Looking For a Little Canon in D
Chapter Five: Crossroads
Florina was happily painting her toenails an interesting shade of blue when suddenly, Rebecca's fist came down on the surface of her computer desk.
"You stupid mage!" she shouted at the screen. "You pyroblasted yourself into oblivion!" Grumbling in annoyance, the young woman tugged on the end of one of her braids and drummed her fingers against the desk before turning toward Florina, "Either that or she ice-blocked more than just herself. My stupid computer's frozen!"
"M-Maybe you have a virus?" She glanced sadly at the blue streak across the top of her foot before wiping it off with a cloth covered in nail polish remover.
"Nah." The other girl sighed and held in the power button until the screen turned black. "I hate shutting my baby down wrong." Then, after a pause, "But maybe I should scan for viruses, since I haven't done that in a few weeks."
Nodding, Florina put the finishing touches on her pinky toe. "What do you think?" she asked her roommate, turning her foot this way and that.
"Cute, cute. But why blue and white?"
"School colors." Smiling shyly, the small girl shrugged. "I thought it'd be fun."
"It looks nice. You're so artistic, Florina. I'm a little jealous!"
"B-But you can't be! I couldn't even get past level one on that game, and you're so good at it!"
"I'm sure that with practice, you'd get better at it," she said encouragingly. "You sure you don't want to try again? If we got more players, we could raid Crossroads."
Confused, she tilted her head to the side. "Crossroads?" she asked. "Why would I want to raid a crossroads?"
Rebecca rolled her eyes. "To annoy the hell out of the Horde of course," she said matter-of-factly. "If you kill all of the quest-givers, the other players can't turn in the quests they worked so hard to complete! It's a ton of fun, believe me."
"…Right." Honestly, she had no idea what it was Rebecca was talking about. It was probably the only thing that she didn't like about her roommate. On one hand, her enthusiasm for her game was a good thing… It brought her closer to Wil, after all! But on the other hand, she had a tendency to talk to people about it, and no matter how hard she tried to explain whatever it was she wanted to explain, it just didn't make any sense at all. To anyone.
Crossroads and killing people and annoying other players didn't sound like fun, exactly.
"Oh, but if I run a virus scan, it'll take forever… I'll have to run over and tell Wil that it'll be a while before I can finish our epic adventures of epic win."
"Okay." It was a typical, customary response from Florina, especially when Rebecca used the word epic excessively. As an afterthought, she capped her bottle of nail polish and stretched her legs out. "You should study, 'Becca. Exams are coming up really soon…"
"Ah, I'm set," she said, waving a hand dismissively as she turned her computer back on.
Sighing, Florina flopped down against her pillows, "Really? I hope I can p-pass my exams."
"Oh, you'll do fine. You take notes, don't you? You pay attention, don't you?"
Florina glanced at the wall where one of her many drawings was tacked to a bulletin board. She distinctly remembered drawing that with a professor's droning going on in the background. "W-Well…yes," she answered meekly, too embarrassed to admit that she didn't always give the strictest attention to her professors.
Rebecca was nodding, but she wasn't paying her roommate any mind; she was staring at her computer screen as she brought up an anti-virus program and began scanning. "I guess I'll head over to Wil's, then… Maybe I'll watch him play while I wait. Want to come with me?"
She was going to say that no, she really didn't want to go. And truth be told, she'd rather stay where she was. Her bed was warm and comfortable, her toenails were neatly trimmed and freshly painted, and the thought of putting on warmer clothes wasn't exactly appealing.
She could hardly wait for warmer weather. She knew it was coming, and soon.
But it was still uncomfortably chilly and the thought of standing outside in it for even a minute didn't sound like fun. But before she could protest, she found her coat dumped on her head along with her scarf and a pair of fuzzy blue socks.
"O-Okay," she managed to say as she hurriedly tugged on her socks and then slipped her feet into her boots, all the while trying to get into her coat.
Before she knew what was really happening, they were standing outside of Wil's door, and her friend was pounding on it mercilessly as she stared at the wall trying to remember the trip across the street.
It had happened so fast, after all, that she didn't even remember seeing her sister's rusty pile of metal in the parking lot. While she wracked her brain to try and come up with possible reasons for such a thing happening, she realized that a grinning Wil was waving his hand in front of her face.
She blinked and flushed as he laughed.
"Nice to see you back in the real world, Florina. It's a nice place! Come on in. And excuse Guy, he's been out of it all day long."
"O-Only because you kept trying to play that game of yours on the computer while you played tennis on the Wii."
Florina glanced over at the bed closest to the door to see a lump speaking with a pillow over its head. Shaking her own head, she stepped close to Rebecca, crowding the other girl enough to make her push her away a few inches.
"I'm a great multi-tasker," Wil said, nodding toward Florina. "Don't listen to him."
"No you're not, you let your bear—"
"—His name is Foofles!"
"Fine. You let Foofles die while you jumped all over the room waving that remote around."
"Let me guess," Rebecca said, hands on her hips, sly grin on her face. "He didn't fasten the strap on the Wii-mote."
Suddenly, the lump changed positions, and Florina stifled a gasp as Guy appeared from beneath the blankets and pillow, revealing a large rectangular red mark across his forehead. "Gee, what makes you think that?" Then, a moment later, his whole face darkened in a blush, and he mumbled out a, "H-Hello, Florina."
"Uhm…hi," she managed to say in response, still feeling nervous from his sudden appearance.
The fact that Rebecca was in stitches behind her after seeing what Wil had done to Guy was lost on the small girl. She had known Guy was in the tangle of blankets, but…but she hadn't thought, really…that he'd actually speak to her, again.
A-And he was so cute, too! She flushed a little, remembering the look on his face as he noticed her presence. He probably hadn't expected her to be standing so close to him, either.
"So Guy, how are you feeling? I heard Matthew was over here trying to end your life or something." Her roommate crinkled her nose and smothered a grin as she sat down, her back against the wall. Florina joined her almost immediately. "Stupid seniors," she teased, elbowing Florina. "They think they're so great, just because they're almost out of school forever. It's just like being back in high school."
"I'm okay," he answered after a moment. "Matthew's evil plot didn't succeed."
"That's good." Rebecca turned to Wil and pulled her knees up against her chest. "I'm doing a major virus scan. It might take some time. That's why we're here bothering you."
