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Lane Blackwell

"Music completes me in a way that nothing else ever will."

0 · 816 views · located in Laurea, New York

a character in “Laurel”, as played by Imaveronica

Description


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{ "Music says things that words simply can't." }



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Name
Lane Blackwell

Age & Grade
17 - Rising Senior

Number of Years at Laurel
10 years

Sexual Orientation
Bisexual


Group?
Gifted


Talent
Musically talented
"Whether it be playing guitar, violin, singing, or
just writing music this is one of the few things I excel in."







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Strengths

~Lightening the mood~
"Tension may as well be my worst enemy, luckily I'm pretty good at breaking it."

~Being nonjudgmental~
"What kind of person could be so ignorant to say they know a person before they've talked to them?

~Defends those who need defending~
Well I've got nothing to loose, and you probably don't deserve to be picked on so...

Weaknesses

~Has a hard time taking criticism~
"What I think my works fine. What's wrong with it? It took forever, leave me alone gosh!"

~Doesn't take things seriously~
"Everything is going to be fine! Just relax."

~Leaves her shit everywhere~
"Whoops sorry, just push it to my side of the room, I'll get it later."

~Is immature for her age~
"It's just my personality, it's not like a problem or anything, just relax."

Fears

~Leaving Laurel~
"I don't exactly want to face college... or university... or the world in general!"

~Public Humiliation~
"The nightmares I've had..."

~Hierophobia~
Fear of Priests and sacred thing
"I know I don't care what they think about me, but that doesn't mean I don't feel uncomfortable around them.



Secrets
~Letters~
Occasionally Lane gets letters from her birth mother. She keeps them hidden in her pillow case but refuses to open them.

~Flunking~
Lane has constant thoughts of flunking her classes in order to remain at Laurel Academy longer.

~Sex~
There is a lot of wrong things that Lane has done in her life. This is one she feels fairly guilty about; taking advantage of Aimee while she was in a bad place. Of course consent was given but Aimee is straight. Had she been in a better place it probably wouldn't have happened but Lane and Aimee slept together. After it happened Aimee made Lane swear to never tell anyone and with basically no other option, she agreed.









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Personality

{ Outgoing, Careless, Nonjudgmental, Creative }

Lanes personality can virtually be described as any carefree teenager from any 80s movie. Although she works hard during the school year and does a decent job of staying on track, when the summer semester begins, She has no cares. Lane is one of those people who is always in a good mood. There are very few things that can really turn her attitude upside down. She just wants to have a good time and enjoy every moment of her time at Laurel.

Although she is ultimately careless, Lane cares deeply about her friends. They are extremely important to her, as they are the closest thing to family that she has. However, Lane will pester them to no ends to do something with her, if she's bored. She stays loyal to her friends, ready to defend them at the drop of a hat.

Possibly the only thing that can keep Lane quiet for longer than an hour is music. When focused enough on what she is writing Lane will sit in complete silence working out rhythms and lyrics in her head. Since she was little Lane has always looked for the music in the world. Whether it be in the sounds of cars outside her window or birds waking her up way to early, she uses the things she hears as her inspiration. Music is Lane's favorite thing about life and perhaps that is what made her to be such joyful person.






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Music || Playing guitar || Learning || Story telling || Popcorn || Cooking || Singing || Entertaining || Meeting new people || Sleeping || Chocolate || Gum || Flirting || Writing music || Annoying her friends out of love || Laughing || Swinging || Swimming || Competition || Cuddling || Socializing || Sand under her feet || Warm nights || Feeling wanted || Hot coffee || People watching ||




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Dislikes

Throwing things away || People touching her stuff || Headbands || Metal music || Rude people || Arrogant people || Serious people || Skittles || Soda || Meat || Jeans || The cold || Peppermint || Being sick || Loud chewing || Short hair || Yellow clothes || Wearing socks || Math || Polka dots || Hot tubs || Cats ||






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Biography

Lane as born in Selvitikie, Washington on September 13th, 1998. Her parents were teenagers and had conceived her by accident. They raised her together for 4 years until deciding on a divorce. Unable to continue to raise her, Lane's poverty stricken mother signed her away to foster care. Being so young it was expected that Lane would be placed in a semi-permanent home within a year. Unfortunately that never happened for her, but Lane 's musical talent was just beginning to reveal itself. Her foster counselor applied her into Laurel when her was 6 and by age 7, she was starting the 2nd grade at Laurel and has been a yearly there ever since. Lane has loved Laurel since her first day here in second grade. She's been nothing but herself and over very all happy. Her teachers have been her inspiration and her idols.

Lane discovered she was bi sexual in middle school, simply when she started having feeling for both genders. She kept in a secret for a fairly long time but during her freshman year she had relations with both a guy and a girl and then she began telling people. At first she was extremely cautious, as she didn't want to be bullied by any of the upperclassmen. As time went on and she became an upperclassmen herself, the fear went away and now she can proudly call herself bi with any worry whatsoever. Lane is not a virgin, she lost that her sophomore year.

Coming upon her senior and final year at Laurel, Lane has been struggling to face the reality that soon she will be pushed into the real world, where she will
have to provide for herself more than she ever had too before. Lane is convinced this will be the best summer of her life and she'll do anything to make it that
way.









Played By:
Imaveronica

Dialogue Color:
#FF3333

Face Claim:
Sofia Black D'elia

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Here for storage until RPG will allow me to post links to this rp lol

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{ Rising Senior, Gifted, Musically talented || Creative || Nonjudgmental || Careless } ◑= Neutral | ☺= Friends |☠ = Enemies : Rivals | ღ = Hooked up with/Attracted to | ♡ = Crush | ♥ = Love or significant other




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"Quote" || Explanation of Relationship


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[color=dialoguecolor]"Quote"[/color |◑| Explanation of Relationship

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[color=dialoguecolor]"Quote"[/color |☺☺| Explanation of Relationship


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[color=dialoguecolor]"Quote"[/color || Explanation of Relationship


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[color=dialoguecolor]"Quote"[/color |◑| Explanation of Relationship


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So begins...

Lane Blackwell's Story

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Daniel Ahn Character Portrait: Holden Cunningham Character Portrait: Erin Hill Character Portrait: Rebecca Sayre Character Portrait: Christine Garner Character Portrait: Anna-Marie Beckett Character Portrait: Sterling Walker Character Portrait: Lane Blackwell Character Portrait: Nina Nikolayevna Romanov Character Portrait: Anthony Carraway Character Portrait: Mimi Arquette Character Portrait: Guadalupe Solorzano-Cifuentes Character Portrait: Aimee Hart Character Portrait: Keevan Brennan Character Portrait: Colin Dartonay Character Portrait: Kai Rainwalker Character Portrait: Lucas Long

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{ Monday, June 22nd || Laurel Summer Academy || Partly Cloudy }

Before the Summer semester there is always a long weekend for non yearlies to move out, and for students to move over to the summer dorms for the semester. The weekend starts on Wednesday and ends Tuesday the next week. The night before there is traditionally a bonfire dance, which is non-mandatory but popular, mostly because the food provided is delicious and staff are extremely willing to turn a blind eye during it. It is also common for students to ask dates to the bonfire dance, it being the common beginning of summer romances, both of the lasting and fling variety.

At the moment, it is quarter to noon. Most students have been awake since breakfast, although there are always those willing to forgo the meal in favor of sleeping past noon. Students are settled into their dorms, for the most part, and have picked the classes they will begin taking the next day.

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In celebration of the beginning of Erin's final Summer Semester as a student of Laurel (as technically next year she will have graduated from the school come Summer Semester), the young woman is nowhere to be found. She was not in her room when her roommate woke up, was not at breakfast, and most certainly was not anywhere at all in the dorms. Of course, those who could not find her did not really know the young woman particularly well. Anyone who knows Erin knows precisely where she ought to be, and would have been surprised to find her in her room this morning. This is because every year (the celebration thing is merely a dumb excuse) she camps out the night before the bonfire. That is to say the young woman finds a nice spot in a thicket of trees just a bit off from the beach around the lake, pitches a modest little tent, and roasts smores and watches the stars. All of her friends have an open invitation to take part in this little tradition, though most come for the smores and leave back for their dorms around midnight or so to sleep in a comfortable bed. While there they might also set of sparklers with her and laugh and tell horror stories, for Erin loves nothing better than a cheesy, stereotypical fireside horror story. The midnight society is very much her ideal.

But that was last night, and now it is afternoon, and the young woman is only just waking up. She has a little set up over a little fire to try and cook eggs, which every single year are always runny and underdone but she claims are the most delicious and perfectly made eggs the world has ever seen. No one who has tasted them as denied this, at least not out loud, for the sake of playing along with her little annual game. Thus it will go this year as well, as the young woman stretches out her legs and arms, yawns in a particularly cat-like manner with her eyes scrunching shut and her nose wrinkling. She pokes her head out from the tent flap, as this is a very traditional sort of triangle little tent, to see that light is already dancing across the ground, filtered by the trees into generously illuminated patches. Erin smiles- she couldn't keep a straight face if she tried at the moment. This is always one of her very favorite times of the year, and has been since she started the tradition in seventh grade. Of course, back then she was often joined by- well, it hardly matters anymore. What matters is that she shrugs on her bathing suit and go off into the lake to wash off the night's sleep. It is going to be frigid, of course, it always seems to be. Glad with the thought, Erin darts out of her little cluster of trees and towards the lake.



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Daniel Ahn has been awake since a little past dawn. Of course, he has been, because the boy often seems slightly more robot than man with his stoic expression and vague sense of distance from everyone else. Oh, he's something of an asshole, most everyone knows that by now, but in a way which seems more programmed than pathological, with his judgmental glances and calculating little smirk. His opinions seem like protocols, patterns inserted into his psyche, with how cleanly he sorts people. Friend, foe, or irrelevant: there is little space for compromise among these two categories in the eyes of Daniel Ahn.

That aside, there is of course a reason for him rising with the sun on a day in which oversleeping is an option many are more than happy to take. Every morning Daniel goes for a run. He does not strike anyone as the most athletic of individuals, and would never be caught at the gym pumping iron or on the basketball court playing 1v1. However, part of his criticalness must be pointed towards himself, and he expects some semblance of fitness of himself. Thus, the young man jogs nearly every morning, come rain and snow, more reliable than the US Postal Service. Daniel has always been inclined towards pattern and routine, after all. This is perhaps why he becomes so attached to a select group of people: they simply become part of his routine, albeit a part he becomes fiercely loyal to.

After his run, Daniel had naturally taken a shower and then eaten breakfast with a few other Influentials. Since then he has been quite content to sit on the back porch of one of the dorms (which are honestly just two large cabins) and read a book. It is Anna Karenina, which he has taken a disliking to but resolved to finish due to the principle of the thing. It is far too soap opera in his view, though he may not know enough of soap operas to fairly judge this. Daniel glances at his watch and flicks the page in the same clean movement. He'll likely be going to lunch soon enough.


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For his part, Keevan is still dead to the world. He's never been much for early rising, and will likely sleep straight through lunch if no one intervenes and interrupts his nearly comatose state.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lane Blackwell

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As of noon June 22nd 2015, Lane Blackwell was in a state of complete bliss.

In Lanes opinion the last month of her junior year had dragged on longer than any other month of her entire life. The moment students were given permission to begin moving to the summer dorms Lane was hauling her 3 jam packed suitcases out the door. She had unpacked everything she had rather quickly and then officially declared herself summer semester ready.

Right now Lane was sitting indian style on her bed, in her dorm, with a guitar in her lap. With one hand on the strings and the other rested across the bass she was working on piece to be preformed at the bonfire that night. Usually an upperclassman would take care of it but now she was the upperclassman and she had taken it upon herself perform something that would excite everyone for the summer. Lane glanced out the open window, a warm breeze rushing over her. A few students had begun their day by exercising, and some were reading in the lawn, but aside from that it seemed to be quiet out. Lane returned her focus to the strings of the guitar, she squinted at the page, yawning.

Last night Erin kept her down by the lake till around 12 ish. It was Erin's own little tradition to camp out, and enjoy one last fling with some of their non yearly friends while at the same time kick off the summer. Lane had been there up until the ghost and horror stories began, at which point she headed back to the safety of her room with a s'more in each hand. Having woken up early this morning due to her unbridled excitement for the bonfire tonight, she was now fairly tired. Lane grabbed a pencil off her desk and began making corrections on the sheet of music below her. The title across the top read 'Shut Up and Dance', a song Lane had been weary to choose but figured that since most people probably knew it, they'd be more likely to feel comfortable singing along. Lane stuck the pencil behind her ear, slowly strumming out the notes.

"We were victims of the night... a chemical.... physical kryptonite...." She sang along softly, concentrating more on the guitar. Regardless of how the song came out, Lane was prepared to have the best summer of her life and she was 100% positive nothing could ruin it.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Erin Hill Character Portrait: Lane Blackwell Character Portrait: Aimee Hart

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Aimee sat by herself in the courtyard, per her usual routine in the mornings. It was easier this way, not having to be around people. Sometimes, those who knew her anyway, would come and say hello. She'd smile and wave like any decent person would, and then they would move on their way and she would continue to sit. Sometimes it would only be for a few minutes, sometimes it would be for a few hours. It gave her time to think, to process, without having to worry about accidentally bumping into someone and getting their entire life story.

