Avatar of Aewin


Recent Statuses

2 yrs ago
Secured myself two interviews next week and waiting on the outcome of a third, feeling good today 💕
3 yrs ago
I think there are far more important things to worry about than people calling their characters "muses".
4 yrs ago
Imagine how sad your life must be to flex on some nerds online.
6 yrs ago
nuke the status bar
7 yrs ago
I passed my exams!


a e w i n
also known as the weirdo that fangirls a lot
annie 25 united kingdom


Most Recent Posts

TIMESTAMP: Saturday July 24th, Midday
LOCATION: Sweet Tooth Factory
INTRODUCING: Acacia Goode & The Kang Family; Eun-Ji Park, Tae-Geun, Han-Na, Mi-Rae



The Kang family had banded together to help Ty furnish his new chocolate shop, and the scene was one of utter chaos. There were boxes strewn everywhere in the Sweet Tooth Factory, with packing material, Styrofoam peanuts and what looked like flour strewn across the floor. Furniture was half-assembled, and tools were scattered around haphazardly. Eun-ji Park was directing the layout of the shop, while her husband Haru worked on assembling the display cases. Even Hanna was in her element, seemingly delegated the responsibility for setting up the electronics.

Everyone had their role in setting up shop. But amidst all the chaos, Mi-Rae was sat on a chair in the corner, left feeling somewhat helpless. She had been tasked with organizing kitchen supplies, but there were so many pots and pans and baking trays she could arrange by purpose then size. She felt left out of the action, only accompanied by her recently acquired support dog she’d called Glacie, who was sitting faithfully by her side. She could feel her furry warmth against her cool legs, puffing and seemingly relaxing beside her, even if Mi-Rae knew Glacie was all but relaxed. The aircon was running, thankfully, to combat the humid summer outside, so it wasn’t the heat bothering her furry companion. Her fingers traced over Glacie’s leather collar, memorizing the bumps and ridges in the material. When her fingers brushed over a particular bump, a familiar static-y voice filled her corner.

VAL's monotone voice sounded out as she was "woken up" from idle mode. “Good morning. Mi-Rae. How may I assist you?”

Hanna’s recorded voice came through the speaker as the voice of VAL herself. The system prototype embedded into the collar was still a work in process, so the audio quality was still admittedly worse for wear. But Mi-Rae would never admit that she preferred it that way – at least she could tell if it was really her sister speaking in the same room. “Play something random from my training playlist. It’s too quiet.”

VAL, or Virtual Assistant Link, was her parents’ baby. The Siri before there was a Siri. A voice and touch activated AI growing in popularity and function as the Kangs developed the tool. It started as an app at first, but with enough funding the Kangs were able to develop their own product that could function as a stationary robotic butler. It was what got her family into the US in the early 00’s and into the comfy, gossip laden Scott Street. VAL was powerful, and with Hanna leading the charge, Mi-Rae’s parents were all but certain that VAL would become even bigger than what they could ever dream.

Heavy bass started playing from Glacie’s collar, Chung Ha’s Bicycle playing lowly beside Mi-Rae. Her hand still on Glacie’s collar, she felt the vibrations from the music of the palm of her hand. The upbeat bass helped combat the bittersweet feeling bubbling in her stomach. It wasn’t that she was entirely sightless. She could still see, even if everything was a blurry blob of colour ahead of her. She knew that Glacie was some shade of light cream, a sweet little golden retriever named after Mi-Rae’s favourite Pokemon, Glaceon. She could see the shade of nail paint Lily-Rose Lee had painted her nails the last time they’d had a sleepover (it was a pretty blush pink).

Legally blind or not, the youngest Kang was a fighter. She may not have talent in the kitchen like her older brother or the brains like her older sister, but Mi-Rae knew she was still just as memorable. Before losing most of her vision, Mi-Rae had been training under Isabel Kingsley’s tutelage in Boston as a budding figure skater. She had the skill for it too, going onto finishing pewter (fourth) in the 2018 US Figure Skating Championships then bronze in 2019 before her vision deteriorated. Rather than letting that crush her dreams of going to the Olympics, Mi-Rae continued to train, tirelessly and painstakingly relearning everything to get back on track of going pro.

Reminiscing over and feeling the urge to move, Mi-Rae abruptly stood up from her seat, feeling Glacie stiffen beside her from surprise. “I’m done with the pots! What’s next?” She called out. Sitting around was getting too much. She needed to do something.

Atop the nearby counter, sitting cross legged with a pencil in her mouth, her glasses hanging low on her nose, an open tool kit and six different variations of a computer screen surrounding her, Mi-Rae’s older sister Hanna flicked her head up to greet her yeodongsaeng (baby sister). She tilted her head slowly, her dark eyes analyzing Mi-Rae and Glacie as they stood resolute in their desire to do more whilst the headphones she wore around her neck blasted out the latest track that Mei Midnight had selected for her night vibe followers.

Han-Na was an enigma of a person. The middle child of the Kang dynasty, she was always what one would consider advanced. She could stand at four months, walk at seven and talk at seven and a half. When other girls her age were outside playing, Hanna was in her fathers workshop watching him build VAL and mimicking him with Lego’s she had stolen from Tae-Geun. Soon she began helping in the process, her brain a perfect formulaic generator. She was around twelve when she was diagnosed with a high grade variant of autism, which explained her ability to absorb information as well as her low understanding of social queues and obsessive compulsive behaviors.

Despite her social ineptitude, Hanna was a fairly popular girl in high school despite never fully understanding or comprehending it. Though the truth of the matter, according to Ty and some other people that she knew, was that Hanna was popular because she looked like a supermodel with the brain of a robot and was quite willing to have sex with just about anyone. In her mind, this was nothing important beyond being a stimulus that released the right amount of endorphins into her body to allow her to stay up longer and work harder. When Hanna was lost in a project, she did not sleep and she did not eat. Her family like to refer to it as Han-Na being “Logged On.”

“Based on the current scent entering my nasal passage, I believe there is a seventy five point three percent chance that Glacie needs to do a circuit around the block to express her glands and alleviate herself. That is what you should do next.” Hanna returned her attention to her tablet and began to furiously type once more. “This new spyware and malware protector program should keep all customer financial data safe from anyone wishing to procure that information. I will call it…” The porcelain Korean beauty looked up at her ice princess sister Mi-Rae. “…Crevasse.”

“Did you eat?” Tae-geun called out from the backroom, going through a couple of boxes of his palette knives, chocolate moulds, piping bags, nozzles, whisks, and a variety of spatulas. He scrunched his nose when he couldn’t find his thermometer. He could’ve sworn he put it in this box. Then again he also knew his family, especially his mother, got carried away and changed things up on him, which annoyed him to no end.

On one hand, the only son of Ha-Ru Kang and Eun-Ji Park, the brother of Han-Na and Mi-Rae, was perceived as arrogant as they come and someone who innately hates people. Obsessive, full of himself and always ready to judge. He was a grumpy old man, as Mi-Rae would jest or someone who struggles to overcome emotional reactivity, with little to no adequate emotion regulation, as Han-Na would describe.

On the other hand, his passion to create something from scratch, something that can give a ‘wow’ impact to others, made him more personable than he’d ever admit. In his world, in his personal oasis, he smiled and expressed himself freely, without restraints. He actually cared. Outside the kitchen though? Ty was an asshole.

To him, he saw himself as prideful because he was good at what he did and he knew who he was. How many young adults could say that about themselves? He had it all figured out. To anyone else, like his closest friends, they saw him as someone stubborn to change, who was given too much freedom as a little boy. To him, he was who he was, no excuses. He owned it. If someone bothered him, he’d treat them accordingly. He wasn’t going to be nice to those who didn’t deserve it and most people didn’t. Was he wrong?

Perhaps that was the price to pay for being as gifted as him. In order to create a masterpiece, an artist needs the right tools. Chocolate and pastries were no exception. His mind was a tool. He needed to protect it. Robert Hughes says ‘the greater the artist, the greater the doubt; perfect confidence is granted to the less talented as a consolation prize’. Ty couldn’t disagree more. At least that’s what he tells himself. His sisters would counter by saying he’s been driven to succeed, wearing confidence for years, to prove he’s good enough, when really he’s critiquing himself in everything he does. He’d never confirm or deny if they were, or well are, onto something and that they do know him like they know their own passions.

None of that mattered though. What mattered was he needed to be different and he needed to stand out. Going to school with the likes of the Grimm twins, Pavati Huaman, or Taynara Cortez, it was hard to shine, even as a Kang. He was no computer like Hanna nor was he an ice cold pretty bitch like Mi-Rae, that commanded attention simply by how she held herself. Back in highschool, Ty was a boy that hyper fixated in art class and kept to himself, until Acacia came along, and forced him to interact with actual people. She’s two years younger than him.

One can say his childhood set him up to be scarily driven and to get as much worldly experience as he can before making his mark. To be innovative, one needed an open mind and had to challenge their mindset, seeking different perspectives. Most would assume chocolate would be Ty’s passion but the truth of the matter was before chocolate, he made pastries and before pastries, he sculpted. The best part of his pursuit was that he could go on a social adventure of sorts, trying different types of food, talking to different types of people, and learning different types of cultures. He didn’t actually hate people. People just assumed he did because of his reactive behavior, as Hanna so eloquently puts.

With a couple years of pastry training on his belt, affirming his love for creating chocolate showpieces, Ty was in the simplest sense, a man who loved art. Before he did chocolate art, he always treated the kitchen as his laboratory and when he wasn’t baking, he was playing with clay in the garage. His undeniable skills and the power of social media is what really pushed him forward and now here he was, starting his own shop with his closest friends. However, currently only his family was here. His mother insisted on helping out so he went out of his way to make sure his friends wouldn’t show up today. He’d be damned if his family made a fool out of him.

“Am I speaking to myself?” He grumbled when neither one of his sisters answered. Leaving the box behind, he exited the backroom, “That’s it,” he announced, clapping his hands together. “Breaktime. Hanna, thanks for the update. Now get off your computer and Mi-Rae, take that dog out so he doesn’t do his business on my floor. I made some kimchi pancakes and japchae.”

Mi-Rae's ears perked up at the mention of food, and she felt a surge of gratitude towards her brother. She knew he could be prickly at times, but she also knew that deep down under the layers of prick, he cared about his family. It was in moments like these that his softer side emerged, to feed the rest of the family with his notable talent. The tantalizing aroma of kimchi pancakes already filled the shop air, causing Mi-Rae's stomach to growl in anticipation.

She. And thanks, Ty,” Mi-Rae said, gently patting Glacie's head, feeling her pup lean into her touch, acknowledging the movement in her own way. “I'll be back. Don't let appa hurt himself too much. He's already hit his finger with that hammer twice trying to set up that cabinet.” Mi-Rae stood up and Glacie immediately perked up at attention, following after Mi-Rae as she found her way around the mess of a room and out the door. There was no way she was going to let her family polish off the food before she could get a piece.

With Mi-Rae out of earshot, a woman with wild curls tied behind her ears appeared from behind the kitchen doors. “And I bring some matcha chiffon cake for us sweet tooths here!” Acacia announced, setting the tray gently against the counter before disappearing back into the kitchens. When she returned again, she carried a medical kit with her, the cold pack already out of the kit and offered it to the patriarch Kang.

Hanna remained oblivious to her siblings as she furiously tapped away at one of her iPads. It wasn’t until Acacia entered the room with the matcha chiffon cake that the robot girl raised her dark eyes upwards and away from one of the many screens that sat before her. In an environment such as this one, it was commonplace for a baker or chef to be covered in the produce that they prepared. Yet as Hanna absorbed, she noted that Acacia presented herself in a pristine manner. She had thoroughly cleaned herself up, no chocolate smears, no flour under her fingernails and no sweat on her manicured brow.

The middle child of the Kangs leaned forward slowly until she found herself on all fours. She crawled across the long counter top, knocking over some loose bits of equipment absentmindedly until she reached the edge and the curly haired baker. With the music blaring loudly from the headphones that she had wrapped around her neck, Hanna reached forward and took the entire plate from Tae’s best friend's hands. “You are not dirty, too clean.” She tilted her head before inhaling the sweet matcha smell. “You are waiting for Lucien to come by and offer you some kind of stimulus through what is called a romantic gesture.”

Hanna was classmates with Lucien Aviles and his twin Samara back in high school and had often found that their behavior was less than formulaic. She saw everything as ones and zeros, which made the world around her very easy to predict using simple mathematics and science. However the Aviles clan were a break in the curve. They were extremely difficult to pick because of their unusual belief system and counter intuitive reasoning. Of the macabre dynasty that lived on the hill, Lucien did seem the most normal but Hanna knew that his equation may actually be the most difficult to solve.

“This is mine.” The raven haired robot said matter of factly as she began to slink backwards to the original position on the other side of the counter, the sustenance for her brain now well in hand.

Drinking some water out of his bottle, Ty silently listened to the exchange. He rolled his eyes at the mention of his friend’s boyfriend. It wasn’t that he approved or disapproved of Lucien. He could care less who the guy was. As long as he didn’t hurt Acacia, he knew she’d love who she wanted and how she wanted. What he didn’t like was the fact she didn’t tell her family about it and neither did he to his family. They’re acting like a dirty secret when both of their parents would approve immensely and immediately. There’s some people who don't get that luxury. After putting his bottle down, he crossed his arms, scanning his friend, in a stern, big brother kind of way. “Take that crap outside. So happy your boyfriend is making time for you,” he said sarcastically before adding, “but I don’t need you two acting like fools while I’m trying to work.”

Acacia felt a flutter in her stomach as she listened to Hanna teasing her about Lucien. Despite her attempt to deflect, she couldn't hide her excitement at the thought of seeing him soon. It had been a long start to their morning at the Sweet Tooth Factory, but knowing that Lucien's shift at the fire station was nearing its end kept her going, even going as far as to save a smaller cake as a treat for her lover, hidden away in the kitchen. He would be coming to see her soon, as was their habit for the many years they’d been together.

Although Acacia's mother would be thrilled to see her dating an Aviles, Acacia wasn't ready for the pressure of their families getting involved. Not yet. She wanted to enjoy their sweet romance without any familial pressures lingering over them. She didn’t like the secrecy, but considering Cynthia Goode was more likely to sound the wedding bells the moment she’d come forward, it was for the best.

“No distractions or romantic gestures at work. I know.” She finally agreed sheepishly. She had promised Ty that when she had first accepted the job in the first place.

“What's all this talk about romantic gestures?” Eun-ji chimed in, a mischievous glint in her eye as she approached the counter. She tried acting casually, appraising the dishes made by Tae-geun but clearly interested in something else entirely. “Are my babies hiding their special someones from me?”

“I do not understand this ‘special’ you speak of, mother.” Hanna was speaking with a mount full of matcha cake with crumbs dropping down from her pretty face and falling onto the clean counter and her equipment. Mi-Rae had absorbed all the grace that the Kang family had to offer, with Tae’s so cold rudeness and Han-Na herself had little to no understanding of sociality at the best of times. The model-like girl had never had what one would consider a romantic partner; the equation of love was one that her cerebral processor had yet to solve. Sex was a different formula, so easy to figure out that it made Hanna curious as to why it always causes so many problems in life. It was simply a physical act for procreation or stimulation. It wasn’t a big deal.

“Though if I am correct you are probably referring to the idea that myself, Tae and Mi-Rae have partners in the standard design of a relationship? This is not true. People do not like Tae. Mi-Rae I believe has…..feelings….but for who I am unaware. I have no ‘romantic’ partner but my sexual endeavors are quite vast. Does this answer your question? Yes it does.”

Since it was break time, Ty was not going to listen to this crap or even indulge his mother. Instead he grabbed his water bottle and started walking toward the door, “Relationships are overrated, I’m going outside.” Without giving anyone in the room a glance over, he exited his sweet shop, like the grumpy old man that he was, getting fresh air and staying far away from that kind of talk.

