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  1. "It's not complicated," Marissa said calmly. Her voice was surprisingly devoid of the attitude that had been lingering about her all afternoon. "You simply tell her. She will choose to believe you or not. Fact is, as long as you were honest with her, you're in the clear. If a child tries to tell their parents something and the parent blatantly chooses to treat them like they're lying and the last thing you two do is argue before we face Not-Cody and, well, the worst should happen... then let her live with that. She deserves it." "Damn girl," Hank shifted his head to one side in a half-shake before sipping his beer. "You're all heart, ain'tcha?" "I am a delicate, yet savage, wellspring of compassion. What I'm not, the steward of everyone around me. If I tell you, Mr. Graskel, that there is a rockslide coming up from behind you and you choose to laugh and ignore me, then that same rockslide shreks your afternoon, I'm totes not loosing sleep over it." "Some children love their parents though," Gar offered. "I understand your relationship with yours is a bit rocky, and I'm not trying to be rude, but not everyone deals with the same measure of ire and irritation you and your brother have dealt with." "No offense taken," she said politely. "And you're right, my brother and I have a ton of pent up parental frustration, but we do not love our parents any less than anyone else. I feel my argument stands, though. Tonight, my brother and myself will likely tell our parents. We will tell them what we can do, what we intend to do, and why we need to do it, then simply leave. At that point they have to get their Ripley's on and believe us, or not. Fact is, the results will be the same: we still have a job to do, and if you adults have taught us 'young'uns' anything it's that we need to take personal accountability in our daily lives and when there is a job to do, you see it through and get it done. Parents or no parents, secrets or no secrets. We're not dealing with mowing the lawn or taking the trash out, we're fighting for three thousand lives, with our parents among that number. If we didn't care and we didn't love, then we wouldn't bother." She turned to Cassie. "How's this? If you're not sure how she will react, then take Devin or Jason or Sean with you. I know it's a personal matter, but they have the most flashy displays of power out of all of us. Deej's teleportation can't be denied. Or with Jason or Sean literally manipulating the elements in front of her? How can she deny that? At the very least it will remove her doubt so she'll hopefully be reasonable. At that point, you and her can have a civilized discussion about all of this." The attractive brunette, who seemed surprisingly friendly all of a sudden, shrugged and clawed at another pinch of meat from her ribs. "I'm not saying it will work, but," she sighed. "Your mom does deserve to at least know that her daughter is amazing and doing amazing things for the betterment of others. On the opposite side of that coin, Cassie, you shouldn't carry around her choice to not accept things like it's your burden. We have enough to shoulder, yeah?"
  2. She ate like it was her last meal, yet daintily scrapped the meat from the bones with her utensil until it was a large pile of barbecue sauce slathered deliciousness. She ate her vegetables with a fork but insisted on clawing up the meat in her manicured acrylic talons. Always looking to make a statement, the teenage girl insisted on her sharp nails being polished so everyone could see she had claws. Kids were silly like that. Halfway through her second pile of meat she looked to her left where a hopeful Bacon was looking up at her expectantly. That was two piles she was working on, surely she had some to spare for ol' Bacon, right? "Get away." She snarled at him, mumbling as she returned to her plate. "Drooling mutt." "Sooo, not a dog lover, huh?" Cass smirked. "They smell, they drool, and they cover everything," she paused and pinched a few strands fur off Cass's t-shirt. "In their fur. Are you kidding? No thank you. I take too much pride in my appearance to show up anywhere covered in dog fur and smelling like pet shop. Thank you, but no." When Hank asked his question Marissa smirked a bit, then shook her head. Finishing her bite before replying. "No, they don't. If our mom knew she'd already be on the phone trying to get us a television or movie deal. I mean, seriously, a group of kids from Shelly Montana who inherit weird alien super powers and have to save the world from a dark god from another dimension? No one would watch that, it the dumbest show premise ever. Although... me and Deej were discussing telling them tonight before we have to... you know. We figure if we don't come home, even if they weren't the greatest mom and dad kids could have asked for, they till deserve to know why. The thought of them never knowing and one or both of us not coming home... we couldn't do that them. Doesn't feel right, I guess."
  3. "Glad to see things going so well for you two," Marissa said calmly as she walked with Autumn. "Although, is discretion something you're aware of? Christ, girl, Jacob and I were starting to feel like we should be stuffing singles into your underwear to show our support for a soon-to-be single mother the way you were riding him like a stripper pole. I'd offer you advice but we both know you'll run off in a huff claiming that if he murders you then goody, we can all be right about him, so I'll not waste my breath. Hell of a show though, Jacob positively cringed with jealousy. Well done." Since everything to Marissa was a game or challenge for dominance, there wasn't a single moment where she believed that Autumn wasn't, on one level or another, trying to rub Jacob's nose in her new relationship. She didn't know the what had transpired against them, and honestly didn't care, but she was pretty sure that Jacob was at fault. Had he not been, he wouldn't have cared so much when he saw her dash off into Jase's arms. "No worries, I manage to twist the knife a bit myself on your behalf. So, what happened between you two? I remember you two almost inseparable at the lake last summer. He cheat on you?" Her eyes got wide and unscrupulous grin appeared with scandalous curiosity flaring in her eyes. "You cheat on him?" As they approached the Bannon Camp she was relieved to learn that they had not erected a Faraday Cage around the grill and demanded that 'guests' submit to a pat down to check for government bugs and wear tin foil hats to make sure the satellites didn't try to steal Hank's secret BBQ sauce recipe. "Gentleman." She smiled at them both with enough amethyst push behind her smile to make them rethink their religion, which was par for the course for her these days. Thankfully, the two men were made a of stronger wills and more forceful personalities than most, and knowing Marissa's powers were centered around pure beauty and that she sometimes 'accidentally' sent off waves of likeability, it hardened them to her megawatt smile that could have had lesser men eating from her hand. Still the coo of her voice resonated like the mating call of a twenty-something escort trying to put herself through medical school and it didn't make her any less beautiful. "Jason promised us meat. Is it help yourself or do we have to beg for it?" "Ah, damn it girl." Hank fumed but kept his voice down. "It's bad enough you all do what you do, but you... you know damn well that's not funny." She chuckled nonetheless. "I'm just messing with you," she laughed. "Come on, it's nice to be able to share a joke with people who actually know, you know? No harm meant." Gar had to wonder. He knew there was a lot of tension between Marissa and his son, ever since she'd shown up their farm not long ago dressed like a young woman really looking to impress a young man. It was obvious Jason being with Autumn irritated the living hell out of her, it didn't take a life of hard living and a failed relationship with an extra-dimensional psychotic nymphomaniac reject (must be Monday in Shelly) to tell him that. Cass's announced greeting turned everyone's head away from Marissa's 'might seduce your dad-type' Billie Elish impression. "Cassie!" She squeed happily... and it was all fake. She mumbled as a rabid four-legged dunderfloof (fluffy, idiot dog) was barreling at them. It was almost impossible for Autumn to miss the way Marissa tensed and reflexively used her bestie as a human shield, putting Autumn between the snarling, rabid beast and the cuddly German Shepard quickly, and happily dashing forward. "Ugh! Cassie!" she squealed. "Get it on a leash!" "Imagine that," Gar said softly in his deep voice. "Girl don't like animals." "Well I mean, historically, they do sense evil. It tracks." Hank smiled widely at the young Marissa and held up a red Solo picnic plate loaded with some ribs, casually adding with a smile, "Sides are on the table." He nodded in the direction of the Bannon picnic table. "Great," Marissa sighed as she accepted the plate. "Sure, why not, highlight of my day: getting heckled by the Weird With Beards club. Cass! Keep your mutt away from me, I swear to god I will call animal control!"
  4. "And there she goes," Marissa said softly, making certain Jacob could hear her. She motioned to Jacob with her open hand. "Boy," she swept her hand to where Jason and Autumn were acting like it's been years and two wars and a continent since they'd last seen each other. "Meet toy." She folded her arms, placing her weight on one hip, narrowing her eyes in villainous observation. "Man," she sighed. "Makes you wonder what he did to just sweep her off her feet like that, right? She's been positively ecstatic since he spent the night with her on Friday, I'm so happy for her. She's just so secretive, you know? I don't know who had her heart before Jason, but man, they sure did a number on it. It's so nice to see her happy again. Gives me the giggles." She turned and faced Jacob with innocence in her eyes. "So, you and Tawny, huh?" She nodded. "I can totally see that, you two are going to be so adorable together. I know we've had our misunderstandings in the past, Jay, but perhaps you'll save me a dance at Homecoming?"
  5. "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."
  6. Hello everyone, Julia Hernandez here with an E! Exclusive. Try and imagine it. Shelby Montana, which you might know as 'Shelly' Montana from the hit Nutflix show Weirder Stuff. [images of Montana's scenery and natural beauty] Rolling hills, mountain peaks, and some of the cleanest air you would ever breathe. In the immortal words of one Agent Coulson, 'it's a magical place' with friendly people and few, if any of the common luxuries you or me might be used to in our everyday life. The local grocery store is only ten aisles and has five lanes and no self checkout (can you imagine?). Great Falls is, in fact, an hour and twenty seven minutes away and is the closest the people of Shelby are to an outlet mall. So, unless you're speeding down the interstate at ninety miles per hour like Devin Jauntsen, or cranking up the old Charger and revving it up to top speeds like Jason Bannon, chances are you are an hour and a half from anything you or I would consider 'civilization'. So, how do they do it? How do the cast and crew of Weirder Stuff cope with the long months of filming in cramped hotel rooms and are they ready to kill each other yet? Great news, because I managed to secure an exclusive interview with one of the stars of the show, Marissa Jauntsen! [Waves with both hands and a big smile] Marissa: “Hey there, Superfans!” [laughs] Julia: “Thank you so much for inviting us along on this trip, wow. First, let me say that you guys are insane on this show! How did you get involved in all of this? Marissa: [laughs] “Right!? Oh, wow... um, well it was my brother who actually approached me with the script and asked me to read it. I fell in love with the insanity but I honestly didn't know about being able to play a mean girl. Also, the rich mean girl and the extreme sports, edgy sarcasm guy, were not siblings, originally. The further into weeds I got into the project the more I realized how 'adult' the themes were. Sex, violence, betrayal, conspiracies, bigotry, teen angst... I mean the writers were really pushing the envelope and I was totally in love with it at that point.” Julia: [nods] “So, you weren't scripted as siblings, you and your brother? How did that end up happening?” Marissa: “Well, Devin and I are real life twins, so when we auditioned and read our lines we did it together but as non-siblings. Essentially we shared a scene where Devin and Marissa were supposed to argue. [rolls her eyes and laughs] So, about half way through, Joss (Whedon) stopped us. We'd worked with him on the Marvel MCU stuff and The Mandalorian. We asked to be extras since our studios were next door for some of the shooting and Joss was totally cool with it since my brother is a total Star Wars nerd. [laughs] So, he stops us and asks us to read the same lines... but argue with each other on everything the other is saying. So, we did, and as siblings if there's one thing we could do it's argue. Later we got the call that we would be cast as siblings, which we're used to.” Julia: “Does that ever bother you? You and your brother always getting cast as siblings?” Marissa: “Oh, god no. It works great and like Eric (Kripke) said: 'when I want to do an evil twin scenario where one pushes the other down an elevator shaft, we have authentic twins. Nobody's got that!' It's outside the box thinking like that that really makes Weirder Stuff unique.” [giggles] Julia: “What are the other cast members like to work with?” Marissa: [sighs and rolls eyes] “Woah, wow, we are a hot mess. It's always funny because what people get is the finished product, they don't see how many takes it took to get it right or the laughing or mangled lines or the tripping on set...[laughs]. I love these guys. On screen we never agree and are quite possibly always fighting about one thing or another. Off camera it really is all laughs and hugs.” Julia: [smiles] “Now, there are hints that Marissa is a closet super nerd. How big of a nerd are you?” Marissa: “So, here come the mean Tweets. [laughs] Um, zero. I am not a nerd. My brother is a massive Star Wars fan, and MCU fan. He's absorbed by anything involving special effects. Me on the other hand, I had never heard of Dungeons & Dragons until this project, which is an interesting story in and of itself.” Julia: [looks inquisitively] “Oh? Do tell.” [laughs] Marissa: [nods and chuckles to herself] “Okay. So, Sean, the super geek on the show, was in the same boat as me: neither of us were nerds. So, in order to get our parts right and be more legit, we hit up Amazon and ordered the core D&D books, right? We thought 'how hard could this game be', right? So, we double up in our hotel rooms while shooting, and it's me and Autumn and Courtney and Sean which is great because those two hate each other on the show and yet are roommates off camera.” “So, Court and Sean come by one evening so we can learn this game. Court and Autumn are doing their own things and Sean and I are lost within ten minutes. Courtney is going over a skin care routine with Autumn and let me tell you, she is our salvation when it comes to skin care. The woman is a genius. So, we're not 'getting it' which draws in their curiosity... and before you know it the four of us are figuring out Dungeons and Dragons in our hotel room and within the hour we've decided to make characters and play the starter adventure in the back of the book. Mind you, none of us know a thing about this game but we're all like: 'hey, we're actors, how hard can it be to pretend?' So my brother stops by, sees what's going on and runs off to tell the guys. And we're all trying to figure this game out together, because a few of the guys had heard of it, but never played.” “So that happens. Now, the next day, Eric and the writers find out about this mess and that's how Sean's table-top games got included in the show. It was originally scripted as a 'thing that was happening' where all the fans knew Sean was this gamer and he held a gaming session, none of the other Fellowship were supposed to be really in on it because it didn't make sense for a few of them to be gamers. Sean has even managed to do a few re-writes too where the gaming information wasn't accurate in the script, so she changed