Recent Statuses

28 days ago
RIP Sean Connery
4 mos ago
Thank you :)
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5 mos ago
Haters gonna hate. Potatoes gonna potate.
5 mos ago
Quality over quantity. How long it takes to get to a milestone doesn’t matter, the dedicated writers of PBR are awesome. Congrats fam. Guild members need to learn to support one another.
5 mos ago
I always feel like somebody’s watching meeeeeeee.



𝓟𝓻𝓮𝓿𝓲𝓸𝓾𝓼𝓵𝔂 𝓛𝓸𝓿𝓮𝓵𝔂 𝓒𝓸𝓶𝓹𝓵𝓮𝔁.


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@HaleyTheRandom & @TootsiePop Collab

Standing in front of the door, but not opening it, Junie ran her fingers through her long hair, straightening it and letting it cascade over her shoulders. Her hair was low maintenance and didn’t require much tending to. As a natural beauty, being polished and perfect was absolutely effortless for her.

Red hair was the Macmillan pride and joy. Her mother, her two sisters, and herself all had the most lush, the most fresh, and the most gorgeous red hair anyone could ask for. She and her twin learned from the best. They knew how to use their features, like their hair, to get what they want.

Without a hitch, Rosie and herself picked up the art of seducing. It was as easy as counting one, two, three. That inherited gift did not seem to run through their little sister’s, Rue’s, veins. She could be a late bird, or it could be that she was a virgin. Regardless of the circumstances, Junie knew she had a lot to teach her little sister, but for now, it was her time to shine.

Giggling, Mia gave her Big Sister a thumbs up, “You look sooooo good. You’re going to knock him dead, I promise. Oh!” The tiny blonde scurried to the vase on the side table, by the door, and took out the decorative, fake flowers. “Don’t worry about water, I’ll take care of it! Now, go get ‘em tiger. Meow.” Running away, she tossed the flowers on a lounge chair and hid in the next room.

Gingerly, Junie slightly opened the door. Leaving a small opening, not revealing her dress yet, she glanced up at him, curiously. “Look at you! Knowing what flowers I like,” she giggled, before teasingly adding, “What a stalker.” Seeing him in a suit, looking into those deep, blue eyes, and oh that fucking smile… it reminded her of the longing desire that she was subduing to teach him a lesson.

There was that static, that magnet trying to pull her in, but she would stubbornly fight it because this was her game, and she would call the shots. There was no need in risking everything. Even if she could devour him right here and right now, Junie had to give him a hard time. There was no other option. Leisurely, she fully opened the door, letting him have a good glance at her — going out of her way to give a little twirl and do an over the shoulder pose — before smirking, “Well? You like what you see?”

As Ty stood anxiously by the door, he could make out Junie and Mia’s voices - but not what they were saying.

While standing there, the flood of thoughts to remind him how bad he had already screwed things up came rushing back. He had done his best to contain them all week long and now the dam was breaking.

Absolutely horrible timing. Thank you, Mr. Brain.

At the end of the day, Ty was just glad that Junie had given him a second chance.

“You didn’t strike me as a basic rose kinda gal,” he replied, the corners of his mouth turning up ever so slightly. It took everything in him not to look at her like a piece of candy. Junie looked absolutely stunning. Her dress hugged all of the right curves, her makeup was just enough to enhance her natural beauty and the way her hair fell gracefully all the way down to ----

It would be her voice that would snap him back into reality.

“You look absolutely stunning tonight, Junie.” Once she had taken the flowers from him, Ty put his hands in his pockets. “I went ahead and ordered the Uber. I hope that’s okay?”

Not responding immediately, Junie went her merry way back inside to put the sunflowers in the vase on the side table. Once she made sure the assortment was to her liking, she turned on her heel, ready for their date. Closing the door behind her, she assuringly smiled, “Mia’s going to take care of the flowers for me.” Just so he knew that she wasn’t just going to leave them there to dry up and die.

Readdressing his compliment and his hesitant action of ordering an Uber, Junie, untroubled and at peace, gave a shrug of indifference, “It’s not like it’s hard to look this good, but thank you.” Grabbing his hand, leading him off the porch of her sorority house, where girls would undoubtedly be watching from the inside, she tenderly simpered, “Tonight’s your night to impress me. I won’t share my opinions until… later.”

Looking back, over her shoulder, she playfully winked at him. If there was one thing she adored in a man, it was him taking the initiative to do things, without having to ask. He already gained points for getting her sunflowers and telling her she was stunning. Yet, he was hesitating with calling an Uber. Silly boy. Maybe his research would do him good, maybe it won't. Only time could tell.

In time, he’ll know what she liked and what she didn’t like. For now, Junie chose to play it coy, not giving too much away, while leaving him on his toes. Stopping on the sidewalk, she turned to face him, intertwining both of their hands together, obviously showing him that she was okay with being affectionate (it was all part of the game), “So…. there’s alcohol where you’re taking me? Seeing how you're not driving.” Curiosity lit up in her eyes wanting to know exactly where they were going, but holding herself back from asking.

Junie's body language, tone, and overall mood told Ty that tonight was going to be a challenge. A challenge he was up for, but a challenge he had no idea how it would end up. Fortunately for both Junie and himself, Ty was determined to make this a good night. He had spent all week deciding what her favorite things were: music, food, drinks, flowers - her favorite *shampoo* for crying out loud. If tonight didn’t go good, Ty would bet money that he would go home to spend time with his good friend Jack.

Nonetheless, Tiberius Delemar was willing to give tonight a go with his best effort.

As Junie put her hands in his, Ty held them with a firm, yet affectionate and gentle grip. Looking down into her eyes (even with her heels, Junie was still a few inches shorter than him) Ty half smiled. Tonight was about excitement, and excitement required surprise.

“Mmm…. I may or may not have had the staff chill a bottle of wine for us. All you need to know is that we’ll be right on time for our reservation, and that the reviews for the place are spectacular.”

When the Uber arrived, Ty opened the door to let Junie climb inside before him. Entering the vehicle himself, Ty was sure to ask the driver a very important question. ”You did get my text with the address for the restaurant, correct?”

The driver - a scrawny young man - looked back in the review at Ty before answering with a simple “Yes sir.”

Somewhat reassured that they would make it to their destination, Ty relaxed back into the seat.

Once they both were situated, Junie leaned up against Ty, intentionally letting him feel the warmth of her body. After resting her clutch on her lap, she patiently examined her nails. Smirking, she listened to him talk to the driver. When he finished she casually asked, with a mischievous tone, “How was your week?”

"Hectic," he said, sighing. "I'm pretty sure you already know I've been asking everyone everything there is to know about you. So between classes and that… But it was fun, I mean. Sort of like scavenger hunting for clues about you."

“Like I said before, Ty...” Junie snickered, grinning up at him, her eyes lit with intrigue, “What a stalker.”


Holding his own basketball, Griffin roamed the main courtyard, leisurely making his way to the cafeteria where the groups were meeting. The only thing he was looking forward to during this last minute invite to participate in a school sanctioned scavenger hunt was spending time with Sol. Nicholas was aiiight, but Sol was the person he trusted the most in this tiny bubble that was their school.

Dressed in all black, Griffin imagined himself at an intense game, on some outdoor b-ball court, with some of the more challenging street ballers he’s ever played, and began dribbling, pretending to read a defender. With a cool smile on, he did a lateral behind the back hesitation into a cross jab combo. After pretending to shoot, jumping high in the air, like he had wings and his feet seemingly hovered over the ground, he smacked his hands hard on the ball, tightly gripping it. Alas, he wasn’t a bird. Gravity did it’s job and brought his feet back to the ground.

A couple weeks before he was hospitalized, Griffin realized he was pretty damn good at basketball. How could he possibly forget a hobby that he loves? When he first got here, he was just a smart nerd that went to the gym. Now everyone sees him as the basketball jock that’s part of the Apex Predator squad, as if he was always like… this… since day one.

Then again, ever since then, he felt a longing desire that he didn’t understand. Like he was trying to be the best to prove a point, like what he wanted wasn’t pumps to help him fly but someone to be there and watch him soar. He had too much time to think when he was caged in the medical center and as a result, he was on edge.

Hanging out with Wes and B-Rad didn’t fully satisfy his craving of getting up to no good. They told him all about the party and he knew that’s where he needed to do something to release some tension, scratch an itch, and/or break a thing or two. Until then, he had to catch up with friends while playing a game of make-believe as they ran around campus as Clubhouse Detectives.

Oh joy.

From a distance, he could see his partners and decided the best approach was to surprise them, especially Sol. Changing his route, Griffin hid himself in plain sight, where the other students camouflaged him. Gliding on the gravel, he silently approached Sol from behind.

Ever since the groups for the stupid scavenger hunt had been announced, Soleil had been in a sour mood. The mere thought of having to spend any time with Quinn and her stupid, obvious little crush on Theodore made the young woman see red. Luckily, being paired with someone cool like Nicholas definitely softened up the blow, but the news was enough to keep her annoyed for a while. On the day of, she had taken position in the main courtyard with one of her hunt buddies, waiting for Little Miss Shy Girl to make her appearance. The time of the event was quickly ticking by, and Quinn was nowhere to be seen. Although this made Sol happy in a way, it ticked her off that she was keeping them waiting.

