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Douchebros and Woo-Girls; Mar 24, 2018; Oneshot
Topic Started: May 13 2018, 04:32 PM (38 Views)
I'm a Cactus
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do you want to go to war, balakay?
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These parties were a fucking joke. If it wasn't the fact that half the student body turned into a 'woo-girl' the second a drop of alcohol touched their lips, it was the inherent douchiness that somehow crept into every high school senior who was trying to impress someone. And the bad attempts at flirting or pick-ups? What a fucking disgrace. She knew some of these guys. On any given day, they were good guys! They could do just fine without putting up a macho front and putting on enough hair gel to grease a Volkswagen.

Ariana Moretti stood on the back patio of Connor Lorenzen's lavish Frazier's Glen home, looking out into the sky, cigarette in hand, beer bottle beside her. It was a terrible habit to have picked up, but when your wingwoman got the googly eyes for some fucking chooch, sometimes the business end of a cigarette was a gal's best friend.

What the hell was she even doing here?

((ARIANA MORETTI MEMORIES START))

It hadn't been any one thing in particular that had gotten Ariana's goat - just the opposite. Not known as a hardcore partier, it had been a weak moment that had lead her here. She'd just so happened to be lurking on the edge of a group of kids who'd received the invite to a Connor Lorenzen bash, and while ordinarily the invite would have been processed and forgotten, the topic of conversation got to the upcoming party and she'd been directly questioned regarding her plans to go. Someone had appeared to genuinely want her there, and so against most of her better judgement, she'd marked the date down and gone. It wasn't really her crowd though - a lot of football guys and their respective ilk. Definitely not her scene, but she'd gone anyway.

But here she stood, alone on a cool March evening, taking a long drag of the cigarette and allowing the nicotine to course through her lungs. While only an occasional smoker, she knew that she'd have to give it up completely after high school, to ensure that she remained in top shape during university. She couldn't have herself getting winded easily - once university was over and done with, she'd be applying to the police academy and she knew that she would want to give herself every advantage possible.

Of course, that was years away, and the odd social smoke helped with the stress of having to shut down the douchey future-frat-boy pick-up lines. She took a look at the bottle of beer in front of her. It was her second, and still three quarters full. She didn't have really any buzz off of it, though at least it was nice and cold. She ashed the cigarette off the end of the deck. The air was cool, and she was thankful for her trusty leather jacket that seemed to be a coat for all-seasons. She'd been enamored with it when she'd first seen it, and it had been one of the best birthday presents that her father had ever given her. Somehow, it always seemed to keep her just warm enough, or just cool enough.

"Aww, hey ba---by. What 'cho name is?" A voice from behind her took her out of her thoughts, her eyebrows raising in annoyance. She wasn't familiar with the voice, though it sounded as though it had a put-upon cadence to it. The voice was obviously higher-pitched and sounded like a white guy doing a bad impression of a bad gangster pick-up line. Closing her eyes for a moment before she turned around, she hoped that was the case, otherwise someone was about to get an earful. Her limit for this bullshit was at an end.

Turning around, she was thankful to see someone who looked as ordinary as could be standing before her, a beer in his own hand. He wasn't tall, and wore a blue hooded sweatshirt over a black t-shirt. His jeans were plain, neat and dark blue, and auburn hair poked out of his baseball cap, which betrayed him as a Predators fan. The boy wore a sarcastic grin on his face, the terrible pick-up line obviously a jest. Her shoulders relaxed a little. She vaguely recognized him from around school, though she didn't remember seeing him as a part of the football crowd.

That was promising. Another bastion of sanity in this shit-show? Ariana welcomed that possibility.

The boy continued his smirk, holding his hands up in mock surrender. "Sorry, sorry. It's..." He shook his head sheepishly. "... it's pretty much the refrain inside, there."

Ariana shorted and took a quick gulp of her beer, shifting her cigarette to her other hand. He had a friendly face - not spectacularly attractive on first glance, but he was sort of handsome, she supposed. Plus, he was bang-on about the den of lust and debauchery inside. "You're telling me. If I have one more fuckin' football idiot try to tell me that I've got nice eyes, I might just snap."

The kid laughed, and nodded in agreement. He put on a different voice, not the higher-pitched one, but this time dipping an octave lower, imitating the 'suave jock' stereotype. "Oh, what, you mean - 'hey baby, your eyes are like the stars... they just go on forever and I could stare at them all night long'."

She nodded dryly. "That sounds about right."

"It's fuckin' embarrassing, honestly. You'd figure that here we are in 2018 and guys are still trying the same shitty pick-up lines that they always did."

"But not you?" She tried to contain her amusement. If 'I'm better than them' was his route, she wasn't buying that either, but he laughed out loud, which wasn't the reaction she was expecting.

"Oh shit, me?" He rolled his eyes. "Pfft, nah. I saw you inside and I saw the looks you were giving the poor bastards who tried. I may be a lot of things, but I'm not a glutton for punishment."

She smirked. "And yet, here you are."

"Here I am." He confirmed. "But a lot of that is more out of the fact that you're probably the one person at this party who looks about as uncomfortable around the pack of wild animals as I do."

She took another quick puff of her cigarette, being careful to blow the smoke away from the new arrival. Ariana wasn't sure what to make of him yet, but he seemed nice enough and certainly had more to say than the drunk fools inside. "There's a lot of misplaced testosterone in there. I was hoping to get away from it out here."

His face fell a little, and he held up his hands. "Oh, shit. Well, I don't want to bother you or anything. I'll head back in."

