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Re: Roadtrip: Dining Hall Aftermath

on Wed Oct 17, 2018 12:08 pm
Tobi eyes flick to Jake as the kid speaks. His head doesn’t move from where it’s leaned against the back of the booth, but he rolls his eyes at the other boy’s words. The proper name confuses him a little though, so he turns to Noelle. Signs flash quick at her after he untangle his hand from hers.

‘What’s an Arkham Asylum?’ his fingers flick fast through the letters as he spells out Arkham.

There’s a brief quiet moment where he just listens to the sounds of the diner as Jake chatters. The boy could talk, that’s for sure. It’s… nice though, he decides. He enjoyed the comfortable silences he had with Noelle, enjoyed listening to just the world around him, but he also found himself enjoying the other boy’s enthusiasm and aggressive kindness. It seemed like he was hell bent on making sure everyone knew everything was okay and while it wasn’t okay, wouldn’t be for a while, Tobi thought it was a nice gesture.

He can feel the rain before it starts to hit the glass pane of the diner window. It drums a a steady, soft beat. The thunder’s there in a moment, crashing louder than anything in the small space of the open diner. No one hardly bats an eye at the sudden disturbance save the waitress who looks out at the window and Noelle. The girl next to him jumps at the thunder.

It’s not really that surprising; he remembers the last time they were out to eat and it had rained. She’d jumped then too. His eyes flick over towards her just to make sure she’s alright. ‘Looks fine,’ he thinks, ‘Jus’ blushin’ fierce as a fire.’ He smiles, a barely noticeable thing. ‘Still cute.’ He thinks again. One heavy leg settles against hers in silent support.

He smells the food before he sees it. Mountains of it are heading their way, piles of pancakes and hashbrowns and bacon and everything else. There’s a massive bowl of fruit meant for him that looks like the cook had just dumped whatever was left in the refrigerator into a bowl. Honeydew, cantaloupe, all sorts of berries, grapes, strawberries, the whole nine yards. The waitress leaves it with a refill of their coffee then walks back away towards the counter.

As hungry as he is, he ain’t waiting long enough to be polite. His fingers grab a fork and spears a strawberry in one smooth motion. The rain outside continues to pound against the window.
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Re: Roadtrip: Dining Hall Aftermath

on Wed Oct 17, 2018 2:20 pm
Noelle smiles at Tobi's sign, and thinks for a moment. She didn't want to assume any knowledge on Tobi's part. She only knew from cultural osmosis- in high school, the boys in her grade were obsessed with Batman Begins, and just the character in general. She had read some of the comics herself, but they weren't her thing. She found that she liked conjuring images herself, rather than having a graphic novel draw it out for her. So, her hands move in a flurry:

"It's from the Batman Comics. Evil and insane villains get put there, and they usually look odd. Like Jake's markings."



After her jump, she felt his leg settle next to her own, and she gave a small smile. Which disappeared when she met Jake's eyes. He was stifling a good-natured laugh, and while Noelle wasn't embarrassed (how could she be, the kid was Gumby with a clown wig), she felt a familiar annoyance rise in her chest. It reminded Noelle of when Joy snuck into her stuff or poked and prodded Noelle's insecurities. There wasn't malice behind it, but it was enough to annoy her enough that she was about to say something. But, before she opened her mouth, the plates of food arrive and Noelle becomes distracted. 

As her pancakes lay in front of her, with her sides, her stomach growls loudly. She takes her knife and fork and begins to cut medium sized pieces, eating at the rate of a normal person, which was as quick as she could go. It was delicious and reminded her of home- her mother took them out to eat every Sunday to a place like this, except they were regulars and they had their own specific orders that they didn't even have to ask for. The pancakes were almost just as good, but Noelle was so hungry that she didn't care.

Before she knows it, she's halfway done, and she takes the mug of coffee in her hands, sipping. Nut, her eyes meet Jake and she almost spews it all over the place. The kid had a half dozen plates and he was shoveling food into his mouth like there was no tomorrow. Watching for a moment, she lets out a small breath of laughter. Ridiculous.

______________

Jake was completely lost to the piles of food before them. He took forkfuls of each plate, creating an amalgamation of flavors and textures. Not that he was paying attention. He just needed to eat something.

When Noelle looks at him, he was pretty much done, only having a few bites left. He swallows his orange juice in one gulp, and gives a satisfied sigh, wiping his mouth with a napkin, before saying "Hey, so I'm thinking of staying another night. I listened to the weather last night, and the rain is going to let up by tonight. Noelle and I got to watch the stars last night, and I'm down to do that again. Plus, got a call from the school. No classes tomorrow. They're still figuring out... well... you know. Logistics." His voice dips for a moment, and his expression twitches into something else for only a nanosecond. He continues "I totally get it if you want to go back. It's ultimately up to you guys."

Noelle immediately says "I'm okay with one more night." Jake watches as she sips her coffee, the blush fading from her cheeks, the small spot of red on her nose disappearing as well. "Just as long as your van doesn't leak."

Jake looks at Tobi, but the waitress comes over. Jake sizes her up as she asks, gruffly, if they needed anything else. Noelle shakes her head, offering a soft "Nothing." And looks at Tobi, her hands moving in a flurry.

Jake gives a wild smile, looking at Tobi's now empty fruit bowl "Naw, but thanks darlin'. 'Preciate it. In fac', ifya coul' put it'all on one, that'd be mighty fine of ya. Maybe sum more fruit fer my frien', if it ain't too much trouble."