Eun-ji raised an eyebrow at Hanna's response. She had always suspected that her children had their own secrets and quirks, but hearing Hanna's blunt and matter-of-fact response was always unexpected. Hanna was somehow equally predictable and anything but. Tae-geun's stalk off was far more predictable than Hanna's admission, at the very least. “Well, I suppose that's good to know,” Eun-ji said, trying to hide her amusement. “But it wouldn't hurt to be a little more open to the idea of finding love, dear.” She said, the pitch of her voice growing louder so it could carry outside the shop, even if her words fell to deaf ears.

“Why don’t you bring one of your… friends over for dinner?” Eun-ji turned to Hanna, her face twisting as though she wasn’t sure what to even refer to Hanna’s ‘sexual endeavors’. “Maybe that Kaine girl? If that is what you like. You know we’ll have no problems with who you bring, boy or girl. It would make me so sad if you were hiding someone from us, like Acacia is from poor Mrs. Goode, thinking we’d judge your choice.” Eun-ji sniffed, her words causing Acacia to cough in surprise.

“That’s- I’m… not- Ah, I-I should go-” With a squeak, Acacia scurried away back to the safety of the kitchen, her excuse inaudible in her haste to escape being used as an example by one of Scott Street’s most notable gossip.

“I have no feelings about your feelings about my interpersonal relationships, mother.” Hanna watched as Acacia tried to take her leave and smiled brightly with her teeth shining and her hand waving. “Tell Lucien hello.” Like the flip of a switch, the black haired girl returned her attention to her screens and began to furiously type. Hanna’s ability to shift gears was truly a thing to behold. “I have not had sexual stimulus with Avery in quite some time….” She paused and tilted her head, staring blankly into space as her chaotic mind wondered whether she should call the comic book store girl? “No, that will not work, I need to synthesize a new testing algorithm.” She hadn’t even finished her thought about her one time lover before her brain transitioned to another project.

In the midst of her tidal wave of thought, Hanna had not cleaned herself up. Her face and clothes were governed in the mossy green matcha, giving the appearance of a messy child. The truth of the matter was that the middle Kang barely took care of herself and too often she needed someone else to remind her to do the most basic of things like eat or clean. Hanna’s brain acted like a supercomputer, processing information faster than most but like a mosaic, it came in pieces and sometimes the pieces didn’t fit together straight away.

Eun-ji watched Hanna with a mixture of amusement and concern, her eyes softening as she took in the sight of her middle child. Hanna was a whirlwind of brilliance, her mind always churning and processing at a speed that left the rest of them in the dust. But it was moments like these that reminded Eun-ji of the challenges that came with that brilliance. Hanna's focus was so intense, so singular, that she often neglected the most basic of human needs.

With a sigh, Eun-ji moved towards Hanna, a damp cloth in hand. “You're a mess, dear,” she said, her voice gentle as she began to wipe the matcha from Hanna's face. “You need to remember to take care of yourself, too. Not just your projects.” Eun-ji was proud of her daughter’s brilliance, undoubtedly so. Each of her children were special in their own ways - Ty’s creativity in the kitchen and Mi-Rae’s grace on the ice were unmatched by anyone Eun-ji had ever met. But, a mother will always worry for her babies. “Your body is just as important as that mind of yours. Nurture it.”

Just as Eun-ji was about to remind Hanna to eat something more substantial, the sound of the shop door opening drew her attention. Mi-Rae walked back in, Glacie trotting happily at her side. Eun-ji's eyes softened at the sight of her youngest, the girl who had always been a little more reserved, a little more distant. But she was also the one who had the most heart, even if she hid it behind an ice wall.

“Mi-Rae, you're back,” Eun-ji greeted, her voice warm towards her youngest. “Did Glacie enjoy her walk?”

Mi-Rae nodded, a small smile playing on her lips. “She did. But I can't stay for long, I have to get to the ice rink.”

Eun-ji blinked in surprise, her eyebrows knitting together in confusion. “The rink?” she echoed, her gaze flicking to Glacie who was now sprawled out on the cool floor, panting happily. “But you don’t have classes today, why do you have to go?”

Mi-Rae hesitated, her fingers tracing over Glacie's collar as she avoided her mother's gaze. “Lily-Rose wants to go,” she replied, her voice firm.

Eun-ji's eyes narrowed slightly, her motherly instincts kicking in. She knew her daughter well enough to know when she was hiding something. And right now, Mi-Rae was definitely hiding something. Mi-Rae would never use her friend as an excuse for anything, especially one so vague. “Is that so?” Eun-ji asked, her voice gentle. She moved closer to Mi-Rae, her hand reaching out to gently tuck a loose strand of silky hair behind her daughter's ear. “And is there a particular reason why Lily-Rose wants to go to the rink?”

Mi-Rae's cheeks flushed a deep red, her eyes still firmly fixed on the floor by Glacie. “It’s the hockey game today. She wants to support the Horsemen.” Mi-Rae fired quickly, before fixing her flushed expression. Clearing her throat, she raised her head in the direction she thought Hanna was still sitting in. “Hanna, come. I need you to drop me and Lily-Rose off. Ty can handle the shop now.”

Hanna had paid no mind to her concerned mother, instead her ears listening only to the low vibrations from her headset. She did not even register Eun-ji cleaning her up as she had done so many times as both a child and an adult. Her dark eyes scanned the ones and zeros of her beloved code and her fingers furiously typed away until Mi-Rae had closed the door behind her, a perfect match to the middle Kang hitting the final stroke of the final key of her coding. “Yes yeodongsaeng.” She said giddily, a rare show kid emotion from the robot girl.

Reminiscent of some kind of uncoiling snake, Hanna shifted her long, lithe body forward slowly in a slither until her hands were touching the floor of the bakery. With her still touching the counter, she pushed herself onward into a forward roll until she sprang up in front of her little sister and her special dog with a special job. She was far less graceful in her movements than Mi-Rae but that hadn’t stopped her from being approached several times to join idol groups in their native Korea. Her parents had entertained the idea, Hanna had already forgotten the question.

“I must test out VAL’s new predictive play function!”

Eun-ji watched as Hanna uncoiled herself from the counter, her movements fluid and oddly graceful in their own way. She couldn't help but smile at the sight, her heart swelling with a mother's love. Hanna was a whirlwind of brilliance and unpredictability, a force of nature that Eun-ji could only marvel at.

Her gaze then shifted to Mi-Rae, her youngest, her ice princess. Mi-Rae was a study in contrasts to her siblings - graceful where Hanna was abrupt, reserved where Ty was assertive. Yet, she was just as remarkable in her own way. Her dedication to her figure skating was inspiring even after her vision loss, and Eun-ji could see the fire of determination in her eyes. Mi-Rae was quiet, yes, but she was also strong, her spirit as unyielding as the ice she danced on. She was not easy to get along with, a peculiar trait that seemed to plague all her children, leaving Eun-ji to wonder where she had gone wrong.

And then there was her Tae-Geun, her creative masterpiece where Hanna was the family genius. Eun-ji's heart ached with pride as she thought of him. He was a force to be reckoned with in the kitchen, his talent undeniable. His journey from a quiet, introspective child to a confident, assertive young man had been a remarkable one. Despite his prickly exterior, Eun-ji knew that Ty was still that little boy who loved to create, to bring joy to others through his culinary masterpieces. Maybe one day he would find someone that could nurture and support the creativity in him, but Eun-ji was willing to wait.

Eun-ji shook her head, a fond smile playing on her lips as she watched Mi-Rae leave the store, Hanna's excited chatter about VAL's new function following her out the door. Her children were all so different, yet each one was special in their own way. They were her pride, her joy, her heart.

“VAL,” Eun-ji called out, her voice echoing in the now quiet store. The system lit up, functional thanks to Hanna’s earlier tinkering. “Call Tae-Geun. It's time to get back to work.” And with that, she turned back to the chaos of the shop, ready to tackle the next challenge. After all, she was a Kang, and Kangs never backed down.

In Edenridge 11 mos ago Forum: Casual Roleplay
TIMESTAMP: Tuesday, July 21st || Afternoon
ft. Cadence Levine & Cameron Hyde
Flashback set following The Devil All The Time
Present set following Thank You, Chef

Friday, June 4, 2021

She said her name was Cadence.

There was something mildly entertaining but somewhat sad watching her run for a Greyhound bus that was always going to leave her behind. The heavy New England downpour was drowning her and she most certainly wasn’t dressed for the weather. She was just passing through or at least that’s what she said. Visiting a friend for the weekend and then heading back to college even though they were still in the throes of summer.

He had no ill intention when he climbed into that cab with Cady offering to split the fare. Yet now as she watched her pretty hazel eyes fill up with tears and rain water, he knew he had to do something. The hunger was striking at Cameron’s gut like a sharp knife. He needed to satiate his appetite lest the fever, the rage take hold. He cracked his neck to alleviate the aching for violence in his bones and leaned his head out of the car.

“Hey!” He called. “Hop back in here. You’ll catch your death out there!”

Hyde diverted the cab back into Edenridge and across the barren Carlisle train tracks that hadn’t had a single locomotive on it since the lonesome death of a small girl nearly twenty years ago. With the taxi barrelling towards Chestnut, the devil looked at his new companion, he had offered her and she had accepted his jacket over her bare shoulders. Her skin was glistening crystalline as the June sun tried to penetrate the black clouds above them. Cameron's cold ocean deep glare fell into hers and the way she looked back, Cadence was inviting him.

He invited her into his workshop in return once they had arrived at his grandfather's pride and joy. “I’m sorry. It’s not much.” Cam began as he shook off some of the heavy rain water and made his way to the small kitchen. He would allow her to wait until her next bus, maybe give her some dry clothes, not that he owned that many clothes anyway. He was fresh out of prison after all. “I'm in the midst of a refurb and it’s taking a lot longer than I expected. You want a coffee or anything?”

Cadence had only hesitated for a moment when she had accepted Cameron’s offer to share a ride. The weather wasn’t letting up any time soon and she wasn’t nearly familiar enough with the public transport system into Edenridge to know how long she would have sat miserable in the rain.

Cadence couldn't help but be drawn to Cameron's rugged good looks. His reddish-blonde hair, cropped short, gave him an effortlessly stylish appearance that she found captivating. His piercing blue eyes seemed to hold a depth that hinted at a complex storm of thoughts she longed to explore and uncover. Cameron's tall stature, standing at an impressive six feet that towered over her frame, and his strong, well-built body exuded confidence and made her feel secure in his presence. And his sharp, chiseled features that perfectly complemented his intense gaze could send any heart racing. Cady found herself increasingly captivated by Cameron's physical presence, a physical attraction for sure that Cadence was more than happy to indulge in.

Arriving at the McMahon Woodshop wasn’t exactly what she had expected when she had agreed to share the taxi with Cameron, but then again, she didn't know what to expect from the mysterious man. She shivered, feeling the chill of her wet clothes clinging to her skin, and decided that accepting his offer was the most sensible option.

“That’s so sweet, thank you.” Cady said, grateful for his kindness. “A coffee would be great.”

Cady used the brief moment of solitary to text Devika a quick explanation to her delay, assuring her that she’d text again when she was nearer. Only after that, when she put her phone away, did start exploring the Woodshop out of curiosity. Old projects and takeout trash were strewn about the room, fitting for a bachelor pad at the very least. She’d seen worse back at the frat houses. “You’re refurbishing everything yourself?” She asked.

As expected, she began to drink in her surroundings. No doubt looking for tell tale signs of red flags that would announce a lack of safety. She wouldn’t find any. He knew better. “Yeah. It was my Grandfather’s place but he died a while back and it sat empty. No one wanted it so I took it back.” As he poured the freshly brewed coffee into some mugs, Cameron thought of the grandfather he just spoke of. More specifically he remembered the way that he looked at him. He did not reminisce fondly on Lawrence McMahon’s icy cold stare. He had known early on and preached as such to Hyde’s mother that something wasn’t right with her son. When compared to his cousins, whom Cameron had not seen in years, there was always something off.

Hyde emerged from the kitchen holding two mugs and he couldn’t help but stare at her. Cadence really was a radiant beauty. The way the rain had forced her dress to cling to her body, it showed all of her curves. With every passing glance she offered him, it worsened his appetite. It made him want more. Cameron would not hide that he was looking at her. There was no point because how could he not look when she looked like that? She had beckoned him with her eyes, the way she pursed her lips to speak to him. Maybe she was hungry too? “There’s a bus timetable in the back room, on the dresser.” He said as he handed the young woman her piping hot coffee. “Some clean clothes, some towels too if you want to get changed and dry yourself off.”

Cady took the mug from Cameron, her fingers brushing against his for a brief moment, sending a jolt of electricity through her. She looked up at him, her hazel eyes sparkling with a playful glint. “Thanks, Cameron. You're really a lifesaver,” she said, taking a careful sip of the hot coffee after gently blowing away some of the piping heat, allowing the warmth to spread through her cold body.

As she stood there, the rain-drenched dress clinging to her curves, she could feel Cameron's gaze on her. She wasn't oblivious to the effect she had on him, and she found herself enjoying the attention. It had been a while since she had felt the thrill of flirtation and the undeniable chemistry between them was hard to resist.

“You know,” Cady began, her voice teasing and light, “it's not every day you meet a handsome stranger who's kind enough to take you in from the rain and offer you coffee.” She took another sip, her eyes never leaving his. “I guess I'm just lucky.” Nothing wrong with some harmless flirting with your hot saviour, right? And she was feeling so awfully cold…

She set the mug down on a nearby table and slowly walked towards the back room, feeling Cameron's eyes following her every step. “I'll just take you up on that offer to freshen up, if you don't mind,” she said, her tone playful yet suggestive. Devi would understand the delay; she’d rolled up late to rehearsals many times looking like a disheveled mess. “I'll only be a moment.”

With a coy smile, Cady disappeared into the back room, leaving Cameron with the lingering warmth of her presence and the anticipation of what might unfold between them.

She was teasing him now. She had cottoned on to the game he had started and she was willing to play too. Cameron liked that. He liked her. He watched her perfectly proportioned hips sway in her walk away. Obviously she was doing it on purpose, a silent but not subtle call for him to stare, to take in the view like a sun kissed horizon across the sea. Cadence didn’t know that she was sailing towards the edge of the map and at the bottom of that fall there be monsters.

Hyde placed his mug down onto the counter next to hers and slowly walked around the bar and into the back private area. He could see as he stalked the short hall that the bedroom door was ajar. As he reached it, Cameron placed his hands upon either side of the frame as he steadied himself. Through the gap, those damned blue eyes watched as Cadence peeled off her dress. She wasn’t scouring or searching through his drawers. If she was planning on wearing something of his, a girl like her, so well put together, she would’ve picked the outfit first before disrobing. She wanted him to see. Her skin glistened from the damp of the rain, which had provided the soundtrack to their game.

Cameron found himself pushing the door open further and stepping into the room, deathly silent. He did not utter a single word as he strode up behind the captivating young woman and gently ran his fingernails down both of her arms. He caught Cady’s gaze in his own inside of the mirror she stood before. Those hazel eyes were begging him, pleading with him to satiate the ravenous hunger inside of her. The same hunger that was eating away at him as well. Cameron breathed deeply by her ear, taking in Cadence’s scent like the prey that she was.

Cady's heart raced as Cameron approached, his presence filling the room. She hadn't anticipated his boldness, but the thrill of the unexpected only added to her excitement. As his fingers trailed down her arms, she shivered, both from the lingering cold and from the intensity of their connection. She held his gaze in the mirror, her hazel eyes meeting his icy blue ones, a silent invitation to continue.

Feeling his breath by her ear, Cady closed her eyes for a moment, soaking in the sensation of being so close to him. When she opened them again, her expression was a mix of vulnerability and desire. Turning to face Cameron, she reached up and gently touched his cheek, her fingers brushing against the skin there.

