Laurel Academy has long been known as the school for those who will control their generation. To attend, one must be impossibly wealthy, impossibly talented, or simply impossible. Here, the super-powered mingle with the super-influential.

2,203 readers have visited Laurel since Mac n Cheese created it.

Copyright: The creator of this roleplay has attributed some or all of its content to the following sources:

influenced by the charlie bone series and the alphas series



Fashioned to look like older British universities, Laurel was established in 1872 by John Lester, an industrialist whose aspiration was to create a free school for the bright but financially needy of the state of New York to attend. The school gained such high acclaim that wealthier families began making large donations for their students to attend as well. Thus created the two groups within the school: the gifted and the wealthy. The school continued to go on with success, known as the new school with a talent for creating politicians, artists, and scholars of high caliber. With contributions made by alumni, the school was able to grow in size, adding new wings, dorms, and class options. Attending Laurel meant an almost guaranteed acceptance into the company or university of one's choice. However, with this esteem, the school began to lose it's original intent of taking high potential students out of unfortunate situations.

That is until until 1905, when it's third headmaster, Charles Luke, revamped the school to re-instill the old values, with a twist. Mr. Luke was very far from an ordinary man- his family was one which had come into the possession, whether through genetics or some sort of strange blessing was unknown, of preternatural abilities. He sought to find young individuals of similar ability and bring them into the school. The others of the school did not know of these new sorts of students, assuming them either wealthy or, thanks to their powers, extremely gifted but in the still usual manner. Spilling the secret of their portion of the school would result in expulsion of the student.

It proved difficult to keep this secret within the school, especially with unruly students. For the past three decades, the groups have been integrated together, and the reality of the students with supernatural abilities has been admitted to other students, who have sworn to secrecy through signing a document enchanted by a previous headmaster, such that their memories will vanish should they tell anyone outside of the school about their less normal classmates.

Knowing that many of their students have no where to go home to, or would prefer to further advance themselves over the summer (read: avoid their families), the school also functions to a degree over the summer. Those who attend the summer school as well as the normal year are known as the Yearlies, and they are all moved into a smaller dorm on the far edge of campus, right next to a large lake where they will be able to canoe, swim, etc, over the summer break. For this period of time they have half days of classes, all of which are electives.

This RP will take place at the beginning of the summer semester, such that the non-yearlies have already left for home, leaving the rest to move into the summer dorms as they have done every year for many years. Laurel is a K-12 school, so while there will be those who transferred in late, for the most part the students have known each other for years. Summertime is when the tension between the groups become highest, due perhaps to a less structured and less supervised environment.

{ Those who's potential exceeds the small number in their bank account }

Keevan Brennan || Writing || FC: Dylan O'Brien || 17 || TAKEN by GM

Erin Hill || Technology/Robotics || FC: Imogen Poots || 17 || TAKEN by GM

Lane Blackwell || Music || FC: Sofia Black D'elia || 17 || TAKEN by Imaveronica


{ They may have paid their way here, but these students are often the most charismatic and politically savvy }

Rebecca Sayre || Mining || FC: Lindsay Ellingson || 17 || TAKEN by Saerith

Daniel Ahn || Tourism || FC: Lee Soo Hyuk || 17 || TAKEN by GM

Nina Romanov || Weapons and AI || FC: Darla Baker || 17 || TAKEN by Layla


{ These are the students identified as being beyond normal, their powers coming from various places. }

Sterling Walker || Molecular Manipulation || FC: Lucky Blue Smith || 18 || TAKEN by Layla

Lucas Long || Telepathy || FC: Aaron Yan || 18 || TAKEN by Piearty

Anthony Carraway || Fear Illusions || FC: Evan Peters || 16 || TAKEN by Saerith

Aimee Hart || Claircognizance || FC: Daveigh Chase || 17|| TAKEN by AngelGirl

1. Reserve with the password in the OOC. You may compete with roles, but you must tell me you are making a character. 48 hours to submit a wip.

2. In order to keep with the general theme of the rp, the gifted cannot be above middle class income, the influential cannot be more talented in a certain area than any given gifted OC, and the powerful cannot be wealthier or more talented than the gifted and influential (unless it is due to their power). Please avoid making Mary Sues personality wise, and definitely avoid god-modding

3. You may change face claims if you like, but ask for my approval first.

4. This rp should be semi-literate, so 400+ words per post, please. To reserve, tell me the characters age, and their Talent/Family Industry/Power as fits.

5. Fade to black, be respectful, etc. Hopefully we all know how to get along


Code: Select all
[font=garamont][center][hr][/hr][img]Character Gif[/img]
[img]Character Name[/img]
[size=150][b]{[/b] [i]"Quote"[/i] [b]}[/b][hr][/hr][hr][/hr]

[b]Age & Grade[/b]

[b]Number of Years at Laurel[/b]

[b]Sexual Orientation[/b]

[b]Group?[/b] [Gifted, Influential, Power]

[b]Talent/Family Industry/Power[/b]
[img]Cards Up My Sleeve[/img]
[hr][/hr][right][img]Picture or gif, as needed[/img][/right][b]Strengths[/b]



[img]Behind the Character[/img]
[hr][/hr][left][img]gif/image as needed[/img][/left][b]Personality[/b]
[b]{[/b] [i]Trait, Trait, Trait, Trait[/i] [b]}[/b]
[img]Dos and Don'ts[/img][hr][/hr][left][img]smallgif[/img][/left][right][img]smallgif[/img][/right][b]Likes[/b]

[img]Developing The Character[/img][hr][/hr][left][img]gif or picture as needed[/img][/left][b]Biography[/b]
[i]Doesn't need to be very long, just give us an idea of why they are who they are.[/i]
[hr][/hr][right][img]Gif[/img][/right][b]Played By:[/b]
[b]Dialogue Color:[/b]
[b]Face Claim:[/b][/font][/center]

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The Story So Far... Write a Post » as written by 10 authors

Characters Present

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

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#, as written by Layla
      XXXIt seems everybody has something to say to her. A complaint they must propose to the sovereign, tepidly disguised as a speech based on entirely neutral subjects. She must wonder if Mrs Jefferson is not as she seems. Is she an illusionist, or a Seer? The topics seem unnervingly close to home. Alas, everyone has similar concerns, and the topics are smoke and mirrors. The "science" of astrology and fortune telling. Humans are gullible things, and even more predictable.
      XXXShe plasters a bored expression on her face, unwavering even as Keevan tosses her a wink. It is somewhat bizarre, as the writer and her have had little to do with each other. He is a trout to a lion. They do not inhabit the same environment. She raises an eyebrow at Becky as the speech rolls along.
      XXXShe does not miss the stares - filled with meaning and if she dare say, longing - Keevan directs at her, or the hand he brushes along the edge of her wooden desk. What she'd glimpsed on Breadbowl this morning - the first she's read of the peasant paper in a long while - combined with what she sees now leaves little room for the imagination. She curses her inability to recall much of last night.
      XXXNina glances at her phone, seeing a message from Becky this morning. They are frivolous words, as always. An artificial concern for an artificial friendship. Becky wouldn't spit on Nina if she was on fire. She is certain the beauty will be the first to snatch the crown, whether she need to wrench it from her head or lift it from her corpse.

      To: Rebecca Sayre
      Only if you aren't busy with Googly Eyes over there. We'll talk later.
      Btw, good speech. If I ever wake up up dead with a dagger lodged in my spine, I'll know who did it.

