Recent Statuses

9 mos ago
Current You need to chill, girl. ;P
2 yrs ago
I still don't know why I'm awake.
2 yrs ago
I have no idea why the hell I am still awake right now. I blame my brother.
2 yrs ago
Today, I have added "people who don't wear masks" onto my shitlist. Oh wait, I did that months ago...
2 yrs ago
I suppose it ain't nothing but a heartache?


I'm a 32 year old woman just looking to keep those writing muscles in whatever shape I can. I'm also Canadian, so fill the rest of this bio with every stereotype you can think of. I've also been single for over a year now, so clearly I'm a catch.

"She's horrible and stuff" - @BangoSkank

Most Recent Posts

The phrase "Not right now" usually carries a negative connotation. It means that someone is being delayed satisfaction. A child isn't getting their dessert. A gathering of friends is not yet ready to shout surprise. A lover is being taunted by their partner. It's not meant to be savored exactly upon the moment of hearing it.

However, when Miki Park uttered that phase to her beloved Luxray, telling Blitz that there would be no battle at the moment, it was such a sweet sound to Melissa's ears. It was tough to pick out over the bustle of the port city, but the blonde could taste the disappointment dripping from her rival's tongue. It was delectable.

As Melissa began to walk away, she was confident she handled that perfectly. It was almost appropriate that Miki ended up showing up on this rock. It was her that drove Melissa here. Not directly, but Miki was the catalyst for everything that happened that gave this person the leverage to offer Melissa what she wanted. A true shot at redemption for the one blemish on her jewel-encrusted legacy. But she didn't let Miki know how much it still bothered her these years later. She was proud of herself for it.

So when it was clear Miki was going to keep following her, even after that beautiful flurry of condescension she had hailed down upon her,
Melissa was temporarily at a loss for words. It felt like an eternity, and yet it still hung in the air. It wasn't enough for Miki, clearly. Melissa always held a simmering hatred for how Miki managed to specialize in the one type that had the blonde dominated for so long in the early going. She's always managed to compensate for the weaknesses that Ice and Fairy types had against the flames, no matter where she trained, but the brunette was always so damn smug about everything. It gave Melissa great joy when some punk decided to roll up thinking he was hot shit with the Incineroar or Turtonator or Alolan Marowak, only to get doused or buried or... rocked. Miki was no different. Especially since Dark types couldn't do anything against her Fairy types. Melissa had to keep that in mind as she was pressed by the Lava Queen as to what she was doing out here.

"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. Not unless you lost and you were just blowing hot air to sound like you were some hot shit."

She was irked by the question. What did it matter what she was doing here? She was here now, that was the important thing. The fact that Miki would insinuate that she would lose her title so easily? Laughable! In fact, Melissa had to stifle a small chuckle at the thought. She looked over to confirm the brunette was walking behind her. "Oh, don't you worry. I still have my crown perfectly intact. Melissa laughed a little harder. "Almost like those Alolans didn't know the true power of winter's fury until I hit the islands. This one kid, Hau, keeps coming at me, and he keeps forgetting his Alolan Raichu gets wrecked by Yuki every time." A flick of her hair punctuated her confidence in her ability to keep those islands tamed. "But I told them I needed to take a leave of absence to deal with some things. So Kukui is taking over the reins for a little bit. He was itching to do some research on some new moves and he was happy to take over. Although Kahili is a little annoyed she has no one else to go golfing with next weekend. But I'll make it up to her when I get back."

As the mansion started to grow larger on the horizon, Melissa's mind wandered a little bit back to the task at hand. She still didn't have any good ideas on who the mysterious person behind the letter was, although their judgment was now under question with Miki Park's involvement. They had to have enough connections to Sinnoh to get a hold of both Miki as well as herself, knowing that she had taken up residence in Alola. Plus they had to have enough connections to be able to fix her issue with the Indigo League. Maybe make sure she can get into the Masters Tournament in a decent slot while they were at it. She had fought so hard with everything she had to get to where she was now. If anyone could give her a leg up for the next step, she was going to take it.

"So, what about you? Still in Sinnoh? Candice finally get tired of you stomping her enough to actually get a decent anti-Fire team together? I kept telling her she needs to get at least one regular Pokémon in the rotation that can deal consistent Water pressure on opponents, but she's just like 'I have to stay focused!' like that's all that matters." Melissa laughed again. If there's one person she enjoyed taking potshots at more than Miki, it was Candice. Perhaps that showed the rankings given how quickly she was able to joke about Candice with her supposed arch rival. "Obviously you still have your golden bug zapper, so you haven't retired from training."





Afterlife was dead.

The storm was really starting to ramp up outside the once and former St. Paul Cathedral. That said, a little rain wouldn’t stop the Grateful Dead from partying the night away behind the stained glass windows and under the coloured fluorescent lights. The club wasn’t as filled as it normally was but there was enough revelry to create a vibe; then again it did just so happen to be a Monday evening, in the middle of a monsoon at the dying breath of summer.

Jill O’Brien and Mei Ramsey, call them vampires, witches, zombies or neon Medusas had been holed up inside the Afterlife since their earlier interview with their friend Kylee. Typical of her, she was investigating yet another of the countless dirty little secrets that Edenridge had swept under the proverbial rug. On this particular of days, Ky was deep diving into the horror story of David O’Hara. Foundling. Star Basketball Player. Nice guy. Possible child molester. David’s case had always been an interesting one considering there was no visible evidence of his crime. Nobody ever came forward. All there was, was rumour and rumour could be a noose in a town like Edenridge.

Two months ago, Mei would’ve been right by Kylee’s side in her investigation. The pair together were an unstoppable force of nature but Grimmy had to work without the Dark Priestess on this one. Instead, she was working with a shaggy haired Irish boy who played too much Tony Hawk Pro Skater. Mei had a more pressing issue. Her dream girl. A flame haired temptress whom she had desired for long enough that she couldn’t remember how long. Jill was so broken, so worn down by the dark before she and Mei gave in to their feelings. Now Miss Midnight was doing her best to help build her back up into the fierce and fiery woman she knew her to be. They had been making progress and now the dark was not crushing Jill, it was lifting her up.

Mei held onto the back of her girl’s head as they danced together to the sound of Vampires by The Midnight. They were ensconced in a lithe and sultry display as Mei’s lower half grinded against Jill’s. It would be hard, damn near impossible not to stare at the two women, dressed sexily and moving against one another in a display of pure passion. Mei had danced for years. Second to the mystic and martial arts, dance was one of her great loves. She shared it with much of her family; her grandmother opened a studio; Dansu no Jotei, on the Southside. The Midnight girl looked back fondly on dancing with her cousins Callie and Minnie as kids, the workout was almost as hard as the ones her father put her through. She hoped that Cal and Min were good. They were family so she loved them but they were a bit too K-Pop for her taste. I mean, Callie was an idol for Hecate’s sake. Last Mei heard she was in Singapore, Reagan saw her a few months back but that was neither here nor there. Mei had one thing to focus on in that moment and that was her girlfriend.

Leaning her head back and up, Mei kissed Jill’s chin, leaving a touch mark from her red lipstick. “You look crazy hot tonight.”

The girl who now sported a soft crimson ring underneath her own deep ruby lips just smiled down at the woman who marked her. “Got to make sure I match you, love.”

It still felt weird to be called crazy hot. It wasn’t the first time that Jillian O’Brien had heard it in regards to her appearance, but it had been a damn long while. Crazy was shouted far more than hot was in recent times, but now? Now she could actually believe it. Now she had someone with whom there was absolute trust that they meant exactly what they said. Sure, she had felt like that connection was there before, but it was either ripped apart by forces beyond her control or it turned out to be a bold-faced lie. With Mei, it seemed like there was no threat of the latter scenario. It couldn't be. She wasn't that good of an actor to play a long con over six years just to break Jill's heart. No, it made embracing everything that much easier.

And embrace Jill did. Her outfit, the same as the one she sat down for her interview with Kylee, was hitting that sweet spot of her old preppy cheer queen life mixed with her new darker edge. One honed in depression and destruction but sharpened to a productive point by the Asian goth girl who had a hold on her, literally and figuratively at this point. This was a new kind of beauty that the redhead could convey to the world. She had always put up a soft front, allowing herself to offer an easy approach and wait until she had the ear of her target before unveiling that more deceptive, dangerous side of her if needed. Maybe that was the influence of her mom's side of the family. Now, the dangerous side was out in the open. Vodka bottle in hand or not, Jillian O'Brien was not going to be messed with any more. Not with her queen by her side.

As the saxophone swells headed towards the climax of the song, she let herself be pulled in tighter against her demon dream girl, their bodies pressed together in a display that dared any of the spirits haunting the former cathedral to make themselves known lest their God judge them for standing by while they cavorted under the arches. Jill could still feel the heat on her chin and wanted to return the favor, but Mei's makeup was such a flawless portrait, it would be a shame to smudge it here on the dance floor. No, that could come later. So Jill settled for the closest thing she could as the ex-cheerleader leaned forward and planted her lips on the ex-cheerleaders' neck, gentle as she was in the past, but the slight pressure and the brief flick of a tongue let Mei know how her partner was feeling. Vampires, indeed.

"So, do we want to maintain our spot on the dance floor, or do we go refresh our drinks?" Jill asked Mei as the song started to fade out.

A small moan escaped from Mei’s painted lips as she felt the soft breath of her girlfriend on her neck. Really it sent shivers down her spine in the best possible way. Oh Jill was going in the right direction for a good time doing the bad thing tonight. The Goth Goddess allowed her hands to wander from behind her lover's redhead and down her body to reach her soft, smooth legs. Fuck, she was lucky. “We better get some drinks or I’m just going to eat you out right here on the dance floor.”

Mei had developed over time, a certain cadence that was unequivocally hers. She spoke her mind, literally. She did not hide what she felt or what she thought, consequences be damned. If she wanted to fuck her smoking hot girlfriend, she’d say it. If she wanted to call the terrifying leader of the Southside Serpents a cunt and punch him in the face, she would and she did. Mei had pushed all concern of retaliation from ReyRey for her attack on Carlisle down to the bottom of her mind. She knew it was probably a mistake and that retribution was coming her way but fuck it. She was Mei fucking Midnight. She was badass…or at least she hoped she was.

She took a hold of Jill’s hand and walked towards the bar. As the pair walked, the tattoo artist noted the Devil leaning over the VIP balcony, chatting very closely to a beautiful blonde. Well that wasn’t going to end well. Mei wouldn’t be surprised if a body was found floating in the lake in the morning once the storm had subsided. The very thought of death didn’t bother the midnighter, in fact she embraced it but what did worry her was the lake and particularly bodies in the lake. Kylee, one of her best friends, was currently investigating one such body and Mei couldn’t help but wonder how much danger she would be in if she opened Pandora’s box. “We should check in on Ky first thing," she said as they arrived at the bar. “I’m a little worried.”

Jill nodded as she rested her arm on the bar, the other one not leaving Mei's grip for a second. It was true that Kylee was experienced enough at doing this sort of investigation that she would be able to avoid getting in too deep of a situation. She also had a Callahan with her, possibly an upgrade of a Callahan. Jill didn't remember Adam looking like that when he left Eden the first time. But still, the drowning of David O'Hara was a sore spot for the town, certainly for the Elite, and one wrong prod could bring the wrong people after her.

Although having had some time to think about it since the afternoon interview, was it really that wrong what David did? Going after a freshman as a senior was a major faux pas, for sure, but was it that much different than Grace fucking Danny a few months later? Not that Jill wanted to relive that portion of her life, not with her and Danny having finally patched things up to the point of civility. In fact, one of the comforts she had was knowing that even with its reclaimed status, the lingering sanctitude of the cathedral would probably cause Grace's skin to burn the second she stepped foot in the Afterlife. But Jill played her part in spreading the rumors about Dirty David, helped hasten his excommunication from the Elite, and barely broke a sweat when she heard his body was found in the lake. Being on the other side of her own descent into crushing darkness definitely gave her perspective she didn't have back then. Jill felt bad for what she did to David.

She also felt bad about lying to Kylee.

Although that one wasn't 100% true. Jill still pointed her friend in the right direction as far as she knew. She wasn't going to completely shut off Kylee in her dogged pursuit of the truth. But it wasn't her story to tell. She gave Kylee her side, for sure. But she wasn't a snitch, especially with something so personal. No, she wouldn't be using that to break down people anymore. She wasn't going to give her own girls the Emily Carano treatment. Except maybe Lanie.

