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The Way We Get By

Toby Aldebaran

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#1 Toby Aldebaran

Toby Aldebaran

Posted 12 January 2014 - 05:59 AM

Fuck this time of year was busy. If practice wasn't already overwhelming then the games were even worse; they seemed to come without pause, and each week between felt like it was flying by. Which was good and bad-- good because it was always exciting, bad because it was going by way too fast. While he wanted things to calm down just for a fraction of a second, he also couldn't deny that this being his last year was bittersweet. Pretty soon he'd be finished with football season and he'd be back to that dull offseason just like he always was, just... there was no football waiting for him once summer returned. That was a lonely thought and he tried his best to get his mind off of it.


He wasn't always successful, though. When he wasn't busy he found himself feeling stupid for ever missing alone time in the first place. He always imagined himself having a beer and sitting out on the front porch of Kappa like he did in the spring, kicking back and having a nice time with his bros, but instead he was restless in his room. Instead he found himself seeking out something to do and thus far he didn't have much success, as he'd lost interest lately in all of the shady shit he found interesting before.


A trip to the student center wouldn't hurt, however; people typically recognized him and wanted to chatter away, so he figured it might be nice to distract himself with that for a while. Besides, he was cocky as hell, and he'd be lying if he said he didn't enjoy that weird sense of celebrity. Thus far, however, things were quiet; he was surrounded by nerds, it seemed, and he just felt bored out of his mind. He was just about to take his meal back to his room and pout for a while when he caught sight of a familiar redhead and he just stood there for a second, eyebrows raised at his luck.


And just like that, his restlessness disappeared, as he had a target in sight. Not target in the same way that he'd seen her the first time he met her here, but he certainly had someone to talk to. Someone who's presence he enjoyed, even if he'd never, ever fess up to that. Neither did he want to waltz up and sit in front of her like he did last time, however, as she was acting all cute playing her video games and all he wanted to do was get a rise out of her.


Had he a little more time to devise a plan of attack, he might've done something a little more elaborate or original, but in the end he settled for tipping her chair back about halfway to make her feel like she'd fall. The entire time his arms were safely locked around the chair, mind you; he wouldn't actually let her fall. As much of an asshole he was, he'd feel guilty as fuck if he managed to hurt her in some way. 


#2 Guest_Callie Sutters_*

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Posted 12 January 2014 - 07:12 AM

Much like Toby, Callie was certainly busy herself. Though, really, that wasn't too much of a surprise as she hardly allowed herself any downtime to begin with. It wasn't terribly different from her usual school schedule at all and as such, she was used to it by now. Mostly. The girl always packed on classes in the first place, looked for any additional positions to help out with in the labs and took her studies very seriously. But there was also band practice which always took a big chunk of her time out of her schedule, leaving her with little to no time to herself when it came down to it.


Relaxing wasn't a word that she was used to, at all, when in school, and it was a damn good thing she hadn't taken the summer for granted. The semester was in full force and it was difficult to take time off for herself. In fact, the whole wedding thing had been the one time she'd done so and even then while it had only been one full day away from classes she was regretting it. Catching up had at least not been too difficult, though it was back to the grind for her then, practice, class, tutoring, anything and everything that kept her too fucking busy to even breathe.


Including of course, looking after her pain in the ass little brother. There was definite relief that Toby was looking out for him, sure, but she still had to check up on him, she still had to make sure he wasn't being too big of an idiot and getting himself into too much trouble. Luckily his roommate seemed like a level headed kid, though that didn't mean it wasn't another added stress on the redhead's shoulders. 


It was needless to say that time to herself wasn't something she got often, needless to say that she constantly had a cup of black coffee in her hands, and needless to say that on the rare opportunity she did get a bit of free time, she was enjoying it the best she could. Which really was difficult when she lived with a roommate who was sort of judgmental and the complete opposite of Callie in the first place, it was difficult in her dorm in general in all honesty and as such she took every opportunity she could to get the hell out of there.


Nowadays it wasn't rare for her to end up in the student center, even while studying she usually wasn't in her dorm, that afternoon in particular was definitely a Callie afternoon and she'd been playing her computer games without anyone bothering her for a good hour. With her headphones in and her mind completely distracted she hardly felt the presence behind her, hardly knew anything was happening until her legs her up in the air and her eyes were going wide with panic. What the fuck? Her arms flailed and her heart caught in her throat as she genuinely thought she was going to fucking fall before she grabbed the table with one hand and steadied herself the best she could, still in the air.


With her free hand she yanked one earbud out and turned, surprised to see Toby there of all people. "What the fuck are you doing Toby? Jesus fucking Christ, put my chair down you asshole."

#3 Toby Aldebaran

Toby Aldebaran

Posted 12 January 2014 - 07:39 AM

Her reaction was just too good, and there was nothing in the world that could make him regret his decision to scare the fuck out of her. For some stupid reason he both liked getting a rise out of Callie and having a decent conversation with her; their sort of hesitant friendship was something he took pride in, strangely enough, as she was damn sure she wouldn't like him in the beginning. And while she wasn't exactly smiling at him at the moment, he was sure he'd evoke that out of her before he left the student center. In fact he wouldn't leave until he made her smile in some way or another. 


