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Anne Preacher

"Take me back to my beginning, Before the hell of night set in"

0 · 754 views · located in Smithbrook

a character in “No One Mourns The Wicked”, as played by druidquest

Description

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"Take me back to my beginning
Before the hell of night set in
And I came to this border
take me home"

{Starlight | The Wailin Jennys}

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ImageName:
Anne Courtney Elizabeth Preacher
Nicknames:
Annie, Father
Age:
21
Gender: Female
Sexuality: Lesbian
Ethnicity: White




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"But all this time, I've been chasin' down a lie
And I know it for what it is"

{ Ghost Towns | Radical Faces}


Appearance:
Anne is quite short at 5'1", with a slim build and long brown hair. She has dark eyes and a soft face with prominent dimples, giving her a rather youthful appearance.

Secret:
Anne Preacher is a murderer. When she was 17, she discovered her elder sister's 19 year old boyfriend, Jacob Norton, had been cheating on her with middle school girls. She made attempts to report it, but was waved away as delusional due to having been recently diagnosed with schizophrenia. Deciding she had to deal with it herself, she confronted the boy on her own at his home, trying to convince him to back off her sister. They got in a fight, which ended with Anne sticking the barrel of Jacob's father's hunting rifle under his chin and pulling the trigger. Anne panicked, but took steps to ensure Jacob's death would be ruled a suicide, and has lived with the weight of what she'd done ever since.




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"If I could make amends
With all my shadows
I'd bow my head
And welcome them"

{ I of the Storm | Of Monsters and Men}

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Personality:
|Stepford Smiler|No Medication For Me|Little Sister Instinct|Knight In Sour Armor|
Anne has always been a quiet girl, awkward in social situations, but kind and loyal, and deeply protective of her friends and family. Some who may not have known her back then might also have been surprised to learn that Anne Preacher was an idealist, choosing to believe the world was a good place, and that people were all good people deep down. She believed that things always tended to turn out for the best, even when it didn't seem like it. She was a cheerful person with a smart mouth and a good heart. She genuinely enjoyed being around people, even if she had a hard time speaking up, and was always willing to lend a hand when her friends needed it.

Anne has changed much since that day when she confronted Jacob Norton at his home. What used to be a friendly if shy young girl has become a bitter and emotionally withdrawn adult, whose youthful naivete has been replaced with cold apathy toward the wider world. She no longer sees the world as a good and just place, an outlook which only serves to further her insistence on maintaining the mask she shows to people, because she feels it is important to allow others to retain their own sense of optimism. The world is shit; she is obligated to make it seem less so.

Anne does retain one aspect of who she used to be: a deep and unabiding desire to protect her older sister Kate, even if the sisters are rather less close than they used to be. Anne's insistence on acting as her sister's hero doesn't really seem to have a reason anymore; she simply does it because, were she to admit Kate no longer needed her, it would devastate what little remains of the person she desperately wishes to hold on to.

Anne wants to be okay. She wants to present herself as normal and proper and exactly what everyone wants her to be, because she believes it to be the only thing keeping her from falling into an abyss she'd never climb out of. She projects a mask of who she used to be, because if she pretends, maybe it'll stop being pretend. She refuses to take her meds because if she takes them she'll have to admit she needs them. She feeds stray dogs, helps old ladies cross the street, gives money to the homeless, not because she feels it will make the world a better place, but because it's the right thing to do.

And she needs to believe that what she does is the right thing to do.
Talents:
Good Cook
Ambidextrous
Thinks Quickly in Stressful Situations
Weaknesses:
Cynical
Emotionally Distant
Bad at Math
Stubborn
Fears:
Guns
Herself
Imprisonment




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"It's hard to understand
'Cause when you're really by yourself
It's hard to find someone to hold your hand"

{ Oblivion | Wilsen (Original Song by GRIMES)}


History:
Anne is the daughter of Samuel and Yvette Preacher, their second and final child before Samuel lost both his testicles to cancer. She grew up in a small home, more impoverished than one would expect of a nurse and a police officer. Much of her parents' income was devoured by Samuel's medical bills and Yvette's student loans, and what remained was barely enough to keep the family afloat.

