Beneath Water


Unsure of what to say and working at her skates slower than Darren anyway, Serith simply devoted all of her attention to the skates and did not say anything to him in reply. The task at hand was one that was not particularly familiar but, from looking at Darren's with a keenly critical eye and then returning her gaze to her own, she figured the process out quickly enough for the first and from there, in regards to the second, her hands flew. Not much long after Darren had stood to skate around, Serith was unsteadily taking to her feet as well.

"See?" Serith chimed in, rolling along a few paces "Not hard!" Realizing suddenly that she was on a small incline, Serith waved her hands around, a look of terror on her face as she started to roll backwards. Just a second later, though, she remembered the rubber stopped on her skates and dug the toe of the cream-colored skate into the ground with such force that she lurched forward a little bit.

"Well, not that hard...." Sertih amended, frowning at her skates. A few clicks and minor mishaps later, Serith was standing proudly on the skating rink's polished surface, holding onto the wall with both hands as she watched the people speeding around the floor in careful circles.

"Do you do this often?"
Darren held Serith as she got onto the rink, making sure she didn't fall on her bottom of face. Once there, he chuckled, holding out his hands for her to take.

"Don't worry, you'll get it! And, yeah. I'm actually on the roller derby team," he proclaimed proudly, gently taking her hands off the wall.

"Don't push on your toes. You move by pushing with the side of your feet," he explained, showing her and he went in a small circle before coming back, taking her hand. He skated backwards, Serith forwards.

While Darren was trying to help her out with the skating, Serith frowned, vowing next time to do something that she was good at instead. The rink seemed more slippery than was safe in her opinion and she eyed it warily while trying to move her feet like he suggested. His proud proclamation that he was on a team of some sort for this made her chuckle but when he started to skate backwards, she couldn't exact argue her belief in that statement.

Moving her feet to the side as he advised was more tiring than Serith expected and after managing to work her way around the rink twice, once while clinging to Darren and the wall alternately and once moving with her own skill, Serith's feet hurt. For having only started today, Serith took pride in that she'd only fallen once but at the same time, Darren seeing that she could not skate was embarrassing and she spoke very little the entire time. Clacking awkwardly back to the wall, Serith pulled herself back onto the thinly carpeted floor and glanced around, the seductive scent of nachos catching her interest.

"I'm just going to grab something to eat" Serith informed Darren, swaying and sliding toward the direction of the little hub selling food with her utmost concentration. The nachos were a rare treat to her and upon reaching the counter, her mouth was already watering. She happily ordered nachos with cheese and bean dip and jalapenos, the whole works, thrilled with the day thus far. When Serith pulled out money to pay, she was stunned by how cheap it was for the food here, as well as that the employee at the counter seemed confused by the dollar she put with the other two, telling him it was his tip.
Darren found it amusing, seeing as she had thought it would be easy at first. Hey, she only fell once though, beating the teen by 15. When she said she was going to get a snack, he nodded and skated around, chatting with a few people he knew before getting off and joining Serith. He snatched a chip, quickly eating it before anything could be said.

"I didn't do it; it was my inner demon," he chuckled.

"So, uh, wanna see my match on Wednesday?" he asked, revealing he had a derby match.

The chip was not a big loss to Serith but she made faces and swatted at his hand jokingly, aware that this was meant to be some sort of bonding relationship between friends. Serith grinned at Darren, though, scooting her nachos away from his reach. When Serith had finished the nachos, she looked up to realize that Darren had said something. Inviting her to a match of his for Wednesday?

"I'd love to go, of course! What time? And where?" Serith did not have any commitments that she could think of on Wednesday and felt confident that she would be able to go to this match, if he would tell her when it was. Serith noticed that her enthusiasm might seem a bit too abrupt, especially after his clarification that they were here as friends. Serith added to the end of her statement, nervously "If I'm not very busy..."

It seemed that their skating was over and Serith began to unlace the skates.
Darren couldn't help but chuckle at how excited she seemed. Still being blunt, he hadn't noticed that she added the last bit to seem a little less.

"Ah, it's here, and it's at 8:00 at night. Oh, and it's technically called a 'Jam' but when I say that, it sound like I'm talking about grape jelly/jam." he laughed, unlacing his skates as well, then handing Serith her shoes, and putting on his own sneakers.

"You'll love my derby husband, he's the greatest," Darren laughed.

(When Darren says "Derby Husband" it's basically his term for they are really great friends, inseparable.)

"I'm sure" Serith chirped "I will absolutely adore the entire affair." With her shoes tied on her feet and the rented pair of roller skates in her hand, Serith made her way toward the effort, a small smile on her lips. It was disheartening, she realized, that this hadn't been the date that she had half-hoped that it would be.

"I'll be here, then! I've got to get going home so that I can study" Serith waved to Darren cheerfully and exited the skating rink with lots of questions about what the hell was going on with her own garbled thoughts.

