Esme hasn't been able to trap Silvio at his desk or on the phone as yet. The guy might be a little freaked out or avoidant or just busy and unsure what to do or say to Esme or any of the kids. She's been hanging around trying between work shifts and school and home and general curfew limitations. But after getting frustrated with that angle, she borrows a family car and takes a drive between two other closeby towns, outside of the local view.
When she gets to Lucas and Landon's place the next day after fetchquest, she is stacked with fifteen yearbooks, five years back, from each town, and she looks hellbent to find something of use in them. The problem is, they rely on flash imagery of faces to make the connections, if there's any to be made familiarly, so it takes some time and study over each page.
Seated crosslegged on the foot of Landon's bed, Esme makes an 'mm' of noise suddenly and jots down one name, then after flipping pages a few times, she jots down another, "... I think I have... I mean, they're yearbook photos so it looks different, of course, but I think I know who at least a couple are so far. Any luck on your ends? I think I should xerox copies of these pages with the faces and names on them when I bring the yearbooks back, too. Because... I don't know. To have. Show others."
Justin has been keeping well clear of the chaos that's been going on the last few months. But at Lucas' request he's here to at least lend support and company while the group works on identifying the painkillers. He has no faces to search for and so leaves the yearbook perusing to the others. He instead sits on the floor at the foot of Lucas' bed, engrossed in homework for his math class, about which he grumbles quite a bit, math being by far his weakest subject.
Though, he welcomes distractions, occasionally peeking over at the yearbooks and making some comment or other about certain ones. Especially in the older end of the books where some 80s styles still prevailed.
"That's gonna be a /lot/ of Xeroxing." Landon makes sure to say as he flips through page after page with careful consideration of the mostly smiling faces on each. His sitting at the center of his bed with one bent and tucked beneath the other which is outstretched. "We're not even sure what grades they would be in..." And here he closes the book slightly to look at the year book date, "1990." That's the one he'd grabbed.
Flipping through a few more pages, he says biting down at his lips, "If we find someone that looks familiar, I suppose we could cross reference them between yearbook dates just to make sure that the face is familiar. Some of these are probably bad pictures too. I mean, unless they always look like this when taking pictures."
He then stops from his yearbook scanning to look across the way at Esme, "Anyway, thanks for doing this. Our time outside is limited and Morrison would be hard-pressed to drive out to the other schools for yearbooks if he knew why we wanted them." When Esme announces that she found some possible familiar faces, his head cranes to the side to get a view of which school's yearbook that is, so he can find a matching one in another year.
ROLL: Lucas rolls spirit+1 for: : x1 : x1 : x1 : x2 (Pair) -- Match Value: 1 (Raw: 2 4 6 6 3 -- d6)
Lucas is flopped back on his bed, head half hanging off looking at the 1992 volume and wonders out loud in a murmur half looking at the book, half trying not to nap. His nmeory of the event was spotty and resigned to that one night at the beach and was mostly transfixed on Brenda and now who was doing what, only the what that was happening at the time. There's a slight flinch back to the now hearing a murmur about the math homework, and then realizing Landon and Esme were saying something. Shit that wasn't to him right?
Flipping another page he pauses and says in a rather curious and immediate tone. "Guys? Guys I found something." He rolls to his stomach and lets the book hang off the end of the bed to let Justin confirm. He found something??!
"I found Z Cavaricci' pants could not go out of style fast enough. Seriously who needs that many pleats!?" Good lord is he making an effort here.
"I figured it wasn't too dangerous to go driving around on a mission to collect during the day. Just kind of sucked because I dropped my sunglasses in a convenience store bathroom and they broke, so I had to drive with the sun blinding me through part of it. I guess if that was the worst part of my time in getting these, I can't complain. And I couldn't... think of anything else to do, so we needed a leap point of some kind." Esme says to Landon with a little hitched shrug at the thanks and a tiny, distracted smile aside on the bed. Though mostly, she's pointing between one page and another to show the guy the faces that are direly familiar from nights that come in images and flashes now. One girl, one boy.