Just then, the scariest sound Florina ever heard reached her ears, and she immediately clung to her roommate.
Wil laughed and bent over to give her a friendly pat on the head. "That's just Cruelfin," he said wisely, nodding. "He's a murloc."
"A… A what?" Confused, Florina let go of Rebecca only to hear more of the same sounds. She cringed and blinked up at her brown-haired friend.
"A murloc," he repeated. "From the game."
"A lot of murlocs," Rebecca said sharply. "Wil, you idiot. You died again."
"Aww, I forgot that I was actually playing," he muttered, diving for his computer. "I can't believe I was just gang-murdered by a bunch of murlocs…and I'm only level 12! I'm too young to die!"
"At least you didn't let Foofles die again," Guy muttered from his safe place. "I-If you girls could hear the way he carries on every time the bear—I mean, Foofles—dies, you'd be happy to see him play something other than a hunter."
"I-I played a… A uhm…" Florina looked at her roommate helplessly.
"A paladin," she said.
"Y-Yeah," she continued. "A paladin."
Guy peeked out at her from beneath his pillow. She could hear the nervousness in his voice, "I haven't played that game. I'm poor, and I don't want to end up like…him." He pointed a finger over at Wil, who was frantically pushing buttons on his keyboard and sliding his mouse around as his tongue poked out of the corner of his mouth.
"Booyah!" the young man shouted, nearly falling backward out of his rickety old computer chair. "Cruelfin, taste my priestly wrath!"
A loud clang and then a thud, followed by what sounded like a moan floated to Florina's ears courtesy of the speakers hooked up to the computer.
"Guess what, Wil?" Rebecca smirked. "You died again."
"I suck at this game!" he exclaimed. "Now I have to run back to my corpse!"
Florina almost wanted a hard surface to smack her forehead against. Wil was just about as bad as Rebecca when it came to the game. Guy must have noticed the confused look on her face, because he spoke up.
"If you die in-game, your spirit has to find your body. I've seen Wil die enough times to understand how the game works."
"Whereas I never die," Rebecca shrugged. "And Wil, if you'd stop smiting things for like, two seconds so you could heal yourself, you might make a good priest, because you're not really very priestly right now, just…smite-ly."
"But I like smiting things!"
"You should smite some of those equations you haven't finished, yet," Guy said smartly.
"I get A's," he replied, squinting a little as he resurrected his character. "That's all that really matters."
"Y-You don't even have to try."
Florina could tell that Guy wasn't really bitter, but she could sense a little jealousy in his tone. It reminded her of how she felt when she looked at other people who just hung out and had fun and seemed really comfortable about it, like it was the most natural thing in the world to do. She looked down at her lap, feeling a little awkward and out of place.
"Whoa, TheWench signed in!" Wil's gasp was ignored by everyone save Rebecca.
"Who's that? I can't believe you'd call someone a wench!"
"No—it's Hector's character!" he said, still in awe. "He's still level 1, though."
"I can relate," Florina muttered under her breath, glancing up at Guy, who smiled at her shyly from under his blankets in response.
"Guys, guys!" A pause, and then, "Er…everyone. We should have a gamer party!"
Wil ignored the thud/groan combination that indicated his character had died…again, and opted to stare at his pigtailed friend, instead. "What?"
"There'd be two of you," Guy said.
"No, I think Nino plays, too. And we could invite Hector…"
"Okay, I lied. Four of you."
"Five, because Jaffar stalks Nino everywhere."
"I heard they were lovers."
"W-What kind of thing is that to say? She's so young!"
"Age doesn't stop everyone," Rebecca shrugged.
"Yeah, Rebecca would know." Wil gave her a smirk, and she wasted no time in springing up from her spot on the floor to grind her knuckles into the top of his head.
"What's that supposed to mean, huh?"
"M-My best friend!" he choked back, attempting to hold her at bay while Florina and Guy stared at them both.
"Your best friend was my brother, you psycho!"
"N-Not him!" he said back, finally grabbing her hands and holding her away at arm's length. "Raven! My other best friend!"
"Self-proclaimed best friend," she answered back. "He never really liked you that much."
"Or you, apparently."
"He did too! He just didn't want commitment."
He peered over at Florina. "She's delusional," he said, letting Rebecca go.
"Okay, so he might have waited until the next morning to tell me that he didn't want anything serious, but that was a big mistake and it's not going to happen again!" She gave Wil a kick to the shin and took her seat next to Florina again. "Just don't go around telling everyone that," she said to both Florina and Guy. "It wasn't exactly a proud moment of mine, y'know?"
"We all have moments like that," Wil said reassuringly.
"Like the time you tried to go on an adventure with Dan? You packed up all your favorite things—including a cutesy little teddy bear, I remember—and made it all the way to the park in the middle of town before Dan ran back home and left you there."
"It almost ruined our friendship," Wil complained, making Florina smile. "We were going to go on epic adventures together! We were going to see the ocean, become pirates, look for treasure!"
"But he skinned his knee on the see-saw, instead."
"…Yeah, pretty much. That was enough adventure for him."
Leaning back against the wall, Florina chewed on her lower lip and grinned. She'd wanted to go on adventures as a child, too, especially after entering foster care and being shuffled around to various homes… But she'd been too scared to actually leave any of the houses she'd lived in. Her foster parents had always been nice, but…she couldn't help but want more. She had been selfish, then.
"I still want to have a party," Rebecca said.
"You can't have it here." Guy pulled the pillow away from his head and Florina noticed his unraveling braid.
"Of course not. We couldn't fit a party in here."
"A-And exams are…are soon…"
"Maybe after exams…to celebrate!"
"That actually makes sense, Wil. Also, you're still dead."
"B-But who would host it?"
"Look, TheWench just reached level—" he looked over at Rebecca, "—Hector! He could host it! He's rich, lives in a huge house, and I heard that the weekend after exams is the weekend his brother will be out of town on business!"
"How very convenient…" Rebecca sounded so sly that Florina wondered if she'd heard her correctly.
"So it's settled, then?"
"Sure, tell Hector, though. We don't want to start a party there without his knowledge."
"…Or do we?" Guy was grinning, but dropped it immediately. "I was only teasing," he said when the others stared at him. "T-That's what Matthew would have said, I think."
"We have to invite him," Rebecca said shortly. "He's old enough to buy alcohol."
