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Oh, it's so sad to think about the good times, you and I...; you forgive, you forget but you never let it go (private)
Topic Started: Mar 15 2016, 05:35 AM (1,156 Views)
Yugikun
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Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.

Jasmine sat on the couch in front of her family’s TV, the inner machinations of a clock ticking around in her head as she turned it to look outside the front window. Still nobody. She couldn’t see anybody walking down her driveway. She tapped her foot against the carpet, creating a muffled beat that kept itself in time with the clock ticking within her head. How long had she been waiting for? She decided to come down from her bed to the living room around five minutes ago so that when her guest arrived she’d be able to get to the door quickly (and because god knew that she didn’t want Julian to get to the door first), but it seemed that she had come down way too early since her guest still hadn’t appeared yet. 1:25. That was the time she saw on her laptop the moment before she came down here and.. God, five minutes had to have passed by now, right? She kept tapping her foot on the floor, the clock in her head slowly growing louder and louder with each passing beat.

She couldn’t take it anymore. She got up, off the couch, and started walking towards the kitchen. Her steps were brisk, loud, blind to everything around them. She had passed her cat on the way over there but she barely noticed it, not even reaching down for a quick stroke as it snoozed on one of the dining room chairs. She needed a real clock. She needed to make sure that she wasn’t slowly going insane with each tick bouncing through her head. The microwave. That had a pretty accurate clock, from what she recalled. Maybe it was a little fast but it generally wasn’t more than a minute or so ahead. She entered the kitchen, noticed the giant pile of dishes still unlocked (Julian’s responsibility, not hers) and turned towards the microwave’s clock.

1:32.

Her guest was officially late.

She walked back into the living room, her steps slightly louder than before. Her guest was late. She didn’t know what that meant. They were probably running late or had misremembered the time but what if they weren’t actually coming? Wait, no, that wasn’t going to happen. She was going to come and Jasmine was going to give her a tour around the house and then they’d watch Sherlock and then they were going to head off to the park together and then they’d have a sleepover. They’d just have a time together where they didn’t have to worry about schoolwork or timetables or anything like that. She sat back down onto the couch, the ticking of the clock becoming slowly growing louder and louder as her eyes kept switching between the blank TV screen and the front window.

It was two minutes. They were two minutes late. She didn’t have to stress about this. Her guest was probably running low on time. It was nothing to worry about. In a couple of seconds she’d hear a rapping on the door that didn’t follow the beat of the ticking and then they’d have fun and she’d soon stop thinking about the goddamn ticking.

At least, that was what she hoped would happen. She had no idea how long it was going to take at this rate.
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Irene Djezari
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"... And he's looooong gone..."

Dun-dun-dun, dun-dun-dun, dun-dun-dun.

"... When he's neeext to me..."

Man, this had been the song that Irene had torn it up to her Freshman Homecoming dance. Gone by herself because, literally, fuck the man.

No, not that way.

Eyes on eyes on her as she'd wiggled things that she didn't even know were wiggle-able. Good memories, totally. Apparently T-Swift would be coming out with a new album sometime later that year. Definitely on the 'check the fuck out' list, along with a million other things Irene hadn't quite gotten around to yet. The article on Huffington about about wage equality. The third movie in the Rebuild of Eva series. The book she needed from the library to finish her history essay due last Tuesday. Someday she'd be checking the fuck out of all of those things. But today she had a sleepover to go to.

With a song and a dance, no less. Every step towards an old friend's home was in slightly off-tempo harmony to the voice blasting out of her earbuds. She didn't cross at crosswalks more than she did Micheal Jackson spin across them, sometimes nearly causing gridlock when it took her twenty seconds to move a couple of meters. People saw, smiled or otherwise. Irene only fed on their usually indifferent reactions. They didn't have music in their souls, in their auditory cortexes, like she did. No time to be embarrassed, she was too busy embarrassing herself.

