anyway, it was Alison who she got most of her goods from, wasn't it? The rest came from pocket change spent at that one run-down liquor store that didn't care if kids who looked 10 years old bought vodka, or with Isa, the town's resident dealer. Ivy only ever bought weed from her, which certainly wasn't the worst thing. It wasn't like Ivy did crack.
Speaking of weed, at some point today Ivy still had to pick up her compensation money from Evie. The sassy private school girl had managed to accidentally walk off with Ivy's dab pen at some point during the party, whereupon Evie's mother found it and discarded it.
Ivy didn't care much about that. After all, Veev had promised to pay her back and seemed to be making good on that promise even after everything that went down yesterday. Somehow, Ivy still felt a weight in her chest. Not because of what Veev had said on Twitter. Ivy was way over that. It was just... damn, she missed that acid-tongued little twerp.
There was one good thing happening though, Ivy thought as she roller-skated her way down to the rotten old public school. Today was presentation day for their English project on "influential people in the community." Most kids were probably going to talk about the town founder, or the mayor, their favorite local celebrity or something dumb like that. Not Ivy.
Ivy had written an almost-entirely fictional account of the school's janitor Mr. Spindle, better known to the kids of Parish Bay High as Herman Toothrot.
This was going to be so fucking sweet. And she knew she'd get away with it, too: Mrs. Flurry was always half asleep on whatever medication she used to get through teaching her rowdy freshman class about Madeleine L'Engle or whatever. Ivy liked A Wrinkle in Time as much as any bright and feisty 14-year-old would, but nothing was worse than having to read a book for school. Comprehension tests, boring classroom discussions and a mandatory book report could make even the best novels into an annoying chore.
Ivy strode the halls of PB with her head held high, carrying a confidence that didn't match her tiny stature or the residual guilt she was carrying with her from yesterday morning. Moping and slinking around just wasn't Ivy's tune.
She crashed into her usual seat in the back of room 211, where freshman English was held in the mornings. She'd beat Mrs. Flurry there, as usual. Ivy was always the first one in the room. She never turned the lights on or anything when she arrived, so she just sat in the dim light from the dusty windows and spread her books and pencils out, excitedly swinging her legs back and forth and letting everything except the anticipation of her grand presentation slip out of her mind.
TL;DR being hit in the back of the head with airplanes
can I go home now?
Graham had worked up quite the sweat while dancing for the Will-Ay cause. Though he had unfortunately found out that all his hard work had been for nothing. It left him rather disappointed. He really wanted to help Will-Ay and his pod, that was what his friends were called. Graham had also learned that from the dream. Though, maybe he had known it from studying marine bio in middle school, and it had just been lost in his subconscious… Yea that may have made more sense.
Even so, Graham planned to take his half, which he found kind of Ivy to even split the money, and give it to a whale organization. As someone Graham recognized from Hartfield as Harley approached the two of them, Graham felt his feet stop dead. ‘oh nononono’ he thought. He was sure Harley was going to yell at him. “No… it’s okay Harley.. I-I promise.” Graham may have only just found out that the money he had been dancing for was just a big con sceme. But he had also finally just made a new friend and he wasn’t about to lose that either. Ivy had been fun to hang out with, and maybe she really needed the money, maybe more than Will-Ay…
Graham followed Ivy willingly, heading to the Hedgehog for the first time ever. The atmosphere itself felt like he was being hugged. It was so warm in there, both physically and mentally.
He enjoyed himself laughing and talking with Ivy, somehow, being friends with her didn’t feel hard. As they finished their hot chocolates, Ivy handed Graham his half of the money and they parted ways. Unfortunately for Graham, Ivy went to Parish so wouldn’t be able to have any classes with her, though she did tell him the epic story of Toothrot and the presentation she made on the janitor of Parish.
Promising that she would share the project when she got home, Graham headed back to his dorm finishing up some homework before going to bed.
Graham went to class the next morning, after a rather restful sleep, free of any whale’s correcting him on the pronunciation of their name.
Graham took his notebook out, diligently listening to the professor drone on about Ipicus and the battles that surrounded him. As the professor turned their back on the class to write something on the board, something hit him in the back of the head.
Instinctively Graham reached up feeling his head for blood or cuts, possible bruising before turning around to look at what could of possibly hit him.
An airplane? Graham furrowed his eyebrows, lifting the folded up piece of paper off the ground. He sat facing forward again, unfolding the scrap of paper that appeared to have something written on it. ‘why do you always wear your hair like that?’ Graham turned around to try to find the culprit, everyone was just watching the teacher in front. They were all too focused to have thrown a paper missile at the back of his head.
All except one.
A dark-haired girl seated a few rows back from Graham, she was staring up at the ceiling pretending to whistle, when she noticed Graham looking her way. She met his eyes, smiling, no smirking, evilly, she gave him a little wave before she went back to her notebook.
Graham scowled at her before he turned back around. Why had this girl picked him of all people, to pick on! She could of picked anyone in class, and she picked him! And what did she have against his HAIR. Graham reached up to his hair, insecurely trying to flatten it down.
There was only a few minutes of peace where Graham was able to focus on his notes before another airplane hit him in the back. He swung around rather aggressively, gripping the back of his chair with one hand. The girl just laughed, covering her mouth with her hand to muffle the sounds. She just pointed at his back, where the airplane had landed in his hood.
Graham reached behind himself fishing it back out, noticing yet another note. ‘OH NO! You made it worse!!’ Graham spun back around in his chair and furiously wrote a reply.
‘what is your PROBLEM’ he dug his pen deep into the paper as he wrote problem, before balling it back up. He turned to face the girl across the room from him, looking over his shoulder quickly to make sure their professor wasn’t watching. He tossed the paper ball back at her, though it did not fly through the air as easily as a paper airplane and just barley reached her desk.
Well.. It fell short of her desk, landing by one of the legs right in front.
Peter is excited for school because right now that's the most interesting thing going on in his life.
Will I ever be more than I've always been?
Peter woke up to the mechanical chirping of his alarm clock, as he had every morning since before he could remember.
His morning routine, likewise, hadn't changed since he had grown old enough to do it all himself. He got up, took a shower, got dressed in his nice crisp school uniform, straightening his tie in the mirror. He'd go downstairs for breakfast, drink a cup of orange juice, say goodbye to his parents and to Edward his guinea pig, and then he'd be out the door and riding his lovely blue bicycle down to the prestigious Hartfield Academy.
Once inside the building, he immediately felt a little nervous and out of place, as if it was his first day all over again. Usually he'd say hi to Madi right away when he arrived, but he didn't see her. Oh, well... he'd run into her in class for sure. They were both sophomores, and being such a small school they shared their schedules closely.
Peter liked Hartfield, despite its occasional stresses. He did well in his classes, the cafeteria food was actually really good, and he even had a whole friend. Also, that boy from his chemistry class with the dreamy green eyes... and, uh, the library was cool. Overall it was a good fit for Pete and he felt comfortable and safe inside the school's polished halls.
There was one thing happening this morning, though, that he was especially excited for: a senior girl named Juliet, who he'd been talking to on Twitter, wanted him to try ginseng since his mother banned him from coffee and tea. Though when he ran the idea by his mother she'd flipped out about him trying "new-age dirty hippie shit", Juliet had slyly suggested she sneak him a little to try at school. Was this how criminals felt on their first bank heist? It was exhilarating.
He leaned against his locker, trying to look casual, but Peter's heart was going a mile a minute. His knees were shaking and he kept his hands gripping his backpack straps, sure that if he let go he'd be twiddling his thumbs or something suspicious like that. She'd know where to find him... right?
Maybe he should text.
Would that be weird?
Would she she think he was being like, a stalker if he found her number on social media to ask?
Was it okay to DM?
Peter was totally overthinking this, nervously chewing his lip and watching the sparse crowd of sleep-deprived students mill back and forth through the hallway. Maybe he'd just spot her and eliminate the whole problem...
Then the bell rang.
He'd have to get the ginseng from Juliet later. Right now, he had to run to Spanish before the teacher had his head on a spike.
On his way into the door, a girl called out "Hey!" Peter stopped, awkwardly pointing to himself to ask for confirmation and praying to whoever was up there that she was talking to him.
She confirmed. Phew.
He recognized this girl... Max, right? She'd say behind him in last year's Spanish, too. Maybe they also shared geometry or something. Anyway, Pete knew her and gave a polite wave and a timid "...Hi, yes, that's me." Peter liked talking to people. It wasn't often that anyone other than Madi ever gave him the time of day. It probably had something to do with the fact that he never approached anyone and kept out of any activities or clubs.
"I'm not going to bite you, I mean, unless you're into that." ...Was that a flirt? Peter didn't know how to react to that. At all. He certainly wasn't interested, in her or any girls for that matter, but would she be mad if he said so? Peter laced his fingers together, breathing out very slowly through his nose with a pressed smile. Bracing himself for the worst, Peter did his best fake laugh, something he was usually good at, but it came out as a weak "Hahaaa..." that trailed off into an awkward silence. Oh no. Oh, no no no. This was the first time he'd ever spoken to her and it was already going terribly.
She must have senses that he was uncomfortable. “Dude, I’m gay, you’re safe.” She assured with a playful elbow to his side. "Ow! Oh, uh, yeah!! Me too! Haha, wow, that's so cool, I didn't know, uh..." he trailed off into silence again, rubbing the back of his head, but this time his smile and laugh were real. She was so... open. How cool was that? Peter was almost jealous. "Yeah, uh... yeah. I can't believe it either. I mean, you've been there the whole time and I never even... you're Max, right? Hi! Oh my god I totally forgot to ask your name. That was so dumb of me. Sorry."
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Max is having a really tough week, and that's the understatement of the century.
Give until it hurts
Max hadn't left his bed since he got home yesterday afternoon, but he hadn't really slept either. How does one get over something like what happened yesterday?
It wasn't even that his protest failed that hurt him. Or that no one really showed up. Or that he got stuck on the door and had to get wrenched off by the fire department. It wasn't even that he was grounded for the rest of the week, and banned from seeing his best friend/honorary older sister until god knows when. Even Kat's constant goading about the situation wasn't the real issue here.