"S-So is Sain." Everyone turned to stare at her, and Florina flinched. "I-I mean, uhm…"
"We'll invite them!" Wil pumped a fist into the air enthusiastically. "Exams are the week after this one, right?"
"Yep. One week of studying left. I'll need every second." Guy sighed, and put his pillow back over his head, hiding his expression from view.
Florina had to agree. She'd have to buckle down and study hard, or else she knew she'd find herself struggling with her own exams.
"Don't worry," Wil told everyone. "Focus on studying. I'll get things worked out and when I get the details, I'll tell all of you so that you can invite other people." He looked terribly proud of himself, his chest puffed up and a grin on his face.
Florina wasn't sure if she would go or not. Social situations—especially involving alcohol—weren't exactly high on her list of things to do, but maybe if Lyn and Rebecca were there, things wouldn't be too bad. She could always leave early if she wasn't having fun…
Fiora was exhausted. She had always made it a point to wake up before noon, even on the weekends, but for some reason, it was one in the afternoon and she was groggily trying to force her eyes to open and stay that way.
"By the light of Saint Elimine," a voice said quietly. "I think she's finally awake."
She turned over and regarded the figure sitting at the desk on the other side of the room with lidded eyes. "I'm up."
"You stumbled in at daybreak," the redhead accused, tucking a few strands of hair behind an ear before turning back to her computer. "I was worried. You're never out that late. I had the room all to myself."
Hesitantly, Fiora looked down at her blankets, and then her roommate.
"What's that look for?" the other girl said, not even bothering to turn around. "Heath and I might have been in here, but it's not like we did anything, you know, questionable."
Truth be told, the still-sleepy Fiora wouldn't have doubted it if Priscilla had taken a roll in the sheets with Heath. It wasn't like they hadn't slept together before, after all. So long as it wasn't her bed, and so long as she didn't have to witness it or hear about it, she supposed she didn't mind.
Heath and Priscilla were both adults, and nothing she said or did would convince them that practicing making babies was not a good idea. They could get in all the practice they wanted, and if Prissy ended up pregnant, Fiora would just have to laugh—to herself, of course—while feeling sorry for the poor baby.
"Right," she finally remembered to say, though it sounded sarcastic and not at all intelligent.
"I didn't think a prude like you would ever manage to go on a date, so you really must tell me how it went." Priscilla smiled over her shoulder at her, an indication that she was joking—or perhaps only half-joking. "I can't believe you went out with Sain, though…"
"You went out with him, once." She finally managed to tumble out of her bed onto her feet. "And then you dumped him, after months of saying how you thought you were destined to be with him."
"Yes, well… He does have a way of boosting the self-esteem and the ego, you know? But I tired of it, and our personalities just didn't mesh as well as I'd hoped." She shrugged and typed out a few sentences before saving the document she was working on. "I'm done with this essay, so I hope you're ready to spill your guts."
"About what?" she asked, feigning innocence. Priscilla was a nice girl, for the most part, but it didn't make her feel any more inclined to tell her anything. She knelt down and dug through the drawers beneath her bed in an attempt to find something comfortable to wear. The day was looking like a good Lay-Around-and-Do-Nothing kind of day, and she intended to do just that…after a shower and a change of clothes, of course.
The look on her roommate's face was more than worth it. She looked a bit sour, but also amused. "Don't think that'll work on me." A grin spread across her face as Fiora moved toward the door, and she leapt out of her chair, throwing her arms out across the space of the doorframe, still smiling. "Come on," she prodded. "Tell me what kinds of shenanigans you were up to last night. Stumblin' in at daybreak, sleeping in your clothes… It's all very unlike you, Fiora! And I know Sain drives that SUV of his, so the back seat is—"
"Don't be so sick," she retorted, crossing her arms over her chest, her tote of bathroom supplies and her clothes in hand. "It was a crazy night."
"Crazy, hm? So you did utilize that spacious backs—"
"I did no such thing! Now please, get out of my way. I think I have spaghetti in my hair."
"Whoa… now that's just kinky."
The palm of her free hand met her forehead in a glorious display of sound. "Look, if you let me get cleaned up, I will tell you about what happened."
Priscilla immediately moved out of the way, a triumphant smirk on her face as she nodded her approval.
"But only the barest minimal details," she continued, making her exit before her roommate could voice any complaints.
Saying goodbye to Lyndis wasn't as simple as Kent originally thought it would be. Every time he considered actually leaving her in that house alone, he changed his mind and decided to stay for 'a few minutes longer', which of course ended up being several hours.
He wasn't sorry that he had stayed—on the contrary, he almost felt that him falling asleep was a good thing. If he hadn't been there, he doubted that she would have taken proper care of herself. Being ill tended to make a person less likely to get out of bed for any reason, and he knew that cooking food for herself while sick would be very, very low on her list of priorities.
Chemistry equations and studying would be much higher on that list.
Unfortunately, he needed to get home. It was already early in the afternoon, and he almost dreaded walking in the front door. He could only hope that his father was still asleep, or thought that he'd woken up early to go somewhere.
He set a couple of pieces of warm toast—with butter and honey, the way she liked it—on a small plate along with some medicine, and poured a glass of juice for her before tentatively climbing the stairs that led to her room.
He'd never actually walked around the second story of Lyndis's house. Her bedroom was up there, and so was her bathroom, and he'd always felt awkward even thinking about going there—like he was invading her personal bubble, wandering about in a place he had no business being.
He still didn't feel entirely comfortable, but he had to tell her that he was leaving, and bringing her something to eat for a late lunch would give him two excuses to climb the stairs.
He found her room at the end of the hall and knocked softly on the door, getting no response. She was still asleep then, he determined, and carefully cracked the door open to peek inside. Sure enough, there was a lump under the blankets on what he assumed was her bed, and he let himself in, leaving the door open.
The plate and glass found a spot on her nightstand, and he leaned over her, hesitant to put his hand anywhere to shake her. She was completely buried under a ridiculous amount of blankets, and he couldn't make heads or tails of the shape of the lump. She had to be curled up in a ball, and he wasn't about to put his hand someplace it didn't belong.
