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No Surprises

Toby Aldebaran Willoh Maddison

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#1 Toby Aldebaran

Toby Aldebaran

Posted 31 March 2017 - 10:31 PM

Toby's senior year was going all too smoothly. It sped by with little fanfare, the same blur of practice and class and socialization that it'd been in the past three years prior. 

 

When others asked him about it, he acted as though he was ready to be shed of this place forever, as if it was merely another step along his way. Another chapter passed that he would remember in great detail, certainly, but a mere preamble to the rest of his life; his glory days weren't over if he had anything to say about it. Yet there was a part of him, deep down, that was terribly afraid that things would only go downhill from here.

 

Was it a fear of progression? Most others found reasons to fail in these situations, but Toby found his grades shining brighter than ever, words like "promise" and "potential" falling from the lips of his instructors. Perhaps, if he worked hard and gave himself a future to look forward to, leaving wouldn't be so difficult. Yet every day passed just the same-- documented, counted, another day gone of a routine he'd grown comfortable with, and no amount of "potential" gave him solace.

 

Sometimes he felt awake when the rest of the world was asleep. Now it stung, like an understanding he preferred to ignore. He glanced over the gossiping crowd, recognizing some of faces and snippets of chatter as simply useless. In five years, they would forget one another, and all of this will have been a sheet of paper earned rather than something truly meaningful. 

 

Toby shook his head firmly to chase this depressing line of thought away. He was sounding more and more like his brother by the day; he couldn't make fun of him for being "emo" throughout his entire life and then succumb to the same shit, could he? On one hand, he could call him and have someone who understood him, but on the other he didn't want to feed this monster. Nick fed his, and Toby could see just how miserable he truly was after it was all said and done.

 

The dialtone caught his attention first; as if on autopilot, he'd already called his brother, yet as fate would have it, he found himself colliding with someone else before his call was answered. Instead he found himself staring down at an unsettlingly familiar face, and for a moment the rest of the world froze around him. He was stunned, eyes wide, as he took in her features.

 

"Willoh?"


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#2 Willoh Bennett

Willoh Bennett

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Posted 31 March 2017 - 11:38 PM

She was... a little lost. Very lost. Lost enough that the student center seemed like a beacon of hope in the distance.

It had been months since her arrival and still she hadn't quite mastered the layout of this place yet. It was... kind of sad, now that she thought of it, maybe even a point of insecurity if she really wanted to be honest, but the overwhelming sense of looming disaster that came with attending a new school. So far there hadn't been any terrible mishaps, but it was still ridiculously overwhelming nonetheless.

So much so that she was zoned out to the max and didn't notice the stream of oncoming student traffic weaving and bobbing out of the way of the space case reading signs and flyers left and right.

Things would have possibly been fine, too, had fate not shoved other awkward opportunities right in her face.

It took a second after initial impact for her to realize what was going on, and a second longer than that to notice that someone had said her name.

Looking up revealed a face she wasn't terribly eager to see. Sure, she didn't dislike Toby - quite the opposite, actually - but it was... complicated. There were definitely feelings lingering there, easily. And how could there not be? He was her ex-boyfriend, her first love. She had dated Toby all throughout high school. It was hard to deny the mix of emotions that stirred in her chest at just seeing his face.

Still, she managed to calm down and produce a smile, waving a tiny little wave as she fought to stifle her nerves.

"Toby! Hey! Funny seeing you here, huh?"

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#3 Toby Aldebaran

Toby Aldebaran

Posted 31 March 2017 - 11:49 PM

Blame it on the strange, unfamiliar depression starting to creep up on him, but he certainly felt more affected by this than he should have been. Moments ago he was thinking about how everyone would forget each other in time; their lives would continue unabated after graduation, the axis of their worlds never fully aligned again. And then there she was: a face straight out of history, as if he summoned her by forgetting her. It was a glaring instance of what he'd been afraid of, presented to him in a way that made him feel conflicted.

 

She was as beautiful as she'd always been, blonde and fair and smiling brightly. Her reaction to him was entirely normal, too-- like greeting a friend she hadn't seen in a while, a complete contrast to his surprised stare. For some reason he found it difficult to find any words at all, his mouth flopping open and closed as a very stupid thought ran through his mind: she was angelic, so perfect that it stung.

 

"Yeah, ha--" He finally managed, though as soon as he allowed himself to smile, the expression took over his features. Truth be told, he was genuinely happy to see her, no matter how much he'd been spiraling just moments before. In fact he looked giddy, silly, a slight tinge of red rising to his cheeks as he tried to collect himself.

