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Present Tense

Teagan Altair Melanie Sirius

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#1 Melanie Sirius

Melanie Sirius

Posted 23 June 2016 - 11:08 PM

Time with her cousin was always deeply treasured, always something she looked forward to on any given day. It helped that Teagan was not only her cousin but her best friend and roommate, something they'd dreamt about over the years and were now making a reality. Sure, sometimes they had a tendency to fight over stupid little things, but for the most part they got along easily; they had a tendency to bring out the best in each other, too, particularly in goofing off and being silly.

 

They understood each others' humor. Not that they always knew how to calm each other down; unfortunately they sometimes only heightened the other's anxiety, but at least they could hear each other out. They both could talk for days and days about what bothered them, about every little detail in one specific event that stood out in their day. It had gotten to the point that Melanie looked forward to those little rants, if only because it made her own issues feel more acceptable. It was therapeutic to be around Teagan, who was so much like her.

 

Yet she still knew that the girl needed a pick-me-up. That, perhaps, was the best solace she could provide in a time like this, even if she knew little past "I need to vent." So she showed up with sushi in hand, having splurged at their favorite sushi place on some good traditional and signature rolls. As she burst into the apartment she held up the Japanese food and grinned widely at her best friend, clearly trying to bring some excitement into the room.

 

"I brought your favorite! And you can pick the movie tonight. Which you can vent through it, if you want," she said as she made her way to the tiny apartment dining table in the kitchen. She plopped down the bags, glancing around to find the place as neat as it always was. Best roommate ever.


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#2 Teagan Altair

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Posted 23 June 2016 - 11:55 PM

There had been a harrowing lack of her cousin in her life lately thanks to both of their busy schedules which was a problem. Melanie Sirius was many things to Teagan. Her cousin, first of all. They'd grown up together, close in age and similar in interests, and had steeled themselves against the more lackadasical nature of the boys of the family. She was also her roommate, though that had been a lifelong dream of theirs to start. Teagan had spent most of her time over with Melanie and her family anyway, having little to no desire to stay at her own home, so it was only natural that they'd eventually end up living together entirely. She was also her best friend. They were so similar, both easily panicked and quickly stressed, both obsessive about their passions and passionate about... everything. Both quick to aggitate though their reactions were always different. Teagan was outright and aggressive and sometimes downright loud, whereas Melanie preferred to stew or rant in private. Teagan often embarrassed the other by being so upfront, actually. Still, despite their minor differences, they were essentially two pieces of the same puzzle, both corner pieces, both ready and willing to help the other even if they had no help to offer.

That was how their ranting sessions had been born. They were both so vastly dramatic that it was entirely easy for them to have things to even rant about. And boy, did they rant. They ranted about school, about classes, about the people in their classes. They ranted about their family, their cousins, their siblings. She had come to Melanie many times about Kaida and Teddy both, knowing good and well that her secrets would be safe with the other. And Melanie, in turn, had done the same, though her issues with Max and Chase were more minor in comparison. Still, it was how they worked, how they functioned. They were never good at giving advice, persay, so much as they were good at getting the other even more worked up, but whatever. It made them feel better and that was all that mattered.

It was no surprise, then, that Teagan sent Melanie an immediate text after her little encounter at the ensemble earlier with four easily understandable words. She needed a vent night, and bad.

Her cousin showed up just in time, too, and the inclusion of food and a movie of her choice put her at ease as someone like Teagan could be. She didn't even really give the poor girl a chance, either; already Teagan was sighing deeply, flopping backwards on the couch dramatically as she pried open one of the containers and popped her chopsticks apart. "I have no idea where to even start. No idea. You remember that guy I was talking about? That bumped into me in the cafeteria? The guy that has basically made my life hell? The one from the elevator?" Lord, how many stories did she have for Scott? "Well, we had ensemble practice again today and --" Ugh. She couldn't even stop the 'ugh' from escaping. She just had to let her disgust out audibly for a second. "Well, he's back to being douchebag mcgee again, and there was another guy, and he invited me to this party -- apparently it's a Kappa party -- and we should go. Just to piss him off."She'd heard that comment, thank you very much, and hell no she didn't fuckin' appreciate it at all. She'd heard that comment, thank you very much, and hell no she didn't fuckin' appreciate it at all.

