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Everything posted by Jaunt

  1. "Okay," Devin walked with Cade and Marissa through the crowds of people and he couldn't help but have that uneasy feeling of 'I know something you don't know' as he passed by the oblivious families trying to enjoy what little of summer they had left. Charlie filled his thoughts as they moved, his stride determined, his mind elsewhere. The talks they'd had, the small frame of time in which they had to build memories and now... that was it. There would be no more opportunities for the two to build a friendship. There would be nothing else from Charles Cole and all that kept flashing through the young teleporter's mind was Charlie sitting at the breakfast table in the morning at school, laughing and smiling and... his phone spoke up with the voice of Queen Elenore from the movie Brave scolding the young, fiery haired Princess Merida, 'Don’t just play with your haggis!' she cried out, alerting Devin that it was Autumn, the Fellowship's own fiery haired princess trying to get a hold of him. "You know where to go, right? Don’t waste time getting there." He told the other two as he fished his phone out of his pocket. "What about you?" Marissa asked. She was unconsciously holding Cade's hand tightly, finding some measure of solace, warmth and protection with the two men she trusted would take care of her. She was no fighter, and outwardly appeared to be holding together. Inside, the Queen of Mean's emotional and mental stability was a winner take all game of Jenga and the tower was wobbling more and more with each new strange they got word of. "Devin, we've already lost someone, don't go playing hero." "I'm not," his smile did nothing to reassure her. "Hermes gotta do, what Hermes do, right? Texts or no, I'm the fastest. I can help make sure we're all safe and message traffic is getting relayed. You'll be safe with Cade," Devin glanced to the six-foot-four tower of muscle and Cade knew that look silently told him that he was trusting his sister’s lover with his world. She wasn't just his sister, but his twin sister. Losing her would be like losing half of his soul. It was a twin thing. "If he's crazy enough to sleep with you, he's crazy enough to punch a dragon for you. I'll meet up with you guys soon, okay?" She mustered a smirk at his bad joke and punched him in the arm playfully. "Okay, jerk. Love you." "Love you too, sis." He disappeared into the crowd as Cade tugged Marissa's hand gently to spur her back into motion. Stoically Cade moved through the people and towards where his Jeep was parked. "How can you be so calm?" Marissa asked the Terminator she was not dating, just sleeping with because they didn't want to put a label on it. "I'm not. I'm afraid, angry, and unfortunately for whatever squares off against us, determined. I will mourn when there is time. I will laugh at the memories, offer a moment of silence for the fallen, and if need be, cry tears that refuse to be kept in any longer. For now, though, Marissa, none of those things will help us or bring Charlie back, so I will place our enemy in my sights, and I will slowly squeeze the trigger of my fury until whatever took Charlie away from us is no more." “I’m so turned on right now,” she said out of nowhere. “Just thought you should know. So, you know… the faster we get this shit done...” ---===[@]===--- "Devin!" He'd barely made it thirty paces, his phone in hand, before he heard someone cry out to him. It was so cool being so... well, cool. He turned his head, looking towards camp Cassidy as his parents packed up for the day. Families were starting to take notice and their expressions read that something seemed 'off' about the direction the day was going. He ran over to the lovely redhead, the youngest of the Cassidy sisters, Laurie. "Hey, been awhile," he greeted her, and she tried to force a smile at his never-ending sense of humor in even the most trying of times. He'd just been over here talking to her just a couple hours prior. "Sean, is he-" "Yeah, yeah... he ran off to wherever it is you guys are supposed to go, I'm um, doing what I can, I guess." she thumbed back to her parents and the camp. "So, is it, uh... is it happening? He told me about Charlie... and Sophie." "Something is happening, but whatever it is, we're going to stop it." It wasn't intentional but he delivered the phrase with the confidence of a superhero. "Charlie, yeah... he's gone. Sophie? We don't know a hundred percent yet, but if she's alive, we'll find her." Neither teen noticed the Cassidy parents approaching from behind Laurie. Perhaps it was the chaos encircling their thoughts or the momentary meeting of their eyes that tore their attention away from anything going on in the world around them. It was Jack, Sean's father, clearing his throat as they approached that brought the two teens out of their silent reverie and back into reality. "Devin," Jack's voice was a firm, but fair greeting. Neither of the Cassidy parents approved of Devin spending time around their children, not after what he'd done to them for the last three years. The stories of his torture and abuse of the Cassidy siblings were cause for more than one argument in the household about going to the school and reporting him. Carolyn offered him a false smile forced through tightened lips. "Mom, dad," she looked to Devin, pleading with him silently and he offered her a slight nod of approval. "It's okay. Devin's one of them, like Sean." When they both sighed and offered a roll of the eyes in a silent curse to the heavens, Jack shook his head. "No, no..." she pleaded with them to understand. "He's okay. He's changed. Really, he's trying to be better and... that's saying a lot coming from me since I was seriously considering setting his motorcycle on fire a few weeks ago." Devin offered her a WTF glare with hurt in his eyes. "Don’t glare at me. You were a total jerk and had it coming." "Uh huh, still going to do it?" He jokingly asked her. "Might settle for slashing the tires," she said honestly. His joking expression faded fast as that was not the answer he was expecting. She shrugged innocently. "What? I've a lot of pent-up anger towards you." He barely noticed her playful grin as Jack spoke up. "Then, you'll be with my boy tonight?" His fatherly gaze settled on Devin, indicating that the time for jokes was done. "All of you. You'll see him safe?" "Sean," Carolyn's worry was evident in her voice. "Isn't a fighter." "You'd be surprised." Devin said honestly. He shifted back into Devin mode before someone noticed him being too serious. "Mr. Cassidy, Mrs. Cassidy... I'm not going to lie. What we are about to do is dangerous, but I'm sure he's already told you that we're the only ones who can do this. So, I know I'm a horrible influence on your kids, but we’re going to take Sean out tonight and we are probably going to be out way past curfew. There's going to be violence, possibly experimental recreational drug use and most likely, pre-marital sex, you know how us teens and our parties go, and we're gonna misbehave and make all kinds of noise until the job done,” his tone suddenly took the air of unsurpassed confidence. “But we are coming home." Jack stared for a long moment at Devin, unmoved by Devin's humor and unable to let go of three years of torture and abuse that he'd put his kids through. This was his life, his son's life, and if parenting had taught him anything it was that children never stopped surprising him. He offered Devin his hand, which the teenage boy accepted and was quickly locked in the tight, powerful grip of a man who worked hard for a living. Compassionately he spoke as a father, leaving the past in the past, for now. "You bring my son home, you hear me?" It was the most serious he'd sounded in a long time as Devin stood tall, like the man he was growing into and nodded his confirmation. "Yes, sir." "You guys, be careful, okay?" Laurie forced a worried smile as Jack let her friend(?) go. "We will." He turned to leave as Jack and Carolyn stood with their daughter, thankful that there were others more responsible than Devin Jauntsen looking after their son. "Devin, wait," like man leaving to go to war, Devin turned to look back to Laurie. She was already near him, running the distance between them as she called out. Her lips pressed to his cheek gently. It was nothing more than a simple kiss, but it carried with it a weight that said someone would miss him if he didn't come home. Her emerald eyes seemed to capture all that remained of summer's defiant surrender to winter's cold, shimmering with warmth. "For luck." He nodded. "For luck." ---===[@]===--- The air weft briefly, turning a violet hue, before Devin appeared with a vacuous 'bamf' standing not far from where Autumn was. With all that was going on, his sudden appearance startled her, and she jumped, offering him an icy glare. "Fuck, Devin!" "Sorry!" He apologized, matching Autumn's tone and volume. "It's not like I can knock!" He noticed Jason assisting Jacob and immediately he felt he understood why they'd called him. "Shit, Jacob..." he said quietly. "He okay? You need me to get him somewhere, hospital, maybe?" "No, no." With a quick shake of her head the red-haired teen declined the teleporter's offer to play ambulance and tucked her phone back into her pocket. "It looks worse than it is, I promise. We're taking him back to my parents' table so they can get him home and keep an eye on him." Glancing surreptitiously in her childhood friend's direction to see if he'd noticed Devin's abrupt appearance (and hoping he was still too out of it to care), Autumn tugged idly at the hem of her t-shirt. "Thanks, though," she added, as an afterthought. "Yeah, sure, no problem." Since everything seemed handled, he half shrugged and gave them a look. He seemed anxious and, in a hurry, like he wanted to get everyone to 'The Table' and start getting revenge for Charlie. "So... what's up then?" Jase kept them all moving as he supported the half-conscious, mumbling Jacob, eyes pausing their wary scrutiny of the surroundings long enough to look at Devin. "We texted you because Jacob was with Tawny." he said quietly, green gaze holding Devin's stare. "No sign of any violence other than to Jacob. It's likely she's been taken." He didn't say by whom. They all (except Jacob) knew who had taken the girl. He went on into the momentary silence. "We need to act together. That's why we're talking face to face." "And also," Autumn interjected quickly, her fingers twisting in the cotton fabric. "I really wanted to tell you in person. I know she's your friend, and that's not something you should have to read in a text." Devin about faced, cutting onto Jason's path and pressing his hand against Jason's chest to stop any further movement. "Woah, woah... the hell you mean 'likely been taken'? By whom?" If it weren't Charlie that had his guts in a knot a sudden sheen of dread washed over his face. Not her. Oh god, not her... not Tee... Not-Cody didn't seem a likely answer to him. It was broad daylight on a cloudless summer day... the idea of a monster or creature of the dark didn't seem likely to be able to get away with sneaking through this crowd of barbecuers and happy families. "The hell's going on? Who has Tawny?" He looked to the delirious Jacob and they noticed one of his hands tighten up into a white knuckled fist. Neither could be sure if he planned on using it, or if it was just the stress of the moment getting to him. "Jacob! Who has her!? Where is she!?" "I dunno... threw me..." Jacob blearily focused - or rather, tried to - on Devin. "Dev'n? Wh'n y' get here?" "He was hurled headfirst into a tree." Jason explained, shifting slightly so he was between Devin and the insensible Jacob. "Devin? Look at me." There was a note in Jason's voice, an edge of some undefined urgency usually lacking. "Tawny Shines, so we know who's taken her. We know where they are. We are going to get her back. Right after we hand Jacob off. Okay?" "Jesus fucking-" Autumn swore quietly but intensely, stepping in to get her shoulder under Jacob's arm as his balance wavered. "I just got him put back together, could you please not jump down his throat? It's not his fucking fault, Devin. Just-" God, what was with this freaking day?! "Uggghhh," she fumed aloud, an angry flush rising in her cheeks as she tried to keep her voice down. "Look, we thought you needed to know, and since you can fill everyone in faster than we can get back to Gar's table, this is where we're at right now." Jason saw it. That gleam in eyes that spoke to pure rage mingled with the myriad 'what ifs' now running through it. Jason had saw that look in Devin's eyes before, that moment right before he lashed out at Chet weeks ago. He knew Devin, like all beings of reason, had demons of his own, and although they remained quiet were never silenced. Calm as he may have seemed everyday they were always there waiting patiently for a reason to wake, take a long over due breath, and crawl back into his thoughts. In this moment, they were on a party line. He paced like he was consumed by the Dark Side and ready to rampage on anything and everyone. Any attempts he made to look like he was calm didn't fool either of his companions. The air around him warped and distorted, his eyes seemed to shimmer with streams violet and golden energy. His emotional state was quickly approaching 9000. "Whatever this thing is... or was... it's dead. If it hurt her, I swear..." he stopped there, obviously not sure how to follow up that threat. "And I'll help." Jason told him, letting the details of whatever dire vengeance Devin could not or would not articulate be left for future determination. He watched his unlikely friend, observing some manner of kinship in the rage on display, however diffuse it was. "We need to work together, though. All of us. Like Autumn said, best thing you can do right now is go get the others up to speed." He exchanged a look with the redhead. "I think we need to move right after we drop Jacob off. Grab bracelets for those that don't have them and get going." "Yeah. I don't know what I'm gonna tell my dad, but I guess we'll cross that bridge when we get to it." She glanced at the other two members of the so-called Fellowship, then back up at Jay. "Listen, if you guys want to go back, I can take care of him and catch up with you once I'm done with my family. It'll be faster, and you two can get everyone on the same page and moving forward." Jason shook his head almost immediately. "No. You'll get Jacob back faster with my help, and we are not leaving any one of us alone and vulnerable right now." "Jase. It's fine. Jacob is my priority, not everyone else's. Making sure people know what's up and coming up with a plan is more important. You're good at that," she stated firmly, then glanced back at the seething teleporter. "And you two are kind of in charge, I guess. So let's get it done." "She's right." Devin said. He was without quips or humor, not even a smile dared to wander to his lips. "Jason, go with Autumn. Cade's with Marissa. Pair up, handle Jacob, meet me at the table. I'll relay the news." "Devin, where's your bracelet?" Autumn asked absently as she noticed he wasn't wearing his. "Ellie has it." Devin took a deep breath. "Good thing too, or we wouldn't be having this conversation. Best if you keep my replacement for now, you can be my good judgement... because I'm almost out." Jason nodded in agreement and coaxed Jacob, not ungently, into motion again. "Let's get going, then. Let the others know what's going on, Devin." Wide blue eyes blinked incredulously at the pair as they either pretended she either hadn't spoken at all, or that she'd said something entirely different- she wasn't sure which. There was no mistaking the expression on her flushed features, though, which translated her thoughts as clearly as if they'd been written across her freckled forehead: What. The actual. Fuck? Jacob groaned softly, and the redhead sighed, her hand on his back. Right. Bigger problems. "I'm right here," she murmured as they started walking again, carefully picking a path out of the trees. "We're gonna head back to the table, okay? C'mon."
