Log:A Heads up

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A Heads up
Characters  •   Felicity Bloomquist  •  Devereux Jaden Marchant  •  Morrison Lester  •  Hector de la Huerta  •  Desdemona Marchant  •
Location  •  Lake Havasu - Big Ben's
Date  •  2019-10-10
Summary  •  The teens catch Morrison up on their plans.

Big Ben's is a place that one can often find Morrison once he's carted the twins wherever they need to go, after his shift, and after he's spent some time practicing at the boxing gym. So it isn't hard to find him when one wants to talk. He's seated at one of the round tables with just a cup of coffee in front of him, comfortably sprawled, with the usual radius of clear space around him. He doesn't even seem particularly dour today but locals tend to give him space anyway.


Jade has gotten out of bed today. Progress. He's in jeans and a fitted pullover that practically clings to his skin. Even in his despondent state, his hair looks good. Some people are just blessed that way. It's all windblown and careless. He looks around vaguely, though he musters up a small smile when he sees Morrison, and he head's his way. "Hey," he says. "Mind if I sit?"


Hector follows after Jade, holding Felicity's hand. He's in black cargo shorts and his black mesh shirt. his hair has mostly grown out. He has the mismatched earrings, ring, eyeliner, and a very dark red lip. He flashes Morrison a quick smile, as he peers over Jade's shoulder, searching Morrison's face all hopeful.


"Hey," Morrison says to Jade when he gets closer and nods to a seat at the table, indicating that yes, he should sit. Then he notices Hector and Felicity behind him and he gives a nod to them as well, giving a glance to the other chairs nearby. Seems they're welcome to make themselves comfortable as well. "Order whatever you want," he tells them. Apparently he's buying.


Felicity is wearing jeans shorts and a blue-green t-shirt. In contrast to Hector, she's not wearing much, if any makeup and has a half-full backpack dangling from one shoulder. She follows after the boys towards Morrison.


Jade sits down, and he says, "Oh, cool. I'll get a latte." He flips his hair and smiles at Morrison, though there's a lingering sadness about him. "How have you been? I haven't seen you since..." He bites his lip, then looks at Hector and Felicity. "Hey, guys. I thought I saw you behind me. What's up?"


Morrison reaches over when Jade sits down and gives his shoulder a small squeeze, and there's something sympathetic in his expression. It's an unusual public display of anything resembling emotion from the Lester, but it certainly seems sincere. "I've been keeping an eye on the twins, and Lennon, and checking in on Amy and George... and Squid.." There are a lot of Lesters to look after alliteratively, okay? "We're going to get them back." Though how they're going to do that, he's not sure. "The others were supposed to reach out to Chen, and Bubba, but I haven't heard if they have yet or not."


Hector settles in. "A chocolate malted, I think." He smiles crookedly, "It's just nice to be out and about, you know? I get ansty with the evening lock ins." But he's strict about being in after dark, antsy or no. I've also been... Checking places Ashley might want to be." He looks quickly to Jade, "I haven't seen her, so likely they still have all three wherever it is." he says, "I made sure Bubba knows what's up. I haven't heard anything back. Have you had any luck... enlisting help? Given the threats we are planning for a big fucking fight next full moon. We've been... examining options."


Felicity sits next to Hector. "Hmm... Orange soda float. And... can we get an order of potato skins to share?" She sighs, "I've been trying to figure out what forms need to be filed to see if I can figure out if they own any other properties. Though it would help if I had a more complete list of names and potential aliases and people they might be using."


Jade relaxes at the touch on his shoulder. Morrison may be scary in his own right, but Jade feels safe when he's around. "I'm thinking of hiring a PI to case the motel, to see who comes and goes. That might give us a who's who to look into, but I have a feeling this is going to end on the full moon, when she calls the drinkers, we go with them, and we throw everything we've got at her."


Enter one frazzled fashionista. Mona makes her way into Big Ben's with a weary expression on her face, even if she is still dressed to the nines. "Thought I saw your car in the lot, Jade," she says as she approaches the table, asking, "Room for one more?" She's been keeping an eye on Zane for the most part. Arthur's capture and possible defection has not been sitting well with either of them. At least she's managed to surface.


Morrison nods his head to one of the empty chairs at the table when Mona arrives and asks if she can join. "Order what you like," he repeats, since the others have already placed their orders. He just has a cup of coffee for the time being. "Whatever's going to be done has to be done fast, during the day, and preferably before the full moon so that we're not fighting both Fran and those who drank being called at the same time. I was hoping that Chen would have some advice, or that Bubba would respond at all. Thus far, I'm not sure if anyone's heard anything back." He then looks over toward Felicity and says, "If we had that kind of information I could get Theo to look into it, as well."


Hector nods at the potato skins, "Sounds Good." He looks to Jade, "The names thing does sound like a job for the PI, I think." For his part, hector seems entirely relaxed in Morrison's presence. The awkwardness of past months is gone. "We've been thinking, machete's sakes, molotovs maybe, holy water water pistols, anti flight nets. If we had a way to lure them into one of the basements under construction by the Freeland's it would be so much easier. They'd not have flight as an advantage there and we could set traps, but we can't think of a way to do it. I'd love to move fast and hard by day, but it only works if we can figure out where they're being held. I want my Brother back. I want Fran dead and burned." He meets Morrison's eyes, "You and Amy together was enough to unnerve Fran. It was in her face when she fled. They are fast and strong, but I don't think they are invincible." He looks down at his hands, "How's amy holding up?" He waves at Mona,trying to guage her state and possibly Zane's by her expression.


