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I'm Laughing. I'm Crying. It Feels Like I'm Dying.; A conversation
Topic Started: Oct 21 2016, 11:08 PM (362 Views)
Laurels
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Cause what you see isn't always the truth
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
"Hello?"

"Rochelle! I just heard the news. Are you and your family doing okay?"

"What do you think? Come on, Miri."

"Sorry, I know that was dumb. But how are you doing?"

"Not well. We pretty much haven't been able to calm down since the news broke."

"Have you watched any of it? Did you see what your sister-"

"No, I haven't, Miri. I don't want to watch my sister get murdered in some snuff film. Wait, did you watch it? Have you seen something she did?"

"No, no, no. I'm not watching it. I just wanted to see how you're doing."

"I'm fine- oh, hang on, I'm getting another call."

Rochelle clicked the button on her phone.

"Hello?"

"Rochelle! Oh my god! I just saw the news! I can't believe it. Is your sister okay?"

"Hillary, I don't know. I'm not watching. Now please, Miri's on the other line."

Rochelle clicked the button on her phone, cursing under her breath.

"Hey, Miri. That was Hillary."

"Okay. I'll let you go. I'm sending your family and Nadia my prayers."

"Okay. Great. Bye."

Rochelle clicked back to Hillary.

"Look, Hillary, I can't talk right now. I need to check on my mom."

"Oh, okay. I'm praying for Nadia's safety."

"Thanks. She'll need them."

Rochelle hung up, pressing her hand to her forehead and letting out a groan. These last few weeks had been hell. Right when she's in the middle of a photo shoot for W Magazine, she gets a call that tells her her baby sister went missing on a school trip. Rochelle wasn't able to come home due to work obligations, but kept checking in for any updates. Once she was done with her semester at UCLA and had cleared up all her current bookings, she rushed home to check in on her parents and see how they were doing since Nadia had vanished with a good chunk of Cochise High.

Three days later, she was now dealing with a continuous stream of phone calls, emails, and Facebook messages. Survival of the Fittest was back, Nadia was one of the stars, and Kingman, Arizona was starting to fall apart. Her mom was lying in her bed, crying and barely reacting. Her dad was with her mom, trying to reassure her that Nadia could come home. That left Rochelle to deal with all the calls and sudden visits.

Rochelle rubbed her hand through her hair. On her laptop, she could see a barrage of messages from her friends at school, from people who she knew from her modeling career, even from people she hadn't seen in years. Everyone knew she was in this situation, and they all wanted to share their pity and sorrow to act as though they could be a part of this event. Rochelle hated it. She hated hearing from people like Miri from her Economics study group or Hillary a makeup artist she had worked with three times in the past. She had been dealing with this all day, and she was already starting to find everything really fake and annoying.

None of them knew Nadia. None of them knew of how much Rochelle cared about her sister. No one knew how crushed her mother was and how useless her dad felt. No one knew how useless they were making Rochelle feel by doing nothing but asking pointless questions. And worse, Rochelle knew there was more to come. If Nadia died in this event, they'd never hear the end of it. Before that, they'd start to come upon the Riva household with casseroles and requests for anything they could do. Rochelle wanted everyone to just go away until this whole thing was over. If Nadia was dead, then Rochelle and her parents could mourn and come to terms with it. If she survived, then they could work on adjusting their lives to help her acclimate to society again. She just wanted to stay in a closed bubble until it was finally time to pop.

That's when the doorbell rang. Rochelle quickly cursed and walked to the door. She began to brace herself for who it could be. Would it be a neighbor with lasagna, or some work friend of her dad's with flowers? Or worse, would it be the local media wanting an interview. Rochelle was prepared to say whatever she could to get them away as soon as possible. If it was a person, she could say they were busy and not ready to talk to people. If it was the media, well, their hose was right by the front door.

Rochelle swung the door open. It wasn't any of the above. It was someone she actually knew, and someone who had more stake in this than Miri, Hillary, or anyone from the local FOX affiliate. That's when the bubble burst.

"Oh. Hey, Rod."
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(Minor GMing approved)

"Yeah, absolutely," Rochelle said, standing aside to let Rod in. "Come in."

Rochelle walked towards the kitchen, with Rod close behind.

"Take a seat," Rochelle said, gesturing towards a stool at the kitchen counter. "I'll get us some drinks."

Rochelle walked over to the cabinet and pulled out two glasses. She didn't know if Rod was thirsty or not, but she herself felt like a drink. It was too early to have something stiff, so ice water would do. She quickly filled the glasses with ice from the ice box and filled them with water from the filter. She placed the glass in front of Rod, then turned back and began to riffle through the cabinets.

"I don't know if you want any snacks, but I think we have some. I don't know, do you want crackers? Or chips? I think we have some cheese too."

