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WEIRDER STUFF
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Weirder Stuff - Session IV - CHASING DEMONS

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"Ugh," Marissa roller her eyes.  Looking from her conversation with Lilly to establish a proper mocking glare.  "Get a room, you two."

"Kay," Devin smiled and there was a blast of air, followed by a flash and they were gone.

Marissa reflexively sighed and closed her eyes in a calming expression that read 'goosfraba' at ear bleeding decibels.  "He's already annoying me with that damn, popping."

Lona hadn't teleported before.  The shift in scenery was so fast that world seemed to move like a light-speed slide show and before she registered it, they were standing in Devin's bedroom.  To say the teen was a talented artist would have been an understatement.  There were no bare spots left on his walls as his entire room was covered, literally with wallpaper of his own design.  Sketch after sketch on all manner of different sizes and types of paper from line to graph, from legal to college, from torn to old school assignments... if it had a drawing on it, it was on his walls... and ceiling!

"Wow," she paused to catch her breath.  "A little..."

"You get used to it," he smiled.  "Kind of like bracing for the water when you dive.  Uh, welcome to my room."  He swept his arm out for her to take it all in.  Just like she imagined, he was a slob and it smelled like dude.  "Uh, I'm gonna text my mom and let her know what's up, and get changed.  Have a look around, welcome to my room."  He chuckled awkwardly, like he didn't know how to entertain a guest, and in a sudden pulse he was gone, having teleported to some other place in the house for a moment.

The monsters he drew were everything from nightmarish to cartooney.  The women he drew were classy and attractive to downright whorish.  It seemed there was nothing he couldn't draw.  She saw the section near his drawing desk where he'd drawn the nightmares of the Dark, still lying there unfinished on his drawing table.  Not far were more drawings and with a slide of a page she noticed... Clara?  She tugged the page and up popped lovely sketch of Clara laughing in the hallway at school.  Another was Jason sitting alone under a tree near the school, smoking a cigarette and reading a book.  Lilly stretching on the track.  Cora and Cade smiling at one another.  Charlie and Marissa laughing over what looked like breakfast at Bunnies.  Cassie hiding behind her smartphone's camera.  She couldn't help but smile, seeing a side of Devin that was tender and... calm?  He was always going a hundred miles an hour and here, it seemed is where he found stillness.  Stealing away small moments in time and stopping them so he could recall them in his million-miles-per-hour hyper active life.  She slid out another and it was of her.  She remembered the moment, exactly.  It was the moment right before he kissed her on that night he took her to Great Falls.  It looked so lifelike and looking at the drawing made her see the world through his eyes... and, he made her so beautiful she could scarcely believe it was her.

There was sliding sound and a tap as one of the sheets hit the floor.  She knelt to pick it up and saw that it was a collage of all of them standing in some really poses like they were on some television show from the CW.  Devin was hunkered down in front while everyone just sorta stood around him looking cool as hell with serious faces.  Dark clouds swirled overhead and menacing eyes loomed from the shadows.  In a fancy scribbled font it read:

One equal temper of heroic hearts. / Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will. / To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

Thursdays @ 9/8 Central.  New to the CW... Weird Stuff.

Because here in Shelly... shit gets weird.

There was a sudden pulse in the air and Devin reappeared.  She set the pictures down, feeling a bit embarrassed that she was going through his stuff.  "Sorry, um..."

"No, no... it's cool."  He smiled at her.  He was now in pajama pants and a tank top.  He tossed his phone atop his dresser, which was covered in clothes and... stuff.  "Seriously, I don't mind."  He smiled and pointed to the one of her.  "You can keep that one, if you want.  Aside from Emjay... I don't think I've ever had anyone in my room before, now that I think about it..."

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"Well, then why are you two pissed off at us? Seriously. No BS and from your own point of view." Lilly asked honestly.

"Because us putting shit aside to work together is fine in the short term, but it still leaves a wedge between us, even if it is not presently being pushed on. We've seen today that it looks like the Dark is messing with us now, probing us for weaknesses and such, so sooner or later the Dark will probably find that wedge and begin beating on it like it owes it money." she explained as she adjusted the strap of her backpack over her shoulder.

"Separated as we are, even working together, means we do not have full access to each other's resources as we would if we were on one team. Freaky mind powers or reality warping abilities or not, you still have some great ideas and have most of the school wrapped around your finger." Lilly complimented.

"We, as a whole, need to get our shit together for us to have the best chance possible of winning this fight. And yeah, we might not ever be friends who braid each other's hair or whatever, but we can still get along a lot better than we are now." she offered.

"We've pretty much all had some part it making the situation so fucked up, me especially. and I own that, but I'm also trying to get past it and make it right. So how about us honestly working toward un-fucking it? I know we are not going to get this all worked out, here and now, in just a few minutes, or probably even a few days or hours, but it needs to start somewhere. So if not now, then how about getting together to start talking this stuff out and see if bridges can't be mended, or even built?" Lilly asked.

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Clara watched Devin turn into thin air and take Lona with him and tried not twitch with over-protectiveness. She heard the tail end of Marissa's words to Lilly and after Lilly had spoken added in, "I'm more than willing to try to move passed what's in the past, I'm just not willing to smile blandly through being constantly insulted. That, at this point, is my biggest issue with you specifically, Marissa. You insult everyone pretty or much everyone any time you open your mouth. It's unpleasant and unhelpful and wanders into felling abusive to me." Clara's tone was mild and soft, her eyes on the other girl and her body language open, arms out to the side. "Just....stop? That's all. Just manage to have a civil constructive conversation without putting everyone or nearly everyone you're talking to down to do so."

She sighed and shrugged. "Even if you don't, I'll be here. I'll be here every time you or brother call for help because god damn are we all in trouble. Not flunk a class or get detention or get kicked out of school trouble but pick out coffins for empty burials because we can be kidnapped and murdered by interdenominational monsters trouble. So I may not want to hang out with you or throw you a parade or whatever, but if you or Devin call for me, I'll be there."

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Devin's Bedroom

Lona took another long look at the picture before setting it down with the others. “I think I like you having it,” she said, trying to sound sure and confident and all too aware that she probably sounded like a shy dork. “I mean, I have mirrors.”

“Do you always look like this when you look at yourself in the mirror?” Devin asked, reaching past her to hold up the drawing again, glancing between Lona and her drawn sexy-face. “It’s a little arrogant, ya think?”

Scowling in mock irritation, she backhanded him lightly on the chest. “You’re one to talk,” she said, blushing.

“Hey, ouch! You’re supposed to be nursing me,” he rejoined, dropping the drawing on the desk and putting a hand to his chest. “Remember?”

“I remember a lot of things about you,” Lona said, losing the fight to not smile at him. Stepping closer, very aware they are alone, she took him by the arm. “So you need rest. If I tuck you into bed, will you stay there like a good boy, or do I need to sit here and make sure you do what you should do?”

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17 hours ago, Clara Lys Wright said:

"I'm more than willing to try to move passed what's in the past, I'm just not willing to smile blandly through being constantly insulted. That, at this point, is my biggest issue with you specifically, Marissa. You insult everyone pretty or much everyone any time you open your mouth. It's unpleasant and unhelpful and wanders into felling abusive to me." Clara's tone was mild and soft, her eyes on the other girl and her body language open, arms out to the side. "Just....stop? That's all. Just manage to have a civil constructive conversation without putting everyone or nearly everyone you're talking to down to do so."

She sighed and shrugged. "Even if you don't, I'll be here. I'll be here every time you or brother call for help because god damn are we all in trouble. Not flunk a class or get detention or get kicked out of school trouble but pick out coffins for empty burials because we can be kidnapped and murdered by interdenominational monsters trouble. So I may not want to hang out with you or throw you a parade or whatever, but if you or Devin call for me, I'll be there."

Marissa rubbed the bridge of her nose.  That special gesture she and her brother shared that was reserved those moments wen it became an increased possibility that someone might be getting cut, prison style, very soon.  "Well, since we're sharing, let me tack of a few check marks, Clara... my brother came to you and mentioned that you and Lona running off half-cocked wasn't how friends did things.  He was concerned and worried and he wanted you two to be safe, because believe it or not, he cares.  Poor little Clara doesn't like two bullies and isn't appreciative of my brothers approach so tells him, plain and simple, 'then were not friends'.  Yet here she sits, being treated like someone who is not my friend, who obviously wants nothing to do with me and my brother, and has the gall to tell me what her biggest issue with me is?  Nobody wants to call on you Clara, because you're a giant pain in the ass."

