The initial reluctance to face off against The Devil and The Clown of King’s Academy in a wholesome game of beer pong was quickly swept away. No longer was she Yessi, the number one thot patrol officer who failed miserably on avoiding the infamous asshole standing across from her. No, now she was Astraia the fearless warrior who was a master of wielding the great ball of pong and conqueror of the pride of the men who underestimated her. So when the fifth ball was thrown from her delicate hand with an expertly performed flick-of-the-wrist and bounced once against the table to land in the amber liquid of the red solo cup, the crowd that had grown around the intense match roared with excitement.
A high five was given to her teammates and number one supporters and she threw a pair of a wink and an exaggerated blown kiss to her opposition, “Well I hope you weren’t expecting to actually win bebé.”
The use of the old pet name Yessi had given him made Santiago bristle. It had been years since he’d last heard it-- back in the days in which things were nothing but absolute bliss between them. He’d always pretend to hate when she called him that, groaning or making faces every time he heard the word fall from her lips. But in reality, it made his pathetic player heart melt.
Now? It stung like adding salt and lemon juice on a fresh wound.“Let’s just focus on playing the fucking game, okay?”
he growled through gritted teeth, scowling at his ex-girlfriend.
Turning his attention back to the pong table stretching out in front of him, the boy took a deep breath, locked his bitter gray eyes on the easiest target, and flicked his wrist. The ball effortlessly bounced off the table- but for the slightest second, it looked like it would miss the cup. Thankfully, after an agonizing second, the white ball found itself making a satisfying splash inside the red Solo cup.“You’re up, Big Boy,”
Diablo told Max, jerking his head in the direction of the beer pong table.
Max who had been focused on a group of girls standing just behind the sliding glass doors. This group containing his ex Kellie-Anne laughing at something that the others had said. With a weird sinking feeling in his stomach, he whipped his head towards the table where his friends stood waiting. He shook his weird feelings off and plastered his signature wide smile on his face before taking the ball from Yessi's hand. Before taking the shot he put on his Roman helmet and let out a chuckle at how ridiculous he must look."Kobe!"
The blond boy cried out before throwing the small ping-pong ball so it flew in an overhead arch towards Aiden and Santi's last cup. He could almost feel his whole team holding their breath as they watch it soar through the air. Finally, it landed in the red cup with a small splash.
There was a moment of silence before he realized he had just won. But as soon as it sunk in a loud roar left Max as he raised his arms over his head. He turned to his team high-fiving Sawyer and lifting Yessi up and spinning her around, not realizing the way Santiago tensed up as if poised to tackle him.
The scoring throw had Yessi equally cheering with the crowd, an enthusiastic fist in the air paired with her ‘Fuck Yeah!’
was echoed throughout the crowd. Only a moment was spared for her to childishly stick her tongue out at the grumpy looking Devil before she was swept up into the strong arms of her best friend and twirled around. The concentration of defeating her opponents washed away and the giddiness of her crossfade kicked in as an honest sound of sparkling giggles erupted from her mouth. “Max! Max! Put me down!”
Sawyer watched with equally bated breath as the rest of the crowd watching as Max sunk the last pong ball into the red solo cup. The boy let out a whooping howl and slapped his teammate’s hand, smirking as he lifted Yess up into the air into a spin.”Fine ass job, man!”
he congratulated Max, a smug smile on his face as he turned to face their opponents, glad his mask hid his expression. ”Better luck next time, boys.”
With both feet firmly planted on the ground Yessi’s attention was pulled away from her fellow champions and demanded by the crowd of adoring fans. Born a star she easily satisfied their desires, partaking in their conversations and jokes, but only half-heartedly, there was an obvious tension between two pairs of previous beer pong opponents still standing around the table. Those deceivingly drunk looking green eyes of hers flickered frequently between the faces and observing their nonverbal communication. Something was bound to happen.
Aiden, on the other hand, dramatically ragdolled to the ground with his limbs splaying awkwardly as he pretended to sob. “My grandma had one wish before she died! And it was to beat those no-good doers in beer pong. Alas, mawmaw, I have let thee down. The only way to fulfill my filial duty is by committing the sudoku - er, sepurku. Well, the word that means Japanese honor suicide!”
With a ‘hlegh,’ Aiden jabbed himself in the gut with a stick as if he were being stabbed by a sword and convulsed on the ground in a mockery of a death scene. It was only when he received his due amount of laughs that he easily bounced onto his feet and prowled the beer pong table for leftover alcohol.”Bruv!”
Sawyer nearly jumped. Everyone around was cheering and being loud as hell but not as loud as Gavin’s voice rang in Sawyer’s ears. He whipped around to see his brother pushing his way through the crowd, swinging an arm around his shoulder to lean in close and talk into his ear. ”You good, man? I text you when I got here.”
Sawyer rolled his eyes and nudged his brother off of him. ”I’m good, Gav. As you can see, just having a bit of fun.”
Sawyer pulled the helmet off his head to look his brother in the eyes to further prove his innocence. ”Can my Keeper cut me some slack? I don’t need to be watched like a child. I’m good.”
Gavin threw his hands up, being sure not to let his cup of punch spill. ”Alright, alright. I’ll let you get back to it, then. Was just checkin’ on ya. I’m gonna scoot before Astraia sees me and has a massive fit about me lying about not coming tonight.”
Sawyer nodded, his lips pressed into a thin line. He was fine
. He wasn’t a toddler. He could handle himself. Sawyer turned back to the crowd of people cheering and rejoined the excitement of the win while Gavin made his way off into the sea of people to find someone else to pester.
