Chapter 1: Act 1
I never liked summer. Hot, uncomfortable, bright, the universal constant of happy fucking children giggling like assholes about to die of guarana overdose. To make matters worse, i didn't even get to hang around on the streets or sleep in all day like normal kids did. Oh no, i was stuck all summer at a camp for teenagers in the middle of fucking nowheretown. Nowheretown here being a shitload of gnarly, cocksucking trees. And a lake. And shitty, stale-smelling little cabins. All around, a generally unpleasant experience.
I've attended Camp Mirror Lake every summer since i'd turned 13. That's three. Tedious. Years. I know what it's like; as soon as you're on that bus, nobody gives a shit anymore. The camp instructors only care enough to make sure nobody is killed and they don't get sued. I'm pretty sure the cook is screwing the janitor; that would explain why the place is never clean (i mean that in more ways than one
There are usually around 100 kids every year, give or take depending. Some are lucky enough to get out of it. Most only ever make an appearance once then never come back. But there are a few constants, like myself. I sit on the bus now and look them over out of the corner of my eye, spotting some familiar faces. From the front of the bus, i have a pretty good view.
Firstly, there's the back seat. A tool i know all too well chills back there with his posse. His stupid, super-saiyan-esque blonde hair with the purple streak(mark of the insufferable wanker) is hard to miss. Eric Ampora, the dipshit who only gets by with bullying others because nobody likes him. But peer pressure is a powerful thing, and he has people to back him. Yeah, the cool crowd.
Next to him is his bitch, some bejeweled, over-excited ditz named Freda Peixes. She's extremely pretty, and that's a stretch for even me to admit. I'm just glad she's the most nonviolent of all of them.
On the other side of the purple lighthouse is Ethan Zahhak. He's of middle-eastern descent, and pretty buff. Very submissive, he does pretty much whatever Eric says. He's the muscle of the operation.
One window seat is occupied by a girl called Vanessa Serket. She's a huge bitch and that's all there really is to say on the matter. She loves to torment a guy called Travis who is in a wheelchair, but he's so much of a pushover he kinda almost deserves it. She has the kind of long, flowing blonde supermodel hair most girls would kill for, and a pair of designer glasses. She's kinda creepy too; because of this thing when she was born, one of her eyes didn't completely develop and one pupil is deformed, it looks like a star with six dull, rounded points.
On the other window seat, someone i know all to fucking well sits staring out the window. He's not a guy who tends to speak much in the presence of his 'friends' and when i've seen them tormenting people in the past, he tends to stand by and not participate unless singled out. Poor guy, knows he has to hunt or be hunted. Makes me detest him even more. He never takes those stupid shades off either, some people even say he sleeps with them on. Dave Strider looks as stupid as always back there.
In the two rows in front of them is their entourage of chumps, about six guys and six bimbos who follow those back seat assholes around. Dave is one of these, it's just he managed to get the spare back seat this time, so the cool crowd takes up a rounded number of seats, like some retarded game of back-seat Tetris.
In front of them are some people who aren't so well off but aren't completely doomed. Rose Lalonde, Dave Strider's bookworm bitch of a sister and Tanaya Maryam, her best fashion-freak friend chat quietly next to each other. The cool kids pretty much leave them alone unless the girls do anything to provoke the douchebags, which is rare because they keep to themselves. Rose creeps me out, but Tanaya is pretty nice to me when she's in the talkative mood. One of the few people who notice me, luckily i guess. I'm so unnoticed i'm not even worth the cooldouches' time unless i'm having an extremely stupid/unlucky fucking day.
Across from them sits the brown-haired Nina Lejion. She's french and loves cats, and her voice gets on my nerves so i try to ignore her. She tutors Ethan and she's the only person whom he refuses to let Eric or his posse touch. I guess he took a shine to her, i don't know and i don't give a flying fuck. Moving on...
Gavin Makara is asleep with a bit of drool hanging out of the corner of his mouth, taking up two seats. His dark bead-head is hard to ignore. He's usually stoned off his face and the tools never bother him; they don't get a kick out of it. Their torments would just fly over his head anyway and he'd just blunder on about unicorns or some shit. He's pretty amusing to talk to if you're extremely bored or mentally retarded.
Next is Seth Captor and Aria Megido. Seth and i are cool, i guess. He's close enough on the popularity heirachy to be able to talk to me comfortably. His eyes are pretty trippy, one is red and one is blue, something that amuses Gavin so much he sometimes just sits and stares at Seth for hours on end, which is pretty funny i guess. He's sitting with Aria, some depressingly quiet and kinda creepy girl with long, mahogany hair. She went through childhood trauma or something and i think that fucked her up a little from what i understand, so Seth looks after her. Travis Nitram sits across from them, his wheelchair folded up next to him. He looks flustered as always and i don't give a shit enough to dwell on him.
Closer to the front are the twins, John Egbert and Jade Harley. They have different last names because their parents are split and got one each, but they get to hang all summer at camp. Them and Travis are among the lowest of the low, they are common targets for torment by the back-of-the-bus crowd. Both wear glasses; John has braces and Jade has this unconscious habit of biting her lip all the time. It makes her look even more stupid, as if the glasses didn't do that enough. Both have jet back hair, John's is spiky and Jade's is almost as long as Aria's, and a bit longer than Vanessa's.
