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1 day ago
Current I prefer opa myself
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16 days ago
I don't typically allow myself to be affected by celebrity deaths, but Jason David Frank was a personal hero of mine for so long. This one hurts. RIP to one of the greatest rangers of all time.
17 days ago
well at least buy it dinner first
3 yrs ago
Due to the quarantine, I'll only be telling inside jokes.
3 yrs ago
The upside of being an introvert who goes nowhere is I don't have to worry about catching corona.


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Igarashi, Denki

I am the Storm
~"The calm before the storm."~

Apologies for the long ass wait, but completed sheet is a go!

Igarashi, Denki

I am the Storm
~"The calm before the storm."~

This was...a lot to take in. Most of it didn't make any sense and Damian was trying to wrap his head around it. He mentioned JC as a joke and, if he was being honest, a bit of a guilt-tripping tactic. How would he be able to predict it would result in them actually revealing that they had actual Gods in this world?

He glanced down at Frimon, who was emulating those around him the best that he could but just stared blankly up at Damian for a moment. Their eyes met and then suddenly a golden ring with weird markings on it was tossed their way. Damian caught it with one hand. It fit into his palm quite nicely. Like the size of a couple of golf balls, closer to the size of a baseball. As he looked at it, he noted it was sturdy and hard, yet lightweight. The ring might as well be a feather in his palm.

"But that ring can be wielded by your partner, to tell if another digimon has ulterior motives for you."

A crimson gaze went from the little pink Digimon who tossed the ring to him to the lion-looking one that was wrapped around his neck. He saw him eying the ring, a glint in his eye different than before. "Is it...mine?" Frimon asked, moving his face closer to it. Something about the golden collar-like ring called to him.

Even if Damian didn't quite understand what this meant, it seemed helpful. "Thanks for the assist! You're pretty rad!" Damian grinned, giving the little pink mon a thumbs up. As he did that, Frimon slid his head through the ring as it easily fit its fleshy mane through it and it secured perfectly around its neck. Damian looked down and smiled. "A perfect fit!"

"...Perfect fit." Frimon seemed uncertain what to say. He knew something about this was meant to be, but he lacked some knowledge to know exactly why that was. The only thing he knew was that the pink mon who had threw it was a friend in his mind.

Looking around, Damian mostly listened to the same pink mon that tossed the ring their way talk about some wise, not-so-old mentor who told them all about them (the humans, that is) and about some device that 'linked humans and Digimon', which they apparently had in their possession.

The girl who spoke up first was kinda right but Damian was feeling like he could trust these little pink mons. They were helping them out, which apparently they didn't need to. These devices sounded helpful, but they'd give them to Damian and the others if they could, right? "What about that...mentor they mentioned?" Damian asked. His red gaze went quickly to the others but then to those who were now in the bubbles. "I meaaan, the devices sound really useful and they seem like they'd be really helpful to us right about now but if you're not willing to part with them for whatever reason, could ya tell us where this mentor person lives?" He looked at the little pink mon that gave him the ring for his little shoulder bud. "That seems like a reasonable ask, right?"

Why did she always manage to get under her skin? Miki hated that about the icy blonde. Hated everything that she represented. The Alolan champion never wasted a single moment reminding Miki of that. She always thought she was hot shit, which was ironic since she looked like she came out of Lass Weekly. The hatred didn't come from her general personality and existence, though. It wasn't just because of her horrendous pokemon that Miki had occasionally caught on the television of whatever hotel or on the off chance she was at her home in Oreburgh City.

It was...everything. Everything about Melissa Elliot always rubbed her the wrong way. All of that superiority complex she had in her body and how she dressed made Miki Park's blood boil. Much like the fire types she believed were superior, she felt that red-hot anger boil to the surface, and Blitz, her Luxray had always been able to sense that in her. They had that close of a connection. As a result of that, as Melissa spoke ill of Miki, static was starting to be produced around the golden mane of her shiny Luxray.

She mulled over all of her words. She wanted to give Missy a piece of her mind, but as much as she wanted to (and she wanted nothing more than to wipe that smug expression off her face), Miki opted to use some restraint. "Not right now." She mouthed out loud enough for Blitz to hear and calm down.

As he sat down, pushing his soft fur against Miki's leg, she watched Missy walk away and aptly returned Blitz to his Pokeball, who made a sound that mirrored Miki's own feelings, she started to walk off the ship following Missy's frustrating exit. They might not be battling right now, but Miki wasn't going to let her get the last word.

She pulled up beside her, walking briskly, she saw the mansion get closer and closer. She glared at Missy but then cooled it, letting the fire in her simmer from a fireblast to an ember. "So if you're champion, what are you doing here then? Thought you had to stay there in case a challenger came knocking on your door." Miki hated she was actually curious. What had the world come to? "Not unless you lost and you were just blowing hot air to sound like you were some hot shit."
In Edenridge 13 days ago Forum: Casual Roleplay
TIMESTAMP: Early Morning, Tuesday, July 20th, 2021 || After “I Promise/I Swear”


The shortest distance
Between two points
Is the line
From me to you

Featuring Mikhail Zima & Caitlin Cleary

Like the weights that Mikhail had been carrying in his heart and on his shoulders for so long, so did the freedom to be free of them at long last make him feel uneasiness. But in a different way. This uneasiness came through in hesitation last night. Unlike past times when he had been with Caitlin, or really anyone for that matter, he felt exposed. It was simultaneously the greatest feeling in the world and the worst thing for him because he had spent so much time being guarded, putting up walls that were reinforced with steel and secrets, guarded by armed guards and self-sabotage, and financially backed by billionaires and bad compartmentalization.

