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Re: Roadtrip: Dining Hall Aftermath

on Sat Oct 20, 2018 2:10 am
"I'm not looking forward to going back. You know, getting stared at even more than usual."

He says it plainly, something he knows the other two will relate with. And his smile is still there, but he quickly takes a drink from his beer, hiding any ill feelings that might wash across his face. Jake was used to stares- he's been dealing with them his whole life. But it was because of what he looked like, not because of something he did, something someone else did. There was a certain anonymity of just getting into a car and driving to God knows where, not having to worry about his lasting impression on the locals he meets and leaves within a few days. He doesn't have to worry about anything but where he will sleep and when he needs to get gas. 

He lets his statement hang in the air for a little longer, before he feels like he needs to desperately fill the space "That and how, even though I was the one that brought it and took it out, I haven't gotten a lick of Fireball yet. But it's fine. It's cool."

He's joking, taking another sip of his bear, slumping against the wall of the car, grinning "Oh! And how you two are the cutest couple on campus. For sure."
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Re: Roadtrip: Dining Hall Aftermath

on Sat Oct 20, 2018 2:35 am

Tobi listens to the boy across from him. He’d been trying not to think of that same thing all night. Going back and facing the college and the world in the aftermath of what they had done seems dauting. Even more so now after this brief taste of freedom. Nothing to worry about for a day or two, no one asking him for a word or sending stares his way. Most students on campus now knew him as ‘that mutant’. He was generally given a very wide berth, but some still found the courage to stare. Whether it was curiosity or something more malicious, he doesn’t know.

He likes it out here. He knows he does. There’s trees, earth, and a frankly amazing view of the sky. That itch is back again in force as he thinks about the environment that surrounds him and listens to the sound of the rain against the roof of the van. It almost sounds like it’s starting to let up. He wants to stay longer, wishes he could, but he knows they have to get back to school eventually.

‘Stay,’ the voice whispers again in the low patter of rain against earth.

Tobi ignores it and snorts at Jake’s displeasure with not getting any Fireball. He takes one last sip before offering the jar to the boy. He’s fine with not having the whiskey, figures that’s enough drinking for one night, anyway.

At Jake’s next sentence, he blushes and rolls his eyes. Now he’s just tryin’ to fluster him.
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Re: Roadtrip: Dining Hall Aftermath

on Sat Oct 20, 2018 2:50 am
Noelle listens to Jake in his entirety, staying absolutely still. Something was up with him. And he was trying to deflect. That was his whole story, she decided. Deflecting, and based on this impromptu trip, running away. Not really dealing with the problem. It was something she knew she related to. And the alcohol was making her much more pliant, so she decided to say something, not letting Jake's further comments derail her. She tilts her head, sitting up "Jake, it's okay if ya need ta-"

"No, it's fine." 

Noelle blinked at him, the kid still not meeting her eyes. Alright. Whatever he was dealing with, it wasn't coming out easily. She was just about to try again, but Jake crawls to the trunk "I'm gonna go take a piss. Be back in a bit."

He pops the back and stands up. He sways for a moment but sets off in a direction towards the trees. The rain was spitting, but the clouds were much thinner, revealing a sherbert-like palette against the sky. It gave the area around them a strange, orange-gold filter. Noelle scooches over to the opening, about to follow him, feeling incredibly guilty.
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Re: Roadtrip: Dining Hall Aftermath

on Sat Oct 20, 2018 3:07 am
Tobi rises from behind her. One hand comes down to her shoulder, a silent command to stay. He moves to the back after Jake, turning around once he’s out and signing towards Noelle.

‘I got this.’

With that, he follows after Jake towards the woods. Kid isn’t saying anything, but Tobi thinks he understands. His family’s whole thing has been avoiding problems and running away when confronted with a situation that they don’t feel comfortable with. It’s why they lived in the woods and far away from any sort of civilization. It’s why Agnes worked as a park ranger. It’s what he feels every time something gets a little too overwhelming or he doesn’t know what to do.

There’s a constant itch under his skin to run. The university has always felt a little bit off with its small spaces and clockwork schedules, but he’s managed. Doesn’t mean he still doesn’t feel that pull back. Hell, after every major event he’s felt it: homecoming, the lawyer, family day, the cafeteria. It’s easier, he thinks as he follows Jake to the tree line. ‘So much easier to just run and forget.’

He just wants to check on him. Can’t really do much talking, but he can at least make sure he’s okay, listen if he wants to talk. If he needs space, fine, Tobi understands. But he ain’t about to just let him off into the woods alone without a check in.
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Re: Roadtrip: Dining Hall Aftermath

on Sat Oct 20, 2018 3:37 am
Jake walks the path from the morning. He walks right through the tree line, over a fallen trunk, and up a small hill. The rapidly decreasing sunlight pools at his feet, peaking through the mostly bare trees, illuminating the gold and red leaves that litter the ground. They crunch underfoot, hiding Tobi's own steps in his ears. The woods are oddly quiet from the aftermath of the storm. Soon, cicadas and toads will fill the air with sounds, as well as a soft breeze rustling the leaves. Eventually, he makes it to his spot from earlier.

Broken twigs and branches litter the ground in a circle that is clear from leaves, revealing some slippery mud. Two nearby trees have barked peeled off of the trunk, scratch marks, and low hanging branches stop unnaturally as if someone had pulled and broke them. A boulder sits, looking over the valley of leaves, trees, and a small creek that bubbles over. It looks as if a child threw a tantrum and left it.

Jake sits on the rock, sighing, running his fingers through his curls, grasping, pulling them straight outwards from him. His eyes stay fixed on the brook, and he picks up a rock at his feet. He weighs it in his hands, thinking about it. What it represents at that moment. And he throws it. It's fast and unfocused, hitting the hill and bouncing off. Jake frowns and grabs another, weighing it, and throwing.

