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Bluetooth earbuds discreetly tucked beneath neatly-formed curtains of bright hair had been Rosalyn’s saving grace for much of the morning. However, she still offered wide smiles to familiar faces and engaged in conversations that warranted or expected her participation. The parties planned for the first week back, who had grown facial hair over the summer, and the newest relationship updates were all topics of interest.

Felix Brooks and his long-time girlfriend Claire had finally called it quits, a game of chess that Rosalyn had long been dabbling in. But, really, if a few playful forearm touches was enough to break the two, were they really doing that well? She had done Felix a favor by helping to free him from that situation. Claire was sour, spoiled with jealousy, and therefore doing everything she could to save her name, even if it meant sacrificing someone else’s.

Preparing for, managing, and even fulfilling rumors about her had become a part-time job for Rosalyn Osborne, though she saw it more as a hobby. Each day she seemed to learn more about who she was. She wasn’t aware that she had been raised in foster homes until last year. Good ‘ol Joseph Osborne was her very own Daddy Warbucks according to Mathers Memorial High. She had slept with more people than she had even shared a hello with, had spent time in jail for arson, and had paid her way out of a failed semester once. All of these stories unbeknownst to their main character until the whispers eventually found their way back to her.

Rosalyn hurriedly nudged her way through the library’s main doors with her shoulder, as both hands were occupied and her bag was slowly, and painfully, descending down her arm. Her fingers were stretched around and threaded between three disposable coffee cups, a familiar logo plastered on the side. It had been easy to slip out of the school to Joe’s once the assembly had been called to an end and would be even easier to later claim her first-day tardiness was due to class confusion.

Rosalyn moved to Mrs. Macleod’s desk with a genuine smile, skillfully placing one of the cups there while still holding a grip on the remaining two. The older woman raised her head from deep within a book, staring down her nose and through the pair of glasses teetering at its end. She reflected the grin offered back, seemingly pleased to recognize the student.

“Now, Wanda, you feel free to add something a little warmer to this. That hip is not gonna be happy with the way you were throwing it back out there.” A wink from the young woman was swatted out of the air by Mrs. Macleod, but even she couldn't help but chuckle at herself.

Free reign to the library during lunch periods and after the school day had come at the small price of occasional gifts to and conversation with the librarian. This unspoken deal was solidified last year when this escape was the only thing keeping Rosalyn relatively sane. Well, this was still to be determined. She moved to her usual spot in a far corner concealed by shelving, placing the remaining drinks on a side table, one on each side, and settling into an oversized armchair with cushions that had been long used and abused. Despite the inescapable fluorescent lights strewn throughout the entire school, this little nook had proven to be relatively comfortable.

The Sound and the Fury was settled open into Rosalyn’s lap, her page previously held by a bobby pin she was now twirling between her teeth. Half of her notebook page had been filled and much of her coffee had been drained before she realized she was still alone there. Maybe he got caught up. And it was the first day back. Expecting him to even remember this routine was silly. She feigned her disappointment with a roll of her eyes, though she couldn’t help but glance to the now chilled cup of chai tea, his name delicately scrawled in cursive ink across the side. Even the barista had remembered who it was being made for.

. . .

“Aw, wow! What a collection of bargain thrift store finds!” Rosalyn chirped as she stepped into the classroom. The unique arrangement of furniture was hard to ignore, but it was no accident that Rosalyn’s gaze bounced between Aiden Roth and a few of the others already seated with this comment. “I mean, the decor has some vintage, boho-esque vibes too... Cute.”

Jonas Lehrer was the next person her attention fell to, her eyebrows raising and lips pursing slightly. “Ahem. Definitely cute,” she muttered, finding a place for herself.

This was strange. The wild collage of personalities forced into the space, half of which had names she couldn’t remember, was enough to throw Rosalyn off. Then suddenly there was a dog? And talk of the Jonas brothers, who had lost all of her interest after each being married off. Rosalyn's palms had grown damp and she instinctively raised her shoulders in an attempt to draw more air into her lungs. Some sort of control over this situation was required and she was quickly to her feet in front of the group, though she remained stationed in front of her seat. Walking to the front in this state, in these heels, on this ancient floor was asking for embarrassment.

“Hello, my name is Rosalyn,” the young woman paused to slightly nod her head forward in a greeting. “A part of my identify that I think would be valuable to share is that I would actually rather be at a picnic with the Donner Party than be standing here right now.”

Rosalyn’s voice maintained the same chime it always did when she knew she was being ill-tempered. She clasped her hands in front of herself and scanned the space, mannerisms synonymous to that of a preschool teacher managing a room full of toddlers. This was entirely a deliberate way for her to mock the exercise she was being forced to endure without actually giving Mr. Lehrer a reason to reprimand her for it.