  2. Where It All Began July 16th, The Awakening… The apologies didn’t stop coming. Chet was, in one way or another consistently trying to get in contact with Marissa and try to repair the damage he had done. Perhaps it was in some vain attempt to win her back and not ruin his chance with her forever or just his conscience getting the best of him. Regardless of which, Devin was sorely running out of patience with him and pretending everything was okay around him was seriously straining his calm. He knew it was also Marissa’s fault, her addictions and blind stupidity were what opened the door for all of these problems to happen to begin with, and he hadn’t let her forget that. He also knew she was using again and her not seeming to learn from her past mistakes grated on his nerves daily. That’s why she wasn’t here at Bunee’s today with him and Tawny. Before they’d left he and Marissa had gotten into another shouting match about her poor life choices when Marissa came stomping down into the kitchen to yell about Chet sending her another Facebook message begging her to give him another chance. This wasn’t what he signed on for. This grand game they planned on playing with the teens of Shelly was supposed to be just that, a game. Now it seemed to be spiraling out of either of their control and he wasn’t sure he wanted to be a part of it anymore. He felt like everyday he was ripping himself to pieces in order to keep others, like his sister, whole. Now, to top it off, the girl that seemed to understand him and help to calm him down had been called home by her father instead of being allowed to sit with him for a quiet, chill lunch with no drama… Until Chet decided to be Chet and pick a fight with Lilly after harassing Clara. "Yeah? I'll show you harmless." He was over on the opposite side of the diner near a table where most of Shelly’s social rejects had retired to for lunch. Lilly had just told Chet he was harmless after Clara decided to insult him for inviting them to a party. Devin thought a simple ‘thank you, no’ would have sufficed, but she had to go and fling taunts. Of course Lilly swooped in to save Ever-The-Victim-Clara from what Devin considered a fight she started. "Dude, you can't even hit hard enough to make a girl quit. Though it's probably the only time you will ever on top of one." Lilly noted, shaking her head. "Yeah... well..." he said, thinking for a moment, "Good thing you're quarterback. Because you love handling balls." Chet said with a sneer, feeling proud of himself. Lilly nodded and shrugged. "Yeah. Maybe, but dude, you chase after them, all game, with all your might, just wanting to get your hands on them." Lilly countered, still smiling as she gave a 'wassup' nod to Clara, her morning jogging buddy, in the booth. All Devin could do was shake his head and keep sliding through his phone. Chet didn't get too much into matching wits with either of the women, although all of the inbred Montanans were being so loud that Devin could have easily been involved in all their conversations at once. He sighed, annoyed that he was still at Bunnee’s but hadn't quite built up a reason to leave yet. Alone at his booth he just tapped the screen on his smartphone browsing his favorite social media, trying to tune out the local mouth breathing drama sponges. "D," Chet held his arms out to Devin, looking at him like a comrade in arms against the teenagers of Shelly. "Bruh, you gonna let em' gang up on me like this? Help a brother out, man?" Devin had, at one point or another, abused, chastised, emotionally assaulted, sexually harassed, or was just cruel in general to about every person sitting in the restaurant at that current point in time, a few got a bit worried when Chet made a call for reinforcements. Sean knew the depths of Devin's emotional detachment when it came to making others feel terrible. Bannon knew that Devin would rather burn this whole city to the ground than spend one more minute there, Clara knew that while she had a Plan, Devin probably had a Manifesto. He hated Shelly and everyone in it and it was moments like this he cherished and salivated for. Moments where he could just bring their perfect little worlds crashing down around them and remind all the little people how weak and pathetic, they actually were... Several tensed for the abuse that was about to be visited upon the dining area... "Chet," Devin never took his eyes away from his phone. His tone was filled with boredom and lack of caring to an extreme, like a bored prince sitting on his throne when he'd rather be whoring. "Sit down. You're an idiot. You picked a fight you couldn't win, and your insults make about as much sense as Roid Rager over here," he thumbed to Lilly without acknowledging anyone. "I mean, 'you chase after them', really?" He still hadn't looked up from his phone. He was irritated about something; they could all tell. Devin never missed an opportunity to destroy any of them, yet here he was just passively blowing them off. "If you don't want to go to the party... just don't go. It's that simple. You don't even have to say anything, simply don't fucking show up. Look around Clara... no one. Will. Miss you. Put that on your suicide note, and we'll all still try to pretend to cry and act like we didn't see it coming. You're smart enough to know that if you talk to Chet, he'll talk back, it's what children do. Chet... you're a moron dude, sit down, drool, look stupid... that's it. That's your fucking job. Don't come over to the big brains and start shit, you know you're gonna lose. Because this is your future, bro. This town. Nothing more. Not a scholarship, not an 'A'... ever, and certainly not fucking my sister so quit hitting her up on Facebook, because she's lost her voice from all the dry heaving your broken English has induced. And for the record, Dick Snot, 'pretty' is spelled with a 'y', not two fucking 'e's..." It wasn't often Chet got it from all sides like this, and it was unprecedented for Devin to fire off both barrels on one of his own popular, jock clique friends. Something was certainly rotten in the state of Den... Montana. Chet had made a move for Devin's sister, and everyone knew that there were only a few taboos in Devin's world, one of them was trying to date his twin sister Marissa. Chet was on Devin's radar... that meant some people, like Sean, might be able to breathe easy for a week or so while Devin's rage was focused elsewhere. "Shit, Devin... uh, look bruh, I was-" Chet tried to stammer out but his babbling was cut short by a very loud snap of Devin's fingers. He still didn't look up from his phone. He just cut off Chet and with the same hand he snapped his fingers again and casually pointed at the bench opposite to him, inviting Chet to have a seat. Everyone knew what came next: the talk. The warning. The one and only time Devin would ever tell someone to stay away from his sister. They had no idea what had been going on over this past summer and couldn’t guess that this was Chet’s third time of getting on Devin’s bad side. There were rumors (and only rumors, mind) of what he'd done to those who didn't heed that warning. Some were never seen again, others he sold their organs on the internet, in one instance he punched their soul out of their body... you know how kids talk. Either way, no one wanted to be in Chet's shoes today… "As for your sister?” Chet turned to face Devin, walking forward a few steps with no intention of sitting down. He’d decided now, and here, of all times to get cocky. “Everyone hits on her, I just didn't get lucky." Devin looked up from his phone, his eyes angled in up in a serial killer glare that said while Chet currently held the high ground, he was seriously underestimating Devin's power. Like all teenagers Devin was now faced with a myriad of possible choices as to how he could handle the rather tense situation Chet had introduced. He could simply weather the slings and arrows of the big guys harsh words and resiliently allow them to not damage his calm. Or, with a few well-placed words of his own Devin could diffuse the situation with finesse and aplomb. There was also a third way but no well-adjusted person every really chose... Devin moved like a striking snake. Swift, lethal and deadly. He tossed his smartphone to Chet and as the large guy reflexively went to catch it, he let his guard down and caught a fist clean to the center of his face. Okay... so Devin chose the third option. Force. It was always force with him... anger, violence, conflict... these were his tools against a county, population and family life he couldn't stand anymore. On any given day, Chet probably could have taken Devin in a square one on one, but Devin wasn't playing fair. The first punch knocked Chet so far back he lost balance and fell backwards. Devin's phone slid wildly across the floor of Bunnee's and slammed into the side someone's foot at Sean's table. Chet didn't have time to recover before Devin was standing over him, pulling his shirt and bringing the big dumb guy towards him for two more heavy blows to the face... Chaos erupted all around them and the rest you all know.
  3. The Evil That Men Do Terry paced about in the darkness, the cherry from cigarette glowing brightly for a moment before it dimmed again when he exhaled a white cone of smoke for his lungs. He was across the street from his house where he usually stepped out to smoke. He had a habit of getting wrapped up in what was going on his phone and wandering off into the forested area just across the street from his house where he’d lean against one tree or another while one cigarette would become two or more as he replied to texts or fielded calls or just plain got lost on the internet in the warm summer air. The white light from his phone moved about as he paced, giving him away in the shadows of the late June evening. He smirked at the screen and pinched his cigarette between his lips and held up his phone to reply to whomever text him or whatever comment amused him. Devin’s stomach was tight and about to wrap itself in knots. Todd and Cody were on either side of him, kneeling in the shadows where Devin had spent the last couple of weeks staking out Terry and learning his patters and habits. He’d surmised that this, while he was smoking, was the best time to get him. His mind continued to chastise his rational brain, screaming that what he was doing was insane, criminal and borderline psychotic. He thought about confronting Terry alone but feared that it would only cause him to tell Chet and they might get uppity and upload that video and ruin Marissa’s future. The three of them, however, could put the fear of God into Terry and make him understand that actions have consequences. Actions have consequences. The though gave Devin pause as he watched Terry. If that were true, him and Marissa had one hell of a reckoning coming their way one day. It wasn’t supposed to be like this. The experiment, the game, whatever they wanted to call it, wasn’t supposed to turn their ‘friends’ into devious, deceptive, violent people who reveled in the misery of others. Even Marissa, the longer it went on, got lost in the power and prestige that being the Queen of Shelly gave her. It was like something burrowed into their minds and souls and just made them… off. No one knew his sister better than he did and Devin knew that in the last few years, she’d changed so dramatically that he didn’t even recognize her on somedays. Not that he was one to talk. Here he was in the shadows with two of his goons ready to avenge his sister and the thought of hurting this fool Terry made him feel… good. He was looking forward to this. Did that make him just as messed up as everyone else? Devin stepped from the shadows and approached Terry. The crunching of the leaves on the wooded grounds should have given him away immediately but it took until Devin was almost on him for Terry to be disenchanted enough by the distraction of his phone for him to take notice. “Terry?” Devin asked, lazily pointing at him briefly before letting his hand drop to his side. “You’re Terry, right?” This stranger just stepped from the shadows and casually asked him his name. Everything about the sudden shift in Terry’s evening told him that things were about thirty seconds form taking a sharp decline. “Who’re you?” Terry asked a question with a question. That was one of Devin’s pet peeves. “Devin,” he said calmly. His stomach was on fire, he burned with hate for this guy and what he did to his sister. “Jauntsen. You know my sister, Marissa.” Terry’s eyes darted back and forth as if it suddenly dawned on him Marissa’s brother was in all dark clothing, and he was over a hundred yards from his house in an empty, heavily wooded lot in the middle of nowhere. He kicked rocks. Hardcore. He could tell Devin didn’t give chase as he bolted away from him. The leaves underfoot loudly shuffled like the waves roaring up onto a shoreline on a windy evening. Hearing was almost impossible, and he could barely see, he knew the path so well he usually just walked it absent mindedly. Now, however, he was in a state of panic. He wasn’t calm enough at the moment to consider where he was going or have the wherewithal to stop and turn on his phone’s flashlight. He never saw, and barely heard, Cody come up from his flank and even if he had, the shoulder check Shelly’s star football player leveled onto him sent him flying backward an impressive six to ten feet where he slammed into a tree at an uncomfortable angle and felt to the ground. “This the guy, dude?” Cody laughed as he approached the doubled over Great Falls dealer. He hoisted his victim up easily; Terry was still to dazed to put up much fight. Cody slammed Terry’s back into the tree, hard. With his other hand he pulled long piece of torn sheet out from his pocket and gagged Terry. When he struggled Todd stepped up and slugged him in the gut, the wincing reflexively jerked Terry’s arms back down to instinctively protect his exposed core. He was already in tears, but Cody sure as hell didn’t care. He began to wrap the full length of the sheet all the away around the small trunk of the tree and tied it tightly, binding Terry to the tree by gag. Todd punched him again and lent his own sheared length of sheet to bind Terry’s arms down and his body to the tree. Devin casually approached, hands in pockets like some mob boss. “Terry,” he smirked. “Terry, Terry, Terry… oh, Terry.” He taunted, letting the reality of the situation sink into the man who blackmailed his sister. Terry retaliated with mumbles and muffled screams and while his arms and head were bound to the tree, he valiantly flailed at Devin in fear and anger with his feet. He kicked out at Devin, who was intentionally just out of range, until he felt he was losing his balance and then he’d set that foot down and flail with his other. Laughing, Devin pointed to Terry and looked to Cody and Todd, who were standing behind Terry, on either side. “You seeing this? This guy fucking serious right now?” His goons laughed. “Terry, bro. M’dude. You know why I’m here, don’t you?” Terry mumbled through his gag, it was barely coherent, but he got the point across. “Go fuck yourself. Your sister’s a slut.” Devin inhaled and smirked while he released the breath. “Maybe. But I’m not here because my sister likes to fool around with dudes like you. This isn’t an overprotective brother house call. You know why I’m here, and if you don’t answer my questions, truthfully, then it’s going to be a bad night for you. In fact, it’s going to be a bad life for you, because I could easily hammer on a piece of shit like you for fun and, full disclosure, I don’t mind making this drive once in a while.” Terry looked into Devin’s eyes. While the bound man held no love for this guy, his sister, or his current situation, he could see how serious Devin was. He noticed Cody pick up a thick tree branch and felt him slide it between the sheet and the tree. After a few moments he felt the pressure on his bindings tighten and Cody turned the branch end over end. He winced in pain, trying to tighten his chest to fight back against his bindings but just didn’t have the strength to compete with the football player acting as torturer. “The video,” Devin asked, cupping Terrys chin and cheeks with his hand and turning his face to look at him. “Where is it?” A glance from Devin had Cody loosen the bindings slightly. “Ph…” He mumbled through his gag. In a defiant moment of courage, he giggled with a no small measure of madness in his eyes. He was planning on making this hard. “Fuck yourself…” “Phone?” Devin smirked. “That what you were going to say?” The phone in question was being delivered by Todd to Devin’s hand at that moment. It had fallen to the ground after Cody’s amazing shoulder check. Of course, Devin knew all this information. He’d already broken in and snooped around and knew that Terry, so far, hadn’t made any copies of it. Most people didn’t, not when their phone was a secure and portable form of media, Devin’s only real worry was that he’s uploaded it to sites like 4chan or Pornhub and had spent an interesting amount of time lately watching everything posted on those sites. In the last few weeks, he’d seen some shit. “This phone?” Terry tried to spit at Devin… but the gag. Devin gave him an off-color look that Terry was starting to read as his ‘seriously’ look. Devin swiped the screen and it asked for the four-digit unlock code. Devin showed him the screen and the request for the code. “What’s the code?” He asked. Terry laughed through squinted eyes, flipping Devin off with both fingers. “We can make this look like a bear attack, Terry.” Devin jested. “If that’s how you want it, but I’m still in a good mood, so let’s be civil, hm? I’m going to ask you the code, you tell me with your fingers, and if that doesn’t work, well, my buddies break one. ‘Nine’ is tricky with broken fingers, I hear, so the way I gather you get one shot to make your jokes and play tough guy, or at the very least hope ‘nine’ is nowhere in your code. Ball’s in your court. We’ll wait while you think it over.” Cody twisted the branch and squeezed Terry tighter to the tree to encourage him to think quickly. Within moments Terry was making gestures with his hands, 4-4-4-4. Cody let up and Devin tapped in the numbers, chuckling about how he hated it when it was something he probably could have guessed. He scoured the phone’s gallery, swiping back to the weekend when Marissa was getting her high on and decided that blowing her dealer would be a great idea, because it did wonders for Kim’s career. Sure enough, the video was there. He paced around and followed the directions he’d researched online for how to wipe someone’s Cloud-drive, just in case, then proceeded to scour his texts to see if he’d sent it to anyone besides Chet, then deleted all of those too. All that was left was the video itself, and he destroyed it with a sense of satisfaction but only after he sent it to himself, then deleted the call logs and all his contacts. The entire process took the better part of five to ten minutes and in the meantime Todd and Cody watched over Terry. When he was finished, he approached their captive. “You know why we came here,” Devin’s voice was an almost eerie tone of Batman calm. “You know what will happen if we ever have to come back. My sister? Off limits to you, forever. She says ‘hello’ you turn and run away as fast as you can. Taking videos and using them as blackmail just because my sister won’t sleep with you is damn near grounds for me to roll you down a cliff and break you on the rocks on one of the numerous riverbeds in this fucking state. If you made copies, I highly recommend you delete them, because if they ever surface, my sister might be on blast for it, but I’ll have nothing but rage, time and motive to dedicate my fucking life to ending yours.” He gripped Terry’s throat, slamming his head back into the tree. “Have I made myself clear?” Terry nodded.