Had he thought through the implications of that, he might have found himself in an uncomfortable zone, but he was just too busy laughing at how ridiculous she was at the moment. And maybe, just maybe, how cute she was, though it wasn't on the forefront of his mind at all. "Guess I scared ya, huh?" He asked her, still balancing her in his arms. And just to be an asshole, he moved his knees forward and steadied her chair there instead, letting go. "Look, no hands."


But then he was shaking with laughter and had to lift her chair back to a level position, as he was a bit afraid he'd lose his balance and cause her to tumble out of it. Still shaking his head, he made his way over to the chair right next to her and plopped down in it, clearly making himself at home as he looked over her. "You bein' all antisocial again? Playing your video game? Same thing as last time?" He asked, curiously craning his neck so he could see the computer screen.


Not that he was interested at all. To his knowledge he wasn't a video game person, though had he known the amount of competition in it all, it might have been right up his alley. So for now he was judging Callie in the most harmless of ways, in ways that left him smirking and a bit endeared by it, to be honest, though he'd never admit that part aloud. He tapped his hand idly against the table, hoping she wouldn't put that damn earbud back in and ignore him like she'd done before, as he wasn't above yanking it out and being an asshole all over again.


To some extent, that was what he enjoyed about Callie. She knew he was a dickbag and she called him out on it, but never did he put on some sort of mask around her aside from their first meeting. And it wasn't as if he was a regular old actor like his cousin, by any means, but it was just true that he was a little more... delicate around women if only because he was looking for something in particular. With Callie he didn't worry about any of that and treated her as a friend, though there might have been a part of him that registered how cute she was. Yeah, he was fucking attracted to her. So what?


#4 Guest_Callie Sutters_*

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Posted 15 January 2014 - 05:47 AM

Jesus fuck.


Her heart was still in her fucking throat by the time she turned around and saw who it was that was trying to fucking kill her. Or, in this case, trying to get a god damn reaction out of her. Because, yes, as soon as she saw his face she recognized what he was doing instantly and had she not been hovering off the ground pretty fucking sure she was about to fall backwards and crack her head open she would have reached out and slapped the shit out of him for being such an insufferable ass and harassing her when she was just trying to play a video game.


Not that she wasn't happy to see him, of course. Though Callie would never admit to that, especially not to him. But there was a part of her that liked his familiar face, a part of her that had become to accustomed to his presence and whatever their weird friendship was. A part of her that was weirdly attracted to his smug fucking smirk and those stupid ass eyes and it was hard to be irritated when he looked like that, wasn't it? Right, no, she wasn't thinking about his looks at all. And she realized how bad of an idea that was the minute the thought crawled in her head. Back to irritation.


"Yeah you fuck--" her eyes went wide as he let go and she could hardly finish her fucking sentence as she couldn't see his knees or what the fuck he was doing and yet again she found her heart lodged in her throat and trying to make its way out. "You're an asshole, Jesus fucking Christ." Her grip hardly left the table, her knuckles white with how hard she was holding on, and try as she might to take deep breaths and not freak out it was damn near difficult, because not only was he doing that, but he was being an ass, too.


There was definite relief when he set her down though, in fact she might have placed her hand on her chest to steady her heartbeat, her eyes still wide as she shook her head. Though, despite her nerves, her annoyance still shone through and she shot him a glare that clearly said I fucking hate you. Not that she did, of course. She liked Toby. Too fucking much for her own good in all honesty but neither was that something she spent time thinking about. Giving a tug to the earbud in her ear, she closed her laptop, giving him the side eye as he tried to look at her screen and rest her head on her chins, pressing her lips together as she stared at him.


"I'm not being anti-social, I'm fucking relaxing, and I do that by playing video games." She sighed, rolling her eyes, though it wasn't necessarily a look of exasperation anymore. "Do you need something? Are you here to harass me again? Same thing as last time?" She certainly didn't mean it that way, and while she wasn't smiling, not in the least bit, there was a hint of amusement in her features. It was strange to think how much changed between them since the last time they spoke, and hardly did she remember being a bitch and storming out on him that time, they were friends now and that was an incredibly odd concept to grasp.

#5 Toby Aldebaran

Toby Aldebaran

Posted 16 January 2014 - 06:51 AM

"You know how much I love to hear you say that," Toby told her with the most insufferable smirk in the world, leaning back in his chair and shaking his head. She thought him an asshole, no question-- he would likely never change her opinion on that and didn't necessarily want to-- but a tolerable asshole. An asshole she liked. He was at least aware that she liked him on some level (not romantically, no), and he was smug about that fact as well. No one could truly dislike Toby Aldebaran; the gossip column could eat that shit.


He shook his head, smirk still planted firmly on his features as she mentioned not being antisocial. She didn't strike him that way, no, but it was fun to tease her nonetheless. "Aw, c'mon. You couldn't do that in your own room? Why you gotta drag all your shit out here? You know I'm not gonna let you play in peace." In fact, he had half a mind to start checking this place regularly just to see if he could get a rise out of her. There was something in doing it that he enjoyed all too much.