"Ky will be fine," Jill finally answered. "You know as well as I do how much of a bulldog that girl is. In the nicest way. I sent her to Cece, and if there are answers to be had in the Dirty David story, Cece is her best chance to get them. You know how good Cece was at getting things done in the shadows back in the day. She won't steer Kylee wrong." I hope. "But yeah, once we are done here, I think a drunken check-in call to our third Angel is in order. But to get to that state… what do you want, love? This one is on me."

That would probably be the only one given Jill's finances at the moment. She still hadn't found any work, most local businesses aware of how far she had fallen during her post-pregnancy depression, and unwilling to hire the glamour of the past with the wreck of the present still looming and potentially relapsing at any given moment. She now knew how her mom must have felt scraping and clawing to get what she could before marrying her dad. Lyons to O'Brien and back in one generation. She was starting to scrape barrels, heck even working at the Afterlife didn't seem so bad. Or with Ky's sister at the Edge of Sin. She was drunkenly joking with Hailey about the offer but now, it was looking like an option. She needed something. Mei couldn't keep carrying the two of them like this.

“Black Mojito baby.” Mei rapped on the bar as Sonya began mixing her signature drink for the dark priestess. Jill was right. Kylee could definitely take care of herself and she had Adam with her who was built like a Grecian statue of Zeus. That was a surprise. Mei hadn’t thought about Adam Callahan in years. She remembered him much like Roddy, nice guy, shaggy hair, goofy grin, all the usual Callahan traits. Yet when he turned up at their door, bulging out of his shirt and having grown into his features? Well that sight almost turned her straight.

Almost. No one could ever top her Jillybean.

Caressing Jill’s hand with her thumb, Mei thought about the last few months since she and Jill got together. Everything had gone so fast but so right. The Dream Girls were living together, fucking every chance they got, rocking their new car, living life at night and Mei was helping Jill physically and mentally get back to the foxy fire-headed mega babe she was before she got caught in a shitstorm. Though it was a two way street. Jill was showing Mei that she didn’t have to constantly live in darkness, that there was warmth and love in the light. However, Mei knew that there were still secrets between them, secrets that she hoped they both could share over time. One of which was Jill's state of employment. The Midnight girl knew how much Lady Ashes hated that Mei was paying all of their bills and it was a weight that she was desperate to lift.

“I’m just being silly, Ky’s got that glorious chunk of Irish beef with her, she’ll be fine.” Taking a hold of her drink, the goth girl took a sip and sighed in pleasure. “Perfect.” Placing the drink back down on the bar, Mei let her eyes drift over her lover's body for a moment before meeting her gaze. “So I was thinking about your job situation, maybe it’s time we asked someone for help?”

Jill took a long sip from her expertly crafted Darkfire cocktail. She had explained it to Sonya a couple months ago when the idea came to her in a dream… or so she says. Two shots of dark rum, one and half ounces of mango juice, one ounce of cranberry juice, a dash of cinnamon, and two black cherries for garnish. She didn't care if she was the only one that ordered it, or the fact that she had a drink of her own at the Afterlife probably meant she spent way too much time here, but it was hers in the way the Black Mojito was Mei's and it suited them both just fine.

"Both on mine, Sonya," Jill confirmed as she turned back to her lover. Mei brought up the situation she knew they were both thinking about and Jill let out a soft sigh. "I guess. It was so easy to get a job before. All I had to do was bat my eyes and mention my name and I had access to the register if I wanted it. But now that the money from Dad's life insurance is gone and everyone else is doing their own thing… aside from Grace, but who fucking knows what she actually has planned for herself, I just… I guess I need the help to get back into that better spot huh? Law school is basically out of the question now so… what can a girl like me do to get some money going in this town? I mean, taking off my clothes is more of an option now, I guess."

It had only been a couple months but the changes to her routine were starting to bring that old cheerleader body back to the redhead. A good chunk of the pregnancy/booze weight was finally starting to disappear, and even if they were denizens of the dark now, the fact that she was getting outside and limiting her booze intake to "non-Disney star breakdown" levels was helping her complexion regain a little bit of that shine. The scars remained, but at least there were things to draw the attention away.

"Although I guess the Edge of Sin is out. Can't be madly in love with someone who punched out the owner and get a job there, unless, you know, I reach supernova hot levels."

“You already are supernova hot levels but I digress.” Mei brushed a hair from Jill’s face and tucked it behind her ear. She leaned in and kissed the lone gently before returning to her bar stool. “I hate for us to go there but babe, if you really want to work, we have an ace in our back pocket.” If she was completely honest with herself, the nocturnal DJ wouldn’t mind if Jill decided she didn’t want to work. She just wanted her girlfriend to be happy and if that meant staying on the couch and watching reruns of Modern Family or Scrubs then that is what she would support. Still. Mei knew Jill, she knew her better than anyone and as she returned to the person she once was, that version of her would not sit idle and wait for the end. No, the real Jill would take the bull by the horns, break its neck and then cook Mei a romantic dinner before the hottest love making possible. That was her Jill. “We could speak to some of the guys, see if their parents are willing to take you on? Then maybe after a little moment saved up we can get you into community college? Like I hear Lexie Davies is back in town? We could see if her Mom’s law firm will take you on as an intern or something? Or I could speak to Ozzy? Get you a job at the insurance company? Hell, we could ask Ky and see if dream daddy Grimm can help?”

Jill demurred as she felt more heat, this time on her ear. It was amazing how Mei could stir emotions with a simple peck that an entire starting backfield for the Celtics couldn't coax with their naked bodies. "It's something, love. I don't want to be asking for too much charity. I just gotta get something on the resume other than high school accolades and pity points. Shit, I would even wait tables if I have to, but is an internship going to be the best thing for us? I don't want you to run yourself into the ground just because I'm still trying to get back on my feet." Jill's hand slipped alongside Mei's cheek, carefully gliding along to make sure she didn't disturb the painted look as it reached her ear and caressed down her neck. Mei's own scar of the past was ever present, but it didn't completely own her. Just like the scars on Jill's back wouldn't own her. Not anymore. "Besides, I think I have heard enough of Momma Ramsey's pep talks to try and aim a little higher than smoking hot trophy wife. Even if you deserve that trophy."

Jillian’s touch always ignited Mei’s blood like a spark to oil but the feel of her finger drifting around her neck felt different. The Wiccan had done everything she possibly could to move beyond that day. She threw herself into her art. She threw herself into the radio and she threw herself into love. The Chairman used to say that Mei was a mountain, strong, resolute and unmovable. Yet she had been moved.

Most other than Jill would assume that the youngest Ramsey had overcome the events of the first day of senior year. They didn’t see her waking up at night screaming. They didn’t see the fact that she avoided sleep so that she didn’t have to relive that moment. When she closed her dark eyes, Mei could transport herself back to that moment, the moment she saw Charlie looking at her through the door. They never had a bad relationship or any real relationship, it was always civil and when they talked they liked to talk about music. She didn’t think about anything else when she got up from under the table. She didn’t think that in two seconds, he would raise his gun up to the glass and open fire. It was like watching a movie. She could see herself lying on the art room floor, holding on to her neck and gasping for breath. She could see Roddy Callahan running over to her and taking off his jacket to put pressure on her wound.

The mountain crumbled around him.

“You know, I might be able to help,” a voice said from behind the girls.

Taking a seat next to Jill, Esteban Montero looked massively out of place. He was dressed in a light blue suit with a black turtleneck but he looked immaculate and handsome; his moustache perfectly curled and his hair fluffy and flowing. “Three tequila, mi amor and something for yourself.” The charm dripping through the man’s Latin-tinged accent was like melted butter on toast. It was to die for. As Sonya poured the shots, Esteban turned his attention to the vampires. “If you’re looking for work, I may be of some assistance.”

Jill turned around, used to men offering to help in her times of trouble. They definitely didn't have accents dripping like that though. Or dressed that impeccably. Or offered tequila. Usually it was slurred speech from a soiled sweatshirt offering a beer for a flash. As Jill watched the shot of Patron land in front of her, she eyeballed the mysterious Latin stranger. "I'm listening, but if this is one of those million dollar deals to fuck my girlfriend, she's worth at least double that."

A wry smile crept across Mei’s painted lips. Jill was a badass and this stranger had no idea what sort of girls he was dealing with. He was up against the Vampire Dream Girls. “I mean, you can take a run at me daddy but you’ll have to pay the toll and it ain’t just a shot of very expensive tequila.” The demon knocked back her shot and as her throat burned, she looked to Sonya. “Another, on the caramel bear's tab.”

Esteban let out a hearty chuckle. These girls were fun, spunky, there was an edge. “Please it’s nothing like that. You are both very beautiful but...” He raised his left hand and showed a sterling silver wedding band. “I am happily married and you are very young.” He said with a wiggle of his fingers. “No, I am opening a hotel here in town. Encanto. And it is part of my mission statement to make sure when I open a new location, that I always exclusively use local talent.”

That did get Jill to raise an eyebrow. First, someone with class respecting the sanctity of marriage? Jumped a very low bar in this town with ease. She finally took the shot of tequila and poured it back past her lips. It probably wouldn't mix well with all the rum, but by this point it really didn't matter what mix of booze Jill took on a given day. Although her tolerance was starting to creep back down a little…

Second, someone wanting to open a hotel in Edenridge? Someone who believes tourists would want to come to the cursed burb of Boston and spend money to stay here? They did have a lot of bravado if they thought that was going to work. But he clearly had the money to back it up. And third…

"Well I have been called a local talent before," Jill confirmed. "Although I am not sure which of my talents you need in the hotel business. I am not a very good maid, my cooking skills top out at French toast, and while I think I sing like an angel, I don't know any pianist who can plink out a decent version of Stay. But I am still listening, Mr…"

“Montero.” Esteban took his shot of tequila like a champ and didn’t even flinch. In front of seasoned veterans like Mei and Jill, that was impressive. “Esteban Montero.” He reached into his jacket and pulled out a business card. Laying it flat on the bar, he slid it over to the young lovers. “There are many positions in the hotel business, if anything you could try a few, see what fits. Personally, I can see you as a hostess. Not too dissimilar to some of the, damas impresionante, walking around us right now. Save the fact you would be in a bar and restaurant setting.” Esteban ordered an Old Fashioned from Sonya before turning his attention back to the Goth Goddesses. “Obviously the hotel has not yet been finished so, if you were to apply and be successful, we would keep you on retainer. Pay you up until the hotel is complete and then start you as soon as possible. No pressure of course, I am a stranger offering you a job in a bar. Have a think about it, my office number is on the card.” Getting to his feet, the dapper gentleman grabbed his glass and saluted the girls. “Disfruta tu tarde, saludos.” With that, El Capitan moved away from the bar and climbed the stairs towards the VIP area.

Watching their newest benefactor walk towards the Devil's domain hammered home the point that this man apparently talked the talk as well as strutted it. Jill looked at the card on the bar, it definitely looked like it came from a man of taste and wealth. She picked it up and flipped it over, as if weighing the offer in her mind already. "Well, what do you think, babe? Not the channel I was expecting but he's offering to pay me even before the place opens."

“Well it seems shifty as fuck to be honest.” Mei’s face shifted and she began to smile with her teeth on display. “Which makes it really goddamn exciting.” She could tell that something wasn’t right. Living in Edenridge all your life tends to give one a sixth sense that there’s more to the story than the first glance of the first page. This handsome moustachioed daddy was hiding something and Mei could see that. What was he hiding? Well therein lies the question. Finding out what it was would be a marketable change from the secret love lives of Eden high schoolers. “I dunno babe, I think this could be exactly what we’re fucking looking for. Excitement. Adventure. The unknown. And a free hotel suite whenever we want it so I can do unspeakable things to your sexy ass.”

Leave it to Mei to find the bright side in any offer. Or at least the sexy side. It never failed to get a laugh out of Jill. "Didn't know you wanted to live out the fantasy of picking up a stranger in a hotel bar like some district manager in from fucking Omaha," she said through the giggles. Another thing Mei never failed to get out of her. Maybe that's why this relationship bloomed as quickly as it did. Admitting to each other that they filled each other's needs and wants so completely, it was more a question of what took it so long to begin with.

"Well assuming that Kylee solves the mystery of the damsel that doomed David, I guess it makes sense that we fill that void with whatever Mr. Montero is bringing to Edenridge, huh? I can be the girl on the inside, getting all the info on the operation. Or if it turns out the operation is boring, getting access to all the minibar foods." She grabs another cocktail from Sonya, assuming she knows that Esteban would be covering a couple more beverages for Eden's favorite power couple of the night. "Maybe I'll take him up on that offer, see if he accepts the application," Jill lifts her glass up. "And we'll see where this ride takes us."

