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11 days ago
Current vampires, werewolves, ghosts and angels and Demons. rote, derivative, a genre beyond saving. My urban fantasy? peace in these Streets of ours
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2 mos ago
yeah but you're not playing a shezzarine in morrowind or oblivion
2 mos ago
The Boys
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2 mos ago
now is not the time for fear
2 mos ago
surprised that pm didn't end in ALMSIVI
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I R I S


Well, we needed that thing like a hole in the glider...

She watched the ominous curtain roiling ever closer, unsure of what to even call it in her head. Could a singular cloud be considered a storm, or just a herald of one to come? What did it have to do with the fire, whose root cause she could finally see from her more elevated position? What the heck was going on with the thing in the hood? There was no way this could all still be a shakedown run for a few new Zes...right?

"So...not to freak anyone out, but there's an evil death cloud just rolling up," Iris reported brightly over comms. "Just cruising in like it owns the place. I know in all the stories bad things always happen when someone goes to check the evil vortex out up close, but does anyone have juuust enough curiosity to talk me into flying closer and seeing what's up with it?"

Just in case, she made sure her bike was ready for a few hairpin turns - although whether that would be to fly through the thing or fly away from it was still up in the air. Har har. Up in the air.






Tonight is my night.

It was a silent prayer Dana said every night she went out, and for her it held a variety of meanings, all branching from the same, singular desire - just do something fucking interesting. She was happy to pick fights, as long as she was sure that they wouldn't come back to bite the ass of her academic progress. She was happy to get drunk, make interesting conversation, maybe even make new friends. If the worst came to worst, she would at least find her way to the mall and buy as many gorgeous things as she could to make up for the crushing disappointment she felt in lesser people every single day of her life. She supposed on some level she would even be happy just to find someone worthy of sex, but that was a lesser concern.

Not that she could ever tell someone like Cass that. Hell, how many fucking times had she already asked him to stop using her virginity as a cute pet name? Over time, she had come to gravitate towards the more Type A personalities of Meadow U. She was always happy to see Lola, for instance, and Bas Bonfamilie would be a lot cooler if she could actually pronounce his fucking name. But tagging along with Cass and his boys always made her feel like a mascot, a perennial romantic fuck up that needed an entire shogunate to act as her wingman. It was exhausting. And whenever she expressed it to Cass all he would do was laugh and keep fucking saying 'Virgin-Chan, Virgin-Chan,' and then laugh when she would punch his chest, when she knew goddamn well, just wait, Cassian, you motherfucker, just wait until Virgin-chan got you in side control one day, when she had him pinned down and--

She exhaled deeply. No. He is a worm. A...muscular, smirking worm. This is your night.

Tonight is my night.

The point was, one of the main reasons she had left Japan was to avoid having to do all the social heavy lifting herself. She was sick of formality, sick of being polite, sick of not openly proving herself as a person of merit to the world. If nothing else, Meadow U. was full of her preferred kind of people. The guys, especially. She shared many a personality trait with many of them - the competitive streaks, the need to party, the aggression, the foul mouths, all the things that made them want to fight each other or at least threaten to fight each other. But when those traits were applied to Dana, suddenly people thought they were cute.

Was she being fetishized? Is that what this shit was about? People thought it was cute when the Japanese girl got furious?

How disgusting. How fucking abhorrent. It's borderline perverted, is what it is.

She inhaled again, and held it until she thought she might actually choke on her own breath.

No. Be calm. Tonight will be my night.




"ATASHI DANA!"

Dana leapt backwards off the Street Fighter machine with a boisterous grin, both her fists in the air as though she'd just placed gold in the Olympics. One of the things she had loved to do in Kobe or Tokyo was find the arcades and send boys weeping away in shame, whether they thought themselves masters of the crane machine, the fighting games, or especially Dance Dance Revolution. She had bested all comers, in all contests, for years and years in her younger days. Given the emphasis Americans put on playing video games with each other, she had been sure when she arrived that Meadow View didn't even have an arcade. When she'd finally found one a few months ago, it didn't matter that its games were outdated by a couple years - whether some fighters in Tekken or Marvel vs. Capcom had older move sets or not, whether some of her favorite songs were in Dance Dance Revolution. What mattered was that an arena existed at all for her to test herself in combat beyond sparring - and between going to the gym or going to the arcade, only one seemed like a good way to kick off her night out. If the boys wanted to hang out later, Lord knew she couldn't show up sore and gassed out.

