Carson had felt kind of happy when Astraea had brought up Hassim, honestly, he hadn’t really given her much interest up until recently. It was nice for a change and he was nice for a change. Carson hadn’t exactly had the best record with picking people and dating them…well she struggled to feel like she was adequate enough to actually make someone happy and keep them happy. Maybe if her parents had actually cared more about her and more about her accomplishments, she wouldn’t feel that way or some other deep meaningful reason as to why she felt she would be an inadequate partner.
When they finally arrived and parked, it was Astraea who was first out, followed by herself, and Artie brought up the rear of the group. Upon arrival Carson saw Hassim and her smile grew as he pulled her into a hug, and she tilter her head up to look at the tall man she was engulfed into. His embrace caused her to have the stupidest grin on her face but she didn’t necessarily care at this point, “Well, now you can live because I’m here.” As Hassim began introducing the group she knew Juno, he was a regular at the café and they had grown to become friends while she served him coffee. For Carson it was never anything real deep, but that was the basically everyone besides maybe Astraea and Artie but even then, it was easier for her to keep herself closed off. Her eyes lingered on Dex for just a moment, she knew him but what she didn’t know was that he was married. She felt angry because the last thing she wanted to be was someone who ruined a marriage. However, she kept a smile on her face, “Nice to meet you Dex and Danielle. Very cute couple. How long have you two been together, because it’s so nice to see such a happy marriage? It’s nice to see you out Juno, it has to be nice to have a break from all the school kids. They seem like a handful.”
Carson let herself lean into Hassim for the time being but eventually she would need to leave to get a drink and maybe see what all the fuss was about this house and these people. They seemed like they had more money than they knew what to do with, but they were being nice and opening up the home to the whole town so this family couldn’t be that bad, especially if one of them was the actual owner of the bookstore.
Drunk thoughts are some of the worst thoughts as Lemon sat in Reid’s car. Her body had been turned away from him as she stared out the window and she really hadn’t even noticed if there was any sound coming from his radio. In this moment Lemon felt nothing but rejection and she felt like shit. Anytime she thought about saying anything she would start and then stop just as quickly. He made it clear and she wasn’t about to ask why because she knew why, she had always known why. It didn’t make the pain any less, and it didn’t make the sadness go away instead it made her feel angry, not with him but with herself. She was drunk and being dumb and she knew better. She knew exactly what the outcome would be and that was why she had never tried anything or said anything to Reid over the years. Hell, she was as naïve as she was dumb sometimes and really all she could do was let her feelings fester in silence as Reid drove her home.
It didn’t take him long before he parked at her house. She fumbled with the seatbelt and door and stumbled her way out of the car. As Reid came to help, she tried to push him away, “Go home. Stop being nice.” She didn’t want his help it just made her feel worse. She didn’t care what he said it was her fault he went to juvie, it would be her fault if her dad saw him while she was drunk, but he would get in trouble. “Just…” her anger was overriding her feelings and she felt her stomach start to get more upset. She felt what she thought was going to be more words coming out of her, but those words were halted as she felt all the drinks from the night coming up. So much came out and now all she wanted was her mom.
She could see the concern as she felt a hand on her back as more liquid came out of her. Eventually the front door opened and there stood an angry dad. Lemon didn’t even have the strength to explain what happened as her father stepped between her and Reid, “Go home, son.” Her dad sounded so angry but Lemon getting sick was the more important issue at hand. As her father guided her back towards the house and into her mother’s arms, Lemon didn’t look back.
Ambrose cast a look back at the boy, “She’ll be fine. You and I need to talk later.” And with those words Ambrose went back to the house to take care of his daughter. She was going to be in a hell of a lot of trouble once she sobered up.
Josephine couldn't stop thinking. What the H-E-Double Hockey Sticks had she gotten herself into? Not just with going to a party, drinking, and getting a boyfriend, but in everything. In moving to Anchor Bay, getting a job at a bookstore, living in a crappy apartment, and an essentially unknown state college. Jo preferred to have everything planned out for her. To always be on top of her life. But by putting herself in control, ironically she'd had less control than ever before.
This was worsened, by her latest courtship with one, Alexei Milyakov. She liked him. She really truly genuinely liked him, but he was also nothing like the boys her parents had attempted to set her up with in the past. He was loud, excitable, passionate, and easygoing and like the human equivalent of sunshine in contrast to Jo's own reserved nighttime energy.
But when getting together, she supposed that Tipsy Jo had summoned her own inner Alexei. For a good month now he'd flirted with her, but never properly asked her out. She'd tried being proper and waiting for the man to make the first move, but that didn't work out at all. Eventually the anxiety of him getting with somebody else convinced Jo to get buzzed, and drunk whine to Alexei about how he wouldn't ask her out.
Of all the ways she'd expected to start out her love life, a drunk DM wasn't on the list. As she backread the exchange she was mortified by her own audacity, though thankfully he seemed to be amused by it. Though he wasn't the only factor, her time in Anchor Bay had made her feel more alive than she had in years. Living like a normal lower-middle class person was a shitshow, but it was a shared experience. And for the first time ever, she got her choice in who she could be with. There was only one downside to this. The obvious discrepancy in her upbringing and everybody else's.
Josephine had been painfully sheltered from a majority of things her whole life. She'd never watched Disney, didn't even know whether it was illegal to clean a closet without consent, and she couldn't freaking swear. Yes, she was perfect girlfriend material for the super hot older guy.
It wasn't exactly that Jo thought she was insecure. Granted, she wasn't Ms Confidence, but she preferred to think of herself as someone who could accurately identify her strengths and weaknesses. One such weakness was her pathetic lack of romantic experience.
In experience, Carson Hughes was miles ahead of her. Alexei's coworker, and pain in Jo's ass. She flirted with everyone in sight, had a very public tumultuous relationship with her ex, and was everything Jo was taught a lady shouldn't be. Even with unlearning all the awful stuff she was raised to believe, Jo still felt her stomach turn when she saw Carson loudly and boldly being herself. Deep down, she knew that it wasn't really Carson's fault she was confused/threatened by her. Jo was just jealous she couldn't behave as effortlessly as her.
Jo surveyed the room, searching for her new boyfriend. Where was he? Sure, he had to work that day, but who on earth was at a bakery at this time? Despite common sense, thoughts of him ditching her, or this all being some sick elaborate joke plagued the girl's head until she could barely think straight. Her worries were quickly assuaged by a nearby call.
She glanced in the direction of the voice, to spot Alexei attempting to reel her in by miming a fishing pole. "Alexei! What the heck are you doing?" She questioned, walking toward him. "Seriously? Are you serious right now?" She attempted to maintain a straight face, though broke down in peals of laughter before he could even respond to her question.
