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Group RPs: Welcome To Edenridge | New Blood Rises
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A @HaleyTheRandom & @Venus Collaboration
Featuring Caitlin Cleary & Bradley King

Location: King’s Mechanics ---> The King Living Room
Interacting With: Each Other, John King (NPC)


It really feels great to be home.

When she was a child and a teenager, Caitlin Cleary had wished for nothing more than an opportunity to have a fresh start somewhere else. Growing up in a small town where everyone knew everyone, it was easy to feel suffocated by the assumptions and expectations people had of you. As thankful as she was to be a part of one of the more privileged families of Edenridge, there was always a part of Cece that resented the unwanted attention she got because of who her relatives were. She always wanted to disappear, fade off into the background, go through life without having to worry about her every move being watched and scrutinized. But as they say: absence makes the heart grow fonder. And if her time away from Edenridge had taught her anything, it was to cherish the invaluable gift that was home, friends and family.

Of course, there was another reason why Caitlin had been so excited about returning home... And that was the person to whose driveway she was pulling up into at this very second.

As soon as she had parked and shut off her Beetle’s engine, Cece grabbed her homecoming gift from the passenger seat and exited the car. The sound of her sneakers against the gravel as she walked to the entrance of the shop were drowned out by the loud sounds of metal on metal that greeted her. A few short steps later and Cece was inside the shop, her eyes landing on two out of the three generations of King men doing what they did best: fixing cars.

"Good morning, Mr. Richard!" Caitlin waved at the dark-haired man behind the register, the two of them exchanging smiles before Caitlin turned her attention to the boss man himself. "Hi, Mr. John!" she said cheerfully, pulling the older King into a quick hug with him as soon as he was within reach. “How are things going? I brought you all some cupcakes--” she told him sweetly, motioning to the small basket she was holding in her left hand. “I figured it was a nice little way for me to make it up to you guys after being away for some time.”

With a slight smile and a grumble under his breath, John King returned Caitlin’s hug warmly. ”Now you know you ain’t gotta call me Mister,” he said, his expression going from stern to excited at the mention of cupcakes. “I’ll go grab the milk then. You here to see Bradley, I reckon?”

The redhead’s face lit up at the mention of her bestest, closest friend. “If he’s around!” she answered, excitedly making her way around the garage and to the inside of the King household she knew so well. While awaiting Bradley’s entrance, Caitlin made a beeline straight to the mirror that hung in the hallway and checked her reflection. Although she wasn’t feeling her best, that didn’t mean she wanted Brad to see her looking anything less than presentable.

With the cupcakes in hand, John simply nodded his head and went deeper into the garage to find his son.


Still working on the Henderson’s mini van, Bradley nearly hit his head on the bumper when he jumped at the sound of his name. “Jesus Christ, Pop. You ain’t gotta scare somebody like that.” Coming out from underneath the van, Bradley grabbed a nearby grease rag and began to wipe off his hands.

Completely unfazed by Bradley’s reaction, John already had one of Caitlin’s famous cupcakes halfway eaten. The truth was that the older man didn’t care to respond, but he also was too caught up in the deliciousness to give a damn. ”Someone’s lookin’ for you out front. Tried to handle it, but they specifically requested you.”

With a deep sigh and an aggravated expression, Bradley got up off of the ground and did his best to continue trying to wipe his hands and arms clean. Frustrated that he wasn’t done with this morning's task of fixing the van, Bradley was even more frustrated when he didn’t see anyone in the lobby waiting for him other than Richard.

Having followed his son, John quickly put two and two together. “Grab a cupcake, Brad.”

“Where’s this mystery person at, Pop? I ain’t got time --” As Bradley turned back to look at his father, he finally noticed the container of cupcakes in his hands. That perfectly pink frosting could have only been made by one person.

“She’s inside,” John said, chuckling.

Rushing through the lobby and into the back door, Bradley’s mood had done a total one eighty. Calling out to Caitlin, Bradley did his best to straighten his shirt and make himself presentable. "Red?! You home?”

“No! This is Scarlet, her evil twin sister. Caitlin’s not home right now, but she asked me to drop you a visit,” she joked with the brightest of smiles. Unable to hold back any longer, Caitlin raced across the room with her arms outstretched and ran straight into Bradley’s arms, wrapping the taller boy up in a tight hug.

Wrapping his arms around her smaller frame, Bradley instantly felt himself relax at the familiarity of Caitlins touch. Giving her a quick kiss on the top of her head, Bradley didn’t wait too long to start with the questions.

”So how is it being back in town? How long are you here for this time?”

“Eh, it’s fine… I just wish I was coming back under better circumstances…” she confessed sadly, her face still nuzzled against his shoulder. Cece took a second to envelop herself in the comfort of the young man’s presence and his spicy cologne before pulling away from the hug, still keeping her arms around Bradley’s taller, chiseled frame. “Mom’s health isn’t doing too good right now, so I decided to put the studies on hold and focus on taking care of her until she gets better-- however long that might take.”

Looking down at her, Bradley did his best to hide his concern, but could still feel the hints of a frown forming upon his face. “Is she gonna be okay? Are you going to be okay?”

“I’m not really worried about myself-- I’d feel pretty darn selfish if I was,” she told him, letting go of Brad just long enough to take a seat on the nearby couch. “She’s getting surgery next Tuesday--, so Dad and I will be driving her down to the city that day and we’ll take turns spending the days with her until she’s released,” Cece explained, trying but failing to sound like she was taking things in stride. “Like I said, I’m not really worried about myself. I’m mostly worried about her and the family, you know? I mean, Dad might be a grown man, but he’s useless when he’s without Mom most of the time, and he’s got the pub to run on his shoulders. Sure, Rhett helps a lot too, but he’s nowhere near ready to take on the responsibility of the pub on his own full-time yet. Brogan I know is more than happy to help, but she’s also got her plate full with classes, coaching and going to softball games all around the country. And Rowan’s only a kid. What fourteen year-old kid wants to watch their mother go through that sort of painful process? I know I don’t want to, so I can’t even imagine how she’s feeling right now...” she trailed off, tears starting to pool up in her emerald green eyes.

