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Aimee Hart

"I never do things the easy way."

0 · 1,371 views · located in Laurea, New York

a character in “Laurel”, as played by AngelGirl

Description


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{ "Life gets weird when you know too much" }


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[center]Name
Aimee Hart

Nicknames
Aimes \\ "Only my brother can call me this, thank you."
Amerilla // "My grandpa could never get it right..."

Age & Grade
17 & Rising Senior

Number of Years at Laurel
5

Sexual Orientation
Heterosexual || "Usual stereotypical white girl, I know."

Group
Powerful

Power
Claircognizance || "So, basically, I know everything about anything. Sort of. I'm a lot better at controlling it now, but see, how it used to be was anytime I touched something I would just get flooded with information. I even passed out once when I touched a chair 'cause I got, like, explicit details on everything that went down on there. Yuck. Now, I just avoid touch when I can, but even if I do accidentally touch you or something I can choose how much info I take in. 'Cause there's a limit and everything, you know? Every time I use my power it takes a little more out of me each time and I have to space it out. So sometimes if I use too much I burn out and I have to wait for it to recharge, like a battery. It sucks."





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ImageStrengths
// Willpower \\ "I'm telling you, when I set my mind to it, I can do anything. Good luck trying to get me down."
\\ Personality // "The people just love me. What can I say?"
// Kindness \\ "I'll admit, I tend to be a nice person."

Weaknesses
\\ Death // "Big sore spot for me. Not a fan."
// Power \\ "Not only my power, I already talked about what that does to me. I mean, political power. We have cliques, any school does, and the strength these bitches have freaks me out. It's like hardcore Regina George."
\\ Trust // "I'll admit, I have a hard time with it."
ImageFears
// Overload \\ "As much fun as it is to know everything, there's such a thing as too much. There's some stuff you can never forget."
\\ Slip-up // "It's hard to keep straight what people have told me and what they haven't. If I say something that they don't know I know, it could get ugly."

Secrets
\\ Orphan // "Classic girl loses parents deal. They died when I was twelve, a gas leak in their office building, and my older brother and I were kind of screwed. We had lost our last grandparent a year before, so there wasn't anybody they could throw us to. When we came to Laurel, we didn't tell anyone. For the past 5 years we've managed to keep it a complete secret. Even though Ty (My brother) graduated, I still don't tell people."
\\ Sex // "I, uhm...I had sex...with a girl. Her name is Lane, she goes to Laurel. I just...I was having a really bad day, and...she made me feel better, I guess. No one knows, I made her promise not to tell anyone, 'cause...I liked it. What does that say about me?"




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Personality
{ "I have to describe myself? Oh boy." }
Aimee is a very multi-faceted human being. She's sweet and kind when she wants to be, and she's tough when she needs to be. She doesn't let anybody push her around, but she can be very insecure at times. She has almost no faith in her friendships, so if you joke with her about not being her friend anymore she's most likely going to take it seriously and be very hurt. She puts up a good front, but her anxiety usually gets the best of her. She's constantly thinking about what the right thing is to do or say, and after a moment is passed she'll think about it for days and whether she could have done something differently or whether the person is still thinking about it. She knows this is irrational and that the little things she does probably doesn't mean anything to you, but she's up all night thinking about it anyway.

Aimee loves to love. If she lets you in to her heart, it's a great honor. She cares so ferociously and so purely that it often knocks you off your feet. She's always there for you when you need it and never says no if you ask something of her. She's often driven for hours on end just because a friend called her and said they were having a hard time. If you ask something of her, she'll do it no problem. This sometimes gets her into trouble in relationships because her boyfriend will either get freaked out by how much she cares about him or he won't reciprocate it. She tries to convince herself that he wasn't worth it but it's even harder for her to let go of emotional attachments. Something about her being a Scorpio? Regardless, she tends to be a little clingy and doesn't know what to do if she loses someone. However, you won't know this side of her unless you're really observant, because she keeps it way hidden. She thinks it's crazy and would never want to burden anyone with it, so she locks it down.

Aimee is very witty. She comes up with the best comebacks and she knows the funniest jokes. It's pretty hard not to laugh when she says something. She doesn't really have a filter when she talks, which definitely plays a hand in it, so you rarely have her hiding something little from you. She keeps a lot of big secrets, but never any little ones. It's kind of a side effect of claircognizance. She knows everything about you (if she chooses to) so she can't really keep anything in. She's great at keeping other people's secrets (she kind of has to) but her own? Screw that. You never really know if she's being serious though because she always finishes it with a joke or a funny line.

Aimee is such a hopeless romantic, tying in to her ferocious love trait. She's a sucker for romantic movie moments and wants a boyfriend that'll sweep her off her feet. She loves getting flowers and cards, and you can never say you love her enough, she'll always enjoy it. She loves when a guy holds her hand and kisses her in public, because it means he likes her enough to show her off. She never says no to a date and even though, for some reason, guys find this hard to believe, she's totally cool with just chilling and watching netflix if her boyfriend is super tired. She just loves to be around you, in your space. If you don't wanna talk, she's fine with it. People underestimate really how "go with flow" she is.




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Likes
Candy // "I have a MAJOR sweet tooth."
Babies \\ "Kinda depends. I like 'em until they start crying."
Friends // "The more the merrier!"
Sex \\ "With the right guy! I'm no slut." {I totally don't slut shame. To each her own. ~Angel}
Her power // "As much trouble and anxiety it gives me, it is pretty cool."
Life \\ "It's crazy to think that life is so short. Live it up!"
Adrenaline // "I sit on windowsills while driving, I stand up on the roller coasters, I walk on the train tracks. It just makes me feel so alive."
Jewelry \\ "My favorite is my Claddagh ring. I never take it off."
Cats // "They are so cute and fun to play with."
Dogs \\ "I don't discriminate."
People // "I thrive off of social interaction. Total extrovert."
Books \\ "So much better than movies. I always fall asleep while watching something but gimme a good book and I'll be up for days!"

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Dislikes
Insanity // "With all the info I take in, what if I go nuts-o?"
Spiders \\ "No thank you!"
Heart // "What if I bare my soul, and then poof you're gone?"
Giraffes \\ "Those necks are not normal!"
Dark // "Childish, I know."
Cramps \\ "Thank you, Mother Nature."
Panties // "Doesn't that word just sound weird coming out of your mouth?"
Dishonesty \\ "I'm a very honest person, and such I expect the same in return."
Tests // "Who does like them?"
Chickens \\ "Stupid little creatures."
Pain // "It's weird, 'cause I like getting piercings and everything but a little scrape? I freak out."
Pink \\ "You'll never catch me in it."




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Biography
{ "Don't you have anything better to do than delve into my personal life?" }
Aimee grew up pretty nicely. Really nicely actually. They lived in this gated community in Virginia. She wasn't really sure what her parents did for a living back then, but she knew it had to have been something important. They had a nice big house with a pool, and all of her friends houses were big, too. She went to a private school with her older brother Tyler (Ty for short) and she usually got everything she wanted when she asked. So, yeah, she was definitely spoiled. Ty hated her for it. He was the older brother so even though they lived pretty privileged lives, he still got put on the spot for everything and was always being told he had to watch out for Aimee. They had a pretty good relationship, usually got along, and rarely ever fought. They had the perfect little family.

Until the fire.

Their parents had been working all day. It was one of their late nights, so Ty and Aimee had been told to pop in a pizza and go to bed on their own. This was fine, it happened about once a week. They put in the pizza, did their homework, and went to sleep. But, in the middle of the night, the sound of sirens woke the whole neighborhood. Everyone went outside and stood on the streets as they watched the local office building burst into flames. Almost everyone there had people who worked in the building, and everyone's heart was racing to see the outcome. When they finally put out the fire, it was discovered that only a handful of people had survived, and Aimee's parents hadn't been a part of it. They had the funerals the next week, but the kids couldn't be there. They had lost the last remaining family member, and since their parents didn't leave a will, they had to be put into a group home. At least they got to stay together, though all of their property became property of the banks, and such they lost all money and belongings they ever had.

After about a month in the group home, a stuffy business woman in a suit came to talk to the siblings. It was right around then that Aimee started developing her powers. She wasn't afraid of them, because Ty also had powers of his own. He could see auras. It wasn't as jarring as Aimee's powers, but at least she knew she wasn't alone and that she could talk to him about it. Anyway, the business woman said that she knew what they were, and that she was there to help them. She said that there was a special school they could go to that would help them learn to control their powers, but that they couldn't tell anyone about them because there were other kids at the school who didn't even know that powers existed. They agreed, and were shipped off to Laurel Academy the next day.

Since then, Aimee has practiced over and over again on controlling her powers. Claircognizance is tricky because there's such a risk of overload, so she always had to be careful on what she took in. Ty's powers were pretty self-explanatory, so there wasn't much training he needed to do. They kept their orphan lives a secret from everyone, and when Ty graduated he moved to Manhattan and got his own apartment. Aimee is set to move in with him when she graduates also, since they got much closer after the fire.

Altogether, Aimee's lived a roller coaster of a life.





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Played By: AngelGirl

Dialogue Color: Cantaloupe

Face Claim: Daveigh Chase

So begins...

Aimee Hart's Story

Characters Present

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

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

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

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

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aimee Hart Character Portrait: Lucas Long
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Aimee flushed with embarrasment when he said he could hear her. She felt like even more of an idiot now. From the way he stumbled a bit over his words, she could tell he didn't like her knowing, and really didn't like talking about it. "Oh, right. Should've figured that," she said. He gave her a wry smile and she smiled back. It seemed like his personality, at least what she could get from it right now, was similar to hers. But, the joking was short-lived. Lucas got serious with her, but what he asked dumbfounded her.

Aimee prided herself on keeping people's secrets. She had to, based on how much she knew. She had learned fast that everyone had a screwed up past on some level. And that they didn't react well to having those pasts shared. It had never even occurred to her to tell anyone about Lucas. The only person she ever would have would be Carr, but if Lucas asked her not to then she wouldn't. That was just the kind of person she was. "I would never tell anyone," she answered. "You never have to worry about that with me," she said. She smiled earnestly at him. She may not be psychic like he was, but she could sense that he was nervous. She wanted to make him more comfortable, but she wasn't really sure how.

"I want to help you," she said. It had taken her awhile to build up her mental wall, but now that she had it, it made her life a whole lot easier. She didn't feel the need to use it now. She felt open with Lucas. She didn't need to hide her thoughts from him. "If you want me to, that is. If not, I totally understand," she said.

The reality of their situation hit her. From the looks of Lucas, it had hit him a little earlier. "You, uh, don't need to worry about anyone wondering why you're here. My roommate never showed up and everyone else is at the bonfire," she said. The only people who would ever spread a rumor like that were the snobby Influentials, and they were more concerned with getting drunk right now than they were about two people talking in a dorm room past midnight. Not that there was anything to talk about. "And you're probably getting every awkward word in my head right now. Great," she looked away, still embarrassed.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aimee Hart Character Portrait: Lucas Long
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#, as written by piearty
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Aimee seemed hurt by the assumption that she would ever tell anyone--she had her own power after all, and Lucas realized with a mental headslap that she probably knew how to, and had to, keep secrets far worse and far more numerous than Lucas' petty problems.