  4. It Worked For Kim “Are you fucking kidding me, Marissa?” Devin yelled at his sister as he stormed down the hall from his room into hers. His sock sheathed feet echoed hollow thumps with each angry step he took. “I don’t believe this. I don’t believe you!” He gestured to his twin who was in her room taking off the white mock turtleneck she’d worn that day to school. She spun swiftly about to face him, covering her black lace bra and chest with her crossed arms. “Dude, what the hell, get out!” Her foot caught the arch of one of her numerous heeled shoes and she flung it at him with a kick-like flick of her foot. Devin dodged the flagrant assault on his person as the shoe soared out the door bouncing off the wall and rattling around in the hallway. “Seriously? You swallow everything in a dealer’s sac and now your future is in jeopardy, but ‘oh no, my twin brother might see me in my underwear’ is gaining ground on your Top 5?! Your priorities are shit, Marissa.” “Eat me.” She grumbled and just kept on with getting changed for her visit with Chet. Devin nodded, making eye contact with his sister in the mirror as she pulled on a top with a plunging neckline in the hopes that the cleavage would distract Chet while they ‘negotiated’. “Mmm, yeah. That next on your list? You done sucked and fucked every dealer, junkie, alcoholic and frat boy in two counties, gonna get hopped up on ludes and throw a little incest into the mix?” “The fuck is your problem?” She yelled at him while sliding on a pair of jeans under the skirt she had worn to school. An unzip later let the skirt drop without her brother catching anything more than the black lace triangle of fabric that disappeared down into her jeans, not that it was awkward for either of them. The Jauntsens were a show business family and before they moved to Montana if a day went by where they weren’t changing in the car or in a small dressing room that shared with several others, then something was out of place. Still, strange as they were, they exercised as much modesty as they could... usually. “You’re my problem!” He yelled at her while she zipped up her boots. “What the hell is wrong with you? You told me you stopped all that shit and now you walk into my room and drop a bomb like that and walk off like this shit will be fixed in a day!” “I was done with it,” she said calmly, walking right past him like he was an unseen ghost. She skipped down the stairs and made a left into the kitchen, her heels echoing through the empty house as they met the tiled floors. She twisted the cap off a bottle of water and let the fridge door close on its own as she turned to her brother. “Then, I wasn’t.” The look of disgust on Devin’s face was one for the record books as she slid to halt in his socks on the polished floor. “’Then you weren’t’. Oh, what? One OD isn’t enough for you?” “Devin that was-“ “Stupid! Ignorant! Moronic! Irresponsible! I can go on.” He yelled, cutting her off. “I get it, Emjay, I do. Go out have a little fun, vent the frustrations of dealing with mom’s bullshit and dad… well, fuck let’s face the facts that dad has just checked the fuck out. I get it, I live here too I see it every day, just like you! But If you keep this up Em, you’re going to end up dead! That shit is going to kill you!” “Stop yelling at me!” She yelled back in a rare moment when she rose her voice, usually always at her brother. “I got high and got recorded giving a guy a blowjob, big fucking deal! This is bad, but it’s not the end of the fucking world, Deej! Kim Kardashian got a fucking TV show afterwards and it’s been on for like, ten years! She’s a fucking billionaire after her sex tape!” “Are you out of your fucking mind?! She wasn’t in the video snorting oxies before she had sober, consensual sex with her boyfriend. This is your fucking future, Marissa!” He frantically paced about, his anger making him agitated to the point where he needed to move. The only time was ever still was when he was sleeping, and even then, he tossed and turned. When this riled up, he almost seemed like he was dancing, his movements were so sporadic, and it was like he wanted to walk away but invisible hands kept yanking him back. “We’re not in Malibu anymore, Marissa! The police will ruin you; colleges will reject you! You’re self-destructing! Th-this is getting out of control. You are getting out of control! It was fun at first but this game… these people… it’s… it’s poisoning you.” “Drama queen.” She raised her eyebrow and smirked, mocking him as she took a drink of water. “We set out to run this place until we graduated, and we’re on top still. Chet just caught us off guard, we’ll fix him. It’ll just take time. These idiots are like puppets, Christ, get your shit together.” Her water bottle slipped from her hand and she screamed in shock as Devin swiped his arm across the island in the kitchen, launching the vertical paper towel holder and salt and pepper shakers off to collide with the vertical blinds that covered the sliding glass door that led out to the patio. “No, they’re not puppets, Marissa! Sure, they were idolizing us at first but familiarity breeds contempt! They’re evolving, trying to move past us, surpass us, run shit themselves. Cody blatantly offered to rape Sean’s sister today! He’s losing his fucking mind, getting more unpredictable. Todd said he was outside Bunee’s trying to smash racoons with bricks! We’re convincing them that this deviant, evil shit is okay. Emjay… we forgot to consider that everyone has their special brand of fucked up in their souls. They’re turning on us. We need to stop. We need to fix what we’ve done to these people, they’ll listen.” Glancing at the door and then back she groaned as she picked up her water bottle, casting it off into the sink. “The only one losing their mind is you, you fucking psycho! Jesus Christ, what the hell is wrong with you?! So he’s smashing raccoons, good, fuck them! Gross, disgusting little shits anyway. It’s a public service!” She stepped to the island and leaned against it, looking at her brother with equal parts compassion and frustration. “Devin, these people are too stupid to outsmart us. We’re fucking pros at this. So Chet-“ “Outsmarted you?” Her brother’s cocky observation didn’t do much to calm how pissed she was at him. “Got lucky.” She corrected. “So, Terry was his cousin. Small world, and I didn’t see that coming. Now, we improvise, adapt, and overcome. Divide and conquer like we always do.” “You’re not fucking listening to me, Emjay,” he rubbed his face, burying it in his hands. “For Christ’s sake will you stop trying to be in control all the damn time? If you would step outside the box you would see it’s shaping up to be a goddamned circle that looping around to bite us in the ass! We made them this way! We’ve been telling them for years that this sort of shit is okay… you just gotta be super popular to get away with it!” “I’m going to go talk to Chet,” she said calmly, once again completely ignoring everything her brother said. “You need to calm down. Invite Courtney over, fool around for a bit. You’ll feel better.” She left the kitchen. The echo of her heels clacking throughout the house as she collected her jacket and rattled her keys on her way out to her car. “Love you, bro!” She yelled as the front door closed and she was gone. All he could do was lean against the island seething in his rage. He heard her car pull out of the driveway and all Devin could do was just pick up what he scattered across the kitchen and go up to his room to get ready for his work out. Sweat and pain did wonders for his temper on days like these. It had been a couple of hours before Marissa returned home. Devin was finished with his workout, had showered, made dinner and left her plate in the microwave. Marissa didn’t cook. It was a Jauntsen family rule. He was in his room, reading (if one could believe it), when he saw her pass his door and walk down the hall to her room. She was limping slightly and that caused Devin to sit up from his bed and follow her a moment after she closed the door. Two taps let her know he was there as she sat on her bed and groaned while she lifted one leg up to unzip her boots. “It’s open.” “Hey,” her twin offered quietly. “You okay?” “Oh, yeah,” she chuckled. “Got a cramp in the car. Tightened up on me on my way up the stairs. That’s all. Skip yoga for a day, it cramps you for two.” She awkwardly laughed. “Uh, huh,” he dismissed her excuse. It was feasible, considering all the workout injuries that went on in the Jaunsen house, if they didn’t know how to treat their own sprains, twists and pulled muscles, they’d be broke from the medical bills alone. Still, he wasn’t buying it on solely on her word. IT had been a few hours and he’d had time to calm down. As was typical, the twins didn’t stay mad at each other for long. “So, uh, look…” “I know.” She interjected. “I know and I thought about it… what you said and, maybe you’re right.” Devin entered and knelt in front of her, helping her with her boots so she didn’t have to move anymore than necessary. “I love you. You’re my sister and I swear I would do anything to protect you, but sometimes, Em, sometimes we don’t have control of this. You’re going down roads I can’t protect you from. The drugs, the guys, the drinking… you know I don’t care if you have flings, that’s not the problem, but these dudes you play with, the shit they offer you… one of them is going to seriously hurt you one day and that scares the hell out of me.” “I know.” Quietly her voice cracked, stealing the last part of her words. “I just… I just don’t know how to cope like you do Devin.” Finally, she broke down and tears fell freely from her eyes while she collapsed into her brother’s arms. “This house. Mom. Dad. I hate it here and we’re never going to escape… and… I just want everything to go away, to feel good again, if only for a little while. I didn’t want this to happen.” She cried through her thoughts as they came out as best as she could allow them. Her makeup smeared and in moments Marissa Jauntsen, Queen od Shelly High was reduced to your average looking teenager with no walls to protect her from herself. “We’ll fix this.” He rubbed her back, holding her tight. “Get changed, shower and I’ll heat up dinner for you. We’re all we have, and we’ll figure this out, and get you help. Then, I’m breaking Chet’s legs.” She laughed on his shoulder as best she could. She was his rock to cling to all her life when life was overwhelming her and nothing good seemed to be in sight. As he let her go and stepped out, closing her door quietly she stripped down, sucking her teeth painfully as she slid her jeans down her legs. She approached her mirror and looked at the inside of her thigh where the yellow bruise was getting larger. Wincing through pursed lips she hoped a hot shower would dull the pain. Devin hadn’t noticed that she wasn’t wearing lipstick when she got home. She left with her usual, dark maroon lips, forgetting that Chet had mentioned wearing the color he got her for her birthday. She wasn’t sure if he’d done it to other women before, but he knew exactly where to squeeze that would make it difficult to see a bruise unless she was intimate with someone or willingly ratted him out. He was getting brazen with the video of her in his possession, hurting her was just the start and she knew it. He’d been clear that the next time he saw her she needed to be wearing what he’d bought her, if she was going to hate him, the very least she could do was respect the time and effort he put into making her happy. She’d never seen him like that before and it boiled her blood, but only after the fear in the pit of her stomach subsided. Marissa dried herself off. A pair of leggings and a sports bra later she was feeling like a human being again. Her leg hurt, but the heat from the shower had made it feel a little better. She set the lipstick he purchased for her on her birthday out on her vanity and looked into her own eyes reflected at her in its mirror. “You’re a dead man walking Chet Walker. You just don’t know it yet.”
