A Lovely Way to Spend Christmas (open)

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A Lovely Way to Spend Christmas (open)

Post  Bethany Lark on Sat Dec 24, 2011 5:09 pm

When Beth first arrived, all bundled up in her knit wear, she was staring (even more wide-eyed than normal) at the building. It was beautiful and beautifully decorated. It looked a bit like something out of a picture book to her. At least if she had to move away from her beautiful city it would be nice to live in a pretty place like this. She quietly followed around the staff member who'd been assigned to show her the place, only listening to what they were saying in part.

The other half of her mind reeling over what her life had become. Beth had hoped after the interview she'd had with the employee of this Highgrove House that Samson might come back into town. That he might forgive her, apologize, and explain to everyone the part he played in all of this. That he might finally admit to the police about all those women, how Beth was a woman wronged, how he'd driven her to it all. But that Christmas wish wasn't to be. Samson and his family never came back, Ruby and her family abided by the restraining order they'd placed on her. Beth spend the last few weeks so entirely alone. Even the nice kids at her group home started to avoid her big blue eyes.

At the end of her tour the staff member informed her that the evenings dinner would be a celebratory affair. She was to dress up a bit and enjoy a bit of a social dance afterwards. As soon as she was gone Beth dug through her bags like a wild thing. She hadn't packed anything too fancy, she didn't think she'd need anything like this. Eventually she settled on a dress she'd sewn herself last summer. Paired with clean white tights and a pair of red shoes. She looked Christmasy in red and white, she figured that made up for not being terribly fancy. With a brush pulled through her hair, some blush, and a little tinted lip balm she figured it was good enough. It wasn't as if Samson would be there anyways...

Coming into the already busy room Beth slipped into the first largest open area she could find. She felt a bit more comfortable sitting alone and letting someone approach her than she did introducing herself and sitting next to someone who might already be expecting someone. Her large saucer eyes looked out at the other teens and the few odd adults. In her head she began to assign little fictionalized life stories to each other. Wondering and predicting at the same time.

(the dress except with a little ribbon tie instead of a belt, worn on the shoulders like in the left shot.)
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Re: A Lovely Way to Spend Christmas (open)

Post  Ace Finn on Mon Dec 26, 2011 3:28 am

So Ace had to hand it to Sandra: he ended up needing his good suit after all, in the first month even. Silly middle-aged women and their rather helpful habit of thinking ahead. "If you don't take it, you'll surely want it," she had said, and now Ace had the black wool and silk garments lying on one of the unused bunks while he pondered which shirt would go best. He had three out, and while red seemed like the obvious choice... Well, that was just it. Red was obvious. But blue just wasn't right, and as much as he loved purple, that was even farther from the mark. He stuck his tongue out and picked up the pale blue and white striped one.

As he dressed, he fumed about how he really didn't want to go to a stupid dance anyway. He had no one to dance with, unless he could convince Nate to... and Ace would have loved that. It didn't seem too likely, though. Or maybe Huxley. That one was a much more attainable possibility. Or then there was... No, he would look silly dancing with a girl taller than he was, and that was all of them, he thought, except for Miss Unpleasant. But then again, maybe someone should dance with her... and it wasn't going to be Ace, for damn sure, he'd already decided.

He then went down into the dining hall to meet his doom, and whatever orderly was going to watch him swallow that pill that he presumed was just yet another antidepressant. Every day, ever since that clusterfuck of a therapy with Bjorgen, he was fed one of those little tablets, and they made absolutely sure he didn't just tongue it so he could spit it out later. He'd likely made a mistake in telling the representative that, because now they all assumed he would just do it again.

Once in the festively decked hall, he turned his almond eyes throughout the room, searching, though at this point, he wasn't sure who or what for. They settled on a blonde girl he'd never seen before, and his first thought was how he would figuratively kill for eyes that big and blue. His next thought was of how silly he would look with a pair of owl eyes instead of his small, irritatingly mono-lidded peepers. And then, he quietly sat down next to her. "Hi," he greeted, flashing her something close to a smile. "This seat isn't taken, is it?"