Across the aisle from me is Riza something or other. I only know her name from roll call; she's not new as she was here last year, but she wasn't blind then. Her dad is a welder from what i hear, and she was dared by her cousin to stare into the welding flame or something and got blinded. Her cousin is Vanessa Serket, for convenient reference. She clings to her cane like a security blanket. She can't see me staring but i look away quickly anyway as the bus pulls in.
As we all file off the bus, the roll is called again and our bags given to us. I stand with my arms folded and frown as the names are listed and people step forward.
"Freya Peixes" Eric steps forward and picks up her bags for her before she can move, and then takes his own as well when his name is called, pushing Jade out of the way with his shoulder as he passes.
"Ethan Zahhak" In turn, Ethan takes Nina's bags as well as Vanessa's, at her request, although many of the boys rush to take one of Vanessa's many suitcases and pillows and other such horseshit.
"David Strider" Dave straightens after leaning against the bus like a dickhead. "Dave." He corrects the instructor and hauls his duffel bag onto his shoulder. He follows Eric, Ethan, Freya, Vanessa and Nina, getting a glare from John as he helps his sister back up.
"Rose Lalonde, Tenaya Maryam, Lucy Eilsing, Martha Love, Aria Megido..." The list went on. They slowly moved off with their bags to their assigned cabins. Of course i was fucking last. I always am.
"Kurtis Vantas" Before i even move the bored instructor moves over to talk to the other, who is handing out baggage to the passengers of one of the other busses. I pick up my bag and walk down towards the dingy little cabins, reading the note pinned to my luggage. 'Kurtis Vantas, cabin bS.' Yay, cabin bullshit. Fanfuckingtastic.
Three minutes later and i finally reach the wooden cabin. The other four occupants are already there; Seth is throwing his bag onto the bottom bunk of one of the beds. The one above it is the only vacant one. On the other side of the cabin, John Egbert(bottom bunk) and Dave Stupid-i-mean-Strider(top bunk) take up the other bed. The douchebag has his headphones in and says nothing, and John looks nervous. Worst fucking summer ever, and it's only Day 1. Fuck. My. Miserable. Life.
Chapter 2: Act 2
So for the past few days i've been stuck here. Stupid goddamn camp for kids. I really do hate my brother, he's probably screwing some chick's brains out back home while i'm away, trapped in a fucking cabin that smells like a gremlin's armpit between some nerdy, uncool douche, a computer geek, and some aggro crag who does nothing but quietly stew to himself and swear a lot. John Egbert talks in his sleep, Kurtis swears in his sleep and Seth even snores with a lisp. Not to mention, it's supposed to be summer but nights are freezing in the fucking north, especially since i can from down south.
So camp is pretty crazy. The instructors don't give a shit what we do and already things are getting progressively worse just a week in. I'd never admit it, but i really don't like these idiots i hang around with. Already things are escalating. There have been three atomic wedgies, eight food fights, four cases of clothing theft, and other such stupid things. I haven't been associated much so far, but i can't avoid it forever. It's like a baby turd in a swimming pool, it follows you around and it's disgusting. One of these days, i'm going to have to get out of this pool. The need to survive is pretty strong, but i'm pretty sure a guilty conscience is stronger. I don't want to go another summer feeling horrible just to save my own ass. I can do without those idiots...
But still, my hesitation persists like a drunk, broke hooker.
But today, the time would come where i would be dragged in. Flying under the radar had worked up until now, but shit was about to hit the fan.
It was getting close to sunset, and everyone was out for a swim. The two instructors assigned to watching us were making out on the bank of the lake. Ew. Eric had suggested cliff diving, and so we were gathered around the small, 2 meter high cliff. Eric was in the water, checking out Freya as she sunbathed on the nearby rocks with three friends. Nina and Ethan were sitting on the top of the cliff a small distance away, discussing something. Vanessa's little fan club were with me at the top of the cliff, a couple jumping in, others joking around. We were laughing, sharing a joke. I was just about to get pressured into jumping (which is not a thing i wanted to do) when Vanessa emerged from the trees in a bikini, pulling Jade Harley along with her. I wasn't liking the look of this, even if it did avert attention from myself. A confused silence stretched over the group as Vanessa began chatting away.
Flicking her hair over her shoulder with one hand and holding Jade's wrist tightly with the other, she called "Heeeeeeeey guys! Look i found a new friend, i told her how much fun cliff diving was and insisted she try it. Its great isn't it guys?" She glared at the few guys still standing with me on the top of the cliff, and they nodded eagerly. Anything to please Vanessa, because god forbid you didn't. She grinned her unnerving smile and turned to Jade. "See? Now why don't you try it out..." She dragged the protesting girl close to the edge. "Wait! You can't dive with your glasses on silly."