His fingers prodded around at the front of the bed until they found the edge of some of her blankets, and he peeled them back, uncovering her head. She cringed a little at the sudden coolness against her flushed cheeks, and internally, he sighed, hating the battle that began all over again. His heart waged war against his mind, and he knew that even with her looking so sick and tired, even though he felt that she needed him—though perhaps that was inclusive to his own rampant hopes—his mind would win yet again.
"Lyndis," he whispered, gently patting the side of her face. His thumb rubbed lightly over her cheekbone, once, twice—and he had to pull away, worried that if he didn't, he'd be unable to stop before she woke up.
It was a few moments before she stirred, and when she opened her eyes, he was dismayed to see them looking bleary and confused. "Hi," she said softly, her accent thick with sleepiness. She closed her eyes again for a long moment as she took a deep breath, and tried opening them again. This time they were a clearer green, and her voice sounded steadier, "What's up?"
He held out the plate of food and waited patiently for her to untangle her legs from her blankets before she rose to a sitting position. "Food and medicine," he answered. "Don't forget to take more in four hours."
She nodded and took a bite of the toast before swallowing the offered pills with the juice he'd provided for her. "I need to study," she said. "I have things due tomorrow."
"You should get a little more rest, first," he suggested. "Or you'll be in no condition to make it to that early-morning class."
"I know…" She slowly ate the rest of the toast, drank most of the juice, and snuggled back under her blankets before looking up at him. "I'm so tired."
He knew it wasn't a complaint so much as it was a fact. "Go back to sleep," he urged.
"Thank you for staying." She sounded so sincere and looked so cute—even with a flu—that he felt his heart twist a little at her words. He wished that he could stay longer, especially because she appreciated it. He'd do anything to help her if he could, but…
"My pleasure," he murmured. "I have to go home, but I'll try to come back, later." He doubted that he could make it back to see her, but he did hope that the opportunity would present itself. He'd take it in an instant.
"Okay." She looked disappointed, despite her words. "Your father will be wondering where you've been. You shouldn't make him worry." Her hand patted his arm and she smiled at him. "Wake me up when you come back."
He doubted his father would worry so much as he would judge, but he didn't want the man to wonder where he had been…especially because it meant he'd draw his own conclusions; that would not be a good thing. "Of course," he said instead, and gave her a little smile in response to her own. "Just stay here and rest."
Through sheer willpower, he forced himself to leave her side, walk down the stairs, grab his things, and leave, making sure to use the spare key hidden on the front porch to lock her front door.
The drive home was short and silent. Kent's father probably wouldn't have noticed his absence if he'd only been gone for a few hours, or if he'd returned in the odd hours of the morning… But it was after one o'clock in the afternoon, and he had been gone since early Saturday morning.
He parked in the driveway, sure to leave room for his father's car to back out of the garage, and unlocked the front door before stepping into the kitchen. The first thing that greeted him was a newspaper, and a face on the other side of it.
"Where've you been?"
With everything in him, Kent wanted to lie. He'd been raised to be an honest person. His mother had definitely succeeded in that endeavor, and it helped that his father had been a former member of the Air Force before becoming a police officer. Military training on top of officer training had turned Isaac Morgan into the straight-up kind of man Kent had, once upon a time, wanted to be like.
He found that he couldn't lie. "Out…" he managed to say, looking around the kitchen. Everything was neat and tidy.
"With a girl, I'll bet," his father said, neatly folding the newspaper before laying it on the table in front of him. "You know they're trouble. They cry to try and get out of traffic tickets, and they get pregnant to guilt-trip you into marrying them." He took a sip from a can of beer in front of him, and Kent wondered how many he had already had that morning—or if he'd ever gone to sleep the night before.
Judging by how clean the house seemed to be, and the circles beneath his father's green eyes, he hadn't slept at all.
"You don't mean that," he said quietly. He knew the man didn't mean that.
"Don't you dare call me a liar, especially while you beat around the bush with your answer." He stared at him for a moment before standing up and walking over to his son, pointing a finger straight into the center of his chest. "I don't answer to you. You answer to me. As long as you live in my house, you live by my rules."
"Understood," he answered evenly. He expected nothing less.
The older man's finger pushed against him, and he did his best to look his father in the eyes. Isaac wasn't exactly furious, but he was angry, and Kent supposed he had every right to be. After all, his only son had disappeared for more than twenty-four hours without any explanation.
He couldn't tell him that he had been with Lyn—he just couldn't.
"Now answer me. Where have you been?"
"Out…" Ah, that was weak, and he knew it. He flinched more at his own terrible answer than the hard shove his father gave him for saying it. "I was out with friends," he finally corrected himself.
"Friends, or a friend?"
He was back against a wall, in every sense of the word. "A friend," he answered, defeated. "One…friend."
"I thought as much. A male friend, or a female friend, Kent?" His father meant business, and he knew it. The man wasn't a police officer without reason, after all. He knew how to get answers out of people.
Kent just couldn't lie, even—or perhaps especially—about Lyn. "Female," he said after a moment, unable to meet his father's gaze any longer.
"My God, Kent!" Isaac exclaimed, throwing his arms into the air and pacing back to the table to down the rest of his beer before he tossed the can at the trash—and missed, the can clattering across the floor before it landed under the lip of a countertop. "Can't you just keep it in your pants? I can't—" He paused to shake his head, as if he could hardly believe what he was imagining. "I can't believe that I've let you turn into…into this. I thought I raised you better…"
"B-But I didn't—"
"I don't want your excuses. I don't—I'm so disappointed! I can't believe that you'd…" He trailed off and shook his head again.
"I only stayed there, we didn't do anything!" He sounded defensive, and maybe he was, but he needed to be. How could his father have come to the conclusion that he had actually slept with Lyndis? He loved her, but he would—would never…
He didn't know.
He couldn't say that he would never sleep with her, or that he didn't want to, because he would be lying to himself. But they weren't even in a relationship, let alone a committed one—one headed for marriage! "We just watched a movie," he finished weakly, a last-ditch effort to clear the image of him that his father had in his head.
"Right." The man said, holding a hand up that denoted silence. It was clear that he didn't believe him, and Kent shut his mouth and let his father leave the room. He heard the television turn on in the family room, and he sighed to himself, taking a seat at the small table in the kitchen where Isaac had been sitting only a few minutes before.
He didn't understand why his father just didn't trust him. He'd never given him a reason to distrust him, had never lied or stolen or cheated. He had always followed every rule without question, and he'd always done everything he was asked to do.