it to be more accurate for the fan base. See? We love you guys!” Julia: [looks expectantly] “So? Who was your character in this D&D game?” Marissa: [laughs, hiding her face in embarrassment] “Argh, I knew you were going to ask. Not was, [laughs] is. We are still playing that game. I have an elven Sorceress who is pretty much just like Marissa on WS. She is mean and manipulative and fairly evil. She has the hots for Jason's chemically dependent alchemist.” Julia: “Speaking of, is there any chemistry between you and Jason?” Marissa: “The fans put you up to this, didn't they? [laughs] Uh, wow, yeah, um, Jason is amazing. He's a method actor so he is always in character while on set. Usually with everyone else we discuss the scene and hash out the emotional state and tempo of everything and give it a go. Jason, always being in character means we're just ready to go. I can freak out and vent at him and he'll just look at me blankly like I need to get my act together and hide my crazy. Then we can do the scene with all the same things and he'll look at me blankly like I need to get my act together and hide my crazy. So it works out.” [laughs] Julia: “So, is the character of Marissa based on anyone real in your life, or that you've met? Where is the angst and vitriol inspired from?” Marissa: “Oh, so... yeah my mother is very much the inspiration for Marissa when she is in her 'go getter' mode and is out to get something and not letting anything stand in her way. Our family has always been very supportive of what Devin and I do, so I learned a lot about focus, drive and being awesome from her. A lot of the angst comes from being Devin's actual sister in real life. Those scenes where you see us together on the rooftop are pretty legit. We actually talk like that to each other and I don't know how many times we've both found a quiet place to sit and vent to one another throughout our lives. So a lot of those anger driven scenes are me thinking back to the times when my brother has peeved me to the point of losing my mind.” Julia: “Do you and Marissa have anything in common? Interest-wise, or behavior-wise or outlook-wise?” Marissa: “Yes, most certainly. I think there is a little part of us in all the roles we play, so Marissa's drive for success and secure future are certainly some things I can relate to. We are both shameless shoppers, I'm all about fashion and I can't believe how many outfits they've selected for Marissa that I've just fallen in love with.” Julia: “Are you concerned about setting a bad example for impressionable young women?” Marissa: “This show is so out there and the characters are so over the fence on crazy that I don't feel one, young women,or anyone for that matter, should be taking it seriously, at all, and two, I think people understand that we are tropes on that screen. Let's be real, the Jauntsen twins on WS are borderline sociopathic. [looks at camera] So, if anyone out there is using Marissa as an example on how to live their best life, please don't do the crazy stuff. It will end badly for you. Now, I do hope that young women take from Marissa that she is strong, confident and completely at peace in her skin. Sure, she has her own hang ups in the show, especially when it comes to her mother, but those are what make her human.” Julia: [smiling and laughing as she holds up a few index cards] “Okay, so, we've collected a series of questions from your fans and we'd like to take a shot at getting them some answers, what do you say?” Marissa: [hiding her face and laughing] “Oh my god. Okay... wow, let's uh, sure. Let's do this. Like my brother would say: come at me bro'.” Julia: [chuckles] “Okay, but you asked for it... [laughs]. So, @KrewlGurl56 asks: “you are the show’s queen of mean, but have there ever been scripted put-downs you just couldn’t deliver? Wow, that's actually a good one, I'm curious myself.” Marissa: [groans with a smirk] “Ugh, god yes! So, at the beginning of the season Marissa was in really deep with the other females in Shelly, there was a lot of hate going around and at one point Clara and Marissa shared a few choice words at the meet up where Lilly had to walk out or risk pulverizing our resident Queen Bee. Well, in that scene, I was scripted to call Clara a... well, a 'C' word and I just couldn't do it. I tried and we were all laughing at my attempts, especially Autumn who is Australian in case you didn't know, so it's a common word for her over there... and on set. So we managed to make something else fit and now Autumn does her best to prank me with that word as much as possible. It works, too.” Julia: “Yeah, definitely a different meaning here. I remember my first time to Europe, it totally caught me off guard too. [laughs] So, now we have @Numba1MariFan saying... You are awesome and my idol! Who do you look up to as an actor?” Marissa: “Aww! Thank you, so much. It still is so strange when people say they look up to me because I don't see myself as anything more than me, you know? So, Numba1MariFan, you just keep being you and be good to yourself and others, and we'll be awesome together. As for who I look up to as an actor? Oh, wow... There are just so many because as an actor I pick a little from so many performances that I end up admiring so many people. Um, if I had to totally pick one though, I'd have to say Gwyneth Paltrow? I, uh, met her briefly at the Iron Man 3 premier when I was twelve and oh-my-god, she completely blew me away. She was just so amazing and friendly and larger than life that I walked away feeling like I had just been in the shadow of a goddess. Also she once said: 'Beauty, to me, is about being comfortable in your own skin. That, or a kick-ass red lipstick.' Boom. Girl totally nailed it. Mic drop. I'm a fan-girl for life.” Julie: “She is amazing, and so friendly, too. Switching it up @PrinceCharmless87 wants to play a game... so, Kiss, Marry, Kill with the WS cast, go.” Marissa: [laughs and appears embarrassed] “Oh my god! You guys are horrible! I love it. [laughs] Okay... so... let's see... Marry? I'd have to say Sheriff Alister. Ugh, that man is 'wow'. [points to camera, laughing] You can edit that out, right?” [Julia: “Oh, yeah. Yeah, totally, we'll edit it out.” [laughs]] “Kiss? Um... well, Marissa is kind of a sloot, so I have a feeling I'll be kissing a lot of people in the episodes to come, but... Autumn? [sheepishly looking to the camera] I totally think she'd be a great kisser. Kill. Ouch. Um, let's see... uh, Charlie? Too soon? [hides her face, laughing] Sorry! I don't know... that's so hard to answer!” Julia: [laughing] “Wow, ouch. Yeah, poor Charlie. Are we going to be seeing more of him?” Marissa: “Have to watch and see! No spoilers!” Julia: “Boo. [giggles] Okay, now @FashionedInIdaho says: Like, OMG, your style and clothes on Weirder Stuff are AMAAAZIIING! Classy, Sassy, and a teensy bit trashy. Do you - and the rest of the Cast - get any input in what you get to wear? And do you get to keep it after the season is over? That's a really good question, with all the trinkets and props do you have mementos?” Marissa: “Oh, that is a good one and the answer is: yes.. and no. So, we do get a lot of input into our outfits. Marissa was originally going to be a lot of black and mean which seemed too monochrome to me and certainly too 'Disney Villain'. So we set up more colors for her to wear but express her brand of villainy through always having something that is either black, or leather or a bit trashy, like her heeled boots. Because villains are always in black and wear leather, and the attractive females are usually fond of heels unless they're the bruiser type villains like Gina Carano's Angel Dust in Deadpool. So her leather jackets, or the tight pleather leggings she wears while mingling it with different, brighter colors, gives her the dichotomy of a villainess in transition. The maroon lip-stick too, thank you Gwyneth Paltrow! [laughs] Sadly, we do not get to keep the wardrobe. However, the bracelets that were recently discovered in the story... you can't see it, but each of us received one of those that is ours to keep, a gift from the producers, and on the inside there is an engraving, just for us that says something to remind of Season One.” Julia: “What does yours say?” Marissa: “Mine just has the 'C' word in quotation marks. [sucks her teeth] Yeah. Can't beat friends like these, let me tell you.” [nods, smiling] Julia: “I can imagine. Here's a good one, @RainbowProudBoy asks: Are you and Devin actually siblings/twins? You two have that perfect chemistry, I can only assume that you two must be related. Also, can you get me Devin's number? He's so hot.” Marissa: [buckles over with laughter] “Oh! Oh, I am so tempted to do it! [claps her hands laughing] Oh, wow. He'd kill me. Yes, though. We are actually siblings, twins even. He's older by a minute. A freaking minute! Everything you see Devin and me doing together on screen is taken a lot from our personal lives, like he rooftop talks the arguing, even us swearing at each other and the insults. All real insults we've used on one another. I generally don't swear except around him, because, brothers, right? No one pushes our buttons quite like family.” Julia: [raises a hand in solidarity] “I have a sister, I totally sympathize with you there. [laughs] @ABC123 asks: we haven't seen Sophia's body yet. By cinema rules, that means she - probably - isn't dead yet. Are we going to see her again this season?” Marissa: “Hey now, no spoilers! You'll just have to watch the season and see how it all wraps up.” Julia: “Aww, no fair. @LostInTheLight says: I'm an avid fan of this show and all the weirdness it's entailed so far. Are there any scenes that have been difficult for you to shoot?” Marissa: [laughs, nodding] “Oh yeah. The Cade/Marissa love making scene stands out. So, I'm five-eight and he is six-four. Have you noticed the set for his room includes a twin-sized bed? So, it was hilariously awkward getting that scene to work. After awhile Cade said: 'yeah, he would have just sprung for a hotel by now'. It's also a great example of how we've had to adapt to the scenes and situations. It was supposed to be more romantic with cuddling and clenching the sheets in orgasmic throes, but in a twin bed? Seriously? So, that's when he and I pitched that Marissa is not really the cuddle type. She'd be more assertive and it'd be easier if she was on the top and they didn't focus too much on the romance their fist time together.” Julia: “Is that why she left her boots on?” [smirks] Marissa: [laughs] “No. Fun fact: the zipper on the left boot got stuck and we couldn't get it unstuck, so... I wore those heels in that bed for almost nine hours until we got that scene right. Fun times.” Julia: “Ugh, I can't imagine. I feel for you. [laughs sympathetically] Are there any scenes that you or others just 'went with' after something or someone just went off script?” Marissa: “Oh, yeah, it's called 'everything so far'. [laughs] Um, so... we get a lot of leeway with the script and when we're doing scenes they let us use it as more of a guideline than something etched in stone. My brother is famous for ad libbing, usually with his quips and insults. All the monster names, like vagisaurus? All him. For example, when Devin and Cass see the monster in the forest that first time and he finally makes his first comment on it poor Cass couldn't stop laughing. As for me? The one scene that sticks out was when Jason and Marissa had, what has been dubbed, the 'DDR Incident'. Jason wasn't supposed to kiss me in that scene so the reaction you see from me is genuine, including that momentary pullback as my brain was like: what's he doing'? I think it made the scene more visceral and real. That anger you see in Marissa is anger I was able to channel from the notion of how angry I would be if some guy just kissed me like that. [looks to the camera] For the record, I'm not and never was actually mad at Jason. We're professionals and that move made sense for the characters, it made the scene really pop, and it's a great example of how taking a risk can really improve the work that you do. So no nasty-grams to Jason about personal space or patriarchal oppression,” Julia: “As we wrap this up, is there anything you'd like to say to the fans or hints you'd like to drop for Season 2?” Marissa: “Of course! I want all of our WS fans to know that we love them and appreciate all the social media feedback! We do listen and have a lot of creative freedom so who knows? Your ideas might get used! As for Season 2? Oh, gosh, see I don't want to spoil anything but I will say we have a ton of special guest stars showing up! Lots of actors from popular shows and movies that you are used to seeing as good guys... well, here on WS they are the bad or really, really, mean guys. The relationships and drama will only get better, or worse, depending on your point of view, so keep watching and submit your ideas and remember, we love you guys!” [Credits roll, Julia and Marissa sit in their chairs laughing and making idle chatter]
  7. Like Marissa, Laurie had always been a firecracker of attitude, almost to the point where Marissa wanted to choke her out. However, the little redhead had guts and a part of Shelly's Queen Bee could appreciate her fire. With a dazzling eye roll and uncaring sigh the lovely teenager looked at her peer. "Fine, we'll help you." "You will?" Laurie seemed more shocked than appreciative. "We will?" Devin seemed more skeptical than on board. "Laurie, we have made a million mistakes," she started. Her mind was on her conversation with Coyote last evening and she could help but shake (and refuse to admit) that the old man was right. She needed to up her game and stop pushing allies away when the fate of worlds seemed on the line. "But back home in Malibu, when a guy shows up to school in makeup or a dress, no one bats an eye. Sweetie, here in the 'Tana, you guys are about forty years behind the acceptance curve. Your brother is adamant that he is a guy and identifies as male, so what was he doing in a women's cheerleader outfit?" "We told you, it was just a silly bet we made at the house," Laurie shrugged like it was no big deal, and, in the confines of the Cassidy home, it wasn't. "And now everyone is assuming Sean is just fronting about his sexual identity. His showing up was more a 'coming out' statement than the loss of a bet it was meant to be. You two know the truth, we know the truth, but you can't speak for a town of three thousand bigots." Marissa's face went a little sour as she brought up a point that just made their work all the more difficult. "Him offering to expose himself to other guys also didn't do much for his popularity." Laurie winced. "Yeah, I uh... I heard about that, but that guy was a complete ass and-" Marissa raised her hands to calm down and shush the sophomore before she got too loud. "Again, Laurie, you miss the point. The moment your brother opens his mouth, everything is his fault. It's literally him against the school and this town, and he thinks a few choice quips, insults, and playing the victim are going to turn out in his favor. It won't. He needs to start manipulating the system and making it work for him. Bigots all love to be bigots until they find out that others are judging them or, some law or policy somewhere has been violated and now they're stuck having to explain themselves to people more open minded than themselves. Like, say, the school, Shelly High versus the State of Montana." Laurie shook her head and shrugged, trying to piece it all together. "W-what do you mean?" "He needs to shut up, and let himself get bullied and trod upon with humility so..." Marissa clarified. Devin stepped up, a grin a mile wide on his face. "...when Marissa, myself, Autumn, Jason, Cass, Lilly and Courtney all start posting on various social media accounts and taking a stand as people witnessing Sean being treated that way, it's no longer Sean's fight. It quickly becomes Shelly Montana versus the Board of Education for the state of Montana and all those people caught in digital 4K abusing a poor, technically special needs student, due to his genetic... differences, now a whole town has to explain why they think it's funny to pick on a handicapped kid." "You guys are geniuses." Laurie scoffed in a half laugh. "Evil fucking geniuses." "True." Marissa smiled. "But Sean needs to stop taking things into his own hands and let his fr-" she paused and cleared her throat. "Us, handle things for him."