But yeah. Sleepover! Jasmine was nice. Biggest try-hard ever, but that was just totes cute. Jasmine was pretty cute.

Yes, in that way.

It was just an inkling of a crush, nothing more. Green eyes, that shit was emerald. Of the Pokemon variety. It was a bit awkward, to say the least, but Irene was well assured by Tumblr by that point that girls were just as healthy an option as guys. Didn't meant she felt in anyway disposed to act on it. They were friends. The more mushy feels were recent. As inclined as she was to jump headfirst, dive into the shallow end of the pool, it just seemed right to... relax. Feel it out. Jasmine already probably knew Irene had the thing with her sexuality, probably enough reblogs flooding her Tumblr to that effect. No need to say anything more direct. Or however the whole 'hey notice me' thing even worked.

"Now I'm lying on the cold hard ground!" With that wub Irene tossed herself into the air, almost more feet-first than head-first, and landed lightly on her soles on the King's front door. Finger guns pointed right at a nonexistent audience hiding behind the thick veneer of the front door. Was Irene late? Jazzy was probably going to hate that. But then they'd hang out and watch Sherlock (the best third of the Superwholock abomination) and all would be forgiven. Maybe. Irene wasn't going to worry about it. Just go ahead and knock. Loudly, ferociously, she'd probably break the door down herself within the minute so eager she was to announce her presence.

"The Princess has arrived, Jazzy!"
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Jasmine heard the door knock, and the ticking in her head soon went to the back of her mind.

Irene’s voice calling into the house soon confirmed that Jasmine wasn’t just hearing things. She jumped up, almost tripping on the carpet as she ran around the couch, before she reached the front door. She grabbed the knob, tried to turn it. Fuck, it was locked. She fumbled with the little locking in the middle, trying to get a grip on it despite her hands slipping whenever she tried to wrap her fingers around it. Goddammit, why was it suddenly so hard to open the door now that she needed to open it quickly? She grabbed the knob, accidentally moving her hand too far and hitting it against the wood behind the knob. She moved her hand away from the door, shaking it as she felt the pain throb through her hand. Why couldn’t she open it? How was it so hard for her to open a door? What would Irene think? She could likely see her silhouette through the door’s green tinted window. Was she laughing at her? Would she mock her for it? Would her day off be ruined because Irene wouldn’t let her imperfections go?

Wait, no, she was panicking, wasn’t she? Her best friend was on the other side of the door and here she was, worrying about how long she was taking and her issues with the door and if Irene was mocking her for this. She took a breath. It was going to be fine. Irene did things like this on a daily basis, so she’d emphasise. Besides, they friends. Best friends, even, ever since they were put next to each other in middle school. She wouldn’t mock her for it. She’d smile. She’d laugh, and Jasmine would laugh with her. And then she’d take her around the house and then they’d watch Sherlock and then Jasmine would take her to the park she had always loved and then they would go back to her house and then she’d sleep over, sharing with Jasmine what she had learned about her fellow classmates. It didn’t matter if she mocked her or not, everything was still going to be fine.

So, slowly, she twisted the lock at the end of the doorknob and opened the wooden door. After that, she focused on the lock of the flyscreen door and pushed it up, opening the second door. She then looked up off the lock, and looked Irene Djezari in the eyes, smiling. From the heart, although she probably already knew that.

The two, again, had met during middle school. It was the first day when the English teacher had decided to place them both together. They shared idle talk with each other when the teacher allowed them to do work, and when the lunch bell rang, Irene followed her to where Jasmine sat. They talked, again, sharing each other’s lives; and every day after that, they both went to the same place and talked, sometimes about other students and sometimes about how strict their teachers were and really, whatever just came into their mind. Other people soon joined them, and she talked with them, but nobody measured up to the girl who followed her out of class one day and just started talking.

Her first friend. Her best friend.

