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Note; This is a closed thread between Neuromancer & myself. We have done a lot of plotting, and we will be doing research as well. You are more than welcome to read along, just don't take anything that you see inside of this thread. We know the rules of the site as well. Happy reading!

A humorous or horrific story or piece of information circulated as though true, especially one purporting to involve someone vaguely related or known to the teller.

One horrible murder. Two completely different people trying to figure out what happened. There's only one truth to the whole thing, and they are in for a wild ride. Everything they thought about the world is now different. Nothing will ever be the same. Will they be able to solve the murder? Or will they end up with more questions than answers?
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ButterflyRoselegendѕ   1y ago

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 [center [b [i Three Weeks Ago.]]]]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 Kennedy let out a small sigh as she looked out the window at the rising sun. She felt her breath catch in her throat and a small smile spread across her face. She reached for her camera on the bedside table, and she opened the sliding door and stepped out on the back steps. She lifted the camera to her eye and started snapping away. She loved the sunrise more than the sunset. She'd always been weird that way, and her family would look at her strangely and wonder where she had gotten in from.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 When she lowered the camera she heard someone sneak up behind her, and tap her on the shoulder. [b "What are you doing awake at this time?"] asked the male behind her. She turned and looked over her shoulder at Xavier and smiled a bit. [#E37789 "Honestly, I couldn't really sleep. You know how I get and I just had to capture the sun rising before it fully does"] she said with a warm smile. Xavier rolled his eyes a bit as he crossed his arms over his chest. [b "You are an odd one"] he said with a small chuckle.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 The black haired female shrugged her shoulders lightly as she turned and watched the sun finish rising. [#E37789 "Shouldn't you be sleeping anyway?"] she asked. The male shook his head lightly as he nudged her with his hip. [b "I just got off work, and I need to unwind. When you didn't answer my text message I kind of got a bit worried"] he admitted. The two acted like a couple, but in reality they were just really good friends. They had grown up together, and were attached at the hip almost.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 [#E37789 "So you knew I would be up at this hour?"] she asked with a teasing note in her voice. Xavier nodded lightly as he reached up and ran a hand though his hair. [b "I knew you would be yes, but you know how I get with you. I worry about you, and I just had to stop by and see if you had coffee made as well"] he admitted. She rolled her eyes as she turned to look at her oldest friend, and a small smirk passed over her lips nodding towards the kitchen, and the two went inside.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 [#E37789 "I do have coffee made, I had a feeling I would be seeing you this morning anyway. So I made sure there was a mug for you on the counter"] she said as she put her camera onto the table. She would get the pictures done later that day. She wanted to take a couple more throughout the day, before she herself had to go into work. She worked until Midnight, while Xavier worked until around Six in the morning. It was a little after six anyway when she looked at the clock.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 The male grinned and kissed her cheek lightly. [b "You are the most amazing best friend!"] he said as he grabbed the mug and filled it up. The two spent a couple of hours talking about their lives, and Kennedy admitted she had her eye on someone she worked with, but had come to find out he was gay. Xavier wrinkled his nose at that. [b "That's always the worst"] he said as he sipped at the coffee. She shrugged her shoulders lightly brushing it off. [#E37789 "It's perfectly fine as well"] she said with a small, sad smile.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 The two spent a little while longer talking, before Xavier finally made his exit. He promised he would call her the moment he got home, and ready for bed. It was a little past eleven at that time, and he was getting more and more sleepy as the time passed. They said their goodbye's, and then Kennedy went about doing her normal, every day things. She went food shopping, stopped at the pack and took a couple more pictures, before heading home to get ready for her shift at Daniel's Bar and Grill. The only job she really enjoyed.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 When she was at the Grill she let herself get lost in her work, letting her mind wander to that morning. Xavier had seemed a bit off, but she had brushed it off. Had he seemed different? She didn't really know, because they spent a lot of time talking about her, and her interests. That's something they never really did. She made a mental note to talk to him later on about it. For the time being she let herself get lost in her work, not knowing that in three weeks time, her whole world was about to change, and get turned upside down.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 [center [b [i Present Day.]]]]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 [#E37789 [i Xavier, why haven't you been answering my calls, or text messages? I'm getting really worried about you. People have been saying you haven't been at work the last couple of days either. Did you get into some trouble? Do I need to come and get you? Please let me know that you are okay, I'm getting really worried about you...]] The woman read the message over a couple of times before sending it. She watched as it finally went through and slid her phone into her back pocket. She was finishing up her morning shift at the bar.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 It's been a good week since she's heard from the male. They would always get together for coffee whenever they got off work, or he would just randomly show up at her place. The last week has been really weird though. She had seen him two weeks ago, and he had looked like death. He wasn't getting much sleep, and she knew he wasn't. She just wanted to make sure he was okay, and knew that calling and texting him over and over wasn't the right way to go about it. Her heart was hammering inside her chest.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 As she was nearing the end of her shift the door opened and a couple of teenagers walked inside and up to the bar. She sighed lightly wishing she had left a little bit early. She plastered on a smile as she made her way over to them. [#E37789 "Welcome to Daniel's, what can I get you?"] she asked them. The two teen boys looked towards her and rolled their eyes, while the female smacked them both upside the head. [b "Just some burgers please"] was all she said. Kennedy nodded and put the order in.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 [b "Do you really think something like that could happen here though? There's so many different places that it could have happened. I'm sure the asshole deserved what he got, he was a creep anyway. Covered in tattoo's, always around the woman, people thought they were dating but they really aren't"] the conversation between the teen's sparked her interest. [#E37789 "What are you talking about?"] she asked lightly. The teen girl looked towards her and cocked her head to the side. [b "You haven't heard? There's been a murder in town"] she said lightly.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 [b "Some guy was killed in the worst way possible, we weren't allowed to see it because the cops said we were too young.. It must have been horrible if people were saying he deserved it"] she said lightly. Kennedy's heart was hammering inside of her chest as she looked at the three. [#E37789 "Who was murdered?"] she asked lightly, wishing the feeling in her gut would leave. That's when her boss called out to her, and she looked towards the older male. She excused herself and went over towards him, her hands in her pockets.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 [b [i "Kennedy, you should leave. We just got a phone call, Xavier was killed"]] he said. That's when the woman's heart nearly stopped beating. Was this really happening right now? She bit the inside of her cheek lightly as she took off the apron, and hung it up. She felt like she was living in a dream. This wasn't happening. [b [i "I'm sorry kiddo.."]] the other breathed out. She shook her head as she clocked out and gathered up her things. [#E37789 "He's not dead"] she whispered. She had to tell herself that he wasn't.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 When she was finally able to escape the building she hurried to her car, and slid in behind the wheel. She then peeled out of the parking lot when the car was started, and made her way to Xavier's place. Sure enough there were cop cars, and caution tape around his home. She pulled up to the curb, shut the car off and jumped out. [#E37789 "Let me through!"] she nearly yelled at the cop before her. That's when the male noticed who it was. [b "Let her by"] he said and she rushed past him, and up the steps.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 The cop took her by the shoulders and looked into her eyes. [b "We weren't able to get a hold of his parents, and the only other name we had was yours. What you are about to see will make you sick to your stomach, so please be careful"] he said lightly. Kennedy just shook her head lightly as she slipped out of the man's grip and slipped into the house. People were around and they all looked up towards her. They didn't say anything, and her heart skipped a beat. There was blood everywhere.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 Whenever she turned to look somewhere else, there was new blood splatters. That's when she heard her name. She nodded lightly as she walked into the living room. [#E37789 "I'm Kennedy.."] she breathed out. The woman standing there looked at her, and walked over to her. [b "I'm so sorry about your friend.. We just need you to ID him and make sure this is Xavier"] was all she said. Kennedy was then led into a different part of the house, and the smell hit her nose just then. She nearly doubled over and puked at the smell.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 When she gathered herself together was when she entered the kitchen, and she saw Xavier's head sitting on the kitchen table. His eyes were open wide, and he had a look of fear in his eyes. Her heart dropped into her stomach just then. [#E37789 "Where's the rest of his body?"] she breathed out. [b "Some of his body is in the living room, his legs we found in the basement"] the woman told her. Kennedy's legs went weak and she nearly fell to the floor. The woman had to reach out and catch her.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 [#E37789 "That's... That's him... Xavier..."] she breathed out. The woman nodded and helped get her out of the house. It smelled like death, the blood was enough to make one's stomach turn. She felt like her whole life was turned upside down. She was led back outside, and she let out a blood chilling scream as she fell to the ground and started to sob. The cops around watched her. She wrapped her arms around herself as she curled up into a ball on the grass, the tears streaming down her face. She felt like her whole world came crashing down around her.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 She wanted this nightmare to be just that, a nightmare, but she knew that it wasn't. She had just witnessed something no one should have seen in their whole life. She was surprised that his body was found in three different places of the house. She let out another scream, as she let herself fully break.]]

[right [pic]]
Neuromancer/skeptic   1y ago

[size12 The repetitive sound of a bottom-heavy G-note quickly grew tedious in the small room, before abruptly stopping. Silence quickly filled by an annoyed sigh from none other than the bass' owner, followed by a repetitive tapping of fingers against a black pickguard. The clock on the wall indicated that it was still a whole day left until Jackson had anywhere to be, and with no inspiration to play he itched for something interesting to do. He had already texted his friends; but one was at work, and the other was out of town visiting his girlfriend, both refused to answer his messages. Not even the birds outside were willing to provide a singing distraction, which maybe he should have realised was odd.

He manoeuvred the strap from his shoulder, and the bass onto its stand, before pushing himself off of his bed. It was only as he stood he realised just how stiff and tired his muscles had become, and he reached his hands towards the ceiling to hear the satisfying click of gas bubbles popping along his spine. With the newfound clarity the endorphins brought, he glanced back at the mint green bass; but it truly wasn't the same to play alone in his room on a morning, late night bass solos with the stars as witnesses were more his thing, playing during the day was always more fun when it was the three of them together goofing off.

He reached his foot out to turn off the breaker to the amplifier on his way towards his desk, where he picked up the coffee cup he had abandoned half an hour earlier in favour of loitering on the bed with his bass, and with a wiggle of the mouse to make sure he'd actually shut off the computer, he resolutely left the room—coffee cup in hand—to see if perhaps loitering in the kitchen would bring something inspiring. Even if it was just an excuse to go to the store to buy a single thing they weren't even out of yet. Maybe he'd have to succumb to being the worker who loitered at work even on his days off.

Once in the kitchen he made it halfway to the sink before his phone chimed with a text. Except his saviour from boredom was only one of his coworkers asking if it was his keychain in the lounge—it wasn't. After replying as much, he decided that maybe all he needed was a muffin from Emma's Bakery, and shot off a second message; [i [#046e57 I'll be spying over at Emma’s, don't blow my cover.]] The joke made a flutter of excitement bloom in his stomach, maybe he’d find a pair of sunglasses and confuse whatever poor barista was working.

He didn't make it to Emma’s.

Halfway down the street he saw a cop car whiz past, which peaked his curiosity. However with the sirens off, maybe they were just rushing for doughnuts—the thought made him snort— and couldn’t be arsed to follow the law themselves. Though the idea of something happening, even if just someone fender bending a fire hydrant, was always interesting. Thus, Jackson turned on his heels to head straight back to the house to get his scooter.

While untying his shoes, he got another text, this time from Andrea, asking if he'd heard the news of the murder. [i Murder.] He didn't bother replying before hitting dial.

"The fuck you calling for," Andrea's voice huffed quietly, as if he was being inconvenienced after sharing the news of a [i murder.] [#046e57 "Where?"] Jackson interrupted, not letting the other man finish whatever he was going to say. But, as could be expected, Andrea hung up without replying. Though before he could be discouraged another text came in, mentioning that the cops had turned left from the other’s workplace.

Phone replaced in his jacket rather than his back pocket, Jackson put on his helmet, and sped off a solid six miles above the speed limit down the street that would lead to the left side of Andrea’s work. Only slowing down on the same left turn the cops had taken to give himself enough time to glance down all the side streets. With every empty street he felt his heart start beating faster, mind trying to compartmentalise the fact that there was a murder in town. He felt his phone vibrate in his pocket, but didn’t stop, he’d call them back later.

Jackson didn’t even have time to look down the next street when a scream cut through the noise of the engine, and he instinctually slowed down. Used the soles of his shoes to keep balance at the abruptness at which the engine cut out. For a moment he just stood, frozen. It was as though the scream itself finally made his mind realise that someone was [i murdered.] it wasn’t teenagers skinny dipping in the school pool, or a thriller film with actors. Someone who he might have served coffee, was dead just down he street. [#046e57 "Holy shit…"]

Another scream cut through the air, and Jackson finally turned his head down the street, and there were so many cars. He scooted the scooter towards the nearest wall, leaving it there as he ran the rest of the way towards the house. A part of him was still curious and nosy, but there was a nagging feeling that it was wrong to be curious at the thought of the screams. Someone was mourning, someone had lost someone that mattered to them.

As he neared he caught eyes of a person curled up into a ball on the grass, sobbing, and slowed his steps. He glanced towards the nearest cop, who he recognised from a scolding some months ago, and decided against asking what was going on. Instead he made his way towards the grass, couching down, what the hell did you even say to someone who lost someone to murder? He glanced towards the door, then back at the grass, then at the cops. Then, using the voice he used for whenever they had elderly people at the counter who were confused about the menu, he spoke. Slowly enunciating his consonants, words spoken almost softly.