It's a pattern he repeats, growing in fervor. It starts with tosses, but soon, he's standing, chucking them farther and farther. He runs out of rocks quickly, so he starts throwing twigs until those run out too. He picks up a branch and with a sickening CRACK, it breaks in two, snapping. Jake wasn't particularly strong, but the anger that he had been buried down was rising and he couldn't stop it. He raises his fist, and punches the tree, as hard as he can.

His knuckles pop and he recoils, shaking out the pain, hissing. Slowly, he sits back down on the rock, looking at his fingers. Soon, they would start bruising. They were probably broken. Easy fix. Well, easy enough. But he didn't want to speak any magic words and fix it. For a moment, he wants to wallow in the pain. He deserved it after all, with everything that he did. Trevor was probably sitting behind bars somewhere, or in a hospital, thinking Jake betrayed him. And when Jake got back to school, he wasn't going to deal with the stares.

Stares don't bother him when it was about his appearance. He was used to that. But pity? Regret? Relief? All for him knocking out his best friend? No. He wasn't quite ready. And he wasn't quite ready to talk about it with Noelle. She was dealing with enough. Tobi too. No, he had to deal with this on his own.

"Man up, Jacob." His father's gruff voice rang in his ears. He was always so strong and stern, always expecting the best out of him. Standing his ground. But Jake never quite measured up. His siblings had more useful abilities that help people, as did his father. His father raised all seven of them, had a full-time job, and coached different sports teams in their small town. And he never got overwhelmed. He pushed everyone so hard. And, if Jake was completely honest, he only took the scholarship because he thought it would motivate him to do something right. Something worthy of praise, for once in his life. And he convinced himself with Trevor that school wasn't that bad. That he could at least appreciate the social aspect of it. But that was gone. And Tobi and Noelle? They could do anything together. He saw that much yesterday when Noelle had created an environment for Tobi to manipulate. They didn't need a third to hold them back.

His fingers buzzed with pain, and he swallowed. He was being stupid. He needed to head back. Stop being overdramatic. He stared at his fingers and said a soft "HEAL"

With his good hand, he held onto his left side, groaning in immense pain, clutching his broken fingers to himself as they re-set themselves. He pants, screwing his face tightly in pure agony. It felt like a thousand hot needles were stabbing into his ribs, burning and carving into his bone. He crumples in on himself, rocking slowly back and forth, until the pain in his fingers subside. He holds his side, breathing heavily, before standing with a wince. Turning he locks eyes with... Tobi?

"Oh. Hey, man..." He overs a weak smile, the pain still etched across his face.
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Re: Roadtrip: Dining Hall Aftermath

on Sat Oct 20, 2018 11:10 am
Tobi steps silently after Jake on bare feet and into the clearing that he must have visited earlier. Soft golden light filters through the trees to land in dappled pools on the litter of leaves covering the ground. It’s a beautiful spot in the fading light of the sun. He can hear the soft bubbling of a nearby creek gurgling soft, sweet songs in the cool autumn air. Wind passes smoothly by Tobi as he picks his way through broken branches and thrown rocks. The light breeze scatters the leaves below him in a soft flurry as he passes with barely a crunch under his feet.

His eyes catch on the broken bark of the trees, torn in strips like someone had pulled them. Like Jake had pulled them. He was all for venting frustrations, but the torn bark wasn’t good, would hurt the trees in the long run. Dim nerves flare to life as he reaches out into this small space towards the injured trees. It’s not a deep fall, and every bit of him itches for that same feeling and depth he had felt just a night ago, but it’s enough. There’s a soft ‘crack’ and then a long, creaking groan as bark knits itself back together. Tobi lets go with a sigh just as Jake says his name.

Jake is there on the leaf litter floor clutching his hand and wincing in pain. It’s a strange sight made all the stranger by the smile he’s trying to give him as he stands back up. Tobi’s own lips quirk down in a frown as his brows knit together in worry. Combined with the broken trees, the thrown rocks, and the general disarray of the area, the picture of Jake his mind had been trying to piece together fades into view.


Jake's hurting.


He wants to offer words, wants to tell him he understands. There’s a million things happening right now and only a few of them good, that the situation they’ve been worked into is shit, that nothing seems fair or right or sensible. He wants him to know that you don’t have to be strong all the time, that people will understand if you’re less than a rock when something like this happens, as much as you want to be. Tobi wants to let him know that he feels the same way when it comes to problems that he can’t do anything about. The last time he had tried avoiding a problem, he has worked himself into, well, this. He looks down at the glowing nerves that he can see. They’re fading again after he fixed the bark, but still emit a soft luminescence that’s more visible in the growing dark.


His mouth opens, but nothing comes out. His hands raise, but Jake doesn’t understand sign.


They fall back to his side and hang for a moment. After a long pause, Tobi can feel himself start to move towards the boy. His feet hit the soft floor, his toes burying themselves in the comforting feeling of leaves and dirt. He can feel the age of this forest in the trees around them and the earth beneath them and he draws comfort from it. There’s a peace here, one that he knows Jake might not feel in the same way he does, but still. It’s not school, and that's all that matters right now.

None of them want to go back. He sees it in Noelle’s eyes and Jake had told him as much. Hell, he’d absently thought about running away earlier. They have to though, he knows they have too. They’ll struggle with the stares and the pity (god how Tobi hated the pity most of all), but they’ll go back to that quietly hostile campus. Their lives will pick up from the pause they left them on and they’ll each continues with their lives. He’ll have to face his scholarship problem again, his dwindling bank account, and the too small rooms. Jake will have to go back to a world without Trevor. They’ll lose whatever this is that they’ve found here, but he wants Jake to know that he won’t lose them.

Bare arms pull Jake towards him and into a hug. It’s a little awkward with the height difference, but Tobi makes it work. Jake’s so thin and so gangly; his arms wrap around with room to spare. The hug is his final option after words and sign, so he hopes it’ll do, hopes it'll help. When they break, he shoots him a silent look. It’s the culmination of everything he’s been thinking. There’s no pity there, no judgment, and nothing against the other boy. Only understanding. Maybe a hope that Jake will talk to him, but not an expectation.

