A Fragile Immortality
Jennifer twitted- four successes.
Niobe makes waffles! After we eat, the motley is checking out facebook when Ms. Stewart arrives.
Gabriel quickly minimizes all the windows on the computer and we offer her breakfast. She politely turns us down.
Ms. Amanda Stewart then proceeds to lecture us for five hours on how to evade stressed situations. Sensing we’re properly chastised- she heads out. And we make lasagna.
Gabriel calls and leaves a message with Jennifer’s mom, asking to reschedule their date for Wednesday.
We add the dream pledge to the motley oath.
Lacey Ann and Sid sparkle (blow) each other awake.
They all drop Niobe off at the middle school. Then, like a mob come to reign down revenge, the rest of the motley enter the hallways- and the halls fall silent as they watch the motley enter- then split to go to their respective classes.
“See you later!” Lacey Ann is cheery.
“Okay.” Gabriel replies.
“Don’t do anything bad.” Is more of Cole’s prayer than actual advise.
Lacey Ann heads off to her first class, chemistry class. One of the girls in her class, Christie is eying Lacey Ann, then looking away. She’s pretending to take notes, before class starts. Being the social girl that she is, Lacey Ann pipes up,
“How was your weekend?“
“Good.” At least she didn’t pretend that Lacey Ann wasn’t talking to her.
“I went shopping.” Lacey Ann tries to keep the conversation cheery.
“Michael’s your foster brother, right?“
“Yes?” Lacey Ann doesn’t understand where this is going.
“Is it true? I heard he pulled a knife on some guys. I heard he stabbed a guy in the chest” Christie leans in conspiratorially.
“What?! No. I don’t think he had a knife.“
“I heard he took on four guys, including Jimmy“
“He’s had a few rough years and knows how to fight dirty.” Lacey Ann tries to explain how her unarmed foster brother was just protecting himself.
2nd Period, Gabriel walks into class, almost late. There’s an empty swathe of chairs around his usual seat. The two buddies from Saturday are there, in his 2nd period World history Class. Eddie and Sam are surrounded by a crowd of six or seven kids and Michael walks in to hear, “_And then he took a knife and stabbed Jimmy in the calf.” Michael walks past them to his seat and the listeners flee as he nears them. Michael looks Eddie and Sam right in the eyes. They look away.
Mr. Rick Potter walks in as usual, “Good morning. Did you all have an inter-good weekend?” Then he notices the Michael centered moat of desks. He sucks up five fear from the students. “I see someone forgot to shower.” is his only remark, as he launches into the lesson. Michael is the only one focused, the rest of the class is sneaking furtive glances at Michael. Eddie and Sam are looking straight ahead, but more with the intent stillness of prey- if I don’t move, he can’t see me- rather than the intense concentration that Michael is pouring into the lesson. As the bell rings, Mr. Potter calls out, “Michael, can I see you after? ...Class, I hope to see you sitting so far forward in the class and so attentive more regularly in the future.“
The students flee. After the last one leaves, Mr. Potter turns and locks the door. He’s in the shadows of the … florescent lights? Ah, autumn. “So, Gabriel, were you terrorizing the students before class?“
“No, I guess they were worked up from some rumors.“
“I heard about Tommy and Jimmy. And… thanks for the fear, it was a tasty treat. From the direct fear, I think Eddie and Sam were there“
“Yeah. Um, I guess you’re welcome? I wasn’t trying to scare them.“
“Yeah. The courts, it’s a great synergy. Desire invokes wrath, invokes fear, invokes sorrow…“
At the middle school lunch, Niobe gets approached by another student.
“I heard your brother beat up four guys!“
“He scared three off and one tripped and hurt his leg.” Niobe downplays the incident.
“Jimmy’s little brother was saying that he pulled a knife!“
“Well, he’s a liar! And anyway, Jimmy and Jeremy are both bullies so I’m sure he deserved it!“
At the high school lunch, Sid is holding court.
“I heard your foster brother did time.” One of the guys approaches Sid.
“What?” Sid is startled by the new rumor.
“Yeah. Lacey Ann told Christie who told Joe… that he did a few hard years…“
“Yes.” Sid rolls his eyes. “You remember what we are, right? Foster brothers, foster sisters, foster system, orphans… we don’t have it easy. Life isn’t all marshmallow fluff and plush pillows and room service.“
The high school motley kids fill up on glamour at lunch.