      To: Rebecca Sayre

      XXXDaniel is the next to speak. He carries himself with a graceful finesse and confidence that eclipses all others before him. She's heard him speak to large audiences before and it would not be an exaggeration to say that everybody, including the unflappable, apathetic Romanov, was impressed. She sits quietly through his speech.
      XXX"It is the fact of living: some are more precious than others," Daniel finishes. The room echoes with applause as he moves away from the podium. After a moment, Nina joins them. She doesn't spare Daniel a glance as he returns to his seat. The gap between them might as well be the abyssal crevice between two glaciers.
      XXX"Those in our school worth billions," he'd intoned. As if that is all that an Influential, Talented or or Gifted is worth. The sum of what is in their bank and the wealth of the families to which they belong, or in the case of those arguably more worthy like Keevan, the execution of one's practical ability. It is a silly thing to ponder and a sillier thing to be wounded by, but Nina cannot help but think that that must be all she is to him. If ever she were to become "penniless," or be deposed, Daniel would likely leave her.
      XXXIt seems there is truth in the words she divulged to Sterling. She is, forevermore, alone.
      XXXIt is fitting, she supposes, considering that she is a Romanov. Her ancestors were executed by their serfs. It is a marvel that the inhabitants of Laurel have bowed to her for so long. The power she wields is mighty but tenuous. The bigger they are, the harder they fall, seems a fitting analogy in this respect. The loss of control is a vice that grips her, pains her. She must never lose, never waver. She must sleep with one eye open.
      XXXIf sleep ever comes at all.
      XXX"Nina, you are next," Mrs Jefferson supplies.
      XXXNina takes the sheet from her grip, standing before the podium before unfolding the paper. The title of her topic is short. Just two words. Arguments pour from every corner of her mind. She snatches the best, organises them into neat structures - thesis, evaluation, counter-arguments, signposts - before setting the paper down.
      XXX"Psy Ops, psychological warfare, the decimation of 'hearts and minds.' Mere epithets for what is essentially the objectification of human beings, the deconstruction of them, if you will, into a sum of tangible structures and politically malleable ideals."
      XXXShock radiates throughout the room. It is a common misconception that the Romanov Princess and Laureli Queen is a pretty face but an empty head. Even Sterling seems rather stunned, although he's always known Nina, or rather the his Nina, to be rather vigorous in her pursuit of intellectual conquest. She was the only person he knew who enjoyed the academic aspect of schools, who read sesquipedalian textbooks for fun.
      XXXHe simply imagined that her intelligence had simply disappeared along with her empathy and sense of basic morality. It unnerves him, somewhat, to know that someone really could be evil and a mastermind. Or perhaps she simply has a vast vocabulary. Or bribed Mrs Jefferson to give her the topic early and threatened a poor Talented to write her speech for her. That's what he tells himself, anyway.
      XXX"We wish to believe that we are free." Her fingers flutter against the edge of the podium, almost unconsciously. As if her hands are wandering into another space in her mind, wherever the words might come from. "But we are slaves, be it to propaganda or the discursive powers that perpetuate social norms. Psychological operations are often viewed only through the lens of war, but governments are not the only organisations that can instil a belief system that we endeavour and fail to resist. It is not the bomb that kills a civilisation and its ideas, but the horrors experienced by the survivors left in its wake. Crush a house, and it can be rebuilt. Crush a home" - her hand clenches into a fist - "and you destroy the very life an individual holds dear. It is the loss of a nation's morale that raises its white flag. It is when there is no hope left, that you know that you have won."
      XXXFor a moment she says nothing until her voice returns, quietly. Almost gently, as if uncovering a horrible truth to a child yet to realise the monsters are not under his bed, but standing in the light, disguised as something good.
      XXX"Do you know what is the most terrifying thing about torture?" A tremor runs through her hands. "It is not the pain of the moment, because even that will pass. It is certainly not the possibility of death because non-existence is the only freedom we can be granted, and even that..." A mirthless laugh escapes her. "Only if you do it right.
      XXX"The most terrifying thing about torture is its capacity to strip an individual of her humanity. To render her a thing. An object to be used, so that her body is no longer her own, not even to kill. To free. The tortured subject is not the sovereign of..." She clears her throat. Blinks. "Of his or her own body. The she becomes an it. An object to be vandalised, humiliated and discarded.
      XXX"It is not enough to kill the body of the enemy, because soldiers can be bred, they can be replaced. Ideas will prevail even when their instigators do not. This is why a tactic of war is..."
      XXXThere is a long pause until Mrs Jefferson prods. "Go on, Nina. You're doing well."
      XXX"A tactic of war..."
      XXX"You're looking pale, Nina. Take a deep breath. It's alright. Everybody gets a little shaken by public speaking but this is a supportive environ-"
      XXX"Is rape," Nina blurts, cutting Mrs Jefferson off. She stares at nothing and no one, though her eyes - darker than usual, pupils fully dilated - say she's looking at the back of the room. Her hand flutter against the edge of the podium, but her knuckles are white, clenching the timbre so fiercely the tips of her fingers are turning blue. "Rape, which mutilates both the body and the mind. It renders not only the individual vulnerable and subject to persecution, but tarnishes the family and society to which the body belongs. Soldiers will risk death, for to perish in battle is to die a hero, but they will not risk the perverse desecration of a sister, a daughter or a wife. Or a brother, or a son. There is no glory for the victim of sexual violence. They are dirty. Broken. A shell stripped of its pearl." She exhales. "Empty."
      XXXThe screech of the bell jerks Nina away from the podium and her reverie. She flexes her fingers, eyes flitting quickly around a speechless room. Nina tears her gaze away, ignoring Mrs Jefferson's voice as she races towards her bag. She slings it over her shoulder and darts out of the room.

Characters Present

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

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Time Skip
Everyone has been at their chosen PE activity for the day for about ten or so minutes now. Weather is partly cloudy, looking like it might turn to a light drizzle soon.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Anthony Carraway Character Portrait: Aimee Hart Character Portrait: Lucas Long

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#, as written by Saerith

The idea of this connection between Lucas and Aimee brought a slight smile to his face. For some reason, it sounded so comforting and calming to have someone who could knew everything about you, and who you knew everything about as well. Someone who wouldn’t judge, because they truly understand. Someone who didn’t need any words to know how you felt or what you wanted. It must be… easy. It must feel like home. And although he still really wanted to know what had brought Aimee to such a state, she seemed really grateful to Lucas, whatever he had done, so that… that was good. Lucas still hadn’t said a word since the revealing his power to him, and Anthony wondered if he should do the same, but well, he probably already knew. Besides, he was sure Lucas wouldn’t be scared or push him away. If the two boys, complete strangers, had one thing in common, it probably was both of them had had their share of judgement because of their abilities.

When his name was called again, Carr came closer to the bed were Aimee sat. She was speaking quietly, and in a way he wasn’t accustomed to. He sat down on the edge of the bed, keeping some distance, both to hear her better and to alleviate the pain in his limbs. Once she finished the stuttered sentence, he felt glad that he had. Not only had an enormous amount of information been thrown at him, he couldn’t really put together what Aimee had just told him. Lane…? He had always thought Lane and Aimee had little to no connection at all. Not even friends. How had they… Besides, it’s not like they hadn’t talked about things like this before. As much as Carr felt weird talking about sexuality or imagining his friends were involved in any sexual activities, ever, as a boy who had dealt with a lot of doubt about his own sexuality, there’s no way this wasn’t brought up with his best friend. But Aimee… She had never seemed confused. Quite the opposite actually, she was the one who helped Anthony figure out a lot of things. And then, somehow, in his sensitive, overprotective mind, Carr made a connection probably only he would have done, and his expression shifted from a befuddled paralysis to a strangely worried, tormented gaze.

”What was this fight about?” The tone wasn’t really the one most common in his voice. ”Aimee, you were having a bad day and… Aimee, did she take advantage of you? Cause I’ll go talk to her right now. If she did anything at all to hurt you I…"

As soon as the thought entered his mind, he shook it off, realizing how presumptuous he must sound. It was a serious threat, what he was about to say, one he expected he never would, so he told himself to stop assuming things, as he apparently had been doing a lot today. He didn’t know anything about it. It wasn’t his call. He ran a hand nervously through his head and stood up, unable to keep still.

”I'm sorry. I got carried away. Wow, this was weird, I’m really sorry. I’m just… surprised. I mean, I would never have thought… Why didn’t you tell me? I mean, it’s okay, but you know I would’ve understood. As he spoke the last word, he felt a harsh sting as the loud sound of the bell echoed in his head. Oh, God. This hangover, and Gym. Perfect. He looked at both Aimee and Lucas, with a frustrated look on his eyes, as if asking for help. ”Well, I better go… My room is unlocked. You know were I keep the hidden goods. Just don’t eat my peanut butter.”

With a deep sight and an insincere smile, he started to leave the room. Damn his consciousness. Damn school. He really, really wanted that peanut butter.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Anthony Carraway Character Portrait: Aimee Hart Character Portrait: Lucas Long

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Image Image

Aimee watched the various expressions dance across Anthony's face, and she braced herself for his words. She felt awful having kept it from him for so long, but hopefully it was understandable? How could she have told him what she wasn't really sure of herself? He looked at her sternly, with a lot of protectiveness, and asked the last thing she expected. "What? No! No no, nothing like that I swear. She didn't hurt me..." Aimee said vehemently. Lane had done the exact opposite, which is something Aimee would probably never admit out loud. Looking at Carr, she was surprised that he had started to make a threat. Carr had always been so gentle, and she had always been so protective, but she supposed that he had always had that edge inside of him. His power was centralized in fear, after all.

She nodded along with him, knowing she should have told him. Idiot, you should have told him months ago... she thought to herself. She had known that he would understand, and yet for some reason she had convinced herself that it could never be spoken of again. To anyone. And look where that had gotten her. At the same time as Anthony, she heard the bell ring. However, it seemed as thought it physically hurt him to hear it. She supposed it was the after effects from last nights bonfire, and she felt bad. The last thing he probably wanted to do was go to gym class, but she knew that skipping one class had been asking a lot from him, and skipping two would have been near impossible. She smiled at him, a real smile, when he left and sighed. Leaning her head back against the wall.

Aimee's head felt almost unbearably heavy, probably a post-crying/overload migraine coming on, and she really didn't feel like opening her mouth. Luckily for her, she didn't have to when talking to Lucas. Are you going to gym, too? She asked him. While she knew Carr's thoughts almost without touching him, she had yet to really figure out Lucas's habits. Sure, she knew his past, but the past didn't make the person, and she had yet to get to know the person. What she did know was that he cared about her, and she him, but that didn't mean squat if she just ended up annoying him. Thank you...for being here. For dealing with me, she thought, her mind saying more than her words ever could.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Anthony Carraway Character Portrait: Aimee Hart Character Portrait: Lucas Long

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#, as written by piearty

When Anthony apologized for calling him 'odd guy', Lucas managed a smirk. "Well, you didn't exactly call me that, you thought it, and holding thoughts against you would be a real dick move."

Anthony threw some thoughts at him, and before he could pinch the bridge of his nose and tell Anthony and Aimee both to stop having secret conversations with him like they were passing notes in front of the teacher, Aimee started snickering; it had dawned on her what Lucas had meant by "nothing like that" and contrary to Anthony's fear, she considered the thought hilarious.

Then Anthony started getting excited about Lucas and Aimee's powers, and Aimee was feeling better and thanking Lucas for what he'd done, and his hackles lowered, his muscles began to relax. He could feel the trust--trust toward him, flowing through both their minds, and he was sure it was undeserved but it felt damn good nonetheless. To be trusted. To be accepted. Hell, to simply not be labeled a freak-- and he suddenly realized they never would've done so; they were used to being called 'freaks' themselves. "No problem," he mumbled absentmindedly. Though Anthony probably is really confused as to what you're saying...

Aimee seemed to realize the same thing, and the lighthearted tone in the room faded after such a frustratingly short time. Shame and nervousness swirled in Aimee as she confessed her secret-- or at least, one of them, Lucas thought wonderingly-- and confusion and worry swirled in Anthony as he processed it. Then, something occurred to him that had never even crossed Lucas' mind, and the thought made his stomach drop.

"Aimee, did she take advantage of you? Cause I’ll go talk to her right now. If she did anything at all to hurt you I…" Anthony trailed off, realizing the force of what he was going to say, what he was threatening to do.