"Of course you're willing to move past the past, Clara.  We had barely shared ten words before you threatened to hurt me.  Someone's child is out there is lost or possibly dead and you find that fact to be giggle and high-five worthy?"  Marissa motioned with her hand allover her body.  "This?  This is a front, Clara.  I put this attitude on to keep people away, and I am one hundred percent aware of it because I'm the one who constructed it.  It's mine, and I rock it like my Gucci er'thing.  You though?  The over bearing, control freak, sociopath vibe you've got going on?  That's all you, sweetheart.  Whether it's the kid who burdened with high expectations," she motioned to Cade.  "Or the guy who's not sure where he fits in," she motioned to Charlie.  "Or the girl who realized she's worked her whole life for dreams she may have to give up on," She motioned to Lilly.  "Or the girl who's emotionally damaged and no one's bothered to ask why," she placed her hand on her own chest.  "We're all broken in some way.  So please, Clara... before you kick down my door and tell me how to arrange my fine China, get your own fucking house in order."

She spun her head so fast the hair whip was magical.  She faced Lilly.  "I'm kicking Jase out at seven and I'll need at least thirty minutes to shower and get presentable... so, my place tonight, seven-thirty."  She spun back to Clara.  "And I'll stop talking down to you when you get on my level."  She glanced to Lilly again, "Bring the train wreck if she feels like it," Lilly knew she meant Clara.  "Frankly I don't care one way or the other.  Now, can we get to lunch please?"

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Sean's nostrils flared as he snorted in irritated disappointment. It had been like trying to grab fog. He had the sense of an electric current, but couldn't discern its... shape, couldn't even really see it, let alone grab hold of the thread and let it pull him towards the nanites. Too soon, any sense of the nanites faded away as the last of them broke down inside Devin. A faint scowl crossed his fine features as he crossed his arms in dissatisfaction when Devin bamfed away with Lona.

"What is it?" Laurie asked her brother.

"Couldn't manage to access the nanites Lona mentioned," Sean admitted softly. "Their interconnected transmissions were too... ephemeral for me to get a hold of. Like spiderwebs made of fog."

"Bioelectric currents instead of electromagnetic currents," Laurie said.

Sean arched a considering brow at his sister, but nodded. "Indeed. Similar, but different, different enough that I couldn't get a hold of the bioelectric currents. This time. I'm sure I can do it, figure out a way, with practice. Bah.Organic nanites." He shook his head, red hair swaying about his face, as he shook away his failure.

Jase had already left, Devin and Lona too, if by another way, and in the huddle of Lilly, Clara, and Marissa, Sean overheard lunch mentioned. He hadn't meant to eavesdrop, but it wasn't a large storage room.

"Lunch sounds like the thing to do right now," Sean said, glancing up at Laurie and Sara flanking him. "Laurie? Sara?"

"Sure," Laurie said noncommittally. Sara shrugged her assent.

"Probably best if we leave in groups, instead of a large gaggle, in case someone notices us," Sean suggested.

In passing Cass, he nodded at her, offering her a small smile. "Glad you've recovered so quickly after the bracelet decided to abuse you, Cass, but if you feel any other lingering symptoms, make sure to go see... well, I guess Lona is out for the rest of the day, but the Nurse or something, at least." He pursed his lips, considering. "Guess we'll have to be careful interacting with any psi-active item we come across for now."

Outside the storage room, walking in step with Laurie and Sara, though he had to walk a bit faster to keep up with the taller girls, Sean looked askance at his sister.

"So... how did you know which storage room Devin meant, Laurie?" Sean mused casually.

"It's not what you think," Laurie replied. It wasn't an embarrassed, quick retort, but rather was a cool, self-possessed explanation.

A pithy explanation, Sean thought. "Oh?"

 

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15 hours ago, Avalon Wilson said:

Devin's Bedroom

“I remember a lot of things about you,” Lona said, losing the fight to not smile at him. Stepping closer, very aware they are alone, she took him by the arm. “So you need rest. If I tuck you into bed, will you stay there like a good boy, or do I need to sit here and make sure you do what you should do?”

"Oh?"  Devin smirked.  "Like what do you remember?"

He pulled aside his covers, which looked like he just pulled them over the bed before he'd left this morning and called the bed 'made'.  He crawled in and pulled the blanket up.  "There, happy?"  He smiled at her and tried to get comfortable.  "Look, I appreciate you coming.  I do really hurt all over, but... truth is, I'd rather not be alone."

"I can only do so much," Lona chuckled.  "You are bruised everywhere."

"Oh!"  He looked up at her.  "It's lunch, run down and grab some grub.  Help yourself.  I know you can't stay, so, let me know when you wanna leave and I'll send you back."

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"I'm sorry." Clara had a lot else she wanted to say - and just enough emotional understanding at this point to know that probably 75% of it was just wanting to protect her ego and everything else was, in the end, things that could wait or be ignored. Marissa was right: she sucked at, what did Lona call it? Peopling. Peopling often involved getting that other people had pretty masks they made to cover up issues and insecurities. She had never figured out how to make one and it rarely occurred to her that others could and did. That when other people said things to her, there was more to it than just what they said.

She swallowed hard, trying not to burst into tears. Also not helpful. She took a deep breath and stepped away away from the other two, slipping out of the storage locker and around behind it. She was hungry, but food meant people and she wasn't up to people right now. She slid down to the ground, back against the wall of the shed with her arms on her knees and concentrated on taking long even breaths. She'd taken her meds out of her backpack Sunday night after thinking on what might happen if she was too out of it from Xanax or Seroquel to control her Shine or help boost the others - she might not be the power players in the group like Jase or Devin or Lona, but she was their battery pack and booster. Detoxing was good idea in theory when you're doing fine, but having to deal with her emotional and social issues head on cold-turkey still sucked. 

Still better than being a zombie when we've got actual monsters to worry about. Breathe in, hold, breathe out. Do it again. Suck it up and deal. Hey, maybe Marissa can make a mask for me. At least she's good with make-up. She giggled a little hysterically at the mental image of herself painted up kabuki-style that that conjured for some reason, then buried her face into her arms and just repeated over and over again, Breathe in, hold, breathe out. 

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With Clara's exit Lilly folded her arms and looked at Marissa.  Silently she judged.  Marissa raised a hand, daring Lilly to talk to it.  "Don't say it.  I know."

"Didn't say a word."  Lilly said in a calm tone that was laced laced with 'you know what you did' that the passive aggresive silence warmed the evil twin somewhere in the sub-cockle region.

She took a deep breath and rubbed the bridge of her nose.  All that talk of making Shelly warmer and nicer and she was barreling through it like... well, herself.

"Sooo..." Lilly rocked back and forth on her heels.

"Fine."  Marissa huffed.  "I'll go talk to her.  Fuck."

It didn't take Marissa long to find anyone in her school.  A couple requests for 'have you seen Ginger Snaps' and she was pointed in Clara's direction.  Sure, it wasn't the classiest way to do it, but, baby steps.  With her face buried in her knees Clara didn't notice Marissa's approach until the gloss of her expensive ankle boots gave her away.  Here it was.  Round two.  Clara wasn't sure if she could suffer another barrage from Marissa... this girl mastered snark like Bruce Lee mastered Jeet Kune Do.

"It's not often I say this,"  Clara closed her eyes tight and really wished she had her medication.  "I crossed a line, Clara.  I'm sorry.  In my reminding you that we all have problems, it escaped me in my tirade that you are one of those people among us who also have problems.  It was... in poor taste."  Never one to fully concede the battle she amended with, "Shame too, it was one of my better salvos."

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Lona smiled and offered him a hand, which he took. She asked, “While I’m down there, would you like something? Food, painkillers?”

“That sounds great, you being in the kitchen,” he told her with a smirk. “If you’re gonna make me a sandwich, make it fast. I’m hungry.” Even as he spoke his brash, irritating words, his fingers tightened on hers at the mention of being fast, and he couldn’t hide the spark of anxiety in his eyes.