Winter was the best. In winter, she could bundle up and wear gloves and not have to worry about it seeming off. At least with fabric, the rush of information wouldn't be as pure. With clothes, she maybe got a blurry memory, but never anything concrete. This was what she appreciated. In summer, however, not so much. It was true, she knew almost everything about each one of the Yearlies, but she didn't flaunt it. There were certainly some people she was worried about, and maybe would confront at some point, but other than that she stuffed it down where all the other things were that she didn't want to process.

Like that night.

Aimee cringed. That night with Lane was definitely something she did not want to process. And yet, it kept bubbling back to the surface. Her and Lane hadn't spoken since it happened, not even occasional small talk in the hallways. But, Lane had kept the secret. No one knew that they had sex. And as far as Aimee was concerned, no one was going to know. Ever.

Looking at her phone, she saw a missed call from Tyler. She groaned. He found it very hard to leave her alone, even after she begged and pleaded to give her one day to herself. She knew her brother loved her and just wanted her to be safe and careful, but God he could be so annoying! She deleted the voicemail he left her and put her phone back in her pocket, standing up and facing a little clearing outside the break of trees that had a lake in it.

Suddenly, a girl burst from the trees. Aimee sputtered, recognizing Erin. She laughed to herself as she saw the pure joy cover the girl's face. She had such a quirky personality that if Aimee didn't have a natural talent for distancing herself, they might have been friends. But, Aimee considered herself a nice person, and didn't want to besmirch the girl that was hosting the traditional kick-off to summer bonfire that night. So, she waved. "Hi, Erin! Nice to see you!" And with that, Aimee walked back towards campus with the hopes of seeing yet another familiar face. It was about time she made herself some friends.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lane Blackwell

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As the music she played on her guitar became more fluid and put together Lane decided that a lunch break sounded about right right now. She had gone down for breakfast extremely early that morning and could feel her stomach growling in need of more food. Pushing herself off her bed Lane stuck her guitar back in its case, zipped it up, and strung it over her shoulder. She shoved the sheet music in as well, figuring that maybe after lunch she could find a place outside to sit and practice. Lane quickly snatched her room key off the desk before heading out of her dorm. Dressed in some worn out jean shorts and a vintage Rolling Stones t-shirt of which the sleeves had been cut off, Lane made her way down the hallway, happy as can be. The air conditioning was blasting, something Lane took pride in when telling people about the school, …air conditioning in the summer is the best thing about Laurel…okay maybe not the best, but it’s high up there in my favorite things about summer… and as she neared the cafeteria, the mixed noises of silverware and chatter became more clear.

Lane headed straight for the food line upon entering the cafe. She was quick to grab a sandwich, water bottle, and apple, and make her way to the check out. At Laurel, there was mainly 2 separate ways to pay for a meal, depending on your circumstance. If your family had money then you were given a green card to which your family could add money on as needed. If your family had no money or you had no family then you were given an orange card to which the school would put a certain amount of credit on for you to use through out the year. Lane pulled out her orange card, handing it to the lunch lady.

“Thanks Janet, happy summer!” Lane smiled enthusiastically, waving as she walked away.

Lane sat down at one of the long narrow tables. She pulled her black guitar case off and say it down on the chair next to her. Lane was sitting alone, although she didn’t really mind. When she had been younger Lane had always felt awkward eating alone but right now it was all good. She pulled out her notepad and proceeded to scribble down some lyrics as she ate.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Daniel Ahn Character Portrait: Erin Hill Character Portrait: Sterling Walker Character Portrait: Lane Blackwell Character Portrait: Nina Nikolayevna Romanov

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      XXXHe doesn't turn to look at Erin when she speaks. Sterling pulls himself out of the water and snatches his towel resting on a large rock. He ruffles his platinum blonde hair, peaking at Erin through thick lashes. A lazy smile plays on his lips.
      XXX"I'm willing to share," he murmurs. It takes him only a few strides to reach Erin. Her nose is level with his chest, making him grin some more. Beads of fresh water trail along his torso only to disappear beneath the waistband of his shorts.
      XXXHe takes a strand of Erin's hair between his fingers. His eyes wander to where sunlight hits the narrow strands, painting it gold. His fingers trail along the shaft of long blonde hair until he is no longer touching it, but still it floats. His lips quirk in a mischievous smile. Sterling lifts his eyes to meet Erin's.
      XXX"If I didn't know any better, I'd think you were avoiding me," he says. "But your self-control isn't that great." A low chuckle rumbles from his chest. His accent is thick, thicker than before he returned to England. Before he left and disappeared without so much as a post card.



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      XXXDaniel is one of the few who is still able to incite from Nina genuine laughter. His execution of dry humour and blunt sarcasm is flawless, his manner unassuming. She laughs and smiles at his comments, forgetting in that instance her nightmares and the faulty heart lodged in her chest. No water rushes into her lungs when she inhales, no sickening vertigo that makes her think she might be drowning or falling. She breathes air.
      XXX"Only if you're paying, Mr Ahn," she teases, imitating Daniel's odd formality. Nina tucks her arm into the groove of his elbow places a hand on his forearm.

      XXXA muted anticipation descends upon the bustling cafeteria when the Queen and her Advisor sweep in through the thick mahogany doors. They hold a collective breath when Nina pauses at the doors, sweeping an assessing gaze over the room. She seems to stare at each person in turn and perhaps that is her gift, the ability to influence the many through a few.
      XXXHer eyes linger on a dark head bent over a guitar and sprawls of paper. Like Erin, Lane has always been talented. Kind. Loveable and forgiving and everything Nina did not know how to be. Because Lane, above all else, was a good friend, something Nina has not been for a long time now. Her ribcage seems to shrink, pressing into her heart. Despite the years that've been and gone, and her knowledge of power and strength, still she cannot help an inkling of regret. Of sorrow.
      XXXIt enrages her.
      XXXThe heel of her black leather knee-high boots click against the tiles of the dining space as she strides with long legs to wear Lane sits alone. Her elbow grazes the edge of Lane's filled cup and like the straw that broke the camel's back, the glass tips.
      XXXWords coalesce into thick clouds of black ink as the water bleeds into the paper. Pools titter and spill over the edge of the dining table. Liquid hits Lane's lap and the metal strings of her guitar.
      XXXA thrill rises in Nina, but her stomach seems to dip. Pain bursts from where her painted nails dig into her palm and she welcomes it. Deserves it. She wants to do some more. She wants to ruin her old friend where she sits, more than she already has for the past three years. She wants to stop. She wants to hold still, disappear, fall to her knees and beg for forgiveness.
      XXXWeak, growls the devil perched on her shoulder, sitting on her chest, pushing her forward. If you can't be happy, no one can.
      XXX"Oh, I'm so sorry!" she croons. An apologetic smile slips onto her face of its own accord. Nina watches her body move and listens to the words slip from her mouth. Disconnected.
      XXXShe rights the cup, smearing any remnants of music in the process, until the sheets of paper are simply blobs of dark colour and disintegrated efforts.
      XXX"I'll get you another drink," she purrs. "I know much that must've cost you." Nina stares directly into Lane's eyes as she mocks her, marks her as poor. Insignificant. Nina lifts a slim, manicured hand. A slight red-haired girl rushes to her side and sets a glass of water and a carton of orange juice on Lane's table. For a fleeting moment, Nina's smile falters but the look of steel is back and she flashes another one of her devastating smiles as she pulls away.
      XXXTheir table of Elites, capable of influencing the Influentials themselves, sit a distance away. They're watching the scene with amusement, some chuckling and smirking. The less significant ones bustle around them like the servants to dukes and duchesses. They're eager, hopeful for the chance to be elevated.
      XXXHope made fools of everyone.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Daniel Ahn Character Portrait: Erin Hill Character Portrait: Rebecca Sayre Character Portrait: Christine Garner Character Portrait: Sterling Walker Character Portrait: Lane Blackwell Character Portrait: Nina Nikolayevna Romanov Character Portrait: Keevan Brennan

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By the time that Keevan's mind finally decides it is time to greet the day, he has already wasted most of it. Even his Summer roommate, who has tendencies very similar to his own in terms of start times, has left by now. This is almost embarrassing to Keevan, rising later than Sterling. Almost is the key word of course, for Keevan is the sort of lad who seems to have very little in the way of shame and nearly as small a dose of self preservation. After all, no one properly worried about themselves would willingly lead a technically illegal online newspaper, one that has plenty of enemies among those who frequently find themselves in it's articles. That being said, Keevan suspects that many of the faculty know he is the source of the Breadbowl (which he plans of course to pass down to some lucky, gossip-loving yearly come the end of next year), and let it carry on because they find it a) amusing, and b) a harmless aspect of high school life. The gossip is going to happen anyway, after all, it might as well be reliable. And the Breadbowl is nothing if not that- Keevan is very keen on fact checking. It would be a discredit to himself were he to publish false rumors. He is an investigator as well as an editor. Of course, he can post unverified rumors if he reminds everyone that rumors are all they are confirmed to be.

It is this little project of his that he immediately turns to when he wakes up, opening up his laptop and checking any recent submissions. Of course it will be slow, as people are busy settling in, but without a doubt the Summer blog posts will be far more interesting than the normal semester ones. During the Summer, yearlies are let out to play, with significantly less supervision and significantly more little secret nooks to hide in their spare time, which they may spend however they please. A bunch of gifted, powerful, and wealthy teenagers lodging together for an entire Summer, many of them having long histories? Oh, Keevan simply adores Summer entries. Something about the heat works up people's emotions, and that makes for excellent stories.

He scans through the two or three he has, all just little tidbits of suspicious action, one with a photo as evidence. Unsurprisingly, they mostly speak about the Influentials. The Influentials who stay here for the Summer tend to be the ones with a bit more on their plates, after all; the happy ones are by now off on their private jets to vacation with mummy in Paris. This leaves behind the bastard children, black sheep, shady wealth sources, etc. It's beautiful, really. A writer could ask for no better source of character ideas than one of the most prestigious schools in the Northern Hemisphere.

The lunch options aren't too shabby either. Keevan is soon on his way to the lunchroom, laptop safely in his backpack. He is never without it, naturally.
To: Rebecca Sayre
How's Nina doing? Always a pleasure, love. Don't forget to keep in touch this summer.


He grins at his phone as the screen returns to black. Rebecca may be among the top of the social ladder, but he likes to think she is in his back pocket. Daniel Ahn isn't the only one with his ear to the floor at Laurel- far from it.


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This isn't the time to start something, I should just go. Carr and Lane are probably at lunch anyway- Erin begins to realize the contradictory nature of choosing to confront Sterling in such a way, when what she really wants to do is avoid him, but too late. He is already moving towards her, and it feels as though turning to run away, which she is half inclined to do, would be admitting defeat. Stupid, stubborn Erin would never concede to the asshole who stole her first love, one of her best friends. She would never give him that satisfaction. Unfortunately, Erin doesn't realize that playing his game is doing just that. She is a clever girl, with hands that read blue prints like the palm lines of future generations, with a mind wiring for electricity and light and machines. When it comes to people, however, her programming tends to miss a few spots. It's a bit of error in the coding, and leaves her to often play right into the hands of others. Thus, like an indignant child, she scowls at the nearing boy.

His hands move towards her face, and by instinct of a dance played before she steps back. Her footwork is faulty, however, and lacks the necessary speed. Normally speaking, Erin loves to have her hair touched and play with. She is quite the adamant believer that most people do. Sterling is not a normal classmate, however, and his fingers fiddling with her hair gives her a shiver rather than a feeling of warmth. He radiates cold. Even as he releases her hair, it floats in the air as though pulled forward by a magnet. He is toying with his abilities, she knows. Abilities which have always infuriated her with their inability to be explained.

But of course Sterling knows this.

"I'd need to be drunk and stupid to want to seek out someone like you," she shoots back, reaching up to pull her hair back down. The sight of it makes her vaguely uncomfortable. His chuckle is all the worse. The foolishness of what she has said dawns on her too late. In an attempt for recovery, she attempts to play his game. The failure is likely pitiful.

"If only there were someone worth knowing behind that face of yours. Then our time wouldn't have been such a waste," The reference is clear, and perhaps dirty as well, but Erin has worked hard to avoid Sterling, and owes him no kindnesses for ruining the effort. I need to go.


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"Oh, I wouldn't dream otherwise."

When people automatically look at Nina and Him, Daniel nearly smirks. However, the expression only half succeeds, giving him a somewhat menacing look with his mouth one fifth curled and his eyes glinting like a knife. There is good reason to believe someone may fall on him and cut themselves against the sharpened edge of his being. Luckily, most of his close friends wear gilded armor that protects them from such tragedy. Perhaps this is why her far prefers the company of the high, mighty, and guarded. They suit him much better, and he them, than anyone else possibly could.

To put on a show for the normal students, as he views them, Daniel leans over and whispers into Nina's ear, expression twisting into that smirk which had been denied entry by the gates of his mind earlier. "I don't suppose you're suddenly aching for dear old times," he murmurs, following her gaze. His words may have fell upon deaf ears, but as her walk directs itself towards Lane soon afterwards, there are those who look on with an anticipatory sort of horror. It seems that the sort who cover their eyes before a creature pops out in horror movies make up a fair percentage of the current diners in the hall. And with rather few people left, everybody is seated such that they may watch the scene unfold, from the seven year olds sitting in the corner with a monitor to the seniors who will be off come Summer's end.

