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The Funny Thing Is, I Keep On Returning Over and Over
Topic Started: Aug 14 2015, 08:19 PM (1,245 Views)
Pippin
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party wurmple never sleeps. only dances.
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
((Bryony Adams continued from Is it bright on Planet Cool?))

Bryony stared down at the tiny metal Spartan helmet in the palm of her hand. It glared up at her, and she frowned a tiny little frown in return.

How long had she been standing in the gift shop of the museum, now? Probably a lot longer than was totally necessary. Probably more than fifteen minutes, which was way too much time to spend searching through tacky pencil sharpeners and overpriced candy for some diamond in the rough. She could have been ordering a sandwich in the museum cafe instead. She could have been even more productive and gotten round to finishing any one of the dozen of sketches she’d started that afternoon, which were currently lying dormant in the messenger bag slung across her shoulder.

Instead, she was gazing at a collection of little metal statues, seemingly blissfully unaware of anyone else in the gift shop.

Bryony wound a few strands of hair from her right pigtail around her index finger, briefly looking outside, before her gaze was drawn back to the figures. She felt… weird. Something was off about her, but she couldn’t put her finger on it. She’d somehow wound up at the museum after school had finished, like she often did. She’d brought paper and sketching pencils with her, but for whatever reason, nothing she attempted to draw felt right. It all felt so dull and lifeless, and she’d ended up abandoning every single one. Bryony didn’t have the heart to throw any of them away, even though she knew she would never get around to finishing them off. She didn’t even feel like looking round the rest of the museum, even though it was normally one of her favourite methods of relaxing. Really, she should just have started walking home ages ago.

The statues were so very well made, though.

Bryony carefully set down the Spartan helmet, and replaced it with a shining silver statue of a man on horseback, sabre in his outstretched hand and plumed cap on his head. There was nothing else special about it, no hidden pencil sharpener in the base or anything like that, but Bryony liked it all the same. She rummaged around in the pocket of her hoody for her purse. She had just about enough money to buy two of these little statues. That would be nice. She knew exactly where she would put the little horseman on her desk, so the light flooding through her window would cast its shadow against the wall.

She didn’t really need two, though, did she? She could always give the other one to someone as a gift, maybe the Spartan helmet or something. Who exactly would be happiest to receive something like this, though?

Bryony shook her head slightly. She was just wasting time here. She just needed to choose her two favourite statues, pay for them, and go home. Today had been a weird day, and she was in some kind of funk. A good meal and a good sleep would, hopefully, be the cure.

And yet still Bryony stared down at the art in her hands.

Deep down inside, or perhaps less deep than she wanted to admit, Bryony knew that home was the last place she wanted to be right now.
V7 BAYBEE

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"bryony and alba would definitely join the terrorists quote me on this put this quote in signatures put it in history books" - Cicada Days, 2017
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Pippin
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[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
For a good few seconds, Alice’s words made it as far as Bryony’s ears, but no further. She understood that there was someone next to her talking, that that someone was her friend Alice, and that Alice was asking what was up, but her brain absolutely refused to process those facts. It had thrown up a brick wall, preventing anything new from coming in and letting Bryony stew in her own uncertainty.

For those few seconds, Bryony continued to stare down at the little cavalier. It remained silent and still, forever frozen in time. It told her nothing. Yet she continued to look down, her gaze piercing through the statue in her hand to the display in front of her, as if she expected the answers she was looking for to be obvious the more she looked.

Eventually, Alice’s words managed to seep their way into Bryony’s mind and the actual point of them became clear. She started, turning to face Alice, eyes wide and free hand covering her mouth.

“Oh gosh, um, hi Alice.” Bryony said, gently setting the statue down amongst its comrades. The gentle metal thud it made seemed louder than her own words. “I’m sorry, I completely zoned out there. I, um, can’t have got enough sleep last night, I think…”

The words were as much to reassure Alice as they were to convince herself. There had to be some logical, simple reason as to why she was feeling so out of it, and sleep deprivation was definitely up there. She had been staying up late recently, after all, trying to catch up on old episodes of TV shows and There Will Be Brawl.