She said she wanted to help him. He blinked a few times. What? It was a genuine offer, not one of clinical interest or of pity, and he felt the concern radiate off her again along with something else that surprised him--comfort. After she informed him, with a bit of embarrassment, that their reputation was and would be fine, he focused back on the offer.

"Thanks. And I'm sorry, I uh, can't exactly help that..." He shook his head. "You said you want to help me...how?"

Aimee rocked back on her heels and smiled at Lucas. "Create a wall, kind of like a barrier, to other people's heads. Once you learn to control it, it'll allow you to block out everyone's thoughts," she said. Then, for a second, the stream of Aimee's thoughts hitched, skipped like a broken record, before they began to play steadily again, throwing Lucas' mind out of time. He could tell she did it as a demonstration to him.

His eyes widened. "I-I...how did you?"

"See? It comes in handy."

A wall...? He frowned. "I...I'm not sure I can do that..."

He looked at her shyly as he wondered something. "Um, out of curiosity...could you..how long can you keep that up?"

Aimee smiled kindly. He could sense her pride at her development and how much she had grown since she first discovered her powers. It filled him with shame. He had no such luck controlling or even really understanding his power despite having it for, what, four years by now? Mostly he'd been exploring all the myriad ways in which it sucked. "It depends. Tonight? Not that long since we bumped each other earlier. I need to recharge. Usually I can keep it up all day. At least while I'm around other things that I have to touch."

What's wrong with me that she could figure it out and I couldn't? Lucas thought. Though he'd dreamed of blocking out the thoughts, he'd never tried to figure out a way how to. Am I stupid? Am I really that much of a failure? He felt his already fragile confidence give way to despair--but stopped himself before it could get too far. No, no...now's not the time for that, he thought, eyeing Aimee.

She patted the couch in front of her. "C'mon, I can show you." Tentatively, he sat down next to her.

Aimee crossed her legs so she was facing him directly. "Don't worry if you can't get this right away, or at all. You've dealt with it so far, haven't you? And you've done it pretty well. This would just be extra," she said.

"Extra", he murmured. She was being so considerate of his feelings, trying not to seem like she was better than him. As far as she was concerned, they weren't much different, and, powers-wise, she was right. He wanted to try because she seemed so confident he'd succeed.

But what she said next baffled him.

"Close your eyes, and go into your mind. Start by emptying your thoughts so that there's nothing standing in the way of you blocking them. Once that's done, start building from the bottom up."

He could go into his mind alright, but clearing his thoughts? Even if he managed to quiet his own, there was always, always the buzz of feelings and images and emotions from other people, and they were so distracting; he couldn't just ignore them easy as that. Then, she said, he had to 'build from the bottom up'. Build what? From the bottom of where? What was she talking about?

He opened his eyes and looked at her, brows furrowed. Doubtfully, he said, "I don't think I can do this."

Aimee grinned sheepishly. ["Sorry, I'm not that good of a teacher," she said. She pursed her lips, thinking. Suddenly she got an idea. "Try observing me. I'll put my wall up, and you can read my mind as I put it up to see if you get an idea, yeah?" She nodded and closed her eyes. It was far too easy for her to clear her mind since no one had, apparently, been in her dorm room since last summer to leave residue for her to pick up on. He couldn't help but feel jealous.

And just like that, Aimee's thoughts began to fall away piece by piece; as her wall was built, holes in his awareness of her mind grew until again there was silence. He stared at her in wonder. I can't hear her...and she can control what I do and don't hear...this could-- this could be-- Her thoughts came rushing back far too soon.

"How about that?"

He wasn't even thinking about trying himself, to be honest. His mind was reeling at the idea of someone, someone who could maybe make him feel like he was normal. Aimee was staring at him expectantly. That's amazing,, he wanted to say. Instead he said, "Ok." He set his jaw. "I'll try again."

Characters Present

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

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

"See me."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aimee Hart Character Portrait: Anthony Carraway Character Portrait: Lucas Long
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Aimee and Lucas had been sitting on the couch for two hours already, trying desperately to formulate some sort of defense in Lucas’s head. While she couldn’t read minds like him, she could tell from his posture that he was wearing thin.

Finally, he stood up. "Fuck it, ok?" He rubbed his head. "I give up."


She nodded, leaning back on the armrest and raking her hand through her hair. "It's okay, it took me awhile to get it, too." She remembered the hours spent building it up brick by brick. She imagined it that way, as if it had been her physically building a wall. She knew it was a form of the placebo affect; that if she believed she had put in the time and effort to defend herself then the wall would work. Apparently, it wasn’t as easy as she had once thought.

Lucas shook his head, a flicker of irritation crossing his face. "No no, that's not it...I don't think you get it..." He looked a bit pained. "Like, I can see exactly what you're doing and I just can't do it. How can I explain..." He trailed off and was silent for a few moments.

Then, avoiding her gaze, he extended a hand out to her. "If you want to know," he said quietly.

Aimee looked at him, surprised that he would allow himself to be so vulnerable with her. Tentatively, she took his hand. She may have closed her eyes, or it may have just been her blankly staring at Lucas, she didn't know. The only thing she was seeing was Lucas. Or rather, inside Lucas's mind. She felt his emotions, his frustration and confusion, and she knew that this was hopeless to him. No matter how many times he watched her do it, it made no difference.

The longer she held his hand, the more she got. Some of it was stuff she had already known from earlier, like his mother kicking him out and his deafness, but there were some new things. She could feel that he was impressed by her, which embarrassed her a little, but also something else. Or rather, someone else. Someone that she reminded him of. The name Alex flashed through her head, and she immediately broke the connection. She felt that she had invaded his privacy, something she always hated to do.

"I'm...I'm sorry, I shouldn't have held on that long."

Seemingly mortified, he mumbled, "It's o--I mean, it's not a...dont worry about it. Anyway, yeah...now you get it." He rubbed his head and stood up. "I'm so tired now. I'm going to bed. Thanks...for helping me. For thinking I could do it." He opened the door, turning toward it. "Sorry I can't."

Aimee raised her hand at him, as if to say something of encouragement, but he had already walked away. She hated leaving things on bad notes, so she switched to thoughts, knowing he would hear her. You’re going to be okay. I can feel it.

Walking over to her bed, she pulled out her phone, intending to send Carr a message before she fell asleep. She, too, was exhausted from the previous events and the extent to which she had used her power. Not really seeing what she was typing, she said,
Sorry I left. Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do, and called it a night.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sterling Walker Character Portrait: Nina Nikolayevna Romanov Character Portrait: Aimee Hart Character Portrait: Rebecca Sayre Character Portrait: Erin Hill Character Portrait: Lane Blackwell Character Portrait: Anna-Marie Beckett Character Portrait: Daniel Ahn Character Portrait: Anthony Carraway Character Portrait: Colin Dartonay Character Portrait: Lucas Long Character Portrait: Mimi Arquette Character Portrait: Keevan Brennan
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Time Skip It is no around 1am, and people are beginning to leave the bonfire. A few might linger a bit longer, but they have broken off into groups speaking in hushed voices around one fire or another. Many people will now be making decisions to return to their dorms by themselves or with another person. Regardless, if the people are important enough, it will be in the Breadbowl the next day, so no one needs fear that they have missed anything interesting.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sterling Walker Character Portrait: Nina Nikolayevna Romanov Character Portrait: Aimee Hart Character Portrait: Rebecca Sayre Character Portrait: Erin Hill Character Portrait: Lane Blackwell Character Portrait: Anna-Marie Beckett Character Portrait: Daniel Ahn Character Portrait: Anthony Carraway Character Portrait: Colin Dartonay Character Portrait: Lucas Long Character Portrait: Mimi Arquette Character Portrait: Keevan Brennan
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People coalesce like pools of ink dispersing through water. Scattering. Tangling. Clarity giving way to murkiness. Nina floats like a stream of glitter through their depths, winding through but never dissolving into the mass. The wind sinks its fingers through her hair as she spins, head tossed back in laughter. It is the sound of sirens and breaking glass.

She'd moved away from Daniel after their first and only dance, saying nothing in response to the poetry that slipped through lips that have always been slow to smile. Beautiful words. But that's all they were and all they might ever be. Beautiful words from a beautiful man who spins gold from straw, truth from deceit. She is a puppeteer that has never laid eyes upon her own stage. What does she know of Daniel Ahn but the sheen of his armour and the glint of his sword? Who will she find when she lifts the helmet from him? It is his nature to know all secrets and Nina has too many to risk.

Her civilians calls for her demise. "Shots, shots, shots!" they chant. To my head or my chest? she muses. Nina grins, devouring the row of tequila shots as if she's drinking water. The alcohol fills the cavern in her chest like molten lava.

Colors blur, rippling into a swirl of movement as her body sways. A hand on her hip. Lips pressed against her neck. The warmth and cold of meaningless companionship. They tug and push until she's standing at the edge of the lake, the music a distant echo. Her head throbs to the bass and her body sways to the melody. She hums under her breath and tips her head back. The stars sway and her body decides it's been too long since its last collapse. She lets herself fall back.

It is for the royalty to revel and make merry, to put on a show in which gilded elegance merges with a chaotic sort of fun and creates the image of a court of careless fae, such that others may watch and wonder how they can be so drunk and still look so good. It is for the Royalty to dance and sing on an evening so fine as this one, to bask in a moon so full that it mirrors their own radiance.

It is not for Daniel. Daniel, who so treasures the firm grasp he has on his mind, whose greatest strength his his constant (or near constant) clarity, refuses to take part in alcohol. He will remain sober throughout their solemnity. One or two, emboldened by liquid courage, stumble up and offer him a drink, or chide him for being a 'party pooper,' but all are sent away with a raised eyebrow and a slight raise of a cup that holds nothing more toxic than a few ounces of soda. Even this is something he usually ignores, soda, knowing them to be bad for you. Perhaps this is as loose as Daniel is willing to let himself become.

The Queen, however, is far more willing to celebrate. Under the influence of drinks and an encouraging crowd she takes one shot after another. Daniel does not consider it his place to stop her, but all the same hates to see her taking orders from people and losing hold of the normal sharpness of her mind.

He is briefly distracted by another person, encouraging him to take another drink. When he has brushed them away, he notices with a brief moment of panic that Nina has vanished. Several questions direct him closer to the lake. Please don't be thinking of a swim, he is rushing towards the lake. He has lost before to the influence of alcohol and drugs, and for not the first time tonight Daniel's heart is racing with the thought of it happening again.

But she is there, swaying in the moonlight as if to challenge Diana herself to a battle of beauty. His heartbeat shudders and calms, panic passing as his pace slows and he walks towards her, all traces of panic sliding off of him as rain off an umbrella. And then she falls.

Daniel lurches forward to catch her, goddess fallen.