Trade Class time, Shop Class
Poor Cole, just wants to do class stuff hears the rumor going around, that Michael is the badest of the “Bad Six”.
Katie comes up, “Is Michael doing okay?“
“I heard he got into trouble this weekend.“
“Yeah, he’s a little bruised, but that’s what happens when you go up against a bunch of kids with a grudge.“
“They’re taking bets for what he went to juvie for.” Katie reveals.
“What?” Juvie? Cole wonders.
“One bet is that he killed his parents and that’s what got him sent through juvie and into a foster home.“
“Uh, no.” Cole’s response is direct. “Don’t encourage those rumors.” He thinks about getting in on the bet, though.
“Yeah, the rumors? They’re beyond my ability to contribute to them or try to stop.“
Cole gets avoided by the other students and keeps an eye on Katie, so he can avoid her. With the sudden avoidance and lack of kids asking for help, Cole actually gets a turn on the lathe and gets some work done.
Lacey Ann starts to notice that people aren’t talking to her, they’re avoiding her, and she’s picking up fear from them. She hears little snippets, “She seems like such a nice girl… I wonder what she did?“
Mr. Potter feeds a lot.
As the day progresses, Micheal’s teachers get more and more nervous… then, after lunch, they’re back to normal.
Jennifer and her friends come to watch Tommy’s there, he’s bruised with tape on his noe. Eddie’s on the track team. Tommy and Eddie have a clique, some people are chilling in the middle, and some of the track team is hanging out around Michael. “Hi, Michael.” His pack instinct kicks in. Coach shows up and looks over the segregated groups.
“Okay, let me tell you how it’s going. I don’t care who does what. Next one to start anything is off the team for the rest of the year. Am I clear?“
“Yes.” Michael’s response is loud and clear.
“Yes.” Is Tommy’s sullen mumble.
The whole team ends up with a lot of relays and hard punishment type work. When Michael’s clique is up, lots of cheers can be heard. When Tommy’s group is up… nothing.
Niobe meets up with Cole after school.
“How was your day?” Cole asks.
“Good. But, they heard about Ga- I mean Michael’s fight. I told them it was bullshit” Gasps and covers her mouth, shocked that she said a naughty word, as Cole’s eyebrows are raised. “I said that he’d just scared them off and Jimmy hurt his leg falling while he was trying to run away._” “People were avoiding me!” Lacey Ann shares her experience, sadly.
When we get home, Niobe makes the bacon, Gabriel cleans the lettuce, we make baked potatoes. It’s Soup Kitchen night. Lacey Ann preens before heading to the Spring meeting.
“Be careful. Don’t give it up until you get the right price.” Is Sid’s… “advice”.
“What?! Not. For. Sale.” Lacey Ann is affronted. And Sid discussing how they could get a great price for her virginity. The rest of the motley is Not. Amused.
Mr. Winters is rather happy. The crowd is general chattering before time for the meeting to start.
“Okay, everyone, take your seats.” Garrett sits two rows back, one row left, from Lacey Ann. “I’d like to thank Lacey Ann and Sid for helping in the kitche, I know it’s a hard job, _” general snickers are heard all around, “_But, somebodies got to do it.“
“Thank you for entrusting us with such monumental tasks.“
Various and other thanks are shared. “I know as soon as the meeting is over, you’ll be gossipping, so let’s get some work done. Our next event is Mayday, or, for you hippie and pagan freaks, Beltane. ... Who am I kidding? Beltane…” He discussing the drum circles, volunteers, the location as a farm in Loudon, Summer court hunting for a feast in the hedge on which to feast on. Sid offers after the meeting to help the Joyeux, As she’s also the Martial and just kinda ended up as the Joyeoux, she’s been looking for an apprentice and is hugely relieved.
“Excellent! Here’s how it’s going to work, you tell me what you need, I’ll supply.“
“You’ve been before. Do we plan for six or thirty guests staying over?“
And the planning is now firmly in Sid’s hands. “Most stuff happens after dark.“
“Anything going on in court?“
“Mostly Mr. Garrett burning holes in the back of Lacey Ann’s head._” David is also watching her.