Felicity pulls a coin out of her pocket and starts playing with it, though fortunately for Morrison, this time it seems to be an old, bronze 100 peso coin instead of a silver dollar. "Yeah, we've been trying to figure out what could be done, but frontal assault during the day just seems likely to get the hostages at least hurt. If they're even at the motel, which we don't know." She flashes a brief smile at Mona. "How's Zane? I should stop by, but it always feels like I'll be interrupting."


Jade smiles softly at Mona and pats the spot beside him. "Always room for you, gorgeous," he says. He's subdued, but he has been lately, for understandable reasons. He gives her a hug, then settles back and says, "The problem with luring is what are we going to lure them with? What do we have, that they want, that they won't just wait til the full moon to get?"


"Thanks," Mona replies initially to Morrison as she drags herself into a seat, dropping the predictable oversized purse beside her. "Just going to get coffee, I think." Her eyes shift toward the server, spotting the one circling the area around their table, and waits until they're close enough to snag to add in that request. "You're never interrupting, Felicity," she assures at first, though as to the question about Zane? Her features twist into a wince. "He and Arthur have always been -- how to put it? -- very different people. I think he's still trying to wrap his mind around just how voluntary it all was." As is Mona, it would seem. There are no ready answers to that.


"Amy was enough to unnerve Fran," Morrison says to Hector. "I wasn't prepared for her to move that fast, or to be that strong." His own punch had been caught mid-flight and he'd been hurled into a mausoleum. It was Amy who had been prepared, having faced Fran before, and who had been the one to unnerve her. "Amy's tough," he says, "Hurting, but tough." He then says, "Luring them isn't going to work. They have the call on their side, and if we make them wait, they'll kill a hostage. Better if we find where they are being kept and get them out first."


Hector looks down, "We can always piss them off, but it'd be hard to get them to go to a specific place if we do it, plus theirs the risk to our family and friends. They might really decapitate someone this time instead of using illusions to make us think they had."

He gently squeezes Felicity's hand, "I wasn't sure how in denial Zane was. I've explained the probabilities to Felicity, since she wasn't here for... earlier things." He shakes his head, "Amy and I warning you isn't the same as seeing say, a chain snaking out towards your eye at Vamp speed." he winces, remembering. "It wasn't you fault, and I think having an extra person there distracting her, helped. Amy did more damage this time, I think, and this time Fran ran instead of our people. I keep thinking how much better the odds are if we get her somewhere she can't just fly out of, surrounded by angry Lesters." He smiles softly, "I did tell you Amy was basically a superhero. I meant it. You trained her well."


Felicity squeezes Hector's hand back and gives him a little smile, then nods to Mona. "Okay. Maybe I can take a bit of hanging out with Zane time, then. I mean, he's my second favorite cousin, right? And I haven't really seen Arthur much since I've gotten back, but... yeah. It sounds like it's been bad." She sighs a little. "I'm trying to work on net possibilities that wouldn't just result in her flying off with the net, since it doesn't seem like they have wings or have to flap their arms or anything. But maybe if it's the right kind of wire or if we have a way to anchor it to something which is around like a tree or a lamp post or whatever."


"I still think we should plan with equipment that travels and can be used anywhere," Jade says. "Because we don't know when or where this showdown is going to be. I'd love to storm the motel by day, but that does put the hostages at risk. Shit, everything we do puts them at risk. That's why I keep assuming we'll be doing this on the full moon. Because she'll be busy with the drinkers. But I don't know. I just don't think luring is going to work. Not until we have something she needs desperately enough to take the risk."


"It isn't denial," Mona notes clearly. "He knows what's happening, and that Arthur was considering the potential benefits of joining their number thanks to whatever additional inspiration it provided. It's that if he was such a willing participant in all of this, why was he unconscious, like the others? An eager supplicant would have surely been awake to help sway us all over to their cause, reassure us as to their intentions, and so on." She drops her elbows on the edge of the table, and leans in with her chin propped atop the heels of her hands. "He feels like he failed Arthur. That he wasn't able to protect him, and that it was his responsibility to do that, even if Arthur himself was seemingly working against it at every turn. There's a point at which he's... probably going to have to let go, but it's hard to define. It's anything but denial."

More quietly, she adds, "He believes in the best in people. It makes it all difficult, especially as regards someone so close." She takes in a deep breath, and shakes her head incrementally. "We need that, sometimes. Especially times like these."


"Which is why we should find where the hostages are being held and remove them from the situation first. The goal being to get them out and then hitting them where they are during the day," Morrison says. "The only way to not put them at risk is to remove them from the situation before the confrontation occurs."


Hector squeezes Jade's shoulder. "Can't hurt to dip the net in holy water. I mean, we don't know if it works, but if it does? Aces." He studies his hands, being of the opinion that he's filed spear at every turn. He nods. "We do." He sighs, "So we try to get Jade's PI's to get us names so Red here can do the property search. I want out people out and home."


Felicity nods. "The problem is knowing where they are. And if they're at the motel, then it's a really hard place to sneak up on. It's in the desert and there's very little around it. So trying to get them out without a fight is going to be hard. And if they're being kept somewhere else, then we currently have no idea where that would be." And hey, drinks and potato skins show up, she flashes the server a smile and a 'thanks' almost automatically, then lets go of Hector's hand and tucks her coin away to grab her soda. Once the server is gone again, Mona gets a little nod. "Letting go of who we thought people were is hard."


Jade nods a little and wraps his hands around his coffee cup. "I'll call the guy when I get home." He seems to be sinking inside himself, and he sits with his shoulders hunched over. "Guys? I... I don't know if we're going to pull this off."


