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Something Wicked ST

Something Wicked - Summertime Blues

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"Not at all, we lived in Connecticut, in Windsor outside of Hartford." She looks away and bites her lip before continuing. "My parents...they were professionals involved in town council and those sort of things. Where we lived it was an older neighborhood lots of Professionals and no kids. But I did have a few friends at the school I went to"

 

She held up her hand and Dylan was already there with a full glass of tea even though no words had been spoken and she hadn't even looked his way. It was the first time Dylan had moved away from Silas. "Thank you," she said.

 

She let her gaze travel up and down Jordan's form, "It is a lot different here Its going to take a lot to get used too." She leans forward toward Jordan, "I hope you don't take offense but, do you get picked on a lot for being so big?"

 

Isis had been slinking around but when Roach held the pizza down for her she sauntered up and took a nibble then jumped up into Roach's lap. The movement caught everyone's attention and Evelyn laughed. Isis meowed toward her owner and Evelyn chuckled again. "Looks like Isis has made a friend."

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Roach settled back in her chair a little to make room, and she situated the hand with the cat slice so Isis could reach it, but it wasn't in her face. She shrugged smugly.

 

"Can't beat bribery for making friends," she quipped, giving Isis an ear scriggle.

 

But then, you know that, don't you?

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Jordan tried to turn her grimace into something like a grin as she noticed Roach feeding the cat, Isis, table scraps, but Evelyn didn't seem to mind. Jordan didn't hold with feeding pets people food, and especially not at the table. But Evelyn's house, Evelyn's rules.

 

Munching methodically on her second slice of pizza - vegetarian - Jordan shrugged in response to Evelyn's question and frank gaze, going for nonchalance, and not quite succeeding. She put down her pizza and balled her hands into fists, flexing somewhat for Evelyn's benefit, her powerful forearms bunching and thick biceps bulging.

 

"Some," Jordan admitted. "Ah look dif'rent than most girls, so of course, it happens. Names most often, sometimes they say Ah take drugs - steroids, y'know? - or that Ah must like girls and whatnot. Not there's any wrong in that, just, that ain't me. Rare as snow in summer it goes further than that." Her jaw tightened as she thought about Dex for a moment. "If the pickin' gets rougher than that, Ah think most are afraid Ah'll start pickin' back."

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"You'd crush them and there's at least one you should," Silas said, his temper flaring a little at the memory of his friend being hurt by a jerk. He flushed at the intensity of his words but just shrugged when people looked at him. "What? He totally deserves it. And Jo can bench press any one of us. If they're going to make fun of her, let them get some of their own back. She could just sit on one of them at the start of school. We'll put a jar in front of her, make it fundraising for horse rescues. I bet we'd have a full jar before morning bell rang." 

Clearly he'd thought a little too much about this over the summer. 

He glanced behind him, noting Dylan still didn't have a plate of food. Stepping to the side, he motioned the older boy towards the slices. The unwritten rule of teenage boys and pizza: if you don't get grub earlier on, expect to find a different dinner. 

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Dylan reached out as he stepped past Silas toward the Pizza,  his hand brushing the boys arm sending waves of electric ice shooting through Sila's body. He grabbed a slice and took a healthy bite then gave Silas a wicked smile.

 

Across the room Evelyn cast a sharp look at Dylan and Silas, then back at Jordan. "Someone hurt you, Jordan? I'm sorry I don't mean to pry. Its just that i can see it on the faces of your friends. Their concern, their love for you. Friendship like that is rare. And powerful."

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He'd said tanks for the pizza like the others, and listened even as he grabbed a few slices for himself and ate quietly.  He noted Roach still ate her pizza toppings first and let out a little sigh.  "You can't do anything normally huh Roach?"  he said with both mirth and a little consternation.  Then her quip about bribery, and he frowned slightly.   God Almighty she just had no filter, and seemingly no Tact at times.   

Hank looked to Jordan then to Evelyn after their exchange.   "Not just that, or that Jordan has ever really needed it, but she does have plenty of backup, should things get outa hand.  We all stick together."  The words brought  Hannah's face to the front of his mind, and his smile turned abit wistful, she'd been the first to leave, but he resolved that they'd not lose contact with her completely if he could help it.

"Yeah,  there's one guy who deserves some payback, but Jordan said no, so that's just payment deferred for now."   He said to affirm Silas' comments on the matter, and in part to answer Evelyn.

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Quinn set down the tea, whipped out her phone and quickly texted back, //He’d never call me stupid, will talk later. Then she shut down her phone and stuffed it in a back pocket. She wasn’t worried about being out of touch with her parents; they and Beau knew where she was, and if there was an emergency, they could find her pretty quickly.