He knows how scary it is to be vulnerable. Hell, he's still not used to it. But, he knows they're all hurting, and just that knowledge made him feel less alone and less like a failure in the wake of this mess.
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Re: Roadtrip: Dining Hall Aftermath

on Sat Oct 20, 2018 12:30 pm
He wasn't expecting the hug.

Jake was used to being the one giving the hugs, not receiving. With his slew of siblings, older and younger, he was used to dishing out hugs for tantrums, to calm fears and nightmares, to muffle cries. Being in the middle, he was expected to. And he didn't mind it. It equipped him with empathy and a natural desire to make everyone else feel good. So, it kind of hit home when Tobi saw him as someone who needed it. The guy couldn't communicate in any other way. Jake couldn't understand his words or his gestures, so it was only this that he could rely on. So, Jake does what his younger sisters did. He hugs back, gently.

Now, the sturdiness of his arms hit him in his ribs, knocking the wind out of him, making the pain in his ribs grow into a white heat. But he stays where he is, trapped in the other man's arm, his breathing slightly more labored. But he hugs back, shivering in the cold breeze and aftershocks of the storm. They break, and Jake takes a shaky breath.

"I'm... I'm fine. Thanks, man..." He lets it hang, knowing it's not enough "I'm not... I'm not the one who breaks. I try to hold it together? Or at least pretend I have it together. Or joke around that I don't. I don't just... fall. Not my style. I'd much rather-"

He breaks, his breath catching in his ribs and he gives a wheeze, holding his side. He catches his breath again and starts again "It's complicated. And fucked up. And stupid. And I do this thing where I just.. I gotta get out. I can't stay in one place. I get restless and antsy. And I leave. I always go back, no matter what. And I've pulled this shit since I got my license. And I bring people, like my siblings or my mom or my friends. And for the past year, that's been Trevor."

The name hangs in the air and he looks up at Tobi "He's not a bad guy. He had it worse than any of us. And he is going to get it worse if he ends up in jail. He doesn't have a chance. Or money. And his family is going to be devastated. And, at the end of the day, I was the one who did it to him. I was the one that screwed him over. I could have talked him down or been there to calm him down or defend him. Hell, I could have been the one that lost it and fought against you and Noelle. Instead..."

He trails off and sighs gripping his side as he stood up straight. "It's stupid. It could have been any of us. But it was Trevor, because he looked the part. And he's fucked, Tobi."
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Re: Roadtrip: Dining Hall Aftermath

on Sun Oct 21, 2018 1:54 am

As Jake starts to talk, Tobi listens. It’s all he can do in this moment with both words and motions unavailable to him. Jake talks about his insecurities, about how he doesn’t want to be seen as anything less than strong. It’s something Tobi can relate to. He had his Pa to look up to, literally look up to. That man was a mountain of sure action and stability; Tobi so desperately wanted to be that to those around him.

Jake’s clutching at his ribs again. Tobi moves forward to try and help, to try and do something, but Jake bats him away before continuing. Tobi chooses to stand in the dirt and debris and give Jake some space. Wind breaks through the space and kicks up some of the wet, dead leaves. They stick lightly against Tobi’s sweats, their damp seeping into the lower half of his pants. Then there’s the name.

That name brings them both back into the grim reality of what’s happened only a little more than twenty-four hours ago. Trevor’s outbreak and the subsequent fallout has hung heavy and unsaid throughout this entire trip. Jake’s right.


Trevor’s fucked.


Trevor’s fucked and there’s not a whole lot they can do about it. He stands there in the dark woods under the massive beautiful blanket of stars. Trevor’s fucked under the same stars that he’s watching, the view from wherever he is obscured by the heavy lights of the city. Surrounded by concrete instead of open space and old trees, alone and served piss poor prison food instead of drinking with friends in an old van. Same event, different consequences, and yet. It could have been any of them pushed to that same breaking point.

One thing’s for sure though.

“Not yer fault.” Tobi says in that scratchy, low timbre. Lord, words hurt right now, but Jake needs to hear them.
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Re: Roadtrip: Dining Hall Aftermath

on Sun Oct 21, 2018 2:37 am
Jake listens to Tobi, but honestly, can't find it in him to actually hear him.

Of course, it was his fault. Completely. Any way that Jake spun it in his head, there was one thing that ate at him. One thing that rang true. So he said it "Okay, but even if it wasn't my fault, I should have been there for him. I should have told those kids off or calmed him down or done a multitude of things that would have made this situation less fucked. But, no. It played out the way that it did and Trevor is going to probably rot away. They aren't gonna throw him a bone or give him anything that he might be able to defend himself. And with the way he looks, I don't even want to think about the attention that he's going to bring to himself."

Jake sighs, kicking a rock down the hilltop. The stars were blinking above him, shining, making him feel comfortably small. He had picked a good spot for them to be removed from school. One of his better choices. But it made him long for his friend and the small adventures they had gone on. The trips back home, where Jake would drop Trevor off in Illinois, but until they hit it, they ate trash food and listened to trash music and talked about everything and anything. How he would stop at Trevor's home, met by his kind mother. Thanked for how he had become the kids only friend. 

That was gone now.

Jake sighed, his arms falling to his side, grunting ever so slightly "It's just fucked up. And I'm standing here... powerless. I can't fix this. And part of me just wants to let them have it, just..."

He pauses, taking a deep breath, a smile returning to his lips "Which is why I needed to get out. Highmauve began to feel incredibly small, not big enough for me and those kids that pushed him into a corner. Pushing me into a corner. Not gonna let that happen if I can."

He is silent again, before letting his smile grow, but it doesn't hit his eyes as it did back in the van "You don't need to talk, man. It sounds rough. I appreciate the effort but don't waste words on me if they cause that much pain for you. Trust me, I know a lot about how painful words can be."
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Re: Roadtrip: Dining Hall Aftermath

on Tue Oct 23, 2018 4:56 pm
Tobi huffs out a laugh at Jake’s words. It’s a humorless, dead thing, but he remembers the boy on the ground at the cafeteria, saw him on the earthen floor just moments ago. It’s a pretty half-hearted attempt to make the situation lighter, but Tobi appreciates it.