It was the principle of the thing: Parish Point didn't care about anything. He felt like the only one who ever wanted to take a stand, and then he just got made fun of for it.
Everyone thought he was stupid. That's what hurt him.
Nobody thought Max was stupid as much as he himself did. It just stung all the more, then, to see people unanimously confirm it.
Maybe he should just go back to Kinston. Sure, no one liked him there and it was a dumb little conservative southern town with stupid rules and etiquette, but somehow having no friends seemed less painful than having friends he just kept on disappointing. Besides, it wasn't like he was doing a good job keeping up with the workload at Hartfield. He was maybe another failing grade away from being expelled, and then what? If he didn't fit in at Hartfield, Parish Bay would rip him apart. Sure, he had friends at both schools, but as it stood he felt on the brink of being too much for them to handle. He didn't know what made it worth it to them to stick by him, anyway.
Max dragged himself onto his side, listlessly watching the sun creep through his new green curtains and paint the room a soft leafy shade. His room, though, was even more of a mess than usual: a stack of books toppled onto the floor, yesterday's clothes tossed over the back of his desk chair, everything askew and out of place. Even his beloved spider plant and cactus did nothing to brighten up the place.
He'd asked his parents to call him in sick when they came upstairs to check on him. His mother was staying home today, mostly as a way of making sure Max wasn't about to break curfew and run off. This was probably the worst day of his life to be on house arrest. He had something he needed to do tonight, something dangerous and somewhat likely to get him hurt or worse.
The Hawking House on its own wasn't the safest of places. The infrastructure of the building was old, the wooden floors and ceilings rotting and collapsing. A few decades ago, one girl cracked her skull open on a stone fireplace and died. And yet somehow, none of that was the scariest part of the place.
There was someone in there. Someone who'd been watching them all for who knows how long. A couple of days, at least? He'd followed them to the beach when they rescued the whale, then went around taking pictures of their houses... and themselves. A chilling picture of Kat in her bedroom window proved that he knew exactly where they were and was stalking them right under their noses. That, in addition to his claim to have killed 20 cats, proved he was both unpredictable and bloodthirsty.
Sawyer had come up with the idea of hunting the guy down in his lair. and quickly a bunch of kids had volunteered to assist... Harper included. If something happened to her...
That was why Max had to do this. He couldn't sit back and let the people he loved get hurt or killed. He'd much rather it be him, but if they wouldn't let him do it by himself (which they absolutely assured him they would not), he at least had to come along to ensure, in any way that he could, that they all made it out alive.
He already had one friend threatening to hurt herself. He couldn't take another.
He sat on the edge of his bed, pushing the window open to look out into the backyard. Isa always came in through the back, especially when she wasn't technically supposed to be in the Berkowitz house. She'd promised to stop by before... before she did whatever it was she was going to be doing for the next few days, if she was even coming back at all. He didn't want to think about it. The thought of losing her gnawed at his chest and threatened to strangle his heart and lungs.
Why did he keep saying he was fine all the time? No one believed him, anyway.
He didn't know how to say anything else.
“The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who's going to stop me.”
The pen brushed against her eyelid, careful and precise yet-- in one swift movement. Makeup was something Katherine Navarro lived on. At least, nowadays she had. She hadn’t started getting involved in her appearance until she was thirteen. And at thirteen, girls were vicious. Especially girls that were already aiming for push-up bras, the newest palettes, and their first boyfriend.
Was none of those. She was the girl on the sidelines. Watching as they gushed over Trevor Darrington and his newest girlfriend, Megan Kingsley.
Yes, Katherine and Megan Kingsley go that far back.
Same for her and Aisha, Heather.
Astraea & Matt as well. But they were on a whole other level than the girls. Astraea and Matt were her genuine friends. The girls she associated with now? Oh, they were hardly her friends. Kat was practically a lost puppy following them around.
Now that things have changed.
Kat’s the one on top. Maybe most of those girls don’t follow her around like the minions she clearly deserves. But she’s finally where she’s always wanted to be-- correction, she was where she had wanted to be when her family had packed up, causing her to start fresh in Barcelona only to return to the god forsaken town everyone was so fond of.
Katherine felt stuck here. It was as claustrophobic she was, and every second she dwelled on her reputation, her social standing-- her past. It felt like the walls were closing in every breath, and with every breath became shorter and shorter until her lungs had seemingly given up on her.
In Barcelona, she felt like herself. There was no past Katherine. There wasn’t a moment where her childhood would be brought up for a proper diss because these girls had nothing on her except the fact that she used to be incredibly desperate for the smallest sliver of attention from the group she wasn’t a part of.
It wasn’t as if glasses and braces were the stereotype of unpopularity, that was merely one step. Kat didn’t have the attitude, the strength, the focus and determination that she had needed at that age. And so, she resorted to more desperate measures.
Thankfully, those measures had worked.
Not long after high school had started. Katherine was a completely different person.
A perfectly manicured hand reached for the straightener once she was settled with her makeup, smoothing down the natural curls that dared to make their way to appear in any situation-- Kat had started to despise her hair the older she’d gotten, or more-so the attention she’d gotten from it.
It wasn’t the cute, wavy hair certain girls at her school were blessed with.It was hardly bouncy, luscious curls that her mother had. Perhaps if she’d put the time into maintaining them, she’d like them more. But then again, learning to like something about herself is something Kat struggled with daily.
She remembers the first day of high school quite well. It’d been a few weeks after ‘vacation.’ The few weeks she’d spent in a rehab center was nothing like a vacation. The board games-- the overly nice weirdos, the downright assholes and the people struggling with addiction were nothing but a reminder of what she wasn’t.
Although it may have alarmed her parents that she’d hadn’t eaten in days, they hadn’t noticed. Kat had become weak. On an unfortunate day due to strenuous activity, she’d passed out. Causing her parents to pay attention to their second child for once. Although forcing her to get the help she didn’t need had only strained their relationship more than it already was.
That first day of high school was Kat’s second chance at life.
She earned the right to the title of queen bee, given how hard she’d worked for it. It was awarded to her.
With the snap of her fingers she’d practically had any boy in love with her as soon as she maintained eye contact longer than five seconds, she didn’t pine over someone else’s style and finally felt comfortable enough in her own skin to wear what she wanted. There was no need for baggy clothing, dark clothing, anything to hide her insecurities that were once there. Her shy, optimistic attitude was traded for a blunt, pessimistic, and overall a strong HBIC.
She adjusted the pants higher onto her waist, turning sideways and carefully let her gaze roam over every inch of the outfit, clenching her jaw and leaning over to get a better look as she cleaned the corners of her lips, successfully wiping off any excess lipstick.
Kat wasn’t their little follower anymore.
She was the leader.
“Ben? Can you hear me?’ Her mother’s voice echoed from the den, Katherine rolled her eyes as she made her way down the staircase and into the foyer. Her mother was trying to grab a hold of Benjamin through video chat. Unfortunately for him, college wifi wasn’t the most dependable.
Especially when their parents need to talk to him about… ‘business opportunities.’
It was funny, she’d give him that. But it was only a matter of time before they realized he was purposefully disconnecting and reconnecting until poor mommy and daddy gave up, after all… Little Benny had to get to his classes he was oh-so-excited about.
Kat practically cringed in disgust at the nickname. It was an abbreviation of “Kitty Kat.” And as she’d gotten older, the nickname had only stuck before Kat had urged them to stop calling her a name she didn’t approve of, all at age six and a half.
What can she say?
She was controlling back then too.
However, the name had only reminded her of a less fortunate version of herself. A version her parents hadn’t outgrown yet.
Because in their eyes, Katherine was nothing but their child who was still content with care bears and tantrums that involved throwing barbie dolls into the fire.
In simple terms.
Kat didn’t have their respect.
“Yes?” She replied to her mother, holding in the sigh of annoyance that was threatening to release the longer her mother had looked over her outfit-- as if Katherine needed her approval.
“Try your best to get in contact with your brother, his phone is acting up.”
“Yeah, I’m sure that’s what’s acting up.”
Kat didn’t speak up, instead, crossing her arms and waiting for her mother to speak. She always had this look in her eye whenever she was about to go on a rant of sorts. “Now, I understand you’re in a mood-- but do try to understand that your father and I believed Parish Bay was the right fit for you.” There was something about her words that just didn’t sit with Katherine. It felt like an utter lie. As if there was something more she was meaning to say, but her mother didn’t continue before Kat had time to analyze further.
“Trust me, Katherine.”
Her mother reached out for the bowl placed on the coffee table, grabbing an apple and holding it out to Katherine expectantly. It felt like a test. That’s not to say Katherine didn’t ace tests. The girl was fairly smart, in case you didn’t take that into account yet.
The raven-haired girl took the fruit from her hands.
“Have a good day.” Her mother said, waiting expectantly and Katherine obliged. The apple rubbed against her sleeve before taking a bite, her mother had seemed satisfied enough, returning her attention to her phone swiping through the many emails that had required her attention.
Heels continued to click under the marble floor beneath her and straight out the front door.
Parish Bay was everything Hartfield Academy wasn’t.
It was… mundane.
Although most of the students were filled with an odd sense of optimism. Katherine could tell. Everyone here had some sort of unspoken hope. Perhaps hope they’d be able to make something out of themselves in such an unfortunate school that was practically falling over.
Okay, in all seriousness.
The school didn’t have a roof that was about to cave in, there was hardly any mold neither. Either the children were playing in the sewage for recess, or they were simply just children who didn’t know any better.
Parish Point wasn’t broke. They took care of their school. Not as well as Hartfield did their own, but that’s not the point.
However disorienting the fluorescent lights were, or how tacky the main entrance was, the lack of comfort that Parish Bay was missing, or what Megan, Aisha, or Heather had to say about this school.
Kat was determined to make her junior year worth the suffering of public school. Everyone else be damned.
PE class was a breeze. Kat’s more than sure she’s the only one in this entire school who was active. There were boys who were seemingly on the football team that were struggling, it was the highlight of her morning to see a boy sweat over running a few laps. The locker room proved to be Kat’s most hated place in this school, and it wasn’t because it smelled. Unlike Hartfield, there wasn’t much privacy here.