Noelle raises an eyebrow, almost stifling a laugh herself- half annoyance again, and half disbelief. It was a complete caricature of Tobi's accent. It was completely well-meaning. Jake had appointed himself as Tobi's voice for the moment, flashing the waitress a winning smile. She's less than impressed and walks away, getting their check. Jake pulls out his wallet, grabbing some twenties he had left over when he gathered supplies for this impromptu vacation.
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Re: Roadtrip: Dining Hall Aftermath

on Wed Oct 17, 2018 8:31 pm
Tobi listens to Jake as he explains his proposal. He could use a little more time out here, a little more time away. Something deep in him itches at the thought. It sinks deep claws in his psyche and pulls at him, whispers sweet nothings in a language so familiar to him. Tobi’s eyes flick towards the rain outside. It patters soft of the windows. Closing his eyes, he can imagine it falling soft through the autumn leaves adorning the trees in the forest around him.

I could jus’ leave, he thinks.

‘You could just leave,’ a voice in his head echoes back in near harmony with his own thoughts. It’s the first time he’s heard it since the other night and he'sgot to admit, it startles him just a little. It sounds weak and groggy, almost like it had just woken up. But, he considers the suggestion, and he’s gotta admit, it sounds right nice.

The stars as a blanket at night, the trees surrounding him with their age and wisdom. Just miles of earth and sky and the promise of an easy communion with the world around him. He wouldn’t have to go back to the college and live in the aftermath he had created. His life as it was right now existed in a strange sort of limbo between the old and the new, the van a sort of Charon’s boat between this life and the next. One choice- go back to school and face everything; face the academy board, face the stares and whispered words, face the unfamiliar and the unknown. The other- face nothing and escape, go where the whispered voices lead, fall back into the world he so loves and maybe never come back.

Never go back, the voice coos in his ear.

‘Shut yer hell.’ He thinks back without any bite. The voice laughs in his ear, soft and fluttering like a sudden rush of birds. He picks up the little metal knife then, twirls it around and stabs the last strawberry. He catches sight of Noelle then, signing at him and wondering if he needs anything else. He’s about to put the strawberry down and respond, but then, Jake does it for him.

In a poor imitation of his own accent.

It’s kind of pathetic really, but he was going to ask for more fruit. He supposes he’ll let it slide just this once. Well, almost let it slide. He leans forward and waits until the waitress walks away and until he’s got Jake’s attention. When he catches Jake in his gaze next, he digs deep into whatever willpower he has left and pulls out the deepest, most sultry drawl he can muster.

“Thanks, darlin. ’Preciate it.”
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Re: Roadtrip: Dining Hall Aftermath

on Wed Oct 17, 2018 10:07 pm
"Heh, no problem buddy."

Jake says this without skipping a beat, flipping through the twenties until he had a group that he figured would be close to the amount owed. He takes the coffee in one hand, guzzling it down quickly and without taste. He then scrunches his face, the bitterness catching up to his taste buds. He quickly scarfs down his last few bites, before sitting back, grinning "So, kids, what are we going to do with this weather? I've got cards, a couple board games? Or we can make this a real slumber party and play some truth or dare."

He waggles his eyebrows, his gaze meeting Noelle who looked like she was starting to regret their conversation the night before. In all honesty, if the weather wasn't shit, he would have gone out and bashed some more branches. Give the two some alone time. Give himself some alone time.

But, it seemed like the three of them was stuck together for the day, until the storm lets up. And with another crack, the storm reminded him that it wouldn't be soon. His fingers, now without the business of the fork distracting them, began to drum on the tabletop lightly again, waiting for the waitress to come back.
________________________

Noelle sighed and finished her breakfast, much slower than the others. Still, she finished a meal, which she hadn't done in a long time. Not since she arrived at school. It also didn't sit heavy. She felt normal. A little unsure, a little scared, but completely normal. She laid her head on Tobi's arm, thinking over Jake's proposition. As a child, she was never asked to sleepovers or birthday parties or parties in general. But, mostly, she wanted to beat that stupid grin off of Jake's face. And, it could be fun. Maybe.

She shrugged in response, her eyes fixed on the boy steadily. The rain continued to it the window hard, adding to the ambient sounds around them. The waitress comes back, sliding the check to Jake. He looked at it for a moment, and placed a couple the twenties on the table, watching the woman walk away. Noelle looked at the meals they just ate and the small pile of cash on the table- She was surprised to see that Jake tipped the waitress fairly well. Even after all the fooling around. But she knew by now that was how he operated. He acted stupid, but he had a real heart of gold. And there was remorse. And he was dealing with everything just like her and Tobi. 

Her mind flashed to the night before when he had held her hand, wiping that ink away from her hands. And how he had held his shoulder for the rest of the time they were out there. How his breathing was even labored at one moment. Why did he put himself in such pain, just to help other people?

There was the answer there.

Noelle suddenly felt cold, and the slightest bit guilty, shuddering a little into Tobi's side. Jake looked at the two of them, a flash of... something in his eyes. Something between happiness and pride. But it quickly changed back to impish "Are you two lovebirds ready to go?"
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Re: Roadtrip: Dining Hall Aftermath

on Thu Oct 18, 2018 3:24 pm
Tobi listens to the plan. He’s glad that they’re staying one more night, one more night under the trees, under the stars, under the rain. The itch in his skin abates, but only after one final word.

‘Stay.’

It’s lost to the pounding of the rain outside. The ever-present patter of drops against the soft earth and hard concrete drowns out any response he could have given, and Jake’s questions bring him back to the present and the people around him. It’s a good thing really; he doesn’t quite know what answer he would have said to the strange voice in his head.

He shrugs at Jake. They were going to have to stay in close quarters any way, might as well make it something interesting. The kid pays well when the waitress comes back. He’s a little surprised; half at the small pile of cash in front of him and half at the kid’s generosity. It’s nice to know that past the annoying outside was something decent inside. Makes the prospect of spending a night with just the three of them a little more bearable.