[#046e57 [b "Hey, hey, let it all out, you’re safe. We’ve got you."]]]
ButterflyRoselegendѕ   1y ago

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 The emotions that the female was feeling, was tearing her heart apart. This couldn't be happening, Xavier couldn't be dead. Yet she had seen his severed head sitting on the kitchen table, the look of fear in his dead eyes was enough to send someone over the edge. That's when a man's voice broke though the thoughts, the pain, the tears everything. She felt the male beside her, and she slowly lifted her head to look at him, and she shook her head lightly. [#E37789 "Safe? There's no such thing as safe anymore"] she nearly sobbed out.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 She knew that the male was trying to help her, and she wasn't meaning to be a bitch about it. She just walked into a horror movie pretty much. Seeing her best friend like that was really eating at her. She knew she was going to have nightmares after this. She looked back down at the grass as the tears kept on falling. The woman from inside walked over and touched Jackson on the shoulder, and nodded towards the front door. [b "Can I speak to you a moment?"] she asked the male. She then moved towards the front door.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 When they were out of earshot of Kennedy she slipped her hands into the back pockets of her jeans. [b "My name is Olivia Rose. I'm the woman that your friend over there talked too. She gave a positive ID, and I honestly feeling she shouldn't be here any longer than she has to be. We are needing to take the man's body out of the house, and having her here is making things a bit harder. I don't want her seeing any more of the nightmare she's already seen"] she said lightly, her light blue eyes moving to the woman on the ground.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 [b "Is there anyway you can somehow get her to come to the station in the next couple of days? There's a lot we need to cover, and she seems to be really close to the victim. Just take her home, get her into bed, and help her relax a bit as well. Have her give me a call when she's ready to come and talk to myself, or anyone at the station. Everyone will be filled in about what happened"] she said as she handed the male her card.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 She then moved over to where Kennedy was, and she touched her shoulder lightly. [b "Your boyfriend, or whatever he is, will be giving you my card. I'll let him explain what I asked of him. I know it's nothing good to hear, but I'm sorry"] she said lightly. Kennedy turned chocolate brown eyes to the woman before her. She then reached up and brushed the tears off her cheeks. [#E37789 "He's not my boyfriend.. I honestly don't know who he is.."] she admitted. That seemed to take Olivia back a little bit and she nodded lightly.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 [b "Well you are in good hands though. Also if you can stand and make your way to your car, that would be wonderful. We are needing to bring the body out.."] she said in a low voice. Kennedy shook her head lightly as fresh tears stared to fall once more. She wasn't about to leave right now. [#E37789 "Go ahead and bring him out.. Do what you need to do.."] she said lightly. Olivia sighed knowing it would be pointless to try and talk her into leaving. She stood and gave the okay for the men to come out.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 Kennedy on the other hand turned her eyes towards the front door. Watching as three different bags were carried out, tore her heart into pieces. She was pretty much watching her best friend being carried out in body bags. She wanted to scream, yell, curse the people that did this. Who in their right mind would have done this in the first place. She then decided right then and there, she would find the person that tore Xavier from her. Even if she had to do it alone, she would make sure to find them.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 When the other's were out the door, she slowly pushed herself to shaking legs, and she stood there a moment. Her eyes red from the crying, her heart pounding inside of her chest. Her eyes found Jackson, and she slowly made her way over to him. [#E37789 "Whatever that woman said to you, please don't tell me right now.. I can't handle anymore.."] she said in a soft tone. She nearly fell to the ground, and she had to lower herself to the steps beside her. When she was sitting down, she put her head into her hands.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 [#E37789 "I know you are trying to help, and I thank you for that..."] she said lightly. She wanted to cry again, but she didn't know if she could muster up the tears. She knew she needed to get home, but she was in no state of mind to even think about driving, let alone walk home. She sat there her head in her hands, trying to wake up from this nightmare she was now living in.]]
Neuromancer/skeptic   1y ago

[size12 Sympathy settled like a rock in his abdomen as the woman lifted her head to look at him, her entire face filled with grief, eyes red rimmed with tears. Something about her face was familiar, but the thought scattered as she shook her head, and sobbed that there was no such thing as safe. He glanced towards the door again, before turning back to her. Trying to find better words even as dread started crawl its way up his throat—had she known this would happen? Had someone threatened her and whoever was in that house? Was it like the serial killer films where there was writing on the wall hinting a pattern?

Before he could puzzle together this thoughts, a hand landed on his shoulder, and he turned to find one of the cops next to him. She asked to speak with him, before moving towards the front door. With one glance at the woman, who had once again glanced down at the grass, he made his way to follow the cop.

The closer he got to the door, the more the curiosity started to creep back with its treacherous morbidity, mixing with the dread and sympathy in an almost surreal emotional swirl. The cop, Olivia, started to speak, and Jackson forced his eyes away from the door to look at her. Nightmare. She called the scene a nightmare. His eyes flitted to the door then back to the woman, focusing on her light blue eyes to stop himself from trying to peer into the house. She spoke of getting the woman away from the scene, asked him if he could make sure she got to the station later, called her a [i friend]. But he didn't want to confess that he was just a stranger and leave her all alone, so he nodded, took the card, and promised, [#046e57 "Yeah, I can do that. Don't worry."]

Olivia then moved back over to the woman on the grass, but Jackson stayed put by the door, glancing down at the card; turning it over in his hand, worrying a corner until it softened. He wondered how she'd come to the scene, if she had a car it would probably be better for her to take that instead of try to get her to ride on his scooter. His mind felt sluggish, as if it still hadn't caught up to the dissonance between the morbid curiosity over a murder in town, and the heartbreaking reality of human suffering that met him when he arrived.

[#046e57 [i 'I’ll just go back to—']] he realised then that he didn't even know her name, but he realised that that was good. Olivia had mentioned she needed to get away from the nightmare, [#046e57 [i 'I’ll ask her name, ask if she has a car, small talk.']] he thought as he started making his way back towards the woman. Knowing that he could sate the curiosity later, the gossip mill probably wouldn’t stop talking about the murder for weeks to come.

Men started to come out the door, then, and Jackson stopped to turn and look at them and their three bags. Had there been three victims? Body parts? He clutched the card in his hand and put it in his pocket jacket pocket, before he turned away resolutely to focus on his task—but the woman was also staring at the bags, or rather, the person she knew was in them.

Then, they were gone, and she turned her eyes to him, and made her way over. Her voice was soft as she asked not to hear what Olivia had said right away, and the sympathy over-voiced the rest of his curiosity. He watched as she lowered herself to the stairs before continuing to speak. He glanced around the area again, seeing a car amongst the cop cars, before carefully holding his hand out to her.

[#046e57 "Hey, we don't have to talk. Let's just get you home, can’t stay here."] he nodded towards the car he had noticed before, [#046e57 "Is that your car over there? Probably shouldn't drive, just gimme me the keys and I will drive you home, okay?"]

A star dangles from the keys the woman handed him, but Jackson’s more fascinated by the pink bear; the way the soft fabric brushes against his fingers as he beelined for the car, only remembering at the last second to be polite and open the passenger door before rounding to the driver’s side. The unfamiliar interior, the scent of someone else’s space, and the wheel under his fingers all anchor him to the reality of the situation. He tries to decipher the text on the star as he turns the ignition. Then asked for the address as the engine rumbled to life. He clenched, and unclenched, his hands against the steering wheel while plotting a route in his head. Thankfully he knew of the cul-de-sacs neighbourhood she mentioned, and with a last glance at the woman beside him, he backed the car away from the scene.

The ride was silent, the focus of making sure not to drive like an awkward teenager who just got their licence keeping Jackson’s mind on the road rather than the scene they left behind. It was only when he got close enough to the address to see the kids that always seemed to plague cul-de-sacs that he spoke up again, [#046e57 "Do you have stuff for hot cocoa, I could make you some if you want?"]]
ButterflyRoselegendѕ   1y ago

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 Everything seemed to be moving in slow motion. Her head was starting to pound, and she only realized the man talking to her, was telling her he would take her home. That was kind of him. She couldn't really focus on anything else. She slowly got to her feet and moved towards the car. She was kind of surprised when the male opened the passenger side door for her, that was a first. No one has ever done that for her. It melted her heart a little bit. She then tucked herself in the passenger seat.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 She never let anyone drive her car, because of the last time she had trusted anyone. She shook the memories aside as the male asked for her address. She told him the address, what to look for with the house, and a small warning about the children around her home. She put her seatbelt on as she looked out the window. The tears were still slowly falling, but this time the sobs were so loud, and painful. She still felt like her heart was ripped out. Was this really happening right now? She just wanted to wake up from this hell.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 She didn't realize she was so wrapped up in her thoughts until she heard the male speaking of hot chocolate. She blinked a couple of times and realized they were parked in her driveway. She looked towards the male in the driver's seat and nodded a little bit. [#E37789 "I do. It's in one of the cupboards near the fridge.. My house key is the small sparkly pink one"] she said lightly. She slowly unbuckled her seatbelt and opened the door slowly. She then remembered about the garage. She then paused what she was doing to speak again.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 [#E37789 "The garage clicker is on the visor above you, you are welcome to park the car in the garage. The garage door is open as well, that's the only door I keep unlocked because of parking in the garage"] she said softly. She didn't know why she was telling this stranger that, but she didn't care at the point. She didn't know why she trusted him, but she did. She slowly climbed out of the car and shut the door behind her. She made her way to the mailbox at the end of the driveway.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 She pulled the contents out like normal, and then made her way back towards the house. She waited until the male had pulled into the garage before she walked inside herself. She opened the door and stepped inside. She walked over to the counter, set the mail on top of it, and went on the hunt for the hot chocolate. She found it and set it out for the male. She then pointed out the tea kettle on the stove top. [#E37789 "I'm going to change and I'll be right back.."] she said softly.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 She made her way to her room and shut the door. She felt the tears start to well up in her eyes once more. Her breathing was getting shorter, and she wanted to scream. She would break down again when she was alone. Right now she had company, and she had to try to gather herself. She found her red and black checkered pajama bottoms and a white t-shirt. She then changed out of her clothes, threw them into the hamper and changed into the pajama's. She took her time though, not really knowing what else to do.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 When she was done she went back into the kitchen and sat on one of the barstool's there. [#E37789 "Thank you for bringing me home.. That was really kind of you, you didn't have too though"] she said as she looked down at the counter top. That's when she realized she didn't know the man's name, and he didn't know her's. She slowly looked up towards him [#E37789 "My name's Kennedy by the way.. Again thank you for helping me"] she said in a soft voice. She knew she looked horrible, but she was glad she didn't have to be alone for the time being.]]
Neuromancer/skeptic   1y ago

[size12 Jackson wondered, as he waited for the woman to turn to answer him, if ignoring her crying was really the right thing to do. He reminded himself that she had said she didn't want to talk more about it, surely that involved the crying, there wasn't really a way to bring up the sobs and tears without bringing up what happened. When she spoke; explained where supplies were and which key went to the house, he settled that it was probably the best response he had at the moment—act like they're just buddies making hot chocolate, maybe put on a film if she couldn't sleep, act like she was mourning a breakup and not a murder.

His eyes glanced back to the keys as he heard her unbuckle her belt, finding the pink one with the sparkles easily. He couldn't help but wonder, as his eyes drifted to the clicker she mentioned, if her voice was always that light and soft, or if it was the emotional exhaustion speaking. He gave a nod again, trying to match her soft cadence as he let out an affirmative [#046e57 ‘sure thing’]. He waited until she closed the door before he pressed the clicker, and backed out of the driveway in order to back into the garage for easier exit.

There was a sense of finality to the engine cutting out, and Jackson filled the silence by jiggling the keys slightly in his hand, singling out the pink one he'd found earlier. With a deep inhale, and a nod to himself, he unbuckled himself, and stepped out of the car. He leaned in to hit the clicker again, before exiting and locking the car, and quickly jogging over towards the woman.

Curiosity had him glancing at the interior of the house briefly before politely toeing off his shoes by the door, following her towards the kitchen. She had already opened the cupboard she mentioned in the car, so Jackson took to standing a few steps away from her while guessing to himself where she might keep the cups. His curiosity peaked again as she pointed out the kettle and said she'd leave to change and come back, before leaving him alone in the kitchen.

Jackson stayed frozen, listening to her footsteps, until he heard a door close. Then, after putting the keys next to the mail, off he went: Filling the kettle with water and turning on the stove before going on a hunt of cups. He opened the cupboards one by one from the fridge until he found them—putting two on the counter—and then one more cupboard out of curiosity. He could almost imagine his father's stern warning about how being nosy was not polite, and forced himself to step away.

He moved instead to wait for the kettle to start whistling, allowing it a bit of hollering so the woman knew it was ready, before taking it off the heat, and preparing the cocoa for them. With that done he once again returned to glancing around the room, peaking at the top letter in the pile on the counter, before forcing himself to look at the wall instead. She had already had to put trust in him to let him driver her here, and leave him alone in her space, it was cruel to take advantage of that to sate his own curiosity.

