Log:Stupid Teenage Drama
With Cash Freeland, it's always the car first. The GNX is going slowly towards the Thistle cemetery but still, it rumbles. This was supposed to be just a drop off of Hector but Cash winds up hand in hand with the newest Thistle, carrying Hector's duffle over his right shoulder. Cash is all tanned and freckled, like the last time he returned from San Francisco. He looks pleasant and relaxed. As you'd hope one would be after skipping school.
Hector is tired and there is still sand in his har and likely other places. He's more tan and his hair hass been growing out over a week now. He's also conspicuously wearing a class ring with a black stone in it. He's smiling up at Cash as they walk, not quite ready to let go of the good times to face the more pressing problems here.
And speaking of pressing problems...out near the closest graves towards the funeral home, and not very far from the Thistle residence is Spear Thistle, who is lying on his back and reading a copy of Southern Funeral Home Director Magazine - 'The Latest in the Death Care Industry'. He has a three legged puppy leaning up against him dozing, and has a lollypop in his mouth. After a moment he swirls the stick around, frowning at something he is reading. Lyring in the middle of a patch of sunlight. He really should be in school working on his homework, but honestly knowing him? He might have been distracted enough just to never go in the first place.
Cash isn't in a hurry to let go either but he is distracted by the little things. "Puppy? A puppy? When did you get a puppy?" Cash is beelining because Cash is a dog person and dogs must be petted. "Heeey, Sunshine. Appropriate place you are chillin in." He is all grins.
Hector trots along with him, "We need to warn him about the whole fran thing anyway." He slows as he nears Spear, not sure what sortof greeting they'll get. "Spear. Did Jade cach up to you since Saturday? Or Silver?"
"I'm just fostering her until she recovers a bit more from her spay, then hse's going to get adopted," explains Spear, sitting up "Hi." He gives them both a faintly awkward grin, but he is _trying_. Trying not to dissolve into a jealous fit. After a moment he lifts the puppy up. The animal is a bit sleepy, and gives a faint whuff at Cash. Spear has always been good with animals. "Er, no, no one's talked to me," says Spear, who pauses, flustered "Did I miss _another_ essay? I don't want to fail the year."
"Oh, maaan." Cash begins, carefully reaching for the puppy. Cash has a braided trio of bright wires on his left ring finger. "Fuck. Okay. So Silver and James and...others...we've drank something weird. Okay? And, uh, it came from Fran. And...that's--sunglasses. All the kids with sunglasses. Went north of town on Saturday night and...I am the only one who didn't drink more. More of whatever the fuck it is." He sighs. "James thinks the party people are vampires. Last thing I heard before I booked it. Why am I still alive?" Beat. "Hi, puppy..." /This/ relaxes him. Gently petting a dog.
Hector shrugs, "I sort of cut today." He comes to sit by Spear, "This is really important, okay? It's not a prank. It's dangerous and you need to be really careful not to drink anything you aren't sure of. I've already warned Jade." He looks up at Cash, "I don't know but drug or vampire, I think Aunt Nancy's suggestion that everyone still feeling the effects should get a blood test from cousin noah is a good one. It can't hurt and it might help prove that there's a real threat to the adults. What... do you know about the Painkillers? Aunt nanccy mentioned fran staying with them.
Spear eyes that ring finger, and eyes Hector, and then he looks down at the puppy "Her name is Miranda, but I'm thinking her new forever home will probably give her a different name." The dog is missing one hind leg, but does not seem overly upset by it. She has a tan spot over one eye "Why would you drink weird things? Wait, who is Fran again?" He then says "Er, I don't think they could be vampires, as such. I mean, the world is full of some truly weird things, but I've never come across vampires? I'm pretty sure aliens are. Actually a thing, you know -" And then Cash and Hector are talking to him, or trying to be serious, and Spear narrows his eyes "I'm not a little kid. If I want to go and -" He glances sideways at Cash "Have some _fun_ with other adults, you guys can't actually stop me." He purses his lips "...I'm. They're a biker gang?"
The puppy borks softly, making a goofy sound. As far as she is concerned, all this attention is great.
"I want her." Cash says of the puppy. "Miranda is a beautiful name." A moment passes and Hector gets a look like he's talking crazy. "Wait, a blood test? Oh. You did mention it. There was a sheep dog and yeah, no, no one is going to admit to shit. I promise you, hand to fucking heaven. That was scary and I mean...I left. They stayed. Happily. So, it's a nice thought but I'm not going to narc these kids out to any fucking authority and they wouldn't answer my flyer...and we were all there! I just didn't remember who all was there! AND...and...the kids who were there might not remember. I only remember what I do because I didn't drink. The night I did? More than half of its gone." He sighs. "Did I mention the person int he fucking steamer trunk!?"
Hector reaches out to scritch the puppy, "Miranda's from the Tempest, right?" He studies spear, "I can't stop you, ut please talk to Silver about it first, okay? Because I think she's scared about what it did to her. Or at least she was before she went back for more. I know that doesn't sound like her, but I'm worried, okay? She was worried enough to tell an adult she took a mystery substance that really messed her up." He blushes at Cash's responce, "I was really worred about you and kind of distracted with other things." He glances at his new ring not nearly as casually as he thinks he is. He sighs, "No one is narcing anyone out. I just... if you don't want to go, you don't have to go. I didn't tell any names. I'm just wooried is all, Cash. and it sounded like Aunt N is blaming this fran lady and the Pikiller biker people, not the ones she tricked." He winces, "I guess I was trying to forget that part. I'm glad you rean, ut i'm trying really hard not to freak about Siver."
