The entire week before this game Hayden had been busy working with coach, coming up with new plays. The problem with almost solely playing against Hartfield was that they knew the plays, they knew the strengths and weaknesses of the team. It was once an advantage, but since Hartfield got a new coach this year, they definitely had been learning skills. Frankie had been bragging about how awesome his coach was. Hayden knew that they could be as good as Hartfield, he believed that. Especially with how hard the team had been working the past week.
They had a good chance at winning, Hayden was not going to go home without one. Him and Clark had spent time after practice discussing plans even further. Though, Hayden was sure that Clark was sick of it at one point. The past two weeks all Hayden could talk about was the first game of the season. The game that kicked off the season. It would pave the way for the rest of the season.
Hayden walked out of the Hartfield guest locker rooms; this school sure went the extra mile when it came to its accommodations. Parish Bay did not have extra locker rooms for the away teams. He was all geared up and ready to go, he had gotten there early to go over the plays once more with his teammates. Though the team seemed to have forgotten that they needed to arrive earlier to warm up and go over the game plan.
Hayden rolled his shoulders, adjusting his shoulder pads as he caught Chance’s eye as he waved. Hayden picked up a light jog across the field. “You’re late.” He stated. Looking over at Frankie who stood next to him. “And you’re conversing with the enemy.” Hayden said sarcastically. He didn’t really have anything against Frankie, he was a good player. But today was too important. “No offense Frankie.” He nudged the Hartfield boy with his shoulder.
“Come on Chance, you need to get ready.” The team had to have a final powwow before they started, and the boys needed to get changed. The fact that Chance had arrived so close to the start of the game was ridiculous, it wasn’t fair to Chance himself or their team. “Everyone else is waiting on you.” Maybe that wasn’t completely true, Hayden was still missing a few other team members, but as much as he didn’t want to admit it. He needed Chance, Chance was one of their stronger players, as long as he listened to the plays. Hayden didn’t need most of the team as long as he had his “good” players. That meant Clark, Chance, Jacob, Jordan, and Alfie. The other five wouldn’t matter as much, as long as no one got injured, they could make it through a game without substitutions. Would it be the best outcome? Definitely not. But they would survive.
“I hope you’re ready to lose Frankie.” Hayden winked, he was really starting to feel overly confident going into this game. “Chance has finally stepped up his game and turned into a real player.” Chance had always been good, but sometimes his ego would get in the way, he had his own ideas on how plays should go. Sometimes coach would listen, then Hayden would try to take the idea and change it, change it to be something different, and what he saw as better.
To be honest, had Chance been there the previous year, Hayden was sure the two of them would have been co-captains together this year. But since Chance had spent time in Florida, doing who knows what, Chance was put on the team, without the title that he probably deserved as much as Hayden did. Only creating a bigger rift between the two boys.
Isa woke up in a bed that weren't hers but felt like it was. To be honest, she has felt more at home at Liz's house then she felt at her own home. It wasn't that her mother was bad or ignorant of her feelings. It just that her and her mother was fighting so much lately. It was like they would be good for the first few hours and then things would blow up. Especially right now. She had told no one about what her mom told her earlier this month. That her mother got a job offer at another state...and that she was gonna take it and drag Isa with her. She felt like Parish Point was bad for Isa, and leaving was the best option for her. Isa felt like she was wrong. That it wasn't the town or the people, it was just her choices but her mother wouldn't listen. So she did what she does best, she spun out of control. Each day was like a count down. She didn't have any choice in the matter. Yes, she was 18, but where would she go? Who would take in a runaway? She couldn't ask Tatum or anyone to take her in. So she had no choice but to go with her mother.
Isa was stuck then Maxine popped up and everything went to shit. Tatum tried to fix it but she couldn't fix this. She couldn't fix her, not this time. So Isa did another then she did best, she started arguments. She started with Tums, called her out on always wanted to fix her. Yelled at her for caring. She knew that their friendship was done as soon as she blocked her which never happens before. She pushed Max away for his own good. Maxine was a done deal, she hated her for drug dealing anyway. She didn't want her around any longer. So she would leave and break her heart but not everyone else. She made sure to make them hate her so they wouldn't care when she leaves. She looks at her phone, seeing an voice message from her mum. She plays it.
Look Isa, you can stay away from home all you want but we're moving soon. I don't want to have to pack up your stuff without you there. So, I need you to come back and pack up your stuff. You have until the end of this month to pack up or I will file a missing person report on you darling. I don't want to but you left me no choice now. Just come home.
She sighed, and just shook her head. She dragged herself out of bed. She got dressed, and saw that Reid texted her letting her know that he was on his way. Reid was...a new friend. More like fuckbuddy. They have been hooking up and hanging out these past couple weeks since the Apple Festival. It was something simple. There was no attachments, no feelings, just sex. It worked for the both of them. Isa wanted to forget her life, and her growing feelings for certain sunny. Reid wanted someone to have trouble with. So they made a arrangement, and it's working so far for the both of them. Isa hears his car, and rushes out the door. With a slam, she walks out and sees Reid leaning against the car.
He gives her that crooked smile that would make all the girls swoon but not her. She smirked at him, walking towards him. Isa gets close to him as she looks up at him. "I told you not to call me that darlin'." She says softly as she kisses the corner of his mouth. "It's Isa. Not Isabella. There's only one person who I let call me Isabella and you aren't her baby" She then kisses him roughly pulling away with a final kiss on his lips. Isa looks at Reid as she pulls away, she feels him wrap his arms around her waist as she leans into him more. She wraps her arms around his neck. She wanted to kiss him again. She knew that they were gonna be late to the game, with the look in his eyes. He wouldn't be able to wait much longer. It was ok, because neither could she. He helps her forget everything, and right now she needed to forget even her name.
Isa then pulls him down to her lips again, as she kisses him again.
Oh they were definitely gonna be late to the game.
Reid knew that using Isa’s full name always set her off, but it just rolled off the tongue too easily. And he enjoyed how she reacted. He spoke under the kiss as their lips met. “Oh. I. Know” he barely got out between the kisses. Her dark eyes bore into his light ones, he could see the pain behind them. He recognized that pain, that unknown. “But, I like it. Baby.” He said sarcastically. “Plus, it gets you all fired up.”
Isa and him, they worked well together. Having similar life experiences with spending time in juvey. Being with her, he never felt judged. He didn’t have to try hard when they just needed a physical a release. Neither of them needing or wanting more from their situationship.
Her lips only evaded his for so long before they eagerly crashed against his again, he pressed back against the hood of his car. His arms instinctively wrap around her waist, pulling her small body closer to him. “You can’t get away that easily, Isabella,” He smirked, brushing his lips across hers, his hands traveled up to her neck. Tipping her chin upwards towards his own. “Especially after a kiss like that.” He whispered in her ear. He gentle kissed the side of her temple, leaving a trail of kisses all the way down to her neck. “Maybe we should get out of here.” He said breathlessly against her collarbone.
“Before we end up with an indecency charge.” He chuckled against the bare skin of her neck. Before he knew it Isa had turned his head, pressing her lips against his once more. So what if they were late to the game, it wasn’t like they even had plans to watch it anyways. It wasn’t the professionals. It was just stupid high schoolers who treated this like it was the end of the world if they lost. It was just a game. It wasn’t going to decide what happened to them. All these kids, they’d just end up washed up players. They weren’t going to get scholarships playing in a town like this. No recruiters would bother to come out this way, Reid would know, Alabama had been the same.
Though he wasn’t thinking about that, he wasn’t thinking about Alabama, Johnathan, or his time in juvey. He just didn’t think, the voices were quiet. And it was all thanks to Isabella Edison-Rose. The only thoughts he had were about the brunette in front of him and her skin on his.
He interlaced his fingers into hers, guiding her over to the passenger side door as he propped it open for her. “So… How important is seeing the start of the game to you.” That crooked grin was back, as he bit the corner of his bottom lip.
--------don't type anything after this comment--------
Little hi little low little hey little ho
Stu’s puppy-like ears pricked and his eyes lit up right away in all the seven rainbow colours. Did the guy recognise him as the Parish Bay mascot? Could Stu... could Stu actually be *famous*? Like *celebrity* famous?
Oh right, it was just because he was wearing a pirate hat. Stu took the prop off and stuffed it into his bag, blushing. He didn’t need to be in his costume for another hour or so yet. He was just bored from the walk, that’s all, that’s why he got the hat out. Not because he actually wanted to be a pirate or anything. Not that!
(He wanted to be a pirate.)
A smile came to his face. He was being offered a ride and his poor legs could rest at last.
Obviously Stu missed the whole “don’t talk to strangers, let alone get in a car with them” lecture from his Dad, and in this boy’s mind the world was just fine and dandy and filled with KitKats and no one on the planet could possibly mean him harm or pose any danger to him.
