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You're nothing if you're just another; The Gothening (Concluded)
Topic Started: Aug 12 2015, 10:58 AM (620 Views)
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Who was it that first decided to name makeup? Who the hell decided that different colors needed to have names like "Scandal" and "Melted Twilight"?

Whoever it was, they needed to be smacked. How was Jae supposed to take himself seriously, much less be taken seriously by anyone else, when he was skulking around Walgreens trying to decide between the shade of eyeliner dubbed "Snakebites" and the one called "Ash 52"?

(Were there 51 other variations of "Ash" out there somewhere? If so, why did Walgreens only have number 52? Who designed this system?)

He'd picked Walgreens because it was close enough to his neighborhood to walk there, but now he was paranoid that he would run into somebody he knew and have to explain why he was staring intently at the makeup display like he expected it to reveal the secrets of the universe to him. He should have asked one of the older kids at school where they got their makeup and apparently, he should have also asked whether "Midnight Sky" was superior to "Black Steel", because trying to pick between what seemed like twenty different shades of black all on his own was bringing on a stress headache.

Jae picked up two pencils at random and turned them over in his hands, wondering if there was any mark of quality or something that would indicate one was better than the other. The longer he stood here, the higher the chance of actually being discovered by someone he knew, but he had to be sure he was getting the right one. Whatever that would be.
"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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And bingo, Jae had been spotted by the enemy. Or actually just some kid that Jae vaguely remembered as being in the grade below him, but middle school and all of its problems were fresh enough in his memory to classify any familiar faces as "probably hostile".

The kid was asking about the makeup though and had a basket full of cookies, and like most teenage boys Jae was willing enough to put up with anyone for a short time if they had food that they might be convinced to share. So, instead of brushing him off, Jae held the eyeliner pencils out towards his face. "Do you see any difference between these? Because I don't. Nobody told me they'd all look the same."

He could have asked his mom, he supposed, but like middle school, the memories of that one afternoon when he'd been caught trying on her makeup was still clear enough in his mind to make him cringe, so he hadn't brought it up again. Trying to explain to his parents that no, he didn't have a black eye and hadn't been in a fight, he was just trying to put on eyeshadow, was one of the more harrowing moments in his life so far.

Emo Bangs over here didn't look like he had room to judge, though. And again: cookies.
"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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There was a phrase that came to Jae's mind as Emo Bangs talked. Maybe something a relative had said to him once, who knew.

Child, what is your damage?

In the span of probably thirty seconds, he'd decided that every single one was different but also there was no difference and then turned to leave, but changed his mind about that too a split second later. And now he was just. Looking at Jae. Cheerful as could be.

All Jae could do was look back with confusion and vague unease. Being at a loss for words was an unusual thing for him, but this...

Oh.

Oh no, they'd done this before, hadn't they? Jae did have vague memories of dealing with whats-his-name, now that he thought about it, and it had gone pretty much exactly like this was going now. The guy had barely reacted at all to Jae trying to subtly tell him to buzz off until he dropped the "subtle" part altogether, if it was indeed the same kid. Just a cheerful weirdo, off in his own little world. Maybe he had some kind of condition? Seemed likely. Well shit, that put all the responsibility in the conversation on Jae, didn't it.

Jae took a deep breath. Alright. Okay. He could navigate this encounter, sure he could. No causing a scene in the store, no upsetting the kid who was weird in the head because that was just a dick thing to do. Easy.

"I mean, do you... uh... what's your favorite color?"

Fuck.

"To wear, I mean." He glanced at the kid's clothes. "Besides black."
"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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"Red, okay." Jae closed his eyes briefly, sorting through his mental color wheel. "Okay, well, red and black together are really striking, and the red is going to be what draws the eye if everything else is mostly black... if you're wearing red and black on your clothes, then maybe something a little lighter, unless you want to go really dramatic..." He turned back to the shelves, replacing the eyeliner pencils he'd been holding and rooting through the display until he found one that was closer to gray (or "Sparkling Pewter", as the case informed him).

"You've got to have balance in your color palette. So if your main color is black, and then you have red accents, and gray or silver, and gold..." Jae chewed the corner of his lip as he considered. Actually, maybe silver was the way to go here in general. He picked up another pencil ("Quicksilver", give me a break) and held it up to compare. Too bright for him, but maybe...

"Here, hold these." He dropped the pencils into Whats-His-Name's basket without waiting for a reply and moved down the aisle a bit to look through a few more. He could visualize the scale now, sliding from silver to slate to charcoal, and he picked out the corresponding makeup as best he could. Stupid, stupid, stupid, to get so focused on the idea of "black" that he'd completely forgotten to consider how it would fit in with the rest of the look.

By the end of it, Jae had a handful of pencils in varying shades of gray, plus one tube of black liquid eyeliner which silently promised a 99% chance of disaster upon opening and attempting to use it. It was too much, on a practical level, but he'd been saving up and he needed to experiment, and a willing canvas had just appeared in front of him practically begging to be dragged into all of this.

"Okay," he announced, returning to Whats-His-Name's side. "I've got an idea now."
"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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Henry seemed almost as thrilled to be invited to Jae's house as Jae's parents did to see him actually inviting someone over. Jae wouldn't have been at all surprised if they were high-fiving each other over it once he and Henry went upstairs. In fact, now that he thought about it, he was almost certain that initiating a high five because Jae was having positive social interaction was exactly the kind of thing his dad would do, because his dad was a nerd. It was kind of embarrassing, how they'd both immediately perked up when Jae introduced them to Henry; he sort of dreaded how they'd react when he eventually got a girlfriend.