Rochelle knew she was blabbering at this point, but it was a nice distraction. Even though she said it was fine for Rod to come over, it was still not something she was quite ready for.
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"Okay, cheese it is," Rochelle said.

Rochelle walked over to the fridge and quickly pulled out a few blocks of cheese. Her dad liked to have cheese and crackers as a snack when working late on advertising projects at home, so her mom always made sure they had a few different cheeses in their fridge. Some cheddar, some swiss, some pepper jack, even some more unique flavors like Vermont white cheddar and manchego. Rochelle grabbed them and carried them over to the counter by the sink. She grabbed a cutting board and a knife from the knife block before pinning her jagged bob back with a hair claw.

"So, how are you holding up?" Rochelle asked Rod, unwrapping the block of cheddar.

She grabbed the knife and pressed down, cutting a slice off the block

"Have you heard anything about the game itself?"
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Rochelle continued to slice cheese off the blocks, arranging them on a wooden cutting board. Rod said he saw a little bit of the stream, but it didn't sound like he saw a whole lot. That didn't tell her much about how Nadia was doing, but he at least saw her alive. Rochelle could hold onto the idea that Nadia was alive for a little longer.

"Alright, cheese is ready," she said.

She turned around and placed the cheese board in front of Rod. She then took her seat at another stool at the bar, across from Rod. She grabbed a piece of white cheddar and began to nibble on it.

"Well, as for us, we're not so hot right now. Mom's locked in her room crying, and Dad's staying close with her for now. That means I'm fielding all the calls and answering the door for concerned neighbors. Honestly, it's a real mess. I don't think any of us expected to be in this kind of scenario, nor did we know how to be ready for it."

Rochelle sighed.

"But I guess no one ever can be."

Rochelle continued to munch on the cheese.

"So what did Nadia say? Was it anything important?"
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Rochelle listened patiently as Rod explained what Nadia said. From the sounds of it, Nadia was processing everything fairly well despite the horror of the situation. She was also glad to hear that she was able to leave the area safely. She started to wonder what would happen to Nadia after that. Rod wasn't going to watch any more, so she couldn't turn to him for more information. Not that she could ask him for that; no one should be forced to watch the footage.

"Okay. Thank you for sharing that," Rochelle said. "She did always speak fondly of you in contrast to most people in her life."

Rochelle took another piece of cheese and munched on it. So Nadia was at least alive for the first day of the game. That was slightly comforting. She brushed some of her brown hair back and looked over Rod.

"Have you talked to anyone else connected to this?" she asked Rod. "Has anyone said anything about what's been going on?"
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((All of Rod's lines and actions have been approved by TBH))

"Sorry," Rochelle continued. "I just...want to know, but I don't want to look at it. I know you're not watching the video, and I certainly don't want you to force yourself to, but it's killing me to just sit here and wait."

Rochelle bit her lip. She tried to be calm. She tried to be composed. She thought she could do both. She couldn't. Her face was starting to get flushed.

"Rochelle?" Rod asked.

"I mean, how did the families from the last five abductions handle this? How does a small town like ours respond to shit like this?"

Just then, Rochelle's cell phone started to ring. She looked at the name on it. "Davis." Some guys she went on two dates with then never saw again. Rochelle hung up.

"Anyways," she said, turning back to Rod. "What the hell are we supposed to do? Nothing's ever going to be the same, even if Nadia comes back home."

The phone started to ring again. Still Davis. She hung up again.

"Just...what can we even do now?"

Once again, Davis decided to interrupt by calling. Rochelle grabbed the phone.

"Oh fuck off!" she shouted at the phone, throwing the phone across the kitchen.

Her smartphone hit the wall clock, cracking the glass of the clock face. Rochelle let out a cry when she heard the glass shatter. She fell silent, her mouth agape as she looked at Rod. Rod looked slightly surprised, but his eyes were sorrowful. Rochelle shook her head.

"Sorry," she apologized. "That wasn't right of me to do. I'm turning into fucking Naomi Campbell right now. I'll clean this up right now."

Rochelle began to walk into the pantry to grab the dustpan. She'd make sure to buy a new clock for her parents the next time she went out. Once she got to the pantry, she paused and covered her eyes with her hands. Her breathing started to get more rapid, and she felt tears start to fall down her cheeks. She wanted to compose herself before she went back out, but she wasn't sure how to get calm quicker.

Before she could do anything, she heard someone come behind her. She turned and saw Rod there.

"Rod, I-"

Before she could finish, Rod hugged Rochelle and held her close.

"It's fine," he said. "Let it out."

Rochelle buried her face in Rod's chest and started to cry. Rod remained quiet the whole time, his eyes starting to tear up as well, but no tears fell. They remained in the pantry for a few minutes, silent except for the sounds of Rochelle's crying.

(End)
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