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                    ╚╬═Јϵffу═╬╝

                          If there is such a thing as a good marriage, I suppose it resembles a friendship more than an affair.

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                                              Dinner hadn't always been such an awkward occasion in the Slater house. It used to be that the family would come home from school and work and sit around a wonderfully prepared huge meal and just talk for an hour or so before going about their business. Since Jeff had finished middle school, however, and had been told about his betrothal, things took a strange turn at dinner time.
                                              It had been dinner time when the news was broken to himself and his long time friend Miranda by their parents. Now the rather formal traditional dinners his mother was so fond of had become stiff, pointedly polite affairs.

                                              At least the food was still good.

                                              As it was, Jeffery was sitting next to his younger brother Thomas, picking at the beautiful beef roast, potatoes and salad he'd fixed for himself, sipping at his wine, and wondering when the hell someone was going to ask to be excused so that they could go their separate ways and he could get to that party. Biggest party of the year, the NuAlpha party, and he hadn't missed one since he'd managed to snag an invite in his freshman year by passing off answers to the pre-winter break history exam to a higher up NA member. There was always lots of alcohol, good music, and practical jokes galore. The very best kind of party.

                                              Down at their end of the table, Mr. and Mrs. Slater were having a discussion about a lawsuit that Mr. Slater was trying at the moment, and so absorbed in their talk were they, they barely paid any attention to the younger adults at the other end of the table. That was giving Thomas an opportunity to text God knows who under cover of the table cloth., and Jeff was already on his third glass of wine. Normally, he would have stopped at two, but since he was probably going to end up drunk before the night was over, he didn't figure one more glass would matter in the long run.

                                              He glanced up at Miranda for a split second, watching her toy with the food on her plate, before turning to face his parents' direction. "May I be excused, Mom? I have a thesis due when we go back to classes, and I'd rather have it done sometime this year." he said, his husky voice practically flat with boredom. Thomas rolled his eyes and stifled a snicker behind a bit lip, but said nothing as he prepared to bolt from the table as well.

                                              Mrs. Slater studied her oldest son for a second, seeming to consider the possible merit of letting him stay at the table just to keep him in her sight for a few more moments, before nodding. "I guess it's alright, darling. Goodnight." she said. The two Slater sons stood, gave their parents nods that resembled bows, and made their exits; Thomas giving Miranda a bright grin before turning his attention back to his phone, and Jeffery giving his fiancee a curt nod before stalking out of the room as was his usual exit.

                                              "Miranda, dear, you can leave whenever you like. We wouldn't want to keep you from your schoolwork as well." said Mr. Slater, nodding at his future daughter-in-law.





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A man reserves his true and deepest love not for the
person in whose company he finds himself electrified
and enkindled, but for that one in whose company
he may feel tenderly drowsy.
>> George Jean Nathan

YOU CAN'T SEE ME
YOU CAN'T SEE ME
YOU CAN'T SEE ME

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                                                    >indentI was woken up by my squawking alarm feeling like I'd been hit in the face by a truck .. a big truck. That stupid chick from yesterday had had more of a wallop behind that tiny frame than I had given her credit for, and had ended up in the nurse's office, unconscious. It was probably one of the most embarrassing things I'd gone through in all my years at this school, and I wasn't about to take it lying down - no pun intended. So, last night, I'd called up one of my former relationships - if you could call it that - and asked her to put a red card on a door for me. She even met me in the commons to get the one that had my handwriting on it and everything. Now all I had to do was ice my bruised head and let the natural pecking order take it's place. Too bad, though. That Willis girl was really cute.

                                                    >indentSo with the stubbornness I was well known for, I forced myself out of my oh so comfortable bed, wincing as my head pounded and making my way to the dresser to grab underwear and sweatpants to wear after my shower back to the room. Grabbing my shower bag and a towel from the caddy on the back of my door, I made my way out and down the hall to the communal showers. They were almost all empty at this time of morning - me being the lazy b*****d that I was - and it didn't take long before I was squeaky clean. I towel dried and got dressed before going to the sinks to shave and brush my teeth. Once I was up to my usual standards, I went back to my room to get dressed. That didn't take long either, and I was soon grabbing the rest of my stuff and making my way down to the cafeteria.

                                                    >indent"You know that Callie b***h was down here earlier." I was ambushed in line getting my scrambled eggs and chocolate milk by a group of blondes I recognized but didn't really know. "Oh yeah?" I said with barely any interest as I paid for breakfast and sat down at one of the emptier tables - because, yeah, lazy b*****d and all that. The blondes sat down around me, their HBIC sitting right across from me. "Yeah, and she was talking to your ex. They looked pretty pissed." Ah, so that was it. They wanted some sort of permission to be one of those fan club groups that went around defending their subject of stardom's honor or some crap like that. Hell, if it kept them out of my hair, I'd let them do whatever they wanted. "If you think they're planing something, darlin', you do what you want." I said, drawling a little before taking as big a bite of eggs as I could manage. Sometimes, I just genuinely loved my Southern roots.