Getting a bit bolder, he decided that he should probably introduce himself. "I'm Ace, by the way. I haven't seen you around, I don't think."
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Re: A Lovely Way to Spend Christmas (open)

Post  Bethany Lark on Tue Dec 27, 2011 2:50 am

Thankfully, she wasn't alone too dreadfully long. Because although Beth had never been anything close to a 'little miss popularity' she really never liked being alone. For years it had simply been her and Ruby, with the odd fair-weather friend or two beside them who might come and go. But she was rarely alone. Always with Ruby. And then along came Samson and suddenly, between them Beth was pretty well only on her own when she closed her eyes to sleep. Here however, without a boyfriend and without a best friend, a stranger or soon to be acquaintance would have to do.

"No, it's free. Please." She gave a gesture to the chair. The asian boy in front of her had a nice face, like he was probably a fairly pleasant person if nothing else. No lines that might indicate a person who scowled or shouted a lot. Beth liked that. She offered a smile, genuine, though it did seem a bit melancholy.

"I'm Beth, I just got here today, yeah. Ace... that's a pretty wild name. S'it short for something? Or maybe you're really good at... I dunno, being you?" She reached up and pushed some of her light hair behind her ear. Her ears were a bit sticky outy... if anything it made for good tools in the realm of containing girl hair.

"Have you been here long? Or was relocation your Christmas present as well?"
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Re: A Lovely Way to Spend Christmas (open)

Post  Ace Finn on Tue Dec 27, 2011 9:51 pm

Good, Ace thought; he wasn't infringing upon anyone else's claim to the seat opposite the owl-eyed girl. She looked pretty and nice and sane, a seemingly safe choice to share Chistmas dinner with. Sure, there were other things he might rather do, like snuggle up next to a fire and read a book with only the company of a large, hot mug of cocoa, or be back home, or just ... not be... But he was here. He couldn't be picky. And it was Christmas. There were many things he figured he should be thankful for, like the fact that if he had to be alive, he wasn't with his schmuck of a father, or in a hospital. He could be thankful for the handful of friends and decent acquaintances he had made. Hell, he could be thankful even for the lovely glass of red wine he held in one hand, because he hadn't expected to get that here. Still, though, he felt a bit melancholy. He missed her. Nothing would ever make it okay.

Now, he tried to appreciate the fact that he had some company. He smiled just a little. "Beth, it's nice to meet you. I'm sorry you had to come here today. That's a bit of a shite Christmas gift."

He sighed as she asked about his name. That was a painful subject. The origin of his name was closely tied to the way he lost his favorite person. "It's not short for anything, no. It was...originally a nickname, before I was born, before my parents knew my gender or what else they would call me. So they called me little Ace, and it stuck. My mother... She used to be a fighter pilot before I was born, so I guess she was always fascinated with, um, flying stuff. Aviation." He took a sip from his glass to give himself time to think. "I guess I'm all right at being me. No one can be me like I can, right?"

He shook his head. "I haven't been here too long. Oh, two weeks or so. Anyway, where are you from, if you don't mind me asking?"
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Re: A Lovely Way to Spend Christmas (open)

Post  Bethany Lark on Wed Dec 28, 2011 12:14 am

"You get asked that a lot huh?"

Figured she'd come up with the most dumb and tired question of all time. She didn't think that it was something he'd heard over and over again. But then, a natural blonde, Beth quite often had the realization that she didn't always think through the things that popped out of her lips. Words so often seemed as harmless and air and turned out to have far more impact that people suspected of them.

Beth knew that. She was always feeling the weight of people's words. Women's especially. It was amazing what could come across with a little finesse. Or seduction for that matter.

"That's a cool job, she must be brave. I never knew my mum, but from what I hear she wasn't much of anything..." Beth gave a little shrug as she said it. Nonchalant. You can't miss what you've never know after all. And her grandparents had never talked about her mother must. They missed her, not Beth. She took a little sip of her wine and smirked a little. Clearly pleased. She'd been trying to push her accent down a bit. She hadn't wanted to stick out too much.

