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5 days ago
Current "Close your eyes, pray for plagues. Cleanse this earth, bring our doomsday." BMTH
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25 days ago
Do you wanna start a cult with me?
1 mo ago
"My depression's unimpressive, stems from stress, or so they tell me. I'm so fine, yeah. Uninspired, I guess I'm preaching to the choir. Pessimistic, narcissistic, introspective, hate required." DS
2 mos ago
It was a good birthday. Cheers to being closer to thirty than to twenty.
2 mos ago
Tomorrow I get to share the same breathing space with the fabulous Brendon Urie, and I could not be more excited.


Most Recent Posts

A @Silent Observer & @Smarty0114 Collab
Featuring: Mamie
Setting: Thursday Morning Flashback Post

After the hellish explosion of emotions that was Wednesday, Marshall was determined to make Thursday an improvement. When you hit the bottom of a slump, the only way to go is up. Up, up, up! Once again avoiding his friends — if he could still consider any of them that given the recent revelation of lies and treachery — Marsh checked out of homeroom and was spending his time in the theater wing this morning. Gathering the lyrics and sheet music for his after school vocal lessons from his music locker, Marsh headed towards the practice rooms.

While passing by he nodded at a fellow thespian, a sophomore named Grace who seemed to be staring at him. She had a paper in her hand that, if he were to look closely, he would recognize as a copy of the school newspaper. “Hey Marshall,” Grace greeted and began to follow after him as he walked by and her best friend, a ditzy dirty blonde-haired girl named Anna, followed by her side. “Not all of the Candies are so sour, right?” Grace asked sheepishly, causing Marshall to pause beside the lockers.

“What?” He asked in confusion.

“Yeah, did you know?” Anna chimed in with a nosey curiosity, hunting for a juicy bit of gossip.

“Oh my god, Anna! You can’t just ask if he knew!” Grace exclaimed following a shocked gasp. Panicked, she looked between her best friend and one of the talented upperclassmen that she idolized.

“Seriously, what are you guys talking about?” Marshall inquired, though, if he really let himself think the situation through, he knew exactly what they were talking about. The real question was, how did they know?

“So… you didn’t know then.” “Oh, wow.” The girls said in unison, followed by Grace handing Marshall her copy of the school paper. She winced slightly, “I’m really sorry to be the bearer of bad news, please don’t shoot the messenger? We’ll just, uhm, leave you to reading that. See you later, Marshy!” Grace said before both girls rushed off, Anna leaning in to whisper in Grace’s ear as they did so.

Thursday was supposed to be a good day. An improvement from the day before. Alas, here Marshall sat, alone in a practice room reading Jamie’s latest piece in the gossip column. He normally loved that column because a) it was Jamie and b) it was gossip, but today, today the words printed on that page burned him. He wasn’t done processing the turmoil his friend group was suddenly in, and now the whole school knew about it. This was too much, too fast.

He didn’t cry. There was no more time or energy left for tears. Instead, Marshall Radley was livid, and his anger would be directed at one specific person. One blond-haired, blue-eyed person, who was probably still holed up in the very same room where he had written this trash the day before. Marshall stormed in through the door of the newspaper room where, lo and behold, Jamie Callaghan was sitting. Dramatic as always, Marsh threw the paper he held down on the desk where Jamie sat, “What the fuck is this?”

Jamie’s day, up until now, had been amazing. He’d always been well known around school, but today, he was practically walking the red carpet. Everyone wanted to know whether or not the story he’d printed was true. His answer? “When was the last time I lied in an article?” That normally shut them up, stunning them into silence. Today though, the sharks had smelled blood, and they wanted more. By the time he’d found solace in the newspaper room, he’d lost track of the girls who’d come up to him begging for more details, the hushed conversations he’d overheard about whether HOT was dead or not. So, when Marshall opened the door, Jamie had grinned, relieved to see a friendly face, one who wouldn’t bombard him with questions.

Except his face wasn’t so friendly.

“It’s my article?” Jamie said in response to Marshall’s theatrics, his confusion clear in his tone. Why was Marshall so mad about this? He knew this was his job, right? Jamie had to put this stuff out there, not to mention, this story was hopefully going to snag a bunch of readers, enough to save the dying paper.

Marshall let out an exasperated breath, which hissed between his teeth as he rolled his eyes. Was Jamie being for real right now? The drama king folded his arms across his chest and hardened his gaze on the aspiring journalist in front of him. When Jamie still gave no response other than what appeared to be genuine confusion, Marshall grew even more frustrated. Did he have any right to be angry about this? Probably not, but being mad seemed more productive than continuing to wallow in sadness. At least he felt like he was actually doing something about this shitstorm now.

“Seriously?” He asked in an accusatory tone, cocking up one eyebrow. “Yeah, it’s your article, but did you actually process what you wrote before you put it out there? Did you even think at all about the impact.” Marshall put a drawn out emphasis on nearly every other word as he spoke, pausing only long enough to give Jamie a chance to defend himself. Surely whatever that defense was, would be a treat.

“Of course I did! I thought that it would save the newspaper, and knock Hailey, and Ophelia, off of the pedestals we all put them on!” Jamie wasn’t totally sure when he’d started shouting, or when he’d stood up, but now he was standing and shouting, and he wasn’t backing down. Jamie was running on low sleep, but it didn’t help that one of the few people he thought he could trust was attacking him right now, rather than supporting him. “Look, Marsh, I know that you’re friends with Ophelia, but that doesn’t make her untouchable! I get it, I’m a gossip columnist, and so my journalism isn’t real, but I still have ethics! Ophelia and Hailey did a bad thing, and they got what they deserved.”

“Wowww...” Both of Marshall’s eyebrows shot up now that Jamie was, quite literally, fighting back. He shook his head, a laugh escaping his lips that could be mistaken for amusement, the look on his face portraying anger, and the light sheen in his eyes was the only thing in his appearance displaying how upset he was internally. Here was a boy that felt like he was losing everyone that mattered to him in school, and now he was probably going to lose Jamie because of this too. “I really don’t think you did think about it, if that is the reason you think I’m here. Jesus, Jamie, can you take a step out from under your journalist hat for just a minute? Please?”

Overcome with frustration and emotion, Marshall ran his hands over his face and sighed into them. He turned away from Jamie and paced for a few moments to cool down. He had been yelling, Jamie had been yelling, they weren’t going to accomplish anything except for drawing unwanted attention doing that. Marshall calmly turned back to the blond, his face only mildly softer, “Okay, you’re a writer, and I’m an actor. Let’s do a little role reversal here, and maybe then you can see things from my perspective. To start, tell me, Jamie, who are your three closest friends? Don’t think too long, just the first three close friends that come to mind. And of those three, who is your best friend?”

Jamie gritted his teeth and exhaled slowly through his nose, trying his very best not to lose it again. After another deep breath, he said “Selena. Selena’s probably my best friend,” he said. He didn’t bother to continue and say that Selena was probably his only friend. Being the school’s gossip columnist didn’t really make Jamie prime friendship material.

Marshall blinked, waiting for the other two names. When Jamie didn't give them, the realization dawned on Marshall. Jamie probably didn't have three close friends, he only ever hung out with Selena that Marshall knew of. That was… kind of sad, but it also wasn't the point of this exercise. Without letting this little speed bump ruin his plans to teach Jamie even an ounce of empathy, Marshall pressed on.

“Okayyy…. Well, imagine that when you were a kid, you moved all the way across the country. You were at a brand new school, with no friends, and the first person you talked to was Selena. She showed you the ropes, introduced you to people, hung out with you. Over the years, she became your best friend, one of the most important people in your life… hell, probably one of the first people you officially came out to. You adore her, and she means the world to you. And then, she lies to you. For months. And it isn't just a little lie, it's a big one, one that caused your two other best friends, which are mutual friends of you and Selena, to break up. But of course, you didn't know that the break up was based on Selena's lie, so you were forced to choose sides between your best friend in the world and the girl who got cheated on, versus the guy who did the cheating. Naturally, you trust your best friend. Over time, though, the guilt starts to get to you, and you miss that guy friend and want to patch things up. But he's super strong and he kind of wants you dead, so it's really scary to do that. And the night that you finally get the balls to apologize for being a bad friend and abandoning him, you find out that the whole reason your friendship has been ruined, is because Selena has been lying to you. Lying to all of you.”