 

Now that her distraction was gone, she turned her attention to the gathering. With one massive social flub under her belt, she resolved to minimize further damage by keeping her mouth shut. After all, if she smiled and ate the damned pizza that she was too angry to eat anymore, and didn’t let on that she was embarrassed and pissed off, she should get through this nightmare without further incidents.

 

It would have worked, too, if Dylan and Evelyn had been fucking normal.

 

By the time Dylan had his first piece of pizza, Quinn’s Weirdometer™ had hit 11. Why didn’t Evelyn know that Jo got picked on -- targeting the unusual was practically the American Teenage Code of Conduct. Why the hell was Dylan acting like a servant? Why was Evelyn giving Silas and Dylan the angry dagger eyes of someone who was losing a toy? What if her friend was stepping into some fucked-up “V” of a relationship with the new neighbor and her boy toy? Silas would be able to see it, if he could focus on anything other than Dylan’s pretty, pretty face. 

 

(On a complete tangent, Quinn found Dylan cute too. But he looked like the kind of person who’d ride a horse like a sack of potatoes and control them with the ability of a toddler, so his hotness quotient was pretty low overall. Still, she acknowledged the pretty.)

 

“So, Evelyn, why’d you move here?” Quinn asked with the bluntness that she was known across the Blairsville School District for. “Are your parents coming along to live here too?”

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Evelyn set her slice of pizza on her plate and set it aside. For some reason the silence which accompanied that movement, hung in the room and seemed to last an eternity but it was only one or two seconds. 

 

"No, they won't be coming here," she said softly, "They died,...that's why I am here."

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The embarrassed silence stretched for a long moment. Roach broke it with a singsong but soft, "Awk-waaaaaaaard."

 

Quinn gulped, "I'm sorry?" Realizing that it made it sound like she'd just asked Evelyn to clarify, she quickly said, "That sounds..." The problem was, she wasn't sure what to say. "I wouldn't have asked," she started, then winced as it sounded like she was making it all about her.

 

"Sorry about Quinn, she only understands social cues if they come from a horse," Roach added, saving Quinn from further mortification. 

 

"I'm sorry. About your parents," Quinn added quickly. She stopped herself before protesting she didn't know. "As irritating as it is to have it said, Roach is right. I'm terrible with humans. So if you and Dylan ever want to go riding, let me know and I'll make it happen. That's about the best offer of welcome to town I can make and not screw it up."

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Silas had given Dylan is happy-puppy smile when that deepened into a flush at the other boy's wicked smile and the rush of his brief brush. It was almost enough for him to miss Quinn eating her other foot in the space of ten minutes. This was a record for the horse-crazy girl and Silas was starting to wonder if there wasn't something going on with Quinn. 

"I'd take her up on that," Silas said when his wits returned to him. "Her family are the best horse trainers in the area. Just make sure you pack for the day - they do endurance training with their horses." He looked between Evelyn and Dylan, "In fact, maybe we could do a camp out come October? Most of the bugs have died down by then but the weather's still decent. We could do a ride and camp overnight on a weekend. Have a bonfire, all that."

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Evelyn had been quiet after she told them her parents were dead and watched Quinn while Silas covered for his oldest friend. "I'd like that but you would have to teach me how to ride. I've never been on a horse before. And about my parents, thank you,Quinn, and don't feel bad about asking. I had just figured that Uncle Warren or Dylan," she shot a look at the boy, "had told you all."

 

Dylan shrugged, "Sorry, It never really came up."

 

"Quite alright Dylan I suppose you have just had so much else on your mind."

 

Evelyn finished her tea, "So, I am going to be in the same grade as all of you and this is going to be the first time in my life to go to public school, and that's kind of scary. What is it like?"

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"Oh, that one's easy," Roach said. "Did you ever see Mad Max? Fury Road? It's kind of like that, but without the lucid, rational storyline. Stick with us though, we'll make sure you get in with Bartertown. You can exchange your shinies for bullets and fuel, maybe do a round or two in the Thunderdome."

 

"Got any silver spray paint?"

 

At the dirty look Quinn shot her way, Rochelle spread her hands. "What? They'll need to get witnessed if they want to ride to Valhalla."

 

She pantomimed spraying her mouth and then made a comically fierce grimace. "Rrrrr!"

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Silas shuddered. Roach had gotten them to watch Mad Max at the cabin shortly after it came out - one of his cousins had sprung for a projector and screen for the living room. The sad part was, controlling for it being high school and open violence wasn't allowed outside the football field, Roach wasn't really all that off. Especially if you were weird or different in any way. He leaned into Dylan without realizing it, his own fears and insecurities about the coming school year spiking hard. 

