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 Down the Rabbit Hole (aka Meeting the Marshalls), 3 April 2167 | @Bruce
Bruce Vaughan
 Posted: Apr 6 2018, 10:56 AM
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Bruce also said nothing about the proximity or the physical intimacy that had given the Vaughans notions about the extent of their friendship and which the Marshalls surely would share if they hadn’t already formed those opinions during introductions. They had held hands since February, had touched one another’s arms and brushed shoulders intermittently since Christmas Eve. They cuddled after play sessions (as recently as the night before last) and embraced during less intense moments. He found nothing amiss about any of it, because it was part and parcel of how they demonstrated affection for one another, even if he would raise an eyebrow if someone not Reese attempted the same without warning.

His story had been intended to illustrate Reese’s point about the intensity of dance and the agility, flexibility, and strength that resulted. Bruce had never been up to that level, not the way the prima had been, not to the level of being able to kick from that low a position. But they had drifted a bit afield from his point that he had some confidence that Reese wouldn’t have been as much of a jerk to him in high school as his friend professed. Still, the conversation then shifted to the benefits of a league where the Marshall name had failed to garner preferential treatment for Reese’s children.

The mental manipulator mirrored his friend’s smile. “That is nice,” he agreed, before admitting, “I don’t know what the leagues are like in Jacks. I didn’t play sports.”

Surely the shock of a lifetime, that someone who had mentioned dozens of times his disinterest in sports broadly had no experience in childhood with the activity.

When Reese held aloft the box, Bruce carefully set down each card in turn rather than dropping them all at once. “I think it’s nice, getting a glimpse into your childhood. I don’t have anything like that in my life.”

His childhood bedroom was a guest room. Presumably, when Mabel and Avery reached adulthood, then their bedroom would follow the same fate.

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Reese Marshall
 Posted: Apr 9 2018, 08:56 PM
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There are moments that the words don’t reach There is suffering too terrible to name You hold your child as tight as you can And push away the unimaginable The moments when you’re in so deep It feels easier to just swim down
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Reese smiled. It was softer when they were alone, easier to appear, though just as fleeting as it had always been. Just as quickly as it had appeared, it was replaced with a frown and he clapped the top back onto the baseball cards without another word about it.

He'd expressed now and again how he didn't feel like he had the right to reminisce. A guy who had put a bullet through the temple of his wife and children couldn't sit around with a friend, wallowing and remembering the good times with rose colored glasses.

His pain was neverending, but it was self inflicted, and so it deserved no pity.

Moving away to replace the box in the closet, he looked around at the statement about his childhood. He wanted to say something serious; to try to explain that while many of his interests were shown here on the walls, his extracurriculars were so much different than Bruce was imagining. He didn't want a glimpse into his childhood.

Instead of broach the elephant in the room (that Bruce didn't know exited), he oped to make a joke, that, perhaps, broached the other elephant (that both of them pointedly ignored at most every opportunity). "You know, if half of my dates were as interested in seeing my room as you, I would have had a much weaker throwing arm." He gave Bruce a thud on his back to express that he was teasing. "Seriously, though, I don't mind if you look around."

He took a step away to give Bruce the space to look around if he was actually inclined to do so. "You know, Theo's the same way. When he bought his house, they changed his room into a study." He didn't venture a guess as to why they hadn't done the same for him.

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Bruce Vaughan
 Posted: Apr 21 2018, 07:15 AM
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Bruce and Reese fundamentally disagreed about the sequence of events that had claimed the lives of the younger man’s wife and his three oldest children. No matter how many times Reese had blamed himself during his stay at Shangri-La or the different methods of self-recrimination and atonement he sought in Bruce’s presence now that they had become friends, the mental manipulator remained unswayed in his interpretation. That what had occurred as a tragedy and that Reese had every right to mourn such a painful loss.

However, standing here in Reese’s childhood bedroom in his parents’ house here for an Easter celebration with several dozen Mashalls, the holiday that had fallen on Reese’s birthday that they were not to acknowledge because of the holy significance was not the proper time and place to exchange another round of insecurity and reassurance. He said nothing to prod the younger man or to draw further attention to the painful loss; they had to remain buoyant enough to survive this occasion without Reese falling off the ledge or Bruce making a terrible impression for the extended family.