  5. The Cassidy Issue “How about you go and fuck yourself?” Laurie Cassidy’s eyes smoldered with rage as she glared at Devin Jauntsen. Her back was against the lockers, and she wasn’t in any position to make a break for it, what with Cody and Todd hovering on either side of her waiting for their master to tug their leashes. Still, she remained defiant to the end. “How about you help,” Devin smirked. “Dude, she’s not even a freshman.” Todd laughed. Cody reached out and touched her side. “Close enough. I’d hit it. You free Friday, Laurels?” She pushed Cody away a step or two, but he just laughed harder at her, more amused in her anguish then his infliction of it. “Don’t you touch me!” Evilly Devin just watched letting it all happen until he finally stepped in and Cody and Todd backed off. “See? Laurie, we both know I’m the only thing keeping this school from tearing your brother apart and I ask for so little. My homework done, tech support, and for him to be available when I need to talk with him.” His movement was swift and his speed a surprising shock that caused the younger redhead to squeak timidly as his fist slammed the locker, startling her. He leaned in, closer to her than any guy had ever been to her before. Gently two fingers toucher her chin and he moved her head so she would look at him. “I’m trying to be reasonable. Now. Where is your sister so I can talk with him? Or do I leave Sean to fend for himself against these two?” Her eyes moistened as her glare spat fire into his soul. She couldn’t believe that she actually had a crush on him. Despite how horrible of a person Devin was, she found him to be just, well, hot. Too bad that wasn’t enough to make her not want to collapse his skull with a shovel every time he opened his mouth. Love was complicated like that. “Computer lab. He’s printing flyers, or something.” “See? That so hard?” He smiled at her, his face was a blur as she held back the tears. He was close enough to kiss her and all she wanted to do was slap the spine of one of the books she was carrying up into his throat. “See you in a few months, Cassidy. Welcome to Shelly High.” Devin pushed her forehead, causing her head to slam into the lockers. She heard them laugh and high fiving themselves as they left her in the hallway to hide her swelling urge to cry. “Guys! Guys, no!” Sean Cassidy struggled as best he could against Todd and Cody, but it was a losing battle. His sneakers squeaked on the tiles of the bathroom floor as each of the boys roughly handled an arm and practically drug him as he struggled against their pull. Finally, they simply had enough and threw him up against the wall. Sean slid down it in pain and sat wincing on the floor. Devin casually entered in his customary villainous manner, now that the dirty work was handled, they could talk. “Guys, chill.” Devin motioned to Sean, pointing out to his thugs that he wasn’t pleased at the moment. “He can’t fix shit if he’s broken. Right Sean? Don’t wanna be broke, do ya?” All Sean could do was shake his head. Three on one, typical bully cowardice, he thought to himself. “I-I was going to talk to you in second period. Now… I know you’re pissed, but-“ For the briefest span of a thought Sean felt like he was Solo trying to negotiate with Jabba the Hutt. Imagining Devin speaking Huttese was the only making this whole thing not unbaearable. “Pissed?” Devin chuckled, cutting him off. “Duuuude… what makes you think I’m pissed?” He swiped a hand in Sean’s direction, motioning for Cody and Todd to do their thing again. Swiftly they sprang into action, each grabbing one of Sean’s legs this time instead of his arms. They wrestled for a moment, but it was only a matter of seconds before the local computer nerd found himself hovering over a toiled in the handicapped stall with each of Devin’s hench-douches holding one of his ankles. The intersexed boy struggled with his shirt to keep it from falling and exposing the bra he wore to his tormentors. “See, me? I’m not pissed, Sean. Todd and Cody, they are the one’s who’re pissed. I have the swimming pool, I have parents who are never home, I have liquor for drinking, three spare bedrooms for fucking, and since I’ll be spending June in summer school, Cassidy… that’s a whole lot of swimming, drinking and fucking these guys are not going to be able to do because you didn’t do what you were fucking told to do. I tried to talk them out of this, dude. I did. But you’ve messed up their summer bro, I’m barely keeping them from ripping you apart.” They feigned dropping him, letting him slip a bit towards the toilet before quickly tightening their grip. “Was going to play Mars Attacks with the back of Laurie’s throat,” Cody said while thrusting his pelvis a few times. “Now I gotta wait for July for that. It’s awfully selfish of you Tit-Boy… keeping her from me for another whole month… she like chocolate? I heard bitches love chocolate n’ shit like that.” Todd laughed along with Cody, but Devin silently scowled at the budding sociopath. They were supposed to be intimidating the Cassidy kid, not threatening to sexually assault his sister. There were rules to this game, and Cody generally didn’t follow any of them. “See?” Devin knelt, looking Sean in the eyes as the tortured teens face swiftly reddened. “They’re animals, dude. I’m doing all I can, but… well, we all know the sacred rule of high school, bro.” “Don’t fuck with our summer vacation!” Todd gave Sean a quick jab in the gut, causing Sean to wince. There wasn’t much power behind it and he was pretty sure that was only because Devin was present. Devin was a horrible human being, but he honestly believed that violence wasn’t necessary except as a last resort. Threats, taunts, manipulation, those were his weapons… violence came only after there were no other options. Provoking others to violence first meant he’d already won. “Todd, chill.” Devin held up a hand to calm his cohort down. “I have this. Thanks though, I appreciate the assist. Love the energy.” He turned his attention back to Sean. “So? Fix this. For Laurie’s sake.” As a brother himself, Devin wouldn’t allow anything to happen to Laurie. It was the threat that mattered, that fear needed to build up in Sean’s gut, that unknowing and gnawing ‘what if’ to take a black hold in his mind and cloud his rational judgment. That’s what gave the Jauntsen twins their power: not that they could actually do anything, but the fear of what if they did? It was bully psychology 101, they trapped the poor students in their own minds, prisons of their own makings and let the worries of ‘what if’ make them pliable to more abuse. “M-maybe I can hack the school’s summer school roster,” Sean offered, stammering through the pain in his gut and the reddening of blood rushing to his head. “Sounds reasonable. I like it.” Devin smiled, obviously pleased. He tapped Sean on his cheek Mafia style and nodded for the guys to let him down. The three waited while Sean composed himself and caught his breath. “You really need to get out more,” Devin chastised him. “Workout, do some laps, something…” “Your concern is noted,” Sean lied with obvious sarcasm. “So, do the hacking thing, and we’re squared Cassidy,” The Prince of Shelly folded his arms, glaring at the intersexed kid while he adjusted his bra. Cody mumbled something about him being a freak and Todd just took the opportunity to laugh at the poor kids’ misfortune. “What do you need from me? Money? Equipment?” Cody looked stunned, gesturing to Sean in a half shrug. “Fucking serious, dude? You’re gonna pay Tit-Boy? Fuck him, he works for us.” He slapped Sean on the back of the head. “Freak.” Sean cowered slightly. It was three on one and all he could do was make himself smaller in their presence. “It’s not that easy, Devin.” Cody tensed up to slap him again, but Devin stopped him, silently gesturing for Sean to say what he had to say. “The roster is in an un-editable registry,” he lied, knowing they knew nothing about computer lingo to call him on it. “Meaning that if there are supposed to be twelve summer school students, then there has to be twelve names. If not, they’ll know the registry was hacked and we all go down. Expulsion. No college prospects. If I take your name off, Devin, I need to replace it with someone else’s.” Sean’s eyes moved to his left, where Cody stood. The message was clear. While Devin knew that if he caught fire that instant Sean would watch him burn, there was a certain honor among thieves’ mentality to how the Prince of Shelly did business. Sean was safe from most beat downs because he handled Devin’s assignments, the more difficult ones, at least. That was the cost of his protection. Now, however, as one brother to another, Devin could see the fire in the young man’s eyes that told him he wanted nothing more than to beat Cody to death with the hand dryer on the wall for even hinting about going after his sister, Laurie. He could respect that. For the most part, Sean knew Laurie was safe from Devin… but his goons, well, sometimes he didn’t control them to well. There, in the span of the stare, the two men decided, shook on it, and acted without a single word. “Cody. Put his name on the list.” Devin pointed to his number one goon. “What?” Cody looked at Devin, anger filling his cheeks to the hue of crimson. “The fuck dude!” “Cody, relax.” Devin said, lowing his hands toward the floor like he was pushing down all the rage that was building over at Camp Cody. “Sometimes we need to take one for the team. Besides, it’s only for a few weeks. No big deal.” “Then you fucking do it!” Cody gestured angrily at his backstabbing ‘friend’. “It’s your dumb ass that got summer school to begin with. Fuck.” “I’m gonna let that slide, because I’m in a good mood,” sometimes all one needed to imply they were offended to wake others up to the possibility of things getting out of hand if the disrespect continued. “As I already said, I have the part pad, so I can’t be there letting you guys party if I’m in summer school. Look, to sweeten the deal, I’ll toss in the Heath twins. I’ll hook you up when you get out in July.” “Which one?” Cody narrowed his eyes, suspicious of the offer. “One, the other, shit, both, dude, if you want. I heard the blonde one’s a freak, you and Todd could prolly spit roast her.” Cody’s expression relaxed as he pondered Devin’s offer. Todd’s was twisted in thought as he tried to do the math on Devin’s words, considering both of the Heath sisters were blonde. His eyes rolled about like he was carrying the one to somewhere it didn’t want to go. “Yeah, fine…” he caved after a few long moments of weighing his options. “Fine, fuck it. But I’m serious, Jauntsen, you better hook me up. Both of them.” “Yeah, sure, fine, whatever,” Devin agreed dismissively mumbling his half of the agreement. He glared at Sean for a long moment. Then thumbed towards the door. “Go.” Sean weaseled his way past them and left as swiftly as he could. He knew his side was going to be bruised but at least he avoided getting dunked in the toilet.
  6. Frantically Marissa tapped out a text to the group as fear began to ride her nerves and shake her fingers anxiously. Dead? This was not happening. This could not be happening! With that simple concept now planted in her mind it swiftly sprouted into an all-too-possible reality. Something out there was playing for keeps now. It was hunting them and so far, it was winning. “Hey,” Cade tried to put his arm around her but she swiftly jerked away as the moisture in her eyes became the first tear of many that were going to fall. “Marissa everything-“ “No!” She stepped away from him and glared up at him. “Everything is not fine. It’s not going to be fine, Cade!” She stepped in realizing she was being louder than she intended. “We’re being hunted. It killed Charlie, it has Sophia… bait, Cade! It wants us to go after it. Why leave him and take her? We’re next. It’s going to find us and it’s going to kill us.” She backed away from him again, the panic rising in her mind while she paced, thinking it might calm her down. She was showing her crazy and she knew better, but, fuck, wasn’t there a being stalked by an extra-dimensional demon clause in there, somewhere? Should be. Her lover took a step towards her, but she held up her hand, blocking him from getting any closer. “Cade, I… I can’t okay. I just can’t right now. I don’t need hugs and kisses or a fucking fishing trip, I’m not some cardboard cut out of a girl. I’m angry, I’m scared, I’m freaking the fuck out… I need space. Room to breathe.” She looked down at her phone and read the message. “Delayed? Are you fucking serious? UGH!” She groaned at the sky, rolling her eyes, almost sure they were making a pit stop to sow their oats before the big night. “Those two, I fucking swear!” ---==={@}===--- “You’ll be safe with her,” Devin said calmly to Ellie. They were in the parking lot of Bunnies, a few miles away from the Carousel. Ellie’s mind was still trying to get a hold of how his travel worked and him taking her with him was as much a blessing as it was an honor. He had so much to learn about Teulu culture… “Her name is Annette Giles. She’s a friend.” Annette stood several yards from them, just outside her car at the driver’s side door. She couldn’t hear them but when Ellie saw her looked to Devin and cocked her head. “Have you coupled with her? She is extremely attractive.” “No,” he smirked, stifling a laugh. “At least, not yet. She is a friend and if something happens to me tonight, she can try to help get you home.” “Devin, I-,” she shrugged, not sure how to phrase her next words. “I do not trust her. I wanted it to be you.” “I know, Ellie, but we can’t work on that unless I make it home tonight,” he shrugged, trying not to look worried. “If I don’t, she will be there for you. If I do, we get to work on getting you home. Deal?” “Very well, if there is no other way, then I suppose we’ve little choice.” The blonde Teulu inhaled and exhaled slowly and steeled herself for meeting what was possibly the fifth, or sixth rival of the day? “Devin, I’m so glad you called,” Annette said as a greeting as they approached her. “You must be Ellie, I’m Annette Giles, a friend of Devin’s.” “Yes, the one he claims to have not coupled with… yet.” Ellie once again brought the crimson to the forefront of Devin’s cheeks. “Is that so?” Annette said in a dry tone. “Yes. Poor me, but I’m on the mend. Holistic diet, yoga, the target range. Anything to get him out of my head and bring peace to my loins.” Ellie nodded sagely. “Yes. That is best. Your age mingled with your lack proper respect for such a divine figure makes you an ill-suited mate.” Annette’s icy glare fell on Devin. “Well,” she exhaled. “Isn’t she a gem.” “Don’t look at me like that,” he said with a shrug. “I didn’t rub her lamp. I didn’t call her here. She just… showed up.” He slid the bracelet from his wrist and placed it in Ellie’s hand. “Here. Take this. You’ll need it to get home.” “You will be victorious.” The statement hung in the air with the confidence with which she spoke it. Devin had never really anyone speak with such with a measure of truth and confidence in their voice before, except maybe Marissa, but this really didn’t compare to getting guys to fall for her because of a plunging neckline. “I will get to know this Annette Giles and patiently await your ret-“ Devin looked down to his phone. His eyes narrowed and his expression took on a stern, serious tone. “Charlie is dead.” He said out loud as he looked up to Annette, who was also looking at her phone with a look of sorrow on her face. She nodded, confirming she got the same message. “Jesus, fuck…” Devin stepped away, sliding his hand through his hair in disbelief. “Jesus fuck… it killed Charlie, man. Fucking, Charlie! Dude just got a girlfriend! I mean… who the fuck…” he paced; a bit frantic as he collected his thoughts as the death of his ‘friend’ settled in. “I mean, she really liked him and she’s gone too. Because none of us were believing the cherry popped last year in drama club story. No fucking way. Right up there with I got a ‘girlfriend in Canada’.” “You have a girlfriend in Canada,” Annette pointed out. It was a low blow, sure, but Devin’s new girlfriend called her old and unworthy of him. Him! A snot nosed, loudmouthed, moronic sixteen-year-old… with perfect hair and a charming smile. God, she hated this job sometimes. “Not the point!” Devin pointed out, loudly. “We need to find her. Save her. Anette, I…” “Devin, I know,” she nodded, offering him a caring smile devoid of humor. “I want to talk all of you out if it, I do, but I know I can’t. Something gave these powers for a reason, maybe this is it. Ellie will be safe with me until you get home. Go save the world, hero.” “S'what we do,” he offered her a smile and looked to Ellie. “Be safe.” He turned and ran behind the building as a purplish flash faintly lit up the pavement in the summer sun.
  7. "...and that about covers the basics." Devin said as he and his impromptu 'date', Ellie, walked through all the various picnic settings of the other families who had gathered for the Carousel. She'd locked arms with him, keeping close and doing her utmost to absorb all the knowledge Devin was spilling her way. A crash course in 2019 teenage etiquette seemed far more complicated than her first training regiment. And she thought the Teulu had rules... "...what if violence is directed upon me without provocation on my part? Surely I'm permitted-" The dazzling blonde looked at him, her eyes narrowing in curiosity. "No." Devin chuckled. "You are not home, you are on Earth. We don't, or at least, the well adjusted don't just mete out death as a solution to our problems." "How has your species advanced this far?" She shook her head in confusion as she looked around at all the families laughing and playing away their day, oblivious to the fact that an alien from another realm walked among them. "It's like you have nothing to contribute to the other realms besides breeding stock." "Baby Yoda." Devin retorted with swiftly. "That's us. We invented Baby Yoda. Oh, and peanut butter, and French kissing. Pretty sure America invented too." "I'm not very familiar with your culture, but even I know that French things are the product of a place called 'France'." The athletic blonde squeezed his arm in warning that she knew he was trying to put one over on the tourist. "French-Americans." Devin shrugged. "Prolly immigrants, searching for a new life and really like licking the powdered sugar of their toast... and BAM, French toast, French kissing. A total two'fer." "The act you portray of the Fool, Devin, it does not fool me," she said calmly. Like Jase her eyes were never just still. They moved and scanned every person, every object, she was perceiving possible threats from all sides and assessing their surroundings with a trained, heightened awareness. "You are a god, as you put it. Yet you walk among insects. I do not understand you, but I will." "There's nothing wring with these people, they're good and you know, Xena, Warrior Teulu, a little love might do you some good." He fist bumped someone from school as they walked past another group of teenagers their age. They didn't take notice of the stares the the others teens were giving them as Ellie moved among them with fresh eyes drinking in her blonde hair, athletic frame and cheek bones that would give Marissa a run for her money. She didn't know it, but Ellie was swiftly becoming the talk among the male students and in less than the half hour since her arrival people were wondering where she'd transferred from. Small towns. Got to love them. "Not everything is a war you know, Ellie. You're safe here, more or less." "It's when you feel the safest," she said softly. "That you're not." "There you are!" Misti and Carl caught sight of their son as the couple were passing by the Fingleman's picnic area. Devin groaned an rolled his eyes as his mother waved him over. "Of course you know our son, Devin." Swiftly he was snatched up and with her arm around her son she presented him like a display. "I believe he has a few classes with your daughter." The nail digging into the back of his collar told him that was his cue. "Uh, yeah! Mr. and Mrs. Finger-uh ba-uh, man. Fingleman. Sophie's awesome. We get on great." He turned on his 'bullshit' smile as he rolled his shoulders, hinting for his mom to back off. "Well, have you heard from her recently? She hasn't answered her phone today." Mr. Fingleman asked. "Hmm? Oh, uh...," Charlie an Sophie, to Devin's knowledge, were consummating their new found relationship with lots of sex. Like, tons of it. Now, the last thing one did was rat out their homies, so Devin being Devin who was so smart and so slick, he thought up a lie and he thought it up quick. "Honestly, you probably won't answer it for awhile. See, her and Charlie are big time theatre nerds and ol' Chuck got his hands on a preemo rendition of Les Misérables. The whole thing performed live, Charles was going gaga over it. Last I heard they were making a day of checking it out, singing all the songs and taking a lot of notes. He trying to push it as a venue for this years school production. I wouldn't doubt if they had it cranked to eleven and were singing along. It's what los- lovers do. Of theatre. Lovers of theatre. We're all meeting up in a bit, if she's still ghosting you by then, I'll personally see to it she checks in." "We'd appreciate it," Mrs. Fingleman replied with a mother's concerned smile. The one that said she was worried still but she was glad her daughter such good friends. Neither of the Finglemans notice Carl, Devin's father, standing off to one side and slowly moving his finger through the universal hand sign for intercourse. Devin nodded swiftly, yet conspicuously. His father pursed his lips and made the 'I knew it' face. "Who's your friend, Devin?" Carl asked, intentionally putting his son on the spot again. He was overcome with a certain measure of pride that his son was in the company of such a beautiful young lady. Devin turned hi head to where Ellie was patiently waiting and observing the conversation. "Oh! Sorry, uh, everyone this is Ellie. She's um, new to Shelly. I'm showing her around." "New?" Misti narrowed her eyes in suspicion as she'd not heard of any new families moving to Shelly. "Where did you move from? I'd love to meet your parents." "I did not 'move' here," she said calmly. "I ventured through the Void and through a wayfarers portal I found myself here, where I was to begin my search for your son. Teir fa Thunn is where I call home, I seek to return there and Devin has agreed to assist me in getting back there." Had he the presence of mind to do so Devin may have bothered to count the number of blinks in the awkward silence to tally up just how screwed he might be. He didn't mind so much that it was his parents, but the Fingleman's were right there...
