"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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Cicada Days
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👀 (credit to Kotorikun)
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Glances crossed. She told him the obvious. And then something a bit more interesting than that. Wasn't his business to go prying into, and he wouldn't be anytime soon. But interesting all the same. She had a reason to dislike him in particular. What could Aiden have possibly inflicted upon her? Maybe they had used to date? Or he'd just been inappropriate her way in general, throwing heaven knows what kind of comments her way. Just speculation, idle musing really, but he could see why she might feel such trepidation in Beaks' presence. That would explain why the room had felt kind of awkward before Beaks had left. Well, okay, honestly it still felt kind of awkward. People involved and all.

Ben let the silence carry the weight of the moment, for a moment. His eyes flicked down. Lip bite, page rifle. Maybe he'd look at his own book for a bit. Nah, that was the easy way out. Not to mention rude. He kept looking her way, though he did angle his eyes a bit. Sort of a glancing gaze. Looking more past her than at her, like a sort of compromise between 'we are having this conversation' and 'eh not really'. His response came fast, a finger snap couldn't have sounded in the amount of time he needed to speak. Even if the subject matter was a bit awkward he had no intent to make it obvious in the conversational flow. Pauses and beats were for music, not casual speech.

"Misunderstood." Cliche, like teeny teenage fiction cliche, but honestly Ben would have hoped so himself. He just nodded in affirmation of the possibility. No point in wishing the worst of people. "And I see. Yeah, I totally get you there." He wanted to ask but he wouldn't. This wasn't the time or the place, in the home of a girl he only essentially knew in passing. "He does give me a kinda off impression as well. I'm also not inclined to hate on people if I can help it, but I can totally understand if you're not too fond of him." He glanced at the door frame, suddenly. Of all the times for Slattery to come back this would be the absolute worst moment to pick.

"You're not a bad person for disliking him, Scarlett. Whatever the reason." A simple, sage nod. "I might too if I were in your shoes." Maybe that was overselling it, but Ben could vaguely imagine the world of a girl where creepy guys pulled shit pickup lines on-

Okay, weird thoughts. Veer away.
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Romeo And Juliet · The Neighborhood