She only hesitated for a moment before leaning in and initiating a kiss that was tender at first, but quickly deepened as their passion took hold.

The hunger inside her grew stronger, her body responding to his touch; eager, desperate, longing for more. As they kissed, she allowed herself to be consumed by the intensity of the moment, the outside world and her obligations fading away as she surrendered to the primal, fervent connection she shared with Cameron.

Tuesday, July 21st, 2021

The past month had flown by in a whirlwind of passion and intrigue. Cady found herself drawn to Cameron time and time again, their conversations deepening as they discovered their shared love for theater. It was a side of him that she hadn't anticipated, but one that only made her more eager to spend time with him. When her mother had told her she couldn't make it to the theater group’s next big production: The Importance Of Being Ernest by Oscar Wilde; Cady knew exactly who she wanted to invite in her place.

Now, as they stood backstage at Boston College's theater, Cady couldn't contain her excitement. The place was buzzing with energy, the anticipation of opening night’s approaching date electrifying the air. Her heart swelled with pride as she guided Cameron through the labyrinth of props, set pieces, and costumes, eager to share this part of her world with him.

“This is where the magic happens,” she said, her voice flirty and enthusiastic. “Over here, we have the costume department, where they make us look fabulous every night.” She gestured to the racks of intricate garments, each one carefully crafted to bring the characters to life.

Cady led Cameron further into the backstage area, her eyes sparkling with excitement as she showed him the various set pieces and props. She couldn't help but brush against him occasionally, her touch light but intentional, a reminder of their growing intimacy.

As they reached the stage, Cady turned to Cameron with a mischievous smile. “And this,” she said, spreading her arms wide, “is where the magic truly comes to life.” The stage was lit by the soft glow of the work lights, a hint of the spectacle that would soon unfold. Cady stepped closer to Cameron, her voice lowering to a sultry whisper. “I'm so glad you could be here with me tonight, to share in the excitement and the passion that goes into every production.” She looked up at him, her eyes full of warmth and desire. “It means the world to me.”

She couldn't help but wonder what he thought of it all, this world that was so dear to her. Would he be as captivated by the theater as she was? Would he see the beauty in the art, the way it brought people together, the way it made her heart soar?

In Cadence, Cameron had found something different, something he hadn't really anticipated. Jesse James was part of the plan. His plan. He genuinely liked her but at the end of the day she was a means to an end. Aleyda made his blood boil in both the wrong and right ways. He was a kid when they got together and when they combined to make the beautiful blonde baby boy that she so viciously hid away from him. Cady was a different beast. In her, he thought he had found a sheep. Someone who could satiate his fever when it became too great to ignore. Someone who would help keep the demons at bay as he tried to reunite his family. Instead he was finding that she was a wolf in sheep’s clothing, hiding not just in plain sight but under the bright lights of the theater.

It was now his personal mission to bring the wolf out from the woods to devour the town.

He wasn’t surprised when, after dropping JJ at her parents house, he got a call from Cadence to join her in Boston. It was an easy drive considering most of the town was consumed by the latest letter scandal. That was some nonsense if ever he had heard it. Eden had much bigger problems than a few words on the printed page. He sat in the dark as Cady practiced on the stage and only made his presence known at her crescendo. How could Hyde willingly break such a wonderful performance. When she spotted him, she leapt down and ran into his arms like a widow into the arms of a lost love. She was enthralled and addicted, just the way she should be.

“I wouldn’t miss it for the world. Wild horses couldn’t keep me away from this face.” Cameron pushed a strand of blonde hair from her cheek and tucked it behind her ear. “I didn’t see Romi on stage during rehearsal. I thought she was playing lead?”

Cadence couldn't help but blush under Cameron's gaze, her heart fluttering at his touch. Cameron stopping by was the perfect opportunity for her to show off her space, the magic. She knew she had him wrapped around her finger, the way he came at her single call, and she couldn't deny that she was entirely wrapped around him just the same. There was no other surprise like Cameron dropping by during her rehearsals that could get her nearly as excited… well, aside from…

“Oh, Romi,” She said with a mix of concern and excitement, her voice dropping to a conspiratorial whisper. “You won't believe what happened. She had an accident, poor thing. She fell down some stairs the other night. She was drunk and it was dark. Totally unavoidable. Caused her to sprain her ankle too. She's going to be out of commission for at least a couple of weeks.” And with opening night right around the corner… there wasn’t enough time for Romi to return and take back her role.

Cady paused, her eyes dancing with the thrill of the opportunity that had unexpectedly fallen into her lap. She felt terrible, of course, given the circumstances. But this was finally her chance to prove her skills to her professors; Romi always had to take the lead and her money and good looks often got her the roles she wanted. It wasn't fair but... Cadence wasn't particularly saddened by the switch. “Which means,” she continued, her voice barely containing her excitement, “that I get to step into the lead role of Gwendolen Fairfax! Even when Romi returns!”

“Babe, that's amazing!” Cameron cupped her face and felt the vibrations in her skin. Cady was ecstatic and it reverberated off of every fiber of her being. Of course he knew exactly what happened to Romi. As soon as Cadence had told him that the girl was the star of the show and was rubbing it in everyone’s faces, Hyde knew exactly what needed to be done. It was easy feeding Romi the booze, she was a college girl, she was down to party. He didn’t even have to push her down the stairs, all he had to do was turn out the lights and let nature weed out the weak. That said, Cameron did take great pleasure in stamping on her ankle immediately after and blaming a fallen grandfather clock.

“Darling Lady Fairfax.” The devil himself bowed his head with a mock english accent. “I hope you have not been leading a double life, pretending to be wicked and being good all the time. That would be hypocrisy.” Despite all hazards and appearances, Cameron did enjoy the theater. Behind the mask of sanity that he wore and beneath the volcanic rage bubbling under the surface, the art of the stage was something he appreciated more than most. By all accounts, his mother had been a drama student at Eden and had all the potential in the world. Even when he was a child, in the rare days of good that she had between bipolar breakdowns, she would take what little money she had and they would attend whatever show they could afford. It wasn’t perfect but it was something.

“You’re gonna kill it.”

Cady, as Lady Fairfax, fluttered her lashes playfully and replied in a practiced posh English accent, “Oh, my dear Mr. Worthing, I assure you I have only ever been wicked when absolutely necessary.” She grinned cheekily before her expression softened, her eyes brimming with gratitude.

“Thank you, Cameron,” she said sincerely, her voice returning to its natural cadence. “Your support means everything to me. I don't know if I could do it without you cheering me on.” Because, really, who else did she have in her corner? Her friends, of course; but most of them were already part of the play in some form or the other. Her mother was too busy and the last time she’d talked to her father was when she was six, a month after her birthday. No uncles, aunts, grandparents. All alone in Boston. But not anymore. “You know,” she began, her tone turning flirty and coy, “I just so happen to have a pair of tickets to the opening night show. My mother won't be able to make it, unfortunately. But I would be absolutely delighted if you'd be my guest. It would make the night all the more special.”

She batted her eyes again, rosy lips forming a little pout as she leaned into Cameron’s body. “What do you say?” she asked, her eyes sparkling with hope and anticipation as she picked up the posh accent again. “Will you join me for a night of wicked indulgence and scintillating wit, dear Sir?”

“When you put it like that?” Cameron’s hands traced down her beautiful body, sliding down her back until they had reached her hips where he pulled her tightly towards him. “How could I say no?” This was a power play by Cady. She wanted to show him off to the world, mark her territory, claim him as hers in the eyes of the beholders. He couldn’t have that, at least not yet. There were still way too many moving parts in the game to prevent him from making his next move with her. Though he did want to see the show and Cadence did say she had a couple of tickets. Perhaps there was a move to be made here after all?

The Devil’s hands are idle playthings, so he moved one back up and took a hold of Cady’s chin with a firm grip. He held her face in his grasp, staring into her beautiful hazel eyes and tracking every contour of her face. Their month together and done enough to quell his wicked desires for the most part, yet they were still there, niggling in the back of his brain, screaming in the distance to ruin her. Between his finger tips, Hyde could feel Cadence’ heart racing, beating rapidly for him. It was a tell tale sign that he had learned to use to his advantage. She was his. She had given herself willingly to the one person, she most definitely shouldn’t have. “Your little heart is fluttering. You really are excited.”

Cady's heart did indeed race beneath Cameron's touch, her excitement at the prospect of having him in the audience for her big night nearly overwhelming. She wanted him there, wanted him to witness her shine as part of the principal cast.

“Yes,” she admitted, her voice barely more than a whisper as she met his intense gaze. “I am excited, Cameron. Excited about the play, about having you there with me, about everything.” She revealed, truthfully. Cady knew that there was something dangerous about the connection they shared, something that threatened to consume her whole. The sharp glint in his blue eyes said what Cameron's intoxicating lips couldn't. But she couldn't deny that the very thrill made her feel alive, made her feel seen and desired in a way that she had never experienced before.

As she stood there, her heart pounding in her chest, Cady made a silent vow to herself. She would hold on to this feeling, this wild and exhilarating energy that coursed through her veins, and channel it into her performance. She would give the audience a night to remember, and she would show Cameron just how captivating she could be, both on and off the stage. For him, and for her audience.

“All I can hope,” she murmured, her voice soft and full of longing, “is that you're as excited about all of this as I am.”

Obsession. Cameron had learned very quickly that it was a driving force behind much of Cadence’s being. Like him, she came from a broken home and from that came the desire, the unrelenting need to be wanted and loved. She was also a performer to the highest degree, a vocation in which the sole purpose is to be loved for what you are doing. Cady’s obsession was extending to him, to feel his love, to be validated by him and supported unconditionally. She might secretly be a wolf like him and she was making it clear that she was a part of his pack.

Cameron didn’t say a word before he brought his lips crashing into hers once again. He poured a great amount of feeling into their deep embrace. He wanted to fill Cadence up with more of the same addictive energy that she had been welling up inside her since their first meeting. It was easy to plant the seed in her heart and mind that he was hers and he knew that with each passing day together that she was fostering the belief that she was his. Cady was utterly devoted and worshiped wholeheartedly at his Church.

As their lips met in a passionate, searing kiss, Cadence's heart soared with a wild, unbridled hope. She felt as though she was on the precipice of something monumental, a new chapter in her life that promised thrilling adventures and unforgettable experiences. With Cameron by her side, she felt invincible, as though they could conquer the world together. And in that moment, she believed that they truly could.

But beneath the surface of their burgeoning love, there lingered a sinister undercurrent, a dark whisper in the shadows that threatened to undo them both. It was a force that remained hidden, biding its time, waiting for the perfect moment to strike and ensnare them in its deadly embrace. For now, however, Cady chose to focus on the hope that bloomed within her, the fire that burned brightly in her chest. She would hold onto that feeling for as long as she could, even as the darkness crept ever closer, threatening to close in around them.
In Edenridge 12 mos ago Forum: Casual Roleplay
TIMESTAMP: Day 2, Afternoon. After the events of Chap. 2
ft. The Navarro Sisters – Dalisay “Daisy” Navarro & Nadine “Nadie” Navarro

The flight from Manila International Airport to Boston Logan was neither a cheap nor a short flight. Stuck in a metal can over 30,000 feet in the air for well over 24 hours was nobody’s idea of a good time, least of all for Dalisay Navarro.

What should have been a good summer after completing a grueling year of the Intarmed programme with the University of Philippines Manila, Daisy didn’t expect to be woken up in the middle of her first week of summer vacation at 10:30am (pretty annoying when you adapt to the night owl schedule college students tend to fall back on) from her sobbing mother.

“Ang iyong ama ay namamatay. Pinatay nila siya!”

Reymond Guilalas was a notorious over-worker. After arriving in Edenridge with his wife back in the early 00’s, Reymond set out to provide for his family by any means necessary. He put his medical biology degree to good use, offering himself to Edenridge National Lab to help make ends meet for his young family. Daisy barely remembered a time where he wasn’t working, often returning home well into the night and leaving early in the morning to head right back to work. It was almost like her father was a stranger.

And now, for his near two decades of service? A stroke induced by the stress he had been dealing with at work. Mother had been a tad dramatic in the way she’d called Daisy that night to share the news, but it had been enough to shake her awake.

She could have lost her father.

“Hellooo, space cadet? We’ve arrived!”

The impatient voice of the Uber driver tore Daisy out of her thoughts. No longer was she in the tin can in the sky, but a tin can on the road in front of the apartment complex she had once grown up in. She looked from the old brick building to the driver’s face staring her down from his rear view mirror. He had been waiting a while, yikes. “Shit- sorry, I’ll get out now.” Her voice barely audible over the sound of frantic scrambling to grab her travel cardigan and carry-on backpack on her way out of the car. The Uber driver didn’t even leave the car as he opened the boot from inside, allowing Daisy to grab her luggage from inside. “Thanks!” She shouted as she shut the boot, only receiving a single hand raise in acknowledgement before the Honda Civic pulled out of the street.

Inside the brick building of Pleasantview Apartments, on the fourth floor, in room 410, Nadine Navarro, the older sister of Daisy, was cooking up a storm. She hadn’t had a reason to go this hard since before their mother decided to move to the Philippines and take Daisy with her. She wanted to welcome her sister with the smell of home and to ease her worry of their dad’s health. He was fine, just tired and old. Papa Guilalas was currently sleeping in his room, finally on leave from work, which was something Nadie would be more forceful about when he fully recovered. He absolutely had to use his vacation and sick days. No job was worth dying for.

Champorado (sweet rice porridge) for breakfast done, sitting on low heat, and bulalo for lunch, which was already in the process of being prepared since it takes an awful amount of patience to make. As the beef sat and boiled, she cut the green onions and hummed to herself the ending song of Angel Beats, Ichiban no Takaramono. The cut cobs, the onions, the cabbage, the bok choy were all in their own bowls scattered on the counter. She didn’t want to play music on the speakers because she didn’t want to disturb her father nor did she want to wear her headphones so she could catch her sister’s arrival. As much as she loved to jam, she got easily distracted. The only times she could hyper focus was when she was gaming but when she did anything else? She had to make sure that the only thing grabbing her attention was the task at hand. Right now that task would be cooking.

While she cooked, she thought back to the days gone by, her highschool days, where things seemed so much more simpler. Nadie had her gaming group, the Smile Gremlin squad, she had her studies — and ongoing academic rivalry with Ross Takahashi — and she had her family. Now that she was older, her life consisted of not pursuing any of her dreams but instead taking care of her father and helping run the business her mother left behind. In comparison to Daisy, who was able to go to college and focus on herself, Nadine chose to put her life on hold, for the family. She was twenty two and the expectations that the town had of her, as the valedictorian of the class of 2018, were not being met. Her year was full of brilliant people, like Han-Na Kang, Reagan Ramsey, and Seo-Jun Choi. And as much as she hated to admit it, Ross too, so her being picked as the valedictorian was a long fought battle but she did it and she did it with pride. Her greatest achievement was being the one to speak during graduation, when there were much louder voices than her’s in her year, like Maxine James (rest in peace), Aleyda Gonzalez, and Bronagh Milligan. Bigger personalities. Regardless of how remarkably strong her class was either with big brains, big attitudes, or big butts, this was her time to shine and instill hope in her peers, igniting a fire in their souls. She did that for everyone but herself.

From there, there was a gradual fall of the Navarro family where her mother and father would bicker more and more each day. Nadine only spent a year at Ivy League until she was pulled back home and asked if she wanted to stay or go. Turns out a kid shooting up her highschool would be the catalyst to her family, her mother finally deciding she no longer wanted any part of Edenrdige. Daisy was seventeen at the time and had no choice but to go. Nadine however was not and decided to stay in America, with her dad. Her relationship with her mother had been bumpy ever since because not only did Nadine decide to put her future on pause, taking a break from school, to be there for her dad, who was awful at taking care of himself when he wasn’t at work, but she chose him over her mother. This was her choice. Her burden to bear. She hadn’t been back to school since.