They weren't unhappy, however. Anne's parents did the best they could for their two girls, and made sure to cultivate a loving environment for Anne and Kate. As a result, the two were cheerful children, even if Anne was shy and Kate was a doormat. The two girls were excellent foils for each other; Kate was friendly enough that she could help her little sister make friends, and Anne was stubborn enough to compensate for Kate's inability to stand up for herself. All good things come to an end, however, and as they grew older Kate began to grow distant toward Anne, resenting her sister's insistence on sticking by her, feeling it was preventing Kate from doing anything on her own, and finding Anne's protection of her humiliating.

It didn't help that Anne was diagnosed with Schizophrenia when she was 14. Kate pushed the younger Preacher girl further away, teenage angst compelling her to distance herself from her "psycho" sister. Anne was able to cope well enough; she had her own little group of friends, and living in the same house as Kate meant she could still remain updated on her older sister's life. This began to reach its summit when she was 17, near Kate's one-year anniversary with her then-boyfriend, Jacob Norton.

It was common knowledge that patience was not a virtue Jacob possessed; a weakness Kate had chosen to ignore the full extent of. One day is mid-November, a walk in the park caused Anne to stumble across an "intimate" moment between Jacob and a younger girl, and a bit of digging revealed the girl in question was neither the first nor the youngest of Jacob's affairs. Enraged by his abuse of her sister's trust and disgusted by his unethical interactions with girls younger than himself, Anne approached first her sister and then her father about the subject.

Neither believed her; Anne had only just begun long -term medication for her Schizophrenia, and as Jacob had never presented himself to them as "that kind of guy", Kate and Samuel both chose to hand-wave Anne's claims as a paranoid delusion. Anne was offended by their dismissal, yet remained determined to do something about Jacob's philandering. On a day in early December, Anne confronted Jacob in his home while his parents were at work, hoping to at the very least convince him to back off her sister, if not turn himself over to the police.

Patience was not a virtue Jacob possessed.

They got into an argument, which grew into a proper fight that ended with Anne snatching his father's hunting rifle off the mantle where it had been left after a family hunting trip. Jacob tackled her to the ground, the barrel of the rifle went under his chin, and when the stock hit the floor Anne accidentally pulled the trigger. Horrified, but terrified of going to prison, she did her best to make it appear as a suicide, going so far as to type up a note on Jacob's computer (but not saving it - the time stamp would mark it as an obvious fake. )

Anne was never suspected. After the funeral, her parents felt it best if she and Kate leave town for a while - "gain some distance from the tragedy." Kate became withdrawn after Jacob's death, and the two girls became more distant from each other than they had ever been, though Anne did make attempts to keep their relationship from falling apart, if only to help ease her conscience. She got through high school, and even managed to get into college, but flunked out in her second year.

She wasn't looking forward to going to another funeral, but their former friendship obligated her to make an appearance. She doesn't feel she could really be considered a friend of theirs anymore, and she dreads returning to the town for fear memories of Jacob could damage her already fragile mental state and exacerbate her psychotic symptoms, but she also hopes to find a way to put his ghost to rest once and for all, and finally move on.




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"If we can make it through the storm
And become who we were before
Promise me we'll never look back"

{ Aftermath | Lifehouse}

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Other:
Anne is schizophrenic, with psychotic aspects based primarily in visual hallucinations, while auditory hallucinations are less common. Though prescribed medication, she prefers not to take it unless her psychotic episodes begin to get too difficult to handle, as she feels they make it harder to think.

So begins...