As upset as she was about the whole Quinn situation, it wasn’t enough to keep Soleil unaware of her surroundings. Upon the first signs of movement behind her she immediately tensed up, listening closely to the nearly imperceptible sound of Griffin approaching and patiently biding her time. When she knew he was mere inches away from her back, the dark-haired girl spun around and connected a playful, gentle left hook to the boy’s stomach.

“Too slow, buddy,” Shady teased with a grin, crossing her arms in front of her chest.

Dramatically playing along, Griffin dropped his basketball, making sure to secure it with his foot, hugged his stomach and made a painful expression, as if that left hook was more than a gentle tap but something she’d do on the ring, “You got me, Tiger Toes,” he groaned in faux exasperation. Once the joke was over, he rested his hands behind his head and knowingly grinned at the two, “So, how you guys feeling about all this?”

Nicholas offered the two a half-assed shrug. ”It’s a lot more interesting than sitting in class. And it gives us an opportunity to just take our sweet time if we wanted to.” Not that he would, but it was refreshing to have the option.

“Some people might actually take this seriously.” Glancing at their surroundings, Griffin found himself amused at how excitable some of the students were, like his friend’s (Wesley’s) team. Well, when there was nothing else to look forward to, it made sense that they’d be bouncing off the walls for a game that took no effort, at all. “Where’s your third, anyway?” He played it off like he wasn’t participating.

Now it was Soleil’s turn to shrug and glare. “Don’t know; and don’t really care, either. We’re better off without her anyway. She was probably going to hold us back anyway,” she answered, the disdain for Quinn ringing clear in her voice. “Nicky and I can take these suckers out by ourselves easy.”

He visibly cringed when Sol called him Nicky ”I believe I’ve told you to never call me that, especially when there are people around to hear it.” He glared at Soleil for a solid five seconds.

The sour expression Shady had previously was replaced by another mischievous grin when she noticed how annoyed Nicholas seemed to get at her nickname of preference. “Uh-huh. And I believe I told you I was only half-listening when you said it, so I can’t remember not to call you Nicky,” she lied, suppressing a smirk. “Sorry. I meant to say Nicholas.” God, she was spending way too much time with Leo, and it was starting to show.

“Damn, didn’t think I’d ever see the day Nicholas would get his panties in a bunch.” Griffin couldn’t contain his laughter, and as he did indeed laugh out loud, he picked up his basketball and started spinning it on his finger.

As much as Nicholas could argue with Sol and even Griff, this wasn’t the place and they didn’t really have the time. The fact of the matter was this: Quinn was nowhere to be found and they couldn’t very well do the scavenger hunt with just the two of them, especially if there were going to be puzzles because lord knew, while Soleil was talented in a lot of areas, but using her less-than-optimal mind for puzzles was not one of them.

Same went for Griff. Dude could shoot baskets and run faster than either of them, but again, like with ...Tiger Toes, he wasn’t ideal for any mental challenges. So that left Nicholas as the one to handle anything mental. He wasn’t savvy like some were, but he was observant and was able to focus on tasks if he really put his all into it. That made him as great of a choice as any.

“Okay, listen up!” Nicholas looked at both of them, his eyes going from left to right. “Quinn is obviously not coming. And as much as I would love to have her abilities to tackle puzzles, that’s not happening. So, Griff- !” He centered on his basketball-twirling frenemy. “You’re in,” Nicholas hoped a sly smile would make up for his attitude a few moments ago. “You two can do whatever physical challenges are demanded of us and I’ll handle everything else. Deal?”

“Dude, I know I’m in. That’s why I’m here. Quinn had an allergic reaction.” He forcibly tossed the ball at the guy and muttered, “Think fast.”

He side-stepped the ball and it flew past him. “Looks like you’ve lost your toy,” Nicholas snickered.

“Yeah, you’re right. You’ll suck at physical challenges.” Griffin rolled his eyes and jogged to retrieve his toy. “Don’t think so highly of yourself, I bet your ass I can solve the mental shit faster than you.” Picking up his ball, he turned on his heel and smirked, challenging Nicholas with a confident glare.

“You better not complain when you get stuck on the first riddle we come across and I have to bail your ass out, proving without a doubt that I was right from the beginning.” Nicholas didn’t always like being this way, but someone had to say it.

“Says the dude that already thinks he’ll scrub at every other challenge.” Nicholas knew nothing about Griffin and it was obvious to see how much he underestimated him, only seeing the jock in him, and not the intellect. You better not complain when you look like a fool trying to rock climb or throw a football or whatever stupid challenges they have waiting for us.”

Although Soleil had enjoyed the back and forth between Griffin and Nick, she had quickly gotten tired of their meaningless back and forth. If they had ended up throwing hands, she would’ve let it happen, but these petty word exchanges had gotten old fast. “Alright then, ladies: let’s save all this energy for the actual challenges, okay?” she scolded, feeling the need to take position in between the two of them. “I know this is bullshit and all that, but I’d like for us to at least try and win this thing. I don’t do well with second place.”

Featuring Chrissie McCoy, Ariana Mossos, and Mr. Jace Russo

What was wrong with her?

A lot, honestly.

Chrissie was suffocating with all these negative emotions, as if they were swallowing her whole. Her willpower betrayed her because no longer did she have it in her to fight what was boiling deep in her system. She didn’t want to fight anymore. She didn't want to play pretend and kill people with kindness like some selfless humanitarian. She didn’t want to smile for others and act like she was happy for them. She didn’t want to seek out the good memories, or why she ever gave a fuck.

There was a part of her blossoming inside that wanted to take the devil’s path, with hate as her drive, throwing everything out the window, including her reputation. Funny, really. How love could turn so quickly into hate. Her once cute, genuine, and lighthearted smile now lit up her features as if she no longer ran on tender love but on cold malice.

As simple as her interaction with Chanel was, it seemed to have made her come to terms with some things about herself. Chrissie was NOT a sob story. And kindness? Kindness costs way too much. It was time to become her father’s daughter, and the only way to get where she needed to go was throw all good intentions out the door and walk the rest of her school days with unrelenting meanness.

There was a reason she fell for an asshole, and that’s because he saw things the way she saw them. If you need to step on someone, then you step on them. If you need to burn everything around you to achieve your goal, then you burn every-fucking-thing. How could she possibly forget? This was how she was raised to be. Not this bubbly, sickly friendly, and sugary sweet theater dweeb that tried to get everyone to love her, even if it was only when they watched her on stage.

Yes, her name was Chrissie McCoy and she wanted to watch the world burn. Caught up in her final decisions, smoldering underneath her forced expression, Chris was coerced back to present time, her current Valentine’s dance reality, losing all balance and falling right on her ass. Before she could register what had just happened, she was pounced on by her best friend.

Oh, that’s right. Chrissie was originally trying to find Ariana. Sadly, she had totally forgotten after she came back into the ballroom, only to see romance in the air. “So I take it... you’re having a great time, just like me?” Pulling her friend close, knowing Ariana may be the only person she was willing to trust right now, Chrissie grumbled, “I bet he did something dumb.”

As much as Ariana wanted to answer Chrissie's questions, the giggle fit she had succumbed to when tumbling down right after her best friend had rendered her temporarily unable to. The giggles had given way to full-blown laughter when the curly-haired girl pulled her closer, causing their bodies to roll around the floor together while leaving Ariana dangerously close to flashing every person in the vicinity.

Chaperone duty was an absolute drag. Jace Russo was here to fill his required hours - or at least that’s what he would tell anyone who asked. The punch had already been spiked, and he didn’t even care. Truth to be told, the dark haired man was already on his third glass himself. Speaking to the history teacher, Mr. Fulton, Jace was mostly not paying attention to the students. The loud and joyful laughter somewhat nearby would catch both his and Fulton's attention, causing both of the men to look towards Chrissie and Ariana.

A quick glance would send Jace into action. As he and his coworker began to walk the girls way, Jace held his hand up as if to say ‘don’t worry about it. I’ve got this one.’ A few quick strides and he had reached his destination, cup still in hand. Placing a gentle hand on Ariana’s shoulder, Jace looked from her to Chrissie and back before speaking.

“Girls. Sorry to kill the moment, but you need to get up off the floor. You’re about to show everyone your asses.” Normally, Jace wouldn’t curse in front of his students or use such lax language in general. However, this was his ex-girlfriend and her best friend. Lines had already been crossed, and there was no use in trying to go back at this point.

Not really caring that their asses were being showcased to the world, or almost so, Chrissie scoffed at the man that was intervening with her time with her best friend, who she didn’t see this whole fucking night until NOW. First, he had the audacity to put Ariana in a mood, causing her Cherry to have a down spiral night. Second, he chose now was the perfect time to show his face to them and play it like he was actually a good, responsible, and mature chaperone. Tightening her hold on her friend, she glared up at her math teacher, who was also at fault for taking one of her friend’s hearts away from her, and said behind gritted teeth, Who the hell are you?”

Confused and slightly tipsy (yes, Jace was a lightweight himself) the teacher looked at the star drama student as if she had grown a second head. “I’m Jace? Jace Russo? Your math teacher. I gave you a C- one time and you tried to kill me, remember?”

Jace had a good feeling that some of the students here were wasted, but he had no idea that anyone would be so far gone they couldn’t remember their own teacher's name.

“Omigod, boomer. That was sarcasm.” Releasing her friend, Chrissie stood up and pulled her up with her, “I know who you are and I know you’re fucking petty and when Ariana upsets you, you take it out on everyone she’s fucked. Myself included. Blahblahblah.”

