Disclaimer: I don't own Daughters of the Moon.
Jimena's eyebrows rose dramatically, vanishing behind a layer of thick, black bangs. By her side, sitting—and bouncing—giddily in the chair, Collin frowned unpleasantly, his previous excitement dispersing. The space between them became heavier and awkward. Jimena loosened the scarf around her neck, eyes trained on the card held in her hand. She couldn't muster the right choice of words.
'Roses are red
Violets are blue
I will always care for you'
—Love, Collin, XOXO
Cheesy and corny it was, yet Jimena just couldn't comprehend how… tacky it seemed. Some would find his desperate attempt at miraculously becoming one of the greatest poets of all time in a matter of hours very adorable. However, she knew the exact reason behind it. While she was out planning something romantic and sweet (you know, because it seemed nice to be normal girlfriend for once), Collin must have remembered that it was Valentine's Day a bit too late. She imagined everything that he went through that day, before she arrived at his house:
He would have straightened up from his place on the sofa all of sudden, clicked off the TV, and ran to the phone—calling her to see when she would come over. Once lying to her that his gift was "the God of all romantic gifts this world has ever seen", he would have raced up to his sister's room, knowing how little time there was left, and asked for her to create some epic, love poem. Serena would be leaving already, spending the time with her socially-inept boyfriend, and refuse to write even one word—you know, to watch him suffer and all. When both creepy boyfriend and suddenly-despised sister left, he might have grabbed some random paper, bent it—hamburger style—, and wrote this… sparkly number on it.
It might have explained the sweat and darting eyes of anxiety.
A smile played across her face as she slowly embraced him, much to his sanity and relief. "I love it," she whispered, genuinely honest. For a boyfriend to do all of that under fifteen minutes, and actually create a last line that rhymed with the second one, she couldn't help but feel blissful to have him as her love. Most men would have plastered on a goofy, apologizing grin on their face and offered sex as a substitute.
Collin wasn't that type of man, however.
No, he was her little puppy, loyal and funny and goofy and weird all the same. It mattered so much to her. Rejecting his gift—such as tossing it onto the street and cruelly watching as a truck ran it over, as she'd done before—would have been terrible. She wanted to see his smile, because in so long, she finally felt loved… and in the way she deserved (and truth be told, she never felt she deserved much, what with all the shit she's done…)
"Thank you for loving my crappy gift," he exclaimed, breathing evenly.
"Of course I would," she pouted, using her ultra-sexy Spanish accent, "although, you could have taken those roses over there"—she pointed a finger at a glass vase with fresh red roses in them—"and pretended to have gotten them for me… That might have been much easier."
After slapping a hand to his forehead, he slowly shook his head, back and forth. "No… because this is how I feel for you, honestly." He kissed her lightly on the lips, a beautiful sensation vibrating through the both of them. "Always and forever, I'll love you…"
"Love you, too."
"Happy Valentine's Day," he whispered into her ear. "Now use that super-sexy Spanish accent again."
Vanessa chewed on her bottom lip, eyes glassy as she resisted the urge to cry. She cut through the paper, sculpting the picture on the paper. Weren't students in high school supposed to do things such as this in kindergarten? You know, cutting out pretty pictures for something such as Father's Day. Apparently, even if your father was buried six feet under the ground, it was something you needed to do during the class period. Others actually attempted to make the stupid picture livelier: for their fathers, of course. She could imagine the conversation between said student and parents:
"Oh, honey, it's beautiful! We'll stick it right here, on the refrigerator, for the entire world to gaze in awe!"
Bullshit. It's all just propaganda!
"Are you okay?" Serena kept asking over and over again, cutting apart her own picture, rather reluctantly, seeing as she, too, felt it ridiculous.
The telepath knew the truth. She always did.
As the day progressed, she finally found herself leaning against the glass of the window, Michael pestering her—while he drove her home—if she was alright; stroking her hand and gripping her fingers. She merely nodded numbly and continued gazing out the window and into the sunny streets. A father and a mother, along with their child, strolled carelessly down the sidewalk, all smiles and happiness.
Her stomach felt sick.
It was just another holiday to let parents know that their children didn't hate them as much as it seemed.
"Vanessa. We're here."
Her eyebrows pinched together in confusion. "Why are we at your house—?"