When Serith arrived home, she realized that the phone was ringing off the hook and she grabbed it quickly. "Hello?" she chimed, nervous about having not answered it.

"Hello, sweetheart" Serth eased, the calming tone of her father soothing her as it had when she was just a child.

"Yes, daddy?"

"I've been asked to stay on here, at Massachusetts General. This means that we'll be moving here. This is my dream sweetheart, the best thing that I could have hoped for. It's within the top five for neurosurgery in the country. We'll get you a plane ticket and send it in the mail. You can pack all of your clothes and things, take them with you."
Darren smiled widely when Serith said she would come, waving her off as he returned his skates. He sighed happily and hummed as he exited the rink. Once he made the long trek home, the door was already unlocked, and he crept in, careful not to make a sound as he went to the bed room.
"Good night, brother," he murmured.

(Skip to next day?)

Just like any other morning from the rest of her life, Serith awoke beneath the gauzy canopy of her bed. Serith didn't move at first, curled with content in the warmth of the comforter. The plush green fluff around her cradled her gently and it took her a moment to remember her purpose. Slowly, Serith pushed aside the blankets and pillows to reach the edge of the bed. Her feet sunk into the carpet as she placed them on the ground and she examined her things.

A suitcase was packed full of all of her dresses, blouses, and skirts on the floor, another brimming with tee shirts and jeans. A final suitcase was packed with all of her material objects and she bit her lip before spinning around the now empty room. It was painful to see her life packed into three heavy suitcases. All of the furniture and other things in the house she'd been told to leave, that someone would come to clean up and collect the things.

Serith didn't know how to tell Darren that she was leaving, instead decided that it would be better if she just went without saying anything to him. After all, it wasn't as if they were very close. She'd known him for just three days and they hadn't been on a date or anything. Still, willfully, she had written a short letter explaining that she was leaving and how sorry she was about not making it to his "jam".

The letter was to come in the mail tomorrow - it was Sunday now. She had a whole day to stew things over. Not bothering to change out of her green pinstripe pajamas, Serith sat down in front of the piano and began to play.
Darren woke as he normally did. Sheets in shambles, hair standing on one side, and spread eagle with his arm and leg hanging off the bed. When his loud alarm (a.k.a the brother) woke him up, he fell off the bed, ungracefully, onto the tattered carpet. He groaned before sitting up, stretching, and fixing his bed. He moved to the shared bathroom, changing quickly and taming his hair before setting out for an other day.

1: the park
2: ice cream
3: skate practice for his match
and 4: call Serith.... eh, he could skip to four now. He pulled out his phone and flipped to her contact number, pulling it up to show a secretly taken photo of her. He liked unknown photos better, they just were much more natural. He pushed the send button and held it to his ear. While he listened to the ringing, he looked around the familiar, rundown neighborhood. He waved to a couple of kids, bowed politely to an elderly Asian couple that lived there, then nodded to everyone else.

Sitting on the bench of her piano, Serith suddenly felt the phone ring. She'd been trying to decide on a piece to play but none were coming to mind for her. The noise of her ringtone startled her and she scrambled for the source of the noise, answering it without thinking. A brief glance made her eyes widen - it was Darren after all.

Steadfast in her decision not to tell him, she still considered the fact that there was no harm in spending one more day in his company. It was with these convictions that she answered the phone brightly after her small pause.

"Hello, Darren!"

A quick examination of herself reminded Serith that she wasn't dressed yet and she hopped up the stairs to her bedroom with the phone to her ear, intent on picking out her clothes for the day at least. A blouse the color of fresh mint candies caught her eye. Serith knew precisely what she was going to wear.
"Hey, chicka! I was just wondering if you wanted to go out for breakfast. Big-Bro has to go to work, so I'm pretty much not doing much today," Darren explained, hoping over a fence that would be a short cut to the park. He made sure he didn't cut himself on any of those loose pieces, or cut wires on the fence.

When he arrived, he sat at the bench and watched the kids playing. Most of them waved, they were the one's who knew him. The ones that didn't were most likely just visiting.

Smiling to herself, Serith decided that this would be a nice way to spend her last day in this city, her last day in this state. Placing her cellphone on the bed and hitting the button to switch it to speaker mode, Serith now had her hands free. As she began to tug off her pajamas in order to get dressed, Serith continued her conversation with Darren as best she could.

"Where would you want to go then? I'll meet you there as fast as I can."

Serith extricated herself from her pajamas at last and was already buttoning her blouse with adept fingers when she heard his answer. She just managed to get the last button in time to not see to have paused too long.

"I'll be there!"

Serith hit the button to end the phone call and slid on her skirt. She was tempted to leave her pajamas in a heap but assumed that she'd be too annoyed to sleep in them if they had been on the floor all day. Instead, she tossed them on the bed and slid her feet into a pair of gray ballet flats. Enthusiastically, she slid the phone into a small pocket inside the waistband of her skirt and made her way outside.

