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4 mos ago
Current Pokemon fan games are so fire
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4 mos ago
Chemistry is the best science handsdown
4 mos ago
Jazz has to be one of the best musical genres of all time


Just a tryhard Chem. Eng. student who loves writing...and Polar Express. My interests have a wide range from fast-paced action to slow-burn romance; generally whatever I'm feeling.

Most Recent Posts

TIMESTAMP: Sometime after Good Enough Reasons
LOCATION(s):Revolution Record, Beverly Hills
SONG: Potentially The Interlude
STARING: Kelsey Devon & Isaiah Strickland

The sweet smell wafted out of the break room in waves, an aroma that assaulted the nose despite the flowery smell it produced. The open window only did so much for the stench of smoke that lingered in the air like a miasma, permeating every nook and cranny nestled in the quaint room. Kelsey’s index finger held the trigger of the lavender Febreze can with a vengeance, no part of that room was left untouched by her onslaught of fumigation, today was not going to be the day she got caught smoking by her grandparents, or worse, her mother. The Devon family weren’t exactly big fans of smoking weed, although they let her grandfather smoke a pack of whatever cigarette brand he bought a day and saw no problem, her small little indulgences would be such an incident she does not want to deal with. Thus are her days of gassing the break room with whatever air freshener she could find. The streaming sound of gasses being propelled out of the purple can in her hand was interrupted by the rumbling of her stomach. She was hungry before, she is even more hungry now, and the probably year-old snacks that lay laden in the small kitchenette weren’t going to help at all. That was no matter though! She had the insight to order food soon after her friend’s departure from the store, usually, she would’ve got something for Lucian, but he had somewhere to be, or so she was told. She felt happy for her friend’s opportunity, Kelsey knows he will do amazingly, that passion she had seen him place within that drumset was one she had never seen before.

Kelsey relocked the door to the breakroom to let the open window and Fabreze work their magic, she couldn’t risk any spillover into the front room, to which she saw as barren as it was before, nothing new. She peeked her head out from behind the counter to see if Lucian had flipped the sign as she had asked and there it was, indeed flipped. Kelsey laid back into the office chair that sat behind the desk, sifting her hand through the crate of records that sat beside the gramophone, finally, her hand landed on the one she wanted, “Ooo, Sundial!” Kelsey sat up, replacing the long-finished vinyl on the player with the one she had selected. The sound of the record melted like butter in her ears, closing her eyes as she fully laid back in the chair, awaiting the sweet noise of the shop door opening with the delivery guy, God, the food was about to be just heavenly to the taste buds of Kelsey. She couldn’t wait.

Isaiah had tried to sit and get ready to enjoy the game after his conversation with Spencer. He tried. However, he couldn’t reach down deep enough to find the will to pretend that he gave even a little ounce of care for what was about to happen on the Pirates field. Zay was gone before the first whistle even sounded. After leaving Beverly Hills High, the school's resident activist wondered what to do with his sudden free time? He could follow his best friend to the diner and play wingman for the Russian girl he was in love with? Or he could’ve gone straight home and spent the evening with his dads and sister watching some old eighties movie and eating popcorn? Maybe he could even reach out to the man from the letter? The man that claimed to be his father.

Zay wasn’t sure what to do or where to go. So far, his new year, new him motto hadn’t really come to fruition. Nobody had noticed him, nobody had acknowledged him. So far he was still just Isaiah, that black kid in class. He found himself in one of the few places that he could consider a place of peace; the record store. Amongst the sea of vinyls, retro sleeved art and glittering vintage disco balls, Zay found quiet. He was a creature of habit; seeking out new releases from up and coming hip hop artists before inevitably making his way to the classics section. PAC, Biggie, NWA, they were men of the streets, men of the game, men who once upon a time someone like Isaiah; a voice with something to say, a voice struggling to say it,

The bell above the shop door rang as he entered his Mecca. His dark eyes glanced at the solo employee sitting at the desk before he made his way across to his usual perch at the New Release Bin. The smell of the vinyl filled him with a feeling of comfort, like being wrapped in a warm blanket on a cold winter night. He pondered whether any of these new players would strike a chord in his heart and help him find the next words for his own opus at the Dolla Lounge.

The chime of that old bell above the door could not be stopped. A sound that pervaded the ears of Kelsey each time it rang without fail, capturing her attention in one fell swoop. Her eyes jumped open, repositioning herself in the car in order to see who walked through the door of the establishment. It was a regular, and one of the few she was rather disappointed to acknowledge that she didn’t completely know as well as the rest, even more so given the fact she might have shared a class with this one. “Oh, you’re not the Chinese food guy. But still! Welcome!”

Kelsey gave the boy a soft wave and smile as she watched him head over to the bins. A fair few students from Beverly Hills High found solitude within the walls of the store, they made up one of the most consistent customer bases for the store, funnily enough, it is also why some people in the school know her face, not a lot know her name though. That seemed to be the same problem she was having right now. “You’re the boy that always comes in here for Hip-Hop right? Reggae and Jazz too I think. I doubt you’ll find too much in there, I think my grandfather already emptied it for the next shipment. You like the older stuff right, 90s and back? If you look way down that row there is a shelf packed with stuff that might suit your fancy.” Kelsey pointed her hand out to the box she had mentioned, giving him an easier path than her instructions may have offered. “We also likely have something in the back if you can’t find what you are looking for. My grandparents also keep a lot of signed stuff back there they wouldn’t mind to sell, so if you are looking for something special like that ask away! If the name tag hasn’t given it away, my name is Kelsey, this is a bit embarrassing to ask since I’ve seen you come in here a lot, and we literally go to the same school, but what’s yours?”


Hold up.


She actually knew his genres? Now that was some good customer service. The amount of times Isaiah had stepped foot in the record store and not once spoken to the girl behind the counter beyond a pleasant nod and a thank you when he purchased something was beyond surprising. Now that the wall of customer service silence had been broken down, he finally got a good look at her, like really looked. She was right! They did go to the same school, they were in a lot of the same classes. It didn’t surprise him though that they hadn’t really crossed paths, no one really knew who he was and well, how could anyone not look at her?

She was stunning.

“My name? Uh MY name?” What on Earth was he doing? Why was he stumbling over his words? Zay considered himself a highly skilled orator, a lyricist, he was on the debate team, young politicians and he rapped on stage in front of hundreds and yet he couldn’t even remember his name when asked by a pretty girl? What the actual fu… “Isaiah. Isaiah Strickland but most of my friends…ugh, sometimes people call me Zay.” He quickly shuffled his attention back to the dusty old vinyls on which his fingertips were lightly tapping with a fervent nervousness. “Thank you for all the advice but honestly? The most I just got from you was that now I’m craving some Chinese food.” Isaiah turned back towards the girl and offered up his widest brightest smile. He did not for much consider himself an attractive boy, especially not in comparison to some of the other men in his class and school but he was always proud of his smile. The first thing his grandmother ever said about his birth father was that Zay and he shared a smile. “I was surprised to see the place open. I thought maybe like everyone you’d have shut up shop and gone to the game.”

“I can’t blame you, the food I ordered had been on my mind before you even came in here!” Kelsey chuckled a bit, she felt good to finally put a name to a face, especially one that was handsome to look at as well. She wasn’t the best with names, but she sure as hell tried her best to remember the names of the regulars. “And Isaiah, that’s a nice name, I’ll make sure to remember it! And honestly, I was never the biggest fan of sports. Win or lose, it’ll be some big unnecessary spectacle that wouldn’t change my school pride one bit. Why be there when I could be somewhere I actually enjoy? How about you? Not many as crazy as us to be at a record store.”

His smile, God, his smile. It glowed like the beams of sunlight that often penetrated the front glass windows of the shop, descending from his visage like light did from the sun with a warmth that seared into the mind of the beholder, one unmatched in the archives of her memories. They had been going to school together for nearly 4 years, and he’s been to the shop for a time around that number but this had been the first time Kelsey had really, truly noticed Isaiah Strickland. “Off topic but, I doubt you haven’t been told this over a million times Isaiah, or can I call you Zay? I like nicknames. But! You have a truly amazing smile, I am talking like top tier!” Kelsey felt her ears burn with the heat that surged onto both sides of her head, she moved her hands from the wooden desk they had rested on to her hair in an attempt to quietly cover hear ears which were glowing with the blush that avoided her face. She had only formally introduced herself to the guy only minutes ago, and her ears were over here shining as red as a ruby, God she was helpless.

Isaiah was taken aback by the fact that Kelsey was even giving him more than a courteous time of day. In this environment, it was her job to enquire about a customer's needs and wants and feelings on a particular stock but the look in her eyes, the cadence of her voice, could it be? Was she actually interested in something he had to say? “Honestly? Football was never my thing. I’m very much a basketball kind of guy.” It was a secret of a different kind. To most, if not everyone, Isaiah was but a face in the crowd but the boy could play ball. He was on the BHHS basketball team but he didn’t get much play time because it conflicted with the debate team and despite his love of hoops, he knew where his true passion lay.

Social justice. Reform. Change. They were all things, all callings with intention that acted like a chain around his heart. His entire life, Isaiah had suffered prejudice of some form. There was racism for the color of his skin. There were those that mocked him for having two homosexual fathers. There were even those that dragged him through the dirt and broken glass for being adopted. Zay wanted to be the change that he sought in the world. He opened himself up to activism and for the last four years, he would always find himself walking the halls of Beverly Hills High or standing in the quad with a clipboard; fighting the good fight and waving his petition in the faces of all to try and make the world a better place. The causes he fought for were numerous but he was dedicated to every one of them.

