TL;DR Romir somehow sleuthed out Oliver's address and that is fucking terrifying and raises several questions. Nevertheless, firefly hunting.
How lonely it is, to be drowning in a place where everyone can swim
Oliver seemed quietly uninterested in the fact that Romir hadn't brought a car. The shorter boy was more than used to walking. Once they were several blocks away, he side-eyed Romir and waved him over a little closer. "I Googled sh-this. Seems... I, uh-- it's easy enough. I brought things..." He struggled with the zipper on his backpack for a moment, eventually pulling it open and drawing out a small mason jar. A series of holes were poked in the canvas lid, and the jar itself contained nothing but a wet paper towel and an apple slice. "If you want to keep any." He spoke quickly, with a syncopating cadence. Despite the distance they'd traveled from the apartment complex, he still seemed furtive and cautious, glancing over his shoulder and staying a few steps behind Romir. "Two to tsh-three days. Also--" He turned sharply to face Romir. "You can't... can't tell anyone where I live. And if you're ever there again... ever th... ever... wait outside. In the back. Always." The fact that Romir had somehow found Oliver's address on his own was still grasping at his mind. Someone else knows. At least one other person. Who knows how many, and how many they're told already. They could have told anyone by now...
Oliver didn't have much choice over where his mind went. He couldn't just decide to think about something else and make himself shed the thought. That wasn't how his brain was wired to process. He just had to let it play out and find his way back to something less nerve-wracking.
Someone knew where he lived.
Well, he knew that Winnie knew. At some point he'd told her, one day when he was in such a rough time that he gave her that information and didn't even realize. But Winnie was as good as her word, so if she said she hadn't told anyone else, then Oliver believed her in full faith.
But that still left the possibility that someone else had overheard, or followed her all the way back...
The latter was incredibly unlikely, but not impossible. Oliver never wrote anything off that could still be a possibility, even if it was highly unlikely.
It was also possible that someone in his family had told, though they wouldn't have mentioned Oliver by name. He wasn't even supposed to be out right now. He wasn't supposed to be known.
But Romir knew.
It was okay that Romir knew, as long as he didn't do anything he wasn't supposed to.
That would be bad.
Oliver just had to home that he'd keep his mouth shut if anyone asked.
They came to a stoplight, but Oliver slowed his pace only to look side-to-side for cars before jaywalking the street, expecting Romir to follow after. Despite how he was fearfully quiet around everyone and painstakingly cautious moving through his home, Oliver seemed to be fairly confident in breaking a very small and negligible law. "I don't want to keep any fireflies." Oliver started again, unexpectedly. Without any preamble, Oliver had found his way back to that topic and started talking again. "They won't-- won't come that clos-se to me. It's fine." Insects made Oliver incredibly nervous. So did spiders, crabs, lobsters... all arthropods. He could never accurately describe what he was feeling or what it was about them that he was afraid of, and that uncertainty scared him much more than anything else.
And yet, despite the phobia, he seemed to spend a lot of time learning about them. He could rattle off insect facts in much the same way that he could about turtles, just with much less enthusiasm.
Learning about things was how Oliver dealt with confusion and fear. It's easy to fear what one doesn't know, and that was especially true for him.
He actually seemed fairly excited about hunting fireflies. This was really the first time he'd met up with Romir in person, and he felt obliged to learn as much as he could from his joke boyfriend. Whatever Romir was interested in, Oliver would put in his time getting to know about it. Even if it was bugs.
Mutual interest-sharing was the root of Oliver's ability to communicate and befriend people. They'd listen to his interests, he'd listen to theirs. He might not have ever been the best at jokes or small talk or predicting and adapting to social situations, but he was a good listener.
And Romir was nothing if not fascinating.
There was quite literally nowhere else Oliver would rather be tonight.
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TL;DR The gremlins discuss the possibility of Ashley hoe-ing it out
I can feel us slip away, you're almost gone
Ashley, who had been content fucking around the party with her friend, quickly spotted Winona and Dustin out of the corner of her eye. Gently nudging the boy's shoulder, his lips departed from his neck and his hands freed her.
She couldn't claim she was all that sorry to let go of making out with Cody. Only that she had done so in view of her actual love, and his girlfriend. She approached them, her stomach turning at the sight. Her back was pressed against the wall, Dustin's body all over hers. Fucking seriously? Winona Matthews called her over to witness that?
It wasn't Winnie's fault that she hated her. Even Ashley had enough sense to realize her blind hatred for the girl, was not a blemish on Dustin's girlfriend's character. She knew that Winona only meant to invite her over. It was just convenient that her boyfriend happened to be all over her, when she spotted Ashley. No, her hatred of Winona Matthews stemmed from something a little more complex. She wanted to be her.
Winnie's life wasn't perfect, but fuck knew that it was pretty damn good. She had cool aunts, and uncles, and a brother who loved her enough to be protective of her. And Ashley had a dad who was nice enough, but so wrapped up in running Family Barn that he didn't say a word when she woke up hungover, and hickey ladden after sneaking in through the window at 2 in the morning. She had friends who liked each other even if they blocked each other on Twitter daily. And Ashley had fucking Ivy, who would never block Ashley because she simply didn't care. Winnie had a nice personality, she was kind to everybody, and was really freaking talented. And Ashley was..........Ashley. A burnout party girl who was so insignificant she wouldn't be voted ''Nicest'' or ''Most likely to succeed'' or whatever sweet ass title Winnie was bound to get in yearbook season. No, she'd get a freaking In Memoriam page, because she overdosed when she was 16. And then Winnie would get that fucking picture perfect family life reserved for those who actually deserved to be loved, while Ashley was buried dead in the ground only to be visited by Dustin and Winnie for 2-3 years until he couldn't be bothered. Ivy, she was positive would come to the funeral and find a way to make a spectacle. She knew she'd do the same if Ivy died.
But none of that shit mattered when Ashley had Dustin. He didn't even need to be with her. She just needed his fucking friendship. But ever since he started dating Winnie, Ashley came second. That made sense. It wasn't as if he'd even ditched her, but she was still kind of sad. She felt sort of nauseous thinking about the fact that Nona was getting which she had always wanted. To be loved, at all, but especially by Dustin.
''Hey guys,'' Ashley smiled, though it was kind of a weak one, she also didn't wanna deviate from her usual wild child format.
Let us be young, let us be wild
until the summer's over
Jenelle felt her face heat up more when the boy questioned if she was doing okay, suddenly much more aware of her own goofy, drunk behavior. She was beaming though at Max and his caring ways, even though she was quite sure he was only doting on her right now because Lemon or somebody else more important to him wasn't around. Still, Jenny couldn't help but revel in Max's attentions. "Yeah...I could totally use some water, actually. Thanks!" Jenny mumbled along as she clumsily signed the words.
"Come on," Jenny grinned, grabbing Max by the hand and tugging him along, releasing him once he began to follow after her. She led them through the spacious house to the backyard, where she figured they'd find a cache of cold drinks, and sure enough there was a huge chest full of ice and beverages of all kinds. Jenny grabbed two bottles of water, handing one to Max. "You should drink some too! You only had, what? FIVE shots, you said?" She teased. "You're gonna be hungooooverrrrr unless you get drinking. Drinking water, I mean!"
"Oh!" Jenelle had barely swallowed the huge swig she'd just chugged before she tried to continue chattering, as a brilliant idea just popped into her head. Before she could voice it though, a hand was quickly slapped over mouth to catch a drop of water that had come dangerously close to dribbling down her chin. This made Drunk Jenelle dissolve into another brief laughing fit, wiping at her face with the back of her hand.
"Photo shoot!!" She finally squeaked out her idea, still giggling. Jenny just barely remembered to sign the words before fishing the phone from inside the front of her top and thrusting it towards Max. She slipped into a couple of exaggerated poses for Max to snap photos of, trying to look cute, but would no doubt cringe when she saw these pictures later with all her mental faculties intact.