Oops, there she went being a bitch again. Her expression softened as she held up her free hand to halt his retreat. "No, no. You're fine. Hell, you're the only one who hasn't thrown some line at me."

His face broke into a sheepish grin at that. "Well, actually..." He shrugged, and she couldn't help but laugh a little.

"I think we'll let that one slide. Unless that's how you try and hit on every girl. In which case I'd suggest maybe changing your approach a little."

The high-pitched voice returned, and his eye sparkled as he started to riff a little. "Aww, what's'a matter baby, you mean you wouldn't dig it if I talked like 'dis?"

She snorted. This guy was kind of funny. That earned points in her book. Ariana possessed a sharp wit of her own, and often times people that she had dated were unable to keep up with her sometimes biting comments, or just weren't quick enough to engage her. That was incredibly aggravating and sometimes sparked her frustration - her Italian heritage meant that she was sometimes a natural arguer. She enjoyed a good argument, and if someone just folded up like a cheap tent, then what was the point?

"Not so much." Ariana stretched the words out, assessing this kid. This was easily the most interesting conversation that she'd had all night, so she might as well do her part to continue it. "Smoke?" She gestured at her half-finished cigarette, but the boy shook his head near-immediately.

"No thanks, I don't smoke. But thanks."

She nodded, and sighed a little, looking at the half-finished cancer stick in her hand. "Smart man. You don't dish out shitty pick-up lines and you don't smoke. I'd say that makes you the smartest person here."

He raised an eyebrow, and leaned back against the deck railing. "That's not exactly a high bar."

She smiled again. "Ain't that the fuckin' truth. I don't even know why I started. Stress, I guess? That's the shitty excuse I gave myself."

The guy shrugged, and took a drink of his beer. He had about as much left as Ariana did, and seemed at about the same sobriety level. "Hey, nobody's perfect. Pretty much everyone has a vice. Some people smoke, some people drink..." He trailed off, pondering his beverage. "Were I twenty-one, I'm sure I'd probably keep a few of these on hand for stressful evenings."

He looked up from the beer, and looked Ariana in the eyes. He wore a warm expression and stuck his hand out. "I'm Ross, by the way."

She was surprised by the gesture. He was familiar of course, she'd seen him around school but had never thought to have a conversation with him. That he made eye contact and seemed friendly was yet another check in the box for ol' Ross here. She took his hand and shook it, surprised at the gentle firmness of his grasp.

"Ariana. Thanks for not being a douche, Ross. What are you doing here, anyway? This doesn't strike me as your crowd."

His eyebrows raised at the remark, but he nodded in agreement. "Yeah, it isn't really. I was doing an English project with Connor, and I was over here working on it the other day. He invited me on kind of a whim. We're on pretty good terms, so I figured - what the hell, I wasn't doing anything else tonight." He returned the volley back her way. "What about you? I know this isn't your gang."

She shook her head. "Same shit. Got an invite and figured it beat sitting around letting my brain dribble out from my ears."

He laughed, and unconsciously grabbed her shoulder, giving her ear a mock check for brain fluid. While a little surprising, she didn't react strongly as she usually might to an intrusion of her personal space. In fact, she didn't flinch at all. "I mean, it looks like you didn't lose it all," he was saying as he stepped back, "though you are here, so I can't be too sure."

Ross' expression was playful and joking, though a flicker passed by his face as he realized what he'd gone and done. Before he could say anything else, she smirked and gave him a playful shove in return. "But, my dear Ross, so are you, so between the two of us, we might have one functional brain."

His ease returned, and Ariana was glad. She was enjoying the banter back and forth. He feigned a thinking pose. "One brain, huh? Still beats half the crowd inside." She put out her cigarette on the side of her beer bottle and flicked it into the night sky. Her stress had lessened and she'd rather focus on this new guy beside her rather than her potential nicotine fix.

"You kidding? All I'd have to do is wiggle my butt a little and half the room would be mesmerized." She took a sip of her beer, glancing at the door to the inside. The two of them could see partygoers sitting around, drinking and generally being obnoxious, though to the outside observer that would be exactly what the two of them would have looked like.

Ross nodded in agreement, smirking at Ariana. "You've gotta use the tools at your disposal." He took a long sip of his beer, and swallowed. He was silent for a moment, but smiled a genuine smile, a bit of trepidation lurking behind his eyes. "But if you ask me, you probably wouldn't need my help to take 'em on."

That was cute, but Ariana appreciated it. So he was flirting a bit, and had obviously worked his way up to it. He seemed to be confident, but she could tell that he'd really needed to force himself to say something like that. She wasn't about to let the poor guy think that he'd failed. Actually it was just the opposite. She smiled at him, and rested her hand on his shoulder this time.

"Maybe not, but," she leaned in and clinked his beer bottle, lingering a bit closer to him, "I think it'd be a lot more fun if we took 'em on together."

Ross blushed a little, trying not to let his surprise at the fact that his line had landed show. He took a swing of his beer and finished the remainder. Ariana did the same, and he held the empty bottle up. "Let's do it. You game for one more?"

She nodded, and both of them exchanged a smile. Ariana couldn't help but be a little surprised as she disengaged her hand from his shoulder, and the two of them started back towards the house. This was certainly a development. What had started out as a dull, boring evening at a party she barely wanted to attend had turned into something very different altogether. Something completely unexpected.

Maybe a night of suffering through all of the douche-bros and woo-girls would be worth it in the end, after all.

((Ariana Moretti and Ross Miller continued chronologically in Reveries))
---
The Future

The Past

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