The vanquished slugs that populated the arcade, a sea of mediocre white boys wasting their quarters to try and salvage their manhood against Dana-chan, parted to make way for her jump. Clearly none of them wanted to risk being tread upon a second time. That only made her victory sweeter; she laughed in the faces of the half dozen high schoolers who had gathered around her.

"What? You don't want Japanese girl to step on you anymore?" she giggled, grinning wolfishly at the people she had spent the last forty five minutes thrashing. "Be glad you pick Street Fighter. In Tekken I send you crawling back to your mother's wombs in shame. Fuck off, gaijin. I'm done here."

She walked out of the arcade with her hands in her Balmain jacket, feeling her fingers wrap around her phone on impulse. She thought to drum out a quick text to Cass, just to let him know she was his wingman, not the other way around.

To: Cassi
if you fail with mac like shithead then i still want ramen
if you pass wear a condom
👍


There. Now she could blissfully ignore her best friend all night while she went out to a bar. Which place was it that she knew had open mic tonight - The Velvet Room?

No, the Velvet Room is something else...

The Red Room? Or no, maybe it was Nectar with the open mic?




AJ Tyler (birth name: Alfie) Chris Reyes (birth name: Chrysler) "Aleks Belikov" (birth name: ???)






Absentmindedly, AJ went to his Instastory, droning out the girls’ chatter as they googly eyed the room and Aleks mentioned something about chocolate syrup. “Yeah, for sure.” He mumbled in response. Once he put his camera into selfie LIVE mode, he pressed record to get a part of his face and the background, making sure that a certain Callaghan was the focal point of his story. He knew how Jamie got, especially in regards to social media and how open their generation could be, spilling all the tea . No doubt he’d be following everyone’s stories on this road trip. His ex craved that kind of shit, knowing what his sister was up to and seeing if his ex finally moved on. Old habits die hard and AJ believed he could intrigue that side in Jamie that would never change. Plus, if he showed Jamie that he was having a good time, maybe the gossip boy would remember what he was missing.

“Just got to our suite — gonna’ relax for a few before we get buckwild!” He dramatically zoomed into the hot girls’ faces, resting it a second too long on Katie while making a dumb frat boy call ‘ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh’ while sticking out his tongue. Jumping on the bar counter, beside Aleks, he grinned at his audience, “First stop in the most epic, most dope, most baller journey of the century. Road trip across America! Chapter 1. Viva Las Vegas! No clocks. No locks. No restrictions! Now remember, home is where you park it. Stay safe insta, and I’ll check back in tonight. ajdose, out!”

When he finished his live video, he turned to one of his best friends and asked, “What were you saying about chocolate syrup?” But before anyone could say anything, AJ’s phone vibrated and the person calling was his ‘Valentine’. “Did he get lost or something?” He quizzically peered down at the Caller ID and then brought his gaze to Aleks.

Shrugging, putting Chris on speaker, AJ curiously questioned, “What’s up, babes? You okay?”

“Hey man, can you come down?”

Oh snap, I should’ve told him the rooms were under my aunt’s name… my b.

“Yeah, coming now.” *Click* “Time to save our damsel in distress. See you ladies later. If you need us, give us a call.” This comment was directed to Chloe and Ivy, the girls he had the least anger towards, even if it was said out loud to all of them.

AJ’s shadow sensed that it was time to follow.

Aleks slid off the counter with his hands in his pockets, only removing them to give the girls a friendly wave goodbye and then wrap the offending hand around the back of his neck. He could only barely hear what was going on through his earbuds, but he got the gist of what was happening due to AJ’s phone call. He could already sense the approaching storm, like a sailor, hopelessly adrift in his best friend’s wake; he had hoped that the three of them, bereft of any potential irritants, might be able to cruise all the way through lunch without anything going rogue. Chris getting lost in the lobby was a bad start already.

“Yes. Don’t do anything I would do,” he told the girls with a tight-lipped smile, gliding along the floor with such delicacy that one would believe the Bellagio floors were made of parchment paper. When he was inside the elevator, though, he sat up on the railing, slender figure making it a tight but not impossible squeeze on. His shoe tapped against the button for the ground floor and then lowered, kicking back against the back of the lift.