"Your turn!" Jenny grinned, plucking the phone from the boy's grasp. She secretly hoped Max wouldn't guess her little ruse, that this was the true reason for her "photo shoot" suggestion; to have a picture or two of Max to commemorate the evening by. Beaming, she snapped a cute smiling picture of him before he could fully raise his hands to protest, or whatever his response may be.
Oh my fucking god Max stop thinking about Zach
We accept the love we think we deserve.
Max, for all his insistence that he wasn't drunk, couldn't help but be relieved when Jenelle grabbed his hand and pulled him out into the backyard to find a cooler of less inebriating drinks. Even out in the open hallway, the house felt stuffy and overcrowded. Since he was still sure this was just his everyday anxious stomach pains, he thought that maybe fresh air would clear his head a bit.
As they tripped their way down the back steps, the last few floating shreds of anxiety reminded him that this was where he'd left Lemon. She'd gone home with Reid now, and Max thankfully didn't have the presence of mind to think about what kind of apology would ever make up for leaving her drunk and alone outside.
The starlit darkness was mercifully distracting.
Jenny pulled out a bottle of water for both of them. Max took his and started awkwardly fumbling with the plastic cap, the condensation on the outside of the bottle making it difficult to hold in place. Quickly growing frustrated with trying to pry it open, he started paying attention to what she was saying too late to catch more than the last half of what she said. "I'm not going to be hungover," Max insisted even as he stumbled back against the outer wall of the house, bracing himself with his foot against the brick and trying to stay casual. "It wasn't five. Not that many. It was more like... five." He didn't remember where he'd started that sentence, and didn't realize how dumb it looked by the end of it.
His tipsy redheaded friend didn't seem to notice either, suddenly very excited about some idea she'd had. Photo shoot? Max was pretty sure that was what she said, before he found himself watching her dip her hand into the front of her top and felt his lower eyelid twitch. This felt like something he wasn't supposed to be watching. Thankfully, she was only retrieving her phone from somewhere down her shirtfront. Max relaxed only as long as it took her to pass the phone along to him. Max took it even though his arm seemed to freeze in its socket to stop him from doing so. He briefly turned the device over in his hands, trying to position it in such a way that he didn't feel like it would slip out of his hand and hit the grass. Normally he would have been a bit reluctant to take something that had come from where this phone had recently been, but at this point, he was far too drunk to question it.
He wasn't entirely confident in his photography skills on a good day, but one of the good things about hard liquor is that it didn't even occur to him to worry about it tonight. Of course, with his blurred vision and impaired dexterity, not all those pictures were going to come out top quality. But if Jenny was willing to fish through 10 or 15 off-focus, uncentered shots, then she might find a few usably decent ones. And hey, this was actually fun-- Jenny struck pose after pose, still giddy and grinning, and Max couldn't help but smile with her as he tried to capture the moments.
He returned Jenny's phone a few minutes later, feeling somehow prouder of his camera skills than he'd ever been in his life. Max hardly touched anything artistic anymore. He kept an Instagram, but that was probably the most creativity-focused thing he could manage without wanting to climb out of his own skin. He didn't notice until a few seconds too late that Jenny had turned her phone on him, seeing the flash go off before he even knew what was going on, no chance to hide his face or try to run. "Hey! No, hey, can we delete that?" Max didn't try to grab her phone out of her hands but kept pleading with her to scrap the picture until he realized it was useless and she'd probably plastered it all over her social media by now. "Jenny! That was mean!" He protested, clumsily propping his water bottle in the crook of his elbow to try to use his passive right hand. "Don't I have to... sign a waiver or something..." His hands slowed and muddled through the last few words, though it wasn't like Jenelle was likely to recognize the way he signed 'waiver'. Max usually tried to not be so wordy with his friends, but by this point in the night, he was slowly starting to make less and less sense even when he stuck to familiar phrasing.
Max went back to trying to open his water bottle, twisting the plastic cylinder around and suddenly noticing the sickeningly familiar feel of the curved surface, that gaudy blue branding--
His face fell.
Zach's brand of choice.
Max felt something ricochet painfully off the side of his head, flinching and turning only to realize it was only his imagination.
Again? Could Zach not go an hour without finding a way to climb back into Max's brain?
Where was Zach now? Was he here? Did it matter? He didn't want to see Max even if he was. Maybe he was right and he'd never liked Max anyway, even though they'd grown up together. But ever since Zach caught feelings for Harper...
Max didn't want to fight with Zach. Not about this.
Max kept telling himself he just wanted his friends back, even though it cut deeper than that simple reason was enough to explain.
As though it had burned his hand, Max dropped the bottle back on top of the cooler and took a step away, hiding his face in his hands and wondering how many shots it was going to take to forget all of this. When he finally looked back up, he just seemed weak and fatigued, still propping himself against the brick wall as if he'd lose his footing without it. "Hey. Hey, Jenny--" His hand slipped over her name, his fingers accidentally grazing over the raw mark on his cheek. "I have a great idea. We should get more alcohol." Behind his wry smile, there was an icy stillness in his eyes that seemed to say that he wasn't joking.
There was always something so curious about the American way of life. Somehow fireworks and Miley Cyrus became wrapped up in the oddity of Fourth of July parties, their randomness rivalling only streakers wearing the country's flag and nothing more. As an immigrant, Bennie's first Independence Day in the states both scarred him and riled him up to celebrate the nation he learned to call home. His parents shook their head at the usual festivities (countrymen in England preferred to celebrate harvest seasons over patriotic murder) and kept their distance, but Bennie didn't shy away from diving into his friends' get togethers with red white and blue painted over his shoulders.
When little Bennie caught wind of the party happening just 15 minutes out of his house, there was no question on whether he was going to go. What would senior year be if he didn't take advantage of every party? So there he went, adorned in the three over-saturated colors cruising down to the docks on his ratty bike, the chains clinking against each other as he sped through crosswalks and streets. Breaths wet with physical strain clawed their way from his lungs, the sound of panting and the occasional sniff accompanied with careening horns and the pop of fireworks. Fashionably late was the only way Bennie knew how to arrive to events, apparently.
He could hear the party before it made itself familiar to his eyes. The waves of music seemed like they already infiltrated his veins, his head nodding away to the beat as he dropped his bike off at the edge of the lot. Deep, ambient pop music was the vibe for his past few Fourth of July's; this was the first time he was going to groove to high-frequency house music. Fitted in an outfit ripped from Pinterest, Bennie let his fingers wander through the hazelnut curls of his hair, his chest tightening as he attempted to still his wheezing breaths. Now that he thought about it, he didn't really know anyone that was here. Or, at least if any of his friends were already drunk as shit or mingling with others.
Mariah speaking had made Chance forget all that he was worried about. She looked pretty standing in front of him and Chance could feel his heart beating a little faster. He had to pull himself together. I actually liked playing soccer with you. You weren't too bad. He shrugs, memories of playing with Isaiah popping into his head. That kid should not play soccer. I've definitely played with worse.
When Mariah hits Chance's shoulder, he lets her small hand connect but instead of letting it fall back to her side, he catches it and laces his fingers with her so that he can drag her to the shop. Her hand was a bit smaller in his, soft and warm. HE didn't necessarily mean to invade her space by clutching her hand, but now he didn't even want to let go. Chance was praying to whatever gods were out there to make sure this date was going to be good, because the runner wouldn't mind holding Mariah's hand every now and then.
When they land in front of the ice cream display and he looks down at her, not letting go of her hand. Alright, so what ice cream are you gonna get? You seem like an interesting girl, so it can't just be vanilla. He nudges her slightly, but pulls her right back into his side. Chance liked Mariah, a lot, and he was willing to explore it farther even at the expense of exploring himself further.
