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Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Dirty Pretty Lies
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Dirty Pretty Lies Some Girl

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When King’s Academy approached Amanda Woodall with the task of planning her graduating class’ tenth anniversary, she’d immediately dismissed the whole thing off as a joke. It wasn’t exactly a secret that, unlike a lot of people, high school was a time of her life the blonde didn’t precisely hold near and dear to her heart. There were plenty of experiences that she’d missed out on during her quest for top student. She’d been successful in the end, of course: her drive and ambition had made it almost impossible not to. But when she’d accepted the honor of being class president back in 2009, nobody had told her that, ten years later, it would be her responsibility to organize a whole affair to get her graduated class together again. Where was she even supposed to start, anyway? She was a lawyer, not a fucking events coordinator! Hell, she didn’t even like half the people in her class! How was she supposed to come up with this big celebration for people that were nothing but relics of a time best forgotten?

Her husband, ever the joker, had tried to make Amanda see the bright side of the situation. With how stressful her profession was and how long it had been since the last time she’d taken a vacation, Benjamin thought it was the perfect excuse and opportunity for a getaway. He’d noticed that his wife was growing increasingly moody lately, her temper shorter and more easily flared. Their personalities had been clashing, and they’d been fighting a little more frequently than either of them would have liked. Honestly, he could use the break-- and he was sure she could use it as well.

With Benjamin’s support and encouragement, Amanda had reluctantly embarked on the adventure that was planning the class reunion… Well, kind of. There was no way she’d be wasting valuable time of building cases in doing something as menial as that. So, of course, she’d done the next best thing: hiring her event coordinator cousin Mimi to do it. With her bubbly, outgoing personality and her relentless enthusiasm, the youngest Woodall had taken on her assigned task like the pro that she was. Before Amanda knew it, the venue had been selected, the invitations sent, the reservations made, and the date was quickly approaching. So now, here was the Manhattan ADA six months later: unpacking her belongings in a hotel room at the Florida Keys for a weekend of bonding with individuals she hadn’t seen in over ten years.

And frankly, she’d never felt less prepared for anything in her life.
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Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Bee
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Ten years ago, Allison Bentley-Song happily walked across the stage, in front of hundreds of fellow students and family members, and received her diploma certifying that she did, in fact, survive her time at King’s Academy. Years of blood, sweat, tears, and some Adderall had all culminated to become that lousy piece of paper with her name on it. Sure, graduating from high school as second in your class was quite the achievement, but to Allison, it wasn’t anything worth writing home about.

As a matter of fact, Allison couldn’t have been gladder to leave, and there was a chance that she might’ve taken it upon herself to prove that she was better than “second in the class”. King’s Academy was something she was eager to leave in her dust and never look back. She had no time to think about high school, knowing she was headed to one of the best schools in the entire world in a matter of months. Yet, here she was, landing in Key West International Airport and well on her way to the King’s Academy Class of 2009’s ten-year reunion.

Why she was here was beyond her, but that was a question she should’ve asked as she purchased the tickets to fly out here many months ago.

It was embarrassing how little time she put into thinking this through, before ultimately hopping on her computer and dropping hundreds of dollars on this trip. As soon as she received that letter, she must have spent a whopping five minutes thinking about whether she should go before responding. Not a second thought – despite her rather negative sentiments about her experience at King’s Academy. Something about this trip appealed to her. Was it seeing the people she genuinely liked and enjoyed the company of? Was it to see where most of her class had ended up ten years later? Was it because it was lonely in Baltimore?

Allison knew she wasn’t doing so bad for herself. Ending up at institutions like Princeton and Johns Hopkins hardly ever meant that one was doing bad for themselves – especially those on the path to becoming a fully-fledged doctor. However, she also knew that wouldn’t come as a surprise to many people, if at all. Everyone knew Allison as this generally reserved, mousy nerd girl who could think circles around most people, as well as someone who was always happy to help and assist those who needed it. The same people also knew that she couldn’t flirt to save her life, despite the coaching of the friends she had.

Some of that remained true today. Allison still couldn’t flirt even if her life depended on it, but she was far departed from being as soft as she was in high school. People that were expecting Allison to be mostly the same since high school were in for a big, big surprise if they were expecting her to be just as much of a pushover.

Touching down in Key West, Florida, the moments that followed her return to the state were practically a blur to her. One second she was standing up about to get off the plane, and the next she was in a taxi well on the way to the hotel that this reunion was taking place. In just a matter of minutes, she was about to be thrust back into the world she left many, many years ago. It was going to be very interesting to Allison to see just how everyone had developed and changed. Ten years was a very long time, plenty of time for development.

However, Allison also wondered if she would suffer from, as Marshall Eriksen from Season 3, Episode 6 of the famed situational comedy “How I Met Your Mother” put it: revertigo. Would Allison continue to be the person that many of her colleagues knew her to be today? Or would she regress and go back to being the soft pushover (with a slight Adderall habit) that she known for?

Those thoughts rifled through her head as she sat in the back of her taxi, Key West speeding past her as the hotel got closer and closer. Those few minutes quickly dwindled into moments, with the taxi eventually pulling into the driveway right outside the lobby. Stepping outside of the Toyota Prius, Allison pulled her sunglasses down just a bit as she looked at the rather colorful building in front of her.

Pictures really didn’t do this place justice.

Pulling the one piece of luggage she had out of the car, Allison took a moment to thank the taxi driver, before making her way into the lobby. Inside felt much like a mansion instead of a traditional hotel, which Allison found rather charming. Stumbling her way to the reception, she put a hand up on the counter, before the receptionist greeted her.

”Hello, you must be here for the King’s Academy Class of 2009 reunion?”

Allison smiled, ”Yes! I’m checking in for…” The doctor took a little too long to remember what her name was, ”Dr. Bentley-Song?” She chuckled awkwardly, before pulling out her wallet just in case the receptionist needed extra information, as if someone would try to impersonate Allison.

Tapping some keys in, the receptionist bent down and picked up a card from a drawer, before smiling and handing it to Allison. ”You’re all set, Dr. Bentley-Song! You will be in Room 207! Please let us know if you have any questions, and please, enjoy your stay!”

”O-Oh. Thanks! Allison smiled, before stuffing her wallet back in her purse and picking up her luggage. Turning around, Allison couldn’t really see anyone she could recognize right out of the gate. Which was good. Did that mean she was early…? Or was she just super late? Or did she just have impeccable timing?

It didn’t matter to Allison. All that mattered right now was getting her ass to her room so she could plop in bed and get ready for this… cocktail party tonight. Pulling her luggage along, Allison climbed up those stairs all the way to the second floor (a tough walk, surely), and looked at every door she passed rather closely to make sure she didn’t just walk past 207 by accident.

Then -- there it was. Lucky 207.

Sighing softly, she put her keycard in the lock, the little red light on it immediately turning green as she pulled the keycard out and opened the door. Inside was a rather spacious room, complete with a beautiful view of the Florida Keys and enough sun to make a vampire melt. Allison’s mood was already brightened with all the sunshine she was receiving, despite having to go to a party tonight already.

Putting her luggage aside, Allison shuffled over to the bed and plopped on it, sighing rather audibly as she figured out a way to kill time until she had to get ready for the party.
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Hidden 2 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by Prosaic
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Prosaic Local Ghost

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───── ⋆⋅☆⋅⋆ ─────

It tasted like regret, rolling in across his teeth like waves lapping at the shore. He couldn't clear these wistful words from his head as he pulled his rental car up outside of the resort. He knew that he had written them himself, smudged them out and written them again and again. He had never finished that poem but he had gone home with his fingers blackened by graphite. He knew that frustration again as he looked up at the building sprawling before him. He wasn't ready, not entirely, he wasn't scared but he didn't know what waited for him there. The Caden that many of his classmates had known had been lost to adulthood, a child's shadow to the man he was now.

He was glad that highschool had been fleeting and that college had formed him into the person he was today but he wondered if he was even recognizable. He wondered if they were even recognizable. He knew the reflection that stared back at him nowadays was that of a much more confident person than the tired-looking kid with black hair that often scowled at him in old photos. It was sometimes jarring to think back to the kid that he had once been and he struggled to understand what he had been so afraid of. Nearly nothing scared him nowadays but he knew that he'd once been so afraid of everything.

Leaving Brooklyn hadn't been hard with no person to tie him down. He had asked a friend to watch his cat and he'd bought the tickets kind of unthinkingly. The invitation had put him into a kind of auto-pilot which had lead to him recklessly packing his suitcase and taking off with little other word. It had been like a movie scene, except the main character wasn't about to embark on a life changing adventure. This main character was about to relive highschool, for better or for worse.

Being so close to his past that he could nearly touch it was a strange kind of anticipation. It was a building of raw emotion that he wasn't eager to see boil over but mostly it was exciting, a break in the lull of day to day life. Even more exciting was the idea of possibly seeing Reina again. He had not seen her since their falling out in highschool but he had heard about her from Theodore in passing. He tried not to ask for updates, often felt very silly when the worry crept in, but he couldn't help wondering. He and Reina had lost whatever they had once been behind in highschool but he had been left with some lingering feelings.

Maybe it was baggage, maybe it was excuses or apologies for not being better, he wasn't sure but it was something. Caden was a person who loved with everything on the line and to have such an abrupt end was strange and devasting to him as a young man. He had moved on, of course, and though that had ended badly, a small part of him always wondered; what if? What if Rei had been the one? When it came down to it, these were just silly questions but he couldn't steady his heartbeat as he approached the building. He knew he had words for this feeling, he'd written them a thousand times and he was resolved to write them a thousand more.