While Cece began to talk, Bradley made his way into the kitchen to wash his hands. Taking extra care to get the dirt and grime out from under his nails, the young man dried his hands off on a nearby kitchen towel before grabbing a drink from the fridge. He knew by the way she was rambling on that she was stressed. Coming back into the living room to take a seat beside her on the couch, Bradley took a drink of his Dr. Pepper as Caitlin trailed off.

Looking over at her, Bradley could see the pain in her eyes. The frustration that she had at the world. The concern for her family. His expression quickly went from neutral to caring. Turning to the side so that he could look at her easier, Bradley took her small hands in his before speaking.

“Hey, look at me.” Taking his right hand, Bradley gently grabbed her chin on either side and turned her face towards his. “Everything’s going to be okay. I know things are rough right now, but there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel.”

Truth to be told, Bradley's outlook on things wasn’t the brightest - but he could fake it when he wanted to. Especially for a friend.

“You’ve got me to lean on. I’m here for the rest of the family too - you know that. And if you want to, I can give you rides to the city. Maybe go on one of our old adventures and take your mind off of things, hm?”

"Like the time we decided to find that waterfall in the middle of nowhere and ended up getting lost for hours without any phone signal?" she teased with a smile in an attempt to lighten up the mood, her eyes lighting up at the funny memory. After dealing with the influx of distressing updates about her mother's health by herself in her dorm room for so long, Cece had almost forgotten how easy it was to feel comforted and reassured whenever she was in Bradley's presence. It had been that way ever since their first encounter back at the graveyard years ago, and it was still that way today. He provided a feeling of safety and protection that was different from the one her father, brother, Danny and Quinn offered-- one that she had experienced only once before.

Chuckling, Bradley leaned back on the couch. "Exactly. Maybe we could take a trip to the beach or something this time. Who knows?"

Caitlin's smile widened, and she nodded vigorously. "I'd like that very much," she said softly, placing a gentle kiss on the hand Bradley had so tenderly holding her face.

As Bradley's smile faded, John reentered the house - box of cupcakes still in hand.

“You're gonna get diabetes, ya know?" Bradley scolded his father, earning himself a chuckle from Caitlin.

"Worth it."

The older man took a seat in his armchair, reclining it back as he put the box of cupcakes on top of his lap. Bradley spotted something else in John's hands, his blood running cold. John looked up from the stack of envelopes and junk mail, his eyes sad as he looked at his son.

"I’m sorry, son. But there's another one."

A @Prosaic & @Venus Collaboration
Featuring Quinn Lloyd & Tiffannie Taccone

Location: Edenridge Motel
Interacting With: Each Other
Mentions: Danny Belmonte @LovelyComplex


The funny thing about flying was how indistinguishable it felt from falling.

Quinn Lloyd had never had much impulse control, he wasn't wired right and he knew that. He had figured this out in the freshman year of highschool when he'd started pounding down beers nightly and waking up with little memory of it. It hadn't meant much to him at the time but as the years went by and the headaches got less frequent, he started to wonder if he had a problem. Of course, while lacking the impulse control to stop, he wasn't even sure he wanted to stop.

These days his life could be pretty hectic, between juggling jobs and trying to make it to those jobs, he scarcely had time to tackle scary thoughts like "what would I be doing if I wasn't drinking?". Although in the past, those thoughts had been quickly put to rest by his assurance that he'd never stop drinking and thus the vicious cycle continued. It continued and it continued until he got so dizzy trying to imagine tackling it that he usually gave up on the thought process altogether. ADHD could be a bit of a bitch when it came to that sort of thing.

He had spent that night crashed out in a hotel room, face buried in his pillow and his arm haphazardly slung over the frame of the blond beside him. It was a familiar sensation, to be crashed out somewhere with someone, less familiar was the anxiety settling over him when his eyes opened.

For a moment, all he saw was the darkness of the fabric against his face before he pushed himself up on his arm and-- yep, still feels like I did something horrible.

It was not the first time Quinn and Tiffanie had ever tangled, although it had never been an overnight affair. Except for last night. He had maybe been a bit too drunk or maybe a bit too bold and they had wound up at a motel room where things had… escalated. He never felt entirely okay with himself after excursions with Danny’s cousin, mostly because… she was Danny’s cousin and he considered Danny to be one, if not the only person, in this world who he didn’t hold any sort of grief with.


He scrubbed his hands over his face, trying to get his hair out of his eyes.

As if sensing that her companion had woken up, the blonde next to him began the slow process of waking up herself.

“Good morning, Quinnie!” Tiffannie cooed in a sleepy, singsong voice, scooting closer to the curly-haired man to give him a fleeting kiss on the lips before nuzzling her face into his chest. “Did you have a good sleep? I know I had a good sleep. You wiped me out last night!”

Quinn had never been a morning person, he was far more prone to drinking into the early hours of the morning and then sleeping until the late afternoon sun forced him out from beneath the blankets. To say that her chipper greeting had caught him off guard would be an understatement.

I am possibly the worst best friend around. He thought grimly.

”It’s way too fucking early to be that full of life.” He responded, blinking owishly against the light in his eyes. It was an answer enough to the question, at any rate, he never slept well. “I don’t suppose you know where my cigarettes ended up.”

Routine called, after all.

