Slice of Life

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"Ever been to Jimmy's Bar and Grill?" he asked, while buckling his seat belt and pointing her in the right direction. It wasn't exactly romantic, but thought it would be a fun place to go, and wasn't too forward. He didn't even bother with the "Unless you'd prefer someplace else." phrase. Travis liked to stick by his decisions, and show confidence during every step of the way. He also thought that might be something she'd admire, as well.

While they made their way to the restaurant, he set an elbow by the window so his head could rest on his hand. It had been a very eventful day... He started his new job, got a beautiful woman to go on a date with him, and met a nice Mother with her children. In fact, more has happened on this day than any other day in a very long time. It was a nice change of pace, since his life was usually so boring.

Speaking of life...

"Whaddya like to do, Miss Crescent?" he asked curiously, smiling as he looked to her. He felt like he should learn more about her, plus people seemed to like it when they were asked questions regarding themselves. "Also, this one's very important... What is your favourite colour?"
 
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Crescent smiled at Travis slowly, her fingers gripping the wheel as she navigated in a complex loop near where they had started. The man beside her was charming, teasing, and he seemed somehow sweet. Crescent wanted to touch that sweetness, not taint it as she normally desired, but only to touch and to breathe it in.

"My favorite color? That's an easy one: red. Bright, cherry red. Where's your place?" she responded in quick succession, her lashes lidding her eyes with heavy black lines when she stopped the car at a stop sign on a quiet street. Partly, her actions were fueled with some base desire that she hadn't noticed until now and they were also in part to repay him for the unexpected kiss from earlier. She was nothing if not efficient in what she did, tattooing, business management, and romance.
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April was about to burst into tears when Hibine's butler didn't let her in. Finally he caved, muttering under his breath, "Thank you" she said and quickly moved passed him and up the familiar stairway toward Hibine's room. She remembered Hibine's house well. When they were young children they would often go over to one another's houses and play. At Hibine's house he had an elegant stairway that had a marvelous banister that the two would play on, sliding down it and catching one another at the end. April even remembered one time when Hibine had slid down the railing first, ripping his pants some along the way. Unhindered by this, April soon after flew down even though Hibine tried to stop her. The tights she'd been wearing ended up shredded and as she neared the bottom she shifted a bit which caused her to almost fall. Hibine rushed forward to catch her so she wouldn't hurt herself and she landed on top of him. As she'd moved their lips brushed against one another and they briefly experienced their first 'kiss', though as young children it was nothing more than a brushing of the heads. The two stared at one another and then burst into laughter, soon after Hibine's nanny came and scolded them for misbehaving, but they didn't care.

