Hidden 3 mos ago 8 days ago
Zeroth Post
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Zeroth

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I just keep elevating, no losses, just upgrading
My lessons, made blessings, I turned that into money


Thank God I never settled, this view is so much better
I’m chilling, I’m winning, like on another level

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Next Stop: The Strip, Baby!
Currently located: Bellagio Hotel & Casino







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Hidden 2 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by TootsiePop
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TootsiePop

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High school graduation. A moment they've prepared us since we were able to fathom the cycle of life — the constant aging. It's a stepping stone to the real world. Not everyone goes to college, but most of us at least try to get our high school diploma. Beverly Hills High is the home to future star athletes, money-hungry business moguls, savvy and brilliant engineers, household name directors, out-of-this-world supermodels, cutthroat Pulitzer-Prize-winning journalists, and so much more. Most of the kids that attended had to live as legacies, coming from money and fame, but the few that didn't come because of their family's name... They were challenged with the ladder and the political affairs of popularity, and those challenges will soon become the foundation of THEIR legacy. BHHS is where legends are born, whether you have a great starting hand or not, whether you want to continue what your parents started or not, whether you know it or not, you have a higher chance of success and that ticket? The diploma you were handed two weeks ago? That's your ticket to freedom and the start of a great adventure. An adventure where you are destined for greatness.

Remember, Class of 2019: Legends Never Die.

"ALFIEEEEEEEE! Don't forget to give mommy a kiss." Wincing at his mother's voice, the only person he can handle calling him Alfie, AJ Tyler, the idea man behind a once-in-a-lifetime road trip with good people, his friends, finished inspecting his father's two decker mobile home RV. It was originally a bus, but since the Tylers go camping every other weekend, the old man decided to make an investment that would make his whole family happy. Recently, he helped his pops install external LED lighting, like a beacon for his friends, especially when everyone would get inevitably drunk and lost. After closing one of the exterior storage units, making sure he packed camping, survivalist, and automotive essentials, AJ strode up the steps of his family's Beverly Hills estate. While he walked, he took off his unreasonably expensive sunglasses, knowing exactly what would happen when he reached the top step.

Immediately, he was forcibly pulled into his mother's embrace and like the good boy he was, at least when it comes to her, he gave her a lovingly, affectionate, and just-for-her kiss. "You be safe now. If you need anything, call me."

"I will."

"You should call me everyday." Haylee, his mother, demanded, with a pout and a tone of certitude.

"That's a lot..." The young boy muttered.

"A lot my ass! I'm your mother."

"But mommmm, I got a lot to do!" He whined, really not wanting to have to confess his sins to his mom on a daily basis. "How about... once a week?" He tried to bargain.

"Absolutely not. Every other day. Deal or I'm coming with you." Oh my god. Why was she pulling this needy shit right now? When he had to go too! He loved her but goddamn. He was a grown ass man.

"Okay, FINE! Every other day. But I choose the time. Okay?" His mother smiled at his response, which caused him to sigh in relief. It took him years to master the art of pleasing this woman. She was such a spoiled brat. Now, he could make his great escape.

Of course, just when he was going to pull himself out of his mother's tight grasp and try to get away, from the corner of his eyes, he saw his little sister recording him. His smile went into a grimace real quick. As he lifted his hand to block the camera, he barked, "You little shit, delete that. Or else." He pulled away from his mother, giving Molly the deadliest of death glares.

"Or else what? You're going to break my phone? Daddy will buy me another. Post embarrassing pictures of me? Oh wait, you have none. Just imagine if I shared this on my snap, or even worse, my insta? I have soooooooo many followers." Molly teased, but in truth, she was buying time with her brother before he disappeared for the WHOLE summer.

His sister could be a pest. If he was staying, he'd cut that long hair of her's right off from her tiny ass head. But honestly? Why should he care? Why did it matter if something like that trended on the internet? He was a graduate! Being coddled by his mother was nothing in comparison to how he ruins his own self with his damn mouth. "Okay. Post it. Those that know me, know I love my mom. So I don't give a fuck."

"Ew, no fun." Molly protested in disgust. She only liked doing things if AJ didn't agree with it. What were little sisters for? To ANNOY, obviously. Tossing her hair over her shoulder, going out of her way to let it whip AJ's face, she nonchalantly added, "Hey, you should totally tell Chris to text me more."

Rolling his eyes, AJ countered, "Why can't you?"

"Because I'm not the desperate type. Like you."

Oof.

Fucking bitch.

Yeah, no. He had enough. He wasn't going to start a fight with Mols right in front of his mama and right before he saw his friends. Good vibes, man. It wasn't like Molly had a chance. She was too Plastic for Chris, a little Unholy Trinity fan girl. His best friend deserved better.

"You two, stop." Their mother chided, and then gasped, "Oh Pumpkin!" AJ turned his attention back to his Broadway goddess of a mother, who handed him a bag filled with Earth set bracelets, "Give all your friends one! I've had way more free time than usual so I decided to make a bunch."

... That's pretty gay. Would everyone even wear one? They were neat with different combinations of colors, charms, beads, and knot work, but still. Well, knowing his friends, they definitely got food covered. He sent out a text awhile back asking them to bring breakfast. He couldn't remember if he told someone specifically or just made a shout out in a group thread. Ah, well. That didn't matter. "Okay, ma. I'm sure they'll love it." He wasn't sure.

After saying his goodbyes, and watching Molly mouth 'don't forget to tell Chris I said hi', AJ was finally on his way to the school parking lot. Specifically, the G spot. As he slowly approached, treading ever so closely to the handsome Russian standing there, waiting, and still wearing the same outfit AJ saw him wear last night, AJ honked the horn, keeping his hand on it so that the noise lasted for an unpleasantly long time. When he put the RV into park, a good song came on the radio, "Ace really knows how to pick them." Turning up the music, and flipping a switch so that the music projected on the speakers installed on the outside, the door slid opened. Leaving the bag of bracelets on the passenger seat and placing his glasses on his fluffy hair, AJ-fucking-Tyler jumped down and gave his charming grin, that showed his pearly whites. A grin that meant: let's make mischief.

"Cosmosssssss! You ready? I hope no one bails, it's not often my dad let's me take this beast out." The gearhead gestured to the large vehicle behind him, before taking a step closer to one of three best friends and swiping his soy latte, knowing exactly which one was his.





"Esme." A hard-edged, brassy yet insistent voice came out of a pink bejeweled phone, laying on an untidy motel bed. "You know what I expect of you and if anything goes off the rails, take matters into your own hands. I trust you, got it?"

"You flatter me, Mr. Tyler! Even calling me by my name. I must be moving up in the world." Esmeralda, more known as Belladonna in the underworld, cooed, as she finished applying her Black Cherry lipstick. "I promise you, you have nothing to worry about." Approaching the bed, she grabbed a manila envelope and took out the documents hiding on the inside. While she retrieved a lighter from her purse, and walked to the sink, she chuckled, "Oh wait, you hate promises. Just know, I'll do as you wish."

"I like the sound of that." Hovering the paper over the porcelain sink, she started burning information about Havana, while listening to Dominic give his usual advice. "Remember, failure isn't an option."

"Uh-huh." She watched the couple of papers at her finger tips disintegrate, her melting chocolate gaze lit from the burning flame, "Mr. T, I'd love to stay and chat but I have a date with a psycho. I'll give you weekly reports. Give your wife a big kiss for me, why don't you?" Esme teased.

"Yeah, yeah. You know I will. Buy the children some time, okay?"

"You got it, Bossman."

*Click*


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Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Plank Sinatra
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Plank Sinatra here we go again with this psychopath bitch

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6:45 AM


"I'm going to miss you so much. ...Fuck, I promised myself no tears. Damn it. I swear, my heart is your heart. Where I go, you go. If I had to I would take you to hell with me...but I told you, you can't come. No tears. We'll be together again soon."

Aleks Belikov crouched reverently in front of the Lotus Elise, chewing with a heartached tenderness at the corner of his bottom lip. He ran his hand reverently across the sports car's hood before bringing his fingertips to his mouth and kissing it goodbye. The fingers his lips had touched patted the car's badge, safely nestled between the headlights.

"I love you," he promised. "I'll be back."

Aleks sprung to his feet, lacing his fingers together behind his head and puffing his chest out in a large stretch, balanced precariously on the tiptoes of his running shoes. He'd spent a few hours at the garage where he'd parked his Lotus for the night; he trusted the owners implicitly to take care of her, careful to extract reassurances from all of them. She was in the rare black-and-gold Championship lineage, a couple years old and without the raw power of some of AJ's cars, but she was more than quick enough for the streets of Los Angeles, and beauty and grace were more than the equals of raw power anyway. He would go on the warpath if anyone ever sullied that car's dignity. Chris had tried to smoke in it more than once and had gotten an earful in such colorful Russian that you'd think a nuclear bombardment was imminent.

But none of that mattered. She couldn't come. Instead they would all be sealed together in a couple enclosed spaces, like orange juice and styrofoam - a certain recipe for napalm. Well, if he had to stew in the clash of egos and hormones that would be their summer-long Flight of the fucking Valkyries, he would absolutely need some alone time first. Preferably outside of a car. Who knew when he'd get a chance to run like this again. Just him--

You can dance for inspiration


--his earbuds--

Come on, I'm waiting...


--and his final LA morning until dot, dot, dot.

He started to run, taking a long, deep breath of the air. It was cool out, and would still be cool for another hour and a half or so, right up until they all gathered in the parking lot of Beverly Hills High School. By ten, the parking lot would be drowned in a sea of luggage as everyone tried to figure out who was packing what where in their limited space available. Aleks was ahead of the curve in that regard; he'd been to see AJ the night before with what belongings and outfits he thought would be fun to wear and left them over at the Tyler house. He'd been invited to stay for dinner too, but had to graciously decline. The night had been young, and Aleks had still had a lot to do before they left.

He felt the envelope of cash jostle underneath his lightweight jacket; he willed himself not to focus on it, just focus on Madonna. The beauty of her voice, the playful, flirty simplicity of her lyrics, the 80s as fuck beat...

"Geeet into the groooove, boy, you've got to proooove your love to meeeee~"

Aleks tilted his head back, arching his shoulders, enjoying the fingers of the breeze along his cheeks and in his cocoa-colored hair in a forward motion that was half a sprint and half a ballet.

He would miss Los Angeles. The people of Los Angeles connected with him in a way that self-serious London and New York hadn't, with their individualism and their vanity in equal measure - and definitely their accents, which were easier on the ears by comparison to both his old homes. The idea of leaving wasn't stressful in itself, but the city had become his home, and...well, it would be a stretch to call it familiar. He doubted L.A. was familiar for anyone, even those who spent their whole lives there. That seemed, to Aleks, like the whole point.

There will be a Starbucks around the corner. He had clocked it a few hours ago, after pulling the car into the garage. Aleks glided over the sidewalk and over the fencing around the outdoor seating, vaulting over it and finally slowing to a shuffle in front of the door. It seemed like he'd cut to the entrance in front of another runner, coming in from the opposite direction; his fingers slid across the door and held the door for him, letting the man walk in front of him as recompense. After all, he was still--

7:20 AM


Way early. Nobody was in a hurry.

When it was his turn in line, Aleks turned on a megawatt smile and leaned forward, rapping his knuckles on the counter in front of the register while his eyes scanned the menu and his lips moved silently, recounting the orders he'd memorized.

"Venti iced coconut milk latte--"

Chloé.

"A venti caramel frappe, extra caramel, with the whipped cream."

Reyna.

"Another venti latte, soy..."

AJ.

"--and a venti iced white mocha, lots of whipped cream. And that'll be it."

Aleks.

"Oh. And, ah."


Aleks tilted over to the food selection, picking up a chilled fruit salad and one of the dark chocolate bars in front of the register.

"And that'll be it."

His eyes found the barista's and his smile grew wider, even though he was wincing internally. As much as he had an ear for accents, his own infuriated him the most. He'd been working on it over the four years he'd lived in America, and even though he'd never seen his mother country, it was hard to shake the accent that you grew up with in your home. His childhood in England had taken its toll, too, and the more Aleks talked the more painfully aware he was that his accent had become a sort of Russian-influenced British creole. Smoky, mysterious, James Bond-ish, "basically like listening to sex during group project presentations" if you listened to AJ or Chloé. He noticed the imperfections, though. It made him want to cringe.

"Name for the order?"

"Um, Aleks. Thanks."

He paid for the order and drifted over to pick up straws for the quartet of drinks, singing Madonna under his breath right up until it was time to collect the coffee. On his way out the door, he thought, idly, to take a peek at the label on his iced mocha.



"They'll be spelling it like that all fucking summer," he cursed under his breath to himself as he continued his run to the high school. Aleks wasn't hard to get right, considering his noticeable accent and the endless permutations of every single fucking name in America. His last boyfriend's name was Chasten, for Christ's sake. What fucking name was that. "I'm going to see more Xes than I did at prom."

He started to jog faster, as if those exes might still be after him.




7:52 AM


Oh, he's early. Cool.


"Cosmosssssss! You ready? I hope no one bails, it's not often my dad let's me take this beast out."

"I cannot imagine anyone will bail." Aleks joined his two index fingers and thumbs together into a makeshift camera lens, zooming in on AJ and miming camera clicks with his teeth. A coquettish smile grew across the Russian's face as his subject kept zooming in closer towards him. "I mean, it's a piece of history. The original meth lab from Breaking Bad. Who would want to watch it on Netflix when they can fuck and get drunk in the real thing?"

AJ made a face and stepped closer to him to get his latte; Aleks took the opportunity to break his imaginary camera lens and ruffle AJ's thick, unruly hair, closing the distance between them for an affectionate greeting. His gaze, though, had already drifted back to the RV.

"Huh." he mused to himself quietly, before adding: "You get any sleep?"
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Hidden 2 mos ago Post by BrutalBx
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BrutalBx

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02:07am

He could have left it alone.
He should have left it alone.
Sami just couldn’t help himself.

These guys were a heavy set; the few thousand he had just handed over was not enough for the Iron Tribe Motorcycle Club, they also needed their pound of flesh. Luckily for Sami, they had already claimed that from him a few hours before. One only had to look at his swiftly brushing face to see he had been in a scrap. There was no going to Emi’s Grandma’s for a repair job this time, he just had to take his lumps and deal with it. With payment now fulfilled the burly biker handed the Cuban a gun without a word and moved back into the shadows and his waiting Harley. Sami wipes some of the dried blood from under his eye and exhales deeply. It was a good job he was leaving in a few hours, now all he had to do was decide whether or not he was coming back.

Sami had left a note for Chris and his Mom; thanking them for the generosity and saying he would meet him at the parking lot like everyone else. He knew that his brother wouldn’t question it; it was Sami, the guy who was known for simply vanishing into the woods and coming back a week later with zero explanation given or asked for, that’s just the way it was. Grabbing his nearby luggage, teenage yoda stuffed the weapon into a side pocket and dragged his sore stocky frame deeper into the night.

A few hours later, there was but a hint of sunlight peering over the horizon and he found himself staring at the big red door of his parents “modest” homestead. There was this idea that Sami was secretly part of the elite of BHHS and that he just hid his money. Part of that was true, most of the Alejandro family money was kept in offshore accounts and were unseen by the tax man. The truth of the matter was that all that money belonged to his father. Any money Sami or his mother held was theirs and theirs alone, earned through hard work and an indomitable will. Both of his parents were asleep behind that door but dear old dad would be getting ready to start his day and the temptation to go in and put a bullet in his father's skull was not lost on him. Not only would it rid Sami of an abusive parent and his mother an abusive husband but it would rid the world of a criminal, of a detestable human being, of a poor excuse for a man.

The temptation was very real.

It was closer to meeting time and Sami had stopped off at a store to grab a few extra supplies, predominately the secret mixture to his infamous hangover cure as well a few craft beers (his favourite) some rum (for mojitos, obvi) and his daily Monster energy drinks. He might have been the only person in his little word that didn’t drink any kind of coffee. Whenever the crew was together in public, if you went around the table everyone had a coffee of some kind except for the little Latino kid at the end, he had a can. He didn’t even drink them for the caffeine anymore, now it was just a habit.

”Another run in with your old man Samuel?” Mrs Flores was a saving grace. In exchange for a few odd jobs being done at her house and around her store she often would allow Sam to use her spare room if ever he needed a break from his family and first dibs on her products. On this occasion it was her bathroom he needed to clean himself up before meeting his friends.

”That obvious?”

”That obvious” She smiles as she packed the last of his goodies into a bag and slid them across the counter. ”You be careful on this trip, mijo. The world can be a bad bad place”

Sami picked up the grocery bag and stuff it into his duffel. ”Don’t worry Mrs F, I’m a bad bad man”

Ace’s choice in music was always flawless, the suicide blonde just had a god or maybe devil gifted talent for knowing the right song for the right moment. Sami dropped her a congratulatory message as he entered the parking lot and saw AJ and Alek’s mid love-in.