Well, maybe except Genieve.
That Genieve was a clear and present danger.
So he got in the car, still broadly smiling. ‘I’m Stu,’ he said and reached for a handshake, thus making his introduction as awkward as possible. ‘What’s your name?’
Stu guessed at the older boy’s name. Maybe he was a Tony. Or a Tyler. Or a Theo. He looked like a senior or something, at least to Stu’s eyes. He was friendly and kind enough to give him a free ride. Stu often gave free food and snacks to other people, rarely did they return the favour. His luck over had at least been getting better lately though. First he got the free boat ride, then the free ice cream, then the free burger, and now this!
‘You’re from Parish Bay right?’
Because in Stu’s mind and experience, only a Parish Bay kid could be this nice. Fat chance a Hartfield kid was going to offer him a ride.
Stu was always excited and happy to meet a new friend. He got so excited he forgot to put his seatbelt on, and now he remembered. Yes, seat belts saved lives. Stu obviously took his own safety very seriously, barring that whole thing about getting into a car with a stranger and all that.
Stu looked out the window but wasn’t quite sure of their surroundings. He didn’t come to Hartfield often, so he trusted his new friend Tony-Tyler-Theo to know the way. Still, he didn’t recall that school being so far away, and so deep into the woods... They'd been on the road now for what, five minutes?
‘Boy, I’m glad I didn’t have to walk the whole way!’ he said, poking his tongue into his cheek. ‘Imagine going to school here. So far away… There’s nothing out here. Nothing!’
TL;DR there's a ghost that eats shoes in Sawyer's house.
And after all I can't know anything at all because I'm just a space cadet with no one to make my bed.
"I'm just a fucking kid, and I got a big ass head, I'm always crying, I'M CAILLOU!"
Sawyer was maneuvering around her bedroom practically screaming the parody song at the top of her lungs as she got ready. Shorts? On. Shirt? Sawyer did a quick sweep of her closet and pulled out the first shirt that had white in it that she saw. Shirt, check. Socks. Socks were important, especially when you were wearing shorts and everyone could see your socks. Sawyer exclusively owned those tall socks with weird patterns so she had to run down the stairs and into her dad's room to steal his socks.
"Oh sock drawer, sock drawer, wherefore art thou, sock drawer? Deny thy father and refuse thy feet." Sawyer twisted around the lines of Shakespeare as she pulled open random drawers on her dad's dresser. She'd never actually been in a Shakespeare play, but it was hard to forget those lines when the teacher who had read them aloud to the class her sophomore year had been so weird about it. It was very difficult to forget the look on Hunter Schaefer's face when she'd literally swooned into his arms. God, Ms. Quincy was so weird. The final drawer that Sawyer pulled open revealed the neat pile of long white socks that only a dad would have and she plucked up a pair triumphantly.
"Dad socks, checkaroonie." Sawyer hopped down the hallway pulling them on and then darted back up the stairs to her bedroom. The last thing she needed was shoes. Tennis shoes would probably work fine if she could find the goddamn things. If there was anything that Sawyer Andrews lost the most, it was shoes. There were probably at least four pairs of shoes she couldn't wear anymore because one or both of them had just disappeared into the abyss at one point or another.
"Shoes, shoes, shoes. Aha!" Sawyer had clambered down onto her knees to look under the bed and had seen the outline of the shoes she was looking for in the darkness. But there was only one. That meant the other one was either eaten by whatever primordial being lived in her closet and ate her shoes, or was somewhere else in the house. It was probably the latter so Sawyer set about looking for it.
Ten minutes had passed with no luck until, finally, she had decided to stalk back up to her room and literally saw the thing laying in the middle of the floor. That had definitely not been there before. No way. Sawyer's eyes narrowed and she glanced cautiously at her closet.
"Thank you, shoe ghost." And with that she had two shoes and was out the front door of her house, keys in her pocket, and ready to head to a football game. Football was weird. Sure, Sawyer was an athlete and she could respect other sports but she didn't understand why everyone enjoyed watching dudes get brain damage so much. But, there were cheerleaders and the general atmosphere of football games was something she enjoyed, so she didn't mind going. Besides, Hayden played and Harper went to like all of the football games so it would be kind of lame of Sawyer to just not support her best friend's brother.
Sawyer sprinted across the street, earning a singular honk from some old guy who was only driving like 3 miles per hour anyway. She didn't go inside Harper's house, no one had really been inside since Mrs. Anderson died and it seemed like that's how Harper preferred it. Sawyer had never questioned it, she could kind of understand. Besides, she liked hanging out at her house better anyway, there was always juice there.
"HARPER!" Sawyer had stopped below the girls window, shouting as loud as she could up at it, "Let's go, princess! Chop, chop. Places to be, cheerleaders to see!"
Only Ivy of all people would take to cheerleading like an addiction. Literally nothing about it was appealing. Maybe Evie was just weird but she didn’t get the whole eye-candy thing either. It just felt kinda dumb to sexualize cheerleaders, weren’t they wearing shorts or something underneath the skirt? Like what was the whole point? But then again, Evie didn’t really get a lot when it came to romance.
She’s never really thought about it much. It’s always just been one of those thoughts that felt like she’d have to worry about it so far into the future that it wasn’t even a factor now. But the more people kept bringing it up, finding dates for homecoming, being gross with each other, her friends— while they weren’t the same age as her, they were all getting paired off like gross whores. But it just made her wonder, y’know?
Genevieve didn’t want to like anyone— at least right now, anyway. So it wasn’t something that she was completely against. It just sounded weird, felt weird, was weird. Evie didn’t want to feel like a kid. But the more she protested about how weird it was— well, the more it sounded like she was one.
Ivy leaned in far too close to Evie and a grimace appeared onto her face, leaning backwards— as far as she could without her head hitting the locker. “I hardly count as a rich kid, alright this is a new development and not even my money, so shove off.” Genevieve swatted Ivy’s hands away to keep her shoulders safe from the slight poking and prodding.
“I made a chick bleed so I left PE. Obviously, c’mon. Connect two and two, man.” She gestured to her attire.
It was kinda crazy.
She couldn’t believe that she was referred to as a rich kid. Makes sense given the school… but it’s just a little surreal.
They’ve never had much money, and now? Apparently they have more than enough. It’s just…
It just kinda sucked.
Suddenly Ivy was making a quip about god knows what and she was all serious and suggestive-like.
What the hell did she mean—
Evie just blinked.
Ivy burst out into laughter, muttering something about how Evie thought— okay, anyone with a brain would’ve thought what Evie thought.
Gross. Disgusting. Revolting.
She cringed involuntarily and glared at Ivy, grimacing as she failed to swat her hand a second time as she flicked her nose.
“Can you just not today? I’m not in the mood.”
Evie grabbed her spare clothes and went around to the other side of the locker room to change.
Everyone and everything sucked.
This school was shit, her classmates were shit, the teachers were shit. What the hell is anyone paying for if everything is shit?
“If you’re gonna be you today, I want nothing to do with y—“
Suddenly, Evie had an idea.
You see, the two had plotted to steal a certain something from a certain place. We don’t know who’s reading so we gotta be careful, Evie isn’t lookin’ to get caught. That’s the last thing she needs.
Genevieve jumped multiple times, pulling her jeans up by the waistline before peeking the side of the locker.
Max and Winnie sitting on the bleachers....that's it...that's the joke
the scars you can't see are the hardest to heal
Winnie had only driven with Max twice before, and despite teasing his skills she did enjoy riding along with him. It didn't feel as chaotic like when she drove with Sawyer or drove herself. The drive enabled her to unravel the gift that dawned Faith's beautiful handwriting. For my best friend, it said and the sight brought a smile to Winnie's face.
She didn't know why Faith had gone and gotten her a gift, she hadn't thought to get her something, she would have to. Winnie pulls at the blue ribbon and the paper loosens. Unable to talk to Max, she focuses on the box in her lap. Its contents are a small charm bracelet. It looked handwoven, the charms adorning it were a golden paintbrush, the letter W, the letter F, an infinity sign and a silver music note. The gift was a perfect way to symbolize the story of them. Representing the longevity the friendship between would always have and the passions that they enjoyed above anything else. No one really knew of Faith's skill in singing, except Frankie and her closest friends, so Winnie loved that she put it on the bracelet. The accessory quickly finds a place fastened around Winnie's wrist, already feeling like it belonged.