He was humming for a second before he realized AJ had repeated his question back to him.

“Chocolate syrup,” he repeated, shrugging lazily. “Doesn’t matter how cheap, I just need it for cocktails. Still trying to think of name for White Russian with choco. Maybe Dagestani.” His gaze drifted over to AJ. “A little racist, actually. Not Dagestani. Brown Bolshevik? Too long.”

He took a deep breath, mulling over names.

“Maybe I should just name it after somebody. Girls like when you name cocktails after them, in my experience. Even if you’re bullshitting. I think we and Sami - only ones at school with know-how to make cocktails. That makes lying about them easier. One time Chris and I--”

The elevator dinged, and Aleks saw the problem immediately. The aforementioned Chris was being held up at the desk by the receptionist, which caused the rest of the breath Aleks was going to use to tell his story to leave him in one giant, disappointed exhale. He had really been hoping to avoid this.




Unhooking his sunglasses off his shirt, AJ took out a cleaning wipe to remove the smudges, while speaking to the new face, a blondie, at the front desk, “I’m not going to pull a Karen on you, but please enlighten me, how long have you worked here...” He looked at her name tag and then focused his sly glare on her fake face, “... Rachelle?” Purposely, he enunciated her name, dragging out the vowels, to make her feel small, and that he was indeed better than her. When she answered with a seasoned customer service reply, AJ chortled in pretentious annoyance, “Then you should know my cous’, Trent, who wears dorky ass sweatshirts and gamer tees that you can get under twenty bucks or oh! Sonya! Who barely wears anything. I can’t say much for Joseph, since he’s the only one who seems to care about his looks, but you get my point.”

Finishing cleaning his glasses, he pocketed the wipe and delicately held his shades in one of his hands, “It’s funny. A place like Las Vegas, one of the greatest cities in the world, wouldn’t usually allow people, such as yourself, to be prejudiced, biased, or downright fucked up. People come here to enjoy the city that never sleeps and regardless how much my BEST FRIEND makes, that’s none of your goddamn business. He’s here, with a room, under Theresa Kable, btdubs, and is a GUEST at this motherfuckin’ hotel. He better be treated just like me, the nephew of the person who could cost you your whole career, or we will stay at a crappy motel. I don’t give a fuck!”

Times like these, one could tell that AJ Tyler was his mother’s son. From being a sassy bitch to an over-the-top drama queen, he learned from one of the most savage bosses who left no room for discussion. After putting his shades on, he pointed to Chris’ face, Remember him. Have those that work with you remember him. If this shit happens again, we’re out and I don’t say that lightly.” The last thing he said was a suggestive threat and anyone with a single brain cell would know better than to upset a kid connected to the ‘royal’ family of this honest fake kingdom. A paradise where money talks and in this moment, based on the woman’s shocked expression, money indeed did the talking.

“Alright babes, let’s get outta here. I’m starving.”

Chris looked pissed, and that’s because he was, on multiple levels. Pissed that he got singled out for looking like the kid that didn’t belong. The poor kid. The troubled youth. Did he seriously have to put on a polo shirt and khaki pants just to be taken seriously? And he was pissed that he had to be saved by AJ. He wasn’t a fucking victim — a damsel in distress that needed saving! “Man, fuck all y’all.” Chris hissed through gritted teeth and moved his shoulder out of the path of AJ’s incoming arm. He didn’t need to be fucking coddled, he needed lunch and to get out of this ritzy bitch hotel.

I am so sorry, Aleks mouthed over AJ’s shoulder at the receptionist, who looked as though AJ had unzipped his jacket and revealed he’d carried an AK-47 out of the lobby. Apart from that, though, he was unable to throw cold water on the very-much-Karenesque rant that his basically-adopted-brother was letting loose on the poor woman. She didn’t look much older than the trio themselves; the thought of her whole career being gunned down like the mob still owned the city must have been terrifying to her.

His hand that wasn’t holding his phone to his ear turned, as though he was tilting back the temperature dial on a stove. He made a little whistle, like a boiling tea kettle, through his teeth to try and communicate to AJ that he was coming on a little strong. Not that AJ did well with such subtle imagery.