The girl beside him pulled away just enough to shoot him a dirty look. “Probably in the same place that your good humor ended up,” Tiffanie snapped, her luscious lips puckered up in a bubblegum pink pout as she turned over to give him her back. She would’ve thought that Quinn would be in a better mood considering the amazing time they had spent together. Waking up to him being nothing short of rude and ungrateful was not something she had been expecting.

“I-” He stumbled over his words for a moment, not that it was terribly uncommon for girls to get fed up with him when they spent too much time with him. “It’s too early for that too.” He responded gracelessly, aware of how utterly grouchy he came off.

Tiffanie looked over her shoulder, pouted and glared at Quinn again and turned back around.

After a moment of consideration, he tried again, maybe a bit gentler. “I’m sorry, I’m fucking exhausted.”

Is that nice? I can’t tell.

He wasn’t really cut out for the touchy-feely after-sex shit. He didn’t exactly know how to break that to her nicely. “I’m glad you slept alright.”

Now, that’s nice, right? Right?

He couldn’t exactly see himself getting up any time soon, so he reached over the edge of the bed and felt around for any sign of his jeans and his missing cigarettes.

Although she wasn’t ready to forgive his initial unlikable remarks so quickly, the fact that he caught onto her displeasure and attempted to make amends did earn him back some of the points he’d lost. Letting out a dramatic sigh, Tiffannie rolled around in bed to face Quinn again. “Is there anything I can do to make you feel better?” she asked, looking up at him with big, blue doe eyes.

He eventually found his discarded jeans over the edge of the bed and very shortly after he also found the package of cigarettes in his pocket. Bingo. Sometimes a crippling addiction wasn’t so bad when it meant that he almost never went anywhere without his cigarettes. He gave the pack a shake to check the damage, noting that there were probably three or less in there. He didn’t exactly look forward to running to the corner store on the way… well, not home, it was unlikely he’d go home after this.

Tiffannie had turned back to him but not before sighing loudly. This was also not all that unfamiliar when it came to people spending excess time with him. He swiftly opened the pack of cigarettes and fished one out before letting it drop on the bedside table.

She was speaking to him again, not that the silent treatment had lasted very long. “I-” He started to speak and stopped himself for risk of coming off rude again, she was being nice, he didn’t always have to be such a dick in the morning. He was just naturally that insufferable. “I’m good, Tiff.” That was said, maybe less agitatedly. He was a lot easier to deal with when he had a cigarette in him. “I’m not used to uh- us spending the night together. Haven’t quite picked up on your morning habits yet.”

This was drawn out with an amused undertone, as he fumbled with his lighter, stuffing the cigarette in his mouth and taking a long drag. “And you haven’t had the misfortune of dealing with mine. Jesus Christ, what better way to convince a girl to come back then by snapping at her first thing in the morning?”

The playful self-deprecation was familiar, at least.

That last sentence immediately perked up the slender blonde. “So you’re saying you want to spend the night with me again?” Tifannie asked, an excited little smile playing around the corners of her full lips as she shifted around to rest her head on Quinn’s stomach. Tiff was well aware of the feelings of guilt that often plagued her lover after one of their entanglements, so to read between the lines and assume Quinn wanted to do this all over again certainly made her happy. She thoroughly enjoyed being his one weakness over and over again.

“God-” This was not great, he knew he was messing up. It would be one thing if he could just be upfront about all this with Danny, but he’d gone and went the shadiest roundabout route he could with it. He took a long drag on his cigarette, exhaled the smoke and sighed through it. The glance he passed Tiffannie was lingering, he knew exactly what he’d meant and so did she.

Fuck, I really am transparent.

“We’ll see what happens.” It was a yes. A vague one. Still viable. “We really shouldn’t, but impulse control hasn’t gotten me very far.”

Tiffannie shot him a cocky smile. “This is the part where I would say I’m sorry, but I’m really not,” the young woman confessed, propping herself up just enough for her face to be inches away from Quinn’s. “I like playing with you too much…” she murmured seductively, letting her words hang in the air for a few seconds before pressing her lips to his.

Tiffannie knew that going around her cousin’s back and sleeping with his best friend at any chance she could get was scummy at best-- especially considering him and his family were currently keeping her safe from some psycho housewife all the way back in LA. But the little peach wasn’t known for being the most upstanding young lady, or for having a lick of shame within her. When it came to Tiff’s approach to life, the girl was like Ariana Grande’s ‘7 Rings’ song: I see it, I like it, I want it, I got it.

When she kissed him, he pressed his free hand to her cheek and kissed her back. The taste of his cigarette was still heady on his breath and it was still burning away in his other hand, clutched between his fingers. He had never really had the required impulse control not to make decisions like this, part of that was the ADHD, the other part was probably just his childish and reckless desire for attention.

Attention and drama kept life from becoming tedious, didn’t it?

He ran his fingers through her hair, leaning into her a moment before breaking the kiss and giving her one of those roguish half-smiles. ”You certainly like proving that, don’t you?”

Baby Peach nodded eagerly. “Always,” she drawled, leaning forward for another long, deep kiss.

Eventually, Tiffannie pulled away from the kiss, and allowed herself to sit still in content silence as Quinn smoked his cigarette and played with her hair. As much as she enjoyed having the freedom to pick and choose who she was intimate with and not being tied down to anyone, she had to admit that this actually felt quite nice. The steady rising and falling of the young man’s chest, the feeling of his fingers running through her hair-- even the lingering smell of the cigarette smoke (an odor that normally had her wrinkling her nose in disgust) added to the comfort of it all.