“I hope we can all get to know one another on a more personal level before I officially decide whether or not I will toss myself out of that window,” a quick gesture of her hand demonstrated the exact glass pane she would launch herself through,“or before we all get diagnosed with Mesothelioma from the asbestos now floating around in our lungs.”

Textured froth bubbled from behind Mrs. Lilith Osborne’s pale lips and flowed down her chin. Her attempts at a verbal protests were stifled by the thickness, each exhalation sending the fluid billowing outward. A thin framed woman was leaned over the head of the bed and her shouting, along with the way she was frantically tapping at Osborne’s shoulders, revealed her panic at the situation.

“Ma’am, are you okay?! Ma’am!” Unceremoniously, a gob of the substance was projected outward, landing with a sort of sickening thwap against the cheek of the concerned woman. A stunned moment of silence passed between the two as the nurse raised a tentative hand to the matter strewn across her face.

“You gave her sweetened. She won’t eat it. You’ve only got a chance in hell with unsweetened.”

Rosalyn was settled in the doorway with her shoulder propped against the frame, having previously been watching the eventful encounter in silence. In one hand she held a jar of applesauce, dipping her opposite pinky into it and bringing the finger to her tongue. Smugness dripped from the girl’s own lips, their corners turned upward as she made no effort to disguise her amusement.

Lisa had arrived in the home only last week and this was not the first time she’d been spit on by the home’s matriarch. It certainly would not be the last. Nurses typically only lasted a month or two. Housekeepers often held out for longer, their biggest complaint usually being emptying Mr. Osborne’s bedroom trash can.

“He could at least put a liner in if he’s going to make me do this!”
”‘Enough latex here for a damn Macy’s parade.”
“He’s killing the ocean single-handedly.”

“I- I didn-” The nurse began, though her words lodged themselves in her throat as the girl started towards them.

“You don’t need to be such a wretched witch about it, though, Mother. The dramatics are just unattractive.” Rosalyn haphazardly dropped the jar down onto the surface of the nightstand situated next to the woman’s hospital bed. That bed was the only thing in the room that Mr. Osborne allowed to reveal there was sickness present in the house. Besides the body wasting away in the center of it all, of course. Syringes and vials were tucked in drawers, the machines pumping necessary fluids were silenced, windows were yanked open anytime an unnatural smell emerged from behind the closed door. Anyone around long enough would begin to wonder what the inside of Lilith’s head was like, how tightly that prison door was shut, and Rosalyn was certainly no exception.

The young woman lowered herself beside her mother, a vast expanse of vacant space left in the bed, and carefully wiped away the remnants of the applesauce from her chin with a bare thumb. Eyes identical to her own were fixated on the ceiling just above her head, rhythmic blinking the only sign that there may be a soul tucked deep behind them.

“Daddy says the harvest is looking to be one of the better we’ve seen if they sprayed late enough this year… Should mean he’s less of a prick, but who can ever be sure.” Rosalyn had moved to sweeping stray pieces of auburn hair from Lilith’s forehead with her clean hand, tucking them neatly behind her ear. The two had once shared their eccentric hair color, but age had muted and darkened the eldest’s.

“Maybe we hire the O’Hare boys to work again this season. I’ll turn your bed to face the window and make sure their shirts stay off. Give you a better show than those shitty rom-coms someone’s always blaring in here.” Sharp eyes flickered aside to land on Lisa, who had sheepishly tucked herself in a far corner near the door. The way the nurse’s eyes had widened and her hands wrung relentlessly left Rosalyn wondering if she would begin bashing her head into the walls, similar to the way rabbits do when they’re trapped in tight spaces. The blatant weakness that practically dripped from the woman's pores was enough to pull Rosalyn to her feet. Blood in the water.

“Why don’t you go ahead and clean her up for me, will you?” She inquired, the staunch clicking of her heeled boots warning of her approach. “And after, take a minute to read her care plan, you helpless goon. She spit out half of her morning meds. If you’d done so before, you would know what she does and does not like.” Rosalyn had pressed her soiled thumb against the woman’s chest with force, swiping it back and forth to smear the applesauce off onto her scrub top. Slowly, she hinged forward, leaning in until their noses nearly brushed against one another and Lisa could smell the artificial sweetness of her lip gloss.

Rosalyn’s voice naturally fell at a high octave, but as she began to speak again, her pitch lifted further. Her words flowed almost as a song, though they were saturated with a certain malice. “Screw up again and I might just be forced to tell Daddy how I watched you shove a spoon into the back of her throat while you held her there,” Rosalyn’s voice hitched and cracked as if this was a craft she had mastered. “The way she gurgled and cried… The look in her eyes as she clawed at the sheets.” Within those few sentences, tears began welling up from the corners of her eyes, spilling over only when she cringed away at her own words, as if in pain herself. “How could someone be so awful to someone so helpless?”