Jade shook her head and spoke coherently for the first time. "No i need them to see! I really don't think this--"
Vanessa cut her off with a laugh. It was not a nice one. "Oh come oooooooon Harley! I even loaned you one of my bikinis out of the kindness of my heart to make you look nice and pretty, and you're spoiling all my effort with those glasses. Pssh how ungrateful! Now take them off..." Vanessa reached forward and plucked the glasses from Jade's nose before folding in the arms and calling "Eric, catch!" and tossing them out to him. He snapped out of his eye-feast on Freya and caught them with one hand, holding them above the water with a grin.
"Hey!" Jade tried to pull away, but Vanessa had her held tight.
"Oh stop complaining. Sometimes you have to sacrifice impeccable vision for beauty. You look great now. Right guys?" Vanessa pulled Jade closer and wrapped one leg around hers, striking a pose and puffing out her chest. The guys nodded in agreement, the sick fucks. I stayed silent as always and tried to think about something else. I don't care, i don't care, it doesn't bother me, i don't care. I kept telling myself that even as Vanessa stepped forward and pushed Jade off the small cliff and into the water, but i knew otherwise.
Funny how it made me angry, just a little, when Eric grabbed a hold of the squirming girl's waist and tried to get her to admit it was fun. That was John's sister. He was a bit annoying, but he never did anything to me. He could even be nice, even though he hated me with good reason. Not funny. Ironic. Ironic how i found i did care when it was established after a few minutes of her desperate squirming and Eric's provocative torment that he had dropped her glasses while he held onto her writing body as best he could. Ironic that her look of panic and desperation compelled me to take off my shades and throw them to Nina, who was about the most trustworthy person there. I was wearing knee length, black bathing shorts with my signature shirt, instead of my usual jeans. Not that i had come here with the intention of getting in the water. Just as well i guess, because jeans were hard to swim in. I peeled my shirt off and took three steps forward. Nobody noticed my action as they were all bickering about who's fault it was that the girl's glasses were lost. Until i began to speed up, then launched off the cliff. Then Eric, Jade, and Freya and her friends saw. By the time any more caught on i was under the murky lake water, the splash soaking Eric and Jade even more.
I couldn't see all that much down there, but i ran my fingers through the sand under Ethan, looking for the feeling of the thin metal frame. I saw them before i felt them, they glinted a bit at the bottom of the lake. Lucky too, because my chest was tightening more and more by the second. I snatched them up and pushed for the surface of the water. When i finally got to it, i gasped for air and huffed, short of breath, as i held up the spectacles. "Everyone calm the fuck down, nobody's paying to replace anything alright." I kept my back to Eric so he didn't see. The others were too far away and they wouldn't be able to discern the color.
All of a sudden i heard Eric curse in pain and swear at Jade. She's kicked him in the nuts apparently, when he let his guard down for a moment to ogle at me because i'm just that irresistible. I actually hope like hell that wasn't the reason because that would be fucking creepy but whatever, i digress. Jade had managed to get away while Eric doubled over in the water and snatched her glasses out of my hand, putting them back on in a hurry. That's when i'm positive she saw, because she turned from grumpy to amazed, before our staring match was interrupted by my shades hitting the water between us. Nina had done that, i think. I'd have to thank her later, but for now i quickly scooped them up and swam for shallow water where i could stand, shaking my head violently to get the water out of my hair. When i looked up, Jade was disappearing up the bank, running past Freya and her giggling friends and into the trees.
Great. I now personally wear the crown of douchebag. Luckily i might be spared for saving Vanessa and/or Eric from the liability for paying for a new pair of glasses for the girl. I crawled out of the water and up the bank, my forced laugh joining in with the others as it all became a joke again.
Hm. On DA i got some questions about the relationships between characters being altered so let me say, i can't promise all relationships in this story will be exactly like they are in-comic; given the circumstances and the cliques, plus the general theme of things, some relationships won't be able to realistically stay constant, although i will try my best to stick to canon as much as possible.
I feel terrible for butchering some of the characters in retrospect, especially Vriska/Vanessa, but i will work on fleshing her out in later chapters.
Chapter 3: Act 3
John speaks his mind, and perhaps his sister's too?
"Hey um..." I shifted uncomfortably. It was dark outside, but Dave had only just returned from the lake, his hair still damp but his shades ever-present. Kurtis and Seth were not back yet. Dave paused from searching through his suitcase to wordlessly peer at me, waiting for me to continue. "I-i talked to Jade a little while ago."
Dave did not respond, but the corner of his mouth twitched. Whether it was about to become a smile or a frown, I didn't know.
"She told me what happened." I continued carefully. I was sure Dave didn't want to be associated with me, but i felt obligated to say what i was about to.
Dave looked like he was going to continue not saying anything for a moment, but then he stood up and sat on the edge of Seth's bed to face me across the room. "Look. John, i don't know what she told you but i'm sorry okay. It was a stupid thing to do and she's probably really upset but my friends are assholes alright so--"
"Shut up Strider, i'm not done." I said, frowning and surprising even myself. I still didn't want to like this guy, and him apologizing made it harder. He was no good and I knew i had to keep that in mind, even though deep down i knew full well that i didn't think that. He'd never done anything horrible like the others. I think i felt sorry for him, not being able to step out of the shadow of those who influenced him. "I just thought i might tell you that she's pretty grateful for you getting her glasses back and all."