By the time she returned, he had adequately distracted himself by tapping out the baselines to whatever song popped in his head, although he quieted down quickly at the sound of her footsteps. He watched as she sat on one of the barstools, before grabbing the two cups. He put himself on one of the other barstools, face twisting into a brief frown as she thanked him with her gaze to the counter top. He couldn't say that Olivia the cop had made him do it, not only was it rude but also wrong, because he knew he would have done it even without being told. Then her eyes met his again, and he realised as she said her name that he hadn't known it. They'd made it all the way here without knowing each others names. [i Kennedy,] he repeated it in his head. It suited her.

The hot cocoa, introductions, and sitting on barstools in an unfamiliar kitchen—her looking worse for wear, and him still felt torn between sympathy and curiosity, made the situation feel lighter. Gratitude and names was something he was familiar with, and he felt some of his usual self peaking through as the left corner of his lip tugged up all on its own, as he held out the hot cocoa in place of a handshake.

[#046e57 "Jackson, and I couldn't just leave a damsel in distress could I?"] his chuckle felt too thin, voice too high, and he forced himself to relax and added, more sincere. [#046e57 "You shouldn't have to be alone right now."] he briefly wondered if he was reminding her of what happened, eyes straying to his cup, [#046e57 "Tell me if it's enough cocoa, yeah?"] this time the lightness didn’t feel too thin.

[#046e57 “And if you want,”] he tacked on, like an extended olive branch, as he glanced back up at Kennedy, [#046e57 "we could put on a movie, if you don't wanna to sit here and talk—"] another thought crosses his mind, [#046e57 "unless you want to play cards, I'm pretty stellar at UNO."]]
ButterflyRoselegendѕ   1y ago

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 The female was surprised at how quickly she had trusted the male beside her. When he handed her, her mug and spoke his name her eyes found his, and she felt a small blush creep up on her cheeks. No one had ever called her a [i damsel] before, and it kind of made her heart flutter a bit. [#E37789 "I suppose you couldn't. I'm glad you didn't though"] she said with a small smile tugging on the corner's of her lips. She meant it too. She was glad for the company, and she didn't feel so alone at the moment.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 [#E37789 "It's a pleasure meeting you Jackson"] she said once more, her mood lightening a little bit each time she heard his voice. She lifted the mug to her lips and took a sip. It was still pretty hot, but it was amazing at the same time. He had put in the right amount of mixture as well. [#E37789 "It's perfect. Not too much, and not too little either"] she said as she took another sip. That's when he mentioned turning on a movie, and she didn't know if she wanted that kind of silence.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 He then kept on and spoke about UNO and she seemed to perk up a little bit more. She placed the mug down onto the counter top and slipped out of the kitchen and to the hallway. She had more than one version of the game, and she knew it would have been pointless, but at least they could choose what version they wanted. When she came back she placed three different types down. One was the original version, another one was the Harry Potter version, and the third was UNO Flip.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 She then placed herself onto the stool once more. [#E37789 "Don't judge me, but I like to collect UNO games, and I love seeing all the different types there are out there. So you are more than welcome to choose which one to play. The Harry Potter version I haven't played in years, and the UNO Flip is pretty new still. I haven't really played that one either. So you are more than welcome to decide on which version you are comfortable with"] she said with a small glint in her eyes, as she reached for her mug once more and took a longer sip.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 She was the type of person who would pretty much cheat to win. When it came to UNO though, she was always saving the best cards in her hand until the very end. The thought of the movie would be perfect too, but that would be later on. She then looked away from the male beside her. She had to admit he was handsome, and someone she could see herself sitting and having a really deep conversation with, but right now she needed something light, and the game would be just enough distraction for her.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 [#E37789 "You are more than welcome to ask me anything as well. I know you and I are pretty much strangers, so please don't be scared to ask me anything. If I don't feel comfortable with answering, I'll make sure to let you know"] she spoke softly. She was slowly starting to become more animated, and more herself. It was kind of nice to have such a calming feeling right then. Even though her whole world was crashing down around her, at least she had something small to make her feel slightly normal about.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 That, and she was somewhat looking forward to getting to know the handsome man beside her. She just hoped that she wouldn't overstep a line. For now though, she would let him ask the questions while she worked on a small list of her own.]]
Neuromancer/skeptic   1y ago

[size12 Jackson watched as Kennedy put her mug down, and felt sunlight dawn in his chest as he watched her slip out of the kitchen. He found himself leaning sideways on the barstool trying to see where she was going, hoping that she was going to a game cabinet. There was a small nag of guilt in the back of his head; while distraction was the purpose, was being happy about cards appropriate? He didn’t have time to ponder long, as she returned, holding not one but three decks of UNO.

He recognised a young Daniel Radcliffe on one of the covers, but immediately ignored the round glasses as he spotted purple and cyan; UNO Flip. He’d tried to convince Andrea to try it with him, but the other man was a spoilsport who hadn’t wanted to play UNO since he lost horribly on his birthday two years ago. Finally being able to play it, with a fellow enthusiast no less, had the corner of his mouth tug at his cheek again, all thoughts of inappropriate happiness gone.

Kennedy started talking, and it took a few seconds for Jackson to quiet his excitement enough to listen. If they had met under better circumstances he would have made a joke about soulmates; because the glint in her eyes as she talked about what seemed to be their mutual favourite card game felt like truly seeing her—not as the crying woman in the grass she had been earlier, but as a beautiful stranger with a soft voice and a glint in her eyes.

[#046e57 “Only if you don’t judge me for still using a busted up childhood deck that reeks of mildew.”] He says instead, [#046e57 “And I’m going Flip, wanted to try that one for ages.”]

He finally took a sip of his own cocoa, finding it still a little too warm for his personal taste, but the heat was a welcome comfort with everything going on; mellowing out the excitement he felt about Kennedy collecting UNO games into a more reasonable level for someone meant to comfort someone else. Although his lips didn’t quite get the message, seemingly stuck in a small smile.

His eyes strayed back to Kennedy, then the decks on the table; scooting the UNO flip closer to himself with his middle finger before picking it up. [#046e57 “And since I got to pick the deck, you get to start.”] His hands were more delicate as he opened the pack in order to extract the rules, listening as she opened up for questions while also putting down boundaries. The words had him looking at her again, hands stopping briefly as he calculated a good first question, wanting something funny to let her know her comfort was a priority of his—despite the fact that a curiosity started to bubble in his mind, because she looked to be his age, so if she hadn’t moved in surely they must have gone to school together. And where did she work, cause there was no way she could have been at the café and him just not noticing her, right? He wonders who the person that died was, and quickly brushes it off.

[#046e57 “What’s your favourite number,”] he makes sure to drag out the ‘what’s’ in a way to make it seem he was pondering in order to make it clear it was lighthearted, before adding a little more sincerely. [#046e57 “between one and nine?”]

Sticking to the theme of UNO seemed the safest option, in Jackson’s mind. He slipped out the rules finally, and put them on the counter before gently shaking out the cards into his right hand to begin an overhand shuffle, careful to not damage the cards that did not belong to him, [#046e57 “got any house rules, Kennedy?”]
ButterflyRoselegendѕ   1y ago

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 Seeing how the male seemed to light up when she brought out the cards made her heart flutter a little bit. Had she really [i finally] come across someone who's into this game like she was? She didn't know many people who were into UNO like she had been. She loved the game as a child, and when she had gotten older she had come across so many other version's of it. When he took the deck she nodded lightly as she watched him start to shuffle the cards. She didn't even know what the rules of this game were either.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 In a way she was glad he had the rules by him, so she made a mental note to ask about them along the way. When he asked her favorite number between one and nine, she rested her elbows on the counter top. [#E37789 "I would have to say seven"] she said lightly her eyes never leaving his fingers, and watching the way he shuffled the cards. He then asked her if she had any house rules, and that made her pause a moment longer. God how long has it been since someone asked that question?]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 [#E37789 "There's a at least two that I can think of, off the top of my head. We can place a draw two card on top of each other, which turns it into a draw four for the next person. Also when a seven card is placed on top of each other we can take the other's hand and keep that one. When I was younger daddy would always do that, and would always end up picking my hand each time"] she said with a small smile at the memory. Sometimes she missed that old man.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 She then realized it was her turn to ask him a question. She reached for her mug once more and lifted it to her lips again, and let the liquid linger a moment before setting it back down. She kept her fingers wrapped around the warm mug as a sudden chill went down her spine. She felt like someone was standing right behind her watching her. She knew it wasn't real, but the feeling was enough to make her shudder. She sat there trying to figure out what to even ask the male, without getting too personal.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 [#E37789 "How old are you?"] she asked lightly. Might as well get that one out of the way. He didn't look that much older than herself, and she had a feeling she had seen him before. She just couldn't think of where. She wondered if they had been in school together. Or she had just seen him in passing. Whatever the reason was, she was curious as to how much older he was than her. She unwrapped her fingers from around the mug and slid the rule's towards her. She then started reading them silently.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 [#E37789 "This is going to be an interesting game.."] she breathed out. It was going to be really interesting to say the least. She was still swooning over the fact he loved UNO as much as she did. She then looked up towards the male catching his eye, a small smile tugging on the corner of her lips. [#E37789 "I feel like you and I are going to get along just fine"] she said as her smile grew a little more. It was nice to have the company, and she felt really calm with the male around. She didn't feel so alone.]]
Neuromancer/skeptic   1y ago

[size12 Hearing how easily Kennedy picked a number had the smile on Jackson's lips tug crocked for a moment, as he repeated it in his head. There was a pause as she mulled over the house rules, which had Jackson glance up briefly, catching her eyes on the deck, he briefly considered making a joke; 'Don't worry, I'll treat them like my own children.'—but dug a canine into the inside of this bottom lip, and glanced back at the cards; spotting a corner with a distinct plus but instead of a two there was a five briefly before it disappeared in the motion of more cards. Maybe she was just looking at the colours, he reasoned with himself, although the reason for keeping his mouth shut had less to do with not wanting to assume, and everything to do with a fleeting memory of Thomas telling him to stop teasing the pretty girls.

Thankfully he didn't need to start counting to four to get his head in the game, as Kennedy provided two sets of house rules—and glorious ones at that. Sending a draw two forward and adding onto it, the idea of that rule if they both had several of them on hand was enough to make the excitement he had tried to calm bubble back to the surface. A draw four was always victorious, but watching the tension rise as it goes to draw six, maybe even draw eight? [#046e57 "Only once for the draw twos? I could go with seeing your face having to draw eight—think I saw a draw five, [i fifteen] would be brutal."] laughter bubbled up, like the crackle of a pasta pot simmering over; a barely audible huff of air expelled from his mouth, but his smile is wide enough to make it an unmistakable laugh. [#046e57 "And switch hands? I'm game for that, sounds fun."]

And it did, he was sure now that Kennedy was indeed a fellow enthusiast, and he couldn't wait to see how she'd react to losing a round, did she laugh in joy when she won? He glanced over at her as she drank some more hot chocolate, finding himself slowing his shuffle. The deck was probably ready, but it felt nice to have something to do with his hands, he didn't want to reach for his own hot chocolate again just yet, even though mimicking Kennedy was tempting.

Then she asked how old he was, and he was glad, it meant he could ask her if they'd gone to school together. [#046e57 "Twenty-five."] He put the deck down on the table, lifting up a smaller stack of it to deal out their seven cards. It hit him then, as he grabbed his cards to sort them by colour in his hand, that they would see each others cards. Now the dark side was visible, and with good memory, once they flipped they would be able to see the other side and memorise. He pushed the thought away, tension was always more fun than calculated strategy anyway, and glanced back at Kennedy with the rules in her hands, watching her face as her eyes trailed the words on the page. Then their eyes met, and something about the way she said they'd get along just fine had the safe huff of a laugh bubble up again, and he gave her a wide smile back, [#046e57 "So do I."]

[#046e57 "Now,"] he draws it out again, can't quite help himself, as he put a green two in it's place need the crock of his thumb [#046e57 "you didn't happen to go to the local high school, did you?"]
ButterflyRoselegendѕ   1y ago

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 The idea of having to draw fifteen cards did bring a smile to the woman's lips. This was going to turn into a really interesting game and fast. If they ever had other's around, it would be even more interesting to see a group of people trying not to be the one to draw all the cards. A small laugh passed though her lips. [#E37789 "Honestly I have a feeling you'll be the one having to draw that many cards"] she said with a small twinkle in her eye. She was always one to get into a game.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 Her compitive side was already coming out, and she was trying her hardest to make it so it wouldn't show. She didn't want to scare the poor male off quite yet. She was already enjoying his company, and she didn't want that to end. When he was done handing out the cards, she slipped her own deck towards her and picked it up. She could clearly see the black sides of the card's, and her mind raced. It would be interesting when they got so into the game, they would have to flip the card's around so they would see the other side.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 Her eyes moved to her card's in hand, and started putting them with the right color's, and the right number's as well. She already had an interesting card in hand, and she didn't even know how it was played. Or when to even play it. It was one of the flip card's already. She would take her time on that one, and memorize the back of his card's for a couple of turns, before laying that one down. It would have to go for her as well, but she would be okay with it.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 When he said how old her was, she lifted her head and looked towards him. He was the same age as she was? Now that was really strange. She never met anyone the same age as her. When he asked if she had gone to the local high school she nodded a bit. [#E37789 "Yes I did. I went to Ravenwood High. Did you happen to go there as well?"] she asked lightly. If he did, then she would understand that small feeling of knowing him from somewhere for sure.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 [#E37789 "I'm also twenty-five too if that'll help"] she said with a small smile. It was interesting to find out these little small tidbits about the male. She wondered why if they had gone to the same high school, why they didn't run into each other. Then agian she had been more into cheerleading than anything, but she would have seen him in the halls, or in some of her classes. At least that's what she thought would have been the case. She chewed her lower lip just then, trying not to bombard him with more questions.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 She had already asked her's when she had told him what school she had gone too. She turned her attention back to her card's just then, trying to keep her attention else where. She was curious to know more about him. She was glad they had the game to focus on as well, but at the moment she wanted to forget about the game, and just talk. Maybe when they got a couple of rounds in, they could call it a night with the game and just talk without any other distraction's.]]
Neuromancer/skeptic   1y ago

[size12 [#046e57 [i ‘Was them fighting words?’]] he wondered, as Kennedy mentioned having a feeling he’d be the one to draw. He pocketed them safely in his mind, in the case she was wrong, and could already taste the ‘you were saying?’ on his tongue. He knew some would say the polite thing would be to let someone struggling win to make them feel better; but he’d never understood the point in letting people win, not small kids, and definitely not fellow adults. Not to mention he was sure as a fellow UNO lover Kennedy wouldn’t want him to let her win anyway, false victory was never sweet.