"I still have that pair of flare guns," Mona notes, her expression falling. "Super soakers full of lighter fluid might be an option, as well. In combination." Silent, she shifts her eyes toward her brother. For long seconds, she says absolutely nothing. "Talking to Chen before we try can't hurt. He can warn us off, if it's that bad an idea?"


Morrison motions to the server when the food arrives and he picks up the tab, enough for everything they ordered and a generous tip before he pulls himself to his feet. "I'm going to go find out whether we've gotten any more sage advice from this supposed Wise One." He then looks over at the others and says "What we could really use is some inside information right about now." He then turns to head out of Big Ben's, and perhaps go find out whether the others have been in contact with Chen or not.


Felicity nods. "I think George was setting up a meeting with Chen and was going to call me and anyone else who wanted to go. We put together a list of questions for him that we're hoping he can answer. I was also looking at cans of hairspray and lighters. And we talked about buying some shotguns. Flare guns are good, too, though memory says they're one shot at a time." She looks to Jade. "We have to try anyway. I'm not okay with the alternative which is that we all leave town and abandon Ash and Spear and Art, even if I thought we could get other people to go along with it, I couldn't live with myself."


Hector thanks the server and tries his shake, "Do they own the hotel? The there like a basement or something in the records?" He snags a potato skin, "I suppose that's one of the few advantages of being an outsider." He studies Jade, "We have to. I refuse to give up. They are alive and we fight to the very last."

He rubs the back of his neck, "I don't think Chen grasps how do or die this is. If we don't fight, she'll take people anyway, and I have a nasty thing the five houses turned thing leads to something semi apocalyptic like her controlling Swindon or getting his powers without the anchor or fuck knows what, but it feels bad in my bones. We can't let her have them, and she'll get them if we don't stop her cold before she starts turning our kin." He looks up at Morrison, "Fingers crossed man. And good Luck."


Jade leans shoulder to shoulder with Mona. "Sorry, it just kind of hits me in waves, how under prepared we are. I'll call the PI, see what he says." He musters up a small smile. He waves to Morrison as he goes, then takes a drink of his coffee. He sighs as that sweet caffeine hits.


"One thing we don't yet know is whether or not everything created as part of Swindon's line is bound to the same ten mile radius that they are," Mona offers as she takes her coffee in hand for a quick sip. No cream, no sugar. "If they are, it may be that Francine wants to destroy the stone, and get away from this place herself." There is a brief pause, and she lowers her coffee mug once more. "I am hoping we can find out. If that is the case, that may be something we can use to break her hold on Arthur. How's he going to tour and play rock god in this town forever?" She winds an arm around her brother's shoulder, and tugs him even closer, idly ruffling up and down his opposite sleeve. "We may be rightly fucked, it's true. But this bitch is hopelessly naive if she thinks we aren't going to fuck their plans right back." Somehow. Marchant pep talks are weird.


Felicity grabs a potato skin and munches while the others talk. "I need to look at the stuff I had about the motel. I got layout and basic room plan stuff because that was pretty easy, but I don't think I ever got blueprints which would show a basement, though I'm also going to try to pull past remodelling permits which might show something like that being added. Or at least something which could have been used to cover for adding that."


Hector can't help but watch Morrison walk away, but he's getting a little less obvious about it. Yum, potato skins. Best eat one quick. He squeezes Jade's forearm gently, "It hits me like that too." he takes a breath, "I really have been checking places Spear and Ashley might show up if things went... more wrong, and I haven't seen them. I'd check for Arthur too, but I don't really know him at all, so I don't know where he'd... be likely to anchor." His eyes flit around the diner, but not seeing anyone who shouldn't be there has some more shake. "I think Aunt Nancy referenced Fran having been away for a while, but I might be misremembering. Silver might know." He flashes Mona a quick smile, "Good. That's the spirit." Another quick smile for Red, "Thanks. I figure they'd need something bigger and more secluded than a normal hotel room for safety. It'd be two easy to escape a single room if they were all tossed in one."


"I hate to say this," Jade says, "but if Arthur's stupid insistence on becoming one of the undead gets in the way of us saving people who actively want out, I'm going for the people who actively want out. Of course I want to save him, but not at the expense of those with the good sense to save themselves. We should proceed as though we can change his mind, but if we can't..." He sighs heavily. "It'll suck for Zane, but no one deserves to die because blondie wants to play at being Dracula."



New Activity ---------

"You're not the only one thinking about it, Jade," Mona says all too quietly. "I may be able to get through to Zane about it, but if I can't? I'm going to need help holding him back from getting himself killed, potentially by his own brother." She drowns the words in a solid gulp of coffee, still hot enough to have her briefly wincing. "He's probably going to hate whoever gets in his way about it, even if he knows it's the right thing in time, so." Deep breath. "Better it be somebody who loves him that does it. Might make a difference." And it might not, which has all the color draining from her face, leaving her all the more gothly pale. "I could slap the shit out of Arthur right now, if you want to know the truth."


Jade squeezes Mona's shoulder. "You and me both," he murmurs. "Selfish, irresponsible, and I'm the one saying that. We'll protect Zane, from himself if necessary. But we'll give Arthur every chance to turn it around. Ultimately, it's his choice. Spear, Ashley, they didn't choose this. Neither did the other drinkers." He takes a drink of his coffee, then asks Felicity, "Do we know who owns the hotel?"


