Sing for Absolution

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Melia, Jul 12, 2012.

  1. The resort was situated on a crystal clear lake, it’s water cold from the icy water that trickled down from the surrounding mountains of the Swiss Alps. The resort consisted of about 10 cabins, 5 of which had been taken up by members or staff of the band and one that had been converted into a makeshift recording studio.

    “The most efficient way to write and record an album is to separate yourself from any distractions,” the director had advised, “You aren’t required to heed my advice, you’re your own men with your own ideas, but it’s been my experience with other bands that this is the quickest and most effective way to channel creativity.”

    Matt had agreed wholeheartedly. The other two were reluctant to join, especially Chris, who had a large family to care for. But his family had always been understanding of his career and was no obstacle if he needed to disappear with the band for awhile. It was no different, really, than when they were on tour. And Chris almost always returned in high spirits, excited for what the future had to offer and happy to see his family again.

    Besides, there had been enough setbacks on this album as it was. It was time to get cracking.

    And so it was done. The band and staff relocated themselves out to the private resort.

    Things today were not going as smoothly as anyone would have liked though. Tom, in no way required to be there with the band but was anyway, had flown off to LA to take care of some PR stunts for the week and his presence was sorely missed. Tom’s humor kept things light in the studio and now, when tensions were running high, it was almost as necessary to the success of the recording as the recording equipment itself.

    Dom was distracted and it was bothering Matt. Dom’s mind was not on the music. He was performing up to standards but Matt could tell his heart wasn’t in it and Matt was getting snappy. Chris, tired of trying to keep peace between the two had given up and retired to his cabin for the evening. And Dom, irritated at being snapped at constantly by Matt had stalked off to be alone, God knew where, declaring angrily as he slammed out of the studio that Matt could go ‘fuck himself’ and ‘do the whole thing alone if he was going to be that particular.’

    Matt, having certain ideas in his head that he refused to budge on was frustrated. He knew it would sound great when it all came together, and peace would be restored between them once they heard it the way he heard it in his head. Or at least he hoped that would be the case. However, the real problems were between him and Dom, and both of them knew, though neither wanted to admit, that the trouble went deeper than the music itself.

    Matt decided that what he really wanted was a drink and some social interaction with people not currently involved with the band. Closing up the studio early, he wandered over to the main lodge and waited for the shuttle that would take him into the nearby village.

    The shuttle ride was short but jolty, the driver speeding his way through the bumpy, windy mountain roads, leaving Matt feeling more than a little carsick by the time he’d arrived in the village. He rested at the memorial fountain that marked the center square of the village for almost fifteen minutes before he made his slightly wavering way to the bar. Once inside, he plopped down on a stool and ordered his favorite drink: a red wine. Tonight was a night for some cabernet.
  2. Drifting along the soft waves of the lake, a girl laid and just stared up at the sky. The sun lit up the fluffy white clouds, and occasionally a bird or two would fly by. She couldn't hear their calls, but she imagined they would be high-pitched and beautiful melodies. Her ears were below the surface, picking up only the faint wooshing of her arms as they swayed below her. She didn't bother guiding herself, she just went wherever the water felt like pushing her. It was one of the most relaxing things in the world, even though it sometimes gave strangers the impression that she was drowning.

    She was lost in thought about her brother. He had just come home two weeks ago from a month long vacation. She had ached with longing at his absence. There was nothing sexual or anything like that between them, but they were so close that it was as if missing a part of herself for an entire month. Now that he was back, things were falling back into the same routine as always, as though he had never gone. It pleased her, but at the same time it upset her. Would things never change? Not once in her life had she left this tiny town. Everybody knew her, and most people avoided her. They all thought she was crazy, she thought with a pang of deep loneliness.

    A pinecone smacked her in the forehead and she blinked, righting herself and looking around.

    "Come on, Alyne! Get your ass out of the water and get dry! You're supposed to be playing tonight and now I'm late for work!" her brother, Andrick, called out from the shore. He held up a dry dress of hers that he had grabbed from her closet, then threw it on a nearby rock and walked off. His new job was waiting tables and playing bartender at the only decent place to eat and relax in town. She had been a regular player there for years, but she suspected that it was only because the owner liked to flirt with her, and not because of any musical skill.

    She swam over to the shore and climbed out, glancing around absently to be sure that nobody was around. Quickly she stripped from the drenched clothing and changed into the dry, thankful that Andrick had thought to bring it. Her case was there too. Smiling, she picked it up and ran back into town, skidding into the back door of the bar right as the owner, Perry, began looking for her.