Her attention was far too focused on her phone to barely notice everyone leaving.
And no, it wasn’t like she was actively waiting for the rest of the girls to leave before she could get changed.
That’d be ridiculous.
Once the last girl had left, Kat got up from the bench, sighing heavily as she lifted the hems of her tank top, the shirt went over head obscuring her vision for a mere moment, so you could understand her surprise when suddenly, Sawyer was infront of her.
The 6ft tall, blonde, and mess of a woman had startled her more than she had expected her to. Eyebrows creased as a glare was sent her way. “Stalking me? I wouldn’t be surprised. Now that you and half the student population were blessed with my presence,” Kat leaned closer to Sawyer, who was conveniently standing in front of her own locker, putting them face to face and Katherine held her ground long enough to grab her sweatshirt that laid on the shelf.
For the excitement of a tease, Katherine’s gaze fell to Sawyer's lips momentarily before she leaned away.
TL;DR Memories, memories, Katherine is too damn cheeky.
I'm Georgia Peachy, believe me.
Okay so maybe Sawyer’s ankle hurt a little bit. Okay, maybe little more than a little bit. But it was all fine, Sawyer could handle some pain. Other than the dull throb, the ankle seemed fine. It wasn’t swollen anymore and its range of movement was fine. She was just fine. Sawyer pulled herself out of her bed and shuffled her way into the bathroom that was down the hall from her bedroom. The mirror reflected back a mess of a girl with blonde hair sticking out all over the place and...how did she get pen on her face? Sawyer groaned and turned the faucet on practically dunking her face into the sink and rubbing at it in an attempt to remove the pen squiggles from her face. When she came back up for air, the marks were all washed away and she was left with a simple mess of tangles to deal with. Sawyer sighed and plucked up her brush off the counter to begin the lengthy process. Her father leaned his head into the bathroom at one point, just to make sure she was actually awake and getting ready. She gave him the best eye roll she could muster when her eyes were still half closed and he laughed as he leaned out of the bathroom.
It was at least fifteen minutes later when Sawyer found herself back in her room and pulling off plaid pajama pants in favor of a pair of ripped jeans and black combat boots. She ruffled around in her closet until she found a very large denim jacket that she was sure must’ve been made for a giant and pulled it over her shoulders. With her hair brushed, teeth brushed, clothes on, and homework done, Sawyer pulled her trusty beanie down over her hair and shut the lights off in her room as she left. The combat boots she’d chosen as footwear supported her ankle almost as well as the actual boot had and the pain was practically gone as she flew down the stairs and into the kitchen. Oliver was standing over a skillet that was sizzling with bacon and a plate of already cooked bacon sat at his side. Sawyer leaned up behind him, kissing him on the cheek as she stole two pieces of bacon from the plate and shoved a piece of toast between her teeth the second it popped out of the toaster.
“Have a good day, bacon thief.” Oliver swung his hip into Sawyer before she pulled away and escaped toward the front door with a “mhm” muffled through toast. Sawyer plucked her keys off the table near the front door and wrangled the thing open, almost slamming it behind her as she emerged out into the sunshine. She watched as Harper’s car pulled away down the street and rushed toward her car in hopes of catching up with her.
The car wouldn’t start for about three whole minutes so Sawyer had no hope of catching Harper before she was already off to class. She had sulked silently to her first period where Mrs. Higgins promptly told her to take her beanie off. Sawyer complied reluctantly and pulled the thing off, shoving it under her leg as she fell into a desk. She practically slept through the whole of the Geometry class until someone threw a pen at her head that caused her to jump up from her light sleep, startled and looking around for the culprit. A brown haired Austin Burtin grinned at her and threw a wadded piece of paper onto her desk. Sawyer glanced up at Mrs. Higgins droning on about a triangle or something and un-crinkled the paper as quietly as she could. The words on it made Sawyer want to throw a chair at Austin’s stupid head. The brunette boy was such a gossip monger that Sawyer was surprised someone hadn’t already done that. The paper was asking her how she felt about Kat being back because apparently the entire school somehow knew about she and Kat’s whole thing. That was still confusing to her, the only people Sawyer had ever even mentioned Kat to were Harper, Hya, Evie and her dad and since she knew Harper and Hya would never say anything, Evie didn’t really care, and her dad probably forgot the second she told him...she didn’t know how everyone suddenly knew. Instead of throwing a chair at Austin she simply crumpled the paper back up again and threw that at his head instead. He frowned at her but turned back around in his seat all the same. Sawyer sunk lower in hers and crossed her arms over her chest. She might’ve forgotten about Kat’s existence if that hadn’t just happened. Fuck Austin Burtin.
Sawyer had never really understood the need to lump her and the rest of the people that actually played sports in with the rest of the out of shape weirdos. She kinda felt bad about how much they struggled, especially with someone like Kat Fucking Navarro just prancing around like a show pony and lapping them all. Sawyer just knew that she was doing that on purpose. Pompous bitch. But that didn’t stop Sawyer’s eyes following her as she breezed around the gym, that girl really should be running track. Sawyer wouldn’t be surprised if the coaches tried to force her into it after seeing her show off today.
When they were done, Katherine couldn’t get out of there fast enough. She blew past everyone trying to catch their breaths and back into the locker room. As soon as she was out of Sawyer’s view the blonde girl turned toward a girl having a particularly hard time breathing and told her to put her hands above her head before moving toward the water jug. Everyone slowly filtered out of the gym as Sawyer talked to Coach Vega about her ankle. The woman seemed a little concerned about letting Sawyer play the next basketball game but since Sawyer had run laps with really no problem, she let up after only a few minutes. Sawyer thanked her with a grin, tossing her water cup into the trash and jogging off toward the locker room. She maneuvered toward her locker and found that Kat was the only one left in the locker room. She tried to pass behind her without being noticed but she got trapped between Kat and the lockers when the other girl moved backward after pulling her shirt off. Of course she had a snide remark to make about it too.
“Nah, I’m just trying to get to my locker.” Katherine’s wandering eyes didn’t go unnoticed by Sawyer and suddenly she was somewhere else entirely.
It was really fucking cold and Sawyer was having a really hard time breathing. Her hands were pressed up against the brick of a wall and Kat was in between them. Kat’s hands were everywhere, wandering as far as they pleased as her mouth left searing trails down Sawyer’s neck. Hands slipped up under Sawyer’s jacket and Kat pulled away to smile at her and suddenly it wasn’t cold anymore.
Sawyer was pulled back into the present and it was suddenly extremely cold. Sawyer forced herself out from under Kat’s gaze and back to her locker. She sat down on the bench and pulled her shoes off. She looked up at Kat again before she spoke, an eyebrow raised in amused mirth.
“You sure you weren’t just waiting till we were alone to start changing, Kat?” Sawyer winked at her and stood to pull her own shirt up over her head, “Cause I’m sure as hell not interested.” The playfulness was gone from her tone and Sawyer didn’t even look at Katherine as she shoved her shirt back into her locker.
LOCATION: The Dreyfuss Residence -> Parish Bay High School
TL;DR We've established this, but Oliver's living situation is horrible. But Juliet gave him some clothes, he has friends now, and school is back in session, so right now it isn't so bad.
Quiet people have the loudest minds
(TW: Verbal/physical abuse)
Oliver woke up later than he'd intended to. The last few days had been hell, to say the least of it. The concussion symptoms were fading away, but those fractured ribs were going to take time to heal. He knew how it went; it wasn't as if this was his first time having to hide broken bones and continue business as usual.
He got dressed in his usual attire: grey hoodie, black jeans, dark green windbreaker (it was still cold out, unsurprisingly.) He took a shower last night when no one was home, so that was one thing off his list. Now to just get his school things and try to escape without an interaction.
Maybe he still had time to sneak out without being seen…
His two older sisters sat close to each other on the couch, speaking in hushed tones. Despite being two years apart in age, they looked nearly identical: petite and bony, dark hair cropped above the shoulders, deep, wide-set brown eyes much like Oliver's. Once they saw their brother in the room, all at once they fell silent and stared. Not at him-- up and over his shoulder. Oliver started to turn around just as a hand grabbed the back of his head and spun him 180 degrees to meet his mother, dressed for work and already trembling with fury.
"Just where the fuck do you think you were yesterday? The church? Looking like that?"
Eileen Dreyfuss never yelled or screamed. Her fury and vitriol came out in a low, hissing whisper. This was so she would not be heard in the neighboring flats.
Somehow it was even more terrifying this way.
"So who was it, huh? Who beat the snot out of you the other day?"
She sneered in disgust, running her other hand down his face and pinching his cheekbone. Oliver shuddered and tried to pull away, earning him a yank forward by his hair.
"Answer the fucking question."
"I...I don't know…"
"Jesus Christ. You look like the damn phantom of the opera. You just had to go pick fights, didn't you!? Always pissing everyone off, huh? And now look-- I have to send you to school looking like you got hit with a sledgehammer. Do you know what they're going to think!? Do you!?"
"I don't know!! Please, I don't… I don't know. I don't know."
"You want the cops to come? Do you? You want out, is that it!? You won't last five fucking minutes, Oliver. Think it's too hard here? Go on, go out on the street. Is that what you want?"
Oliver whimpered, shielding his ears.
"Didn't think so."
Eileen finally dropped her son's head, thrusting his backpack into his arms and pushing him towards the door. "Go on, get. Don't make me late."
Oliver ran out the door as though the apartment was on fire.
Parish Bay High School was an odd sort of safe space for Oliver. Maybe not entirely safe, but certainly safer than the alternatives. If he stayed quiet and kept his head down, the school bullies would usually ignore him.
Stay still, even if you're scared or people touch you. Don't talk. Especially don't talk about sea turtles.
Oliver wasn't too good at following social norms, so he mediated this by just not engaging socially much at all. It seemed to be working out okay. He still got good grades, he only got picked on sometimes, and hey… now he even had friends. He couldn't believe it.