The amusement in her eyes didn't go unnoticed, and it was easily reflected in his own as he raised his eyebrows at her. "Harass? I'm offended," he said, placing a hand over his chest and shaking his head. Admittedly those were totally his intentions; he enjoyed getting a rise out of her far too much, though it was harmless. Had she been truly upset by his actions he likely would've stopped, as he wasn't a fan of bullies or bullying. But people who accepted it like this? Yeah, of course he'd be a jackass.


"We're friends, Callie. The only thing I need is a little friendly company." He glanced around the student center, strangely not bothered by the fact that he was talking to a geek anymore. There had been a small part of him that worried about it the first time he met her, certainly, but the mood was so different this time around that he couldn't help but feel satisfied about it. "Haven't you missed me? How long could you go without seeing my face?"


Toby waggled his eyebrows at that, as if implying she was attracted to him. Which honestly wouldn't screw anything up in the long run; it wasn't as if he'd be ashamed to admit that he thought she was incredibly cute. And had he not already known her, he might have swooped in for the kill, even without a bet involved, though he had the feeling he wouldn't have paid any attention to her in the first place if it wasn't for that. In a strange way he almost felt thankful for that stupid bet, then, though he couldn't deny that it sucked being without his truck. And that he never, ever wanted her to find out about it.


#6 Guest_Callie Sutters_*

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Posted 18 January 2014 - 07:08 AM

She had to grit her teeth together and press her lips closed to keep from laughing. That was something she didn't want to give him the satisfaction of. He was too smug, too insufferable for his own good, and god she hated that fucking smirk so god damn much it made her angry to even think about it. Which was a ridiculous reaction, really, and had she stopped to really process her thoughts Callie might have realized just how asinine it was that she got so frustrated over his stupid ass face and his stupid ass smirk and everything that came out of his god damn mouth.


So, no, she wasn't going to give him that, she was going to rein it in as much as possible, though she was already having difficulty doing so. Deep fucking breaths, no laughing, no smiling, she was still pissed at him for some reason or another that she couldn't necessarily remember right at that moment. It didn't matter, she didn't need to remember why he was irritating her, she didn't need to think about the fact that he'd made her forget with just one fucking look, no, she wasn't thinking about it whatsoever, thank you very much. Asshole.


"Yeah, I'm sure you fucking love it, asshole." She rolled her eyes again, her gaze slightly off to the side as she was just not looking at him in the face as apparently that was just dangerous fucking territory. What an asshole. Regardless, she wasn't walking away, she wasn't taking her things and leaving and she didn't plan to, either. Because despite how insufferable Toby was, despite how aggravating he could be and how she refused to humor him for his antics, it was true, she liked him, somehow after all this time they'd become friends and she would have been lying if she'd claimed she didn't appreciate his company.


At his words her brow raised, her best attempts at trying to hide the fact that he amused her definitely not going too well, though it didn't stop her from trying anyway. "I could, yeah, but my roommate's in and she's obnoxious and shit I just didn't want to, does it matter where I do it at, seriously?" Crossing her arms over her chest she huffed, her lips pressed together once again in an attempt to, well, you know. Though there was still an under current of irritation with every one of his words. "I didn't come down here hoping to run into you so you could bother the shit out of me, Toby, this is the first time I have time to myself in awhile."


Despite her words she couldn't deny it, his company was welcome, though even to herself admitting it was begrudgingly done. "You've got tons of friends around here, why me, hm? Cause you wanted to harass me, don't even fucking deny it dude, it's too obvious." There was a strange bit of flattery in the fact that he wanted to hang out with her though, not something she liked to think about, and it was weird to even process that they'd gone from her severely disliking him to this after a few months. "Yeah, sure, I missed you terribly, Toby, thank you for gracing me with your presence." Asshole.

#7 Toby Aldebaran

Toby Aldebaran

Posted 09 March 2014 - 07:36 AM

"Nah, doesn't matter where you do it," he told her with a shrug, still smirking at her. "Just thought it was a fuckton of effort to bring everything out here just to set up and be antisocial when perfectly great people--" he leaned forward with those last two words, very clearly implying himself-- "are more than willing to talk to you." That conclusion, however, made it sound as if he really, really wanted to talk to her though, didn't it? "More than willing?" That thought ran through his mind for a split second and he pondered on it, wondering if he needed to dial it back a little.


But what did it matter? He charmed girls all the time. Just because he didn't want in this one's pants didn't mean he couldn't be fucking nice, it was just weird doing it without any intentions in mind. Besides, she seemed to hate it when he gave her any level of compliment, oddly enough. She clammed up and it was fucking adorable and admittedly Toby really liked meriting that reaction out of her. That he would admit freely, too, as he figured it was fairly obvious as it was.


"So you want me to just leave you alone, then?" He asked, scooting his chair back a little as if he'd leave (of course he wouldn't, who was he kidding?) and making a pouty face at her. "You'd really chase off your old friend so you can play a damn game? What the fuck is this game anyway that's so interesting? It better be about some fuckin' cool shit if you can dismiss Toby Aldebaran for it." His pout had shifted to a smirk by now, but he really did want to know. It kinda sucked being dismissed, especially by a dork like her.


"Aw, c'mon. You really think that low of me?" His smirk remained, but his expression shifted ever so slightly, betraying him. He considered her a friend. Sure, he liked bothering the hell out of her, but he also kinda liked talking to her at all, whether she was pissed off by him or not. If he hadn't gotten a successful rise out of her he still would've stayed around. Why, he wasn't sure, but hell-- they were friends, right?