                                                    >indentAbout that time, the warning bell rang, signaling the start of a five minute countdown for everyone to get where they were supposed to be. I, myself, had psychology, one of the classes I'd been putting off taking since I started here. At least the teacher was a total silver fox. I might have contemplated wooing him if he weren't so painfully straight, and married, too. I was no homewrecker. So, throwing all manners to the side, I scarfed down the rest of my breakfast, drained my juice, and took the dishes to that little window all cafeterias seemed to come equipped with, before all but running to class. My customary seat near the back door of the classroom, mostly surrounded by my soccer buddies, was empty as always, and I slid into it, happy to be on time for once.

                                                    [[ooc: links in the 'inside' and 'outside' pics at the top. ]]



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                                            Where | | Heading Home | | Home
                                            Who | | Alone with my thoughts
                                            What | | Thinking about my next performance


                                                  Be ruthless, be obedient, be quick, and be smart. Those were the words legal assistants lived by, though they were little more than glorified errand runners. It wasn't as if Judy didn't like the atmosphere, no. The work, however, was belittling, and the woman she was apprenticed under was more than likely the Devil in the flesh. For most of the day, Judy had been going and fetching papers and coffee and dry-cleaning and the Devil-Woman's children all over town. The only redeemable thing about the day was getting the kids and lunch. Pascal and Miles absolutely loved her, and their mother paid for all of them to eat Chili's. Because, really, who does that for their kids and assistant?

                                                  At least it was an early day. The Devil-Woman sent her home almost as soon as she'd gotten back after dropping the boys off at karate, saying that since she was leaving early, there was no reason for Judy to be there as well. So Judy, with her mind set on dancing, retrieved her truck from the parking garage and headed off towards the studio. She was lucky to have the car, actually. It had been her biological father's when he had been living at home, and her grandparents had kept it. She loved the old thing, as it was everything her father was and she wasn't: rugged, tough, strong. She kept a picture of her father and dad in the visor, and an old boyfriend from high school had given her a new stereo to replace the old tape deck, but she'd otherwise kept the truck in the very same condition her father had left it. Sort of a sentimental thing about her.

                                                  The ride to the studio didn't take long, as end-of-the-day traffic hadn't really picked up yet, and the ballet floor was practically empty but for a preteen girl and the instructor, Madame Braginskaya. They were working on the little girl's arabesque. She was a tiny little thing, as most dancers were, and she accepted the Madame's hands on her with practiced ease. Judy watched with a smile on her face for a solid twenty minutes as the girl was shaped into a perfect arabesque, and then as she did it herself - clumsily at first, but then almost perfect. A buzz from her phone told her it was time to go, so she picked up her bag and went downstairs to sign up for the new classes. She was out of practice in the most desperate of ways, thanks to her oh so wonderful grandparents, and needed to get back into the swing of things. No, need was a little too reserved. She had to dance again, or she would probably die. It wasn't as bad of a need as when her grandmother told her that she'd go to hell if she danced again. No, she felt as if her heart had shattered that day. She was much better now knowing that she would be able to at least take the classes again if she had the money for it - which she would.

                                                  Once she was finished with the sign-up, she headed home. Not to her grandparents, no. To her home, with her friends, where she felt loved and cared for. After she'd parked her truck, she walked inside, hearing Lacey asking a question about hammers and nails. "I'm home."

                                                  you cant see me
                                                  you cant see me
                                                  you cant see me

                                                  [[ooc - so sorry it took so long. ]]




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you cant see me
you cant see me

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wнᴀτ wᴇ τнɪᴎᴋ , wᴇ ᴀᴙᴇ .
我々が考えている、我々がいる。




                          indenthereThe Americans really had a knack for music that's good to work out to. Maybe it was something to do with the fact that they had such angry young people, but Bando was rather in love with their rock music. He had even studied English past the mandatory levels in junior high. He wouldn't swear by it, but his English was almost better than some Americans. As it were, Bando was in the home-gym he and Kyou had set up some time in his early high school years. All very Western, except for the back corner near the mirrors. It was a small yoga center. Looking at Bando and Kyou, you wouldn't guess they did yoga, or anything so gentle, but it took a bit of everything to keep up their particular brand of muscular, especially the way Bando ate. So there he was, blasting some American rock music in his headphones, running on the treadmill, avoiding the date night going on in the living room.