  8. So arrived the Jauntsens. Not together, of course, as Marissa was arriving from her rendezvous at the Allister homestead and Devin was arriving from his farewell with Avalon and since it seemed Adele was in the middle of an apoplexy as he left, *that* went swimmingly. Misti and Carl arrived in their BMW, once again letting the small town wonder where the Jauntsen's got their money from as the Beamer, Mercedes, and Ducati all parked side by side. Carl was the fist to walk to the front of the car and take in the entire scene. He was in jeans and a grey polo with hiking boots that looked like they'd never been hiked in. Misti was sporting one of her many summer dresses in a dark floral pattern that complimented every seductive curve of her body. Carl raised his eyebrow as he looked around at all the families gathering, thankful they could see half of his expression through his dark sunglasses. "Why do we come here every year if you hate these people so much?" He asked his wife. "I mean, all in all, this place isn't so bad." His lips curled into the hint of a smile as a few kids ran past them, arguing like siblings. "It's not the place I hate, Carl," Misti's sarcasm and venom were as obvious as a the guns on a battleship being fired. "It's being stuck here because of your stupidity. Now, let's at least fake like our lives aren't a total shit show, please? And did you have to park so far away?" "We took the car, Misti. I know you're used to just leaning your broom against the wall, but that just doesn't work with a Beamer, sorry." Carl shook his head, scoffing with a half-chuckle. "Can't believe I got sober for this, but hey, we fake that your ass is real, your tits are real and your lips are real... why not step up our game and take it the next level: the entirety of our lives." Marissa leaned against her car door, glaring at her mother and father already lacing into each other. Her arms were folded against her bare abdomen as her deep brown eyes glimmered with violet sparkles, a slight bi-product resulting in her increasing frustration at with her parents as well as her 'boyfriend'. Her look was pure frustration as she watched through narrowed eyes and tightly pursed maroon lips. Her gaze shifted only slightly to her right as her twin brother approached her, looking back that their parents and shaking his head with a sigh. "They at it already?" "Yup," she sighed, shaking her head as she turned to face him. "Not even ten seconds. I'm half tempted to whammie the both of them and make them behave," her statement trailed off and she added a shrug. "Maybe get us a larger allowance too." Devin sucked his teeth at the sweet deal. "I'm almost on board, but we made a deal, not to family or Fellowship. How'd lunch go?" "Brilliantly," she smiled sarcastically. "Sheriff treated me like trash, made it clear he doesn't want me dating his son and I accidentally incited a pregnancy scare that Cade deflected by ratting out that all of us have powers." Devin could only laugh. "Are you serious? So his whole family knows now? About all of us?" "No," she shook her head, letting her straightened hair tickle her shoulders. "Sheriff saved it, sorta. I gave Cade an earful, I just hope he listens. And why does everyone automatically assume I'm pregnant?" "Might be because you're a ho." Her brother added, lovingly. They were silent in contemplation for a moment to ponder Devin's wisdom about his sister's promiscuity. "No," she shook her head again, scrunching up her lips. "I don't think so. Ho's get paid, I'm more of a slut. I'm in it for the hell of it." They smiled at each other, sharing their own sibling humor with each other in silence. "How'd the whole Lona thing go?" Devin shrugged one shoulder, and Marissa could tell he wasn't feeling like himself at the moment. "It is what it is, you know? I told her I loved her, she told me she loved me and we agreed to just go live our lives. No long distance or hook-ups that just keep some false hope alive. Just hurts though," he sighed. "We didn't even get a chance." She wrapped her arms around her brother and hugged him. "Sorry. If you want to talk, I'm here. I know you liked her, even if I gave you shit about it, it was good seeing by big brother happy. I'm here, okay? Love you." "Love you too," he smiled and squeezed a squeak out of her before letting her go. "And thanks. Now... let's deal with these two before dad starts to sell swampland timeshares and mom starts handing out poison apples." The devious duo met up with their parents and calmed them down in the span of a few well placed comments about public decorum and what they would do if they embarrassed the twins in public. "There's Laurie," Devin nodded to the young redhead, pointing her out to his family. "Don't see Sean... so he's probably not going to show. Courtney's going to be here no doubt." Marissa slapped her brother's shoulder, holding in a laugh. "Do those two have bad blood?" Carl asked. He was completely behind on the events and goings on of his children's social lives. "Wait, our Courtney?" "Yes, dad, our Courtney." Marissa laughed. "Laurie and Sean are plebs, so we, Courtney included, don't really associate with them at whole lot at school. Sean likes to wear women's clothes and then ride a moral high horse when people don't assume he identifies as a male. He offered to expose himself to another student, but the little shit always plays the role of pariah. Frankly, I don't get him at all. I have boobs and you don't see me whining about it. Lately, Deej and I have been spending more time with him and a few others. Kind of like an outreach program for those who are socially or friends challenged. We're not allowed to call them 'unpopular' anymore." "Language, sweetheart," Carl corrected his daughter. "And that's great, you two. I'm glad you're stepping up and being leaders and role models for others." "Oh, yeah, totally dad. We do our best to set a high bar, but a good example. Looks like Autumn's here too," Devin pointed out for Marissa. "Christ, between the Cassidy's and Keane's it's like they packed for Armageddon. Autumn and Marissa are besties now, in case you two haven't been keeping up with Marissa on Insta... or any of her other basic bitch attention seeking apps." "Devin," Carl glared at his son. "What did I just say to your sister about her mouth?" "Stop opening it for the entire football team?" Devin replied and was answered with a swift slap to the back of his head by his father. "You need to explain that one to me, Marissa," Misti looked off at the Keane's and the Cassidy's with an obvious measure of disapproval. "I appreciate what you and your brother are trying to do for the less fortunate of Shelly, but you don't have to be friends with them. Encourage them to stay in their lane and stick to what they know, like fast food, cow herding... septic pumping. And Devin, sweetie, stop implying your sister is a whore." As Devin stopped rubbing the back of his head his mothers hand went upside it in the same spot his father struck. "Ow!" he cried out. "What the f-... frick." He was now frantically rubbing his head to ease the pain. "Doesn't this qualify as child abuse?" "Not if there's no bruise," Carl smirked. "And you deserve it. Oh, and you're such a pain in the ass, I don't think the authorities would mind. Might even throw us a party... even send us a replacement from the orphanage." "Autumn is awesome, mom." Marissa pointed out to her mother while father and son shared their wit. "Sean and Cade too. They might be a bit strange at times, but they stick together and have each others backs no matter what. More than I can say for this family. Diane-" "Dana." Devin threw in a swift correction as his hand threatened to catch his hair on fire as it was moving so fast against his head. "Whatever. Autumn's mom is a vet. She's a doctor, just like you. Why not try to get know some people in this town, mom? It's not like it would kill you." "Marissa," her mother's tone was cold and laced with condescension. Misti has adapted well, socially, but for the most part it was simply an act. Like her children, she didn't care for Shelly one bit. She longed for the coast and her home in Malibu. "No one in this little town is 'just like us'. I'm sure her mother is very talented as sticking her hand of the ass of a horse, but that hardly makes her a 'doctor', sweetie. Hopefully, we will not be in this town for much longer, kids. I don't want the two of you to slow down and get comfortable with this place and the mediocrity. You're better than this place. You're destined for great things and I want to see you both reach your potential. Your father and I want what's best for you and I assure you, you're not going to find it in Shelly Montana. Kids, there comes a point in your lives when you're going to have to realize that despite what all the bleeding hearts say, some people are just better than others. Success doesn't offer participation trophies. You either earn it, or you lose and go home with nothing." The twins looked at each other with that 'if they only knew' grin on their lips. "You're all heart, Misti," Carl huffed with a roll of his eyes behind his mirrored frames. "God forbid our children have friends, but that," he pointed to the sheer amount of stuff the two family's brought with them. "Is exactly why we donate to the food tents. And speaking of, I plan on eating eating a lot of unhealthy, greasy food today. Who's down?" "Totes game," Devin raised his hand from the back of his head. Marissa raised her hand with a expectant smirk. "Down like the economy." "I expect to see all of these extra calories reflected in your daily workouts, kids. Three extra sets, from the both of you. And Devin, I know you've been skipping the yoga portion." Misti chimed up as the twins threw their heads back and groaned. "If you want to play hard, you will work hard. Now come on, game faces everyone, let's make our rounds."
  9. After leaving Jason's, Cade had headed home, knowing he needed to do several things, but he couldn't make himself do one that night. He settled for inviting Marissa to the family cookout. A part of him didn't really expect her to come over, but she did like Haruka, and if anything it would give her a chance to meet Cade's mother and father in a setting that was actually pleasant. He got home and went to get his dirty clothing together, washing what he'd had on before and the clothes from the last couple days before heading inside. His mom was in kitchen, putting away dinner, and she smiled "I was just about to put everything up..." Cade smiled. "I'll handle it mom, after I make a plate." It was light fare, some stew that'd keep for days. He knew his dad wasn't going to be home until late, so after fixing his plate he dutifully covered the dishes and put them away in the fridge. His mother sat there with him while he ate. "You had a good time with your friends?" She asked him quietly. "Yeah, we really did, and we got some great news. Lilly is back." "Didn't she go try out for the Olympics?" "Yes, she did but she didn't make it. Maybe next time." "That's too bad, she's a gifted athlete. The competition must have been pretty stiff." Cade continued eating as his mother spoke, and nodded. "I bet so. She'll make it next time though, I'm sure." It was the sort of small talk he'd grown used to, and he looked at her, knowing he'd have to be the one to bring up anything more. Just as he was about to, Haruka came in. "You're still eating, you're so slow." Cade had just finished. "What's the rush? I wasn't coming in there just yet. I need to talk to Marissa for a bit still. I sorta forgot to invite her for tomorrow with everyone around." Haruka fumed for a moment then smirked. "I guess I can wait to kick your butt in Mario Kart a bit longer so you can do that, but don't stay on your phone all night." Miyakko watched her children go back and forth with a content smile, and took Cade's now empty plate and glass, and went to wash them, Cade being a bit exasperated by this, but he bowed his head in thanks. "Thanks mom. Alright Haruka, I'll go call Marissa, and then we'll see who beats who in Mario Kart." He went to his room and dialed Marissa's number, waiting patiently for her to answer. So, a lot had happened that evening after she'd left the training session, most of which she just wanted to ignore for the present to allow herself time to process, evaluate, then, if needed, disseminate to the others. For now she sat calmly in her bed, in her comfy jammies, reading Name of the Wind before bed, as it was going to be a long day tomorrow, she'd decided early turning might be a good idea. When her phone began playing Kronk's Theme from The Emperor's New Groove she sighed and closed the book. "Hey, babe." She answered, sliding her glasses from their perch on her nose, she listened to her lover's proposal. "Um, yeah, sure. I think I can swing that. I can just meet my parents and Deej at the Carousel later." She smiled and bit her lip teasingly. He couldn't see her, but she was a method flirt. "Did you get the text I sent you earlier?" She could actually hear him blushing through the phone. "Well, think of that, when you see me tomorrow. See you at noon." ---===[Allister Residence, Labor Day, Monday Sept 2nd]===--- "Marissa!" Haruka squee'd as she ran over and gave her adopted babysitter/bestie/adopted sister a big hug. "Hey, girl!" Marissa laughed and returned it with a big squeeze and a grunt of big hug love. "Behaving? No giving your brother or mom any trouble, are you?" Miyakko, Cade's mother, smiled brightly as she greeted the lawful half of the Jauntsen twins. She paused momentarily to take in Marissa's outfit, which Cade didn't seem to mind, but knew his mother would have a few choice words about decency later in private. Considering Marissa's usual adherence to class and standards of propriety, her lover assumed she was wearing was as much to torment his teenage hormones as it was to irritate his parents. Truth of the matter was, the skin tight denim jeans, and the red bandana patterned halterneck that left little to modesty was simply her way of giving the end of summer a last hurrah before she welcomed in the harsh and cumbersome attire of her winter wardrobe. "Marissa, hello." Miyakko smiled warmly, offering her hand. "Cade doesn't stop talking about you, and thank you again for keeping an eye on Haruka, last week. You were a life saver." "It was no trouble," she laughed softly, taking his mother's hand while fanning away concern for babysitting with her other. "Ru-Ru and I had all kinds of fun, don't mention it. She's an absolute joy to spend time with." Her bae marveled once more at her ability to endear herself to people, especially since she'd never met his mother before and here she was a few moments into a conversation and Miyakko was ready to hire her fulltime to watch his sister. "Ru-Ru?" Cade said to her after the exchange and they were walking through the house to the back yard? "Yep!" Haruka smiled wide. "What's wrong, she not give you a nickname yet?" Marissa smiled impishly. "Not one I can repeat until you are a lot older, girl. Go help your mom." "Why? So you two can play kissy-face?" His sister snarled at them with an repulsed expression. "Maybe," Marissa smiled. "He's still mine, and I happen to enjoy kissing him, you'll get it once you're older." As she ran off to help, Marissa took the moment to steal a kiss from Cade, enjoying his arms wrapped around her waist as he drown in her lips and the softness of her skin. His mind had returned to yesterday morning and their first time together so many times in the last twenty-four hours he didn't even remember what focus was like. Cade's father clearing his throat startled them both and they separated, both wearing sheepish smiles of embarrassment. Cade's was genuine, Marissa's was a practiced reflex. "You two think you can keep your hands to yourself for a bit?" The Sheriff looked at them both with a stern, fatherly glare that told them he wouldn't be having any of that in his house. "Let me get right to it," she focused on Marissa. "I get you kids have these awesome powers and think you can save the world or whatnot, but this?" He waggled his finger between the two of them. "This, I don't like. You and your brother have been a pox on this community long enough that I'd hopped my son would have better taste in women, and where is the rest of your shirt?" "Dad!" Cade narrowed his eyes, sending waves of anger in his father's direction. "No, it's okay," Marissa smiled and rising her hand, she rest it on Cade's chest while she met her accusor in the eyes. "Thank you for having me over this afternoon, Sheriff. You have a lovely home. Cade was just escorting me to the back yard." She offered the