  8. And she was crazy. Of course. On the hot crazy matrix she was right on track. 'Hero'? Why in the world would she ask that unless she was one of Sean's weird-ass role playing nerds who couldn't let the game stay at the table or was part of the 'New Strange' that seemed to be his everyday now. "Ellie," he smiled. Her expression, it seemed familiar. She wasn't looking at him so much as studying him. She wasn't speaking like a person who wanted to express themselves, only someone who had something to say and nothing more. A question to ask. A person to find, and that was it. No emotion, no purpose beyond the moment, no drive, no ambition. It was like talking with Jason's sister. "I'm Devin, and I'm pretty sure I would have noticed someone as beautiful as you." "Hero, huh?" He opted out of an eye-roll. He let her go and they now stood facing each other like normal hormonally driven teenagers. "Depends on how you define hero. I mean, some heroes save the day in the simplest of of ways, by just being there for us, or letting us know we're believed in. Others fight fires or police cities. Some heroes aren't even really heroes, they stand and fight five minutes longer than the hero before them. So, what do you need a hero for, Ellie?"
  9. Devin hammered away on his phone, his thumbs moving at near light speed with the practiced proficiency nearly all teenagers possessed. He was texting Lona. They'd been on the road for a few hours now and although they said they would just make it a clean break, that lasted all of forty minutes before she was texting him with pics of the countryside and before they knew it they were on two or three hundred texts by now. It was idle chat; thoughts and opinions on the day, what the other was doing, how everyone else was doing and what they were up to. She wasn't coming back, that much he knew, but he honestly liked that they were talking. His senses were, much like himself, all over the place. He'd grow accustomed to being 'aware' of everything going on around him and like the rest of the Fellowship, on some level, had learned to 'mute' the background or face going mad with twenty-four hour stimulus overload. For the most part he didn't sense a whole lot in his casual everyday life, just enough in his general vicinity to keep him from bumping into things, or pinpointing his balance and acuity, making him look really cool and agile when he wanted to be. Out of them all, Devin was the show-off and he never passed up the opportunity to have a bit of fun with his abilities. He knew she was there after the first few turns he made and she was still on his heels, still he just made his way, monitoring her distance from him and soon enough he realized that she was just behind him for a few steps, she was following him intently. She was a simple arms length or so behind him. He could work with that. He slid his phone into his pocket and swiftly turned on a dime expressing like he'd forgotten something and just like that, they ran into each other. The gentle impact seemed to catch her off guard, and as her hands gripped his shoulders reflexively to keep her balance his hands braced her waist to help her keep her footing. With a still startled look on his face the con-artist teen could have let go, but didn't. "Oh, god! Oh, I am so sorry..." He let their eyes meet and background of his senses went almost completely silent. She was beautiful, more so than he expected and... not from around here. He knew everyone in Shelly and this girl didn't get though being almost his age and not getting hit on by him at least once in the three years he'd been living in Shelly. "Are, uh... are you okay?" He said to her eyes as much as the rest of her.
  10. "Nah," he smiled at her. "You know I got yer back, fam." The teleporting teenager addressed Cassandra's mother with a shrug and a simple tone. "Mrs. Allen, no one can do the things we can do, so it stands to reason that there are certain things that only we were meant to do. I know the truth is sometimes stranger fiction and your daughter is a lot of things," he grinned at Cassie. "Smart, gorgeous, plucky, but she's not a liar. What you hear won't be easy, but every word of it is the truth." He stood up and leaned over to the lovely blonde, "If you need me, I'm a text away." He looked to her mother and offered a wave. "See ya Mrs. Allen. If you need questions answered, I'm... always around, these days." He smiled and walked back off into crowds of park goers well into their barbecue and beers by now. He hadn't made it more than fifty feet before Courtney caught up with him. "Deej," she gripped his arm to halt his meandering. "Do you know where your sister is?" He rolled his eyes and sighed like any good, annoyed brother should. "Courtney, I posses psychically enhanced spatial awareness and omnidirectional acuity." Courtney just looked at him like he was a statue and slowly shook her head, her mouth hanging open in a trapped phrase. "Sooooo..." "Yes!" He chuckled, still a playing up being annoyed. "Yes, I know where she is. I know where everyone is. She's over at Mr. Hendrick's table trying to weasel more chicken out of him. The food is helping her cope with the loss of Autumn." "Wait," the redhead seemed shocked. "Autumn's dead?" "Well, not medically. Not yet, anyway. No, my ever-giving and ever-benevolent sister welcomed Autumn into her circle of friendship... and now now she'd rather just spend all of her time with her boyfriend... who told my sister he loved her and kissed her... and is now dating her 'bestie'." "...that's a bit messed up." Courtney said through a furrowed brow still trying to put all those pieces together. "Eh, it's par for the course around here. To hear her tell they're all monsters. To hear them tell it, I'm sure it all somehow be Marissa's fault. Still, she's my sister and I see left ass-out while those two are running off and having the time of their lives. For two people claim to care about her, I'm sure as hell not seeing it. It'll sort itself, I'm sure. She just needs a few days alone in the woods with her potions and rituals and a little Jase doll while she burns strands of Autumn's hair and bays at the moon maniacally. That always perks her right up." "Right." Courtney expressed little to no interest anything Devin had past 'par for the course'. "Mr. Hendricks' table, got it thanks." She walked off, smiling and waving as she made her way to Marissa. "No problem. Yeah. Gooooood talk. Glad we could have it." He clicked his tongue and shook his head before meandering on...
  11. Devin looked at his phone. Between his sister's angry rants and Cassie's text he seemed to be paying more attention to it than the conversation happening around him. Finally he slapped his hand on the table softly to gather everyone's attention and offered a parting smile. "Well, this has been fun, but, I have to skee-dattle, Cassie needs me for something." He stood up and offered the assembled teens a wave as he prepared to hunt for Cassie and her one lone, leafless-branched tree. "Hit me up in a bit guys, I'll see you then." He set off after thanking the Cassidys for inviting him over for a plate, for which he received a series of suspicions facial expressions and fake platitudes that told him that no matter how they said he was more than welcome, he wasn't. Devin knew false fronts when he saw them and didn't really blame them, he just wished they were more honest with him and themselves. He had been walking across the park, sharing waves with the few people he still 'knew' and even shared a wave, smile and wink with Courtney who was too busy talking with a small group of guys 'admiring' her outfit, when his sister slipped from a throng of people lining up to try someone secret BBQ chicken recipe with a plat in hand and her small, pointy talons poking into brownish-red meat. She sucked her thumb clean with a smack while looked on, shaking his head. "So?" He asked. "How'd it go?" "As well as to be expected," she said, licking her fingertip. "You were right. No one even acknowledges that he even did something. They blame everyone else for it, walk away, or just plain deny it." "I told you." He added with a chuckle. "No one here is our friend. We're the scapegoats if things go south. We already have the three-year history and I'm betting it's only a matter of time before the Liam thing gets put on us too. Best we can do is keep it tight and let them play their games. Jason is smart, smart enough to lie with the truth and smart enough to make everything look like it's everyone else that's to blame for it, so let him be their problem. In the mean time, we work on us." She rolled a few strands of peeled chicken into her mouth with her tongue. "What if he does hurt her though, Deej? I do worry, you know." "Not our problem." He shrugged. "You talked to her, she blew you off. At this point, if winds up broken and in the hospital because him, I wouldn't bother visiting her. Let her piece together why. Look, I know it's cruel, but we're trying our best to be friends with people and we're not good at it, but at least we're trying and so far we're not really making head way, meanwhile he's assaulting people al-la Batman and no one so much as wants to pull him aside and say 'what the hell', they left that job to a us, a bunch of kids. We both know where this is going, so let them handle their own business. That's how they want it, fine." She shrugged as she chewed, nodding in agreement with her twin as they walked. "I spoke with Jacob. He actually seemed alright. I miss something?" "About three years?" Her brother laughed. "It's a surprise what people are like if you peel your face up from your phone and actually talk with them for a moment before you try to destroy them socially." "Yeah," she said with a exhale of realization. "I'm noticing that. So, where are you off to?" "Cassie is about to drop the 'the talk' on her mom." He said while pivoting to one side to dodge a couple who were so into their own conversation hey didn't even notice him. Marissa smirked. "Pretty sure she knows, I mean, she had Cassie, right?" "Yeah, but I figure at the very lest I can lie there while Cassie has her way with me in public," he mused with his own devilish smirk. "Things I do for a date with the hot blonde, right?" "Mmm, you're such a giver," his sister chuckled. "Seriously though, we were just talking about this at the 'Cabin In The Woods' table. She's really on edge about it. Her mom has been through a lot," for a moment Marissa's sincerity rose to the surface and she was thankful none but her brother were there to witness it. "Just, be supportive, okay? Cassie's a good person and she's really been dealt a rough hand, so, be there for her. She needs a win." Seeing that she was being serious and thoughtful he tucked his humor away for a moment and offered his partner in crime a smile. "Relax, she's in good hands. I have her back." "Good," Marissa licked her finger tip again and shooed him away with the same hand. "Now go. Go be a hero or something, I'm gonna find more chicken, this stuff is so good." Hands in the pockets of his hoodie, Devin approached the Allen table. He had noticed them talking from a distance and it looked like stall tactics until he got there, but for the most part they seemed to both be in a good mood. He slowly approached and Cassie braced herself for the witty quip or lewd comment veiled in a greeting and hoped her mom would find it as amusing as Devin no doubt would. Instead he simply just approached with a friendly smile. "Hey, Blondie." He offered his Homecoming date a gentle rub on her back. It reminded her of what it was like to have that 'special someone' in her camp. Mentally she knew Devin was as smooth as they came in these parts, but emotionally she couldn't help but appreciate that feeling of having him there. Something about him just left her mixed up sometimes because she knew all of his tricks and still a part of her considered falling for them. "Mrs. Allen," he offered a nod." No quip, no witticism, nothing, just honest, supportive Devin. Yeah, this whole thing stunk like End Times. Her glare told him that they would have words about what he was 'trying to pull' later, but instead she decided to resign herself to the soft, tender trace of Devin's nails gently scratching her back. He was full of it, sure, but what sort of mad woman denies decent back scratching? "Text said you needed my help. What's up?"
  12. "Eh, well enough," Devin raised one shoulder dismissively. "All things considered it's not been bad, and yeah she did tell me about the metal blow out your mom had. It's to be expected, Marissa gets that a lot. Most the school thinks she's a slut, they just won't say it out loud." "Wait," Laurie interjected. "How can people think she's a slut? She's unattainable. Cade is the only guy she's dated since you two moved here." "It's typical high school," Sean helped his sister out. "She's a slut because she's unattainable. Since she won't date then school logic dictates that her refusal to commit to a relation means it's because she's promiscuous. Plus they hate her so thinking and calling her a slut makes them feel better. Even the bullies get bullied, save that in Marissa and Devin's case were someone to say it out loud to their face, the twins would ruin them, and they know it." Devin nodded, tensing his jaw with a bit of admiration for Sean's pretty accurate appraisal. "That's about the right of it. People have hated us for years, but they're afraid of what we would do if we found out." "What would you do?" The inquisitive junior asked. "Now? Nothing." Again he blew it off with a half shrug and a dismissive roll of his eyes. "My sister? Prolly would at least try to flex a bit on the person to remind them that she's still their better, you know how she is. Honestly though? Neither of us really care. Never have. No matter how much people throw at us at the end of the day we're still rich, hot, and going to a good college after high school. Statistically, Shelly doesn't educate a lot of Masters degrees or PhDs for that matter. We laugh and take solace in knowing that no matter what they say, this town is still full of losers. Plus, now? We have super powers. Even better and it further proves the delineation in genetic superiority my sister and I have been preaching from the get go. We are actually better than everyone else. True facts." "Gee," Laurie rolled her eyes and completely lost interest in what Devin was saying. "Thanks. Good to know." All the rogue Fellowdude offered was a smile. "Some exceptions exist, but let's be honest, everyone at this table couldn't stand me, let alone like me, a few months ago." "Still can't." Cade offered dryly. "Still don't." Sean offered with a honest shrug. "Aaaaaand a big 'screw you' to the both of you." He offered them as they all smirked at him. "I'm all kinds of impressive, there's really not a whole lot about me that isn't likeable..." "Oh, god... what. Ever." Laurie raised her hands like she'd heard enough. "Don't wanna hear it. Noooooope."
  13. "Sup, dude," Devin nodded to Cade as the built teen approached them. "No worries, we were just discussing the disparity of redheads compared to brunettes and blondes in Shelly. You know... brunettes... like the one currently pissed a you." Devin smirked as he rubbed a bit of salt on the wound. "Very funny," Cade offered him a look that was partly him taking it as humor and the rest mostly a slew of swearing silently with his expression. "Chill," his bae's brother chuckled. "Give her a few hours and she'll be over it. Look, if it's any consolation, don't sweat the small stuff. Let her be pissed and shrug it off, she already fumed in my ear and frankly I don't see what the big deal is. Trying to tell your parents is one thing, I get it, now had you just started telling randos at school about it, yeah, I'd be a bit rankled, but don't sweat it. It's not like this is the sort of thing that people will believe anyway." "So, forget all that," Devin shrugged and raised his plate for display. "Have a seat. Sean's offering up his sausage for anyone willing to put it in their mouth." "Oh my god," Kat said as her cheeks flushed crimson at Devin's, not necessarily inaccurate , appraisal of the current situation. Sean did the same, shaking his head and just wishing a rock or something would just land on Devin, or at least his mouth. "Really?" Laurie slapped Devin's arm and looked at him like a scolding mother would any child. "Wut?" Devin mumbled as he took a bite of his lunch, shrugging in protest with a mouthful. "S'troo!"