"Well, she's at the Shelter, and her number is A130," says Spear, stroking the puppy's ears lightly. He has gentle fingers. "She's probably just a bitzer, I honestly can't really tell what she is aside from 'fluffy'. There might be some collie?" And then he looks a bit confused, and he says "...what. Sheep dog? What do you mean? They weren't, like, hurting animals, were they?" And then he says "So you guys are going out and someone is roofie-ing people? That feels like a police kind of thing, right?" He then says "Er, no, it's because she was found in a fruit box, like Carmen Miranda - wearing some grapes." And then he says "...ugh. Don't worry. No one ever invites me to anything, anyway. Don't even worry. Let's face it, I don't even know what my own sister's doing. If you guys want, I'll try and watch out for her, I guess." He chews his lip "I'm safe, if you're worried. I can't even get a team to do a group project, no one's going to invite me out."
"Dude, I'm a whole fucking leper-slash-pariah myself. And I heard about the history class shit too." Cash snaps but he's fine in the next moment. As long as he keeps petting the puppy. "A130. I'll call. It's...a bad idea though. I'm not staying here after graduation." Now he's sad. He looks up at the Thistles. "Slow down, okay...just keep an eye on Silver and James, okay." He looks to Hector. "Tell Jade to watch Thea. I have to watch Esme. Fuck the rest." Beat. "If those people...Painkillers want you. You come. I didn't want to be north of town, dude. I got in my car and just drove. Be careful. And not bitter. Please, Spear?"
Hector says quietly, "Silver and I went to Aunt Nancy." He studies his brother, "If you need help on a group project we cn do that." He takes a breath, "Spear, you might really want to go to Jade's party, okay? The masquerade thing? He's... not sure, but if you went it might help him decide. You are definately invited to that and he really does want you there."
He winces, "I'm sorry about that, Cash. I tried to defend you. I'll tell Jade, and Morrison can watch his kin. He's taking this seriously to." He takes a breath, "He didn't take advantage of me and he didn't even know my Mom. He's sorry about... the other stuff, and this Fran thing has hiim worried too." He bites his lip, "I'm trying to be adult about this and if it's as dangerous as it looks, we need to ry to save everyone, even the assholes." He carefully doesn't look cash in the eyes, though he implores with his voice, "We just need to survive until graduatuion, and then we can go home, okay? But Silver is my sister and I guess James is my brother even if he's never said anything polite to me. It's important we try to help them."
"Yeah, well, I was mad," says Spear, staring at the puppy "I feel so mad, so often, and who am I gonna tell once we graduate? Everyone's moving on. I'm gonna be stuck here alone forever. But, hey, your boyfriend stood up for you, in public, so I guess, you should know that." And he says "...a bunch of bikers aren't even gonna know my _last_ name unless they need a casket. But...are you sure I'm supposed to go to them? I mean...they're bikers." He then says to Hector "Aughhh. No. I don't. I just. I like Jade. I know he hasn't decided about what he wants to do exactly yet. But he's talking about how fast he can leave for a big city with some big plan and I don't...Not twice, you know? I don't have good marks. I don't have anything I can do except, erm, decorate dead folk."
Hector is talking about other things, now. Spear says "I'm sure Silver is okay, but I can double check. She hasn't come and said anything to me, and I'm sure she would have?" He frowns a bit "I mean, it's possible. I could tell her to take me with her. And James is a good guy." He pauses "...there are a lot of us, aren't there? Thistles, I mean. Tonnes of Thistles. And everyone hears-" He glances at Cash, then at Hector.
"Okay, I'm through with this." Cash says, very suddenly. He grabs Spear around the shoulders but lets go immediately. "Sorry. Overexcited. Just listen. Listen. To. Me." Cash is blinking rapidly, a red flag. "I can't stand to hear you talk about yourself like this. You are important and special! You are my Sunshine." He glances at Hector. "I just need this to be known, okay?" Back to Spear. "You want to do something with your life? Go out there and do it. You don't need amazing grades to get into a community college next door in Cali. Just get away from this fucking place so you can figure out who you are. That's what happened to me and I didn't even mean for it to happen. I know I want to make music more than roofing. Way more than placing tiles. I always have to do the fancy patterns too. I got an eye for the patterns." He huffs. "Digression. Spear, please...I will do anything I can to help you be happy again. I know I fucked you up and that fucks me up and you know how I am. You hurt, I hurt." He stands up suddenly. "I should go. My folks are waiting to yell at me, I'm sure. I called twice but skipping class..." He seems like he wants to move, but doesn't.
Hector rubs the back of his neck as he tries to untagle the Spearspeak. "You are allowed to be mad, spear, and I get that things such. I hadn't realised how angry about a whole lotof stuff Silver was until last Saturday. If yelling at me makes you feel better I'm okay with that. Me coming here fucked up al yur lives. I get that now. Please, please avoid the bikers. I very much want you to be alive even if you hate me, because I actually like you as a person, Spear. Please don't go with them and drink stuff that might fuck you up for life. When we say watch, we mean more like... see if they are okay. Try to keep them from doing... anything dangerous or too weird."
Cash really startles him, but he chimes in, "Apply to USC, Spear. Come with us. I'm serious, We can be a bad or something. You can write words and I can write the music and cash can sing. Or go wherever the hell Jade is going. Or just dress in a really cute costume and go to the Masquerade thingie and maybe give Jade a kiss and see if he likes it. If he doesn't? School's almost over anyway, but if he does, then you maybe get a boyfriend too." He isn't sure if touching cash right now will make every thing worse, so he says quietly, "Think of the waves, Cash. The way the move and you can just float if you want to, eyes closed, warm sun on your skin. Salt smell and fresh breeze and sky so big you could see forever."
Spear's reaction to being grabbed is probably one of the reasons Amy rolls her eyes so damn hard - he does not even flinch, because it does not occur to him that Cash would ever, even in jest, actually be violent. And he is proven correct "I'm listening," he says, clearly enough, low voiced. Nothing alarming in his body or expression. he just says "I'm just. Angry around you. Around you I'm not a good person. I get nasty. I thought it was because of you and now I think it's just that, erm, I don't really know what to do with negative stuff, just like I can't focus on homework, or even where I am. I think I just don't have like, any idea of what to do with all of that."
