Log:Flesh and Blood
Ashley slunk off to the Guest Sitting Room before the big brouhaha at the main party. She seemed rather serious when talking to Esme and she looks rather serious when her cousin arrives. "Thanks for the juice" she smiles, plucking the glass from Esme's hand before closing the door behind her. "Have a seat" she suggests before sipping at her drink. Ashley remains standing. "This might sound crazy but sometimes crazy things happen. And I'm not going to build slowly into it. Just go straight for the crazy. Esme...are you turning into a vampire?"
ROLL: Esme rolls spirit+1 for: : x2 (Pair) : x1 : x1 : x1 -- Match Value: 1 (Raw: 3 2 5 2 4 -- d6)
Esme is really charming and bright a lot of the time, but she also has that kind of zen and calm that's contagious, much to peer counseling benefits, courtesy of her mother's influence, more or less. And that means sometimes, she's hard to outwardly rattle and has a hell of a poker face, usually for everyone else's benefit, not so much her own. However, this question does make her pause and stare at Ashley, as it should, because... look, details aside, what?
She knows what she remembers, of course, but there's other parts she doesn't remember and things are fragmented and mixed with dreams and intoxication, so she really... does take a moment after the initial calm stare to consider the question. And this is Ashley, she's not going to pretend everything is just fine, regardless of her answer that comes out, "Goodness, no. We just got into some bad stuff that's coming with some nasty side effects, which honestly serves us right for being stupid kids looking for something to do or someone new to party with. But..."
She pauses, looking down at her whiskey before taking a huge swig, serious, "I do think there's real monsters out there, Ashley. I don't know what the hell I saw, in truth, but we're trying to figure it out, a few of us who think we saw the same. And mom's on top of making me a cleanse and purge tea that will no doubt taste awful for me to have at tomorrow, see if it gets this funk out of my system." She pauses, "I sent Cash away. He didn't want to be there and I thought they'd keep him there so I offered to take his drink. Is that where... you're getting the word 'vampire' from? What'd he say?"
"James said they were vampires. Cash seems to agree." Ashley won't lie to her cousin. Not sweet Esme...who just downed a whiskey. "I thought it was drugs too. I mean, seems obvious, right? A need for whatever it was. Health issues. Irritablility. Not being the person we knew. And... Esme, Cash said someone was in a trunk. Someone may have even been killed at this party. The //second// one you went to foolishly. Do you remember that at all?"
Another sip of her drink. "This woman who drugged you all with...something. Have you seen her around town before that? I want to find her. See what the heck she has done to you all. No disrespect to your mother but I'm not sure tea will cut it." A solemn nod. "He said you had two drinks, even though this person threatened your cousin, threatened you if you tried to leave. Why?"
ROLL: Esme rolls spirit for: : x1 : x1 : x1 : x1 -- Match Value: 0 (Raw: 1 5 2 6 -- d6)
ROLL: Esme rolls brains-1 for: : x1 : x1 : x1 -- Match Value: 0 (Raw: 1 5 7 -- d8)
"Oh, Ash..." Esme pulls the half-mask of beautiful feathering from her made up face and looks like she wants to cry suddenly, all of that contagious calm and zen about her dissolving in a moment of acknowleding ill-decisions and fear, even if she can't fully explain any of it. Her bottom lip makes a tiny quiver and she steals a sudden look at the door to make sure it's closed before she looks back at her cousin and finishes her whiskey to put the cup aside.
Then with sweep, Esme finally sits in that big fancy fluffy and bright ballgown with rustle of noise to enhance the drop with helpless noise that suits her posture. It's slumped too, despite Esme always trying to play presentation and preen when she likes an outfit. She seems to have forgotten about the pretty dress and masquerade noise coming through the door from outside in the main part of the mansion, mascara-thickened lashes lowered as she explains in a small voice.
"I'd never seen her before the first time. She seemed so exciting, we were all drawn to her and we played a game and drank. I can't remember what the game was, but that night, I had the most amazing vivid dreams, but they also... were violent. I was a //hunter// and //predator// and I wanted that again, inexplicably, to feel that power, you know? ME. I wanted that. But I thought it'd go away, like... it was all a bad trip. Daddy says that too much acid or things like that can really kind of break a person for a while, so who knew what was in it?"
Esme pauses and quickly wipes under her eyes before any tears can fall and ruin her makeup, though, clearly shamed, "The others were going to investigate, from the paper, but I guess they got drawn in too, then when the second time came around we just... I don't know. We were all joyriding or something and ended up out where we were. And there //was// a trunk, but I wasn't sure if we were being pranked and I wanted that drink so badly. I almost walked with Cash because I heard a noise from inside the trunk, but I thought, a person in a box is //crazy// and that's not how people //are//. They don't carry around people in boxes. I just didn't want Cash to do anything he didn't want to do because he's so sensitive and... I thought if something //was// amiss, at least he'd be safe and we'd have a sober witness? But mostly, I just wanted the drink, Ash, I can't even explain it." Then she pauses to swallow thickly, "We thought the lady was part of our dreams. Her being ripped apart... how do you tell people that? Who do you tell that you saw monsters eat a woman? Who do you tell... that before you realized they were monsters, terrible things... you thought you wanted to eat her too? It's hard to tell what's real anymore."
One person in this world who should never be upset is sweet Esme. Ashley even feels a tinge of guilt at making her cousin feel this way, but it is obvious that it needed to be said. She puts her own glass down, moving to squat next to Esme and take her hand in a consoling fashion. "Let it all out" she whispers, and her cousing certainly does.