To double check, though, she indicates and looks at the index, then the other years of photos they might be in before confirming slowly with their real names instead of nicknames, riveted and leaned forward a moment, "That is definitely them. I'd just make a xerox packet of the ones we're sure of together, I think. For research, police, whatever. I don't know how many there were, though, entirely-- what, like three? Four? More?"
Esme's pink painted fingernail with a white flower decal daisy painted on it taps a few times between two pages, starting to prepare to show Lucas next once Landon has a gander, "I think I'm sure about these two, though. Which means there's probably more to be found in--" She pauses as Lucas gets wound up, then huffs brief amusement before showing the faces out to Lucas and Justin with hold up of each book in a hand, "What do you think?"
These two faces are Nora and Sly.
"Pleated pants?" Justin arches his head to look at the yearbook Lucas shows to him and he wrinkles his nose. "I'm never going to understand fashion." From the guy that wears mostly jeans and basketball jerseys, that really shouldn't be a surprising comment. Though Esme holding up the book pulls his attention for a moment. Not that he actually expects to identify anyone, he hasn't seen the Painkillers after all. But when she points out the boy's face he kind of snorts. "Yeah, that's not funny." He shakes his head, actually looking a little annoyed.
Hearing parts of Esme's story as he scoots over with the correct school's yearbook in a different year, Landon asks with a quirk of his brow, "You were at the convenience store. You didn't purchase a new pair there?" It's all good-natured ribbing and he's smiling brightly in her direction. "I'll give you one of mine. I have a few." Which are all neatly on display somewhere in the twins' walk-in closet. Once she points out the faces in her yearbook, he looks at which grade they were in then, before opening up his own yearbook to try and find them in a different grade level to see if the faces and names match in the case of look-alikes or mistaken identities.
Just like with Lucas, Landon's only really seen the Painkillers at the Bloodletting, but they didn't hide themselves, so he got a decent look at a few of their faces before they turned monstrous. "I think I remember--" When she points out Steven Michael's photo, those dark eyes turn to Justin.
Lucas points to the page helpfully with the B.U.M. oversized sweatshirts, or rayon dress shirts, and the pleated pants like everyone things they're going to be adopted by Bell Biv DeVoe or something. He murmurs helpfully, pointing, "Yeah right there. Look at em." He leans nudging Justin's shoulderas in to emphasize no really, look at this. "Could even make you look short." A faint, wry grin dimples on his face.
Looking up to Esme he comments drily in agreement with his twin, "He really does." You can decidedly tell whose half of the closet is whose. Landon being alightly more meticulous than Lucas and the priority on their interests shift just a bit, not that they don't jsut share the mess of it all wihtout needing to ask. He looks up and looks at the picture eyes freezing on the woman and remembering that hair and that look and can still hear the pitch in her laugh. It's not untila moment after he murmurs, "That's her. Oe..." A curious pause and he looks to Justin honestly not catching on because he's looked at the photo and not the margin and is looking at Justin now and not the book, "What'm I missing here?"
Esme doesn't get it at first. She doesn't know Justin that well since he's not a lifer like her family or the Marchants, she knows him from school, sports, and hanging around with the twins. So his older brother being Sly just doesn't occur to her, especially with a fairly common last name like they have. That and Esme generally doesn't make jokes at other people's expense, so she doesn't get what's supposed to be funny, either.
Batting her lashes a couple of times, she looks at Landon and comments a little slowly on the sunglasses bit first, while staring back at the picture and name on pull back of the yearbook that set Justin to grumble annoyance, "... I thought about how dumb it was not to go in and buy more on the way back, but they would have been cheap icky things anyway. Yours are no doubt superior and I have no qualms about looting if you have excess. Then after looking at Justin, then the picture again, she breathes, "Oh. I uh. Maybe that's why he looks familiar. Your brother?"
Meanwhile, Esme has her pen in hand and scribbles a note on her page of names in brief to show to Landon seated on the bed with her, "... is it safe to tell him? If so..." It seems like she's throwing THAT ball for information or security into Landon's court on the sly.