                          indenthereNow, it wasn't as if Bando dissapproved of Kyou and Ryouta, no, not at all. That would make him a hypocrite, the worst kind of person. He would, however, say that he was jealous, no matter how close he was to Kyou or Ryouta in any sense. He was pretty good at hiding it on most days, but sometimes, he just had to get away. He had tried to have relationships after Ryouta, but none of them had ever really worked out. One night stands here and there, but no real closeness. Maybe he should have been glad that the two people he was closest two in the world found happiness, but he couldn't help but feel sorry for himself sometimes. The treadmill began to slow under his feet, and he put his hand down on the heartbeat meter to check his pulse. It was high. Good. With a tiny stumble, Bando hopped down from the treadmill and bent at the waist to stretch. He was sore. Not good. He took a look at the weights, and decided that yoga would probably be a better idea. So he turned off the treadmill and took out his headphones.

                          indenthere"BANDO!" As soon as he'd stopped the music, he heard Ryouta yelling for him from across the house. Maybe something funny had happened in whatever movie they were watching and they wanted to show it to him. He ignored it with a shake of his head. "BANDO!" A second call, this time panicked. He had never heard Ryouta sound so scared in his life, even after watching a horror movie marathon alone in a dark house. With no more hesitation, Bando made a run for the door, barely managing to avoid crashing into the wall of the long hallway as he made a sharp turn for the kitchen, where the shout had come from.

                          indenthereThe sight that awaited him was terrifying. Kyou on the floor - Ryouta attempting CPR. Blood on the counter's edge, and the tile, and Ryouta's fingertips. He could see how worked up Ryouta was getting. "G-get out of the way." he managed to stammer out when he finally moved to their side. Simultaneously, he pulled his cell out of his pocket and gently pushed Ryouta away from Kyou. "Call an ambulance. Now." Almost instantly, he had stepped into big-brother territory. "Try to stay calm, Ryou-chan." he added softly, resuming the CPR where Ryouta had left off. Don't do this, Kyou. Come on. Don't leave me like this. Don't leave us like this.

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                                          Wнᴇɴ wᴇ wᴇʀᴇ youɴɢ
                                          wᴇ usᴇᴅ ᴛo sᴀy
                                          ᴛнᴀᴛ you oɴly нᴇᴀʀ ᴛнᴇ ᴍusɪc
                                          wнᴇɴ your нᴇᴀʀᴛ sᴛᴀʀᴛs ᴛo вʀᴇᴀᴋ.
                                          Wᴇ ᴀʀᴇ ᴛнᴇ ᴋɪᴅs ғʀom yᴇsᴛᴇʀᴅay.


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                                                                    The north western climate welcomed her as she stepped out of the airport and into the sun. She was so used to the smog and sharpness of the air in NYC that even here in Seattle, the air was sweet and moist. Then again, it was sunnier here, too. So, with a small smile, the lone teen slid her sunglasses out of the side pocket on her back pack and slid the grey mirror between herself and the world.

                                                                    There were rows of limousines waiting outside the airport, making people stop and stare. Each limo had a driver standing at the back door with a card bearing a name on it. In plain but tidy writing was her name, Elliot DeSalba, in the hands of a rather massive man. She raised an eyebrow but said nothing, instead smiling and pointing at him, and then herself. He understood exactly and came forward to pick up her two large second-hand suitcases, completely covered in stickers from all over the world. She loved those bags. "Miss DeSalba, is there anything else we need before we leave?" asked the mountain man, lifting the bags like so many feathers. He had a touch of Afrikaans to his accent, instead of the Spanish she'd been expecting, and it made her smile even brighter.

                                                                    "No, but I do have a small favor to ask."

                                                                    <><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>


                                                                    Fifteen minutes later, she and Yorick, because that was her driver's name, Yorick Muyskens, were pulling out of a McDonald's drive thru, him with an iced coffee and chicken biscuit, and her with an orange soda and sausage biscuit. She was in the passenger seat instead of the back, because she'd rather talk to someone new than lounge around sleeping. Alone. She'd been in her own little bubble since getting on the plane in New York.

                                                                    So on the ride to the school, Elliot found out that Yorick was a former student who stayed on as one of the guards around school. His powers helped with that, being nothing more than extreme strength. He was from South Africa, had a daughter named Lise who was only nine and already could lift small cars, and that he loved spicy food.

                                                                    It actually wasn't that long of a drive to the school, and she was almost sad to see it end. Yorick helped her carry her bags at least part of the way up the walkway before reaching out to shake her hand. She didn't hesitate, and his massive palm wrapped around her tiny fingers, and almost instantly they jerked apart as a spark of left-over static jolted through her hand into his. Elliot sighed quietly. "Thanks for your help. And I'm sorry I shocked you."

                                                                    Yorick smiled. "I'll be around if you need me." he said, nodding and turning to head back towards the limo, probably to go back to the airport to pick up another student.

                                                                    So, alone once again, Elliot turned around and faced the school. Here we go.




[[ooc: links in the pictures. top is outfit, side is song.]]


