Hang on a second...is that...what you think it is? Well that depends what you think it is so I'll let you answer that, but it's an update (congratulations if you guessed right!) In honor of Halloween, have this beautiful update which may or may not actually be horrible. I'm actually semi-satisfied with it but I could also find ways to improve it, but I wanted to get it up and improving it would have put it at like two or three pages longer. It will suffice. :) Hopefully you guys enjoy it though!
Disclaimer: Although it is All Hallow's Eve, alas, none of the producers/whoever owns the right are dead enough to come back from the dead as spirits roaming the earth to give me the rights to O&A, so alas, I don't own anything.
Guest (who reviewed first, unless you're the same guest...guest-ception!) - I'm glad you like it! :D I'll see what I can do about the more often but I make no guarantees unfortunately. :(
Mr Willis of Ohio - I will do my best! I'm glad you liked Lily's b+w, I was a bit nervous for that one. As for Katie's background, do you mean like her mom and stuff? They mentioned that in the 3rd season (I think? Unless I'm going mental?) so I wanted to include it! :)
antlan87 - Thank you very much! Yes, should be interesting, I'd like to know myself! :P
Alyssa - Thank you omg! :')
troglodytic - Haha didn't feel like logging in eh? :P I'm glad I seem to have gotten Tad right! ;) You're welcome, thank you for continuing to read it!
Guest #2 - Here ya go. :P
twin-who-likes-to-travel - You sir, have stuck around this whole story. You are so awesome, thank you! :') I haven't posted this in the Yahoo group, I'm not even entirely sure where to find it? :O I see nothing wrong with those story ideas, did you end up doing anything with them? Um some of the other "get over writer's block" suggestions on my friend's site were things like thinking up different back stories to get more into the characters (if it's AU that'll work for fanfiction!). I'm not really sure what else, I can't find the website, but I hope you beat the writer's block!
B+W Testimonial: Eli leans forward, hands clasped, elbows on his knees, looking right into the camera: "Change is good. You know?" he nods to himself, affirming the idea "Like, everyone's always so opposed to it, to what's different and new. Always against it, always afraid of change. We shouldn't be because change is what makes things happen, you know? Without change we wouldn't have Jimi Hendrix, we wouldn't have metal, rock 'n' roll! We also wouldn't have crappy pop music but…" he shrugs "there are ways to pretend that was never invented. It's like the establishment, pop, and everything else is trying to challenge it, change it. And all those big wig producers get their panties in a bunch about these new sounds and new vibes and new thoughts. Establishment was fun in your hayday guys but like," he smirks. "A little anarchy never hurt anyone."
Eli scribbled furiously, notebook held high above his head, arms extended. The print was lighter than he would have liked it, it being in pencil and all, but he was comfortable and the position seemed to be doing wonders for his inspiration, so he wasn't about to change it up. Gravity helped a little, but the biggest thing was that he was getting everything down.
He finished his train of thought and paused, looking at the marks on the paper, notes hastily scrawled. It was different than what him and the guys usually did, but with some persuasion from his new girlfriend, he managed to convince them to try it out. It wasn't exactly going well, but he wasn't going to just stop. This was something good, he could feel it, and as he read the chords he had down, a new string of them quickly flowed through his consciousness, and he threw the pad down and picked up his guitar from where it rested on his stomach. He positioned his fingers and started mapping out the new thought, strumming lazily, but concentrating hard, brow furrowed.
"Bah," he muttered, and quickly sat up, peering over his guitar and picking a B chord. It wasn't quite right…
He turned over, picked up the pencil, and scribbled down the note nonetheless, putting a question mark next to it for safe keeping. He'd ask the band about it at their next practice.
A knock on the door made him scowl but not look up from his work as he shouted at whoever it was, "Busy!"
"Eli?" the timid voice on the other end caught his attention, and he looked up from his instrument.
"Yeah, it's me, ah…can I come in?"
Eli huffed a sigh, thoughts still spinning around his music, still riding the euphoria of thinking of a new song, a new angle, a new thing entirely. But…and as much as he still didn't really love his sister butting into everything he did…she was his sister. After a few seconds of deliberation, he nodded.
"Yeah, fine," and turned his attention back to his music, fully intent on ignoring his new houseguest in favor of figuring out his next composing move, but still looking up when the door actually opened to greet his sister with a none too pleased look. "I'm working on some music stuff but feel free to just chill I guess," he offered, indicating the floor, newly cleaned but still a little messy. Jessie looked at the spot and then back up at Eli, who returned the look and patiently waited for her to take his offer. Instead, she folded her arms over herself and broke eye contact, looking down and around and not saying anything. Not even looking like she was going to say something, just not taking a seat.