"You can't hear it? Edinburgh. I was trying to cover it a bit.... sorry, I'm not even sure why... somethin' to do? What about you? I tried to guess, but you win. Can't tell."
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Re: A Lovely Way to Spend Christmas (open)

Post  Ace Finn on Wed Dec 28, 2011 1:57 am

Oh, she had no idea. Nearly everyone Ace met asked if it was his given name, or tried to get him to tell them what his real name was. Then he had fun trying to convince them that it was actually just Ace Finn, and no, he did not have a middle name, but wanted one someday.

"Yeah," he nodded. "All the time. Sometimes constantly, like at parties. Hopefully it won't hold true at this one."

Really, at parties, Ace tended to relay the whole story to the first three or so people, but after that, he liked to just pull explanations out of his ass and see how ridiculous they could get before people would stop buying it. This was back when he attended parties, usually with his mother. Often, after a particularly riveting bullshit session, someone would tell him, Well, you really are Midori's child, you are!

The next statement from Beth made Ace's grip on the glass tighten for a moment. Sure... Midori had thought it a cool job, but it had killed her. "Yeah," he said, nodding again. "She was really brave, yeah."

Finally, he could talk about something else, to try to push from his head any thoughts of his Ma. He knew that she likely wanted him to at least try to enjoy himself, so he would. "Oh, Edinburgh. I liked it there, when we went on holiday. But now that you say it, I feel silly for not having guessed. Me, I'm Irish, from Lisburn. I've been told my accent's a bit funny. Probably Ma's doing; she was from Japan, then the US. I might have got a bit of one of those stuck in with it, but I don't really hear it."

Okay, so this girl kept accidentally bringing up bad topics, but still, she was nice. He didn't think she meant to do it, so as long as he could steer away from those subjects, and so long as the new ones kept coming, he wouldn't have to talk about any of it.
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Re: A Lovely Way to Spend Christmas (open)

Post  Bethany Lark on Wed Dec 28, 2011 3:08 am

"Wow, you've been all over then, yeah? I've always been stuck on this rock. Not travelling stock, I guess."

She said it with a note of defeat. Given the chance Beth would love to travel, see some of the world, meet some of it's people. But she'd always been stuck. Her grandparents weren't rich by any means and weren't very ambitious or too terribly mobile to boot. Then in the group home, it wasn't as if that gave her any hope. And now here at Highgrove. But at least that had been enough to put her on a bus for a time....

"So, what's it like here? I mean, outside of fancy party nights... I mean, this isn't the norm right? I feel like I am being lured into a false sense of security, ya know?"

Beth leaned her cheek on the heel of her palm. Her free hand running a finger along the rim of her wine glass. She didn't really want to finish her one drink. It would be such a shame to see it gone. A little bright spot in an otherwise disarming and altogether strange night. She didn't feel like she ought to trust it. But then she never trusted much did she?

"Should I preface all this by asking if you're a pathological liar or somethin'?"
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Re: A Lovely Way to Spend Christmas (open)

Post  Ace Finn on Wed Dec 28, 2011 4:04 am

"I... hmm, I guess, yeah." Ace had been quite a few places: all over the UK, to Italy, Austria, Japan a number of times, and to the Virgin Islands once when Midori and Paul decided it would be a good idea to take a three-year-old there. He never understood that one. Travelling wasn't anything huge, though, for them; the money was there, and there was always a plane. They didn't leave the country every holiday, though, as that would have been exhausting. But it still seemed a pity Beth hadn't seen many places.

"It's not all fun and joy and parties," Ace confirmed, just a note of sadness in his voice. "Mostly, we wake up, wash, eat, do chores, eat, go to classes, eat, more chores... Well, there is free time every day. A few hours' worth, for studying, or unwinding... whatever you want, within reason. You'll have your chore assignments soon I'm sure, if you don't already. Hope you like what you get, as that's what you do most of the day."

There was silence for a moment, and Ace took the time to pick around his goose and spear a few veggies with his fork. The sprouts were nice, and the roasted potatoes quite good, but he honestly wasn't feeling the goose. He had started to find he didn't much like the taste of most meats, though he wasn't sure if that was his taste buds changing, or if it had more to do with the fact that he had almost completely lost his appetite with the depression...

