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  1. 1 point
    “Don’t you ever tame your demons, but always keep them on a leash.” ((This takes place shortly after Jason leaves Atomic Aftermath. Warning: The following contains scenes of violence some may consider extreme.)) Liam had come home after the pain of his stricken stomach had faded and whatever that fucking bitch Lona had done to him had seemed to wear off. He was certain she’d done something… Maybe she’d kicked him harder than he thought, and ruptured something inside. Pulling up his sweater, he examined his stomach in the mirror – no marks. No bruising or weird lumps. He prodded tentatively, then harder, and felt nothing. He sat down and lit up a joint, turning the TV on to help him think, and pondering for a while, but came up with no decent reason why a touch of Avalon’s foot should make him hurt so damn bad. Weird. One thing wasn’t hard to understand. She’d told him to leave town like some crazy psycho woman, pressing a sharp stick to his throat like she was going to use it… but she hadn’t. Why’d she been so intent on making him leave town? Liam was sure she was probably going to run straight for the sheriff, but maybe she wouldn’t. Maybe, he considered with a small smug grin, she couldn’t. After all, it was her word against his, and he could establish an alibi easily enough. His mom was upstairs, dosed out of her mind on pills and booze, but she’d swear blind to the sheriff that she’d heard him come in shortly after the game had ended, just as she’d done for him over a dozen other mishaps. Liam nodded as he considered. Yeah. He’d gotten away with it, and just needed to make sure that none of Little Lona’s little freak friends tried anything. Not that they’d be able to do much – he was a couple years older and bigger than most of them, even the glamazon quarterback. And Cade Allister, though huge, was too much a daddy’s boy to go all baseball-Batman on a guy. He recalled something he’d heard, about Jason Bannon nearly gutting Cody Sikes with a hayhook back at the fair, and experienced a moment’s disquiet which he shook off easily enough after a brief chill. The same booze that had fuelled his attack on Avalon was also buoying his courage. Bannon was sixteen years old, a Junior. Smart, and his dope was, well, dope. But seriously, fuck that gangly piece of trash. Yeah. It was all coming up Liam. He went through to the kitchen of the small home, peering into the fridge to see if there were any leftovers. Straightening up with a box of half-eaten noodles, he closed the fridge door and turned to look straight into the pale eyes of Jason Bannon. The teen was standing outside his kitchen window looking in, his face pale in the fluorescent light of the kitchen. His expression was that of someone considering a curiosity under glass, head tilted slightly to one side. “Th’ fuck do you want, freak?” Liam called mockingly. “Gonna stare at me while I piss, too?” He snerked, forking a mouthful of noodles between his lips. Then he noticed the look in Bannon’s eyes. It was a look that didn’t belong in the eyes of anything human. The eyes blazed as though backlit by the fires of hell. Something grabbed him and slammed him up against the refrigerator, causing him to drop the box of takeout as his head cracked against the appliance. Then the same something picked him up like a toy and hurtled him into the kitchen table, cracking his head against that too. It was as though someone had looped a long scarf around his head and was using the tether to bash him off the furniture. A third surge of force, and he flew straight up into the light fitting on the ceiling, the cheap strip bulb and it’s plastic cover shattering against his back. He felt fragments digging painfully into him even as he registered he was falling back towards the table below. He landed, smashing the thing to pieces, splinters gouging his face even as a hand grabbed his hair and pulled him upright once more. He flailed for purchase with his feet barely touching the floor, his own hands going up to grab his attacker’s hand. But there was no hand. There was no-one in the room. Even as he realized this, through the haze of blood over one eye he saw Jason staring at him with that intent, hellish predatory fury. Blood was trickling from the lean youth’s nostril, but his concentration did not waver as he smiled a thin, merciless smile. Liam tried to understand what was happening, but through the chaos if his thoughts it seemed clear that it was Jason doing this, somehow. And it was because of Lona. And there was no sign of remorse or restraint in that stare. He pissed himself, then. Dangling by a painful invisible grip on his hair, Liam pissed himself while Bannon watched. “Nuuhh…” he whined softly, shaking his head as best he could. He realised dimly that his jaw had been broken, it hurt when he tried to speak. A thought came. His mother! She was sound asleep, bombed out on pills… but surely If he screamed the neighbours would hear and- Even as he opened his mouth to scream a second invisible, intangible hand clamped on his throat, hard enough to stifle his cries as he was sent slamming into the wall, then the floor, then dragged through the splintered remains of the table with terrific force. It felt like Cade Allister was working him over – fuck, it felt like Cade and Cade’s dad were working him over. Mostly senseless, his face was pressed up against the glass of the kitchen window inches from Bannon’s. “If