All of that became a moot point when it dawned on him through a very convincing Caitlin that she was about done. So many thoughts went through his mind last night, but in those moments, he couldn’t lie anymore. Not to her, but more importantly, to himself.

So he didn’t.

And the end result was any version of a best case scenario multiplied by his best dream minus everything that made him hurt the worst.

Last night, Mika didn’t have to think about what his brother was doing or thought nor who he was: Zima, Gonzalez, O’Hara. When he took Cece into his arms, though he hesitantly poured everything he ever wanted to say into kisses on her lips, her neck, her stomach, every inch of her bare skin, Mika felt the uneasiness build yet, at the same time, as he became one with her last night and with no worry in his glistening blue eyes, he felt nothing but a bliss he hadn’t felt since they were in the back of his truck that afternoon four years ago.

Last night, yeah you could say that Mika’s weight shifted into something weightless. He was exposed, but after everything and after deciding what felt most important to him, being in her arms was the only thing that mattered.

Then as the hours passed with them loving each other and coming together as one again and again after a shower, they were both laying together in her bed. Mika’s right arm was under her neck and shoulders, supporting it. He couldn’t stop replaying every second and minute that was last night. It was a whirlwind of emotions, a tornado of uncertainties, and a hurricane of ultimatums drawn in the sand by the unlikely source of fiery clarity. It brought smiles to his face all night and Mika just couldn’t believe it. Some part of him needed to be pinched because it wasn’t real.

Looking down at her, blue-green eyes full of love and adoration staring back up at his, seeing how she held onto him. While tight as she could, it still was gentle. Cece had always been gentle, but also firm. His eyes darted to the first light of morning blessing Edenridge after that hellacious storm. “Seems like it’s morning already.” He commented with a laugh, realizing that they hadn’t gotten a wink of sleep.

A cloud of gloom seemed to put a damper over the woman's previously content demeanor at this comment. "Already?" she asked her lover, visibly crestfallen and instinctively tightening her grip around his chest. After the magical night spent rekindling the love they had for one another, the last thing Caitlin wanted was for Mika to make his departure. It had been so long since they had been together in each other’s arms just like this… She didn’t want the moment to end.

“I know. I don’t want it to end, either.” Mika saw the disappointment in her eyes, a familiar glint that was in her eyes had faded in a rather swift manner the moment he mentioned that the sun came to greet them. He mirrored her sentiments as he found himself frowning only slightly. There was a significant part of him that didn’t want to leave. Of course, this had been a long time coming and when they weren’t under her blanket, the moments that he had cherished above all else were the moments they were talking. How long had it been since he had been able to lay his soul open in such a vulnerable way to anyone else that wasn’t her? Boa was the only other person he could think of, but it was so much different. Cece always made him feel a certain type of way.

Just as Mika was about to say something else, he caught Cece’s thoughtful expression, like something was on her mind. “You okay? Looks like me whenever Ms. Belmonte decided to go all algebra on our asses way back when.”

Caitlin was quick to laugh at Mika’s comment, being reminded of the times she had tutored Mika in math. While subjects like geometry and algebra came easily to her (don’t ask her about calculus), she was aware that Mika had not been awarded that same courtesy. Back in their high school days, the two had spent their fair share of afternoons with their noses buried between textbooks and notebooks, with Cece trying to explain equations to an increasingly frustrated Mika. It was a task that tested her patience countless times, but that ended up being fruitful when he managed to pass the class with a C-.

The look he was pointing out, however, was one she wore whenever she began to muse about the trajectory of their relationship. "I'm fine," she answered sweetly as her laughter faded, tilting her head up to kiss Mika before continuing. "I just… I can't help but think about how far we've come since the first time we met." Cece mused, mindlessly tracing circles on her lover's chest. "When we talked under the oak tree, I didn't think much would come out of it. We clicked, and we had a good conversation, but I didn't really expect it to go any further than maybe some smiles in the halls and brief talks here and there after that. But we kept meeting up and hanging out and getting along so well with each other… By the time your birthday came around, I knew we had something special. Of course, I had no idea how special it would actually turn out to be, but I knew it was something unlike anything I had ever experienced before-- even with David."

That was quite the admission she just made. Mika obviously knew how much David meant to her. Even before he knew the full story, he still had an idea of how close she and David were. Despite that, at a certain point, it was clear to him that what they had between them wasn't just your ordinary kind of connection. What she felt for him and what Mika felt for her, it was meaningful in so many ways and that was something he always cherished. It never went forgotten, regardless of the hell that followed their first day of their senior year.