Instead, Alexei leaned in to plant a gentle kiss on her lips. Jo froze. They had discussed kissing prior to it, but she had expected it to happen later. Certainly not right when he saw her! And she definitely didn't expect it to feel so nice. Just tender enough for a first kiss, that she could for a moment pretend it was his own first kiss, and he was also an awkward kid trying to fumble his way through romance. When movement found her again, all she could do was cough awkwardly. "I thought you ditched me," was her first comment before standing on tiptoes to give him a hug. ''I'm glad you didn't''
Let us be young, let us be wild
until the summer's over
"Oh yeah, beer is like...way less bad," Jenelle insisted matter-of-factly after downing another long sip, suddenly an alcohol expert after drinking for the first time that night. She'd more or less chugged her entire beer in the time it took Max to fumble around trying to open his bottle. In the end, he still hadn't succeeded, and Jenelle couldn't help but chuckle watching him flounder with it.
"Umm...I dunno! Mine just twisted off for me," Jenny slurred, plucking the bottle from his hands to take a stab at opening it. "The fuck..." She mumbled to herself as she tried twisting the hell out of the cap to no avail. In the midst of her heavy concentration on the bottlecap, Jenelle happened to cast a glance up at Max and smiled, suddenly forgetting all about the task at hand. Still clutching the bottle of beer, she threw her arms around Max with a gleeful laugh, squeezing him tightly.
Those last ounces of alcohol seemed to have a compounding effect on her drunken state, as Jenny hugged the boy with abandon, not caring in that moment whether it was a weird thing to do or not. Swaying a bit unsteadily in her heels, she rested her head on Max's shoulder for a few quiet moments. Lifting her head to fix her glassy, green-eyed gaze on him as best she could in their unfocused state, Jenny blithely placed a gentle kiss on his cheek, zero fucks given to future Jenelle and how mortified she'd be remembering this later. "This is fun..."
Oh," Jenny hurriedly took a step back, releasing Max and she finally remembered she needed to sign her words. "This is fun, we should hang out more! I like you, Max," She signed clumsily, praying any of it actually made sense to him. Even in her inebriated state, the confession made Jenny smile sheepishly, her cheeks blushed pink.
"Oh wait.." Jenny mumbled to herself, suddenly remembering the bottle nestled in the crook of her arm. To her suprise, this time the cap twisted off easily, prompting a gasp from the redhead. "You musta loosened it...or I-- gah!" She squealed, taking a step back as foam started pouring out of the opened bottle. This made Jenny fall over laughing against Max, using him as a (somewhat) sturdy surface to lean against while giggling hysterically. "Oh, here," She laughed, handing him the now half-empty bottle after it had finished erupting.
Jenny makes a move on Max, but he's stupid and drunk and doesn't know what the fuck is going on. Also, he's still drinking and if he doesn't stop in the next 40 seconds then he's absolutely going to die.
We accept the love we think we deserve.
Jenny took the bottle from Max's hands and gave a shot at trying to twist it open, though now both of them were far too deep in drinks to manage it. Even Jenny, who didn't have Max's chronic clumsiness problem, was reduced to tugging in vain at the bottlecap before simply tipping forward into his arms with a giggly embrace. Only the wall kept them on their feet, Jenny wobbling in her heels and Max wilting like a ragdoll. Her head fell onto his shoulder, weighing him slightly to the side, and he reached out an arm to support her just in time to keep her where she was.
He felt her lips press softly into his cheek, with a bloom of heat that shocked him into stillness. Whatever it was in his brain that kept his stream of thoughts flowing just short-circuited and went black.
Was this alright?
Acting without thinking, he found her arm that was still wrapped around his waist and gently let his fingers close around her wrist, keeping her close. He did nothing else, not even close his eyes-- he was left staring blankly off at nothing, with Jenelle's head now resting on his shoulder and his back leaning against the cold brick.
He wasn't at all picking up what she was putting down, hardly consciencing his four basic senses. Even time itself seemed to tie in a knot for a second, loosening up in short threads of lingering confusion. His eyes met hers through the cloudy overcast they both held between them, something settling into her gaze that he didn't recognize.
She was just drunk. And, after over an hour of foolishly denying it, he'd finally given up and admitted that he was too.
"This is fun, we should hang out more! I like you, Max,"
Max couldn't have agreed more. He'd always admired and appreciated Jenny: she was much smarter than he thought he could ever hope to be, so perfectly organized and disarmingly sweet. He very much would have liked to hang out with her more often, preferably when he didn't feel four seconds away from passing out.
He had tried to say "You too," but the one simple handshape was somehow fumbled into a meaningless side-swipe of his hand that resembled absolutely nothing. His eyes said all sorts of things, all at once, with no clarity.
Once again, his squirrely attention span had spun around and forgotten entirely about the beer bottle that Jenny was somehow still holding onto despite nearly hanging off of Max like a baby sloth. It probably said something bad about the state that Max was in that Jenny was still far soberer than he was, finally able to uncap the bottle only for it to blow over and spill frothy liquid in every direction. Jenny jumped back, which sent Max stumbling off balance, startled half to death laughing too hard to notice the beer splattering over his shoes and bleeding into his socks. He lifted a hand to comment but ended up wheezing and clutching his sides instead, holding Jenny's arm for dear life. His polished leather shoes, now hopelessly soaked through, were unfortunately expensive. Even if Max's parents never found out about the state he was in, he was going to be in trouble for ruining these.
Once he was finally able to breathe, he held out his hand for what was left of the open beer. The heavy, complex flavor of it immediately overwhelmed his senses and he barely suppressed a gag, but that didn't stop him from tossing back the remaining contents of the bottle in four shaky swallows. He instantly regretted this, feeling it try to work its way back up his throat before settling painfully in his empty stomach. Now he was left pressing his hand to his mouth and watching the whole yard wave back and forth like he was underwater, stuck between coughs and leftover giggles. And, stupidly, he felt better than he had in a long time. Whatever it was that drinking had made him forget, he didn't ever want to remember it again. He was missing something that he didn't want back.
Reid’s eyes drifted over to Lemon who sat silently in the passenger’s seat of his vehicle. She was quiet, just starring out at what Reid could only assume was the streets and trees passing. “everything will stop moving eventually you know…” Reid bit his lower lip, sighing heavily as Lemon ignored him. What was he supposed to do, Lemon was drunk off her ass, she didn’t want this. He knew that by tomorrow morning everything, every action, every feeling, it was going to feel much worse than it did right now. “Don’t be mad at me.” He murmured under his breath, if Lemon even remembered this they could talk about it tomorrow.
Reid pulled into the Pierce’s drive way, one of the few places he knew how to get to without help. As Lemon stumbled out of the car Reid quickly made his way over to her side of the car. “You know, if you could walk straight, I’d think you were all better.” He chuckled in a futile attempt to lighten the mood.
She never finished her next sentence as the drinking had finally caught up with her. Reid felt bad for her, as he choked back his own want to vomit, placing a hand on her back. He could only be thankful that she had waited till she had exited his car. “Hi Mr. Pierce” Reid said wearily as the front door had opened, and there stood Ambrose Pierce. A man that scared most.