He shrugged, taken off guard by her next question. "I'm not a pathological liar, no. But if I was, I would still say I wasn't, right? I'm actually harmless, though, don't worry. Only a danger to myself... apparently."
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Re: A Lovely Way to Spend Christmas (open)

Post  Bethany Lark on Wed Dec 28, 2011 12:37 pm

"Uh... gross. I got something called Grounds Chores... so that would be what? Like weeding and mowing the lawn and shite? Hm. I guess it could be worse right, I saw horses when we drove up..."

Beth had never been one of those girls who ooohed and awwwed over horses, and read Black Beauty and swooned and such. Really horses had always struck her as big, clumsy and rather smelly. She pitied whomever had to care for them. Would they let kids do that? Beth had always been a bit afraid of being stepped on or stampeded by a horse. Taking care of them would be far too close for her comfort.

"I was mostly joking about the liar thing... do they actually have those here?" Beth looked a little shocked but also simply curious. She dropped her forks speared with carrot with a little clatter. A surprised jump at her own clumsiness and a laugh. Then she picked it up again, gingerly.

"You know, I wasn't entirely convinced those actually existed. I always just thought it was just something people said to rationalize people who are just fuckin' around..."

"You know, I think that might be a good way to be... "only a danger to yourself"... you don't have to keep an eye on any of the other dumbasses. Just your ass. Life's simpler that way."

Beth offered a little re-assuring sort of smile. She didn't think there was a person alive who wasn't a danger to themselves in some way. If there was... they must be awfully boring.
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Re: A Lovely Way to Spend Christmas (open)

Post  Ace Finn on Wed Dec 28, 2011 4:27 pm

Ace frowned. "Maybe you can get it switched. So there's this guy I--" he stopped. He'd almost said he liked him, but he wasn't quite sure, actually. "--I'm friends with who has farming ones, though. He told me you dig around in the dirt for that, and I can't say grounds are much different. Like, I guess mowing, planting stuff, pulling weeds. You'll wish you had stables... I do. Most of ours isn't too dirty." In fact, earlier that day, Ace's chores had gone by so fast he wished it would have lasted longer. He'd mucked a few stables, but spent most of the time taking some of them out for some exercise. "Or even worse... You could've got livestock chores. Like, getting eggs and whatever, and I've heard chickens can be mean little sons o' bitches, not to mention disgusting."

He turned to his hoard of veggies and speared another sprout, ate it as he tried to think o anyone there he might deem a pathological liar. "Well, maybe," he said. "There might be one somewhere, but I don't know. They do exist, though." He shrugged. He didn't know much about them, really, other than that his father used to talk to this guy who always told grandiose stories that actually were believable, until eventually they'd hear him say something that didn't quite match up. Then again, he could have just been someone who always felt he had to one-up everyone else.

If being a danger to himself was a good thing, he wouldn't be at Highgrove. That, he knew. Everyone always said it was bad. That Ace would just end up killing himself, but that was his plan. He wanted to die. He didn't see anything worth living for, because the world was only pain.

"Life isn't simple that way, because you're not watching yourself. Everyone else decides they have to watch every move you make lest they find you dangling from a rafter one day, even if that was what you wanted. You get nothing to yourself."
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Re: A Lovely Way to Spend Christmas (open)

Post  Bethany Lark on Sat Dec 31, 2011 1:36 pm

"I can't think of much worse than shoveling shit on a regularly appointed basis..."

She stopped for emphasis and wrinkled up her nose in disgust. Sticking out her tongue a little before moving to get a little more food on her fork. All this yakking was letting their food cool off. Still Beth didn't want it to stop at all. It felt good talking to someone impartial, who didn't know her past, or Samson, on that dog. It felt freeing, as if maybe if she was simply herself things might just work themselves out to a favorable conclusion.

"people will stick their dirty nosy noses into anything though, ya know? They like to feel superior went it's at all possible. Be it because they're calmer than you or happie or more rich and secure or whatever. Fuck em!"
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