  14. "They say we all have to grow up sometime, right? These guys had my back when no one else did. It sort of showed me who I could depend on, you know? I'm doing my best. Better sooner than later, too, 'was a complete jerk in high school' doesn't really pad a resume' once the world of careers and professionalism rears it's ugly head. Right?" He said it with a small grin and delivered the line with the cool, nonchalant manner with which he usually worked people. He always seemed comfortable talking to people and flipping that switch between the guy they all knew and the teenage boy who could fool the adults with false sincerity. Knowing that, it left one to wonder half the time how sincere Devin really was... "Lemonade sounds great," he replied. "Just the sausage though, no bun." "No bun?" Laurie looked at him like he was insane. "Dude, you can't knife n' fork these things, it's un-American." "No carb day," he shrugged. "All the pizza yesterday? Jacked up my diet. These abs didn't grow themselves. Even the lemonade is a stretch, but I'm so sick of water after yesterday. I had to hear about that water cooler incident for hours. See, you guys are lucky, you deal with Marissa while she's around and then you get peace and quiet. I live with her. Oh, right... you weren't there. Anyway, water cooler drama, my sister is a pain, now I hate water. Kat will fill in the details." "She seemed reasonable earlier," Laurie pointed out while scooping her and Devin up some grilled vegetables. The young teleporter laughed a bit, "That's because she's pissed at Cade for almost spilling things best left quiet. Teenage drama and intrigue doesn't mix well with adult logic and hypocrisy. He did some name dropping or something at their little lunch before all of this and the Sheriff had to bail him out. She lost her mind and she tends to be a mix of sugar and spice when she's trying to calm down." "You mean, likely to build someone up just so they can tear them down?" Laurie quirked a grin. Sean huffed and half-smiled. "Sounds about right. What did Cade say?" "Not sure," he lied, making sure not to say too much in front of Sean's parents. "But you all know how much a charmer he is. So, if you talk to her, avoid the topic of Cadums, if at all possible." He looked to the Cassidy parents who were now looking at him like he was being shady. Devin just smiled. "Oh, come on, all teenagers have secrets." They all sat at the picnic table and dressed their first lunches of the day except Devin who seemed to think copious amounts of mustard made everything better. Devin's phone vibrated and looked down from the table to his lap. "S'cuse me," he said in proper non-bumpkin etiquette before turning his attention away from the conversation and to his phone. He swiftly tapped out a reply. <Chill Mulan, I got you. I'll be helping Jase find his style for the big night, I can help you too. Trust me, if you can program an entire video game, this will be cake. Hakuna your tatas, bro, everything will go great.> He shot Sean a wink to let him know everything would be fine. Not Autumn fine, but actual fine. He set his phone aside, leaving it face down on the table and turned to Laurie. "So, who're you going to Homecoming with?" "What's it to you?" She asked. His interest meant he was obviously considering the possibility that she was no longer available and, in typical teenage girl fashion, that gave her an advantage over the smug yet hot guy who seemed to have an interest in her so games needed be played. "After all, you taking Cassandra," she let Cass's name slide off her tongue with a snide, upscale tone, like Cassie was some gorgeous blonde princess. "Which makes sense, she is blonde." "It has nothing to do with her being blonde!" Devin protested while Sean and Kat laughed at the two spatting. "Okay, well, a little, I mean it's not like redheads are an exotic find here in Shelly. She's like the only blonde in our school amidst two brunettes, one being my sister, the other, Lilly, and an ocean of redheads. Seemed like the blondes were getting a little dissed so I wanted to do my part to help them out, you know?" "Ugh, gawd," Laurie rolled her eyes and just went back to eating. "I can't even with you."
  15. "Yeah," Devin nodded. His tone carried the same measure of seriousness that Sean's did. It was obvious that no matter how hard these kids thought they were, there were certain things, like impending doom and the safety of their families, that seemed to quell the teenage smirks and quips. "Look, I'm sorry I brought it up. I thought you knew, but this is something we all have to do." "I know," she held back the moisture in her eyes by nodding and trying not to think about it. "Ju-just be careful and I'll do what I can on this side for all our families if, well... if things don't go well. If you can't save him, at least make sure that whatever took him from us regrets it." Devin allowed himself a subtle curl of his lips. "S'what we do girl, we're the Fellowship," he draped his arm around Sean and pulled him close before doing the same with Laurie. "We spend all day looking like Heaven, and all night fighting like Hell. We'll be fine." He released them from the hold, which if anyone would have told Sean a few months ago that he'd be fighting the Forces of Darkness and getting three way hugs after half-assed pep-talks, he would have said 'hell no'. There it was though, Devin trying to keep the group together while it was obvious he was, like the rest of them (except Jase, who stoically face everything with his emerald stare and homicidal indifference) was falling apart. He clapped his hands to punctuate the end of that moment with the dawning of a new one. "Come on! Seriously, I'm not being all mopey today. We're here. It's a party, so come one, let's mingle, let's hang out, for all that is indecent and unholy let's be teenagers for one freakin' day without drama or explosions or the inky doo-doo butter of evil oozing through the walls and screwing things up. Sun's shining, we're all here, we got barbecue's happening. Lets enjoy ourselves." "You," Laurie looked at him skeptically. She pointed at him and then to her and her brother, moving her finger between them. "Want to hang out with us? Like, actually hang out." "Yeah." Devin offered a stiff, single nod that was a statement in and of itself. "In public." She stated. "Yeah." He stiffly nodded again. "In front of all these people? Devin the whole school is here." She gestured to the crowd. "You're popular. We are... not. What about image you don't have to hang out with us to prove something, you know. We get it, it's fine. We're not going to be all butt hurt if you-" "Stop." Devin cut her off, smiling slightly. He looked to Sean and he both. "Look I know I've been horrible in the past, we all know, I'm running out of breath constantly repeating it, but true facts, so listen up. When I've faced the Dark and I've protected people, even if accidentally, and I have to go to mirror dimensions to kick their bitch-king in the teeth... it helps grow someone past how many likes my newest Snap gets. If I might go down tonight fighting, then I want to spend today hanging out with my friends. Or, the closest thing I've every had to any. That's you guys. So come on, show me what those below the social poverty line do for fun." Laurie looked to her brother while Sean shook his head, partially laughing, and partially in disbelief. Don't look at me," Sean smirked, shaking his head. Leave it to Devin to ruin a perfectly good moment of attempted redemption by being an entitled rich kid. "This Twilight Zone stuff is like, my everyday now. I'm almost numb to it at this point." The three looked to Kat as she approached and Devin gestured in the new redhead's direction. "Bam! See? There you go. We have found a stray Kat." He looked to Sean and gave that 'Devin-smirk' "It's like a double-date now, dude." Laurie slapped Devin in the gut with the back of her hand, gently, but enough to make a point. "We are not dating," she glared sternly into his eyes. "Ever. Wash that thought out of your head right now, Jauntsen." "Or, it's an orgy," he smiled and powered through. "If you two are into the whole Game of Thrones thing... which explains the hooves and boobs-" "Wow." Laurie could only laugh and shake her head. "You are such a treat, Jauntsen." She broke off and approached Kat. "Hi, I'm Laurie, Sean's sister. Hopefully you've arrived to save us from his mental retardation." "Oh, come on!" Devin protested. "I'm just spitballing ideas. Tossing out a few hypotenuses and developing theories. This is science, right? I thought nerds loved science. I'm trying to be involved in your hobbies. Solidarity, my brothers... and sisters."
  16. "Hey," Laurie cheerfully greeted her brother. "Nope we were just talking." "I was talking, she was flirting," Devin pointed out as Laurie bumped playfully into him with a quiet laugh hidden in her steps. A part of Sean hated to see it, but she was actually flirting. Devin was too, but he knew Devin was shameless in his pursuits for feminine attention, which, as a brother, gave Sean's feeling some pause. IF was one thing for Devin to mindless do his thing, but if his sister was stating to like Devin... that might only be setting her up for some unwanted, and very real, heart-break. Devin denied the Fresca. "Nah, I'm good, man. Water day for me. I feel you though, Cassidy, about getting away from the parents. Our only bring us here so they can show us off to the rest of the town and make it look like they might actually know what they're doing. Lord knows they certainly don't care." Devin laughed and scoffed as he watched his mother and father wandering about 'mingling' with people they positively despised. "You know, last year, my mother actually FaceTimed a parent teacher conference. Had me hold the phone. Saddest part, she works at the school. Apparently the cookie platter was empty and she was more concerned about how that made the school look as a host to the parents than being a parent to her kid." He sighed and shrugged, shaking his head. "I mean, genetically, you Cassidy's are a mess, but as far as parents go, you guys hit gold." Laurie nodded through pursed lips and sucked her teeth. "Yep, it's true. Teagan is a shaved wendigo and I actually have cloven feet and a tail hidden by my shorts. You got us." "Oh, I knew it. Jaunt, super sleuth." He scrolled his hand like he was placin the words in the sky. "Might go into business for myself if Not-Cody doesn't finish us off tonight." Like everyone else, it was on his mind. No matter how from the thoughts he tried to distance himself, the thought of battling Not-Cody this evening seemed to keep creeping to the forefront of his mind, finding its way into his words. He realized it was a little unnerving and look at the other two apologetically. "Sorry, its uh... kinda on my mind. Been a messed up few days." "Wait, what?" Laurie glanced at Devin with concern then whipped a red pony tail in Devin direction as she looked to her brther. "Cody, what? Who is gonna what now? Sean, the hell is he talking about?" Devin peered around her to look at Sean. "You didn't tell her?" His neck tightened to stretch his lips into a frown. "Oooh, shit. Sorry, dude. Thought she knew." "Know what?" She asked firmly.
  17. "Do you think she'll actually help?" Laurie asked Devin. The two had stepped away from their parents and were slowly walking along in the shade with Rascal prancing along not far from them. "Pretty sure," Devin shrugged. "I know she's a bit abrasive, but she cares in her own way. Marissa is trying, she just will never admit it because she feels it's a sign of weakness, or admitting that we were wrong in some way." "Uh, you tortured a school for three years," Laurie laughed. "You kinda were." "I know that. She refuses to accept it. It's just," he shrugged again, sighing. "Her way. I don't know. I know it's hard to believe, but, she really does like you guys. If she says she's going to help, trust me, tomorrow? She'll have it halfway sorted. Trust me." Her lips curled in an appreciative smirk as she tugged a strand of coppery hair back behind her ear. "Well, tell her thanks for me? And thanks again, you know, for this weekend." "No sweat. Glad you had a good time and I'm surprised your mother let you slip away with me, she still seems to hate me and now thinks we're canoodling on the side." Devin laughed a bit recalling the trip they'd taken and the numerous laws they'd broken recently. He'd kept her out until four in the morning the other evening and expected her to be grounded for life. Texts had later revealed that while she was in a heap of trouble, it wasn't as bad as she thought, considering she owned up to her wrong doing, promised she'd be more careful, and absolutely swore nothing had happened between her and Devin, intimately. "Noooo," she laughed. "No canoodling. They were pretty pissed, yes, but I did explain none of it was your fault." He looked at her a bit confused so she explained. "Well, I was honest. I mean, I agreed to the trip, right? So, it's not like you put a gun to my head. I simply told them, when they tried to blame you for everything, that it was a two party deal, you know? I could have and should have left and come home on time, but I didn't and that has nothing to do with you, so they should be blaming you for my choices." Her own shrug punctuated her statement. "Wow, you took a bullet for me," he smiled at her. "I appreciate that." "Yeah, well," she grinned, blowing it off like it was no big deal. "You're not a bad guy, most of the time." She laughed as he his face took on an expression of offense. "You, Deej, at some point you're going to have to talk with my parents. If you're really serious about repairing all the damage you've caused over the years, then, it's not just me and my brother you've hurt. MY mom and dad had to deal with it too. They were our support group though all of yours and Marissa's storms." "I know, I know," he huffed. "It's just... going to take time. My list apologies is growing daily." "Well, I'll keep putting in a good word for you, how's that?" She smiled and leaned into him, nudging him with her shoulder. "It's the least I can do, I suppose."