Nothing had been the same since his mother had died. Ellen was an amazing woman, but when she'd passed away, it was as if…she'd taken a part of her husband with her to the grave.
Maybe his heart.
Kent let his head fall into his palms, and he rubbed at his temples, sighing every now and again as his thoughts twisted in his head. He couldn't go back to Lyndis, or his father might simply kick him out. He couldn't afford to be on his own, and he hated that fact, but it was the life of a college student, and he accepted it—again, without question.
He wished his father were more understanding, not just of him, but also of people in general. He had loved Ellen, and he still loved Kent, but sometimes it was hard to find the affection hidden beneath all of the hurt and the anger.
He wanted to tell his father all of the things he loved about Lyndis, loved and respected, because he respected her enough to wait until he thought they were both ready to be in a relationship before telling her how he felt, and he didn't expect that day to be terribly close.
The night before had been interesting, and fun in its own way. For a moment, he'd wondered…if they were in a relationship—a committed one—would be anything like that? Cooking for and with her, fixing things in the house, sitting together on the couch, falling asleep in each other's arms… It would be nice, he thought, but at the same time, his own thoughts frightened him.
It would hurt if she didn't feel the same way about him. He knew she cared for him, knew she even loved him, but he had no way of knowing or understanding how much she loved him.
They had a strong friendship; she was the only woman he'd ever been close to in his life—with the exception of his own mother—and he'd rather die than lose the comfortable silences and her constant presence.
Before Ellen's death, Isaac might have been able to understand why Kent loved Lyndis. Ellen might have laughed and tousled her husband's hair with a smart-assed, "Well, why wouldn't he love her?" kind of a remark, had she lived. But Isaac couldn't understand now. If he saw Lyn, he'd see a young woman. He'd see a young woman that his son had supposedly slept with, one that had probably tricked him into sleeping with her, one that…wasn't from Caelin. He'd see a foreigner that his son was taken with, and he'd hate her.
He'd hate the fact that Lyn was doing to Kent what Ellen had done to him—what…he now tried to convince himself Ellen had done.
He had never wanted his father to see Lyndis, let alone meet her. He was afraid of what would happen, afraid that his father would hate her, that he would hurt her in some way.
He got to his feet and made his way to the living room to see his father fast asleep in the reclining chair that sat in front of the television. A blanket was folded on the arm of the couch against the far wall, and he shook it out before draping it over the man, noticing the way his red hair had grey in it, now.
The tears on his face were still wet, and Kent found himself looking up and over, at the television screen. The volume was down so low he could hardly hear it, but he knew what it was he was seeing.
It was a home movie, Isaac had shot it, and Ellen was smiling at the camera and waving at him as he followed her up and down the beach where they'd had their second honeymoon.
Kent looked away almost immediately. He… It had been years, but he wasn't ready to face those tapes. Perhaps his father wasn't ready, either, but he put himself through watching them over and over again.
Maybe—just maybe—Kent thought as he made his way to where the remote laid on the coffee table, his mother had left a small piece of his father's heart behind for him.
The tears on his father's face were slowly drying, and Kent paused with his fingers on the remote, deciding after a moment to leave the television on so that his father could wake up to see Ellen's face.
To say that she was frustrated would be an understatement. Farina might have actually been on the verge of tears if she thought it would help her situation. Of course, crying never helped anyone—except maybe that time Serra had cried to get out of a traffic ticket—so Farina fell against her seat and counted backward from ten while she breathed deeply.
Once she had calmed herself—as much as possible—she put her car in neutral and got out. Old Faithful was sitting right in the middle of the road, after all, and seeing as how its hazard lights didn't work anymore, she had to get it off of the road.
Half an hour later, her car was resting on the side of the road, and she herself was freezing. She berated herself for not getting dressed before leaving, but it was too late to change things, now, so she settled down in her car and tried to decide what to do. She curled up behind the steering wheel, her chin resting on her knees.
She could call someone, she thought, but a quick glance at her phone told her that her signal strength didn't even exist, so she ruled it out immediately. She didn't know a damned thing about cars, or what made them tick, so she ruled out popping the hood. The catch didn't release properly, anyway, and she wouldn't know what was wrong even if she could look. Maybe Old Faithful needed oil, or wiper fluid, or the transmission was bad, or maybe it just needed new spark plugs. It didn't help that she didn't know how any of those things actually contributed to the function of her vehicle.
Really, she could only hope that someone drove by who could either help, or who had a cell phone that actually got a signal.
An hour passed by before someone actually drove by, but they didn't bother to stop, probably thinking her car to be abandoned. She pulled her jacket around her a little closer and sighed. She'd wait to see if someone stopped, but…if nobody did, she'd have to start walking.
Almost another hour went by, and someone finally did stop. "Need some help?" a male voice called out, and a moment later, a middle-aged man stood at her window. She cringed, deep down inside at the sight of him; there was just something uncomfortably creepy about a stranger at the window of your car. "I don't know if I can help, but I'll certainly try."
She nodded and fiddled with her door to open it as she pushed the hood release button inside her car. "It just died on me in the middle of the road," she said smartly. "I know it's a piece of junk, but Old Faithful's never failed me, before."
"Old Faithful, huh?" he said, smiling a bit as her fingers sought the catch under her hood to release it. If she didn't pull and push on it just right, it wouldn't open. "So the car has a name…"
"Yeah, sort of. When it kept running every time I thought it was dead, I decided that it deserved the name."
"It's okay, my Sunfire has a name, too." Finally, the hood opened, and he propped it up as she stepped back to allow him to look inside.
Everything looks the same, she thought as she stared at all the plastic boxes and hoses and wires. "What is the name of your car?" she asked him, looking back at the bright red vehicle parked behind her with its hazard lights flashing.
He looked up and grinned. "Phoenix," he answered. "I'm hardly creative."
"It's not a bad name," she said, and lapsed into silence. He was being terribly nice by offering to help her out, but it was still really…weird. Why would anyone…help someone they didn't even know? Without an ulterior motive, she couldn't really figure out the reasoning behind such supposed kindness.
Finally, he stood, straightening his back, and unhooked the rod that help the hood up, letting it fall back into place before turning to her. He cringed, "You need new spark plugs, I think your transmission might be shot, you probably should have put oil in this a month ago, but…none of those are the actual root of the problem."