“But, I’m… um, well, y’know… the usual.” Bryony lamely concluded, giving Alice an uncertain smile. After a couple of seconds, she looked back at the table of metal statues.

“I’ve, um, been looking at those for… uh… a while now. They’re rather nice, aren’t they? I kinda wanna buy a couple but, um… I don’t want to spend money unless it’s totally necessary…”

Bryony’s gaze had stuck on the Spartan helmet again.
V7 BAYBEE

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"bryony and alba would definitely join the terrorists quote me on this put this quote in signatures put it in history books" - Cicada Days, 2017
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Pippin
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[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Alice’s presence was helping. Only a little bit, but a little bit was more than enough right now. When she started speaking again, Bryony heard her loud and clear, without zoning out this time. Alice served as a distraction, a focal point, a reminder that she had someone to turn to.

No. No, that wasn’t right. That was all too clinical, too distant, no matter how true it might be. She was treating Alice like an object, rather than a human being. Rather than a friend. That was it. A friend. That was all she needed to say, and that was all she needed. Bryony looked at Alice again, trying her best to maintain her smile.

“Um… are you sure? I mean, I really don’t need it, but… I guess it really isn’t that much, and…”

Bryony went silent for another moment, looking back again the the statues. She felt as though they were looking up at her, unblinking and silent. Judging her, somehow. Then she reached down and picked up the helmet and the cavalier. Sometimes it was best to stop thinking about things and to just do them.

“Oh, what the hell. It’s not like I’m saving up for anything in particular right now. Um… thanks, Alice.”

A smile, an actual, genuine, thankful smile crossed Bryony’s face, as she held the cavalier out between thumb and forefinger.

“I’ve never, um, been able to draw horses very well. They’re a lot more, uh, fiddly than you’d expect, I guess. I could probably use this as, um, reference, or something… but I’ll probably just end up looking at it when I’m bored…”
V7 BAYBEE

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"bryony and alba would definitely join the terrorists quote me on this put this quote in signatures put it in history books" - Cicada Days, 2017
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Pippin
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[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Bryony nodded and made a few generic noises of agreement as Alice commented on the difficulty of drawing horses and other animals. She still managed to keep the smile on her face, and it became less and less of an effort to keep it there. It was good to know that she wasn’t the only one who had trouble drawing animals, and that she could share this problem with one of her friends. She wondered if Alice hated drawing bikes as well. For such a common object, they were a lot trickier to draw accurately than one would think.

Bryony began to look around the gift shop for the counter. It couldn’t be too far away, the gift shop wasn’t exactly large, after all. Maybe now, once she’d bought her two little statues, she could face leaving here. Or, if not, she’d be put back into the mood for art, and wander round the museum proper a little more.

Then Alice asked that question, and Bryony felt her heart drop and her blood turn cold. The two figurines in her hands threatened to fall through her loosened grip and crash against the floor below. Quickly, faster than was truly natural, she turned to look at Alice, trying to act like nothing was wrong and failing miserably.

“I… I don’t…”

‘I don’t know what you’re talking about’? Was that what she was going to finish that sentence off with? Who was she trying to fool? Bryony had never been good at hiding her emotions. There had been a huge chance that somebody would notice how down she had been feeling recently, and lo and behold, somebody had. Honestly, the biggest surprise was that her parents hadn’t noticed something was up. God, wouldn’t that be a difficult thing to explain.

Bryony was silent for a moment, biting her lip, staring down at the floor. She needed to tell Alice. Alice was her friend. She knew something was up anyway. They could trust each other, couldn’t they? Sharing problems with friends applied to everything, from artistic woes to… this. Alice would understand, surely.

And yet…

“It’s… it’s nothing, um, nothing really. Nothing important, at least.” Bryony mumbled. “Just, um, my brain being stupid. It’ll blow over in a couple of days. Don’t, um… don’t worry about it.”

It was never easy to transfer things from paper to practice.
V7 BAYBEE

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"bryony and alba would definitely join the terrorists quote me on this put this quote in signatures put it in history books" - Cicada Days, 2017
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Pippin
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[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Bree. God. Alice had called her Bree. How often was she called Bree, nowadays? Pretty much nobody outside of her family referred to her as Bree anymore, and even then, that was only when she was feeling particularly shitty. Now, Alice had used it, and if Bryony had had any doubts that her friend was willing, and able, to help her, they had been swiftly dispelled.

