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Showing content with the highest reputation on 10/10/2020 in all areas

  1. 1 point
    "Do you think she'll actually help?" Laurie asked Devin. The two had stepped away from their parents and were slowly walking along in the shade with Rascal prancing along not far from them. "Pretty sure," Devin shrugged. "I know she's a bit abrasive, but she cares in her own way. Marissa is trying, she just will never admit it because she feels it's a sign of weakness, or admitting that we were wrong in some way." "Uh, you tortured a school for three years," Laurie laughed. "You kinda were." "I know that. She refuses to accept it. It's just," he shrugged again, sighing. "Her way. I don't know. I know it's hard to believe, but, she really does like you guys. If she says she's going to help, trust me, tomorrow? She'll have it halfway sorted. Trust me." Her lips curled in an appreciative smirk as she tugged a strand of coppery hair back behind her ear. "Well, tell her thanks for me? And thanks again, you know, for this weekend." "No sweat. Glad you had a good time and I'm surprised your mother let you slip away with me, she still seems to hate me and now thinks we're canoodling on the side." Devin laughed a bit recalling the trip they'd taken and the numerous laws they'd broken recently. He'd kept her out until four in the morning the other evening and expected her to be grounded for life. Texts had later revealed that while she was in a heap of trouble, it wasn't as bad as she thought, considering she owned up to her wrong doing, promised she'd be more careful, and absolutely swore nothing had happened between her and Devin, intimately. "Noooo," she laughed. "No canoodling. They were pretty pissed, yes, but I did explain none of it was your fault." He looked at her a bit confused so she explained. "Well, I was honest. I mean, I agreed to the trip, right? So, it's not like you put a gun to my head. I simply told them, when they tried to blame you for everything, that it was a two party deal, you know? I could have and should have left and come home on time, but I didn't and that has nothing to do with you, so they should be blaming you for my choices." Her own shrug punctuated her statement. "Wow, you took a bullet for me," he smiled at her. "I appreciate that." "Yeah, well," she grinned, blowing it off like it was no big deal. "You're not a bad guy, most of the time." She laughed as he his face took on an expression of offense. "You, Deej, at some point you're going to have to talk with my parents. If you're really serious about repairing all the damage you've caused over the years, then, it's not just me and my brother you've hurt. MY mom and dad had to deal with it too. They were our support group though all of yours and Marissa's storms." "I know, I know," he huffed. "It's just... going to take time. My list apologies is growing daily." "Well, I'll keep putting in a good word for you, how's that?" She smiled and leaned into him, nudging him with her shoulder. "It's the least I can do, I suppose."
  2. 1 point
    "A-Rae?" Came the soothing voice of Marissa and all the contempt in her tone was barely concealed with her wicked grin and narrowed, razor-like glare that proclaimed her desire to hurt Jacob in some way. The twins and Jacob never got along, as one of the few individuals in the school that willfully fought back against their bullying and harassment he'd quickly earned himself a label of ire from the Disastrous Duo. "Now why didn't I think of that? What's the 'Rae' for?" She brushed away her thought, knowing she could ask Autumn later, and they both doubted she actually cared. "FYI, your boy toy just arrived. Devin is stuck with Laurie fawning all over him, so that was no fun. For what he's spending on her he better get his money's worth." She huffed with irritation at her brother. "Anyway, c'mon, let's mingle." "Run along," she waved him away like he was dismissed. "Girl talk time."
