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Althea Bookes

"You don't have to carry the weight all on your own."

455 views · last seen in Coon Falls, Virginia
a character in “Soaring Again”, as played by Diane_Young

Description

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"When I was young the world it was smaller.
The cities were vast the buildings were taller. I felt really strong my parents seemed stronger.
But life has a way it showers with greatness. Then takes it away, those pieces that made us. Then teaches you things you'd never imagine. We all get the same the memories the burdens..."

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∆ Full Name ∆
Althea Rose Bookes

∆ Nicknames ∆
"I don't do nicknames. Just Althea."

∆ Age ∆
28

∆ Occupation ∆
She works at home as the editor of the town's local newspaper.

∆ Hometown ∆
"Some people can't wait to move away from their hometown. But I've been quite happy here."
Coon Falls, Virginia

∆ Face Claim ∆
Felicity Jones

∆ Color Code ∆
15317e





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Eye Color: Hazel

Hair Color: Althea's hair is a medium brown, and in brighter lighting her hair can appear a lighter shade of brown. Same goes for darker lighting, her hair can look almost black.

Bpdy Type: Althea stands at 5"4' and is on the skinnier side. She's not too skinny, but skinny enough that it's noticeable. She's a little curvy at the waist and chest. Althea may be on the smaller side, but it doesn't mean the girl is weak.

Tattoos or Piercings: No tattoos, however, her ears are pierced as well as her upper left cartilage.

Scars: One small scar on the top of her left forearm from a childhood accident when she fell off of her bicycle.



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Personality

"I don't really believe in second chances. I never really have. I think they're overrated and cheesy. People don't deserve second chances. Or third chances or first chances for that matter. People make mistakes, that's how they learn. To shut someone out because they made a mistake? To say that they get one more chance? That's ridiculous. Hear them out, and hell, if it doesn't work again then try again another time."

Althea has always been quiet and kind. She's always looked out for other people and has been there for people who didn't really deserve to have her there for them. She's like a walking community service, but not because she has to, but because she wants to. Because of her need to care for people and invest her time into the happiness of others, Althea sometimes has a problem with over investing. Obsessing over making people happy. When she fails at making someone happy over and over, Althea can become very high strung and stressed out. Sometimes this causes her to drink and clean, a lot. She becomes a drunk neat-freak. On some other occasions, she can lose herself and who she is completely for some period of time.

Rarely does she ever get angry, or ever end up really sad. She's normally always in a good mood, and nothing really can put a damper on that. Only something severe can pull her out of a good mood. Typically this is something that's been buried within for a long time, or something that's been ongoing. The closest to angry that Althea ever gets is when she's strung out on something, and her normal drinking and cleaning phase isn't helping. Even then, her angry is more just rambling frustration. However, there have been times where she has completely lost herself and everything and gone into complete rage-states.


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History

Growing up with two parents who spent their earlier years practically slaves to the Peace Core, Althea was raised to always put other people before herself. Her parents did the same for her, always putting their child before themselves. They gave up their love of travel, their commitment to communities all over. They got steadier jobs in order to save for Althea's education. Which she made sure they wouldn't regret. Althea went through high-school and college with nearly straight A's with a few B's here and there.

In college, she majored in writing in order to become the editor that she is now. Her dreams were never similar to her parents. She wasn't one to want to leave home and travel all the time. Rather, she was completely happy with where she was. The friends she made in her younger years all seemed to move away, but she managed to keep contact with a few of them. Aside from a few coworkers, she spent most of her time contributing to the community with one service project or another.

Aside from all of the things that went well throughout her upbringing, there's a reason for her desire to make people happy aside from the way she was raised. Her best friend, Rona lost her brother to taking his own life when they were in their first year of college. She watched Rona go through a dense amount of grieving and feelings of blaming herself, self-hatred. Althea couldn't watch that kind of pain happen again with someone without being there to try and help them through it. Catching Rona trying to take her own life made Althea vow to herself that wouldn't let grief destroy someone like that again.

So begins...

Althea Bookes's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Darrin Reed Character Portrait: Taylor Reed Character Portrait: Nichola Reed Character Portrait: Judith Reed Character Portrait: Althea Bookes
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What time it was..or even what day, Darrin had no idea. As of late, he was so drugged up he could barely keep up with the days or time. He couldn't even recall the last time that he'd actually gone downstairs to see any of his family. His mother would still come up to his bedroom to try and speak with him, or to try and convince him to leave the room. At one time, he would have been thankful for his mother's constant pestering. Not anymore. Due to the large amounts of alcohol and pills that he would take, he couldn't stand the constant pestering. He would often lose his temper with his mother. He'd recently began locking himself in his room. He didn't want to see anyone. He felt as if he was slowly loosing everything that he'd ever had. As Darrin lay in his large bed, merely starring up at the ceiling, he wondered..why had Hannah left him..them? He'd always given her everything that she ever wanted. He could see no reason for her to leave him nor their children.

Except she'd grown tired of being in his shadow. She'd met Nathan Williams, a well known CEO of a record company. Darrin had, at the time, had no idea that the two knew each other. Williams had promised Hannah that she'd be famous..that she'd have legions of fans. All she had to do was leave Darrin and their children. And so she had.

As he'd just woken up, Darrin had yet to take anything since the night before. He was able to recall that his mother had attempted to get him to eat at some point though he'd refused. Slowly sitting up, Darrin looked over to the nightstand. On top of it sat a beautiful lamp, a clock, a pill bottle, and a large glass container that held some forgotten kind of alcohol. Gently rubbing his face with a hand, Darrin debated with himself for a moment. Of course he knew that he shouldn't be taking the pills or drinking so much, but it helped him to forget the past three years. In the rare moments that he wasn't out of it, Darrin did feel terrible about ignoring his children deep down. He was no good at being a husband nor at being a father. Just these thoughts were enough to drive him to quickly pop a few pills and drink a few shots of the very strong alcohol.

It wasn't long before Darrin began feeling the effects of the mixture. Slowly, he laid back down on his bed, pulling the blankets up and over his head. Darrin recalled the events that happened nearly three years ago, as he closed his eyes.
When Hannah had disappeared that awful day, Darrin had been worried sick. She had been supposed to pick the kids up from school and had just never shown up. Luckily, the kids teacher had called Darrin to let him know that she still had his children. He'd picked them up, at first being quite angry that Hannah hadn't picked them up. He'd taken them home, fixed them something to eat, made sure that they finished their homework, and put them to bed...and still no Hannah. It was by then that he'd really started to worry. Darrin had begun calling her phone, calling her family. No answer and her family hadn't heard from her that day. Becoming frightened for his wife, he called the police. They wouldn't be able to do anything for forty eight hours.

Darrin had stayed up most of that night, worrying. In the morning, he had had to get his children ready for school and take them there. He'd called Kris Manser, his closest friend, to let him know what was going on. By around noon, he received a text message from Hannah. She'd said that it was over, that he was doing nothing but holding her back. This was also when he'd found out about Williams. Darrin felt his world collapsing around him. His entire being belonged to Hannah and she didn't love him. He didn't know how to react. Slowly, as the next few days passed by, Darrin found himself not being able to really take care of his children properly. He had called his mother, asking her to watch them until he decided what he was going to do. Judith had flown out to the family's large home in California. She'd spoken for a long time with Darrin. She could not believe what Hannah had done. She attempted to comfort her son, to no avail. He was too far brokenhearted. She took her grandchildren and flew back to Coon Falls, keeping them at her small home.

Darrin stayed in California for another three months before he'd completely stopped caring about his career. He tried to leave the band, though his bandmates wouldn't hear it. Darrin resorted to calling them extremely hateful names, saying hurtful things. The other men became very angry with Darrin and at the time had not cared that he was leaving them. Darrin flew to Virginia to be with his family. He told his mother that they would be living in his large home that was located on the outskirts of the town. At first everything seemed to be all right. Darrin had seemed to be holding up as well as could have been expected. Slowly, as Judith would come over to the house everyday, she would notice that Darrin was usually drunk or had been taking some sort of drugs. He'd lost weight, didn't seem to care about his appearance, his eyes were usually bloodshot. His behavior had begun to change as well. Darrin had begun to have a bad temper, he'd lost any interest in singing or practicing his guitar, he was trying to push many people away from himself. Judith was beginning to worry about her son. No matter what Judith or her husband Mick said to Darrin, he just wouldn't listen to them. It had gotten to the point that Judith was staying at Darrin's home all the time. She was afraid to leave the children alone with the messed up man.
As he lay there, un-moving, Darrin could hear Taylor and Nichola running down the long hallway. He wanted so badly to be there for the young children..but how could he be when he couldn't even help himself?

Darrin fully snapped out of his thoughts when his mother began banging upon the door. "Darrin? Darrin..please. This has to stop." His mother called from the hallway. He said nothing for a long moment. "Please..come out and join us for breakfast." She called again. Darrin sighed softly before dragging himself out of the bed. "Go ahead. I'll be out in a minute." He finally replied. He could hear his mother going back down the steps to the main floor of the house. He quickly changed into something fresher. He ended up with converse, jeans, a black band shirt, and a black hoodie. Darrin pulled the hood up to cover his once brilliantly colored red hair that was now beginning to fade.

He then made his way down the stairs of the large home, to the living room where he was almost certain his children were. As he entered the room, he saw them on the floor watching cartoons. They glanced at him though said nothing. By now they knew better. He was, most of the time, completely out of it and they most often received no answer from him. He took a seat on one of the couches, turning his gaze to the tv. He could hear his mother in the kitchen, fixing the meal. In the past, he would have helped her..though not now.

