Recent Statuses

14 days ago
Current Happy second anniversary to my loves in Palm Beach Royals! Once again, thank you all for being a part of this story. 💖🎉🎊🎂
24 days ago
Thank you so much for all the GOOD & ENCOURAGING wishes! It's been a road full of ups and downs but I'm forever grateful for my team of dedicated, talented writers. ♡
1 mo ago
Don't mind me, just fangirling at my two celebrity crushes taking a photo together and praying they eventually date
1 mo ago
I wish I had those kinds of nightmares then 😂😂😂
2 mos ago
Same odds as finding someone to play male leads in the genres you mentioned. You'd have better luck finding a unicorn 😂


Group RPs: Palm Beach Royals: Senior Year (GM) | Meadow University | Drive It Like You Stole It (co-GM) | Project Untamed
1x1's with @metanoia (on hiatus): We Meet Again | Dreams Come True | Asking For Trouble

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Happy second anniversary to my loves in Palm Beach Royals! It's certainly been a ride with ups and downs and plenty of people/characters coming and going, but ultimately the real ones have stayed! I want to thank you all for the dedication, loyalty, creativity, talent and quality writing you continue to put out there on every scene. I am forever grateful for how far we've come (700 IC posts and counting!), and can only hope we see it through when the finish line's so close!

Lots of love.
<Snipped quote by metanoia>
They are but I don't know how. They're stuck in their homes, and less people have children and jobs. There's gotta be some X factor. Probably stress

The ones I know have stated the whole quarantine thing really messed up their schedules and stuff, and being mandated to be cooped up has negatively impacted their inspiration (which honestly surprised me seeing as how so many of them are introverts in the first place lol).

As for the main topic I'm, I'm of the belief that it has definitely slowed down. I joined the guild when I was in college with plenty of free time, little responsibilities and tons of inspiration. Now I've got a full time job, a home to keep up with and dwindling time to spare. I know a lot of my writing group is on the same boat, and some of the good writers I knew that have moved on from the site have done so for similar issues. It sucks, but there isn't really much one can do other than take what one can get.

Featuring Chrissie McCoy, Ariana Mossos, and Kavi Salvador

After a quick stop at the nearest gas station to pick out a vast selection of snacks and drinks with high amounts of sodium and sugar, Kavi, Ariana and Chrissie had made their way to the brunette's opulent home, taking advantage of her parents' absence and having both of her friends sleep over. As soon as they'd reached her bedroom, Ariana had given Kavi and Chrissie a change of clothes (the perks of having such a big family meant that clothes of different sizes were always readily available), and made her way to the bathroom, where she swapped out her dress for a pair of comfortable pajamas and washed off her makeup before rushing back to dive headfirst into her once neatly folded bed.

Chrissie was in one of Ariana’s brother Romeo’s shirts, since she liked sleeping with no shorts on, and just generally appreciated the breeze. Big shirts were the best pajamas or completely nude, but she couldn’t do that with Kavi around. While Ariana was in her bathroom, Chris took the opportunity to go to the kitchen and make them all sundaes, asking Kavi what toppings he liked before disappearing.

She already knew what Ariana liked. Privileges of being THE best friend. Strawberry with banana, white chocolate chips, and Graham cracker dust! Yum, yum. Kavi, on the other hand, requested the simple delight of a rocky road and peanut butter cup combo with crushed cashews and dark chocolate syrup drizzled on top. She’d make sure to have it look delectable and picture perfect. The best sundae he ever did have! Instagram that shit.

As for her, she liked it big! Neapolitan ice cream, choco syrup, whipped (lots of whipped) cream, sprinkles, nuts, cherries, and about a dozen chocolate chip cookie crumbs. A sugary heart attack waiting to happen, but she needed this. To eat her feelings away. She imagined they all needed this. The rest of the snacks were already up there, so once she placed the sundaes on a tray, then cleaned up her mess, she carried it and made her way back to the bedroom.

“Jesus Christ…” Was Kavi’s only response when Chrissie had returned to Ariana’s bedroom with the tray of their three sundaes. He had no problem recognizing his and, of course, he could tell which was for Ari. What gave him a moment of awe and disbelief, however, was the Mount Everest of sundaes (at least compared to the other two). “I normally don’t say this, but goddamn that’s just too big!”

“That’s what she said!” Gottem. For now, Chrissie was in good spirits and that was solely because Ariana needed her. Prancing into the room, she placed the tray on the desk, grabbed her bestie’s bowl and spoon, and made her way to her Cherry who was dead on bed. “Ariiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii, want some ice cream? I got your favorite!” Then she turned to Kavi and gestured for him to grab his own, “Sir, it’s going to melt.”

“Yes ma'am!” Kavi shook his head and laughed, taking his superior sundae with both hands and taking the best bite of bitter, sweet, and creamy.

Ariana took a few seconds to call upon the strength to get up from the bed before she ultimately sat up and grabbed the treat Chrissie was offering her. "Thank you, baby," the brunette cooed gratefully before giving her friend a brief, appreciative kiss on the lips. She took a bite out of her knockoff Coldstone sundae (not that it was better than her Peaches', who made hers with the secret, best ingredient: love) and savored the comforting mix of flavors for a bit before she spoke. "As much as I'm grateful that you guys are here with me and I'm sure we'll have a good time, I have to admit this is not exactly how I envisioned the end of my night to be."

After being rewarded by a kiss from a princess, Chrissie went to retrieve her own knock off of Ben & Jerry’s The Vermonster. “Mr. Big is an assmunch and doesn’t deserve you.” With aggression, she shoved a big scoop of her sundae in her mouth. Stabbing her spoon back in her bowl, she shook her head, “Love is dead. Who needs it!”

Mr. Big? Now who the fuck could that be? Do I care enough to ask? He thought for a moment, watching Chrissie practically murder that poor bowl of ice cream like it had done something wrong. For someone to get that sort of reaction from Chrissie and to strip Ariana of her usually cheery nature, this guy had truly fucked up. “Clearly I don’t know anything here, but..” Kavi set his sundae down and brought his eyes up to Ari. “His loss. Clearly, as Chrissie appropriately said, he’s an assmunch and a fool. I mean who in the hell dumps Ariana Mossos of all people? That’s like not wanting to be with me!”

“ Ariana is like, is like… a goddess, you are a plebeian in comparison!” Chris shook her spoon in front of him in disagreement.

“I’m at least a nobleman at the bottom of the royal tree!” He retorted back at her as if offended.

“As if,” Chrissie rolled her eyes, scooping yet another large amount of her sundae. “You are the floor we walk on. I say that with love.” She made a kissy face toward him, before putting her spoon back in her mouth where it belonged.

Ariana would have normally at least tried to act bashful when showered with compliments, but she really wasn’t feeling like putting up a front tonight. She trusted both Kavi and Chrissie enough to let her guard down and express her true feelings. “I know it’s his loss, but it doesn’t mean I’m not sad about it,” the morose girl admitted, taking another bite of her ice cream. “We were hooking up for nine months. That’s, like, the longest I’ve ever been messing around with anyone in my whole life. Definitely a mistake, though. Look at what good it did once the whole commitment issue came up…” she lamented, now following Chrissie’s lead and stabbing her own frozen delicacy. “What’s it lately with guys and commitment, anyway? You’d think that having a girl willing to let them be free as long as they do the same is appealing to them, yet here are Max and Jace: all up in my ass about being ‘official’. Like, shit...” she trailed off, taking a big, angry bite of her sundae and not even realizing she’d thrown their math teacher’s first name out into the open.

“Oop!” With whip cream a little on the side of her lips, Chrissie’s eyes widened. There was no usage of Mr. Big. She usually had a lot to say, but now she was looking at Kavi, waiting for his reaction. Did he realize the name drop or…?