He says to Hector "Wait, okay, so _don't_ see the bikers, but. I really don't think they're gonna be at the animal shelter. I don't go out to clubs and stuff, man, I mean, if there's a goth night or someone invited me I would. I'm safe." He is puzzled, now "I don't hate. You. I mean, you two make me angry and I don't know what to do with that, but I don't hate you, I just feel weird and complex and I really wish..." And then he says, for the first time irritation creeping into his voice - though oddly, not at Hector. Maybe at himself "Ugh, I already did _that_. I have initiative. But he lost his friend _and_ I think er, look. No offence. But...you're taller, and a bit more...a _lot more_ like how Cash here looks. Shoulders. Leg muscles. A butt that's an actual - look, let's just think about how I haven't said any of this. Can we forget all of this. Immediately. I don't think I'm awful, but I think Jade would like, erm. I'm doing stuff, anyway, I don't want to talk about relationships. I want life to be simple. And I want to photograph a sasquatch."
Cash is trembling by the time Hector's words reach him. He closes his eyes and he just seems to settle down, smooth out. Hector just has /that effect/ on him. He drifts back in time to hear himself be described. "Wha-Oh...I'm like, pale and weird and I filled out last summer and while on swim team but I'm not an athlete. I'm a giant ginger with fucking braces. At eighteen. My own choice! The second I am out of the water for a few weeks, I'll be all gawky. And. Also: Who fucking cares?! We're not fucking to make babies in this group of people who hate me." His shoulders drop and he looks at his own behind. "Oh..." Beat. "Anyway, I really need to go. Listen to Hector, Spear. I'll keep my distance if it makes you happier, I don't mind. I'll just miss your rays. But someone deserves them. Someone deserves the sunshine." He reaches for Hector and just nudges him. "I'll call later. Listen to the last song tonight." He pets Miranda once more and begins his exit.
Hector listens with a calm patience tohis brother, really listens, not just nodding his headat the right places. He puts an arm around his shoulder and gives him a quick squeeze, "I love you. I'm not sure how to get your negative stuff out. Do the art projects help? Like with the bones or that song we wrote? I know making music helps me, but probably you need to find a thing that works for you. And some guys like skinny. And girls too. Do you know how many people would give an arm for a night with Keanu Reeves? Jade hasn't worked out what he likes that way yet. Don't give up hope. Trust me on this... A sasquatch?" He winks at Cash as he inspects his own but, "He's not wrong, Cashew, at least not about that. And talk to your sister okay? She's really worried about you. She'll listen."
As Cash leaves, he pauses, turns. "We should road trip to Washington! See a Sasquatch! Bonding! And, I bet the roadkill around the mountain is so cool..." Cash winches. "I...am gonna talk to Ash. Bye!" And he's out.
"I care because it's...the kind of guy Jade looks...at," Spear says, but he already realises his tangle of words has just tripped him up. And he rubs the back of his neck, almost rueful rather than annoyed. The puppy is picked up and babied in his arms, her face being stroked and her floppy ears rubbed "Well, how about. The dog. Should I keep you?" he says to the puppy "Aww, I'd love to. But I got beasties to foster, and you are already perfect. Yes!" The puppy just whurfles, pleased, and then Spear glances at Hector "They help a bit. I like...erm, sewing most of all." And he sounds embarassed by that. Dude likes sewing. "I just. I'm just. I just need time, okay? I need time. A night with? God. I'm still working up to awkward hugs." He shakes his head, and then he says to him "Yes. You know. Cryptids - like in the Fortean Tim-" A pause "You better catch up to him," says Spear, lower voiced "He's got those long legs. He'll be Downtown before you blink." He sighs, and he watches him go "Run fast, Hector. I gotta hug this puppy more."
Hector watches Cash go. He can't really help it, but when he refocuses on his brother he says, "If we go sasquatch camera humnting, we could maybe go to a goth club in seattle to go dancing. You are too cool for arizona, but trust be, in the right context people'll get you." He shakes his head no, "I keep trying to hint that I think Jade might be looking t you, only he hasn't decided, so you should make a really sexy cosume and see if maybe he does like you. You could sew somthing amazing to wear." He seems enthusiastic about the sewing, not seeing anything wrong with it. He desides to lean into Spear's beliefs in the hope that correct framing will help him grasp the situation, "So maybe this Fran lady is a dangerous cryptid trying to... drug people, like circe making swine. Wait until you see the picture Silver took." He smiles, "He has to go home, and I really need to check on Silver and maybe take a nap." he studies Spear, "I really miss being friends with you, you know that right?"
"Dude, I am built like an anorexic toast rack, and someone recently described me as 'friend shaped'. Jade is. Cute and sleek and feline and he wants a big hunky guy. So do all the girls. So do _you_. For all that Cash says, he's not skinny like me. Neither are you." Spear hesitates "I could try that. Do it. Completely destroy myself, I guess. Just put a really sexy goth boy grunge thing on and. I guess if he doesn't like it, then I can just go and live in a hole forever." He then says "...I know. I think there's something wrong with me. It just _hurts_. I wanted...something. I thought I had it. But I didn't." He adds, a bit stupidly "Also I just want to try sex. I know that's dumb. But I really. Really want to do it. I'm like. The last person. Who hasn't done anything. EVER."
Hector gives his shoulder another squeeze, "You'll havve sex. Maybe not today, but give it a little time, and wanting it isn't stupid. Let's go inside and we can design a costume together. Mybe a raveen? With pleather and feathers?"
"Maybe the last of my dignity," mutters Spear, but in he goes "Check on Silver, then run after Cash," he says "He was wiggin' out. He needs..." He sighs "He needs something reliable." And that is that.
Jonny arrives from Lake Havasu - Downtown.
Jonny heads towards Lake Havasu - Downtown <O>.
Cash arrives from Lake Havasu - Thistle Funeral Home.
Hector arrives from Lake Havasu - Thistle Funeral Home.
Cash, was being led out but the moment he saw the door outside he took off into a run and didn't stop until he reached the cemetery, the Freeland section. It's a small section for his small family and Cash has mentioned before that he doesn't really have a connection to anyone in the ground there. But that is where he is sitting, under a tree.