Suddenly, Darrin heard a few knocks upon the front door. He would allow his mother to get it. He doubted that it was anyone important. None knew where his home was in Virginia. The door opened and closed and still the man did not move. Judith had stopped what she was doing and opened the door, smiling happily at the woman. "I'm so glad you're here. Come in. Come in. I'm almost done fixing breakfast. After we eat, I can show you around the property."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Darrin Reed Character Portrait: Taylor Reed Character Portrait: Nichola Reed Character Portrait: Judith Reed Character Portrait: Althea Bookes
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It was summer and raining. The air was thick with humidity from the mixture of the heat and the cold rain. Althea had been at work all day. Having picked up a summer job at the local coffee shop to save up for college. She had received a distraught phone call from her best friend, she couldn't understand a word that Rona had said to her. She rushed out of work and made it to her friend's home as soon as she could knowing that this was, without a doubt, an emergency.

Before she even neared the house, as soon as she was on the street it was lined with an ambulance, fire trucks, police, the whole shebang. Althea's heart pounded in her chest as she pulled her car over a couple houses down. It was the closest she could get before she was running in a full-on sprint towards Rona's house. As she came closer, there was a crowd of neighbors across the street huddled nearby a police car as they watched the scene unfold.

The garage door was wide open to her friend's house, and she could only assume that Rona was inside. Bolting down the driveway she heard officers shout after her. "Hey! You can't go in there! It's a crime scene!" A crime scene?! Well, that was definitely not going to stop her. Running into the garage, she slowed down to make her way into the house from the side-door. She was breathing heavy, her heart still pounding and her adrenaline had kicked in enough that her vision was only locked on the door handle, and she couldn't see anything else around her.

When she opened the door, the inside of the house was dead silent. Which was completely out of the ordinary. There was always at least the television in the background blaring the news. She walked slowly through the house, hearing the faint sound of the shutter on a camera. She followed the sound, although she could barely hear it over the pounding of her heart in her ears. Making her way down the hallway at the other end of the house that she had come in, she could see the flicker of light that followed the sound of the shutter. Two policemen stepped into the hallway from the room at the end of the hall. Both of their bored eyes rested on her before they turned to look at each other. One of them turned to head down the hallway in her direction. "Ma'am, it's best if you wait here." The officer spoke softly, and Althea shook her head and rushed down the hall as she pushed past the officer. Fortunately, he didn't really try stopping her; as if it was a little too much effort.

At the end of the hall, Althea turned into the room to find Rona and her mother huddled together in tears. Two EMT's were nearby them, with a gurney alongside them. As she stepped further into the room, she could see an open closet, which is what the EMT's were standing before. Rona's eyes found Althea, and immediately she came over to her friend. She was distraught and sobbing, a complete utter mess. Her mother turned to face them as she held her hands close to her face. Before Althea took Rona into her arms, she moved into the room further to see into the closet. Her younger brother, Roger was inside the closet, hanging from a rope. An image that she would never unsee.

The same room, the same thing. One year later, Althea had found her best friend trying for the same thing.


The sound of the door opening snapped Althea out of the flashback she had been having all morning. First, when it woke her up at 3:30 in the morning, and then now. Fortunately though, Judith had answered the door before her mind let her get to the least favored parts of her memories. Not that the entire first part of that traumatic time wasn't a least favorite. She smiled up at the woman standing before her as she stepped inside.

Althea had been nervous about today, it had been a long time since she'd seen, or even spoken to for that matter, Darrin. She wasn't nervous about him, but rather how it would go. She was afraid that the childhood friend she knew had changed into someone she wouldn't particularly like. However, that wouldn't change how she remembered him, or how she respected him. She was just simply here for him and his well-being. So that what she had already been through wouldn't repeat itself. Especially because she couldn't bear the idea of someone she once knew so well to just disappear like that. Even if they hadn't spoken for a while, and even if they barely knew each other now, she still considered him someone very close to her.

"I'm so glad you're here. Come in. Come in. I'm almost done fixing breakfast. After we eat, I can show you around the property." Judith spoke, and Althea nodded. "You have such a beautiful property, Mrs. Reed. Thank you for inviting me here." Althea said sweetly as she looked around the entrance of the home. Just from looking at the outside, she knew the home was large. Larger than any home she'd ever been in, that was for sure. She could hear the faint sound of a television coming from another room. She figured it was the kids, judging by some of the sounds that were coming through to her ears.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Darrin Reed Character Portrait: Taylor Reed Character Portrait: Nichola Reed Character Portrait: Judith Reed Character Portrait: Althea Bookes
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Judith smiled at the young woman as she spoke. "You have such a beautiful property, Mrs. Reed. Thank you for inviting me here." The older woman moved so that Althea could enter the home. Only when she had did she close the door softly behind them. "Thank you dear, but I'm afraid that Darrin owns this particular home. He's never used it much until recently. Now, come. You can leave your things by the stairs until we're done eating." The older woman led the way into the kitchen so that she could finish up with the meal.

Darrin had no idea that his Mother had asked anyone over for the day let alone someone who would be staying with them for some time. So, when he'd heard his Mother speaking with someone..someone who's voice sounded oddly familiar, he found himself curious. However, he remained on the couch. Nichola and Taylor's eyes were glued to the television, more than happy to be allowed to watch their cartoons first thing in the morning.

Judith dropped her voice when Althea rejoined her. "I was able to get Darrin to come out of his room this morning though it's the first time in the past few weeks. I'm not sure what to expect from him." She paused for a moment as she began setting the table. "I'd like to think that it's a good sign that he's at least come out, but I do not think that's it. I asked you to come because I just simply can't do this on my own anymore. I don't even see my husband now. He refuses to come here."

It was then that the food and drinks were set upon the table. Once everyone was ready, the older woman turned to Althea. "Maybe it would be best if I got and get them. Go ahead and take a seat, dear. I'll talk to Darrin. I hadn't had the chance to let him know that you were coming." Judith left Althea then and headed into the living room. She wanted so badly for the sight before her to remain. Although it was clear that Darrin had already taken something that morning, it warmed her heart to see him out of his room.

"Taylor, Nichola...go ahead and go into the dining room. Breakfast is ready. I'd like to talk to your Father for a moment." The two children got up and headed into the dining room as they'd been told. Judith gently took a seat next to her son, her eyes resting upon him. She was silent for a moment longer before she finally spoke. [url=purple]"Darrin, I know that you're probably wondering who was at the door. It was Althea Brookes. Do you remember her? The two of you used to be rather close."[/color] Darrin suddenly looked at his Mother. Althea? He'd not spoken to her since...well...since they had graduated..if he remembered correctly. Why would she be there now?

"What is she doing here?" He asked her and Judith realized that she truly had no idea how the man was going to react. "I asked her to come, Darrin. I can't do this on my own anymore. She's here to help with the children..to help you if you need it. I'm only asking that you try to be nice." He rose then, looking down at the woman. "I don't need any help, Mom. I'm fine. She can help with Taylor and Nichola if that's what you want..but I want nothing to do with her." He moved then, making his way out of the home and out to the pool area. He took a seat on one of the chairs, leaning back. He then pulled out a cigarette and lit it, bringing it to his lips and taking a hit.

Judith sighed as she rose from her seat. She knew that it was likely that the others had heard the last part of the conversation at the very least. She made her way back into the dining room and took a seat. She offered Althea a small smile. "Don't let him get to you. He's not himself. He hasn't been for some time. I don't think he'll really mind that you're here."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Darrin Reed Character Portrait: Taylor Reed Character Portrait: Nichola Reed Character Portrait: Judith Reed Character Portrait: Althea Bookes
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"Thank you dear, but I'm afraid that Darrin owns this particular home. He's never used it much until recently. Now, come. You can leave your things by the stairs until we're done eating." As Judith spoke, Althea put down her bags by the base of the stairs. She followed the older woman into the kitchen. As she did, she couldn't help but to notice just how large the home was. She was used to her small, two-bedroom, single-story home where the property size was maybe an eighth of the size of the property she was on now. A driveway only separated her house from her neighbor's.

"I was able to get Darrin to come out of his room this morning though it's the first time in the past few weeks. I'm not sure what to expect from him." Althea nodded at Judith's comments about her son. She figured that Darrin would be out of it, but she didn't think that he was this out of it. It had been a while since the whole ordeal happened so she imagined him to be a little bit better than he was right now. Nodding at the woman's words, Althea started to speak "It's understandable, he's been through a lot." She found herself almost defending him and his actions, which she wasn't sure how that made her feel.

Althea fiddled with her fingers as she watched Judith set the table. She was about to ask her if she needed assistance, when the woman started to speak again. "I'd like to think that it's a good sign that he's at least come out, but I do not think that's it. I asked you to come because I just simply can't do this on my own anymore. I don't even see my husband now. He refuses to come here." The words made her frown a little. She didn't realize that his actions and lack of motivation was causing his mother such distress. The thought made her more determined to make this situation better, for the kids, his mother, and his mother's relationship with her husband. The drinks and food were placed on the table soon after, and Althea moved to stand near a seat at the table. Partially so that she was out of the way, and partially because she knew it was coming time to sit down.