Aiden had stalked around the beer pong table, only finding a few full solo cups which he promptly chugged, and his route ended right next to Sawyer. Aiden didn't care much about whether he won or lost the competition - either way, he was coming out drunk and doesn’t that count as a win? Aiden wasn’t much of a sore loser, but ever since the boy band broke up, Aiden found it especially important to crawl under Sawyer’s skin. “Sure you could handle that, Twelve Steps?”
Aiden jokes, wrapping his arm around Sawyer’s neck - it was more of a chokehold than an embrace, and an underlying hardness to his tone broke his carefree facade.
Sawyer grunted as Aidan wrapped his arm around his neck, his lip curling up slightly over his grit teeth. He didn’t particularly care for the name he’d used to address him. ” You know, I really don’t see this working out. See, I like girls, and uhh... I’m usually the one who does the choking, man. Plus, you already had fun with one Lockwood.”
Sawyer paused a moment, letting out a dark chuckle, ” Which you have yet to pay for, I might add,”
with all the force
that Sawyer could muster, he cocked his arm forward and slammed his elbow directly into the boy’s gut, hoping to at least stun him long enough to get himself out of Aidan’s grip. He wasn’t too worried about starting a fight with the overgrown prick who currently had him pretty much dead to rights. I mean, come on... What’s a party without a little violence?
Aiden fell to the ground with a grunt, a bit stunned but mostly impressed. He began to howl with laughter at the thought of little old Sawyer Lockwood gut-punching him. His hand slapped his knee repeatedly as if he were a hillbilly that heard a good joke and, once he quieted his laughter down to intermittent chuckles, propped himself up on his elbows."Little Sawyer Lockwood! Whatever would your mom thi– oh."
Aiden began to crack up again at his accidental faux pas. He hadn't meant to make a low blow, sometimes he says things thoughtlessly like that, but he had a hard time caring about it.
Sawyer was his friend and he turned his back on him – friends don't do that. Aiden bashfully looked at his foot which he twisted side-to-side, "Is violence the thirteenth step? Sobriety sure is making you a funner person."
Sawyer could have easily brushed off the “Little” comment, but the mention of his mother left him with the feeling as if he’d just been punched in the gut. All emotion left his face as he stared at the howling hyena on the floor. Sawyer’s lip curled up as his face twisted in pure rage, his hands balled up so tightly his knuckles were starting to turn white. He could see Aiden’s mouth moving but there was no sound coming from it, at least Sawyer hadn’t heard what the boy had said.
Sensing the tension rising between the two boys stepped in closer to try to defuse the situation but it seemed that he had arrived too late. All he could do was to put a reassuring hand on Sawyers' shoulder to show compassion but also hold the smaller boy back.
Sawyer’s entire body was tensed as he took a step towards Aiden, his voice low and ‘calm’. ”Don’t ever speak of my mom again. That is your last.. and final warning,”
animosity seeming to drip from his every word as he spoke. Sawyer stood there another moment as he towered over the boy on the floor where he lay before turning away to push his way through the crowd of people. It took everything in him to walk away. Truly. He’d celebrate the small victory at another time. For now, the boy needed something stronger than beer to relax the tension within him.“Was that really necessary?”
Max asked as he pulled Aiden up on to his feet.
Aiden snorted, “Is breathing necessary?”
There it was, a little something to spice up the night but Yessi wasn’t interested in her friends being the origin of that spice. So seeing Sawyer stomping away had a quick fury building in her stomach as she abruptly excused herself from the crowd and pushed her way towards the idiot getting to his feet.
But before she could take more than a few steps, Santiago grabbed her by the wrist and pulled her closer to him. "You are coming with me, Astraia. It's about time you and I have a fucking talk,"
the boy growled in her ear, not bothering to wait for an answer before dragging her away from the crowd.
The internal groaning of her annoyed soul quieted the snark that danced at her tongue and she matched the quick gait Grump of the Year used to drag her away from the noise of the party. “Not that I mind the rough treatment… especially from you but I would have followed if you asked nicely. Also, can you wash your face off before we have this talk, your little Juggalo getup is giving me anxiety.”
Max reacted instinctively when he saw Santiago approach Yessi and drag her away. He quickly followed them and grabbed the Latin boy by the arm and pulled him close to him. "Are you sure you want to do this now? April might be here."
He whispered almost like a hiss nodding his head toward the glass doors through which you could see two-thirds of The Unholy Trinity dancing and having fun.
Furious, Santiago whipped his head around, fist balled up and ready to be smashed into the face of whoever had dared to grab him. However, his slight hesitation gave Max the opportunity to count his blessings instead of giving him a free ticket straight to the ER. It didn't, however, absolve his friend from finally hearing all the pent-up words he'd been holding back for the past week. "So now you're suddenly worried about me again? After blowing me off all damn week to hang out with Yessi here? Real fucking friend you are…"
the young man spat, with nothing but venom in his words. "I know for a fact Lils isn't here: I told her to stay home to avoid anything happening to the b- to her. So do me a favor, won't you? Fuck off and mind your own damn business, Max."
Taken aback with the animosity in his friend's voice, Max took a step away from Santiago, “Oh, I blew you off all week?! Check your phone, douchebag! If you bothered to answer when I called you, you would know what the fuck was up!”
He shoved his finger in his face feeling anger rise in his voice. “Grow the fuck up, Santiago! Take responsibility for your own damn actions for once in your goddamn life. I’m fucking done!”
he growled before turning on his heel and storming off leaving the pair standing there stunned by his unusual display of anger. “Take a deep breath, Santi.”
Yessi finally piped up after a moment of her stunned silence. Sure, neither this time nor this place was an ideal setting for their talk, but nothing really worked in the world of ideals so they’d make the best of their circumstances. “C’mon let’s go talk somewhere with fewer interruptions.”
Yessi didn’t wait for his answer before she grabbed his hand and led him back inside the crowded house and towards a host of vacant bedrooms.