Everyone was his friend. The sheer idea that she might not think of him as a friend was sort of disheartening, and suddenly he found himself worrying-- but just for a tiny, tiny fraction of a second. His ego bounced back so quickly it could give a person whiplash, in which case he concluded that hell-- if she didn't like him, that was her loss.


#8 Guest_Callie Sutters_*

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Posted 09 March 2014 - 07:57 AM

It was damn hard to keep herself on the line of being irritated with Toby when he spoke to her like that. There was no doubt about the fact that he was charming, even Callie couldn't deny that, and it drove her out of her fucking mind. The way he leaned forward, even the slight smirk on his expression drove her fucking crazy but it wasn't the crazy that she was used to feeling when she was around him. And that, that of all things made it all the fucking worse. She wanted to dislike him, she wanted to push him away and ignore the ever loving fuck out of him, but it was clear by the way the lump formed in her throat and her heart lurched that he had a different effect on her entirely.


Not that he still didn't annoy the hell out of her. Of course he did. Honestly, Callie had the feeling that it was a part of their dynamic that would never change, though it was strange to think about the fact that they had a dynamic now. And that it was one that would last through a span of time. She shoved that thought from her mind instantly, before pushing herself away from him just slightly. Toby was damn too close for her own liking and she wasn't sure how she felt about that proximity between the two of them.


"S'not that much effort," she said finally, though her attempt at an argument was weak when she was still trying to analyze his words. What was he saying there? That he was one of those people that wanted to talk to her? Something about that struck her as odd, though she was aware that they were friends now, perfectly aware of it, there were times where she was still surprised when he came around. Parts that were still stunned Toby Aldebaran wanted anything to do with Caleb Sutters at all. That of course left her stunned and she wasn't sure what to say in response to it all.


Instead she took a deep breath and raised her eyebrow again. At the very least even though he always seemed to get some weird reaction out of her she was able to keep her composure up pretty easily. As such she shrugged and pretended to scan around the student center before locking eyes with him again. "People wanna talk to me? Little ole me?" She pressed her palm against her chest as if she was surprised, before her lips curved up into a smile. "Who? Who are those really great people who are perfectly willing to talk to me? Can you point one out to me cause I'd really love to meet 'em."


She was teasing of course. Or at least she hoped she was teasing. For all Callie knew, he might have not even been talking about himself at all when he mentioned it, but she still couldn't help but wonder if she could garner some sort of reaction out of him with her questions. Honestly though, she doubted he'd say it was him. Something told her he wouldn't give her that benefit of the doubt at all.


It all blew up in her fucking face as she thought he was going to leave and she found herself realizing that no, she didn't want him to walk away at all. The pout on his face only had her reaction in a delayed manner though and it took her a few seconds to response. "Nah," she shrugged as nonchalantly as possible. "I mean I guess you can stay, I can put away the game for a little bit." She closed her laptop completely then, pushing it a distance away from her before turning back to him.  "Though for the record the game is pretty fucking awesome. I won't bore you with the details though, I'm sure you'd call me a fucking nerd."


She eyed him for a second, keeping her ruse up before her shoulders slumped. "No, y'know I don't think that low of you. Least not anymore, anyway. You just got a bad habit of showing up at the worst times though." She shrugged, rolling her eyes as if his presence was this big inconvenience, though the slightest hint of a smile was starting to form on her features. "So, what do I owe the honors to? Surely it must be something big if Toby Aldebaran is gracing me with his presence, right? What's up then?"

#9 Toby Aldebaran

Toby Aldebaran

Posted 10 March 2014 - 02:16 AM

She called him out on his weirdly nice comment. Tobias Aldebaran was never a nice person, yet he'd slipped up and said something slightly genuine to her and now he couldn't backtrack. Not because it made him look like an asshole-- no, that was something he strived to achieve most of the time-- but because it made him look weak. Like he was trying to cover up something, and Toby hated to look like an idiot. So he shrugged his shoulders, taking the honest approach by pointing at himself. He was perfectly willing to talk to her. That much was obvious by that point anyway, wasn't it? He'd spoken to her to begin with, hadn't he?


While he was a rude asshole, he wasn't entirely douchey. He didn't deem people unnecessary to talk to. Sure, he could be judgy about nerds (anyone could see that) and he could think a lot of himself, but for the most part he just didn't stop to talk to those he wasn't interested in speaking to. It wasn't a matter of turning his nose up or avoiding anyone altogether. In fact, if a total geek had conversation with him he'd carry it right back, as he could be perfectly pleasant when he wanted to. It wasn't as if he was sore with the world; in fact he smiled most of the time. He was just really fucking arrogant.


Regardless, if he hadn't wanted to talk to her, he just would have glanced at her and left. Yet here she was and he spoke to her, so that much was obvious. There was no need to reiterate or hash it out, so he just let it go, raising his eyebrows at her. "You guess I can stay. This is a public area and a public table, you know. Good luck getting rid of me just because I'm a minor annoyance." He smirked, eyebrows raising. But watching her put away the computer entirely had a sense of accomplishment overcoming him and he just laughed to himself, shaking his head.