"Maybe it would be best if I go and get them. Go ahead and take a seat, dear. I'll talk to Darrin. I hadn't had the chance to let him know that you were coming." Althea's eyes lowered a little at the comment about Darrin. They didn't really end their friendship on the best terms. Rather, Althea was simply just cut out by him. She would call, and call, and he would never answer her. At first, it drove her crazy, made her upset and angry. Then after some time, she thought maybe it was her fault that they all of a sudden just stopped talking. And then finally when she saw him on television and in the news for his band, she figured that was why he cut her out. Yet it still didn't all really add up. As Judith left the dining area, Althea pulled the chair that she was standing closest to out just enough for her to sit down.

Moments later, his two children walked into the dining room and they took seats at the table, both of them across from where she sat. "Well hello, you two. My name's Althea. I'm an old friend of your dad's and I came to help out your Grandma." She smiled warmly at them, pushing away the thoughts of her broken friendship. She couldn't help but to notice just how similar they looked to their father. The thought that someone she was such good friends with now had children all of a sudden was a little weird and overwhelming. She held her breath a little through her smile as she looked at the two kids across from her.

"Did you come to make him better?" The little girl asked, and Althea reached for the orange juice in front of her. Taking a sip, she nodded at the girl. "I am. And I'm here to have some fun with you two! What are your names?" She asked as she carefully set the drink back on the table. The boy was more reserved and only seemed to stare at Althea, whereas the girl did all of the talking. "I'm Nichola, and my brother is Taylor." Althea smiled again at them, "What beautiful names you both have." The kids started digging into the food, and so did Althea, assuming that it didn't matter if she waited for everyone to be seated or not.

"I don't need any help, Mom. I'm fine. She can help with Taylor and Nichola if that's what you want..but I want nothing to do with her." The sound of his voice made her drop the fork on her plate, making a horrible clattering sound. I want nothing to do with her. Clenching her jaw, she forced herself to hold it all together. She looked up at the kids, who were both staring at her in wonderment. Picking up the fork, she swallowed the food she had in her mouth and shook her head a little. "Sorry about that. Sometimes I enjoy food so much that I forget I'm holding my silverware!" She forced a small laugh to reassure the kids before she reached for her drink and took a huge gulp. She needed to pull herself together, but it was so hard when someone she was so close to didn't want anything to do with her. She wanted so badly to rekindle their friendship, and she was just realizing now that it was going to be a lot harder than she thought.

She looked up at Judith as she returned to the dining room, sending her a smile. "Don't let him get to you. He's not himself. He hasn't been for some time. I don't think he'll really mind that you're here." Althea nodded, "Of course, I understand. I wouldn't want strange guests either if I was in his situation, I understand completely." Althea said before taking a large bite of food to occupy her mouth.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Darrin Reed Character Portrait: Taylor Reed Character Portrait: Nichola Reed Character Portrait: Judith Reed Character Portrait: Althea Bookes
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INK

Judith had known that Darrin would very likely react in such a way. However, she'd not thought that he would come out and say such things with her so near. "Of course, I understand. I wouldn't want strange guests either if I was in his situation, I understand completely." Judith smiled at the young woman. "It doesn't make it okay for him to speak like that." Both Nichola and Taylor were not paying any attention to the adults. They ate quickly, soon leaving the table and heading back into the living room to continue to watch their show. Once they were alone again, Judith continued. "The two of your were close once and I'm hoping that perhaps you may be able to get through to him. It will just take patience."

The older woman rose from her seat and began cleaning up the table and headed into the kitchen. She placed the dirty dishes into the sink and then moved about, fixing another plate and a glass of juice. She then carried the two items to Althea. "Althea, dear, I really hate to ask it but would you mind taking this to Darrin? He's not ate in at least a few days and he certainly needs it. Make sure that he eats at least something."

She had left no room for discussion. Darrin had been loosing weight ever since he'd returned to Virginia and Judith was certain that Althea would notice once she got a look at him. Darrin had always been a healthy eater but as he'd become more and more famous he'd begun working out a bit and watching more what he'd ate. He'd thinned down quite a bit even before returning to the small town. Judith worried for Darrin..hoping that the young woman that had once meant so much to him would be able to find the man that had disappeared from them all.

Darrin had remained outside on the lounge chair, slowly smoking the cigarette that he'd pulled out when he first come outside. He knew that the words he'd said had been unkind and didn't care if Althea had heard him. However, there had been a time that he never would have said anything of the sort about her. She'd been his only friend when they'd been in school. When everyone else around them had made fun of him and hated him, she'd been there no matter what. And how had he repayed her? By pushing her away the moment things had changed for him.

He'd met Kris and the other members of Unfinished Belief and all of a sudden he'd no longer had time for her. There had been a time when he'd missed her after he'd moved to California though he'd never acted on the feeling. He was suddenly pushing the thoughts from his mind. He finished the cigarette and then relaxed back into the chair. He closed his eyes, exhaling heavily. Why did his Mother seem intent upon having Althea within the home..around his children? He didn't know. What he did know was that he would have to make sure that the woman that he'd cared about so long ago knew that he didn't want her around him and that she needed to stay away from him.

The sound of the door opening and the then closing caused to steal the man's attention though he didn't move..didn't even react. A moment passed before he finally opened his eyes, turning his head slightly to see who had come outside. He suspected that his Mother had sent Althea out there. "Let me guess...she sent you out here...didn't she? What part of I want to be left alone doesn't she get?" He'd not even bothered saying hello to her...didn't bother greeting her at all. He did, however, finally turn his gaze to her, watching her steadily.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Darrin Reed Character Portrait: Judith Reed Character Portrait: Althea Bookes
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"Althea, dear, I really hate to ask it but would you mind taking this to Darrin? He's not ate in at least a few days and he certainly needs it. Make sure that he eats at least something." She took the two items in her hands and simply nodded at the woman with a small smile. However, inside, she was ready to throw the items back at Judith and run away. She had to face him. So badly, she wanted this to play out very differently. Turning in the direction of the door to the pool area, she made sure Judith couldn't see her face before she closed her eyes and inhaled a huge breath of air.

She thought this was going to be easier, like all of her other projects. She thought she could treat Darrin like another lost cause that she was obligated to make better. However, for some reason, the memories of their past that she had buried way down were getting in the way of that. And all of the feelings she had when he cut her out of his life made her nerves fire as they all came back to her. She was on edge, she was sweating, clammy, and tense. Letting out the breath of air as slow as possible, she opened her eyes and walked towards the door.

Stepping outside, she saw him lounging in the chair by the pool. Her breath hitched, and all the calming she tried to do before stepping outside failed her completely. He looked so different from what she remembered of him. Of course, he looked fairly similar to how she saw him on television and in the news, but the way she remembered him he didn't look anything the same. He was much skinnier, and his hair was a different color. He was older looking, and definitely more filled out with masculine features. But he was skinny.

When his eyes opened, she felt a knot in her stomach twist and swirl around, making her feel nauseous. Her heart fluttered and her hands started to tingle in response to the amount of anxiety that was coursing through her veins. She could feel her hands start to tremble, and she resorted to putting the food down on the closest table near the chairs. It was still within reach of Darrin but had she held them any longer they wouldn't be edible anymore.

"Let me guess...she sent you out here...didn't she? What part of I want to be left alone doesn't she get?" Figuring that her best option was to just do what she was told and to stay out of his hair as much as possible was her best option, she blinked a few times. "You should have a few bites. That way, I can leave you alone. I'm only doing what she told me. So the sooner you just..." Her stomach's twisting and writhing was making her want to upchuck all the breakfast she just ate. Attempting to regain composure, she grabbed her left wrist with her opposing hand behind her back and squeezed as hard as she could to try and get her mind off of her stomach.

Memories of their friendship started to flood her again. She stared at him, seeing the younger Darrin, the one she was so close with. Feeling the nagging feeling in the back of her throat that comes just before one starts to cry, Althea turned to start pacing. In order to occupy her mind with something else. "Just eat the food, Darrin." She snapped a little after stopping and turning to look at him with a hard gaze. He was literally unraveling her just by looking at her, and she hated it.

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It was then that he noticed the plate and drink that the woman had with her. "You should have a few bites. That way, I can leave you alone. I'm only doing what she told me. So the sooner you just..." Althea's words caused a look on confusion to cross his features. He couldn't say that he was used to someone coming up to him and trying to get him to do something that he clearly had no interest in doing. It surprised him and he wasn't quite sure what to make of it. He made no move to do as the woman said, simply watching her.

A moment later, the woman began pacing and he couldn't understand why. "Just eat the food, Darrin." She snapped, stopping to look at him with a new sudden hard looking gaze. He couldn't say that he liked being snapped at..much less so coming from her. In all the time that they'd spent together in the past, he couldn't recall a single time that she'd spoken to him in such a way. He debated with himself for a long moment. Truly, he did not feel hungry but he knew that his Mother worried about how much he was eating. That was likely the main reason that Althea had been sent outside.

However, Darrin was not about to allow her nor his Mother tell him what to do. But, a small nagging feeling had begun to spread through him. Something seemed off with the woman and he couldn't quite place it. The mere fact that he was able to notice this was a sign that the concoction that he'd taken earlier was slowly beginning to wear off. It was only a matter of time before he began shaking slightly though he doubted that he'd remain downstairs long enough for her to notice.

"I don't know how you expect me to eat anything with you pacing around like a mad person." He said at length, looking up at her. "Sit down..you're driving me nuts." He waited for her to join him, his gaze never leaving her. Though his words had been more on the snippy side his voice had not been. When she had, Darrin finally gave in. He crossed his legs and then took the plate, sitting it in his lap. He was no longer looking at Althea but down at the food.