"So, what is it then, Doc?" she asked in her usual prompt, snappy fashion.
"My best guess is the timing belt. Either way, for what it would cost to fix this, I'll bet you could just buy a another car."
She sighed and shook her head. "Just my luck," she grumbled. "But thanks for stopping and helping." She was almost itching for him to just leave, if only because she couldn't figure out why he'd bother to stop and help her for no real reason at all. There had to be a reason, and she wasn't sure she wanted to give him enough time to prove to her what that reason was.
"Do you need me to call someone for you?" he asked. "My phone doesn't get a signal right here—it's kind of a dead zone—but when I get further down the road, I could stop and call someone to come and get you."
She could just imagine Serra's facial expression, getting a call from a strange man. She'd never believe him, let alone drive out to the middle of nowhere to get her. She'd be more likely to call the cops.
"I already called someone," she lied. "They should be here any moment." She wasn't about to say that even if someone was on their way, it'd take them three hours to get to her, or that she had no way of calling someone because her phone couldn't get a signal. For all he knew, though, she didn't have the same service company and she did get a signal.
"Well, that's good. I hope they get here soon." Then, after a pause, "By the way, I'm Jan. I'd shake your hand, but I have grease all over me."
"I'm…sorry about that," she found herself apologizing. "I have a rag in the trunk, hold on…" Only because he'd dirtied himself helping her, she popped the trunk and sorted around through it before coming up with an ugly white rag that she kept just in case she needed it—along with about a million other odds and ends. She handed it to him and he wiped the grease from his hands.
"Is there anything I can do?" he asked.
"I'll be fine," she answered. "Thank you for stopping."
"It was no problem." He flashed a smile at her and handed the rag back to her. "Good luck with everything."
She nodded at him in thanks, and within a minute, he was out of sight. She sighed in relief, reminding herself to never let a car break down again… It was just too much stress on her nerves; she wasn't sure how to deal with it properly.
She got back into her car and waited for a few moments, mostly in an effort to warm up. The weather wasn't as cold as it had been lately, but she could feel the wind through her pajama bottoms, and she hated it.
After managing to get the feeling back into her legs, she grabbed her phone and left her car where it was. Years of being in high school track and field had helped her stamina as far as walking was concerned, and she soon found herself jogging down the side of the road—moving off into the trees every time a car passed her—in the search of a signal. She walked for well over an hour before she finally managed to get a bar on her stupid phone, and she wasted no time in calling Serra.
Sain sat on the edge of his bed shoveling food down his throat. Somehow Lucius had managed to lure him out from the land of the dust bunnies and cobwebs—probably with the smell of said food—and had insisted that he get cleaned up and put clothes on that weren't stained and wrinkly before he allowed him the luxury of eating.
The elementary education major found that if he hurried, he could get a shower and put clean clothes on in less than a half-hour…if he didn't spent time looking in the mirror to make sure his hair looked good, which it always did anyway.
"So…" Lucius started, leaning back in his computer chair. "Spaghetti?"
Sain's expression fell. "Well, you see…" he said, polishing off the rest of the ham sandwich in front of him before clearing his fingers of the evidence that food had ever been in his possession, "I took the lovely Miss Owens out to dinner at a nice Italian place…"
"That's good, and I'm assuming that is where the spaghetti comes in…"
"Gee, however did you guess?" He stared at his roommate with wide, curious eyes before doing away with that expression and replacing it with one of mixed emotions. "I think she was starting to warm up to me a little, I mean…more than usual. I tried not to go overboard on the compliments, even though she did look stunning in that little black dress." He shrugged and stared at the ceiling. "But then we got our food."
"Right. Except that we didn't order spaghetti."
"Yeah, we ordered some chicken pasta deal, but we got spaghetti. We were going to flag someone down to tell them what was wrong, but it looked good, and we'd already waited long enough to eat, so we decided to just go ahead and eat it…and casually mention it later, since it wasn't really a big deal. Well, we didn't think it was at the time."
"But it was a big deal?"
Sain could tell that his blond friend was trying to figure out how in the world spaghetti could be a big deal, and he laughed, sounding embarrassed. "I paid my usual compliments to Miss Owens, of course, and she has the cutest way of eating…"
Lucius rolled his eyes, but Sain completely ignored it, continuing his story.
"Then, as I was telling her how nice her hair looked, she just stared at me. It was…" he shuddered. "It was scary, Lucius! It was this blank look that turned helpless and scared. It took me a few minutes to realize that she was actually choking on something!"
That got Lucius's attention, and he leaned forward, flipping his low ponytail behind him as he did so. "She choked?"
"W-Well, I know CPR, but I was so delayed in figuring out what was going on that Sir Wallace—"
"He was there?!"
"—Ended up doing the Heimlich, and she coughed up a ring—"
"An engagement ring!" Sain said, arms flying outward. "A ring! On her plate!"
"I didn't know that you were going to propose!"
"I wasn't! I mean, I didn't! It wasn't me!"
"Then…" Lucius's expression turned serious. "You didn't order spaghetti, but you got it. Then she choked on an engagement ring that you didn't give her."
"So it… That order was meant for someone else?"
"You're so smart. I knew there was a reason I kept you around." Sain's smile turned devious before he tousled his own hair and shook his head. "Fiora was furious, though, thinking I had tried to propose on the first date, and with a ring in her food that choked her, no less!"
"You are a magnet for trouble."
"No lie! I tried to tell her that the engagement ring ninjas must have planted it there in an effort to get their revenge on me for that time I jokingly proposed to Serra with a Cracker Jack ring and she tried to murder me with a pencil, but it just made her angrier, and she finally just threw her food at me, ring and all."
Lucius sighed. "Sain, if you didn't exaggerate everything…"
"I didn't say it in those words, exactly," he insisted. "Either way, then Professor Sol stormed over—"
"She was there, too?!"
"If I'm mentioning her, then she apparently was, but it threw us for a loop, too. So there I was, noodles on my shirt, Miss Owens ready to kill me, and I realized that she was there with Sir Wallace!"
Sputtering, the blond man tried to get his senses to…make sense. "They were on a date?!"
"And not the first one, either, because that ring was for Professor Sol!"
"From Sir Wallace?"