Daniel does not follow her, but walks over to the Elite table, distinction made by the lack of diners at the three tables nearest to it, and the choice position near the large windows of the cafeteria. At this time of day, it is lit up by the sun, which glints against the diamond bracelets and platinum watches of those who sit there. It shines like power, reflecting in Daniel's eyes. The young man turns when he has reached the table to watch Nina. Just in time to see that flash of inconsistency across the face of the Queen. It is no surprise to him, but Daniel hopes no one else sees it- a Queen that wavers is one that falls to a mere Duchess, and Nina ought to know that. After all, someone had to be bumped back in line for the throne in order for her to ascend. Daniel has always edged the shadow beside the gilded chair, but her seating was more of a hot topic semesters ago.

She is the better for it. Daniel could not ask for a better woman to stand by. He has even briefly considered the lucrative option of, in some years time, making the partnership more permanent. But that would be a deal to be made another day, should no one more fitting be arranged.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Daniel Ahn Character Portrait: Anna-Marie Beckett Character Portrait: Lane Blackwell Character Portrait: Nina Nikolayevna Romanov Character Portrait: Colin Dartonay

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Monday, June 22nd | Laurel Summer Academy
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As she finished her meal, Anna took to looking around the cafeteria, examining the people that were soon to becomes her friends. Or her enemies. Although the former was naturally the more preferable option. She noted the different tables with a raised eyebrow. "Wow. It's like Mean Girls. Colin's eyes rose, a confused knot between his brows, "What?" Anna shrugged, "Oh, you know," Before quoting the famous chick flick in a clichéd 'rich bitch' tone, "'You got your freshmen, ROTC guys, preps, J.V. jocks, Asian nerds, Cool Asians, Varsity...'." At Colin's blank expression, her voice trailed off, and her girlish tone was replaced with a dumbfounded one, "Seriously? You haven't seen...? I guess rom-coms aren't your thing." "Am I that transparent?" Anna sighed, shrugging off her step-brother's sarcasm before explaining, "What I mean is there's a different clique at every table. Only in this case it's..." She glanced around the cafeteria again, pointing a finger at each table, "Geeks. Musicians. Basket cases. Drowning-in-cash-ies..." Colin's tone was laden with snark, "Wow. You've got us sussed." Anna ignored the falseness of his tone, instead smiling with pride and stretching in an arrogant, aren't-I-great? manner. "I know."

She flickered her eyes over to wear one of the 'drowning-in-cash-ies' had approached one of the 'musicians', and a frown crossed her face as the former spilled water over the latter's notes, malice clearly intended. "Hey. What the hell? Did you see that?" Colin gazed slid to the scene, his expression saying little, "Oh. Nina Romanov strikes again." "'Romanov'? Like, as in 'Anastasia'?" Anna replied, her curious tone joking, "Yeah." Anna's expression froze, and she looked back to the girl in disbelief, "No! Seriously?" "Seriously." "Woah..." For a second, Anna was spellbound, but then she shook away her amazement, and her frown returned, "But still. What a bitch." "Mmhm." Once again, Colin's interest was waning, and Anna peered over at him once more, "So... who are these other guys?" Colin sighed, and pointed lazily to the students as he named them. "The girl by Nina, that's Lane Blackwell. She's a 'Gifted'. Musical. Pleasant, I suppose. " As he ran through the students in monotone, Anna tried her best to keep the names tucked away for future reference, although Colin's personal style of narration wasn't making it any easier. "And that... is Daniel Ahn." Anna followed his gesture, and allowed her eyes to fall on the slender figure standing not so far away from Nina. "... Try to avoid getting on his bad side." "Hm? Why?" "Because he's the type to make you regret it." Colin's tone had shifted to something Anne couldn't quite put her finger on, and as she glanced to Colin, his expression had darkened. "Did... you get on his 'bad side'?" Colin's trance shattered, and his gaze broke away from the darkly dressed individual. As though a spell had broken, he returned to his calm and blunt state, "Yeah. I guess I did." "How?" Colin sighed, although his dispel of breath seemed weary rather than annoyed, "He just... never liked me." His gaze flickered, as if he'd fallen into a daydream, and murmured as an afterthought, "He was friends with Julian." Anna was taken aback by this new information, as well as the change in mood, and bit her lip. "Oh." She fell silent for a moment, before 'ahem'-ing awkwardly, and rising from her seat. "Well, I'll keep that advice in mind." She smiled nervously in an attempt to break the tension, "Come on, let's go." Colin sat in his chair, and nodded slightly, "Fine." Anna waited for him to get up, looking around the room with a curiosity now dredged by concern.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Erin Hill Character Portrait: Sterling Walker Character Portrait: Lane Blackwell Character Portrait: Nina Nikolayevna Romanov

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As Lane sits she taps her pencil against the table creating a light beat to go along with the lyrics scribbled on the pages below her. She's trying to remember what the beat she created yesterday was, but memory has chosen to fail her. The tapping continues until it is suddenly beaten out by the crisp loud sound of heels approaching her.

Nina

Who else but Nina would choose a pair of heels as her go to shoes for one of the first days of summer, Lane much rather preferred a worn in pair of Keds. Lane keeps her head down in this moment, focusing on her music. Sure if Erin was there sitting with her, Lane may have scowled at the influential, but she wasn't up for it.

It didn't take long however for Nina to reach the table. Her expensive perfume filling the air around them.
Lane glances up just in time to see Nina's elbow make contact with her glass of water. The glass falls with a loud thud, water overtaking everything it its path, Lane's eyes widened and her mouth falls open.

"Shit..." She speaks under her breath, her eyes dart from paper to paper but there is no hope. The water flows over the table reaching her guitar and then her shorts. Lane feels completely paralyzed, unable to save her songs, her guitar, or herself. It feels impossible to take in all at once.

originals...these were original songs...weeks of writing...

A lump forms in the back of her throat as she stares blankly at the papers and she scrunches her nose, holding back tears. Why was Nina doing this, why had she gone completely out of her way to ruin everything important Lane. All Lane could run through her mind was why. Everything came rushing back to her. From their friendship over 3 years ago and then Sterling leaving... Nina's depression, Nina turning on everything she used to be to become this stone cold influential. The memory's were suddenly interrupted by Nina's air piercing voice.

"Oh I'm so sorry!" She says in an unrealistic apologetic voice. Nina's hand moves to the glass, she sets it up right, smearing the papers even further. Lane bites her lip. She wants to scream, to yell out, to grab Nina's arm and yank it away from her papers, as though Nina is tampering with the dead bodies of her children. But Lane can't do anything except watch in absolute horror.
"I'll get you another drink, I know how much that must have cost you" Nina says practically spitting venom. She stares into Lane's eyes, and Lane sees nothing but a shallow cold hearted influential. She sees no regret across Nina's face, in fact, she sees pleasure. Lane's heart is broken, completely shattered there on the spot. The tears in her eyes are so close to falling over the edge and streaming down her cheeks, she can barely hold them back. Lane was almost completely unaware of the people around them watching until a younger girl, quite possibly a freshman dying to rise up, sets a new cup of water and a carton of orange juice on the table.

Lane doesn't say a word to Nina. Instead she pushes back her chair hastily and throws her wet guitar into the case. She runs for the nearest exit, her face burning up. Lane shoves open the door, she's outside.

Where's Erin....I need Erin

Unable to keep the tears held up anymore Lane cries, hurt stomach aching as she walks down towards the lake where she had left Erin last night. She cries for not only her music but for Nina and is angered that she had ever considered her a friend. Lane can see a blurry Erin and she runs towards her.

"Erin...Nina ruined everything...my entire notepad..." She feels like a child running to her mother after being bullied on the playground. Lane covers her mouth in an attempt to keep from crying.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Daniel Ahn Character Portrait: Erin Hill Character Portrait: Anna-Marie Beckett Character Portrait: Sterling Walker Character Portrait: Lane Blackwell Character Portrait: Nina Nikolayevna Romanov

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#, as written by Layla
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      XXXLane's eyes wobble as tears threaten to overflow. The dark haired girl turns away, her hands shaking as she shoves her damp guitar in its case. She stands and marches quickly out the door. Nina stands there for a long moment, still and silent. She should feel relieved, powerful, that she can make or break anybody she chooses.
      XXXInstead she feels nothing except a profound emptiness. The words she said, the things she did, they echo over and over again in her head, and then even those disappear. Nothing, she feels nothing.
      XXXBecause Hell is a gaping red cavern in the devil's chest, an emptiness she is simply trying to fill.
      XXX"Keep it," she whispers, barely loud enough for anybody to hear. But someone does and the freshman who brought the drinks is carefully tucking ruined sheets of paper in her book bag.
      XXXNina tosses her hair over her shoulder, turning to her empire. The Influentials laugh, but everybody else is silent. Staring.
      XXXSuffocating.
      XXXShe sees her new roommate seated several tables away. Anna-Marie Beckett. Senior. Power - Transmutation. Born to Olivia Beckett and Alec Winters, an entrepreneur, who interestingly, was not listed as Anna's father at birth. Orphaned at age five. Found again, now. As per usual, Daniel was there to inform Nina of every student who enrolled in Orion, even more so her new roommate. After all, the best time to kill a person is when they're asleep, and Nina Romanov will not be brought down by a rich man's charity case.
      XXXA smile that doesn't reach her eyes spreads slowly across Nina's face as she catches Anna's eye. It's a devastating smile, revealing two rows of straight porcelain white teeth. Nina waves.
      This is a warning, her grin seems to say. Do not cross me.



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      XXX"I'd need to be drunk and stupid to want to seek out someone like you," comes Erin's snarky response. Sterling beams. Oh, but you did, he thinks, remembering that fateful night not too long ago. "If only there were someone worth knowing behind that face of yours. Then our time wouldn't have been such a waste."
      XXX"Been checking out my face, Rin?" he says. "Man, I feel like man candy."
      XXXBefore Erin can respond, a figure bursts through the trees, hands pressed to her mouth. Lane. Sterling doesn't think much of it at first, because even when they were children, Lane always seemed the softest of the three, although it was prudent to note the other corners of the triangle consisted of Erin Hill and Nina Romanov.
      Nina. Sterling's chest squeezes at the onslaught of memory and he shoves it aside. But not for long.
      XXX"Erin, Nina ruined everything." Lane's voice breaks. "My entire notepad."
      XXXAlarm shoots through Sterling's veins and his hand jerks instinctively. He clenches his fist before the energy coiled in his palm escapes. Emotions flit across his gaze - disappointment, pain, guilt, worry and finally, rage. Not for Nina, but for himself.
      XXXYou never should've left.

      XXXSterling waves the heavy mahogany doors open. He strolls in calmly, moving with an uncanny grace. His expression does not betray the red that smears his vision, blood boiling and pushing at his skin for release. He does not betray the power simmering and overflowing in him. Sterling sees Nina.
      XXXEven now, he recognises the warm brown of her hair, the streaks of light chestnut coiled from where the sun has trailed its fingers down the shafts of wavy hair. She's taller now, her body unrecognisable. She's not the scrawny young girl he left. She's a woman with power and hatred in her veins.
      XXXShe's beautiful.
      XXX"Nina," he says carefully as he nears her.
      XXXShe lifts her gaze to meet his. Cold and devastatingly calm. Her eyes were once the shade of summer rain, now they look at him like orbs of shattered glass. She shows no expression, not memory of their past. Nothing, and that's the worst part perhaps. She doesn't say anything to him, merely lifts a perfectly sculpted brow in question.
      XXX"You look..." He's staring at the mess beside them. Where Lane was, he's sure. "Frustrated," he lies, returning his gaze to Nina. "What's bothering you?"
      XXX"I'm looking at him," she says drily.
      XXX"There’re a lot of people who would be flattered that I should grace them with my presence, but I chose you.” His lips quirk in a sly smile but his eyes burn into her. Screaming at her. What are you doing, Nina? What happened to you to make you so cruel? So unrecognisable?
      XXX"What do you want?" Nina crosses her arms, rests her hip on the table. Sterling doesn't miss the way she presses into Daniel. He hadn't even noticed he was there, but now he sees him and it's unfortunate that he can't unsee him. The big brute. Sterling pretends to ignore him, even as he hovers and listens to their conversation.
      XXX"The truth," Sterling says quietly.
      XXX"Pluto isn't actually a planet."
      XXX"Stop it, Nina. Stop this." Sterling lowers his brows. Glares.
      XXX"You have no authority over me." Nina straightens, lifts her chin, and glares back. "You." She takes a step forward, until their chests nearly brush. "Are nothing." Her voice is low, soft enough that only he can hear.
      XXXSterling's rage sparks. His fists shake. The overhead lights flicker.
      XXX"You are a traitor to your friends," she says. Sterling wonders if the irony is lost on her. "You left, without so much as a postcard. You had no right to come back. You have no right to speak to me like you know me. You could never begin to fathom me when you can barely comprehend a 14 year old child. So wave your magic wand, Sterling." She gestures around them, at the tables ratting and the few that have risen from the ground. Sterling clenches his fists. "Because if you're God, I'm an atheist, and your magic will never save you from me."
      XXX"Sterling Walker! Cease your power this instant!" A voice barks as teachers rush into the dining hall. "Principal's office. Now." The teacher strides towards the two of them. She glances at Nina, opens her mouth. Closes it as Nina levels her with a stare. She returns her gaze to Sterling, a stern warning furrowing her brow.
      XXXNina leans forward to whisper in Sterling's ear.
      XXX"You think because you can wave a few pieces of wood around and replicate some science experiments that you have power?" Nina's voice is quiet and vicious. A quick rapid fire rattle. "Wake up, Sterling." She spits his name like poison from her lips. "This is power." She gestures at the school around them. A school she controls. At the teacher who is too afraid of the Romanov family to reprimand her.
      XXXNina leans back, the flame in her eyes replaced by cold. Sterling's gaze darts to where she takes Daniel's hand.
      XXX"I hope you know she loved you," Sterling says quietly. "We all did." The rage leaves him in a rush, and the tables settle to the floor, the lights stilling. He lifts his eyes to Nina's.
      XXX"And perhaps the greatest power you wield isn't your wealth or your status, but your capacity to destroy everyone you touch." He casts one last glance at Daniel, his gaze seeming to say, you're next.
      XXXThe door swings shut behind him, and slams into her heart.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Daniel Ahn Character Portrait: Holden Cunningham Character Portrait: Erin Hill Character Portrait: Rebecca Sayre Character Portrait: Christine Garner Character Portrait: Anna-Marie Beckett Character Portrait: Sterling Walker Character Portrait: Lane Blackwell Character Portrait: Nina Nikolayevna Romanov Character Portrait: Anthony Carraway Character Portrait: Mimi Arquette Character Portrait: Guadalupe Solorzano-Cifuentes Character Portrait: Aimee Hart Character Portrait: Keevan Brennan Character Portrait: Colin Dartonay Character Portrait: Kai Rainwalker Character Portrait: Lucas Long

