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Be Still; 'Soon enough you'll be on your own, steady and straight'
Topic Started: Mar 11 2016, 10:47 PM (662 Views)
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((Ben Fields continued from Romeo and Juliet))

She wasn't a babysitter, per say. Ben liked to phrase it along the lines of 'voluntary house help'. Heaven knew the Fields home needed that from time to time. Mom was going to be pulling overtime for the third night in a row. Baseball season was in full swing, and this had been the first practice free day in maybe a week. Go Coyotes. The windows were getting grimy. The downstairs toilet had a broken handle. Lana's room was no longer describable by words or decency. Ben was getting tired of ramen on the table, even with the whole 'crack an egg into it before serving' trick.

Lucilly (Ben prayed to god she hadn't been bullied young for that doozy of a name) Peterson coming over didn't magically resolve any of those problems, she wasn't the most competent housekeeper. But at least Ben would have a comrade down in the trenches with him, gently distracting him with kind words as he gingerly scrubbed and panted at a mildew-y grout. She was legitimately one of the nicest humans ever birthed on this unworthy Earth, really. Always seemed to have time for others, to the point where Ben sometimes had to wonder if she even had hobbies, or ate, or slept. Laundry list of stuff to do aside Ben had run out to the store and grabbed a couple of sweet things he knew the eldest Peterson girl loved. Maybe it would distract them from the things she'd promised she'd help with, but if Ben was going to be an irresponsible man he'd at least be doing it with a girl and a plateful of pastries alongside him.

Lana was, with no small amount of fussing, assigned to prevent the further collapse of society that was her room. Ben could still hear the frequent oaths from upstairs as he half hung off the stair banister, attacking the varnish with funky smelling rag. Ben had his shirt, a stained white work tee that was probably a size too tight, yanked over his nose to ward off the dizziness from the chemical crap in the air. Hopefully he'd finish the stairs before Lucilly's knock at the door.
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[[Technically correct: Enter Lucilly Peterson]]

Lucilly Peterson was a helper. She aided. She bore one's burdens. She eased one's sorrow and lessened one's pain. She tended to children. She tended to her friends. The thick and the thin. The tall and the short. The smart and the shy. The ones who burned with passion and the ones who treated with care.

Because she loved mankind. And mankind loved her.

Benjamin Fields asked her. And she would ask him. Not the same question, but an important one nonetheless.

He asked her for assistance. He asked her to give unto him gentle words and offer a steady hand. There was chaos in the lives of Lani and Benjamin Fields. At the very least, chaos spread in their homes. But they were friends. And who is Lucilly to deny a friend the aid they need to find order?

She stepped towards the door. She came closer. She knocked.
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Hopefully he'd finish the stairs before Lucilly's knock at the door.

Well fuck that. Ben shouted for a moment of patience, of the million Lucilly probably had stowed away somewhere on her person. He vaulted up, carefully stowed the rag away in a pocket of his beat-up jeans. One hand kept the shirt up like a gas mask around his mouth, he only dropped it when he was down the stairs and opening the door. Still didn't cover up all the skin he had to display, but close enough. Lucilly had seen him in this informal a state several times before, it was no biggie.

"Lucilly, hey!" Curt but warm greeting, Ben wearing a smile that narrowly touched the sweet spot between inviting and creepy. Door was opened all the way for her and Ben was stepping aside, no hesitation. His hands still felt all waxy, he was going to leave prints everywhere if he wasn't careful. At least they'd be particularly shiny and polished prints. He wiped down on the thighs of his pants, waited for Lucilly to enter before he closed the door and followed.