Lona mentally upgraded how long she was willing to stay here. “I’m going to spit in your food, you know that, right?” she told him, keeping her tone playful as she pulled her hand free and went to the door. 

“There are more enjoyable ways to give me your germs,” he replied.

“Let’s discuss that when you’re better,” she said, pausing half-out the door to add, “I’ll be right back.”

Wandering through the Jauntsen house was surreal, but it wasn’t completely dissimilar to the Wilcox’s home, and she found the kitchen easily. After checking the fridge and the pantry, Lona made two sandwiches from the deli meat in the fridge. She found a large plate for the sandwiches and grabbed a bag of Doritos, hoping Devin liked those. With a stop at the bathroom to raid the medicine cabinet for OTC painkillers, Lona went back to Devin’s room. 

“Hey,” she said, pushing the door closed with her knee once in the room. “I have ham or turkey, and Doritos, and Ibuprofen. And… I forgot to get something to drink for you. Do you want water from your bathroom?” She gestured at the ensuite room.

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Behind the Shed

"Not like it wasn't true," Clara said, scrubbing at her face and wincing at the noon-day sunlight. "I don't get people, Marissa. I don't mean like 'I don't like people' or 'people annoy me' or anything like that. I don't get them. I like hanging out with Jase because he says exactly what he means. I always know where I stand with him and I don't have to try to decipher a dozen different possible meanings from everything, because I'm so bad at that that most of the time I don't remember that's even a thing." 

She laid her head back on her arms. "Why do you think I have no friends? I mean, the Fellowship is Lona's friends. If I didn't have Shine too...." She shrugged, leaving the harsh truth unsaid. "It's pretty much always been easier and nicer to everyone else to just not. Don't socialize outside of class or clubs. Just do what's got rules and goals and go home. Fill up the day with that and focus on what makes sense and when that sucks just medicate until I don't care. Simple formula and with insurance it doesn't even cost that much." 

She let out a sigh and shrugged again, closing her eyes. "Between Etienne, you, and Devin, I should probably just go back to that, but I can't be a Xanax zombie and do anything useful to keep us all alive through this."

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"No."  Marissa voice was the tersest she'd ever heard.  "Get up,"  She out stretched her hand, even waggled her fingers to speed Clara up.  "Come on.  Walk with me."

Clara saw how others were watching them as she stood.  Side looks and smirks and mumbled judgements as Marissa the Good Samaritan helped out one of her fellow freak student.  She was such a good person.  Yeah, Clara knew better.  She knew it though.  This was it.  Marissa was taking her out back behind the old equipment lockers near the football field and putting two in the back of the head of her high school career.

They walked around and joined those outside who were eating and talking on their lunch hour.  Not a single person didn't stop to wonder why, if only for a moment, Clara was getting personal treatment from Marissa.  No entourage, no other friends or clique members... a one on one with Marissa was like... well, you either did everything right, or it was time for a public execution.  "Devin and I used to be like you."  She said simply.  "We were raised in Malibu, surrounded by celebrities and politicians, seriously rich people.  Which meant we went to school with their seriously rich children.  By Shelly standards, sure, we're loaded, by Malibu standards, we were dirt floor poor, I think the saying goes?"

"Rule one, Clara.  Never let them see you cry."  She handed Clara a tissue from her handbag.  "We were destroyed daily in our school because our parents weren't rich by Malibu standards and our mom was always putting us in pageants and competitions and anything she could do in the hopes that we'd get a part in some commercial or television show.  Child actors, Disney Channel, it's a California thing.  Do you know what that made us at our schools?  Jokes.  They were all fantastically wealthy and we were trying to get there by acting like idiots on stage hoping to get lucky.  It was like stumbling around in the dark, hoping to find a million dollar light switch."

They passed a picnic table filled with jocks, a few of them were Lilly's friends but more of them were sorts that even Lilly had trouble liking.  The TurBros.  Clara found it almost intoxicating how as they passed the guys shut up and quit whispering as Marissa and her passed, like the Queen of Shelly was due her moment of silent recognition.  How did this woman do this, especially to chromosomally-challenged idiots like them?  "Rule two.  You do not make requests.  You state expectations."  She pointed off to her right and the girls turned, continuing their walk.  "We were abused, tormented, beat up, laughed at and since we were always at some stupid show or rehearsal or class for some new stupid talent, we didn't have friends.  We had each other.  We never associated with kids our own age, never learned social cues or anything like that.  Then we moved here."

They walked out towards the bleachers and with the echo of their shoes on the aluminum, made their way across and up to the very top where they looked out towards the school and, most of Shelly... the place was a marble in a fishbowl, it was so small.  "Rule three.  It's all about you.  Do you see all these people, Clara?  Fuck them.  Only forty percent of them are going to go to college, and only two of them, two, not two percent, are going to leave Shelly to do it.  None of them are going to succeed.  I've seen their test scores.  Why do you give a fuck what they think of you?  Their words, those that can mingle more than two into a sentence, cannot hurt you.  You walk into a room, you own it.  Don't look at a room of your peers, it's a room of your employees and Clara... you're the C.E. fucking O. of your life.  Run that shit.  These are the morons that will be delivering your pizzas while you're cramming for your Masters Degree."

She turned to face Clara and crossed her arms.  "You don't need Xanax, girl.  You need self-confidence.  You don't need to take control of people or the world, you need to take control of your life and trust me, the people will crawl over broken glass to deliver you the world."

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The Bleachers

Not too far from where Marissa was dispensing much needed wisdom to Clara, a solitary figure sat on the furthest end of the bleachers, indeed about as far from the school as a person could sit whilst still being on school property.  Unlike Clara when Marissa had found her, this one did not radiate misery or the air of trying to keep their shit together.  Instead his lanky frame was stretched out on his back on a bench seat, earphones in whilst he looked up at the sky, eyes tracking the clouds scudding across the early Fall blue.  His thoughts moved like the clouds, fast and shifting as they made their progress across the cold vastness of his mindscape.

He'd been tempted to flay Charlie verbally for his shapeshifting stunt in the equipment locker in front of Tawny.  Though the blonde girl being there was Devin's doing, it was Devin's decision ultimately as to whether 'his people' were to be brought in.  Nothing up to that point couldn't have been hand-waved or glossed over.  If Charlie had done that in front of Jason's dad, Jason would have been irritated in the extreme.  Not enough to hurt Charlie, but enough that Charlie would remember the moment for a long time.  At least, the snarky side of his consciousness supplied, as long as he was capable of remembering.

But there was a reason beyond restraint or mercy (hah!) that he hadn't given Charlie an acidic sandblasting.  The boy lacked confidence, and slapping him down when he used his gift would not help with that.  Charlie's manifestation of the Shine was a marvel of adaptation and biological control, but to use it well required imagination and confidence in himself.  His stunt in the locker had been bold and, under other circumstances, amusing.  Jason was thinking things through these days before acting on his frustrations - this wasn't like giving Cora a boot up the ass to wake up and smell the coffee.  There was a nuance to this situation.

Nuances.  Previously irrelevant to him - cobwebs through which he tore as he saw fit, moving in straight lines while other ducked and weaved to avoid them.  They were still cobwebs, unable to restrain him, but now he at least paid attention to what the results would be of a course of action.  He hoped.

The bracelet was another matter.  He'd wanted to study it, but right now Devin needed rest and the bracelet needed to stay with Devin.  When Cassandra was recovered, they could try something else that didn't involve her directly interacting with the thing.  Otherdimensional people, advanced technology, psionically active devices.  He wondered if they had anything to do with the atomic generator and the strange radio, too.

Friends had nearly died this morning.  His mother was in his life, however peripherally.  Doctor Cook and he were... talking.  This was progress at least.  He wanted to know what Cook knew, and then could lay further plans.  The lanky youth picked up a sandwich from the paper plate on his chest and bit into it, chewing reflectively, considering the patterns in the clouds.

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Clara stared out over the field, her gaze both outward and inward at the same time. "That seems....mean?" There was ten year old Clara saying that, a little kid still trying to desperately make sense of the rules she'd been told and the reality of what life was actually like

"Clara, if you don't take control of your life someone else is going to do it for you." Marissa said flatly. "Why do you think you were such an easy mark for the maybe-Canadian absolutely-rapist?"