After Stu, Vered and Ashley stuck by him over the last two days, Oliver was sure he'd finally found his people. Stu was a bold little hero (except around Ashley), Vered was probably the smartest person in the whole school, and Ashley was just so nice to everyone and somehow unendingly patient with the social ineptitude the three boys shared. They stuck up for each other. All of them. They were a squad, and that's just what squads do.
Oliver stopped by his locker, carefully sliding in the bag of clothes Juliet had kindly donated to him on the way. Apparently she thought he died at the party, and wanted to give him her old clothes because… Oliver wasn't entirely sure. People were just being weirdly nice to him all of a sudden. Did the storm bring about some weird shift in human nature? Was mercury in retrograde or whatever that meant? Who knew.
Closing his locker back up again, he lingered for a bit, anxiously chewing his fingers. He probably hadn't noticed he was doing that yet. His eyes darted from one spot to another in the hallway. He suddenly felt as though he weren't quite sure where he was going. It was still pretty early in the school year, he wasn't quite used to the new schedule yet, and while he was feeling better than yesterday, things were still kind of foggy.
He figured if he stayed still for a bit, it would come to him eventually. Hopefully before the bell.
Stu looked up from his notebook filled with scribblings of a certain whale. His pencil came off the paper before he could finish colouring in Willy’s eye.
“The speech. You did prepare the speech, didn’t you?”
“O. . .oh, yes.”
The speech, of course!
What. . . what speech?
Stu gathered his notebook with urgency and rose on his feet. His chair made a hard screech that made all eyes hone in on him from all angles. Even though he was a small kid for his age, and you might miss him in a crowd of similarly aged children, he had a clumsy presence that often betrayed his location. Picking his way to the front, he tripped over just about everything, books, bags, not to mention the legs some kids deliberately stuck out to trip him.
Now he was standing before the class, puffing out his cheeks as a few dozen ears awaited his orations. What speech? He didn’t know anything about any speech. Was it in the sheet Mrs. Flurry gave out the other week? If it was he wouldn’t know it. He lost his backpack down at the beach while saving the whale and—well that sounded about just as convincing as “my dog ate my homework”!
He scanned the room from one end to the next. There was his friend Vered, who couldn’t be much help to him sitting so far away. There was the demonic child Ivy, ready to burst into laughter at his clueless expense. And then there was Ashley. Oh no, there was Ashley.
Stu glanced at the clock on the wall. Please, please. Could the bell rescue him if he stood here long enough? That wasn’t so likely given they were only two minutes into class!
“Who did you pick, Stu?” the teacher said boredly after a long wait.
“Oh. . . I was thinking of many people,” Stu blurted.
“You’re only supposed to pick one.”
“But I couldn’t decide—”
“You have many influential people in mind?”
AHA! Influential people.
“Real people, Stu.”
“Peter Parker then.”
“No,” Mrs. Flurry said. “Real people in our community.”
“I know. I was only joking.” Stu cleared his throat, pretending to flick through his notebook for cues, but it was just page after page of Willy Willy Willy Willy and more Willy. “OK, so. . .”
“My influential person is. . . um. . . my dad. I picked him because, well, because he’s my dad, and without him there wouldn’t be me, and without me this speech wouldn't exist. So he's pretty influential, at least to me. But not just me though, because he also runs the church. And. . . you all know him, so I guess he’s kind of famous just because of that. The mayor knows him too. And also. . . he just did the soup kitchen, to help people after the storm. And we got a lot of kids together to help out, cos they saw the poster we put up. By the way, I made the poster all by myself! . . . So I guess he’s done a lot for the town. That's why I think he’s pretty influential. . . at least, um, at least for a boomer.”
And that, ladies and gentlemen, was the speech.
“. . . Thank you,” he said and fluttered back to his seat and hid his face in his desk in shame.
A chauffeur with no passengers but his own clones of death—that was Zachary Lee on Monday morning. 65. 70. 80 mph. He was pushing on the accelerator. Was there ever a reason to slow down? Would anyone care if he didn’t?
“Who are you again? Zach, right?” He felt unresponsive most times when the strangers that awoke beside him aforementioned these words because they always ended up being the ones behind the trenchant blade through his chest. Sanguine red in color- he bled at those words. They were hunting a killer, but he couldn’t even identify his. He went from recognizing the plurality of features and hues that made skin and eyes and faces of individuals to altercations that left all of those people swiped blank of anything. They always picked up their shoes, their scattered clothes, and themselves weeks later. How quickly, it was that they forgot how near they had gotten to him. They kept covered those memories of consented, mutual violations of lip lock in their chapters of depression. Occasions later, they desisted from seeking him. Eventually, he’d see them in the hallways returning to a state of newfound purpose and rehabilitation. Simply, they were the grinning daisies and weeds that grew above tombstones. They had no bereavement to the cold, cold permanently closed casket of Zachary Lee. They didn’t care. He was still alone.
Tatum Browne was the rain that puddles the graveyard. She came into his life, dripping with a downpour of sentiment, willing to fall and fall and fall till the bunk of his wearied away corpse tasted the dark clouds. So, why did he wake up today, imagining her standing over his burial spot with an umbrella and a face that is softening to one the hundreds of blank white faces.
Was he an option? A retreat till Tatum Browne felt fixed and better like everyone else...
He was once Achillean, but his heel was awaiting the blunt of the arrow now. He was effectually hated by, but hell, he already knew he was a pathetic travesty of relationships. Today would be all about pretending. He cleaned up from his violent verbal outrage on Twitter; hello to Americano hustle with a Gatsby angle of class. With or without conflicts, nobody including himself could prevent Zachary Lee from daily impressions of his popularity. He’s daintily smiling, winking with the measured fluctuations of light eyelashes, and duping for conversations that leave his head of twists of blond hair nodding or shaking with laughter. The door shamelessly opened with a single staggering creak.
“Late, Lee,” Mr. Zimmerman, ill-naturedly recorded.
“Oh, really?” Zach unchangedly prolonged his grin through a tone of satire, “Well, I’d stay to chitchat, but I don’t think my partner would like that.” He gestured to the girl in the back of the classroom with a water bottle loosely hung around his fingers, “She’s obviously thrilled to see me.”
The classroom was indulged with papers scuffling, pencils scratching notebook pages, and insular conversations thrifting between partner groups. Nevertheless, in the interim of reverential sociality, Harper Anderson sat by herself. On an outward visibility, her hand involved itself in writing, and when his voice levied into the metropolis of voices, he felt her eyes dart to him.
So, he walked, transfixing her with a parallel misadventure of blues to browns.
“It’s been long, hasn’t it?”he innocently raved, as he pulled the seat out and sat down, “Just, yesterday actually, but I feel it’s more of a movie moment saying it the other way…”
“Miss me, my favorite archenemy?” his scornful mouth gave his grantee a smirk, “Y’know- Saving me a seat and all?”
“It also seems like a good time to ask you, Harper” he laughed, “Do you naturally like looking a bit murderous? Or did Sawyer dragging you into a cat sacrifice wake something sinister in you-”
Mr. Zimmerman droned on with his monosyllables. Zachary Lee screwed open a Dasani water bottle absentmindedly, but before raising it to his mouth, offered her a sip,
“I’m not much of a germaphobe either way,” he thought to share, “Maybe a little holy water will make that expression turn around..,maybe… well not really it’s just Dasani. But, water?”
Tatum had quietly followed Jules around downtown and then through the thrift store, as the girl questioned her Tatum couldn’t even think of twenty words to describe herself. Maybe her heart was too broken to try and instead she kind of shrugged at the question, “I um don’t know.” She felt bad for not answering the question but all she could do was hope she didn’t completely breakdown in front of Jules and all the strangers along the sidewalk. How would she describe herself? A fake? A liar? A pretender? She sure wasn’t who she had made everyone think she was. She had lied more and more, was she happy in her life? Was she content in her life? Was she really happy with Zach? She wasn’t sure of the answers but what she did know is she was lying to everyone about how she was doing.
The thrifting had been fun, and Tatum had gotten the jacket Juliet had suggested for her, and for a moment she felt happy and had forgotten about her problems. However, the second she returned home she turned on the lights and saw the emptiness of her house. She saw the untouched mail sitting on the counter, the small number of dishes in the sink and money on the counter. She knew that meant her mom had come out of the room, but for how long? As she walked up the stairs, she saw the door to her mother’s room slightly ajar and Tatum looked in. There she could see the disheveled mess that was her mother, curtains closed, wine bottles scattered across the floor and her mother asleep. She saw her mother happy only on small occasions and this was not one of them. She quietly closed the door and made her way to the room. She was supposed to spend the night with Noemie and Isa, but she had chosen to skip out and instead she made her way to her room, and let herself cry from the day. Let herself finally feel weak and feel the weight of what her boyfriend had actually done.
When morning had come Tatum could barely force herself out of bed, she didn’t want to face the eyes of those who had read her fight with Zach and she wanted to avoid the town, escape and pretend for a moment that her life was perfect. She had messaged Nomes and they had agreed to skip school and go on a road trip. School wasn’t worth the struggle and her heart was still recovering from the day before. She threw together an outfit and waited for Noemie to show up so they could leave the town and get away. She had chosen to silence Zach in order to avoid any drama that could happen, after all she knew deep down, they didn’t have much left in them to handle another big fight and maybe if she avoided him, they could heal. Maybe they could go back, maybe they could be what they once were. The happy couple who went on adventures and laughed so hard until it hurt. Go back to when she felt like Zach loved her, because now all she could feel was the fact that he was pushing her away, and she couldn’t stop it. But today, today she could avoid a fight. She would be with her soulmate and nothing could go wrong.
Lemon had enjoyed her time with Lulu at the soup kitchen and she hadn’t been upset about waiting for her reading. When she had returned home, she had gathered supplies to bake cookies for Oliver. Ian had scarred the boy with whatever his green concoction was, and Lemon knew she could make it up to the poor boy. She was worried for Oli, but she had to be careful befriending him and not scare him off. All she could do was hope that Oli would love her cookies and she had made them into the shape of turtles. She had used frosting to the get color of the turtles and then covered the cookies, leaving a note that they were not to be touched. She knew her dad would have eaten them; he loved her cookies.
