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Jude Ahn

"Just take your vape and leave."

0 · 408 views · located in Smithbrook

a character in “No One Mourns The Wicked”, as played by ¢σℓ∂

Description

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“My fear was actually the cause of my inability to trust people. Fear of being deceived. Fear of being lied to. My fear of people was stealing from me the freedom of thought.”

RIP To my Youth | The Neighbourhood
Mad Hatter | Melanie Martinez
Catch No Feelings | Drake

Name:
Jude Joong-Ki Ahn
Age:
21
Gender:
Male
Sexuality:
Pansexual || Panromantic
Ethnicity:
East-Asian || South Korean



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"You’re on Earth. There’s no cure for that."

Appearance:
Jude stands at 6 feet tall, his body thin and fingers long and dotted around his knuckles are tiny scars. His hair is dark and messy, often in a state of dishevelment, as if tousled by a constant wind. Thanks to having two dental hygiene professional for parents his teeth are straight and immaculately white, and it's not uncommon for him to grin solely to show them off. Aside from how bright his teeth are his eyes are also considered unusual, his eyelids asymmetrical with the left a smooth monolid while his right eye differs with its defined double lid – and to top it all off there are two small scars lying across his monolid. Currently Jude has two tattoos, one on his left arm of a whale, and the other a ringlet on his right.

Secret:
Failure to commit to a suicide pact.
Ever the leader of misfits and damaged youth Jude is hiding what led to a certain tragedy of December, when a group of four ended their lives together by jumping off of a bridge. Two knew Jude through a psychiatric ward, another knew him through a familiar party scene, and the last met him online - and he had brought them together, forming a group of 'friendship', the five bonding over the similar tumults of their personal lives and chronic suicide ideation. It was him who brought it up first, because it was be better to die together, and they met up, all five in the same place for the first and final time. Yet he couldn't go through with it, and he stood on that bridge after they all had fallen, and ran soon after, hiding the truth with his guilt.


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"Evil has ways of surprising one. Suddenly it turns round and says: ‘You have misunderstood me,’ and perhaps it really is so. Evil transforms itself into your own lips, lets itself be gnawed at by your teeth, and with these new lips—no former ones fitted smoothly to your gums—to your own amazement you utter the words of goodness."

Personality:
No impulse control, blaring, indistinct music, impatience and loud laughter – this is Jude: artificial flavors, smoke machines, pressing down on the accelerator, detox smoothies made to cure hangovers. He’s been enjoying the fast lane since he became a teenager and still has a liking for trouble and fun, and being overtly social he has the tendency to pull people into his world, taking them away on road trips and impromptu basement concerts. Jude smiles wildly and lives freely, following his instincts and selfish desires wherever they take him and being responsible isn’t something he’s known for. He’s prone to disappearing for weeks to embark on a last-minute adventure and can hardly stick to a ‘normal’ job for a few months at a time, and it seems the only reason why he remembers to pay bills at all is because other people are there to remind him that yes, he needs to pay to keep his phone on.

Perhaps it was pressure and the lack of affection growing up that did him in, maybe growing up wealthy made him lazy and indifferent, or it could have been his family’s cold, solemn demeanors that led him to become so abrasive and reactive. All the bad feelings are suppressed with alcohol and dream-like adventures filled with people who do not care about his wellbeing. There’s little motivation within him to live and make a life for himself and he’s not interested in getting a degree or making a family, rather he questions his existence and wanders closer to the edge. To truly trust people is a foreign concept, and he’s detached from others, feeding into the mentality of fending for himself despite always being surrounded by crowds of people, because he can’t hold onto them. To be Jude Ahn is to despise permanence and absolutes, it’s to run towards destruction with open arms and cover up the bruises of existence, so no one ever sees.

Talents:
Music Arrangement & Knowledge
Mixing Drinks (and holding his liquor)
Orchestrating Road Trips
Weaknesses:
Impulsive & Reactive
Suicide Ideation
Academia
Fears:
Dying
Trusting Other People
Imprisonment


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"There is sadness lurking even in gilded palaces, you can’t escape from it anywhere."