When Jake stands again, Tobi also rises. Noelle’s there at his side. His head comes down in a nod at Jake and together, the three set off towards the van.
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Re: Roadtrip: Dining Hall Aftermath

on Thu Oct 18, 2018 4:14 pm
Jake leads them both outside, scrunching up his shoulders in the rain, it weighing down the poof of his hair. But he doesn't mind, he keeps smiling, sliding into the front seat. He closes the door, only after shaking out the water in his hair, much like an over-active Irish Setter. He combs it back before slamming the door and popping the trunk. He watches, half amused, as Noelle clings close to Tobi, her hair sticking to her face. While it looked like Tobi reveled in the rain, Noelle's clothes hung on her like an empty scarecrow. Jake waited patiently for the two of them, reaching over to the passenger side, and throwing some towels in the back for the other two.

He waited until everyone was in, and began to drive back towards the clearing. This time around, instead of singing along with the Billy Joel that was playing through the speakers, he took the time to open the dialogue for truth or dare.

"Alright. So, here's the deal. I'm all down for truth or dare, but I've had some wild games in the past. So, if there is anything that is off the table, please, speak now or forever hold your peace. For example, I'm just going to ask that we don't dare each other to use our mutations unless there is express permission to do so." He gives a small smile, a peace offering. They were only a couple of minutes out, but he didn't want to push either of them to do something that they were truly uncomfortable with. And he knew where he drew the line, but he wanted to make sure they were alright.

__________________

Noelle was leaning back on Tobi again after she dried her hair quickly and flipped it back up into a bun to dry. She nestled her head into his chin again, letting his natural warmth enclose around her, the softest of smiles playing on his lips. She gently took his arm and draped it over her stomach, without words.

When Jake began to speak, she listened and found herself appreciating the sentiment. It was seesaw with this kid, between genuine kindness and annoyance. He was so stupidly weird. And must have come from a huge family. He talked about it last night briefly, and it made sense. The over-compensating, the bold personality, the care for others. When the question turned on them she shrugged. She honestly just wanted to have a good time "I'm okay. Just no creepy stuff, okay?" 

It was pointed at Jake. She knew he would never do anything to harm her or Tobi. She trusted the strange boy. As they pulled back onto the dirt road from earlier, she could help but wriggle closer to Tobi
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Re: Roadtrip: Dining Hall Aftermath

on Thu Oct 18, 2018 11:12 pm
Tobi steps into the van after Noelle, settles himself in the back, and takes a towel when offered. His hands ruffle his hair between the towel and his hands until it’s decently dry. He removes his glasses to wipe them down but pauses. He’s not going to be doing any reading tonight, there’s no real need to keep them on. Decision made, he slips them up his forehead to push his hair out of his face.

Noelle settles against his bulk then. ‘It’s so nice,’ he thinks as she leans into him and uses him as a makeshift recliner. ‘Nice t have someone.’ She leans her head under his chin and he just smiles soft and warm for no one that can see, Eyes drift shut as he leans his head against the cool metal wall of the van and listens to them cross over the dirt road below. Noelle moves his arm and he lets it be moved to drape heavy over her middle.

Jake’s talking now, rules for the game they’re playing. He agrees on no powers, as well as Noelle’s rule of no creepy stuff. That about covers the bases for him, so he signs in front of Noelle.

“Fine with me.”

This could be fun, he thinks as Noelle scoots herself closer. His arm tightens around her middle just a bit and draws her in a little closer.
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Re: Roadtrip: Dining Hall Aftermath

on Thu Oct 18, 2018 11:36 pm
Jake pulled back into the clearing- the tall grass now heavy with rain, the sky above pulsating and rippling with wet. The trees whip in the wind, bending ever so slightly at their tops. It was a marvel that Jake just had to stare at for a while. After a moment, he turns off the car and throws his own pillow in the back. Then, much like a spider bursting forth from a crevice, Jake climbed from the front seat to the back, surprisingly not knocking anything over with his big feet and long limbs. On the way over, he grabs a can of beer from the blue cooler. Finally, he settles himself, sitting Indian style across from the couple, cracking the tab off of the can.

"Tobi's good with it."

Noelle looked so comfortable in the mountain man's arms. It was almost enough for Jake to take it easy on her. Almost.

"Alright. We can start. Noelle. Ladies first."

He regretted it as soon as it left his lips.
______________________________________

Noelle sat comfortably in Tobi's arms, pressing herself against him ever so subtly. She nearly squealed when his arm tightened around her, and she leaned up and kissed his jaw. It was probably the most risque thing she had initiated with the man, and her face flashes red for a moment before she focuses on the boy crawling to the back. But, in one of her hands, she took Tobi's. Then Jake gave her the opportunity to go first.

Now, Noelle had never really played truth or dare with anyone besides Joy, and she took it way to easy on her sister. Joy, meanwhile, had Noelle do things that were gross and hilarious, and the girl remembered each depraved thing her younger sister had to do. From allowing a slug to slither across her face, to put her feet in a bucket of mud and bugs, Noelle had a well to draw from. She looked out the window and then back at Jake.

"Truth or Dare?"

"Dare."

Of course, she knew Jake would not go back on a challenge. So, Noelle went with the first dare in the front of her mind, giving a sly smile.

"I dare you to go lick one of your tires."

Jake scrunched his face, the message clear. Oh, this is the game we are playing now? Great. But, to his credit, he didn't back down. Noelle watched as he popped the trunk, climbed out the car and into the rain, inspecting his back tires, as if picking the less evil. The coolness of the rain began to seep into the back of the car, so Noelle grabbed her own knit blanket, wrapping it over her front. Between the blanket and Tobi, she was enjoying the heat on her body, and the coolness on his face. Then she turned her attention back to Jake and the tires. They were covered in mud, grass, and anything that it had tread when they drove on that dirt road. Jake signed and leaned down, his tongue scraping the left one, before his eyes bugged out and he stepped away, groaning and scraping his tongue. Noelle blinks, about to give a giggle. But she decides against it.