The box is still not empty as a pair of brown pointe shoes sat in the tissue paper. The sight almost brings tears to Winnie's eyes. She had been wanting new pointe shoes for the longest time, having to resort to her old nude colored pointe shoes that caused blisters and made her feel out of place. She was going to pick up a few more hours teaching dance classes at the studio in order to make a few more bucks, but the hours that she was already working were already kicking her ass. She had to break these in immediately. If Max were to look over at her now, she'd look like a kid opening presents on Christmas. She definitely had to get something for Faith.
Her mind is going a mile a minute thinking of what to get Faith, that she at first doesn't notice that they had arrive to Hartfield Academy. She closes the box and places the ballet shoes in her backpack where another momento garners her attention. Her sketchbook. She trades the two items and zips up her backpack, excitement continuing to grow within her. She'd show Max her idea for his room when they sat down and waited for the game to start.
They find good seats where they weren't too far, but far enough to see the whole field, she'd be able to see the important players to her. Chance, Hayden, Frankie mostly.
As the two teenagers get situated, Winnie could basically see the panic and confusion on Max's face as he asked about the process of the game. Usually they start on time, I just come to support though. She shrugs. Chance really played football because of their Dad. Chance loved track and field more than anything, it's where he shined the most, however, in elementary school their dad had signed him up in football, and the two bonded over it. Her brother was good at it and when he first started playing, Winnie and their dad promised that they'd attend each and every game. Their mom would come too. After their dad died, their mom stopped going as it was too painful for her, but Winnie continued going. She was never going to stop supporting her brother, no matter what. Even if she really didn't understand football.
But it'll be fun. And Sawyer will probably explain better.
She suddenly remembers the sketchbook in her hands and a smile erupts on her face, it probably scared Max. Two things. She abruptly throws her arms around Max, squeezing him slightly in order to fulfill her promise of a hug. When she lets go the smile is still there and she flips open her sketchbook open to his room design. And I also sketched out your room. I think you'll like it. I hope you'll like it. She directs the drawings to her friend, hoping that he'll like her vision.
Evie was not as amused by Ivy's antics as the latter had hoped. Ivy huffed and rolled her eyes, but Evie being Evie, more entertainment was piled onto her plate before she had cause to complain.
"Sssshchchsh!! Inside voice!" Ivy held a finger over Evie's lips as soon as the proposal to steal a camera was put forth. "Not so loud. They're listening." Ivy rolled her eyes up and glared at the fire sprinkler as if it were a security camera. "But yes," she settled into an ostentatiously innocent and chipper composure. "I would love a quick welcoming tour around the wonderful and lavish Hartfield Academy campus." With another furtive look at the sprinkler, she dug through her gym bag and pulled out a long, old-looking purple and blue striped cardigan. Buttoning it up halfway hid the top part of her cheer uniform. The shiny blue pleated skirt was a bit conspicuous, but on first glance it wasn't going to be immediately apparent to any random onlooker that she was a Parish Bay cheerleader.
This way, on the off chance they got caught, there would be some reasonable doubt. The last thing she needed was to be booted off the squad because Genevieve Blake was as stealthy as a guinea pig in an egg carton.
"Let's get this show on the road, biatch."
Evie knew the way up to the photography classroom, which had luckily been vacated hours before. No clubs or after-class sessions or anything to foil their plot. Spotting the closed wooden cabinet built into the wall, Ivy glanced left and right for witnesses and then strutted up to the handles.
The cameras were new, but in a style that wasn't particularly high-tech. They wouldn't have looked out of place in the 1960s. It was almost eerie, in a way, looking at them all lined up with little brass numbers designating their places on the shelves. "Have a favorite?" Ivy asked her partner in crime, with a devilish smirk. "I'm feeling #20. Look at that lens. You could start a fire with that thing. Hey, that's not a bad sequel crime, huh? If we take out the PB field house they'll basically have to build us a new one…"
TL;DR Harper organizing her sock drawer and running late
when you wear a mask for so long, you forget who is behind it.
Harper had been in the middle of organizing her sock drawer, completely loosing track of time. She knew what time she was supposed to be at the game. But the drawer had chaotically become trashed, many of her socks seemed to be missing their pairs and she had gotten so behind that she had just been shoving them into her bottom drawer. Most were black ankle socks, making it a relatively easy task. Only a few with patterns that lacked their matches, that was a little bit upsetting.
She slid the bottom drawer closed rocking back on her heals, looking over her shoulder at the clock that sat beside her bed. ‘shit.’ Harper never ran late, and she had told Sawyer and earlier time than they needed to leave so that Sawyer would actually show up on time, and now Harper was running late.
Harper jumped up her legs felt all tingly as she tripped cross her room over to her chair that had an outfit laid out earlier. Just a pair of grey joggers and a parish bay sweatshirt. Harper couldn’t say enough, she was not ready for winter. No matter how many times she went through it. Harper. Hated. The. Cold. She didn’t care for the fun sweater weather or anything like that. She wanted the summer, spring, beach days, the long nights. Winter was just… Depressing.
Harper had barely pulled her sweatpants over her biker shorts when she heard the all too familiar voice, her best friend, her wife. BEING A COMPLETE IDIOIT. Screaming up at Harper’s window. She flung herself towards it, the feeling in her legs barely had returned. Throwing the window upwards. “SHUT UP.” She yelled in a hushed tone. “My dad is working.” That lie had become too easy to tell.
‘My dad is working, he’s sleeping, he’s out of town.’ It didn’t matter what lie she chose, as long as people got the point. They couldn’t come in, they had to stay away. They just couldn’t know why. Harper had to protect her father, protect him from the embracement, protect him from the painful world that they now lived in.
“Just shut up.” She looked over her shoulder, checking to see if her town was still closed. “I will be down in two seconds.” Harper quietly slid the window closed as she turned back around to the chair that still had her sweatshirt laying on it. Next to the one that Zach had forced upon her at the Apple Festival. How did this kid still have clothes when he was always giving them away?
Harper grabbed the hood of her blue and white hoodie, slipping it over her head and grabbing her bag that had their tickets and money for snacks. She quietly made her way down the stairs, and out the front door. Luckily without any last-minute interferences.
She locked the white wooden door behind her as she walked down the front steps of the porch. “You know you’re a real piece of work, right?” She looked over at Sawyer who was dancing on Harper’s front lawn. She could only chuckle at her very loud, very dumb, best friend. She didn’t know what she would do without the crazy blonde, probably would have had less near-death experiences… That was for sure.
The two of them got into Sawyer’s car (Mostly because Sawyer threatened to throw a fit if Harper didn’t let her drive) and made their way over to Hartfield to meet up with Winnie and Max. This was one of Max’s first games, which was rather surprising to Harper since she had been to every single one since Hayden had been a freshman. How he didn’t get invited along was a mystery for her, though those times were now practically a blur for the Anderson’s.
Harper looked at her phone, following Winnie’s shared location to where Max and Winnie were seated in the bleachers. Since both of them were too busy fighting with Kat to look at their phones. “Hi!” Harper smiled as she approached her friends, wrapping her arms around Winnie and drawing her into a hug, and then doing the same for Max. “How was your drive?” she signed to Max, knowing that ever since his ride with Lemon he had been that much more cautious in cars.
Football is about to commence, and Lemon's still nowhere to be seen. But hey, things are still okay
Winnie turned to Max so abruptly that he almost jumped, quickly jotting down in her sketchbook "two things" … before Max could take it from her to ask what, he was pulled into her arms and given a gentle squeeze that he couldn't help but return. Physical affection was a language Max found comforting; one of the few ways he could always communicate by. By the time they sat back from each other, he looked like he'd settled a bit: shoulders down, breathing at a pace that didn’t suggest hypertension.
Her second thing was flipping over the page to reveal a detailed floor plan of his room. It seemed to have been drawn to scale: the door and windows in just the right spot, the ceiling fan, and the light. Max looked back up at her for a moment, eyes wide and amazed. "Hey, this looks awesome!" Max carefully etched in the margins, neatly away from the drawing. "How long did it take you to make this?" Max's handwriting was godawful next to Winnie's, but he took his time to make it as legible as he could.
Really, her design was perfect. She'd carefully laid everything out, even placing all of his beloved plants where they'd be getting the right amount of sun from the windows. She'd drawn in some wall art: a few paintings, and what looked like a small mural of a few birch trees over his dresser. Max had never had anything on his walls before, or really any sort of decoration. Just the plants and his plain basic furniture. Whether through art or through other means, Max often had trouble expressing softer individuality. He'd developed a bit of a gag reflex to sharing the things that made him happy: what his favorite books were, the colors he liked… things he was worried about getting teased over.
Winnie's design gave the personality back to his space. "Do you think I'll still have enough shelf space for all of those school worksheets?" He rolled his eyes, a bit of humor crossing his face, but as he wrote his hand seemed unsteady and his letters turned back into wobbly chicken-scratch. "I love it. Thank you. This means a lot to me."