“Papa,” he said into the phone. “I’m glad you’re still awake.”

“Aleksei.” His father’s curt Russian accent was a relief to hear for once. He continued in the same Russian, so slow and measured that Aleks could translate in his head while keeping an ear out for AJ. “You have arrived in Vegas? How was traffic? Your mother wants to hear your voice, she says you are screening calls--”

“I’ll call later,” Aleks insisted hurriedly. “We’re going for lunch. Can you place a call to Caesar’s, get us your table at Rao’s? Chris has never been. AJ either, I don’t think.”

”Rao’s? Rao’s is for celebrities and gangsters, not for business. Your mother likes Rao’s. Besides, you get table last year, they know you there. Do not call me asking again for the reservations.”

”We just want Italian, that’s all. Next year I’ll ask for myself, Papa. Please?”

“--He better be treated just like me, the nephew of the person who could cost you your whole career, or we will stay at a crappy motel. I don’t give a fuck!”

The imaginary dial between Aleks’ fingers turned faster and faster. As always, it seemed AJ was ignoring his plea for sense and sensibility.

“I swear they will behave,” he continued on the line with his dad, even though he doubted they would behave very fucking much. “We’re at the Bellagio, it’s, like, fifteen minutes away on foot. If we can’t walk to wherever we’re going I will--”

Aleks shot a quick look at the receptionist, even though she was mostly focused on AJ’s unhinged rant, and switched to Russian.

“--If we can’t walk to wherever we’re going, I will just have to steal a car from valet,” Aleks said in fluent Russian. His father sighed.

“Aleksei, Aleksei.” Another sigh. ”Very well. But if I do this thing for you, you call your mother this evening and tell her how trip goes so far. She wants to talk to Chloe, too. So do not ghost.”

Jesus fucking Christ.

“I swear, Papa,” Aleks sighed, switching to English. ”I will call tonight. Talk later.”

“Oh, and Aleksei. You mention the cars,” Osip Belikov said sternly. Aleks’ heart sank into his stomach. ”You are in school no longer, and consequences of actions will only grow greater and greater. This business with Tyler man, the stealing and the robberies--

“I’ll talk later.” Aleks hung up before he had to hear another word, and shoved his phone into his pocket. By now the receptionist looked thoroughly terrified of AJ’s very presence, and it looked like Chris was allowed freedom of the entire hotel. Again, Aleks mouthed a wry apology over AJ’s shoulder at the traumatized employee before he spoke up to his friends.

“It took some doing,” he said, although internally he acknowledged that getting to eat at a five star, exclusive restaurant for the low low price of calling his mom wasn’t so bad. “But I got us table at Rao’s, just across street at Caesar’s. Chris, you will like this. I went to original Rao’s in New York when I touched down in this country, and no place like it. Especially not in London. Such crap, crap fucking food in London.”




Chris spent the trip to the restaurant in extreme silence. Had it been a cartoon, there would have been literal steam billowing out of his ears, but instead he just tapped his fingers against his thigh rhythmically. Caesar’s Palace was massive, he’d seen it before in movies and stuff but it was larger than life in person. “Shit… it’s like it’s own fucking city.” Chris remarked and shook his head.

The eatery they were headed to was across the way and… it looked nothing like what Chris had expected. The entrance was small, set in the corner of a brick building. The red facade boasted the name of the joint in simple white font: “Rao’s”. Surrounded by all of the grandeur of the strip, it looked like a quaint diner in comparison — certainly not some five star place that Aleks had to pull strings to get into. “This… is the place? It looks so normal.”

“I did too, in freshman year,” Aleks Belikov said tersely, his voice slightly quiet. Granted, the Las Vegas location had none of the history of the New York original, where presidents and mafia dons preferred to dine with each other on a first name basis - but it was still a mecca of Italian food, with all the exclusivity you would expect from a place that could turn down those presidents and mafiosos. “Four years later you know better, da? Da. Pay respect.”

Chris raised his hands in mock surrender. “If they got food, that’s all I care about. Respects paid, brother.”