Now, Tiff wasn’t a stranger to post-sex cuddles; though most times things ended with a simple goodbye, or a farewell brunch date before parting ways if she was lucky. But there was something different about what was currently happening between her and Quinn. Maybe it was the familiarity of it all, or the fact that he was the one guy she’d been hooking up with any chance they had for a few years now. Whatever it was, laying down with Quinn like this made her feel so happy and safe... And that was… Concerning.

Uh oh…

Before her brain even had the opportunity to start venturing down those unfamiliar roads, Tiffannie decided to put a halt to it. “I guess I should get going, then…” she said with a sad sigh, slowly rising from the bed and purposely making a spectacle of stretching her body in front of Quinn. There was one last thing she wanted before they parted ways until the next time, and it wouldn’t take a genius to figure out what it was.

He was admittedly much calmer by the time the girl rose to her feet and sighed in that all too world-weary sort of way. Tired or not, Quinn was usually better after a smoke-- more affable, at least. He hadn’t minded just sharing her company for a while, which was… a problem in the making. He didn’t usually overstay his welcome with people he had sex with.

One and done, as they say.

He paused to watch her, about to speak but not quite sure what to say. The logical thing would be to send her on her merry way and try to sort through his own lingering guilt before checking out of the hotel. Quinn was not terribly logical. “Wouldn’t hurt to catch a shower before you headed out,” he said suggestively, the hint of a smile on his mouth.

Tiffannie flashed the lanky man a mischievous smile. Jackpot. “I guess I could do that… But it gets so lonely in the shower when I’m by myself…” she sighed dramatically, giving Quinn that little pout and puppy dog eyes she knew he couldn’t resist.

A laugh escaped him despite himself and he pushed himself to his feet. It was a terrible idea on top of terrible ideas, if he was already going to hell then he may as well have fun doing it. ”I’d hate for you to feel lonely,” he responded, voice light with amusement. ”Come on.”

As he took the giggling blonde’s hand and dragged her into the shower with him, he thought about how he really despised himself sometimes.

But it wasn’t like he could despise himself more.

A @BrutalBx & @Venus Collab
Featuring Roddy Callahan & Lanie Lancaster

Location: Café Beauregard
Interacting With: Each Other, Erin @HaleyTheRandom


Before Rod could respond to his former teacher's words of warning, the cafe door bell would ring. He turned to see who was entering and Roddy’s eyes lit up as soon as he caught sight of his baby girl.


The little blonde was soon in his arms and pulling at his shaggy beard as she often did. He kissed the top of her head and held her tightly in one arm; whilst his other one reached out to Lanie, gently caressing her shoulder for but a second before pulling away. ”As long as you’re both ok, that’s the main thing”

At the mention of a red motorcycle, Rod knew exactly who the so-called ”asshole” was. Edenridge was a small place, everybody knew everybody and a lot of the cars and bikes in the town had been there for as long as Roddy could remember so it wasn’t a stretch to guess who they belonged to. Jade Taylor was the only person he knew in the area with a bike like that and it would just be her style to cut Lanie off. That was a conversation that he didn’t want to have.

”How’s school?” Hs asked as he sat Rylie onto his lap and handed her his phone to play with.

Elaine couldn’t help but let out a loud snort. Leave it to Roddy to kick off the conversation with the very topic she was hoping they could build up towards (considering it would be followed by an even bigger one)... He’d always had a strange sixth sense of being able to pinpoint and bring up the exact topic you were feeling particularly strongly about. “Funny you mention that…” the blonde began, chewing on her cheek as she tried and failed to come up with a better way to say things. She was thankful for the brief interruption of Mr. Beau handing her off her order, as it bought her a little extra time. But in the end, Lanie decided it was best to just rip the Band-Aid right off. “I actually decided to drop out,” she told Roddy, taking a long sip of her latte.

Rod had to do his best not to let his jaw hit the floor. She dropped out of school? Really? He would be lying if he said it didn’t take him by surprise. Rylie was slobbering all over his phone but he didn’t mind so much considering it kept her quiet. ”Well I wasn’t expecting that…” He reached around to the small table by his side with his spare hand and took a sip from his warm drink, being careful not to spill any on the kid. ”What prompted that decision? I thought things were ok there?”

“I mean, they were--” Lanie started to explain, plopping down in the available booth chair in front of Roddy and taking a bite of her food. “But, like, let’s sit down and really think about it for a second. Is it really a good idea for me to be a social worker or a guidance counselor after the amount of shit we’ve gone through? There’s, like, so many unresolved issues I’ve got going on in my life at the moment. I seriously think it’s in everyone’s best interests if I don’t go out and try to help someone else,” she elaborated, taking another sip from her drink. “Not to mention that anytime I try to help the shaggy-haired, broken boys, I somehow end up falling in love with them. God knows that’s the last thing I fucking need right now…” she trailed off, momentarily shooting Roddy a dirty look before taking yet another bite out of her muffin and shrugging her shoulders. “It’s not that big of a deal, though. I think I found something I’m a lot more suited for anyway.”

A pang of guilt struck the man in the heart like a bolt of lightning. That one hurt. She talked of best and in Roddy’s mind, the pair of them ending their relationship was for the best; that didn’t mean he didn’t regret it every single second of every single day since. She was going off to college and pursuing a future; he was stuck, unable to walk or do anything without the aid of someone else. He could barely be the father that he so desperately craved to be. Lanie deserved more. Rylie deserved more. And it was his hope they would find it.

”So what’s this new thing?”

"I'm getting my real estate licence!" the young woman declared excitedly, a hint of pride in her voice. "I think I have the passion, the interest, the right skills and the attitude for it. I've already talked to Di, and she's said that she's going to help me with the school applications, hands-on training experience and anything else that comes up. Mom and Dad are fine with it too. They said that they support me even if they'll miss having Rylie around, but they know it's for the best…" she trailed off, letting the implication of her words hang in the air as she stuffed her face and looked anywhere but at Roddy right now.

