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A Sweet Little Lie, I Cry Wolf, Cry
Paris stared at Natali staring at his ribs, the ones on his plate, not in his chest. He turned his attention back to his food. He'd need to carefully plan his approach vector due to all the sauciness, after all. He needed to grab right at the ends, locking his fingers against the little bits of bone and digging them in so he could hold on for dear life. With a tight grip like so he could manipulate the meat so there was minimal sauce-slathered-to-lips action, or to chin or expensive shirt, or wherever. He dug in and enjoyed the rich flavor for a good and long second.

"A bunch of people definitely do though." Paris shrugged, his half gnawed rib laid crossways over his plate as he spoke with definitely clean lips. "My Mom says it's like, this whole business thing. If you have draw in terms of your appeal as a person you'll get yourself like, a niche of support or something." Paris shrugged.

"Everyone in your family works hard, it's pretty crazy. I respect how you guys all support one another as best you can, always have." What was it Mr. Greer did again? Paris couldn't quite put his finger on it. He put his fingers back to his food.

He ate as Natali asked him another generic question. He ate a bit more, picked one bone clean. Then he responded, slowly speaking as he tried to think through his past few weeks. "Hm, yeah. I topped the bracket at a small fencing competition we had, just an in-studio thing. And, uh, also my Mom and I went to Albany for the weekend. Hey, did you see any of the photos we put up on Facebook from that trip? They were pretty nice, it's a beautiful downtown facade. Like there was this one Vietnamese restaurant that was really good..." He trailed off, he was pretty sure that was it. He moved onto his next rib. "What about you?"

A Sweet Little Lie, I Cry Wolf, Cry
Paris smiled still, contently basking in the lukewarm light of the world as filtered through the dusty window of an Applebees. He watched Natali nod and nod some more. Agreeable mood today if Paris had to guess. He withdrew his fingers to his side of the table with a strong pointing gesture her way. "Take your time." Then he ordered without further preamble, calling over the waiter whose name and face were vague. Definitely the rib plate today for sure. Full up on the sides too.

"Mom's asking how NGP's going right now." Paris didn't often ask about Natali's photography biz. It was essentially old news, but sometimes inquiring minds wanted to know. "Holiday season's coming up so you must be getting busy. But yeah. Definite recommendation on the ribs." One of the dishes Applebees could work well on. Supposedly the place was all microwave but Paris liked to think that if it was good food it was good food, didn't matter if it was homecooked by a kindly old grandma or unpacked from the back of a freezer truck that traveled a couple thousand miles or whatever.

waste of words
((Rachael Langdon continued))

They'd caught her. Rachael hadn't seen it coming.

Not least because she didn't bother to commit it to memory.

No, all she was cognizant of now was the crumbling faltering of her step. The clockwork lurch of her stomach and the insistent needle searing through her brain.



She'd followed the others. She recognized Johnny now, at least.



Small comfort.
None, really.

Rachael came to and pulled herself up to hunch over her own torso and the girl slobbered bile weakly over her sweat-stained, half torn blouse. She'd been curled up in fetal position at the gnarled roots that marked the base of a tree like a tombstone marked a grave. She'd hidden her head away from all those eerie human-like monsters. Without and within.

Rachael's throat was mealy. She vaguely recalled she hadn't drunk in a while. She had no water bottle. No willingness to get one.

She slumped back down after she was done weakly puking over herself.

A Sweet Little Lie, I Cry Wolf, Cry
There was a flash of a face like Natali's pooling light reflected off the door, like a camera set to full exposure, then Paris squinted a bit and she was right there seated.

"Don't worry about it! Isn't it usually the case that I'm the late one?" Paris laughed. He thought about that for a second. He realized he tended to be the timely one, which somehow surprised him. Providence, he guessed.