Ashley had hoped that the vampire idea was all crazy drug fuelled talk, but Esme is making it sound convincing. Predator dreams? Esme wanting power? Everyone being drawn to meet this strange woman without even knowing she was there. Shit is indeed getting serious.
"We need to call the police. You need to talk about this with them, Esme. It may have felt like a dream to you but you can't all have had the same dream. Someone was in that box. And someone is dead now. You can tell them that some cult murdered people while you were stoned and you ran away, not sure if it was a dream." She hugs her cousin, holding her tight. "You have to stay away from her. You need to get cured." How do you cure vampirism? How do they do it in the movies? Why has she never watched the right movies?! "These people are monsters, Esme. Even if they aren't //really// vampires, they are not normal. They're dangerous." Hopefully her warm body and throbbing veins are not putting any ideas in Esme the Half-Vampire's head.
Ashley pulls away from her cousin, studying her as she sighs softly. "This woman...these people...hurt my brother and my favorite cousin. I'm not going to let it stand. I'm going to find them...me and Amy...and we're going to get them. I am real, Esme. Your family is real. Stick to that and fight. Freelands never, ever, give up."
"The police won't believe us and we won't be credible witnesses because of what we drank and... how it... they pulled her apart, Ash, they ate her, that's not a murder, that's a feast and savagery and monsters and..." Esme avoids using the word vampire, they're supposed to be glamorous and lovely even when deadly according to books and a lot of movies and that's just not how it happened. Even high and wanting, they were sent to flee with a very human danger instinct for self-preservation, all of them, she kind of knows that, it's how they all ended up together in varying ways and disoriented and comparing the next morning.
"We'll just sound like a bunch of high kids and if they //ate// her, there's not even a body for them to... if it's even real and I--" Esme struggles some, but her hands latch fast on Ashley's hands before she pulls away. There are a few tears that slip loose, but yay for waterproof mascara.
After pulling her hands up to wipe at her face when Ash gets some space for survey, she swallows down thickly and says urgently, "We want to make someone adult believe us, we want some kind of proof of monsters, or a trend to point out to MAKE them take us seriously, or something. It's hard. So I called the library, they suggested since the old Librarian is out, we talk to Mister Chen when it comes to matters of Local and Urban legends and how many disappearances there have been over the years. So we wanted to do that because we... we're trying so hard to take what happened and make sense of it and present it like we're NOT crazy. So maybe after we do that, we'll have something. It's priority after this party."
Then she tacks on, "You have to be careful, Ashley. You have to. I think we're scared that talking has consequences and we might not be wrong. So that's why we want //something// to make it seem real when it's time. And maybe... something to help... oh, I don't know, protect us from that." Her concern shifts, less for herself, more for her cousin because dog with a bone in Ashley mode to get a whole lot of something done... it might as well be her standing sign in life, "Seriously. I know you're real. I want you to stay real. It's hard to explain the pull that she... if you meet her... you have to be careful."
Ashley smiles warmly at the concern being shown her. "Hey, I'm the Alpha Bitch at school, right? You think some skank is going to bother me? And I'll have Amy with me." Not that she has told Amy this. Another hug for Esme. "Mr. Chen? He gave me the Freeland crest the other week. And told me some stories. Like, our original name was Welsh for conjurer or something. Which probably really means conmen. Don't know about you but I haven't been casting spells lately. Anyway, he also said that there was an evil stone from Stonehenge in the London Bridge here. That five people locked away the evil in there. That probably doesn't have much to do with this cult of yours but it might show that Mr. Chen is the right guy to talk to." A beat. "He may even believe you on your word." A little laugh. "At least you got your priorities right."
Ashley gently strokes her cousin's upper arms as she considers her. "We should probably get back to the party or people will start talking. But if you ever start feeling weird, you come right over to my place, okay? No detours. No stops. Straight over and Cash and I will look after you. Damn...that is some damn good Mascara. What's the brand? C'mon, let's get that Esme smile back on or Landon is going to get all hissy."
A moment's thought before she adds. "Why not just move in until this is all over. We can tell our parents its an extended sleepover before we split up for college. It'll be fun. You can stay in my room."
Esme nods a few times, then looks at Ashley with actual focus when she starts talking about a family crest and the things about it, something more pleasant, more benign, more interesting to seize onto for the sake of composure than... vampire? Oh god. Denial is a hell of a thing, even when it's mass denial in a group, and something about Esme's posture says she's knowing more and more what they saw was real, perhaps, and went exactly like they think it did. It's evident by the pallor even with her makeup pretty, but something Ashley says also seems not only nicely distracting, but visibly bolstering too.
"Oh, I don't know, then Lana would have to come too and she... it's hard to even... she's been busy with things." Oh shit, Esme hasn't told Lana, precisely, though twins know when something is off. Which means this was a hell of a divulging blurt to Ashley because Esme sucks at keeping things in, which might show how SCARED she actually is.
But then she rises to put on her mask and pretty herself up for stepping out with Ash's suggesting, and she says, "I mean, a sleepover is probably overdue anyway, even if I don't stay-stay. And it's Lancome. I saved for it with my cafe tips. Maybelline is crap. I'll... tell you what the man says about urban legends and things. But be careful, Ashley. Seriously."
She remembers her whiskey cup. She definitely needs the distraction of a refill now and thank goodness for masks.