The memory quickly flashed through her mind as she ran up the stairs and too Hibine's room. Seeing the door shut she tested it first and found it unlocked. Pushing it open, she panted as she stood in the doorway looking at Hibine. When he spoke, April just frowned a bit, "Hibine I.." she started to say, but sighed, "May I come in?" she didn't receive a response at first but he finally nodded his head faintly, turning away from her some. She stepped inside his room and closed the door gently behind her. Leaning against it she looked toward the ground a moment, "I..." she started again but bit her lip, "I've been so selfish, Hibine. All you've ever been is gracious and kind to me, and yet all I seemed to do was hide" she felt ashamed, and wouldn't draw her gaze toward him, "All my life I've been told what to do by my parents so I started to deviate away from them when I was at school not realizing I was also taking it out on you. Hibine, you've been my closest friend since the day I met you, since the day our fathers introduced us and told us that we would one day be married. Back then I thought nothing of it, but as I grew older I came to resent the idea of an arrange marriage...but never you." She slowly drew her gaze up to finally look at him, "You never were the one to trap me, Hibine, it was our parents. Love shouldn't be something that is chosen for us, love should be something that we can choose on our own free will. I never wanted to intentionally hurt you, and now I know that I probably have. I'm sorry and I hope you can forgive me. But...you shouldn't be tied down to me either. You don't deserve me" she paused and took a breath, "You deserve someone much better than me" moving forward she took a seat next to him, "Hibine...did you make the choice just for me...or is this what you really want?" she reached her hand out and gently took hold of his waiting for a response and trying to hold back her own tears.


~~~

Reyna hear Orianna ask if she was working the next day. She thought a moment, "Naw...My classes are cancelled as well so I actually have the entire day off!" She smiled as she washed herself off. Turning over she rested her arms on the side of the tub, bubbles surrounding her, "Why? Did you want to do something Ori? We can have an entire girl's day out!" she suggested giddily. She felt her heart race and almost half wished that Orianna would come into the bathroom so she could see her. She didn't care if Orianna saw her in the tub or not. The bubbles pretty much covered her as it was. She got a little bubble bath happy in her drunken state.

Her attention was drawn back to the suds as she began to play with the like a small girl might. Laughter would drift from the bathroom, "Orianna dear are you okay? You sound a little out of breath at the moment. Is something wrong?" she called out to her friend randomly.
 
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The colour red was stored to his memory. It was important to know because he often liked to be spontaneous, such as buying his lady some flowers that were her favourite colour. Her answer made sense, too. Red was such a fiery, hot colour, much like her personality... And her looks. Still, it wouldn't matter how well he thought he understood her. There seemed to be so much more to her beneath that sturdy exterior.

When she asked where his home was, he was hesitant to answer. It was nothing impressive; just a lonely little apartment like her own. "Not far from Barbed Wire, actually. I live in the complexes a couple blocks from the library."

Travis wondered why she asked him this before they even went to get dinner. Of course, he planned on inviting her over to at least play his guitar for her and maybe watch a DVD. Plus, anything else she wanted to do. At least now, it wasn't a mystery where he lived.
 
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Hibine watched April quietly, studying her face as she spoke. His own loneliness had hit him with astounding force until she had entered the room, he had just realized what he had done and was only beginning to think of what life without April would mean for him when she walked through the door. The entire speech, he felt pained for her, he felt the need to cosset and protect the girl he saw on the verge of tears who needed someone stable. He had been so wrapped up in listening to April, watching her facial expression crumble, that he jumped a little when he felt her hand touch his.

"April, how could you even ask? It was always for you, only for you, everything" Hibine's lips were pulled into a thin line as he placed his other hand over her much smaller one. Her fragile little hands made him feel like more of a man than he ever did, with his soft palms covering almost her entire hand. He still hadn't heard what he needed from her, he could not give in just yet to letting her understand how he felt. For years, Hibine had finally understood, he had seen himself as her husband already and then to view her "having an affair", he had been distraught. If she didn't truly care about him, though, he would not tie her down with his own feelings.