"Let's discuss the menu," Paris grinned cheekily. "Check it out, they've got a new package deal on the appetizers. Not like the ones from Spongebob, I mean," and he tacked on the reference he thought worked right at the end. Paris offered Natali the menu that the waiter had reserved for her with a push of his hand. His fingers lingered on her side of the table drumming lightly, it was one of those awkward casually intimate gestures Paris was more sure about with Natali as opposed to most anyone else. "I haven't ordered yet so if you want to split something that sounds good."

A Sweet Little Lie, I Cry Wolf, Cry
"Yo, Paris!"

Paris' neck tilted up a bit and he glanced the direction of the voice. Two tall dudes in sports shirts who were walking perpendicular to him, away from Central. One of them had a phone in his pocket, loudly playing a radio airplay tune Paris thought had no tone. His friend had a face, one Paris thought was vaguely familiar.

"Hit us up!"

The two dudes crooked their necks to one side and craned their heads into the skin of their elbows while they two-arm saluted the sky. Paris recognized the gesture from around school, from on TV. He didn't know what it meant, friends called it something like the... 'dub', as he'd heard it through half-attentive ears.

He copied the gesture. It was weird but it was kind of funny and silly. No harm in a passing shoutout. The two guys, one of them whose name was on the tip of Paris' tongue as quick as it was off again, whooped and then were on their way like Paris was on his.

-----

((Paris Ardennes continued from The Fox and the Crow))

A few minutes later Paris was lingering in a booth of Applebee's, reclining against the cold and plastic-y upholstery of the one booth he and Natali had used often enough to call home away from home. He glanced at his phone after yanking it out of his tightly packed jeans pocket. A ton of messages, some of them from Jasmine even though they'd broken up a week ago. He didn't figure he had a reason to talk to her again so he ignored the alerts. He scrolled up and down a bit. Nothing from Natali.

He hoped she showed up soon. He was hankering to order some ribs, had a spare pocket freshly lined with two twenties just for the job.

I'm Looking For a Place to Start, But Everything Feels So Different Now
There was Rachael. Blouse gashed on shoulder, one seam unfurling. Dry bile thin from corner of lip to chin. Rabidly breathing. That thing in her entirety was scooped into his, Johnny's, embrace.

That's right. I have a friend.

She went limp as arms engulfed her.



"Look at the person you're sitting next to... thinking.. they'll be the special one..."

Danya's voice cut clear, like the bell tone of a funeral dirge. Rachael was mutely surprised she could painfully extract that memory, like the anesthesia-shy dentist, from her own interlaced recollections of violent screaming and sobbing.

It's like he said. 'Every one of you has the potential'.

She sprang to life. Animal snarling, thrashing, until she was free and there was no longer the cage of human warmth enveloping and seeping through her half-crushed bones, she pivoted on one ankle and hurtled for the earth. At the last second adrenaline nudged her in gentle reminder, she took a flailing leap. Landed on two left feet with her gun liberated and pointing a single curled trigger finger at strange faces
faces like Johnny's, so she ran.

You'll figure it out.

((...))

Polybius Prologue Relationship Thread
Yo Poly! Roze and Clay are good friends so Clay might also hang and they can all be losers and stuff together.

Bridie probably likes Zeke in a similar manner to Danielle. Patriots fans amirite. Might be an interesting history tidbit if Zeke's love of rock music led to him being down with Clay's band back when it was a thing, perhaps. Probably don't really talk now though.

Bowser's V3 Prologue Relationship Thread
-Rushes in with characterization and a banner reading 'welcome to your first killing off all your characters!!1!'-

@ James : I could see Bridie loving him for openly planning to enlist and she hopes to see him in the service! Perhaps she's one of the girls he made a pass at in the past and she wasn't into it so she let him down and on some level that relieved him so they're decently close as friends now since she's harmless and easy to vent at (albeit her advice in response is terrible).

Aloha also forced inspired me to give my NPCs a few relationships to flesh them out a little so what if Jacqueline and James briefly dated back in the day until they broke up because Jacqueline didn't really have the time to dedicate to a relationship? They could not really be close now or maybe he vents to her occasionally about stuff when she has a moment to spare.