”Can you two fuck on this trip and get it over with? Or at least announce your soul mate status on FB or something, dios mio” Sami quipped before taking off his headphones and sliding them down around his neck.

AJ had been the biggest pain in Sami’s ass since middle school but he was also the closest thing he had to a sibling. He hated and loved that beautiful boy. It was a shame he had to keep secrets from him. Those were the ones of the many he had that stung the most. As he walked closer to the duo, he gazed upon the RV and rooms swig from his drink.

”Well fuck me with a chainsaw, ain’t that a pretty bitch? and I ain’t talking about you Tyler”






Havana pulled up to the beach in a non descript station wagon; a far cry from his usual Bentley. The sun was rising in the distance and only a few surf rats out to ride some early morning swells were hanging around, normally his son would be one of them; not today. He rolled down the window as bearded beast of a man rocked up to the drivers side window. ”As discussed” Hector handed an envelope to the man whose face contorted into a clown like, terrifying smile. ”Do you have a plan, Mr Hyde?”

”No” Mason Hyde shook his head and clicked his tongue. ”But that’s part of the fun. Don’t worry, I got you Havana. I got you”

Havana has been using Hyde for years but that never stopped him feeling a cold chill in his spine every time he met with the man, if he was a man at all. Sometimes Mason felt more like a caged animal that had been starved of flesh, just waiting for someone to reach their hand into his cell where he could very quickly and effortlessly rip their arm off. He was ticking time bomb waiting to go off but he was good at what he did and it just so happened that what he did wasn’t very nice.

Hector rolled up his window back up and drove off, leaving Mr Hyde laughing in the streets. ”God I love rich people, such fucking idiots...time to play”

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Hidden 2 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by smarty0114
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smarty0114 Human

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Starring: Katie Callaghan
With Special Guest Appearances by: Jamie Callaghan and Allison Callaghan

Katie’s Fit | Mood Music






“You dumped Carter? Over text? Katie, what the fuck? He was taking you to fucking Paris! To fuck, in Paris!” Jamie Callaghan’s face gazed out from Katie’s phone, eyes tracking her from his vantage point on her vanity while she rushed around her room, throwing items into a large, black suitcase. Behind him, a white sand beach extended out, and tourists clad in swimsuits walked behind. He was tanner than when she’d seen him a few weeks ago, a result of the Grecian sun that she was certain her brother found very pleasant.

She winced at his words. It sounded a lot worse when Jamie said it. “Don’t get yourself worked up yet. It gets better,” Katie said, approaching the phone so that she and Jamie were face to face. “I’m going on AJ’s roadtrip.” The twins froze for a moment, one gripped by shock, the other by her own anxieties.

“Katie Callaghan, you’re an idiot,” Jamie said, after his eyebrows had returned to their normal position on his face. “How did you even get invited? You guys haven’t had a nice thing to say to each other in like, two years.”

Katie’s fingers began tracing lines across her bare arm, her eyes avoiding her brother’s stare. “So, funny story… I wasn’t really invited…” Katie said. Jamie’s shocked expression returned, and Katie rushed to explain her side of the story before her brother could pass more judgement than he already had. “I called Ivy and asked her for the plan, and she was totally down to help me out. Plus, I told Ava I might be showing up. I’m just like, the plus one.”

Jamie groaned, exasperated by his sister’s fuck-all attitude towards the world. Before he could say anything though, he turned around, and then turned back to the camera. “Okay, Marshall’s coming back with drinks so I’ve got to go, but, please reconsider like… everything.”

“It’ll be fine Jamie.” She wasn’t sure if she was trying to convince him, or herself. “Tell Marshall I said hi, enjoy Greece, and don’t worry about me,” Katie said, beaming. Jamie rolled his eyes, but nevertheless, the duo waved goodbye to one another before ending the call.

As the phone screen went dark, Katie dropped her head into a pillow and screamed. She would never tell him so, but Jamie was right. What the hell was she thinking? While she lay there, awash in her own self-loathing and pity, Carter slipped his way back into her thoughts. She could see him, standing in front of her, begging her for a reason with those stupid, beautiful, puppy dog eyes. Despite it all, she could not give him one.

Everytime she had imagined their breakup, that had been the scene that flashed, and she’d never had a reason. That was why she’d done it over text. She knew she wouldn’t be able to look him in the eyes and tell him that there was no good reason. It just wasn’t him anymore. For a moment, she thought desperately about taking it all back. Texting Carter and telling him that she’d been freaking out, and it was dumb, and that she loved him, more than anything, and that they should just run off to some island and never come back. He would agree to it. He loved her. Too much for his own good.

Sighing, Katie rolled over and got off her bed, shoving any thoughts of Carter from her mind. She had brought herself this far. She would not turn back now.





A half hour late, Katie had a suitcase packed, a backpack filled with necessities like snacks, and movies, and she was standing in front of the door, wrapped up in her mother’s constricting embrace.

“Be. Good. And be safe. And don’t do anything Jamie wouldn’t do,” Allison Callaghan murmured into her daughter’s ear.

Katie extracted herself from her mother’s arms and playfully rolled her eyes. “I’m always good, I’m always safe, but I think if I restrict myself to things that Jamie would do, I’d spend the entire trip in the RV.” She and her mom shared a smirk at Jamie’s expense.

“Call me, if you need anything! And just to talk. I’ll miss you.” Allison looked up slightly at her daughter’s face, taking it in for what felt like one last time. She’d just watched her walk across the stage, and now she was leaving for the rest of the summer. When Katie came back, she would be going off to college. This was Allison’s last moment with her little girl. She held back her tears. She didn’t want Katie to start crying.

Katie, young and very much unsure where the next few hours would take her, let alone the next few weeks, waved one final goodbye to her mom, before heading out to the driveway. She hauled her suitcase out to her ride, popping the trunk and pushing the case in. Technically, the car was Jamie’s. Katie’s car was in the shop, and while she was well aware that showing up in her brother’s car was an even bigger middle finger to AJ, she really couldn’t do much about it. Whatever deity is currently watching me, please, please don’t fuck this up.

Beverly Hills High School was not far from the Callaghan’s home, and Katie wasn’t trying to arrive early, so she stopped at a nearby Starbucks to get some much needed caffeine, and a breakfast sandwhich. Facing AJ uncaffeinated and hungry was the quickest path towards a Chernobyl level incident in the middle of the BHHS parking lot. Not the ideal jumping off point for a weeks long road trip. The drive thru line was short, and soon enough, Katie was driving towards BHHS, white mocha in one hand, steering wheel in the other, egg sandwich resting gently in the passenger seat.

She spotted the RV before she even turned into the parking lot. She knew it was AJ’s, having seen it parked in front of her house once or twice, once upon a time, back when Jamie pretended to like camping because AJ’s family went so often. As she pulled in, she was struck more by the lack of cars. She clocked AJ, Aleks, and Sami. No Ivy, no Ava, no Reyna. She’d have even settled for Val.

Her gut twisted, her earlier anxiety returning in full force. Her mind sought out the worst case scenario. What if they told her to fuck off, and go back home? Would she tell them about Carter? Would that just make her look worse? She was pretty sure it would. No, if they told her to fuck off, she’d go home, and wallow the summer away, basking in the light of her fuck ups. But if she didn’t get out of the car, she’d do that anyways.

Steeling herself, she scooped up her sandwich, slung her backpack around one shoulder, and stepped out of the car, strolling over to the three boys. “Good morning, my favorite Gearheads. Morning AJ,” Katie called out, waving with her right hand despite it’s contents. That was as good a greeting as she could give, given the awkwardness of the circumstances. At least she hadn’t called him Alfie.

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

Member Seen 19 hrs ago




Featuring Reyna Rosales & Ava Esposito


Reyna knew that someone was going to have to bring breakfast for the group, and waking up at five in the morning to see AJs text in the group message only re-confirmed that. Waking up so early wasn’t so unusual for her, seeing as how the whole damned family woke up around this time every morning. Her siblings had decided to take the summer semester off to enjoy life, so the house was back to its usual packed state. Tying her hair up into a messy bun, Reyna decided that she wasn’t going to try and fight for a shower just yet.

Instead, she made her way down to the kitchen, hunting and gathering all of the supplies that she had bought previously over the last few days. Sectioned styrofoam to-go containers, plastic sauce cups, plastic silverware - everything you needed for a breakfast on the go. As she stood up from underneath the counter and closed the cabinet doors, Reyna heard the front door unlock. Much to her surprise, her cousin Tessa walked in, a smile on her face and an overnight bag in tow.

”What the hell are you doing here?” Reyna asked, clearly excited.

Tessa made her way into the kitchen, giving her cousin a peck on the cheek. ”I’ve got a medical conference at ten. Eli said I could crash here for a few days.” Taking a look at the scene before her, the older woman raised an eyebrow in question. ”Why… does it look like you’re going to feed an army?”

”Because I am. Remember that road trip I was telling you about? Kicks off today. Someone has to make breakfast.”

”Oh shit? That’s today? I thought we could spend some time together, but…”

”Can’t. Have to make sure the soldiers behave. Make yourself useful and start frying the bacon?”

Tessa laughed, grabbing the meat from the fridge as she began to help Reyna fix the massive amounts of food that she needed.

The next people to arrive downstairs were Reyna’s brother Alex, and her sister Isabella. With a few quick questions about what was going on and a short explanation, soon Reyna was surrounded by her family in the kitchen helping her cook. Isabella was put on duty cutting the strawberries, Alex was scrambling the eggs, Reyna was making the pancakes, and their mother Mariana watched from afar and discussed the morning news with them. Eli had to leave around six - something about an early arrival coming in from the restaurant.

Soon enough the food was made, and Reyna took to making the plates. Pancakes and fresh sliced strawberries were put into the largest section of the container, while the eggs went into the upper right, and the bacon in the upper left. The maple syrup was poured into the sauce cups, capped, and stuck into the section with the pancakes.

Excusing herself to take a shower, Reyna quickly threw her wet hair up into a ponytail (something she would regret later), put on some mascara, and chose a typical Reyna style outfit of highwaisted ripped jeans, her black vans and a grey spaghetti strapped tank top. Checking her phone for the time, she cursed as she realized that it was already seven. She had to pick up Ava!

As everyone helped her put her bags and the food in the back of the car, Reyna gave her family a quick goodbye before speeding off in her car. When she was about five minutes from the house, Reyna gave a quick call to her friend. The first time there was no answer, the second time the same. On her third try, Reyna finally got an answer.

”Come on babes, we gotta go! It’s already 7:20!” she yelled through the phone.

Ava grumbled, yawning noticeably loud in response to Reyna’s rich latina accent. “Say that again but as if you’re not trying to make me go deaf.” Ava still lay in bed, not dressed but showered (or what passed for showered for her).

”I said we have to go. Now get your ass out here.”

She pulled the phone away from her ear, hearing Rey’s voice still yammer on in her native tongue, or at least it sounded like it. She rolled her eyes and grunted as he propped herself upright. She had a short moment of dizziness as all the blood in her system rushed to her head and she sat there for a few moments, ignoring her ride for most of them.

Truth be told, Ava was up to nearly 3-AM last night doing her last minute packing. When she wasn’t in the midst of binging Sense8 for the millionth time, she was casually throwing shit into her suitcase. She had to keep her mind off the fact that she wasn’t accepted into the college she had her eyes on. So naturally when she didn’t get accepted, she was beyond disappointed and she couldn’t stop thinking about it. Not only was it on her mind constantly but it made her moody and especially bitchy towards some people in her life.

She spent another moment getting up but Ava was indeed up and dressed. She wore a black midriff she barely remembered slipping on and some comfortable blue shorts that showed off two of Ava’s best features: her legs. Since her hair was alined, there was no reason to do anything to it but a short brushing before heading out.

She didn’t care how she looked nor how it made her look. She wasn’t dressing to impress and more importantly, she was lazy and didn’t feel like putting anything else on. But don’t worry, curious minds! Ava’s best outfits were in her 50lbs suitcase that she may or may not have been pulling by the handle. It was one of those suitcases with the wheel attachments because fuck manual labor!

“Yes! I hear you. No need to go on a tangent again!” She said to Reyna, rolling her eyes. The sound of the suitcase wheels bouncing against the wooden suitcase was heard as Ava made her way downstairs. “I’m downstairs. Get your ass over here and help me with this suitcase!”

Rolling her eyes as she got out of the car, Reyna hit the end call button before opening the door to the house. Once inside, she spotted her friend and quickly made her way over to help with the suitcase.

”You look gorgeous as always. Now how we doin’ this? You grab one side, I grab the other? The thing is huge. How many clothes do you need?”

“Gotta come prepared!” She shot Reyna a wink before positioning herself in front of the suitcase and signaled Reyna to the back. “On three, we’ll lift. One, two, and [three! Ava and Ryena lifted the suitcase up and holy shit, it was so much easier with a second person helping her out. Though, as they walked towards the blue challenger sitting in the driveway, Ava let out a low whistle. “Shit, Rey! Now that’s a car! Pure American-Made muscle!” The moment of admiration forced them to stop near the passenger side window.

”Oh yeah,” Reyna smiled. ”Dad got it for me for a graduation present.” Opening the back passenger door, Reyna went to grab the back half of the suitcase again. ”You gonna help me chuck this thing in the car or what?”

Ava looked at Reyna with a confused glance when the latina opened up the back passenger door.. “Why not just throw it in the trunk?” She asked Reyna.

”Because the food and my bags are back there, silly. Trunk is full. There’s plenty of room in the back seat.”

Ava had herself an ‘oh’ moment as she stood there. “So that’s what smelled so delicious. And here I thought it was just your natural scent.” He commented with a slight smirk.

Reyna smiled. ”Pancakes and bacon do smell great, but I’m not sure I want to walk around smelling like breakfast all the time.” After convincing her friend to help her finish lifting the suitcase, Reyna and Ava finally got everything they needed to load in the car. Shutting the door and climbing back on the drivers side, Reyna waited on Ava to buckle up before she pulled off.

Ava sank herself into the passenger seat, taking her sweet time clicking the buckle. She rested her head by leaning back and pulled out her phone from her pocket. She only had a couple things in her pockets: her phone and wallet, though the wallet was larger than most. As she fiddled around on her phone for a bit, she felt the car pull out of her driveway, which prompted her to glance up at her parents’ house and she couldn’t help but feel bittersweet. How long would she need to hold up the facade that most assumed she got into college?

The thought lingered as she pushed it down and sighed. “So!” Her voice came after moments of silence and turned her head to face Reyna. “How does it feel to finally be free of our 4-year prison sentence? Personally, I’m ecstatic! No more of having to shove down shitty cafeteria food and no more of holding my tongue around them Ex-H.O.T.s!”

Shrugging her shoulders, Reyna took a second to think. She honestly hadn’t slowed down long enough to even think about what life after high school actually meant. Sure, there was college, but what did that even mean? She had worked her whole life, but this was different. They were adults now.

”I guess it’s sort of bittersweet, you know. Never thought we would get here, now we have. Who knows. Maybe I’ll go to college and meet a really rich hottie. Have a big family, a dog. Make pancakes for breakfast every morning.” She sighed. ”Hell… I don’t know. I’m just ready to finally live life.”

Ava felt that on a personal level, though the mention about college made her also start to feel bittersweet. She was happy that Rey seemed hopeful for her future. She wouldn’t be smiling and laughing if she was genuinely happy, but like she had been since last week when the rejection letter came, Ava felt a bitter taste in her mouth every time colleges were mentioned and how everyone just were probably going to be talking nonstop about college this and college that.

”Here’s to the rest of our lives!” She shot Reyna a smile and looked ahead.

Turning the radio up as she stepped on the gas, Reyna flashed her friend one last smile before turning her attention back to the road. Pulling into the BHHS parking lot, Reyna mentally took count of how many cars were in the lot and who they belong to. Aleks was already there, along with Sami, AJ of course, and… Katie?! Reyna had no idea that she even knew about the road trip, much less was invited.

”Hooolllyyy shit. AJ is going to have a freaking aneurysm. Look over there in that white benz and tell me that isn’t Katie.”

”The poor baby.” Ava was trying to feel bad for AJ but she couldn’t deny this was making her feel better. In a way, her disappointment about college was suddenly overshadowed by how much AJ must hate this. “He might need a hug, Rey.” She laughed, nudging her friend in the shoulder. “Whaddya say? Wanna take one for the team?” She winked at Reyna.

Reyna laughed, shaking her head in protest. ”No fu-cking way. As if him eating my food isn’t going to make him want to throw a tantrum enough. You wanna give the sour pus a hug, be my guess sis. Otherwise, I think I’m good.” Unbuckling her seatbelt and exiting the car, Reyna could barely contain the smile on her face from Avas suggestion.