No, it wasn’t missed, that’s for sure, though the process of handling the cool math teacher dating a student was a lot slower than Kavi thought it would be. While true, he always thought Mr. Russo was something of a… Well, weirdo. And now he knew why.

“That’s quite the story, Ari.” Kavi took a slow moment to gather the rest of his thoughts before speaking again. “Not sure what to really say other than you deserve better than what Jace gave you.” He wasn’t sure if it was the awkwardness of knowing Mr. Russo was like one of those weirdos being interviewed by Chris Hansen or that he felt an eerie similarity between what Jace did to Ariana and how Kavi had treated Ariel. Wild.

Ariana nodded in agreement, feeling her spirits rise with each word of support from Kavi and Chrissie. “Which is why I’ve decided to accept Max’s proposal to be exclusive,” she declared, nearly finished with her sundae. if Jace was so adamant that she should move on, then Ari would do just that. There was no use stooping down to the level of someone who thought she was less than what she knew she was worth. “If I didn’t fuck that up too, that is.”

Chrissie’s expression went from surprise to shock, quick. “For… realsies?” Did Ariana have a fever? She was talking nonsense. Since when did she ever want to become exclusive with anyone (aside from Jace, though she’d never say it outloud)? Placing her bowl and spoon down, licking around her lips to make sure all the whip cream was gone, she went to the bed, sat down beside her friend, and blinked a couple times before asking, “Are you sure?”

“Yup, I definitely am,” she confirmed, placing her empty ice cream bowl in the nearby desk and taking position behind Chrissie, wrapping her arms around her friend and nuzzling her neck for a moment. “I mean, now’s as good of a time as any to finally settle and start exclusively dating someone. Jace made it very clear that I’m not his problem anymore, so I’ll become someone else’s. You know, someone who actually gives a damn about me. Plus, Max is definitely a good match for me. If I have to pick someone, might as well be him.”

”Ariana, take it from someone who has been with you before,” he said, offering her a smile, “you were never the problem.”

Kavi’s comment was rewarded with the first smile Ariana had given since the fateful encounter with Jace. “Aren’t you the sweetest!” she teased, grabbing a nearby decorative pillow and playfully tossing it at his head. “Now let’s put my drama aside and focus on you, K-Bear. Please don’t tell me it’s that psychotic emo girl who has you all torn up like this-- no offense,” she added as an afterthought in case the boy really was suffering over said individual.

“Your little mermaid. Literally now with that… hair.” Chrissie made a face, imagining his ex’s hair dye job. She would never. “I can’t believe a girl’s got you so fucked up you can’t smile like you used to.”

He gave them both a shrug. “Ariel’s different than most of the girls at Kings. You know, I mean she challenges me and all that shit.” He felt a pinching feeling in his stomach while he tried to tell them how it was with Ariel. It was both easy for him to openly admit it because that’s the sort of effect Ariel’s had on him, but it was just a tad difficult saying it, knowing she was probably still at the dance with that jackoff Sawyer. “And her hair is straight fire!”

“It’s too bad she let you go. You obviously still love her.” Chrissie scooted to the headboard, patting a pillow for the other two to come join her as they threw a self pity party.

Kavi was full of shrugs to spare, because instead of offering one his famous quips, he rolled his shoulders and took the brunette on her offer. “So is this just misery loves company for two or are we about to make this into a depressed threeway?”

“Not before Little Miss Drama Queen here spills her guts,” Ariana taunted her bestie, taking up position on the left pillow facing the curly-haired girl. “Kav and I already did it. Now it’s your turn.”

If it wasn’t for Ariana’s comment, Chrissie would’ve avoided talking about herself as if her life depended on it. Her shoulders relaxed and her green gaze went from her best friend to her future… guy-best friend? Seemed like although her and Kavi didn’t know much about each other until recently, their friendship was blossoming at a rapid rate. This was all thanks to a stupid assembly! Staring at the ceiling, with the two beside her waiting in anticipation, she heavily sighed and brought the sadness further down. “I’m moving back to Scotland after graduation.” They asked for it.

Ariana’s scoff of disbelief was instant. “As if!” she laughed, shifting around the bed so she could be on top of Chrissie. “You’re not going anywhere, bitch. You and I both know that,” she said before moving back to her previous prime snuggling position.

“Yeah and, ya know--” Kavi looked at both of them, “--this is just the tip of the iceberg. So out with it, McCoy. What’s really got you down and out?”

“Did you forget the whole fight me and Stella had right before you picked me up?” Chrissie looked at him confused, while petting and playing with Ariana’s hair. “Okay so, me and Stel are basically over. She hates me, told me to move back to Scotland, so I might as well! All because she doesn’t see how hurt I am because the only person that was here for me when Jason fucking cheated on me was Ariana and she was MILES away. If Ariana can video chat with me, so can she!” Chrissie growled, getting more and more upset the further she explained her emotions in a messy, it’s getting late (she tired) kind of way, “Sooooooooooooo what if I tried to make Carter doubt her feelings! He’s weak for believing my white lie. Now she’s holding a grudge because one minute she wants one dude, and all of a sudden she wants Carter, and she’s mad at ME for stating my opinions to her stupid face. I literally can’t stand her and hope she gets her heart broken.”

“Man, that’s pretty terrible.”

Kavi knew Stella probably the longest out of anyone whose last name wasn’t Chen or Salvador. He’s known her even longer than Sonny has and there’s always been an unpredictable nature to the girl. Even growing up, Kavi could tell that she had a lot of potential of finally cracking. Kavi always assumed it would just be her gaining confidence within herself or something lame like that. He never thought in a million years that her equivalent to a butterfly emerging from a cocoon was going to be her being a total bitch.

Kavi placed a comforting hand on Chrissie’s shoulder, offering her an empathetic smile. “I’m sorry that happened to you, Chrissie. Stella’s a turbulent person but you didn’t deserve any of that.”

“And all the more reason for you to stay here instead of taking the coward’s way out and leaving,” Ariana added with a shrug, extending her arms so she could cup Chrissie’s face with her hands and looking straight into her eyes. “Never let your enemies see you when you’re down, Peaches. Remember that the best revenge you can have is to let them watch you succeed.”

With her right hand she grabbed Kavi’s hand that laid on her shoulder, returning the kindness, with her other one she rested it on Ariana’s back as her best friend laid on her, embracing her, loving her, Chrissie grinned almost sinisterly, “That, and you know, making her cry.”

“Don’t be a bitch, Chris,” Ariana scolded her bestie with a laugh. “Put out good juju and that’s what you’ll get back.”

”I mean,” Kavi interjected, “it doesn’t take much to get Stella to cry a waterfall of tears.”

Chris meant more than just make her cry, she wanted to ruin her cousin, but she wasn’t going to go into all that. Instead, she rolled her eyes at both of them and laughed, “nah, I choose the petty route. You know, like Mr. Big did tonight.”

The brunette flinched at the unexpected mention of Jace. “Can we not mention him again? Thanks.”

With a heavy sigh, Kavi put a stop to any further comments before it got too far by clapping his hands a few times. “You know what this sleepover needs? A solid couple of hours devoted to mindless cheese in the form of Pretty in Pink!”

“What the hell is that?” Ariana asked him, letting go of Chrissie and shifting around so she could frown at Kavi.

“In what timeline do we live in when I, of all people, know what Pretty in Pink is and you, the most feminine person in the entire southeast doesn’t?” Kavi shook his head and stood up. “C’mon! It’s time to educate you on quality cinema!”

An Alaric Sterling @Otterpop & Lola Russo @Venus Collab
With Special Guest: Mia @TootsiePop

"Oh, shit. I'm gonna be late."