Hector runs after his boyfriend. He's careful about his smoking. He rations it. he's thinking of cutting even further down. "Cashew! Angel Love!" He pauses, panting. "If I sit down with you, will you stay put?"
"Oh my god," says Spear at the affectionate tone. He follows at a much slower pace, holding a ceramic cup full of ice chips. And he now looks a bit more hung over "Okay, so that was a thing."
"I'm where I wanna be." Cash says. His voice has a hollowness to it. "...That was creepier than I meant it to be. I don't want to die. I just...I'm tired of my brain. It feels like it's wrapped in chains sometimes and that blood? Made them vanish. So...I just want to feel that way one more time. Just once." He looks up at Spear and reaches for the cup. "What am I supposed to do with ice chips?"
Hector rubs his neck "I really am sorry, Spear. I swear I'm not trying to cock block you." He is watching his boyfriend with real distress. He sits cross legged next to him and starts gently stroking cash's hair, "I know Babe. I know it's bd and the... the blood felt good, but you know that this is basically suicidal right? Like peoplegive themselves paranoid schitzaphrenia with meth or run around naked tryinng to axe their neighbors like that guy up in Oregon." his lips curl up, "And we definately can't be the next Jethro Tull if you lose all your teeth, okay?"
"I don't know!" says Spear "Silver gets them and she's feeling like she wants to do weird stuff because of that drink she got. So I thought that's what you gave people on drugs. Ice chips?" He adds "I got in a hot tub last night when I was on drugs and it felt amazing. I mean, I told people everything, without worrying how it sounded. It felt great. No one took advantage of me. But. If I take drugs again, I'll not...learn how to do that without being on them." He adds "Eat the ice chips. Meth is a bad idea. It makes your teeth fall out and makes you really mean." And he says "Oh man, no more Aqualung." And then he says to Hector "Your life is cockblocking me. I'm going to accept it."
"That's what the braces are for. Keep them in." Cash quips and he leans against Hector. He's grounded. He's here. He'll be fine. He takes the ice chips. "Please guys, I am no prize. No prize. I'm the worst wedge ever. I mean. Look at me. I'm a junkie." He deadpans the last bit and rolls his eyes before sucking on a ice chip. "I'm going to sit down with my folks and ask about you coming to stay for these last weeks. I'll even tell them who you are. They might be...grateful."
Hector is really curious, "What did you take, Spear? I'm guessing it wasn't the reed College blotter I traded Jade." He winces, "I tried to help, man. It looked like you were taking my advice when I left. Did you make your move, Spear?"
He keeps stroking Cash's hair, his back, "I think you need to wait unti you come down, Love, okay? Because I'm pretty sure that you should not be making serious decitions right now and they are not going to react well to you showing up high as fuck asking them to let your boyfriend move in. How about we go talk to Ashley tomorrow and see if she'll go with you. You can talk to them together. Sober. I can crash in your car tonight and that way if you get called I'll be right there."
"Look...Star...has seen a lot of people who take drugs. Die." Or, truthfully, a lot of dead people have said they are dead due to drugs, probably. Spear rubs the back of his neck and he says "Yeah, you are a bad wedge. But ughhh. Just eat the ice chips." He folds his eyes and glares up at the sky, and then he says "Hector isn't being thrown out. Star doesn't run the family. But she's right that you're being a bit self-pitying. No one's tossing anyone aside." He sighs "If I hear you saying later that 'The Thistle Family' tossed you out, I'm gonna tell everyone what a liar you are."
Then he says "Er, yeah, probably don't lead with the boyfriend thing while high. Probably relax about it all? I mean, you..." he hesitates "You guys are saying 'boyfriend' and not 'fiance', so like, you're not _actually_ getting married, right?"
"Star is a bitch." Cash, man, he is just going to come out and say it. "She wasn't /being/ a bitch because of blah blah bullshit. She's just a bitch who loves to have an excuse but doesn't need one." He wraps an arm around Hector, protectively. "And I mean it. I'll fuck her up if she speaks to Hector like that again. He can self pity all he fucking wants. His mom was a nice lady and she's gone and he got dropkicked into the weirdest fucking family in town to be brothers with his summer love's ex." And yeah, Cash is talking about Hector like he isn't /right there/. "So, let him have his pity party for the sake of fuck." He nuzzles Hector then. "I mean, we can't legally get married and I'm not intending on getting into a white tux...again. Kinda. But yeah, we kinda wanted a ceremony, didn't we?" Oh, now Hector's here!
"You guys realize I took that meth at the start of my shift, right? Like, six hours ago. So I was roofing while high. And then I fixed my timing belt while high. Talked to the Lester while high but I was coming down by then. I'm still jittery and I was feeling strong."
Hector studies Spear, "Look, you've been really cool about a lot of things and I like you Spear, but if you were me, would you really want to keep living here, even if it's increadibly cool living in a funeral home with a graveyard yard?" He closes his eyes, "We are going to have a commitment ceremony after we graduate. So almost married. Is fiance the right word for that?" He kisses Cash's cheek, "I know everything's a mess right now, but I know this is what I want to do. I wasn't ready to be a partner and deal with... all the other things before, but I'm an adult now and I know what I want. Even with the withdraw stuff and... today's stupid, stupid decition." He ruffles Cash's hair, "Better or worse, right? Vampires and meth is definately worse, but I made a promise I plan to keep." He touches Cash's wire ring, "This is part of that."
he curls his arm around Cash, "Baby you are not hitting my siter. She's half your size. Think we are paraih's now? do that and you'll be in jail. and she's still my sister even if she hates everything I do. Just let it go, okay?" He freezes at the mention of his mother and looks away, trying to hide his sudden tears. He shakes a little, but then he turns back alarmed, "You _Roofed_ while high? Jesus fuck you do that again and _I'll_ kick your ass. I mean it baby, yoou do not risk your neck like that! And wait, _Which_ Lester?"