Eli narrowed his eyes. "Jess, sit down," he said, with a little more insistence, and she looked at him uncertainly.
"How do you deal with fights?" she blurted, looking away again as soon as the words were out of her mouth, the ground suddenly becoming interesting and her cheeks flushing a bit.
"I tune them out mostly," Eli said flatly, "Now are you gonna sit? I really need to get back to this-"
"No like," Jessie pursed her lips but pointedly ignored the suggestion, "I mean with your girlfriend. Or a girlfriend, any girlfriend. What about with Carla?"
Eli stared at his sister, unsure where she was going with the question, exactly, and unsure if he should actually answer, ideas still buzzing. Finally, he set his guitar aside and heaved a large high, letting his shoulders drop.
"I guess…no, I just tuned it out." Jessie looked confused, so Eli decided to elaborate. "Carla would start yelling and I would start yelling. It got to the point where neither of us was listening to what the other person was saying, we were just trying to be louder. When we didn't yell, I usually didn't want to hear what she had to say so I wouldn't,"
"That doesn't sound like it would work very well," Jessie murmured, and Eli nodded.
"Yeah, it didn't. Eventually she'd get me to listen, or I'd think about what I did hear, and I'd realize I was wrong, and we'd admit the miscommunication, move on. I was never good at fights, not a fan of them, but they make for good music. Some of my best stuff comes from when I was mad at Carla."
"So you literally didn't do anything to try and make it better?"
Eli laughed, "Of course I tried to make it better! Gifts, calls, flowers. But the fact of the matter was either she missed my point or I missed hers, and it would take us a while to admit that. That didn't mean I wanted to be fighting, and I'd try everything to get us to stop," Eli shrugged again. "Look, Jessie, I don't know what to tell you, but everybody fights, and all the fights are different. Remember how Mom used to jump the gun whenever Dad would start to say something during a fight? She was always on the offensive and he would be on defense until he couldn't stand it anymore, and then he'd leave? Or make her leave? Everyone fights differently Jessie, you'll just have to figure it out as you go,"
Jessie glared at her brother, obviously nonplussed with the answer, but Eli couldn't really care. He picked up his guitar again. "I'm sorry but it's just a fact. Why? Having guy troubles?" he shot her a glare of his own, and watched her set her jaw.
"No." she lied, unintentionally starting to pout.
"Oh really?" Eli raised his eyebrow. Jessie didn't answer, opting instead to stand stoically.
"Fine then, if you're not gonna leave, sit down and tell me what you think of this new stuff I'm writing, okay? I need input, Stephanie's not exactly the best source, she's a little biased."
Jessie scowled. "What do you do when you fight with 'Stephanie'?"
"Don't know, haven't yet," Eli gloated, turning his gaze once again to his now stormy-expressioned sister.
"Will we ever actually get to meet this girl Eli?" Jessie shot.
"Don't know," Eli answered, just as quickly.
"How old is she?"
"My age," was his fast response, again, and Jessie's scowl deepened.
"She into drugs?"
"God, no. Calm down mom!" Eli snapped, instantly feeling bad as Jessie's angry face dropped off into glum again, watched his sister do that incredible trick of receding into herself and making herself appear smaller, far more vulnerable, scared.
"Oh Christ, I-" Eli put his guitar down when he saw the very real tears pooling in the corner of his sister's eyes. "I'm sorry Jessie, that was a little steep, I just really am getting into this music stuff and-"
A strangled sob interrupted him and he was off his bed in a second, wrapping the smaller girl in a hug. She didn't resist, merely fell into his arms, her own stiff at her sides. Eli could feel the ragged breath that she must have had the entire time, but he'd been too irritated to notice.
"Christ Jessie, I'm sorry, that was out of line," he pulled away from the hug, grabbing Jessie by the shoulders and looking her square in the eye.
"S'okay," Jessie muttered, not looking at him, eyes downcast again, cheeks starting to turn red from tears.
"No, no it's not, first I ignore your question and then I call you mom, god I'm the worst brother ever!" Eli tried to make her smile, even a little, knowing she would understand the quip about their mother, but it didn't work. Instead she stuck her bottom lip out further and tried to choke down another round of quiet sobs.