"What I remember most about that specific birthday of mine were the cupcakes I didn't get to eat because somebody helped herself to them before I got the chance to." Mika had always teased her about that and he certainly liked to. Of course he knew not to take it too far. He just liked to have his fun occasionally.

"First of all, it was a three-layer cake: blueberry, raspberry and strawberry with cream cheese buttercream," she reminded him in the same teasing tone he had just used with her. "I remember it well because it was my first attempt ever at an actual layered cake. And second of all, I only ate about a third of it. It's not my fault you were too focused on stuffing your face with the sandwiches and the rest of the snacks instead of paying attention to your very delicious cake-- which, if I remember correctly, ended up all over us because of that food fight you started!" Cece retorted with a laugh, vividly remembering herself play-wrestling with Mika, both their faces smeared with buttercream.

“Well it has been a few years. So sue me if my memory is lacking.” But it was coming back to Mika. That day with all the food that he remembered being like his dream feast. A smile crept on his face as silence claimed him as he remembered why it was so important to him. She went to all of the trouble leading up to his birthday four years ago. That was the first birthday they spent as a couple and it was the first time Mika had started to see her as someone whom he loved - yet never said it until last night.

Listening to her, she mentioned that food fight and Mika laughed, remembering what came after. “Yeah, I remember that. I also remember what came after…” Mika’s smile turned into a smirk as he was remembering - quite vividly, mind you - about that moment. “There’s always been something between us about bodies of water and food that’s led to amazing, unforgettable moments, huh?” He didn’t laugh, though he did chuckle. Not that he found it funny, but it was more of the kind of sound one made when they had a realization. Food had always been an important aspect of his life. Be it with his mother making dinner when he was younger or his Cece, it always held a special place in his heart and filled it with memories he always cherished.

Caitlin’s face flushed as red as her hair at the memory, and she let out a nervous chuckle. "Oh God…" she mumbled, burying her warm face in his chest just like she'd done that May 1st four years ago. Mika's sixteenth birthday marked a milestone moment not just in their relationship, but in her personal life as well. That afternoon, between the Zima boy's arms and his body on hers, was the first time she had ever become one with anyone. The adrenaline coursing down her veins when he kissed her for the first time, the desire kicking in when she returned his kiss after some initial hesitation, the anticipation building up with every second they spent exploring each other's bodies, the passion guiding their actions as they became one, the way they tightly held one another as they brought themselves to sweet release, the blissful exhaustion that followed as they laid in each other's arms just like they were doing right now… They wouldn't know it then, but their actions that afternoon had shifted the course of their lives forever.

"I was so nervous that day… And after we did it, too," she admitted, peering back up at him with vulnerability in her eyes. "I hadn't been with anyone before, so while we were laying there together after it all I could think about was you stopping things with me because I was inexperienced and didn't know what I was doing, or because you'd seen my body and didn't like it anymore. It's why I couldn't look you in the eye for days." Cece confessed, thinking back to how she'd practically avoided Mika for days after their first time. "Of course I realized I was just being stupid after we talked about it, but it was something that kept me up for a few nights."

Mika shook his head and ran a hand through Cece’s ginger hair and caressed it soothingly. “You weren’t stupid. Not about that and not about anything else.” Mika remembered the conversation they had about it back then. About how that was her first time and he never knew it until she did become distant from him. “Truth be told, I thought I did something wrong. So I guess if you want to say you were being stupid, then maybe I was too.” He gently laughed. They were both the same in a lot of ways. With her, he always felt like a softer Badger than when he was with everyone else in his life -- or at least in the way he would have been like he was with the bundle of nerves in his arms. “But look at us now? We’re laughing and even joking about a moment that, for a solid time, made us both nervous as fuck. If someone was writing a story about us, I think the phrase that Mr. Beau once said was ‘character development’.”

"You are such a nerd!" Caitlin teased him, joining in on the laughter as she nudged him playfully. Once it had faded away, she quickly added, "I'm glad it was you, though. I’ve never regretted it... And I wouldn't have had it any other way." She murmured softly, adding validity to her words by pulling Mika into another kiss.

As silence momentarily settled between them and they continued to lay contently in each other's arms, a question came to the forefront of Cece’s mind. Although they had come clean about their feelings and made promises for the future, no real decisions had been made about what came next for them as a couple. If there was anything she had learned from her conversations with Mika last night, it was that assumptions had been incredibly prejudicial to their relationship. So rather than make the same mistakes again, the Cleary girl took this as her first opportunity to start their new chapter off on the right foot: by being upfront and direct about the things that were on her mind.

"So what happens now?" she tentatively inquired, looking back up at Mika to closely study his reaction to her question. "With us, I mean."

Good question.

After last night, there was no mistaking they were a lot closer than they have ever been, or at least they were getting back to it. Last month he came into her life and was nasty to her. What he shouted to Niles about her still made him physically sick. Just thinking about it made his skin crawl. But now? Now they were here. He was in her bed, holding her close to him after one of the best nights of his life where he felt truly alive and like his old self before Hyde ruined it all.