Hold up now. Wait a minute. Did she just….compliment him? Now this was the truest test to date of the new Isaiah. He had promised himself that senior year would be different, that this year he would take chances. Once upon a time, he had a brief relationship with Kimber Benson. They had been friends for a long time and it seemed like a natural step but in reality, it was the most forced thing either of them had ever done. They did it because it was expected of them, not because they wanted to. Luckily, Zay and Kim were on the same page and ended it before it got too out of their control. Relationships had a tendency to do that in Beverly Hills. Did he need to put on some act with Kelsey? Should he pretend to be more like Ethan? Or Theo? Did she think he was somebody else?

“You can call me Zay.” He smiled again before continuing. “And thank you! Apparently I get it from my dad? My birth one, not either of my white ones.” Isaiah chuckled softly to himself as he lifted his hands from the record and wrapped his fingers around his backpack straps. “I’ve never met him so I couldn’t tell you for sure. But my smile is nothing really in comparison to…well your everything.”

Kelsey felt as though she wanted to sink right into the chair she sat upon, sink right out of view. She questioned what powers that be gave her the confidence to spout such words out loud for him to hear. Kelsey was never the most brazen person, but in that moment the words flowed from her like water down a dainty stream. She wasn’t one unfamiliar with giving compliments to people, she felt no type of way giving one to any of her close friends, but to new people? That was a different story. She wasn’t the old social butterfly her mother and Grandparents used to know her as, she wasn’t that little girl anymore, that part left with her father. She was more secluded, if not on one of her A.W.O.L. drives to wherever the highway took her, one could know exactly where to find her, and that was where the two were just now.

Kelsey felt the subtle rise in her heart beat, like the rising of the drumline that hummed out of the gramophone besides her ear, her heart jumped slightly at the advent of Isaiah’s words and didn’t dare to retreat from the peak. Her nails softly scratch against the grain of the desk as she looked at Isaiah. There goes that smile again, who would’ve thought something so simple as a smile would’ve drawn her in, certainly not Kelsey for sure, but she’d likely never forget his name after today. “My…everything? I- Wow, I don’t even know how to respond to that one. N-Not like in a bad way, like in a way where I am genuinely at a loss for words. I’ve gotten pretty and cute before but to be compared to a smile as amazing as yours, that's a different one for sure. I like it! Thank you, Zay!”

Kelsey smiled back to him, although all the smiles she gave to the customers were genuine, there was something more to this one, one she couldn’t exactly pinpoint to herself. This was the first time she had ever smiled so wide at a compliment, it felt different than the ones she would receive from friends and family, it made her feel giddy, more than usual compliments, like it had seared itself into her brain along with the smile he had flashed towards her. It was a good feeling, no, a great one, and she liked it. “I know this may be off topic but you're adopted? Not asking in a rude way or anything, just genuinely curious.”

“Yeah!” Zay wasn’t even sure how to take offense from such a question, let alone such a question being uttered from this girl. Even though he had his issues, like most children who were chosen and tossed aside, he was very thankful that someone had taken him in, that someone had provided him with a family. “I was a baby. So I don’t really remember anything different than the life I already know. My Dad’s are great, they’re really just such sweet guys. Suuuuper white though, one’s Italian and the other’s Irish. And they run a furniture making business together.” At this point he wasn’t hundred percent sure what to do with his hands, so Isaiah swiftly stuck them in his pockets. Was that normal? “I’ve got a sister too! She’s annoying but yeah, she’s family. I’ve only recently really started looking at where I came from, like originally.”

Something about chatting with Kelsey, as nervous as he was, made him feel incredibly at ease. He wasn’t sure why he wanted to tell her everything and tell her now. If anything he was holding back because he wanted to have more than just the one conversation with her. “What about you? What’s your hero origin story?”

So cringe, Zay. So cringe.

“Hmm, I would like to think it's similar to Spider-Man’s, but really there's a lot different. Like him, I am also a New York baby, born and sort of raised, but not in Queens though! Manhattan was my home for a while, which is obviously the best Borough by the way, but anyway, I lived there with my parents until the 7th-ish grade, a lot is pretty hazy from back then. My father managed my grandparents record label while we lived there, both of my parents are just great people.” one of Kelsey’s hands slipped into her pocket to pull out her wallet, a pale, forest green faux leather thing she was never caught without. Inside the wallet, besides the assortment of bills lay two solitary photo strips. Kelsey pulled out the more worn looking one, unfolding it, and holding it up for Isaiah to catch a view of. It was a simple strip of cascading photos, one after another in an even row depicting Kelsey and her parents, and the contents of the photos were naught but utter randomness. The three of them took on a different pose in every picture, silly faces galore as the photos showed out the life she once had, the life she yearned to experience if but only one more time. “These are my folks, I bet you've seen my grandparents before, the tall older dude and my short older lady? That's them. Back on track now! My mother and I moved to California in that 7th grade year, after my father. He… he passed that year. I try not to think about it too much, it was a lot then, still a lot now. But, everything led me to where I am now, in this shop right here with you.”

Kelsey brought her arm down and turned the photo back towards herself. It was one she had seen a million times, a set of photos she looked at practically every day of her life. Those photos she kept in her wallet meant more to her than a lot of things in her life, memories of people she loved, people she can never see again. Kelsey folded the photo back up again, sliding it back into position besides the other photo in her wallet. She couldn't get herself too worked up, she didn't want to cry in front of Isaiah, especially not right now. “So yeah, unfortunately no siblings, though sometimes I do wish I had some, being an only child gets boring sometimes, though now I got this shop to keep me occupied. Y'know they had me working here when I was twelve?! That can't be allowed right?” Kelsey laughed a bit, trying to lighten the mood if only but a bit. “Honestly, it's cool that you are looking into your origins, I hope it's been going well for you, I can't imagine where I would even start if I was in your shoes so definitely props given.”

Isaiah was taken aback by how open and honest Kelsey was being. For all intents and purposes he was nothing but a stranger. Then again, sometimes a stranger can end up being exactly what you need at the time you need it. Strangers can be the most impactful people in your life and you may not even know it. Zay felt like a stranger in his own life, like he didn’t belong where he was, like he was simply a placeholder until the real person whose spot he took would arrive to claim what he had taken. He didn’t doubt that his adopted family and his few friends loved him, for each of them, strangers, took in someone that shouldn’t have been there and welcomed him in, just like Kelsey was doing at that moment.

“I’m sorry to hear about your Dad. That must be really hard.” Isaiah wanted to reach out and put a hand on her shoulder. He could see in her pretty eyes just how much pain she was carrying, pain hidden by the scratches of old vinyl and drowned out by the best and rhythm of the music she wrapped herself in. “If it’s any help, I’ve got three dads apparently, so you can take your pick of one of those.” He awkwardly smiled again. He was not good at this. In the slightest. “What I mean, like, you know I’m not saying replace your dad or anything but…sorry. Just…sorry.” Isaiah Strickland, the great orator. “Working since you were twelve? Yeah definitely not legal. Though I was helping my dads do their taxes when I was like seven. Somehow neither of them are particularly math orientated. Must be something I get from my genetics.”

“You don't have to apologize, Zay. I get you trying to comfort me, thank you.” She knew he was only trying to help, and to be fair, she wasn't the best comforter herself. Kelsey never wanted to burden anyone with her problems, they didn't deserve to carry the weight she carried, it was her trial, and hers alone. Like Atlas, the weight she bore on her shoulders was the most she could bear, plus a little more. A weight that threatened to topple off her small frame at the slightest bump on the road, unleashing the floodgates that were fastened locks that cracked and squealed under the bulging hurt burrowed in her mind. “And hey! We have more in common than I thought initially, I get my impeccable skills to run a record store all by myself from my genetics too. I wonder how we haven't talked to each other earlier.”

Although their circumstances stood in a stark contrast, Kelsey felt that, in a way, they could relate. It was a weird sense, not backed up by a lot she knew about Isaiah but from that was what she got from their conversation. She felt like she could be more free, like she didn't have to put a persona around him and could just be open in a way. “Oh yeah! I know this is like a really big back track but back on music, if you look right above where I am sitting there is a photo of me and my grandparents with the members of Digable Planets. Though I might point it out because you give me the vibe you may know them, I wish I could remember the story behind it but I'm sure if he were here right now my grandpa would have some long winded tale that sounds way cooler than it probably was. Also do you have an Instagram or number I could get, I think I have a few playlists you would like!” That wasn't the only reason she wanted his number, but he didn't need to know that.

Did she? Did she just?


“..y..ye..Yeah! O..of course you can have my number!” Now he just had to remember it. No one had ever asked Isaiah for his number before, let alone a girl! This was absolutely, unequivocally unheard of except for in his fantasies. “I’d love to hear your playlists!” He had chosen this year to be his year. This was meant to be the year that Zay finally found out who he was and stood out from the ideal that people expected him to be. So far it hadn’t gone to plan but in these brief moments with Kelsey, it felt like maybe it was finally happening? Pulling a slip of paper and a pen from his pocket, he scribbled his phone number and socials down. “My Insta and X are on there too. Zay4TC ... also I really love Digable Planets, that picture is so damn cool.” He handed the paper to the beautiful girl and directed his big smile towards her once again. “I should probably get out of here so that you can actually serve paying customers.”