"Yeah, that's my brother." Justin says with a mild tone. But his expression isn't.. very friendly as he says it and it's not totally clear if it's because of his brother, or for the accusation against his brother. Maybe a little of both. "He kind of disappeared a few years back. Got wrapped up in some shit. Mom and dad don't like talking about it and they kept me mostly out of the loop." He reaches out to try to take the year book in hand and look at it a bit closer.
Rubbing at the back of his neck as he examines the picture, Justin lets out a soft sigh. "Figured it was some drug thing. They've been pretty strict with me behaving myself ever since." Probably most of the reason he's spent the year keeping his nose clean than gallivanting around with the other seniors.
Landon doesn't even need Justin's confirmation telling him that Steven Michaels is his brother, probably having met the guy at some point in the past before he ran off and joined a-- While he can say that it's not his place to give Justin the bad news, /someone/ has to do it. It's pretty important!
Catching that look from Esme, he draws in a deep breath, straightening his posture while he remained seated on the bed. He even flips through the pages of the yearbook he's currently looking at. Those were two, there were several more Painkillers to find. Somewhere during this, he seeks out Lucas, giving him /the/ look which others might interpret as anything. "I hope for your sake that we're wrong, but..."
Lucas ooks aroudnand relaly doesn't get his hackles up at all. The people in teh room are his peeps so there's no reactive response, jsut curiosity. He watches Esme trying to explain her findings, and blinks looking to Justin then Landon. He leans over his shoulder as Justin takes the book. He's sitting on the ground in front of him. Lurking isn't difficult. "Merde." See, prof he's using his French. Totally counts as practice and everything.
There's a hesitation as if debating do I or don't I? Gently his hand falls to Justin's shoulder and wouldn't put it past him to get hit withthe damn book. He looks to Landon and there's the faintest of squint to his left eye. No one wnats to tell him. It is important and he takes no joy or smugness in helping inform him, and not this way, "...we have reason to believe we found more than a few people gone missing." His jaw tightens and he reflects back on the division that almost happeened between he and Lason. Losing a brother is a hell fo a thing. Even astandard issue one. His hands grip teh edge of his comforter and he pulls his legs up from under him to slide to a crouch next to him. Words that rarely if ever leave his face, come out "I'm sorry, man."
ROLL: Esme rolls brains+1 for: : x1 : x1 : x1 : x1 : x1 -- Match Value: 0 (Raw: 1 2 7 6 5 -- d8)
ROLL: Esme rolls spirit+1 for: : x3 (Set) : x2 (Pair) -- Match Value: 4 (Raw: 1 2 1 1 2 -- d6)
Esme hands the yearbook off to Justin without issue and pulls up another one to absently flip through and through and through with slow motion of random pages after shooting another sidelong look at Landon, then Lucas on the floor near Justin. And while she leaves it to the boys to do the confirming on the decision front, once that decision is made, she tilts her head and looks at the page she's on, then back to the Michaels guy.
Though the brunette teen isn't apologizing verbally like Lucas and Landon are for their parts, it's in the quiet lull of her voice as she knocks a hand back through her curled hair, then settles her hand to absent rest on Landon's leg nearby like an anchor, "Justin. I'd like to be wrong. But all three of us recognize him as 'there' now through multiple occasions with the image to jar our minds. If I showed this to Silver or James, I'd probably get the same recognition without even explaining the context."
Wetting her lips, she sighs softly and gives him the details, "I don't think it's... his fault that he's doing awful things now. If he was singled out by them and preyed upon, it's hard to resist. Now he's someone and something else. And he is //dangerous//. We've seen him do something awful, something he wouldn't do in his own right mind, I'm sure. He hurts people. And it's important to know if he's been coming around your parents or you at all... because it's dangerous for all of you if he is."
"No.. he wasn't the greatest brother even when he was around.. and I haven't seen him in years." Though Justin still seems a little shell-shocked by the whole revelation. He sets the yearbook aside, placing his own hand atop Lucas' on his shoulder, but pulls away after a moment. "I just need to get some fresh air.." He works his way to his feet and makes for the door. Sure, he might get lost in the mansion, but he just needs a little time to think and breathe.