"Mmm yeah. No.” Taking a sip of his drink, Jace crossed his arms. "Anyway. Really didn’t come over here to start anything. Just figured you two didn’t want to show everyone your nether regions, but hey. Maybe you do. By all means, go grab the DJ’s mic and start stripping. Liven the party for us a bit.”

The grinning Ariana having watched the exchange between Chrissie and Jace in silence, knowing she should be stepping in to defend one of the parties involved but being far too amused to do so. Truth be told, she was secretly glad her best friend was giving her ex a hard time. It was definitely a fantastic, innovative way to get back at him for all the other times he'd been petty towards her before without having to do the dirty work herself. Plus, it was the first time they had spoken after that heated argument on the first day of school. And, in all honesty, Ariana was simply happy to hear his voice addressing her. She would never admit to it, but she had missed him terribly.

When Jace brought up the suggestion of them stripping, a knowing little smirk lit up the brunette's features. "I bet you would love to see that, wouldn't you?" she teased, scanning the area to make sure nobody was looking before shooting him a playful wink. "I know you fucking miss me. That's the only reason why you came running to us so quickly the second this perky little ass you love so much was showing. You can't even deny it."

To add to her friend’s point, Chrissie grabbed Ariana’s ass, giving it a nice, strong squeeze, “Perky as fuck. It’s too bad…” She let go of Ariana’s cheek and rested her head on her shoulder, “This ass is going home with me.”

"I'll make sure to send you pictures, if you want. Maybe a hot little video to go along with it?" the brunette couldn't help herself to add mischievously.

“You two are absolutely disgostang Jace said, slurring the last word. Of course this wasn’t true - at all. Ariana and Chrissie had been known to send Jace steamy pictures and videos from time to time. This would be nothing different. Sadly, his days with Ariana were over, and so were the messages. For now, Jace looked at pictures of women his own age.

Rolling her eyes, clearly unimpressed, Chrissie laughed, “I’ve been called worse things by better people.” Times like these, the drama queen had a hard time seeing what Ariana saw. Somehow, this man was everything she wanted and needed and more. Now that was disgusting. Falling stupidly in love where no one else could ever be an option. It was because of HIM Ariana couldn’t enjoy her time with Max and Jasper.

You know what?

God created the middle finger for a reason and it was for people like Mr. Russo who deserved it. Pulling Ariana to her, over the dumb teacher’s bullshit, Chrissie used her free hand to give him the bird, “You’re pathetic, Mr. Russo. Come to us when you’re ready to be a man.” In swift movements, she purposely hit her teacher’s cup to spill all over his shirt, before demanding, “Let’s get out of here, baby. Fuck him. You’re worth more than this shit.”

Trying to wipe the liquid from his shirt, Jace sighed. “Yes. Please leave. You’re drunk out of your mind, Chrissie. Have a great night.”

“No. I just know a good thing when I see it. G’night, sir. Enjoy pornhub.”

“The lesbian section is looking pretty good right now compared to this shit.”

Whatever entertainment Ariana had been getting from this situation had long since faded into regret. She had known that both Chrissie and Jace were prone to petty remarks and suffered from the same illness she did: a need to always get the last word. So, while she had expected the back and forth between them, she hadn't anticipated how far it would go in such a short period of time. First they were taking subtle digs at each other, and then the next moment Chrissie was spilling Jace's drink all over his shirt and dragging her shocked figure away. But before her friend could take her too far, Ariana placed her hands over the one Chrissie was holding her by and gently pried it away.

"Peaches, would you mind being a sweetheart and go wait for me by the door?" the brunette softly asked the blond. "I promise I'll be there soon."

Of course. Back to the start, knowing very well where her position was in all her friends’ lives, second to all their lovers, Chrissie beamed the fakest smile to Ariana, “Yeah! Absolutely. Don’t make me stand out there for too long.” Not waiting for a response, Chrissie left Ariana to talk to Jace. Her state of mind was even worse than earlier. Before she exited the ballroom, she glanced over to the drinking table to see Stella smiling and laughing with Carter.

Tonight was fucking fantastic.

Ariana knew that smile. After three and a half years of friendship, the young woman had become proficient in identifying when Chrissie was being honest and when she was faking it to hide how she truly felt. And seeing her BFF walk away after shooting her that smile stung just as badly as when Max had done it not even twenty minutes previously.

What was up with her disappointing people today?

Letting out a long, deep sigh, the visibly distraught girl turned back to Jace. "Look: I'm sorry about what just happened with Chrissie," she began, looking up at the man with big, apologetic eyes and a trembling lower lip. "She's clearly drunk and bothered by something, so even though you shouldn't have let yourself be baited into the whole back and forth with her, I know I should've stopped it before it went too far."

Jace shrugged his shoulders, sighing as he surveyed the damage to his shirt. ”I really don’t care anymore, Ariana. I’m not your problem - you’re not mine. I was honestly trying to do my job when I first walked over.”

Well, that was certainly not the answer Ariana had been hoping to get. But then again, what else was she expecting from the king of pettiness himself? For him to see that she was being completely honest? That she was admitting fault to the situation? That she had literally put aside her pride to say she was fucking sorry even when not being the one at fault? And this is how he was paying her back?!

Fueled by anger and hurt at just how easily he had dismissed her earnest feelings, Ariana strode forward and slapped the man hard across the face. "How's this for not being your problem anymore, then?" she spat with pure venom in her voice, her eyes flashing with fury. She didn't care about who had seen what she'd just done or what the consequences would be. All the girl wanted was for Jace to feel the same amount of pain he had just caused her.

A maniacal laugh creeping from between his lips, Jace rubbed the side of his face for a brief moment. "Listen. I don’t have to accept anything from you, Ariana. No apology. Nothing. You chose to end things. So go. Live your best life. Fuck Chrissie. Fuck Max. Fuck Jasper. Go fuck whoever you want - however you want. You got what you wanted - you’re free.”

At this moment, Mr. Fulton was beginning to walk over, an alarmed look on his face.

"Fine. I will. Watch me." Ariana declared, shooting Jace one last death glare and storming off to the exit, holding back the wave of hot, heartbroken tears that so desperately wanted to roll down her cheeks.

Once outside, the young woman frantically searched around the area for Chrissie, and thankfully found her without much effort sitting quietly on the hood of Jasper's car. The brunette strolled towards her friend with determination, hoping she'd keep her composure long enough to reach the safety of her house even when her bottom lip was trembling so strongly. But the second she had reached the blonde, it was as if every negative interaction of the evening had come crashing down on her. And before she knew it, Ariana threw her arms around her best friend and started to sob.

Moments before Ariana joined her, Chrissie was sinking deeper and deeper into her own thoughts. Surprisingly, she didn’t go off walking randomly, getting lost in the night. Most likely because the only place she had available to her was Ariana’s. Since she was sobering up, sense did start coming back to her. Chrissie knew the best option was to wait for her impatiently.

When Ariana did show up, embracing her with a river full of tears, Chrissie held her friend close and somehow found herself smiling. She wasn’t happy that Ariana was crying. No, that was tragic. She was happy that her friend needed her and that Jace most likely broke her heart. Trying to keep the smile contained, Chrissie pulled her Cherry away from her, looking at her through teary eyes, “You want chocolate? I want chocolate. Call mommy so we can get out of here.” Mommy as in Ariana’s mother, Audrey Mossos-Huntsberg. Chrissie was not in the mood for an Uber, and honestly, both of them could use a mother right now.

The young woman shook her head. "M-mamma's n-not even in the c-country right n-now…" Ariana wailed in between sobs. "Dad t-took her to Italy f-for the w-weekend. I had t-the house to m-myself and I was g-gonna hook up with J-Jasper but now I d-don't even w-want to."

Goddammit. Uber it is. Grumbling to herself, wishing she could call Stella’s parents at this moment, Chrissie took out her phone and went to the Uber app. After a couple of minutes of requesting Uber XL, she looked at her bestie and tsked, “Two stops. First, we’re going to buy junk food. Think chocolate, ice cream, cake, the whole nine yards. Secondly, we’re going to take a selfie together, showing every motherfucker we ended this night happy. Then and only then will we cuddle tonight and spill our hearts out, got it?”

"Okay." Ariana sniffled, nodding while carefully wiping away her tears. Although this was not the way the girl had expected her night to end, she was happy that at least she would be going home with the one person who would always have her back.

The King's Academy staff had wanted to celebrate friendship above romance, after all. And that's exactly what Ariana and Chrissie were going to do.

At the end, short tid bits with @smarty0114 & @GhostMami

Resting his hand on the back of his neck, Griffin Pierce, with eyes closed, tried to recall the sensation he felt moments before he passed out in the main office. He remembered seeing a vacant room, obscured by darkness. There was no one around and yet he was there... for a reason. Was it truly because he was on the verge of passing out? His diagnosis was a severe case of the common flu and dehydration. Dehydration. He was an athlete and if he was indeed dehydrated, that would be considered a rookie's mistake. Griffin was not a rookie.

Never in his life did he think he'd get this sick, where the school physician decreed he had to be cooped up in this prison cell for two whole weeks. For the first week, he was in a vegetative state. They had him on some strong meds, deeming it as their way of providing him a swift recovery. He couldn't even recall if he had visitors that week because he was practically comatose, aware but not really. Part of him saw the nurses and the doc talking, and the other part of him was subconsciously stuck in a loop of his last healthy day at San Agustin.