Kelsey's eyes shifted from Isaiah's glowing smile for a moment to look at the clock that lay beside her, she hadn't noticed just how much time had passed while the two were chatting.“Hey, you are a paying customer too! But it is close to closing time so I should probably get ready for that before I have to hear an old man complain.” Kelsey shot a smile right back at the man before her, as she did a quick scan of the piece of paper before pocketing it. “Y’know I really enjoyed our conversation, Isaiah! Make sure to pop by again, I'd love to continue chatting, and I'll make sure to send them over as soon as I am done here!”

“I really enjoyed our conversation too Kelsey, I’ll definitely be back. You can bet on it.” With his smile glued to his face from ear to ear, Zay lifted his headphones back from around his neck, over his head and waved to the girl as he walked out the door. This was certainly something he did not expect when he walked into the record shop not a few minutes earlier. He wasn’t expecting the skin on the back of his neck to be burning or for his stomach to be filled with a swarm of butterflies but there he was!

As he walked up the street, his intended destination home, Isaiah reached into his pocket once again and was hit with a bolt of realization which struck him like a lightning bolt hitting a tree; he felt like he had been split in half. The page he gave to Kelsey, with his number and socials on, on the reverse of it were the lyrics to his next rap. He had not intended to share those with anyone yet, they weren’t finished and they didn’t have a beat. What could he do? Could he go back? But then he’d look desperate. He could leave it but then she would probably think that he was trying to be some sort of cool guy which of course he wasn’t.

“Oh God. No.”

So.anyone have any ideas for scenes they'd love to see?

I was think we could play a squad during Operation Starlite (one of the first major offensives by the US army)
Roughly how many players/characters are we shooting for?

Roughly the size of your typical army squad, so about 6ish people
This is interesting, I'll throw in a tag here. Are we sticking to the irl timeline and history?

We will try to the IRL timeline/history as much as possible but I am open to having deviations in the history if y'all would like to go out on a homebrewed mission
TIMESTAMP: Some time after Opening Act
LOCATION(s): The Revolution Record, Beverly Hills
SONG: Good Enough Reasons
STARING: Kelsey Devon, And
Lucian Bowers

“Thank you again! Take care!” A different variation of the same phrase flowed from Kelsey’s lips with each exiting customer. The service persona had been drilled into her for years up until this moment. “Kind words and a smile” as her grandfather called, and those words held true in the smile she wore at that moment. Although, the outwardly kind gesture she offered to each and every customer of the store wasn’t the hallow facade plastered upon most retail worker’s faces and voices. Her words were authentic. Kelsey clung to the notion of the store like her life depended on it. From every particle of dust in the back storage room, to the vinyls that lined every foot of the front, she adored it. She loved the store more than her grandparents did, and they were the ones who had it built. Anything she did in the store, whether that be sweeping the hardwood floors that lined the building, stocking the shelves with whatever new shipment of vinyls her grandparents ordered, or even the simple act of interacting with customers, Kelsey put all her energy into it. The store was her home away from home; She needed it. The store was a reminder, but also a distraction from her father; anything to take her mind off the brunt of the pain.

Kelsey’s hand traced the abstract art piece that lay on the cover of the vinyl that played record player beside her. “The Moon and The Melodies,” an album Kelsey had heard plenty of times in the past, one of her grandfather’s favorites, and what he had decided to play for before he left on an errand. An ethereal concoction that comforted the ears, but Kelsey much preferred listening to one of the playlists she had painstakingly put together the day prior. The day was slow, and the music that poured out of the surprisingly well-maintained gramophone hadn’t worked to speed it up. Kelsey had started a habit of counting the number of new faces who had visited the store, and today her count stayed at zero, with joining the past two weeks streak of all zeros. Nothing could ever beat the day a couple of weeks ago where she counted at least ten. Now that was a monumental day. It wasn’t all empty though, the regulars came by here and there, satisfying their musical cravings with a dose of Revolution Records almost endless supply. Kelsey was sure there was almost nothing they didn’t have, Grandpa Grant always managed to find the most obscure things in the back with a random story to go along with it too. That, unsurprisingly, held true for almost anything you could find in plain sight or hidden within the store, it was laced with its own easter eggs so to say to find in unexpecting locations. The customer earlier was also a regular, a sweet old man who was a friend of the older Devons, just seeking to chat, he had talked to Kelsey for around an hour before making his exit with his purchase, she’d have to let her grandparents know he came by.

Kelsey’s ears perked up with the blissful ring of the bell upon the shop’s door, breaking the stream of music in her ear. Her eyes looked up from the desk, and saw another one of the shop's regulars, Lucian. “Hey! If it isn’t Lucian Bower seeking comfort in this shop once again. Looking for anything specific, Lucy? I saw a few new LPs from some bands I know you listen to while stocking today. Or are you just browsing?” It was a sight for sore eyes to see Lucian again, although he did come into the shop at least once a week, she meant in general. Despite the lives they had led up until this point the two kids were old friends, both a chip of the Harlem neighborhood both settled in Los Angeles. Kelsey had been a close friend of Lucian since their younger years. Before he and Rocky were truly involved in a life he’d rather not talk about, they were joined at the hip. They only started to drift away when that became his priority, and before they could fix anything she had already moved away. Their reconnection was one unexpected by both, before he had even seen the girl walking the halls of their shared school, his uncle had brought him to the store in which they stood on a day she was working. After the moment of shocked faces, and a storm of questions thrown at the other, the two had been reconnected.

“You hear my sister call me that one time and you stick with it for so many years,” Lucian sighed at the advent of the nickname he had desired she’d forget. One he had been called by few and one he’d never forget. He hated it, the name hung heavy on his soul as it was burned into his ears each time it was said. That was something he have to tell her another time, though. Lucian was here for music, and he’d be damned if he let anything put a damper on the day he was having. “And, nah, I’m just lookin’ around, Kels. Don’t really got much in mind but I do got some news you might wanna hear.” Those words caught her attention more than his own arrival had, Kelsey sat up in her chair, raising her eyebrow as she looked focused more on her friend. “Oh shit? What has been up with you recently, Lucy? And for the record, it was TWICE, not once I heard Eliza call you that.” Lucian sighed at the girl's last remark, his hands searching through the crate of vinyls on the stand in front of him, no real direction in mind just scouring for anything that looked good enough. “Well, I might be joining a band soon. Don’t get too excited now, nothing is set in stone but, I mean, it’s looking good.” His eyes focused on the records as he softly pulled one up from the rest, inspecting the cover, and reading the songlist on the back before placing it back into the slot it came from. “Y’know Helen right? The one with the jet black hair, and drives the sick hearse? Yeah her. She’s the one that asked me to join. Me, her, and this cat named “Yani” as the first three. Fire, right?”

“Holy shit, Lucian! Finally putting those sticks to work. You really came far from the one music class in the 5th grade, huh? I remember when you barely even knew how to drum, and here you are about to do it for a band? God. When y’all have your first show, tell me, I’ll be the first one there!” Kelsey sat back in her chair, her smile was reinforced with Lucian’s proclamation. She was glad for Lucian, he needed something like this. What the store meant to Kelsey was similar to what drumming meant to Lucian. She knew he wanted to put it out there, to have his pain shown to more than just himself, so to see him finally have that outlet meant a lot to her.

“When we make it to the first show, I ain’t gonna let you miss it.” Lucian turned his head to look at the girl, returning a smile back to her before switching his search to another genre. “Off topic but what happened to to the Devons today?” Lucian realized, finally looking around the store for the short old man always spouting tidbits of lore about the store or his career. He was usually always around the front or somewhere hidden in the back, always popping up as soon as he heard his name. Grant Devon was quite an eccentric old man, you never really knew his next move. Laura Devon was always the one who brought the man back from whatever planet his mind inhabited, much like Kelsey she cared for all who entered the doors to her store, they were both a truly sweet couple Lucian had the blessing to interact with. Before Kelsey had a chance to get a word out to answer Lucian’s question, another set of words attacked her ears like a volley of arrows. “KELSEY, WHY ARE THE POTHOS DYING? ARE YOU OVER WATERIN’ THEM? I TOLD YOU ONLY ONCE A WEEK. HAVE YOU SEEN THE FUNGUS GROWTH IN THE POT??”




Lucian was distraught, well, not really, but the abuse of the poor vining plant he helped set up around the store for the Devins was a disappointing site. He was only playing around with his friend, letting out a faux sigh before speaking, “Christ, Kels, can’t even keep a pothos plant alive. I’ll have to help you repot it, the soil in these pots has too much fungi growth, and we’ll have to prune off some parts of the leaves too.” Lucian held one of the dead leaves in his hand, the yellow leaf laid in his hand under the Beverly Hills sun shining through from the window, the ends of the leave slightly curling up at the ends with signs of browning. Two years ago, Lucian wouldn’t have given a single care to gardening, his life here had given him so many opportunities to explore than he had in the past. Without the move? He would’ve most likely ended up like the leaf in his hand. After what happened to him? It was a shock he wasn’t like the leaf but still shining green. He counted his blessings every day.

“Yadda, yadda, yadda, talk to the hand buddy.” Kelsey thrust her palms from off the table they rested, hiding her smile behind her outstretched hands. It felt like the old times, back when they were just kids messing around with whatever, and doing random things together. Two-thirds of a former trio, if only he were here. Kelsey let out a laugh as she rested her hands back on the counter. “But in all seriousness, just call me whenever, dude. To answer your question before I was so rudely interrupted, they are out grocery shopping. Given this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and your talk of plants, you want to go spark up in the back?” Kelsey made the motion of striking an invisible lighter in her hand as she looked over at Lucian. “Don’t you gotta, y’know, watch the store?”