Sheriff her hand. "Would you be so kind?" Cade was annoyed with his dad, but at the same time he did understand his problems at least with Devin. He spared his dad a look, and shook his head. He wanted to make some sort of comeback to defend Marissa, but one look showed she didn't want him to. He reached out and took Marissa's hand and led her into the backyard wordlessly, Leaving on Ian Allister in their home, to watch his son and the succubus queen who'd ensnared him head out to his backyard. He was moderately happy The boy's grandparents weren't going to be there, her outfit would scandalize them all. Cade leaned in and whispered quietly. "You look great, just thought you should know. I don't care what they say, now or later." The picnic table was set up for all of them, and Miyakko smiled. "Marissa would you like something to drink? We've got sodas, water, and sweet and unsweet tea. The food is just about done, We've got hamburgers, shiskebobs, and hotdogs coming off the grill, with all the trimmings, with the usual sides of potato salad and some rice." Haruka smiled. "If you're hungry now I can make you a salad." Both the Miyakko and Haruka were the picture of hospitality, and while Cade knew he'd hear about Marissa's outfit later on, he was happy now. He knew it was short notice, but he was happy she'd come. "That all sounds fantastic," her sincere smile was a treasure too long unseen in the Allister home. As Ian walked into the back yard. He as the typical Marine, large, thought he owned everything he set his eyes on, and figured he was way more important that he actually was. She side eyed the giant of a man and waited until he was in earshot. "Please, no doting over me. No one should have to act like a servant for my sake, not when I'm perfectly capable. A water sounds great, just point the way." If he wanted to play hardball, she'd play. "Over here," Haruka pointed to the cooler filled with beverages. She grabbed a water for Marissa who accepted with a smile. "Okay," Marissa approached Cade and twisted off the cap. She leaned in, whispering softly. "What the hell is his problem today? I thought we were all cool after the Branch Nine chat." Ian was all too aware that Marissa had seemingly charmed his entire family, and while it was easy to see why with Cade, the fact she could do so, even dressed like that, to Miyakko, who'd been very conservative since coming stateside with him, and his daughter, Haruka, who he admit to himself he was extremely protective of, irked him in the extreme. This was getting far out of hand. Now she was whispering to Cade, and he answered quietly, and Ian couldn't make it out. "He's mad at me still, and I don't think he approves of how you're dressed. It would absolutely scandalize all my grandparents, and I think it makes him uncomfortable." he said with a smirk. "They won't be joining us today though, so no worry there." Ian made his way to the grill making some final adjustments, and tried to ignore the succubus in his home, cozying up to his family. Cade shrugged, and then gave her a comforting smile. "I'm glad you were able to come, I wasn't sure if you and your family had plans for today or not." "Well, I don't care what he thinks, I didn't get dressed for him," she shook her head in irritation and then smirked and rolled her eyes at Cade. "Or you, for that matter, don't look at me like that. I happen to like this top and-" "Me too," Cade agreed with a nod. "-aaand," she spoke as she chuckled. "If he doesn't like it, that his problem. However," her met his with all seriousness. "If you two are still fighting, Cadums, you need to make up with him, at least, as much possible. He's your dad, and, well, tonight..." she let the point drop there since they both knew exactly what was going down that evening. Cade let out a small sigh, and his smile faded considerably. "You're right, but I'm still mad too. Devin made a valid point after you left yesterday, one I know Dad will understand. But it's kinda hard for me to get past things. To set aside my doubts." He shrugged his broad, massive shoulders, and nodded. "After we eat. I'll tell them, and while they put things up, I'll go talk with Dad. Do you mind being left alone with my mom and sister for abit?" He gave her a little smile "Thought you weren't gonna call me that in front of my family." "I didn't. They can't hear me." Her impish smile was followed with a wink. "I'm a big girl, I think I can handle your mom and Ru-ru for a few minutes." She gently placed her hand on his arm, "Look, I know you two are mad at each other, but think of it like this: no matter what, no matter how messed up my family is, I know that somewhere under it all my mom and dad love me. They don't always... or, ever, show it, but they're my parents, you know? I know, under all that Marine-ness your dad loves you more than anything in this world, so, just in case, make sure he knows you feel the same. He deserves at least that piece of mind for the rest of his life." "Now," she looked at him, craning her head imperially like the queen she believed herself to be. "Show me off, entertain me, I wanna meet your fams. Who knows, I might even give your mom some fashion advice... poor girl. This isn't nineteen-forties Japan, Christ." "You think mom's bad, you ought to see her mother, Mariko. Though I admit the Yukatas she sent mom and Haruka for Christmas do look amazing on them." He smiled back at her, and led her back over to the table, where Miyakko was just finishing setting everything out, and Haruka'd taken up a seat. It was set up on the back porch, which had fans blowing on low to fight the midday heat, and Haruka met them first. "Finished your lover's chat?" She asked them both impishly. Miyakko let out a small sigh of exasperation. "Haruka, be more respectful. Marissa's our guest. Besides it's not nice to tease your elder brother either." "Mom, if I don't tease him no one will...." Cade shook his head. "Totally untrue. There are more than enough who will. You're just mad because you only beat me in three races last night." "You're supposed to be nicer to your little sister and let her win at games...." Haruka answered smirking back at him and Marissa. "Do you play games with your brother, Marissa? Cade mostly plays his strategy and fighting games, but I can get him to play Mario Kart with me. and there were those couple times we got mom and dad to join in and play mario party." "Why would they need a yukata in Mont-" she shook her head and waved it off as Cade led her back over to the rest of the his family. Why they would need yukata's in the middle of Montana where they had no reason to ever wear them, and obviously didn't seem to practice any of the religious ceremonies necessary for their use while in a state devoid of the cultural festivals common for seeing them, Marissa had no clue. "Well, we have an Xbox and a PS4, but neither of us really sit down with them a whole lot. My brother and I workout together, practice our gymnastics, dancing, stuff like that. We've been horsing around at home and putting on YouTube videos of people shuffling and trying to get the steps down in one go... we've been tripping over each other, a lot." Her smile panned across the whole table as she spoke, a sure sign of someone used to public speaking. "It keeps us active instead of idle, which, if you've never met my brother, it's hard to keep him in one spot for long." She smirked as the Sheriff choked momentarily on his drink. "Her brother is Devin, Mom," Haruka informed Miyakko. "He's really cute." It was Cade's turn to choke as Marissa hid her smile, poorly, with a raised hand to her lips. "I'll pass that along," Marissa teased. "We do veg-out though, and when we do Devin likes his speed and sports games. Personally, and don't judge me, I play really violent games, like Grand Theft Auto." "Imagine that," Ian grunted softly with a sharp side-eye to the dark-haired beauty. "It's true." She giggled, ignoring him. "School is sometimes really stressful, coming home and annoying people online and listening to them lose their minds when I ghost them and drive off into the sunset." She shrugged, completely unapologetic. "We all have our guilty pleasures." "Could you teach me to dance?" Her lover little sister asked. "Haruka, don't pester her," Cade's mother touched her daughter's shoulder, reminding her she was there and as a mother, ever watchful. "No, it's fine," Marissa laughed. "Tell you what, Ru-ru, maybe later this week, after school or something, Cade can bring you by and we can all practice some dancing and maybe order a pizza and watch another Disney or Pixar movie? If, your mom and dad are okay with that," as the young girls eyes lit up with hope Marissa pointed a finger to the heavens. "And, you're nice to your brother from now until then. Deal?" She narrowed her eyes at her brother, then to Marissa. Cade laughed and extended his hands out like he was shrugging. "How is this even up for consideration? I'm not that hard to be nice to." "Yeah," the two ladies in his life said in unison. "You kinda are." They both giggled and looked away, as if to conspire against him. Miyakko chuckled softly at their antics as it was nice to see Haruka and Marissa getting along. Ian just... Ian'd. "Deal!" Haruka finally said, shaking Marissa's hand to bind the bind the young socialite to her word. Marissa looked down at Haruka and narrowed her eyes. "Starting now." Cade chuckled softly, She'd made a friend for life in the form of his little sister, and despite her attire, even his mother was warming to Marissa, if only because of how she acted with her children. His father sighed, and surrendered to the fact that Marissa wasn't going anywhere any time soon. Ian took the meat from the grill, and brought it over to the table, setting it out. "Alright everyone, dig in." Plates were quickly filled and the somewhat late lunch began. The food was well-cooked, and while no delicacy, clearly the sheriff knew how to cook barbecue rather well. Cade smiled as he thought about how things had gone so far, but the idea of having to say goodbye, even if it was only "Just in case" was still somewhat daunting, almost as much as making peace with his dad. Miyakko smiled. "I take it the two of you will be going to the fair tonight as well? We'll be there too, Though Ian has to work." She smiled. "Meeting up with your friends, or just a date for the two of you?" Cade almost choked, surprised at the directness from his mom, but he smiled. "Well yeah, we're gonna go, and I'm sure we'll be meeting the others there at some point. The fair's about the only big thing going on in town, after all." It was no surprise that Ian was working. Large events like the one that night required security and for the members of local law enforcement to represent their community by being ever-present in the even of a problem. "Well, I do have familial obligations. My parents have, for once, both decided to be seen in public together and want my brother and I both there to support and represent out family. Since DeeJay and I have started branching out our circle of associates, our parents were hoping to meet some of them and their families. Which, I might add, is totally weird, but my dad is on some 'being a family' kick again so we have to humor him for a month or so." "Not close are you?" Miyakko asked. Marissa shrugged. "My brother and I are. We've never really fit in here in Shelly-" "Might have something to do with how you and your brother tormented every student of every grade since you arrived," the Sheriff slipped in with that smooth point-of-fact whose tone carried no attitude, simply honesty. "Tends to put a damper on one's being welcomed into a community they're a stranger too." Cade looked across the table to Marissa. He knew that face and she was on the verge of some scathing retort that could quite possibly get her arrested. He braced, clinched and tried not to take a bite of any food right away, to prevent possibly choking. "You're absolutely right, Sheriff." Was not the reply her bae was expecting, nor was the Sheriff who offered her an inquisitive look that was laced with years of analytical scrutiny. He knew Marissa never just rolled over bared her throat, not after he'd heard her go off on Jason a few days prior. "Yet here I am, trying to be better, and still not welcomed. One can't expect people to change if one never gives them a chance to." Ian narrowed his eyes at her and it felt the like the camera of life was zooming in on his exquisitely chiseled features. Cade hid his smile under a bite of his burger and looked over at his lover. It wasn't often someone put one over on his dad, but considering the proximity with which everyone was working now under Branch Nine and Aeon, certain standards of propriety were laxed and Marissa was not about to be embarrassed at this function simply because the Sheriff had a bone of contention with the Jauntsen twins. It wasn't that he didn't have cause for such contention, but Marissa would be the fisrt to say, plain and simply, 'there is a time and a place'. "I'm not familiar with your reputation, Marissa," Cade's step-mother added, trying to get the conversation away from Ian saying or doing something that might embarrass them both. "Are you and your brother, ill-behaved? Because while I value my step-son's happiness, I also value him making sound decisions." "Mom," Cade shhok his head, burying it in his hand. "Jesus. Can we not sit here and give her the third degree?" "No," Marissa smiled and set her tea back on the table after having finished with it. "It's fine. My brother and I were horrible people, Mrs. Allister. Then, life just sort of dropped something into my lap and I realized that I needed to start growing up-" "Oh, my god, you're pregnant." Miyakko covered her mouth and swiftly looked to Cade, Ian stopped drinking his tea, just holding it to his mouth as his eyes darted angrily to his son. "What?! No! Oh, god..." Marissa buried her face in her hands. "Mom! No! I swear!" Cade attempted to protest over the unintelligible of English and Japanese. "She's not-" Marissa stopped talking, placed her elbows on the table, and buried her face tightly in her hands. At least Cade's parents were about par for the Shelly Montana course... Just kill me. I know gods exist.... one of you, any one... I don't care... just end it. She prayed to whomever would listen while Cade diffused the situation with his family. All the questions were grating on Cade's nerves, at least Marissa'd successfully and effortlessly shut down his dad. Still that last statement from his mother caught him completely by surprise. As he watched his Dad's surprised look war with the smug gleam in his eyes, and his sister just look back and forth between Cade and Marissa, even as Marissa put her head in her hands. Clearly the threshold had been reached. Cade steeled himself. "Mom, Marissa's not pregnant relax, Please. That's not at all what she's talking about." He pressed on after a moment"Look, pretty much everyone at school knew it was best to stay on Marissa and Devin's good side, or at the least, off their radar. You didn't want to be on their bad side, because they could definitely make your life at school miserable." He reached over, and put and hand over Marissa's. "Something happened to all of us, and it has made all of us take a look at how we were living, and decided that things need to change." He gave her hand a reassuring squeeze. "Like seemingly everyone, I had my issues with Devin, but it all seems to be not worth bickering over now. Nothing's perfect, but we're making progress, at least some of us. We don't all get along like some well-oiled team, a fair amount of us are still getting over years of dislike or torment, but we're making the effort, because if we don't, it's all over." Miyakko seemed to have calmed down some. She bowed her head to Marissa, who'd looked up when Cade spoke in what sounded like nonsense. "I'm sorry for that, my mind just went there, and I apologize for such a forward and inappropriate comment." Miyakko turned her gaze to Cade. "What do you mean it's all over, Cade?" Ian perked up, and gave Cade his most intimidating glare. Defiance was clear in Cade's eyes, it looked like this was going to be a major brew-up between the two. "My friends and I have special powers. Some more than others, but we ALL have them. There's government and corporate entities trying to control and create those with powers. There's an entity that's between this dimension and another that's out to devour all of those with these powers, and we've been working and training to fight back against it, and those who'd try to control us." In the silence that followed you could hear a pin drop. Ian's face went momentarily