Just Passing

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Eidolon
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Re: Just Passing

Post by Eidolon » Fri Aug 07, 2020 1:45 am

"Don't you dare insult my pride and joy." Eidolon spat, eyes narrowing as he pointed an accusatory finger. "I am going to put racing stripes on this thing one day and there is nothing you can do about it. Besides, it's better than what you have, you fuckin' cyclist. At least I know what a stop light does."

Banter aside, he genuinely gave a shit about his car. With mechanics itching to take advantage of a 19-year-old kid, it was a sink or swim situation when it came to learning about car parts; besides, he'd been working up the courage to ask Rachel's dad to give him a few pointers, if he had any, about car ownership. The guy just sort of... had the vibe of a person who knows about engines and shit. Dads knew about car stuff, right? He'd have to ask Rachel about that.

For now, though, he could only raise a suspicious eyebrow as she talked about her father not knowing she was home. He got into the car alongside her, and put the key in the ignition.

"For the record, everything you just said sounded like total bullshit. If I get domed by a fucking shotgun dropping you off after today, my last moments will be trying with EVERY fiber of my being to remain in purgatory so I can haunt your lying ass." The engine roared to life, and he shifted into reverse, gazing over his shoulder and looking out the rear windshield to back out of the driveway. He pulled out with a little too much speed, and then shifted into drive, doing a decent 30 MPH in a suburban neighborhood. Running over children was the furthest thing from his mind, currently-- he was still anxious about the entire thing involving his dad.

"By the way-- like-- if you, uh, need any help at school, y'know, I can-- help, or something. Any classes you're having trouble with?"

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Annasiel
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Re: Just Passing

Post by Annasiel » Sun Aug 09, 2020 9:00 pm

~☀~
"He wouldn't dome you," Rachel protested, dropping her chair back and swinging her feet up onto the dashboard. Hands behind her head, she glanced at Eid. "He's honestly really chill. Like - sure, he knows how to fight and shit, but I never really see him get - angry. Annoyed, yeah, but not angry."

She knew he'd been in the military - or, at least, was pretty sure he had. Rachel wasn't entirely certain about a lot of her dad's past, and even when she tried to ask, he wasn't exactly forthcoming. Served overseas, did some time in Europe and the Middle East, retired to do private security work. She'd kinda just put two and two together and stopped asking. Whatever happened, he obviously wanted to leave that bit of his life behind.

When Eid pulled out, Rachel shifted anxiously, glancing over her shoulder.

"Speed racer was a joke, not a suggestion," she muttered, but soon settled back comfortably into the seat, eyelids half-closed. The sun was warm, through the window, and she'd only managed about four hours of sleep last night after her patrol. When she decided to become a superhero, she didn't realize it would mean becoming a caffeine addict.

At Eid's mention of school, Rachel laughed.

"I dunno. I'm getting by, I guess. It's just - fucking hard to focus, y'know? Like, I'll be reading something in English or looking at a math problem and it's just like - slamming my head into a brick wall. Nothing really clicks. By the time I actually get what it's trying to say, I've got a migraine and really don't wanna deal with it anymore."

Not dealing with it had been her modus operandi for most of the year. The number of assignments she had on backlog was - a bit staggering, really - but as long as she could tell her teachers she'd 'get it in next week she promised,' it would stay on the edge of her mind.
~☀~
I look in the water and fear what I see
I know it's no stranger but I know it's not me
My life is a lie that was uttered in jest
If I can't change at all, let me rest

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Eidolon
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Re: Just Passing

Post by Eidolon » Tue Aug 11, 2020 4:46 pm

"It's settled, then," Eidolon replied, casually gesturing with his right hand as they continued to roll down the street towards a more populated intersection. The highway was only a few turns away-- after that, it was probably smooth sailing for about an hour or two. The interior of the Civic was ample enough for a longer ride; the color scheme was a darker slate grey, and there were leather coverings over the traditionally cloth seats.

Whenever he took late night drives, and the overhead street lamps filtered through the windows and cast shadows all over the interior of the car, part of him felt like he was driving in a spaceship if he put on the right music. Sometimes, at least. Not that he was going to tell Rachel that. God, no. Instead, he continued his previous line of thought, looking over at her for a moment. "I'm helping you with studies. I'm also free, unlike other people-- which means you'll need to find another excuse to have Kieran around. Sorry about that." After a moment's pause, he looked over at her face to observe the reaction. Was that too mean? I mean, the kid practically bled '60 dollars an hour for physics tutor' vibes. Hell, power to him. Kieran was probably leagues smarter than Eidolon's dumb fuckin' ass.

"Nothing against him. I promise." He stated, looking back towards the road. "Wished he could have come along with us too. Two's a crowd, and three's company, or... whatever. I mixed those two up. Fuck." He sighed, then shook his head.