He had to ask himself that same question: what did that mean? Where did they go from here? Could they stay friends after what happened? In his heart, Mika felt like they couldn’t, but how fair was that to Sinclair? Mika didn’t like Niles and he certainly didn’t care one way or the other what he thought about him, but even he didn’t deserve to know that his ex was in a relationship the very day she broke things off with him. No matter how badly Mika may have wanted that, even he had some grasp of what was right and wrong.

“Honestly, I don’t know, Cece.” He had to speak earnestly. He truly didn’t. “Last night was an unforgettable experience like nothing I will likely forget. I mean that. But I don’t know what it means for us. Like, do we stay friends? Can we stay friends? Truth be told, I don’t think we can - not after last night. And I don't think I want to, either.” But then there was Niles and what this might mean. God, why was everything so fucking complicated when it came to his romantic life?

Cece’s disappointment about the unexpected answer Mika had given her was unmistakably displayed all over her small, freckled face. After the night they had shared and every step in the ladder that had led them back to each other, she thought that he would be as ready to officialize things as she was. To hear that this was not the case, even as grateful as she was for his honesty… She truly couldn't hide how taken aback and stung she was by the uncertainty in his words.

"Mika, I don't want to be 'just friends' with you," she said with the same level of sincerity he had offered her, shifting away from his figure for the first time in hours with fiery eyes. Her earlier fear that his appearance the night before had been out of loneliness and a desire for sex more than anything else was creeping up on her, and she didn't want Mika to feel her body trembling as she internally fought against the intrusive thoughts. "I didn't end my relationship or told you I loved you or opened up to you about all of these things to be 'just friends' with you. And I know you didn't try to make amends with me after that dinner scene, come to my house in the middle of a storm and bared your soul out to me to be 'just friends' either."

Deep in his gut, which had been turning over itself since she pulled away and he saw that look of disappointment painted across her face. That only happened in two cases (at least when he was a factor): when she was mad at him for something or he said the wrong thing. In a rare showing, though, at least from where he saw things, it may have been both.

And that fucking sucked. Mika honestly didn't know how to answer her question. He knew what the answer was. Any god out there: Slavic, Christian-- all that applied to this situation, Mika knew the answer. She wanted to know, after the moment they had, if they were in a movie, this would be the defining moment and the start of a beautiful relationship. Obviously, this wasn't a movie; this was real life and in real life, it wasn't always so clear cut. Mika wished this was a movie. He'd be able to just skip to the part where he said the right thing and she didn't look like she was going to cry because of the idiot that he was.

No, he couldn't be the reason for that again. Not again.

He tried to shake every negative thought. They persisted because Mika never was able to rid himself of them, but he focused on her and only her. Honed in on that fire in her eyes, the way a creeping sadness was mixed in on her features. "I'm not the best at this. Maybe it goes all the way back to how I was the reason your heart shattered. And what do I do? I come back into your life. Then last night happened." As he remembered everything and as it played in slow motion in his head, he saw how happy they were together. Before all the shit on their senior year graduation and before that hellish year, they were happy together. Genuinely and sickeningly cute-happy with each other. With them, when it was good it was heaven and when it was bad, it was like being on the slow-ass stairway to heaven.

In an action that he hoped wasn't received with a repulsive yanking of her hands to her person, Mika went for them, holding them in his. "I just fear that I gave up any right to actually do this again with you. You know, the whole relationship thing. Even after last night, maybe I still think that--" Shut up and just say it! "I really am bad at this, aren't I?" He laughed and shook his head. "I don't 'just want to be friends' with you either. I want more than that. Like how it was with us before. Like how it was during our junior year, but...more official. You said you never brought up how you wanted a label on it? Then let's do that. Boyfriend and girlfriend!" God, his heart was pounding so fast right now. Was this what it was like to be normal for a change? To be… an O'Hara? It felt nice.

"Do you really mean that?" she asked him in a small voice, feeling guilty about how she might have come across earlier and worried that Mika was only saying what he thought she wanted to hear out of fear of further disappointing her or because he felt put on the spot or pressured to. “You really want us to be official? It’s not because of anything I said or the way I said it? Because if it is, I’m really sorry! I don’t want you to feel forced or obligated or--”

When she started to apologize, in his gut, Mika knew what would happen. In the past, when she started to apologize like this, that made him feel intensely guilty because she would become sad and no matter how much he had always tried to do the right thing, people in his life seemed to cry and become sad, but that wasn’t going to happen again. He wasn’t going to be the reason that she’d cry. It was impossible for him to make all the wrongs he committed right, but at least he could make one of them align with the new leaf he had turned.

As he leaned forward, Mika didn’t waste another second. As her lips started to move, he gently pressed his against them mid-sentence. There were no words from either of them. For a few moments that became eternal, he answered her questions and quelled her worries with a single action. He wrapped his arms around her, bringing her closer to him, their chests touching, bodies connecting, souls embracing, and goddamnit, it was pure bliss.

When he had pulled away, which felt a lot shorter than it had been, Mika pressed his forehead against hers, mirroring last night. “Please, no more apologies. I mean it. I promise I mean it.” Mika kissed her again, though shorter, it held a larger meaning. “I want us to be what you always wanted and what I never had the courage to say. Boyfriend, girlfriend -- however you want to label it, that’s what I want, Caitlin. I’m choosing you and nobody else to be my girlfriend.”