"If you're in the mood for temptation I got a couple of your faves on the kitchen table." Said table was also a sore spot, a blight upon the Fields homestead that needed tending to. How Lana could make that much of a mess out of a simple bowl of cereal was beyond Ben. "How's today treated you so far?"
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The door opened. It was opened and Lucilly was greeted by Benjamin. She was greeted by the warm and earnest smile of his. She was greeted by the sweat on his brow as a testament to his hard work. And she was greeted by a violent stench entering her nose. A mixture of cleaning detergents, she would hazard a guess. A mixture of cleaning detergents, and a cacophony of smells whose origin lied in the obscure realm beyond human wisdom.

He smiled. She smiled. He bid her to enter, and so she did enter. He offered her the sweet temptation of candy. She stepped further into the Fields' home, and glanced with a curious eye into the kitchen. As her eyes met the table of the kitchen, she smiled knowingly and turned away. Away from the kitchen, from the temptation of sweets and the taint of spilled breakfast, and to the boy who requested her aid.

"My day has been great, and I am sure it will be greater still. How has your day been?"
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She'd looked, and looked away. Not today, looked liked. Well maybe she'd change her mind later, maybe Lana and Ben would be having a guilty junk food dinner. She'd looked, now to him. Ben nodded casually. Typical Lucilly response, kinda weirdly stilted but in an adorable way as opposed to some of the ridiculous B.S some of the other kids in the school could spew.

"Good to hear." Lacking on the specifics, but eh. "Day's been alright. Tried to keep it busy at least, I've managed to wipe down most surfaces in a two-something block radius. Lana's probably going to be M.I.A for most of the afternoon." Ben jerked a thumb up the stairs, the gesture punctuated by another brace of colorfully vulgar complaints from the aggravated tween stomping around in her room. Almost blush worthy. There was that high English grade at work. At some point Ben figured he had to sit Lana down and talk about the sailor mouth. But he had more immediate matters to attend to.

"So yeah. As per usual, thank you for legit being the best ever." Delivery of that usual thanks and praise had been a bit awkward, but heck, it was hard not to be awkward with your uncompensated savior. Ben cleared his throat. "Well I guess... What do you wanna work on first? How long did you say you'd be able to help out this time?" Before she went off to save the day somewhere else, doubtlessly.
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He was alright he said and he was working he said. Lucilly nodded cheerfully and admired the clean surfaces which have already been worked on by the diligent Benjamin. He directed her gaze unto the staircase, and the staircase directed most vulgar words back at her. It was Lana, of course. Lana, who was present. Lana, who would be missing.

Benjamin praised her in words, and he inquired her about which of the grim challenges would be overcome at first. Lucilly looked and judged the habitation she stood in. She judged to be fair what was clean already, and yet she saw great darkness looming. Darkness in the form of dirt and scraps and slips of strange papers strewn with abundance across the rooms.

"Let us take care of the floor first," she said. "It might be tedious and loud, but we will see that the effect will be enormous."

And with that, Lucilly set out to find the vacuum cleaner.
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It was pretty embarrassing, that Lucilly got quasi-regular looks at the Fields home at it's worst. No matter how many times she appraised the disaster zone Ben half-flinched every single time. Useless urge to shoo her out with weak ass excuse was well resisted though. Whether it reflected poorly on his skills as a homekeeper or not, Ben knew the mature course of action was clear. He needed help, someone offered it of the good of her heart. Pride was for people without mouths to feed.

"... but we will see that the effect will be enormous." Okay seriously, who talked like that?

Lucilly Peterson, that was fucking who. And Ben wouldn't be forgetting it.

Ben didn't even need to guide her, he was half convinced Lucilly knew the layout of his home better than he did. He just followed, eyes carefully taking notes on what had to be done for the hundredth time as he passed each disaster zone. Wax the living room tables, move Mom's work papers into the filing cabinet, steam the couch cushions, boil the broccoli for tonight's ramen... List went on and on. It was already just a brain slush of words by the time they were in the laundry room, staring down an intimidating flotilla of cleaning supplies. Ben grabbed the steam vacuum, hefting the bulky contraption with ease.