The next morning Lemon had gotten on to Twitter conversation with her best friend Tae about him doing some photos for her and her modelling. She was nervous because she wasn’t one to dress like some girls and she was usually more conservative in her outfits. She had to dig through her closet to find the outfit AJ had gotten for her for a party. Lemon hadn’t worn it because she felt as though it were more revealing than she had ever wanted to wear, or her dad would let her wear. She put the outfit in a garment back and took it to the car for later in the day.
When she arrived at school, she carried the tray of cookies with her towards Oliver’s locker, she had only seen his locker a couple of times, but it couldn’t be hard to find. As she looked around her eyes caught sight of the boy’s dark hair. She approached calmly and tapped the boy, “Good morning Oliver. I brought these for you. They are sugar cookies and I tried to decorate them like sea turtles. I’m not an artist but I hope you like them. I know Ian gave you a weird drink, but cookies always make me feel better so I thought you would like these.” Lemon had a cheery smile plastered on her face as she carefully handed Oliver the small paper plate of cookies.
… can’t believe he just punched him...
… Fight! Fight...!
… damn, he’s really messing up his face...
Somebody call security…!
He woke up before he could relive being pinned down against Hartfield Academy's ice-cold cafeteria floor and handcuffed. Instead, he found himself in his bedroom, without an ounce of morning light peeking through his window shutters
He woke up two hours before his alarm clock set off. Ugh.
Instead of getting up right away, Matt just laid in bed, doing mostly nothing. He pulled his blanket over his head, hoping to return to sleep. When that failed, he turned on the bedroom lampstand and continued reading a Sherlock Holmes story about an engineer with a missing thumb. One would say it's because he'd slept earlier last night, but no, he actually only had about 5 hours of sleep. He didn't feel quite so tired, though. Maybe his brain was just numb and hadn't realized it yet.
Eventually, sometime after hearing his parents wake up and prepare for the day, Matt finally dragged himself out of bed and began his morning routine with a quick shower. Kekoa and her dad left for school first after finishing their breakfast. Matt's mom, Mililani Manzano, asked her son if he was sure he didn't want them dropping him off at Parish Bay High before heading to Hartfield Academy, but Matt reassured her that he would be fine getting to school on his own, and he wanted to make a quick stop at Sleeping Hedgehog Cafe for his favorite matcha latte along the way.
"Don't forget your helmet," his mom said. "And please, get there safely, anak."
"I will," Matt said, giving his mom a quick one-arm hug after finishing his breakfast. Then, he picked up his backpack and exited the house with his inline skates and round, scuffed skate helmet on.
He never tells his mom or step-dad Bernard how he skates to school. Commuting to Parish Bay usually takes him 20 minutes, and he tried making the most of it by swerving around or hopping over occasional obstacles, like parking bumpers and short stairs, and even zipping down the street when there aren't any cars nearby. By no means, he wasn't known to be reckless. Matt also slowed down if he had to wipe off smudges from his glasses or pass harmlessly around pedestrians. Now that he wasn't in Hartfield's hockey team anymore, and rarely had enough time for his Parish Point forest explorations, he needed to find ways to make the repetitive school days interesting somehow.
• • •
Painting floats for the apple festival was not one of them.
Matt had nothing against the annual Apple Harvest. He just never had any interest in helping with preparations, and his only involvement was only showing up for the event, watching people play silly rigged games, and eating some of the plethoras of apple recipe foods.
But this year, Matt felt unmotivated to attend, for the first time since moving to Parish Point in 6th grade.
He definitely wasn't sure about going after splattering paint on himself accidentally on more than one occasion. While leaning over a piece of the float to color in an empty spot, he didn't notice his elbow dipped in the paint can until he felt the bright blue paint soaking through his green plaid sleeve—and this was one of his favorite shirts. That measly 5-hour sleep might be getting to him now.
He grumbled at himself. "Shit."
Arts and crafts were definitely not for him. Matt was more of a reading-dusty-old-book/rock-climbing guy—his sister Kekoa was more into art stuff and much better than him at it. He only volunteered to get the required community service hours, but he wished making floats weren't so messy and sticky and smelled less of cheap industrial paint and ink.
TL;DR Lemon gives Oliver cookies and he has a whole emotional moment.
Quiet people have the loudest minds
Still stuck in his thoughts, trying to figure out where he was and where he was supposed to be, Oliver felt a light tap on his shoulder. He flinched, jerking away from the contact and guarding himself with his arms, only to look up and see a calm and friendly smile.
He didn't need to be in fight-or-flight mode. It wasn't like he was at home...
He brought his arms inwards, hugging them over his chest so it wouldn't be as obvious how he was bent over to take some of the pressure off his broken ribs. He studied the small blonde, not recognizing her immediately. He'd only seen her in her Twitter profile picture, after all.
“Good morning Oliver. I brought these for you. They are sugar cookies and I tried to decorate them like sea turtles. I’m not an artist but I hope you like them."
Whoever this girl was, she knew his name. Oliver blinked in surprise, looking at the paper plate she held in her hands. His mouth fell open for a moment, then he closed it by biting his lip, looking away quickly before mouthing "thank you...", unable to give full breath to the words.
"I know Ian gave you a weird drink, but cookies always make me feel better so I thought you would like these.”
Oh, so she knew Ian? That was another point towards trusting her, Oliver thought. Ian's weird hangover potion was kind of a scary experience, but Ian had been gentle and understanding throughout that whole morning, certainly hadn't hurt him at all. He'd met Ian over Twitter, along with--
Lemon! Oliver recognized her after all. He smiled, easing up but still keeping his guarded position so as not to let on to how badly he was injured. Lemon cared about him, he knew that much, and after his mother warned that the police would be called if people knew... and he'd be out on the streets.... or something...
He had to hide it. No other option.
She handed him the paper plate, and he took it in shivering hands, glancing back at her without quite meeting her eyes. "I... thank you. Thank you so much. Thank you. Thank you."
For a moment he couldn't stop repeating the words; he looked like he might just burst into tears, happy and grateful and incredibly overwhelmed all at once.
He took a closer look at the decorated cookies. Their round, simple shape obviously wasn't anatomically specific to any species, but from the carapace shape they sort of looked like... "Olive Ridleys!" Oliver blurted out excitedly, before he could remember his mental rule about not speaking of turtles in public. "They look like... uh... the more common of the two species of Ridley sea turtle. The Kemp's Ridley sea turtle is the rarest one out of all seven sea turtle species. They nest in groups, like no other sea turtles. It's called a--" he launched into what seemed like speech he'd thought about for a very long time, going on for several minutes at a fast and exhilarated pace before he suddenly fell quiet, a little wheezy and out of breath, eyes widening in realization. "Oh. I, uh..." the word sorry didn't come to him, but that was what he wanted to say as he stuttered over the syllables and ended up just mutely turning his head.
Lemon had promised to give him time to talk about his fascination, but he was certain that didn't apply to school. Oliver took things literally: if Lemon said she would be happy to hear him out over private messages, in Oliver's head that meant she only would tolerate it in that format. Besides, he didn't want her to get bullied or anything. If he was weird around her and she didn't react, other people would think she was weird too and that would be terrible because--
Oliver needed to stop thinking.
TL;DR Josie's working on the float... very angrily
I'm no quick-curl barbie, I was never cut out for prom queen.
I danced in the desert, in the pouring rain, Drank with the devil and forgot my name, woke with somebody when the morning came no one there to shame me for my youth
'Cause I wouldn't be with you.
Music blasted from the pink alarm clock that laid on her bedside table. It used to be AJ's, but the Christmas present was threatened to be thrown out the window simply because it had hello kitty on it. Her parents vowed to give the more 'girly' presents to Josie from there on out. Besides being rudely awakened, the fact that the alarm clock was working again had only meant the power was back on and it'd brought a sense of relief to the girl. It was one of the many things that was crossed off of her worry list. And her list was pretty long if she was being honest.
Her worry didn't come without gain though! While most kids would hate the idea of picking up an extra shift for apparently no reason.
They could always use the extra money.
Josie had practically watched the last few days breeze by, actually excited to get back to school.
Despite her many duties at school, Parish Bay was a place Josephine felt like she could relax. No cleaning up beaches, no soup kitchens, no bible studies or scriptures she had to listen to-- and that's not to say any of those things were bad things. But Jo felt a little lazy today. That being so, she knew she was in charge of the float preparations this morning. With a sigh and a roll out of the bed, a bed that was incredibly big for her mind you.
Sleepovers were great with this thing.
Although... mostly just Liz now. Wasn't a secret that Clark wasn't allowed over. Her father had banned sleepovers with Clark in her own bed once he'd put two and two together about the crush that'd been forming for years... and it's not that he didn't trust her.
He just didn't trust him.
"I'm taking your toothpasteeeee." She called out, making a dash for the bathroom in the hall inorder to speed up the process that it was to get ready. Josie never really spent a lot of time getting ready, everything was fairly simple but that didn't mean she always looked like... well, a hobo.
Even if she believed she did sometimes.
"What? Hold on, what's wrong with your toothpaste?" What was wrong with hers? Oh, come on John. Nobody wanted to use bubblegum toothpaste that was made for children because regular mint seemed too 'spicy' for four year olds. Alright, maybe Josie actually enjoyed that toothpaste. But Clark was helping out with the floats today, which meant Josie would be spending most of the day with him. Despite having to dress up a little safe for the paint she'd likely splash on herself today... there was zero way she was going out with bad breath too.
"I'm... all out." Josie lied, squeezing the biggest dot onto her own unsurprisingly pink toothbrush.
"Byeeee." The blonde had ran to her own bathroom, scrubbing her teeth with as if she was The Flash himself, and splashing her face with water. Don't judge her for not having her own facial routine, Josie's skin was very sensitive. Trust her, she's tried all the cool masks and it had only ended up giving her pimples she tried to prevent!
Yesterday was a great day, tiring, but great.
Well, there was that one part where Isa had made her seem like a fool in front of Pastor Martin who had set her in charge. Now, he probably even believe she had leadership duties in the first place. Before Josie could convince herself that she had to say goodbye to youth group, she had to find something suitable to wear and... as a teenage girl would, she was convinced she had absolutely zero clothes.