“I-“ Reid didn’t know what to say as he was told go home. He hadn’t expected to go inside, he hadn’t expected to wait for Lemon to be better. He didn’t know what he had expected. “I’m sorry.” He was only able to get out as he watched Lemon walk through the threshold of her home. He turned around, only to look back once more, before Ambrose closed the door. “I know..” he said quietly. “Just let me know if there is anything I can do.” Reid said as he turned away and headed back to his car. Rubbing the back of his neck as he sat back down in his driver seat. Gripping the wheel, before he drove off again.
Zachary Lee never hid that he was self-destructive; no, his tongue poked out to his cheek in a grin when someone fought him on it. They called the reasoning instant gratification, like what addicts feel, the conscience of hearing stop but ignoring it because you want your way. It was a bad habit, and yet she had just revealed that side of her, the type which doesn’t want to be held up in light and viewed from every angle, but wants to be deeply remembered in unknown ways that stay mysterious. And, while the fireworks only made a raprtee with the backs of trees, and while it only felt like the fourth of July through the smell of the smoke that branded to their noses, he was in luxury with this night.
“Is that your way of flirting with me?” he said like their conversation was between their souls rather than their lips, “Too bad I don’t want to save you, Anderson.”
“I like when you’re confused,” he slantly, half-compromisingly added.
“Confused about?” she asked.
He looked at her again like he had done earlier but this time in the way she looked at the stars, learning from her a mealchonic measure of dancing on buried nostalgia and nirvana. Astrology didn’t capture Zachary Lee well enough though. By prefrence, all of him was already claimed by the ocean, and so his eyes on her were like seashells on a shore-line, tugging in opposition then changing devotely towards her sea of troubles.
They stayed on a silver necklace prying out under the lancing moonlight.
“Confused whether you believe me or not,” he covetously replied, reading her secrets not like a lover but as someone who always passed as everyone’s make-believe “almost.”
The outline of his body lifted from the side, and he kept a darkling certitude to their tangled hands. He could feel her pulse, feel the messy thrums that would never show prejudice between ache and bliss. It didn’t need to either; you didn’t need to pick up on the gray sky or the wind when you could already hear the trapped thunder. Striking with lightning, he yanked her up by their woven hands, a free-for-all smirk ripping free at the corner of his mouth. Her head nearly dropped hard against his forehead, but Zach swore her in steady, taking it slow to split in their hands between the loose fabric of his shirt and skin, and hunting his heart which she had long conquered.
He once hated it himself; he still did. The way his body failed to listen and the way his breathing sped up and his face felt hot and he hated it all too much until he dissolved into her. He hoped that hearing his pulse which was missing and skipping and starving, she’d find her underlying answers.
“Confused,” he was subtly teasing his lips upon another axis of evil, “Whether or not you even want saving in the first place.”
Lawlesness his abode, he pushed her back down, flattening her against the blanket of the roof.
“You might end up liking falling somewhere darker instead.” His mouth couldn’t shut up as he sank down on her, closing her in between his propped arms. Space was what she had been senselessly staring at, but he wanted none of it left between them. It was everyday flirtatious confessions, but everything he was saying was inspiringly fresh.
“Doubting,” he weighed the word, tilting his head minisculely,“Whether you hate to love or love to hate how all parts of you are betraying you when I get too close like I am right now.”
“Unsure,” he said, “If we’re just friends. How much closer do you want to get for you to realize you and I don’t do it to feel warmer?”
“I guess,” he put in, his eyes laughing, “When you’re confused about me, I have an excuse to just show you that I only want you.”
With rampant attraction, his hands held to the scopes of her face, and the night and the stars slipped through. His velour lips plunged down against her elixir ones, and he was kissing her. Their mouths were in an ardent disarray like catching a cold in hell. What was it again: to save? But, he was the one who needed saving for he was sure he sold his soul to her. It was fluttering chaos, breeding danger, and yet he coincidentally continued to kiss her. And, as it turns out, she tasted like peach hibiscus.
there are so many beautiful reasons to be happy....
Astraea was out of the car before Artemis had even fully parked his vehicle, waving hi at everyone she knew as she made her way through the crowds. When she caught Hassim's eye she took off, wrapping her arms around the life guard. "Hi how are you!?" She asked. "Are you excited to see Carson?!" she added a small eyebrow wiggle. Not bothering to wait for Hassim's response she turned her attention away, to the small group that surrounded them.
"Hi! I'm Astraea, its nice to meet you all!"
Carson and Artemis slowly followed after Astraea, or well they just happened to leave the car at a normal pace in comparison to her. She quickly waved them over, only noticing that Artemis stayed more off to the side for a second, before turning her attention to the people beside her holding drinks. "OH I NEED A DRINK!!! I will be right back." She announced as she took off again towards the house. Astraea wandered around for a little bit, chatting on and off with strangers, as she tried to make a decision on what kind of drink to have. She wasn't very experienced in choosing, and well... She was rather bad at making decisions for herself.
Finally, she went simple and grabbed herself a high noon from one of the coolers, skipping past a plethora of drunk teenagers as she made her way back to her friends. Only to see Carson and Hassim cozied up together. Astraea took her spot next to Artie, she was happy for her friend of course, Hassim seemed like such a better guy than the douche she had been dating before. But, at the same time she felt a bit out of place. She only knew three of the people in their group... And well, practically everyone seemed rather coupled up tonight... Except for her, Artie, and Juno, who she had just met. But Astraea knew nothing, she felt pratically hopeless in the dating world. She hadn't ever had sex, heck she hadn't even ever kissed someone... She couldn't ever really join in on the horrible dating stories.
People just never seemed to really... Like her...
Astraea cracked open her hard seltzer taking a nursing sip as her eyes went back and forth between the people around her. For once, just watching.
The kiss that the shorter girls placed on Chance's cheek spread warmth throughout the rest of his body and his hand slightly tightened around her hand.
I'm just teasing you, I love vanilla, especially with mini M&Ms. Chance gets as he said and pays for both his and her ice cream. Mariah tries to head towards a table, but Chance tugs at her hand and leads her outside. It was a nice day, he wanted to stroll around and just talk to her. And they do just that, time flying past the two of them as they focused on getting to know each other more. The sun had dipped behind the treeline and they were probably on their fourth lap around the vast park by the time they noticed their surroundings.
I'm sorry. Chance says looking up at the orange painted sky. I didn't mean to take up all your time.
Spending time with Mariah had made Chance forget about the party really, except for the frequent notifications that came from Twitter. He wasn't interested in going. He'd rather end his date on a good note and go home to play video games with Isaiah, maybe even tell his mom about the date. Before he can open his mouth to say something else to Mariah, his phone chimes differently, indicating that he got a private message. Seeing that it's Max worries him slightly, as the last time he heard from him, he had taken 3 shots and was wandering around with Lemon. Catching up on his friend's circumstance was a little entertaining to Chance, but he also couldn't deny that he was worried that the dude was wandering around drunk for the first time.
If you want we can head to the party. See some friends, hang out some more, make sure Max doesn't drink another shot, hang out some more. He emphasis that last option, squeezing her hand again before placing a soft kiss on the back of it, her skin feeling soft against his lips. Max should be okay enough to sit down for a few minutes before getting his wits back together again, right? His friend shouldn't cause for his date to have to end soon...right? Or I can take you home. It's totally up to you.
