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I Know What My Fortune Is; It's partying. (Junko's Anti-SH Party)
Topic Started: Mar 5 2016, 12:53 AM (2,941 Views)
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[ *  * ]
((Wayne Cox continued from Hypotenuse Murder Mystery Case))

Wayne was lazy. So he surprised even himself when he showed up early to the party, his hands in his pockets and his hair still mostly a mess.

He'd heard about the party from a friend of a friend. He wasn't typically in the know, and he didn't usually care to be. It had just happened to slip through the cracks of his ignorance - and now he was here, standing, as casually as he could, considering how to introduce himself to the host.

She was a junior, he was pretty sure, and he was a senior - the age gap between years had always seemed pretty big to him, like the difference between grades in elementary or middle school. Maybe he was overthinking things. His reason for being here wasn't complicated, after all. He didn't have a date, and he wasn't much for dances, date or not.

In the end, he just walked up to where she was sitting.

"Nice campfire," he said. "Expecting this thing to be big?"
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Wayne idly scratched at his arm. The answer to his question had mostly resolved itself before the girl answered, in the form of Darius arriving. As far as he knew, all three of them didn't know each other that well. Meant that the party was catching a pretty wide net of people. Her answer only served to confirm it. She hadn't offered her name, but then again, he hadn't offered his.

In any case, it was probably best to end the conversation as quickly as he could, so that he didn't monopolize her time - especially when people she actually knew did show up. He wasn't going to get all hurried about it, though, even if his mind was skipping around, considering all the possible things he could say or do, considering all the people that might arrive that he'd actually recognize. It was a casual party. He could act casual just fine.

"Seems like it's starting to get more crowded, anyway, so that's probably a good sign," he said. "Thanks for setting this up and all." He jerked his thumb over his shoulder, towards the table. "Gonna go check out the food."

He gave her a nod, gave Darius a nod as well, then wandered off. He'd probably actually sit down on a log and enjoy the campfire once it got a bit colder, but for now, he was content with leaning on the table, cracking open the cooler, and taking a peek at the hot dogs inside.

Maybe once he got in a couple more conversations and had a little to eat, he'd forget about the school project he'd put off for later. That, at least, wasn't a surprise. It was the only reason he'd shown up early.
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Wayne wasn't really thinking about alcohol too much. He was aware of the food in front of him. He was aware of the booze that Junko had hinted at. He was also aware that if he had an addiction, a more acceptable guilty pleasure, it was video games, not booze. There weren't any here, though, which was probably for the better; this time, he'd escaped somewhere more social.

Granted, it wasn't particularly social by the hot dogs.

Taking a glance back towards the fire, he saw that someone else had arrived. Raina. He'd heard her name once or twice. She wasn't in his year, either, but she was distinguishable, hair and all. Not someone too easily forgotten.

His attention went back to the cooler, and the many hot dogs stacked on top of each other inside. Grilling them would give him something to do. The only question left was how to do it - and if he was feeling particularly honest with himself, he'd never had much motivation to learn how to cook. Maybe he'd ask Eve to teach him a few recipes the next time she wasn't burnt out from work. Maybe not. Anyway, it couldn't be hard. Nothing to panic or worry over. There had to be a public grill around here, and he could just add some charcoal or some gas or something-

Hold on. He was being an idiot.

"Hey!" he said, voice carrying over towards the others and the very obvious campfire. "You have anything to skewer these hot dogs on, or should I just grab a stick?"
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"You two act like kids, you know that?"

Christ. At least the godawful puns were taking his mind off of things. Wayne shook his head, and glanced over at the two additional juniors who had popped out of the woodwork. "Wayne. As you've heard."

Having spotted the skewers from another look at the table, he grabbed one and speared a hot dog, then handed it over to the junior guy who'd asked him his name.

Now, Raina. He was... probably imagining things based on how she was looking at him, but in any case, he didn't mind grabbing an extra beer with the rest. Wayne took two more skewered hot dogs with one hand and a beer with the other. There was a brief moment where he considered lobbing it at her underhanded after taking a few steps closer - it'd save him the trouble of carrying it over, at least - but then he decided against it. Sure, she'd told him to toss her one. If she'd actually wanted her alcohol shaken, though, she'd probably have asked.

Instead, he just headed over and plopped down on a log near her, offering her the beer. He'd get his own later. Fiyori had shown up at this point, too. Maybe she'd distract Darius for a while, stem the flow of puns that actually probably constituted valid punishment.

"You want a hot dog, too?" he said, shifting his grip on the skewers. "I didn't think I'd be serving everybody all of a sudden."
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"Sure," he said, handing Raina one of the hot dog skewers. "Thanks. Could go get more, if you actually wanted to cook some for the jokesters."

"I think they've probably got it covered by now, though." Wayne took a glance over his shoulder at the host. He still couldn't remember her name, which was pretty dumb because his friend of a friend had almost definitely mentioned it in connection with the party, but she seemed to be heading towards the hot dogs as well. That left just Fiyori and Darius in the lurch.

Darius was probably keeping at his puns in the background sans accomplice - Wayne hadn't bothered to pay any more attention to him for now - but upon reconsideration, he wasn't that bad. Wayne figured no insinuations about his mom's private life had been made yet, which was more than could be said for the online multiplayer experience if he'd stayed home and played video games. A bit of an exaggeration there, but still occasionally all too valid. It was the worst during summer vacation. Too many kids with too much time on their hands. Just another thing to look forward to in the future aside from job-searching.

He didn't really want to think all that much about that, so he just shrugged and placed his hot dog on the grill, turning it using the skewer every now and then.

"You usually more of a fan of this kind of thing than dances?"
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Wayne furrowed his brow. "Space, right?"