"Oh jeez," he pulled her back into the hug. "Did your guy friend do this to you? This mystery guy? Did you guys get in a fight?" he pulled back again, stepping back to hold his crying sibling at arm's length, to get a better look at her. "Did he hurt you?"
She didn't answer, just gave a quiet hiccup, and Eli felt bile, angry bile, rising in his throat, his features contorting to show the rage, both at himself and this mystery man who would dare hurt his sister. "Oh I'm going to kill him!"
Jessie hiccupped again, but shook her head.
"No? Jessie, what the hell kind of fight would make you like this, huh? I mean it's great if he's a good guy and everything and I'm happy for you but has anything else happened? Like…am I missing something? Did…did he hit you?" Fear began to build inside of his stomach, fear and rage.
"Oh god," Jessie said, and then, to Eli's complete and utter shock, laughed. She laughed and rolled her eyes and looked at the ceiling, eyes slightly red, tear stains on her cheeks, and a laugh replacing the sobs. "No, no, nothing…" Jessie shook her head, hiccupping again. "Nothing like that."
Eli breathed a quick sigh of relief. "Oh…oh, well…alright then. So you guys just got in a fight?" he questioned, and Jessie nodded, then shook her head.
Eli let go of his slightly calmed down sister and straightened, eyeing her warily. "Give me something a little more confusing Jessie, please."
Another laugh made him feel slightly better, but the sniffle that came after it didn't help much. "I…"
She swallowed, audibly. "It's…I think it's actually my fault…I guess you and I are similar in our fights." She shook her head. "I was listening but I wasn't and then I just left but, I couldn't help it," her features became clouded again, a spark of fear igniting behind her retinas.
"Couldn't help it?" Eli tilted his head, "Jessie, seriously, you're confusing me even more. What-"
"I'm scared Eli!" Jessie almost shouted, startling both himself and, by the look of astounded confusion on her face, herself. The look morphed into one of pain, delicate, a house of cards that needed almost no provocation to fall. He hesitated before he started, but finally:
"Scared of what, Jessie?" Eli asked softly. When she didn't answer, Eli could feel his own fear building up inside of his stomach. Who, or what, could have his sister so damned scared? He'd never really seen her like she was before him, terrifying in her frailty, except for the few really bad fights leading up to their parent's divorce. "Is it…did he threaten you?"
"Gosh, no," she shook her head, frantically almost, "I'm scared…" another hiccup, but Eli waited intently, putting his hands back on his shaken sibling's shoulders. "Of you."
Eli stared at his sister for a moment, confusion rippling through him. She was scared of…him? He felt his group loosen on his sister, but she was already saying something else.
"And mom, god, mom," the tears started again, "and dad, and Lilly, Judy, Sam, the brothers, grandma, grandpa, Adam," more and more tears for each person. "…Mom." She added again, finally closing her eyes.
"Jessie," Eli pulled his sister into a hug again, completely baffled. "Why are you-"
"Because you might hate me! You and mom and everyone!" she pulled away, pushed away, bringing her fists to his chest and trying to force herself out of his arms, but he tightened them before she could get far.
"What?" he demanded, and Jessie choked back a sob.
"I'm scared that you'll hate me and that you'll reject me and that you'll tell mom and she'll be disgusted, and that dad will hate me, and that everyone will hate me because the world is so full of people who hate people like me and-"
"People like you? Jessie I don't-" Eli started, but was cut off by his sister who, with a surprising amount of strength, pushed herself out of his brotherly embrace and backed away, shaking her head, tears flowing steadily again.
"Don't make me say it," she husked, quietly, turning away from Eli. "Please,"
"Jessie what are you talking about?!" Eli finally managed to get a sentence in. He reached forward, but Jessie turned around, violently throwing her arms at her sides and screaming.
"I'm gay!" she got out, before a horrified expression took over her features.
Eli paused in his outreach immediately, frozen, looking at his sister as she looked back at him, face a mess, eyes absolutely terrified, and startled, looking confused, dazed, as if she couldn't believe the words were out of her mouth. Out in the open. Eli just stared, taking his sister in and only snapping out of it when she really started to cry, full-out gasps for air as he watched panic settle in her eyes.
"Please don't hate me!" she managed to get out, and Eli closed the hand he'd extended to his sister, still taking her in, still watching her as she got worse, slowly started to become hysterical.
"Please say-" but it was her turn to be cut off as Eli crossed the room in a single stride and enveloped Jessie in a tight embrace, tighter than he was sure he'd ever held her, pulling her close and keeping her close, feeling her body struggle for breath through the racking sobs. She didn't relax, just stiffened until Eli breathed out near her ear.