It was then that Serith realized that she had no idea where she was going. Sheepishly, she tugged out her phone again and called Darren. Without even waiting for him to greet her when he answered, she blurted out to him her problem.

"Darren! I don't know how to get there."
Darren paused for a moment when asked where to go. He hadn't really thought about that. Usually he would just walk to an outdoor mall and choose at random.

"Uh.... Waffle House?" he asked, then smiled as she agreed and hung up. He ended the call on his end too and got off the bench, heading out to the house of waffles. He surveyed his surroundings and stopped dead in his tracks when he saw a little white flower poking out from a crack in the side walk. He smiled brightly and took out any loose concrete pieces, taking the flower out by it's roots. He answered when Serith called him again with the announcement that she had no idea where to go. He chuckled and gave her directions along with a couple places it was near. When the call ended, he hung up and ran across the street, knocking on a random persons door and asking for a cup with water.

They looked at him strangly, but gave him a small dixie cup, and he ran off, holding the flower in the water carefully.

Relief filled Serith when she came in sight of the place that Darren had mentioned. She had found the Waffle House! She'd never seen a building like this before, the bright yellow sign was turned off in the daylight but it was still very eye-catching and her mouth widened a little bit. Such a large sign. Serith realized and quickly shut her mouth, stepping up to the entrance.

She hoped that Darren was there already, since she was a little bit shy about going into the building. Cautiously, she set foot inside and looked at all the tables. A woman came up to ask her if she wanted a table and Serith faltered, looking around. It didn't seem that Darren was here yet from her cursory glance at the tables and so she nodded. The woman had a plastic smile, that much as least was familiar to her. When she asked if Serith would be dining alone, Serith shook her head quickly.

"Oh, no, uhm. There will be someone else."

Talking a seat in one of the benches, Serith examined the fake flowers in a vase on the table. The place seemed oddly comfortable, she mused, stroking one of the cloth petals. Deciding to try the coffee, Serith ordered a cup for her wait. She had never had just a mug of coffee from somewhere before.
Do to Darren detour, he had been put slightly off schedule, and was rushing to get where he was going, getting lost a few times do to his terrible sense of direction. He could relay directions, but following them for himself was a hassle. Once he finally found, he came in, smiling when he saw Serith had beat him to getting the table. He walked over and put the flower he had obtained in front of her, plopping down on the other side of the table.

"My gift, to you," he smiled, putting one elbow on the table and leaning on his hand.
"It was growing in the cracks on a sidewalk, so it's like, and endangered species!" he joked.

"Aww, how pretty" Serith cooed at the flower, using her index finger to gently pet one of the petals. Her wide smile was evidence of how endearing she found the flower and she tugged the cup closer to her on the table. It was the first flower that she'd ever been given and she had plans to press it in a book when she got home, to preserve it.

Looking up at Darren, Serith indicated the direction that the waitress had gone, assuming it was where the kitchen was. "I ordered some coffee already, you're welcome to order what you want. My treat." There were a few people coming to the door now and Serith could see a couple of people a few tables away. Despite these people, Serith felt strangely isolated here.

"What are your plans for the day, hmm?" Serith wanted to keep the mood light and happy. It was hard for her to think of leaving now, now that she finally had someone with whom she felt close. At best, all she could do was make this day before leaving as happy as possible. She wanted good memories.
"Ah, nonononononononononono, you are NOT paying. I will." Darren smiled, looking at Serith as she enjoyed the flower. He had hoped she would.
"Oh, and I was just planning to go here and there, to the skating rink...." Darren continued, explaining his plans.
"Oh! And the dance studio!" he announced happily. Darren loved dance. He didn;t know why, or how, he just...did.
"Care to join me on my miraculous adventures?" he asked, afetr ordering his drink and food, but telling the waitress to wait on his until Serith figured out what she would get.

Resting her chin on her palm , Serith used her long fingers to conceal her frown, bending them so that they hid her lips. It was times like this, she decided, that being a girl was difficult. She did not want to insult his pride as a guy by insisting to pay - even sheltered Serith knew that this was something that men took pride in. The ability to pay for the meal was somehow masculinely reaffirming. Still, she knew well that he and his brother could use the money for better things than her breakfast. It made her feel guilty.

"Well... I mean..." Serith stumbled. When the waitress came back to get her order, she was still red in the cheeks and mumbled a little bit. She would deal with the whole issue of payment, she decided, when the meal was over. Turning back to Darren and his offer of adventures, she considered for a moment all that she had to do. Eventually, she decided that there was nothing more that needed done - she had the day free.

"Sure... but, the dance studio? Do you dance?" she asked him, perplexed. She lifted the coffee cup to her lips and took a long sip of the coffee. She frowned again, dumped some sugar and cream into it. Serith stirred the coffee with her spoon and lifted it again to take another sip, her eyes still trained on Darren.
:Yeah, I love to dance! I can show you some when we get there, it's actually really really fun," Darren mused, and created more small talk until the food came.

"So, do you have any other plans for the weekend? Week?" he asked.