Bryony looked up, changing targets from the floor to Alice. She wanted to cry, but she wasn’t going to. Not here, not now, not amongst other people. She knew Alice wouldn’t laugh at her, or make fun of her, or tell her that her problems weren’t worth worrying about. But that wouldn’t stop Bryony herself from feeling that way. She just couldn’t help feel that, for whatever reason, she was getting emotionally carried away, that this was all just her making a big fuss over nothing.

A moment passed. Then Bryony spoke up.

“Um… can you, uh… hold on a second, Alice?”

Bryony turned, and walked towards the gift shop counter, figurines clutched in her hand. Even if it was just her being silly, even if it was just her making a big fuss over nothing, she was feeling that way for a reason. Hadn’t she learnt that keeping everything bottled up inside never ended well?

Bryony paid for the little statues, fumbling in her purse for the change, but managing to muster a smile and a ‘thank you’ for the girl behind the counter, before she walked back over to Alice, statues safe in their little white paper bag.

“Could we, um… could we go someplace else? Like the café or something?”
V7 BAYBEE

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"bryony and alba would definitely join the terrorists quote me on this put this quote in signatures put it in history books" - Cicada Days, 2017
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Pippin
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[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Alice was happy for them to continue their conversation in the cafe, and that at least was a small weight off of Bryony’s mind. She could only hope that the cafe wasn’t too full. Or, actually, no, if it was empty then the staff would be able to hear every word of their conversation. Now she hoped the cafe was packed, but then the people next to their table would be able to hear them, if they were inclined to eavesdrop…

Bryony’s mind was filled with conflict as she slowly made her way to the cafe alongside Alice. She needed to get this off of her chest. She had to. The longer it stayed there, the more doubt crept into her mind. And the more doubt that was in her mind, the stupider her worries seemed and the worse she felt and the less inclined she was to say anything.

Luckily, the cafe was neither completely empty nor totally full. There were a few patrons scattered around, filling the air with light chatter. Bryony slowly sat down opposite Alice, putting the bag with her statues in on the table in front of her. For a good while, she couldn’t even look at her friend, staring out of the window at the world outside. Once or twice, she turned, opened her mouth, then closed it again without saying a word. Eventually, Bryony managed to find her voice.

“I… I…”

It was barely a whisper. She sounded like she hadn’t had a drink for days. Bryony looked down, swallowed, then tried again.

“I… I don’t want to go home…”
V7 BAYBEE

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"bryony and alba would definitely join the terrorists quote me on this put this quote in signatures put it in history books" - Cicada Days, 2017
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Pippin
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[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Oh god. She hadn’t explained her situation clearly in the slightest, and now Alice was jumping to conclusions. Well, of course she was! Who wouldn’t think that Bryony had a problem with her family as a whole with such a vague and cryptic statement? Stupid. Stupid stupid stupid.

Now Bryony was acutely aware of everyone else in the café and of how loud her breathing was. She was sure people were staring at her, staring at the panicking girl in the middle of the café. Oh god, she was panicking, wasn’t she? She was panicking over something small and stupid and making her friend worry in the process for no reason.

Bryony covered her mouth with one hand, and placed her other hand on her elbow. She closed her eyes and forced herself to take deep, slow, shaky breaths. She had to calm down. She wasn’t helping anybody with this, not Alice, not herself. She wasn’t worrying about nothing. Her worries were valid. She’d never told anybody this before. Of course it wouldn’t be easy. It was a deeply personal thing, and until recently, she hadn’t even been told most people vaguely personal facts about herself.

Deep breaths. In, out.

Stay calm.

Bryony opened her eyes again. No-one was looking at her aside from Alice. She took one, last, deep breath before speaking again.

“N-No… sorry Alice, um, it’s not like that… really…”

Bryony let out a deep sigh, turning to look outside with her arms folded. She felt very small, even smaller than usual. She hadn’t even noticed that there were tears in her eyes and that her glasses had slipped down her nose until now. She pushed them back up before speaking again.