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The grin when he catches her trip up is infuriating because she herself had realized it entirely too late. At least she had the excuse of complete intoxication- his part in the affair she is convinced was motivated by general assholery .

"Man, I feel like man candy." Erin's eyebrows shoot up at the comment. He is every bit the same as he had been before leaving. The fact that he can go so unscathed by everything, at least to her eyes, is the sharpest of the pains. He floats above the difficulties of the mere mortals, it seems, sometimes literally. Erin has friends among the powerful, cherished friends, but people like Sterling, so cocky on top with their abilities, acting as if they are gods descended to earth, bother the girl. She may be confident, stubborn, impulsive, and careless at times, but at least she doesn't look down on people. Even in the case of Sterling, the wretch, she sees him eye to eye. She doubts this is mutual.

There is no time for a response before the sound of splashing interrupts Erin's less than sunny trail of thought. There is a flicker of something strained in Sterling's normally calm expression. Naturally, Erin's first thought goes to the queen of the school. She whips her head around, body tense, only to find that it is Lane who is running up to her. What little relief this gives her is tossed aside by a closer look at the state of her best friend.

"Erin. . .Nina ruined everything. . .my entire notepad. . ." Instantly Sterling is forgotten. Erin moves forward and shelters Lane in a hug. Before, Erin was somewhat irritated, somewhat bothered. Now, she is angry. This day has gotten off to a less than fantastic start, and Erin is less than pleased about it. She turns to glare at Sterling, newly recalled, but he is already leaving them. Good. Go face your damn creation, Victor, Erin returns her attention to the crumpled and hurting Lane.

"Fuck Nina. Come on, Lane. I feel like eating popcorn and watching a movie. Wanna waste the day with me?" She smiles, mostly genuinely, down at Lane. At least this, Sterling had not taken from her.

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Briefly, Daniel is distracted from Nina's situation by someone who he has always despised: Colin. Most everyone knows that Daniel had been the best friend to his brother, and that he was probably the person that Daniel had been the closest to throughout his entire life. It was also a well known fact that Colin is not in Daniel's good graces. Many people assume it is just the fickle nature of his opinions, not realizing how incredibly possessive and jealous the young man becomes over those few who he befriends. Jealous enough to hate the brother of his best friend for having that privilege of brotherhood.

It is the face beside Colin, however, that hits him like a brick. Sam? even his internal voice is winded. Colin's brother may have been Julian to most everyone else, but Daniel knew him as Sam. And a face mirroring his sits at that table. In a few seconds he regroups, realizing that it can't be Sam, and it is more feminine besides. Still, it is only with the entrance of Sterling that Daniel fully returns to the situation at hand.

Automatically he moves closer to Nina, protective. His expression is little more than dark ice, coolly observing Sterling. Throughout the beginning of the exchange he is silent, calm. When Nina moves toward him, he instinctively presses back, his eyes never leaving Sterling. This is two parts a game: make Sterling feel pain such that he will never try to take Nina away, and genuine protective instinct towards one of those few whom he trusts.

He stands taller, looming like the grim reaper, death itself with fine bone structure and black eyes, as Sterling gives his final attack. Who can fall when darkness itself seems to side with them? So it may seem to the student body, unaware that anything but ice dwells behind Daniel's gaze. Sterling looks at him, warningly. Daniel merely smirks, as if confident it could never happen. He is useful, valuable, and more than anything, willing to sink far lower to keep his friends with him.

"I do believe I've lost my appetite."

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While the gods spit acid at one another, the rest can only watch and hope that none of it trickles down into their eyes. They look away when appropriate but are always watching. People never really stop watching. And among those people, sits one young man looking positively awestruck. But his eyes glisten in a way that is just a bit strange, fitting in with a few other who have the same enraptured expression. There's is not the intrigue of watching, but rather the excitement of telling, of showing.

two hours later

The Breadbowl
The Summer will apparently carry on as it usually does- much more interestingly than the fall semester. Many have left but the power players, the screwed up, and the hopelessly confused remain in play. A beautiful beginning, titan vs. titan as the well known Miss Romanov faced Mr Walker in a confrontation that, to be honest, came as something of a relief to some of us. Better the time bomb go off than hold us in suspense forever.

Romanov held her own, with of course the support of her loyal "are-they-or-aren't-they" dog. I'm sure they'll be perfectly happy together in the future. Walker, on the other hand, stormed out. Both are rising seniors, so we only have so long to watch as this plays out. Of course the big question is, are molecules a match for money?

Speaking of matches, for the rest of us mere mortals the bonfire is tonight- I'm really more interested in seeing who dances with whom than dancing with someone myself. No doubt, I'll be there watching for you rascals to sneak off. I seem to remember that Romanov and Walker used to haunt the dance together. This is the first one since he's returned, and you know neither will be sitting out on round two of worldstar Orion. Let's set the tone to a dramatic summer, shall we?

xoxo,
The Breadbowl Staff




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Every year on the day before Summer classes begin, a bonfire is held. Now, thanks to a pyrokinetic staff member the bonfire is able to be massive, without much risk of it toppling over and harming students (usually). It is held a little ways off from the dorms on the beach by the lake, and the main bonfire is often surrounded by smaller firepits with different food options at each one. There is always, without exception, some form of alcohol and some form of drugs available, and the teachers tend to turn a blind eye to it. After all, many of the students have families too powerful to persecute them, and the school grants a good amount of freedom besides.

Music is played throughout the night, sometime alternating between speakers and student run bands if they request to perform. Dancing around the bonfire is common, and usually the bonfire is kicked off by a partner dance that by now all of the Yearlies have learned, even if they don't ask or get asked to dance. There has been drama started over the dance before, but it really just depends on how seriously one takes it- often times friends will dance together, after all. But everyone looks forward to Breadbowl posts afterwards about which dances meant something, who made what mistake, who snuck away with whom, etc. Nothing is kept secret for long at Orion.

It is already dark out, with a full moon above and bright stars, the nearest city being too far away to outshine the night sky. Later on fireworks will be set off, and sparklers are resting all over the place for the amusement of students.

It is now about ten or so minutes before the bonfire "officially" kicks off with the first dance, but most students have already arrived and are sitting about the fires. Predictably, some are already stumbling over their own tongues thanks to the weight alcohol puts on them. Thus, the best and brightest of their age group prove themselves to still be young after all.

"Let's set the tone to a dramatic summer, shall we?"

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Erin Hill Character Portrait: Lane Blackwell

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The day had turned to night on the campus of Laurel, something Lane was glad to see happen. She has spend her afternoon with Erin of course. The two had sat down and watched all of Lane's favorite 80s films. She had talked the whole way through, quoting as much as she could, until Erin had clicked the TV of, declaring it was time for the bon fire.

Now the 2 girls stand together, with Lane's clean and dry guitar of to the side for later. Lane is happy as can be again, holding a lighter, having a laughing fit, and trying to light Erins sparkler. She's dressed herself in a black and white patterned romper, something many students find childish, but Lane finds comfortable and easy to run around in. Many students have already made there way down to the lake, they sit drinking or stand conversing. There is a buzz of excitement hovering in the air that Lane takes note of. Everyone is smiling, for now... When the stick is finally lit, Lane quickly lights her own, the light flickers and sparks fly.

Sparklers are the best thing about summer. Next to the air conditioning...

She waves the stick around, giggling and careless. Lane's short hair flies with her spinning movement until the sparks desend down the stick. She pauses, holds it with the tips of her fingers. Lane brings the stick closer to her face and the glow warms her skin. When the flame goes out Lane tosses her stick into the bon fire and turns to Erin.

"Hey, what do you want to drink?" She asked searching the nearby tables for more sparklers. "They've got a bunch of diffent flavors of Seagrams! And the got Twisted Lemonade!" Lane exclaims. She had always enjoyed a good lemonade, and as she had grown up Lane had adopted Twisted Lemonade as her favorite alcholic drink. Lane hasn't though twice about drinking that night. She'd much rather prefer to be drunk the next time she saw Nina... or Aimee for that matter considering there history. Now that summer was here the two had a 50% higher change of running into each other. Although she did have to remind herself that she couldn't go to over board because she still had a song to play that night.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rebecca Sayre Character Portrait: Christine Garner Character Portrait: Sterling Walker Character Portrait: Lane Blackwell Character Portrait: Nina Nikolayevna Romanov Character Portrait: Lucas Long

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      XXX

      XXXA week of detentions and of packing up exercise mats left sprawled across the gym after hours. They are the most lenient punishments Sterling has ever received for something reckless that he's done and there have certainly been many. Perhaps the teachers could sympathise with his frustration towards the Russian princess. Nina Romanov is nothing if not despised, by students and teachers alike.
      XXXAfter a brief shelling from Laurel Academy's esteemed principal about the imprudence of using one's powers so openly, especially one that risked the damage of school property, Sterling was set free. Thus he found himself wandering to the yearly bonfire later in the night.
      XXXFire licks the sky, higher than should be safe, but Sterling spots in the shadows the Pyro twisting his arms, body swaying as if engaged in a dance with the very flames that rise above him.
      XXXThe sharp, sour smell of alcohol devours the fresh scent of pine surrounding them, mingling with the salty tang of sweaty bodies. The first dance has yet to begin, but people mingle, raising red solo cups to parched lips, parched tongues ready to taste another.
      XXXNina's stunning blonde sidekick lounges by the fire, legs laid bare for viewing pleasure. Adoring eyes follow every flick of her golden locks, swooning and bulging when she casts bright blue eyes in their direction. Other Elites are scattered across the pools of students like Barons controlling their regions, but their Queen is nowhere to be seen. Neither is her Knight and Advisor, Sterling notices with a spark of glee.
      XXXA familiar body stands at the fringes, dark hair pulled into a pony tail that tumbles over her shoulders. Her dark eyes watch the crowd, searching, wanting. Sterling moves towards her, silent as the shadows that flicker beyond the growing fire. He touches the small of her back, dwarfing her with his height. He ducks his head until his lips graze her ear.
      XXX"Christine," he breathes. "Always a pleasure to see you, love."


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      XXX

      XXXThe freshman handed Nina Lane's corpses, eagerness and terror threatening to overflow from her eyes. Nina gives her a tight smile she returns tenfold before scurrying away, excited to gain the Queen's favour - or so she thinks - but too afraid to test her luck. Smart girl.
      XXXThe sheets are damp and the ink smears across her fingertips. Nina had left Daniel with a sandwich, telling him appetite lost or not, he should enjoy it. Because she'd spread the peanut butter and raspberry jam herself, and Nina Romanov did not make sandwiches for just anyone.
      XXXThere is another note waiting for her when Nina returns to her room. Anna is nowhere to be seen.
      XXX"I saw it in the Breadbowl. Hope you're alright, honey. See you at the fire tonight."
      XXXNina recognises the elaborate cursive handwriting in an instant. Weariness winds its way through her tired bones as she reads the message again, examining it for any hints of a threat or Rebecca's frame of mind. Though they are part of the same Elite circle, Nina is careful to keep one eye open at all times around Rebecca. Though she seems to most superficial and perhaps even dumb, Nina knows her to be only one of those. Becky enjoys the material things, but she can most certainly be ambitious and cunning when it suits her.
      XXXBecky, too, is pleasant to the eyes, but more importantly, she is, well, less of a bitch. Nina has to hold her crown with both hands and make sure the only time Becky comes anywhere near it is when she's polishing it.
      XXXNina tucks the note in her drawer and leaves the room. She wanders through the gardens surrounding the main building until she finds a secluded space between the forage, where no one - especially not the Breadbowl Canaries - will find her. She thumbs through the ruined sheets of music, catching snippets of indestructible music she cannot help but jot down on the back of a page that avoiding much of the water's wrath.
      XXXShe is numb as she does so, hands moving in her perfect scrawl - neat enough to be a printed font, so they say - over the page. Her mind does not quite process what she reads. Only her envy does, her wish that she could be something other than rich, pretty Nina. Rich, pretty, useless Nina. Lane is remarkably talented and she possesses more mercy in her pinky than Nina could ever hope to have in her entire body. But for all her faults, Nina has never been capable of lying to herself. So she admits in the privacy of her own mind that yes, Lane is better than me, and yes, Nina Romanov is jealous of a poor girl.
      XXXA string of legible writing spears through the ice that encases Nina's being and she pauses. She reads it a second time, and then a third, fourth, fifth. Her eyes wander back and forth, up and down as she traces every curve of every letter again and again.