 

"You're as pretty as ever," he complimented her, beaming, though perhaps his flirting had lost its edge in his surprise. "But uh-- what are you doing here?"


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#4 Willoh Bennett

Willoh Bennett

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Posted 01 April 2017 - 12:24 AM

This was a mess. A big, hot mess. Willoh was the fairy tale type, the first love lover. She believed in destiny, in fate, in soulmates. Sure, she was naive as a teenager and that undoubtedly had a lot to do with the lingering feelings that spread at just hearing her name framed by his voice, but it was also just her personality. Noah had done a damn good job shielding her innocence, though perhaps he had done too well.

Her entire body was alight with nerves, so much so that it was a wonder she hadn't imploded. How was she not shaking? Was this even real? Despite being damn near as oblivious as her brother (and her mother, and her father... the entire family wasn't terribly bright...), she still noticed the offset way he acted.

And of course, being as insecure as she was, she automatically assumed that he wasn't nearly as happy to see her as she was him. And why would he be? He had broken up with her, after all. There was no reason he should be.

The compliment was confusing, then, though it had her blushing regardless, her chin sinking against her shoulder for a second as she looked away in an attempt to hide her red cheeks.

"Oh, uh... you too." Wait, no. "I mean, uh..." Thank god he went on to change the subject in these trying social times. Immediately she latched onto his next question, perking up too much.

"I go here now! I mean, I've been here a little while, actually. I just... Still don't know my way around."

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#5 Toby Aldebaran

Toby Aldebaran

Posted 01 April 2017 - 12:48 AM

What were the chances? Here stood his high school sweetheart, the girl he'd pledged his entire life to when he was far more naive and laughably lovesick. Over the years he'd come to understand that it was puppy love at best, the sort of thing many high school aged kids went through, yet as she stood here in front of him he had to admit there was still a current underlying their interaction. At least from his perspective.

 

Her blush was so cute that it made his stomach clench, but admittedly he was still quite naive, even if he wasn't aware of it; she was, of course, representative of his past and unrealized dreams just as he was hitting a crossroads. This would be easy to fall into. He hadn't changed, and judging by her reaction, neither had she. This was damn near foolproof.

 

But was it too safe? Would he be taking advantage of her in his own way? There would be a sense of security that drove him towards her; even now it did, a familiarity that he could step in line with. Even now he was leaning closer to her. "You go here? Holy shit," he laughed, shaking his head. "What are the chances?"

 

A lazy half grin spread across his face as he winked. "Let me guess. You missed me so much that you just had to come see me again." He was joking, clearly, by his tone, even if he had a tendency to be insufferable.


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#6 Willoh Bennett

Willoh Bennett

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Posted 01 April 2017 - 01:01 AM

Was this fate? Destiny? Were her very dreams coming true before her eyes? Granted, they weren't exactly staying true to script. For instance, she definitely never expected to run into him here. There was a distinct lack of romantic backdrops, too. Still, none of the flair mattered anyway. What mattered was that they were both here, both talking, both falling into their easy past.

And it really seemed like nothing had changed either. He was still flirty, still romantic (in her mind, at least), still handsome. And she was still, well... still Willoh. She would likely never change. What she didn't realize was that staying stagnant wasn't always a good thing.

"I know! I mean, I had no idea, really! I..." Oh, what if he thought that? What if he really thought she had followed him? She hadn't, of course, because hopeless romantic didn't always translate into desperate stalker, but it had before and now the worry that her intentions weren't pure was overwhelming.

"Oh, I... I swear it wasn't like that! My brother actually goes here!""

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#7 Toby Aldebaran

Toby Aldebaran

Posted 01 April 2017 - 01:08 AM

Toby would have been amused by her response had she not brought up Noah.

 

Right. Noah.

 

That was why he stopped asking about her to start with, why he let them fall out of contact after graduation. Noah had never been chill with their relationship, and upon moving up to college, he kinda chose to prioritize his bro, considering he was the one with him. It was much easier to fall into a douchebag routine with him around, joining Kappa and participating in the debauchery they had to offer. That, however, could prove to be his undoing.

 

It wasn't as if Noah thought him to be an upstanding, committed individual anymore. Back in the day he'd been entirely faithful to Willoh, sustaining a pretty adorable relationship, and even then it hadn't been so chill. Now it would be even more difficult to navigate, but he supposed he could pull it off.