Anne Preacher's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Anne Preacher Character Portrait: James Goldsmith
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The back seat of her car was definitely not the best place to sleep, particularly when you had taken up temporary residence in the parking lot of a greasy diner beloved by every teenager in Smithbrook who believed slamming on her car windows as they passed by on their late night food runs to be the height of hilarity. A four-day drive followed immediately by a funeral and police interrogation had a way of lowering one's standards, it seemed.

Anne lay there on a pile of jackets and animal print blankets, watching a bee that had landed on her window clean its antennae. She reached up and pressed one finger to her side of the glass so it looked as if the bee were sitting on her finger, then withdrew it when the worker bee flew off.

She sat up, trying to shake off the weight which came following barely 3 hours of what could generously be called "rest." She yawned and stretched the best she could in the enclosed space, blinked her eyes a few times in a vain attempt to clear the fog from her mind, then climbed up to the front seat of the black truck she called her own. She settled into the driver's seat, one hand digging through her messenger bag for her keys and instead wrapping around her phone. She yawned again, juggling whether to toss it back in her bag for a moment before deciding to just bite the bullet.

Two messages from her boss, the first offering sympathy for her loss and the second letting her know he'd managed to work the schedule so she had the full month off. Fully 36 texts and voice mails from her parents, who had been forced to learn of her homecoming through her arrival at the police station and were very offended that she hadn't thought to call ahead. Nothing yet from Oli or Jude, though she imagined that wouldn't take long to change, and at least 3 drunk texts from James that she hadn't read yet, from almost a month ago. She figured this was a good place to start.

To: Drunkpants the Sexually Misaligned
>>>Father Annie sent a link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tortricidae
sorry for the late response i was busy bangin girls

Was that a good way to start up after a friend's funeral? Her thumb wavered over the "send" button for a moment before ultimately deciding to go for it. Maybe he'd appreciate the humor. She turned her attention to the mass of messages from her parents, thinking up how to respond.

"Sorry I was-" No.

"I meant to-" Nah.

To: Mom and Dad
Did my text not go through?

They wouldn't buy that for a moment, but at least they wouldn't mention it again. She scratched the back of her neck, feeling a bit guilty about lying.

From: Mom
Oh, that must be it! Why don't you get a new phone already? Hurry home, see you soon, love you lots <3

And that was the end of it, save the disappointed look that would come when her mother thought Anne wouldn't be able to see it. She tucked her phone back into her bag and grabbed her keys. She let them rest in the ignition for a moment, honestly considering just turning and driving back to California before turning out onto the street and heading for the nearest liquor store. Maybe a bottle of wine would save her from that look her mother planned to send.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Anne Preacher Character Portrait: Cameron Knight Character Portrait: Iggy Ramone Character Portrait: Jude Ahn
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From his perspective Smithbrook was trapped in a cycle of monotony, and since his arrival he had sought out antidotes to cure the periods of nothingness, however being questioned by the police did break his expectations a bit – it was certainly a unique follow-up to the funeral. Unfortunately for the investigators he had a strong alibi that included video footage (a few vines to be precise) of him in Seattle, exploring the city (or the city’s party scene), and the novelty quickly wore off as the implications of the investigation settled within him.

In Smithbrook's downtown Jude sat outside of a locally owned café situated right across from the infamous Starbucks (though he did love a good green tea frappuccino) where he drank an Americano with a cigarette nestled in between his index and middle finger, brow furrowed and lips pressed into a thin, anxious line. Maybe it was the funeral that upset him, and the espresso did little to sooth the uncertainly churning within his stomach, and he slowly came to terms that another person he had known passed away – and this time due what seemed to be a murder. Is this what it meant to grow up? To continue crossing paths with the ugliest things in life?

He inhaled another lung full of smoke, seeking to clear his mind of tragedy, and he looked to his phone, the nuances of impatience making him check the clock every thirty seconds. He had already texted Cameron about his current whereabouts in hopes that he would crawl out of whatever hole he dug himself into to hang out a bit (though since last summer they were doing that a lot anyways – but still, he was bored, and couldn’t stand being alone for too long). If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again, and cursing the day’s awful, brain rotting dullness he began to send out a series of texts.

