[Samuel x Roman]

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e m m a - m a r i e

Emmie frowned a little at Harper's explanation. She wished he didn't have to deal with that. His words were harsh and sh wasn't one to support being mean for no reason, but Harper had a right to be angry and Jacob was the one to be mean for no reason. And then when Harper said something a little less serious, at least she was about ninety percent sure he was joking despite his tone, her expression softened a little and she laughed.

"Okay first of all, ew, I don't want to flirt with him, he's a homophobe," Emmie giggled, as if the main issue wasn't that she was way too shy to approach someone like that, no matter what her intentions were, "secondly, are you implying that if he would be gay you would use that against him? That's kinda hypocritical," he gave him a little nudge before going back to her own lunch, glancing back at Jacob again. She didn't really think he was into Harper or anything, but ironically he also knew that he'd be the kind of guy Harper at least thought was good looking if it hadn't been for hating the guy.

"But you know Harper, maybe talking to him isn't the worst idea, but like you should do it and not flirtily," she said, a little more serious now, "he doesn't really deserve a chance and I do't think anything will excuse him for having acted like an ass, but like, you don't actually know why he's acting like this, yeah? Maybe he just doesn't realize how much homophobia can hurt someone?"
 

lxngdon

a mountain biking vampire witch from the future
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h a r p e r
Harper wished he had his dad's thick skin. He and Roman had sat down and talked about how to deal with homophobia on multiple occasions, and the older man just seemed so cool and collected about it, all the time. He had told Harper that it was alright if he got affected by it, but he had also told Harper that he had never really let it affect him in the ways other queer people had. So Harper couldn't help but wonder what his dad's secrets were.

But Roman just seemed like an absurdly confident person in general. His Auntie London and their friends who they had known since high school had told him about how his dad had always just strutted around like he owned the place, even though he suffered from crippling panic disorders. Harper was confident, but not that confident. And while it took a lot for him to actually feel upset about something that was being said to him, his threshold was a lot lower than that of his father.

"No, I'm pretty sure he does know,"
Harper disagreed with Emma-Marie. He sighed and rolled his shoulders, before popping a piece of lasange into his mouth. "You know what sucks, though?" he asked once he'd swallowed, glancing over at Jacob. "He's Middle Eastern, and he's exactly my type. If he wasn't a complete dickhead I actually would be into him like he claims I am."
 
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e m m a - m a r i e

Emmie let out another little laugh, “yeah I was just thinking that, actually,” she explained. She didn’t think it was funny that someone was too mean for Harper for him to think someone he would have found cute otherwise was so nasty to him that he couldn’t find him cute.

“But I dunno, even if he wasn’t a homophobe he seems kind of annoying,” Emmie said, more to support Harper than to express some opinion about Jacob. She didn’t know him and had only heard about him from Harper, but he did seem annoyingly competitive and kind of rude on top of acting completely unreasonable. But Harper was also kind of competitive and that didn’t make him annoying, so her view was clearly coloured.

“Maybe you should be the one flirting with him to find out if he’s secretly into you instead?” she then added as a joke, “I bet he’d love that,”
 

lxngdon

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h a r p e r

Harper sighed. There was just so much shit going on with Jacob that he didn't even know where to start to address the problem. He could tell his coach, but he didn't want to get labelled as scared or as a snitch by his teammates, and he felt like doing so would just add fuel to the fire. He could tell his dads, but he could easily see them overreacting and he didn't want them to pull him out of soccer or make him change teams just because of one asshole.

"He'd probably punch me in the face," Harper theorised. And he believed that. If Jacob was queer -- which he doubted -- then he seemed to be so deep into the closet that he was unable to admit it to himself, and therefore he'd be the type to lash out aggressively if Harper tried anything. And if he wasn't, then he was definitely the type to have a very fragile hold on his own masculinity, and thus, he'd probably lash out anyway. Harper wasn't about to put himself in danger to prove a point.

"Let's stop talking about him, he makes me angry," Harper suggested. He got up and shifted so his back was facing Jacob and his friends, and therefore, he didn't have to look at him and instead could concentrate on spending lunch with his best friend. Out of sight, out of mind.

Well, until they had soccer practice that evening.
 
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h u g o

High school was actually going really well for Hugo. The summer had been weird and kind of stressful. He had moved out of Letha’s place and into a foster home. The people he lived with were really nice. Really nice. They were and elderly couple who hadn’t ever had kids of their own. It was weird to live with strangers, and t was weird not to live in a house full of people because he had kind of gotten used to that. But he liked it too. It was calm and he didn’t have to worry about things as much anymore.

And so he had been able to actually enjoy starting high school. He still stuck to Letha a lot. She was his best friend and she had been with him through a lot. But they had their little group of friends, which was who they were hanging out with as they fetched their books for their next class.