Mei clinked her glass with her girlfriend's and downed her drink. They could be entering dangerous territory. They didn’t know this man, who he was, what he did and what his plans were. Their path was uncertain, splintered and maze-like but they were doing it together. That’s all either of them could really ask for. Mei stood up and pulled Jillian onto a deep long kiss. God she was madly in love with this woman. She would do anything for her, even die. Curse be damned. Mei was going to fight Edenridge with all her will and might for her happy ending.

“Ride of your life, baby.”

Swear this time I am going to get an actual post in... @Wolf Mother @TGM @Akayaofthemoon



TW: Cocaine, Substance Abuse, Surgical Body Modifications
Introducing: Evelyn Harding, Bexley Crosby, James Tyler
Location: Leonardi Building (Girls' Bathroom) → The Quad → Music Stall


“Are you serious, James? A hundred and ten pounds of blow?” Evelyn Harding leaned up against the wall staring at the bag of coke that her friend and bandmate bought for her and Bex. He placed it on the counter connected to the sinks. Since class was coming to an end, they would have to hurry this exchange before students entered the girls’ bathroom in the Leonardi Building. It was ironic they were about to sniff coke in place of Health and Counseling.

On a daily basis Eve consumed enough alcohol and drugs to sedate most of New York City from Manhattan to Queens for about a month. Xanax helped with the edge, Adderall kept her focus, Quaaludes was a wonderful sleep aid, pot mellowed her out, coke was always a good option to wake her the fuck up, and booze, well, booze simply was a masochistic way of her having big highs and big lows. Her favorite. The gateway that led to her discovering all these other drugs that altered her mind, her emotions, and her life, making her feel superb again.

She, surrounded by Rock & Roll for all her childhood, relied on alcohol more so than any of the other drugs but today, during the day of her party, she wanted to have a little fun. It wasn’t like she started the day off with it. She waited, like the good girl she was, for her classes to finish. Now that it was lunch, it was time to give into the craving and feed her desires. She sure loved this part of her day.

That’s where James comes in. Whenever she needed something more, minus weed because she’d go to Mithra for that, she’d call her dear Speedster and use their code for when she wanted something special. Each drug had a pairing food with it. The best way to communicate in text, honestly, was through code. Whether they talked about classmates or they wanted to get up to something illegal, having a code to deter prying eyes was a good safety net to have. Coke was cinnamon buns.

Mm, I could murder for a cinnamon bun right now.

“I said I needed to wake up. Not lose all feeling in my body and get a heart attack,” Evelyn teased, with her pleasantly smooth, fine red wine voice. It was clear she was a woman who held herself with dignity and confidence, and her presence simply commanded all eyes on her. In addition to that, her body exudes sensuality. Eve was a symbol of sex.

Ravishing hips, tall legs, meat in all the right places, gorgeous strands of raven hair… Eve was the Dark Goddess of Crystal Peak Academy, and absolutely bewitching. She, like her best friend, Bex Crosby, were the embodiment of a goth wet dream. Pierce the veil? One may discover the Raven beauty was phenomenally talented, charmingly authentic, and tragically hollow.

Sadly, the songstress felt like she was endlessly drowning and that all she was, was a shattered mirror of a person. By the time Eve entered the Academy, she was far too lost in her vices — battered, bruised, and broken. Not okay and definitely afraid. All easily hidden behind a smile, though her actions spoke louder than words. Eve was a hot mess. Both figuratively and literally. That doesn’t mean she was a bad person or a bad friend. If anything, Eve was loyal to a fault and protective over those that she chose to keep close. Those she gave pieces of her heart to, like Bex, were her touchstones and when they hurt, she hurt. That’s just how Eve was. She loved hard, to the detriment of herself, but was never one to commit. Friends over romance, any day.

While her best friend and bandmate kept her distance from the drugs on the counter, Bexley Crosby feared no poison. She feared very little, to be honest. She stared at, then hefted up the bag that James had brought into the bathroom, and with her minimal strength, it was more difficult than she hoped it looked. When James said he was bringing a hundred and ten pounds worth of coke, the British national assumed he meant measured that amount of snow in empirical money, not imperial weight.

“James, have I told you lately how much a fuckin’ idjiot you are?”

Granted, Bex had no doubt that Eve would eventually run her way through all that coke. Maybe Bex would help her a little, although cocaine did nothing for the Queen of Goth. Just like most of Eve’s vices. Even looking at the giant brick, knowing what was going to be in store for Eve, Bex had no first-hand experience with it. Same with the fish tanks of alcohol she often saw the lead vocalist go through on any given night. They did nothing but run through the Brit’s system. The only joint drug they could share were the joints themselves, and even then, Bex didn’t enjoy weed all that much. It made her too happy. It was bad for her image.

Cocaine was also hard to do anything with. It didn’t have a direct physical effect like the acids. It didn’t have an immediate toxic effect like the poisons. It didn’t even cause the hallucinations the way the LSD infused spit did. It’s why Bex was fully on board with getting copious tabs from her newer bandmate. But this? This was not inconspicuous. This was not manageable. This brick was going to sit here until Eve was done with it. And then James could deal with it in Bex's mind. This wasn’t her pig, it wasn’t her farm.

Bex shook her head as she moved back over to where Eve leaned against the wall. As she braced herself against the tile, the light blue denim jacket over the modernized black corset top protecting her back from the harsh cold feel of the porcelain, wavy black hair fanned around the back of her head, eyes burnished by dark shadow around them were allowed to dart between James and Eve, and Bex breathed a weary sigh as she finally tilted her head to look over at her best friend. If Eve was the vision of sex, the so-called celebration of life, Bex was the flip-side, a vision of death and that’s the way she liked it.

“Ssso,” she started, with that Bristolian accent of hers tilted by her tongue. “I know you can blow through the lot of that in a good month, eazzy. But there’s no way that’s gettin’ snuck through anywhere with the fuckin’ fair goin’ on. Ssso, ya gettin’ your fix then what? Hidin’ it in the stall? Makin’ James take it right back? I don’t think that the baked goods drawer’s gonna hold aull of it. More likely use it as a fuckin’ ottoman.” Bex said it softly, but if James wanted to hear it, he probably could.

“This sounds like… not my problem,” Eve pushed herself off the wall and went to the brick of snow. For the first time, since her surgery, she revealed her added attachment, courtesy of Abbadon Blackwell. Gradually she extended only one of her augmented claws from her left hand, like a knife and made a slit through the wrapping. Some people didn’t like Abe, not trusting his ethics, others desired his brand, knowing once he graduated he’d take over his father’s company and become a leading figure in weapons and gear development. To those that have had work done on them, especially to Eve’s extent, know his true gifts lie in surgical experimentation.

While she doesn’t know much of his history, she was impressed by how easily he grafted the claws in her skeleton and with his implant system, she can control her bionic arm with her thoughts. He made it so no one saw the slots in between her knuckles, while her arm still looked very much human. At this point, her left arm was part mechanical, since she didn’t have an innate ability to regenerate and heal, so replacing pieces of her was safer than infusing the claws completely in her internal body. With her permission, Abe exceeded her expectations. Her arm wasn’t something she would miss. All she cared about was her voice, and it wasn’t like she couldn’t play the piano anymore either. Abe was smart enough to make her arm function better than the average prosthetic. It was her choice to trade it in, like a celebrity would fix their imperfections with plastic surgery, but in this case it was a high tech body modification. Super cyber. Super punk. That is where the world was heading, after all.

Scooping up a small amount of powder with her claw, looking around 80 mg, a little over an average dose, she brought the tip of it to her nose. Swiftly, she sniffed up the powder and did a line. Blinking a couple times from the hit, and exhaling out, feeling immensely gratified, Eve could feel the numbness already in her throat and tongue. “Fuck, this is great.” Even if James was an idiot, he knew where to get his drugs from. “Easy way to do away with all this coke while it not going to waste is making a profit off of it. Go to the City and sell it. You’d be surprised how many people would jump on this. Hell, you could start here. See if Mithra wants some.”

A scoff could be heard from the Brit in behind. “Listen to you, Miss 80’s drug kingpin,” Bex remarked as she stuck her tongue out, revealing the other work that Abe had done on the East of Eden lineup over the summer. The fork that parted the middle didn’t do anything for Bex’s abilities. It didn’t allow her to spit further, or harder. It just looked cool and blended with her chosen moniker since everyone at Crystal Peak seemed to need one, and that was good enough for the guitarist. It didn’t even cost her any money. Abe just got to keep some of the blood from the procedure, along with a donor’s level dose from the arm. It didn’t melt the test tube when he took it out, so he must have been ready for whatever it contained. She just wasn’t willing to go to the lengths that Eve went to for her upgrades. Not when Bex still didn’t really have a clue how everything about her body worked given the circumstances. Plus Eve didn’t need her arms to sing.

The pessimistic personality that was a defining trait of Miss Crosby was on full display. “Still goin’ to need to get the shit into the city without faculty noticin’ and with everyone out ‘n about today.” She took a long sip of coffee from her custom painted Yeti mug. The stainless steel had been coated in black aside from poison warning signs on either side. Not only did it look badass, it also served as a warning to anyone else trying to steal Bex’s beverage. It was a well known fact that she took her coffee without cream or sugar, but with a healthy dollop of Drano added to the mix. It gave it a rich almond flavor… and killed anyone else who drank it. As she tapped a couple of her silver rings on the side of the metal, Bex was determined to make known her priorities for the day. “Plus, Krista’s in charge of the booth, ‘n as much as I love the babe, she’s gonna let in ssso many fuckin’ sunshine kids, it’s going to harsh my damn mood to no end.” Another sip of poison. “Ssso I’d rather make sure that's not happenin’. I ain’t got time to be playing Sssuzie Snowrunner tryin’ ta move this shit around.”

By the time Bex had finished complaining about his ever so thoughtful gift, and Eve had shown off her new claws, James had snorted three lines off of the tampon dispenser. He hadn’t ever really given much thought to how normies metabolized drugs, but he was pretty sure this would put most people on their ass. His supercharged metabolism would eat through the powder in no time at all. Really, this would just keep him in a good mood until the party.

“Guysguysguysguysguys,” James said, putting his hands up to assuage any lingering fears. His pupils had begun to dilate, growing large enough to eclipse the golden brown of his irises. “Don’t fuckin’ worry about it. I’m basically the fastest man alive, it’ll be fiiiiiiiiiiiine. I got it here alright, didn’t I?” It was unclear if this confidence was brought on by the cocaine, or if it was just James being James. Probably a bit of both, considering he had only found out how much he’d stolen about ten minutes before Eve and Bex did. “Once we’re done I’ll just run it out to the woods, and then I’ll pick it up again after the fair, bag up some leftovers, and sell the rest. Or I could dump it in the lake and get the fish all coked up. That could be kinda cool actually.” James made a mental note to see what cocaine did to fish.

“James…” Evelyn retracted her claw and revealed two big suitcases under the sink counter, grabbing one and throwing it on top of the surface, making a loud thud. Unlocking it, she opened the brief, revealing more bricks. “This. Is. Excessive. Where the hell did you get all of this? I don’t think stashing like fifty bricks in the woods would cut it here. And don’t you dare put it in the lake.”

“Yeah, cokin’ up the town’s drinkin’ water sounds like a bad idea,” Bex affirmed with her best friend. “Also not sure I wanna know where ya got it all.”

“Ugh, you guys are boring,” James groaned, rolling his eyes and rocking back and forth on his heels, before glancing at the suitcases full of contraband. “Okay, truth be told, I kinda just hit and ran. There’s this dude in the city that gets his shipments every couple of weeks, and usually, his suitcases are filled with fun toys that are in turn, filled with cocaine. Let’s be honest, my wet dream. Anyways, I didn’t stop to check, and I guess he cut out the middle man this time around, cause you guys are right. This is an absurd amount of cocaine. Which sucks, cause the toys are really cool.”

While listening to how James obtained his drugs, Evelyn glanced at her wrist watch and decided this was her cue to leave. Closing the suitcase, but leaving it on the sink, Eve went to James, placed her hand on his shoulder and squeezed it, “I’m sure you’ll figure something out. Bex and I have a booth to go to so we’ll see you later. Don’t miss mic check tonight. Kay?” She gave a half smile, with a hint of venom. Eve did not like when bandmates were late for anything band related. You joined East of Eden, it became your life. After their eyes met, her piercing gaze warning him to not do anything dumb, she patted his shoulder before going to Bex’s side — ready to leave.