Alaric had been so preoccupied with getting his room into a state that was somewhat normal that he'd completely forgotten about his date with Lola, at least until he looked at his phone and saw a text from Parker.

Make sure to use protection!

He began to scramble around his room, tossing things here and there as he searched for something that wouldn't make him look like a complete idiot. Lola didn't seem like the kind girl that should be kept waiting-- in fact she didn't seem like the kind of girl who'd even think about going out with a guy like him. But now wasn't the time to think about that, he needed to try and impress this sorority girl with some leather and a good time.

In the end he settled on an outfit that he just threw together, ran some light gel through his messy hair until it looked decent and decided that it was good enough. At least he wasn't going looking like a homeless junkie, he thought he looked pretty damn good in fact.

Alaric swiped the keys to his baby and rushed out the door. Luckily Lola's sorority house was popular and easy to get to, but by the time he pulled up in front of the massive building it was 9:15. He couldn't panic though, no no no. He needed to play it cool and chill, the last thing he wanted was to have this bombshell think he wasn’t worth her time….if she didn't think that already. After a small internal pep talk Alaric walked up to the door, knocking on it several times and waiting.

Scurrying to the stairs, Mia held onto the railing and loudly whispered to her other Sister, who was in her bedroom, “He’s finally here!” Since she was the doorkeeper, she knew what she needed to do. Marching to the door, making him wait longer than Ty, she stared at it for a good sixty seconds before creeping it open and looking at him with a sickening sweet smile, “Hello stranger! How can I help you?” Playing it dumb was her thing and because of his tardiness Mia had to give him a hard time.

Was it supposed to take this long? He always thought the empty-headed girls were like door watchers or something and assumed that one of them would open it quickly. After what felt like forever a little blonde girl opened the door, her smile was freaking him out. It was almost too….nice? Was that even possible? In his experience sorority girls were pretty damn scary. ”Alaric, I’m here to pick up Lola. Is she ready?” He asked, his voice steady and confident. Parker always said these girls were like lions and would pounce on weakness, he couldn’t show any sign that he was actually nervous as hell.

“I don’t know!” Mia brightly chirped, before leaning in and narrowing her eyes, “Are you ready?”

Alaric started at the small girl, blinking a few times as he tried to process exactly what she meant with that question, he knew damn well it had another meaning somewhere in there. He put a little smirk on his face as he spoke, he had an idea that would make Parker the proudest dad friend ever. He leaned in towards the small blonde and spoke softly so that only she could hear what he said, ”If you mean ready to hear her scream my name, then yes.” He leaned back and set one hand on his hip. ”But also ready to get some drinks, so tell me, is she ready?”

Not breaking her poker face, but internally gushing, Mia laughed in his face (think high pitched, sounds almost like a stripper giggle). What a daring boy. A man slut. Confident enough in making his lovers’ scream. Lola was indeed a thirsty freak. Maybe, just maybe, she could learn to like him. “Like I said, I don’t know! Why don’t you ask her yourself?” Throwing the door open, the tiny blonde revealed her intimidating Sister, standing close enough where he could see her in all her hotness, but not close enough where the door would’ve hit her in the face. “I’ll leave you to it. Ta ta for now!” And with that, Mia skipped away to the kitchen, humming.

Upon first impressions, Lola Russo admitted to finding herself pleasantly surprised with what she was seeing. It wasn't often that she was proven wrong, but Alaric was definitely doing a good job of it so far. From the way his hair sat atop his head in a nice blend of messy and styled, to his fantastic choice of outfit with generous amounts of black and leather, the young man was exuding the confidence and sex appeal Lola looked for in her guys. Unluckily for him, his good looks didn't take away from the fact that he'd committed one of the biggest sins a guy could do when dealing with her. Unfortunately for him, the blonde wasn't going to just let his lateness slide- even if he was looking like tonight's midnight snack.

"You're feeling awfully confident for someone who's kept me waiting for the last- " she checked her phone's watch quickly before turning her hard hazel stare back to her date's face with a haughty expression. " -seventeen minutes without notice."

He wanted to cringe so bad but stopped himself from doing so, he couldn’t believe he actually said that with her almost in earshot. But that thought quickly vanished as he looked his blonde date up and down, eyes widening at her bold choice of outfit. It was sheer as hell, her decision to not wear a bra and wear a tiny little thong obvious. He was surprised that she was so comfortable wearing something like that in public, though he had to admit that if she was trying to make him see her it was definitely working. The poor boy had to steady himself internally, if he somehow failed to impress her he knew Parker would kill him.

After a mental reboot Alaric leaned against the door frame, “I’m confident because I know I can make up for it.” He grinned as she raised her eyebrows and smirked back at him, those grey eyes of his once again running up and down her body.

"I guess we'll see about that, won't we?" she shot back, that challenging tone quite clear on her voice. There was no denying the way Alaric had stared Lola up and down more than once. And frankly, it filled the young woman's heart with a sense of pride to know that her thirst trap was getting the results she wanted.

"Now tell me Princess, you ever ride on something like this?” He asked and gestured to the sleek black motorcycle that waited on the curb, two helmets resting on the handle bars. He could easily drive a car but chose not to, his baby was much more fun and thrilling than some giant hunk of metal.

"You know what? I can't say that I have," the blonde admitted with a smile that hid how nervous the sight of the bike made her. It was true. Although she had worked with motorcycles for photo shoots during her career, she had always been reserved about the idea of actually riding them. Sure: the motorcycle certainly gave Alaric more brownie points on the cool scale. Call her paranoid if you will, but Lola's worry about suffering any sort of disfiguring or incapacitating injury went far beyond whatever curiosity she might have.

This was a perfect opportunity then, even though Lola didn’t seem like the type to be into leather and chains any girl thought a dude with a motorcycle was cool….as long as he didn’t look like a biker demon from hell. With a small chuckle Alaric led her to the bike and handed her one of the helmets, “Well that’s something I can easily fix. Now, hop on, Princess. If we don’t hurry all the good booths are gonna be taken and I really don’t think sitting next to the bathrooms is date-worthy.” he said with a cheeky little grin.

Monday, August 14th, 2018: Day one of one hundred and eighty. The beginning of King Academy's school year, as well as the start of senior class. One step closer to adulthood, one step away from the rules and regulations of adolescence. There will be laughter, tears, a few thrown punches, and above all, multiple stories to tell. People to whom have never gotten so much as a passing glance will suddenly find themselves at the center of conflicts they didn't think they would ever get into, relationships intertwining and tangling themselves between love, friendship, hatred, and a mess of emotions. The only thing you can really count on is that tomorrow's another day...although, that doesn't really mean it'll be a better one. But life goes on, and all we can really do is keep going.

🦁 First Day of School
Pages 1 to 4
🦁 Santiago’s Back to School Pool Party
Pages 4 to 8
🦁 Happy Monday!
Pages 8 to 9
🦁 The Homecoming Hunger Games
Pages 9 to 10
🦁 Homecoming: Night of a Thousand Stars
Pages 10 to 15
🦁 Just Another Sunday Morning
Pages 15 to 18
🦁 The First Assembly
Pages 18 to 20
🦁 Kavi’s Halloween Party
Pages 20 to 24
🦁 Lunchtime Shenanigans
Pages 24 to 25
🦁 Winter Break Happenings
Pages 25 to 26
🦁 Last First Day: Beginning of the End
Pages 26 to 29
🦁 The Second Assembly
Pages 29 to 30
🦁 A Celebration of Friendship
Pages 31 to 36
🦁 Yet Another Sunday Morning
Page 36

🦁 The Brunch and The BBQ
🦁 It’s Promposal Season!
🦁 Senior Prom 2019: Theme TBD
🦁 Prom Aftermath
🦁 Looking Towards The Future
🦁 Graduation 2019: Every Ending is a New Beginning
🦁 Life Beyond Kings Academy
🦁 Epilogue: A Moment In The Life of...