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#3 Melanie Sirius

Melanie Sirius

Posted 24 June 2016 - 12:27 AM

Oh lord. Melanie could always tell it was going to be a real venting session when there was little to no greeting before it started; she understood, of course, having been in the same position many times herself. But when they were mild concerns, mere upsets in their day that they wanted to address, they at least prefaced with a "hello" or "it's so nice to see you" or something. Teagan was skipping straight past all of the formalities, jumping right into the thick of it. In fact she didn't even lengthen her story-- she just... dove into the main problem.

 

Melanie stood there for a moment, absolutely baffled at what the girl had to say. It was clear in the way she froze in front of the couch, container in one hand and chopsticks in the other, as she tried to work through everything her cousin had said. "Kappa party?" She asked, almost certain that Max was around the corner, having pranked her yet again. Of course, he usually couldn't convince Teagan to join him on those pranks, especially like this one, so she could only assume that her cousin was this serious about pissing the guy off.

 

"I never thought I would ever, ever hear you say that. We should go to a Kappa party." Finally she flopped down on the couch, laughing in disbelief as she popped the first piece of sushi in her mouth. "We should go to a Kappa party," she echoed yet again, shaking her head. Truthfully it didn't make much sense-- how she went from the ensemble guy to a Kappa party-- so she decided to backtrack and make sure she was following everything correctly. 

 

"Okay, so Scott," she said, using his name for clarification even if it was a slight curse word around here, "is being a jerk again." Melanie knew of Scott thanks to the music department, but she knew little about him past that. She was busy, he was busy; he was a bit pretentious, she'd noticed, the sort of guy who just did his thing and went home. (She had no idea how stoned he'd been most of the time.) "And you want to go to a Kappa party to... piss him off?"

 

She popped another piece of sushi into her mouth, one eye closed as she turned back to look at Teagan. "Alright, I'm sorry. You're gonna have to explain this one to me. Why would he be pissed about that?"


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#4 Teagan Altair

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Posted 24 June 2016 - 12:47 AM

Okay, so the cliffnotes version had been too short, but to be fair it was entirely emotionally charged and once things set to motion in that dramatic mind of hers, it was hard to control at what rate it all just poured out. She knew as soon as she finished her little mini rant that it would make absolutely no sense to Melanie, but she had to get it all off of her chest anyway. A deep breath later and she was ready to full indulge the entire story, but she still took another bite of sushi regardless, alloting Melanie the necessary time to catch up and attempt to draw her own conclusions anyway. She was trying, bless her heart. Teagan could tell that there was a bit of a disconnect from point a to point b, but Melanie had mostly gotten stuck on the actual plan rather than anything else.

And why wouldn't she? She understood the disdain that came hand in hand with any mention of Scott. She understood everything he'd done and Teagan's grand need to get him back for each and every incident that he'd caused. She understood Teagan above all else, and she knew better than anyone just how she worked. Melanie understood her anger, her passion, her need to have the upperhand and to always, always keep her reputation afloat. She understood her anxieties and her worries and even what caused them for the most part. All of that was backstory that didn't need to be divulged, minor details that made up the plan rather than what the plan was about.

What she'd gotten stuck on was the Kappa party itself. She had every reason to be confused about that part. Teagan had never been a partier. Teddy and Kaida were the free spirits, and watching them had put her off of any leisurely activities that didn't double beneficial learning experiences. Had this not been a decision made in the light of an emotional drive towards revenge, this would have been massively out of character for the uptight, studious Teagan Altair. But revenge was necessary at this point, so much so that she had completely and totally cast aside any judgements towards the words 'Kappa' or 'party' and had actively considered actually going. It wasn't like attending one, single party would mark her down as some careless party girl forever anyway. Plus, it was not for the party itself, but for the chance to finally shut Scott Emerson up once and for all.

Going to that party would piss him right off. She wasn't sure why, or how she could even tell that it would, but she could. Something about his body language shifted entirely as she'd been asked about that party, and that was enough incentive for her to plan out not only going, but rubbing it in his face all the while. It was the perfect plan. It was effortless, as she didn't have to actually do anything but show up, and it was hard for even her to screw up. It didn't matter if she had fun or not, either. She just had to be there, even for a little while, and that was that. Easy peasy.