In that moment, briefly, Lucas saw stormclouds. He saw snakes and fire and a 50 foot drop to nothingness, grinning fangs in the darkness and the shadow of death. He heard the echoes of screams, cries of madness and fright. The color that had been burning his cheeks drained from his face. He looked at the guy sitting on the bed next to Aimee, shaking his head, running his hand anxiously through his tangle of hair, stuttering and stumbling over words. Lucas had gotten a brief glimpse of his powers before, when the guy'd considered whether Lucas knew about them or not, but this...this was not what he'd imagined they'd be.

Aimee reassured Anthony that there was no harm involved, to both the guys' relief, then the dull ringing in her and Anthony's minds happened again. Bell already? Anthony got up to head to gym, resigned to having to miss out on the peanut butter stash in his room, and Lucas couldn't help but look at him in wonder as he left. A power like that and he still puts up with gym class? This school is luckier than it realizes...

Now it was only Aimee and Lucas, like last night. He was humbled that Anthony trusted him enough already to leave her in his hands, though he kept trying to tell himself it was only for the sake of attendance. Aimee was getting a pretty bad headache and it was starting to hurt him too, but he wasn't going to tell her that. She directed some thoughts towards him because she was too fatigued to speak.

"Deal with you?" he said incredulously. Then, flatly, "What the hell are you talking about."

He shook his head. "This isn't...this isn't dealing with you. Makes it sound like you're some sort of burden. You're hurt and sick; how could I--we not make sure you were alright? I should...I should be thanking you for dealing with me." Looking down, he continued, "Last didn't have to put up with my bullshit for two whole hours, but you did. And now you think you're annoying me?"

"I don't really wanna go to gym," he said solemnly, memories of shouting coaches and collapsing with fatigue in his head, "and I don't really want to leave you alone when you're like this. So, if you're ok with this--with me being around..." He looked at her and simply shrugged.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aimee Hart Character Portrait: Lucas Long

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Aimee opened her eyes and looked at him incredulously. As he was talking, he looked almost...angry. No, not angry. Shocked. He was shocked that she should apologize, felt like it should be him doing it instead. She smiled, scooted over a bit and patted the bed beside her. "Not that I need someone to babysit me, but I'm glad you're here," she said. Looking out the window, she saw various people running or on their way to the boathouse, preparing for some gym class or another. She wondered if she would see Lane, decided she didn't want to know, and turned back to Lucas. Now that she was feeling slightly better, she took the time to notice him next to her. "You look tired," she said concernedly.

Aimee leaned against the wall again, turning her head so that she could see him. Switching back to thought, my roommate never showed up, you could sleep, she offered. The least she could do was offer him some comfort, if not to shift the focus off of her then just because she legitimately cared. From seeing his past, she knew he hadn't had someone to care about him for a long time. She knew she would never mention it, but he could see it in her mind if he really dared to look. The good part about someone knowing and understanding her power was that she didn't have to hide the reasons she cared about people. With others, they always wondered and she could never say, because I know what happened when you were five and I feel bad, otherwise she could definitely be considered a freak. Again with Lucas, though, it was always so easy.

She sighed, wishing the pain in her head would at least diminish. She wondered if pain transferred to Lucas as well, and she sincerely hoped that it didn't. She would feel awful, probably kick him out of her room, and then she would feel worse. It was really a lose-lose situation. "Do you want to take Carr up on his offer and steal the candy?" she asked tiredly. But then that involved getting up and walking to his room, which was really the last thing she wanted to do, and the warmth emanating from Lucas was pretty nice, too, so she didn't want him to get up either. No point in asking that, oh well, she thought to herself.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sterling Walker Character Portrait: Nina Nikolayevna Romanov

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#, as written by Layla

      XXXThere she is.
      XXXHis Nina. With eyes the colour of rain and moonlit oceans. Light and clear, they brim with unshed stories. Her hands wander like they used to. Tracing the outline of the incorporeal world he always tried to venture to but could never unravel. How many times he had lost himself into those eyes like two oceans, falling and waking to the lull of a milky way swimming in their depths. Those eyes were all he needed.
      XXXHe never got the chance to say goodbye.
      XXXHe tried. Of course he did. Despite the weeks that bled into months that dissolved into years, and again and again his attempts at contacting her were refuted by the omnipotent House of Romanov, he did not forget those starlit eyes. So when news of Nikolai Romanov's death reached him, he'd taken the first flight to New York.
      XXXHe'd rehearsed. Written countless letters in the time they were apart. A million apologies, over and over. But how does one apologise for walking away without a word and without a trace? How do you apologise for a betrayal that cuts so deeply, it tears a heart to shreds? How does he tell her she was - is - important, but not important enough?
      XXXHe made his choice. Her for his family. But how was he to know that the Nina he loved would die?
      XXXBut Sterling has no excuses. He's spent the last three years thinking of excuses. Hating himself for being weak. For caving into some self-righteous fool who thought it his duty to play God. For running because it was easier than fighting.
      XXXAnd that is the most shameful part, perhaps. That he did not fight for her.
      XXXSome crazy aspect of him expected nothing to have changed. In his fantasies, Nina was waiting for him by the renovated fountain he had once described as "hideous," following its operation, to which she had replied, "no matter how you sculpt it, it's still the same piece of clay it was before. It's silly to love one and hate the other." He'd laughed at her metaphorical musings then. He does not laugh now.
      XXXHe wonders if this strange, cruel creature wearing Nin's face is still the same clay. Still the Nina he loved.
      XXXHis Nina if she walked through Hell every night.
      XXX"It's silly to love one and hate the other."
      XXXTo say her speech unnerves him would be a gross understatement. She speaks as if she has experience, but what would the Romanov Princess who has known nothing but luxury know of torture? Of rape?
      XXXHe pinches the bridge of his nose and shakes his head. He pushes the thoughts aside. It's cowardly, but he doesn't want to think about it. He strides through the corridors, clenching and unclenching his fists in his pockets. He'd left shortly after the bell rang, frozen in his seat for a few solid minutes. He hadn't even bothered to say something to make Erin uncomfortable. He was sure Nina's speech did that to everyone well enough on its own.
      XXXShe's late to mixed martial arts class. Which in itself is unusual seeing as she clearly enjoys beating the crap out of people. It's somewhat worrying. If he still worried about her. Which he did. But it seemed silly to worry about someone who had nothing to do with him, because he refused to believe the Queen and his Nikola were one and the same. Refused to, until now. Until he saw in her eyes his Nina in pain. His Nina in need of help.
      XXXHis Nina, whom he abandoned.
      XXX"Hey, pretty boy! Snap out of it." Calloused fingers snap in front of his eyes. Sterling jerks his gaze forward until they face a set of fierce hazel eyes. "Why's everyone so moody today? Damn teenagers," growls it's-Jet-don't-you-dare-call-me-Mr Smalley. "Did I tell you to stop, McGrew!" he yells over his shoulder, Australian accent making everything bark and instruction that much more intimidating.
      XXX"Where's my bambina? Did you piss her off?" he interrogates, turning back to Sterling with arms crossed firmly over his broad chest.
      XXX"I always piss her off," Sterling says, his usual smirk following that statement replaced by a frown. "My very existence aggravates her." His eyes widen at the realisation that he has spoken the truth. She does seem to hate him. Somehow it doesn't satisfy him as much as it should.
      XXX"Well, at least you know you're a piece of shit, kid," Jet says seriously. "It is the duty of man to be chivalrous and you are a downright misogynist."
      XXX"I am not a misogynist."
      XXX"'You hit like a girl, Nina,'" Jet says in a mocking imitation of Sterling's voice. "The girl hits harder than you, boy."
      XXX"It was one time-"
      XXX"There you are!" Jet nearly topples a scrawny boy as he pushes past the students to wave Nina in. A frightened girl Sterling vaguely recognises shuffles in behind her.
      XXX"Sorry I'm la-" the girl begins.
      XXX"You're cleaning the locker room for a week," Jet declares, barely glancing at her as he focuses on Nina. "You okay, Bambi? You're looking a little worse for wear. Do you need to go to the nurse's office?"
      XXX"I'm fine," Nina says. Her voice sounds hoarse.
      XXX"Great! We're just starting demonstrations." He levels a glare at the class. "Which one of you wimps want to be my partner for today?"
      XXXStudents cower, staring at their feet and silently praying not to be chosen. Jet points at the girl who came in late barely a second after Nina. "You!"
      XXXMultiple demonstrations and several "yield, yield, yield!"s later, they had moved onto spars. Jet pairs them off with members of the class of similar level. Sterling already knows who he will be paired with. The only one who was leaps and bounds ahead of the class besides him.
      XXX"Nina and Sterling. You're up next," Jet declares.
      XXXNina swoops under the multi-coloured ropes first. She flexes her wrists and drops into a few admittedly impressive stretches.
      XXX"Scared, Walker?" Nina asks with a raised brow. It's then when Sterling realises he hasn't moved. He glares.
      XXX"Of a little girl? Nope."
      XXX"See. Misogynist..." Jet grumbles under his breath. Sterling steps into the ring, bring his fists up to his place. He gives Nina a cocky grin before gesturing her forwards with a hand. She doesn't bite. Instead they circle like predators seizing each other up.
      XXXNina is first to attack. She swings her body to the right but comes in from the left, jabbing a fist towards Sterling's jaw. He catches her forearm and returns with a jab to her throat. She leaps back, twisting her body and striking him across his shoulder with a roundhouse kick. He blinks, trying to focus. His shoulder burns where she struck.
      XXXHer eyes are steel. Impossible to decipher. Juxtaposing the clear, rain blue eyes he... She stabs a fist into his stomach.
      XXX"This is a fight, Sterling! Not practice getting pummelled by a 'little girl.'" Jet yells from outside the ring.
      XXXSterling shakes himself from his reverie. He lunges low to the side before turning suddenly to slam a shoulder into her collarbone. He brings his elbow down onto her stomach as she pitches backward but hesitates. In that time she's righted her balance and slams a heel into the delicate bones of his foot. He jerks away just in time and sweeps a leg into the back of her knees. Her lost of balance sends her sprawling to the ground.
      XXXNina does not stay down for long. Pressing her palms into the floor above her head, she propels herself upright. She doesn't pause, a sidekick already coming for Sterling's side. He catches her ankle, but she swivels, twisting her leg in his grip and swinging her other leg. It catches him across his temple and he drops her. She lands in a crouch.
      XXXHe blinks the stars from his eyes and finds a fist coming for his face. Sterling shifts quickly to the side, catching her fist and cutting the delicate flesh inside her elbow with a rigid palm. The movement nearly brings her to her knees, but she's swinging with her other arm, twisting her fist so unnaturally in his grip he can't fathom why she doesn't cry out. He leaps aside, releasing her, before her hand can connect with his jugular.
      XXXThey're breathing heavily. Circling.
      XXX"What was that speech about, Nina?" he blurts. He knows it was a mistake the moment he sees her eyes widen for a microsecond before hardening into titanium steel.
      XXXShe comes at him with a flurry of kicks and punches so rapid he can do little more than leap away from. Finally, he manages to snatch her fist, the force behind them when they slam into his palm sending ripples along his arm. She swings with her other fist into his midsection but he catches that too. Her knee comes up. He brings her arms - now crossed over her body - down to block her knee.
      XXX"Stop," he whispers. He's not quite sure what he's asking her to stop doing, but it's clear to see that she does not wish to listen to him. She pours all of her strength into shoving him back, but he's taller and wider. He doesn't budge. She shoves again.
      XXX"Technique, Nina. Technique," Jet intones. Sterling barely hears him. He's staring at Nina. Their faces inches apart. He can feel her breath coming in ragged spurts.
      XXX"Talk to me." His whisper is feather light against her lips. Quiet, only she can hear. "Please."
      XXXNina lifts her leg to slam it into Sterling but he catches it with his own, wrapping it tight around her limb. She's completely off balance. Nina makes a sound of rage and frustration.
      XXX"We never talked. Not since I left. Not after I came back. Nina, please." She stares at his throat. Probably wondering how she's going to wrangle it. "I need you to look at me," he pleads. "Just look at me."
      XXXShe lifts her head and her eyes. God, her eyes. Ice so cold, it burns.
      XXXAnd then she's jerking wildly, swinging her entire body weight to try to push him away.
      XXX"Let go!" she cries out. "Let me go!"
      XXX"Sterling! Sterling, let her go!" Jet yells, darting inside the ring. He reaches out to push them apart but Sterling has already released her. So quickly she stumbles back. He holds up his hands and stares, shocked, as if she's burned him. She glares at him, her eyes dilated and hair wild. Her eyes are bloodshot, her body shaking, but she growls. She actually growls at him. How can a person look both terrified and enraged?
      XXX"Nina." Jet's voice is frantic, concerned. Sterling has never heard him sound anything but pissed off. "Nina, are you okay?"
      XXX"I'm fine," she says. Those two words again. But calm has settled over her, so quickly he's certain he and every other shocked member of the class is wondering if they imagined her entire breakdown.
      XXX"Class is over. You can all head to lunch early," Jet announces. He turns back to Nina and speaks quietly. He reaches out to put his arm around her but she flinches. Jet pulls his arm back, worry and something else, something odd, crosses over his features. He speaks to Nina in hushed tones. They walk to the back of the gym and Sterling fails to hear what they say.
      XXXHe jerks his gaze away, and follows the rest of the class out the door.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Erin Hill Character Portrait: Lane Blackwell