  3. 1 point
    The two teens walked side by side with hands thrust into their pockets: he in trail-tested khakis, she in the cuffed cut-off shorts that were once her favorite jeans. They had done this a half-dozen times over the years, just the two of them, and it felt easy, somehow. Normal. Almost as if the last couple of weeks hadn’t happened, and they’d never argued, and she’d never lashed out and he hadn’t pulled away. Only ‘almost,’ though. There was a measure of synchronization in their steps despite the disparity in height, an unconscious kinesthetic familiarity developed over the course of a lifetime and woven inextricably into the malleable fibres of muscle and sinew and bone- something she could actually feel now if she concentrated, the countless miniscule adjustments being made as they moved through the growing crowds near the picnic area. Once upon a time, that had seemed a special kind of magic, the unconscious physiological manifestation of some deeper bond between them. Maybe it had been, back then. If so, what was it now? Habit? Muscle memory? “Guessing you went up to the Rez this weekend.” Part question and part statement, as icebreakers went it was more hammer than pick, blunt force rather than precision or finesse, but it served the purpose. Autumn blinked up at her childhood friend as she nodded, one hand rising to shield her eyes against the sun; gone were the halcyon days when she could look down at him, before he’d stretched like a rubber band pulled taut and then filled out again. Did all guys do that? She was pretty sure Cade Allister had never physically been a child, or at least she couldn’t remember him as one, Sean Cassidy had some… developmental issues, and Jason Bannon... well. He’d physically been a child, sure, but mentally? Yeah, I kind of doubt it, she reflected soberly, blinking away the memory. For most guys, Jay included, there didn’t seem to be much in-between- one day they were ten, and short, and skinny, and then practically overnight they were six feet tall… and also skinny. Until they weren’t anymore. “Mmm. Your dad?” Her tone wasn’t quite accusatory; despite everything that had happened they were practically family, after all. It made sense that if the warden had told Autumn about Jacob when he’d visited on Wednesday, he might also have talked to Jacob about her. The broad-shouldered young man shook his head and she frowned, a question in the clear, bright eyes that regarded him: If not Nathan, then…? “Mary,” he returned, avoiding her gaze. Ahh, right. Autumn nodded again, this time in recognition rather than confirmation. Joe’s granddaughter. The pretty one that Devin had shamelessly flirted with- not that she’d ever seen any evidence the elder Jauntsen twin could actually be ashamed of anything. “Didn’t realize you were close,” she murmured tonelessly, turning her attention from his expression to the carousel, the awnings, the distant trees. Why did it bother her? Was it just that she missed hanging out with him? Was it the feeling that she’d been replaced? Or maybe that now there was so much to say, it was almost impossible to say it? Frowning, the red-haired girl continued to poke at the thought as they moved. He shrugged in mute reply, dark eyes passively skimming over the faces of the other teens also milling around as they meandered through the few stalls that had been set up, heading aimlessly in the direction of the temporary stage where local musicians had already begun to play. It occurred to her that there were probably a lot of things she didn’t realize, or just didn’t know about him anymore. Recent events had proven that things could change drastically in just a few days, and they’d been apart for… too long, possibly. “She seems-” The restless young woman’s hand twitched upward in a wave at Marissa as they passed the twins and their parents, the greeting itself yet another indication that her life had veered dramatically from its previous course, like a river shaken from its bed by tectonic shifts far below the surface of the earth. “Nice, I guess,” she allowed, finally. Jacob was quiet for a few more steps, and his head dipped briefly in a nod, breeze ruffling his dark hair. “She is, yeah.” Autumn had no ready reply for that, although privately the redhead wondered what the older Blackfoot girl was to him, or he to her. Not that it was any of her business, of course, even if she was curious. It would be weird if he hadn’t dated anyone by now, or hooked up, or… whatever. For fuck’s sake, does it even matter? Seriously. Then, cautiously, he ventured another question of his own. “What’d they say?” It was her turn to shrug, to deny him the satisfaction of a straightforward answer, but even as she did so Autumn recognized how petty a gesture it was. Nathan had taken Jacob up to the reservation already, and so he knew at least something about what was going on, and this was way more important than their personal issues. Hurt feelings and resentment paled in comparison to the scope of what they were up against. Exhaling, she drifted a little closer, lowering her voice and glancing up at her unusually laconic companion to make sure she had his attention. “I got the history lesson,” she began slowly, tugging at an errant strand of bright copper that lay coiled over her shoulder and wishing she’d kept