"Star's my _triplet_. We're the same person," says Spear, and he says "I don't say. Anything mean about your sister ever. Even though Amy..." What? Why Amy? Now he just says "Go on, talk about how you're going to beat up my sister to me. I - what." He stares at 'weirdest fucking family in town', and then he looks down at the ground instead and he frowns at the grass. Prods at it with his foot "Yes. I would want to keep living here. The other option for me is dying here. So you guys are. Like. Why?" He has asked others, but now he suddenly asks Cash "Why _him_ and not _me_? Why didn't you ask me to go with you? Like. What was wrong with _me_ that you could fix in like a month or two in a city with someone else?" As Hector speaks, Spear says to him "...the Lesters just. Man. Everyone."
"Everyone stop." Cash says, quietly. Spear's question is what triggered that. "Least to most important, okay?" He sighs and gives Hector a squeeze. "Lesters. Amy and Jonny. They have a right to know about the danger. I'm not feeling super trusting of the so-called adults in our midst because I called in tips and nothing has happened. Plus, I kinda stumbled into telling them. It happens to me when I feel like a secret shouldn't be kept one." He takes a breath. "I will apologize for my bluntness regarding Star. Not what I said. And, of course, I wouldn't hurt her. Not really. And, may I add, Ashley is...cutthroat but a decent person. Star's mean." He sighs again. "What else? Roofing. Crank didn't give me the feeling I wanted. I'll never do it again but I've been on top of houses since I could climb a ladder. I can shingle in my sleep." He kisses Hector's cheek and then stands. "Spear..."
Cash takes advantage of this brief respite from gaze aversion to look Spear in the eyes. Big blues with mile long lashes meet Spear's dark. "It wasn't you. You are amazing. I love you...still. I mean...I just do. I can't stop and I don't want to. You are literally the sunshine of my life." Of course, Cash sang that to Spear more that once. Way to ruin Stevie Wonder for someone. "In my mind, Hector and you are apples and oranges. What makes the difference is...uh, Hector didn't grow up here. I was a stranger and still...he just knew me. He got me. Gets me. He's a stabilizing force that I need. I'm a well documented mess, Spear. You are a light in the darkness but I don't have darkness. Jade? He does. He needs that guiding light. Fuck...he really does. And...I need a rock in the storm. Hector's my rock. Am I making any sense? I feel like I am."
Hector explains, "Ashley. Cash's Sister is Ashley. Amy's a Lester." He says firmly, "It's a very cool family, Spear, but I'm not really one of you. You have your own thing." He looks pained, "I keep telling you nothing is wrong with you. you're amazing! Why won't you believe that?"
He nods, "They do. I talked to Morrison the night before the... the second time it happened. I'm going to talk to him again. I know he's taking it seriously. I need to frame the rest the right way so he might... I don't know talk to that Sebastian guy or or something for us. I'm not feeling super trusting of adults right now either, but he's sort of... half way and he listens to me. Maybe more than before because of what happened, and I'm scared this is going to get violent and I've seen them fight. We might need adults who can fight if it really comes to us vs. Vampire bikers. I'm not going tosay, 'hey, it's vampires,' but if we can get even a few of them to help it would be better for us. Cash, I know you know what you're doing on a roof, but right now your judgement's impaired. You shouldn't be doing anything like roofing or driving." He blinks slowly, listening to Cash try to explain to Spear, smiling a slow, sad smile.
"Jonny," says Spear "Is not good. But he is kinda funny. And Amy..." he mutters something, and then he says "You need to stop...like. Yeah, well, 'Cutthroat' and 'Mean' look the same from 'Social Pariah' status. Which, despite Hector bein' all derp about, he did _not_ grow up here and see what it was like for us for so long. Cash, you know what people say about us to our faces. So -" He does blink away at the kiss. No matter what, he does not seem to want to see it "Drugged people shouldn't be messin' around with falls _or_ nails _or_ hammers." And then he says to Cash "I get it. And I don't. You should have asked me to go with you. You didn't know Hector then. And you didn't...just...I do like Jade." But he sure is not going to be specific about how "I just miss being with you."
And then he says to Hector dryly "I know the differences between Amy and Ashley. Much better than you do. Man, not - what?" And then he stares at Hector, before he gives a weird laugh "You don't get a choice about that. Being 'In' our family is proved by one thing, and you proved you can do it. You tell Cash you can do it yet? Or is he gonna 'marry' you and not know the truth about what you are, Hector? I mean, leeeeets face it. If something permanent an' mortal happens around you, he's gonna realise you're just as messed up as the _rest of our family_ by your reaction to sudden voices."
"Ghosts. Thistles talk to ghosts. Duh, dude." Cash shakes his head. "I don't think it's common knowledge but I pick up on things when no one thinks I do. It's why I can give proper advice but not...really follow it." His eyes are off and away as he says, "I should have asked. Could have. It was a last minute thing. And I didn't...I should have brought you with me. I didn't think. Shocking, right? A Freeland who runs headlong into something without much thought?" He looks back at Hector and says, "He doesn't know what he's getting into with me, does he? I'm reckless. I was reckless with your heart. And I am so, so sorry, Spear. I'm the storm. I am the storm and I wish I never blew into your life like I did. I want to be friends again. Like, hang out here and talk about dead things and I love listening to you talk about the things you love. I miss that." He starts blinking rapidly and then he sniffs and then, the dam breaks. Waterworks but not ugly sobbing. "Can we be cordial, nice, kind? Can you be my light on the occasion I might need it? And then I will blow far from this place and you never have to see me again, unless you want to. Please? I mean...dude, you know I will badger you about it until it happens or I die." Freelands, man.
Hector says, “Spear, if Amy tries to put you in a locker again, I will gleefully hit her, but I'm not feeding her to vampires, becuse we are better than that." Meaning, yes, Thistles. "Ashley... look, she calls me brother now. That kind of makes you her brother too, so lets see if she'll give you some slack. I know it can't make up for what you dealt with growing up. I know I don't have your history here, but trust me, this town has been plenty fucking mean to me in the short time I've been here."