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Lane sits silently on the long wooden bench that lines the wall of the girls locker room. Her hands pressed against the seat she stares down at her lap. The room is cold, it always has been, but extra goosebumps seem to crawl up her legs today. Everyone around her is getting ready to swim. Some sport bikini's while others wear one piece suits. Lane had pulled on her black boy shorts and red top. The girls around her hurry to get dressed. However, their conversations, usually loud and echoing through the room, are soft. Lane can barely catch a single word, but no doubt she is their most spoken topic for today. "Did you see what happened in the caf today?" One girl says a notch to loud. "I've never seen her like that before, what do you think Lane did?" Another voice chimes in eagerly. Lane's hands seem to sting, sadness and anxiety pulse through her body. In a single fluid motion she stands and flee's the locker area for the bathroom.

The talking subsides and with a click Lane has locked herself within the stall. I'm just waiting here... Just until everyone goes outside... just until a teacher comes looking... or till the next bell rings. She presses her hair back and leans against the metal wall. Lane you're so stupid. You're dumb, just plain dumb. She trusted you.... she told you everything and you blew it, completely blew it.

The chatter softens even more when Erin enters the locker room, string backpack containing a towel and swimsuit in hand. Everyone knows how close she and Lane are, and how quick she will be to approach someone if they appear to be slandering her best friend in any sense of the word. Erin glances around, confused by the soft volume of the locker room. She is, naturally, oblivious to the atmosphere. Leaving the speech class had been such a relief that her mood is drastically improved from only fifteen minutes ago. The brief delay in getting to class had given her time to clear her mind, and luckily the time allotted for changing allows her to slip in easily.

While she changes, into a bikini with dark green, knee-length board shorts, Erin scouts the room for Lane. She and the musician had agreed to choose swim together, at least on the first day of classes. Had she gone to get her bathing suit, perhaps? Erin had needed to do so, having forgotten hers, but she seems to remember Lane having the bag with a towel and suit already. Another student notices her confused expression and leans over. "I think Lane went to the bathroom. She didn't look like she was feeling well," the girl whispers, not wanting to draw too much attention when everyone had begun to very pointedly ignore the topic.
Erin thanks her and locks up her bag before rushing over to the bathroom. The only other person in it is a girl applying sunscreen to her face at the furthest sink. "Lane?" she wants to shout it, beginning to worry, but reigns in her voice for the sake of the other girl in the restroom.

Lane pulls her hands away from her hair, slightly startled. It's Erin. The musician leans back in the stall, giving her a view of her friends feet. Then she takes a deep breath, adjusting her shorts. "What?" Lane asks, as if oblivious to the fact that it is Erin, her best friend on the other side of the door. She waits quietly for a response, and shifts her footing. The sandals she's chosen for today are spongy and stick to the damp ground of the bathroom.
"Um I'll be out later Erin, I uh, just need a moment longer. You go out there, okay?" Taking a deep breath her voice waivers only slightly. What I need is to disappear into the ground. Lane tilts her head just enough to peer through the slight crack in the stall door. She can't see her friends face, only her many locks of blonde hair. The sound of voices has dwindled down to almost nothing, as the girls have all made their way outside towards the lake. Lane quickly checks again for Erin's feet.

Lane has undergone a brief lapse of sanity if she sincerely believes that Erin will leave her alone so easily. Erin, who clings desperately to her friends after having lost just one. The young woman leans against the sink directly across from Lane's stall, not moving. "That's alright, I'll wait," she says brightly, a certain stubbornness in her tone making it clear nothing Lane can do will persuade her out of doing precisely that. She runs her fingers through pale blond hair, happy to give the girl her time.

Wallowing in the stall alone is not what you need right now, she promises Lane in her mind, justifying her actions which indirectly will force Lane out to swimming with her. Lane needs to be distracted, brought out into the sunlight and splashed with water and joked with and teased. Erin is a strong believer in distraction as a remedy, and although for many people this is the opposite of a solution, she sticks with it. Her own extroversion sometimes leads her to misunderstand what other people need in order to feel better. She assumes fun and smiling will help things, when they can often be part of the problem.

Lane scrunches her eyebrows together, displeased with the blondes words. If it is true, that Erin will wait until her friend emerges from the stall, then Lane concludes there is no use delaying the process. There's no stopping Erin, no use trying, Lane should know by now With a deep sign she turns the latch on the stall door and pushes it open slowly. There Erin stands, happy as can be, ready to swim, and just overall looking content with life. The only other girl in the bathrooms notices Lane's presence and quickly shuffles out of room, to leave the two girls alone. The musician pads past Erin and out towards the now empty locker section. She turns the dial on her locker swiftly.

"I'm not going out there... I feel sick to my stomach Erin." She sniffs, her back to her friend. Lane pulls a Laurel Academy t-shirt over her head. Shaking her head, the brunette pulls her bag out of the locker. [color=#FF333]"I can't stop thinking about Aimee, Erin."[/color] Voice wavering further she adds "Why wasn't she in speech?"
Erin frowns. Crap. I made the wrong choice again, didn't I? Even her, thick-skulled as one can be, notices that when Lane emerges looking incredibly displeased. Naturally, she follows Lane into the locker room, beginning to understand that Lane is just as stubborn as she is when the Musician changes back into clothing. Erin leans against the locker next to her friend, flinching slightly at the feeling of cold metal against her arm. The entire room has begun to drop in temperature, it seems. She chalks it up to the lack of bodies, but it probably has more to do with mental states at the moment.

"If you're sure, Lane. I just don't want you to hide from things too much. If you want I can go with you to your room- we can talk? Or eat too many snacks or something?" And then there it is, Aimee again. It seems every time a friend is brought to their knees it is due to some love interest. There is little wonder as to why Erin seems to have avoided anything more than casual relationships since beginning high school, with the examples she has on how feelings can destroy a person. Her mind flits to Sterling's speech, how it had been half to Nina, and then to her. It should have just been Nina. Why couldn't you have just never left Nina, dammit, the memories of his strut and smirk and infuriating comments make her face hot- with frustration, of course.