To: Cam
ohhhh my god where the fuck are you [[gun emoji]] i’m losing it over here. the most entertaining thing out here are the old folks squading up at starbucks and even that gets boring after 5 minutes.

To: Original G Anne
so i get back into town right and then the cops brought me in for questioning like i'm a potential killer and this is csi miami. did you get a similar welcoming or am i all alone in this?

To: Iggy-Pop 2.0
this town is ass hahah

To: Iggy-Pop 2.0
but if we don’t party here again for old-times sake then i’m about to be pissed. let’s make this happen [[peace sign emoji]]

Groaning, Jude locked his iPhone screen, returning to the rich depths of the Americano and his occasional hobby of people watching, observing the coming-and-goings of the elderly crowd beginning to disperse across the street. If everyone was too busy doing fuck-all today then he would conjure up some plan from the recesses of his maddened impulses, and he briefly thought of the people he used to know. Maggie would be a no go, she was probably a straight-edge professional by now. There was Rose and Audrey, but he hadn’t spoken to either of them in ages – and there was James, but the guy dropped off the face of the Earth, so chances were he wasn’t about to show up here. He paused in his musing, thoughts wandering over to Oliver – that could be an option – but his stomach twisted and sank, and he brushed the idea away from now, ashing his cigarette on the railing.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Anne Preacher Character Portrait: James Goldsmith Character Portrait: Oliver Pierce Character Portrait: Jude Ahn
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Anne heard her phone buzz inside her bag, but didn't pick it up until she was parked in front of the Liquor Plus. Liquor plus what? Who could say. She took her phone out, checked the lock screen to see who it was from, then stuck it back in her bag. She grabbed the strap of her messenger bag and opened her door, pushing it through the sepia-toned man who had been staring through her window the whole drive from the diner. She stepped out of her car and slung the bag over her shoulder, then walked up to the liquor store.

A bell rang as she walked in, that same little chime all cheap liquor stores seem to have on their door. She moved to look through the small selection of wine kept on the shelf at the back away from the sunlight filtering through the glass front door, taking out her phone again and unlocking it.

To: Oliver (Not the Cat)
>does red or white wine say "sorry for not telling you i was coming home and then sleeping in my car for two days" better
>do you think theyll let me shower before the questions start or should i drive my car through the community pool on the way there

To: Unsaint Jude
>kinda similar, mine had a stretch limo and complementary caviar
>perks of being a cop kid i guess

In truth, Anne has been absolutely petrified when the officers had approached to take her in for questioning. She wasn't entirely sure how to explain that to anyone, though; not without hinting at something dark and deeply buried. Another thing to play pretend about, joy of joys.

She grabbed a random bottle of the shelf, realizing she'd been standing back there texting for almost five minutes. "Insomnia," the label read. Wasn't alcohol supposed to make people sleepy? Why would someone name their wine the exact opposite of what it actually did? She also somehow doubted this wine would be any good. Oh well. Maybe her late-working parents would appreciate the irony. Did they still work nights? They both had been before she left, but to be honest she wasn't entirely sure if they still had the same professions. Well, her dad was clearly still in law enforcement, considering his cop buddies had ratted her out, but she hadn't heard anything about what her mother was up to.

She purchased her dubious wine and left the store, taking a moment outside the driver's side door to thumb through her phone again. She'd seen a lot of old faces at the funeral, and it had only just occured to her that she didn't have any of their numbers. It didn't matter, not really, she hadn't spoken to any of them since high school, but... maybe it was simple nostalgia, but she felt she should at least say hi. For old time's sake, for...

