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Torn Jeans and Prom Queens; Tag: Somersault
Topic Started: Feb 15 2017, 09:14 AM (628 Views)
The Homeless Bearde
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"Two plus two is four, minus one is three quick maths"
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Run it back, they'd said, to the group of kids - ragtag and worn through - gasping for breath in the summer heat. Baxter had felt the sweat pooling at the back of his neck, lines of dirt from the salt that rolled off of his helmeted head in little wet pinpricks of moisture that beaded outwards from the skin. The boys of the team were dressed for war - helmets and shoulder pads and cleats - while those barking instructions were in polos and visor-style hats, chewing gum, overweight.

It was the constant strain of those washed up and those working out. Those that lived their middle-aged lives vicariously through the group of young boys, healthy and strong and eager with their whole world opening up, between the goal posts and the hundred yard markers between them.

Baxter thought nothing of any of that, though, as he slid his hands underneath the rump of the center, chewing idly on his lip.

He just wanted to throw the ball.

---

((Brandon Baxter, start))

"Tickets," Baxter said in a bored voice, scratching idly at the beard that covered the lower half of his face, his blue eyes watching the passerby in the front foyer of P.J. Hobbs. The board on the desk he was sitting at proudly read "Pumpkin Festival Dance" in a frilly, cheerful pink - sequins filling the space between the careful black lines. The number 5 and a dollar sign was written with equal cheer - obnoxiously so - all over the background of the page.

Usually, when a girl texted you asking for a favor - misleadingly saying it'd be, quote, 'worth your while' - you'd be a fool to say no. Especially when the things that made it worth his while involved tangling sheets and moisture somewhere on or around his nethers, if he was being delicate.

If he wasn't, he was expecting a blowjob.

He didn't get a fucking blowjob.

"It's worth your while in extra credit," she'd said, all innocence as he'd raised his eyebrows in exasperation, seated at the table where he'd be stuck - for both of his breaks today - selling tickets to a stupid dance to a PC version of Halloween in order to raise funds for better chairs in the caf.

Who ate in the caf, anyways?

"Tickets," Baxter said again, on the back half of a sigh, and rattled his coffee cup in a poor and distasteful impersonation of a homeless man.

No blowjob was worth this.
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Somersault
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[ *  *  * ]
((Ramona Shirley: Pre-Game Start))

As she stumbled out of bed that morning, bleary-eyed and tired, Ramona heard the trademark ding of her phone. Going over to check it, Ramona feared the worst. Someone on the basketball team got injured? Last-minute adjustments to the play? Another link to a list of the most profitable college majors from her dad? Ramona would've loved to be more hopeful, but experience dictated that when she got a text at 6 in the morning, it probably was not to tell her that she had made the starting lineup.

As she read over the text while eating her cereal, Ramona instead discovered something far worse.

"SHIT," she exclaimed, praying that no one could hear her.

Well, whoopee. It turned out that Jonathan Macmillan couldn't come to that pumpkin dance thing after all, leaving a short Sorry, a family thing came up, wanna talk later? Ramona sighed as she looked over the entirety of the text, scrolling with her finger. Of course, something had to come up. Not that Ramona was angry, because if Ramona got angry, that definitely meant shit was going down. It still stung, though. Her momma didn't raise Ramona to be no delicate flower, but it still hurt, even if it was just a tiny bit. She'd move on, like she always had, but it still would've been nice to have someone with her.

She was still going anyways, so who cared?

Well, it turned out that other people cared, as Ramona discovered while standing in line to get tickets for the dance at lunch. Endless questions about dates turned into torture for Ramona, who ended up just smiling politely at people when they began to ask yet again if she was going to the dance with anyone. Was it that big a deal to be going alone? Really, it was a tiny dance to help fund extra chairs for the cafeteria, it wasn't as if it was prom.

Of course Ramona was still into that whole school spirit thing, but she wondered if that had been a poor life decision as she continued to wait in line. Seriously, who knew people were so enthusiastic about a "Pumpkin Festival Dance"? Not Ramona, that was for sure.

Finally, Ramona made it to the front of the line, carefully adjusting her hair to make sure it was all in place.