"You're right, though. You're a total fucking nerd." If she was paying attention, there was the tiniest hint of affection behind those words. It was cute as hell, even if he'd never ever fucking admit it. Last thing he needed was for someone to call out something entirely accurate in the gossip column. "Worst times? You were just playing a game. Not like you were going through a crisis or something." He shook his head, crossing his arms over his chest, though his smile never faded.


"I don't need a special occasion to talk to you, geek. I just wanted to say hi, that's what's up. Long time since I've seen you, y'know, especially after that fiasco of a weekend." Odd that he'd hung out with her pretty much the whole time. Really odd. She'd even gone in Toby's car. They'd become friends right under his nose. "Not like you ever say hi to me. I'd expect a text or something."


#10 Guest_Callie Sutters_*

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Posted 10 March 2014 - 02:38 AM

"Minor," she said, her tone all too serious but there was a definite smile forming on her features. As much as she could find him too arrogant and a bit insufferable, as much as sometimes his presence drove her fucking nuts, and as much as she resisted rolling her eyes when he was around, there was no doubt about the fact that she, too, liked having Toby around. Though there was still that part of her that was annoyed anytime he was near, it was the right mixture of enjoying his company and being completely irritated anytime he opened his mouth.


Weird when she really stopped to think about it. She couldn't stand him at first, ands he'd already come to terms with the fact that she liked being around him, that somehow, during some point in time they'd become friends and that there was no going back from that, but Callie was so damn used to her friends being people she liked, people she wouldn't side eye and huff and roll her eyes at, that her and Toby's dynamic was so damn different. It was something that she had to get used to, admittedly, as there were times when she wanted to reach over and smack him on the back of the head.


Though Callie supposed that was just the way things worked between them. She couldn't imagine herself ever fully getting along with him. Not to the point where they didn't banter like this, anyway. That was the best part of their friendship anyway, wasn't it? It wouldn't have been the same having Toby around without wanting to grab him by the shoulders and shake the ever loving shit out of him. In fact, she was pretty damn sure the friendship between them wouldn't have been as interesting if he didn't drive her up the fucking wall.


"I can just walk away y'know? Not that I will, cause I was here first and shit, but if you were that much of an annoyance I'd just leave, s'not like you're gonna follow me." But the truth was, she didn't really want to get rid of him. There was something oddly exciting about having him around. Maybe it was that exactly, the fact that they sort of pseudo fought, the fact that they kept each other on their toes. She enjoyed that all too much. He was so much more different than anyone else she was friends with and it was hard not to cling to that.


It had nothing to do with the fact that maybe, just maybe, she was a little bit attracted to him. Just a little bit, though. A tiny amount. A tad. Ish.


"Yeah, I was in the middle of a game, like y'know I was actually having fucking fun, and s'like you can't be around someone unless all eyes are on you, so i have to shut it off and make sure to give you my undivided attention." Again her tone was ridiculously serious, as if him showing up was a terrible inconvenience, but her lips were curving up again, as if she was too amused. His comment on her texting him did have her eyebrow raising though and for a moment she was curious. "You want me to text you?" It was strange to think about, in Callie's mind they had nothing in common, but the two of them were more alike than she realized, especially that fierce competitive streak they both had.


"Weekend wasn't too bad in the end was it. Nice wedding. Just started off kinda shitty, but I had a nice time. And Melli looked happy, right? S'what matters. You're cool with it now, though right? I know it was kind of a fucking shock, but I mean, you're good, yeah?"

#11 Toby Aldebaran

Toby Aldebaran

Posted 10 March 2014 - 05:11 AM

Would he follow her? He thought through that. Probably not, as that would really be a huge hit to his ego and he didn't act like a desperate little puppy, but at the same time that wouldn't be the last she saw of him. And he knew fully well, too, that she wasn't about to get up and leave. They were closer than that now, weren't they? After that camping trip, that entire business over the weekend-- well, what else were they but friends? Good friends, too, as he didn't share intense moments like that with just anyone. Certainly not random geeky girls he was mentioned in gossip columns with.


"Yeah, yeah. You won't walk away because you were here first. Keep telling yourself that, Callie. I won't tell anyone how you really feel about me." Which was friendly, he assumed, as why would she think anything else? Funny how he usually thought girls were into him by default, but with her it was different. Perhaps it had something to do with the fact that he wasn't confronting his own thoughts about her head on; perhaps he was afraid of thinking that through. Regardless, joking about it wasn't off the table so he wouldn't hesitate.


An obnoxious laugh escaped his throat at her next words, though, and he found it hard to compose himself for a few minutes. Was that the impression he gave off? It wasn't so far from the truth, he supposed, but hearing her call it out like that was just amusing. Besides, he could see that strange amount of affection on her just based on the way she was smiling, so he thought of it as harmless. In fact, he was incredibly smug that he'd grown on her this much at all in the first place. "You're giving me your undivided attention now, aren't you?"