Jake took a swig of his bear, grimacing "Wow, alright Noelle. I see what we're doing here... Okay, Tobi. Truth or Dare?"
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Re: Roadtrip: Dining Hall Aftermath

on Thu Oct 18, 2018 11:58 pm
Tobi chuffs out a laugh as Jake licks the tire. Gotta hand it to the kid, he didn’t back down from a challenge. Jake comes back into the van sputtering and coughing. He reaches for his beer to wash down the taste and Tobi suddenly remembers one of the things he had brought along last night. If he’s going to play this, he needs a little outside help. His hands move in front of Noelle.

‘Red cooler, mason jar. Hand it to me?’

When Noelle hands him the jar, he slides the lid open. The smell, familiar to only Noelle, fills the space: blackberries and alcohol as potent as drain cleaner. He takes a sip of it and leans back again, content to just listen to Jake struggle with a little dirt. He’s not expecting his focus to round on him though. One eye cracks open to look over at the gangly student.

Truth or dare, huh?

He considers his options. Dare, and he’d probably have to move from his current spot. Noelle’s pressed up against him and there’s a blanket wrapped warm around the both of them. Her hand is threaded through his and rubbing patterns absently against the top. He doesn’t even think she realizes she’s doing it. Truth, and he’d probably get to stay where he is. Mind made up, he leans his head forward to rest on top of hers and brings his dominant hand's index finger to his lips in a simple, one word sign.

‘Truth.’
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Re: Roadtrip: Dining Hall Aftermath

on Fri Oct 19, 2018 12:08 am
Jake looks at Tobi, and then looks at Noelle, expectantly. She laughs, keeping herself in Tobi's arms. "It means 'Truth'."

Huh. Jake wasn't expecting that. Then he looked at Tobi's position, arm draped around Noelle who was cuddling as close as she possibly could without fuzing into him. Jake wouldn't want to move either if he was honest. Except replace Noelle with Halle Berry. Or Jessica Alba. He smiled slightly at the thought, thinking of a dynamite question. Then his eyes flick to Noelle. The girl needed to hear this. The truth. Put those anxieties to rest.

"Okay. Do you think Noelle is inadequate in any way? In your relationship or in life."

Noelle's eyes went wide and she stiffened. But, Jake knew better. He knew the answer. He asked because he knew Noelle's thoughts worked against her in a flurry, thinking that she was holding Tobi back. Which was ridiculous. They were making each other better. His lips are in their slight smile, but his eyes are soft. His eyes meet Tobi, to tell him that this wasn't a search for dirt, but a way to give Noelle a little bit of security.
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Re: Roadtrip: Dining Hall Aftermath

on Fri Oct 19, 2018 12:44 am
Well. Hadn’t been expecting that as a question. He looks over at Jake and narrows his dark eyes in suspicion. If this were malicious in any way…

But it ain’t. Jake’s trying to tell him in a silent language not as subtle as Noelle’s own that this isn’t against him or Noelle. He’s not digging for gossip. Tobi’s mind thinks back to why, and lights on the fact that Noelle and Jake had spent last night watching the stars. He can only assume talking came with that.

Is this something that she was worried about? That she wasn’t good enough for him? His brows knit together in confusion. If anything, it was the other way around. His hands raise after a moment before beginning to move in front of the woman settled against him. ‘

‘Noelle is,’ a pause as he searches for the word. The hum that comes as he thinks rumbles in his chest behind her. He's thinking about Noelle, about how he'd describe her. He thinks of his memories with her, of their conversations and struggles together, of meeting her family and her meeting his. She's a mess of contradictions, fiery about the things she's passionate about and yet shy around new people. He thinks of their kiss, their dance, the things he felt for her, the night he realized he loved her, and the evening he said it out loud. The rain outside patters against the van, easily heard over the quiet inside. ‘everything.’ He finally decides.

‘I’m not that good with words,’ he continues, ‘but she ain’t e’er been anythin’ less than amazin’ in my eyes. The more I get t’ know her, the more I find tha’s jus’…” He smiles against the top of her head. ‘wow.’

‘Sometimes I wonder, like, wha’ she see in me, y’know? Jus’ some scrubby guy she ran inta firs’ day a school. Jus’ some guy, where she’s the girl.’ His hands put a special emphasis on the ‘the’. ‘She’s so god dang smart, an’ brilliant, and cuttingly clever. Got a sharp wit an’ iron will, and jus’ dresses so dang sharp.’ His eyes dip to look at his own rainbow flip flops and ratty sweatpants, but flick back up with the next sentence.

‘I’m happy bein’ with her. An’ I hope t’ the lord above she happy with me.’ He pauses. “I jus’ only e’er wanna make her happy.’ He shrugs behind Noelle and throws his other arm around her middle now that he’s done speaking.

He hopes that was alright.
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Re: Roadtrip: Dining Hall Aftermath

on Fri Oct 19, 2018 8:27 am
Noelle wasn't excited to hear the answer. Her heart began to beat quickly, rapidly, as she stared forward. She waited for Tobi to start signing. Automatically, she started to translate for Jake "Noelle is-"

Is what? Ridiculous? Insane? She waited, the hum that rumbles in his chest vibrating off and into her own back. It was a comforting feeling, making her heart slow down and reconsider her self-doubt. Her eyes met Jake's, who was smiling, but there was something soft, almost... sweet in his eyes. Then Tobi signs. Noelle looks up at him "Everything?"

