Theodore was shaken awake by one of his bandmates when the plane touched the ground at Velana International Airport after a 10-hour-long ride from London. The young man grunted as he lifted the hood of his gray sweatshirt squinting as his eyes adjusted to the light. Starting the plane ride with 4 gin and tonics seemed like a brilliant plan when they boarded but now 8 hours later Theo was a grumpy mess. He groaned as he got up from his seat trudging after the rest of the passengers of the plane.
After what felt forever he and his friends had gone through security and baggage claim and they were stepping outside into the scorching sun. The hungover Theo quickly pulled out his sunglasses and shoved them in his face sighing heavily as he did so.
“Come on Teddy! Lighten up, we’re on a beautiful vacation! Even you must appreciate this.” His base player Jeremiah exclaimed as he threw an arm around Theo. The rest of the band members chuckled in agreement.
Theodore let out another sigh throwing Jeremiah of his shoulders. “Do I? Do I really?” he deadpanned as they walked towards the big double-decker bus with ‘Ashford Resorts’ written in golden lettering on the side. This bus was supposed to take all of the invited visitors and their guests to the ferry that would bring them over to Carnation Island. In Theo’s humble opinion was all this travel even worth it?
Inside the bus, the music was pumping, and the atmosphere was already one of euphoria, you could tell that most of the people on the bus had vacation feelings coursing through their bodies among other things. The hungover Theodore snatched a couple of beers from one of the coolers that were set out around the bus before taking a seat at the far back with the rest of his band. His blue eyes searching the seats and the tops of people heads for a blonde one. After a while, he spotted the golden hair of his cousin Charlotte or Lottie as she was known to most. Lottie was one of the reasons that Theo was even on this trip. He had promised his uncle Warren to keep an eye on her for him. Warren wasn’t even his real uncle rather he was his father’s cousin, but the man was very intimidating. And on top of that Lottie had pestered him at the family gathering they both attended at the start of the summer. Apparently, her father had given her an ultimatum that she could only go if Theo went as well.
So here he was chugging a beer at the back of a party bus looking at his young cousin laughing loudly with her girlfriends like a creepy stalker. Shrugging he opened his second beer before turning back to his friends as the bus drove them to the pier where the huge ferry boat was already waiting for them. As they were boarding the boat Theodore caught his cousin’s eye and gave her a nod that implicated that she owed him a drink.
The big party continued on the ferry and Teddy couldn’t help but feel really sorry for the staff that had to run around like madmen to satisfy the needs of the hoard of young and drunk passengers. But the Wallenberg son just ordered a whiskey sour and sat down to watch the whole debacle go down.
Soon enough the boat docked at the Carnation Island pier and Theo took a deep breath of relief. But as soon as they exited the boat he could only groan. Rachel had really gone all out with the welcome party. Two huge LED screens had been set up right there on the beach flashing the text on one screen and a video showing off the island on the other. Between them, a big wooden stage had been set up housing fire dancers and huge flower displays. At the center of the stage stood a sun-tanned Rachel with a wide grin holding a microphone up to her mouth as the crowd drew nearer.
“Hello, my lovelies! I trust your travels have been good and I hope that the staff and alcohol have treated you well!” She almost screamed into the mic. “I can’t believe that you’re finally here! I almost pissed my pants with excitement when I woke up today!” she continued as she jumped up and down. “So daddy has booked the whole resort just for us and I’ve planned some activities spread out over our time here! I will send out invites throughout your stay so keep an eye out for those! Oh! And the staff are handing out welcome packets as you will see these include a map of the island, the keys cards to your cabanas and invites to the first out of many parties! We’re going to have a huge bonfire right here at the beach with a sick DJ playing all night! But I’ll let you all settle in first so grab your packet, dump your stuff in your cabana and enjoy the day and meet back here at 8 pm!”
A shiny white golf cart drove up right behind Rachel as she finished her speech, she jumped in the back and lifted the microphone once again “I’ll be living up in the main building, but ask the staff about whatever you need! They’re all super talented and nice! Get ready to rage!” she bellowed as the golf cart drove away and out of sight.
Theodore couldn’t help but roll his eyes behind his shades as he shook his head while the crowd cheered loudly. He was handed a thick envelope after he ticked his name of a fancy looking pad when they arrived at the big stage. On the envelope, in curling text, it said ‘Teddy W.’. He and his friends made their way towards cabana #34 which they had been assigned. After a quick shower and change of clothes, Theo yelled out the rest of the gang that he was heading out and that they could find him at the bar.
As he arrived at the nice luxurious looking beach bar it was surprisingly empty with just a few tables occupied. Most of the newly arrived guests were probably checking out their new lining situations or napping. Theodore headed straight for the bar and took a seat on one of the plush bar stools. “How many of these drinks can I order at the same time without you hating me?” he said dryly eyeing the menu in front of him flicking his eyes up at the blonde bartender.
Put it between your lips softly, breathe it in slowly, and give it not an ounce of attention. Feel it in your mouth, let your tongue play and roll around with it, savor its taste. Hold it until you can't breathe, then hold it on longer until finally, release it with one, last, pleasurable blow.
Remi watched the smoke roil away and disappear above her, watching as it was whipped away by the rushing winds as the sounds of those young, drunk, and in love with life seized every moment they could around her. She let ashes fall down the side of the ferry as she turned her eyes to the waves and the horizon, allowing her last cigarette to burn its last moments away brightly and quietly alone. She held onto it even after it had died out and stood a statue on the rolling railings, a still painting amidst the frenetic motions of ecstatic energy that surrounded her. And then she got tired of being all mysterious and pulled a nearby handsome boy that had caught her eye. He was stumbling, laughing, and could barely even register any surprise before realizing that she had put his arm around her waist, her hand trailing down his outer thigh. Chocolate brown eyes stared up into his own, soft lips slightly parted. The moment lingered between their gazes, her face gravitating steadily closer before twirling away out of his grasp, a hand leading him towards somewhere a little more private.
She needed something to wash out the taste anyway.
Welcome to Paradise Evening
With Rachel, it was always amusing to see what sort of ostentatious display of wealth she would present to those around her, whether it be in friendships, favors, or just plain old money, and with the Krakens' welcome, Remi felt that the girl had certainly outdone herself this time. It almost seemed as if the entire uni was present to listen to Rachel's speech, to hear that the entire island had been reserved exclusively for them, and to see just how big that playground was.
Overall, a solid performance.
It didn't take long for Remi to settle in to her new cabin, mostly because she just left her suitcases on top of an empty bed still packed and unopened, having already changed into her beach attire back on the ferry; it seemed only appropriate. Dressed in a loose white blouse, a pair of booty shorts, and a yellow bikini for modesty, Remi was ready to continue the party. She debated on bringing some sort of jacket or sweater, but considering that it was five-thirty in the evening and still hot and the fact that she wanted to be hot, she decided against. Even if the weather would turn a bit more nippy later as the night dragged on, either she'd be too tired to care or already in someone's cabin. Besides, worst comes to worst she's sure she could just borrow someone's and return it back maybe, if she would remember who they were.
That aside, there was still some time until the bonfire would actually start. She had no plans to spend it cooped inside, of course. Immediately venturing out onto the beach where the bonfire was going to be held, the first thing that caught her eye was the beach bar with all the empty stools, the second being the impressive display of alcohol arrayed behind the model stunner of a bartender, and then the chiseled man currently sitting there. Remi didn't think she knew him, but she never had the best memory of people in the first place. Not like that would have mattered to her anyway as best case scenario, she would make a new friend as she glided over to the bar. Worst case scenario, it becomes a bit awkward, then it won't, and then she'll have re-made a new friend.
As Remi settled down onto the seat right next to the man, catching most of his comment. "How many do you think it'll take before she pretends to be impressed," she snarked with a smile, sliding herself into the conversation. "Gin fizz," she ordered as she lazed down into her seat.
“Did you really have to smile-? Ugh, no matter, I uploaded it anyway.” Indira was talking to herself at this point. She didn't even raise her head to show the boy next to her the scowl present on her face. Of course Nate had to be cheeky enough to smile last minute, making her perfected pout look out of place beside him. Unfortunately ('More like unfortu-nate-ly, right?') it was the only picture Indira was allowed to take, as she had promised Nate to stop bothering him in exchange for one picture for her followers. She took one more glance at the image, her eyes being drawn back to her lips again briefly before she clicked her tongue and moved on to check the comments again.
Her phone had been buzzing the entire time, and the social media addict was was on top of her game today. One comment stood out from the rest, making the girl almost snort in an undignified manner. Forgetting the promise momentarily, she shoved the gadget in Nate's face. “Look at that comment! I take it back, you gotta smile more. This Belladonna chick really likes you. What kinda name is Belladonna anyway? It's so Game of Thrones-y.” She mused as she proceeded to stalk Belladonna's profile. It wasn't a name she was used to seeing around, but it was cute.
However, right as she was done showing Nate her phone, she pouted at her screen. On it showed the dreaded '10% battery remaining', reminding her that she had forgotten to charge her portable charger to last the ferry trip. Quickly after checking for any Whatsapp messages and checking for any Insta DMs, Indie turned off her phone with a miserable 5% remaining.
With her phone off, Indie turned to bother Nathan once more but she was stopped by the announcement that the the ferry had docked at the pier. 'You win this time, Nate.' She thought as they followed the rest of the Krackens onto the beach and towards the giant stage, where she could just about see Rachel ready to welcome everybody onto Carnation island.
As Rachel began introducing them to the island, Indie felt a tap on her shoulder. Turning around revealed an employee with a thick envelope with her name written on it. She thanked the employee before tearing her envelope open, almost tearing the map that was tucked carefully inside.
Indira and Nate split up once Rachel was done with her announcement. Well, in reality Indie lost Nate somewhere inside the crowd, but her priority was finding her cabana. After wandering the island for a good few minutes (already forgetting about the almost torn map with her), she found the cabana assigned to her. Beside the door was a number and below that was a name plate carrying her name and...