After a few minutes (filled by sitting in silence to tend to the latest assault of frothing Twitter fights), Max shoved his phone back in his pocket and looked back up just in time to see Sawyer and Harper clamber up the bleachers to their spot. Max waved over at them, shifting further in towards the middle to give them room to slide in. He also offered an awkward "sorry" to Sawyer… Twitter was a menace to humanity and this time he'd stepped on her nerves enough to get him a temporary block. But finally almost everyone was here, save for Lemon. Surely she wasn't too far behind…
Harper brought him into another hug: Max returned it, this time without a trace of hesitation. Since almost losing her to an abandoned house last month, he'd finally started to ease up and stop looking at her as though he were afraid he'd never see her again. Harper was his closest friend: no matter what happened, he'd always find his way back to being himself around her.
“How was your drive?” She asked. Clearly she’d taken notice of the fact that his experience with Lemon's truck had left him even more uncomfortable on the road than he was before.
Max had been through a lot of traumatic moments last month.
"It was fine." Again, his most pitifully unconvincing catchphrase, but this time he actually meant it. A fleetingly rare occurrence, but finally something truly wasn't a big deal. The drive up was quiet and relievingly uneventful. "I mean, I do have to come up here 5 days a week."
Max was the only Hartfield Academy student among the four of them here. It was isolating, in a way-- having most of his friends off at a separate high school.
He'd always imagined, since middle school, that they'd always be together at school: eating lunch at the same table, the same study sessions in the library.
He never thought they'd be split up by him going to a prestigious private school.
Sure, he came from an affluent and education-focused family, but Hartfield was for smart kids. Half of the students there got in on merit scholarships, and there he was having full tuition paid and barely scraping by with Cs and Ds.
It felt sickeningly unfair.
He didn't deserve his spot at HA. It felt like none of the teachers and faculty wanted him there, anyway: even the stupid uniform tie that he never figured out made him feel unwelcome.
At least he had a few friends there.. Isa, Madi, and Tatum eased the pain of it all, especially Tatum… having one peer classmate who didn't treat him like dry rot made a huge difference.
Five minutes ticked by at an unbearably slow crawl. Max had started shifting impatiently, frequently checking his phone for updates and glancing over his shoulder. Lemon still hadn't joined the group.
It wasn't unlike Lemon to be late, but this time it felt off. Every time he asked about the delay, she blamed Orlando: first he was monopolizing the bathroom, then he was hiding her truck keys… always Orlando. And all the while she kept defending Kat on Twitter, over and over.
He was used to that. He and Kat were always fighting, and Lemon always stepped in the middle to tell them both to knock it off. It shouldn't be bothering him as much as it was now.
This was fine. It was typical.
It wasn't a big deal. She'd be here any minute.
...This definitely had nothing to do with whatever Orlando was on about.
TL;DR Sed fermentum tortor nulla, vel sodales nibh bibendum eu. Maecenas a lacus a libero blandit commodo. In lobortis aliquam urna, id tempor ex semper at
LETS GO PINONEERS
It was the day of the game, Graham’s first game as the mascot of Hartfield Academy… Did he wish that he was performing on the cheer team still… Yes… He hadn’t really gotten over that loss quite yet. But he was working on it… At least he was still able to perform for the students. Everyone loved the mascots, right? They were cool, they got the crowd going, and Graham was definitely qualified enough to get the job done at the end of the day. He had been allowed to create his own routine and had even tested it out on Ivy one afternoon and to say the least she was impressed… Though she did ask him if he could add some pyrotechnics to his routine… And well even if he knew how to work some sort of fire hoop, he was sure that Hartfield supervisors would never allow it.
Ivy did make sure to remind him that she was sure he would be the better of the two mascots(Not that Graham cared, he was sure they could even coordinate some sort of fun fake rivalry and then maybe they could become friends. Though it would have to be secret so their fans would think they actually hated each other. It was a great idea to create a fan base and have students take sides to the rivalry.).
Ivy also made sure to tell him that he wasn’t allowed to out show the Parish Bay Pirate Cheerleaders, and no matter what he did, now that she knew his routine. She was going to make sure that their routine was 10x better than his was.
As Graham changed into his Pioneer Mascot outfit within the Hartfield Locker rooms. He pulled at the end of his vest, straightening it out in the mirror. Madi had kindly offered to iron the outfit for him for the first game, since he didn’t have his own iron, nor did he even know how to use one.
He patted down one of the legs of his pants, making sure that he took everything out of his pockets. He wished that he had practiced the routine in the trousers to the mascot costume, they were not as flexible has he had expected. Quickly doing a squat within them, just to test the limits… There wasn’t time to change, all Graham could hope was that he didn’t tear them mid flip. That wouldn’t be fun, and it would make a horrible impression for the Hartfield Mascots, and the cheer team would definitely never allow him on the team if he made a fool out of himself.
He still held onto the hope that if he could prove himself that maybe the Hartfield Cheerleaders would change their mind on their only female team. Maybe next year they would change their mind on the tradition… Graham could only hope at least.
Graham wandered out to the field, bright lights lit up the turf, he couldn’t even see the bleachers from this far. His feet took quick steps across the field as he headed towards the track where the cheer leaders had set up. He gave a quick wave to Madi and Megan, who only turned away from him as he approached. She didn’t seem to be a fan of him and his attempt at joining the cheer team.
He began to stretch out by himself in the far corner of the Hartfield’s cheer space, it didn’t feel like he was really wanted or accepted… Maybe being the Mascot wasn’t going to be as fun as he had thought.
Someone approached Graham as he was in mid split, reaching down the center of his legs, he didn’t recognize the adult and only furrowed his eyebrows as they tossed him a bag of KitKats. “What are these for?” Graham looked up at the teacher that stood over him.
“The Parish Bay mascot didn’t show up. We figured you could give these out instead.” Graham looked around at, there was no pirate. That was weird, maybe he had gotten lost on his way here. Graham knew that if he had to go to Parish for the game, he definitely would of gotten lost in the process. He had already expressed that concern to Madi, but she promised him that there were busses that would give him a ride, and if they couldn’t, Madi would make her brothers drive the two of them. There was no way he was getting lost or being picked up by some stranger.
“Oh… Okay.” Graham tossed the bag up in his arms. He could add this in, it would be fun. Everyone would love him for throwing out treats, wouldn’t they?
The marching band started to play, blowing their trumpets, banging their drums, marching along to the beat of their own creation. The cheerleaders were getting into position, which meant it was time for Graham to get ready. Graham took leaps across the turf as he made it towards the center where the marching band had stopped, turning to face the bleachers as they marched in place.
Graham spread out his arms before tucking everything back in and doing a back handspring towards the bleachers. Taking a bow, he ran towards the stands, reaching his hand into the bag of KitKats he tossed them up and towards the patrons coming to watch the game ensue. “LETS GO PIONEERS!” Graham screamed before cartwheeling back towards the spot on the field where he had been stationed to stand.
Chance wasn’t even that late, the ten minutes was Frankie’s fault really. And Chance didn’t even need that extra time, he’d stayed behind after all practices this week. He was good to go, there wasn’t anything new to go over. He understood that Hayden was the captain, but Chance felt that he should still hold some sort of seniority and that he shouldn't be coddled like it's his first year playing football. He’d been playing football for years and has always shined on the field. The only reason he wasn’t co-captain now was because he spent a lot of time this summer in Florida and made occasional trips over long weekends. After his dad died, there was no one to take care of his dad’s mom, so both twins took the responsibility of seeing her when they could. It did interfere with his athletic life a little, but family came first and Chance was okay with it. His grandma decided to finally move to Parish Bay now so that checking in on her was easy, so Chance was hoping to make co-captain, if not captain, by next year. No matter if Hayden stood in the way.
Chance separates from Frankie with a pat on the back and a quick, See you on the field dipshit. He follows his captain to the locker rooms reserved for their team. The space is bustling with movement, teammates frantically moving about the room in order to get ready for the game. Chance was basically ready, he always left the house wearing the bottom half of his gear so that when he arrived to the destination he just had to throw on the rest and his jersey. Because of how Chance planned it out, he was always ready first. Ready to listen to what bullshit Hayden had to say in order to motivate the team and ready to dominate the game.
Chance could say that he admired Hayden's work as a captain, individually knowing their teammates in order to implement their strengths and personalities in a play. However, Chance always believed in back up plans. Sometimes a plan wouldn't work or the team could be feeling off. Chance believed (and Hayden didn't) that sometimes an individual was the only way to get something done. That's were the two teenagers bumped heads.