She took a deep breath and leaned against her car, the bottle wrapped in a brown paper back hanging by the neck from two of her fingers. So Hannah was dead. The reality of it didn't so much hit her as settle heavily over her shoulders, like the fog which visited the town on early spring mornings. She found it difficult to recall their last conversation, or even what Hannah looked like outside the framed picture that had been resting on her casket. Had they ever really been close? Close enough for her to drive halfway across the country, close enough to take a full month off work, apparently, close enough to bring all those different faces back home, but she couldn't really recall why, or how. It made her feel guilty.

To: Unsaint Jude, Oliver (Not the Cat), Drunkpants the Sexually Misaligned

Actually, that name wasn't doing it for her anymore. she made a quick edit in the contact info.

To: Unsaint Jude, Oliver (Not the Cat), James from Team Rocket
feeling nostalgic, dont suppose you could set me up with everyones new phone numbers

With that, she opened her car door and got in the seat, setting the bottle down on the passenger-side floor. Time to head home! Yay.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Anne Preacher Character Portrait: Maggie Kenneth Character Portrait: Jude Ahn
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With the Starbucks Old Folks Rendezvous nearly completely dissipated the world began to lose its color – his coffee was gone, the song birds stopped sounding beautiful, and his right leg continued to bounce up and down in impatience. No wonder he had spent his youth soaking his brain in alcoholic concoctions; the town was boring and without a hint of excitement during the daytime. He looked to his phone for solace and stood up, tempted to smoke another cigarette to ease his nerves – but he knew it wouldn’t actually do anything for him, and he began wandering down the street. Wherever he ended up was of no concern to him, if he could find himself somewhere that could at least hold his attention for more than a few minutes then he would be happy, and his footsteps echoed behind him.

To: Original G Anne
caviar? shameful. they could have at least given you something good smh

To: Original G Anne
uhhhh sure. you were cool with iggy right? here ya go [[ peace sign emoji ]]
[[ number shared : Iggy-Pop 2.0 ]]

Jude furrowed his brow, briefly considering all the other people he used to know, but for the most part contact dwindled to nothing and everyone moved on – if it wasn’t for the funeral chances are he wouldn’t have seen the vast majority of former ‘friends’ ever again (because he would rather die than attend a high school reunion). With his aimless wandering coming to an end he stood at the door to the local library, a place he never visited for its true purpose. Reading books while having dyslexia was more similar to torture than anything else, and the most use he got from the place was selling adderall between shelves and checking out outdated manuals that were only ever used to conceal something illegal. He glanced to his phone, slowly realizing that in reality he had nothing better to do, and entered the building, passing by the librarian and the groups of people he only vaguely recognized.

If anything maybe he would run into someone, and his eyes scanned the room for familiar faces, only to linger on a girl who had her head a book (this shouldn’t be surprising, he was in a goddamn library after all), yet for some reason his brain seemed to reel backwards, as if trying to dive in a pit of memories to remember why this girl seemed so striking.

“Maggie?” He said her name without thinking, astonished to see his childhood friend back in town – which again, shouldn’t be such a shock, but for some reason when they drifted apart he began to think that the girl had slipped into a world of her own, one where there’s logic and prestige, without anything messy and certainly no funerals. Nonetheless, there she was, and despite the years of silence between them Jude approached her, sitting down on the chair across from hers, a small coffee table separating them. “I guess everyone really did come back. Where did you go off too, anyways?” As always he immediately steered into conversation, genuinely curious about what had happened to her years after those blissful summers they shared as children.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Anne Preacher Character Portrait: Audrey Ruth Jefferson Character Portrait: Jude Ahn
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Anne ran a hand through her hair as she read Jude's response, keys hanging from the ignition, not yet turned.

you were cool with iggy right?

"Uhhh..." Right. Iggy. Anne had honestly sort of forgotten she and Jude were friends. She wasn't... not cool with Iggy, she supposed, but she wasn't quite sure she'd be able to explain to Jude just why Iggy was the worst suggestion he could've made. I mean yeah, she kind of thinks I'm a gross dead-kid slanderer, but yeah, we were totally cool. Totally. She saved the contact info anyway, just in case.

