"We tried to be better, but we aren't. I don't think anyone could last more than a week here if they weren't willing to do bad things." - Alba Reyes

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frogue
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just a picture of a cloud
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Tessa watched them go, arms folded across her chest, face frozen.

They'd never liked her, she was sure, even back in Cochise. Tessa had laughed along of course, pretended the cute little nicknames were nothing more than names and that she didn't know what people said about her when she wasn't there. She'd pretended to think people were laughing with her, pretended she wasn't hurt, pretended that everything was okay, and when she'd seen Cameron here she'd pretended not to know what the girl really thought of her.

Now, as Cameron left, Tessa pretended not to care.

She'd been fine, by herself. What had they brought her? Nothing but wasted time and hurt feelings. Here they were, standing in hell, and nobody was following Tessa out because... what? She wasn't nice? Wasn't willing to sugar coat the truth of their situation, or pander to their vanity? Calling what Cameron had come up with a "plan" was to use the word so liberally as to render it basically meaningless, and fuck her if she was too much of a little bitch to hear the truth of her incompetence.

Tessa pictured the girl wandering into a danger zone, her head reduced ton offal. She pictured her wandering off a cliff, wandering into a hail of bullets, wandering onto a spike.

It was a joyless daydream.

She sat back down in the armchair she'd slept in, still alone in the pub, friendless and abandoned. She was herself.

So what if they were gone, if they didn't want her? Why the fuck would she give a shit about the opinion of some faux-punk poser or the little pervert she had following her. Tessa had people who loved her back home, people who cared for her, who respected her, who she'd get back to. "I tried, I really did," she'd say to Cameron's parents, back in Kingman, "she just wouldn't listen to reason. She thought it was more important to look for her friends than try to escape, and of course I told her that plan was completely fucking retarded, but I guess you just didn't raise her right? Her friends were all dead, too, by the time she found them, it was oh so sad, I'm so sorry" and she would be, too, because nothing would have given her greater satisfaction than having Cameron watching her, then, and seeing that Tessa had been right and she'd been so tragically, embarrassingly, moronically wrong.

Unbidden and unwelcome, a tear formed in Tessa's eye and she wiped it with a grubby thumb. Across the room from her a camera lens glistened in sympathy, broadcasting her weakness to the world. She met its gaze, wanting to see if she could see anything behind it, but if the camera had secrets to share, it kept them to itself, and Tessa felt herself plunge into an abyss of frustration.

The ashtray had left her hand before she was even aware of picking it up. It hit the camera with the sound of the Titanic striking an iceberg.
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