"This is about you, though, how you feel. You're finally free to choose."


Orianna's heart skipped a beat when she heart Reyna was free and wanted to spend more time with her. Reyna's worry spurred her to remember that she had been holding her breath and gasped a little for air, feeling silly. "No, I'm just fine, Rey, thank you..." she tried not to giggle nervously, knowing she sounded entirely ditzy right now.

Orianna decided she would wait until she could see Reyna's smiling face and rosy cheeks to plan their day tomorrow and began to back up but in her haste, she had forgotten that they had moved the dining chairs and table for a lovely dinner, thus creating an obstacle. This obstacle happened to be the chair, which Orianna got her legs tangled under as she tripped and ended up falling forwards in her flailing, crashing into the door and pushing the handle so that it popped just slightly and the door swung open.


Crescent slowed her movements, watching Travis with a look of pure wonderment and disbelief. He seemed too sweet to be serious, too innocent to not be teasing and yet there he was, looking a little bit abashed in his apartment and not picking up on her insinuation. Crescent felt something tug at her, some notion of cheesy romance that was embedded deep into her heart that prompted her to head again towards the restaurant he had named.

Even if this encounter ended the way she had planned, she thought idly as she parked, it might be a nice change of pace. The gentle romancing might be a balm to her stressful life and this eating dinner business couldn't hurt at all, could it? As long as she didn't develop any real feelings for him, then this flirtatious behavior could simply be their little secret tradition as coworkers.

Crescent knew that she was lying to herself, there was a reason that impersonal sex didn't involve candlelit dinners. It was because of men, women, and their stupid hearts. She thought of feigning illness and carrying out her plan another day but her weary mind convinced her to let this night wash away the burden of her busy schedule.

"All right, here we are" she said cheerfully, popping open the door and sliding out.
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The drive to the restaurant was unusually quiet. He didn't much care for awkward silences, but judging by her face, she had something on her mind. There would be plenty of time later on to have conversation with her, he supposed. Making his random questions, or jokes, sometimes annoyed people. The last thing he wanted to do to this woman was annoy her...

They arrived at the restaurant in good time. At the same time as she, he got out of her car, closing the door afterward. He adjusted his jacket before racing over to the sidewalk and the front door so he could hold it open for her. Travis was raised to be a gentleman... Despite the way he dressed, styled his hair, and pierced himself, he knew very well how to be polite. The door was even held open for his past boyfriends; this was a habit he didn't want interrupted for any reason. Though, with his friends, he wasn't so rushed to make this gesture.

When both of them got inside, a waitress led to a table in the bar area. It got busy here, so Travis saw it necessary to leave space open in the family areas for the young teens on dates, or the parents who came here with their children.

The waitress smiled at the two of them after leading them to the spot they'd be dining, and took out her notepad to ask for their choice of beverage. "Just a Jack Daniel," he answered, and smiled to Crescent. She could have anything she wanted...
 
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When Hibine put his hand over April's she felt almost at ease, but her hand still shook slightly as she tried to control her emotions. When he spoke his words took a moment to actually sink in. This is about you, though, how you feel. You're finally free to choose. Though these words should have been a happy release for her, April simply felt her entire being shatter. With her defenses down she was no longer able to hold back the tears that had been welling up inside of her. Before she knew it the flood gates opened and she somewhat flung herself toward Hibine. Burying herself slightly into him she just cried while he held her. Finally she calmed enough to speak. Sitting up she wiped the tears away.

"F--father is furious" her words came out in short stutters as she tried to catch her breath and keep the sobbing at bay, "I--I don't want to disappoint him." She saw Hibine's face, it was almost like stone as if he didn't want her to see what he felt, but somehow she almost felt as if she knew. "No...I'm making excuses again." Looking to the ground a sudden wave of calm overtook her and she spoke, "I always thought that love was like in the movies. You just see the person and know that it's right. They're the one. My life has been built around fantasies and wishes and...I guess it sort of clouded my judgement along the way. I don't know what love is or how it's supposed to feel...but" she paused to take a shaky breath, "When I saw you see me with Taylor I felt mortified. I was afraid that you'd never want to speak to me or see me again. Then when I saw Cecelia I suddenly felt jealous that you were spending time with someone else.