”Wow.” Roddy nodded as he tried to comprehend what she had told him. Did this mean she was moving to Texas? Seeing as that was where her cousin Diana was based it wasn’t a tremendous leap to make that conclusion. No, surely she would tell him straight away. It wouldn’t be the worst thing; after all before what happened, Roddy was actually supposed to be attending college in Austin. Maybe they could make it work? He wasn’t sure what to think or where to go next. ”That actually would be a good fit for you.” All he could do was be supportive, that was the least he could do.

When Roddy’s only words to her announcement were that her new chosen career path ‘could be a good fit for her’, Lanie couldn't help but feel a little bit disappointed at his reaction. She was thankful that he’d been so supportive of her decision, of course: after all, she was only doing what was best for herself and Rylie. But there was still a small part of her that had secretly hoped that he’d be a little more heartbroken over the news-- perhaps hurt enough to make him realize that he was about to lose her. What he said next, however, immediately blew all of those negative thoughts out the window.

Bouncing Rylie on his knee, Rod looked down at the little blonde girl with pride and a smile. He kissed the top of her head before returning his gaze to Lanie. ”So, I got some news too. The Doctors have said that I’ve made decent enough progress that I can pretty much continue my rehab on my own time instead of going to the center...”

“Oh my God, that’s great news!” Lanie cried out, forgetting her bitter feelings just long enough to jump up from her chair and wrap her ex-boyfriend in a tight hug, being careful to not squish their daughter in the process. After what felt like forever, the blonde pulled away, and tears of excitement were already pooling up in her green eyes. Leave it to her to be so damn emotional all the time… She affectionately cupped Roddy’s face in her hands, giving him one the brightest, most blinding smiles she had ever mustered before planting a kiss on his forehead. “Oh my God, Roddy! That’s so amazing! I’m so freaking happy for you!”she repeated, brushing some strands of shaggy dark hair out of his handsome face. “I am so fucking proud of you, Rod. See, I told you you could do it!”

There was a warm feeling as Lanie kissed him that made Rod think of days gone where she was the best thing in his life; days where she was the only reason for him to even get up in the morning. Those days were gone and that was his fault. He wanted nothing more than to make up for his mistake but it was too late; he had made his bed now he had to lie in it.

As their sweet moment was interrupted by the kid trying to knock over his drink, he moved her little hand away. ”Ryles, stop it,” He sighed with an almost laugh before returning to his train of thought, trying to distract himself from the peppering of kisses he had just received. “That said, I wanted to broach the subject of moving closer to you guys. It’s not fair for you to always keep coming here and since I’ve got the go ahead from the docs, I thought why not?”

Roddy’s last words stopped Lanie in her tracks, her face going from joyous to crestfallen in a matter of seconds. “But Rylie and I are moving to Texas…” she mumbled morosely, defeatedly sinking back down in her chair. What were the odds that just when she was trying to make decisions for her little family to move forward, something would happen that would make her question if she was indeed doing what was best for everyone involved? Sure: that was what life was all about, but it didn’t make the circumstances any less sucky.

”Then I’ll come to Texas with you. It’s not even a question,” Roddy interjected almost immediately. There was no way he was going to let Lanie move that far away with Rylie. He already felt like he had missed so much being stuck in Edenridge and if they were to move across the country he would only miss that much more. ”Don’t forget, before…this… I was supposed to go to college in Austin. They let me defer, my spot is still there if I want it. If this is something you want, Lanie-- like, you really want it-- I’m not gonna stop you. I’m just gonna make sure that I’m there for this one and you. Like you’ve been for me.”

No matter how hard she tried, there was no hiding the way Lanie was positively beaming now. She knew she shouldn't be getting her hopes up of their relationship status changing in any way, but just knowing that Roddy was willing to relocate so the entirety of their little family could thrive was more than Elaine could've hoped for.

There was something else Roddy wanted to talk about. He was somewhat hesitant since he didn’t know how Lanie would react but he had to bite the bullet. He brushed his longish hair back before continuing to speak. “That said, my parents want to look after Rylie tonight, if you’re cool with that?” Rod polished off his drink and handed the empty cup to a passing Beau. “And I think you and I should go out tonight. Not a date, just us taking some time to get on the same page again, for her.”

“Leave it to your parents to come up with a sneaky plan like this to try and get us talking again…” Lanie joked with a small chuckle, feeling happy and comforted by knowing Roddy’s parents held such love for her and her daughter.

”Well, honestly you know my parents adore you so you can’t be that surprised.”

“You’re right about that!” Lanie laughed, flashing her ex-boyfriend a bright smile. If Roddy would have proposed the two of them go out for something that didn’t involve Rylie at any other time, Elaine would’ve laughed in his face and asked if he was high on his pain meds. But considering how surprisingly fantastic this interaction had proven to be, the young woman was open and willing to give this little excursion a chance for the sake of their daughter. “And, I mean: sure. Let’s do it! Do you have any details you can give me, or is it going to be a surprise? I’d at least like to know how I’m supposed to dress up in case I need to run by Main Street to get myself something to wear.”

He wasn’t going to lie; Roddy was terrible at planning stuff like this. It wasn’t that he didn’t try or that what he did so was bad, it was just the limp and circumstances of it all. He wasn’t a song and dance man and preferred everything just that little more simple. Rather than some fancy restaurants, Roddy was happy to go to a diner; rather than a big party, he would prefer time in the house with some music and a few candles. Yet this wasn’t that type of occasion.

“I dunno. I guess we could grab some food and a few drinks at Hole in the Wall and go from there?”