For a moment he merely stands there, adjusting such that she is held bridal style in his arms. The weight to her is bizarre, making her more corporeal, rather than just the usual brief touch and kiss on the cheek. More human. He does not like it.

The sound of a firecracker, probably brought by one of the students, reminds Daniel of his whereabouts. He is by the lake, by the fire, by the dorms. He needs to get Nina back to her room. Without much thought he knows to avoid the fire, knows to avoid letting people say Nina passed out. As far as they are concerned she is capable of getting raving drunk and then disappearing with the moon, her eternal drinking buddy.

But Nina's door is locked and Daniel doesn't have a key. For a moment he stands there, boy interrupted. Of course there is really only the one solution- and luckily Daniel's roommate is nonexistent due to some pulled strings. He shifts her weight over to one arm, and walks over to his own room, managing to unlock the door and enter. It is dark, leaving the two of them to be one shadow molded together until his eyes adjust. He finds the concept interesting, but cannot grasp why.

He stretches her out on his bed and pulls over the blankets, previously having been tucked in with military precision. A cup of water by her bed, an alarm set for classes the next day. Daniel makes accommodations as befits his position: he takes the chair by her side, and makes do.


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Time skip
It is now 8am. During the Summertime, classes do not begin until 9:30 am, so students can sleep in a bit and still have time for breakfast. Due to the nature of the summer session, one much like a summer camp, classes are as scheduled:

-Elective (Shop Class (Works both with cars and carpentry), Choir, Orchestra, Band, Art, Theater, Speech & Debate, Computer Science, Creative Writing, Political Science, Guest Lecture, Marketing)
- Physical Period (Archery, Swimming, Canoeing, Gymnastics, Self Defense/MMA, Basketball, Soccer, Jogging, Dance) [Basically a free period, students must sign into the class they are taking]
- Lunch
- Elective (One of Listed)

Each segment is one hour long, such that the school day begins at 9:30 and ends at 1:30

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sterling Walker Character Portrait: Aimee Hart Character Portrait: Rebecca Sayre Character Portrait: Erin Hill Character Portrait: Keevan Brennan
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Every morning, Erin hates herself for that damn alarm clock she made freshman year. She's rather certain that her roommates every year aren't exactly fond of her for it either, truth be told. In an attempt to keep herself from oversleeping, which in middle school became a serious problem for the young woman thanks to her tendency to stay up far too late working, she built herself a trinket that zips about the room blaring folk punk (not due to a dislike for folk punk but because it never fails to wake her up) and she must walk over to her closet to solve a riddle and turn it off, wherever it is. Sure, moving alarm clocks already exist, but this was made more in the interest of expense than innovation- she didn't feel like buying one already made.

Today, the creator loathes her creature all the more for the ringing it adds to her pulsing headache. In the end, Erin had a few more drinks than planned the night before thanks to various things, and her body is less than pleased with her. She almost hates Lane for the girl's almost instant rebound from these things, for that gift is not in Erin's arsenal, and she is feeling it quite heavily now. She rolls out of bed, accidentally steps on the machine, and nearly falls straight on her face due to it. "Eech," she lets out a little squeak of pain but tries to muffle it. Her walk to the alarm has become a hobble, but eventually she is able to turn the damned thing off. I need a hot shower, and like magic, thought becomes reality. The young woman takes a quick shower, which for her is still rather long because she is an avid fan of hot showers, taking her time to enjoy the warmth. The steam from the heat helps clear her mind to some extent, though the heat threatens to make her drowsy once more. So she allows a quick burst of ice water before hopping out, covered in goosebumps and rushing to towel dry her hair.

She feels better now, and is trying to remember the events of last night. Laughing with Lane, dancing with Carr- as the memories come back she is happier for them. Stifling a yawn she returns to the dorm room and changes into clothing. While doing so she notices a broken toy like thing in the chair next to her bed. Her heart breaks slightly- she had been making keychain cameras to give to her friends, but apparently sat on the prototype. This morning is just a prototype, she reassures herself, but still cannot bring herself to pick up the pieces at the moment, as if a shoe elf will magically fix them by the time she returns in the afternoon. A girl can dream.

Sliding on her sunglasses in a headband position, a staple accessory, the young woman leaves her dorm and heads down the hallway. She spots a familiar face leaning against the wall and starts to raise her hand in greeting before freezing.

"Erin, I slept with Aimee Hart."

Erin's hand drops, and her reaction to this memory is painfully clear across her less than subtle facial expressions. It is a sudden quick drop of the mouth, a flash of confusion, panic, and then a desperate attempt to fold everything back into the neat container they fell out of. She tries to walk on as if nothing had happened, hoping Aimee wouldn't notice that she had started any greeting at all. Erin knows that if questioned, her excuses won't be sufficient. Best to avoid the situation entirely.

Silly girl.


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The Breadbowl
Well, last night was certainly a hoot, wasn't it Laurel?

The Queen went into play without her knight in sight for protection, and boy did things go south fast. Big fish in a scum puddle, our very own Cameron Hillcock, did his very best impression of a future (current?) sex offender and leaped in for her neck. As it turns out, breathy slurs are not the way to woo a lady such as Nina Romanov. Things were said, tempers triggered, and then out of the blue our dark knight came into play and did his very best impression of a future murderer. we don't know about you, beloved readers, but never have we seen such a display of pure aggression, and we know no one expected it from the King of Control- even his Queen seemed a bit surprised if we do say so ourselves. If this weren't anonymous we at Breadbowl might fear a visit from that bezerker after this article, but the truth must be written, especially when it's that interesting.

We're told Cameron slept in the infirmary last night and the reason why goes without saying.

And by the way, if any readers have more information on the guy who stepped into the fight, please email us because so far all the staff has managed is that his name is Lucas Long and he might be a polygot. He's certainly got more than a healthy dose of guts, based on the Queen's reaction to him.

But let's return to peace in our times, shall we? The long awaited dance saw the usual couples- Queen and Knight (Although we thought the Queen was a bit more into it than usual tonight- sadly the only grinding Ahn understands is those of the gears that run his soul), William Shasburg and Quinn Lewis (We're hoping to be invited to their wedding), on and off Kendra Hardy and Benjamin Jorg, etc.

But here are the highlights:

Josephine marked today as the first dance in three years not with Mark Brady, despite no information on them having broken up. Trouble in that dukedom, perhaps? There goes the B-list power couple.

We hate to be the messenger, but it looked like Hunter Jordan left early with Josh Ricks- and his other half Steven nowhere in sight. Steven, we'd look into that if we were you.

Did anyone else notice Rebecca Sayre sneak off with some non-influential boy? Laurel's JK Rowling, Keevan Brennan, perhaps has some in we don't know about. Or more likely it was either a pity dance or an attempt to get a sneak peek of the new book.

Justin Lewe and Amy Clougherty disappeared and reappeared looking somewhat flustered, so we're guessing they weren't berry picking in those bushes.

And if you want to know more about Alfred Monk's drunk escapades, we suggest his twitter, because wow is it a show.

Have a beautiful first day of Summer Semester, Laurel. Keep it hot.

xoxo,
The Breadbowl Staff



Keevan shuts his laptop and lets out an impressive yawn. He must have been a snake in another life from the way his jaw practically unhinges. Naturally he had stayed until the night was fully closed, in the interest of staying on the scene. That being said, there had been some helpful tip offs coming in for other details to add in. Looking at the pictures on the blog, the only detail he wants to add right now is food to his stomach. Keevan throws on a pair of jeans and a T-shirt and is off to the races. Well, races being breakfast.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aimee Hart Character Portrait: Erin Hill Character Portrait: Lane Blackwell Character Portrait: Anthony Carraway
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Aimee's eyes had already been wide open when her phone alarm rang. Turning it off with numb fingers, she pulled the blanket up to her chin as she tended to do when troubled. She'd had a nightmare; one she hadn't had the pleasure of experiencing since she was a little girl. Her parents -- they were screaming for her, and she couldn't get to them. She heard them screaming, was clawing her way through the flames to get to them, but no matter how hard she tried or how loud she screamed with them, she could never get close enough to see them; to touch them. They were gone.

Closing her eyes and blocking it out, she blew out a breath and rolled in a heap off the bed. While she hadn't nearly been drunk enough, her head still throbbed slightly and it felt better than it should have to touch it to the cold, wooden floor. An image of military boots flashed in her brain; probably the last person who had walked on that spot. Reaching blindly for her phone, she sent a quick text to Tyler informing her older brother that she was still alive and he could call off the dogs for one day. Then she winced, not liking how her dark sense of humor just reminded her of her restless night.

Aimee sat up, grabbed a Bob Dylan tee and some shorts out of her freshly packed dresser. She applied a tad bit of mascara to counteract her swollen eyelids, and walked out the door towards the caf. She pulled out her phone again, checking for a message from Anthony but was disappointed when she didn't see one. Surely he couldn't be that hungover... Regardless, she didn't want to seem needy (ridiculous assumption since she knew Carr would never think that of her), so she put her phone back in her everyday shoulder bag.

When she got to the caf, she saw it was full and decided instead to wait outside for someone she knew so she wouldn't have to deal with any awkward situations. She leaned against the wall, glancing up at the ceiling in boredom. Sighing, she looked slightly to her right and saw Erin walking towards her. Straightening, the hints of a smile echoing on her features, she saw Erin start to wave...and then seemingly backtrack and put her hand down abruptly. Aimee frowned, coming off the wall and walking closer to Erin. Something was off, that was fairly clear. Erin's features quickly became awkward and withdrawn, and for some reason this brought out Aimee's temper. Perhaps, in the very back of her mind, she suspected the truth: that Erin knew.

"What's going on?" Aimee asked confrontationally. She scowled, suddenly very annoyed with the girl in front of her, possibly verging on pissed. Aimee hmphed and quickly grabbed Erin's wrist, quite unhappy with how suspicious she was being. The whirl of images and information that went through Aimee's head were substantial. But the biggest outlier was a confirmation of what Aimee already knew. Erin knew that her and Lane slept together.

Aimee's eyes snapped open, her hand dropping Erin's wrist and her mouth making a small O shape. She took a tentative step backwards, her eyes blurring as she looked at Erin. "I...I..." she couldn't muster the words. Quickly turning on her heels, she practically sprinted into the cafeteria, spotting Lane within seconds. She made her way over there, a combination of shoving past people and weaving. All of this was done with a clearly angry tone. When she got to Lane's table, she slammed her fist right in front of Lane, making an extremely loud bang echo throughout the caf.