"I don't want to lose you Hibine. I don't want to live a lie anymore. I want to know this is real, but I don't know how to tell the difference--" her breath caught again as she stood and wiped some stray tears away, "I'm sorry, Hibine. Maybe...maybe I should just go--" she bit her lip slightly again as she felt another wave of emotion coming over her. She managed to hold it in though as she turned toward his bedroom door...


~~

Reyna was sitting in the warm bubble bath, playing with the bubbles, when Orianna suddenly stumbled forward and crashed through the door. Starting some from the racket, Reyna jumped a bit, "Ori! Are you okay?" Without thinking about it she moved from the tub to her friend's side to make sure the girl wasn't bleeding or badly injured from whatever happened. Bath water trailed behind her mixed with suds. The bubbles covered her body slightly but the soapy foam was slowly sliding down her slick frame as she knelt beside Orianna, "Ori, hey, come on. What the heck happened?"

Helping the girl sit up she noticed Orianna simply staring at her with wide eyes and what appeared to be a slight blush. Confused a moment she tiled her head some, "You okay?" she asked again. She then realized what she'd done and chuckled softly, "Come on lets see if you can stand" She helped her friend to her feet and then let go of her hand as she reached for a towel and covered herself up. Simply an incident between two girls. Nothing big. A blush spread across her own face anyways, though. What a fool she was acting, "Uh sorry you had to see that scary sight" she tried to joke as she reached for her glasses and put them on. Going back to the tub she pulled the stopper and let the water slowly drain away.

"Um...Ori...you can stop staring now" she said nervously chuckling as she tried to hide her blush again.
 
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Crescent debated whether or not to order something alcoholic to drink, weighing how long the meal would take, how far they were from home, and how much she was going to eat. Finally, she had made up her mind and ordered just a beer off tap. She turned to Travis, then, a smile lighting up her face as she looked around.

"This is nice, have you been in town long then?"

It seemed the sort of place one tried after having lived somewhere for a time, a favorite that was discovered by accident. It seemed homely, but nice, if off the beaten path. The scent of food was making her stomach growl and she blushed a little, looking around for the waitress to order food. Crescent was hardly controlled enough to be embarrassed about eating in front of Travis. Crescent felt surprisingly jubilant now that she'd made a decision with what to do with Travis - she was just going to let everything flow and have what was going to happen just happen.

Hibine couldn't stay mad with April, he really never could. Kicking himself for making her cry while simultaneously beating himself up for being too soft with her made for an interesting predicament, but he achieved it with a small sigh. Hibine felt strong, more like a man than the dull, bookish son of a tycoon when he stood next to April, she had the magical quality of making him feel as though he were worth something - when she wasn't busy tearing him down.

Hibine caught April in his arms before he even really knew what he was doing. She seemed fragile, breakable, and he dared not hold her too tight for fear that, like a butterfly, he would crush her by accident trying to catch her. As it was, she seemed very upset and Hibine did not know how to console her at all. A little awkwardly, after having pulled her into his arms, he patted her on the back.

"You won't lose me, April, not if you don't want to" he whispered, saying the only words that came to mind and then backtracking to determine whether or not they sounded insulting or dumb. Overall, he was satisfied with it and just held her there, waiting for her to pull away or say something.


Orianna flushed pink at what Reyna said and scrambled to her feet, slipping a little with the water on the floor. Reyna had so abruptly and seemingly without embarrassment stood to greet Orianna, starkly naked, yet she was chiding her for staring. Orianna was confused and was giving her all to flee, though the water on the floor was not permitting.

Finally, Orianna managed to stay and darted instantly for the door. "S-Sorry, I hit my head I think, I think I must have passed out a little" Orianna tried to laugh lightly, pausing just outside the door to speak. Before Reyna could respond, Orianna had flown to her bedroom and closed the door quietly behind her before leaping onto her bed to bury her face in humiliation.