Their first challenge was too easy. The fact that they only required everyone to make ‘one’ shot to get a clue was laughable and not a challenge at all. Since Griffin had this in the bag, he tried to prod the other two on going first, having more faith in Sol than Nicholas. “Looks like we can’t hard carry you in this one. Don’t miss!” He proudly boasted. “Or do, and have Sol tear you a new one for making us lose on the first challenge.”

Taking this as a clear declaration of war, Nicholas decided to turn the tables and egg Griffin on, intentionally getting under his skin where the hawk would feel inclined to show off his prowess first and ‘make a good first impression’. This gave him the opportunity to watch exactly how Griffin shot, to improve his own accuracy. Following right after, he used Griffin’s ball to make his shots, kept his eyes on the target (rim), made sure his feet were shoulder width apart, and mimicked Griffin verbatim - but better. Minus the times that his fellow colleague was showing off, Nicholas decided to copy the first shot Griffin made which had perfect form, in terms of fundamentals, power, and technique.

The competitive spirit between the two boys were clear as the heat that surrounded them because of their annoyance for one another, and Soleil didn’t stop them. Part of her knew they’d perform better if there was a fire burning inside of them. If anything, this would guarantee a fast and efficient win for someone like her with average basketball skills, and she wanted to win. The other part of her was just very amused to watch two of her friends try and outperform each other. It was nice to not be the main attraction of a fight every once in a while.

There was no doubt Nicholas made Griffin salty, especially after using his b-ball to shoot, as well as use his STYLE to make his shots. As scarily as this sounded, they made 28 shots instead of the required ten with, with Sol missing her first and fourth baskets but making the rest of her eight. It seemed that they were off to a good start, even if the focus the two birds channeled in their spirits was razor sharp and could cut any person watching.

And after every challenge they completed, it was that much more obvious that Griffin was becoming increasingly annoyed with Nicholas. What started out as a simple, yet typical response to Nicholas matching him nearly shot for show, movement for movement, and style matching almost in a scary fashion, soon evolved into something of a competition within the competition. Nicholas became aware of Griff’s saltiness and there was no way the Grey boy would allow himself to give into defeat, so he played along, even upping the ante when he could.

Time was lost and when it came to the final challenge, this was when they reached peak petty. Nicholas was the first to step forward when they were given the location clue about the final challenge. Looking at it, Nicholas spent a few moments looking at it, seeing how to the naked eye, it wouldn’t look like much. Letters were mismatched and it read like a four-year-old wrote it.

So he turned to Griff. “Care to venture a guess, big bird? Or would you finally like to admit defeat and declare me right since the start?” He asked, handing Griff the card. Nicholas knew it. He didn’t have to spend time trying to decipher it because he already had. Now it was just about wanting to rub it in Griffin’s face when Nicholas would be proven right in that Griff can’t do the mental challenges like he had said from the start.

There were three people that got on Griffin’s nerves. The arrogant idiot, Leo, though he thinks they’re buddy-buddy. The selfish socialite, Tyler Jane, she knows he doesn’t like her. And this douchebag, who underestimated him just like Leo, but worse because he got satisfaction proving he was better. Leo desired to dominante. Nicholas, though? He was a narcissist.

For the most part, Griffin was able to keep his cool... for the most part. However, after being caged for two weeks, his emotions seemed to be easily agitated, as if he needed to break his knuckles into Nicholas’ face. That was not the role he played on campus and he would not break face now. They were almost done and Griffin would not have to deal with him until he absolutely was forced to again.

Only taking seconds to figure it out, Griffin rolled his eyes, crumpled the two cards, shoved it in his pockets, and shrugged, “Sure, I’ll take the credit. The first one is your shadow, the second one is the letter ‘e’.” And he looked at the teacher who held up a sign that said ‘SRAT BIGNULID’ “The finish line is the Arts Building. Now, Nicholas, let me tell you the difference between you and me.”

Sol was holding Griffin’s basketball as he approached the other boy, bird to bird, crossing his arms, “You might be smart but our skills are on a whole different level. I can tell you exactly what we did from start to finish of this scavenger hunt, and things you missed, and things you took your sweet time to stare at, like the two people you’re totally into, because I simply have a better visual memory than you and I catch little things that you would never see because you’re just so goddamn burdened by how good looking you are.” Griffin scoffed, clearly perturbed. If there was one thing Nicholas was good at, it was getting under his skin better than Leo and TJ put together, “I might not show all my cards, but don’t underestimate me, dude.”

"Fin, Nick, stop it," Soleil growled from the corner, staring daggers at her teammates out of her tiger green eyes. They were supposed to be finished with this scavenger hunt ages ago, but the two boys had decided to turn things into a 'my dick is bigger than your dick' competition. Fortunately for Sol, her lack of said body part meant that she'd been excluded from taking part in this mess. But unfortunately for her, she'd had to watch with growing irritation as Nick and Griff wasted precious time on trying to one-up each other. And no matter how hard she'd tried to keep them on track without using violence (which had probably been her first mistake), there was no stopping the two competitive males from doing as they wanted.

Whoever said girls were petty and emotional had clearly not met Nicholas Grey and Griffin Pierce.

Throughout Griff’s speech, the selectively observant Nicholas happened to ignore most of it but one crucial detail that he chuckled at. Maybe it was a slip-up or he actually meant it but regardless, he homed in on it. “So, you think I’m good looking, huh?” He smirked at Griff. There was no use hiding how entertained he was right now. And for those who knew him, he was his best (or worst depending on the person you ask) when he was indulging completely in whatever had his attention.

Grimacing, Griffin decided to not respond to that. Why was it the two boys that were into themselves talked to him a lot? Leo treating him as a baby brother and Nicholas… as a ‘friendly’ rival. Instead, he gestured for Sol to toss his ball to him, so they could head to their destination. Best way to deal with boys like Nicholas was to not deal with them at all.

On the other side of the equation, Soleil rolled her eyes and let out an exasperated sigh, also opting to ignore Nicholas’ narcissistic jab at Griffin. Sometimes, she wondered what girls ever saw in such shallow guys like Leo and Nick. Sure: they were attractive, and probably knew their way around in the areas where it counted. But she could never picture herself dating someone who cared so much about their appearance. She needed her man to have effortless charm-- a man with substance, plenty of depth and a smile that could put the sun to shame… Someone like Theodore Wallstrom.

Grimacing, the young woman tossed the basketball back to its rightful owner, turned on her heel, and began her trek to the finish line. She hoped her teammates had been too busy with each other to notice.

“You know silence speaks volumes, right?” Nicholas would say as he followed in Sol’s stead, breezing past the second-grade birdboy.

“Yeah, especially from you. It’s a downright blessing.” Griffin intentionally dribbled his basketball to ruin the silence that Nicholas felt so keen to point out.

As the symphony of footsteps and the air in Griff’s head clearly started to boil over, Nicholas chuckled. “No need to deny it. I know you like the sound of my voice. I mean, how could you not? I sound spectacular!”

“Do you ever…” Griffin narrowed his eyes, exasperatedly glaring at Nicholas, “...hear yourself when you talk?”

Out of nowhere, a very furious Soleil suddenly stopped in her tracks and whipped around to glare at her feuding teammates. “Can you guys just shut the fuck up?!” she growled loudly, her green eyes flashing with the anger and frustration she’d been holding back for a long while now. “Unless you both want to become punching bags on my next training session, zip it. You’re giving me a fucking headache!” And from the way her fists were balled up, there was no denying the girl meant every word.