    "You're late," he grouched, ushering her out into the front room rapidly.

    She just shrugged and went to the tiny stage, sitting on her customary stool and opening up her case. After withdrawing her bodhran and tapper, she tossed the soft leather case aside and glanced around the crowd. All regulars. Boring. She held in her sigh and began to beat out an easy beat, scarcely paying attention since it was all habit now. After a minute, she realized there was somebody there out of the ordinary. It startled her so much that she nearly missed a tap, but she thankfully recovered and looked away. Odd. Who was he? She started to sing along, an old tune in Irish Celtic that she had learned years ago.

    Alyne (open)
    Alyne (open)
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Andrick (open)
    Andrick (open)
  3. The bar Matt had chosen seemed to be the more hopping place in town, but after being there for less than an hour he began to question just why exactly it was he’d chosen to come here. He was a bit shy around strangers unless he was performing or had a decent amount of drink in him. Even so, he was almost always backed by Tom or Dom in places like these. Chris had once been a prominent figure in such adventures but he’d had some trouble with alcohol in the past and had begun to avoid these places. Matt missed him coming out, but knew that it was better for him if he didn’t.


    Matt sat at the stool, swirling the wine around in his glass and listening to the conversations of the locals. A few had been curious about him and asked him what he was doing here. It seemed quite a few of them already knew Dom and Matt felt a slight pang, not having known that Dom had been coming out to make buddies with the locals. It shouldn't have surprised him. That was Dom’s sort of thing. He was always trying to be so cultured.

    And stuff.

    He’d not been included.

    Matt swigged his drink, finishing it off like a shot.

    He’d always been included.

    The bartender glanced over with slight concern as he set the glass down on the counter harder than should be expected from someone who was only supposed to be casually drinking a glass of wine. The glance went unnoticed by Matt, who sighed and spun in the bar stool to face the open room.

    It seemed there was to be live music tonight, because there were people setting up mics and stools over in the corner. Well that was something, seeing as his intentions for social interaction tonight were failing miserably. He’d never really realized how much he’d relied on Tom and Dom to help pull people in.

    But then, if the three of them were in the room together it was their group as a whole most people wanted to get in on, as opposed to Matt now, feeling like a complete outsider, wishing to be a part of a group tonight. It’d just been a factor he hadn’t even considered when he’d come into town.

    Matt turned and ordered another drink as the music started, feeling it wash over him in a calming manner. It wasn’t quite the same, but it reminded him of the time he’d gone to the Faroe Islands with his friend Maibrit and he remembered it as being one of the happiest nights of his life. He found himself pulling a napkin towards him from the bar and looked anxiously toward the barkeep.

    “Hey, mate, can I get a pen off you?” he called, holding his hand open. The man tossed a pen his way and Matt caught it with ease, immediately beginning to scribble down notes about the music he was hearing. Things he liked. Things he didn’t. And things he might want to try.
  4. By the third song, Alyne had done all of the mental questioning of the stranger that she could. By the fifth, she had basically forgotten he was even there and gotten lost in her music instead. Andrick was waiting tables the entire time, not a single minute to spare to watch his sister play. That didn't really matter since he could always hear her, but still. It was very busy that night, as was usual on a Friday. Ten songs in, Alyne called it quits and made some sort of excuse, needing a break. A guy with a guitar stepped up to fill the gap and she left the stage.

    "Andy, I'm hungry," she complained as she took a seat at the bar and caught her brother gathering drinks for a tray. He rolled his eyes at her and tossed her his order pad, then went off to deliver. She scribbled down her order as usual and set the pad aside for him to pick up when he was done, then signalled for the bartender to set down her usual.

    "Here you go, Alyne. Pretty good playing tonight. Wasn't sure you were even going to show after Andrick said you were out drowning yourself again," the barkeep said with a wide grin.

    "I was only out thinking. He's an over-worrying ninny," Alyne muttered, earning a chuckle and a cold drink. She took a sip and started doodling on the napkin, then glanced to the side and saw the stranger she had basically forgotten existed. Curiosity rekindled, she changed seats until she was next to him, ignoring the weird looks that she got from the others.

    "Hello. I'm Alyne."
  5. While he'd been listening and scribbling, Matt had acquired a plate of food and a non alcoholic drink. He was studying his notes and in mid-bite when he felt a nearby presence. He glanced up with a chip hanging from his mouth just as she'd introduced herself.