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Travis was watching her observe the new surroundings, a smile touching his lips when her face brightened. It warmed him to see that she was already enjoying herself, and it was comforting to know that she didn't need an expensive, fancy restaurant to be happy. Crescent didn't seem like the type, anyway so he didn't want to be desperate in trying to impress her. Perhaps in the future, he could treat her with a more formal date, should their relationship be taken further. All women liked a surprise like that now and then.

"Glad you like it. I've lived here a while, yeah. This is one of my fave places," he told her, grinning as a waitress brought them their beverages, and then took out a notepad to take their orders. Just in time, too. Crescent was looking famished, as well as embarrassed about it.

"One of the bacon cheeseburgers with garlic fries for me," he said, handing the menu back to the woman. Travis then smiled politely to Crescent so she could make her order as well, assuming she made a decision by now. It took him a moment to tear his eyes away from her... She had such a breath taking appearance that made his heart get stuck in his throat. He used his beer as a distraction by taking a sip from the bottle, hoping she didn't catch him staring.
 
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Travis had no luck, if he was trying to avoid being caught looking at her, but Crescent was merely flattered and winked at him before turning to the waitress. Her stomach had subsided in its growling, which made her feel more at ease though she had been momentarily flustered. Now, though, she could smile pertly at the waitress. The beer she was holding in her hand was half gone - she wanted to make sure she had plenty of time to drive after this.

"I'll take some of the chipotle barbecue short ribs" Crescent decided with a nod, as if to reinforce her decision. "With steak fries" she handed the woman her menu and turned back to Travis to continue their conversation now that the ordering was out of the way. Crescent was content with her examination of the restaurant and had once more turned her analysis on Travis. He was really getting positive points, for everything. She felt charmed.

"A while, huh? Have you worked in this town before then? I know all the shops in the area from the last, ooh, almost ten years" she was trying to be friendly, she hadn't looked over his resume herself, though she considered that since he didn't know that, her question might seem odd.
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These questions had Travis wondering if she even looked at his resume, which had all of this information she sought. All the places he's worked for in the past, how long he's lived here, and even more was on that single sheet of paper. Inwardly smirking, he found it safe to assume she never read it. He didn't blame her, really. There were probably a lot of people that asked for resumes, but wouldn't give them more than a quick glance.

"Before Bared Wire, and before Chameleon Tattoos and Piercings, I worked in the produce section of a grocery store," he answered, taking another sip of his drink afterward. "I've lived here forever."

Since she said she was familiar with shops from the past ten years, that probably meant she lived someplace else in the past. Travis felt like his life was rather boring... He didn't see much of the country, and his parents didn't do anything fantastic. Aside from his punky image and sexuality, there was nothing too interesting about his life. People did seem to like his musical talents, though. At least he had that going for him.

"What about you?" he asked curiously.
 
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Reyna blinked as Orianna began to quickly speak and apologize about hitting her head and passing out. Blinking she took a step forward to console her friend, but Orianna had taken off so fast that all she heard was the slam of Ori's door shut. Blinking she sighed some and grabbed her glasses, pushing them up on the bridge of her nose as she returned to the tub to wring out her hair a moment, "Way to make a fool of yourself Reyna...what were you thinking" she said biting her lip some. She hoped that Orianna hadn't hurt herself due to Reyna's own stupidity. Yeah, she'd had a little too much to drink, but the situation seemed to slightly sober her up at least. Now she wasn't quite as tipsy.

Shaking her head and making sure the towel was wrapped tightly she went to her things and grabbed a fresh set of clothing. Slipping into the tank and sweats, she clipped her wet hair from her face and went to Orianna's door knocking softly, "Ori...it's Rey....can we talk about what just happened? I'm sorry! Please don't be angry with me! I was acting like a complete fool and well...I don't now I guess I got carried away. I'm sorry dear! please forgive me" she didn't bother to check and see if the door was unlocked or not. She'd wait to see if orianna wanted to talk first before barging in.