It had been a good two weeks since Indie had talked to Lottie. She knew she couldn't avoid her best friend for long, so the events should actually be a blessing. Indie entered the cabana a little nervously, quickly rushing to the closest outlet so she could charge her phone before heading into the bathroom to freshen up. She hoped that once she was done getting ready, Lottie would join her at the cabana.
One half of a boat ride was plenty for Nathan why he had been so reluctant in the first place. It really wasn’t just Indie’s unlimited energy that she channelled purely into getting a selfie with him. He liked the girl, truly, but he was still fighting his own inner battles at the moment. Could she maybe talk about something else than her Instagram for two seconds? Well… that wasn’t fair. Without her ceaseless conquest for popularity, she’d have far less reason to hang around Nate as long than she had already. Maybe he should just give her this one picture. One to get her to move on.
But being the good friend that he is, he could not stop himself from saying cheese to a positively disastrous outcome (Confirmed: Indie likes sausage better). He knew exactly the scornful look she was hiding from him at this moment. It were little things like these that kept Nate sane at the moment. An opportunity to turn the mess of his mind into one insanely focussed attempt to annoy his friend. She didn’t mind, really.
Now where was he? Oh yes. ‘Why the hell did I go with her in the first place?’ One part of his brain, probably the right half, echoed through his skull. What did Nate have to gain from going to fucking Carnation island? It weren’t the parties, really. Nathan did enjoy a good party, albeit in moderation . Moderation had clearly missed this boat.
This also wasn’t his crowd, really. Sure, there would be people he could get along with. He just had to avoid the druggies, pompous asshats and spoiled daddy’s girls clinging onto their fleeting college-time popularity until the very last second before it faded post-graduation. Ah, the sad fate of the early bloomer.
’Oh, shut up and enjoy your free vacation.’ The much less cynical half of his brain retorted. Thanks, leftie, for reminding him of the things that were truly important. Surely somewhere on this island he could find something he could call a good use of much-needed recreational free time. If not, well there was always alcohol.
As for the crowd. Surely he would find someone to get along with if he played nicely, right? At least he had Indie to fall back on. And he believed Theo was coming too. That was a relief. Okay, maybe this was actually going to be enjoyable! Yes Nate, be optimistic damn it!
Now he just had to set the endless stream of work e-mails, that were causing his phone to buzz to a degree that put Indie’s to shame, out of his mind and he was completely sorted. That was something both brain halves agreed on as they laughed in his face. Maybe he could muster the willpower to turn the damn thing off when he wasn’t fighting world war three in his mind.
Indie buzzed him back to reality for a bit. Frankly, he didn’t really give a damn about social media besides the insane business prospects it offered. But Nate was more than willing to set that aside for a friend. Apparently some Belladonna appreciated his show of optimism and wit.
”It’s a flower… Pity her, her mom’s probably an ex-hippie.“ At least it was very different from the kind of shade he thought he’d get from Indie’s followers. (I swear I’m funny)
Then the boat stopped. There was truly no way back now. Well, there hadn’t been the moment he stepped on this boat, but that wasn’t what he was telling himself right now. He blended himself into the crowd and joined the stream of people to the welcoming party.
Barely three steps onto the island’s soil later the masses were greeted by the way too excited queen-mistress of clove pink (For a moment he considered pitching that title to her, considering she wasn’t to be the queen of woodford for much longer). There was a very real possibility that Nate was the only person in this crowd who didn’t give a single shred of a miserable damn about Rachel Ashford. Regardless, it wasn’t polite to be rude to your host, and so he saved himself the energy of rolling his eyes at this speech.
He accepted his envelope questioningly. How did they even know who he was? It was then he noticed he had lost Indie in the crowd. ’Never get pets, Indie.’ He sighed, then opened his envelope. The map was probably his new best friend for this journey. He made a mental note of his cabin number, and figured dumping his stuff there was probably the best course of action.
Twenty minutes later, Nate walked into a bar. Maybe a drink would set him straight. He contemplated the other name on his cabin’s plaque. Were his parents a fan of fine art, or the teenage mutant ninja turtles? Not something he’ll likely ask Michelangelo directly, unfortunately.
Fortunately for him, he would not be alone at the bar. He found the one other friendly face he knew. Only one seat next to him was occupied, and Nate made no qualms about taking the other side. He saw lips moving as he approached, but didn’t quite catch anything that was said. ”Theo!” he said as he sat down. ”Already found your new favorite spot, I see.” Then he turned to the bartender and added to the workload..”One whiskey sour, please.”
It was all so extra. Of course, that was to be expected because Rachel was pretty extra. He'd partied with the girl a few times and it had always left him with the impression that she had something to prove. Not that he didn't like that about her, the sheer abrasiveness of her personality had been why he'd gotten along with her to begin with but they were terribly different people.
Quinn was content with the mediocre, grab him a beer and a pack of cigarettes and he was good to go. A party was a party with or without the fanfare. Looking at all of this now and there was quite a lot of fanfare. Rachel had really gone to the next level with all of this shit and he was excited, admittedly, excited but a little weary.
Quinn liked parties, sure, but he also liked his space. He didn't forsee himself getting a lot of space here and that brought out the weariness. So, here he was, excited and also somehow weary as he rode on a ferry towards Carnation Island. He exhaled smoke, leaning on his elbow to better watch the others as they laughed and chattered excitedly about what things waited for them on the island.
He didn't really have to wonder, he knew that whatever Rachel had set up, it was going to be bigger and even more vibrant than what they'd seen so far. He couldn't really blame her, she had a flair for this sort of thing and as much as he would be begrudged to admit, he found it all very impressive. He wouldn't be telling her that she'd impressed him because the last thing Rachel needed was more points for her ego but he took in the ferry with an appreciative glint in his eyes.
It was on his second drag when he spotted her out of the corner of his eye. He turned completely to get a better look at the girl who stood amongst her friends, just barely angling himself to watch her for a moment. He didn't think he knew her, but by the look of her, he wanted to know her. Long blonde hair, tied into a high ponytail beneath a red bandana, built small, very cute.
He considered approaching her and he very nearly did but the ferry was docking and he was becoming a bit too distracted to go chasing down a cute blonde. At any rate, by the time he'd glanced back over, he'd lost sight of her. Well, shit, he thought with a flicker of frustration. Maybe I'll run into her again after all of this wraps up.
He tried to focus on what Rachel was saying but he was almost too busy taking in the fire dancers and the flowers. It was exactly what he'd hoped it would be, ridiculously vibrant and full of life. It was kind od incredible how good she was at outdoing herself. He laughed to himself when Rachel retreated on the golf cart, it was all so like her.
"Christ, this is something." he mused, mostly to himself.
Rich people still kind of baffled him, even the ones he'd wound up close to over the years. It was amusing sometimes to watch the levels that they were willing and able to go to, it sometimes made him wonder how differently he might have turned out if he'd had it easy. Of course, it wasn't really the time for philosophical debates about nature, nurture or money. He had a BA in psychology so he could debate those things about other people.
Finishing off his cigarette, he flicked it away from him, grinding it beneath the toe of his sneaker. It wasn't time for any of that, it was time to enjoy himself and he entirely intended to do just that. It was just a matter of deciding where he wanted to go first.
"There couldn't be more alcohol, could there?" He joked as he took a seat at the bar near Theodore. He wasn't quite next to him but he was close enough. The other two who had beaten him to Theodore's left and right sides didn't seem unfriendly which was really all he asked for. "Actually, maybe I don't want to issue that challenge. Rachel would find a way."
Zeke didn't really drink with friends anymore, that had all stopped abruptly when he'd slipped up the first time. He knew he'd grown up a lot since then and that he wasn't the same kid that had planted a drunken kiss on his best friend but he also knew that he'd always be nervous. It wasn't easy to shake the feeling that if alcohol had blurred the boundaries once then it would blur the boundaries again.
While his friend hadn't remembered the incident and he had gotten away without any awkwardness, he had to be on his toes to make sure he didn't repeat the situation. It was a problem that he couldn't shake because while he wasn't that same kid, he was still unfortunately pretty attracted to his friend. There wasn't any hope for that attraction, but he figured that it didn't really matter as he had no intention of coming out.
People had been curious about his lack of interest in girls at first until he'd dated one. The relationship with her had ended so quickly that most just presumed he'd been burned. He hadn't been burned but she might have, he had sort of been avoiding her ever since the whole thing. It was easier to dodge her then it was to have awkward conversations about what went wrong and why they couldn't fix it.
It was easier to avoid her than to admit that he'd never really been interested in her at all.
"Water, if you don't mind." He said to the bartender, offering her an awkward smile. "Thank you." It was like that sometimes, he couldn't let himself get tangled in old feelings, he had to keep moving forward and so he did, he kept moving forward. Zeke had long since learned that life as a whole was much smoother when he kept his head out of the clouds and didn't worry so much about what once was. He did sort of miss the carelessness sometimes though.
He gave a slight nod of greeting to the others at the bar, a friendly acknowledgement of their presence. He recognized Nathan from hanging out with Theodore but he didn't recognize the girl.
Her fingers continuously pulled down at the shorts every time they rode up, making Farah feel like she was at a Halloween party with an uncomfortable costume instead of her job. The outfit certainly looked cute--a pair of high waist black overalls and a button down white shirt--but it felt tight on her barely-there hips and the shirt felt stuffy. The outside heat didn't help, her torso feeling like she was in a sauna. Her creative liberties helped a little when she decided to roll up the sleeves and unbutton the shirt down to be able to breathe better, and once she was ready for the horde her focus was more on the bar than what she was wearing.
Running a hand through her ponytail, Farah perked up as she saw one of the students approaching. Okay, customer service smile on. Tall, blonde, and blue eyed, probably looking to relax a little before the party actually started. He didn't take long to look at the menu.“How many of these drinks can I order at the same time without you hating me?” He asked her, giving her a direct look into a pair of eyes that felt like they were looking right through her. It was slightly jarring; she was used to serving people, but maybe it was because he was probably more around her age that it threw her off guard.