He did have a theory that his mood stabilizers conflicted with the gross liquid relief meds. While he wanted to believe they would take him off of them for these two weeks, because most medical practitioners would, it seemed they were willing to risk it, so he wouldn't add another incident to his report. From what he's told, he had a manic episode the first week of attending San Agustin, which resulted in him harming himself and a classmate, solely because someone stole his pills. The odd thing about that? Griffin had no recollection of it whatsoever and it seemed to have been long forgotten because none of his peers have brought it up in conversation.

Puzzled at his own actions, trying to search through the fog, Griffin opened his eyes to see the campus grounds, through a tall window, peering in between bleak curtains. Why would he intentionally go to the teachers' wing during dinner hours? Nothing was adding up. No matter how much time he spent this second week in the Health Center thinking about it, which he felt like he should've been released the moment they lightened up on the drugs, he could not, for the life of him, connect the dots.

Closing the curtains, he turned to survey the room that was devoid of beauty. The only pinch of color was what his friends left on his temporary nightstand, like the blanket flowers put in a jar by Sol, crayons gifted by Wes, and a small picture of cartoon s'mores painted by Bradley (S'mores was Griffin's guilty pleasure). All with the same goal which was to add some life to this sparse, functional, and overall dreary room. Life meaning color.

Smiling to himself, he went to the bed, in which he made sure was wrinkle free, nice, and tight, and grabbed his jacket that Sol specifically picked out for him. Well, she chose his outfit, since she was the only person he would trust in his room, without his supervision. After putting his coat on, he brushed his fingers through his hair to make sure it went in the direction he preferred, his left side. As he did so, he absentmindedly imagined himself from his time here; exercising in all areas of the room, playing solitary on the bed, reading Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky on the window sill, listening to Tchaikovsky as he sped through his calculus homework from last week, this week, and the next, and just his overall boredom and rampant thoughts of not only the outside world, but how he ended up in this position.

Being caged was an understatement. The little freedom he was given was in the form of nice long walks in the hallways that had as much personality as a highway, with different amounts of traffic depending on the time of day. When he did go for his walks, he counted security cameras, which was surprisingly more than he'd imagine a school health center having. He eventually convinced himself, or tried to at least, that it was because they had a room full of drugs that his peers would try to get their hands on.

Seemed logical enough. It wasn't a pressing matter for him to overthink, not yet at least. He'd file his knowledge of the layout of this place for later use, if it was ever needed. As far as he could tell, the staff at this place were exceedingly paranoid and took cautious steps to provide their students the ideal experience, which felt more controlled than not.

Being stuck in here was driving him mad, angry even, because he was allowing himself to fill his head with all kinds of rubbish because he was BORED. If he continued to do so, he would have a harder time to think about the things that mattered. His mind was a hard drive and it only made sense to put useful information in it, but here he was counting cameras and ceiling tiles for crying out loud.

Grumbling inaudible profanities and frustrations, he grabbed the crayon box and small painting, pocketing it in the inside of his jacket. Once he made sure he had all his things in his jacket, in his gray JanSport backpack (with his schoolwork) that was now on his back, and in his navy blue string bag (with his dirty clothes and his hygiene products) that was now hanging off his right shoulder, Griffin grabbed the jar housing the vibrant flowers, native to hot and dry climates. Finally, he could get the hell out of this place and breathe.

Leaving the room behind, to hopefully never return to, Griff glided down the hall one last time. His boots silently, yet prominently, stepped on the linoleum floor - influenced by one single objective: going outside. When he neared the elevator, he looked at the camera at the top left corner, through his peripheral vision. Curious, really. This was nothing new to him. The fact that they were being watched. If the school was as suspicious as he believed them to be, they most definitely had cameras discreetly hidden in walls.

Though... this could be his quarantine mind getting far too imaginative. Still, he would keep his guard up until proven otherwise. His gut feeling never betrayed him and he knew since day 1 something was off. What exactly? He didn't know just yet and that was frustrating.

In the elevator, he gingerly circled his neck around, feeling it crack with every turn. This felt nice. Being able to freely roam and fly. He was almost there. Just before the elevator door opened, he made sure to secure the jar in his left hand, just in case. Soon enough, the lobby was revealed and he was greeted by two faces that never failed to make him feel nostalgic, simply by them existing.

Wesley Slater and Bradley Barron.

He didn't understand how they got so close, in such a short amount of time. Wesley did hang out with the jocks, so that was a good start. However, in comparison to them all, he was small and perhaps that’s why Griffin felt more inclined to befriend him. Wes didn’t have his head up his ass like Leo did and was actively trying to get faster, stronger, and better. B-rad, on the other hand, was simply coincidental and at first, a means for Griffin to use, like for his talent in photography. A skill he will admit he would never go out of his way to learn. His aloof personality was a nice way to calm all the anxiety Griffin held up on the inside, which he hid behind all that coolness he displayed. Plus, Bradley wasn’t hard to get along with.

They just... worked.

Here he was with great friends that provided him a sense of normality in a school that felt everything BUT normal. His blue gaze lit up and the corners of his lips rose in such a charming yet understated way. Effortlessly casual. Cool and collected. Simply smooth and one-of-a-kind. Griffin's smile.

"Sayōnara, hell!" he breezily exclaimed.

Exiting the elevator, he strode to his friends, waiting in the lounge area, and briskly added, "Sup guys," before eagerly inquiring, "What'd I miss?"

"Shit, dude, a lot. But also kind of nothing at the same time." Wesley greeted his friend with a grin and went in for a hug, no permission asked. It'd been too long and Wesley liked to show affection to those he feels close to. “How you feeling, man?"

Affection, while welcomed, was something Griffin had a hard time getting used to. Whenever his friends, especially Wes, went in for a hug, he found himself awkwardly tensing up, but following his lead and returning the embrace. It was as if this was such a foreign concept to him, to be given hugs so freely, without any thought. Wes just did it and that was endearing. Although he felt uncomfortable, he did enjoy the warmth and kindness, and simply smiled while patting his friend's back, "I'm feeling a little stir crazy. Need to get out tonight, I think." Turning his attention to Bradley, a smirk gracing his face, Griffin gestured for him with his patting hand to come join them, making sure his other hand holding the flowers didn't tilt over, "You should get in this. Y'know, for old time's sake."

Bradley's grin faltered ever so slightly. Physical contact was hardly his forte, physical contact with the boy he very much liked was a special kind of torture. Subtly as possible, he fixed his expression, opting for an amused smirk. "We've known each other for two months, what the hell is old time's sake?" Nevertheless, he walked over, arms wrapping around his two friends, as they formed the sort of blob typical of a group hug.

"Oh, don't be such a grump. Our friend missed us, B-rad!" Wesley released his bros from the group hug and smiled wide. "Anyway, back to the topic at hand, which is what you missed while you were... incapacitated?" Wes looked to Griffin with an inquisitive look. This school was so fucking weird. "What you missed was a horribly boring assembly that I fell asleep during, but wonderful Brad here filled me in, angel that he is. There's gonna be a scavenger hunt on Wednesday, with assigned teams, unfortunately. But MORE importantly, there is another... event upcoming. We'll talk about that later." He quickly glanced towards the security camera and hoped that his ridiculously perceptive friend got the message.

Yes, Griffin got the message. It didn't take his impeccable perception skills to understand his friend. The expressive tone and animate eye gestures were blatantly obvious and not subtle at all. All you needed was common sense (at least in his opinion) and you could understand Wesley Slater. He nodded to the assembly comment, naturally assuming he wasn't participating since it would be relatively last minute to slip him in the roster. That was fine by him - he could use this time to watch his peers, size them up, and judge them accordingly. Focusing on the 'more' important event, Griffin chuckled, "Okay, sounds good. Now." He adjusted the string bag on his shoulder and looked at the receptionist lady, who seemed to be gushing at the display of intimacy, "As much as I love this bromance thing we got going on in here." He purposely met eyes with Brad, before matter-of-factly suggesting, "Let's bounce. I'm over this place. I want to cause some mayhem. Whaddya say?"

Bradley, subtlety be damned, couldn't help but blush. He stepped away from the other two boys, falling into line on one side of Griff. "Mayhem it is," he said, plastering on a grin and gesturing for the door. Outside, one thing certainly awaited them.

Starring Viv @HaleyTheRandom & Dee @TootsiePop

Aside from gaining a new friend, Diana’s week was uneventful. She didn’t necessarily have a personality that drew people in, nor did she associate herself with enough people to get invited to the cool parties. That was what her best friends were for: to keep her from getting bored easily and to occasionally give her an invite. Disappointingly, one was whipped and taking a redhead out on a date and the other, who knows. Fiona hadn’t messaged her in a while, and Dee wasn’t going to go out of her way to get her friend’s attention. She wasn’t that type of girl.

That left one person, who Dee adored and enjoyed her company with, but even she could admit they were as different as chalk and cheese. Jasper and Dee, while they would jump in front of a bullet for one another, were not in the same category of ‘girl’. The fact that they found themselves in the same social gatherings together still surprised Dee from time to time.

Ten minutes ago, Dee had received a text from Nate, which isn’t an unusual occurrence, but for a Friday night it was odd. They got food randomly throughout the week, went to the park to kick a soccer ball on a random Sunday morning, and they chilled at the mall to people watch at random, as she listened to him talk, and talk, and talk. Going out on a Friday night, though? To a bar no less? This was new. Even so, she appreciated the sentiment. He was in a funk and she couldn’t remember why. Maybe this would help him.