History:
He could almost laugh at how stereotypical his family is.

He’s a part of a third generation of immigrants, his grandparents paving the way with their hardships and unwavering strength, and his parents solidifying their place in America with relentless work ethic and pride. The second son of an orthodontist and a dentist Jude grew up as a symbol of envy for his peers – his family’s house was large with a pool, luxury cars parked in the driveway and his cabinets were always stocked with too much liquor for his parents to manage. His parents, David and Crystal Ahn, were pillars in their community with many of the residents visiting their clinic at least once a year for all their oral care, and while his parents were away at work, or at conferences or overseas vacations, Jude learned he could fill his endless free time with the finer things in life, such as not needing to worry about a future he didn’t need to work for and spending his youth drinking and causing trouble, using a credit card to fund parties and trips to the woods or sea.

But if Jude Ahn was infamous for his troublesome deeds, then his older brother Elliot was famous for his unsullied, perfect record. At home he heard enough of it, Elliot was the child that embodied everything his parents wanted; he achieved amazing grades and later graduated as valedictorian, he balanced extracurriculars in the school’s debate team and a youth filled orchestra, and he fled to Harvard as soon as he could. Jude never saw eye-to-eye with Elliot, the older critical and serious, but he was there to remind his parents of their differences – to not expect Jude to be a Harvard student in the first place – and he kept him from tipping over the edge. He wasn’t perfect like his brother, and his parents combated his diagnosis of ADD and dyslexia with long tutoring seasons, heavy medication and lectures, and he was never meant to be a Harvard graduate (he preferred music and art and film) and at least his brother saw that.

Once Elliot left his remaining years in high school met turmoil, he lived loudly and hid himself simultaneously, concealing his fears with drunkenness and intoxicated drives to nowhere. It made no difference if the majority of his company came from people looking for free Adderall, he desperately tried to fill the growing despair in his chest with anything – anyone – he could find, only to greet senior year with an act of submission, a suicide attempt leading to the sterile halls of a psychiatric ward. And that’s where he met people more like himself, people that are both silent and scream so loudly, and they formed a bond over their scars and met two more like them, all five teenagers believing they wanted to descend into nonexistence. If they couldn’t do it alone, then they should be able to die together – at least they wouldn’t be lonely, and that’s what Jude said to them as they held hands at the edge of a bridge, peering down into the mouth of the next world.

They jumped – and he let go, his feet stayed planted on the ground with his heart hammering in his chest, and they fell soundlessly, and he walked away with new demons, regrets and fears. “They’ll haunt me.” He whispered then. “I took the lead but couldn’t follow, I led them to deaths – doesn’t that make me a murderer? Now I’ll be torn apart in death just as I was in life.” The families mourned and he attended no funerals - instead he tried to commit suicide again last summer, going back into the hospital and again into the world - because he knows that someone must have read the IM exchanges of their group chat, someone has to know that there’s another who should be dead with them that isn’t, and he wonders if there’s someone chasing him, ready to take him down to Hell.

So begins...

Jude Ahn's Story

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: Maggie Kenneth Character Portrait: Jude Ahn
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Maggie comfortably found herself a place in the library with a book and a small ice tea from the library's cafe. She crossed one leg over the other and adjusting her glasses slightly, began with the book, instantly isolated from the world and thrown back in time to another world. Her fingers slowly parting each page from the next as she grew deeper and deeper into the novel. The white noise around her seemed to dissipate to nothing as the character's voices filled her head instead. From the corner of her eye though she saw feet and before she could lift her eyes to the person he called out her name. Maggie's eyes flicked up to meet his.

"Jude Ahn?" She said quickly as if pulling the name from a forgotten file cabinet in the back of her brain. Jude had been a childhood friend, a playmate of sorts for her younger years. Seeing him now was like some sort of time warp, they had been so little. What happened? Before she could look back down to her book he was coming around to sit across from her and start up a conversation. She slid a leather bookmark into the book and folded it gently.

