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Marissa Jauntsen last won the day on April 4

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  1. "People," Marissa's face scrunched up in thought as her mind danced around a ton of possible phrases. She sighed, not really finding a polite way to say it. "People are fake, Ms. Giles. I mean, everyone is just up there," she motioned to the ceiling, considering they were in a secret, underground base. "Using everyone else. No one really cares about anything but themselves. Jason does not care that I'm not emotionally prepared to date him, all he cares about is that he 'loves me' and he wants to kiss me and I'm just supposed to shut up, look pretty and be kissed and that is that." "Wait," Courtney held up her hand to pause the proceedings. "You kissed Jason Bannon?" "No, he kissed me. And when I told him I was not ready or felt safe dating him he told me he loved me then ran off like everything was my fault and I wasn't allowed to be uncomfortable." She refuted with a stern glare and a flat tone that warned Courtney that no rumor had better gain traction over this little admission of her personal life. "Cade does not really want me, he wants some prim and proper, submissive country girl like Fawning Tawny. I'm hot, horny and he knows I'm willing to put out so he sees no reason to not date me. Autumn does not really want to be my friend. I'm scary and have ruined her life for years. She is waiting for the opportunity to either one: be entertained by the epic meltdown I'm going to have over some trivial issue that is important to me and not her, or two: get back at me for something I have done to her in the past. It is how people are. Even you, Ms. Giles... if we didn't have powers would you or Aeon even care? No. We have something you want, namely us. So you will be nice, you will help, you will put on the face and we will all fall for it, hopefully. In the end your ultimate goal would be to get us on your side." She adjusted a few of the files, arranging them in order as she spoke. The raven haired beauty's ability to juggle multiple things like sharing gossip while planning the faux downfall of her fr-... associates in the Fellowship was being put to the test. Still she handled herself well enough in Annette's opinion and showed quite an attention to detail as a few slid back to Courtney for rewording. "And do not misunderstand, Ms. Giles, I am not judging. I neither blame, nor condemn, I am just saying: I understand. We are tools to the Aeon people or the Project leaders, whomever they are. They want to weaponize us, and we all know it. In fact, we know a great deal about a great many things. If we did not want to be here, we would not be." She rested her palms on the table and leaned as the thought of Jason and her at her house the other day swam awkwardly in her mind. The kiss had scared her not because she didn't want it, but because she did. It was electric and just like when she kissed Cade it was a jolt of energy that seared through her body and left her wanting more. Unlike Cade, however, she couldn't control Jason. He did whatever he wanted and never could connect emotionally with her on any level. She knew he'd never be jealous about her and Cade, she wasn't stupid, but Cade was a safer bet. She could talk to him, make him smile, laugh, connect with him on a romantic and emotional level... even if it was all manipulation, smoke and mirrors at least it was an illusion that was real to her. It was a confusing mess and in the end none of it was fair to Cade. He'd been nothing short of a gentleman, but wasn't he getting paid out of all of this? He had her. He had her body, her attention, her lo-... affections. It's not like he wouldn't bounce back from all this drama. He was a puppy and could never be mad at her. He'd take his lickings and come running back every time. "My point is, that people are not the simple and decent universes you make them out to be. We are animals. We hunt, we kill, we devour. Be it attention or love, or revenge, or greed... we can not help but smile and tell everyone we are good and kind and decent and we truly convince ourselves we are, but at the end of the day we can not eat and be sated on the hope of good deeds and kindness from others. We need to proactively get out there and get our and no one is willing to just hand over happiness, we need to take it. Lie and manipulate and take what you can before someone does it to you. They say money can't buy happiness Ms. Giles but I would much rather cry and lament in a Lamborghini than barefoot and pregnant in a trailer with Cade seven years from now." She slid Cass's file over to Annette. "I have no idea how to tone down this file. I know absolutely nothing about Cassandra, except that she needs to keep her hooks out of my brother." "Wait," Courtney paused things again. "Cassandra and your brother? But, Lona just left. Wow, she wasted no time..." "Preach it, sister, In a fit of pique he asked her to Homecoming, knowing it would piss me off," she shook her head like she just couldn't believe the audacity of Cassie, just couldn't even! "Lona had not even moved yet! What is it with my brother and these grungy, filthy, thrift store, slam-pigs he keeps asking out? I really hope this is a phase or something. Cassie is crafty. She is quiet, slithers through all the dark corners of the school getting her stories and is all up in er'y one's business. The only reason she has to go to Homecoming is to get something out of him. I just do not know what, yet." Annette could only shake her head as the teenage drama unfolded and she looked at Cassie's file while pondering Marissa's appraisal of the world.
  2. "Well, if that's decided, great." Marissa smiled, her tone a mingle of faux politeness and hurried uncaring as retrieving her phone seemed to be her latest priority. "You all go play with the mysterious and mystical alcoholics. Great. Sounds like a hoot. So sorry I'll miss that. All the dust and dirt and poor people," she shivered. "Whatever will I do all day without all of you bothering me?" The fashionista offered up a languid, over dramatic sigh while she stood up and dismissed herself. "Ciao, losers. I'll text." Then she chuckled at a joke only she heard. "I'm just kidding, no I won't." She clacked her way down the bleachers, paint-on jeans and all, after she collected her bag. Devin shook his head at his sister, wondering if she would ever change, until he noticed the way Cade's eyes were looking a bit too intensely at his sister as she stepped down from the bleachers. He back-handed the giant's arm. "That's my sister, dude. You mind?" "Nope." Was all he offered, letting himself, for just a moment, try to enjoy something good in his life.