That being said, her motivation to go wasn’t for Nate. She would be lying if she said she wasn’t annoyed that Ty forgot her because he was thirsty. Honestly, she needed something to shake things up because the tedium of school was already getting to her and they just started. This would give her something to do to break from her current routine. She’d either go bar hopping or she would lock herself in her room to make music. It was that simple. Since he hadn’t picked a place, she texted back in the group message with him and MJ:

Nectar’s. 40. SYT.

Shortly after, she called Jasper and invited her over. Told her she was going out, with little to no information. Only that she was going out. To guarantee that Jasper wouldn’t choose her next fuck over her, Dee gave her permission to choose her outfit too. Dress her however she wanted to because why the fuck not? Sitting in front of her vanity, having finished her eye make up, not one for the smokey look, Dee looked down at her lipstick selection, not knowing which color to use because she was waiting on her friend to come out the closet. With how light she did her eye make up, it could go with just about any look, but the lipstick was usually a statement. Looking over her shoulder, she called out, “Any winners?” Rather than wait to see the color of the dress, she aimlessly picked a color — Kiss & Tell satin pink lipstick — and applied it.

Aside from the initial want to punch everyone in the face, Jasper’s week had been fairly boring. Ty had been there to help when he could, but she eventually had to tell him to fuck off. They were adults now, and they needed to learn how to deal with their own problems. Of course Jasper didn’t mind leaning on her brother when needed and vice versa, but her better half could be so clingy sometimes. Needless to say, when Dee had sent her the text, Jasper had quickly chosen her outfit for the night before heading over to her friend’s place.

Currently standing in the other girl’s closet, Jasper rolled her eyes. While Dee had her own style that Jasper could respect, she sometimes wished her friend was a little more revealing when it came to her clothing choices. After all - it was a Friday night, and Dee was a gorgeous woman. It was as easy as two plus two. Jasper’s goal for the night was to get her friend some booty, and she wasn’t about to let boring clothing stand in her way.

In response to the blonde's question, Jasper marched over to the vanity, picked up a pair of scissors and retreated back to the closet. Grabbing a red dress, the young woman quickly cut off the bottom half of the dress while it was still on the hanger. The dress seemed to be made of a few layers - something that Jasper was thankful for in this moment despite Dee’s loud protests. A few snips later, Jasper was finally content with what she had created.

Grabbing the dress from the closet, she turned to show Dee the final product.

“Dee, baby, I love you, but most things in your closet are… they aren’t ‘going out’ material. So while you were busy fussing at me for cutting up your clothes, I took the liberty of making a masterpiece. Whaddaya think?”

Turning away from the vanity, she looked at the dress Jasper was holding, blinked a couple times, before shrugging, “Seems fun enough. Looks like it’ll go well with your outfit too. Black and red spells sin.” Giving a half smile, amused that she was going to be Jasper for one night, Dee gave two thumbs up as a sign of approval.

Agreeable and not one to avoid trying something new, regardless of how different it was for her, Diana shuffled to her friend and grabbed the dress, “Viv, you’re wicked talented. I can’t believe you made this.” Bringing the dress close, she examined the details. Some people wouldn’t be capable of making an outfit into something new, giving it a whole new personality. Jasper wasn’t like some people.

The dark haired girl shrugged her shoulders before flopping down on the bed. “Maybe if my culinary career goes south, I could give fashion a try or some shit.” Pulling her phone out of her pocket, Jasper began to absentmindedly scroll through social media. “Hurry up and get dressed. I don’t wanna be late for whatever this is.”

“Okay.” Dee flatly answered. Her deadpan gaze went from the dress to her friend. If there was one word that could describe Dee it was apathy. While she could be humorous and childish, her eyes displayed differently. There was a part of her that was closed off to even her closest of friends. She was there, but sometimes, it felt like she was staring at nothing.

The only thing that lit her up was music, and that was something everyone around her would just have to accept. The mundane was boring. Most people were boring. Life was boring. So, in order to take proactive steps to change her routine and find things that caught her eye, she had to do random things like go bar hopping with her friends. Maybe, something would intrigue her enough to enjoy her night. Maybe not. She won’t know until she just does it.

Taking off her bathrobe, she started to change. As she changed, she curiously asked a very out of the blue question, “Are you happy?” Not ‘how have you been’ like a normal person. Dee wasn’t normal. There were quite a few things on her mind, like what Ty’s been up to besides Junie this and Junie that. Or how she made a new friend with a large and in charge hockey player. However, those weren’t things she cared about in the moment. She wanted to know if Jasper was happy. Happy with being back at Meadow, happy with her brother, happy with herself. Just… happy.

As her eyebrows came together in confusion, Jasper looked from her phone to her friend. "I…. guess?"

Jasper hadn't really thought about being happy in a while. Was she happy?

Yes - all Nate related things aside - school was going good. Her grades were up and she was ace-ing her tests. Ty kinda had a girlfriend, she was hundreds of miles away from her father, and she was sleeping with whoever she wanted whenever she wanted to. Yet still it felt like something was missing…

"I don't think anyone's ever really happy all the time, but I think that for now… yeah, I'm happy." Breaking from her train of thought as she turned her attention back to her phone, Jasper took the opportunity to ask her friend the same question. "Are you happy?"

Shrugging, Dee walked into her closet, widely yawning, “I’m too rad to be sad.” What did it even mean to be happy? She didn’t question herself like most girls did, she didn’t envy what anyone else had, and when she knew nothing was going right, she’d take a left. It wasn’t something she thought too deep into, though it was good to know that her friend wasn’t drowning in sadness. Dee imagined that’s what all Jasper’s lovers were for: to make her feel good about herself.

Standing in front of her shoe wall, scanning them, which she had many, Dee contemplated what could go well with her new and improved red dress, but also be more up her alley. Not taking too long to decide on what she wanted, she sat down on her ottoman (yes, still in the closet) and started putting on her platform thigh high long boots.

Zipping her left boot on, Diana evenly uttered, “But I’m also never happy.” There were three things that could get an emotional rise from her. Not a high one, but enough to see a change in expression. That is: when she talked about her parents and their lifestyles, someone pressed about her past, and when she played music. Music was the only one with a positive outcome. The rest were dismissed, divulged, or drawled out.

Still, she didn’t find a need to think too deeply into her words, actions, or behavior. There was no point. Anyways, once a moment or two past, she finished putting her shoes on, grabbed her black shoulder bag, and strolled out the door, aiming to switch the contents from her everyday faux-leather backpack to her ‘night out’ purse. “Happiness is overrated. I’m here to make mistakes.”

Jasper knew Dee probably better than anyone, and yet she still couldn’t help with her friend's emotional state - whatever it so happened to be. Sometimes Dee seemed like she was thousands of miles away. Tonight was one of those nights. While Jaz wanted to reach out, and reassure Dee that she was there for her for whatever this was, she hesitated. Jasper had never been much help in the emotional department, and it seemed that nothing had changed that fact. Even if it was seeing her closest friends in a state that obviously wasn’t something to be called okay.

Following Dee out the door, Jasper shoved her phone back into her pocket. “Mistakes are good,” she said, doing her best to be reassuring. “Where are we going anyway?”

“Nectar’s, babe. The place with the best live music and local talent. You remember that one time you flashed a guy because a girl thought she could steal your one night stand? Yeah, that place.” Dee commented. Taking out her phone, she continued onward, down the hall, by adding, “It’s open mic tonight so I’m a little curious…”

Quickly, she sent another text out to Nate and MJ:

Omw. I expect appetizers waiting for me.

Since those two lived on campus, they should arrive at the bar & grill before her and Jasper. “If we end up getting bored, we can always go to the next best place. The night’s young.”

She hooked onto Jasper’s arm as they made their way out of her parents' lavish, french normandy style mansion (it looked like a castle), and with a scheduled uber pick up, their chariot awaited them. “Let’s have some fun.”

Walking to the uber, Jasper smirked. "I love that place."

Starring: Julie Macmillan @spooner & Ryland Aspen @TootsiePop

If he had put much thought up until now, Ryland wouldn’t have believed he’d get this far. If he had focused on anything but Julie, he would’ve noticed how displeased his best friend seemed and how mixed the crowd was with his stunt. Well, more so because of the singing than the dancing, which was to be expected. He wasn’t Katie Callaghan, who was the leading lady at Beverly Hills High School. In this case, her mirrored counterpart would be Chrissie McCoy, but he didn’t know the Starlet of King’s Academy well enough to talk about her skill and talent. Regardless of the atmosphere, and those that watched in acceptance or judgment, his mind was solely on the person that grabbed his hand. Anyone else could go fuck themselves.

Leading her to the dancefloor, he became more and more aware of the pounding heartbeat in his chest. The song transitioned from Shawn Mendes to Live For The Night by Krewella, which was more up his alley than his confession song. With how last minute and spontaneous his act was, he didn’t know what other songs he could use that matched his feelings, without coming off too strong. When they reached the center, the dance floor flashing with an array of hot pinks, reds, and gold, fitting colors for Valentine’s, he let the music fuse with his body, as he did for his performance, but this time, he made sure to match her and use his ballroom lessons from his aunt, to make his date float across the dance floor.

Unlike the hip hop style he showcased earlier, Rye was far more focused and careful since this was no longer a solo thing. He didn’t want to be seen as the average teenage boy that would urgently go for the grind like he had done earlier with Marisol. Rye didn’t want Julie to think that was all he was capable of, and while this was a unique song to mix club dancing with ballroom moves like a reverse pivot from Quickstep, shoulder spins from Jive or bringing Julie in a Sweetheart position from the East Coast Swing, he was going to make this work. He was going to make them work.