On the plus side, though, they hadn't seemed bothered or even especially surprised by all the makeup. Probably because almost anything was preferable to finding him scrambling to wash his face off with his mom's makeup open on the counter next to him, and the lengthy explanation it had all lead to.

God, that was a terrible afternoon.

Jae arranged the makeup on his desk, making sure to order the pencils from lightest to darkest before turning back to Henry and pulling the desk chair out. "Okay, sit down." He eyed Henry's excited bouncing. "And sit still."
"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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Jae considered the line of pencils on his desk and wondered if he ought to have picked up some eyeshadow to go along with them. Then he glanced back at Henry, who was still fidgeting despite Jae's instructions, and decided that taking things one step at a time was probably the best approach here. This wasn't some B-budget teen movie where he had to transform Henry into prom queen material so that the star football player would realize that the drab weird kid had been beautiful all along. Not that Henry was bad-looking to begin with or anything, but-

Okay. No. Best not to go down that road.

At any rate, Jae got the feeling that the prom scene from Carrie might be more Henry's speed than Mean Girls.

He selected one of the pencils from the middle of his lineup and turned back to Henry. "Let's just start in the middle and decide where we need to go from there." He hesitated for just a second before bending forward and gripping Henry's chin in his free hand to keep him steady. "Hold still," he added unnecessarily as he started outlining Henry's eye the way he'd seen on makeup tutorials.
"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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Henry had stopped fidgeting for now, but it was very obvious that he still wanted to. He was a damn squirrely kid. He'd better not start kicking his feet and hitting Jae in the shins, or they were going to have some problems.

More problems than Jae was already having with things such as straight lines and not making Henry look like a raccoon, anyway. He'd smudged the line underneath one eye by accident and over-corrected trying to even the other one out and now...

"It's... uh..." He frowned, trying to think of a good way to phrase his next words. "A disaster" probably wasn't the most tactful way to put it. Surely there had been worse first attempts at eyeliner. There had to have been. Maybe it was easier when applying it to your own face. Hopefully.

"It's... a start." If you want to look like you just crawled out of Marilyn Manson's garbage can, anyway.

You've let us all down, Ash 52. Ashes 1 through 51 are going to be so disappointed.
"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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"You look like..." Jae shrugged helplessly. "Like somebody wearing a bunch of eyeliner." He moved aside and gestured towards the door. "You can go look at yourself in the bathroom mirror, I guess."

Henry looked so eager and excited that Jae actually felt a little bad about letting him down by not doing an amazing job with the eyeliner. Faces, it turned out, were not at all like paper. He'd known that on some level at least, but he still couldn't help being disappointed with his first results.

"I'll get better," he added, more for his own benefit than Henry's. He moved back over to his desk to replace the eyeliner pencil that he'd used and picked up a different one to examine it. Maybe they were made out of different material and one was easier to use? He sure as hell wasn't touching the liquid eyeliner any time soon after his first adventure with just a pencil had turned Henry into some kind of were-raccoon.

Ugh. Nobody had given him any indication that makeup was going to be this complicated. He supposed he could always call his mom in for backup, but that was a very last resort.

Jae heaved a frustrated sigh, removing the cap from the new pencil that he'd picked up to examine the tip of it and compare to the previous one as he waited for Henry's reaction to his makeover.
"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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"Yeah, you're some kind of thing alright," Jae muttered, replacing the pencils on his desk. A glance back up at Henry revealed that he'd wiped most of the spare eyeliner off, leaving him looking less like a raccoon and more like he'd had a long string of sleepless nights, or maybe like he was a hardcore My Chemical Romance fan who had last updated his look in 2005.

Jae briefly pictured Henry's goofy, grinning face among a sea of grim-looking Hot Topic enthusiasts and snorted. Something about it was fitting.

He wasn't sure what to do now. He had all this makeup, exactly one test subject besides himself, and a hell of a lot of practice ahead of him. He wasn't sure how long Henry was going to be allowed to stay over, but he wasn't really in the mood to keep marking all over Henry's face over and over.

That really only left one option, if they didn't want to give this up entirely already.

"Do..." Jae paused and tried to steel himself for the inevitable swallowing of his pride that was bound to follow this offer. "Do you want to try it?"
"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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Well, Henry neither stabbed him in the eye nor made him look like a demonic raccoon, which dredged up a little pang of jealousy at how well he handled the makeup but was otherwise alright. Jae might have checked himself out in the mirror for a little longer than was strictly necessary to conclude that the eyeliner was indeed a good look for him, but he decided that it was. Just needed a little practice.

Henry stuck around for a while after that, and his staying was... not bad, actually. By the time he decided he needed to head home, Jae was more or less taking his quirks in stride and he was actually kind of fun to talk to. He was really into horror movies and other weird shit, which suited him perfectly from what Jae had seen so far, and he seemed pretty interested when Jae mentioned his art. All in all, the afternoon was enough for him to decide that he wouldn't hate to hang out with Henry again.

He'd walked Henry down to the door and waved as he bounced off down the sidewalk. "Sure, bye." He wasn't sure if he'd actually see Henry in school, since he was Henry wasn't in his grade, but they could still hang out some other time.

Returning to his room, he went to his desk with the intent to practice with some of the other eyeliner shades but was sidetracked by the plastic grocery bag sitting on his bed. Shit, Henry's cookies. The possibility of getting cookies had been one of his main motivations for talking to Henry in the first place, but he hadn't meant for Henry to leave them all here.

...Maybe he'd just help himself to a few. It was okay as long as he brought the rest back, right?




He ended up eating half the package of Oreos and had a stomachache that night.

Worth it.
"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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