Marshall took a breath and grew quiet for a moment before he continued. “Now imagine that the very next morning, before you've even had a chance to process why your social life is in ruins, nor the chance to talk to Selena about it… imagine that I wrote an article telling the whole school all about it. And imagine that I didn't even have the decency to tell you I was going to write about it. I didn't even check to make sure that you were okay. How would that make you feel?” Marsh chewed at his lip and looked down to hide the growing sheen in his eyes. “Because I'm really, really not okay, Jamie… and you didn't even think about that.”

Jamie sighed. He got it now, or at least, he got it from Marshall’s perspective. Taking a deep breath, Jamie went on to do something he rarely ever did. Admit fault. “I’m sorry that I didn’t tell you before I printed it, but I needed to get this story out. If I’d waited, someone else would’ve found out and it would’ve been across the school in a couple hours, you know that.”

Jamie’s words hung in the hair for a moment, before he stepped out from behind his desk and towards Marshall. “I should’ve talked to you about it, and I’m sorry that I didn’t. But I’m not sorry that I wrote that article. I am sorry, though, that you have to deal with all this. You don’t deserve it.”

“Yeah… I’m sorry you didn’t tell me too. You were the one thing I was letting myself look forward to, you know? … you weren’t supposed to make things worse.” Marshall sat down in the nearest chair and propped his head up with his elbows against the table, looking both wounded and exhausted. “I can’t believe any of this. It’s fucking crazy… I…” He sighed. “I don’t know what I’m going to do. Last night was the most miserable dinner I have ever h—” As he recalled his eventful night at the Lyon’s, his eyes widened. “Oh, jesus, Jamie. You really fucked up, you should be sorry you wrote this. He’s going to kill you for real this time. He literally saved your ass the other day, and you repaid him by airing out his dirty laundry to the whole school.”

This conversation had been venturing back towards safety, towards a reality where this fight was something stupid, and then Marshall brought up Owen. Jamie rolled his eyes, and scoffed. “I don’t owe Owen anything, and I don’t see why you do either. He attacked you at Damian’s party! Full on, almost killed you! I’m not scared of him, and nobody else should be,” Jamie exclaimed, pacing around. “We let these guys do whatever the hell they want! They beat people up, they play God with our love lives, they treat all of us like pawns in their game! Then, they go home, and nothing happens. Because their parents worship the ground they walk on, and nothing changes. Hailey Green will grow up to be just as bitchy and closed off as she is now, and Owen will be the same psychopath in twenty years! So what, he comes and kicks my teeth in? At least I’ll hold him accountable.”

Marshall rolled his eyes and shook his head at Jamie's spiel. “It’s not their game, it's Hailey's. Always has been. And if you think you are a pawn, it's because you let yourself be one. You think she didn't account for our school's journalistic response? You, the Weekend Warrior? You guys are giving her what she wants, even if you think you aren't.” He sighed in frustration and ran a hand through his hair. “And you're dead wrong about not owing Owen something, those goons would have wrecked you if not for him… and he reacted the way he did at the party the same way an animal reacts when you back it into a corner. He's just a high school kid who got his heart broken and lost his best friend because the same person you claim to be so against fucked everyone over. Now you put him in the public eye again, he didn't ask for that, and he doesn't deserve it. It's not a matter of me feeling like I owe him something, I'm here because he's my friend and I care about him. Maybe that's something you'd understand if you could actually list more than one friend when I asked for three.” Marshall's own words knocked the wind out of him briefly. He wasn't used to being so blatantly mean, he wasn't even sure why he said that, but he wasn't going to take it back now. “I’m going to figure out how to fix this mess. Try to keep your teeth.” He said before turning on his heel to leave Jamie alone with his thoughts in the newspaper room.

Collab with @Lovely Complex
Starring: Pop Wells and Dad Wells
FT: The eldest Well baby

Food made everything better. Jareth Wells had learned that long before he married his beloved chef. Truth be told, marrying Remy had spoiled Jareth, because he was the best cook on the planet as far as Jar was concerned. While on tour with the band, Jareth hardly ate more than the occasional salad for survival, because he missed and anticipated the delicious treats that he would have waiting for him at home. That being said, you couldn’t top the donuts made at Heartfelt Bites. So here he was, driving back from the bakery with a box of a dozen assorted donuts. Donuts that would hopefully mitigate some of his younger son’s strife. That was the goal.

Jareth drove the streets of LA in his matte black Tesla. He was wearing sunglasses, a hat, and as much of a ‘blend in with the crowd’ outfit that he could muster — which included sweatpants. He looked very… dadly. There were days that he would happily go out in full rockstar chic, be recognized, and sign autographs for fans. Going on a trip to buy donuts for an emotionally distraught son, however, was not one of those days. Today, he was simply doing his best to be a good father.

Waiting in the dreadful morning traffic, Jar tapped out a nervous beat against the steering wheel. No matter how good your life gets, how happy you are, or how much fame and fortune you’ve garnered, your old demons tend to stick with you. For Jareth, chronic anxiety is one of those demons. He is his own worst critic, and right then, in the quiet of his car, he was in the process of over-analyzing every aspect of Riley’s life as a member of the Wells family. The conclusion Jareth had come to in this analysis was that he was, in fact, a terrible father.

Eventually, after far too long spent in bumper-to-bumper traffic, Jareth arrived back home. He shoveled his anxieties to the back of his mind where he could brood and fret over them later. Right now, he had to help Riley as much as he could. To be the listening ear that he should have been all along, to offer any advice that Rye might ask for and, possibly the most important, to bring home these donuts. Jar hopped out of the car and entered his home through the side door that connected the garage to the kitchen. His husband was milling about and Jareth brought the box to the counter to set it down. “Hey. Did Rye come down yet?”

The rich aroma of Mexican Chocolate Fudge Pie wafted throughout the kitchen from the oven, beckoning all those who smelt it, to want it. Guajillo chili and cayenne pepper giving the fudge that extra kick that Remy’s boys loved. A special occasion? Or did Remy simply want to bake something? Did he ever need a reason? Entering Remy’s kitchen was like entering heaven on Earth, you could not resist the delightful sensations that crawl up your nose, which only made you desire to indulge in the pleasures of food.

In better spirits than he was before Jareth got donuts, Remy turned on his heel from checking the pie in the oven to giving his full attention to his husband, and donuts. When he turned, he revealed a glass cup in his hand filled to the brim with his morning green protein shakes, slurping it with a pink silly straw. “Oooh, donuts! Excellent.” Placing his glass down on the counter, he reached for a Boston Kreme and took a bite of the sweet snack before answering, “Rye? Yeah, he took food to go. He should be at school by now.”

Nonchalantly, Remy shrugged as if this wasn’t new news to Jareth’s ears. He licked the pudding from the hole, before taking another bite. Heartfelt Bites had amazing donuts. His partner-in-cooking-crime out did herself today. Chrissa Michaelson. He’d have to schedule a pastry party or wine tasting date to catch up with her, since they were in charge of different areas of Ty’s food businesses. See how her own son is doing. As he waited for Jareth’s response, Remy’s eyes glanced over to his fruit bowl, which was empty. That reminds him! He needs to go to the gardens and get some fresh ingredients. Maybe he could get his hubby to help.

At school? Jareth’s eyebrows stitched together in confusion. He thought for sure that his youngest son would be staying home for the rest of the week, but here Remy was acting like nothing was amiss. “He left for school? I thought he was… why did I go get donuts if…” Jareth took off the hat he had worn out and ran his fingers through his slightly shaggy dyed-black locks. It had been a while since he’d been on tour, so his blonde (and gray) roots were shamefully growing in. He should probably go visit the salon soon... “I’m confused, what happened while I was gone?”

“Your son got courage from two lovely women that came to visit, very concerned.” Remy nodded in satisfaction, glad it only took Hailey and Hana to pull Riley out of this down. Waving the bitten donut in front of Jareth, Remy tsked, “You don’t need a reason to buy donuts. I’m eating them, aren’t I?” And back the donut went in his mouth. Turning around and walking to the hooks by the door, Remy grabbed his sun hat with his freehand, “Since you aren’t busy, you should help me pick fruit. I already did spices and veggies yesterday.”

Jareth’s eyes followed the waving donut and he smirked at Remy, shaking his head. “Yes, you are indeed eating them.” Jar inhaled the kitchen aromas deeply and peered at the oven. “And also baking something delicious, apparently. You’re evil, this is all just a ploy to make me fat. I have an image to uphold, and a husband to please, Chef Wells.” He watched as Remy grabbed his sun hat and headed to the patio door. “Hey, who said I wasn’t busy?” He wasn’t, so he followed along happily.