    Well she's rather forward.

    He did understand it though. He'd grown up in a town only a little larger than this one, isolated and on the sea, it was hard not to have a curiosity for strangers. He hadn't always lived there and in fact, being strangers in a new town was how he, Dom and Chris had met. It had separated them from the townies, even then.

    Matt swallowed his chip and introduced himself, holding out a long fingered hand. "Hullo. Matt."
  6. "Matt. A pleasure to meet you," she said, taking his hand and shaking it for a moment before releasing it. Shaking hands was something that she never fully understood. An odd tradition. Oh well, no point dwelling on it now and getting too lost in thought to hold up a useful conversation.

    "You've managed to cause quite a stir just by showing up, you know. Most people don't even know this town exist. I think you have a few.. uh.. admirers," she added, nodding toward a trio of girls at the far end of the bar who kept glancing at Matt and giggling amongst themselves. Alyne knew that the three would probably ask him to bed and send him away the next second without batting an eye, but it wasn't her business to warn him. If he wanted to go flirt, well, good luck to him.

    She looked down at the drink she had brought over with her and just watched one of the raspberries slowly sink to the bottom. That was what she felt like, sometimes. Sinking with nowhere else to go. She'd probably die here and never know what the world was really like outside of her books. Andrick already planned on leaving again. He thought she didn't know yet. It was his secret, but she couldn't blame him even though it hurt. She glanced up at her brother now, watching as he laughed and chattered with an elderly couple.

    Brooding on her sorrows wasn't going to do her any good. Be social, that's what Andrick always told her. The problem was that she wasn't very good at it.

    "Alyne, Perry wants you back up on stage. Now," the barkeep told her suddenly. She looked up, then glanced over at Perry hovering in the kitchen doorway. Slave driver.

    "Tell him I'm calling out sick," she suggested, waving the barkeeper off with a faint frown. She had already done a set of ten, what more did he want?
  7. Matt followed her gaze across the room to the three girls who appeared to be trying not to look his way. These were things he still found hard to get used to, though he should by now. Dom would have gotten up and gone straight over with his charming smile and probably would have gotten a good fuck out of one of them. Or all of them. Maybe he already had. Maybe. Dom seemed a bit different lately so he could be wrong. Matt gave his head a little shake. He wasn't Dom. And it shouldn't really matter to him what Dom did in his spare time. What did matter was that he was in no way interested in the girls. He never used to get half these looks until he started getting famous anyway. It was all a bit contrived to him.

    Matt turned his attention back to the girl in front of him. This is the one who'd had the balls to come talk to him anyway. He didn't have much respect for girls who just stared and giggled and didn't come over and talk if that's what they wanted. He picked up the wine he'd barely touched since he'd started scribbling notes and swirled it before taking another sip.

    "You don't wanna play?" he asked, surprised.
  8. Alyne glanced absently at Matt's wine, mildly surprised that a guy that seemed to be her own age would be interested in wine. Not that she didn't enjoy the occasional glass as well, but it was by no means a popular choice. His question made her look up at him and she shrugged a little.

    "Perry thinks he can make me sit and play for hours like a trained monkey as long as he flirts with me extra hard to make up for it. He has a set list of songs I'm allowed to play, too. The first time I played here, he kicked me out because I was 'being depressive'," she said, quoting the intolerable man. He may have been nice enough, but he was suffocating her with his attentions and stupid guidelines. It was a ballad, not a suicide note - and she hadn't even wrote it!

    She realized a few moments later that she probably should have just said 'no' and let the subject die. Talking too much was one of her issues, according to her brother. Of course, Andrick also said that she needed to talk more. She was just broken, she supposed. Faulty wiring.

    "Sorry," she murmured, looking down at her glass as she apologized for going on too much about a subject that an outsider would have no interest in whatsoever.
  9. "Hmm," Matt said, somewhat dismissively. He couldn't quite understand why someone wouldn't want to play music, no matter what the reason was, but he supposed if it wasn't something that interested her, he couldn't really fault her for that.

    "Play what you want," he said. "Music is an expression of yourself. It's translates what we sometimes can't say with words, it's communication in one of it's simplest forms. If he can't understand that, then what's he doing in music?"

    If it'd have been him, he'd have gotten up there and played exactly what it was that people didn't want him to play, a big fuck you to people who thought they could control him.

    "There's no reason to apologize," he said, taking another sip of the wine.