and when you wake up, you will confess what you tried to do.” Jase told him calmly, green eyes boring into Liam’s single open one. “You’ll say nothing about me. Nothing about my being here. Blame two big guys… a gang of Nepalese midgets… I don’t care. Because if you try to finger me, or avoid confessing… I’ll know. And then I will finish the job, and take my time over it.” He leaned forward so his nose was almost against the glass, his voice a hiss. “There will be nowhere to run. Nod if you understand, cockroach.” Liam slowly nodded. Jason stepped back from the window. “You’ll live tonight because I think it might actually distress my friends if I kill you. Even Lona. Something that baffles me, but perhaps I will understand one day. You won’t speak to her again, but in your heart you will thank her for your life, every day.” Jason paused, then gave Liam a direct look. “Nod if you understand.” Liam nodded again, feeling consciousness slipping away. He was jerked away from the window to slam into the wall opposite. He felt something snap in his right shoulder, and then was tugged away from the cracked plasterwork and forwards with terrifying force. As he hurtled through the air, his last conscious sight was the pane of the kitchen window rushing towa- The loud splintering, tinkling crash was enough to wake Mrs Day from her slumber, making her sit up with a small shriek. It was also sufficient to alert the neighbours, at least those that weren’t out celebrating Shelly High’s win tonight. When they came to investigate, they found Liam day laying face down on the grass amidst the ruins of the window some five feet away from the kitchen. He looked as though someone had beaten him within an inch of his life, and the kitchen was a blood-smeared wreckage. As a few neighbours tried to calm Liam’s mother down, others called the sheriff and the paramedics, then stood around and tried to reason who could have wanted to do so much damage to a man while the one neighbour who worked as a nurse at the med center tried to make sure Liam was still breathing.
  2. 1 point
    Shelly High Girls Locker Room (Before the game) There were things Lilly liked and disliked about no longer being alone in the girls locker room when getting ready for a game. She could play her music as loud as she wanted, did not need to worry about pleasing anybody with song choice either, and the solitude helped her focus on the upcoming game. Now with several other girls in the locker room there were other considerations, but they are minimal to Lilly and a trade-off she would make any day for the camaraderie she was feeling as they all got ready for the game For her part, Lilly helped others who needed getting suited up and shared some helpful advice here and there. When they were suited up Lilly called the girls together, each them holding or cradling their helmets under an arm as she addressed them for a quick moment. "What you went through at tryouts here is nothing compared to what you're about to see out there. The guys on the other team are gonna talk all kinds of shit to you, about a girl being on the field and Shelly being so small they have to let girls play to fill out a team, and anything else they can think of. Ignore it. Water off a duck's back. Let your playing do the talking and you'll shut them up pretty damned quick. Some of them will underestimate you. If they do, that's their problem, but they will learn soon enough. Others will hit you even harder, trying to make you quit. Don't. In a scrum your are feel hands on your ass and trying to grab your hair, so make sure you you keep it up. Guys can be petty, scared a-holes, and will look for any advantage they can to throw you off your game. Don't let them. Every single one of us earned our place on this team, beating out boys for it. We beat out those boys, so we can beat these out of towers too!" she said and then held out her helmet. "Helmets in. Coyotes on three." she said and the other girls held out there helmets, touching them all together. As one they all chanted, "Three! Two! One! Coyotes!" Shelly High Football Bleachers William and Cassandra Pryor made their way up the stairs at the side of the bleachers, stopping to say hi to other parents and families on their way to their seat. Though they lived in base housing, the locals had gotten to know them both to varying degrees over the years. Mrs. Pryor was the head nurse at the medical center, so a good number of residents had got to meet her and benefit from her care. She was pretty with a warm smile, long, dark hair and a bit of an olive complexion, hinting as her Mediterranean roots. One look at her and it was clear where Lilly got the majority of her looks from, and after a moment of speaking with her, where Lilly got her compassion. She was a kind woman, smiling and hugging friends and acquaintances, often going well out of her way to do so as the couple moved up the bleachers. Mr. Pryor, on the other hand, worked on base as a Lt. Col. in charge of security for the installation. That being the case, he was not seen day to day in Shelly like his wife was, but she made sure send well wishes and so forth on his behalf. Shelly was still the closest town, so he would be found there shopping with his wife or buying supplies in preparation of hunting season. He was a bit of an imposing man, radiating confidence and authority, even in his pink 'Throw Like A Girl" t shirt he was wearing, matching the one his wife wore. His wife and Lilly would say