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                              Evening. Everything was cool and soft here in the garden, in his little patch of heather in the corner near the fence line. He'd been there since the rain shower early that afternoon, soaking in all the sweet scents of the land while he could. Across the fence, the salt and flour barrier that held him here, a small clump of flower-bell fae sat, each no taller than his middle finger, gawking at him and laughing their tiny little tinkling laughs, knowing he couldn't do anything to them while he was still inside the barrier. But when the derby drove up, they scattered, afraid, for they had never been around the self-drawn carriages, young as they were.

                              Ah, yes, that's right. thought Fiarchar, stretching and shaking the dew off before standing in that eerily feline way most of the fae had. Edith's niece was coming to visit. Fiarchar remembered her from childhood, a dark haired dark eyed beautiful little child with endless questions and curiosity. He had enjoyed watching her on her visits before, and had been a little sad when she stopped coming. As was his nature, however, he had forgotten about her easily enough within a few years in his pursuit of escape. So, now, in the pale twilight, and the bright lamp light washing out through the windows and open doors of the house, Fiarchar moved to the street side of the garden and leaned invisible against the stone of the house, watching the new arrival.

                              Something was not right. The girl was older now, lovely and long, but Edith's babbling on didn't seem to penetrate the thick air of sadness around her. She seemed ... almost empty. Fiarchar frowned, screwing up his face in displeasure and squinting at the girl he could almost see the child he remembered.

                              The women moved inside, and Fiarchar had to duck in through the back door before it was closed against the night vapors. He followed discreetly behind on the tour, and stood in the kitchen while Edith gave her niece tea, taking little bits of the milk and pie Edith had set aside for him as he listened to the women visit. Then, it was off to bed. As he always did, he waited till Edith changed for bed and opened her door to let Godwin in and out before ducking in to draw a pale charm against nightmares above her head. "Sleep well, lovely lady." he said softly, just under her perception, and she smiled in her near-sleep. He knew many of his kind would be angry at being confined, but Edith took good care of him.

                              Out of curiosity, on his way up to the attic where he made his bed each night, he went past the girl's room. The door was open barely a crack, but it was enough for him to slip in, with a little bit of magic. She was highlighted by the scant moonlight at the window, and he cocked his head to the side in curiosity. I wonder if she has nightmares as well. he thought, moving silently to the headboard of the bed and drawing the same charm he'd drawn for Edith. However, his finger caught on a splinter, drawing the tiniest drop of glimmering pink blood that was quickly swiped away in the tracing of the pattern. Under his breath, he cursed, drawing his finger into his mouth to pull at the wood. He cast one last glance at the girl before going back to the door and squeezing out again to go upstairs. Maybe Edith would forget the salt and flour tomorrow.

                              [[ooc: hope that works. =) ]]




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                This wasn't her place. Honestly, she wouldn't have even been here in this tiny little bump on the map looking after that brat of a kid if it hadn't been for the money.

                "Miss Karen, come on!"

                Karen Hart rolled her eyes and followed after the Bartlett's only child, Sarah. They were looking for the perfect birthday dinner for Mr. Bartlett. All Sarah's idea, but she wasn't allowed to use the stove on her own. So she dragged Karen out of the house, where she had been happily writing an e-mail to her sister back in Mississippi, into the tiny little town market, despite the looming thunder-clouds and tell-tale rumblings. Karen took a chance while Sarah was distracted by the tomato display to look at the sky. The absolute darkness of it made her shiver. Not that there weren't some huge storms back home, but those were usually hurricanes, and they didn't involve much thunder and lightning.

                "Hurry up, Sarah. We need to get home before this storm hits." she piped out in her tiny little sweetheart voice, nervously pulling her pin-straight gingery hair into a ponytail with one of the multiple bands she kept around her wrist at all times. She hated it, Lord, did she hate the fact that she looked so much younger than her twenty years. That she was treated like a child, even now that she was taking care of one. Her mom was tiny, too, and her sister. Her lucky younger brother got her dad's height and bulk, and towered over her barely five foot tall status.

                Of course, just like in the movies, as soon as she said that, the sky opened up and rain began to pour. No, it wasn't so much as pour as it was crash, and it was oddly .. warm. Dimly, Karen heard Sarah squeal something about her hair, but she wasn't paying attention to her charge at all. She was focused on getting her phone and camera into her more-waterproof-than-her-pocket purse. While she fiddled with the zipper, white light bathed her world, and a second later came the loudest thunder she'd ever heard.

                She froze. In the receding glow of the lightening, her white wicker purse looked .. mildewed, the zipper rusty in her hand. The ground at her feet looked cracked. Wrong.

                "Christ, can we go back to the car now, Miss Karen?" The worried voice and clammy hands on her arm pulled Karen out of her thoughts. She looked at Sarah closely, but she looked normal. Everything looked normal. Maybe it had been a trick of the light that ruined everything.

                "Here, you go ahead. Take my keys and wait in the .. in the truck." she said hesitantly, digging her keys with the novelty Mickey Mouse spinning keychain. "I'll just grab the cake and meet you there." Sarah nodded, took the keys, and started off at a weaving run between the other people in the market towards the old truck Karen couldn't have parted with when she left home.