  3. As the three ladies sorted through the information, Marissa gave consideration to words. More than a few times Courtney offered her friend(?) a concerned look as the beautiful young telepath continued to get, what she called 'pings', from Marissa. Small warning signs or emotional red flags that lingered in people surface thoughts that warned if someone was distracted or burdened by something like guilt or fear. Marissa would wave her off with a silent gesture to let her know things were fine and they continued on with their work. "So," she finally said. "I've noticed that these abilities seem to come with a price. Jason knows only extremes, not middle ground.. Autumn is infectiously energetic and lively. Charlie doesn't seem to know who he is or what he wants. Cassie can't help but 'know'. Courtney is searching for real emotions in a world where there is none." The other two ladies stop sorting, comparing and taking notes to pay attention to where she might be going with this train of thought. "Cade can't relate to people because animals make sense to him." "My power, I guess, is just being gorgeous. Which I didn't ask for. I was never pretty. In fact it wasn't until we moved here that I started going out of my way to be pretty." She turned her phone around where she had been sliding through images and showed them a picture of her and her brother taken just a few days before they moved. They were smiling wide like only children used to being in front of a camera could. If she hadn't already implied that it was her and her brother, the two ladies would never have guessed it was them. Devin was rail thin with baggy clothes and a Transformers t-shirt he'd not be caught dead it today. She was smiling wide with a hairband that gave her a glittering unicorn horn. She wore an Usher t-shirt underneath a one-size-to-large red flannel with her sleeves rolled up. Her pigtails were precious. "Oh. My. Go-" Her Queen's glare cut Courtney off. "You will never breathe a word of this or I will destroy you. Utterly and completely. Scattered ashes. A fractured memory of only a girl that was 'What's Her Name'." She leaned it Courtney's gaze, urging the telepath to tell her she was lying. "Tell me I'm kidding." Courtney smiled warmly. "I think the horn is adorable." They both broke into giggle fits before Marissa composed herself and moved on. "My point, Ms. Giles, is that all I know it how to manipulate people. They love me by default and so, I don't know genuine love from others. I'm distrustful, skeptical and always assume that no matter what I'm told, it's just a lie to get in my pants or to appease me. My father is a criminal, I guess, and my mother is a behavioral therapist... when it comes to conning and reading people and manipulating them, I'm an ace. I've never been taught how. If I am to do this, I need actual skills. I need to be able to submerse myself in this and not make some stupid mistake because if I do, my family or my fr- the Fellowship, could end up dead or worse, on a slab being cut apart while some lunatic tries to figure out how they work." She sighed and looked at Ms. Giles, steeling herself for what she was about to do. "But you know. You have those skills. This," she gestured to all of her body. "Is my only weapon. I'm plinking off bottles on the fence when I should be laying waste to country sides. Show me how. Help me beat this guy and I swear I will tell you who he is, just give me some time get my own shit in order. I can't do this alone." "You're not," Courtney said softly, trying not to look or sound to sentimental as she scribbled down some notes from one of the assessments and tucked the papers away in a folder.
  4. "Ms. Giles," Courtney leaned in with concern creasing her delicate, soulless beauty. "She's sixteen, you can't possibly expect her-" Marissa raised her hand, interrupting her friend(?). "No, Court, she is right and she does expect me to do just that." "Mari, this is dangerous," she replied, taking Marissa's hand. Courtney may have been mean, a bit of a nympho and a tad psychopathic, but even she could recognize that all of them were just kids and should be worried about dating and homework and poorly worded social media slander, not spying for a secret society of attractive, well dressed, world traveling Illuminati women. "This guy could hurt your family or you. Maybe we should go to the Sheriff after this." "I don't think that's a good idea," Annette urged Courtney to reconsider. "What? Oh, no! No, not to talk about this. I meant just to stop by, he's like really hot." Courtney smiled and nodded, completely sure that the Sheriff was, indeed, hot. "I think all of this is a bad idea, but I have nothing to offer aside from 'don't do it' so I thought we could at least oogle the Sheriff for a bit when we're done. It always makes me feel better, that and chocolate." Marissa turned her butt in the seat to angle it towards Courtney. "Have you seen the Deputy?" "Brad." They said in unison, nodding to each other. Marissa rolled her eyes simulating a slight feint. "Oh my god, that jawline." "I heard from Stacy whose mom works with Rebecca's cousin that he's only twenty-two," Courtney practically cooed like Brad was completely attainable. "Ladies," Annette's smile was forcing back her desire to laugh out loud as she was suddenly realizing how difficult it might get working with teenagers again. "Can we focus? Please? I'm sure Brad is a pretty, pretty man, but he's not our primary concern at the moment, va bene? Okay?" "Right, right," Marissa shook away the lustful thoughts of Brad and placed her attention back on the current dilemma. "Sorry, it is... it is just I'm really scared, Ms. Giles. I may be incredibly pretty, and I may be one of the mean girls, but I have never done anything like this before," she lied, keeping her victim persona on full blast. "I am no spy! I did not have special secret society training in Milan and Paris," she gestured to Annette and those glorious shoes. "The best I know is how to bat my eyelashes and hope he is not interested in anything past third base." "Seriously?" Courtney asked. "You and Cade haven't... y'know? I figured you'd have smashed that by now, because girlfriend-" "Courtney," Marissa turned and glared. "Shut up." Finished through a clenched jaw. She smiled awkwardly at Ms. Giles. Her cheeks flushed as years of being fake permitted her a near flawless ability to emulate almost any emotional response. "Sorry, so... what am I to do? I do not know how to doctor this stuff, I'm not super smart like Sean. I guess I will need his notes and... could we not tell anyone about this? They might be nerds but the Fellowship are my friends and lying to them is already killing me slowly."