"What the fucking hell, Lane? You fucking told Erin! What part of don't tell anyone did you not understand, you bitch?" Aimee yelled, not able to control her tone or her volume. She didn't care about the reasons why; she didn't care that she maybe was being too harsh; she was terrified. Everything that she had feared was coming true. And when Aimee got scared, she got angry. She lashed out. Most of all, she was hurt. Hurt that Lane hadn't trusted her, hadn't kept her word. All of this was masked by anger as she took it out on Lane. No one could possibly know what she was really feeling, so all Lane would see was her vehement rage.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sterling Walker Character Portrait: Nina Nikolayevna Romanov Character Portrait: Aimee Hart Character Portrait: Erin Hill Character Portrait: Lane Blackwell Character Portrait: Daniel Ahn
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#, as written by Layla
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      XXX
      XXX
      XXXThe wail of an unfamiliar alarm tears Nina from her restless sleep. Her eyes flutter open and she flinches. Bad idea. The light streaming through the curtains sear her retinas. Her head pounds.
      XXXNina groans as she pulls herself upright. She is tangled in the blanket and her limbs feel like led. She rubs the sleep from her eyes with a fist before opening them.
      XXXFear is the first to stab through her, but calm is quick to settle.
      XXXThe room smells familiar. Fresh linen and forest pine, with just the right touch of expensive cologne. Daniel. His dorm room isn't so different from the man himself. It possesses an almost military organisation and spotlessness. Yet the furnishings are minimal, nothing beyond the bare necessities. It reminds Nina of a luxury hotel. Beautiful, but wholly impersonal. There is nothing about it that belays the soul of the owner, save the multitude of books which Nina would not be surprised to know are alphabetically ordered.
      XXXThere is a glass of water by Nina's - by his bedside - and her chest twists uncomfortably at his consideration. Then it lurches for an entirely different reason. Her hands dart to her chest and she exhales at the feel of her clothes. She's dressed. Though she can't for the life of her remember last night's events. How did she end up here? Though there are certainly worse places a girl could wake up in after an inebriated night than the bed of a tall, dark and handsome Influential.

      XXXDaniel left earlier than usual for his morning jog, stepping out before even the sun could muster the energy to peek over the horizon. This is in no small part thanks to the fact that he had slept in a chair last night- not exactly the most comfortable of places to rest. For the most part he had been in and out of sleep the entire night, constantly shifting and adjusting, getting up for a glass of water, checking that Nina did not vomit in her sleep or something along those lines.
      XXXThe moment that it seemed reasonably late enough he sprung up, glad to quickly change (in the bathroom, out of concern for the possibility of Nina waking up while he was undressed) and go out for a long run. This part of his routine would go uninterrupted, at least, much to the young man's pleasure. While he may never get the runner's high that many track and cross country people speak of, he certainly finds it easier to clear his mind when focusing on the feeling of the air and the movement of his limbs.XXXBut it has to end eventually, and he returns to the dorm to shower and prepare for the day. Normally Nina would have been up earlier as well, for her own morning routine, but he supposes that the alcohol has put her natural alarm on snooze. Thus he had let her sleep on, and set another alarm for eight so that she might wake up with time for breakfast. Of course, he was back by then regardless.
      XXXAfter a shower of a temperature so scalding it left red marks on his skin and thick steam in the bathroom, Daniel realizes that he had neglected to bring clothing to the bathroom with him. He usually doesn't feel the need to, and had begun to work on autopilot, meaning accommodations were not made for the slightly altered situation. Wrapping the towel around his waist, he returns to his room.
      XXXThe Queen has already risen. Ignoring the fact that his efforts earlier to not expose her to him in some state of undress have fallen in vain, he nods in greeting. "Sleep well, Miss Romanov?" When was the last time he referred to her as Nina aloud? Had he ever?


      XXXWith hasty movements, Nina jerks the blanket around herself as the door swings open. It was a reflex Nina feels absurd for succumbing to. There was nothing to cover, and Daniel, as it most likely was, had seen her in much less, especially during this time of year when the days were long and warm.
      XXXWhen Daniel enters the room, he seems the foil to her shyness. The Queen has never in the past four years been demure, yet a blush spills across her cheeks like scarlet blood drawn with her knight's sword. The towel hangs low on his hips, revealing hard lines that dip beneath the white cloth. His abdomen is solid muscle, his chest sculpted in a way Nina had never observed. Or rather never thought to pay much attention to. She'd supposed Daniel was attractive, as she'd seen the admiration in the eyes of girls and guys alike when he passed. Even if they were terrified of him - though she was sure that added to his allure for some. But she had never been attracted to him.
      XXXWhen did the somewhat scrawny youth give way to a man? He wears his armour so well that often she forgets what he looks like underneath the silver and steal.
      XXXBut now, scarcely clothed and voice flowing like warm honey, she can't help the hammering of her heart in response to his presence. She snaps her gaze away from his body, clearing her throat as she does so. Nina forces the blanket away from her chest, straightening it over her lap. Hastily, she rubs the corners of her eyes, cursing how she must look, hungover and newly awoken. She tosses her hair over her shoulder in a gesture that might be perceived as haughty, but is really just a cover for the hand she runs quickly through her dark waves. A sordid attempt at taming the nest on her head, she's sure.
      XXXTo say Nina Romanov is mortified is to say the sun is a little bright.
      XXX"Fine, thank you," she mutters absently. Nina pauses and clears her throat again as her mind processes his words. "I mean, I slept well. Thanks. For asking, I mean. And you know..." She gestures vaguely at the room and the length of his body, what apparently equated to, "All this."
      XXXIn her haste to escape, Nina pulls away from the bed without first untangling herself from the sheets. They catch her around the ankles and nearly send her plummeting to the carpeted floor. She lurches upright and unravels the blankets from her legs. Her cheeks are warm and she waves Daniel away in case he thinks it his duty to help the poor, pathetic girl who seems to experience getting out of bed as a novelty. It's the only explanation for how a person can fail so terribly at it.
      XXX"I'm fine, I'm fine. Nothing bruised but my dignity," she grumbles under her breath as she searches for her shoes but finds none. It's likely that they slipped last night and were now lying in six layers of muck accumulated overnight. Still she skitters around, shifting from foot to foot as she prepares to dart around his tall frame.
      XXX"Well, I should... Get to class. Before I'm late. You should, too, so you're not late for your modelling gig," Nina slaps a hand over her eyes. Did she say that out loud? She said that out loud. Oh God, someone have mercy on the world and shoot me. "Haha. Just kidding! Got you there, didn't I, Daniel? I mean, not that you couldn't model if you wanted to. You have the face, the jawline, the six pack. Like a fashion model. For Abercombie. I mean, you're toned, I guess. Which is nice. For yourself. Others? Is there an other? You probably work out." Shut up shut up shut up. "We should... We should work out some time. Together. I mean, not that I'm saying you need to and I'm not staring at you or anything, We just don't- Oh for God's sake."
      XXXNina rushes from his room without awaiting his response and races down the hall, glaring at a boy who is just leaving his room as he notices her leave Daniel's abode.





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      XXX
      XXX
        XXXSterling slips out of the girl's room before she awakens. Erin's back is turned to him when he shuts the door. There is a palpable tension in the air as the feisty blonde stumbles to a halt a short distance away from Aimee. He witnesses the tense exchange between them. He knows such highschool dramas are petty, but his curiosity is peaked and once the spy-in-training fixates on the unveiling of a truth, the truth he will unveil.
        XXXHe heads towards the dining hall, keeping an inconspicuous distance away from the sprinting girl. She's fast but his legs are much lengthier and he manages to keep her pace with a few long strides. He tells himself he's doing this for the safety of everyone involved. There could be a fight that needs stopping. But honestly, he's just nosy and he appreciates a catfight as much as any other teenage boy. Though he'll never admit it. He likes to think himself above such things.
        XXXAimee's explosion is immediate. Sterling cannot help but feel genuine pity for Lane, whom in the span of two days has had two separate people humiliate her in public. Sterling considers interfering but it is not his place to do so. Nina was once his responsibility - but after yesterday... Perhaps it was too much to even call her an ex-friend. Had he ever truly known her at all?
        XXXSpeak of the devil.
        XXXNina strides into the dining hall with the grace of a panther and the dominance of a lioness over her jungle. But there is a slight haste to her movements that is unlike her usual languid disregard. She nods at some things her pet Elites say, lips quirking mechanically and eyes roving like a hawk over the room. She seems to be looking for someone but finding them absent, her shoulders drop slightly. Sterling doubts anybody else notices these slight shifts. But he'd spent a lot of time with her, once. She's a stranger now, but he supposes some old habits die hard.
        XXXNina's gaze skips him entirely, which brings a smile to Sterling's lips. He knows she did that on purpose and it means he still aggravates her. He enjoys reminding her of her past. Her past which he knows is much better than whatever Gossip Girl whirlwind she has fallen into.
        XXX"Good morning, Nikola," Sterling says, calling her by her middle name which most are not privy to. It is a reminder of a friendlier past.
        XXX"It was until you appeared," Nina snaps in response. There is no evidence of the previous night's rowdiness in her. She's as perfectly put together as ever. Like a doll.
        XXXSterling grins. "You say the sweetest things sometimes."
        XXX"Someone has to counterbalance your bitterness."" Nina takes a delicate sip from her drink. Scowls. She holds out the cup of coffee and a trembling boy takes the cup from her hands. He nearly trips over his feet as he flees to get a new drink.
        XXX"Mmm, you should be careful, sweetheart. Diabetes is a real possibility," Sterling mocks.
        XXX"Disease seems a happy alternative to your company."
        XXX"Where's your pet, Nikola?" A muscle feathers at her forehead. [color=#408080]"Ah, my apologies. Your dog has a name. Daniel, was it?"
        XXX"He's more human than you or anyone could hope to be. But think what you will, at least he knows loyalty." She glares at him, an obvious challenge in her eyes.
        XXXSterling holds up his hands, palms up, in mock submission. "Hey, I respect the man. Prior to yesterday, I thought him the blandest person alive. He really proved everyone wrong."
        XXX"Or maybe you're all just damn blind," she says through clenched teeth.
        XXX"My, my, did I touch a sore nerve? Unrequited love is such a pain."
        XXXNina darts her gaze from one Elite to another before waving them a step away. They scuttle a step back to give Nina and Sterling space, hovering like with greedy eyes, their eyes perked towards the conversation.
        XXX"You're absurd," Nina hisses.
        XXX"No witty comeback, love? Did I hit the nail on the head?" Sterling leans back with his arms crossed, satisfaction evident in every muscle and sinew.
        XXX"Evidently not," she says. "Since I don't see a nail lodged in your hollow skull."
        XXX"Ouch. you wound me."" Sterling presses a palm to his chest and feigns devastation.
        XXX"If only," Nina says drily.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sterling Walker Character Portrait: Nina Nikolayevna Romanov Character Portrait: Aimee Hart Character Portrait: Erin Hill Character Portrait: Lane Blackwell Character Portrait: Daniel Ahn Character Portrait: Lucas Long Character Portrait: Keevan Brennan
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#, as written by piearty
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Lucas'd fallen asleep quickly after he parted ways with Aimee since it was so silent except for her mind, which he could deal with. It was a couple hours of dreamless bliss before the rest of the people in the hall slowly filtered in, loud thoughts, drunken thoughts, buzzing in his ears in lieu of actual sound.

Two girls, Lane and Erin, laughing, the occasional alarm of pain in their heads as they tripped down the hall.