At the start of the song, he worked hard to gain her trust, taking the lead, holding her hands, bringing her in, then out, and back in again. As he turned her body like they were salsa partners, he chose steps carefully and with intention, to showcase her. Twirling her, he couldn’t contain the stupid grin off his face from how happy he was. He hadn’t felt this way about someone for a while and to think it would be someone far out of his league, someone that reminded him of sour candy, so sweet, yet when angered, she had one hell of a bite. And, let’s be real. That side of her was uncontrollably hot. “Am I still a little boy to you?” A reference from a line he would never forget her saying: This school already has enough little boys disguised as ‘Alpha males’. Rye’s smile never faltered, as his dark gaze locked with her stormy eyes. To someone as keen as Julie, it was clear he was observing her for any signs of displeasure.

As they danced around Julie couldn’t help but think that she was having more fun tonight than she had been having in a long time. Maybe it was true what her peers had been whispering throughout the halls. Maybe she had been wound too tight… only wanting to have fun on her terms, not just letting go and dance. But letting Ryland take the lead as they danced proved to be just what she needed to relax and let go.

Her eyes sparkled with mischief as she stared back into his eyes. “I don’t know...” she paused resting her arms on his shoulders and looked around. “Are you still acting like a little boy?” she continued with her own question.

“Right now?” He pulled her close to him and shook his head, “Nah.” At least in this instance, he was owning up to his actions and taking charge. For the first month or so of him attending King’s, though? He was being a big baby. Sheepishly, his smile momentarily turned into a pout, “But maybe earlier… yeah, a little.” By earlier, he was referring to his raunchy dance with Marisol that clearly was not something he should’ve done with a friend.

A small huff escaped Julie as they continued to sway to the more slow song the DJ had put on. “Well…” she began pondering if she should admit how she felt when she saw him and Marisol dance before. “If you tried to get some sort of reaction out of me… I guess it sparked some small feelings of jealousy.” she flicked her ice blue eyes back to his “But don’t let that get to your head!”

The ball was in his hands and he couldn’t convince his ego to talk out of his ass. To pretend that he leveled up fully to a gentleman, or prince charming, would be blatantly lying to her face. Rye knew he had a lot of growing up to do, he was a child at heart, which was okay for times like these. However, if he wanted to be with a lady like Julie, there was no doubt in his mind that he had to clean up his act and do better. “I should… apologize. For that, and for putting your date in a mood.”

Julie craned her neck around to see if she could spot Sonny. And there he was standing together with Marisol having what looked like a heated discussion. Her face fell into a frown “Why?” her expression was visibly confused. “How is Sonny’s mood connected to us dancing?” Julie queried curiosity growing in her.

“That, I can’t answer. Like I could tell he was already in a bad mood, because of me and Sol, and this was just icing on the cake for some reason?” Ryland looked over to his two best friends arguing. Goddammit. He spent so much time cheering Marisol up and now she was back to ground zero, all over again.

Unfortunately, he had no idea of their plan to play matchmakers, all he knew was Sonny was not taking Rye’s serenade and performance well solely because of the fact that his boy decided to argue with his girlfriend soon after. Did Rye suck that bad? “I meant earlier. With the whole jealousy thing.” Turning his attention back to her, Rye realized how tall Julie was. He was used to peering down at short girls, and for once, there was only a couple inch difference.

After a moment of surprise, he furrowed his eyebrows, not really knowing how to explain the ordeal well. Rye knew any hesitation would only make Julie think the worst. He didn’t want to ruin her day, and he hoped he wasn’t going to, but he also felt like she deserved honesty. “You’re perfect.” Fuck! That was not how he wanted to start this. “And beautiful.” Okay, well, he was just going to die after this. “I mean, uh, that’s a given… but like, you and Sonny looked—” He heavily sighed, knowing he was god awful at explaining shit, and probably already fucked up, “—good together.”

As Rye struggled to get his words out, Julie couldn’t help but roll her eyes playfully. She was used to people telling her she was ‘beautiful’ or that she was the ‘perfect’ girl for them. Obviously she knew she looked good, she had mirrors in her house. But they never really meant it and only said those things because they wanted something. Hopefully the gentleman who was standing in front of her was different. She had a feeling he was. “Thank you…” she whispered reaching out to put a piece of his long hair that had fallen in front of his face behind his ear again. “You look very handsome tonight as well… shoes and all.” she smirked and flicked her eyes down at their feet.

Damn. These shoes were going to haunt him for the rest of his life, weren’t they? Relief washed over him with how well she took his word vomit. Her teasing, while sweet, gave him an urge to run away with her, somewhere secluded, where they could get more acquainted. He could definitely see the little minx coming out to play. Yeah, he was into it, even if the mention of his shoes killed him a little more on the inside.

Focusing on his original thought process, about the two arguing not too far away from them, and NOT on wanting to flirt back, Rye grabbed her hands and stopped dancing, “Marisol has major self worth issues. And Sonny? I love the guy, but he sucks at communicating. Please believe me when I say this has nothing to do with you. I just got caught up, in between, and so did you.” he explained.

“Oh dear…” Julie said and turned to face their friends biting her lip pensively “I think… we should try to get out from in between them” she looked back to him. “Let them work it out… last time I tried to give advice” she paused remembering the homecoming dance. “It didn’t really go that well.”

There were probably a lot of options for them, like go hang with other friends and keep their distance, but the only thing Rye could think about was: “...we could leave?”

Julie raised her perfectly manicured eyebrow and turned slowly to face Ryland. “Oh yeah?” she blinked slowly. “And go where?” she asked letting her hand trail up his arm. She wanted to toy a little with him first, he had her attention and she wanted to see if he could keep it.

Smirking, instead of saying the natural response that came to mind 'wherever you want’, he released one of her hands, running it through his hair, and cooed, “Want another surprise? I can keep ‘em coming.”

“Alright new kid…” she laughed “You’ve shown yourself to be quite good at surprises! Let’s see if you can deliver.” Julie nodded. “Show me your best!”

“Ha! If I showed you my best, you’d never sleep again.” Rye stuck out his tongue before taking out his phone and texting his two best friends: ‘Hey, guys. Ride together? I’m headin’ out.’ He sent the message, as vague as ever.

“Bold of you to assume that I sleep…” she said as she fished out her own phone from her purse. She figured she should probably send a text to Sonny to let him know she was leaving.

‘You’ll work it out Sonny… I know you will. Remember you are not your past. Don’t worry about me, I’ll find my way home’

She sent it and focused on Ryland, “Ready whenever you are”

Oh he forgot! He quickly added in the group message: ‘ ..with Julie.’

Offering his arm to grab which she did, he smiled from ear to ear, “Fuck yeah! Let’s get out of here.” Wait, what if she doesn’t like cursing, “...huzzah! I mean.”

From highs to lows and back up again, Ryland needed to force himself to stop sulking about every little thing that was wrong and get out of this funk. Focus on the right. Using Christmas as an excuse for his shit behavior was not going to cut it anymore. His suspension from Beverly Hills High was the catalyst to the fight his parents had on what to do with him. He barely could recall the fight, because he didn't care to remember it. At least not then.

This started a year or so ago, where he fell too far in his own head. When he shouted, the voices overpowered his own voice. His heart weighed a ton, which made it hard to aspire for more. When the expectations caused him to shut in, his depression held onto him, like a noose. For far too long he felt like a dead man walking and only now did he realize what that meant.

This move was turning out to be better for him than he expected. It was forcing him to confront this bottled up anger in him, his frustration on things he had no control over, and the emptiness he gained from being completely aimless. He didn't see his future like Zayden, his big bro, did. He could never be like his brother who mapped out everything and just knew exactly what he wanted. He needed to be his best self, by simply focusing on the present. This is the time that mattered the most. Rather than think of all the questions he didn't have answers for, he'd simply just be and live free.

As he made a special request from the DJ, he couldn't help but replay the incident that caused him to distance himself from the entire student body of King's that wasn't the misfits. People are ingrained with the belief that first impressions last forever and you never get a second chance. For a moment there, he was starting to believe that too.

With a good metaphorical slap in the face by bestgirl Marisol, he knew that wasn't what he believed and that would never be something he'd believe. That was the depression telling him he'd continue to disappoint his father, so why try. Putting so much value in first impressions was a big mistake because than it would be all downhill from there. Luckily, for him, no one held him to any standard. If anything, his year barely knew him since he joined so late in the game. That would be Rye's advantage. The fact that no one knew what to expect. Not even his friends.

There's a spark in him that shows he's indeed his father's son. Whether he is aware of it or not, this flare gets him to shine in moments like these. See, innately, he can resonate his mind with his soul and through that confidence, hard-won, yet deep and anchored in his true self, he is capable of living life and loving those around him in such a honest and raw way.

From the day he was pinned against the locker by Miss Julie Macmillan to their days that led to this dance, he questioned why he was so enthralled by her. At first, he thought it was because she made him so angry that he wanted to ruin that pretty smile right off her soft skinned face. Then he thought it was because she was undeniably gorgeous, and both him and Marisol could agree she was ideal masturbation material. First impressions and looks aside, he started noticing her and why she was considered royalty at this school.