Although some parts of his competitiveness was dampened by curiosity as Kennedy confessed that she had indeed gone to the same high school as him, and not only that, they were the same age. He found himself jesting by squinting and tilting his head at her, trying to see if he remembered that face from the halls.

[#046e57 “I did,”] he started, [#046e57 “I can’t believe we missed each other.”] He confesses, because he must have seen her. He could remember a lot of the people in the hallways, but Kennedy’s face was so far in the outskirts of his mind that he might have just maybe seen her in town. [#046e57 “Did you study in the library every break, or something?”] His tone was light, hoping it didn't sound judgemental. It was then, as he thought of places in school they could have met, that he realised that while he didn’t remember her, she would surely remember him—although not by name.

Feeling his smile grow toothy as the laughter almost bubbled up again, he found himself leaning forward to share, while technically a second question, he pushed the thought aside as it could be considered rhetorical. [#046e57 “Actually, you might have heard of me. Do you remember, in junior year: They gave us all a big scolding cause someone broke into the outdoor swimming pool? [i That was me.]”]

He remembered how his own teacher had held a whole speech about respect for school property, they’d even made a blurb about it in the school paper; the mere memory of Andrea’s passive aggressive announcement of it enough to make Jackson bring his hand with the cards up to cover his mouth as he pressed his lips together to suppress the laugh. It had been one of the few times he’d gotten in trouble for his trespassing, albeit only in technicality, and it was still the fondest memory he had of high school. It felt bizarre to know that Kennedy had heard a similar speech, had existed in those halls at the same time. Had gone to school that same morning just like he had. He couldn’t help but wonder what she’d thought at the time; had she rolled her eyes at whoever was childish enough to do it, had she been impressed by the mystery. Jackson couldn’t rightly say why he wanted her to be impressed, but he knew it was not the time, and moved the cards back where he could see them, to focus on trying to figure out which order to play some of his cards depending on Kennedy's play. He had a green skip, and his mind immediately supplied that a part of him wanted to skip right to more questions. But he’d already broken the ping pong back and forth, rhetorical or not—and he did very much want to prove her wrong and win the whole game after her comment about him being the one to draw fifteen cards.]
ButterflyRoselegendѕ   1y ago

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 The woman was getting slightly off track. She was surprised they had walked the same halls together. Did they have a lot of classes together? Or was she too busy with her own social life that she hadn't really realized who he was? That was when he asked if she studied in the library and she rolled her eyes at the question. [#E37789 "I sure was. I guess you could have said I was the good two shoes, the whole time we were in high school. I was also the head cheerleader as well, so I was always at practice"]]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 [#E37789 "Or at away games a lot of the time. Not the best memories honestly"] she said with a small shudder. There had been times she hated being on the cheerleading team, because of the way the football players would look her up and down. One of the guys on their home team tried to get her into bed with him. He had even threatened her that if she didn't at least give him a hand job, he would tell the whole school she was the biggest slut in town, and that would have ruined her for sure.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 So in a way she had to do what he wanted, because she didn't want some stupid rumor to ruin her name. She didn't want to fall face first, and end up being a low life like everyone else in her life had been. She was all of a sudden brought out of her thought's when he mentioned junior year, and she broke out into a fit of giggles. [#E37789 "That was [i you]? I seriously thought it was some stupid sophomore trying to make a name for themselves"] she said with another fit of giggles.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 [#E37789 "Everyone was so pissed off because the pool was closed. It made the paper for sure, and a lot of the students were trying to figure out who the real culprit was. In all honesty, I'm jealous. A bunch of us girls had been planning something like that, but not as bad as you did"] she said breaking into another fit of giggles. It felt good to laugh. She hadn't laughed like a little girl in ages, and it felt amazing. This bond she felt with the male was something new, and something different.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 When she was done with her giggling fit she watched as he lowered his cards back down, and focused on them. She then realized they were getting off track. As much as she wanted to keep bouncing questions off of one another, she knew they had a game to play. She turned her eyes to her own deck. She then saw what the top card was, and it happened to be a green 2. She looked back into her and, and found a green 4 and placed it on top of the 2. She then turned her eyes back towards the male.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 [#E37789 "I'm going to leave this choice up to you, either we can focus on this hand and when we are done we can go back to asking questions, or we just not play and wait for a later time. I'm not backing out of the game if that's what you are thinking, I just don't want to keep getting distracted"] she admitted. It was nice sitting here with him. She felt really comfortable around the male, and she had to admit he was nice on the eyes too.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 [#E37789 "Plus it's your turn anyway"] she said with a small smirk dancing on her lips. Either way tonight was going to be a really interesting night.]]
Neuromancer/skeptic   1y ago

[size12 Jackson knew he'd have a joke about her being a goody two shoes, but both the revelation that she was [i the] head cheerleader, and the visible shudder, distracted him enough to drop it. He remembered the cheerleaders, who wouldn't; skilled acrobatics and throws that had you on the edge of your seat despite knowing they would make it, peppy voices cheering on the home team. Though clearly harder work than he could possibly imagine, given the admission. Despite his curiosity wanting him to ask her to elaborate, his mind finally connected the dots and the vague familiarity of her face. He hadn't been to a lot of the games, but with the mention of it, the recollection of her face came easy.

She giggled at his own reveal, and the recollection scattered like pigeons. It was hard to suppress his own laughter, especially as she mentioned she'd thought it was a stupid sophomore—given the fact that he'd definitely done something similar as a stupid sophomore. So he just nodded, glad his cards hid his tightly pressed lips, as a small warmth of pride swelled at her admittance to having been jealous, that her and some of the girls had thought something similar. Then there was the giggle again, and if he wanted to hear it again, no one had to know.

Then a green four landed on the table and his mind was pulled back, to their game. He glanced to his cards again, having to double check, still caught up on the giggle that his mind had already forgotten what was even on his hand. Maybe she was right that he’d pull those fifteen, he thought, but her offer to not play got his head in the game right quick. Words almost stumbling out of his mouth, [#046e57 “I wanna play.”]

He swiftly plopped his skip down on top of her four, almost bringing his yellow with it in his haste, and he gently tapped it back down as he placed his last green on top of the skip. Potentially a small victory that would lose him the war, but it always felt so sweet to put a skip down, especially as a distraction if anyone dared to think you weren’t on top of your game.

[#046e57 “Embarrassing school stories are better in the evening, yeah?”] He offers with a smile, [#046e57 “I’d love to hear what you and the girls planned.”] Comes softer, and it’s true. A part of him can’t help but wonder, as he shuffled his cards over to his off-hand to reach for his hot chocolate again, if they stayed friends would Kennedy want to fulfil that plan? Then his mind reminded him, not too tentatively, that sneaking out in the middle of night was probably the last thing they’d want to do if there was a murder on the loose. He dismissed the thought, taking a tentative sip to see if the chocolate had become lukewarm enough to not hurt his tongue.]
ButterflyRoselegendѕ   1y ago

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 The feeling of comfort was enough to make her relax. Talking about school was bringing back so many memories. She wanted nothing more than to go back to that time, it was a lot more simple, and all she had to deal with was getting good grades, and always showing up to practice on time. When he muttered that he wanted to play, a small smirk tugged on the corner's of her lips. The way he said it was heartwarming, and adorable as well. She never knew anyone as completive as she was in this game.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 When he dropped down a skip, she honestly thought he was about to play a different card after that. She was glad it wasn't a draw four or anything. She then turned her eyes to her own hand, and studied it for a moment. She had another green in her hand, but she also had one of the harder hitting cards. She just didn't know if it would be wise to play it quite yet. She tapped the tip of her finger on the counter top, before putting a normal card down, changing the number to a 3 this time.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 She then remembered that he mentioned about their school stories in the evening. [#E37789 "That would make it that much easier for sure. I'm sure you'd love to hear how many times I failed classes"] she said with a smaller tone in her voice. That was one thing she hated with a passion, and it was failing at something she was good at. She studied the male in front of her a moment longer, wondering why she hadn't ever talked to him while they had been in school. She would have loved to get to know him back then.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 Just knowing that he had done something so bold like he had, made her wonder what other ideas he could come up with. She would pick his brain later on about that one. She just hoped she wouldn't scare him away. She felt a lot better having him around, knowing that there's a real life monster running around town scared her enough as it was. She placed her cards face down, as she picked up her mug and finished the hot chocolate inside. She then stood and made her way to the sink to wash it out.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 As she was washing the mug out she looked out the window, and her breath caught in her throat. She blinked a few times, and when she looked back towards the back yard, the shadow she had seen was gone. Was someone following them? Or was it because the murder was still so fresh in her mind, that she was just seeing things? She shook the feeling off, as she shut the water off and dried her hands off on the towel there. She then went to the fridge and grabbed some water bottles.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 She then placed one beside the male, her eyes still locked on the trees out back. A small shudder ran down her spine, and she shook her head lightly. She then took her seat once more and uncapped the water bottle. She took a sip before placing it back down. [#E37789 "Seeing as I'm hoping you'll be staying for awhile, I can either make you something to eat, or we can order out. I'm not too picky on what you choose. You are the guest here after all"] she said with a small smile.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 She was still spooked by what she had seen in the back yard, that she was fighting the urge to even tell him about it. She picked her cards back up, and tried to focus on the game in front of her instead.]]
Neuromancer/skeptic   1y ago

[size12 The tapping of Kennedy’s finger against the counter top had Jackson glance up from the rim of his mug, eyes following its movement back to the hand of cards, and the card that revealed itself to be a green three. He took another sip, eyes still following the hand until words drifted his attention to Kennedy’s face. Her tone was different, but he didn’t have time to question it in his head, as her guess that he’d love to hear all the classes she’d failed forced an amused exhalation from his nose, which he quickly tried to cover up with another sip of chocolate, but only after admitting; [#046e57 “Yes, please.”]

She was right; he’d always enjoyed teasing the people who—in his opinion—put too much pressure on good grades, and not always with the intent to get them to loosen up. Although he couldn’t get himself to feel bad about it, not even with the change in tone. Curiosity had him wonder, briefly, if it was cheerleading that had kept her from her homework; if she was half as passionate about the sport as she seemed to be about UNO it wouldn’t surprise him if she’d been as stubborn about practising in her free time as Thomas had been about soccer.

He met her eyes, and saw that she was looking at him as well. Instinctually his mouth curled up into a small smile, and he finally put his mug back on the counter. Eyes glancing back to his cards, to see where he’d put that red three he was sure he had. Changing colour was always a risk; did she have a change colour card? Would she have to draw more cards—that had hime realise, that they hadn’t discussed that. Though he decided not to ask her until it was relevant, as he watched her put her cards face down, and left the table with her mug.

Instinct told him to get out of the chair as well, to help her and wash out his own mug, but as he watched her look out the window he stopped himself; maybe she wanted some space to think. After all, a lot had happened. So he stayed put, finishing his own chocolate with one foot braced on the floor, ready to get out of the chair as soon as needed. He watched her move towards the fridge, and return with water bottles, her face still turned towards the window—What was she looking at? Curiosity pushed aside politeness, as he watched her shake her head and retake her seat.

Kennedy’s admission that she hoped he’d stay, and question of what food to eat, had him momentarily forget his curiosity of whatever she had looked at outside, his brain stuck on an ‘eeeh’ sound as his mind struggled to shift gears and provide him with the name of any food he liked, [#046e57 “What about comfort food? I’ll help you cook. I’ll stay as long as you’ll have me.”] He returned her smile with a chuckle, and finally pushed out of the chair to wash his mug as well, leaving his cards face down in a pile.

He squinted out at what he realised was a backyard, wondered if she’d known the man who died since she was young; had they played in that backyard as kids? Had she seen a mirage of days gone by playing tag? There weren’t any clouds that spelled rain, no birds on a perch, nothing at all he could see that would grab someone’s attention. His gaze turned to his mug, as he placed it next to hers, finding his own embarrassment at getting caught off guard quickly replaced by sympathy as he turned to walk back to the counter.