~~~

When Hibine pulled her into a hug, April just fell silent as a few tears fell from her eyes. She wrapped her arms around Hibine and buried her face into him a moment as he rubbed her back, "I'm so sorry Hibine. I never meant to ever hurt you like I did. Can you ever forgive me?" she said between soft sobs before pulling back a bit and looking up toward him. Hibine wasn't much taller than her, but the way she was hunched she was shorter. Slipping her hand up she began to wipe the tears from her eyes again. Her make-up was smearing and she had some black streaks down her face from her mascara. She almost looked pitiful to a point.

Hibine comforted her a moment before she pulled back and began to chuckle a bit, "Look at me...what a mess I must look. God..." she took out her phone and looked at the time as a soft gasp escaped her lips, "Oh dear...it's getting late...um...I know this seems a lot but would it be okay if I just stayed here tonight Hibine? I don't think i can face my mom and dad until tomorrow...." she certainly had an agenda. She meant no harm by her request. It was simple enough. She looked upon Hibine as a child asking for help might.
 
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Crescent smiled at him and shrugged her shoulders lightly. It was interesting to find someone who'd lived in one place their whole life - there seemed to be a solidarity and comfort in that. Her family had not been so stable, it had been much rockier than that for the sisters. Crescent smiled mischievously and leaned in close to him.

"You really want to know?" To which he eagerly nodded and she took a long sip from her drink before speaking to him.

"When I was born, my papa was still in service to Mexico's army. We moved around a lot when I was really small. Then, he retired from their army and we moved to the United States to find a better life for us all, but his only option seemed to be signing up for the military in America. We moved around a little with him, but your country fights more than Mexico seems to, because he got sent overseas. We finally settled here, my sister and I became citizens and with that, my mother and I changed my name. I used to be Milagros. I was looking for a dictionary one day, when I decided to change my name, and I read a poem... 'The crescent moon carried...water rings want to come' and while I didn't understand the haiku, I kept saying the word 'Crescent' over and over again to myself and I loved it so much, I thought there could be no prettier word so that's what I changed my name to then."

Crescent smiled to him, laughter in her eyes but her lightly curved smile displayed utter sincerity.

Hibine nodded to April soundlessly. The day had been full and busy, it was doubtless that he would receive an earful from his father but he saw no need to force April into returning to see her father. Hibine would explain to his parents and hopefully everything would return to being right, whole, and normal once more.

Hibine grabbed a notepad and a pen. He tapped it to his chin thoughtfully and finally penned out a little note to the housekeeper. It took only a second for the words to flow to him and another to write it.

"このゲストをしてくださいようこそ。
彼女が部屋を必要とする
若いマスター"

Finally, he handed the letter to April and hugged her. "Take this down to the little woman you'll see in the old kitchen, all right? She'll help you up with this."

Orianna's red, swollen eyes did not make her feel pretty and her shame did not make it any easier to answer Reyna. She instead felt like simply passing out and falling deeply asleep and trying to forget this whole fiasco of her shame and humiliation. Orianna turned over in her bed and grabbed an armful of her comforter to hold against her chest like a protective security blanket, taking some solace in its pink fluffiness.

Orianna was a little startled when Reyna came to her door with apologies. Sniffling, she sat up though, and looked at the door with disbelieving eyes as though to question whether or not it had been playing a cruel trick of ventriloquism.

"C-come in, Rey... it's not locked" she wiped at her eyes with balled hands, looking every bit the child in her state, curled beneath the comforter with great sections of it bundled beneath her arms that clutched and held it in place. Red-rimmed eyes from crying had strands of golden hair stuck with tears against her face. She was a pathetic sight to see and she was distraught that Reyna would see her this way.
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Travis couldn't believe what he was hearing! He knew this woman was filled with fun surprises, but this brief story about her life filled him with awe. To hear that Crescent wasn't even her real name was even a shock, along with her telling him the name she was born with. That name was saved to memory, with hopes that she might allow him to address her with it in private. It seemed like something special, like a secret the two of them could share.

"That's really somethin'," he told her, smiling back. Crescent seemed so enthusiastic with her tale, too. He detected no pain in her tone, and her eyes seemed to sparkle with happiness. This pleased him, really. Whatever problems she had, she would deal with, always with a smile and a firm hand.

After taking another drink from his bottle, Travis put on one of his goofy smile, his lip piercing rising along with it. "I'm afraid my name is just plain ol' Travis, but you can call me Studly!" he said to her, rising his eyebrows up and down as his smile transformed into a grin of teeth. Just seconds after that exclamation, their food arrived. He eyed the cheeseburger hungrily, delighted to see the thick strips of bacon stacked on the circle of meat, cheese, tomatoes and lettuce.