Ava was still chuckling about Reyna’s comments. Even as they retrieved their own bags and shit from her car, she couldn’t help but laugh at the development of the situation. AJ, who had dated Katie’s brother, now had to deal with the fact she was here and she found that hilarious. She felt for AJ, she really did but hell be damned if she wasn’t going to laugh about this during the duration of the trip.

“You need any help getting the food out or are you good?” She asked Reyna, stopping near the trunk as the scent of the food distracted Ava’s other senses.

”Go ahead and grab your plate if you want. I can handle the rest from there,” Reyna said, popping open the trunk. Turning around, she spread her arms out wide, a smile returning to her face once more. ”Who wants pancakes, losers?!”

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Hidden 2 mos ago Post by spooner
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spooner Ni är alla töntar!

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Even though Nathan had woken up two hours ago, he had been lying in bed for at least an hour, looking up at the cracked ceiling of his basement bedroom. Today was the day that he and his friends had planned to leave town and travel across the country. That wasn’t really what was bothering the young man. No, the feeling that was eating him up inside was guilt. Guilt: because he had yet to tell his sister that he was planning on not coming back. So there he was, still in bed, chewing on the inside of his cheek and rehearsing the dialogue in his head for the fifteenth time. With a frustrated grunt, he threw off the covers and finally got out of bed. After a quick shower and finally getting dressed, Nate grabbed the two duffle bags he had meticulously packed the night before and his backpack before heading upstairs.

At the kitchen table, he found his sister eating breakfast with her back turned to him. Nathan paused in his tracks. He sighed before dropping his bags on the floor as noisily as possible to announce his presence. His sister didn’t move a muscle, much less turn around. She was still pissed. A deep sigh left the boy as he rounded the table and took a seat across from Addison.

“Hello…?” he asked while tilting his head, almost laying it flat on the table trying to make his sister look at him. But she just stared down into her bowl of cereal without acknowledging his existence.

“Look… I know you are angry.” He started as he leaned back in his chair, staring out of the window. “But I just can’t… stay here anymore. I just can’t watch him walk around like a zombie and sit in his chair as he stares out into the void. I need to get out of this fucking city. I- I need to find out who the fuck I am! And I can’t do it holed up in this house.” he lamented. His head snapped back to attention as his sister suddenly stood up, stormed towards the sink and threw her bowl into it.

“Just shut up, Nate…” she hissed and stomped out of the kitchen and up the stairs.

“Come on, Addie!” the boy called meekly after his sister before hearing her bedroom door slam shut.

He rubbed his face in frustration, exhaling loudly out of his nose. Getting up from the table felt much heavier after hearing the hurt in her voice. But he had people expecting him. So he slowly got up, grabbed his keys off the table and headed out the front door.

There in the driveway stood the beautiful creature that Chris had helped restore to its former glory: his grandfather’s old Volkswagen Camper. Nate let his hand caress the now shiny green exterior before he slid the side doors open. The inside the van now resembled a very tiny apartment beautifully decorated by Ivy and fully stocked with snacks courtesy of Ava.

Nathan couldn’t help but smile while he loaded his bags in the back and jumped into the driver’s seat. Starting the van, you would think it was brand new. Now, it was purring like a kitten, whereas before it was coughing like an asthmatic chain-smoker. Chris really was a miracle worker. The young man put on his Spotify playlist, pulled out of the driveway and was on the road toward his first stop: his best boy Leon’s house, which took about 3 seconds of drive time down the street.

Rolling down the window, Nate stuck out his head and looked up to the open window he knew was Leon’s. “Come on, big boy! We’re going to be late!” He yelled, honking the horn to hopefully tear his friend’s attention from staring at his abs in the mirror.

“Clothes, check. Deodorant, check. Toothbrush...ehhhh, check!” The young athlete murmured to himself as he went over everything he had packed in his duffles and backpack. Leon particularly hated packing, not so much the act of it as the responsibility of making sure he had everything he needed. He forgot things pretty often and if it wasn’t something important to bring with him, it was something as mundane as a stray sock left in a hotel room. Despite all that, he was determined, it took him nearly a week to convince his dad to let him go on this trip at all, instead of focusing on more training before college; eventually pops relented. Satisfied he had everything he needed he quickly threw on a dark grey, sleeveless hoodie, grabbed his stuff and headed straight for the do-

“Where do you think you’re going?”

Ah shit… Dropping his bags he turned around to face his father. “Hey pops, uh..out, remember? We talked about this?”

The older man looked Leon up and down a bit, almost analytically, his eyes slightly scrunched up.“Oh I remember...but you’ve clearly forgotten something?” Slowly he stepped forward.

Leon however, looked rather confused, “Forgotten what? I got all my stuff packed, I did my morning run, did my weight lifting,” he said all this while counting on his fingers, “I mean..I know I forgot to eat breakfast, and I know I know, 2,000 to 3,000 calories a day, but that’s why I packed the protein shake and we’ll have plenty of food on the trip an-” and almost immediately Leon shut up as his old man embraced him.

“Listen, kid: you don’t forget to hug your old man before you leave for a long trip. You go out there and have fun, but when you get back,” and almost as if to emphasize with a tighter squeeze, “I’m gonna really bust your ass to train before your first day of school, got it?”

Relieved, Leon hugged his old man back, clapping him hard on his back, “Got it pops.” That’s about the time he heard the familiar honking and muffled voice of his bestest broseph stalin. “Alright pops, I gotta go, I’ll give you a call later when I get a chance!” With that he grabbed his gear, bolted out the door, shoved it into Nate’s van before he clambered into the passenger seat.

“Go. Drive.”

And before he knew it, he was off, his dad waving from the door in the rear view mirror as Leon breathed a sigh of relief. “Perfect timing man, thought I was gonna shit a brick when pops stopped me in the doorway.”

Nathan just laughed and turned the engine back on and drove away. “How is the old man? I’m surprised he even let you go! You’ve got to send him training updates every day I’m sure…” he joked as he looked religiously in the side mirror, driving a large van like this was so much harder than he thought.

Leon sighed, rubbing his head, “It took some convincing, but yea I was just as surprised as you.” Leaning back in his seat to look out the window he continued, “He actually took it better than when I broke my arm when I was twelve, you remember that right? When I climbed up the neighbor’s tree and fell? Bastard grounded me for a month and made me run double time suicide runs.” His legs still hurt just thinking about it, but that was all in the past and it was time to look forward to something fun...speaking of looking forward. “So...how did you sister take the news?”

Nate fell silent, biting his lower lip. After a while he just shrugged “As good as she could have I guess…” he paused again as he drove down the familiar streets. “She’s pissed. Who can blame her, being alone in that house with that man.” He tightened the grip on the steering wheel. He felt himself getting worked up so in his mind he counted to three before letting it go. “But let’s not dwell on that! We just have one more stop and then we’ll be on our way to adventure!” He exclaimed excitedly.

Leon paused, slightly dumbstruck as he had to think a moment, “Wait...who are we picking up again?”

“Valeria… AJ said she didn’t have another ride.” The other man sighed making a left turn towards where he remembered the Drake residence to be located.

“Oh...shit...dude I don’t know if I should even be in the same car as her right now, she might not even come if she sees me rolling up with you.” He scratched the back of his head as he looked out the window, still remembering how as of late she’d been avoiding him like the plague, or at the very least someone with really bad B.O.

A small laugh escaped Nathan “She’ll have no choice dude… what’s going on with you two anyway?” He asked as they drew closer to her house.

“Dude, I already told you, we went to prom, I took her home and then next time we were at school she started avoiding me. I don’t know what the hell I did, I thought we had a fun time and I mean...I know I can be pretty dense, but I’d like to think I know when people are having fun.” He leaned back into his seat, his eyes scrunched tight trying to think of what to do, “I wish I knew what to tell you, but I’m just as lost as you are...if only there was a way we could get her to tell us why she keeps avoiding me…”

“Well you’re about to find out...she’s out on her driveway” Nate pointed a finger to the small figure standing with her arms crossed on the sideway.

“Fuck, fuck, shit, fuck uh, uh uh…” Leon looked around frantically, he needed to hide, somewhere, anywhere. Finally looking behind him, a bulb lit itself in his head. “Nate, I know I do a lot of stupid shit, but trust me when I say, this is my best idea yet.” Without further words, Leon slipped out from his seat and clambered into the back, threw the packs aside before laying flat and covering himself up with the luggage, becoming one with the duffle.

Surprised by his best friend's sudden movement and swerved the van as he tried to regain his composure. “Leon what the fuck?!” He exclaimed, turning to look back at Leon burying himself under all of their bags.

His head poked through the luggage, “Leon isn’t here right now, please don’t blow my cover.” His head slowly receded as though he were slipping his head beneath water.

“Whatever dude…” Nate sighed as he put the van in park, shaking his head. He got out of the van trying to smile as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened.

“Hey Valeria! You ready?”

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Hidden 2 mos ago Post by GhostMami
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GhostMami dead.

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Mmm… bread…

Chris awoke to the scent of delicious bakery aromas filling his nostrils. With a grunt he rolled over and glared at his phone to check the time. Shiiit, it was half passed get-the-fuck-up o’clock. Thankfully he had the forethought to pack his luggage before going to bed last night. Preparing for his mechanics exam these past few days and then actually taking it yesterday meant that all of his anxiety and stress funnelled into a slumber of hibernation-like proportions, and he fully expected that he would sleep in.

After going about his morning routine, albeit much faster than usual, he realized it was uncharacteristically quiet. Having Sami around for this past week had become a sort of routine, but something was off today. Chris went to the living room to check if he wasn’t the only one that almost snoozed the day away. The couch was empty and the bedding was neatly folded with a note on top of it. Scanning it, Chris shook his head knowingly. A clandestine departure in the middle of the night was not unlike Sami, and Chris knew that it probably meant that he would be showing up for the trip with a few extra bruises that he didn’t have the day before. It was fine… Sami was a tough dude, it takes one to know one, and Chris knew he’d come out on top of whatever shit he was getting into. Probably.

“Hey Ma—” he called out and was immediately cut off from his question by a knock at the door. “— I got it.” Chris said and rubbed his freshly showered hair with a towel before approaching the front door to open it.

Opposite the door stood the ever so fashionably dressed and seriously sleep-deprived ‘thing 2’ of the hapa duo. A loud yawn was the initial greeting Chris received before Chloé’s arms were quickly snaking around his waist into a warm hug a big contrast to the grumble that left her lips, “Say anything about my dark circles and I’ll kick your ass.”

Despite being on the petite size she packed a punch when she wasn’t messing around and gave Chris a more than friendly squeeze and let him go with a sweet coo, “You’re such a great hugger, kabiyak.” Chloé was more than familiar with the Reyes house and demonstrated it by slipping past Chris’ body to find the woman she was actually here for.

“Angelaaaa~!”

“Coco!” A warm, accented voice greeted from her place at the counter in the kitchen. She was packaging up some freshly baked goodness for them to take on their trip.

Chris had all the time to blink in surprise before Chloé flitted off to see his mom. This was his place in life, silver medal to his own mother. It was worth it for hugs like that though. Chloé was a babe even if she claimed to have dark circles, whatever the fuck that meant. “Hello to you too, sweets,” he said with a laugh under his breath and followed her to the kitchen. “What’s that smell, moms.”

“I make pandesal, so you and your friends have good breakfast.” Angela pointed to the cupboard above the fridge and looked at her son with that motherly smile that all moms put on before asking for something. “Anak, you get the jar for the jam, please.” She smiled at Chloé now, a different smile. “Mango jam, you like mango?”

Chloé leaned against the counter across from the busy woman, not daring to get in her way as the smell of the fresh rolls made her mouth water, “Smells really good, and yeah, mango is great! Can’t go wrong with anything you make anyways, Māmā.” Chloé bit her bottom lip for a moment fighting against the urge to repeat the question she had been asking Angela almost every time she saw her the past three weeks.

“Are you sure you’re okay with checking on Nainai? Chloé’s thoughts were stumbling out of her mouth before she had a chance to cut them off, “I feel kind of guilty about this all, leaving her here by herself.... Like I’m a bad granddaughter or something, it kept me up all night... if you couldn’t tell.” Chloé offered a humorless chuckle and shook her head at herself, “Sorry, I guess the whole staying up all night isn’t my jam.”

Maternal instinct taking over, Angela set her rolls down and stepped up to the teenage girl to pat her cheek softly. “The fact you worry means you are good granddaughter. Of course I don’t mind, I love Nainai. Don’t you worry about us old ladies, you have fun.” The woman, who could hardly be considered old, looked to her son now, who had an empty Ball jar in hand. “Anak, can you pack up the jam for me? I have to finish getting ready for work. You take this and have fun with your friends. Be good.” Angela’s gaze went back to Chloé, “You make sure Chrysler be’s good, okay?”

Chris winced at the use of his full name. Thus far, Chloé hadn’t followed suit in using it, hopefully that stayed the same. Otherwise… there’d be problems. Chris didn’t handle teasing well. “It’s not me you should worry about, moms.” he said with a smirk, scooping jam into a jar. “My stuff is all packed in my room, once this is set, I’m good to go, Clo.”



“Your mom is an angel.” Chloé stated as she pulled her baby into the garage. Even though the talk with Angela was brief, it had left her feeling lighter and showed in the way she zoomed across town, and how she was already out of the car and throwing open the garage door, a loud bang echoed into the kitchen and the smell of grandma’s “famous” dumplings wafted into the garage.

“IVYYYY!” Chloé’s shout was followed by a softer ‘ow’ as a loving smack met the side of her head.

“Aiya, qǐng wù dǎrǎo my daughter. Help finish Baozi, máfan de nǚhái.

"Oh, it's okay... don't worry about it NaiNai," Ivy's voice suddenly rang out from behind the three. The young woman strode into the kitchen with a certain pep in her step; she'd been up for some time now, and had just finished getting dressed when she heard Chloé's car pull into the garage. Ivy was definitely a morning person, and despite having stayed up pretty late the night before, she woke up early that morning and went about getting ready without a problem. After giving the older woman a quick hug and kiss, Ivy turned to shoot a skeptical glance at her two friends. "Whoa, looks like you two got hit by a bus. And I mean that in a loving way. Didn't sleep too well?"

Chloé plopped the steaming basket full of dumplings down on the counter, much to Nainai’s dismay, with an exasperated sigh and nodded her head, “Thanks, V..” she deadpanned with a pout before she abandoned the basket to check her features in a small mirror hanging on a wall just outside the kitchen,“I couldn’t sleep at all. I already spilled my guts to Angela and you know how great she is... So, I’m feeling better, I just need to get over myself, nothing that won’t fix itself, ya know?”

“Huh?” Chris replied unintelligently to Ivy’s question. He ran a hand through his hair, which was air drying into it’s usual gravity-defying spikiness and tried to get a glimpse of his reflection. Did he look tired? “Nah, I slept great, actually. Better than I have in weeks… almost slept through Clo coming over.”

“Oh my handsome Nǚxù, Nǐ èle ma? You look shòu!” The elderly Zhang woman was quick on the attack as her dear son-in-law came into view. Nainai’s favorite pastime was doting on Chris and soon enough she was waving Chloé off to grab her things so she could force feed Chris and Ivy with the food she had made the night before.

“I’ll grab our stuff real quick, Ivy! Don’t let Nainai bully you two into eating things if you aren’t hungry! Nǎinai, Bié lǐ tāmen!” Chloé was calling between her light laughter as she disappeared.

“Bù…” Chris replied to Nainai, thinking deeply about his next words. He could speak pretty passable Tagalog, but he was only at the basics of learning Chinese… and mostly learning it out of respect for Chloé’s grandmother. “Bù…... wǒ méiyǒu... nǎinai”. No, he hadn’t eaten yet, and those dumplings smelled bomb as fuck. Chris happily took the food that was offered, nodding his head in thanks to Nainai. He then looked to Ivy now that Chloé was out of the room, “Give it to me straight, is there going to be any room for me in the back seat with how much she’s undoubtedly packed for this trip?”

Ivy didn't hesitate to accept the food that NaiNai offered; After all, when was she ever one to turn down good food? "Well... when combined with our things, and the groceries that I bought for the trip, I'd definitely say you have about a ninety percent chance of suffocating in the back seat. So good luck." And while Ivy was laughing as she spoke, she wasn't totally joking.

“I ‘spose I should help her pack it in then.” Chris responded with laughter. Taking another dumpling ‘for the road’ he walked off to help shlep said luggage and groceries into the car.