He couldn't stop staring at Carson and Hassim. He wondered if he was actually glaring at them, but he was past the point of caring. He was much too aware of Juno's presence, as well. The entire situation was just one massive mess - one massive mess that Artemis couldn't help but think was entirely his fault. Okay, now he felt really sick. Properly nauseous. He couldn't keep looking at his best friend and his... whatever the fuck Hassim was now. He turned to Astraea and cleared his throat. "I'm going... um..." He shook his head, closing his eyes momentarily. "I'm going outside for a second. Be right back."
He was not intending on coming back. At first, he made a beeline for the alcohol, until he remembered he was supposed to be the designated driver. If there was ever a night where he needed a drink more... But he wouldn't put his friends in danger. Instead, he did head outside, until he found something to sit on that was relatively far away from all of the action. It was times like these when he wished that he smoked. He just buried his head in his hands and fought the urge to cry, because he thought that would probably be utterly pathetic.
In a moment of weakness, Artemis pulled out his phone and fired off an angry text, which he regretted as soon as he pressed send, but refused to take back.
in the process of letting go you will lose many things from the past, but you will find yourself
When the two groups combined, Hassim felt anxious all of a sudden. It was like tension increased and not even a knife could cut through it. Sure he was glad that the people he knew went from one to six, but damn was this suffocating. What was he supposed to do or say? Reading everyone's faces, Hassim could tell that some people maybe didn't want to be there. Not even the alcohol could help him pretend that everything was peachy keen. A few times Hassim caught Artemis staring at him as he had his arm wrapped around Carson's waist. The lifeguard wanted to ask and see if he was okay, but he it looked as if Artie didn't even want to talk to him and then he bolted from the group anyways. This concerned Hassim, maybe more than it should have. Because here he was, tied up into the everything that was Carson (which he was enjoying) in front of a guy that Hassim sometimes caught himself lingering around whether that be in though or with his sight.
Hey is Ar–
Before he can finish his question to the girls, his phone pings. It's a message from Artemis
lmao so ur a fucking liar
The sentence confuses and hurts Hassim a little bit. He answers quickly and so does Artemis. The Egyptian is confused the push and pull that Artemis was exhibiting with him, what was he supposed to do. Artemis didn't seem interested and he tried his hardest to minimize that kiss between the two of them to nothing. Hassim could take a hint. Artemis didn't want anything romantic with Hassim. But why did Hassim feel so guilty, so hurt, so heartbroken?
Carson's text didn't help.
Hassim was ready to unwrap himself away from Carson in order to not make Artemis uncomfortable, despite the tall bookshop employee being gone, but he couldn't let Carson be alone in this situation. So there he stood, caught in a dilemma with his feelings for both Artemis and Carson, and his duty to do right by them both. He'd have to talk to Artemis later, to clear the air 100%, right now Carson needed him and he was going to be there for her. Hassim's arm tightens around Carson and he pulls her closer into his space, placing a soft kiss on her temple.
Alexei chuckled at the cute way she strained on her tiptoes to hug him. Beaming, he pulled Josephine close and wrapped her in his arms, lifting the petite girl off the ground to give her a proper cuddle. "Noo, I thought you were gonna ditch me!" He shook his head for emphasis, kissing her forehead before placing her back on her feet. "Sorry it took me forever to get here. We barely had any staff in today. On the bright side, I might have gotten a promotion to prep cook." He held a palm up at Josephine with a goofy smile, wordlessly demanding a high five for his own accomplishment.
The couple wandered around the party until Jo disappeared to find the powder room, and apparently couldn't resist the opportunity to indulge in her compulsion to clean when she found it a pukey mess. Alexei, now on his own for a bit, idly entertained himself by knocking back a couple of drinks and chatting with acquaintances he recognized, from coffee shop patrons to random people he'd seen around town. Being from a big city, Alexei was always pleasantly suprised when reminded how tight-knit the community of Anchor Bay was, charmed that half the damn town showed up to party together at the Moores'.
"Where'd you gooo??" Alexei jokingly pouted when Josephine finally appeared by his side again, grabbing her by the waist to pull her close for a small kiss on her nose. He was going to suggest finally looking for Carson and Astraea, the friends he knew were supposed to be attending the party, but truthfully, Alexei didn't love watching Josephine and Carson interact. He couldn't help but feel jealous of how flustered Carson made Jo, and how obviously attracted she was to the sexy barista. While he'd never admit how much it irritated him, he wasn't exactly great at concealing his feelings either, and he knew a snippy, sulking Alexei wouldn't be much fun for his friends and new girlfriend to be around.
As the couple resumed their usual flirtatious banter, Alexei instead found himself subtly leading Josephine through the spacious yard to a more secluded area beyond the fairy lights. Now enveloped in the darkness of the quiet corner, Alexei captured Jo in his arms. "Soooo, were you serious about making out in the middle of the party?" He joked, flashing her a suggestive smirk while perching on the short stone wall nestled among the perfectly manicured shrubbery that lined the grounds. Gently tugging Jo's hands to follow, a quiet shudder of desire escaped him as the woman sat straddling his lap instead of settling in a more demure position.
With that, Alexei couldn't resist diving into a long, passionate kiss on her soft lips before covering her smooth, creamy neck in a trail of kisses with equal enthusiasm. By the time his rational brain rebooted, he found himself happily kissing down to her collarbone, finally willing himself to pause and check in. While he was elated to hear her respond to his touches with panting and soft little whimpers that seemed to suggest Jo was into this, Alexei wanted to be absolutely sure. The last thing he wanted to do was move too fast or make her feel forced into doing something she wasn't ready for.
"Is this okay?" Nuzzling his face into her neck, he left a few more kisses there before leaning back to look at her pretty face in the moonlight. "You're so beautiful, princess...way too beautiful." With an adoring smile, Alexei ran a hand through her silky hair, tucking a few blonde strands behind her ear. "Crap..." His hazel blue eyes widened, as if he just remembered something important. "That means I have to kill you," He teased, suddenly attacking her neck again with a series of playful nibbles.
Carson was as observant as she could be, but her mind had been reeling from the fact that Dex was married and had carried on flirtations with her. She felt used, lied to, and unhappy because no one deserved to be treated in such a way. All she could do was try and stay as close to Hassim as possible, avoid conflict, avoid talking to Dex, and pretend like everything was fine when it clearly wasn’t. Did her reputation make her seem like she would hookup with those that were in a relationship? She knew she liked to enjoy herself and not be shamed by that, but had that somehow made others see her as someone who would do and say anything with anyone? Sure, sometimes she’d joke with people that she knew would get flustered, but not intentionally in a way that would make it seem like she was out to ruin a relationship, a family.