So when she saw her standing in the doorway in front of her house, she greeted her in the best way she knew how, jumping down from the little step and hugging her. She was warm, it felt… somewhat nice, in a way. Comfy. Welcoming. Not much different than a regular hug but slightly better, in a way.

“Hey, Rene,” she said, smiling as she held her.
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"I bring tribute of... uh... well at some point I was gonna bring something! I guess...!" If left to her own devices Irene would have continued to smash the door into wood pulp, continued to begin the well-formed ramble at hand about an offering of reading materials forgotten under the fuzzy bottom of her beloved Mrs. Fluffle. But rattling from the lock stopped her formless plans. And then rattling from the knob. And then rattling from the lock on the knob. A drawn out affair. Pretty much Irene's daily routine trying to leave the home. She wondered if that's why they had gotten along so swimmingly. Like it had all started, with Irene blithely commenting on Jasmine's choice of reading material. Essentially stalking her through half the school. Worth.

It had almost seemed like the days that Irene was occupied with other friends, Jasmine wasn't as engaged with stuff. Maybe. Irene probably read into it too much, or maybe didn't pay as much attention as she should have. Who knew? Not her.

The door finally slid open.

Wait fuck, there was another door.

Okay, now there were no more doors. Irene exchanged Jazzy's look with her usually confident grin. Wait, her finger guns were still engaged. Gotta put safeties on those bad boys. Irene clicked her fingers back into a more casual splay when there was suddenly a lot of Jasmine around her. Height difference, so Irene had good positioning to snap a hickey over Jazzy's neck if she was so inclined. Weird thoughts- especially since Irene wasn't sure what a hickey was save it having something to do with lips- but Irene honestly didn't mind entertaining them. Still though, more important things to do than daydream. Return hug. Try to minimize the awkward running of hands over fabric-lined form.

"Your genes make me look bad, Jazzy." Old in-joke, at least one Irene was trying to make happen. "I'm not late, am I?" Just in case she was Irene was already preparing the next ramble. Hot and fresh off the dissolving oven that was her brain. Hug kept going, as long as Jazzy would allow it. Irene liked to think there was no rush.
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“I am our better half, after all,” Jasmine said, replying to Irene’s comment about genes. It was something that she kept saying to Jasmine every time the two greeted each other. She was pretty sure it was supposed to be a joke? If it was she didn’t find it very funny, but she didn’t really mind it. It was something they shared together, and she appreciated that. “And don’t worry, you’re not late.” She could feel Irene’s hands touch her back weakly. Jasmine chuckled, slightly. Irene had become a worse hugger over time, at some point as of late she'd only really been able to manage awkward grabbing. It still felt nice, though, even if it made Irene comfortable.

But after a second or two, she let go. The hug was starting to wear its welcome a little bit by this point. Plus, Irene might have gotten uncomfortable if she held on for a bit longer. Normally she’d hold on for however long she wanted to, mostly because she liked it when Irene got annoyed, but she was the honorary guest at the King household tonight, so she should be treated as a houseguest should; with care, dignity, and politeness.

Wait, hang on a moment, she was the guest! Jasmine was the one inviting her over! Tonight, she was a distinguished guest in the household; someone who should be treated with care and respect! Something like that, anyway; she doubted that Irene would really care too much about how she acted. Still, better safe than sorry, and she was showing off the place she lived to someone else, so it was better to act somewhat refined about it. She took a step back up through the door, stepping to the side slightly and raising her hands in a grand gesture. She chuckled, then. One of the freshman had done that when opening the door to drama club and they both couldn’t stop laughing about it behind his back through the whole session. God, that day had been great. She got the part she wanted, she got to laugh with Irene for a bit, and she had gotten an A on that English assessment. Really, this was also about them just sharing good memories together, in addition to all the other things. There was no way this night could go wrong.

“But anyway, as my guest, I implore you to take the first step inside my humble abode!”
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"I am our better half, after all."