  5. "No," she shook her head, lying to her 'partner' as she offered her a welcoming half smile. Round, dark lenses hid her eyes from Courtney's gaze as she knew the redhead was already comparing their outfits in a never ending attempt to out fashion Marissa. She was wearing a black pleated leather skirt that Courtney had been wanting to borrow (and never return) for ages that flowed down and stopped just above her knees with a fashionable maroon sweater that hugged her athletic curves. With the addition of a wide belt, a variety of accessories and four inch heels that were disguised to appear as lace up sneakers, she looked positively adorbs once again and Courtney would have to wait to claim the title. "Not too long. It is just as well, too, I had a few texts to send out. Cade and his stupid fishing. Ugh." "He's not serious, is he?" Court scoffed with a chuckle of distaste added on for good measure. "I mean, he expects you to what? Become some bumpkin girl and take up fishing and meth? What's he changing for you?" "Chill," Marissa laughed softly. "He asked politely and I agreed. I can't fault him for something I agreed to, unless it turns out to be a complete shit-fest. Which, I'm almost certain it will." The two girls walked into the medical center, Marissa following Courtney as she seemed to know where the two needed to go. They moved like a cold wind, catching the stares of employees and patients alike as the two beautiful young women were both sixteen and looking early twenties, easily. While Shelly's Queen hadn't made it a habit of coming here, the few times she had, either with her mother or for some other reason, she'd always left with a few phone numbers of male nurses, orderlies and in a few cases a doctor, who just didn't know any better. One of the nurses was a decent guy, fresh out of college with amazing blue eyes. He was a hell of a kisser too but that ended when his girlfriend found out and had the nerve to confront Marissa when she was coming out of Bunnie's one evening. She was a good kisser too. As the guys stopped to catch a look at them as they passed, Marissa one a wink along with half of a smirk and the two ladies went on their way. She had to hide in her child's giggling as secret passages and cloak and dagger elevators hidden in offices were about as kick ass as she could have hoped for as her normally draband boring life in Shelly had suddenly exploded into something from a romanticized spy thriller... with elder gods of evil trying to at her brother's junk. Okay, so the writers needed a bit more Hot Pockets and Xena reruns, but for the most part there was nothing uncool about her life as of- *bing* Now. The elevator doors slid open and she and Courtney emerged into an expansive series of hallways where military personnel moved about and doctors and researchers were all sealed away behind massive panes of plexiglass conducting all manner of research into Shine on a genetic and (although they didn't want to admit it) metaphysical level. Until recently, no one knew what the breeches of energy were that were seeping into their world from places unknown, but the Fellowship dropped a hell of a bomb in their laps when they had claimed they'd all been to and battled within, multiple alternate dimensions resting parallel to Earth. To say the place was currently a shit show of scientists with all manner of theories and increasingly pissed off because all their subject matter experts were 'enjoying their four day week end from school' would have been a gross understatement. The made their way through the madness and were only a few doors down from the office they were needing when they were stopped by a rather round man in a button down and khakis. He was somewhere in his fifties and gave up on fitness a long- okay, he had never really considered fitness at all in his life. "You! You," he stuck a finger out to point at Marissa but she didn't have time to react and stop so his digit collided with her sweater. She took a step back and looked at him like she was about to claw his face off. "Which on are you? You're about the right age, you're the girl, the sister-" She swatted his finger aside, scowling at him with maroon lips that were they they the curtains concealing fangs beneath would not have been unsurprising in the least. "I'm the one who's going to feed you that finger if you ever touch me again, you weird-ass freak. Who the he-" He pressed on like she didn't just insult him or threaten his well being. "Now, would you say the transference of matter and energy was a complete breakdown and reconstruction of your atoms and molecules or-" "Larry," Annette chimed in, placing her hand on his shoulder. He pressed on without seeming to notice her touch. "Larry!" She raised her voice in his ear and that seemed to snap out of his hypothesizing for how one would travel between the worlds. "If you don't mind, these ladies and I have an appointment and quite frankly, you're scaring the hell out of them." Her smile was nothing short of diplomatic and sincere as 'Larry' wet back to huffing glue or watching Japanese cartoons or whatever the hell he did there and the three ladies went on their way. "So sorry about that," the door to her office closed and it seemed a million times more quiet. "Since the revelation you and your friends dropped in here the other day, things have, to put it mildly, quite hectic." She offered the girls a seat on a large, comfortable looking couch as she sat in a chair just to the left. She crossed her legs relaxed. Annette had always been good with people and she'd read the kids numerous times in their previous meetings, except Marissa. No matter how hard she tried the teenager refused to offer up the slightest microexpression as to what was happening behind her eyes. "So, Courtney tells me you have something important you needed to discuss, but could only talk to me? If this is about your brother, Marissa, please tell him I already have a date for Homecoming." Marissa smiled, noticing her use of humor as an icebreaker to make it easier for her to want to open up to Annette. It was a common tactic, especially when talking with teens and children. She decided not to remind Annette that her mother possessed a PhD in behavioral sciences and certain tricks wouldn't work on her. It wasn't Annette's fault, Marissa and the others were far from ordinary and well outside the realms of normal. "I don't think that's going to stop him," she chuckled, showing the proper emotional responses to her host's tactics. "He's tenacious, and come Tuesday, single. So, you're in for a treat." Her maroon lips lengthened into a smile. "So, there is no simple way to say this, so I'm just going to put it all out on the table and we'll see what we can do with it all." "So, I was approached by this man," and she told Annette the story. She told her about the Marshals and the meeting place and the man who threatened her family and what he'd asked her to do. She never mentioned Enterich's name, claiming she didn't recall it. This would allow for her to play a duplicity card later on the chance that Annette couldn't be trusted. She never mentioned the money either, allow both Annette and Courtney to continue to help her out of sympathy for her and what could happen to her family (besides, she was doing all the work, why should she have to share?). "...so now I have until Sunday to report something on the topics he's requested, or... okay, I've been eyeing them since the hallway," the teen brushed aside the current topics for more important priorities. "Where did you get those shoes? I so need them in my life. I have like this skirt and top sort of outfit I threw together that has been waiting for that exact pair of shoes to complete it. You didn't get those from around here, there's no way."