Daniel and Nina's minds in close proximity (not much of a surprise), Daniel's a-whir and Nina's a fuzzy darkness (a bit more alarming). Lucas found himself holding his breath, feeling a bit afraid, a bit skeeved out, when the two entered Daniel's room together-- but nothing happened other than Daniel falling asleep at a distance from her, like a robot being shut off.

The last person in the hall, Keevan, drifting in at near 3AM, gossip about people Lucas neither knew nor cared about flitting in his mind.
At that point Lucas decided to no longer attempt sleep.

From then on Lucas laid awake, staring at but not really seeing the ceiling. Like he was strapped to a chair with his eyes pried open, he was subjected to people's turbulent dreams, their disturbing nightmares. Somehow this is worse-- because of the higher number of people around him-- and better than-- because of the thicker walls muting everything substantially-- my shit apartment back home, he mused.

He tried to think of other things (though it was like attempting to do so in an IMAX) and a voice, a memory, floated up in his mind. You’re going to be okay. I can feel it. Aimee had said that last night, hadn't she? After Lucas'd quit with that 'wall' thing? He wallowed in negative feelings about that for a bit, about failing, about giving up, but a small part of him couldn't help but be impressed that he'd kept trying for that long. How did he...? Aimee. She kept saying I could do it. He found her belief in him a bit stupid, to be honest. She knew so much about him now, knew his mistakes, his fears, his failures, yet was convinced that he was worth something. That he'd "be okay" despite his miserable life. Misguided, but sort of admirable, he supposed. Maybe...maybe they could be friends.

After an agonizing amount of time, other people started to wake up. Muted thoughts and voices replaced the incoherent images around him. Probably a normal time to eat breakfast now, right? He got up, slipped back into his familiar hoodie, worn jeans, and ratty sneakers, and headed to the dining hall.

When he entered, he was hit with a wave of anger from different directions. He stopped short, looking around in confusion. On one end of the dining area were Nina and a silver-haired guy, Sterling, who's mind Lucas recognized as that of the other Russian speaker from the party. They were spitting insults at each other like cats. Lucas got a vibe from the ease at which they mocked each other that this happened a lot, and he had already decided to avoid Nina from here on out, so he paid them no mind.

On the other end of the hall was Aimee, leaning over the girl, Lane and glaring with a ferocity that Lucas never would've imagined possible from her. Her emotions were a roiling mix of fear, hurt, and anger, but only the anger showed. It was a bit unnerving to see in comparison to the soft-spoken girl from last night, who rocked on her heels and bit her lip when she was nervous and smiled at him gently, telling him to try again. Now she was all pain and rage, hurt at some betrayal. He couldn't read exactly what it was from over here but he was curious, and worried.

He began to walk towards the scene.

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Character Portrait: Aimee Hart Character Portrait: Erin Hill Character Portrait: Lane Blackwell Character Portrait: Lucas Long
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Lane sits peeling the wrapper away from her blueberry muffin. Any headache she had possessed upon waking up is vanished. Only her empty stomach is yet to be cured. The musician opens her mouth to respond to a discussion her friends have begun on which instruments should not be included in the band when a fist is slammed down on the table interrupting the girl before she had even begun. Silence sweeps over the table and the brunette jumps in her seat, eyes flicking up to see the owner of the fist.
Aimee?
Lane sees rage, absolutely fiery through the girl above her's eyes. And she does not look like she's messing around. There is only a single string that attaches Lane and Aimee, that string happens to be both girls biggest secrets. Lane rules that this one string is the reason why Aimee stands in front of her now. The girl begins to speak, throwing out vulgar language like it was second nature.

I told Erin? I told Erin? When did I... I told Erin. Surprise is erased from Lane's eyes and replaced with panic. The memory falls back into her mind as if it had been hiding in a corner she hadn't checked this morning. The shots of vodka with Shira and... Laying in the grass with Erin. All the guilt of holding back a secret from her. I had to tell her, and I was drunk and I did tell her... shit.

The brunette stood up slowly, the pit of her stomach aching, more so then yesterday with Nina. "Can we please talk about this somewhere private, please?" As Lane begs she glances to her right to see someone unfamiliar approaching. Her face has already begun to brighten, turning a cherry shade of red. Her ears soon render the same color, and they burn. In this moment reasoning with Aimee doesn't seem like the easiest thing to do. Instead Lane circles around the table in order to get face to face with her enraged peer. She grabs Aimee's shirt sleeve and pulls the girl away from the table of gifted and now exceedingly curious students.

"You know what? Maybe if you actually put in the slightest bit of effort, it would be worth keeping..." Lane bites her lip. A single tear sliding down her cheek is quickly brushed away. "This isn't just about you you know, I want to talk about... I needed to tell someone and I was drunk... I wasn't thinking." Her voice is lowered to a whisper and she stands still, holding her ground. Lane knows Erin is on her way down and will hopefully be here to back her up soon.

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Character Portrait: Aimee Hart Character Portrait: Lane Blackwell
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Aimee took a forceful step back to accommodate Lane's rising, but the betrayal-fueled rage continued to burn inside her. Here in front of her was the girl who knew everything. Her parents, her brother, her power, her desires. This brunette standing meekly in front of her was the single person on this planet who had seen her at her most vulnerable. And now that that was no longer hidden, that there was someone else out there who knew, it was everything Aimee had in her not to throttle Lane.

She scoffed, shaking her head, "What, you wanna make this a secret now? Because apparently secrets don't work with you, Lane!" Saying her name made it worse, increasing the feelings of hurt inside Aimee. She wanted to cry. She wanted to run back to her dorm room, curl into a ball, and sob until there was nothing left. First the nightmare, now this? Aimee's emotions were all over the place. Fear, betrayal, sadness, anger, rage, violence. Lane grabbed her shirt sleeve and Aimee quickly yanked her arm away, snarling at the other girl.

She watched the tear crawl down Lane's cheek, but instead of making her sympathetic like normal it was as if the old Aimee was gone, replaced by this fiery being who only knew how to hurt other people. "You weren't thinking? What the fuck is that supposed to mean?" Aimee shouted, her face coming inches from Lane. While it seemed that the other brunette's tears were out in the open, Aimee's were shoved down deep inside where no one could see them. "I don't give a shit if you weren't thinking! You knew!" Aimee's voice picked up volume, if that was even possible, and she instinctively grabbed Lane by the shoulders, shaking her as she yelled, "You knew how much I hated this, how much I wished I could make it go away! You had to! You knew me! But you didn't care, Lane! You didn't care at all."

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Character Portrait: Sterling Walker Character Portrait: Nina Nikolayevna Romanov Character Portrait: Aimee Hart Character Portrait: Erin Hill Character Portrait: Lane Blackwell Character Portrait: Lucas Long
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Abort. Abort. Shit shit shit shit, Erin bites the inside of her cheek, angry with herself over the very much failing attempt to avoid the problem -which really isn't her situation and she is concerned about becoming overly involved in- at hand. Aimee immediately confronts her, catching on that the girl has some sort of information that is holding her back as if the words of it were written on Erin's cheeks in permanent marker. Erin values honesty, but at times like this really sincerely wishes that she had learned to fake expressions and spin lies. There are times where such a talent would make things far easier, would make avoiding hurting people far simpler. Unfortunately, Erin's face is a blueprint and the specifications are meticulously written, making everything clear to those who may view it. A good trait in a sketch, perhaps, but a person is more than a rough design. Or she hopes to be, at least.

Please don't do this. Please just- Aimee's hand is around Erin's wrist, quickening her deceleration to a stop. The young women stand there, both silent for a moment, Erin still trapped by a grip strengthened by a resolve of angry. Aimee stutters a non-sentence, a broken thought, and sprints out. A familiar flash of silver-white hair follows behind her, and then an unfamiliar dark-haired boy. What have I done? self criticism paralyzes the girl briefly, though a single thought is capable of restoring movement to her legs.

Lane.

And Erin is running out the door, towards the dining hall as fast as she can manage. Still, when she bursts into the dining hall the fight has already spilled over. There is no prevention now- only an attempt at ending. Aimee is shouting at Lane, vehement rage spilling out of the normally reserved girl such that Erin had not known was possible. The scene before her is almost painfully reminiscent of one she has been part of before.

The ripping and destruction of a friendship, breaking as two hands might desperately tear apart a fabric they had worked so hard to weave together. Yours are not the hands desired to keep stitching away at the tapestry. Yours are not the hands deemed worthy. So it is better ripped apart and left as bitter tatters of the beautiful potential it had. You stitched with reds and blues when the other wanted something silver. Something sterling silver.

"Aimee. Lane," She is the first to broach the bubble forming around the girls, putting a hand on the shoulders of each of them and shoving the two apart. "Aimee, Lane was drunk, she didn't know what she was saying. Lane, you can't try to force this. I promise." You can't try to force this, the thought that had chimed through Erin's head throughout middle school. The words keeping her an arm's length from what she thought was the happiness that could ruin everything. Her voice is a stage whisper.

Erin has begun to learn to keep friends in your arms, and romance out of them. Lane and Aimee are a replaying memory, explosive words never quite said, emotions revisited in the form of others. "Is this really worth it?" The future terrifies the blonde, but the past is not a place to be revisited either. Especially not this part. She is not Gatsby and is not asking for this time loop. "Please," it is desperate, quieter than her other words. Erin is looking at Lane now, not Aimee. This is a direct plea.

"Please."

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Character Portrait: Sterling Walker Character Portrait: Nina Nikolayevna Romanov Character Portrait: Aimee Hart Character Portrait: Erin Hill Character Portrait: Lane Blackwell Character Portrait: Lucas Long
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Lucas quickly pieced together what had happened, both now and two months ago, as he approached the girls and read their thoughts. He didn't think especially well of Lane now, but he was almost scared by this new version of Aimee, made of wild fury and fire. Lane was standing there, trying to be resolute, but her voice was wavering, her thoughts a sort of mushy panic. She didn't deserve this.

Aimee was shaking Lane now without any thought to her power, which Lucas wondered at, and he wanted things to stop but he wasn't sure how. He'd barely met Aimee and he didn't know Lane at all; most of him was screaming to get the hell out of there.

As he was standing there awkwardly, uselessly, a blonde haired girl-- Erin, he recognized-- appeared on the scene. Her mind seemed to be going through a deja vu, and from it he gleaned more clues about the soap opera-like history of the yearlies at Laurel, which he was already getting tired of. He stole a glance at Nina and Sterling, who seemed to be still exchanging insults from across the cafeteria.

Erin pushed the two girls apart and spoke pleadingly to first both of them, then exclusively Lane. Lucas took the opportunity to walk right up to Aimee and gently tug her sleeve to get her attention, careful to not touch any skin.

"Aimee...?" he said quietly. He didn't know what to say after that. Are you ok-- no, she wasn't. What's wrong-- she probably knew he knew. So he left her name hanging in the air.