Felicity gives Hector an amused glance as she notes his gaze following Morrison and then kisses his cheek. Jades words sober her, however and she nods to him. "Absolutely." There's another nod for Mona. "If I can, I'll help. Maybe... it might be better if it's me. He can hate me all he wants, we'll still be cousins. And you can console him about how cruel I was. But... it will depend on what's happening. Given Cash's reactions, I may have my hands full already."


Hector blushes rather at felicity's understanding. is not surprised by Jade's comments, but his eyes go wide at Mona's assent. It's felicityhe looks to to check her response. He turns back to Mona, expression all empathy, "That's entirely understandable." He rubs the back of his neck, "I can't promise what I'll be doing for the same reason. Too much unpredictability. It doesn't matter if Zane hates me. i like him, but I'm going home once this vmpire things done. It won;t matter if he never speaks to me again."


Mona's voice is even more strangely quiet than her usual understated tone as she murmurs, "Not a lot of people have a lot of respect for him. They like him just fine, but respect is a different thing. And-" She swallows a breath before she looks up. "-that it be people he knows do respect him makes an enormous difference." Her fingertips tap lightly over the rim of her coffee mug before she snatches it up for another long swallow. "I've spent years looking out for him about that. People try to take advantage a lot. I just... I think it would be best if it's, yeah. Me. Felicity, yes, and thank you. If he hates me?" Her shoulders rise and fall in a defeated-seeming shrug. "He can just go happy ever after with Our Lady of the Perpetual Pouting, I guess."


"He won't hate you," Jade says. "Maybe at first, but not in the long run. He can't stay mad at you." He gives his sister a one-armed hug, and he remains with his arm around her shoulders. Maybe it looks weird, but his intentions are clean. He just loves her. A lot. "Fuck," he says. "Just... yeah. Fuck. This town."


Felicity nods to Mona. "We'll do what we can. All of us." She sighs a bit and agrees with Jade. "Yeah. Fuck this." That said, she leans against Hector's shoulder and grabs another potato skin.


Hector looks confused, "Our Lady of the Perpetual Pouting?" He lifts his shake as if in toast, "Fuck this Town!" He sucks his straw. He meets Mona's eyes, "Everybody matters. We're all going to do our bet." He curl his arm around Felicity decisively.


"It's more important for him to be safe than for him to not hate me," Mona admits as she leans back against her fellow triplet, bonking her head into the side of his briefly. "It's what it comes down to, in the end. Safe comes first. Always will." The words still hurt, and she can't help it, even though there's a brief hint of remorse on her face as she glances up to Hector. "Silver. If I had one more tragic, reproachful glance aimed my way for doing the same shit I've been doing since we were all three years old?" There's a soft, but notably angry chuff of breath. "Maybe I'll luck out some day and actually have the complete lack of feelings everyone ascribes to me."


"Silver was being an asshole to Mona and Thea both that night," Jade says. "I like her. She's my friend. But when she badmouths my girls... I know she's scared, too, but she needs to not. We need to be on one side, and we need to cooperate. She can't go off half-cocked like last time. It's another one of those situations where if I have to pick between someone following hte plan or someone going off-script, I'm going with the person not almost getting everyone killed."


Felicity is, apparently, thinking. She's gone quiet and seems to be listening, though mostly kind of playing with the straw in her float, spinning the ice cream around.


Hector says quietly to Mona, "That's love. Wanting the best for the other person even at great cost to yourself." His expression hardens at the mention of Silver, but he knows better than to say anything especially after the last time he tangled with a Marchant over his beloved sister. He just presses his lips together and keeps the words in. It's Jade's final comments that unlock them. His voice is flat, "She blames herself for all of it. That's her triplet. she won;t leave her room. We had to break in to get her to see us."


"She needs to stop being such a bitter, raving cunt," Mona says bluntly. "Galloping off like that into an obvious trap is the kind of stupid I wouldn't have attributed to our class valedictorian, but here we are." She does not look like she has a single shred of pity for the circumstances Hector describes; she's fresh out. It's well past all used up and then some in that particular case.


Jade winces and says, "Mona, maybe calling people raving cunts is why they don't think you have any feelings, and being on one side means we've made our point, no need to grind it in with salt. She made a mistake, a bad one, but she's not solely responsible for what happened. You don't have to like her, but you do need to not throw fighting words at her family while we still need them to save my boyfriend. You may not feel sorry for her, but what did Hector ever do to you, that you'll insult his family to his face? What are we trying to accomplish?"


Quiet. So quiet. My, what fascinating bubbles in her soda. Felicity is apparently absolutely not getting into this, though her hand comes to rest on Hector's leg below the table and she squeezes lightly.


Hector says tightly, "She's. My. Sister." He cats a grateful look at Jade, but still he kisses Felicity's cheek and rises, "I'll see you tonight, Red."


"Considering the crap I went through with-" And that seems to be it for Mona. Her jaw sets, and she goes silent, but her eyes are utterly seething. "No. Stay," she says after a moment more, getting out of the chair and snatching up her purse. "I'll go. I know how this shit works." And she heads for the door.


Jade eyes Mona. "I'm genuinely curious, what do you expect to happen when you call someone's sister a raving cunt to his face? I love you, sis, but you're not being done to, here." He gets up as though to follow her. "I'm not saying don't rant about her, just... time and place, okay?"


Felicity watches as everyone gets up and sighs slightly. She starts to say something and then just grabs the last potato skin instead.


Hector eyes Mona, "You have a right to feel what you're feeling right now. I just... She's my Sister, Mona. I'm not casting you as some monster. I'm just not going to sit around for the name calling while I know how much she's hurting over Spear. I took on my other brother in the middle of class for basically calling my boyfriend Pol Pot. Again, you have a right to your feelings, but I get to have mine too, thanks. We're all the fuck under stress. Can we all cut each other a little slack?"