                She was waiting for the baker to bring Mr. Bartlett's cake out when another huge thunderclap and wash of lightning made her jump. She tried to blink the spots out of her eyes, but this made them even worse: dark dots moving around the desolate remains of a once cute bakery. All the delicate cakes were rotting, and the counters were covered in dust, ash, grime, even long streaks of what looked like blood. And then it was gone again. Karen couldn't help the tiny little shivery whimper she let out.

                "God, this town is making me crazy."

                Lightning. Thunder. Karen screwed her eyes shut, just to make sure those terrifying changes wouldn't intrude on her sight again. But this time, there was silence.

                Silence and the smell of ashes.

                Karen opened her eyes.
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ROOMxxxxxOUTFITxxxxxSONG

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                                Robin woke up on the floor.

                                The night before, she had been playing with her toy soldiers and her Hot Wheels, creating a warzone across her entire floor with Lego brick battlements and GI Joe commanders. Her shoes even got into it as catapult fodder. Eventually, though, she grabbed Fea Bea and Joe from the bed and curled up and went to sleep in the middle of her rug, completely wiped out from playing so hard. Her dad came in sometime around midnight, when he got home and did his rounds checking on his children, and navigated through the toy-ocean to pull the comforter off the bed and lay it over her.

                                Now, she was confused, but relatively happy. She stretched, still laying on the floor on her belly, and made sort of a snow-angel in the wreckage of her toys. Then, like the weirdly good kid that she was, she started throwing all her toys in their bins, making up her bed afterwards and laying Joe on the pillows. Then, she grabbed the first bathing suit, shorts and tank top she touched, slipped into her flipflops that waited for her by the door, and walked into the bathroom to brush her teeth, grab her sun glasses and necklace, and brush her ear lobe length hair. Her mother hated it, and refused to take her to get it cut, but she could always count on her older brothers to take her, as she hated wearing her hair long for her mom to braid or put barrettes in.

                                With Fea Bea, her favorite Ugly Doll from her collection, she marched down the hall, being sure to make as much noise with her flipflops as possible, into the kitchen, hoping that someone tall was still around to help her with breakfast. Of course, just her luck, her twin was the only one there, and they were the same height. It wasn't that she didn't like her twin, on the contrary. She loved her more than probably even Joe or Fea Bea. She was just short, and no use when it came to breaking rules or climbing trees.

                                "Mornin', Thizzy." she chirruped, plunking Fea Bea in the chair next to Thisby and moving to grab one of the unused chairs and drag it to the counter under the breakfast stuff cabinet. She spared Thisby a glance before clambering up the chair and onto the counter like a squirrel. "You have breakfast already." she said, rummaging through the cabinet that she could now reach for the S'mores PopTarts. When she found what she was looking for, and had managed to wrestle a silvery package from the irritating box, she jumped from the counter and landed in a crouch on the ground, probably earning herself a new bruise on her left shin, but grinning all the same as she held up her prize. She stopped at the fridge and grabbed one of the juice boxes near the bottom before going back to the table to eat, leaving the chair where it was and the cabinet and fridge wide open.


                                [[outofcranberryjuice: out of character here]]
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OUTFITxxxxxSONG

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                                Picture yourself in a boat on a river
                                With tangerine trees and marmalade skies
                                Somebody calls you, you answer quite slowly~
                                A girl with kaleidoscope eyes




                                Gelsomina, to her credit, had not missed the meeting in the tea room on purpose. For the majority of the morning, the sounds of the day had been getting to her a little worse than usual, and she'd slipped her earplugs in and gone outside. She had barely noticed the lack of most of the students as she crossed the school grounds to the nature trail, hoping that she wouldn't be disturbed by synthetic noises out there.

                                In the cool shade of the trees that hung over the trails, Mina could take off her shades and tuck them into her purse next to her phone. She positively loved it out here. It almost reminded her of the woods around her old school in Montreal. Quiet, solitary, and such clear air. After she'd taken out her earplugs, letting in the soft bird calls, the humming and buzzing of the early spring insects, and the soft far off deer calls. Honestly, she would love to meet some of those beautiful creatures: deer and moose and elk, all their relatives who made such pretty noises. But she was a little scared of any animal bigger than her grandmother's Great Dane, and only liked her because she had come to Court as a puppy when Mina was only twelve, and they had grown up together.

                                She spent nearly a solid half hour on the trail, mostly sitting on a rock just off the side of the main path, before getting fed up with the outdoors and deciding to go back to her room where she'd bribed her cousin to help her install a mini-fridge full of Jaffa and Pommac, and even Slow Cow some of her Canadian friends sent her, to get something to drink. She was also curious to see if her new roommate had arrived yet, if he or she had started moving in, and if he or she would like her lovely Marsono.