Oh yes, yes she definitely was. Irene was promptly disappointed for two reasons. First reason, her funny still wasn't really catching on. Someday Jazzy would adore Irene's well-developed (ahem) wit. As admirable a goal for the future as any other Irene had ever set for herself, including those typically in pursuit of petty upstaging of some god dang talented hack who upstaged her in drama.

Second reason, hug was woefully short. This was the sort of lack of affection that produced serial killers. One second there were a lotta arms and it was warm and happy, the next? Bam. Cold and the only arms left were those flailing at the space Jasmine had once occupied. I knew we would have to let go someday, baby, but not like this. Irene's internal monologue aptly imitated a squeaky little girl imitating a man of particularly chiseled chin. Make everything monochrome and it'd make a decent film noir, or whatever the things with the black and white detective agencies were called. Irene returned her arms to her side in brief. Moment was over. But she would always have the memory...

Nope, it was already gone.

Hey, that was a familiar act! A young man had dashingly greeted all comers to drama club like that one day a few weeks back. Irene had thought it cute and clever, but according to Jazzy it was funny. Maybe some combination thereof. Cutevernny. A word that totally described itself.

Irene took to her friend's invitation with aplomb, putting on an old air she'd worn during one improv day. A finger twirled at her invisible mustache, which was totally thick and bushy and manly and stuff, and she sauntered through the door frame, all rigid shoulders and proud chin. Mimicry of a true gentleman, AKA, m'lady.

"I'm home, honey!" That particular skit had ended with a betrayal of the husband by angry housewife, a stabbing, and some poignant line about the quiet oppression of women in modern society that had flown at cruising altitude over Irene's head. "Hah!" Irene dropped the accent quick as it came. Looked around, drunk the details in. "Love your place, Jazzy. Super aesthetic. Where's your room?" Jazzy's room. Squee.
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“Hey, darling, how was your day?” Jasmine asked, adopting an older, more feminine accent to match the voice that Irene had strut into the house with. They were referencing an improv skit that they had to perform for drama club a couple days ago. Basically, they in groups had to write down random lines onto a list, and then perform another group’s lines as a continuous story. They had actually gotten a fairly easy list to perform, given that the lines on it actually made a coherent story together. There was the weird bit at the end with the stabbing and the feminist statement, but compared to what some of the other groups eventually performed, they were fairly normal in comparison. They both liked that skit, and the intro to it had become a way for the two to meet each other within their unique lexicon. An in-joke that Jasmine actually got, if you will.

Irene soon dropped the accent, though, complimenting Jasmine’s place (something that got Irene a smile and a “Thanks!” from her) and asking where her room was. This got both a grin and a grimacing breath from Jasmine. The annotated tour of the King household had now begun. It was time to see whether she was going to regret asking her over or not.

“I am glad you asked that!” Jasmine exclaimed, placing her hands together in front of her chest. “Because that allows me to segue into the… um…”

What was the word that meant “once a decade?” It wasn’t coming to Jasmine’s mind. Oh well, she’d just have to be less grand for it then.

“I dunno what the word for it is, but we’re going to go tour my house!” She said, jumping on the spot. She moved to the other wall, flinging her arm out again, an action without quite as much irony in it this time.

“This is our family lounge room, where we shall be watching TV together after you’ve seen my bedroom!”




“And here is my bedroom!” Jasmine exclaimed, opening the door and walking in. It was a fairly small place, and it was really packed, but Jasmine didn’t really mind. Value for money, or something like that. It was the smallest of the bedrooms but it easily brought the most advantages. Like the window covering a large part of the north wall, for instance. Gave Jasmine a great view of another house and its pool. Also allowed her to listen in to what the neighbours were shouting when they were in the pool. It was never anything interesting but hopefully one day she’d get something juicy. The fact that her room was small also meant that it was easily to navigate. Desk to the east, window and toybox to the north, bed and chair to the west, bedside drawer, bookshelf and door to the south. It also had a nice, homely feeling to it. Probably gained from the fact that she had been in this room since she was six, but still, she was pretty sure Irene would like it.