His question was funny, though she didn't get a chance to properly respond before a second student would make a comment. She was cute, carefree, and her sunhat was adorable. "How many do you think it'll take before she pretends to be impressed?" Five, usually; that's when most people lose their cognition and start looking for validation. Farah nodded in acknowledgement, putting herself to work. Right, it wasn't a good idea to get distracted right off the bat. She mentally thanked the girl for reminding her of that. The order for a gin fizz kept Farah in motion, nodding once again as she put herself to work on it. At least they were easy. She wouldn't mind a casual day.
”Theo!” The call of the name followed by the entrance gave her a name to match a face, at least. This bundle of enthusiasm would jump over, taking the seat next to his friend. Farah took advantage of the moment to look him over as well, quietly pleased with what she saw until she was acknowledged. ”One whiskey sour, please.”
The last but not least was quieter; Farah nearly missed his arrival, but she offered a polite smile nonetheless. She almost did a double take, wondering if it was happenstance or if it was intentional that he was cute, too. Jesus, this school was filled with hot guys. No wonder Miss Ashford was throwing this wild get together, it was a jungle of hot, single guys. Hopefully single, anyway. "Water, if you don't mind." He said to her, offering her an awkward smile. "Thank you."
Finishing up with the initial gin fizz, she plucked one of the tiny paper carnations from the stack, topping off the drink. She always thought the drink decorations were a bit much, but as everyone who worked around here said, Rachel's orders--and she wasn't about to get in trouble over a damn paper flower. "Sure thing. One gin fizz," She replied, placing the girl's drink on a coaster in front of her. One whiskey sour," Placing a cherry on top, she littered it with several little dots of flavor before placing it in front of the guy. "And one ice cold water." As if not to let him feel left out (even though she was convinced no one would throw a fit over their water not being decorated] she took a small carnation flower and laid it carefully on the ice.
『 Matt threw his canvas bag into the boat idling next to the shore before climbing in, cursing as the boat moved under his feet. He didn't like the sense of instability it gave him and he fumbled for the side rail, grabbing on and holding tight as the boat moved away from the shore and sped to the aforementioned party island in the distance. The sea wind whipped his long hair into his eyes and he sneezed as the wind passed him by. Damn, if he got a cold right now...that wouldn't be a good idea at all.
"Fuck this." He muttered, cradling his headphones tight as he braced for the boat's bumpy ride over the endless waves.
Matt was looking forwards to the party, as he always would look forwards towards a social event and free drinks but the journey there was starting to sicken him and he leaned slightly over the edge, trying hard not to throw up. By god, what kind of dad rented out an entire island for his daughter? If only he had a dad like that. Well, he did, kind of, but...Matt shook his head and jammed his headphones on over his ears, lighting up a cigarette even though it kept extinguishing itself and trying to move his mind into thinking something more positive. The ocean waves were impossibly blue to his eyes, rolling itself over and punching back down with a cascade of white sea foam following. He remembered childhood days on the beach and building sand castles that would inevitably be washed away by the water. And that was why the ocean freaked him out. As much as it rolled his stomach physically, it also made him nostalgic for better days...and that would always lead into a spiralling sense of no self control. Such a feeling that Matt would never openly accept in himself again. Not after what happened a few years back.
When the boat finally pulled up to Rachel's Island, swaying crazily in the breeze and landing with quite a crash onto the sandy surface ("Fuck, why in the world do you insist on making life hard for me?") Matt climbed out, staggering slightly on land before he righted himself and moved to get his bag. The captain of the ship gave him a disgruntled look as Matt keeled over, dry heaving before he went to heft his bag over his shoulder, struggling a bit with the weight of it all and pretending to look more macho than he really did. The captain rolled his eyes and crossed his arms around his chest. Honestly, with the whole haggard look that the captain was currently rocking, Matt reckoned that he was a living zombie devoid of any empathy.
"Look mate, I'm sea sick okay? No need to give me those eyes. By god!" He made a quick imitation of the look the captain gave him before he gave him a salute and slapped some cash into the captain's hand. "You should really stock those paper bags airplanes have for puking. I'd give you a 5 star on Boat Yelp for that...If there's such a thing. ANYways, adios!" Matt lifted up his hand in a drunken wave before he headed off into the general direction of people and sound, bracing himself to make any awkward introductions and of course, for any onslaught of Rachel-ness that would head his way soon.
As Matt stepped into the main space, it seemed to be that he had missed Rachel's big announcement. Which honestly was a bit of a shame...he did enjoy watching her exuberantly skip around and yell her head off but he'd already watched the video so he supposed he was doing just fine in the Rachel-watching aspect. He grabbed his keys and the packet before he headed off to his cabana, barely watching around him as he did. Everyone else was gathered around the bar but Matt felt that any drink that he downed, he would puke up. He jammed his key in the cabana door, hoping that Valentina was somewhere inside but as he kicked the door open he discovered that the room was devoid of the presence of his best friend. She probably hadn't arrived yet. He sighed as he flung his messenger bag onto a bed and headed to the bathroom to wash his face. The room was pretty nice and so was the view but he didn't feel it in him yet to truly take a look around. All he needed was another friend on this damn island and as he peeked a glance at the room's alarm clock, he felt hilariously let down by how early it was.
"And that, ladies and gentlemen is Matt's welcome to Paradise." 』
No one yet, fools! This is the intro! She ain't no lush!
As a fine spray rose off the Indian Ocean while the party boat made its way towards the intended destination, the girl in the red tank top and jean shorts with the giant sunglasses on her face and a lemon vodka cooler in her hand was taking some time to reflect on the days journey that brought her to this point. That was days' not day's, and Jade Scott wouldn't be forgetting that fact any time soon.
Upon learning of her itinerary when she agreed to come to Carnation Island, the soccer star had to do a double take. Money was no object. The hush-hush payments from a certain major athletic apparel company gave her more than enough cash to make this trip many times over and still have enough for souvenirs for the entire school. Instead, 35 hours of her life was the asking price, spread across four different countries. The first leg wasn't terrible. Denver to Vancouver was no different than the Denver-Seattle flight she usually made when visiting her parents. Or when flying to matches for that matter. Even the five-hour layover in Canada was tolerable... until everything in the airport closed down at midnight.
That made it a little difficult to stay up for her 2:30 am flight on July 19 that didn't land in Shanghai until 5:40 am on July 21. That was an ordeal. There were no meals served until late in the 12-hour trip because most of the stewards assumed people would be sleeping. Not Jade. Not with her seat right near the engine, droning over her headphones until the battery power on her iPod finally gave out. Starving, she struggled to get food during another long stopover in China. Six hours in Pudong International Airport, trying to find an outlet for her electronics and a place that served better versions of food than the bastardized takes on Big Macs and venti lattes in the Terminal. After such a long trip, the Golden Girl was in no mood for the struggles of learning how to order a grilled chicken salad in Mandarin, so she sucked it up until the final leg, a seven-hour trek from Shanghai to Malé where she managed to get a little bit a sleep and a half-cooked airplane chicken breast. It was better than nothing. Recovery at her one-night hotel room in the Maldives' capital required the whole evening.
But the promise of free drinks and a summer of endless parties seemed to be worth it. If Jade Scott wasn't going to get to celebrate a World Cup championship with Megan and Alex and the others, then she was damn well going to match them in their drunken glory, at least if Ashlyn's Instagram was anything to go off of. That was her self-assigned goal for the vacation. Rachel was going to see to that.
As the boat finally pulled up to the Carnation Island docks, Jade was eager to wheel her duffel bag off to her private cabin and then take in the sight of the calm ocean waves as she sipped the first of what would be many daiquiris of varying flavors on the balcony. It sounded like the perfect way to prepare herself for this relaxation period. Of course, Rachel would have other plans from the sounds of things.
Her bonfire announcement was a spectacle. Naturally, given the girl invited half the campus to this picturesque paradise. Release the Kraken indeed. As Jade elbowed her way to the main stage and grabbed the stylized envelope marked "Jade S.", the packet revealed she would have cabana #9. Perfect, since it was her number on the pitch. Damn, Rachel. Just got all this figured out, huh? She smirked.
Her smile grew wider as she followed the boardwalk path towards her assigned home for the next couple months. It was a massive villa, two stories tall. The entryway revealed a level of opulence that even Nik that unnamed apparel company had yet to offer her. The living room area with the giant couch and a freaking hanging light shaped like a manta ray gazed over an elegant pool, perfect for soaking in. Jade dropped her bag and ran outside. The place had a damn waterslide attached to it! She walked around and discovered the mini-bar, well-stocked with fruits, chocolates and a few choice bottles of wine, along with water, shots of alcohol, and other mixing ingredients. She saw the master bedroom, a king-size bed with another gorgeous view of the Indian Ocean. Everything appeared to be layered in a calming bamboo color. I could get so used to this...
Leaving her duffel behind, she went exploring the other side of the villa... and found another bedroom. Huh. Guess the luxury villas must come with the option to send the fuck buddy to another room. All right, that's cool. That's cool. Jade worked her way upstairs and spotted a pool table and a TV, replete with game systems hooked up, as well as a gym for staying in shape during this binge she was about to embark on. Awesome. I can kick ass on multiple levels. Good shit. Walking down the hallway however, she found... more beds. A couple of them. On the other side of the pool table, an open door revealed more beds. What the... Six beds in here? I'm not having a damn orgy! What's Rachel doing giving me this? I don't need all of this.
Jade moved back downstairs and fished her cell phone out of her laptop bag. A quick connection to the Wifi gave her access to all her apps, specifically WhatsApp, which was the preferred method of communication overseas. Take that for data, Sprint. Locking in on Rachel's number, the Rocket sent a quick message:
To: Rachel Party Queen
Rachel, it's Jade. Just wondering what the heck is up with this cabana. I mean, I fucking love it, no lie. But there's six beds in here, and I definitely don't plan on rotating...
Jade thought for a second and a look of dread crossed her face.
I swear girl, if you set me up in a house with a bunch of randoms, I'm not going to be a happy camper, you got me? I'm a star attraction here! I need my own space! I'm not in for some Big Brother Love Island bullshit! Fix this before the bonfire!!!