                                On her walk back to the dorms, she noticed people coming out of the main building, many of them smelling like tea. Had she missed something? Maybe so. Well, too late to worry about it now. So, without many worries about it, she made her way into the dorm building and down the hall to her room. Moving to her half of the room, as she was careful to keep her mess on her side
                                so she wouldn't have to clean it up when her new roommate came in, she went to the birdcage where Marsono, her lovely peregrine falcon waited for her. "Min kære, har du vente længe?" she said quietly, smiling as she slid on the thick falconer's glove her grandmother had given her for her sixteenth birthday before opening the cage door and gently slipping her hand through the opening, making tiny little chick sounds and coaxing Marsono onto the glove. "Would you like to fly today?"

                                Marsono gave her his funny little chirp and nipped at Mina's ponytail as she brought him to the window and unlatched it. He let out one long cry as the gentle breeze ruffled his feathers, and took off as soon as Mina got the grips off his ankles. He would be back before bed, he always was, and he would have his own dinner to boot. What a lovely creature.



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[[outofcranberryjuice: in danish - My dear, did you wait long?]]
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                    ϟ Lovᴇᴌ Tнᴀᴛcнᴇᴙ ϟ


        IT'S BEEN A LONG TIME SINCE I BEEN AROUND // BEEN A LONG TIME BUT I'M BACK IN TOWN // AND THIS TIME I'M NOT LEAVIN' WITHOUT YOU



                          >>>
                          Lovel had woken up the morning of his flight with the sole intent of getting back to sleep on the plane. He dressed comfortably, didn't bother fixing his hair, and ate plenty of his older sister's - technically she was his step-sister, but he had never bothered with that distinction - good home cooking as he could stuff himself with before grabbing Aben, his little brother, and getting his help with stuffing the luggage he hadn't sent ahead into the back of his truck, his dog getting underfoot almost every step of the way.

                          "Now, you're going to be taking care of my truck and Mautchi for me, right?" he asked as they drew the bungee cords over the top of the taller suitcase. Aben nodded, keeping silent, and Lovel pursed his lips and wrinkled his brow in displeasure. "Hey now, don't be like that. Dit sal nie lank wees nie." Aben looked up at him then, then quickly, self-consciously, put his arms around Lovel's chest and tucked his head under his older brother's chin, having to bend just the slightest to do so. "I'll miss you, Lov." Lovel grinned. "You always say that, and yet you go disturb my room every time I leave regardless." That got a chuckle out of the teen, and Lovel gave him a quick, solid hug before pulling away and ruffling the blond hair that nearly hit Aben's chin.

                          They went back inside to find Ruud at the table and Chiara making plates for the both of them. "Everything packed away, then?" said Ruud, holding out a hand for Lovel to shake, which he did, even leaning in to kiss his step-father's cheek. "Ja. Aben helped." This earned Aben a kiss on the head from Chiara as she passed with two plates laden with breakfast. She stopped by Lovel long enough to get her own kiss before sitting down next to Ruud. "You have your paperwork, yes? Passport in your bag with your I.D?" She ran down the travel checklist as she had a hundred times before, managing to be worried over Lovel and delicate as she ate at the same time. Once Lovel had assured her that everything was in order, and mentioned four times - yes, he kept count - that he and Aben needed to leave if he was going to get through customs and at his gate in time for his flight, she put her fork down, stood, and gave him a crushing hug. "You mind your manners. England is nothing like Italy or Holland."

                          The ride to the airport was rather quiet, with Aben in the passenger seat and Mautchi, Lovel's little terrier mutt, in his lap as he got the last bit of driving in that he could. Once they got to the airport, Lovel got out and unloaded his two suitcases and carry-on with ease and gave Aben the keys. In return, Aben passed Lovel a handful of woven bracelets he'd made. "For your new friends." the young teen said with a grin. Lovel grinned as well and gave Mautchi a good scratch before Aben pulled off.

                          Once through customs, it was a quick wait, just as Lovel had planned it, before boarding. It wasn't a very long flight to the only lay-over, but that took a very long time, nearly three and a half hours in an airport lounge. It was no wonder that Lovel, being such a fun loving guy, bonded very easily with one of the families also making the trip up to London on his flight and offered to buy them all lunch at one of the little cafes. They had a daughter and son both a little younger than him, and he enjoyed flirting with both while the parents weren't looking. Eventually, though, they got on their plane, and Lovel went back to sleep with his hat over his eyes and feeling rather pleased with himself.

                          When the plane landed at Heathrow, Lovel lingered about a little, waiting for his bags and grabbing some snacks, before going outside. A funny looking older man with glasses and a bit of a strange accent, nothing at all like the posh English accents he was used to hearing back home, took his bags for him and put them in the trunk of a genuine black London taxi cab. He then proceeded to talk Lovel's ear off the entire way up to the school, which was a much longer drive than he'd anticipated. After the drive, which Lovel had run out of food barely half-way there, the funny old man helped him get his bags out of the trunk and even carted one of the most of the way to the dorms for him before Lovel finally got him to stop talking long enough to pay him and send him on his way. He then checked his information again, wondered exactly which room his dear cousin was in, and made his way to his room.