“I haven’t taken my break yet all day, plus, nobody will notice if the store is closed for a bit. I deserve some time for myself, this is hard work, Lucy.” Kelsey stated proudly, the smile still plastered all over her overzealous face.

“If you say so. I was just going to do the same shit alone at home later, so might as well.”

“Now that's more like it, Lucy! Flip the ‘out to lunch’ sign on the door, and lock if for me, my good friend.” Lucian followed his friend’s instructions, soon placing the records he intended to buy later on the counter before following Kelsey off to where they would smoke.

“Welcome back, my friend, to Revolution Record’s humble break room!” Humble was certainly the correct word to describe the room the pair stood within. The break room, if you could call it that with the size, was night and day compared to the shop floor. The desultory decorations found all across the front room were void as one stepped into the break room, alone sat a solitary table with a few chairs pushed under it, with a kitchenette set up to the wall beside them. The room sat with a stagnant air before the two rushed new life into its atmosphere. “Does anyone even come into this room? Christ.” With Kesley’s flick of the light, the two took a seat at the small table in the center of the room. “If they did they would notice I am the only one with a key, but as you can see barely even I use it.”

“Solid reasonin’. An’ I ain’t one to complain over free weed but bro, that shit you had last time was terrible.”

“LOW BLOW, WOW. We agreed never to speak on it again too. But rest assured, Lucy, this is of the highest quality!”

“Oh I hope it is.”

Kelsey’s hands were busy at work crafting the blunt for the two of them to pass as they chatted. The contents of the small bookbag that had sat on the table before their entrance was scattered around the surface. Kelsey placed the grinder in her hand back onto the table as she poured the grounded remains onto the woods she held in the other. The leaf was delicate, but she had rolled it so many times through trial and error it had become muscle memory. As her fingers rolled up the leaf she peered over at her friend across the table. This had become almost a routine for them, to come back here and reminisce over a blunt. Ever since he arrived in their junior year, it had always been the two of them in the back room just chatting about anything that plagued each other's minds. They were mutually each’s biggest supporter, closer than they were back when they were rowdy kids. Kelsey brought the blunt up to her lips, sealing it before placing it down on the tray before her. “You got a lighter, Lucy? I think mine might be dead.” Rummaging in her pockets in search of the light she had bought earlier. “I told you that them crackhead lighters ain't it.” Lucian slid his light across the table to his friend, he always kept working one on him, just in case. “Thank you!” With the blunt in-between her fingers she brought Lucian’s lighter up to light it, taking the first drag on her creation. The smoke permeated every part of her lungs before cascading out as she opened her mouth, handing the blunt and the light back over to her friend. Lucian took a hit on the blunt before speaking, the smoke filled his lungs like the thoughts did his mind. “You ever miss Harlem?”

“I mean, I guess? Not really the city, more my father and my friends, and I already got a part of that place smoking with me. You alright, Lucian?”

“Been on edge my whole life, Kels, you get used to it. An’ ion know, guess I just miss my peoples.”

“Shit, I know being here without father hurt me a lot, I can’t imagine how you must feel without Eliza.”

“Was supposed to be us two ‘gainst the world, and now we two different sides of the country.” Lucian took another drag before passing it back to Kelsey. This was the only way Lucian found he could talk about that life without breaking down into the mess that he kept locked within.

“I am so sorry, Lucian.”

“You ain’t gotta apologize, aint shit you did wrong. I blame my life-givers for that. An’ with Rocky, Christ, I don’t even wanna think ‘bout that. Makes my heart hurt in all the wrong ways.” Lucian rubbed his shoulder, lightly feeling over the scar that sat there through his shirt.

“I feel you, we all miss him.” Kelsey held the blunt in her hand as she looked over at her friend. When Lucian had told her the news her heart was broken too, like it was smashed into a million pieces as the last vestige of hopeful belief that she would be able to see her old friend again faded away. He and Lucian were the brothers she never had, the pain ran deep and the fact that they never had the chance to reconnect stuck her deeper. She tried to understand Lucian’s pain, she hurt for Rocky as well, but to actually be there the moment it happened was a type of pain she could never imagine. Lucian was able to hold his pain just as well as her mother could. She wasn’t sure if she had ever seen Lucian cry over their friend but when he first told her the tears flowed like hot lava down her face. She didn’t know how he did it, to keep his pain bundled up so deeply in as big of a heart as he had still shocked her, in her own heart she wished she could handle her own pain as well as he appeared to be. Little did she know that behind Lucian facade of managed grief, he was still that kid frozen in the moment, his mind never truly having left that one street corner that altered his life drastically. She had yet to see little glimpses of his grief that punctured the surface when his ears were assaulted with sudden loud noises. The pain that showed through his eyes when he would fall to the floor winded, gasping for any air he could take in, and on the verge of tears. She never saw the tremors that washed through his body when he was awoken in the middle of the night by a nightmare he never dared to retell. After she took another hit, a light stream of hot tears rolled down from her eyes. “Ah fuck, I didn’t mean to make you cry, Kels.”

“You’re alright, Lucy. You know I’m a crier, and this isn’t making it any better.” Kelsey let out a light laugh through the smoke, and tears, passing back over to Lucian

“If this means anythin’ now, this is way better stuff than last time.”

“See! I told you.

“We’re still smokin’ my shit next time, this is still subpar.”

“Alright. You’re done.”

Welcome to the guild!

I am looking for a small group of people who may be interested in a Vietnam War era RPG. To preface, it will be an anthology-based RPG. Instead of one linear story following a set cast of characters, there will be several lightly connected stories with a rotating cast of characters. This means we will explore different events, battles, and operations that occurred during the Vietnam War or were created by the group, from the eyes of different characters in each new plotline. The story will hopefully span from 65' to 75', allowing us an ample timeframe to explore whatever we may wish, I do not have a tentative first storyline planned, although I will set something in stone if there is traction, and if you have any ideas I'll be happy to have them thrown at me. I am not a master in the subject of the Vietnam War, and while I may find its history very interesting I am bound to make a few mistakes here or there, if you notice this please feel free to educate me on where I have gone wrong so I can course correct.

If you have any ideas or are interested in having your own run through the jungle, please let me know! And remember, mind the agent orange.
TIMESTAMP: After school around 4PM
FT: Luce & Helen
Small FT: The Sinclair Twins
@Festive & @LovelyComplex


How is she gonna ask me to hang out, and be late?

The unfortunate sound of air passing through his straw in a vain attempt to get the rest of the milkshake he had paid an ungodly amount of money for rang through the boy's ears. Helen wasn’t late, it was more of the fact that Lucian was early. Another habit he had picked up during his younger years, the boy couldn’t stand to be late. He watched the clock tick past the meeting time she had thrust upon the boy without leaving him another moment to respond or even register within his thoughts. Lucian didn’t even know what the girl had invited him for, their brief interaction earlier in the day had culminated in Lucian sitting alone in a bougie ice cream parlor where he had felt like a fish out of water, but what was new in Beverly Hills for the rag-tag boy from Harlem?

Lucian’s mind hung on the unusuality of the hangout spot she chose, it was a far cry from the usual setting of his uncle’s shed, which was outfitted with everything one would need to rock out, but here he was sitting in a place for serving ice cream of all possible locations. Lucian tossed the remnants of a drink he would never buy again into the pastel-colored trashcan that neighbored his waiting spot. If Helen had prefaced what she had wanted from Lucian his life would have been nirvana instead of drowning in the stress of anticipation. Whatever it was Lucian knew it had to be something too special to tell him within the confines of his own home or school, he’d just have to wait and see.

The worn-looking pair of black headphones laid upon Lucian’s ears as a result of his boredom with the noise that poured from the parlor’s speakers, if he was going to continue to wait alone he might as well get the most out of it. Music had always been one of Lucian’s passions, he listened, he played, but he never created music; it lay just beyond his purview. Lucian never had the need to, music-wise, for the majority of his life it had always been him and his sticks against the world–Helen had changed that, she was the first person he had played with in a long while since even before he had left Harlem; she had an amazing voice, and he shredded any piece of sheet music presented to him on the drums.

As the jazz drumline reverberated throughout his brain it took his mind off the waiting, he could feel the soul poured into a rhythm, it melded with its fellow instruments like a lake flowing into a larger body of water, the syncopations in the beat were a pleasant disruption in his mind as they were throughout the rhythm which played; he would have to learn to play this rhythm himself, yet another song he would have to add to the backburner.

As the drummer boy waited in anticipation, Helen was taking her sweet time. She marched to the beat of her own drum. She wasn’t one for predictability and if there was anyone that chased a feeling, a whim, and did literally what they wanted, it was Helen Wells. Strange and unusual was Helen’s whole vibe. There was a big difference between those who got what they wanted and those who did what they wanted. Sure, Helen had aspirations and dreams. That just meant she wasn’t stagnant, always thinking about optimizing her potential, but that didn’t mean she was limited to wanting singular things. Materialistic things, like her cosplays and makeup, weren't needed. If she had to wear rags she would be okay. She knew how to be a person beyond her privileges. If she was stripped of everything, including her voice, which was her gift, she would be okay. Her fathers taught her how to overcome adversities, and that meant if she had to give up on her dreams, to walk a path less taken, she would be okay.