Soon, the team is geared and ready to make their entrance. He walks alongside his team, bumping his helmet against the helmet's of his teammates as a sign of good luck. Because they are the visiting team, they don't have the same extravagant entrance as their opponents, but the cheers are the same and the sound and sight brings a smile to Chance's face. This was one of the things he loved about football, the game itself and the glory that he and his teammates basked in.
Chance, along with Hayden and Clark are introduced to the crowd while they make their way to the center. They shake hands with the other three football players, their opponents. Frankie is one of the three and his best friend gives him an arrogant smirk, and Chance rolls his eyes. The six players shake hands as the referee prepares the coin. Hayden, as the captain of the away team, calls Tails, and his choice lands the ball with the Parish Bay Pirates. Starting with the ball gave them a little bit of an advantage and Chance is glad to show off his skills as quarterback. He'd have to thank Hayden for the future seeing skills he had. The football teams move to the center and set themselves up for the scrimmage, last minute comments for the play being spoken between teammates.
The Pirates line themselves shortly behind the 50 yard line, their best punter in the center ready to kick the ball. They move synchronously, charging towards their goal posts. The football soars and is caught by a Pioneer on the other side, who then immediately makes their run towards the other direction. Movements are quick on the field, but it doesn't take long for the runner to get tackled and for the scrimmage to be signaled to the right of the 50 yard line. Chance is feeling confident with his team's performance as they all finally move to the formation of the scrimmage, Hartfield's defense team stepping onto the field. Soon, Chance's hand is on the ball and all the football players stand prepared.
Set. The quarterback yells out to the team and everyone squats down, on the edge for Chance's signal.
This is for you dad, Chance whispers under his breath, determination obvious within his bones. It was something that he always said at the start of the game, a sort of prayer that showed him the way.
Chance readies his voice for the down, pushing out the words from his gut. Blue 31, Blue 31, hut-hut, HIKE!
As if things couldn’t get worse Lemon was running late for the game now. It wasn’t exactly her fault, she and Orlando were having their issues as per usual since he moved in and now he was making her late. She had been running around the house after she attempted to get his phone. The phone was unsuccessful, but she decided it was best to leave and of course her keys were missing. The smug look on Orlando’s face told Lemon everything she needed to know, “Where are they? Where are my keys?” her voice a lot angrier than she had been with anyone. All he did was shrug and go towards the kitchen.
It wasn’t like Lemon wanted to ask her parents for a ride, so she did the most logical thing and began looking for her keys everywhere. She started in the bathroom and lifted the back of the toilet. No luck. She tried looking around the washer and dryer, between towels, in shoes, she even looked through the freezer, but nothing turned up. She was at her wits end when she turned to see her cousin at the kitchen table, just minding his business drinking a glass a milk. With her patience running as low as it was she walked up to the table and waited for him to set the glass down before she ever so calmly pushed it off of its spot right onto his pants, “Where did you put my keys?” It didn’t take long after that before it turned into a screaming match that wasn’t actually about the keys. Sure, that was the topic, but it wasn’t really about the keys.
It was in that moment that Ambrose came in and dropped what seemed to be the oldest phone book to exist right on the table, silencing both Lemon and Orlando, “Enough! Lemon go get in the car. Boy.” Ambrose’s eyes landed on his nephew, “We are having a talk when I return. Understood?” Orlando didn’t speak a word only nodding his head as Lemon watched before her dad gave her the look and she quickly rushed to the car.
She was silent as her father got in the car. She could hear the sigh as her turned the key and the ignition began. These talks had always been hard, “You know.” He father started, “I know things are tense between the two of ya, but he is probably having a hard time. Two years is a long time to hold a grudge, sweet pea.” Lemon looked at him, the anger still showing through her eyes. Of course, no one knew exactly what happened, but her dad knew it was enough for his daughter to lose the light she once had. Lemon instead took to Twitter rather than talking with her dad. Sometimes, avoidance was easier than dealing with the truth or facing the demons that plagued her every night.
It was of course Max, that kept messaging her about being late even though she was now in the car. Her dad was driving, and she would be there soon enough. It was as if Max couldn’t understand why she was late even though Lemon was notoriously late to every planned event. She couldn’t understand why he was taking this one so personally. It caused her to feel more frustration than was normal, but with Orlando on her case, Reid mad at her, Kat…was confusing, and now Max. It felt as if no matter what Lemon was pushing everyone to leave her and the best, she could do was delay the fallout of it all.
The rest of the ride was silent until her dad parked the car, “Alright, sweet pea. Let me know if I need to pick you. Your mama and I have some errands to run later but we can come and get you.” The older man placed a kiss on his daughters’ forehead before she could leave, “Love you, Sweet pea.” Lemon gave her father a smile, “I love you too, daddy. I’m sorry about earlier.” Her father waved it off. Once out of the car she watched as the car left and she made her way towards the field. She hadn’t missed too much right? All that was left was to send a text to Max to let him know she had arrived.
Orland attempts to induce a paranoid breakdown score a perfect 10/10
"It's Not Fine."
A few minutes late wasn't at all out of character for Lemon, but the game kicked off, one play went by, then another…
So she was on her way now, but this was unbelievable.
There was no way Orlando was so hellbent on keeping her home that she'd be held up for almost half an hour, and it made no sense that she wouldn't just give up and call a ride instead of playing his game.
The more Max read it over, the more it had started to seem fake.
That just… that couldn't be the reason. It wasn't that simple.
And the fact that she blamed Orlando didn't sit right either. She made him seem insane, and was Max just supposed to believe that no one in her family would step in if he was being that cruel?
Max didn't want to believe Orlando over a friend he'd had for six years, but Lemon just kept proving Orlando right.
Orlando said she had ruined lives, she couldn't go back to Alabama, she'd do it all over again… and he didn't even have to explain himself, did he? Lemon did all the talking for him. She'd put up defenses and downplay things and act like getting disowned by her extended family wasn't a big deal.
hes not obsessed. And what are trying to say? Who else would it be? Do you think I purposely sabotaging myself?
Max felt sick saying it, and trying to mold the phrase into something that sounded less accusatory, but this was Max.
Max David Berkowitz was a terrible liar.
I think there's more going on than just him.
You're a different person all of a sudden. It's like you don't trust me anymore.
Max was getting sick to death of the feeling of his phone buzzing against his hand.
it’s not important!!! Why do you keep pushing this? Look I’m at the school ok? I’m still walking but I’m here
Bullshit it wasn't important.
No, you're going to tell me what you did. If I thought this was all in the past, there wouldn't be an issue, would there? Whatever you did, clearly you still care, your cousins still care, and here you are acting like a totally different person just so you can stay on the good side of Kat Navarro.
It was all about Kat, wasn't it? Kat swept up Lemon and now they were just…
Too close. And after what, one month? Kat talked like she knew every facet of Lemon. "I can be myself around Kat," Lemon had said more than once over messages, but that felt like a poor excuse for her jumping to Kat's defense, for her inviting Kat everywhere, showing up late, telling him nothing, brushing things off…
Besides, her praise of Kat was word-for-word Sawyer's explanation of how Kat operated. And Ryker's. Kat's exes all said the same things, and they all ended the same way.
Evidently, Lemon didn't care.
She liked the attention Kat gave her. It was all about that, after all. Kat's a good listener… she may as well have said Kat was just paying her lip service.
Kat only ever wanted one thing.
It made sense that Lemon wouldn't care that Kat's only interest was sex if that was all Lemon wanted, too.
Which, in the rapidly descending staircase of Max's feeble logic, left the stark conclusion that Lemon's fleeing her home town, the lives she ruined, why she went to all these lengths to seem kind and reserved when really all along she was just--
Max was just part of her "good girl" costume.
Kat really was right.
Everyone liked her better.
Lemon was just waiting for an excuse to shove him to the side.
It all added up.
Orlando was right. Kat was right. Max had snapped back at them because he didn't want to believe in that. Because if Lemon could make a game out of using him for a clean reputation, who else was just keeping him around to feel better about themselves?
He was too much effort, and for what? He wasn't smart, or funny, or good at anything…
He was the deaf kid. The wannabe social justice advocate. That's it.
Why so many people went through all the effort for the thankless job of being his friend, he didn't think he'd ever know.
Without a word to anyone, Max climbed off the bleachers and broke into a brisk walk down the outskirts, back towards the parking lot, but Lemon was already out on the field and they seemed to have spotted each other at the same time-- Lemon's eyes widened and Max glared back.
Under the furious and accusatory stance, he somehow managed to look gaunt and exhausted, trying to keep his hands from trembling.
This wasn't the first thing to keep him up at night and tear him off his hinges. Far from it.
"What did you do?"
Three simple signs, but so fast it seemed like one sharp motion. But she'd know them.
They'd been around each other long enough for that. For someone who Orlando said had been faking being his friend, those six years couldn't have amounted to nothing, could they?