"No, I'll just go." Lane tugs at her shirt, quickly adjusting it in the mirror. She turns to her friend looking her over. Erin stands with much concern, backed up by both stubbornness and confidence. Her blonde hair is slightly frazzled from the summer humidity. The more Lane stares, the more mature and grown up Erin seems. Sure her personality hasn't shifted the slightest, but everything else seems to have. Her posture is taller, her skin clear and smooth. Even her smile seems to have grown up, becoming softer, and kinder. Most of all though, she looks composed, something the musician has struggled with for a long time. Erin appears ready to pass through the gates to college and take on the world.
"Maybe she also wasn't feeling well. Lane," she grabs her friend's hand and squeezes it, reassuringly. Dealing with other people's problems distracts her from her own. "You are going to find someone lovely and flawed and hilarious and hopelessly devoted to you, okay? But she isn't it."
Why can't people let friends fill those holes?

Lane quickly turns her gaze away from her friend. Her attitude shifting as the blonde speaks. Your going to find someone lovely...flawed...hilarious...hopelessly devoted The words blend together in her mind. Almost as if someone had tipped water onto them. She isn't it. But she could be...

Her best friend takes her hand squeezing it gently. "Erin I'm going to go, alone, okay? Tell Mr. Canfield I'm sick. We can meet up at lunch." Her hand slips away from the blondes. "I promise."

With that Lane pulls the string bag over her shoulders and pushes open the locker room door. She makes her way down the hallway without looking back and, heading straight for her summer dorm room.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Daniel Ahn

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Typically, the Knight may have signed up to take MMA alongside the Queen. He had done so previous summers and proved himself quite capable, perhaps thanks to a good base athleticism and a knack for catching moments of weakness in other people. Typically, he would be by Nina's side. However, given the incident last night, Daniel had decided that taking the class to do with physical contact would be a poor choice on his part. Besides, if word had gotten back to Mr. Smalley -Daniel stubbornly refuses to call him by his first name because he finds that in poor taste- that Daniel had acted in such a manner, the class would have been less than enjoyable for him. He would have been praised for protecting Mr. Smalley's darling Miss Romanov, and Mr. Smalley is one teacher whom Daniel has never really had any desire to be favored by. He is grisly, unprofessional, and in general not someone that Daniel can ever imagine himself respecting. The Queen may bestow her favor, but the Knight reserves judgment on the issue.

Thus, Daniel is not by Nina's side to stand as a barrier between her and Sterling, though he does not know this. He is instead preoccupied with a no-contact choice, free to jog as he pleases. Jogging offers two options: to run in a group or alone, the latter being so long as the runner selects a specific jogging course. Daniel immediately chose the one that only one or two other runners, slower than he, had picked, allowing himself to be virtually alone. The running is mechanical, each movement and breath not requiring any higher mental use, and typically this is what Daniel likes about it. He can think while his body moves, the two entities becoming separate. But, perhaps today that is not the most desirable aspect to running. There are many things to process, and while he has never had difficulty sifting through information, these things are too sticky to be fed through the normal machinery. It requires being processed by hand.

For example, his difficulty sleeping last night. This had not been exclusively due to the discomfort of the chair. He felt uncomfortable sleeping so close to Nina, despite the fact that this makes no logical sense. What had there been to fear, when she herself was fast asleep? It was not fear which kept him up. He would wake up and simply sit there, in the darkness, silent. One one instance, there had been a slight pause in her breathing and it felt as though someone had rapidly wound a rope around his entire body, pulling tighter until her breathing became regular once more. He then realized the downright creepiness of remaining awake, and attempted to fall back asleep. The results were somewhat unsatisfactory.

Last night, of course, is in general something so tangled that he is concerned about making the knots tighter in any attempt to form reason from the madness. The anger, he had known about. He has always known about it, about the fierce emotion he keeps caged up. One must know a thing in order to control it, after all. He does not understand the intensity, does not understand the source of it, but knows the situations in which he must tread lightly. He remembers not coming out of his room for two months. He remembers the last days he had seen Sam, strange nights with just the two of them, doing nothing but reading and talking and watching those war documentaries that his friend had been so obsessed with. He remembers smiling, laughing, in a way that he rarely does anymore. Nina is precious, and yet still pales in comparison to the one he lost. She is not Sam.

She is something else. Daniel cannot imagine simply staying up reading and talking, lit by images of maps and soldiers. Perhaps it is merely age which has removed such nights from his reach. Instead he stays up, unable to sleep, tense in an uncomfortable chair, listening. Nina is not Sam. The light touches her in a different way it did Sam. She is better suited to the stars and the moon. Sam had been warm in a way which almost melted Daniel's cage. Nina is cold in a way which reaches out to soothe. But cold can freeze, bring temperatures down until metal bars are brittle. Easily shattered.

Daniel turns right where he ought to turn left.

Nina is not the electricity of Sam. She is a shiver, Khione reincarnated. But goddesses are immortal, unchanging. Nina is falling back to earth at rapid speed, gaining a velocity to set fire to the land she hits. Like lightning. Like electricity. Daniel skids to a halt, and leans against a tree to catch his breath. He had run faster than intended, had forgotten to regulate his pace. His heart is beating rapidly, following a chaotic drumline. If he does not run, Daniel forgets what it feels like to have that motion in his chest. He can almost fall victim to the rumors that there is nothing but gears within him, one of that Erin girl's robotic toys. Even when running, he will keep his pace even enough so that the heart beat moves up steadily, so that he will not notice it.

He remembers how even his thoughts could not be heard over the sound the organ made when Sam died. He had not cried, or screamed. He had shut himself away to be in the company of that impossibly loud drum. Now in the presence of this old companion, he has cause to wonder if he had remembered to shut the door to his bedroom behind him after leaving. A maid might have done it for him.

Daniel's breathing has returned to normal but he can still hear the pounding. He remembers Nina's speech. She had become so vulnerable, it frightened him. Daniel knows what it is to open himself fully and be devoted, but he'd never wish a revisitation of that on her. Sterling exists nonetheless.

Still beating.

Who could have hurt her while he wasn't looking? Even Sterling had seemed shocked at her words. Daniel refuses to allow anything to slip out of the cage, wondering what could have happened. How he could have failed. He will not allow ice to melt and slip away, as fire had burnt out before.

Still pounding.

How had he allowed someone to scar his Queen?


Daniel is shocked by his own word, but does not deny it. He had denied it in regards to Sam, that fierce possessiveness, that need to have something, someone. He is older now. Nina is not Sam. She is different. She is a shiver, not electricity.

Daniel begins running again, as if to justify the organ in his chest.

Still racing.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aimee Hart Character Portrait: Lucas Long

0.00 INK

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Aimee and Lucas both sat on the bed, facing the other wall and not saying anything. Aimee's roommate had never shown up, so she had offered Lucas the spot temporarily since he looked so exhausted from everything that had happened. She'd imagined it had been difficult to deal with everyone's thoughts (particularly hers, being so loud) and from judging by the dark circles under his eyes, she was right. "I am tired," he said wearily. She looked at him with concern again, not really able to stop her natural maternal instincts coming out. All she ever wanted to do was take care of people. "Maybe a sugar rush will help...where did Anthony say the candy was?" He asked, standing up slowly.

She pursed her lips. "He keeps a stash in the box underneath his bed," she told him. They had often dug into the enormous amounts of candy for movie nights on her laptop or just for hanging out in their dorms and goofing off. One time, on a dare, she made Carr eat twenty sour punch straws at the same time. He almost killed her, figuratively speaking. She chuckled now, thinking about the memory. Lucas left to go get the candy, and she almost called out to him for her preference, but then remembered that he probably already knew from seeing it in her thoughts. That's never gonna get difficult, she thought. Well, it probably would at some point when she was thinking about something she really would rather keep to herself, but now it was coming in handy.

Lucas came back, and she licked her lips in anticipation for the sour goodness that he brought. "Yum, Sour Patch are my favorite," she admitted gleefully. He handed them to her, taking some for himself, and sat across from her. She didn't really want to bring up any difficult topics since he looked like he was about ready to keel over, so she settled for quietly eating her candy instead. She had a reputation for finishing things quickly, so the Sour Patch was gone within minutes. Looking at Lucas again, she frowned. "Are you sure you don't want to sleep over there?"

He paused for a moment, then let out a huge jaw-cracking yawn and rubbed his eyes. She grinned, knowing he may have tried to resist and now it was obvious that he couldn't. "Nah, I think I'm just gonna go back to my dorm. Are you gonna be okay?" He asked, giving her a once over of his own. She couldn't imagine what she looked like. Knotty hair, swollen eyes, tear stained clothes; all a recipe for disgust. She nodded, not really knowing what else to say. She had hoped that he would go down to lunch with her, since she didn't think she'd have the courage to do it by herself, but maybe Carr would be around, and she could be with him. Anything than just sitting there and listening to the whispers. But at the same time, if she went into the caf, she risked bumping into someone or something and getting more information crammed into her head. She knew she wouldn't be able to handle that.

Lucas got up to leave then, saying to call him if she needed, and she gave him a wan smile. There was a vending machine around the corner, that would have to do. She couldn't risk anything like this morning happening again.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lane Blackwell Character Portrait: Anthony Carraway

0.00 INK

#, as written by Saerith

For someone with a life so uneventful, this morning, paired with the raging hangover, was a lot more agitated than Carr had expected or wished it would be. He took his time walking the corridors. He had never been someone very active, and if the school would allow it, standing up to get more food while playing video games would be the only exercise he’d get, so with Aimee not being there, the idea of running around campus in complete silence didn’t seem like the dandiest morning ever. There would really be nothing to distract him, and distraction was something he was deeply in need of right now.

Every word both Aimee and Lucas spoke to him now echoed ceaselessly in his mind. Something was bothering him, and he couldn’t quite put a finger on it. It wasn’t Lucas’ power or Aimee’s revelation really, it was something… Behind it. On how strange and unfamiliar it sounded. As if the mist that kept last night’s memories at a distance had spread to now conceal more time, more important, meaningful time. When had all of that happened? Why was he not there? What was Aimee so upset about that lead her to… And what did Lane, of all people, know about it? There had always been an odd distance between Lane and himself that felt uncomfortable. They were both close friends to Erin, but overtime they would find themselves in a situation where they were both hanging out with her, it just seemed like there were different conversations going on, and Carr wouldn’t be one to dare approach Lane alone.

