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Marissa Jauntsen

Interim Ep. 3: The Ends of Autumn

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With her composure having returned Marissa was faced with an 'I don't recall saying that moment'.  After a few texts with Devin she was face palming as the vague recollection of her words whispered back through her mind.

"Well, shit." She chastised herself as she tapped out a reply to Autumn.  Apparently she agreed to be her friend, or something... it was a blur.  Ah, well.  At any rate she didn't have much else going on this weekend and the Fellowship was least likely on her list of people to hang with... Autumn though... yes.  It was perfect.  She could bounce her ideas off Autumn before the Nerd Herd indoctrinated her into a life time of unnecessary carbs, sugar and abstinence.

She sent her invite to the redhead, complete with emojis and an assortment of overboard punctuation (wasn't that how normal people communicated?)  She set about cleaning the house and making sure her company didn't notice that thier father was never home, their mother was never around, the hot blonde down the road practically lived with them and her brother was a complete slob...

This was going to be so much fun...

//Yeah!  Love to have you!  Come by whenever, I'll be here.//

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Her faded bicycle looked utterly out of place on the edge of the beautifully manicured lawn, and before she even made it to the door, Autumn could swear she heard the faint sound of whirring gears and gyros as automated defense systems prepared to eliminate the peasant who dared approach the manor. At least, that's what it reminded her of: some grand, lordly estate way out in the middle of Nowhere, Montana. The two-story ranch-style home was huge, with a tall fence enclosing what she could only assume was probably a golf course, tennis court, and personal air strip in the back yard, and the timers on the dazzling array of outdoor lights kicked on just as she was wondering if she was supposed to tip the butler when he answered the door. 

It was later than she'd meant to arrive; only the faintest glow of daylight still lingered on the horizon, and the path lights delineating the boundaries of the front walk created pale half-moons on the bright white concrete. She hadn't really planned on being out after the trip to Helena with Sean and Sara, and she did feel a little twinge of guilt about spending time with the others, when the twins hadn't been there- they'd been involved in all of whatever-this-was longer than she had, and it just felt wrong somehow. Especially since Marissa had, uh... said they were friends.The redhead rubbed her palms on her denim-clad thighs and tentatively pushed the doorbell. 

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Within seconds the door swung open and Marissa stood there with an annoyed look on her face.  Then again, she always looked annoyed, so it was hard to tell of it was her 'hello face' or her 'you're late face'.  She was in a pair of solid color maroon leggings and a pull over hoodie of their high school's team, the Coyotes.  She was wearing make up, with her trademark maroon lips and even while 'bumming around the house', the girl made low fashion look expensive.

"You're late," she said flatly and with that telltale tone of superiority.

Autumn knew it was later than she intended, but felt she had a solid defense.  Still, the girl was intimidating.  "But... you said 'whenever'.  I got caught up in a few-"

"Whatever," she rolled her eyes.  "Come in.  Welcome to Casa Del Dysfunctional."  She stood aside and waved Autumn in.

The inside of the home was as amazing as the outside, with a log interior and was about as rustic and 'Montana' as a ranch home could get.  The living room was cozy with a working fireplace and all manner of trophies on the walls and skins on display, even a bear on floor in front of the fire.  The kitchen was as modern as one could expect, with tons of room and an island in the center for prepping food and one of those fridges that when it lit up you could see through the doors and it ordered groceries.  From the kitchen was the dining room that led out to a massive back deck that looked down over the huge pool.  On railing was a faded sign that read 'No diving into the pool, Devin.' underneath the writing in parenthesis was a handwritten note that read (We're serious.  Stop it.  You're going to get hurt.)

Marissa noticed her reading the sign and smirking and rested her chin not far of Autumn's shoulder, startling her slightly.  "Yeah, he's an idiot.  Can't be left unsupervised."  She walked off to the kitchen.  "I was going to order pizza, you okay with that?  You're not like, vegan or whatever, right?  I'm just curious, i never paid much attention to you, aside from knowing all the hippie stuff you do like hiking, and... hiking."

"Is Devin here?" Autumn asked.

"No.  When left on his own he is a torrential storm of anarchy and constant frustration for other... so I turn him loose whenever possible.  Besides, we're twins, we need a break from each other sometimes.  He's not been home all weekend, now that he's learned what he can do, he's seeing the world.  And, I wouldn't try floating that boat, honey.  He's kinda got a thing for Lona, they're 'talking'."  She air quoted.  "Alexa!"

"Yes, Queen Bitch?  How might I be of service in your domain?"  Alexa's voice answered from the base on the kitchen counter.

Marissa smirked at Autumn.  "What?  You can program her to say all kinds of things, might as well have fun with it, right?  Order pizza, please.  My usual."  It didn't escape Autumn's notice that she didn't wait for a confirmation of Autumn's dietary habits.  "Hope you like pepperoni."

"Your pizza is being ordered."  Replied the house's internet service/servant.

"C'mon, I'll show mine and my brother's domain.  Our parents generally keep to the upstairs, we hang in the basement, our rooms are on the second floor but we can do all this hair stuff down there, it has a full bath."

Marissa led her downstairs into the basement and it was the of a house in and of itself.  Huge living room, massive television, xbox, ps4, a kitchenette and two more bedrooms with a full bath.  One wall of the basement was a massive patio door underneath the deck on the first floor that led out to the pool that was massive and obviously very expensive.  Beyond the pool she could see the workout equipment and gymnastics set up out in the yard.