The soccer star tossed her phone onto the bed and collapsed alongside it. Knew this was gonna be too good to be true. Fucking Rachel. She closed her eyes and again pondered her lot in life as the sounds of the waves breaking upon the stilts were the only sounds filling the villa for the moment.
Location: Party Cabana ♦ Interactions: Jade @NeoAJ
For it being her vacation away from everyone back home, Andrea didn’t feel like partying.
Standing at a point on the boat as it made its way to the pier, the tiny blonde stared blankly at the ocean, the motions of a rocking boat coming second place to the World War-scale battle she had with her mother just hours ago. She didn’t understand what her mother had against her coming here. They usually saw eye to eye on a lot of things. Whether it was shopping, choices of schools, her sexuality -- everything she chose to disclose to her mother, she knew Viola Banks was always accepting. They were more like sisters than they were mother and daughter.
“So why did she make a big deal about me coming here?” She asked herself that very same question for hours. Ever since she got on the boat, the fight had been lingering in her mind and nothing else.
1 hour before leaving for the airport
”Are you seriously doing this right now? I have to go to the airport!” Drea screamed into her phone.
“You’re actually going?!” She heard her mom scream back to her. “I thought you were going to intern at the family company this summer?”
Drea rolled her eyes. Between hearing her mother’s constant rants about that dumb internship, she was making sure she had her passport, id, and that all of her summer outfits were packed. And in the back of her mind, she was also wondering why she had been entertaining her insane mother for so long. Why was it so important for her that she take that stupid internship? Andrea didn’t understand it. Or maybe she didn’t want to. Honestly, at this point, she didn’t know and quite frankly, she didn’t care.
“I’ll tell you what I said months ago.” Andrea cleared her voice with a cough, taking a small moment to inhale deeply. As she would exhale, she continued, “I’m not taking that internship. I have zero interest in working for your real estate company. I have my own aspirations and they don’t include being referred to ‘Viola’s daughter’. I need my own identity!” Andrea felt like a weight was lifted off her shoulder. “Now, if you don’t mind, I have a lot of double-checking to do before I take my Uber to JFK, and fly to the Ashford Island for my summer getaway. So, goodbye mother, I’ll call you when I’m back in the states!”
And the more she thought about it, maybe she was too harsh. In retrospect, she knew her mother was doing what she did, no matter how crazy or irrational it was, from a place of love. And it wasn’t like how she and Sonny were a couple of years ago. She has never nor will she ever hate her mother. Maybe the reason she blew up at her like she did was since the two of them are more alike than either realizes. Or maybe she knew just how alike they were and that was part of the problem. Maybe the distance between them for the next couple of weeks was just what the doctor ordered.
Or, more like what Rachel Ashford ordered. And speaking of the hostess with the mostest, her beautiful, clear face appeared in 4K upon two LCD monitors, welcoming everyone to the island. After a few minutes of her rambling on about the resort they would be staying in, much like everyone else, Andrea followed them and she soon settled into the cabin that she was sharing with a few others, particularly the always energetic Zayden Aspen.
“Great now I’ll be thinking about his ugly mug for a few hours.” Not that Drea minded it one bit. He was quite ...handsome.
Drea tossed her things into her room in what was dubbed "The Party Cabana". It was one of the larger cabanas available and honestly, she underestimated the size. Rachel really liked to go all out, it seemed, but she underestimated just what all out entailed. Even by the standards of someone originally from Crown Heights, a place where over-luxurious asshats (like the Castillos), but even she had to admit this was a little surprising. Still, even she had to take a moment so she could take it all in before she claimed the room with "D" written on it.
She took in a breath and started to unpack. As she was in the middle of it, she heard someone from the room next to hers and couldn't help but be a little nosey. So as she waltzed her way over to the room, she saw someone laying on the bed and Andrea being her usual self took a few extra moments to admire the sight in front of her. Only after she had her fill, she knocked on the door. "Pretty amazing set up these rooms have, huh?" She remarked, leaning against the door, trying her best to keep her eyes on the girl's and not letting them venture elsewhere, but she was having a bad time.
Apparently, Andrea truly was her mother's daughter, after all.
Location: Everywhere but eventually the Bonfire Party ♦ Interactions: Farah @Hero
If there was one thing Michel Russo had zero interest in partaking in, it was joining those at the bar or wherever the most people seemed to be converging towards. Now don’t get him confused for some weird antisocial weirdo. He had all the social grace as a royal but he lacked the interest in caring what other people thought of him. Plus, this wasn’t the first time he had been to the Ashford private island.
About a year ago when the Ashford clan was hosting some extravagant party that he couldn’t be bothered to remember, he came with his father and kid sister. As one could expect, it was over the top and had way too many white people in the same room. Now, granted Michel himself looks white, but in his blood flows that of the great Italians. So, if he reminds you of Henry Hill, then that’s probably why. As for the part itself, it was as generic as it got and he was forced to endure every moment of it because his father demanded he does so.
Those were fond memories that Michel would cherish right next to the shit he took just before he freshened up after dumping all that he had with him. The only thing that remained was a sense of freedom, a fashionable summer outfit, and the confidence of someone ready to party. And as Rachel promised, it was quite the setup. No matter where he let his eyes fall, Michel saw hotness all around: men, women, bonfires, cabanas. It was full of eager people ready to let loose. Either they were free from the constraints of uptight parents, stress from college, celebrating recent graduations, or just wanted to kick it on a private-fucking-island.
As for Michel, he fell into a couple of those categories. He just graduated college but also, why not come to this island? At least now he could enjoy the ...sights. “Wow. Rachel’s got a lot of attractive friends,” he muttered to himself. Both sides of the spectrum were represented and hell be damned if Michel wasn’t going to indulge in the foreign cuisine.
He briefly sighed, knowing he had to avoid the bar at all costs. It was way too crowded for his comfort and he needed to start slow. Only fools eat their dessert before trying some free samples.
The only problem with that was hardly anyone he recognized was around, especially his two favorite people. ”I guess I’ll have to frequent the bar.” He rolled his eyes but Michel was, if nothing else, a trooper. He could place himself in situations he didn’t like for the long term enjoyment he saw beyond the horizon.
Soon the German native took a seat, though it was a few seats away from where he spotted Theodore Wallenberg and a few others. “Yeah, just give me whatever is on tap,” Michel said without even looking at who was tending the bar. Only when he had enough interest to do so did he come to a welcomed sight. “Farah? No, that can’t be Farah Ladonna. She was working at the bar when I was here last. Surely she would have found a better gig by now!” Michel tended to let his sarcasm live where genuine surprise should, but she was away for the weekend.
When the consistent pattern of the waves was broken up by the sound of a door opening, Jade did her best to block out the world. Of course there was no explanation from Rachel yet as to the meaning of this camp living she was going to be subjected to. It would be best to just ignore the newest visitor to the cabana and just let them drift around while she kept her eyes closed. Hopefully, they would leave her be while she waited for the escape hatch from the gracious host.
"Pretty amazing set up these rooms have, huh?"
Alas, she would not be so lucky. At least it was another woman. With a direct question asked of her, Jade opened her eyes and turned towards the door where she saw... Well, it definitely wasn't a terrible sight. The first thing she saw were those emerald green eyes staring back at her own, sparkling almost in the face of the outfit that definitely screamed of someone dressed to kill. She had better fashion taste than most of the girls on the team, that was for sure. And Jade was including herself in that group.
The star striker boosted herself up, resting on her palms on her claimed bed as her dark brown hair cascaded behind her shoulders. "Yeah," was all she could offer back to start. "Yeah, it's something else. Pretty sure this bed is bigger than the dorm room I had in freshman year." Jade pushed herself up to a seated position. "Have you seen outside yet? There is a freaking water slide out there!"
As she steadied herself on the bed, Jade tried to work out if she knew this girl from somewhere. Did they share a class? Cross paths at a concert? She didn't seem like much of the sporting type. Probably just buddy buddy with Rachel to get into a place this opulent. "So, I'm guessing you're crashing in here too, huh? The cabana, I mean. Not this room. This is my room." If she was going to be sharing this place, even with someone like the fashionista in front of her, she was going to stake her claim early.
Location: Ferry → Party Cabana Interacting with: Inadvertently, his summer roommates Drea @Altered Tundra & Jade @NeoAJ
The ‘boy wonder’ Zayden Aspen intentionally made himself blend into the surrounding area. Unnoticed and unseen, especially compared to the version of himself everyone saw on the daily. The rowdyruff friend that never failed to pressure people to do what Rachel wanted. The reward? He helped brighten up her day, giving her something to laugh and smile about. Other than that? Zero, zip, zilch, nada. He had a job and she made sure he knew exactly what that job was.
Her hype man.
He was the one that would do a kegstand and immediately afterwards challenge some wallflower to beer pong or convince the target to do a body jello shot off of him or let someone else do one off of them. He was down, for most things. Up until sex, at least. He had a hellavu will to resist some of these fine, scrumdidilyumptious delights that were simply candy to his eyes. Okay there may have been a couple of one night stands, but he never talks about them. FOR THE MOST PART, he was preoccupied pleasing one woman. All day, everyday. And not in a sexual way. Hashtag, brother zone.
Anyways, Zay helped make sure the party was motherfucking lit. He was the one coming in clutch when everyone had the munchies. Somehow, as if he was blessed with magical properties, he came barging into Rachel’s den with a platter that held a mountain of tacos. Godsend, dude. He just knew. On top of that, Z-Dog was capable of thinking of games on the spot and incorporating alcohol in it because substance helped bring out people’s bestial sides. Ain’t a party without animals. Awooooooooooooo. That’s how bonds are made, baby! Games. It was all about giving the people what they wanted. One crazy ass night.
Hell, parties gave memories worth remembering forever. Whether they liked them or not was a different story. Yeah, he would do anything for her. He couldn’t help himself — she was just, so… just, so… money. She was money. The highest form of an Aspen compliment was being related to money. Drea would know. She’s met his father.