"Yeah," he said, swallowing hard and trying to rally with something silly. "Thunderdome being code for the cafeteria. The food is worth it, but the obstacle course to get there is rough."

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Hank sighed.   "It's not THAT bad."   Hank had moved through school with minimal effort.  Not grade-wise, no he had to do alot of studying, but he found things easy enough to navigate the various factions at school.   To be fair it could get bad, but he didn't see it so terribly.
 

"Stick with us and you'll be fine.  At the very least, you won't be alone."

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Tensions passed the kids fell to doing what kids do...telling stories. Stories about there favorite teachers, about the subjects they each liked and those they hated. Stories about the other kids in school especially the ones to be avoided mostly older kids.

 

They talked about what they did for fun, what kinds of movies they all liked what games they played. And Evelyn listened with rapt attention and said the proper things at the proper times, just enough to encourage the next Kid to tell a story and all the while she never told any of her own and Dylan was also unobtrusively quiet. At some point as it was getting late Ice Cream was served and everyone had their favorite.

 

"This has been the best time I have had in a long time," Said Evelyn, "I wish it could on and on." She sighed then smiled, "I know! We could have a sleep over! It's summer it's not like we have school tomorrow. We have plenty of sleeping bags and we can camp right here and eat more junk food and tell more stories I want to know everything about everything here."

 

"You could tell ghost stories, there's lots of them around these parts," Dylan chimed in with a chuckle.

 

Evelyn was beaming, "What do y'all say?"

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Hank smiled, and nodded.  "I'd be down for that, provided Mr. Clairburn's alright with it.  My parents won't really mind, they're kinda great like that."  Hank looked to the others.   He knew it was definitely strange, I mean they'd just met, and she was inviting them to stay the night, but after what'd already been said, he couldn't think of a good reason to actually say no.   He wasn't working the next day, so he had no real excuse.

He looked to the others, and he had to admit he'd not be so good about this if he was the only one, that probably wouldn't look right to anyone on the outside, but if they all stayed, it'd be fine, no different than normal for this group.

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Posted (edited)

"Nope."

 

Roach shook her head adamantly. "We can't do that, Ev. See...we don't tell ghost stories. We make them."

 

She grinned. "We can start with the sordid tale of the Horror at the Forest Cabin. You'll love it. It has all the ingredients. Unsupervised teenagers...remote location...strange and sinister happenings...and of course...murder..."

 

Rochelle let that hang for a few seconds, then tossed her hands up.

 

"Or threats of murder anyway. Directed at us. By the victims. The usual. Oh, right, staying over? Let me check with my folks."

 

She took her phone out of her pocket and held it up to her ear without bothering to pretend to dial. "Hey, can I stay over at a total stranger's house tonight? I dunno, it's a big place, they probably have room...they mentioned some kind of sex dungeon? I'm sure it's fine. Cool, thanks, bye."

 

"Yeah, seems good," Roach concluded as she put the phone away again. "Thanks!"

Edited by SalmonMax

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"I can't, not tonight," Quinn blurted as it seemed that everyone else was lining up to do it. She felt a little bad at the frown that crossed Evelyn's face, so she added, "Tonight's not good. I'm just... not good." In truth, a sleepover wouldn't be a big deal, except that Quinn had already embarrassed herself enough for one day, and she couldn't bear the thought of more chances to screw up. All she wanted to do was go home, ride for a bit, and maybe cry into Bey-bey's neck for a while.

 

"I'd love to another night," she added, which was true. She had to figure out what was going on with Dylan and Evelyn. 

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Jordan was happy to let the others take the lead on the conversation. The oversized, over-muscled blonde was hardly loquacious at the best of times, and she hadn't particularly wanted to tell Evelyn about her embarrassing break-up with Dex. So while the others talked, Jordan hunched her broad shoulders, making appropriate, if indistinct, sounds of interest and approval as she mowed through her plate of pizza.

 

Still, the offer of a sleep-over drew Jordan's interest. The Walsh street kids might go camping or to the cabin, but neither she, nor Quinn, nor Roach, were 'sleep-over' type girls. And if Evelyn was moving to the area, Jordan would rather be friendly like, rather than ignore or dismiss the newcomer, who so far had been nothing but nice, if perhaps a little odd. Jordan had to admit she might just be seeing Evelyn as odd because she came from such a different background than the rest of them.