She took another breath, grimacing. Time to see whether Irene liked her room or not.

“As you can see, it’s pretty homely. It has a nice view as well! If you look out the window, you get a nice view of the neighbour’s house, and if you get a look out the door, you get a lovely view of the toilet.” She said, giggling. “But anyway, what do you think?”
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Irene remembered that accent! She'd totally been there. Somehow that one of all things had become the in-joke though. It didn't even reference genetics! Though it apparently did reference the plight of the modern housewife. Somehow.

Segue into the... line? Jazzy could forget things too! Irene giggled, she thought it was unspeakably cute. As in, don't actually fucking speak of it or she'd be giving away too much too soon. That aside! What was the 'um'? Segue into the house? The street? The next scene?




It had been a lot of jumping, oohing-and-ahing, maybe a few awkward innuendos for good measure. One hell of a tour, Irene would definitely be leaving a positive review on Yelp. Compliments to the tour guide especially. Like 'XOXOXO' level compliments. Okay maybe that was one 'X' too many.

And to cap it all off, the bedroom. Squee. Significantly more squee worthy than the toilet, at any rate. Nicely polished and reflective as the porcelain had been.

"Wow, you have an insane view Jazzy! And your neighbors have an insane pool!" Briefly Irene wanted to swim, but sadly the law did not condone swimming in private property. Stupid law. Her eyes drank in the rest of the room, really etched it all into memory. Where hopefully, something would actually stick for longer than a few minutes. It was a simple, clean affair for the most part, sort of like home cooking given new form in room decor. Comfortable. Jazzy even had an actual bookshelf, instead of just leaving books strewn over the floor. So much Irene wanted to touch, open, move around like she were playing Minecraft or something. She'd have been digging at things with a pick and shovel if given half a chance. The eager young woman was at the toybox within the second, patting the shiny before gently daring to open it.

"It's adorable! I mean, like, I really really like what you've done in the place. Way neater than my room, at any rate. My parents would want to adopt you if they saw this, legit." Although being related to Jazzy would make dating her one day awkward... "Oh man, imagine us being related! We'd be like the brothers from Supernatural, only we wouldn't suck as characters. We would be the best characters, Jazzy. The fanfic would be legendary."
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Jasmine watched and smiled as Irene ran around, marvelling at her room. Apparently she liked it, which was a sigh of relief for Jasmine considering that there was now one less part of this sleepover that she had to worry about. Now she knew that Irene would be okay with sleeping here. Now the question was whether she was going to sleep on the floor or in the bed, but that didn’t matter too much in the grand scheme of things. Although she would prefer not to she could sleep on the floor if needed. She would try to make sure she got the bed though, maybe call dibs on it if it came to that. Knowing Irene she’d challenge her to some sort of silly game for it, but maybe with some convincing she could bow to the might of calling dibs. It was only natural for her, after all.

Irene then made a comment about how her parents would like to adopt her, and then continued and said that it’d be awesome if the two were related. That was… a bit of an odd statement for Irene to say, and Jasmine didn’t really know how to react to it. Was she being serious? Did she actually want to be sisters with her? What did she mean by that? Jasmine didn’t really know, and something told her that she didn’t want Irene to be serious there. She also mentioned the brothers from Supernatural, which was a show that Jasmine didn’t know a lot about. She remembered Irene mentioning it, Doctor Who and Sherlock as this trifecta in which Sherlock was the only good show but she knew nothing else about it, including who these “brothers” were. It might have been a good idea for her to ask what she actually meant by that, but she figured that it might be better to pass it off.

“Nah, if we were sisters that would make the two of us equal, and we certainly can’t have that.”

She puffed her chest, stood up tall. Time for the age old saying.