The redhead's eyes filled with tears of excitement and emotion, and her face broke into a joyous smile. Every previous concern or fear about Mika being unsure of the state of their relationship was put to rest when he pressed his lips to hers. The conviction and certainty in his voice when he spoke, so different from the hesitation and insecurity of before, added value to every word he said. Ever since the day of their first kiss, Caitlin had dreamed about the day Mika would ask her to be his girlfriend. In the past, circumstances both in and out of their control had stood in the way of their relationship status becoming official. But today, after trials, and tribulations, over a year apart and so much growing up as individuals, the dream had become a reality: she was Mika’s girl, just like she had so profoundly desired since that May afternoon in 2016.

With her forehead still pressed against his and her arms around her beloved, Cece finally spoke up. "I love you," she proclaimed passionately, holding Mika closely against her.

”I love you too,” he muttered in an almost-whisper.

Mika and Cece allowed their eyes to meet and take in the sight of each other, drinking in every one of their beautiful features. And as the sun continued its trek rising in the horizon after the raging storm, the two lovers locked their lips together in a deep kiss and eventually came together as one once again.

Igarashi, Denki

I am the Storm
~"The calm before the storm."~

What in the Terminator-I’ll-Be-Back-to-the-Future-Blue’s-Clues kind of bullshit was this?

It was one thing for Damian to be in somewhat of a state of confusion about how landed here with some others and these…digimon, as the little one explained, but somehow this was a digital world? Did Damian hear that right? And some how, through whatever means they forgot to explain to the rest of them, this world was parallel with their own.

“My head hurts.”

Friimon made a sound that Damian had assumed was some sort of growl. “Mine too.”

Oh so it can talk. Color Damian impressed and shocked and confused. Why wouldn’t it talk before instead of what it did and climbed around his neck. “So, what? You just like surprising the hell out of me?” Damian laughed and so did Friimon.

This was all just a mess. Damian wasn’t meant nor built nor prepared for this kind of information. He listened more than he talked, which for anyone who might get to know him, that was a rarity. Still, he tried to soak in all the information, making sounds that acknowledged he was at least hearing it. Friimon looked at Damian and mirrored him, nodding his head and making the same ‘mhm’ sounds.

“So this little guy on my neck is my partner?” He looked at Friimon and Friimon looked at him. The two had a staredown while more questions for the others were being asked (and Damian completely ignored most of them). “Cool! You look like a little lion. Lions fucking own!”

Damian brought his eyes to the two pink-looking...Digimon. “Soooo…If I understand this right, there are things that wish to kill, maim, and probably do some unspeakable things to us if we encounter them, right?” As he asked his question, he looked at Friimon, then back to Pinky and the Brain. “Why not throw us a bone and help us out. If you came all this way just to tell us this much, surely you could stick around. Jesus would do that much. Jesus was cool!”

"Yeah! Jesus is cool!" Friimon shouted, once again mirroring Damian.

Damian quickly looked down at Friimon. "Do you even know who Jesus is?" He laughed as he asked.

Friimon hummed. "Someone cool?"

"Shit yeah he is!" Annnd eyes back to the two pink people. "The little guy knows, so you should totally stay!"

In Edenridge 28 days ago Forum: Casual Roleplay
@metanoia @LovelyComplex @BrutalBx
TIMESTAMP — Day Two: Tuesday, July 20, 2021, Morning || After Maelstorm
FTMarco Brady, Sofia Belmonte, Caterina Belmonte, and Dexter Silo



When her mom picked her up from Grandpa’s, Sofia knew her life was over. This would be the day she died. Cat was fuming from the inside out. Instead of raising her voice, she teethed for her mini me to get in the car and on their way to Godmother’s they went. Cat was running late and it looked like her mother didn’t sleep well. Sofia wanted to ask her if she was doing alright, but she knew better. This was not the time to talk.

The car ride was mostly silent. Unsettling so. Sofi couldn’t tell if it was because her mother was too angry to articulate words or if there was something more to the raging storm building inside of her. As much as her mother wanted to hide what she was going through, Sofi watched her through her worst years and could tell, whatever her mother was thinking about was worrying her and that Sofia, as frustrating as it was to find out her daughter lied about her whereabouts, was a needed distraction. Still, Sofia knew better. Until her mother talked, she would not say a word. When they parked in front of the sandwich shop, her mother made her decree. The consequences of her actions were as follows. Sofia was grounded for a month, which meant no phone, no laptop, and no friends, and she had to work. Work at the Godmother’s.

In that moment, Sofia realized the rest of her summer, or most of it, would be her cooped in the house or at this place here, working for her mother. This also meant she wouldn’t be able to hangout with Ricky or Aiden, which royally sucked. Her life was truly over just because she didn’t want to go to New York with her lame ass dad. Fucking dumb. When they entered the shop, her mother hid her seething anger with a smile as she handed her belongings to her daughter to put in the office and started to open the store, letting in two of her employees that had been waiting for her arrival.