"Look, I just need to get some fucking air, all right?" Mona insists with a catch in her voice. This doubtless doesn't mean fresh air, but a clove. She also looks like she's about to cry herself, and is not at all inclined to let anyone catch her doing it. "I'm not going to pitch her ass into a volcano or trip her into the path of an angry vampire, Jade. I'll probably get my dumb ass killed trying to help save her along with the rest of the people Fran tricked into drinking that shit, and not a soul alive will notice, let alone fucking care." She shakes her head, not entirely looking at Hector as she says, "I let her get away with a snipe at Zane, and one right at me. And then she took a shot at Thea. Jade and I put ourselves on the line to help her back at the Reed house, along with the others. Because we'd promised them we would. Left our own family to do it, no less. But I don't get involved, apparently, and Thea's just a fucking drama queen for advising caution." Too late. Lashes glistening. "Fuck, I need to go." And she turns on a heel to continue stalking toward the door. "Of course you can count on me to do whatever the hell you need done. That is what I do."


Jade sits back down and sighs. "I care, Mona, and when you say things like 'not a soul alive will notice let alone fucking care' it makes me feel kind of small, you know? Like what those assholes think means so much more than I do. Yeah, she was a jerk. I called her on it, too. That doesn't mean Hector's out of line for not wanting to hear it, and I... just wish I mattered."


Felicity sighs. "We'd notice, Mona. And we'd care. Promise." And then she nods to Jade and quiets again.


Hector listens to Mona very still, then meets Jade's eyes. "Of course we would." He decides now might be a good time to follow felicity's lead on the shut up and eat thing. So he does.


She slows as Jade speaks, her shoulders slowly sinking. Stopping, Mona glances over her shoulder at the trio, her face unreadable beyond stressed and visibly upset. Her lips twist in what could be an apologetic, sheepish smile, or maybe a flinch. It's hard to tell at the oblique angle. There's nothing at all she can think of to say, though from the look on her face, there's nothing about it that isn't utterly defeated. "


Jade rises to his feet, and he comes over to Mona. "We love you," he says gently. He wraps his arms around her and hugs her close. "We notice, and we care. I hate that you've been so unhappy, and I'm mad about it. I am. I can't wait until this is all over and we're out of this town, and we can start our lives in New York. Then all this bullshit will be miles behind you, yeah? We're gonna save the day, then we're going to go on and be fucking fabulous. None of this stuff will follow us."


Felicity settles back in against Hector, once he sits down again and lets the siblings have their moment.


Hector reaches for Felicity's hand under the table, and leans gently back. It's clear to him that Jade is much the bet person to be talking to Mona now.


"You needed that party so badly, J," is all Mona says for a moment. "Needed it to not go sideways. And then Heather started up and I had to-" Bitchcraft. She is the household expert at it. "-and then I thought it was all going to be all right, and we went outside, and then it was all a hundred times worse." Her voice is too quiet. "The costume worked. I had worked so hard on everything for everyone, and that one experiment, we'd been setting it up for days, and I just-" Her voice finally breaks. "It worked. And I was so fucking happy because that one little pointless thing, in the grand scheme of things, it worked. And... the moment to cheer about it, suddenly everybody was staring. Sad faces. Reproachful looks. And I just-" She swallows hard. "-every moment like it. Every time there might be a chance to get that tiny bit of something, Jade, there's another sad face. Another catty barb. Even when it's not the time or place for it, either. And I'm so tired of it. I am so tired of it. That we could all go down in fucking flames? And this is all we get?"


Jade hugs Mona close. He has been leaning on her pretty hard these past few days, but he's got strength in him to lend. "You did great," he says. "I thought it was the most amazing costume. I was blown away. If she wanted to be with Zane, she should've talked to him instead of being mad at you, like you hold his fucking lease or something." He casts Hector and Felicity a soulful glance, just to let them know he hasn't forgotten them. "I know she meowed at hissed at you at prom, too, but the thing is, you blew us all away at prom. Everyone looked so good, and we all know it's because of you. Everyone was talking about my dress. They loved it." He draws back enough to look Mona in the eye. "When we're in New York, you're going to rock, sis. They're going to be wearing your clothes during fashion week, and anyone who badmouths you, I'm going to throw a fucking rainbow colored hissy gay fit all over them. It'll make tabloids. We're gonna have that good life."


Felicity flashes a smile over at Jade and Mona. "It was an amazing dress. All the dresses were amazing." Beneath the table, she squeezes Hector's hand again and gives him a tender look.


Hector pipes up, "The dress you made for Felicity was stunning and absolutely perfect for her. Your work really is fabulous. Oh Jesus! The one you made for jade was unforgettable. And I'm really sorry I missed the transforming dress. It sounded amazing." He returns Feliciy's look.


"I was so proud of that one," Mona mumbles into Jade's shoulder. "All I wanted was for everybody to feel special, for prom. It's a special night, you know? No one should be trying to take that away from someone, I would never do that." But it happened to her. "I wanted a chance to feel special, too, though. That time." Her smile for Hector is well-meaning, but somehow broken. "Everyone missed it. It didn't end up happening, really."


"...someone shot the shit out of the confidence it took me over a month to build up to do it."