He bushes and looks down when Cash starts talking about ghosts. "I didn't last Summer. I saw her the nigt she died though. I see her sometimes still, but I'm not... I don't think i'm as good at it as the others but I can see them, yes. And if you say Thitles are weird that means me too." His brows knit as he listens to the rest of it. He really doesn't know much about the rumored family traits beyond the Lester temper and Thistle's see dead people. It's not viseral for him.”
Spear just stares as Cash says 'Thistles talk to ghosts'. What. What how. He opens his mouth. And he closes it. And then he puts his hands on the sides of his head and he blinks at the ground a few times. He finally says "Okay, well. You said it." Somewhere in there, Cash said something that Spear needed to hear. And it must not have been 'sorry', because Cash said _that_ plenty of times. And then he says "...we can be friends. It's just hard. And. There's like, stuff that's. Hard that you don't get. It's not your fault, it's not even to _do_ with you. It's like. It's to do with me and Silver and Star. It's more like twins and. Another sibling. It's _hard on her_. But Silver and I were born alike, and she's not even like us, while being a third of us. So yeah, she goes over the top. It isn't...easy, moving at the same time, her and me. Her and Silver. So when stuff gets dumb, she gets loud and, ehhh..." His voice trails away.
Finally Spear folds his arms "I like a lot of stuff," he says, like that was even up for grabs "I'm gonna try and be kind. Amy ain't going to put me in a locker. If she does, she doesn't get a date at prom. So Ashley won't let her do it. I worked that out." And then he says "I...know about the Freelands. I don't think Hector does yet."
"Okay." Cash looks relieved. "I thought I'd come down but...nah. I am coming down now." He sits down under the tree. "Ooh. Fuuuck this..." He shakes his head, trying to clear it. "Know what about the Freelands? I mean, we don't do anything super strange like--Hector?" He pauses and chuckles. "My mom and my uncle always say they were never so stubborn before or things didn't blow up in their face or whatever. My mom and dad are both very much Freelands but mom married in. My uncle married in. You weren't here but the blood was in you. Proximity matters. Lester's all have tempers. All the wives. What happens when we marry within the five families?" Fridge horror seems to be coming over Cash, a slow cold realization...that doesn't quite firm up. "I-I dunno. Freelands are just meh. I mean...I can kinda do whatever I really put my mind to but that's...whatever."
Hector listens to Spear and follows most of it, oddly even the bit about Amy and Ashley, "I don't get it. What about the Freelands?" He takes a breath, "Spear? Brother? What do you need us to do? We love you and we do want to make things easier for you." And then he's trying to follow Cash's explanation, eyes flicking between him and spear to see if this is drugs taling or if this is actually a thing.
"The Freelands can do whatever they set their minds on - whatever that is," says Spear, a bit uncomfortably "Whatever they want, they can do, but it sort of gets more noticable - or easier - for them if it's something where someone's against them. So like, they have to be stressed out and stuff, but then it clicks in. When there's groups of Freelands together, they do stuff fast, better. Like, get local laws changed? It's kind of like the Marchants, but not the same - everyone just loves the Marchants. Like they're the opposite of us Thistles. They can charm anyone. Freelands don't charm people. They just. Do stuff. Stubborn." After a moment he says "...the families don't tend to marry each other, which is pretty weird, now that I think about it -" As Hector speaks, Spear sighs "Nothin'. I don't need anything. I had a great time at the party. I just wish these bikers would _fuck_ _off_."
"Yeah. No one's ever told me not to marry in the families but people kinda...don't." Cash says, between groans. "Spear's right. When our back is to the wall, that is when we are at our best. Dad used to tell me that when I got flustered over something. And also, stick with your sister. Again. Numbers. So...are Freelands weird too? I mean...well...super--nope. I'm waaay to messed up to be anything special." Beat. "But you better believe I will ace my audition for USC. When it comes...fuuck.." Cash just lays down now. "I'm fine. Fine."
Hector says, “I wish the bikers would fuck off too." He doesn't dismiss what they are saying about Freelands. He is making his thinking face, the one that looks a wee bit blank, but means that he's taking something seriously and turning it over in his mind. Then he gives Cash a crooked smile, "Well you did say you were stubborn, pretty much right t the begininng, and God knows there is a lot against you now." He lifts his chin, "Well you're stubborn and I'm weird, so fuck 'em. I'm committing to you anyway. I can be very stubborn too even if not... supernaturally stubborn or whatever. Who knows, maybe if we're together long enough you can talk to Mom too." He tries to ease Cash's head onto his lap and feed him some more ice chips, "Coming down, aren't you? We should have asked Jade what to do." He sighs, "You are special to me and to your sister."”
Spear stares at Cash as he is lying down on the ground, and after a moment he says "...Freelands always succeed in whatever they wanna do in the end. I mean, it's...it tends to cause." Problems for other people around them. And then he just looks a little wistful. Not sad. Wistful. He sighs, and he says "Yeah. Numbers. We're. Better in groups. I wonder what it would be like if all the Thistles got together to try to ask. Someone dead..." He pauses, and then he asys "You can talk to ghosts, Hector. But. Sometimes I think it's because we're erm. A bit. Morbid? Like we get born kinda weird. Death doesn't make me sad. I'm almost always happy. The future is always bright, for me. Because even when I die. It'll just be like going home." And then he says "Heh, Jade."
"Where did Jade's charm go? Did it dump into Thea or something?" Cash doesn't want to accept Hector's care, at first. He shoves him off. Doesn't want to admit he was particularly dumb today, maybe? But he relents and lays his head down in Hector's lap. "Can I just /try/ junk? No junk, no soul, they say. Seems to work out for Kurt." Oh, poor Cash. "I went to the salon before..." He trails off for a moment. Does he start to snore? "--I was, uh...my only sober decision was my hair color today. Funny. Anyway, I think there is something more here. I mean, the Thistles are a good, uh, case study. You know...I used to think I was adopted. I look so different, you know? My mom claims an giant ginger uncle or something but...I still wonder. Which might explain how my broken brain ended up..." Not snoring but the deep breathing of someone who is sleeping. His crashes that hard.