“I am your queen, after all.” She snickered. She still couldn’t take that line seriously, even after years of using it.
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Lot of loots in Jazzy's treasure chest. Her booty, so on and so forth. A couple of dog eared books, some soft and fuzzy things which Irene grasped at like a claw machine. Cat in the Hat, cute. Headless teddy, uh, formerly cute. A fat little parrot which had one of those solid brick things in it's back that meant it made a sound when hugged. Irene pressed on it's stomach. Ouch. Sounded like a Skrillex or Excision drop, somehow. Maybe this was how brostep-slash-dubstep was made. Irene squeezed on the stomach a few more times, seeking rhythm in vain. She only stopped when she was in danger of toppling over into the chest, having almost crumpled onto herself at the waist.

"Nah, if we were sisters that would make the two of us equal, and we certainly can’t have that."

True! Well not touching on stuff like older sisters who were too damn good for their own good. Would it have killed Asimah to be a mite less popular and talented and stuff like that? Or at least quiet down a little when she had some new flame over? Sheesh. If Irene had to play the less cool one to someone at the very least it could have been Jazzy instead.

"Well!" It was Irene's turn to talk haughty and stand proud. Only she was still digging around in the toy box, once more in danger of falling in. Lessons of the all-too recent past happily ignored. Her voice echoed out, "Don't you know that princesses are nicer and more likely to win the plot than queens? Her name is Princess Celestia, not Queen Celestia." Sage wisdom from Lauren Faust, something something little girls love princesses more. Emphasis on 'little girl', in Irene's case. A skip and a step and Irene was free of the toybox and she was smiling Jazzy's way and pointing a finger and neyner-neyner-neyner:

"So we'll see who gets the last laugh, my queen!" She snickered herself, daring her apparent superior to continue the act.
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Jasmine continued to watch Irene as she went through her little treasure chest, giggling slightly as Irene uncovered the wonders that laid within. They were mostly things that Jasmine had got whenever the Kings were on a road trip, but they still had some sentimental value to her; the cat was only there because it didn’t really fit anywhere else in the room and the bear was her favourite before it got its throat, like, torn open. She wasn’t even really sure how that happened. One day she looked at the bear and it was fine and a couple days later when she looked at it its head was half torn off. It was probably Molly’s fault, no way Jasmine could do something like that without realising it.

Still though, it was nice seeing these things come out. It was a blast from the past, in a way. Something that she could look at and smile because she knew where and when it come from. She wasn’t sure what Irene thought about her toys, but if she dismissed them as dumb Jasmine knew they wouldn’t have the same opinion. They actually meant a lot to her, and she didn’t think those feelings were going to change.

She had to admit that she did cringe a little though when Irene pressed on Peter, though. She thought that she had been able to escape the unholy screeching when she had banished him to the chest. It turned out that she was wrong. He had been released, and she now knew that she could never truly escape the terror only known as Pete the Parrot.

Unless she put him back into the toybox, of course.

“Yeah, um,” Jasmine said, watching as Irene put the parrot back into the chest. “That’s Pete the Parrot. I played with him all the time when I was like, eight. Soon he became corrupted with evil and I had to lock him away before the corruption reached the other animals.” That was a good enough backstory for him. It was something that Irene would at least find funny.

And then Irene had the gall to doubt her authority, saying that the princess by plot obligation was better than the queen. This was something Irene did all the time, but it wasn’t really a joke the two of them shared. It was more Irene trying to undermine her authority in a pathetic attempt to be seen as not inferior. To be fair, it was a joke, in a way. Her attempts were laughable and they both knew it. It was a good idea to at least respond to it, though, at least so that Jasmine could put her back into her place. Also made sure that her superiority her wasn’t compromised, for what that was worth.

“But, as the queen of this house, I have far more power than you could ever imagine,” she said, putting her hand to her neck and raising her head high. “As punishment for your insubordination, I order you to go to your room, or else…” She suddenly whipped her finger across her neck, pretending to slit her throat. “It’s off with your head.”