"Caden Burke," he addressed the person working the desk. "I'm here for the King's Academy reunion." Saying the words made him feel like he was sealing his fate, licking the envelope closed and signing it to his fellow attendees. As he headed to his room to prepare for the party, he wondered if he had any words for the churning mixture of anxiety, excitement and apprehension that he was feeling. He thought he might have written them at least a hundred times but sometimes it was easier just to ponder them. He thought they were quite a lot like what if?
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Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Melo
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Melo I am a hedgehog!

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There was something unique about the air in florida, as pervaded with airplane exhaustion as it was. Alexander couldn’t tell you what it was, but it felt like home. A nostalgic aura might be the most accurate description he could give you. But he couldn’t tell you how something that felt so homely, so integral to your very existence, still felt to foreign. When was the last time he had been here? His wedding. The last time he had been in Florida, she had still been alive. It had been Everly’s hand in his at that time instead of Rosie’s. The two of them trotted along at a merry pace, the speed of which very much gave away his little girl’s excitement about exploring a new place.

His daughter happily consumed the ice cream he had bought her, a welcome treat against the imposing sun of the early summer. She was so incredibly excited for him to fulfil everything he had promised her. They would visit the beaches, seaworld and even a few days to Walt Disney world. Of course, he’d also take her on a trip to the Kennedy space center. He wasn’t going to let an opportunity go to waste where he could show of his and her late mother’s greatest passion. Not to mention, it was the place where they had first met…

For a short while his mind trailed off. For a few seconds he felt the bliss of early teen love once again. Then he could feel himself being plummeted into the dark depths of loss. The bitter feeling of inevitability that he had felt when… No, not here. He had to pull himself together. Rosie couldn’t see her father’s despair. She was too young for the hard reality of this world. The girl somewhat understood the concept of death, in minor detail. But she had no idea of the immense pain it brought. How could she? And Alex was not about to pull her out of the bliss wonderland that one called ignorant childhood. The wonderland in which santa claus and the easter bunny existed as well. So he had to be strong. Everly counted on him to give their daughter the life she deserved, after all.

If only she could see how well she was growing up.

Yes, he had all sorts of trips planned with his daughter while they were in Florida. Two weeks of workless joy. But the first three days of that she would get to spend with her grandparents. Alex’s parents hadn’t seen the girl in well over a year now, and the same was true for Everly’s. He was lucky that they were able to come to D.C. the last few years. His busy work schedule hadn’t allowed much space (ha, astrology pun) to venture out. But he very much needed a way to blow off the work stress. The time had finally come.

His parental home was only one hour drive away from the airport. ”Hi, grandma” He told his mother as the door flung open. He looked at her appreciatively. It was strange how much more she had started to look like a granny after Rosie was born. As if the birth of grandchildren drained the age from grandparents’ bodies. But at the same time, Lydia Shields was still his lovely mother. A person he had grown to respect far more over the years, now that the hardships of parenthood were so much clearer to him. With a small pat on the back, Rosie was encouraged to give grannie Lydia a big hug, and they were invited in.

A very similar ritual repeated with grandpa, who was inside on his chair watching the baseball game. It was as if he hadn’t moved in the five years since Alex had last left him there (of course, he had visited, so this was obviously not true). A big hug for grandpa as well, and then they settled down for a nice cup of tea. Except for Rosie; she preferred the sweet taste of lemonade to the bitter tea. Roughly one hour later, he gave his princess a big hug of his own. The child nodded sweetly to his instructions: Be a good girl, be nice to your grandparents, eat your vegetables, brush your teeth and say hi to grandpa Joseph and grandma Miranda. Every instruction was met with a slightly more sarcastic yes. Ah, she was just like her mother.

She was going to be hell as a teenager, Alex already knew it. He pressed one more kiss against her forehead and left his daughter for a cosy three days with the grans.

The one hour drive towards Florida keys felt much more relaxed afterwards. He loved his daughter to death, but he could not deny the sweet relief that came with being able to have some time to himself for a bit. Between work and parenthood, that only amounted to maybe one hour every day on any normal day. It was so extremely draining that he couldn’t even start to explain it to others. And he didn’t want to explain it. What if they thought of him as a bad parent afterwards? He truly loved his daughter. But some days of rest were exactly what he needed. Even if he was still somewhat sceptical of the company he would find himself in over the next days. Still, a luxury resort was a luxury resort.

That was the main reason why he was going to this reunion, really. Alex couldn’t give too much of a damn about the reunion itself. He needed rest. He needed a distraction from his life, the grind he was in daily. Of course, there were people he did want to see again. He hadn’t seen most of his high school friends in some time. He still had contacts with a number of the dudes, and he still gamed with Grace on occasion. However, Alex didn’t have much of an attachment to the days. The most important person of those days was gone, after all. But still, it couldn’t hurt to reconnect. He didn’t have a clean break with everyone in high school. Willow came to mind especially. Maybe they could talk it out? He regretted how their friendship had gone to waste.

Florida keys was a place of beauty. He never really liked Amanda, but he could appreciate her choice of décor. The resort she picked matched exactly what he had pictured in his mind. It was strange, now that the moment was finally there, he was feeling strangely nostalgic to see those people again. It was like his “not giving a damn” switch got turned to “cautious curiosity”. He had to be wary to not grow excited. Surely setting his expectations too high would only lead to pathetic disappointment. He towed his luggage into the lobby.

The neat interior of the lobby sharply contrasted that of his home, which was cleaned far too infrequently. He forcefully prevented himself from making a mental note of all the stuff he still had to do at home. Relaxation was the name of the game for the next two weeks. He increased his pace to the reception. Alexander presented his most polite smile as he was confronted by the receptionist’s own. ”I’m checking in for the King’s academy reunion. The name is Shields.” And that was that. He forced himself to resign to three days of distraction. Three days of peace, should his former classmates allow him. He thanked the receptionist as he was told his room number and was handed the keys. Surely he could sneak in a short, well-deserved nap before he had to prepare himself.

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Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Aewin
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"Oh wow, your daughter looks lovely. When did they get married?" Willow smiled kindly as the portly older woman beside her excitedly held her cell phone too close to Willow's face, showing her a professionally taken picture of a tall man in a well-tailored suit holding onto his beautiful blushing bride, surrounded by their wedding party.

The conversation began after the lady, a sixty-seven-year-old widower named Judy had inquired about Willow's flight nerves after observing her ordering a second whiskey after downing her first fairly quickly. Judy had remarked her deceased husband had also been terrified of flying. Willow did not have the heart to tell her that she wasn't anxious over flying, but was instead dreading the next coming days as she reunites with her past classmates of 2009.

To distract herself from the nearly four-hour flight from Newark International airport to Key West International, Willow humoured the kind lady with her small talk. First, she learned that dear Judy had been over at Newark to take care of her daughter, who had recently given birth to her only grandchild after being married for nearly three years. Judy had been enthusiastic, and Willow's listening ear had only encouraged Judy to share the good news with anyone that would listen. When Judy asked Willow about her husband, pointing at the modest band around her ring finger, Willow covered her hand in shame.

"Ah, I must have forgotten to take it off before leaving the apartment..." Willow laughed, sounding a little hollow. When Judy tilted her head, questioning her silently, Willow hesitantly explained. "I'm divorced. I... Wearing this thing is just a force of habit." To make a point, Willow pulled off the offending jewellery off her hand and slipped it into her purse that was tucked between her foot.

"I'm sorry to hear that, dear." It was clear the glum answer had only served to swallow the happy mood Judy had been in. Willow smiled again as the familiar sound of the seatbelt warning switched on. When she looked around Judy towards the window beside her, Willow noticed that they were preparing for landing. It was a sign from whatever deity above was watching, allowing the brunette to gradually excuse herself from the conversation.

Perhaps this is the reaction Willow should prepare herself for, she thought to herself as she collected her hand luggage from the overhead bin. Although she left Kings Academy with more friends than enemies, she could say with certainty that most of those friendships were now casual acquaintances at most. Perhaps old friends like Alex and Tara wouldn't even recognise her now, given that its been years since she's spoken to either of them. The pit in her stomach grew larger, and she knew it wasn't the whiskey begging to come back out.

Faces flashed in her mind as she absentmindedly waited for her Uber to take her to the hotel. Teddy and Grace came first, the two people she was still in touch with. It was a relief knowing they were also coming, a few friendly faces would help with her developing anxiety. Amanda was the next face she saw, the primary reason why she decided facing her high school demons would be on her agenda this weekend. A couple more faces came too; Allison, Caden, friends of the past that she had nearly forgotten. Even Grayson's face dared to show up in her traitorous mind, reminding Willow that thinking was not her forte. It was pathetic, but part of her hoped that at least he wouldn't show up. She couldn't expect the deity in the sky to supply her with luck twice in a row, but a girl could hope.

Willow chewed on her lower lip as her hand slipped into her purse again, fingers brushing around her cold wedding band before she caught herself again. She chided herself as the Uber pulled up at the resort. It was too late to turn back now. No matter who comes to the reunion, Willow cannot change things now. It was only a three-day affair, what's the worst that could happen?