He leaned forward almost involuntarily, eyebrows raised as he took in her face. "You think a video game is more fun than Toby Aldebaran? Admit it. You like being around me. I won't tell anyone about your wounded pride." He was smirking, but there was something about being close to her that he couldn't handle for any lengthy amount of time. Truthfully there was something like an electric current in the air when he did so, and had he realized that it was genuine tension, he might have... well, shit. Who knows what he would've done. Not kiss her, as that sort of thing was freaky with someone he actually gave a shit about. But it still would've been something to consider.


So he leaned back, crossing his arms over his chest again. "Yeah, fucking text me every now and then. I'm not a total asshole, y'know. I do regard you as a friend. That so surprising?" He cocked his head at her, an eyebrow raising.


"Yeah, I guess I'm chill with it. Not like he's gonna knock her up anytime soon. Surely she has more fucking common sense than that." Of course she did. She was Melanie Sirius. Why would she fuck up her college life in favor of having a baby with some old guy?


#12 Guest_Callie Sutters_*

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Posted 10 March 2014 - 05:32 AM



How did she put up with him for any length of time? Honestly most moments she had no idea. He was this odd mixture of amusing and insufferable that she liked entirely too much and the fact that she liked it drove her absolutely fucking crazy. How was she supposed to try and act indifferently towards him when the majority of the time he was making her smile. It was maddening, really, the effect he seemed to have on her and she was definitely more than wishing that he wouldn't have had that strange power over her at all.


At the very least she did her best to hide it. Something told her that if Toby knew the extend of his effect on Callie he would have been entirely too fucking smug about it. Hell, he was already smug about the fact that she actually enjoyed being around him, he was amused with himself by the fact that they'd become friends in the first place. That in a strange sense she counted on him for things. This wasn't like the first time they'd met at all, where they were fighting and she wanted to hit him hard. Or the second time, where they were almost quiet and awkward for the first damn hour.


This was them as friends. Callie and Toby were friends and that was so damn odd to think about. But worst of all they were the sort of friends that were constantly playing some strange version of tug of war, and it felt like he always had the slightest bit of the upper hand. She didn't like that. She didn't like that at all. Again, she tried her best not to give herself away, and she only smirked at his words with a shrug. "How do I really feel about you, hm? Perpetually fuckin' annoyed? Like I kinda wanna shake you? That seems about right actually, and in that case, you can tell everyone about how I really feel."


But her eyes fluttered close momentarily as he laughed and she had to groan internally as she knew he was right. She let out a deep breath and rolled her shoulders once, trying to let whatever tension was building there ease off, but he was right and he damn well knew it. "Yeah, because you're all up in my personal space. How am I not gonna give you my undivided attention when I can barely breathe without you smiling at me like the smug asshole you are." Just like for him, the closeness was too much for him and she could feel the lump in her throat forming as he leaned over, the proximity being almost rage inducing. This fucking asshole.


The fact that she was attracted to him drove her absolutely insane and she really had no way of responding. There was nothing but a sigh of relief when he backed off and she could finally breathe again without thinking about the fact that he was only inches away. When he was that damn close it was difficult to banter. Now though..."The fact that you refer to yourself as Toby Aldebaran is enough to drive anyone fucking crazy you know that? Do you ever hear the words that come out of your mouth and think, man I sound like a smug fucking asshole, or do you just love yourself that much?" Her lips curved up slightly though she tried not to think about the fact that yeah, she liked being around him.


No one had to know that.


Thinking about texting him was weird, too, in all honesty, though she nodded and pressed her lips together. "Yeah, yeah, it's not surprising at all." Though in truth, it still sort of was.  She regarded him seriously for a moment before she nodded and for good measure she rolled her eyes. No need to be too serious. "I'll think about it." Was all she said before tapping her fingers on the table and nodding at his next words. "Nah, I don't think so, that would be pretty fucking stupid. I think Melli's a lot smarter than that. I mean, sometimes accidents happen but I'm sure she's taking all the precautions. S'just weird to think about her being married y'know? Technically she's Melanie Dahl now."

#13 Toby Aldebaran

Toby Aldebaran

Posted 11 March 2014 - 01:14 AM

Perpetually annoyed. That idea made him snort in laughter and he tossed back his head, shaking it simultaneously. "Right. That's all. Just annoyed. I'm just a thorn in your damn side, huh? Yet you're acting a hell of a lot more civil than you were the first time we met here. And our trip to Vegas-- I don't know, I think we became a lot more close as a couple that weekend, don't you? I thought we shared a moment. In fact I know we did. You can deny it all you want, Red. It's just the truth." While his insufferable smirk couldn't quite get wider, he definitely appeared even more amused just in his eyes.


"You like my smile. That's why it bothers you." Toby actually knew that he was somewhat hitting the nail on the head. He wasn't a mind reader, no, but he wasn't fucking oblivious. Everyone was attracted to him, thank you very much, and just because he wasn't Callie's type didn't mean she was immune to it. In fact he got that much more amusement out of her reaction to him and it made him want to lean closer, to make that proximity even worse for her.


But in a way that proximity was bad for him, too, because she was fucking attractive. And off limits, really, as she was a family friend. Still, there was this weird part of him that wanted to lean forward and kiss the fuck out of her just to piss her off.


The thought ran through his mind for a solid ten seconds, though. Her reaction would almost be worth the grief it caused later. He loved evoking that sort of thing out of people; the fact that he loved fighting wasn't limited to physicality. Sometimes he just wanted to rile people up, and Callie seemed to be the perfect target half the time-- and so did that action. Considering his lack of self control, it was probably only a matter of time.


