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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

Here we are~


message 2: by E M M A (new)

E M M A  | 2243 comments Yasss! Poor kid that was super rich and popular, and the other was a nerdy geeek but now has a ton of money? Yas. Hitch hiking could work, maybe itd be on the outskirtss of their hometown or something so it sort of makes sense and its not too random. And then the rich person takes the poor person along with them to drop them off at some sjelter that they know along their route but they end up keeping the person out of sympathy and the perosn goes to work for them or something


message 3: by E M M A (last edited Aug 12, 2015 02:11PM) (new)

E M M A  | 2243 comments [Name] Eliza Rose Brighton
[Gender] Female
[Age] 21
[Date/Place of Birth] August 8
{Sexuality} heterosexual
{Relationship Status} single

[Appearance]

(view spoiler)

{Complexion} slightly tan
{Hair Color} brown
{Eye Color} blue
{Height} 5'8
{Weight} 130 lbs

[Personality]
Self reliant
Independent
Serious
Quiet
Intelligent
Interested
Overachieving
Eliza had been kind and sweet as a younger girl, friendly to all she met through school and recreational activites. She was quite the popular girl, but not because she had plenty of money. As time passed and her parents began to have more demanding influence in her life, Eliza became materialistic, judgemental, even mean. Outside her clique of posh rich girls, she was brainwashed to be forbidden to speak to anyone lowlier than them. Eliza lost her reputation as sweet Eliza, and was swallowed into the sour, shallow, and bitter world of the wealthy.

Hobbies
~learning
~sketching
~exercise
~travelling

[Likes]
○success
○feeling accomplished
○Saturdays
○cats
○coffee
○schedules

[Dislikes]
●bugs
●lazy, arrogant people
●slowness
●filth
●bums
●changes of plans

[Fears]
■being late
■dark spaces
■earthquakes
■big dogs
■insects


[History]
Eliza Rose Brighton was born into a very prestigious, well-educated family in the wealthy city of Malibu. Although wealthy, Eliza was taught at an early age to work hard for what she wanted. None of the Brighton children were never spoiled, nor were they pampered as thought to be. Eliza excelled in academics growing up, participated in honors societies, and aspired to get into a high achieving profession. With focus on studies and working to save up for her college, Eliza was and still is very strict on herself and straightforward in what she needs to do. She plans almost everything she possibly can down to a T, hates to be late, and beats herself up over small imperfections. Eliza is a very successful, independent woman. She is currently studying for law school, working under her father's wide spread law firm. She doesn't allow for partying or kicking back that often, too sucked in to meet her parents' expectations. Her mother and father, with their idealistic minds, keep close watch on their fully grown daughters Angelica and Eliza still, monitoring every last move so that they wouldn't make a wrong one. Suffocated by her parents' negative views on what she wants has distorted Eliza's perception of people, even changing some of her personality with it.

{Ethnicity} English, American

[Family]
Edward Brighton; Father
Melisse Brighton; Mother
Angelica Brighton; Sister; 25
Stefani Brighton; Sister; 18
Christopher Brighton; 16

[Occupation]
Her sister's assistant at the Brighton Law and Associates office, Los Angeles location


message 4: by [deleted user] (last edited Aug 12, 2015 09:15AM) (new)

[Name] Patrick Greenwood
[Age] 21

[Appearance]
height: 6'2"
eye color: blue
hair color: pale gold
[Family] Patrick's parents were only a pair of nineteen-year-olds when they found themselves suddenly with a kid to take care of. They decided to get married and keep the baby, even though neither of them had much in the way of a job or any sense of how to handle a family. Simply put, the Greenwood family has never been particularly stable or particularly happy. Patrick's father, Nathan, was only there about twenty-five percent of the time, disappearing whenever things got too rough for him to handle and turning up anywhere from a few days to a few months to sometimes a year or two later. Soon after Julian was born, Nathan took off for good. Patrick hasn't seen his father since.

At first Patrick's mother, Anna, did her best to keep her family afloat, but as the years passed and Patrick grew older, Anna's best became less and less and her drinking began to take over. As a result, Patrick ended up taking the parental role for his two younger siblings. He did everything he could to care for them, from making sure they were clothed and fed to wiping away their tears when they scraped their knees to working after school to cover the bills his mother couldn't and wouldn't. Things were far from perfect, but it was only later that Patrick's life would spin out of control. Only weeks after his eighteenth birthday, his mother drove into a tree at eighty miles an hour and died on the scene. Predictably, she had been drunk.

Patrick, now eighteen, was legally an adult and on his own. And though he wanted desperately to keep then-ten-year-old Vivian and then-three-year-old Julian with him, the two of them were taken away and put into foster care. The loss of his beloved sister and brother, immediately after his mother's death, crushed Patrick in a way nothing before had. He dropped out of high school two months before graduation, without a word to anyone, and did what he had watched his father do his entire life: he vanished.
Anna Greenwood: mother >>deceased<<
Nathan Greenwood: father, age 39
Vivian Greenwood: sister, age 13 (view spoiler)
Julian Greenwood: brother, age 6 (view spoiler)
[Background] Patrick's life has always been miles away from perfect, but very few people were aware of his problems at home. They knew, mostly, that his family was poor. That he lived in a shabby house on the wrong side of town. That his mom had a drinking problem. That his dad had deserted the family. But at school, all that didn't usually matter. There Patrick was wildly popular, loud and funny and able to charm his way through anyone. Everybody's best friend. People liked him; he liked them back. The fact that he was the star of the track team only helped matters. And with his looks, girls definitely noticed him. But throughout high school, Patrick remained hung up on one certain girl: Eliza Rose Brighton. Rich girl Eliza, smart, bookish Eliza, Eliza who he would never in a million years be good enough for.


message 5: by E M M A (new)

E M M A  | 2243 comments OH MY GOSH. The face claims are all so flipping cute omggggg i love themmm. Haaha no everything is perfect! Ill fix mine up :D so do you want to start off or i? I have practice in an hour, and thatll be a couple hours after that i can reply...

We could start off with a normal backgroundish post just saying where our chsracters been that day?
A

And eliza is driving from the city and sees him hitch hiking, right??


message 6: by E M M A (new)

E M M A  | 2243 comments I was thinking it starta as a road trip because she was gonna drop him off in the next hour over in some othwr part of LA and then somethig in between happens that cauaes eliza to take pity on him and she takes him with her to her work town and current residence to find him a job but then tney end ul sticking together or something


message 7: by E M M A (last edited Aug 12, 2015 03:07PM) (new)

E M M A  | 2243 comments The weather was sunny, the air was clear, and the traffic wasn't all that terrible in the city of Malibu. Eliza Rose Brighton, in her well tinted white Mercedes, cruised the streets of her hometown, her well manicured hands adorned with jewels holding the leather steering wheel lightly. Behind her large sunglasses, her bright blue eyes surveyed the streets she passed, making her own little observations in her mind. Earlier this morning, Eliza had used her weekend to visit her parents and her younger siblings, as was mandatory for the Brightons. Angelica had been exempt, due to her business trip to New York that week, so Eliza was alone. She liked being alone, it gave her time to reflect, to think, without her older sister correcting her driving skills, or pointing out multiple things she remembered from their childhood driving to the further end of the city, the wealthy side.

After weaving through curved roads and passing through a personnel monitored gate, the Brighton mansion sat perched neatly on top of the hillside, overlooking the coast and a fraction of the city. Accustomed to driving this route many million times, Eliza sped haphazardly, her tired squealing as she swerved around their circular driveway, with a large marble fountain at its center. She'd never liked that fountain, but her parents had thought it was a brilliant touch to the modern - style three story house. Eliza cut her engine, sighing softly under her breath as she braced herself to go inside. Her mother always asked her the same questions to "catch up" with her, then her father popped up from wherever he was in the house and proceeded to ask her a string of the same exact questions. It frustrated her to no end, but she'd gotten accustomed to it. It was always better to answer them, and be clear, honest, and patient with her particular parents.

Slamming the door shut to her car, leaving it to bask in the southern California sunlight, Eliza's Christian Laboutin stilettos clicked on the smooth pavement. She was smartly dressed in an all black ensemble, with skinny jeans and a button up blouse top paired with an oversized clutch her mother had gifted her for her birthday. Eliza tossed her wavy auburn hair over her shoulder, her posture pin straight like she'd been taught as a child. Her elegance and class screamed success and wealth, her red sultry lips unsmiling as she marched to her old front door. A new potted plant had been placed on by the front double doors, she noticed, holding the thought to mention to her mother. She raised a finger to the doorbell, then stepped back as the chimes echoed faintly behind the door.

It didn't take long for someone to attend to her presence, the locks sliding out of place. Her mother, with dark brown hair like her daughter's, appeared, opening her arms fondly for her second eldest. "Good morning, mother," Eliza leaned forward to kiss the woman's fragranced cheeks, before she was ushered inside. "No Angie, that's right... well, the rest of you are here anyway," Melisse clicked her tongue, slightly disturbed that their usual cycle was interrupted by Angelica's absence. The woman was very particular about how things were done in her household, and strict routine was a large portion of it. Although Melisse hadn't planned to go out that day, her attire was impeccable, dressed to impress, with no wrinkles or creases in her cream blouse, or her light maxi skirt that swept her ankles. She donned a pair of embellished leather sandals that cost more than a year's worth of rent for an average apartment, and jewelry that consisted of Eliza's college tuition shone from her arms and neck.

It was simply how the Brightons ran their ship, or how Melisse and Edward did, anyway. Eliza welcomed herself inside the spacious front room, not a single piece of furniture out of place. Thanks to the maids that had visited the day prior, the place smelled pleasantly of cleansers, and the floors were swept spotless. "Is that Liza?" A male voice echoed throughout the house, soon a tall boy appearing from the hallway. It was Chris, Eliza's teenage brother, and also her youngest sibling. He, too, was nicely dressed, although he had been aiming to go on a dare with his girlfriend later that day when family time was up. "She's home, yes, no Angie... oh dear," Melisse murmured to herself, still distracted by the fact that she didn't have all four of her wonderful children in arms reach. "Hey, squirt," Eliza teased, accepting her brothers strong hug. It seemed like only yesterday, they were pushing each other outside in the grass, their faces sticky with ice cream and their hair wild messes her mother struggled to keep under control. Eliza got along well with Christopher.

The rest of her family gathered in the living room, cool beverages catered to them by one of the on- hand staff that worked for them and provided them with their needs when they snapped their fingers. The afternoon was boring, per usual, but Eliza, remembering her manners, did nothing to dissuade her mother from asking the meddlesome questions. How was the firm in Los Angeles? Was she paying all her bills on time? Had she passed that exam she'd been stressing over? Had Angelica contacted her today? She didn't have a boyfriend, did she? Heaven forbid. Eliza strayed far from dating, convinced that it was pointless to her and what she needed in her life. When the time was right, or when her parents agreed it was, they would hand select a lovely rich young man with billions to inherit. Eliza really had no say in what she wanted, but she'd been brainwashed that it was the best for her, and her parents knew what they were doing. There was no mistake.