“Or a weaker grip,” Bruce teased. The smile on his lips rested for a long moment, although if anyone accused him of making a masturbation joke, he would deny doing so in front of an audience.

With permission granted, he stepped away from his friend and turned towards the walls to begin examining the room in earnest. His gaze swept over every poster as he walked slowly, deliberately, along the perimeter, pausing every so often in front of some item or another that drew his attention.

When Reese mentioned Theo’s room, Bruce nodded his understanding, although he was fixated on the trophy shelf. “A hobby room and a guest room,” he replied, explaining what had become of his and his brother’s bedrooms in their childhood home.

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Reese Marshall
 Posted: Apr 21 2018, 12:16 PM
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Reese didn't accuse him of making a masturbation joke, of course, but the smile that crossed his face was an acknowledgement. "Jesus, Bruce." he rolled his eyes. The fingers that had collided with Bruce's back lingered there for a moment too long before they were removed and he stepped to the side to allow Bruce to explore.

The most prominent poster on the wall was a Whitesnake poster, which couldn't have been surprising by any stretch of the imagination. It was not the biggest poster, of course. They had been famous, but not in the way that the other posters that lined his walls had been -- Led Zeppelin, The Who, KISS, and Jimi Hendrix boasted the largest posters of the musical variety.

A man named Winston "Waterboy" Clarke wore a pinstripe baseball uniform was the largest sports poster on the wall, save for the general team posters for the Jacks teams as well as . This was not a man who was long dead from the photo quality and attire that he wore, but a man who was, perhaps, had retired with in the last decade. Near it was a hockey jersey, hung in a frame with a puck tucked in beside the fabric.

Reese watched Bruce move around the room, hands tucking into his pocket as he watched him. For the first time in years, he wasn't expecting something to explode; he wasn't waiting for Bruce to turn away and leave without hesitation. He felt comfortable alone in this room with his friend.

"A hobby room?" Reese repeated, as if the idea of a room for all hobbies, instead of specific rooms for each of them was something that he could barely understand. "What do they like to do?" he asked, still allowing the distance to remain between them, though he did for a moment consider moving over to take his friend's hand again.

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Bruce Vaughan
 Posted: Apr 21 2018, 04:08 PM
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Bruce slowly made his way around the room, taking stock of each poster that he sorted into the broader categories of rock music and sports, two facts about his friend that had been apparent from their first lunch together (and which had come up in conversation during his time at Shangri-La as well; Bruce utilized carrots and sticks with his therapy patients). He smiled when he recognized the name Jimi Hendrix, recalling Reese’s enthusiasm for the guitar at the 20th Century-themed diner in September. Of course his friend would demonstrate his devotion to the musician through a large poster on the wall; the older man found it endearing.

“You’ll accuse me of making this up,” Bruce warned his friend, a rueful smile on his lips as he stopped in front of the framed jersey and the attendant hockey puck. This obviously held great significance, but whether it had belonged to a famous player or to Reese during childhood, he could not tell. “My father makes figurines and my mother paints them. They’ve done ceramic together as well.”

They had other hobbies; they kept busy because they enjoyed one another’s company and had always liked being active. When they found themselves with an empty nest, they began experimenting with other hobbies above and beyond how his mother baked and his father had coached little league.

“My father goes jogging every day before work, but that’s hardly an indoor hobby,” he added. He lifted one hand to brush along the frame. “Now that you’ve met him, you saw how much energy he has. He tries to work it off to give my mother the chance to keep up.”

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Reese Marshall
 Posted: Apr 21 2018, 04:48 PM
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Reese had never heard something sound so insane before, and yet, he believed Bruce. Maybe because he was sure that if someone was going to have an idiot hobby like making and painting figurines, Bruce would know the people who did them. Regardless he snorted. "Jesus. You've got to be kidding." He said as he slowly closed the distance between them.

He wouldn't have said that his parents weren't in love; but they certainly weren't in love the way that Bruce's parents seemed to be -- or maybe, Reese just hadn't given them the chance because he was the baby of the family and he'd never gotten his feet under him. Even now, they were picking up the slack.

They were parents again in their mid-sixties to an eight year old.