He walked in quietly, and it was as though a change went over Aleks too when he went through the doors. When he introduced himself to the front of house, his words became broken, his accent more Russian than English, and his own surname came up more in conversation than it did during BHHS roll call. When he was done with conversation, though, he gestured for Chris and AJ to enter too, pulling out chairs for both of them to sit beside each other. Aleks, knowing his place in the hierarchy, sat by himself facing the doorway.

“To us, motherfuckers,” he toasted with a sly smile on his face, speaking with his normal Russian-based creole. Whenever the three of them ate together, it was his go-to blessing for the meal - be it at somewhere exclusive like this or at an In-N-Out at 1 in the morning. “May no one ever come between us.”

“Not even a bitchy front desk worker.” Chris toasted with the complimentary glass of ice water at the table. “Damn, that is fresh as fuck. I normally don’t even like water.” Setting the glass down he perused the menu. The prices were steep, but not so steep that they didn’t even bother putting them on the menu. Chris had heard that’s what the super bougie places did, there were like ten things total on the menu and no prices, you just had to pull the trigger and hope to not go bankrupt. Well, rich people probably didn’t need to worry about that. “Twenty two dollars… for meatballs.” He peered over the menu at his friends. “And I don’t think the spaghetti is even included.”

“Don’t worry about the cost, I gotchu.” AJ didn’t bother looking at the menu, already knowing exactly what he was getting. Now that the awkward walk was over, where everyone was silent as hell, and they were finally alone, away from everyone else, he could focus on the more pressing matter. Being respectful to the place, he took his sunglasses and pushed them up, to rest on his head. Once he was done, he folded his hands together, staring at some of his closest friends, one annoyed him more than the other, but they were still hella’ tight, “Who the hell invited Katie-fucking-Callaghan on my road trip?”

Aleks sipped his water pensively, eyes squarely meeting AJ’s. His shoulders did a little shrug as he set his glass down.

“I was with you last night,” he answered. “I heard nothing about it, and if it was Chloe she would have given me warning.”

That seemed like a suitable enough answer to establish his own bona fides, but the question still gave him pause. He looked over at Chris, who seemed to have more of an idea of what was happening than he did. Knowing Ivy, it was likely she couldn’t give a fuck about whatever mob war was going on between AJ and the Callaghans, but he couldn’t see any reason to keep it a secret from AJ. Given the disproportionate amount of times he’d been on the receiving end of his friend’s temper lately, Aleks knew that AJ’s anger took longer to simmer than it did to explode. Given time, it was likely that he would have gotten over it - mostly - by the time they had all met in the parking lot. Ensuring that she surprised him there seemed like a recipe for disaster. It was uncharacteristic of Ivy - but exactly the kind of shit Chloe would pull. Did she have a bigger role in this than Aleks had thought?

No. She still would have told Aleks if she’d been the mastermind. Katie’s face flashed behind his eyes, and he bit down on the edge of his lip thoughtfully.

“For what it’s worth,” he said cautiously, hands spread out on the table to signal diplomacy, “Katie seems like she has a lot to leave behind in Los Angeles herself. I doubt she wants to talk about herself any more than you do. Clean slate seems possible to me. Agreeable, even. Maybe just try and bury hatchet.”

Left unsaid was the fact that he’d noticed Katie’s eyes on him since they’d left Los Angeles, but Aleks didn’t see any need to burden AJ with the possibility of something between them. If it came down to picking sides directly, obviously he would pick the imperfect, temperamental boy before him over a fling with Katie. But it was better to leave that debate off the table entirely.

Chris knew who was behind Katie’s presence, of course. And Aleks knew that Chris knew the details, and he was being his typical sneaky self about it. If it wouldn’t totally blow his cover, Chris would have glared. Instead, he dodged AJ’s question and took a different kind of shot at his bratan. “Aka, Aleksei here is trying to get it in… and bury something besides a hatchet.” Chris raised a mischievous brow and sipped at his water. “Which will be much easier to do if we all get along. But I’m also in favor of the get along plan, because this is supposed to be fun and SO FAR it has been anything but, fam.”

Aleks exhaled.

“If you had asked me yesterday, I would have told you I wouldn’t invite Katie Callaghan if I was throwing a fucking suicide bombing,” he said calmly. “That would have been before I talked to her. My sole concern is road trip, same as yours. If that was not the case I would have kicked Val’s teeth to Luxembourg where they belong when she ran from that RV. But then, as now, playing nice is easier. And healthier for all of us.”