slack with astonishment, Miyako likewise stared at Cade like he'd sprouted a second head that was babbling Turkish, and Haruka... was the first to break the silence as she snorted with laughter then started giggling, her hand over her mouth. The merriment broke the spell, Cade's step-mom's expression going from surprise to narrow-eyed disapproval even as the Sheriff glared at him with as close to a stone-face as he could manage. "Cade. Is this some sort of prank you and your friends are playing? Perhaps from one of those games Sean hosts?" Miyako asked, a trifle waspishly. "Because it is not funny." "It's no prank Mom. It isn't meant to be funny. You might think I'm crazy, or whatever, but it's completely true." Cade said with a certain surety in his voice. He was definitely going to regret this, but it was done now. He seemed somewhat resigned to this and looked to Marissa with an almost apologetic look, at least they weren't assuming she was pregnant now. Wrenching her hand from her bae Marissa glared at Cade, her lips pursed and tightened in a less than mirthful expression. She shook her head calmly and massaged the bridge of her nose. "Oh, my god... how?" She looked at him. "How did manage to make a pregnancy scare worse?" She swiftly glared to his mother, swiftly adding: "Which I'm not by the way." Then he just kept rolling with it and she shook her head as her lips tightened more and more until finally... "What the hell, Cade!?" Marissa stood from the table but didn't leave. She paced about close by. "That's not your secret to tell. You want to shower them with the 'truth', fine, but you had no right to drag everyone else out into the open. I..." she ugh'd to the sky and glared at him. "I can't even with you right now." "Wait." Miyako looked from her son to Marissa, suspicion and confusion on her porcelain features. Haruka, sensing the mood, stopped giggling and shifted in her seat, glancing sideways from her parents to her brother and his glamorous girl. Ian's expression was a masterclass in the Thousand Yard Stare - currently fixed on a point somewhere beyond Cade's head as Miyako looked from the teens to her husband for moral support. "Ian? Are they both in on this? It is a joke, right?" "Yeah. A bad joke." Ian glowered at Cade and Marissa. "Alright, kids. You've had your fun, stop with the playacting, okay? It's bothering your mom, Cade." Cade nodded. "It's over. The last thing I want to do is bother Mom. Forget I said anything." Clearly this wasn't the time, and all he'd accomplish is drive his family apart. It wasn't the time or place, and he lacked the energy to continue with this now. He knew he'd answer for it later, but the last thing he'd wanted was to upset his mother. He pushed back from the table, looking ashamed, for a host of reasons. "I," she composed herself, letting the rage bubbling inside her and the litany curses that it brought with it subside. "I should go. Thank you for inviting me Mr. and Mrs Allister, it was... interesting." The glare she was shooting at her bae, the dead man walking that she knew, should have come equipped with their own speed lines and separate ten issue side plot. "Hopefully we'll all see each other later, my parents are thrilled for the opportunity to meet my fr- acquaintances. Thank you again, for the invite. Cade, if you would be so kind as to see me out..." the tone that carried told him he might be a dead man. Cade had never looked more defeated before. He rose from the table, and nodded to his parents, before turning to walk Marissa out in a dejected silence. He'd fucked up, and he knew it. Feeling like a failure wasn't something Cade enjoyed. He'd pretty much ruined everything he'd hoped to accomplish, and gained nothing by doing so. It was a life lesson, to be sure. He failed his friends, he failed his family, and he failed Marissa. He even felt he failed himself regarding the whole thing. In the end, his Dad had to bail him out, and he KNEW there'd be a reckoning over that later, another lecture at the very least. Once they got outside the house, he did at least manage to look Marissa in the eye, Even with all the palpable fury radiating from her. "I'm glad you came, and I'm sorry for my part in ruining everything." He was sincere in everything he said, and that tone of shame was still there. An apology wasn't going to fix things, that much he knew. He wasn't sure he could at this point. He'd made the invite never expecting this sort of thing to happen. The two lovers stopped not far from her car, when she suddenly spun about and stopped her bae. "Okay, you know what? This whole..." she waved a hand around him to signify his currently mopey mood. "Thing you have going on here, this shameful, defeated, woe-is-fucking-me mood needs to stop." "You're 'sorry for your part'? Cade, you wrote, starred in, directed and produced that whole mess back there." She chuckled but it didn't seem genuine. "I get your mom and dad being spooked that their teenage son and his crush might have made a poor life choice and thought dropping the 'we're having a kid' bomb at a barbecue might lighten the blow back, but... what the actual hell? You try to escape that conversation by outing all of us and our powers... that was your big deflection? Throwing all of us under the bus so you could have your moment? If you want to tell your mom, fine. Tell her. About you. My powers and my brother's powers, which you were kind enough to call us out by name, thanks for that, are our business." She almost seemed like she was going to cry. She was angry, he could tell. Actually, livid would have been a better choice. She paced for a few moments, not looking at him with her palm pressed on her forehead in thought while her other rested on the curve of her hip. "Is this it, Cade? Is this what I have to look forward to? If things were to get serious between us, is this the man I have to look forward to having in my corner to protect me, encourage me, warm me on cold nights and shelter me when my world is crumbling? Sad eyed, mopey Cade who can't stand up to anyone and buckles at the first sign of anger or displeasure from his peers?" The dark haired girl shook her head, obviously keeping the more hurtful things she wanted to say to herself. "You're supposed to be keeping me safe from Jason, in case he goes all loopy again like he did on Liam and now all I see is that you're probably scared to death of him. Did you ever confront him about how he treated Cora? He fucking thrashed her and you said he and him were going to have a chat... did you? I know the answer is 'no'. Is that my fate? Jason or some guy says something to me or touches me and here's big bad Spartan Cade... head down in his knees afterwards like 'sorry, I would have done something but...'." She calmed her breathing and looked at him. "What're you afraid of? Huh? So you screwed up... own that shit, head held high and move on." "Baby," she rest her hand gently across his chest. "I don't send pics of me in my underwear or make out in my bikini or have sex," she smiled looking away as a slight flush rose to her cheeks. "With just anyone and everyone. You are it, Cadums. You, and just you. I know everyone thinks I'm gorgeous, but I only want to be gorgeous for you, because you're the guy I kinda like. The blue I'm wearing isn't for all of Shelly, babe, it's for you, but... I can't be with a guy who is... well, whatever this is." She gestured to him again. "Think about the man you are now. Look to the man you need to become. Pack a bag and start making the journey, baby, because we're not having this talk a second time." She raised up, not too far since her wedge heels almost made her a giant herself. "Now, wrap arms around me, squeeze me and kiss me like you already miss me, and I'll see you later, okay?" If she was still mad, which he knew she was, it all seemed to go away as her lips gently pressed to his before evolving into a passionate expression of desire, attraction and want for one another. As they broke their embrace, she patted his chest. "Now," she wiped her lipstick from the corner of his mouth as she smiled at him. "Go face the music. Tell your sister, yes, we can still hang out, because I know she'll ask. Same rules apply. Thank your family for me, and... think about what I said." "You're right Marissa, and thanks again." he answered with a smile. She could have crushed what was left of him, and yet she built him back up, in her own way. Cade smiled at the hope Marissa'd given him. She was understandably mad, and right about everything else. He wasn't like this, he didn't want to be like this. Still, as he watched her drive off, he knew going back inside was the first step. He made his way back inside, passing by the kitchen. His mother was there, cleaning up, and Haruka and Ian weren't. He overheard his mother muttering softly, mostly her surprise that her stepson would have a chunibyo phase so late. Cade cringed at that, Chunis were so damn cringe-worthy, but if that was the worst she thought of it, well, he could live with it for now. He headed for his room and closed the door behind him. His bags from yesterday were in the jeep already. He'd need to talk to each of them, and he had a feeling on who was going to be first. As could be expected, his dad didn't bother knocking. But nor did he kick the door open and slam it shut behind him with force. Instead, and somewhat more ominously, Ian Allister quietly opened the door to his son's room, quietly entered, and quietly shut it once more before turning to look at Cade. The sheriff's grey eyes were darkly clouded, though his expression was stonily calm as he regarded his son for a long moment, then spoke. "And what. The hell. Was that?" Cade winced inwardly. This was the 'dressing-down a dumbass recruit' voice, used only when said luckless recruit had done something so abysmally stupid that shouting was redundant, like pulling the pin from grenade and then tossing the pin, or violating range safety. Cade had heard his dad use it once, and only once, on a deputy who had shortly after been fired. "Well?" "That was me failing to read things right, and making a big mistake. And you helping me get past it with the least disruption of everyones' lives." Cade answered his dad, no defiance in his tone. "Thanks for that. I messed up and you had to clean up after me. " "Believe it or not, I'd meant for all of that to serve as a preface how important you all are to me, that i didn't want to keep living with a secret like that, at least not from the people who matter most to me. It didn't go that way. So now Mom thinks I'm some sort of Chuni, Marissa is mad at me, and I know you are. The others will be too when they find out, and I'll have to square this with everyone. It's going to be a long hard road ahead." Ian Allister sighed, moving to sit wearily on the chair at Cade's desk. "Christ on a bike, Cade. I am mad, yeah, but I'm also glad your mom is confused rather than troubled about something she can't do anything about. And Haruka, too." The big man ran a hand over his face. "I mean, look at me. I'm as objectively helpless as they are, compared to this Dark, and monsters, and shadowy conspiracies, and you and your friends. And I've seen action. I've had training. I'm a goddamned United States Marine, with access to a sheriff department armory, and I'm next-to helpless." He fixed Cade with a serious look. "It takes all I've got to keep it together, son." "Imagine if your mom knew what I know. Consider I probably don't know half the shit you kids know, and that alone is enough to keep me up at night. Your mom is a smart, tough woman-" and for an instant Cade saw that, whilst he may or may not be having an affair, his dad did care for Miyako. "-but this shit you guys have on your plates? She'd likely lose her mind if she believed in it. And who could blame her?" He sighed again, leaning back in the desk chair. "Being open and truthful is a good thing, kid. It really, really is. But there's times and places, and while your mom might deserve on some level to know, you're not doing her a favor by telling her." "And certainly not Haruka, Cade. She's eleven goddamn years old, and you're going to tell her that monsters and superpowers exist? Because for her, it'd be a TV show or comic book come to life, and she'd tell the whole world. Sure, maybe they'd laugh at her, but then she'd do stupid shit to try and prove it." "You're absolutely right Dad. I didn't think it all through like I should have. Haruka's gonna tease me pretty badly about all this probably for months. Mom being confused is the best outcome, and I mean it when I say I didn't want it to go this way. " He sighed and then sat on his bed. "When Devin gave us all abit of a reality check, I made me think about all this, though perhaps not the right way. I don't have actual powers like the rest of them. I have to depend on the skills you and my grandpas taught me. What I do is very mundane, but I can't just stop. I have to keep moving forward too. I didn't want to have any regrets, if..." He shook his head. "If something does happen, and I don't come back. I hadn't really worried about it so much before, we've pretty much been able to handle everything that came at us, but going forward that may not be the case." "I'm sorry, for what happened the other night. I jumped to a conclusion, I didn't wait to actually talk to you. I was mad because you'd made mom worry, that she was crying, so I just reacted impulsively. Here I've gone and done about the same thing, and in front of Haruka and Marissa too. I know you don't actually owe me an explanation, but I would like to know what's going on. It's fine if you don't want to tell me. I meant what I said about not having regrets, and I haven't been fair to you. For that and everything else, I apologize, Dad." Ian Allister nodded. "I'm still mighty pissed at you, but mostly due to a near miss than because of actual harm you've done. It was dumb with good intentions, which is better than being smart with bad ones, I guess. Still, watch out for your mom and Haruka. They might not believe it, but now that you've let the truth out of the bag they'll be less likely to ignore signs that something is up." The big retired Marine stood up, shaking his head. "As for your friends... yeah, if Marissa tells them they'll be plenty mad at you. Did she break off the boyfriend/girlfriend thing?" he asked with a hint of hope. "No she didn't. Though this was definitely my warning to not screw up like this again. She's mad at me, understandably, I'm mad at myself too." He seemed relieved by the fact she hadn't ended their "relationship", and he could tell his dad wasn't happy about who he was dating. "Hmmph." His dad's frown spoke volumes, but he didn't say anything more on the subject of Marissa. "Fair enough. Just..." he paused. "Be careful. You say you don't have powers like the others, but you have this Shine they were talking about. That means something - it means you can't afford to be a kid now. There's going to be things you face that your parents can't protect you from, and you've no idea how shitty I feel saying that." He sighed. "What I can do is be a shoulder and an ear. If you need someone to talk to man to man, I'm here." He smiled sadly, then turned towards the door. "First bit of advice: Don't talk any more with your mom and Haruka today about your slip. Let it fade, wait for them to bring it up if they do. Don't poke the sore tooth. And be careful." Cade nodded. "Thanks, Dad. I'll take that advice." He met his dad's gaze, and smiled. "Thanks for understanding, that I have to do this, and letting me do what i have to. I know you don't want to, but you've seen it, it has to be us." "Doesn't mean I like it." His dad half-smiled back. "I'll be collecting your mom and sister and taking them to the fairground in a bit. You, on the other hand, better pick up those condoms from the floor by your nightstand before your mother sees them." He pointed at the half-unrolled string of silver packets that had fallen unheeded during the shenanigans yesterday morning. As Cade opened his mouth, he shook his head. "Grown-ups rules, son. Don't ask, don't tell. And at least you're being safe in that way." He left the room, closing the door quietly behind him. Cade let out a sigh after his dad left, and quickly went to put the condoms in his nightstand where they should have been put before now. His dad definitely knew now, though, and it wasn't so much that he was ashamed, just glad his mom hadn't seen them just laying there. He made sure his room was spotless before he left it. Once he was done cleaning up, he head downstairs, it was time to go to the fair, though he didn't really expect it to be as much fun as he had when the day began.