“It’s nothing to do with my parents, um, if that’s what you’re worried about. It’s… it’s my sister. Everything she says to me, everything she does, it’s just so, um… she says it’s just teasing, but… b-but…”
V7 BAYBEE

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"bryony and alba would definitely join the terrorists quote me on this put this quote in signatures put it in history books" - Cicada Days, 2017
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Pippin
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party wurmple never sleeps. only dances.
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
((I'M SORRY THIS IS SO DELAYED I AM THE WORST))

Bryony folded her arms, gripping hold of herself tightly, each hand clutching their opposite upper-arm. As much as she appreciated Alice being there, as much as she appreciated the help, she couldn’t quite find it in herself to look at her friend. She still didn’t feel like she could say this to someone other than herself.

What had Bethany said to her?

Well.




It was a lazy afternoon. Bryony had managed to snag the TV in the living room before either Beth or Jake could get there. The Amazing Race was airing, and whilst Bryony was happy to watch it on her laptop, it was nicer on a larger screen, in better quality than the… dubious sites she was forced to use. Currently, the show was focusing on one of Bryony’s favourite teams, a bisexual couple. They were currently talking about, via confession camera, when they discovered they were bi, and how it had affected them. Every word they said resonated with Bryony.

“Ugh. Gross.”

Bryony jumped in her seat, turning to look towards the doorway. She hadn’t heard Bethany enter the room over the sound of the TV. Before Bryony could reply, her sister carried on.

“Like, do they have to parade it around everywhere? Like, jeez, we get it. They should just pick one and shut up about it.”

Something about her sister’s words hit Bryony hard. Slowly, she found what she wanted to say, dreading the worst.

“Pick… pick one what?”

“Those gay people who call themselves ‘bisexual’. They need to pick whether they like guys or girls. They’re just doing it for attention.”

“No they’re not. It’s an actual thing.”

Bryony instantly realised she’d said that far too quickly. The anger that had clouded her senses was fading quickly, and Bryony was returning to her normal self. For her part, Bethany looked thoroughly unimpressed.

“Yeah?”

“Y-yeah. They… they, um, are…”

Bethany sniffed derisively. The two sisters looked directly at one another. Bryony was too terrified to look anywhere else. She couldn’t read Bethany’s face at all. Did she suspect something? There was no way she could know, not from one innocuous statement, surely? Bryony waited with baited breath for her to continue.

“Why do you care so much, anyway?” she finally said.

“I… um… have friends that are… uh…”

Bethany interrupted Bryony with a harsh laugh.

“Whatever. Well, at least they’ll actually get a boyfriend or girlfriend or whatever.”




The memory played in Bryony’s head as clearly as if it was happening before her eyes. It was trying to break free of the confines of her mind, trying to make itself known to the outside world.

Bryony wouldn’t let it. She couldn’t tell anyone. Not yet. Not ever, if she had to. Not until she felt totally safe that no-one would judge her and hate her for things outside of her control.

Bryony still had something to tell Alice though. Bethany hadn’t finished there.

“She, um… she told me ‘chances of you getting a boyfriend are non-existent.’” Bryony mumbled. “She told me nobody would ever care about me if I spent so much time indoors. That I was embarrassing to be around.”

Bryony looked up, straight at Alice, tears in her eyes.

“That’s… that’s everything I’ve been trying to avoid… that’s what I’m most scared of, and I… and…”
V7 BAYBEE

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"bryony and alba would definitely join the terrorists quote me on this put this quote in signatures put it in history books" - Cicada Days, 2017
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[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Bryony really, really didn’t want to start crying right now. She didn’t want to cry in front of her friend, and she didn’t want to start bawling in public either. She knew that people around her would judge her for being ‘weak’ or ‘stupid’, and whilst she doubted Alice would say anything bad about it or call her out, it was still embarrassing to just break down so utterly like that.

Honestly, it was Alice’s kindness that was bringing her to the verge of tears. She was just sitting here, on the verge of falling apart, opening up about something that she still wasn’t sure was even a problem, and yet Alice was able to stand her, able to talk with her and try to convince her that she was worth something. She didn’t deserve this. She didn’t deserve such a good friend.