He rolled his eyes at both of them. Part of him wanted to comment but knew it wouldn’t be worth it. Sol was borderline unpleasant whenever she got like this, so Nicholas knew when to pick his battles. “Whatever.” Yes, in a rare showing, Nicholas outright admitted a temporary defeat-- at least, until they won this challenge. Then all bets were off.

Still frowning, the Jameson girl once again turned on her heel and walked the short distance from their current position and to the arts building, her footsteps a little heavier than before. However, when she noticed that they were the only students around and there were just a few staff members left, her face lit up.

“Well how about that? Looks like we fucking won this thing after all…” she said with a smug smirk, walking past the finish line and scanning the area for any classmates. “And by a landslide, too. There’s nobody else out here yet!”

“Um… actually…” The faculty member standing before them was the smallest one of them all with big glasses, strawberry blonde hair, and a knitted sweater on. She had lost a game of rock, paper, scissors and had to stand out here, waiting for the stragglers. “Well, you see… the other teams are already heading back to their dorm,” Ms. Mulligan nervously played with the pen in her hand.

“You guys are… last.”

Immediately, Soleil’s smug grin was wiped away as her face comically fell into a disbelieving expression. “I’m sorry, what?” she asked the woman, taking a few heavy steps in her direction.

Internally shaking, not one to enjoy observing the apex predators of their experiment, Ms. Mulligan profusely shook her head, “Here’s some stickers! Thanks for participating.” Dropping the paper awards (for participation) that read ‘Congrats you did it!’ with stickers on top for each one of them (her own personal gift, they were cute animals), the faculty member was quick to scurry away, while sheepishly yelling, “I’m sorry!”

“Stickers, huh?” Nicholas repeated back in a low voice. It took him a few, slow-to-register moments but once it clicked, he couldn’t help but laugh. The team that was poised to easily claim victory had, in fact, been given the equivalent to participation trophies. He wasn’t sure if he was angry or if the entire situation amused him more than getting multiple reactions out of Griffin.

The moment Griffin saw sweat coming down the teacher’s forehead, before she even spoke, he decided while his teammates were distracted that he’d take this opportunity to magically disappear. Sidestepping quietly, he watched as the other two focused in on the poor teacher. Poor thing could barely speak.

And just like that, he was gone…

Or so he thought.

Unfortunately, Griffin and Nicholas hadn’t reacted fast enough. Before either of them could do more than run off in the same direction, the raging Soleil had turned around, and was stampeding towards them like an angry bull with bloody murder in her eyes.

A super unexpected Val & Leon adventure

“Oh my god…” Leon quietly exclaimed, patting and rubbing his belly, “I had no idea that food could be so tasty...or that one person could yell so loud.” The two having left the restaurant not too long ago, walked down the Las Vegas strip, a small way to burn off the calories of the lunch that they ate, or rather Leon practically inhaled. It cost a small fortune, but they were in Vegas and it’s not like he was going back anytime soon to eat there, or burp up for a second very appreciative tasting. He definitely appreciated Val’s recommendation to go eat there and though he was fairly comfortable in his workout clothes he was strongly advised to wear something at least slightly more ‘formal’. Turning to his food companion he piped up, “Did you ever have risotto before that? I didn’t even know you could turn rice into basically a cheese pudding with toppings!”

“Right?!” the cheerful Val in the short denim dress, white sneakers and round sunglasses responded, with an ear to ear grin that seemed to be permanently etched on her face. Suggesting lunch at Hell’s Kitchen had proven to be a fantastic way to finally put aside the awkwardness of their prom date and go back to the way things used to be between her and Leon, with the added bonus of some extraordinary cuisine. Of course, not being surrounded by an entourage of people certainly helped matters (at least in Val’s case). “What about that steak, though? I swear to God, I never understood the concept of meat ‘melting in your mouth’ until I took a bite out of that filet mignon.”

“I could probably die happy after having a meal like that, but...kind of stinks we didn’t even get dessert before he closed down the restaurant though…” The unfortunate side effects of Hell’s Kitchen, piss off the chef too much and everyone pays for it...well not literally. Pondering his thoughts, Leon locked his hands behind his head, “Maybe we could get some ice cream or something? It is pretty warm out…” Leon didn’t care much for things of a ‘frufy’ nature, but something about that meal made the prospect of going for cheap, frozen treats almost not worth it. Idling close by, his eyes caught a brochure stand near a bus stop and he decided to inspect it. His eyes glazing over the different titles and colorful thoughts, maybe something would stand out that might sound better than just the ol’ razzle dazzle of ice cream. Out of everything in the stand though, one thing did stand out, two simple words, ‘Helicopter Tours’. Like the cat killed by curiosity, Leon pulled the brochure out and quickly scanned it’s contents. Vegas strip tours… Grand Canyon… Night time city lights…

Wait. What?

Immediately a grin planted itself on his face as he got an idea, “Hey, think you could wait here for a couple of minutes? I need to make a phone call.” Before even giving Val the chance to respond he started to walk away, all the while grabbing his phone to dial in the number on the cover of the brochure. “Hey, I saw your ad about sunset tours? Does that picnic come with just dessert?”

Within about 30 minutes Leon had booked an open tour, called an Uber and both he and Val were on a helicopter in the sky, flying over the city, with the sun hanging over the horizon. “This is pretty freaking cool right?” He yelled to Val over his headset, the whirring of the helicopter blades only partially muffled. If the brochure and flight crew had it right, they were going to be flying out over the city, to a secluded part of the area called ‘Black Canyon’ to watch the sunset and eat some kind of fancy treats. “We got pretty lucky with this, too. I guess someone else booked for today, but cancelled at the last minute.”

When Leon had told Valeria that he’d be taking her on a ‘surprise adventure’, the girl had been her usual skeptical self. The buff boy wasn’t exactly known for being creative, so a part of her was expecting that his idea of a ‘surprise’ would be something sports-related, like a basketball museum or even visiting some fancy gym he found online. However, she was pleased to be proven wrong this time around, and highly intrigued by what her friend could possibly have under his sleeve. When they arrived at their destination and Val realized what they would be doing, the short girl couldn’t contain her excitement.

“I can’t believe we’re actually doing this!” she cried out, grinning widely at him. “I’ve never been on a helicopter ride before! This is so fucking awesome!”

“Same here, I didn’t think they’d be this loud though! Good thing they gave us these things!” He shouted pointing to his headset. It wasn’t long after that the pilot informed them of their destination coming up. Looking out the window, all Leon saw was a vast expanse of rocky terrain overlooking a canyon, and try as he might he didn’t see anything that resembled where they might get some dessert. Thinking on it, the brochure did say that the area they were headed to was secluded, maybe it was underground and would pop up like the villain’s base in a James Bond movie. “I know it’s not Hell’s Kitchen, but hopefully where we’re going for dessert is going to be amazing!”

“Are you kidding me?! This is so much cooler than Hell’s Kitchen!” she shouted back. As if dining at a fancy restaurant could ever top a fucking private helicopter ride!!!

The helicopter slowly descended and landed upon the rocky plateau of the canyon and the two were led along a trail to their destination. The air was still warm from the sun beating down all day, but was slowly beginning to cool as it descended down towards the horizon. After a few minutes of brisk hiking, able to take in their surroundings, they were brought towards a small table situated on flat terrain. It was just big enough for two, with a chair on either side, white tablecloth, plating and silverware, adorned with a single vase containing a small bouquet of red roses. This was unexpected in both fanciness and seclusion, how Leon hadn’t seen it on the way in, he was unsure, but perhaps that was the majesty of the terrain. As for the table setting, well his only real experience in ‘fine dining’ was only an hour or so ago at lunch so maybe this was just another level of sophistication he didn’t understand. The two sat down and before a word could be said, a bottle of champagne was opened and poured in their empty glasses and they were informed the chef would be with them shortly.