They were just talking about some homework when Sofie tugged at Letha’s arm, interrupting the conversation to go, “Is that your brother?” while nodding in the direction of a group of older kids. Harper was indeed among them but Sofie was one of their new high school friends so it wasn’t like she had really been at Letha’s place yet. A couple of days back she had said she thought a specific guy a couple of grades above them was really cute and after some speculation they had come to the conclusion that it might be Harper, and Hugo figured that was why she was asking now.
 

lxngdon

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l e t h a
As the youngest Hemlock-Ortega to have passed through the doors of high school, Letha was sort of living in the shadow of her older siblings. They had set a precedent for her to follow -- Stella's rebelliousness and Harper's charisma were traits people just expected of her even before she opened her mouth. Even Eden's outbursts were something that her teachers watched out for when dealing with her -- only to find that she was the sweetest girl in the world, of course.

The teachers who had had her older siblings also sort of expected her to perform similarly in those classes. And of course, everyone knew her father was Mr Hemlock-Ortega. So, long story short, she wasn't surprised to learn that her friend Sofie knew about Harper.

Letha looked up when Sofie tugged her and cast her pretty blue eyes in the direction her friend was indicating. "Hm?" Letha took a glance at the group of teens and easily identified her brother out of them. "Oh, yeah, that's Harper," she affirmed, nodding her head. Then she looked at Sofie curiously. "Why?"
 
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h u g o

A slight blush spread on Sofie's face as Letha asked her just why she inquired about her brother. Hugo decided his suspicions were true and that Harper really was the guy Sofie had been gushing about before. Now she seemed unsure what to say though, "oh I just... I dunno, I just know your siblings go to our school but I'm not sure who's who since you don't look like each other, you know?"

"Sofie said she thought someone was cute the other day, and the person she described sounded like Harper," Hugo said with a slight grin. She gave him a scowl back but it was all clearly in good fun as she accompanied it with a whiny but chuckling "Hugo, don't call me out like this,"

"I mean I don't think anyone can blame you for thinking he's cute,"
Jazz, another one of their friends said with a small laugh, "You should ask him to come hang out with us at lunch sometime," she continued. Her tone was joking but Hugo was sure there was a little truth to her wanting that to happen, or else she wouldn't have said it.
 

lxngdon

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l e t h a
Letha blinked a couple of times in surprise. She knew her elder brother was typically considered handsome, but still, it was a bit of a shock to hear that her friend had a crush on him. And that was just affirmed by Jazz's comment. Since when had people started to develop crushes on her elder brother?

Harper was a lovely person to be around, but Letha knew him better than anyone else there. She knew how he had picked his nose until he was eleven and she knew how he farted really loudly in his room sometimes. He did a bunch of gross, silly and strange things, and while that didn't negate his character or anything, it did influence her ability to accept that someone could actually have a crush on him.

"No, what, you can't invite my brother over just because you think he's cute," Letha protested.

"How come?" their friend Flora giggled.

"Because he's my brother!"
 
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h u g o

"But it's not just that though," Jazz insisted, "like if he would hang out with us a little we would get to hang out with some of the people in the years above, that'd be kind of cool,"

"I dunno why you think hanging out would them would be any cooler than hanging out with people our age," Hugo said, deciding Letha might want and need some backup, "Like Harper's cute and all, I get it, but he's also kind of lame sometimes, and I don't think his friends are any different," Harper was actually a really cool guy, but after living with him for a while Hugo couldn't really put him on the pedestal their other friends were doing.

Sofie let out a pretty unexpected laugh at Hugo's comment. He didn't really get what was laughable about it. Until she said, "oh my god, see even Hugo thinks Harper is cute," which made Hugos cheeks flare up and he quickly inflicted with, "Oh my god that isn't what I meant," then turned to Letha, "please don't think I'm as shallow as them and want to hang out with Harper just because he's cute," which earned him some more laughs.
 

lxngdon

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l e t h a

Letha was very grateful for Hugo's backup, but it wasn't really working, she could see that. She wasn't mad about the fact that her friends found her elder brother cute, but she wasn't happy about it either.

She wasn't going to go around and tell people who they could and couldn't find attractive, but the idea of anyone finding her brother desireable was just sort of weird and especially her friends. What if they started hanging out with her, not for her, but for the chance to see Harper? What if she started being referred to as just 'Harper's sister' and not her own person? She wanted her friends to like her for her, rather than who her brother was.

"It's okay," Letha said to Hugo, rubbing her forehead. She wasn't mad at him -- she wasn't mad at anyone. She was just really confused. "Guys, please stop. You don't want to date Harper, he's a weirdo and he has a crush on someone else anyway." That was a lie, but Letha told it to get the girls to let up.