"Thanks, miss!"
 
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Crescent laughed at his reply and was on the verge of responding when a hand appeared, a plate of piping hot, delicious food carried on it. Her cares were immediately erased and she dug into the food with gusto, rating the food inwardly. It was amazing, some of the best that she'd had but not the best. Sometime, she'd take him to the best she thought. That almost worried her, making plans around him, but the delicious sauce and meat that practically melted off of the bones was delectable enough to ease her mind back into happy thoughts and her contented stomach nearly purred in appreciation for the food.

The beer was a great compliment to the food, but it was gone almost instantly and she was left with ordering a glass of coke instead, which was not bad at all. The spice to the ribs made her sinuses feel cleared and overall, she was happy right now. It was a nice place to be in, one that had been a while coming, this contentment. All the cares and troubles of every day were gone right now, washed away by the pleasure of good food and good company.

"What's your family like?" she asked him finally after a swallow of food and coke. She didn't want to appear unattractive and so she waited to speak until she had swallowed, hoping he did not mind the lengthy silence while she chewed. In all fairness, she really hoped he was enjoying his food just as much as she was enjoying hers.
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Reyna heard Orianna respond and slowly opened the door to come in. Orianna was clearly upset, and she knew that her friend had been crying. Way to seem like a complete bitch, she scolded herself. Moving forward, she crawled into bed next to Orianna, "I'm sorry Ori, Glykia mou (my sweet/sweetheart). I didn't mean to upset you....I just had a little to much wine. Please forgive me dear. I hate to see you cry" she curled up against her friend and rested her head on Orianna's shoulder. After a moment of silence she sat up straight again and brushed some hair from Orianna's face, "You've seemed off all day. Did I do something more to offend you? Please tell me. I want to know what's wrong, I've sensed you've been avoiding something all day. Talk to me Ori! Please!" she pouted some and took her friends hands swinging them back and forth as if they were small girls again. She couldn't remember how long she'd known Orianna, but at this point it felt like forever so it didn't matter to her. She felt her heart pound in her chest with Orianna so close to her. She'd always felt comfortable when they cuddled up like this together. She felt her cheeks suddenly flush again as these thoughts went through her mind, and she found herself dwelling on the kiss from earlier again. Were these thoughts more than just that? Was there something else there? Reyna was silent as she waited for Orianna to break the silence. She was surprised she hadn't as Orianna had always been the chattery one of the two. Reyna generally just sat around listening to her friend intently, absorbing every word she spoke, every form her lips created, every movement, expression, inch of her friend that she adored oh so much. Finally she could take it no more and began to speak, "Orianna...do...do you think two friends could ever be MORE than just friends without ruining the friendship?"

~~~

April glanced at the quickly jotted down note a moment. She wasn't great with Japanese, but with her family and Hibine's interacting over the years she'd picked up on a little. Something about a guest and room was all she could make out. She gave a feeble smile to Hibine as she wiped the remaining tears from her eyes, "Thank you Hibine." She said returning the hug and giving him a kiss on the cheek, "I'll come back in a bit...I want to hang out just you and me for once. We haven't done that since we were so young..." she gave a stronger smile before slipping out of Hibine's room and heading down the hall the direction he'd told her. As she went she paused as her phone began to vibrate. It was a text from Taylor. She stared at the name a moment before simply deleting the text without opening it. Putting her phone away she hurried up until she reached the little old woman. Entering she knocked on the wall a bit to get her attention, "Um...Hibine wanted me to give this to you" she said extending the note to the old woman.
 