It’s a shit situation all around, Tobi thinks as he sighs in time with the wind. His hands run through his curls, catching on the unrulier ones. A slight tug pulls his hand free as he looks up towards the stars above them. There’s nothing and everything in those stars, a visual escape from the thoughts in his mind. Tobi doesn’t want to go back. He doesn’t want to go back to the school, to the city, to his tiny little box. He understands Jake. He absolutely understands.

He understands the burn of anger, the tired resignation. He understands the appeal of never going back and the soft comfort of just giving up, of just saying to hell with everything and walking away though in a different way. The whispers of the world around him echo in his ears as he looks up at the stars. They beg him to stay. He doesn't say anything back, just looks at the star spattered black of the night sky.

He don’t know what to do. None of them do.
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Re: Roadtrip: Dining Hall Aftermath

on Tue Oct 23, 2018 6:24 pm
Jake kicks a rock down the hill, watching it stumble and fall down the side, rustling the leaves. He sighs and looks at Tobi. He knows that this guy knew something about running away, about needing an escape. A release. But this one was almost gone. They would leave tomorrow and arrive back to school, a little more world weary. A little more tired.

But Jake makes the decision to push it from his mind. Use this time to create memories instead of dwell on painful ones.

"Come on, let's get back." He still clutches his ribs, but he's got an ease about him now. He's not afraid of what's to come- or at least, he could fake it until he wasn't. Jake starts back, calling back to Tobi "You gotta see these stars from the clearing, man. Amazing. Best view I’ve seen in a while.”
___________________________

Back at the car,  Noelle is on top of the roof, making up an air mattress. She remembers that Jake had slept up there the night before. So she made the bed with precision and grace, using the pillows and blankets she saw the night before, as well as of her own blankets to wrap herself against the cold. Her eyes tilt up to the sky, silently marveling at the explosion of color and light. So many colors and patterns, it almost made her forget about everything. Next to her was a bowl of tortilla chips and carrots, as well as the Fireball and three bottles of water. A breeze rolls by and she shivers into it, smiling slightly.

But.

A tingly sensation hits her fingers and she is brought back down to earth. Her eyes focus, the tips of her index and middle finger stained with the dark ink she saw the day before. The same murky blackness that stuck her to the boulder, consuming whatever it touched. She frowns, slightly, carefully rubbing her fingers together. It seemed that the words that Jake spoke the night before had wore off, and the ink on her fingers seemed to meld with her flesh. Her long, well-kept nails were now fuzzy and diffusing into the air with the blackness, disappearing in the cool nighttime air. Fear grips her heart as she clenches her fists, hiding her fingertips into her palm. She’s staring out at the woods, now. Tobi would know what to do. And when he got back, she was determined to tell him about this.

But Tobi had enough to worry about, she reminded herself. Noelle had seen his gaze, his desire to stay. She feared that this could be the thing that plummets him over the edge.
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Re: Roadtrip: Dining Hall Aftermath

on Wed Oct 24, 2018 11:24 am
Tobi looks over at Jake as the other calls to him. A small smile makes it to his face as Jake tells him about the stars as he walks back towards the van. He can believe him. The view even from this dark forest and half obscured by trees? Incredible. He can only imagine the view from the clearing where they’re parked. Unobscured by the lights that are so common on campus, the view might even be like what he’s used to up in the mountains.

His feet follow Jake out of the forest and towards the van. Even from here, he can see Noelle on the top of the van on an air mattress, just looking up. He follows her gaze and wow. It’s just as he remembers from when he was a kid. Swathes of stars smeared against the dark sky, colors and patterns all painted in bright, vivid detail. He can pick out constellations his Ma and Pa had shown him years ago. There are ones that would help guide him home, those with a history behind them, those that his Ma just liked to find or had a special affinity for.

The cool breeze blows by him, but he’s plenty warm with the hoodie tied around his neck. He’s always been like his Pa in that he runs warm. Jake reaches the van then and starts to climb up. Tobi follows him onto the top and onto the mattress. His head dips in greeting to his lady already up there.
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Re: Roadtrip: Dining Hall Aftermath

on Wed Oct 24, 2018 12:14 pm
The only thing that could tear her eyes away from the galaxies overhead was the man that climbed on top of the car. She felt it shifting underneath her, adjusting to the new weight. She flicks her eyes and any previous thought about the ink, the worries about going back completely disappeared. Tobi, shirtless and solid swam into her vision and a small, relaxed smile plays in her lips. As he sits up on top with her, she automatically moves closer, his warmth comforting her more than a blanket ever could. 

Then, Noelle's eyes flick to Jake, who smiled up at her impishly before he grabbed one of his blankets, and climbed into the back of the trunk. Part of her was surprised- she knew the top of the car was probably his favorite spot. But another was relieved. Because it seemed as if she and Tobi could have a moment completely and utterly alone. Her heartbeat quickened its pace, thumping gently against her ribs. The feelings of pure bliss that she had experienced in those brief moments earlier that day began to swirl and twist in he, giving everything rounded out edges. But she could wait to catch her breath. Enjoy the night for itself.

They sat in silence for a couple minutes, Noelle leaning against Tobi's bulk for support and warmth. In these few minutes, she consciously slows her heartbeat to an ever pleasant flutter. Also, during this time, Jake threw up Tobi's old quilt without an exchange of words or even a knock on the roof. He just flung it over, which only gave a reason for Noelle's smile to grow. She leans over, reaching for it, and pulls it towards them. But when she turns back, she is caught in the sight of Tobi again. And her heart stops. Against the night sky, against the treeline, he looked more at home than Noelle had ever seen him. She found herself caught between now and the future. Could this be her future? In the middle of nowhere, with the man that she loved? Maybe even without care or worry?