He suddenly took hold of the fork and took a bite of the food that his Mother had prepared. "What's wrong?" He asked her after he'd finished the bite. No matter what had happened between them, it wasn't enough to cause him to ignore the way that she was acting. He made it quite clear that he had no intention of continuing to eat until she spoke to him.

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This could not be happening right now. Biting the small area of skin near the sides of her fingernails, Althea couldn't get herself to calm down. She needed to calm down. Otherwise, things were bound to head in a very steep downhill. And there was no telling what would happen after that. It was extremely rare for Althea to lose her cool, to fall apart so easily. But this, this hit home so hard that everything about this situation was spiraling out of control. And it was like the brake lines were cut because Althea couldn't find a solid piece of ground to stop on.

"I don't know how you expect me to eat anything with you pacing around like a mad person." The sound of his voice was like a trigger. It wasn't even what he was saying, just the sound that was throwing her further into her downhill spiral. Mentally, she was a ticking time bomb, and it was seeping through her pores and glistening all over her skin and features. When she finally registered what he had said, she dropped her hand back at her side and stopped moving. As soon as she stopped it was like everything was losing control at a hundred miles per hour. At least the pacing slowed that feeling down.

"Sit down..you're driving me nuts." She didn't really argue what he'd said. But she couldn't help but to think about how his presence alone was driving her nuts. Slowly, she moved to sit down on a chair that was two away from the one he was on. It left an empty chair in between them, which gave her enough space to see all of him clearly as she sat. Not to mention, the space she needed to give her some string of hope to hold onto, any closer and she might as well kiss composure goodbye.

Watching him pick up the food and seeing his gaze turn to the food and no longer onto her, she felt a wave of relief wash over her. The sight of him taking a bite of food didn't please her nearly as much as she wanted it to. Sure she was happy that he was eating, but she couldn't focus on that with the burning question she had been holding in since she first laid eyes on Darrin.

"What's wrong?" There it was. The window of opportunity that she was dying for. She picked up on his cue that if she didn't speak, he wasn't going to continue to eat. So now, not only did she have the chance to ask him why he cut her out so abruptly all those years ago, she practically had to bring it up in order to get him to progress to getting better.

"Seriously?" She all but snapped as she stood up. She didn't realize that she rose, nor that she started to pace again. "You ask me what's wrong, and you want me to tell you or you won't eat? Could you corner me any more than that?" She shouted at him, arms flailing a little bit at her sides as she spoke. Shaking her head and crossing her arms over her chest she turned her attention forward as she paced. One hand came up so that her elbow was resting on her other bent arm, her fingers touching her lips. She couldn't figure out how to bring it up, how to start the conversation. Yet every second she waited and stalled, she was practically losing all control.

She stopped walking and turned to him, dropping her arm back to rest on top of her other one. "Why?" She started, and it was then that she realized there was no turning back. The nagging feeling at the back of her throat thickened enough to tighten her airway and tears formed in the pits of her eyes. "Why did you cut me out? There was nothing from you." Her voice was almost a whisper, her voice quivering on her words. She was so close to completely losing it.

"I get that you had your band..." She started again after a short pause of silence. If she had spoken any sooner, she would have broken down crying right then and there, and not a single word more would have left her lips. "But did having a band really require you to not return a single call ever again? To just disappear like that? After everything we went through?" Near the end of what she continued to say, her words started to come out in choked sobs. She turned so that her back was to him, her crossed arms started to wrap themselves around herself, her fingers resting on her ribs.

"How could you do that to me? After... everything...?" She knew that if she said anything more she would start to say things she didn't mean. Or worse, she would start to say things she didn't really want to come up in this conversation. However, she finally got the question off her chest. From the partial sudden relief of releasing all of the pent up tension the question gave her, she broke down a little more, sobbing harder. Putting her hands over her face, she stopped pacing still with her back to Darrin, she cried.



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He continued to watch her, patiently. He wanted more than anything to know what was bothering her so badly. He didn't have to wait long before Althea was speaking. "Seriously?" She was snapping at him again, this time standing as she'd done so. She began pacing once again, continuing. "You ask me what's wrong, and you want me to tell you or you won't eat? Could you corner me any more than that?" Althea's voice had rise so much so that she was now yelling at him. Darrin opted for remaining silent, for now. He owed her that much.

A few short moments of silence passed, Althea finally stopping her pacing as she turned towards him. "Why?" She asked him. Darrin had no idea to what she was referring. However, Althea was quick to continue. "Why did you cut me out? There was nothing from you. I get that you had your band...But did having a band really require you to not return a single call ever again? To just disappear like that? After everything we went through?" It was easy for Darrin, even now, to hear how her voice was breaking as the sobs tried to take over. She turned then, refusing to look at him. She crossed her arms so that she was effectively holding herself. "How could you do that to me? After... everything...?"

The young woman finally went silent, her sobs increasing and then she placed her hands over her face. Out of everything that he'd thought was bothering her...what she'd said was far from it. He did feel bad about having cut off any ties that he'd had with her. However, as time had worn on he'd thought of it less and less. How was he to explain to her exactly what had happened all those years ago?

After a moment of nothing but the sound of Althea's sobs, Darrin finally spoke. "I honestly never meant to cut you out like I did. I know that you likely won't believe me..but it's the truth. You were my best friend..the only person that I could trust completely. But, after I started the band..things began happening so quickly. We were approached by the scout after only a few gigs and before we knew it we were skyrocketing into the bright light of fame. Before we knew it, we were recording and going on tour. I had almost no time for resting or anything like that. You can ask Mom. I hardly even spoke to her during that time. As the months passed and then those turned into years..I just kept getting busier. I went from being someone that no one cared about to someone who millions looked up to almost overnight. Can you even comprehend the amount of pressure that puts on a person?"

Darrin paused then, sitting the plate down once again. It was easy to hear in his voice how upset Althea's words had made him. He wasn't angry..simply..saddened by everything that had happened during their lives. "You meant the world to me, Althea. You were the only person who liked me..for me. You stuck up for me when I refused to do so for myself..and you remained behind me even when I was getting us in trouble. I'm sorry that I hurt you..it was not intentional." He went silent then, now refusing to look at her. He'd left out everything that had happened with Hannah. He assumed that she knew everything that had happened and did not bother retelling the tale.

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So much of what he said to her seemed to hit her like a ton of bricks, "You were my best friend... the only person that I could trust completely. She hated the words he said, how she was his best friend, it was like she was a passing memory or phase that he had gone through. However, she wasn't going to hold him to it, she couldn't. "I went from being someone that no one cared about to someone who millions looked up to almost overnight. What about her? Althea cared about him. Did that not matter nearly as much as having millions of people care about him? She bit her lip at the sour thought.

She could hear just how upset he was and it made part of her hurt inside while the other part felt like she was finally leveling the field of hurt. Since he hurt her so badly back then, it was her turn. Yet, as much as she wanted to be spiteful, and how tempting the idea was, she wouldn't do that. Especially with the state that he was in and what he has gone through. "You meant the world to me, Althea. You were the only person who liked me... for me. You stuck up for me when I refused to do so for myself... and you remained behind me even when I was getting us in trouble. I'm sorry that I hurt you... it was not intentional."

It was then that Althea turned around, she was still crying but it was softer now. "You might have gone from being no one to someone, but you were always someone to me. And I needed you." She started, her voice didn't falter anymore, but there was an edge to it. She didn't bother adding on to the situation about her traumatic time with Rona since she felt that it would have been a little too much for right now. "Darrin, you left me, whether you meant to or not. And I needed you so much. I wasn't myself for so long after you stopped returning my calls, stopped contact with me altogether." She continued, tears still trickling down her cheeks.

So badly she wanted to bring up how he was hurting his family with what he was doing, but it was just not the right time. Running a hand through her hair she closed her eyes and inhaled a deep breath. "We can't change what happened." She started, it was her method of recollecting herself. "We can work with what we have now, and right now, I am here to take care of you. And your children. To help your mother and to see that you get better. That's what it will be." She stated, wiping stray tears from her cheeks. She smiled at him, and it was a weak one at that, but she forced it in order to move forward from the mess that just unraveled itself.

She needed to pull herself out emotionally for now, otherwise there was no way she was going to get through this, or at least that's what she thought. "Now, I'm sure you have a liquor cabinet somewhere in this house, no?" She asked, hands on her hips as she let out a huff of exhaustion.

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Althea turned around though Darrin still didn't look to her. "You might have gone from being no one to someone, but you were always someone to me. And I needed you." Her words cut through him like a knife. It was in that moment that he was realizing just how much he'd let her down..something that he never would have done. He deserved her words..likely deserved much worse than what she was saying. "Darrin, you left me, whether you meant to or not. And I needed you so much. I wasn't myself for so long after you stopped returning my calls, stopped contact with me altogether."

He decided that it was best to allow her to speak as she wished without interruption. When she did go silent again, it did not last long. "We can't change what happened. We can work with what we have now, and right now, I am here to take care of you. And your children. To help your mother and to see that you get better. That's what it will be." He finally looked at her, watching as she wiped at her face and then smiled at him. He found that he couldn't even attempt to return the gesture.

Even Althea thought that he needed help..she had quite clearly been speaking with his Mother. Yes..he knew that he was quickly becoming more and more addicted to the Xanax and alcohol that he'd been taking regularly only within the past few months. He'd tried to overcome everything without anything but he'd failed. Just as he'd failed in everything else. Althea's words drew him out of his thoughts. "Now, I'm sure you have a liquor cabinet somewhere in this house, no?" Of course he did..but he couldn't understand why she wanted to know about it.