If that they Carr had to guess ho the mind reader was, he’d say Lane. He was still pacing down the hallway on his way to class, with his eyes on the ground and his head full of thoughts about the girl when she seemed to simply appear a few feet away. As soon as he noticed her presence, he glanced at all directions, trying desperately to find another path, anywhere he could go and not bump into her. Seeing no escape route, he examined her intently for a second, and the image of Aimee, red eyes and and the trail of tears on her cheeks, flashed before his eyes. He could tell there was some anger building up inside his chest, but repressed it firmly as he fixated his gaze not he floor again. I know nothing. I saw nothing. This could mean anything. Leave her alone.

He started to walk again, faster this time, his hands tapped nervously on his thighs and his eyes blinked in a uncomfortable, unnatural way. You don’t know her. This has nothing to do with you. You’ll only… Anthony came to a stop just as he was about to open the doors before him. Without turning, or moving again even an inch, the words slipped out of his mouth, he couldn’t recognize his own voice, he couldn’t even tell if he had actually said it or just thought it.


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lane Blackwell Character Portrait: Anthony Carraway

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Lane makes her way down the hallway silently. Head down, hands pressed against the strings of her bag which dig into her shoulders. She's not necessary wandering, more at a sick of life and tired pace. The walk isn't a long one. Just out the locker room doors straight down one hall, take a short cut outside, and then turn right once your in the next building. A nap sounds really great right now Lane thinks to herself, the first thought that wasn't about Aimee, since she began her way. She hadn't passed anyone in the hallway yet, as most students were in their classes by now. However, as she turns right down the hall of the dorm building, a boy seems to be walking towards her, or simply the opposite way of her.

It's Anthony. Erin's friend. At first Lane doesn't think much of it because It's just little Anthony But soon her thoughts shift. They shift to last night. Anthony sitting with Aimee. They were friends, definitely good friends. Is he coming out of Aimee's dorm? Was he with her? Her eyes dart from the ground to the walls, taking only a quick glance at the boy and he comes closer. Lane is just about sure they will pass with out conversing when he says her name. She stops, no freezes. "Yes?" Her voice comes out as though she'd just gotten in trouble. Just little Anthony, it's just him....what did Aimee tell you..... She lifts her head to look at him..

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lane Blackwell Character Portrait: Anthony Carraway

0.00 INK

#, as written by Saerith

Anthony doesn’t turn or lifts his head, actually, he gives absolutely no indication that he is aware of Lane having said anything. He just stands in silence, a silence that seems to set the teens miles apart even though they’re just a few steps away from each other. He doesn’t really know what he meant to say, or if he had meant to say anything at all, really, but he wanted Lane to know he had been with Aimee seconds ago, he needed her to know that he knew something, he needed her to know he had seen. And to realize that if anything was wrong with Aimee, she would be hearing of him as well. He thought for a moment what Erin would think, if this encounter would make her upset at all. But he didn’t mind. She should understand.

After not looking at Lane and being quiet for a uncomfortable minute, he faced her and his expression was a mixture of an apology and a warning. As if he somehow understood what she, Lane, was going through, but had to say something so that he could get himself out of some complicated situation. ”I don’t know the half of it. You probably didn’t do anything wrong, or didn’t mean to. His voice did’t sound cool or composed as he had planned it, it actually was almost a whisper, full of uncertainty, but this was probably the first time Lane would not hear him stuttering or apologizing. ”But you really should try not to upset Aimee. And I’ll try not to upset you.”

Head still hurting, face flushed and breath shallow, Anthony continued making his way to class without looking back. He would be late. He didn’t mind.

Characters Present

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

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Time Skip
The bell rung about two minutes ago, so lunch begins in three minutes. Everyone is either on their way to lunch or currently at lunch.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sterling Walker Character Portrait: Nina Nikolayevna Romanov

0.00 INK

#, as written by Layla

      XXX"Did you see that?"
      XXX"I know. She completely freaked out."
      XXX"...crazy. Didn't think anything phased her."
      XXX"But damn, she was pretty hot. I dig the vulnerable, helpless hottie thing she's got going on lately."
      XXX"Better not say that too loud. You heard what happened to Cam."
      XXX"The Ice Queen isn't so cold after all."
      XXX"Or at least not as cold as Daniel."
      XXX"He was pretty badass. I'm jealous."
      XXX"Of the Queen Bee? Who isn't?"
      XXX"...and Sterling. They say she did a 360 after he, like, ditched her."
      XXX"Who wouldn't? She's a bitch."
      XXX"A bitch I'd bang!"
      XXX"Ew, shut up, Mike."
      XXX"Hey, a body like that needs to be shared. Babe's got legs for days and a tight little-"
      XXXSterling steps around the corner and the group of students from his mixed martial arts class still. Their eyes fly to one another before they shuffle aside to let him pass. The remnants of their conversation echo down the winding halls like a trail of breadcrumbs. He levels a steely gaze at them. There is a pause as they hover uncomfortably, waiting for Sterling to pass or swing one of them into the chandelier hovering overhead. Finally, Sterling speaks.
      XXX"Mmm, you're assuming she would give you the time of day, Mike," he says cooly.
      XXXSterling sees Mike tense. His jaw works and his lips curl back. A blonde with large, brown eyes places a hand on his bicep. "Mike, don't," she whispers urgently.
      XXX"Get off your high horse, Walker. You're as much her bitch as Ahn is."
      XXX"Oh, now that's just rude," Sterling says quietly. His eyes gleam. "Comparing me to an emotionless product of government experimentation."
      XXX"We all know you can't call dibs on her body. She's fair game for anyone." Mike lifts his chin, and though he may be stockier than Sterling, he's shorter still. A cocky grin spreads across his face. "An open buffet, am I right?"
      XXX"Mike!" the girl beside him gasps. His friends take a step back and their faces are tense, as if bracing for what they know will come next.
      XXXShards of glass rain down on them as the chandelier above them explodes into hundreds of tiny fragments. The students below cower and squeal, jerking away from where Sterling has Mike shoved against the wall. Mike's feet dangle above the floor and his eyes widen as Sterling brings his face level to his own. Sterling has one arm pressed over Mike's chest and the other hand bunched around the front of Mike's shirt.
      XXX"Listen very carefully," he begins, an almost maniacal gleam lighting his pale eyes. "If I ever see you so much as breathing in her direction or hear you talking about Nina - or anyone - like that again, I'll rip your oesophagus from your throat and make a necklace of your entrails. Capisce?"
      XXXHe releases Mike suddenly and the boy drops to the ground. Sterling runs his fingers through his platinum hair to shake a few glass shards from between the locks. He tucks his hands in his pocket and grins.
      XXX"Nice talk," he says, and walks away.

      XXXThe cafeteria is empty when Sterling arrives save for a janitor, the servers and a few students skipping class or arriving from mixed martial arts. He rubs a thumb over his lower lip, shoulders flexing as he thrusts his hands into his pockets. What was he thinking? He'd gotten away with a lot before, but threatening a student and damaging property probably wasn't the best way to get out of the principal's hit list.
      XXXBut more than that - what was he doing defending Nina? He hadn't last semester when he returned after three years to find Nina irrevocably changed. He hadn't yesterday when Cameron grabbed her. He'd been content to let Daniel take the place he no longer wanted - the one by her side. What changed since then?
      XXX"The she becomes an it. An object to be vandalised, humiliated and discarded."
      XXXHer speech. Her speech changed everything. And moments before, when she shook in his hands like she was truly, wholly petrified.
      XXX"There is no glory for the victim of sexual violence. They are dirty. Broken. A shell stripped of its pearl. Empty."
      XXXSterling drags a hand over his face, as if to wipe any trace of Nina's words, but his mind fixates on them like a song it can't escape. Over and over again, he sees her eyes. Moss green eyes. Eyes like rain. Haunted eyes. Eyes devoid of hope. He hears her voice, hears her choke. Hears her scream and crack and fracture like a fissure running through dry earth and broken bones.
      XXXHe hears his footsteps. Hears himself leave. Hears the silence that follows in his wake.
      XXXHe does not hear the song that played when they met, because he does not remember it. But he's remembered every song since they were apart.
      XXXSo lost in his reverie, he does not notice that the dining hall has filled. Students chatter and mill about, dowsing themselves in the gossip that prevails the high school like the plague. Nina is nowhere to be seen. He's relieved. And then he's guilty for being relieved.
      XXXHe knows when Nina is coming because heads turn. They always do when she walks past. It's the high school equivalent of bowing to a monarch, he supposes. Her earlier anxiety is all but gone. Her glossy dark hair cascades down her back in careful ringlets. Her legs are clad in jet black gladiators that match her long sleeved black blouse and wind around her smooth skin before halting just below her knees. Her skirt sways as she walks, the deep green complimenting her sultry gaze. A sultry gaze aimed directly at him.
      XXXSurprise flickers over his features before he sets his expression into one that imparts absolutely nothing. For the first time, he does not goad her. Instead he flicks his gaze away, finding a fascinating speck on the wall to glare at instead. Something akin to shame slithers in his gut, and he has no idea why. Or, well, he can think of many why's. Too many.
      XXX"Sterling, darling," she purrs. She's so close, Sterling can feel her winter mint breath - that does not hide the undertone of alcohol - brushing the edge of his ear. "You were so quick to escape, I could scarcely call for a rematch."
      XXX"No point in a rematch when I'll win anyway," Sterling manages. He clenches his hand, glad at least that his wit has not fled him. He feels, rather than sees, Nina grin.
      XXX"Or," she starts. "Perhaps you're scared of being pummelled by a little girl?" she muses, quoting Jet. Sterling jerks when cool fingers graze his temple. "Mmm, this will leave quite the satisfactory bruise."
      XXXFinally, Sterling turns to Nina, and the sight of her makes his breath catch. Her eyes - as big as they ever were, doe eyes and pouty lips, like a doll - are staring straight at him. Through him. He glances at the hand she brought to his temple, where her sleeve slipped back, and the air leaves his lungs in a whoosh. Five long lines drag from her wrist to disappear beneath her sleeves. Scratches.
      XXX"Did I do that to you?" he breathes.
      XXXThe smile falls from her lips for a fraction of a second, and then she shrugs, the self-confident grin returning to her lips. "Sure," she says simply.
      XXX"God, Nina, I didn't-"
      XXX"We like it rough," she says, loud enough for the students around them to hear as she turns to give her audience a glimpse. They chuckle. She beams, wiggling her fingers and testing her wrists - both scratched - before turning away.
      XXXSterling catches Nina's hand gently in his own and turns them over, inspecting the cuts. "Nina, you have to know I never would've-" The movement shifts Nina's bracelet. The light catches on the kaleidoscopic hues embedded beneath the intentional cracks spiralling through the sterling silver bracelet. Sterling's eyes widen. It's the bracelet he got for his first birthday with her. "To remember me by," he'd said then. She still has it. She still wears it. How had he never noticed? I've been looking, but I haven't been seeing her.
      XXXBut the movement of the bracelet reveals the raised scar pressed to the base of her palm and wrist. He remembers the scar from the fire. It hasn't faded in three years. Nina snatches her hand away and turns away from him with an air of nonchalance, as if forgetting the significance of the bracelet, or what he'd done and seen. She says nothing else to him, instead turning to her Influentials. She smiles and they melt. Students rush to please her, placing the food before her on a silver platter - literally - as she launches into an animated story they laugh at.
      XXXSterling stares. Stunned.
      XXXAnd feeling more regret than he did when he left.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lane Blackwell Character Portrait: Aimee Hart