Further thoughts about the theme of the dance were interrupted by him almost snorting at what Raina said next. As it was, he allowed himself a chuckle and refrained from accidentally burning his hot dog with an overenthusiastic response.

"Nah. Nothing like that. I just-"

Then Darius happened.

Wayne couldn't help but stare, silenced, one eyebrow lifted and frozen in place. There were so many questions he wanted to ask, not that the answers were likely to help. Where did "schizo" even come from? What in the world was Darius singing? Was Darius completely drunk off his ass already, like the host was implying? (Junko. What a time to remember her name.)

Was it legitimate to feel embarrassment for Darius when he clearly felt none for himself?

Wayne wasn't even annoyed. Baffled, more like. With some difficulty, he turned his attention back to Raina, incredulous expression still mostly stuck on his face. "...I just chose to come and deal with this, apparently."
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Wayne had been getting mixed signals - were they ignoring Darius or shoving hot dogs into his various orifices?

But it was soon clear enough that the answer was neither, and that the situation had gotten far more out of hand than he'd expected.

He didn't have to do anything about that. He really didn't. He wasn't involved. He'd just happened to be sitting there. It wasn't like he'd ever done anything worthwhile for anyone, least of all himself, so he damn sure didn't have to do anything now.

Let someone else handle it. Someone like Jonathan or Michael, both crowding around Darius, holding his shoulders, restraining, comforting, trying to calm him down. Someone like Junko, who was the host, whose responsibility it was to get the party under control. She was already doing so.

It didn't feel right, though. Perhaps it was that or just instinct that pulled Wayne to his feet, regret already urging him back down again as soon as he stood. He wasn't needed. Darius was taken care of. Raina was doing fine by herself, for a certain definition of fine that included throwing shit in people's faces for admittedly justified reasons - not to mention that she could have seriously hurt herself on the skewer that Fiyori had just handed her, falling like that. Darius couldn't have known, probably hadn't thought about or predicted her reaction considering he was as drunk as he was. But he had put Astrid's eye out in fourth grade doing something without thinking. That hadn't been malicious, either. This could have turned out the same way. It was a train of thought best forgotten.

Wayne took a step towards Raina, hand reaching out towards her upper arm - as if she would want to be touched again immediately after that. No. If he was going to insist on fucking up the situation and making it worse, better that it be unintentional. He retracted his hand before he made contact. Just stood next to her.

"You okay?" he asked, keeping his voice calm, steady. It was something that he was used to doing, and even now it was less for her benefit but instead to soothe his own nerves. "Come on. I can get you another beer - or we can take a walk somewhere else for a while, I guess." He scratched the back of his head. "I'm sort of put off alcohol now, anyways."
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Wayne simply shrugged.

He wasn't certain of what he expected to come next. He'd been thinking in short term plans. Getting Raina and Darius apart. Calming down the party a bit. Doing something instead of nothing of worth. Done, done, and done, though his contribution on all three counts had been mediocre at best. He had barely noticed the two new arrivals as he and Raina left.

Now that the two of them were out here, away from the main event, the silence stretching... he was unsure. Give him a basketball, give him a game controller, give him a pixelated rifle in a numbers war. Give him something to do, and he could lose himself in it. Even bonding with others happened just like that; doing things together built trust and familiarity. This was different. He wasn't uncomfortable holding up his end of conversations, but he never truly knew where they led or where they were meant to go. She could start ranting about Darius - she could refuse to speak about Darius at all. Wayne didn't know.

He moved towards the bench, his eyes on Raina. He'd done this for his own benefit at first, to keep from doing nothing, but now he supposed he was out here for hers, too. He didn't feel it right to be the one to break the silence.
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"Yeah," Wayne said, then halfheartedly parroted something she'd said earlier. "Not living up to expectations all around."

So they were going back to talking about Sadies. Some sort of common ground. Raina was making it obvious she wasn't enjoying herself, but what was he to do but nod and agree? Perhaps someone better suited for this would have known. Someone who would have made this situation something other than two strangers sitting on a bench.

He glanced over at her, then followed her gaze upwards.

The truth be told, he doubted Sadies would have been any better for him. On Raina's part, he could see it. She'd probably have gone with a purpose in mind, and maybe she would have had a better time of it there than here with Darius and burnt hotdogs and spilled beer.

"What sort of thing were you looking for tonight, anyway?"
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Any attempt of his at finding anything of significance in the night sky was interrupted by Raina's response and the shifting of weight on the bench.

Wayne shot her a questioning look.

"Sure," he said. "Did you walk here or something?"

His car wasn't a topic that came up often. Most of the time, it wasn't his at all - just a bucket of bolts that Eve complained about whenever she drove it home from work. It had problems going up hills, but it was a necessity, it worked about as well as could be expected for the price that his family had gotten it for, and it was comfortable. After a few years of her using it, the inside did sort of smell like Eve, but that was something else entirely.

It wasn't the kind of car that he could have ever used to pick up girls. But he supposed it could drop them off.

He made to stand, a quiet creak coming from the bench as he did so.

"Guess it doesn't really matter. I can give you a ride if you want."
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Well, he was being dragged. That was something he hadn't expected.

Raina was just using him for his car, wasn't she? The thought came to him, sarcastic, hiding any real concern away to be forgotten. Still, even if it was true - even if he believed it was true - he didn't mind.

Adventure, she'd said. It was a different frame of mind than he was used to. They weren't running away from the party, from Darius or whatever else. That wasn't the focus. She knew where she was heading next. She knew what she wanted. He could appreciate that.

But maybe he was just projecting.

Wayne gave her a brief smile back, and began walking towards his car.

Adventure it was, then.

((Wayne Cox continued in Manic Pixie Dream Girl))
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