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Character Portrait: Sterling Walker Character Portrait: Nina Nikolayevna Romanov Character Portrait: Aimee Hart Character Portrait: Erin Hill Character Portrait: Lane Blackwell Character Portrait: Daniel Ahn Character Portrait: Lucas Long
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#, as written by Layla
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      XXX
      XXXHaving lacked the need to interact, Sterling Walker and Daniel Ahn are as familiar with one other as the night is with daylight. Though Sterling knows one thing for certain, and that is that the foreign Influential is as expressive as a metal stool and nearly twice as cold. Daniel's face scarcely contorts as he speaks and he stares at Sterling with an intensity that might cripple the weak but only feeds into Sterling's already abundant amusement. He observes with an almost childish glee that though Daniel towers over most, he beats him by a solid three inches.
      XXXNina tenses ever so slightly when Daniel's hand slips into her own. A flush rises from her neck to her cheeks and Sterling's grin widens at the sight. Nina might've honed her abilities of deception and manipulation in the past four years, but her blood did not lie. She'd always been somewhat predisposed to flushing from embarrassment or, ooo, this is gold. Does our darling Romanov Princess have a crush on the frigid prince?
      XXX"Why, is that a blush, Miss Romanov?" he says shortly after Daniel's departure, mocking the way Daniel addresses her. "You'd think that after spending a night together, you'd be on a first name basis by now."
      XXXNina gawks at him like a fish out of water. It's been a while since he's seen her so flustered. Something that feels dangerously like hope unravels in the pit of his stomach. He can almost pretend nothing has changed. He can almost see the old Nina, the one who blushed and twittered like a deer caught in the headlines whenever he teased her. He could have imagined it, had Nina not opened her mouth.
      XXX"That's not what happened," she grinds through her teeth.
      XXX"Oh?" Sterling quirks a brow.
      XXX"He was being a gentleman."
      XXX"Sure."
      XXX"I was out of it."
      XXX"I know."
      XXX"We're just friends."
      XXX"So you do have friends."
      XXX"No, I mean- That's not what I-" Nina shifts her weight from foot to foot. "We're not friends."
      XXX"Trust me, I can tell." Sterling beams and wiggles his eyebrows suggestively.
      XXX"You are so exasperating! Why do I even need to explain myself?"
      XXX"I don't know, you tell me." Nina makes an exasperated noise and turns away. Sterling remains with his hip against the table and his arms crossed over his chest, a smirk playing on his lips. "Hope your boy doesn't get in trouble for the Cameron fiasco."
      XXXNina jerks to a halt and turns to Sterling, slowly. Her brows lower in warning and she turns to an Elite, one of the many who flock around her like moths to a flame. She purses her lips as if to say, explain.
      XXX"W-well... There w-w-was a..."
      XXX"You're wasting my time," Nina growls.
      XXXThe junior taps hastily at his tablet and hands Nina the latest Breadbowl entry. That is his first mistake, Sterling can imagine, because Nina's utter disdain for the Breadbowl is a commonly known fact. But instead of calling for the younger boy's head, her eyes flit from one side of the screen to another as she reads. She shoves the iPad back at the boy when she's done, nearly pushing him into a passing student.
      XXX"I take it that you don't recall the events that transpired last night?" Sterling questions, smug.
      XXXInstead of responding, Nina seems preoccupied with something over his shoulder. Sterling glances behind him to see a familiar wash of golden hair bursting into the dining hall. He frowns and pushes off the table, ready to walk over. If it had merely been between Aimee and Lane, he would not have interfered. But Erin is small, awkward, and virtually useless. He moves towards them, but Nina has beaten him to it.






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      XXXSure, she doesn't care about them, or that's what she tells herself. But she isn't a fan of dividing the work. Queens command their peasants, peasants do not command each other. Nobody's allowed to pick on them except me. Who does Aimee think she is? The dining hall is Nina's turf. Her space for humiliating others and terrorising unsuspecting individuals. You're terrible, she thinks, but there isn't much energy behind the self-harassment today.
      XXXShe strides towards the scene, the long indigo sundress trailing behind her like shadows and ink. She spots the boy from yesterday and decides to ignore him completely - for now.
      XXX"I don't give a shit if you weren't thinking! You knew!" Aimee yells, her voice towering above all other sounds in the dining hall. Everyone has silenced to witness the conflict unfold. Nina doesn't even blink at the outburst, being wholly accustomed to anger. Her family business predominantly involves military weapons after all. Mr and Mrs Romanov aren't exactly the most pleasant people. Still, she's rather surprised at Aimee's outburst. Nina hadn't realised the little thing had so much spunk.
      XXXLane is weeping. Aimee is screeching. Erin is begging. What's-his-name is wimping. Who the hell stops a fight with a barely discernible whisper? The growing crowd around the cat fight parts like butter through a hot knife as Nina sashays through their midst. She lifts a brow and wears an expression that is decidedly bored, with just a pinch of sadistic interest.
      XXX"Aimee, darling, if we're to hold each other responsible for mistakes made under the influence, we'd have to conduct a fair trial, don't you think?" Nina wears a wicked gleam in her eyes and a dangerous smile on her lips. Even though she's chosen to sit on the dining table with her legs crossed, she seems to tower over everyone.
      XXX"And you're no angel, Sweet Hart," Nina says quietly. She tosses Aimee a wink and hops off the table. The Elites hover around her like the Jury to the Judge.
      XXXPredators don't share their prey, Nina says in her mind, in case she, by some miracle, manages to fool herself into thinking she's doing this out of the goodness of her own heart.
      XXX"My God, I actually agree with you. This must be the Armageddon," a deep voice intones. A nerve feathers at the edge of Nina's temple. Don't look, don't look. But she sees them anyway in her periphery. Sterling hovers protectively near Erin's shoulder, a hand pressed to his chest in mock horror and the other resting on the small of Erin's back. He's always had a knack for cracking jokes at the most inappropriate of times. Nina would sooner walk through Hell than admit it, but she's missed and appreciates his dreadful timing and wry humour. But the bitter remnants of old jealousy twists through her at the sight of Erin and Sterling. Together as they had been those years ago. You betrayed me first, she thinks of Erin.

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Character Portrait: Sterling Walker Character Portrait: Nina Nikolayevna Romanov Character Portrait: Aimee Hart Character Portrait: Erin Hill Character Portrait: Lane Blackwell Character Portrait: Lucas Long
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Aimee continues to scream and suddenly she's grabbing Lane's shoulders. Lane coils back unable to make out the words the girl is saying. She presses her hand to her mouth tears streaking down her face. Everything seems blurry, even the words and the sounds. People are gravitating towards the scene, speaking in hushed but echoing tones until Aimee's voice breaks through saying one last nothing, one last snip at Lane's heart. "You didn't care Lane! You didn't care at all!" With that her heart has surely shattered and although no words come out, Lane's mouth stays open.

There is a swift touch and pull to her shoulder and she's ripped away from Aimee. Lane looks to her right, the voice of reason has come to rescue us all...hopefully At the sound of Erin's voice Lane feels an immediate rush of calmness because Erin is all that Lane has, no siblings, no parents, just her. And it takes no more than Erin's touch for Lane to stop crying and collect herself. It has always been this way. From the time they were small. If Lane were to scrap herself on the jungle jim, surely enough Erin would be there to hold her, until she calmed. If a boy had broken her heart, Erin was there. And now Erin is here.

"You can't try to force this" Are the next words spoken and Lane is searching Erin's face for something visible, some familiar. Nina.... Erin and Nina... This is...the same. Lane purses her lips.

Speaking of...

Nina is striding towards the 3 girls with great speed, Sterling ahead of her and now Lucas by Aimee's side. Is a private conversation with someone I slept with to much to ask? Lane glances back to Aimee, her rages seems to have settled down only slightly. She looks to her eyes, pleading for forgiveness yet not saying a thing as Nina strides into the ring, creating a wall between the two girls. Pain shoots through her hands as she wonders what Nina could possibly have to say in a situation she had absolutely nothing to do with.
In some kind of contorted way the Queen begins to defend Lane for her actions. She speaks in such a clean yet vague voice that Lane takes a step backwards, bumping into Erin. Her friend seems as well stunned by Nina's appearance. It strikes Lane how well her ex-friend can hit someone so hard in the heart with less that a glance in their direction. "Nina, this has nothing to fucking do with you..." Lane musters the first thing that comes to mind as well as the first thing she's said since everyone had entered themselves into the scene. She doesn't wish to speak to Nina, she wants to talk to Aimee and Aimee solely.

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Character Portrait: Sterling Walker Character Portrait: Nina Nikolayevna Romanov Character Portrait: Aimee Hart Character Portrait: Erin Hill Character Portrait: Lane Blackwell Character Portrait: Lucas Long
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Just like that, Nina appeared like a celebrity on the red carpet, quickly drawing the attention to her, only to her. Lucas didn’t have to check anyone’s thoughts to know that she was extremely unwanted by everyone around, him included—that is, everyone except her gawking “Elite” paparazzi. He wasn’t even sure she herself wanted to be there, or if she was just drawn there by some internal ‘queenly’ obligation. No one’s allowed to pick on them except me, she thought as she approached, and he was reminded of a child, petulantly refusing to share what she saw as her ‘toys’.

If he weren’t so scared of her, he’d pity her.

She spoke, just specific enough for people to think she knew what had happened, just vague enough to hide that she really, really didn’t. While her eyes seemed to hide secrets, her mind at this point held none at all. All it was doing was pulling together context clues and body language and wording, trying to piece together a guess as to what was going on. He wanted to laugh.

Lucas’ eyes darted around to each person. Aimee, Lane, Erin, Nina, Sterling, him, not to mention the dozens of people viewing them, and Daniel sure to come soon— he realized with a sinking feeling that this was a scene, they were causing a scene, and he had enough of those for the summer, if not the rest of the year and his life.

“Nina, this has nothing to fucking do with you…” Lane muttered, and though she was right, though he agreed with her, he could almost see the wrath this would cause from the so-called princess. Either that or the horrible despondency, and he couldn’t take that again either. Panic twinged in his chest.

He was still holding onto Aimee’s sleeve. Hoping he remembered how her power worked and with only the slightest flicker of movement, he brushed his thumb against the bare skin of her arm, thinking quickly, She doesn't know anything. Don’t play her game. Let’s go.

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Character Portrait: Sterling Walker Character Portrait: Nina Nikolayevna Romanov Character Portrait: Aimee Hart Character Portrait: Erin Hill Character Portrait: Lane Blackwell Character Portrait: Lucas Long
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Aimee instantly resented Erin for pulling Lane away, but with Erin blocking the smaller girl from view, Aimee's rage started to subside. Instead there was just this ringing in her ears. A constant frequency that deafened her and blocked out all other sound. She hadn't remembered. She'd been so focused on hurting Lane that she hadn't remembered to put her wall up, to block herself from the emotional tidal wave. Everything that had happened with Lane since their first break had soared through her head, putting a literal damper on her rage. Lane was so sad, and it was mostly caused by Aimee.