Fuck.

Fuck, this was exactly what Alice was trying to prevent her from thinking. That she did deserve this. That she deserved to be treated better than how Bethany was treating her.

Okay, deep breaths. 1. 2. 3. Release. Better.

Bryony tried to smile at Alice through watery eyes.

Then Alice said it, and the smile instantly turned into a look of confused terror. Did she know? She had to know. She had to, it couldn’t just be coincidence, could it? But how could she know? Bryony hadn’t told anyone, not a single person; not her parents, not her closest friends, hell, some days she tried to convince herself that she was straight in order to better fit in. Had she really been that obvious? Was there just something about the way she acted that tipped people off? Bryony had no idea and that terrified her.

It was only now that she realised Alice’s hands were on top of her own, and she jolted, wanting to withdraw them and hide away forever. Thankfully, some semblance of common sense stopped her. It was an innocuous action. Reacting in such a drastic way would just look weird, and would probably confirm any suspicions Alice had. Bryony’s eyes were fixed on her hands, unable to look at her friend again.

“Guy… it’s a guy…” Bryony mumbled. It took her another second before she could bring herself to look up.

“The, um, the right guy. You know, um, in case… in case you were wondering. Or something…”

Bryony tried to smile at Alice. A casual smile. A smile to let her know that she was feeling better, that she wasn’t taking these comments too seriously. That kind of lie.

“Um… thanks, Alice. Thank you so much for, uh… for being here.”
V7 BAYBEE

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"bryony and alba would definitely join the terrorists quote me on this put this quote in signatures put it in history books" - Cicada Days, 2017
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[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Bryony gave a small, almost imperceptible nod at Alice’s words. It was all she could currently muster, because she was feeling incredibly, conflicted right now. On the one hand, Bryony had absolutely no idea how much Alice knew, or even suspected, about her sexuality, and she was now… kind of terrified that if she spent more time around her friend, that more hints would leak out, or that piercing questions would be asked.

On the other hand, if Alice was leaving, then all that was left for Bryony was to either stew in her own thoughts and self-doubting at the museum, or to go back home to face Bethany, and in her current mental state, neither was an attractive option. Plus, Alice was right. They were friends. Alice had helped her out more than she probably knew today, just by being there. This new wave of worrying was born from something Bryony didn’t even know was true or not.

The problem was, of course, the fact that the indecision existed full stop.

Bryony didn’t know what to say, or if she should say anything at all, so, thankfully, Alice provided the answer. Bryony perked up the instant she realised what Alice was offering, looking at her friend with wide, hopeful eyes. She wasn’t sure why she hadn’t thought of the idea, but it seemed so obvious now that it had actually been mentioned. She could stay round at Alice, distract herself from drawing, and, hopefully, end up feeling a lot better, staying out of Bethany’s hair for a day.

“Really? That’d… that’d be alright with you and your folks?” Bryony asked. “Well, sure, I’d love to come round! I’d, um, have to check with my parents first, but I’m sure they’d be okay with it!”

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction, and just as soon as Bryony had managed to pick herself up from the depths of misery, she was brought crashing back to earth. As she was digging around in her bag for her phone, she heard a most unwelcome voice from close by. Fearing the worst, she sharply looked up, staring directly at Isaac Brea. Isaac was… not someone Bryony enjoyed the company of. A lot of what he said could be incredibly caustic and unpleasant, and he had really gotten to her once or twice.

Of course, he always passed it off as a ‘joke’ or a ‘prank’, and didn’t that sound familiar?

Bryony attempted to shrink into her seat and become as small as possible, which was impressive considering her already small stature. Isaac obviously thought he was being ‘kind’ and ‘courteous’ with his question, but Bryony was absolutely not prepared to answer it at this point in time.

“It’s… it’s fine, um, don’t worry about it. Just got… something in my eye…”
V7 BAYBEE

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"bryony and alba would definitely join the terrorists quote me on this put this quote in signatures put it in history books" - Cicada Days, 2017
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[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Isaac was loud.