When it left her lips, warmth bloomed from her chest outward, resonating into her fingers. That would have been enough, but he continues. She translates, words bubbling in her throat. When she gets to the part where she sees in him, her head whips around, eyes wild. What did she saw in him? Everything. Strength, the only person she could rely on, kindness and everything in between. He supported her where she lacked. He was not some scrubby guy she bumped into. He was her own everything, her rock. But she continues, turning bright red, the smallest glimmer of a tear reaching her left eye. He only wanted to make her happy... He was doing a pretty great job despite the craziness that constantly hit him. 

She looks at him and opens her mouth, then reconsiders, then wriggles around in his arms, facing him. If she spoke, she would really start crying. And this was something for Tobi to understand, so she starts to sign, her eyes shining. "Don't ever think you're some guy. You're my only guy. I don't care how you dress. All I care about is you. And everything you have done for me. And will do for me. And yes, I am happy to be with you. Thrilled. Ecstatic. In spite of everything that has happened, these have been the best couple of months in my entire life."


She turns herself around, laying against him. She takes a hand and raises it to her lips, kissing it ever so gently, smiling behind it. Meanwhile, Jake was wiping an actual tear from his eye, which made Noelle roll hers. Looked like Jake was just a big softie. The kid sniffled and nodded at Tobi "Alright, it's your turn..."


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Re: Roadtrip: Dining Hall Aftermath

on Fri Oct 19, 2018 7:06 pm
Tobi watches Noelle as she turns towards him to sign. He watches her words, her hands flying and eyes shining. Dark eyes widen as she explains what he means to her before setting into something so tender and so warm. His lips tic upward in that barely there smile as she turns back around and settles against him once more. Curls ruffle as he dips his head forward to kiss the top of her head and he leans back once more. Thick arms draw Noelle with him as he does. She follows easily.

He nearly melts when she kisses his hand. Way she treats him, he feels like king of the world. His lips pull up in a full smile now, easy and soft, as he closes his eyes and just enjoys the moment. A cool evening, warm blankets, rain outside, good company and good drinks. One hand reaches for the mason jar at his side and he takes a sip.

Jake speaks again and oh, yeah. It’s his turn. His gaze turns on the boy as he opens his eyes but otherwise doesn’t move from his spot. The jar is set back down in order for him to sign at the kid who was still wiping a tear from his eye. Calloused hands move through the three signs easily.

‘Truth or Dare?’
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Re: Roadtrip: Dining Hall Aftermath

on Fri Oct 19, 2018 7:13 pm
"It means 'Truth or Dare'."

Jake shot a look at Noelle, who was smiling smugly in the beefy arms of her boyfriend. Jake almost let out a laugh at the picture it painted. Here was a girl who, the night before, was putting herself in a tizzy about Tobi, and she now was laying in his lap with an easy confidence. The contrast was startling. "Yeah, I gathered that, thank you."

Noelle shrugged, tilting her head back to get a better look at Tobi, grinning. Jake sighed, shaking his head with an easy smile before swallowing his beer in a gulp and a grimace, reaching for another. The rain was still coming down hard, wind jostling the car occasionally. But he didn't mind at all. It was cozy and he was away. And, although he wouldn't admit it to the couple across from him, he was starting to feel a pleasant and warm buzz. "Dare. Hit me with your best shot."
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Re: Roadtrip: Dining Hall Aftermath

on Fri Oct 19, 2018 7:39 pm
Dare, huh?

He sizes up Jake as he thinks of something suitable. The kid in front of him was a nuisance, that’s for sure. The singing, the jokes, the terrible impersonations. But, he’s a good kid. He’s got a soft heart under all that bluster and overconfidence, and Tobi respects that. He’s also feeling mighty generous for what he had done with his own turn.

Noelle can get lost in her own insecurities, and he hadn’t even known that was something she was feeling. He’s thankful to Jake for giving him that opening to address a problem he wasn’t even aware of. Noelle’s in his arms in a playful sort of mood, he’s warm and feeling good. He decides he’s going to take it easy on the kid and offer him an easy dare. He’s not really playing to win, either. One hand picks up the large mason jar at his side that he’s steadily been draining. His Ma sent the good shit this time; blackberry, his favorite.

He holds the jar out to Jake and waits until the other boy takes it before signing. He hopes the dare is clear enough without needing to say anything, but he still doesn’t know Jake well enough to assume.

‘Sip,’ his hands sign. ‘I still want most a’ tha’, so keep it light.’
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Re: Roadtrip: Dining Hall Aftermath

on Fri Oct 19, 2018 8:08 pm
Jake takes the jar, carefully not to spill. The smell finally hits him.

"Jesus Christ! This shit could probably peel paint." He grimaces, almost coughing at the smell. It went unsaid that he was a lightweight, his beak of a nose was already turning red, matching his ears and hair at this point. And this stuff could put him to the floor. But. It would probably make him drunker than anything in his cooler.

So, Jake took a deep breath, closing his eyes serenely. And then, in one swift move, he plugged his nose and took a generous sip, his face screwed in concentration.

Big mistake.

He swallowed it, but coughed and sputtered, his eyes bugging out. Noelle took the jar from him while snorting a laughter, which was good because Jake was a skip away from spasming as the moonshine ran through him. After a moment, he looks up, now wearing a loose grin, his eyes still wide "Damn, Tobi. That was fucking rough. Thanks."