"He's not- we didn't- we haven't," Clara floundered, turning cherry red. 

Marissa rolled her eyes. "He wants to and is still trying to get into your pants. You don't even know how old he really is. Girl, with some help you might have better options one day. Scratch that. Literally any boy in school is a better option. Even Charlie." 

Clara covered her face with her hands for a moment, taking deep breaths to get control over her complexion again. "I'm sorry you went through that," she said after the exhale. "Both of you. It sounds like utter hell. I'd quite honestly take the insanity here in Shelly over Malibu any day. At least monsters are straightforward in attacking you."

She rubbed one of her hands over her other arm and gave Marissa a look that was utter defenseless vulnerability. "I don't know what to do with my life, Marissa. I don't need to work if I don't want to and unlike everyone around me it seems, I don't have a passion. I don't have a goal and I never really have. Even before I ripped up my binder, there wasn't a career picked out. Just rules to follow and plans on how to...to do everything well enough that no matter what I eventually fell into, I'd do it well. How can you be a CEO if you don't have any idea what the company's about?"

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I could have died.

Too much was going on, Cassie decided as she hiked through the halls towards the cafeteria. It was all a mush in her head. Things that should have knocked everyone down just washed over them now, out of sheer necessity. If they let a little thing like Tawny suddenly being introduced to the hidden ocean of secrets, or how Cassie had almost died apparently, then they'd just stand around shellshocked all day every day, it felt like. And yet, she couldn't quite erase the feeling like these things should matter. The fact that it didn't bother them...bothered her.

She didn't understand her powers. What she could do, or how. They'd done some practicing, but it was really hard for Cassandra to do that kind of practice. Unlike most of them, her powers were almost completely subjective. They had no easy way to tell when she was doing anything. Or verify that she'd done anything. Worse, her powers were kind of...boring? It was natural the focus went to people like Devin and Bannon and Sara, who's abilities were immediately impressive and could do practically magical things and...oh god was she jealous? She, Cassandra, had gotten magic psychic powers and she was jealous because other people had gotten better ones?

Jesus Christ. Way to prove the old people, with their constant bitching about how entitled kids were these days, entirely correct. Do a disservice to her whole goddamn generation!

Maybe her powers didn't lend themselves to 'danger room' training, but that didn't mean she couldn't practice. Today her inexperience with her abilities had almost killed her...Cassie was sure that if she'd approached that bracelet more carefully, or more skillfully, she'd have been able to either disconnect from it herself, or maybe even sneak past however it had realized what she was doing.

So what was she doing here? Still at school? Schlubbing for a stupid lunch, and then after that there'd be math and...who cared?

I could have died.

But then again, was it smart to just assume that these powers took precedence? They appeared completely without warning...who said they'd always be there? And 'being psychic' wasn't something employers looked for on a resume. You could probably make a living off of it, but only in a few ways. And did she want to be uneducated and dumb, relying entirely on magic to survive?

How do you balance all this out? Get what you need to make powers work, while not just throwing normal stuff out with the trash?

Cassandra sighed. She should ask Clara. There was a girl who had her shit together. Maybe a bit too much even, but even a fraction of that organization would help her out right now.

Lunch first though. Getting some food and water, and some rest because her legs did actually feel a little shaky, would be wise before trying to talk to someone.

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With everyone else gone, Cade looked to Tawny and Charlie.  "Well it's lunch time, and After all the wierdness, and having one of my friends nearly die in front of me, again, I'm going to go get something to eat.  You're both welcome to join me, hell I'll even pay."

The lure of free food was enough of an enticement,  and the others exited behind him, the trio heading for the cafeteria.   He saw Cass up ahead, and called out to her.  "Hey Cass, wait up."  

With Tawny and Charlie in tow, he made his way to Cassandra, and smiled  "For the record, I'm glad you're okay."  He spoke quietly, so that only she could hear him.

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"Simple," Marissa smirked.  "We crowd source.  First though, we make you marketable.  We need to sell you to this school if you're going to run it."

"Run it?"  Clara looked at the Jauntsen sister like she officially had flown off the reservation.

"Well, yeah," she ever so slightly shook her head like the answer she was hoarding in her mind should have been obvious the whole time.  "We need to take Shelly High into new directions, Clara.  We have a year to turn things around, and who better to lead us and our school towards those new values, than you, Clara..." she paused and it was obvious she had no idea what Clara's last name was.  It was right out of a movie!  This girl was unbelievable.  She waved her hand about to brush away her lack of recollection and pressed on.  "Whaever, Class President.  I can teach you to be assertive and in control without being 'mean, as you put it.  I'm just mean because it's fun.  I have so much sarcasm to share and people give me so much to work with, I see it as a waste to not use it."

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Spoiler

Please no more posting in demons except by Devin, Marissa, Lona, and Clara. everyone else needs to move back to Rainbows.

 

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"Wright," Clara said, oblivious to the fact that her last name also sounded like she was agreeing with Marissa on her prodigious fields of sarcasm and the need to share such bounty with all and sundry in her gracious position as Queen of Shelly. Not Shelly High. Shelly

Clara mulled over Marissa's plan; the awkward teem had planned out running for - and winning - Class President in her freshman year. Given her utter lack of peopling skills, it was probably a horrible plan. Meticulous and utterly blind to the popularity-over-skills contest that it was. "What do I do? I have a student resume I can put up," she offered helpfully. Earnestly, awkwardly, utterly uselessly helpfully. "And," she added softly, "thanks."

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On 11/5/2019 at 12:05 AM, Avalon Wilson said:

Devin's Pleasure Palace

“Hey,” she said, pushing the door closed with her knee once in the room. “I have ham or turkey, and Doritos, and Ibuprofen. And… I forgot to get something to drink for you. Do you want water from your bathroom?” She gestured at the ensuite room.

Two bottles of water flashed into existence above the bed, dropping into his lap.  He visibly winced from their appearance and that's when Lona pieced it together that every time he used his ability it was causing him discomfort... and like an idiot, he kept using it.  "S'cool, I got it.  No big."

"Devin, stop," she said, sitting down next to him on the bed.  "Every time you do that, you're hurting yourself."

"We needed water," he groaned.

"And I would have gotten us some," she slapped his shoulder.  "Why are you so damn pig headed?"

"U'dnno..." he said through a mouthful of sandwich.  "Just am.  Wanna stay and nap with me?"

"Honestly?"  She offered him a grin.  "I'd love to, but you know I can't.  I have to get to class after lunch."

He sat there like a sick kid ready for a story that would never end to be read to him, eating his turkey sandwich.  "I know.  Still, I don't really want to be alone.  Think someone can hang out with me or... take shifts or something?  Still kinda creeped out, y'know?"  He did still seem really freaked out.  Physically he'd heal, but mentally she was certain that Devin would be caryying this day with him and the fear of being something's prey with him for some time.  "So, what're doing for Homecoming?"

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22 hours ago, Clara Lys Wright said:

"Wright," Clara said, oblivious to the fact that her last name also sounded like she was agreeing with Marissa on her prodigious fields of sarcasm and the need to share such bounty with all and sundry in her gracious position as Queen of Shelly. Not Shelly High. Shelly

Clara mulled over Marissa's plan; the awkward teem had planned out running for - and winning - Class President in her freshman year. Given her utter lack of peopling skills, it was probably a horrible plan. Meticulous and utterly blind to the popularity-over-skills contest that it was. "What do I do? I have a student resume I can put up," she offered helpfully. Earnestly, awkwardly, utterly uselessly helpfully. "And," she added softly, "thanks."

The two girls watched all of Shelly High go about their lunch break.  Laughing, talking, oblivious to the worries and woes of the Dark.  Marissa knew better, as did Clara.  Less than a year is all they had to siphon strength from the Dark.  Less than a year to weak an near-divine entity into a shell of mortality so that it might be destroyed for good.  These were dark times, indeed, but in the darkest of times is when the people needed leadership the most.  The students and population of Shelly, Montana needed the Fellowship...

...

...

God that was a stupid name.