"You know what? Nope. I'm not gonna make a disaster out of my room today just for dumb Clark."
"What was that?" John yelled out from the other room as he frantically searched for a throw on name tag, a name tag that Josie hasn't seen in forever. Apparently, Oliver Andrews aka Sawyer Andrew's father had invited him to work at the auto shop. They used to be friends once a upon a time, Josie isn't really all that sure on what happened though.
Alright, she just had to find...
her gaze fell onto a sweatshirt that was conveniently splayed along the lavender, beat up ottoman in the corner of her room.
Hey, look at that.
Dumb Clark really stepped up today.
Well, the imaginary fashionista of Clark in Josie's brain.
Whatever okay? It didn't have to make sense.
Josephine could've swore she winded up snoring in history, but thankfully... nobody noticed. Or, maybe everyone was just kind enough not to mention it. The girl was exhausted, she'd stayed late to clean up at the soup kitchen last night barely even taking into the account that it was a school night. Josie's responsible until she decides to stay late so Carol wouldn't do all the work.
Max be damned and his feelings for Carol. Josie didn't particularly have the greatest soft spot for Carol, but she's known her since she was barely old enough to open her eyes. And that alone, plus the incredibly cheesy presents she'd give to her on her birthday there was no way she'd be able to say no. Not that Carol was a mother figure or anything, but she's the closest thing she's got right now.
Carol had her heart in the right place.
That's all that mattered.
The rest of the day was going to be excruciatingly slow, she could tell how her eyes had almost fluttered shut but the sound of a paintbrush hitting the gym floor with a thud had startled her into a burst of energy. Josie shook her head, returning back to work as one of the many, many, apples she was painting on this year's float came to a perfect finish.
God please no.
The voice that was ringing in her ears was immediate for Josie to recognize, and she braced herself for the impact of one Claire Malkovich.
"... Hey, Claire." She couldn't help her tone of voice sounding increasingly disinterested by the second. It was obvious that Claire had only wanted one thing from her, because otherwise? She wouldn't of even interacted with Josie unless Clark was around. She swore that Claire had some kind of idea that Josie was incredibly in love with him and used that against her with every extremely forward flirty word that escaped her mouth.
"Say, have you seen Clark? After our study date yesterday, he forgot his sweater."
This, naturally made Josie quite curious in the conversation, glancing over at Claire for a mere moment and that's when Josie's attitude turned to full rage.
Of course, she wasn't going to show it.
After all, it wasn't like every girl who wore Clark's sweater was suddenly his girlfriend or anything.
Josie grit her teeth and took a deep breath, letting it throughout her nose and settling on a smile. A smile that was clearly not genuine at all. Imagine a piranha practically awaiting at the dinner table for supper.
"You sure? I know you two are awfully--"
"I said I haven't seen him, Claire."
An eyebrow raised and a smirk had settled onto Claire's face, Josie knew because she heard her smiling as Claire dared to continue.
"Awe. Josephine, are you jealous? You know I wouldn't dare to steal him away from you, I know you guys are really close, and becoming his girlfriend won't ever change that." Oh, no matter her choice of words. Josephine came to understand that Claire knew exactly what she was doing. It was all a part of some elaborate plan to eat at Josie's feelings until she finally snapped on her.
Happened once, when they were thirteen.
Everyone still kinda talks about that night where Claire broke her leg because she tripped...
over Josie's leg.
Look... she didn't mean it. Really, she didn't.
"We just have that spark, you know?"
Isn't murder something god forgives too? It probably won't even be that big of a sin, really. Maybe Josie would be doing what she was made for. For all of mankind, fulfilling a prophecy of some kind by killing Satan's daughter.
She knew it wouldn't be that easy.
"You know, I'm really busy here Claire. I think I saw him heading towards the basement actually." What's in the basement you ask? Oh. Nothing but a boiler and most likely a few rodents that Claire wouldn't be very fond of. Cockroaches? Sure, let's aim for ambitious.
"Oh. Really? What's he in there for?" Claire asked and Josephine settled for a shrug, she hadn't expected Claire to believe her or actually leave the gymnasium to go take the stairwell all the way to the basement. But hey, at least now Josephine could focus on the fifty-two or so apples she had to paint on this thing. This was super easy, although painting the same thing so many times in a row was bound to get boring, she should be fine.
Josie kinda wished she could paint a whole... something by herself. Y'know? Not like something on a canvas at home, or draw something with watercolor pencils in her sketchbook. She wanted her own... thing.
Eh, that sounded silly.
Josie just wanted something she could be a hundred percent creatively in charge of... and to show it off.
Apples were barely her showing off her talent.
And that's if Josie even had any to begin with.
Clark appeared not long after and Josie probably wouldn't of noticed him if it wasn't for the ginormous box he was holding full of supplies, decorations and foam apples and Josie was incredibly so happy that Claire wasn't here to make a comment on how strong he was over foam apples.
"You just missed Claire," Josie said, finishing an apple off with a little bit of white to add the element of shine before picking up the hammer beside her and setting a nail up to hit it's mark for the ribbons to hold around the float.
"Apparently, you left your sweater there."
The hammer hit the float with force, and before she knew it-- it was a really good way to get out some tension. "And, turns out poor Claire got cold--" The hammer had gotten louder the harder she'd hit the nail, barely missing her fingers by inches.
With every sentence was a hit to the poor nail that was Josie's outlet for her rage with Claire Malkovich. And in her defense? Who could blame her? The only person in this entire school who honestly enjoyed Claire was probably Zach. And that's just because he thought she was hot! but then again...
Ashley woke up that morning in a very bad mood. She’d ended up on the floor after a night of tossing and turning, which in turn resulted in a very sore back. Not the best thing to have when you’re trying out for cheer. With a sigh she began preparing her outfit for the day. If yesterday was about looking respectable, then today was about looking pretty. With a cropped sleeveless shirt, high waisted jeans, and a flannel that concealed the fact that her shirt broke the dress code.
She tiptoed downstairs to see that her father was long gone. Typical. It was natural that he’d trust his daughter and all, but even she’d have loved if her father could say goodbye to her on the day of cheer tryouts. Maybe even offer some words of encouragement. She’d need them given how nauseous dealing with Kat made her feel. She just had to remind herself to keep her mouth shut, and call her hot. Dancing seemed to be secondary to that.
She sighed recalling the events of yesterday. It was the most embarrassing thing she’d ever gone through. That little twerp Evie had stolen the boys KitKats! This was supposed to her big move! And then she proceeded to embarrass Stu with his story.(Which by the way didn’t bother her in the slightest. You gotta go when you gotta go.) And then grabbed Oliver without his consent forcing both boys to run away. That was why she smacked her. Well at the very least tried.
“Dumb no good little-“ she grumbled, walking out the door. Next time she saw Evie she was gonna do more than hit and miss. She was gonna wail that bitch so hard she’d piss herself. Maybe then she’d know what it feels like.
But for now Ashley had other priorities. The English assignment being one of them. She’d prepared her presentation on Carol Harris. Love her or hate her, she may be one of the most influential people in town. With a stroke of the keyboard she could unite the teens of this county for a brief few moments against her.
It was bound to be a shocker for sure. But was she wrong?
Ashley slipped into the room among the first few to enter. She had to confess she dozed off a bit, missing almost all of Stu’s presentation. Once it was over she tried to start a round of applause though she had absolutely no clue what it was about. To nobody’s surprise she failed miserably.
Maybe... she should have made more concrete plans with this Peter guy about delivering him ginseng. Where in school were they supposed to meet? What time are they meeting? By the time Juliet remembered to respond back, she was already almost late for school. Maybe if she didn’t spend most of her time getting ready doing her makeup, then maybe she would have had enough time for breakfast. Honestly, why is she putting so much effort in how she looks when she is just going to be wearing a school uniform? At least she wasn’t actually late for scho-oh wait, she forgot she needed to drop Oliver’s bag of clothes at the park! Now she would really be late for school. Maybe Hartfield will be nicer to new students? Maybe they will feel bad for her for “getting lost on her way to school,” yep that will be her excuse.
Juliet stomped down the stairs in a hurry while her parents were lounging away drinking kombucha in their hands. Analise Everett looked up and gave a little wave, “Have a great first day of school!”
Juliet stopped, surprised that her mom acknowledged her at all. Usually her parents just didn’t pay any attention to her by distracting themselves by something interesting. Sometimes, it made Juliet wonder if she’s a boring person if her parents never acknowledge her. Today they did, or at least her mom did. The rushed girl gave a little wave, “...thanks! I’ll see you after school!”
The girl zoomed in her car to hopefully the only park in Parish Point. She hopped out of car with the bag of clothes and scanned the area to find a safe spot for the clothes. She knew that Oliver would have to get to the park later as Juliet was already late for school as it is. She’s going to be missing maybe a class or two once she gets her locker assigned and class schedule. Gosh, why is she like this! She found a good spot to hide the clothes, well, maybe it wasn’t good because it was underneath a slide. Before doing so, Juliet messaged Oliver how she was already here at the park and where she hid the bag. Wow, it sounds like she’s hiding a dead body.. which she is not! Juliet sighed in relief to finally get one thing out of the way, then she zoomed to school. She was so surprised that she didn’t get a speeding ticket by how fast she was going.
Juliet’s first impression of the school was that it was pretty well-funded. The cafeteria seemed nice and the entire building was well-kept. She wished she could force herself to mingle and introduce herself to people, but every student was rushing to get to their third class. It was a good thing and a bad thing to not get the chance of mingling with her peers. For one thing, Juliet couldn’t make any connections. The second thing is that she can’t seem to calm her heart down from being anxious at a new school. No matter how many times she moved, that first day of school feeling never goes away. Usually, Juliet keeps to herself. This time, she’s putting herself out of her comfort zone to make friends. So far, it’s been working. She ended up earning two friends in two days! Fortunately those two friends go to Hartfield Academy so she has a higher chance of seeing them sometime today.