At least, that is what Willow was telling herself as her stomach churned again upon entering her hotel room after checking in.
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Hidden 2 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by TootsiePop
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____________________________________________________________________
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Standing in front of the resort, across the street, leaned against a lamp post, Grayson Chambers fiddled with his late friend's classic zippo lighter. Making flame with the cigarette lighter, just to close it shut and forcibly make it dissipate. Again and again. Perhaps, this was a nervous tick, since he hadn't seen the majority of these individuals for ten years. Perhaps, he was buying himself time. Regardless of the reasoning behind his fidgeting, it was obvious, he wasn't ready to enter the building. In silence, he watched as a familiar face exited a taxi cab... Allison. Appearance-wise, she hadn't changed a bit.

As he watched his old classmate, who he had no doubt still hated him, enter the hotel, his mind started thinking about the man that wasn't standing next to him, filling this place with his infectious laughter. Jason Graves. A man who should be here taking on this beast that was the ghost of their high school past. The sweetest comic book nerd you'd ever meet. Grasyon couldn't help but revisit the feelings he went through last year. There were times he felt like he could easily mask his stresses and smile like he knew what he was doing half the time, but today felt strange. Today felt like he might encounter something that would effortlessly take down the defenses he's built over the years.

Thinking of Jason and Elizabeth only brought him grief. As if he could've prevented the 'accident' from happening. There was guilt because, to him, he did have control over the direction their story ended. Elizabeth, as strong and confidant as she seemed, confided in him about her postpartum depression. Something she couldn't go to her husband about because he already felt ashamed that she had to compromise her dreams for him and their child. He still replays those last words she said on that day, as she grabbed the keys off the kitchen counter, and he held his goddaughter, "Gray, you love her, don't you?" Of course. Why wouldn't he? Millie was his life, as were they.

His memories were vivid, like their last day together only happened yesterday. He stood there, watching from a cold distance, while his friends rushed to leave for their day. He wasn't there. Not really. His mind was focused on figuring out what happened to a dead woman's body he found the day before on the east-west line near 41st street running west from the lakefront, where part of the abandoned Chicago Junction Railway use to be. Why didn't he pay attention to the signs? Jason came rushing out, grabbing Millie from him, and left to the car. It wasn't like he didn't notice. Elizabeth stared at him desperately, internally screaming for help, while she locked her apartment's door for the last time.

To this day, he still beats himself up about it. How could he solve a homicide case but not see when his friends needed him? Like really needed him? Was he that emotionally detached to understand when someone he loved simply wanted him to be there for them? Staring at the glass entrance, he wondered if he did truly grow from when he was in high school. Did he improve his way of thinking and believed that there was more to life than people using other people? That love was not a mental weakness and that being genuinely honest was not just an example of being spineless?

Closing the lighter for one last time, Grayson looked up to the blaring Florida sun and thought of some of the faces he had to see again. People he needed to admit fault to, because he was a callous asshole in high school, and that resulted in him hurting them terribly. Who's to say he even changed much? Not him, that's for sure. Deeply sighing, as a ringtone that was hardly him (but hey, he let his goddaughter choose) disrupted his brooding thoughts, Gray pocketed the lighter and switched it out with his phone. Answering it, his somber aura began to glow with comfort.

Pulling his suitcase with his freehand, he listened to her melodious voice and answered to her cheer with a fatherly grin, "Looks like you and auntie got my text. How's your day going, Kiddo?" His goddaughter explained to him her day so far (also slipping in that she wanted many souvenirs and presents) and when he approached the front desk he pointed to the poster on the wall that said 'Class of 2009: The King's Academy West Palm Beach - Est. 1970 - 10 Years Later', before showing his ID. "What's that? You want to see Grandpa? Maybe if you're good, we'll visit for Thanksgiving." Pause. "Oh, you mean forever..."

Out of habit, he started analyzing the woman in front of him. He hoped, at least for this weekend, he could shut this part of his brain off. The way her eyes surveyed him, with such an impish gleam plastered on her face, she's already made a casual assessment on his appearance. Seeing how there is a dent on her left ring finger, she's removed a band that is tighter than she'd like it to be and does it every once in awhile, so that the dent stays there. As for how she displays herself physically, her hair's coiffured to perfection and her nails painted to match the little accessories on her, like that green neck scarf, in hopes to still bring out her beauty, even with such a mundane uniform on.

Her fluid motions to let her skirt ride up her thighs ever so slightly is an obvious deduction that she is well aware of what her body can do. She strategically moves her hands in a way that it hides the calluses from what he presumed would be a musical dream gone nowhere. While she may have thought she was well kept, keeping everything hidden from others, the dark circles, that she so horribly failed at covering up, was a dead giveaway that she was completely and utterly miserable with where her life was. But, it was that sadness that she used to lure men in. Like she knew men would want to save her, if they realized how damaged she was. Hardly authentic. A complete bore, honestly.

Grayson and the receptionist locked eyes before she gave him his room keys and a pamphlet, "Room 203. Look at you, you're right beside the person who threw this all together! I'm jealous." In that moment, the woman in front of him did not matter. Gray realized how much he filtered one person out of his mind, focusing on everything but her, even if her John Hancock was on the bottom right of his invite, "What?

Millie, with sass from Aphrodite herself, repeated what she said (which she hated to do) in his ear, "I said, we should MOVE because I wanna' go to the beaches and have Shirley Temples with papa! Anyways, auntie and I have a lot of shopping to do with your money, so I'll talk to you later, Chief. Love youuuuuuuu~!"

"I—" The line went dead. "—love you too."

Wait, shouldn't she be in school? Grayson was stunned briefly, before snapping back to the present reality by the 'chipper' receptionist, "I hope you enjoy your stay!" Dully blinking at her, he grabbed his keys and strode to his next destination, pulling his suitcase behind him and realizing who was going to stay right next to him, these next couple of days.

Amanda.

Ahead of him, he caught sight of Willow, which helped get the image of the bewitching woman out of his head, replacing it instead with a mirror of his former self. He thought about calling out to her, but decided against it. It was neither the time nor place to try to make amends with her. The annoyance and regret slithered its way back into him.

He hated this.

Grayson felt strongly inclined to throw his luggage in his room and get to the bar (in hopes that it was open for service). Whiskey would help him deal with talking to everyone. Maybe he could meet up with Caden and Brent at some point, but knowing Brent he'd want it to be a King's Men affair, which means someone unwanted would be there. Sighing once more, Gray wanted to appreciate the design of the hotel, but it was becoming clearer and clearer by the second how hated he was. That coming to this reunion was a ballsy move on his part.

Entering the elevator, he focused on his breathing. Nothing more, nothing less. An exercise he did to calm his restless mind and focus on being nothing. Feeling nothing. He was nothing.

When the elevator opened, he heard a door close, which could mean that Willow was inside her room and he wasn't going to ruin her day by showing his face. Trying to stay as discrete as possible, Gray searched for his room only to stop at what he assumed was Amanda's. 201. It was either 201 or 205. Something told him she was number 1.

No! He needed to stop this. This wasn't high school all over again. He was better than that. Escaping to the privacy of his room, he hid away before he was forced to interact with anyone and put on his charm. Unceremoniously, he threw his suitcase in the closet and went straight to the bed, laying on his back.

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Hidden 2 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by HaleyTheRandom
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HaleyTheRandom ☣ Hurricane Eyes ☣

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It took Tessa around seven hours to get from her house in Orlando to the motel in Key West due to traffic and having to stop for gas. It was a sunny day, so she rode with the windows down while her music was cranked up to just the right volume of to loud. The last time she was anywhere near the Keys was when she was visiting her family for New Years. Now she was headed there for yet another reunion - though she would consider nearly no one at her destination her family.

While she was excited about the prospect of getting away from work for a few days, the only real reason she was going to Palm Beach was for one reason and one reason only - her girls.

Amanda was first and foremost. Amanda has planned this little get together and it would have been rude for Tessa to reply to the email with ‘lol, no thanks.’ This weekend would be the first time she had actually talked to Amanda face to face since her wedding day. Sure, they had done video chats from time to time, and texted each other like crazy, but there was just something different about actually seeing your friends in person.

Next up was Reina. Reina was always a treat, rather they were calling, messaging or hanging out together. Tessa had seen Rei here and there over the years, but the only ritual they had was their video chats. Last - but most certainly not least - was Tara. It would do her introverted friend some good to come to their high school reunion, and if Tessa was going to suffer through it, so was Tara.

Arriving at the hotel, Tessa grabbed her bags and walked right up to the reception desk with no hesitation.

”I’m checking in for the Kings Academy class reunion,” she stated. ”The name should be Tessa Mendoza-Rosales.”

With a few clicks of the mouse, and one itinerary later, Tessa was directed to room 205. So up the stairs she went, entering the room only to toss her bags on to the bed to be dealt with later. She made her way out to the balcony to get the perfect picture of the ocean view. It seemed that for the next few hours Tessa would be unpacking, cleaning herself up, and getting just the slightest bit tipsy.

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Hidden 2 mos ago Post by HaleyTheRandom
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HaleyTheRandom ☣ Hurricane Eyes ☣

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Unlike so many people from the class of 2009, Jace never got up and out of Palm Beach. He spent his days handing out math tests and teaching his students about polynomials. Fortunately that only meant about a five hour drive for him.

The reunion caused mixed feelings for the man. While high school was full of fond memories, Jace wasn’t really super close with that many people who were attentending. Sure, there was Brent, but Jace would feel awkward using him as a crutch the whole time. Nothing was wrong with Brent, but Jace wanted to interact with more than just one person. Another person he wanted to reconnect with was Amanda. Though he didn’t really know how that would go with all of the history between them. He had heard about her wedding, but he had more or less forced the thought out of his mind over the last few years.