She had poured blood, sweat and tears into her great creation, a unified Shelly High under her directorial greatness.  These separatists, these... 'shades'.  They would be eked out and dealt with, but first, she needed warriors.  "Did I ever tell you the story about my brother and I?  When we got here this school was a cadaver.  Popularity was a joke at this.  Popularity, Clara is capable of doing many things for the teenage socialite.  It was just the trick this school needed to be raised from the dead."

"I've never been popular," Clara said.  She was neither ashamed of that fact or, particularly proud of it either.  She's always wished she'd understood people better, but, not having people around meant she didn't risk embarrassing herself.  It had always been a win/win for her until her hormones began demanding the company of others.  "Is there a secret?  Can I learn to be popular?"

"Not," Marissa looked at the doe eyed disaster that whose presence seemed to a walking anti-popularity vapor.  "From a Xanax."

She would be Marissa's opus.  She would be the crowning perfection and defiant declaration to all of Shelly High that if Marissa could do the impossible, to catch a star in a jar... to make Clara... Clara... Cl... whatever her last name was her protege than there was no decree of higher social education she could not make manifest.  Together thy would quell the shades.  Together they would look out over Marissa's grand and orderly empire of Shelly and the Dark would kneel before them.  Shelly would kneel.  Never again would she ever feel like the Sean's or the Clara's or the Lona's.  All the cliques, all the faculty, all the bro codes and meetings and functions and everything, she would rule them all.  "My house, tonight.

But first... Clara needed training.  The two ladies stepped away from the railing, the breeze capturing their hair just right and it danced and swayed in their eyes making it difficult for others to make out which girl was which.  Slowly and step by step they walked down the steps of the bleachers side by side.  Shelly didn't need to notice them yet.  A storm was coming and all Shelly High needed to know was that there were always two.  Two who set themselves to a higher standard of social excellence and orderly education.  Always two:  The Master ...and the Apprentice.

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“I thought I’d--” Lona had just cleared the food from her mouth and started to answer Devin’s first question when he sprung his last on her. Feeling her face flush, Lona shoved down twined shame and anger. The shame was residual, a leftover from all the other years that she’d answered that question with ‘nothing’ or ‘staying home’ or ‘going with friends’ and watching the smug pity or condescending smirk appear on the asker’s face. The anger came from the fact that she’d ever allowed someone to make her feel like that. Nudging him with her knee, she moved around until she could sit with her back to the headboard, toeing her shoes off so she didn't drag dirt into his bed.

“Honestly, I don’t know about Homecoming yet,” she told him, shrugging and hoping he couldn’t read her thoughts. “I don’t have that boyfriend yet, and don’t really have my eye on someone. Clara is gonna go with Etienne probably--” Devin made a puking face, and Lona exclaimed, “I know, right?! Anyway, we sometimes went together, when I went to the dances at all.”

“What about Cade?” Devin asked casually.

Lona shook her head after a second of thought. “Nah, I thought about offering to go as friends, but I think I’d rather go alone than accept a pity date, or even a ‘let’s got together because no one else would take us!’ Or in this case, ‘hey, your girl is in New York, hang with me instead so I’m not alone!’ It’s like, I’m good enough company for myself, right?” 

She resisted the urge to ask him about his plans and instead said, “So, I know I have to get back, but I’m going to stay until someone else can come and be here.” She gave him a teasing smile and pushed the bottle of painkillers at him. “Someone has to make sure you don’t kill yourself doing something stupid. You won't be alone if you don't want to be.”

And I am going to be grounded forever when Adele finds out I skipped afternoon classes again. At least that’d take care of the Homecoming issue!

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Jauntson Residence

The car didn't pull into the half circle drive just rolled slowly past, none of the occupants could get a good look but no cars in the drive could be seen. The car a dark blue sedan came to a stop and the man in the passenger side front seat turned to the two younger guys in the back.

"You two go see if anyone is home, and don't be stupid the place probably has a silent alarm."

"Sure Vinnie," said the youngest, Paulie, a hint of excitement in his voice, "we got dis."

The other guy in the back who went by Jack, rolled his eyes, he was young but had more experience including some combat experience from the middle east.

The two guys left the car and made their way along the hedges and into the Jauntson Yard. Watching the windows the carefully made their way to the house itself, after checking the back yard by looking over the fence, "Wow thats a nice pool," they went and looked in the windows and saw nothing.

"I don't see nuthin Jack, ya wan me go get Vinnie?"

Jack shook his head and slipped a pistol out of the back of his belt and took a silencer out of his pocket and screwed it onto the barrel.

"Ring the bell."

Upstairs...

14 hours ago, Avalon Wilson said:

“Someone has to make sure you don’t kill yourself doing something stupid. You won't be alone if you don't want to be.”

And I am going to be grounded forever when Adele finds out I skipped afternoon classes again. At least that’d take care of the Homecoming issue!

Lona flinched when the doorbell rang.

Spoiler

ok if you have questions about using powers or anything else pm me here on the site 

 

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Okay, so, they were just sitting there, eating sandwiches... but ask any devout Christian, that's exactly how the first baby ever was made.  They both looked up at the ceiling, because for some reason that's what people do when a doorbell rings... they look up, like the door is installed on the roof.

"I'll get it."  Lona set her plate down and got up from the bed.  He noticed how quick she was to just do everything for everyone.  It was sweet, but it had to be exhausting.

"Unbutton your pants, and tussle up your clothes."  Devin said in the tone of serious sarcasm, where you could tell if he was joking or not unless you knew him.  She gave him a grin that told him it wasn't going to happen.  "What?  I'm taking the day off, I need people to know it was worth it!  Totes cover story, we can't tell them I was demon napped and almost demon raped."

"I'm going to go answer the door now, jack ass."  she walked away while offering him a smile as lovely as her namesake.

"Mess up your hair, too... oh, wait..." He shot her a sly look with just a dash of scrunched up lips.  Lona spun around and walked backwards dealing him a double deuce as she exited his room and danced down the stairs.

"I spit on your sandwich!" she yelled from halfway down the stairs.

"Delicious!" Devin shouted back.

The hardwood floors were so polished in this house she could have slid all the way down the hall to the door in her socks.  A part of her committed to doing just that, after the door situation was handled.  Gently she opened it, let it offer no more of a view than half her body in width. 

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Lona frowned, opened the door wider and looked around without going out, but no one was there.

She was puzzled it hadn't taken that long to come down stairs to the door, even if who ever it had been hadn't waited they should still have been in the yard. Yet there was no one and she couldn't hear a car or anything except the birds. As she started to close the door she glanced down and stopped. There in the middle of the door mat lay an envelop.

She crouched down and picked it up there was no writing on the front or back, saying who it was for, and she saw that it wasn't sealed. She stood and looked around again then glanced up the stairs. Shaking her head  and muttering to herself about curiosity and cats, she peeked inside.

In the envelop was a single sheet of some sort of paper very thin, folded over. it wasn't normal sized but smaller, she slipped it out, read it, and her eyes went wide.

With a last glance out side Lona closed the door and rushed upstairs taking the steps two at a time.

She all but burst into Devin's bedroom and stopped staring at him lounging sexily in the bed, and she held up the note.

"Who is Hooli?"

Spoiler

The note

Devin, Lona,

you owe me one (Devin 2)

watch your backs

Hooli

 

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"Is that rhetorical?"  Devin said, sitting up with only a slight wince.  "He's that black guy who had awesome songs, now he sings country.  Don't you listen to music?"

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“Don’t I--” Lona’s mouth shut with a click of teeth as she scowled at Devin. “Are you serious with that shit?”

“Yeah. I mean, if I know who someone is, you’re really bad at listening to music.” Devin shrugged, his tone and expression somehow both patient and supportive. “You just need to work on yourself, Lona.”

With a hiss of frustration through clenched teeth, Lona rubbed the bridge of her nose. “It’s so goddamn good that you’re pretty, Devy.” 

“Thanks,” he beamed, finishing his sandwich with a last bite. “You want to come over and snuggle my gorgeous body?”

Lona debated for a long second. He’d just irritated her with the Hootie/Hooli nonsense, but damn that body. “Sure,” she said, whipping out her phone as she crawled onto his bed and accepted a position in the curl of a toned arm. “But you still need to be focused on resting. So no fun stuff.”