"Well, after graduation I moved to Washington D.C. to attend Georgetown University and continue work with the FBI." She set her book down on the coffee table. "It's been a really good couple of years down there, Sophomore year has been really great so far. Thanks to the funeral, I got sometime off the come back." She tucked a piece of hair behind her ear "Nothing's changed!" She laughed genuinely smiling at her childhood friend. Jude had really grown to be an adult, or well look like one, Maggie couldn't say if he acted like one or not. She hadn't talked to him in years.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Maggie Kenneth Character Portrait: Jude Ahn
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Despite what one may say about those with an attention disorder one of his few good traits was his ability to listen to another person speak – he took the words in with stride and paired them with a hazy phantasmagoria, imagining the woman standing in the great halls of a university, her smile curled into her cheeks, bright and true. Jude relaxed into the support of the chair, receding into the habit of curling into himself, pulling his legs off from the ground to rest his heels on the edge of the elevated surface. Languidly, he looped his arms around his legs, his hands weightless around his ankles. His chest felt warm as it ached, and he felt happy for Maggie, and simultaneously envious of her, because it sounded like she had the whole world laid out in front of her fingertips.

He raised his eyebrows, shamelessly impressed – after all, it wasn’t every day one meets a twenty year old working for the FBI, the very fact a testament of how different they came to be. “The FBI? That’s some real X-Files type shit.” Jude smiled into his response, feeling the sensation of monotony fade from the edges of his being, and for the sake of not ruining this interaction right from the get-go he ignored the vibrations from his cell phone, even though part of him immediately felt anxious about looking at the glistening screen.

“You say nothing’s changed but from over here it looks like you changed a lot.” He added, his amiable tone betraying the solemnness of his words. That’s how life is; they grow and cross new thresholds, until hardly anything from their pasts remain. Hannah, the beloved girl they all came to mourn, died young – and Maggie, no longer a child, was working with the government, building a life with her own hands. Jude’s shoulders fell, relaxing somewhat, and he hummed thoughtfully. “Though what’s more interesting is D.C’s zoo. Have you seen the pandas they have there? I bet they’re huge.”

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: Maggie Kenneth Character Portrait: Jude Ahn
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Jude Ahn could certainly make himself comfortable. Maggie thought to herself watching him adjust his seated position. She pondered what he'd been doing all these years. She had barely kept up with him during high school, college would have been an even bigger challenge.

"It's mostly just counter work at this point, with the occasional field trip to the crime scene." Maggie explained folding her hands. She left it at that to spare Jude details of the many sleepless nights and mental break downs that had inhabited her life in recent years. I mean sure it was fun to say but to actually work for the FBI was nothing like any crime show or movie out there. It was hard work, long hours, and not nearly as rewarding as she had imagined it would be in high school. She smiled to him and then he spoke again.

it looks like you've changed a lot.

And the words echoed in her head as her smiled faded quickly and her posture stiffened. I haven't changed, what does Jude Ahn know about me to say I've changed? We haven't spoken since high school... he doesn't have the right to... -her thoughts her cut off by his next sentence concerning pandas.

"No, I haven't been to the zoo in D.C...." Maggie's eye contact was disconnected from his as her phone went of with a soft ding and she turned to it quickly.

Mom: I heard that Anne Preacher is in town this week as well. Make a point to say hi to her Maggie. -Mom

She never understood why her mother felt obligated to sign every text she sent.

"Is Anne in town?" Maggie's eyes flicked up toward Jude quickly.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Maggie Kenneth Character Portrait: Jude Ahn
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Distracted by the noise Maggie’s phone had made he took a moment to check his own messages as well, scanning over Iggy’s response and making a mental reminder to get back to her later to draw up some plans. Plans that included an unhealthy amount of whiskey at the very least – he desperately needed a liquid cure after the trip and subsequent interrogation. Delayed for a moment, Jude looked back up at his childhood friend, processing her question before realizing what she was asking.

“She is. If you don’t already have it, I can give you her number?” He offered, figuring since Anne asked for everyone’s new numbers anyways that she wouldn’t mind if Maggie suddenly sent her a text (although what it could be, he wasn’t sure). Looking back to his phone he scrolled through his contacts until he reached Anne’s number, wondering if the only reason why Maggie had asked about the final piece of their old trio was because of the mystery message. Was speaking to all of them only out of courtesy? The thought of that reality did nothing for him – that’s simply how it was, a person’s life couldn’t include everyone from their past, and everyone drifted away from someone.