that he is not nearly as stern or serious as he looked though, and he had a laugh that could shake walls. Together, the couple balanced each other out quite nicely and over the years had gotten to know other parents and families , which they were greeting and taking a moment to catch up with now before the game started, including the Cassidy's, who were sitting with the son, Sean, and and their nearly de facto son, Jason Bannon. "Hi! How are you? Lilly said Laurie made the team. You must be so proud!" Mrs. Pryor said to Mr & Mrs. Cassidy as she moved down the line of Cassidys, giving them each a hug. "We are. I think she's a bit nervous though, first game and all." Mrs. Cassidy replied. "Oh, don't you worry. I'm sure she'll do great!" Mr.s Pryor assured her as she broke her hug with Sean and moved on, giving Jason a warm hug too. "You must be Jason." she said with a smile, to which he nodded. "Yes ma'am." he replied politely with a small smile. "I don't think we've ever met." came Mr. Pryor's voice as he extended a hand to Jason. "No sir. But I game with Lilly and the others at the Cassidy's usually." he answered, shaking the man's hand. "I've heard mixed things about you. But if you are a friend of Lilly's, then I think I know what to believe and what not to." he said to Jason which weirdly seemed like a mix of a compliment, but seemed to have a hint of a warning to it too, without really sounding like one. "Why don't you sit with us?" Mr. Cassidy offered as he scooted over a a little on the blanket they had put down to soften their seat on the bleachers. "We couldn't. We don't want to intrude." Mrs. Pryor responded. "Nonsense." Mr. Cassidy say, waving off the notion with his hand. "Have a seat. It'll give you girls a chance to catch up anyways." he said, patting the blanket. "Thanks. This looks like a good vantage point." Mr. Pryor said as he took a seat by the other father while the woman sat together. * * * * * * * * * * * * * The announcer came on over the loudspeakers ,making a few quick announcements about the next game and upcoming events before introducing the marching band who, after their performance, took their seats in a marked off area of the bottom rows of the bleachers. Once seated, the visited Simms High Tigers were welcomed, having already been on the other side of field in front of the visitors bleachers. After a moment the marching band began to play another song, "Seven Nation Army" as the spectators in the bleachers began to stomp their feet in time with the music. The cheerleaders ran out and unrolled a large banner. Two of them held it while the others stood and cheered, shaking their pom-poms. Then the announcer spoke again as the song was about to reach a climax, "Ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to the field your twenty nineteen! Shelly High! Coyo-teeees!" The team came bursting through the banner, running onto the lighted field as cheers filled the air. Shelly was a small town, and it seemed like nearly the entire entire town was there to root on their team judging by the noise they made, adding an electricity and excitement to the air. It was a feeling that Lilly loved, and one, when she thought about, she might not be able to feel for very much longer... Shelly High Coyote's Sideline "Field goal! On the field." Coach Meyers called out as the regular offense left the field and the field goals special team ran on. The Tigers had somehow managed to stall out the Coyotes first scoring drive, inside the red zone, and Coach Meyers was not going to take a chance and go for it on a fourth down. "Pryor!" Coach Meyers called out, causing her to turn and jog up to him. "Did I make a mistake starting you, Pryor?" he asked with all seriousness and intensity. "It's been painful to watch you claw out yardage against these guys. You should be running roughshod over them. Do I need to bench you?" he asked, grabbing her facemask. "No coach." she said, shaking her head, "I'm sorry. I-" "I don't need 'sorry' Pryor. I need performance. So you go out there, spot that ball, and then spend Simms' possession getting your head on right." she barked at her and released her facemask. "You got it, coach." she said, nodding and then jogged away, catching up to Laurie. "You okay?" Laurie asked. She was showing concern for Lilly, but her own nervousness was very apparent.This was her first field goal attempt and if successful, she would put points on the board and give Shelly the lead. "Yeah. I'm good." Lilly said, noting the nervousness in Laurie. "And look. If you are too nervous or don't think you can do it, just let me know and I'll improvise a fake. We're inside the ten though, so this is no different that a point after. Just kick high so they can;t block it and you're good. I know you can do it Laurie. It's just like practice." she said as she took her spot. Laurie nodded. "I'm good. I'm good. I got this. Just like practice." she said, more or herself than Lilly as she got into position. Lilly knelt down and looked to Laurie, waiting for her nod. She then turned and nodded to the long snapper who was looking at her between his own legs and over the top of the ball. In under two seconds the ball was snapped to Lilly, who placed it point down and held the top point with one finger as Laurie took her strides, swung back and leg and kicked the ball in a high arc, over the heads and outstretched hands of the defenders, splitting the uprights. The crowd erupted in a cheer as Shelly scored first, giving the lead. Lilly did as the coach said though and sat on the bench while the Tiger's offense moved down the field. She had a lot of things on her mind, from the events last night, this morning, day and afternoon and the ramifications of things. She thought she had set it aside, but their first possession of the game showed different. She was part of a team and they needed her. She had a responsibility to them, one made long ago and that she intended to keep. She sat on the bench, closed her eyes and mentally shoved aside the pile of uncertainty, confusion and messy thoughts she had, locking it away until it could be dealt with later. It was Friday night, and they had a game to win. * * * * * * * * * * * * * The game itself was a blowout. 