With a sigh, Rosalyn took a step away, pulling her hands through her hair and ruffling the roots. Diligently, she dabbed beneath her eyes with the sides of her fingers, careful not to disrupt her mascara as she lifted away any residual dampness. As if to pull the curtains on her short monologue, a broad smile heightened the rosey apples of her cheeks.

“Well! Ahem, I’m off to school! Busy day. Can’t imagine I’ll be home for supper.”

. . .

Rosalyn drummed her thumbs against her steering wheel to the beat of whatever song escaped her speakers loud enough to null her own thoughts. She was late, of course, but drove the speed limit anyway. Rushing to get to Mather Memorial just meant more time standing at her locker listening to one of the girls tell her, in detail, how having sex in a summer camp bunk bed was the most exilerating experience of her life. She’d pass on that. Daddy would call Fitzgerald to have her excused anyway.

Unmistakable, a red Jeep pulled into its designated spot at the front of the full parking lot, won by the Osborne’s in an auction to support the school’s athletic department. Despite the time, Rosalyn unbuckled and settled back into her seat, staring outward at the school’s entrance. It was a whole lot less intimidating from the outside. Just a lot of ugly brick and an old tree. “Should’ve just left it a jail. Practically the same thing,” the young woman muttered, eyes still fixated in front of her.

Finally, in a burst of sudden movement as if realizing just how late she now was, she leaned over and tugged open the glove box. Amongst various lip sticks and a pair of black flat shoes left there in case of an emergency, sat a small orange bottle with a white screw top. Seemingly frustrated at the action itself, Rosalyn aggressively squeezed at the child-locked cap and emptied a single pill into her palm. She tossed it back into her mouth before pulling a drink from the coffee mug tucked between her thighs. The bottle was situated back where it came from, Rosalyn checked her lipstick once more in the rearview mirror, and the driver's side door was finally pushed open.

"Let's get it."
Let's get some cute boys in there please! <3

@Hillan@Lord Wraith@Daydreamz

Please raise your hand (and PM me) if your character has ever felt personally victimized by Rosalyn Osborne.

@Jasper19Edited. Sorry, friend.

The little space between bodies within the bus was occupied by the dense humidity, leaving little air for the lungs to steal for themselves. Rivulets of sweat went unmanaged and soaked through the occupants clothing, attaching the fabric to their frames. The undeniable scent of body odor had begun as a faint undertone, but was steadily growing to a more offensive level with each raise of an arm or shift in a seat. The seemingly permanent curl of Bonnie Carter’s upper lip was enough to show her strong discontent with the situation.

The heat and humidity? She could handle that without issue. Louisiana would laugh at this heat index and her hair was a mess with or without it. The cramped seats? She had lived in a van with her family that a sardine would feel cramped in. But this smell. Her eyes flickered occasionally to the men surrounding her, as if accusing them, before landing again on the rust spot near where her right shoulder was pressed against the wall. She had been picking meticulously at the area for a majority of the ride, her vividly red fingernail lifting the textured edges of the corrosion until it became flush with the unaffected metal. She had curled her legs beneath her small frame and had forced her small pack deep into the space below between the seats. The bag was light enough, as its contents were only those that had been deemed absolutely essential to a through-hiker, but even its minor presence on the young woman’s lap had grown to be a discomfort. She had attempted to position her head comfortably in every imaginable way, but the neverending jolting and jostling of the vehicle made rest impossible. Not to mention the guy two seats ahead that had made it his mission to share his life story with the entire lot of them.

Bonnie was one of the last to step down from the bus and therefore found herself lifting up onto the tips of her toes in an effort to peer above the mess of people that had already congregated in front of her. Clean shaven heads, trimmed edges, gelled side parts. She spotted them all, but no hair styles that were definitely or stereotypically feminine. It had been ingrained in since she was a child that should she be in need of help, she should find a woman. Should she be lost or uncomfortable, she should find a woman. A drunk night at a bar in San Marcos and a woman bought her a cab home. A woman paid for her groceries when that month’s paycheck fell short. Perhaps it was wrong, perhaps it was falling in line with a corrupt societal expectation, but still Bonnie searched for a ponytail or bun in that moment.

Joe’s voice was clear even from the back of the crowd and his direct instructions were appreciated. His subtle reassurance that he would offer a level of protection to the campers also provided Bonnie with something of a comfort. Bonnie filed slowly forward as others cleared, not understanding the rush that surged forward as the counselor stepped aside. She took that free moment of waiting to scan what she could see of the area, deciding quickly that the environment they were in was entirely foreign to her. The density of the surrounding forests left Washington state cowering.

Bonnie smacked at her neck and raked her nails across what she knew to be a new mosquito bite. “Do we get to leave if we contract Malaria?" She muttered just below her breath as she scanned the bulletin board for her tent assignment.
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