"Alright." Finally she was done eating and brewing, pushing forward her container for a second as she leaned over, elbows on her knees, chin on her folded hands. "I was actually... asked to go by someone in our ensemble. His name is, um... Nicholas! Nicholas something... I don't really know much about him, but I could tell that just me being asked to go to the party pissed Scott off. I don't know why, I don't know what it was about the entire thing that just rustled his jimmies, but... it did. So I'm thinking that if I actually go, it might finally give me the edge I need to put him in his place once and for all." Was that more detailed? She turned her head towards her cousin, scouting her face curiously as she waited for her answer.

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#5 Melanie Sirius

Melanie Sirius

Posted 24 June 2016 - 01:11 AM

The thing about Melanie was that she was intuitive-- to an almost unsettling degree-- so it was only natural of her to watch Teagan and dissect her every word, eyes narrowing as she tried to get to the bottom of this. Her cousin's explanation made a little bit more sense at face value, but something about this was still off. Something about this still ran deeper than that, and while she was extremely temped to mention that, she figured she needed to at least scratch the surface first.

 

"Alright, so Scott is pissed that some other guy asked you out." Her lips might have upturned just the slightest bit at the corners, as she knew what that meant. Why else would he be pissed other than pure jealousy? Someone had a crush on her little Teagan. "And you want to piss him off by going out with said guy. A guy you don't even really know the name of. To a Kappa party." She popped another piece of sushi in her mouth, eyes scanning her cousin as she sorted through all of this.

 

She wasn't being judgy. But her reservation was clear on her expression, as well as her skepticism over Teagan's intentions to start with. "I guess I'm gathering why you'd invite me, then," she said with a nod, sighing deeply as she reasoned through every possible bad scenario that could happen at a fucking Kappa party. Despite how much she hated the idea of that sort of shenanigan-- no, despised-- she found herself curious, almost wanting to see this dynamic Teagan had with Scott. So the next words tumbled out of her mouth easily, despite the fact that she sounded pained to say it.

 

"I suppose we could use a night out for once, anyway. A little change of scenery. We can't exactly go through our college years without attending one party, after all." She frowned for a moment, as if disgusted by the very idea but at least warming up to it. However, slowly she started to smile a little nonetheless, a mischievous look igniting in her eye that was usually fitting of her younger brother. 

 

"So you mean to tell me he's jealous?" She asked, knowing it likely wasn't wise to go down that route, but still finding it oddly... cute nonetheless. Sure, she was intensely protective of her cousin and Scott wasn't exactly the most perfect guy on the planet, but the guy was clearly into her.


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#6 Teagan Altair

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Posted 24 June 2016 - 01:34 AM

Teagan could have put two and two together if she really wanted to. She could have deduced that Scott was mad because he was jealous, that he was teasing her because he liked her, that he genuinely wasn't out to get her in any way outside of finding amusement and even endearment in her overreactions, but doing that meant accepting that she did things back at him for reasons outside of her obligatory defensive nature. She had purposely avoided thinking too much on intentions and little subtleties because it meant dwelling on her own personal thoughts and feelings and while she was a very emotional person, and very good at expressing most of those emotions, she didn't like picking at threads and figuring out what the root of those emotions were. There had been a little bit of mystery to everything she'd done towards Scott thus far that could have been easily uncovered if she just forced herself to face it.

But she didn't, and wouldn't, and hoped Melanie didn't tread towards that territory either.

Still, it was nice to see her cousin agreeing, albeit reluctantly, to her little plan. "Right! I mean, it's not like we're actually going to party or anything. It'll be an experience -- no, an experiment! Like we used to do when we were younger. Except, you know, instead of mixing things in the kitchen to see what happens, it'll be us observing the uh... natural habitats and behaviors of our fellow students. It could even be entertaining?" She knew it was a lie. There was nothing about parties or party-goers that she found amusing. Their cousin, Toby, was enough Kappa for them to know exactly what to expect from a Kappa party. She knew that without ever having seen him in action, which was bad. She could only imagine what would actually happen inside of the house. "No, no no, I don't actually want to go out with the guy. I mean, he didn't ask me to go with him, really, he just asked that I... go... I guess he might mean to meet him there? But I'm not really interested in that, so..."