"Fuuuck, you're so hot," Dex leaned in close to whisper in Dani's ear, leaving a few hungry kisses on her neck before pulling back. Chuckling, he squeezed her ass with both hands as she walked in front of him, stumbling out of the bathroom together as a unit. She whirled around to face him and Dex pulled her into a long, passionate kiss, pressing her against the wood-paneled wall in the dark, tiny hallway they were in. For the moment, it felt like all was well in the world, the stars had aligned, and the Henderson marriage was perfect. After all, the couple had just broken their four-month dry spell, they were out having fun together, and they were now making out in public like teenagers.
Finally, the couple disentangled themselves, and Dex grabbed his wife's hand to head down the hall. The bar was pretty quiet, as half the town was at the Moores' yearly Independence Day bash. But Dex noticed a new arrival since they took their little bathroom break, and was thrilled to see the familiar face and bright green hair of their good friend Juno, who had decided to come out partying with them.
Noticing him standing by the bar alone, he wondered if they simply couldn't find a sitter, if Daiki didn't want to come hang out with them, or if Juno's relationship with his husband had worsened at all since Juno got back from camp. Dex silently debated whether or not he should ask but decided against it for now, at least not until Juno had knocked back a few.
"Heeeey! Look who's here!" Dex strolled up to Juno and pulled the other fellow into a hug. "What's up, buddy? How's the hubs and kid?" He asked, taking a step back to let Dani say hello to their friend. "You wanna grab a drink here? Unless you guys feel like going to that party up at the Moores'," Dex slurred on, glancing between Juno and Dani for a consensus on what the plan was for the night.
They took Juno's car to the party, theirs still sitting safely in the bar parking lot. Once arrived, the drunk couple staggered with Juno down the street and up the driveway, giggling like idiots as the three of them exchanged lively chatter amongst themselves; all clearly excited for a night off from adulting and responsibilities. It was fun, almost like old times, when they'd hang out as teens on a Friday night, looking for mischief to get into.
Stumbling a couple of paces behind Dani, Dex slipped his arms around her shoulders as they walked, leaning down to lovingly kiss her soft hair. He followed after Dani as she slipped inside the house with Juno, glancing around the tastefully decorated foyer. Normally, Dex would probably make some smarmy joke about the mansion and what a pain in the ass it must be to clean or something, in an effort to assuage his own envy of the homeowners and their obvious wealth. But he was drunk, he'd just gotten laid, was in a great mood, and blissfully fresh out of fucks to give for anything. Instead, Dex mentally wished the Moores well, and hoped they'd get a chance to run into the young couple at some point to thank them for the party.
Not long after arriving, as the three friends stood chatting about the Moores' posh digs, Dex heard a familiar voice right behind him. He turned to find Hassim approaching, and broke into a wide grin at the sight of him. "Oh shit! Hey, man!" Dex gave the other man a friendly whack on the back, clearly much more loud and animated than he usually was when conversing with his daughter's swim teacher.
"Look, babe! It's Hassim," He slurred, throwing an arm around his wife and glancing back to Hassim. "Hassim, this is our friend Juno," Dex reached out his free hand to clumsily pat his green-haired buddy's shoulder, missing once or twice before he made contact.
Juno commented sarcastically at the sight of the empty bar. His gaze wandered around the place before ending up towards Dani and Dex, who seemed to be especially thrilled to see him. He walked closer to them and nodded as a greeting. The taller man greeted the shorter one, pulling him up to a hug. "Well, well: aren't you cheerful tonight", Juno mumbled while letting out a small laugh. He hugged Dex back and whispered to his ear whether him being so cheerful had something to do with Dani and bedroom.
Juno tried to match Dex's cheerfulness, but cringed internally at the man's question. "Good. We didn't find a babysitter for Nana, so Daiki had to stay with her. Otherwise I wouldn't be the one driving." It was sort of a lie, sure it had reality mixed in, but the green-haired one couldn't help but feel bad for lying to his best friend. In fact Daiki and Juno were doing great, for once they were just as lovey-dovey as in Japan. However it was only on the surface. Inside of Juno there was a sea of hatred towards himself. Why did he have to cheat on Daiki? If he hadn't made that mistake, everything would be perfectly fine. Juno shaked his head when asked if they should take a round in the bar. This time he wouldn't drink even a drop of alcohol, the last time he was drunk, he had ended up in a stranger's bed.
The trio ended up taking Juno's car to go to the party. Juno was in the driver's seat and Dex and Dani in the backseat. They were cuddling like a pair of teens in their crushes company. Juno couldn't help but feel a little Jealous of his friends. Oh how much he hoped to feel so free and full of love. But no: he had fucked up badly. It was unsure whether he would have a husband anymore. Juno's cheating coming to Daiki's knowledge was the last straw to break their relationship, Juno was afraid.
He shaked his head again, this time purely for himself. He should stop thinking about that. He didn't want to ruin his friend's night. He would follow them around like a puppy, just like in high school, and force himself to enjoy the party. Once arrived, the drunk couple staggered with Juno down the street and up the driveway. They were giggling like a bunch of teenagers. The trio exchanged lively chatter amongst themselves, and Juno could feel their cheerfulness to stick on himself as well. It almost reminded Juno from old times, when they all were teens full off mischievousness and will to experience everything new.
Just right after arriving, Juno's phone started to ring. It was Daiki. Had he found out? No, it couldn't be... right? "Sorry guys, I have to take this." He went further away from all the people, hoping it would be more quiet and peaceful to have a call. Juno felt a flash of nervousness as he answered the call, but all he faced was Daiki apologizing that he didn't say goodbye to Juno when he left the house. "Ooh it's fine, you didn't need to call. Yeah, I promise I will not have too much fun. Love you too." Daiki's voice silenced and the phone started to toot. Juno put it in his back pocket and went back to Dex and Dani.
However it wasn't just the couple and their personal third wheel anymore. Juno saw a familiar man. He was going to say hi to Hassim, when Dex started to introduce them. "Hassim, this is our friend Juno", Dex said while his free hand clumsily patted Juno's shoulder. How drunk Dex really was to introduce two people who already knew each other? Juno didn't know when Dex had had time to drink. Didn't they just meet? Juno didn't mind however, Drunk Dex was sort of heartwarming. He had the same boyish charm as when they were teens. Instead of mentioning they knew already, Juno decided to play along. So he offered his hand towards Hassim, in order to shake his hands. "Yo, I'm Juno. Pleased to meet you. Let's have a fun night!"
You knoew, you'r reaal pretty, like really pretti!
Niila said as his hopeless attempt to flirt. Or act nice, he wasn't sure which one he was going for. Well, flirting, actually. But perhaps it would help to act nice first? Niila had come to the party with Lemon, who had disappeared from his eyes. But it was all right, even though the Fin lived with the blondie during his stay in the States, it didn't mean the girl needed to act like his babysitter all the time. Girl as pretty as Lemon probably had more important stuff to do than constantly hangout with a unfriendly shortie like him. However, Lemon not being in the scenery meant Niila was left alone. He didn't know anyone and he wasn't social enough to just talk and hang with strangers. Well.. that wasn't completely true. He had met Lemon's friends Reid and Claire, but that meeting didn't go well, like at all.
Anyways Niila had spent the night avoiding the center of the rooms and stayed close to walls. That way he could avoid people, swim in the lake of his insecurities and drink his ass of. Drinking alone in party was sort of pathetic. Who went to parties to drink alone? That could be done alone in one's own home. The fins even had a own word for that: 'Kalsarikännit' or 'Underwear hangover' freely translated. It meant when a person got drunk alone in home, while not being dressed up. So basically something a loser would do. Niila wasn't a party animal but he loved hanging out with his friends while getting drunk. Getting drunk with friends always resulted fun topics and adventures. Sometimes not so fun stuff too. Once in a winter one of Niila's friends almost got hypothermia because of staying too long in a frozen lake. Then once they almost burnt down a friend's family cottage.