  6. Sunday, September 1st... The twins' spot on the roof of their home, just outside Marissa's window was currently occupied by a large, soft blanket she'd set out to lay back and take in the stars. Her lips curled slightly as she read the text Cade sent her and thumbed out a reply of her own. They had to be up to at least four or five hundred today alone. The air was chilly as the winter months were already packed up, on the road, and heading in their direction. She didn't like Montana, but she was more adapted to change than her brother, so she'd always made the most of what she had. She hated the cold compared to always sunny in California where there was no such thing as a 'skirt season'. Here in Montana it was different and as she was now browsing online catalogs for various leggings and pants she could add to her winter ensembles. Sitting cross-legged and lost in her world of shopping she didn't hear her brother approach but instead smirked again and tapped a reply to Cade she knew wold make him blush. “Hey,” Devin greeted her as he sat down and got comfortable. Like his sister he was dressed down and ready for bed but came out to take the time for their tradition of trying to talk about the things going on in their lives. It wasn't uncommon for twins to share everything in their lives, and the Jauntsens didn't seem to break that form. He noticed the devilish smile in her expression as she was swapping apps on her phone. “Christ, you two have been texting all night.” “So? You and Lona did not shut up either so blow me, hypocrite.” The Queen of Shelly's tone was just as playful as it was confrontational. “He is asking for a pic. I told him I don't have any makeup on so now he will not let it go, since I am never without it.” “You fuck him yet, or what?” Tactless and blunt was the forum the twins dealt in with each other. Marissa turned her head to look at her brother, giving those eyes that said 'really?'. “No,” she said flatly. “I doubt he would know what to do with my vagina if it came with instructions.” “It does,” he tossed his hand up with a sign of logical debate. “You.” They both laughed for a moment while Marissa fished one of Jason's specially rolled joints (Marissa was horrible at rolling) and sparked it up while there was a pause in the conversation. She took a hit and offered it to her brother who held up his hand and kindly refused by adding a shake of his head. “Pussy,” she she taunted him through a hoarse breath before exhaling. “We made out at the lake or fishing pond... whatever it is, yesterday.” Devin shook his head. “I'm not going to want to hear any of this, am I?” “Hey,” she exhaled another plume of Jason's special strain of home grown marijuana and looked at the joint in her hand. “Damn, this has kick. I had to listen to every sorted detail about you and Lona and I even took the blame for the bloodied towel, so fuck you cooze smear, you are listening to every detail. Every last one. I'm even going to reenact every moan and pique of pleasure. Ready? Marissa being a slut, Chapter 1, page one...” They both burst into laughter and Devin raised his hands like an editor of a paper seeing a headline forming in his mind. “'It was a warm summer day, I remember it well, Cade's tongue was somewhere in my uterus and I felt I might need to call emergency rescue to pry him out of me...'” “Ugh,” Marissa sighed with a roll of the eyes. “I wish. No, we just kissed. He's not very, I am not quite sure what to call it, aggressive?” “You don't say,” her brother leaned away from her with a mock look of shock on her face. She back handed his arm and continued on. “He was really sweet though, like, a puppy. Ugh,” she grumbled and rolled her eyes. “And he wanted permission for everything. I am lying there with him rubbing my half naked body on his, hell, I was rubbing his wood with my knee, and he still wonders if it is okay to place his hand on my ass. Yes! Christ, grab it, smack it, so something with it.” Her brother seemed amused at he complaints, laughing while she toked her jay again. “Still though, like I said, he was sweet. I felt safe, you know? In control and not pressured into anything, like I could walk away and he would not be a complete dick about it and leave me stranded there and having to call you for a ride because I wouldn't put out. I've never had a boyfriend-” “Woah, woah,” he cut her off and looked at her with all stunned seriousness. “Boyfriend?” “Kinda,” she hid the flush in her cheeks by looking away and responding to another text from her kinda boyfriend. “Hear me out. Deej, we probably know more about sex, have higher sex drives and are certainly more sexually aggressive than any other people in our respective age group within Shelly and yet, have you noticed we probably have the least experience with it? I am tired of third base. Cass, Autumn, Avalon, all of them have gotten it over with, and I sort of want to do that too. Cade is a decent guy and if, for some reason I have cold feet about it all, I trust him to stop and not be an ass about it. In order to get what I want, I need to give him what he wants, so, yeah... we're sort of a thing. On a trial basis.” “Ho-ly shit,” her brother shook his head. “Wow. Hanging out with the Nerd Herd and now you're dating one of them? I thought you said this whole reevaluation of our lives was a horrible idea and you wouldn't rest until they were groveling at your feet.” “Fine,” she admitted. “I may have had a Regina moment, but I will admit... they are not all bad, and I am just using Cade for the sex, so quit making it out to be more than it is. Deej, I am sixteen and I have never had a boyfriend. I am tired of reading my books and watching Netflix and seeing all these people in love and feeling,” she sighed searching her mind for the right word. “Alone? I know I have you, you are my brother and I love you but-” “-you're heart needs more.” He finished her thought for her. “Yes. Thank you.” She nodded once, firmly, knowing that he understood her. “Hey, if you're happy,” He shrugged. “I have your back, no matter what.”