On cue Chloé appeared in full form, albeit a bit breathless, with two extra large sized suitcases, a duffle bag on each and a hiking backpack strapped around her chest. And topped off with a full beat, kept on the natural side since her t-shirt dress wasn’t anything glamorous, but those under eye bags had to go.

“Look! Only one suitcase… and a backpack annnd a duffle bag- but it’s progress!” Chloé flashed a proud smile and popped open the back of the family’s Model X, “They’re kinda heavy so lift with your legs, no blowing out backs until we’re on that... uh… bus?”

Chris looked at the suitcase doubtfully, squinting one eye. “Riiiight, just one suitcase. With the mass of an entire planet, no doubt.” He commented before taking the bags off of her hands and carting them out to the car. His assumption was correct. Before leaving the house, he thanked Nainai for the food and gave her a gentle squeeze of a hug. “Double decker camper bus, it’s dope. You’ll love it, trust me.” He explained to Chloé on his way out the door.

After hugging Chris, Nainai turned to her two girls and offered them a kind smile, pulling them into each of her arms, “Have fun, no worries. I’m fine here. Chunhua, hùxiāng zhùyì. I love you girls.” Chloé wrapped her arms around her grandmother and Ivy giving them both a warm squeeze, “We’ll always look out for each other. Wǒ ài nǐ nǎinai.”

"Of course we will, always." Ivy said as she returned their hugs. "You take care while we're gone!" Soon, the trio had piled back into Chloé's car and had begun their drive to the parking lot of Beverly Hills High. As expected, Ivy was the first to connect her phone to the aux cord, and she spent the first few minutes of their drive excitedly rambling about how she'd made a playlist for the road trip.

The drive to BHHS was about half an album’s worth of songs, expertly picked out by the passenger seat DJ, who finally had Chloé hyped and ready to travel the road with her best friends. Turning into the lot, the double-decker bus was definitely a sight to behold, it was very… AJ Tyler. While her eyes would usually be wandering to a certain boy in the group, they were glued on the familiar face of the cute blonde she had been slowly getting closer to.

“Is that Katie- no fucking way, I can’t believe she actually showed up.”

"Indeed it is..." Ivy said, a mischievous grin making its way to her lips. It was no secret that Katie and AJ didn't get along anymore, but when the young woman had called Ivy a few nights before asking for the road trip details, Ivy didn't hesitate to lay it all out for her. In fact, she'd encouraged the girl to tag along; it certainly wasn't unlike Ivy to try and push her friends back together. Hell, she'd been doing the same to Chloé and Val for as long as she could remember. "If AJ asks, it wasn't me who invited her."

“He won’t be hearing it from me, sis. I for one had no idea she was coming.” Chloé made ‘my-lip-are-sealed’ motion as she pulled the car into a parking spot and turned around to look at Chris with a bright smile, “Alright sweetheart, we’ll unpack the car so you can go put the moves on AJ to distract him from exploding.”

Chris looked deadpan at the two girls in the front seat of the car. Were they serious? “You’ve got to be shitting me…” Another glance at the white vehicle and the blonde girl who had exited from it was confirmation that they were, indeed, serious. “Women will be the death of me, on god…” He said with a deep sigh as he vaulted himself out of the overpacked back seat, dragging his single suitcase, pandesal, and toolbox along — just in case. Though, from the looks of things currently, it wouldn’t just be the vehicles that might need fixin’. “Don’t fret, Bumble, I’m here now!” he shouted to his best friend as he approached.

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Hidden 2 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by Rosalia
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Rosalia If you got heart and soul, you can rock n' roll

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“Hey Valeria! You ready?” Although the boy looked tired and confused, he’d plastered on a smile when looking up at her.

From her position in the front steps of her California home, Valeria Drake had watched her friend Nathan Matthews pull up into the driveway and step out of what would be their home for the next few weeks. As soon as AJ had proposed they all take a cross country road trip to enjoy, Val had been one of the first ones to jump in. It had been an amazing idea in her eyes: just her and the rest of the boys having a grand old time before life inevitably got in the way. J had been vague in saying which boys specifically would be joining them on their trip- which was understandable of course, since it wasn’t exactly a weekend thing. But as long as she had their company, she was certain it would be a time to remember.

"As ready as I'll ever be," she answered with a shrug and a smile, giving Nathan a tight hug before skipping to the van, her skateboard safely tucked under her arm. As soon as she settled comfortably in the passenger seat, she placed both her backpack and the skateboard on the vehicle floor in front of her.

Nathan opened the door and placed Val’s bags in the back beside the breathing pile of duffle bags with an eye-roll. Letting out a big sigh as he made his way back into the driver’s seat.

"Thank you so much for doing this, by the way," the short girl said to Nate once he was back in his own seat. "I don't know why J couldn't fucking do it all of a sudden."

“No worries…” he hummed as he put on his seat belt, started the engine and got on the road again. “Uh yeah… I don’t know the text he sent me wasn’t very explanatory, as usual, you know?” he commented with a smile. Looking down at his wrist he saw that they actually had more time than he thought they had.

“So do you guys… ehr,” Nate shot the pile of bags a quick side-eye stare. “I mean do you want to stop for coffee or something? We’re ahead of schedule actually… AJ said that they have it covered but… I doubt it.”

"Nah, it's cool," Val said with a dismissive hand gesture. "Clara and I had a lovely breakfast together consisting of eggs and Mickey-shaped chocolate chip pancakes," she laughed, feeling a momentary pang in her chest at how much she would miss her baby sister during this trip. "Can we stop at a gas station to get some snacks, though?"

Without thinking he jabbed his thumb to the back of the van “Oh we’re fully stocked back there so if you want to have a look and see-” Just as the sentence had left him he scrunched up his face. Sorry, Leon, it’s too late now “Uhm… Or I mean yeah...” he tried to backpedal.

“Why the fuck are you acting so weird?” Valeria asked him, the annoyance obvious in her voice. The brunette suspiciously narrowed her eyes at Nathan. She hadn’t missed the way he’d addressed her earlier by ‘you guys’ instead of just ‘you’, as if there was somebody else in the van with them. She had played it off, of course, because maybe it was a mistake. But now? With how squirrelly he was acting and the way he nervously scrunched up his face when he mentioned checking the back, it was obvious that something was going on.

“No! Don’t… fuck... whatever” Nathan tried to help his friend before giving up and deciding to concentrate on the road instead.

Frowning, the young woman got up from her seat and easily made her way to the back of the van (one of the few times where her short stature came in handy). Upon first glance, nothing suspicious came up. But when she picked up one of the duffle bags to make a more thorough examination, she let out a loud, high-pitched shriek.

What the fuck, Leon?!” Val yelled, resisting the urge to drop the duffle bag on his dumb face or grab him by the hair and pull him out of his hiding spot.

Leon eagerly listened to the conversation as he tried to steady his breathing, but...things were clearly going south. Before he could even think ‘Nate you idiot’ (as though he himself weren’t half the idiot to this sandwich), he tried to casually play off the whole thing as though he lived there his whole life. “Oh...hey Val, uhhh… Sour Patch Kid?” His hand awkwardly fumbled around through the snack bag grabbing a package of m&m’s instead.

“Sure! Give me a handful of ‘em, so I can shove them up your ass!” she retorted, dropping the duffle bag away from Leon’s face and storming back to the passenger seat. “You guys know I fucking hate surprises, and it’s way too fucking early for pranks like these.”

Nathan let out a huge scoff “Hey, leave me out of it… this was all big boy’s plan. For some good god damned reason. What’s going on with you guys anyway?!” he asked for the second time this morning. Maybe he would get a more sufficient answer out of Valeria.

“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” she snapped, her narrowed eyes fixated on the road speeding past them and her arms crossed in front of her chest. Well that was a fucking lie. There was definitely something going on with her since that fateful prom night, but it wasn’t something she would ever tell Leon about- let alone Nate.

“I guess not” the driver whispered mostly to himself. He glanced quickly at Leon in the rearview mirror asking him to solve this with an intense stare.

Leon sighed and lifted himself up from the duffles, plopping himself down on the couch in the back. “Look...V...I know I’m...well I am kind of an idiot but...it’s hard not to notice you’ve been even more socially distant than normal. I don’t know what the hell I did, but I’m sorry, okay?” He said his piece and decided to just look out the back window at the road heading away from them.

“It's whatever," she interjected dismissively, shrugging her shoulders. "I'm over it. Let's move on." It was not whatever, and she was far from over it. But what was the point of bringing her feelings up other than causing unnecessary drama? They would be stuck in close quarters for weeks on end- drama was the last thing they needed.

Val’s tone implied otherwise, but Leon was the kind of guy who didn’t exactly like leaving overturned stones...unturned? Was that the saying? He wasn’t sure, but he felt pent up and needed to relieve it somehow. “You’re right, let’s move on. Nate, stop the van.” He started grabbing both his AND Nate’s luggage.

“What?!” He yelled out “We’re on the fucking highway!” he grumbled. Luckily their exit was coming up and he could pull the van over into a parking lot that far away from their meeting spot. “The fuck are you doing Leon?” he asked turning around in his seat to look at his best bro frantically grabbing their bags.

“Getting an extra mile into my morning run, what do you think? Might as well double up on weight training too, so I’m taking your crap with me, can’t exactly have you leaving without me.” Strapping the gear over his shoulders and back like some overpacked marine/hiker he slid the door open and hopped out.

“Leon, wa- !"

Slamming it shut, Leon smacked the van a couple of times before he started hustling his way down the road, “I’ll see you both there in a few!” He needed to get away, even if it was just for a little while and running..well running was both a literal and figurative way of escaping. Nothing to focus on except the burning in your legs, the wind in your face and that little annoying drip of sweat as it makes its way down your spine and in between your butt cheeks.

Nathan just stared at the door that just slammed shut. “What. The. Fuck?” was the only thing that he could say as he turned slowly to Valeria. “Do I even want to know what this is about?” Nate asked as he turned the key to start the van up again pulling out of the parking lot, continuing on down the road passing Leon and their bags jogging alongside them.

"I told you: it's none of your fucking business-" Val repeated. But when she saw the death glare Nate was giving her, she groaned in resignation. “Ugh, FINE! But you're gonna think it's stupid…" she croaked, looking down at her lap now. She just knew that if she didn't come right out and say it, Nate would never let it go.

“I probably will.” He tried to make light of the situation with a small laugh.

Val raised her eyes long enough to glare at him. “That's not really helping."

“It can’t be that bad, can it?” he continued. That was probably not true seeing as it was something Leon had done.

The short girl took a deep breath and let out a long sigh. “He fucking friendzoned me, okay?” she admitted in defeat, the words now coming out like an overflowing river. “We were sitting in his car in my driveway after prom just talking and whatever, and all of a sudden he started giving me this look, alright? Like he was going to kiss me or some shit. But instead of doing that, he just goes on and tells me that he loves me like a fucking sister. A sister, okay?! Like the fucking little sister he never had...” she angrily trailed off, wishing she was somewhere where she could start kicking rocks.

Before he could stop himself Nathan stifled a laugh as he turned into the parking lot of their high school, and was immediately smacked on the back of head by Val. He winced. "I’m sorry… it’s just. I guess we’re both in the same situation right?” he said, turning off the engine, putting the van in park and facing his short friend.

“I guess this is karma’s way of getting back at me for what happened with you and Josie,” Val said with a bitter laugh, shaking her head.

“It sucks, I know… And I guess I’m the last person that should be saying this… But maybe ignoring it isn’t the best way to go about this?” he queried, shrugging his shoulders.

“You got a better suggestion?” she questioned back with a raised eyebrow.

“I’ll tell you what…” he began, opening the driver's side door. “We at least try to be nice to the people who rejected us… me with Josie and you with big boy. Maybe that way we can make this trip go a little smoother… Deal?”

“I mean, avoiding someone isn’t exactly being rude to them-” Val began to argue back, but groaned in protest and raised her hands in surrender at the look on Nate’s face. “Okay! Fine! I’ll start being nice to him again! God…” she trailed off, rolling her eyes as she exited her side of the vehicle and slammed the door behind her.

“It’s like someone’s holding a fucking gun to your head…” he muttered quietly as he followed her out towards the middle of the parkinglot where a beast of a vehicle was blasting music. That’s what AJ was calling an RV? It was a fucking double decker bus.

“Leave it up to you to go over the top, Shortstop!” He smiled broadly at AJ as he approached, slapping him on the back and leaving his arm around the shorter guy’s shoulder. He nodded hello to the rest of the group, some he moved on quicker from but he ended it with shooting Ava an extra wink.

Valeria, who had been leading the way with an excited smile, immediately stopped dead in her tracks. She recognized the faces of AJ, Chris, Sami, Ivy and Aleks, of course- though she was still surprised to see the Russian would indeed be joining their trip. But there were also four other faces in the vicinity, which all happened to belong to people Val had been ecstatic to never see in her life again.

“You can’t be fucking serious…” she muttered in disbelief, her eyes wide as she stared at each one of the females in the group: Ava, Katie, Chloe and Reyna... Suddenly, the reason why AJ had been vague about the names of the people joining them on the trip made a lot of sense. But even then, she refused to believe this was happening. It was surreal, like something straight out of her deepest, darkest nightmares.

Taking a deep breath to fight back the fury bubbling up inside her but that was probably clearly painted all over her face, Val made a beeline for AJ and tugged at his arm rather roughly. “I need to talk to you alone NOW.”

As AJ was ripped away from under him, Nate took a step back. “What now?” he asked no one in particular.

Just as he was about to explain why Leon was not with them he spotted the bulky young man jogging on to the parking lot. “Here he is! Enjoy the jog, knucklehead?” He asked as Leon drew closer.

Normally a half mile jog wouldn’t even faze Leon, though normally he isn’t carrying four massively packed bags full of crap on him. Regret was written on his face as he came trudging along through the parking lot up towards Nate, “Seriously dude,” he said in between breaths, “Did you pack your entire camera gear in these or what?”

Smirking, Nate crossed his arms over his chest. “Yes, actually, which you might have known if you hadn't-” he began.

With complete disregard for the answer however, he unceremoniously dropped the bags from his slacking shoulders and proceeded to rip the sweat soaked hoodie attached to his flesh.

“And there we go…” Nathan groaned as Leon exposed his naked upper body for the first (but certainly not the last) time on this trip. That was something Nate was sure of.

Using the cloth material to wipe his face, Leon continued to gulp in air as he looked at the small group of people that were already around the...holy, “That’s a big car… S’up, peeps! You think there’s a shower in that thing?”

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“Be safe, don't do anything I wouldn't.”

“Okay, mom.”

“Dress for the weather, and if you run out of any money call me, okay? Fin or I can send you some.”

“Yes, mom.”

“Call me every evening without fail so I know you're safe.”

“Uh huh.”

“-Give Ems my love and tell her that I expect her to be safe too. Oh, and, if you decide to get freaky make sure to wear protection-”

“O.KAY. We are not doing this. Bye mom, love you! I'll send Emi your regards!”
The phone practically smashed against the kitchen counter as Josephine looked at Emilia sheepishly. “Shit, I'm sorry, you know mom and how she's like, haha... She sends her regards!” Josie laughed nervously as she returned to her open luggage. Under some old pairs of shorts and a printed Twenty One Pilots tee were three pringles cans and some energy drinks tucked away carefully as if carrying contraband on an aircraft. “I got your pizza fix by the way.”

Emilia abandoned her shiny golden suitcase on the kitchen table for the moment to come over and peer at her best friend’s wares. Her eyes lit up seeing the multi-flavored goodness of the pizza-flavored chips concealed within. “You are the absolute best, Josie! You know that, right?” She could have honestly hugged Josie then and there. Grandma Hedvig was adamant that Emilia only needed one tube of Pringles for the opening leg of this wild journey the crew was embarking on. She was worried she wasn’t going to make it to the promised land of Las Vegas. Luckily for her, she knew people had her back.

That was one lesson if anything Emilia learned from everything that had happened in the previous month. There were plenty of people that had her back. They all had their different ways of showing it, but she had enough friends that cared about her and wanted to see her happy. The fact that people still wanted to hang out with her and invited her on massive cross-country road trips. Josie was the first person Emilia had over since the… incident. It was a nice return to normalcy. She really knew how to keep Emi’s mind off things.

“Seriously, you’re a lifesaver. I tried to load up on vital supplies at Target yesterday, but Gramma was watching me like a hawk. I only got one thing of orange soda!”

“That is because you don’t need any more than that! You do not need to be racking up dental bills on the road!” The clap back came from well down the hall, where Gramma Hedvig was likely still sitting on the couch watching TV.

“Gramma! How the fudge did you even hear me?”

“I am not that old yet, my little Lia! A teacher’s ears hear all!”

Emilia smiled nervously at Josie before whispering, “It’s OK. When we get to McDonald’s to pick up the drinks for everyone, I’m just gonna get another couple extra beverages for us. We should be set that way.”