Perking up at the sound of buzzing, Nadine placed the knife down on the cutting board and ambled her way to the intercom system. She pressed a button to verify the visitor, “Hello? Daisy, is that you?”

“Nadie! Hi! Yes, it’s me, hi again!” Daisy’s voice buzzed through the intercom. When she heard the familiar hum of the main door opening, Daisy began the process of heaving her luggage through the front doors of Pleasantview apartments and up to the third floor where her old childhood apartment waited.

By the time Daisy crossed the threshold between the hallway and through the front door of her apartment, she was feeling the exhaustion. From the flight to the Uber that hurt her wallet, she was ready to nap. Except, Daisy knew her nose, and she knew her sister. The smell of various veg as well as the sweet smell of chocolate and cinnamon invigorated her tired body. She would last just long enough to devour her sweet sister’s handiwork before crashing, Daisy decided.

“Boy am I glad to see you,” Daisy dropped her luggage by the door to approach her sister and engulf her in a warm hug. “You wouldn’t believe what I was made to eat on the flight. The torture! Please tell me my nose and eyes aren’t hallucinating and we have good food here.” Daisy sniffled dramatically.

“You know me,” Nadie winked at her sister. Instinctively, she grabbed Daisy’s luggage and carried it to her room that hadn’t been touched since half of the family left for the Philippines. Dad didn’t have the heart to change anything, not even for an office or a workspace. The only thing that changed in the apartment really was Nadie’s gaming rig. “Champorado is already ready. You can have some before your nap, and then by the time you wake up the bulalo will be done. Just preparing everything right now.” Pushing Daisy’s old room door open, she continued, “I was thinking of making cinnamon buns too. I don’t have anything scheduled till my stream tonight so I have time to kill.” Back in the kitchen, her anime playlist switched to the opening for Ouran Highschool Host Club, Sakura Kiss.

When she placed Daisy’s bags down on the firmly made bed, she snapped her finger, “Oh that reminds me.” Nadine turned to her sister and gave a small, exhausted smile. There were bags under her eyes which meant that the once upon a Valedictorian hadn’t gotten good sleep for who knows how long. Gaming never really impacted her sleep schedule. Daisy would know if anything was keeping her sister up, it was her restless mind. “Adam’s here. Your… Fred? Is that right? You’re Daphne, Roddy is Shaggy, Kylee is Velma…??” It’s been awhile since the Scoobies were a group of four. There wasn’t a reason to mention them until now with her sister being here. It was unfortunate that Roddy had left though. If only Daisy had come a month earlier. “He works at Beau’s cafe. He wasn’t in today so it’s probably his day off. He’s been here for like a month I think. You should see if he and Kylee are free tonight. Kylee probably could use some normalcy after the events that happened this morning.”

“You’re the best, Nadie,” Daisy hummed along to the song, vibing to her favourite anime track as she inspected Nadine’s cooking. As always, it was delicious and her mouth was drooling from anticipation. Surely that nap could wait, right? A heavy blink was enough to remind her that no, being awake for over 24 hours running on caffeine was not a ‘normal’ thing to do. Unless you were a college student. Or a gamer. Or NEET. “An angel gracing us from the heavens to soothe our gentle heart- no, stomach in this case, shit.” There was something about home that brought out Daisy’s dramatic flair, the theatre kid in her ready to make everything into a show for the laughs.

“Adam? You mean THE Adam Callahan? Mr Poof one day like me?” Daisy blinked in surprise. Granted, Daisy was whisked away barely a month after the senior year tragedy after Mrs Navarro caused a huge stink about the lack of safety procedures put in place by the school. About not ‘dealing with that Decker kid sooner’. But, if there even was a silver lining in this fucked up scenario, at least Daisy had gotten the chance to say goodbye to Roddy and Kylee. Adam never did. “Something’s in the air for all us Scooby gang to reunite like this. Maybe that explains why I’ve been seeing a lot of activity in the ex drama chat. Something about that Cleary girl from my year confessing on Dawn Patrol that she was the one seeing David? Devi and Pres were live text-reacting to it. They lost their minds.” Kylee always had an inkling for a good story. If something was going down, Kye was sure to follow with her detective logic, like the perfect incarnation of Velma.

“Yeah, the Adam Callahan, though I don’t know the details. Never been tight with him like you were.” Walking away from Daisy’s bed, Nadine rested her hand on her sister’s shoulder, giving it a tight squeeze, “I’m glad to have you back. I just hope you don’t regret your decision,” the older sister frowned at the thought that Daisy escaped and was returning to hell, for the sake of family. Nadie was given the option but she couldn’t leave her dad like that. She loved him too much and if it weren’t for her, he would’ve had a stroke sooner. “Maybe you coming back is just what this town needs, seeing how ghosts are coming out of their graves to haunt us. First Allison, now David. I can’t help but think this is only going to get worse… but I’m sure Kylee is trying to find who has Decker’s journal. You should help her and not worry so much about dad and the cleaning business. I got it. Enjoy being back, be with your friends, and,” she paused and playfully booped her sister’s nose, “solve this fucked up mystery.”

Daisy pulled her sister into a warm hug, leaning against Nadine’s shoulder to provide her with the same level of comfort that Nadie gives her. “I didn’t want you to handle it alone.” Nadine was always like that - the level headed one in the family that just got on with life. She was the smart one, the one with so much promise, yet their mom never seemed to accept that Nadine simply had a mind of her own. No matter what, the two women were always on opposite ends and Daisy always felt the pinprick of guilt in the pit of her stomach when she’d remember the times she’d try to be the bridge between them. Usually to no avail.

“I’ll help Kye, definitely. But I’m also here for you, don’t forget that, okay? I’m all grown up now, I can help.” Daisy then pulled away from the hug before it got too emotional. She would blabber too much and Daisy was not prepared to embarrass herself in the first 10 minutes of the reunion with her sister. It was clear in the last two years it wasn’t just Daisy that had changed, but the whole town seemed to have progressed without her. With Adam back, wild Gossip Girl like secrets being spilled, mousy cheerleaders owning up to their crazy romances and a polyamorous sextet including her sex fiend football teammate, Daisy had a lot to catch up on with Nadie and Kylee.

“Now, what’s this about some letters? Apparently nobody thought to send them over to the Philippines so I only have Preston’s version of events to go off of.”

“The short version is that someone has Charlie Decker’s journal and that boy was as sad as they come. Seeing things he probably shouldn’t. It only just started happening last month. Dear David was a red herring. Jamie O’Hara liked the impact of the Allison incident so she decided to force Cece’s hand and try to clean her brother’s name.” With furrowed eyebrows, strained at the nonsense this town was, Nadie played with her hair, reliving the day when the first set flooded everyone’s mailboxes. She continued, “The first batch of letters revealed perfect Allison had a drug problem and was scared to graduate, knowing damn well her best years were over. Similar to how David drank his failures away and it got him killed. She died in her best friend’s arms. Oh, and no one talks about the fact that Allison was screwing her best friend’s lover but maybe it’s because he’s the Kingsnake. Iunno. Anyways, whoever has Charlie’s journal hasn’t made a second strike yet but it’s still out there and I have this gut feeling this is only the beginning.”

“Did I step into an episode of Jerry Springer? I swear not everyone had a terrible secret like this. Seriously, hooking up with your best friend’s man. Disloyalty right there when you remember how much Vivia worshiped Allison.” The girls were never far from each other, as to be expected from close best friends. Even Daisy was never too far from Preston or Kylee and Roddy when she was still attending Edenridge High. Daisy clicked her tongue in disappointment. Messy mess all around. “What about you Nadie, got a deep dark secret you want off your chest? Before we get a letter in the mailbox about you next?” Daisy nudged her sister's side playfully, hoping to keep things light. Nadie was good, she looked well. Daisy only hoped she was feeling it too.

“God, I wish,” Nadine half joked. Her life was dull and like clockwork. The only interesting thing she had going for her in school was her feud with Ross. “You should unpack and rest,” the older girl dismissively responded, rolling her eyes at Daisy’s playful antics. Gesturing to the luggage waiting on the bed, Nadie concluded, marking the end of their first interaction, “I need to finish cooking anyways.” Pulling her sister once more in a tight embrace, Nadie kissed Daisy’s cheek and smiled, “it’s good to have you back, sis.” It was clear Nadie wasn’t one to talk openly about herself. You had to catch her at a good moment. Daisy returning home and coming from the airport wasn’t one of those moments.

Daisy hugged her sister back, enjoying this moment of sisterhood after missing it for three long years. “Fine then, keep your secrets. I’ll take bribery in food.” Finally pulling away, Daisy looked at her luggage with disdain, as though a simple look would unpack everything for her (it didn’t). She wanted to push some more, playfully banter with Nadie and just have one night of peace before-


Daisy looked at her phone, seeing three messages from her mom still back in the Philippines. Likely having guessed that Daisy had arrived from the airport by now. She swiped the message away, ignoring that growing knaw of anxiety building up from the reminder of the reason she was here in the first place - her father. Who was still recovering away in the next room over.

“I gotta text Ky and get this scoop about Adam anyway.” Daisy said, ushering Nadine out of her room so she could finally distract herself with salacious texts and boring unpacking.
TIMESTAMP: Day 2, Afternoon. After the events of Chap. 2
ft. Monisha “Momo” Kumari & Faye Lu


It was always pancakes.

Faye often did her best not to think back to her childhood. When she did, even if she tried to think only of the handful of positive moments that existed, they were overgrown by vines and peeled away to unleash another moment drowned in her fathers darkness. She remembered free days, they came only once a month, where the girls of Garden could do whatever they wanted and act like actual children for the briefest of whispers.

Faye remembered one such day, fifteen years ago. She was nine and on that day, she found Anya being torn to shreds by one of those older sisters and the Matron. After the tirade and the tiny Russian was left alone, the inquisitive fox girl took her hand and led her to the kitchen. Faye asked Anya what she would like for breakfast and they would make it together. It was the first time that she had ever had pancakes and every free day since, the two girls made them together. No matter how often they fought, whether they were ok speaking terms or not, on a free day, they made pancakes.

So of course, that morning, their first together in a while, they made some beautiful and fluffy goodness before Faye left her sister to her life. She stopped by her new safe house for some fresh clothes before heading to the home of her current lover, Monisha Kumari, her Momo. It was a strange feeling for the Kitsune to try and be comfortable with someone but she was trying. She had seen Anya with that blonde girl, the way her sister looked at her. Faye wanted that. She wanted to feel and be human. It was a mountain that she had to trek in bare feet.

She didn’t know how Daddy chose the girls and what they were trained to do. Some, like Anya, were chosen for pure violence, to be the right hand of God. Then others, like Faye, were selected to be ghosts of people. To adopt identities, to gather information and to be anybody but themselves and act accordingly. The young Asian woman never had any real idea who she was anyway, so maybe that was why? She had killed. She had been killed. She had fought and she had fucked all in the quest of making sure her Daddy was always on top. The mission came first. Momo was not a mission. Momo was not an assignment. Momo was a history teacher and she was Faye’s gateway out of the garden and into the rest of the world,

Entering the house they shared, the fox-girl slipped off her shoes and crept silently through the hallway until she reached the living room, where her Momo sat in her own world. “Peak-a-boo.”

Monisha never had a sense of belonging. Shriya, her younger sister, had always been emotionally stronger than her. She had the motivation to pursue her goals, to not accept crap from anyone, and to be proud of herself without ever disrespecting her values. Riri was prospering and had created her own flourishing business in such a short period of time, it was hard not to be impressed. Even among Momo's own group of friends, she frequently struggled to blend in. Allison was stunning and endearing. JJ had such spirit, and Vivia had such brightness that Allison's decision to surround herself with enigmatic figures like Viv and JJ made sense.

What ever could Momo offer? She lacked Allison's vivacity, Riri's humour, Vivia's charm, and JJ's bubbliness. Hell, it had taken Momo a lot of courage to stray from her planned path of following her father into medicine. Devaj was pleased when at six, young Momo proclaimed she wanted to do "neeno surgery" like her father. Although he had never pressed her into pursuing medicine, she was aware that he was happy with her decision. And being the people-pleaser she is, Momo dutifully followed with the plan.

Until Allison died.

Bright, perfect Allison with so much ahead of her. Dead by overdose.

Did she have any regrets? Did she lay there, choking on her spit, thinking about the what-ifs. Anything she wished to have done differently? Did she want to live?

Then, Momo's group of friends splintered apart. Given the circumstances—Vivia was a shadow of herself—and the fact that JJ was practically gone, Momo did her best to continue. After Allison's death, she had phoned Vivia frequently in an effort to retain some sense of normalcy by spending time together. But Momo felt like she could never say the right thing. The glimmer from Vivia's eyes was gone and Momo couldn’t do anything to help her.

Life is simply too short to bear this much suffering. To think about the what-ifs and fear the future. So, Momo dropped the bombshell on her father that following summer, that she hadn’t applied for pre-med but was planning on pursuing History at university. The bookish Momo whose heart sang and imaginations ran wild when she had her nose dug deep into a history text book, knew that her passions truly and firmly lied in the past. With the dead and gone. Momo ignored the flicker of disappointment in Devaj’s eyes upon hearing her change of plans, instead focusing on the smiles on Riri and her mother’s faces instead.

She promised herself that everything would be okay. She would take inspiration from the bright women around her and follow in the way her heart led her.

And right now, all her beating heart could notice was Faye entering their shared apartment.

“I see you,” Momo smiled. She never repressed her smile around Faye. It was simply impossible to hide her joy around her. Momo placed her notebook on the table—all containing future class notes for the incoming semester in late August. “Where did you go? You were gone when I woke up.” It wasn’t an uncommon thing to happen. Faye was far more active than Momo given her status as the new Edenridge cheer coach.

Faye let her grin cover her face as she caught Monisha’s look with her own. They had met by chance. When she was a girl in the orphanage, little Faye’s favourite hiding place was the library. It was a monstrous room and she often found herself between pages in the history section, reading books back to back whilst she waited for the Matron to lock her in the hole for her behaviour. When she had matured, Faye liked to speak to people who enjoyed history to learn more, it was one of the few things she had in her life that was not controlled by Daddy. She had been friendly with the history teacher at Edenridge High when she was told he was being replaced. Of course, she wasn’t a great lover of that idea so she killed him there and then, garrotting him on his doorstep, before going to the home of his replacement, who just so happened to be Monisha.

Upon watching the young woman, Faye was enamoured and intrigued. She had seen Anya with her girl at the diner and wanted to feel the same way, maybe Monisha could be that? It was then she decided to try and arrange for them to meet at a bookstore. Fast forward and now they were living together in bliss or at least what bliss was described as in books. Faye was still struggling to understand whatever was going on in her soul. The Garden did not plant seeds of empathy in the hearts of the girls there.

The Kitsune jumped over the couch and landed perfectly in a straddle on her Momo’s lap, smiling widely at her beauty and caressing her face. She leaned in and inhaled Monisha’s lips into her own. She kissed the dark skinned woman passionately, giving herself to the history teacher as much as she could. After the kiss was broken, Faye leaned back slightly, resting her hand on Momo’s collarbone. “Well, I went to go see my sister.”

Allowing Faye to fully rest her weight against Momo’s body, the Indian girl shifted so she sank more comfortably against the back of the couch, angling her head up to give Faye access to her neck. Tracing her fingers against her Chand’s hand, Momo whispered. “I’m here to listen, if you want to share what is in that pretty head of yours.” Momo knew that Faye’s experience back in the Orphanage hadn’t been the best, but her love for her sister born out of their shared trauma had pulled her through. Momo never pushed Faye beyond what she was willing to offer, Momo was prepared to wait an eternity for her.