Times like this kind of made Niila miss home, or at least wish a friend would have come with him to the States. Alcohol, right. Niila would focus on that instead of thinking about sad stuff. The fin had not done anything else than drink alone, and it was no wonder he started to be pretty drunk already. Perhaps alcohol was the reason for him to suddenly remember his wish to loose his virginity a pretty american girl. Perhaps alcohol was the reason for him to not care who the girl would be. He had just picked randomly this one girl who didn't seem to have company. Niila got closer to the girl when reality hit hard. Wasn't that Claire. "Waiet, isn'tit youu Clair?" Niila asked disappointment in his voice while shaking his head too enthusiastically. "For fucks sake I nheed to geth my eyes tested. Or head. Idk why anyone wouldd say thjat to you."
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TL;DR Just getting some ice cream and contemplating marital problems
My life would stop when you’re away
"Dex......" A gasp escaped her lips as her husband kissed her neck, one of many times he'd done so since she'd dragged him into the bathroom. ''Dex!'' the sentiment was repeated as he squeezed her ass for the thousandth time since getting together. Whirling around to tease him about it, she was instead pulled into a lengthy kiss, feeling her back press against the wall. Almost instantly, she kissed back. They'd fucking done it. They'd broken their dry spell.
Heading down the hall with her husband, her hand grabbed his, grasping it firmly. Given how quiet the bar was, she couldn't help but start thinking of dragging Dex back into the bathroom. Unfortunately this plan was instantly foiled by the arrival of their friend Juno. Dani plastered on a smile, though internally she was seething through her teeth.
This anger quickly subsided as Dani noticed that Juno was all alone. She hadn't seen him with Daiki in public lately which was rather odd. When she'd first met them they seemed totally over the moon for each other. Then again she and Dex used to be all over each other, and now they were...........a mess. So with a frown, she reminded herself to pull Juno aside at some point and ask him if he was okay.
"Juno!" Dani greeted him right after her husband. "What're you up to? Meeting a friend?" she questioned, wrapping her arms around Dex's waist, the place she could comfortably reach, plus a place where she could inconspicuously touch his........business. "The Moore's? Hell yeah! Their parties were the shiiiiit" She agreed, too drunk to recall what had happened the last time she had gotten wasted at the Moore's.
As they reached the party, and began yammering all the way along. With all of them laughing and joking, and Dani sneaking in little acts of affection between, she felt like a freaking teen again. Though she didn't much miss her teen rebel shenanigans, she did miss the fearlessness she'd posessed back then, and her comfortableness with throwing herself at Dex.
As they walked into the house, she giggled happily as Dex began returning her little kisses. Following Juno into the foyer, she let out a hollow chuckle at the elaborate mansion. She had never thought to envy them like she knew Dex did. But she had to admit that she did envy a life which wasn't paycheck to paycheck. It was their damn house. If they could just move into an apartment building they'd be able to put some more money aside and not be stressing about it 24/7. She'd have to look at the lease and........wait no. This was adult talk. That wasn't allowed tonight.
Instead she began Dex's usual line of joking about how fancy schmancy the house was. Then she began turning to Juno, questioning him about his job as a counselor. She still couldn't believe that he was working at their school. It had just been 6 or so years since she herself had been running around getting into mischief herself. Now her own mischief partner was helping troubled teens like she was? So they didn't turn into a troubled adult like she is now? That was wild.
"Hassim! What's up dude?" Her hand lowered until she was able to give her husband a taste of his own medicine through a squeeze of his ass when he was distracted talking to Hassim. "Juno, this is Hassim, he teaches swimming to our kids," Dani introduced her friend, not quite sober enough to realize it was redundant and unnecessary to introduce Juno's end.
TL;DR Artemis is pretending he doesn’t have feelings for Hassim
i don't wanna be myself, it's making me so unwell
Yeah, Artemis hated partying, and he hated being around people, but he couldn't lie - Carson and Astraea where pretty much the only two people who could make him smile on the way to somewhere he was dreading.
He rolled his eyes very deliberately at Carson as she asked if he'd missed her, allowing a small smile to drift onto his face. He hummed at the mention of Thad. "Sure," he nodded. "I'll punch him in the dick if he tries anything." Artemis definitely didn't consider himself a violent, nor a confrontational person, but he would do what he needed to take care of his friends. He'd do the exact same thing and more for Astraea if she needed it - although he hoped she never would.
His smile dropped a little at the mention of Hassim, and the tone that Astraea used at the mention of him. Fuck. He'd forgotten about Carson's interest in Hassim. Artemis hadn't told them about him, of course, but not because he was actively trying to hide it. Although, now he felt like he should. He didn't want to make Carson feel weird, or to discourage her. Maybe Hassim liked her, or would. There was no need for him to ruin it with the mention of a night where Artemis had been drunk off his face, and Hassim had likely made one stupid mistake.
He looked over at Astraea as she suddenly turned to him, his cheeks burning as she asked him if Carson and Hassim would make a good couple. He was an awful liar, but he couldn't tell the truth. "Um-" Luckily, as was in Astraea's nature, she was moving on to something else. Taking a deep breath, Artemis told himself to focus on driving. Allowing his best friends to chat to their hearts' content, he backed out of Carson's driveway and started them on their way to the party.
“Lemon.” Reid sighed staring at the extremely drunk blonde laying on the asphalt below. “Your mom cares, your dad cares, and I don’t think they would appreciate if only part of you came home.” He rolled his head to the side, forcing out a small chuckle as he looked at Lemon laying on the ground, her eyes practically closed.
Reid quickly pulled away as Lemon started to shout. “Lem, I thought you wanted to go home.” Reid said, sounding more annoyed than he had intended. Reid looked over his shoulder at the house behind them, lit up with people’s smiles and laughter. “Okay” Reid said quietly. “What can I do to help.” Reid wrapped his arms around his knees again.
“What are you doing?” Reid raised an eyebrow at Lemon as she began furiously texting someone. Lemon didn’t respond, only continued to text, he reached forward plucking the phone from her hand. “Maybe drunk texting…” he looked at the name, only to tilt his head in confusion. “… My mom, isn’t your best idea.”
Reid smirked as he pocketed Lemon’s phone, only to look up and catch tears streaming down her face. “Lemon…” He said concerned, not even having a chance to correct her, tell her that she didn’t ruin everything. He quietly listened to Lemon as she told her story.
He never liked Johnathan even though they ran in the same crowd, they constantly butted heads. He hated the way that Jonathan acted like he was better than everyone else. He hated how Jonathan talked about girls, how he treated them. And Jonathan hated Reid for who knew what reason, Reid didn’t have anything that Jonathan could have wanted.
Reid never knew that Jonathan wasn’t supposed to show up to the forth of July party. He always thought that this had been what Lemon wanted. Maybe not before, but as they continued to date, he could believe that she wanted to have what every other girl in the town wanted, the last name.
Reid was angry. He didn’t realize how bad Jonathan truly had been to Lemon. He knew from others how shitty Jonathan could be, but Lemon… She had been acting so happy, Reid and her had fought about it before the date. Lemon said she had to go, and after that they were distant. Reid believed that was what she wanted. And now more than ever he wished that he had pushed it further.
He thought back to the night he had almost killed Jonathan. “I should of-“ Lemon’s voice stopped him. As he met her tired blue eyes and tear stained face. He ran a hand through his hair, wanting to say something but knowing that he couldn’t say anything to help.
He dropped his head to his chin, letting his hair flop forward. “Yea Lemon… Lets get you home.” Reid stood up offering a hand to Lemon.
Let us be young, let us be wild
until the summer's over
Jenelle giggled at Max's protests when she sneakily snapped a photo of him. "Okay, okay!" She squeaked, nodding at his request to delete the picture, even though she knew there was no way in hell she'd do it. Unfortunately, now she couldn't proudly plaster Max's cute face all over her social media accounts like she'd planned as soon as she'd snapped that photo.
Her face soon fell into a frown of concern, however, as Max suddenly looked stricken, dropping the bottle of water back in the cooler. "Max..." Jenelle murmered gently, forgetting to sign the boy's name; not that he'd be able to see her do it anyway with his face buried in his hands.