39-18. The Coyotes scored five touchdowns, two of which Lilly ran in herself. She did not particularly celebrate though, just tossed the ball to the referee in a casual, 'yeah, this is nothing special. I do it all the time' manner each time before her teammates would swamp her with high fives, hugs and slaps to her helmet and pads. Laurie was on point as well, making four of her five point-after kicks, having only missed one to a bad snapped that threw off the timing, after her one and only field goal attempt in the beginning of the game to give Shelly the lead, which they never yielded back. Even Chet got in on the action, getting his first Safety as he sacked the Tigers' quarterback in their own end zone after a penalty placed them back in it. The Tigers were not scoreless though, having found the end zone three times, though it was not their kicker's night, as he missed two point-after attempts while the third was blocked, and missing both attempted field goals. It was Friday night in Shelly, Montana, and the town was alive with good cheer and excitement for the season to come...
  3. 1 point
    Sara let the weights down gently, closed her eyes and listened to the other s working out in the small weight-room. Her heart wasn't it. She had gone straight home after they had returned form the to find her mom gone taking a weekend trip to Great Falls, Sara had gleaned from the note her oh so loving mother had left her along with orders to clean the trailer and twenty dollars for food. She shoved the money into the pocket and left the trailer mess and all and gone tot he gym. Art saw her come into the training room and came over to her. “So, you come to train or what?” “Yeah I thought maybe a couple of rounds“ she said tossing her gym bag on the floor by the bench. While she grabbed some shorts from and a bra and t-shit from the bag she looked up at the two boys in the ring sparring. Both were students at school but a year behind “Hmm, I figured you'd be out at the game.” “Nah, maybe if dad were home, football is more his thing.” “Yeah I remember when he played...he was good. But no, I thought you'd be out with your new friends.” Sara stopped and then slowly faced Art. The old man had a stern look on his face. “You know I don't have any friends, Art.” “Well, I don't know you been dodging training since July and some of the other kids they tell me you been hanging out with some kids at school. I mean friends are good but if you want to compete, be a champion, you gotta train. Your that age where you might want to do other things. I understand...” Sara cut him off. “Your right Art I should have just come clean with you but a lot has been going on and I can't really explain it to you. But yeah I don't think competing in the boxing league is gonna happen now.” Art shook his head. “I just don't want you to give up on something that could make a difference in your life, a way out of this place. You can have that social life anytime but right now your young your and strong if you stop training now, it will be that much harder to come back too later.” “Art, I don't need to train anymore not to box, but I can't compete anymore either that won't ever happen now. I'll train to stay in shape. And I'll always come to you for advice about all sorts of stuff. Your like a second dad to me you know.” Art shook his head sadly not understanding. “But Sara hun, why?” “Because I can't lose. Not any more.” She started calling the fight happening behind her softly so that only Art could here. That in it self was enough to make the old man awestrruck but when he realized she was telling him whatthe boys boxing were doing before they did it, that was almost too much. Sara rested her hands on his shoulders, “Art, I can't explain it right now, but I will okay when I can. Just trust me okay.” Art nodded, “Yeah sure whatever you say Sara. Did you want to spar?” “I better skip tonight looks like you have your hands full with these guys. I'll just go do some weights.” That had been an hour ago and Sara was feeling guilty about using her powers on Art but it was for the best. After today she knew that boxing wasn't something she was going to do as a career not unless she was going to become the biggest cheat in the world.. She got up wiped down the bench and hit the showers then after dressing walked over to the bowling ally to pass the time waiting for the Fellowship to come to Bunnee's after the game. After getting a basket of cheese fries and a Dr pepper she went into the arcade lounge and played video games while she listened to the game over the ally's radio. She smiled when she heard that Laurie Cassidy had made her first field goal. “Good for her," she said outloud as she feed more quarters into the hungry machines.