Yes, she wanted a band. She was young, energetic and hot. She knew she’d be a fucking phenomanal, heartstopping face for a band, just how her grandpa was for Deciduous Dreams. If it didn’t happen though? She’d be okay and try something new. That was just how Helen was. She didn’t want something so badly it completely consumed her. She never did. This made her dangerous to deal with because she was one of the people who didn’t have anything to lose, which made her fucks to give at ground zero. She had her family but she was at the age where she could rebel and test her parents’ patience. She was going to ride it until it became a problem. She had her friends, who she was passionate about, loving them for who they were as people and not liking the bad they had to face, especially what happened to Amy last year. Just another whim she was chasing. She knew Amy wouldn’t care if she chased leads or not to find out who ruined her. At this point? Amy ran with the story and gave the people what they wanted. If Amy told Helen to stop, she would, but she didn’t. So of course, Helen was going to do what she could to find out who was the little bitch that decided to be a coward and cause a fire with information they knew nothing about.

As much as Helen Wells wanted to believe she was invincible, no fucks to give, and full of rage, those who were in her inner circle knew she wasn’t bulletproof and this bad bitch vibe was a persona she picked up herself. A persona entangled with the little girl inside of her. The bitch she became was necessary. Her sword and shield. She couldn’t say that it wasn’t who she was, since now it’s simply second nature to act the way she does. There was a time she was less guarded and that was before the Winter formal freshmen year. The only person who knows what happened to Helen, who she found herself trusting and being vulnerable with, was Gavriel. Her little twink. Not even the cheerleaders and her best friends know what happened to her freshman year, and she’d like to keep it that way. She was a slut, just like Amy and just like Toury. Her story was hers to tell, when she was ready. For now? People can believe what they want to believe. They were going to, anyway.

Setting up a date at Creamistry was not as complicated as Luce was thinking it to be. This arrangement was a childish whim where Helen wanted the Halloween/October special. Might as well kill two birds with one stone. Ask Luce to join her band AND eat good ice cream. When Helen arrived, there was no way she’d go unseen. She was still in her Katerine cosplay from The Vampire Diaries. The bell rang, announcing her arrival, and with her almost supernatural entrance, as if she glided on the smooth, colorful tiled floor, Helen clocked Luce, who was surrounded by the symphony of his soul. She smiled, taking notice.

A smile only meant she acknowledged his presence. There was a matter of business she needed to attend to and that was to: buy ice cream. With no one in line holding her up, she went to the counter, only for the two girls there to gawk at her. Or well one was animatedly goggling at her and the other was looking at her with more subtle admiration and curiosity. She knew these girls. They were junior cheerleaders. Niles Sinclair’s little sisters, Autumn and Summer.

The bubbly one began first, “Oh my goooooodness! You look so good. You’re Katherine right? I love Vampires! You know I’m trying to convince my boyfriend to binge watch all the vampire stuff ever, including the Twilight series.” Summer was bouncing around in place, completely marking out at the appearance of her goth senior.

Autumn, the more down to earth one, even if a bit bitchy and sassy, rolled her eyes, “Our boyfriend.”

Helen raised an eyebrow at that comment. Niles had polyamorous sisters and they both were dating the same boy. Interesting. She wouldn’t have expected polyamory from the Sinclair family, who were rather influential in the medical industry, seeing how their father was the head of the surgical department at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. On the surface, they seemed traditional and more focused on their studies. Then again, they were the cousins of AJ Tyler and AJ was caught in the most entertaining, toxic love story of her year. Unfortunately, Rye was caught in the Gearhead’s mess, being used as a distraction, which Helen didn’t like but that was neither here nor there. She continued to listen, keeping her thoughts to herself, curious where these girls would take the conversation.

“Would it be cool if we took a picture of you, over there by our selfie wall?” Autumn asked, upfront with their intentions. “I think it would be good marketing since ‘tis the season to be spooky.”

Helen smirked. Of course they wanted a picture of her. Who wouldn’t? Still, aside from exposure, she wanted something more. The offer wasn’t intriguing enough. “Hm, I could but what’s in it for me?”

“We’ll tag you!” Summer offered, already with her phone out and searching for Helen’s socials.

Helen helped her since she wasn’t under her name. “Immortal.Hellcat.”

“There we go! We’re following you now and when we get the picture, we’ll post and tag you. People will get to see your hot fit.” Summer beamed, hoping this would get her senior to agree.

Helen crossed her arms, pretending to not be convinced. Honestly loving the attention. “I don’t know. I could easily post a picture of myself. A girl dressed in black surrounded by rainbow? That’s not hard of a prompt.”

“And free ice cream,” Autumn countered, bringing up the incentive. She only did this job because it helped build character, as her dad told her. This parlor made enough money to expand if they truly wanted to so it wasn’t like they would be hurting if she gave a customer a freebie. “I’m going to assume you’re here for our Boolicious Fright Night Sundae.”

“That’s so big! Can you eat it all by yourself?!” Summer gasped, surveying Helen’s figure and the obvious corset she was wearing.

Helen laughed.

Free stuff was always something she was up for. She might have money but if she didn’t need to spend it, why should she? “You got yourself a deal. Don’t worry about whether I can finish it or not. That’s a battle between me and Satan. Now, before more customers come in…” Helen directed the twins to follow her. Summer did so quickly, with her phone camera out, while Autumn began making the trick-or-treat special of the month with skilled precision and speed, having worked at this place for a little over a year. Once Helen was settled on the swing, Summer took a few photos without ice cream at hand. A natural and extremely photogenic, Helen didn’t need any direction, already knowing how to pose and what facial expressions to use. Helen knew her body. She knew her body better than anyone. In a matter of minutes, Autumn had joined her sister and the vampiress, handing her the halloween special. The photo op continued. When the Sinclair twins were satisfied with their selection, it didn’t take long, Helen was scarily good at this, they thanked her and went back to behind the counter. Summer proceeded to update the parlor’s socials and Autumn returned to work, assisting a family of four. The children, a little blonde boy and a dark haired girl, who reminded Helen of her and her brother, kept making glances at her. Playfully, Helen winked at them and revealed her fangs. The girl blushed and the boy buried his face on his mom’s leg.


Pridefully, Helen sauntered to where Luce was and finally took a seat. It was twenty five minutes after her arrival. “Heyyyyyy, want some?” She offered a spoon to her peer. “This shit is good. It’s basically cookie dough dyed black.”

“Hmm?” The music which held control of Lucian’s brain lost it's grip with the advent of Helen’s arrival. His eyes peered up from the phone he held in his hand to the woman that sat before him. “Oh, look who finally arrived.” Lucian flashed a smile at Helen, shifting his headphones down to around his neck. Helen, who paraded around with her princess of darkness personality, was one of the few people Lucian had befriended during his short time within the halls of Beverly Hills High. A friendship spurred from a single, chance encounter from their junior year due to a locker mix-up of all possible catalysts; it took the two of them quite a bit to remove the ink from the surface of his locker in the aftermath. From that statistical improbability in the statistical world they lived to the present they have been friends ever since. Despite her outward demeanor to some, she was a person he could talk her ear off about music with, and one who would listen and empathize with him whenever something slipped through the wall he erected around his past. He didn't care for the reputation she held, or the way people saw her, Lucian saw it was a dumb preconception on a person of whom they truly knew anything about. He understood the implications of a bad stigma, he himself had been held to one in the past. At heart, Helen was a good person, and that is what he saw her for, and nothing less. Past the layers of black clothing and lipstick, that's what she was. His brother, Rocky, had always always told him he had a strange ability to really understand a person.

Lucian waved his hand at the offer of the spoon. “I think I've had enough bougie Beverly Hills ice cream for today, God knows much you paid for that monstrosity. I'm scared to even ask.” He sighed thinking about much money he begrudgingly paid for the milkshake he had earlier. His fingers softly tap on the glossy surface of the table to the rhyme of the low track that still secretly pervaded his ears. “So, are you gonna tell me whatcha called me here of all places for? My uncle’s gardenin’ facts finally get you?” His uncle was truly a great guy, he would give someone the shirt off his back if they needed it. He could still be a bit overwhelming at times, but he always meant well. Lucian wondered how Uncle Jason and his father could even be related at times. “Still confused on why ice cream, first time I even been of this place now that I think ‘bout it.”

Amused, noting how into his own world he had been to not realize the interaction she held with the ice cream girls, Helen scooped some of her black cookie dough and leisurely placed the spoon upside down in her mouth, sucking the sweet goodness right off. Childishly, she grinned and swayed in her seat, loving her monstrosity. When she went for another scoop, she chuckled, “I’m not that deep. I wanted ice cream and to prolong the wait even more, I got this for freeeeeeee. All you gotta’ do is offer your body and you’ll get what you want.” Helen crudely joked. “But seriously, I didn’t want to get the halloween special and eat it by myself. I also wanted to talk to you and here we are, achieving both.”

She allowed herself to devour more of the ice cream and add ons in it, bobbing her head, completely animated and showing her glee in the moment. If it wasn’t for their connection in music, and their fateful first encounter, Helen wondered if they would’ve ever crossed paths. Personality wise? They were two different people but because of their love for music and the stories around them that inspired songs, they found an unlikely bond. They weren’t polar opposites like her and her cousin Hope, but they still were from two different planets and it showed. That didn’t matter though. What mattered was their universal language: music. “You really think I’d go out of my way for gardening tips? Luce, the last time I tried to grow something with my dad — the sex therapist one — it died. It was helluva poetic. I kill the things I touch. So edgy. I’ll mark that as a success.”

Luce would have to try harder than that to get Helen “the killer of plants” Wells to focus and not distract herself, or him, from the point of this meeting. She continued to dance to the song in her soul, the music in her mind, and the beat in her heart, all the while indulging in the large sundae meant for four people. Not holding back on the lack of grace, Helen truly became a frenzied vampire sucking the life of its victim. She wasn’t trying to be a lady. Not in front of her friend. Having skipped lunch, solely to have ice cream, she gorged herself and it showed. Helen was starving and she had prepared for this moment all day. She truly was a child but that in itself was endearing and she was unashamed of who she was. Not many people of their year could say the same thing. At least Luce wasn’t one of those lost kids. He was just like her. He knew who he was and he wasn’t trying to be anyone other than himself. That’s what truly connected them. Their sense of self. That’s what made them friends.