  7. "So," Marissa shrugged. "We find Cody. How hard can this be?" She said it like it was just a simple matter of looking him up in the Dark Pages under 'recently taken hostages'. "Can you find him Deej? You located Tawny easily enough." Her brother shook his head. "Tawny's different, we're close. Cody and I were never really friends, we hung out, sure, but I can't say I really liked the guy. All I know about the guy is that he wanted to swiggity your swooty." "Classy, and not helpful. I mean come on, what guy does not want to swiggy this swooty?" His sister smirked and leaned past Devin and looked to Cass, who had moved on from hugging Devin in a comforting manner. "Cass? You can find anything, right? Except a date for Homecoming it seems, is he beeping on your radar at all?" Autumn suppressed a smile, mildly amused that, once again, her 'bestie' had managed to speak without realizing the way her phrasing and delivery once again brought her reputation for being Shelly's Queen Bitch back to the surface. "We find him, throw him in a sack, and give him to the project people. They have scientists and stuff, we will let them deal with him."
  8. "Okay, well, those two obviously have nothing to add and/or offer," Marissa said simply, leaving the two girls to continue their talk or lesson, or whatever it was. "So, this MiB guy, he's like, on our side or something? I haven't seen him yet, and if we have to take on the Dark on its own turf, how do we do that? Do we have to drop Cody and the Dark at the same time between worlds or, just handle Cody?" She rubbed the bridge of her nose. "This is all so confusing. Why won't bad people just die when they see us coming? It would make this a whole lot easier." "Plus we still need to tackle the school play and Homecoming," she threw up her hands they drooped to her knees with a slap. "Guys we need to save the town, like, chop-chop. Evil is not going to interfere with my homecoming. I have the the perfect outfit planned out, I just need to get shoes, it's so on point. So, come on, how are we dealing with this?"
  9. "Don't worry about it," Devin said, shaking his head. "And I'm kidding, Jesus. I promise I won't go after your sister, relax." "She does think he's hot though," Marissa cooed in his ear, a playful smile forming on her lips. "Please don't," Cade shook his head, trying not to smirk. "My heart just can't right now." "So," Devin leaned his back to the railing, putting his arm around Cass again so promptly returned it with a side eyed glare and they both smiled at one another. At least she could take a joke. "Let me get this straight. You think your dad is fooling around and some homewrecker is messing up your family? No prob, let's find out who this skank is and get her a pair of hiking boots... I'm Jase'll have a recipe for skank hikers. No one will ever know." The resident snark machine continued on. "Aside from that, ignore the rest. He can't do shit to us and he sure as fuck isn't in a position to bark a single order to us. Let him talk his shit." Marissa swung out and smacked Devin in the same arm Cade just hit. Devin cried out in pain as the spot was still tender. "Deej, stop, that's still his dad! For fucks sake." "Ow!" Devin shirked away. "Back off jizz-lips! I don't care whose dad it is. He's making threats on us. The family issues? That's on Cade, man," he peeked around Marissa offering Cade a friendly wave. "Sorry, bro. We can't fix everyone's issues. Sometimes people just fall out of love. Sometimes people are just not as great as we think they are. Sometimes, people are just shit. No one knows that better than we do," he met his sister's eyes. "I'm sorry you're going through a rough patch, dude, I am, but my concern is us. I'm focused on pissed off Sheriff trying to come at us for thinking we know too much, not a possible divorce. If he comes after us, we'll have to play dirty and put him in his place." "I can handle the Sheriff." Marissa volunteered. "With no shots fired, if need be."
  10. "We're first to arrive. You can't be first when you called the meeting, that's like saying you were first to arrive at your own party," Marissa rolled her eyes and silently scolded Cass with a 'duh' expression. "And call me later, we need to figure out what you're wearing to Homecoming." As Cade approached Marissa lit up the area with her winning smile and greeted her man as he sat down. "Hey, you." She leaned over and kissed his cheek, as her mouth was full of celery and peanut butter from her lunch. When he didn't seem to acknowledge her much she frowned and tried to get his attention. "What's wrong, boo?" "She kinda kept it low-key." Devin put his arm back around and she returned it to him with another grin. He leaned back against the back railing, not getting involved with whatever Marissa and her new toy were talking about. Instead, he settled for flirting with Cassandra, knowing she'd thank him later. "I found out from Tawny, who, well, you know how small towns are. I guess they're moving to Canada somewhere... I dunno." "Not hard for you to visit her," Cass added. "Yeah," Devin said with a smirk. "Everyone keeps saying that." "Still, I'm sorry." She offered him a consoling expression and and bump with her shoulder. "I know you liked her, under all the those jokes." "Thanks," he smiled at her and nudged her back. "I kinda did, yeah."