“She seems happy.” Faye lamented. There had never been a fixed number of girls in the orphanage. They were constantly in and out of the Garden. Some were adopted. Some died. Some became one of the daughters. Faye had seen many come and go with Anya and a handful of others being the few constants. “That frightens me.” The truth of the matter was, Anya falling in love was breaking a thousand of daddy’s rules. Faye didn’t know whether she herself had yet crossed that line but Anya definitely had. As talented as the Basilisk was and as natural at the game of blood as she was, she was still but a soldier, like Faye and their sisters.

“When we were girls, she was so delicate, so quiet. You know we used to share a bed?” The fox girl mused with a small smile. “She would get scared easy and jump into mine with me. I’d have to hold her until she fell asleep. She’s changed a lot. I just worry that somewhere in there that little girl is still scared and might make a mistake she can’t take back.” To anyone, Faye’s words would sound like a concerned big sister, worried her sibling was entering into a relationship they weren’t ready for. For a daughter of the garden, it meant that she was worried her father would have her killed. “Does that make me crazy? To worry for her?”

“No, it absolutely does not. You care for her.” Momo responded with conviction. “Family protects family. And you’ve always been the one to look out for her. It must be hard to break that view of your sister still being little.” Momo smiled gently, her fingers lacing with Faye’s. It always helped Momo feel grounded and she wanted to share the comfort with Faye. “When Riri and I were younger, our amma would sing us to sleep for the longest time. A lori that passed from her mother, coming from her own mother. It always comforted us, especially when I would have nightmares.” Momo shared lowly, feeling the warmth from Faye's hands envelop her. “But when appa got sick, she had to stop. So, I started singing for Riri. Not that it was great, Riri asked me to stop soon enough, but you get the idea.” Momo began laughing at the memory of Riri’s little face crumpling unpleasantly.

“The point is, a big sister never stops caring. She never stops thinking about how to help her little sister. That is our nature. And when you grow up feeling like the protector, you never stop seeing her as the little girl that climbed in your bed and held your hand till she fell asleep.” Momo reached up and planted a soft kiss against the corner of Faye’s mouth. “In your gut, do you think she’s doing something wrong? Something that will get her into trouble?”

Momo’s smile was infectious. Faye’s lips curled up as she stared into her beautiful brown eyes. “I honestly don’t know.” There was the first lie of the day. Kitsune were trickster Gods, creatures of mischief and deception. Faye wasn’t able to tell Monisha every truth, she couldn’t or dare she risk the same wrath of her father that Anya would surely face. Half truths were the best and safest bet. She could get lucky, the Russian was one of if not Daddy’s favourite. He might allow Anya to have a life or perhaps send a new sister whom the Basilisk could handle easily. Then again, for those exact same reasons he could send some like the Morrigan. God she really hoped not. The Morrigan was terrifying.

She has to change the subject lest she get lost in the lies. “You all set for the start of school? I know if I had a teacher like you I would definitely pay more attention in class.” Faye leaned forward and slipped her hands down Monisha’s toned body as she began to gently kiss her neck. “Though I might try to sleep with you for an A.”

Monisha laughed and nodded at once, a light, airy laugh that seemed to travel the air between them. A laugh of no stress, no worries. She noticed Faye changing the subject, but decided against commenting on it. “I have no doubt you’d be my favourite student if you’re actually as prudent as you claim.” Momo brushed her nose against Faye’s cheek, poking her playfully. “Luckily it doesn’t come down to that though, this place has had enough scandals to do with inappropriate relationships, I’m glad I don’t have to add a forbidden teacher-student romance to the list.”

Momo let go of Faye’s hand, instead brushing her fingers through Faye’s luscious dark hair. “Your hair is so beautiful,” She commented automatically, before an idea crossed her mind. “Do you prefer your hair to be long?”

Faye stopped kissing Monisha and leaned a little back so that Momo could continue to play with her hair. She loved when her lover did that. It was kink. “I prefer it any length that you can pull.” She purred as she sank her hips deep against her Momo. Faye didn’t know whether what she felt for Monisha was real or if it was her own way of trying to invent some normalcy for her life. There were too many variables that she could not fathom. She didn’t even know if love was even real but for Monisha’s sake, she really hoped it was. “Why babe?”

Momo’s dark cheeks warmed considerably as indecent thoughts started running through her mind like a beautiful slideshow. She experimentally pulled at the strands of hair her fingers were running through, watching Faye’s reaction carefully. “Ah, well,” She had to clear the husk away from her throat to continue speaking. “If you’d like, I can give you an Ayurvedic head massage? I was reading up on it last night and thought maybe…?” Her words drifted away as she thought of an excuse. Really, all Momo wanted to do was take away Faye’s worries the same way a single touch from Faye could do for her. The head massage should help, and the added bonus of stimulating hair growth was certainly not unpleasant. “Maybe you’ll like it?”

Faye had never heard of what Momo was proposing but this wouldn’t be the first thing like this she had mentioned. Monisha had a whole wealth of knowledge that Faye couldn’t even fathom. “As long as we get naked and I can kiss you while we do it? You can do whatever the hell you want to me.” She giggled playfully as she kissed her Momo once more. The petite Asian ran her tongue over the lips of her history school teacher, grasping at the bottom of her shirt with a feverish want. “You want to kiss me right?”

Momo breathed out in shuddering pants, as though her body entirely forgot how to function with that one kiss. Her grip grew tighter in Faye’s hair, pulling more intentionally so Momo would have access to her jawline. She kissed down the Asian woman’s jaw, nipping at the pulsepoint in her feverish attempt to tease the foxy seductress before bringing their lips together in a bruising kiss. “That, and so much more,” Momo admitted breathlessly, pulling away long enough to whisper her desire against Faye’s lips. Perhaps they could make do without the hair oil. Momo couldn’t trust her legs to carry her to the kitchen to warm the oil. Instead, her fingers continued running through Faye’s hair, intermittently switching between massaging her scalp and playing with her hair just the way she loved it.

Faye could help but moan at Momo’s kiss. She had slept with many men and women in her young life. That was her assignment. What in her childhood told her Daddy that seduction, enticement and information theft was to be her vocation she didn’t know. What she did know was that no one touched her, kissed her, brought fire to her body like Monisha Kumari. Faye grabbed Momo’s wrists and pulled them away from her hair. With her fox-like smirk, she slapped the dark skinned beauty’s hands against her backside and jumped in excitement. “Yeah the massage can wait.” Her voice was light and playful. Reaching down she lifted off her top to expose her body before leaning forward and nipping at Monisha’s small pierced ear. “Tell me you want me.”

“I need you.” The Indian beauty squeezed her lover close to her body till there was no space between them remaining. She rose towards Faye’s breaths, seeking herself in the seductress’ embrace till they were united as one. Momo knew that she was Faye’s, in body and spirit. If Faye ever asked, Momo would surrender herself each and every time at her altar just to see her smile, to see her writhe against her in bliss. It wasn’t a want, Faye was a need and in that moment she indulged in her passion. Momo kissed Faye with deep longing, her mind intoxicated by the taste and feel of her lover in her arms. Their bodies moved together like a soulful dance, their mouths singing each other's names in an unholy hymn of passion.
FT: Poppy James & Aiyana Summerhill
Introducing: Cheyenne Summerhill & Odina Summerhill



Aiyana Summerhill had transferred the last of the wood Pavati chopped this morning to their organized pile. After rinsing her hands off from the old western water pump, she made her way to her other sisters. Pavati had already left for the day, likely taking a stop to eat breakfast with her friend before driving to Edenridge National Laboratory. They all had their own routine they followed. That’s just how they functioned as a unit. Chores, breakfast with each other or with their friends, and then their own personal day-to-day tasks.

Yana wore khaki shorts, a white tank tucked, and ankle working combat boots. Most of the time, she didn’t work until the sun was setting so she used her free time helping where she could or visiting Edenridge to see the Ossos or Jamie, or if Reagan and Riri were in town, the whole Royal Flush Gang. She kept herself busy but that’s because she knew if she didn’t, she’d get severely depressed. That’s how she’s always been. A curious, energetic and smart girl who could never sit still. Pavati would get frustrated trying to braid her hair when they were little. Reagan had to forcibly instill patience in her wandering brain. It’s been an ongoing battle even to this day. Really, Jamie was the most understanding when it came to her wanderlust and even showed her ways to explore it, like through stories and art.

Approaching the patio of her father’s cabin, where Cheyenne and Odina sat, who were finished with their morning chores too, Yana stretched, reaching as high as she could to the blaring sun peeking through the branches and leaves. This small retreat, in between the ranches and the heart of the reservation, was their little slice of heaven they called home. Sadly more often than not, their father was never around. He was a restless soul, who lived by the seat of his pants, which meant his four daughters had to turn to others like their uncle, Chief Coldwind, for guidance.

Even with her small victories, like becoming the manager at Blue Sun’s Hotel & Gambling Hall, Yana wasn’t satisfied with her life. To be honest, she believed she’d never be satisfied in this life. If she spoke what was true in her soul, it was painfully obvious she was mind boggling bored, lost without a compass and empty as a bird’s nest in December on the inside. At least to her sisters, they believed, no they knew she was meant for something more. That the reservation, as much as they all loved it, was holding her back from her true purpose. Pouring herself a jar of freshly squeezed lemonade, thanks to Odina, she sat on the available rocking chair and took a ginger sip. Holding her jar in both hands, she smiled, inserting herself in her siblings’ conversation, “Dad’s coming home today.”

“How much do you want to bet we’ll be seeing a surprise when he does?” Cheyenne responded coarsely. Her father was just that: a parent in blood only. Chief Coldwind was a better father than Big Bear ever could be to her or her sisters. She dropped herself beside Yana, on her lap was her discarded textbook on loan from Astrid McCarthy and her firm. Cheyenne, for as long as she could remember, wanted to pursue law. Perhaps she was inspired by the plights her people faced their whole lives; wanting to offer them a stage to use their voice. Perhaps she was moved by the struggles her people endured during their entire lives and wanted to provide them a platform to express themselves. Maybe it was the financial benefits that came with such a career. Most likely, it was both. She was only going into her first year at law school now, but that never stopped her from working as a desk clerk then moving onto an assistant position with Astrid in preparation for her application to Boston University School of Law. “It’s been a while since he’s surprised us.” She looked at Odina, unable to hide her teasing smile.

“Hardy har har.” Odina leaned back in her chair and glanced out at the woods laid out before them. She was the youngest Summerhill…that they knew of. She was at least the youngest that Big Bear had brought home from his many adventures. “Let’s be honest, he probably doesn’t even have it in him any more.” She said in quiet hope. Odina probably shared the least of her father’s visage. She was definitely more like her mother, sharing most of her Hawaiian features and was also bigger in more ways than one in comparison to the rest of her siblings who all looked like supermodels. Fixing the straps of her sweet summer dress, Odina let out a small yawn. She had left the Longhouse early after the band had finished its set. Unlike her bandmates, she preferred a quiet night in. “Maybe we should surprise him?” The youngest Bear Cub mused. “Let’s change our name to Coldwind!”

“Our surname is just a word. A word that only has meaning because we give it value,” Aiyana rocked in her chair with her eyes closed, listening to the birds and the bees, and all the things that made their home serene and peaceful. Pavati didn’t have the same plight as they did. Pava’s mother, Matoaka, was still around as a nurse practitioner, trying to encourage the younger folks to get employment outside the reservation. Sustaining a stable life on the Res was not easy. There was a 50 to 70 percent unemployment rate in most reservations, which was one of many problems Native Americans faced.

Regardless of their hardships, while Matoaka was still around, Pava was more her child than his, which is why she was a Huaman and not a Summerhill. Though, the elder woman wasn’t the malevolent type and did give her daughter the option when she was a teen to change it. Pava chose to keep her name as is, likely because deep down, their eldest sister was a hopeless romantic and if she ever found her special someone, her surname would become his.

Summerhill was just a word.

A word they associated with their father.

“When is his boat getting here anyway? I wonder if I should greet him…” Aiyana was speaking to the air mostly as she rocked back and forth. Unlike Odina and Chey, Yana wasn’t angry at her father. She missed him, sure, but she felt like she understood where he was coming from and why he needed to leave, time and time again. Maybe life was easier to deal with if she didn’t hate her father. Who knows. She still loved him. She just wished he was here more. They all wished he was here more.

“Let me check.” Odina lifted her phone off of the nearby table and scrolled through the messages. Tena preaching about the girl she slept with. Ryan’s drunk speech was always hilarious. Heather trying to bite back on the venom on her tongue. Then she got to her last message from their father. “Here it is.” Her deep chocolate eyes scanned its contents before reading it verbatim to her siblings. “Storm delaying us. Should dock in the morning around nine or ten in the AM. Love all you girls. Tell Uncle Chris to do a beer run. Captain Costigan confiscated my liquor.” She placed the phone back down onto the table and sighed. “If you do want to greet him, you should try and catch Pava. She’ll be heading to Eden soon.”

If not Summerhill, what would she be? Cheyenne’s mind started wandering as she considered Odina and Yana’s conversation. The thought to change her name never crossed her mind, believing the name being her only connection to the reservation. Her and Yana’s birth mother had abandoned them shortly after Cheyenne was born, leaving the babes at the mercy of the Chief while Big Bear explored to his heart’s content, so choosing her mother’s name was out of the question. Really, Pava was more of a mother than her birth mother ever was. “I guess I’ll go see him too, gotta remind the old man what his daughters look like sometimes.” Cheyenne said with no heat behind her words, only the corner of her lips upturned like she’d made a funny joke.

Yana’s eyes shot open when she heard a branch crack. She searched the trees until she caught sight of a pale girl with a summer dress on, strolling down the dirt path that led to town. She looked familiar. “…Penelope? Penelope James, is that you?” She called out, not caring if the girl wanted to socialize or not.

Holding the sides of her dress, scrunching it in her hands, Poppy diverted from the path to approach the girl that was calling her. It was one of Reagan’s friends. Aiyana. Hard to not know her face when Reagan was the Supreme after Allison’s passing. Aiyana was near the top of the school pyramid because of Mei’s sister. Popular. “Hi, yeah… it’s me,” she stumbled on her words as she surveyed the other girls she was less familiar with.

“What brings you to Blue Hill? This is a first,” Yana sat up, placing her lemonade on the table near her.

Brushing her long dark hair behind her ear, the thin James girl replied, “I, uh, needed to meet someone.”

“Mitena, I’m assuming,” Yana bluntly assumed, before explaining, “I saw you briefly last night when I picked Odina up from the Longhouse. This is Odina, by the way, and Cheyenne,” Aiyana pointed to each girl as she said their names. “My sisters.”

Cheyenne raised her hand in a lazy wave as she regarded Poppy with part curiosity, and part pity. The girl’s life had been dragged through the mud by Charlie’s final act of despair; it was hard not to know of her even if Chey herself had never met the girl. “You know Mitena?” Cheyenne asked.

When introduced by her sister, Odina offered the stranger a bright Island smile and a delicate wave. Unlike her siblings, beyond their fathers port of return, the youngest Bear cub didn’t have any connection to Edenridge. Like Mitena, the girl her sisters were discussing, Odina got her education in Salem. She had only ever visited Eden when her father left or returned from yet another adventure.

Gazing at the pale, ghostly spirit that emerged from the woods, she couldn’t help but note just how small she was. Odina was two of Penelope James put together and then some. This brought her back to her previous thought of changing her name. It had become commonplace to refer to the Summerhill girls as the most beautiful women on the Rez, it was just a fact. Yet Odina never felt that way, she never felt like her sisters. In truth, Summerhill shouldn’t even be their name. Summerhill was where they were, the very cabin they now sat in; that was Summerhill. Bear took its name when he built it before his first great adventure and the birth of Pava. He always said, he didn’t know what lay in his future but he knew that whatever it was could shame their respected family. Thus Bear Coldwind became Bear Summerhill. Maybe he had the right idea?