Two o'clock in the afternoon after a pleasant late lunch, and Eliza was already driving down that same hillside, out the same gates. She ran a hand through her hair messily, allowing a tousled look for her effortlessly natural brown waves. With the windows cranked down a few inches, the sea breeze whipped her hair about her face freely, provided her with a release from the family gathering, where expectations had been held so high. It hardly gave her any room to breathe. As of lately, seeing Angie start to turn slightly rebellious towards her parents, Eliza was influenced to do the same. She found herself getting more and more impatient with her mother's nagging, but it was never full blown yelling over the telephone conversations as her older sister had. She still showed up consistently for family gatherings, always made sure to obey her mother's rules, and to always put her studies first. Angie, unbeknownst to the rest of the Brightons, was in New York- but to see her new long distance boyfriend who worked two shifts at a bookstore and a library, and lived with his parents and shopped at Target.

Now out on the coastal freeway for the leisurely way home, Eliza found nothing to be the matter. This afternoon, there were hardly cars on the road, due to her perfect timing. If the clear traffic continued in her favor, she'd be home in under an hour, give or take a few minutes. When she returned, she'd bring her cat, and Angie's, to the groomer; then she'd reorganize her closet, maybe go on an impromptu shopping spree, have her nails fixed. Then, she'd settle down after dinner and a nice bath for her assignments, as was customary. She didn't, however, anticipate the scruffy man who jerked his arm out in front of her car, squinting at her against the excrutiating sunlight. Gasping and muffin a scream behind her hand, Eliza narrowed her eyes at the man through her dark shades, prepared to release a slew of bitter warnings.

"What on earth do you think you're doing?" Eliza rolled down the passenger side window once she'd recovered from the initial shock, not recognizing the man at first. "Hitch hiking is illegal, you know. Now if you'll move?" Her tone was harsh, impatient, and huffy- if not a little hesitant. She didn't like the look of this guy, knowing that he did look like he was from the "other side". His kind she'd always avoided. Always. They were never up to any good, and all of them would rob you blind if you weren't careful. However, as the man came to face her, with the light reflecting just right, she caught a glimpse of who exactly he was. It couldn't be him, Eliza told herself, frozen as she peered iver her sunglasses at the man. What was his name, anyway? Maybe they just looked awfully similar, with that wild blonde hair and blue eyes. She was just imagining it, Eliza repeated over and over in her mind, but she couldn't even convince herself that it was the truth. "W-who are you?" She asked slowly, bewildered.


message 8: by [deleted user] (new)

Your post was great! And no you don't have to change stuff, it works, don't worry. Like I'm thinking I'll have it so he's going to a group foster home to try and track down his sister and when she drops him off there she offers to give him a ride back because he's pretty much on foot?


message 9: by E M M A (new)

E M M A  | 2243 comments Whatevers totally cool!! :D or she goes inside with him because its LA and its sketchy??? So she doesnt wanna be sitting in her car by herself? Oh thisnwull be great and she can meet his siblings maybe the sister has a grudge or something because eliza was mean to him


message 10: by E M M A (new)

E M M A  | 2243 comments Elizas style: she was wearing the second form the left




message 11: by [deleted user] (new)

Yep yep perfect! I'll start writing :)


message 12: by [deleted user] (last edited Aug 12, 2015 10:30PM) (new)

Malibu, California. Maybe the most famous beach city in the Los Angeles county, stretching for miles along the coast of the Pacific. Population 12,958. Or so the sign at the city limits had announced in small reflective white writing. Patrick had passed that sign what felt like hours ago but was probably only about thirty minutes, give or take. It was hard to keep track of time when he was this tired, tired down to his bones, so tired that dropping right where he was, curling up, and going right to sleep on the side of the road was starting to actually feel inviting. Putting one foot in front of the other was getting harder and harder in the punishing glare of the California sun, and so far every car had zoomed right past him. It wasn't even night yet and he was already ready to pass out somewhere. He was not on a busy stretch of road, and the cars were few and far between. Each time he saw the pinprick headlights approaching he'd feel a skip of tired hope. Each time he'd watch the car roar past him, once more resigned to the fact that he would probably end up walking the rest of the way. What was it people said about the people of LA? From what he could tell so far, they were rich self-obsessed snobs who clearly couldn't care enough to give a stranger a ride.

Though if he was fair maybe his appearance was a bit off-putting. He did look much the worse for wear. His clothes were rumpled and worn, his jeans faded and almost threadbare. When he rubbed his jaw he felt two days' worth (or was it three? he couldn't really remember) of stubble, reminding him that he needed a shave on top of a clean change of clothes, a fresh hot meal, a ten-gallon of water, a long, long shower, and maybe ten years of good sleep. And his hair was most definitely a terrible mess.

A haircut, that's what he really needed. Yeah. Great, now he could add it to the impossibly infinite list of things he needed but didn't have the time/money/energy/ability/chance for. He didn't even remember the last time he'd gotten a haircut. Quite a while ago, enough that it had grown out around his shoulders like a lion's mane of snarled pale blonde curls. He dreaded having to comb it, tangled as it was.

Tomorrow was his sister's thirteenth birthday. Vivian. Vivi. He could imagine her now, clear as day, fierce Vivi with her too-serious-for-her-age, intelligent gray eyes and the long, pale gold hair that all three of the Greenwood siblings had. You're leaving? she'd said to him, her eyes going dark like windows shuttering, her voice sharp with that mix of ferocity and hurt that Vivi always spoke with. Take me with you, Paddy. Please.

Vivian never said please.

And he'd left her there, with some foster family he didn't know and didn't trust, left her alone when she had relied on him. He was still reeling from the fact that one minute his mother had been there, alive, and the next the police were telling him she'd gone and wrapped herself around a tree somewhere. Dead. She would never have won any Best Mother awards, but she'd been there, always. He hadn't realized until that moment how important that was. That wasn't to say that he hadn't tried to keep his sister and brother with him. He had. But no one thought he, at just barely eighteen, was eligible to be the guardian of a ten year old and a three year old. And so they'd taken them away from him, his Vivi and Jules. His mother would've been so horrified if she'd known her children were in the hands of strangers. He'd failed her. He'd failed Viv and Jules. He'd failed, and so he'd dropped everything and fled.

In the end that was what he was really any good at, after all: running away. He was the star of the track team, a title which had earned him a dozen nicknames, but what did that mean, really, aside from the fact that he knew how to run? What was it everyone had called him, back in high school? Prince. So often that people would forget sometimes it wasn't his real name, even. Prince. A stupid nickname. Some prince he was.

And now, three solid years later, he was going to find them both. He'd make it right. His sister and brother were always there, in the back of his head, but a week ago he'd realized that it would be Vivi's birthday soon and he hadn't talked to her in maybe a year, hadn't seen her in so much longer. It had hit him, hard, that he didn't even know where she was, aside from the fact that she'd been in a group home in California. It had taken him the whole of the next day and a hundred phone calls to find out she'd been sent to a foster home in Malibu. No one had been willing to give him much information, distrusting him even though he'd explained many times that he was her brother and not some stalker creep.

That was enough information he needed: Malibu. He'd packed hastily, cramming clothes and toothbrush and cash in his backpack, called his friend Jake and cashed in an old favor, scored a ride. Before he'd left he'd called in to the hardware store he'd briefly worked at and informed them he was quitting. Jake had driven him down from Salem, Oregon to Redding, California, where Jake had family he decided to visit. From there Patrick had alternated between hitchhiking and using his limited, carefully budgeted supply of cash for a seat on a string of buses.

He'd hoped to save the rest of his money for later. He'd already decided: after this he'd find Julian. But maybe he'd have to dip into his depleted supply of cash now, because it was seeming less and less likely he'd be able to score a ride. He had only begun to consider this when he heard a car approaching and turned, that stupid half hope rising in his chest again, even though he knew that this car, like every other car so far, would likely pass him by.

Come on, please, stranger in your fancy car, he pleaded silently, throwing his arm out to flag it down. Couldn't something go right for him, just once?

And as though the driver had heard what he hadn't said out loud, the car slowed and screeched to a stop, only feet away from where Patrick stood. The passenger side window was rolled down and a polished-looking brunette leaned over to demand angrily, "What on earth do you think you're doing?" Without waiting for Patrick to answer, she went right on to declare that hitchhiking was illegal, and to demand, rather imperiously, that he move.

She paused, scrutinizing him in a rather judgemental way, and he found himself staring back. Because the second she'd spoken he'd recognized her. Of course he had.

"Eliza Rose Brighton," he said dryly, almost smiling, just as she asked him, her voice hesitant, her eyes scanning his face, "W-who are you?"

Well. Just because he'd recognized her didn't mean she should recognize him. He was the one who'd spent a good few years of his life moderately obsessed with her, after all. Until the rather more important things in his life took precedence over his stupid crush, anyway.

He pushed his hair back from his face with one hand, taking a step forward so he was standing next to her car and peering down at her. His mouth crooked into a smile. "Don't tell me you've forgotten me already, Eliza Rose," he said, half joking. "I mean, what's it been, three years?"


message 13: by E M M A (new)

E M M A  | 2243 comments Eliza almost screamed that terrible, awful high-pitched, horrified scream that was reserved for bloody murder when that man uttered her name. He was unkempt, unruly, and smelled of the ocean spray mixed with something else, his hair resembled a gnarled mane of blonde tangled hair. His face was tanned like leather from being out in the open sun for too long, and his expression was weary. His voice definitely did sound familiar, and from that moment, she knew exactly who this hobo was. She had hoped that after his disappearance senior year that she would never have to face him again, that she would never have to talk to his sorry self for as long as she lived. Now, she was staring at him with wide blue eyes, her jaw fallen as she slowly peeled off the sunglasses that seemed to be permanently attached to her face.

It had been freshman year when she'd first met him, although he may have attend her junior high prior to that; she didn't know. She didn't pay attention to those kinds of details. He had happened to be in a variety of her classes that particular year, and she, being oblivious as she was to the "snob" rule, had befriended him. Only a couple years ago, her parents hadn't been that excrutiatingly strict or difficult on the subject of who she surrounded herself with, as long as she was happy. It seemed to be that once Angelica had been discovered her freshman year of college - Eliza's sophomore year of high school - finding herself settling down already at age 19 in a shabby apartment with her so-called boyfriend, her parents reigned in complete and total control of the Brighton children. They had banished that poor love stricken boy from ever seeing Angie again, and filtered through everyone associated with the Brighton family.

