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"It feels like we're in some bloody nightmare."
Leading his twin away from the crowd of people forming at the Thornhill threshold, Saul wiped his cheek where Penelope Blossom had kissed his cheek in greeting before he wiped his own mouth. Their parents—at the behest of their mother, no doubt—loitered behind, most likely to express just how devastated they were about Jason, a boy they utterly detested because of his family's privileged life and wealth.
The tears, the thoughtful words were nothing more than a ridiculous performance.
Simon King, nonchalant and silent as always, calmly stood beside his wife while she spoke with Penelope. Their father had given up fighting against his wife's desires and demands long ago. That was probably why he spent most of his time in his study emptying bottles of Bourbon.
Sophia and Penelope kissed cheeks in greeting, their mother no doubt offering sympathy which the redhead took before she shook her head and looked over at Saul and Stella.
The look on her face told them everything; their vibrant outfits weren't wanted and approved.
At this Sophia was quick to nod in agreement, eyes searching for Stella who still wore her coat. She gave her daughter a once over then shook her head, it obvious she knew what her daughter was hiding.
Right or wrong it didn't matter. What only mattered was what Sophia King wanted, and Stella was going to be admonished.
"You noticed how she looked at my suit? The both of them?"He vehemently murmured, looking back over his shoulder at the Blossom parents, lip curling up as they almost happily bathed in the attention. Especially Clifford."The guy just can't stand being outdone, does he? He's busting out of that suit-"
"Hey, hey, hey!"Stella softly interrupted after hearing Saul's voice raise in pitch, pulling at her brother's arm and turning him from their parents, shaking her head with an encouraging smile."This isn't about them, you said it yourself."
"Let's just go in and say goodbye, okay?"
The male twin took a moment to collect himself before he finally made a sound of agreement and offered Stella sister his arm once more. She happily accepted and let her brother lead her into the room the memorial was being held in. They followed the crowd that was entering the room, most dressed in black and sending the twins disapproval glances which were no doubt directed at their choice of clothing.
And, as if on cue, their parents passed with the Blossom parents, their mother completely blanking them while their father, as usual, looked more than reluctant to engage.
"If there is anything we can do..."
Suppressing a scoff, Saul watched after his mother pull his disinclined father along behind her during her conversation with Penelope.
Leaning down, the King male didn't even attempt to lower his tone as he remarked."Maybe we'll get a break while she's kissing their ass."
Unable to hold back a small giggle which was quickly halted when the brunette remembered where she was, Stella's eyes widened, and she sought out her mother. Preparing herself to be scolded, Stella breathed a sigh of relief when her mother simply strutted off, too engaged in the conversation with Penelope to have heard the remark.
Entering the room where the memorial was being held, Saul shook his head to himself at the mundaneness. There were a bunch of flowers, of course, and while they were vibrant, it didn't seem to rid of how lifeless everyone and everything seemed.
He refused to look at the coffin.
Stella saw a flash in Saul's eyes and tightened her grip on him."Come on."
Saul numbly nodded, walking with his sister down the aisle, brow furrowing at the people sitting in the chairs. Nobody spoke. It was an eery silence that made him agitated. Jason wouldn't have wanted that. Jason had been a lot of things, and one of those things had been fervent. He would've wanted memories shared by his beloved sister and few friends. He would've wanted to be remembered by those who'd known him.
And, as he was also melodramatic, he would've wanted tears.
"Y'know, for a second I thought it was just another infantile, sick jape Jason pulled or something."Saul suddenly said, unable to hold back a low chuckle as they made their way down the aisle."Our birthday is soon, and it's like him to pull a stunt to remain in the limelight."
Stella sent her brother a bemused look as she gestured to an unoccupied row, noticing their mother's clutch on one of the chairs. Sophia wanted to sit as near to the front as possible because it was where the nearest and dearest sat.
Allowing her brother the chair at the end, she sat down."Sounds like something you would do."
"Yeah, it is. That's why I liked him."Swiftly unbuttoning the of his suit jacket so that it didn't crease, Saul made a sound of agreement, mouth curving up into a small, pensive smile before sitting."He was a cheeky sod and just as vain. He'd always do the age before beauty thing, anything to remind me that he'd always be a year younger than me..."