"Jessie, I could never, ever, ever, ever hate you," he said, quietly, feeling his own set of tears prickle at the corner of his eyes and pushing back the feeling of being slightly insulted that she could dare to think otherwise. "Oh my god Jessie," he whispered, "I…"
She stiffened further, if it was possible.
"I am so, so, so proud of you," he murmured, squeezing a little extra for emphasis, and felt, immediately, all the fight leave his younger sister's body as she practically collapsed into him, wrapping her arms around her older brother and crying even harder, face buried in his shirt. But he didn't mind. Not in the least.
Questions rattled around in his brain, but instead of asking them, he looked down at the top of his younger sister's head, and decided to clam up. There would be plenty of time for questions. Now was not one of them. They could wait.
A knocking on the door startled Karen out of her doctor-approved home exercises, and she walked towards it, almost fully recovered, but not quite there. Nonetheless, a smile of pride was plastered on her face when she opened to the barrier to the equally smiling face of Henry.
"Knock knock!" he said lamely, and Karen grinned.
"I wonder who that is," she teased, and then nodded for him to come in. She turned around and walked into her house, heard Henry close the door and then follow close behind.
"House to yourself today?" he questioned, looking around, "Seems a bit quiet!"
"You could say that," Karen nodded, smiling.
"I could, yes, but…" Henry reasoned, picking up on Karen's slight aggravation.
"Well, technically we have the house to ourselves," Karen plopped down on her couch, Henry following suit. "But Eli's in his room in the garage and Jessie went over there a little while ago. To my knowledge, she hasn't returned, so…"
"We have the house to ourselves," Henry started.
"But we have to behave." Karen said, sternly.
Henry looked at her, appalled, and put his hand to his chest.
"What you think of me! I would never, ever, in a million years, take advantage of an empty house with my beautiful girlfriend." He quipped, and Karen nodded along, almost smiling, having a hard time containing her amusement.
"Well good, we've reached an understanding then," she teased back.
He nodded tersely. "Yes, of course!"
"Good," she laughed, eyeing him as he continued to nod, still holding up the rouse rather well.
"Yes, good," he agreed, still maddeningly nodding.
Karen watched for a moment longer before swatting his head lightly. "Okay, stop now," she laughed, and he did the same.
"So," he started, turning to Karen, "you missed me, huh?"
"Yes, yes I did," she responded. He raised his eyebrows.
"Good. Because I missed you too. I guess we have many things in common, don't we?" He shot her a pointed look, and Karen couldn't help but bite her lip. She screwed up her expression as though remembering all the things they had in common.
"Why yes, yes indeed, I do believe we have many things in common."
"Good," he said, eyes sparking, all of the joking suddenly sucked from the room into the void of his darkened eyes. Karen hesitated only a second longer than Henry did, and just like that, she met him halfway, lips meeting his and a satisfied noise coming from his or her throat, she couldn't tell. He pushed forward a little, and she pushed back and just like that, his tongue was asking permission and she was granting it. He put his hand on her thigh and a shiver ran through her at the touch, so dearly missed…
"Oh my god, ew,"
Karen jumped away from Henry fast, breath coming in quickly as she and her partner in crime were caught red-handed by none other than her own daughter, who had her hand covering her eyes, cheeks burning a deep red.
"Jessie," Karen choked out, in a hoarse voice. She coughed, Henry joining her, perhaps to correct his own voice. Maybe he didn't trust it.
"Ew, just…ew. Mom," Jessie said, hand still over her eyes, "I uh, really need to head to therapy now…"
Karen felt a blush creep up on her, and Henry coughed again into his hand.
"Oh, um, right, therapy!" Karen chirped, suddenly awkwardly cheerful, her voice still not quite righted. She paused, and Henry still sat frozen next to her, and Jessie still hadn't come out from her shell, her cheeks burning a light pink.
"Shall we go?" Karen asked finally, just to break the tension.
"Depends, can I open my eyes?" Jessie asked meekly.
"Jessie," Karen chastised before she could help herself.
A chuckle from Henry all but startled her as he seemed to come back to life. "Of course you can Jessie, I'm sorry about that. It's just your mother and I haven't seen each other in a while."
"Congratulations," Jessie said, finally peeking between her fingers. "I'm happy for you two, can we go now?" desperation laced her words and Karen sighed.