“Even if you were busy, how could you possibly resist this?” Remy teasingly winked back at his husband, displaying his fine body with an apron on, before holding the door open for him, “And you know I always say a few pounds wouldn’t hurt. I like having meat to bite.” For as long as Remy could remember, Jareth was scrawny. He’s been working on his husband’s body fat for years. Fortunately, Jareth has gained a few pounds, but still… a little more never hurt. It was in the husband’s duty to make sure his lover was well fed, like the witch did for Hansel and Gretel. The difference here was Remy wasn’t cannibalistic… he just liked to bite. “You know where the baskets are, do you want to start with strawberries?” The chef of the household obtained plenty of family traits growing up, like gardening from his GG Robin.

Remy’s comments on resisting and biting brought forth a chuckle and another shake of Jareth’s head. His hubby was always insisting that it wouldn’t hurt Jar to gain a little weight, but truth be told, he tried. Even after age forty, his metabolism was fast, and he never gave up his habit of going on early morning runs. It worked out well enough, the mostly teenage audience of his music scene prefer thin, attractive frontmen in bands, and thankfully he still fits that description for a few more years at least. “Strawberries sound lovely, as long as I can steal a few for tax purposes.” Jareth grabbed a wicker basket and headed over to the strawberry bushes. Kneeling down low, he looked across the path at his fair-haired lover.

“, you think he’s going to be okay, Rem? I can’t help feeling like…” Jareth sighed. Over the years Remy had convinced him that it was best to talk about his anxieties with him, and it took almost as many years for Jareth to actually take that healthy advice. “I can’t help feeling like I failed him. Like I could have been a better father and known what he was going through. Hell, he’s so much like me, Rem, it’s terrible that it happened like this. I should have done more.”

“This.” Remy examined the strawberry for a moment making sure it was fully ripe, before cutting it by the stem and placing it in his basket. “Is not your fault.” He glanced over to his musician and shook his head, “There’s only so much we can do as parents. We let him go to the party, because we know the person he is wouldn’t do something too stupid. But he was also put in an environment where peer pressure is inevitable. I think us trusting him is the best thing we could do. If you failed him, then I failed him too. But wouldn’t that mean I failed you as well? I could’ve told you all the opportunities he could’ve used your advice….”

Remy trailed off for a moment, thinking of them growing up, and their own battles they had fought, “...I remember like it was yesterday, you weren’t fond at first at the idea of me liking you. You weren’t sure of your own sexuality, even broke my heart because you just couldn’t say yes. In time, your time, you sorted through it all. We’re not perfect. I could’ve fallen for someone I knew who was gay, but I took the risk and fell for you. I think we’re doing alright. Our children don’t hate us, so that’s something to be proud of.”

With his right hand, he reached for his husband’s free hand and tenderly squeezed it, “I think he’ll be okay. You are an amazing father and I will remind you each and every day. You knew that if you kept telling him to open up, he would close himself off. You know how he is, because he’s just like you. It’s scary you guys aren’t blood. But… you know what makes me know he’ll be okay?”

Jareth slowly picked strawberries from the bush and put them in his basket as Remy responded. Occasionally, he looked up from the task to make eye contact with him, when the situation most called for it. He froze up when Remy brought up their teenage years. Jar would never be satisfied in making up for the damage he did to Remy back then, he’d happily spend the rest of his life pouring every ounce of love that he could into this relationship. Into his family. Jar ran his thumb over Remy’s hand as he held it over the strawberry bushes. “What makes you know that, love?” Jareth asked, though he was pretty sure that he knew the answer. Riley would be okay, because he had ended up being okay. More than okay.

“Because he KISSED me on the cheek! He doesn’t do it often. But when he does, I know. I know. Trevor is easier to coerce into giving me love. He actually made sure before he rode off with Hailey and Hana, to give me a nice, big kiss! Oh, and he wore the BLUE JACKET!” Little signs that Remy would cling onto, which meant that today their son was fine. Who could tell about the future? But today. Riley was okay.

Jar chuckled at his husband’s excited response over the blue jacket. He was about to respond when he heard the crinkingly of grass underfoot and turned to see his eldest son walking towards them. “Wait… Hailey was here, and Riley left with her? What?” Trevor’s eyebrows shot up with equal parts shock and concern. He immediately pulled out his new phone and texted his boys, Dames and Brian, SOS - I don’t know why or how, but Hailey’s got my brother.

A @Silent Observer, @Lovely Complex & @Universorum Collab
Featuring: Marshall Radley, Kylie Lyon, Trixie Kingsley & Owen Lyon
Mentions: Jamie Callaghan @smarty0114
Setting: Wednesday, late after school, from The Lyon Residence to the 365 Combat Club

It had been a day so far. After his early morning debate with Principal Evans, Marshall chose to keep his head down for the rest of the day. With the hangover long-passed, Marsh was feeling more like a ball of tangled up emotions instead. On one hand, he was ecstatic and had a fresh romance to look forward to, and on the other hand, he was miserably nervous, and guilty. The photo album in his backpack hung as heavy as an albatross upon his shoulders.

The uncharacteristic nerves that were built up in his stomach caused Marshall to act very unlike himself for the remainder of the school day. He didn’t talk to his friends much at all, he skipped lunch in favor of burying himself in vocal practice, and he’d only seen Jamie once or twice between classes. Marshall was doing anything he could to distract himself and keep his mind off of what he planned to do after school. But now, here it was, after school.

Marshall carefully put his backpack into the passenger side seat of his purple Mini Cooper. He unzipped it and took out the photo album, running his thumb along the leather cover for a moment before letting out a deep sigh. Marsh stared at the roof of his car for a few minutes as he gathered himself. With another long exhale, Marshall put on his sunglasses, started his car, and sped out of the school parking lot towards his destination.

The Lyon Residence. It was massive, like many of the other houses in Beverly Hills. Owen’s house was far larger and nicer than Marshall’s, and it was always fun to hang out there. As Marshall pulled his purple car into the driveway, it dawned on him just how long it had been since he had last hung out here. His stomach tied up in knots as he killed the engine and looked over at the front doorway.

Was this a stupid idea? They weren’t near the school, Marshall was approaching Owen on his home turf. He could finish up with his intent to murder Marshall, and no one would be any wiser, because Marshall didn’t even tell anyone that he was doing this. The only person that might be able to figure out where he went after school might be his sister, because Marty saw him open up the birthday gift from Owen that morning.

Marshall got out of the car and hugged the photo album against his chest as he approached the front door. The pathway felt like it took eight years to walk across, it also felt a bit like it was made out of hot coals rather than cobblestone. But that was probably just in Marshall’s head. Swallowing and taking a preparatory breath, Marshall knocked on the door.

The person who opened the door was not the person Marshall was seeking, but it was a face he would remember fondly. The matriarch of the house dressed in a pink sports bra and yoga pants smelt like the stew she was cooking, as she eagerly approached her son’s ex-best friend. Kylie’s stew was one of Trixie’s favorite meals! There was a brief pause when she registered who was at the door. Emotions flooded her insides and as a result, she pulled the slim boy into her arms, his face straight into her chest, tightly squeezing the life out of him, “MARSHALL! IT’S SO GREAT TO SEE YOU!” No volume control, as per usual. Swaying him in her arms like he was her own child, she continued to ramble, “What are you doing here? Did you and Owen make up? Are you sleeping over? Should I bake a pie? I should bake pie.”

“Oh, uhh…” Marshall stammered as he was caught off guard, suddenly being pulled down against Mama Lyon’s chest. It would be an uncomfortable situation if it wasn’t something that he had grown so accustomed to in visiting the Lyon’s in the past. Kylie was expressive and emotional, even more so than himself. “It’s good to see you too, Mama Lyon. I… uhm… I am here to talk to Owen. I should have a long time ago… but...” Marshall chewed at his lip and looked around behind Kylie. “Is he home?”

“Oh wonderful. No baby, he’s at the gym. You know him! He’s gotta’ keep that body up, like I do for my ass.” She released him from her anaconda hold.

Marshall chuckled at that and smiled. “Yeah, same.” He’d missed Kylie, she was fun to be around.

Kylie gave him a curious stare, “...for a boy??? Last time I checked you had that… Toby… kid! You still with him? He was a little weird, right?”