After towing her to the front door and sauntering hurriedly inside, Michael pulled her to the cozy living room. She hadn't met his family yet, and she felt the overwhelming nervousness invade her chest. She was about to protest, but quickly smiled falsely once seeing an older man—his father, probably—enter the warm room. After shaking hands with one another as an introduction, Michael smiled and said something that actually… pleased and stunned her greatly, despite the impending awkwardness looming on the horizon.
"Vanessa, this is your future father… or, father-in-law, I guess."
His father, grinning impishly, hugged her tightly: and embrace so unfamiliar to her. "Hello, Mrs. Saratoga. No, not my wife: my son's."
Michael laughed jovially, and after blushing fiercely, Vanessa hugged him, too, wanting to hold onto the strange hug that she once felt from her father, ages ago. For a second, that same smile only meant for a father flashed across his face, and she grinned even wider. It was blissful and wonderful.
Maybe Father's Day wasn't so bad.
Catty twirled the pretty flower between her fingers, examining its freshly-blossomed beauty, before dropping it into the small cup filled with water; held by Chris, who smiled sweetly at her. She grinned and ran her slender fingers through his short, cropped hair, messing his once neat tresses. He merely hooked his arm around her waist and both sat down on the park bench. She bent forward to toss a piece of garbage into the trashcan beside them.
"People and their littering," she snorted, rolling her eyes. "Don't they care about the earth?"
"I know you do," he murmured lovingly into her ear, causing her to shiver under his warm breath traveling down her arms, a tingling sensation of pleasure. He pointed to the fully bloomed rose that had been plucked and then thrown onto the ground: now placed in the plastic cup they had found. "You're probably one of the few who would celebrate Earth Day." He smirked. "In the middle of July, no less."
At that moment, a man on his bike zoomed by, flicking a power bar wrapper that landed a few inches away from the trashcan. "Litter bug!" Catty shouted after him, shaking her fist to further fuel the angered expression etched onto her brightened face. Chris shook with laughter.
"What?" She shrugged, the same sunshine grin on her glowing face. "I care for the earth. I'm tired of that." She motioned to the construction sight that had cut down several trees on a once empty lot in order to build a new bank for Los Angeles. "Everywhere you turn, someone's chopping down as many trees as they can find."
"How horrible," Chris mumbled through the kisses he was trailing down her neck.
She giggled, arching her shoulders as to contain the burst of ticklish vibrations coursing through her. "Are you even paying attention?"
"Of course," he said, pulling back as to gaze affectionately at her. "I've learned that you celebrate Earth Day during times when "the park just looks nice for a change", you hate 'litter bugs', and you want to protect the earth, one tree at a time." He stroked her cheek with his thumb, his other hand holding her cold hand. For such a warm day, her skin sure felt icy; as if the littering and disruption of earth's beauty managed to make her gloomy… cold… depressed.
"Why are you looking at me that way?" She tilted her head, eyes pained.
"I hate seeing you sad."
She grimaced. "Nothing you can do about littering idiots."
At that moment, a heavy man heaved his napkins onto the ground, his large hotdog still in hand as he stuffed it into his large mouth. What he wasn't expecting however, was for the ball of napkins to be chucked at his face; chili running down his face. He whipped around, only to see two young teenagers fleeing, laughing boisterously and slapping high fives.
What? There are other ways to help save the world that didn't consist of pathetically mentally battling a sinister evil and its mindless minions. Haven't you heard of Global Warming? The icecaps are melting away and the ozone-layer is diminishing! Catty knows it just as much as the fact that aliens are among us on the once water-wielding planet Mars!
The little get-together, as her father had so crisply explained, had escalated to a full-blown celebration of New Year's Eve, the night cold and the party ranging from inside the massive colonial Spanish-styled home to outside in the lush yard amongst the circular tables and plastic chairs. For just "work friends", this sure was a load of people, Serena observed—ties unloosened, work skirts ruffled, once perfectly pinned and cut hair in disarray. It was quite upsetting and disturbing to see your father drunkenly grind against a co-worker (the stereotypical secretary with the shiny blonde locks, cherry red lipstick, and loosened-button-up shirt, and clingy skirt fastened securely to her slender body). To avoid another scene such as that, Serena went upstairs into her room, face burning bright pink in mortification. At least Collin wasn't here to share her embarrassment.