Anyone who could taint their reputation was removed. Naturally, Patrick Greenwood was on that list, coming from the poorer outskirts of Malibu, where a majority of the city's worker population originated from. That, and the homeless who always grouped together to rent the sorry excuses for houses that had been built there many years before, and now stood on shaky foundations. Her parents had given her several long lectures on the importance of keeping good reputations, and that Patrick's friendship now wouldn't do much for her future as a successful young woman. It would do nothing but come back to humiliate her, they said. Patrick was a rat, his siblings too, and it was quite unacceptable for her to associate with those kinds when she was of her stature. Her closest friends had no problem agreeing with her parents, having never liked Patrick to begin with. Eliza was crushed.

The first few days returning to school after long talks with her family and her friends had been terribly awkward. Patrick had come up to her in the hall with that goofy grin of his, nudging her arm while she was at her locker. He asked about the homework, too, but hardly got a few words past his lips before she snapped at him out of pressure of on looking, expectant friends. "Don't touch me! Don't you have any manners? Geez, Greenwood!" Eliza had snarled, full of emotion. It had... hurt to do it. To crush one of her best friends like this. To turn him down. Eliza, to this day, still remembered how confused he'd initially looked, then how broken his smile had been afterwards. MacKenzie had draped her slender arm around Eliza in satisfaction, giving Patrick a smug, cold hearted smirk. "Leave her alone, street rat," she defended rudely, loudly for those who were close enough to hear. Eliza had nearly broken down into tears, but held them back with a tightened jaw and squeezed hands around her books.

Without another word, she and her posse of followers had stalked off, now nothing more of a group of perfumed, designer clothes - wearing artificial bunch. Her girls had reassured her that she had done the right thing, that they were proud of her. Then why had she felt so... awful? There were no more late night talks on the phone, no more kicking each others desks in math, no more of him flicking her hair when she passed by. No more Patrick Greenwood. Angry at how the situation had turned out, influence from her friends had encouraged her to bully Patrick from that point on. It included things like mocking what he wore, or asking him rude questions. At times, Eliza wanted to scream at him, ask him why he never fought to be her friend again. It just... wasn't fair. Her prom dates had been rich billionaire babies who played golf or Polo on the weekends, and took a vacation to the Bahamas every year. Stupid, brainless idiotic twats.

She missed Patrick's company terribly the first few years after she'd ruined their friendship, but after that, she learned not to feel remorse for things she couldn't control. Basically, her life. Her face was usually emotionless, blank, and serious. Unsmiling. It seemed that whatever made her happy, her mother took away. That woman had put down one of her favorite childhood pets while she was in college. Evil. Witch. And now, a disaster of her very making was standing right outside her window, peering down and drawling her name in eerie recognition. She couldn't face him. She could not. A series of emotions stirred in her stomach, among them being fear, regret, shame, and disgust. And what was that smell?

He looked plenty worse than he had when he was in his senior year of high school, with dirt layers from days ago still clinging to his skin. His clothes were in rips and tatters, all stained the same dark brown from the dirt. It filled her with this... overwhelming sadness, despair, to see someone she had once been friends with, turn out so... terrible. Awful. Wretched. Was he homeless now? Why had he gone missing senior year? Did he still hate her? Would he hurt her because of what she had done? In that case, Eliza wanted to leave. She wanted to drive away and pretend this had never happened, like Patrick Greenwood had never been anything more than the obnoxious track runner from high school. Her emotional girly side began to surface through the tight wraps around her constricted heart that had been under key and lock by her mother for several years.

She actually felt... sad. She felt something. He asked her if she had forgotten him already, and Eliza ducked her head in shame, pretending to be looking over her shoulder out her own window. A car swerved past her and honked in irritation, her pout twisting into a narrow eyed scowl. "I haven't," Eliza swallowed after a moment, clutching her steering wheel tightly as her emotions battled inside of her. Half of her wanted to reach into her purse and find him the biggest wad of cash to not only help him out, but physically repay him for what she had done all those years ago; and part of her yearned to drive off in a flurry of screeching tires. "Why are you... here?"Eliza cleared her throat with a little difficulty, suddenly extremely nervous to be talking to this man. She hardly could recognize him as her Patrick, the one who a had always been so giddy and full of jokes. "Why... how are you so..." she trailed off, slightly damaged in nostalgia seeing her best friend that she had trashed looking now exactly how she treated him. How could she have been so stupid, and so cruel?


message 14: by [deleted user] (new)

Eliza Rose Brighton. He had loved her name, even, loved the sound of it and the weight of it and the feel of it. Of course she wouldn't just be an Eliza or just a Rose. No, she was Eliza Rose. He couldn't have ever said, exactly, what had made her so fascinating to him when he was younger. It might have been only three years since, but it felt like a lifetime ago. Like someone else's life, almost, someone he could hardly recognize as himself. Back then, he'd thought life was tough, just because his father was MIA and his mother was a bit too fond of her liquor, and because the girl he liked wouldn't give him the time of day anymore. Back then, he'd been worried about the fact that he needed to keep his job working after school at a restaurant scrubbing tables and waiting on people like Eliza and her rich-kid posse. Worried that her family would turn up at that restaurant and she'd see him in all his kitchen-boy glory. Which had, in fact, happened, and had not been the most pleasant experience. Back then, he'd been worried about the fact that his grades, never stellar to begin with, were slipping into dangerous territory since he had no time to study or do homework. And if his grades dipped too far, they would've kicked him off the track team, regardless of how fast he was. Back then, keeping that spot on the team had been of paramount importance.

Back then, he'd been stupid, stupid, stupid.

She probably didn't know it, but he'd first noticed Eliza, really noticed her, when they were both in junior high. She'd gone to school with him since kindergarten, but so had so many others whose names he barely knew. His friends and her friends were different, and he had never paid much attention to her--until that one day in eighth grade. He'd been standing with his friends in the hall and Eliza had walked by with her usual group, those girls with their designer clothes and their perfectly manicured claws and their cloud of toxic perfume, the same girls that looked down their noses at him, giggling behind their hands and sliding in snide comments like they thought he wouldn't understand. He'd seen MacKenzie Pierce stick her foot out to trip another girl--June, he remembered--as she walked past, sending the other girl tumbling to the ground, her books spilling from her bag. She'd been so quick about it that he doubted anyone else even realized that June hadn't simply tripped over her own feet, but Eliza had bent to help a flustered, near-tears June gather her things. She'd helped, even though MacKenzie was her friend, even though she was standing right next to her looking on like there could be nothing more annoying than Eliza being nice to June.

So she was kind. After that he started noticing her all the time, whenever she passed him in the halls, whenever he heard her voice or her laugh. She might have been one of those girls, but he'd thought she was different. And then later when they were freshmen and actually had classes together, when he finally worked up the nerve to talk to her, they'd become fast friends. He'd fallen in love with her, in that wild all-consuming way high schoolers fell in love. It had felt like flying, even though she had no idea, even though she didn't love him back, even though they were, technically, just friends. He'd listen to her talk about her mother and the expectations her parents had for her, the pressure and the strain that came with being Eliza Rose Brighton. And in return he'd given her the secret pieces of his life, slowly, carefully, things he'd never told anyone before ever, not even his closest friends. And she got him. She understood. He'd thought so, anyway, but then abruptly midway through sophomore year she'd shut him out. No warning, no explanation. Nothing.

It might've been better if she'd just ignored him. The cold shoulder he could've taken, could've explained away. But it was more than that: it was suddenly taunts in the school halls and sneering questions he didn't have answers to; it was her friends coming up to him and mocking him knowingly with things they could only have found out from her, because she was the only one he'd told. Hey Greenwood, is it true that you once found your mom so drunk she'd passed out naked in your front yard? Or, cloyingly sweet, It really sucks that you have to live in that awful shack, Patrick. Is that why you, you know... And they'd flick their eyes up and down and wrinkle their noses like he smelled bad. It wasn't like being the target of Eliza's clique had turned him into a social pariah or anything. It wasn't like in the movies. Their high school was far too big for that to happen; Patrick had always been popular in his own right. What did hurt was losing her so completely. It was like the Eliza Rose he knew had only been a persona she'd created just for the hell of it. The girl he knew--had thought he knew--had never even existed. The real Eliza was this clone who laughed coldly at him from where she stood, safe in her superiority with her clique around her. That had hurt the most. The others he didn't care about; none of them mattered. He could answer them blow for blow. But Eliza...she knew his weak links, the chinks in the smile he wore as armor. She knew how to cut him. She knew the fault lines of Patrick Greenwood, because he'd been stupid enough to show them to her.

He'd thought at first that she was angry at him, that he'd done something to hurt her. But he could never talk to her because whenever he saw her the other girls were there, always, swallowing her up. He'd tried anyway, once after months and months, as she and her crowd swept past. He'd reached out and wrapped his fingers around her wrist, his touch feather-light so she could've pulled away if she wanted to. But she hadn't. She'd stopped, turned. Why? he'd asked, his voice low and fierce, not caring that the others were listening. If this was the only way she'd talk to him, it would have to do. And then, less fierce, This isn't you, Eliza Rose. Talk to me. Like they'd used to.

For a second he'd thought he'd gotten through to her, but she'd looked sideways into MacKenzie's sharp watchful eyes and her face had set. She'd jerked her hand away from his and he'd let her go. Why would I want to? she'd asked, winter-cold, unrecognizable, and he'd flinched like she had burned him. Next to her, MacKenzie had laughed. Get lost, street rat.

Street rat. That's what he'd become to her. It didn't matter if the word dropped from Eliza herself or from MacKenzie's cruel mouth; Eliza's silence had been a yes, I agree, yes that's what you are, get lost street rat.

He hadn't tried again. He'd told himself that that was just the way things were. It was alright to pretend for a while, but the truth was that people like Eliza and people like him belonged to different worlds. She'd never view him on equal footing.

And then life had happened, and his mother had gone and spilled her guts onto the side of the highway, barely two weeks after his eighteenth birthday. When they came to tell him she was dead, stiff men with I'm-so-sorry eyes who explained that there wasn't enough left of his mother to bury, they'd taken his sister and brother away. Suddenly everything in his life that had ever mattered had been stripped away and he'd had nothing except an empty coffin he couldn't face. And it hadn't mattered anymore what Eliza Rose Brighton thought about him. Nothing had mattered anymore. He'd called a cousin of his mother and asked him to take care of the funeral, which the cousin had agreed to do and had taken place miles away from Malibu in the town his mother had grown up in. By then Patrick had been long gone. He hadn't really thought about Eliza in a long time.

It was clear from her expression that she was remembering what had happened between them during high school. A series of emotions crossed her face. She seemed almost...afraid to see him? Then again, it might have just been disgust. He was clearly not the best judge of character when it came to her. But at the moment he really didn't care if she found him lacking. He'd never been proud. She was the first car who'd stopped for him. If she drove away he'd end up walking again, which he really did not want to do. Vivi's birthday was tomorrow. He had to find her. His sister was more important than some rich girl he'd used to go to school with.