"Yes! Of course, getting hit with a plate of spaghetti was worth it, but then we had to find the ring, which required crawling around on the floor… It took almost an hour to find it, then Sir Wallace proposed to Professor Sol—it was very creepy, by the way, and he actually called her by her real name, which I will not reveal!—and Miss Owens helped clean me up. If anything, that made it all worth it."
"So…Fiora got a ring intended for Professor Sol…and then Fiora tried to kill you with a plate of spaghetti, there was a proposal after the ring was relocated, and…"
"And Fiora helped clean me up while we talked for hours and hours. Oh, and she agreed to go on a second date, but we're not going to have spaghetti ever again."
"That's probably for the best."
"Talking for hours and hours, agreeing on a second date, or never eating spaghetti again? Because I happen to like eating spa—"
"Never mind." He sighed and leaned back in his chair again. "By talking for hours, do you mean you talked for hours and she listened?"
He was teasing, but Sain smirked. "She talked," he answered. "But I'll never tell what we talked about."
"Rainbows and ponies?" he guessed.
"Well, even though those things can be pretty deep, that isn't what we talked about. We talked about soul-searchingly deep, intelligent stuff."
"So in other words, she said a few sentences, and you're overly excited about it, thinking it means you're really close now that she's 'confided' in you?"
Sleeping was something that Lyndis loved, but she didn't wake up until it was already dark outside—or close to being dark. Even by her own standards, that was ridiculous. She hurried to take more medication—what Kent had given her had stopped working, unfortunately, letting her fever return full-force.
She felt terrible, but her first thought was of Kent. She combed the house and still couldn't find a trace of him. She was disappointed, but more than that, she was concerned. He'd said he'd be back, hadn't he? Her muddled mind was hardly thinking straight right after waking up, so she could have heard him wrong, but she definitely thought he'd said he'd return later.
It was later, so where was he?
She took a quick shower and braided her wet hair neatly behind her head before getting dressed.
She tried studying for a little while, but found it hard to concentrate with a fever, a sore throat, and the occasional cough, not to mention the headache, fatigue, and the general weakness she felt in her limbs. The biggest problem, though, was Kent, and the fact that he was not there when he said he would be.
He never lied about anything—something she could appreciate—and it worried her that he wasn't around. Maybe something had happened to him—or his father—and he had been detained. He could have fallen asleep, too, she reasoned. So she was being silly for thinking about actually seeking him out.
A few minutes passed, and she resisted the urge to send him a text message. He didn't have texting on his cell phone plan, and it would only cost him money.
She'd hate to wake him if he was asleep, but finally, she did give his cell phone a ring. It was turned off. Her first notion was that he was angry with her, but she dismissed it after giving it less than a second's thought. He couldn't possibly be mad at her—she hadn't done anything wrong, and neither had he.
Curiosity eventually started to get the better of her, and she made a piece of toast for herself, thinking of him the entire time. He had been nice enough to spend most of his day with her—something the average person wouldn't have done. She wondered why he'd done it, but they were good friends, so it wasn't all that unusual…was it? Maybe it was. He'd even brought her food and medicine and juice…juice that she didn't even remember having in her refrigerator.
She coughed into a fist and stared blankly at the clock on the wall. 7:36 peered back at her, and she glared at it. It was starting to get late—not nearly as late as she'd stayed up the night before, of course, but late considering she had to get up early for class and she still had studying and work to finish before she went to bed. She wondered half-heartedly if she'd ever be able to stay up late enough to finish everything.
If she didn't find Kent and establish his well-being, though, she doubted she'd be able to even concentrate on sleep—and she was still so tired.
Slowly, she got up from the kitchen table and pulled on her coat, zipping it up all the way. Kent only lived a few minutes away, but she was sick and it was cold outside, so she wasn't taking any chances. As an afterthought, she wrapped a scarf around her neck—a Christmas gift from Florina—and grabbed her keys, making certain to lock the door after stepping out onto the porch. The fact that Kent had remembered to lock it for her didn't escape her notice at all, and she smiled at the little gesture, wondering if he realized how much she appreciated it.
She'd never been inside his house, and it did bother her to some degree. It was probably messy or something, she'd always reasoned to herself. She knew his father liked alcohol, and there was a good chance that the man had a penchant for trashing the house while Kent was gone. It had made perfect sense to her, and still seemed to, but messy houses wouldn't bother her too much. She kept hers neat and tidy, but it certainly wasn't perfect. A messy house wouldn't reflect badly on Kent, either way, because she already knew him and liked him exactly how he was.
The steps to the front porch were steep, but there were only a few of them, and she paid strict attention to them lest she slip. The doorbell button was right in front of her, and she bit her lip and shivered a little from the chilly evening air before she pressed the button.
Nobody came right away, but Kent's truck was still in the driveway, so she was almost certain he was home—he never seemed to go anywhere with his father, after all. She pressed the button again, and waited patiently.
Footsteps could be heard through the door, and after a moment, it opened, the screen door following after. She found herself face-to-face with a man that had to be Kent's father. He was tall, slim, and his hair was red, though it seemed to be graying at the temples. He looked like he couldn't even be forty years old, and his eyes were green.
"Hello, Mr. Morgan," she said, her voice cracking. She smiled at him to try and cover that up. "Is Kent home?"
He leaned against the doorframe and finished off the can in his hand. She couldn't read the label, but it had to be alcohol of some kind… She could smell the liquor on his breath, even from where she stood.
"Back to seduce him again?" he said dryly, sounding nothing less than annoyed. "I can't believe he would fall for… Wait right there."
His words confused her, but they were most likely the ramblings of a drunk man, and nothing more. It was a little odd, she thought, that he didn't even invite her into the house, considering it was cold outside and she was a friend of his son. She stamped her feet to try and get some feeling back into her legs while she waited for what seemed like an eternity. Finally, Kent appeared, looking less than pleased.
His own hair was dark from a recent shower, and he stepped out of the house and joined her on the porch in a long-sleeved shirt and a pair of jeans. He didn't even have any shoes on.
She was too busy wondering why he hadn't invited her into the house to get out of the weather to realize that he looked more and more upset with every passing moment. "What are you doing here?" he finally asked shortly, as if he was holding back from actually full-out snapping at her.
She felt hurt, but rationalized his behavior with the thought that maybe she had woken him up. "I came to see you."