As she felt Hassim pull her in she let herself relax again the tall lifeguard, though she felt bad as Artie walked off. She had been so wrapped up in her thoughts that she hadn’t seen what caused him to walk off. Her eyes darting to Astraea with a question unspoken. Right now, as much as Carson wanted to be there for Artie she was trying to also figure things out between Hassim, figure out how he felt about her, or if he was looking for a quick fix like most people. She really hoped that wasn’t the case but she felt the nagging thought in her head that all she was, was someone to be used. Sure, it wasn’t always ideal but after Thad….
She tried to shake the thought of her ex from her ex and smiled up at Hassim as he asked her to join him, “Yeah, let’s get a drink.” She reached to Astraea giving her a hand a quick squeeze and let her friend know she was just getting a drink.
As she followed Hassim towards the drinks she felt her body get jostled by others causing her to feel like she would lose Hassim. As they continued on, she let her hand slip into his. His hand was warm compared to hers and large, and large hands mean large feet. It didn’t take long before they were getting themselves a drink. She let out a breath she hadn’t quite realized she was holding. Maybe from Dex, maybe from Artie, she really wasn’t sure, but for a split second she relaxed while figuring out what to drink. Now, in these moments Carson knew she shouldn’t have let her guard down because the voice she heard caused her to freeze, only for a second. “Hey Carson.”
She let herself turn to face Thad; arms crossed eyes unamused. She really had no energy to deal with her ex, “Can I help you? If I recall I cancelled our meeting so I’m not all that bored. Or my standards have gone up. You figure it out.” She watched as his eyes looked over her and at Hassim and all he did was roll his eyes, “Him?” his voice questioned, “You think he could be better than me? Please you more?” A scoff escaped from her lips as she started to turn away, “Go find another toy. I’m done.” She felt his hand reach and grab for her arm turning her back to face him. The anger in his face solely directed at her. Carson stood her ground as his face was mere inches from hers.
She had been in this very position countless of times and each time they fought they’d get back together, it was a pattern that she hated and she didn’t want to continue it not anymore. He’d call her a bitch; she’d make some more snarky comments and somehow, she would end up back at his place and tonight the routine was no different as the words of him calling her a bitch left his mouth for yet another round of whatever it was that they had. The one thing she wanted to remove from her life.
when you wear a mask for so long, you forget who is behind it.
Harper’s eyes turned towards the noise, the loud bangs, followed by colors covering the sky, just making it over the tops of the trees. Harper only shook her head at Zach’s feeble attempt to lighten the mood. Though the cracked smile on her lips told a different story. “I’m not looking to be saved Zach.” Harper’s eyes caught sight of their intertwined fingers. She wasn’t sure what to think, what was she doing. Zach was Zach, Zach didn’t do relationships. Zach didn’t do feelings. “I- What?”
“Confused about?” Harper asked as she furrowed her eyebrows, meeting Zach’s eyes. How Harper could be confused about not knowing what she was confused about. Only would fourth of July night, on the roof outside of her bedroom with Zachary Lee could bring her this kind of confusion.
“I just…” Harper thought on her words, of course she didn’t know if she believed Zach. “… You’re just… Being different.” Harper pressed her lips together tightly. She hadn’t ever felt nervous around Zach, but now. Now her stomach was turning.
As Zach started to move towards her, she instinctively started to inch backwards. Did she even want this? She swore her heart was going to beat out of her chest, gasping as Zach pulled her up towards him, their noses almost touching. She could have sworn she stopped breathing in that moment her free hand landing on his neck. Had they ever been this close before?
Harper wasn’t sure what she was doing, or what took over her in that moment. Everything was happening so fast, and next thing she knew she was lying back on the roof with Zach towering over her. She couldn’t respond, her face was hot, her stomach was churning all over again. In the most vulnerable position she could be in right then. But even so… She still felt safe.
She hadn’t considered what could go wrong, she hadn’t considered other’s feelings, Harper was stuck in the moment. And in that moment, she was wondering why she hadn’t ever noticed the brown, almost golden flecks within Zach’s blue eyes.
To say the least, Harper was speechless.
She hadn’t expected to ever see this side of Zach, a part of her wanted to believe it was some type of rouse… But the other part of her could tell he wasn’t lying. Like the way he acted when it was just the two of them and the open ocean, honest and all telling. There was no hiding from the truth of the sport out on the waves.
As Zach’s lips met her own, Harper caved fully to letting go. Harper caved fully to believing Zachary Lee. She caved fully, forgetting about the repercussions that would undoubtedly come with kissing Zachary Lee. Anchor Bay’s Playboy, the surfer boy that thought he was too good for anyone. The boy that had so much hurt in his heart, that he put on a façade that he had a stone heart, that no one could break.
Harper’s thumb brushed the outline of his jaw as she kissed the sad surfer boy back. Pulling back only to rest her forehead against his. Her eyes stayed closed, unsure that if she opened them that this would all be over, and she would just be another name on his list.
But when he didn’t leave, and she felt his own shaky breathe. She finally knew, that he was just as nervous as her. And she just wasn’t another girl.
You keep finding new ways to make yourself reappear
I hope you never leave me be
"Okay, okaaaay..." Dustin grumbled reluctantly, pressing a loving kiss to Winona's forehead. He couldn't exactly argue with that, she had a point there; even Ashley, who would sooner chew glass than talk about her feelings, expressed feeling ignored by him lately. "Oh really?" He pulled Winnie closer after she teased the possibility of some alone time later, indulging in another quick kiss, this time upon her full, glossy lips. "What did you have in mind?" He smirked, fully aware of what she was getting at, yet he nevertheless wanted to hear her say it.
Dustin never received an answer though, as Winnie's attention was captured by someone behind him. He turned at the mention of Ashley's name, allowing the girl in his arms to disentangle herself and greet the other. Dustin hung back for the moment though, frowning at the strained greeting his best friend offered. That mischievous smirthof hers that he secretly adored was nowhere to be found, replaced by a forced, wan smile, and he suddenly remembered Ashley's strange drunk texs from earlier that evening. A gut feeling told him there was a correlation, though his tipsy brain couldn't work out a direct connection, too riddled with hormones and lusty thoughts of what Nona might be wearing under that sleek white dress.
"Hey, you owe me a hug, remember?" Dustin ambled toward Ashley, arms outstretched. He leaned in to wrap them around her, but at the last second lifted her off her feet instead, hoisting her up to sit cradled in his arms bridal style. Cackling like a villain at the bait and switch, as he knew his move made Ashley laugh sometimes if she was caught off guard and scooped up before she had a chance to act annoyed by it. Since there was no way a lame hug from him would cheer Ashley up, Dustin figured pulling a gremlin move, making a spectacle of them in the middle of the party might. Still, it could go the other way just as easily, earning him a punch in the arm as soon as Ashley was released from his grasp.
"Haha look, I caught a dodo!" Dustin chuckled, playfully cuddling the girl like a kid with a prized teddy bear. Upon placing her back on her feet, he took a step back to glance around the party, though his gaze was quickly ensnared by Nona's alluring form again, standing statuesque right beside him. "Who you here with?" Dustin asked Ashley but his eyes remained fixed on Winona, obviously distracted as he reached out to grab his girlfriend by the hip and pull her towards him with a grin. Curling an arm around Nona's waist, he finally turned his attention back on Ashley. "Uh...you here with Ivy? Haven't seen that little weirdo around anywhere."