"It sucks, about prom," Jade tells Mona. "I'm sorry, sis. I mean it. You made that night magical for so many people. I just... I don't want you thinking no one cares, because we do. And you're not invisible. We see you." He smiles a little, though there's still sorrow in his eyes. "I always see you. You and Thea never gave up on me, when I was sick. Do you know how many times I'd wake up so scared, but you were there? And I wasn't scared anymore. You're my hero. Don't... don't let one person ruin everything you are. In a couple months, none of this is going to matter."


Felicity sighs and looks down at where she's holding Hector's hand, or maybe at the ring on her finger there. "It was a magical night. And I'm so sorry it got partially ruined for you. I wish I could have seen your dress transform. But yeah, we do notice and care and you are special."


Hector places is beringed hand over their twined ones, "I was a bit distracted both nights, but your outfits were out of this world. I'm sorry those things happened to you."


"It seriously sucks trying to be happy while everybody is acting like the bad guy won, when I'm not the one doing that kind of mean girl shit to people," Mona grumbles, though she sounds considerably more calm. "That night mattered. It did. It mattered because of everything that's been happening -- in spite of it, but not quite? It mattered because... if there's nothing else. If there really isn't a tomorrow. If things just get crazier from here. It was supposed to be that bright, shining moment for all of us because we needed it, and anything that could be done to make it that way? Worth it. People almost never see how amazing they are; everybody hides-" She nudges Jade a bit. "'cept you, lately, and I am so fucking proud of you for it."


Jade ducks his head, and he says, "Yeah, I found someone worth coming out for, and I've got the support of my sisters." He looks to the other two. "I think we can all agree things have been tense for everyone, and we're all on edge. Sometimes we need to be reminded we're cared for. I'm sorry I wasn't letting you know, sis. We're going to be okay, though. We're going to win this fight, and it's going to be all right."


Felicity shrugs. "Hey, I recently melted down at Cash over a badly timed joke. So... yeah, we're all on edge. But we're all going to fight and we're going to be our fabulous selves for a long time."


Hector says, “I'm incredibly proud of you too, Jade. I know how hard it was, but man, you're amazing." He gives Felicity a gentle squeeze, "It's a good time for us all to be gentle with each other and with ourselves." He kisses her cheek, "I've a couple of errands to run before dark, want to stay or come with, Love?”


Jade hugs Mona one last time for good measure then says, "I'm gonna go call that PI before his office closes. I'll see you at home." He nods to Felicity, waves to Hector, and heads out. There's a little more life in him than there was before, so there's that, at least.


Felicity smiles up at Hector and considers. "I think I'll stay. See you later." She nods back to Jade as he leaves as well and then studies Mona. "I've been told I listen well if you want to talk. Just let me know if you want me to make sympathetic noises and validate your feelings or if you want me to try to fix things. I can do either, but it helps if I know which I'm supposed to be doing."


"...you know?" Mona laughs quietly, and, perhaps surprisingly, all too honestly. "I don't know? It's not something I think anybody really has offered to do before, outside my siblings, and they just seem to know." She sighs, and makes her way back to the table, looking at the coffee mug suspiciously, like somehow all of this is the coffee's fault. "Just... with all the craziness with Arthur, and all of that being up in the air? Things are so precarious, and it seems like the last chances for something good might be over, since that happened." She sinks into a seat, propping her elbows on the table, dropping her chin into her hands, and just letting her face sink through the gap between them until her hands are threaded through her hair and her chin is resting on the table top. "Also, I am an asshole. I need to apologize to Hector. I know this."


Felicity sighs. "Yeah. I know I'm kind of clinging to the moments of good that I'm getting, but sometimes it's really hard." She reaches out tentatively to put a hand gently on Mona's shoulder. "Also, while I'm sure Hector would appreciate it, he understands. Promise. You're not an asshole. You're stressed and had been working on something forever and someone spoiled it. And then the next night was upsetting you as well." She shrugs again. "We're all a few wrong sentences from breaking down, at the moment. It was your turn to slip a little. If you've been holding Zane together, then you probably needed it."


"Oh, there was the party. Prom. Literally any time we were in the same room together for months," Mona says with a quiet grumble into the table top. "I'm not heartless. I felt horrible for her. I know what that feels like. We all do. We all know. We've all been there, you know?" She tilts up her head just enough to look over to Felicity more directly, even if there's still hair dangling from her fingers like a gothy curtain. "And for the longest time? It wasn't like there was anything going on there. It was like getting guilt-tripped for hanging out with my best friend in the world in all the same ways we always had. Like... to make it stop, I would have had to give up that friendship, which-" Her head just shakes slowly. "-he may as well have been the fourth Marchant triplet for the past 15 years. But I couldn't hug him without some fretful noise. We couldn't even talk without this or that friend of hers getting all sad panda. It was awful."


Felicity scrunches her nose. "Ugh. Okay, yeah, that's... just not fair. It's always a little weird when people read deeply into your interaction with your friends. People assume so much about what's going on sometimes. But even if she was pining... you can't make someone be in love with you. It doesn't work like that."


"It was... " Mona just winces. "I felt like the most horrible person, even though I knew I wasn't doing anything wrong? And everybody was so invested in it, I mean, I guess I get it, 'the nice girl' and 'the boy next door' and... yeah, high school is officially trope hell on earth, and I'm the poor little rich girl at best." She's not wrong, really. Not entirely, anyway. "Everybody cheers on the nice girl, whether she's actually nice or not. It's just how that all goes." Sliding slightly backward, she slowly straightens up, and eyes the coffee cup, stealing it up for a tentative sip. Now, it's too cold, but she muscles through it anyway. "I mean, we've all seen that movie a hundred times and there's a way it's supposed to go, you know?"