  11. She said something, but was looking at her phone, distracting herself with that instead of talking to him. He leaned in asking "What?" with a slight grin since she seemed to be being deliberately evasive. She mumbled it again while swiping through a playlist, only to get a 'Huh?' from her 'boyfriend'. "You! Okay? Geez." Cade was witness to the one the very few moments when Marissa's titanic composure was broken and she nothing like a twenty-five year old making power moves to secure a financial future and everything like the mildly embarrassed sixteen year old young woman she really who just said some considerate to the guy she sort of liked. "See? How hard was that?" He laughed. She sighed and rolled of to face him. Her cheeks just a bit flushed with the moment still. "I have not had a day to myself in so long, and I could not have imagined it going any better with anyone other than you, okay? There, I said it. Happy?" "Only if you are," he smiled warmly. Her eyes narrowed and she smiled a mischievous smile. She cooed, "Now you are learning." She kissed him once and rested her head on his chest. Why did she feel so okay with this? Why did just lying in the sun, relaxing and taking her time to enjoy the kissing feel so right? She could hear the rhythmic thumping of her heart and wondered of the cold, dead thing in the center of her chest sounded the same. Her mind was at war with itself as she half listened to what Cade was saying. By the way, I'm so wrapped up in my own guilt over selling you and everyone out to the bad guys, that I figured you deserved a girlfriend before my actions end you up a lab table getting cut to pieces to figure out your powers work. Blowjob? She was pretty sure a side of oral gratification was not going to make up for betraying him or the others so as Cade talked she thought about all the possibilities and ways it would all blow up in her face while she kissed his chest and traced her tongue along the outline of his nipple. "You are incredibly distracting," he laughed shirking his chest away from her mouth because it tickled. She returned from her thoughts and realized what she'd been doing just offered him a salacious grin. "Sorry. You know what?" She slapped her palm flat on his broad chest. "Let us get out here and get some burgers, I am famished already. On me." She pushed off of him and stood up. She spun about towards the Jeep to get her shirt and skirt and Cade didn't took a moment to admire the view, especially where her bikini bottoms had climbed up her bottom as they made out. With a swipe of her fingers everything was back the way it was supposed to be and she stepped into her skirt and pulled her shirt back over her body. It was getting dark and Cade collected his things as the sky turned shades of purple in the distance. The weather was still great, but the sun was going down earlier and earlier every night. As Marissa waited she stood looking at the water while finished rigging everything to leave until after several long minutes she could hear him approaching. "Hey," was all he said and she tilted her head to look back at him. His phone flashed and he snapped an image of her to remember the trip by. "I'm wondering which one is more beautiful." "Me or the sunset?" She asked softly, hardly able to break here eyes away from it. "Sunset? I was thinking you or your smile." He kissed her shoulder. "As if I could notice anything but you." She rolled her eyes and walked away, "Oh my god that was cheesy." "What?" He followed her, taking the left side and parting her company to get into the Jeep. "That was pretty good. Come on, give me some credit!" "Nooope!" She laughed as she hopped in the passenger side. "Just for that I am taking Haruka mini-skirt shopping." She held her finger and thumb to her lip and rubbed them together. Cade looked at her strangely. "What are you doing?" he asked shaking his head in the hopes of rattling loose a clue. "I am twisting my handlebar mustache, because corrupting your sister is evil." His date replied in a tone that suggested it should have been obvious. Cade rolled his and started the Jeep. "You are such a nerd." As the brake lights lit up the darkening clearing and the Jeep drove off into the Summer evening the wailing of his girlfriend demanding he take that back, echoed among the trees.
  12. "A bit longer," she said in agreement. Her brother was right, making things about other people was honestly easier than she thought. She was honestly having an amazing time and while she was almost certain Cade was only agreeing and being as nice as he was in the hopes of getting under skirt, he was only a guy after all, so she couldn't fault him that. "I do not need to fish to enjoy myself out here. It is nice and quiet, I like that. Besides, I caught that bass," she hesitated only slightly as she recalled what Cade had called it. "I have totally won this pond." She stuck up her nose with aristocratic snobbery. "Bring me giants." They shared a laugh and several more. A 'bit longer' turned into a few more hours as Cade talked about all kinds of fishing and bait and why certain fish only went after particular colors or appearances. She talked some more, mostly about people at school and some of the frustrations she had about her mom, and Haruka which, whom she positively adored and swore she would corrupt her properly . It was nearly after four before the boat was pulled back to the dock, everything was put away and Cade was hitting the spigot behind the shed for a good scrubbing. Marissa didn't peek (much) as he tore off his shirt to get a clean one, she maintained some propriety, although him with his shirt off certainly made a tempting argument. Her certainly didn't need a whole shower, but certainly a good hand scrubbing. While he was making himself smell less like gross and ew after adding even more fish the ice chest, see set out laying out a blanket on the shores of the pond in the hopes of capturing what was left of the day's sun. When Cade returned he tossed his shirt in the Jeep and Marissa had his extra, clean one hanging on the spare tire. The way she was lying out in the sun in her sea green and white striped bikini (that seemed to match the horizontal pattern of her black and white striped shirt she wore out today, did she really make sure her bathing suit matched her outfit?) seemed a test more than anything to see if he was going to put it back on and cover himself up. It wasn't like he'd not seen her in the bikini before. One thing about Marissa was certain, she had it, and she loved to flaunt it. He'd seen her plenty of times at the lake in the summers where all the school kids would have their parties and get-togethers on the water away from the parents. He;d seen her there plenty of times, sunbathing with Courtney while Chet flexed on anyone who approached and bothered her. This was the first time he was ever this close to her and... well, it was a bit intimidating. "Still smell like gross?" She asked, propping herself up on her elbows. If there was a flaw in her design, Cade couldn't find it anywhere, and he was certainly looking. A half smile curled her lips as she noticed he didn't bother with his shirt. "Come here. Sit. I don't bite. Well, much." "You bite, huh?" he asked as he sat down on the blanket next to her, stretching out and relaxing to come to rest propped up on his elbow facing her. "Only when I am kissing," she teased. "Biting is more fun than kissing, plus, there is a winner." He laughed, shaking his head. "You are so competitive. There doesn't always have to be a winner, especially in kissing. At least, I don't think so." "Show me," she said. He looked at her as she rested in the sunlight, soaking up the last rays Summer had to offer them before the bitter Montana cold set in. When he didn't move fast enough she sighed. "Cade, you really need to loosen up." "What?" he asked, shrugging. "You meant like, show you, show you?" Marissa rolled her eyes and sighed. "Okay, stop thinking so damn much. Hear the music?" Her phones was playing an artist he didn't recognize but it was a female and the tempo was a sort of electronic, dance club hip-hop. "Listen to the music and let your brain shut off for a bit, for fucks sake." "I'm trying but, it's weird being here, with you of all people. Do I touch you, do I not, what if you were just kidding and I look dumb? What you don't want to be touched and I do and you get mad and this whole day is shot?" It was the most emotion he'd seen out of him in a single breath in all the time she'd known him. "This is why I fish and why animals are easier than people. They're simple. They want to be petted, the bump you with their head, they want food, the nose their bowl around until you notice. When they want a kiss, they just lick your face." "Oookay," she looked at him a bit awkwardly. "How about we curb the licking for another lesson, we are still on week one and kissing seems to be going slowly. We have to work you up to that." She collected his unoccupied hand and rest in on her stomach. His fingers traced the softness of her skin tautness of her athletic frame. "Look, we are seeing each other, so, if you want to put a label on it, you are technically my boyfriend. At least until I am done with you and cast you aside so I can watch you beg to have me back." She had made non-committal and art form, that much was certain. "You have certain privileges, like, you can touch me. I am not got going to get mad at you. I mean, propriety not withstanding. Please do not go trying to make out with me in English, or blow raspberries on my tummy in the hallways," they shared a smile amongst themselves and she continued. "So, yes, Cade, you can touch me. You can kiss me, and until I say otherwise you have carte blanche to touch, kiss and explore until your heart is content. Part of the deal was access to the ladies whenever you wanted, remember?" She glanced down at her chest, barely concealed in the three corners and string of her bikini top. "Just, not here though, I do not want some random stranger creeping up on us with my top off." "No is around here for a long way," Cade reassured her, getting bit bolder. "Perhaps, but do not want to press our luck," she narrowed her eyes at him. "Now are you going to kiss me, or are we trying for a record for the most dates had while not being able to make out without someone bothering us, award?" He leaned in and kissed her, and she sighed with content. "That'd be one heck of an engraving." He mumbled through their passion. She slapped his cheek playfully, half smiling and finally, finally, Marissa got to make out with her boyfriend (if you wanted to put a label on it).