"Yes, of course," Karen said, before hesitating. Though she'd been driving more and more since meeting up with Henry after the fight, she still couldn't help but be nervous behind the wheel. She still drove five miles, at least, under the speed limit and would spend a very long time at stop signs, but like her recovery, she didn't let slow going stop her. "Go to the car, I'll meet you out there, I just want to say goodbye to Henry,"
"Ugh, too much information," Jessie muttered before turning on her heel and disappearing.
Karen looked after her daughter helplessly and turned to her boyfriend.
"No advice on her, I suppose?" she joked and Henry held up his hands.
"Nuh-uh, I learned my lesson," he answered, cracking a smile.
She returned it and sighed, hanging her head. "I guess I should get going then,"
"Yes, probably. I'll see you for our date later, okay?" Henry asked, and Karen nodded.
"Definitely," she assured him, and Henry stood, holding out his hand to help her up. She gratefully took it, and out they went, Karen remembering to grab her keys right before they walked out the door.
The ride was awkwardly silent, with Jessie staring out of the window, her mind lost, but seemingly not on what she had walked in on.
It made Karen nervous nonetheless.
B+W Testimonial: Karen purses her lips: "All adults fear their children getting older. Because there's so much we need to protect them from, and so much that we can't. Boys, drama, bills. Boys. The very things that our parents and their parents tried to protect us from but that we eventually fell into as well. It's inevitable but we don't stop it. Try as we might, there comes a time when our little ones start to awaken, and though we can threaten and yell and scream and cry all we want, they will still do what, and who, they want. We did the same thing, but we still try and change it. We just never understand until we're parents just how important things like sex are to a relationship, and how important it is to talk to our children about it. The problem is…" she sighs and runs a hand through her hair, "Actually talking to your kids about it."
Karen hesitated before opening her mouth.
"Jess?" she started, and Jessie turned to her, her expression relatively blank.
"…Look, hunny…about what you saw…" Karen hesitated, and Jessie turned up her lip in slight disgust.
"Oh, god mom!" she shook her head and looked back out the window.
"What? Jessie, it's not so bad, you do know about…all of this, right? Like, they taught you about this in school and-"
"Yeah so please don't," Jessie turned to her mom, pleading, and Karen had to fight down a sympathetic look.
"So you know that it's just something people do in relationships, and-"
"Yeah but I don't need to know about it!" Jessie blurted, "Or see it for that matter…" she muttered as she slouched in her seat, folding her arms.
"Oh and what, like you don't do the same with the boy you're seeing?" Karen snipped, and Jessie snorted, to her surprise.
"I…" Jessie started, and then immediately clammed up.
"See?" Karen asked, shaking her head, "I don't want to know about it either, Jessie, but it's just things that people do. Do you really think I want to think about some boy, who I haven't even met yet, defiling my daughter?"
"I…'defiling'?!" Jessie asked in disbelief, and Karen nodded, a small smile giving away that she realized she'd made a slight over exaggeration.
"You know what I mean." She responded. She sighed after a second's pause, feeling the tone shift from slight amusement to total seriousness. "In all actuality Jessie, we both know what people do…err, behind closed doors. I don't like knowing any more than you do,"
"You don't know anything," Jessie muttered mournfully, under her breath.
Jessie rolled her head to look out the window, shutting her mother out as she said "Nothing."
Karen fixed her gaze ahead, deciding to just let her daughter be, when Jessie suddenly turned back.
"I…yes. I do do those things…with who I'm dating," Jessie swallowed, but Karen managed to force herself to not turn and look at her daughter despite her heart jumping into her throat at hearing the confirmation. Partially because she was driving and partially because she was afraid she might scare this sudden streak of honesty. "I mean we…haven't gone like, all the way yet, and probably won't for a while. And I know to be safe, to wait until I'm ready mom," Jessie suddenly fell quiet. "I'm nervous. For that. And a few other things. I just wish…" she choked on the words. "Well, I'll come to you if I have any questions. Even if you don't want to know…"
A long pause made Karen hold her breath.
"I want you to know." She whispered, and Karen looked over then, Jessie's hands in her lap and her eyes on her hands, looking childish.
Karen turned back to the road, but felt a smile slipping across her features.
"I'd really like that," she said, and they fell into silence once again. It didn't last long. "When do I get to meet this fellow?"
Jessie merely heaved a sigh.
Hmm...what do you guys think? Is it okay? I think it's gonna get the ball rolling for the next few episodes. Bring it on! :3 See ya next time, have a happy Halloween!