Felicity shrugs. "Yeah. But we're not in a movie. And you've been nice to me. So... I guess I missed all the parts of this that are supposed to make me root for her instead of you. Also, if we are in a movie, I think everyone's supposed to be hating me, at this point. I have two boyfriends. Clearly I'm evil. I mean, this could just as much be childhood friends who work on the same show finally discover that they have romantic feelings instead of just friendship. You have your own trope."


"I propose," Mona decides suddenly, "that if these things make us evil, it's time to rewrite some scripts." That deserves a toast, even if its with cold coffee, and so she raises her cup in salute to the principle. "Believe me, if things had gone some other way, I probably would be hitting on you myself." She doesn't sound like she's kidding at all. "Needless to say it was a surprise to everyone when Zane and I did end up getting together. I think you missed the whole 'Oh, so Mona's a lesbian' period. It was, uh." There is simply a snort to sum that up. "My parents tried to set me up with an endless series of the most boring humans on the planet. I mean. Is there actually a girl in high school that would be impressed with some guy's golf score? Because I really don't think there is."


Felicity raises the last of her soda to that as well and then laughs. "Yeah. The scripts are kind of tired. We need some new ones." And then she blushes. "I... umm.. yes... I did miss that. And I would likely have mostly been confused by you hitting on me. I'm still a little confused... and Cash is...Gah! I don't talk about these things." And now it's her turn to hide her face in her hands. "I mean, I might be interested in golf scores, but I probably wouldn't be romantically interested in a guy who was telling me about his golf scores. I'd be interested in figuring out the handicapping or the trends over time or how the weather affected them."


Mona can't entirely help the grin. "Confused is pretty much the way it goes with me no matter who is involved, I think. People hitting on me, me flirting with them, me not flirting with them, it all seems to turn into a strew of 'what is even happening right now?'" There's no hiding the laugh, and she shakes her head as she takes another swig of cold coffee. "I think we're allowed to be confused, is the thing. I don't think anybody expects us to have everything figured out yet. I keep hearing that's what college is for. Though... I'm glad that, I think at least for now, Zane and I have figured things out? He's... literally the best human being I know. Have known. Ever. And I'm not good enough for him, and I know it, and that's probably why all of this is eating at me so much."


Felicity peeks out from between her hands and nods. "He is pretty awesome. I wish I'd gotten more time with him since being back, but I remember him being awesome, but you're pretty awesome, too." She sighs then. "I vote I get extra confusion points for returning home to find my best friend married and then him and his husband deciding they wanted a relationship with me, which..." She thinks for a moment, gaze somewhere else and then shakes her head. "It's been fast, but we work, somehow. I just... keep wanting a moment to catch my breath, you know? Everything being life and death makes it so much harder because... they really could be gone tomorrow."


"I am really happy for you, you know? Cash has always been a great guy -- we did a lot of the theater stuff on crew for years, so. I kept always hoping he'd find the right someone?" Mona's smile brightens with only a hint of mischief in it. "That it's someones is even better, really. Because... sometimes I think that is how it works? Like, there's a certain sort of balance for everybody. Sometimes it's being alone. Other times, that one person. Other times? Two. Maybe a half dozen. I always figure there's no reason to be judgy about it, if it works for you, know what I mean?" Her shoulders rise and fall in a comfortable shrug. "Enough stuff in life is confusing without needlessly arguing with what works."


Felicity nods and gives Mona one of her super bright smiles. "Yeah. Maybe. I try not to judge other people unless they're hurting someone. Actually hurting someone, not just... not being what they person wants them to be. And Cash is... I think I always loved him, I just didn't quite realize how much or in what way until I got back." She shrugs again and blushes. "Sometimes you need to reevaluate the rules and see if they really do help or hurt, yeah."


"That's almost like what happened with Zane and I, I think?" There's an odd look on Mona's face, as though she didn't necessarily expect to talk to the one person who might possibly get it, and yet, there they are. "I started to realize just how much it would bother me to lose him as a friend, when all of this kicked off, you know? And then... realized it was more than that. Had to be more than that. But I spent about forever trying to figure out when it started and I swear it just kept going further and further back, the longer I thought about it, until-" The smile is positively sappy. She would never admit it was on her face, ever. "-I remembered this one day, when we were all little, playing make believe and dress up, and Jade was a knight, and Thea was a princess, and I was always their evil queen, right? And Zane was the other knight and charged up to me and grabbed my hand all, 'I'll save you!' and all of us just stopped and were like, 'but that's not how it works!' and... he just gave us that look he gets, like we were all being totally ridiculous, and he said, 'but if I save you, everybody is saved!' and, well. Dammit. That was probably the most brilliant thing I've ever heard, to this day." She is positively pink.


Felicity laughs delightedly. "Oh, that's just perfect! And very, very him, yes. We'll still do our best to make sure that everybody is saved." She shrugs. "Cash was the kid who didn't think I was weird. Or at least thought we were weird together. And he'd follow along when I decided to do something, no matter what it was. And then I moved away. And we tried to write, but we both kinda suck at it. Or at least at remembering to do it." She shrugs. "And then I came back and he was married, but it was okay, because he was still my friend and I liked Hector. And then he wrote me a letter." Her blush is coming back again. "Ashley said she knew I must love him because I didn't slap him for the letter, but she's wrong, the letter is wonderful and I love it. I'd show you, but it's back in the room. And then..." She waves a hand like she's trying to figure out what to say and what not to say. "The planning party and we weren't really planning on telling anyone... I mean not hiding it, but not telling anyone and... yeah."