  18. //My new number. For the Fellowship only, please. Jason// The twins both looked at their phones simultaneously, polishing that twin stereotype of sharing just a bit of the others' thoughts. They looked to one another and Devin shrugged as Marissa rolled her eyes. "Great." She vented sarcastically. "Now he has my number." "I can see it now: 3AM texts... 'Hiker struggled, slipped, fell in wood chipper. Blood everywhere. Help with clean up. Dad will kill me'." Devin smirked as he dotted his arm across the air bouncing it with every word as he spelled his thoughts in pantomime. "I'm sure he told them all he loved them before he chewed them up into kibble, so that certainly makes it okay, right?" Marissa mused, smirking. "Oh," her brother nodded in confirmation. "Totally. He's really big on love." Holding up his phone Devin tapped out a reply to Jason's message. //Groovy. Marissa said she doesn't buy it. Send n00dz.// A moment later when her phone chirped up his reply, she slapped his arm. "Asshole." Their parents were currently mingling with one of the teachers from the high school. Since Misti worked there anytime there was some form of social function happening anyone who worked at the school tended to find other members of the faculty and latch on to them. Unfortunately at the moment it was Devin's algebra teacher, Mr. McRiley. If the judgemental glares from his parents weren't enough to hint at the lecture he was going to receive later, the smug tone in Mr. McRiley's voice was certainly there to remind him up. Mr. McRiley went on. "He's smart, always has been, but so far this semester his mind seems like it has been everywhere but his class work. With that awful business over the summer between him and Chet, violent outbursts like his are certainly indicators of deeper troubles. I just think he'd do much better if he was a bit more focused." "Yeah," Devin mumbled. "And if you'd quit riding my dick." His parents both angled a look towards their son that border lined on psychotic rage that only parents at their wits end seemed to be able to call up. "What? It's true. The dude is a condescending prick. I know I'm not that good at it, but what I don't need is some smug asshole slipping little quips about shitty I am at it while thinking he's managed to mask them behind his superior intellect and fanciful wordsmithing." Mr. McRiley cleared his throat, a tell that he was anxious and possibly embarrassed at being called out. "Regardless of how much you don't like me, or my attitude," that's it Devin, play the system. "Your job is to teach in a polite, professional and respectful manner. If you don't like how I act, then my parents should have been notified by now, not turn it into some vendetta of yours where you get to be a prick and I walk away not learning anything." Cherry on top. "He looked to his mother with pleading eyes. "Tell me I'm wrong, mom." Mr. McRiley looked to Devin, then Misti, then Carl. Devin wasn't at school, he wasn't sitting in the classroom and he wasn't at the mercy of of the school's or Mr. McRiley's rules. They were in public on their personal time and this smug bastard decided he'd make it into some impromptu P/T Conference? Nuh uh. This was probably the last time they would get to spend with their parents and... friends(?) and Devin'd be damned if he was about to allow his Algebra teacher to screw that up and get his WiFi and phone privileges taken away on the night they were supposed to save the world. "Well, yes and no, Devin," she smiled at her son then addressed his teacher. "Mr. McRiley we are aware of how much of a handful our son can be. He's had a few discipline issues of late and has never really adjusted to life Shelly as well as we'd hoped. However if my son has one talent it his tactless acuity for calling it as he sees it. A talent I hope he can polish one day, but until then I'm in a position, as a parent, to listen to both sides of the story. So, why don't we revisit this conversation tomorrow in my office?" "That's sounds great," Carl chimed in. "We appreciate your concern, but this is not really how we planned on spending our Labor Day. We're very serious about our children's education and if there are opportunities on either side of the educational spectrum that need addressing we'll certainly look into that, but this is not the forum, Mr. McRiley. It was a pleasure to meet with you and we do hope you enjoy the rest of your time here today." The teenager's parents both pursed their lips in frustration at their son as Mr. McRiley pressed on to another family and greeted them with a warm smile and a handshake. It was like he was on a 'ruin Labor Day' mission for all the high schoolers. "Wow, Devin." Carl nodded and forced a insincere grin from his lips. "Not even twenty minutes. Twenty goddamned minutes and we are already getting spoon fed how much our son just doesn't give a shit. Going to look great in your transcripts for... technical school? Community college? Is that what you're going for, or was just lounging around the house smoking pot until you're thirty four more or less what your shooting for?" "Dad!" Marissa's tone of urgency caught her father's attention. "Look, he's not lying. The guy a real jerk. I mean, come on, of course Devin's grade sucks, we're only two weeks into the school year. And he's already got a tutor." "You went and got a tutor," his father asked him. "Already?" "W-well, yeah," Devin was quick to follow up, crafting his lie as swiftly he could. "Proactive, right? Jason Bannon. He's totally been helping me out, but, you know... long weekend haven't been to class...," he chuckled. "What can I do, right?" "Pass your next exam," his father's digit was stiff against the bone of Devin's chest. "I want it, in my hand, and it better be an 'A'. That Bannon kid supposed to be smart, you have until Friday to get like him. Phone. WiFi. Ducati. Gone. You hear me? I'm tired of being embarrassed by my own god damned kid everywhere I go." Their parents walked on ahead as the twins trailed several paces behind them, both on their phones. Marissa looked over to brother and mouthed silently the word 'sorry', then tilted her head as she noticed he had a credit card out and was tapping away on his phone. "What're you doing?" She asked aloud. Her brother shrugged and kept tapping away. "Fuck that guy. He's a pervert. The way he talks to me and they way he locks his eyes on the ladies in the classroom, the dude has issues. So, I'm helping him out." Devin held up a worn leather wallet for Marissa to notice then tucked it swiftly back into the pocket of his Under Armor hoodie. "Holy shit! Where did you get his wallet?" She whispered and looked about in a paranoid fashion. "What do you mean 'helping him out'?" "A little teleportation magic, aaaaand platinum access on every porn site I can think of." Devin smirked and kept tapping away. "He'll thank me later." "Fucking diabolical." she grinned evily. Mr. McRiley's wallet found its way randomly in one of the coolers of a random family who were just there to enjoy their day. Credit card and all were placed back where they were found and he made sure to purple bamf it to the very bottom where it could soak up all the cold water all day and hopefully ruin anything that was in it. The spiteful little sociopath had all of zero fucks to give when it came to caring about how well the rest McRiley's day was going to go. Grinning evilly at the other, proud of their little caper, the twins merrily went on their way. They hung in the back as the Jauntsen's managed to locate Carolyn Cassidy and they were waiting for all hell to break lose as Crolyn scowled at the twins in the back while also trying to make polite conversation with two prominent members of the town's PTA. Great. The Carolyn Cassidy and Jason's dad... and the Jauntsen parents all there... all available to talk each other in a neat little circle of friendship... this would not end well, considering Gar knew their dirty little secret and the Cassidy's hated them... hell, their own parents hated them. "Hey, Deej," Laurie's voice cooed pleasantly through the static of their parents' nonsensical B.S. and polite banter when all they really wanted to was tell the others how much they didn't like them, or their weird-ass kids. "Red," Devin smiled a bit, letting just a hint of his charm show. "Hey, how's things?" "Things are... thing...ing, slowly along." She was year younger than the rest of them but there were still times in the girl's mind where her brother and the others were like giants to her. The difference a single grade made to the narrow scope of a teenager was amazing at times. "Marissa." She added in as polite of a greeting as she could. Marissa scared her, not because Laurie was easily bullied, in fact quite the opposite, but there were still those people out there who just knew how destroy a person with a few words and no matter how tough their exterior was, they carried those wounds inside for days or weeks while they healed. Marissa was one such gifted individual, able to cut people down and revisit them in a few weeks to restore her dominance... like mowing the grass of people's egos and self-esteem. She was woven from bitterness and dyed with spite into the blackest sackcloth from which only malevolence and darkness could sieve its way through. Plus she was always really well dressed and super pretty, so she supposed she hated for that too. Probably more that than the darkness and evil thing... but was mean! "Wow," Marissa snarked at Laurie's desperate attempt to make conversation with her handsome and obviously irresistible brother. "Smooth, Cassidy. So, where's your brother? Haven't seen him around yet? He lose another bet and waiting for his dress to dry?" Laurie rolled her eyes and sighed only to be met with Marissa resting a hand on her shoulder and smiling with pride. "Oh, honey, don't misunderstand, I'm not putting you down. I'm praising you. Making your brother wear a cheerleader outfit to a school game in small town dominated by small minds and religious doctrine? "Ugh," she rolled her eyes and grunted in pure praise. "You single handedly destroyed your brother's social life in a single evening. You have talent, girl. Why aren't you in my camp?" "I, didn't-" Laurie stammered suddenly realizing the perspective Marissa had put on it was accurate, if not tactless. "Oh, I remember why you're not in my camp," she grinned viciously. "Half the school wants to wreck your brother for being some freak, their words, not mine, who decided to embarrass our school at a home game by being a self proclaimed 'guy' who wore one of our cheerleading outfits, but wasn't a cheerleader. The other half wants to wreck you for thinking you could just dress your brother up in a school uniform he didn't earn and embarrass the team and the school you play for all for... what? A silly bet? Didn't consider that, did you? It's a uniform. You don't wear it if you're not in the team. Those are earned, not just tossed on because you want a giggle. You're both pretty screwed, honestly. Coach is pissed and didn't find it funny at all. So, yeah, good plan, pleb. Can't wait for the sequel." A bit slack-jawed at the revelation she looked to Devin who could just shrug solemnly. "I hate to say it, but she's right, in her own eloquent, evil way. You may have been better off walking into a church and using a lit bible to set fire to the American flag. The Coyote's are laughing stock right now and the team wasn't happy that it was one of their own who set it all up... I mean, I hate it, I do, because people around here are ignorant and closed minded, but... we have no control over how other people react to things." "But, I'll bet we totally bullied you into doing that when you go crying to mommy though, right?" Marissa folded her arms and scowled at the little redhead.
  19. The movers had already left the day before and were well on their way to Avalon's new home in Canada. The Wright house was down to only what they needed to get by for one more evening before they all said goodbye to Shelly for good. It would only be about another hour or so before they hit the road but Devin had made it his his personal duty to make sure his soon to be ex didn't leave Shelly without first having a proper goodbye. The Wrights didn't care for Devin, so when his Ducati purred as he cut the engine after pulling into their driveway, he didn't much acknowledge their glares at him. The Wrights were having some sort of sorted love trist with Lona's mother at the expense of Lona being treated like a non-existent entity or an inconvenience in her mother's life. The last thing those abusive freaks needed to be doing was cast judgmental eyes on Devin. They continued to load things into the vehicles as he walked past and towards the side gate that led to the pool house where Clara and Lona stayed (it kept them out of the house and out of way, parents of the year). “She's still grounded,” Adele had the nerve to say to Devin after he passed her. The side gate was always locked, but that never stopped him. With a leap and kick off from the house, Devin soared and rolled over the gate with a practiced gymnast's grace. Furious, Adele turned towards the house and gave pursuit to the pool house with all haste but when she stormed inside all she found was Clara, hair in a tight ponytail, finishing some last minute packing and planning. “Where's Avalon?” Adele asked. Clara only shrugged and shook her head. “I haven't seen her for twenty minutes, maybe? She went to get breakfast she said.” Again she shrugged and stuffed a few travel distractions in her bag. She nodded to towards the house. “I figured she was in there with you guys.” Lona laughed as her hands hit the table of the Waffle House. Seattle seemed to be where they were enjoying this morning's fine dining. “Oh, I am so grounded for life. Slick, Jauntsen, slick.” She looked at her phone as it lit up where it was resting on the table. “Clara says we made it by half a second. And my mom is currently going on a tirade. You excel at pissing people off.” Devin shrugged and smiled wide. “Not my finest work, but I think given the time crunch, we totally nailed it.” They laughed and joked for the better part of a half an hour or so as they ate their greasy spoon hash browns and eggs. Neither broached the subject of the inevitable departure and Devin knew that soon he would have to take her home. It was what it was, however and until that moment came he chose to focus on nothing but her. It was amazing, his thoughts wandered, how he was able to meet someone who was just as messed up as he was, but inspired him to be a better person. At the beginning of summer someone pitching the notion of he and Avalon Wilson dating would have garnered some of the strangest looks and laughter not only from Devin, but his sister as well. She wasn't exactly the sort of girl he'd have considered being caught dead around with her leather jacket and shaved head and whole host of attitude issues. Yet here he was, dreading the moment she'd be out of his life. It was almost storybook the way they held each other's hand by nothing more than curling their pinkies around the others. Now, they were back in Shelly, walking the nature trails of Montana's more scenic vistas that overlooked the mountains and plains still untouched by human ambition. It had only been a few minutes of silence as the view still amazed them enough to capture their tongues as their hearts were sifting through possible farewell dialogue. “I'm going to miss you,” Devin finally managed as they looked out on the fields where early morning mist still clung to the canopy of trees a few miles away before dipping down into the greens and yellows of the tall grass in the neighboring fields. “I'll miss you too,” she smiled but kept her gaze affixed on the valley below. “So... is this the part where we profess undying love and swear that we'll be together again soon, or... how's this supposed to go?” “We both know how it's going to happen. I'm pragmatic enough and you've performed and written enough love songs to know how this'll all go. We'll swear some pact to never forget each other, but we will. We'll swear that we'll find each other one day, but we'll bother either married with a butt load of kids or too busy with our careers to make the time to make it to the spot we agreed to meet at.” She chuckled silently, as he wasn't wrong. Movies and song were pretty far from accurate when it came to the successful ratio of high school kids and their lost crushes finding one another later in life. “Look, Avvie, all I know is that where ever you go don't go there thinking about the next time we'll meet or hold onto the hope of when that day will come. Just go knowing that right here, right now, in this moment, I love you.” Disney Princess tears were not what formed in her eyes, but raw emotions had certainly found its way there and hey eyes met his with inquisitive wonderment as she, despite who she was talking to, could feel the honesty in his words. “Really?” She asked, a part of her wanting to hear him say it again, desiring to know that somewhere in her messed up life of insanity and mourning and negative feelings that somewhere in it all, some guy actually manged to fall for her. Flaws and all. “I guess,” Devin shrugged. His smirk was forced as she could sense the lack of the usual bravado he typically carried like a trophies on his shoulders in the shape of a golden devil and silver angel. “I know that when I'm with you I'm elated. I feel joy, happiness, wonderment... all the things that describe someone feeling love... I've only ever been in deep shit before so this is kind of new. But, I don't want to be one of those guys that tethers you to a promise or a hope and you give up on being you in order to wait for that hope to happen. You're amazing Avalon, I regret never seeing it sooner, but you have two more years of awesome Canadian Boarding School-” “Ugh,” she grunted and rolled her eyes. “Don't remind me.” “-and then four,” he gave her an appraising once over. “Probably six, years of rebellious college years and I don't want you wondering or thinking about me and the big 'what if'.” She sighed, loudly and defeated by the situation. “I know, but, that doesn't make it any less bullshit. We didn't even get a chance, Devin. It's not fair.” “Believe me, I know,” his voice faltered as he, like her, was pushing as hard as he could against the slowly bursting dyke of his emotions. “But, we both know this is going to happen, so I just want you to go knowing that you make me feel like love. One big, heaping pile of quivering confusion and happiness. I want your heart to know and feel like mine does right now for you, I want your songs to say all the things your heart can't and I want you to never forget that you've inspired me to do and be greater than what I was. To be a friend, a leader, a boyfriend... so, thank you and if you ever stop to think, whether tomorrow or years from now, whether or not I ever think of you from time to time, the answer is 'yes'.” She smudged away a tear from her cheeks with the ball of her palm. “God, for a jerk, why do you have to be so good at wording?” She sniffled. “Just... just c'mere...” she pulled him close and they kissed passionately under Heaven's watchful eye. After several moments of heart wrenching bliss she broke off the embrace to smile, telling him: “I love you, too. Or time was short, but you've been an amazing guy and I know you can be even better. I hope, hope, that one day we can maybe see how hot we can burn without the chains of parental authority holding us back, but, you're right. Let's live our lives, git gud, and be awesome and if that time comes, so be it. If not, we have now and our first time? Well, we never forget that, right?” “Right,” he smiled lovingly at his soon to be one-that-got-away and kissed her gently on her lips. A few carefully placed texts managed to get Avalon smuggled back into the pool house. As Devin left the parents of the home threw a fit the moment they saw him. Adele followed him, yelling something, but he didn't pay her any mind, after all, what were they going to do? Not move just so just they could stay and hate Devin? Not likely. They'd get over it, but him not even offering her a glance or motion that revealed he cared anything about her or what she had to say only drove into a larger fury. By the time he got on his bike and drove off she was telling him something cruel and vindictive about her daughter never seeing him again. That was fine. She had to live with the damage she was causing now and even the most devoted daughter could only tolerate so much before she would eventually turn her back. He knew Avalon would be just fine and no matter where she went, he'd always be there for her... literally in the blink of an eye.
  20. "Alright, well," since standing in a kitchen while everyone just glared at one another in rapt fascination wasn't really his gig, Devin finished his Coke and tossed the can in the trash. "Guess this is, uh, pretty much done, so I'm gonna go. If you guys need me, text me or call me." "Good job today guys thanks for showing up and keep at it. Practice makes perfect and all that. Let Jase know I'll see him around." Devin stepped out of the door and skipped down the steps that would take him to his ride home.