"And she knows that you hang around with those idiots but you're not as bad as them and she thinks you should know that." I went on, before letting Dave say anything.
There was a moment of silence. Then the blonde boy replied "You really think so?"
I blinked. How had he seen through me so easily? I had taken care to make it out that Jade had said those things. Looking at my hands in my lap, i sighed. "Yeah. Well i mean i'm positive she knows those things too but she's still pretty angry at you and your friends..."
"Did she tell you anything else?" Seeing my look of confusion, Dave added "I mean like about the incident and stuff."
I tried to think, but nothing came to mind. "No. She only told me that you got her glasses after Vanessa pushed her in." He looked relieved for a moment there, then went back to the static poker face and just nodded. Maybe he wasn't so bad after all???
I sat in the dining hall next to my sister who had more or less recovered from the ordeal earlier in the evening. She kept nervously glancing over to the tables where the cool kids gathered, being loud and rowdy and throwing food around. Like some previous nights, a food fight was looking likely; it wasn't like the instructors were going to do much about it. Which meant i had a limited amount of time to eat what i wanted and prepare to throw the rest. Even with jocks pegging fruit around as hard as they could, i found the battles kinda fun! I mentioned my thoughts to Jade.
"Oh i don't think so! Last time i got my favorite skirt ruined with fruit juice and now it's only good as a painting outfit or something..." she sighed and glanced over at the table for the billionth time, where the fight was beginning to escalate.
I laughed, and replied "Oh come on you have heaps of pretty clothes. Besides you can just duck behind a table or something and will you stop staring over there while i'm talking to--"
It's begun. A handful of potato salad smeared across our table and food began to fly everywhere. Jade ducked under the table with a groan and i stood up, getting a spoonful of mushy peas and using the bendy plastic item of cutlery to catapult it's contents over to the next table before running for cover between tables, ducking ad weaving and getting splattered with food in the process. I got to the stage and scrambled up before ducking behind the curtain and...
Tripping over Tenaya Maryam.
Quickly getting off her, i apologized profusely. "I am SO sorry Tenaya i didn't see you there!" I was so embarrassed.
Tenaya shook her head and chuckled. "No It's Quite Alright" There was someone else with her, Rose Lalonde, who also laughed.
"No fair Tenaya, all the boys are falling head over heels for you!" She sounded very sarcastic and also amused. This made me blush profusely.
"N-no way!" i denied quickly.
Rose and Tenaya laughed again, making me feel even more like an idiot. "She Was Joking Egbert." Tenaya said as Rose closed her book and stood up. She was wearing a short white skirt and a black sleeveless top with chain straps which said--
"Nice view?" Rose asked, raising her eyebrow. Tenaya giggled and stood up as well while i blubbered like an idiot.
"N-no... i mean not that you're like... not that i mean that there's nothing to look at, i mean i was just..."
Rose interrupted. "Yes i get it. Anyway can we get out of here? I'd rather not be discovered here hiding like a coward from those imbeciles when i could be at a more favorable distance." She turned to leave and Tenaya followed her as they headed for the back door behind the stage. She called over her shoulder "You can tag along too Egbert, if you want."
I hesitated, still red, then trotted to catch up with them as they opened the door to go outside.
This one is not so bad, thanks if you've stuck around through those awful first chapters! More to come, i promise.
Chapter 4: Act 4
Kurtis has an unexpected encounter in the woods.
I wasn't hungry that night. In fact, i don't think i ever eat much anymore. Maybe the high concentration of stupidity was making me lose my appetite. Maybe i have a high metabolism. Whatever goddamned reason it was, the fact is that i found myself outside in the forest whilst everyone else was having a merry old time throwing food at each other like primates.
The night was unseasonably cool, the overcast sky that i could only barely see through the canopy threatening us with rain as i hauled my pathetic, lonely ass through the forest. And no, i'm not a total dumbass; obviously i stuck to the path or else i wouldn't be able to get back. I just didn't know where i was going, especially not in such dim light. Landmarks were nearly impossible to identify in the darkness.
I reached whatever destination i was fated for eventually. Medium ropes. I looked up at the silhouettes or the ropes and noted that medium ropes look high enough for me. Well, what a magnificent waste of time that had been. And not here i am, turning around to leave, when...
"Who's there?" It was distant, but the rest of the forest was so quiet, i heard it anyway. Who the fuck was that? Obviously there is some creeper watching me. Advance or abscond, my mind asked me. I don't know why i did it, but i picked advance pretty quickly.
"Kurt-- who the fuck's asking?" almost lost my composure there. I listened closer this time, trying to identify the voice.
"Oh. Hmm." I heard creaking, a rustle. It took me a moment to realize that the voice was coming from the ropes. Stupidly, i looked around for an instructor, but predictably there was none. Again the voice spoke and i picked out that it sounded pretty feminine. "I thought you were one of those idiots for a moment."