They were adults. They had moved on…. Right?

Checking in went smoothly. The receptionist was friendly and the destination was way prettier than the pictures he had seen online. All the pretty flowers and the sound of the ocean couldn’t distract him from the fact his heart was nearly beating out of his chest as he made his way up to room 202.

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Hidden 2 mos ago Post by NeoAJ
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NeoAJ Fine. I'll High Five Myself.

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As the water lapped lazily at the sides of the pool, the sounds intertwined with the waves hitting the shore of the beach not to far from the waterside bar that was strangely unoccupied at this time of day. Save for the bartender diligently working at his post and the lone customer sitting on one of the stools, slowly and somberly sipping at the mojito that was proclaimed to be the specialty of the joint. They weren't lying, it was a damn fine mojito. The mint was fresh and it masked the aftertaste of the white rum that wasn't the customer's usual drink of choice, but for now would serve the purpose she needed it for.

As she sat at the bar, absent-mindedly twirling her hair, a habit she didn't even know she had until a year or so ago, Tara O'Leary was trying to find any distraction she could from what the schedule had in store for her today. The drinks were helping, and so was scrolling through her phone reading through the news. It was at least taking her mind off the cocktail party that was so far and away from her scene it might as well be on Cuba.

The schedule of events was one thing Tessa failed to mention when convincing Tara that coming to the 10-year reunion. After she said yes, then Tessa showed her the schedule. It screamed Amanda. It was all hoidy-toidy, a far cry from the parties of high school. That would have been a proper tribute. Having everyone cram into Tessa's parents' house with like two kegs, a smattering of coolers and ending with Gabe Kingery being chucked out on his face. He's just probably wearing better clothes now.

Anyway, she was here now. Tara was complicit in that. She was the one packed up all her things, including a couple dresses that were way above her paygrade. She was the one who drove her Corolla into Tessa's place in Orlando in the freaking dark, before sunrise, left it there and made the near-seven hour trip along the coast, past the old stomping grounds in Palm Beach, through the Everglades and along US-1, literally driving on the ocean, to get to this place that screamed ostentatious.

That drive would probably end up being the highlight of the reunion weekend. If there was one person Tara wanted to be trapped in a car with for that amount of time, Tessa would top the list. There were copious amounts of caffeinated beverages consumed, from the Dunkin' coffee picked up in Kissimmee to the three bottles of Coke picked up at the gas station in Yeehaw Junction. Seriously. Yeehaw Junction. Anyway, it was necessary to keep Tara somewhat awake and coherent. At least Tessa was doing the driving. She did a good job controlling the radio and the two were able to keep the chatter going for a solid amount of time. It was nice. Honestly, it was something they should probably do more often. Not for seven hours though. And not starting at 4AM.

By the time they arrived at the staging point for this grand reunion, both women went to their assigned rooms to unpack. However, while Tessa was given a prime spot on the second floor near the queen bee and her cohorts, Tara, being near the bottom of the roster as she assumed, was assigned 107, one of the rooms buried in the corner of the first floor. It was fine really. Tara didn't want to be in the midst of everyone arriving and seeing her and it was fine. She could deal. Even if there was probably gonna be a bunch of noise from the banging above her. It was fine. Quiet even. For now.

But it was too quiet, which is why Tara stepped out and made her way to the bar where she had posted herself up for the last hour or so. Rudy the bartender was doing a great job at making sure the mojito supplies didn't get too low. If Tara was going to get through all of what this weekend had to offer, alcohol was going to be a necessary part of that formula. She just didn't want to get all the questions about what happened and why she wasn't off beating people up for a living. What happened to her looks. If Grayson was here, she didn't want to answer to that either. As far as she was concerned, most people here didn't need to know what had happened to her life. Aside from maybe Willow. Tara hoped Willow was here. The lack of contact after the wedding was a little concerning. But that was it. Everyone else could just be left in the dark with the image of T.K.O. as they knew her then. Not now.

Tara was content to just keep hiding out in the bar until she required to go do something. However, people started coming into the area. It seemed to be a crew following behind some red-headed woman who reminded Tara a bit of her youngest sister. However, it was clear she was a lot more... demanding than Shannon was.

"And so we'll need to move the tables out of this area to make room for mingling and... Hey! Who are you? What are you doing here?"

The O'Leary woman pointed to herself, as if surprised that the only customer here would be the one being addressed. "Me? I'm patronizing this bar, and I'm doing it pretty well I think. Why shouldn't I be doing that?"

The other woman looked perturbed. "Because this is the site of the cocktail party that is going to be happening today, and I need time to make sure everything looks proper for all the guests! Besides, it's going to be an open bar and we need to prepare the area for a steady stream of traffic to the serving area!"

The phrase "open bar" perked up Tara's ears. "All right, all right. I'm moving." She slipped a final five to Rudy. "I'll be back when these drinks are on you, OK?" She picked up the glass containing the rest of her mojito and headed to the door. "Don't worry. I'll bring the glass back," Tara told the still scowling red-head as she departed. With her hangout now cordoned off, there wasn't much else Tara could think to do. "Guess I can go take a nap or something." She yawned. "Maybe I'll get lucky and sleep through this shindig."

She headed back to her room. Luckily there weren't many stairs involved on the way. As soon as she entered the doorway, Tara placed her drink on the end table and collapsed into her spacious bed within seconds, barely remembering to kick her flip flops off in the process before catching some needed rest.
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Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Ejected
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Ejected Pretty Killer

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He always got a strange feeling in the pit of his stomach whenever he touched down in the Sunshine State, much like the one he got over thirteen years ago when he was doing so for the very first time. Andre had made many wonderful memories during his time in Florida; It was there that he'd found love, made lifelong friends, earned his degree, and even started his basketball career. But there was just something about disembarking the plane and walking through the Palm Beach International Airport that always reminded him of when he was that scared thirteen year old boy who'd just lost his parents. It reminded him that aside from his sister, the only living family member he had was a man that he hardly knew... a man who'd only taken him in because he felt indebted to his older brother. Maybe that was why he was so excited about attending the reunion; Andre was ready to see his high school family once more because, at one point, it felt as though they were the only family he had.

After taking a Lyft to his former home and transferring his things to one of his cars, Andre began the three hour long journey to Key West. He'd arrived in just enough time to spot a few familiar faces, though he decided against trying to approach anyone just yet. He figured that, much like himself, everyone would be too tired to socialize. As Andre strolled towards the front desk, luggage in tow, all he could think about was taking a long, scorching hot shower and a much needed nap before the evening festivities. "Checking in. I'm here for the King's Academy reunion," he said, flashing his usual charming grin at the young woman that stood behind the counter. "The room should be under-"

"Andre Martin!" The young woman blurted before he could finish. Her face turned bright red afterwards, however, as she continued on to press a few buttons on her computer. "Sorry... my uh, dad is really into the whole basketball thing. I watch it with him sometimes when he's hogging the living room TV. I never really understand much but I guess I picked up on a few things."

After exchanging a few more words with the desk clerk, Andre was given the key to room 106 and pointed in the right direction. And as soon as the door closed behind him, he began to strip. He took a ten minute shower, the water slowly warming his body and soothing the ache that clawed at his limbs from hours of workouts and practice. The steam from the scorching hot water was thick and clouded the bathroom as Dre scrubbed, slowly starting to come back to life. It wasn't until after he'd lotioned up and thrown on a pair of shorts that he shot a few quick texts to Brent and Alex, letting them know that he'd arrived. He fell asleep before he could read his friends' responses.
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Hidden 2 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by TootsiePop
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TootsiePop

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"Oh okay, so you're an expert now." Reina sarcastically chuckled to the robust man behind the wheel. He was trying to shed some words of wisdom to her, which was predictable. She should've expected this long car ride would be his opportunity to 'guide' her rather than be proud about everything she's achieved. "I'm sorry the way I live worries you, but dude, I'm thriving. I'm 'bout to film a STUDIO picture. That's huge for my career." Absentmindedly, she rubbed her pointer finger with her thumb, which was an anxious tick she obtained when she was younger. "I live life and you consider it flighty. That's just who I am, Clay." His lack of response made her stomach churn, as if she wasn't nervous enough for this upcoming school reunion. She was excited to see all her friends together again, don't get her wrong, but the idea that her demons she spent years battling may come back from the dead put her in a soft panic that only grew the closer they got to the Keys. A huge part of her childhood was waiting there for her and that realization seemed to make her feel things that she thought she put past her.

Expectantly and eagerly waiting, she watched his face go from stoic to tense. He's been expressing his feelings this entire ride and now he wants to go silent? Where was Clementine when she needed her? When he finally opened his mouth, she let out a sigh of relief. Although she pretended to act like she didn't want to hear what he had to say, she sought out her brother's advice on numerous occasions and held his opinion in high regard. "I never said I wasn't proud of you." With those words, Reina leaned back in her chair, reflecting on how she might be taking her emotions and uneasiness out on him. He was trying to catch up and be there for her, yet some how she was twisting his words and making it more offensive than they actually were. Her brother wasn't an angry person anymore and she knew he understood the power of speech more than most. Everything he's said up to this point had good intention. No malice. He didn't have an inkling of wrath left in him, thanks to a hot yoga instructor that chose a life with him over everything else.