Placing her mother’s purse on her desk, Sofia raised an eyebrow when she noticed a study guide and a few books focusing on criminal justice, history of law enforcement, and a police exam book. Her mother wanted to become a cop? Her curious spirit getting the best of her, Sofia started going through the things on top of her mother’s desk until she found a tiny ornate anchor keychain with C.S.C. engraved on it. Looking around her making sure no one was watching, Sofi was quick to pocket it. Jumping back from her hunching over position, the athletic teen darted to the door where her mother was calling her name. Scurrying out, Sofi speedily responded, “Coming, coming!”

“Did you get lost?” Cat sharply asked, containing her agitation as she finished setting up all the registers and went to the front door to unlock the store.

“Sorry, I… dazed a bit. I played games with Danny all night,” Sofia apologetically explained, telling a half truth. “So… you want me over there?”

“Yes, Sofia. You’re going to make sandwiches,” Cat turned away from the door and did one final walk-through. “Marco, she’ll be your assistant for the day,” the boss lady instructed, before going to the aisle of assorted imported sauces, olive oils, vinegar, and seasoning. “I’ll be stocking up over here if you need me,” Cat continued, keeping herself as busy as ever. Something was definitely on her mind.

With Cat out of sight, Sofia deeply sighed and kicked imaginary dirt. Once she was done being dramatic, she put on an apron that was hanging on a hook. Walking beside Marco, she imitated him and put on gloves. Glancing up at Marco then to the many, many sandwich meats then back up at him, Sofia loudly cleared her throat for his attention. “Are you and my uncle fucking?” She bluntly inquired.

There was a rather noticeable gap between when Sofi had cleared her throat to when Marco had registered it in his mind as some sort of very delayed reaction. It wasn’t that Marco was terribly distracted. Sure, part of him was still somewhat traumatized by that game of truth and dare (maybe he was being a little overdramatic about it), but he tried not to think about it. When the coast was clear from the storm, Marco immediately went home and was flooded with a reasonable series of hugs, obscenities, and all sort of expected reactions from his parents. Fast forward a few hours and Marco had made it to work and now Sofi was going to be working, but not just working at the Godmother, but Marco was in charge of her.

And then she came in with the whopper of something that Marco had to do a mental double take. “Sorry what?” He blinked at her and quickly recovered. “No…why? What would give you that idea?” A feeling of panic set in, but he kept it mostly under control as he casually continued to work, some of the meats where they were labeled. In the back of his mind, Marco had this sneaking thought that Sofi thought he was lying. Of course, Marco was lying. Of course he was, but he didn’t want to completely out his boyfriend, especially if he wasn’t ready to let anyone other than Rye know. Truth be told, Marco didn’t care, but he knew more than anyone that things were a lot more complicated on Danny’s end.

He was right.

She knew he was lying.

“You’re not a very good liar, Marco,” Sofia crossed her arms and inquisitively stared up at the man behind the counter with her. She even went the extra step to walk around him like a hawk watching its prey. “If my mom wasn’t so distracted with Anchor Man…” Sofia partly commented, thinking about the evidence in her pocket, which hinted that the rumors on Scott Street were true, her mom had a boyfriend. For a moment, the young Belmonte got lost in thought, getting off track, as she complimented herself, loving the nerdy nickname she bestowed on the mystery man, “…yes, that’s what I’ll call him, Anchor Man.” Rubbing her chin with her latex gloved hand, she gave the smuggest grin. She knew it was only a matter of time before she found out and had the upper hand with her mother. Maybe she wouldn’t be grounded for too long.

Focus, Sofia!

Shaking her early morning squirrel brain, she decided to drop some truth bombs to the victim of the hour, “Anyways! You see, Marco-Polo, I’d like to think one of my gifts is my memory, I’ve been able to reverse uno people all the time because I simply know when I’m right,” she reached for a French baguette and aimed it to the man beside her like a lightsaber, “Another gift of mine? Numbers and dates. Let’s bring it back,” she grabbed another bread and tossed it to Marco, for him to duel her, “Saturday, August 18th, 2018, three days before my aunt Vivia’s bday, our families host their annual bbq. From there, within the course of four months, my uncle goes from 0 funko pops to 96. That’s 6 funko pops a week. 24 a month. All shit he used to know nothing about. Shows, movies, comics, and the like, that could take months to watch just one, like Naruto, especially for my uncle who lived and breathed basketball. Unless!” She raised her baguette in the air before jolting forward to stab Marco, “He had a little motivation,” She whacked Marco’s own bread sword, ready to go at war for her theory, “I’m no engineer but it’s one thing to get into a show because of a friend, it’s another thing to watch several and clutter your room with nerdy shit when you’ve spent most of your life as the jock stereotype. And! This is only me talking about funko pops.”

As much as Marco wanted to deny that none of this held any merit, he couldn’t. He couldn’t because, no matter how much he tried to BS it away as a coincidence, he knew two things were certain: Sofi was smart. She was outrageously and, at this very moment, annoyingly so. And the second was in combination of that exceptionally-annoying awareness she seemed to possess, Marco also never factored in that Danny wasn’t subtle about it. He never thought nothing of it, but this in itself was increasing Marco’s panic whilst he tried so desperately to not let it show on his face and simultaneously trying to best his opponent wielding the French Baguette while he held an italian loaf.