The thought brings unparalleled warmth to her eyes and she found herself crawling back to him, over him, until her nose was only a fraction of an inch away. She stares at him with steam and love, biting her lip ever so slightly. Her arms brush against his bare skin as she places them on the air mattress to brace herself. Noelle gives a private smile and murmurs, staring into him "Hey. Do you want to pick up where we left off?"
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Re: Roadtrip: Dining Hall Aftermath

on Wed Oct 24, 2018 5:52 pm
Tobi doesn’t even register Jake leaving. His eyelids fade shut once he settles himself on the top of the van. There’s so much here; the aftermath of the storm brings with it the quiet, summer winds. He can feel it ruffle through the tree line around him like a soft sigh, feel it fade in and out like the gentle breaths of an old god. It’s a feeling so familiar and for a single, beautiful moment, he’s back home in the mountains that were floor to his feet for so long.


He’s back there in his own space, in his own nature. Trees, ancient in their knowledge surround him. Stars, beautiful in their age and sentinel protection guide him. Earth, steady and powerful, give him a foundation on which to build. The words in his head quiet in the face of his quiet recollections and soft sentimental benedictions. Worries that had so enveloped him earlier fade to seem so insignificant in the sudden, immense feeling of… of… he searches for a word. How would he describe this? This feeling of peace washing through his frame, this sudden dissolving of every ache and tension in his body? It’s as if someone’s yanked every coiled spring inside him loose to leave him pliable. Like… a settling. He’s settling into this space, into this feeling.

He’s happy here. The peaceful smile that graces his face is proof enough of that. This is what he wants, what he’s missing, what school has taken from him like a thief in the night. He hadn’t even noticed it was gone with as settled into his routine he was. Heartbeats in time with the steady rhythm of the earth pound slow and steady in his broad chest as his eyes open to look towards the sky. Dark eyes sharper than they’ve ever been glitter like the starlight he’s caught in. He’s voluntarily trapped in the strips of freckled dark sky, washed in the overwhelming smallness it makes him feel. There’s fingers there, pulling him easily into the world around and oh, he’s so willing to go with them. Static and birdsong fill his ears as his mind begins to pitch back into the black and upturned hands of the earth and sky, ready to be bent and broken and taken into the world’s sweet embrace.


But there’s a pressure on his legs, unexpected and pressing. His eyes flicker open once more as whatever spell he was under is broken. Filling his vision is Noelle, his Noelle. He blinks.


He’s all too aware of her arms brushing against his bare skin, the feeling of them running electric through his veins and over his nerves. She sets him alight like the starlight above them, a beautiful backdrop for the fond smile in front of him and familiar longing in those eyes. She’s a queen, a beautiful confident queen in their private domain of field and cosmos. A quilt is her clock, the galaxies weaving hazy starlight into a crown for her to wear. Old gods be damned, his blessings belong here and to her.

To her question, he can’t give her the answer in words, so he works in the way he can. He wants to touch, so he does. He wants to kiss, so he does. His hands bracket themselves at the small curve of her hips and draw her in deeper towards him. Dark eyes close as his lips meet hers. The warmth of earlier heated gazes comes roaring back in an instant and he’s thinking back, not thinking at all. Thinking back to how he wanted to touch, wanted to learn every inch of her, tell her things, make her happy. He’s not thinking as he whispers strange words between kisses in rumbles of earth and fleeting birdsong, early mornings and fading twilights, starlight and moonlight and midsummer days.


The sky is full of song, yet he hears none of it. Only her heartbeat flutters fast in his ears. There’s nothing in his mind but her as she moves against him and lights his nerves luminescent.
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Re: Roadtrip: Dining Hall Aftermath

on Wed Oct 24, 2018 8:16 pm
Lips scrape against lips, skin against skin. Noelle was set aflame, needing to taste, touch, feel, live in the non-existent space that was between them. Her skin is flushed, her eyes closed, and for once, Noelle began to operate on pure instinct. She stopped thinking- she didn’t need to think. Or speak. The only noise that escapes her lips is soft whimpers and even softer squeaks that show her attentiveness and want. She wanted this. Needed this. Needed him. Tobi. 

The name brought her pleasure. And comfort. A safety. Something she was used to not having. It was nice to have someone like that. Someone like Tobi, the opposite of the others that had laughed at her, who had left her. In her heart and soul, no matter how bad that it got, he would never leave her. And having that comfort was everything she needed. Even his name. It was strong, sturdy, and could outlast any storm or weathering.

“Tobi…”

Noelle murmurs it, her mouth open against him, speaking his name into and for him. Only for him. Without thinking, she raises her hands to his hair, pressing her chest into his now. His bare chest. She becomes very intimate with that fact, pressing closer. Becoming more intimate. Her fingers begin to thread in his hair, the ink she had been so worried about staining his curls. Not that she noticed or cared. The tips of her fingers catch on the curls, and she sighs into him, one of pure bliss. 

She continues kissing him, her lips parted ever so slightly. In an act of pure brazen confidence, her teeth found his lower lip and nipped, tugging ever so slightly. She releases, opening her eyes, which were stars. Sparkling, rivaling those caught behind her.
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Re: Roadtrip: Dining Hall Aftermath

on Wed Oct 24, 2018 10:57 pm
Her tiny noises are all that he can hear. They slowly fill his hearing, bless him with something other than the sounds of the wind, something altogether sweeter. He’s never liked anything sweet, finds the taste cloying, but this? Her pressed against him and singing praises in sighs and squeaks? That he could get used to. Fingers reach in the pearly dark for her, desperate for her. He knows he’s always been reckless in his love, falling too fast and too hard for those people and those things he latches on too. His heart is in her gentle, pale white hands to either hold or crush and lord, it’s a rush.

Those same gentle hands tangle in his hair, pulling at the rough curls and scratching the line of his scalp. The move draws a sigh from deep inside of him and urged on at the sound of his name. It’s a pity he can’t return the favor. Instead, sounds roll off his tongue, little sighs of mountain air, early, foggy mornings, the soft lilt of moving water; just little declarations of love.