"I used to live here, remember?" he replied as she asked him why he was here. She started asking him why he was so...and then stopped, apparently unable to finish. "Oh, all this?" He glanced down at himself, then back at her, shrugged. "I'm just a street rat, Eliza Rose." Those words had stopped stinging a long time ago; he could say them easily now, with half of a smile. "A street rat who really needs a ride. You're heading that way anyway. For old times' sake?"


message 15: by E M M A (new)

E M M A  | 2243 comments OMG
I might shorten it a little bit


message 16: by E M M A (new)

E M M A  | 2243 comments Oh, how Eliza remembered. She certainly remembered, alright. Patrick Greenwood, whom she'd betrayed so terribly. After she'd graduated, and Patrick Greenwood became no more, she'd sometimes looked back on the memory and thought it to be a foolish, childish waste of time. Without MacKenzie and Celeste constantly in her ear, with those judging, mascara framed eyes during college, Eliza lost interest in being cruel, reverting naturally to her original self. Well, some of it, anyway. She had no one to torment, no one of interest to bother, and no time to seek someone out. MacKenzie had gone to cosmetology school in Los Angeles, and Celeste had gone to an art school in New York. The remainder of their posse was scattered about the country; nobody had stayed in little Malibu.

As a technical adult, Eliza had matured, with poise and elegance being her prime focus in appearance. Her mother had drilled it in her to take care of her image, how she presented herself, and first impressions. That always came first. She bought only the finest clothes, never could leave the house without makeup for fear of being called hideous. She rarely wore sweatpants, and if she did, it was inside the house or to the gym, where she had a personal trainer to keep her in shape. Eliza was remotely quiet, kept mostly to herself when in public, minding her own business. She'd lost interest for celebrities in those terrible tabloids MacKenzie had delighted over, simply because they told too many humiliating lies. Eliza sometimes wished she hadn't wasted the last few years of high school being so bitter, but then again, she figured what was done had been done.

If there was anything that gave Eliza an upset stomach, it was seeing things like Patrick Greenwood. The homeless, the decrepit, the poor, the unfortunate. It disturbed her to no end, humbled her to see how difficult her life really wasn't. She avoided slums at all costs, of course, having not had any pleasant experiences with downtown - anywhere. At street corners where those ragged, dirty men, sometimes women, stood, with their cardboard signs scrawled on on black marker, Eliza always rolled up her windows, avoided eye contact with "them". They were full of sorrow, hatred, and sometimes, lust. It frightened her, wondering if she'd be punished for how she ignored them at some point. What if she became poor? What then? She would never last a second. Not one.

Her brown mid-length hair bobbed over her shoulders as she nodded meekly, her heart jumping to her throat. Why, had this had to happen? She wished more than anything that Angie was with her, to dissuade her from stopping to talk to Patrick, to drive off and leave him in the dust. But then again, Angelica was too sweet for her own good, taking compassion on Patrick's sort. It was just difficult to accept that now, Patrick actually was a street rat, the very kind of person that she would walk past without a second glance in the shopping mall, while she balanced packaged designer handbags and clothes on her jewelry clad arms. Memories of her jeering at Patrick flooded back in her memory now at once, the color draining from her face as her eyes began to feel warm. Overwhelmed, Eliza couldn't face Patrick, avoiding his bright blue eyes as she fidgeted with the seam on the leather wheel.

It was all quite much for Eliza Rose, for what Patrick would say next nearly shattered her with guilt. I'm just a street rat, Eliza Rose, he said. She whimpered audibly, uncomfortable now as she squirmed in her seat trying to hold herself together. No matter how hard she tried, she couldn't shake the nagging remorse that knocked her off her high horse. He then asked for a ride, suggesting it to be for old times' sake. Her head jerked up from her lap, her watery eyes searching his for a forgiveness she knew probably wouldn't be there. At first, Eliza was hesitant. "Oh... I dont know, I don't think... I have a stop to make..." she'd began, to lie, shaking her head in false apology. But just another pitiful glance at how Patrick was dressed, mingled with the chants of how terribly poor he was in high school, how she'd rejected him ever so harshly just because she was influenced that way, Eliza caved.

"Get in," she choked, her voice hoarse. She couldn't believe she'd just allowed for something like this to happen. She should have never stopped. Ever. She should have kept driving! Immediately, warning sirens cried out in her mind, her mother's ominous, disappointed gaze flickering through her imagination. It was just a good thing she wasn't on her way to her old house. "W-where do you need to go?" Eliza cleared her throat, slightly emotional still from her earth shattering experience. There was nothing quite like meeting the very person you betrayed and bullied after three years of being apart. To see how Patrick had changed for the worst... it sickened her. She was absolutely disgusted with herself. Patrick had always been nothing but kind to her, helping her with her science homework all the time and offering to hold her heavy textbooks while she opened her locker. And she'd betrayed him.

Eliza tampered with the air conditioning as Patrick entered the vehicle, her blue eyes flickering to the edge of her peripheral as he lowered himself on to the leather. He was scraggly from head to toe, looked like he hadn't bathed in days. Smelled like it, too. Eliza concealed a gag, swallowing the bile that rose from her stomach as she cringed. The windows were immediately rolled down, and Eliza gave Patrick a sympathetic look. She'd need this car cleaned immediately after she dropped him off. Why was she even doing this? It wasn't like her. Perhaps it was the karma that swirled inside her brain, the chance to redeem her cruel ways towards Patrick in this small favor. It wouldn't really be enough to undo the damage she'd caused, ever; perhaps it was a start. "A-are you hungry or anything? - You smell ... terrible," she winced apologetically, only trying to be truthful as she watched Patrick carefully. He was in such bad condition. What if this was her fault? That her harsh ways had pushed him to drop out, and now he couldnt get a job because of it?


message 17: by [deleted user] (new)

Patrick had never been the type of person to do anything halfway. Sometimes he'd get so obsessed with a certain thing or a goal to the point he wouldn't rest until he'd accomplished whatever it was. That single-minded focus of his was what had earned him his place on the track team; running took focus and discipline and the ability to not give up even when you really wanted to. That same focus was also what had brought him all the way back to Malibu, the city where he'd grown up, the city where he'd had his heart broken, the city in which his mother had died, the city he'd thought he'd left behind him for good. That focus had kept him on this road, walking miles under the sun even though he'd probably get blisters on his feet, even though he was tired and hungry and thirsty and very low on cash. He'd made up his mind in a split second to find Vivian, and find her he would even if it killed him. And after he found Viv, he'd track down where Jules was. He'd left his siblings for too long. Once he'd practically been their parent, but now he hadn't seen either of them in years. He didn't even know where they were. How could he have failed so completely? The guilt was a physical thing almost; it sat heavily on his shoulders, like boulders weighing him down.

After that awful day when his mother had died, after Jules and Viv had immediately been sent to foster homes, Patrick had felt like his world had suddenly collapsed. He hadn't realized until then what a fragile house of paper cards it all was, so fragile a strong wind could blow it over without any warning and leave him in the ruins. The few constants he'd always had, the few things that had made the ground feel steady under his feet despite all the crap he dealt with daily--those constants were suddenly gone. He'd felt himself slipping, and this time he'd let himself. He'd embraced the grief and the self-pity because it was so much harder to fight it. Before, he'd always had a rock solid reason to keep smiling and laughing, to hold himself together: his family. They'd needed him. But then they were all gone and he'd no longer had anyone relying on him. No reason for him to stay strong, dependable, steady. Instead crushing despair beckoned. Giving in to it had seemed, then, better than trying to continue his daily life. How could he have faced his friends and explained to them what had happened? He couldn't say those words out loud, my mother is dead and Viv and Jules are gone, because it would make the whole thing more real and a hundred times more awful. He couldn't stand facing everyone's reactions, couldn't stand accepting his friends' sympathy and pity. How could he have gone right back to school after that, like nothing had changed at all, like everything was fine? There had only been a few months of his senior year left, but graduation was suddenly of zero importance.

After the cops had left and the house was empty--no fierce, stubborn Viv, no sweet, solemn Jules, no perpetually buzzed Mom with her loud, delighted laugh and her low, hoarse voice--he'd felt like a ghost in a corpse of a home. He'd gone through his mother's alcohol supply and finished it off. Then he'd curled up on his mother's bed and slept, surrounded by her stuff and the warm familiar mom-smell of her, skipping school, ignoring his friends' texts and calls. Two days passed before he'd forced himself to move. He'd gone into his room, emptied his backpack of his school books, thrown in a few clothes and things. Then he'd gathered whatever little money he had, opened the door of the house and started walking in the dead of night. And then he'd just--kept on walking. It was just a rented house, anyway. It was where he'd lived for eighteen years, but it had never been theirs.

Once he'd decided he wasn't staying, that he couldn't stay, the actual leaving part had been so very simple. He'd shed his old life like it was only an old worn coat he'd outgrown and slipped into a new one, where he'd drifted aimlessly with only the clothes on his back and the contents of his backpack. He'd slept wherever he could, done whatever odd jobs he'd found. No one wanted to hire a scruffy eighteen-year-old without even a high school diploma, and he'd even had to beg on the streets a few times. It had been humiliating at first, like losing fundamental pieces of himself; it had felt like ripping the last bit of any self-dignity or pride he'd had left into pieces and burying the remains. And then it had no longer mattered. When you didn't have a home or a family it was all too easy to forget who you were. It had been easy for him to fade into himself, turn invisible so that when people walked past him their eyes skipped right over him.

But he'd fed himself, usually. Sort of. Beyond that he had stopped caring what happened to him.

He'd lived like that for over a year. It felt like time had passed differently for him in that year, the minutes and hours and days all melting together. After a while it had gotten so he was just...existing. Alive, but not really living. The realization had eventually shaken him out of that hole he'd dug for himself and hidden in.

So she had been right about him, after all. Maybe that was why he could look at her now without feeling like there was a knife in his gut, the way looking at her used to feel. He didn't even feel angry, or resentful, or defensive. Mostly he was relieved he wouldn't have to walk another billion miles (he had blisters for sure by now; his feet were killing him). He was acutely aware of the fact that she was just agreeing because she was taking pity on him. He'd always despised pity. But now? If a pity ride was all he could get, he'd take it. No question.

For Vivi. To be able to see her again. So he could be there to say, Happy birthday, little sister. Why had he waited so long? Why had he wasted so much time feeling sorry for himself and getting his shit together? What the hell kind of a brother was he? Maybe Viv hated him now. She'd probably waited and waited for him. And Jules--what if Jules didn't even remember him?