  4. 1 point
    Project #4 - The Game: Sean Sean sat in the bleachers with his parents and Jason, the roar of the crowd washing over them as they joined in the cheering. Sean didn't have much interesting in football, or sports in general, but he'd come out to support Lilly. But there was something more to it this evening, with his sister on the field. And after the absolutely crazy and disturbing afternoon, something as normal as cheering on a friend and family at a high school football game seemed all the sweeter. Over the field, Sean piloted his drone, filming Laurie's first football game for posterity, a private grin gracing his lips. The remote in his hands was just for appearances sake. He was controlling the quadcopter with his mind, which gave him far more precise mastery of the drone than his fingers ever could. Even better, he found out he could not only perceive the electromagnetic spectrum, he could convert it to some degree. Twisting just a few threads of photons, he was able to power his drone, giving it far greater flight time. Sean jumped to his feet as quickly as the others when Laurie made the field goal, pumping his fist exuberantly and cheering, though his slender shoulders tensed. Laurie was jumping excitedly on the field, getting celebratory slaps on the back and hugs from her teammates. Laurie turned to the crowd, and finding Sean and her parents, with a wide grin on her face, she waved and pointed at her brother. With a put upon sigh, Sean smiled ruefully back at his sister and waved. Shortly after Jase got up to get more snacks, Sean stood up too. He stretched surreptitiously, then picked up a pack he had stuffed under his seat, and assured his parents he'd be back soon before he headed off to the bathroom. ~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~ Sean stepped out of the stall and walked up to sink. Hands on the porcelain, he stared at himself in the mirror, turning this way, then that. He thought of himself as a boy, a young man, but the person in the mirror looked like anything but. And yet, he didn't totally hate what he saw, even if he didn't usually appreciate the attention he drew. He knew what he looked like, but he had tried imagining what he'd look like as a 'normal' young man - whatever that meant - more than a few times. The image that came to mind however, was always unfinished, amorphous, or ended up looking like someone else, someone he'd seen elsewhere. Taller, bulkier, but hardly more defined than that, the face, if it didn't belong to his father or an actor he seen somewhere, would be square and hard, speckled with a coarse five o'clock shadow. It didn't look like him at all, didn't feel like him. He was still figuring out what being a boy meant, meant for him, challenging his preconceptions from growing up as a reasonably regular - if still delicate looking - boy during his formative years. And with reality warping, monsters looming, conspiracies conspiring, and psionic powers unveiling, Sean was not only being forced to adapt to how to saw the world, but how he saw himself. He had thought of himself as a boy cursed with a woman's body and looks, could he reinterpret that to being a boy who happened to look like a woman, and that there wasn't anything wrong with that, that it was just different? He was figuring out who he was, but his friends seemed to accept him already, quirks and all. Why should he worry about how others saw him? The more he worried about it, the worse it seemed to get. But other people, girls, like Marissa, got as much attention as he did or more, but it hardly seemed to phase them. Let them think what they want, say what they wanted, as along as they didn't act on it without invitation. It did seem a lot of it was all about attitude - he conveyed a sense of being a victim, and so he was. Devin might be right about that, and that was an insufferable thought. So when Laurie had proposed her bet, Sean had only hesitated for a moment before agreeing. He'd known it was a sucker's bet, but Laurie had been very fidgety during supper, and he could see her nerves getting to her, first game jitters. He was sure Laurelei had the skill, he just didn't want her psyching herself up for failure, so he agreed to her teasing request to give her something extra to strive for. And if he did lose the bet, it gave him the excuse to claim - to himself at least - that it wasn't something he had wanted to do, but was a push he needed to at least start getting over his hangups. Hiding didn't help - and didn't work, denying didn't work, it was time to embrace it, just a little. He knew that was what Laurie was trying to do, in her teasing way, and others had suggested it to him, in one way or another. This was it. He cooled his face with some water, dried it off, took several deep breaths and rolled his shoulders. Then he grabbed his white and yellow pom-poms, plastered a grin on his face, and strutted out of the bathroom, the pleated skirt of the Coyote cheerleader's outfit swishing about his hips. He was doing this for Laurie and for himself, to see what it was like. Let others think and say what they wanted, he would endure. There were much harder things he was being forced to contend with compared to being intersexed.