Looking at the school clock, Juliet groaned. Of course, she just had to miss English and Statistics because her time management is awful. At least the next class is Spanish, she and her parents lived in Madrid for a minute but they got bored of living there after two months because it was too polluted. Juliet agreed but she kind of missed the city. Everyone was nice and blew smoke in her face. She was able to eat tapas and drink wine at the age of sixteen because it was legal at that country. It was fine though, she did not make any friends at that beautiful city in fear she was going to move soon, which she did. Juliet walked through the halls, scanning the numbers to find the correct room and she did... and there was Peter! What a coincidence! She did read on her astrology app that things were going to go her way today, and it seems like it’s coming true.
Before she could introduce herself, a blonde girl bursted out laughing as she elbowed him gently. Juliet wondered if Peter and the blonde were friends but no matter the case, she was glad that she brought an entire box of ginseng instead of one. Jules learned her lesson from yesterday with Tatum and Stu. Slinging her black leather backpack over her shoulder, Juliet chirped, “Hey, it’s Peter right? I got the goods! Oh and I also got the goods for your friend too.”
--------don't type anything after this comment--------
TL;DRFeeling confused about Ben, and annoyed that shes about to have to spend time with ramen head
when you wear a mask for so long, you forget who is behind it.
Harper’s eyes flickered between Mr. Zimmerman and Zachary Lee who stood at the front of the classroom. She silently begged that Mr. Zimmerman would send him down to office, refusing to let him participate for the day for being late. Zach barely spoke any words before practically pushing past their teacher, his gazed transfixed on her own. To say she was unimpressed would be an understatement.
Harper rolled her eyes almost instinctively as the boy took the seat next to Harper. Harper turned her gaze back to her own paper. Copying down the instructions for the day’s experiment, she figured there wasn’t a point to even trying to work with Zach, he would just make her do all the work herself. That was what she expected anyways.
“Not long enough.” Harper mumbled under her breath. How had she gone so long without officially meeting Zach, and now she was stuck partnered with him for class.
Mr. Zimmerman turned around to face the class, he begun to explain their experiment for the day. Harper closed her notebook. Ignoring Zachary’s assuming comments that she had saved the seat for him. He knew she had not, he had to have known she wouldn’t have gone out of her own way to save a seat for him. It just happened, she had no friends in Mr. Zimmerman’s class. It was full of clique girls and guys that she just never got along with.
To be honest, she didn’t really have any friends outside of Sawyer and Max, and well Ben. But he didn’t count, he didn’t live in town any longer. And well, they were never really just friends.
Mr. Zimmerman finally got to the end of his monologue, explaining the importance of following the directions. He was extremely serious and taking this whole biology unit way too seriously for seniors who were just taking it as a class to graduate.
It was just when he dropped the bomb shell of news that had Harper’s mouth hanging wide open.
“Now that we are almost through with the first month of school, I would like to tell you that the person you are sitting next to, will be your partner throughout the rest of the term. You may get to work.” Mr. Zimmerman finished, taking his seat behind his desk.
Harper’s hand shot up into the air. Mr. Zimmerman tipped his glasses forward at the end of the bridge of his nose. “Yes Ms. Anderson?” He raised his eyebrows.
“Sir” She lowered her hand, resting her arms on the edge of the desk. “Is there any chance of changing partners… At all.” Harper hoped that maybe she could get lucky and life would stop giving her all these hurdles to jump.
“No, Ms. Anderson, someone has to be stuck with Mr. Lee. I’m sure you’ll do great on the project despite him.” Mr. Zimmerman pressed his glasses back up the bridge of his nose, turning his attention back to his computer in front of him.
Harper slumped backwards on her stool, before remembering that there wasn’t a back to this chair to lean back on. Almost losing her balance, she threw her body forward leaning on to the lab table in front of her.
“I’m not your archenemy.” She rolled her eyes meeting Zach’s as she tipped her head backwards. “And no-“ She opened her notebook back up. “I did not miss you.”
“I think it’s just the company.” Unfortunately for Harper, when she is was in a bad mood, her emotions were written across her face. “The only thing keeping me going,” She picked her pencil up tapping it against her lip. “Is that I will get to trip you tonight, if we need to make a run for it.” She smirked, looking up at Zach she imagined tripping him just for fun. Leaving him behind in the Hawking house, though she knew she could never actually follow through with something as horrible as that. They were all in this together and she wasn’t about to leave anyone behind.
Though, Max being grounded did have some benefits. He was one less person to worry about, his constant worrying was likely going to cause him to have an aneurysm one day.
She raised her eyebrows furrowing them together. “Yea I don’t think so.” She shook her head. “If you’re going to offer someone water, don’t offer trash like Dasani.” She chuckled just a bit, tucking her chin to her chest. “Anyways, we need to get to work. Why don’t you go grab the goggles and I’ll gather the beakers.”
Harper stood up from her stool, looking down at the ingredient list in front of her. “It’s a good thing you aren’t a germaphobe. Never know what you could run into at the Hawking house.”
She shrugged, turning on her heal she went off to the other side of the classroom. Harper smirked to herself, she thought that was a good comeback. Dead cats, that was pretty germy, plus the moldy food. And who knows what kind of tetanus.
Harper made her way back to the table at the same time as Zach had got back with the goggles. “So do you need me to lead this? Or did you actually pay attention?”
there are so many beautiful reasons to be happy....
The rays of sun beamed through the cracks the curtains covering the windows had missed. The light slowly crossed the room as it reached Astraea’s face. Slowly her blue eyes began to flutter open as they caught the light beginning the new day. She squinted as she slowly pushed herself to be sitting up in bed, stretching her arms out she yawned. What a beautiful morning to be awake, she thought to herself. Getting up to throw her curtains wide open.
at least that is what she thought was happening. Truth be told, Astraea was still very much asleep. She groaned as the light from her windows crossed her eyes, rolling over in bed. She subconsciously made the decision to pull her covers up over her head. It wasn’t until she heard her father knocking at the door did she shoot up in her bed. A bit of drool hanging off the corner of her lip. Rubbing the crust from the corner of her eyes, she reached over lifted her phone off her side desk. As her eyes came into focus, she realized what time it actually was.
7:03, “fuck.” She mumbled under her breath as she threw her duvet cover off and onto the floor. Astraea ran to the bathroom, quickly rinsing off her face. Astraea practically was stumbling over herself as she got ready for the day. Her hair was a complete mess and the bags under her eyes made it seem like she had not slept in days. Well, that was at least how she saw herself. To others they were barely noticeable.
Astraea ran her fingers through her hair, tossing it up into a half ponytail. Placing her liquid eyeliner between her teeth, quickly she threw some concealer under her eyes. Throwing it back on the counter, she took the eyeliner out from between her teeth, sweeping it over her eyelids effortlessly, before she also tossed that onto the counter of the sink.
Astraea threw herself across the threshold of the bathroom door, 7:12 the clock beside her bed read. “fuck, fuck, fuckity, fuck.” She mumbled as she stumbled over a pair of old soccer cleats at the end of her bed. Running into her bedframe, she stubbed her toe. Her face pinched together as she held in her painful screams. Throwing her closet door open, she pulled out the quickest outfit she could pull together. Who knew if it even looked good, it probably looked like she had gotten dressed with her eyes closed.
Astraea flew down the stairs, grabbing a frozen waffle off the counter. She sped past her mother and father who were seated at the dinning room table, barely stopping to give them a kiss on the cheek before flying out the door.
Astraea was completely out of breath as she reached the parking lot of school, thankfully she only lived about a mile from the school and if she ran at her tops speed it should have only taken her 9 minutes. She could have been quicker had she stayed in shape from soccer, but she had enjoyed her summer of complete nothingness. No longer having to worry about being the best. She rested her hands on her knees, taking in a deep breath, trying to slow her breathing before she went inside the building.
The rest of Astraea’s day went rather smoothly, she had a few classes before her free study hall period where she had gotten a note to help with the float. Her best friend Matty had to finish out his community service hours, and maybe this was not exactly where he wanted to be spending his time. Either way, she was not going to leave him alone even if that was what he wanted her to do.
Astraea bounced into the gymnasium, she lifted her chin looking over the float and all of the apple designs and cut outs. Finally, her eyes landed on the curly brown-haired boy, seated by one of the wheels of the float, surrounded by buckets of paint.
She skipped across the gymnasium over to her best friend. “Matty!” She squealed, wrapping her arms around his shoulders from behind. Effectively, getting green paint plastered on her torso. “Look at you, embracing the true artist you are.” She snickered to herself, she knew that Matt was not a fan of all the community service he had been assigned. All from just protecting his sister because of the lies some bully had been trying to spread.
“How are you today?” She plopped herself down next to Matt, sitting on her knees. Matt and Astraea had ironically been kicked out of HA in the same year, of course for different reasons. Though, if she had been in the café when everything went down. It may have been for the same reason.
At least, that was what she liked to believe; truth was Astraea was not much of a fighter. She felt wet on her stomach, looking down she saw the splatter of paint that she had accidentally picked up when she hugged Matt from behind.
“I haven’t even started painting, and yet I’m already covered with it.” She giggled… She could tell Matt was annoyed about something, she nudged him with her shoulder. “What’s up with you?” She lifted her eyebrows slightly as her smile dropped from her face.
"Isn't a bit early? I would have thought you would have been more hesitant to start your first day. Anyway, good morning Piyeone." The woman reading quietly in living room said, not bothering to look back at her niece behind her. More so because she wanted to seem cool then uncaring.
Piyeone smiled, standing at the bottom of the stairs, sipping her freshly brewed coffee, which wasn't as satisfying as anything she could buy at a café but it would have to do. "Good morning Auntie Rin" she replied, still just basking in the soothing heat in her stomach from the cup of joe, when another woman walked out from the side room, already dressed in her suit and ready to head to the office ahead of Rin who'd show up at a later time "안녕" (Hello/Good Morning 'informal') Piyeone chimed but her greeting was only met with a stern glare which sent chills down her spine and a deep blush on her face. "미안합니다...안녕하세요 친미 씨" (Sorry, Good morning Chinmi 'formal/polite') She said with a slight bow, feeling foolish for being so rude to her Aunt's wife.