  13. Her face scrunched up like Cade had just grown a massive pimple sudden;y and she wasn't sure how to not tell him, but not look at it either. Still she listened. "Cade," she finally said he was done. Her voice a whiny falsetto of grossed out. "Hands. Fish." "Oh," he let go suddenly, seriously breaking the the romantic moment. "I've been washing th-" She was already globs deep in hand sanitizer, scrubbing the alcohol solution into ever nook on her fingers and palms, even places he hadn't touched. As she scrubbed laced her hands into her hands to let the solution do its job she spoke. "You, Cade Allister are horrible with women. You are awkward, you have no respect for a ninety dollar manicure, and you..." she glared at him, her narrowing into the daggers he was used to getting from her. "Are also very sweet. A bit naive and too forgiving," she corrected herself, giving him a matronly look as if he needed to learn something from her brand of evil. "I would be drowning you in this lake right now were our roles reversed." "That's fortunate," he said with a relieved sigh and pointed to her shirt. "I'd look horrible in those stripes." She laughed, her tongue pressing the inside of her cheek as she tried not to let his infections way of blowing her threats off get to her. "I promise nothing," she said flatly. "I am not sure how this whole 'dating' thing it supposed to work when it is real, but I know and can tell you that at this particular moment, it, nor you, suck. So, I guess, now that the truth is aired and you are not dead for trying to kill me for lying to you, we can," she rolled her eyes and sighed she spun her finger to signify things moving forward. "You can, keep being seen with me." She smiled that hypnotic, gorgeous smile of her at him. "I guess." Her knees hit the floor of the boat, getting her closer to him. "Now," she cooed, her hand slid up his chest then snaked around to the back of his neck. "What are we going to do about making you a better kisser, hmm?" "Practice?" he asked in anticipation, his lips quivering into a hopeful smile. "Hm, definitely practice," she cooed seductively, her lips just maybe an inch from his own. With a push of her other hand that she snapped away and recoiled back into her own seat with the agility of a jaguar. Her legs swiftly crossed and she smiled cheerfully at him. "Just as soon as you shower and no longer smell like fish, and nature, and sweat."
  14. She was astonished to realize how quickly time had gone by while they had been out on the water. She bobbed her head to the music as Cade rowed them to their next spot and as she selected the playlist she'd noticed that it was almost lunch time. Was it really a quarter after noon already? She sprayed on a little more sun block as they made their way across the water. The oars hitting the reflective surface made a continuous rhythmic splash as the droplets trickled off in the the repetitive cycle of finding their way back in the water. The birds were still out in a few spots, she could hear their constant calls and songs over all around, even she couldn't see them. The pond and the lillypads really were something out of one of her numerous fantasy novels, in fact this whole scene seemed like something from her books where her prince charming would take her out on a boat and it would be romantic, all it was missing was a Jamaican crab... and her prince charming to not smell like fish. Still though, she was content. She was enjoying herself despite believing that she wouldn't. "You can keep fishing," she replied to her date. She began rumageing around the ice chest for some waters and twisted the cap off one she'd retrieved and handed to him. After collecting one for herself she enjoyed a drink and set about collecting things from her big 'beach bag' that she'd brought and after a few moments she'd arranged a paper plate with a sandwich a banana and poured a bag of corn chips out into one of the three little indents they made in them so their food didn't touch. "Here. Lunch is served." Her beau accepted the offered plate, trying not to look too excited as he his teenage metabolism was already screaming at him this was starving. "I thought you didn't cook?" "I can handle sandwiches," she retorted pleasantly. "Now, was not sure exactly how to make them, but Deej said they were impossible to screw up. I could not decide between peanut butter and jelly or salami and roast beef, but you can't go wrong with sandwiches, so I just slapped them together! A bit of mayo and mustard too, because I didn't want it to be too sweet." Sure enough Cade looked at his sandwich and several sliced of neatly folded roast beef and few slices of salami stuck neatly between a layer of what appeared t be strawberry jelly on the top and peanut butter on the bottom. Crunchy peanut butter. Yellow stained mayo seeped from between the meat adding that final touch that screamed culinary nightmare. "You've got to be kidding," his brain forced past his lips before he could filter it. "What," Marissa's seemed to snap to attention, looking positively wounded already that the meal she'd prepared for their special day wasn't perfect. "You hate it, right? I messed it up?" "You've got to be kidding me because..." He forced a smile. His head slowly panned back an forth as the words in his formed into something he hoped would save him. "These were like, my favorite growing up." "Really?" That one word she spoke with such elation that Cade's heart sank at the thought of lying to her, but the girl had no talent for food preparation. He just nodded and folded the sandwich in half then tore it down the center to make it like it was easier to hold while still managing to fish. She spun back around and rummaged some more for her meal and the half soared it's way into the weeds and lilly pads. She set out her plate and a cup cup of chilled yogurt she'd been cooling and noticed her man chugging his water to obviously wash down the first half of the sandwich he'd inhaled. "Jesus, slow down. We have all day." He