"You have plans for later? If you don't mind Nissin I'd be more than down with sharing dinner. Seriously, we're drowning in fucking ramen. We could use the help." Wax the living room tables, move Mom's work papers into the filing cabinet, steam the broccoli, boil the couch cushions for tonight's... Wait, fuck.

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Benjamin took the vacuum cleaner, and Lucilly had to hold back an foolish urge. No matter how many times they underwent their ritual of housekeeping, she felt the necessity to offer him for her to carry the more heavier appliances. It was not foolish because she was too frail for the cleaner - truly, it would be nothing but self-inflicted doom for any manufacturer to produce household objects the average woman could not carry - but it was foolish because she knew it would help his mind.

Certainly, some people had hesitations when it came to asking for help. Especially as such aid must enter deeply into a place many consider sacred. Perhaps, Lucilly thought, Benjamin would feel worse off if she insisted on carrying the vacuum.

Benjamin asked her about plans she would have later. It would be a lie to say that she did not, though one could argue that she was using a different definition of a plan. Either way, she would gladly help him, even if such help consists of eating food. She offered him a smile.

"Of course, I settled on this. Whatever struggle you had to endure for today, you can endure together with me."
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Weird way of putting it. Dramatic, almost romantic. Like one of those ye olde English lines from the antique plays they'd sometimes cold read in drama club. Lucilly carried the prose better than most of the kids in drama though. Ben almost bought it when it came from her mouth, almost let himself get caught up in the moment. He smiled easy, a lax and lazy laugh loose on his lips.

"Not so much a struggle, except maybe for our taste buds. I mean I dunno what your folks feed you but in my house ramen's only for when nobody has the time to try anything else." Ben actually hadn't met Lucilly's fam that much. He knew Lucilly's dad was one of the leaders in the local Mormon temple and that Lucilly's mom had taught in Lana's elementary school when they'd moved in. She had two cute younger sisters... That was the extent of his knowledge. Damn. Pretty embarrassing that Ben didn't really know that much about one of his best and most helpful friends. Was there anyway to start learning that sorta thing without coming off as obvious and awkward? Maybe if he gave the right cue Lucilly would start talking of her own accord. He made a mental note to that effect, temporarily sacrificing one of his household chores on the altar of sociability.

"Alright let's move this out here..." Ben awkwardly toted the vacuum, a bulky and boxy contraption that seemed to defy all grip. "Could you grab the hose? Half afraid it's gonna knock something over if it's just swinging around like this." Good for hard-to-reach spots, not so good for easy transport. Nearly took a swipe at a side table with picture frames on it. If Ben recalled correctly he was forfeit to the buzzards if he knocked those over. Like pretty much all of the pictures in the house. Quiet reminders of moments in time so long ago...

"Hey, I'm curious. Do you not use your Facebook that much? I've noticed that you never seem to update it." Ben was fairly guilty of that himself, so he was the pot if Lucilly was the kettle. Most of his Facebook activity was in the form of Lana's tagging.
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Of course! - she thought and she did and Lucilly took hold of the vacuum cleaner's dangerously swinging hose.

Benjamin elaborated on the meals his family feasted on. He admitted, the lack of time lead to the inevitable lack of flavor and variance. Yet such was secondary for Lucilly, for who was she to deny him the joy of hospitality?

Now curiosity got the better of Benjamin, for he inquired her about her status and the lack of status on Facebook. He spoke true, as Lucilly had little more to offer to the blue world than her name and her bare existence. She cared little, aside from times in which friends - foolishly perhaps - sought council via the messages of the Facebook, only for little Lucilly to neglect answering. Not out of any ill will or malice, but the simple fact that she did little to maintain the garden of modern communication.

"Ah, yes." They arrived in the living room, placing down the bulky tool. "I have failed to keep it in the now, and continue to do so. Perhaps that will change, yet I found little reason to do so."

She knew she had Lana and Benjamin registered as friends on the Facebook. Yet, she was unsure of how they worked on their social networks. After all, she saw so little of it.