Don't, he mentally scolded himself, shutting that thought down and focusing instead on Eliza as she asked him a question. "It's this foster care center called Guardian Angels," he answered. "It's only a few miles away, just off this road." She wouldn't stop fidgeting, avoiding looking straight at him, her eyes darting to his face then taking in the state of his clothes, then darting away like looking at him hurt her. It was probably killing her, having penniless filthy him inside her shiny white Mercedes. Sure enough, she rolled the windows down despite the baking heat and shot him a look: yep, pity. I don't care, he reminded himself. I don't care.

Yes, he was hungry. Starving, in fact. He could've eaten a buffalo. He was thirsty too, from walking in the sun all day. He'd run out of water ages ago. And he was aware that he didn't smell quite as nice as the perfumed inside of her Mercedes, but it wasn't all that bad. Awful was a strong word. Despite that, he didn't feel insulted. He did not have to walk the rest of the way. The car had awesome air conditioning. He was going to see his baby sister soon. Things were looking up. The universe had taken pity on him and decided to throw him some luck.

"Yeah, sorry about that. And no, that's okay, I'm fine." He said it automatically, even though he hadn't felt fine in years. But she was already giving him a pity drive in her posh car; he wasn't going to accept a pity meal on top of it. Not from Eliza Rose Brighton.

"Thanks a million times for this," he said to her, and he meant every word of it. Who cared what had happened in high school? Who cares what she thought about him? Right now he was going to be happy with his good luck while it lasted. "It means--a lot to me. Really." He allowed himself a short laugh. "For whatever that's worth." Probably not worth anything to her, but it wasn't like he could repay the favor. All he could do was say thank you.


message 18: by [deleted user] (new)

нєαтнєя wrote: "OMG
I might shorten it a little bit"


[yeah, for sure that's fine! You don't have to feel obligated to always write the same amount as me. mine aren't always this long, don't worry :) just have a lot of backstory to explain]


message 19: by E M M A (new)

E M M A  | 2243 comments What surprised Eliza the most was the destination Patrick requested. A foster care center? What could he possibly have to do there? What business would lure him to make so much effort to get to a foster care, for all those poor homeless kids who had no parents? He couldn't possibly be thinking about adopting one of them, now could he? He could hardly take care of himself, let alone a child! Eliza gave Patrick a startled look, her eyebrows furrowing over her concerned eyes. Regardless, she reached over to the built in touchscreen GPS, tapping in the name of the center with delicate careful fingers. The automated female voice read the instructions she had to take, then outlining a path on a simplistic map on her screen. Sure enough, it was just down the road, and then some. Baffled still, Eliza puzzled her mind terribly over the complications of Patrick Greenwood, pulling off the dirt side of the road overlooking the sea back into the mellow traffic.

He immediately rejected Eliza's pity offers, brushing them off with an automatic sort of response. As if he'd heard it several times. "If you're sure..." she trailed off softly, swallowing a lump in her throat as she drove with tense shoulders and rigid posture. She couldn't stop peeking over at Patrick, simultaneously attempting to hold her breath. He smelled absolutely foul, putrid in her opinion. Patrick was such a strange, changed young man, she hardly could recognize him as the Patrick that she had known from school. Had she changed that? Had her negligence and rude behavior pushed him over to a new turn? But how much did he despise her? Did he still care how terribly she'd treated him, without any explanation? All of it, because her mother had told her not to? Oh how foolish Eliza had been. Throwing away a friendship that could have been something more, something stronger, all because she cared what other people thought.

Eliza followed the straight highway, her hair being harshly whipped about her face with the wind flying through the car from the open windows. Her sunglasses rested on the console still, her pride with it as she averted her naked eyes from Patrick. He had never been anything but kind to her in high school, and she'd ruined that for them. She'd destroyed it. She couldn't help the incessant remorse that dwelled and pitted in her stomach, unable to dissuade herself that Patrick's current condition wasn't her fault. Eliza had been certain that her actions against him, the hazing and bullying, had driven Patrick off an irreversible edge, and now he was living the way he was because he had left high school on her account. Of course, she was oblivious to the fact that he had other bigger reasons behind it all, more trauma and heartache than Eliza could ever imagine herself.

After a few minutes of nothing but sea air ruffling their clothes and drowning out the smell of body odor and dirt, Patrick finally spoke up again. He thanked her, to which her fingers tightened even more so on the wheel. Eliza kept her breathing level, although she was on a verge of exploding with emotion. He didn't need to thank her. At all. She had to do this, because she owed it to him. She owed him so much more than this. Who knew how badly he ahd been affected by her dishonesty and vile venomous words? She'd spread rumors about him, told people things that he thought he could trust her with. She'd made him become a laughingstock at some points, the joke of the school! Eliza couldn't stand herself. It was absolutely disgusting.

"Er- um... you don't have to say that," Eliza managed, shaking her head insistently as her voice wavered. She gnawed on her bottom lip, nervously eyeing the streetlight up ahead. All she needed to do was just drop Patrick Greenwood off at this foster care center, and be on her way. Just keep driving, until she got to her apartment. Then, everything would be just fine. She'd be safe. No more Patrick. But first, she had to get to this place, a few minutes away. But then she got to wondering. What exactly was Patrick going to do with a foster care? Live there? He was too old! How could it mean so much to him, be of such great importance to the point where he'd ask a high school bully for a ride? She hesitated to ask him, fearing what kind of response she'd receive. Talking to Patrick, for now, intimidated her. Alot.

Before, she had tried to be the intimidating one, boosted with confidence from MacKenzie and Celeste. They had encouraged her, backed her up, made her feel safe. However, now that she was alone? There was no pride in what she had done. It was a damaging blow to her self esteem, her shoulders slightly slumped and her eyes low even as she drove. "So... why the foster care?" She asked in the silence, pausing at a quick stoplight. "Why do you sound so urgent to get there?" It was a reasonable question, she believed, although it really was none of her business. It crossed her mind a few times to apologize to Patrick, but the idea only caused her lips to seal tighter in vow not to say anything at all about the past. She just hoped it could remain under the dusty cobwebs of high school, and that it would remain there for the duration of the ride.


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He could practically feel her discomfort, her nervousness. There was, of course, the pity in her eyes for him, obvious when he looked at her. And then the fact that, as she had so very nicely phrased it, he smelled awful. She was probably internally freaking out about him dirtying the seat or something. But it was more than that too. The way she kept glancing over at him, eyes flitting over him and darting away just as quickly, made him wonder if what she felt was...guilt? The expression on her face and her quick denial when he thanked her only served to reinforce the impression. She didn't actually feel sad for him, did she? What did she even know about his life? She hadn't seen him in years. But no, he must've been imagining it. She'd probably forgotten about their high school drama already.

He caught the puzzled expression on her face at his response. But she said nothing, only leaned over and entered the name he'd given her into her GPS. And he didn't volunteer any more information. He was pretty sure she had only agreed to help him out because he'd guilt tripped her. He wasn't going to bother her with explaining about his street rat siblings.

Everyone had a safe place, something they held on to, something that was more important to them than anything else in the world. To Patrick that had always been his family: his mother, his sister, his baby brother. His mother had her fair share of problems, and because of it Patrick had always had to shoulder more responsibility, but she'd always loved them. Had done her best to care for them. And Vivian and Julian–he'd always been fiercely protective of them. His mother had left him name both of them; when Vivi had been born and she'd let Patrick hold his sister for the first time, she'd told him, You're her older brother, Patrick. You know what that means? It means she's your responsibility. It means you take care of her. Always. And then, years later, when Jules had been born, she'd said the same thing. Your siblings, your responsibility. Take care of them.

Always.

It had been his promise to his mother. And then what had he done when she died? He'd failed miserably. He'd run away.

So no, he wasn't going to offer information about his siblings and his problems and his wrecked life to Eliza.

Silence filled the car as they drove, with the wind rushing in through the windows and whipping through their hair, allowing for an excuse not to fill the quiet with small talk. Which was good, because Patrick had long since grown used to the quiet and to bring on his own. Casual conversation was no longer something that came easy to him. When he'd been younger, Patrick had always been the type of person who hated being alone, who surrounded himself with noise and laughter and people whenever he could. The type of person who was usually at the center of the crowd. The type of person who always knew what to say and how to say it. He'd always been good at charming people, from talking unwilling adults into letting him have the extra cookie at the age of five to persuading the English teacher to give him a pass for not turning in his project in on time at the age of fifteen. But in the years since his mother had died, Patrick had become a loner. Quieter. Serious. Sadder. That boy who'd always had a ready smile had long since disappeared.

What could he and Eliza Rose Brighton possibly have to talk about anyways?

It was Eliza who finally spoke up, asking him why he so urgently wanted to go to this foster care center. He glanced sideways at her, hesitating, trying to gauge the reason behind this question. Was she genuinely curious? Or was this a throwaway question to break the awkwardness that had been filling he air between them?

"I...I'm trying to find my sister," he said finally, carefully. "Vivian. I don't know if you remember her, but she's supposed to be here."

He had told her about Vivian, and about Julian. She'd seen them, known them, when they'd still been friends. But she'd probably forgotten about them by now. The past few years had changed him, he knew that. But they'd changed her too. It wasn't anything specific that he could pin down, but it was a sense he got from her, like a spark extinguished. She'd always had a brightness to her before, a quiet sweetness that you really only saw once you got to know her. But now she seemed...distanced. Not from him necessarily, but from everything around her in general. Stiffer. She was clearly living a comfortable, wealthy life, but she didn't look happy.