She bites his lip then and any little thoughts he had been thinking evaporates in a little huff of air. She’s finding every tiny key to riling him up and right now, with her biting soft at his lips, the need in him flares and crests. She pulls away soft as if she hadn’t just shut down his mind in one smooth effort and he opens his eyes slow, still savoring the aftermath of that kiss. Eyes like dark stars stare back at him, all too knowing and just this side of playful.

He can’t help it, he laughs. Deep and rumbling, it echoes in his dense chest as he pulls her closer against him. Every inch of him is keening for her in this moment, the product of earlier stolen kisses, a denial of the day to follow, and an outpouring of love for her. It’s a mess of emotions and a maelstrom of feelings, but she makes them all fade to one focus: her.

His body leans back with one hand supporting himself and the other settled heavy on her lower back. He’s content to let her touch and to be here with her, so long as it makes her happy. Anything to make her happy. His head bobs in to kiss at the junction of her jaw and neck, teeth grazing just lightly as he parts.
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Re: Roadtrip: Dining Hall Aftermath

on Wed Oct 24, 2018 11:37 pm
He speaks and Noelle soars. While she would admit she didn't understand him in any way besides emotion, she felt the meaning behind the words. Love. Complete, unerring love. She leans into him more, holding herself upright with a gentle tug of his hair, with her legs over his. After she released her bite, she first felt ashamed. Had she gone too far? She was so inexperienced in love, in contact. Like all things, she didn't want to make a mistake. Didn't want to spoil this moment.

But his eyes met hers.

Dark eyes with those grey rings. Anyone else could see those eyes, see them as strange and unnatural. But what they were communicating, what they were really saying. The man in front of her had been a master of reading her own silent language of subtle looks and affects. But there wasn't anything subtle about the pure heat and admiration that he was radiating. He saw her above anyone. Everything. Which was grand, as she did to him.

As he laughs and pulls her closer, Noelle's knees squeeze around his hips, stabilizing herself. His hand brushes her back, and she melts into him, giving the softest moan humanly possible. In this moment, all of her walls come down. Each and every one that had been built to keep the pain and hurt out had tumbled as he held her close, needing her, wanting her. And while she might have held his heart in her slender fingers, her own lay vulnerable for the first time in a decade. It was freeing. It was perfect.

One of Noelle's hands drifts down from his hair to his neck as he kissed the spot between her jaw and neck. She leaned her head back, exposing more for him to kiss and bite and taste. The teeth create a buzz in her mind, blood rushing to her ears. She gives out an involuntary hum, her hand now resting on his shoulder, absently feeling the hoodie around his neck. With deft precision, she unties it, running her fings across the back of his neck, tracing each nerve each scar, each freckle by touch alone. then onto his chest. She doesn't see the ink smearing across his body, marking him unconsciously as her own and her's alone. Her nails begin to dig into his left pectoral, needing to feel him underneath the tips of her fingers. She needed to feel more. So much more.

She remembered the smile, the sparks when they had swapped sweaters before. How Tobi's eyes shown with adoration. In a swift motion, she pulls her hands out from him and at the base of the sweatshirt, pulling upwards. It's much quicker than before, and there is a sudden flash of pale skin shining in the paler light of the moon. It gives her a soft, dewy glow, her pale brown hair reflecting the cool light, creating a soft halo at the crown. Noelle opens her eyes again, smiling.

Then frowns.

Her eyes trail from his chest, where a black trail, darker than the void of the night surrounding them, snaked up from his chest to his neck, to the tips of his hair. She then looks at the sweatshirt in her hands- it was Tobi's. And it was now covered in thick, tar-like muck that stuck her hand like rubber cement. She drops it quickly, looking at her own hands, her lip trembling. Noelle's palms were completely covered in the same ink that stained Tobi. That now stained her own stomach and chest where she brushed against her own skin. A quick swipe on her nose to her forehead. Her eyes are wide with fear, her fingers quickly closing into fists. No. No. Not now. Not when things were this perfect. She pulls herse;f inward, physically and emotionally, so close to just shutting out and off. Like she had before. "Tobi, I- I'm sorry... I didn't'-"

Her voice betrays her and cracks. She suddenly becomes aware of how exposed she was, how vulnerable. Noelle stays on Tobi's lap, shaking. Unsure of what to do. What to say. She squeezed her hands tight, causing the ink to bubble and well up, dripping onto her stomach and jeans.
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Re: Roadtrip: Dining Hall Aftermath

on Thu Oct 25, 2018 12:14 am

Dark eyes open when he feels Noelle stop above him. Her legs bracketing his own waist throws off his thought process something fierce. It takes him a solid moment to pull himself out of that daze and ignore the heat pooling low in his gut to look towards Noelle, to check in on her and see how she’s doing.

She’s taken off the sweatshirt. His sweatshirt. While it had been something special to see her in something that was so clearly his, he’s got to admit that her shirtless is a welcome change. He’s aching to touch her dewy skin, pale as the stars around her. His hands trail up her sides, the touch featherlight, up to the sides of her chest. Large calloused hands bracket her thin torso and revel in the change of texture between the softness of her skin and the cotton bra.

But then her voice is worried. His brows knit together in worry. What went wrong, what’s making her sound so nervo-… oh.


One of his hands comes up to swipe a smear of ink off her nose. That’s new.


Of course something like this had to happen now. Right here, with his girl in his lap under stars almost a beautiful as she was. Surrounded by forest and autumn breezes and tall grass that whooshes softly whenever that breeze passes by. In a place where he’s found peace for at least a day, where he had finally felt stable after weeks of being knocked off balance. He still wants this, wants her, and to hell with a little ink. The universe owes him one after all the shit it’s thrown at him.

The palm of one hand settles under her chin as the thumb swipes along the line of her jaw. Eyes dark as sin look at her, really look, as he digs up whatever words he has left underneath that strange language.

