Merope A dejected Ras sits on a low wall outside the bus station. A notice on the door informs customers that, for their safety and comfort, no buses will be running this evening due to mandatory scheduled annoyance.
Merope Yed had been no help, and Yed's mom hadn't picked up. Neither had Merope.
Merope This left him put of people to call.
Merope Running though his pockets as you do when bored, his hands close around a small square of cardboard he doesn't remeber putting in there.
Ras Alhague "Double-you tee eff?" Ras takes the piece of cardboard and turns it around. It has one group of 3 digits on it, followed by a group of 4 digits, but nothing else. "Whose number is this?" He shrugs, then pulls out his phone and starts hitting digits - if nothing else, it'll kill some time.
Furud "Hello?" the marginally familiar voice of Furud answers.
Ras Alhague grumbles as the phone keeps ringing, and moves to switch it off. Then he hears the strangely feminine voice of Furud. "Who is this?"
Furud "It's Furud. Who is this?"
Ras Alhague "Oh. You." Ras again considers hanging up, but then remembers Furud has a car. "Are you free? I'd rather not walk all the way across town from this goddamned bus station."
Furud a pause. "... is this Al?"
Ras Alhague "Um, yeah. Does that matter?"
Furud "I just like to know who I'm picking up before heading to the bus station in the middle of the night."
Ras Alhague "Middle of the night? A bit dramatic, aren't you?" Ras waits a beat. "So that's a yes?"
Furud sighs. "Yeah, sure, why not. This'll be exciting. Have you met Polaris yet?"
Ras Alhague hangs up without answering.
Furud eyes his phone. "Jerk."
Merope Ras is waiting for a good twenty minutes before he sees headlights. Why is this bus station so out of the damn way?
Merope Hang on... two pairs of headlights.
Merope Merope's mom's Chevrolet Malibu glides up and crunches over the gravel.
Merope "Ras! Ras! It's me, Merope!" Merope is fighting her way out of the passenger car door.
Merope He mom rolls her eyes but stays seated.
Ras Alhague "Merry?! What the hell are you doing here?"
Ras Alhague hefts his duffel bag over one shoulder, clearly taking a lot of effort.
Furud pulls up behind Merope, and looks in the back seat, where Polaris is stirring next to the pile of candy bars. "Well I guess I don't need to be here after all."
Merope "I was at work and I heard you were stuck here. From your cousin."
Merope turns. "Oh, wait, you called someone else.. sorry, I should rung ahead but my phone went dead."
Ras Alhague "That explains why you didn't answer when I called."
Ras Alhague waves to Furud
Merope "Wait, you called Furud?"
Furud climbs out of his car and sits on the hood. "Yo."
Polaris totally devours a baby ruth bar and then sits back with this strange look of contentment she never ever shows. Anyone.
Merope glares at Ras accusingly. "How do you even have his number? You've been here, like, a day."
Merope As Polaris glances over the scene, she can see that Merope seems... warmer.. to her than before.
Ras Alhague "It was in my pocket." Ras shrugs. "I had no idea whose it was until I called it." He turns to Furud. "Thanks for coming."
Furud "Yeah... sure." He crosses his arms over his knees, and glances back at Pol. "So this is fun."
Merope A sensible cell phone ring goes off. It's Merope's mom's.
Merope "Oh shoot... Hello? No, I'm just helping my daughter pick up a... right now? Well.... alright. Hang on."
Polaris "Yes, not like the last time we went to the mall."
Ras Alhague "I wouldn't have asked you to waste your time if I'd known Merry would have swung on by." Ras shakes his head.
Polaris giggles in an odd Polaris way
Ras Alhague offers his hand to Polaris. "I'm Ras, by the way. Who are you?"
Merope Merope's mom leans out of the window. "Furud dear, you couldn't be a darling and take Merope home as well, could you? There's an emergency at work, I need to run."
Polaris passes her bag of candy to her other hand and shakes very firmly but short, "Polaris."
Furud offers Mero's mom a charming smile. "Of course, I'll take good care of her."
Polaris to Ras "Candy bar?"
Merope "MOM! No, you can't!"
Merope Merope's mother is aready driving away.
Furud chuckles at Merope. "I like your mom."
Ras Alhague "Sure, I haven't eaten all day." Ras takes, and quickly unwraps and devours, the candy bar. As Merope's mother drives away, he turns to Furud. "Guess you have a reason to be out here after all."
Merope "Yeah, and she still likes you. For SOME reason."
Polaris attempts to gauge Merope's Mom's Hotness Index
Furud "It was all that grocery-carrying, I'm sure."