With shades on and his hoodie hiding his dark and smooth hair, Zayden rested in his seat on the ferry, ignoring all those around him. He had napped on the plane and he made sure to nap on the boat ride too. He knew the moment they stepped on the sands of Carnation Island, the party wouldn’t stop. He didn’t see this adventure as multiple parties on private land that belonged to the token animal of Woodfard University. Nah, man.
Knowing Rachel, she was taking this to the next level. Think Las Vegas, but worst because everyone knew everyone to some degree even if they never said ‘hey’ to each other. This place was about to blow and everything was going to be one surreal dream of revelry and mistakes. You best believe Zayden was going to nap while he could. He’d make sure this first bash went past dawn. What kind of friend would he be if he didn’t at least do that?
When the ferry pulled up to the dock, Zayden let his body move on auto-pilot. Yawning wildly, like a lion, he stretched his arms and legs as everyone stepped off. Sluggishly, he put his backpack on, slung his duffel over his right shoulder, and followed behind, leaving a generous tip in the jar on the bar, before exiting. He didn’t even drink, even if the party started hours ago. He was just a good guy and knew those staff members were exhausted. Always tip well. That’s how you get treated with respect, earn free shit, and make friends. That’s what his dad would say. In addition, Zade wasn’t going to play this summer foolishly. Today, the time that mattered was nighttime. That’s when the true shenanigans would start. He needed to save his energy. There was no way in hell he was going to rely on red bull unless he was in dire need to. Too much sugar. Heart attack in a can. Not his jam.
As much as he loved Rachel and her ostentatious presentations, Zayden hadn’t fully woken up yet. People didn’t even recognize him standing in the back, covered up like some creep, dozing off.
He could see the colors on the screen and hear her loud, chirping voice. Wakey, wakey, Invader Z! It’s time to put in work and make sure my party is a fucking success! She didn’t actually say that, but that’s what he heard. I’ll kill you. She would never, or would she? When the crowd scattered to go wherever the fuck they wanted, the atheletic boy that grew into his charming features, who had both a lion heart and a kind soul, even if the ‘party’ attitude sometimes got in the way of his gentle touch, found himself trudging to find his cabana.
Fortunately, he had already sent his shoes to his room in advance. Rachel knew how much he loved his shoes, so of course he'd make sure they got to his room safely before his arrival. Sending it meant he could take more than just the bare minimal. She even went out of her way to set up a pull up bar for him, on his closet door, and put a stash of energy bars in his nightstand drawer. See, she cared. So, yeah, he may not know his exact cabana's location but he knew that it was the big one and his room was on the second floor that had his collection of shoes in it.
While he silently walked, he reconnected his phone to his Bluetooth earpieces and restarted the last song (WINGS by Macklemore x Ryan Lewis) on his current playlist. He didn't even check his phone battery. Hopefully it'll last for a bit! If not, oh well. As the song played, he messaged in the Facebook thread with his family and let them know he was safe. Nodding to himself, slowly but surely waking up, he followed the map in his heart or the signs and started making a mental list in his head. He wanted to achieve three things. Wake up, which might entail a quick workout session. Unpack, everything. Quickly, thoroughly, and with organizational intention. And lastly, look and smell fresh so he can do what he does best for his girl.
When he did find "The Party Cabana", he helped himself in, tacitly, and although he knew this was rude and unlike him, he didn't announce his presence. If people were in here already, he was NOT ready to deal with them. Like girls had to put make up on, Zayden had to get in the ZONE especially when it came to putting his extreme extroverted face on.
Deciding to appreciate the cabana later, Zayden hurriedly went upstairs and after opening the wrong room, he turned on his heel, went down the hall, and then saw a sticky note from his girl: this room, idiot.
Retreating to his room, he tossed his bags on his bed, took out his Bluetooth speaker from his backpack, connected his phone to it — battery was at 30 percent — and let the playlist continue but this time LOUDLY and PROUDLY. After placing the speaker on the mini fridge, he eagerly took off his hoodie and shirt, pumping himself up for a seven minute workout. After doing some stretches, jumping jacks, fast feet, he went to his pull up bar and did his thing.
The sounds of a tennis ball hitting the concrete wall of the courts of Carnation Island rhythmically interrupted the faint music coming from the pier. A short girl in a soft pink Adidas tennis dress, white cap, white sneakers, and her hair up in a blonde ponytail could be seen running up and down the court in the distance. With a pink and gold racket in her hand, the girl chased after the small green balls coming from the mechanical device on the opposite side of the court and across the net, whacking each of them into the wall with cutthroat precision. Beads of sweat covered her forehead, her chest heaving and her body aching with exhaustion, but showing no signs of giving up. After all, the pain of a broken heart and the bitterness to match were the perfect fuel for her sudden workout session.
To say Charlotte Diedrikson had been counting down the days to her beach getaway wouldn’t be an understatement. One of the main reasons behind her enthusiasm behind the trip to the island was to get her mind away from her tragic breakup. Luca Astor had been her very first everything. From the moment young Lottie found out the meaning of a crush, she knew that Luca was the one who owned her heart. She’d always felt some type of way towards him even as a kid, but the teenage hormones had turned the once-innocent thoughts into some that would make grown women blush. They eventually shared their first kiss, and he made a promise that he would be her first if she was patient for a while longer. Lottie did so, and on her eighteenth birthday, she and Luca became tangled up in the most serious, intense romance she had ever experienced before.
Sure, she’d had a relationship before (with the adorable stud Dax Barker), but it certainly didn’t come anywhere close to this. Luca as a boyfriend was something pulled out of her daydreams, and those five years of waiting had certainly given her everything she wanted and more. He was sweet but not overbearingly so, attentive but not suffocating, dominant in all the right ways, showering her with love and attention and treating her like a queen. The more time went on, the closer they became- and the thrill of sneaking around only added fuel to the flames.
So what if her father would surely raise hell if he found out his youngest daughter was messing around with the oldest son of a family friend? So what if her sisters had warned her things would end up badly? so what if her cousins had told her to be careful? Charlotte loved Luca, trusted him blindly, and truly believed with all of her naive little heart that he would never hurt her.
Oh, how wrong would she be.
Because just when it seemed like their relationship was reaching its full potential, Luca decided that it was time to go their separate ways.
And so, here she was: smacking some balls to a wall in what was supposed to be her island getaway, while her playboy ex-boyfriend that everyone warned her about probably forgot all about her between the legs of some slut.
Fuck his ass.
It was only after the last tennis ball had hid the concrete wall hard with the loudest POP! yet across the court that Charlotte was finally forced to take a break. She doubled over for a moment, chest rising and falling while she caught her breath. Eventually, the short girl slumped back against the nearest wall and dramatically slid down, lying face-up under the shade on the concrete floor.
As far as Valentina Castro was concerned, her Summer vacation had officially started the moment she'd boarded her flight to The Maldives. Throughout the duration of her 20 hour plane trip, the young woman helped herself to multiple Mai Tai cocktails; she'd made sure to pop a few Asprin and stay hydrated, however, to avoid feeling like absolute shit whenever she finally reached her destination. Three full "Hot Girl Summer" playlists later, she'd finally touched down in the small South Asian country. And after impatiently making her way through security and baggage claim, Tina was finally directed to her seat upon a packed double-decker bus. A quick scan of her section of the bus told her that her best friend, Matt Young, was not one of the passengers. Tina couldn't help but wonder just what he was up to as the bus pulled away from the curb and began its journey to the pier.
Unlike the majority of those on the bus, Tina wasn't really in a partying mood. Even when the bus had finally come to a stop and they were all transported to a ferry, all the young woman wanted to do was stretch out across a cozy bed and take the world's longest nap. After all, even party animals need their beauty rest, and she didn't get very much of it on the plane ride over. In fact, Tina had almost dozed off completely when the ferry docked at the Carnation Island pier. After having known Rachel Ashford for going on three years, Valentina wasn't surprised in the slightest to find that the young woman had gone all out for the bonfire party. And by all out, she really meant all out. Not that she was complaining.
Soon, Valentina found herself being handed a packet which contained a key card to her cabana, as well as a map of the island and an invitation to the bonfire party. She was actually on her way to the cabana when she caught sight of the bar and instantly perked back up.
Completely disregarding that fact that she had yet to drop her things off in the cabana, Tina made a beeline for the bar and ordered herself another drink. The young woman had just finished her second glass when more people had begun to arrive. She then hurriedly recollected her things, left a tip on her table, and began to briskly walk to her cabana so that she could freshen up before having to socialize with any of the good-looking guest.
Tina was only slightly surprised to see that Matt had arrived before she did. After pulling the door shut behind her, the young woman cleared her throat before making her presence known. "Oh Mattyyy," she called out in a singsong voice, "Your favorite person in the whole wide world is finally here!" As Tina spoke, she made her way to an unoccupied bedroom and let her bags fall to the floor. Within seconds, she was sprawled out across the bed, her face buried deep in one of the pillows. "Missed you on the party bus and ferry," she said, her voice muffled. "Have you been down to the bar yet, though? You know I usually just like hard shit on the rocks... but those fruity drinks are banging."
Looking out across the fine blue water, Merlou honestly wasn't so sure about this whole giant island party thing. Not that she didn't enjoy a good party, of course she did. It's just that she didn't know Rachel very well and the fact that she would invite her to a private island and pay for her trip seemed like a bit...much for someone she barely knew, not that she wasn't grateful, she was! She just kind of felt bad being sort of a "friend of a friend" since she knew Theo and Theo knew Rachel and Merlou definitely didn't want to overstay her welcome, but she also felt that it would've been rude had she rejected, though she didn't exactly want to say no either; it wasn't everyday she got to participate in something like this. Plus it sounded like a hell of a lot of fun. Her family may have been wealthy, but it had been a hot second since she actually spoke to them and she absolutely refused to mooch off of them.
But as she contemplated this dilemma on the deck of a cruise ship (holy shit), a Dr. Pepper in her hand because she was saving the actual drinking for later, she watched the waves brush against the hull of the large ship, using the rowdiness of the crowd around her as a sort of white noise. It helped her think in her own way. But there wasn't really anything to be done about her indecision, she was already on the ship and not too far away from the island itself. God, she felt bad. She'd have to make it up to Rachel sometime maybe. Or would that be too strange?