offered her a smile, trying not to feel bad, but that would have made him sick and didn't want to break her heart. Did he feel bad? Of course. Was he going to spend the rest of the day being sick and miss this time alone with her? Not a chance. Let the fish brave that abomination she called food. "Oh!" She spun back about and rummaged through the bag. "I have extra chips in here too, grabbed like six of seven bags, plus a few pudding cups for desert." She seemed to be trying so hard that he almost didn't want to... "Ah, dang it," ...but he did. There was a plop in the water and Marissa spun to face him. "What?" She asked like something might be seriously wrong. "What happened?" "Juggling the dang rod and my sandwich... I just lost it." He looked so disappointed with himself. He brushed a few crumbs from his shorts as he sigh as a sign of a self reprimand. He knew some where out there Devin was laughing with Laurie: '...so I said, just make sandwiches! There's no way to mess them up!' and him and Laurie were bursting out into exaggerated laughter while he starved. "Hey, it is okay, no big deal," she seemed to totally believe him. She offered him a sympathetic smile and tore her sandwich in half. "Here. Peanut butter and banana. You can half of mine, you have all the muscle, you need more food. It may not be your favorite, but it should last us until dinner." Politely he accepted and the two silently ate their half of the PB&B, sipping water and enjoying their time in the peace and serenity that only a pond in Montana could bring. "Feel safe with you," she said suddenly breaking the calm silence that set over them. The outdoors and nature had a way of doing that, of silencing all the day-to-day noise around you and forcing to listen, feel and smell new things that you never seemed to realize were under your nose the whole time and were simply beautiful. "That is why I came to you, you know? You are noble and protective and altruistic. I did not honestly think Jason would be a problem, Cade," she admitted. He spoon stirred her yogurt and tap a few times on the swiftly emptying plastic cup. "Jason does creep me out, yes, but I also have a bit of a crush on him too, and I was less concerned about him coming after me, than I was just interested in making him jealous that you had me and he does not." She'd never sounded more sincere, though she hadn't taken her eyes off the water to look at him. The still reflections on the pond held her attention and seemed as if as long she continued to look away and at the water, her admissions might embarrass her less. "I am just using you, Cade. You are so sweet to smile and accept when I say 'you were there for me', but I know you are smart enough to know better, you've even said a few times that this is 'just for show'. The truth? I'm lonely, Cade. I am not sure if it is love or lust or my hormones going nuts inside my body but not dating has been driving me mad. Seeing all those other couples at school, Sophia and Charlie, Deej and Avalon. It was tearing me up inside. You were the safe choice. You are all the above, plus sweet and naive and completely clueless about women," she chuckled, trying not to show signs that she was getting emotional. "I could remain in control. I could control you and when it came to being safe, your arms are where I knew I would feel the safest. Safe, comforting, loving, that is what it feels like to be held by you. You are really great, you deserve someone better than me. Someone who can actually love you and is not just using you and giving you something fake when you are so wonderful of a guy you deserve the real thing. All of this is just to make Jason jealous. That is it. I am sorry, I did not know how great of a guy you actually were, even in a fake relationship I'm ruining everything around me."
  15. She never thought she would be so excited about a fish. The way Cade refused to take the rod from her and put the chance for success or failure in her hands really showed her a lot about the guy. He didn't do things for people, he showed her how to do it herself, respecting her desire to keep in control of her life and succeed or fail in her own merit. Whether he knew it or not, he'd impressed her. "Beauty? Cade, fish are gross, that thing is ugly." She tried to hide the pride she was feeling in knowing that she had caught it on her own with one hell of a coach spewing fishing terms she had no idea what they meant. "Wow, it is huge." She admired her catch on the floor of the boat. "All that's left is to take a picture with it." He smiled. "Great, I will hold your phone, because I am not touching that." She held out her hand for the phone. Cade wrangled with the net, trying to get a grip on the bass. "It's your catch." "This really is your thing, not mine," she moved herself as far from the flailing slime critter as she could. "I caught it. We made our point. I rule, it sucks. I am okay with knowing that, let us just let it go." The picture that was taken would stay between Marissa and Cade on their phones. As the bass swam off, a little dazed by the lack of oxygen but for all intents and purposes okay, Marissa was looking at the image Cade had just text her. It was him holding up the bass triumphantly while also holding Marissa's phone where 'Marissa caught this.' was brightly scrawled on the screen's notepad. True to her word, she did not touch it. "I could have had that mounted for you on a plaque. A little brass tag that said 'Marissa's first fish' and then the date." Cade prepared their poles again. "Nah," she offered up quietly as she looked at her phone. "I did that. You helped me. No plaque or image on a phone or picture in a frame could ever possibly mean more to me than the experience itself. I will always have that. We will always have that." The smile on her face was intoxicating as she just admired the image on her phone. Maybe there was something to all this out doorsy stuff. If not, then why was she enjoying herself so much.
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