"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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Being a degenerate is okay these days
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"Scarlett McAfee." Yep, that tasted like a name he could learn to hate. "She's in our year, but I don't think I've ever talked to her. Know anything about her?" Hazel was much more of a social butterfly than Jae, so odds were better that she'd had some kind of experience with Scarlett before. Jae took one final drag from his dwindling cigarette and dropped it to the ground, grinding it out with the heel of his boot. Hazel had already come to his rescue at least once today; who was to say she wouldn't do it again?

Before he could dwell too much on that, though, Hazel went and asked the million dollar question. Or something. Was it really a million dollar question if you weren't getting a prize? Unless of course the prize was Jae himself, which let's face it, was a pretty niche reward.

Then again, that seemed to be exactly what Hazel was angling for.

"Together? Like a... a thing?" Wait, shit, that made it sound bad. Hazel had been "a thing" with a lot of guys, and he knew that was a sore spot for her. "I mean, not- Fuck. You know what, ignore that, it doesn't matter." Jae waved his hands like he could dissipate what he'd just said like his cigarette smoke. "But, uh, yeah. I-I mean, I'd like that." Shit, he was stuttering now. He never stuttered, what was wrong with him? Hazel had most definitely not decided to ask him out because she expected him to turn into a stuttering mess.

...Asked him to the dance. Not asked him out. Different things. He was getting all worked up over nothing.

"Um. Sorry about that, again. I dunno what's wrong with me today, you know, it's just been a long week and-" Goddamn it. Give her a straight answer.

Jae closed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose. "Okay, look. I'm making an ass of myself here, but... yeah. I'd like to go with you. That sounds like fun." There. Was that so hard? His heart was still beating fast, but it kind of felt like a good thing. Like a risk that had paid off, even though he hadn't been the one to pop the question in the first place.

"Fair warning though: my parents are going to take, just, all of the pictures. They go nuts when I actually go and do things with people."
"Art enriches the community, Steve, no less than a pulsing fire hose, or a fireman beating down a blazing door. So what if we're drawing a nude man? So what if all we ever draw is a nude man, or the same nude man over and over in all sorts of provocative positions? Context, not content! Process, not subject! Don't be so gauche, Steve, it's beneath you."
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Bittersweet and Sour · Main Street