Winona smiles at Max's reaction. She was nervous that her artistic talent wouldn't translate to the paper so well, especially since it was 3 in the morning when she sketched it out, for two consecutive days. It didn't take me too long, she lies and continues. Just about two hours one afternoon.
No one knew and no one was going to find out that she had trouble sleeping. Every day she look refreshed, but really she was thriving off of two hours of sleep and some coffee. Winnie didn't want to be a burden to anyone, from the looks of things it seemed as if everyone was going through something, she was not going to add to that. Everyone would just have to believe what she put out; the dancer who taught a few classes at the studio, the straight A student, the perfect daughter. It pained Winnie inside and she should probably yell for some type of help, but no, she didn't want to be a burden. A lot of people knew Winnie, but no one really knew Winnie.
I'm glad you love it Max and you mean a lot to me so I was gonna do the best for you. She signed, a little sloppily. She was gonna try for him. We should redecorate your room over winter break.
As the two teenagers waited for their other friends, Winnie somehow finds herself in the middle of a conversation that turns into an argument, of course involving Kat. She had seen the comment Kat made towards Chance and although Win didn't know what Kat meant, she got protective. And it wasn't always just about protecting or defending Chance, Kat infuriated Winnie sometimes. And Winnie would always deny how much Kat meant to her, but the latter would always cause the former to explode. She wasn't sure how many people really knew about Kat and Winnie, but that was something else that she wanted to keep a secret. No one needed to know about the two, especially since Kat acted like the two of them never existed. Which hurt Win, but she also wasn't going to admit that, especially not to Kat.
To separate herself from the negative environment, Winnie would continue to think about Max's reaction to her room design and about the fact that her friends were making it over to enjoy the game together. These reminders were a reprieve from the mania that happened on twitter, the experience today causing her to log off and just pay attention to the game, as well as keeping her from going off on someone. Dustin had also plagued her thoughts as he was supposed to meet her later. She had been busy at the dance studio so she hadn't been able to see him, the mere thought of her new boyfriend was good enough to bring her spirits up. Just keep smiling and move on. It was a simple thing to do.
Harper's warm embrace soothes Winnie a little bit more. Winnie then playfully shoves Sawyer as she passes by. Why're you always running people late Sawyer? The game's about to start, I thought you liked football.
The friends sit down alongside each other and it doesn't take long for the game to start. Winnie is clearly able to see her brother among the scrimmage, and although they weren't on the best of terms, she still wished her brother a good game. As the game went on and neared the end of the first quarter, Winona could feel the tension radiating off of Max, who sat beside her. He's furiously typing away at his phone and intermittently ignoring Sawyer's attempts to explain what was happening. Concern starts to eat away at Winnie as she watches his actions. She touches his wrist lightly, ready to sign 'are you okay', but before she could fully form it, Max gets up and bolts from the group.
Winona looks at Sawyer and Harper, confused and in shock. She doesn't know whether or not to run after Max. Should someone go check on him?
Isa smirked at Reid. "I thought I told you that getting me fired up, is gonna get you burned darlin'" She kisses under his jaw softly as she looks at him. Reid and her are like two sides of the same coin. They both have experiences that they can each relate to. Juvie. People being cruel to them for their past mistakes. Just being misunderstood in general. It's the reason why they connected so well. They wanted to have fun and without the attachments to others. It was just sex with them, not with feelings. Simplicity of this arrangement is what she needs right now. It's what they both needed right now.
"Who says I'm trying to get away, baby?" Isa whispers as she was brought into another bruising kiss. She closes her eyes and loses herself in this kiss. Everything goes out the window, her mom, her living situation, Maxine, and just everything. She lets everything floats out of her mind. Her body was in complete control. She wanted to forget and Reid is doing exactly that. Making her forget about all the bullshit she's been doing through, he pulls away and begins kissing her temple moving down towards her neck. She sighs softly as she tilts her head back to give him more room. "We should definitely get out of here." She adds as she feels him kiss her collarbone. "Not the first time, I could be caught for indecency." Isa then tugs his head back towards her as she brings him into another kiss.
The game to her, wasn't something that was important to her. Honestly she was only going because Reid has asked her if she wanted to go with him. So Isa was going, to hang out with Reid. Plus they could have trouble afterward as well. Parties almost always happens after a football game by the winning school so there is going to probably be a party and there will be alcohol. Customers to sell to as well. Not to mention, there's the chance to get away from the party itself, and find a room, to have some real fun in. Her and Reid are definitely gonna do that. Well it's looking like they are going to be doing that before the game as well. Like she said, the game isn't important to her. It was something to do. She feels him pulls away, and she pouted. She feels him intertwined their fingers pulling her to the passenger door as he opened it for her. She kissed his cheek brushing his lips as she pulls away. "I'm telling you right now, I give zero fucks on whether we get to the game on time. What I want at moment, is for you to find somewhere to park so we can continue what we started darlin'" Isa gets into the car and smirks at him.
They were definitely gonna be late.
And they were late.
Isa sits in the passenger seat as Reid pulls into the school parking lot. It was obvious what they had been up to. There was markings up and down both of their necks. Their clothes had been ruffled. Their hair was a mess. Reid even had a little make up stain on the corner of his lips. Once he parked, Isa pulls him to her kissing him once again before pulling away. She wipes the corner of his mouth. "A little lipstick there..." She murmurs as she focused on wiping that area. She pull away once she finished wiping the make up away. She looked at Reid, as she kisses his cheek.
"Come on, before we are even more late darlin'"
They get out of the car, heading towards the opening gate, by the bleachers. Reid had his arm wrapped around Isa as they walked.
As soon as Lemon arrived, she was still messaging Max and he was furious with her and bringing everything up and she couldn’t figure out where the hostility was coming from. He had told her to wait outside of the game, was this situation really that bad? Was it really worth it? Why did he seem to want to pick a fight? All these questions were running through her head. It wasn’t like she was so late that she’d miss the entire game just the kick-off and a little extra. She really couldn’t see the issue. She had been late to so many meetups they had years back and he never seemed as angry as he did today. Max kept bringing up Kat and what did Kat have to do with all of this? Why couldn’t he just understand that Orlando loved to cause all sorts of problems, and why did he keep pushing the issues?
When she saw him coming towards her, she could see the anger written all over his face, "What did you do?” and she was taken aback by the quick sign. It wasn’t the first time she had seen it but it was the first time the anger was solely directed at something she didn’t understand. Usually it was based on the fact that she broke something or said something that got her a stern look from a teacher. But this time it was for nothing. She felt defensive with him because she had already told him it was nothing. As he got closer to her, she rolled her eyes and quickly signed back “Nothing! Why are you mad?” She had apologized for being late and yet all Max could do was keep staring at her with anger. She didn’t like how close he was to her space and she took a small step back, “You are being dramatic.” She very rarely called Max dramatic but the fact that he was so unwilling to accept her answers annoyed her, “I’m not lying to you.”
She couldn’t remember the last time she and Max had a real fight and not just a disagreement. They had been getting along better and spending more time together as friends. She knew she could be distant at times, but she had a lot happening. But lately Max seemed like he didn’t like anything she did or anything about her life. All she wanted was for the fight to be over and for her and Max to go to the bleachers and watch the game. Somehow, she felt like this wasn’t going to be easily resolved.
Orland attempts to induce a paranoid breakdown score a perfect 10/10
"It's Not Fine."
“Why am I mad!? Because you lied to me. You fucking lied. You’re still lying. You’re lying to me right now.” Max was hardly breathing, keeping such a frantic pace that even Harper would’ve had a hard time following. The repetition gave Lemon extra chances to catch the words, but did even need to? His face said it better. “What, dramatic!? Why, am I hurting your image!? I’m just making you look bad in front of people you actually care about. Cool. Fine with me. Fuck them.”
“If I was just here to make you look good, so that--” he started a word and dropped it, circling back with almost a shred of embarrassment behind the livid glare. “I didn’t ask to be a sympathy prop--” the sign he used for prop was a little idiosyncratic… he rephrased it quickly as “ornament” but Lemon’s blank expression left him grasping for another synonym before he gave up and spelled out “P-R-O-P”, and by that point, the metaphor seemed stupid and he’d lost his train of thought, leaving only speechless outrage. For a second he squeezed his eyes shut as if to keep from tearing up, letting his hands idle stretched flat at a midpoint. He swallowed down on a knot in his throat, trying to find another way to say whatever it was he didn’t have the words for.
Nothing came. He didn’t have the words.
That was always how it went, wasn’t it?
Whatever it was he had to say, it got lost in one language barrier or another. Even in writing, any kind of conflict left him feeling like he had no way to say what he actually wanted to say. He knew how he felt; he just had no way to get it out once he had any reason to overthink.