"What fortune we still see one another in school, however."
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It was an easier job for two, and the vacuum was now where it was needed. Ben brought the beast to life, minimal finagling with the power cord needed. He really was getting good at this. In the distant future when all was said and done he'd probably be a great husband. As weird as it was to think about that kinda thing, but hey, graduation was coming up. As if he needed anymore proof that he was the man of the home, the adult come into his own maybe a sliver too soon. Doing what had to be done. Which in this case was steaming the broccoli. Couch cushions. The couch cushions. Ben vigorously moved the mouth of the vacuum over the tired fabric, nodded satisfied as each pass returned life to the pale and tired upholstery.

It was loud, sounded like they were trying to speak to each other in the middle of a tornado, but Ben tried to keep the convo going. If anyone was worth it, it was Lucilly.

"Honestly, I read ya there. Shit's good for keeping up with friends, I guess, but you can do that in school anyways. Maybe when we move out we'll end up using it a bit more? Maybe old habits die hard." Ben kept his ears on point, straining to pick out the gentle voice that carried his responses. Fortune that they saw each other in school indeed. Well, not really. They did have similar ambitions in some forms. Lucilly wanted to be a teacher, and that meant academic diligence. Diligence all around. "I mean, we might not even move far enough from home, who knows? Though I guess both of us are hoping for something more than Kingman's offerings of higher education." Read, total shit. Well, Ben didn't want to be putting words into Lucilly's mouth.

"Where do you think you're going?" Barring crazy exceptions most of the Cochise kids who were interested should have gotten their acceptances back by now. Or should have collapsed into wrecks of human beings, which Ben had witnessed more than one sobering example of. But 'Lucilly' and 'wreck of human being' didn't even remotely belong in the same sentence, except for the one where Lucilly did some form of divine miracle of charity on behalf of a wreck of a human being.
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Benjamin showed great expertise and even greater finesse with handling the beast that was the cleaner. Grandiose words, of course, for the cleaner was ever so heavy in both weight and sound. Lucilly helped by picked these and those up, which was too large for the cleaner to consume, and some other of these and those, which Benjamin has accidentally knocked from a table as he turned.

She made no mention of it, as the frantic roar of the machine was too loud for usual conversation. Yet Benjamin pushed forth and tried nonetheless. Alas, there was much trouble in understanding, but Lucilly did her very best, and even fetched a scrap here and there. Enough, at least, for her to piece together the meaning he had tried to convey.

He mentioned the usefulness for Facebook. If not for the current moment, then for the moment for when they depart from each other. It was a thought that concerned Lucilly. She had left friends behind once in her life, and there was doubt in her mind. Was the way she held contact enough, or was it perhaps even too much? She did not know, for she was strange.

Either way, as Benjamin continued on, a thought of concern for Benjamin was planted in her soul. She was aware of where life would take her next, yet poor Benjamin had yet to find a path into his future. Such was the way of the fallen and the wicked, but as she would not leave Kingman, she too resolved she would help him in any way she could.

"Actually, I shall stay in Kingman, as I will attend the Mohave community college." She thought she spoke a little too softly, so she repeated herself, yet with more volume in her voice this time.

"Perhaps we will accompany each other for a longer time. Despite this, however..."

She trailed off, and she smiled at Benjamin. She knew why she came to him. She knew why she came aside from the fact that she was an aiding soul, for she had a question that she had to pose. She knew she had a segue and she knew she did not dare just yet.

It was the vacuum, without doubt.
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They made a good team, really. Simple and effective divide-and-conquer. The knocking crap over was pretty cringe-worthy, but Ben figured he had a modicum of excuse. Heavy unwieldy objects made moving with grace something of a chore. Just avoid the table with the expensive picture frames... there we go. Ben was some sort of origami crane, the way he had to bend and flex to awkwardly position himself away from accidental home-wrecking. Stupid looking or not it got the job done. Also seemed to be a surprisingly effective workout. Triceps sore, maybe he could log this as his exercise for the day.