The blonde snorted and shook her head, thoroughly amused at this turn of events. From the way Roddy was acting, she could tell that the idea for them to go out was definitely orchestrated by his parents (the youngest Callahan wasn’t exactly the best at planning things of this nature). Yet knowing the father of her child as well as she did, Lanie knew he wouldn’t have brought it up to her in the first place if he didn’t believe it was a wise move. It was the thought that counted, right? “You know what? Dinner and drinks at the Hole sounds like the perfect plan to me. God knows I’ve been craving their Shepherd's Pie for a while now,” the girl confessed, her mouth already watering at the thought of finally consuming the second best shepherds’ pie within a 50-mile radius (the first place in her list belonged to Edith Callahan).

”Great!” Elated by Lanie’s agreement, Roddy got to his feet and swung Rylie around like an airplane, something the little girl loved. Both Lanie and Rylie giggled. ”I was thinking as well, maybe we can head over to the park before we go out, let the little one enjoy the sunshine while it lasts.” The shaggy haired man watched as another young couple entered the café; they looked familiar but he couldn’t place them, at least not the woman. The man he did recognize as an old friend of his brother Francis; Russ Lord. Roddy nodded at the man before returning to Lanie. ”What am I thinking you probably want to get settled after your trip. We can take her tomorrow.”

"C'mon, Rod, you know the trip down here's not long. Today, tomorrow: I really don't have a preference! Though I can say I don't think tomorrow morning would be a good idea if we end up getting wasted during our 'date-but-not-really-a-date' thing…" she joked, inwardly cringing at the idea of going to the park early with an active, vocal baby while nursing a pounding headache and bouts of nausea.

He chuckled a bit as she referred to their outing as a date. "Well, if we’re hanging out of our asses then we’ll send her with my parents, it’ll be fine,” To be honest, Rod was quite weary of how much he should drink whilst they were out. He tossed a few back with Marco fairly regularly but he always knew a limit. With Lanie and the way she made him feel, it would be way too easy to pound a few more to take the edge off.

As Lanie laughed at the idea of her and Roddy with their arms around each other giggling as they stumbled their way back into the Callahan home, a familiar voice interrupted them, and the blonde’s body immediately tensed up. Erin Blake wasn’t someone Elaine Lancaster was particularly fond of. Aside from the fact that they had way too many similarities for her liking, there was no shaking off the vibes she felt. Lanie and her family had opened up their home to Decky and Danny, and the Lancasters had done everything in their power to provide both boys with a safe, comfortable, happy lifestyle. Metaphorically, they had contributed in extending their lives. But when it really came down to it, Erin had been the one to, quite literally, save Decky’s life… And that was something that, no matter how much she had done, Lanie would never be able to live up to.

Fueled by the insane amount of pent-up rage and jealousy she felt towards the girl, Lanie cupped Roddy's face and planted a kiss on his cheek, making sure that it looked like it had been on his lips from Erin's point of view. It was equal parts petty and immature, but Edenridge always seemed to bring out the worst of Lanie. "I can’t wait for our date tonight, Rod!" she declared, just pointedly and loudly enough to (hopefully) dissuade any ideas this Erin girl might have. She'd already one-upped her once: no way was Lanie letting her get away with it again-- pregnancy photo shootings to gain her trust be damned. "You got this?" she asked him, motioning to the little girl still sitting content in her father's lap.

”I got this.”

"Alright!" Without warning, the young woman swooping down on her daughter and began peppering her little face with fluttering kisses. "Oh my goodness, you’re so freaking cute! I love you!” Lanie cooed to the giggling Rylie as she kissed her. "I'll see you soon, sweetie! Mommy's gonna get herself a nice little nap at Nana and Papa's house." That being said, Lanie stood up from her booth chair, shot Erin a parting ‘don’t even think about it’ glare before turning on her heel and gracefully exiting the café.

Meanwhile, Roddy got wind of a foul stench and immediately his face scrunched up. “Good Lord, what on earth is your mother feeding you, girl?!” He looked as even Beau and Colleen behind the counter caught wind of the smell. Rylie raised her hands up in the air triumphantly and giggled. She had truly won the day.


It was another beautiful summer morning in South Boston, and the blond-haired beauty named Elaine Lancaster was driving down the familiar roads that lead to Edenridge. When she had made the decision to leave town after her gut-wrenching breakup with Roddy Callahan the previous year, Lanie had hoped that the move would mark the beginning of her complete disassociation with the cursed town. Roddy had been making big and steady steps in his recovery journey, and she had hoped that by this point in time he would be strong and healthy enough to drive himself to her new home to spend time with their baby. This, of course, had been foolish thinking on the young woman’s part. Fast forward, and she was still making the wretched drive back to the place that had almost ruined her life-- just like she had consistently been doing three out of four weekends a month for the last damn year.

The entire situation made the normally sweet, outgoing and cheerful girl silently seethe with anger and bitterness. It wasn't that she regretted having her daughter-- quite the opposite, actually. Rylie's arrival had been a true eye-opener for Lanie. It gave her a new purpose, a new outlook in life, and taught her that good things can come out of the darkest moments. It also wasn't that Roddy was a bad father. From the moment he had found out about their incoming child, he'd been nothing sort of supportive, taking complete responsibility for his actions, fulfilling and excelling his role as much as he could under their special circumstances. What was truly upsetting Lanie was the fact that she only had her own damn, stupid self to blame for putting herself in these sticky situations.

Maybe if she had focused a lot more of her high school life on schooling and cheerleading rather than being the savior of the shaggy-haired broken boys of Edenridge, then perhaps she would’ve saved herself a lot of pain and heartache. She didn’t have to fall in love with Decky to help him and his brother out of that dark place they were at. Just like she didn’t have to let herself get knocked up by Roddy after bonding over shared trauma and failed relationships, and helping him stay caught up with his schoolwork. But no: her weak heart had decided that these were the two young men she was destined to give every last part of her to.. Only for them to discard her without so much as a look back.