 

(What was better than Noah as his brother-in-law, after all?)

 

"Noah, yeah." Toby appeared dejected for a moment, but wouldn't allow himself to dwell on it for too long. Dude would surely understand. "So where are you living right now? Are you familiar with the town?"


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#8 Willoh Bennett

Willoh Bennett

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Posted 01 April 2017 - 02:16 AM

Somehow Noah had been quiet about his ever bidding broship with Toby. He was nothing if not a considerate brother, at least, and had known that despite appearances, Willoh was still a little upset about their breakup. There was also the manner of the entire ordeal feeling a little like potential betrayal.

So of course Noah had kept quiet. And Willoh had been none the wiser, which was probably for the best. Her insatiable curiosity wasn't exactly as easy to stifle as Toby's and she would have asked how he was. And then, of course, the inevitable truth would have come out, because her brother was just the world's worst liar, and then that would have started an entire mess.

That had absolutely nothing to do with anything now, though. Toby was smart enough to skirt the subject and Willoh was distracted. Instead she was perfectly content reveling in the moment, still blushing slightly as she took in his features. He'd matured facially just enough to be even more handsome than before.

It was... intoxicating, really.

"Oh, no, not really. I live on campus so i haven't really gotten to explore much. Tons of schoolwork, you know? What about you? You should be graduating, right?"

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#9 Toby Aldebaran

Toby Aldebaran

Posted 01 April 2017 - 02:43 AM

Toby's window of opportunity opened with hardly any effort at all. In fact he had to admit that it popped open of its own volition, letting in a metaphorical springtime air that could only be described as something like a drug. It was as if he was in Bambi, experiencing all of those idiotic adolescent hormones all over again as winter thawed, even if it was only fall outside. He was "twitterpated," if you will, and absolutely convinced that this partially had to be the hand of fate.

 

He wasn't even a religious man.

 

"Is that right?" He asked, the grin on his features brightening, if that were possible. He was clearly working on an idea. "I can't believe your own brother wouldn't give you the tour of the town. I should at least show you around when you have time. Wouldn't be so bad to catch up." He winked, resisting the urge to ruffle her hair like he used to. Jesus, it really would be that easy to fall back into a routine.

 

He didn't like the mention of graduation, but he shrugged. "Yeah, I will be. This spring."


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#10 Willoh Bennett

Willoh Bennett

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Posted 01 April 2017 - 04:24 PM

This was easy now. A smile here, blushing cheeks there, but it was all because being in the moment allowed no time for overthinking things. She could giggle and flirt and fall right back into the swing of things with him now, but later when she was finally alone and could really think things through, specifically stumble across the reason they broke up with in the first place, then things wouldn't be quite as smooth sailing.

Then again, it wasn't totally unlike Willoh to forgo gut feeling and listen to her heart instead.

Especially since it didn't seem like he was going to give her much time to think about things anyway. Was he already asking her on a date? It certainly sounded like a safe. We're dates so casual? Despite how lackadaisical the entire thing sounded, she couldn't help but feel overly excited. Date or no date, it was still quality time spent with someone that she had genuinely missed.

"Oh, that... that wouldn't be too bothersome, would It? I'd hate to take up too much of your time if you had plans..." Giving him a way out just in case seemed like the polite thing to do in any case. Maybe he was just being nice. She wasn't entirely too great at picking up people's intentions when it came to flirting, after all.

And already she was thankful for having asked her previous question, too, just in case he did back out and things suddenly got awkward. "How exciting! I know you're probably ready to get out, huh?"

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#11 Toby Aldebaran

Toby Aldebaran

Posted 08 April 2017 - 07:57 AM

"Plans? If I had any, I'd clear my schedule for you. We're old friends, aren't we?" He grinned as he spoke to her, cocking his head as if to better understand her expression. Even now she was humble, questioning whether or not she was an inconvenience. She would never be an inconvenience, no matter where their hearts were in the future. Willoh would always, always hold a special piece of him.

 

But what she said next made his mind skip for a few moments before it caught up with him. "Sure I am," he said, as it was the appropriate thing for a college student to say, even if his tone was hesitant. There was something about a person clinging to college that made them sound desperate, immature. In fact he felt that way; certainly he'd be excited to start a job in which he could fly every day, but he would miss his friends. He would miss this feeling of home he'd developed here.

 

Perhaps that was why he was so interested in exploring something with her again. It was comfort when he needed it most-- a selfish motivation, sure, but he couldn't see the harm in it now. "I'm glad you're here now, though."


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