Leon looked at the glass curiously, it wasn’t that he didn’t drink alcohol, but they hadn’t even carded or anything, maybe they got special service or something? “You think he was talking about that guy who was riding shotgun in the helicopter?” Leon asked as he lifted the glass to inspect the slowly rising bubbles.

“I don’t know, but I’m not complaining,” the smug girl answered, clinking her glass against Leon’s before taking a long sip of champagne.

He jumped back a little at the clink, preoccupied by his filled glass, but as Val took in her sip he felt it cordial enough to take on himself, the fizzy, somewhat dry and bitter drink flowing down his throat.

For the next few minutes, Valeria remained quiet as her brown eyes scanned their surroundings. There was something to be said about the beauty of the canyons, with mountains upon mountains of red rocks and vegetation stretching out in front of them under a blue, yellow, and orange sky, while The Strip and all its adventures seemed to gracefully fade into the distance. Although the day had been warm before, the altitude provided them with a comfortable breeze that played with Val’s long, dark locks of hair. Meanwhile, the retreating sunlight basked the pair and everything around them in a warm, comforting glow. “This place is beautiful, isn’t it?” she mused aloud, still admiring their breathtaking view.

Leon smiled as he watched Val relax for a moment, sometimes she was so high strung that it was a pleasure to actually watch her be calm for a moment of time. It’s not to say that their day wasn’t great, she was smiley and giggly and laid back, but this moment, right here, it was a good one in and of itself. “Yea, it sure is,” he chuckled, taking another sip.

It wasn’t long before their ‘esteemed chef’ appeared before them and introduced himself, Bonjour, welcome to the Black Canyon. My name is Andrew, and it is my pleasure to be serving you this evening. I understand I am preparing you a delicacy of the dessert variety, I hope you will both enjoy it!” So polite and again, fancy, Leon was rather excited to be here with Val. With things having been so weird between the two of them lately, this was a rather refreshi-

“So how long have you two lovebirds been together?” Chef Andrew asked the pair with a polite smile.


Valeria, who had been excitedly anticipating for the chef to start working on what she knew would be a five-star dessert, was throwing for a loop at the older man’s question. “I’m sorry… Come again?” she heard herself asking with wide eyes, curiosity getting the best of her. Did he mean what she thought he meant?

Leon found himself rather stunned by the question, only bits and pieces of it made sense to him, maybe he just meant, ‘how long had they known each other?’ “Since the beginning of high school. Freshman year, actually…” Despite the answer, his emotion was rather deadpan as his brain continued to wrack itself trying to understand the question he was being asked.

“Oh, so you two are highschool sweethearts?”


Oh, he definitely meant what Val was thinking.

Giggling, the young woman decided to just go with it. “Yup, we sure are!” she answered cheerfully, giving the chef a bright smile as she placed her hand over Leon’s. It was Vegas, after all, so why not have a little fun with things rather than make things awkward with the truth?

Leon’s expression was a mixture of confusion-- okay, mostly confusion. But there was also surprise. He wasn’t really expecting this and Val was… Val was definitely doing a thing that Leon wasn’t sure how to comprehend. When she placed her hand on his, he stared at it, mouth slightly agape.

“Sir, are you alright?”

Leon turned to him, mouth still hanging a bit, “Uh huh,” he nodded in a rather affirmative motion. He wasn’t sure what was happening, but rather than get any more weirded out than he was, he just rolled with whatever situation he was thrown into. “It’s great, just...the best!” Without thinking, he placed his free hand on top of hers and clasped it gently, just going with the moment.

Grinning, the young woman turned to Leon with soft, affectionate eyes. For the first time in four years, Val would be able to truly experience what being his girlfriend could be like- even if it was just by playing pretend for a little while. This chance was certainly the opportunity of a lifetime. “Being with him has made these the best four years of my life, without a doubt. I can’t complain.” she told Chef Andrew, keeping her eyes on Leon. He’d know what she was saying wasn’t a lie this time.

“I…” He felt somewhat choked and at the same time, Val kept looking in such a comfortable way that he felt a little relaxed, “I can definitely agree with that.” If not somewhat awkwardly, he did manage a smile, he did enjoy being in Val’s company even if it was… whatever this was.

As he looked at Val, and she looked right back at him with their fingers still gently grazing over each other, the chef brought them their dessert: a decadent chocolate cake in the shape of a decorative heart, with a few strawberries strewn around it for decoration. Leon’s eyes grazed over the cake, partially hungry, partially confused, before he raised his gaze back towards Valeria, who was staring in awe at the delicacy in front of them. Without wasting any time, the two picked up their spoons and dug in.

To nobody’s surprise, the dessert was gone in less than five minutes, but the best friend duo spent the rest of their time talking, laughing, and simply enjoying each other’s company without a care in the world. It was refreshing to know that, even after her weird behavior and the tense atmosphere between them after the prom night sisterzone fiasco, they were able to easily fall back to their old dynamic. It certainly further convinced Val that she’d done good in attending the trip.

Finally, it was time for them to return back to the group. But before they left, the day had one more treat under its sleeve…

“Alright you two!” Chef Andrew exclaimed with a smile, pulling out a camera, “How about we take some photos of your date before we go back?”

Valeria gave Leon a quick look, but wasted no time in standing up, pulling him up along with her, and dragging him in the direction of the nearby cliffs. Without missing a beat, he started taking pictures, flash after flash on the sweet young couple, with the breathtaking view of the sunset in the canyon behind them. Leon stared at the camera somewhat unfazed, while Val with the brightest of smiles, both of them closely holding each other by the waist.

“Now, how about a kiss?” The chef asked, raising the camera’s lens towards his eye to grasp the perfect shot.

“Um…” the young woman hesitated for a second, looking up at Leon with nervous, questioning eyes. “Are you fine with that?” she asked him in a small, rather shy tone of voice, her cheeks flushed.

She innocent, and red, and yet, could he just... was his face just as flush as… “It’s not like...I’’re just someone I...I…” his mouth hung open, unable to speak. Was this really happening?

Well… It's now or never, Val.

The short girl swallowed hard, took a deep breath and stood in her tiptoes. She took a second to take in Leon’s handsome features, focusing on the way his blue eyes were shining in the dusk sunlight, before closing her own eyes, cupping his face with one hand and pressing her full lips against his.

And all Leon felt in that moment was the flashing of the camera as he kissed back his best friend.

With Theodore, Madeléine, Shiloh and Connor

As soon he got back to the Manor, Theo thought it was in his best interest to honestly kick back for a few and relax. It wasn’t that he had a tiring day. The chatter online came and went like a bad cold sore. He had just been out and about since morning in classes and walking to his next one and meeting up with some people clear across campus. It was all just very exhausting. And he had some time to kill before Shi and Connor, so that afforded him at least some downtime before he had to get his ass in gear.

He was in his room, laying on his bed, stripped down to a pair of boxers (sue him it was hot in his room), eyes closed but he was still very much awake. A few minutes or maybe close to ten minutes later, he heard a knock on his door. Rolling his eyes opened, he said in a flat tone, “Yeah?”

“Sorry to bother, sir, but I felt you should know that Master Bastien left just a short while ago,” Edgar formally told the redhead.

“I see.” Theo’s interest in where his brother was began and ended with how little his eyes were actually open. “Is that all?” Theo asked.

“Well, there might be another thing.”

Theo opened his eyes a little more, intrigued by the way the older man was leading. It wasn’t like Edgar to do this. Sure, Theo found him a bit annoying at times and always gave him hell -- well, not as much as Bas did -- but he always was upfront about almost everything he had to tell the triplets. It was, again, annoying, but Theo kind of liked that about Edgar. He appreciated that he didn’t try to hold anything back. So for him to be less than what Theo was used to, that stirred something inside that brought his curiosity to the surface.