“As long as we pick up some fries as well. There’s no such thing as too early.” Josie whispered back as she hid her contraband once again. If there was anything she liked more than hair dye during a 4am meltdown, it was food. Sami and Rey came to mind, as the best chefs in BHHS, and that thought alone caused her stomach to grumble on time.

“I swear, with Sami coming along I feel we’ll gain a few pounds before the trip is up.” Not that she was complaining because that man can make some godly fucking food, but a girl’s gotta look nice for her man-that-is-not-actually-her-man. “Yeah, no, these leather pants are a bad fuc- fudging idea.” Josie quickly corrected herself, following Emi’s colourful replacement of the expletive. “Can I leave them in your room for now? They’re just taking extra space when I can bring like, more pringles or something.” Josie pulled out some tight fitting leggings with a grimace, showing them off for Emi to see. She tried to experiment with her clothes for the trip, but now that she had a chance to examine everything one more time… She found herself regretting that ASOS binge more than ever.

Emilia gave Josie a look when she revealed the shiny pants that she indicated. They definitely did not look like they were going to be the least bit comfortable for a long trip through the country. Then again, she bought herself a brand new black leather jacket for the trip, so who was she to judge? Actually, I should go get that jacket if we’re going to be getting ready to leave soon…

She smiled at her friend. “Sure thing, Josie! C’mon, we can go put it in the closet in my room!”

The two girls headed upstairs towards Emilia’s sunny retreat, even if the room had seen a lot more clouds lately. It was clear there had been some redecorating done in between prom and today. The vanity mirror that held a bunch of couples photos was now laid bare with just a few shots of Emilia with Josie, Reyna, Ava and a couple others lining the frame. Faded blue circles of sticky tack dotted the yellow walls above her bed, whatever they held up long since dispatched to the garbage. A pile of discarded clothes lie in front of the closet, mostly rejects from Emilia’s golden suitcase that were destined to be washed when Grandma Hedvig had the time. It was the closet that she gestured to. ”Should still be plenty of room in there from packing last night! Go ahead and select a hanger… although… if you want to let me borrow them, they might go well my new jacket…”

“Well, our sizes are the same… Go ahead and try.” Josie handed the cursed pants over to Emilia. She knew two burritos would be all it takes before the leggings would burst on herself, and the damned thing had fake pockets. Cursed, really.

It was easy to notice the missing pictures of B all over. She’d been to Emi’s before the incident, and her room had been as if cupid had vomited all over. Now, Josie sort of missed that, at least Emi was happier then. Josie examined one of the photos on the vanity, smiling back at the picture of two middle school girls covered in flour from a failed attempt at participating at their local bake sale.

“Your grandma still doesn’t let me live that down.” Josie said, pointing at the picture. “How was I to know that whisking all that flour at once would be a bad idea?”

Emilia accepted the leggings and quickly dropped the cut-off shorts she was wearing to try them on. “Yeah, but think of the life experience we got from that! We now know that white is definitely not a good color for either of us to dye our hair! And we definitely know not to eat anything that Mikayla Shaw makes unless the pipes need a good cleaning!”

As she pulled the pants up on her legs, they were a little snug but they were coming on nicely. There wasn’t a lot of black in Emilia’s wardrobe, as she usually preferred to stick to the bright colors of the palette, but these were working for her. She fished her leather jacket off the knob of her chair and slung it over her yellow tank top. The dark colors just made her tank and the bright blue pendant stand out even more by contrast. “What do you think? Do I look totally badass now? Could I demand protection money like this?”

Nobody could rock the bright colours better than Emi, so seeing her in a near all-black ensemble was a rare but glorious sight. “Maybe you can demand protection money from babies first.” Josie giggled, examining Emilia from head to toe. No matter the outfit, Emi still looked too sweet and wholesome to really give off the dangerous bad girl vibes, but she could certainly try. “You look great, hun. Oh! What if we do something cute with your hair too? We can rock up with matching space buns!” Josie’s bright pink hair was half tied away from her face in two messy space buns, leaving wavy wisps to frame her oval face.

”We totally could! And then I can really intimidate all those babies into giving me their candy!” Emilia laughed for a second before quickly backtracking. “I’m just kidding, of course. I would never do such a thing. Babies are so sweet and innocent and pure. Let me see, I think I have a headband buried in the closet from that time I was a hippie for Halloween. We can use that to hold my hair back while you do your thing.”

As the blonde started digging through the back of her pile of clothes looking for the elusive headband, she attacked the mounds with gusto until she suddenly stopped. It was a split-second before she fell to her knees, bawling as tears started to fall, spared from hitting the floor by the collected fabrics.

Josie, although alarmed, was prepared for Code Blue. Quickly as Emilia's mood swings hit, Josie bounded over to her friend to wrap one arm around her, holding her close as her other hand was busy unlocking her phone to open Spotify. “I got you, I got you,” She uttered lightly, until her finger selected the perfect song. The familiar voice of Ariana Grande filled the room, just barely louder than Emi's sobs.

Don't matter how, what, where, who tries it
We're out here vibin', we vibin', we vibin'


Josie lightly sang along, rubbing circles into Emi's shoulder and letting Ariana Grande handle the rest. “That asshole doesn’t deserve your tears, ‘pick it up’ girl.”

Emilia’s sobs started to ebb as she turned to her bestie, hands still clutching the faded gray Los Angeles Chargers t-shirt that wasn’t burned with the rest of Brandon’s belongings. There was no way it belonged to anyone in the house. The family stuck to their Minnesota roots as Vikings fans. It was definitely the Mendoza boy’s gear. Emilia started to cry in tune with Ariana’s beat as she let Josie envelop her in comfort.

In the doorway, the eldest member of the household appeared, still in her tracksuit, grey hair bound up in a way that combined Josie’s dual buns into one giant one. “Oh thank god. I could hear her crying over Hoda Kotb. You have her taken care of, Josie dear?”

“I got her, don’t worry. She’s already calming down, see?” Josephine held her tighter just as Ariana Grande began belting the pre-chorus. She put down her phone in front of Emi as she began to grab at the t-shirt in her hand. "Trash doesn't belong in your house, let me get rid of it for you," she muttered as she began prying Emi's fingers off the shirt.

Emilia eventually relented and released her grip from the garment.

“Here,” Hedvig said, taking the t-shirt from Josie. “I will dispose of this and then we might as well get you girls over to the school as long as I am up and moving.” She headed back towards the door before turning around. “Thank you for taking care of her, dear. You may need to do that a bit on this trip…”

The granddaughter shook her head. “I… *sniff* I’ll be fine, Gramma…”

“As long as I have battery on my phone and a voice to sing along, I’ll make sure Emi can always calm down.” Josephine promised Hedvig with a smile.

Hedvig nodded as she went downstairs to get some lighter fluid and matches from the garage. There was always time for a quick barbecue, no matter what the cops said.

Emilia turned back to Josie and buried her head in her friend’s shoulder. She kept moving in time to the song as she began to calm down. “Thank you, Josie. You always got me covered…”

Thank the gods for Ariana Grande. Josie sighed with relief as Emilia stopped shaking in her arms, still crying but definitely something that she could recover from. "We'll always have each other's back. I'll always save you, whether its from spit or tears," she added.

Eventually, the song came to an end and only when Josephine felt convinced that Emilia was doing fine did she let the blonde go. "Come, I'll fix up that concealer of yours then I'm gonna make you look hot. Then, we're gonna step into the car park with you looking as fierce as Ariana did during her Billboard performance in 2016, deal?"

The formerly-sobbing girl gave a final sniff and nodded, keeping herself from dabbing at the mascara that was running down her face. “That sounds good. I’d like that.”





As the sun glistened off the bright white paint of the 1996 Volvo 850 that ambled its way through the hills of Los Angeles, the driver muttered to herself in soft Swedish that could not be understood by the other two occupants of the vehicle. Although one could hazard a guess that the cursing was directed at the two teenagers on their phones, ambling through the crosswalk at a snail’s pace while they deciphered the latest IG stories on their phones. After the two finally lurched out of the car’s way, Hedvig punched the gas as efficiently as she could manage, which meant the Volvo was soon back up to its cruising speed of 35 mph.

“Hmmph,” she grunted as the street was finally clear of the phone slugs. “I swear, kids these days can’t even be bothered to look up at the scenery if it isn’t coated in some filter of rabbit ears or rainbow hoodies or something,” she commented, unaware that her passengers were also looking into their phones at the moment. At least as best they could while monitoring the four trays of drinks that the girls had split between themselves. “And how many kids are coming on this trip you had to buy that many drinks for them? No one else have a dollar to spare? I keep telling you not to let them take advantage of you, little Lia.”

“Gramma, it’s fine!” Emilia assured her. “It’s dollar drinks for a reason! And there are a lot of people, like 12 or 13 of us I think AJ said. Besides, Josie needed her fry fix. It’s very important to set a proper tone for the day.”

"Wait, 13? I thought some of these were doubles..." Josephine looked down at one of the trays in her possession with despair. So much for her two plastic cups of orange fanta. Hopefully someone would appreciate it as much as it deserves... She wondered who all would be coming along - no doubt they were all close friends of AJ or Val. That... probably meant Nate was also coming along.

“Wha?!? They aren’t doubles! There’s one for everyone!” Emilia nervously laughed trying to cover up her plan. It was clear how effective that was as Hedvig gave her granddaughter a side-eyed stare of disbelief.

"Shi..." Josie cut off before she could finish her swear, aware that she was in the car with Emilia and her grandmother. And her concerns were confirmed as she found a small-ish group together in the parking lot of their old high school, the face of Nathan Matthews clear right beside Leon Barnes. "I... Is it too late to leave?" The prom drama was still too fresh in her mind, and the pink hair was a clear indication of it.

Emilia was well aware of what happened between Josie and Nate at prom. It was the trade off in their sessions of the past month as they both had romantic grievances to air out. Emilia even helped decide the new color of hair that Josie was going to switch to. Pink was so cute on her. But she did have a solid friendship with Nate from their time in the photography club, and she was ready to act as an intermediary between the two. It was the least she could since Josie had been helping her so much lately.

“It probably is at this point,” Emilia confirmed. “But it will be OK, Sophie. I’ll support you. He won’t be able to hurt you. Besides, Sami will be here. He won’t let anything happen to either of us.”

“That Sami,” Hedvig chimed in. “You tell him to be careful and stop leading with his face, ya? I am not going to be able to patch him up for a while, so he better not be trying to get into a fight in every state he visits!”

That did earn a giggle from Emilia. “I will tell him, Gramma. Thank you for driving us.”

“Of course, Emilia,” Hedvig said as she brought her only granddaughter in for one of those hugs that were designed to warm even the coldest heart during those long Minnesota nights. “Remember, if you need me, I am a call away, and we will fly you back home if you need it. You are loved, my dear.”

“I’ll try to remember, Gramma.”

With Emilia settled, Hedvig turned her attention to the other passenger. She reached back and pulled Josie in as well. “And you, my dear, the same goes for you. You will be all right on this trip. You two have each other at the very least. Keep supporting each other and the country will fall to its knees in front of you. You are such a strong girl. You remember that too.”

Josie resisted the urge to Emi-cry at her words. She returned the hug enthusiastically while making sure to protect the cartons of drinks in her lap. She considered Hedvig like one of her own grandmothers at this point, as her only grandmother from her mother's side had already long passed. She appreciated the sentiment, smiling back warmly at Hedvig before nudging Emi with her elbow. "Thanks Grams, I'll be sure to look out for Emi for the two of us. She's in safe hands on this trip." Josie assured the elderly woman once again.

Josie then turned to look at Emi, then out the window towards the parking lot outside. "We should get going, it's almost time to get in the van." If she stayed in the car any longer, she'd beg Grams to take her home to avoid her inevitably awkward encounter with Nate.

“Good. Time for you to get going. I am already missing my stories to see you two off. You should depart,” Hedvig affirmed.

Emilia nodded, trying to juggle her own trays of McCafe beverages and dollar drinks as she opened the Volvo’s door to get out. She set the liquids on top before fishing her suitcase and her backpack out of the trunk, acquiring Josie’s gear at the same time. When her grandmother was confident everything necessary had been removed from the vehicle, she gave a quick wave and took off back to the Seger homestead.

Emilia looked at Josie to make sure she was all right with everything before they went to join the others. “Hey, it’s like Gramma said. We’ll be fine. We’ll just hide out in the van or the RV or…" The blonde trailed off as she finally caught sight of everyone who was present in the parking lot. There was no AJ, but Sami was there, as was Aleks and Reyna and Ava and ...her.

Katie fudging Callaghan. Bags in tow.

Emilia turned back to Josie. “Oh my god, Josie, why is she here? Why is Katie here?!? I...no. I can’t. I can call Gramma, she can come back and get us. I can’t… She… she…”

Just like how Josie had her own demons to face, Emi seemed to have hers too. Immediately as promised, Josie went into protective mode, rushing to make sure that Emi wouldn’t start crying again. “Emi, no, you said so yourself. It’s too late.” Josie looked between her and Katie, internally panicking as well. How were they supposed to enjoy a peaceful trip when their troubles would be following them the whole way? Josie loved Katie, she did, but she wasn’t looking forward to the next few days.

“Look, we’re bad bitches, okay? You look amazing with your hair and makeup done, with your badass leather look and you will carry on and wow everyone at that parking lot. Katie or no Katie, we’re gonna enjoy this damn trip. Now, are you coming with me or am I going to have to make a fool of myself in front of Sami without you?” Josephine looked at Emilia pointedly.

The blonde was desperately trying to keep the tears from flowing for a second time before noon, and it looked like Josie’s words were going to be enough this time. No Ariana needed. She bit her lip and nodded back to her BFF. “No… no. You’re right. I’m right. We… we’re right. We… we can do this. Also, if anything, Sami’s probably already done something, so we should be in the clear, right? Right.” If Emilia had a hand to twirl her hair, it would be in knots right now. However, with the luggage and the drinks occupying her limbs, there was nothing to do but take in a deep breath, ignore the heck out of Katie for now and deliver the payload she and Josie had brought. “OK. Let’s get over there.”

The two slowly made their way towards the area of the parking lot where Sami was congregating with some of the other members of the trip that weren’t named Katie or Nate. “Aloha, everybody!” Emilia nervously stammered out, completely muting the effect of her leather-heavy outfit. “Hope everyone is thirsty! But not too thirsty…” She looked around but didn’t spot the person who actually got her and Josie involved in this crazy cross-country road trip. “Where’s AJ at? His beverage is gonna get all warm… and drank…”

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Hidden 2 mos ago Post by TootsiePop
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Slyly returning the smile, AJ took a sip of his latte, as Aleks ruffled his hair. One of the few people he was okay with touching his hair. He watched his friend's face carefully, all the while keeping silent, letting his voice be the only one resounding in the nearly empty lot. They were inches apart, and just when AJ opened his mouth ready to respond, Aleks looked away, back at the RV, and asked him a question.

Tsk.

After taking another sip, he shrugged, "Do I ever?" Masking his annoyance, AJ followed Aleks' gaze to look at his father's RV. To others, this might be excessive, but to him, it was his normal. And there was nothing interesting about his normal. Quite frankly, it was boring to him. Feeling inclined to yawn, AJ covered his mouth with his arm. This coffee would be his saving grace, at some point. When it hits him.

"Can you two fuck on this trip and get it over with? Or at least announce your soul mate status on FB or something, dios mio.”

Rolling his eyes, AJ shot back, "Fuck you, Sami-boy." Their relationship, meaning Aleks' and AJ's, was hardly affectionate. What he had with Valentine and Tink was affectionate, what he had with Aleks was more like a babysitter who had no choice but to watch a kid bounce off the walls. Beyond that? There really wasn't much. Shut up, AJ. Drink your coffee. When Sami gave the RV compliments, and made a playful jab at the host of the road trip, AJ muttered, "Uh-huh," and then took a bigger gulp.

Of course rather than make matters better, the next person entering the scene caused AJ's heart to drop. His mood was already turning sour, and then... he saw his ex's car. While his mouth went agape, he watched the car approach, as if it was going in slow motion. When it finally went into park, AJ held his breath.

When Katie exited, he was relieved and speechless. More importantly though, he was pissed. Did Jamie set this up? Why was SHE here? His grip tightened around the cup, but not tight enough to cause it to explode. He hadn't seen Katie in a minute, and yeah, she was still hot as fuck, but the fact that she came in with Jamie's car set the mood. It was like putting salt on an already butthurt wound.

“Good morning, my favorite Gearheads. Morning AJ,”

"Wow, well fuck you too, Katie. It is a good morning, I'd say so myself. Absolutely lovely. Fan-fucking-tastic." His first response was meant to be sarcastic, playful, but the displeasure and scorn he felt, emanated from him and into the general proximity. He wasn't necessarily trying to hide the fact that he felt some type of way seeing his ex's sister again. He thought he could leave all that behind. Regardless of what he felt, AJ kept his ground, his dark gaze never looking away from her. "Look at you, all packed and ready to go."