Tabitha's heart was racing as she rode her purple bicycle through the streets of Anchor Bay, just as she had countless times before on warm summer nights like this. This night was decidedly different, however. She was not only on her way to a party, but to meet up with a boy there. A very cute boy.
Her thoughts were a scattered jumble as she neared the stately Moore residence. Parties weren't something Tabs had much experience with, save for the handful of pity invites to random birthday parties scattered throughout her 17 years of life. But a proper "adult" party, with kegs and booze, people getting wasted, dancing, flirting, hooking up? Tabitha was completely out of her element. Add Jacob to the equation and she was bursting with a nervous excitement, a buzzing energy that wasn't exactly unpleasant--in fact it felt pretty good, good enough to stroll through a stranger's door despite the terror of arriving alone.
Tabitha propped her bike up out front, following the lively sounds of a party already underway. Before entering, she paused to make a few quick adjustments to her person, brushing some chocolate brown fringe from her eyes and nervously smoothing nonexistent wrinkles out of her skirt. She frowned catching a glimpse of her pale, twiggy little bird legs, wishing she hadn't chosen tonight of all nights to wear something more revealing. Knowing it was very, very likely she'd spend the whole night feeling uncomfortable that she bared her legs instead of hiding safely under the usual oversized stuff she typically wore.
Under normal circumstances, she would have agonized over her outfit beforehand with Mariah, annoying her sweet, patient friend for hours over the finer points of each look, complete with a dissertation on why she'd ultimately look hideous no matter which one she wore. But Tabitha had to go without her friend's input unfortunately, as she was giving Mariah "space" at the moment; AKA being petty and refusing to call her in an effort to show how perfectly fine she was without her best and only friend in the world,go hang out with your dumb new friends all the time then, see if I care.
Tabs slipped through the party stealthily, quiet and unnoticed as a mouse. After wandering for a bit, she eventually spotted her date, looking adorable as ever. Unable to suppress a growing smile of adoration, she paused to watch Jacob stand around waiting, suprised to see he looked even more nervous than she was. Despite the near constant butterflies Tabitha felt in his presence, Jacob was one of the few people she felt a fairly easy rapport with. Someone she could talk to without that anxious, irrational fear of being judged, or even share a quiet moment with and not feel like she had to scramble for something to say to fill the awkward silence.
Jacob was looking around so intently that she was able to quietly sidle up to the boy, stifling a laugh when he still hadn't noticed her standing behind him. Tabitha stepped forward, poking him in the side to get his attention. She giggled as Jacob finally turned, cheeks blushed a soft pink as his attention was suddenly thrust upon her. "Hey, Jakey!" Her soft voice nearly drowned out by the din of the party. Beaming, she hesitantly closed the gap between them, the short girl straining on her toes to throw timid arms around him in a gentle hug.
Let us be young, let us be wild
until the summer's over
Still teetering a bit in her chunky heels, Jenelle continued to prop herself up against Max as both of them giggled hysterically at the minature geyser of foamy liquid spraying everywhere. She watched him finally knock back a sip and swallow hard with a lingering laugh, failing to realize the poor boy could be dangerously close to spewing it back up at any moment.
A quiet lull suddenly fell over them, as Jenny subtly slipped her other hand on Max's shoulder, now standing pressed against him in a sort of slow dancing position. Though the only swaying they were doing was both teens trying to uphold their balance in their inebriated states.
"Max...I..." She didn't bother to sign her words as they trailed off and dissolved into a soft laugh, sheepishly looking away to avoid Max's glassy-eyed gaze. If Jenelle initially had some idea what she was going to say when she began, the thought quickly left her brain, which was now just a complete jumble of alcohol-soaked confusion with some raging hormones tossed haphazardly into the mix.
Instead her eyes fluttered shut, and Jenelle was suddenly propelled into action by some primal urge that was no longer tamed by her inhibitions. Without another thought, she let her face fall toward Max's, clumsily but gently pressing her lips against his.
Though she kissed him cautiously as if she expected him to pull away at any moment, Jenny was suprised by how good the feeling was, how soft and nice the boy's lips felt against hers. It felt like her heart might just burst from her chest, and her heightened, woozy state made it all feel extra surreal at the same time. Her very first kiss, and Jenny couldn't figure out if it was shaping up to be a dream or a disaster yet. On the plus side, it was with her adorable crush Max, but they were both drunk as hell; not exactly the ideal conditions for a magical first kiss.
One more drink down, and Jenny and Max were once again almost tangled up in each other's arms. Wasted didn't even begin to describe how far gone they were anymore, and especially for Max, who had always been cursed with a weak stomach, it was nothing short of miraculous that he'd even made it this far. At any moment it could take a turn for the worse, but he felt so lost that it was addictively freeing to just be able to have Jenny this close to him, her head nestled in the crook of his neck and her hip pressed into his own, her arm around his shoulders... he could feel her heart beating as she moved in even closer, close enough for her eyelashes to brush his cheekbone, when her soft lips touched his face again.
Her kiss on the cheek was easy to move along with, but now that her mouth was on his, all of a sudden he realized what was happening.
This was his first kiss.
All at once he had stopped breathing, his limbs nearly going numb. His face had gone red, but he hardly felt it burning. It was impossible to feel anything at all under the weight of the moment that hadn't fully broken onto him yet. Whatever happened 1 second from now seemed to be centuries away, until like clockwork his thoughts rushed back and forced him out of the reverie. He stumbled away with a startled gasp, barely avoiding falling flat on his face. He tried to say something, but once again none of it made any sense. It had been a few minutes since the last time he'd formed a coherent word. He never quite caught his breath after the kiss, still short-winded and dizzy, unable to think and not knowing what to do. He found himself stuck in her gaze, unable to tear away, dumbstruck and staring into her eyes like some they'd tell him what to say.
Feeling the sharp sting of burning liquid starting to claw its way back up his throat, he backed away in a hurry, trying not to gag and starting back towards the steps into the house. He ended up nearly tripping over the open cooler on his way back in, where he was immediately disoriented by the change of scenery and sank to the floor, dizziness making it too complicated to stay standing.
The weight of the room itself seemed to drag Max closer to the floor, making getting back up seem impossible. He decided that he was probably going to stay right here in the hallway for the rest of the night. Stupid, but his brain was too drowned in liquor to puzzle out anything else. He desperately needed food and some more water, but he felt stuck to the carpet and couldn't bring himself to fight off the temptation to lose himself in half-lucid thought again.
There was no way to make sense of what just happened. It didn't feel real. He couldn't bring himself to think of why Jenelle would do something like that. It was too much to assume that she'd still have wanted to if they hadn't been so helplessly intoxicated, so then what? What now?
This was wrong.
Max didn't know what to do. He wasn't himself anymore.
Maximilien Berkowitz didn't go to parties, or drink, or kiss girls...