  10. Ms. Giles was interested, to say the very least, but still Marissa said no more than she needed to and excused herself from the Branch9/Aeon bunker. In truth she had no idea how to contact Coyote, it's not like he maintained a reliable mobile number (why? She had no idea). Still things seemed to be connected to what was weirdest in Shelly and the weirdest she knew off the top of her head was 'The Bridge'. That crossing that led them all over to the party the fateful night when all this madness began. The drive only took about five or ten minutes, not that she noticed much with her music up loud and her mind focused on a task. After arriving she wasn't entirely sure what to do. She paced for a few moments, her heels crunching in the dirt and loose gravel of the well worn road as her arms lay crossed over her chest to ward her from the dumb idea that crossing over that bridge was what she needed to do. Why did she always come here? What was it about this place that always seemed to lure her back and call to her when she hand bearings or had resigned hope. After about another five, maybe ten(?) minutes after the answers didn't come to her she finally threw her arms to her side and screamed for The Trickster God. "I know you're out there somewhere!" He voice bounced off the rocks and trees that lined the path leading to The Bridge. She called for him numerous more times and all the replied was the echoes of her own voice. She flung open her car door and reached for the now half full bottle of water she'd swiped from Jase's house as she was leaving. It was cool and relaxing on her already stressed patience and vocal chords. "God damnit, Old Man," she mumbled, sighing as she took a breath after drinking. "Where the hell are? Why can you carry a damn phone?" She pushed off where she was leaning on her car and screamed loudly. "Carry a damn phone! Christ." Tired and irritated, she took a rest to check her social media... After a few minutes and a few dozen scrolled-through InstaSnapz posts, the lovely young brunette sighed and looked up. Yep, she was still at the old logging site that had served as Party Central the night everything went upside down in a way she was still dealing with. Yep, there was no black-clad figure approaching from the woods. And yep, she felt like a proper idiot. "Gods, my butt." she muttered, turning towards her car... And stopping dead as she saw the lean figure of Coyote, aka Mr Black, aka Troy Lucero, aka God-knew-how-many other names, leaning against her car, arms folded across his chest as he regarded her with eyes of a green so dark they appeared like polished moss agates. "Wondered which of y'all would seek me out to talk to me." He said casually, with a touch of down-home folksy drawl as he smiled slyly. "If I was a gambling man, I'd have bet money on your brother being the one. And lost, too." He straightened up from his indolent slouch, unfolding his arms and essaying a short bow, eyes twinkling in the dark tan of his face. "How can little old me be of service, young lady?" "So you're him," she questioned herself and no one in particular at once. "In the flesh, or... whatever you're made out of." She spun her hand about to signify all of him with a slightly disgusted look on her face as she realized she had no idea what gods were made of... what if it was gross? "So, yeah, Marissa. That's me, hi." She smiled politely. She would have loved to have been shocked by the instant appearing act, but she'd just seen Jason take flight using only the power of his mind and the thoughts of nubile hikers on his dinner plate. If she was shocked (which to some degree she was) she hid her crazy well under impeccable composure. "So, I hate to just call you up and bother just because I need something, but, that's what this is. I need help, in the worst way and I hat to even have to ask for it but... supernatural things are just something I can't fight. This guy, Enterich... he has my family on a hit list. If I don't help him he says he'll kill them. So, while I'm running my game on his game behind the game he's running upfront, I find out that he's some invisible freaky guy who doesn't show up on cameras and disappears into alleyways. Which... means he not human." "Look," she raised up her hands to profess the the last of her case. "I know you're a god and you can't help us directly... but for crying out loud, none of this comes with an instruction manual! This guy is going to kill my family and I have no idea how to stop him." She inhaled and held back the tears that wanted force their way through her heart, to her eyes. "I pride myself on being strong and doing everything on my own and... never asking anyone for anything... and they might suck at it but they're still my parents... please," she could almost feel her pride fall in her throat as a giant lump. "What is he, and how can I stop him?" The smile faded as she spelled out her problem, leaving the man's(?) face blank and expressionless - save for the eyes, which were intent on hers as she spoke. When she'd finished, he regarded her for a few moments longer, with a Sphinx-like mien that would put Jason to shame. When he spoke, it was almost a shock. "Flesh." he said, animation once more coming back to his features. "I'm flesh and spirit, like you. Just held together differently. Well..." he gave her a keen-eyed stare. "Not so differently where you and your friends are concerned." She didn't fail to notice that the accent was gone. Now he sounded... nondescript. Transatlantic, almost. "As for Enterich... He's not a guy. He's a creature entirely of spirit. That's why cameras don't see him, but people do." He tilted his head slightly, questioningly. "You've met this thing? Been in it's presence? Perhaps shook it's hand - or what you thought was it's hand?" "Sort of," she lied out of habit, then in an uncharacteristic moment of clarity she corrected herself. "I mean, yes. I've sat right across from him, sharing coffee. I thought he as human, just some sleazy-creeper who was holding my parents hostage for information on the Fellowship. I went to Ms. Giles, we devised a plan and I fed him a ton of bunk information so I could collect some form information about him so we could take him down. That's when we noticed he was all invisible... wait...," something suddenly dawned on her. "What do you mean a creature of spirit? I thought those things couldn't exists without some, oh, what did my brother call it? Silent Hill weakening of the Shroud between our world and theirs... and he's no monster. He's smart. Like, super smart." She shrugged. "Okay, well, he's pretty smart, those two U.S. Marshalls working for him are not the best picks." "Coyote," her eyes were filled with sincerity. "I didn't get mind powers or laser beam hands or rapist-ball foldy powers." His look and the turn of his spoke volumes of a millions questions. "Long story. Jase folded up a dude with his after sitting outside his window and fogging it up for awhile. He's like way creepy, capital 'creep'. Point being is I can go to them he'll hurt my family if I do and my only power Great-Great-Gramps isn't much of a help, I don't think Enterich cares how fantastic my butt looks in yoga leggings. Admittedly, it does look fantastic, bee tee dubs." "So?" She shrugged, her arms tapping her sides as she let them drop in resignation of not liking having to ask someone for help. "How does one defeat a spirit? Or, banish them or... send them back to... wherever?" "First things first." Mr Black held out a hand to her. Marissa stared at the outstretched hand for a moment, then divined his intent and, after a moment's hesitation, placed her own hand on his. "Let's see what we're dealing with." She felt a tingle, similar to when Autumn had attuned with her, but there was no sense of smallness this time, no sense of connection to a greater, awe-inspiring whole. She was aware of Coyote's energy, a deep, timeless tide that put her in mind of the ocean at night, when phosporescent plankton would glow and shimmer on the surface - and then the sensation was gone as he slid his hand from hers. "What I thought." He murmured, furrowing his brow and examining her eyes like a doctor looking for a concussion. "It's a Cythraul." "A what now?" Marissa blinked, staring at him with a mixture of impatience and nervousness. Coyote's breath hissed between his teeth as he pondered for a moment, a long finger tapping his chin. "Basically a sentient extension of the Dark. Not the Tree, nor the horned spirit, but of the real Dark. Even back in the day, we weren't sure exactly how they came about. Think of them as demons - that's probably the closest metaphor. They exist in places like Shelly - places where the Dark has a foothold, and home in on negativity. Greed, anger, hate, and so on. They know what someone lusts after obsessively, for instance. Or what makes a person furious. And they specialise. Each Cythraul has a favourite flavour. This one's is fear. And he is ripe and fat with it." "Fear," her vice was a swirl of confusion and rejection. "That can't be right... I mean, aside from my fear of him taking my parents way, why target me? There's plenty of plebs in Shelly for him to feed on... fear of being mediocre their whole life, of going more day dealing with their significant other's mediocrity, being mediocre in Shelly, Montana... being afraid of sudden;y having an original thought but realizing your mediocre in Shelly, Montana. Waking up with Autumn's bed head... I can think of million things to be afraid of in this dump." She fumed as her words were a bit stressed. The fact that she was dealing with an actual slice of the Dark Pie and not some vanilla scoop set off to the side for their enjoyment straight up gave her the willies. She moped, asking questions to no one in particular. "Wh... why me? Why not the poor people who infrequently bathe, they're obviously afraid of soap." "I'm not Doctor Phil, granddaughter." Coyote's voice was gentle but firm. "All I'm going to do is give you the hard truth. Enterich is attracted to the fearful. He - it - feeds on fear, understands fear, walks through your nightmares, and knows how to manipulate fear to sow discord, chaos and thus generate more of that tasty treat he loves. Here in Shelly, with the Tree cycle and the Horned One waking up every twenty seven years, it's like an all you can eat buffet for him." "Cythraul work insidiously, spreading their influence like a virus. Fear is common, and a useful mechanism, but when it goes bad it can make people do stupid things - take risky actions, harm themselves or others, push away friends, even turn on them. Like the man said, fear is the mind-killer. The murderer of rationality." The lean figure in the black clothing shrugged. "Enterich twisted the marshals to his puppets using their fears - and has probably done similar elsewhere in Shelly with individuals, and has tried to do it to you." He smiled faintly at her. "Luckily you had enough sense to control your fear enough to seek some outside help, and so his bluff is called. You see... he can't hurt your family. Well, short of sending his puppet marshals after them. He played you, convinced you he held their lives in his hands. Want to know how I know?" Numbly, her head whirling, she nodded. "Because, sweet girl, the nasty people your daddy embezzled money from, necessitating his relocation to Shelly... was me." Coyote smiled slyly. "I needed you and your brother here, so I played on Carl's ethical flexibility, then made sure he got Witness Protection. Enterich doesn't have a marker on your family. He's all bluff and sleight of hand. What other things did he tell you or offer you, hmm?" Marissa's eyes narrowed, her lips tightened into a thin razor ready to slice the throat of her ancestor. "Wait... you?" Her voice was seething with a building ire. "You? You played my father into ruining our lives and bringing us here? You destroyed us! My mother hates my father. He's a wreck and all he does is drink to forget how he ruined our lives and my mom? She hates it here more than I do and has the pharmacy in her purse to prove it!" She shoved him back a step and stepped forward herself gaining the ground she took. "Marissa, there is more at work here th-" "Than what I want? Than mine or my family's happiness? That we should be self sacrificing and sit back and suffer while everyone else is saved and lives happily ever after?" She shoved him again, gaining the step once more. "You and your brother have been given an op-" "Opportunity?" She screamed, finishing his sentence for him again. "I see you've done this before," he mused, hardly phased by outburst thus far. "The opportunity to do what? Rush off and die like 'heroes'," she air quoted and mocked the word in a voice of what her perception of a slow person might sound like. "You uproot us, destroy our family name, take away everything we have and you just chuckle it away like everything is dandy? You mother fu-" She was cut short by the loud sound of his hand across her cheek. She pressed her palm and could feel the heat rising in her jaw than now hung open in absolute shock and total bewilderment. There was an awkward silence until Coyote finally spoke. "Sorry, but between you and me, your father should have done that years ago." Tears welled up in Marissa's eyes as all her walls crumbled. She honestly wasn't mad at him, or even that he slapped her. He was right, she deserved it years ago... more than anything now, she just needed another breakdown. Without warning she lashed out, movement causing the god to flinch in reaction. Her arms wrapped around him and she held him tight. It didn't make ant sense to her in the moment and most likely wouldn't make any sense after she'd had time to think it over, but now all she needed was something to hold onto, some she could cry in front of and not be judged. Her was buried deep within his black shirt as she sobbed. “I just want my life back,” she cried. “Silly girl,” the ancient god gently wrapped his arms around her, holding her gently. “Life is whatever you make it. You don't need to be thousands of years old to know that...” he silently spoke and let her cry as long as she needed to. How long she cried for, she wasn't certain. She was just aware of him holding her, aware of his compassion as he cradled his distant, far-removed descendant. At some point, as the built-up grief and fear purged itself from her like toxin from a boil, Marissa started to come back to herself, albeit as a raw, stripped bare version of the normally composed, glamorous high-school queen. She sniffled, letting her head rest against her great-great-who knew how many times-great grandfather's chest. "Better?" he asked quietly, receiving a mute nod in return, though the girl showed no inclination to disengage from her hug. He stroked her back gently through her glossy dark hair. "I'd apologise for all of it, but honestly it's too important to apologise for. I've done worse things in my time than shuffle people around the chess board, and I would do them all again if the stakes were the same." There was an indefinable weariness about him, the way he said that, and as she peered up at him through tear-stained eyes he smiled sadly. "You wonderful children are my Hail Mary. You are the reason I've done everything I've done. Seedlings, each precious and unique and tailored to the purpose, cultivated over centuries and millenia, sown at the right time in the right soil. A chance to set things in motion that will make it all right." He brushed away some tears from her cheeks with his thumbs, and kissed her brow. "I don't know what will happen next, Marissa. Win or lose, you shining seedlings are the masters of your own fate from here on out. I can conjecture, but I'm done steering past the point where you defeat the Tree. If you want it, you'll have it in you to guide humanity - and others - to a better future. You are the new Radiants - and hopefully you'll not repeat the mistakes of the old ones." His lips quirked in a wry smile. "Myself included, though I like to think my mistakes were made with the best of intentions." As she unceremoniously jammed her palms into eyes and wiped away tears that mingled with less than classy sniffles, she listened to him talk like... like her. A very old, very patient man who had millions of regrets very few apologies. Sometimes, for greater good, one just had to swallow their pride, sacrifice their happiness and simply do what needed to be done. "God, I'm so embarrassed," she sniffled and forced a laugh. "No need to be," he looked down at her with eyes filled with ancient understanding. "Ain't nothing in the world like a good cry. We've all been there." The way he said those words made her consider something that hadn't dawned on her until now. "Thank you." She said softly. "For this, the cry," she chuckled again sniffling as punctuation. "And for everything else. You've kept watch this long, keeping this thing at bay and patiently waiting until time and evolution sent in the Calvary. I can't imagine how lonely you must have been," and in retrospect it mad her loneliness seem a paltry affair by comparison, she thought. "Trapped in a world where everything constantly changes, except you." Perhaps it was the crying, the emotional outburst that let the gates around her usually walled in and secured heart to open if only for awhile to the outside world. Perhaps is was the loss of control that allowed her to simply be the young woman she was and not the one she'd constructed for the world to worship. For the time being, here in front of her ancestor, she was completely unplugged. Once more she wrapped her arms around him and from her shine pulsed something mostly unheard of from the depths of Marissa's usual intensity: love. "We've got this." She said softly, reassuring him that he could finally rest and maybe go catch a movie. "I just wanted you to know that we're grateful. In our own messed up ways, but, we are. Thank you. I-," she sniffled and hugged him tighter. "I think I know how what to do. What's to be afraid of?" "Oh, there's always going to be something." he said with dry humour in his tone that made her smile a little. "The trick is to be afraid, but not driven by fear. Angry when anger is warranted, but not defined by your rage. To desire honestly and openly, but not be enslaved by selfish wanting. That's how you find real control - realising that you control only yourself and how you approach the world." "All of which is easier said than done." he added, hugging her tight. "Took me a few hundred years to get the hang of it. You're going to screw up - sometimes big, sometimes small. All of you kids have roads to travel - but nobody said you had to travel them alone and without support." He paused for a second. "That's what you've got each other for." "Pfft," she snorted. "Have you met the others? Not exactly on the best of terms with them. One's always trying to be in everyone's business, my crush told me he loves me after he used his powers for aggravated assault and now we're part of a conspiracy to cover up a crime then decided to sleep with my bestie, my bestie decided that she's totally into vengeful violent types and thinks sleeping with my crush is a phenomenal idea. The guy I'm dating thinks 'romance' is fishing and baby sitting his sister and surrounding himself with death carpets and trash pandas and my brother? He such an idiot that he's ready throw himself into whatever fire is burning brightest just to prove to everyone that he's not 'that guy' anymore..." "I hope you know what you're doing, Coyote," she smiled and laughed. "Because we're a complete shit show." "It's a point of view, certainly. I'm sure they're equally enamoured and glowing in their descriptions of you." he grinned like his namesake. "People are people, even little gods like you." He chuckled, fondly patting her shoulder. "I wouldn't have any of you any other way, to be honest. You all bring something necessary: curiousity, savagery, warm bravery, reckless courage... even death carpets. And you, my dear, have more to offer than looking good in yoga pants. Which I'm hoping you'll realise. All the differences, those mistakes and errors and learning and finding yourselves and growing together? Those are what will make you individually formidable, but when together you will be great." He paused a beat, then said "Probably." Another beat, then "I'm sure it'll work out. It'll be fine." And his deadpan delivery was marred somewhat by a slight smirk. "I see," she forced a warm smile. Given her mood that wasn't easy. She was furious with him, with all the weirdness in her life, but mostly with herself and how everything seemed to be taking a toll on her and she wasn't able to handle it. She prided herself on always remaining in control and already she was on two break downs in one week, crying in front a god and actually caring that some guy lied to her and ran off with her best friend! She was better than this, and she knew it. "Old and Busted has jokes." "So, all I have to do is strip away this Sith Lord's hold over me by overcoming my fear?" She shrugged in acceptance of the logic and sighed. "Sure, why not? Can't be any weirder than anything else going on in my life right. I swear Chris Hemsworth could fall from the sky right now in nothing but his birthday suit and I wouldn't bat an eyelash." She looked to the havens and waited a moment or two before sighing again. "Ah, well. Worth a try." The two shared a smirk. "I should, um... prolly get going. Thank you for coming to see me." She smiled politely through tear soaked makeup. "He, um, I don't know what the god code is or anything, but, you know, if you want to come by for dinner or something sometime, or come to a cook out, we'd love to have you. I guess what I'm trying to say is," Marissa shrugged bashfully for the first time in years as she pondered how to invite a god to hang out sometime. "You're not in this alone anymore, so, don't be a stranger... is all. I mean, technically, you're family, right?" "Technically I reckon I am." The ancient being allowed with a small smile, his folksy accent slipping back into place and causing Marissa to smirk and roll her eyes expressively, at which he laughed. "I'm pretty sure we'll see each other again." Coyote stepped back from her, raising a hand in farewell. "You go on now." There was a faint unease at the tone of Coyote's enigmatic assurance that they would see each other again that nagged at Marissa's mind - not unease of him, but for him - but despite that she smiled and stepped over to her car and it's still-open door. Getting in, she cast one last look at the Trickster- Or rather, where the Trickster had been. For the tall lean figure in black was gone as if he'd never been there, only the prints of his boots in the dust a sign he was more than a phantasm. Taking a deep breath and letting it out, the beautiful girl closed the car door, grumped momentarily at her streaked makeup in the rear-view mirror, then headed back to Shelly.