"Put in a word for a garden gnome if they take commissions." Reese offered sarcastically. He had moved up behind his friend again, their proximity only appropriate because they had deemed it so and neither of them pointed out that to a set of average friends, standing with shoulders touching was far too close, and the way that Reese's fingers slipped back into Bruce's was utterly inappropriate.

"My parents got that for me when I got onto the varsity team in high school." he offered. "Bob Roscoe -- fuck, you remember that huge fucking tragedy like twenty years ago? He was going to get rookie of the year by a landslide, but he went off the road like six days before it happened. So this jackass Leon Walker got it, which didn't make any fucking sense cause Walker was shit and it's not like you can't give someone a fucking trophy post mortem, ya know? Anyway, he was like... my idol in high school. That's his old practice jersey from his first year at GNU." Even if the words meant nothing, the enthusiasm in Reese's voice was impossible to miss.

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Bruce Vaughan
 Posted: Apr 21 2018, 05:29 PM
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“I warned you.” Bruce knew how it sounded, because his parents’ relationship had always been rock-solid and they could be the protagonists in a movie aimed at retirees, the ones where character development and relationships took higher priority than deep plots and focused on life after children and how affection grew stronger with each passing year rather than waning as metabolism slowed and hair grayed.

He scoffed at his friend’s sarcastic barb and shook his head. “Ask them yourself in a few weeks.”

Passover began in less than three weeks. Bruce’s mother had extended an invitation to Reese, who had already promised to attend. If the younger man wanted something – not a garden gnome but perhaps a small token of an animal or an athlete – to keep on his dresser. Knowing his parents, Bruce felt confident that they would agree.

The brush of shoulders together prompted Bruce to lower his hand, offering it to Reese should he wish to resume the touch from earlier. Unsurprisingly, the younger man did, and a moment later, he felt the warmth of Reese’s palm as their fingers interlaced.

“That’s an incredible piece of memorabilia.” Bruce admittedly had no memories of the death of a prominent young athlete from two decades ago. In 2147, he had been a workaholic at a different job, tasked with helping his patients recover from all manner of addictions which included intense therapy regimens and random sweeps for contraband. The deaths that caught his attention then were overdoses and exposure from the homeless population who died frostbite in the winter or heat prostration in the muggy summers.

Then, to draw the humorous distinction between their families he remarked, “When I made my dance team, my parents took me out for ice cream.”

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Reese Marshall
 Posted: Apr 21 2018, 06:11 PM
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Reese was standing close enough that he could smell the fragrance that Bruce had put on that morning without leaning in. At some point in the future, he'd admit that the smell reminded him of Bruce even when his friend wasn't standing by his side and was one of the reasons that he nestled into every available surface of Bruce's apartment that had his scent wrapped into the upolstary.

"Jesus. You'd think they'd do a fucking special on them for ANNie's filler shit in the morning." he breathed without malice as his thumb ran over his friend's skin. "Happiest couple in Ark with the most bizarre hobbies."

His eyes were still resting on the jersey on his wall. "It wasn't when I got it." he offered, as if that made it more reasonable; as if any player's jersey and signed puck was equivalent to going out for ice cream, regardless of the quality thereof. "Actually, it still isn't. Most people don't remember him..." he shrugged, "He never had a chance to make it big, you know? So he had some crazy story, but... that's not a 500 mil career and 18 game winning goals in a season, you know?"

Fact was, even if Reese didn't process it for himself, people didn't care about someone else's tragedy. Bob Roscoe was no one.

"You done looking around? Or you want a black light?" he teased. Bruce still hadn't met Tammy, after all. And Reese only now regretted not giving her a disclaimer before the morning of.

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Bruce Vaughan
 Posted: Apr 21 2018, 08:52 PM
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Bruce chuckled and shook his head. The thought was an endearing one (although, in truth, he didn’t consider his parents’ hobbies that bizarre; Shangri-La had changed his perspective long ago) but not applicable, albeit for a different reason than Reese might expect. “That would be nepotism.”

His brother served as ANNie’s News Director and had been with the station for far longer. It would be a bit unseemly for him to air a segment about their parents, even one as innocuous as highlighting the strength of their marriage and their mutual affection and shared hobbies. More so with Bruce’s campaign underway; undoubtedly, Ramsey’s people would accuse them of subtly stealing air time since his parents had conceived him and shared his surname.