“Well, not exactly for a boy, but I guess their attention is a nice side effect.” Marshall said with a grin. “And nooo, Toby and I broke up just before last summer. I’ve been single since… mostly…” He broke eye contact with her for a moment as he reflected on his summertime activities, but quickly recovered. “Anyway, I do have a date on Friday, so there’s that. We’ll see.” Marshall considered what he should do now. Should he leave? He wasn’t brave enough to face Owen unannounced at the gym, that was asking for trouble, as Jamie had learned a few days ago. Plus, there would probably be other students there, and he really wanted this conversation to be as private as possible. “Maybe I should just come back later? Can you let me know when Owen’s home?”

Deciding she and Marshall needed more time to catch up, Kylie called out to her husband, “TROY WATCH THE STEW. I’M GOING TO THE GYM.”

“...Yeah, it’s not like I’m doing anything important at all!” He wasn’t.

“I can drive, it’s no big deal…” Marshall started to protest nervously. He really didn’t want to go to the gym, let alone have Kylie drive him there. Then again, he knew that there was no sense trying to fight it, this was how it was going to happen. Kylie wins.

“Love-you-so-much!” With that, Kylie reached for her purse and motioned for Marshmallow to follow her to one of the many sports cars in the garage. The one in particular she chose: Troy’s Camaro. “I can assure you, this is the best day for you to talk to my son. He’s not too much in his feelings and if he lays a finger on you, I’ll be close by to prevent any pain. Also, I must drive. So you can focus on telling me about this date of yours and who you’re sucking tongue with.”

Marshall raised a brow as he looked over to Kylie when she mentioned the possibility of Owen getting violent. “So… I take it you saw the video from the party, then? I mean, if he does want to lay a finger on me, I get it. I have kind of been a shitty friend, so I deserve it.” Marshall looked down at the luxury sports car appreciatively. If he was going to die, at least he’d have a stylish hearse. Sitting in the passenger’s seat, he answered Kylie’s questions. “My date is with Jamie Callaghan. Coincidentally, also the same person I have been, uh, sucking tongue with.” He laughed and, because this was an adult he was speaking with, also blushed a little bit at admitting that.

“Ooooh, I know Jamie. Owen hates him! But that’s not saying much. My boy hates a lot of people.” Kylie was careful when she drove this car in particular. She knew if she did a hiccup and burned the transmission, her husband would hang her. “And Marshall, I don’t need to watch a video to know how my son is, but yes, I did see it. He wouldn’t have done that if he didn’t feel cornered. Whether he’ll ever admit it or not, he still cares about you. It’s hard to stop loving a best friend…”

She took a gentle turn to the left before shaking her head, “People do shitty things when they’re hurt, but I’m sure once you guys finally talk, all misunderstandings will go right out the door. If it’s meant to be, it’ll be.” Kylie glanced over to Marshall and gleamed a loving, motherly smile. If anything, Marshall’s only crime was believing lies and not siding with the person he should know better than the person other’s were painting her son to be. She doesn’t fault him. People that are hurt, hurt people. If Owen can forgive Trixie, he most certainly could forgive Marshall.

Marshall nodded and shook his head solemnly. “You’re right.” He hoped. “I guess we’ll see soon. I was hoping to talk to him alone, I hope the gym has pretty much cleared out by now.” Marsh sighed and looked down at the photo album in his lap. “Did you know he was doing this?” He asked, gesturing to the album as she drove.

Kylie shook her head. No, she didn’t. “You may not believe this, but only recently he started sharing things with me again. After Trixie called him a mama’s boy in that article of her’s, he chose to live at the gym and only come home when he absolutely had to. The past week or two, things have taken a turn for him. Like he’s finally realizing what’s important to him. The gift he gave you… is to be expected. I mean, he never did cancel the flowers for Trixie. Every week, on a Monday, a single flower would be sent to her to start her week off right. I’m sure Julie’s kept all of them. I have no doubt that killed her on the inside, but that’s just the type of man my son is. He goes out of his way to make people feel good about themselves. If there comes a day he takes a gift back, that’s when you know you really fucked up.” They were at a stoplight now, just one more block and they’d be at the gym.

“Oh.” Marshall looked down at the album again. He hadn’t really considered the fact that Owen purposefully didn’t cancel the gift being sent to him. Marshall assumed he had just forgotten about it. “Yeah, I think I remember Trix mentioning the flowers. No… wait… that might have been Stella and Luna who told me. I don’t know. Either way, that’s sweet, and really romantic. Well, here’s hoping I haven’t really fucked up.” Marsh leaned his head back against the seat, it wouldn’t be long now. Come what may.

“I’m sure you’ll do just fine. You’re too lovable not to forgive.” After two minutes, the car pulled up in front of the gym, “Well, here we are. The moment you’ve been waiting for.” Kylie didn’t park, instead she made sure there wasn’t much distance for Marshall to walk from the car to the door. She’d be lying if she’d say she wasn’t a little excited, hoping this ended well so she had more people at her table for stew. Her stew was da bomb! Because really, it was her mama’s stew… still she’ll take credit for tonight’s stew even if the recipe wasn’t her’s.

Marshall look up at the gym and, wow, the place had never looked so intimidating. “Thanks, Mama Lyon.” He said before opening the door and carefully closing it. God forbid he put a scratch on the Camaro and anger the other Lyon. For the second time that evening, Marshall took what felt like a very long walk to the front door. He opened the door to the gym and the little bells signified his arrival. Looking around, he didn’t see anyone right away. “Hello?”

Once again, the person to reveal themself was not the person he was looking for. It as Trixie wearing one of Owen’s shirts with booty shorts on. Her long, dark hair was in a ponytail and she had sweat gleaming down her forehead, “MarMar? What are you doing here?!” Trixie was delighted to see her partner-in-crime. She hadn’t been on social media much, since her attention has been solely on Owen, so the only thing she was aware of was Riley’s breakdown. Making her way to him with her confidant saunter, she grabbed his hands, “Were you successful? With Jamie?”

“Trixie? I—” Marshall was once again caught off guard, but this time he was also confused. “I could ask you the same question.” He looked at her outfit that screamed of ‘I just had sex with Owen Lyon in the gym’s sauna’ and then looked back up to her eyes. “Or maybe I don’t need to. Yes, things went really well with Jamie. We talked, just like I promised you we would. I take it you did too, since you’re here, in his clothes? Is… is Owen here still? I, uhm,” Marshall gestured with the album he was holding. “I think I need to talk to Owen too.”

“Oh, of course. I’ll take you to him.” Letting go of his hands only with her left hand, she used her right to lead the way. As a gesture of comfort, she gave him a small squeeze, “After we went our separate ways, my night took a turn for the worse. If it wasn’t for Jamie, I might’ve not made it to Owen, but we’ll talk about that later. I’m sure you have enough on your mind.” It wasn’t the time or place to talk about how she punched Ophelia in the face and almost committed suicide.

When they came upon Owen, his back was turned to them and he was focused on the task he was working on: hitting a heavy bag. Owen was working on breathing control, and with every strike he let out a breath. The same combo, over and over. Left hook, right hook, kick. Without looking away, or stopping, he spoke to Trixie. “Who was it, babe?” If Marshall was intimidated by Owen outside of the gym, it was worse on his home turf.

Owen was shirtless and barefoot as he hit on the bag, and when he didn’t get an answer as fast as he wanted, he spun on his heel to face Trixie and… Marshall. Owen’s eyes narrowed, and he grumbled. “Oh.” And then he spun again, back to the bag. Now, though, he seemed to be hitting it harder.

Marshall looked thoroughly spooked as he rounded the corner with Trixie to see Owen doing, well, Owen things. Shirtless, muscled, hitting things really hard. To make matters worse, he greeted the sight of Marshall with nothing but an ‘Oh’ before he went right back to punching. Jesus Christ, was he on the set of a movie or something? Was he being Punk’d? Feeling suddenly sweaty, he looked over to Trixie and wished, as much as he loved her, that she could just go away for a little while. This was embarrassing enough to go through alone, let alone have an audience. “Can I just, uhm, have a few minutes?” he whispered to her before turning to face Owen again.

“You don’t have to ask twice.” Releasing him from her protection, she dismissed herself to the office. She would keep her attention on the surveillance TV. Just in case.

“Hi, Owen.” Marshall began. It was… a start.