Bex nodded and pointed two fingers at her eyes then at James. “Don’t be bringin’ this shit round mic check either. Not until the after-party, Speedy. Then you can make it snow like fuckin’ Frosty.” She gave a hard gaze, with full venom applied to the scowl. It’s what she was known for. She turned back to her lead singer. “All roight, let’s go see what victims the Disney Princess has found.”

Walking down the sidewalk from Leonardi to the quad, Evelyn looked up toward the sky to see a student flying conspicuously in the air for the whole school to see. She didn’t look familiar so Eve assumed she was a freshman. That or a Crestview student who Eve hadn’t familiarized herself with. While Eve had more bounce to her step and felt excited about her day, it barely showed on her face. She was more animated than usual but she still had an image to uphold. That was being genuinely unapproachable, disappointed at most things, and foreboding. The difference of her being in the bathroom from now was all eyes were on her. At least in the bathroom it was just her, Bex, and James. In the public eye, she was Eve from East of Eden.

If anything, the one thing she did love about coke was how it increased her sex drive. Maybe she could phone a friend before tonight. Not Bex. She wanted to try someone new. “What songs should we do?” Eve had been so caught up with herself (having been drinking more and more each day) that she didn’t decide on their set list. Good thing she had Bex. She was there when Eve couldn’t focus. The perfect balance. Her better half. At least in terms of music. Oh, and friendship, of course, but music was far more important.

Bex was brought back to the quad with Eve’s question. She was a little distracted trying to think about what the hell James was going to end up doing with all that cocaine. At least she didn’t have to think about her presence. Everyone at Crystal Peak knew who she was at this point. Even if they didn’t know her for the exact reason she was admitted to the school instead of sent to Crestview, they knew her aura. Her personality. She may dress in more black than anyone should be able to stomach during waning summer months, but everyone knew it flashed more warnings than the poison tree frogs in the Amazon. Stay out of Bex's way and you don't get burned. Even when she’s on duty at the Foggy Glass, she has enough sway with Issac to be allowed to behave in a way she sees proper, so newbies who can’t handle their liquor get a look at true fear.

But she wasn’t thinking about bartending now. They had a show to plan. They had to show all the new kiddos who the queens and kings of Crystal Peak were. Not the Wardens with their puffed chests and powdered wigs and Bex was just thinking about barristers now but they were still annoying. No, it was EoE who were going to crown the next class, and to make sure the frosh knew that fact, they had to start with a proper progression of songs.

“I think we want to start slow,” Bex finally confirmed. “We’re not gonna be sure how many are pre-gamin’ before the show starts, so I think we let Krista take the lead there, some of our string-heavy shit, like Dark Side of the Sun, Magical Girl, that cover of Blank Space, shit like that. Then we start rampin’ up, play our more solid tracks, Speed Demon, Rule of Cash, Broken Sticks, before we hit ‘em with the big finale. We do Embrace the Venom, I lead my shit, and then you light things up with Queen of Thorns and the place comes down. They want an encore, we can go No Fears and When We Sleep.”

The two really were the heart of the band, but while Eve was the face, Bex was clearly the brains. It was nice to actually care about shit that actually mattered. Bex and Eve handled a lot of the songwriting, but everyone contributed something, some kind of idea, and the dark-haired Brit had everything in their arsenal memorized for moments like this.

Bex took a long sip of her drain cleaner coffee in triumph and turned to her partner-in-crime. “And then after that, the after-party is a buffet for you ‘n me. Savvy?” They had enough time together in the first week after they both got back from their respective internships to catch up and show off some new knowledge. Tonight was going to be about spreading out and finding those other options. Especially with the Crestview kids now being integrated into things. The Foggy Glass was going to be full tonight. All they had to do was find the right way to wet their respective whistles.

“Savvy, baby,” Evelyn purred as they went deeper and deeper into the quad. “When We Sleep would be the perfect way to end the night. It’s the one song that showcases all our skills so naturally.” Like an innate path programmed in her brain, they found themselves passing the chess club and sauntering their way to the music booth, “It’s my favorite, honestly.”

Instead of saying hi to her other bandmates, Krista and Shep, and EoE’s shadow member, Sasha, she commented on the glaringly obvious missing piece to this picture with a simple: “Hm.” She knew where James was, and it wouldn’t take him long to deal with the contraband. It also wouldn’t take him long to come skipping to the band high on ‘life’ (assuming he didn’t have other plans). But where was Zak?

He knew how much she hated his tardiness, which was turning out to be a frequent thing ever since he started rooming with his boys. For James, that was something she expected, but for Zachary? He knew better. Evelyn had a low tolerance for him slacking. She had a low tolerance for a lot of things Zak did, and yet he was still the best drummer she could ask for. How unfortunate.

Evelyn didn’t say anything. Her penetrating and steady gaze surveyed the others, harsh as always when in the public eye, and she gave them a nod of acknowledgement. Bringing her attention to the sign up sheets, she placed her black matte nails on the clipboard she cared about and firmly asked, “Any prospects this year?” The band did know she was seeking variety. She would prefer finding someone that could play the keyboard so she could focus on singing, only occasionally playing the piano, and she would love a bassist. The bassist didn’t even have to play a bass guitar. There were quite a few instruments that could be an alt bass option and would make EoE look more aesthetically pleasing than the band already was. There were ideals Eve had in mind but little faith in some of the supposed talent that came walking into this school. No matter, she could and would try this thing called optimism. She owed it to the infectious happy disease that was Krista. She did the most sometimes. Okay, plenty of times. Krista was the best of them and Eve didn’t know what she did to deserve a girl like that in her band, but she was grateful. She would never admit it, of course, but she was.

Bexley grabbed one of the available metal chairs and plunked herself down next to the members of the band that were now going to be relieved of booth duties. East of Eden may have started as just a passion project for herself and Eve, but it had become so much more than that, and all of these people played their part. Krista was the first member they recruited. Well, after Brad Parker on the drums, but Brad didn't count. He was a filler. Krista, with her technically sound German stylings that seemed so at odds with her sunny personality, she made sure that even despite the lead ladies' nihilistic views, there was still a flicker of light in the band. Shepard, her fellow British bastard, the one who was able to break her of the intense distrust of any male figure, the sharpened edge that matched the side of the blade she provided. And the unofficial member, Sasha, who had pinch-hit for so many members during various nights of excess homework (Krista, James, Zak), early-evening benders (Eve), or just plain lack of give-a-fuck (Bex). Sasha could be anyone in the band, although even with the practice, they still weren't quite on Bex's level when it came to poison manipulation. However, Sasha was probably the best friend Bex had in that trio, with their similar hopes and desires and ability to withstand ingested punishment. They hadn't had a chance to really catch up since they got back from their respective internships, so that was something they had to catch up on. Hopefully with them in their femme form. Shockingly, there was a huge preference for which form Bex preferred, but with them both being members of the LGBTQ community, there was that added layer of kinship that made their bond pretty tight.

Seeing those people all manning the booth, it's why Bex was willing to put in the amount of effort she did in keeping the band at the pinnacle of the Crystal Peak scene, memorizing all songs and parts so Eve didn't have to handle most of it. But it wasn't going to be enough to change her night-like disposition. "Better not be any more percussion players," she commented as she rested her feet on the table. "One is more than enough. Besides, it's been a rough summer being all split up. We don't need to be addin' in more instruments right now and muckin' up tonight's show with too much stuff n' shit to think about."

Timestamp: Monday Evening, 6pm. Blue Hill Reservation.
Introducing: Jadyn Issacs
Featuring: ReyRey Gonzalez and Tena Strongbow

“I hate Mondays.”

ReyRey growled to himself as the storm chased him and his Firebird away from his home of Edenridge, Massachusetts.

The evening was beginning to settle in and the Kingsnake had already had quite the eventful day. It all started with him aiding one Alexandria Davies into her new home. He was her sponsor, of course, owning the four walls she called her own and by the end of it, he owned her body as well. There was so much of Allison in Lex that it was downright haunting. Rey had believed that he had moved beyond his grief and his love for the girl that was his sunflower but he hadn’t and that long night on Carlisle at the start of the summer had done enough to convince him of that. Ever since that night, Ally haunted his waking and sleeping thoughts. Day in and day out. Maybe that was one of the reasons he tried hard to bring Lexie into the fold? He needed to be close to her again and short of joining her six feet underground, protecting her sister and being with her was the next best thing.

Then there was Vivia. She was going through a lot. Between her mother being terminally ill, the downright nasty fight with her father, her siblings' collective drama and the kicker of a new wave of letters bringing back bad memories, she spent most of her days lost in painting in their living room, When he first claimed her, Vivi was a bright blonde with so much life and light inside of her. Yet that light seemed to go out the day Allison’s heart stopped beating on his bathroom floor. Vivi was barely human anymore. A shell. A husk. A soulless mannequin selling beauty but not much else. Mi Corazon. He called her. But that had always been a lie. ReyRey’s heart was buried in Edenridge cemetery, held in the hands of a dead girl.

The Montero’s were in town, still another impetus for Rey’s escape away from the den of sin. They had worked out some deal with the Mayor and we’re going to break ground on a new hotel which would front a gun running ring. Uncle Esteban was always a savvy businessman but his downfall would always be his love for his family. He could’ve come to town, done the deal and be gone in a month. Instead he brought the whole brood. Cass was cool and thankfully Espie was locked up in a loony bin but he brought Sal and already the little fuck was blowing up his phone. Salvador had worshipped Rey since he was in diapers. Kid was always a little fuckwad but now R2 had to protect the little shit lest Eden would eat him alive.

So there he was, tearing down the backroad on a trek toward the Blue Hill Reservation having left his boy Scorpion in charge whilst he was away. Why was he going to cowboy country? Two simple reasons: weed and Jadyn Isaacs. When Reynaldo was still trying to make his mark in the business, he had been sent on a trip up to Salem to try and work something out with a heavy set up there. The only muscle he had was his friend Yardie whom God rest his soul was built like a fire truck. After negotiations failed and Rey and Yardie shot their way out of town, they decided to drive separately back to Eden. In no rush to return and face the wrath of Big Papi, Reynaldo decided to stop in Blue Hill for a beer or six. That’s when she walked in.

ReyRey was instantly attracted to Jadyn. The way she carried herself, cool and confident, she stood out amongst the other indigenous women that littered the longhouse. It didn’t take long before they were back at her farm on the outskirts of the Reservation. They had barely made it to the barn before they were tearing each other’s clothes off. The next morning, the warm light of day shone across a field of marijuana and Rey for the first time in his life almost believed in God. From then on, Jadyn became his green connection. He would stop by every so often, they’d have some fun and then he’d ship back with the best product in New England. It was a solid deal. More often than not lately, the Reservation had become ReyRey’s emergency exit.

As the Firebird tore into Blue Hill, the Kingsnake looked out of the window at his new surroundings. As a man of color, he had dealt with his fair share of systemic problems but it still took him aback just how truly forgotten the Native Americans were as a whole. There were so many parts of the Reservation that were borderline derelict and unlivable. Was it any wonder people like Jadyn had to turn to people like him to fund the place? Families lived in squalor, babies had no food and the only joy most of them got was a good hard night of drinking at the Longhouse. Shameful fucking shit from the country that claims such inclusivity.

Pulling up outside of the farm, R2 climbed out of his car and looked at the old farmhouse. It was quite the beast. Jadyn didn’t live there alone though, there had always been a young girl living there too. She was about Aleyda’s age. She carried more Native features than Jadyn did, with sun kissed skin and big brown eyes. Think it was her sister's kid? He wasn’t really sure since a lot of people on the Rez called her Auntie. Rey locked up the Firebird and made his way to the front door. He didn’t bother to knock and entered outright.

“Oye flor nativa, papi está en casa!”

As Rey entered the modest farmhouse, the scent of cooking meat could be detected wafting through the area. It wasn’t the typical smell of beef, it was gamier, less fatty. It was the smell of nice thick venison steaks broiling in the oven. They weren’t ready for the sear on the stove, and quite frankly, if Jadyn had her way, she would be standing over the massive barbeque on the back porch watching these beauties get those good grill marks on them. But the storm was coming and she didn’t want to risk having to depart from her tried and tested methods in case of rain. So she went with her indoor method. When Auntie wants steak, she’s gonna have steak. One way or the other, Jadyn Issacs, more often than not, got what she wanted.