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message 23: by [deleted user] (new)

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message 24: by [deleted user] (new)

Okay :)


message 25: by [deleted user] (new)

No worries!


message 26: by E M M A (new)

E M M A  | 2243 comments ((After she answers his questions and such and they talk, do you want me to end with them arriving? What's the foster care gonna be like? Run down? Omgg. This will be great. Maybe the ride there is really quiet, and then it turns out to be in a really sketchy neighborhood so she doesn't want to stay in the car alone so she asks if she can go with him?? But it's up to you, what were we planning once they got into the shelter? Maybe the siblings could be really mean to her or be pissed or something))


message 27: by [deleted user] (new)

[sure I'm fine with that! The foster care center would probably be decent-ish, like neat and tidy but kind of shabby so Eliza would probably view it as awfully run down lol. Foster care kids are usually kept with individual foster families but ones who aren't successfully placed with a family have to stay in group homes sometimes, usually meant to be temporary until a foster family can be found. So I was actually thinking that Vivian isn't actually at the center because she was recently sent to stay with a family nearby, so like maybe Eliza volunteers to take Patrick there in the morning. Vivian would be kind of pissed at Patrick, actually, because he hasn't been around in so long, but she'd probably hate Eliza on sight because she remembers her from when Patrick was in high school.]


message 28: by E M M A (new)

E M M A  | 2243 comments ((Ok! Doesnt he have a little brother too?? On elizas standards itd be too small and unsatisfactory xD maybe theres an adorable little child there thats super nice and she just feels uncomfortable. Ok so we have eliza follow him in, they go in and talk to the lady, patrick is disappointed given the news, eliza offers to bring him by the next day, after a long silence and patrick looking super upset. Um adn then they walk out of there and then what in the meanwhile? Maybe she insists to either get him a hotel or bring him by to her apsrtment for the afternoon? Brb shower))


message 29: by [deleted user] (new)

[yeah he does. But his brother's too sweet to be mean to Eliza, and he's little. Idk I kind of think things up while writing the post? I'm not a planner XD
She could offer to take him to her apartment I guess but he'd say no and maybe she convinces him to let her pay for a hotel room. It would take some convincing on her part though because he wouldn't want to accept charity from her. And haha same I have to go shower and then dinner :) ]


message 30: by E M M A (new)

E M M A  | 2243 comments ((Hahaa okay! Its just i like knowing what im setting everything up for just so i dont take things in the wrong direction! Pulling an all night er. Literally the first weekend I CAN ACTUALLY SLEEP INll


message 31: by [deleted user] (new)

[haha i totally get it! feel free to add your ideas or whatever though :) NICE i know how you feel man. so much sleep loss XD]


message 32: by E M M A (new)

E M M A  | 2243 comments Would it be bad to say that im taking a nap at 7:44 pm??? Idk i tries gettinf to work on this and i got like 3 sentences. I really wanna write and its making me mad. Hopefully i wake up in an hour or two to reply! Gah im sorry again


message 33: by [deleted user] (new)

[of course not! Take your time, as long as you need, I don't mind waiting :)]


message 34: by E M M A (new)

E M M A  | 2243 comments The drive was excrutiating. They hadn't even gone a few miles, and Eliza felt like hopping out her open window and rolling into oncoming traffic. Why did he have to find her now, of all times? Why had she stopped, just to yell at this poor man who happened to be someone she never wanted to see again, particularly because she was embarassed of herself? Not to mention, the awful sour stench that burned her nostrils. Eliza gripped the wheel, pressing down on the gas a little further to pick up the speed. She wove in between cars, all the while trying not to seem like she was in any rush to avoid Patrick's questioning. She'd already made things worse by commenting on his appearance, stabbing at his ego once again. Did he even have any pride left in hismelf, after what she'd said and done to him.senior year? Did he even remember, or care? Of course he did. He had brought up her little nickname for him. Street rat. It was as if thst was all he'd remembered, not even the good times in sophomore year when they'd goofed off in class, when they'd draw funny doodles on each others arms or notebooks during lessons. She missed that Patrick. The one that had been her friend.

There was a silence thick between them, and Eliza thanked God that she had an excuse to be focusing on the road and other reckless drivers, instead of sitting there like Patrick was. His voice, deeper than she remembered it to be in high school, was practically washed out by the whipping loud wind that flapped through the open windows, and Eliza strained her hearing to listen. Trying to find his sister? What did that mean? The name Vivian did sound familiar, but it was hard to place a face in its stead. Eliza's lips twisted as she chewed on her cheek, her eyebrows furrowed neatly over the bridge of her nose. Vivian? Who was that? His sister, obviously, but what had she been like? Eliza had forgotten, and for that, she felt awful. She remembered the fact that Patrick had taken her to his house a few times, and had introduced her to his family. Vivian. Hadn't he had a little brother too?

Why had he needed to find, of all things, his sister? Hadn't he kept in touch? Wasn't his home, the shabby slums, back the other way? Why would Vivian be in a care center? Had their mother abandoned them too? And what of Patrick Greenwood's little brother? Where was he-? Eliza's head was exploding with questions that she didn't dare ask, filling her full of doubts and speculations. So much could have transpired in just a handful of years. So much. "What about... Jason, was it? Jordan?" Eliza tried, her voice soft as she rolled some names on her tongue. The little brother, she remembered him now. She could see a glimpse of cheerful eyes, messy blonde-brown hair that was always in his face or stuck up in the back from sleeping. His name had started with a J, she was sure of it. "Are you sure Vivian is at this... shelter thing?" She added on, doubt creeping into her voice. She didn't want to discourage Patrick, but "finding" a sibling was alot different than knowing where they were. What if he got there and she wasn't there? How had he managed to lose track of her?

After more silences, the wind howling and whistling through the gaps in the windows as Eliza sped easily on the PCH towards Los Angeles, the sun was beginning to dip into the west, minutes ticking by where no one said a thing. Eliza constantly crept glances at Patrick, unnerved by his gruff appearance. He looked many years older than he actually was, and the dirt on his cheeks made it hard for Eliza to swallow. He just looked... awful. Feeling rather sorry that she had made life hard on Patrick in high school and that she had cruelly tormented him to no end, Eliza's expression had fallen, a heavy weight in her frozen heart. She couldn't help but speculate if this was her doing, that because she had been so mean, he had dropped out, and therefore, was living on his own without a diploma, without a job. Had she done this? Was this her doing-?

Almost half an hour later, and Eliza still couldn't relax. She shifted in her seat often, glimpsing the GPS frequently to make sure she didn't miss turns and exits. She ended up becoming lost in the confusing grid streets, her cheeks flushed and her hands shaky as she turned this way and that, in Santa Monica. The streets were forever crowded, and everywhere she looked, Eliza could see that things weren't exactly up kept that well around here. The automated GPS woman, in that ever so calm, irritating voice of hers, continued to instruct Eliza once she returned to the main street, to turn left, turn right after .2 miles, then to find her destination up ahead. Eliza obliged, by now extremely humiliated by the amount of road rage she had expressed and the way she had driven in circles trying to find this hidden foster care. "Finally," she huffed, her brown eyes absorbing the sight of the shabby marquee sign that looked decades old, sunbeaten, that advertised the foster care.

The small parking lot, with its faded white lines and crumbling parking blocks for 20 spots, was semi occupied with staff cars and a few prospective fosters. Eliza parked as close as she could to the entrance, before cutting the smooth engine. "Well, here you are... I guess I'll wait for you?" Eliza offered, smoothing a hand through her hair and taking a deep breath. Her eyes refused to meet Patrick's still, instead looking out straight ahead of her. A group of three men, clearly homeless, were huddled across the street on the curb, pushing shopping carts laden with dirty brown items of clothing and blankets. One even had a basket jsut for plastic bottles, that he'd recycle for money. The oldest seeming of them were only 20 feet away, eyeing the gleaming white Mercedes in the lot of broken down vans and beat up Camry's from 1998.

Unnerved, Eliza stopped Patrick when he opened the door. "Wait! I'll- I'll come with you? If that's... if that's okay-? I need to use the restroom," she lied, hastily gathering her purse and throwing a shopping bag with an untouched expensive blouse under her seat to conceal from the three across the street. They meant no harm, really, but Eliza could never understand that. All homeless, poor people were bad, she'd been taught, including Patrick. She trusted Patrick for the moment anyway, scampering after him in her designer heels clutching a designer purse in fear of being left behind. She didn't want to be mugged.


message 35: by [deleted user] (last edited Sep 12, 2015 08:46AM) (new)

Patrick's fingers tightened convulsively on the armrest of the passenger seat, knuckles white with tension before he swallowed hard and forced himself to relax. What had he expected? Of course she didn't remember Jules' name. Julian wasn't important to her. Patrick wasn't important to her. He'd never been important to her. She'd made that clear enough throughout their senior year of high school, hadn't she? Whatever friendship he'd thought they'd had, she'd made it clear that it had never meant anything to her at all. He had probably been entertaining for her, with his stupid crush on her, and she'd enjoyed letting him think she'd liked him back until eventually she'd gotten bored of him. He knew that. He was over it too; he hadn't really thought about her in a long time. The things she'd said to him, the betrayal, all of it, had long since stopped stinging. Other things had taken precedence in Patrick's life these past few years, and his high school crush and broken heart had been all but forgotten. Pushed aside to allow for room for other, bigger things. How he had felt at losing Eliza's friendship had been nothing compared to losing his mother, his entire family. So why did it bother him so much that she'd gotten Jules' name wrong?

But when he spoke, all he said was, "Julian, actually. And well..." He trailed off, unsure whether or not he really wanted to answer her question. The truth was, he wasn't sure if he'd find Vivian here. She could have been sent to stay with a foster family by now. The center had been unwilling to really give him any information over the phone. It had been difficult enough to confirm that she was still here in Malibu at all, and hadn't been sent outside of the city they had all been born and raised in.

Instead of finishing the thought, he allowed the silence to fill the car again, so that it was quiet aside from the roar of the wind, still rushing through the windows and drowning out the sound of his heartbeat and the restless thoughts that circled around and around in his head without end. Let her think what she liked. He didn't owe her anything. He didn't have to answer her questions, or offer explanations, or say something to make her feel less uncomfortable. She'd been awful to him in high school; when they were both seventeen and she'd decided he wasn't worth her time, he hadn't stopped loving her but he had started hating her too, somehow both at the same time, the two emotions twisted together into a firebrand of hurt. Even though it was true enough that the thought of lovely awful Eliza Rose Brighton hadn't crossed his mind more than a few times in the past few years, seeing her again now, hearing her voice after so much time...It was coming back to him, the memories from those years, all the things he had forgotten and buried, both the good and the bad.

It was better to have forgotten.

And it wasn't entirely true that he didn't owe her anything. She was doing him a favor now, driving him. So he owed her for that. Great.

Minutes passed as they drove along wordlessly, time seeming to stretch on as the sun dipped towards the horizon and the air cooled steadily, burning California day giving way to the gentle evenings he'd loved when he'd been a kid. As she turned off the highway and they twisted and turned through the tangle of streets that was the city he'd grown up in, he allowed himself to remember things he'd blocked away for so long because they hurt too much. He'd had so many friends here, people he'd loved, people who'd loved him. Not for the first time, he wondered why he hadn't been able to face them after his mother had died, why he'd left without a word to any of them. They would've helped him, probably. Might have offered him places to stay while he tried and figured things out.

Too late now, he supposed. There was no point in wasting energy and time on regrets. Too much had happened, and most of it had been out of his control. None of it he could change. Instead he focused on the road ahead, realizing he had absolutely no idea where they were. Had she gotten them lost? How could she have, when she had a GPS that had been reciting directions to her the entire time in an annoyingly chipper voice? He had to stop himself, multiple times, from trying to reassure her as she grew steadily more and more frustrated and flustered, her hands gripping the wheel tightly, her cheeks flushed, her eyes fixed ahead. Her hair was starting to look distinctly windblown as well; if she was anyone else he might have smoothed it back from her face. But he was aware that such a thing from him would hardly be received well from her. She'd probably think he was a creep trying to make a move on her or something. Not to mention that it had gotten kind of cold in the car, and the stiff wind cutting straight through the open windows wasn't really helping. But he didn't suggest rolling them up. In any case, he'd always liked the cold--there was a newness and a sharpness to it that cut straight through you and woke you up. So he leaned his head a little out of the window, letting the clean air wash over his face and blow through his unruly tangle of long gold hair, and shut his eyes, letting her figure it out for herself. It wasn't like he could be much help anyway.