I scowled. She was nuts. Did she even have any safety gear? Had she just climbed up there on her own? Utterly moronic bullshit right there in it's purest form. "Who are you? I can't see."
She laughed. No, she cackled. A chill went up my spine. "Funny you should say that." she eluded, then i heard more creaking; movement. She was crossing the ropes, i realized quickly.
"Whoa dude. What are you doing, do you even have a harness?" i blurted out. Mad. Completely fucking bonkers.
"Hehehe, nope!" She cackled again. That cackle, it was so animated i almost felt as if she were mocking me. More creaking, clanks, a thud. For one sickening moment I thought this girl had fallen, but then the footsteps came closer. I squinted to try and see, and i probably still wouldn't have recognized her if not for the distinct shape of the cane that tapped in front of her feet.
"Riza, no fucking... how the hell did you even.... what?!" Needless to say i could not handle this sight to any degree. How had a blind girl, a disabled human being, climbed up there without a harness or guide, chilled for a while, and made her way back without seriously injuring herself?
She giggled this time, a sound much preferable to the mocking, piercing cackle. "I'm blind, not stupid, you know." she told me. "I can find my way around pretty easily now. It was hard at first, but i got used to it pretty quickly."
"Whoa ok slow down hotshot. I wasn't asking for your life story." I hissed at her coldly, disgusted. Why was she still here? Why was I still here? "Sorry to bother you, i was just leaving." I turned on my heel, shoving my hands in my pockets and heading back the way i had come. I should have seen it coming, but i didn't get far.
She hooked her arm around mine, swinging her cane dangerously with the other hand. I tried to ignore her, to keep walking, while she talked my left ear off. "Well take me with you! It would simply take me aaaaaages to get back on my own and it's always way more fun if i have a friend to help me along~"
I twitched. Oh my god why. Why do imbeciles and freak shows like this moronic specimen always gravitate towards me? This is going to be a loooong walk. "I'm not your friend." i mumbled under my breath.
Somehow she heard. Of fucking course. "Wow Kurtis no need to be so forceful, god." Yes. Maybe she was finally getting the message. "If you wanted to be more than friends all you had to do was ask! Hehehehee" Oh my fucking god.
"That's bullshit and you know it!" i yelled, pulling my arm away from hers in a huff before continuing on my merry way. She followed the sound of my footsteps.
"Oh calm down Kurtie i was only teasing!" Riza whined. Great, now she made up a pet name. I've always wanted a dumb name to be known by. Best day ever. Really. "But you're getting a little defensive there would you say? Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm?"
"AAAAAAAAAAAARGH!" I threw my hands up in frustration. "Jesus FUCK i do NOT want to be more than friends with a girl i have partaken in a whole FIVE FUCKING MINUTES of conversation with in my entire life! Could you even call that conversation? More like some dumb annoying bitch talking me to death about shit to which I GIVE NO FUCKS." By the end of that i was yelling in her face.
The look on her face, she looked like she was about to cry. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck what do i do? Girl. Crying. I made a girl cry how do i fix that. Are they like babies can you just shove something in their mouth to shut them up? OH GOD wait shit poor choice of thought jesus fuck. "Awww. I was only trying to be friends with you!" she whined quietly. "You seemed lonely i was only trying to help."
I felt bad. Despite myself i felt like a complete dick. How low did i just stoop? I made someone else feel bad, because of my own lack of empathy for their feelings. I felt like throwing up. I felt like Eric Ampora, a douche who just didn't care. "Look Pyrope i'm sorry ok. Sometimes i get carried away..." i dragged my hand over my face. "I didn't mean any of that please don't cry?"
She giggled. What. What. "Ok! I won't, as long as you're nice to me from now oooon!" She linked arms with me again and this time she sort of dragged me along. I scowled. "Now hurry up and get me back to my cabin before dinner is over!"
"Why? What's the rush?" I hissed, sulking.
"Weeeeell how's it going to look if they all come flooding out of there and absolutely everyone sees us coming out of the woods together? It's best we sneak back inside like everything's normal, huh?" She cackled again. I think my ear might have bled.
With i sigh, i trudged on and tried my best to keep my mouth shut whilst she chatted on for the rest of the walk back to that depressing clump of buildings.
I was planning on writing the 5th chapter tonight, after transferring all these, but i think i will have to leave it for another time, hopefully tomorrow?
Hope you enjoy it so far :)
Chapter 5: Act 5
My sprint paid off and i slammed against the door, trying the handle. Fuck. Locked. "Shit shit SHIT!" i yelled in frustration, banging on the door. There was a chair sitting beside it and i got an idea. Before i had a chance to talk myself out of it i grabbed the item of furniture, took a step back, raised it above my head and......
Wow ok. Sorry for the slower than anticipated update! But it was a big one; over 2,000 words!
Well, compared to other chapters that was a lot. There's quit a bit of back and forth dialog in this one.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
"Hey John we shou-- John?" I realized quickly that my brother had run. Thanks, bro. Really appreciate the help. I sat cross-legged under the table, using the chairs around me as protection from the airborne foodstuffs flying about the room. If only i could eat my dinner in peace, just once! but no, instead this awful group of bullies had to stir shit as usual.