"One ticket, please," Ramona said, while her eyes flickered with recognition at the guy manning the table, looking as if he would rather be any place other than here. B....Brandon, wasn't it? Brandon Baxter? Football guy, jokester, but it seemed for now as if all life had been drained out of him, as he lifelessly shook the mug.

Ramona scrunched her face up. "Wait, you're Brandon, right? Brandon Baxter? On the football team?" Always best to be polite, and Ramona was as always, interested in making some small talk.

"You doing okay? Because it sure doesn't look that way," Ramona said, full of concern. While Ramona would hesitate to call herself nosy, she definitely would agree that she loved to involve herself in other people's situations, and perhaps help them. Like Oprah or something, but without the T.V. show. That probably was the most elusive part, actually.
Edited by Somersault, Feb 15 2017, 01:19 PM.
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The Homeless Bearde
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"Two plus two is four, minus one is three quick maths"
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
His eyes on Ramona as she walked to the front of the line, Baxter began shaking the cup with an increased fervor, before slapping the flimsy paper and wax down on the table, running a palm over his shorn down hair.

"Look what I have become," he said, hoarsely, in his best Voldemort impersonation, "a parasite."

He spread his hands dramatically, before grinning up at her.

"I'm doing someone a favor, selling tickets. I don't really know how much they are - if only the sign made it more clear."

5$ was on the sign at least eighteen times.

"Just one? You flyin' the plane solo this time, Ramona?"
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Somersault
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As Brandon did his frankly, kind-of dumb impression of Voldemort, Ramona couldn't help but smile, with her teeth showing. Perhaps it wasn't the funniest of jokes, or just funny at all, but Ramona always appreciated attempts to lighten the mood.

"Well, at least you're trying to make the situation funner for you. I appreciate school spirit as much as the next person, but I don't think I could have stayed here for over 3 hours or so."

As Brandon explained his reasons for manning the station, Ramona notice the $5 mentioned repeatedly on the sign, and so she hastily sifted through her purse to find some of that cash cash money. She nodded at Brandon's remarks, although she wasn't as attentive as she hoped to be. "Yeah, that sounds rough," Ramona commented as she continued looking through her purse. There must be 5 dollars something inside, shouldn't there? SHEESH.

What then jolted Ramona back to full attention was Brandon's...remark. While Ramona was fairly certain Brandon didn't mean for the comment to hurt, it still felt that way, although Ramona tried to take it in stride. Jokes were jokes, right?

"Mmhhmm, Brandon. My date cancelled on me this morning, so I figured I'll just go hang around and see what is what, you know?" Ramona smiled a small smile at Brandon. "But, do YOU have any lucky ladies or a special someone you're bringing to the dance?"

If all else fails, diversion always worked as a good conversational tactic.

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The Homeless Bearde
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"Two plus two is four, minus one is three quick maths"
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
"Night's young," Baxter said in response, and grinned sarcastically. He'd taken the time while she was digging in her purse to take stock of her, measure her up, and decided that he'd liked what he saw. Perhaps this gig wasn't all bad, anyway.

"Sucks about your bae, though. Did your date at least call, or did he do it through a keyboard?"
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Somersault
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[ *  *  * ]
Hearing Brandon's reply, Ramona smirked. It was good to know that she still had it, even if she knew wasn't gonna be playing tonsil hockey tonight. She considered herself too classy for that. "Indeed, it is. You never know what will happen."

In response to Brandon's other statement, her face returned to a neutral expression, as she sighed. "How he told me he wasn't going? Through a text. I'ma try to be nice, but that is just not the way you do it, honey."

Wait, he called Jonathan her bae? No no no, it was time to correct the record. She blinked repeatedly at Brandon, confused. "Wait, my bae? Not in a million years. We were going "as friends", I guess, but with this, we sure aren't going any further."

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The Homeless Bearde
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"Two plus two is four, minus one is three quick maths"
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
"Mm," Baxter said, leaning back in his chair to stretch his arms, scratching at the back of his neck. He put a little effort into bulging his bicep while he was at it, just in case she was an arms girl.