Devin smirked. “So if I were up for it, you’d be down for fun stuff?”

Lona had opened her text app but she stopped at his coy question and looked up at him. His face was inches away and she leaned up to give him a single, chaste kiss. “That’s a conversation for later,” she told him firmly, “and is contingent on you being well enough to do fun things. So we’ll discuss that after you’re not a walking bruise, k?”

With that, she snuggled a little closer and shot out a group text:

//Does anyone know who or what a Hooli is? They left a note for Devin and I on his doorstep.// 

She added a picture of the note and sent it along. Then she sent another text to Marissa. 

//Devin doesn’t want to be alone. I’ll stay with him if no one else can but if I do, I’m probably going to be grounded for the rest of time if I don't show up for class this afternoon. Know of someone who’d be interested in spending long amounts of time with him while he’s whiny?//

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"What the hell is a Hooli, anyway?"  Devin said as he held the note up and looked at it while she tapped out her message.  She glanced over at him, giving him a scowl that read 'I just asked you that, dipshit'.  So lucky he was pretty.  "Could it be like, maybe the dude who keeps texting us?  I mean, it seems like it's helpful... even if a bit creepy."

His face lit up with an idea.  "Oh, what if he's spying on us?  Like, all of us.  I've got so many questions... like does Clara pee standing up?  Does Jase sing in the shower?  Does Charlie rub it out to Marissa's face book photos?  Does Cade actually do anything?  Does Lilly own a thong?  I'm guessing no.  Hmm, does Cass?  Now I'm curious..."

"It's amazing the insight I get into your thought process the longer we hang out."  Lona chuckled.  "You have one track mind.  It's all sex, sex, sex..."

"It is not," he protested.  "Sometimes I just wanna lie back and objectify.  I'm not some barbarian, you know."  They both were a wreck of giggles and laughs, but he kept the note held up high towards his ceiling, looking at the name, 'Hooli'.  "Hey, so... I was thinking..."  He turned to face her, his eyes meeting hers.  He gently kissed her once, more of an opener kiss to prepare her for what he was going to say.  "We've like, been hanging out and texting, and kissing... and cuddling in bed now, it seems.  So, I was kind of wondering if you would... like to go to Homecoming with me?  As my date."

A sudden reality washed over Lona... her and Devin were from completely opposite worlds.  Sure, it would skyrocket her own popularity but it could seriously damage his own.  Or was this all part of Marissa's grand plan?  Was Devin just asking her because it was in the plan?

35 minutes ago, Avalon Wilson said:

//Devin doesn’t want to be alone. I’ll stay with him if no one else can but if I do, I’m probably going to be grounded for the rest of time if I don't show up for class this afternoon. Know of someone who’d be interested in spending long amounts of time with him while he’s whiny?//

Marissa looked at her phone as her and Clara walked through the halls.  Clara feel the energy around her, the way just being around Marissa made everyone respect her just a little bit more.  Was that Marissa's power?  The Diva smirked and tapped out a reply.  //Girl, who do you think run this school?  I have your back.  Watch after my idiot other half and I'll make sure we cover you here on the battlefield.  Look in my dresser, bottom drawer, right hand side, all the way back... be safe.  And for the love of God, enjoy it.  You need it.//

Clara's phone flipped up another message as she was reading Lona's first one.  She looked to Marissa.  "You know you sent that to everyone, right?"

"Yuuuup."  She declared in her best Lana from Archer impression.  Clara didn't even know Marissa could be fun, let alone funny.  "Clara, trust me, in a few minutes minutes, she's not going to care what a Hooli is, and since I don't know, I don't care.  We'll confer with the brain trust later, figure this madness out then.  For now, let's keep the focus on making you fabulous."

"But, Marissa, I'm part of the brain tr-"

"Shhh," Marissa cut her off.  "No nerding right now.  We're focusing on a more confident, less nerdy, slightly hotter you right now.  Don't mess that up by nerding on my leg."

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Spoiler

Thread reopened. at this time only Devin and Lona should post here. Posts by other may be allowed but only as pertains to the Devin/Lona situation. All other post should be made in Rainbows or Crowns.

 

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Lona stared at Devin, unsure what to say, torn between blurting ‘yes!’ like a desperate dork and the real fear that she was getting in over her head. Thankfully, her phone buzzed with the text from Marissa, and she quickly glanced at it. “Hold that thought,” she said, scrambling out of the bed. “Your sister wants me to do something really quickly.”

She ducked out of the room, leaving Devin on the bed with no answer. After looking in the wrong room (a bedroom without any personal touches and an empty dresser) she found a room that had to be Marissa’s. It didn’t look like a married couple’s room; it actually looked exactly like it belonged to a Disney princess. It was pink and frilly and full of stuffed animals, even some stuffies from TV shows wedged in there. Pictures and shelves of books lined every wall, but it was clean and tidy. It was exactly the opposite of what Lona had expected of the meanest girl in school. 

Bottom drawer, on the right, all the way in the back. As Lona dug through personal items that she was trying to ignore, she worried at the question Devon had just asked her. 

It should be a no-brainer. Lona should totally say yes and go to Homecoming and take the fifty-fifty chance that she’d end the night covered in pig’s blood. That’s what girls like her could expect. Was he trying to make her popular? Was it Marissa’s idea? It would explain why she was pushing Lona at her brother, she mused as she felt something weird and pulled it out.

Lona held up the line of foil squares, frowning at them until she recognized them. Condoms.

Marissa gave me condoms.

Marissa Jauntsen gave me condoms to fuck her brother.

I… I don’t know what to do with this. 

Either Marissa was honey-potting her own brother, which made no sense because she didn’t need to do that to get what she wanted from Lona, unless…

What she wanted was a brother who was having sex…

Or Marissa was a girl doing a solid for another girl, and Lona should remember that she’d just been considering that she’d like to have sex someday soon. After Liam, it seemed a good idea to make her own choices about when she’d have sex. She just hadn’t figured out the who, though in retrospect her list of options was pretty short. She also hadn’t expected to have the option on a Monday afternoon.

She tore off two squares, then a third and shoved them in her back pocket. The rest she put back in the drawer, making sure they were exactly where Marissa had left them. 

Lona hustled back to Devin’s room and paused in the doorway, watching him. He was on his phone, slumped casually with one hand behind his head. When he saw her, he lowered the phone. “Find what you needed?” he asked.

“I made it back here, so yeah, I found what I need.” The words popped out of her mouth in a coy purr, and Lona felt her cheeks burn. Trying to cover her embarrassment, she slid back into bed and snuggled up to Devin. My life is weird. Sexy, and great, but weird. “So question in regard to your question,” she said as she traced the seams on his tank top. “Why me? Or rather, since that sounded pathetic, wouldn’t you want to take someone more… well, popular?”

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"Oh, that's easy, I don't," Devin said with barely a thought on the matter.  "But Jason bet me a hundred bucks there was no way you'd say 'yes'.  So say 'yes', and we split it, fifty-fifty."  The way Devin delivered lies was so natural to him.  The tone, the confidence, anytime he opened his mouth is was impossible to tell if he was being serious or not and this time he sounded dead serious.  Lona's mouth fell open in a state of shock that translated to 'how could be so casually cruel and tell me that!'  She pursed her lips and smacked him on the chest, hard.

"Ow!" He winced and broke into laughter.  "I'm kidding!  I'm kidding!  Oww."  He rolled over away from her and kept laughing, clutching his chest, before rolling back.

"That wasn't funny, Dev!"  She protested.  Hitting him again, because... well, he's a dick.  "Come on, I'm trying to be serious and you're always screwing around."

"Okay, okay," he slowed his chuckling and sat there still for a moment, obviously trying to choose his words carefully.  Being serious didn't come as easily as snark and witty quips did.  "Avvie, what does it matter anyway?  I mean, do want me to be honest with you?"

She raised one eyebrow at him and offered him a deadpan expression.  "Uh, duh."

"Okay," he shrugged.  "You're right, I could probably ask any hottie in Shelly to go to Homecoming with me and she'd prolly say yes.  I'm good looking, I've a great body, sexual stamina for days, I'm rich, I'm morally flexible, I'm rich-"

Lona rolled her eyes.  "You forgot humble."