He listened carefully to Reese’s lamentations about this player’s tragedy, and it was tragic to lose one’s life that way, irrespective of athletic prospects. He nodded and agreed that it was different, and that this was no substitute for the career and life that he had lost out on. To become a cautionary tale rather than a star.

However, much like Reese’s emotional baggage, musing on this would only add stress to an Easter celebration that had yet to begin. Thus when the younger man inquired about leaving, Bruce nodded again. “I’m done. I’ll use my imagination instead of a black light.”

A smile lit his features, and he squeezed the younger man’s hand. “Introduce me to the rest of your family.”

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Reese Marshall
 Posted: Apr 23 2018, 07:21 PM
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Nepotism wasn't at all what he had been expecting. Maybe a comment about how his parents' hobbies were not that odd; maybe some tease about how Bruce's parents that would make a teenager cringe, but would make an older bracket smile at the idea that love was for any age and could last into going grey.

"Well thank fucking god." Reese snorted when Bruce said he'd use his imagination instead of a black light. He raised a brow as Bruce requested that Reese introduce him to the rest of the family. Somewhere in the back of his mind, but nowhere in the front of it, he noted how strange that statement was coming from a friend instead of a lover. He'd of course had girlfriends and boyfriends alike request to meet his family; there was some drive that he couldn't quite put his finger on to see where he had come from that was wholly separate from being part of the Marshalls (or so he thought; perhaps naively).

His fingers were wrapped in Bruce's still as he took the little handle on his door to pull it open. (It was a separate piece from where the knob would have been.) He made no comment on the lack of real privacy and in no way pointed out that the door of his room was eerie as he closed it behind him without the satisfying click that a bedroom had when walking out.

"You know, I think you're going to be disappointed," Reese offered as they started down the hall, hand in hand with his friend as if they were two little boys could hold hands and it didn't have a hundred implied meanings. "I think I told you I'm the loudest in my family. And I know I'm a fucking chatterbox, but... I think you're going to be disappointed."

He hesitated at the stairs overlooking the front door and stopped. Clearly trying to figure out how to say what he wanted to say, and, in a style singular to him, failed horrible, decided against it, and lead him back down the stairs where they were met with the butler again, who directed them to where the family had gone.

The main floor looked far less eerie than the upper floor, though the locks on the door were all hook locks from the outside as if the house were at least two or three centuries older than it was. They walked into what could only be called a "great room." It looked something like a ball room, with a long open space set for a party. The patio doors opened fully, like an accordion onto a patio that was likely the foot print of two, maybe three, houses in Jacks, white tables lining the patio. It was more akin to a catered wedding at a country club than a family-hosted event.

A somewhat shrill laugh abraded them as they entered, and then silence fell. Reese felt eyes move towards their hands, and for a split second he considered pulling away, instead he brought Bruce towards the little circle that had gathered -- there were three new faces, Tammy, easily identified as Theo had his arm wrapped around her, and two gentleman around Julian's age both of whom smiled when they saw Reese, and seemed almost flustered to be greeted with the same, and then left after the shorter one shook Julian's hand.

Tammy turned around. Her tone was not soothing; her volume was not quiet; and her expression was not sweet. The words came came from her lips were: "Bruce Vaughan." She glanced at Theo, who looked uncomfortable, "I thought you were kidding."

Reese cleared his throat. For a reason he couldn't fully put into words, his hand touched Bruce's chest for a split second as he said the words: "Bruce, this is Theo's wife. Tammy." And he didn't have to say any more than five words for his distaste for the woman to become apparent.

She was shaking her head and said something beneath her breath to Theo that Reese couldn't hear, though the way that Theo removed his arm from around her waist might have been an indication that he didn't agree with whatever the sentiment had been.

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Bruce Vaughan
 Posted: Apr 25 2018, 06:56 PM
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“I thought you were joking.

That was hardly the least flattering greeting that Bruce had received over the years, although it hardly constituted a pleasant one. Whether she directed that towards her husband, indicating that Theo had informed her and that this could be a feature of his humor, or she spoke more broadly to address Reese and nobody had expected the Bruce Vaughan at a Marshall family Easter celebration. Bruce filed the first possibility away in the back of his mind but went forward as though the second was the cause of her remark, and ignored the rudeness entirely.