Most women were arms girls.

"Keyboard warriors, am I right?" He flashed her the grin again, and rolled his eyes.

"Anyone who's got the cajones to break it off has the cajones to call first. Just decent manners - or that's what my mom always said."

Baxter glanced down the line, then back at Ramona, leaned forwards again.

"Well, hey, if that's a position that's recently vacated..."
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Somersault
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Nodding at Brandon, Ramona took a moment to appreciatively glance at Brandon's biceps. They did look good, but as her idol Lauryn Hill once said, she was not all about that thing.

"That is so, so right. If you're going to go break it off with me, be a gentleman and SAY IT. Through a call, through shouting at my face, I want to hear them actually say the words out loud." Ramona declared, with a solemn look.

With Brandon leaning forward, she smiled a bit smugly, although she tried to make it look more proper. 70% of getting a guy was luring him in, 20% of that was continuing the chase, and 10% was ensuring that the relationship. Actually, scratch those percentages, but the point still stood: Once you got the guy interested, you were done with the hardest part. At least, that's what her momma said when she asked for relationship advice.

"Ooh, someone's getting a little forward there. Sure, let's test the waters at this dance, but be sure to know: I ain't a one-and-done girl."

Coy. That was the way to do it. She didn't mean to be leading him on, but she didn't want to get burned by going too deep too quick with Brandon. You know, ease the whole thing in. Slowly, but surely.
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The Homeless Bearde
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"Two plus two is four, minus one is three quick maths"
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Baxter raised an eyebrow, supporting himself on his forearms as he took her in again. He was second guessing it, now - he was so sure that she'd be annoyed by her 'recent vacancy' that she'd say yes to, as she put it, a one and done type of situation - but he'd already extended the drawbridge, and there wasn't much else to do but invade the castle, penetrate the defenses.

So to speak.

Or, hell, maybe literally, if that's where the night took them.

Baxter flashed the grin again, then gestured towards the desk as someone behind Ramona muttered about it taking forever to get a ticket.

"As soon as I'm sprung, darlin'," he said, "I'll give you a twirl inside. Got that fiver for me?"
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Somersault
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Ramona felt pretty proud of herself. Impressing a guy, showing him that she got that hot stuff - all in the bag. Like a clean three-point shot, nothing but net. Flawless.

She was initially worried at first that all Brandon cared about was getting some of her body, and Ramona was not the kind of girl who wanted to objectified. Not that most ladies wanted that, but Ramona made sure of it. Anyways, it seemed that Brandon was more interested in her personality than just her...face.

He definitely still wanted her to put out, but it didn't seem like that was all he was after. It better be like that.

Ramona was still confidently smiling at Brandon when she heard the guy behind her get impatient. Well, crap. The handing over of the money, what the dance was for, oh. Oh yeah. That part kind of got away for a bit. At least Brandon promised her a dance?

With all the grace that she could muster, Ramona swiftly pulled out a $5 dollar bill, and handed it over to Brandon, still smiling, whilst trying to ignore the grumbling behind her. "Here you go, honey."

Brandon better follow up on his promise to dance, or shit was going to go down.
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The Homeless Bearde
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"Two plus two is four, minus one is three quick maths"
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Taking the five, Baxter slipped it into the metal box with plastic slots - organized into bill type - and ripped a pink ticket off of the roll, cheap little generic ADMIT ONE tickets that probably ran the school a buck fifty.

"Here you are," he said, smiling again, "I'll meet you inside in thirty."

-----

Forty minutes later, he stepped through the gym doors, into the darkened space where top 40 pop songs were piped through the slightly crackly sound system. The party committee or whoever the fuck planned these things hadn't even bothered to roll out the temporary carpeting to cover up the marks on the hardwood - volleyball lines, three point lines, criss-crossing keys - catching the light in weird ways, glowing slightly in the dim light.

Someone had put an orange filter on a strobe light, and it lazily spun around the room, making it hard to pick out faces amidst the din.