When he finally looked back up at her, she was struck silent by his suggestion. Even in its alcohol-soaked state, Jenny's rational mind knew Max was thoroughly trashed, and neither of them needed to drink any more. She knew any true friend of Max wouldn't let him near any more alcohol.
Looking into his bright blue eyes though, Jenny wanted so badly for Max to think she was cool in that moment, to give into any request from him. To be bad, to ignore her constantly nagging conscience, or at least drown it in so much booze it was silenced for the moment. To throw caution to the wind and take a night off from being the sensible goody two-shoes she always was.
A mischievous smile slowly crept across the girl's face, glancing back down at the cooler full of cold drinks. Grabbing a bottle of beer, she held it up to Max before placing it in the crook of her arm to sign. "Liquor before beer, you're in the clear, right? ONLY if you drink some water first though." Jenny plucked the water Max had dropped in the chest of ice and thrust it back in his hands.
"Go on.." Jenny signed, punctuating the statement with a nod toward the water she'd forced into his grasp. She then grabbed a second bottle of beer, twisting it open and taking a long chug, the other bottle thrust toward Max to wave it teasingly towards him. Jenny giggled as she pulled the bottle just out of his reach before he could snatch it away from her, again nodding her chin to the cold water in his hands.
Max is drunk as fuck and Jenny is having a nice little talk with him. Hopefully this won't end in trauma.
We accept the love we think we deserve.
Max and Jenny stood in silence for a moment, taking in the discomfort of the situation. Max was trying to puzzle through his muddled brain for an explanation for his concerning pain-stricken reaction to an ordinary bottle of water. Jenny looked like she were about to ask... Max breathed an involuntary sigh of relief when she didn't. She still looked perplexed, eyes uncertainly on him with her eyebrows slightly furrowed, seeming to be rummaging through her mind the same way he was. Then, breaking the awkward stillness, she smiled as she bent to open the cooler again. When she closed it back up again, she was holding 2 more bottles.
"Liquor before beer, you're in the clear, right? ONLY if you drink some water first though."
Max stared back blankly, blinking twice as if that would help him process the oddity of the statement. The essence of the rhyming catchphrase was lost in translation, leaving only the nonsensical proposal. Before he could ask any questions, she was pushing the water bottle he'd dropped back into his hands and he had to clumsily try to pass it from her without letting it drop to the ground. Once it was securely back with him, he was once again looking at it with a quiet resentment, the same way some 19th-century novel heroine would putter over a trinket from a scorning lover.
Bitterness aside, though, Max was willing to take her up on the offer. He nodded silently, frowning in resignation at the dreaded plastic container and resuming his struggle with the bottlecap. Between being naturally uncoordinated and also drunk out of his mind, it took him a good minute just to crack the damn thing open.
Fuck it. It couldn't be that hard to choke down a stupid bottle of water. It was just water. Zach wasn't even around. Nobody had to know about this.
It still felt like taking in another part of someone who didn't like him anymore.
The silver lining to the uncomfortable ordeal was that Max couldn't taste the difference between different brands of bottled water. It was all just water to him; he didn't know what all the fuss was about. Zach was constantly getting lambasted for his amity for Dasani, and the only reason Max was put off by it was the now-painful association. With his eyes closed, he was able to swallow it down without too much of an emotional sting. Jenny taunted him with the other bottle for a moment, dangling it in one hand over her shoulder just out of reach of Max, who was unwilling to move away from the wall he was leaning on for support just to grab it from her. Eventually, she handed it over, once she was satisfied that he'd finished a bottle of filtered dihydrogen monoxide that unfortunately reminded him of a very tense relationship. She didn't have to know all that. Max definitely wasn't going to explain why he was so reluctant to stay hydrated, so he was content with the fact that he just seemed to be acting incredibly weird.
"Beer, right? Let's go." Thinking he should probably hold onto it until he found a place to recycle it, Max left the water bottle close by on the windowsill. He definitely wouldn't just forget it there. No way. The other bottle intrigued him, though his vision doubled as he tried to read the label. It was probably just the dim light. "I've never done this before." Max was compromising and carelessly gliding over his hand motions to the point where he was almost unintelligible, especially with no passive hand. In spite of this, the sentiment of the sentence could easily be read off his face alone as he turned the green bottle over in his hand, flexing his wrist back to avoid losing his unsteady grip on the damp glass. "This is like... less bad? Then... you know." He gestured off to an arbitrary point by his side without clarifying what he was talking about. "Wait, how do you open this?" He was holding the bottle upside down now, cluelessly running his fingers over the base. "Fuuuck, why do they make these so difficult?" He substituted the bottle for his other hand, swiping his knuckles down the length of the bottle. "Wait, are you supposed to just like..." He tried prying off the cap from the underside with his fingernails, thinking he was onto something, but no luck. "Do you have keys? I think you can do this with keys. Or like... a knife. Maybe a sharp spoon?" No words after think were anything resembling his usual clarity. Everything he tried to say just kept getting more and more lost in sloppy alcohol-induced mistakes.
He should have stopped a long time ago, but that kind of common sense had long since left him.
For Lemon everything was a constant reminder of how she had been the one to put herself into sticky situations and never knew how to get out of them. This moment wasn’t any different for her and honestly, she didn’t even feel good anymore. In reality she could have changed the outcome of so many scenarios over the past year and yet right now she felt at her lowest point. All she wanted was for everything in her brain to calm down and for the world stop moving every time her head moved. She finally took Reid’s hand and let herself wobble into him, “I’m good.” Her words slurred as she tried to balance herself once on her feet.
For a moment she let herself lean into Reid, he was warm, or maybe she was warm? It was hard to tell everything felt weird and she felt weird. It didn’t take long for her to realize that walking was going to be anything but easy, “Hang on.” She was a little more aggressive than she had meant to be even though Reid himself had barely moved, “My shoes and the ground aren’t level.” She didn’t know how to explain what she meant any more, but her shoes made it more difficult to walk and she wanted to take them off before walking back to Reid’s car.
However, in her moment of trying to process her dilemma she felt herself go up and she was on his back. Her body leaned against his back. She wasn’t really sure he said anything as she was being carried piggyback style to his car.
As they made their way to his car, she was mostly silent struggling to keep her eyes open, “You know he was my first kiss.” She spoke about Johnathan, “That night. I had broken up with him before then. My mom said it would be good for me to go to the party, she didn’t like me being sad. Orlando was supposed to make sure I was safe. I think he would’ve let Johnathan take me to a room. I think everyone would have.” Lemon thought back to the night of that party.
Her mind thought back to the fact that she had only been there as a way to make her mom happy, her cup had been full of water, and she had been trying to avoid the crowds. Unfortunately, Johnathan didn’t let her have any alone time. He had been drunk, really drunk. The liquor was on his lips as he spoke to her. The details of what he said to her were fuzzy, but she remembered the way his hands felt and she remembered the forceful kiss. Then after that most everything else was a bit fuzzy besides Reid being over Johnathan and people around her shouting.
It was hard for Lemon to tell when they made it to Reid’s car, “I’m sorry I’m the reason you went to juvie. I wish…” She wasn’t sure but she wished she would have told Reid everything that year. Tell him how much she liked him, how watching him be with everyone else hurt, how when he ignored her after their fight, she was miserable. He was her first best friend, her first crush that wasn’t a celebrity, she had wished he would have been more firsts, but he was Reid and she was plain old Lemon. As she slid off his back and Reid turned to face her, she stared at his eyes if only for a moment. She wished she could shove the emotions down, but he had been all she had ever wanted or at least was curious to experiment and find out. Before she knew what was happening, she was leaning in towards him unable to stop her drunk mind and she thought he turned away. She knew he didn’t have feelings for her but her drunk curiosity took over for a split second too long, but what made it worse is she was aware of what was happening but not how to control it. Her ego felt deflated even more than before from the rejection but she wasn’t a Claire, or an Isa, or any of the other beautiful girls in this town who had confidence and attracted everyone. Now, she was going to have to quietly sit in a car with him and say nothing the whole ride. Maybe she could fall asleep, she was tired.