And R2 was one of those things she got. She could remember the night she met him at the Cabin, the informal name for the bar on the reservation that served as a meeting place as well as a front whenever Jadyn needed to move some product. The community held together like that after all, and the owner, Freddie, owed her countless times over. Especially with the Longhouse opening a few years ago with a much better setup. So Jadyn would usually post up with some portions of her latest harvest, whether it be from the woods, the farm or the special section of the barn, and find some takers. Back then, it was usually amongst the community itself and the few truckers that would pass through the Rez en route to other destinations. But when Rey popped in that night, his strong, chiseled Latin body standing out immediately among the regular patrons of the Cabin, Jadyn knew that she was going to tame that bull. Or at least get a good ride out of him.

But she got even more than that. As they laid in her spacious bed, they got to talking. With Jadyn’s arm draped over Reynaldo’s chest, they both learned of each other’s particular jobs and what they could do for each other. Jadyn even had the product to let Rey enjoy some of the good, outdoor-grown crops she had been cultivating on the farm. And a deal was struck. Mutually beneficial for all sides. Rey got the product he needed to sell in the Boston area, Jadyn got a much larger distribution network for her product, and they both got mind-blowing physical activity from the deal. Jadyn had to be a little careful with Tena staying with her, but it didn’t matter. Rey usually knew how to keep Jadyn quiet.

Jadyn knew how to keep him happy too. Make sure the deal was still good for both sides. She was the biggest source of income on the reservation thanks to the Serpents’ money coming in, and she did her best to spread the wealth around, but it was never enough. If Rey ever pulled out, she wasn’t sure if the temporary lapse in income would be able to be weathered. So when she knew a visit was on the cards, that’s when the steaks came out of the freezer, that’s when the special quail feather earrings were worn to stand out among the controlled mess of brown hair, and that’s when she was ready to make sure R2 knew just how welcome he was in her home.

“Wah-hey, papi!” Jadyn called back as she left the oven alone for a second and appeared at the top of the stairs. The earrings were the fanciest part of her outfit, as she favored a simple black tank top and deep white stone necklace atop a pair of blue denim shorts today. Keeping it simple was usually her MO. “Welcome back, big boy. It’s been too long. I was gonna have to knock the freezer burn off those venison steaks if I kept them in there any longer waiting for you.” She smirked as she looked down at her business partner/paramour. “You’re lucky my cooking skills are good enough to make even cold-scorched deer taste like fuckin’ heaven.”

There she was, ReyRey’s emergency exit. Jadyn really didn’t have to try as hard as she did whenever he came to town but the Kingsnake appreciated it anyway. As downright cruel and malicious the son of Big Rey could be, R2 actually felt positive about helping to fund the Reservation. He enjoyed the company of the people there and he didn’t just mean his lover/business partner. When Rey was at Blue Hill, he didn’t have to be R2, the Kingsnake, heir to El Serpiente himself Gory Gonzalez. When he was in this dump of a community, he could just be Reynaldo Junior. It was a refreshing change of pace and he had considered more than once leaving Eden all together and making a home on the Rez.

Ascending the stairs, R2 admired the foxy woman who welcomed him. That was as accurate a description as he could come up with because that’s exactly what she was, foxy. Gorgeous, playful, clever and cunning. Jadyn Issacs was a perfect foil for him. “Speaking of tastes like heaven…” When ReyRey got to the top of the staircase, he tossed his bag down onto the floor and wrapped the Native woman up in his arms. He pressed the brunette against the wall, pressed his lips to hers and slipped his tongue deep into her mouth. He needed this. The surface pressure was killing him lately but ReyRey was too stubborn to die.

“Mmm. Missed you, mami.”

There weren’t many people who could forcefully take Auntie without her sizing them up first, but Rey proved to be a worthwhile exception for Jadyn. As she let her back hit the wall, with R2 clearly in need of some of the good sugar, the Nipmuc woman was happy to oblige. Her tongue danced against the Kingsnake’s. No fork was detected, no ulterior motive present, just a man and a woman happy to see each other and expressing it.

Though Jadyn would never admit it, it always felt good to have ReyRey around to take her like this and let her know that she was not alone. It had been a hard life. Her piece of shit father abandoned her mother when Jadyn was only four, leaving the two in the care of the family on the Rez. Her bubba died soon after, leaving the homestead to Cheryl and her sisters to take care of. But the cruel winters came for all the older Silverheel women, with Cheryl the last to depart 10 years ago. That left Jadyn to not only look after the property at 21, but her cousin Tena as well, after her mom Dakota passed the previous winter to the same cancer. It was a gruelling decade, building things up to the point where Tena was not only self-sufficient enough to be able to follow Jalyn’s footsteps as a resident handywoman, but Jalyn herself was confident enough to be able to start delegating some things to other members of the nation. It meant she could enjoy the company of those she cared about more than her own survival for a change. And top of that list was Reynaldo Gonzalez.

As their kiss broke, Jalyn was content to leave her arms draped over R2’s broad shoulders, leaning on the Serpent to keep her tethered to the moment as the smell of the meat continued to waft around, joined by the spices from the roasting potatoes that were catching the rare drippings of the venison, absorbing those flavors into the flaky flesh. The sweet squash mash on the stove wasn’t as fragrant, but still on the back of Jalyn’s mind. It wouldn’t do to let the mash burn, but it could hang there for a while as she bathed in the comfort of Rey’s embrace.

“I can tell,” Jalyn confirmed with another smirk. She could always have that kind of confidence in front of R2. For many years, she had to build it up with a false mask, until she knew she had the power to back it up, but with Rey, it came naturally. Maybe it was because their relationship started with her maintaining that bravado that intrigued him in the first place, but she knew she could let loose with whatever she wanted and R2 would stand there, soaking it all in and giving it back just as well. It worked for them, even if it wasn’t in an official capacity. That was just the way they liked it.

“I missed you too, boo,” she admitted. “Like I said, been too long since you came waltzing into my home like this. Was starting to think I gave it to you too good last time, letting you drift on those memories without coming back for more.” Jadyn laughed, knowing that wouldn’t be the case. “But I knew you’d come calling eventually. Some peace of mind and a piece of me will do you good.” One hand dropped from Rey’s shoulder to his butt and a squeeze backed up Jadyn’s remark.

Oh, she did love to play the game and for all intents and purposes ReyRey was the fucking game. He grasped at Jadyn’s hips and span her in his arms so that her chest was pressed against the wall. He allowed one hand to trace down her back and down to her thigh as the other held onto the rear of her neck. “You goddamn right,” he whispered into her ear and she wasn’t wrong. Being with Jadyn and away from the pressures of the world would always be a welcome reprieve.

“Hey Auntie, have you seen my little brown dress? I wanna wear it ton…” Mitena stopped in her tracks as she turned the corner to greet her dear departed mother's youngest sister. Instead of finding Jadyn slaving over the meaty goodness whose aroma had been filling the air around the farm since the early afternoon, she found her in quite the compromising position with her sometimes lover.

Tena sighed through her nose and furrowed her brow. “Rey,” she met him bluntly. The young woman was not massively keen on her aunt’s choice of partner. She was fully aware of what the erstwhile lord of serpents brought to the dance when it came to funding the flat-lining Reservation but that didn’t mean that the rock and roll girl had to like it. He came and went as he pleased. He took what he wanted, when he wanted and to him and was happy to steal into the night just as fast as he would arrive in his flaming steel chariot. What a dick.

Releasing Jadyn from his grasp, ReyRey looked at the young woman glaring back at him. She’d always been a firecracker. She shared the same dark gaze of another kid he knew once upon a time. A kid whose memory had haunted him and his home for far too long. Rey did often wonder, despite the revelations of early summer, had he killed Charlie like he intended to back on that cold winter night, how many lives could he have actually saved? Perhaps he would cease to be the villain of the story and be seen as a hero? “Nice to see you kid.”

Jadyn was ready to say fuck the steaks and let R2 do whatever he wanted right there in the hallway, until she got the stark reminder that they were not alone in the house. Not yet anyway. But Tena was getting big enough to handle herself. It’s why Jadyn trusted her to go off to the Longhouse by herself for her shows and such. It might even be a decent laundering opportunity in the future if her band takes off. For now though, Tena was just a massive boxblock.

“Sup, kiddo?” Jadyn said as she readjusted her shorts following Rey’s twirl. “Um, your brown dress?” The older woman looked up as if it would materialize on the ceiling. “Well, I think I washed it the other day, so it might still be hanging in the basement?” Truth be told, Jadyn might have borrowed it the previous Saturday on a trip to the Cabin to peruse who might be coming in on the holiday weekend. “But it should be ready to go for tonight. You openin’ or you closin’ down?”

“We’re headlining the Longhouse tonight, weather providing of course.” Living with her auntie always had its perks. After her mother passed, Mitena was at first unsure about going to live with Jadyn but their free spirits complimented each other well. If anything, they shared a far more sisterly bond than they did a maternal one. Jadyn let Tena pretty much do whatever she liked as long as she did her chores and paid her way. She also didn’t judge when Tena brought back a boy or girl from whatever club the band had played that night. It was a shame then that Mitena couldn’t offer her aunt the same, especially when it came to ReyRey. The indigenous rock star had read her brothers letters back to back and then back again and one R2 Gonzalez was a featured player in her big brother's ever present pain.

Rey glanced down at the dark-haired beauty's wrist. That leather brace. He would know it anywhere. He could still see Charlie reaching up with his hand covered in blood and wearing that brace as R2 beat him within an inch of his life in that shed on Carlisle. “Hm, a gig? Could be fun” ReyRey kissed Jadyn’s cheek and followed his nose into the kitchen that smelled absolutely divine. His Flor nativa had outdone herself this time. He opened up the fridge and pulled out an ice cold beer, popping the top off against the counter.

“Check the steaks while you’re in there but don’t touch them, ReyRey!” Jadyn shouted to the guest as he disappeared behind the wall.

Tena’s chocolate eyes watched as the Latin man disappeared around the corner. Once he was out of view, she returned her attention to her auntie. “How long is he here for this time Jay? One day? Two? I know he brings in a lot of cash for the Rez but he’s dangerous. I know you’ve been together for years but it’ll only take one thing to set him off.”

Auntie had to just stand there and take it for a second. She knew Mitena didn’t approve of Reynaldo. They had talked about him a few times, usually on those nights when the two of them stayed in with a few drinks and a couple movies. Tena’s opinion definitely went south when she learned of her half-brother who happened to be an underling of R2’s on the Serpents. Not that it was stellar to begin with, but when she learned what abuse Charlie took from the hands of her business partner, Jadyn was having to defend ReyRey more and more. Even after Charlie snapped and shot up his school, Tena still defended him. Honestly, even though they were a distant relation, Jadyn was ashamed that Charlie took that path. It looked bad for the Rez, as if they needed to give the Whites any more reason to look down on Blue Hill. But Mitena held on to that bracelet for dear life, knowing it was the link that kept the Decker boy alive in her eyes.

“He’s only going to be here for a couple of days,” Jadyn answered as she leaned against the wall. “Just to clear his head, get out of Eden for a minute, which, I don’t fuckin’ blame him for. Swear that town is cursed. But, their money ain’t.”

She moved forward to put her hands on Tena’s shoulders. “And I know you worry about what his temper can do, but he hasn’t done anything here in the seven years we’ve been together. And he knows that if he does something so stupid as to lay a finger on me or you or anyone else who lives on the Rez, he’s going to have some BFNs to deal with, and he knows that true.” Jadyn leans back. “This is his heaven. He’s a smart boy. He’s not going to fuck it up.”

Auntie Jay did make some satiate points. She and Rey had been “together” for years now and despite his overdose of machismo, he had been nothing but kind and courteous to her and the other people on the Rez. He had never laid a finger on anyone beyond a bar fight or two and never a raised voice. With what she knew about Eden, Tena would agree that the town was cursed by the Great Spirit. Every so often a news article would pop up talking about another murder or vanishing or a crime so horrific they would say the devil himself had done it. Look what the place did to Charlie.

Mitena would never justify the actions undertaken by her half-sibling. What Charlie did on his final day was evil and her heart always went out to the people, the victims, of his vile deed. Yet there was a part of her that thirsted for more knowledge on the matter. Especially after rereading all the letters that he had sent her over their brief relationship. Maybe there was some secret in them that would help solve the mystery? Tena had picked up on a few clues and recurring themes in his words and one of them was now plating up steak in her kitchen. The beautiful Native girl did wonder if ever she would find herself in their sister town, walking the same streets her brother did. Would that hellmouth open for her just as it did for him and her father?