Clayton held the steering wheel with one hand, while his other hand rubbed his temples in frustration. Such a defensive reaction. No matter how many years came and went, she can never let go of this conviction that she has something to prove. "I'm trying to understand why you can't appreciate the NOW. You're constantly seeking something bigger and better. This job opportunity will give you a high, but you won't be satisfied. You rarely are. Sure, you have direction, but you live life like you're running out of time when right now, you need to think of where you are and what you have going for you. What do you want? How do you define happiness? Why did you even marry that... guy... in the first place?"

Yeah, he'd slip that in. Might as well while she's stuck in the car with him. Clayton saw this divorce coming a mile away. Two people that got bored easily. What were the chances they would truly, deeply last forever? And on top of that, Elijah was constantly trying to change who Reina was, even going out of his way to ask Clay for advice - that didn't end well, mind you.

"So THAT'S it." Figures. He never did like Elijah and unlike her brother and Barr, she didn't see marriage as some sacred bond between soulmates. Marriage was a social construct where two individuals chose to make it 'official' by a legal document and the reward? Benefits. More benefits than most people realize. It isn't some natural phenomenon. It adds some legality to someone you might want to spend the rest of your life with, when the truth of it all was: this is some over-exaggerated bullshit. There's so much made-up lawfulness, ceremonies, and traditions tied into it. Something natural can only be broken by nature itself, and here she was, without an ounce of guilt or obligation, ready to agree to Elijah's wishes and terms to separate because they no longer were able to fulfill each other's needs.

They weren't young and dumb anymore. Nowadays, they sought out more than the person they used as a crutch to aid in their success. For her, his money was fine and dandy in the beginning until she started making her own and no longer needing him. For him, he craved to catch her, like a wild fox he wanted to domesticate. He wanted to keep her fire to himself and only came to learn such a feat was impossible unless he impregnated her. He wasn't evil, okay. Just selfish. Their paths, like the stars in the sky, failed to align; all because she was the way she was and not because he had egocentric tendencies, and came to despise her wanderlust and ambition. The very fiber of her being. She, who would never, could never change for anyone.

Before she responded, her dark gaze fell on her wedding band and how artificial it must be for her to wear it. "I don't always do things with a plan. Sometimes, I need to do something to remind myself that I have control over my narrative. I took a hard left turn for Elijah, but... I don't regret him. You know how I feel about marriage. He came in my life when I needed something new and maybe, just maybe he was that risk I needed to take to be where I am I today. He used me. I used him. We're not saints."

She couldn't help but shake her head at all this. How weird she must be for trying something out, only for a taste, but knowing just as much as everyone else that it wouldn't last, "No one is." After taking a deep sigh in and out, she concluded, "I don't think I would've realized how little I needed him. Or anyone for that matter. Yeah, marrying him may have been going too far but this was a good mistake I needed to make. Who knows maybe it could've changed my mind on the whole thing! It didn't. But, it helped me... become me. Am I making sense?"

Clayton's eyes rested on her face. His lips lifted upward, which showed that warm glow she knew oh-so-well. A softness that she was fortunate to see ever since she could remember. Something that would make girls uncomfortable, having some effect on their breathing, causing it to go shallow, as they gasped for air. A loving smile that brought her comfort, even while they talk about these subjects she didn't have answers for. "Yeah, I get it. In a weird Reina fashion, you did what you needed to do. And... I admire that about you."

She returned the smile... perhaps, getting this all out of her chest would be a good thing before she reunited with some old, familiar faces. Particularly one.



Her brother went as far as to park his car and carry her things to her hotel room. Room 105. They embraced before he told her to have fun and then he was off, on his way for another long drive back home. She offered for him to nap on her bed, but he was quick to decline. He had a woman he needed to get back to. Once he was gone, Reina decided to do what she does best. Explore. The night prior she didn't get much sleep because she and Clementine spent it telling each other stories, eating junk food, and drinking wine. No she wasn't hung over. She didn't drink nearly as much as Barr. The rational thing for her to do was try to rest before the party, but she wouldn't be her if she did that. There was too much she wanted to do and sleeping would only waste her time.

Walking outside, leaving her camera and clothes unpacked and behind, she strolled to the pool and looked out to the gorgeous, deep blue. She could only imagine how it would look when the sun set. It was already such a visual spectacle. This instant caused her to think of someone she was doing so well at not thinking about. She wondered how he was holding up, if he was happy and found his calling. Was it strange for her to be curious about his livelihood? To be curious about...him? Shaking the mental image she had of him out of her head, she turned away from the scenic view and went back inside, examining every nook and cranny there was to this beautiful resort.

Amanda outdid herself. At least that's one thing she can like about the hostess. Her exquisite taste.
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Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Altered Tundra
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Altered Tundra Tis the Season~

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“It won’t be the same without you, Carlos.” Brent said, a regretful tone in his usually powerful, energetic voice as he talked to his twin brother on the phone.

“I know man. I really wish I could have made it.” Carlos replied with a similar sense of regret. That much was clear from where Brent sat. “Had it not been for this conference I have to be at tonight in DC, I would have jumped at the chance to see the old gang again. But hey! At least one of the Walsh men will be there!”

Brent laughed as he saw the hotel/resort come into view. He had been driving for a while now. Unlike most who probably just drove straight through, Brent took it upon himself to make the journey one of luxury and getting there when he got there. He had the benefit of being somewhat from the area but honestly? He wanted to enjoy the journey there. He inhaled the salty air, enjoyed the scenic route of driving as he had casually down the Florida State road, sampled the freshest seafood in all of the Southeast, and most of all, being able to meet some friends along the way.

The reason Brent decided to extend his journey was that he didn’t get the chance to come down this way that often. He primarily stuck to his natural habitat of Palm Beach, so being out here where the sea air was the saltiest and the people were the friendliest, Brent Walsh was going to take full advantage of it. He was a firm believer that you had to enjoy the little things in life to get the maximum experience from it.

“Earth to Brent! Are you there?”

Brent heard Carlos snap into the phone. “My bad bro!” He apologetically laughed. “It’s just so beautiful out here. I’m actually kind of sad that I’m almost there.”

“Wait, don’t tell me you actually drove there!”

The disbelief in Carlos’ voice was obvious even before Brent responded. “Of course I did! I wasn’t going to pass up the chance to see the sights!”

“Only you would find driving and sightseeing as a way to test out that new cruiser of yours. How many miles does it have on it, anyway?”

“Less than a thousand!” He proudly chuckled.

“I bet that changed now, huh?”

“Lemme check real quick and I'll tell ya!”

Brent quickly glanced at the odometer and just as soon as he saw the number of miles was, in fact, less than fifty miles from the 1k marker, which immediately resulted in Brent laughing.

“It’s so close man!”

Though Brent obviously couldn’t see it, he heard his brother sigh deeply into the phone as there was a high wind-like noise from his end. “Well, Brent, hope you have fun at the reunion! Be sure to give that hottie Tessa a nice, tight hug for me! Or ya know, you could finally do what you know you want to and tell finally tell her how you feel!”

Brent slammed on his breaks as he came to the Southernmost House resort, which was so aptly timed with Carlos’ bold suggestion. “Come on Carlo! You’re speaking nonsense! I don’t--”

“Brent, I’m the only person in this world who would know. Don’t think I never found that book of horribly-written poetry you wrote all about her. I’m not going to judge you, but your form needs work.”

Brent didn’t respond. Truth be told, he hadn’t written a single poem about her in more than a year. He couldn’t bring himself to give Carlo the satisfaction in being right -- not verbally, anyways. There was nothing more in this world he wanted than to tell her, but how could he? Where would he even begin? They had a friendship that was nearly on the same level as the kind of friendship he had with his boys. That’s how important Tessa was to him, so would he take a chance with her just on the off-chance she felt the same? He didn’t know.

“Well, as fun as it has been talking to you, I’m here, so I have to go! Have a safe flight and all that and kill it at the White House!”

“If the presence of the idiot president doesn’t do that for me!”

They both shared a laugh and both hung up. Brent gathered up his luggage which consisted of a laptop bag that had his laptop and personables and two medium suitcases full of clothes and general hygiene products. As he then would walk his way from the private parking lot, Brent carried himself like one who was deep in thought. He had a mix of wild emotions and thoughts swirling inside him. He was feeling joy because he hadn’t seen most of his friends in a while. Of course, he saw Jace and Tessa on the regular due to them still living in the area, but as for the others like Andre, Grayson, and Alex, they lived so far away that Brent only saw them on occasion.

And then, of course, there were those he wasn’t looking forward to seeing again.

It was just a combination of a lot of things that eventually made for an uncharacteristically-quiet Brent Walsh. That all changed when he got to the front desk, greeted the clerk with his usual smile and positive energy, and then made his way to his highly expensive room. Oh how it was so pricy. When he initially reserved it, sure he knew it would set him back a pretty penny, but he thought the view would be worth it. Plus, Brent was pretty good with saving and when the invites went out six months ago, every dime and penny he could spare that wasn’t for bills and other such payments made to things he needed went to saving for the trip. In total, Brent managed to save over three grand, so that gave him plenty of spending money should he need it.

After a brief conversation with the front desk clerk, Brent was given his room key and soon made his way to it. On his way there, he didn’t see anyone that he might recognize, so either he was so early that none of his friends were at the resort yet or he was so late that they were already checked in and were in their respective rooms. That thought lingered for exactly three minutes, which was the time it took for him to get to the second floor where his room was at and enter it. At the exact moment he flipped on the light switch, his wide jaw dropped as low as it could.