      XXX"Why'd you let us go,
      XXXwhy'd you let us slip away?
      XXXI miss you and I think about you
      XXXEvery single day.

      XXXWhat did I miss?
      XXXWhen did sorrow turn to hate?"


      XXXThe rest of the song is a blot of illegible words. Nina folds the page into a tight square and tucks it into the pocket of her blouse. Just beside her bleeding heart.

      XXXHer chest pulses in time with the music. Colours trip over one another in a whirlwind of depth and movement. Smoke wafts from between her lips in perfect circles. The people around her cheer and clap, staring at her with bloodshot eyes. Nina laughs, tossing her head back as they enter mass gathered around the bonfire. People part to make way for the Queen, whispers slipping from mouths to ears, words twisting into gossip that'll bleed into Breadbowl before the night is done.
      XXXThe people that followed her to the bonfire are not Elites, but Influentials and even the occasional Talented or Powerful with penchants of "living life on the edge," to put lightly. They waver like fallen leaves, their movements out of sync with the music. But not Nina's. Even inebriated, stoned and God knows what else, she knows how to keep the tempo and to command a certain air of respect. She moves like a pendulum on a golden leash, enchanting and haunting the people around her.
      XXXWide, pale blue eyes like shattered glass search for Daniel reflexively. Finding him absent, those bloodshot orbs search for someone else instead. They land on slim fingers running through a stream of blonde hair. Nina walks towards her, hips swaying underneath a blood red dress. She kneels behind the slim blonde, placing her hands on Becky's shoulders and grazing her lips across them.
      XXX"Dance with me," she breathes.
      XXXNina pulls her up, nearly tripping over her own two feet. She giggles, righting herself, tugging Rebecca towards her. Many students around them howl with lust and excitement, eager to witness some girl-on-girl action, whilst some jeer, muttering insults under their breaths.
      XXXNina seems oblivious to them, or perhaps she does not care. She turns with Becky's hands in her own, hair fanning around her as she quirks her full lips into a devastating smile.
      XXX"You're beautiful," she tells Rebecca. "Enchanting. Mesmerising. Smoking hot. Ten out of -"
      XXXThe words fizzle and collapse as an arms slips around Nina's waist, jerking her backwards into a hard chest. Cameron Hillcock kisses Nina's neck. She pulls away but he pulls her back. She freezes. Stays still.
      XXXHer mind screams.
      XXXCallused hands. Hot breath against my neck. Shoe pressing into back. Pain. No sound. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5... 26 stars in the sky. Don't think about what's happening, just go. Let go. Don't hold on to this body. Not my body. Not mine. Not me.
      XXXI can't breathe. I can't breathe.
      XXXNina shoves against his chest and Cameron stumbles back in surprise. He didn't expect her to say no. The shock fades and his mouth twists into a grin.
      XXX"Come on, Nina," he says. "Everyone knows you'll give it up in the end."
      XXXBreathe. Stay still. Don't be scared. Don't let them know you're scared.
      XXXNina raises a brow. Swallows. Her nails bite into her skin. Her eyes swim, but she blames that on the drugs.
      XXX"After last time?" she lies. Nina rolls her eyes. "Tiny Cammy couldn't even please me. I'd rather give it up to a Triple A battery, at least that'll last longer than you."
      XXXLaughs burst from the people around them. Cameron flushes a bright red.
      XXX"You little -" Cameron starts, grabbing Nina's wrist and wrenching her forward.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Daniel Ahn Character Portrait: Erin Hill Character Portrait: Rebecca Sayre Character Portrait: Lane Blackwell Character Portrait: Nina Nikolayevna Romanov Character Portrait: Keevan Brennan

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Daniel does not particularly enjoy the bonfires, but never misses a year. There is some enjoyment to be had in watching fools become greater imbeciles under the influence of the night sky and alcohol. To some degree he admires the amount of freedom the faculty are willing to give when it comes to Summer festivities such as this one, but on the other hand fears they merely reveal the truth of the institution: even those considered impossibly gifted, impossibly bright, or impossibly important, can make asses of themselves without little thought in regards to it.

Still, he is more inclined to get in just a bit more reading before leaving to attend the annual event, and for this reason arrives a bit late. It is the time he takes to press a ribbon into the page, to straighten his cuffs, to make sure the novel is placed in exactly the correct spot on his alphabetized shelf, which prevents him from being their to loom over Nina when she first arrives. These are the little details he regrets when he finally does arrive at the bonfire to see the flame hungrily licking the sky, mirroring the sudden cold fury in his eyes when he watches as Cameron, hardly worth his time and certainly not worth Nina's, wrenches her away from one of the duchesses. But he holds himself back- the queen must be given a chance to flex her muscles before a knight is justified in jumping in. Thus, he remains still, entire body tightened like a shadow waiting to expand and swallow the bonfire whole. His face is an unbreachable wall, but a single clench fist.

Cameron's arm springs forward. Daniel takes a quick step, still somewhat restrained.

Nina is forcefully pulled through the air. Daniel frowns. Cameron moves to finish his slur, and everything seems to go black.

Daniel is moving. His fist is hitting Cameron's nose. Cameron returns in kind, but Daniel seems unfazed, robotic. He has his arm around Cameron's throat, forcing him to the ground. Daniel may be a sleek darkness, but beneath his sleek exterior is a sort of carnal rage released in only these unique sorts of situations. The young man is already known to be feared for his ability to destroy with a handful of whispers in the right ear, but many do not realize the force he normally keeps locked and heavily guarded.

There are no teachers in sight. Cameron is only able to splutter, his ability to fight back weakened by a cocktail of air loss and alcohol. Many of the students started out cheering, but have since faded to grim silence, staring. Daniel does not notice them, instead seeing only Nina. He looks at her, waiting some indication that she is okay. It is the thumb of the emperor decideing a gladiator's fate. Whether Daniel would actually kill the man is difficult to say.

Without a doubt, there is dark rage in his eyes.

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A few minutes prior to the Influentials' ordeal, Keevan sits at one of the smaller fires, jesting with friends about who is the most likely to end up with whom at the end of the night. Some of his friends beside him discussing asking people to dance in just a little bit when a few fireworks are shot up to indicate the first dance. They toss in bets and comments about the bigger players among the Yearlies, guessing some things will remain the same: year long couples, close friends, etc, who tend to dance with one another every year. "Think there will be any surprises this year?" Louis, a boy with curly red hair and freckles asks Keevan. He is known among friends to have a wicked instinct for these sort of things.

"Huh? Oh. Well, you never know," his response is vague and distracted, more important things being at hand. Literally in hand is his cell phone, a message already typed out to be sent. He seems to be pondering his decision to write it, but does not do so for long. With a lopsided sort of smile, half amused and half strangely hopeful, in his optimistically manipulative kind of way, he finally presses send. By the time he does this, all hell seems to have broken loose at the bigger bonfire.

Naturally, Keevan must excuse himself from the group in order to rush over and sneak a peak of what's going down around the bonfire dominated at least half by Influentials. They also manage to find the best spots long before the night begins, and save all of them such that every Influential has a choice seat. Luckily, most everyone else is content to sit around one of the smaller bonfires for the majority of the night.

Even Keevan cannot help but be shocked at the dark shadow that is Daniel Ahn as the young man darts forward to intervene in a situation clearly going south. The fact that no one else had acted by now is nearly sickening but unsurprising, given Nina's thumbtack reputation. Even Rebecca is off to the side, perhaps still somewhat surprised by the sudden cutting into her dance. Keevan moves to grab her attention, and eventually is able to make eye contact. He gestures for her to check her cell phone, and grins.

To: Rebecca
Ask me to dance with you during the bonfire dance. Take your mind off of the Influentials- and what you say behind their back.


Undeniable their is a tinge of blackmail in the text, though Keevan writes it off as being more of a friendly encouragement. How else would he ever get Rebecca to dance with him, after all? He may be an asshole, but he's one with some sort of affection, it seems. Not that she'd ever be clued in on that.

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Erin is smiling, beaming really, and at least half of this is because Lane is smiling again. It is so heartbreaking to see Lane upset that when she becomes happy again, it sends her best friend over the moon. Erin would bend over backwards for her friend, after all. For now, it is enough to laugh and attempt to keep her hand steady at the same time, no small feat, as Lane holds a lighter up to her sparkler and attempts to light it. These are the little things which make Erin forget about Nina and Sterling and all of that drama, and just want to look at stars and build beautiful machines. These are the nights she adores most of all, fire illuminated the sky, still overshadowed by the radiance of the people around her.

Side by side with Lane, she rushes to draw out shapes that disappear as quickly as she can imagine them. She draws until the sparkler reaches its end, a faithful tool breathing its last breath. And they are off to find the successors of these noble weapons now retired, searching out the nearest table for more sparklers. Impulsive, perhaps a bit stupid, and given renewed optimism by the light of the fire and the stars, Erin takes a twisted Lemonade and lifts it in toast with Lane.

"C'mon, Lane- be my date to the dance? Unless you have someone in mind?" Erin is leading her friend to the main bonfire, eyebrows waggling, goofy smile in full swing. "I can play cupid, if so," unfortunately the offer is rather useless, because Erin, thanks likely to the fact that she isn't always the best at reading people, isn't the greatest of wingwomen.

"And we need to find Carr-" finally, Erin fades to silence as she reaches the bonfire, realizing that nothing is being spoken above a whisper. She dances along the edge of the crowd trying to get a peak of what's going on, but instead can only hear- Nina's name, along with Daniel and Cameron. What now? Erin wonders, suddenly very much thirsty for a few more swigs of her drink.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Erin Hill Character Portrait: Lane Blackwell Character Portrait: Nina Nikolayevna Romanov Character Portrait: Anthony Carraway Character Portrait: Aimee Hart

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Lane reaches into a nearby cooler and pulls a Twisted Lemonade out of the ice. She pops the top off and holds in up. Her glass clinks agains Erin's, Lane shouts.
"Cheers! Here's to summer, sparklers, air conditioning, senior year, and to us!" She pressed the glass to her lips, downing half the drink instantly. Lane promises herself that she will keep her limit to 3 drinks tonight, it was only smart thinking.

Soon enough Erin is dragging her along. They walk towards the main bonfire and Erin brings up the question of who Lane might like to dance with that night. In that moment, at almost perfect timing, Lane spots Aimee at rest on one of the metal benches. The two had not spoken in over 2 months and it made Lane so antsy thinking about it. She wanted to badly for Aimee to come to her and dance with her, and act as though they had no history together what so ever. But this was a fantasy, a mere scene played out in Lane's head and soon her attention was turned back to Erin.
"Uh nope! No one! I'm all yours! How's my hair?" She questions linking her arm around Erin's, they near the bonfire. "Oh and there's Anthony by the way... or Carr or whatever..." Lane points across the way to where Carr sits down next to Aimee on the bench. The two girls have approached the center bonfire though at the site of a large crowd forming.

Erin and Lane are not the tallest of the bunch at Laurel. Lane at a solid 5'3 and Erin, barely an inch taller. This makes it rather hard to see into the center at what it going on. Lane hears Nina's name being whispered and grabs Erin's hand instinctively. She does not want to face Nina with out Erin beside her ever again in her life.
"Erin lets just go by Carr..." Lane trails off disinterested in what ever may be the center of attention. Her current one track mind still thinking of Aimee.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Erin Hill Character Portrait: Rebecca Sayre Character Portrait: Lane Blackwell Character Portrait: Nina Nikolayevna Romanov Character Portrait: Anthony Carraway Character Portrait: Aimee Hart Character Portrait: Keevan Brennan

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Anthony was never the most observant of people, but even he could tell something very strange was going on, by the expression on the boy's face, by the strange silence that hovered over them while Aimee and Lucas stared meaningfully at each other. Still confused, he felt Aimee's arm wrap around his, pulling his gaze to her as she spoke. The weak sound of her voice and her paleness surprised and concerne him, she, who before was cheerful and bright, now seemed shaken and... Scared? Anthony awkwardly looked at Lucas, offering him a confused, discrete smile, with the intention of being friendly or excusing himself and Aimee before walking along said girl to one of the metal benches placed close to the fire. He helped her sit down and carefully placed his arm around her shoulders, checking again on her odd expression. He felt like he was missing something, but honestly, this wasn't very unusual when he was around Aimee. Although he himself possessed powers that affected his own mind and that of the subject, he could never understand how she felt or how the power worked, so he could only assume that it was better to just go along and let her rest. "Aimee, Jesus. You look awful. What happened back there? Did you hurt yourself?"