At this point, her eyes had widened to saucers, and when Lucas touched her shoulder, she flinched violently and looked at him. What are you doing here? In another mind, she would have been extremely grateful that he was careful not to touch any skin. But now, the ringing was still there, and she couldn't hear what he was saying, but she assumed it was her name. She opened her mouth as if to respond, and the ringing stopped. "Lucas..." she murmured, not focused on anything, only able to take in Lucas right in front of her. I can't think straight, I can't... It was too much. All of Lane's emotions, all of the screaming, Lucas, Nina, everyone, it was too much for her.

But she couldn't shrink yet. The Queen was in the circle. She sat atop a lunch table, looking extremely and ironically regal. Aimee watched her, her eyes still saucer-wide, as Nina put a handle on the situation. I didn't...what? She thought as Nina hopped off the table and said something quietly to Aimee. All of the rage that had sat in Aimee for so long had vanished, replaced by complete and utter sadness. It wasn't really placed, and if she were to actually dissect what it was pinpointed to, she wasn't sure she could figure it out. Aimee looked at Lane, still partially hidden by Erin and now Sterling, and she felt...nothing. Not rage, not sadness, just...empty. She felt Lucas's thumb on her shoulder, and her head whipped towards his. She heard his thoughts, saw his life again, but she couldn't speak. She had no will left in her to do so.

Aimee turned without a backward glance and walked away. She was shut down. She didn't care what Nina, Lane, or Erin had to say to her. She didn't care about any of it. She just walked with no clear path until she was somewhere near her dorm. She walked up the stairs until she was in front of her door, and she found the door open. Odd, she thought. Was she really that unhinged that she had forgotten to lock her door? She walked inside, and with no amount of effort, simply sat on her knees, on the floor, looking out the window. She put her head in her hands, and all of a sudden, she just screamed.

Her scream echoed in reality and in her mind, a sheer pitch filled with every single emotion that had been racing through her that day. She didn't know who heard her, if anyone did, but she couldn't stop. Just one long stream of scream that never faltered until she didn't have any breath left. When it was over, she just sat there, her head in her hands, in the posture of defeat. In some part of her mind, she knew it was ridiculous. It was the first day, and she had many more to go, but she also felt that there was no stopping it. If she didn't let herself feel this now, then she wouldn't be able to deal with anything coming her way for the rest of the summer. So, she sat there, dwelling in her sadness and her emptiness, and thinking, what the hell could have happened to make life look like this?

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Character Portrait: Sterling Walker Character Portrait: Nina Nikolayevna Romanov Character Portrait: Aimee Hart Character Portrait: Erin Hill Character Portrait: Lane Blackwell Character Portrait: Lucas Long
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XXX
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      XXX
      XXX"Nina, this has nothing to fucking do with you," Lane hisses. A laugh bursts from Sterling so quickly it nearly chokes him. He disguises it as a cough into his fist for the sake of appearances. At least try to look like you're not a sadist. Amusement lights his eyes like fireworks. This is the best day I've had all week, he muses. He hadn't known Lane had it in her.
      XXXNina blinks slowly, seemingly frozen for a few long pauses. Gasps echo all around as people stumble with shock. They gape at Lane, some with horror, others pity, many with respect. Still they edge away from the scene. It seems their fear of the Queen's retaliation pushes them away more than the drama, for that they crave. No one wants to be in the Queen's crossfire.
      XXXBut nobody, not even Sterling, can foresee Nina bursting into laughter. The sound is so bizarre, yet so familiar, Sterling forgets to breathe. For a second he sees his Nina in his mind.
      XXXHer hands move frantically as she speaks to Lane and Erin, the grin she wears revealing the dimples in her cheeks. Her laugh is the rattling of wind chimes.
      XXX"Jesus, your eyes are huge," Sterling teases. "You're like one of those stuffed toys that squeak when you squeeze it."
      XXXNina's hair curls around her thick framed glasses as she turns away from the girls, drawing attention to her big, sky blue eyes. She gawks, blushing furiously as she shifts from side to side. She tugs at her sleeves, gaze darting nervously from one shoe to another. Laughing, Sterling reaches over and ruffles her hair. Nina mutters a protest, darting away to loop a scrawny arm through Erin's elbow.

      XXXThe memory is shattered by the girl who stands before him now like a superimposed picture. The younger Nina he cared for hovers like a mirage, a ghost of past lives. This Nina wears her skin well, confidence radiating from her in waves that could blind the weak. Some might say this is the better Nina. He is certain the House of Romanov thinks so. She has become the splitting image of her mother, a mother she had once described to him as "terrifying."
      XXX"My dear," Nina purrs. "If you want a private conversation, you should leave the public space." Remnants of her unexpected humour reveal the dimples in her cheeks. Chuckles arise from some of the students around them as she continues. "Your voices aren't exactly inconspicuous."
      XXXShe is wildly infuriating, but God is she good at this game. Sterling would be impressed had it not been for the slight flaw that is Nina's entire personality. It seems malevolence has done good things for Nina's sense of humour. How someone can simultaneously become more charming and more horrible, he isn't sure.
      XXXAimee walks away before anything else can be said. Sterling dismisses her, hovering around Erin with minimal proximity. In truth, he can protect her from across the room. But he remains close, partially in the hopes that it will annoy her. Someone has to alleviate his boredom, although it seems today will be an interesting one indeed.

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Character Portrait: Sterling Walker Character Portrait: Nina Nikolayevna Romanov Character Portrait: Aimee Hart Character Portrait: Erin Hill Character Portrait: Lane Blackwell Character Portrait: Daniel Ahn Character Portrait: Lucas Long
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Erin is at Lane's side, and the asian boy from before is at Aimee's. Every piece has their support system, however rooted into the past they may or may not be. It eases the guilt Erin has over focusing on Lane more than Aimee, to know that there is someone focusing on that girl as well. She gives the guy a quick look, thankful, but chances are he doesn't see it. Thank you, he is doing this for Aimee's sake, of course, not hers, and that is all the more reason for gratitude. Erin just desperately wants for all those she considers decent to be happy. Even some that she hates, some part of her wants them to find happiness. Nina, she thinks, could perhaps return to some semblance of her former self if only she could be happy. Sterling, even, she would wish happiness to, if that would make things right and get him to leave her alone. Daniel, the human robot, could perhaps find some new programming for joy that would make him less cold and severe.

But Erin is a sap whose wishes are outside her reach, and she knows it. She hadn't always known it, but is fiercely aware now.

And thus walks -no, floats- in the woman who shoved back the curtains and did her damnedest to scorch the optimism out of Erin's retinas (though Erin is notoriously good at bouncing back), Nina Romanov.

Oh, not now. Please, for once just keep your claws out of this wound Nina. Please, Erin has been thinking and saying please a lot lately. No one has time to waste on her niceties, though. Lane had just begun to relax beneath Erin's hand, she could feel it. Everything was just about to be okay, about to be resolved- and then enter the dragon.

And her breath is removed from her lungs as Nina chooses to stand up for Lane, rather than claw her eyes out. Erin steps away from Lane to watch, finding it difficult to find air. It is sly, sarcastic, careless, but it is a defense. Erin almost dares hope this is the sign of something, but even an optimist must know when to fold their cards. She folded on Nina long after she should have, but still more than a year or so ago. Those aren't cards she's willing to pick back up, for fear of razor blade edges.

A warmth at her back. Believing it to be Anthony, arrived to stand silently beside her, she begins to breathe steadily once more, unclenching her fists. She couldn't have been more incorrect in her assumption.

His voice speaks up behind her, just inches from her ear. The realization of Sterling's nearness makes her shiver, though she interprets it as a shudder. Naturally she immediately steps away such that his hand will no longer be on her back. You two are the last people we need right now. Everything was fine. It was fine. You decided to leave us, don't keep trying to come back, Erin hadn't realized her eyes were shut until she opens them once more.

Lane is hissing at Nina, words Erin had thought but not vocalized. Nina is laughing. Her dimples are flashing in that way Erin used to melt over. Now it just makes her more tense. Glancing at Sterling, she realizes he must be thinking the same thing. How incredibly stupid the pair of them are, half in love with the memory of a girl.

Erin hates herself for it. Luckily, the current girl will not allow Erin to forget that the old her is gone. Her words are tickled with malice, purring like a panther content with its kill. Aimee is gone now. It is only them. Why is only ever them, in the end? Lane, Erin, Nina, Sterling. The lens through which one might witness deterioration at its finest.

And Sterling is still there , close enough that she can feel it. No doubt she remembers, though she was too drunk to fully understand. Another shiver- no, shudder.

The bell rings, a saving grace calling them for their first class. She prays that Speech and Debate will have a quiet, simple group. She prays she won't have to speak- this isn't a class she took by choice.

"If you would kindly find some other person's air to breathe, I have to get to debate," she isn't able to look at Sterling as she says this, knowing she might snap or break or simply collapse if she does. Stop making Nina hate me more than she already does.

She sees a dark shadow approaching, Daniel Ahn come to his Queen's side a bit too late. Perhaps that was on purpose.

"Let's go, Nina," he says, finally speaking her name out loud.

And so charges the lightning brigade, unknowingly into the valley of death. As Keevan might call it, the perfect pressure cooker scenario.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Nina Nikolayevna Romanov Character Portrait: Aimee Hart Character Portrait: Rebecca Sayre Character Portrait: Anthony Carraway Character Portrait: Lucas Long Character Portrait: Keevan Brennan
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This… What is this? Something wrong… Can someone… Please. Anthony’s eyes opened just enough for the bluish light of his alarm clock to warn him it was one minute past eight in the morning. The numbers, however, meant nothing to him, and the strange noise emitted by that odd device made his eyes water. Shaking his arm around, he tried to do something about it but only managed to drop it on the floor with a loud metallic noise that caused him to shut his eyes tight, reacting to a excruciating lash of pain just above his temples. Forced to sit down, pick the clock up and turn off the alarm, he remained seated for a seconds or two, unable to move or turn his head. Not only the sharp sting in his head remained after the noise was gone, his stomach seemed to twitch slightly with each one of his moves, causing nausea and a heavy, uncomfortable dizziness that did not at all resembled the one from the night before. His arms hurt like he had just been ran over by a truck. An acid, vile taste clung to his mouth. When he finally felt like he could move slightly without passing out, he laid back down and stared at the ceiling. The room was lit by the distant, ethereal blue light of his clock, and scented by a strong aroma of grass and alcohol.

In a surprisingly organized and harmonic manner, a few images seemed to waltz before his eyes. Aimee proposing a toast, and her eyes glimmered with joy, her soft voice filled with a innocent, youthful excitement. Erin’s blonde hair twirling in front of him, her bright smile as warm and welcoming as the flamboyant bonfire. She remember her approaching Lane. He didn’t follow. He had stolen her away for too long already, so perhaps it was time to gave Lane a little time. He remember looking for Aimee, and he remembered her words echoing in his head when he couldn’t find her. "This, my friend, is the peak of our teenage years!” And the last thing he could remember was drinking more. No Erin, no Aimee, no walking to his room even. Just a enormous gap where the rest of the night should be. No souvenir of it except for the almost unbearable tiredness, the pain, and his clothes, which, filthy with dirt and grass, were now scattered across his room. A certain sense of desperation started filling his mind. What if he had done something stupid? Something people would remember, and he wouldn’t? Worse, what if he had done something bad? And now, there was nothing he could do, really. He should have known this bonfire was a bad idea.