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After her encounter with Anthony, Lane had went right to her dorm room as planned. She'd changed out her swim wear and fallen onto her bed in absolute despair. What Anthony had threatened seemed to hit her like a load of bricks. Never in all the years of knowing this boy, had he said something so straight forward, to the point. Something that was meant to stick. It was a threat that, if given by anyone else, would frighten Lane. However, this was Anthony, and it simply made her uncomfortable and caused her only to worry more of Aimee. The threat would stay in the back of her mind of course, and remain there for quite a long time.

Now, Lane sits on the hard wood floor of her room. She's shuffling through a plastic bin, searching for 1 thing in particular. A pair of leather gloves. Upon finding them, she pushes the bin back under her bed and stands, examining her finding. The gloves are soft, almost brand new. The maroon leather is shiny and the sunlight causes white highlights to form along the edges. The silver buckles along the wrist of each glove are unscratched, and no sign of wear is visible. The story behind these gloves is a short one. One that Lane had kept to herself for quite a while. 3 winters ago, she had received the gloves in the mail. All that came with them was a note done is precise calligraphy that read 'To Elana' and on the opposite side read 'Yours truly Joseph Blackwell' Lane had threw the gloves under here bed in disgusted and had been untouched ever since.

Aimee would need these more than I do.

Checking her appearance once more in the mirror, she threw the gloves into a small bag and pushed the door open with plans to meet up with Erin and hopes to see Aimee.

Aimee heard the bell ring, chewing on her lip emphatically. She wanted food. And not just sour candy, but actual food. Vending machine, just go to the vending machine, she told herself. But that required leaving. And the safety of her dorm room was quite comforting right now. If she left, who knows whom she'd run into. All of the Yearlies were in this dorm, and they all had free roam during lunch. Anyone could be anywhere.

She sighed, putting a hand to her constantly growling stomach. The vending machine had the good pretzels in them. The ones with the extra salt at the bottom of the bag and the nice buttery crust. God, I sound like a commercial, she thought. But, with another growl coming from below, she sighed and stood up. Bracing herself for whatever would be outside the door, she opened it and turned toward the vending machine.

Of course, of course this would happen. I must be the unluckiest person on the planet! she groaned in her head. There in front of her stood the last person she wanted to see. Lane.

There was many, many things Lane had gone over in her head that she planned to say the next time she saw Aimee. She had reworded and reworded, over and over again trying to create the most apologetic apology to ever cross her lips. However, just as her door shuts with a click, so does the one across from her. And here Aimee is standing in front of her and all she can do is stare, her mouth even falls open slightly. Lane's eyes dart from the ground to the wall, to Aimee's eyes and she can't conjure up a sentence. Maybe it's out of shock, or surprise but what is there to say when you ripped apart the one string that held you and another together. Lane shifts her footing slightly, gripping the bag close to her side.

"Uh Aimee..." She mumbles, her eyes fall to the ground. First thing's first, make peace. Don't let her run away. Not today. Lane steps forward, she keeps her eyes down until holding up the small bag. "These are for you, um I uh I just had them laying around... but they aren't used or anything. And not that I don't think they are nice I just think you'd uh use them more.... Can we talk, alone? In my room, or yours or, or where ever, just alone?"

Aimee stiffened, staring at the gloves that were being held out to her. Did this mean something? A peace offering, perhaps? She took them tenderly, folding them against her chest. Images flashed before her eyes. Lane holding them in her bedroom, whoever had given them to her, and then nothing. These gloves had hardly been touched. It was a blessing in disguise, Aimee pondered. Had they been passed from hand to hand often, she most likely would have been overwhelmed again. Now she only felt slightly woozy.

It took her a moment to realize that Lane had said something, and she stumbled back into her room, knocking the door open behind her. Holding it open, she motioned Lane inside. She stood awkwardly near the bed, recalling the last time they had been in a dorm room together. Oh dear God, what is happening now? Aimee thought frantically. She wished someone--anyone--would come looking for her and take her away from this. What did Lane want to talk about? For God sakes, Aimee had barely had two hours to recover from their last conversation, and now another one?

She waited awkwardly, staring anywhere except Lane and the bed

A sigh of relief washed over Lane as the gloves were taken from her hands. It was the first step, the first step in what would be a very long process in gaining any sort of trust again. Aimee went even further as to awkwardly and clumsily motion Lane into her room and then the girl stood, silently waiting. Lane came in behind her, slowly she tried to find the best place to stand, ending up sitting on the edge of the bed. She looks us towards Aimee, searching her face she's surprised. The girl doesn't appear angry, or sad. She just looks sick. Is this really a good time Lane? Do you really want to do this now? Her heart rate seems to pick up speed as she opens her mouth to talk.

"I'm sorry...?" Out comes the weakest apology of her life. She shakes her head then tries again. "I'm sorry I told Erin -And I know there is nothing I can do to fix what I said, but hopefully, hopefully you will be able to forgive me in time." There's a pause, like she's finished "I don't want to stop talking to you, like I know Anthony and Erin wish, because they don't have things the way we do." She sighs her hands are suddenly gesturing with the words she's saying. "I never got to say this before but I'm sorry you lost your parents. I bet they were wonderful and cared for you and your brother so much." She didn't expect that to fall out of her mouth. "Aimee, I understand how you feel and I do not want to loose someone like you in my life." Her eyes seem to becoming glassy and her eyes shift to stare at the carpet.

Aimee grimaced as Lane started to apologize. She didn't know if she could handle coming to terms with Lane. While avoiding her may not have been favorable, it had certainly been easier. She didn't have to worry about what was going on between them, because nothing was if they didn't see or talk to each other. Now, though, it was all coming to a crashing end and Aimee didn't know how to stop it.

Her head snapped up as Lane mentioned her parents, her eyes widening and turning a steely gray. She didn't know what to say. Here in front of her this girl was apologizing for something she a) didn't do and b) she was the first one to ever say it. The black haired girl was the first one to ever mention it and say something like that to her in the past five years. Aimee felt her eyes swell up with tears again, but she blinked them away. "I..." she began, her voice raw. "I honestly have no idea what to say."

She sighed, leaning against the wall earlier. "I know you didn't mean to tell Erin. I was just angry, and I couldn't control it. I'm...I'm sorry, Lane."

Lane's eyes remain focused on her lap. "Thank you." She says quietly and tucks a strand of hair behind her ear. Hearing an apology was something Lane wasn't aware she needed or deserved right now, but it felt like breathe of fresh air after to long under water. There's something else you have to say... her mind pokes at her and she stands. Say it Lane, say it, you know Erin's right about this dragging her feet halfway to the door, she stops and spins around. "I'm not going to ruin the friendship we could have over one night of vulnerability and bad decisions." She scrunches her eyebrows searching for words. Words that might comfort the both of them. "I know you want space right now." She shifts her gaze to Aimee's eyes, the poor girl looks just as sick as when Lane had first saw her. "I'll leave." lets go, I think that's enough for one day...

Characters Present

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

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Erin prides herself on her ability to bounce back from unhappy situations, and it is this pride which pushes her to smile and interact with her classmates as much as possible during swimming. To the untrained eye, she seems to have shrugged off the breakfast situation almost too easily, but those who know her, which is in fact most of the Yearlies due to a great amount of time together, can read the strain in her smile. She hates to have friends be unhappy, and hates even more to feel as though they are closing her out. The young woman realizes how oblivious she can be at times, and therefore assumes that once she is actually able to tell that someone is closing her out, it is nearly too late. That's how it had been with Nina, after all. This pattern of people putting so much stake in romantic love frightens the shit out of Erin. Perhaps it is childish of her to wish that everyone could simply be friends and accept that as enough. Erin never was one to look forward to growing up, more of a lost boy type herself. Laurel nearly functioned as her Neverland, until the crocodile's clock began ticking once more, propelling everyone into near adulthood.