She tossed her phone back in her bag and then started the car, listening to it roar to life before backing out of the parking space. Driving through town, she couldn't help but notice how little everything had changed in the 4 years she'd been gone. Damn, even the kids running along the sidewalks looked the same. It made her feel... she wasn't sure. Homesick? Nostalgic? Bored? Mostly it just made her impatient to leave again. After she'd caught up with everyone she was willing to, she would.

She parked a block away from her parents' house, only to find a note on the door when she walked up.

Got called in last minute, Dad's still at work. Key under the mat.
- Mom


Well, at least it would delay the uncomfortable questions about her life in California. She retrieved the hidden key, then walked away from the door, not yet ready to step inside. She didn't want to waste anymore gas driving somewhere, so instead she decided to take a walk to try to clear her mind and think up satisfactory answers to the questions she felt she could comfortably predict.

Looking up and down the street, she realized she was only a couple of blocks from where a couple of her childhood friends used to live. She wasn't sure they'd even be living in their old homes anymore, but walking by the old houses where she'd pass time in arranged play dates at least gave her a direction to walk in. She started toward the left, relying on vague recollections of where the Jefferson house had been.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Anne Preacher Character Portrait: Maggie Kenneth Character Portrait: Jude Ahn
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Maggie nodded along as Jude explained his life since graduation. He seemed to have himself put together, and she was happy for him because of this. Jude had always been the least stable of their childhood trio when high school came around. The idea had he was able to move forward since, comforted Maggie in the way that maybe her fellow Smithbrook alums hadn't turn out so bad after all. If Jude had become this put together looking person, who knows what everyone else had become. Which made Maggie think of Anne. She reached down to her lap for her phone and began typing.

Anne Preacher: Hi Anne, it's Maggie Kenneth. I'm with Jude right know, he gave me your number. We should try and meet up sometime while we are both still in town.

Sure it was bold to ask, but where as Maggie could kind of shift the blame to Jude for their separation, she couldn't help put feel bad for avoiding Anne on more than one occasion during high school. It was more than just different interests that had set the two girls apart.

"Any plans for tonight Jude?" Maggie said standing up and stretching. She's been in the library for quite a while it was probably time to head home. She thought about how she was free tonight and pretty much every night, considering Jude was the first social interaction outside her family since the funeral.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Anne Preacher Character Portrait: Maggie Kenneth Character Portrait: Jude Ahn
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Annie was halfway to the Jefferson house she... thought. She was still a bit hazy about geographical details. She was pretty sure she was about halfway though, when her phone alerted her to a new text. She dug it out of her bag and unlocked the screen, thinking Oliver had finally gotten back to her when she opened her messages.

This... wasn't from Oli.

Maggie.

The sudden reintroduction of Magnolia Kenneth to her life more than stirred up corpses. Was she visiting family, or... of course, she'd been friends with Hannah too. Had Maggie been at the funeral? Anne assumed she must've been, but... she must not have recognized her.

Annie swallowed hard as a wave of guilt rushed through her. She had been past this, past the little girls with brown hair, one undersized with skinned knees and the other far too smart for her own good. Past the play dates, past the tutoring sessions, past the shame and self-conscious fear that had driven Annie away from her friend. But she hadn't expected to forget her face; hadn't expected that one day she could be in the same room as Maggie and not even realize it.

She'd stopped walking, but she didn't know when. She took a few breaths to settle her hands, then began typing.

To: Maggie

Or... was that to informal? It had been a few years... She made a quick change to the saved information, then began again. She should say something non-committal, but not negative.

To: Magnolia
>Sure.

The moment she clicked send, she became nervous that responding with just that one word might be perceived as rude. She should say something else.

To: Magnolia
>Did you have something in mind? I'm free for anything.

Wait, wait, no, that sounded too suggestive. She should send a third message to even it out.