How fucking pathetic.

Lost as she was in these bitter thoughts, Elaine failed to notice a growling red motorcycle getting hot on her trail as they approached a curve. Without warning, the rider darted right past and cut in front of the blonde’s red Kia Sportage, causing her to abruptly slam on the brakes with just enough time to avoid colliding with the metal bike.

“Fucking asshole!” Lanie yelled out to the disappearing figure of the mysterious rider, slamming the horn of her steering wheel in frustration. The sudden, violent stop of the car and her mother’s high-pitched screeching seemed to have startled the sleeping baby in the backseat. After a few wobbles of her tiny lower lip, Rylie Callahan’s cries filled the car, and not long after she was joined by the sound of her mother’s own overwhelmed sobs.

Someday, like today, it all felt like it was too much.

Elaine allowed herself to let out all of the poisonous, negative feelings she'd been carrying for a few long minutes before pulling herself back together, soothing her infant daughter, and getting back on the road again.

A short fifteen minutes later, and the young mom was pulling into one of the parking spots in front of Beau's Café: the place where she and Roddy would start off their “shared custody” days at. Lanie's comfort and gentle demeanor had put Rylie back in her regular, easygoing good spirits, and she was all smiles and giggles as her mother released her from her car seat and hoisted her up in her arms. Less than a minute later, the tinkling of the small bell atop the café’s door signaled the two ladies’ arrival. It only took about ten seconds for the blonde’s green eyes to spot Roddy, and after letting out a resigned sigh, Elaine made a beeline straight for his stool at the end of the room.

“Hey,” she greeted him coolly as soon as she was within earshot, wasting no time in passing him the infant that had been letting out small giggles and squeals of excitement as soon as her blue eyes had fallen upon her dearly beloved daddy. Once her hands were freed, Lanie took off her shades and placed them in one of the available side pockets of her mommy backpack. Hopefully her eyes weren’t still bloodshot or swollen from her little meltdown earlier. “Sorry I’m a little bit late today. Some asshole on a red motorcycle cut in front of me when I was making the turn after the highway exit, so I had to slam on the brakes so hard it woke my poor baby up,” she explained, pouting at her daughter and giving her a few little kisses on her chubby cheek. “I had to stop on the side of the road to calm her down before I could finish up the drive here. But, hey, at least she looks like she’s a lot more happy now...” the blonde finished, shooting Roddy a disinterested look before shifting her attention to the establishment’s owner.

“Hey, Mr. Beau!” she called out to the dark-skinned older man, happily waving her hand at him. The difference between how sweetly she handled her daughter, how cheerfully she’d addressed their former English teacher and her standoffish manner with her ex-boyfriend was obvious. Clearly, there were still many open wounds and raw feelings in Lanie’s heart to be cordial at best with the father of her child. “I’ll have a French Vanilla Latte, a banana nut muffin, and a tiny cup of sugar-free whipped cream for Miss Thing here,” she told him, turning back to her baby with an adoring smile on her face.

A @King Kindred &@Venus Collaboration
Featuring Zeru Williams & Fiamma Giannulli


Zeru left the Hades Cabin ready to face his next challenge: packing and unpacking the details of the quest with Fiamma. She had two things to worry about: his soul being lost and or his heart to Aphrodite. The latter seemed impossible to him, but the former gave him an ominous feeling considering their conversation earlier. He wasn't exactly worried about his soul, but he knew she'd ready deeply into the line.

Zee made the trek back to his cabin and walked up the steps. It was the third door he approached this morning, but the only one he didn't need to knock on to enter. He felt like a vampire needing permission to enter your abode. He walked inside his own and up the stairs to his room. He glanced at Levina's and wondered if he had time to tell her he was leaving too. He'd see after he finished packing. Everyone was likely waiting on him already anyway.

He turned away and continued to his room before opening it. "Hey you."

After her short reunion with Zeru and him leaving to speak to his cousin about the details of the quest, Fiamma had taken solace in the young man’s bedroom at the Zeus cabin. Although she wanted nothing more than to pretend her boyfriend wasn’t being sent off on a potentially life-threatening quest, she figured it was best to occupy herself doing something more productive than overthinking and moping around feeling sorry for her and Zee. Instead, the redhead busied herself with packing his belongings for the quest. It was the only way she could think of to be helpful in a situation like this. She’d been halfway done with neatly folding and packing the outfits she’d picked out for him into his travel backpack when the son of Zeus himself arrived in his bedroom once again.

“Hi, baby!” Fiamma cheerfully replied, ceasing her packing duties to approach her boyfriend, wrap her arms around him and give him a kiss. “How did the talk with Erin go? Did you find out the details about this whole quest thing?” As much as she hated to bring up the subject so soon, it was best to get the unpleasant conversation out of the way now so they could enjoy whatever time they had left-- if any. The girl pushed the unwelcome thought out of her mind as fast as it had come.

Zeru loved being greeted with a kiss and could really get used to more of that once they became public. His smile faded once she asked about the quest. It was time to put a pause on their moment of bliss and have the conversation neither of them really wanted. He knew Erin thought it best to withhold some information from Fiamma, but he just couldn't. There were no secrets between them. That wasn't how he wanted their relationship to be and he knew his girlfriend was strong enough to work out her feelings and trust him.

"Yeah… The talk with Erin went okay. I'm worried about her but I trust that she'll make it through this. But about the quest… Here's the prophecy. Six figures, tall, stand strong in the East... a land of Pisa, pasta, and much art none the least... while two might find love, one soul shall be taken... the Lady’s dove shall be found, but what vengeance will it awaken..?" He paused for a second. "So… that's it. I'll let you process it."