  21. "After my run-in with demons there, I keep a back pack loaded with essentials." Devin waved off the coke. After loading up on grease and carbs from the pizza he's decided that he'd at least forego the extra three hundred crunches it would take to work it off. "First-aid, foldable knife, food, water fire starters, etc. Also, think about portability. It probably isn't a good idea Cass for you to rolling all over town with gas tied to your bike. That tends to get people asking questions, so please, guys, be smart about it. Jase doesn't need the law up here causing his family issues because all the local kids are carrying gas to the Bannon farm." "Also," he grew a bit more somber in his tone and expression. It wasn't something he wanted to talk about, but it needed to be said. "Say your good-byes. I know no one wants to think about it, but the reality is simple: we might not all make it back. For some or all of us, this will be a one way trip. Tomorrow is the Carousel, take that time to be with your families, loved ones, whomever. Say what you have to say, do what you need to do. If you feel they need to know what you are and what you're going off to do or you just want to keep it secret and ride out your luck, that's entirely on you. I'm not here to tell you there's some magical 'right way' to say 'I hope I don't die in an alternate dimension so I come home after I've saved the world'. "I will say this, though," he forced a half smile. "Please don't ghost them. Make sure they know how important they are to you, just in case. Because I for one am planning like I'm staying, but I'll be fighting like nothing can keep us from home." After that... he really needed that coke. He collected it from the table and popped the top for his first drink. "S'all I got."
  22. Devin didn't rightly feel like moving right away. He'd sacrificed a lot for his skills over the years, sprains, pulled muscles, even serious neck injury scares and a concussion one or twice, but never in all his years of training had he ever experienced pain quite like that. A part of his twisted mind almost wanted to ask her to do it again, just make sure it was was real. It was intense and despite feeling like he was about to die, he'd hadn't felt more alive in quite some time. "So," he said through a ragged breath that was swiftly returning as his brain gently stopped hyperventilating. "So... that was a thing. One," he wheezed through a short laugh that ended in a few coughs as his lungs weren't quite recovered from the panic yet. "You have very calloused hands, my sister can recommend some lotions." Autumn rolled her eyes and sighed. Before she could go off on him again, he raised a hand to let her know he wasn't finished. "Two," he grunted as he managed to push himself up to a sitting posture. He sighed, still struggling a bit for breath as he looked at her. "The thing with a spar, or any fight, is energy. Obviously, you want to hit the hardest to end it as quickly as possible. Now, I'm no Kung Fu guru guy, but what Jase and I did, that was both offense and defense: wanting to hit and finish it while not being hit in return. You? You seem to have a luxury we don't: the ability to transfer pure pain with a touch. See, you don't need to hit someone, just touch them. Were I you, that's where I would start. I'd work on my ability to evade, dodge and train myself to look for openings in my opponents offense so that I could sneak in a touch that would disable them." He seemed a lot better in a short period of time. He didn't appear to have any desire to walk and his voice was sounding a bit raspy, but for the most part he seemed to be alright. "Devin," Autumn started, a bit of worry still in her voice. He may be the source of most of her annoyance, but she certainly didn't want him hurt. "I'm sorry. I didn't know... I mean, I knew, but I didn't exactly think it would... I'm still figuring it out." "Don't," he shook his head, smiling. He reached out and took her hand, a small act that was more for the display of showing he wasn't afraid to touch her after what she did to him, but also because almost dying kind of puts things in perspective, even for a sixteen year old boy. "You've nothing to apologize for. I said don't hold back, you didn't. We're cool." He shifted and laid back down into the grass. "Marissa and I have been practicing at home, mostly YouTube videos, but we Amazon'd some headgear and padded gloves and all that. You're welcome to join us any evening. As for today, give me about ten, maybe fifteen minutes and we'll work on for awhile on you avoiding attackers, but," he looked at her and grinned. "Can we turn that down to a pinch and not 'turning your insides into liquid Kanye on autotune'? That'd be great, thanks."
  23. "Fair enough," Devin said, processing all of that and letting it go before he just made it worse. "You let me know when we are there. Until then, you're right, plants and bugs don't fight back, so show me what you have." He stood a few steps away and tapped his chest. "Hit me with your best shot. No teleporting or blinking away or none of that."
  24. “Yeah, some,” the teleporter replied to Kat as she and Courtney approached. He left what was there as he and Autumn collected what was trash and prepared to leave. “Could ladies excuse us for a second?” He added with a smile as he left the two girls to eat. It wasn't that he didn't want to talk, but Autumn had confided in him for something and he didn't feel right it was right to put her business out there for others to be involved in, that was her call to make, not his. Pizza boxes, napkins and paper plates were carried in as many ways as possible between the two teens as they walked towards Jase's barn where a larger city issued bin was to discard everything. He didn't say much as they walked, taking it step by step and considering her request as things between them slowly built more awkwardness with each passing step. He was certain she didn't like him, and he didn't blame her, but she had a point, if her and his sister were going to be friends that would mean they would need to find some common ground or avoid each other completely. He held up the lid of the massive blue bin so Autumn could hoist her armful of pizza boxes and discard the concern for having to do it later. Neither wanted to party at Jason's house and leave him to clean it all up. He swung up the small garbage bag filled with plates and whatnot and let the plastic lid slam closed. “So, did you mean, like now or...” he let his words hang in the air before deciding to move on. “I mean, it doesn't matter to me. We've a full gym at the house, weights and all that, plus the gymnastics gym too. I've been doing a lot of practicing in the evenings, nothing major, just like staff tricks and stuff and helping Marissa get her fight on too. We're both horrible at it, but still it helps to have a sparing partner. YouTube is a big help, also.” He stopped and she followed suit, turning to face him right as he was meeting her green flecked eyes. “I'm cool with coaching, no problem there, but, I'll be honest with you Granola, I don't even know what you can do. I know you have Fondler's First-Aid, where you touch people and heal them, but that's it. I can help unless I know what I'm helping with. So, look, no pressure but, what I can help with out of the gate, and I'm not trying to preach, is I'm not afraid. My powers are amazing and I can use them for all manner of mischief,” he grinned. “I can even teleport people into the sky and let them fall to their death.” “Comforting thought,” Autumn huffed out half of a laugh as she listened, curious of where he was going with this. “Right?” He grinned again, raising his eyebrows. “But I can go to sandy beaches, and take you, my friends, with me. See the world in ways a television screen could never do justice or just in way I never knew existed. No matter how I use my powers, I can't be afraid of them. The how is up to me. If you want to master your abilities, you have to embrace them. I realized early that my mental frame of mind played a great deal in controlling or learning to control my abilities.” He gestured up and down his body with his hands. “I sleep in the buff,” she rolled her eyes, suddenly no longer interested in where this was heading. He laughed and raised u pa hand to pause her rising desire to just walk away from him. “Hold on now, hear me out. When I woke up naked in the back yard, it was because I was having nightmares about the Land of Upside Down Thunder. Hell, I still have them. It wasn't me losing control of my power though, it was my power trying to protect me my reflexively getting me out of harm's way. Like when you lift your arms up and flinch, or wake up just before something ad happens in dream. We might think we're fine, or have accepted something, but deep down our minds know differently. If you're afraid of something you can do, it won't mature and can hold back from understanding your limits.” “It's not that easy, Devin,” she looked at him. Her thick, coppery locks bounced as she paced in the sunlight of the mid afternoon. “It's not some 'well, just get over it' sort of thing.” “Sure it is,” he shrugged. “But, I think differently than most, so I'm not going to say either of us is right or wrong. Simple math, Granola. Jason has fire, but he also has ice. Sean electricity, but also light. I'm able to bring myself to the world, but in time have learned to bring the world to me. My guess is, if you can put a body back together, you can rip one apart, can't you? That's what has you spooked, isn't it? A little Molester's Massacre to go with your Fondler's First-Aid?”
  25. After finishing her impromptu lesson with Cassie, Lilly walked over to the cooler and withdrew a bottle of water. Twisting off the cap she looked around, a small smile on her face at the sight of her friends, and hopeful friends, all sparring, training, playing around and laughing. It was good to see them have this bit of levity and camaraderie. After what they had been through, especially in the last week, she was sure they needed it. There was more that was needed too though. More that was due, regardless if they were going to take the fight to the Dark or not. Some figurative wounds had been opened and festering too long, and needed to be addressed. Lilly owed some apologies, regardless if they were accepted or not. With that thought, Lilly noticed that Devin was not around joking with Jase or hitting on any of the girls or the like. Glancing around, looking for him, she spotted him laying out on the grass, shirtless, his toned, gymnast's body still covered in a sheen of sweat. Lilly paused and thought for a moment, nibbling on the side of her lower lip as she was apt to do when thinking, and took a swig from her bottle, enjoying the refreshing water for just a moment before twisting the cap back on. She began to half walk, half stroll over to Devin, making her way through the grass which easily announced somebody approaching him. She came to a stop, standing beside him and leaning forward slightly, blocking the sun with her head as she looked down at him, casting a shadow over part his chest and head. "Hey Devin. Nice moves back there. You and Jase have really been working hard to master you gifts." she complimented honestly. "Hey, uh, do you mind if we talk for a minute?" she asked somewhat pensively. "Eh," Devin smirked, squinting less now that Lily was in his sun. "Jay-Bee ain't got nothing on me. I was going easy." He chuckled. With Lily in his sun he was able to look up at the hard bodied, athletic female and appreciate both the creation of leggings because of what they did for a woman's butt, and lament that they took the place of exceedingly loose and short track shorts and that was why Lily wasn't wearing any and he couldn't see up them from his currently perfect point of view. She sounded serious, which meant he knew what this was about or he was about to accused of something he was probably guilty of and just wasn't aware he'd done it yet. He sat up with a grunt and his body complied with a series of tightening muscle groups Lily could probably name and easily tell that Devin, for a slacker, didn't miss a work out. "Yeah, sure. Claim some real estate." He reached to one side and collected his bottle of water that was covered in clippings of grass as a sweat of the bottle collected anything that would stick to it. "What's up?" Lilly crossed her ankles as she stood and lowered herself down to sit Indian style by Devin. She took a moment and nibble on the side of her bottom lip again, but for just a moment. "I just- I just wanted to say I am sorry. For how I acted before and what I did. I was caught up in what you had done that I couldn't see what you were doing. You were trying to help." she said in a somber, sincere tone before adding with a small, lopsided grin, "..at least in your own way." The grin faded and she looked to him, her gaze finding his eyes and looking into them. "Seriously though. You were trying to help, we all were, but it was like too many Indians and no chief, for one. I was- I dunno. The rest of us were friends and then you and Marissa came in and were like.. you know. They were my friends and you had always been-" Lilly stopped and sighed, a frown draping across her beautiful face. "I'm sorry I didn't believe you when you said you saw the stuff in the woods the night of the bonfire. I am sorry I said the things I did and got all pissy. All of it." she said as she looked down at the ground in front of her feet and tugged at the grass. "But most of all, I'm sorry I did not give you a fair chance. I was wrong for doing that, regardless." she said as she lifted her head and looked into the depths of his eyes again as she idly toyed with a blade of grass she was not even looking at. "I was half way across the country when you guys needed me the most, but, and I almost can't believe I am saying this," she said with a hint of a grin before her expression went somewhat more serious again, "thankfully you were still here." "I know damage was done. And I am sure that me saying a few words now won't fix it, but I hope it is not too late for us to be friends, at least in time." Lilly looked down at the blade of grass she had been toying with in her hands and sighed softly. "And if that ship has sailed, then I hope we can at least put shit aside and work together. I mean, I'd rather have a friend than just a co-worker or whatever, but I understand if I did too much damage to your trust and things are too far gone. If that's the case, then that's my band and I just have to live with it and hopefully learn from it." He listened. Nodding a few times as she listed off the accounts of the numerous times they butted heads. After she finished he pursed his lips and bobbed his head about in silent judgment. She knew some smart assed comment was coming. "Eh, not bad as far as apologies go. I have some notes, however... like it could have been delivered in a bikini..." he laughed as she groaned. He turned himself in the grass to face her, adjusting himself so he could look at her more directly. "Look, in all seriousness, I'm the last guy here who needs to be coming down on people because of their behavior. I'm the guy still dolling out apologies for making people miserable for three years, that's almost a quarter of my ever impressive life." He tapped her knee with his knuckles. "Things take time. If you're cool, then I'm cool and we can just go from there and," he paused looking out at the field for a moment before returning his attention back onto her. "Don't carry that 'wasn't here for us' stuff with you, Lily. We've been through some shit, sure, but all that matters is you're here now. You had obligations, a life's dream you had to intentionally cast aside for the greater good so you could be here and be a part of something bigger than yourself. Some of these guys don't know what it's like to dedicate themselves to anything more than goofing off, reading, or hunting and fishing." He offered her an understanding glare, from one dedicated athlete to another. "It's hard to let go of all that hard work and walk away from something like that. You don't owe me, or anyone else here an apology for that." Lilly's eyes began to twinkle a bit with moisture as Devin not only gave her a pass for last and week and told to let it go, but also acknowledged what she had done... The sacrifice she had made. Yeah sure, some, or most, of the others certainly realized that she had to have intentionally tanked her trials, and even did so be here, but few probably fully grasped what she had given up, or how it had to feel doing it. But here, Devin, of all people, not only understood, but even.. acknowledged? Appreciated? (honestly she was not sure what the right word was) what she had done and give up. It was more than she would have expected of him minutes, much less days, ago and showed how she had misjudged him. "Thanks dude." was all she said, mustering a weak smile as tears made silent, wet trails down her face. She knew she did not really even need to say anything more, as Devin understood, from one dedicated athlete to another. Her eyes were misty and moistening up from the feels, he could tell. She looked at him, forcing a smile. "If I hug you will you try and cop a feel?" "Most definitely." He grinned, offering her a reply pure Devin honestly. Her smile was accented by a roll of the eyes as she leaned over and wrapped her arms around his bare body, braving the possible objectification of the unrepentant manwhore. He returned the embrace and after a few moments they parted and he waved her off with a playful gesture. "Alright, I'm tapped out of sentiment, go play with your friends and be back before the streetlights are on, I mean it young lady." Lilly rolled her eyes with a smirk and a small laugh. "Thanks for listening, dude." she said as she rose to her feet, adding, "And understanding." Lilly turned and then paused, then turned back to Devin. "Hey, uh. Do you, by any chance, have any pointers on how to approach Marrisa? I owe her an apology too, after all." "With plate glass between you two and maybe some raw meat you can distract her with?" He shrugged. "We both know she's difficult. At home, I find it best to just to let her vent, talk all her bull shit, and feign some measure of being offended... then speak my piece. A lot has changed in a week though, Lils, for all I know, she'll take you to bed as much as try to kill you." He took a breath and stood up. While brushing off the grass he continued. "Just, don't get mad. That's how she wins. It's what she's trying to do if she starts in on you: get a rise out of you. That's how we tormented the school for years... because people let us torment them. Keep calm, party on." "Thanks dude." Lilly said with a nod and faint smile as she turned away again and brushed some of the grass from her ass that looked like it had been poured into her skintight leggings. "And don't worry. Marissa can bitch and be snarky all she wants, it doesn't change that she's been here for everybody when they needed her. That's what's important." she said, looking over her shoulder back at Devin as she walked off, taking a swig from her bottle of water.
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