Wait, what was it she was talking about? Mojave? So she would be staying in the area after. Maybe that meant their association wouldn't be eradicated from the realm of flesh and blood so soon. Ben had been accepted to a few state U's on scholarship, but he had deferred making a decision to attend any. He was pushing up against admissions deadlines, it had been a few days already. School? Military? Too damn busy to make a call. Too much to do. Everything was just maybes, except for the chores. Those were definites.

Wait, there was a 'despite'. Despite? Serious word for a serious girl. Ben snapped off the vacuum, suddenly very much done. He wasn't done, the couch was now decidedly streaky for his efforts. But he had to make sure he was hearing her right. He looked at her, and she was shooting him a pretty smile. Sudden. Disarming. Ben had no choice but to smile back, even if he didn't know why.

"Huh? Despite what, Lucilly? Mojave?" Cheap a school as it was Lucilly had younger sisters. Maybe money was tight without financial aid or whatever.
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He heard. Of course he heard and he heard her say the words 'despite'. An ugly word, and yet sometimes a word of hope. For it all depended on context. It depended on context which Benjamin did not have.

Lucilly smiled. Lucilly fidgeted. Lucilly thought.

Soon, her time in Cochise shall end. A chapter draws to a close so that she may enter a new one. There was no hint of melancholy and no hint of premature nostalgia as Lucilly pondered. For she has been blessed with purpose. A purpose she shall pursuit. Yet there was a single stray thought, all alone wallowing in her head. It yearned for a moment, a memory to be made, as her current chapter began to end.

Sadie Hawkins, a festivity hosted by their school. A dance, unique and special, for it is the lady who shall ask the gentleman. For it was the lady, who asserted her presence and did the deed. A strange situation for little Lucilly and yet there was that stray thought. That stray thought that wished to partake in such rituals, for it would be the last opportunity Cochise would offer her.

Lucilly smiled. Lucilly fidgeted. Lucilly dared.

"If there is no further hindrance... would you mind to attend Sadie Hawkins with me..?"

Lucilly smiled. Lucilly fidgeted. Lucilly blushed.
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Ben watched Lucilly shift through a series of verbs from second to second. He'd never seen her this hesitant, unsure before. She didn't wear it well. Every unwarranted tremor of her form, this way or that, it just threw her into the oddest of reliefs. Shadows that weren't supposed to be there. Why the hell was Ben even reading so much into it? He hadn't been holding his breath or clenching his fist or anything contrived and cliche like that, but it had been a weirdly close run thing. Of all the times to have a poignant moment he picked the one where he was holding what amounted to oversize dustpan.

Sadie.

Well. He hadn't even remembered that was going to be a thing. Lana made it a point to never attend and it had sort of fallen off his radar, some unconscious echo of his sisters conscientious boycotting. Not like he believed in her childish reasoning for not attending. Just like everything else it had seemed to slip off the radar.

Well it was definitely back on it now. Just a couple of feet from his face, a radar signature blaring as bright as Lucilly's blush.

Lucilly. He'd never really even gotten the sense that she was romantically interested in anyone at all. She was always there with a kind word and a touch. Nothing more. Ben couldn't even begin to guess at the reasoning... wasn't important anyways. What was important was that she wanted him, here and now. And he had to answer her, here and now. Lucilly. She wasn't some curvy radiant goddess or anything. She wasn't the target of the disgusting locker room talk Ben still had the misfortune to sometimes overhear even though he'd threatened some serious beat-downs to the perpetrators. She wasn't anything special to look at at all. She was just... Lucilly.

And somehow, that was all he really needed to see. Ben kept the body language as cool as he could, but he couldn't help the little bit of flush tinging his smile.

"Yeah. I'm surprised you'd ask me of all people, but... No other way to put it than hell yeah."
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