“Hi. Jamie’s not here. What do you want? And, before you ask, I didn’t put the bruises on him.” Owen said in between a set of the combination. He didn’t have much to say to Marshall, but even so, it was going better than it possibly could have; Owen’s words weren’t laced with venom, but rather, he seemed to just not care.

Marshall blinked in response. Ouch. There didn’t need to be venom, a bite still hurts. “I am not here for Jamie. Or because of him. I came for you.” Marshall took in a shallow breath. “And for me.”

The punching ceased, and Owen turned around, stepping toward Marshall. “For you? Are you kidding me? You abandoned me, just like everybody else, bro. There was the venom that Marshall may have expected, complete with a sarcastic ‘bro’ at the end. “Look, you ain’t Trixie. You don’t get to walk in here and apologize and make everything better again. It ain’t that easy. Say your piece.”

Although Trixie couldn’t hear anything, she could see the expressions of both her lover and her friend. She could feel how cold Owen was being. Every word over-pronounced, slicing right through Marshall’s tender heart. Marshall’s subtle gestures and movements reminded her of herself, just the night before, but for Marshall… this was worse. Ten times worse. It wasn’t like those two could ‘kiss and make up’. Not like she did. Marshall had a harder hand to play and all she could do was watch in unnerving anticipation.

Keeping his breathing steady, he kept talking. Lions could smell fear, so it was best to keep strong, right? Fuck, Marshall didn’t know that much about animals, really, but if he were an animal, he’d probably be whatever lions eat. “Yes, for me, because… I have been a shitty friend, and I feel shitty about it. I was wrong to abandon you, I’m sorry that I did. And I’m sorry that it’s taken me so long to stop being a bitch about it.” He took another breath.

“I shouldn’t have reacted the way I did to you cheating on Trixie. She was my friend long before I became friends with you, but it really wasn’t my business. I shouldn’t have abandoned you without at least hearing you out first. I just… I reacted because of my own daddy issues, or whatever. You were always a good friend to me, and I’m sorry.”

Owen let him talk, but every word he said grated on Owen’s nerves. Even if Trixie was with him again, it didn’t change the fact that he didn’t like that his name had been dragged through the mud and everyone thought he was cheater and it made him furious. So furious, that the only thing he could do was scream about it. “Listen! I. Didn’t. CHEAT ON TRIXIE!” Owen roared, his voice hitting its maximum volume by the end, as he ran a hand through his sweaty hair, pulling it off of his forehead.

The scream caused Trixie to jump right off the office chair, her heart nearly skipping a beat in fear. When tension was this high, one must trade anger with love. Suppress violent impulses with forgiveness. No matter how hard it was to muster the courage to do so, it was the best, and most warranted route. Did Owen have it in him to calm himself down? Most of the time? No. He was prideful and angry, to the point that it overwhelmed him and he couldn’t help but act and react.

Why do you think he reacted the way he did at the New Year’s Party? Because for Owen, after being hurt again, and again, and again, his fuse has become so short that he no longer has the patience to hold himself back. Trixie would not allow him to hit his breaking point, it was one of the many things she needed to do to make up for her own sins. She knew him and she knew he just couldn’t help himself, even if it makes him that more in pain.

Marshall’s eyes widened and he stepped backwards, clutching the photo album against his chest as if that could act as some kind of shield. Under other circumstances, an attractive, sweaty, shirtless man screaming at him would be an an ideal scenario. This, however, was Owen Lyon. And this, was terrifying. Marshall didn’t expect him to get so defensive so quickly. It was pretty obvious that he did cheat, because, there were pictures, but Marshall didn’t dare say that out loud for fear of his life being at stake.

“Do you think! She would be here if that was the case? Maybe, just maybe, she got her head on straight for half a fucking second and listened to me talk, unlike you, friendo. If you had listened to me if you had given me a chance to speak. Me. Probably one of the most honest people you know. You would have known that those pictures you and Ophelia and Hailey and fucking Jamie and the rest of you snakes in the grass like to circle jerk about are fake. That’s fucking ROSE, for fuck’s sake, she’s my cousin! Ya wanna know who took those pictures? Ya wanna know when they were taken?” Marshall may have been taking a step backward, but for everyone he took, Owen took two towards him.

Eventually, there weren’t any steps left to take backwards. Marshall felt the cold hard surface of the gym’s wall against his back. He had been keeping his gaze steady on Owen for all that time, but as soon as his back was literally against the wall, he closed his eyes. This was going so much more poorly than he could have ever imagined. He wished that he could teleport out of here, or just get the violent part out of the way. Please, for the love all that is holy, please just fucking hit me already. Marshall thought to himself helplessly.

“OPHELIA TOOK THEM. The bitch took the pictures at one of our family get-togethers! Idiot.

No. That couldn’t be right. Ophelia wouldn’t. She couldn’t. Ophelia, the Candyland Queen. Ophelia, his best friend since he’d arrived in California. Forgetting about the fact that he was just going through an emotional crisis of fearing for his life and hoping for the worst, Marshall peeped open one eye. “...what?” He asked in disbelief.

Owen only had one thing left to say, and he hissed it out more than saying it, as if the word was toxic in his mouth. Hailey.

“No… Ophelia… she… I would know if she…” Marshall stammered, shaking his head in disbelief. His reaction was incredibly similar to the one he’d had upon seeing those pictures of Owen months ago. Identical, even. Finding out that your best friend might not be who you thought they were was… earth shattering, especially when you loved them so much.

“... He isn’t lying, Marshall.” Taking a deep breath in, Trixie arrived in the room and reached for Owen’s arm, holding him close to her, but she didn’t look away from Marshall, “You’d think I’d catch on to it too, right?” The emotions from yesterday trickled down Trixie’s face as the bathroom scene replayed in her head, “You wouldn’t think your own cousins would tear you away from someone that makes you whole, right? But I’m the fool for believing her. For believing them.” She took a moment to swallow her feelings, so she could continue to talk. “The reason why I feel obligated to repay Jamie is because he prevented me from nearly killing myself last night. Ophelia told me everything and if you look close to her face, she’s probably wearing more makeup than usual to hide the bruise I gave her. She did it because Hailey told her to and you know me, I’ve always been pretty insecure, so that made me an easy target.” Her voice shook as she told her part of the story. Marshall and her… they were idiots for trusting people that only care about themselves.

Marshall didn’t respond. There wasn’t anything that he could do or say. It was information overload, and he was already in shock. In the back of his mind, he was subconsciously processing Trixie’s words of confirmation. He was hearing the full story, but he couldn’t react to it. Ophelia was his best friend in the whole wide world. His Feels. If this was all true, it meant that she had been lying to him for months. His best friendship was a lie. All of them were in this together. Jesus, did Jamie know too? Aside from Trixie, Kit might be his only true friend, and he’d only just met her. Given what Marshall’s reactions had been for the past few weeks, one might expect him to cry right now. He would expect that, but miraculously, he wasn’t crying. When he spoke, his voice didn’t shake or crack, it just sounded incredibly empty. As hollowed out as he felt.

“I… didn’t know. I swear, I didn’t know.” Marshall loosened his grip on the photo album that was still defensively hugged to his chest. Slowly he turned to offer it to Owen. “After our interaction yesterday morning, and then getting this gift from you this morning… I felt guilty. I wanted to apologize for everything that I did to hurt you, and to damage our friendship. Trixie and I talked before the party yesterday, and she was ready try to get you back even before finding all this out… and, if she was brave enough for that, I felt like I should be too, so, I’m sorry. I drove to your house just to apologize. I understand if I’ve fucked up too much, and if you want this back. And you can hit me if you want to, if you’ll feel better, but your mom is outside and she made some kind of comment about not letting you do that so you might want to wait a little bit before you do.”

Typical of his mother to step in when he didn’t need her. Owen loved Kylie, but she was a bit suffocating, and sometimes it got excessive… “I’m not going to hit you, I’d shatter you like I was punching a window pane.” Owen shook his head, before he reached out and pushed the photo album back, shaking his head. He didn’t want it back, he worked hard on it, and it was a gift. “That’s a gift, from me to you. Why would I want it back? I took time out of my day to make you that, and I didn’t cancel it. That was intentional.”

Speaking of Owen’s mother, Kylie poked her head into the gym and dramatically cleared her throat, “I LOVE YOU ALL, BUT DINNER IS READY AND MY STEW WILL GET COLD! WE CAN TALK OVER SOME NICE, YUMMY FOOOOOOOD!” Trixie couldn’t help but chuckle when Kylie entered the conversation, from the entrance, which wasn’t necessarily close to them. “OWEN I INVITED MARSHALL!”