“Wow…”

That was all Brent could say because it was the only thing that was necessary. Such a blatant display of over-the-top luxury was what he saw. From the bed to the view to ...everything else. Brent was in absolutely, uncompromised awe. On paper, the price didn’t make sense but holy hell on a stick, it was more than worth the price of admission. If this was going to be his room, Brent could only speculate what the rest of the place was like.

“This is going to be a fun weekend!” Brent hyped himself out, letting out a louder-than-intended battle cry as he proceeded to unpack and hum happily.
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Hidden 2 mos ago Post by spooner
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spooner 100% Gross

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Grace Pruett lives a pretty stressful life. She spends her days and… let’s be honest most nights herding a team of grown babies (Also known as programmers). So whenever she has time over she makes sure that time is spent on herself. One hot spring evening Grace had spent the better part of an hour picking out the perfect piece of stilton cheese at the grocery store before returning home to her apartment and her dog George.

As she struggled with her shopping bags up the stairs to her building she spotted that a couple of letters had been shoved into her mailslot. A groan escaped the young woman as she shifted the weight of the bags to her other arm as so she could awkwardly grabb the letters before getting into the elevator that took her to the 6th floor and her apartment.

“Hey baby!” She cooed at the dog that was skipping at her feet as she was putting down her bags. Grace spent some time putting away the groceries and pouring herself a glass of wine before flopping down on her couch sifting through the letters she had received. One of the letters caught her eye in the midst of bills and sale flyers. A handwritten letter with her name carefully written out in neat handwriting. Grace ripped the letter open and unfolded the note inside.

Deep brown eyes scanned the page eyebrows raising higher the more that she read. A huff left Grace as she lowered the invitation to her high school reunion. “This bitch…” she whispered. The invitation had allegedly been sent out by Amanda Woodall who Grace knew well enough to know that Amanda had most certainly not written this letter. People might change but this sounded like a whole different person.

Grace sat up straight letting out a loud sigh as she absentmindedly petted George on his stomach. She chewed on her lower lip as she pondered the possibilities of her going to this event. Besides having a reason to get together with Willow, her mind instinctively went to Andre Martin. Is he going? Would he want her to be there?

After a few minutes of this she opened a drawer in her coffee table rummaging around in the clutter for a pen and rsvp’d “Yes”.



On the 7th of June the sun was baking outside of the Key West Airport where Grace stood looking for her younger brothers car with her phone glued to her ear.

“Where are you Jeri?” she said craning her neck around trying to spot him.

“I’m right outside!”

“No assface you are not because I’m right outside!” she groaned as she fanned herself with her old boarding pass.

“Ok so not right outside but I’m pulling up now! See I’m waving at you now… Hey! Hello can you see me? I’m behind the white prius!”

Grace rolled her eyes and hung up stomping of towards her brother dragging her bag behind her. She threw her bags in the backseat before getting in the car beside her brother in the front.

“What’s wrong with you? Why can you never be on time?” she looked at her brother without blinking.

Her brother just laughed “Get of my case! I have a life outside driving you around!”

“Oh I know that is a lie! Come here!” Grace laughed back and grabbed her brother around the neck and planted quick kisses on his cheek.

“Get off me you crazy old lady!” he said shoving her back into her seat.

Grace just smiled at him poking a finger at his cheek before he drove of towards the airport exit. “Thanks for doing this Jeri” she said getting more comfortable.

“You know what you’ll owe me sis!” Jeremiah smirked eyes still on the road.

“Ugh... your tickets for Dreamhack ATL have already been mailed to you!” Grace sighed resting her head on the window soon drifting of to sleep.



“So I’ll pick you up here on Sunday then?” Jeremiah asked through the open window as Grace got her bag.

“Yeah I’ll text you when I know the exact time!” Grace said as she closed the door. “Bye love you!” she shouted as her brother drove of. The young woman looked up at the huge hotel and let out a short breath before making her way into the lobby.

A smiling hotel receptionist greeted her cheerily. “Checkin in?” she asked.

Grace offered a smile back “Yeah… I’m here for my uh…”

“Reunion?” the receptionist finished as she clicked away on her keyboard “What’s your name?”

“Grace Pruett”

“Alright Ms. Pruett here is your key and room number. There is a cocktail party for you guys later all of the information in in your itinerary. Hope you will have a wonderful stay.”

“Thanks… I’m sure I will.” Grace smiled before turning to the elevators. She looked around the grand lobby trying to see if she recognized anyone. Who would be coming to this thing? She knew that Willow was already here because Grace had demanded a play by play as soon as she had landed. But who else would be here? Was Dre already here? Was he even coming? These were the thoughts that were swirling in her mind as the elevator was ascending towards her room.

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Hidden 2 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by Dirty Pretty Lies
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Dirty Pretty Lies Some Girl

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Time: 8:00 PM
Location: Poolside Bar and Its Surroundings
Attire: Smart Casual. Women wear short dresses, men are allowed jeans with button-down shirts and dress shoes.


The sun was just starting the process to set in the horizon when the clock signaled eight in the evening. The 2010 graduates of King’s Academy would soon make their way to the pool area, where the first official event of the reunion weekend would take place. Mimi Woodall, ever the perfectionist, had made sure the reception area was nothing short of a vision for her cousin’s guests. A set of string lights helped to illuminate the beachfront space, giving the area some warmth. Sleek round bar tables had replaced the poolside lounge chairs, each of them with a maximum occupancy meant for two people and decorated by a small magenta peony arrangement in a transparent glass vase. Floating on top of the pool were at least ten LED-illuminated beach balls, giving the atmosphere a more fun, casual feel. Hotel employees dressed in khakis and hawaiian shirts would start circling the perimeter as soon as the guests arrived, handing out small plates of delicate hors d'oeuvres and glasses of water while taking orders for the bar. On the east side of the venue was the bar, stoked with all kinds of liquor and with three empty stools waiting to be filled. But, of course, the true pièce de résistance of the venue was that of the deep blue waters of the Atlantic, stretching out beautifully into the horizon.

The sound of the shifting waves laced together with the salsa music coming from the speakers filled the absence of conversation as the clock continued to tick the seconds away. It was only a matter of time before the protagonists of the story would make their arrival.
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Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Aewin
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Aewin Chomp!

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Willow hadn't realised when the time had passed by. Upon arriving into her room and noting (much to her dread) how expensive everything looked. She was situated on the first floor of the resort, which suited her just fine. Some part of her actively preferred being away from most of the faces she still wasn't quite ready to see, but there wasn't much time left before Willow would have to face her fears.

During the few hours she spent holed up in her room, Willow had taken her ring back out to fiddle with. The band was neat and the gem small, nothing that was extravagant. She'd asked both Teddy and Grace what to do with the ring, but no matter what they said, Willow just never got rid of it. She made excuses: she was busy or, the shops were closed, but she always found a way to keep the band hidden away in a small pocket within her purse.

When it was time to get ready, Willow had to drag herself out of bed. Every process took twice as long, from choosing the dress to brushing her midlength hair. She teetered between two options: a cheeky blue number (which she would certainly button up the moment her foot entered the elevator) and a safer, classy option. After showing both options to her older sister on Facetime, Willow finally settled on the cheeky blue with her help.

"Don't you dare button it up, Wills. I have Grace's phone number. She'll tell me if you're being a bore." Summer's voice filtered through the room. Willow's phone was perched on a table, angled high enough to show her body up till her knees. "Just belt it up and you'll be good to go. I'd show you how but I don't think my belt is big enough."

Willow laughed absentmindedly as she searched through her small makeup bag. Her sister's pregnancy excited her, but also reminded her she had only a furry child. "Pink lips or red? Actually no, no red. Lucas thought it made my lips too small. Pink is good."

"Wills, Lucas isn't there. You can do what you want." There was a frustrated sigh which she pointedly ignored.

"Of course not. I just think he's right. Plus, I don't have my red on me anyway." She waved at the camera dismissively. She closed two more buttons, hearing the growing incense in Summer's voice as a result. "Alright, it's nearing eight. I gotta go Sum. Give my love to Tom and Clara." Willow reached out for her phone, blowing her sister a quick kiss for good-bye before exiting out of the call.

She gave herself one last look in the mirror in her room, a quick pep-talk or two in mind was enough to instil the confidence needed to step out of her room. 'Find Grace and Teddy. This'll just be like our get-togethers, except with less wine and more faces. This will be okay.' Her hand fiddled with the ring once more, and when the elevator dinged, Willow stepped out into the reception to see the grand decorations.

'Wait... bar!' Her knight in shining armour came through, and she stole one of the six empty stools. No need for the staff take her order when she was sure her butt would never leave the stool in the first place.

Okay, maybe now she was a little more equipt for the night ahead.
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Hidden 2 mos ago Post by HaleyTheRandom
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HaleyTheRandom ☣ Hurricane Eyes ☣

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Over the course of the last few hours, Jace had tried to catch up on sleep from where all of the driving he had done made him drowsy. Unfortunately his plans for rest failed. Instead of having the possibility of missing his alarm and being fashionably late, the man spent the last four hours taking an extra long shower, trying on twenty different outfit combinations and completely stressing out over what was going to happen at the upcoming cocktail party. While changing from outfit to outfit, his mind spun scenarios of Amanda giving him the middle finger, him punching Grayson in the face for simply breathing, and the Kings Men getting completely wasted and making fools of themselves. Of course two out of three of these things had only a fifty percent chance of happening, but the fact did nothing to ease his anxiety. How many cars had Brent sold lately? Did Dre still take an enormous amount of pride in basketball? Had Alex got fat?