Merope frowns after where her mother was just a moment ago, and then spins to turn on Ras. "Just where the hell were you, anyway? I was worried."
Polaris holds out the smallest candy bar in the bag, carefully chosen, to Merope
Merope Merope takes it without making eye contact, still focused on Ras.
Ras Alhague "Just something I had to do," he says. "I caught the early bus once we were done... talking."
Polaris "I picked out the smallest one, so you won't gain any more weight."
Polaris smiles almost like she is high
Furud cracks his knuckles
Merope That gets Polaris a venemous glance. She turns back to Ras. "Yeah, you got all cut out. And I didn't hear where you were, and then there was.. this... thing. An announcement or something..."
Polaris notes just how much smaller she is than everything here, and her hand things out it mostly upwards.
Ras Alhague "Can we talk about it later?" He looks at Furud and Polaris. "It's kind of private. Same place and time as last night?"
Merope looks almost liek she's about to say no and have it out with him here, but then she deflates. "Ok... ok. I'd just... like to know where you are, is all."
Polaris "You might want to look into GPS then."
Furud "Wow, you've been here a day and you've already got Merope meeting you in secret places? Well you should know she likes to blush, but only when it's good."
Merope Now that Polaris comes to think about it, Ras's warmth is different, too. There's something extra... new..
Polaris seems to be making mental notes
Merope "Like you'd know, Furud." says Merope, hotly.
Ras Alhague is about to make a somewhat sarcastic statement to Merope's "I'd just like to know where you are" when he's distracted by the one-two punch of Polaris and Furud, and decides to leave the teasing to the experts. Instead, he leans against Furud's car, chuckling.
Merope Merope kicks some of the gravel, hard.
Polaris moves over next to Ras, mostly trying to gain some distance from Merope, but is still ambiently smiling
Polaris adjusts her skirt, and hums a few chords from something that every other person there knows they have heard, but can't remember where
Merope "Can we go already?" announces Merope, not a little petulantly. "This wasn't how I'd planned on spending my evening."
Ras Alhague "Believe you me," Ras adds. "I wasn't planning on it either. But when the bus dropped me off, my motorcycle wasn't in the lot anymore."
Merope "Stolen?" says Merope, redundantly. She sounds sympathetic, but only a little.
Ras Alhague "Stolen," he agrees.
Merope "That sucks." Merope is avoiding looking at Ras.
Furud shakes his head. "Shame, that."
Ras Alhague looks at Furud, curious at the tone of his voice. "You wouldn't know anything about it?" He then adds, to Polaris. "Couldn't find anyone to insure it. Too many custom modifications."
Merope (Polaris notes that Ras tastes bluer than before....)
Furud " 'course not. Things disappear sometimes. Sometimes they show up again, sometimes they don't."
Polaris "You could put up a sign, Missing: One totally tricked out ride."
Polaris laughs meekly for just a moment
Merope (...a definite extra tang... smells more like F sharp now...)
Ras Alhague "I'm sure that'll work," Ras says, hefting his massive duffel bag. "So, can we go now?" He walks over to Furud's trunk, hoping that there's space in it for his bag.
Furud "You got a dead body in there or something?" Furud asks as he walks back to open the trunk for Ras.
Polaris kneels down and seems to be checking out the bottom of the car
Ras Alhague "Nope, not a dead body," he says, drawling out each word.
Furud "That's oddly disappointing." He levers the trunk open and steps back.
Polaris explores the possibility that she might just fit under the car, but fails quite noticeably
Polaris "Small, but not small enough."
Ras Alhague hefts the duffel into the trunk, it filling up almost the entire space.
Polaris pops back up and taps Furud on the shoulder, or fails too and taps the elbow
Merope has gone to sit on a low wall a little way off, resting her chin in her hands.
Furud looks down and back, startled "What are you doing?"
Polaris "The under carriage of your car is completely free of kitten contents."
Furud "...kitten? Pol, what did you do?"
Polaris "At least, what I can see. I couldn't make a close inspection."
Ras Alhague "Is that unusual?"
Polaris "What? I didn't do anything."
Polaris "I just thought I would take stray kitten safety seriously until saturday."
Polaris returns to smiling and leans against the car, pulling out three more candy bars.
Ras Alhague "Hey Merry, are you coming?"
Furud "Oh, well. Good. Good job, Pol."
Merope stomps up with great theatricality.
Merope "It's COLD." she says, pointedly.
Polaris "Not that it would matter, the mere presence of Mero here will kill locally located kittens."