 

Jordan rolled her blue eyes at Roach's comment, but nodded at Evelyn. "Tonight." Her dad might be little weary of letting his only daughter sleep over at the new girl's place, but mom would let her. "I don't know much ghost stories," she glanced at her friends from under her brows, thinking about the cave, "but ma's told me some funny stories from when she travelled 'bout for her triathlons. I just have to go for a run first to work off some of this here pizza and give Banner his walk."

And get something to sleep in for the sleep over, I guess...

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Silas had smiled at the offer, surprised at a girl who had just met them inviting mostly unknown boys to spend the night at her house. "I'll ask my parents," he said, glancing at Quinn and frowning at her refusal. "There's evening chores to do with the horses, too. I didn't help out this morning, so I can't skip those." Maybe I can convince Quinn to come back.

"Are you sure Mr. Clairburn will be okay with all of us staying the night?" he asked Evelyn.  

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The smile on Evelyn's face was odd though no one noticed, it was the kind that said 'I'm the happiest girl in the world!', but it never touched her eyes. As each kid spoke she had nodded along with them but she watched Quinn closest of all, only turning in her seat to look at Silas, when he asked about Warren.

 

"Oh, I'm sure he will be fine with it. He looks like an old grouch but he's really just a soft hearted pussy cat." She stands and moves over toward Quinn. "I really hope you'll change your mind, Quinn, it will be so much fun. But even if you don't I still hope we can be friends," she said warmly sharing a new smile with Quinn alone before turning back to the group.

 

"Dylan, and I will get everything set up while you all go make arrangements and get your things for the sleepover. you don't need sleeping bags or anything we have all sorts of camping gear."

 

Pizza was hastily finished and with a lot of laughing and joking Evelyn and Dylan sort of herded the kids out of the old house and stood on the porch waving as the Kids left so they could come back. "We'll see all of you in a little while It is going to be grate!"

 

Spoiler

okay,  y'all were sort of ushered out of the house, politely, but still. if y'all want to try and convince quinn to come back go ahead. if not let me know in OOC who will be coming back for the strange sleep over.

 

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A little later at the Hollins farm…

 

Silas followed Quinn out to the barn for evening chores - he’d been honest about that, even if it was also an excuse to talk to her alone. “Uh, Quinn?” he asked as they made their way out to the pasture where the horses were currently grazing. His hands fiddled nervously and he finally just stopped and turned to her, “Would - could ya’ come to th’ sleepover? Please.”

 

Standing behind her, Silas saw her steps falter and her shoulders slump. “I literally don’t think I can,” she admitted, which was the first time Silas had ever heard her say something like that. She turned to face him, her expression drawn tight. “I can’t go and screw up again, and hear Roach give off that nasty little giggle of hers, or see Jo wince, or Hank drop his eyes to the floor so he doesn’t have to watch me embarrass myself. Or-- Or-- have you yell at me again.”

 

Silas stepped over and wrapped his arms around her. She was taller than him - that had been true since middle school - but he was starting to fill out now so he could give her a proper hug again. “Ignore Roach. You know she likes to get under people’s skin. And I’m sorry I yelled. We were all wound up and none of us handled it well; I just snapped at you all instead of Dylan. And yeah, I’m stupid over a boy.”

He pulled back and ran nervous fingers through his hair, looking away. “That’s why I need you there, Quinn. You. . .you keep me from bein’ total stupid. Screwin’ things up or gettin’ all caught up in my own head and freakin’ out or somethin’.” He shoved his hands in his pockets, still not quite looking at her. “I-I want ta’ go, but I dun know if I can without my best friend there, too.”

 

“Silas, I don’t know if I can face her ever again, much less in a few hours,” Quinn said, shifting uneasily. “I mean, shouting cusses and asking about her parents…” She shook her head as the wind gusted, sending hair tickling against her skin. “I’m about ready to fall apart, that’s all I want to do right now.”

 

“She still invited you. I think she wants friends, too.” He leaned in, put her forehead to hers and gave her his lopsided smile that was slowly moving from childishly cute to young man handsome. “And first impressions stay only impressions if’n ya run away after. Let’s go by my mom’s restaurant and pick up some snacks for the night. They’re still doing the Summer Puppy Chow dessert and you know she always makes extra. You can give ‘em to her as an apology.” Chex mix, peanut butter, chocolate, and powdered sugar all mixed together was a classic Walsh Street idea of good apology. 

 

Pulling away, Quinn turned back to the chores. Silas didn’t push, knowing that the lack of immediate pushback was good for his side. The two kids gathered up the horses, herding most of them into the barn with ease. Mickey, an ornery gray gelding, resisted as usual, running away from the kids until Quinn shook her bucket with corn in it. The rattle persuaded him to come close enough for Silas to grab his halter. 