He was honestly worried how she'd react. Those two lines next to each other. He had to believe that she'd trust in his love for her and trust in his strength and will to survive and come home.

The more she heard about the details of the prophecy, the more visibly upset Fiamma became. The quest was sending six of her fellow demigods to Italy: that much was obvious, and not at all the source of her distress. What did upset her was the fact that her boyfriend was not only leaving her and risking the loss of his soul voluntarily, but that he was doing so in order to recuperate the most prized possession of the woman Fi knew he’d had his sights on for as long as she could remember…

And that really hurt.

“So it’s a quest for Aphrodite…” Fiamma said slowly, the words coming out as bitter as they felt in her mouth. She took a moment to step away from Zeru and perch herself on the edge of his bed. “And although the prophecy doesn’t explicitly say you’re the one who has to go, you’re choosing to go, because Erin couldn’t ask her brother or any other guy instead of you. Am I understanding this correctly?”

Zeru knew she wouldn't be happy and her face showed that before her words did. As soon as she mentioned Aphrodite he knew where her head was at. He didn't blame her for going there, but he wished that she hadn't. It was no secret to most of the camp that Zee had a crush on the goddess of love, but once he started dating Fi his feelings for the goddess became less something he wanted to pursue and instead was more of a celebrity crush.

"Not completely, no." Zeru said with a small sigh. "I'm actually not the only guy. Erin's the only one that isn't. We're like her bodyguards." He knew this was serious, but it was his attempt to lighten up the mood just a bit before he continued. "I'm choosing to go because my cousin needs my help and for the first time ever she said that to me. Right before she said because I can fly and we're going after a bird. But I just can't leave someone when they need me."

“And I understand that, Zee: I really do. But you can’t stand here and tell me you don’t have an ulterior motive for accepting the invitation to the quest other than to keep your cousin safe.”

As sympathetic as Fiamma usually was when it came to family, she simply couldn’t find it in her to see the situation through Zeru’s eyes at the moment. The green-eyed monster of jealousy and her many deep-rooted insecurities kept her prisoner in her own invisible cage. Any time her boyfriend’s biggest crush or his exes were brought into conversation, it was hard for the redhead to not compare herself to them and feel like she’d never come close to measuring up. What could she, a flimsy little daughter of Apollo, offer a guy who’d been with the likes of an Aphrodite daughter, a daughter of Iris, a handful of nymphs here and there, and who’d been drooling over the goddess of love herself for years?

Zeru couldn't lie to Fiamma and he couldn't lie to himself. He had two ulterior motives for this quest. One she likely surmised already. But it wasn't exactly the way that she thought. "You're right, Fi. Admittedly the first thought that entered my mind when I heard the announcement was how retrieving Aphrodite's dove would put me in her good graces, but it's not what you think. Do I still have a crush on her? Yes and I'm trying to get over it, but I do not love her."

“For now.” Fiamma stubbornly interjected, frowning at the floor beneath her feet. “The prophecy did say that ‘two will find love’. Maybe they’re talking about Aphrodite realizing you’re the one for her after returning her dove, the two of you falling in love, getting married, having babies and all of that good stuff. You never know.” The girl knew she was being ridiculous, but she couldn’t help herself.

Zeru shook his head, took Fiamma's hand in his and lifted her face with his other one so she could see him. He knew she had some insecurities that he didn't help with his past and he knew she was dramatic, but this was a new level even for her. It was kind of cute, but he decided to keep that to himself. "I do know. I'm only on this quest to find a bird and hopefully knock a few brain cells into Ares. I already found love in the one I want to marry, have babies, and do all of that good stuff with. I don't need to search for it anywhere else."

“Maybe another, better love will find you," the girl insisted, pouting and averting her gaze away from Zeru's. Fiamma knew he was talking about her, but she refused to let it get to her head even if his words made her feel all warm and happy inside.

Zeru shook his head and laughed. "There is no better love, my stubborn little goddess. You know that. Now kiss me so you can remember it."

Although she was still pouting, Fiamma knew Zeru was speaking to her with full honesty. In all the months they had been dating, the young man had never given her any reason to doubt him or their relationship. He had been kind, patient, faithful, and reassuring, proving time and time again that he had eyes for nobody else but her. No matter how insecure she could be sometimes, Fi just needed to learn to see her worth and trust her boyfriend. And if there were any more doubts or questions, then this quest would be the perfect opportunity to put the unwelcome feelings to rest once and for all.

The redhead let out a long, defeated sigh. “Fine…” she mumbled, puckering up her cherry-tinted lips to give Zeru’s a fleeting kiss. “There. Happy?” Fi asked him, the ghost of a faint smile playing in the corners of her lips. She knew full well that her boyfriend wouldn’t settle for this brief, tiny kiss.

Zee knew she was teasing him. But he also knew she wanted a real kiss more than he did. "Happy? I'm insulted." He wrapped his arms around her waist and pulled her closer to him with one strong gentle pull. His chest was pressed against hers and as she wrapped her slender arms around him, she could both feel and hear the beat of his adoring heart. They stared into each other’s eyes for a moment-- chocolate brown with ice blue--, until Zeru leaned in to give her a very passionate kiss. He was putting all his love for her behind it so she could feel the full extent of his feelings for her. As he did so he was reminded of a song his mother used to play around the house and for the first time ever he understood the words.

Does he love her?
She wants to know.
How can she tell if he loves her so?
Well, it's in his kiss.

And for the rest of the night, Zeru made certain to show his girlfriend exactly how much he loved her so.

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