" 안녕, 잘 지냈어? " (Hello/good morning, are you doing well?) The woman responded as her hard glare softened into a calm yet still bold expression, which then turned itself into a small smile. While they didn't think it was super necessary, they were glad she learned Korean and more about her heritage, even if it was a bit odd for it to be so normalized for her. Most Korean girls her age in America would be hard pressed to know Korean at all.
"네, 감사합니다. 저는 이따가 학교에 갈 거예요 ." (Yes, thank you. I'll be going to school a little later) Piyeone responded as she stepped back into the kitchen to finish and put away her coffee. When returning to the living room she was surprised to find herself in a gentle embrace from her Aunt-in-law, but it only lasted a moment before her surrogate parent was out the door, and off the work.
"She's been really worried about you, you know. Chinmi really wants you to be happy, I know it's not going to be easy, being the new girl, making new friends, but you're more than capable. Your mom would be....Err, your sister would be proud." Rin added as she to flipped through one last page in her book, before closing it and turning back to face Piyeone "Good luck kiddo, I'm rooting for ya." Rin was proud of of niece but undoubtable worried about her just as much as any true mother would. "And you are sure you're ok with going to Parish Bay? We can get you transferred to Hartfield, I know it's what your sister wanted."
Piyeone winced at the mention of her mother. She couldn't blame Auntie Rin, it was her sister after all, but it hurt to hear about them. Strangers.. The following words of encouragement definitely made her feel better, and though as calm as she seemed her hands were shaking just slightly. It really was scary, going to a new school, being around new people. Everything about Parish was completely and utterly different than from her life at Blackwood Academy. Which was, up until this point, her entire life. "I think so. To be completely honest, I'm just glad I don't have to wear a uniform anymore. I think it would be much less stressful anyway." Piyeone said with another warm smile at her Aunt. "Well, I guess I'll be going then. I'll see you sometime tonight.." Said said starting off strong but realizing she'd be home alone for most of the afternoon, as both Rin and Chinmi did seem to work quite a bit. The only reason they spent so much time with her when she visited and since she got home, was because they had taken time off specifically to be around her. It wasn't a common occurrence. Somewhere deep down she feared they'd go off to work together and never return, just like her real parents...
"안녕히 계세요" (Goodbye 'to someone who's staying') And then she was off, biting her lip nervously as the small woman climbed into her car, taking a moment to breath. "You'll be ok. Everything will be ok." The electric engine made a notification as the dashboard lit up, and Piyeone headed off to her first day at school in Parish Point.
__ __ __ __
Pulling into the school parking lot, Piyeone's grip on the steering wheel was tight enough to make her fingers start to flush red. It was almost paralyzing. She had been so confident up until the very last moment. She was confident, she knew she was. Yet something about this situation...Terrified her. Still, scared or not, the bright pink haired girl still had to go inside and find her first class. One of the reasons she came early, to give herself time to locate the classrooms she had to go to and work out the best method of travel. The idea of being late was scary all in itself, it's something she never had to really deal with before. Her older sister took some time to call last night and run her through how it all worked again. As a Hartfield alumni, the input her sister had was limited, but still helpful. In Parish she was her all on her own. The only thing that gave her comfort in that endeavor were the gaps between some of her classes, which she could use however she wanted, most likely to get lunch or read in the library. Parish Bay didn't seem as charming as Hartfield and was no where near at grand as Blackwood Academy, but at the very least it seemed to have some charm.
Eventually, she finally took a step out of her car, gripped her backpack and started walking towards the school entrance, already feeling the eyes on her back, mostly the back of her head of bubblegum hair. Would she collapse under the attention? Or soak it up, be the bad bitch she knew she could be?
TL;DR Clark will do literally anything with Josie and it'll be fun.
See the good in everything.
It was 6:30 in the morning and Clark was already out in the pig sty trying to get Francine to go back in her stall. He’d woken up early to walk the pigs and make sure that all of their stalls were clean and the fans were working okay. They had a pretty big stock show to go to in October and Clark’s father was insistent that they try their hardest to put up a winning pig. Last year's shows hadn’t gone as well as Jesse had hoped and he was really getting on Clark about it this year. Clark hated doing stock shows, he always got attached to his pigs and when they ended up getting the truck and he always cried. Clark squatted down and pat Francine on the head with a sigh. The pig looked up at him and let out a long snort and Clark laughed at her.
“You gotta go back into your stall, Francy. I have like thirty minutes to get to school and help Josie.” Clark patted her again and tried again to push Francine into the stall. The stubborn pig dug her hoofs into the dirt, absolutely refusing to move from her place. Clark let out a frustrated sigh and slid down onto the ground, leaning up against Francine. “Come on, Francy. Cut me some slack, I really need to go help out Josie. I think she’s still mad at me about Claire and if she’s mad at me then Liz will be mad at me and then I’ll have no friends!” Clark pleaded with the pig, throwing his hand up in the air dejectedly. The pig let out an oink that sounded almost offended and Clark was quick to turn around his words, “No friends except you, of course.” He laughed awkwardly and Francy let out an annoyed snort before finally moving into the stall. The only bad part about it was that Clark was still leaning against her and when she moved he fell backwards into the dirt. But Clark wasn’t about to let a little dirt get him down and he shouted triumphantly.
“Thank you!” Clark scrambled up from the dirt, shut Francy’s pen behind her. He ran off toward the exit to the sty and straight into his father. Jessie crossed his arms at his son with a small smile. Clark rubbed the back of his neck sheepishly.
“”Did you get everything done?” Jesse questioned with a cocked head.
“Yes, done and dusted!” Clark grinned brightly, not taking a moment to let his dad say anything back before taking off back to the house to get cleaned up before heading to the school to help out Josie.
The second Clark pulled up to the school and parked, he practically leaped out of his truck and sprinted full force toward the front doors. He blasted through the doors only to run into yet another person. Except this time it was Principal Bowers and not his very forgiving and kind father. Principal Bowers was not very forgiving, nor kind. Oh no. The older man gave Clark a scowl that almost scared him to death. Clark pulled on his backpack straps in embarrassment.
“I assume you’ve got a good reason to be running through my school, Mr. Holland?” Bowers crossed his arms and tapped his foot on the floor in angry anticipation.
“Yes, I’m a little late to help out Josie with the floats for the parade.” Clark managed a slightly terrified grin hoping that the principal would accept that answer and not keep him here longer than necessary. He didn’t want to disappoint Josie again.
“You’re lucky that I like that girl. Go.” Clark thanked him profusely and took off again only slowing down when the principal shouted after him, “Walk!”
Clark smiled as he walked into the gym and spotted Josie working on the float. He grabbed a box of foam apples from beside the door and walked over to her with quite possibly the biggest grin ever. Josie said something about Claire and then proceeded to hammer rather aggressively as she told him she had his sweater. Clark narrowed his eyebrows in confusion. He hadn’t worn a sweater to Claire’s house, had he? No, definitely not. He wore his favorite jacket and he for sure did not forget that.
“I didn’t wear a sweater.” Clark stepped up on the float next to Josie, “I wore my jacket and I did not forget that. Now, let me do that, you’re going to hurt yourself.” He grabbed Josie’s hand and carefully removed the hammer from her grip. He didn’t want her hitting her finger, and she seemed really angry for some reason.
“Anyway, that’s weird, I don’t know why she would say that.” Clark set to work sinking some of the other nails into the float, “You should put those foam apples on the side of the float. They’ll stand out well against the other painted ones.” He smiled and went back to hammering.
“Those look really cool by the way, I think you’ve done a great job!” Clark loved art a lot and Josie’s float was definitely a verifiable work of art.
All the other kids, with the pumped up kicks, you better run betta'run.
Alright. Genevieve had to admit.
This school sucked ass.
The richies, whores, people who got scholarship lucky and everything in-between was such a bore to be around. The only people she moderately tolerated here was fucking Tatum and she wasn't in SCHOOL today, who was she supposed to sit with at lunch? Despite to popular belief, Evie wasn't the most... well, popular. And no, it wasn't because of her damn attitude. She was a freshman in high school. Not to mention shorter than the whole irrelevant population. She's gone to so many different schools and yet, Evie still has no idea how the hell to make small talk long enough to ask someone if she could sit with them.
With Tatum? It was easy, she just insulted her and Tatum laughed.
See, that how Evie's attitude worked.
She couldn't be friends with someone who couldn't take a few jokes here and there.
The teacher's voice had practically become white nose as she doodled onto her notebook.
What was she doodling you ask?
'Ivy Dawkins is a fat, evil tiny bitch.'
Along with a stick figure and some devil horns of course. Obviously she was still mad from their interaction from yesterday, while it was incredibly stupid of her to let that dumb girl get under her skin, she couldn't help it. Genevieve was sensitive. Not that she'd admit that. But most people didn't even know that in the first place. It'd be incredibly embarrassing for the Evie Blake, badassest of all bad asses-- to be a big baby. Her gaze fell onto the nerd of HA. His hair was sticking up, and naturally this had made Evie want to make a comment on it. With some paper, a pen and a few seconds later, she was having a full blown conversation via paper planes.
'Do you always wear your hair like that?'
He patted down his hair and Evie held in a laugh that'd only released a snort and she allowed her hair to cover her while she pretended to write down the notes because the plague was way too interesting to pass up.
The teacher's attention had turned back to the board, and as did Evie's game she as playing.
'You made it worse.'
It was rather surprising that he decided to fight back, scribbling into his notebook quite furiously and this had only make her grin widened into a smile as he threw the airplane that landed a few inches short of her desk.
Damn, he threw like a boy.
Upon unraveling the failure of a paper airplane, the bell had rung.
'What. is. your. problem?'
Well, the problem was Graham Cracker, Genevieve was incredibly bored and he just so-happened to be in the right place at the right time with his terrible colic hair. Students started piling out of the room and Evie took that time to swing her bag over her shoulder and catch up to Graham. "Mascot boy, whatcha up to?" She asked, bumping into his shoulder quite roughly-- but in a teasing way, she wouldn't want to hurt him.
Not that she probably had enough strength to muster up to actually hurt him in the first place.
"Y'know what? I don't care. You're ditching with me. Let's go."