“Darlin,” he starts, voice law and rough. “If ya’ll wanna stop, we’ll stop. But righ’ now, I wan’ you more than anythin’ in this world. A little ink ain’t gonna worry me.”

It’ll worry him later, he decides. In five minutes, in ten minutes, maybe an hour. They’ll talk about it later. Later holds so many obligations and worries, what’s one more in the scheme of things?
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Re: Roadtrip: Dining Hall Aftermath

on Thu Oct 25, 2018 12:44 am
Noelle refused to look at him, her eyes shining with tears. Of course this would happen. Whenever there was a pocket of happiness, a moment of bliss, something had to crash down. Her thoughts swim to the day before, the pool of ink sucking her down into it, her hand outstretched on a boulder she had created, glued from movement, the ink consuming whatever it touched. Was that what was happening? Was she going to be consumed? Drowned?

But his voice had brought her back.

The clear, rough sound of his voice zaps her focus back to his eyes, which still rippled with pure attraction. Which shocked her. Even covered in ink, her hands bleeding it, he didn't see her as a monster. A freak. Subconsciously, she leans into his thumb, the tears in her eyes sucking themselves back. The look in his eyes told her that he wanted more. That he would stop if she wanted it. But his words matched his eyes. He wanted her more than anything.

Did she want more?

Her body answered for her as she surged forward to plant another kiss on his lips, holding her hands between them, cautiously keeping them separate for a moment, just to make sure that it wouldn't consume him too. As she opened her mouth and tilted her head, she realized something. When the earth was crashing down around them, what choice did she have but hold whatever she had close? And Tobias Rudolf Maynard was the best she could have hoped for. Gentle, sweet, tender, loving. No judgment. He was right. This ink wasn't sucking her in, wasn't bubbling at her feet. It smeared, it streaked, but it stayed still. Tobi was right. A little ink could wait. They both needed this. To hold onto one another.

So, she carries on where he left off, carefully taking his arms, and wrapping them around her shoulders, around her newly exposed skin. She wanted to feel his rough, calloused fingers on her back, her stomach, her chest. Everywhere. Anywhere. Her knees squeeze again, pushing herself even closer, even tighter. Noelle trails kiss to his ear, leaving a trail of wet saliva up his cheek. Once she reaches her destination, she nuzzles into his hair and says in a soft voice just for him.

"No more words."

With shaking hands, she touches his bicep with one hand, tracing patterns, trailing ink. The other cups his jaw, as he had done to her so often before. An offering. As shitty as the situations they found themselves in, this carnal pleasure was something that made it worthwhile. To find her person. Tobi. Tobi...

She kept to her instincts, her teeth tugging on his earlobe ever so slightly, teasing him. She hoped he liked it, hoped it drove him wild. She then trails kisses down his jawline, down his neck, to his chest. Noelle lingers, her hand landing on his chest again, her long fingers settling, smearing. touch touch touch. It was a mantra, repeating over and over in her mind. She didn't want this moment to ever go away. And even though her eyes were closed, she knew the sky shined above them. The breeze caressed them, but Noelle only feels warmth.
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Re: Roadtrip: Dining Hall Aftermath

on Thu Oct 25, 2018 11:53 am
Tobi is more than willing to let himself be led to her at her own pace. He wants her to feel in control even if he can see the loss of it smeared on his arms, in his hair probably, along her own torso. There’s no shame in that though, no shame in a loss. His own dark eyes and lightning bright nerves scream counterpoint to the argument. The imperfections of nature, the clutter and debris of autumn, the power inherent in landslides and storms; imperfection is something he’s used to. Something that he finds beautiful.


And lord, she’s beautiful.


He needs to touch, needs to feel her underneath his hands. They roam even as he tilts his head to give her better access to his neck. Lips tilt upward as her soft words reach his ears. It’s certainly fine by him, he thinks with a wry smile as she nuzzles into him. She can’t hear the song that surrounds her, can’t hear the symphonies his mind screams for her in the autumn breeze around them, in the whisper of leaves falling from trees, and the rolling ripple of tall grass. Can’t hear how every fiber of him keens for her touch, for her perfect imperfections as she lingers her touch on his chest. How the heavy bass thud of his heart stutter steps at the sight of her in front of him.

His fingers tangle in the softness of her hair, savoring the feeling there. Heavy hands trace down her spine to relax at the dimples further down and rub small circles in her thin hips. There’s a fire building in him as his lips meet hers again in a desperate desire to let her know how much he wants her, how much in this moment he burns only for her. His teeth catch on her bottom lip as they part.


He wants to touch, to kiss, to bite, to give her the attention she so deserves.
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Re: Roadtrip: Dining Hall Aftermath

on Thu Oct 25, 2018 12:55 pm
Noelle shudders as his hands touch her back, his fingers rubbing into her hips. Her own lips meet his in desperation, needing something solid to keep her grounded, to keep her tethered to the here and now. She wanted this, wanted him. The desire burned her from her chest outwards, her fingers now trembling as they trail lower onto his abdomen. As his slightly sharp teeth catch on her lips, which causes a soft moan to leave them. She blinks, blushing slightly. He was making her feel completely unraveled. Untamed. She relishes it.

Somehow, she pushes herself closer, her bra pressing against his chest, her lips crushed against his. One hand goes to his hair, pulling, tangling to and from his scalp. Without think, her hips roll against his. And Noelle pauses. Her face turning bright red, embarrassed by her own brazenness. Did she really just do that? A million, billion thoughts rolled in her head. Was she too much? Was she taking to far? Did he still want more?

But.

It felt really really good.

So incredibly good. Noelle's mind shifted to the words that tried to describe her feelings that swished in her. A feeling that would take sonnets, novellas, and epics to fill with its definition. It was so simple but so immense, encompassing her. Warming her. Making her forget about everything but the night sky and his form under her.