Saul paused to smugly smirk at his sister before adding."...and I would always remind him that i'd always be a year older than him."
Stella mumbled words of comfort to her brother, squeezing his hand comfortingly.
"Yeah, Jason was fun and games."Saul's smile suddenly disappeared as his eyes landed on the coffin. But he quickly looked away, eyes becoming clouded with something unreadable before he bitterly hissed."Until someone shot a bullet into his head."
Eyes wide, Stella turned to her brother to scold him for his sardonic but upset words only to be stopped when she heard her own name being hissed.
Stella instantly straightened in her seat, crossing one leg over the other, her hands meeting in her lap politely and she forced a wide smile. She was a lady and ladies, especially King ladies, are expected to be refined and elegant, a voice in Stella's mind—oddly sounding like her mother—reminded the young woman.
Resisting the urge to flinch as her mother's fingers took hold of her chin, she allowed her head to be raised so that she could meet her mother's dark eyes.
"Do you have any idea how you've made me look?"Sophia quietly rebuked as she ushered her husband into the seating aisle, hovering over her daughter like a dark cloud."Penelope and Clifford believe I orchestrated this...this ambush. You completely disregarded my feelings and-"
"Ambush?"Saul raised an eyebrow, resisting the urge to laugh at his mother's chagrined expression."Really?"
A cold shiver ran through Stella as her mother's eyes bore into her own."Mother, I didn't mean to-"
Suddenly her mother let go of her chin and Stella breathed a sigh of relief, almost falling forward before her brother caught her. She touched her chin, still feeling her mother's grip on her.
"Soph, not right now."Simon quietly cut in, sitting down with a long sigh and a tired shake of his head, not wanting to draw attention."It's already a sad day. Just leave them be."
Sophia's eyes widened at her husband, and she tightened her grip on her hip, sending him a glower that would've made him drop dead if possible. But after so many years of being on the receiving end of it, Simon brushed it off. He leaned forward to look past his wife, offering his children a tight but sympathetic smile.
"I know he was your friend."
While Saul merely nodded in acknowledgment, Stella allowed herself to smile at her father, something that soon faded when her mother shoved her husband back into his chair to get passed.
"Do not undermine me; you don't know anything!"Sophia quietly hissed, sending her husband a warning glare and promptly sitting down but shifted away from her husband as possible."It's not like you are ever around to play the doting father card anyway. You can get off your pedestal and stop making me the villain."
The jab was brushed off as usual as Simon straightened in his chair. He sent his wife a sideways, false adoring smile and nodded.
Penelope Blossom passed down the aisle, slowing down as a young raven haired girl in a black dress approached her on her way to the chairs in the back. They shared a polite nod before swiftly passing one another. Without reason, Stella found herself following the girl with her eyes, turning her head to notice a small group of teenagers.
"Days like today really put things in perspective, huh?"The raven haired girl whispered to the group as she came to a stop, smiling small as she sat down."I mean, at least we're here. At least we're alive."
Two rows behind him sat a group of five teenagers that seemed to now be six as the dark haired girl made her way over to them. Crowded together closely, whispering now and then while watching the crowd of mourners carefully, especially the Blossoms.
Careful not to catch her mother's attention which proved to be possible because she was still quietly arguing with her father, Stella said her brother's name under her breath.
When he responded, she nodded behind them."Who are they?"
Saul gave an uninterested hum but did turn around to take a look when his sister nudged him.
"Must be Riverdale High kids and I have no clue."The male twin offhandedly answered after a quick glance, raising his eyebrow curiously at a male dark headed teenager who wore a suit as well as a hat."In case you haven't noticed, we left that netherworld."
Stella rolled her eyes at her brother once again, gesturing for him to expand.
"They couldn't have been friends of his. He was a junior, and they're what? Sophomores?"Saul focused on each person with a bored stare, still amused by the teenager in the hat who looked seemed just as agitated as Saul felt."Jason was an elitist; he wouldn't have made friends with them. He wasn't fond of the kid in the hat and, a varsity jacket or not; he wouldn't have liked the redheaded one."
Lips curving up, Stella made a sound of understanding, speaking Saul's thoughts aloud for him.
"Jason liked being distinctive with his sister."
