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


Most Recent Posts

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?

Lucia moved to the char tab!

𝐥𝐨𝐜𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧: The Quad, Music Stall
𝗶𝗻𝘁𝗿𝗼𝗱𝘂𝗰𝗶𝗻𝗴: Krista Müller & Luciana Cypress


“Come join us at the music club! It’s a tune of fun!”

Krista Müller was a woman on a mission. Despite the cheery grin on her face, there was a lot running through her mind. She scanned the crowds that were attending the fair at the quads, a plentiful turnout yet no one seemed to be even peeking in her direction. Was she a bit too intense? Maybe, but the music club was her pride and joy. It deserved a little bit of crazy.

“Auditions closing in a week, you will note want to miss out!”

It couldn’t be the puns.

Her eyes met someone’s over the crowd.

She moved fast.

Cello! Are you new here?”

The blonde girl Krista had approached was even shorter than her. She was dressed in a black turtle neck under a loose white shirt, paired with fitted stiff jeans, but the most interesting thing about her was the pair of gloves that just barely peeked out from under her white shirt. There was a thin layer of sweat marking her forehead, making it all the more strange the number of layers she had on.

“Ah… yes… I’m a freshman.” The shorter blonde responded, seemingly alarmed. She took a hesitant step backwards, putting some more space between her and Krista, leaving the latter surprised.

“My name is Krista Müller. I’m a junior and a member of the music club. What’s your name?”

“My name is Lucia Cypress…”

Sensing discomfort from Lucia, Krista’s eyebrows knitted in concern. Immediately going into her ’mother goose’ mode, she gave Lucia a gentle, reassuring smile. “It’s really lovely to meet you, Lucia. I hope your first week at Crystal Peak was fun and comfortable.” Krista wanted to ask about the surname, to find out if Lucia was really a sister or a cousin, but quelling the discomfort took priority. She'll just put a pin on it for later.

“It… was interesting at least. Really hard to get used to.” Lucia responded, making Krista laugh lightly.

“Did you get lost on your way to the quads? I did that when I first got here. Took me almost a month to figure out how to get from my classes to the cafeteria!” She took a moment to allow Lucia to relax further, only continuing when she saw Lucia shyly smile back at Krista. “Are you interested in looking at clubs?”

Lucia nodded lightly, “I just arrived so I was just wandering around. I don’t know what I’m looking for…” Lucia admitted, her pale cheeks growing slightly pink.

Krista chuckled softly. “It can get pretty overwhelming, I get it. How about I show you to my stall first?” She then gestured towards the stall that was decorated with East of Eden merch and other music paraphernalia. “That’s my stall over there, I’m from the music club-- though I told you that already. Sorry, I get a bit eager and forget things. Tell me, are you a creative person, Lucia?”

Lucia barely seemed to think before she nodded, “I like to think so.” She responded shyly.

Krista clapped her hands once in excitement, “Perfect! Have you heard of East of Edens? We’re this really awesome symphonic rock type band and our lead singer -- that’s Eve by the way -- is looking for potential recruits. Come, check out the stall!” Krista beckoned Lucia towards the stall, which now had some more interested faces looking at the merch on display and whispering amongst themselves.

“There’s five of us in the band right now, six if you include Alyssa, our cool manager, or seven if you include Brad.” Not that Krista remembered him quitting, but he just suddenly stopped turning up one day. Luckily for the band, Zak had finally made his official debut the same time and the rest was history. “It’s a really chill place to be, even if you don’t want to be part of the band.” Krista’s voice grew slightly louder, allowing her voice to carry to the rest of the interested faces around the stall. “We host a lot of get-togethers and Dewey -- Professor Martin, our teacher sponsor -- is really awesome as well. It’s like, all good vibes and we all have a laugh!” Krista picked up two different sheets of paper, handing one to Lucia who was standing on one edge of the crowd before handing the other sheet to the lad standing on the other side. “There’s two different sign up sheets if you’re interested, one for the music club itself and the other is if you’re interested in auditioning for East of Eden. I recommend at least signing up for the music club and checking us out tonight at Elysium. Test our vibes y'know? We're hosting a party to welcome all the new freshmen and Crestview students with a wicked wild party and you’re all welcome to crash.”

Some of the students began signing the music club sheets, not too many but at least there was some interest early into the fair. Krista would count this as a win. But turning to check on Lucia, Krista found her staring at the sheet of paper before handing it off to the person next to her, very carefully making sure that no part of her hands made contact with the person beside her.

“Have you got any questions? I’m happy to answer anything if you have any hesitations?” Krista offered gently when she approached Lucia. Lucia only took one step backwards, ensuring that there was enough space between them before looking around the fair.

“I’m… really sorry to waste your time but… I don’t play music. I like to paint.” The platinum blonde admitted. There was a small pause before Lucia added, “Do you know where I can find the art club? That… might me more my style…”

Rule #1 of recruiting, always ask if they're interested in what you're offering.

“Sure, ah, it’s a couple stalls down that way. You’ll know it when you see it, they have painted splattered posters and examples of what current members have made last year up next to the stall.” Krista laughed, though she couldn’t avoid the awkward feeling anymore. “I’m sorry, I should’ve asked what kind of creative you are. It’s okay though, the art club will take care of you just as well!”

“Again, I’m really sorry too, I really hope I didn’t upset anybody-”

“Nonsense! It’s okay, but please do come to the party later in the evening. It’s a good time to connect with people and who knows, maybe you’ll enjoy our band?” Krista quickly waved off Lucia’s concerns with a bright smile, the old surname pin Krista made in her head long forgotten.

“Okay, I’ll be there. Thank you, Krista, I'll see you later.” With her worries adequately squashed, Lucia left the music stall to follow the direction towards the art stalls, leaving Krista to handle the other remaining students still interested in the music club.

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