After all of these thoughts and more, Jace settled on a light gray dress shirt, a dark pair of jeans and a random pair of fancy boots. Not to flashy, and hopefully not to shabby either. Eventually the clock struck ten minutes til eight, sending Jace through his hotel room door, down the stairs and to the party destination.

The decorations weren't overboard, but not entirely what he had been expecting either. Who actually wanted to wear or wanted to make people wear Hawaiian shirts anymore? Taking in the rest of the scene, he noticed that a woman was already sitting at the bar.When one of the waiters strolled by, Jace simply ordered a bacon cheeseburger and fries. This reunion was a sort of little vacation, so he figured he might as well enjoy everything while it lasted. To nervous to approach as him memory failed to match the name with the face, Jace took a seat at one of the tables near the pool. Pulling out his phone to check the time and any random notifications, he noticed that the clock officially read eight. Hopefully more people would be making their grand entrance soon.
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Hidden 2 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by Bee
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Bee moooooooooo

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Some hours later, Dr. Bentley-Song was standing in the bathroom of her beautiful room, running a brush through her hair to get it sorted out. Allison had given up a long, long time ago on trying to get it straightened. She knew that her hair was too much of a wavy/curly mess. Instead, she had refocused her efforts on trying to get her short wavy hair to look as good as it could. And based on what she was seeing in the mirror in front of her, she wasn't doing too bad at all. Opting for a pink dress tonight, she was figuring that she was going to be seeing a lot of familiar faces tonight. It was best for her to dress to impress, since this was the first time she was going to be seeing many of these people for the first time in just a bit over ten years.

She'd spent the better part of the past few hours just lying in her bed and staring at her phone, admittedly forgetting that there was a cocktail party until a reminder popped up. Now just about over an hour into preparation, she was finally on the finishing end of getting ready. Popping her lips as she finished putting on her lipstick, she was finally satisfied with what she saw. She looked good, given her limited makeup skills, and she felt good. Picking up her purse nearby, she slung it over her shoulders. In just a matter of minutes -- it was party time.. and seeing old faces once again. Sighing as she exited her room, hearing the door click behind her.

It was just a short trip before she arrived at the reception hall, where the once cute little hotel on the Florida Keys had become one of the most exquisite, splendid looking venues she'd ever seen in her life. The pool and outside areas were illuminated with a cool pink and green, the gorgeous sun doing the rest of the job with the illumination. Allison put a hand on her purse strap as she stepped closer, already getting a glance of some faces she hadn't seen in a long, long time. There were some old group project members, some kids she tutored, and some classmates. Somehow, it felt like she was a senior in high school all over again.

Allison then had the bright idea to not do this without some liquid confidence. Her big, blue eyes scanned the party, before walking over to what she perceived to be the bartender. Maybe she'd loosen up a bit. Walking up to him, she put a hand on the counter, hoping she'd get his attention. Seeing him look up, Allison flashed a smile. "Hi... can I get a mojito, please?" She asked, "Thank you!" She said, before he got to work on her drink. Leaning against the counter, and turning around, the doctor could already see more familiar faces start to pour in. Was that... Reina? Willow? Hell, was that Tara out of the corner of her eye? Allison still couldn't believe that this really was everyone ten years later. At least everyone still looked good.
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Hidden 2 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by NeoAJ
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NeoAJ Fine. I'll High Five Myself.

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It just wasn't sitting right.

As she stood in front of the full-length mirror that looked like it had been shattering womens' dreams since the turn of the previous century, Tara O'Leary could easily be another name added to its long list of victims. She shifted uncomfortably in front of the mirror, the little emerald green kitten heels nipping at her toes as she did so. The shoes were not made for fast movement, that's for sure. But it wasn't that.

It wasn't the dress. Not that it was something that Tara herself would have ever selected for her wardrobe. Even in her glory days, she preferred muted greens, natural colors that blended in with the leather she cloaked over herself. This dress? This shimmering cocktail dress would only be considered a natural color if someone drowned an emerald in the Dead Sea and shined a thousand suns at it. It didn't even have any sleeves. Or straps for that matter. Tara hiked it up higher, trying feel a little bit better about that lack of security that was offered. Of course, she couldn't be surprised. Given the outfit that Tessa was going to be wearing to this shindig, Tara should probably be grateful for the coverage this dress did offer. And she was appreciative of the help Tessa did offer in selecting it, since Tara's choice probably would have been sweatpants and a tank top and spending the evening with the Dropkick Murphys and her punching bag. But no, it wasn't that.

It wasn't the lack of sleep. Tara's nap did a great job recharging the batteries after the long drive. She ended up sleeping for a solid four hours. Nor was it the supper she ended up having. The choices on offer at the actual hotel where... not adjusted to palettes such as hers. Not with all the truffle oil and caprese and... lobster pizza. That screamed bad choice for someone who was likely going to be going after the open bar like a Fijian fly half after a loose ball. That is to say, with reckless abandon. Instead, Tara chose to order from the Cuban cafe down the street. She caught Ana right at the end of closing, but it was worth it to get a palomilla platter delivered to her door. A much more fortifying meal for the night ahead. So no, it wasn't either of those.

No, the mirror couldn't take credit for anything. Tara looked like she cleaned up well. Years of hanging out with Tessa had taught her enough about makeup to get by and the purple eyeshadow was really bringing out the green in her eyes. Her tangled mop of hair was tamed enough to be kept in check for the night. She did everything right in that regard.

So why was she so unsettled?

"Ugh...it's OK," Tara told herself with a shakiness to her voice that was never present in Palm Beach. "You're going to be fine. You don't even have to talk to people. Just post up at the bar, let Rudy take care of things. Then, maybe we talk. That sounds like a solid game plan." Avoiding confrontation was never her style, but she just didn't want to do it tonight. Maybe not ever. Just get to the mojitos. That was the end goal. Looking over at the digital clock on the bedside that blared 7:58pm, Tara breathed a heavy sigh, grabbed her wallet and headed to the door.

It was a long walk, it felt longer than it did in the afternoon. Maybe the heels weren't helping in that regard, but it was still felt like a trip to the gallows. Only it wasn't Tara's execution, it was the legend of T.K.O that was on the docket. There's still time. I can escape down the street. Pretty sure Tessa can't catch me... Tara looked around, as if an exit would reveal itself. However, the only visible escape was going to be through the depths of the Atlantic. And there were sharks out there. Nope. This isn't swim gear, that's for sure. Instead, Tara metaphorically held her nose and re-entered the bar she had been so rudely escorted from earlier in the day.

Thankfully, it appeared most of the class of '09 remained as punctual as they ever were. The party was far from full swing. Only a few people had shown up, and the hostess with the mostess was not one of them. More importantly, spots at the bar were still available. Quickly confirming that no one was making a beeline for her position, Tara made her move. She locked eyes with Rudy, still on duty like the solid foot soldier he was, and held up a finger. Rudy nodded and quickly began the process of creating the first of what would be another solid army of mojitos heading Tara's way. As the woman slid on top of a stool, she almost didn't realize she wasn't the first person to the bar tonight. It was just really surprising when she looked over to see exactly who she had ended up joining in avoiding all contact.

...Willow? Is that really Willow? Fuck, I literally haven't seen her since the wedding! Shit! I, um, shit... All of a sudden, Tara wasn't sure that the bar was the place to be for her tonight. She tried to subtly look over again. Willow looked like she had the same strategy that she was employing. Stay at the bar, back to the floor and avoid all contact. At least that was the look on her face. A look that was on Tara's own face not a few minutes ago.

OK, OK, it's fine. Maybe, she won't recognize me. I mean, how long has it been? Four years? I don't even remember. She's probably been too busy with being married and all that stuff to remember me. Definitely not looking the part of Rocky anymore. Maybe I can just fake this.

No! C'mon, this is Willow! If nothing else she can help me get through this night! I mean, Tessa is gonna be so freaking busy. Everyone is going to be asking for her and wanting to talk to her. Willow... she was so good. She was a ray of light. She could keep things going in the darkest times.

Maybe she can keep me afloat. Just for long enough...


As Rudy plunked the lime green drink that looked to match the dress to the near-exact hue, Tara quickly took a long sip to build up the nerves that had long since abandoned her. Looking over one more time to make sure her high-school friend's attention hadn't been grabbed by something else, she finally spoke. "So...fancy meeting you in a place like this, huh?" Tara remarked, nowhere near as emphatically as she used to. "Don't think we're going to be running laps this time, eh Willow?"

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Hidden 2 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by TootsiePop
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TootsiePop

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____________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________

Standing in front of Amanda's door, Grayson debated knocking on it and asking if she'd like an escort. Inhaling and exhaling, and repeat, he brought his knuckles inches away from the wood. He was really doing this, wasn't he? He was finally going to have a conversation with the immaculate beauty from his teenage dreams. After nodding, reassuring himself that this was the right decision, he went for a gentle tap, only to freeze when he heard her scream on the other side. The sudden unpleasantries coming out of her mouth caused him to retract his fist and be forcibly brought back to his present reality where a door was in between him and her.

Something usually was in between him and her.

Yeah, maybe not.

The best course of action was to wait for his chance to talk to her at the cocktail party. She didn't know him. Not really. The likelihood of her wanting him, out of all people, as her escort was slim to none. In all honesty, it was probably not even an option. She may not remember his name. They were mere acquaintances in high school and now they were complete strangers to one another, with nothing but faded memories.