As much as he wished to hold her quietly until she felt better, the peace was clearly disrupted sooner than anyone expected. Carr noticed the cheering and haunting silence before the actual fight. He stared at all the blood-thirsty, excited faces before his gaze landed on the dark figure of Daniel Ahn, his face calm and ethereal against the light produced by the flames, going at Cameron. A few steps away from him, Rebecca Sayre and Nina Romanov stood quietly, staring at the fight from the best seats in the house without any sign they meant to interfere in anyway. Anthony watched in awe, forgetting for a moment that Aimee rested under his arm. As Daniel held Cameron to the ground and tension increased all around, Carr spotted Erin and Lane, moving amongst the frozen crowd like a fish swimming through a still stream. Although a little bothered by Lane's presence - again, nothing personal, but Carr felt like there were already enough strangers around - he gestured widely while still holding on to Aimee in an attempt to catch they're attention which, strangely, wasn't focused on what appeared to be the event of the night. As they approached, he thirstily sipped at his drink, anxious and impatient.

"Erin, hey!" he shouted when they came closer, than lowered his voice to a kind of loud whisper "Did you see it? What's going on?" Staring back at Aimee, he felt a little guilty for not paying more attention, so he turned to her with a soft smile "You feeling any better, cookie?"





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Sitting on the soft grass, staring at the sky, Becky had been lost in thought. A few Influentials sat around her, chatting cheerfully and singing, even whispering into each other's ears, but when asked a question, she would simply nod and concur with a soft "sure". In her mind, she counted the stars, one by one, and gave them the names of people she had known. Nina was the brightest, biggest one, of course, although her favorite was reserved for her own name. That stare was surely the first one people would look at, always, but it was far away from all others. Around it, a large pitch black piece of sky. Maybe, she would overshine all other stars if they came any closer. A little to the left, there was a smaller one that looked like a hole poked through the sky. That was Daniel, stiff and distinguished, she thought with a smile. Still further away from all the stars than he was to star Nina. The seconds most bright, which was kind of irregular, her roommate Erin. And that pinkish flick of light in the corner was Keevan. It was different from all the stars, but you could only tell if you looked hard, cause it was so close to all of them.

She was staring at it when she felt Nina’s soft lips brush against her skin. ”Hey girl. I’ve been waiting for you for ages. Come here.” She got up gracefully and accompanied Nina’s sensual movements. She heard the commotion around them and felt the stares, but they were almost like a soft blow to her ear as she allowed her right hand to snake around Nina’s hip, caressing her skin with the tips of her fingers. Becky wasn’t one to ever feel sexuality attracted to anyone, really, but Nina’s voice sent a chill down her spine and made her stomach turn. She opened her mouth to say a few words but, before she could, Nina was suddenly yanked away. As Cameron held her instead, she had a sinking feeling in her chest and stood there a bit confused, but when his hand grabbed Nina’s wrist, her eyes widened and she took a step forward. This… This isn’t suppose to happen. Daniel should be here. Someone do something. Disgusting. God everyone’s looking let her go het thoughts were confusing and she felt a mixture of fear for Nina, shame for Cameron and pity for herself This… this is bad. In that exact moment, Daniel showed up she launched forward, holding Nina by the shoulders as Cameron was pushed away from her. ”Fucking asshole. Look at how pathetic he is. Gosh, so gross. her words were honest, to her eyes, no matter how she felt about Nina or Daniel, Cameron was a vermin and honestly, maybe he should die. It made her sick.

While she watched the fight, her eye caught Keevan on the other side of the circle that formed around the four of them. She stared at him blankly for a moment before realizing what he was signalizing. She wrapped only one arm to Nina’s, looking at her to make sure she wasn’t looking, and checked her phone discretely with her free hand. The text made her heart stop. She had completely forgotten about the dance, and was astonished by the fact Keevan - or anyone, for that matter - hadn’t. It should start in about five minutes and, as Becky did every year, she had secretly hoped to be invited to dance by someone completely new and exciting who would sweep her off her feet. Apparently, she had Keevan. Didn’t he realize how indiscrete this would be? How she simply couldn’t go ahead and ask him to dance, in the position they were in? But the message was clear. She had no choice. And honestly, it didn’t really seem… That bad. She kept her head down and lifted his eyes at him. A smile that was a mixture of sarcasm and tease crossed her lips, one that anyone would mistake for sadism upon watching Daniel wait for Nina’s orders. This was what Becky did. The face she wore should, at all times, fit all purposes.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Erin Hill Character Portrait: Lane Blackwell Character Portrait: Anthony Carraway Character Portrait: Aimee Hart

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Aimee smiled gratefully at Anthony as he helped her sit down on the metal bench. She had tried not to show her weakness so much, but she knew Carr would have seen it immediately. That was just how they worked. She shook her head when he asked if she had hurt herself, "No, just a little bit of an overload." She had never been able to come up with any other word for the ordeal, since that was the most accurate. It literally was just several buckets of information coursing through her. She knew it would go away soon and she would recharge, but she also didn't like the fact that she was being like this surrounded by all of her schoolmates. It would have been different had her and Anthony been alone, but there was nothing she could really do about that. She closed her eyes and focused on centering herself, not choosing to process the fact that there was basically an altered version of herself on the campus. From what she could tell, however, he only could get bursts of thought instead of entire years like Aimee could. "Hey, do you know if--" she'd started to ask Carr, but was quickly interrupted by the approach of Erin and...Lane. Mustering up her strength which was slowly but surely returning to her, she nodded a greeting.

Her and Lane had completely avoided each other since the ominous night two months ago. In fact, this was the first time they had been this close since then. Aimee looked up at Lane worriedly. She was really not in the mental position to assess her feelings, and from the looks of Lane, the girl in front of her was thinking of her. Aimee had already...made contact...with Lane so there was nothing hidden between them. Of course, a lot had to have happened in the past two months that Aimee didn't know. If she weren't already reeling from the Lucas discovery, she might have thought about casually laying her hand on the other girl, just to get a read on her thoughts. Lane knew of her ability, so of course she would know what Aimee was trying to do. In the end, however, it was a moot point since it would be suicide for Aimee to try and use her power now.

Anthony addressed her again and she smiled, a bit of color returning to her face. "I'd probably be a lot better if you stopped addressing me on an empty stomach," she joked with him in her usual sarcastic manner. Hopefully that would instill some sign in him that she was okay.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Daniel Ahn Character Portrait: Erin Hill Character Portrait: Lane Blackwell Character Portrait: Nina Nikolayevna Romanov Character Portrait: Anthony Carraway Character Portrait: Aimee Hart Character Portrait: Lucas Long

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His fist connects against skin, Cameron incapable of putting up a decent fight for very long at all. When the man before him finally gives up on defense, allowing his arms to hang limp and his face to be used as an object, a punching bag. Any reasonable person would have stopped at that point, seeing that there was no struggle. Daniel is normally a very reasonable man, cold and rational, but this does not appear to be the normal Daniel. This is the Hyde to his Jekyl, the blurred vision and red hot feeling that he normally is able to smother until not even embers remain. Perhaps Sam had been the only one to ever know how incredibly deeply Daniel is capable of feeling. His emotions are so repressed that then why are finally released, it is the starved lion let out of it's cage, desperate and unrestrained. It is perhaps for the best that he plans never to fall in love, for the depth of such an emotion would likely rip him out from the inside until he is reduced to a terribly jealous, overbearing person who covets and monopolizes all time and attention. He may be tall, sleek, and elegant, but Daniel is in this way very much a desperate child.

A desperate child in the body of a young man with strong hands and fast reflexes is a dangerous thing indeed. People around him whisper, half frightened half amused, but Daniel is incapable of processing it. At this moment, he is not thinking in words, but in actions and movements. This classmate of his had crossed a dangerous line in threatening one of the few people Daniel cared for. It is a sin the young man cannot forgive. So he attempts to tear the feeling of Nina's skin out of Cameron's mouth, blacken his eyes until they cannot look so hungrily at his Queen. No one should be allowed to so much as eat scraps from her table without her say so, let alone mentally consume the girl herself. It is disgusting. Filthy.

The movement of emotion returns him back to the violence, forgetting briefly his waiting for Nina's words. Strangely enough, it is not her voice which pauses him next. No, rather than the tinted-glass tones of Nina's public voice, it is someone from the crowd. The voice is male, shouted in such a way which seems to convey someone accustomed to far lower volumes. This alone is interesting, though Daniel is only barely beginning to process more complex aspects to the people around him once more. Instead, the stand out is something which hits him with a slight delay. The words were spoken in Korean, his native tongue, standing out among the English he has become accustomed to. His head tilts up slightly, allowing his eyes to search the crowd for the voice. In this brief passage of time, Nina puts her hand around his still curled fist, putting a more definite end to the display.

Her hands are warm, unexpectedly. Usually they are cooler, though it is perhaps a mix of the flame near them and the situation which causes this. Her lips brush past his forehead, a familiar meeting of skin, and he understands the message better than anyone else here might. There is a strange sort of expression across his face, irritation at his own lack of control, contentment that Nina is alright. He needs only to breathe, and then relaxes, returning to his feet with Nina's hand firmly grasped in his own, fingers intertwined as he breathes and regains his flawless composure. Her hand is shaking in his, prompting him to tighten his grip.

The Queen needs to be steel before all else, but a knight can provide some support. It is a role which he takes great pride in, above all but the Royal herself. It is in this more normalized state that he is finally brought to meet eyes with the young man who had shouted to him in Korean- an introvert based on appearance. Nina speaks, while Daniel merely surveys the unfamiliar face. Behind them, the fireworks shoot into the air and explode, crackling brightly against the night sky. The crowd disperses to take part in the tradition, some finding partners while others go off to sit in groups or alone. Daniel glances sideways at Nina- the Queen must attend such ceremonies, after all. The center spot will likely be left for us- her, all the same, he muses, correcting his mistake. The spot is there for the head of the school, he just happens to be her companion- it could be any one of her choosing, after all. No one her is worthy, of course- not even myself.


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Erin hesitates briefly over the pause before Lane's response that she is perfectly free, but quickly dismisses it as her imagination. Little signs such as that may come across as blaring warning sign of something wrong to other people, but Erin is too quick to overlook them. This is perhaps because she herself is so inclined towards honesty, and is so blatant in her facial expressions, that she assumes others will be as well if they have something they want to tell her. Thus Erin is never the person to first discover secrets unless they are told to her- often she gets her information third hand, when it is known to most people and already slightly warped. It is a very good thing she does not hold a position requiring political skill, for she has zero.

Normally Lane tells her everything, making her all the more unsuspecting that her best friend is harboring any secrets or intense crushes that Erin doesn't know about. Why worry over something of that sort where there has been no precedent? Thus she grins and joins the linking of arms, not realizing that in reserving her friend as a dance party she is making all the more unlikely a much desired pairing. So much for a modern day cupid.

Another long drink of her twisted lemonade, and Erin looks over at Lane. The suggestion that they leave the situation and go to Carr and Aimee is incredibly reasonable. Still, as they walk over she can't help peeking back for glimpses of Nina's hair between people, of Daniel's hand in hers. Feeling sick, thanks in no part to the drink, Erin ducks her head slightly and follows with more focus. When they reach the pairing, she is smiling once more, recovered from the wave of discomfort. It is in no small part thanks to seeing Carr, whom she hasn't seen since the previous evening. And based on the smell and his loud whispering, the young man had been drinking. She grins and gives him a quick hug in greeting."Carr, my love. A fight, I guess? I don't know, not my business I guess," her expression gives away this untruth, her curiosity betraying her in a twist of her mouth. With slightly more force than necessary, she takes another drink. The world is gradually beginning to soften because of it, allowing her to think less. For this, Erin is grateful. She wants light and warmth from this evening, not discomfort or pain. Another drink. The world is softer still.

The fireworks in the air are a vision of color, flowers exploding into fantastical shapes, aided by a mix of powers and inventiveness. Their forms ought to be impossible, and normally this would frustrate Erin to some degree. Instead, she merely smiles at the sight, then looks to Lane. The music is beginning, heard over the chatter and booming pyrotechnic display.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Erin Hill Character Portrait: Rebecca Sayre Character Portrait: Lane Blackwell Character Portrait: Nina Nikolayevna Romanov Character Portrait: Anthony Carraway Character Portrait: Aimee Hart Character Portrait: Keevan Brennan

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After offering Aimee a wide smile, showing how glad he was she could still be her normal, sarcastic self, he quickly finished his second drink and got up with the intention of getting her whatever food he could find and properly greeting Erin. However, as soon as he was off his chair, blue, red, green beautiful light bursted into the sky violently like ravenous dragons. Anthony’s smile became even broader and he let out a small sigh. He had always found fireworks absolutely magical, and watching them from the actual fire, instead of his dorm window, was even more fascinating than he could have ever thought. They filled his mind with happy, warm thoughts about home and his mother, and he suddenly felt a need to hold his few, loving friends. His arm wrapped around Erin’s and he turned to Lane, trying to get the words in his mind to come out properly.