"But-- regardless. I'm more than willing to make sure you don't flunk out. And that isn't optional, by the way. Me and Kieran are helping you. I'll bug his ass if I have to."

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Annasiel
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Re: Just Passing

Post by Annasiel » Tue Aug 11, 2020 9:11 pm

~☀~
"Wait - you think I'm paying Kieran to tutor me?" she said, a little indignant. Arms folded, she huffed, not bothering to respond, instead turning to look outside the window.

Trees passed by in a blur, their blooming flowers flickering like static on an untuned television. When she was a little girl, Rachel used to imagine a horse sprinting alongside the car on long trips, jumping and dodging through the scenery. Now - now she just liked to stare, watch the colors blend, watch the scenery come and go.

It was relaxing. Kinda. Something to focus on, other than school or family. Out of everything in the world, the things Rachel liked most were the things she could just turn her head off doing. That was why she liked fighting. She didn't need to think - just do. There wasn't any worrying in the moment, or getting distracted, or bashing her head against problems she couldn't solve. There was just fists and movement, pain and energy, and - in many cases - bashing her head against the problem was a solution, not just a way to vent out stress.

And when she had enough time to not-think, all the hard thinking seemed to sorta - fall more easily into place.

"Yeah. Okay." She didn't look away from the window. "I need to pass. Right? So, fine. You guys can help. Just - ugh. I hate asking for help. And I know I'm not asking. You're offering. But it's, like, the same thing, y'know? Makes me feel -"

She shifted, drawing her feet off the dashboard, knees to her chest.

"- weak, I guess. Pathetic. Like I can't fix my own problems, so I'm just dragging other people down to fix 'em for me."
~☀~
I look in the water and fear what I see
I know it's no stranger but I know it's not me
My life is a lie that was uttered in jest
If I can't change at all, let me rest

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Eidolon
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Re: Just Passing

Post by Eidolon » Wed Aug 12, 2020 6:13 pm

"What-- I was JOKING! Come on." He stated, appealing to Rachel's sympathy while his eyes were still trained on the road. She fell silent, looking out the window, and a passing glance thrown her way confirmed that her attention was elsewhere. Eidolon frowned and furrowed his brow, inwardly cursing himself for fucking up a simple conversation.

Fucking moron. He was barely close enough to make jokes about either of them-- it would only be seen as malicious. How would he feel if they were making jokes about him behind his back? Not good, that was for fuckin' sure. Absolute fucking idiot. This was it. This was why he barely had any friends, man. He always got too comfortable, too quick, and ended up saying dumb shit that wasn't even funny.

Eventually, she spoke up again, which Eidolon was thankful for. At least she hadn't fuckin' bailed from the car to get away from him. What she had to say, though, put his introspective self-deprecating pity party on hold for a bit. He glanced over at her for a second before training his eyes back on the highway merger.

"... yeah." Eidolon muttered. Sometimes, an agreement was all somebody needed to hear, initially. "I'm the same way, sometimes." A lot of the time. All the time. "When I'd first lost my leg, I was-- bitter. A dick." Nevermind the fact that Arno Flint had risked not only his identity, but his life, to make him feel better. Eidolon wondered where the hell that man was, nowadays. Happy, he hoped. The guy was... good. To him, at least. He was a lot of different things to a lot of different people, but it was the same thing about Invictus, or Capacitor, or Akhilleus, or-- anyone. You take the good with the bad.

"Any time somebody asked if I needed help, I'd snap, usually. I hated... hated... being asked that. It's like-- people just... pitied me. They didn't see who I was. They didn't care who I was. They just... saw something that was fucked up, and they thought it'd make them look better if they 'helped'. Fucking Assurance, man-- they gave me this fucking leg and they paid for my fucking college. I shouldn't be angry at them, but I know-- the moment I went up on that stage, man-- the looks they gave me were empty."

He fell silent, at that.

"They were using me." He muttered. "PR bullshit. Nobody contacted me after, nobody even checked up on me." His voice fell lower still. "No old friends. No people from school. Nothing."

His eyes started to burn a little, so he looked out the window. "So many people only help you when it's convenient. I'm sick of that. I want to change that."

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Annasiel
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Re: Just Passing

Post by Annasiel » Fri Aug 14, 2020 9:16 am

~☀~
"Y'know, I honest-to-God forgot about your leg," Rachel replied, once more her mouth doing the pleasure of acting before her brain had a chance to catch up. She immediately kinda regretted saying it, even though she wasn't exactly sure if it was a bad thing to say. She'd never lost a leg. How the fuck would she know?

One foot already in the grave, she decided to jump in, and pull the dirt on top of her for good measure.