It was dark, the air undisturbed and still. From downstairs, she could vaguely hear the many women and men, talking loudly about mindless chatter, work or not. Wasn't it usually the teenage child that pulled such a stunt? Inviting "a few friends" and having it pour into a hell-bent party with booze (in this case, champagne and wine), mixed music (she could hear the latest basketball game blaring from their massive plasma-screen TV), and people sneaking into vacant rooms to have sex?
Luckily, her bedroom hadn't been chosen.
Serena slumped down on her bed, forlorn, and turned to her clock, wishing to know the time. A hand gingerly flipped it around, and she smiled, watching as Stanton strolled casually toward her, a deep smirk carved onto his handsome face. "They're all too drunk to even realize that a shadow was moving," he joked, and she caught the dark wisps of shadow still seething under him. Clearing her throat, she slid off the bed and moved to stand in front of him.
"It almost twelve." She gestured to the balcony outside her bedroom. "We can see the fireworks from here."
He smiled harmoniously down at her, grasping her hand and towing her out through the French doors. A cool breeze caressed her bare arms. Understanding the cold enveloping her body, Stanton wound his arm around her and pressed her against him. Clouds above melded together, yet the moon continued to burn, silvery and full. She cringed once catching the yellow glint of his eyes.
"It's 11:58," Stanton announced silkily.
Serena nodded and leaned against the rail, gazing upward; into the night. Wind ruffled her long curls, deep burgundy wisps whipping momentarily around her face. A woman in the yard pointed at them and whispered to another, do doubt ready to tell her father, yet at that moment, she cared little about it. A long moment passed before the boisterous chanting of the countdown smashed through the once quiet night. Anticipation threaded through the tranquility raging in her body, and as the last second was shouting, a burst of overjoyed shouts erupted.
A grin tugged at her lips as a barrage of explosions of colors—an outbreak of rainbow-ish colors painting the navy-blue night—danced before her emerald eyes, reflecting against them and brightening them into a sparkling emerald. Each firework sent her heart into an irregular beat, skipping from a slow rhythm to a rock-and-roll acceleration. Honestly, she wouldn't be surprised if her form was glowing with sheer excitement and bliss.
Serena smiled and nodded. "I know…"
"I wasn't talking about the fireworks."
She shifted around just in time to be greeted by warm and inviting lips. Behind them, a tiny flare that smashed upward into the sky blasted; exploding into the shape of a pinkish-red heart that expanded wide.
How overly-romantic-cliché is that?
Although the scum-of-an-apartment reeked with the stench of rotten-cabbage and tobacco-spit, she couldn't help but gape openly, allowing the putrid smell to assault her mouth, peppering her tongue. Silvery, shimmering tinsel and pine-green shrubbery threaded around various jolly objects that orientated the tiny slum. The old, beaten radio—the wire taped together and crooked—played classic Christmas carols, the annoyingly happy tunes stabbing at her patience for the situation at hand.
"Merry Christmas, Cassandra!"
She staggered backward, bewildered, complexion yellowish in unsuppressed horror. Tymmie had shot up from behind the battered couch, adorning a sweater—yes, a cheesy, bright red sweater of itchy wool and corny characters—that caused his lanky form to appear ten times heavier, like some bloated man… or a pregnant one. He carelessly tossed a Santa hat her way, interrupting her open-mouthed, wide-eyed observation.
"What?" Tymmie strolled around the couch as to stand in front of her. Cassandra finally noticed—you know, having been distracted by the odd display of happiness that Followers were never supposed to display or feel—the tin of cookies held in the crook of his arm. A card attached, swaying back and forth on a piece of string, read: To My Darling, Precious Timothy Sebastian Dickson—From, Your Dearest Mother XOXOXOXO.
Cassandra slapped the plastic box out of his hand, the cookies scattering across the shaggy carpet; her fury spewing forth. She could imagine herself as a cartoon character, face masked with crimson and steam curling into the air from her ears. Tymmie blinked several times, jaw hitting the floor, eyes as circular as China saucers, his saddened and horrified shock unmistakable.