So she did it again. This time, moving her lips to his neck, kissing, biting, sucking ever so gently, her lips in a smile, her breath warm against him. Her spit mixes with the smears of ink, combining and swirling. But she only could taste him, just as she wanted. Just as she needed. Noelle's fingers that tangle in his hair scrape his scalp, scratching in the most satisfying way. Even in the dark night, covered in black stains, she only saw light.
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Re: Roadtrip: Dining Hall Aftermath

on Fri Oct 26, 2018 12:58 am

It’s entirely unexpected what she does with her hips. Entirely unexpected and yet so, so welcome. It fizzles bright in his brain, popping out thoughts like the sudden sharp rush of a broken balloon. The voices are nothing against this rush, this feeling pooling low in his stomach. That fire that burned so quiet earlier now threatens to consume him, to leave him ashen on the top of this beat up van.

“Gotdamn,” he swears without a flicker of that strange language. His neck is tilting open to her as her hands scratch at his scalp in the most pleasant of ways. “Gotdamn, darlin.” His voice is low and breathy, worked up and so, so satisfied. She’s found ways to rile him so fast and as her hips tilt a second time, he see stars both behind his eyes and in front of them.

His lips find her wherever he can: her cheeks, her neck, the junction between where her neck ends and her chest begins. Hips roll against hers in an almost reactionary movement as something rumbles deep in his chest, something that would sound a lot like a moan were he to let it past his lips. Calloused fingers catch lightly on her smooth skin as he moves them from her hips to the top of her thighs and the soft fabric there.
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Re: Roadtrip: Dining Hall Aftermath

on Fri Oct 26, 2018 1:16 am
With a swift motion, Noelle places both of her hands on his chest as her lips catch his jaw, his neck, and she gently pushes him down. Flat on his back, she sits on top, reveling in the moment of complete satisfaction. Her hands drag from his chest to his stomach, tracing muscle and scars, staining, marking him with her ink. It was messy and completely unlike her. But it didn't matter. His hips bump into hers and she smiles, hungrily, eyes lit in desire. 

Her slender fingers trail past his abdomen, to the elastic band of his sweatpants. Her nails gently dig into his hips, into his skin.

And he speaks.

Her eyes flick to his, and she leans down, her hair now falling like a curtain, blocking their faces to the night sky. Her lips curl into a sultry smile, a look that has never settled there before. Never had a reason to. Her fingers flutter to the waistband of his sweats, and in a moment of pure desire, she snaps the band of his pants against him. At the same time, Noelle lets her lips meet the space between his ear and jaw. "Yes?"

Noelle is practically purring, as the word leaves her lips. One hand leaves his hip, moving towards his own worn fingers. Guiding them to the slight curve of her thigh. Any fear or anxiety had been thrown out the window. She wanted him. Wanted him to show her everything with these new feelings that swirled and twisted in her gut, her chest. Her lips quested forward, becoming incredibly acquainted with the spot where his jaw met his neck.
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Re: Roadtrip: Dining Hall Aftermath

on Fri Oct 26, 2018 1:55 am

He goes down so easy under her touch. She’s never had to push hard to get him to do what she wants, never had to really put any pressure on him. Now though, shirtless and hands on his own bare chest, he hits his back faster than ever before. His body is eager to fall, eager for her, pining and keening for her. Dark eyes look into her own and he sucks in a sharp breath. The look there is something deep, almost possessive. It lights him in desire, every inch of his body craving her.

Slender fingers find the waistband of his sweats and he nearly stops breathing.

Heart thumping heavy in anticipation, he watches her. Watches the way her expression curls into something new but entirely wanted. She’s toying with him, finding confidence, and he wants that. Wants to be a part of that. His hands are eager to follow hers to the soft curve of her thigh, the thin muscle underneath the pants she’s wearing. He wants to follow this feeling and chase it to its final end. Wants it so bad, wants her so bad, he thinks as his large hands trace the bend of her thigh from the outside in.

She asks him a question, and he thinks the answer should be pretty obvious by now.

“Yes. Lawd, yes, darlin’.” He replies low and breathy. The smile that meets hers is warm and wry, lopsided and so very fond. His eyes are blow wide and bright as the stars she’s blocking. She’s his everything in this moment, so full in his vision that he hardly needs the galaxies above him or the trees around.

She hits a spot just along the artery in his neck and he sighs deep enough to rival the winds in his mountain home. “Darlin’.” He murmurs, sounding like happiness so soft and worn in. It’s a happiness born of simple pleasures and easy love. Of love under stars and a pretty girl to share it with.

His calloused fingers play with the edge of her own sweatpants, tracing featherlight patterns in the skin just above the elastic.
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Re: Roadtrip: Dining Hall Aftermath

on Fri Oct 26, 2018 2:15 am
Noelle listens and gives a breathless laugh against his neck, her warm breath hitting the skin gently. She is now leaning down to him, one hand trailing underneath the elastic, twisting in the thick, downy hair of Tobi's thigh. Her other hand leads his again, this time up to the hooks of her bra. Once the rough hand reaches it, she takes her hand and places it on Tobi's jaw, tracing the familiar pattern that she had done earlier that day.

Her lips linger on the spot that made him sigh. She kisses it again, biting ever so gently, leaving the softest hint of red. The next morning, it would darken, evidence of the night that they shared together on top of a strangers van. It was a crazy world that they lived in- the day before had so much destruction, so much confusion. And here, there was peace. Love. Desire. Hope.

It fluttered in her chest. As much as Noelle was a realist, even a pessimist, she was also a writer- romantic in her words and thoughts. And the notion of hope fluttered in her chest, just as it alleged flitted out of some long-forgotten box. The hope of love existing in a world that had so much ignorance and hate. The hope of a future with a man that she loved, that she held in high regard. Hope that things might turn out fine, and lovely, and wonderful.

She stops kissing for a moment to place her head in the crook of his neck. Pausing. Catching her breath. Allowing her hands to feel his jaw and his muscular leg. Her next words are breathless and true, murmured in between his hair and neck "I love you."
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Re: Roadtrip: Dining Hall Aftermath

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