A genteel smile lit his features, and his blue eyes sparkled in the light, every bit the social butterfly who had made a place for himself at Nocht. He had every reason to be here, a guest as valid as any other, and he would not be intimidated or ashamed of who he was or his origins. He was an Evolute from Evesdown, and he ran a pleasure retreat, but he had lived in Haven for a third of his life, and he had built it all himself. He took pride in that, and he could blend in despite his origins.

Bruce extended one hand towards Tammy, palm curled upward to take hers. Despite Reese’s obvious distaste for the woman, the mental manipulator behaved as though she was the belle of the ball. “Tammy, it’s a pleasure to meet you. I hope that services were lovely this morning.”

His friend had mentioned that the entire family remained practicing Catholics and would have attended Mass. Bruce had spent that time eating breakfast and ironing his shirt.

His left hand remained laced with Reese’s beside him. Just as when he had met her husband, Bruce chose not to address this demonstration of intimacy. He had told the truth upstairs during their time alone; if his friend was comfortable, then he was comfortable with the demonstration. Holding hands at a family Easter celebration would not make or break Bruce Vaughan’s reputation in Haven.

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Reese Marshall
 Posted: Apr 25 2018, 08:19 PM
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Reese would not have been anything near as smooth if he had been the one confronted with ... well, Tammy. He had once or twice told her off in the middle of a party. He often tried to retract her invitation without cutting Theo out -- and a few times tried to schedule events on days or times he knew that she would be busy.

But Bruce was Bruce and Reese thanked his stars in that moment that he had invited the single most grounded and patient man he had ever met. (Perhaps, it was the reason that he could deal with Reese, a man who got under people's skin from a love of doing so without a Master's in Irritation from Nocht.)

He watched Tammy's expression change slightly -- not from something hard to something soft, but from something cold to something pleased. She was not a creature to be tamed, but to be won over -- like a tiger who pretended it was listening until its claws were piercing its owner's sternum.

She set her hand into his and waited for the kiss before moving his hand away. "It was. I didn't see you there, Bruce." Her eyes turned to Reese, "Or you, Reese. You know Easter is a family holiday. I'm sure Wendy would have enjoyed your company." Her eyes flicked down to their entwined fingers then back up. She stood still, but Reese felt like she was creeping closer.

He pulled his hand away from Bruce's, muttering the word sorry as he moved towards the patio to get air.

Julian swooped in, hand moving onto Bruce's back. (Reese had given the warning that his family didn't really understand personal space, and perhaps they were just trying to prove their youngest wasn't a liar.) "Ask Reese to show you the tea room, son." he suggested, "And then Reese can introduce you to the rest of the family table by table, if he gets excited."

For his part, Reese had stopped in the doorway, hand on the frame while his other hand rested at his side and he stared out into the manicured garden that made up their back yard. He had been clear enough the last few times they'd talked about family get togethers. He left after a couple hours, if it was an amazingly good day.

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Bruce Vaughan
 Posted: Apr 25 2018, 08:52 PM
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Bruce’s expression remained as patient and engaging as it had been the moment prior, but he inwardly frowned when Tammy mentioned Wendy by name. The mental manipulator had avoided asking about her whereabouts because he understood the effect that she had on his friend, through no fault of her own, and Reese had been in such good spirits from the moment that Bruce had stepped foot in the manor. Bruce filed this away with the remark from earlier and her half-hearted non-excuse about not having realized that they were present when it left her lips, despite the statement making sense only if she had seen him (after all, how could she confirm his presence without his presence?). He attributed this to the concerns of the moneyed class.

Neither Libby nor Isaac would behave that way at a family event, as evidenced by Bruce’s birthday party last Sunday.

He released her hand after kissing the back; seconds later, Reese’s fingers slipped from his other, prompting the older man to turn his head and follow his friend’s movements as he retreated to the patio.

The touch to back would have startled him if he weren’t on today, and if Reese hadn’t warned him about physical contact – something that their families shared despite the abundance of extroverts in the Vaughan clan and the dearth among the Marshalls. Julian called him son, a nickname that felt strange less for the fact that they barely knew one another and more from Bruce unused to hearing any such diminutive. One man in all of Ark called him that or by any number of other affectionate nicknames – Kiddo, Buddy, or Champ – his father, and the only woman was his mother. Bruce adopted the more authoritative role with everyone else in his life, from employees to clients to his younger siblings and his nieces and nephews and his girls and his sex partners and his friends. Still, he set that internal reaction aside, nodded once, and smiled gratefully at his host. “Thank you, Julian. I think I will.”