At that point, everyone else started piling in. First came, Ava and Trash. While his Fruit Loop was making her way, with a big ass grin plastered on her face, Reyna offered pancakes. Usually, he would be stubborn and not get pancakes, but this was an opportunity for him to walk away from the current situation that made him uncomfortable, even if it meant he had to look Reyna in the face and accept her damn food. So, he decided, sure, why not. "No shit, yeah. Pancakes sounds great!" While his words came out in good humored, it didn't take a rocket scientist to know that AJ was only doing this to prevent himself from doing something stupid.

However, as he started striding to the pancakes, still latte in hand, to offer his assistance or grab food first, his Remedy shouted, “Don’t fret, Bumble, I’m here now!”

"Oh thank god," He whispered to himself, feeling like his Valentine was a better escape than the garbage disposal. Throwing a smile back on his cute, babyface, he called out to Chris, Ivy, and Chloé, "Hell yeah! Now this is a party!" It seemed the group was balancing in his favor. Katie started to become smaller and smaller to him, in this moment, and less of a concern.

This was fantastic!

“Leave it up to you to go over the top, Shortstop!” A genuine smile was back on AJ's face. Nate and Val were here! Almost everyone! A nice calm washed over AJ after Nate slapped his back and left his arm around his shoulder. Okay, he was over Katie. Sure, she can come along. Why not? Should be one helluva ride. A road trip to remember.

Not.

Of course, as always, good things never last.

Things were supposed to get better, with all the cool people here.

They usually do!

And yet... “I need to talk to you alone NOW.” He was roughly ripped from staring at his other friends, right from Nate's arm, when he turned to see a tiny anklebiter pulling on him and taking him away, giving him really no room to say no.

He should've seen this coming. Part of him wanted to believe this wouldn't happen, and she would let shit pass, like he was doing with Katie. That was him thinking on the bright side. This was Val, for crying out loud. She was a hard woman to please. Something he knew would make her mad, but chose to not think it would make her mad, hoping it wouldn't make her mad, forgetting it was a high possibility that she'd get mad, has gotten her past that point of madness. She was raging mad. And he knew it.

But that's the thing.

This road trip wasn't about her, and he would make sure she'd understand exactly that.

This was fine.

Everything was going to be fine.

The RV door closed behind them...

...and that's when Leon came jogging in.
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Hidden 2 mos ago Post by BrutalBx
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BrutalBx

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Fuck

Sami’s eyes widen as Katie Callaghan rocks up into the BHHS parking lot. The history between AJ and Katie’s brother Jamie was well documented. Many considered the AJ and Jamie were THE couple of Beverly Hills High; a romance of legendary proportions that would reverberate throughout the halls of the crazy rich famous school for many years to come. At least that’s what they all thought. When the break up happened, an already existing sourness between AJ and Katie intensified.

Glancing over at his little brother; Sami wanted to say something but chose not to. He had found out fairly on that involving himself in AJ’s romantic life was nothing short of a cluster fuck so that was one area that Sami never stuck his nose. It was that sensibility that allowed the Latino to maintain a friendship with Katie during the saga of their respective siblings' ill fated relationship. ”Hey Katie, good to see you” He greeted her with a smile and a bow of his head. ”Glad to have you on board”

The roar of a further engine caught Sami’s attention as another car pulled up into the parking lot; this one containing the duo of Ava and Reyna. Sami’s relationship with Ava was one based on respect and sick one liner burns; usually directed towards AJ and his ilk. He had also made several attempts at teaching her to surf to varying degrees of success. Reyna on the other hand, their relationship was a little different. She was very much his female counterpart, if he was considered the father of the group of reprobates that was the Gearfits (and he was) she was the mother. They complimented each other beautifully and they were both of the school that their former Home Economics teacher Mrs Valerosa was trying to play some sort of matchmaker with them.

The sight and smell of pancakes brought a rare smile to Sami’s face. He swiftly made his way over to the food and planted a soft kiss on Reyna’s cheek. ”Oh Mami, what would we do without you” he grabbed a handful of pancake goodness and took a bite. It had been more than twenty four hours since he has eaten anything substantial and the sweet taste of the Señorita’s pancakes was pure orgasmic nectar of the gods.

Chris, Chloe and Ivy were the next to arrive and with a smile and a mouthful of food, Sami simply waved. Chris has been a godsend the last few weeks. After Sami had totalled his car and got arrested; the blow out with his old man was something to behold, it was probably the worst they had ever had and god bless his mother; she was long suffering and her baby boy didn’t make life easier for her as much as he wished to. That night Sami wound up on Chris’ couch (not an unusual thing) and he had been sleeping there ever since.

Following on from that trio was another one; the dude bro’s and Val, what a triple threat! Like the spitfire she was, Val immediately dragged AJ away from the group, no doubt to discuss the reason why Tyler had withheld who would be coming onto the trip from her. Sami loves Valeria but the Latino heat that burned in her heart was like a wildfire; once it started or would be terribly difficult to stop. Before he had even finished his pancake, Sami had to roll his eyes as Leon’s shirt disappeared. That’s one and it wasn’t even 8am yet.

Quickly; Emi and Josie arrived and as far as Sam was aware, these were the last two of the group that would be going on AJ fucking Tyler’s jolly boys outing. Polishing off his breakfast, the Wiccan boy moves over to the blonde and pink haired girls. ”God Emi, you pulling your best Sandy from Grease impression with that look. It’s badass, hermosa” Emilia was a sweet kid and she deserved a lot better than the shit she had dealt with in the last several months with that Brandon kid. Sami was still feeling the effects of that shit in his left hand after breaking Brandon’s perfectly square jaw. Josie was in a similar boat to Emilia; she had had her fair share of plates of shit. Sami’s father Hector had a saying “Life is just plates of shit and learning to like the taste” and Josie had eaten her plates like an all you can eat buffet. He took Josie’s hand and kissed it softly ”Heya Josie. New hair is gorgeous. Like always”
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Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Plank Sinatra
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Plank Sinatra here we go again with this psychopath bitch

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It was going to be a dangerous summer.

Aleks exhaled through his lips as AJ pulled away from his hand, grumbling to himself about slights real and imagined all over again. It was an exhausting process, and a cyclical one, a yawning whirlpool forever threatening to suck each and every person assembled in the parking lot into hell. Well, except Katie. Katie! The Russian did a little shrug with his eyebrows, and his mouth quirked in her direction. Maybe it would help to know someone wasn't gawking over her. Or maybe not. The people here tended towards self-absorption as a general rule. Sami seemed to have the same idea; his greeting to Katie was as warm and familial as his next, and his next and his next.

Instead of shadowing AJ, Aleks decided to follow in the Latino's wake instead, going after some of Reyna and Ava's pancakes. He balanced the bottom of his mocha in one hand and waited patiently for Sami to finish shoveling out handfuls. He seemed to wrap them up in his hands like burritos, which was a good strategy in lieu of managing his flatware. Aleks looked down; the only utensils he'd brought were for Chloé's fruit salad, not any potential food of his own.

Fuck it. Soon they would be dying for a taste of In N Out while marooned in Montana, or Arkansas, or Missouri, or any of the other nameless states Aleks believed were made up by these douchebags to befuddle him. For this one final morning, he was in California; he would eat as the Californians ate. So when it was his turn for a plate, Aleks took one politely - and then proceeded to wrap up the pancakes in the same cylindrical shape, although it seemed too thick to take a bite out of without looking disgusting. Sami didn't seem to mind - he was still pirouetting between Emi and Josie, planting kisses and winning hearts - and more power to him, but Aleks would be damned if his kisses left crumbs on anyone. He would have sulked like AJ if someone had left crumbs on him.

Most of the pancakes, save for one at the very heart of the breakfast roll-up, unfolded back into their original shape, resting on the plate. Aleks washed down his first bite and smiled brightly.

"Spasibo," he thanked Reyna gratefully; he passed his compliments to the chef with a wink. "Glad you made it, Reyna. You too, Ava."

His eyes found Chloé amid the throng of new arrivals - she was between Ivy and Chris, both of whom had no doubt received a helping of her Nainai's hospitality recently; they'd gotten here together. He grinned at his best friend and raised her Starbucks order - drink and chocolate bar balanced aloft in his hand in his best, most coquettish impersonation of Lady Liberty. He had the mentality of a gymnast - and what's more, the body. He could hold that pose like a motherfucker for as long as he needed to.

Watch. His eyes dared hers, a silent challenge.

"AJ and Val are already hissing at each other in there," he murmured under his breath to Reyna and Ava. "People aren't even out of their cars yet. By Vegas there will be fucking bodies in the van."
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Hidden 2 mos ago Post by smarty0114
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Starring: Katie Callaghan
Katie’s Fit





AJ was peeved. Katie marked that down as a win in her book. She’d been expecting far more of AJ’s usual melodramatic pomp and circumstance when she stepped out of the car, but a single sarcastic greeting was nothing compared to some of their earlier fights. Maybe this wouldn’t be a complete trainwreck after all.

“”Hey Katie, good to see you,” Sami said. ”Glad to have you on board.”

Katie returned Sami’s smile with a grin of her own, her troubles from moments ago forgotten. Before she could say anything more, another car joined them in the parking lot, and soon, Katie and Sami were heading towards Reyna’s car. Katie took a sip from her coffee as she approached, and waved at the two girls. “Thank God for you two,” Katie said, relieved to have two people she actually trusted on this trip. She passed on Reyna’s offer of pancakes, looking down at the breakfast sandwich already resting in her hand. She’d have more than enough food on vacation.

Next to arrive were Chloe, Chris, and Ivy. She waved at Chloe as she got out, and looked over at Ivy’s with a somewhat bemused expression, as if to say “Guess I get to stay.” Chris went and took AJ’s mind off of her arrival, while Katie remained planted near Ava and Reyna, munching away at her sandwich, and washing it down with sips of white mocha.

Nate and Val pulled up next, in a camper van of their own. Katie did her best to keep her face straight as Val hopped out of the van and stormed over to AJ, dragging him off to talk. “What’s she pissed about?” Katie asked, looking over at Nate before turning her head towards the faint sound of shoes on pavement. Soon enough, Leon came running down the street, duffel bags in tow. In true Leon fashion, he’d dropped the bags in front of them, and taken off his shirt before anyone could even say hello.

Leon didn’t say anything about Carter which was reassuring. In fact, no one had mentioned him or their trip. She was beginning to think that she might be able to actually forget about him this summer, that she’d be able to leave all her problems in Beverly Hills. And then the final car arrived.

Last, but not least, Josie and Emilia rolled into the parking lot. Katie nearly choked on her coffee. AJ she’d been prepared for. AJ was easy, as far as she was concerned. Emilia...she hadn’t been ready for that one. They hadn’t spoken since prom. Not since Brandon dumped her, in front of the entire school, while Katie and Carter stood up on stage, in their crowns, like fucking idiots. She’d been hoping to forget about the ex-boyfriend she’d screwed over. Now, a living, breathing reminder of him was going to be spending the summer, in a camper van, with her. This was going to be a train wreck. “I wouldn’t suppose Emilia got a really banging new boyfriend to take her mind off of prom?” Katie asked, glancing over as Sami went to intercept the two new arrivals. One could only hope.

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Hidden 2 mos ago Post by GhostMami
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GhostMami dead.

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Collab Starring: Chris@GhostMami and Aleks@Plank Sinatra



This was supposed to be a celebratory trip, wasn’t it? Last hurrah, summer fling, road trip, party all day, staying up night… that kind of thing. So why the hell was it so tense right now? Chris thought all of these things as he approached his brothers from other mothers. AJ had that pinched expression he got when he tried (badly) to hide that something was pissing him off, and then Val practically grabbed him by the ear to drag him off for… whatever reason. Everyone else seemed unsurprised by the tension, and weren’t really speaking about it, ‘cept for Aleks, of course. Aleks always called it like he saw it, and for some reason he was predicting bodies.

Chris scanned the rest of the group and his eyes found a face that he didn’t really recognize. Maybe in passing at a party, if that, but nobody that he got to know at all. This was unexpected, given that this trip was organized by AJ and meant to be with his closest friends… so, who was she? The punk sized her up and, truth be told, he liked what he saw. Long wavy blonde hair, black crop top, chucks, a choker. She was fine, and very much so his type. Hell, give her some smudged eyeliner and a drugged out expression that dripped sex appeal and she’d be giving Gwen a run for her money. That thought sent a pang of guilt through his gut and Chris tried to shake it away. Best not to think about that bad idea… poison that tastes sweet is the most dangerous of all. Aces and Chris would be each other’s downfall, so they couldn’t be a thing. At least that’s what Chris told himself. Leaning in towards Aleks, he asked in a low tone, “Hey… who’s the babe?”

Aleks grinned to himself, the mischievous tug on his lips somewhat disguised by the way they pursed around his straw. He took a long sip of iced mocha before he elbowed Chris’ bicep, his way of a wordless greeting. Once he gulped, in a similarly low tone he murmured, ”Check this out.”

The Russian in his accent was more noticeable when he spoke quietly. It turned half his sentence into a purr and grew more pronounced as he continued. It was so rare that people allowed him to gossip.

“Here is the rundown. So the babe. The babe is Jamie’s twin. Obviously, we can assume she was not on the guest list, meaning some perceived Judas among us decided to tell her to be at this parking lot with all her things with the rest of us. It’s fucking great.”

Chris’ eyebrows shot up and he nearly choked on his words. He had been ogling his best friend’s ex’s sister. His twin sister. That had to be breaking some kind of bro code. “Oh… no shit…” Chris laughed and even smirked alongside Aleks. “So that is why he looked like he had just sucked a lemon when I got here.” He shook his head, recalling the girls’ conversation in the car when they arrived. “I thought they were fucking joking… I didn’t think they were serious, holy shit. But I know who your Judas is. It’s a Judette.”

“Hm?”

Aleks was taking another sip of his coffee when his eyes found Chris’ two lovely chauffeurs, and his eyebrows shot up with a rare surprised breath - one that almost led to him inhaling an entire mouthful of mocha down the wrong pipe. He took another deep breath to steady himself, but the damage was done; he was already on the verge of doubling over, gasping and laughing in the same instance. Dear Lord. Holy fuck.

“Please tell me it was Ivy,” he whispered, tears of breathlessness and mirth filling the corner of his right eye. “AJ will want someone beaten to death for this, and if it’s Chloé I don’t think I have the heart.”

Chris’ silence was the only cue he needed. Aleks let out a small giggle from his chest, coarsened into a chuckle from his accent and the tickle still clinging to his throat.

“Well… there was definitely some collusion between the two… but…” Chris nodded in confirmation.

“Oh, Ivy, you goddess. I for one can’t wait to be sealed in a single fucking vehicle with everyone.” Aleks leaned closer, sticking his breakfast plate towards Chris as if he was making an offering of one of his uneaten flapjacks. His voice lowered again. “Val is just as furious. Given the general level of attractiveness around here, she’s going to be spitting venom like a fucking dinosaur at everybody here in about an hour. So, in short, she and AJ are--”

Aleks jerked his head towards the van and rattled his coffee; the ice cubes struck the insides of the cup and rocked in his best approximation of a caffeinated tsunami, his closest comparison for what the hell might be happening in the RV right now. Especially with the presence of Leon.

“While Katie is--”

His eyebrows rose again suggestively, accompanied by rolling eyes. They both knew damn well that an act of sabotage like bringing Katie was only going to lead to Biblical plague levels of fuckery. Aleks had no fear on that count; after all, he’d helped her seal the deal with Carter. That earned him a pass, and he was sure he could extend one to Chris. Chloé might be on her own, but hey, that’s what she got for trying to nail him to the wall on several counts of OnlyFans While Intoxicated.

“And here I am, stuck in the middle with youuuu,” he sang playfully.

Chris blew out a breath of exasperation and shook his head. “Damage control central, goodie. He reached into the bag of breakfast bread that his mother made and pulled out a roll, taking a mighty bite in thought. Chewing quietly, he looked over to Katie again and shook his head. “Why are the most evil, off limits ones also the hottest? God damn, dude. I think I get Val’s perspective for once.”

Aleks’ look lingered on Chris for a long few seconds. Then he shrugged and shook his head.

“Listen, there’s no need to be fooled by all this. It’s tempting, I know, but it’s all bullshit. Even me. Especially me.” Aleks grinned and sipped on his mocha; his teeth scraped against the end of the straw thoughtfully. “You know, I never went to a bank before I came to America. The first time I walked into one was with AJ in freshman year, he had something to cash for his little sister, I think. I asked them what they would do for me if I made an account, and they said, ‘Well, this is where we keep all your money.’” The Russian laughed to himself at the memory. “I doubt that.”