Gabriel does the rounds with Nightwatch. Tells a real story. Nothing worth mentioning happens.
Gabriel brings fresh donuts home with him at 5am and does his homework. Sid gets a donuts and blows Gabriel awake.
Come breakfast, Niobe looks at Sid, “Do you sleep?“
“Yes.” Sid’s answer is matter of factly.
“At night?” Niobe’s curiosity isn’t finished.
“Well, I don’t sleep at school.” He dodges the question.
“Okay.” Niobe doesn’t want to know any more.
“You’re always up when I get in.” Gabriel observes.
“We all have our own biorhythms to worry about.“
“Yeah… I didn’t ant to know.“
The group drops Niobe off at middle school, then enters the high school together. Picture “The Craft” when they walk down the hall, they’re in slow motion, everyone moves out of their way and stops talking, just whispering to each other. They don’t really notice too much and then split to go to their separate classes.
Lacey Ann dressed extra girlie to try to keep from intimidating people. A skirt, just past her knees, frilly top, low pigtails.
In Michaels’ classes, the kids around him seem less stressed and no one scoots their desk away from him or avoids the desks or moves when he sits down, at least. He’s treated like a sharp knife.
Michael and Jennifer furtively make out at lunch.
The day goes through, incident free.
Lacey Ann tries to radiate calm and composure… comes across as an Ice Princess. (There was no seduction in my radiation! Amanda to Josh)
Christine sits on one side of Gabriel, Jeffrey sits on the other.
“Hi! How you doing?” Christine asks.
“Hi.” Gabriel’s answer is short.
“Heard you had a hard weekend.” Christina mentions.
“Yeah. Just high school drama… four guys jumped me.” Gabriel and Christina chat for an awkward few minutes.
“Hi. How’s Lacey Ann doing?” Jeffrey asks when the conversation with Christina has dwindled out.
“Any issues at school?” Jeffrey asks.
“Little anxious. not much though.“
Most of the crowd murmurs and embarrassed sounding “Yes.” Jeffrey’s is a shy but clear affirmative. Christina murmurs, “Mostly.“
“Beltane’s up next. Not a freehold event, so feel free to skip, if you want. We’re working security. Feel free to volunteer. If you’re new, don’t. Security can’t participate. Now, on to more interesting stuff? ...Gabriel!“
“Yes?” Gabriel jumps and is uncomfortable as all eyes are now on him.
“Congratulations, you got the laziest cop this side of the river. We were afraid we would have to get Estevan down to disappear the records.“
“I know, it was a four-on-one. Next time, just go for the balls. We can get you steel toed boots for next time you want to take your girl out.” She looks like she had a long, hard weekend. “Well, if that’s it, I’m going home to a shot of whisky and my bed. It’s been a long weekend.“
“Can I talk to you.” Jeffrey snags Gabriel before he can bolt. Christina and Ruthie are waiting for Jeffrey to leave.
“Yeah.” He wants to stall out Christina.
“Did Lacey Ann say anything about me?“
“She had a good weekend.” Gabriel doesn’t give him much.
“Well, could you give her my email?“
“Sure.” Gabriel doesn’t mind. Ruthie approaches next and Christina sees her opportunity has been snagged, so heads out. Ruthie stands over Gabriel, as though trying to intimidate him.
“How’s Sid?” She asks.
“Have him give me a call.“
“Sure. Does he have your number?“
“If he can’t find it, he’s not worth the trouble.” And with that, she stalks off. Gabriel flees before anyone else can approach him.
“Hey, Sid. Ruthie wants you to call.” Gabriel announces when he gets home.
“Is anything wrong with Ruthie?” Sid sounds mildly concerned.
“She’s scary and that’s coming from me.“
“There’s nothing wrong with her, anymore than you dating a mortal.” Cole lectures Gabriel.
“Oh, by the way. The Girls are NOT going to Beltane.“
“Why?” Sid asks.
“It’s all about the sex.“
“Not ‘til after dark. Well, mostly.” Sid tries to clarify.
“It’s fine, we’ll just leave before dark.” Cole helps pacify Gabriel.
<s>”Sex requires an emotional connection…”</s> Not sure where that was going?