“Blow works as a nice alternative too but I ain’t got no contacts for that anymore.” Lucian joked back at the black-haired girl before him, it was always nice to have someone around who you could chat to freely without the judgment that would accost him in a conversation with anyone else. “And, well, at least you got somethin’ out of the experience, gardenin’ isn’t that hard when you get into it.” Lucian cut his words short, he couldn’t allow himself to get too distracted by Helen’s child-like glee of their meeting. He watched Helen sway around in her seat as if the dark mess of ice cream in front of her was her next fix. He couldn’t help but smile. Helen was herself through and through, he admired her unchanging presentation to everyone she encountered. In a way, Helen was like his friend Rocky; utterly herself, and unnecessarily difficult to make pay attention to the topic at hand.

Distraction, like all weeds, must be snipped from the root. Having raised his sister for almost her entire life, Lucian knew this like the back of his hand. He reached his hand out across the table as if he was reaching for the spoon she had previously offered like he was relenting to her request to share. In a swift motion, Lucian treacherously swiped the bowl to his side of the table. He didn’t desire to violate the bliss Helen received from the free sweet treat she was devouring but it was an action that needed to be done. “Helen, this hurts me more than it hurts you, but you have to focus.” Lucian held the bowl before him, just out of Helen’s black thumb reach, it was the only way. “Your ice cream will be returned when you tell me why I am here.”

An audible gasp escaped Helen’s lips. Did he? He totally did just take her ice cream away from her. All to what? To get her to FOCUS? There was absolute shock written all over the gothic beauty’s face. How could she let this happen? He stole her treasure right from under her, using a ploy that he would have some of the sweet spooktacular goodness and she believed it. How foolish of her. The TREACHERY! The BETRAYAL! The SIN! This was a trick but there was no treat. Not anymore. How devastating. Her life was ruined and it was all because Lucian took her ice cream away from her like they were preschool kids. She wanted to cry.


She wasn’t actually upset but she enjoyed playing along, it wasn’t often she could be the baby in the dynamic and with Luce she didn’t have to be strong all the time. She could relax and enjoy his company. Once she placed her spoon on a napkin, she crossed her arms, leaning back in faux defeat. She pouted, wanting to protest. Helen knew that her friend waited long enough and yielded. If she kept prolonging the inevitable his patience would be tested and we couldn’t have that. She did this more to get her ice cream back than anything. “You’re tying my hands but fine.” She unlatched her arms and raised her hands up, surrendering and ready to reveal the truth of why she needed him to meet her, at Creamistry. Why meeting each other was more important out of school than in. Why of all times she chose 4:20 PM on the dot and how necessary it was for him to be there, on time, like she asked. This would be the moment of truth. The moment he had been waiting for. The moment he was so badly anticipating, that put him on the edge of his seat.

But first, she took out her phone and prefaced, “So you know my grandpa is kind of tight with the Greens’ grandmother right? Not the scary blonde one. The dark goddess that rocks black and purple. Same though.” Helen had tabs already open in her phone browser, to showcase exactly who she was talking about and switching over to different tabs as fast as lightning, whenever she mentioned someone new. She had full faith Luce knew all these names, he knew his shit, but she wanted to be extra and act like she was giving a presentation. “She was the lead vocalist of East of Eden. Huge symphonic metal band. Legends. Just how my grandpa, Jareth, was, and still is, the frontman of the big time emo revival band, Deciduous Dreams. He’s an old man now but he can still rock out with his cock out. They don’t perform as much, since he’s enjoying eating his husband’s goooooood food but if he has the urge, he sure as hell will give into it.” She was way off track from her point but it was fine. Luce was going to get what he wanted sooner or later, he just needed to let her cook and toy with his feelings for a little while longer. “Well her best friend, Bex Crosby, co-leader of the band who rocked the guitars with Shepard Fraiser? Yeah, well she’s the owner of Poison Apple Recording Studio.”

Was that unnecessary information? Right now, maybe, but down the road? Absolutely not. This was her way of showing Luce that she was connected and that meant if they really wanted to succeed, she knew the people they could show their musical talent off to. Helen was purposely being long winded because she could. It wasn’t like either of them had somewhere to be. If Luce did? Oops. This was far more important. Plus, he took her ice cream. She could be petty too.

“So check it,” Helen placed her phone face down on the table. “On Monday I decided you know what, we have so many fucking talented people at our school, why haven’t we all worked together, you know? I hit up Yani first because they're genius and having them on a project means less work for me. I considered all my other options and you, of course, were next on my list. I have other people in mind but I only have one drummer I want.”

Was he getting it now?

Yeah, so Helen did bring Luce here for ice cream not only because she wanted ice cream but because she needed to ask a simple question she could’ve written in text or asked at school. Helen, however, was not a predictable girl. She did what she wanted. A girl and her whims. “What I’m saying is why don’t you, me, and Yani start a band? They’d manage and produce, you’d drum, I’d sing and do the keys, all we’d really need is strings and then bam. We got ourselves a band and we can head on over to Poison Apple to record and jam.” Leaning forward, her arms on the table and her hands clasped, Helen smirked. Finally, the business proposal was out in the open.

“Pretty cool, huh? I thought long and hard about this.” Helen said rather proudly before pressing on, “All that music we talk about, since last year, we can finally put it in motion. Find people like us and leave this school on a badass note. I know how much you want to put your drums to work and I mean TO WORK. Not just in a room alone rocking your socks off. With some of our peers, with me, we could do just that because Luce, I think you’re cool and I like you a lot. In the most platonic of ways. So,” the songstress paused, catching his eyes. She grabbed her spoon off the napkin and glanced down at her ice cream, before going back to meet his sharp yet kind gaze, “Whaddya say?” She offered one last time,“Wanna be in a band together?”

Lucian was blindsided, well, he was most times by the desultory whims of one Helen Wells, but this occasion was different. The concept of a band had been foreign to Lucian’s ears for as long as he could remember. Helen has only been the only true person who he had rocked with in a long while. It had always been him and her, locked away in the fortress of solitude that was his uncle’s shed for hours on end after school playing whatever random song they had desired in the moment. Although within these sessions of being the bane of Uncle Jason’s neighbors, the idea of grouping up with others and forming a band had only been mentioned a single transient time from Lucian’s mouth; a short, cursory lamentation of never having played in a band. Helen was right about Lucian wanting to put his drums to work, it was his passion, it was his escape. An escape from the struggles of the day, an escape from the unwanted thoughts, it was the home he never had, it took him away from this plane if only for a few fleeting hours. It made him feel as normal as normal could be, removed from everything. The pain from his batter and bloodied hands at the end was yet but a sacrifice for the salvation he obtained. He poured his love, his hate, his anger, his regret, his sorrow, his everything into each and every beat upon the surface of his drum; no matter if it was the bucket drums he played in the Harlem subway with the homeless, or the DW set he played in the shed to an audience of few, he put his passion into every strike. He longed to put his music into the world for ears beyond simply those whom he kept in his circle to hear, to understand. The means to had finally been placed just within his reach, a tale that if told to Lucian not even two years prior he would believe to be naught but a fallacy, like the tales he and Rocky spun to each other on the street corner of foretold fame and fortune that would be promised to the two in their fantastical view of the future, but to which they knew was a lie as good as any.

“First off, that was one helluva presentation, props where they’re due, but I been knew most of these cats for a while. I get it though, exposition or whatever” Lucian’s hands gripped the side of ice cream bowl once more “Now, I mean it all sounds good on paper, but it aint gonna be easy y’know…”

Lucian slid the black, cold mess of ice cream back over to Helen’s side of the table to end the childish encounter.

“But, count me the fuck in.”

TIMESTAMP: Start of the Game
Introducing: Celeste Green



@Festive & @LovelyComplex

My name is Celeste Green and I am the Queen of Beverly Hills and the Princess that is destined to take over the Green Company because I’m the best option there is.
A lot of nobodies talk smack about how my world, and school, is exclusive and there is a clear class system.

Guess what, losers!

LIFE is a class system.

If you can’t handle it, you’re not fit to be standing next to me. Periodt. Now move along and play pretend. You’ll never know how it feels to be amazing and true royalty like me. It’s like mommy always says, if you want something done right, pay someone to do it for you. Money is no object to me. I understand it better than anyone. I am gross-rich, pretty, and better than you. That’s all that matters and you can’t really challenge me if you don’t put your money where your mouth is. And you know what? I always get what I want.

Welcome to my world, bitches, you’re lucky to even step foot on it.

With her legs crossed, her lithe form upright, and her electric orange eyes covered by her Balmain sunglasses, Celeste sat rather impatiently on a towel that her Butler laid out for her, on the bleachers in her own reserved section. Her peers knew better than to sit right next to her. It was common courtesy to keep all seats around her open so that a square was created around her and no one’s obnoxious breathing would get on her nerves. Plus, the seats right next to her were reserved for her best friends. This wasn’t the first time the only child of Cyndi and Justin Green did this and it certainly wouldn’t be the last. Celeste’s entire existence commanded her wants and needs and most people either obeyed or got out of her face, not wanting to deal with her. She’d take either option so long as the end result made her happy. Her happiness mattered above everything else.