It had gotten dark by the time they finally pulled into the parking lot of the foster center. She parked the Mercedes in front of the building, and for a minute Patrick just sat there, staring at the building, tension knotting in his chest. The building was shabby, but neat and tidy. Some distance away were three men that Patrick recognized right away as homeless--he knew now what that looked like far too well, even if he wasn't exactly homeless anymore and had mostly had a roof over his head for over a year now. Beside him, he could see Eliza taking in the building and the three men, her gaze wary and critical. He could imagine how she saw the place. Not that he cared. It wasn't like she hadn't already made it abundantly clear what she thought of him and people like him.

"Yeah, um-" He paused, torn between telling her she didn't need to wait for him and he'd be fine from here, and relief that he wouldn't have to figure out what to do afterwards. "That would be great, actually." He glanced at her, then back at the building. "Thank you." Taking a deep breath, he opened the passenger door of the car and swung his legs out. His feet had barely touched the ground before he heard her burst out saying that she was going to come with him. More than a little surprised, he hesitated, one hand on the open door, watching her. She claimed she needed to use the bathroom, so he shrugged. "Yeah, sure." But as she quickly gathered up her fancy purse and hid a shopping bag, her eyes flicking to the three men huddled in the shade of the building, the thoughts clicked into place: she was reluctant to stay in the car alone, she was scared of the homeless guys, and she'd rather stick with him than risk staying out here alone, even in the shelter of her car. He could have reassured her; he had a good eye for this sort of thing now, and knew just from a glance that the three men were less dangerous than they were simply people who'd been dealt a rotten hand in life. But he doubted she'd believe him anyway.

They made their way towards the building, Patrick in the lead and Eliza following close behind him with her heels clicking on the pavement. The minute they stepped inside, he felt a rush of relief mixed with trepidation: he was finally here, but what if Vivi wasn't? Or worse still, what if she was angry at him? Vivi had always been quick to anger, slow to forgive.

The center, though rather shabby, was neat and tidy and seemed well cared for, like whoever ran it had taken care to make it cheerful and welcoming. It made him feel slightly better as he approached the desk where a plump woman sat at a computer, clicking away at the keyboard. She didn't look up until he cleared his throat. "Yes?" Her eyes flicked up and down, taking in his unkempt clothes and probably the hair too--he really should've cut it--and then going to Eliza before she looked back at him. Her expression was intelligent and guarded but kind. "What can I do for you?"

Her name tag read Mare. The same person he'd spoken with on the phone. "Hi," he started, unsure. "I'm--Patrick. Patrick Greenwood. I called a few days ago?" It sounded like he was asking her a question. "I'm looking for my sister, her name's Vivian, she's thirteen-" He broke off, laying his hands flat on the desk. "Almost thirteen."

"Oh, yes," said the woman. "Vivian-" She broke off as the phone rang, turning away. "Just a minute."

[hii Heather :) so sorry I kept you waiting so long!! finally wrote it up. but I have to warn you, I'm pretty busy and sometimes I'm probably going to take some time between posts. so if I do disappear it doesn't mean I've lost interest and want to quit this RP, I promise I wouldn't leave you hanging like that! If I ever do need to quit or put this on hold I'll make sure to let you know so you're not stuck waiting.
Aaaand where'd you want to go with this now? Should we skip a short while ahead to where they like confirm he is actually her brother and let him see Vivi? Orr I was thinking his sister's not actually here and she's with a foster family somewhere in the city and so is his brother, so Eliza feels sorry for him when she sees how depressed he is by this and offers to give him a place overnight and drive him there in the morning or the next day whenever?]


message 36: by E M M A (new)

E M M A  | 2243 comments The presence of those men in the parkinglot had Eliza unsettled, and for the moment, she felt like being in Patrick's company would provide somewhat of protection against any sort of harm. She couldn't afford to be robbed at night in another city far from her actual home, and risk the chances of sticking around with strangers who would hurt her, do anything to turn their own lives around. Of course, maybe she was making assumptions too quickly. For all she knew, they could be kind men, ones who didn't mean much by a simple glance in her direction. Regardless, a fearful Eliza scampered after Patrick, tempted to cling to his arm in the shady parkinglot. The sun had begun to set over the buildings surrounding the parkinglot, the faded and flickering street lamps faintly illuminated patches of the run down lot. She just hoped Patrick wasn't planning to stay long.

A soft chime echoed throughout the entryway as Patrick pushed open the front door, Eliza slipping inside after him with hesitation. It was warmer indoors, and she could detect a trace of the smell of some kind of soup wafting throughout the building. The paint was chipping and peeling, and the worn front desk showed signs of age and use, the edge of the counters being rounded and chipped in areas. It had an attempt at a homey feel, with a few jackets hung in the front hallway and a few toys forgotten on the floor. Eliza hugged herself, her eyebrows knitted together as she absorbed the surroundings. The place... she couldn't imagine that anyone would actually... live here. The lighting was poor, and a few moths flitted at the lamps and continuously burnt themselves. She thought she heard someone crying, before the voice trickled off into silence.

Eliza temporarily forgot about the homeless men in the parkinglot, adjusting her shirt around her shoulders. Hefting her bag, she stood patiently beside Patrick at the counter, her eyes flashing over the cluttered desk. A short woman with an exhasuted, wary expression had been talking to Patrick, who leaned eagerly over the counter as he spoke. Eliza fought to remember what Vivian looked like, tried to imagine how she had turned out now. A small smile had graced her lips thinking about it, before it vanished. Would Vivian be upset with her? Would she have missed Eliza? Had Patrick told his sister what Eliza had done, told her how she'd betrayed the Greenwood's? Suddenly Eliza felt ill, attempting to conceal a cringe. Thirteen year old Vivian. Eliza couldn't do it. She couldn't face the girl again. They'd been almost like sisters, Eliza had always done her hair, they'd shared ice cream sundaes! Clutching her bag as the telephone rang, Eliza took a cautious step back from Patrick, uneasy.

The woman, Mare, her name was, reached around her desk for the phone, turning her back to Patrick as she answered it. Eliza remembered what her errand was, and gently tapped on Patrick's arm. "I'm... I'm going to find the bathroom," Eliza swallowed, her voice slightly unnerved and shaky. Anyone could tell that she was distracted, but about what, the possibilities were endless. She didnt wait for his reply, deciding that it was best to leave the scene until it was time to go. She didnt want to chance seeing Vivian. She couldn't address the guilt. Turning on her heel, her hair thrown over her shoulder, Eliza hurried off down the left side of the hallway, guessing that she would discover a bathroom at some point or another.

She passed an open living room sort of place, a commons center, with poorly furnished accomodations. Ripped furniture looked like it was from the 80's, the hideous green carpet was matted flat from footstep traffic and stained in various areas with suspicious dark patches, and it seemed to be that not one lick of consideration had put in to the design. Some stuffed animals and matchbox cars littered the rug and sofas, and discarded half colored pages and scattered crayons sat upon the coffee table. Eliza had walked into the commons, lured by her curiosity, with wide eyes that examined every aspect of the place. An odd smell accompanied the room as well, and seemed to be the only place where the children could have possibly spent any of their free time. The television was unoperational, a pink paper taped to its screen advertising the fact that the foster home's funds were no longer sufficient for cable.

Eliza ran her fingertips lightly along the back of the long couch that faced the television from the center of the room, the coarse material scratching the pads of her fingers. This couldn't possibly be comfortable! Eliza had begun to feel even worse, feeling pity for the poor children who were forced to spend their lives here because of their real parents, a situation that was wildly out of their control. It wasn't... it wasn't fair. To imagine that Vivian was here, that she spent her afternoons in this rugged place, it was... it was hard. Eliza had had everything she ever wanted, and more, and yet she complained about the color of her room walls, or how she didn't like what her mom or the butler had arranged for dinner. She had been so... so spoiled.

Sighing softly, Eliza temporarily retired the notion of trying to find the bathrooms to the back of her mind. Not like they'd be clean, anyway, she thought. "Miss?" A quiet voice sounded behind Eliza in the silence, and a shriek erupted from her lips. Turning wildly, her bag clutched to her pounding chest, Eliza beheld a little girl in her mismatched pajamas, clutching her stuffed rabbit, ducked partially behind the entryway to the commons. Eliza laughed nervously, expressing relief as she ran her hand through her hair. "Sweetie, you scared me-!" Eliza offered a gentle tone to the little girl, who now on closer inspection, had seemed to be crying. Her cheeks were puffy, with tears drying on her long eyelashes. Her brown wavy hair seemed to be knotted in some spots from neglect, and she appeared to be no more than four years old.

"Sorry," the girl mumbled shyly, refusing to come any closer to Eliza. Striaghtening, Eliza approached slowly, until she squatted in front of the foster child. "What are you doing up? Isn't it past your bedtime?" Her tone was tender as she reached out to tuck a piece of hair behind the girls ear, feeling sympathetic and rather humble now that she had seen some of this awful place. "I-I had a bad dream," the girl admitted quietly, stiffening at Eliza's touch. "Are you adopting one of us?" Carly whispered, hope in those wide eyes as she faced Eliza, taking in her expensive smelling perfume and her perfectly arranged hair, untarnished clothes, glamorous heels, abundant jewelry. Eliza's expression fell, her lips frozen in an O. Shocked, Eliza found herself speechless for several moments as the brunette wrung her stuffed animal. "Oh... no, darling... I'm afraid not," the young woman admitted, the words hardly a whisper. They shared disappointed looks, regret flooding Eliza's chest. She couldn't adopt a child, she was far too busy... how would her sisters, her parents react anyway? Children were disasters, loud and messy... that's what she'd been told repeatedly by her own mother.