“Oh, Spring break is coming up soon.” Sid’s checking the calendar. “Let’s go on vacation.” We decide Lacey Ann can learn to drive and that we should get a van. Gabriel mentions that he can’t go, he’s got plans.
“What are your plans?” Cole asks.
“Check in on my parents.” Gabriel replies.
“Why?” Sid sounds confused.
“Just to see them. Not to visit.“
“I’m gonna visit my sister for a day or two!” Niobe excitedly informs the motley.
“Can I use the computer?” Lacey Ann asks, handling a scrap of paper that Gabriel had handed her.
“Sure.” And she goes off to email Jeffrey. Gabriel tries to spy, but Lacey Ann notices him lurking.
“Huh?” Gabriel tries to fake innocent.
- _Hi Jeffrey!
I hope you are doing well. It was very nice spending time with you at the ball. You looked very charming. I hope to see you around school more.
She sends the friendly response to him. Sid sends Ruthie a facebook message. Gabriel stalks the neighborhood cats for fun and practice… and finds a body.
“Oh fuck.” He calls Jeffy Estevan. No answer. He finds a payphone and dials 911- no money needed. He tells them that he found a body at such-and-such location, black male, mid-20’s.
“What’s your name?“
“It’s past my curfew. Just send somebody!” Gabriel plays the scared kid and flees, but lurks near enough to make sure they sent someone. Twenty minutes later, they arrive.
“Aw, shit. Another one. Why couldn’t the garbage man have taken this guy with them.” Ah, the cynical mumblings of the DC cops.
“How was your night out?” Sid greets Gabriel, when he finally gets home. Gabriel looks around for the girls. “Were you at Bunny’s?“
“No. Sid. I… uh, I found a body.“
“About six blocks away. gUy was shot. Called the cops. I was smart, called from a payphone. Just waited til they showed. Sounded like nothing new. Just… don’t tell the girls.“
School. 3rd period
All five high school motley members are called to the office. Arianne is out sick, though. We enter the principal’s office. He’s a well-dressed black gentleman in his early 40’s, Dr. Richards.
“Nothing’s happened to Ms. Stewart? Or Niobe?!” Gabriel asks upon seeing his expression.
“No. They’re fine. I’ve just heard some rumors. is ther eanything you want to talk about.“
“Nothing I can think of.” Sid and Cole murmur. Dr. Richards eyes Gabriel and slams files down onto his desk.
“I don’t see anytime spent in juvie. No rough times. So, why am I hearing about…“
“Some idiot started a rumor.” Gabriel cuts him off.
“Crass, but true.” Sid backs him up.
“Rumors about how it’s safer to be on your good side?” Dr. Richards glares at Sid.
“I don’t put much faith in rumors. Do you?” Sid is startled that they’d be called in just because of rumors, when nothing was wrong.
“I want you to do your best and relax these rumors and take effort not to take advantage of these rumors.” Looks as Sid, suspiciously.
“What?” The whole attending motley looks confused.
“Like starting rumors to get people to leave you alone.“
“If we needed to do something like that, shouldn’t you have done something before it got to that point?!” Gabriel is ticked.
“Calm down.” Sid and Cole speak together at Gabriel.
“Just, stop the rumors.“
“So, we’re being read the riot act. Okay.” Sid clarifies, he knows most of this is directed at him.
“So, we’re not in trouble? We didn’t start the rumors. Just keep doing what we’re doing? Fine. Can we go now?” You can almost hear the growl from Gabriel.
“Calm down.” Cole really doesn’t want Gabriel to get in a fight with the principal.
“Sure. ...” Dr. Richards nods to Gabriel, and lets them go.
At lunch, they hear over the loudspeaker, “Will Tommy X, Jimmy Y, Eddie A, and Sam B come to the office.” Lacey Ann feels far less traumatized.
Lee enters, very much male today. “Hope you all had a great time at the Equinox. Cole, thank your motley-mates for giving me a lovely dance. Progress continues attaining the warehouse on the east side. What else? Oh, Beltane’s coming up. So not our thing. But, I’ll be there with bells on. Well, not literally. You all know what events take place there, if not, internet with safe search. Hmm, what else? Not much. some talk of a fall ritual, mostly paperwork for a challenge. Using an artifice to invoke fear for the challenges. Hunted House style.” Danny, enforcer child is being broody as normal.