As he sat back down he couldn’t help but reach his hand out, stopping right before touching her shoulder, [#046e57 “You all right?”] At the scene she didn’t want to think more about it, but Jackson couldn’t help himself, there was something so uncanny about having looked out into the backyard to find nothing when Kennedy couldn’t keep her eyes from it. Surely it was just memories, thinking of what she’d lost, grief, but he wanted to make sure. Let her know that she could talk if she wanted to.

Still, he appended quickly, by placing his red three down at last, giving her the out to misinterpret his question as a challenge in the context of the game; despite the tone and hovering hand indicating nothing but concern for the situation they had both decided earlier to distract from.]
ButterflyRoselegendѕ   1y ago

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 Kennedy was still slightly shaken up at the sight in the backyard. She couldn't shake the feeling that she was still being watched. Who was that standing outside by the trees to her land? Thinking about it made her shudder once more. That's when Jackson's voice broke though and she looked up towards him slowly. Would he think she was insane? Or should she just play it off like nothing happened? She didn't fully understand it, but she didn't want to lie to him either. It would make her feel dirty in a way.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 She bit the inside of her cheek when he sat back down, and reached out towards her. She wanted that touch more than anything. She didn't want to feel like she was going insane. She watched as he changed the color to red, and she picked up her hand and looked at it for a moment. She was still trying to figure out what to even say to the male. She bit the inside of her cheek as she finally laid down one of her cards. It was a draw four/wild. She placed it down onto the pile in front of her.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 [#E37789 "The color shall be blue now"] she said as she changed the color once more. She just hoped that he didn't have another draw four in his hand, she wasn't in the mood to draw eight of them. Then again it would make the game more interesting. She then turned her attention back to his question asking if she was okay. She shook her head as she placed her cards down once more, and opened the water bottle. She was stalling hardcore, trying to figure out how to tell the male without sounding insane.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 She took a sip of the water before speaking. [#E37789 "I know it's going to sound really odd, but I swore I had seen something outside by the tree line. It could have been my eyes, but I don't think it was. It looked like a man, but he was too far away for me to really get a good look at him. It could have been the shadows of the trees, but before I had seen him, I felt like I was being watched. Not by you, but by something outside of the house"] she breathed out.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 She knew she sounded crazy, and her eyes pleaded with the male to believe her. She shook her head lightly as she looked down. [#E37789 "I'm sorry.. just forget I said anything"] she said softly. She started to play with the corner of one of the cards in her hand. That's when his words about comfort food perked her up a bit. She nodded lightly as she looked up towards his eyes once more. Eyes she would love to stare into for hours on end. She felt safe looking into those eyes of his.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 [#E37789 "If it's comfort food you are wanting, I have a lot of that for sure. Mac & Chesse is one of them, along with popcorn, and whatever else you can think of. It's all in the pantry and fridge as well. If you want we can put the game on hold for a little bit and make food. Or finish. Whatever you want to do"] she said with a small smile. She was still kicking herself for telling him about the shadowy figure she had seen. The longer she thought about it, she knew her eyes had been playing tricks on her.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 Then again, she had seen a lot of crazy shit that day, and it wasn't helping matters either. [#E37789 "You are more than welcome to stay for as long as you'd like"] she offered. Hell if she could talk him into staying the night, it would make her feel a lot better. She would wait to bring that offer up later though, she didn't want to seem too pushy at the moment.]]
Neuromancer/skeptic   1y ago

[size12 He wondered, briefly, if the draw four was meant to be a distraction away from the subject, but he watched as Kennedy shook her head and put her cards down again. Except she didn’t speak right away, and only once she’d sipped water did she speak. Jackson found his eyes flick to the window again as she did. As if it was middle school camping telling horror stories, fear spreading like a cold. He knew he hadn’t seen anything, nor had he felt watched when he did; so clearly it was the situation spooking her, shadow of the trees and memories. But the way she apologised in that soft voice made him feel like she knew it too, or maybe she was embarrassed. It made him remember that he truly had no idea just how much stress and turmoil she was going through.

While comfort food perked her up, Jackson felt the nagging feeling stick with him. She said to forget, but he’d always been bad with that. Still it didn’t stop him from smiling back as she talked about putting the game on hold, about Mac and cheese and popcorn—even offering to let him stay as long as he’d like. It redoubled the nagging feeling that she must be more scared than she was letting on; after all, her friend just died, she thought she saw shadows in the backyard. He bit his lip and settled, putting down his cards again as well, taking a deep breath through his nose knowing the words would probably stumble over each other if he didn’t

[#046e57 “Hey,”] he reached out again and this time he did put his hand gently on her shoulder, gently giving it a squeeze, [#046e57 “you had a rough day, it’s probably a trick of the shadows, what happened—shit, I mean, I can’t imagine. Doesn’t make your feelings less real. How ‘bout we make food. If you still feel watched, I can check and see if there’s anyone outside?”] He realises only after it’s out that if she truly believed someone was out there, offering to go outside was shoving a boot in mouth big time, [#046e57 “or we can call the station,”] he appends quickly, hands leaving her shoulder and the table in an instinctual sign of retreat, [#046e57 “see what they think? Maybe they can spare a night guard.”]

Attempting to tack a joke on at the end had Jackson curse himself, Kennedy wasn’t a friend and he couldn’t just try to make her laugh and bundle her up in a hug like he did his friends. So much for distracting her with the game and keeping her from thinking about the situation, but food was still a distraction, technically. So he gently clapped the table, [#046e57 “Now let’s avoid that,”] he pointed at the draw four, [#046e57 “and focus on Mac and Cheese, yeah?”]]
ButterflyRoselegendѕ   1y ago

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 The female knew it had been stupid to mention seeing the man out back. Maybe he was right? Maybe it was a trick of the shadows? No one would have been out there. But what if there was? What if the killer was stalking them both? She bit the inside of her cheek lightly wishing she hadn't said anything to the male. She could tell he didn't believe her, and she felt even more stupid for speaking up about it. He then mentioned calling the station and she shook her head lightly. She knew better.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 If the male hadn't believed her, then what made her think the cops would? She took a breath and plastered on a small smile. [#E37789 "Your right. I could have just been seeing things. It was stupid of me to really even say something like that"] she said in a small tone. The feeling of his hand on her shoulder seemed to calm her nerves a little bit more as well. Maybe she was going crazy? She had witnessed a horrible thing earlier in the day, so it could still be that, and everything on top of it eating away at her.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 She looked towards the pile and motioned towards the Draw Four. [#E37789 "Unless you have a card to counteract that one, you have to draw"] she said in a small teasing voice. She then stood and went to find a pan to fill with water. While the water was starting to boil, they could focus more on the game as well. She found the biggest pan she could, and pulled it out. Might as well make a shit ton, and munch on it throughout the night. She turned the water on and filled the pot.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 She made sure to keep her eyes away from the window, and the backyard. She still had the nagging feeling, but she wasn't going to voice it again. She had already made a fool of herself, and she wasn't about to make it twice. She then placed the pot onto the stove top, turned on the burner and pulled out three boxes from the pantry. She opened them and pulled the cheese packets out, and set them aside for later. She made sure the burner was on the right temp before sitting back down across from the male.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 She let the silence wash over them both, not really knowing what else to really say. She had pretty much ruined the good mood by speaking her mind, and she hated herself for it. She was beating herself up over it as well. She bit the inside of her cheek again, as she looked back at the pile to see if her Draw Four was still there, or if he had played another card while she had bee getting the pot filled.]]
Neuromancer/skeptic   1y ago

[size12 The way she smiled while calling herself stupid in that small voice made a twist of guilt settle behind his ribs, and he wished he knew what she needed in that moment. If like Andrea she needed a nudge on the shoulder and a soft 'a little, but at least you're cute' so she could laugh it off, another squeeze on the shoulder and a hug telling her it was okay to be scared after what happened like Thomas, or something else entirely. The truth, he settled, would just continue them down the path of what had happened, so he decided to stay quiet for now, with the promise of bringing it up once they'd eaten like he’d said. It wasn't like going outside would hurt, the fresh air would be nice even, if it came to that.

Thankfully her voice, while still small, had a teasing lilt to it as she brought the draw four back to attention, and he was just about to make a grimace as she got up to fill a pot of water. He quickly followed her before he realised that he didn't know where anything was anyway, and ended up just glancing out the window again—trying to see what shadow she could have seen, maybe if he pointed it out to her she'd realise it wasn't bad, maybe they could joke how it surely looked like a man. But; his attention was quickly drawn away by the noise of packaging opening, as he watched her put three cheese powder packages on the counter, and with one last glance out the window, sat himself back down as he watched her return.

He opened his mouth to mention that they could just cook together, before he realised that that would sound like he was stalling on the draw four. Which, technically, he was, but with good reason. He did not have a counter. But he realised, it could at least get a laugh out of her. Maybe if she laughed she'd realise that things would be all right. Anything to make her feel happy the way she’d done when she’d brought out the cards, when the murder didn’t shadow the atmosphere.

[#046e57 “You know,”] he began, pulling a little at one of his cards as though he was gonna play it, [#046e57 “I do. In fact.”] he pauses, [#046e57 “not have counter.”] he lets it go, smiles crookedly, and skims four cards from the draw pile. Trying to keep his face open and kind, let her know that all is forgotten if she wants it to be. He adds the cards to his hand, realising that it makes eight now, and worse, with no blue. At least he had a red draw two, so hopefully he could [i gently] throw it on the table if she made him draw again. He glances back up at her, hoping he made her smile again, as he adds;

[#046e57 “Blue’s a great colour choice by the way”] hoping his tone is vague enough that while the truth is that it’s good because she’ll win, she’ll misinterpret it as him having plenty of good blues so she’ll change it. Adding a distraction real quick to make her not have time to think too much on it, [#046e57 “How about sautéing some onion for the Mac & Cheese later, add some crunch?”]]
ButterflyRoselegendѕ   1y ago

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 The feeing around them both was slowly starting to lift. Maybe she shouldn't have said anything, but it was nice to have the company. She watched as the male followed her like a small child. Then again she hadn't pointed anything out to the male, which made her feel like a bad hostess. As the water was warming up, she sat back down and picked up the cards once more. She raised a 'brow slightly waiting for him to hit her with another draw four, then she would have had to draw eight cards off the deck.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 As he paused before drawing the four she was kind of surprised that he hadn't had a counter attack planned. She shrugged a bit as she looked back at her hand. She had one other blue, and that was about it. She then placed it down and it was a blue one. She rolled her eyes lightly at the male. It was kind of nice to somewhat relax. She had seen the way he had looked out the window a moment ago as well, like he was trying hard to see what she had seen.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 As she was somewhat trying to figure out her cards, she lifted her gaze to meet his when he spoke about sautéing some onion. She cocked a 'brow slightly before speaking. [#E37789 "Is that any good? I've never really thought about doing something like that before. I don't even know if I have anymore"] she admitted. She set her cards back down and went on the hunt for one. She checked in the bowl that was on the counter, and found a white one. She then set it on the counter and turned back around to face the male.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 [#E37789 "It's a white one, I hope you aren't too picky about that. I've never really done something like sautéing an onion, so I'll let you do the honors of that one"] she said with a small smirk. She then pulled out a cutting board, and a knife and set them onto the counter as well. She then pulled out a frying pan as well, and set it on another burner. The water would take a little while to boil, so she took her seat once more. She did that when nervous, always getting up and down.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 She chewed on her lower lip lightly as she put her hands into her lap, as if to stop herself from fidgeting even more. [#E37789 "I'm sorry for being so up and down right now, I guess you can say it's a nervous habit, and it's not one that's easily broken either. If it's bugging you too much, then tell me and I'll try my best to either sit, or stand still for awhile"] she said as she started playing with the skin around her fingernails. She kept her hands out of sight as well.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 The feeling of being watched was slowly ebbing away, but she still had the nagging feeling lingering. Maybe the murderer was looking for her? Maybe she was in some sort of danger, and she was now putting this male in danger as well? There was so much running around in her mind, that she wanted to think of something else, anything else would be better than making things uncomfortable for herself, or the male before her. She was fighting the urge to get up once more, but knew that sooner or later she would lose that battle.]]
Neuromancer/skeptic   1y ago

[size12 The reaction he got for his feint was a raised brow and a small shrug, but Jackson decided to count it as a victory when an eye roll joined in. It may not have been a laugh, but he’d settle for making people roll their eyes any day. In fact, the knowledge that she did roll her eyes at people had him filing away a thought in his head for silly things to try in the future to make her do it again, see if he could get a laugh to go with it. That would be a sight to see.

When Kennedy asked if the onions were any good, he found his eyebrows raising, a surprised breath of a laugh escaping past his lips as he tried to remember when he’d started doing it. Then she continued, and more important things were needed to be said. [#046e57 “All onions are good onions. I mean, honestly can’t imagine not having them in,”] he pauses as the truth makes itself known, another laugh puffing out of him, [#046e57 “well, everything. Maybe it’ll blow your mind?”] A part of him wondered what else she hadn’t tried, and an idea formed in his head. She’d said he could stay as long as he wanted, and he’d already settled that he wanted to stay vigil for the night. He hoped that meant they could make breakfast together, there wasn’t a nightmare that couldn’t be soothed at least a little with some flour flicked on your face.