"Alexa, lights.  Pool's heated if you want to borrow a suit, unless you brought your own."  The basement lit up as the sun strained to keep the their side of the world lit.  "So, do you want to just jump right into this, or are we supposed to bond or something?  I'm sorta new to this whole 'friends' thing."

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Although she'd always had a vague notion that Marissa Jauntsen's personality was an actual force of nature, the kind of thing nervous people bought insurance against or hoped to appease with offerings at candlelit altars, Autumn hadn't really ever seen it from such a short distance- and it had certainly never been directed at her. Even these casual interactions reminded the redhead of the vast gulf that separated the two socially. She didn't really blame the other girl for not paying attention to her; they didn't exactly travel in the same circles, and they didn't even share a tax bracket, much less hobbies or extracurricular activities. Still not entirely sure what she was doing in the Bitch Queen's lair in the first place, she admitted with a shrug and something that would've been a smile under less awkward circumstances, "Yeah, me too, I guess." She allowed herself a moment to process the brunette's verbal agility, piecing together the way she quickly maneuvered from one subject to another to maintain control. She kept moving, forced the people she was dealing with to readjust and recalculate the direction of the conversation, ensuring they stayed off balance- a fact that Autumn could appreciate, even if it wasn't a social skill she herself possessed. Part of her had expected Marissa to lounge around like royalty while her every whim was fulfilled by terrified servants, but this was a sis who handled her own business.

"Oh, and also, your brother is obviously hot, but totally not my type, and I don't wanna float any boats. Tea is that he's docked his dinghy in way too many ports, anyway." Was that right? Capsized his canoe in too many channels, maybe? She shrugged again, more dismissively this time as she flexed her fingers in her jeans pockets. "Not that there's anything wrong with that- I'm not slut-shaming, don't get me wrong. If he's low-key into Lona, or she's into him, cool." Her clear, pale eyes were almost blue under the basement lights as they came up at Marissa's verbal command, and she exhaled. Marissa was a lot on her own, and Autumn had to admit she was glad Devin wasn't around. She didn't think she was up to dealing with the two of them together just yet. "Let's, maybe, just start with the hair, if that's cool with you."

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"Fine with me," she shrugged.  Marissa pulled out one of the chairs near the four person table by the patio door and patted the back rest.  "Sit.  Wait.  I shall return.  And take everything out of your hair.  Bobby pins, scrunchies, berets... you know the drill."

Autumn sat down while Marissa disappeared down the hallway into the bathroom.  She could hear a ruckus, like her throwing items in a basket, or tote.  A part of her swore that if Marissa came out with a kaboodle she was going to cut her losses and run for her life.  She looked around as she took the scrunchie from her hair that held her hair back and out of her eyes.  These two really did have everything.  Tons of video games, movies, their own fridge, probably filled, a small dining area, even a small kitchenette with a island to separate the dining area from the food prep.  Spoiled didn't even begin to describe this level of personal wealth and freedom.  These two lived like kids you'd only see on television...

"Okay,"  she came back out carrying a small tote of products and styling gear.  Autumn was already dreading this.  What if this was just a prank like in all those teen dramas where the mean girl was only pretending to be her friend?  Marissa stepped up behind her and began with brushing her hair.  She surprisingly gentle.  "Wow.  Just, wow."

"I know, okay?  You've already told me how bad it is.  I get it."  Autumn huffed with a bit more attitude than she intended.  Only afterward did she realize she was being rude in Marissa's house, to Marissa... which she was pretty sure made her a legend, a dead woman, and possibly a martyr all at once.  She relaxed and let out a breath.  "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to sound-"

"-bitchy?"  Shelly's fashionista finished her sentence.  "Chill.  It's okay.  We're friends, right?  Friends get bitch privileges."

"Really?"  Autumn chuckled, a bit relieved.  "Still though, it's not me.  I wasn't trying to be snippy."

"Autumn, it's fine.  Really."  Mari kept brushing her red hair.  "We're all under a lot of stress.  A day doesn't go by I don't nearly bite my brother's head off.  Honestly, I was going to say your hair is actually gorgeous.  I know I give people a lot of shit, but your hair isn't really that bad... I wish you'd take better care of it, but we're going to fix that tonight."

It was like a punch to the face.  Marissa Jauntsen was being... nice.  And since when did Marissa ever say 'chill'?  There was easily maybe three or five more minutes of brushing in awkward silence.  The nervousness hadn't quite passed, but there was an awkwardness that hung in the air that said 'what do you talk to this girl about?'.  She could feel her hair already feeling different, unable to remember the last time she'd brushed it for longer than two minutes, let alone the seven or so Marissa was going on.  She was like a pro a this, and she really seemed into it.

"Girl, look,"  Marissa finally said in a flat, monotone voice as all her attention seemed focused on Autumn's brilliant red hair.  "You're gonna have to work with me here.  Talk.  Tell me something, ask me something, whatever.  I know it's awkward, I mean, really, have you met my brother?  King of awkward situations.  I assure you, you can't offend me or catch me off guard, but it is mandatory that if you're in the chair, you have to talk.  Floor is yours, speak your mind, get into my business... whatever.  You have cart blanche to open that mouth of yours, like spin the bottle without the bottle, or the dares.  Just listen for the door, pizza will be here soon."

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