Program v2.5 Cybil Price
Clay could be one of his long term supportive friends who's completely out of the dark but is trying to help out just by being there vaguely? Maybe they've talked music before and maybe Cybil's stated his disapproval of Clay trying to relationship up a girl. Clay's more disappointed and upset over time that Cybil keeps the relationship froze but it's one of those what can you do kinda things I guess.

laura's prologue relationship
Roz and Bridie - Bridie's like kinda cute and sweet and not totally freak but she still hella American so Roze probably applies the passive distance and polite smiles game's on fucking point, y'know.
Roz and Clay - They might be closer friends, they both like being quiet and hanging out and low key he should help her out around the house whenever the older sis has to bounce to peep on boys. Roz should also critique Clay's taste in girls like 'dude she'll dump u for the stars-and-stripes on our school flagpole like gtfo before ur heart be broken'.

I'm Looking For a Place to Start, But Everything Feels So Different Now
The collapsed lump of flesh was clothed in two day old clothes that friends said modestly drew the eye. Wrapped in wrinkles and folds like a wet sack of bagged groceries, discarded over the uncaring earth. It writhed as thundercracks broke the air in bursts of cadence.

“Hey, uh, y’know that’s not what they mean by a dirt nap, right?”

"I think her way is preferable, dude."





A blurb of inappropriately colorful warmth and fluff briefly alighted on a crown of gordians knots worth of hair. It scratched at the chocolatey brunette feed before judging it unworthy and fluttering off with
gentle chirps.




"Rachael?"

Rachael flipped over with a near cracking of her own neck, so wildly she twisted. Eyes scanning

One silhouette of muscle and unruly ginger hair lingered aside the door, one silhouette of cropped brown hair and almond eyes. One silhouette, closer, stealing the sunlight from the girl's skin.

Rachael felt her stopped breath twisting and gnarling, stabbing her lungs then her brain in quick succession.

She flipped over so fast she nearly clipped Johnny's cheek with her already malformed knuckles. Escape. The wall. One way. A familiar face. The other way. No comfort. No relief for her adrenaline exhausted dregs of existence. Her legs kicked and thrashed. Drowning in dirt. Hyperventilating, each desperate gasp running over the previous one, each desperate gasp a failed scream for help as she failed to recognize a friend as anything more than another person who'd hurt and kill her like the others but she deserved it

Rachael managed to put one arm's length between herself and Johnny, pinning herself against her own cornered animal's corner, she grabbed at the cool metal handle of the gun erupting from under her own hip where she'd trapped it in her wrestling with herself, she failed to grab it with flailing fingers over and over again as her thoughts were only fight or flight and how she'd gorily die either way.

Brackie Relationship Thread 3.1
Santiago - If Santiago's crew is Erik's crew he'd be on good terms with Bridie as well. She's supportive of him in passing and pretty eager about him being 'one of the good ones!' whatever that means. Through that he might also be on good terms with Clay. Since Clay is in the market of helping out with kids maybe he occasionally can be drafted to help out with the younger ones, and maybe that makes Clay a degree closer to Santiago than he might let others in, if Clay gets to see what Santiago's family life is like? Maybe like a shoulder to cry on sort of deal, if Santiago is willing to open up like that.

Nani - Birdie and Nani should cook together and be unwitting doormats together as well, or smth. I could see them being friends in school for sure, depending on the specifics of Nani's cooking engagements they either actually make stuff together or just swap recipes and talk maybe.

so no one told u life was going to be this way
MurderWeasel's post was handled like 5 eternities ago by PM so that's all squared away.

I've done some overhaul! Edelmira has been cancelled because I don't think I'm quite ready to tackle her concept. She's been replaced by Clay, who will be involved in handlercest with Bridie so I can do some cute stuff or something, I dunno. Feel free to check him out! And I'm still looking for someone to be an influence on Bridie in the proper game, that's pretty important. :0

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