“Actually, Lane, uhm ah… Would you… I wanted to dance a little, so… I mean, would you mind terribly grabbing something for… Aimee still doesn’t feel very well. I can come back in a second.” Carr felt like his tongue felt weird inside his mouth as he spoke, and just hoped desperately that Lane would somehow get the message out of his incoherent mumbling. Then, he looked at Erin like a small boy looks at a shiny new toy. “Can we dance? I’m kinda nervous, but I think it’ll be fun. Can we?”

He didn’t really wait for a confirmation and simply dragged Erin closer and closer to the fire, waving at the other two girls, until they stoop right in the concentration of couples swaying gently to the music. Carr awkwardly held Erin like he supposed people did when they danced and looked around, trying to mimic other people’s movements as they spun around them. He modestly sticked to basic steps, putting all his effort into not stepping in Erin’s feet. “So, tell me. Am I suppose to believe you, missy, of all people, isn’t the least bit curious about that fight? It was a really bad fight, I saw it. Daniel Ahn was about to bash that guy’s head in.” His voice had a mixture of fright and anxiety. He just knew that, even if Erin didn’t know a thing about it, she’d wanna find out.





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Becky looked around, almost as to ensure safe territory for her to approach Keevan. It didn’t take much for her, or anyone really, to notice Daniel’s meaningful gaze towards Nina as the crowd slowly disperses, and Rebecca smiles at the sight. There was a ironic humor about approaching her lips to the Queen’s right ear as Daniel would do as she whispered ”Your savior awaits, Your Highness.” She gave one last squeeze to the girl’s shoulder and walked away slowly, following both her so called friends with her eyes until they no longer seemed to notice her presence, distracted by one another. She finds Keevan again, and this time, she doesn’t smiles. He stands on the other side holding a grin to his lips, and she stares back with an eyebrow raised before walking in his direction, swaying her hips and adjusting a strand of hair, which partially covered her face, behind her right ear. Pausing one step away from him, she raised her hand in a rather snobbish gesture, offering him her hand as if she was gifting him with a precious, delicate diamond.

“Would you do yourself the honor of accompanying me to the dance, Mister Brennan?” She asked in a tone that was nothing but gentle. Once their hands touch, Becky tries to hold back a smile and keep her expression of debauchery. His hand was warm and there were calluses in his fingers. She had always pictured him with his laptop, typing furiously the lines that could destroy the finest of reputations within minutes, but sometimes actually forgot he was an actual writer, and a new image of Keevan, laying in bed with paper, pen, and a entire world of his own creation replaced the other one she had in mind. ”You really are like that one tiny pinkish star. Except you’re kind of crazy, or stupid. Did you really think me asking you to dance is the type of thing that wouldn’t end up in the Breadbowl?” She didn’t take her eyes off of him for one seconds while leading him determinedly further away from the fire, at the very darkest stop where people were still dancing. It was a bit cold, and with the short dress she wore, Becky could feel the summer breeze caress her skin, but at least it was harder to be seen away from the light. At that moment, the fireworks went off above them, causing Rebecca to look up. How beautiful she thought, as a thousand colors filled her eyes and how useless. I’ll never be like that. Then, after the loud cracking sounds ceased, she noticed the music also sounded softer and more clear without all the talking, so they could easily understand each other.

”You intrigue me, sugar. I hope you really are expecting to take my mind off things, because I haven’t seen Nina all day, so I’ve got nothing.” She spoke a bit harshly while sliding both her hands along Keevan’s shoulders until she reached the base of his nape. It was hard to tell if she was mad or content about his attitude, but truth is even she was torn between wanting to please the man who held all secrets that could destroy her in one hand and actually being concerned by being seen with him. She knew, however, it was better to be gentle while with him. Honestly, it was easier too.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Erin Hill Character Portrait: Lane Blackwell Character Portrait: Anthony Carraway Character Portrait: Aimee Hart

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Lane and Erin walk in step down to the bench where Aimee and Carr sit quietly. The closer they get the more Lane starts to realize she doesn't have anything planned out for what she will say to Aimee, her heart beat quickens and she makes a second worths of eye contact with the girl sitting before her. The two don't speak right away upon seeing each other. Instead they exchange awkward looks and Aimee seems to avoid looking at both girls.

Erin instantly engages in conversation with Carr, unaware of the tension between the other girls. She'd never been to keen on picking up signals and for that Lane was grateful. Lane never quite understood what Erin saw in Carr. To Lane he was young and stand-of-ish, usually very quiet. He had powers though, which she knew only a bit about from Erin's mentions. Carr and Lane were extremely mutual to each other, and only exchanged words when Erin was there as well, similar to this moment now. Carr stands up, he turns to Lane trying to explain he wants to dance with Erin. Each sentence he spouts it cut off by the next and he mumbles his words. Lane opens her mouth to protest but nothing comes out. With that Carr whisks Erin away leaving before anything else can be said and Aimee and Lane are left alone. She probably would have been more upset Carr stole her date if it hadn't been that Aimee was the one she was left with. All Lane's attention it turned to Aimee now.

"Hi." Lane spoke letting out her breath, which she didn't realize she'd been holding quite a while. She sits down on the bench next to Aimee, keeping about a foot and a halves distance. "How are you? I mean like tonight....not about us.... Are you hungry? What do you need? We don't have to talk about anything if you don't want too..." Lane pauses and presses her hands again her thighs. "I want too..." She adds quietly looking into Aimee's soft green eyes. Lane bites her lip during the silence that follows. Her heart pounds in her chest wondering how long it will take for Aimee and her to at least be friends again.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Daniel Ahn Character Portrait: Erin Hill Character Portrait: Rebecca Sayre Character Portrait: Lane Blackwell Character Portrait: Nina Nikolayevna Romanov Character Portrait: Anthony Carraway Character Portrait: Aimee Hart Character Portrait: Keevan Brennan

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Anthony is definitely tipsy at the very least. Erin had seen that he had a drink in his hand, and had guessed he might be buzzed, but the clumsiness of his tongue and a slight unevenness of foot when he stood to greet her makes it clear that her supposings were well-founded. Perhaps he felt it necessary in order to get through the night- Erin is pleasantly surprised he had elected to come at all, given how he rejected her urgings last year and the year before. So long as she is there to make sure he doesn't do anything too stupid -the irony of this thought lost on her warmed mind- Carr deserves a night of letting loose. So when he wraps his arm around hers and asks Lane if he can dance with Erin, the young woman easily joins in with an apologetic smile and a returned wrapping her arm around Anthony's, such that they are now linked. This close now, she can smell the alcohol on his breath. She is rather certain that he will be a warm fuzzy sort of drunk.

Erin finds Anthony adorable, in the way that she finds most of her friends to be absolutely delightful. The bashfulness as he asks to dance with her only adds to this. Her face lights up, matching the fire for luminescence with her beam. "It would be my very greatest honor," she responds, the last part of the sentence breaking with laughter as she follows Anthony towards the bonfire. She turns back and waves at Lane, mouthing a promise to dance with her later. Naturally, the girl is completely oblivious to the rather awkward situation she and Carr have left behind them.

His steps are careful, somewhat endearingly so, though Erin can't really criticize them- she herself is not exactly a graceful gazelle. Certainly, the girl has nimble hands, but her best dancing is that which is random, goofy, and certainly not meant to be taken seriously or mistaken as an attempt at elegance. Nina had always been the graceful one, while Erin jokingly twirled and spent hours trying to master the moonwalk. She is happy to just sway with her friend, making goofy faces and resisting the urge to bump into other couples like a bumper car.

"So, tell me. Am I suppose to believe you, missy, of all people, isn’t the least bit curious about that fight? It was a really bad fight, I saw it. Daniel Ahn was about to bash that guy’s head in." She ignores the question at first, leading Carr into a spin as the lead usually does the follow. It gives her time to assemble any proper response on the matter. That being said, factory made responses have never been the young woman's specialty. She makes the prototype, flawed and personal. Erin is easily hurt not because she is overly sensitive, but because she is easily taken hold of.

"Why should I care what Daniel and Nin- what Daniel and his kind are doing? Probably tormenting some poor innocent chap for scuffing his Prada shoes or something," She is beginning to become dizzy, despite the fact that they haven't really spun at all. Maybe it isn't the dancing doing it- the girl can normally twirl for days without getting sick. Her feigned apathy is transparent, almost pathetically so.

"Anyway, have anyone cute you want to talk to tonight? Now that you have the liquid confidence and an expert wingman?" It seems Erin has taken it into her mind tonight, probably due in some part to her drink, to help at least one friend have a summer romance. Too many 80s movies today might also have a portion of the blame.

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Keevan struggles to keep his expression neutral as Rebecca nears him. This would be incredibly dangerous territory for anyone less gifted at keeping up a farce than the novelist himself. After all, to a writer the truth is more easily stated between lines. And she is not close enough to read the truths between the way his eyes crinkle when he grins. She won't be for a while- not according to his estimations, anyway. Still, when she offers him her hand, every bit a duchess, and offers him the honor of it, the young man cannot help but to let a peek of a smile out of the corner of his mouth. He takes it, and in play with the bit, brushes his lips past her knuckles, every bit the gentleman with his arm crossed over his torso accordingly. "Oh, the honor is all yours, good madam," he murmurs, before looking up at her and winking.

He hardly even minds as she leads him away from the light, to dance in some shady secluded corner. In fact, the gutsiness of it amuses him, though perhaps the fact that stealing away to a shadowed area is more scandalous than dancing in a lit one is lost on her. He's not certain what she's speaking on, in regards to stars and whatnot, but does not move his eyes from hers throughout the conversation. When she has paused once more, he laughs, "And you and I running off to a nice dark corner isn't? My my, miss Sayre, this goes beyond my modest hope of dancing with you," he says this jokingly, of course, but still is intensely aware of the warmth in her hands as she wraps them around his neck for the dance.

He doesn't know how much of what she does is for fear of him releasing her secrets, but suspects it is all of it. The young woman apparently has very little indication that she holds far more sway over him than he, with all of his secrets, does over her. Perhaps it is best that way- should she realize, she might not stand so close to him. It is through his manipulation and deception that he may stand here with her, after all. Perhaps she will not dance with him in the light, but all things considered it is most appropriate for them to remain obscured by the dark. It suits their relationship painfully well, a parallel not lost on a boy who has made his name in language and literature.

He does not make any movements towards her, content to banter and sway in the shadows, to be a chore she must get done in order to keep everything running smoothly.

What a sad little writer.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Erin Hill Character Portrait: Lane Blackwell Character Portrait: Anthony Carraway Character Portrait: Aimee Hart

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Aimee tried to point a panicked look at Anthony, but he was already engrossed with Erin and dancing. Which, under any other circumstance, would have been really nice. Aimee always wants Carr to really get out there, and maybe with a little help from the booze now he can. Sighing, she looked at Lane, who was seated next to her. They hadn't been this close since, well, since they were this close, and her heart had immediately started to beat rapid time. Her mental guard was down, and since Lane was so close Aimee could almost feel something from her. Aimee had honestly shoved every ounce of thought about Lane to the very back of her memory and had yet to deal with it. But now, with Lane sitting in front of her, all of it was coming back.

There is no way to really think about this without sounding completely homophobic...she thought sadly. She wished Tyler were here. As much as she hated her older brother's constant vigilance, his secure presence often made her feel a lot more comfortable. It took her a minute to realize that Lane had asked her something. "No, I'm...I'm not hungry..." She said lamely. Figures in the moment she needed it most her sarcasm failed her and all she could muster was awkwardness. "What do you...want?" Aimee asked, cursing herself inwardly.

Looking at Lane, all of the memories she had tried to push away just kept coming forward. But she wasn't...she wasn't really into her, was she? Booze and sexuality crises do not mix, she groaned to herself.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lane Blackwell Character Portrait: Aimee Hart

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"What do I want?" Lanes heart sinks to her stomach and she scrunches her eyebrows. Hasn't she thought about this... at all? Doesn't she have anything to say? Lane fiddles with her fingers. She feels stiff in this moment, unable determind which way this conversation needs to go. It is clear to her that Aimee has put little to no thought into anything concerning Lane for the last 2 months. Lane would love to convince the girl beside her that they should be friends, hang out.... fall in love and spend all their time together. But Aimee is disconnected and maybe it's the alcohol or the fact that it's nearly midnight, but it hurts Lane just enough to keep her quiet. She looks up from staring at her lap to see everyone dancing in front of the flames. The music blasts reaching all ends of the campus. Everyone's having such a good time, exactly what Lane had intended to do tonight. Lane shifts her position awkwardly in a way so that she may face Aimee better. She stays silent though, letting her nervousness get the best of her.

Before all of this had happened Aimee and Lane hadn't even known each other. They had been nothing but classmates. If not for that night they would be two strangers, irrelevant to each other's lives. Now sitting on this bench nothing could be undone. And Lane didn't mind it, things could only go up from here. Okay that's a lie.