Rather than observe Justin for his reaction to this, Landon observes Lucas instead, knowing full well the importance that Justin has in his brother's life for good or bad. He even remains perfectly silent when Esme tries to convince the other boy of a few things, notably that yes, they are not mistaken as to who Sly is hanging out with now. That's when his eyes shift back to his basketball teammate type person when he rises, needing a breather. "We've got a perfectly good balcony for you to use. And maybe the servants won't try to throw you out accidentally." He's trying to make light of this moment.
Once the boy is gone though, he can't help but fall back to rest atop his bed, eyes staring up at the ceiling. "That was... awkward. Do we know if all of them are vampires or just hanger-ons? What if his brother is a Revenant?" That's wishful thinking, most likely. He was there when they tore Brenda to shreds. Eventually, he drags himself up to sitting again grabbing the nearest yearbook. "The other one is named Nora Winters. If they're both here, I wonder if we'll find them all in here somewhere."
Lucas looks up to Esme faintly wide-eyed. Lucas might not have mentioned everything exactly or euphamized. He doesn't stop her either. ou need someone to be mean and make someone cry? You send Lucas. For this? Well it's likely Esme is the optimal person to deliver this leel of bad news. As for Lucas' reaction? He may be superlative at getting what he wants, but actually consoling people comes at a deficit for him. Maube Justin gets that too given his reaction to Lucas' attempt. When Justin leaves the room he watches but doesn't follow. It's weirldy one of those times he wishes he knew how to console someone. Lucas just makes the problem hurt until it is demeaned, belittled, and flees becoming a non-issue. THis? Entirely out of his orbit.
Finger falling back to the yearbook he scoots it back studying it. Looking back up he tells the otehr two when Landon calls it awkward, "I'll be honest, I actually had no idea. So we traumatized one of our friends. We can cross reference the current listings to see if-" they have fmaily. Looking to Landon he agreed. Smart. Maybe? We can check."
ROLL: Esme rolls brains+1 for: : x1 : x2 (Pair) : x1 : x1 -- Match Value: 1 (Raw: 1 4 5 4 8 -- d8)
Esme pulls her hand from Landon's leg and watches Justin go out for some air before looking at Lucas, then Landon, then Lucas again like she's trying to calculate if she said too much or maybe even not enough for the guy's safety over vague heartfelt sympathy. But after a visible moment of sibling empathy and thought, the brunette teen pulls up a yearbook, sucks in air sharp through her nose and says, "If he hadn't said he hadn't seen him in years beforehand, I wouldn't have said so much. But knowing that... I'd want to know. And he needed, also, to not be blind to the danger that happens if he does show around and tell //us//."
Then, going back to page turning, Esme nods some to Lucas, "Unintended example, but that's exactly the kinds of things I wanted to know by sussing out these identities. To check out family and any old friends they could be using themselves. I don't know if all of them are... monsters or just helpers, the girls all ran together, but I know //that// one was." Look, maybe Esme remembers him better because it's a decent looking dude, even if he's not her type in the slightest.
"So yes, I was thinking I'd go to a payphone and see if any of them come around or have contact with their old homes or try to have a normal cover at all. Call and ask to leave a message for them to catch up as an old friend, something like that. I assume most have a story like Justin's brother, but... some of them might still have a tie they can't let go of that they're using." Then, suddenly, she makes another noise and points her finger down at the yearbook, "The other young guy. Right here. Distinct now that I'm seeing him, just because of his face."
It's the boy Never that she holds up.
ROLL: Lucas rolls spirit+1 for: : x2 (Pair) : x1 : x2 (Pair) -- Match Value: 2 (Raw: 4 6 6 5 4 -- d6)
Now that he's seated upright again, Landon looks between Lucas and Esme thoughtfully. "If we can convince Justin to try and maybe reach out to his brother, hash things out, then..." He shrugs, "If Steven," Sly probably doesn't ever want to be called Steven again! "knew that his brother might be in danger, then maybe he might back off. And convince the others to do the same."
"Would you be calling every Winters in town to try and find which.." He tries to remember the girl's name again, "Nora belonged to? Who knows how long that might take, see if Lana or Silver can't help you with that." He does't expect /everyone/ to be related to people who they may or may not know.