  5. 1 point
    The Wright Poolhouse The poolhouse door closed behind Lona with a loud click and Etienne turned to face Clara, his expression somber. “Are you able to talk now?” he asked, his voice gentle. She nodded. Everyone else was at the game tonight - Felix loved football nights, and Lisa had taken the excuse to get the other adults out of the house and socializing for the night. There wasn't going to be a better time, especially if things got loud. She took a deep breath. “Yeah, we should.” She just stood there staring at him for a minute though, completely at a loss for how to start. Her hand gripped the back of the couch nervously. “The most important thing to say is that I, I care about you deeply.” He sat down in a chair, then stood in a nervous rush. “I didn’t start out to hurt you, and I regret that I have. I’m sorry.” She hadn’t followed him into the sitting area at first and when she moved now, her eyes caught on the large binder still sitting out on coffee table. Her Plan. She’d finally put it back together with her revised class and activity schedules just before school started again. In all the crazy of the past two days, she’d forgotten to put it up. A self-deprecating laugh escaped her at the absurdity of it all now. Having a plan in a world of Etienne’s and Cook’s and monsters and psychic powers and creepy Blackfeet Upside-Down-Thunder worlds. How the hell did any of that fit into a plan? She flumped onto the couch, scooping the large binder onto her lap. She tapped the cover with her fingertips to let out some of her tension and frustration. “‘Didn’t start out to hurt’ me. Just use me?” “When Cook’s previous attempts to get into your parents’ lab didn’t work, he hired me.” Etienne stopped and ran his hands through his hair, then sat himself down on the other end of the couch. “My training is as a spy, one that acquires assets. That means I’m good with people and convincing them to do things or hand over things. I lost my first job.” He sighed with a touch of bitterness, “Not because of anything on my end, but politics and money. Anyways, I still needed work but I couldn’t be particularly...discriminating...about what jobs I take. Friends in the community would find me interested parties, and I’d say yes or no. Some things I won’t do, but once I agree to a contract, if I ever want another, I have to see it through.” He leaned back, closing his eyes. “Cook implied that you were college age. I should have checked, but I honestly didn’t think the man that...Feh, doesn’t matter. I found out the truth and went ahead with it anyways. That’s my failing and I am sorry.” He covered his face with his hand and laughed. “Sort of. I’m sorry I was willing to do it, but. . .” He glanced over at her, his expression conflicted and rueful. “But I’m not sorry I met you. An idiot, but not sorry.” “And I just lost myself in the past couple of months.” He flushed, looking abashed. “I knew I needed to finish the contract, but it was easy to just let you set the pace of things and not worry about it. Tell Cook that I didn’t want to scare you off or tip off your parents. Given how he sees this place as some sort of...what’s the American saying? Fort Knox, some sort of Fort Knox, it wasn’t hard to convince him that I needed more time. A lot of time.” Clara had watched him closely, her hands still fiddling with the binder. She’d flipped over the top cover, her hand splayed out on the first subject cover. “What-how, how did you think this was going to end, Etienne?” “I wasn’t thinking, Clara,” he said softly. “I fell in love and I was just trying to hold everything together as long as I could.” The stiff purple paper crumpled under her hand, ripping away from the binder. Clara started, staring at the creased and torn remnant in her hand. She laughed again, tears falling down her cheeks. “Jesus, Etienne.” Her shoulders shook and she stared down at the binder, little hysterical laughs bubbling out of her. She crumpled another page. And another. And another. She was halfway through her senior year schedule, the already-written college entrance essays next in line for destruction, when she felt Etienne’s arms around her. “Clara,” he murmured softly into her hair, “hold on, don’t-” “Don’t what?” she barked. “It’s a joke! It’s just-just-” She bent over the binder, her fingers scrambling and scratching at the edges of the thick stack of paper. “None of it matters anymore and it was just a stupid joke all along. I just didn’t know it!” He pulled her in closer to him, cradling her head against her chest and letting her cry. When she relaxed against him, he snaked the binder out from her lap and tossed it onto the floor away from her. He kissed the top of her head, repeating to her. “We’ll figure it out, ma trésor; we’ll figure it out.”