Marco faced a dilemma: admit to the crime or lie himself through it.

In situations he’d ask what his siblings would do. Emil was a good liar and Marcy also a good liar. But they were convincing enough about it. They had the confidence that Marco lacked. That wasn’t to say he was lacking, but lying took a specific breed of confidence and Sofi was right about Marco not being good at it. Still, he just couldn’t out Danny like that, not even when the evidence was pointing to the obvious. “I admit, that’s a good theory--” As he began, Marco stepped forward and thrust his Italian loaf at Sofi’s bread saber. “Not sure if you’re just that naturally observant or you went a little sneaky-sneak. But how does that support the hypothesis that we’re sleeping together?” Marco asked knowing full well that this could come back to bite him in his slightly flabby ass. “Not saying we are or anything, but what about him having so many Funko Pops would make you think that? You remember I used to be an athlete, right? He was too. Who is to say that we didn’t just bond and found a hidden love over some nerdy interests.” Why was he still talking? Marco definitely had a bad habit of doing that: having a good point then letting his mouth keep flapping. Great for someone who is a gamer, not so much for someone trying to deny-deny-deny something that was so clearly true.

“Bro,” Sofia stepped back, dodging a MakAttack, tempted to bite a piece of bread off as she heard her stomach rumble, “The facts I be spittin’ are irrelevant to my theory, I just wanted to make you sweat.” Sofia tossed her bread up flipping it in the air before making a lightsaber sound with her mouth, harnessing the dark side. She was a Sith Lord. “I noticed you two stopped talking a little after your junior prom. I see a lot of shit, amigo. I can’t help it.” The young Jedi was a fool to think she didn’t have more concrete evidence to make her theory a reality.

“Only the past month you two have been somewhat like you used to.” Giving into her desire, Sofia took a bite out of Marco’s Italian loaf as he tried to gently tap her shoulder and chuckled while chewing, “Okay then, how about this. Answer truthfully or forever be labeled a liar. Do you usually call your friends babe? And say you love them and that you're safe during a crazy ass storm? Just saying, my uncle doesn’t lock his phone. He’s kind of an idiot like that.”

There was no way out of it now.

With a deep sigh, Marco half-glared at Sofi. He saw the cheeky expression on her face. An all-too-familiar feeling started to creep itself back into his body. He’d seen the same expression on both his mother’s face and Marcella’s. What an unusually annoying feeling he couldn’t shake. Anytime they both caught him in a lie, a cover-up on his behalf that was poorly done mind you, when they were proven right and Marco had no way out of it and copped to it, there was that same expression. It was worn differently, but Sofi wasn’t a Castillo - she was a Belmonte, but Cat’s daughter, so maybe it was worse? Or maybe the same just in a different shade.

Doing a double take behind him to make sure Cat wasn’t around, Marco returned his almost disappointed gaze on the younger Italian girl. “You really shouldn’t be snooping through people’s phones.” He had all but admitted to the crime. “I’m not going to answer anything without my lawyer present.” Marco was a bad liar (as the jury had seen first hand), but joking about what was true and especially this odd version of an interrogation, was something he was more than capable of doing. He leaned in close. But, if you must know, yes. Marco knew she was smart enough (clearly) to know he didn’t mean her latest question, either.

“Good,” Sofia brushed off Marco’s annoyance like it was something she was used to and softly smiled, “He’s less of an asshole when he’s got you on his mind and I’m just glad to see him not brooding as much, so thank you.” Placing the baguette back in its home, deeming it clean, she turned to Marco, glancing at the Italian bread she already took a big bite out of. Taking Marco’s bread out of his hand because she bit it, and it wasn’t servable anymore, she wrapped it in parchment paper and hid it in a counter drawer for later. The entrance bell to her mom’s shop rang causing her to quickly perk back up.

Curious girl.

Always a curious girl.

Cracking her knuckles, semi-ready to make sandwiches, her eyes fell on this tall, handsome blonde man she hadn’t seen before. He carried himself in a dignified, charismatic, but humble way and he was well dressed. Nothing like the Osprey brand though. Nah, it looked more… Pinehurst, like that news journalist the mayor’s daughter was canoodling with. Or the Monarchs she saw at last year’s party. He must be passing through Edenridge. Shrugging at the newcomer’s presence, she looked up at Marco and inquired, “Does my mom have a loyal customer? And I don’t mean your type of loyal. Is there someone that comes to see her, and just her? Rumor has it, she has a boyfriend already, and I want to know who it is.”

Marco had his attention divided between a few things, but mostly it was what Sofi had been saying about Danny, almost smiling at that. He always knew Danny was rough around the edges and possibly Marco being in his life made him happier. He never knew it for certain, but he knew his life was better and was brighter when he had Danny in his, so he had always hoped that it was a two-way street.

“That’s…nice--” Interrupted mid-thought, Marco was saved by the bell. Literally.

His blue eyes were naturally drawn to the sound and he saw someone he hadn’t seen come through the doors of Godmother and that was saying something. As popular as Godmother was, Marco liked to think he had seen all the regulars come in and this older man, well this was a new face. He made a note of the older features and the hair. Almost as radiant as Marco’s old personality used to be. But he looked different than what Marco had seen from Edenites, but he couldn’t place it.