To: Magnolia
>Almost anything. Most things.

This was a mistake. She had made a mistake. It was too late now, so she could only hope not to make herself look like any more of an idiot later. She turned back to her parents' house, then paused and sent one more text.

To: Unsaint Jude
>thank you for your continued contribution
>i always appreciate everything you do all the time forever

She made a mental note to kick Jude the next time she got the chance, then started walking for home. She really needed that shower.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Anne Preacher Character Portrait: Maggie Kenneth Character Portrait: Jude Ahn
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"Alright bye Jude." Maggie spoke giving him a small wave. If she was going to go out tonight she'd need to freshen up a bit, considering she hadn't put make up on her since she arrived home last week. Maggie slid the book she had been reading onto the book return shelf and made her way out the door. Back into the sun again, she strolled down the path towards her home. Maggie was silently hoping she would have the house to herself for a while, it would give her time away from her mother. There seemed to be a tension in the air the past week. Maybe it was her parents stress over considering selling the house, or Maggie coming out to them less then 5 months ago, she wasn't sure, but it was discomforting. If both her parents were gone Maggie could blast music and relax her tight posture, something she hadn't done since high school.

As the young girl made her way up the driveway her phone vibrated softly in her pocket. Maggie's mind instantly remembered Anne, and how she had sent that text to her earlier that day. Before she could get to pulling it out of her pocket the phone vibrated again. Maggie opened the 2 messages reading them quickly. No introduction. No oh hey Maggie! It's been a while! No casual update. Just a straight forward Sure if you pick the time and place... If you want to... If I have to. It was forced play dates and awkward confrontation all over again.

A third text came in. Most things??? What on earth did she have in mind? Maggie entered her house, no one appeared to be home. She climbed the stairs to her room thinking up a response.

To: Anne Preacher
Actually Jude said he was planning something for tonight. Maybe I'll see you there.


To: Jude Ahn
Hey Jude. Send me the details, I will be able to come tonight.


Maggie sent off the two texts and threw her phone onto her bed in frustration heading straight for the shower,

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Anne Preacher Character Portrait: Spence Heath Character Portrait: Maggie Kenneth Character Portrait: Jude Ahn
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This was a mistake. Coming here was a mistake. Parties has too much noise, too many people, too much happening at once, and without her meds she knew she was playing with fire. But she had to do this. She owed it to Jude, to Maggie, to herself to make an appearance, to try and act like a normal college student. Well, dropout, but the point was the same. It was time to put on her game face and convince all of creation that she could still function as a person.

And so here she was, showered and dressed in something approximating clean clothing, sitting in her car on the curb outside. She rubbed at her eyes, then moved her hands out to rub her face instead. She looked at herself in the rear view mirror, hair down, hands over her mouth, and sighed heavily. Then she opened the car door and stepped out.

She could see lights flashing from the windows, could feel the bass pumping even though she stood on the sidewalk twenty feet from the front door. She saw a guy with messy blond hair sitting outside, but no sign of Maggie, Jude or Oliver. Was Oliver even here? Somehow she doubted it, and she'd never replied to Maggie's last text so she doubted Maggie would be actively waiting for her to make an appearance.

Maybe I'll see you there.

"Like yeah, sure, I guess you could come. If you want." Very noncommittal. She tugged at the sleeves of her plain blue hoodie, her eyes moving to the guy outside again. He looked familiar, somehow, though she couldn't quite... wait.

"Spence?" She said his name before she could catch herself, and her reflex was to pretend she hadn't said anything and go inside. Instead she walked over. May as well say hello, right? Even though she hadn't seen him since he started high school. "Spencer Heath, right?" He looked different. She almost hadn't been able to recognize him. Couldn't recognize Maggie though, could you?

"Um. Annie, I mean Anne Preacher." She gestured vaguely to herself. "Do you remember me? I mean it's been a while, and last time I saw you, you were..." ...Shorter.