“I get it, we all want peace. We all want to have a good time. I do too, which I’ve been trying, but that wasn’t my question.” Unlatching his hands, AJ leaned back, furrowing his eyebrows, “Someone did something without telling me, and that, I have a problem with.”

Snapping his finger, he came to a realization, disregarding most of what his friends were spewing about, “I bet it was Reyna. She was trying to butter us all up with those pancakes. See, I can put up with people I don’t like. I invited her. If someone was so desperate and wanted Katie to come so bad, I would’ve said sure, but shit. There’s a snake here and I gotta watch what I say to them or it’s going to come and bite me in the ass.” Yes, it had to be her. There was no one else, aside from Chloe who would do it for shits and giggles, that would do something so sus in his mind. “Fucking—” Trash. “— Reyna. I’ll need to talk to her.”

“Seems like it. Try to do so without the dramatic flair maybe, we’re all pretty tired of the drama. Sami might tie you up if you lose your shit too bad.” Chris chuckled, man did Ivy and Chloe owe him after this masterful swerve. “On second thought, go for it, that sounds funny.”

“I thought the rolls were better than the pancakes,” Aleks said idly to himself, head buried in his menu. “They made too many.”
I R I S


"Only six and a half," came the groan back over the earpiece, followed by a muffled, rattling cough. It sounded as though Iris had picked up a flew in the ten minutes since she'd gone radio silent, and the thin air from her altitude - a perch among the birds, where you could possibly make out one gargantuan masked rider among many if you squinted - only made her tiny wheeze a little more perilous. "Nah, something had to try and roast me first. If anyone has an apple handy though, I'd be happy to put it in my mouth, I'm dying to take this mask off."

Another small wheeze.

"Rose, it seems like you and Cedar are having fun on the ground! Good for you guys, but I went through a lot of trouble to get up here, and I'm gonna need a few minutes to catch my breath. Meantime, I have eyes on Ruskali. I'm gonna divert to keep an eye on him. If he looks like he's getting too close to home I'll body block him, he doesn't look like much."
This post...has gone places. It's more like a short story at this point (something about the idea of a fire among the clouds really sparked something in me!) but since I've already missed a round of posts and I'm running out of time to make Iris' return to the fold as backup look natural, I'm probably going to tuck it into a giant hider once things settle down. That way no one is obligated to read me chasing the white rabbit for x000 words!!!

In the meantime, an actual scene-related post should finally be up tonight.
Is there a new link for the Discord?



It seemed as though the group's cumulative morale had skyrocketed as they grew closer to Vegas than Los Angeles, and Aleks was no exception.

Las Vegas was one of his favorite cities on Earth. It was like Valhalla to him - the casinos, the food, the boxing, the MMA, the roller coasters, the little "driving experience" companies in the desert where you could drop a few stacks and put a harem of Italian fucking rocket ships through their paces on the dirt tracks. After AJ had deigned to let Chris drive the RV on the first leg of their journey, Aleks had sat still and contemplative, revealing nothing - all while frantically Googling several such potential tracks on his phone, wondering who would complain if he and AJ turned up at 2:30 AM with the keys to the garage and a few thousand dollars. He would talk to AJ about it later; by now he had a good idea of who would and wouldn't be amenable to eleventh hour requests from rich douchebags.

His initial sojourn in Las Vegas two years ago had only been for a painfully short week; last year he had made sure to extend that time a few days at a time, always finding something else he wanted to do or make plans around, to the point where he spent almost the entire damn summer in Nevada. Eventually Chloé had grown fed up of waiting for him to return home and gone seeking out the prodigal son in Vegas for herself. That had only doubled the fun. By the time school rolled around, they had been semi-seriously considering their first fucking casino robbery. He was in charge of the getaway car, and she was the gun plug. It was the first time in Aleks' life he thought he knew what it was to be in love.

Then school had resumed, Los Angeles dug her fingers into Aleks, and he and Chloé had returned to the status quo. From his perch on the couch in the Bellagio lobby, Aleks found his gaze drifting over to her briefly. She was standing at the edge of the seating melee, practicing her best Transcendental Meditation while the smell of blood grew thicker in the air. Aleks could not have given a fuck about the sleeping situation if he tried; he had been playing musical chairs with mattresses for so long, and slept so rarely on them, that he wasn't even positive he could discern them apart by sizes. If the hotel said they were king size, he would just take them at their word.