                          It was easy to find, on the first floor near the end, and his crates were still outside the door, marked with his crooked and loping LDT on top of each one. With a grin, he nudged the handle with his elbow, turned to his left, and pushed the door open with his right hip, a small feat of grace for the guy with two left feet. Of course however, as soon as he thought that, that little b***h Karma made him forget how to walk. One foot got caught on the other ankle, and he went sprawling all over the floor, dropping his suitcases and carry-on bag and sending his glasses and hat flying. For the better part of a minute, he just lay there, too stunned to come up with anything to say, but eventually, the pain that indicated the fact that he'd fallen on something hard with an edge made him wince, grunt out an 'ow', and roll off of the offending object.

                          It wasn't until he opened his eyes and blinked the stars away that he saw the girl with the paintbrush poised to work.

                          "Ah. Hallo."

                          <<<



        GOT A WHOLE LOTTA MONEY BUT WE STILL PAY RENT // 'CAUSE YOU CAN'T BUY A HOUSE IN HEAVEN // THERE'S ONLY THREE MEN THAT I'MMA SERVE MY WHOLE LIFE // THAT'S MY DADDY AND NEBRASKA AND JESUS CHRIST



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[[ooc: translation(s) - it won't be long.
links to outfit and song of the moment in the pics below]]


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                                    xxxx
                                    Being stuck in a safe-house was not exactly Harriet Ross’s idea of helping out the cause. Sure, she and the other students were good distractions, and there was no way any of the Brotherhood was going to get into the mansion, where the humans actually were, but she had been expecting to see some sort of action. Actually get to fight maybe, and show her brother that she wasn’t the weak little thing he thought her to be.

                                    As it were, she was finishing up the last touches on a platter of sandwiches, puttering around in the kitchen aimlessly, and trying not to be anxious over the fact that, somewhere in the city, the men and women she’d come to respect over the last few months were putting their lives on the line, and she couldn’t help. The news was on somewhere in the background, but she’d stopped listening after the special bulletin announcing Juggernaut’s death. While she wasn’t happy that someone was dead, that was one less person gunning for humans and the X-Men.

                                    With a sigh, Harriet scooped John Mumford out of his running ball and perched him on her shoulder before taking a tomato and cucumber sandwich from the pile. “Come on, Mum,” she said quietly, fully aware that most of the others were probably still asleep. John Mumford burrowed in her hair, and she moved it to accommodate him, smiling as she felt his snuffling against the back of her neck. She took her sandwich and John Mumford’s running ball and carried it to the living room couch. To distract herself from her extreme boredom, she flipped through the channels until she found one of those reruns of those shows where baby daddies and pregnant teens always yelled and sometimes broke the furniture. Normally, she wouldn’t watch something so stupid, but it was the only semi-entertaining thing on this time of day. She could never follow the soap operas, nor was she a crime drama fan. So, yelling white trash, ghetto fabulous, dead beat, and completely moronic hicks it was.

                                    As she watched, John Mumford snoozed, waking up only when Harriet offered him bits of the bread off her sandwich, and his little snores were comforting. Though she was a quiet person, she didn’t like to be alone so much. And being the new girl, most of the others left her alone most of the time. It was strange. One would think that people in the same situation would have something to talk about. Maybe they didn’t trust her because she was new or something.

                                    Oh well.

                                    Just about the time the show started to get irritatingly repetitive, Harriet slipped into a sort of doze, leaning against the armrest of the couch enough so that John Mumford wouldn’t get squashed. But he was a smart little mouse, so he would know to move if she started to move around. It was just too perfect. The safe house was quiet, the television was quiet, and Harriet felt safe for the first time in weeks.

xxxx

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                      Rupert watched as the girl who's name he couldn't read got up and came up to the stage. Nurit.

                      "December 12, 6:00 PM."

                      It was arguably one of the worst times to go on. Almost exactly the middle of the performances, and it would take a very memorable performance to keep both their attention and their favor.

                      As expected of him, Rupert offered his hand to his new partner, and was pleased by the handshake. He could tell she was sizing him up, so he decided to do the same. She was a dancer with a reputation of being a bit of a perfectionist, that much was known around the school, and he hadn't connected the name with rumors before now. She was also thin, and a little tall for a girl, and she looked extremely bored with the whole process of picking partners.