Snapping back from her daze, Odina returned her attention to the newcomer. She looked like the legends always described Esther Carlisle, especially her emerald eyes. For a moment, she wondered if the ghostlike girl really was a ghost.

“Barely,” Poppy admitted, twiddling with her fingers as she observed the other girls enjoying their morning breakfast. “I came here to find her, to get some questions answered but I ended up…” The white girl diverted her gaze and looked toward her feet, ashamed of how she acted at the picnic table earlier today. “I need to clear my head so I can have a proper conversation with her not clouded by emotion.”

“Hm, I see,” Yana grabbed an empty jar off the table, as well as the pitcher, and poured a glass. When it was filled, she lifted it up and beckoned Penelope, “Freshly squeezed, if you want some.” Aiyana wasn’t one to pry, if Poppy wanted to talk she’d let her bridge the conversation or let her sisters take the lead but it sounded like she needed kindness more than anything right now. Her visage, as beautiful as it is, was dressed in hopelessness, self doubt, and pain. Poppy had a darkness hovering over her. A shadow that never left her side. A ghost. “I promise it isn’t poisoned,” she teased.

“If you don’t mind?” Poppy hesitated to walk up the stairs to the porch.

“We don’t,” Aiyana answered for the three of them before offering, “Once you’re done with that, we can walk with you. We need to go that way anyways.”

It was typical of Yana to take charge when Pava wasn’t around. She was the second oldest after all and despite her claims otherwise, she was not a shy wallflower. The group she associated herself with in Edenridge, the Royal Flush Gang she called them, were anything but shy from what Odina had heard. “Yeah; you see the thing about Rez life is that we all rise at like 5am, do our chores and then go off to whatever town we work in to actually make a living. Chey has to drive into Boston! What a trooper!” She always worshiped her older sister's drive and ambition. “Did you just walk down from Uncle Chris’ ranch?”

Poppy nodded, answering through action and word, “I did. The Chief has been very kind to me since I’ve been here. I’m actually staying at Adora’s place with a couple of friends. Mordechai’s been here way back when, when his brother was alive, and that’s where he usually stays,” Poppy bit her cheek when her honesty came out with ease, feeling like this wasn’t the time or place to talk about Decky’s dead brother. Taking a sip of the lemonade, she smiled to herself. It was refreshing and perfectly balanced. Very good on this warm summer morning. “Uncle, you said?” Poppy had registered what Odina had mentioned. These girls — including Aiyana, one of Reagan’s closest confidants — were the Chief’s nieces. That was pretty neat to be related to the person who keeps the village going and running smoothly.

Ryan, Aiyana, Chey, Odina.

The Chief had such a beautiful family and Poppy knew she was lucky to have made their acquaintance. Naturally kind people. Something that’s hard to decrypt in her hometown where half of the population have a secret they’d do savory things to protect, where there were just as many bad people as there were good, and where nothing was as it seems. Unless you had innate instincts and were in tune spiritually, an empath one might say, navigating through the many faces of Edenridge was like solving a complicated puzzle where every piece had a motive. Edenridge aside, the Chief’s family were ridiculously attractive. Maybe Poppy had a type.

“Mm, Big Bear - our father - is the Chief's brother. I wouldn't believe it either with how flighty Dad is when Uncle Chris is so... grounded? Complete and total opposites.” The Chief had always been a warm figure in the Summerhill children's lives, always offering a comforting smile and a terrible dad joke to lift their spirits when things would get too hard. “At least they both share a wonderful talent for telling stories. Can't help but hang on to every word they speak.” Where Big Bear's stories were often about his travels, feeding Yana's wanderlust, Chief Chris always had the perfect parable to help you see sense.

Odina’s guilty pleasure had always been listening to her father. She knew that in his own way, Bear loved his girls, in spite of her teasing the contrary. Unfortunately, he could not satiate his desire for adventure by asking about the boys and girls his kids were dating and the mundane careers they had chosen. He needed a journey, the destination never really mattered as long as the open ocean or road lay before him. Odina missed her Dad but she had accepted that his love was with them but his heart was not.

“If you’re going to catch up with Pava, you better get a move on. She’ll be leaving soon and then you’ll miss Dad.”

“Yes!” Aiyana hopped up off the rocking chair, leaving her drink behind. The excitement showed, like a little girl waiting for her father to come back from the military. Yana was always a daddy’s girl, even if he wasn’t present for most of her and her sisters’ lives. “Chey you still coming? And Odina, will you clean up, pwease?” The free-spirited one of the three had already left their side, not waiting for a response, and was standing on the dirt path, being as impatient as ever.

“Penelope, maybe one day you’ll meet our father! He really is full of stories, I’m sure you’d love them.” She watched the white girl in a playful manner, which only caused Poppy to smile. Aiyana was childish, which wasn’t something Poppy expected. All Poppy saw was how intimidating the Royal Flush Gang was as a unit but to see Yana in her element, fully comfortable and at peace, surrounded by family, that was admirable. That warmed her heart.

“Yeah, yeah, I’m coming. Someone needs to be there to make dad sweat.” Where Yana was the sweet puppy waiting for their father to get home and Odina sweet but tolerating, Cheyenne often welcomed Big Bear back with grief. Cheyenne stood up from her seat, resisting the urge to groan as the weight of the textbook on her lap was lifted, leaving a sore mark on her skin where the spine of the book had dug into her flesh by the hem of her shorts.

Cheyenne turned to face the ghostly girl, raising a hand in a lazy wave as the other held the textbook beneath her armpit. “We’re going to find Pavati and head to the docks. You should join us, Penelope. I hope maybe you’ll find what it is you're looking for.” It was obvious to even the blind that darkness plagued the girl, and Cheyenne wanted nothing more than to see it gone for Poppy's own sake. Peace, such a thing to fight for. Cheyenne soon joined Yana on the dirt path, ready to go meet their father again. Was she a little bit excited? Maybe. Would she ever admit it? Never.

”Oh it’s fine. You girls go have fun, I’ll just keep the cabin clean. Not like there’s any scary monsters or wild animals lurking in these woods.” Odina rolled her eyes playfully as she watched her sisters get up to join the stranger on her walk. “Fat kid always dies first in these movies.” She blew a kiss from her full lips towards her siblings. The reality was Odina was still lagging on some chores and sometimes the peace and quiet away from her sisters was a bit of a blessing. She turned her gaze towards Poppy and offered her a bright smile. “Let the Great Spirit guide you across open waters and lead you to the land you seek… God, I’m starting to sound like uncle Chris. Go. Now. All of you before I start making Dad jokes.”

Penelope frowned when the beautiful girl called herself fat. Her sisters seemed to barely notice, which meant this was a normal occurrence for them, hearing their littlest sister talk ill about herself. “Okay, thanks. Until we meet again?” Poppy’s gaze softened as she met Odina's dark brown eyes in a hopeful manner. The reservation was something she never knew she needed but here she was walking from destination to destination meeting all kinds of people. Kind people. She really liked this place. If only Charlie had told her about it, or Mordechai even… then she would’ve found it sooner.

“Come on, Pavati is a woman on a mission, like all the time. The moment she finishes her sandwich with Fallon, she books it.”

Cheyenne almost groaned at the reminder of how boring Pava leads her life. There was a difference between working to live and living to work. Pava did nothing but live and breathe her work. As much as Chey loved her sister’s passion for… work, it was boring. “A woman on a mission straight to her death bed, no stops for anything except work. At least dad has fun on his travels, Pava just works.” Cheyenne complained. “She should take notes from Adora and get some good dicking down, maybe then she’ll be like how she used to be back in high school.”

“Well in highschool, she did have someone,” Yana looked around as if she could feel her older sister’s eyes glaring at her even if she was nowhere near them. “Maybe a good dick is just what she needs! Which might be easy for her to get, if she took a break.”

Poppy watched as the two girls talked about their eldest sister getting laid. She was given a glimpse of the day to day life of the Summerhill girls and was amused by their banter and natural exchange. Unfortunately, she didn’t remember who Pavati was or if she ever met her in Edenridge but she couldn’t wait to meet her. Everyone so far at the reservation was interesting, vibrant, and full of life.

It was refreshing to say the least.

She liked being here.
TIMESTAMP: Day 2, the morning of the time skip
ft. Indira Rossi & Owen Quinn

Indira couldn’t deny it, but the best thing following an impromptu pizza party evening was waking up to cold pizza for breakfast. Sitting on the dining table while feasting on her morning breakfast with one hand, the other busy scrolling through her Instagram feed with practiced ease. Some familiar faces showed up often: Bronagh Milligan, Amity Lyon and Gigi Blake; her sisters from other misters, besties and thottie social media collaborators. Indie showed her support for her girls with likes and comments with an obnoxious amount of heart eye and drooling emojis, no doubt swept away amongst the many other thirsty comments under their beautifully risque pictures.

The pizza and mindless social media scrolling could only distract her thoughts for so long before her mind would return last night’s call with Vivia. She was relieved that Bella had been able to take her in, but the fact that Vivia’s mental health was left unchecked for so long was a no go. Perhaps it was a bit of her own guilt talking, having not reached out to the Belmonte bombshell in a while herself, but the least she could do was be there for her now.

Indie switched over to her messaging app, not having to hunt for Bella’s name as it was her last chat she’d had before passing out from the pizza coma she’d gone into thanks to Ely.

girlie, i’ll bring some beaubucks soon, any requests? xx

She stared at the phone intently, as though trying to manifest a response from Bella. She had been so preoccupied with her phone and manifesting that Indie had missed the sound of the bedroom door opening.

Owen preferred not to sleep at home. There were too many Quinn’s, not enough rooms and a whole lot of crazy. Sometimes he did wonder if he may have been secretly adopted considering just how different he was to his siblings and father. The Quinn’s were a harras of wild stallions, galloping across the open Irish moor, unbowed and unafraid of what hardships may come their way. Owen did not feel like them in many ways. He wanted to rise above his station, the right way. He wanted to graft, work hard and provide a life for those he loved in an honest fashion. Yet he spent most of his time pulling his siblings out of fires and covering up their mistakes through his own duress.

The brightest spot in his clouded life sat munching on cold pizza on top of the dining table. Indie sat there, sun illuminating her in all her glory and Owen had to force his jaw closed so it didn’t hit the floor. He had loved her from the moment he first saw her but he had her to make a move, if he ever would. He wasn’t good enough for a girl like her. He was a Quinn, he was born scum and would die scum. Still, when he was with Indira, he felt like the king of a golden castle. She made him feel that way, like he was the most important person in the room. Her heart shined bright and made everyone around her do the same.

With a smile on his face, the boxer gently closed the door behind him before taking a step deeper into the kitchen. “Am I still dreaming cos I see an Angel eating the last of my meat lovers?”

“What can I say, this angel loves her some meat.” The innuendo did not get lost amongst the friends. The longer she hung out with the thottie gang, the more comfortable she felt flirting with people around her. Owen was the easiest to flirt with, making her feel like some kind of Casanova capable of sweeping him off his feet. Not that she would, he was too good for her. Too sweet. She had baggage she had to unpack and she couldn't expect Owen to fix her. No matter what her Bollywood movies told her.

“I've left you a slice, and made some coffee for you.” She slid the mug gently across the table top in Owen’s direction. “Just so I can still claim that angelic status.”

“I’ll never claim you’re anything but an angel.” Owen reached out for the plain black coffee that his Indira had made for him. She knew better than to destroy the deep dark flavor of his morning nectar. The fighter found out very early that he liked his coffee to punch him in the face. He needed to be alert all the time, he never knew when he’d get a call to go bust one of the Quinn’s out of a jail of their own making.

Owen’s gaze drifted up and around Indie sat on her perch. The morning post storm light that came beaming through the windows only illuminated the beauty that had enthralled him from a young age. With her soft exotic features, those deep brown eyes and gentle kindness that one felt instantly in their soul, how could he not be crazy about her? Like he said, Quinn’s had a habit of making their own jails. Owen’s trapped in a prison of fear and of cowardice. He could take a beating, he could go twelve rounds and he could fight tooth and nail to get what he wanted yet he couldn’t find that same strength and intestinal fortitude to tell Indira Rossi that he had been madly in love with her ever since he first met her gaze.

After taking a sip from his coffee, Owen placed both hands onto the mug, sliding his body towards and briefly pressing against Indie’s. “Have you spoken to your family? Dani and Sonya stay out of the storm?”

“Yeah, thankfully. Both ma and didi were at work so they skipped the worst of it. Hm, I should make some dinner plans with them soon, it’s been a while since I’ve made ma’s carbonara. Oh, speaking of her carbonara, we’re out of eggs. And cheese. We- I, should tell Els that before I forget-” She raised her phone again to look for Ely’s name in her text messaging history before shooting off a quick reminder. It was mostly for Indie’s benefit, there were way too many times she’d forgotten to tell Ely that their eggs or milk had gone off in the fridge only to complain to Ely about it that very evening.

After a pause, Indie faced Owen, her eyes lingering on Owen’s grip on his mug. “Have you-” She cleared her throat, her voice pitched higher than she had expected. Must be the pizza. “Have you got any plans today?”

Owen’s eyes tried to hide the fact that he was drinking in his friend's beauty with every passing second. At this point his deep feeling for her was an open secret to everyone but Indira herself. The boxer just never knew the right time and place to admit to her how he felt. To look at them in their element, always touching, always together, to anyone not a stranger they would appear as any normal loving couple. He tried to focus on her question. Did he have any plans today? He wasn’t working at the cleaning place today and he wasn’t in training for the squared circle at the present time so, realistically the quietest Quinn was free as a bird like in that Skynyrd song his father loved so much. And he would most definitely jump at the chance to spend the day with Indie.

“Nah I’m free. My next shift with Navarro isn’t until tomorrow. What do you got in mind?”

If there was a constant with Owen, it was his intensity. There was always a look in his eyes, his mind always seemingly running with some thought or the other. Indira always found his expressions fascinating to watch. The storm in his dark, ocean eyes always held back by his calm demeanor. It reminded her of Maxine, both being the grounding rock in Indira’s life. Neither allowing her to stray too far from the ground.

Truth be told, it was akin to addiction whenever Owen would direct that intensity towards her. The look in his eyes set the blood beneath her skin on fire. She never wanted to lose that feeling. If it made her a terrible person, so be it. She was never one to share what was hers.

“The plan today is to check up on Viv and Bella. Viv didn’t look really well on Facetime last night and I don’t like it.” When Indira’s phone buzzed with a response from the dark haired beauty, her screen lighting up with a picture of herself, Owen and Ely, she lifted her screen to show the notification to Owen. “Got an order for some Beaubucks first we gotta pick up if you’re down to join me?”

“I mean you need my van so of course I’ll join you.” Owen could feel Indie’s eyes on him and it made his heart race like a greyhound. He raised his coffee to his lips and downed some more of the black tar. He didn’t know Viv or Bella that well if at all really. Scott Street was not really his scene behind the fact he cleaned most of their pools on a Thursday afternoon. He did, however, know the late Allison Davies. A sore spot whenever brought up. She was one of the few to reach out to the Southie boy when he turned up to be their slave for the day. Many had pondered on the nature of their friendship and Owen had always professed not innocence but privacy. He did not want to speak for the dead when he barely struggled to string words together for himself. “When do you wanna leave?”

Indie barely looked down at her (watchless) wrist when she chirped, “How ‘bout now?” With the crust of the pizza forgotten - a feat on par with Indie, she slid out of her seat and stretched her muscles. She was already dressed for the day, having taken a selfie in the morning light and posting it to her Instagram story first thing after getting dressed to take advantage of the early glow rising through the apartment window. “No time to waste. Seize the day. Capra diem. Hasta la vista? Chop chop! You get the gist!” She stood by him, rocking on the balls of her feet from excitement.