Then she points out Nolan Boon and this is definitely a face that he recalls. No doubt about it. "That's not all that popular a name is it?" He asks aloud, reaching for another yearbook to cross-reference the kid's visage even if it's already clear to him that he's seen this face.
Lucas sits with an array of mathematical calculations happening in his face. Were someone to walk i the mistake could be made entirely that Lucas missed over half the conversation or possibly gave exactly 0 shits. His detachment level is fairly surgical in precision. The amount of detail he just put into that effort might suggest otherwise.
Looking up his expression is methodical and thoughtfu. His head shakes with fingers pushing his mop of hair back from his face, "Esme, You did what needed to be done. The situation is... a lot. He's just now finding out about it. '"We are not the people at fault here. Fran created this situation." He looks up from the book with Nora and Sly in it to Landon. He's good. Solid even. And were he not worried about memories of the bloodletting waking Landon up with a hundred different tangential threats attached to it going back to when they were little kids up til now, or even keeping some peripheral tab on their teammate? Well, he too could be contributing. This is not the case it seems.
There's a pause in Lucas' body language at the plan, "We want to involve him? He said he was not a good brother before. So maybe let's...find out what 'not good' entails. Also? he's not in danger. Getting him involved kinda puts him in a place to now be affected. So..." There's a pause and, what? "He knows the situation better than we do to tell us how good the idea might be. If not for this situation maybe one of them." His thumb tabps the book thoughtfully and he pushes himself up. He doesn't explain going to check up on another human being to see how they are holding up after ground zero information. He only says, "I'll be right back."
Esme studies the page for a moment before looking up to listen to both twins, and then watch Lucas go follow up on Justin now that some air has been given. Picking up her pen, she writes down the page number, year, and name for Never next to the other two sets of reference info for Nora and Sly. Then she speaks after some thoughtful delay, working her candy pink bottom lip between her teeth (because that's the chosen color for lips today, vampires don't have her slacking in appearance).
"No, it's a local year book, I'd find a way to look through old office records from this school year, should have old contact information on it, and even if the number isn't good, should list parent names. Narrows things down. But yes, I could use their help and support up to and during the calls." What a little snoop. Who would have figured she's planned this far ahead with espionage and info stealing from the counselor's office. But then again, give a Freeland a task and... well. That's kind of that, even for relatively genteel Esme. It'll get done one way or another.
For a beat after that, she rubs at the corner of one of her mascara-prettied eyes murmuring to Landon, "Maybe the rest will just kind of click now that we're memory jarred and we won't have to concentrate so hard on each picture. I feel like there's... at least one more girl, maybe two? I don't know." Pause, "Landon..." They're alone in the room now, so Esme steals a moment to look at him, "Are you managing alright? Having your hands tied, among other things, must be more frustration on the heap. Do you need me to do anything... or bring you anything you miss from the great outdoors that isn't related to terrible memories and circumstances?" There's a tiny hint of a smile while she looks at him solidly, despite the inquiring lightness of her voice there at the tail end. She means it. Are you okay? How can I make it easier? It's there on her face too in plainer translation.
"You're going to sneak to around the counselor's office?" Landon asks, looking both surprised and quite impressed. "So far they've all been from our school." He'll let Esme take down notes as he continues to flip through pages of the yearbook. "Think they were all friends before they..." It's odd to talk casually about these kids, not much older than them, being turned into vampires. Maybe not all of them were. "Joined the Painkillers?"
His eyes skim each and every yearbook face no matter what the grade. They didn't have complete clarity over what happened during the Bloodletting, but Esme would know more because she saw them all in action at her house. "So you remember everything about the attack? You didn't black out the way we all did after drinking the," wine, "blood?"
Then she asks about the same issues, perhaps, that Lucas worries over when it comes to Landon. "I'm fine. Just... a little misunderstanding at home." A lot of misunderstandings recently! "We were discussing a few things with our cousins and we thought maybe we'll find a few safehouses, just in case we need to split up. We would fortify them in some way and have them equipped and ready for any sort of threat that decides to hunt us down. But with Lucas and I being under house arrest and knowing Morrison, he'll prefer us to either here or at the Lester's house, probably the basement, those are /our/ options. The others are looking for other options just in case. Just in case Morrison or Karl won't allow the whole gang to hole up at their place." A pause, "No matter how safe we might feel if what Mr. Chen said about the Lester clan is real and if Amy can keep some of those freaks at bay..." He's trying not to ramble, but it's difficult sometimes. "How are you holding up?" He says, finally looking up from his yearbook.