                      Before very long, every student had a partner, and the assembly was closed. Though he had fully intended on going to find Miss Nurit, his friends had decided to drag him off for class, and then lunch, probably one of the last few they could have together before practices started in earnest. For a few minutes, as around him his friends ate and talked, he tried to feel bad about more than likely ditching her, but when Tanya Golde, a first year modern ballet dancer and violinist who'd been paired with his long lasting friend Antonio Gitan, a ballroom dancer with an angel's voice, told him to quit worrying or she'd eat his cookies, he fended her off easily and joined in the conversation. After they finished eating, Tanya went off to find her friends, leaving Rupert, Antonio, and Mark Collins, an American jazz pianist and trumpeter, to wander around a bit on their own before third class. They had gotten to the topic of tennis before a voice caught their attention.

                      "Ah, ehm....Mar Sander? Mr. Sander?"

                      He stopped and turned, causing Mark to run into him. He hadn't expected her to come look for him. With a small nod, he waved his friends off, and he missed their exchanged look as they left, intent as he was on Nurit. Her question was easy enough, but her accent was oddly lyrical, and nothing like most of his acquaintances at the school.

                      "Miss Shimshoni." he said in his rough accent. It was easier to say now that he wasn't reading it. "I am Rupert Sander. You can call me Rupert, if you like." he added. It would be difficult enough working with a complete stranger, much less using the formal address of last names for the entire month.

                      "I play the cello and violincello, and a little piano. I compose, you see." In fact, as soon as he'd found out that his partner was to be a dancer, he had been wondering what in the world they could do other than have her dance around him as he played. He did have a few pieces of song floating around in his head, though, that he was rather eager to play out and write down. "I believe this should be a very interesting exam for the both of us."



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                                        It was much cooler than he expected, and wet. One would think, coming from England, he would be ready for the damp, but at least back home, the weather changed from time to time. Not always such unrelenting cold. Laurence had been in Seattle for three days, taking in a new city, as he waited for the cruise date to arrive. The hotel had been nice, and he'd found a quaint little restaurant with an outstanding Banana's Foster, but he would not regret leaving it behind.

                                        With a sigh, he glanced back out over the docks from his dry, warm place in the little cafe near by. He hadn't slept well these last few nights. He missed his children. It had nearly taken Tom and Harry both pushing him towards the gate to get him to finally say goodbye to Noah and Grace. It would have been worse if little Gracie hadn't insisted that she get to call him to tell him good night every night that he was away. They were staying at their mother's home for the duration of his vacation, but it wasn't the same as having them in the same house. In all honesty, he would have rather had them stay at Tom's, closer to their school, but Brenda had insisted, and so they went to dear Mum.

                                        Laurence sipped at his tea. It wasn't the best he'd ever had, but it was pretty good, as far as vanilla chai went. He'd looked at the menu, but wasn't brave - or forgiving - enough to attempt the Bravo. He'd nearly taken the head off one of the room service blokes at the hotel for actually bringing him the tea in a tea bag already steeping in the lukewarm pot the morning before and didn't think he needed another incident. He was hoping the tea on the cruise would be at least served correctly, much less palatable.

                                        "Sir?"

                                        Laurence looked up from the paperback in his lap he'd been looking at but not reading, and fixed a polite gaze he'd practiced over the years on the young woman who had gotten his attention. In her arms, she held a tan bundle, a straw fedora resting on top. "You .. asked to have someone let you know when it was one and bring your coat, and, um .. It's five til." She looked nervous, as if she hadn't been very long on the job. Of course, it might have been the obvious quality of the coat in her hands.

                                        He stood and gave her a small smile. "Thanks, love. You're a doll." he said as he took the bundle from her. Inwardly, he was laughing as she blushed, stammered a 'you're welcome', and went back to her work - he had yet to find an American girl who didn't react that way to his accent. With quick motions, he easily tucked his jumper into that lovely camel jacket and buttoned up before looping his scarf around his neck.

                                        After paying for his teas, Laurence ducked out into the mist, putting his hat on over his already damp curls, and made his way through the press of the crowd towards the port building to check in. Out of the hundreds of people at the port that day, only a few hundred would be going on the Princess of the Silversea, probably one of the most understated beauties of the Silversea line. As he stood in line, having his passport and bags and paperwork and ticket checked, Laurence studied the ship through the floor to ceiling multi-story windows of the port building, and quickly tapped out a thank you message with an accompanying picture to Tom.

                                        "Thank you, Mister Kiddley. You're clear to board." said the friendly older man behind the counter, handing back the long envelope containing his ticket and itenerary. "Your other bags should already be in your state room."

                                        Laurence picked up his carry-on bag and tipped his hat towards the old man, then turned to make his way to boarding. However, in the crowd around the check-in counter, he accidentally ran into a rather rough looking young man in a leather jacket. "Excuse me, mate. Didn't see you there." he said, holding up one hand in a classic defensive gesture. The man almost exactly mirrored the pose, leaning a little to keep his balance. "It's cool, man. No harm, no foul." he said with a charming smile that lit up his face, extending his right hand. Laurence shook it, glad to have not actually knocked down, much less offended, this rough looking man. "See ya 'round." said the stranger as he took his place back in line to check in.

                                        Laurence went his own way.





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