Hector studies his brother, "That part... Made me feel at home when I first came here before everything went to hell." Is gentle but firm about making cash comfortable, "Oh hey, what was this about Jade talking you out of heroin? And no, you aren't doingany. Once you atart injecting things i's a lifetime commitment and you already have enough trouble with jonsing for blood. It's not just you this stuff is going to hurt." hesnorts, "Jade has plenty, trust me." He strokes his hair, "I think it was a good decition. Kind of Bowie, you know?" But snores, so he keeps gently stroking his hair, "Thank you Spear. I think you are one of the bet men I know.
"Jade's really charming and nice!" insists Spear. It might...depend on what Jade wants to do, certainly Spear was vastly more cautious of him up until a week ago. Now he says "Nope. MDMA though, that is apparently like. Empathy up to a billion, with...well, for me it just felt warm and contented and I trusted everyone." So not giantly different to normal. He widens his eyes a bit, and then he says "...er, no. You wanted to leave. And managed it. And you wanted." A Thistle. And managed it. Spear is wise enough not to say anything, though he does pale.
Then he finally says "Ugh, no. I'm not. I just. Look on the bright side. Okay. I'm also tangled. I totally miss snogging him, you know." With a deep sigh, he crouches down to peer at the man "I'll go get some blankets and we can set up like a mini tent, okay? Sleep's good for him now, I think. He'll need water and some cut up fruit, I think. But yeah. Jade's...that' codpiece." Now he sounds baffled "How can anyone wear a codpiece and everyone's just 'That's cool'. HOW?"
"Mmm...empathy to a billion?" Cash has returned, blinking up at Spear. "Never, ever let me do MDMA, okay? Okay." He shakes his head, trying to gather himself. "Only Jade could pull off that codpiece. And yeah, I pick but Jade's very cool. Another lifetime...one where I'm like...charming or something. Shut up, Hector I am not." And then Cash, half asleep and crashing, says, "Duuude....I still ended up with a Thistle. Whoa, man. Can't say it's what I..." And he's down again, probably for a while yet.
Hector smiles gently, "Sounds like a lot of fun, Spear." He is oblivious to the implications of Freeland's wanting things that his brother is exploring. "No really, Spear. I think you are the bet of us." He smiles crookedly, "I wouldn't mind if you did as long as that's what he wanted too, you know. I just want... the people I have left to be happy." He looks away again, eyes watering. he keeps talking, pretending he's okay, "We could have a picnic maybe, while we wait, and you could tell me about the party.... Jade was totally rocking that codpeice. I think when a person is that beautiful and confident they can get away with nearly everything." Smiles down at Cash, lashes starfished wih salt tears, "Right, no MDMA for you. Sleep instead."
"It's fun!" says Spear "Because you also have empathy for yourself. Which means you're okay with protecting yourself too. Yeah. He did pull off the codpiece." And then he sighs, Spear does, looking down at Cash "What a mess," he says and he claps his hand on his forehead "Okay, okay. This is fixable. Like. _Everything_ is. We just gotta -" Cash is _out_ man. Out. Spear nudges him with a foot. And then he crouches down to pat his leg, before he straightens up and he says "Yeah. Jade's smart. But. Has some. Problems. You know. Anyway. Don't we _all_, man?" He shakes his head a little, and he says "He can _not_ solve his problems this way. He's a Freeland. What if he decides he _really wants drugs_? No way. You _gotta_ convince him to want something else." He purses his lips.
Hector smiles gently at Spear, "I hope in is." He gzes up at him with dark, sad eyes, "What do you think the ringsre about. I was going to wait til prom, do it all romantic like, but he told me about the cravings the withdraw, the person in the box. I couldn't wait then. I need him to absolutely believe that if he stays sober, if we can just survive this, we get to go home. Together. That the reward for resisting is us togeter for ever in a house with cats and dogs and music and sunlight and surfing. I do love him and I really meen this forever, but I need him to _believe_ it in blood and bone. It's the only way he'll keep resisting. I am trying to save his life and his soul. It terrifies me that maybe no one will do that for Silver or James. They need you and Star so badly. I'm trying to do what I can for Silver, but I'm not conveinced I can do enough. I am frightened, Spear, terrified, and the only weapon I have is love."
"Ugh, well, _I_ don't know," says Spear "I mean we're eighteen, why do you want to get married yet? You're _crazy_, dude. There's no way!" He adds "I like the idea of getting to know people, but you are absolutely just naive." He rubs his temples, and then he says "...okay, okay. Well. I can do Silver and James. And Star. And everyone else too. You watch it." He eyes Hector a bit direly "Ughhhhh. I wish I could have a chance to just be casual, but nope. Gotta _save_ the world. Well." He ponders "Gonna start with...everyone." And then he folds his arms "Man, it doesn't even bother you that he could decide he wants a different guy - or gal - and just _get_ them, that easy? Still. I think it hurts him worse than anyone else."
Hector brushes curls from Cash's face, "He won't. If it was... Freeland luck that lured me to him, I think it picked not just a Thistle becaue it wanted one. I think it found the person who could... be all the things he needed at once. I can't explain it. It was like electro magnets. I heard him singing and I just... fed him and took him home and took care of him. I didn't hesitate or think twice about taking a giant homless stranger home to use my shower." He looks at Spear with the gaze of some renaissance icon, "It felt right to be together and apart is hell. If he wants someone else, I will love him the same, but I don't think he will leave me while I live. Not for anything. In no sane world we he return to me after what I did, but I am forgiven, the... whatever I was between us is to strong to resist. So if it is Freeland luck... It's not something wrong in you, it's just I'm the puzzle peice thatfit all the holes."