Reid knew that Lemon wasn’t good, as she grabbed his had he could feel the heat radiating from the tips of her fingers. As she her feet seemed to struggle to grip the asphalt below. Instinctively he gripped her elbows as he fell towards her. “You sure about that?” He chucked under his breath.
Lemon was quite for a moment, Reid just stood there trying to give her a moment to find her feet. But before he knew it Lemon was shoving him around. Clumsily climbing onto his back, but he didn’t move, he didn’t fight it. It like would be the easiest way to get her home. “Okay Lemon.” He wasn’t going to correct her, or shame her for the level of intoxication.
One of Reid’s hands went up to his neck to grip Lemon’s wrists away from his neck. If they were both going to make it home, he needed to not be choked out first. “Its not far.” He said, even if Lemon was lacking a sense of time. “You don’t have t-“ Lemon continued to talk about Jonathan. Reid’s blood boiled, he wished that he would have stopped him before that night.
“I wouldn’t have.” Reid knew that if people hadn’t gotten involved then he would of killed Jonathan… In this moment, he wished he had.
“Stop.” He didn’t want Lemon to blame herself. He would have done it all over again. “I did it to myself, and I would do it again, over and over again. If it meant protecting you.” Reid gently placed Lemon on the ground, as he opened his passenger side door for her. Reid watched Lemon’s hazy eyes as they moved closer to his. Falling backwards against his car as she continued to lean in closer. He grabbed Lemon’s shoulders, as he turned his head away from her. “Lemon…” He just said quietly before he turned to face her again.
“Lets just get you home.” He didn’t need, he didn’t want Lemon to wake up with regrets. Reid pulled Lemon into a hug, knowing that even as tough as tonight had been, tomorrow was going to feel much worse for her. He tucked his head on top of hers, before releasing her and guiding her into the passenger seat. Reaching across her, he buckled her into his car safely before getting into the car himself and starting the ignition, he drove towards the Pierce’s house… Not even sure how he would explain this one……..
TL;DR Romir is both obnoxious and annoying while he picks up Oliver for their trip
look at this idiotic fool that you've made me
Romir looked over at Oliver as he spoke, listening intently. He moved closer to his friend, peeing over his shoulder as he pulled things out of his backpack. Rome grinned at the jar. "Yes," he confirmed that he wanted to keep some, grabbing the jar from Oliver. He investigated it, turning it over and over as he walked, allowing himself to walk a bit faster than Oliver. He looked back over at Oliver as he spoke again, blinking at him. He sounded very serious.
Rome waved a hand dismissively. "Yes, yes, okay, whatever." He went back to inspecting the jar, although he was making a mental note of the instructions that Oliver had given him. Rome didn't show it, because he was surprisingly bad at emoting, but he cared about the words that were said to him. If this was important to Oliver, he'd do as he asked - had he been a better person, Rome might have even apologised for showing up like this. But he wasn't, so he didn't.
Rome stopped at the stoplight, staring at the red man, until movement beside him caught his eye. He watched Oliver walked past him and through the light, and he grinned, skipping after him. He hummed in understanding when Oliver stated he wouldn't want to keep any fireflies, nor would he want them to come near him. "More for me," he assured him. "You are like moral support. So I'm not get murdered in woods," he shot Oliver a grin, as if he were joking. He only sort of was.
They came to the woods another five or ten minutes later. Rome didn't know how far into the bushland they were supposed to go, but he didn't hesitate in forging his own path through the shrubbery. He knew that Oliver wouldn't feel comfortable with leaves or plants brushing their legs - considering the insects that might be on them - so he tried to step where there was a bit of a clearing. Once they were far enough in that the lights of the town weren't necessarily lighting much of their surroundings, Rome stopped and turned to Oliver, deliberately not turning his phone torch on, so he didn't drive the fireflies away.
"How are we su... summon them?" He asked, whispering, purely because it felt appropriate.
TL;DR Romiver has some wholesome wilderness bonding.
How lonely it is, to be drowning in a place where everyone can swim
Climbing through the bushland on the outskirts of the neighborhoods was a daunting task. Though he'd prepared for it as much as he could, he kept brushing his hands across his legs to check for ticks and flinching every time a stray flying Junebug buzzed past them. Though he'd grown accustomed to it in such a small town hooded by forests, even the chirping of crickets irritated him. He couldn't help but start imagining what it would be like if any other phylum of animal was as prevalent as arthropods were. Like sea sponges... the planet would be completely smothered in them, not a bare inch of space. It was absolutely insane, how large the insect population was compared to everything else. 84% of the animal kingdom. Oliver grimaced, giving his sleeve another check for clinging parasites. Midsummer wasn't a great time to be trekking through a field of thickets and tall grass.
Compared to the mostly invisible army of bugs around them, the darkness hardly seemed to bother Oliver. The clean air and open space were a much-needed relief, and wandering around at night was second nature by now.
"More for me," Romir piped up, speaking in hushed tones as if he thought they were being stalked through the trees. "You are like moral support. So I'm not get murdered in woods,"
"You were... probably will-- won't. Most likely won't. Probably not." Oliver gave his best attempt at sounding reassuring, but it fell flat. "Anchor Bay av-v...Anchor Bay averages only 1.5 murders a year." Oliver paused, trying to remember when he'd read that statistic and wondering if the number was still accurate now. He didn't address the obvious question of what half of a murder was. He assumed, probably incorrectly, that the average was just a measurement and didn't reflect the actual expectation for the year's homicides.
Romir asked how to summon their insects, and Oliver nodded simply, already fishing his phone out of his pocket while he decided how to phrase his answer.
This was his time to shine. Though he often seemed confused and out-of-place, Oliver was more than confident in his knack for quick Google searches. "Flashlight." Oliver flicked through the long passcode on his phone and turned on the appropriate setting. "I don't have a real one," He explained, with a twinge of an apology, "It couldn't h-- should... would've been better to use blue light. They don't mind it as much." He kept shifting the aim of the light up and down, careful not to hit Romir straight in the eyes with it. "I don't actually know how firefly light patterns work. I've been pulling this off of firefly.org ...I didn't know that was a real website." The last of that sentence was mostly to himself. He'd realized halfway through his explanation that he probably could have taped a small piece of blue tissue paper over the light on his phone. That idea didn't occur to him until too late, though, so he tried to brush off his oversight by himself with a weary eye-roll and a quiet groan.
He didn't think to realize how much more talkative he was now that they were alone, under the thin cover of the trees. The woods were far from silent: the chirping of the birds still up this late, the crickets, the slow wind moving through the grass and the trees...for most, the wide range of sounds would quickly blend into a simple background ambience, but even though Oliver couldn't unseparate each piece, it seemed to fill the space perfectly. It would have been far more unnerving if it was truly quiet here.
After the flashlight had been off long enough to allow their eyes time to readjust, small beads of light were still left in its wake. The smaller of the boys, looking askance, stepped a few paces behind the other, though he didn't stop looking. "There they are."
Fourth of July, a time where everyone celebrated independence unless you were Will. William couldn’t even begin to explain how much this day sucked for him, his dad had been breathing down his neck for months about doing well in his last year of high school, picking the right college and meeting the girl his family had selected for him. Now, all of this was fine and dandy for the rest of the family members and that had all sucked it up and swallowed their pride (if they had one) and did what daddy dearest wanted. Will however had chosen to not do any of that. It wasn’t that he loved fighting with his dad or seeing his mom upset, in fact he really found the arguing distasteful and at times mundane, but he didn’t like feeling like he was stuck in this mold when all he was, was a middle child. He wouldn’t inherit the company, he wasn’t the youngest, he wasn’t the only boy, and he wasn’t a girl. Will had no reason to live in the mold of his family.