“Sorry, Sofi, we can’t talk about this now--” Marco could just hear the expression on her face, but he had to show some responsibility, no matter how much the mystery of Cat’s potential new boyfriend interested him. “Welcome to the Godmother, home of many yummy sandwiches! May I take your order?” Marco stated with a bright smile to the older blonde man. Honestly, he had been wanting to try that one for some time now. A bit inspired by one of his favorite movies growing up, Good Burger. Hopefully Cat will allow him to say it from here on out.

“Hello there,” The man spoke softly, his voice like melted butter, there was a slight gravel but it was smooth. His dirty blonde hair was combed perfectly into a business-like swish and his three-piece navy suit clung to his obviously fit body in all the right places. With one hand in his pocket, he scratched his stubbled chin with the other before resting it onto the counter before the two workers. Water coloured eyes fell upon the young Sofi, taking her in as if gazing upon a solid memory before they drifted to Marco. “I’m hoping you can help. I’d like to get a cracked black pepper pastrami sub on an Italian loaf, with gherkins, some grated parmesan cheese and a whole lotta mustard, if you would be so kind?” The customer's eyes drifted back to Sofia. “And if at all possible, I would like to speak to the owner of this place. I’m an old friend.”

Cat’s attention was ripped from the shelf she had placed a pack of Cassini Taggiasca olive oil on. There was a moment she stared at the assortment of Italian goods, frozen in place. Was she hearing things? Or was her mind playing tricks? She had been so caught up in her worry for Clay, he hadn’t texted her goodnight or good morning, that she wasn’t paying attention to who was coming and going from her shop. Not only was the voice familiar but the order was too. Snapping out of her stupor, she sauntered to the end of the aisle. Instead of revealing herself, she peaked to see if her suspicions were right.

Fucking Christ.

From a sinking heart to a sudden spike of anger, like a pot almost about to boil over, Cat swiftly pulled herself back into the aisle and tried to gather herself. She had to be professional. Sofia mustn’t know too much of the person she was about to make a sandwich for. Professional and mature. Inhaling and exhaling, Cat tried her best to give a marketable smile and came out of hiding, only for salt to immediately come out of her mouth, “A friend is someone that keeps in touch. We haven’t talked in years, Dexter.” Going behind the counter with her daughter and employee, she glared at the man waiting to be served and crossed her arms, “What brings you to Eden, anyway?”

“Apologies,” The man now identified as Dexter raised his hands. “You’re right. I guess I deserve that.” His eyes locked onto Cat before he placed both of his hands into his pockets. “It is good to see you Caterina, you’re as beautiful as ever.” She truly was still as youthful and as stunning as she had been all those years ago. The brunette had aged like the finest wines of her family homeland and Dex couldn’t help but wonder if she tasted better too. Compartmentalizing those thoughts for the present moment, the newcomer remembered the pouty look she had on her face very well. “A few things,” He began. “Business mostly but then also some personal stuff.”

Cat could feel her daughter’s gaze on her, that uncontainable curiosity she had behind those sharp, clever eyes. She knew there would be questions later. There were always questions. Unfortunately, to smile for this asshole was incredibly hard. She hated Dexter Silo. He broke her fucking heart. “Outside,” She demanded as she gestured for her ex to follow her to one of her outdoor tables. “Marco, bring his sandwich when you’re done. It’s on me. Y’know, for an old friend.” At that point, her fiery green eyes were glued to Dex’s impassive gaze. Her expression said it all. Caterina Belmonte was absolutely livid. She had the eyes of a tiger, protective of her territory and her baby. He couldn’t be trusted. Not one bit and she was determined to get to the bottom of this, and make sure he does not, and will not come back to her place of business, and ideally home. What the hell did he want?

Dexter nodded in compliance with Cat’s demands. She was always one to get what she wanted and when they were kids, he didn’t exactly mind because usually what she wanted matched up with his own desires. The blonde man turned to look at the youngsters at the bar top and nodded his head. “It was a pleasure to meet you both.” Those Damn eyes fell upon Sofi’s once again and he smiled. “Hopefully I’ll be seeing you again. Take care guys,” He waved pleasantly before making his way towards the door as directed by Cat.

When they left, Sofia gave a melodic whistle to clear the air, “You could cut that shit with a knife. Never thought I’d see the day I’d get to meet one of my mom’s exes. This is a first!” The evidence was obvious. Her mother carried herself like a woman who was afraid to get hurt again. Her mother didn’t act like that in front of many people. If anything, the only other person who got that treatment was her father. Sofia knew this man meant something to her mother. So much so that only venom came out of her lips. He hurt her. He hurt her bad.

“You can say that again…” In all honesty, Marco felt awkward during the whole exchange. He wanted to say something, but like Sofi had aptly pointed out, it was tense. So tense that his stomach tightened up to the point that he was frozen where he stood, watching and forced to do so silently, taking a few long moments to shake himself back into gear so he could make the sandwich. Whoever that Dexter was, there was something about him Marco didn’t like.

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