her hoodie on, despite the warmth of the day; at least she’d have had something to fidget with while she talked. “So-” Autumn hesitated, the toe of one sneaker scuffing gracelessly at the dry grass being trampled underfoot. She knew that Jay was a lot of things, and ‘stupid’ wasn’t one of them. It’s just that pragmatism was practically embedded in both families’ DNA. He’d been up to the Rez and heard the stories from the Elders way before she had, but that didn’t necessarily mean he took any of it seriously, did it? After all, she’d seen the effects of the Dark firsthand, and a part of her still wanted to rationalize it all away. “Do you believe any of it? The stories about the, ah…” Her gaze was fixed on his features as she leaned closer, one hand gesturing in a loose circle as if to encompass a range of ideas. “You know. The Enemy, or the Dawning Light, or the whole bit about gods walking the earth, and the cycle thing.” Jacob’s eyes narrowed slightly as he peered into hers, studying the reflection of cloudless skies in their depths for a long moment before swearing under his breath and turning away. He dragged a hand back through his hair and, with an exasperated sigh, nodded. Despite the awkwardness, the tension that lingered like a chasm between them, there was something like relief in his voice, his shoulders gradually relaxing when he spoke again. “Yeah. Not all of it, maybe, but my dad showed me the journals our family’s been keeping. Generations of us might have been crazy, sure, but that’s a very specific flavor of crazy to be. And since you know now, I guess that’ll make it easier for us all to keep an eye on things. That’s all we really have to-” “But it isn’t,” Autumn interrupted quietly, freckled fingers twining together in a knot of wordless anxiety. “Not for me, anyway.” He frowned, stopped there in the middle of the throng, and stared uncomprehending down at her face, at the earnest and uncertain expression gazing back up at him. “Your dad knows. I thought he might’ve told you, but…” She shrugged again, an almost imperceptible movement that seemed more apology than dismissal. “Look, Jay, I know things aren’t-” Swallowing past the sudden tightness in her throat, the vibrant redhead exhaled slowly, counting as she did so. Today might be her last chance to say anything, and this hurt, this twisting, tangled snarl of regret and anger and loneliness, would not stop her from saying it. “They’re not great, and they haven’t been, and I’m sorry. I really, really am,” she whispered tautly, blinking rapidly as his features rippled as though underwater. “I just wanted you to know, in case something hap-” The remainder of the sentence was cut off as the tall young man who’d been her friend once pulled her off the path and into a hug. "It's fine, A-Rae. Okay? It's fine," he murmured, watching their families laughing and drinking in the shade back the way they'd come.
  4. 1 point
    Champions Field, after 1 pm. Gar smiled awkwardly as he made his escape from the impromptu couples chatter that was forming around the Cassidy picnic spot, feeling a sense of relief that he had a grill to go and check on - an excellent pretext that prevented his exit from being too obvious and awkward. He sighed as he opened the cover on the grill, checked on the ribs and kielbasa, then settled back into his lawn chair, fighting back the brief desire for something stronger than a Coors Lite as he watched the families, so normal-seeming, tiny islands of sanity and human contact despite the dramas and quarrels and disagreements. He missed Kaitlin most at times like these - which was one reason he hadn't come to this type of event before. Or anything communal, really. And his only family now was... Jase. Who didn't need him so much as he just liked having him around - Sort of like a half-wild cat that knows how to change it's own litter and use the can opener, he mused wryly. I am tolerated, accepted, loved even, but not needed. My own son doesn't need me. Never really did. A thought that had, in the past, would have triggered Gar into reaching for a bottle of hard liquor now simply evoked quiet sadness. "What's on your mind?" Hank settled into his nearby chair, pulling a fresh bottle of beer from the cooler and regarding Gar calmly. "Nothing much." Jason's dad shrugged, forcing a smile. "You struck out with the nurse, huh?" "Turns out she has a boyfriend in Oregon." Hank smirked slightly. "Who'd a-thought?" "At least she wasn't washing her hair." Gar chuckled, clinking his bottle against his friend's. "Plenty of fish in the sea, man." "Truth." Hank laughed, glancing at the pie Mrs Cassidy had left on the table. "How'd you get on with the real people?" "Pretty good." Gar shrugged. "It's awkward, though. Only thing we have in common is our kids, and I'm pretty sure I'm one of the only parents in Shelly that knows about... you know. I kept looking at Carl, or Jack, or Carolyn, and wondering if they're also pretending that our kids aren't super-teens." "God, can you imagine?" Hank snickered, then sobered as he indicated someone with his bottle. "Well, we know there's at least one parent in Shelly that knows what's up." Following the pointing bottle neck, Gar saw the tiny new girl... what was her name? Kat. That was it. With her father, the Army captain who was part of the