"Oh my God, this is terrible," says Spear "Still, you're a Thistle. We get all _poetic_ when we get romantic." He eyes Hector with a doomful expression, and then he rolls his eyes, and he finally says "Yeah, well, maybe you two deserve each other. I'm ollie-ing out of this whole mess. I ain't gonna say nothing to you two any more. I just want to go and...okay, I don't know where I wanna go. We don't have good luck, and people don't do well with us. But! I figure there _has_ to be _something_ out there!" He adds "Besides, Jade's cool. He chatted to me a tonne. Do you know Cash was like pretty much the _only_ other person who did that?"
Hector looks really surprised, "But you're fascinating to talk to. I could listen to you for hours, little brother. You're really interesting. Only Cash and Jade? Seriously, the fuck is wrong with this town that they do not get how amazing you are."
"Look, it doesn't freak _you_ out because you're a Thistle," says Spear, trying to gesture with his hands "And it doesn't freak Cash out because this is what he decided he _wanted_. But to everyone else, Thistles are a bunch of people who're...mostly all super thin, weak, weirdos. I mean you are seriously the _broadest across the shoulders_ Thistle that I have _met_. Seriously." He pauses "...oh man you are probably gonna get ill," he decides cheerily.
Hector looks genuinely baffled, "What does being a Thistle have to do with having eyes and taste. I keep saying you're too cool for Arizona. I legitimately can' fathom why half this town is not in love with you. If you moved to Seattle you'd have to beat suiters off with a stick. I think it's some sort of weird small town thing... What do you mean I'm going to get ill.
Spear runs his fingers through his hair, and then he says "...okay. I don't think you can see it. But. I pick up dead things. I always have. Rotting things. Silver has spiders. Star just likes freaking people out. We have a rep. And. I've been beaten up by half these guys since I was in junior. But it doesn't matter. I don't. Wanna do stuff like that. I just wanna hang out with Jade a bit more. He's...he was cool. We can't _date_ or stuff - he's gonna be Prom King! But I _like_ him. And he's listened to me and we talked for hours. And I'd like him if he were a girl. Or a guy who was a girl, or a girl who was a guy, or him." He beams then "I like him."
Hector says, “But spiders and snakes are cool and make art and stuff with your bones. That's not weird at all." He really, really can't see it. "Why can't you date? I mean, Prom King's a whole other thing than dating. If you like him like that and if he decides he likes you back, couldn't you, I don't know date on the down low until he gets his crown or whatever?"”
Spear stares at Hector. Really hard. After a very long moment, he says, amazingly carefully "Gosh, yes. That would be a good idea, but I wouldn't be able to _tell anyone_ including my own _half brother_ or Jade may not make Prom King."
Hector cocks his head, "wait, so your dating Jade? Cool! I'm really happy for you both!"
"Yeah, except I can't be because Prom King," says Spear "So I'm not, _especially_ if anyone asks, okay?" He adds "Besides. Jade's dating Amanda. In Paris. And he gets to choose...when. Umn. He explains all of that. There's some, you know. There's some actual issues and sensitivities. And it's ok. Because I've learned that maybe taking things slow is the _right_ way, and not to rush? Like I might have rushed Cash."
Hector laughs softly, "You secret is safe with me. I'm just so happy for you, Man. You bagged the hottest guy in this whole ridiculous town. I'm not going to out that you're dating him, but I'd bet real money Silver will guess. She's the right kind of perceptive." He blinks slowly, "Oh." he cocks his head the other way, "Do you guys need more pamphlets? Oh! And you'll want to give him romantic presents. He really likes those."
"Silver can usually, umn, guess everything," admits Spear, because it is true "Star will probably not care too much, because she doesn't do romance. At all. She just. Likes sex. But only with people she wants to." And then he says "I also don't wanna rub it in Silver's face because she's lonely. She wants to find a nice boy." Then he shakes his head "No. I don't think we're going to go there for a while, if at all, and that's okay. Or maybe it'll be tomorrow night? Or never. It's all okay. Besides, I can guess what goes where, and I've _seen_ some...er. Pictures. Not really 'educational' ones. Unless you mean a serious education." He nods, and says "He does. I don't have cash, so I'll be making a lot. Fortunately, he _loves_ looking pretty."
Hector nods, "Being patient until he's ready is a good idea, just please, condoms and lotts of lube. Way more than you think you need." He is alredy planning to put a big box of condoms and a thing of the right sort of lube in Spear's room for him to find, "And you don't have to rush for the... whole thing all at once. Like there's a whole lot of fun stuff to do without going all the way, especially if you guys aren't sure. There's some suggestions in one of the more... outspoken pamphlets I left in your room. The ones they give to college students at thge Alliance back home." He smiles slowly, "he does look pretty and I'm so happy for you both." He takes a breath, "How angry are you still? Did... anyof the explaining help?"
"Oh my god, I don't wanna talk about this," says Spear, who adds "I know. You may be a bit older than me, but you aren't _that_ older - streetsmart wise, all that stuff. I just. I just don't feel the need to go crazy, or anything, you know? There's so much to do - study, and school, and hanging out and movies. I don't _have_ to go and do a tonne of stuff. I think. I just can relax. Once these bikers are gone," he adds "There'll be the whole _summer_ ahead. And then - aguh. I dunno. A lot less? I get fits and starts. But less. I mean. Erm. It did help. He said he should have brought me, and that's what I wanted to hear." Weirdly, not 'sorry'. As if _that_, finally, is the end "I should go check on Star and Silver though."
Hector blinks, "Of course he should have brought you," because that really does make sense to him. "I know talking about this stuffmakes you uncomfortable, but I really like ou both and I just want... whatever you do decide to do to make both of you happy, okay? And I worry. I'm a worrier. You have to have noticed. Mom put a box of condoms and a bunch of sex ed stuff in my room on my sixteenth birthday. I guess... I'm trying to express familia fiondness the only wa I know how." He is totally putting the condoms and the lube on poor Spear's desk once he gets feeling back in his legs.