That was how he wound up walking the streets of Anchor Bay. Some stupid fight had ensued between himself and his father and now he was on the dark streets of the town. His feet carrying him towards the noise of what he assumed was the Moore’s. As he continued moving forward his body collided with another. A kid. Young, maybe a freshman or a sophomore, he really couldn’t be sure. All he knew was that the kid definitely wasn’t a senior but he looked like he was both in awe and frightened of the party.
Will sighed because he really didn’t want to interact but his manners wouldn’t let him go without saying something, “Sorry, kid. You’ve been around the school. I’m Will. I wasn’t watching where I was going. The party and the dark streets don’t help. I heard the party and the fireworks are supposed to be amazing in there.” He was trying to make light of the situation, but really, he felt awkward and the words flowing from his mouth just didn’t seem to have the right flow or structure. He was floundering, “You, want to go in? Find your friends or find a place to at least watch the fireworks? I could be you friend for the night if you can’t find yours.” Will could only mentally berate himself. This kid didn’t need him as a friend and he definitely didn’t need some young kid becoming his friend. Manners were going to be the death of him.
in the process of letting go you will lose many things from the past, but you will find yourself
Hassim smiles at the antics of his peers, but he humors them anyways. He remembers Juno from camp, the four of the adults getting to know each other over planning and sometimes a few drinks. He guesses that he can also call them friends now, even though they weren't the ones he was meeting here.
Nice to see you again Juno. Hassim waves with a softer smile on his face. I think it's going to be a good night, we're just out here drinking with some friends.
Nothing could possibly go wrong and Hassim believed that. The PDA the married couple was showing off put Hassim a little off as he couldn't stop thinking about Artemis and then Carson. Was it so smart for him to be moving on with Carson, a friend of Artemis after that kiss. That kiss that tainted Hassim's mind for a few days before he got the hint that Artemis regretted it and that it was a drunken mistake. Well, if it was a drunken mistake, all Hassim could do was move on.
For a few moments he converses with the trio, growing comfortable with them, a drink in his hand and a laugh erupting from his throat. It was safe to say that Hassim was starting to make friends in Anchor Bay now, he was starting to find his place here. It isn't long when Astraea, Carson, and....Artemis show up. Artemis's presence stutters the lifeguard's actions and he takes a step back towards Juno as if he didn't want the others to find him. But his eyes meet Astraea's and all he can do is smile, greeting them over. There was no need to get nervous, it's just Artemis.
Hey Astraea. Hassim smiles, pulling her into a soft hug before his eyes trail over to Carson. The smile on his face is more genuine as he pulls her into a hug as well. Hassim couldn't deny that there was something there. Finally, you made it. I didn't think that I could survive much longer without your presence. He smiles down at her, his hand softly laying at her lower back. He quickly gains the courage to look at Artemis, who's standing a little off to the side as if he's afraid of the group. Hassim smiles at him too, he didn't want to be the reason he isolated himself.
Artemis, it's nice seeing you. He nods his head over so that the tall bookshop employee will actually join them. Hassim steps closer to the previous trio he was with, pulling Carson alongside him, his left arm still holding her waist. I don't know if you have met yet, but Astraea, Artemis, Carson, this is Dex, Danielle, and Juno. The growth of the group set Hassim's pride off as he noticed the large group of friends he now had, his mom would also be proud to see that he wasn't cooping himself in his aprtment this evening. It was going to be a good night.
Romir did not seem at all affected by the comment on how common - or, rather, uncommon - murders in Anchor Bay were. "Oh well. Is interesting way to go," he shrugged, then shot Rome a grin and waggled his eyebrows.
He watched Oliver in genuine fascination as he demonstrated how to attract the fireflies to them so that Rome could hopefully catch some. He also was not aware that 'firefly.org' was a real website, and wondered if he also should have gone onto it. His plan had quite literally been to just go with the flow and hope for the best. He was even happy to just try to catch a firefly in his hands if need be.
"Wow," he muttered, even though nothing had happened yet. He was more impressed by the amount of thought that Oliver had put into this. Rome had been looking forward to it, of course, but he hadn't prepared or planned for it. He was glad that Oliver did. One of them ought to be organized.
He stayed quiet as they stood and waited, not wanting to scare off any fireflies by speaking too loudly or at all. Just as he was about to ask if Oliver was sure this would work, the fireflies seemed to suddenly appear - it was like magic to Rome. "Oh my God," he muttered, unable to help it. He grinned, looking over at Oliver. "Oh my - This so cool!"
He slowly opened the lid of the jar, and then hesitated. "How- How I catch?" He asked, keeping his voice soft.
Jesus motherfucking Christ, Artemis couldn't think of one place he wanted to be less right now than at this stupid fucking party.
He wouldn't have minded just hanging around with Carson and Astraea - making sure they didn't get too drunk, or taking care of them if they did. He didn't care if he had to hang around for hours just keeping an eye on them.
Even seeing Hassim, Artemis was okay with that. He still could have just kept to himself, since he and Hassim seemed to be keeping... Whatever had happened on the down-low. Plus, he hadn't worked up the courage to tell Carson about his feelings for Hassim yet. And then he spotted two strangers, and Artemis felt like he wanted to vomit as Hassim waved them over. He tried to remind himself how well things had gone when he met Hassim, and that he really shouldn't be so nervous just to meet people, but that didn't calm his heartbeat.
And, of course, if the night wasn't going to be uncomfortable enough, Artemis spotted the fourth member of Hassim's little group as he, Carson and Astraea approached. Fuck. Artemis hadn't seen Juno for a while - he'd honestly barely remembered his name. But he remembered that he was married, that he had been married when he and Artemis had hooked up, and that he'd asked... well, demanded, that Artemis not tell anyone. Artemis had to use all of his self-control to not cringe as they joined the group.
He looked over at Hassim and smiled in greeting, only to see that Hassim was completely focussed on Carson. And his arm was around her waist in a very not platonic way. Artemis had a moment of honest-to-God, genuine confusion. Confusion turned to surprise, which turned to anger, which turned to... a mixture of frustration and sadness. Hassim had made such a point of assuring Artemis that the kiss had been wanted by both of them, that Hassim was interested in him, and now he was... now he was outwardly, obviously flirting with Carson.
Artemis was not smiling when Hassim looked at him. He was not smiling when he said hi. Suddenly, Artemis felt very self-conscious. He crossed his arms over his chest, wishing he could curl in on himself and die. When he was in doubt of himself - which was very often - he found that wearing clothes that he loved was a great way to build his confidence. But in this moment, he regretted his outfit, although it wasn't his most daring. He regretted the fact that his tattoos were visible, that his shirt was barely even a shirt, that he was taking up space, that he was drawing attention to himself.
He simply nodded at everyone as Hassim introduced them, avoiding both his and Juno's eyes. Now he really felt like he was going to vomit. He cast his gaze to the ground, wishing it would swallow him whole.
TL;DR Romir somehow sleuthed out Oliver's address and that is fucking terrifying and raises several questions. Nevertheless, firefly hunting.
How lonely it is, to be drowning in a place where everyone can swim
Oliver quickly got lost in watching Romir, who was almost bewitched by the glowing insects. Though at first he'd been keeping his eyes on Romir to avoid acknowledging the fireflies, eventually the flickering lights grabbed at his attention. Oliver turned his gaze with a frozen expression, as if he thought he was going to be turned to stone if he looked. But from this small distance, the fireflies seemed to move slowly, like embers off of a fire. It was easy to forget how many legs and eyes they actually had.
It was beautiful. Romir more so than the fireflies. Though Oliver offered no response to Romir's excited commentary, he tried to follow along with his excitement until he asked how to catch them. Oliver hadn't been expecting a question, and his answer was delayed a moment or two. He'd only started reading up on firefly catching earlier that day, so retrieving the information from his memory took a bit of focus. "Oh. We need a net." The steps and details were still a bit out of place in his head, but he immediately remembered that much. Oliver hadn't managed to sort out what kind of net they would need, or how he would actually acquire a net. "We don't have a net." Oliver then seemed more caught in pulling at locks of his hair than explaining any further.