    He had half a mind to hop up on the stage and hijack the whole set, but he didn't want really want to get Alyne in trouble.
  10. Play what you want.

    Such a simple concept. One she wanted dearly to just agree to and have the issue be over. It wasn't that easy. She would be tossed out and likely not invited back, regardless of Perry's fascination - not to mention Andrick may lose his job or get a pay cut if his sister got into such trouble. It wasn't only herself that she had to worry about in keeping the people pleased. Her brother relied on her, even if he didn't realize it. She sighed and shook her head a little, looking over at Matt.

    "He's not really in music. He owns the bar and therefore directs the entertainment. He can't carry a tune in a bucket and there isn't a single instrument that he knows how to play. All he knows is what he likes, and he's got strong opinions on everything," she explained, a slight smile on her lips as he dismissed her apology. Well, at least he wasn't upset with her for blabbering.

    "Perry's on a rampage. Get out," Andrick suddenly hissed in her ear, setting her bodhran in its case on her lap and nodding to the door. Alyne glanced at the kitchen for half a second, then nodded. What set him off this time?

    "I've got to go before things start breaking. Nice meeting you," she said quickly to Matt, then slid down from her stool and went outside before things could get worse for everybody else.
  11. She's a people pleaser, Matt observed, slightly disappointed.

    Strong opinions in small towns sucked though, and it was something he could relate with. He could tell that she felt trapped here. He knew because he'd felt that way once too. Only he'd reacted with a rebellious streak, playing pranks on the mayor and more or less getting himself kicked out of the town.

    He frowned as she left, returning his goodbyes and turned back to his drink. He felt he had a purpose now though, and set about carefully observing this Perry character.
  12. Alyne sat on a closed trash bin in front of the alley next to the bar. She held her bodhran in her lap with both arms crossed over it, just waiting. It didn't take long for Andrick to come out, looking chastised as he tugged out a beaten-up pack of cigs. He drew one out and meandered over to her, assuming she'd be waiting.

    "Who was that?" he asked with no preamble.

    "His name's Matt. I don't think he's sticking around. He was nice, though," she replied, watching Andrick light up with a faint frown but saying nothing. He had quit months ago, or so she thought. There goes that. "When are you leaving?" she asked suddenly, making him stop halfway to his lips.

    "Christ, Alyne. How long have you known? Is that why you've been all distant and grouchy?" he snapped with a scowl. She just blinked and stared at him. This wasn't her brother at all. He was acting like a stranger. She mumbled some sort of answer and fled, heading back to the lake instinctively.

    Perry had watched Alyne leave with hawk eyes, then Andrick. He walked over behind the bar and snapped orders at the barkeep about placing orders for stock, then went over and ushered the guitar player off the stage.

    "No more music tonight, folks. Sorry," he called out, not sounding apologetic at all. Some people groaned and voiced complaints, but he was back in the kitchen yelling at his servers before most of them had even finished a sentence. The guitar player walked out, muttering about finding a decent town to work in or burning down the bar. Andrick was back in a few minutes, slipping back into work with an annoyed expression.
  13. Matt chewed on his pen, deep in thought as he watched the scene unfold in front of him. He leaned toward the barkeep, calling him over.

    "Hey mate, just had a few questions for you," he said, holding up his wine glass, only half empty and shaking it a bit. "Where d'you get this stuff?" he asked, purposely slurring his voice to sound more intoxicated than he was. "'s really great. I bet 's hard to get this stuff out here in this little town, yeah?"

    The barkeep nodded.

    "Howw much for allovit? 'm down at the resort. 'd be nice to have something to relax in the evenings with y'know? Can I buy it offa you? My bandmates would preciate it."

    "I've got one bottle and the rest of the one you've been drinking. I'm not keen on letting it go though. I've got to make a supply order and the train only comes in once a week," the barkeep replied, obviously feeling strained by Perry's recent demand. "I could order some extras for you, though, if you'd like."

    "When'ss the train come in?" Matt queried.

    The barkeep replied that the train came in on Wednesdays.

    "Wot time?"

    "5 am."