Looking at Edgar with a raised brow, Theo said. “And what is it? What’s going on, Edgar?”


Even before he saw her, Theo shot Edgar a scathing glare. After I’m done with him, Bas will seem like an angel in comparison. Theo cleared out the ringing in his ears by sticking his pinky fingers in it, hoping the buzzing noise would cease.

The short figure of the youngest member of the Bonfamille family rushed into Theodore’s room and struck a pose. Dressed in her customary fluffy pink bathrobe, a matching headband and white bunny slippers, Madéleine was announcing her presence in the house in the only way she knew how: by being loud and dramatic. Without wasting any more time, she skipped towards her brother’s bed and wrapped him up in a tight hug.

Teddy-Bear! Hiiiiiiii! I’ve missed you! How’ve you been?!” she asked him while pulling away, as if they’d been apart for more than the two weeks she’d been away. “I hope you’ve been nice to Edgar while I’ve been away!”

“Of course! I’ve been a perfect gentleman to hi--”

But of course, Edgar wasn’t just trying to inform Theo of his sister’s presence. It was meant to be a warning that his friends had arrived earlier than expected, and there was currently a second pink-hued hurricane whirling it’s way through the Bonfamille manor house. “Worry not, the party has arrived!!!” Shiloh called from down the hall as she made her way towards Edgar in what she knew to be Theodore’s bedroom doorway. “And she brought party favors.” Shi hinted at the illicit substance she may or may not have stashed in her clutch to ensure that they had a fun night out.

“Oh, Maddie, didn’t know you’d be here. Are you coming tonight? Either way, cute look, love the robe — OH MY GOD!” Shiloh’s appraisal of Madéleine’s comfy cozy outfit was cut short by the sight of Theo in his boxers lounging about. “THEODORE GUSTAVE WHY ARE YOU NAKED?!” Her hand flew up to shield her eyes and she groaned. “I’m never going to unsee this…”

Theo lifted up his blanket, revealing a pair of boxers. “As you can see, I’m not nak--” Before he could finish, his sister interjected, paying him no mind whatsoever, even furthering his already limited patience.

“Thank you, sweetie! And don’t even worry about my brother’s indecent choice in clothing- or lack of. You get used to it,” Maddie replied nonchalantly with a dismissive shrug. However, Shiloh’s presence brought up a question she hadn’t even thought about. With wide, panicked eyes, the girl blurted out: “Wait a minute… If Shi is here, then that means-”

“Wha’sup Theo.” The Blonde poked his head into the rather populated bedroom. His eyes swam from Edgar, to Theo, to Shiloh and then to Madéleine. “Some stuff you’re into, eh, Theo?” He joked before offering his greetings. “Hey Shi. Oh, and hey Madéleine, haven’t seen ya in a while.”

As much as she wanted to cry out or scream, the second Maddie’s blue eyes had landed on Connor Kennedy, her ability to speak had vanished into thin air. For the last two years, the Bonfamille daughter had harbored a crush on, of all people, her brother’s best friend. She had never acted on it, of course- more out of a lack of experience than any sort of fear about Theo finding out. But there were always little signs happening whenever they came into contact: a brighter smile here, a blush there, an extra few seconds exchanging looks, the sparkle in her eyes, the enthusiastic disposition… Whether Connor caught onto them was still in question, but it made Maddie feel better to at least try.

But in moments like these, when she was caught off guard with a bare face and in an embarrassing outfit, all the young woman wanted was for the earth to open up and swallow her whole.

Letting out a sigh, Theo figured there was no use hiding, so he whipped the blanket off of him and brought his legs off his bed. As he stretched, he felt his limbs release all of the tension inside them as they cracked. “You know, I wasn’t expecting you guys to be here so soon. I thought for sure I had another twenty minutes before.” He shrugged, knowing it was a moot point to dwell on the what ifs of the world. He centered on Mads, seeing she was acting awfully squierrily for some reason and then he noticed her slippers and immediately chuckled. “It’s a little early for Easter, don’t ya think?”

“What do you mean you weren’t — you sent the time to meetup in the group chat. Both Con and I showed up so clearly this is on you.” Shiloh rolled her eyes and shook her head at her friend. As his direction was turned to teasing his sister, Shi felt the need to swoop in and rescue the poor thing. She knew what a girl looked like when she was lovestruck, and Maddie was clearly smitten as a kitten, not that either of the y-chromosomal goobers in the room realized it. “Doesn’t matter, we’re all going out and having a good time tonight. Connor, can you help ginger minge find his clothes for the night? Good.” Shiloh asked and then confirmed with a smile before he even answered. “Maddie let’s go raid your closet and get you glammed, I gotchu, babe.”

“Yes Ma’am.” Connor joked, standing in mock salute. “Come on Theo, no one wants to see you in your birthday suit, dress up.” He leaned against the bedroom wall before continuing, “Also Madéleine are you alright? You’re looking red, you’re not sick are you?”

‘Sick with humiliation…’ the girl wanted to answer but didn't. Instead, she opted to nod. “I-I’m fine. I’ll be okay.” Maddie managed to croak out, giving Connor a shaky smile before turning to Shiloh. “Shall we get going, then? I have so many options to choose from that I can’t pick just one!”

“We shall!” Shi replied in a chipper tone and linked elbows with the bathrobe-clad Bonfamille to lead her away. Once they were thoroughly out of earshot, Shi began her work. “So…” She pried in an inquisitive way. “What kind of look are you thinking for tonight? Cute and coy… soft and sensual… or boldly in your face sex appeal?” Shi raised an eyebrow at the blonde as they approached her closet. “My advice is something close to the latter with how oblivious he is.” A knowing smirk punctuated her sentence.

Although it had been years since she’d told (well, more like was basically forced to admit to) Shiloh about her crush on Connor, it didn’t make talking about him any less embarrassing. The blush returned in full force, and Maddie’s eyes darted in every direction except Shi’s face. “I don’t know, honestly,” she admitted, taking a seat by the edge of her bed. “I’m not really sure what he’s into, and I don’t really think I’m even capable of presenting myself anywhere close to what anyone considers to be sexy. Cute? Yes. Elegant? Certainly. Girly? Absolutely. Sexy? Highly questionable.”

“No, no, no, no.” Shi replied with bell-like laughter as she took a seat on the fluffy blanket atop Maddie’s bed. “You don’t need to give a rat's ass what he’s into. Pick out something that you’re into, that’s where confidence comes from. And confidence is the sexiest thing, trust me, I’m a connoisseur of female sex appeal.” With a smirk she gestured for Maddie to select some options.

“Do you see the size of that closet?! I wouldn’t even know where to start!” Madéleine whined, letting out a deep sigh and letting herself dramatically fall backwards onto her mattress. She stared at the ceiling in silence for a few seconds before turning to Shiloh again. “You pick something out for me, Cupcake. Just get in there and come out with whatever you think will give me that sex appeal you keep talking about. I promise I’ll wear it, no questions or protests.”

“Ahh, feeling daring, are we?” Shiloh sprung to life, hopping down from the large king-size bed and sauntering over to the massive walk in closet. “Jesus, you weren’t kidding…” Shi mused from within the land of many fabrics… and shoes… and handbags. Thumbing through some sections, she made mental notes. “You know, you should showcase some of these, I feel like I’ve never seen you wear some of these at school. What do you think about modelling for me, we could do a photoshoot all around town — your favorite places. A day in the life of Madeleine Bonfamille.” Shi’s fingers found a particular dress that stood out from all of the frills and pink: a sleek snakeskin number that would no doubt show a healthy amount of leg. “Plus, you know who helps with my website’s programming, so he’d get a full show.” She smiled impishly and passed the girl the dress. “This one, for sure.”.