The tall brunette sighed, raising the soda to her lips to take a drink. Before this, Louie almost hadn't made it in time, which was basically pretty expected of her, she had a habit of being late for many occasions and not in a fashionable way. Having a horrible sense of direction, she basically lost her way. She wouldn't be surprised if it took her an hour or two to find her...cabana? Is that what it's called? A seaside cabin, to put it simply. Of all the things she could do, being on time wasn't one of them, even if it was a bit of an over exaggeration. Honestly though, she did try her best. She really did.
As soon as the boat docked and they all took their exit, which Merlou was glad because she couldn't help but admit that she was starting to get a tad seasick, she was almost immediately overwhelmed with everything that was going on. With fire dancers and giant ass LED screens, the shock factor soon faded and was replaced with awe and curiosity as she listened to Rachel's very excited speech. Merlou couldn't wait to try out everything on this island as she smiled to herself, lightly cheering as Rachel's speech ended and she disappeared in a golf cart. It was extra and Merlou loved it.
Afterwards, she went to go find her assigned Cabana, which took her a bit considering she honestly didn't know where the hell she was going. But finally, after some time asking around, she approached the nice cabin to find that there was already someone occupying one of the beds. She looked around, but it seemed that they had already left. Setting her own stuff down on an empty bed, she did her best to organize everything to make it look nice, but realizing that organization wasn't her stongsuit, she just placed everything else under the bed and called it a day.
Leaving the smaller cabana, the young woman stood outside, her hands placed on her hips and let out a short breath. The trip had been long and somewhat tiring and she was ready to sit, but she was also ready to enjoy the waves and the bonfire party that was going to happen soon. So, instead of going back inside and lying down, as tempting as it sounded, she made her way to the beach where everything was supposed to happen, but as she ventured further into the sandy paradise, she just happened to notice a certain somebody sitting at the bar. There were already quite a few people there already, but she didn't care.
"Theo! Teds! Teddy!" She called out toward him, making a beeline toward the young man, a large smile on her face. She hadn't seen him in nearly a month! Which didn't seem like a long time, but to her, it was basically a century. Walking up next to him, she leaned over onto the bar. "Hey! How are you? You look nice!" Merlou grinned cheerfully, raising her eyebrows when she noticed her old friend Remi sitting next to him. "Remi!" Reaching her arm over the counter and lighty touching her friend's arm in greeting. She turned to the bartender, resting her chin on a propped elbow abd said, "Hi, can I just get a water for now?"
The trip to the island went a lot better than he’d been expecting, especially considering Dax wasn’t much one for planes, nor for boats. In fact, if he could have, he would have just… driven, but unfortunately, there was no massive bridge connecting the continental United States to the island where Rachel was hosting a large party. He was here now though, and until he had to leave, he couldn’t stop thinking about Nightmare at 20,000 Feet and Open Water, and instead focus on the party itself. The fun part!
With his guitar case slung over his back, suitcase in one hand, and a packet in his hand that had his name on it, Dax carefully pulled out his phone. Did this place have wifi? He figured it did, after all they were in the 21st century. Once he found the network, he had to pause and flip through the packet, scanning it as he hunted for the wifi password…
“Oh, man, how many x’s? Let’s see… one, two…” Dax mumbled to himself, slowly punching in the password of ‘RachelRoxxxxxx420.’ Unable to see the pass, he hit enter and hoped for the best. Holding his breath, he let out a sigh of relief when it went through. With his face buried in his phone, Dax was completing the shockingly difficult task of navigating the island without running into anyone. He wasn’t planning to have his face buried in his phone the entire time he was there, but this was important!
Dax hit a few buttons on his phone, and before long it was dialing, a FaceTime call to someone special back home. It took a few seconds, but before long there was an answer, and Dax was all smiles. He quickly shoved his earbuds in, and took one quick glance to make sure there was a mostly straight line between himself and the cabana, and was on his way.
Ring, ring, ring.
Ring, ring, ring.
Geeze, were they ever going to pick up? He didn’t even know why he bothered sometimes — oh! There they were. He pushed the door open to the cabana with a grin on his face as he spoke to the phone. It was rude to have conversations out in the open like this, but the truth was… Dax didn’t think about that kind of thing, not usually. It was malicious by any means, things like that just didn’t cross his mind.
“Hi! I made it here just fine. Is everything okay there?” He asked the phone, with a sort of dumb smile on his face as he maneuvered through the cabana, toward the rooms. Dax was doing a good job at ignoring everything that was going on in the building, from the loud music that was playing, to the girls that were talking in the room next to the one that was pretty clearly his — after all, it was marked with a D.
When he finally looked up from his phone, he realized that someone else had put their stuff in here… He frowned, and looked back at the phone. “Hey, daddy’s gotta go, okay? I’ll talk to you later.” He said, before he hung up and stepped back into the hallway, peering at the two girls, before he cleared his throat to get their attention.
“Hey, I’m also in this cabin, and I’m pretty sure this room is mine, right? Since, you know…” Dax paused and thought about it for a moment, “well, both our names both start with a D, huh? How do we know if it’s my D, or your D? Am I interrupting you guys? What are we talking about? Who else is here? Someone is, I can hear their music. How many people are gonna be here?”
Armed with a thousand and one questions for people who probably didn’t care to answer, Dax, for better or worse, was in the building.
Andrea couldn’t help herself. Between the sight of the bed to the sight of the brown beauty, she was enjoying the sights in front of her. To her surprise, when she walked closer to her, she wasn’t as tall as she appeared to be. Maybe it was the way she carried herself that gave the blonde that impression, or maybe it was Andrea was so used to everyone having at least half of a head over her that she didn’t think there could be others like her who suffered from the relentless short jokes.
“Yeah girl, it’s pretty crazy. But then again, that’s the Ashfords for you. Simplicity isn’t in their framework.” She laughed, leaning against the doorway.
Her head was somewhat angled up, though Andrea’s eyes remained on Jade. She didn’t know her that well but she knew her name at least. They had crossed paths a couple of times. Honestly, there had always been a part of her that wanted to approach Jade, but there was never a right moment. Andrea was a busy girl and every moment that wasn’t studying for exams or making trips to Palm Beach to make sure her idiot brother didn’t ruin every relationship he found himself in was spent doing her extracurriculars. But all that aside, she knew Jade and had often observed her in those free moments. So, now was kind of perfect. Their one on one with no interruptions.
At least, it would have been perfect if she didn’t hear the same song that she knew a particular boy she was quite fond of repeated way too much. Also, she was approached by another cute boy, though this one had a very mild demeanor. “That would be Zayden. Don’t mind him. He just likes to blast that music THAT’S TOO LOUD!!” She screamed directly at Zayden, knowing her voice carried despite her tiny frame. Though, for now, her attention remained on the towering blonde who spoke so softly. “Sorry, sometimes Z just needs to know that not everyone shares his love for loud music.” She laughed, rolling her eyes. “Anyway, I’m Andrea and this, I believe, is Jade. She’s an athlete or something, right?” She asked, looking over to Jade.
“GET BENT, DREA!”
The music went up a notch and this time it played the next song on his list which was Wait (The Whisper Song) by the Ying Yang Twins. Awesome. His best friend was chilling in this cabana too. This summer was going to be fun. Dropping to the floor, from doing quite a few pull-ups, intentionally and obnoxiously LOUD, Zayden was fully awake and energized ready to get this party started! But first. Push ups and sit-ups. His work out wasn’t over yet. Man, music shuffle was weird sometimes. Whatever. He could get with this song. He’d smack Drea’s ass later.
“IN YOUR DREAMS, ASSPEN!” She shot back, huffing. “Again, sorry for that doofus. And ignore his inappropriate choices in music.” She said that as though she didn’t want to hum along to the Yin Yang Twins. Z knew exactly what ruffled her feathers and he did that on purpose.
Jade was enjoying the conversation. It seemed like this girl was at least chill enough that it wouldn’t be too much of a bother to share this palace with her. Even if she had no idea what her name was. Did it start with a K? She would have to subtly try and get a glimpse at her luggage or something.
She was going to answer the girl’s remark when the sounds of inescapable crunk started blaring from out of nowhere. It was so obnoxious it could easily be a sign that the bonfire party had started, but it was way too early for that. Plus it was making the cabana shake. It could only be a male doing something that stupid. Unfortunately, it appeared as though it wasn’t the one who had materialized in her doorway. Good thing I didn’t start unpacking anything yet. Jesus.
The boy looked like a skyscraper next to the other girl, and he was asking questions that Jade didn’t care to have answers to. Not that she would know. Although she could now piece together that both his and the girl’s names both started with D. Well that helps. So what is it? Diana? Denise? Destiny? Daenerys?
Apparently, the answer was none of the above as Andrea Nope. Way off. took control of things, shouting up to … Zayden? Never would have gotten that one. He was living up to being a Zayden, that was for sure. Andrea knew Jade well enough to know her name. That was a nice boost to the island ego. Once the shout fight with Zay had ended though, and the song changed to something a lot quieter, Jade decided to correct something in the newly christened Drea’s introduction.
“I mean, athlete is underselling it a little bit,” she said with no hint of humility in her voice. “I am kind of a big deal. Star striker for the Kraken, just missed going to the World Cup this year, I’m an elite athlete, Drea.” She reached around looking for where she had tossed her iPod. “Also, if that homeboy upstairs wants to start throwing down, I will crank some Missy at him and show him what good rap sounds like.”
“Okay, so I was mistaken,” she said, turning to the blonde giant. “This is Jade, America’s next Olympic Gold Medalist.” She shot Jade a quick smirk. “And what about you, handsome? You got a name? Obviously, it starts with a D. All the best things in life start with the letter D!”
Truth be told, somewhere between the guy upstairs (Zayden! That was good, there had to be like, what? Three Zaydens in the whole world? That one was probably his buddy!) and the other girl yelling at each other, Dax had more or less checked out of the conversation, and was instead fiddling with a fidget spinner he’d pulled out of his pocket. Sure, they went out of style like, almost a year and a half ago, but Dax didn’t spend two and a half hours watching YouTube tutorials on fidget spinner tricks to not carry one of the fuckers in his pocket to spin when things like this were happening around him.