It was an unusual experience to be asked out at all, even if wasn't being asked out directly. She wasn't really ever interested in dating or anything like that, and she rarely got approached thanks to her dramatics and her studious, all-too-serious nature. Thankfully that sort of thing didn't make her nervous so much as it just rolled right off of her shoulders. She didn't care. She wasn't interested in Nicholas, so it was easy to oblige merely for the revenge factor. She had to momentarily wonder if it was wrong, though. Using him to get back at Scott, was that morally slighted? Was that rude? It was hard to bring herself to care entirely. She hadn't actually agreed to a date or anything. She was just going to the party. With her cousin. Alone.

"Well, I mean, I just want revenge, you know. I mean, he's done so much. And then he was nice to me, and then, today, he was an ass! Like, not even an ass like he has been, but an ass like he was the first time we met. He was rude! And he called my freakout over the elevator thing crap. He literally called it crap. I was really scared! I almost had a panic attack!" She was about to continue that rant, too, until something Melanie said struck a nerve. Because no. She wasn't going down that route. That humanized everything Scott had done thus far, and it was much easier to distance herself by considering him antagonistic over jealous. "He's not jealous, he just hates seeing me have any sort of positive experiences. That's all! He is literally a villain, like, he literally lives to make my life difficult."

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#7 Melanie Sirius

Melanie Sirius

Posted 24 June 2016 - 03:05 AM

Melanie knew Teagan too well to believe that nonsense; her cousin was interested in going for one purpose and one purpose only, and that was to piss Scott off. Otherwise the two of them would avoid every Kappa party until graduation like the plague, keeping themselves well distanced from that sort of... debauchery. Typically when the word "Kappa" came spilling out of their mouths it came with tones of disgust and contempt, not "oh it could be fun!" or "this is a rite of passage!" So it went to show just how much she loved her cousin that she wasn't calling her out on this.

 

"Absolutely," she said, voice a little strained as she raised her eyebrows. It wasn't her intention to be sarcastic, but it might have bled through in her tone regardless. If there was one person who could get Teagan at a frat party it was Scott, of all people, and-- well, now Melanie had to go by extension. And honestly, she was just dying to see the two of them in action, despite all the sin they'd be surrounded by. She had to know why Teagan was so bothered by him.

 

"So-- you're not going as a date with this guy. He just told you there was a party going on and that you should be there, and... now you're going because of Scott?" Suddenly this didn't make sense again. "Almost sounds like Scott's your date."

 

Oh, no no no. She had to be supportive, not like this. But this was so cute that it made her little heart feel warm. "I'm just kidding, I'm just kidding--" She said quickly, knowing now was the worst time to get Teagan riled up. The poor girl just wanted to rant, after all. So Melanie nodded at her next words, attempting to feign belief. "I know, I know. He's a total jerk. And he deserves revenge, he does."

 

But there was no denying that he was jealous. Melanie wasn't about to step out on that one quite yet. "Yeah, but-- why else would he be pissed? I have never seen him interact like that with anyone before, and I've been here as long as he has." She raised her eyebrows at her inquisitively, popping another piece of sushi in her mouth. After chewing for a moment, she added, "I mean, he's pissed people off, but he's never sought someone out before. And I have definitely never seen him irritated when others get invited to parties. How... strange." She shrugged, unable to fight her smile.


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#8 Teagan Altair

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Posted 24 June 2016 - 03:22 AM

Okay, so fine, it wasn't exactly the most sensical plan, or argument, or even situation at all. Nothing about any of this made any sense at all, even from a standalone outlook, but it made even less sense when paired beside Teagan Altair. Teagan, who got bothered by many things but who never actively sought out revenge repeatedly. Teagan, who could hold grudges, most certainly, but never really kept up with them outside of the initial encounter. She was vengeful at times, definitely, and even petty above all else, but she was also busy. Very busy. She kept herself so busy that this was almost an awkward and unnecessary detour in her everyday life. It was so wildly out there for her that even saying the words Kappa party earlier had almost caused her to choke. A month ago she would have scoffed at the idea, turned her nose up at it and continued about her business as usual, but now she was damn determined to go. She had to. She couldn't explain why she had to in a terrible concise way, but she knew that it was a necessary evil.