“I’m sorry Auntie Jay, I know you got this.” Mitena brushed her hair behind both ears. Jadyn had already been through so much. Tena knew that her aunt was a strong ass bitch, they both were. “Guess I better go to the basement and find that dress. Leave you two in peace. If you feel the need, we’re on stage from nine thirty. I’ll put you on Chief’s tab.”

“It shouldn’t be too hard for you to find,” Jadyn confirmed. “Don’t be too long getting changed. Dinner’s gonna be ready in a few minutes. You can’t be rockin’ shit on an empty stomach, kiddo.” Auntie gave a wink. “And don’t worry. You know peace ain’t comin’ here, but we’ll be all right. I’ll probably take Rey down around then. Chief definitely still owes me a few, so he can pay for our drinks, and I always get a thrill watching you on stage. You got your dad’s musical talents. Thank the spirits you got your mom’s everything else.”

A sigh escaped Jadyn’s lips. She still missed Dakota. She missed all the family she couldn’t keep in this realm. If nothing else, having Tena around meant she still maintained that link, but a decade passed quickly, and Tena was going to leave the nest sooner or later. Jadyn knew she wasn’t getting any older and probably should start looking to settle down. Make sure it wasn’t just going to be up to Mitena to carry on the Silverheel legacy.

But R2 probably wasn’t that avenue. One of the things that made them work as a couple was that they both liked their ability to free wheel, and Jadyn wasn’t going to give that up any time soon. Not for any of her current prospects. It would take someone special to tame this fox.

“Now go get ready. I’ll have an ice water ready for you with your meal and if it turns back to tap water, I’ll know you’re overthinkin’ shit.”

“Love you Auntie,” Mitena kissed her aunt's cheek. She would die for this woman. She had put her life on hold to take care of her and she wouldn’t allow that sacrifice to go unrewarded. If she relentlessly worked hard at her music, just like her dear mother always taught her too, she would be successful and she would give Jadyn and the tribe everything they deserved for raising her. For giving her a life when it would’ve been so easy to let it fade away. She moved past the auburn haired beauty and towards the basement to find her signature dress.

As Tena left, Jadyn walked back around to the kitchen to find R2 enjoying his own beverage. “All right, kiddo’s gonna be here to grab some grub, then she’s off to the Longhouse to get ready for her show. I told her I’d come by when Red Wolf Road goes on.” The businesswoman walked up to the gang leader and slipped her hand into one of his back pockets. “Maybe you’ll come too.”

“I mean I’ll definitely come and so will you.” ReyRey wrapped his arm around Jadyn’s neck and upper body with his beer still in hand, bringing her close into his chest. As they stood in their embrace, R2 couldn’t help but wonder if civility and safety were even a possibility for him? He was attracted to dangerous women. Jadyn. Vivia. Allison. Lexie. Maxine. He pondered the idea that any one of them could’ve been a future for him? Was there even a future for him? He was a gang leader in Edenridge. At this point in his life, he was just waiting for the Lord to call his number. Until that day though, Rey wasn’t going to go down easy. He was ReyRey fucking Gonzalez. The Kingsnake.

“But that’s for later. A show sounds fun. Be nice to live in your world for a night.”

Jadyn laughed and planted a kiss on R2's bare skin above the top of his shirt. “You're always welcome to be part of this world, Papi.” She patted his ass and twirled herself out of his grasp. “Now I gotta finish searing these deer steaks to get that good finish. You just keep enjoying that beer, and I'll make sure we both eat well tonight.” With a wink, Jadyn went back to her food. The snake could keep her wrapped up good and tight tonight, but the fox had to finish crafting their meal. And their dance would continue...
I'll throw some interest at you, as long as I get my ice witch.
@LovelyComplex @BrutalBx @NeoAJ
Timestamp: After The Dark Place
FT: Scooby-Doo Crew: Ky & Adam
The Vampires: Mei & Jill



Kylee was a woman on a mission. This meant she didn’t stay long at Adam's apartment to play catch up. No, that could happen after everything was said and done. While there was still daylight, and while it hadn’t rained yet, they would make the most of their time finding the girl behind the letter. Who was David O’Hara’s lover? She was sure Clay was knee deep in his own investigation, and hopefully they would both end up at the same destination.

In the elevator of Mei’s apartment complex, Kylee glanced at her phone for a text or a call. Still nothing. Swallowing her annoyance, she pocketed her phone and looked at the boy standing next to her, getting dragged along for the ride. “So any cool kids in Pinehurst?” Her big eyes lit up in intrigue. “I’m sure there was someone that kept you entertained just like me, chasing ghosts — for the love of story,” She mused, putting her dark, long hair over her right shoulder, running her fingers through it.

Adam had his head pointed downward as his old friend spoke to him. He was invested in trying to change the goddamn batteries in his camera and he would not lose this war, no sir. After finally slotting the energy pack in place, the skater boy (not the Avril Lavigne one though) flicked his head back to look at the dark haired beauty to his left. “No, no cool kids. Just reminded me too often what I like about rich kids, absolutely nothing…present company excluded of course.”

If anything, the five years he had spent away from Eden had only exasperated what Adam believed to be the Callahan curse; loneliness. Like Kylee and Roddy, Adam was a proponent of the supernatural and the belief that Edenridge was home to some ancient and powerful magic that caused suffering to her inhabitants. Adam’s theory was that each family suffered recurring tragedies, history repeating in some form. For his family, the Callahans, it seemed like isolation was their part in the whole thing. Roddy was always bullied. Always. Francis was alone in dealing with his sexuality. Clay and Lamb were twins who had no connection other than blood and parents wrapped up in their own worlds. Loneliness. Adam, well he was torn away from everything he ever knew, kept apart from the world and was locked away in fucking Pinehurst of all places.

Eden loved to play dirty.

“The only thing I really got to do there was work for the school paper. I videoed the rich kids as they talked politics and kayaking. Nobody really cared about ghosts and goblins. If anything? Coming from the most haunted town in America was a detriment to my street cred with the preppy Monarchs.”

Listening to Adam talk about his highschool experience, Kylee realized how uneventful things were outside of Edenridge. Then again, was that such a bad thing? “Honestly? That sounds way better than here. I really don’t know why you came back,” Kylee lamented, as she watched Mei’s floor come closer and closer by the second. “Less death and tragedy. Where can I sign up?” She jokingly laughed. Edenridge was a place where something big happened once a year and in between, there was plenty of pain and suffering to keep you going. It’s what the town thrived on. It’s what the town needed to survive.

“I had unfinished business here, family, friends. It’s home believe it or not. No matter what that asshole I call a father says,” Having Thomas Callahan out of his life, no matter how fleeting that moment would be, and he knew it would be, Adam was going to savour it. He switched on the camera and took a slight step back away from the Grimm heir and raised his free hand to count her in.

5, 4, 3, 2, 1….

“So, why are we here Miss Grimm?”

On cue, the elevator door opened and Kylee smiled at the camera, as if this was natural to her to be instantly prepared for her friend to press the record button. Adam, camera ready, and her, ready to put on a show - Kylee looked at the lens as if she was looking at a person and took her audience for a ride, “To question Jillian O’Brien about her sophomore year. She either knows David more than any of us will ever know him, or she can point us in the right direction. Follow me.” Did Kylee feel weird for interrogating her friend? Absolutely. But if it led to solving this case sooner so that Clay could be at peace, there was no way in hell she’d give up on this opportunity. With Adam trailing behind her, Kylee made it to Mei’s apartment door and knocked thrice with the back of her knuckles. Would this go without a hitch? Only time could tell.

The door opened up swiftly and the duo were greeted by the dark witch of Westwood herself, Mei Midnight. As usual, the young woman stood out and drew attention with her ensemble of the day: skin tight leather shorts, a long sleeve off the shoulder sheer crop top with a red bralet to match her painted lips and her hair was hanging loose. She had managed to not only shower after her appearance on Dawn Patrol earlier that day but also get a quick power nap to recharge. She had been on the go for at least thirty four hours yet still found time to swing by Five Tool and get her workout in. Mei was either a machine or really was magic.

“Twice in one day? Fuck my throat with a pitchfork, Grimmy, people are gonna start talking….” The Wiccan’s hazelnut eyes fell upon the stranger pointing a camera in her face and she cocked an eyebrow. “…And who is this piece of meat? Daddy finally buying you slaves now? You keep him in the wine cellar next to the Sauvignon?”

If there was one thing that would entertain the viewers, it was Mei’s comments. Not safe for children. “You and I both know I wouldn’t be caught dead in my dad’s cellar. Who knows what scary things are down there. Pretty sure my house is haunted. No thankies.” For a girl who loved hauntings, ghosts, and stories, she was adamant to not explore some areas in her own home. It hit different when you actually lived in the place. If she knew more, she’d fear for her own life. The less she knew about that manor, the better. Kylee beamed at her friend as she gestured toward the camera guy, “This is an old friend. He used to live here and was in our class, actually. That was years ago, though. His hair was a lot shaggier. Remember Adam?”

Mei surveyed the young man that stood next to her former lover up and down. She was struggling to place him. “Adam.Adam.Adam,” She repeated aloud as if saying his name would jog some kind of reboot in her mind so that she could remember him. Eventually, the daughter of Hecate placed the boy in a black and gold Gi in her mind palace and the light switched on. “Oh, Callahan! You were on my father’s Karate team!”

Adam nodded his head and placed a thumbs up towards the girl, still holding the camera at her gorgeous pale face. “Yeah, I was! Actually thinking about joining back up now I’m back in town.”

“Great, now that that’s out of the way and I’m done daydreaming about getting railed by Mayor Teddy in his sex dungeon, what brings you to my door Ky? You got some info on the new letter?”

“Please, Mei, don’t ever say that again,” Kylee already had to deal with her dad being married to someone that was a little older than Clay. A sixteen year age difference. That’s not accounting for her supposed mother’s real age. She’ll never tell her dad that she remembers Prudence early on in her life and her actual age. That was a can of worms she refused to open, ever. It made her uncomfortable that her dad found pleasure in the young and beautiful and she could only imagine, if he didn’t have Babydoll, would he pursue someone her age? Gross.

That was one thing Kylee took pride in, her memory. Most kids don’t remember the years under the age seven, but Kylee did. For better or for worse, Kylee knew too much. “I was wondering if you, and Jill, if she’s here, would mind me asking you questions? I have a theory that David’s secret lover was a cheerleader and in our year. I’m not pointing fingers, I just want to know what you two remember. Any information would benefit this case.”

The witch cocked her eyebrow as she ran the numbers in her head. Kylee’s theory actually held a decent amount of merit. She knew that neither her nor Jill were David’s secret teen mom wannabe but she also knew that perhaps there was something in their collective memories that they had yet to stumble upon that could help them break open this chest of mystery and save people another wave of heartache. “Ok, I can get on board with that. Come on in, help yourself to a drink. I know I will,” Mei opened the door wider and turned to walk into her apartment. “JILLYBEAN!” She called out. “WE’VE GOT GUESTS THAT WANT TO DEEP DIVE INTO DIDDLER TALK!”

“BE OUT IN A COUPLE MINUTES!” came the shouted reply.

“It’s a bit too early for that, for me,” Kylee politely declined the booze, not one to drink on the job. She looked back at Adam who was hyper focused on his own job and she smiled into the camera. Not too long ago she was mad that he suddenly appeared out of nowhere, but now that he is back and with her, she feels less lonely. This was almost like the good old days. Almost.

Without Roddy, the good old days would never return, she knew that, but at least she and Adam can continue where she and Rods left off. The prospects of all the adventures they could go on put butterflies in her stomach. She was excited… her friend was back home.

Trailing behind Mei, Kylee took her seat on the sofa, waiting patiently for Jill to reveal herself. Having visited this place at least once a week, she didn’t need to appreciate much, she’s already seen it all, but she was sure Adam would film some b-roll, capturing Mei and Jill’s joint personality.

Film was a beautiful thing that could catch moments that would otherwise get lost in time. As people, we love films, we love storytelling. It gives us a form of escapism but it also shows something honest. Something true. To be a filmmaker, like Adam, you have to be a little mad. You lead and push until you intertwine visuals, sounds, lighting, angles, subjects, and so much more, until you create a tale that makes you feel things like a song does. All at the impulse or desire to do something. Be something. Create something. Film was a progression of moods and feelings, and if it can be written or thought, it could be filmed. She appreciated his art. She appreciated him.