It wasn’t until the athlete started talking, that Dax allowed himself to snap back to reality and listen to the not so good music that was blasting around him, and at least listen to what the girls had to say. Olympic Gold Medalist? Missed going to the World Cup? Elite athlete? Not just athlete, but elite athlete. That seemed important. If Dax had time, he would have written that down. It was cool! He wished he was good at sports… He was like, okay at tennis, but that was about it, and it was mostly because of Lottie.
Maybe he could ask this girl to teach him some cool tricks in her sport. Soccer, it had to be. El futbol. Or… whatever they called it in the rest of the universe. Then, Dax turned his attention to the other girl in the room, which consisted mostly of turn his head down to look at her. “Dax. My name is Dax. Well, Daxton, but you can just call me Dax. Please.”
Jade had triumphantly pulled her iPod out of her carry-on bag as Dax introduced himself. “Got it after the third time, Dax. Will do.” She was now looking around her bedroom for some sort of speaker system to combat Zay’s bad 2000’s rap with her excellent 2000s rap. There didn’t appear to be anything until she remembered the living room. There had to be a sound system out there. “What say we take this party out of my room and start hitting Zay with some education?”
Drea liked Jade the moment she saw her spread on her bed, but now she liked her even more. They shared the mutual hobby of putting Zay in his place when he became too obnoxious for his own good. Not that Drea wasn’t obnoxious herself, but Z took it to new levels she didn’t think was possible. And the fact he was playing the highly-inappropriate song just made her want to team up with Dax and Jade to give him a fight he wasn’t ready for.
“I’m so in!” Drea’s eyes shot directly to Dax. “What do you say, handsome? Wanna be on the winning team and defeat the antagonist upstairs?” She asked Dax.
Well, Dax was smart enough to not disagree with someone calling him handsome, but he didn’t think he much wanted to participate in a battle. He just wanted to unpack and get settled in his room… but if he had to pick a side, then he was going to have to be on Zayden’s side. After all, they were friends! “If you’re gonna make me choose, I gotta side with Zayden.” Dax admitted, with a sad shrug of his shoulders. Besides, Dax would never rain on someone’s parade, but… Missy sucked anyway. “Are we gonna share the D room, though? Or should I find a different room?” He asked, looking down at the short, loud, attractively angry blonde.
“‘Cuz I’m down to share.”
Andrea sighed, rolling her eyes along with Jade as Dax had not only chosen to side with Z and his lame-ass, but now the topic was back on the room, which as dull as it was, she admitted that issue needed to be resolved. “I suppose we can share but there’s only one bed in the room. And I sleep in my birthday suit.” She said as she wiggled her eyebrows suggestively. “Would that be a problem?”
Maybe Dax was already too high. This girl seemed to think he was… not interested? Or perhaps she was trying to bait him? To make him answer something she didn’t want to hear so she could start a fight? That was possible, in fact, that was maybe even likely… Dax just didn’t think of people like that. Dax only saw the positive, only saw the possibilities. The good, never the bed, and especially never the ugly.
“Uh, no, that’s definitely not a problem. Do you want me to sleep naked too? To make you like, confident. I support your uh, freedom.”
Jade just shook her head. “This is a conversation that is best had in a place that is not MY room. You two want to be naked under the covers, do it in a different bed. For now, however…” She hopped off her own bed and moved towards the door. “It’s time to make Zay lose control.”
The striker made her way out to the living room and quickly spotted her target, a giant sound system in a bamboo cabinet off to the side. There were all sorts of cords neatly draped to the side of the machine, and Jade quickly tossed them all aside to find the one that would hook up to her music. Flipping the switches on the board until she heard a familiar hum, she smiled. “Showtime.”
The lyrics were swift and merciless, proclaiming “MUSIC MAKE YOU LOSE CONTROL” twice before descending into the xylophone that heralded Missy Elliot’s 2005 hit. Jade turned the speakers up loud enough to drown out Zay’s music and make sure he heard it clear enough in the upstairs.
There was no retaliation. Instead, the music upstairs cutoff and before they knew it, the devil himself approached them with the confidence of a lion. Speaking of birthday suits, Zay was dripping wet, with a towel wrapped around his waist, having taken a five-minute shower, striding his way downstairs to see Drea, Dax, and a girl he sorta knew but not really, Jade. “Yeah, you know what this means?” He mischievously and widely grinned, eyeing Drea from head to toe, before entering their kitchenette, opening the cabinets and seeing if his bae, Rach, gave them the hookup.
“It’s pregaming time!”
After pulling out four shot glasses, clink, clink, clink, clink, he displayed their options, “Crown Royal Whiskey, Absolut Vodka, or PATRON! Choose your poison.” They should know better than to think Zayden, of all people, would let them get away with no alcohol in their system. They were going to a party thrown by RACHEL. She didn’t tolerate pussies. And since they were cribbing with him, he was going to make sure they got to his level or higher.
“Like you even have to ask.” Drea said as she walked up, trying her best to reach for the Vodka but goddamn it, it was just too damn high!
Jade shook her head at the brash display from the semi-naked Zay. Wasn't terrible to look at, and at least she had control of the pre-game music now. All in all, it was a win, and now apparently it was time to claim her reward. Might as well. This was her vacation after all.
"Well, everyone knows that the queen needs her Crown," she stated, grabbing a nearby chair since if Drea was having problems reaching the booze, she would as well. The chair did its job and the soccer star grabbed the vodka for her fellow female and the whiskey for herself. While there she tossed the tequila to Zay, figuring that was his choice. As she hopped back down, she uncorked the bottle of Crown. "And she fears no poison."
Jade was not sexy at all and even though Zayden was literally right by the cabinets, she went out of her way to bring a chair and get it all herself. What a power-play move. Shrugging to himself, graciously taking the tequila, though he preferred whiskey he didn’t mind Parton, Z poured his shot and waited for everyone else to join him so they could shoot it up together. With a smug grin on his face, he peered down at his tiny friend. “You did your best.”
The only reaction Zayden got from Drea was an exasperated expression as she took the vodka from Jade and her arm wrapped around Jade’s neck. “Thanks for being so great.” She innocently kissed Jade on the cheek. It was short and sweet and by the time it ended, she had a wide smirk on her face, looking at Z.
“Gayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy. Okay, y'all bitches ready?” Rolling his eyes at his friend, paying no mind to her antics, he lifted his shot glass, “Cheers to the summer and having unforgettable memories.” He turned his head and beckoned the other boy toward them, “Dax, get your ass in here. Here. Take this.” He poured another patron shot.
“Hey, man, I don’t wanna throw off your vibe, but could you… could you put some drawers on?” Dax asked while looking at the shot that was offered to him, before an idea clicked in his head. He looked down at the shirt he was wearing, and then pulled it off and held it out to Zayden, trading it for the shot. “You can wear this like a sumo wrestler thing. It’s cool, I don’t even like this shirt.”
“...thanks, but I’ll go put some clothes on upstairs. Okay. 1-2-3.” Since Dax wanted him to cover up, he had to rush the shot process. Swiftly and with experienced ease, he drank the shot and placed it back on the counter. “I’ll be back, then we should head out. Don’t want to waste time to mix and mingle. Ain’t that right, ladies?”
Jade was in a tiny bit of a daze after that kiss from Drea, but she still had the presence of mind to pour her shot of whiskey and down it in time with the party lead. She was still thinking about the action. She had kisses before, teammates in the throes of victory, jackasses at the campus bar who thought they could sneak a quick one. That one was more than hell to the conquering hero type though. It felt good.
"Yeah for sure. Can't deny Rachel her star attraction now, can we?" she agreed. "Although I should probably get changed out of these boat clothes too." She looked at Drea. "I can rock island formal just as well as I can causal." She then winked at Zay. "Give me 15 minutes and I'll be ready."
“Word, and sorry for earlier. I’m not the most observant when I’m tired as fuck so I thought I had this place to myself. Then finding out Drea was here… she just has a way of really pushing my buttons.” Hey, even Zayden knew there were times he could be an asshole and he wasn’t too prideful to not say sorry if his music did upset anyone. Maybe later they’ll set ground rules, but for now. It was time to get ready. “Yeah, fifteen minutes everyone meets back here and then we’ll head over to wherever everyone else is. Probably the bar.” With that, the hype man walked away, towel and all, back to his room.
“And thank god he’s gone!” She sighed, taking a hefty swig of vodka. As she did, the blonde couldn’t help but linger at the sight of Zayden walking away. He only remained in view for a few moments after but it was enough for her to start ...thinking things and these were thoughts she rather not have at the moment, thank you!
Shaking her head, it quickly went away. “Well, to our rooms it is.” It was only a moment after those words left her lips did Drea remember. “Oh damn that’s right.” Her eyes went to Dax. “We never did figure out who was taking the room next to Jade’s, did we? But, ya know, I think you should take one upstairs. You and Z seem to have bonded.” She nudged Jade. “Isn’t that right, Jade?”
Dax raised an eyebrow. There was some confusion here, from the taller, shirtless man — he’d thought they’d reached an agreement? “I thought we were sharing? Were you joking? I wasn’t.” He explained with a tilt of his head. If that’s what she wanted to do, that was fine, but he’d thought they’d made a call!
He was serious? “The bed is certainly large enough for two people.” She scratched her head. What was her intention to trick Dax into taking a room upstairs so she could be alone next to Jade turned into one of the best reversals on her since high school. She respected Dax’s genius strategy. And if it was unintentional, then that just meant he would only get more diabolical as the summer went on.
“Yeah, I suppose we can. Nothing wrong with that.” Was all she had to say. She genuinely had nothing to clap back with.
“Cool.” There was no diabolical scheme behind Dax’s words, and the bright little smile on his face spoke in favor of that. The simple reality was… Dax had already put his stuff in that room — he didn’t wanna carry it upstairs. He’d shared beds with people before, in a totally non-sexual, non-gay way (it was totally Zay), and this was no 0different. “I can wear pants when I sleep if you want. Or even, like, crash on the floor. Not everything is about sex! Appreciate each other for the company, man.”