When all was said and done they would again leave Smithbrook and return to their new lives, forgetting one another in pursuit of unattainable desires. His thoughts drifted back to the interrogation; of Hannah and the life she must have begun to build, of the investigators whispering of suspects and murder. Had someone actually killed her – and how could anyone take away a person who gave everyone she met a smile? “Hey,” Jude began, thinking back to how Anne was also questioned by the police, beginning to wonder how far their search stretched. Was it possible that anyone was a suspect? “Weird question, but were you questioned by the police when you came here?”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Maggie Kenneth Character Portrait: Jude Ahn
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When Jude revealed he had Anne's number, Maggie handed her phone over to him. She watched him intently, pondering if Jude himself had visited with anyone else who happened to be back in town. When Jude asked about questioning Maggie raised an eyebrow.

"Yes. When I got home they immediately came over. I called my lawyer right away and a few security taps were sent from my works headquarters so I didn't originally have to go in." She explained with a deeply irritated sign. "I did however volunteer to go in later to the station and explain my relationship with Hannah to the detectives on the case... If you could even call it a case, they've got practically nothing right now. I don't think it was really any use going in though. I hadn't spoken to Hannah months prior to her passing..." Maggie rubbed her neck thinking about her deceased classmate. She refused to think farther than the facts about Hannah's death. Anything beyond that hit her heart to deeply and that was something she had been keeping out of her mind since she was given the news back in D.C. Hannah was a good person. A really good person, it was dreadful to think that such a person's life had to be cut so short.

"So where did you go off to after high school Jude? And how's your family?" She pulled her ice tea off the table next to her and took a sip. Looking out the window the sun was shining, the trees were at a stand still with no breeze. Maggie thought about all the summer trips to the library and all the time she had spent reading outside in their well kept garden. Jude had never joined her on those trips, even when they were friends. Perhaps reading in a garden isn't as appealing as ten year old me had thought... She thought, tearing her gaze away from the window and back towards Jude.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Maggie Kenneth Character Portrait: Jude Ahn
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After taking her phone Jude immediately began transferring the number, carefully imputing them to ascertain whether he typed the digits in the right order or not. Nines and fours in particular gave him plenty of grief, as the numbers seemed to morph into different symbols and jump around the lines of text. As always it took him a bit longer to be sure he had typed the right information (having to fix a mistake once or twice), but with Anne’s number now in Maggie’s phone – along with his own – he reached over to give her back the phone, his eyebrows raised as she concluded her experience with the police.

If they were questioning someone like Maggie then it only supported the idea that the police had no leads on the case, and the very thought caused his stomach to sink as trepidation rose. The corners of his mouth curled downwards and he slowly eased back into the support of the chair, his brow furrowed and train of thought reaching a wall – maybe this was outside of his realm of comprehension. "I had a similar experience – well, I wasn't as clever and didn't call any lawyers, but they brought me in too. Same thing happened to Anne." Nonetheless, the feeling of unease wouldn’t leave him, and even as his attention returned to the conversation at hand he felt tension tangle in the center of his chest, right over his heart.

“The family’s good. Elliot’s working for ICBC in Beijing, my parent’s finished remolding the clinic – and they adopted a dog, you know, after I spent my whole life trying to convince them to get one. It’s a papillon named paprika.” He smiled into his recollection; visiting his parents hadn’t been the disaster he had believe it could be, and it had actually been nice to see them, even with his brother living on the other side of the world. “After high school I moved around the east coast a lot to start producing music. Right now I’m working for a smaller label based out of New York City, which has been…good. It’s been fun.” Shifting in his spot, Jude lowered his feet back down to the floor, deciding to leave out any gritty details – after all, right now he was alive, and everything else might as well be irrelevant.