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Travis didn't mind the way she was eating her food. There was no possible way to eat ribs politely! Trying to feast on those with silverware only made the process long and torturous, to the point where everything was cold before you finished it. The way a woman consumed her meals didn't always reflect who she was as a person, anyway. She seemed famished, plus she must really appreciate that delicious looking meal. It made Travis wish that he had ordered that instead.

Half of the large cheeseburger was gone surprisingly quick. Whenever condiment got on his lips, it would be quickly licked up. He was cautious to not chew with his mouth open, or talk when he had a mouthful. After some silence, Crescent asked about his family. That nearly caused a chunk of his food to choke him, since he wasn't expecting that question. Swallowing the bite before it could gag him, he set down the remainder of his burger and took a sip from his beer to wash it down. The tip of his tongue appeared to catch some stray ketchup on his lip ring while he pondered on his answer.

"I've got an older brother, my mom, and my dad. Dad's a football coach for the high school I went to and he teaches math, my mom works her own business at home from her computer. My brother, ah... Well, we never hear from him. That guy's got more smarts than I do by far, yet he does nothing with them 'cause he's lazy. They're all nice people, though. The parents are just disappointed in their sons because we didn't finish college."

One of Travis's hands rubbed sheepishly at the side of his neck. "I wouldn't introduce you to my big bro, but you'd love my folks."
 
C

Charbovari

Guest
Original poster
The afternoon sun beat down on Jakub as he stood by the side of the road with the scarred paintings in hand, sunlight reflecting off the asphalt and coating him in sweat, as he thought about what to say to Thanos. The combination of heat, adrenaline and emotion made seconds seem like days, before Thanos came out of the car to evaluate the damage. When the painter chastised him for darting into oncoming traffic, Jakub smiled a sympathetic, wry smile as the words washed over him. At least he noticed that I made an effort to save them, he thought. And Jakub always got an odd sort of enjoyment when he was scolded... Perhaps that has something to do with my choice of friends, he thought, Trey coming to mind for a brief moment.

When Thanos wrapped him in an awkward, well-intentioned embrace, Jakub raised his eyebrows in surprise and ended up with his arms pinned down by his sides. Finally he untangled a hand and patted the man firmly on his back, returning the friendly gesture. Jakub's fingers lingered as he found himself taking notice of and inspecting the lean muscles concealed underneath the artist's shirt. When Jakub finally began to pull away, the two men stuck to each other a bit, on account of the grimy film of sweat that covered them both, baking as they were in the red sun, before the embrace was finally broken.

"You like it with the tire-track?" Jakub looked down at the damaged painting. "I guess it looks pretty 'metal' now... good for the album cover... Still, I'm sorry. I'll have to make it up to you." Jakub smiled broadly at the artist, and hesitated for a moment before draping his arm across Thanos's broad shoulders and leading him back to the car. "Let's get going."

As dusk was beginning to settle in, Jakub finally pulled up to the house that he and his friend Trey shared as roommates, a somewhat run-down two-bedroom Edwardian in the cheap part of town. When they all got out of the car, the ever-hyperactive Trey stretched his arms and legs and did a few squats, whining all the while: "Damn, I'm glad to be out of that tiny-ass car squeezed between your fat asses. I'll be getting hiiiiiigh, you know where to find me Jakey," he said as he bounded into the house. The door was unlocked. A door slammed from somewhere within and muted rock music started to play as the man-child locked himself into his room. Jakub chuckled and kicked off his shoes by the front door, adding them to a haphazard pile of footwear that lay outside the door. He turned to Thanos with a grin. "Come on in. My room's this way. Sorry, it's kind of a mess."

Jakub led the artist into his bedroom, a darkly-painted affair wallpapered with band posters, thrown-away sketches, notes and clothing littering the floor, and a few beer cans strewn about. He set down the paintings and his guitar bag by his desk, and turned on an oscillating fan that stood in the middle of the room. Finally he sat down on his bed, letting out a little sigh of relief as the fan's air blew over him. Jakub tugged at his sweaty shirt and wiggled his crusty sock-covered toes. "Damn, it's hot today... Want a drink?"