When he looked up at her, she gawked at the… glassiness coating his grey orbs, the tears threatening to pour out. She tentatively, without even realizing, reached up to cup his cheeks in some sort of motherly fashion of affection and reassurance. "Tymmie, I-I didn't mean to… If the cookies meant that—"
"My mother made them for me!" Tymmie shouted, stomping his foot on the carpet before kneeling forward and plucking on off the carpet. "I can't eat it now! Just look at what you've done!"
She couldn't blame him. The carpet hadn't been vacuumed in months. Dust bunnies and strands of hair curled around the cookie in his grasp; a dead fly smashed against the honey-colored surface. Face scrunching in revulsion, she gingerly pushed it away and clasped his cold hands in her own, desperately wishing to cool his unorthodox tantrum and uncharacteristic sorrow.
"Tymmie," Cassandra cooed smoothly in a sing-song voice, "how 'bout we make some more cookies? Huh? Wouldn't that be fun?"
Tymmie huffed and crossed his arms. "The oven's busted, remember?"
"Oh, yeah…" She cupped her chin thoughtfully. "We could use… an Easy-Bake Oven." Cassandra did recall seeing one in the dumpster outside earlier, and although the very idea was ridiculous, it was a last resort that did brighten Tymmie's face. He nodded eagerly, seemingly knowing the spot where the oven had been dumped, and skipped out of the room, humming a harmless Christmas song.
Cassandra, trailing briefly behind, caught sight—behind the couch—of a pile of vodka and Corona bottles, emptied of the substance, bone-dry. Understanding came forth as to the reason behind Tymmie's odd, child-like behavior, and she merely smirked widely.
Wait… more importantly…
… His name's Timothy Sebastian Dickson!
Cassandra smiled wickedly, knowing the power she held in her hands with this knowledge.
Derek pressed his back against the wooden door, his eyes clenched shut, entire body sweating from the pure excitement engulfing him in a tight grasp. This excitement was nearing a boiling point, along with the heat pressing against his skin, forcing him to fan his torso with the hem of his thin Iron Maiden shirt. Through the window of the hallway, the moon perched above indescribable clouds; in front of iridescent stars scattered across the night sky.
He and Tianna were going to go trick-or-treating together that night for Halloween, and he was anticipating her costume (him going as an "Emo Kid", complete with the bleak attire, heavy boots, hair fringe, and eyeliner).
"Almost ready!" she called from behind the bathroom door.
He grinned wildly, imagining her costume; perhaps a tight French maid's outfit, the skirt showing off her stunning legs; or even some comic book villainess or heroine, tight leather (Catwoman) or a tiny skirt (Supergirl). He grinned mischievously, but also couldn't help but feel other manly impulses commanding his body, primarily near the black, torn, tights jeans he was currently sporting.
The door smashed open.
His jaw opened in…
No, Tianna didn't follow the "Slut Rule" (as Mean Girls had so kindly explained), but the common, once traditional way of actually being a terrifying figure in the night. She was clad in a glistening white dress that swept to the floor, although painted with fake blood; a black wig that towered high to the ceiling, strands of grey and white streaked on the sides; garish black eyeliner and eye shadow stamped over each eye…
The Bride of Frankenstein.
"Scary?" Tianna supplied eagerly, grinning, bouncing on her feet. "Do you like it!"
"It's certainly not what I was expecting."
She frowned at his level tone. "You seem… disappointed."
"Why would I be?"
Tianna wasn't an idiot; granted sometimes too oblivious and uncaring, but certainly not a moron of any sorts. She knew exactly—especially seeing as Derek was a guy, after all—what he had been expecting and hoping so desperately for. Her eyes narrowed, expression severe, although such a face would always be near impossible to cringe away from seeing as her beauty was too breathtaking and unearthly.
"You were hoping I'd go as a whore."
"—What? No, I—"
"You were wishing for some maid outfit or some leather."
"—Tianna, you don't understand—"
"Well, guess what? I did have something else planned but I wasn't sure you'd like me parading around in a whorish way. I didn't want to make you jealous because of all the guys that would be drooling over me."
"Tianna, I—wait… what?"
She placed her fist on her hip and smirked deviously at him. "You heard me." After briefly stroking his lips and cheeks with her luscious lips, she leaned forward, whispering into his ear, "I'm going as Poison Ivy." Pushing away from him, Tianna strolled sensuously into bathroom again, glimpsing once at him with a coy smile before shutting the door.
Derek nearly collapsed under the heat.