The class ends and Erin rinses off and changes in the locker room, smiling at people but not partaking in their chatter as she normally might. She heads out such that she is near people but not exactly part of the group, which consists of students from six years old to eighteen years old. PE is when the Yearlies might mingle to some extent- Erin had almost forgotten that the school accepted people so young, though she herself had entered at an early age. She spots two girls, looking about ten, laughing and purposefully bumping into each other. Erin smiles, mood lifted by the sight. She remembers before Nina came, when it was just her and Lane against the world. Two dorks with calloused fingers from their respective instruments and burnt skin from playing outside without sunblock. Occupied with her thoughts, Erin doesn't realize that her pace has slowed and the group has grown further away. She doesn't notice Daniel Ahn walking towards her.

A shower and change later, Daniel has resolved himself to ignore the issue for now and head to lunch. Whatever else, he feels it important that he see Nina. However, a girl familiar only from a distance and from stories is wandering just a bit away from him, and a new resolution becomes set. Daniel increases his pace to a brisker walk until he has easily caught up with the girl. She immediately begins moving away without a word, eyes cast down. Daniel steps in front of her, thwarting the evasive effort. "A word, if I may, Miss Hill?" He does not sacrifice at least the image of courtesy in the pursuit. The girl seems set on avoiding eye contact at first, but something stiffens and she finally looks him in the face. You helped mold her. And then you took my spot. But it doesn't matter anymore. While pain may linger here or there, Nina is one thing that Erin has finally learned to give up on.

"Fine. But maybe not right here- I doubt your Queen would want to hear that you were speaking to some nobody like me," where she would normally be acidic, Erin simply sounds tired. Resigned.

"Of course," and the two move further out of the way, hidden by a collection of trees. "I can see that you have stopped attempting to change Miss Ro- Nina. I think that's for the best."

"Look, she isn't my business anymore, okay? If you are here to warn me away from her, you're right- I'm done."

"Your presence has done nothing to hurt Nina, not anymore. It's not you I'm concerned about."

Sterling. There is no specification needed, they both know. As far as Daniel is concerned, Sterling is only hurting Nina. Blisters should be allowed to deal with themselves and become callouses, a form of protection. Sterling seems intent on popping them and tending to the fresh skin underneath. It is easy to blame him for the more blatant pain in Nina's features, for her apparent inability to at least confide in Daniel. Sterling had his spot by her side, and he gave it up. Daniel can be very territorial.

"Look. You're the man who knows everything, aren't you? So you should know that Sterling and I aren't exactly friends. I don't have any control over what he does. Besides, has it occurred to you that maybe this sudden pain you are seeing is easier dealt with bec-"

"Miss Hill, please. I did not come over to illicit your anger or opinions. But if you could keep your friends in check, it would be greatly appreciated,"

"I don't give a damn what you would greatly appreciate, okay? I don't know how it works with you and your mistress, but I don't tell my friends what they can and cannot do. And if us minding our own business bothers her, then that isn't my-"

And then she is closed in. Daniel has her pinned against the tree, one hand on either side. Erin flinches away, doing her best impression of a wood nymph and trying to merge with the tree. "I think you're being unnecessarily stubborn here, Miss Hill. I will not allow you, or Sterling, or that musician of yours to hurt Nina, alright? And if I think that you may be a threat, I can assure you there will be little problem in terminating it. Someone has to be pushed in front of the trolley, Miss Hill. It doesn't have to be you." Daniel straightens his posture, adjusts his sleeves, and runs a quick hand through his hair to fix it.

Erin is silent, mouth sealed, carefully keeping her gaze over Daniel's shoulder.

"I am correct in saying you once cared for Nina, yes? If any of that remains, remain out of sight, out of mind, and make sure the rest of that crew does as well. Nina does not need you or anyone else to make her happy. I am perfectly capable of protecting that." He takes her silence for understanding and begins to walk away. A few steps out, he turns his head slightly.

"What was the name of the place your mother is working now? The Versailles in New York? I'm sure she's getting older now- a promotion would be comforting, wouldn't it? Or perhaps she's getting too old to continue working." With that, he walks off to the Dining Hall to find Nina.

Erin remains paralyzed, as if still pinned to the tree, a few moments longer. Once the distance between the two of them is great enough, she too starts walking in the hopes of finding Lane or Anthony or someone safe. This is, in fact, her first real interaction with Daniel Ahn. She prays it will be her last, as well.

Cool as a cucumber, Daniel reaches the Influential table and takes his seat at Nina's side. Food is soon in front of him, as well. "Good afternoon. I don't suppose that Mr. Smalley has become any more tolerable since I've seen him last?"

Erin enters from a different entrance, such that she is not in Daniel, or Nina's, line of vision. After grabbing a small amount of food, her normal appetite having left her, Erin takes a seat and she and Lane's usual spot. The moment she sits, Erin is ravenous and wishes that she had grabbed more food. More jalapeno mac n cheese, in particular. She begins to eat, sending a text to Lane. If the girl does not respond within five minutes, Erin decides to bring food to her dorm room.

To: Lane
Are you coming to lunch?

From her spot, she can see Daniel much too well. Erin shivers, and sends another text.

To: Mom
How's work? I love you.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Erin Hill Character Portrait: Lane Blackwell

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Lane trudges down the hallway, eyes down, focusing on the brown stripes that zig zag across the carpet. She recalls being younger and dogging the lines like hot lava. Leaping and hopping to avoid each strip. It was an odd game, but quite addicting as a young child. Now the lines are simply line, no longer hot lava. Or perhaps the stripes have remained hot lava, but Lane as a growing adult had simply become immune them. That's what the younger version of herself would claim anyways. All thoughts of her past childhood are interrupted by the light vibration of her phone in her back pocket. Lane pulls the phone out and reads the screen quickly. Upon seeing Erin's text she presses the small plastic keys on the phone until yes 2 mins shows across the screen. After sending it the musician has already about reached the cafeteria.

Pushing the doors open her eyes dart straight to were Erin should be sitting. Seeing that she is there, Lane quickly jumps in line for some food. She pulls a bowl of mac and cheese onto her plate without jalapeño, but instead with extras sprinkles of parmesan cheese. She also takes a dollar can of Arnold Palmer tea and an extra cup. Lane keeps to herself through this process. Focusing on the food, focusing on her movements, not focusing on the loud noises that fill the lunch room that reminder her of this morning.

After paying for the food she slides into the seat across from Erin, smiling slightly as a greeting. "I uh I talked to Aimee, and I apologized, and she uh she apologized." She states right away, as to push the topic out of the way quickly. "She just...she needs space right now so I'm doing that, I'm giving her space. And I um took your advice, I think. We will just be friends.... For now." The last sentence is painful to spit out. Lane pops open the can and pours half into the extra cup. She slides it to Erin, who's not looking 100% well herself. "I'm not even that hungry, do you want this?" She asks pushing the bowl to the center of the table. The longer she sits the better she feels, though Erin seems to be looking the opposite. "Did something happen?" better to ask, just in case

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Erin Hill Character Portrait: Lane Blackwell

0.00 INK

(Double post, sorry)

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Erin Hill Character Portrait: Lane Blackwell

0.00 INK


Erin is on her third mouthful of macaroni when Lane sits down across from her. The blonde had been too distracted to notice the text come in letting her know that her friend was on her way, and thus had been rushing the food to set off after her. Erin is not always the best at respecting requested distance when friends just need to be alone. Perhaps it's ironic, then, that she is so irritated when people she tells to leave her alone ignore it. People often come to hate in others what exists in themselves, after all. Because of her full mouth, Erin's attempt at a returned smile leaves her looking something like a puffer fish. She always did have the tendency to try and seem bigger when frightened, though often Erin ultimately shrinks into herself. I should have stood my ground more, damn it. I should be stronger than that, she swallows her food, and the grimace can almost be mistaken as a reaction to doing so without chewing properly.

"We will just be friends...for now," it's progress, if nothing else. Erin slides her hand across the table to squeeze Lane's. [b]"Honestly, I'd rather have friends than lovers. They last longer," not sure if her words are helpful or only rubbing vinegar in the wound, Erin withdraws her hand. Her phone buzzes beside her, lighting up with a message.

From: Mom
It's fine! Same ol' same ol'. Why? I love you too! Miss You :-/

She smiles a little bit, but it doesn't quite fill up her eyes. The glass is a third full, at best. Still, light springs into them and is refracted to seem bigger at Lane's offer of her bowl of mac'n'cheese. Greedily, she pulls the bowl over to her. "You're my favorite person, Lane, I'm starving," she beams through a spoonful of pasta. It doesn't take long for her to be halfway through the bowl, the girl eats like a wild animal.

When Lane asks her if she's okay, Erin is quick to take another bite. It gives her an excusable period to formulate a response. Her first instinct, always, is to tell Lane everything. But her friend has gone through so much in the past day alone, it doesn't seem fair to go around placing more on her plate. Erin relies on her friends, perhaps too much. She's afraid that she will lean on them until their shoulders ache and their first instinct is to slide away. Besides, as long as she remains away from Nina and her awful friend, nothing will happen. Everything will be fine. It has to be. The years weigh heavy on Erin's back, though she jokingly bench presses them in an effort to prove that she is fine. She has to be.

The silence continues with a long drink of Sweet Tea. Her hand is tight around it, as if the condensation will have it slipping out of her desperate grip at any moment. Everything feels so impermanent at times like these. In a way that is far from comforting.

"Yeah, I'm fine! Just mulling over the speeches in class, I guess," she lies. Erin never lies to Lane, who knows her every detail. She knows of Erin's past feelings for Nina. Of Erin's unfortunate mistake with Sterling. Of how she built a toy car to zoom around her room in the seventh grade with a little light to scare away the shadows. "But I have shop next class, so I'll be able to clear my head. Nothing more soothing than the smell of freshly cut wood, right?"

Now there are other secrets.

Characters Present

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

0.00 INK

Time Skip
We are now in the final class of the Summer day. Feel free to write up a finishing post for your character mulling anything over, or a collaboration if your character shares a class with another's. After this we will probably skip ahead a week or so, making this a good chance to give a character's "final say" on anything that happened today or last night, so to speak.

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