She was so adorable when she was excited and Indie found excitement in even the most mundane of things, like a coffee run to Rochambeau. Owen wished that he could see the word the same way as his beloved but despite the struggles her family faced, and face them they did, they weren’t Southies. They weren’t borderline destitute and taking on short cons and resorting to petty crimes just to keep a roof over their heads. Owen was striving, swimming against the tide of his worse self and trying to be better than that. He was trying to be a good man, a man that Indira deserved.

Indie looked summery in her yellow dress. It seemed to be her super power to make the easiest of items look amazing…or maybe she just looked amazing? Either way, Owen suffered the same problem that he always did, he couldn’t keep his eyes off of her. He lifted his mug to lips and polished off his half full cup of coffee very quickly before putting the empty beaker in the sink. After slipping his feet into the shoes that sat nearby, Owen picked up the keys to his van from the loop by the door and wiggled them to signify his readiness. “Your chariot awaits princess.”

Princess, she liked that nickname very much. It was one she’d see often enough on her Instagram feed, but it never felt impactful by any means. Hell, it would only take her a few minutes to find an uncle from rural India to be wowed by her beauty enough to call her a Rajasthani rani. Would the uncle be correct? Yes, of course. But that still wouldn’t make her feel as giggly and flustered as when Owen would call her a princess.

As she walked past Owen, she mimicked the motion of blowing him a kiss, adding a wink on top just to sweeten the deal. “I’ve also updated my playlist so I hope you’re ready to blast some more Rico Nunez. My hot girl summer playlist was seriously lacking ‘til I found him.”

Fuck Rico. That guy had been everywhere over the last twelve months. Every station in New England was carrying his songs. The first time Owen heard the Latin Lothario’s soft jams, he was into it. Then they played again, and again, and again. Still, if Indie was a fan then for all intents and purposes, so was he. Hell, he would be his number one fan if it meant more time with Indira. ”I mean I can’t lie, Sur del Cielo is a fucking bop.” Owen placed his hand on the small of his beloved's back as he guided her out of the apartments. He wasn’t sure what the brand new day would bring for him and Indie but if they were together, then no matter the good or bad, they could seize it.

”Another day in paradise.”
Introducing: Indira "Indie" Rossi, with her friends Elysia "Ely" Fable and Owen Quinn

@Aewin @LovelyComplex @BrutalBx
TIMESTAMP: Sometime after 10 PM

A dream is a wish your heart makes…

The kids at Edenridge Elementary had voted for Cinderella as the fairytale fundraising show. It made sense because it made them believe no matter the hardship, their dreams could come true. The proceeds would go to additional classroom supplies, as well as pay for extracurricular activities. There was a severe educational budget cut before the school year of 2015-2016 so both teachers and students were struggling. Maxine James knew there was a need in the community and she wanted to help in the only way she knew how. Through a fundraiser.

Humming to a song of a perfect storybook, Maxine, coy and embarrassed, stared into a vanity backstage of the Silverlight Theater, looking at her reflection. Her face, while painted beautifully, was covered with shame and guilt. She was wearing a gorgeous, light blue tulle gown, compliments to her best friends. For the moment, she was taking a breather before she had to go back out and do the famous on the steps of the palace glass slipper scene. When she looked at herself, she saw a peasant in princess clothing and she knew the girl that should be wearing this dress wasn’t the girl she was looking at. The girl that should be wearing this dress was…

“Can you get that camera out of my face, please?” Maxine looked through the mirror at the caramel beauty excitably watching her reapply the shimmer blush on her cheeks. God, she felt like a clown. Theater was so dramatic and somehow everyone wanted her to be the leading lady because ‘wouldn’t it be cool if a southie stood in the spotlight’? Grimacing at the thought of Emerald Eye, the local community theater troupe, choosing her over the girl that wanted the role more, Maxine tried her best to push the voice inside her head to the backburner. The voice that told her she wasn’t meant for this world. Placing her makeup brush down, she turned to the girl with the phone in her hand and exasperatedly grumbled, “I feel stupid.”

“But Maxie!” There was a cry from behind the camera visible from the vanity. Indira Rossi stood with her iPhone panned directly facing Maxine, dressed in a comically large blue robe with its hood pulled down to reveal a sparkly plastic tiara secured to a dark mop of curled hair. “That’s my bestie you’re talking about, be careful before I bippity-boppity-whoop you for saying that.” Indie made a face that was an attempt at being threatening, but all she managed to do was look like she was smelling something rather unpleasant.

Which, considering the material of the robe… she might just be. Polyester never did sit right on her skin anyway. There was a grunt of displeasure before the camera moved to the vanity, the phone setting against the mirror to keep recording the girls as Indie started readjusting the oversized robe. As the fairy godmother, she had taken many liberties in an attempt to salvage her costume like using the large pinkish red bow that would have usually sat around her neck to tie around her waist and cinch in the excess blue fabric. The tiara had also been another creative attempt she had taken to feel even remotely cute, seemingly doing its job to add to her confidence.

“Seriously though, you look stunning babes. Blue was literally made for you.” Indie added, in an attempt to lessen Maxine’s discomfort.

Adjusting her posture when her friend stood behind her, Maxine grabbed a strand of her hair (most of it was in an easy but elegant updo) and twirled it around her finger to bring out the curl. Locking her attention with the other girl, those wistful blue-green eyes intently fixed on Indie’s glowing smile, the eldest James daughter twinkled, “You think so?” Carefully, she released her strand of hair and watched it bounce from her finger. In a hopeful manner, she brought her eyes back to her reflection, as she modified her shoulder straps to drop and show some skin. “Do you think he’s here? Nolan I mean,” she asked.

“You know it. He's gotta be at the front rows to cheer the Belle of the ball. Wait, wrong Disney property, but you get what I'm saying.” Indie watched her friend play with her hair nervously from the mirror before she sighed. Indie carefully pulled off the plastic tiara that sat on her head, making sure to smooth away any flyaways it caused in the process before gently slotting it on Maxine’s head.

“What princess would you be without your very own crown, hm?”

Indira dropped her phone soon after, allowing the device to clatter on her lap as the video continued, the mic muffled by her skin. Instead of being at the backstage of the Silverlight Theater, Indie was in her best friend’s room. Instead of it being the whole crew by her side, it was just Elysia Fable and Owen Quinn. The once quartet now trio without their missing piece: Maxine James, the heart of the group.

The video had been taken early sophomore year, with Indie’s growing obsession with wanting to document everything so she could ‘never forget’. And now those videos were what kept Maxine alive in her memories.

There was something about the storm that made Indie so melancholic, so contemplative. Usually she'd indulge in her movies to pass the time, but there was only so many times she could watch Kajol’s character in ‘Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge’ be swept off her feet by a womanizing bad boy in a field of mustard to cheer herself up. Even her dance class had to be cancelled for the evening, forcing the usually active young woman to stay home and do absolutely nothing.

The horror!

There were only so many times Indie could scroll through the same five social media apps on her phone, or look through the same few videos of Maxine she had on hand. Or worse, staring at the wall of record covers Ely proudly displayed in her room.

Not that it was a bad choice, but Indie preferred her bedroom to be relaxing with the fairylights and soft fluffy sheets that matched the high pile carpet. Ely's room seemed to be the complete opposite in aesthetic to Indira’s room which happened to be next door, with pops of colour, nature and walls full of decoration.

Indie felt her phone buzz in her lap and a quick glance down revealed it to be a notification from her dance class WhatsApp group chat, a delayed response to her early afternoon announcement of cancellation. The town of Edenridge had been swept by a new plague of letters. First it had been that Charlie boy who shot up Edenridge High two years after Indira had graduated, and now a poor girl’s love letters were everybody’s business. One good thing about that dance group was that it allowed Indie to hear about all the gossip that went around in the elusive Scott Street. It helped her stay in the loop even if she wasn't from the rich part of town herself.

“How fucked up is this new trend of letters? I swear I’ll be pissed if I wake up tomorrow and have someone airing our dirty secrets written by Maxie stuffed in our mailbox.”

“Secrets are a currency in this town, babe.”

Owen Quinn was not much of a talker. It wasn’t in his nature which meant that when he did talk, people listened. Coming from a family like his, all of whom had large personalities and larger rap sheets, it benefited him in the long run to be able to blend into a crowd. He was happy for the likes of Aiden and Harper to get all the attention because it meant that he could slip through the cracks unseen. He loved his family but for Owen, his chosen family of Indie, Ely and the late Maxine were far more important.

Unlike his siblings, Owen tried to work as honestly as he could, working for the Navarro Cleaning Services and doing odd jobs where needed. He spent the bulk of his time in houses belonging to Eden’s foundlings or fancy homes in Eastbrook and just like everywhere else, it was easy to be unseen, to hide outside the bubble and peer in. He knew secrets, he knew things he shouldn’t but he also knew that hidden truths and selves only caused pain. So much pain.

The letters were interesting. So far they had been centered on the self professed Elite. David O’Hara’s dalliances and the lonesome death of Allison Davies. That one stung, Owen knew Ally, probably better than some might expect and hearing about her final moments, that just didn’t sit right. Still, so far the Elite were the targets, he could only hope that himself and his family were not anywhere in that list. How could they be? They were just a bunch of Southsiders. “I wish that wasn’t true but unfortunately it is.”

Leaned up against the rim of her window, staring out at Milligan Apartments across the street, her lips adorned with dark brown lipstick, her platinum blonde hair untamed and asking to be brushed, wearing only a tank and navy blue joggers, Elysia Fable took a long drag of her Newport cigarette. Blowing the smoke out of her window, she rested the cigarette between the second and third knuckle of her index and middle finger as she listened to the music playing in her room. On her record player was a snazzy tune called This Is the One by The Stone Roses. They had such a vibe. 80s vibe.

Flicking ashes out of her window, she glanced back to blankly stare at her two friends. She was listening, for the most part, but she needed to finish her cigarette before she felt motivated to talk about the drama of this town. Obviously, smoking was a nasty habit of hers. Made her smell disgusting.

She really should quit…

Regardless of the tragic circumstances of her health, she needed it, like most people needed their coffee. It wasn’t like her parents cared or even knew she smoked. They were oblivious or chose to act like they knew nothing. That only gave her more of a reason to buy another pack. If Maxine were still alive, if her brother didn’t fuck off to another country, they both would beg her to lean more into her other bad habits, like chewing gum or ice. At least then, she wouldn’t feel like a pile of ash.

Focusing on an empty space in between her friends, Ely’s jade eyes were reflective and melancholy. She was deep in thought. That was just how she was. Pensive and constantly thinking. Her group… They were a weird batch. Not Midnight Society weird, but weird. Nothing made sense about them and yet they worked. They just fit together like they were each other’s missing puzzle pieces.

Ely gave off Southie vibes until you saw how much her equipment cost or walked inside her bedroom and Max always held herself in a way where even if she was born on the other side of the tracks, she wasn’t trailer trash. She was meant for more. Her purpose, whatever it may be, was greater than them combined. Then there was Owen, who was as Southie as Southie came, minus the fact that he wanted to get ahead in an honest manner and not fall into the crime stereotype that the majority of his neighbors gave into.

Last but not least, Indie. Honestly? If it weren’t for Maxine, Ely might’ve never been friends with her. They were polar opposites. Sure, they both were creative geniuses, which at times could clash, but they fundamentally contrasted. Indie tried her hardest to curate this idea, picture-famous life so she could make it big, while Ely only sought to enhance the beauty that could be found anywhere. All you needed was to look at something through a different angle and there you could see its beauty and meaning. There was nothing wrong with how her friend chose to live her life but from an outsider’s perspective, it looked absolutely exhausting having to play pretend constantly for likes and views. Sometimes Ely wondered if Indie knew the difference between her real self and her social media character.

No matter, Ely loved her and knew Max would want someone to look after her. Might as well be Owen and her. Out of them all, Indie was the one that would usually find trouble, which is funny when you think about Owen’s family and their reputation. The Quinns were nothing but trouble. She and the girls got lucky though with Owen. He was the peacemaker, mediator, and occasional wise ass. Other than that? He was a good friend. Putting out her cigarette in an ashtray resting on the ledge, Ely finally spoke, “This might be an unpopular take but if there are letters by Max, I want them. All the people in this room know she would never off herself. That’s bullshit. Our Max? Kill herself? There’s no way. If there’s answers out there, I want to know. I want the closure.”

Going to her wall of memories, Ely brought her gaze to the last picture they all four took together and gave a half smile. She really did miss that girl. Maxine was such a promising woman with so much love to give and a big future ahead of her. It sucked that she had to go so soon. “While I do think what’s happening is fucked, why does this town have so many secrets? It’s even more fucked knowing nothing is ever as it seems.”

“If anybody STILL believes Max killed herself then they need a new IQ test or some shit to test this place.” There was no damn way that Maxine James, the light of the town with dreams of saving the world, would kill herself before she could make any massive progress. Indie knew it, Owen and Ely knew it, and the three of them would gladly take on the world and get the truth out there.

But in a place like Edenridge where a label would stick with you for life? It was an uphill battle.

“There’s always some shit going down too. Scott Street is like Wisteria Lane with the amount of drama going down every day. Like, this one auntie won’t stop bringing up the fact that she saw --actually, just heard, but what other better things do these aunties have to do than to lie for dramatization?-- anyway, she heard Vivia Belmonte in a screaming match with her fams before watching her jet off in a Firebird. This was like, last month, and they’re still giggling about it as if Vivia asked for their opinions?”

Indira’s relationship with the fourth oldest Belmonte was interesting to say the least. Indie hated Allison to the core, not difficult considering Allison got the love and adoration that Indie wanted by doing absolutely fuck all. It didn’t help that even in death Allison’s death overshadowed Maxine’s despite it happening sooner. Suffice to say, Indie should have hated Vivia for even associating with Allison. However, she had come to know Vivia whenever she’d come over to see Momo. Without Allison, Vivia had a beautiful soul - she was charming and full of life. Between Indie and Vivia, Momo often complained about having to babysit two energizer bunnies on crack with the way Indie would keep encouraging Vivia to share about her culture, allowing Indie to learn about her own Italian heritage in the process.

Owen didn’t really know what to say. He was a southsider born. He didn’t know any different. Yet in his trips across the railroad tracks to clean the houses of the rich, he has found himself on Scott Street. He had found himself in the homes of the Belmontes, the Costigans and the Davies. He knew Allison. In many ways he knew her a lot more than one might expect. He never shut down Indira’s feelings about the once and former Supreme but he never agreed with her as much as he wanted to. The Ally he knew had such pain in her heart. When she died, Owen was one of the few that wasn’t surprised but that did nothing to steal away the pain.

“It’s a different world up there, I don’t think we’ll ever figure it out.”

Taking a seat at her computer, which was left on, with Photoshop up, Ely continued color correcting and making the picture of Amity Lyon at the Rose Motel look aesthetically pleasing. The things this girl would do for her Only Fans and Youtube channel which was focused on murder, mystery, & being sexy. She had a separate channel for her twitch streams too since she wanted to give her two loves which was gaming and serial killers their own domain. Made sense. Business entrepreneur in the making. Weird girl, though. Her saving grace was she was adorable and hyper as fuck. Loved gummy bears.

Obviously, Ely was a fan.

Speaking of… Ely grabbed some Dubble Bubble out of an anime mug with Yui from Angel Beats on it and threw a couple in her mouth. Immediately after, she went back to photo editing. Amity was probably making bank by being a complete fetish with collars, bdsm undertones, knee highs, and kitten ears. Hot. Her family could use the money seeing how the Lyons went bankrupt and moved from Scott Street to Pleasantview Apartments. The family that none of the desperate housewives and gossip queens wanted to talk about because the Lyons somehow gained the reputation of being a walking omen. A bad one. Getting involved with them would curse you, your family, your finances, and everything you cared about.

Indie was right when she said Scott Street was like Wisteria Lane. On top of spreading business that wasn’t theirs, they were good at destroying people, good people, all because it was fun and they were bored. If anyone looked beyond the rumors, they would see how optimistic each Lyon was. Even with all the shit being said about them, to this day because joking about a Lyon was still in trend, they persevered. They had no choice but to.