Jade looked over at the woman now sharing a bed with a man on day one of this excursion. "See, this is why I prefer the subtle 'Get your ass upstairs' approach," she whispered to Drea. "Less chance they actually get bold enough to think they have a shot at something." She pulled back slightly. "Does he… actually have a shot at something?"
Drea looked at Dax for a moment, her eyes quickly scanning him up and down. Tall, fit, and not entirely repulsive personality-wise: everything that Drea wanted in a man if she ever saw herself settling for one. She didn’t like limiting her options, but if Dax ended up being the guy who she got with in the end, then she wouldn’t be a complaining woman. Still, she had to explore what else the summer had to offer before making those decisions.
As she smiled at Dax, she leaned to Jade. “I don’t know. But he is interesting.” She found herself admitting.
Jade stared at Dax for a moment, trying to take in every part of the man who stared down a challenge from a girl who was very attractive and not only didn't blink but also managed to hit her back with the laser reflection and score a win. He was bold. Interesting? That remained to be seen. All she knew about him was that he was tall and had no problems being all up in the personal space.
"Well," she said, clasping her hand on Drea's shoulder. "I am gonna leave that whole finding out how interesting he is to you. Instead, I am gonna go put on this little number that I picked up in Malé and get set to rock this party." She turned off her iPod and gave Drea a wink as she headed off to her room, which she had all to herself, and prepared to prepare for tonight.
The familiar voice nearly caused Farah to miss the latest arrival's simple order for a water. Go figure, of course Michel would show up. She'd be more embarrassed that she didn't know that he went to the same college as Rachel Ashford, but their meetings had always been so brief and conversations far too interesting to talk about mundane crap. That and she was usually working anyway. Still, this probably wouldn't be the first or last time they'd bump into each other while she worked here.
"Son of a--mmmm," She cut herself off, trying hard not to be too annoyed, though the tight-lipped smile betrayed how she actually felt. "Normally when people reunite they say 'it's good to see you again' or...not that," She couldn't help but chatise him, decided to take care of the girl's order first.
"Here you go!" She placed the iced glass in front of the girl before taking a few steps away, throwing a look at the German. As cute as ever, but that was always ruined anytime he opened his mouth. She didn't entirely hold it against him, but not everyone was born with a silver spoon in their mouth. But he did have a point, even if she didn't want to admit it. Going over and grabbing a beer mug, she randomnly chose 'whatever' as was asked, returning to him shortly afterwards. "My life's aspiration is to please, don't you know?" She told him in a perky voice, leaning on the bar for a moment.
A small empty laugh left Theodore as the girl commented. “Not that many, I’m sure.” he muttered before settling for a beer and a shot of gin. He gave the cute bartender a warm smile as he was handed a big foaming mug of IPA and the small glass of clear liquid “Thank you… Farah” he squinted reading her name tag as he slid a twenty dollar bill towards her in exchange for his drinks “Keep the change”. He could almost feel the headache and clammy feeling ebb away as he slung back the small glass. He slid the empty shot glass towards the blonde with another smile asking for another.
“Oh Nathan, you caught me.” Theo nodded raising his beer at the young man sitting down next to him. “Crazy all this huh?” the tall man gestured around them taking a big gulp of beer. He looked around expecting to see the small dark haired girl that Nathan usually was joined by. “Didn’t you come here with Indie? I hear she’s staying together with my little cousin.” he cringed mentally at the thought of spending his time confined in a small cabana with Lottie. “She’s one of the reasons I’m here actually.” He sighed taking another gulp of beer “She nearly threw a temper tantrum when my uncle said she couldn’t come. So here I am… shaperoning from afar.”
A wide smile finally broke across Theodore’s face when Zeke approached them. “Finally, you’re here!” he exclaimed when his good friend sat down slightly behind him. He slapped the skinny guy on the back. “You settled in? The guys treat you ok?” he asked. He loved his bandmates but they could be assholes sometimes.
Yet another friend joined them in Merlou and Theo greeted her with a smile and a nod. “Hey Lou, been a while.” he said raising his mug at her.
He turned around on his stool and gazed out over the beach where the Carnation workers was busy setting up the big bonfire. Huge tents had been raised with lounge chairs and hammocks spread out under them. Theo shook his head in disbelief “Have to give it to Rach. It is very beautiful here. Don’t you think?” he said to no one in particular.
Cheeky bitch, he thought to himself as he picked up the card on his bed. He had really only meant to stop in for a moment, just to change his clothes but he'd paused at the sight of the white envelope resting across his pillow. His name was scrawled across the front and he was much too nosy not to pick it up. He wasn't surprised to find a letter from Rachel, one telling him where to find a ridiculous stash of weed.
He still wasn't surprised when he actually did find the weed, tucked away in a little brass box beneath the bed. He was almost unable to keep himself from laughing at the impression he'd made on her to get himself sent a stash of weed. It was all still so unbelievably extra but at least he'd be high as a kite while indulging in the excess. Rachel had a strange way of just knowing what to do, it was one of the things he found endearing about her.
He wasn't about to spend another moment marveling over her majesty though, he took the glass pipe from his bag and packed it before taking a hit. A few hits later and he finally made his way to the shower, washed the smell of cigarette smoke from his hair and swapped out his outfit for another. Black and gray plaid, sleeves rolled to the elbows, black jeans, black converse. It wasn't a far cry from his last outfit but c'est la vie, he'd never claimed to be a fashion icon. He forced a brush through his hair, splashed some water on his face and set out for the bonfire.
He was in good spirits, humming to himself as he walked. Most things were better under a bit of a weed haze and he was excited. He could already see people starting to gather and the fire was being started, it cast a ruddy illumination over the sand. It all just screamed summer, and he was more than ready to get the party started.
He caught the flash of Theodore's grin when he approached, unable to keep himself from grinning back. "Alas, I somehow managed not to throw myself overboard before we hit the island," he intoned devilishly. "Every time it passed my mind as an escape from all this partying, I had to wonder what you'd do without me." He was joking, of course, he'd been just as excited for this as anyone else. Ezekiel may not have been a frequenter of parties into his older years but he'd been growing weary over the last few months. Rachel had offered him an out from the mundane droll.
He had to give it to her for being able to see how tired he truly was. They spoke nearly every day at the cafe and he'd always been so sure that he'd covered up the bone-deep exhaustion, apparently not. He'd have to thank her sometime in person, but for now he was content to bask in the time spent with his best friend. Theodore was not someone who was heavy and being around him was as easy as breathing.
Theodore's hand thumped Ezekiel's back and he couldn't help but laugh, shrugging. "Yeah, I'm settled enough, and the guys were-" he mused, the guys were assholes sometimes but not assholes he was unfamiliar with. He'd been sure to hide his journal securely between his mattress and his bedframe, paranoia and old habits really did die hard. "-the guys. Don't start expecting extra out of your bandmates now." He said, voice bordering on playful.
He was handed his water from the pretty blonde behind the bar, paper flower and all. He took a sip from the glass, nudging the little carnation away from his mouth with the tip of his finger and trailing his gaze over the growing group. Everyone knew Theodore, he recognized a few people but not all of them. It was steadily becoming a game of putting names to faces in case they addressed him. Despite this small anxiety, it was nice, unfamiliar but nice. It was almost nostalgic, highschool parties with Theodore had wrought some of his best memories.
"She always does seem to go the extra mile," he mused, turning to get a good look at the bonfire being started in the near distance. It really did feel like summer with a proper bonfire going, he almost wished he'd brought his journal so he could more properly wax poetic about it. He'd have to write something tonight, he made a mental note before continuing. "Does she ever get tired of being the best? That's a hell of a title to hold onto."
A grin adorned Nathan’s face as he grabbed the glass Farah just delivered to him and rose it in return to his friend. He then put down the cash for the drink and then some. He nodded friendly at the bartender and muttered a word of thanks. Theodore wasn’t the only one thinking the bartender was cute. Maybe he’d look for an opportunity to chat with her lately. (The longer he could avoid the rich brats, the better.) He slowly savoured his cocktail, though he couldn’t help his face slightly twisting at the sourness of the lemon juice. It indeed had been quite some time since he had enjoyed this classic. He had a soft spot for sour. Where other people had a sweet tooth, he had a sour one
”Crazy, yes.” He had a lot of other words for this place. But crazy definitely would apply. Some of those other words would make him sound too much like a party-pooper. Seriously, why did Nate always find a reason to complain. What was there to complain about when you were chatting with a friend, drinking a good drink and had cute girls in view? Perhaps Nate was better off swallowing the sour attitude – just like his drink!
(Let’s be honest, that was not going to last for very long. But we can let the guy dream, can we?)
Wait a second, hadn’t Nate met Theodore’s cousin before? Well, he really only said hi to her, but whatever. He knew who Theo was talking about. Indie and Lottie in one cabin… oh wait… oh no. ”Well that must be awk-” He cut himself off. He nearly forgot that Theodore didn’t know about that. ”I heard she and her boyfriend broke up recently, didn’t they? I guess she can use the distraction, huh?” He quickly said. Yeah, let’s absolutely not give him any details about Lottie’s post-Luca sex life, yeah that was probably a good idea. You’re an absolute genius Natey-boy. Maybe he should just throw himself into the ocean and be done with it. ”So when you say chaperoning, you really mean being anywhere she isn’t, right?”
He took a sip, only to find his glass empty. When had he finished it all? Had Theo taken his drink while he wasn’t looking? He turned back to the bar, and waited until he once again had the attention of Farah. ”One stout, please, heaviest one you have.” Maybe the alcohol would give him the courage to talk to anyone that wasn’t the only person on this island (besides Indie) that he could call a friend. If he was lucky, they might even come to him. Whoa there Natey, calm down, don’t go getting any crazy ideas now.
Well, if anything else failed, he could always just drink himself to oblivion. Let’s just hope it didn’t come to that.