Baxter had replaced his t-shirt with a button-down - one that he had hanging in his locker because he was too lazy to bring new dress shirts every game day and he only wound up wearing them for like an hour at a time anyway - and shared nods and slight smiles with some of the faces he could make out in the dark and orange lighting as he moved through the throng of people, looking for Ramona.
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Cicada Nights
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[ *  *  * ]
Dad was munching on a piece of bread. Some crumbs dropped, he murmured an oath. Right beside him was Mom, she was the one speaking. She watched Rachael carefully. And Rachael, of course, respectfully held her gaze.

“It’s just a thought, Rachael! Your father and I,”

And she swept an arm around Dad. Dad raised a hand in a cute wave.

“We’re not going to pressure you, of course.”

Mom was speaking carefully, reassuringly. The way she usually spoke, and Rachael felt no negative emotion besides the vague static-y sting of foreboding in her chest. Mom and Dad had suggested she bring a group of friends out to a dance. Nothing fancy had been what they had said. Nothing like prom, just something casual.

“Yeah,” Rachael responded with a polite smile.

Other words came to mind, but she wasn’t sure. She wanted to carefully think over a response. Dad was faster than she was.

“Are you nervous about the idea, honey?”

His voice boomed out as it always did. Dad was the sort who was always a bit too loud for the situation. It was the sort of thing that comforted Rachael, at least when it was him. Still, she felt raw nerves gently prickling and curdling.

“Uh, a bit. I’ll be honest.”

A hand found her forearm. She gently brushed the softness of her sleeve down. The momentary urge to avert her eyes crackled through her nervous system, but it was okay. She didn’t need to do such a thing, not here.

“Sorry,” Rachael finished the very next second.

Mom and Dad both carefully nodded, at different speeds. Dad slower, more dramatically; Mom with plenty of energy. They glanced at each other, then smiled at her. Mom’s hands raised a bit. Like a peace treaty, maybe written in three different languages of cheerful wood fey.

“We understand if you don’t want to. We just think it would be fun!”

They were probably right. If Rachael considered it carefully there were no problems. She had ideas, friends to invite. She’d been to Junior Prom with friends. Everything added up neatly. The moment of dull panic abated, and Rachael could carefully nod and consider.

“Okay Mom, Dad. I’ll try my best.”

-----

((Rachael Langdon: begin))

Apparently this dance was to raise money for the cafeteria. That was a pretty nice touch, Rachael thought. Halloween wasn’t the sort of holiday she normally celebrated in an exciting way. It wasn’t exactly scary but most of the events just didn’t appeal to her. This dance, however, had seemed nice. Something simple and easy, but still in the spirit of the holiday. She’d invited Daniel and Kitty on a whim, but she had then realized that she shouldn't need to expect them to come.

I shouldn’t always need close friends around to go to an unfamiliar place with unfamiliar people. The greatest adventures all start with a bit of risk after all. I need to learn to be less of a scaredy cat, just like Mom and Dad are trying so hard to help me with.

That was what she was still telling herself as she strode through the dimly mood lit gym hall. The thought was on repeat just like the melodies and rhythms of the songs they were playing. She guessed they were actually alright songs even if she wouldn’t have gone out of her way to listen to them, but it was a bit odd that they weren't even the familiarly cute bubblegum pop songs she’d listened to before meeting Daniel. They were heavier, more abrasive, the lyrics were sleazier. It was almost frightening to reflect on how things had changed when she hadn’t been paying attention, like meeting an old friend built of childhood memories suddenly made unfamiliar.

Rachael shuffled to a spot by the refreshments table, hands carefully clasped in front of her. She hoped she blended in a bit with her dull black dress, it almost seemed to become backdropping or ambient noise because of the room’s lighting. Now she had to muse on what to do besides lingering around nervously. She casually recognized a few faces from art class! Maybe if she had time to take a few deep breaths and steady her nerves a little…

Suddenly someone caught her eye. She realized with a frisson up her spine that she recognized that face, and that nod, and that smile.