Unless Romir had brought a net, which was unlikely since he had just asked how to catch the fireflies in the first place, they were up a metaphorical creek.
"We don't need a net." Oliver hardly looked like he was processing what was happening around him. He simply picked up where he left off without seeming to realize it. "Just one person to hold the jar, and I th-- I think if we has... had... wait," he stopped suddenly, hearing himself and instantly losing track of what he was trying to say. He kept stammering and trying to reroute the thought until he gave up and swerved into a new sentence. Linear conversation was difficult for him. "Small insects are fragile."
What Oliver had meant to say was that Romir should be careful handling the fireflies, since they'd have to be catching them by hand. Maybe his not-boyfriend would put the pieces together-- he could only hope that was the case, because he wasn't going to bring himself to try again.
Still, he felt uncertain leaving that sentence alone. It seemed incomplete... misleading, in a way. He was keenly aware of the fact that although a creature like a firefly could fall apart like a dry leaf, it was still unfairly and disturbingly strong. Fireflies can hibernate for years. Some ants can lift over 50 times their own body weight. It was a paradox of nature, really, how these animals could be so indestructible and so easily destroyed. He had learned at some point that spiders could regenerate lost legs when they molted their exoskeletons.
Exoskeletons concerned Oliver on principle.
It was then that he realized exactly what the situation had turned into. Catching fireflies would have to be a team effort.
In his head, Oliver had sort of imagined that he'd just be standing aside and offering somewhat-informed advice. The idea of actually catching insects with Rome sent an icy shiver down his spine.
In a split second, with no words or warning, Oliver had already snatched the jar back from Romir. At the very least, he didn't want to be the one holding fireflies in his bare hands. He ran his fingers over the canvas lid, working through the shift of circumstances in his head until he steeled up enough to stop lurking behind and walk back to Romir's side.
He tilted his head to the side, leaning his weight back on his heels and waiting for his friend to decide how to go about this. He was done offering advice. He didn't know how to do this any more than Romir did. They'd have to figure it out together. Whether that was more terrifying or less, Oliver didn't know. He was already unsure as to how much trust he was willing to put into Romir just yet, especially after he'd tracked down his house... but that just proved that Rome was far smarter than expected. And at least for now, his promises held, so what could the harm be in trusting him with fireflies? Of course, aside from fireflies being intrinsically horrifying. But horrifying as they were, Oliver knew they were harmless. Fear and danger didn't seem to share much.
But since fear was danger's only warning, it needed to be held onto.
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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
This air is blessed, you share with me
Chance's response made Mariah perk up ever so slightly. Not because she wanted validation that she was good at soccer, she'd long accepted that she was no athelete. More so that her company was enjoyable enough, that lack of a good game wouldn't deter him. ''Awww thanks. Comes from a halfway decent teacher,'' She lightly joked, sticking her tongue out, before realizing he probably wasn't looking at her. Perhaps that was for the best. ''Well at least I can outplay the 9 year olds at camp,''
As they walked over to the store, her hand was gripped by Chance's guiding her forward. She too gripped it, in affirmation and as a sign of consent to continue such acts. They continued walking forward reaching the shop, though much to her relief, Chance didn't grab the opportunity to release her. With her free hand, she scratched her forehead, pondering which flavor she ought to pick.
With a decisive sigh, she glanced up at Chance, prepared to answer his perfectly timed question. ''Well I was going to get vanilla, but now I have to pick something else so I don't let your hopes of me being interesting down. I'll take the strawberry,'' She informed him, gripping his hand slightly tighter. Emboldened by the act, she let her free hand touch his shoulder, as she stood on her tiptoes to plant a kiss on his cheek. ''What're you getting?''
Alexei was more or less the "head empty, no thoughts" type. He wasn't one to fret over things, to dwell on the past or worry about the future much. Sure, he had some bad memories, but he preferred not to think about them. And sure, he knew he couldn't work at the coffee shop forever (...could he??) but he preferred not to stress about life after graduation. Alexei was a happy-go-lucky guy most of the time, content to live in the moment and keep his feelings regulated to a fairly constant state of blissfully nonchalant.
Until he met Josephine Kingston, the Princess of Anchor Bay. Ever since, he was plagued by thoughts about Jo, a relationship with her, a future with her; wondering where she was, what she was doing, who she was with at all times. And feelings, lots of different feelings he wasn't used to having on a regular basis.
On the day of the Moores' Independence Day party, Jo had Alexei feeling ecstatic. She'd gotten a little tipsy waiting for him to arrive and, clearly tired of waiting for the man to grow a pair and ask her out, took matters into her own hands. By the time their DM conversation was over, they were a couple.
Unfortunately, it was a well-known fact to Alexei that his own brain was dead set on working againt him, always finding a way to sabotage anything good that came into his life. And Josephine? She was the best thing to happen to him in years. His rational mind knew he was a good person overall, who deserved love and happiness. To his subconscious though, the thought of such a gorgeous, classy, well-to-do princess with a scruffy former criminal like himself? It just didn't compute, and he couldn't suppress the nagging thought that it was only a matter of time before Josephine herself realized the same thing. Buried deeper still in his subconscious was a sad little boy, one that'd convinced himself it was better to not have anyone at all than to feel the pain when they inevitably left you.
But Josephine was unlike anyone he had ever met, and his immediate feelings for her were powerful. Fortunately for Alexei, his desire to live happily ever after (or however long she'd agree to date him) with his princess was much too strong to just sit back and let himself screw things up for no reason. Especially when he was more than capable of screwing things up just by being an idiot.
Case in point, Alexei had managed to piss his new girlfriend off not 30 minutes into their relationship by flirting with his coworker, Carson, on Twitter. Granted, neither party considered it flirting, really, more like friendly banter. Alexei had a general fondness for Carson but no romantic feelings, and it was clear she felt the same.
Things were complicated, however, by the fact that they'd slept together recently; a bored Carson had suggested it, and who was Alexei to turn down such a rare invitation? This moment in the DMs would have been the last acceptable opportunity to confess his indiscretion to Jo, but Alexei, idiot that he was, decided it best to keep it to himself. Fearing the worst in terms of her possible reaction, he certainly didn't want to ruin things before he'd even arrived at the party to give Josephine her promised first kiss. After all, Alexei knew he himself would be furious if Jo did the same thing with someone else. Luckily, Carson had been completely discreet about that night. With any luck, she'd stay that way, and they'd both go to their graves with this secret.
The party was well under way when Alexei had finally arrived. Freshly showered after work, he'd made his best effort to look sharp in black trousers and a fitted t-shirt, despite his obvious lack of fashion sense. Searching the house for Josephine, he felt uncharacteristically nervous now that they were a couple. It didn't take long to find her though, standing amidst the crowd of party-goers, radiating her own luminous energy that always drew Alexei straight to her, ever since they'd first met. The anxiety seemed to drain from him at the sight of her, and all he could think about was doing something silly or dorky to put a smile on her pretty face.
Fortunately, this came as easy as breathing to Alexei, so he didn't have to search his brain for long. "Oh look! A wild princess appeared," He called out as he approached, miming the act of casting out an imaginary fishing line at Josephine and reeling it back in. "Hey! I caught you," He grinned, grabbing her hand and playfully pulling her into his arms, then dipping her backwards as if they were just in the middle of a waltz.
Alexei's goofy smile faded as he stared into Jo's honey brown doe eyes, sparkling in the moonlight. Without another rational thought to stop him, he leaned down to gently kiss her perfectly plump lips, shocked by their pillowy softness, worlds more supple than he'd even imagined. When they finally parted, Alexei pulled back to gaze at her impossibly beautiful features with the most delighted smile painted across his face. "Hi, princess."