He watched her move around the kitchen, again wondering if he should get up and help, but unable to make up his mind before she was back in her seat. He was about to ask her for a kitchen tour so he could help when she spoke again, apologising for having a nervous habit. Something about it was heartbreakingly endearing. He supposed it said a lot about her as a person that she felt bad for being nervous after someone she loved just got murdered and she thought she was seeing shadows in the yard, but what meaning it could be was lost on him. So instead he smiled softly, offered a soft [#046e57 “Hey,”] as he reached for her shoulder again. Hoping to anchor her a little, while hopefully still loose enough to not stop her from standing up again.

[#046e57 “It doesn’t. If you gotta move you could show me around the kitchen? Could jog back and forth together if it makes you feel better?”] Two birds with one stone, he couldn’t help but be a little proud of himself, then the thought of the birds and the stone had him remember the multiple amount of body bags, he quickly pushes the thought away. [#046e57 “I tend to move around a lot too sometimes.”]

He glanced back at his cards to let her think, then at the blue one on the table; found a spark of mischief as he realised that he had a red one, and while he was sitting on eight while she was already down to three, the excitement of knowing that if she didn’t switch away from red he could add two more to her collection—assuming she wasn’t without reds and had to draw right away. He shimmied the card out and puts it down on her blue, barely managing to stop himself from saying ‘short lived’. Instead he offered another smile, a breathy [#046e57 “Ta-dah,”] as if changing colours were a magic trick.]
ButterflyRoselegendѕ   1y ago

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 The sound of the man's laugh seemed to help calm her nerves even more. She had seen small hints of his smile as well, and it warmed her heart. She wondered if they would have connected back in high school, or if they wouldn't have given the other the time of day. She made a mental note to ask him about it later. As he spoke about the onion she nodded lightly as she finally sat for a moment. She was itching to get up again, but fought that urge. The feeling of his hand on her shoulder stopping her.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 [#E37789 "When I get up to check the water, you are more than welcome to come with me and get used to the layout"] she promised. She then watched as he laid the card down, and she glanced at her hand. She let out a small huff of breath as she thought she would have won this hand right away. She reached out and pulled a card from the [i draw] pile, and placed it back into her hand. Something told her the game was about to get really interesting as well.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 Maybe that was wishful thinking on her part. She then remembered that he had mentioned something about jogging together as well. She raised a 'brow slightly and a small smile passed over her lips. [#E37789 "If you are serious about the jogging together I might just have to take you up on that offer, it's been awhile since I've had a jogging partner. Xavier always promised to go with me, but when the time came he always backed out"] she said with a small sigh. Speaking the man's name made her heart break once more. It was strange not having him here.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 She felt tears sting her eyes as the images flashed through her mind about him. She reached up and brushed the tears that escaped away. She then turned her attention back to her cards. She didn't have many more good cards, and hoped that things would change in her favor once more. She then stood and nodded towards the stove. [#E37789 "There's pots and pans stored under the stove in the drawer, the lids are all in there as well"] she said as she gave him the small tour he had asked for.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 The water wasn't quite boiling yet, so she took the time to show him where everything was. The cupboard next to the sink stored all of the cups and plates, along with the bowls as well. The cupboards over and by the stove held the extras she had. She then opened one of the many drawers showing him where the knives were stored, along with her normal spoons, knives, and forks. She then showed him the pantry which was fully stocked, at least to her it was stocked. [#E37789 "If you have questions, ask away."] she said lightly.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 [#E37789 "Also if you need something cold to drink, there's can's of pop in the fridge along with some juice and more bottled water. The freezer has frozen juice as well. I know it's not much, but it's good enough for me"] she said as she made her way back to the stove. The water was finally boiling, and she poured in the noodles and stirred them for a moment. [#E37789 "If you don't mind doing the onion that would be wonderful"] she said as she pointed to the drawer that housed the sharp knives.]]
Neuromancer/skeptic   1y ago

[size12 A tingle of excitement lit up his fingers as he watched her huff and pull a card from the draw pile, signalling she did not have any reds, and he felt his cheeks start hurting from containing his smile. It was comeback time, that was for sure. He contained himself, allowing the seriousness side of the conversation take precedent.

He hadn’t expected the mention of jogging to bring forth thoughts of the man that died—Xavier, he now knew—and he made sure to school his expression, only nodding in agreement to show her that he had indeed been serious, a soft [#046e57 ‘yeah’] replacing the cheer of his previous statements. He promised himself that if nothing else maybe jogging around the yard would help her shake off the shadow, but more than that; as soon as he got home he was digging out the old key to the school gym. If jogging made her sad, surely getting to enact her high school plan might turn it from a painful memory to one of joy.

When Kennedy brushed away tears, Jackson found himself squeezing her shoulder again. He allowed the hand to fall away as she stood, and this time he joined her further than just standing up. Dutifully following close behind her, he crouched down briefly to open the drawer under the stove, as if to check that the pots were still there (they were). Looking into the cupboards proper now that he wasn’t on a hunt for cups, he found himself instinctually raising onto the balls of his feet to look further into them, curiosity bubbling up now that he was allowed to look where he had only rushed before—the thought had him glance out the window, how long had it been since they arrived at her home, time had been melting together, he realised.

The slight cluttering of cutlery had his attention back at the now open drawer, taking note of which one held knives, before dutifully following her over towards the pantry which was dutifully stocked. He squinted to locate flour, his thoughts of breakfast once again bubbling up, so close on the tip of his tongue that he almost asked if she had a waffle iron when she encouraged questions. Although thankfully her bringing up bottled water again has his attention draw back to the table, where indeed, she had given him water earlier, which he hadn’t touched. With one long step towards the table he leaned over to snag his bottle, unscrewing the top as he pointed out; [#046e57 “Doesn’t really have to be good for anyone else, does it?”] He raised the bottle towards her once he was back in his spot next to her, [#046e57 “I’ll stick with this bad boy though.”]

With the noodles finally in the pot, Jackson dutifully made for the drawer Kennedy pointed to with a soft ‘aye aye’ on his lips.

[#fff .]

With a triumphant owl-like hoot, Jackson put the last of his cards down on the pile, before digging into the last bite of his Mac and cheese—which he had been saving as victory or consolation food. Who would have thought that the draw two he’d gotten from Kennedy’s draw four would have ultimately lead to his victory? He moved the food to his cheek, too impatient to wait, [#046e57 “So much for me drawing fifteen cards, huh?”]

Once he’d actually swallowed his food, he continued, less goad in his voice [#046e57 “Maybe next time you’ll win, how about, to cheer you up, why don’t we talk those embarrassing school stories? This one time,”] he rose from his chair to grab the dishes they’d been using with a smile he hoped translated to ‘let me’, and walked over to the sink as he continued to speak. [#046e57 “I tried to sleep in history class, and my buddy thought it’d be funny to start stacking books and shit on my head, then step on my foot. But one of the books, when I flew up, hit the desk behind me and knocked over this girls water bottle—drenching her notes. And my buddy, he laughed so hard he smacked his head on the desk.”] Together with the glee of having won the game, he didn’t even attempt to contain his laugh, looking back at Kennedy and holding up his hand to demonstrate the silliness of Thomas’ expression as he knocked his head on the desk. [#046e57 “Yeah, we both got kicked out of the classroom.”]

He turned back to finish the dishes, rubbing the edge of his sleeve against the counter to ruck it up to his elbow again, as he asked, only glancing back to show that he was smiling softly not mockingly [#046e57 “You ever get kicked out of the classroom, miss goody-two shoe?”]]
ButterflyRoselegendѕ   1y ago

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 The feeling of his company, and the sound of his voice helped her relax even more. She didn't fully understand as to why she felt this way. She had been close to Xavier, and the two had hit it off really well when they first met as well. Something about Jackson reminded her so much of Xavier. Was it the personality? The way he seemed to comfort her without really trying? Those were things she knew she would have to find out sooner or later. Right now she focused on getting their food made, and the game at hand.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 When the food was done, she took her own bowl over to the counter and sat back down. She picked up her hand, and really started to focus on the game. When it was finally over she let out a small huff of breath, and nearly threw a couple of cards at the male in front of her. [#E37789 "You are pretty damn lucky. I seriously thought I had you beat"] she said with a small laugh. She was trying to be serious, and hold a little grudge about losing, but it was hard enough to do.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 She reached for the bowl next to her, and finished off the last couple of bites she had before handing the bowl to the male. She didn't mind him cleaning up their dishes. It wouldn't be an every time thing though either. That's when he started talking about old school stories, and she felt her cheeks heat up. She hadn't talked about any of this before, and she wanted to shut herself off, but knew better than that. He was being open with her, so she had to do the same with him. It was only fair.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 When he turned around, she saw the smile on his face and her heart melted a bit. That's a smile she could get used to seeing. She could get used to having him around as well. It wasn't everyday she felt some sort of connection with someone. The last time that happened was with Xavier. He had been her rock, her safe haven, and her secret keeper. She rolled her eyes at the [i goody two shoes] comment, and flipped the male off before breaking out into a smile. She had so many stories to tell.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 [#E37789 "As a matter of fact, yes I had gotten kicked out of class. It happened to be Art with Mr. Taylor. I was getting into a really bad argument with Melody Waters at the time, and she was really pushing my buttons. She had said something that really pushed me over the edge, and I took one of the paint can's, walked right up to where she was sitting and dumped it on her head. At the time Mr. Taylor wasn't in the room, and thank my lucky star's he wasn't"]]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 [#E37789 "Melody ended up doing the same thing to me, and soon it was an all out paint war pretty much. When Mr. Taylor came back into the room, there was paint everywhere. Both of us were covered head to toe, and the way his face turned purple. I hadn't seen a man get that mad in years, and of course we got kicked out. We both ended up at the Principle's office. We thought we were allowed to go home an change, but that didn't happen. We were forced to finish out the day covered in paint"]]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 [#E37789 "I honestly don't know what we had been fighting over, but at the end of that day we were friend's, and still talk once in a while"] she said with a laugh. Looking back on it now, she knew the fight had been something stupid, and she had let it all get to. She had been a teenager after all. She shook her head lightly as she grabbed her water bottle and took a sip from it. There were more stories she could tell him, but didn't know if he would want to hear anymore of them or not.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 [#E37789 "I have to say, I wish we had more classes together at the time. I'm sure we would have had a lot of stories to look back on, instead of reliving one's we had to see alone"] she muttered lightly. In a way she did miss being in school but at the same time she didn't. She had so many people telling her so many different things, hurtful things too. She let out a small sigh as she started cleaning up their game. She flipped the cards all the same way, and then placed them back into the box.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 [#E37789 "What would you like to do now?"] she asked as she placed the box down onto the counter, put one of her hands under her chin, and locked her eyes on the male before her. She didn't mind going down memory lane still, but she would rather do whatever he had in mind as well.]]
Neuromancer/jackson   1y ago

[size12 Jackson couldn’t help but snicker as Kennedy flipped him off, and his smile widened as he watched her smile afterwards. It seemed he’d finally found the sweet spot of teasing, or perhaps it was just the huff and puff of having lost, but he hoped for the former. Eye rolls and middle fingers were as good indicators as any that he was doing his friendly deeds.

Once she started talking he turned back to the dishes properly, nodding his head to show he was listening as he went about scrubbing the bowls extra slow to not splash or make too much noise. As she brought up Mr Taylor his mind could perfectly picture the scene of that art room, and played around with the thought; picturing that they would be sitting near the front like the good kids did. Then she mentioned a name, Melody Waters, and he tried to pin the name to look her up in the yearbooks later.

Paint cans? He quickly turned his head over his shoulder again as Kennedy retold dumping an entire paint can on someone’s head, combined awe and joy leaving his eyebrows raised and a breathy laugh escape past parted lips. He mouthed ‘paint can’ to himself, as he momentarily gave up washing to watch her face as she spoke. Laughter bubbling louder, as she confessed it turned into a paint war, and he tried to remember if he’d heard of it before focusing back on Kennedy.

[#046e57 “You had to—?”] His voice was still quiet and he pressed his lips together when she continued, finding joy in the fact that they became friends after that. Nothing like a friendship forged through an argument. Once she grabbed her water bottle, singling the pause or end of the story, he spoke again, at proper volume this time [#046e57 “Would’ve loved to see that. Finish the day in paint, that’s great.”] He shook his head and smiled. [#046e57 “Could have been a real trouble maker, you.”]

She muttered a sentiment he agreed to with a little hum and a nod, and once again tried to think if he’d seen the back of her head in one of his classes, as he focused back on finishing up the dishes in the silence that followed. Admittedly, he hadn’t really paid a lot of attention to the other kids while working on the lessons, and the few times he did it had been bickering with Thomas. It made him nostalgic for school, pestering Andrea in the newspaper room after school, music class, keeping Andrea from punching anyone who was rude. A part of him wondered if they’d remodelled the school in the years since they’d been gone, as he put the dishes on the drying rack and washed his hands after pulling the stopper.

Kennedy’s question brought him out of his thoughts, and he turned towards her fully, resting against the counted with his hands on the edge. He met her eyes and immediately pushed away from the counter to make his way back to her to sit down, making a show of making a big ‘hm’ sound, as if he was thinking very hard about it.