Furud "Aw, Pol, be nice. Merope was a nice girl once."
Furud unlocks the car and gestures grandly.
Polaris laughs, thinking Furud was making a joke
Merope Merope slumps into the car and tries to avoid looking at anyone. But ESPECIALLY Ras.
Polaris hopes silently she won't be in anyone's lap for this ride, esp. Furud's, since there is so much trash in his car...
Ras Alhague "There's only enough room in the back for one person," Ras says, looking between himself and Polaris. "But there's two of us."
Polaris "I'm small."
Polaris think for a moment about sitting on Ras's lap and giggles mindlessly
Polaris "Furud could clean his car. Just how often do you go for fast food? You are a junkie."
Polaris pushes some of the crap over to make enough room for her and Ras, though it will be a tight squeeze
Furud "Usually I only have ONE passenger at a time."
Ras Alhague squeezes in beside Polaris. "Still, you'd think you'd keep the back seat free, given your reputation."
Polaris "No three ways then?"
Furud "Front seats recline all the way."
Merope mutters something, under her breath.
Furud glances sidelong at Merope
Polaris continues her thought, "MMF?. MMM?"
Merope Merope snorts, as if supressing laughter about something.
Polaris talks to Ras, she is so close that he can smell her rather sickening sweet chocolate covered breath, "Who is your favorite teacher at school?"
Ras Alhague "I'm pretty sure Heather would kill me if I didn't say her." Ras laughs.
Polaris "Oh yes, the hotness. I really liked Mr. Henley, but you wouldn't know him I guess."
Ras Alhague "No, no I wouldn't."
Merope Merope says, drily: "So Heather is pretty great, huh?"
Polaris now frowns, "Mr. Henley really loved music, he made it awesome. Its really a shame that liar got him fired."
Merope Merope doesn't say anything.
Polaris "Don't worry you are twice as hot as Miss Rose and about a million times more available, as I hear it."
Polaris (to Mero)
Ras Alhague "Oh! Heather told me about that. Yeah, apparently nobody believes he did it. Isn't he the one that hung himself?"
Merope "He hung himself? When did you hear that?"
Polaris just sighs
Polaris "They are probably covering it up, that is what this town does best."
Ras Alhague Ras snorts. "Why else do WE all live here, right?"
Merope has finally looked around, curiosity overcoming her for the moment. "Are you sure? Oh God, Mr. Henley..."
Ras Alhague "No, I'm not sure. But I don't think Heather would lie to me."
Polaris "Well I had this dream where I went and found you all, and brought you here. That isn't why we are here?"
Polaris tosses back a couple more candy bars and looks a mixture of both high and sick
Merope sighs. "No, Polaris, because the world doesn't revolve around your deluded brain."
Polaris "Or so you think."
Ras Alhague "Dreams can be powerful," Ras says, somewhat absently.
Merope "Oh, sure, take HER side."
Polaris "There are sides? Who is winning?"
Merope "You'd have to ask Ras. He's the one with all the secret info."
Ras Alhague "I'd have to say Furud's winning. He's smart enough to stay quiet."
Polaris "He doesn't have any secrets, as I see it."
Polaris snorts, "He never wins. You must not have played him in any games yet."
Merope "Oh, Ras has no secrets, Pol? Well, then, that's just fine. I guess in that case he doesn't mind everyone knowing about Station Cassiopeia."
Polaris "I said, as I see. Its amazing what qualifiers can do to the nature of any abritrary statement."
Furud suddenly puts the car in drive, and spins out on the gravel, taking off down the road at speed.
Merope "Well, Ras? Care to share?"
Polaris goes "Whee" as she feels the force of the acceleration, and then passes out at her blood sugar probably hits 5000, with a smile on her face
Polaris slumps against Ras cozily
Ras Alhague puts his arm protectively around Polaris, to stop her from thrashing about in all directions as a result of Furud's feverish driving. He pointedly does not answer Merope.
Merope "Sounded pretty important, whatever it was. Important enough to cut class for."
Furud "Station Cassiopeia huh?" He spins around a corner.
Merope "Yeah, Furud. Sounds RIGHT up your alley, doesn't it?"
Furud "Only if Cassie is hot."
Merope "And here you are tonight, too. To think you said you didn't even know Furud HAD a gang, Ras."
Ras Alhague "I didn't." He looks at Polaris. "This is his gang?"
Merope Merope is not to be deterred by Furud's flippancy. "in fact, you probably know Furud better than I do. You're not THAT new here, are you? Yed's your damn cousin."