Project security detail, and with his girlfriend. He gave them a short wave of greeting as they passed, a gesture answered by a nod and smile from Josh and a small wave from Kat. Just normal family people doing normal family things, that's us, he thought quietly. Nothing odd going on here. He wondered if any other other parents knew this might be the last day they shared with their kids. Jase had been frank with him - but that was Jase. Practical to the point of coldness, he'd advised his father to sell up and move out of Toole County if the teens didn't come back, for his own safety. Again, that jarring inversion that comes upon most parents when they realise their child is an adult that does not need protection and is, perhaps, even more capable than they are themselves. It just happened sooner with his son than with most children. = = = = = = = = It was almost a physical shock when she saw him, and Kaitlin immediately ducked into the shade of a stall, grateful of the sunglasses and the sun hat she was wearing. Gar was here? Mentally she facepalmed - of course Gar was here. It was a small community, and a big day. Jason would likely be here too, somewhere. Taking a breath to steady herself, she half-turned and peered over at where her mate sat, talking with a rough-looking man with broad shoulders that filled out the Army surplus jacket. She noted those details absently, focusing on Gareth. He hadn't changed much. A little gray in his hair, cut short now rather than the longer cut she'd known him to have. That same sober, serious expression that could illuminate in a smile or laugh. He'd gotten thinner in the face, and lost the short beard. Kaitlin stared for a long moment, painfully aware of her heartbeat in her ears. She was aware she'd taken half a step towards him and turned away, closing her eyes for a long moment. Eight years, and still the draw was there; he was still her nghalon'd'ewiswyd. She wanted to go to him. She wanted to leave this field. She wanted to throw herself into his arms and never stop kissing him. She wanted to run from Shelly where she wouldn't be reminded of her failures... "Kaitlin?" Someone had been trying to speak with her, and the blonde woman shook herself out of her reverie and turned back to see Clair Sevy, another new addition to the Shelly school faculty, smiling as she approached for a hug. She was a big hugger, it seemed. Kaitlin obliged, smiling back as the two new teachers greeted each other. "So, you decided to come check this out too, hmm?" Claire gestured at the field around them, bustling with families as she smiled. "Yes." Kaitlin nodded, letting Catheen fall away as she re-adopted her human mask. Kaitlin Forster was not moon-eyed over some single father. "Though unlike some I'm not treating it as an excuse for an unofficial parent-teacher conference." she indicated Mr McRiley, who was taking advantage of his bully pulpit to heckle yet another underperforming high schooler. The man was unpleasant in that bland, petty human fashion that tarnished the daylight in faint, nondescript ways. He also made Catheen's knife hand itch when he looked at her - fortunately, Kaitlin didn't have a knife hand. Nope. Not at all. Or a slender Teulu blade strapped to her thigh under the dress. "Oh, no. He isn't?" Claire looked disapprovingly at the algebra teacher. "For crying out loud - this is the last holiday of the summer. Leave the poor kids alone." she muttered, then smiled wanly at Kaitlin. "I shouldn't say it, but he's a horrible unctuous little man." "There's worse people in the world, I suppose." Kaitlin smirked a little. "Well, in some worlds." "We should go and undo some damage." Claire suggested with a smile. "Talk about how delightful the kids are." "Some of them, maybe." Kaitlin's laugh was unaffected. She found herself warming to the Art teacher. = = = = = = = = = The Charger rolled to a stop, the engine's grumble and the strains of Bach dying away as Jase killed the ignition before slipping out from behind the wheel. Dressed in faded jeans rather than combat pants, and a dark grey t-shirt that, instead of being plain, bore the logo 'Patience: What You Have When There Are Too Many Witnesses', the only concession to regular Jason attire was his boots. He slipped his phone into his pocket and strode in the direction of the bustling Champion's Field, green eyes shining like chips of emerald under the shaggy fall of his hair. He could smell a few dozen grills adding their savory smoke to the late summer air as he joined the crowd, now and then turning to move aside for knots of children or families as he wove through in search of familiar faces, making for the picnic area with his typical straight-backed grace. The Keanes were easy to pick out, as were the Cassidys, though he saw neither Sean nor Autumn with their respective families. He spotted Cassandra and Bethany playing with Cass's dog. Kat was there with her father. Devin and Marissa were standing near their folks, talking to Laurie, who wore an expression of sober consideration as she nodded, said something then moved off with her pet goat. Scanning the family picnic area, he didn't see the Alisters or the Pryors, and mulled that over as he located where his dad and Hank were and began heading over to them.
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