He extricated himself from Reese’s father, the smile still on his lips, before he went in search for his friend. Upon finding the younger man standing in the doorway staring out at the yard, and he carefully sidled up to Reese, ensuring that he didn’t emerge from Reese’s blind spot. Warmly, he remarked, “I have it on good authority that you should show me the tea room.”

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Reese Marshall
 Posted: Apr 25 2018, 09:24 PM
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There are moments that the words don’t reach There is suffering too terrible to name You hold your child as tight as you can And push away the unimaginable The moments when you’re in so deep It feels easier to just swim down
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Tammy seemed entirely unfazed. In fact, the laughter that burst from her lips came after another whisper that she said to Theo and patted his chest as they moved back towards the foyer to greet guests with Esther.

Julian lingered only long enough to make sure that Bruce found his way over to his son and that Reese engaged again. They all worried.

Not sneaking up was likely one of the wisest choices that Bruce had ever made. Reese's eyes were glazed over the way they were when he was lost in thought and memories, but he came back to himself when he saw Bruce approaching and he forced a smile onto his lips. "Hey, Bruce." He offered, as if his friend hadn't said anything.

He didn't reach for his hand, only because he was still picking up pieces and putting them back into their spots to make sure he didn't fall apart today like he had during Valentine's Day or as he almost had the weekend before. He was scared -- the way a kindergartner was frightened to see his friends again after having an accident.

"Uhm." Finally, he glanced over. "Yeah, alright. I can show you the tea room." Still, he didn't reinitialize the touch. "It's so fucking stupid." he offered. His hand finally moved from the door frame and he started to walk outside. "Uhm... If I... If you can't find me at some point... Just knock on the door, I'll let you in." he said simply as they moved towards what appeared to be a large, enclosed gazebo. "If you don't knock though, it's six years back luck." he joked, but it didn't sound like one.

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Bruce Vaughan
 Posted: Apr 25 2018, 09:41 PM
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Bruce’s smile came more easily, genuine and gentle, as he settled beside the other man. When his friend’s hand remained in place at his side, Bruce folded both of his hands behind his back, adopting a parade rest position as he gazed out at the lawn. From the corner of his eye, he studied Reese’s posture, his expression, his deflated aura and the way that he struggled to maintain his composure.

It would be a long and fraught holiday f the past few minutes provided the template.

However, Julian’s suggestion bore fruit, and Bruce fell into step beside Reese for their journey onto the lawn rather than retreating deeper into the house. Curious, as he’d assumed that the tea room was one of the many rooms on the first floor, off to the side of the dining room where another family might have built a breakfast nook. He lapsed into silence as they walked, waiting for the younger man to initiate conversation and content not to force him; their friendship worked in part because Bruce new when to prompt Reese as a distraction and when to remain silent and provide him with room to think.

When Reese finally spoke, it was not to denigrate the tea room further or dismiss it as a worthwhile tour destination. Instead he offered a cryptic instruction. To knock if Reese disappeared, with the promise that he would be allowed inside – a metaphor for their friendship if ever one existed. The mental manipulator’s patience and persistence had been rewarded over the past six and a half months – he had knocked – and Reese let him in as a result.

“Duly noted,” he acknowledged and then let the matter drop. Best not to dwell on possibilities while the younger man remained in good enough working order to give him a tour at present. They neared the gazebo, and Bruce decided to offer an anecdote from his own family. “We had something like this in the backyard too, but we didn’t call it a tea room.”

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RPG-D RPG Initiative Candyland Couture Shadowplay
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Maelstrom: You create the galaxy Vector Code 8 Age of Heroes

ideal world TR UNTIL DAYLIGHT: POST-APOC, TLOU BASED XL OHaV A marvel infinity war rp Marvel Heroes RPG GLITTER & GOLD

Δrk City Δrk City Δrk City Δrk City Δrk City Δrk City Δrk City Δrk City Δrk City


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