Chris raised his eyebrow and looked over at his rambling friend. What the hell was this Russian on about? He figured that if he listened long enough he would eventually find the point or lesson to be learned. Maybe...

“A lot of the people here have had life gifted to them. I don’t know where my money comes from or how much of it we go through in a year, because I can snap my fingers and there’s always more. We’ll all run out of Reyna’s cooking before I run out of cash to set on fire. To most people, that would make me look like a proper cunt. Maybe I am. But you all got to know me, right? Back when I was too shy to say more than a few words, out of fear of how my accent sounded. And I would like to think you all benefited from taking that leap. The way I did. I mean, if I wanted to sit still and go through life on easy mode, fuck knows I could just stay in Los Angel--”

Aleks shook his head, not finishing the sentence. He chewed over his pancake contemplatively.

“The point is, it may look like there’s a lot to be jealous of here, but you know us very well. We have as many fucked up problems and idiosyncrasies as anyone. And you, unlike most of us--” Aleks cocked his head at his friend, staring again. “You have a good head on your shoulders. You know how to use it. Just don’t do anything to her that AJ would do, and don’t do anything you think I wouldn’t. In fact, I would argue that maybe it’s better to get on her good side early. The summer won’t go by any faster if we decide to draw battle lines right here in the parking lot.”

He turned back to Katie - a girl he hadn’t talked to in ages, someone who made him feel as though the Aleks of last year and the Aleks of this morning were two different people, someone who made him acutely aware of the passage of time and friendships.

“Maybe we need to take a leap again. Try and be her friends before it turns out we’re enemies. But I am a lover, not a fighter, I guess..”

Yeah right.

Finally, destination “the point” had been reached. Conversations with Aleks were always a hoot. It was like one of those indoor roller coasters that are completely dark, so you just keep getting tossed around at every twist and turn, no idea what is going on until you are out in the light again and realize what a fun ride that was. Yeah, that’s what being friends with the crazy Russian was like, and it was great. “Well…” He looked down at the bag in his hands. “I got my mom’s fresh baked rolls. Peace offering, maybe? Also, you’re disgustingly rich and I kinda hate that, but I keep forgetting so it’s easier to love you regardless. No homo.”

Aleks winked and elbowed Chris’ arm again.

“Good talk, sport. I’ll give you a thousand dollars if you tell her one of those rolls is from me. You know me, I’m too shy to shoot my shot with girls.”

Chris kissed his teeth and shook his head, “Pfft, man, fuck your thousand dollars…. Wipe yer ass with a thousand dollars… too shy, my ass, dude.” His filipino side started taking over as he started gesturing with his hands, indicating all around Aleks face and such. “The hell you got to be shy about, shit…” Chris shook his head some more and waved Aleks off. “I ain’t walking over there alone, and you can save your money for our hospital bills if AJ loses his shit for us talking to her, how ‘bout that?”

“That seems agreeable.” Aleks smiled innocently and looked at his half-finished white mocha. It seemed he and Katie shared some common ground after all.
Chris had a point. There was no telling what AJ would do if he came out and saw them chatting up Katie, but Aleks hoped his presence would ease tensions somewhat. After all, his decent acquaintance with Katie aside, Aleks had never been a fan of Jamie. Hopefully it would make them both realize all he wanted was for the trip to go smoothly until they could reach Colorado and replenish their pot supplies. Hospitalization seemed unlikely, but the Russian knew that AJ, at the very least, would never strike Chris.

“I am, you know. Cripplingly, painfully shy. I wish you wouldn’t mock me for it.”

Chris was looking at him like he was an Instagram thot, gyrating on his bed while swearing he was a born-again Christian. Which was an apt comparison.

Aleks smiled wider.

“Me? Mock you? I could never...” He smirked and clapped a hand against the back of Aleks’ shoulder in camaraderie. “Val ought to keep AJ busy for a few, so we should have enough time to extend an olive branch. Shall we?”

“I believe we shall.”


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Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Ejected
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Ejected Pretty Killer

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"Aww, well would ya look at this. The gang's all together!"

Ivy's singsong voice rang through the air as she approached the majority of the group with her suitcase in one hand and several bags of groceries wrapped around the other. And as she walked towards the RV, she couldn't help but catch the eye of none other than Katie Callaghan; the two shared a knowing look before Ivy refocused her attention on what was going to be their home for the next few weeks. "Gooood morning, everyone! You know, when AJ said something about an RV, I never woulda pictured something this extravagant. But then again, it's AJ... so I'm not surprised." After parking the suitcase next to the RV and setting the groceries on top, Ivy let out a deep breath and stretched her arms as she took a quick glance at each of her friends.

"Always good to see you, Katie. You too, Sami and Nate. I'm diggin' the outfit, Emi... I really like that leather jacket. Reyna, if NaiNai hadn't stuffed me full with food before leaving Chloe's house, I'd definitely take one of those plates off your hands. Leon... why does it look like you just ran a marathon? Where the hell is your shirt?" Ivy couldn't help but let out a light laugh as she said those last few words and took in Leon's exhausted-looking form. Her tone was mock-serious, but on the inside, she had to admit that she didn't mind seeing Leon's glistening abs first thing in the morning. She didn't mind it at all.

"I'd take these bags in the van if it weren't for what I saw happen a few minutes ago... definitely don't wanna get in between that. Any idea what that's all about?" Of course, Ivy had a sneaking suspicion that Katie's presence might have played some part in Val and AJ's heated conversation; she also felt the slight tension in the air that she had unfortunately caused. But it didn't really bother her as much as it probably should've. After all, her intentions were good when she made the choice to give Katie the details about the trip; all she wanted to do was keep their little family together. And that was all that mattered...

Right?
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Hidden 2 mos ago 1 mo ago Post by Icy Hot
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Icy Hot hand / crusher™

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Everything with the “gearfits” was always a freaking whirlwind. Chloé had just plopped her suitcase on the asphalt and went wave ‘hello’ to AJ just to see him being dragged off into the RV behind a seething little midget. Well.. not like Chloé had any room to say that, she wasn’t very tall either, but also didn’t nearly have the capacity for rage like Valeria did.

“Where the hell does she store it all?” Chloé mumbled to herself with a furrow in her brow as she looked back at the ‘happier’ looking group now that the temperamental kids were out of the picture. No longer stunned by seeing Katie in full form among the group, her eyes drifted to the stupid face she had been longing to look at, and it seems Aleks had the same idea. A wide smile broke onto her face as he showcased the food and drink meant for her, he had learned so well. Chloé could almost shed a tear simply because, the food, her one true love, was free and as an added bonus a hot foreign boy was giving it to her.

Even though it killed her to do so she responded with her index finger in the air and a quick wink before turning back to the car and pulling out the rest of her bags, helped with the non-perishable groceries and somehow grabbed the basket of dumplings Nainai had sent along. When she turned around people were getting comfier, and in the case of Chris and Aleks maybe a little too comfy between their glances at her and Ivy and their conspiratorial whispers and laughter, she didn’t want to imagine what was getting her best friend all worked up.

Chloé followed suit behind Ivy, but withheld her greetings until her hands were free of stuff, save for the dumplings which she rose in offering as she finally approached the group.

“Bonjour cuties, glad to see everyone made it this morning. I bring baozi on behalf of the demands from Nainai who thinks you all need to eat more, so enjoy.” On the emphasis she sent a wink towards Katie before her eyes were drawn to Leon with Ivy’s question, ”Don’t ruin the show Ivy, maybe he’ll start doing a little gyrating, unlike someone.” Chloé’s tone was light and laced with soft laughter and her wink this time was paired with a blown kiss at the boy holding her food.
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Hidden 2 mos ago Post by BeastofDestiny
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BeastofDestiny Death, is only the beginning

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~ ~ ~


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Leon definitely needed a shower, but with Val storming off into the RV with AJ, it didn’t look like it was going to happen anytime soon. So...what to do with his time now? That all too familiar ache was creeping up into his muscles, his adrenaline was going down from his impromptu run. A cooldown lap couldn’t hurt, he’d probably end up kicking himself more later if he didn’t take the time. Ivy and Chloe had the right idea though by bringing their bags over to the RV, they were eventually going to have to be let in at some point and all their luggage would inevitably have to follow. Plus the mention of food did get him going a bit and he needed to calories to keep his muscle mass. Wrapping his hoodie around his neck like a hand towel, he hoisted up the dropped luggage onto his arms and started walking, “Yo, I’ve got our gear bro, think you could grab V’s stuff while I bring this over?”

Making his way over to the girls, he let out a rather light hearted laugh at Ivy’s comment about running a marathon, “What can I say? I had a late morning run, you gotta get your workouts in when you can.” Setting the bags down, he turned to face the girls all the while raising his arms up and resting his hands against the back of his head. Standard post workout procedure, let more air into your lungs or some junk like that, to him it was routine, to anyone else it’d look different. “I’d wear my shirt, but it’s pretty sweaty right now...and by it I also mean me.” Turning to Chloe he gave a little smirk, “and who could resist goodies from Nainai?” Graciously accepting the proffered bun, he bit into it and savored the flavor, “send her my regards, won’t you darling?” Giving Chloe a knowing wink he started strutting off, “gonna go take a quick lap around, be back in a minute.”

He resumed his restful pose as he walked around, bun held in his mouth, hands only moving away from his head so he could savor another bite of the tasty treat. Mid walk, he didn’t think it would hurt to greet everyone, “Chris, Aleks, how you two doing?” He didn’t know them all that well, but still it paid to be polite, especially since they were all going to be crammed into the same vehicle together for a couple of months. “Sami boy, good to see ya. Emi, digging the jacket, it’s a good look. Feebs, pinks a good color for you.” All of them were good people and Leon was feeling more confident that this was going to be a great trip, especially since, “Reyna! Thanks for making food, smells delicious, but I’m coming back for that bacon so save me some, won’t you? Short Stack, how’s my favorite pain in the ass doing this morning?” This was good, he got to cool down from his run, got to eat delicious food and got to say hi to everyone, “Morning Katie.” Wait...what?

Leon paused and actually had to do a double take, why was Katie here? Was she just going to see them off? No that wouldn’t make sense, not really any reason for her to...except she has bags with her...unless. Like a bolt of lightning, more akin to someone just flipping a light switch, things clicked in Leon’s head. “Damn Katie, I didn’t know you were coming with us!” His tone was rather excited, a big smile planted on his face, “Thought you would’ve been halfway to Paris by now, what made you decide to come with us?” He pondered on this thought...for all of two seconds, “Doesn’t matter, you’re coming with us and I’m okay with that. Anyway, I need to finish my walk...and see if I can get into the RV for a shower. Talk to you later.” With that he sauntered back over to the RV to stand by his stuff and noticed that Val or AJ hadn’t come out yet. “Think it’s fine to go in there yet? I’d really rather not start this trip off by making the camper smell like the boy’s locker room…”
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Hidden 1 mo ago Post by metanoia
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metanoia we begin anew

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“What a fucking delightful turn of events.”

Ava stood next to Reyna in the perfect spectator seat. From where the back of Rey’s car was parked, she had an ideal vantage point to not only see who would pull into the parking lot and gravitating to the Sun-sized RV that AJ himself decided wasn’t enough, she would also be able to assume certain thoughts those would have just based off of who arrived and who liked or didn’t like them. And to say it was a mixed bag would be one hell of an understatement.

On one side of the spectrum, Ava herself was fond of a lot of people and had mutual friends in some others. Sami was an okay guy and Chris, too despite the two not being ultra-close to Ava herself. And yes, despite a particular closeness, Ava could hang with them and not completely hate it. Sami had a great view of the world and Chris was entertaining enough. So neither of them were a bad choice if push came to shove, but Ava knew who she would choose over them in a heartbeat.

Smirking, Ava settled into her natural state of appearing like she was drunk but was really trying to size someone up as soon as Ivy stepped out of Chloe’s car. Which one was she trying to get the attention of? Hard to say. Both were looking pretty fantastic as they were. Between the beige dress on Chloe that complimented her natural tones and the denim everything that highlighted Ivy’s everything, Ava was honest to god enjoying the view.

“A girl can get used to that view.” Ava spoke as she leaned against Rey's car, nudging her friend teasingly.

That was, of course, until two specific annoying bitches decided to make themselves known. One of them Ava could deal with. Valeria wasn’t unbearable. If anything, the person whose patience she was going to test nigh immediately was AJ, but as for the other one…?

“What a nightmare.” Ava rolled her eyes at the sight of bright pink hair. “Where’s Nate? I’m sure he can’t be--” Before she could finish her sentence, she did find Nate eventually. Why she didn’t scan the same place where Val had been was beyond her, but now she saw Leon’s abs and rolled her eyes. “And why is his fucking shirt off already? Jesus Christ! That meathead could have at least waited until we hit the road..”

Ava couldn’t say for certain but she just knew if she didn’t have some food now, she was going to blow up at everyone who was annoying her right now. So she grabbed a pancake and started stuffing her face.

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Hidden 1 mo ago Post by smarty0114
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smarty0114 Human

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A collab with @GhostMami & @Plank Sinatra
Featuring: Chris Reyes | Katie Callaghan | Aleks Belikov





“Thought you would’ve been halfway to Paris by now, what made you decide to come with us?”

Whoop, there it is. Katie’s stomach jumped into her throat as Leon’s words spilled from his mouth and entered her ears. For a brief moment, she thought her white mocha was about to make a return appearance on the hot asphalt of the parking lot, but luckily for everyone involved, she was a pro. A little nervous energy wouldn’t make her puke. Leon, bless his heart, dropped it faster than he’d picked it up, waving away any inconsistencies as he rationalized her surprise arrival. Before she could spout her well rehearsed line about Carter’s passport being stolen, and the trip being cancelled, Leon was off to brave the wrath of Val and AJ. Better that way. She wasn’t quite ready for her friends to begin poking holes in her weak ass lie.

As the conversations around her began to flow, Katie closed her eyes, and reflected for the briefest of moments on how fucking stupid she was. Lying to her friends, poorly at that, was inevitably going to fail. She knew that, somewhere, deep below the writhing masses of self-loathing and regret. She’d watched enough TV to know that a lie always made its way out. Foolishly though, another part of her believed that she would be the exception to the rule. Katie forced that part, the confident, devil may care, fucking invincible version of herself, to the front of her mind. She opened her eyes to see Chris and Aleks strolling towards her. Woman up, Katie. Woman the fuck up.

They approached side by side, Aleks still smiling innocently at Chris’ playful jabs. His typical nonchalance was usually a virtue, and he hoped it would be the case here too. They had limited time to make a good impression before AJ came out of the RV like a tornado, whirling towards whatever straw he felt weighing most heavily upon his back. For everyone’s sake, Aleks hoped it would be him; AJ’s tantrums rarely struck him directly, but when they did, it was hard for him to lose his cool. The same couldn’t be said for Katie, who was clutching her coffee tightly towards her as though she feared it shooting up into her face or spiking into the ground.

Privyet, Katie,” he said politely, lifting his own white mocha up to her and rattling the ice in the half-empty cup, proof he came in peace. “Nobody told me you were coming, but I’m happy you are. If you’re still planning on going to Europe maybe I can hide in your carry-on bag.”

He grinned and winked at her, with a playful jerk of his head towards his brother-in-arms beside him.

“Katie, I don’t know if you have met Chris Reyes in his full glory yet,” he said, favoring his friend with the same coquettish grin. “Chris, you’d know if you met Katie in hers. Katie, do you know if Carter--”

Aleks looked up at Katie, meeting her eyes directly for the first time, and then flicked to the car behind her. Many things, from Ivy’s invitation to Katie’s more insular demeanor, clicked into place halfway through his sentence. Oh fuck. Christ.

Well, he had already said the name. What a shame. Aleks had felt kind of proud of helping Katie pull that heist off. He had felt kind of like consigliere when they swept prom.

“--Forget it. RV is crowded as is. Chris, say hi already. Make friends while we have the chance.”

“Hi.” Chris responded rather obediently. “I think we’ve met before, but probably not in our full glory.” He laughed in recollection of how… messy AJ’s parties could get. “I don’t know what you might’ve heard about me, but I swear I’m only half as much an asshole as I look. I hang with the gearheads, but I go to a different school. Nice to formally meet ya.”

Chris gestured with the carbohydrate-filled “olive branch” he held in a bag, fresh from his mama’s kitchen. “Have you had breakfast? My moms made pandesal to feed my friends, she does that. It’s flip food, like a nice sweet roll. Mango jam too, if that’s your thing.” he said in offering.