    Matt jotted this bit of information down on his napkin, folded it up and slipped it into his pocket. "Thanks, mate. See you Wednesday," he said standing from his stool and slamming the rest of his wine down. He exited the bar, swaying exaggeratedly as he left. He dropped the act the moment he got outside and made his way around the building.
  14. Down the sidewalk seven buildings from the bar was the bus station. Across the road from that was a wide field filled with nothing but tall grass and wildflowers. It was pretty, but Alyne didn't bother pausing to admire the country view. She didn't care about it anymore. Would she ever see a real city, where growing flowers was done in pots or by florists? Was she ever going to see a skyscraper in person, or run around a revolving door just because she felt like it? Probably not. She dismissed her ideas as daydream fodder and trudged through the field. Her lake, her sanctuary, was on the far side.

    Andrick was getting out. He had been accepted to some university twelve states away. Already he had plans to move to Russia or something like that. He kept talking to his friends about snow and parties and how great his life was going to be when he got somewhere worthwhile. Not once had she heard him mention his sister. It wasn't that long ago that they were planning to go around the world together and live in the same city. The rest of their family had died - what was she supposed to do? Make friends?


    She sat on the rock next to the lake and kicked her shoes off, dipping her toes in the cool water. With her bodhran on her lap and eyes closed, she tapped out a slow rhythm and started to sing a tragid ballad about the love affair between the moon and the sun. It was centuries old, but her mother had taught it to her and it was very dear to her heart.

    Not suitable for playing in the bar, of course. Perry'd had an apoplectic fit when she tried.
  15. Matt surveyed the building, once, twice, three times before finding what it was he needed.

    I've got the wine for later, but for now...

    Matt dug in his trousers and pulled out the knife that had come with his food. So he was a slight kleptomaniac. But only when it was necessary. Besides, it had a wooden handle. He'd be alright.

    Matt squinted in the dark and pulled out his cellphone to use as a light. It was nothing special, as far as cellphones went and he held it by it's antenna in his teeth so both his hands could be free.

    He found the wire he was looking for and grunted as he hacked at it with the knife. "I'm gonna- run- you- into- the gwound." There was a small shower of sparks and Matt could hear the power cut off from the building, though he couldn't see it. An alarmed shout came from everyone inside and he stood up quickly. "What now suckaaaa??" he sang in a high falsetto as he trotted quickly away from the building so he wouldn't get caught.

    This was a trick he'd taught himself some time ago. He'd spent hours in the library studying the power grid of London, trying to work out just where he needed to cut the line to put out the power in one specific neighborhood. He'd wanted to see the stars in the city and had reasoned that unless there was some apocalyptic power outage, which was unlikely, he'd have to take matters into his own hands.

    Of course out here, light pollution was hardly an issue, and the trick was on a much smaller scale, but the knowledge was handy regardless. And Perry was a dick who deserved to be taken down a notch or two.

    Unfortunately, Matt had missed the shuttle back to the resort and he didn't want to sit for another hour waiting for the next one and risk getting caught for his deed. He shrugged and started his way down the long winding mountain road toward the lake and the resort, twirling the wooden handled knife as he went and humming a cheerful tune.
  16. Alyne was thinking about Matt and how odd it was to have a stranger when Andrick ran up behind her. He was out of breath and gesturing wildly, looking both insanely frustrated and amused. After a few minutes, he straightened up and cleared his throat to relay whatever message or story he had.

    "Perry's flipping shit. The power went out in the bar but the rest of the neighborhood's fine. He's screaming at the poor kid behind the bar and demanding to know what happened. All of the customers left, went home," he said, laughing a little and shaking his head.

    "I've got the day off now. I thought you might want to talk," he added, tilting his head a fraction.

    Laying her instrument across her lap, Alyne just looked at him for a moment. She had smiled at the story, inwardly thinking it was about time something awful happened to Perry. Yet now she was faced with a long discussion with her brother that would likely end badly. No point in running away since they lived in their parents house together. His room was at the opposite end of the building, but she'd still see him at meal times and he was an absolute bear if he wanted to know something.

    "Talk? What about?"

    "You know what about, Aly. Come on. You can't seriously blame me for leaving. This town has nothing! I've got a chance to really make a name for myself!" he said, frowning. His voice was so earnest, so excited. Painfully so.

    "I know. I just don't know what I'm going to do when you go," she replied, not looking up at him as she tucked the bodhran back into the case and zipped it up.

    "Maybe you'll actually make a friend. Goodness knows you need one. The entire town thinks you're damned loopy and some sort of reject outcast," Andrick said, shaking his head. "Wait, Alyne, I didn't mean tha-" he added quickly, but it was too late.

    She was already running.
  17. The walk back was longer than Matt had anticipated. It had seemed so short in the shuttle, but the driver had driven fast on these roads. Matt was beginning to get nervous that he was going to meet the shuttle on the way back and it would be hurdling around the corners as fast as it had when he'd come up the first time. He looked down at his dark clothes.