Nate plopped down on the couch too, clearly eager to avoid any of the ritual murder about to take place if Val didn't get her way. Aleks raised his eyebrows at him in silent understanding, mouth tightening into a stifled smile, and winked briefly at his too-nice-by-half friend. He understood the retreat impulse. He had been planning an escape route of his own if this trip went down in flames before Colorado. He could go to Montreal, maybe. Or Shinjuku, spending the summer on a pub crawl of love hotels with the cast of fucking Sailor Moon in tow. Anywhere but near this catastrophe.

It seemed like they'd come to a decision on how rooms would be assigned, at least. When it came time for mint selection, Aleks merely stuck his hand up in the air for whatever color mint AJ wanted to throw at him; he assumed that he and Chris were already a package deal when it came to room assignments. Sure enough, AJ tossed him the appropriately colored mint, and he popped it into his mouth contemplatively.

"Alright losers. I don't know about you but I'm hungry."

You were nauseous for half the ride, that's no shock.

"I'mma throw my bags on the bed nearest to the balcony - DIBS - and take my boys—" Aleks blinked as his name as implicitly called, looking up from his Apple Music "—out on a date.”

Oh, we're friends again. Aleks smiled and nodded before looking back down to Janet Jackson.

"Feel free to do whatever you want until like seven...ish. Then we'll get ready and make the night our bitch. We got two keys per room, so if you want to be a keeper of a key, you best keep your phone charged at all times because I don't want to have to call poor Miss..."

He had begun selectively tuning AJ in and out for relevant information, leaning against the railing in the very back of the crowded elevator and lip reading as best as he could. The bridge was coming up, and he hated having to rewind songs.

I'm not a prude, I just want some respect
So close the door if you want me to respond
Cause privacy is my middle name
My last name is control
No my first name ain't baby, it's Janet--


"We totally got this."

"Miss Jackson if you're nasty."

Aleks smiled innocently. He was listening. They totally got this.

Their suite seemed like it had been prepared for them personally. He hadn't been keeping track of who kept what mint, but he saw Chloé, Katie, and Reyna drift off to explore it, which meant that it would likely be him to bridge the peace between the lads and the ladies if someone got too belligerently shit-faced tonight. That would be manageable. Aleks, for his part, drifted off to the kitchen to explore the dishes and what was in the fridge, opening one cabinet after another and gliding on his feet to Miss Jackson. When he was done, he nudged the fridge door closed with a knee and hopped up on the counter.

"We'll need to stop at the store when we're done with lunch, bratan," Aleks called out. "No chocolate syrup in here. The best White Russians use chocolate syrup. Chocolate tastes better. At that point, of course, it would not be truly white, and the drink itself is not truly Russian. Is actually cocktail created by American Karen whores to mock proud culture in the first place, so fuck its faithfulness to the source material. You'll like it with chocolate."
I'll have to see how my schedule works out in the coming weeks, but I'd be interested if it does.
I've been trying to find the time to do a CS for this on top of my other RPs and moving apartments, and as much as I wish I had the time to be a part of this I can't seem to put anything together. If it's still accepting down the line I'd still love to join, and until then, wishing all you guys the best, but I'm going to have to drop for now.



Aleks blinked when AJ's palms brusquely slapped at his own fingers. He felt the sting only on his fingertips, and when he saw AJ moving to strike he reared back defensively, evading most of the irritated swat. He rose up to his feet beside Chloé, holding his hands up in a placating gesture at his friend.

Oi, oi.

He tilted his head back to swallow the final bite of his roll, thankful for Chloé taking her food off his hands so he could effectively communicate. At least her fingers in his hair felt good; he was grateful for his best friend's soothing presence, or else Aleks might have even been tempted to reply. But he knew that it wasn't coming from a place of malice. Val had hit him in the nuts. It was pretty mean of her.

Aleks let out a deep breath, wondering if he had just imagining his pulse jumping up.

He probably was.

"Alright, man," he said gently, hands only lowering slightly. "I'll be inside if you need me for anything."

He backed up towards the door of the RV and followed Ivy inside.
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