Brandon Baxter, his buzz cut and piercing eyes. He was close with Johnny, and Johnny had mentioned in passing ‘seeing parts of him others don’t get to see’. Paraphrased, but. Rachael had heard a lot of good things about him from Johnny, but she’d also heard really scary things about his temper and he just even looked so intimidating as much as she hated to admit that such a shallow thing colored her opinion of him and

And her first instinct was probably the right one. She raised her hand in a small wave and raised her lips in a small smile as their gazes met. She let her greeting linger a second longer than she had to, desperate and stubborn against her own will.

The greatest adventures...

She reminded herself again and again and again and again
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Taking her ticket from Brandon, Ramona gave him one last wave and a wink, before striding into the gym. "See ya there, Brandon!" It was always good to leave them wanting more, wasn't it? Clutching her purse next to her, she gave it one last look, as she took her steps, her heels clacking, into the gym.

---

As she walked over to the refreshments table to grab some punch, Ramona sighed. Under the lights, her light green dress looked sickly, her feet hurt from too tall high heels, and of course, her date had not arrived yet. Just the icing on the shit-cake that was turning out to be this dance. At least the punch wasn't half bad, as she discovered sipping boredly while trying to peer through the crowd. At the other end of the table, she spotted a girl, standing awkwardly, looking nervous. Was she waiting for someone? She looked oddly familiar, and as Ramona began approaching her, she first noticed that the girl was waving.

Then, she realized that the girl in question was Rachael, from Art class. Nice girl, if a bit quiet. Not exactly one for the party scene, but maybe she's into school spirit? Following Rachael's gaze, Ramona blinked in surprise.

Brandon? THE FUCK? Not exactly an unwelcome discovery, but damn, did it take him a long time. A lady did not like to be kept waiting, but hooray, a partial victory for promptness. That was sure to fly.

Still, Ramona blinked again at Brandon, and then raised her eyebrow at him, offering a slight smile. Well, at least he eventually showed up. That deserved a consolation point.

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The Homeless Bearde
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"Two plus two is four, minus one is three quick maths"
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
The refreshments table was clearly just a plastic sheet draped over two folding tables smushed together, and Baxter briefly wondered what the idea was, here - there weren't many trash bins in the gym that could be easily accessed, and whoever set it up was probably going to wind up picking up shitty plastic cups and chip crumbs from the floor.

Rachael's little gesture took Baxter by surprise, but he immediately threw a tight-lipped smile back and did a little imitation of her wave, glancing around before heading in her direction.

Ramona passed by his notice as his eyebrow rose, moving close enough to Rachael for her to hear him. His usual move at these sorts of things was a brush of arms, but he avoided that, keeping some distance.

"Lost?" he asked, corner of his mouth curling, stretching his beard alongside his lips. It came out low and loud, over the throbbing din of a pop beat.
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She was still breathing, in and out and in and out, and she quickly forgot that sensation even as it pounded like some animistic thing stuck in her lungs. Oh, she really and truly had not expected him to actually smile and wave back like he had. And she wasn't sure what his smile was trying to say. It could well have been the sort of smile that people smiled by force when they were angry or upset, and then Rachael's imagination suddenly inundated her with visions of Mister Baxter charging valiantly, brutally striking her down with a bloodied fist and sending her frail corpse into the skies, sailing in an arc over the tablecloth and table, and that was so scary and weirdly specific

It did make for an eerily picturesque idea though. Something she could put to pen and paper maybe?

She was then surprised- more than she already was, somehow?- by another familiar face a step closer than she was immediately comfortable with. Oh. Rachael had always thought Ramona Shirley had such pretty lips with an artisan sort of craftsmanship, and now she was close enough that Rachael could see the details all too clearly even in the dim lighting. And Rachael liked Miss Shirley, they shared a class! But it was almost a bit too much in context. Rachel's eyes went two ways, both ways roads less traveled by, and she almost started unaligning her eyes until the pain became a problem and, oh no, her mind was wandering. Her first instinct was to back up a bit but then her butt slammed right into the rim of the table and she recoiled forward, almost right into both of them.

Lost? Who is he talking to? Me? Miss Shirley? Should I say something? I need to say something, um, I think...?







"... Maybe?" Hopefully she'd been loud enough to hear? Oh, it would be absolutely embarrassing if she'd just opened her mouth without accompanying sound.
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