"What's that?"  He asked.

"Never mind," she shook her head and sighed.  "Get to the point."

"Popular opinion is the greatest lie in the world, Avvie."  He said calmly.  "If I wanted to go with those girls, Avvs, I would have asked one of them, but I don't, because I asked you.  Since we've been hanging out and talking and texting, it's like... I don't know.  Like I know the person I used to pick on and... and I am now totally humbled," he winked at her because he did know what the word meant.  "By how wrong I was about you.  You have strong convictions, an amazing voice, so much talent and you're... well you're just fun.  People don't, as a rule, enjoy being wrong but I'm so glad that I was."

He was just lying there, staring up at he ceiling as he expressed his thoughts.  Devin, for all his lack of seriousness was quite capable of being charming, although he usually had no idea he was doing it.  "I know I cant take back what I did and said to you.  I'd like to say I'm sorry, but at the time, I was in the zone and messing with people, well, that was my jam and I was good at it.  I've never been one to just take people at their word, I need them to prove it to me.  So, that's why I'm not apologizing, Lona.  Spewing platitudes and apologies after I bought you a few gifts, well, that just looks empty, like I'm trying to buy being a better guy.  See, you think that me asking you and not some popular girl is strange, but it's the opposite, Avvs.  I don't deserve you.  I don't deserve to be your date.  I don't deserve to be your friend because you are luminous and amazing and I am an entitled little douche.  So, I'm trying.  I'm trying to prove to you and the others that despite all the bad, I'm still capable of being a decent guy.  I'm not doing you a favor by asking you to Homecoming, Lona.  You're doing me the favor by giving me the honor of taking you."

He turned his head and looked towards her.  "That make sense?  I'm not really good with words.  Unless I'm insulting somebody."

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Part of Lona wanted to stop and look for the Hallmark cameras. There had to be some around here somewhere; boys like Devin didn’t notice girls like her. The other part of her wanted to scream into a pillow in glee, but that didn’t seem to be very helpful. She took a breath and casually said, “Well, if I’m doing you a favor, then sure, I’ll go with you to Homecoming.” 

He grinned at her and tugged her to him; Lona allowed him to pull her close. Once she was settled against him comfortably, she said, “I do need to tell you something, though. And apologize, too.”

“And after all those compliments,” Devin remarked with a smirk. “Am I going to have to take any of them back?”

“You better not,” Lona told him as she shifted again, sitting up and throwing a leg over him. She squirmed herself into place astride him, feeling a hundred percent awkward but not sure how to stop once she started. Her boldness startled him a bit -- her, too, to be honest -- but he recovered quickly, resting his hands on her hips. His fingers were so close to the condoms in her back pocket, and electric tingles raced through her body as she tried to gather her thoughts. “I didn’t mean to ghost you this weekend. Things just got really crazy for a moment and instead of reaching out, I just retreated from the world a bit. I wasn’t ignoring you, I’m sorry if I made you feel like I was.

“I do really like you, and enjoy spending time with you,” she added in a soft voice. “I don’t hold your past treatment against you, because you’ve said you want to change. And in addition to saying it, you’ve also changed. I can see that; anyone who is paying attention can see that you’re trying to be a better person. That is way hotter than rich, sexy, rich, great in bed, rich, or even humble.”

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Devin shrugged, his hands inched upwards, slipping under the veil of her t-shirt and she could feel the tips of his thumbs now tracing her skin just above her waistline.  Making out and being straddled by women didn't seem to be new territory for Devin.  "Don't sweat it.  I mean, you seem to have a lot of emotional stress you carry with you-"

The look she shot him could have sniped him from a hundred yards.  "Really?"  Of all the times to bring that up, this was the moment he picked?

"Chill," he smiled.  "Come on, we're adulting, right?  I'm not trying to be cruel, I'm just being honest.  Work with me."  His thumbs kept rubbing her sides gently, sending that soft sensation that border lined on a tickle.  "I mean, come on, I've fooled around with half the girls in Shelly, I'm not really the jealous type.  I assumed you had business or something going on and if you wanted me to be a part of it, you'd say so.  It's not that I didn't care, I just... well, I wanted you to know I'm not the smothering type.  You have business?  Deal with it.  If you need help, know I'm here to help.  Less drama for everyone, y'know?"

"Alexa!  Reliant K, for Lona."  He stated aloud.

"Playing, 'for Lona', Devin and might I say, your abs are on point, as always." Alexa cheerfully replied back.

"Why, thank you," he smirked with pride while Lona rolled her eyes.  "...and I suppose you're right.  My own pride aside, I do at least owe you an apology.  I was a complete ass to you, and I am sorry.  Don't tell the others I said that though, I'll deny everything."

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“Yes, you were a complete ass and I appreciate the acknowledgement,” Lona said, then fell silent as the new song played. Her eyes drifted shut as she got caught up in something new. Her fingers, resting on his chest, twitched as they tried to pick out the chords she was hearing. When the song ended, Lona smiled down at Devin. “That’s a great song. I love it. The lyrics are so heart-felt.”

Lona leaned over Devin and smiled at him, feeling tingles spreading from whatever he was doing under her shirt. His hands continued their sweet torture, and Lona dared to run her fingers through his hair. “This is a way better way to spend my afternoon than in classes.”

“Yeah, and I have you all afternoon,” Devin said with a grin as his hand slid higher up her waist to play with the soft skin on her back.

“Did Marissa text you?” Lona asked guiselessly.

“Yes, when she texted everyone,” he answered.

Lona froze, her eyes widening. She pulled out her phone and reread the message, or more specifically, reread who the recipients were. “Ohhhhh myyyy gaaaawd, Devin, she sent this to everyone!”

“Just the Fellowship,” Devin told her, his lips twitching as he repressed laughter.

“Whhhhhhhhhhy would she do that?” Lona whined, dropping the phone on the bed to bury her face in her hands. 

Devin’s hands paused on her back. “What’s the big deal?”

“It’s not their business… It’s personal! It’s,” Lona paused and uncovered her face. “I mostly think it’s because I’m a girl and we’re not supposed to do this or we're bad, and meanwhile you’ll just get kudos and boy high-fives for anything we do, and… I'm already really nervous.” Her nails scraped lightly at his scalp for a moment. “You’re used to this stuff, I’m about as newbie as it gets.” 

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Devin laughed.  He was still trying not to laugh when spoke.  "Avalon, what are you talking about?  We haven't done anything."

"Everyone is going to think we're here, you know...," she made a gesture that seemed to emphasize that the universe would fill in the obvious gap.

"Wow,"  Devin chuckled again.  "You are new to this.  Look, I can't account for the wanton slaughter that is my sister, but regardless of what does happen, if you want privacy, then I will simply say nothing happened.  Just because you're give the location of the condom stash, doesn't mean we used it.  I'm still a virgin, Avvie," he was son confident and unabashedly honest about things it made her wonder if either of the twins had filters, or it was just their California upbringing.  "It's not like I'm raking in all kinds of booty, here."

"So."  He rubbed her back gently under her shirt, his thumbs tracing gently along with his fingertips, tracing gentle lines up her spine at the small of back.  "Ground rules.  One, no bragging.  I assure you that, despite my sister, what happens between us stays between us.  'Nothing happened, we're not ready' is a powerful argument.  Two, nothing happens if you don't want it to.  Seriously, I didn't make out with half of Shelly by forcing myself on them.  A lot of them just wanted to learn, to experiment, I did too.  I'm as blind as the next guy trying to figure all this out.  You women are complicated beings.  Delicious, but complicated.  Third, you don't have to be embarrassed around me, ever.  If you wanna just lie here and make out for awhile, cool.  If you wanna sink deep into your sexual depravity, or discover your sexual depravity, hey... I'm totally cool with that too."

She collapsed down on top of him, her hands on either side of his head as she looked down at him.  He raised up and kissed her, gently to reassure her that things weren't 'weird'.  "So relax.  Enjoy the now, and don't worry.  You're safe with me and we can talk about or do anything you like with no judgements.  Or, nothing at all.  Either way I still get to spend the afternoon with a hot rockstar."  He smiled and winked at her.  "Although, I figured you'd at least made it this far.  Okay, so like... how far have you gone with a guy, or girl, not judging, think it's kinda hot actually.  Were you serious when you said you were never kissed before?"