"It's not so hard because of peer counseling and... I'm me. If I say I need something for some reason, people won't think I'm doing anything untoward. Which... I'm not, really, this is for all of us, so..." Esme shrugs a little and doesn't so much think of it as sneaking now so much as 'accessing' in the name of the bigger picture, looking at Landon while listening instead of the yearbook now. When he's finished and his eyes turn to her, the brunette puts on a little smile and pulls in a shallow breath to hold before releasing it in puff, "I'm better with something to do. I kind of fell apart on you the other day, which is unlike me, and... sorry. I guess it was going to happen at some point, but..."
It's kind of a non-answer, but she's clearly embarrassed about letting anything out to agitate as she did in the news room with fears and worries. Instead, Esme pushes her tongue against the back of her teeth and sits for a moment before dropping her lashes back to the yearbook in her lap, quiet for a moment before she goes on, "Anyway, yeah. I could see out of the door and windows some, I just didn't trust myself to be nearby them or to be fully silent while hearing her voice and... the threats. I don't know. Mostly, still it's flashes of faces and I have to see it to know it, I guess. I haven't talked to Lana about the next... moon. Suppose it needs planned too." She flips and flips and flips, eyes resuming scanning.
Lashes still downcast, she murmurs, "It's good you have Morrison protecting you and helping you know where to go and what to do to be safe. Even if he'll only believe so much. It's hard to figure out what to do."
"Just.." Landon starts with hesitation in his voice, "Don't get caught. The last thing that you need is to get expelled for who knows what they think you'd be doing with that information." He then asks, "You remember Lauren Keebler? She graduated last year." As he's telling his story, he continues to skim the faces in a random yearbook, "She used to look up the telephone number and address for the guys she had a crush on. Then wander over there to check their place out and hopefully 'bump' into them." It's hard to say whether she'd done that to him or Lucas or if she'd told them about it for some reason.
"You're freaked out, so I understand that you..." Broke down? "We're all handling this in our own ways, alright?" He asks, reaching a hand over to nudge her chin up into a gentle lift, his head tilted to the side to get a better view of her eyes. Then one of the faces in the yearbook he's looking at seems to have caught his eye. He points down at the young woman's unsmiling face. It's a Sophomore year photograph of Rooney Cross as he turns the yearbook towards Esme so that she can get a better look, "Does she look familiar? Cross, where have I heard that name?"
"Yeah, well. I'm desperate, but it's a different kind of desperate stalking. It'll be fine. I'm more worried about making the actual calls than the research to figure out numbers and addresses." Yes, Esme said addresses, what she's going to do with an address, who knows, maybe it's just back up. Then with a lift of chin in response to Landon's gentle nudge of hand, she looks at him for a quiet moment, wordless shared worries, empathy, and resolve all at once in her over-expressive doll eyes. If she's going to say something about coping or breakdowns, she takes the breath for it, to a degree, but doesn't get that far.
Instead, she does a double take as Landon does, looking at the yearbook more closely with small leaning to look at the girl on the photo page. She stares, tilts her head, then breaths, "Oh." Then in what seems like confirmation, she grabs the pen again to write down the name and page number and year on the book he has, "... I don't know anyone with the name Cross, I don't... think?"
"Maybe.." Landon is trying to remember. Cross wasn't much older than them at all and went to school here when they were still here. He realizes this when he looks to the cover of the yearbook and it's one that he had... Freshman year. "She's just a year older than us. Maybe that's why." But he knows there's something more that he just can't put a finger on. Perhaps it will come to him later.