"Like, it doesn't seem to matter. Not like, it's not serious or anything, can't fucking imagine what it was like coming to terms with that, but it doesn't matter in the whole," she waved her hands nebulously in his direction, "the whole you, y'know? Feels like whenever you've got anything that makes life harder, people kinda just see you as the problem more than, like, the actual person. You get pity, or frustration, or disappointment or whatever, but it's always just boiling you down to one dumb thing."

A lot of times, one dumb thing you wanted to forget. If she got told one more fucking time how smart she was, if she could just apply herself more, she was gonna fucking scream. Not like - not like that was anything like losing a leg. Fuck, she was losing the metaphor here.

Wondered if Assurance could give her a prosthetic metaphor -

Shut up.

"Lotta people in the world just wanna fix things for brownie points. They don't care about making things better, they just want a pat on the back, want people to like them for being the good guy. Almost start to wonder whenever someone tries to help if they're, like, actually being nice or just doing it because they have to. Like it's this huge inconvenience, otherwise."

She reached out, paused, then awkwardly patted his shoulder.

"Here's to rugged individualism, huh? Toughing it out in the great big wilderness of growing up. Don't worry, I'll bring a few John Green books for survival guides - they've got all the bases covered, from one-legged boys to girls flunking high school."

Her smile was just as awkward as the shoulder-pat, and she turned to glance out the window again, partly to tuck her hair behind her ear, partly to hide the doubtless look of embarrassed mortification that those words had just left her mouth.
~☀~
I look in the water and fear what I see
I know it's no stranger but I know it's not me
My life is a lie that was uttered in jest
If I can't change at all, let me rest

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Eidolon
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Re: Just Passing

Post by Eidolon » Fri Aug 14, 2020 5:18 pm

Eidolon inwardly cringed at Rachel's opening line, opening his mouth a slight degree before closing it and swallowing the words back into his mind. He let her continue, if not out of some morbid curiosity-- like being unable to look away from a car crash on the side of a highway, or letting your shitfaced uncle speak at a Christmas party. Granted-- well-- Rachel was far, far from the classification of "drunk relative", but the spirit was much of the same. At the end of the day, Rachel and Eidolon were God-fucking-awful at getting to the point. When they got there, it was better than most, but the trip it took to get to the true meaning of their long-winded improvised speeches were often fatal to most passengers. It was like hiking to the peak of fuckin' Everest.

Eidolon, however, was prepared for the arduous trek, so he merely nodded along as she explained herself, interjecting with a soft "Yeah." where applicable. In the end, he understood what she said-- even agreed with it-- and couldn't help but crack a soft smile as she spoke. They were... similar, like that. Brains going at Mach fucking 1, jumping to the next point before the sound of their own voice even left their lips, sometimes. The pat on the shoulder, though-- that warranted a look over her way, eyebrow raised in simultaneous confusion and slight bewilderment.

"If I told you that's the first time a girl has touched me in about a year, would that be weird?" He paused, at that, then stared straight ahead at the highway. Oh, look-- there weren't any guard rails. He could veer off the road and kill himself for saying that to save Rachel the trouble. Wonderful. "Fuck." Eidolon muttered after the fact, closing his eyes for a moment before opening them to make sure they didn't actually get into a car accident.

"Sorry. Look-- you're just-- cool. Okay? I can't talk to cool people. Well-- I can-- but it's, like, a facade. I have a professional demeanor, and then I have... this. It's like going from a fuckin' two-piece suit to, like... being naked." He blinked, realizing what he just said, and then sputtered to get out his next words. "Not that-- uh-- I'm talking about being naked right NOW-- I mean-- you know what I mean?" Another pause. "Right?"

He gave a pleading look her way.

"I just-- it's tough. Being myself. I hate being it. This..." He said, gesturing to himself with a free hand. "... doesn't sell. So I just... turn a part of me off. Switch another part on. It all feels fake." Eidolon shook his head, looking down at the phone GPS for a second to figure out if they were coming up on their exit. "I'm not myself often. Sorry."

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Annasiel
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Re: Just Passing

Post by Annasiel » Mon Aug 17, 2020 8:38 pm

~☀~
Rachel snorted.

"Yeah, that would be pretty fucking weird, but I'm gonna say you get a free pass," she replied, a touch more jovial. Eid was an awkward idiot too. That made this - a lot more easier. The whole talking thing. No need to feel self-conscious dancing like shit when the guy next to you was tripping over his own two feet. "Not like I haven't made a dolt of myself fifty-fucking-times over."

She listened as he spoke, opening her mouth to interject at the 'cool' comment, then deciding to close it. It was easy to self-deprecate and laugh, say she wasn't really cool, but - the fact he actually thought she was was enough of a shocker to shut her up. What in the world had she done to make him think that?