 

It was twilight by the time the two kids finished feeding, watering, and settling the horses for the night. “So?” Silas asked hopefully.

 

Quinn stared at him and considered what he’d said, then shrugged and headed for the house. “Gotta talk to Mom,” she said, kicking the gravel. His friend looked oddly defeated, walking with her hands in her pockets and her head down. 

 

Holly glanced up from dinner as her daughter entered the house. Her sharp eye for ails of the horsey variety covered her children as well. Sliding the pan of chicken to one side, she asked, “What’s wrong?”

 

Quinn gave her an edited version of the day’s events, ending with, “But Silas really wants me to go. I think he’s nervous without me. So, can I go?” 

 

“Silas Walsh can take care of himself,” her mother said firmly. “What’s he so nervous about?”

 

“Uh. He’s got a crush on someone who’ll be there,” Quinn said quickly. Her mother got that eager, gossipy look and Quinn quickly added, “But I can’t say who.”

 

“Well, I guess the next question is, am I okay with you going to a stranger’s house to sleepover when there are boys I don’t know there?” Holly asked. 

 

Quinn shrugged. “You’ve never cared before, ‘cause you trust us.”

 

“I mean, it’d be easy enough for me to refuse to let you go. If you need me too.” Holly raised her eyebrows, smiling when Quinn blinked. 

 

“I ain’t gonna lie, I kinda wish you would,” Quinn sighed. “But if Silas needs me and I’m not there-- I dunno, I’d hate myself.”

 

“If you really think he’s going to come to that much harm from being around his crush, then that girl isn’t for him,” Holly said in a resolute mom-voice, missing the reason her daughter winced. “And if you are really that worried for him, maybe I should call his mom.”

 

“Oh, please, don’t make me that kid!” Quinn squawked. 

 

“What kid?”

 

“The one whose parent ruins everyone’s fun,” she said miserably, aware that she could had just sealed all their fates. 

 

“Is he in danger?” Holly asked.

 

“Only from getting a broken heart,” Quinn mostly-not-fibbed. “He’s not going to get Bobbetted or anything like that.”

 

“God, I need your brothers to watch what they say around you,” Holly said crossly. “Sweetheart, choose what is best for you, not Silas,” her mother continued, giving her a firm hug. “If you want to be there for your herd, if you think Silas needs that support, then be there. But don’t let his needs overshine your own.”

 

“But can I go?” Quinn asked hopefully, crossing her arms as she stepped back from the hug.

 

“If you want,” Holly said, “and if you call me after you get there with Mr. Clairburn’s direct number.” 

 

“Okay,” the teen said and started for her bedroom. As she passed her mom, Holly moved the pan back to the hot eye and bellowed, “Kaid, get your butt down here! I need to have a talk with you about what you say in front of your sister!”

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VII

It was late evening and a rash of phone calls were made by Warren Clairburn to the parents of the Walsh Road kids. The calls were two fold, first to explain that his niece had invited their children to spend the night and he felt that he needed to reassure everyone that it was perfectly okay with him and that the party would be chaperoned and it would be a good thing for his niece who had recently lost her parents and had been forced to move all the way out here from the only home she had known. He made all possible assurances, and, in the end, they were convinced and so the impromptu party was on.

 

Secondly, he extended an invitation to the entire families of Evelyn’s new friends to an Independence Day Celebration and BBQ, with all the trimmings, he would be hosting on the fourth. He went on to tell them that there was no need to rsvp right away the invitation was open and the celebration, while private, was open to everyone and that as his closest neighbors the were doubly welcome to attend.

 

By 8:45 the kids began to return and by 9:00, the last two Quinn and Silas, arrived. The family room where they had had Pizza a couple of hours ago had ben set aside for them. The furniture had been moved from the center of the large room and a half dozen sleeping bags laid out. The left over Pizza was available in the back of the room on the dining table along with other late night snacks and soft drinks. As the kids congregated into the room they were met by Evelyn and her Uncle.

 

“Alright guys, I’m not going to hover,” said Mr Clairburn in his distinct gravelly voice, “I tend to stay up late so if anyone needs me I will be in the sitting room right across the foyer. You kids have a fun time.” With that he gives them all a charmingly crooked smile and shuffles off closing the doors behind him.

 

“Thank you all for coming. I know it’s kind of weird us just meeting and all but it means so much to me that you are all here.” She steps up to Quinn and takes both Quinn’s hand in her own and smiles warmly at the taller girl. “I’m so glad you changed your mind. It wouldn’t be the same without you.”

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