Sure, she was self-absorbed, but so was he. She was dedicated to the things she did, and boy did she keep herself busy. While she was spoiled, she had a considerable amount of emotional warmth radiating from her toward those she trusted with her life. Falling for her grace and her poise was the easy part, admitting it to his whole damn year was something he was finding himself struggling with and for once, he was nervous.

Even with a fortunate, privileged background, he had no class. That's where they differed. He never believed to be a prince charming, and he would never pretend he could be. Part of him was attracted to how well she kept it all together. Another part of him wanted her to show him what was behind it all. What kept her going? What were the dark parts she didn't want anyone to see? What was... behind that smile?

Admitting how lovestruck he was by someone he barely knew simply because she existed was beyond anything he had ever experienced. He got bored easily, and had too much energy to contain, he jumped from one hobby to the next to keep himself busy. Then there was this girl he just couldn't get out of his mind. The most constant thought he's had in a long time. He knew this was a risk he needed to take or he'd never know. He'd never know he'd be good enough to someone who held herself to such a high standard. She who had the right blend of sweet, shy, and headstrong. He knew that he wanted her and so there was no time like the present. They were young, he was dumb, and he was going to start acting like it.

The DJ abruptly turned off the music, causing Ryland to anxiously clear his throat, which was picked up on the mic he was holding. "Hey, yeah. Can I get everyone's attention please?" After some grumbling and chatter of 'who the hell is this guy', Rye steadied his breathing, and in return his racing heartbeat. He knew these kids would lose their patience so he needed to make the speech part quick, or try to at least. "For those that don't know me, I'm Ryland Aspen, that new kid who transferred with only one semester left. I used to live here, that's why some of you, like the cool kids, Marisol, Sonny, Archer, Ariel, and Kavan know me. I'm that kid that called a good friend of mine stupid, when she was just trying to do what makes her happy." Searching in the crowd for Ariel, he waved at her, with a goofy, toothy, grin, in front of everyone, and shouted, "Fuck what everyone thinks. Do you and BE HAPPY! Sorry I can be kind of a douche and thanks for sticking around."

To keep everyone's attention on him, he spun the mic's wire to make a quick circle in front of him. While he wanted to use this opportunity to apologize to Sonny about getting in between him and his girl, he knew that this wasn't the time. Everyone knew about the shitshow that happened on the first day of classes, with Ariel, April, and the rest of them, but no one needed to know that Marisol desperately sought out her boyfriend's attention. She needed to know she was still his number one girl and that wasn't Rye's place to get in between. "NOW, for the point of all this."

With quick improvisation, and requesting a song he knew the DJ would have on his playlist, his soft gaze went from Sonny to Julie. The girl that was turning out to be the apple of his eye, as cheesy as that sounded. Truth was, she was the one thing he wanted to aim for. His destination. The worst thing that could happen was she would reject him, which would suck but he would never know if he didn't at least try. "Since I can't really explain this myself... here goes nothing."

"This is for you, Julie." The ballroom was still silent as they waited for the DJ to bring things back to normal or Rye to make a fool of himself. Instead, what broke the silence was Rye singing to nothing but the sound in his head: "I wanna follow where she goes. I think about her and she knows it. I wanna let her take control. 'Cause every time she gets close. Yeah." His voice was slightly above mediocre. This, of course, wouldn't stop him from using his voice to get his message across. LOUD and CLEAR. At this point, the DJ started to fade the song in slowly. "She pulls me in enough to keep me guessin'. Hmm. And maybe I should stop and start confessin'."

The song at full blast, surprisingly good coordination and teamwork for a last minute grand gesture, Rye decided to switch to his stronger suit. "CONFESSIN', YEAH!" No longer singing, he tossed the mic back to the DJ and let the adrenaline rush into his blood stream. Jumping off the platform, he let his body do the talking, painting a picture of the playful and vibrant soul that he was. His limbs were half liquid in perfect rhythm, and still looking strong, as he went from an air walk to a side glide, the crowd creating an opening for him. The only time dazzling grace could be seen in Rye was when he danced and here he could unleash his unyielding desire for this woman that bewitched him body and soul.

When he approached the drinking table, where both Sonny and Julie stood, and a bunch of others, he did a little shimmy in front of the two, purposely silly unlike the skill and prowess he displayed across the dance floor, "Hey Son, Sol needs you." His expression was apologetic, and it was visible that he didn't want to be involved in whatever problems those two shared in the background. It was time he focused on himself and crash into happiness. Like he was doing right now.

Oh, I've been shakin'

With limited time on his hands, and wanting to take advantage of how confused Julie probably was, he started bouncing in front of her to the beat, "I'm going to do this for the whole damn song, and night, so, yeah..."

I love it when you go crazy

He didn't want to lose the momentum and hoped she'd give him the time of day. He'd take a dance, if it meant she'd look past her first impression of him. "Care to dance?"

You take all my inhibitions

Beaming in front of her, he clapped his hands and matched Shawn Mendes' words, for the second round of the chorus, "Baby, there's nothing holding me back!" Since the song was already half way through, he did request the DJ to keep the energy high with the next selection, so he could get his crush to focus on the hype rather than think about the possibility of rejecting him.

Offering his hand to grab, while still jumping like an idiot, he gave her a puppy dog pout. Agonizingly anxious yet hiding it behind his conviction and eagerness, Rye waited for her response.

Please just take my hand.

Collab with @TootsiePop & @NeoAJ

"If I wanted Neil Peart, I’d play myself. Now come along. ” Diana gestured her drink toward the path that led to the music building, before leading the charge. "We should leave the scene of the crime. Don’t need some snitch to tattle and get the whole school in trouble solely because one kid made a show of strength using the art of vandalism.”

As she casually strolled, Dee decided to forcibly stick her free hand in her bag. After a couple of crinkly plastic noises, she pulled out some gummy bears and shoved a handful in her mouth. "Btdubs, if you’re hungry I got a mini fridge in the studio. Feel free to help yourself to whatever. Yo, want some gummies?” When she got to the question, she had already stretched out her hand, offering her acquaintance candy. The best kind of brunch.

Kieran held his hand up, respectfully rejecting the offer of candy. “I’m good. No processed sugar until the off-season. That’s the rule. Although talk to me in May if you got a bag full of Starbursts.”

He had never been in this area of the school before. Music was his family’s area of expertise, but not his own. His father was notorious back home for his ability to shanty with the best of them, and his sister initially moved to Toronto with the hopes of putting her performing talents to work on the stage. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much use for dancing at a rental car company. For Kieran though, learning to play an instrument was what you did if you didn’t have anything else to show off at parties, and Kieran’s body did most of the talking on that front.

Using her key card, Dee rubbed it against the reader. Her card was a golden yellow color, unlike everyone else’s which were plain white. When the car reader turned green, she grinned, "Bitchen’.” Kicking the door, she took a second to get into position to hold it open with her back and directed Kieran inside, "Please, by all means, you first. And look at that, front and center. Drums.” She waited for him to respond, and as he did so, she closed the door behind her.

The place certainly looked impressive. All that extra university money had to go somewhere, Kieran supposed. Still, it surprised him all the same. It seemed like this new traveling companion of his had some sway he didn’t know about. Of course, it made sense if she came from money. Those kids seemed to be able to get away with anything while it was the scholarship kids who took the brunt of the punishment. Still, it couldn’t be held against Dee. At least not at this stage. “Yup. Can confirm. Those do indeed be drums.”

“I’m headin’ to the lounge and recording zone. Kinda’ in desperate need for a red bull. You want a gatorade or something? I don’t know what your athlete diet is or whatever, but I’m sure I got some form of it somewhere.”

“I won’t say no to a Gatorade,” Kieran confirmed. “Orange if you got it, but I’m not too picky. As long as it’s not grape. Grape-flavored anything is terrible.” He plunked himself down on the stool in front of the drum set, and tried to adjust things to his height. He had little experience with the drums, aside from watching his cousin keep half his house awake with his own version of the solo from Beast and the Harlot. Suffice to say, it didn’t go well on any front.

A few minutes passed and Dee was out of the room with two drinks in hand, having already tossed her tea away to replace it with pure energy. “Heads up!” She threw the closed gatorade (orange) drink to her new friend, not really taking note if he was paying attention or not. Once she was sitting down at the piano stool, she pulled the tab’s ring off and immediately guzzled down her guilty pleasure. When she finished the drink in its whole, she belched out a loud burp (very unladylike) and then chuckled, “‘Cuse me. Now dude, you gonna hit some drums or do you want to share your feelings on this morning’s assembly?”

Kieran raised an eyebrow at Dee’s behavior upon re-entering the room. He easily caught the Gatorade bottle thrown at him. That was a paltry test of his abilities. However, losing a belching contest before he even started. That was an eye-opener. Maybe it made sense. Dee didn’t exactly exude the same ladylike qualities as say Mac or Lottie. So far, it almost seemed like she was just one of the guys. And that was cool. Nothing wrong about that.

“I think that water fountain took the brunt of my feelings,” he said as he picked up the sticks. “Just sucks that I could be thrown off the team for something I had no part in doing.” He tentatively tapped on a couple of the drums just to try and figure out what sounds they made.

“I wouldn’t worry too much.” Dee too took a moment to diddle with the instrument in front of her, doing a quick crescendo on C scale, followed by an immediate decrescendo. Simple and basic. “I know that’s probably not something you want to hear, since based off your reaction, it clearly hurts you more than others. But has it happened yet? Has anything really happened?” She looked over to him, giving him a look that expressed ‘worrying is a waste of time’.