When he was finally done, she took a deep breath, trying to actually think before responding. Maybe it was out of caution, to not say the wrong thing. Maybe it was the sharp spike of sadness - and something else - frustration? anger? fear? welling up behind her throat. Was this how he felt? Or was it just her own self-doubt? The hesitation, the empty ache, like hunger, but more visceral. A part missing deep inside. She blinked back tears and managed a smile. Her hand found his shoulder, again, and this time it stayed.

They were both missing something. They both were building puzzles with half the pieces lost.

When she finally spoke, her voice was soft.

"I get that." She glanced at him. "You can be around me. Yourself, I mean. If you want."
~☀~
I look in the water and fear what I see
I know it's no stranger but I know it's not me
My life is a lie that was uttered in jest
If I can't change at all, let me rest

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Eidolon
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Re: Just Passing

Post by Eidolon » Mon Aug 17, 2020 11:21 pm

"For the purposes of keeping score on the Dweeb-o-meter, let's just call it even." Though, he was fairly fuckin' certain that whatever value they held on that particular scale was far beyond the limit of human observation. He felt a need to interject on her self-deprecating comment, however, and spared her a glance from the road for a moment. "If you're a dolt, then believe me, you're in good fuckin' company. I might even say you've met your match. I've got you beaten fifty times over."

He cracked a smile, at that. This was... nice. Shooting the shit with a genuine friend was a welcome alternative to the isolationist atmosphere he'd carved out for himself-- as time went on, too, he felt a bit more confident in being himself around Rachel. Hell, the two were alike enough-- why should he have to feel the need to be self-conscious around somebody who clearly didn't give a shit? It was refreshing, to be like this.

The hand returning to his shoulder gave him cause for alarm, however, and the nerves kicked in again-- and when it stayed on his shoulder, he felt... warm. Oddly warm. His hand darted to the AC and cranked it up to max, the interior dominated by the sound of air blasting through multiple vents at once. After a moment of realization at what he'd just done, he quickly shut it off.

"I am myself around you." Eidolon reaffirmed, looking back out onto the highway. Their exit was coming up, soon. "Believe me, I'm not... purposefully an awkward ass. It-- sucks. God, it sucks. I hate it, trying to... talk to people. Do you know how shitty it is to have a name like Eidolon? Do you know how many people pronounce it wrong, or spell it wrong? It sucks ass. Major ass." He muttered, shaking his head. "And you have to put on this smile and just... wade through the shit. Smile and nod. 'Yes, I have a prosthetic leg! Thank you for pointing that out.'. 'It's Eye-doe-lan, not Ay-dol-on.'. People... suck ass, sometimes, man."

Eidolon gave another glance over to Rachel, and gave a reciprocating pat on her shoulder. "Not you, though. You're cool. You... I don't know, man. You-- get it, you know? That's why I can be myself around you. You understand. Fuck, I've only known you for-- what, a month-- and I already feel like you're a better friend than anyone I've kept in contact with over the years."

He gave another glance over to her-- this time, it lingered for a moment longer.

Warmth.

"So... thank you, for that. Seriously."

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Annasiel
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Re: Just Passing

Post by Annasiel » Tue Aug 18, 2020 2:30 am

~☀~
"What's the dweeb-o-meter say? Ah, 3.6 dorkgen - not great, not terrible," Rachel murmured under her breath, and then snorted again, quickly covering her mouth with a hand. "Er - sorry. Sorry. "

She coughed, cleared her throat, and conspicuously began to study the scenery outside the window once more. The blast of air from the AC made the car a bit chilly. She wrapped her arms around her shoulders, pulling her legs up onto the seat. Maybe Eid was just getting a bit warm. The sun was shining through on his side, after all.

As he talked, she glanced over her shoulder at him, offering an understanding smile.

"I think Eidolon's a cool as fuck name. Better than Rachel. Eid - my dad's name is Ray. He named me Rachel. Think about that long and hard for a second. My mom? Belle. My brother? Ben. It's - quirky suburban middle class bullshit. But Eidolon? I don't even know what a fucking Eidolon is. Sounds like a sci-fi knight or something, and that's badass."

Her eyes lingered on his for a moment, catching them, and they stared for a second. A second more. She quickly turned away, audibly coughing into the crook of her arm. That had been a bit awkward, there. More than a bit awkward. Great, she was bonding with her neighbor over being absolute dorks, then suddenly, she was staring at him like some zoned out space cadet.

Well, he was staring at you first.

"Yeah. Course. No need to thank me. I'm not really - doing anything special? We're just talking, y'know, like friends do." She glanced at him. "Friends - uh - do do that, right? Or were my hours of research watching sitcoms worthless?"

A pause. Then, in the most deadpan voice she could muster -

"Laughtrack."
~☀~
I look in the water and fear what I see
I know it's no stranger but I know it's not me
My life is a lie that was uttered in jest
If I can't change at all, let me rest

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