I knew i couldn't stay long, and my best bet was to get out before everyone else dispersed. The last thing i needed by far was to be singled out again, like the other day. My thoughts drifted back to the incident at the lake, being thrown into the water and almost losing my glasses. And those eyes! I didn't know Dave was an albino. In fact i was pretty damn certain he wasn't an albino at all. Sure he was pale, but not THAT pale, and his hair was a fawny blond. I'm more of a physics kinda gal but i'm also pretty sure a half albino wasn't possible. Oh well, time to stop pondering genetics, because i needed to be looking out for my opportunity to escape this joint! That resolve didn't last long: i spotted him across the room, hurling a perfectly good cinnamon bun across the room, aiming at no discernible target. He flicked his hair out of his eyes with one swift motion of his head, armed himself with another dessert and looked around as if he were ready to throw it, but was waiting for an appropriate victim. If there was one. Wherever he was looking was hidden by those shades, which hid the eyes that so fascinated me. He threw the donut and skipped back, lithe as--
I screamed as something closed around my ankle and began to drag me out from under the table. Frantically, i kicked at the vice-like hand until it's owner swore and let me go. Desperate to escape, i scrambled out the other side and made a run for it, darting down the aisle until arms encircled my waist, hoisting me up a few inched off the ground. I kicked, screamed, flailed, got hit in the leg by a pastry before my heel made contact with who i now realized to be Ethan's knee. He cried out and dropped me and i ran in the opposite direction to where i had been going. The kitchen door! Perfect. Throwing chairs out behind me and ducking to avoid food stuffs thrown in my general direction, i found myself lost in a frenzy of screaming, laughing kids.
My sprint paid off and i slammed against the door, trying the handle. Fuck. Locked. "Shit shit SHIT!" i yelled in frustration, banging on the door. There was a chair sitting beside it and i got an idea. Before i had a chance to talk myself out of it i grabbed the item of furniture, took a step back, raised it above my head and......
"Not in a million years." i yelped and turned quickly towards the voice, throwing the chair and backing up flat against the door. As soon as i took the time to observe the situation though, i regretted it immediately as a disheveled Dave Strider slumped against the wall.
I've killed him.
I'm a juvenile delinquent, i've hit and killed a young boy with an improvised weapon and i'm going to jail!! I threw myself down and shook him violently. "Get up you PIECE OF SHIT I'M NOT A MURDERER" i shouted, digging my nails into his shoulders. Luckily due to the chaos in the room nobody had noticed us yet. "Oh no now you're BLEEDING!?!? Stop that." Yes, red was seeping through his light colored hair. I slapped my hands up against the wound, repeating every variant of the word 'no' in my entire vocabulary. I slapped him lightly on the cheek. "Strider? Strider you idiot get your shit together and stop being dead i didn't even hit you that hard and i sure as hell don't wanna go to prison now be a nice kitty and wake up pleaaaaaase!" It only now occurred to me to check for a pulse. I had no idea how to do that, apparently it involved putting your hand on their wrist? I tried it without much success. Or rather, i told myself i was doing it wrong just so i wasn't doing it right and he really WAS dead. Instead, i pushed my hair behind my ear and leaned in, putting my ear close to his mouth. If i could hear breath then...
"EEEUAAAGHK!!!!" i wailed, throwing myself away and wiping my ear whilst the blonde sitting against the wall laughed weakly, despite a grimace plastered on his face. "Did you..." i stammered, wiping my ear still. "You didn't."
"I did." he said, voice thick with smugness. He did. He had stuck his tongue in my EAR!
Picking myself up off the ground and giving him my best pout, i folded my arms defiantly. "You were awake!" i accused.
"Lucky for you." He replied, quick and sharp. He was helping himself up off the ground now, rubbing his still bleeding head. "You hit me with a chair!"
"You snuck up behind me!" i retorted, volume escalating.
"After i rescued you from the lake! And got your glasses back!" he replied
"I didn't know it was you i swear!"
"Well you didn't think to ask did you."
"I'm sorry ok?"
"If in doubt, swing closest yielding object."
"Urgh!" I threw my hands up and turned on my heel, marching for the door. I didn't care if i got hit by food anymore, i already wiped the blood on my shirt and had three different kinds of dessert smeared across me knees. I didn't miss the sound of footsteps following along behind me.
"Ok, ok calm your shit lady. I was gonna say that hitting the door wouldn't work cause it's probably braced and you're weak as shit--"
I stopped and turned, so fast he bumped into me. "Well if i'm so weak i'm sure you won't mind if i hit you a little harder then huh?"
"That's not what i me--"
"Why are you following me?" i demanded.
Dave rolled his eyes. I couldn't see them but i just knew he did it. "Cause..." he grabbed my shoulders and steered me in the other direction, stopping me and speeding us up to avoid projectile foodstuffs. "Vanessa put chairs up against the doors outside. You can't get outta here. Not the normal way anyway."