“Is she doing okay?” Ely snapped the gum she was chewing, her focused gaze never looking away from the computer screen. “Vivia, I mean. I don’t really give a fuck about what people have to say about her life, but has anyone thought to check on her? I’m not close to her like that, but she was Allison’s best friend, right? Wasn’t there like… a picture of her holding Allison’s dead body at the party?” Ely blew a small bubble before sucking it back in and shifting the lighting in the picture.

Indie wasn't certain if she’d heard of anyone checking in on Vivia after the incident, no piece of gossip stood out after the blow up. She tried thinking back to Momo who had been close with both Allison and Vivia but doubted Momo had any time to do anything other than grade summer school work. Plus, Momo never brought up that she’d checked in with her to Indie at least. No one else in Indie’s circle had mentioned talking with Vivia either. Shit. “Lemme Facetime her, hold on.”

Pulling her phone back up, Indie immediately navigated to the Facetime app and searched for Vivia’s name through her contact list before calling her.

The ringback tone went on for an unsettling long time. When someone finally answered, the visage of Viva could be seen but she wasn’t looking at the camera and she was drenched. Her empty eyes focused on whatever was in front of her. She was completely and utterly out of it. “Hello? Who’s this?” She didn’t bother looking at the caller ID or the face staring at her. “Are you coming to the party?”

“A party? That I wasn’t invited to?” Indie had to stop herself with a low, murmured ‘focus, dumbass’ before taking in what was on her phone screen. “Why are you so wet? Viv, are you standing outside in this storm? Where the hell are you?” Indie’s voice grew more shrill from worry the more she took in Vivia’s appearance.

“What are you talking about, Indie? Max had already texted me and said you were coming. You were at the game, silly! Did you already forget?” Vivia turned to the camera and smiled at the other girl, as if she was looking at Indie from a different time, before the pain. Before the hurt. Before Allison died.

At this point, Ely had stopped what she was doing, listening in to the conversation, concern had washed over her face as well. This was hella’ eerie… was that Viv or was someone playing tricks with them? Why would she bring up Max? A basketball game? Was she talking about THE basketball game?

Before Indie could say anything more, there was light that shined on Viv’s face as a door opened and closed. “Viv, what are you doing? You’re going to catch a damn cold!” The other voice sneezed as she expressed her disapproval. “Give me that,” taking Viv’s phone from her, Bella Joseph looked to see who she was talking to. “Oh, Indie, it’s you. Yeah, I don’t know how long she’s been out here… her whole fucking body’s shivering.” Turning her attention to the blonde Belmonte, Bella held her close, “Hey, hey? We’re going inside and we’re going to take a warm bath, okay?”

“But the party!” Vivia cried in displeasure.

Bella’s eyes saddened when she looked at the once so confident, so happy Belmonte. “Indie, I’m sorry but we have to go. Vivia might need sleep, I don’t know…”

Being pulled by the other woman, Vivia searched around her and asked, “Where’s Allison?”

“Oh sweetie…” Bella hung up the call.

Indie stared at her reflection on the phone in confusion as her brain caught up with the last few seconds. “What was she doing outside Bella’s hou- Oh.” The Josephs were neighbors to the Davis household. Indie quickly scrambled to change to the messaging app.

hey, thanks for taking viv in ❤️
txt me if anything happens? xx


After sending off the message to Bella’s phone, Indie lingered in her messaging app, staring at the delivered receipt intently before turning off her screen.

Evidently, Vivia wasn’t doing well. She still wasn’t able to cope with the loss of Allison. As much as Indie hated Allison, she could at least sympathize with Vivia. That level of hurt Viv was feeling was deep, and now that she doesn’t have her family to turn back to… Edenridge had really failed her.

“Bella’s taking care of her. She’s in good hands.”

Indie wasn’t sure if she was trying to assure Ely and Owen or comfort herself.

Climbing off the beanbag he had been resting on, Owen made his way over to the bed where Indie was. He really hated seeing her in any kind of way that wasn’t her usual happy self. It almost seemed to him that the richer a girl was, the more broken she tended to be. Allison. Vivia. Name a Scott Street kid and they definitely had issues and they were issues that weren’t as easily solved as throwing Daddy’s money at them. Taking a seat next to his Indian/Italian beloved, he wrapped her up in one of his large arms and gently rested his free hand on top of hers. “She’ll be ok.”

Indie leaned into Owen’s comfort, head settling against his shoulder as though it was made to be there. “Yeah… she’ll be okay.” She repeated with more resolve. Viv wasn’t alone, not anymore.

And this is where she got up to make them dinner.

“I’m fucking famished. I’mma throw pizza in the oven,” Ely glanced at her two friends who have been dancing around their feelings for each other for far too long before exiting the room and leaving them to do whatever they wanted to do. Literally they could have sex and she’d be okay with it. She knew it wasn’t going to happen but at least a girl could hope.

𝖈 𝖆 𝖙 𝖈 𝖍 𝖚 𝖕
𝖈 𝖆 𝖙 𝖈 𝖍 𝖚 𝖕

𝐥𝐨𝐜𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧: Hades & Persephone's home, by the World Tree
𝐢𝐧𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐚𝐜𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐬: Váli @Hey Im Jordan & Persephone @Aewin
𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐬: Hades @sly13, Athena @metanoia || Melinoë @KZOMBI3 || Odin @KZOMBI3 & A Special Friend

Váli had been in Seattle for less than a day, and already two things had gone wrong. Firstly, his father wasn’t responding to his text. Granted, Váli hadn’t exactly sent a text message with a lot to respond to, but Odin was hardly the type to ignore his only son that still liked talking to him. But that was easily overlooked; to Váli, finding Persephone at the world tree instead of at A New Leaf was more troubling.

Váli wasn’t a stranger to approaching people and having them be unaware — he was naturally quiet and stealthy in the way he moved, especially for someone so large. But, he knew she could sense his presence, the plants would have told her that he was there, but why didn’t she turn to face and acknowledge him? “Persephone, are you alright?” He asked with a frown, “This isn’t…” He thought for a moment, and then decided on a word. “...normal.”

Shortly after Thor had left her home, Persephone decided to take a walk on the grounds of Kalos Gardens. The benefits of building your home on a large sect of land filled with nothing but nature and fauna, she knew she had to take advantage of. Immediately stepping outside her home allowed her to breathe again, but she couldn’t call it refreshing.

The tree beckoned her every morning and night, and Persephone dutifully answered. She had done so since the fall, giving everything she could to nurse the life left for the good of the other deities, for her children. But what good did that do?

Váli’s voice from behind her was of no surprise. The rose bushes on the way to the Tree whispered of silence trailing after her. “Today isn’t a normal day, ευγενής.” Persephone hesitated slightly before turning to face Váli, scanning him till she was assured he was safe and healthy. “You didn’t come to the feast. I saved you an apple.”

It seemed Persephone didn’t want to talk about whatever made this a strange day, and Váli was smart enough to not press the subject. Instead, he nodded at her comment about him not attending the feast, “I like to avoid Hera. She’s… she really doesn’t like a lot of her family. And some of them don’t like her. It lights a fire in me that I’ve worked hard to quell. Thank you for saving me an apple,” He gave her a smile, but couldn’t quell the curiosity he had wondering about whatever had happened. Looking her up and down, she looked alright which pushed the darkest thoughts he had out of his mind. At least he knew she wasn’t physically hurt, at least. “My father hasn’t responded to my texts, was he at the feast?”

Persephone remained quiet for a while, trying to think back to before Macaria and Zagreus crashed through the glass. She had been waiting with Hades at their regular table, discussing their children’s first attempt at rejoining divine society in so long. “If Odin was, it must have been brief.” She was finally able to answer.

There was another pause, her thoughts once again running a mile a minute. “Have you ever questioned your divinity?” Persephone asked, her eyes glued to the tree.

Without hesitation, Váli responded. “Yes. I was created by my father to extract vengeance. After I finished my task, the mortals told stories about me and worshiped me for it. And now, I live with this curse of a divine gift.’” He paused, thinking about it a little more as he chose his words. “It’s difficult for me to eat the apple every year. I don’t know what I offer people as a mortal, and I don’t even know what the point is. Why do we get to live forever? For the dream of returning to godhood? I don’t know. I don’t think we’re all that special. I think I do it for my dad, I don’t think he could handle it if one of his sons gave up before he can reunite our family.” Though Váli’s words were heavy handed, he seemed truthful in what he was saying, like it was something he’d thought about extensively.

After he spoke, Váli frowned again. He’d gotten a little preachy, and even depressing there while he talked about it and he shook his head, “Persephone, what happened?”

Persephone wanted to scream at herself for reminding Váli of nothing but pain. In her grief she had struck a sore subject for the both of them. Her hand reached out to offer comfort, but it remained stuck in the air between them as Váli questioned her in return. For the third time that day, she had to acknowledge the cursed events of the day. “Macaria and Zagreus were killed at the feast.”

He didn’t say anything in response, not like there were any words that could be said. Instead of speaking, Váli wrapped Persephone in a warm but gentle hug. He held his friend for a few moments, and then released her before he finally spoke. “I’m so sorry. What can I do?” Persephone was a large part of the reason that Váli was able to become the ευγενής he was today, and he would have tried to move mountains if she asked him. And then something dawned on him. “Did you say killed? By… by whom? Was there a fight at the feast?” He should have been there, instead of his petty desire to avoid Hera. Maybe he could have protected them.

Alarm bells quickly started ringing in Persephone’s head, pulling away from the hug in surprise. If she knew Váli the way she claimed she did, she knew that she was speaking to the God of Vengeance, not the ευγενής she was familiar with. Persephone had to push all thoughts of violence and revenge away, clearing her mind before allowing the tendrils of satisfaction to stick like they had that morning against Hati. “I don’t know. Athena is investigating, I trust her wisdom to guide us to their killer. For now, all I can do is grieve and protect Melinoë. I… I can’t let anything happen to her.” Her hand touched her stomach, the ugly thoughts resurfacing again. She closed her eyes but all she could see was their bodies, forcing her to reopen her eyes to stare almost panickedly at the World Tree. “I don’t know what I’ll do if I see her body like Macaria.”

So long as Váli drew breath, he wouldn’t allow anything to happen to Melinoë, if only to protect Persephone from going through this again. He made a mental note to reach out to Athena… though she and Váli hadn’t gotten along in the past. Maybe they could unite on this issue. “You won’t.” Váli said in a simple promise. Even without his vigilance, he thought it unlikely another of their kind fell. Everyone would be on high guard, and there surely wouldn’t be anything too adventurous happening in the near future.

“The boys are doing well. You should come down and see them again sometime.” Váli gently changed the subject, trying to move it toward… anything else. If they kept talking about the violent happenings and the fallout, then Váli feared the kind of mood he’d leave in.

The change in topics was a welcome one, allowing Persephone to relax as she engaged in conversation about Váli’s boys. It wasn’t long before the distraction became effective, Persephone smiling because of Váli’s antics just before landing in Seattle. “You must have made Eric’s day, letting him be your unwitting hero.” Persephone praised with gentle laughter. “But please promise me you won’t scare the poor boy like that again.”

“He was very brave. I just don’t understand why they always want McDonald’s…” Váli frowned. He struggled to think of a time when he would choose McDonald’s when told he could have whatever he wanted for dinner. Why not steak, or lobster? Or… something more exotic? Váli had eaten McDonald’s so many times he’d gotten his order down to a science. “I think he’ll be a good fit for my little family.”

A soft smile lingered on her face as she saw the contentedness cross Váli’s face. She knew nothing purer than Váli’s love for his boys. “I bet James had something to say to Eric once he joined your family.” Persephone eyed Váli with a familiar expression, one he would come to know as teasing. “I bet he told Eric all about your special friend.” Váli had sweetly confided in her one day about his crush, melting the Goddess’ heart from the sincere way he talked about his friend. James, the oldest child in Váli’s Valhalla had come to join Persephone with teasing the God in front of her.

Váli couldn’t fight it as a light pink blush rose up in his cheeks. He didn’t like talking about his ‘special friend,’ but Persephone was right. James probably would tell the others to expect him to bring a girl home with him… Váli didn’t even know the first step in getting a girl to go out for dinner, let alone getting one to go home with him. “He asked me if I was going to bring her home this time. I don’t even know how I’d do that. I mean, I don’t even know if she likes me back.” In spite of himself, when Váli spoke of the woman he crushed on, he ended up sounding less like the god of vengeance, and more like a love struck puppy.

“Have you tried talking to her first?” Persephone suggested. “Stealing her away is old-fashioned, it’s all about building a connection in this era.” She thought back to the first time she had spent in the underworld with Hades, the shy and tentative conversation slowly getting bolder as she had gotten comfortable around him.

Yikes. It felt like Persephone was going for the throat, and all Váli could do was try his best not to trip over his words while he spoke. “I’ve talked to her!” He protested. A ‘hi, how are you?’ wasn’t the most valuable conversation in the world, but Váli definitely felt it counted for something. “It’s not very easy for me to build a connection with someone. That’s why I live in the woods, Perse. Got any advice?” Most of the Greeks were people Váli would never ask for relationship advice, but having been friends with Persephone for many years now and having watched her relationship with Hades, Váli couldn’t think of a better person on the planet to ask.

“First of all, it helps to be in the same place as her more often.” Persephone started. “Unless you do what the mortals do these days and try texting her instead. Regardless, start by asking about her day and go from there. If the conversation grows quiet, ask her about something she may like. A connection is built by talking and learning about each other.” Persephone may not have been a goddess of love, but she was more than happy to share what worked for her and Hades.

“Right. Texting. Asking about her day, that makes sense…” Idle conversation was hardly Váli’s strong suit, and he had half a mind to ask Persephone to coach him through it with an earpiece when the time came, but decided that would be neither stealthy nor attractive. “Is it nice? Having the same person as your partner for so long, I mean. I reckon things must be near perfect for you and Hades both for thing to be so… smooth.” Váli sounded undeniably envious as he spoke with a smile on his lips. “I imagine most of the deities are jealous of the two of you. So far as I know, there hasn’t been a relationship that’s worked out across the pantheons other than the two of you.”

ευγενής, I assure you there isn’t anything you have to fear.” Persephone knew that affirmations were the best way forward with Vali. Despite being one of the sweetest divines she had the pleasure of knowing, he often struggled with connecting with those he wasn’t familiar with. She only wanted him to see himself the way she saw him.

When it came to talking about her own relationship though… Persephone couldn’t help but smile. Hades always brought out a feeling of comfort within her. It was a safe feeling, one that never changed even after their fall. “Hades and I are not perfect by any means. The difference is that we always put each other first. Being united gives us our strength.” If she had the chance, she would always gush about her Hades. “You could be like us too, you know. Put yourself out there, like Hades did. Just… not the kidnapping part.”

Váli wondered if Persephone really thought he was capable of kidnapping the woman he had a crush on, or if she were just saying the warning as a jab at her husband. He thought about asking, but before he had a chance his phone’s notification went off. “Oh, this is probably my father, give me just a second.” He said, and pulled his phone out, idly scanning the messages. After he finished, he looked up at Persephone. With his brow furrowed in confusion, he spoke. “I think I just got asked out on a date.” He said, with a voice that conveyed the disbelief he was feeling.

He moved the phone so that Persephone could see the series of text messages…

From: Sunshine

Heyyyyy! It’s Uzu! There’s a party tonight. At Acropolis. You know Hercules and Apollo’s party pad? I was thinking -- we should totally go! You know, with each other!

I mean as a date! You know, like officially or you know whatever. Doesn’t need to be! It’ll be funnnnnnnn!

“...what do I say?”

Persephone only had to blink twice before she responded. “Tell her to meet you here, obviously! You want to go with her, right?”

To: Sunshine

I accept. Can you meet me at Persephone’s?

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