Confusion appeared upon his face as he answered her. "Yea..I can show you where it is if you'd like." He moved then, standing and picking up the plate that the woman had given him. He knew that he needed to eat...he'd at least try to. He then picked up the glass of juice and headed back into the home. As he passed through the living room, Nichola suddenly looked up at him, watching as he moved into the kitchen.

His mother was moving about, taking care of some cleaning. She turned her gaze to him as he sat the two items down for a moment on the island that sat in the middle of the room. Her gaze shifted to Althea curiously. "This way." He said to the younger woman, moving through the home. He went up the stairs, coming to the second floor and then moving past a few different doors until he came to one on the end. He opened the door and then led the way in. The room held his office. It was easy to see that he'd not used it in some time.

He moved through the main part of the room to the back part which held the liquor cabinet that matched the other furniture. He stopped a few steps away, his gazing shifting to Althea. "That's it." He said though he knew that she'd already noticed it. He tore his gaze from the woman and looked about he room. He could tell that his Mother had cleaned it some time ago..he only hoped that she'd left the top floor alone. She knew that he did not allow anyone up there. "I don't need you taking care of me..I'm completely fine." He said as he left her, moving back into the main part of the room and took a seat in the large chair. He just couldn't understand why none of them could just simply let him be.

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As soon as she laid eyes on the liquor cabinet, Althea made her way over to it. She rummaged through until she found something she particularly liked. A fairly decent sized handle of Jameson whiskey. Tucking a stray lock of hair behind her ear, she twisted off the lid and touched the bottle to her lips. Pausing momentarily, she found herself inhaling the sweet smell of the liquor before she tilted the bottle back along with her head. Althea didn't hold back either. She took large gulps, downing almost a third of the bottle before she pulled it from her lips. Sucking in a deep breath of air, she held the neck of the bottle in one hand as she used her other arm to wipe her mouth.

"I don't need you taking care of me..I'm completely fine." Althea laughed softly at his words. A small buzz started to kick in and her muscles seemed to start relaxing in response. "Fine, huh? You know what 'fine' means?" She made her way back into the main part of the room, her face straight and serious. She took a few more gulps of the whiskey, her face twisting in response to the bite at the end. Moving to lean against a wall across the room she let out a small hiccup.

"Fucked up, Insecure, Neurotic, and Emotional. That's what 'fine' means!" She laughed before sliding down the wall so that she was sitting on the floor. She looked at him with a blank face as she sipped more on the booze. She was already reaching a point that if she drank any faster she would be sick and her buzz would be gone. As she looked at him, she rested her head back against the wall. She took a few more large sips before resting the bottle in between her legs.

"I almost started to forget what you looked like, to be honest. I mean, I saw you all the time on television and on the internet, and the news, but I almost forgot what the Darrin I knew looked like." She slurred a little as she spoke, her mind wandering back to distant memories from their past. Looking down at the bottle, she licked her lips as she mindlessly read the label. After a few moments of staring off into oblivion, she snapped back and looked up at him. "I'm sorry she left you like that." She whispered, yet it was extremely sincere.

Althea's legs fell straight out so that she was practically sprawled on the floor, with her back slouched against the wall. She took a couple more large gulps. She raised the bottle to inspect how much she had consumed. Almost halfway. She all but set the bottle down at her side before she hiccuped again. She closed her eyes a little, a small smile tugging at her lips at the warm feeling that was surging through her stomach.

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"Fine, huh? You know what 'fine' means?" Althea asked and Darrin said nothing. The young woman made her way back into the main part of the room and Darrin turned his eyes to her. She looked serious as she took a few more gulps of the whiskey, then leaning against a wall. "Fucked up, Insecure, Neurotic, and Emotional. That's what 'fine' means!" She laughed, sliding down the wall. She looked at him as she continued to drink.

Darrin watched her as she drank for a few moments before she set the bottle down. "I almost started to forget what you looked like, to be honest. I mean, I saw you all the time on television and on the internet, and the news, but I almost forgot what the Darrin I knew looked like." Her words caused Darrin to look at her in almost wonder. He didn't think that he'd changed that much from when they'd been in high school. Yes..he was thinner and he'd taken to dying his hair red lately but didn't he still look the same? He'd been about to speak when Althea continued, this time her voice quieter as she whispered to him. "I'm sorry she left you like that."

Darrin could hear the sincerity in her voice yet he wasn't quite sure how to take her words. His own Mother didn't even speak to him of Hannah. Only as Althea's legs fell straight did Darrin move. Slowly, he rose from his seat and made his way towards her. He reached her in only a few steps, slowly taking a seat next to her. They were close enough that their bodies were touching. Just being close to her reminded him of all the times that they had snuck off together when they'd been younger, hanging out just for the simple reason that they liked each other's company.

He could see that she was drunk and it brought back memories of the first time that they'd drunk any sort of alcohol together. They'd actually gotten invited to one of the biggest parties during the summer one year. Even now Darrin could recall everything that had happened that night. They'd both drank quite a bit when a few of the jocks had come over when Althea had gone off for more drinks. They'd picked on him quite badly that night, having been already drunk...he never did tell her what had happened...why he'd left so suddenly without speaking to her about it before hand.

Gently, almost as if he was unsure of himself, Darrin allowed himself to lay his head upon Althea's shoulder as he'd done so many times in the past. He'd always found comfort in her. He closed his eyes, finally speaking. His voice was quiet and he feared that the woman at his side could hear the pain in it. "It was bound to happen. I should have seen it coming. The moment she met Williams is when everything changed. Nothing I did seemed to be enough. She was looking for a way out." He paused, trying to control his emotions. He'd not even talked about this with his Mother and yet here he was telling Althea. "I just can't see why she would leave them. Me..that's one thing. I'm nothing but a fucked up asshole..but Nichola and Taylor..they were innocent." His voice failed him and he chose to simply remain close to the woman, trying to control the sudden sadness that he was feeling.

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She watched him walk over to her and sit down next to her. She took another swig of the whiskey as he rested his head on her shoulder. It was strangely comforting, yet at the same time it was strangely uncomfortable. The strangeness she assumed came from the part of her that tried to force away the memories and the hurting feelings that came when he cut her out. However, aside from the internal battle that her mind was putting up, she rested her head on top of his.

"It was bound to happen. I should have seen it coming. The moment she met Williams is when everything changed. Nothing I did seemed to be enough. She was looking for a way out." She stayed quiet, although she picked up on the hints of pain seeping through his words. She knew this was hard for him to talk about, and she wasn't sure if this was the first time he was mentioning it or not. Swallowing a few more sips of the booze she reached the halfway point, and it was there that things started to feel warm. She knew now that if she even tried to stand, she would be stumbling left and right.

"I just can't see why she would leave them. Me..that's one thing. I'm nothing but a fucked up asshole..but Nichola and Taylor..they were innocent." It was then that Althea gently lifted his head off of her shoulder and she moved in a criss-crossed position in front of him. Placing her hands on his knees she stared at him dead on. "They deserve better than that. As for you and her, I don't know what your relationship was like. I don't know whether you deserved for her to leave you or not. But based on the Darrin I know, you deserve better than her anyways if she pulled a stunt like that." Althea slurred, hoping that her words at least made a little bit of sense. She grabbed the bottle and drank some more.

Unable to hold herself up much, she laid down on her back as she rested the bottle on her stomach, her legs still crossed. Looking up at the ceiling was hard, because it was definitely spinning by now. She tilted her head up to take another sip. Resting the bottle back on her stomach, she smiled at Darrin. "I was just thinking about that time that we first drank together. At that big house party, remember?" She started to force herself to sit back up again. As she sat up, the room spun faster and she swayed a little. Moving on to her knees to try and balance herself, she laughed in her stupor.

"I haven't had alcohol since my freshman year of college." She laughed, falling forward a little which sent her bracing herself with her hands on his shoulders.

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Althea lifted her head from his and he moved as well as she moved to sit in front of him. She placed her hands upon his knees as she stared at him. "They deserve better than that. As for you and her, I don't know what your relationship was like. I don't know whether you deserved for her to leave you or not. But based on the Darrin I know, you deserve better than her anyways if she pulled a stunt like that." Her words were slurred though that didn't seem to deter her from drinking some more. Her words were oddly comforting..the fact that she didn't think that he'd deserved the treatment that Hannah had given him.

Althea laid down then on her back, the bottle on her stomach. Darrin allowed himself to continue to watching Althea when he finally spoke. "Maybe.." Though it was clear that he still thought that he'd deserved such treatment. Darrin saw Althea smiling at him. "I was just thinking about that time that we first drank together. At that big house party, remember?" He suddenly found himself smiling. It was likely the first time he'd done so since Hannah had left.

"Of course I do. I..." His sentence was cut short as Althea had sat up and had suddenly went forward a bit towards him. Her hands had ended up on his shoulders to brace herself so that she didn't fall on top of him. "I haven't had alcohol since my freshman year of college." Darrin smiled at her again. "Then perhaps you should take it easy and not down a whole bottle of whiskey in one sitting." He said, laughing slightly.

Darrin hesitated for a moment before he moved his hands up to take hold of Althea's upper arms. He moved then, coming to his knees and keeping the woman steady. They were close, very close. Darrin found himself staring at her. When they'd been in high school, he'd had such deep feelings for her..though he'd never spoken or acted on them. How could he when she was so much better than he was...deserved so much better?