The girl lazily raised her hair high enough to peek at her friend's selection and immediately perked up. “Oh, I would love that!” Maddie replied excitedly, jumping up from the bed to grab the dress that Shiloh was offering her. She inspected the garment for a few seconds, trying to picture herself in the outfit. “Hmmmm… Well, it’s definitely different from what I’m used to wearing: that's for sure!” she laughed, pointing out her habit of wearing only pinks, neutrals and pastels. “But sure! I’ll try it out! I’ll need a coat or jacket to go along with it, though. You know how cold the nights can get around here.”

“Absolutely, I love a jacket-dress combo.” Shi replied, sporting her own leather jacket for the night. “Here, let’s get you glam. I can curl your hair while you do your makeup. My mom owns a beauty salon back in LA, so I learned young. With any luck we’ll be done before the boys start bitching.”

The breakup with Joanna had certainly taken its toll on Charlotte Diedrikson. The hyper personality that characterized her was all but gone, replaced by a quiet, morose shadow of who she used to be. Her week had been spent going through the motions as best as she could given her new living situation: shuffling between practice, her classes, more practice, and back to the bedroom she now shared with Kieran. Any mention of Joey could send her to tears.

And that Friday night was no different. After finishing with her usual routine, the girl made a quick stop for some Japanese takeout. At about half past eight, Lottie sat in the middle of Kieran’s bed, hair up in the laziest of buns and wearing nothing but a pair of pajamas already stained with soy sauce. Her brown eyes were glued to her laptop screen, watching old episodes of My Super Sweet Sixteen while taking mindless bites of the half-eaten chicken yakisoba container in her lap. From the outside looking in, she was certain she looked pathetic. She certainly felt that way. But what else was she supposed to do other than stay home and wait for the pain to ease up? Stuffing her face with noodles certainly sounded better than having to put up a facade in front of people.

Kieran, meanwhile, was doing his best to try and play the good boyfriend for his new roommate. Suffice to say it was a bit of a transition, and after hanging with Dee for most of Monday afternoon, coming back to Mac, Lottie and a giant suitcase was a major surprise. Still, he was willing to be supportive even after that suitcase moved into his room, and Lottie took up permanent residence there. He was the modern man who was willing to just lay in bed and cuddle to try and make Lottie’s pain go away. He was willing to watch whatever she wanted.

However, as he walked back into the room, microwaved chicken shawarma in hand, looking at his girlfriend staring at a bunch of spoiled 16-year-olds that wouldn’t know a hard day’s work if it bit them in the arse, he got worried. “Hey Ace,” he offered as he moved to sit down next to Lottie on the bed. “Gotta… gotta another batch of kids expecting cakes in the shape of Ariana Grande at their birthday, huh? That...that’s the plan for tonight?”

“Yeah,” came Lottie’s unenthusiastic reply, not tearing her eyes away from the screen where Katie was testing out the endurance of a Hummer by running over every curve or median possible. “Why?”

“Nah, nah, it’s fine,” Kieran lied. “Can’t wait to see how Kayleigh recovers from her Ferrari arriving in the wrong color.” As he continued to sidle next to Charlotte, he continued to think about just exactly how to start broaching the subject he was worried about. “I’m surprised you don’t have these all memorized by now. How many episodes did they do?”

“Her name’s Katie, not Kayleigh. And I honestly have no idea…”the girl answered again, planning to drown out the sound of his voice when the smell of whatever he was holding finally reached her nose. “What is that?” she asked him, her face scrunched up in dislike as she pointed to the food item with her chin.

“It’s a shawarma wrap,” the boy answered. “It’s from Fattoush, that Mediterreanean place a couple streets over. It’s really good. Think it’s the garlic sauce they put in it.” It was clear from Lottie’s face that she wasn’t asking so she could figure out where he got it. That was an… interesting source of friction between the two. There was never really a discussion on favored foods outside of clubs and occasional dinner dates. “I’m guessing you don’t want a bite.” Not that Kieran was going to ask for any of the Japanese food. Too much sugar in the teriyaki sauce for him.

“No, thank you. I’m good,” she answered simply, shooting the offending dish one last glare before turning back to her show.

The silence afterwards was awkward. It felt weird to have the woman known for her prowess on the courts and her confidence in all things social be so curt and withdrawn. Kieran felt weird. This position was foreign ground to him. He felt like he was supposed to do something now. There wasn’t going to be another time. “… how are you? I feel like we haven’t really talked about things much lately,”

The sudden change of topic finally caught Charlotte’s attention enough to warrant her pausing the episode and turning to Kieran. “There’s not really much to talk about, though, is there?” she replied in a nonchalant tone, but with eyes that betrayed just how sad she was about the whole thing. “I broke up with my girlfriend of two years and I’ve been feeling like crap about it ever since, even though I know it was the right decision. What else is there left to be said?”

Kieran was in uncharted waters here and he had no idea if his boat was taking on water or not. There was a chance to turn back, but there was no way for him to see that. Just too foolish to figure it out. So he pressed on. “I mean, that’s just it, eh? You ended the relationship. You’re telling yourself that was the move to make. And yet you’ve been holed up in here watching useless brats complain about stuff that don’t matter a spit in the real world. That tells me that there’s more to the feeling crap than just the end of that relationship. So, I’m here to listen. Do ya need to get something off your chest, or… I dunno?”

Charlotte was silent for a few seconds, deciding whether to continue to lie and pretend it was nothing or collapse into his arms like a crying mess. But in the end, she decided to take the middle ground. Letting out a deep sigh, the young woman carefully placed her food on the nearby desk, shifted around in bed to find the perfect position to lay her head on his lap. “I guess the only thing that’s really bothering me is that I have no idea why we even fought in the first place…” the blonde admitted. “I tried asking her what was wrong and all I got was her pushing me away. I thought our relationship was better than that, you know? That if something was bothering her she could tell me.”

If Kieran were a more perceptive person, he might have figured out that the conversation that led to the break up might have something to do with him and the proposition Lottie made at the party. But he was not that perceptive when it came to interpersonal relationships. Only hockey. “Well, I can’t pretend I had the understanding of how Joey works that you do. So, I don’t know what was going through her head when she did that. But if she was reacting like that, then you know you did the right thing for you.” He started stroking the blond hair that rested on his lap, shawarma now discarded to the floor beside the bed. “If she actually wanted the relationship to work, she would, you know, realize that you gotta be open about this sort of stuff if anything is gonna last. Least that’s what my mom says.”

“I know, that’s what I keep telling myself too. But it’s so hard...” Lottie admitted, tears finally welling up in her eyes and rolling down her cheeks. “It was two years of living together, having each other’s backs and just loving one another without any real commitment holding us back. I wish she had just told me what made her change her mind so I could fix it.”

“Sometimes you can’t force people to tell ya anything,” Kiki admitted, both to Lottie and to himself. “I can’t fathom why she would want to throw your relationship away so easily. But, I’m gonna bet you two things. One, she’s just as miserable as you are from the sounds of it, and two, she doesn’t have one of the best pillows in the world to comfort her the way you do, Munchkin.”

That brought a smile and a watery chuckle out of Charlotte. “That’s very true!” she told him, wiping away her tears, taking up a seating position and bringing Kieran in for a tight hug. He was the perfect life-size teddy bear to bring her the comfort she so desperately needed. “Thank you so much, Kiki. I’m really, really happy you’re here for me.”

Kieran smiled, seeing and feeling a bit of the old Diedrikson flame begin to come back to life. He was more than happy to return the hug and wrap Lottie up. “Anytime, Lottie. Anytime.” He rested his head on hers as he continued to hold her close. He definitely had the ability to make her feel that she had that waiting for her when needed.
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