"Do you want to dance... a little?" She asks, letting the words slide out of her mouth cautiously. Lane brushes hair away from her face, a cool breeze passes giving her goose bumps, being closer to the fire would be nice right now, although it doesn't seem likely that she enjoy the rest of the night. Lane looks back into the girl opposite hers eyes, searching for anything. All she gets is distance though. As if Aimee wasn't even hearing the words Lane was speaking. "Or we could just sit here..." Lane sniffs. On the inside she is hitting herself, begging herself not to cry twice in one day. She faces away from Aimee figuring that there wasn't much she could say or do that would turn this moment of social stiffness around. Maybe it was bad timing to sort this all out, sitting on a bench on the outskirts of the largest summer bash of the year.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Erin Hill Character Portrait: Lane Blackwell Character Portrait: Anthony Carraway Character Portrait: Aimee Hart Character Portrait: Lucas Long

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Aimee waited for Lane to answer her, wishing that she had said anything but that. What do you want? Really, Aimee? You couldn't do anything better than that? She sighed, also wishing for the night to end. What was the point of sitting there awkwardly? It wasn't like Lane was making the situation any better. It was mean for her to think that, since it was mainly Aimee's fault that there was any awkwardness at all, but she had a miraculous ability to place blame on anyone but herself. Taking responsibility was never her strong suit. She looked around for Carr, slightly miffed that he was having a great time dancing with Erin, when she corrected herself. Stop sulking, grow up, she thought.

"Uhm...dance? I..." she trailed off. The buzz had warn off, meaning there wasn't nearly enough in her to cause her to make a fool of herself like dancing surely would. Aimee was too heavy in the steps and wiggly in the shoulders to make anything impressive of dancing. You know, I'm actually not...feeling too well...I'm just gonna...tell Anthony I'll catch up with him later, okay?" She said lamely. She stood, glad when the trees didn't blur around her, and started walking away. She stopped mid-step and half turned back to Lane, tucking her hair behind her ear. "I'm...I'm sorry, Lane..." For what, well, that was up to interpretation. Aimee didn't really know herself, whether it be leaving her that morning, ignoring her, or just for leaving her again now. She just knew it needed to be said.

Walking away from the party, she headed towards the summer dorms. No one would be around, almost everyone was at the bonfire, so it was eerily quiet. She thought about all of her interactions from the night. Anthony, Lane, Lucas...now there was a troubling thought. She had literally reeled from everything she learned about him tonight. Of course, she would never do anything with that information, but it was still boggling to think about. And just to touch on the real kicker, he could read minds. He didn't get life stories, but he got a decent amount. And he didn't have a wall like her. He couldn't block it out. She thought about it as she walked, and decided to try something. Hey, Lucas, can you hear me? she thought, and immediately felt like an idiot. So you think in the mass of thoughts on campus he'd pick your head out of everyone? Right... she sighed, entering the summer dorm and curling up on the couch. Tonight was definitely not what she was expecting.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lane Blackwell Character Portrait: Aimee Hart

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Lane waits for Aimee to reply while establishing in her head that's this has been the worst start to summer in at least 10 years. When Aimee finally beings speaking she declines Lane's request to dance. Nothing Lane hadn't seen coming, although a girl can dream right? Then she stands up and gives an excuse for her leaving. Her apology is weak in Lane's eyes, and it means almost nothing. Aimee if you felt any pity for me what so ever why are you leaving me alone on this metal bench? Lane watches her go until the darkness consumes her and she's gone. Taking a deep breath Lane ponders her next move.

She had always been a giggly drunk, not that it happened very often, if ever but it was true. Everyone knows that there are many different kinds of drunks to be: sad, violent, giggly, touchy, dancing, crazy, and so on. So maybe that is why Lane decided to expand her taste outside of Twisted Lemonade and go from something a little more adult for the night. Lane finds herself at one of the coolers, knelt on the ground. She's searching through it like a kid searching a toy box, trying to find the best option. When her hands are too cold to search any more she settles on a Korona. Lane hears footsteps behind her, approaching the cooler as well. She whips her head around as the familiar face plops down next to her.

Shira Madison, a graduated senior. The girl's a music student as well and is into much of the same music Lane is. The two had spent a lot of time together over the last 10 year at Laurel. It was bitter sweet that Shira would be gone next year. While she has been exceedingly talented, Shira was not always nice to Lane, she was a little more harsh with her criticism that Lane likes. Shira smiles, her white teeth shine and she wraps an arm around her younger classmate. "Whatcha doing Lane? Where are your friends?" She asks curiously.

"Trying to get drunk and gone." Lane replies bitterly. She pops the cap off of the beer bottle and downs the drink. The coolness runs down her throat, it is instantly refreshing aside from the slight burn of alcohol in her throat. "If you're going to get drunk Lane, do it the right way." Shira pulls a glass bottle, half filled, of out her jacket. Squinting at the label Lane is able to see that it's some kind of Raspberry vodka. "Now we don't have any shot glasses so don't drink to much at once, but here." She pulls the cap off and passes the bottle over. Lane scrunches her eyebrows and she smells the drink before pressing the bottle to her lips. She takes a swig and the burn comes quickly. Coughing profusely she hands the bottle back to Shira, who in turn does the same, minus the coughing. "Good right?" Shira asks. Lane nods taking the bottle back she repeats her action again, and again and again until the sight of someone walking by causes her to burst out into a fit of laughter. Shira resides next to her, laughing as well she tosses the empty bottle into a table. "This is great isn't it Lane, one last fling, you and me?"

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Daniel Ahn Character Portrait: Holden Cunningham Character Portrait: Erin Hill Character Portrait: Rebecca Sayre Character Portrait: Christine Garner Character Portrait: Anna-Marie Beckett Character Portrait: Sterling Walker Character Portrait: Lane Blackwell Character Portrait: Nina Nikolayevna Romanov Character Portrait: Anthony Carraway Character Portrait: Mimi Arquette Character Portrait: Aimee Hart Character Portrait: Keevan Brennan Character Portrait: Colin Dartonay Character Portrait: Lucas Long

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Throughout the dance, the Queen continues to press herself against the knight, a sort of chess in which pieces are clung to rather than taken. Daniel has always been rather good at chess, with his unending patience and levelheaded intelligence. It is a matter of strategy, of foresight, of never taking too long or too short of a time to play just a little glimmer of one's hand. This dance is, to put it bluntly, nothing like any game of chess that Daniel has played before. His jaw tightens, his eyes shift slightly away, looking into Nina's eyes only when they are completely composed. To say that he is beginning to feel confused by her flirtation, escalating beyond the normal banter he so enjoys, is an an understatement. The normal back and forth has become so routine, so reflexive, that a divergence threatens to disturb his balance. Of course, this is Daniel, one must remembers, and no amount of vertigo will knock him off of his feet after the little mishap earlier. He has bound the doors will every tool in his arsenal, and checked the bolts twice simply for some peace of mind. Daniel takes Nina's new game as a test, and is determined not to fail it by becoming one of those idiots who surround the two. He is calm, collected, and apparently unfazed by the way her hips graze against his.

Her breath is against his neck. She plays a timid hand, Monroe in her innocent seduction. By no means a Kennedy, Daniel will not allow himself to be taken in. He will not fail this test, for he is above such things. How else could he properly be her right arm in all things? Besides, this feigned look of timidity is one which Daniel dismisses readily, it not corresponding with the Nina that he has come to be so devoted to. The new Sam. So he studies her shoulder, face now against his neck, and keeps his hands an appropriate distance above her hips. Daniel Ahn, after all, is every bit the gentleman, a knight whose battles are fought under the rules of court etiquette. Forward two, left one. He guides her around the light, reflected in her eyes as she now looks at him once more. There is a strange, unnerving desperation in the Queen's voice when she speaks. Daniel does not understand it. He is so clever, so insightful, and yet so painfully unobservant. Preset boundaries can be so difficult to break, and he has always been one to play within the rules.

"See me."

Only as you are, Nina, he thinks, the words cryptic in meaning even to the young man himself. Ironic, as he knows nowhere near as much about the depth of her mind as he believes. But at least Daniel is aware of something swimming leagues beneath the surface, occasionally sending ripples across the water like a fault line prepared to separate and consume all in its path. He is concerned of the day on which the earthquakes will begin, but is confident that he will be able to hold onto the cracks until his fingers are bloody from it. "I want to."

The meanings are tragically misconstrued between the Queen and her dog.

"Are the stars flattered when astronomers try to claim them with names? I should think not, Miss Romanov," he is now looking directly at her- while she looks beyond his shoulder. The two are incapable of looking at the same time, it should seem. Perhaps there lies part of the problem. The song ends. He takes her hand and bows languidly, lips brushing against her knuckles.

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Erin is glad for Carr's compliance in dropping the subject, knowing that he does it not out of lack of personal curiosity but in the interest of her comfort. Carr has sensitivity in bounds where Erin often seems to lack it completely, and it is for this reason that she depends so greatly on his friendship. Erin depends rather greatly on all of her friends, in fact, though she does manage some level of independence. She is too open to them, someone more cynical might say, too vulnerable to any secret blades hidden between their pages. Luckily, Erin refuses to listen to such cynicism, even when it has proven true in the past. She grins and twirls, deciding that the lightheadedness is entirely the good kind, and that any inclinations that it might be nausea or discomfort are pure rubbish. Right now, her desire is simply to dance and have fun with the friend before her, who so rarely comes out to things like this with her.

A friend who is apparently made uncomfortable by her prodding question. Perhaps it is partially the alcohol or proximity to the fire, but Carr's face flushes quickly upon her offer to help out as a wingwoman. The question was half in jest, but there is some thought that perhaps if he is willing to come to the bonfire and dance and laugh, he will be willing to take a step forward towards someone as well. More than anything, Erin would like for Carr to expand his horizons and befriend new people. She sincerely worries about him, as one would a younger brother, wondering how he will fare when separated from the people whom he has been around for the entirety of his life. She worries the same thing in regards to herself.

Distracted by the spins, Erin laughs and practically topples on top of him thanks to a mix of dizziness and alcohol. Having fun with Carr is far to easy, the young woman dreads being without him once she goes off to college. How will she succeed without her curly-haired and dimpled-cheeked teddy bear? Not very well, she fears. So she must enjoy his presence while she can. "Not you. You're small. . .and silly." Erin is struck by the impulse to trap Carr in a bear hug when he says this, but is prevented by the fact that he has already wrapped his arms around her in the sort of position that is reminiscent of a middle school dance. Erin smiles and nuzzles into his shoulder. With Carr, she is safe. No drama, no fear, no tension. He may seem to be the more anxious one, may seem to require more care, but much of the time it is in fact the reverse that is true. There is a brief lapse of silence, but Erin doesn't notice it. She is content in the arms of a friend.

As Carr does speak once more, the song comes to an end. "You… How about you? You shouldn’t waste your good looks on me and Lane, you know?" Erin frowns slightly at the thought that anything she does should be 'wasted' on Carr and Lane, two of her favorite people in the world. That they are willing to be around her is a gift. Still, the frown curves up in a smile of sorts.

"Oh, you know me. I only ever want to use people for their cuddling abilities," not entirely untrue, as Erin is known for her love of cuddling. Still, she has been one to enjoy a few flings, though nothing ever seems to last for one reason or another. "I'm starved. Let's grab a snack."


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The proximity of Becca's lips to his skin is not lost on Keevan as she laughs and encourages that rumors be interesting if they are going to exist. Of course, she is not immune to the tendency of rumors about the Influential girls to be somewhat more slanted in a sexual direction. As far as the other two groups are concerned, the members of the Influential are constantly messing around with each other, probably using protection made from silk and hand stitched in Italy. Keevan certainly knows this- as the master of whispers to the common people, there is not a rumor, true or false, that has not passed by his ear at least several times over. It is to him to determine which ones hold grains of truth within them. He doesn't know about Nina, but is rather certain that those spread about Becca's are false. If they were true, he would have noticed some sort of hints indicating it, her sneaking off with people, something.

Not to say that he is constantly watching her, of course. But Keevan would probably have noticed eventually.

She pulls away from his neck to study Keevan, briefly, making him feel squeamish and inferior under her scrutinizing gaze. It does not show, of course. He raises an eyebrow in response, a lazy sort of half smile across his frightfully pale face. "If you take a picture it'll last longer," he quips, disappointed with his own lack of originality. Perhaps she had been too distracted to respond, or too uninterested, for soon Becca's head is resting warm against his neck. The space between their bodies is lessening, and it is a good thing her eyes are closed because his neck is beginning to flush slightly. Even if they were open, hopefully the shadows would have hidden the visible reaction to her presence from view. He likes the feeling of her resting in the curve of his neck. It feels natural. Unfortunately, it is over too soon that she raises her head and speaks, with some severity, on the topic of the fight, which will naturally be in the Onion tomorrow morning.

"Even my saint-like heart is not so forgiving, Rebecca. He brings shame to me and all the other teenage dirtbags out there. Now, I believe my five minutes are up- you can return to your perch, love. I hope to see some more stories by the end of the night," he gives her hand a quick squeeze, but is the first to walk away.


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Time Skip- it is now 11pm, around an hour and a half after the first dance. Any faculty who may have been there to supervise have returned to their own homes in the nearby town or on campus, leaving the party to rage on. Collab posts are encouraged, and ideally we will have a mention of each character unless the writer states otherwise in the ooc. Thank you!