"Oh." I mumbled. Taking a deep breath, i willed myself to calm down. He's only helping, Jade. He'd not dead, stop panicking, you're not a delinquent.
Dave nodded and let go, figuring i'd follow as we stuck to the walls, sneaking around the edges of the commotion. "Yeah. Oh."
Finally, he stopped me at a window and unlatched it, sliding the rusty frame open. It made an awful sound. "Ladies first." he offered, gesturing out the window.
I stepped forward to peer down. The hall was built on a slope, with the front entrance at the same level as the ground. However we were at the back wall, which meant that there was an eight foot drop. That's like jumping off a roof of a single story building! What if i broke my leg or something? "No way." i decided. "There's gotta be some other way--"
"You're welcome to take the back door of the stage." He said, gesturing. At a glance i could see that every rowdy teenager armed with food in the room was between me and that stage.
"I might break my foot." i whined, really not wanting to throw myself out a window of any description.
"Fine." He said, nudging me out of the way and seating himself on the window sill, judging the distance before sliding off and hitting the ground with a thump and rolling forward to break the impact.
I stared down. It was a long drop. A bagel hit the window above my head, dropping down and missing my nose by an inch.
"Just fucking jump, i'll catch you but you have three seconds to decide before i blow this joint." He threatened. "One..... two...." he warned. I still stood reluctant. "Three. Ok, have fun." he turned, giving a two-fingered salute with the wrong hand.
"Dave wait!" I called out, glancing over my shoulder. "I'll jump. But if you drop me i swear to god i'll hit you over the head twice as hard." I told him, swinging my legs over the edge of the window as he had done. Quietly I thanked my past self for deciding to wear jeans.
"Any day now Harley."
"Shut up...." i muttered, biting my lip. It wasn't easy, but i inched closer to the edge. Come on Jade! You can do it, just...
"Don't slip!" a voice behind me called, and before i could turn i was pushed roughly off the edge. I let out a scream and continued to do so until i hit something soft. It took me a few moments to realize my eyes were shut.
"Um..." a wheeze came out form the ground beneath me and i fling myself aside.
"Oh i'm so sorry are you alright?" I asked, helping Dave sit up.
He nodded. "Yeah, you kinda botched that landing though."
"It wasn't my..."
"Don't be so clumsy Jade! Anyone who didn't know better might think you fell on him on purpose." A teasing voice called from above. Vanessa, obviously the one who pushed me.
"What the fuck Vanessa, you could'a crushed me to death." Dave sighed, getting up and rubbing his bruised head.
The girl poking her head out the window cackled. "Did you hear that? He called you fat, Jade. Maybe you should stay away from bikinis after all?"
I pouted. That girl was so rude! I could hear her and Dave yelling back and forth, but i didn't really hear it. I was just so angry at that moment, i didn't really think. I just stooped and picked up a stick off the ground and the next thing i knew, Vanessa was swearing profusely and holding her head and Dave was grabbing my wrist, dragging me away. I didn't stop apologizing for the next three minutes in which we put distance between us and the hall. Finally we stopped near the bank of the lake, at the tire swing. We figured if anyone tried to approach we'd see them coming.
Dave was laughing. "Why? You fucking clocked her right between the eyes!"
I shrugged. "I landed on you. I threw a stick at your mob boss or whatever. She hates you now."
Dave didn't seem particularly amazed by this. "So? She's been pissed off since i helped you out the first time."
A silence came and went. It was painful.
"Why did you help me?" I asked quietly.
Dave was leaning against the trunk of the tree to which suspended tire swing i sat on, swinging idly. "I didn't want to be responsible for rendering you blind for a period of time, or having to chip in for new glasses for you."
"No, i mean... i meant tonight. Sorry if that wasn't clear." I said with a small smirk.
"Oh. Well you see this is my insurance."
Again, i could just tell he rolled his eyes. "Did i fucking stutter?"
I frowned. "How is guilt insurance?"
Dave pushed off the tree with his foot, putting his hands in his pockets. "You know something about me. I helped you out tonight. Your guilt prevents you from using that information in a defaming manner."
"How do you know i haven't told anyone al--"
"Then you should be feeling very guilty." I hadn't, but still...
I sighed and swung back and forth slightly. "I don't get why you're so worked up about it. I mean, so what your eyes are a weird colour? Who cares?"
"You... it's not about anyone caring. It's an insecurity ok, i don't like being different. Just promise me you won't spread it around ok?"
He looked pleading, almost. I pressed my lips together. He'd been kind to me, even though he said it was only to guilt me into not telling his secret. Still i couldn't really see myself doing that to anyone, be it him or John or Vanessa even.
I find now that i hate writing in first person, but it's far too late to change it now! Hope you enjoy it :3
The next chapter will probably be an almost immediate resumption of this one. I was going to put it all in Act 5 but it proved to long to do that. Hope you enjoy it so far!
Chapter 6: Act 6
"That hurts you know."
"Shush, i'm almost done."