"Some day, you are going to have the most adorable, most red-haired children on the entire planet, and if I am not allowed to make adorable little green outfits for them, I might actually cry at you in public until you let me," Mona says without skipping a beat. There's a little bit of good-natured teasing in the words, but there's warmth, too, as the very notion makes her clearly delighted. "Ashley's good people, despite her affection for Hanson." The fashionista nods thoughtfully, and offers up a bright grin. "I think it's how it goes, though; I know I love the way he sees the world. It's so different from the one I see, most of the time, but it's so real, he makes it all so alive that I can't deny the truth of it." Her expression sobers mildly as she adds, "I mean, some people think it's silly, or naive, but it isn't, really. It's being brave enough to see the good, when everyone else is preparing for the worst case scenario. There always has to be that person, that person who sees the light at the end of the tunnel, since if that goes out, everybody's left in the dark."


Felicity laughs. "You will absolutely be allowed to dress any children I may have in the future, whether red haired or dark haired. Though it will be far in the future, so don't start planning quite yet." She frowns a little. "We need Ashley back. I have things I promised I'd tell her and I didn't get a chance. So... we need her back." And then she smiles, though a little sadly. "Yeah, having someone whose perspective makes you see the world in a new way is a precious thing and we need that kind of sunshine sometimes. I try to be balanced - to see both the best and worst case, and the most likely case, as well. But it can be tough to do that."


"Jade and Thea are very much like my mother," Mona explains with a slow nod, holding up her mostly empty coffee cup and gesturing with it idly. "They have excellent people skills, it's impossible to not love them or find them stunning and fabulous and fascinating, and they were truly born for the spotlight. They don't have a not good side. Me? I take after my father. I'm a planner, schemer -- even if I prefer to scheme for people and hate scheming against anyone -- and I'm generally hawk-eyed for what might go sideways. Like him, my people skills tend to center on telling people to get in line, stomping a boot on bullshit behavior, and the ability to arch a brow just so to make grown men wet themselves in mortal terror. Sort of."


Felicity hmms. "Most of my people skills were somewhat hard won. I don't react like a lot of other people, so... I had to learn how people reacted, though sometimes it still feels like rote. And scheming for people is kind of awesome. Basically, as long as you use your powers for good, I'm on your side. And I'm me, so I'd probably tell you if I thought you were going evil. Because I'd think you'd want to know."


"I would definitely want to know," Mona insists, nodding firmly. She drains the rest of her coffee, and sets the mug on the table with a sigh. "It is pretty impossible to not like you, though, Felicity. I mean, I remember you from forever ago, and it sucked when your folks had to move. The alliance of the quiet misunderstood over thinkers took a serious hit that day, and I don't think we ever fully recovered from it."


Felicity smiles shyly. "I'm only mostly quiet, but I definitely overthink. Though, we're obviously coming into our own, now, so... we're over thinkers. It takes us longer, but we get there eventually and when we do, we're prepared. And my folks didn't have to move, they just... they wanted the jobs they were offered which is fine, but it's not like they didn't have jobs here or anyone was kicking them out or anything." She shrugs. "It's good to know I was missed here, by more people than just Cash."


"Truth is," Mona says with a rueful sort of smile, "I suspect that if we can't somehow convince everyone to come out to New York for Thanksgiving? Or all head back here for Christmas? It's going to suck." She winces, visibly, and it becomes clear it's entirely at herself as she adds, "And I include Silver in that 'everyone', even if I may have to sew my mouth shut and... I don't know, go see a hypnotist or something to just go magically deaf in her company to avoid getting set off."


Felicity smiles ruefully back. "I believe Christmas in New York was discussed as a definite possibility. Maybe we can drag you all out to L.A. for Thanksgiving, since that seems to be the other large group of us, though we may end up spread out a bit more. And at least the first year, I have to officially live in the dorms. I know Hector and Cash were looking at buying a house with some of the money Hector inherited from his mother. How much I'm there and how much I'm in the dorm will likely depend on my class schedule, since I'll be in Pasadena while everyone else is near USC. Though... we may all be back here for Thanksgiving. Cash's parents would actually miss him." No mention of her parents and their likely feelings around holidays.


"I like the idea of trading off back and forth for holidays, one coast or the other," Mona considers with a suddenly growing smile. "For what it's worth, if there's need for any additional help on the money front... hey, we're fighting vampires together, it's not like we wouldn't be happy to pitch in to help with it, you know? I have to admit, it feels like we're fairly useless sometimes, save for the power of the purse, but it has come in handy from time to time. Would be nice if it went beyond 'managing aggro vampires' and 'thwarting evil schemes'." There is a pause. "Suddenly I feel like we need a Scooby Doo van."


Felicity beams. "We should totally get a Scooby Doo van. And yeah, trading holidays sounds like a lot of fun. You all can come visit in summer when New York becomes unbearable. I think it will be fine. Just from a logistics perspective, the area we'd be likely to be buying in isn't that overpriced, and it sounded like there was... a reasonable amount of money once probate clears. But yeah, if we need a loan or something, we'll let you all know. I mean, the three of us are pretty much camped in one of your guest rooms as it is until we get the others back. Jade's getting me a big corkboard/white board thing so I can go all info-wall with string and pictures and stuff."


"We should all do something for breakfast some time soon, then. All camp out on the patio with some overblown brunch, just on principle. See if I can drag Zane out." He's been staying with Mona, for the most part, despite trips back home. "And I'd like to see that wall. If there's anything I can do to help with it, consider all the art supplies fair game."


Felicity nods. "We will, and I'll know I can stop by your room and see if Zane's in and keep him some company to give you a break. We will get through this, yet."