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“Okay, so I know this is sad and lame, but it was the choice I made at the time,” Lona said softly as her gaze fell to his neck. Imma gonna have to nibble that, but not during this pathetic confession. “I was focused on Dad and spending time with him, so I didn’t date or spend a lot of time away from the house. I just figured that after he was gone, I could start living my life then, that while he was with us, I’d get as much time as I could because there was a limit on it. 

“I’m not completely ignorant about the mechanics,” Lona continued. “I’ve read stuff.”

“Please tell me not on the internet,” Devin snorted. 

“Yes, on the internet, but on sex-positive sites and things like that,” Lona said, aware she was blushing but trying not to care. “You know, they talk about how to have sex, not try to tittilate.”

“I’m sorry,” Devin said with a grin, “did you say ‘tits’?” Lona sat up and smacked his chest. “Ow! I’m hurt, remember?”

“Please,” Lona laughed, “I’m your healthcare specialist, and I know what you can and can’t take.” She paused and her smile turned coy. “Like I’m pretty sure you can handle this.”

Just hope I can handle it, Lona thought to herself as she pulled her shirt off and tossed it aside. The urge to cross her arms followed immediately, but she put her hands firmly on her hips. She nibbled on her lip ring, feeling her skin goosepimple. “Do you agree with my medical assessment?”

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Devin didn't show surprise often, but he wasn't expecting that.  His eyes locked on her chest and his sudden loss for words told her everything she needed to know.  He bra was light blue with a simple pattern of lace.  Avalon was also lying to everyone, Devin included, and it would have hurt his feelings if it wasn't for the fact that under all the baggy clothes she was rocking on hell of a body.  All the running and sweating on stage certainly paid off for her, and Devin wasn't about to complain.

Her body tightened as he ran his hands ups her body and he wondered if all this was hers or had her powers sloughed off everything that was harmful to her and left her in perfect health.  Her skin was smooth and free of a single blemish, body toned and hardened but still normal, if you didn't know that she had powers.  His hands stopped, his thumbs tracing under the cups of her bra, sending a slight tingle through the material, teasing and reminding her that this was real.

"Uh, wow," he said with a smirk.  Staring at her 30B body with lust in his eyes and slew of ideas storming around in his brain.  "Avalon, where were you hiding this body?  Jesus..."  He pushed himself up so he was sitting wrapping his arms around her he kissed her once between her breasts and trailed two more gently up her chest.

He looked up at her, his arms wrapped around her tight.  "Shortness of breath, swelling, lack of circulation to my brain... nope.  I'd say I'm worse off Doc."  He gently kissed the bottom of her chin.  "What else y'got?"

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“Well, your case is difficult,” Lona said, wrapping her arms around his neck and playing with his scalp. “You seem to have accelerating symptoms. Hmm, I have a procedure in mind.” Tilting her head to the side, Lona kissed his neck, sending a shiver through him. Startled but delighted at the response, continued doing it, trailing her lips up and down his neck. 

“I’m not sure you’re responding to care,” Lona whispered when she came up for air, wiggling in his lap a little. “I might need to get a little more aggressive in your treatment.”

“Whatever you think,” Devin murmured, catching her lips in a kiss. She felt him striving to be gentle and not push her, but she pressed herself against him more firmly. With lips and tongue, she deepened the kiss so that it resembled their first kiss. This time, there was no audience, no parents yelling at them to stop, only their own restraint. 

Lona, for one, had no intention of stopping, at least not yet. Each touch, each kiss inflamed her desire for more. She might chicken out later, but for this moment, she wanted to do this. She also really wanted to do this with Devin; a month ago she would have been appalled at the idea and assumed that she was drunk or stupid enough to fall into his “trap”. So much had changed, mostly Devin, and she was amazed to find herself here with him.

She wasn’t sure how long they kissed, but at some point she felt ready for more, and she guided Devin’s hands to cup her breasts. “You feel so good,” she murmured, “you make me feel so good. Thank you.”

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"Don't thank me yet," he said with half a breath, one hand squeezing her gently as his other slid across her side and up her back, arcing her spine with a shivering glide upwards.  Within the span of him touching her back and tracing over the strap of her bra it was undone.  His grace and precision in the maneuver reminded her that he was far more experienced at heavy petting than he was leading her to believe.  "Still plenty of time to disappoint or offend."  He smirked.

Without warning he gripped her tightly and spun her about, hefting her hundred or so pounds like she was nothing more than a feather and he was a breeze.  it was her turn to lie on her back and thankfully the rich kids parent's sprung for the Queen-sized mattress or she was sure they would have rolled off by now.  With a tug, he pulled his tank top off and Lona realized she wasn't the only one holding out on a fit body with loose clothing.  Everyone knew Devin was a gymnast, but no one had ever seen him actually perform, but judging by his hardened frame, working out was a way of for this guy.  Yeah, the thought returned, a month ago, she did not see herself making out with a guy like him... more many reasons.

They both lost track of time in the flood of desires.  She could feel how turned on he was and certainly all he needed was the green light, but the more involved she became, the more he met her enthusiasm.  His mouth explored every inch of skin she bared to him, allowing herself to be lost in the waves of new sensations and drown, if only for awhile, in her passions.  This, she knew Devin would agree, was living.Just feeling his skin on hers was as electric as any kiss or touch and it was simple to understand why Devin always had these sorts of thought on his mind, it was addicting.

He kissed down her body, moving lower and lower, getting more confident with every heavy breath and soft moan his partner gave him.  Her jeans were already undone but still on.  That happened maybe ten, twenty minutes ago?  Neither knew.  Her stomach quivered and she laughed slightly as his kissing her lower tickled.

Then her phone rang...

They both sighed, Devin's head collapsed into her stomach and Lona rolled her eyes, groaning with the poor timing.  "Sorry, thought it was on silent.  Shit," she said looking at the screen.  "It's Clara."

"Answer it," he urged while taking a small nibble at the side of her tummy.  "Or they'll know we're up to something."

Avalon groaned with frustration through the tiny laughs of Devin' nibbling on her.  "Fine."  She feigned irritation and swiped her screen.  "Hello?  Hey."  She replied to Clara.  Devin could hear Clara's muffled voice through the receiver and Lona shot him a look as she tried to keep a straight face as he continued to kiss and nibble on her stomach, still slithering himself lower and lower.  "No, he's okay.  Still a bit bruised up but he's definitely up and active."  Devin's lips rolled under his teeth and he bit down to stop himself from laughing.  He glared at her as she smiled back devilishly, sticking her tongue out at him.  "No, no... he just headed downstairs..."

Devin collapsed on her, cupping both his hands over his mouth until his laughter was nothing more than compressed wheezes through his nose and back of his throat... like that dog, Muttley.  "Yeah... sure.  Call me if you need anything.  I know.  I know.  We're not.  Jesus, give me some credit."  She clicked off her phone and Devin began laughing, burying his face in her stomach.

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“Tickles, tickles!” Lona gasped, dropping her phone and grabbing for Devin’s face. He resisted, adding kisses to the laughter that had Lona squirming. For several minutes, they tussled before Devin relented and allowed her time to breathe again.

“So, what did Clara want?” he asked, propping himself up on one elbow while his other hand toyed with the hint of white lace peeking over the top of her jeans.

“She wanted to be sure we weren’t having unprotected sex,” Lona said with a sigh. 

“So, she really is like your mom,” Devin noted. “I’d get tired of her mothering me all the time.”

“It’s not like that, not since we had our fight. She’s just worried about me, she cares. And, no, my mom is lame and Clara at least cares more about me than getting laid,” Lona groaned. 

“Your mom’s got a boyfriend already?” Devin asked, idly dipping his fingers into her jeans far enough to realize that it was all lace.

Lona froze, debating what to say. She was quiet so long that Devin stopped what he was doing and looked at her expression. Before he could ask, she said, “So, I’m invoking the ‘don’t talk about this with others’ rule you mentioned earlier, but…” She swallowed and said, “She’s banging Clara’s parents. Both of them. Has been since Dad died. For all I know, they were doing it before Dad died.”

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