“Whatever. My car only has two seats, you have to ride back with her. Good luck.” Owen said, glancing at Marshall in the corner of his eye, before he tugged at Trixie’s arm. He was ready to leave; they could shower at the house.

“Okay.” Marshall nodded. Riding back with Kylie seemed like the ideal option in his eyes anyway. She’d probably just want to talk about boys more, or TV shows, or anything else besides what just happened.

A @Silent Observer & @Universorum Collab
Featuring: Marshall Radley vs. Principal Evans
Mentions: Jamie Callaghan @smarty0114
Setting: Wednesday morning, during homeroom, in the principal’s office

The longer that the day progressed, the more things that Marshall could remember from the night before. The clouds that were his hangover were beginning to part and the sunlight streaming through them allowed him to see things a little bit more clearly. He was glad that he didn’t forget anything, because now he could savor the memory of his first kiss with Jamie, locked in his heart forever. He would also savor the image of Jamie with his shirt unbuttoned and his lips kiss-swelled as he stared up from the bed. Of course, what followed that scene was Marshall noticing the bruises covering Jamie’s chest and stomach, and the story that explained where they had come from. Being the awful best friend that he was, Marshall had immediately assumed that they were Owen’s doing. The truth was, however, that Owen had prevented those very bruises from becoming something much worse. Owen had defended Jamie, and the principal had suspended him for it.

This would be the first unspoken step that Marshall Radley would take on repairing his shattered friendship. It wasn’t right that Owen got suspended. It wasn’t right, and Marshall wouldn’t stand for it. Armed with nothing but his backpack (containing the sentimental gift from Owen) and his dramatic temperament, Marshall Radley skipped homeroom and missed the morning show in favor of marching into the principal’s office to speak with the man directly.

“Can I help you, Mr. Radley?” The blonde school secretary spoke up when Marshall stepped into the office.

“Hello Miss, I’m here to speak with Principal Evans. It’s very important.” Marshall responded in a tone that he made sure was both polite, but also held enough urgent inflection that she would not question him on it. Putting the right amount of emotional inflection in his words was one of the skills he’d picked up as a drama club star over the years.

“I will let him know that you are here, please take a seat.” The secretary responded before rolling her desk chair over to her phone. She picked it up, dialed just four buttons, and then reported into the receiver. “Good morning, Principal Evans. Marshall Radley is here in the office and would like to speak with you if you are able.”

There wasn’t a sound from the other end of the receiver at first. The principal was wondering what he could have done that would make Marshall Radley want to see him, especially this early. And wasn’t it a Wednesday? There was a sigh from the other end of the line, which was followed up with a, “Okay, send him in.” It was, after all, a principal's duty to handle situations like this. There was probably a screaming match in the drama room, or they’d double booked the auditorium again. Something simple, and easy, like that.

The secretary stood up from her chair and walked around the desk to open the door to Principal Evans’ office. “Mr. Evans can speak with you now, head on in.” She said as she gestured for Marshall to step through the door. He did so, and thanked her on his way through the doorway.

Marshall closed the door behind him and quietly took a seat in one of the chairs in front of Principal Evans’ desk. His eyes shone with the fight he had within him as he looked up at the principal, but his face remained otherwise expressionless, as to not give away his hand completely. “Good Morning, Principal Evans. I came here to discuss something that took place on school grounds yesterday.”

“Well, I was expecting something like that. What’s the problem, Marshall?” Principal Evans adjusted himself behind the desk and got comfortable. He had dealt with the kids often enough to know when it was about to be an argument, and that meant he at least needed to get comfortable. “I’m sure it’s something we can work out pretty quickly.”

“Oh, I sure hope so, Principal Evans. You and I both have plenty of things to get to, I’m sure.” Marshall responded with a gentle smile. He crossed his ankles and folded his hands on his lap, also choosing to get himself comfortable. “You are already aware of the issue, since you have taken some kind of action on it… but, a hate crime took place in your school yesterday afternoon. Blatant homophobia. Three boys called a student a quote fag unquote and proceeded to physically assault the gay student against a set of lockers. This assault took place until another student stepped in to stop this bullying and prevent the situation from escalating into something much worse. It has come to my attention, as a concerned student at this school, that you made the decision to suspend this student, Owen Lyon, is that correct?”

“Didn’t this same student — not even a month ago — threaten to kill you? Owen Lyon has shown violent tendencies in the past, you know. Besides, the other students were punished as well — they have their own punishments.” Here he was, defending himself and his decisions against an impassioned student. Just another day in this shitty job he hardly even wanted anymore. The principal took a sip of water from the glass on his desk, “I’m sorry, but my decision is final.”

Marshall’s eyes widened in disbelief. Did the principal of this school, his superior in authority, just answer his question with another question? This wasn’t proper debate in the slightest. Marsh sat up straighter and responded, “Owen and I have a complicated history, that isn’t the point of this conversation. That altercation also did not take place on school grounds, so it should be of minimal concern to you. What did take place on school grounds was a hate crime. Student versus student. Owen stepped in because he had to, there are video tapes of what happened. Kids record everything these days, you well know that. Owen tried talking them down first, handling it civilly without violence. He did what he did because he had to to protect another student. Protecting students should be your job, should it not? Where were the security guards? Why did it take the action of a student to step in and stop a crime from taking place? Owen Lyon did your job for you, and you suspended him for it. Perhaps your decision shouldn’t be so final.”

“Of minimal concern to me? You must not have been at the last couple PTA meetings. All I’ve heard about is how that party should be of my concern. And maybe your right, Owen helped out — that’s fine. But there’s a zero tolerance policy and for God’s sake, Marshall, he roundhouse kicked someone in the face! Don’t you kids like getting suspended anyway? Time you don’t have to spend here.”

“A fat lot of good that zero tolerance policy is doing you, huh?” Marshall retorted quietly and rolled his eyes. “And yes, he kicked someone in the face. He kicked an intolerant, ignorant, violent bigot in the face.” The drama star shook his head in increasing frustration with the supposed man of authority sitting before him. “AND, what does it matter if kids like getting suspended? That shouldn’t be your response at all. You are punishing a student because he violated your zero tolerance policy, a policy for which you clearly do not have enough preventative measures in place to support. Owen shouldn’t have had to step in, but he had to, because the school wasn’t there for the student body to prevent this violence. If you think your PTA meetings are a headache now, I guarantee that they are about to get a heck of a lot worse, Principal Evans. This suspension is getting talked about, I’m here and I am a loud personality in this school. Jamie, the assaulted student, is one of the kids in charge of the school newspaper, and you know he has a big mouth. So many of the students in this school are LGBT, or are the children of LGBT parents… and now we are aware of the fact that this school isn’t a safe place for us. Even our principal isn’t in support of us, since he punishes kids who are only trying to do the right thing. These are people who both attend your school, and fund it.”

Marshall caught his breath in mid rant and then sighed. He wasn’t defeated, not nearly, but his argument was getting redundant. “I obviously can’t force you to change your mind, Principal Evans, but I can ask you to reconsider. Reconsider Owen Lyon’s suspension. Do something preventive, like hiring more security, and having a school wide seminar on tolerance. Prevention does more than reaction, and all you’ve done is react. Do the right thing, Principal Evans, that’s what Owen did. He doesn’t even like Jamie, trust me, he did this because he had to, not because he wanted to.” Marsh adjusted the strap of his backpack and stood up. He’d said what he needed to say, and he was done here, for now.

“OKAY. Alright. I can’t hire more security, but I’ll reconsider it. He’s serving today either way, that much is happening no matter what. But maybe I can let him back by Friday instead of next Monday.” The Principal was beginning to get the sense that if he didn’t give Marshall something, then this was going to becoming a cycle — and it was a cycle he desperately wanted to avoid. “I’ll see about a seminar. Are you satisfied, Mr. Radley?”

“Placated, at least.” Marshall said with a small victorious smirk. “Have a good rest of your day, Principal Evans. I have to get to first period now.” He said with a wave and headed out of the office, thanking the secretary politely once again on his way out.

I might be into this

A @Silent Observer & @Universorum Collab
Featuring: Trevor “I’m the worst...” Wells & Damian “We’re the best!” O’Connor
Setting: Early Wednesday morning, from the Wells household to the phone store.