“Oh, I put my number into your phone too, just encase you ever need it.” He added, wondering if the gesture was a little too late – and in a brief moment memories fluttered through his mind, memories of turning down library trips (he was too embarrassed of his dyslexia then, and avoided written words like the plague) and how he instead ran off with kids that started smoking way too early, kids that entered high school with alcohol in their book bags – but he shook the past off by smoothing down the wrinkles in his pants, refusing to indulge in ‘what-ifs’ right now.

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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.

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Character Portrait: Maggie Kenneth Character Portrait: Jude Ahn
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When he watched Maggie stand and wring herself out he realized how restless he was becoming – and maybe it was the espresso he drank earlier, or maybe it was the sheer languid, sleepiness of the library. Nonetheless, Jude remained in the chair, figuring that she was probably going to leave soon and that he wouldn’t mind sitting alone for a minute, especially when considering the off-chance he may run into somebody. “Nothing set in stone, at least.” He responded casually, thinking back to his text to Iggy, and he refereed back to that mental note that told him to contact her. All they needed was people, some drinks, and they would be set for a decent gathering. He thought of bars and backyards, of starting a bonfire and eating s’mores, and it was all so nostalgic and tempting.

Maybe he’ll buy marshmallows later.

“Iggy Ramone is back in town too, and we were kind of talking about getting people together for old times’ sake later.” Jude elucidated, gesturing with his hand in a circular motion, as if he was half-distracted by the little thoughts of detail inside his head. “It won’t be anything wild. Just text me if you decide you want to show up, and I’ll give you the details. I should have the time and place figured out in a couple hours.” Relaxed and confident he finished his explanation with a nod, because despite the idea of having Maggie Keaton over for even a chill hang-out was something surreal (and something that wouldn’t have happened back in high school) he really wouldn’t mind it. After all they were all adults now, or whatever.

Still, he still couldn’t shake that ominous feelings - like there was something dark creeping up behind them, something lingering in their collective peripheral vision, like a blur he couldn't quite make out.

So he bit his bottom lip and exhaled slowly, sighing into a bare smile, deciding to ignore it, for now.

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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.

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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,

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Character Portrait: Spence Heath Character Portrait: Iggy Ramone Character Portrait: Jude Ahn
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IGGY RAMONE




Town || Morning
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      The party was something Iggy knew she shouldn't feel so comfortable with but there were two things Iggy understood, people and dance; at parties, those were the only two things she could guarantee. It gave her comfort, it gave her a buzz; of adrenaline. She could close her eyes and she could still navigate the party, it was instinct to her, second nature. She was standing outside on the door step, reluctant to go inside because she could imagine everything going wrong. These parties were the core of her existence when she got pregnant and before it, it's al she used to know and she didn't want to make her life messy like that again. She'd only stopped regularly smoking weed a few months ago and it'd be inevitable someone would offer her something her, it was what she was famous for in this town; letting loose, being the wild card, the hippie; she'd been a rock star with everything but the band and a part of her, would love to go though all of it again.

      To: Jude
      You here honey? I haven't seen anyone yet and nobody should drink alone at a party right?


      She shook her head a little and took a moment, there was no one outside. The house in front of her seemed to pulse with every bass beat. She looked down at herself, the dark green teal tulle mini skirt was one of her favourites and it gave her confidence, it was edgy, unique and the mauve crop top she'd picked suited it. She sighed, a long, heavy dramatic sigh and then let her hair down from it's ponytail, so it fell in purple crinkles and she went inside.

      To: Spence
      Hey, you said you were coming to the party right? I just got here. You around?


      She knew this party would be challenging in ways for both of them, admittedly different ways for Iggy had never suffered addiction only...possible instability. She could get a drink, meet up with Spence; that was her plan, Spence was safe, she could spend some time with him, keep herself grounded and then when she felt more comfortable, she could find Jude and her friends from the party scene before, it'd be nice.

      It'd be fun.

      It was a party, it'd be good fun, harmless and she wouldn't resort to the fast lane. She would not fuck up anymore. She smiled, laughed at her herself a little and bounced through the house to find the drinks and to get herself something to drink and find someone she could kill time with, she didn't want to be by herself tonight, not even for a moment.


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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.