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Needles and Pins; Semi-Private
Topic Started: Aug 18 2016, 10:21 PM (1,717 Views)
Espi
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[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
((Alice Baker continued from World's End Girlfriend))

This place was as creepy as she could've expected. There was a tangible atmosphere of dread, and with the dingy rooms and eerie quiet, Alice couldn't help but feel like any second someone (or, more fantastical, something) was going to jump out at them.

So when Raina turned the corner into Aiden Slattery, Alice took a loud gasp and stepped back, nearly falling back down the stairs in the process. Recovering her wits, she recognized Aiden. He was one of those talkative energetic people, who wore Alice out in conversation.

Still, he seemed nice enough, and Johnny seemed happy to encounter him. Plus, Scarlett was with him, and Alice enjoyed Scarlett's company. So there didn't seem to be much issue.

Still, Alice felt uncomfortable in the presence of so many unfamiliar faces. So as the group coalesced, she hung back by the stairs, ostensibly keeping watch for potential arrivals.
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Espi
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Alice hung back.

Whenever there was a family gathering somewhere, or a birthday party, even if it was for a friend, Alice often found it difficult to speak up. Groups made things challenging for her; it felt like an intrusion when she tried to interject, and that meant she usually kept quiet. If she were home, she'd sketch or read or something until it was time to go, unless someone spoke to her first.

This wasn't home. There were no books, or at least, what were here were doubtless not her sort of books. Medical texts, perhaps. But she had no pencil or pen or paper or anything. So she occupied the time analyzing the others.

Scarlett she knew reasonably well. She was a chipper sort, a bit bubbly if anything. Raina was a smart girl, got better grades than Alice. Johnny seemed to think highly of her, which was perhaps a mixed blessing. But Johnny seemed optimistic, positive and friendly, though he did smoke. Not a great decision, generally. And Aiden, who Alice had probably never spoken to, who was clearly close with Johnny.

In short, Alice and Scarlett were the odd ones out, and even Scarlett seemed friendly with Aiden. Which left Alice. That was definitely worrisome. It meant she was expendable, or at least, less important to the group than the others. If someone had to die of this party, Alice would be first. She couldn't stay.

The thought surprised her. Hadn't she just been working towards confidence in other people? But it rang true. She couldn't stick with a set of people where she was on the bottom rung. that didn't sit well for her. Maybe it was foolish, or paranoid. But perhaps it was the safest means. And in this situation, safety did come first.

So she slid, slowly, back towards the stairs and the door, eyes on the others.
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They kept dancing around the issue, and it was driving Alice nuts. Everyone here knew it, but nobody wanted to start anything. Well, someone had to point to the elephant in the room.

"I uh, I think he means he doesn't think it's real."

Still, Alice surprised herself, really, speaking up. She was almost at the base of the stairwell when she spoke, and had to raise her voice a bit to be heard properly. She hated yelling, but she did have a pretty quiet voice and being misheard was a good way to cause trouble. Alice definitely wanted to avoid trouble.

"Aiden, right?" She felt bad, really. She understood denial; he might not have had time to process it, or he might just be too afraid to admit it. But, even if the truth was scary, it had to be known if you wanted to overcome it. Overcoming the truth here would be hard, but without trying, you were going to die. That was probably going to happen anyway, but it was worth a try to avoid it.

"It really is an island. I came into this place from further away, I think to the south of here. There was a church and everything, and I saw the ocean when I came in here." She paused. How far did she need to go? It wasn't like she wanted to break him. She just wanted to break it to him. But where was the line?

"I know it's scary and I understand. But it's real. And the sooner you accept it, the sooner we can do something about it." Alice didn't realize it, but she was on her back foot, ready to bolt. Instinct.
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Still standing at the bottom of the stairs, Alice contemplated the morality of her actions.

Was she right to force him to confront this so...bluntly? She didn't like to think of herself as an especially blunt person. She thought tact was the way to go when it came to breaking hard news. But somehow, she'd gotten it into her head that she had to tell the guy, for his 'own good' that he was going to die. Perhaps the truth did need to come out, and maybe now had been the right time.

But it wasn't necessarily Alice's job to bring poor Aiden crashing down.

Seeing him breaking down into tears, covering his ears, Alice felt guilt rise up in her gut and strangle her from inside. She stepped back gingerly, further down the stairs. She watched Johnny, stoic and stony, heard Raina speaking softly to the distraught man. She still felt she didn't belong among this group. And now she felt like she'd only made things worse by being around them.

Emotions clashed inside her. She'd acted out of turn, upsetting an ally's close friend and causing a great big scene about the poor guy who just wanted it all to turn out okay. She couldn't imagine being in denial like that herself, but she could understand it nonetheless. She felt ashamed of opening her mouth and causing this scene. Her cheeks burned. She wanted to get away.

Alice took off down the stairs, bolting out of the building as fast as she could.

((Alice Baker continued elsewhere))
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