Last night had been a rollercoaster of emotions for the Wells family. While Trevor had been enjoying the best extended first date of his entire eighteen years of life, his brother had apparently been going through a personal crisis. Trevor felt awful about that. As much as he truly enjoyed his time with Savannah, he felt like the worst brother on the planet because he wasn’t there for Riley. He had known something was up with Rye, he knew it, and he wasn’t there for him when he needed to be. Now the person he loved most was suffering, in pain, and all alone in a locked room.

Riley had holed himself up in his bedroom almost as soon as Trevor had driven them home last night. Their dads were up and waiting for them to arrive. Remy, in particular, was a nervous wreck. It had become immediately clear that they had already watched Riley’s video, and that seemed to make things worse for Rye. Trev tried to get him to talk about it. He sat outside that locked bedroom door until he fell asleep in the hallway, and Remy finally was successful in convincing him to go to bed.

It was now morning, and it seemed that not much had changed. Trevor knocked softly on the closed bedroom door. “Rye? … you up? Do you—” Trev stumbled on his words and nervously shifted his weight from one leg to the other. “Do you need anything? I could… get us something special for breakfast or—”

The feeling of a hand resting on his shoulder cut Trevor’s words off. He turned to see his pops with a mug of coffee in his hand. Jareth gave his son’s ridiculously muscular shoulder a squeeze and shook his head slowly. “Just let him be, Trev. He’s a brooder like your old man, he’ll be alright.” Jar said in a low whisper. Trevor looked like he was about to protest, so Jar spoke again. “You’ve done a lot for him already. He knows that you love him, we all do. This isn’t going to be a quick fix, and it’s not your job to do so. So go ahead and go to school, your dad and I will be here with Rye. Don’t you and Damian have plans this morning anyway?”

Trevor looked pensive for a few moments as he considered his father’s words. He wasn’t happy about it, but his pops was right, and he had no choice but to agree. Trev shrugged and nodded, “Yeah, Dames is gonna get me a new phone. Okay. I’ll see you later then, I guess. Text me if he needs anything.” Jar said that he would and Trevor left the hallway, sending a text to Damian before getting ready for the day.

To: Dames
hey i know ur probably doing unspeakable things with joy rn, but dont forget we got a date
u driving or me?
or i can meet u there?

Since six in the morning, Damian’s morning had been on overdrive. He’d skipped his standard early morning workout, and even his normal breakfast. Instead, he’d shook up a protein shake and headed to his godparents place to talk to them about Joy. It went… okay! There was only one casualty, and it wasn’t Damian; so that was a positive thing! Sitting in the center console, rather than around his neck, was the Super Bowl Ring that Ender had given him years ago; Ender had ripped it off of his neck, breaking the chain in the process.

Damian had talked to them for almost two hours, some of which was spent in silence while Ender ‘thought’ about it. This largely consisted of him brooding and grumbling about cigarettes. In the end though, Damian had managed to convince them both of at least one thing: he really did care about Joy, and that seemed to placate both of them.

And so, after dealing with that and being dismissed, Damian had hopped in the car and headed over the Wells household. Once he parked there, he checked his phone to see a few texts from his one, truest love: Trevor Wells. No homo.

To: Lovebug
im already here, i just parked actually
no unspeakable things lmao, we were very wholesome
we’ll talk in the car

Upon reading Damian’s texts, Trevor scooped up his backpack by the strap and grabbed everything else he might need for the day. Wallet, keys, damaged phone, it was all there. He stepped out the front door, dressed in jeans and a light grey t-shirt with his letterman jacket over it. The outfit was simple, but they way he styled his rusty waves with a touch of pomade made the whole ensemble look very put together. Trev strided over to Damian’s car and popped open the front door, tossing his backpack in first, and them himself.

“No unspeakable things, huh? You were very wholesome? Did we trade places or something? Trevor smirked over at his best friend with a raised eyebrow. He buckled himself in and let out a breath that sounded a lot like a sigh. “Not that I’m doing anything unspeakable… besides feeling like an unspeakably awful brother.”

Damn, maybe they did trade places. Unspeakably awful brother? That was kind of Damian’s thing — not that he was any worse than older brothers should be to younger sisters, just that Trevor was… good. It was kind of his thing. “Wait, really? What did I miss? You’re probably just feelin’ like one, I bet you aren’t actually an awful brother. Don’t have it in you.” He said with a wink, before shifting the car into reverse and pulling out of the driveway, “anyway, yeah dude. I haven’t even seen Joy naked yet, kind of a rip, at least compared to how this usually goes for me. But she’s different, I guess? Anyway, I snuck out this morning and went to her parents house to tell them that we’re dating, since we were keeping it secretive. That didn’t go well. Jude took it alright, but there was a brief period where I thought Ender was going to kill me, or at least assault me. This happened,” Damian reached into the center console and withdrew the Superbowl ring that hadn’t left the chain around his neck since the 9th grade.

“Ender ripped it off because he said I didn’t deserve it anymore. He gave it back after we talked, but man… That hurt me emotionally.” Damian sighed and turned to pull onto the street, heading toward the mall. “How’d it go with the reporter? She interviewed me, dude. Was kinda weird, since it was about the team, and I’m exiled now.”

Trev scratched at the slight amount of stubble on his chin as he listened to Damian talk about his morning. Going to talk to Joy's parents was bold, it wasn't something Dames did for just any girl he fancied. “Wow, that sounds terrifying. There's not many dudes around here big enough to take you, but Ender… I don't doubt Ender’s abilities to murder a man with his bare hands. You must really like her… huh?” Trevor smiled over at Damian knowingly. His boy had caught feels.

“Maybe it's good that things are going slow for you guys, love doesn't need to be rushed. And, to answer your question, things went great with Savannah. I had one of the best dates ever. She's beautiful, and sweet, and… like. She's perfect.” The redhead bit at his lip and smiled in a lovestruck stupor. Both boys had caught feels. The moment of romantic reminiscing was cut short when Trev frowned, remembering his brother. “She was even super understanding when I had to ditch her to be with Rye. Do you really not know what happened? I thought everyone did, but, maybe it's good if you don't. It might not be that viral then.”

Man, it looked like they both had it bad from what Damian could tell. As much as he liked Joy, it seemed that Trevor liked Savannah even more. But what was this about something being viral? Now Damian really felt like he was missing out on something. “I haven’t really been on social media at all. Joy and I went to her uncle’s house, which, by the way, is fucking sweet. I’m sure you’ve been there since I think him and your dad are pretty tight. But anyway, we went there and hung out with the kid for a bit before we went to sleep and we pretty much just slept the whole night. We almost got it on, but then her mom called at like three in the morning. I dunno, she’d woke up for some reason.” Damian shrugged his shoulders, but glanced over toward Trevor with a curious look in his eye. “What happened? Don’t make me pull the car over so I can check Snapchat. Because I totally will!”

Trevor sighed again as Damian pulled into a spot in the mall parking lot. He unfastened his seatbelt and looked at Damian. His face was serious, and worried, and sad. “It’s, uhm, it's not really my story to tell. But you'll hear it at school anyway, so it's probably better coming from your brother. Because we're all brothers, you know? Anyway… Riley took some party drugs last night, and he totally freaked out and saw things and heard things. Things from his past, I think, before we were Wells’. It messed him up pretty bad. And, there is a video on Snapchat, actually… among other places. Riley ranted out a whole video on how he's feeling and what he thinks about the school politics, and… that he's gay.” Trev looked pensive for a few moments and put his hand on the door handle to open it. “He’s been locked in his room all night, bro. It's awful, I can't help him with this and it feels awful.”

Huh. Well, Damian hadn’t been exactly expecting that. But, drugs would do that to a person unfortunately. “That’s why I don’t do no drugs.” Was Damian’s initial response, while he was still considering what Trevor had said. “I mean… it probably feels bad now, but if you think about it… I bet he’ll be a lot better for it, like overall. Admitting that he’s gay is a good first step toward better accepting himself, I think. I guess nobody really expected it but… is it really that surprising? He’s a good looking dude and hangs out with us, he could have gotten a girl if he wanted. As for the school politics thing, that’s kinda shitty, but whatever. People should look at him like he’s brave for doing that, not get angry with him. I guess it depends on what he said and who he said it to. Me, personally? I’m all done with the school politics stuff, miss me with that gay shit.” Damian said, before he opened the door and stepped out of the car. Time to go shopping, his second favorite activity.