Even so... the desire was still there. That old feeling where the fantastical illusion he had of her wanting him made his chest ache at the unbelievable prospects. It was hard to believe that he still found himself holding her up on a high pedestal. Then again, here he was staring at her door like an idiot.

God, he was such an idiot.

As he walked away, prominently striding outside where the others were inevitably waiting, he decided right then and there that he WOULD talk to her. Before the night was through, he would approach her and have a conversation that would captivate and intrigue her. With determination, diligence, and dedication he would survive the night. Not only with her, but also with everyone else. Though, especially with her.

What? Priorities, man.
~


By the backdoor, Grayson looked ahead at those who were already there. First, his dark gaze went to Jace, sitting by his lonesome self. He watched the sorry (but good looking) dude and wondered why did he hate him so much? Ten years ago he could barely look at him without wishing death upon him and his future children. Watching him now, he felt guilty. Guilty treating him the way he did without coming clean. Jace had a taste of the one person Grayson wanted but couldn't have. That wasn't Jace's fault. It was his own for giving up, not bothering to even try.

It was peculiar, really. His whole journey back to FL he thought seeing this man would annoy the living shit out of him, like all that spite and malice he had for him when they were younger, going the extra mile of destroying Jace's face in his yearbook, would still be there like his crush for Amanda. Yet, it wasn't. At least, right now, he didn't have it in him to hate someone that he could've been good friends with.

His attention went from Jace to the three girls at the bar. There was Willow, who was dressed like a showstopper, with a prepossessing... blue dress on. As he rolled his cuffs up (he left his jackets behind), internally he frowned. If anyone deserved an apology, it was definitely her. He used her and her feelings for him. Made her feel like yesterday's trash. There was no denying he was an asshole and he'd be lucky if she could even look at him again.

His stare went from her to Allison, who was styling pretty in pink. Wow, these girls were really outdoing themselves tonight. Granted, Amanda did hold them all to a dress code, and therefore there was a standard they all had to meet. Scratching his head, he recalled his foolish, insensitive teen self, when he tried to force her to stop taking Addie. Rather than express his legitimate concerns, he caused her to feel insignificant and took the one thing she clung to away from her. He insulted her intelligence and said something dumb like, if you're really that smart you wouldn't need these stupid ass pills.

That's one of the few memories he purposely tried to block out. He could handle the prom incident, although that may be subjectively worse, he couldn't handle the fact that he teared his close friend down when she needed him the most. This had nothing to do with love. This had everything to do with trust and friendship. He fucked that up royally.

Rerouting his mind, he turned his head to the last person who arrived before the crowd. As if time stopped, his eyes, which were the softest brown infused with green, a charming melt of autumn tones, fell on... Tara.

Wait, that's Tara?

Well damn. Green looked good on her. Very good. His rational brain turned off when an incomprehensible feeling stretched throughout his whole body. The way she was holding herself arouse his curiosity and he didn't know what to think. She just looked... she surprised him, is all.

Letting his feet take charge, he first went to Jace and lightly slapped the table, "Hey man, good to see you." His heart was racing, knowing for a fact that he was nothing like this when they were younger, "You should come join me at the bar," He stepped back when a waiter maneuvered around Gray to place Jace's food in front of him, "...If not, that's fine. We can chat later. Actually talk for once, since y'know, I was a dick and our friends don't deserve that bull." The detective ran his hand through his hair, wondering if he was coming off too strong, too desperate, or actually doing this 'mending' thing right.

After a moment of uncomfortable silence, he looked back at the bar, "Anyways, I need to do my rounds, but yeah. We'll talk." A conversation with Jace could go well, or terribly wrong, but while Gray had the chance, he wasn't going to lose this opportunity to talk to the others either. Kill all the birds with one stone.

With silent steps, he approached the bar and parked himself at the end of it, giving all three of them enough space from him, so maybe, just maybe they wouldn't leave. Maybe, just maybe, they'd hear him out. Leaving the stools open for anyone else that wanted to sit in them, he rubbed his goatee. "...Rudy, is it?" He read the name tag, making sure to filter out all the small details and critical observations that were overflowing in his mind. "I'll take a jack and coke." The bartender nodded, immediately pulling out a whiskey glass. While he started on Grayson's drink, the brute of a man took out his wallet and dropped a twenty in the tip jar. Knowing him, he'd keep filling it up as the night went on.

Accepting the burden of breaking the ice, he drummed his fingers on the counter, showing a hint of his anxiousness as he mustered the courage to talk to all three of them at once. Clearing his throat to grab their attention, his cheeks dimpled, and the corners of his eyes wrinkled, he gave a casual compliment "Ladies, you all look lovely tonight." Not too focused and weird. Normal chit-chat.

The bartender slid the glass down the counter. Instinctively, Gray caught it, took a nervous sip, and added, "Before any of you walk away, I do want a chance to apologize. I don't expect us to talk this weekend. You can ignore me, that's fine. I deserve it. I just wanted to finally get this off my chest and say: I'm sorry. And hey, if you want to throw insults at me, tell me how stupid I was, punch me in the face--" He chuckled to himself as he locked eyes with Tara.

"I can handle it."
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Hidden 1 mo ago Post by Altered Tundra
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Altered Tundra Tis the Season~

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When Brent had settled into his room, he had intended to relax for a bit and unwind from the long drive. He had intended to take a shower -- well, more like a bath. Brent Walsh was more of a luxurious, bubble bath kind of guy. If he followed through that, he’d also order some room service, though it would only be a small amount of food. Something homey like a cucumber salad or something healthy like, but he couldn’t get rid of the excess excitement he felt. His energy levels were off the charts and the only thing on that list of things he planned on doing from the time he set foot in his room to when it was time to start getting ready for the cocktail party was order room service.

And hot damn! The cucumber salad was ...not what he expected. He was used to gluttonous feasts with decent portions, but out here in rich folk land, in an ironic twist, Brent discovered the cooking staff here believe less is more. That wasn’t to say his salad was bad; in fact, he enjoyed it, but Brent would be lying if he said he didn’t wish there was just a bit more.

The man sat in one of the chairs that sat in front of the huge 3D television in his room. He found himself flipping through some of the local channels. To a lot of brief disappointment, most of what he saw were infomercials about the resort. He decided there wasn’t much use continuing down this particular path of casual viewing and turned it off. Brent quickly checked his phone and nearly gasped out loud when he saw it was almost seven. With just an hour to get ready, Brent scrambled as he moved large legs.

And he spent the next twenty minutes taking a quick shower. Again, he opted out of relaxing. Father Time had been cruel to his favorite son by not allowing him the sense of awareness to jump into the tub earlier. Such was the fate of the overly-excited.

Brent washed what needed to be washed and soon found himself wrapped up in a towel. As he brushed his teeth, he did the same to his hair with the other hand. In quick succession, three minutes later, Brent’s hair was brushed as back as it could, his mouth smelled like cinnamon, and a quarter cup of Listerine mouthwash was spat out into the sink. Brent quickly jelled his hair, making it as slick as he felt every time he gave himself a pep talk in the mirror.

“You can do this! First time back with everyone in ten years. Your boys are there, all of your friends, and..” He trailed off, his hand slowly stroking his gelled hair back. “You got this, Brent Diego Santiago-Walsh! This is going to be your weekend! It's now or never!”

He continued doing that for a couple of more minutes. His brother often told him that it was good to hype yourself up before any big party, so he did that every time he was about to head out for a party. And when Brent was finished, he slipped into the required outfit that was so recommended -- well, more than just recommended but Brent wasn’t going to focus on the forcefulness of it. Instead, he eyed himself in the bathroom mirror, looking himself over before giving the man he saw the nod of approval. “You are ready to rock it!”

Brent was wearing jeans and a red buttoned-up-shirt, as well as a cornflower blue dress jacket over it. He had a knack of either going full-on casual or full-on formal, but since there was very little wiggle room for him to do what he usually did for social events, he had to adhere to the obnoxious rules that unbearable Amanda put in place.

As he left his room and made his way to the party area, even before Brent arrived he heard the salsa music and he broke into a groove, embodying the spirit of the Spanish as his grand entrance was him twirling around somewhat. When his eyes met the actual area, his fists were pumping, his heart racing, and out came a sudden battlecry that was essentially him screaming “WOOHOO!” as loudly as he could.

Brent Walsh, the former fat kid of Kings Academy had arrived and he had scanned the room for a certain someone. To a sudden dip in excitement, he didn’t see her but the best consolation prize ended up being two of the best friends, though the ones that he saw were the only two that weren’t speaking.

Well this is going to be awkward. He mused to himself. Brent wasn’t sure how any of this was going to play out. Would they make up? Would they try and sabotage each other’s good time? Will history repeat itself? As he thought about that, Brent put that on the backburner for now. He was here. He was about to be surrounded by all of his former classmates (though those he couldn’t stand wasn’t exactly favorable to him right now). He just had to focus on those he liked. Luckily for him, a handful of them were already here.

...And Grayson was with them. Brent remembered that his oldest friend had a lot of enemies and most of them seemed to be of the opposite sex. Brent felt like he should save him but it looked like he was in the middle of something important. So he opted for the spectator role, for the time being, to which had him cruising over to where Jace had positioned himself.

“Eyy Mr. Russo!” Brent joked, taking a seat opposite of his friend. “Glad to see you made it man. How was your trip here? I ended up taking the scenic route myself. Over four hours of driving from my home in Palms. So worth the trip man. The sights to see is something everyone should do at least once in their life!”
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