Carly dipped her head, tucking her bunny under her arm. "It's okay... Nobody really comes here for us..." she murmured. A jolt of pain jerked Eliza's chest as she watched Carly fumble with a loose thread on her limp stuffed animal, a glum silence settling over them. She could hear Patrick's voice raise down the hall as Mare returned to the conversation at the front desk, and she was jolted from her horrified inspection of the foster care. Eliza looked up in the direction of the adult voices arguing about something back the way she'd come, and then back to a dejected Carly. "Oh, come here," Eliza relented, succumbing to her natural motherly instincts. She held her arms open for Carly, hoisting her up on her hip comfortably and hugging the four year old to her side. It seemed to brighten Carly's expression, her eyes glimmering as Eliza carried her towards the front reception desk. "Don't get too excited," Eliza warned her warily, although her heart warmed with an unexplainable feeling as Carly toyed affectionately with Eliza's hair and her earrings. Quietly, Eliza slipped up to the desk beside Patrick, glancing about for Vivian. Then she tuned into the actual conversation, and she understood.


message 37: by [deleted user] (new)

Patrick barely heard her as she spoke quietly and hurried away, registering that she had left only a few minutes later, when he glanced over his shoulder and found himself alone in the waiting area, the only other person the woman named Mare sitting behind the desk, her back to Patrick, the phone pressed to her ear. She continued working away at her computer while she talked, something about a new arrival. Probably some unlucky kid who was in much the same situation Patrick's siblings had been in, years ago when their mother had died. Their father was probably alive somewhere, or so Patrick assumed. He really didn't know or care either way. The last time he'd seen his father hadn't ended well, years ago when Jules was barely a few months old and Patrick had been only fifteen. Even though Patrick's mother had been devastated when his father had left, Patrick himself had been glad to see him go.

The woman was still talking on the phone, and each minute that ticked seemed impossibly long. Unable to stand still and wait patiently, Patrick took to pacing around the waiting room in front of the desk, probably carving a path in the worn carpet with his footsteps as he walked back and forth, back and forth. He was glad now that Eliza had left; he felt like he was a rag doll tied together with old thread and he was going to come apart at the seams any moment now. He had no wish to have an audience if and when that happened. Specifically not if that audience was her. Eliza Rose Brighton. He knew she already didn't think very highly of him, but he didn't want to add crazy to the list of negative adjectives she probably had collected in her head for him. But with her gone he was free to lose his head completely if he wanted to. There was no one telling him otherwise.

Of course, Patrick had never been the type of person to really break under pressure. He could handle stress. But that didn't quite mean he was the picture of perfect calm as Mare's phone call stretched on and the sky outside darkened still more. By the time she'd finally hung up, his nerves were entirely frayed. Eliza still hadn't returned, either; he couldn't help but wonder what might be taking her so long. Maybe she'd gotten lost. She certainly didn't have a great sense of direction.

"Let's see then," said Mare, swiveling her chair to face him over the desk, eyebrows raised as she looked him over. He approached the desk again, hesitantly, and she stood. "I recognize you, you know. Patrick. Vivian talked about you a lot. Although you look...neater in your photos."

No doubt. He felt something tighten in his chest. If she'd talked about him to this woman, than that meant she wasn't angry, right? But...talked? Past tense? "What do you mean?" he asked, his voice rising, the words sticking in his throat. "Isn't she here anymore?"

The woman shook her head. "Afraid not. She and...Julian, is it? were placed in a foster home only a few weeks ago. It was quite lucky, really, to find someone willing to house them both. It's usually very difficult to keep siblings together." So Julian was with Vivi. That was good: Vivi would take care of Jules. This was good news. He should be happy about it. A lot of kids were never placed in appropriate foster homes and were instead shifted around all the time, center to center. And Patrick knew well that Vivian especially wasn't the easiest child to deal with. Julian was quiet and serious and sweet, but Vivian was all jagged edges and ferocity, not to mention the fact that she had a temper five times her size.

But as he asked Mare for the address of the family who'd taken Vivian and Julian, even though the rational part of Patrick's brain kept telling him that this was, in fact, good news, he couldn't help but feel disappointment settle in his stomach like a stone. What was he going to do now? He'd have to find a place to sleep, and he was running low on cash, and come the morning he'd have to find a way to get to the house were Viv and Jules were now...how was he going to do all that? Not to mention he really needed a shower. And some food. And a lot of sleep. Maybe those homeless guys who'd scared Eliza so much would be up for sharing their haunt with him, he thought gloomily. How bad could it be? It wasn't anything he hadn't done before. He could do it again. But then that would mean showing up at his siblings' new foster parents' looking like he'd been...well, like he'd been sleeping on the street. Not exactly child-friendly.

But they couldn't stop him from seeing his own siblings, could they? There had to be some laws about that. Taking the pen offered to him by Mare, he scratched the address down onto a piece of paper, the letters jagged and pressed into the paper before he folded it in half and stuffed it into his back pocket. He looked up at the woman, who had already half turned away. "Our center closes in two minutes," she informed him without looking at him. At the corner of his eye he saw Eliza walk up and stand next to him, but he didn't move. What was he supposed to do now?

"But I-" he began, then broke off, because what was there to say? "Thanks," he managed instead, backing a few steps away from the desk before spinning around and pushing through the door and out of the center. He didn't wait and see if Eliza had followed before he allowed himself to collapse onto an old peeling bench in front of the building, the wood creaking ominously. He dropped his head into his hands and shut his eyes, trying to swallow back the hopelessness threatening to pull him under. He was exhausted and near penniless and he had no idea what he was going to do next but he couldn't afford to lose it. It wasn't even such a big deal, he told himself. He could just...figure something out tomorrow. He could.


message 38: by E M M A (new)

E M M A  | 2243 comments Haha! It was a clean sweep and a good varsity win finally xD imma do this in about five min, are you on today?


message 39: by E M M A (new)

E M M A  | 2243 comments Idk if it's just me but your post isnt showing up!


message 40: by E M M A (new)

E M M A  | 2243 comments Oh okay xD hahaa okay i wont be here tomorrow but i should be on at night


message 41: by [deleted user] (new)

No problem! take your time~


message 42: by E M M A (new)

E M M A  | 2243 comments How late are you up today?


message 43: by [deleted user] (new)

Oh I don't really know...maybe for another two or three hours, but I might not be on later.


message 44: by E M M A (new)

E M M A  | 2243 comments Ok cool I'll type now then


message 45: by [deleted user] (new)

Alright! looking forward to seeing your post :D


message 46: by E M M A (new)

E M M A  | 2243 comments Eliza hadn't caught the majority of Patrick's conversation with Mare, her eyes wide as she watched cautiously from a few feet away as the scene unfolded. Carly had continued to toy with her necklace, sitting with content on Eliza's hip quietly. Patrick was hunched over the counter with a pen and paper, while Mare recited some addresses and names to the haggard young man. Whatever had happened while she was gone, it certainly hadn't been good. The fact that not Vivian nor Julian were visible made Eliza nervous. Would they have to go to a different foster home? Were the Greenwood's not... here? Maybe they had gotten the place wrong. Maybe she had confused the address and had taken a wrong turn. For some reason, Eliza couldn't help but fret over this matter in her head, temporarily tuning out her surroundings as she gnawed her cheek.

Carly rested her head against Eliza's shoulder sleepily, her gentle breathing felt against Eliza's neck. It comforted and seemed to relax Eliza, and in return, she used her free hand to rub the little girls back. Who knew children could be so docile, so obedient and so sweet? When Eliza finally paid attention to what was going on, Patrick was shoving past her and bursting out the front doors. What had happened? Surprised, Eliza stared after Patrick, her heels glued to the floor as silence befell the receptionist area. "Where is he going?" Carly lifted her head drowsily, her own eyes following Eliza's bewildered and perplexed gaze. Mare sat behind her desk, looking up at Eliza often as if she were afraid that Eliza would steal away with the toddler. "I... I don't know," Eliza replied earnestly, her eyebrows shot halfway up her forehead.

She quickly recovered from the initial shock of Patrick's sudden exit, and came to a consensus with the next action she would need to take if she wanted to catch up to Patrick. How could he have left her stranded, here alone in this dangerous neighborhood? Eliza lowered Carly from her hip, to which the younger girl protested with a stubborn whine. "Hold me," she demanded with her fingers in her mouth, her little eyebrows furrowed in confusion and fear. Her feet touched the ground, and Eliza managed to pry the girls arm from around her neck to drop at her sides. Then Eliza straightened up, smoothing out her clothes and repositioning her purse. Carly, with those irresistibly innocent and begging eyes, stared back at her, and Mare, from the comfort of her counter, watched their interaction.

"It's past your bedtime," Eliza said lamely, her voice faltering as she took a step away from the heartbroken child. Carly's expression darkened, and a storm threatened to brew as her plump bottom lip trembled. Horrified and rather anxious about making the child cry, Eliza quickly unfastened her necklace, a rose gold one that strung a single, small diamond pendant on its delicate chain. "Oh, come here," Eliza beckoned with a flourish of her hand. She nervously glanced at the door, hoping Patrick had stuck around. He still needed a ride anyway, right? Kneeling in front of a crestfallen Carly, Eliza looped the necklace around the girls neck, fastening the tiny clip and allowing the necklace to fall onto Carly's chest. The child regarded the necklace with great awe, touching it with her small fingers in wonder. "Don't you worry, darling," Eliza squeezed the girls arm, "someone will adopt you soon," she promised, brushing a strand of hair away from the girls cheeks.

Hugging Eliza's leg briefly, Carly managed a word of thanks, inquiring once more if Eliza would not just take her home today, just once. With a glance at Mare, Eliza had been forced to decline, ushering the child off to bed. "Bye bye," Carly had opened and clenched her hand, clutching the necklace in the other hand as Eliza slipped through the front doors of the foster care center with one last, remorseful backwards glance. Outside it had become considerably darker, the crisp cold evening air greeting Eliza's pounding forehead with relief. "Patrick?" Eliza called out to the dimly lit parkinglot, turning her head this way and that in somewhat of desparation. Had he taken off already? Would she really not see him again?

She did a double take, noticing a hunched shadow shape on the bench directly outside the front doors she had emerged from. "Patrick! Is that you?" She squinted in the dark, cautious and apprehensive. She recognized his shaggy hair and beat down shoes, and slowly approached his unresponsive self on the bench. "Are you... are you okay? Patrick?" Eliza bit her bottom lip in hesitation, sitting herself a few inches away from him with her purse on her lap. "Was... was Vivian not there?" Eliza questioned, although she alreayd could anticipate what his answer would be to such a stupid question. More silence. Huffing, Eliza tried again. "You know, it's getting a little late, and sort of... er- dark," Eliza trailed off, her blue eyes flicking to the empty parkinglot. She could see her Mercedes from the bench, unscathed and umdisturbed. The three homeless men were nowhere in sight, and Eliza tried to relax herself.


message 47: by E M M A (new)

E M M A  | 2243 comments Calla?


message 48: by [deleted user] (new)

Sorry I haven't responded yet. I've been super busy and stressed recently. I'll try to get to this sometime soon.


message 49: by [deleted user] (new)

Hey Heather...I've tried to respond to this but for whatever reason I can't come up with anything. I think I'm just not feeling this rp. Sorry to do this, but I think I'd like to drop it. Hope you understand.


message 50: by E M M A (new)

E M M A  | 2243 comments Ok thanks for telling me!


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