Although his thoughts circled around his mind faster and faster and his incapacity to remember anything made his breath speed up and his eyes even wetter, his lids were to heavy. Before he could conclude even his thoughts about how stupid he had beens, and how could he have left Aimee on her own, sleep found him once again. A dreamless, restful sleep, in which he couldn’t think about the previous events or the dreadful class yet to come. And he would have actually rested all through the day if he hadn’t been woken again, this time by a noise which left him even more stunned. A loud scream. A familiar voice.

Carr stood up quickly - rather too quickly, since his entire dorm room seemed to loop around him and he had to hold on to the door knob for a second. He opened the door carefully, afraid he might bump into whoever or whatever the source of the screaming was. Seeing no one in the hallway, he silently, slowly made his way down the hall, verifying every door on his way was locked. All were, except for the one he hoped was. At the opposite side of the long hall, the door of the room he had spent most of his time in the day before was not only unlocked, but opened. Aimee’s room. By the time Carr reached number 14, his heart was racing and he had to take a deep breath before peeking inside, wanting to make sure none of Aimee’s roommates, who he had yet not discovered who were, were there. “Aim…”

It broke his heart to the point he could feel all the air leaving his lungs. Aimee sat there, on the bed, head in her hands, curling up around herself like a small child. She looked so little and defenseless. This was one of the people he loved most in the world, and there she was, looking defeated and so miserable, while he didn’t even know what this was about, couldn’t even console her. Maybe if he hadn’t left her all of a sudden yesterday, maybe if he hadn’t drank so much and had come by her room in the morning, she wouldn’t be like this. But she was, and her scream now sounded like the saddest thing he could have ever heard. Carr ran into the room and kneeled on the floor in front of her, placing both hand on her knees in an attempt to comfort her in any way he could.

“Hey, hey. Look at me. Are you alright? Cookie, please don’t be sad.” His voice was hoarse and sounded strange, and his eyes were so red and swollen and had such dark circles under them maybe the proximity of his face wasn’t such a good idea, it might actually scare her. Far from where they were, the bell rang, but he ignored it.“C’mon, I can’t just touch you and know it. What happened?”





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Rebecca woke up earlier than usual, and earlier than necessary. Although she hadn’t really drunk all that much, alcohol would do that to her, get her wake and up only a few hours after going to bed. After the first dance, she had spent what seemed like hours dancing closely to Christian Sebek, an Elite student who’s family owned an emerging cosmetics and fashion company. Lying in her bed, she stretched both her arms so her hands were in eyes’ length, and tried to recapture the feeling of his against her palms. He had spun her around gently and whispered meaningless words to her ear. And she, how could it be any different, had smiled pleasantly, chuckled sweetly and danced gracefully amongst the mass of teenagers, but had done nothing more then allow him a kiss in the hand by the end of the fifth song. This was what Rebecca was known for. A tease bitch, a misleader, the patron saint of blue balls, call it what you want, she’s heard it before. Truth is, she didn’t really care. The warmth of his skin felt nice, his voice was soft and tender, and his dancing wasn’t bad, so she had enjoyed it, and than left, like she had meant to.

After that, she drank a bit more while chatting absentmindedly with a few Influentials who seemed eager to hear why on earth she had had the first dance with Keevan instead of Christian. She had laughed and, with a mysterious glare, told them “Well, he has been such a good boy to me, I thought he deserved it.”It was only a little after two when she went to bed, sensing there were no more slow dances or conversations about her ahead. Just before drifting off into a deliciously intoxicated slumber, she grabbed her cellphone from the nightstand and sent out a few texts.

To: Nina Romanov
I hope you feel better, darling. You owe me a dance.

To: Timothy Sayre
Miss u

To: Hemingway Jr.
Well, you didn’t have to disappear. Didn’t even give me time to say goodnight

It was hard for her to think the closest thing she had to a friend was Nina. She didn’t actually dislike or wished any harm upon Nina, and actually was quite fond of her, but it was impossible for her to support Nina in the position she was in right now. For the time being, then, she was the adversary. Becky didn’t exactly miss companionship or loyalty, she was actually surrounded by people all of the time and those people would do anything she asked for as little as a smile, but she couldn’t wrap her mind around why nobody actually seemed to want to know anything about what she liked, about what she thought about things… Her mind actually started getting a little claustrophobic at times. And Keevan… And all that bread bowl stuff wasn’t making it any easier. So she thought today, on the first day of school, she would actually take a day for herself, to not think about the Influentials, Breadbowl, Keevan, Christian or the bonfire. She thought wrong.

When Erin’s absurd alarm clock went off, as it did every morning, inspire of Becky’s several complaints, Becky had already showered and did all her beauty routine, and was getting dressed in a delicate white dress and a light pinkish flowery kimono when Erin left the room to take a shower. And then, while the door was still open, she heard Nina’s voice. The sound was muffled and seemed distant, but there was no doubt, she’d recognize that voice anywhere. Suspicious and intrigued, Becky left the room, tiptoeing to the hall, and the voice got a bit louder. It increased as she approached Daniel’s room, the one right in front of her’s, and then was completely silenced by the shower next door. Afraid Nina might leave, Becky went back into her room and stood on her tiptoes close to the door so that she could look through the peephole. In a matter of seconds, Nina rushed out of the room, her cheeks a unusual rosy color. This, right there, was all Becky needed, and as much as she had wanted this day to be her own, it wasn’t something that happened everyday.
Nina.
The Ice Queen.
Leaving her loyal dog’s room.
In the clothes from the night before.

To: Hemingway Jr.
Can you meet me later?

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aimee Hart Character Portrait: Anthony Carraway
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Aimee heard Anthony's footsteps before she felt his palms on her knees. Not now, please not now, she thought as the rush of his emotions and thoughts whirled around her. She scooted back abruptly, her back against the wall. "Don't. Don't touch me, I can't...I can't control it," she said, her voice hoarse and raw. The tears that had been streaming down her face had finally stopped, and she was left even more worn out than before. She had always been an ugly crier, so she knew in some part of her mind that her face looked red and puffy, similar to how Anthony's looked right now. But, he was there, in front of her, and she knew just by looking at him that he wanted to help her.

"I don't know how to explain it, I..." Her voice broke again and she curled her head on her knees. The bell rang, distantly, but she couldn't go to class yet. "It was just a lot...piling up all at once, I...it's so complicated," she said lamely. How could she tell him? Not only that she was an orphan and had kept it from him but that she had sex with Lane and had kept it from him. Thinking about it made her sick.

"I think I just need to go to class. I need to forget about this..." she whispered. She prayed to God that there wasn't any of them in her Speech & Debate elective, but she knew the chances of that were highly unlikely and so far the odds had not been in her favor.

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Character Portrait: Aimee Hart Character Portrait: Anthony Carraway Character Portrait: Lucas Long
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#, as written by piearty
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Lucas was already moving when he heard Nina's peals of laughter behind him. He was glad that saying Aimee's name seemed to stop the ringing in both their heads, but regretted having touched her after; she was on sensory overload right now and had just about shut down, she didn't need his thoughts, however well-meaning. He regretted being a factor in her disorientation, in her pain, and he needed to help her somehow.

Overload, he thought grimly as he pushed through the crowd of people. Don't miss that at all. He'd been in a state of overload for about a year after his powers kicked in, so overwhelmed by other people's emotions and thoughts and senses that his own self seemed to vanish. He couldn't remember almost anything from that year. Only a swirling sea of colors and noise and smells and sounds that blended together into a screaming mess and himself just numb, numb, numb.

He entered the dorm hall just in time to catch the last notes of a long, sustained wail in his head, a feedback-like screech of emotions that were unmistakably Aimee's, which caused him to almost double over in pain. As he recovered he saw Anthony dart out of his own room, and realized with a jolt that the scream must have been audible as well as mental. Trepidatiously, he approached Aimee's room, which Anthony had already entered. The door was flung open; he peered inside to see the two, Aimee curled in the fetal position, Anthony crouching in front of her. They didn't seem to notice Lucas, and he backed away immediately. The guy's got this, he said to himself. She doesn't need me around too. He kicked himself mentally for having thought that she'd actually choose him, a stranger she met last night, over her friend of nigh three years. Silly you, thinking you could help, his inner voice hissed.

But then there was a dull distorted ringing in both Aimee and Anthony's ears (Lucas supposed it was the bell), and Aimee was saying, "I just need to go to class." Lucas' heart dropped. He imagined her sitting at her desk, staring vacantly as she tried to process all the input from the world around her, flinching like a hurt animal when the teacher yelled for her to pay attention, walking from class to class like a wind-up toy. Like he had done for the entirety of 9th grade.

The word, "no", escaped his lips at the thought. No. He walked to her door, knocking on the frame. "Aimee," he said emphatically, before stopping short and losing his nerve. "Sorry, I overheard and I just--sorry if this is creepy, I--" he shook his head. "You...you can't go to class, Aimee." His face was despondent. "It'll kill you inside."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sterling Walker Character Portrait: Nina Nikolayevna Romanov Character Portrait: Aimee Hart Character Portrait: Erin Hill Character Portrait: Lane Blackwell Character Portrait: Daniel Ahn
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The way Nina addresses Lane is a way a Queen might a dress a silly little peasant girl. She speaks down to her, calls her not by her name but by my dear. Each syllable stings, and each laugh Nina emits, the same. The way her words flow are familiar, from a distant memory that's unplaceable at the moment. Lane wants to snap back, to yell, or to cry to Nina This isn't you! This isn't you! But the girl she wishes for is long dead and deep down Lane fears the brutal replacement.

The sound of the first bell suddenly breaks the momentarily stiffness in the air, causing many students to drop their attention of the scene and scurry for the cafeteria exits. Lane has nothing further to say to Nina as she see's the girl's robotic friend approaching. Now that anger has began to shoot brought her veins, Lane has almost entirely forgot why her cheeks have tear streaks running down them.

Aimee...

Lane's heart beat quickens and she scans the area for her it's-complicated friend. Her eyes dart from face to face, searching, hoping to see Aimee somewhere in the scatter of students. She moves herself closer to Erin who's engaged in conversation with Sterling. "Erin, I need to fi-" You can't try to force this an echo of words come at her, reminding her what had happened before Nina had thrown herself center stage. ...you bitch...she didn't know what she was saying...apparently secrets don't work with you...she was drunk...you didn't care Lane, you didn't care at all. You didn't care at all. You didn't care. Lane sniffs. She wraps her arm around Erin's and closes her eyes. Three deep breathes later her eyes open again, red, but less glassy. She can't look Erin in eye, she's afraid of any anger or disappointment that might be visible. Instead she begins walking to class.