That didn't mean that she had to like the idea of the party at all, oh no. She most certainly did not. There would be drinking and drugs and obnoxiousness abounding and that idea alone nearly soured her entire vision of the night but she found it all too easy to ignore all of those little details in the light of what would be her greatest victory yet. That was really all she could focus on, and she was more focused on it now than she had been any time prior. The situation with Booker was something that held onto her harshly, sure, but she hadn't been quite as set in her ways about that as she was about this. And why? She couldn't really figure out the entire reasoning behind it, no, but she did know that she was mad. Hurt moreso than mad, actually, but that was yet another road she didn't want to travel down. Again.

After all, she'd already mulled over that earlier. Her expectations and the way they'd been dashed entirely, her upset at him acting like her anxiety was a joke. Yeah, that had hurt like hell. She didn't want to think that mess up again.

Teagan couldn't help but wrinkle her nose in distaste at Melanie's little off the cuff quip. Scott as her date? Scott? That didn't even make sense. It was so far out there that she almost had to laugh. Of course, that laugh could be conceived as some sort of denial-based chattering, but still, she laughed regardless. She couldn't even comment on the ridiculousness of that statement before Melanie started backpedaling. Maybe she, too, realized how absolutely unlikely her statement had been?

"I mean, I don't know, I don't even understand half of the things he does. Like, why would he make it a point to antagonize me every time he sees me? Or, or! Why did he decide to act like he was such a nice guy in the elevator only to turn around and act like such an ass about it later? He literally acted like it wasn't a big deal, Melanie! I mean, he tried to backpedal, he did, but I really think that was more because I got mad than anything. You know? I mean, I don't see it as jealousy at all. That just doesn't make sense for the way I've seen him. Maybe there's just something about me that he doesn't like? Or maybe he thinks it's funny to get me riled up. Like a... a game or something. Like a little wind-up toy! That makes perfect sense, actually. He doesn't dislike me, but he uses me as a source of amusement." She'd already thought something along those lines before. Not disdain, but distant amusement. She hated the idea of being the source of someone's laughs if she wasn't even trying to be funny.

She hated it even more when it was over things she felt seriously about. "Listen, I know you're thinking you have this all figured out, I can see it in your smile, but it's not like that at all. He is truly out to get me, maybe not in a maliciously hostile way but in a... 'get under my skin for laughs' kind of way. He told his friends about our first encounter! They all laughed about it! That was embarrassing. I mean, that sort of thing isn't nice."

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#9 Melanie Sirius

Melanie Sirius

Posted 24 June 2016 - 04:23 AM

This was something. Teagan's attempt at a laugh made alarms go off in Melanie's mind, and now she knew she couldn't miss this Kappa party. An hour ago you couldn't have convinced her for the world, yet now she was dying to see this dynamic. Now she'd be sneaking in just to see it without Teagan's invite. It'd been tempting to casually walk into their ensemble before-- "oh, sorry, forgot my music"-- but she'd been good. This was a public place, an invite to see exactly what was happening between the two of them.

 

She could handle a Kappa party if it meant figuring out what the hell was actually going on.

 

"But you said he tries to make you mad on purpose. Why would he backpedal? Unless he thought you were hurt instead of mad," Melanie considered, tapping her chin, though it was clear she was humoring Teagan to some extent. Trying to guide her towards the obvious truth-- Scott Emerson had a thing for her-- while also not pointing it out directly. Besides, she didn't want to discourage the girl from going to the party now.

 

So she held her hands up in surrender, doing her best to wipe the smile from her features. "Fair enough, you'd know better than me. I'll be able to draw my own conclusions at the party anyway." The party. Ugh. She most certainly didn't want to go to a Kappa party. They'd be surrounded by all sorts of ridiculousness. But this was more about supporting her cousin (and satisfying her own curiosity), so she would at least try to loosen up for a night. Just one night.

 

"I guess we could have one drink. Like the weakest kind they have, you know? Just one, and that'll be enough to make it seem like we're there to actually have fun. If we don't try it'll be obvious why you're there, and you don't want that." She remembered the fiasco back at the apartment-- yet another time she made him jealous.