Butler stood at the end of the bleachers, keeping an eye on his charge from a distance since he knew at events like this Celeste needed her space. She hated feeling claustrophobic and she didn’t like people that she saw as dog poop sitting right next to her. She had standards, okay? And most of this school didn’t reach them. It was so hard to find anyone worth her time anymore. But that’s okay. Celeste didn’t need many people in her life. As long as she had Piper and Athena, Celeste was happy. They were all she needed.

And yet they weren’t here. Happiness was fleeting and she could feel irritation festering inside of her. What was taking them so long? She had been waiting for five minutes and she was already ready to leave. The only reason why she came to this dreadful game is because Athena wanted to but if she had it her way she would’ve done some retail therapy, because she deserved it, and ended her night with a nice bath, while watching rom-com movies. She couldn’t believe she came to this game because her friend asked. Why was she such a good person?

Looking around, still not seeing the two girls that meant the world to her, especially annoyed that Piper kept her waiting, Celeste changed positions. Uncrossing her legs and pressing her knees together, she patted down her skirt, making sure she was presentable and lady-like. Her mom didn’t raise a slob. Her heels didn’t touch the ground. Instead her toes connected to the floor. She moved them up and down, causing her legs to join the casual and leisure motion. It was something Celeste did absentmindedly when she didn’t know how to keep herself busy.

Nothing was of interest to her so she decided to focus on daydreaming. Her mind went from LA to Fiji. She closed her eyes and imagined herself sunbathing, drinking fresh sugarcane juice and listening to the waves of the ocean, the surrounding nature, and her own breathing. God, she wished she was there today. Why did she have to go to school and waste her life away surrounded by idiots? Life was rough for someone who knew what she deserved. It was okay though. Celeste Green was a survivor and would carry on. The world needed her too much for her to give up on her studies but that was neither here nor there. Fiji. All she wanted to think about was Fiji. That was where she was as she waited for her soul sisters. Beautiful Fiji.

Although, why seek the waves of the Pacific when the Mediterranean would treat you much, much better? Among the sea of scarlet and noir coated commoners he was forced to share the same oxygen with, Álvaro looked down at his watch once again hoping that the tiny metal hands within the intricate timepiece would be in a drastically different place than they were the past ten times he had checked it. To his avail, the only hand that seemed to work in the entirety of the piece was the seconds hand, which was too slow for his liking. He didn’t quite understand the concept of American football, despite the time he had spent in the States, and his friends' numerous explanations to him it was simply a bastardization of Rugby that stole the name of a better sport where you actually have to use your feet the majority of the time. And the only reason he was even cooped up in the bleachers with the boys was that he had an obligation to support his fellow members of the Elite, so that meant sitting through every dreadful second of this game.

The dullness of the game before Álvaro wasn’t the only factor of his inescapable miasma of boredom. The conversation among the boys beside him was centered around the sport at hand; a foreign cacophony of voices detailing a topic that held no interest nor use to the man, which grated away at his already short patience as he had to fain interest at times. His ears were filled with the frivolity of those lesser than himself from all angles, his foot tapped repeatedly concrete below, his mind lamenting the fact that gone were his days of using Naomi’s name as a “Get Out Of Jail Free” card to sit away from the boys or even skip the game in its entirety. His newfound bachelor life sure had its perks although the downsides reared their heads like a pack of hyenas, but his father taught him how to hunt for a fucking reason.

There wasn't much he couldn't see from the little slice of hell he occupied upon this fortress of concrete and metal. His eyes scoured the waves of students searching for something or someone who would be more worthy of his time. The poverty-stricken majority neighboring Álvaro and the rows beyond cursed his brown-eyed view, and his time would not be wasted on a charity case. His eyes finally fell upon the blond-haired girl that sat a few rows away from himself, like Moses she parted the red sea but not with the power of God but by the power of her own status. The cousin of his dear friend Ethan Green, Celeste Green wasn't unfamiliar to Álvaro’s purview. He had learned about the girl from the Greens he knew, and even interacted with her in the past, although she had never caught his attention until today. Observation is one of the most valuable skills to a hunter; you have to watch your prey, every move they make, and every breath they take has to be accounted for. As if he was scoping at a buck down range, Álvaro watched. She was away from the pack of three that usually accompanied her, separated from the general populace, and her formal stance faltered into one of less obvious impatience.

When the boys were too busy focusing on whatever they were doing, Álvaro snuck away from the group. He maneuvered through the sea of rowdy voices and school pride to Celeste’s own bubble of claimed regality. From the sidelines, he could see her idiosyncrasies more clearly than from afar. Her legs moved together in a rhythmic pattern, a possible distraction from the drag of the game and her isolation. There was no time better than now to strike; in the world of human psychology his rifle was his words, and he was a goddamn marksman. Álvaro inched his way closer to the edge of her bubble, he couldn't invade the sanctity of her space with her permission, lest her bodyguard disguised as a butler come manhandle him. “Hey, Celeste, any room for company?” Álvaro shot a warm smile across the gap to her, tilting his head slightly in the process. At this point, he was passing himself between so-called “queens” like a royal whore.

“No Naomi to stroke your ego? Or my idiot cousin to rub chests with? Or whatever you sweaty boys do,” Celeste dully asked, uninterested as ever. Truth be told, the Green who was the least informed about her classmates unless it was disclosed to her by her best friends was the princess basking in the sun, in front of the royal highness himself. She didn’t need to keep tabs on the nobodies of the Hills. She wasn’t Trixie or Jamie, who loved to stick their noses in everybody’s business, nor was everybody worth her time. If they were, she would know of them. She wasn’t Naomi and her bitchboy cousin, Levi, that pretended to care nor was she her cowardly cousin, Diana, who had her own reign over a make believe Candyland, choosing to force ‘love’ down other’s throats.

Gag me with a chainsaw, please.

Álvaro was one of the few people she did know plenty about because Ethan did not shut up about his boys and it was hard not to notice someone of Álvaro’s stature. He carried himself pompous, vainglorious, and cocksure, like most of the Elite did. They were disgusting and she would compare them to peacocks. Very unlike her other cousin, Andy, who lived in the shadow of his twin. He was more an ant, which was quite tragic for a Green. She supposed if she had to choose, her preference would lean toward peacocks over ants. Ants were easy to crush. Peacocks were pretty to look at. Some people were born to shine and others were born to be part of the backdrop. Álvaro clearly chose to be the sun since he was blocking it with his vexing, yet eye-catching smile.

Looking over her sunglasses, peering up at the prince-of-nothing-to-her, Celeste snapped her gum. She had been chewing it quietly, thinking of her dream escape, when he decided to rain on her parade. He might have descended from the old world of kings and peasants, but here, at this school, having a legacy was one thing but being able to put your money where your mouth is was an entirely different thing. All that mattered here was he was handsome, he had money, and he knew how to navigate the social scene, beyond that? She could care less. Rather than wait for a response, she simply pointed to the outskirts of her beach towel, two spots reserved next to her for Piper and Athena. “There and not an inch closer.”

“Thank you, thank you.” Álvaro shifted himself into Celeste's perimeter of purity, savoring for a moment the disconnect from himself and the lesser of the school’s ecosystem. Some say the first move a person makes is the hardest, but to Álvaro the whole process couldn’t be easier. Humans are predictable, every single one chalked full of their own uniquely eccentric mannerisms no matter how subtle or suppressed they may be. “To answer your first question, we both just outgrew each other.” Álvaro didn’t hang on the topic for too long, he could tell Celeste wasn’t the one to fain fake emotions to for sympathy. The indifference of her voice cut the air loud and clear, he was going to love to make her crack. The wall she erected around herself had already been breached, it was only a matter of time until he plundered his way to her heart.

“And I really couldn't tell you where Ethan is.” Unlike the other Greens Álvaro has fraternized with, Celeste seemed to stay solely within her own world. And from what he’s seen, sticking to the same two friends who were thankfully, but curiously absent. “Besides that, this game is utterly insufferable. It’s an undignified mess of people jumping on top of each other. If it weren’t for Theo and Benji, I would’ve never even came.” His eyes stayed locked on what he believed to be hers beneath the tinted glass of her sunglasses, he made his words flow through the air like a dove as soft as silk. Álvaro intensified the cadence of his accent ever so slightly to catch the attention of the small blonde to his side. “Truly a waste, Santa Monica Beach is always beautiful, the light from the pier, the sky, the water; everything. My father owns an island down the coast of Barcelona, it’s almost a replica; minus the pier of course. Honestly, they both remind me of you in a way.”

Celeste raised an eyebrow at his last comment. He was comparing her to a great escape. A tropical paradise. The beach. Cute. Such smooth words didn’t impress her. He needed to do better than that. Ignoring his mentions of his private island, not feeling the need to go on about her family’s assets, the pompous, petite and pretty blonde was certain he was in the same vein as her. The only difference was he had a title. Even so none of that mattered to her. That didn’t make him special. It was adorable that he thought it did. That just made him worthy enough to breathe the same air as her.

Choosing to disregard his clear attempts to make a move on her, brushing it away like she did when a waiter dared to serve her asparagus, Celeste acknowledged and agreed on his sentiments on the sport at hand, “Tell me about it. My father, Justin Quentin, or well Green since he took my mother’s name,” Celeste casually disclosed, pausing for a moment to relax her shoulders. Enjoying the temporary distraction as she waited for her friends, she snapped her gum once more and mused, “When he was in his prime, he was the best Quarterback the LA Rams ever had. Now he coaches at USC. It’s always been boring to me, though. No matter how much he wants me to love it, I just see idiot boys rough housing. American football in itself is focused way more on entertainment than the actual sporting contest. I hate the superbowl because of him…” She sighed to herself, taking a moment to glance over at her acquaintance as she reminisced over all the times her dad threw the biggest extravaganzas over a stupid game, “There is much more skill needed in Tennis, which is my preferred sport.”