  11. Marissa stood, folding her arms to rest under her chest as she approached the monitor and tilted her head, examining the shimmer/smudge. “It's Enterich.” She answered confidently, but not fully sure. “They don't use the front door, it's bolted shut. No one else was in building. Myself, Dale and Marshall, plus Enterich. Unless this invisible person was in there whole time and I just didn't notice them.” “Do have any senses that would have alerted you to a presence?” She was always ceaseless in her inquiry into what powers they all possessed, she could help it, the children were fascinating, yet today, she asked more out of hope than curiosity. “Ms. Giles, I don't possess any powers. I mean, I have this sort of preternatural sex appeal thing going, but that's not a power, its just sort of, I don't know, always there? I mean you saw how I rocked that skirt, right?” Her eyes darted upward and she sighed in admiration of herself. “I think that's my new favorite skirt, and is Marshall not hot, or what?” “Let's focus, Marissa,” Annette offered her a smile. “So 'no' on the detection, so whomever that was it may have been someone other than Enterich. Let's not rule out the possibility.” “We could have my brother check out that alleyway. If he just disappeared, there might be a portal or something, a spatial tear, perhaps?” The Æon representative smirked softly. Marissa's curious look in her direction pried a response from her thoughts. “I'm sorry, it's just how casual you said that just now. Sometimes it's hard to forget you're all just teenagers still trying to figure things out. You're all so amazingly resilient.” She stood to meet the young woman by the displays. “Do you think we could do that without your brother catching on to our activities? I know you wanted the others kept out of this, but maybe it's time to-” “No.” The Queen of Shelly shook her head, her hair dancing elegantly across her shoulders. “If the Fellowship finds out my brother and Jason will rain devastation down on Crossroads until they get Enterich for him even making the suggestion to harm one of our families. It's like you said, we're kids, still fumbling in the da-,” she paused, a part of her mind refusing to utter that word here. Her hesitation didn't go unnoticed by her host. “Still fumbling about. We're stupid, and we're impulsive.” She stared long and hard at the blur on the screen. “If this man has powers, or truly wasn't there, I might know a god who can help me figure this out.” “I-I'm sorry,” her tone certainly indicated that she was still processing what Marissa had just said. Her voice was still a bit of a chuckle as she dared to ask: “Did you just say a god?” Marissa smiled to Annette from over her shoulder. “Ms. Giles, I told you my contact list was in full-on beast mode. When are you going to start believing me?”
  12. It was a difficult thing to want to be loved so much yet be unable to allow people close to her. She was over joyed and thrilled that Cade had asked to Homecoming and her stomach fluttered with butterflies as her teenage mind swam through the cluttered mire of all the possible things he could wear to match her dress or the dances they'd dance, or the absolute thrill that he would be showing up at her home to get her and her parents would see her leaving all dressed up with a handsome guy... it felt so, real, like her novels and television dramas. Yet, no matter how often she appeared to be there in the emotional moment, her mind simply couldn't commit to the idea that happiness was simply a trite, made up fantasy for people who were too simple or weak to know any better. Everyone in the world was out for themselves, it was just a matter of when and where, choice versus circumstance. When hungry enough, any animal would turn on others of its kind and humanity had never ceased finding new ways to be hungry. For Marissa it was control. She hungered for absolute control of her life and everything in it, be her lovers to her aspirations, to her business dealings. If she wasn't on top, she would grind and fight until she was. After all, hunger was about survival and when it came to surviving, there were no rules. The small pocket on her thigh vibrated and as she read the text on her phone and quietly cursed to herself. She grumbled and suddenly walked away from Cade. “Baby, I have to go. Can you tell everyone I said bye. And tell my brother to text me, please?” “Is everything okay?” He was concerned and the way his eyes narrowed told her that he was silently scrutinizing her sudden desire to depart. She offered him a reassuring smile but kept slowly distancing herself. “Fine,” she said calmly. “Just family business. My mom is being a pain, is all. Typical 'now that you have your license you can run all the errands' lazy parenting B.S., that's all.” “I know how that goes, I'll pass it on to Devin.” His laugh was sympathetic, after all, what teen didn't know the age old irritation of doing all the driving once their license was in their hands. It was like parents slipped into lazy mode now that the kids could do it all. “Text me later?” She spun on her heels, her chocolate hair whipping to fall over her opposite shoulder as she offered him one of seductive smiles. “Sure,” she tightened her tummy and ran her hands down until they stopped just short of her thighs in a teasing gesture he was sure she stole from a dance number. “Text me your favorite color, Lord knows you earned it today.” With a sultry wink and a 'you-know-you-want-me' smile, she spun back around and headed off to her car. Her lover still was trying the process the fact that he'd seen Marissa-freaking-Jauntsen naked today, let alone had had sex with her too. On that same note, he was still trying to process that it was certainly possible it might happen a second time. Like most guys he had a 'preferred' color, not a favorite, but he knew why she wanted it. She was going to send him a few images later of her in whatever color he sent her... now... all he had to do was decide what color he wanted to see her in so he could make that his new favorite thing, ever. Sex. Hot girl sending him lewd pics. Possibly more sex. Plus, badgers. It was so good to be Cade Allister right now. ---===[Marias Medical Center]===--- Thank God for tinted windows. It wasn't the first time she'd changed clothes in her car, but there was something about the act she just didn't care for. Still, the text seemed urgent so running home to change didn't seem viable. Within ten minutes after arriving in the parking lot of the medical center, her hiking heels, simple denim skirt and a black and white top that fell off her shoulders was once again exposing her midriff so she could she proudly brandish her navel piecing of a glittering black stone in the shape of a heart. Her hair was brushed and redone and her makeup back on fleek, as was proper for a diva of her station. Dr. Cook's old office was still completely furnished, which the young woman assumed was the doing of either Æon or Branch 9. Today, as she entered the comfortable office of the now detained sociopath, Annette Giles was waiting for her. Marissa noticed something in the atmosphere almost right away, as her keen shine immediately processing the myriad of social cues, body language, and micro-expressions that were red flagging all over Ms. Giles. A normal person would have almost certainly missed them, however Marissa's strange social cognitive perceptions allowed her to quickly read the scene with the speed and talent of a seasoned professional. “Marissa, hello.” Her smile was warm as she extended a hand in greeting which the young woman accepted with a curt smile from freshly applied glossed lips. “Is everything okay?” The diva's voice was calm but still weighed heavily on the side of concern and skepticism. Something seemed off about this scenario already. “Your text seemed urgent.” Under her normally calm exterior there was turmoil of a sort, an anxiety crawling just under the surface of her skin. “Well, it is, come with me, there is something I need to show you. There's been... a development. Please,” she extended her hand, motioning to the secret elevator that slid open as she gestured, inviting the young woman down to the secret Æon/Branch 9 facility below the medical center.
  13. So, of course, after dragging the entire cooler over from the barn by herself Jason felt it was certainly a good enough idea to make use of the convenience. It would figure that he was to lazy to do it on his own, but then again, why should he? He was Jason Bannon and everyone was just part of his grand experiment in becoming a real person one day. Be that as it may, Marissa had been sitting long enough. After her conversation with Lilly, which wasn't bad as far a socializing with the Nerd Herd went, she decided to it was time to at least get serious and attempt to unfuck some of the bad karma she'd levied on herself over the course of this weekend. Amazingly enough, she didn't have a scrunchie but she didn't really care at this point. With a simple shake of her head her dark brown hair she gently primped it with her nails as she approached the gangling serial killer in training. Sill, regardless of her personal feeling on the matter she didn't want to see him dead because of Enterich's thunder-wood getting so hard that he just had to kill something because 'he was the boss'. She wouldn't mind him being broken and mangled in the same way he left Liam but she sure the Fellowship would claim that it was somehow not right than some monster would treat their poor Jason that way, completely missing the point of the irony... and that was no fun. “Last stop on the apology tour?” She asked him as she approached. Ever-spectacular in her appearance, the alluring Diva really only had that as her ice breaker since already being this close to him made her skin crawl. “So, food for thought, since your the thinker and self-proclaimed genius,” she looked down the cooler he didn't consider for his guests. “Obviously.” Her hair usually appeared black, but in the brightness of the afternoon sun it's dark brown hue shimmered here and there in the sun as she continued. “Right as we get this whole Enterich name seemingly plucked from a vision and Cody's location practically handed to us for a face-off, lo and behold, the return of Lilly. Now, were this just high school drama, Jason your ashes would already scattered, your lands burned and your fields salted, but this is not high school. I've had a bad feeling for some time now, a pang in my gut. Something, and I don't know what, just doesn't feel right. I was talking about it with my brother, so, I figured it only proper to discuss it with you too.” “My point is, be careful.” Her voice was sincere and caring enough but she could fake emotion ranges the same way Cade faked being interested in what Cosmo said about his and Marissa's compatibility. “This is just a bit too convenient, at least from my perspective. We know Shades aren't always violent and we have no proof that none of us are immune to Dark influence. I mean, what Olympic try out? She's trained her whole life and no one even knows what Olympic event she was going for... and what Olympic hopeful risks injury by playing high school sports and goes to a public school? Now, all of a sudden, in our darkest hour enter the Lilly. Might be paranoia, might not. Just food for thought.” "Interesting point of view." Jason fixed her with a stare as, head tilted slightly, he considered her words, filing away the 'high school drama, ashes, burning and salting' for later review alongside Devin's earlier statement that Marissa was unhappy about him and Autumn.. also comparing with the tone of sincere care in her voice as she warned him. Another contradiction. He wasn't sure why the rancor, or why Marissa would even care who he dated: it ceased to be her business when she turned him down. But then, she was right - whatever 'logic' led her to being mad at him was less important than the Dark and its agents. "You propose Lilly was lying about the tryouts - that should be easy to determine. Competitors are registered and their events logged somewhere. Olympic hopefuls are not too low-profile for a half-decent web search." "As for Enterich being seemingly plucked from a vision..." he went on calmly. "I have no reason to disbelieve Cassandra. If she says she saw something, then until I have good logical reason to believe otherwise I shall go with that fact. Her vision might have been fooled - but to what end? To divert us from tackling Cody? We go after him tomorrow evening anyway. This Enterich, whoever he is, is secondary to that." He took another drink of water from his recently-appropriated bottle, pale green eyes on her still. "I will take your words into consideration, though." he admitted as he lowered the bottle once more. "If something does not feel right to you, then I will treat that with the same gravity as I treat Cassandra's visions." "Sure, because Sean's never faked a document in his life, go ahead, look that up, I'm sure it's legit." She rolled her eyes. "I'm not doubting Cassie, nor Lilly. I just, I don't know. My worry-dar is off the charts and right now no one seems to really want to listen to reason." She paused and sighed. "Okay, maybe I am doubting everyone... but this world we're a part of now is insane and everyday I'm just waiting for people to just peel their faces off like this whole city is one messed up Scooby-Doo episode. I just can't even, most days. I don't have powers, all I can do is worry, so I worry. A lot. Not that anyone listens, but hey, whateves." "Anyways, just stay alert," she offered in a tone that almost seemed like she cared. "Devin's going to patrol the city tonight, make sure nothing is out of the ordinary... whatever the hell that means in this town. He'll text if there's a problem, I asked him to include you in that as well since you seem to have some sort of bromance going." "Thank you." He nodded slightly. "And... for what it may be worth, I don't dismiss your intuition, Marissa. You claim to have no powers - but you do Shine. Perhaps your worry-dar is part of it. Or maybe you just have good instincts." He gave her a faint smile, the edges of his eyes crinkling slightly. "If you have a concern, I will listen to it." He paused, his smile turning a little wry and lopsided. "I might not act on it, but I will listen. And I'll stay alert." She shifted her posture slightly, a bit relieved that Jason had agreed to remain alert, but that seemed the extent of tells the her composure was willing to gift. "Well, that's it." She said tersely. "Have fun or whatever you do and enjoy the new girlfriend. If things get weird tonight you'll know." Her arms went out from her sides and fell against her scarlet sheathed hips like a girl with nothing left to say. "If you need me for anything, Devin can let me know." With that said she began walking away. For a moment, he considered asking how she and Cade were doing, perhaps trying to converse with her as the friends they had been, a week and a lifetime ago. He weighed the apparent rancor she held against the apparent sincere care she had for his life and limb - a confusing set of equations, the math not adding up. She was a study in contradictions, and he was not sure whether she liked him or disliked him. He wasn't even sure she knew. "Marissa." he called softly, watching as she looked over one finely-shaped shoulder at him. His emerald gaze was expressive for a moment, a question flashing a fin in their depths before the waters stilled once more. "Thanks again." was all he said, his manner sober.