With a blasé nod, Saul made a move to turn back around, but his eye caught a familiar blonde. She sat next to the teenager in the hat; hair pulled up into a ponytail. She seemed out of place, eyes flickering around.
"But I sort of get why the blonde's here. She's Polly's sister, right? They've got the same eyes."Saul's eyes skimmed over the blonde in an observant manner, taking in a few familiar features she shared with her sister."Jason's Polly."
Saul and Stella shared a look, both remembering the young couple fondly before both recognized a middle aged man passing by the blonde. Hal Cooper.
"Oh, here we go."Saul muttered, lip curling up at the sight of the Copper patriarch, memories of Jason complaining about him coming to mind."Bad blood or not, pretending to grieve for a native is good for their image. But there's no changing that he despised J."
Saul scowled at the older man before making a move to shift back to the front, and Stella copied him but not before glancing back at the group one last time.
And, when she did, Stella's eyes met a pair of dark orbs.
She was a little startled at first but collected herself when the boy staring back at her raised his eyebrows questingly. The boy with the hat, Stella had mentally labeled him, didn't look away as he silently inquired as to why she and her brother had been staring at their group.
Stella simply stared back and, curious as well as bemused, his eyes narrowed at her. Any other time Stella would've been nervous, but it was hard to be intimidated by him, simply because he looked more awkward than she felt.
But, as their stare continued, a staring contest that the rest of the group started to notice, the boy shook his head, as if he suspected her of something.
Stella would've been offended, but then again everybody was a suspect.
"What is it?"The raven girl quietly demanded as she turned in her chair.
Stella silently observed as he, while still carefully watching her, leaned closer to Betty and quietly ask."Who are they?"
Sharing a confused look with the boy for a moment, Betty turned her head in Stella's direction when he nodded over to her.
Stella shifted her eyes to the ponytailed girl. Betty's eyes met her own Stella forced a benevolent smile before offering her a small, almost sympathetic nod.
"Acquaintances. I don't really know them."
As she quietly replied to the boy with the hat, Betty smiled back though her smile looked even more forced than Stella's was. Both had been raised to act perfect, no matter what the situation or their own feelings.
That was what refined, ladies did.
Feeling her brother nudge her arm for attention, Stella was the first to break their little staring contest and shifted back around, crossing one leg over the other.
Saul gestured to the group behind them."I can feel the hatred."
Taking a moment to listen to the mutters, not a lot of the words fond, Stella sighed before looking over at her brother.
"Jason wasn't an angel, but he wasn't a snake. He was a teenager on the school team dating a cheerleader like a billion other teenagers."Saul ranted more to himself than anyone else, sneaking another look at Hal Copper whose expression showed no sympathy."But they just couldn't let that his last name go."
Saul swallowed the string of curses that he wanted to let out but forced himself not to. As he collected himself, the male twin allowed himself to look over at Jason's picture. The redhead male twin smiled back at him, and Saul allowed himself to smile back.
"How could they control them like that? I don't get it."
"It's just easier, Saul."Stella quietly replied without realizing it, but her brother didn't catch it. Crossing leg over the other, already hearing her mother's scolding tone, Stella made sure the dress was covered underneath her coat."It's easier to just-It's just easier."
"Thing is, they killed him long ago."He couldn't breathe without them telling him when to."Saul ground out, eyes boring into the Blossom parents, feeling the urge to laugh as Penelope dabbed at her eyes with a tissue. He shook his head, staring at them for another moment before he nodded to his own mother and father."And it'll be one of us someday."
Suddenly feeling the urge to defend herself, Stella parted her lips to reply, but her brother suddenly got to his feet, as did everyone else in the room. The last Blossom had arrived. But despite this, Stella, still thrown by her brother's almost damning words, remained seated.
Until her mother's shrill voice snapped the female twin out of her daze.
"Stella, sweetheart..."Her mother's exaggerated sweet tone was like a blow to the stomach and, before she could react, Stella felt her mother take hold of her wrist. The brunette was pulled to her feet and pulled against her mother."Pay attention for once."
Stella stiffly nodded, shaking hands meeting behind her back. Both middle fingernails dug into her thumb so painfully with such pressure that it rid of her anger a little. Swallowing the lump in her throat, Stella once again forced herself to smile respectfully.
That was what refined, ladies did.
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