Now, however, he was finding himself looking at her in a similar way that he had then though he had no idea why. "So..." He started as he allowed his hands to move from her upper arms to her waist. "Did you miss me? Or, have you been too mad at me for that?" He went silent as he waited for her to speak, his eyes trying to hold her own.

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When Darrin moved his hands up to her arms, the feeling was warm and electric and she felt like she was going to melt into it. Her head lolled back a little at the pleasurable feeling. She didn't realize she had closed her eyes, but when she opened them she noticed how close they were. His eyes were locked on hers and for some odd reason she felt her body relax to the sight. Everything around her seemed to cease existence, it was just the two of them right then and there. Old feelings started to surface as she stared back at him.

She had such intense feelings for him when they were younger, back in high-school. However, she never acted on them because she always thought that he only saw her as a friend. And she didn't want to risk losing him if he didn't return the feelings. And once they were out there, it wasn't like she could reel them back in and erase his knowledge of them.

His expression changed a little, it softened, making Althea's body slump a little in response, all of her weight was supported by his hold on her arms at this point. She registered some words he had said just a few moments ago. About how she shouldn't drink so much in one sitting, or something of the sort. She smiled at the thought.

"So..." Her attention pulled back to the current moment, and the feeling of his hands moving to her waist caused her breathing to hitch. She gasped a little at the feeling, having not been held in such a way since her very awkward relationship back in her sophomore year of college. "Did you miss me? Or, have you been too mad at me for that?" The smile on her lips stretched a little more, and her cheeks flushed.

"I never stopped missing you, Darrin." She whispered, the smile leaving her lips a little. Her hands slid up from his shoulders to toy with the hair at the nape of his neck. She wasn't fully aware of what was happening, but it didn't really seem to bother her either. "I hated you for a while after you stopped talking to me, but I didn't really hate you, I hated the fact that I didn't see you anymore; or hear from you." She added, her head falling forward a little, eyes landing on the bottle of alcohol. Her hands left his neck, sliding down his chest in a messy manner before they landed back on the bottle. She threw back a quick gulp and then a second, a third.

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"I never stopped missing you, Darrin." Althea said, her hands sliding up to play with his hair that was near the nape of his neck. Darrin fought the urge to close his eyes, to allow her to continue as she was doing. It was strange for him..to be feeling such things. "I hated you for a while after you stopped talking to me, but I didn't really hate you, I hated the fact that I didn't see you anymore; or hear from you." After she'd spoken, Althea's head fell forward a bit. Darrin simply couldn't take his eyes from her.

The woman's hands left his neck and slid down his chest before leaving him and grabbing the bottle once again. Once the bottle was in her hands once again, Althea was quick to take a few gulps. Darrin suddenly reacted, taking hold of her wrist to stop her. "Alright, Althea. You've had enough I think." With his free hand, Darrin attempted to get the bottle from her although there was little left in it by this point. He simply couldn't sit and watch her getting shit faced.

When he finally got the bottle from her, he stood quickly and moved out of her reach. He returned the bottle to the cabinet and then made his way back to the desk, leaning on it. "We should probably get you to your room. There's no way you're doing anything for the rest of the day." He said softly. He regarded her for a few moments before he pushed off from the desk and made his way to Althea once again. If he knew his Mother at all, he knew exactly where the older woman had intended upon allowing Althea to stay while she was with them.

He helped her up, his arm gently going around her so that he could support her weight better and make sure that she didn't fall. He began leading her out of the room and back down the hall, stopping at the door that was right after his own bedroom's. Opening the door, Darrin led Althea in and closed the door behind them. This bedroom had never been used before though it had always been kept up in the case that they ever needed the spare room.

Darrin led the way to the bed, trying to help Althea onto it. "I'm pretty sure that Mom was going to have you stay in here. My room is right next door if you need anything. Get some rest. You're going to feel like shit later." He was still trying to help her into the bed though at some point he'd ended up in the bed with her..underneath her smaller from. His eyes looked up at her in confusion, not quite sure what just happened. "What are you doing, Althea? I can't stay in here and you know that." His high from earlier was completely gone by now. However, it only caused him to want to stay with her that much more.

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She was significantly unhappy with the alcohol was being taken away from her. In fact, she was rather frustrated by it. However, when Darrin all but scraped her off the floor she realized just how hammered she was and she chose not to argue. "We should probably get you to your room. There's no way you're doing anything for the rest of the day."All of the moving into a different room came along as a blur to her, but soon enough she was in what she could at least recognize as a bedroom. She assumed it was hers.

"I'm pretty sure that Mom was going to have you stay in here. My room is right next door if you need anything. Get some rest. You're going to feel like shit later." The words swirled around her mind and she could feel him try to move her into the bed. Unconsciously her arm hooked around his neck and she fell forward on top of him. It wasn't intentional really, but part of her enjoyed it. The warmth of another body against hers, heating her and igniting her senses like a wildfire. It was merely just a plus that it was Darrin who she had fallen on top of.

The alcohol was setting into her system rather violently now, and she could feel herself numbing from the inside out. Yet, the warm sensations remained constant and overpowering in comparison to the rest of her senses. "What are you doing, Althea? I can't stay in here and you know that." More words that made their way into her mind, bouncing around and remaining there with no meaning. Or at least, she couldn't register the meaning.

Sliding a little, Althea had moved in her drunken daze so that she was laying alongside Darrin, but her head and one of her arms was still on top of him. Her eyes had closed well before she had found herself in the comfort of a bed, simply because it was exhausting to keep them open. Images of Rona and her brother seemed to flash around her shut eyelids, she wasn't sure why, but they didn't seem to disturb her like they usually did. Except all of a sudden the images of them were being replaced by the images of Darrin going through the same motions. The sight forced Althea to jolt and tremble, her eyes darting open and seemingly staring at nothing. Her hand that rested on his chest clenched into a tight fist, grabbing the fabric of his shirt with it. Her eyes landed on Darrin's face, and almost immediately she relaxed.

The thoughts and images that raced through her mind made her feel as though her subconscious was telling her she needed to help him more than anything. If she didn't he would end up like Rona or worse, Rona's brother. The thoughts kept her awake in her dazed state and her eyes filled with hints of fear as if she had seen a ghost. Her body tensed a little more causing her grip only to tighten more on his shirt. She knew she would wake later on and most likely not recall the majority of what had happened after she'd been introduced to the liquor cabinet, but something inside of her knew that she was going to remember that she was now determined to help Darrin recover. Help him reconnect with his family, his children at most, as well as his mother. Because that's what they deserved, and he deserved to be happy once again along with it. Her eyes drifted into a half-lidded state, yet she remained tense in her muscles and being.

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Althea moved though still partially remained on top of him. Darrin simply didn't have the heart to move her and so remained laying upon his back. The man was looking up at the ceiling, remaining still. For a few moments, there was nothing but silence as the two of them relaxed upon the large bed. They had done this so many times before, so long ago. Their parents would often find them laying about together. A moment later, Darrin's focus was drawn once again as Althea suddenly clenched her hand that had been resting upon his chest. Her gaze was on him again and once she saw him she seemed to relax a bit.

Confusion clouded Darrin's gaze as he now looked at her. He had no idea what had caused her to act so but he did not care for it. Darrin moved a few moments later, turning so that he could move a bit closer to her. Whatever was causing her to be so tense did not set well with him. She tightened her grip upon his shirt and Darrin slowly moved one of his hands to gently rest atop hers that was upon his chest. He continued to watch her even as her eyes finally closed a bit though she was still quite tense. The man sighed silently.

He moved a bit, sliding his other arm across her waist in the hope that she would relax soon. He was unsure of how long he remained with her before he finally forced himself to get up. He moved slowly, trying not to bother Althea. Once he was up Darrin removed her shoes and then covered her. He then left the bedroom and headed into his own. He closed the door, not bothering to lock it this time. He was simply too focused upon getting back into the large room so that he could take some more of his pills.

Darrin made it to the bed and took his shoes off before sitting down. He lit another cigarette before he poured himself a large shot of alcohol that he had still sitting near the bed. Then, as he took a few slow hits from the cigarette, Darrin took out two of his Xanax. He stared down at them as they lay upon the bed. In his now clear mind, Darrin knew that he shouldn't continue down this path. However, the draw to do so was far too strong for him to fight on his own.

Holding his cigarette in his left hand, he threw the pills into his mouth quickly and downed the liquid and pills easily. It would take a short time before they started to affect him and he wanted to finish the cigarette before that happened. He placed the glass back on the nightstand and as he finished the cigarette he placed what was left of it in the ashtray that was in his room. He found himself becoming quite tired and was soon laying down on the bed. He was fighting though within a few moments, Darrin was completely out.

Judith had gone upstairs later that evening as she had finished supper and wanted Darrin and Althea to come down to eat. She'd looked for them, first finding Darrin passed out on his bed. She sighed before making her way to the room that she'd intended for the young woman to stay in. She knocked before opening the door. She made her way over to the bed, looking over the woman. It was easy to see that she was out as well. She could only guess at what had happened though would speak to the woman when she was up for it. Judith left the room and headed back downstairs to join the children in eating.