[#046e57 “We could share a couple more stories, or we could take that jog? Some fresh air, few laps around the yard, yeah?”] He ventured, he nodded towards the door instead of the window, hoping that her thoughts didn’t stray back to what she thought she’d seen—what she might have seen, his mind supplied—. [#046e57 “I could go with a bit of leg stretch.”]]
ButterflyRoselegendѕ   1y ago

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 Retelling the old stories, was making the woman miss being in school. Being with the cheer squad, the football games, seeing everyone. She wondered if things would still be the same, would the new students that came in behind them still have the make out spot by the bleachers? Would a lot of them tease the janitor? That's if he was still there anyway. Thinking back on the time made Kennedy realize she did get into some trouble while there. She had also been a straight A student as well, and she wished she hadn't been.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 She was all of a sudden brought  out of her thoughts and looked towards the male. She nodded lightly the jog sounded nice right about now. [#E37789 "Yeah, that'll be fine. Let me go and get some better shoes though"] she said lightly as she stood and made her way out of the kitchen. She went straight to her room, and found her tennis shoes and sat on the edge of the bed. She pulled out some socks as well, and slipped them onto her feet along with the shoes. She then found her rubber bands too.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 She tied her hair back into a pony tail, and grabbed her headphones just in case they would need them. She didn't know if they would or not, but it was better to have them just in case. She then made her way back into the kitchen and her eyes wandered to the window. Would she see that shadow again? Was it even wise to go into the woods for their jog? Maybe around the neighborhood would be better. She then turned her attention to Jackson, a small smile passing over her lips just then.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 [#E37789 "If you want, instead of around the yard we could go around the neighborhood? It's not that large, maybe just around the block a couple of times, and then come back here and talk more about our lives"] she said with a small smirk. It was nice reliving the past, that's for sure. It was better than being stuck in the present anyway. She let out a small sigh as she walked over to the counter and grabbed her house keys. She slipped them into her pockets wishing she had changed into some sweats or something more comfortable.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 When she had everything she turned back to the male and then moved to the fridge. [#E37789 "Might need these along the way"] she said as she pulled out a couple water bottles. She tossed one to the male, and then made her way to the front of the house. She wasn't in the mood to stick around the yard anyway. A small jog might be good to clear both of their heads. She opened the door and stepped out into the cooling air. A small breeze picked up just then, and a shiver ran down her spine just then.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 [b [i 'Make sure to come into the woods and check out the dark places princess. Everything will be okay, I promise you that']] a small voice seemed to whisper across her mind. She shuddered and shoved that voice aside. It sounded like Xavier, but she didn't know for sure. She was going to avoid the woods at all costs, and hoped that Jackson wouldn't try talking her into going that way, at least for the time being. When the male joined her, she shut and locked the door behind them and headed towards the street at a steady pace.]]
Neuromancer/jackson   1y ago

[size12 It felt like a victory when Kennedy agreed to the jog, and he found himself smiling again as he nodded for her to leave to find better shoes. He watched her leave before standing up himself, deciding to use the time to stretch his legs a little, he wasn’t wearing the best jogging attire, but with a little bit of stretching he could at the very least get used to it.

While she was gone he grabbed his jacket again, zipping it all the way to his throat in case it had gotten colder, and went over to look out the window again. Glancing out the forest, nothing. He felt his phone vibrate in his pocket, and remembered it had done so earlier also. He fished it out of his pocket and made his way back to the table, finding a missed call and a text from Andrea, the latter curtly saying ‘you better be dead, dipshit.’—[#046e57 “Fuck.”]

He quickly typed out an apology, and told him in brief what had happened. Halfway through the text he heard Kennedy make her way back and wrapped it up with a quick typed ‘gotta go, I’ll tell you later.’ he felt the phone vibrate as he put it back in his pocket, but ignored it, and instead waved at Kennedy who reemerged into the kitchen. He watched her eyes stray to the window, and her next words shouldn’t have surprised him, but perhaps he’d hoped she’d feel safer after the meal and the game.

[#046e57 “Yeah, we could do that.”] he answered anyway, mimicking her smirk, around the neighbourhood wasn’t a bad jog trail either. [#046e57 “Sounds like a plan.”]

He watched her walk past to grab her keys, and found himself following her ponytail with his eyes, it definitely made her look a lot more like a cheerleader he had to admit. When she turned back he nodded towards her and moved closer to her from the table, which was good when she tossed a bottle to him, which he caught and tucked under his arm as he followed her towards the front of the house. 

He hadn’t gotten a good look at the foyer, and took his time to do that while Kennedy opened the door, the cold air from outside brushing into the warmth of the house. He ducked down to recheck that his shoes were tied properly, before exiting the house as well, and watched Kennedy lock the door and head towards the street. He couldn’t help but tug at the door handle, just to double check, but he couldn’t quite pinpoint why he did it.

Brushing the action aside, he turned towards Kennedy and did a little run to catch up to her, before teasingly setting his pace just a little faster than her’s in order to turn around and face her, jogging backwards. [#046e57 “Do you come here often?”] He teased with a smile, laughing at himself, before turning forward again to jog properly—scanning with his eyes to find a landmark of some kind.

[#046e57 “How about we race to that electricity box, just to get the blood pumping?”] He asked over his shoulder, but didn’t wait for a reply before he took off in a sprint towards the box, hoping that Kennedy’s competitiveness would kick in and keep all the fears away from her mind, maybe if they kept it fun enough they—or he—could go around the yard by the end of their jog.
ButterflyRoseυrвan   304d ago

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 As she was getting her blood flowing with the small jog, she was surprised when he was a bit faster than she was. She rolled her eyes lightly as he asked if she came here often. [#E37789 "I think that should have been my line, since I don't see your face around here often"] she teased back. She couldn't help it and stuck her tongue out a bit at the male. She watched as he seemed to slow down a little bit, and she was let him keep the lead. That's when he suggested they have a race.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 Before she could say anything the male was off. She wasn't about to let him beat her. She picked up the pace her feet hitting the ground as she did. Soon enough she was catching up the male, and passing him. As she reached the box first she slammed the palm of her hand down on it, and then turned to wait for the male. She sat down on top of it and grinned. [#E37789 "Slow poke. Are you really going to let a girl beat you? Plus this was too close for comfort anyway. If you want to make it real race, you see the light that's at the end of the block?"] she asked as she turned to point it out. It was a good distance away, and a lot harder to reach. She then turned her attention back to him when he finally reached her. She let him catch his breath, and looked him up and down. He wasn't in the best clothes or shoes, but she had a feeling he knew that. He had brought this on himself though. She took a breath before speaking once more.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 [#E37789 "The first one to round the light pole, and make it back to my front yard is the winner. I'm not sure what the stakes will be quite yet, but maybe when we see who makes it there first, can make it up on the spot"] she said. She stood and strached her legs out for a moment. She cocked her head to the side and smirked once more. He looked kind of cute not being in the right clothes, or shoes for something like this. She had a feeling he was trying to keep her mind off things, and it was working slowly.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 [#E37789 "One rule, don't take it easy on me. Let's go"] she said and with that she turned on her heel, and started running down the street. Her hair swaying behind her as she ran. The feeling was amazing. The cool air on her face, the feeling of the pavement under her feet, her heart racing inside of her chest. It's been awhile since she pushed herself like this, but Jackson was the one who had thought of the race, she just had to make it a bit harder for the male. She wasn't going to take it easy on him.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 She was getting wrapped up in her thoughts, that she didn't see the car coming around the corner at first. Soon there was a horn honking, and she skidded to a stop. As she did she lost her footing and fell to the ground. The car had to swerve to miss her at the same time. The sound of the tires screeching to a halt was enough to set her heart racing even more. [b "Are you okay? I'm so sorry, I wasn't paying attention!"] came the sound of a woman's voice.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 Kennedy slowly lifted her head and nodded lightly. [#E37789 "Yeah I'm okay. I honestly wasn't paying attention either, and I normally do"] she breathed out. She felt the woman's hands on her, and she slowly stood to her feet. She shook her head as she looked down at her hands. They were a little red, and small blood droplets could be seen as well. [b "I really am sorry, I didn't see you until the last minute"] the woman said. Kennedy shook her head once more and looked over the woman's shoulder.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 When she did she saw the shadow again. This time it seemed to be shaking. She couldn't tell if it was laughing or what. She tore her eyes away and looked back at the woman. [#E37789 "I'm okay. A little scratched up, but nothing to major"] she said trying to calm the driver down. She didn't know where the male was, she looked over her shoulder to see him running towards her. Shit, she was making a huge fool of herself once more, and she was trying to impress the other.]]
Neuromancer/jackson   296d ago

[size12 It wasn’t a few moments before he heard the uptick in Kennedy’s pace behind him, the slap of shoes against pavement getting closer. He sped up too, but it was clear that Kennedy was more experienced as a jogger, as she easily caught up to him and passed him. If he’d been stingy he could have blamed his jeans, but the fact that she’d waited a bit sat on that electrical box, and the fact that he was slightly out of breath proved that it was definitely not just his clothes.

As she mentioned a real race and letting a girl beat him he couldn’t help but teasingly stick his tongue out the same way she’d done earlier. Letting out a small breathless and sarcastic [#046E57 “Ha, ha.”] Before huffing a laugh, and take a few breaths, leaning to see the light she was pointing out. [#046E57 “All right, yeah, I see it.”]

[#046E57 “First to the front yard picks the price, you’re on.”] He said, already trying to figure out what the stakes could be if he won, that being a big [I if] seeing how she’d won before—but the smirk she gave him with her head cocked to the side had him determined to prove her wrong, and he returned it with a slight exaggeration on the head tilt to show he was mimicking her. Then she went and told him not to take it easy on her, and he couldn’t help but give her a wink. He didn’t have time to say a comeback however, as she turned heel and took off. Served him right.

He took a deep breath before following her as fast as he could, feeling the crinkle of his jeans as he tried to take longer steps to catch up with her, eyes focusing on the sway of her ponytail getting further away from him. Act like it’s the lead up to a wall climb, he reminded himself in his head, repeating the word run to himself to get his tempo up a little more. He was glad he’d challenged her, but wasn’t looking forward to the gloating Kennedy would be allowed given what headway she was making. 

Then it happened. A blur of a car. The honking of a horn. Jackson found himself skidding to stop himself in startled fear, before the adrenaline kicked in with the tyre screech. Something about them reminding him of the scream from earlier, Kennedy in the yard, the bodybags. That’s when he bolted faster towards Kennedy, who had fallen to the ground. She’d almost been hit, almost killed—the killer? Had someone been targeting Kennedy and her friend? Had someone been in the yard watching them? He pushed the thought away, and kept running. She was alive, and safe, sitting on the ground.

He saw the driver reach their hands for Kennedy, and the taste of copper building in his mouth, too breathless to shout at her. But the figures got closer, and closer, Kennedy turned to look at him, and soon he was closer, within reach, and skidded to a stop roughly on his knee next to her. He couldn’t even feel it, he’d banged it enough to know it’d be okay.

[#046E57 “Hey, Hey. You okay?”] Before quickly turning to assess the driver, a woman, sizing her up. She seemed scared, and as his breath evened out he realised maybe Kennedy’s fear had gotten to him after all. It was just an accident, a driver not looking at the road checking their phone not knowing what the hulk of metal they were sitting in was capable of. His head feeling heavy with the dizziness of oxygen. He put his hand on Kennedy’s other shoulder, and glanced her over, noticing her hands. He didn’t think before he reached out to take one of them to look, but quickly let go with a soft apology, before turning to the driver again [#046E57 “What the hell were you doing not looking at the road?”]

Then he turned to Kennedy again, a soft ‘come on’ leaving his lips, pushing himself up and reaching out to help her. [#046E57 “Let’s get you up, come on.”]]
ButterflyRoseυrвan   276d ago

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 Everything was happening so fast, that the woman couldn't really think straight. That's when she felt another presence beside her, and she saw Jackson beside her. Her heart was hammering inside of her chest, and when he took one of her hands into his own, something there seemed to spark. At least for her it did. That's when the warmth of his hand was gone, and he was questioning the driver. The woman of the car stood there shaking her head. [b "I honestly didn't see her. It was like she came out of no where"] she stammered.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 [b "I had been paying attention, I looked one way to see if there was cars, or people, and when I looked back she was right there. I swear to God I wasn't trying to hit her"] the woman said as tears welled up in her eyes. Kennedy looked towards Jackson, and let him help pull her to her feet. She then looked towards the woman and saw the fear on her face. If she hadn't stopped when she did, she would be laying on the ground in a puddle of blood, and she knew it.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 [#E37789 "I'm okay. Just a little scratched up.. Nothing too bad I promise.."] she said softly. Her voice shaking. Her hands were shaking, as she realized how close she had come to ending up in a body bag. Thinking back to that morning, she wanted to let out another scream. Her heart was racing, and she didn't know how to stop it. [b "I really am sorry.. If you have any injuries you find later, please call me, and if you have to go to the hospital I will pay for it personally"] she stammered as she rushed to her car.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 Kennedy watched as the woman went to her car and pulled out a notebook and pen. She watched as the other wrote her name down, along with her phone number. Kennedy took the paper and thanked her. The other woman looked towards Jackson once more. [b "I'm sorry, I really wasn't trying to harm your girlfriend"] she said. Kennedy's cheeks flushed a slight pink when the woman called her, Jackson's girlfriend. She didn't have the heart to correct her at the moment. She watched as the woman slipped back behind the wheel.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 In all honesty she was done with being outdoors. She was done dealing with people, and she wanted to be back in the safety of her own home. She looked towards Jackson as she heard the car pulling away. [#E37789 "I'm okay, I promise.. That was a really close one, but let's get back to my place, and make sure to get you cleaned up as well"] she said in a soft voice. She was more worried about Jackson than herself at the moment. Today wasn't turning out the way she had wanted it too, and she just wanted it to be over with.]]
Neuromancer/jackson   268d ago

[size12 The driver reassured that she hadn’t seen her, tears beginning to form in her eyes as she iterated her point. He felt Kennedy tremble as he helped her up and the last of his anger petered out into plain worry. Kennedy spoke softly, he swore there was a tremble in it, and didn’t add anything to it. She was okay, she almost weren’t, but she was. The driver kept stammering, and Jackson realised that they were all shaken up. Not just Kennedy and him, this driver almost killed someone and she probably had nothing to do with the murder.