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#10 Teagan Altair

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Posted 24 June 2016 - 04:50 AM

There was absolutely no talking sense into her at this point. Not about Scott, not about her own conflicted feelings, not about any of it. She was deadset on this plan as well as the reasoning behind the plan. There was no telling her that Scott's behavior was anything but pointed antagonism, malicious or not. There was no telling her that this was jealousy, plain and simple. She wouldn't even entertain the idea of it. Good luck telling her the extent of her feelings, too, because that just wasn't even an option on the table. It wasn't even close to being a 'what if' in her mind. There was no way that this was anything more than an angry, hurt girl getting back at a big, douchey guy.

"I don't know, he's weird like that. I guess maybe because it went too far? Like, I don't really think he's as much of an asshole as he tries to be, but still! I mean, that was pretty rude to say, you know? I mean, calling an almost-anxiety attack crap? I mean, even if he didn't mean it that way, he still said it, which meant that he meant it somehow, and that really hurt my feelings because it's not like I wanted to get freaked out in the elevator or anything, and I already felt like I was a burden and that just didn't help at all, so." It occurred to her somehow, somewhere that this little tidbit from earlier was upsetting her far more than it probably should have. That whole betrayal aspect wouldn't have been a thing if she hadn't deeply cared about how he'd treated her to start with. Had she brushed it off and not taken it to heart in the first place, it wouldn't have been a big deal.

But she had. She had very much taken his kindness and concern very personally. It had opened up an entirely new side to him that she'd never even considered him possible of. He had been so supportive and so desperate to help her that it had taken his soured standing in her mind and turned it completely around. She hadn't liked that that happened, of course, nor had she really wanted to think on it too much, but it had. She had actually started to like him in some way with thanks only to that one incident.

She couldn't help but wrinkle her nose at the idea of drinking but, unfortunately, Melanie was right. She, too, remembered the apartment ordeal and how poorly it had gone. She had tried and failed, then, to work a plan that completely fell apart before it ever even got off of the ground. That was all on her, too, but not this time. "You're right... But what?" She knew nothing about alcohol. Absolutely nothing. "We could google it! Uh, just to see. Or maybe just google drinks and look at the names of them? Surely they name them according to alcohol levels, right?"

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#11 Melanie Sirius

Melanie Sirius

Posted 24 June 2016 - 05:19 AM

It was kind of cute, really. Teagan was refusing to admit that there was anything going on between herself and her new rival, no matter how obvious it was otherwise. Melanie figured it would be more fun to observe than to tell her the raw truth now, though that would come in time. Besides, she knew Teagan likely wouldn't act on any of it at this point-- the ball was entirely in Scott's court for the most part, and it was up to him to figure out what the hell to do.

 

So she let the subject drop, shrugging her shoulders one final time to signal her defeat. There was no use in convincing her otherwise. It would be more fun to just allow it to unfold, to just allow Teagan to voice her concerns over Scott repeatedly. She was going to the party for that guy, whether she wanted to believe it or not. It basically was a date with him.

 

Instead she was more concerned with the alcohol, already feeling terribly nervous that she'd have to drink at all. She'd only had a little to drink before in her life-- a few glasses of champagne at family events, maybe, or that time she drank two whole wine coolers on her twenty-first birthday. "Mhm! Yeah, that could work. We want something completely weak, barely has any alcohol in it. Just to get a little buzz going, you know? Should we bring our own stuff?"


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#12 Teagan Altair

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Posted 24 June 2016 - 05:27 AM

The alcohol thing was a problem because Teagan had always been so vehemently against alcohol that she literally knew nothing about it. She didn't know the differences between beer and liquor, wine and champagne, nor wine coolers and mixed drinks. She honestly had not a single shred of knowledge about anything alcohol related at all which meant that it was a notoriously bad idea to let her be the Googler.

She already had it pulled up on her tablet, though, scrolling through a list that was entirely too big and a little daunting if you wanted her to ve honest. Eventually she found something familiar -- iced tea -- and settled on it, flipping over the tablet as she pulled up the description alongside its little picture.

"This sounds harmless! It says it tastes like tea so I can't imagine that it has too much alcohol in it. I mean, that would make it taste like alcohol. Not tea. And you know Toby is always talking about how much stuff they have there, so I'm sure they could make it."

Which was true, sure, but it was also a bit of an excuse. She really, really didn't want to have to go and buy alcohol. What if someone saw them?

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