...but at least writing had them at roughly the same language competency.
“Phone.” He snapped, already having his own out of his pocket and held in a death-grip in his left hand. It dawned on him then that he had no idea what he’d do if Lemon refused… she had the option of fully disabling the argument, and what then?
Did he just leave?
If Lemon was never going to say for herself what she did, there was nothing in his ability to make her say anything. If she really just wanted to use him as a token for her reputation, he’d ruined his usefulness for that.
If she never wanted to actually be friends in the first place, it really shouldn’t hurt so much if she decided to write him off. If that was what she’d intended to do anyway, then why force it?
...It still hurt.
Lemon had a hard time following Max’s signs, he was going so fast and she couldn’t quite keep up all she could gather was that he was accusing her of lying. She couldn’t figure out much more as he continued to sign, “I didn’t lie!” she continued to sign over and over, but he wasn’t letting up on signing at her. His face looked like a blood vessel might pop and she couldn’t get him to calm down. She could even keep up with him that she gave up and stopped signing or even trying to understand him until he spelled the word prop. What was he going on about? What prop was around them? She looked around with her eyes and didn’t see anything whatsoever. That was when he made the sign for phone and she thought for a second before she agreed to texting back and forth on the phones. It was easier especially with how heated he was.
He started with accusing her of lying to him and everyone and the words stung. She wasn’t lying she was trying to keep herself protected from her past, from her pain and now Max was bringing it all up. Bringing up all the memories that she had kept buried for almost two years. He was forcing her to fight the demons that never quite left, and then to fight with him. She had to defend herself from his accusations of her using him. Where had he even come up with the idea that she was using him? They had been friends for six years, and when she sat with him, she didn’t even know he was deaf originally. She just thought he didn’t like to talk at first. She was wrong, but she liked the bond they made in art. So why would he think she was using him? It got worse when he started to think that she was lying about Orlando being awful to her. They were awful to each other and all Orlando wanted to do was upset her and he knew the best way was to make her later than her normal late.
Yet all Max could do was keep pushing about Alabama. She could feel her body shaking, but she couldn’t pinpoint the emotion that it came from, but she could feel everything in her shaking. She was trying to hold back tears. He still kept bringing up Kat and Kat meant nothing at this moment during this fight. Kat was her friend, but Max kept making it seem like they were more. They weren’t, and even if they were it shouldn’t have mattered. Max kept returning to the fact that she was lying, and she motioned for him to look at her, “I didn’t lie.”
She knew the fight was far from over, but she needed him to face her. She knew he was still hung up on the whole Kat issue, “Stop this bullshit.” She had learned the sign for bullshit at some point. Why couldn’t Max give her a break, “We are friends. Six years. I am not bad. I am not a liar.” Lemons signs lost some of their anger as she tried to correct whatever issue she created.
She couldn’t keep having people misunderstand her and for her to hurt people she didn’t mean to hurt. She had already screwed up once today and she was doing everything in her power to not screw everything up with Max. She was trying hard to hold back her tears. His anger, his anger was directed at her in a level she had never experienced, and she could see her words had done nothing to resolve the conflict, “Stop being mean.”
Orland attempts to induce a paranoid breakdown score a perfect 10/10
"It's Not Fine."
“Stop this bullshit.”
Lemon put her phone away and brought Max’s attention back to her face.
Just as well. They weren’t getting anywhere over text.
He acquiesced and shut off his screen, icy blue eyes refocusing from the device back to her with the same look of contention.
“We are friends. Six years. I am not bad. I am not a liar.”
That struck a nerve with Max… she really had been there for him since fifth grade. He’d said it to Orlando before, but he couldn’t fully convince himself that Lemon had been pulling him along by a string the whole time.
He thought she was really his friend once. Maybe there was a point where she wanted to be around him without using him as virtue signaling.
At this point, there was nothing he could say for sure.
If he’d fallen for a lie like that for over a third of his life, what else would he fall for?
Was he that dumb?
Or maybe Orlando was lying, but then so was Lemon.
“Stop being mean.”
That was all she had to say.
“Why should I believe you anymore?” He slowed down, finally starting to clarify his phrasing so Lemon could understand. “You’re lying to me. You’ve been lying to me for years.” The tension in his hands dropped and his fingers curled weakly against his palms.
“And Kat--” He slashed her name across his cheek in a way that almost looked like he meant scar.“Why would you suck up to someone who treats people like that!?”
“We all know who Kat is and what she’s after. You know, too.”
He drew a shallow breath, lowering his head slightly without even consciously realizing it. “I’m not that dumb, Lemon.”
“No one’s that fucking dumb.”
“And so what if that’s what you wanted!? That’s not even that bad!! You can do whatever and whoever you want, as long as you’re not dragging me along to keep a fucking image. I’m not a toy, Lemon.”
He was speeding up again, running with the thought as if he’d figured everything out in his head already. He had a conclusion, at least, and if he had something to latch onto like that, maybe it would feel more like he knew and less like he was at a paralyzing dead-end.
“So if all this time you were just using me to hide the fact that back in Alabama your family shunned you just because you were being a slut--”
...He hadn’t meant to say that. Well, he had, but if he’d thought for a fraction of a second he’d have said that in one of a thousand other ways.
But it just rolled right off his arms and then there was no taking it back.
That was absolutely the worst possible word he could have used, and that realization only hit him as he was halfway into another phrase that died in midair.
And just like that, there went the last leg he had to stand on.
--------don't type anything after this comment--------
you get what you give
Hayden had practiced this speech, over and over again. In the mirror, in front of Clark, with Harper. He was sure that she was going to strangle him if he said the word, proud, football, or teamwork, one more time. He was proud of the team he had standing in front of him, they were the best they had every been. The team had worked hard over the past few weeks in preparation for their first game.
As they walked onto the field Hayden felt a sense of rush under the bright lights, his cleats gripping the turf below as his teammates took their position. Chance’s voice was commanding as he called out Hayden’s number. Chance may have not been one of his favorites, but he was a damn good player and their strongest quarterback.
The ball left Chance’s hand and flew effortlessly into Hayden’s. His instincts kicked in as he made his way to the line. Hartfield tried to block him, but he shouldered his way through, out running the Hartfield players. He knew the play like the back of his hand, get the attention on himself, and then turn back. Hayden leapt high into the air, as he spun around, passing the ball to a very open Kyle. Who then took off down the field, scoring their first down.
Hayden thrived on listening to the crowds’ cheers, even if he wasn’t the one to run the ball fully through the first ten yards. It had been a team effort, it was his work and plays that got them a lead against Hartfield. Hayden felt taller, his chest puffed out, though you couldn’t tell with all the pads that were involved in the uniform.
He loved the spotlight that was on him and his team. He was proud of what they had worked for, as they moved back into position for the next play. The adrenaline running through his veins, he figured that the rest of his teammates were feeling the same heat, the same excitement that was rushing through him. Chance called out the play once again, this time the ball went to Clark, back to Chance, and it was supposed to make it’s way back to Hayden who was open on the other side of the field. He could run it in for the touchdown.
Hayden saw Chance’s eyes, he could have sworn they met his. He knew that they did. But yet, Chance kept the ball, bulldozing over anyone in his way as he crossed the line, taking the touch down himself.
‘That wasn’t the play…’ Hayden thought as he furrowed his eyebrows together. Jogging back across the field, now to play defense. Hayden was confused, why had Chance run the ball when it would have been easier to throw it to Hayden. “Good job Chance.” Hayden gritted through his teeth. “Nice play.”
Hayden wouldn’t say it was a bad play, he had gotten the job done. But what if he hadn’t they would of lost the ball and the point all the same. It made more sense for the team to work off each other. That’s why they had each other, that’s what they had practiced all week.
And after all I can't know anything at all because I'm just a space cadet with no one to make my bed.
Harper took exactly a century to eventually come out of the house. Sawyer had gotten so bored in the waiting period between screaming up at her window, and getting told off in a manner that had her huffing away to the front yard angrily, that she had just started singing again. Eventually that singing evolved into dancing around the yard to the music in her own head. Only one person strode by with a leashed dog at that time and Sawyer smiled only at the dog, waving enthusiastically at it while she sat there on her knees, post air guitar slide. A few moments later, Harper herself finally emerged from the bowels of her house dressed to combat the slight chill in the air. Sawyer grinned at her, waving off the comment about her being a piece of work with a comment about actually being “a real piece of awesome” or something along those lines. They had a brief argument about who was going to drive and Sawyer ended up putting her foot down on the matter, by getting very upset but the foot was down shut up. So they ended up taking her car in the end.