Finally, after a last check to make sure she looked like she rolled out of bed at a proper time today, Jillian O’Brien made her entrance to the living room. She was having more success participating in the land of the living without the alcoholic crutch now that things had settled following the move, and the re-integration of Danilo Belmonte into her life after a lengthy exile was slow but taking shape. Still, her world revolved around her best friend and paramour, and it showed in her appearance.

Jill’s flaming red hair was still most visible, tied back in a high ponytail with a black scrunchie holding it in place. No dye could tame those locks yet, not that she seriously gave thought to life as a raven-haired fox. That role was more expertly filled by Mei. However, the lipstick was a far deeper shade than she was known for, edging to the shadow of black but settling in at a deep blood red. Mascara was heavy, and while her shadow was a similar deep red, the eyeliner that shaped it was pitch black. A trio of black orbs cascaded from each of her earlobes, a thrift store find that was too good to pass up.

But it was the clothing that made the starkest contrast. Gone were the slacker tank tops and pajama pants that had replaced the latest offerings American Eagle had on the rack during Jill’s mental breakdown. Instead, she embraced Mei’s ideas for how they could project how much they ruled Eden as the baddest bitches on the block. Curses be damned. A jet black corset top pinched her waist in a little bit to hide what remained from her slub days, but against her pale skin, it was a stark contrast. A sizable midriff separated the shirt from a pair of denim festival shorts, but it was the necklace that caught the eye, the blood-red butterfly holding on with more black spheres lining the gold chain that kept it tethered to the O’Brien girl’s neck. She was coming back to society bit by bit, but it was definitely not in her old image.

“Did you have to be so early, KyHigh?” she offered to the solid third in their friend group. “Barely had time to finish up my…” Jill’s voice trailed off as she recognized the cameraman who she knew was coming but was unaware of the specifics. She probably could have ventured a guess given what she knew of Kylee’s attachments to the Callahan family, but still, it was rare to see someone who had made it out of Eden come back for a second bite at the apple. It made sense that with Roddy gone to Goddess-forsaken Texas with that bitch of an ex-friend of Jill's, Kylee would reach for the other member of the family she trusted. “Well, shit. Adam Callahan. Been a while, lug. Not looking like the Shaggy to Velma over there anymore, but a Callahan face does still stick on you. Welcome back to the Garden.” She took a seat on the sofa, given the lone male would likely be going back and forth between host Kylee and subjects Mei and Jill. She could hear her girlfriend in the kitchen. “Grab me one while you’re up, love!” She looked over at Kylee. “If we’re doing diddler discussions, I’ll need it.”

Adam was flabbergasted by the apartment he now stood in. Not only was it so interestingly decorated but it also belonged to Mei Ramsey and Jill fucking O’Brien. He would be a liar if he hadn’t said that he had a thing for Jill all those years ago. Not in the same way that he did Kylee, that was intense and filled with emotion. Jill was just crazy hot and being a fellow Foundling, there were many Founder’s parties where he’d hoped that his spin of the bottle landed on her. “We Callahans have a distinct feature of long hair and goofy teeth, unfortunately I can’t do anything about that. It’s good to see you, Jill.”

Jill nods and smiles, an easier notion these days. “It’s better you’re seeing me now, that’s for sure, but I can say likewise, lug.”

Mei opened up their fridge and to say it was an eclectic mixture of things would be an understatement. Two shelves of beers and pre-made cocktails, a third shelf of Will Ramsey’s home made cooking in tupperwares and in the drawer, a random mixture of shit they had bought from the store for snacks. The dark priestess grabbed two canned beers from the top before making her way over to her girlfriend and sitting on the arm of the couch next to her. She handed her O’Brien love the adult beverage before cracking open the tab of her own and taking a long mouthful. Mei rested her free hand on the base of Jill’s neck and eyed the two newcomers intensely. “So hit us with your best shots, Pat Benatar.”

Jill cracked open the can of Sam Adams Tropical Wheat Ale and joined her girlfriend in tilting back for a lengthy sip. “Fire away.”

“Okay, I want to start from the beginning. But first, like I told Mei,” Kylee’s eyes went from one vixen, the dark priestess, to the other, the cherry bomb, “With today’s letter I have a handful of theories. One, this has nothing to do with Charlie and someone is using this gimmick to spread chaos. Two, the supposed underage girl was either in our class or the class above us, but honestly, based on the pretty handwriting I think she’s in our class. And theory number three, she was a cheerleader. She had to be if she was involved with David’s inner circle. A.K.A. The Elite.”

Taking out her small notebook, Kylee flipped to her notes with quick ease, her expression was serious and her eyes were focused in on her friends. Kylee Grimm was in her element. “Let’s rewind the clock a bit, shall we? And I apologize if this forces you to revisit bad memories. The date on this letter is December 05, 2016. The day after the shining star competition, the game, the party, Allison’s death,” She paused, letting that last part sit in the air, knowing how much weight that must hold, especially after the fiasco with R2. “In the letter, it says that David left early, with this girl. Do you remember anything from that party, especially in regards to the Elite?”

Mei glanced towards Jill with soft eyes, a rarity for the midnight girl before she moved them back to rest on Kylee. “So professional!” she remarked. It was funny because not too long ago Kylee Grimm was the third in their three musketeers. She tightened her grip on her Jillybean ever so slightly as she thought back to the day Allison died. Despite the closure she had received after the night on Carlisle, Mei still had feelings for that evening and revisiting them was not something she really wanted to do. It seemed like the Fates had decided that December 4th, 2016 was a day that was destined to haunt them for the rest of their lives.

“I remember David floating around, talking to pretty much everyone like he always did. Spent a good chunk of it with Francis and Russell. Don’t think he really saw Ally cos she was off….” For the longest time Mei didn’t know what Allison was doing but now she did and she hated it. “Don’t remember Costigan being there.” The goth girl took another sip from her beer. “Which means without Clay to hog all the action, David was probably knee deep in pussy but I don’t recall seeing it.”

Kylee could apologize all she wanted, it was still going to be self-inflicted torture for Jillian to try and remember back to that cursed day. She still blamed herself for not doing more in regards to Allison's last hours, for being just a scared little girl in a forest of giants. For letting herself get swept up in the drink and the debauchery and not being able to see the plain facts in front of her eyes, but it seemed like that dark night was going to keep chasing her until every skeleton was dragged up from under the stoop and laid bare for all of Massachusetts to see.

The redhead squeezed her girlfriend’s hand back, happy that now she had that direct tether to happiness as opposed to that last trip back to Carlisle when she watched powerless as Adam’s cousin dragged Mei away to avoid R2 reacting back against the punch. Kylee was looking at her, intent on finding something on Dirty David O’Hara, the shame of the Elite. It had been a while since Jill had spent time in those circles.. An alpha cheerleader with a storied name had no problem gaining access to those parties and all the secrets that came with them, especially with the three other founding families represented on the team. But December 4, 2016? That was filled with so much haze.

“Let me think…” Jill finally started after Mei had filled in some initial gaps. “It’s tough to remember all the names and faces back then, since we were so focused on celebrating the win. But the basketball team was there and looking bulletproof. With Francis and Russell dancing around, and Garrett preparing for his future role in serving underage kids like me a bunch of booze, David was able to drift around and be his usual self. I don’t remember anything specific, aside from being ticked at Francis for ignoring Ally again. But I was off doing… a lot of things I regret now. I even lost track of Liv and Kat during that party, that's how wild it was. Wish I could ask them about it. Olivia would have had something on it for sure. So I was there pretty late, and I don’t remember David leaving early, but I wouldn’t put it past him if he found a honey pot to his liking.”

“Thank you,” Kylee genuinely smiled at her two friends who were cooperating wonderfully. Questions like these could bring out the worst in people and she knew the life of a self-proclaimed journalist could get her thrown out immediately. She was lucky, though. They cared about her. Kylee didn’t have many friends but the ones she did, they saw her for what she was and adored her for it. The good, the bad, the ugly, Kylee was grateful she was loved.

“Alright, I’ll move on from that day. Clay’s meeting up with his friends, asking them questions too so I’m sure they can paint a better picture since they were directly impacted by David and his actions. Now, sophomore year, just so I can have it on record, who were you both romantically or sexually involved with? Or both, of course.”

“You and Clay are getting pretty close, huh?” Mei’s hand drifted beneath Jill’s hair as she spoke, rubbing her black fingernails through the fiery red mane in a loving way. It was a deflection of course, the comment. Sophomore year was not a pleasant one for her. It was that year she really started throwing herself into the Wiccan culture in which she was now permanently beautifully submerged. It was also when she went through what was really beside Allison, her first heartbreak. “I slept with a few people, mostly girls because that’s when I started exploring myself but then, then I started with Q at the beginning of second semester.”

Quinton Woods was always too smart for his own good. He had always been the kid at the back of the class, equations and formulas in his eyes at the same time that his mouth called the jocks' meatheads; a mouth that would then he proceeded to be punched. Mei was never really sure what she saw in Q. He was a good sort of person most of the time but that superiority complex of his would always be his downfall. He definitely challenged Miss Midnight’s mental faculty which she enjoyed. For someone so bright, Quinton also came with a lot of baggage. “We broke up by the end of the year.”

Jill demurred a little at the question, especially hearing Mei be able to matter-of-factly sum up her love life in high school. The redhead treasured her ability to flit around relationships, and after Allison’s death, she upped that process a fair bit. “It’s so hard to remember,” she admits. “That sophomore year was kind of a blur. I let Mei know exactly what I thought of Q, but I went through a good chunk of boys. I think I went on dates with anyone from the drama club to the football team, and was open to a lot of things, but I never really stuck on one guy for very long. If only I knew back then what I know now, I wouldn’t be getting a crash course.”

The O’Brien girl rubbed her hand on Mei’s thigh as if to subtly thank her for putting up with her as she learned how to better explore the unearthed side of her sexuality that their relationship held. “However, I had my rules back then. I mean, I wouldn’t touch anyone from Pinehurst, absolutely not. Plus, I stayed away from the basketball team. I couldn’t risk Danny getting put in harm’s way by something I did with one of his teammates, so JV and varsity were out. I found out how much that meant to Danny after the fact, but I held up my end of the bargain and I did not touch a Celtic, even after sophomore year."

The mention of Pinehurst caused Kylee’s professional mask to drop ever so briefly. Only hours ago her father had dropped a bomb on her about her boyfriend. Wesley Silo had lied to her. All for what? Because he thought she would dig deeper if she knew where he was from? As Jill talked, Kylee tilted her head at her own thoughts. That actually wasn’t a bad idea. If Wes wasn’t going to tell her anything, she could simply find out herself. She had the lead: Pinehurst. Why shouldn’t she find out what he was ashamed of? He was her boyfriend! She had the right to know.

Her pen tapped on her notebook when she re-focused her attention on her girlfriends. Rules. Morals. Kylee didn’t get close to Jill until after sophomore year, when she was dating Mike habitually. She heard the rumors but hearing it from Jill’s mouth herself was eye opening. The Jill sitting before her and the Jill of the past were two different creatures. While Jill was adding another guy to her ‘I fucked’ list, Kylee was using social media and words to hurt people that slighted her. Kylee was grabbing the next juicy gossip, of course first making sure it was actually true or not (she drew the line with fake news) and blew it out of proportion. Kylee also had to deal with Roddy being disappointed in her actions constantly, and her almost losing her best friend. He tried his best by doing scooby doo shenanigans with her but after… Adam left, well, a piece of her left with him too.

For once, the chaos that ensued before and after David O’Hara died was not something she spread. People would like to think she took part in that fire, but David was Danny’s friend. Danny Belmonte was her friend. Maybe not a best friend like Roddy, but she cared about the guy. She would never do that to the idiot, that was his goddamn idol (one of them at least). Part of her had a hard time believing that David was indeed what Mei called a diddler. He was exposed and it ruined his life. For what? Because he was a foundling?

Letting the silence in the room fill the room, deep in thought, Kylee leaned back in her seat and looked down at her notes. She was so focused on the mystery girl… that wasn’t the story at all, was it? She turned to glance at the boy with the camera, a foundling, and she looked at Jill, who sought comfort from the Dark Priestess herself, another foundling. Kylee was the mayor’s daughter, like Niles was the doctor’s son, but that did not hold the same weight as a foundling. Closing her notebook, leaving her pen in it, Kylee placed it on the coffee table and thought to herself, ‘Fuck the girl. She’s irrelevant… what good comes from proving that David did fuck someone underage? Aside from the town hating him more than they already do.’