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Rolling over, Althea kicked the tousled blankets off of her, sitting up slowly. As she did so her head spun and she gripped the side of her head in order to stop the feelings of nausea that accompanied the dizziness. Sliding off of the bed and walking into the hallway, she could feel that she still wasn't completely sober. As she entered the hallway, she stopped for a moment. The hallway and everywhere she looked was still pitch dark. What time is it? She thought to herself as her hand left the back of her head and fell to her side. She needed the bathroom, but she hadn't the slightest clue as to where it was.

Figuring it was either early in the evening or it was at least ten or eleven at night, Althea figured it wouldn't be too much of an issue if she took the adventure to find the restroom. To start, she tried the door adjacent to hers, it was unlocked, which gave her an inkling of hope. Yet when she opened the door, she could barely see inside, but there were a few outlines of objects she could make out. A bed, that was without a doubt occupied, and a dresser was the most she could identify. Definitely not the bathroom. As she tried to close the door quietly, her motor skills were still not up to par and she banged her arm in the process. Her face twisted into a grimace at the sound as she clenched her jaw. The door handle had met with her forearm fairly well and made a decent sound. After closing the door all of the way, she moved to try the next one. It was across from her, and the door was slightly ajar.

She pushed the door open as carefully as possible, and to her relief, it was the bathroom. She could almost instantly tell by the cool feeling of the tile floor and the faint smell of bleach. Before turning on the light, she stepped inside and closed the door. Feeling along the wall, she found a group of button switches. She tried the one closest to the door. She was right. Turning around, she was taken aback by the beauty of the room.

At first, she didn't see the toilet, but she was overwhelmed by the size of the room. However, she wasn't complaining when she laid eyes on the bathtub that sat against a window. However, as much as she wanted to explore and admire the room, she needed to throw up. Badly. She rushed forward, towards the tub and just off to the left was a small cubby of a room that held a toilet and a small shelf of toiletries. She lifted the lid as she all but fell to her knees and gripped the toilet with her hands as she stared down into the bowl.

Some time had passed, and Althea's head was resting on the toilet seat as she sat in a heap on the floor. She had been crying from the pain of vomiting and dry heaving. She was starting to regret drinking all of the whiskey. At a point where her stomach seemed to calm down, she lifted her head and looked around the bathroom. From where she was, she could see the sink counter just behind her in the other part of the bathroom. On the sink sat a small digital clock. She crawled out of the toilet area just enough to get a view of the time. 5:13 AM. She laid down on the marble tile right there and curled up into a loose fetal position. She let out a small groan in response to the time of day and dropped her head on the tile staring blankly ahead at the door. The floor felt more comfortable than the bed. She figured she would just lay there until it was at least six in the morning, when she could get up and try to make breakfast for everyone. She didn't want Judith to cook anymore now that Althea was at the home. She wanted to start helping out, and this wasn't the best start.


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Normally, Darrin did not wake up after taking something until later in the morning. However, that morning he awoke almost suddenly. For a moment, Darrin remained laying in the bed as he tried to figure out why it was so early and why he'd awoken so suddenly. Slowly, he sat up and looked about the room. He could have sworn that he'd heard his door closing. Perhaps someone had been in there and had just left? It didn't make sense to him. Everyone in the house knew not to enter his bedroom unless he was awake.

But...then there was Althea, he remembered. Perhaps she'd entered..but then why had he woken up? He pushed the thought from his mind. It was no matter. What worried him was the fact that Althea was up already and moving about. She had to be sporting a hangover after all of the whiskey that she'd consumed the day before. Darrin sighed before slowly standing from the bed. He could still feel the effects of the Xanax that he'd taken earlier but it would be wearing off soon enough.

Darrin made his way through his room and opened the door quietly, looking about the hall. The bathroom that was across the hall had a light on within. His Mother stayed in one of the spare rooms that had it's own bathroom and his children's shared room had one as well. The only person that would be in there had to be Althea. He closed his door behind him and took to standing against the wall in the hopes that the young woman would exit soon.

A few moments passed when Darrin finally moved closer to the bathroom. He pressed his ear against the door, listening. He'd been able to just make out the sound of Althea finishing with emptying her stomach. He debated with himself. Truly, she didn't need to see him in such a state. Hell, he didn't typically let his own Mother see him when he'd taken something. He rested his head against the door, silence now surrounding him. He was unsure of how long he stayed that way before he finally decided to go in. He knocked softly, waiting a moment to make sure that she didn't call out for him to stay out.

When she did not, Darrin slowly opened the door and stepped into the room. He found Althea laying upon the floor, curled up. He regarded her for a moment before approaching. He crouched down, gently moving some of her hair out of her face. "I tried to warn you not to drink so much." He said quietly. He felt bad for her..it was easy to see that the hangover she had was a bad one. He was silent for a moment, simply looking down at the woman. He supposed that he should try to help her..he just couldn't stand to see her suffering so.

"Come on. You're not going to feel any better just laying on the floor." Darrin moved then, gently placing his hands upon her so as to help her to stand slowly. He allowed her to set the pace and soon enough she was up on her feet. Darrin then slid one of his arms about Althea's waist to keep her steady. He led the way out of the bathroom and down the hall to the stairs. They moved slowly and Darrin kept her close to him.

They made it into the hallway and then Darrin continued the way to the kitchen. He led her to the island and helped her to sit before moving away from her. Darrin moved about the kitchen slowly. He began brewing some coffee and then began getting out the ingredients for a small breakfast. He went about cooking as he spoke. "How would you like your coffee?" He asked her. There had been a time when he'd known exactly how she liked it but they'd not been around each other for such a long time that he wanted to make sure that she still took it the same way.

He waited for her to answer before he poured her a cup and fixed it for her. He then sat the cup down in front of her and then finished up fixing her something to eat. He sat the plate in front of her. It was simple, bacon, eggs, and some toast. He then set about cleaning up. His Mother would be up in an hour or so, depending on when she went to bed. When he was done, he took a seat across from her. "Are you feeling any better?" He asked her, concern written upon his face.

Darrin had experienced his share of hangovers over the years and the only thing that ever helped him was laying about, coffee, and some hot greasy food. He'd gone silent, resting his head in his one of his hands and closed his eyes. He was still exhausted, that much was easy to see. However, Darrin had wanted to make sure that Althea was okay. "You probably should take it easy today. You were drinking pretty hard yesterday." He opened his eyes then, regarding her. It was still strange...being so close to her yet so far at the same time. She was already making him feel things again and Darrin wasn't quite sure how to react to that. He was still hurting from Hannah and he wasn't quite sure how to even move on from the red haired woman. Not that he assumed that Althea had any sort of feelings for him...at all. As far as he was concerned, she had always seen him as a friend..and that's where her feelings stopped.

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The floor was comforting. There was no reason for it to be, but that's how it felt for her. As she laid there, staring at the door she could see the shadow of feet appear near the small gap between the bottom of the door and the threshold. A soft knock on the door confirmed it. She felt so embarrassed and uncomfortable about the whole situation. She came here, not even twenty-four hours prior, and she was the one that was laying on the floor in a heap. Frowning deeply, she didn't move nor attempt to call out to the knocking person on the other side of the door.

The feeling of a hand on her face, moving her hair, told her who had walked in. She hadn't bothered looking up when she heard the door open. "I tried to warn you not to drink so much." The sound of his voice was calming, and reassuring that it was him that had walked in. Closing her eyes in response, the frown on her face continued to stay put.

"Come on. You're not going to feel any better just laying on the floor." She still didn't speak, rather, she let him help her up. His hand slipped around her waist, and as he did so, she dropped her head onto his shoulder. When they eventually made it downstairs and into the kitchen, she sat down, dropping her head on the counter cradling it in her arms. She heard the sounds of him making coffee and starting to cook, which was what she was planning on doing, but clearly couldn't in her current state. "How would you like your coffee?" She lifted her head enough to see the concern on his face, but she dropped her head back down just a moment after.

"Black, like always." She whispered, and it came out in a small croak. She closed her eyes again and let out a small sigh. She was very hungover, but nothing a hot shower couldn't fix. It was just that for some reason, the intense way things played out yesterday had her feeling sick and was adding to her hangover. She was still debating on whether or not it was real, and she hated to admit to herself that all of it was. It had happened so fast that she found herself drowning in booze during the middle of the day yesterday. As she spaced out on her reflection of the events of yesterday, she was pulled from them as the sound of dishes were placed in front of her. She lifted her head and looked down at the food.

"Are you feeling any better?" She reached for the coffee, holding the mug close to her face so that she could smell the aroma. "Yeah." She smiled up at him. It was a lie, but she forced herself to at least try to think it was true. "Thank you for the food, but I don't think I can eat all of this by myself. Can we share? You know... like old times?" She asked sincerely. She never had a large appetite, and her ability to finish average portions was lacking. Back in high-school they would always split their lunches because Althea couldn't ever finish them. She took a sip of the coffee then, the taste was familiar, not like regular coffee, but the type of coffee.

Just looking at him, being in his presence like this, was making her sick. She didn't want to feel sick, she wanted this to be fine and work out. Her body didn't respond the same way as her mind, rather, her mind was all for everything and her body couldn't handle the stress of it all. She looked up from the coffee, brows furrowed as she looked at him. It was then that she noticed just how tired he was. Did she keep him up? She couldn't help but to wonder, and the thought made her stomach churn. She was here to help him, and she wasn't doing that. She was getting drunk and feeling sick because she couldn't handle the stress of everything. Maybe she wasn't cut out for this. There was no backing out now though, and she knew that. She needed to get herself together and help him, his kids, his mother. The last time she was this stressed out and her body had acted this way was when she was waiting for college application responses. She was sick for three weeks then.