But they were friends, weren't they? And for once Toby actually enjoyed having a female friend that he didn't deal with that bullshit with. No big deal. "That's my name, isn't it? Is it a big deal that I recite my name? Damn, you really are sensitive. Do you treat everyone this way? And of course I love myself. I'd be damn miserable if I didn't, hm? I'm fucking great. Nothing wrong with knowing that."


He didn't really want to dwell on his cousin and whether or not she was taking the "proper precautions," though, so he just wrinkled his nose at her and frowned as if to ask her to change the subject. "Yeah, married, whatever. Not really surprised-- I mean I was originally just because he was fucking old and not her type, but you know. She's always been that sort of person. Marriage is bullshit if you ask me."


#14 Guest_Callie Sutters_*

Guest_Callie Sutters_*

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Posted 11 March 2014 - 08:15 PM

It was almost infuriating realizing how damn transparent she was when it came to him. She could have said anything in the world, brushed him off completely and he would have laughed, known that, yeah, Callie considered him a friend. That in the end, it didn't really matter what she said, how she treated him and how much fucking shit she talked. He was someone she liked talking to--for the most part anyway--and there was really no changing that. Not unless he did anything insanely shitty anyway, though at that point she didn't think it would happen.


And that in and of itself should have said something about how she felt about Toby. The fact that she had so much faith in him that she knew he wouldn't do something to fuck up whatever rapport he'd built was telling and even that drove her crazy, though really, she wasn't sure why. It shouldn't have, right? They were friends and making friends with someone, knowing that they liked the friendship just as much as she did wasn't anything to take poorly. In fact, it was something to be happy over, she had a friend, one who cared enough about the friendship not to fuck it up.


But it still drove her insane and she couldn't quite pinpoint why exactly that was. Even the fact that he was seemingly looking after her brother drove her a little fucking nuts. He was doing her a favor and she damn well knew that. Though, there were moments when she wondered if he'd done it just to have something to hold over her head. Her heart fucking leapt into her throat as he used the word couple and she had to take a moment to take some fucking deep breaths. She knew he was using it just to drive her insane, and honestly she wasn't sure why it even affected her the way it had, but it did anyway. "Don't use that word, don't say couple. We're not a couple. And don't call me red, that's just--no. I'm not into nicknames."


They hadn't shared a moment. That was just fucking stupid and she didn't know why she was getting so damn worked up over it. Again this was just another way to drive her insane and it was working. "Jesus, you're like so fucking full of yourself, you're your own biggest fan you know that?" She had to roll her eyes at this, clenching her hand into a fist in some sort of strange reaction. Idiot. He was a fucking idiot. "You sound like a tool when you talk like that, might as well start talking in the third person the way you're going. Walk around with a posse or something, s'only a matter of time."


His whole marriage is stupid comment stopped her in her tracks though and all banter was gone from her mind at that moment. "You think marriage is bullshit?" Truth was, Callie was a bit of a closet romantic. Okay, a lot of a closet romantic. Relationships themselves weren't necessarily important, she was perfectly content being single and on her own, but there was a part of her that thought all of that was lovely and sweet. And she definitely didn't think marriage was bullshit. Especially not weddings. Not at all. "Why's that?"

#15 Toby Aldebaran

Toby Aldebaran

Posted 15 March 2014 - 06:03 AM

The fact that this-- the things he said and the way he acted-- maddened her was all the more reason to act the way he was. If she disregarded his attitude entirely, he might have backed off and acted a little less Toby, but for now he was perfectly content hamming it up for her. To be fair, however, the nice version of Toby was still quite rude and arrogant, just perhaps not this insufferably so. So at her retaliation he just grinned widely, eyebrows raised as he tapped his fingers against the table.


Two beats later he had a response. "So what would you call us, then? Our chemistry is undeniable, Callie. No need to lie." He smirked as he leaned back in his chair, making himself comfortable again by propping his feet on the table. Of course he didn't mean what he said-- the idea of dating Callie was ridiculous and sort of terrifying in its own right, as he wasn't sure what sort of demands she'd place on a boyfriend-- but it was fun to mess with her nonetheless. Little did he realize that his words had some level of effect on him. Had he stopped to realize that it was a bit odd that she took offense to it in the first place, he might have quit.


"Nothing wrong with being my own fan," he said with a careless shrug, arms crossed over his chest. "It's better than bitching and moaning about how my life sucks, yeah? I fucking love my life. Nothing wrong with showing it." He paused another beat, thinking to himself. "But if I had a posse, I'm sure you'd be the first to join." He was such a cocky asshole when he wanted to be.


Toby hadn't meant for Callie to latch onto his semi-serious comment, however; he'd thrown it in as an aside, hardly something for her to take to heart. As such he just shrugged his shoulders, wanting to dismiss it before he even started. It went without saying that he had a sour taste in his mouth after because of his parents' marriage; his father often used the commitment itself to excuse his lack thereof. Religion, of course. Being raised in a fundamentalist Christian home, divorce was a strict no-no and his father often guilted his mother when she should've been slapping him clear across the face. No backbone, that one.