And then, in a moment of pure stupidity, he reached in a tote bag near the coolers, pulling out a bottle of Fireball. He starts to unscrew the top, but Noelle put the mason jar down and intercepts, taking a swig for herself. Jake furrows his brow, glaring at her with no bite, before grabbing his beer and drinking it, spitefully. "Just for that, I'm gunning for you! Truth or Dare!"
________________

The cinnamon whiskey went down fairly easily compared to the moonshine on homecoming night. It also made her feel even warmer and incredibly tingly. Noelle decided she was a fan. She took another small swig and looks at Jake "Dare."

She watched as Jake formulated his dare, his eyes shining with impish glee. But Noelle wasn't afraid. The sound of the storm kept her calm in Tobi's arm, and she still felt fuzzy from the gentle kiss to her head. While waiting, she took a third swig, the taste burning her tongue and throat in the best way. It took away the burn and soreness from her over used voice, instead of adding to it, which was great. Her other hand was still in Tobi's as Jake finally opened his mouth "I dare you to sweater swap with Tobi."

Maybe it was the rapid succession of the fireball, maybe it was because she was among the people she liked, maybe it was just another moment of impulsiveness, but Noelle took it immediately. 

In one swift motion, she pulled her oversized sweatshirt over her head. It had hung on her about five sizes too big as her request when her mother was looking at a local second-hand store, and so the gesture took a little longer than would be anticipated. As the long torso of the sweatshirt rose, it revealed Noelle’s thin, willowy frame. Her spine poked outwards slightly as she raised her hands overhead, and two dimples reveal themselves right at the spine. Next, the cotton back of her bra appears, tightened across her boyish chest. Her shoulder blades protrude from her back as she grabs the rest of her sweatshirt overhead. There’s a mole on the space between her left shoulder blade and spine, and it stretches upwards with the rest of her. She takes off her sweatshirt, finally, and she turns to Tobi.

Her collarbone is pronounced, the leather strap of the necklace trailing down from her neck and in between her, frankly, small bust. The cups of white cotton bra fit comfortably and modestly on her. The crystal shimmering ever so slightly by the hanging fairy lights, it swings with her movement. Lower, her stomach was concave as she hunched over ever so slightly. Her skin is a pale, milk-like hue and mostly blemish free. Besides the mole by her left shoulder and the small trail of 3 tiny spots on the crest of her collarbone. Noelle gives him a sweet, shy smile, handing him her sweatshirt, her eyes tinged with something that was a different side to her. Noelle had a feeling that it wasn't going to fit, but the dare was a dare. She wasn't going to back down.

Jake had looked away as soon as he saw Noelle beginning to lift the top off. He was many things, but a pervy creep wasn't one of them.
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Re: Roadtrip: Dining Hall Aftermath

on Fri Oct 19, 2018 9:35 pm
Well. Howdy.

The noise that escapes from him is soft and strangled as she turns to hand him the sweatshirt she’s just taken off. There’s something in his brain that just doesn’t connect that she’s handing him something, that he should take the sweatshirt in her outstretched hand, that he should do anything. Right now, all that’s taking up space in his head is her. Under the flickering fairly lights of the van, she’s something out of a dream: soft skin, smooth as anything and lit by the warm lights, wide brown eyes, and a smile sweet as honey focused just on him.

He just wanted to touch. Wanted to bracket her between his hands and spend the rest of the evening learning every little curve, every inch of her skin and commit it all to memory. He wanted to spend this evening with her under the stars and the rain and tell her things in a language she can’t understand. He wants to make her happy in every way she wants, wants her to see herself as he sees her.


He really wants to kiss her.


And so he does. He reaches out with one hand, bypasses the offered sweatshirt and sets his hand at the back of her neck instead. Gentle strength guides her back into his space and to his lips to catch her there. The other hand that had so previously wanted to touch settles at her waist as he kisses her deep and tender and longing. Wanting more but painfully aware of the other person in the van. He breaks it after a moment with a heartfelt smile.

‘Wow,’ he mouths. His cheeks and ears are flushed and red and his face a little dazed as he takes a moment just to look at her. Dark eyes catch on the sweatshirt still in her hand, though held a little looser now. ‘Get distracted so easy,’ he thinks as his own hands start to pull his ratty sweatshirt off. The thing's so worn, so old, but it's warm, well lived in, and always been his favorite. He hopes Noelle likes it too, as battered as it is. His sweatshirt lifts past his stomach and torso, over his head, and finally his arms. With is finally in his hands, he offers the old thing to Noelle.

Tobi’s always been comfortable with what he looks like and his body. It comes with relying on yourself for so many years, from working hard his entire life. Shirtless now in the tiny lights of the van, the result of that life of hard labor is on display. His frame is thick with dense, functional muscle. Rather than the cut v and well-defined abs of some of the gym rats on campus, his definition is softer, and covered in a soft layer of fat. He’s built not for form, but for function and while he couldn’t boast the same cut definition as some of the jock on campus, he could out bench each of them by a good hundred or two pounds. His arms are impressive all on their own, broad shoulders sloping down into solid biceps and forearms covered in dark, downy hair. His whole body is covered in that same down, thicker on his arms and torso. A bushier trail of it follows down the center of his chest and down past the band of his sweatpants.

His deep tan is a little lighter past his shoulders and on his torso, though only a shade or two. He had heard a couple students call it a farmer’s tan, supposed that was an alright was to describe it. His entire body is covered in marks; freckles that fall from his cheeks to his shoulders, scars large and small he’s earned from his life, birthmarks and scratches and scrapes. There are the thick raised lines where a tree or animal had slashed him, the burn marks from accidents too close to a fire, and dozens of scars from knives, both big and small. It had taken a lot of practice to get to the level of skill he was at today, and he'd been young and stupid when he'd learned. Agnes and he had done some seriously stupid shit, and the evidence was painted across his skin. The glow of his nerves has calmed to just a faint flicker barely brighter than the string lights above them.