She grinned, snorting slightly. She again hoped that Irene would laugh.
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Irene had spared a moment of silence for Pete the Parrot. She hadn't been silent, still shuffling herself not-so-carefully through the toys. But she'd thought she'd been silent.

Anyways. Hoping for an Irene laugh was a waste of neurons. Irene liked laughing, whether it was warranted or not. Chuckling. Giggling. Hysterics. In the span of some amount of moments she briefly flitted through all of those states while picking her options. Choices, choices, life was toy box to pick your fave out of! Irene settled for an affected guffaw, haughty as she swaggered her way over to the next thing in the room that distracted so adeptly. A bookshelf. Irene would flip through those book names like her finger was on a Yellow Pages. A book that had once existed, a reference that had once had meaning, according to her mother's stories that she barely payed attention to.

"The Queen forgets! I don't have a room in her household." Whole aborted 'lets be sisters' plan aside. Or whatever it had been. Some things were forgiven, some were forgotten. As long as Irene kept her near one-hundred percent win rate on that front, she would remain immune to all life threw her way. Maybe a friend or two lost in the shuffle, but she had plenty more! Screw the ones who betrayed their princess.

"Liberty or death! If you will not have my glory then have my head." Where had this act come from, anyways? Eh, who cared. It was fun. Barely ten minutes in and Irene's mouth was already getting that familiar 'smiling and laughing too much' pain that comes part of the package deal with friends and sleepovers. Like a vise clamped right over joints of chin and jaw. But hell, she was fighting for her freedom anyways. Even pain couldn't hold her down. She'd moved far enough, sauntered so that her eager digits were prying at the wood of Jazzy's bookshelf.

Irene's eyes flicked eagerly between book covers, looking at some twice and some not even once.
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And she did! Jasmine’s grin set itself back into a smile as Irene let out a burst, moving towards her bookshelf and taking a look at what was on it. There wasn’t a lot on it, really. Well, there were things on it (it was almost full), but not a lot that she could consider personal, like the toybox. That didn’t mean that everything on it was superficial or unimportant though, far from that. Just from looking at it she could see things from her past that she was sure Irene would enjoy. Mini-history books which Jasmine was sure weren’t in print anymore, books stolen from school libraries with the covering still on top, and the 39 Clues series, preserved from a time when Jasmine didn’t know any better. Were they still publishing those books? She remembered that they were somehow coming out with a third series a few months ago but she didn’t know if people actually still read them or not. Well, it wasn’t like anyone actually cared about the books, anyway. The cards were where it was at.

But anyway, back to the story. Irene was checking her bookshelf, and had decided to again challenge her on her authority. Who did Irene think she was? A princess or something? She snorted, raising her head higher. This was clearly insubordinance on Irene’s behalf and she was not going to have any of that in her household.

“Well, Princess, it seems that you have forgotten who’s house this is. For your further insubordinance, I will need to exile you. Now, as a kind and forgiving queen, I will show my mercy and allow you to choose where you are exiled to.”

She giggled. Here was the good part. She knew that neither of them were actually taking this seriously but it was fun at least pretending to be a queen, at least for a bit. Bow down, peon, or it’s off with your head. Don’t you know you’re in the presence of royalty?

She giggled again. See, it was fun, and the best part was coming right up.

“You have two options, you can either go downstairs to the living room and watch Sherlock with me,” she said, pointing towards the door of her room.

“Oorrr…” she continued, switching her hands so that she pointed at the north-east corner of the room. Time for the good part. “You can sit in the naughty corner.”

She laughed, not quite loudly but loud enough to not be considered a giggle. She knew that it wasn’t proper etiquette to laugh at your own joke but she couldn’t help it, it had just come into her head and it was too funny for her not to use.