"Time is ticking and if we all want to be prepared for the next full moon, we're going to need to start... well now." After looking through the rest of the sophomore year, he skims ahead the upper classes. "For the next full moon," He starts, "I hope we get a chance to hole up together, just so I know that you're safe, y'know?" Though with his current options on where he's allowed to be, he can't help but have his doubts. Closing the yearbook now and setting it aside, he says with a shake of his head, "Five more months of this. But a couple of more before we graduate and move as far away from here as possible."
"Maybe it's the close in year thing, mhm." Esme murmurs, though she's racking her brain trying to think of people outside of school, people that are regulars around town in the cafe and other networks of potential family related to the name, brows furrowed a touch visibly with thought. After a moment, though, she shakes her head a bit and flips through a few more pages before looking at the list of four so far. But when Landon shuts the yearbook to set aside, she does the same and wiggles some in seated place before batting her lashes a few times to look up at the ceiling fixtures, "I think my eyes need a break before I give them all one more run through."
She crawls herself and her pink and blue plaid babydoll dress up the bed toward his pillows after that pause, rubbing at one of her temples after she drops on her side at lay. And when Esme is down, she looks at Landon with a small smile, confessing, "It'd be nice. Maybe I'd be double inclined to resist with you around on principle. I'm afraid of hurting Lana if I can't keep myself together next time and try to leave." Her smile fades to almost diminished state as she tacks on quietly, "I don't want to do what I saw others doing. We'll figure something out."
Esme doesn't know who all 'we' entails either, but she rebounds with more fond smile while tugging on Landon's shirt to try and bring him in lay alongside her, "Lie here, look at me and I'll look at you. It'll give our eyes a break with something pretty before starting again. We can think of a place to have summer vacation when we get out of here. What kind of place sounds like relaxation and freedom?"
"I'm trying to remember what else Mr. Chen said during that follow-up meeting. What should we be doing right now?" Landon says as his own eyes shut just so he can gently massage at his lids then along his brow bone. "He had to cut his meeting short the last time, but maybe if we pay him another visit, he'll have more insight to give us."
Once his eyes re-open, he watches as Esme crawls over to rest her head on his pillow before feeling that tug to drag him down with her to which he happily obliges. Laying on his side, facing her in his dress shirt and black slacks, he watches her with these smiling eyes. "What do you mean what the others were doi-- you mean trying to escape?" He had his own experience with that on the Marchant side, but it wasn't him trying to break out. "Why weren't the others able to get everyone secured before they made a run for it? Maybe we all just need to start earlier in the day before the sun completely fades just so the urge to drink doesn't catch anyone off guard at the last minute." Though once that is said, he can't help but add, "That would be a pain in the ass if you needed to use the bathroom, I guess, and you're bound to a chair in heavy rope."
Then she asks a question that's completely out of the blue, but then again, he had mentioned graduation, "I dunno. This is a Spring Break hot spot. MTV even comes here sometimes." But it does make him ponder, "A trip to an actual city might do us some good. L.A.? New York? But the West Coast got the better beaches." This he says with a laugh.
"I could happily do a west coast teeny bikini to show off for you. But New York sounds fun and so different from here. Maybe if we want city and beach, we should go to Miami or... maybe a lodge in the woods by a lake, that sounds nice too, we don't really have trees here. But I think we'd run out of things to do at some point and start self-entertaining. Then it's all fun and games til someone loses an eye. So... one of those cities." Esme lifts a leg to loop and tangle hook around one of Landon's and tucks a hand under her cheek after a small nod at the getting out bit. Then she makes contemplative answer about something good before going back to looking for bloodsuckers (?) in the yearbook heaps.
It really is a needed reset of eyes, looking at Landon while he looks at her, both of them with smile for each other touching their eyes while they plan for anywhere but here. So, because it's a break, she keeps it up and together, they make a pros and cons list for each city for later planning and weighing. They're young and beautiful and smart with the invulnerability of youth, so naturally, it's doubtful they're much considering that this planning might be moot after a moon or two. And after some stolen kisses in the rare quiet and private alone time they get nowdays, they set their eyes back to work and find one more face they can agree on.
As a byline, somewhere, the universe is probably thinking 'good call on cities, Esme' because Lodges in the deep woods are as scary and deadly as vampires and people really do lose eyes!