“We literally just got a slap on the hand for acting our age. At most, your coach may bitch, but getting kicked off? Ha. If you’re a star player, they need you. For that big rep they care about so much. This probation thing won’t even last a week. The perks of going to a privileged school. Getting a rise from this is just feeding into their bullshit. When really? They could care less. You care more than they care. They were doing this grand gesture to make a statement. Not thinking about any of us individually.” It was obvious that Dee was a loquacious girl, or someone that is more alone than not, so when she is near someone she has a lot to say.

While she didn’t mean to give Kieran an ear full, Dee did think he was a good guy and it would be tragic if he lost all that pretty hair of his because of unneeded stress. No one thinks more about you than yourself and worried thoughts are notoriously inaccurate. It’s like walking around with an umbrella, waiting for it to rain. There was no point. Just get lost in the moment, and try to cherish the little things that matter. Bad things happen. That’s life. But if the school chose to wipe out their whole junior class because of a stupid party, that spoke more on them than their students. Whoever snitched on them was not thinking straight, probably on her period or something because Dee couldn’t imagine a guy being this petty, but the school’s reaction? That was hilariously dumb. A big fucking dumpster fire.

Kieran let out a sigh as he started to tap with a little more fervor, trying to combine the sounds from the drums in a way that could at least be considered some kind of rhythm. It wasn’t going to match what Dee produced on the piano with just a few strokes, but he wasn’t a complete stranger when it came to producing a beat. There were many long days in a classroom that were spent tapping in time to some random song that worked into his head.

Besides, she was probably right. It would look really bad if a school just dropped an entire year of students over a party. It probably wasn’t even legal in the first place. It was just a scary thought to lose out on an entire season of hockey because two people got in a fight. Since he was now the legal drinking age in the States, there was no going back to junior, and it would be harder to get into another university without explaining why academic probation was followed by expulsion. So it was best to go along with Dee and think about how it was a hollow threat that would quickly be dismissed, especially if the coaches went to bat against the admins for the athletes.

“So… you think I should just take some whacks at this and you try and plink out a tune? Or am I just gonna be a lost cause at this?”

“Nah man, you’re not a lost cause. My parents are.” She cheesed, before giving him the spark notes version of drumming for beginners, “Focus on the hi-hats, snare, and bass. I’m sure you got an idea of the basics based on what I’ve heard so far. Hi-hats, think of it like snapping or tapping your foot to a song you’re really into. Generally we subconsciously snap to quarter notes.” Dee snapped her fingers, while she explained to him how to give her a basic beat, “Have them evenly spaced and to make it easy, count 1-and-2-and-3-and-4-and-1-and-2-and-3-and-4. Hit the hi-hat twice per snap. Add the snare drum with the 2 and 4 and the bass on counts 1 and 3. The bass drum should be right in time with the hi-hat. If you need me to show you, I will. Now, give me a beat, choose the speed, and I’ll match you.” Turning to the piano, she placed both of her hands to the keys and patiently waited.

“All right, but I saw that movie Whiplash. You throw a chair at me, and I’m out of here truer than anything, eh?” Kieran slightly stuck his tongue out as he prepared to go Miles Teller on the situation. He started tapping his foot in order to get a feel for how heavy he had to go to get the bass to sound out. He didn’t want to totally drown out Dee, since she had a better ear for all of this. He actually had to go harder than he expected on the snare in order to hear what he wanted out of it, but he didn’t want to break anything. That probably wouldn’t look good either. Once he figured out how hard he wanted to hit the things he could hit, he started to try and factor in his other foot to work in the cymbals. It was harder to coordinate all these separate movements than it was trying to skate. Skating was all about fluidity, keeping the motions balanced in order to glide with maximum efficiency. Here, Kieran just felt like he was flailing a bit. He looked over towards Dee, to see if things were going well enough that she felt she could play something to his wild movements.

Not looking at him once to confirm his change in pace or his fumbles, Dee closed her eyes, focusing on the sound he was giving her. Music was like an external heartbeat and through the vibration, she let that decide what notes she would touch. Seemingly without effort, she produced music, complimenting his fragmented drumming. The sound was like waves filling holes in beach sand. When he picked up in tempo, she helped elevate the spirit and move the room, as if it were meant for a dance party, and when he slowed down, she lowered the tidal waves to a relaxing calm.

Diana Valentine wasn’t just playing to play. The music pumped through her veins, as she somehow magically kept in time with his drums (even if he was simply winging it). This was Dee’s talent. The one thing she could call her own. What she loved about music was that it wasn’t here to save her, or him, and could never, but it inspired the person playing, strengthened them, to save themselves.

Sure, they weren’t making a breathtaking melody that you’d see at a grand orchestra. Still, she enhanced his limiting skills to showcase the parts in him that mattered. He didn’t suck. With practice, he could get better, but that wasn’t the point of this session. The point of this session was to get him to live in the moment and allow him a chance to express his emotions through every tap, rat-a-tat-tat, and bang he did. She’d be the tsunami to wash away his worries and together, they’d make music. It was that simple.

She wasn’t moving. Kieran got nothing as he glanced at Dee just living life at that piano. That’s what it felt like to him. Nothing else mattered but the music, and the fact that she wasn’t turning around meant that he must be doing something right. It felt better than just turning to the bottle or turning to punch something. This felt way more productive. He had no idea what song they were playing, but it was nice to just play without feeling like there had to be an end goal for it. It felt freeing, and for the moment, Kieran was happy to lose himself in it.



After a good "power nap" and Chris taking the wheel of Mr. Tyler's pride and joy, the GearFits finally arrived at the Bellagio Hotel & Casino. AJ told everyone to make sure they grabbed all their things because once they stepped out of the RV they would not be able to see it until tomorrow. His cousins would be taking the RV to the Kables' place of residency, on the outskirts, since this beast of a vehicle would not fit in the parking garage. Nate's van though? Of course it would! They were instructed to leave it at the Uber-Lyft pick up point and to give the front desk the keys. That would be Chris’ job since he drove.

Fast forward, there might've been a little argument with figuring out who stood in which room. Unfortunately for all those that didn't know this darling group of rascals, it happened right in the lobby, causing the front desk lady to tell them to 'lower their voices' on numerous occassions. AJ thought originally it would be a girls room and a boys room, but a good kick in the balls caused him to have second thoughts. Eventually, once a game of chance had finished, where they pulled candy out of a bowl provided by the front desk lady (either a white mint or blue mint decided the rooms), they figured it out with only one minor change. AJ switching with Val near immediately or she'd cut his throat instead of take away his chances of ever having kids in the future.

His room consisted of himself, Chris, Aleks, Chloe, Ivy, and then two people he'd learn to deal with, Katie and Reyna. While the other room held Val, Leon, Nate, Sami, Ava, Emilia, and Josie. Shoving the mint in his mouth and slapping the RV key on the desk, AJ made a resolution in this moment. He'd enjoy himself, all petty drama and bullshit aside. All uncomfortable tension he was harboring toward his ex's sister, OUT THE DOOR. All the pain that he once felt down under that caused him to nearly pass out erased in the back of his mind. Far, far, far back in his mind. He was going to have a good time, or die trying.

Marching backwards, nonchalantly avoiding people walking around him in the busy lobby, AJ threw his miserable funk in the trash, metaphorically. In reality he threw his candy wrapper to a trash in the general vicinity, only to end up missing. Man, he'd never be Like Mike. Once his sunglasses were on his fluffy hair, he quickly picked up his garbage, before proclaiming and pushing his mint to his inner right cheek, "Alright losers. I don't know about you but I'm hungry."

AJ shoved his wrapper in the garbage bin and turned on his heels determined to get to the objective. Once they reached the elevator, the boujie, rich boy poked the up button with his pointer finger, multiple times, all the while looking over his shoulder to address his plans to his friends (and not-friends), "I'mma throw my bags on the bed nearest to the balcony - DIBS - and take my boys—" He gestured toward Chris and Aleks, seemingly in a much better mood from getting some sort of rest. "—out on a date.”

Clearly, he didn't want anyone else to tag-a-long. Spiteful naps to clear the noise of certain individuals really did work! Due to the known fact that AJ rarely ever slept, AJ wasn't really sleeping on the ride here. He was being petty and pretending to be in dreamland, just so no one tried to talk to him.

"Feel free to do whatever you want until like seven...ish. Then we'll get ready and make the night our bitch." The door opened and he stood between the lobby and the elevator. Other hotel goers decided to take the next one after this big group went in. They were overwhelmed by the amount of vibrant teens that stood before them. "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 Lydia at the front desk. We gave her enough hell." Bringing his attention back to the the elevator, he debated if they could all fit...

"We totally got this."

Since AJ was trying to butter Val up, he let her choose the room for her group, which happened to be the Grand Lakeview Suite on the 35th floor. His group were on the tippity-top 36th floor, with the Penthouse Suite.

They were going to have a good time or try to OR pretend to. The only person AJ was responsible for tonight was he, himself, and maybe Emi since out of all the people here, he felt like she'd get in the worst situations. She was a dove, in the city that never sleeps. The creatures of Sin City would surely eat her up. But! That wasn't his problem right now. Definitely tonight though. For now, he'd let her do her thing, with girls he knew would cut a bitch. Everyone was going to do their thing and he was going to get his grub on, with his Valentine and Cosmos.

Yeah, he was ready.
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