Leaving his school stuff in the car, Trevor stepped out and closed the door behind him. He walked beside his best friend and fellow Elite member with his thumbs hooked into the pockets of his jeans. Trev looked from the ground, up to the sky, and then over to Damian. “No, it’s not really surprising. It makes a lot of sense, actually, I think I might have known it all along. But that’s not really the point though, the point is that I’m quite certain that this isn’t how he meant to come out. He thinks he committed social suicide.” Trev chewed at his bottom lip and shook his head. “But not with us as his brothers, he hasn’t. Whether or not we support school politics, we’re definitely a part of them. The Elite have status at school, and I think we might need to use that status to make sure no one fucks with Rye about this. I won’t have it.” Trevor dropped a very rare f-bomb for this occasion. The situation warranted it, if you mess with his loved ones, you get the fury of the big red machine. “So, you’re replacing my phone, but I gotta buy another one too. I have to replace the one that Riley threw into the ocean last night… Brent Richards’ girlfriend tried filming Rye when he was tripping and he kinda freaked, I guess.”

“Two phones, huh? We’re about to make some sales dude’s day. But... shouldn’t we make bro buy it? It was the girl that stepped outta line, dude, not Rye. Ya never record someone while they’re on the ground. Well… Certain times, you record certain chicks when they’re on the ground, but never a man who is having a moment. Sides, it seems like he’s gone off the deep end. If we have to start buying stuff to replace things that people destroy in the heat of passion, then we probably have a lot more things to buy. But I don’t think anyone will mess with him. Riley’s pretty popular around school — I’d say it’s likely that the only people who would really mess with him are the same people who hate us. Hailey and Hailey’s friends. That being said, yeah. We’ll step in if we have to.” Damian reached over and patted Trevor on the back, even going so far as to give his friend a squeeze of the shoulder. “Don’t worry about it. For now, focus on today. Maybe Rye will just skip school for today, or the next like… what, three days? I figure it’ll be that long before something wild happens and everyone just forgets about it.”

“Yeah, he’s definitely skipping at least today I think. You’re probably right, things blow over pretty quickly at school, there’s always some new drama to be had.” Trevor shrugged, seeming a bit more lighthearted about it now. The boys stepped into the phone store together and began to walk around, browsing the selection. Trev had meant to do some research into getting an upgrade, but he’d forgotten to do that given the situation. A sales person approached the pair of them and asked what they were interested in. “Dunno yet, depends on what my sugar daddy here is willing to offer.” Trevor grinned goofily at Dames and nudged his elbow into him.

Damian chuckled at Trevor’s comment, before smiling at the sales person. “Let me paint you a picture. A young, tall, strapping young lad threw a party at his parents’ beach house. Like the lad himself, the party is a smashing success. Perhaps, though, it’s too successful. There are fights, and drama, y’know general teenager stuff. Anyway, the next morning the lad is hungover. He got puked on the night before by the girl he was hooking up with. It sucked for him.” Damian paused, checking to see if the salesperson was getting invested in the tale at all, before deciding he didn’t care and carrying on, “anyway he leaves the house without cleaning it up, takes the girl home and goes about his business. Monday comes up. He goes to school — but there, he meets the beginning of his troubles. The principal calls him into his office and gives him detention, for like three months! Every Friday’s a no go for our hero now. But that isn’t the final blow, the principal calls the dude’s mom. Not wanting to experience his mother’s wrath, the lad goes into hiding. He starts staying at his best friend’s house.” Damian at this point put an arm over Trevor’s shoulder and pulled him closer.

“It’s family dinner, the first night. The hero of the story smartly shut his own phone off so that he wasn’t bothered by his mother, because his mother is kind of like a demon. So, his mother calls his friend’s phone. The phone is answered, however not by the lad or by his friend — instead the phone is answered by a younger brother. So, that sucks. Anyway, the phone gets switched to speaker. Keepaway is played with the phone, and once our hero gets his hands on it, he does the only thing he can think to do: he throws it out the window, hoping that the garden gnome would catch it. And he did! It just so happens that the garden gnome doesn’t know how to play nice…” Damian shook his head sadly, glancing down at the floor. “I was the hero. This here’s my best friend. I threw his phone out the window, and a garden gnome punched it and it died. I’d like to replace it, with whatever sweet phone you have in store for us today. Like, seriously the toppest. Oh, and we’ll need to put his Assistant on it too, but that’s easy.”

The salesperson glanced between the unusual pair, in stature and in the way they spoke. For a solid few seconds, it was silent as she considered her response. “So… you just want a new phone?” Damian nodded and gave her a thumbs up. “Okay. I can do that. What exactly are you guys looking for?”

Damian looked at her as if she were dumb, “The sweetest one, duh. Didn’t I say that? Trev, I said that, right?”

Trevor chuckled and shook his head at his friend. Damian was always the most dramatic storyteller, captivating, but dramatic… just like the aforementioned “demon” momma of his. Truthfully, Trev didn’t really need the sweetest phone available on the market, but at the same time, he wasn’t exactly going to turn it down either. “Yeah, show us the top tier right now. No Apple stuff though, I don’t like Apple products. But, I mean…” Trev reached into his pocket and produced his phone, the co-star of Damian’s grand tale. A tiny piece of glass fell out of the shattered screen as he held it up and the display screen behind it was warped. “... anything would be better than this one, I think.”

Damian suddenly got very serious as Trevor pulled out the phone, looking at the salesperson with his eyebrows furrowed together. “Does this make me an abusive partner?” He asked, before the salesperson seemed even more flustered, and simply turned around to walk away. Damian looked over at Trevor and sighed, “was I too heavy? Damian of two weeks ago would have flirted with her and you probably would have to wait in the car, y’know. But this is new Damian. This is tied down Damian. A new power level.”

“I think I like this power level. It’s a good look on you.” Trev responded with a wide smile. While the salesperson walked off, Trevor powered on the screen of his broken phone and scrolled through his text messages from last night. He found the one from Brent telling him what the model of his girlfriend’s phone was, the phone which was now resting somewhere along the bottom of the Pacific Ocean floor. Trev walked over to the shelves and grabbed one of boxes containing the latest iPhone. Of course she had an iPhone. “Hopefully tied down Damian doesn’t make a habit of throwing electronics, though.”

For the briefest of seconds, Damian got very serious, almost the point of speaking in a whisper. “I’m in love, man.”

“Don’t worry, your electronics are safe with me, no more throwing, What basic hoe are we buying a phone for? Does every girl in our school have iPhones? You know what? Don’t answer that.” It wasn’t long before the salesperson came back with the fancy, new, still in the box phone. As she worked on unboxing it, Damian posed a question. “Trevor has a lot of shirtless and pantsless pictures of me on his old phone and it’s like really important that he keep those. Can you do the file transfer thingy?” He asked, and the salesperson was suddenly flushed in the face again.

“It is.” Trevor nodded seriously in agreement. Hanging around Damian brought out the best and worst in Trevor, which included his goofy side.

“U-uh, y-yeah.. Can I see your phone?” She held her hand out toward Trevor, and that dumb smile never left Damian’s face.

The redhead passed his corpse of a phone to the sales person. “It still works for the most part, so the transfer should probably go through.” Trev took a peek at the box that the saleslady had brought over. “Does that one have a good camera? I might have a really gorgeous subject to be taking pics of soon, and I don’t mean this guy shirtless.” Trevor smiled and slapped a hand on his best friend’s shoulder. “Sorry, bro.”

“That’s okay, I have someone else I can send shirtless pics to nowadays anyway.” Damian said with a smile, as the salesperson held out the new phone, her mission accomplished. Damian gestured for Trevor to take it, holding out his card with his other hand. The card was swiped, and Damian took it back. “Hey, thanks! You have a wonderful day now, miss.” With that, Damian hopped off of the seat and turned to walk toward the way out, adding to Trevor.

“Hey, is it cool if I just drop you off at your place? Technically, I still got a girlfriend to tend to. She’s waiting for me at her Uncle’s place, and if I had to guess? She’s probably pissed. Plus… I’m gonna go face my mom.”

“Yeah, that’s fine, man. Maybe Rye will be doing better now.” Trevor said as he finished checking out separately to get Brent’s girlfriend’s iPhone. “Good luck with your ma, though. Bring Joy as a buffer, nobody can get too angry if Joy’s around, she’s too sweet.”

Count me in.
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