To Katie’s credit, her smile didn’t falter as Carter’s name came tumbling haphazardly out of Aleks’ mouth, only to be shoved aside the moment he put it all together. She should’ve figured he’d be the first to figure it out. Rather than panic, she focused on Chris as he reintroduced himself. “Nice to meet you too, in your full glory,” Katie said, cracking a playful grin. She accepted the bag with a thank you, and opened it up to find a roll, and a jar of mango jam.

She spread the jam across the roll, and bit into it, an involuntary moan of pleasure escaping as the pastry met her taste buds. “This is really fucking good. Your moms just changed my life I think,” Katie said through a mouthful of pandesal and jam. “So have you two started taking bets on whether or not AJ actually survives to see this road trip start? The way Val looked, I say it’s a fifty-fifty chance we go in and find his body.”

”I doubt it,” Aleks replied mildly. ”The best thing about Val is that most people can hold her at arm’s length without much trouble. AJ should be fine as long as she doesn’t sink any teeth in.”

He was glad that Chris’ mother’s cooking had gone over so well. Most of the Gearheads had been the willing recipient of one of those rolls at one point or another; they usually worked surprisingly well on hangovers, and along with some coconut water and a very casual walk in the morning, they were one of Aleks’ private cures. They were another little occasional perk of California that he was going to miss.

“It’s only the rest of the trip we have to worry about now. You have a hell of a lot of nerve, you know. Really. I like it.” Aleks’ lazy glance drifted over his shoulder to the RV, almost as though he expected it to start rocking with violence any second - and with a surprising lack of concern at the notion. ”I know things are going to be tense. And I know you’ll do everything in your power...assuage AJ’s temper.”

The playful smile grew on his face again.

”The new Tarantino movie is coming out at the end of the summer. If you haven’t killed one another by then maybe I treat you to tickets. Chris, bratan. You like Tarantino? I started watching Tarantino movies when I came to LA.. The best. I think three tickets means we get a family deal. A little Icee or something.” He nudged Chris’ arm with his elbow and smiled brightly at Katie. “We call it a...trip rewards program or something.”

“Who the fuck doesn’t like Tarantino?” Chris replied with a scoff. Gratuitous violence was the peak of cinematic entertainment, in his humble opinion. Aleks’ russian commentary would no doubt make it all the more entertaining too. “Don’t know if we’ll need the flick if we’re about to embark on our own Tarantino plot though.” He glanced at the RV for emphasis. No signs of fire or even smoke yet.

Chris looked back to the source of some of the upcoming tension now, one Miss Callaghan, and smirked. “Speaking of… not to go back on saying I ain’t an asshole or anything, but like, I’m just curious... What made you want to come on this trip?” From what AJ had to say about Katie, Chris would be led to believe that she was just a shit starter and probably decided to come just to cause him woe and grief and be an all around evil bitch. But… sane people weren’t really like that, right? She seemed normal as hell so far, nervous, even. This blondie in front of him seemed nothing like the big bad Katie of AJ’s tales.

“To make a long story short, I needed out of the Hills, and I knew AJ was leaving today. It was either brave the wrath of Alfie James Tyler, or spend the summer with Jamie and Marshall, experiencing Greece through the magic of FaceTime.” Katie smirked, glancing quickly at Aleks. She didn’t want to draw any more attention to the Carter story, and she hoped her intentional vagueness wasn’t lost on the Russian. Hopefully he’d keep his observations to himself, for now.

“I know AJ probably still hates me, but I walked in on him and Jamie having sex so many times, I probably know his ass better than my own. Pulling up in Jamie’s car was,” Katie paused and gave the boys a grimace before resuming, “poor taste. In all fairness, mine’s in the shop. The point is, he’ll get over it. Everyone knows AJ can’t resist some famous Callaghan charm,” Katie said.

Aleks’ eyebrows danced for a second, shrugging themselves slightly with a little roll. Katie had always been his Callaghan of choice, but that was about the same as the choice between a chocolate sundae and a baseball bat to the teeth.

“Most people here can lapse into occasional bouts of gaucheness,” he demurred, eyes bouncing between Jamie’s car and Jamie’s sister. “I wouldn’t worry about it for very long. It’s not coming with us, it’ll be out of everyone’s minds in a few days or so. Just as long as we’re not one-upping each other as far as dick moves go.”

His eyes found her coffee and he sipped at his own mocha, mostly out of reflex.

“Greece, huh? I spent the summer in Mykonos last year. I wish I remembered more of it, it was probably a hell of a place.”

When his friends started talking about their lavish vacations in foreign locales, Chris usually checked out of the conversation. Generally, he tried not to be bitter about it, but jealousy is a human emotion and Chris is all too human. He hadn’t even been able to visit his mother’s birth country yet, but he had made a promise to himself that someday he would, and he’d take her too, he just needed to work hard and save up for it. He usually checked out of these conversations, but today involved a pretty girl, so he kept interest for a time.

“You’re trouble.” Chris remarked in reference to her earlier explanation of why she was here and why she arrived in Jamie’s car. “But no more so than the rest of us, I think. Cept, you really shouldn’t call him that again. Like seriously.” Chris knew a thing or two about not wanting to be called by your own cringe-worthy name.

Katie laughed. Chris’s warning reminded her of the one Jamie had given her back when he’d divulged what AJ stood for over smores and their parents’ vodka. “Oh trust me, I know. I made that mistake once already. You would’ve thought I’d come after his mom or something.” Katie grinned. “Enough about AJ though. I have a feeling I’m going to come out of this trip with enough AJ memories to last me a very long lifetime.” She glanced around at their friends, scattered in groups across the parking lot. “Aleks, you read people like a book, and Chris you’ve seen us all at our most blacked out, who do you guys think hooks up in the RV first? My money’s on Ava and Ivy. Don’t think, just go with your gut,” Katie said looking back at the boys, the famed Katie Callaghan energy rolling off of her, now that her mood had begun to turn around.

“I dunno…” Chris mused for a minute, then looked at the RV and nodded his head towards it. “If all goes well, the two that are in there fighting. Maybe then the rest of us could start enjoying this trip.”

”You and me, with any luck.” Aleks swished a mouthful of white mocha around his cheeks and gulped down before cocking his head in the same direction as the RV again - but this time, at the people standing outside it serving looks and pancakes respectively. “Sami and Reyna. Easy money. It’s been building for a while and he’s already working his crowd.”

Katie’s mouth formed an O, but she was proud to report that Aleks’ comment did not make her blush. She wasn’t fifteen anymore and compliments from cute boys did not send the blood rushing to her cheeks. They did however, get her heart racing. Maybe it was the realization that this was the first time in almost three years that the words could actually lead somewhere. Despite the accompanying guilt and Carter’s voice in her head, Katie’s look of surprise morphed into an easy going laugh. “Oh luck will certainly be in play for that one. Luck and vodka. Although,” Katie said, without really thinking about the consequences, “Vegas is known for having copious amounts of both.” She considered winking, decided against it, and moved smoothly back to the topic.

“AJ and Val would be a sight. Honestly, I wouldn’t be that surprised. The way they fight, it makes you wonder,” Katie said, playfully tapping her finger against her temple. “Sami and Reyna though, that would be cute as shit.”

”They look good together, yeah. I give it by Colorado, Reyna is not shy by nature..” He shrugged and looked back towards the RV containing his fearless leader and his shoulder devil-sized cohort. “You know, fuck if you might not be right. They’ve been in there a while. I was sure AJ’s Spider-Sense would kick in by now.”

Chris had been glaring at Aleks for his very obvious flirtation. Hell, that wasn’t even a flirt, it was a full on proposition. Shy, my ass, lyin’ russki. The look of irritation subsided when Katie used ‘cute’ and ‘Sami’ in the same sentence. He was a good looking dude, but cute was a word reserved for like… puppies and soft shit, and Chris was pretty sure that Sami left his house last night to either beat or get beaten by someone, so “cute” Sami was an amusing thought.

“Damn right I’m right, why else do her claws come out whenever there are too many girls around him.” Chris said as he fished around in his jacket pockets for his vice. They were about to be trapped in an RV for four hours, maybe more, so he figured he’d might as well indulge while he could. He lit up a cigarette and exhaled a puff of smoke away from his conversational companions. “Man, I hope I’m wrong though, there ain’t enough windows on that thing to air it out properly.” He said with a grimace.

Katie watched as Chris pulled a cigarette from his pocket. She didn’t smoke, not cigarettes at least, or maybe it was more accurate to say she hadn’t smoked in a while. She’d gone through a phase where she wanted to feel rebellious and badass, but Carter had hated them so she’d stopped for him. Having just realized that she could flirt without cheating, she was also struck with the realization that she wasn’t bound by any of the concessions she’d made during their relationship. She had no desire to start smoking again, but Katie Callaghan also liked doing things just because she could. “Chris, could I steal a cigarette from you?”

Chris raised his eyebrows slightly and flicked some ashes towards the ground. “Full of surprises, aren’t you?” Most of AJ’s friends, Chris had thought all of them until this moment, did not smoke. In fact, he usually got side eye when he lit up around them. And he got more than just side eye if he smoked in Aleks’ car. So, this was a welcomed turn of events and, somehow, Katie just got a touch more attractive. Chris tapped the pack against his hip and slid a single cigarette further out with his thumb to offer it to her. “Sure thing. You need a light too?”

“That would be amazing,” Katie took the rolled up tobacco from Chris, placed it between her lips, and she leaned in, eyes locking as Chris held the flame up. It danced between them for a moment, before her inhale drew the waltzing flame into the cigarette, igniting it. She resisted the urge to cough as the familiar taste of smoke filled her mouth, and exhaled, up and away so that the smoke drifted off into the air. It tasted like shit, but she’d been expecting that. “Smoking in my former high school’s parking lot. Check that off the bucket list,” she said before taking another drag.

“Maybe on the way back,” Aleks murmured, lips playing in a little grin around his straw while he watched Chris light Katie’s cigarette. Truthfully, there was nothing he really had against smoking, as long as Chris didn’t get it anywhere in the interior of one of his cars, but it was already threatening to be a motherfucker of a trip to Vegas based on the parking lot dynamics of this volatile crew. The last thing he needed was to start hitting cheap Newports on a venti mocha and half a pancake. That would mean getting into the booze rations early to compensate for illness, and then...blugh. Just a nightmare for all involved. “I ran here, not drove. I’m still a little winded for a cigarette.”

His eyes found Chris again. Sly little fucker. It’s not like Aleks hadn’t offered. His grin widened.

“Which reminds me, Chris, we’re going to need to move on AJ fast. Make sure we’re not sitting first shift in that fucking meat locker--” his head lolled backwards towards the van, as though he’d been rear-ended by it “--with Nate and Leon. Good guys. Fun guys. But I’m going to feel like I’m being human trafficked to Las Vegas instead of vacationing crammed between them.”

He looked at Katie and laughed for the first time since they’d walked over to her.

“Now you, you are screwed,” he teased. “He’s going to try and shove your ass out of sight, out of mind the first chance he gets. Val will concur. You should stick with us until we’re safely on the road. Unless you’d prefer Leon, which, I mean. Fair play.”

Katie smiled, a knowing smile, and took another drag. “You two are the road to salvation, huh?” she said once she’d exhaled. “Could be worse I guess.”

"Cool.” Aleks grinned and finally heard the sound of empty suction within a straw. He’d finished his last Los Angeles mocha, and he rattled the ice in the cup sadly. ”Would anyone like to impress me and shoot this into the bin before I do? Chris, this is your big chance. You play basketball, right? Nyet? Katie?”

“I'd probably miss, it's been a few months." Chris said to avoid the potential embarrassment of actually attempting it and missing. “That's all you, Katie." He said before taking another long drag. “Or you, surely Russians can do more than just hockey and communism." He said with a smirk.

“You have no idea. The lab they grow me in, the boys who miss their shots, they shoot them, Aleks deadpanned, his natural Russian accent rising to the surface for a moment. “Very well. Katie?”

Katie rolled her eyes at Aleks’ comment, but still proceeded to hand off her own mocha to Chris, before taking the empty cup from Aleks and stuffing her own trash inside. She looked over at the bin, well aware that she had no natural gift for basketball, or any other sport, but exceedingly confident nonetheless. Her arm swung up, arced, and released the cup, sending it sailing towards the trash can. It hit the rim of the bin’s opening, and swirled around, and around, and around before clattering off and onto the ground. “Well, that was anticlimactic.” She walked over and threw away the oh so painful reminder of her fresh failure, and returned. “So, were you impressed?” she asked, retrieving her coffee from Chris.

Aleks was laughing as she walked to the bin and back, chewing on the end of one lip of his mischievous grin. “Halfway impressed me, actually. You hit the bin at least. It takes courage to try.”

He was humming in thought a little.

“Russians, British, I don’t think we’ve ever actually won a medal for basketball. We suck like motherfuckers at it.” He plucked what remained of her mocha out from Katie’s hand, bopping the bottom of the cup so her grip was loosened and then gently prying it into his own hand. “Oop. Spasibo.”

He drained it thoughtfully, bottom teeth gently chewing the end of the straw closed as his eyes marked the patch of ice cubes where his coffee lid had burst open.

“Gymnastics, volleyball. Hockey.” He grinned at Chris. “We dominate the medals here. Basketball, not so much. Probably a bad comparison, you are right. Maybe if I thought of it like baseball--”

He lobbed the empty cup with about the same amount of force that Katie had, although he also kicked his knee up and tossed it as though it were a baseball, instead of an arcing free throw motion. It wasn’t particularly pretty, not being a ball and having nowhere for him to place his fingers in place of seams, but it bounced off the interior of the bin and toppled inside. The near-empty trash bag flapped from the force of the throw and the object settling at its base. Aleks leaned backwards against Chris’ shoulder, still biting back the true smug force of his grin.

“No bullet holes in me yet, baby,” he drawled, still with the full weight of his home accent. “Sorry about your mocha. I promise I’ll buy your first vodka in Vegas. Chris, may I please have a roll now? That was tense.”

“Yeah, of course," He offered the whole bag of fresh-baked goodies to him.
“Moms will no doubt text me in two hours or less asking if I gave my friends breakfast, and Asian moms have a sixth sense, she'll know if they're not all gone. Eat two." Chris responded before stamping his cigarette butt out on the ground and walking it over to flick it in the trash can.

”Spasiiiibo, brataaaan.”

Katie smirked, and finished her own cigarette before turning to Aleks. “I expect top-shelf. Don’t try and skimp me,” she said, before returning to the trash can to throw out the cigarette butt. She was starting to feel as if, maybe, she might actually survive the summer. Emphasis on maybe.
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Hidden 1 mo ago 1 mo ago Post by NeoAJ
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NeoAJ Fine. I'll High Five Myself.

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As Emilia struggled to put Katie out of her mind, at least for the time being, she did get some help in that attempt from her friends. Apparently, not only was the new leather jacket a hit, but swapping in Josie's leggings were really making the outfit pop. And the comments she was getting!

"God Emi, you pulling your best Sandy from Grease impression with that look. It’s badass, hermosa.”

Emilia did like Grease, but her being Olivia Newton-John? No, she couldn't be that cool. Could she? Maybe was Sami was going a little overboard. He was always so kind to her. Like the brother she never had. But Sami did know badass. He had the scars to prove it. Maybe she could take it for what it was.

"I'm diggin' the outfit, Emi... I really like that leather jacket."

Ivy giving her compliments like that though? Now Emilia was starting to feel a lot better about everything. Ivy had a good eye for good looks. If she was impressed, that meant Emilia really did nail this whole road trip outfit.

"Emi, digging the jacket, it’s a good look."

Freaking Leon though? Leon Barnes, star athlete? Him noticing? OK. That clinches it. Bad momma Emi is a look that I have to keep available on demand. This is working out too well.

Emilia was blushing at this point. "Thank you so much, everyone! I'm glad you like it! I like it too! Makes me feel really cool and stuff!" There was a lot of food being passed around and if she hadn't been convinced to get a breakfast bagel at McDonald's, she would have been attacking the pancakes and the buns with the ferocity of someone who finally had given up on keto. As it was, she was contend to feed on the compliments. "I can't believe everyone made so much food! That's amazing! I can't wait to have some when we get rolling! Think I'm going to need a table for when I attack this feast!"

However, a stray thought did cross her mind as she basked in the glow of a moderately successful entrance. Katie's still here, you know. And if AJ is organizing this, Val is going to be here too. Can you take all those negative vibes? Of course you can't. You can't take anything. That's why you-

Emilia quickly shook her head in an attempt to ward off what was certain to be another breakdown waiting to happen. Luckily there were still plenty of distractions. "You know what? On second thought, let me at some baozi! Can't disappoint Nainai!" The reverence for a grandmother's cooking and the smell of the steamed buns were enough to guide Emilia's mind away from the growing shouting coming from the area of the RV.
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