Isaac was really, really loud. It was grating even at the best of times, when Bryony was just trying to read or focus on work and his ‘whispering’ would echo across the classroom, and this wasn’t even close to being the best of times. Maybe he was just one of those people who didn’t have a volume dial, and for Bryony to dislike him just for that would be incredibly petty.

But that wasn’t just it. He also seemed to have absolutely no spatial awareness. This wasn’t a secluded area out of the way of the general populous where no-one would be able to hear what was being talked about. Nor was it a hustling, bustling lunch room, where no-one who wasn’t sitting next to you would be able to eavesdrop on your conversation without trying. It was an unhappy medium of the two, a small semi-filled café that, right now, was just a little too quiet.

Bryony felt sure several pairs of eyes were looking straight at her table right now. They were piercing right through her, wondering exactly what the fuss was, and tuning in to try and hear every single word that she and the people around her was saying. She was sure of it. She wanted to escape, to run away, but to where? Home wasn’t an escape. Not now, anyway. Bryony willed herself to shrink even smaller, to disappear in her seat, for Isaac to just leave her alone.

Maybe the problem was that he had too much spatial awareness. That he knew people would be watching him, the kind and courteous gentleman, helping out people in need.

“Please… please, just… leave me alone…”
V7 BAYBEE

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"bryony and alba would definitely join the terrorists quote me on this put this quote in signatures put it in history books" - Cicada Days, 2017
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[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Bryony tried to breathe a silent sigh of relief, but her lungs still felt like they were being trapped in an iron vice. Isaac was leaving, but she didn’t think she’d be able to properly react until he had left the building and people stopped looking at them. Either that, or when she was at Alice’s house, away from all these prying eyes, and in a place she knew she could be comfortable and safe.

Speaking of which, she still hadn’t called her parents yet, had she? She should probably do that sooner rather than later. She fumbled with her phone with still shaking hands, trying to scroll down to her home phone number.

Then she, and surely half the rest of the café, heard Isaac’s parting shot, and the phone slipped slowly from her grasp as she felt her heart stop dead.

Then it started again and she was all too aware of her surroundings and everything going on. The eyes staring at her and at Isaac’s retreating figure, the muttered musings, people judging her, everything suddenly becoming all too loud and yet all too quiet…

No. No no no no, Isaac was just spouting bullshit to be spiteful, just to hurt her because he wasn’t gonna get any self-gratification from all of this. It wasn’t true. Alice had shown that this afternoon, hadn’t she? It couldn’t be true. It was everything she’d been working on to avoid these last few years, and it was everything she was scared of. It couldn’t be true.

And yet now that the seed of doubt had been planted in Bryony’s mind, it was impossible to get rid of it, because no matter how absurd it was, there was always the possibility that it was true. She could feel tears welling up in her eyes, and before she could prevent them, they started falling, splattering against the table top. She wiped them away, but more just took their place.

Bryony scrambled for her phone, shoving it into her bag, then stood up hastily, her chair scraping loudly against the floor. More people were probably staring at her now, this loud, unpopular girl who just couldn’t stop fucking crying, no matter how hard she tried.

“I-I’m sorry… Alice, I’m sorry, I’m so sorry, I can’t… I can’t…”

Before Alice could respond, Bryony turned and ran out of the café. She couldn’t stay here. She couldn’t stay with Alice, not in this state. She couldn’t go home. She slammed open the door of the bathroom, locked herself in one of the cubicles, and sat with her legs tucked up into her atop the seat.

Face in her hands, Bryony only stopped crying when she heard the bathroom door swing open.

Bryony didn’t know how long it took until she trudged out of the museum’s entrance, and began the long walk back home. Her eyes were bright red, and there were still tears forming in the corner of them, that she had to constantly brush away. She didn’t know how to explain this to her parents, and God forbid Bethany catch a glimpse of her.

Anywhere was better than back there, though.

((Bryony Adams continued in Poe's Poems Pwn Posers))
V7 BAYBEE

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"bryony and alba would definitely join the terrorists quote me on this put this quote in signatures put it in history books" - Cicada Days, 2017
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