    Well fuck. I'm not looking to be road kill tonight.

    He imagined the headlines. "The end of one of the World's Greatest Bands: Matt Bellamy, hit by truck on a single lane mountain road."

    Not the way he wanted to go.

    He trotted across the road and started making his way down the side of the mountain toward the lake instead. He'd get to the resort if he followed the lake shore and no one would have to scrape him off the pavement the next morning either. The path was steep, but he was in no hurry. Besides, the stars were brilliant out here. Matt gazed toward the sky as he picked his way down the hill.
  18. After reaching the path that wound around the lake to the resort that typically gave the town the only visitors they ever had, Alyne followed it for well over a mile. She didn't stop running until the faint lights of the resort came into view. This was where she always stopped. Never once had she dared to even go down to it and look around. She realized now that she knew the reason why she never went farther than this, and never would.

    She was a coward.

    Stepping off the path, she went over to the shore and sat on the cool grass. She leaned back against a small tree and just stared up at the full moon surrounded by stars. There wasn't a single cloud tonight, which would usually delight her. Right now it seemed like more of a punishment than anything, reminding her that there was a whole universe out there just waiting to be explored by everybody else. She glanced back down toward the resort, barely able to hear faint strains of music drifting on the breeze. Probably some sort of dance event going on outside. People enjoying life. Why couldn't she do the same?
  19. Matt reached the lake and began his leisurely stroll around it. He could see the lights of the resort in the distance and was glad for it. He was tired after the long walk and he knew he'd be sore tomorrow. The lake shore proved to be a rougher terrain than he'd anticipated, however, lined with boulders nearly as tall as he was and as he looked ahead, a sheer drop that he wasn't going to be able to go over.

    Looks like I'm going for a swim...

    He wasn't terribly fond of water and so wasn't very happy with this outcome. Maybe it would have been a better idea to risk getting hit by the crazy shuttle driver...

    Nah. An adventure was an adventure. Especially fun at night and slightly tipsy.

    Matt removed his shoes and socks and waded into the cold water, yelping at the shock of it. Did people swim in this lake? Jesus, it was icy!

    The rocks where he was walking were sharp too, and he had half a mind to put his shoes back on, even though he knew they'd get wet. Finally, after slicing his foot up decently on a rock, he gave in and shoved his feet back into his shoes and limped his way though the water. He was almost there now. He just had to get past that sheer rock face and he'd be at the soft beachy area and things would go a lot smoother from there. He helped balance himself by tracing his hands along the boulders and rock faces as he teetered over the rocks in the water.

    Suddenly he was completely submerged underwater. He surfaced, shocked and sputtering and paddling frantically, surprised at the sudden drop off at the sheer cliff face. He hadn't been expecting it and he was hardly prepared for the shock of cold water.

    Alright! I'm sober I'm sober I get the hint!

    Matt swam over to the shore and staggered onto the sand, shivering and positively dripping wet.

    Well. At least he was back to the resort, though he'd lost his knife in the lake somewhere. And his cellphone.
  20. Alyne heard a faint splashing, like somebody wading through the water. Curious, she leaned forward and peered into the darkness, seeing ripples cutting into the moonlight that reflected off of the lake. She didn't see anybody until there was a lot larger splash, followed by coughing and spluttering like somebody had accidentally gotten dunked. It was amusing to listen to, but she had no idea who would have fallen in at this hour. The mystery was solved a moment later when she saw Matt climbing out not even a dozen feet from where she sat.

    It was obvious that he didn't see her, likely because she was deep in shadow in the middle of the night and her dark brown eyes didn't exactly stand out. She took the opportunity to observe him absently, seeing how he staggered and shivered. The lake was like ice year round, and he clearly hadn't been warned. Poor guy.

    "Do you need some help?" she said, then blinked and bit her lower lip, inwardly cursing herself for speaking aloud when she probably shouldn't have told him she was there.

    She wiped her tears away quickly and stood, moving out of the shadows and into the moonlight so that he'd know who was talking to him. He was probably going down to the resort, she knew, and she'd be headed back to.. whatever it was that waited for her at home. Shoving those thoughts away so that she could stop brooding like a depressed idiot, she gave him a half smile.

    "The trail is washed out halfway down to the resort. It's all mud. You can jump over it, just watch your step," she volunteered quietly.