Furud "No, that's my cousin."
Ras Alhague "I'm new to the high school. But you know I've lived here before, Merry. Are you forgetting what we talked about last night? Or are you doing everything you can to make sure you don't get a repeat tonight?"
Merope rolls her eyes at Furud. "No, YED. Yed Prior. His cousin."
Furud "What, Yed's his cousin? Really?"
Ras Alhague "Why do you think I'm staying over his parent's garage?"
Furud "Isn't that the... kid?"
Ras Alhague shrugs.
Merope "I'm just sick of the lies and the secret cult bullshit, Ras. I want out, you hear me? This star crap, I never wanted any of it. I just thought I'd met a guy who was interested in me for me, but no, it's all games and secret codenames and dark destinies."
Furud rolls his eyes. "Then rip your heart out, Merope, because you're one of us whether you like it or not."
Merope "I am NOTHING like you."
Ras Alhague "Look, I'm not a part of any fucking cult. And nobody picks what they're born with. But here you are - here we ALL are, if I don't miss my guess about Polaris. What the hell are you talking about secret codenames?"
Merope "Station Cassiopeia? Just interested in astronomy, are you?"
Polaris drools just a bit on herself and throws an arm over Ras, turning in her nap
Ras Alhague "You don't know what you're talking about."
Merope "Maybe I don't, but you don't wanna tell me, do you? So what am I supposed to think?"
Ras Alhague "Apparently, the worst. I thought you were different. Guess I was wrong."
Furud "You're far more like me than you'll ever admit, Merope. You will never, ever, be just a normal girl. Maybe one day you'll discover you can actually melt into the walls you try to fade into. But until then, you should damn well stand up." He punctuates his statement by jamming on the brakes. A deer pauses, flicks its ears, then leaps out of the street.
Merope "Fine, fine! I am done with the lot of you
Merope She opens her door and gets out of the car. "Drive on without me. I'll walk."
Polaris wakes up at the sound of the car door
Polaris "What!? and we there?"
Merope (something sings to Polaris, like a minor chord...)
Ras Alhague "No, but you can sit up front now, if you want."
Polaris realizes she is laying like, all over Ras, "Oh."
Merope slams her door shut with as much force as she can muster.
Polaris "Melodrama again?"
Ras Alhague "A bit."
Furud sighs and puts the car in park. "Merope!" He opens the car door. "Come back here."
Merope "I don't need you, Furud, I don't need any of you!"
Polaris gets out of the car and calls out to Merope, "Walking is good for you. Excellent choice to burn off that candy bar."
Merope (something is off... somehting is wrong... and yet, at the same time, righter than it's ever been...)
Furud "Yeah, I know you don't need me." His voice is dark and bitter. "You made that abundantly clear."
Polaris takes the front seat readily, "So I guess I've slept with Ras in the backseat of Furud's car. thinks I don't feel any different."
Merope sits on the dirt bank, by the side of the road, breathing heavily, energy high.
Furud stalks over to her, and crosses his arms, not saying anything.
Merope "It's not true.. none of it.. it isn't true..."
Merope She's sobbing now.
Furud relents a little and crouches down next to her. He touches her shoulder.
Ras Alhague remains sitting in the car
Polaris "I never quite get the drama. People make things so complex."
Ras Alhague "I know what you mean."
Merope "I didn't.. ask for this. I didn't WANT it."
Ras Alhague "You'd think with 8 extra hours each day, we'd spend some of it thinking."
Furud "I know."
Polaris "Yes, its also an invaluable resource for catching up on school work."
Merope turns to look af Furud. "You don't know. You have no idea.." She sniffs. "Watch..."
Polaris wonders if Ras has figured her out yet
Furud watches her intently!
Merope stands, unsteadily, and spreads out her arms at her sides, spreading the fingers. She shuts her eyes.
Merope "This is me." she croaks, through the tears.
Merope Then she rises, slowly at first, but then with building speed, until she's hovering a good six feet off the ground.
Furud 's eyes widen, "Merope!" He says unnecessarily. "You're flying"
Merope She opens her eyes, and then plummets to the floor, landing in a heap.
Polaris mutters to herself, not even looking that way, "I knew she could fly."
Ras Alhague "Fly?" Ras turns to look, seeing Merope on the ground. "Um, okay..."
Furud catches her as she crumples to the ground and lowers her gently.
Merope "You saw it, didn't you?" she whispers, feebly. "I never have..."
Furud takes her shoulders and looks into her eyes. "I saw it. It was amazing."