Subconsciously, Kylee cracked her knuckles and began talking to the air, still deep in thought, “To be honest, I don’t really care about the girl in the story. It’s clearly not you two. But what do we gain from all this?” Kylee placed her hands on her thighs and looked at her two friends. “We repeat a vicious cycle that could lead to the girl OD’ing like Allison did, or getting so bloody drunk like David did, which led to his inevitable drowning. You know the day before he died, my sister told me, he was just at the bar. Drinking a shit ton. I mean, it was proven in the news with his blood alcohol levels.” Now that the past was coming back to light, Kylee realized how sad it all was for David. How lonely he must’ve felt.

“The rumors started spreading a little under a month before New Years. Allison Davies was so scared of her future, she turned to drugs. David’s image was ruined so quickly that he legitimately had no future anymore. But, like, he was still living in Edenridge at the time, so he probably was already depressed he had nothing going for him. Not like Clay, who wanted to be a cop. Not like Rhett, who had his whole life planned out for him, with the Hole. Francis, Russ… all his friends had a plan.” Kylee was standing up at this point. Finally ready to ask her a question. “Jill, you’re part of one of the founding families. Are you where you want to be? How’s that pressure feel?”

It was a long way to go to ask such an absolutely loaded question, especially given the connotations that Kylee had raised. Jill knew how close she was to having the best of both tragic deaths her friend had brought up. She had all the pressure and social stature of Allison and all the drinking of David rolled into one redheaded mess until recently. She knew she had played her part back then, spreading the rumors of the O'Hara boy's shame. Being an Elite didn't save you if you made such an egregious societal faux pas. However, hearing Kylee talk about the loneliness Coach must have felt made it even worse that the dark thoughts of her depressive spiral almost proved potent enough to lead her to be the latest in the line of tragic Edenridge cases. Charlie Decker and Mike Barrie just happened to be much more violent means to put her self-destuction on-track. Some would say Jill deserved such a fate as the latest sacrifice.

But she wasn’t dead. Nor appeared on the path to be anymore. Even as she sat on that beaten up couch, clutching a cold Sam Adams in her hand, it wasn’t the path down to despair that was well traversed the past year. It would be foolish to think a tropical-inspired beverage could lead to such pains until Jillian remembered how many times she switched up to Malibu in an attempt to “lighten her mood” and failed. This beer, like most recent drinks, tasted different. Things had felt different since she moved in with her girlfriend.

But was she where she wanted to be? Did she care about being a member of the founding families? Clearly it wasn’t as important as it once was in high school, when she felt she had to live up to her mother and sisters. She certainly didn’t have the career path that Shannon had already lived and Heather seemed to be well on the road to obtaining. Of course, trying to match Grace in a contest of sexual partners was like trying to match the night sky with merely twinkles in an eye, but Jill gave it more of a run than she would like to admit. Either way, she still fell short. She didn’t have the best of departure discussions with Grace, and Shannon just seemed happy to see her up and about, even if she was moving out the door.

Did the pressure get to her? Does it matter if the pressure didn’t matter anymore? It had already won in a lot of ways, but at least now, Jillian had her path to some kind of happiness. She could feel the torchlight in the grip of her hand. No, the career path still wasn’t set in stone, but she could focus on it now. She had the support in the endeavor.

“The pressure sucks, Ky,” Jill finally answered. “I feel like I tried to live up to so many things just because I’m an O’Brien. I tried to be a leader. I tried to be a lover. I tried to be a mom. Nothing ended up working out right and when you combine that with all the tragedy and the need to uphold the family name… maybe that’s what made it so easy to just give up the way I did. I know I was just a few bottles away from being another name on your list of lost souls.”

She looks at Mei. “But I’m definitely where I want to be at the moment.” Jill turns her attention back to the intrepid reporter. “As for where I’m going, I don’t know, but I have more faith that I’m going to figure it out now than I did before. That's more than I had when these letters started coming out.”

Turning the interview into a conversation between friends, Kylee nodded and admitted through her own melancholy feelings, “I get that,” She didn’t allow all of her deep-rooted sadness to take surface but an inkling was enough to show that she felt safe in the presence of Jill, Mei, and Adam. “I might not be a foundling, but I’m the most precious thing to my father. The goddamn mayor of this town. It sucks not knowing the answers and maybe that’s why these letters have helped keep me busy, you know? I feel like I could really help this town… it’s stupid, really, but I appreciate you guys letting me question you.”

Kylee crossed her arms in a way to hold herself together. Her face might’ve been inquisitive, curious, and sharp, but the reality was it was all a mask. A mask to hide her emotions. What gave it all away? Her eyes. Kylee Grimm was not doing good and while some people drowned themselves in vices like alcohol and drugs, she chose to immerse herself in an investigation. She was worried. She was worried about Clay because these letters really did a number on him. She was worried about Roddy because she no longer could check up on him like she used to. And she was worried about Wes. He still hadn’t texted her. Did she do something wrong?

“Same question for you, Adam,” She turned her attention to the camera boy. Uncrossing her arms, she gestured for him to give her the camera so she could record him. She needed to get out of the dark place before she started crying in front of her friends. “I know you haven’t been back in awhile but maybe you can speak from the Callahan perspective?”

“Oh shit, okay,” Adam wasn’t expecting to be on camera during this but Kylee’s line of questioning was forcing his hand. He handed her his camera, gently so as to not damage the beautiful machine and awkwardly waved once her lense was aimed at him. “Well, erm…” He paused for a moment. He was so used to adding all his commentary in post. Adam never really felt comfortable on screen, a bad sign for someone who wanted to make documentaries for a living. He rang his hands together a bit as his gaze fell between the three beauties starting at him. Holy fuck were these Goddesses intimidating.

“I mean, Jill knows this but walking around a town where streets and buildings are named after your ancestors is quite daunting. The fact that even now, to this day, being a Foundling is considered a high honor, it’s downright baffling really.” He ran both hands through his thick shaggy hair and leaned back against the chair he was sitting on. “Most of us, will try and just get on with it, you know? But then there are those of us who for what it’s worth had a talent, a talent that can’t be ignored. Franny or Clay for example. The pressure to use that talent to keep the name out there, it’s like gravity being turned up to eleven. It’s impossible to move. That’s what the curse really is. It’s being unable to move on from what came before. It’s safe to say, it’s rare for a Foundling to get out of this town alive.”

Wow. Damn. That went dark. “Thank you, Adam,” Kylee softly responded as she gingerly gestured for him to take his camera back. When he grabbed it from her hands, as if they were passing a baby to one another, Kylee had a pensive look on her face. This actually was more interesting than who David fucked. This could also lead to clues to any living Carlisle members still out there. The last known member being Nikolas Carlisle, the founder of Edenridge National Laboratory. He died in 1984.

Kylee had always been curious about what happened to the family that once lived in her house. She never did tell her dad about this but she found a secret stash in a hole on the wall, hidden behind this old grandfather clock. A stash of pictures mostly, and some heirlooms. But that was an ongoing investigation and not the point right now. As she thought deeper on what her two friends said, speaking into existence,

Kylee breathed out and smiled, “Roddy got out,” and as much as her heart missed him, she knew he would do great things in Texas versus here. “Talent, no talent, purpose, no purpose, that’s all pretty subjective don’t you think? We can’t really change the past,” Kylee thought to herself, the wheels constantly turning in her head, “What we do have control over is how we handle the present. I wasn’t raised here. I moved here, what? Like when I was eleven? But, if I didn’t move here I wouldn’t have you three, or Roddy, or Clay. I don’t think the problem is Edenridge, herself. It’s like living in Detroit, or Chicago. There's dark shit everywhere. It’s all in a matter of perspective. If you’re stuck here, might as well try to take care of her. Be a pebble in the pond that creates a ripple of change. That’s just me, though. I don’t like seeing my home as a trap town. She’s all I’ve ever had.”

Mei cocked her eyebrow as she listened to the trio talk about their respective paths through this garden of Eden. Her Jillybean, an O’Brien, often considered the greatest and most delicate beauties in Edenridge history. Adam, the Callahan, they were the good guys, the honourable men living in dishonourable times. Then there was Kylee, a transplant herself but with roots to the town’s very foundation. Three different people, so entrenched in what this place was, is and could be. It was truly fascinating.

“For what it’s worth, I am sorry, truly, that you and all the other Foundlings have suffered so.” The Wiccan pressed a soft gentle kiss to the top of the fiery haired head of her girlfriend. “What you go through, makes you more prone to mistakes, more prone to succumbing to things that we all try not to. This place, our town, it is home but it’s also a fucking Hellmouth,” Mei tightened her grip on the back of Jil’s neck lovingly. “And it’s about time that changed. Our class, our friends, our family have suffered way too much and it’s about time someone stopped all that pain. This is going to end, I’m going to end this. Even if it fucking kills me.”

Jill subtly matched Mei’s grip with her own on Miss Midnight’s thigh. “You don’t get to die before I do. That’s the rule. You fucking promised me.” She moved her hand away and rested it back on her lap. “If this is to end in fire, then we shall both burn together.” Even if she was a day late to the goth scene, cherry picked Ed Sheeran lyrics helped Jill fit right in to the vibe.

Getting to her feet, the goth girl polished off her beer and tossed it into the recycle bin. “Now, unless this turns into a foursome, which I’m absolutely here for, then I think you’ve asked all your questions and it's time to wrap this orgy up.”

Glancing at her watch, Kylee noticed the time. Oh shit. She had a lunch date with Marco at the park. “I lost track of time,” Grabbing her small notebook off the table, Kylee stood up and went to the girl that Mei introduced, years ago, who was growing to be one of her closest friends. Kneeling down, Kylee brought Jill into a warm embrace and whispered, “Thank you. I know I might be in over my head but thank you. This means a lot.”

The redhead happily returned the embrace. She was a hugger. Anyone who ran into one of her drunken spells at the Hole knew that. It was nice to be able to enjoy the enveloping feeling without the fog in the way though. It was funny that Kylee didn’t have the full on pedigree that herself and Adam and Coach and Caitlin had, but maybe that was Jill's role as a Foundling. To bridge the gap to those on the outside and try and make Eden a less closed-off place. Even if that meant putting herself at risk.

“You’re welcome, KyHigh,” Jillian confirmed. “And if you need any help tracking Cece down, give me a heads up. I know I wasn’t able to fill in many blanks for you, but she should have the best memory out of the remaining cheerleaders, so hopefully she has some better answers for you.”

“Kay, unless we’re getting naked, time to make a manoeuvre,” Mei smiled, a rare sight as always. She winked towards Kylee and then made her way to Adam as he fiddled with his camera. She leaned down, placing her painted fingers on his deceptively strong looking shoulder and whispered in his ear. “Take care of her, she’s special. If you don’t, I’m having your balls for breakfast.” She stood back up to her full height and turned to face her best friend and girlfriend once again.

“Jilly, the Afterlife awaits.”

“But it’s 2:30… you know what, nevermind,” Kylee kissed Jill’s cheek before releasing her and making her way to Adam.

The youngest O’Brien, barring any kids that Kieran might have had that she didn’t know about, smiled back at her intrepid friend. “Don’t worry, we have walked among the dead in the Afterlife for quite some time. We’re well versed in traversing the vampires at all times of day.” Jillian stood up and moved over to Mei, linking her hands with the Ramsey girl’s own. “Let me grab a couple things, finish my beer and then I’ll be ready to cross the River Styx.” She glanced over at Kylee and to confirm the positive feelings were still there for a change, she smiled again.

Looking back at her two friends, her best girlfriends, Ky gave her signature Tigger wave and goodbye, “Ta ta for now. Until next time, ladies.” Exiting the apartment, she led the charge, her friend in tow, “Craving Chinese? Because I promised a friend I’d treat him.”

Adam hurrying, grabbed his camera and offered a brief wave to Fire and Darkness before following Ky out of the door. “I’m down for some Chinese, I haven’t eaten in a minute.” He looked back at the door of the apartment as he and the good lady Grimm stepped into the elevator. Another world ago, Jill and Mei were two of the most popular girls in school (although Mei hated that) and now there they were, locked together in love but so utterly broken by the years of heartache that this town caused. It did make him wonder, in spite of what she had said, why Kylee was so desperate to save it?

Was it really worth it?
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