He'd be lying if he said he'd never imagined it, but he'd always thought that he would never have anything more than his imagination. He'd never let those feelings see the light of day.
There were far too many reasons why this was never supposed to happen, and yet...
He never wanted to be here at this party in the first place.
He only came here to support Lemon and watch out for her. If he had known that she was just going to coax him into drinking with her, that they'd have that stupid argument and that he'd end up trashed and kissing his friend....
Would he have done any differently? No. Well, yes, but-- Maybe--
He didn't know.
How could he ever know? He didn't even know who he was reasoning with anymore.
"Yeah it's okay," Was the blunt, almost monotone, whimper of Jo, who was preoccupied with steadying herself while Alexei assaulted her neck. "More beautiful than Jacinda?" She jokingly questioned, her eyes facing the ground, in fear that if she made eye contact in this tender moment she might be struck by nerves. "What?" She looked up, head tilted before breaking into giggles at his response. "No! Please show mercy?" She jokingly pleaded, gently slipping out of his hold.
She made a show of scrambling off his lap as slowly as possible, even taking a few steps back to pick up her phone. She opened her notes app and began typing, pretending that she was sending a message. "Dear Max. Please know that if I die today, it'll be because Alexei has murdered me." Then she took a few steps forward, settling back into his lap again. "Kindly send help. I'm genuinely scared for my life here. He claims it's cause I'm cute or beautiful or whatever, but I think he's just a murderer." Looking up, she stuck her tongue out at the scruffy man, leaning forward to pinch his cheek like a grandmother might do to her misbehaving grandson.
Noticing that his very black shirt now had some blonde strands on it, her hand moved to remove the stray hairs piece by piece. Jo couldn't stand mess. It was like there was some type of very solvable problem that could make everybody's lives easier if it was fixed, and nobody was doing it. The euphoria this girl got from a perfectly cleaned space was something she knew nobody else would be able to understand. But it gave her such a thrill to be able to organize things the way she wanted, instead of having a maid do it like back home.
"You dressed up tonight huh? This might be the first time I've seen you wear something you couldn't do sports in," Jo commented. She didn't particularly care about what kinds of clothes her boyfriend wore, but she felt the change had to be acknowledged. He looked rather nice in his all black ensemble, though she was equally attracted to his hoodies and athleisure. Plus she'd like to imagine he dressed up just for her.Though not likely, it was a sweet fantasy that she could inspire that sort of effort.
Jo didn't know why but she was stalling. She liked kissing him, making out with him, and all but it also scared her. She'd spent as much time talking as him, so that was safe. But kissing? He'd probably done his fair share of that. How could she compare to a more experienced girl? And that didn't even count for what could happen beyond kissing. It was a thrilling idea to be doing that, but when she kissed him, all she could think about was that she was in some sort of imaginary competition with every other girl he'd been with. "Doesn't that itch?" She questioned Alexei, noting he was positioned leaning against the shrubbery which tickled his back. In that way his lap was the clearly superior position, since she had her own personal shield.
Leaning forward, her arm slung around Alexei's shoulder. Every so often she would absentmindedly kiss his cheek or nose or forehead, but for the most part she was quiet. Not exactly cold, just nervous. She didn't normally enter situations she didn't prepare for. Leaving Manhattan had been planned for years, and though life in Anchor Bay was still unpredictable, she'd prepared for it in some way. Here? If someone had a guide on how to make out with your new boyfriend in a garden when you're an inexperienced virgin, she'd have very much liked to know about it.
Now that Josephine mentioned it, he finally noticed he was indeed being poked by the stabby little branches and itchy leaves of the shrubbery behind him, much too elated by the kissing and canoodling to pay it much mind before. "Ahh, its fine. It's worth it," He shrugged, giving her a squeeze with one arm, the other hand scratching at the back of his neck absently.
Alexei then averted his blue eyes sheepishly when Josephine pointed out he'd gotten kind of gussied up for this party. Which he was absolutely guilty of; clean shaven, hair as neat as he could get it to look (after struggling with it for way too long), in addition to the new clothes. "Weelllll, I couldn't show up here looking like a schlub--not with a princess as my date," He answered with a nervous laugh, blushing a bit.
"Hey!" Alexei playfully pulled her back as she tried to stand, but ultimately let her slip from his grasp to grab her phone and perch once again in his lap. His mouth dropped open in mock suprise as Jo typed out the text, feigning a gasp of shock. "You're the worst!" He joked, tickling her sides. "Can't believe you'd squeal to Max just because I kinda sorta threatened to kill you." Alexei then slipped his arms around her, pulling her back to lean against him as he lovingly kissed her temple. "And yeah, you're much prettier than Jacinda, by the way."
They remained that way for a little while, cuddling quietly, watching the sky flash with another party's fireworks off in the distance. Josephine would randomly kiss his cheek or nose while they sat in silence, and Alexei found it so adorable that he couldn't help chuckling each time she did it, returning her intermittent kisses with a couple of his own.
"Hey, you've gone quiet on me," Alexei spoke up gently after an extended stretch of silence, punctuating the statement with a light poke to her ribs. "You're not nervous, are you?" His smile faded, remembering the monotone, less than enthusiastic way Jo responded earlier when prodded on whether the hot and heavy kissing was okay. Now convinced he'd gotten a bit too carried away with their first make-out session. "Is it weird for you that I'm older?" Alexei asked with a slight frown, curling a finger under chin to lift her honey brown gaze to meet his.
Let us be young, let us be wild
until the summer's over
This was bad. This was so, so bad. Max had pulled away from the kiss with the most horrified look that it felt like her heart had just shattered in a million pieces. Jenelle stood in silence as Max tried to speak but none of the signs made any sense to her, and she could only look at him dumbfounded.
Why did she do that?? was the only thought running through her head. Jenny desperately wished she could rewind time and go back to that fuzzy, elated moment before she kissed Max, tangled up in his warm arms. It was the happiest she'd felt in the longest time, maybe even ever. A wave of agony stabbed at the broken shards of Jenny's heart just thinking about that treasured moment, but it felt even worse thinking about Max's reaction to the kiss, and what this would mean going forward, if Max would ever even want to talk to her again.
She wordlessly continued to watch Max struggle and finally give up completely on trying to speak. His ice blue gaze seemed to be pleading for answers, but Jenelle's scrambled brain was suddenly blank, unable to conjure up any words, signed or otherwise. She could only stare back at him with her own pleading gaze, wordlessly begging for forgiveness, eyes already stinging with tears.
"Max!" Jenny fruitlessly called after the boy as he turned and ran toward the house. Even if he could hear, her voice was so choked by tears that it came out a strained whimper, easily drowned out by the music and lively voices of the party. Wincing as Max nearly tripped over the cooler, Jenny instinctively began to follow after him, but her brain caught up moments later and cemented her feet where she stood. She watched him go until her eyes squeezed shut to escape the sight of him stumbling away, tears streaming down her face. Wishing she was anywhere in the world but here.