“Sorry,” she said, continuing to laugh. “I just can’t take what I’m saying seriously right now. Oh! By the way, I forgot to ask. How are you?”
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Cicada Days
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Man Jasmine was such a nerd! That's why Irene liked her, totes. Prowling through the depths of gently dusted shounen and what seemed to be books from the school library. Jazzy was a thief? Irene didn't care, maybe except for the part where she got to imagine Jasmine awkwardly shuffling around with a book hidden flat in her sweater. The Irene approved methodology for book smuggling. Rated so highly for cuteness and inefficiency.

"Wha?" For a moment Irene had forgotten whose house this was. This could have been her bookshelf, her history books, save for the fact that she owned neither of those things in any abundance. Quantities as negligible as her attention span.

"[Blah blah blah] ... further insubordinance, I will need to exile you. Now, as a kind and forgiving queen, I will show my mercy and allow you to choose where you are exiled to."

Mrs. Bark's classroom? The Safeway Plaza? THE NEIGHBOR'S POOL.

"You have two options... [Blah blah blah]"

Blah.

"Naughty corner? Are you kidding me, Queen Jazzy? You and I both know I am the innocentest girl that has ever stepped foot in this household. Next time we're over at my house I'll show you my search history! Clean as a Cleansweep Seven." But what Irene obviously banked on was a little thing she liked to call Incognito Mode. That she forgot to use, anyways. Irene indulged herself in a confident saunter to her friend's side while Jasmine indulged herself in an attempt at modulated egotism. Pretty laugh. If a laugh were a physical object Irene would have totally let herself be distractedly led astray by it.

Like it stopped her, a little thing like abstraction. Irene bumrushed the door, moving right past Jasmine.

"Last one down is a rotten egg! And I'm fine!" Because she got herself a head start. Go go go go. Irene shambled for the stairs, daring to spread her arms to the walls to block a last second pass from her friend-slash-competitor (emphasis on both words at the same time) as Irene beeline-ed for downstairs at speeds with which she'd probably trip.
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Yugikun
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“Don’t try to pull that on me, Rene. We both know what you really do when no-one else is around,” Jasmine said, tightening her voice to give it a little bit of a sinister feel. Irene’s insubordinance was beginning to wear a little thin, but it was still worth entertaining at this point. Give the inferior being a false hope that maybe one day their existence would have validation. Not that she actually believed that, though; Irene was a great person and Jasmine was sure that she’d be super successful down the road. Sure, she tended to land C’s for most of her classes, but she did really well elsewhere and it wasn’t like her failures in class were necessarily a bad thing. If anything it helped their friendship: Irene wasn’t as smart as Jasmine was and thus Jasmine could keep holding on to her position as superior.

That didn’t mean that Irene was dumb, though. Far from it, actually. She got grades in maths and science that were far above average, and although Jasmine wasn’t really sure how it actually related to intelligence or what purpose it actually served suddenly challenging Jasmine to a race and giving yourself a headstart probably fit more into intelligence than it did in strength or beauty. Jasmine followed Irene down the stairs as quickly as she could, and although she couldn’t quite match Irene’s borderline sprint she managed to keep up around two to three steps behind her. She could move faster, and considering that Irene had cheated in suddenly launching off she definitely wanted to win this. Although she’d likely forget about it she did not want to lose a competition in such an unfair way; so she sped up, caught up on the stairs, and…

“Hey, no fair!”

They were at the bottom of the stairs, Jasmine’s attempt to break past thwarted because Irene was pushing against the walls. Jasmine pouted. That certainly wasn’t fair. She thought that was an equal race, not one that was impossible for her to win.

Wait, no, the race wasn’t actually over yet. They were at the bottom of the stairs, not the living room. She could still win this.

“However, as the current reigning queen of the household, I am the one who determines the rules,” she said, walking over towards the couch. “And as the current reigning queen, I decree that the first person to touch the couch is the winner of this race.”

She tapped the end of the couch.

“So I guess that you’re the rotten egg here, Irene.”
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