For once, Celeste wasn’t being a merciless cunt. That was how people perceived her to be. She was being welcoming and reasonable, actually more informed in sports than most of her peers would realize. Her mother was a retired ballerina and her father was a retired football player; it came with the territory. She was a mythic bitch, don’t get her wrong, but she had no reason to grow defensive and fight her cousin’s friend. It wasn’t like Álvaro would get much out of this interaction. They were simply making idle chatter to kill time until her best friends appeared. Plus, he respected her boundaries and as a reward, she would give him some of her time.

Odd, Celeste was odd. Such sultry words spoken from a mouth as regal as his ought to be regarded with more than a simple perceptive gesture. There was vastitude of women meandering the halls of their school B.H.H.S. who would do anything to even receive a shred of Álvaro’s attention, to have it outright ignored was new, certainly unpleasant, but new. If she wanted to play hard to get, he was up to the challenge; they always capitulated in the end. “I would much rather watch a Tennis match than this any day. This is just… horrid. My mother taught me how to play a long time ago, I actually used to play for my little Spanish prep school before coming here. Ultimately, the real football was my calling.” Years of it having been forced unto him, Álvaro kept his posture straight. His hands lay idly within the pockets of the jacket he wore, in his peripheral view noticed the slight dip of her shoulders; a lowering of her guard, a growing comfortability. The cracks in her wall were growing, it was only a matter of time before they fell, crumbled into gravel at his feet. This comfortability came with news, a familial connection to the sporting industry, perhaps she will be more useful than a tool to upend his unending boredom after all, at least he wouldn't be challenged for only a few moments of fleeting entertainment. “It’s been more than a few years since I've played though, so I am destined to be out of practice.” A light laugh escaped Álvaro's lips in a pause between his speech. The little lies he spread only worked to benefit the teller, himself; there was no escape of the sport for the grandson of a former Olympian; especially for one who was still in good shape. “How about you, do you play?”

Álvaro had to pivot, his prior talk of wealth and status swayed the small girl less than a windless day swayed a wind chime. Álvaro looked solely for the sweet symphony of success, and his previous chatter led him nowhere but to lose the time he valued more than money itself. Álvaro swept his hand through his hair as he looked away from the blonde beside him for a moment. The scene of red and blue clashing in the vastness of the field was probably the only thing enjoyable about the game, a fleeting thrill of excitement that made the crowd go wild for some incoherent reason Álvaro didn't pick up on.

“I do, yes,” Celeste curtly answered, glancing past him to see if there were any familiar faces walking through the crowd and to the bleachers. Two girls, a blonde and brunette, searching for her. Alas, they were nowhere to be seen. How dreadful. “But you don’t care about that, now do you?” Taking off her sunglasses, the proud, classy and elegant Green revealed her striking, electric orange eyes and firmly grabbed his attention, with a commanding glare. Out of all the Elite boys, she knew Álvaro wasn’t an idiot, especially if he dated someone like Naomi Davis. He was educated and without a doubt, more informed than his ‘brothers’. There was no way he did not know that she was on the tennis team and that because of her, their school team was the G.O.A.T.

If it wasn’t for her parents being completely and utterly selfish, Celeste could’ve gone to a Tennis Academy but instead they bought a private coach and allowed her to join tournaments so long as it didn’t interfere with her ‘teen’ experience. She could’ve gone pro if it wasn’t for her parents being so absentminded, only caring about their own pursuits: ballet and American football. The Crown Jewel didn’t expect him to know any of that but she did expect him to know something as common as who was doing what sports in this school. She knew he was in the soccer team, or the ‘real football’ as he called it, she wasn’t that oblivious, but clearly she wasn’t interesting enough for him to know that she was in the tennis club, or there was another avenue. He was playing dumb to get her to react.

Either way, she wasn’t a fan of someone playing pretend. Silky, smooth words were nice when they weren’t so shallow. She would know; she was full of empty words. “What do you want? Aside from avoiding the general populace, why are you talking to me?” Mockingly, she leaned backward and dramatically pouted like she was some innocent, little lamb, “Is it because I’m not with my girls and you thought I could be your rebound? Or is it because you’re so lonely and desperate that you resorted to going to Ethan’s cousin for company?”

Christ, almighty. What. The. Fuck. Nobody was impossible to read, Álvaro held this true; even he begrudgingly acknowledged to himself that this applied to him as well. Álvaro kept it to a minimum, he buried his ques, managed his body language, censored his speech–he knew damn well that this woman, who didn’t even reach the height of his shoulders, was not reading him like a goddamn picture book; Celeste was either extremely lucky or a fucking telepath. Although he held the thought in the forefront of his mind it did not impede the rampant increase of his heart rate as the words were flung out of her mouth with the ferocity of a volatile hail storm. Álvaro’s heart beat out of his chest with a new invigoration. It had been a long while since Álvaro had felt the feeling of anxiety from some person other than his own father. His interest in the small blonde so obviously faking it beside him grew more in the small, fleeting moment, than it did throughout the rest of their conversation. But the problem at hand grew more precarious the longer he allowed it to simmer, Álvaro had been in more stressful situations than the one at hand. He was going to be the pied piper, leading her away with his orchestra of lies wherein only he was the wiser.

“Celeste, if I was ‘desperate and lonely’ or wanted a ‘rebound’ don’t you think I would’ve sat with any of the several other women who accost me on a daily basis? I am here, sitting with you, to get to know you better, this has nothing to do with anything else.” Álvaro’s tone remained calm, his voice never rising; the man was master at holding his composure, a stark contrast to the battlefield within his chest. His eyes fell back onto her now uncovered face, her eyes were a much better sight to look at than chaos on the field, although, it seemed the same energy had pervaded her bubble. His hands sat at his side now, body almost twisted completely to face Celeste with his full and utter glory. “And, yeah, I am sorry. I know you are on the tennis team, I’m not dumb; admittedly it wasn’t the best question to ask at all. You play amazingly. I am just trying to learn you, Celeste Green, and the best way to do that is to get you talking about yourself.” He couldn’t believe he would be as absentminded as he was when he asked her if she played, of course she fucking played, he knew this. It is in times like these where Álvaro truly thanked his father for how he has taught him; pressure makes diamonds and he shone the brightest of them all.

Diamonds were hard, but not unbreakable, and Álvaro chose the wrong person to try to understand. As he talked, Celeste didn’t hide her disgust, even adding emphasis on her eye roll so he knew exactly how she was feeling. Regardless if she was right or wrong with her blind accusations, there was a clear reaction. Hooking her glasses on her Hermès purse, his words falling on deaf ears, Celeste blew a small bubble with her gum. Sucking it in, she snapped it loudly. Chewing slowly, ever so slowly, she glowered at the pretty boy. She wasn’t buying any of his crap, not for one second. “Did you have a brain tumor for breakfast?”

The princess was not backing down. His voice may be modulated, like gentle waves, but the words coming out of his mouth were not worth Celeste’s time. “I’m so glad I’m finally on your radar, as if you couldn’t have gotten to know me while you were in a relationship, or just in class. You can go to hell, Álvaro. I am NOT a second choice. I am NOT a second thought. I am NOT second ANYTHING! I am Celeste-fucking-Green and until you understand that, you can leave me alone.” She shooed him away with her hands, categorizing him in the ‘ick’ section of her brain. Looks were not what Celeste was after in a friendship or relationship and it seemed like his majesty thought that could be what carries him through this interaction. Hilarious. Laughable really.

“Now, my friends should be here soon and I’m getting awfully bored with this.” She gestured to him, her and the space between them. “You can leave now.” Celeste not so kindly demanded. To add extra measure, to protect her space, the blonde terror looked over her shoulder, smiled and waved at her Butler. Her Butler returned the smile with a smirk, enjoying the show, and nodded at his charge, understanding her instructions without her having to say a word. Ignoring Álvaro, Celeste rummaged through her purse to pull out her phone. Once her text thread was open with her two best friends, she started spamming them. Snap went her gum. How dare he act like he knew nothing about her.

An unstoppable force meets an immovable object; an impossibility, a paradox. Álvaro was the one who could not be stopped, enveloped in his never ending crusade for anything he wanted; Celeste was now one of the objectives of this battle. He didn't mind being hated, or disliked, or whatever Celeste thought of him in that moment as long as he was in her head. The conclusion may have not gone as he intended but he achieved his goal one way or another. And despite his efforts, the blind rage ever so reminiscent of a Chihuahua continued to spew forth, serving as Álvaro's que for a strategic retreat. “I’d gladly go to hell if you're there with me.” Álvaro stood up from the bleacher, until her eyes as beautiful as citrines gems viewed only his own he wouldn't relent. “But, you are right, I ought to make my exit. It was fun while it lasted.” If Celeste foolishly believed she had warded off the likes of Álvaro, she had another thing coming. He never accepted defeat, he never surrendered, and he never gave up. It was only a matter of time before he owned the rights to her heart alone, and there was nothing she could do to stop the impending storm about to rock her world.

“Toodles,” Celeste dismissed her unwanted companion, looking appalled at his audacity. The nerve of some people. He would take her to hell? Please. She was hell. The next time he came up to her, she wouldn’t be as nice. Álvaro had no idea who he was dealing with and she was adamant to never back down.

How dare he.

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