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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
Mariah smiled over at Chance as she felt his grip on her hand tighten. Is this how it'd be like if they were.............together? Only ever dating each other? Not like she was seeing anybody else anyway, but it would still feel great to be certain that Chance would not be sleeping with Claire Malkovich tonight.
''You see? It's a classic! And you're definitely not boring either,'' Mariah commented, following Chance outside. After a significant portion of time doing laps around the park, Mariah was reaching her physical limit for walking. But that was okay. She could fight through it for more time with Chance.
'It's okay.'' Mariah commented happily. ''I was having fun with you.''
Throughout the date, despite herself, Mariah's brain kept slipping back to Tabitha and Jenelle. Both on ''dates'' with guys they really liked as well. Unfortunately she got the feeling Tabitha didn't like Jenelle all that much so she couldn't have some type of group chat or sleepover where they all discussed their dates. She'd have to beg Tabitha to sneak out of the Carter's and spend the night at her place. Jenelle had wanted time with Max for so long, she didn't wanna break her euphoria. But Tabitha would absolutely be thrilled to process this news with her best friend.
''Huh? Oh yeah, we can go.'' Mariah mumbled absently, her mind still on Tabitha. Nope. Her focus should be on Chance. He was her date after all. Plus she could see both her friends at the party, and hopefully sneak out before her dad even realized she was gone longer than expected. ''Besides, who knows what kind of mess Max has gotten himself into?"
A frown spread upon Josephine's face as Alexei appeared to register the uncomfortable position he was in. "Are you sure? We can move somewhere else, or I can get off your lap so you don't have to deal with the weight." She offered nervously. Old habits died hard, as Jo's compulsion to make things perfect for everybody involved popping up at inopportune times showcased.
Jo giggled a little at the princess comment, her hand moving to Alexei's smooth face. It was odd seeing Alexei so dressed up. Almost wrong. She'd have to wait a while now before she could imagine what it would feel like to have his scruff tickle her face or neck when he was kissing her. He looked.........more like a guy she was supposed to have ended up with. But he'd be back to his old scrappy self by tomorrow, she was sure. "Sure you could've! Anyway compared to a beast or a frog you don't look all that bad," She lightly teased him, patting his cheek gently.
"Murderer!" Jo squealed, though the fact that her voice was rather quiet, made it obvious she wasn't looking for anyone to draw attention to the place. With one arm embracing Alexei, the other was used to hold onto the phone as if it were a weapon. "I'm an innocent victim!" She squeaked out in laughter "You outright threatened to kill me! Do you have any idea how smug Max's gonna be at my funeral?" Her protests were quickly silenced as Alexei embraced her tenderly. "Good. At least I'll be the prettiest of your victims."
''Wait I'm going quiet?'' Jo questioned, looking up curiously. ''What? Psh no I'm not nervous. Why would I be nervous?'' Jo's uncomfortable laughter filled the garden. With a sigh, she met Alexei's gaze. ''Yeah it is. But also not really. Wait I think I should explain.''
Jo took a deep breath, steadying herself. ''I just feel............immature around you. I don't really feel weird that you're an adult most of the time, but sometimes when you're with your friends and stuff I feel all weird like a sheltered kid or something. Like it's a matter of time before the novelty of dating someone like me's gonna wear off and you're gonna go back to some older mature girl. Plus when we kiss and stuff, I really like it until I remember you've probably done it a hundred times before with girls who knew what they were doing and I feel like I have to compete to be as good, or to make you feel as good as they did something,'' She sighed gently removing his arm so she could look down. ''I guess I'm more worried about being too young for you, not that you're too old for me.''
when you are kind to others, it not only changes you, but the world.
Jacob almost jumped as someone poked him in the side, turning only to be greeted by Tabitha’s soft features. “Tabs!” He smiled as her soft voice spoke. Her rosey cheeks and bright brown eyes seemed to absorb him entirely, how was he supposed to sleep. His tongue felt large in his mouth almost like it had doubled in size. Feeling completely unnatural to his body, almost freezing as she made the first move to pull him into an embrace.
Her body felt warm against his, but what was Jacob supposed to do. Where was he supposed to put his hands, he hadn’t ever thought this much about a hug. This was supposed to be easy, Jacob had hugged many people before. He loved hugs, he might even consider himself a hug expert…….. Except for in this moment, he felt like he had absolutely no idea what he was doing.
Alright, enough time had passed, it was going to get really really awkward if he didn’t make some sort of move. Was he shaking? He felt like he was shaking. He still wasn’t sure if this was just a friend hangout of if she liked him the way he liked her too. Finally, after what felt like an eternity, Jacob returned the embrace, carefully wrapping his arms around the mid of her back.
Once he pulled away, releasing Tabitha from their embrace, not loosing the new closeness to each other. “You look.” He rubbed the back of his neck, before softly speaking. “You look amazing Tabitha.” He looked down at his feet, “You look really amazing.”
“Should..” He looked over his shoulder at everyone gathering to watch the fireworks. “Should we go find a spot to watch the fireworks?”
“Come on.” He smiled, reaching out to take Tabitha’s hand, hoping it would be okay. And, well if it wasn’t he hoped she would tell him. “I scouted out an awesome spot for us earlier… I hope you like it.” With that he took off with Tabs trailing behind him.
Alexei quickly shook his head at her suggestion to get off his lap to make him more comfortable. "Nooo! Don't get up," He threw his free arm around Josephine possessively, giving her a gentle squeeze with both arms. His gaze was soon averted when Jo patted his cheek, looking down with a bashful smile. "Well, thank you, ma'am," Alexei replied with a jokingly cocky nonchalance, blushing a bit deeper at her teasing and the compliment she'd slipped in.
His brow furrowed in thought as he quietly listened to Josephine detail her worries about their age difference, allowing her to push his hand away so she could go back to staring at her lap. "You really think you're some novelty to me, princess?" He asked gently. "You're not. I really, reeeeally like you a lot, ya know." Idly playing with her hair a little as he spoke, Alexei tucked a few soft strands behind her ear. "I thought you knew that," With a reassuring smile, he once again pushed her chin up to make her look at him, punctuating the sentiment with a tender kiss upon her lips.
"And don't worry, I reeeally like kissing you. You definitely make me feel good." He followed up the peck to her lips with a few more quick kisses before leaning over to whisper. "I mean you totally gave me a boner earlier," Pulling back, he put a finger to his lips. "Shh...just don't tell anyone I said 'boner' to the princess, or it's off with my head."
Alexei then abruptly stood up, still cradling Josephine in his arms. "Here, how about this?" He grinned at the girl in his arms, finally placing her on her feet. "You kinda missed all the awkward high school dance stuff growing up, huh? Pretend you're at the prom with some high school dweeb. Instead of the dweeb you're with right now," He joked, pushing his hair back to get in "character."
"Hey, Jothephine," Alexei lisped in a nasally nerd voice. "Gee willikerth, you look thoooooo prettyyyy." Grabbing Jo's hand, he tugged her arm up to twirl her around before playfully pulling her into his arms in a slow dancing position, swaying her with the jangly rhythm of the pop song playing in the background.