He had told her that she needed to take it easy today somewhere within their very one-sided conversation, but that wasn't going to work. She planned to regain herself, take a shower, and do something that would help out around here. She wasn't the kind of person to slip by helping out, even if she felt sick. She considered that she should mention her hangover was mostly the result of the anxiety and stress her body went through yesterday, but she disregarded the thought. If she felt like this today, there was no telling how her stomach would treat her tomorrow either. It wasn't worth putting that kind of weight on Darrin's shoulders.

Picking up a piece of toast she bit into it, still holding her coffee in the other hand. She wanted to share the food with him, the idea, however, made her reaction to the deliciously smelling food to turn sour. It was the stress again. Shaking her head a little to herself, she looked up at him as she took another bite of toast. The other half of her mind wanted him to eat with her, so she could at least get him to eat. He needed to eat just as much as her, especially since she could see the bags under his eyes weren't just from a lack of sleep, but also a lack of food. Looking back at the food, she set the coffee cup down and grabbed her fork. Digging the fork into the eggs, the yolk dripped out and she wasted no time dipping her toast into it and taking another bite. "When did you learn to cook so well?" She asked with a small laugh, reflecting on how terrible he used to be at making a decent meal like the one before her.

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"Yeah. Thank you for the food, but I don't think I can eat all of this by myself. Can we share? You know... like old times?" Althea asked. Darrin thought over her question for a moment. The memories of their times together in school were trying to rush over him and he just wasn't up for that at the moment. He was quick to push the images from him, trying to focus on the woman that was near him. He didn't feel hungry..not really. Or..at least that's what his mind was trying to tell him.

A few moments passed, a silence moving between them almost thickly. He simply remained unmoving, silent as Althea began eating. He was glad that she was, hoping that the food would help her to feel better at least a little bit. "When did you learn to cook so well?" She asked, a small laugh escaping her. Darrin suddenly smiled at her "I sorta had to learn. I couldn't be feeding Taylor food that wasn't edible. Plus, when you're on the road you can't really stop all that often or you get behind on schedule pretty easily. We did quite a bit of cooking on the bus." It was the first time he'd spoken of anything relating to the band.

And it was odd to him. The moment he stopped speaking, his face became a bit more serious as he went silent again. He was no longer looking at her, instead looking towards the hallway. He could hear movement from upstairs which likely meant that his Mother was up now and getting ready for the day. He turned his gaze back to Althea, offering her a small smile. "Eat what you want. I'll be back down in a bit and I'll finish what you don't want. I want to change before Mom comes down." He rose from his seat and then left Althea.

He'd meant what he'd said to her. He fully intended upon coming back downstairs once he was at least a bit more presentable. He headed back up the stairs and to his room. He closed the door behind him, locking it. He then stripped out of the clothing he'd worn the day before. He moved about his room, quickly getting dressed and gathered his computer and cigarettes.

Darrin kept his sunglasses in his hand as he left his room and headed down the stairs, entering into the kitchen again. His Mother was already in the kitchen, turning as he entered the room. She seemed surprised to see him up already. "Good morning, Darrin. Althea went upstairs a bit ago and said that you were going to finish that plate." She said, watching him. He simply nodded, picking the plate up with his free hand. "Where are you going?" She asked, eyeing him still.

"Outside." He replied simply. Judith then promised she'd bring him something to drink in a few minutes, once she could leave the kitchen. Darrin left then, heading through the living room and going out to sit by the pool. He took the same chair as yesterday, placing the plate down and then putting his computer down. He sighed, eyeing the plate. He couldn't even remember the last time he'd really ate. He knew deep down that he should be trying to take care of himself..he just couldn't bring himself to. Darrin put his sunglasses on just as his Mother came out with some juice. She gave it to him, turning and going back into the house to continue with breakfast. Darrin then began eating, quite slowly, almost having to force himself to eat.

Inside the home, Taylor and Nichola were up as well and already running about the house in high spirits. It always amazed Judith that they were still able to have such fun even with everything that was going on around them. When Althea returned, Judith turned to her. "Darrin is actually still up. Normally he's in bed all day. He's outside right now, at the pool. And looked like he was going to eat the food that you left out for him. It probably wouldn't hurt to check on him in a bit. I was also thinking that you would like to take the kids swimming in a little bit. It's been a while since they've been and maybe it would do Darrin some good to just seem them." She turned back to the stove, working on finishing up the meal.

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When Althea had come back downstairs from getting ready, her hair was still damp from the most rejuvenating shower she had taken. She noticed the plate of food Darrin had made, as well as Darrin were no longer in the kitchen. It was weird, her mind was always wrapped around him now. Even when she showered, she was thinking of him. She wasn't used to this, it had been so long since her mind was wrapped around him like this.

"Darrin is actually still up. Normally he's in bed all day. He's outside right now, at the pool. And looked like he was going to eat the food that you left out for him. It probably wouldn't hurt to check on him in a bit. I was also thinking that you would like to take the kids swimming in a little bit. It's been a while since they've been and maybe it would do Darrin some good to just seem them." Her mind relaxed at Judith's words. Especially when she was told where Darrin was.

"Swimming, yes, sounds like a blast." She said with a wide smile. She wasn't going to say no to the idea, she loved swimming. She didn't waste any time on the idea. "I'll get the kids ready and on my way out I'll check on Darrin." She said before wandering off to find the kids. She shouted after them, and soon enough they came to her. She mentioned they were going swimming, and the kids ran excitedly to their room to change. As they did, so did she. She made her way back into her room and unzipped her suitcase. She hadn't been able to unpack yet, but it didn't bother her too much.

After some extensive digging, she pulled out her swimsuit. She pulled it on and made her way downstairs where she met the kids just by the door. As soon as she opened it, they went charging outside into the pool area. Just before she stepped out, she realized she had forgotten to grab towels. Making her way back inside to a small storage closet nearby the door, she grabbed three towels. Althea headed back outside, and as she stepped out she saw Darrin lounging in the same place that she had first seen him in.

The thought of herself in a swimsuit now had her feeling a little bit uncomfortable, but she decided to go along with it. She set the towels down on the chair closest to the door, the same one she had sat on just the day before. She smiled at Darrin when she saw that he had eaten some of the food. She posed, hands on her hips head up high. "Think I could model this?" She asked jokingly, referring to her swimsuit. The high waisted bottoms came up to just above her navel where her hands rested. She swayed her hips to one side as she laughed before turning her attention back to the kids.

"Last one in is a rotten egg!" She shouted with a laugh and made her way to the edge of the pool at a jog's pace. She jumped in as soon as she reached the edge. She had found herself in the deeper area just by the waterfall. She surfaced, laughing as she watched the kids jump in after her and swimming up to her. They hung on her, and she swam to a shallower area in order to stand so she could support the kid's weight.

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"Swimming, yes, sounds like a blast. I'll get the kids ready and on my way out I'll check on Darrin." Althea said. Judith smiled at the younger woman. "Thank you dear." She said, going back about her work. Judith was truly happy that Althea was there and hoped that her presence there would help Darrin to get out of whatever funk he was in. The two had always been close and she'd been quite surprised when they'd stopped talking all those years ago.

After Althea had spoken to Nichola and Taylor, the children had taken off running up the stairs. The younger woman followed soon after. Judith was unsure of how long they were upstairs before the children came running down once again. Judith applied sunscreen to both of the children before heading through the house to begin working on the laundry for the day.

Darrin had ate a decent amount of the food that had been on the plate and had drunk at least half of his juice by the time the door opened. He didn't bother turning his gaze, instead continuing to look at the pool. It was then that he saw Taylor and Nichola charging towards the clear water though stopped just short, waiting. Darrin's eyes focused upon his children for a short moment, watching them as they stood, likely waiting on either his Mother or Althea. He'd been rather close with Taylor once...Nichola...not so much. She'd grown up knowing nothing but the distant man that he was now.

Even now, she was glancing at him as if unsure why he was even out there. Darrin felt a pain shoot through his heart though ignored it as Althea came outside. He turned his attention to her as she began setting the towels down on the chair that she'd sat on the day before. She was then smiling at him, which Darrin returned. He wasn't quite sure why she was smiling but he figured that it was good.

Althea was suddenly posing, speaking to him. "Think I could model this?" At her words, Darrin found himself smiling that much more. "Of course you could." He said, still smiling at her. A moment later Althea's attention was back on his children. "Last one in is a rotten egg!" Darrin watched the woman as she made her way to the pool and then jumped in. Nichola and Taylor soon followed, the three of them swimming to the shallower end.

Darrin continued eating once again, finally feeling as if he could eat some more of the food. He pulled out his phone, noting that Kris had begun texting him again. After the last time, Darrin had blown up on him and he'd stopped. He couldn't help but wonder what was causing him to suddenly start up again. However, he did not reply. Hopefully the other man would get the hint and let him be.

Taylor and Nichola had taken to trying to play tag in the pool. Their laughter was loud and carefree, something that Darrin hadn't heard in a long time. He finished the meal and then finished the rest of his drink before getting his computer and turning it on. He'd not used it in a long time. He was quick to bring the internet up and then went to a site that he often had gone to when they'd been on the road. He pulled up one of the comics on there, beginning to read. After a few moments, he'd pulled out a cigarette and had lit it. It always seemed to help keep his mind off of the pills that he was slowly becoming dependent upon. He placed the item to his lips, taking a hit before going back to reading, tuning out what was going on around him.