When they swap, he tries to fit the Noelle’s sweatshirt over him, but can’t quite fit the sleeves over his own arms. Dare’s still a dare though, and he doesn’t want Noelle to lose, so he takes the sleeves and ties them loose around his neck in a makeshift cape.
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Re: Roadtrip: Dining Hall Aftermath

on Fri Oct 19, 2018 10:16 pm
Noelle was surprised by the kiss, but leans into it. She couldn't believe how much she wanted this; Tobi accepting her, finding her attractive, wanting her. This kiss was different than the others- there was something primal behind it, a certain longing she couldn't define. But she leaned into it, desperate to define and understand what she was feeling, what he was doing. Her eyes close, and for a moment, she forgot that Jake was there.

But only for a moment. 

They break, and Noelle saw the way Tobi looked at her. It was then that she decided if Jake somehow fell asleep before the two of them, she was whisking Tobi away into the woods, and continue this. Continue what they started this morning while Jake was getting changed. And whether that was the need to cling to something after the incident the day before, or the alcohol making her feel even fuzzier and impulsive, or just being a 20 year old in love, she wasn't sure. 

And then he took off his own sweatshirt.

It felt as if she were drooling. The broad, dense frame that she had been held against was revealed and she couldn't help but stare. She started with his arms, her eyes trailing from wrist to shoulder and back again. She continued that pattern, back and forth, memorizing each freckle, each deep scar. She found herself thinking about being held with those bare arms, trapped in warmth and solid mass. Noelle audibly shuddered. She moved to his pecs and abdomen. She didn't really like the well-defined muscles of bodybuilders, but Tobi's bulk was just up her alley. The thick hair that covered him looked so soft, she found herself almost reaching to touch it, itching to trail from his chest to his waistband. Maybe...

She blinks as he tries to put her sweatshirt on, eventually giving up and putting around his neck. Well. Looks like she had to get used to him in this form. No complaints here, She thought to herself with a soft, sultry smile.

Unfortunately for her, to complete the dare, she had to put on his sweatshirt. She slipped it over her, Tobi's scent completely enveloping her, causing a natural and happy sigh. It smelled like hard work and earth and wind. She laid herself against him again, her hands beginning to trail from his wrist to his bicep, tracing the branching nerves, humming ever so slightly and quietly. She stops at scars and burns, letting her long fingers brush them gently. Giving a soft giggle, there was only one thought in her mind.

Beefcake

She grabs the bottle of Fireball and takes a larger swig, and then looks back at the boy across from them "Alrigh', Jake. Ya can look back now."

Much like at homecoming, her speech is looser and reminiscent of her mother's accent, albeit much lighter and subtle. It has dips and wide vowels, playing on new sounds for both of the men in the van. Jake blinks and turns back, smiling "Okay, well it's your turn."

Noelle tilted her head back at Tobi, eyes sparkling "Truth or dare, sweethaht."
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Re: Roadtrip: Dining Hall Aftermath

on Fri Oct 19, 2018 10:54 pm
Oh, little accent now. He had suspected after meeting her mom that Noelle might have one but hadn’t heard it until now. It’s cute, he decides. He almost wishes she would use it more often but having her use it just with just a quiet few when she was relaxed is a bit more enticing. For now, he decides to stay quiet about it. Only a small, private smile gives away that he’s noticed. His hand raises the large jar of moonshine to his lips before he drains at least half the glass dry. These two were halfway gone already, he felt a little behind.

Noelle’s face is suddenly in his, though. He pulls the glass away from his face before wiping his mouth with the back of his arm as she asks her question. Truth or dare again, huh? He chose truth last time, and it seems like the dares are staying pretty stationary, so he makes up his mind.

Lips meet her button nose in a small kiss before he signs, ‘Dare me, darlin.’
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Re: Roadtrip: Dining Hall Aftermath

on Fri Oct 19, 2018 11:14 pm
Noelle's smile only grows when he kisses her nose, the edges of the evening fizzling and rounding out on the edges. His breath smells like blackberries and that harsh spike of disinfectant. She blinks, a million thoughts going through her mind. She saw how he had looked at her, she was sure that whatever she asked, he would do it. If it would make her happy.

And there were many things that would make her happy.

What she wanted was him. His skin on her own, catching on kisses and the tiniest nips of teeth, hands trailing, touching, grasping, feeling whatever she could. Him doing the same. Noelle wanted to experience Tobi and only Tobi, the small moments burning in her mind, accumulating into something that was ultimately freeing. The thought brought a sense of excitement and arousal to her core. This was her first time ever feeling anything remotely like this before. It made her light-headed, made her smile like an idiot, made her forget her station and all of her troubles. She wanted to open her mouth and say, Tobias, I dare you to take me out into the woods and-


Her eyes flick to Jake and she turns beet red. The confidence in herself that she just reveled in disappears back into a shell of demure control. Of a silent smile, of her fingers gently feathering across his arms. This wasn't the time. The time would come, just like their first kiss, just like when she first said she loved him. And that might be tonight. Or tomorrow. Or a couple months from now. She trusted herself to feel it.

But she wanted it. The look in her eye said as much. 

She smiles at Tobi, adjusting herself slightly "I dare you to show a hidden talent."

It was a cop out, sure. But she knew there would be a moment later to sneak away. To be completely and utterly alone with him and only him.
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Re: Roadtrip: Dining Hall Aftermath

on Fri Oct 19, 2018 11:41 pm
His dark eyes catch hers and he watches as her face shift between a slew of thoughts and emotions. There was something there, something in her expression. It was heady, it was longing, and Tobi wanted every part of it. He wanted to be where she was at, wanted whatever she was thinking as she looked at him. He wants to catch her lips again in his own, kiss and bite and feel every inch of her skin. Wants to catch that intoxicating feeling and trap it between the two of them on this mattress and under these lights, in the middle of some field and under stars he’s intimately familiar with. Her with him, blushing as she is now.