My conversation with Jade had quickly deteriorated into her insisting to make up for hitting me in the face with a chair. Her idea of "making up for it" was by splashing the side of my head with water and dabbing violently at it with a tissue. I winced as she pulled my hair and scrubbed at the cut on my head, washing it with water. By now all my hair on one side was sticking to my face and had a reddish tinge. I wanted to push her away but she was right, it was probably best to clean the wound.
"Okay, i'm done!" she announced almost proudly as he offered me my shades back. I slid them back on without hesitation, noting again to myself that she was damned lucky she had missed them with her chair. I stood up and brushed off my jeans, helping her up as well.
"Thanks." I muttered, stretching. She rambled about something, most likely apologizing again; i wasn't paying attention. I was more distracted by the way she was squeezing out the tissue, waving her hands around her hips like she was looking for something. "Harley, what are you doing?"
She looked up with an oblivious expression, eyes wide and mouth in a little 'o'. I had to hold back a chuckle at it; she was too fucking adorable.
"I'm looking for a place to put this." She announced, holding up the now pink, blotchy tissue.
"Just throw it in the lake or stick it in a tree. Tissues dissolve
Jade looked at me like i'd just told her that Santa wasn't real. "Dave, you can't do that! That might hurt the ecosystem!!!"
"Yeah, cause Ampora inserting his wily person into the water hasn't done that already."
Jade pouted. She does that a lot, i've noticed. She sticks her bottom lip out a little and pulls her eyebrows together and gives her target a look that could make ice smoulder. She looked at the damp tissue, then got a look in her eye that i didn't like. Out of nowhere, she reached forward and hooked two fingers over the edge of my front pocket. "No wait what are you do-- don't put that in my pocket its damp and covered in blood. Jade. Stop no what stop." my sentences deteriorated as i focused on trying to bat her hand away.
"Come on it's your blood anyway!" she giggled. She was giggling.
"No stop i don't want to look like i'm housing a chick on her period or something put it somewhere else god damn it!"
By now she had backed me up against a rock, teetering on the edge of falling backwards over the damned thing whilst i desperately tried to avoid having a damp, bloodstained tissue shoved in my pocket. Such a precarious position, needless to say, did not last long.... mostly because she pushed me then sat on my stomach. I couldn't really do much about it then, when she shoved the tissue in my pocket and clackled vitoriously.
I'm not sure at what point it dawned on me that this girl might be a little bit nuts but it was definitely clear to me now. What wasn't clear was why it made me laugh. I, who so valued personal space and the illusion of impartiality was taking the side of the underdog, and apparently having fun whilst doing it. It never once crossed my mind that I might truly regret the descision, not once since the moment i hit the water.
It feels nice to smile.
At first, John Egbert's presence in our party had been... a subject of dismay, just quietly. Usually my best friend Tenaya and I would sneak around quietly, having quiet conversations and going unnoticed. Now, we had a loud yet well-meaning tail. But i must admit that he grows on you. At least it was a change of pace from extended discussions of literature and snarking battles. Ok, well maybe the snarking didn't stop but it made it all the more fun to watch John seem apparently either oblivious or quietly confused to the all out war of wits going on between his newfound companions.
After we left the hall, we had gone on walk just to avoid being caught up in the ensuing riot. It hadn't been a particularly long walk: we were approaching the lake again in approxiately 20 minutes. When things got interesting was when we passed the lake. Had Jade not been laughing loudly and Dave uttering his weak protests (weak, i suspect, because he didn't mean them as protests at all) I think we might have missed them in our passing. And had we been a little quieter in our approach, i might have gotten close enough to make some witty comment on their admittedly.... compromising position. However when Dave spotted us he finally and frantically made the effort to lift the girl off him and dump her on the ground, standing up quickly to act as if that had been his intention all along.
He wasn't fooling me, and he knew it too.
"Forgetting to turn off our swag again, are we?" I said with the most smug smirk i could manage.
His mouth, already back to it's usual straight line, twitched ever so slightly. "What do you want, Lalonde?"
"Oh, I'm sorry were we interrupting something? Come on John, Tenaya, we had best leave these two alone." I made a show of giving a little wave and turning my back.
Dave snarled "There's nothing to interrupted and you--"
I cut him off, hooking my arm around his. "Oh gooooooood!" I cooed as he wrenched his arm away. "Since there is nothing to interrupt then i guess you won't mind joining us on our walk?"
I didn't miss the glance he and Jade exchanged as he mumbled what i thought might be a "Yeah, whatever" and John looked even more confused than ever. Had he not expected this? People with a reputation such as my brothers' don't jepoardize it lightly, especially not for random strangers.
Our new party walked up the bank, past the still uproarous Food Hall and towards the ropes course. It was a favorite hideout for Tenaya and I, and would serve as a good place to wait out the adrenaline-packed teenagers swarming the grounds. Awkward as the situation had been for my step-brother and Miss Harley, conversation on the way flowed fairly easily and casually, no tension at all.
Up until we ran into Kurtis and Riza.
Sorry for the no summary/notes in the last chapter, i was in a bit of a rush but i ended up going back and editing it. So if you read it and it seemed incomplete that's because i had to post it or i'd have to rewrite it at home. "Don't write in class, kids" i whisper as i do exactly that with this chapter.