So while he was, in some sense, happy for his cousin, he didn't see the need for such an agreement on a sheet of paper aside from the tax and health benefits. It was just silly. And he had no interest in ever getting married, himself. After a few moments, he finally replied. "Just not for me," he said somewhat distractedly, looking out over the students waiting for lunch. He didn't want to look directly at her as he said it in case he exposed a weakness. "I mean to each his own, I guess. I just think it's fucking pointless."


#16 Guest_Callie Sutters_*

Guest_Callie Sutters_*

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Posted 15 March 2014 - 06:21 AM

This motherfucker.


That was literally the only thing she could think when he was around. Or, well, not the only thing but one of the main things that was there. She wanted to shake the shit out of him, she wanted to walk the fuck away in exasperation, she wanted to be able to do these things without doubting herself. Because as much as she thought about leaving, as much as she thought about the fact that he drove her infuckingsane, she also knew that it was true, they were friends and that maybe things would be vastly different without him around.


He was a pain in her side but she enjoyed it in a strange way and that was definitely the most frustrating part of all. What bothered her the most was that she knew that he knew what he was doing. Callie wasn't stupid or naive and she realizes that Toby egged her on on purpose, that the shit he said he said knowing he'd get a reaction out of her and feeding into that only fueled his fire. The fact that she reacted the way she did, so damn frustrated and like she wanted to slap him, only made him want to do it more.


The problem, of course was that she wasn't even tempered and easily tamed. The problem was that he knew just the right way to get under her skin. The problem was that she couldn't have fucking calmed herself if she tried, so despite the fact that she knew he did these things on purpose, despite the fact that she could tell, she really wasn't too good at controlling her reactions in that sense. It was almost a vicious cycle, in a way, and she was giving him her frustrations right on a silver fucking platter with no troubles at all.


His response was damn near maddening and she had to grit her teeth and press her lips together to keep from saying anything harsh. Honestly she had no idea why her reaction was so damn strong, but it was there nonetheless and it was all she could do to keep herself from flipping on him completely. Really, he made her so damn frustrated. "We don't have chemistry, Toby, none at all." Had she thought he was anything remotely near serious she might have worried about hurting his feelings but there was absolutely no concern on her mind when it came to this.


"You're so smug. How does your head even fit in the door?" She rolled her eyes again, a gesture she did all too often when he was around and shook her head, lips still pressed together though at least her annoyance waned significantly. That was strange when he was around, too. Somehow she found herself irritated with him but it faded quickly. It came in waves of sporadic moments, every time he opened his mouth to say something and bullshit would come out, but then there were moments where he was actually tolerable.


Not that they came too often of course. And though Callie didn't understand the whole against marriage thing, she didn't push on the subject. In a sense she could at least understand that it wasn't for everyone, even if she didn't agree. So she nodded, not even realizing that they had gotten off on a strangely serious topic. "I get that." Was all she said in reply to him, eyeing him curiously as his head was turned away from her.

#17 Toby Aldebaran

Toby Aldebaran

Posted 17 March 2014 - 03:11 AM

Toby was perfectly content bantering with Callie all day over things like whether or not they had chemistry (see: subjects he had the upperhand in), but the moment the conversation became serious, he was already starting to feel done with the whole thing. It was no offense to her, of course; it wasn't as if he thought she wasn't someone worthy of sharing his thoughts with so much as he just didn't share them with anyone to start with. Nat was the closest thing he had to a confidante, but his views on marriage and relationships in general were things he didn't even discuss with her. For the most part that was because his opinion was unspoken; they were so in tune with one another most of the time that he didn't have to say anything.


Regardless, Callie had already seen a few sides of Toby that very few of his friends had. Perhaps Jack was the only other person who'd seen something close to this, but even then he hadn't been around for the strangely vulnerable moments that Callie experienced. As such, he was already too close for comfort. Banter was a way of distancing himself, of reminding her that they were friends but they weren't... buddies who ate ice cream and shared their deepest thoughts or whatever.


So this topic of conversation was unbelievably uncomfortable and he had no desire to continue it. As much as he truly enjoyed her company, he was already looking for ways out, his eyes scanning the doors of the student center. Leaving after he'd made himself so comfortable was hardly subtle in any sense of the word, yet he couldn't think of another way to carefully get out of dodge. So he casually glanced at his watch as if he'd suddenly remembered something important, eyebrows raising as he finally sat up.


"Yeah, well. Looks like I better get back to the fabulous life of Tobias Aldebaran," he said with a smirk in her direction, standing and adjusting his shirt a little. "Someone contacted me about a reality tv series, you know. You'd probably do well as that level-headed best friend they always want to give interviews." Lame. He felt incredibly lame saying these things. But he was looking for some easy way out and he just couldn't see it at the time.


He pushed in his chair anyway, though, waving goodbye in the form of a salute. "See you 'round, Red," he told her, spinning on his heel and heading for the door. The moment he stepped outside into the somewhat chilly weather, he felt better; he felt as if he wasn't under examination. Like he didn't have to answer any goddamn questions about his home life, even if she hadn't asked. But the fact that she was wondering about it made him dwell on it nonetheless, and he just wanted to get his mind off of it as soon as possible.


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