Her fingers stroke against his arm idly, and he could do with them grabbing, pulling, feeling. But, again, there’s Jake on the other side of them van. His van.

Noelle shifts to ask her question, and that most certainly wasn’t what she had been thinking. He smiles quietly; another time then. He nods his head and moves towards the cooler he had grabbed the moonshine out of, the one filled with fruits, veggies, and other sorts of perishables. He had thought he’d seen a toothpick, and he needs something like a small fruit. His knives he had left back at the dorms; this would have to do.

Sturdy hands come back with both the wooden pick and a grape. The pick is placed between his lips while the grape is kept in his hand. He signs quickly just to make sure he has their attention.

‘Watch this.’

With that, he tosses the grape up and spits the toothpick out towards it in one quick motion. When the grape plops back into his hand, it’s been neatly speared through the middle by the toothpick. His fingers grasp the grape by one end of the toothpick and raise it neatly to his lips, where he takes it between his teeth again.

Hands come back up, but instead of signing anything, they merely shake in a lazy attempt at jazz hands.
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Re: Roadtrip: Dining Hall Aftermath

on Sat Oct 20, 2018 12:03 am
Jake's jaw drops.

It was an impressive feat. He knew Tobi was rugged but damn. That was impressive. The keen eyes and power the skinny boy just witnessed was actually really fucking cool. Made him wonder about Tobi's life before school. Where he got those muscles and scars and the crazy sharp-shooting skills. Noelle looked impressed too, but it was more of a smug pride. As if she was daring Jake to do better. Which made him laugh. He finished his beer in one gulp "Damn, Maynard. Not gonna lie, that was impressive."

He sits back, the rain letting up ever so slightly. It would be over soon- just in time to set up for sunset. Or so he hoped. While he stood by his one rule, the tension between the two intertwined together obviously had some pent-up emotions and feelings that should be acted on or talked about or something. He was starting to feel a little uncomfortable, a little unwanted, a little weird. But, the rain would continue at least for a little while. "Okay, Annie Oakley, your turn."
_______________________________________

Noelle grins at Tobi, nestling herself in the crook of his elbow, tracing the patterns on his other arm. She sighs, her eyes meeting his, cuddling him like there was no tomorrow. Which wasn't far off for her- she didn't want to think of tomorrow, of going back to school. She only wanted to think about the here and now, the beefy, warm man that was holding her, the warmth of the van and the drinks, the explosion of stars above them. When they got back, things would change. And some things would get harder and more complicated.

But now, she had him. And she was with him, in his sweatshirt that was way too big for her. She waited for Tobi to answer Jake, curious to see where else this game could take them.
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Re: Roadtrip: Dining Hall Aftermath

on Sat Oct 20, 2018 12:53 am
‘Party trick,’ he shrugs as he chews on the toothpick. He’s quietly pleased though. It’s been so long since he’s been able to flex any sort of skill like that at school. He’s a little rusty; the toothpick was a little off center. ‘Could show you sometime, if y’want.’ He offers.

He leans back against the van’s walls, more to listen to the rain than anything else. He can feel it patter against the van’s sides and while it’s slowing, he gets the feeling that’s it’s not going to let up for a little bit. Fingers reach for the lid of the mason jar and this time, he drains the glass dry before filling it about a quarter of the way with some of the Fireball whiskey. It goes down a little smoother than his Ma’s stuff; warms him a little better too. Little bit’a spice, little bit a ‘kick, he likes it.

He settles in underneath both Noelle and the blanket with his back to the van and the rain, warm, just on the edge of buzzed, and in the company of friends. His hands move in front of him, albeit slower this time.

‘A’ight, tall bean, truth or dare?’
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Re: Roadtrip: Dining Hall Aftermath

on Sat Oct 20, 2018 1:03 am
Noelle translates easily, her speech gaining more of that Down East accent, laughter creeping in ever so slightly. She's having legitimate fun now, watching Jake's face get steadily redder and watching him sway. Two beers and the boy was gone. Noelle knew she wasn't much different, but it took a couple of shots to get her where she is now. Speaking of which...

She reaches for the Fireball, and takes another swig, swallowing it, sinking backward into Tobi even more, her body relaxed against him completely. Jake props himself up on a couple pillows, reaching for another beer. "Dare."

Noelle found his smile tinged with something else. She couldn't place her finger on it. As much as Tobi and Noelle had talked to each other, silently and through sign, she felt like the boy across from them didn't want to reveal anything about himself. Didn't want to open up too much. She could relate. But still...
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Re: Roadtrip: Dining Hall Aftermath

on Sat Oct 20, 2018 1:56 am
Tobi hums as he thinks. One bare arm comes up to wrap heavy around Noelle again. He wracks his brain for a dare, something that’s a little harder than the last one. He really wants to get to know Jake too. Kid seemed decent, and he was kind enough to offer the two of them this chance to escape in this van and into the rain. Tobi’s having a great night, seems like Noelle is too.

“Dare you to,” he pauses, still thinking. A hand reaches for the mason jar and he tips some of the whiskey he threw in there back. There’s a soft burn from the cinnamon spice as it goes down and settles soft in his stomach. “Hmm,” he hums, out loud this time as he slowly reaches for the bottle of Fireball.

‘Dare you to say the first thing on your mind.’

He’s not looking for anything too crazy, especially seeing as how all of them seem to be winding down. He forgoes the glass this time and tips back a good amount of the spiced whiskey back, swallowing heavy. He sets it back down and begins to run his fingers through Noelle’s hair, just as something to do
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