Yet the thought of that bodybag in the morning, Kennedy’s scream, the crying, the cops. He realised then that he was still holding on to Kennedy, [i again]. As if holding a line of contact kept her tethered, and letting go meant, what exactly? He brushed the thought off and pulled his hand back as the driver returned. They were all shaken up and he wanted to make sure Kennedy was actually alive and okay and that was that, surely.

When the driver stood before them again, and apologised for the second time, she assumed Kennedy for his girlfriend, and Jackson felt a huff of a laugh bubble up, the absurdity of the day feeling almost like a dream. The morning, their game, the short lived jog, this accident, [i girlfriend]. She’d given her name and number, and still looked terrified. Had the morning not been what it was it would have been less of a fright, he started to realise—Once again the thought, the question, about what had him so rattled about the idea of Kennedy in one of those body bags bubbled and he brushed it off, again. It had just been a long day. He only wanted to report the driver to the cops a normal amount, maybe he’d feel different in the morning.

Then Kennedy spoke again, and he could practically feel his glare—[i when had that returned?]—melt off his face as he turned his gaze to her. Her voice was soft again, and she said she was okay. [i ‘I really wasn't trying to harm your girlfriend’], he glanced her up and down, before nodding.

[#046E57 “Let’s get off the streets.”] With one last look where the car had been headed, he turned towards where they’d come from and started walking. Maybe by the time they got back to the house it would feel silly even, although Jackson knew it probably wouldn’t.

Because even though the car was disappearing, something felt off, tingling beneath his skin making him want to look around. If he wasn’t tense he would probably have cracked a joke, they definitely needed the laugh, mostly he just wanted to see Kennedy laugh again the way she did when she lost the UNO game—but instead he offered Kennedy his hand again, telling himself that it was just in case it would make her feel safer.

[#fff .]

By the time they were back in the safety of Kennedy’s home, door closed and locked behind them, some of the surprise had settled within Jackson. Rationality returning; they’d been running, the driver had no connection with the murder and simple didn’t see Kennedy, Kennedy was fine physically aside from some scrapes. Emotionally, Jackson couldn’t even guess. Didn’t even want to try and imagine what she was going through. He hung his jacket up, and stepped out of his shoes.

[#046E57 “Wanna sit on the couch? Talk about it,”] he offered, turning to Kennedy. [#046E57 “or we could put on a film—or something—if you’d rather,”] was forget too naïve a word, [#046E57 “pretend it’s okay.”]

He glanced towards the kitchen, [#046E57 “I could make some more hot chocolate?”] he smiled when he glanced back at Kennedy, wanting to make her feel safe, even though he knew there wasn’t anything he could do to make it better, not really.]
ButterflyRoseυrвan   192d ago

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 The way Jackson was protecting her, the way he was glaring at the driver, made her wonder if the male believe that it truly was an accident. She would make sure the cops weren't called. Because that's what it was, a simple accident. She hadn't been hit, the car wasn't damaged, she had dove out of the way as fast as she could in the first place. She just wanted to get home, cleaned up, and just stay behind closed doors. The day was long, and she was just ready for the day to be over and done with.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 She let Jackson take her hand, and she looked over her shoulder as the car drove off. She still felt shaken up. What if she hadn't jumped out of the way? How hard would she have gotten hit? Would she have flown through the air? Those morbid thoughts crossed her mind, and she wasn't ready for them to happen. She chewed on her lower lip as they made their way back to her place. Her heart was slowing down, her breathing was getting back to normal, and her trembling was slowly ebbing away as well.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 She walked in behind the male, and kicked off her shoes, and shut the door behind her. She made sure to throw the deadbolt, and looked towards the living room. [#E37789 "You make your self comfortable.. I'm going to go and clean up and make sure there's nothing more worrisome, wound wise"] she said softly. Hot chocolate sounded nice, but after the day she's had, vodka sounded even better. She didn't know if the male was a drinker, but she wouldn't ask that. At least not right now. She double checked that the door was locked, before slipping down the hall.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 She slipped into the bathroom and removed the jogging clothes. She looked at her scraped knees, and thighs. Her palms were scrapped pretty bad as well. It was like bad luck was on her side right then and there. First she found out her best friend was murdered in the worst way possible. Then she [i thought] she saw someone in her backyard, and then a simple jog [i almost] turned into her ending up in the hospital. It was like ever since she had gotten up that morning, bad luck's been following her everywhere.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 She sighed lightly as she bent down and found the First Aid kit, and then started cleaning the scrapes. The alcohol hit her skin, and she winced lightly, sucking in a breath. She was just done with the whole day. When she was done cleaning herself up, she washed her hands, she then let her hair down, and shook it out. She took one last look at herself in the mirror, before walking out and to her room. She found a pair of shorts, and a t-shirt, and slipped into them. She then slipped her slippers on as well.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 She might as well make herself as comfortable as possible. When she was done changing, she made her way back to the living room, and sat on the couch. [#E37789 "If you want you can choose something to put on, and we can talk. I just don't want silence in the back ground"] she admitted. She leaned her head back against the couch, and let her eyes drift closed. The day was slowly coming to end, and she hoped and prayed that tomorrow would be a better day. That's when another thought hit her.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 What was she going to do when the male left? She didn't want to be alone, and yet she didn't want to come off as creepy either. She lifted her head slowly and looked towards the male. [#E37789 "I know this might be asking too much.. But will you stay with me tonight? I honestly don't want to be alone.."] she admitted, her voice cracking a bit. She was scared out of her wits, and she knew the male could read it in her body language. She then fell silent letting her words hang in the air between them.]]
Neuromancer/jackson   188d ago

[size12 When Kennedy made no clear indication that she wanted hot chocolate, Jackson dipped towards the living room as she slipped down the hall. As soon as he was within reach of the couch he let himself fall almost carelessly onto it, staring up at the ceiling. It felt almost morbid, laying down as everything around them was rushing and going as it was, not knowing what was going on or who was behind it. As he thought that, he remembered Andrea’s text, that his friend also had no idea what was going on other than a lost moped at the side of the road.

Getting off the couch again, he speed walked out into the hall to fetch his phone, checking the message Andrea had sent before him and Kennedy went for a jog. ‘What the fuck, how do you always get in fucking trouble? Picking up girls at crime scenes has gotta be a new low.’ The words got a snorted chuckle out of him, give it to Andrea to make it a weird joke. He quickly typed out a clarification that he was not hitting on Kennedy, and that Andrea was a dick, before continuing to tell him more of what happened. And before he put it back in his pocket finished out with a last text to the three already sent [#046E57 ‘Can you use your school-reporter skills to look into it? I’ll put my phone away now.’]

Jackson returned to the couch, and spent another few minutes staring at the ceiling before he heard footsteps nearing, and sat up to look at Kennedy as she approached. She’d switched clothes, which showed the scrapes she had suffered more clearly—It made that worry and anger at the driver simmer a little, but he brushed it aside to make eye contact as she spoke. He got it, silence in the background was never nice when things were bad. He watched her lean her head back against the couch, and mimicked her. Eyes once again meeting the ceiling as he thought about it, a film could play in the background; perhaps if she liked it the soundtrack and voices could bring her familiar peace.

Then she followed it up by asking him to stay, and her request would have made him laugh if in another situation, since he’d already decided he would stay before they even ate food. He settled for telling her that. [#046E57 “If you hadn’t asked I would have just sat on your stoop all night.”] Before something softer came over his voice, [#046E57 “I’ll stay.”]

Jackson leaned his head in her direction, before shuffling his legs to go along with the movement. Simply looking at her for a moment. He then used the arm closest to the back of the couch to push himself up, standing, and making his way towards the telly and simply put on the first thing he found that wasn’t obviously gore, horror, or seemed like a criminal thriller. They didn’t need more death, especially not murder, right now.

He returned to the couch, and sat himself sideways as he had before, as the telly begun to murmur quietly to fill the silence. [#046E57 “How do you wanna talk? Feelings or more High School stories?”]]
ButterflyRoseυrвan   76d ago

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 Kennedy was glad that the male would be staying. It set her mind at ease, and she shook her head lightly. [#E37789 "You wouldn't have stayed on the stoop all night. You would have caught a cold, and I would have felt like a horrible person if that happened"] she admitted. Which was true. She was glad for the company, and she was glad he had agreed to stay. She wouldn't be alone, and hell it was nice to have someone around for the time being. When the male stood and turned on the television, she watched the males movements.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 She was still surprised she hadn't ever really noticed him back in high school. Then again, they did run in different crowds, and that didn't really bother her. What did bother her, was that she should have paid more attention back then. She wondered if he had known any of the other's in her small group. She doubted it though. When he sat back down, with the television on a good volume, that they could still talk. She turned her head towards him and thought about it for a moment. She didn't know what she wanted to talk about.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 [#E37789 "Let's swap more stories about high school. What other classes did you have with me? Did you really hate all of the cheerleaders? And why if we were in the same classes, did you not speak up and talk to me?"] she asked. She was curious to know why. If it had been her, she would have tried to speak to him more, but the past was in the past, and right now was better than nothing. She shifted till she had her legs under her, and she was facing the male.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 She rested her arms on her knees, her head cocked to the side a bit. [#E37789 "What were the worst classes you took? Do you have any other interesting stories about doing the unspeakable, to where you almost got in trouble?"] she knew she was asking too much, but she was excited to know more about this man in front of her. It was still odd, that they had crossed paths for some many years, and this was the first time they were really talking. It took a murder, and an almost car accident to make it happen.]]

[google-font][noto+sans [size12 She chewed on her lower lip, as she let her words hang in the air between them, waiting for the male to start explaining everything. She did ask a lot of questions at once, but it as better than not asking them. She started playing with her fingers as the silence streached out between them.]]
Neuromancer/jackson   72d ago

[size12 They sat there with their heads facing each other for a moment, and Jackson found his gaze flitting across her features. He wondered how she was feeling, even as it was quite obvious it wasn’t anything [i good]. But he knew better than to do anything more than he’d done; offer her to talk, and respect her wish if she choose not to. Even if he itched to pester her should she say no, he knew it wouldn’t end well. And, after all, they were strangers. While she wouldn’t owe him her feelings as a friend she definitely did not as strangers—Though, it was hard to truly see them as strangers given the circumstances, a strange dichotomy in being allowed so close despite not knowing each other at all.

His eyes, which had ended up resting on her cheekbone, darted back to hers as she spoke. He could not help the startled huff of a laugh that escaped him as she asked if he’d hated the cheerleaders—and he quickly tried to think back on when he had said that, how he had said it. Though she continued to ask questions, so he had to let the thought go to listen, and as she asked more, he found himself wondering if that was how she distracted herself, or if she was naturally that excited. It left him speechless, once the questions stopped coming, as he found himself holding back a chuckle. The silence stretched between them, as he tried to reorganise the questions in his mind, the ones who had the same answer, and the ones who did not, before finally the chuckle escaped him and he smiled.

[#046E57 ”Well, I didn’t hate the cheerleaders, that’s for sure. You were cool. I guess I—eh.”] he paused, silence descending again, trying to actually consider why he hadn’t been talking to people, it felt a little embarrassing to say he had thought he was too cool and edgy for it, then again, the thought of making her laugh instead of playing with her fingers was quite the motivator to speak the truth. [#046E57 ”I thought I was real hot shit, didn’t talk to anyone but my guys. Unless I was annoying the teachers.”]

He thought back on high school, the times he’d skipped class, the breaks he’d spent in the band room or annoying Andrea in the school-paper room. He tried to recall where else he might have seen Kennedy, but he’d been so busy being annoyed by class he hadn’t really paid attention to the others in it, he tried to think of placed he’d seen black hair and whether it was Kennedy’s or not.

[#046E57 ”Did you have history with Williams on Tuesdays, senior year? I [i hated] that guy, had him in math too, guy could put you to sleep.”] he points out, at last, before he continued to consider other classes, trying to recall the names of the art teacher, the biology teacher, [#046E57 ”Biology too, it was cool but I didn’t get it.”] he confessed, before thinking of the time he’d snuck into it, [#046E57 ”I did, eh, I did move the skeleton a couple of times. Lots of little stuff, still got the key to the school actually.”] he cocked his head to mimic her, wondering if it would impress or upset her, it wasn’t exactly as though he’d ever vandalised, and while she’d been a good kid she had wanted to sneak into the pool too. [#046E57 ”I was usually pretty good at not getting caught though, except the pool. I mostly just snuck in and hung out after hours.”]]


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