Sawyer had to be directed on how to even get to Hartfield’s football field the correct way but they got there eventually. Harper paid for tickets with only a healthy amount of protest coming from Sawyer about it. The protest was futile in the end, Sawyer had forgotten to bring her wallet and didn’t have any money anyway. They were the visiting team and the bleachers on their side of the field were much smaller than the overly extravagant Home side. Like, why would you build bleachers so tall that you were required by the state to put a literal elevator up to the announcers box? That seemed a little like overkill. But then again, when had the private school ever done anything that wasn’t overkill? Still, the bleachers were packed full and they had a momentary pause at the bottom when they couldn’t find Winnie and Max. Sawyer’s eyes passed over face after face until they locked on the familiar tired face of Max. Did that kid always look like he was three seconds away from exploding or was Sawyer just going crazy? While she was pondering the weirdness of Max and his face, they made their way up to the spot Winnie and he had chosen. Harper offered the both of them a hug but Sawyer was less keen to show physical affection in such a jam packed place so she opted to wack Max on the shoulder as hard as she could and moved past where Max had scooted inward to sit on the other side of Winnie. She was shoved as she did so and made a show of pretending like she was going to fall over the back of the bleachers in front of her.
“I’m offended that you immediately jumped to that conclusion.” Sawyer finally managed to sit down and crossed her arms in mock annoyance, “It was actually that one,” She leaned forward and glared at Harper, “that made us late. I was early.” Sawyer leaned back against the back in the bleacher seat with a huff. The game actually started soon after and Sawyer tried her hardest to explain what was going on, she was trying to sign too quickly for most of it to make sense to Max. It didn’t matter in the end anyway as she was too preoccupied with his phone to really pay attention. Sawyer made sure to point out every time the coach did the ass slapping thing with some offhanded joke.
“Did you hear how loud that was? He hit my mans so hard. Jesus.”
“Listen, that hand was there way too long. I told you he was fruity.”
“Report him to the police. God lord, somebody’s gonna catch a case.”
At some point Max just got up and stormed away. What was it with this guy and running away? Sawyer leaned forward to raise an eyebrow at Harper. Winnie was the first to jump on it though, asking if someone should go check on him.
“I don’t know, he ran so fast. I don’t even know where he went.” She looked at Harper again, “Did he tell you where he was going?”
Keeping up with Max while he was heated was hard for Lemon, it wasn’t that she didn’t know the signs, but she needed extra time to process. Originally, he was going slow enough for her to understand what he was saying, and she continued to interject by telling him she wasn’t lying over and over and over. But he kept going ignoring her and going on with his long-winded accusations. She kept trying to gain his attention back on her but he was too far gone and she had given up on defending herself. He didn’t want to listen to her, he didn’t care to listen. Whatever was happening, Max needed to get everything out of his system and Lemon would defend herself once he was finished. They would be fine. They were always fine. They were friends.
Well, that’s what she thought until she saw the word slip from his fingers. Slut. She felt her heart completely shatter at those words from the person she thought was her best friend. How could he do that? Before Lemon could process tears began to fall, her fist curled, and the next thing she knew her fist connected with his face. She was angry, she was hurt and the pain! The pain that reverberated through her hand as she pulled back her hand, “Fuck!” she hissed as she shook her hand. She waited until Max was looking at her and quickly with her only good hand took his face in her hand and made sure he could read her lips, “Fuck you, Max Berkowitz.” She quickly pushed his face away and took off. She needed to leave the game, she needed to leave the area.
Tears were streaming as she pushed past people, she had no one to go to. Kat was busy with cheer and she didn’t want to talk about what happened. Orlando? That was a death wish, Reid wouldn’t help her, Hayden was on the field, and everyone else? She didn’t really have the support system she needed. She kept rushing past people the tears blurring her vision. How did she get to the front? All she wanted to do was get home even if that meant she had to walk. Her brain kept repeating the word over and over in her mind. Each time her mind thought it another wave of fresh tears would begin to pour and her vision stayed blurry.
Reid wasn’t even too sure why he was going to the game, maybe it was in some attempt to regain normalcy. Make a few friends outside of Isa, if that was even possible. He didn’t care if they would be late, it was better than the two of them showing up all hot and bothered. No one needed to see them all over each other. Reid wasn’t much for public displays of obvious affection and he didn’t want anyone to get the wrong idea when it came to Reid and Isa. They were nothing more than fuck buddies, someone to take the edge off.
He looked into his rearview mirror, realizing that Isa had really done a number on him, not that he didn’t enjoy it. Though he had returned it with the same amount of enthusiasm. He only chuckled as she wiped the lipstick from the corner of his lip. “I don’t think the lipstick is what will tip them off.” He ran a hand through his hair, his icy blue eyes staring back at himself. They looked empty. His eyes didn’t match the ones he once knew.
Isa’s lips pressed against his cheek brought him back to the moment. He closed his eyes tightly before listening to Isa. “We only missed the first quarter.” Reid rolled his eyes as he caught up to Isa, slinging an arm around her shoulder. There was no longer a need to buy tickets as the game had already started, he wondered why more people didn’t show up late. Why pay for a ticket when you didn’t have to?
“Alright, darling.” He tapped his fingers on her shoulder as they crossed the entrance into the game. Standing on the track’s pavement, he saw red and blue streaks running across the field, mashing into one another. The bright lights on the field darkened the rest of the world that wrapped around them. The spotlight that focused on the game, the ‘good’ that everyone sees. Missing what is hiding in the dark corners.
Though, not much stays hidden for long… No matter how hard you try.
Reid had turned to say something to Isa, but whatever had been on his mind flew out in an instant as someone bulldozed into his side. Reid turned, only a scowl on his face. Did parents forever to teach their kids to say excuse me? It wasn’t that hard.
As Reid turned to say something, he saw blonde hair flying by. Running back towards the parking lot. “I.. I have to go.” Reid could only say. He was still mad at her. He was. He kept telling himself that he was still angry with her. But, as she ran the opposite direction from him, that no longer mattered. He could tell something was wrong.
His feet moved before his head could even think, chasing after the petite blonde girl. He was surprised at how quick her body moved, he almost struggled to catch up to her. “Lemon,” he said quietly as she was finally within grasps, his fingers delicately wrapped around the bend in her elbow as he turned her to face him.
Her face was bright red, trails of tears stained her face, Reid was silent for a moment as he released her elbow from his grasp. He nodded towards the parking lot, “Get in the car.” He gently placed a hand on the blade of her shoulder as the two of them left the parking lot without another word.
when you wear a mask for so long, you forget who is behind it.
“She’s right, it was me this time.” Harper shook her head, leaning over as she whispered to Winnie. “Though I did tell her an earlier time.” Harper bumped her shoulder into Winnies as she tucked a piece of hair behind her own ear.
Sawyer did a good job at explaining what was happening during the game, Harper understood to some extent. Just from watching her brother play over the years. But, she didn’t understand it further than a high school level. “Stop Sawyer.” She couldn’t help but to laugh, though it was funny, she didn’t want Hayden to blame her for the loss of their first good coach. Even if his actions were rather… Questionable.
It wasn’t long before Max had taken off on her and Sawyer yet again. Harper was starting to wonder if he even wanted to spend time with them anymore. He had told her that he wasn’t okay, but he refused to explain why or what was going on with him. She didn’t understand how he had held onto Zach’s jacket for so long, when the Lee’s had practically lived next to the Berkowitz’s. If Max was so desperate to get rid of it, and not see Zach in the process, he could of given it to his dad, she was sure that Max had told her they worked together.
“Why—” Harper started before Sawyer asked if he had said something to her. “No…” She said quietly. “No he didn’t… Why does he keep doing this?” Harper went to messaging him after she saw the implosion on twitter. Lemon never acted that way, she always seemed to be quiet and kind and had put up with more than her fair share of bullshit from Max. Harper wanted to be there for him, but it was tough. She knew that Kat did most of it to just set him off, she was the type of person who liked to get a reaction… And Max was rather easy to get a rise out of.
“He says he needs time to himself….” Harper trailed off, locking her phone before she slipped it back into her pocket. “I convinced him not to drive at least… He seems pretty upset.”
Harper didn’t want to leave him on his own, but she also didn’t want to make anything worse, she was worried she would push him further away. “I think we should give him sometime… I think.” She wasn’t sure it was the right move.
The crowd began to cheer, Harper looked towards the field, she had almost forgotten that they were at the game. “Was that Chance?” Harper raised an eyebrow looking over to Winnie. “Was that the play?” Harper had heard Hayden going over every single play they had created. “Did they have to change something?” She looked out closely trying to see if Hayden was still on the field of if he had gotten hurt.
“I really don’t get football.” She shook her head leaning against Sawyer.