  14. Lilly found a spot to sit a think a little, somewhat out of the way, but not really apart from the others. She enjoyed watching them, the sight bringing a smile to her face. As she sat there watching the others though, she noticed somebody doing much the same as herself; Marissa. For her part Marissa did not seem to be enjoying herself nearly as much. It dawned on Lilly that Marissa probably felt rather out off place among the rest of the Fellowship, for various reasons. With a final swig Lilly finished off her bottle of water and headed back to the cooler, discarding her empty bottle with the others before collecting two more bottles. After all, approaching with something of an olive branch would not hurt, right? With bottles in hand Lilly walked off took a wide arch around the perimeter of the makeshift training area to approach Marissa from the side, like she were some predator while on safari. The analogy was not that far off, to be sure, but still Lilly hoped she might catch her a little off guard and more real, rather than giving her extra time to develop snarky comments as she approached. "Hey Marissa." Lilly said as she drew near. "You got a minute to talk?" she asked, offering her one of the bottles of water. "If not, that's cool. We can talk whenever, if ever, you feel like it." she added, giving her the power by leaving it in her hands. "Lovely," Marissa said with a mixture of a sigh and breath of unfeeling emotional tension. She covered her eyes with her hand, her taloned acrylic nails were a matching shade to her skin tight yoga/super heroine/desperate to be noticed red workout attire and she mentally prepared herself for what was about to happen by massaging her temples for a moment. "Suppose it was only a matter time before your sparkly, righteous compass brought you in my direction," oh, the vitriol was there. Lily knew snark after two years in high school and right now Marissa's tone was at an eight, and rising. "Let me guess, realized you're going to be stuck in this ass end of nowhere town for the rest of your life now and decided it would be wise to patch things up in case your certificate from a technical college isn't enough and you need to come to me for a job when I own this dust bomb? Sorry, sister, I plan on dozing the whole place to the ground." She turned to Lily and looked her up and down. "I could use a personal assistant." She swiped away the thought with a flick of her wrist. "No. Ugh, what do you want? It's bad enough I have to deal with Tawny, the last thing I need is your 'love can save your soul' idealism." Lilly rolled her eyes and sighed with a faint grin on her lips. Well, that was about as best of a greeting as she could have reasonably hoped for. Strangely, with what Lilly had heard about Marissa being there for, and support, the rest of the Fellowship, she had a different take on her. Her snark lots much of its sting now that Lilly say her more for who she really was, so it did not bother her all that much. Twisting off the cap of her own bottle, the athletic teen took a seat near Marissa and took a sip of her water while she took a moment to think about her. Brushing aside Marissa's opening salvo, Lilly forged on "I just wanted to apologize for what I said and how I acted before. I was too caught up in the past and what you did and who you were that I could not see you for who you are now and what you were doing. That's on me. Everybody can change, but I was took caught up in my own shit to see it. I didn't give you a fair chance and for that honestly I'm sorry. You were trying to help, in your own way and with your unique and finely honed communication style." "Like, I didn't mean to cut you off the other day. I was just trying to help too. Honestly, it felt like, I dunno. They were my friends and then you came in, and though you were trying to help, all I could see was the person you had been for years, and now you were here, with my friends and..." Lilly shook her head and sighed. "No matter what had happened in the past, the important part was that you were there and trying to help, and I did not give you a chance. And for that, I'm sorry." she added and then reached up and undid her ponytail, shaking her hair out and letting her long, dark locks fall about her back and shoulders, a sight rarely seen, even by her friends. Slipping the scrunchy over her wrist she continued, "Your were trying help us, even me, and I trampled all over whatever trust or good faith you might have had for me. I'm sure that me apologizing now isn't gonna fix it either, but in all seriousness, I do hope it's not too late for us to maybe be friends one day at least. And if that off the board, then that's my bad and I would at least hope we could put our shit aside for the sake of, well, everybody else, and at least work together." "I'd rather have a friend, but I understand if that's not an option for you anymore, and I guess I'd just have to live with it if that were the case." Lilly could see the similarities in the twins, especially as Marissa's expressions and body language was nearly identical to her brother's as she listened through the apology. She could tell the teenage beauty queen was stuck on tumbling a few of the harsher things she had planned on saying and replacing them with more 'scathing retorts', which was a considerable downgrade in Lilly's favor. She adjusted uncomfortably, as sentiment and kindness were like sunlight to Tim Curry's Darkness. Her sharp nail caught some of her hair and she brushed up passed her ear on the side of her Lilly was speaking. Why a girl needed claws for finger nails, Lilly couldn't guess. As a fashion statement they had some measure of sex appeal, but they sure didn't seem practical. "Well," she adjusted uncomfortably again, search for something cruel to say. Her standards made it difficult this time, however, since Lilly had really given her nothing to be cruel about. Any attack now would make Marissa the villain, and that just wouldn't do. She resigned with a loud sigh of discontent. "Fine, look, whatever." "I suppose I can't fault you," She wasn't about to bring up that Lilly actually took a moment to realize that Marissa was trying to help the others, even if they didn't realize it. They were so wrapped up in hormones and unearthing secrets, that they didn't seem to pragmatically see the forest through the trees. Which was where Marissa assumed she could help them. "Watching these lemmings is much akin to chimps flinging their feces. It's comical at first, but after the novelty wears off you begin to wonder what it is they're actually trying to accomplish. That's not on you. In your absence they were still stumbling and bumbling about." "I've never had friends," she admitted. "Autumn is supposed to be my bestie and I don't even know what that means, we're kind of bumbling about too. My point is," she sighed again like she was bored with the conversation, but it was easy to tell it was just how she was. "Maybe not everything is your fault. So... it's... it's fine." Lilly blinked for a moment, fairly taken aback by Marissa's response. 'Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst' was advice she had tried to take to heart in this situation, but in all honestly Marissa had responded much better than she had even hoped. No insults, accusation, jibes, or snarky comments and what that actually a hint of understanding and actual forgiveness? Whoa! And then something Marissa had said fully hit her. "I've never had friends" The very thought made Lilly feel for the girl that had been such a terror on campus and, if she was telling the truth (and it certainly seemed like it), it gave Lilly a little more insight into Marissa. "Well look," Lilly began, "...if you ever want to add another friend, I know I'd be honored. And I mean that seriously. The others might have missed it, but from what I heard about last week, and what I have seen for myself, I know there is a lot more to you, Marissa Jauntsen, 'Oh Great and High Queen of Shelly High', than this 'Stunningly Beautiful, Cold-Heated Queen with impeccable fashion sense and better hair and nails' mask you wear around." Lilly said with small, warm smile. "And really nice outfit, by the way. The red look really good on you." she added, motioning up and down Marissa with her water bottle. "Everything looks good on me," she said with the assuredness of Tarantino and the taste of his coffee. She returned Lilly's once over of appraisal. "Speaking of, we have Homecoming coming up. I've taken it upon myself to make sure we Fellowdivas look amazing, because, well, the Fellowdivas are amazing. Frankly if I'm going to be a part of this collection of misfits and microbial infection modern medicine refers to as 'hormones' and 'growing up', I'm not about to let any of you embarrass me. If I can make Cassandra look like more than the cast off spit bucket of hand-me-downs one worn by the Manson women, then I'm almost positive I can do something with," her finger waggled up and down, signifying Lilly in her entirety. "This whole sweat and muscle morality Paladin who's looking to finish high school as a virgin, thing you have going on." Once again she gave her the once over, then shrugged. She lifted her loose hair up an played with it for a moment. "I mean, maybe, I don't know. At least you seem to know what a brush is... I might be able to Edna Mode the shit out of you in time for Homecoming." Several times as Mari was speaking and making her evaluations of Lilly and her hair, Lilly had opened her mouth as to say something only to close it again. Once again, this was far beyond what the reaction she had even hoped to get from Marissa. On one level, it was odd that this level of snark and jibes from her was considered 'better than expected', but then again, things are best taken in stride. "Uh, thanks?" Lilly-half said and half-asked as Mari evaluated her and toyed with her hair. "You know, I was thinking about dying it blond for Homecoming. What do you think?" she asked, combing her fingers through her hair. "I think it's your hair," she shrugged. "Lord knows we have enough 'natural' redheads around here. You'd think this place was where all the Irish fled to during the 1920s. Look, as long as you have outfits to go with it and you feel comfortable in your own skin? Don't worry about what I think. Do you. Screw what Shelly and masses think. It's what I do, and I'm the hottest girl in school, so I must at least be doing something right." "If you don't have a decent dress for Homecoming, let me know." Marissa took a drink from her water and tried not to make it look like she was being nice. "I have several and there's no point in spending money on a dress when we both know mine will look way better and maybe even get a guy to notice you." "Well, I don't yet. I was maybe gonna to go dress shopping this week, in Great Fa-" was all that Lilly got out before Marissa cut her off. "Off the rack?" the three words left Mari's lips dripping with disgust and a hint of surprise. "Oh no. You're not going to show up wearing some generic, mass produced, ill-fitting, burlap sack that some other girl might be wearing. No, no. You are a Fellowdiva. Come by and we'll have one of my dresses tailored. 'Dress shabbily and they remember the dress; dress impeccably and they remember the woman.' Coco Chanel said that." "Huh. I guess that makes sense." Lilly said, contemplating if that was one of Mari's 'Rules To Live By '. "You know, now that I think about it, I know that you always do look impeccably dressed and smokin' hot, but I can't say I remember too many of the outfits. It's more of just an impression of you in my head, that you are always stylin' and hot. Huh. That's kinda interesting." she said thoughtfully, idly wonder if might of it might be some gift of Marissa's, but then remembered it way baclk to years before the bonfire. "Ugh. I have so much to teach you before the dance." Marissa said with a mildly irritated or frustrated sigh. Lilly reached over placed a hand on Mari's thigh as she looked her in the eyes. "Everything aside, thank you, Marissa, for listening and understanding and for your help, not just with the dance, but with everything with all of them too." she said, motioning over to the others with a tilt of her head. Marissa almost seemed sentimental for a moment but before the veneer cracked completely she composed herself and shrugged. "Lilly, families fight. My brother and me go at it at home. Name calling, insults, trying to get the other in trouble with Mom, fighting, but matter what I know my brother loves me and he's always there for me. That's just how family is." There was an implication there she simply let hover in the air. "Now go," like her brother, she waved Lilly off. "I can only tolerate so much kindness and display so much charity before the evil enchantments begin to fade. It's tears and sorrow that keep me beautiful. Go harass people about your dice games and protein shake recipes." "Speaking of dice games... Maybe one day you'll tell me what you play, or played at least. I'm guessing Sorcerer, but who knows." Marissa blinked at Lilly in either surprise or confusion. It was hard to discern. "I mean, generally people our age don't toss around terms like 'Paladin' unless they are D&D gamers, or they are talking about self-propelled artillery. So maybe one day you'll tell me what you play and, who knows, maybe even join our table. Until then, your secret is safe with me." Lilly said with a grin and a wink as she rose to her feet. "And yeah, families fight. So what I hear you saying then is that we are sisters. Got it." Lilly added with a nod and bigger grin as she plugged her ears and stated going, "Lalalala Can't hear you! Lalala." and ran off with a laugh.
  15. "So, what are we doing exactly?" Tawny asked while Cade set his bag of targets and practicing gear down with a low rattle. Jason's farm was huge and they had acres on which to sprawl out and be typically average teenagers. Like all teens they did the usual stuff like fly, open warp gate into the school's swimming pool, oh, and practice their knife throwing on target that were held aloft by the power telekinesis. Yup. Average. "You hold up the target, like so," he held one of the thick wooden planks to his chest. "And then I throw knives at you." "What?! No!" She protested, looking at him like he was a lunatic and wanted nothing to do with his idea. Cade was laughing and stacking the planks up to set them aside when Marissa stepped to her lover and later her nails gently scratch his back to notify him she was there. "He's screwing with you, Ms. Christian Summer Camp." The dark haired vixen rolled her eyes at Tawny's never ending supply of gullibility. She always took people at their word was too sweet to assume someone might be toying with her, except Devin and Marissa, whom she'd grown accustomed to. "I think he intends for you to make the targets move about with your mind and he's going to throw his junk at them." She gently kicked his bag of stuff. "Phrasing," Cade smirked. "Mmm," his girl smiled and moaned slightly. "Look at you, coming out of your shell." As he stood she wrapped her arms around him and looked up into his Caribbean hued eyes. Seductively she smiled and held him tighter. "Kiss me and tell me I'm pretty." Cade smiled and kissed her softly. "You are gorgeous," he said softly as he broke their embrace. "And distracting. As into this as I am, I need to throw some knives... now, come on seductress, let me focus." Marissa resigned to share her bae's with... well, himself, and released him so he could finish getting things prepared. As he rummaged around in his equipment bag Marissa collected all the targets and brought them to Tawny who was under the impression Jason would be helpeing her and she'd not be doing this alone. It took a few moments but Marissa had calmed her down and she agreed that she could, at the very least, try it solo. After all, Marissa would be here to help her relax. One of the targets was spinning slowly in her hand as she concentrated on it. Cade ran back off to his jeep to get something he'd forgotten, leaving the ladies alone. Marissa tapped the spinning target trying to get it to turn counter, but it just slowed and kept spinning in the same direction as she commented on how weird it was. "It's nice seeing you in love." Tawny said with her infectiously cheerful voice. "Woah there, sister," Marissa laughed and gave the perky sweet blonde a crazy look. "I am not in love. My family has money, I can make do without love." "You can't buy love," Tawny said in a tone that practically scolded Marissa for being silly enough to think love had a price tag. "No, but you can pay heavily for it." She shot back with a quick rebuttal of her own and picked up a couple more targets, one in each hand, if only to give her something to while tolerating Tawny's insufferably kind spirit. "Men are pigs. Look at my bother for example and you're practically stalking him. He's a player. He'd sleep everyone of those women over there, right now, knowing how you feel about him, while you watch. They're only as loyal as their options and all that crap you see on TV is just that, Tawny, crap." She recited a quote from her her many and varied interests in literature. "Love in action is a harsh and dreadful thing compared with love in dreams. That's Dostoyevsky." "He that weird guy that hangs out near the public library who looks like he has pepperoni nipples?" Tawny asked. "Seriously weird dude, and he needs to put a shirt on." "No, Princess Sparkle Magic Dumbass, he was a Russian journalist and philosopher." She shook her head and fumed, wondering how one person could be so dumb until she was reminded that she had a brother. "Yeah? Well, so you know what humans would be without love, Marissa?" The target spun her hand as little tiny sparks of fire began to dance and orbit the wooden square. Marissa rolled her eyes and huffed. "What? Happier?" The little dancing flames exploded into the shape of hearts that spun as they orbited the target. "Rare. That's Terry Pratchett." Marissa looked to Tawny and then over to her brother then, back to Tawny. An evil grin purchased real estate upon her perfect lips and she asked the blonde a simple question. "How's that working out for you so far?" The hearts flickered out as Tawny's vibrant and joyous smile cracked and shattered to pieces leaving only a sorrowful expression of want and desire for what she could not have. Her work done, Marissa turned to face her returning lover, never for a moment letting the victorious evil grin leave her features. "Sorry!" Cade ran up. "I'd forget my head if it wasn't attached." He dropped a few more throwing implements near the bag. "No worries," Marissa said, her voice full of mirth and good cheer. "Tee and I were just girl talking, ain't that right?" "Yeah," Tawny said softly like a puppy who'd just been kicked. She passed Marissa, knocking shoulders with her to intentionally display her displeasure with her adopted sister but Marissa's twisted grin only grew wider as she jerked from the impact. Without another word Tawny set about helping Cade set up his throwing practice.
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