  6. 1 point
    That night at the game was something he had to do. Seated with his mother, Cade smiled. Cora had volunteered to go get concessions, and Haruka went with her leaving him with his stepmother, who seemed abit preoccupied. "Something up mom?" She looked up to him, and smiled. "Not really, just wishing your father was here. He misses far too much these days, and I worry that he's working too much." Cade nodded. "With his responsibilities, it's just how things are. I don't see that changing all that much." She seemed abit disappointed with that answer, but nodded. "I know, but I worry that he's not spending enough time with you two." Cade shrugged slightly, "I'm used to not seeing him much. I think it's abit harder on Haruka honestly." His step-mother stiffened slightly and he knew he'd not made the situation better with that comment. Downstairs, waiting in line for concessions, Haruka waited with Coraline. "So, you finally got your wish, dating my brother." The precocious twelve year old was seemingly wise beyond her years, and had always been abit teasing of Coraline, but in that way one would expect little sisters of being. She approved of Cora, as she added some acceptable culture to Cade's live outside of sports and his secret hobby. Coraline looked down at the girl and shook her head. She liked the younger girl, she really did. "Let's see how long it takes you to work up to confessing to your crush, and then you can gloat. But then again, you've always been a bright one," she snarked back with a chuckle. Her eyes shifted to scan the crowd quickly, a flicker of alertness looking for... Something she didn't quite have word for. Danger was too acute. Threat too vague. Hazard too impersonal. Menace? Yes. Menace. That was close enough to what she was looking for. It had been her stated idea to go to the game first after the... Happening... Happened, figuring a crowd would be safer. But safer from what? Monsters, spies, Bannon or someone going Carrie on the first person to nudge them wrong? "...Cora? Cora, they moved," Haruka verbally poked the taller girl out of her impromptu mini fugue with the revelation that, indeed, the line had just inchwormed forward again with the exception of themselves. Coraline flashed a quick smile of apology and moved forward a step. "Sorry. Thinking about what your Mom wanted," she responded to Haruka's raised eyebrow of disbelief based on the simplicity of everyone's order, realizing too late the transparency of the deflection, "'Long day. Always not fun shifting gears from summer to school. Anyway, I've been looking up concerts and there's a few you could probably convince your Dad to let you go to..." *That* Haruka could get behind enough to quell any further problems for now, and three popcorns and four sodas later, the two returned to their seats. "Miss me?" she replied, settling down next to Cade and handing over their shared popcorn. Cade helped pass the food out and smiled. "Yeah, and the food too." He was obviously teasing her a little, his smile spoke of nothing of his previous conversation with his mother who took her food and drink quietly. She wasn't a fan of american football, prefering baseball, especially watching Cade play. Back in Japan, she couldn't help but feel that Cade would be a star of the diamond, and maybe that would make him abit happier. She quashed that quickly as Cade really never seemed unhappy now, save where his father was concerned. It was a sore spot but tonight wasn't about that. Cade chuckled as they watched the game. He supported the football team because he was friends with alot of them, and they supported the other athletic teams. Hell some ran track with him and even played baseball. Haruka looked up at Cora "So, what concerts were you thinking of?" Coraline took a moment to get comfy and nestle in close to Cade as she could with his mother sitting right there, claiming her first bite of popcorn as she scrolled through her eclectic list of research and pruned about a third of it immediately. Nooope. "Well... Just in Great Falls alone coming up through November, off the top of my head.. We have Hozier, Avril Lavigne, Carrie Underwood, the Black Keys, and Bob Dylan even. Though I could see my Mom making that a 'Hess Family Outing'," she lingered on that last one, having run out of fingers, smiling amusedly at the fruits of her research. It was less what was playing, as the experience of it, the wave of human emotion blasting from the band or singer at the beating center of the gathering. Speaking of which, The Coyotes must have scored as the crowd around them exploded in screaming celebration, a wave of chaotic emotion rippling across the bleachers at the speed of thought. Haruka nodded. "You pick one. i'm sure Cade will go too, that way even Dad will agree." She'd already gotten her mother's approval and Cade just sat there, suppressing a chuckle. "They just scored again. I think Lilly's got them all pretty fired up. That play-call was pro-level perfect." He said. He'd agreed to let them plan that concert date, since it was more for Haruka to finally get to go to a concert, though he did think to offer his personal preference "My pick would be the latter too." Haruka smiled as he spoke. "You would like the old man music." The quartet turned their attention to the game as the point after kick sailed perfectly through the goalpoasts, and Cade smiled.
  7. 1 point
    The Game - Marissa The roar of the crowd was like a wave of adrenaline washing over her, but she jumped at it nonetheless. She'd gone home, gotten cleaned up, hid her crazy after a few more hours of crying and decided the air of the game would do her some good. She was all adrenalined out for one day. The spikes of emotional states she'd been through today were good and plenty and somewhere out of it all she thought maybe it was time to change her diva ways... Her maroon lips curled into a half smile as she walked into the 'stadium' area of Shelly high and with each step up the entrance way more and more of her glorious kingdom was revealed to her. She was dressed like a cheerleader, in a manner. With a skirt slightly longer to preserve modesty, and a stylish, but fitting sweater cut to reveal more midriff than school policy allowed. She stood at the railing that split the halves of the bleachers and gazed upon the cheerleaders, reminding them silently that they were only allowed to be objects of popularity and desire because she allowed them to be. Were she down there... they'd be talentless hags by comparison, and tonight, she thought it time Courtney was reminded of that. With an approving smile that said 'carry on' she moved her way to the stands. Maybe it was time she changed her diva ways... ... ... Nah. Marissa had decided long ago that if she were to live in Hell, she might as well sit on its Throne. The Fellowship were okay enough, but the rest of these water headed monglets? It was time their knees ached in reverence. She'd noticed Jason sitting with the Cassidys and offered him a smile but didn't invite herself to join them. She was uneasy around Sean and something about him bothered her. It could have been the way he tried so hard to claim he was a boy and took offense to people saying or thinking otherwise then turned around and styled his hair in femenine colors and styles, making himself look like a girl to garner unwanted attention so he could pity up later. Or it could be the way he'd offered up his cock and balls to guys in his classes... either way, she did her best avoid contact with the little femignome. Thankfully, she wasn't trying to sleep with Laurie, so she didn't have to be nice to the little brat. Besides, if she were, she'd have already done so by now. Why were men so stupid and slow at everything? Jason dismissed himself and she saw it from the corner of her vision and when Stacey Collier scurried off after him she knew there'd be trouble there. It wasn't her problem, though. Stacey was nice, Jason needed nice, God knows he was surrounded by enough smothering, emotionally unstable, insane females already. Good thing he had her to keep him stable. Around halftime she took a moment to mingle. After the cheerleaders did their little show (which she found poorly choreographed) she crossed the track to the playing field. It took Courtney all of two seconds to swoop down on her. "Well, look who decided to grace us with her-" "Christ, do you ever stop being a bitch?" Marissa cut her off. The squad all silently giggled under their breath. "Ladies, Courtney, just wanted you to know that I loved the show. Doing a great job, we're killing them and it's you girls out here keeping them going. So please, keep it up." The cheers quad all offered up woos and jumped a bit. Marissa smirked as Courtney was slapped in the feels with eight, happy, pretty, ladies worth of real leadership, right to her fake sweet sixteen boob job. "What are you doing," Courtney fumed, leaning in and lowering her voice. Unthinkingly she gripped Marissa arm, mistaking her for one of her play things. "Cheering is mine, you're out of line, Mari." The Mantis slowly looked down at the redhead's hand squeezing her arm. Her glare slowly rose to meet her aggressor's eyes. Courtney let go. "You have the cheerleading team only because I allow it. You will have Homecoming Queen, because I'll allow it, you have so many things Courtney. So. Many. Things." Her voice was Malificent cold. She was on a villain high and riding straight to Arkham. "So why are playing with my things? Hmm? You're like a thug with a gun, waving it around so everyone see." Courtney pursed her lips and exhaled in a silent rage. "When you have a gun," she offered. "You can rob a banks." "When you have a bank, you can rob everyone." Marissa smirked impishly, halting her logic before it gained traction. "I have the bank. Your grades, your test scores, the faculty, your choice of colleges, hell, the fucking Mayor is in my pocket. So wave your gun, it's only a matter of time before someone sees it and you cause a panic. Now let me be clear: this Snapchat shit, stops. Those nerds, especially Jason are my little toys and if you go near them again you will quickly understand why in a world of locked doors, the bitch holding the key is queen." She leaned away and put on her best smile. "Woo! Great job girls! Get our boys a win!" She winked at Courtney and turned to leave. "Do so love these chats, Court! Tatty-bye!" She watched the rest of the game, silently and alone making sure everytime Courtney looked in her direction she saw the eyes of Boss, CEO, her Queen (if you were feeling dramatic), glaring disapprovingly at her. She put up a good front, but she knew without backing, she couldn't hold the school's popularity vote and Courtney knew it. If only she had an army of her... She slowly tilt her head to look at Sean and Jason cheering for Lilly... maybe Cade too, if he actually showed up, and she had an idea. The Mantis had a wonderful, awful idea...
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