"I didn't invite you."
She blinked and took half a step back on the small porch. "But…"
"Why are you here?"
She looked down, feeling nothing short of unwanted. "I just… You didn't come back, so…"
"I said that I would try to come back, not that I would."
Kent was never big on words, had never been good with them. She was used to hearing his short sentences, used to him getting straight to the point without beating around the bush. "I'm…sorry."
"I told you to stay at home."
"I know, but—"
"I don't want you here. I never wanted you here."
She wasn't used to being hurt by his words, by those short sentences and his straight-to-the-point approach. She took a step toward him, but didn't know what to do when she found herself closer. After a moment, she reached out for him, her fingertips grazing the sleeve of his shirt. "Kent…" She hadn't meant to upset him, and she wasn't sure why he was upset with her, nor was she sure what exactly it was she had done—how exactly she had managed to offend him by showing up at his house.
He didn't give her a chance to ask, and he didn't offer any explanations. "Just leave me alone, Lyn," he said, taking her arms in his hands; in one fluid motion, he turned her around and pushed her forward. He was back inside of his house almost before she tripped down the porch steps and landed face-first in his yard; all she could think about was that he had called her Lyn, not Lyndis, and he'd never done that before.
He didn't even check to make sure that she was okay.
Hector was confused. It was late in the evening, and he was driving in unfamiliar territory.
TheWench, a glorious level ten, wasn't going to level up anytime soon—which disappointed him, because Wil had introduced him to the Ding System, which pretty much annoyed the hell out of Rebecca…something that was almost as fun as annoying the hell out of Farina.
Basically, he got to shout out Ding! Every time he leveled up. Which, at low levels, happened quite often, and was apparently quite aggravating.
But Farina needed his help, so he was more than willing to offer it, especially because it meant she'd be indebted to him forever. He knew that pile of junk she drove would die on her sooner or later, and his day of glory and being generally awesome was finally at hand…
A part of him felt bad, though. She was three hours away from the campus—it was a good thing she was only two hours away from him—and for the life of him, he couldn't figure out why someone like her would be that far away from college on a Sunday… According to Wil, she was headed to Pherae, not heading back from Pherae… It was all very…odd, to say the least.
He leaned back and settled into the seat of his S2000. It would be a long night.
Finally, after a lot of driving and a stop to fill up the gas tank, his headlights flashed off of the taillights of a…heap of junk. He knew it was Farina's car—there was no mistake about it. He could probably pick her junker out of a junkyard of junkers.
It would, of course, be the ugliest one.
He pulled up behind her car, and flipped on his hazard lights before getting out. He left his engine running. If anything, he didn't plan on staying there long. With a three-hour drive back to campus, it'd be late before they got back. It was a good thing Hector had a GPS system, or the three-hour drive would probably end up being closer to six hours long.
He sauntered up to the driver's side window of Farina's car, and was ready to start boasting about how great he was for coming to her rescue, when…he noticed she wasn't even sitting there.
A moment of panic overtook him, especially when he found that he could open her door with relative ease. A young woman—sure, it was Farina, but still—out in the middle of nowhere… Even he was worried.
But then he noticed her sprawled out fast asleep in the back seat amid a pile of jackets, and he found himself softening a little bit. He opened the backseat and knelt down to get a better look at her. It was dark, and his headlights helped him see, though not as well as he'd have liked. Her cheeks were red—from the cold, no doubt—and she looked strangely…
He hesitated to say vulnerable, but she did look terribly small and…and almost…kind of cute. Just a little, though.
A tiny, itsy bitsy little bit.
He hardly realized his hand was smoothing back her hair until her eyelashes fluttered, and large, blue eyes were blinking at him confusedly.
"Hey," he said softly. "Don't you know better than to forget to lock your doors? What if someone had tried something?"
"They don't…lock," she said, sitting up after a moment, hand going to her head. "Did you just…?"
"Just what?" He shrugged and stood back up. "You should be bowing at my feet right now. For coming to get you, I mean."
"You, of all people. Where's Florina?"
"I called Serra, but she couldn't come, and she said she'd call Florina…"
"She doesn't even own a car, right? So what good would that do?"
"But she knows Lyn—"
"Who doesn't own a car either—"
"Who knows Kent, who is a prude, but owns a truck."
"Wow, so there were a lot of people who weren't willing to help you out, tonight. Must suck bein' you."
"Shut up, Hector. I'm not in the mood for your petty insults."
"What about your own?"
She didn't answer, choosing instead to study the tips of her fingernails, which he knew she couldn't even see.
He sighed, not really in the mood for arguing, himself. Not after driving for two hours, anyway. "C'mon. Let's go."
She looked behind her. "Can I put my junk in your trunk?"
He blinked. "Seems to me like you've got enough junk in your own trunk," he said. "And I mean that in every sense."
"I didn't mean I'd take it all, just the important stuff." Then, after a moment, "And what are you doing, looking at my ass, Hector von Ostia?"
"Don't call me that!"
"You're not denying that you were looking at my butt?"
"I didn't say it looked good!"
"But you looked at it!" She got to her feet and wobbled a bit before getting her balance. She popped the trunk and leaned over it to rummage through the contents.
"Well…maybe I'm looking at it right now!"
"You can't look at my butt from in front of me, stupid."
He walked around to the back of the car. "Maybe now I'm looking at it!"
"You can look, but you sure as hell ain't touchin'."
"Pfff, like I'd want—" His half-lie—because he half wanted to, but he half-didn't because she'd proceed to kill him if he tried—was interrupted by her shoving a couple of ratty old blankets, small boxes, and other assorted seemingly random things at him. "What is this crap?" he asked, stalking off to dump it in the trunk of his beautiful sports car.
"My life," she said simply, taking out a few books before closing the lid and fondly patting the top of the trunk. "Goodbye, Old Faithful," she whispered.
It kind of creeped him out. "You feelin' all right?"
"I'm freezing half to death, but I'm otherwise fine…why?"
"You talked to your car."
"Sure. What's wrong with that?"
"It's wei—wait, are you going to abandon it?"
"I'll call someone in the morning to tow it to a junkyard," she said, sounding as if she'd resigned herself to the poor vehicle's fate.
Gently, she opened the door to his S2000 and took a seat just as Hector closed the lid to his own trunk. "You were right—Old Faithful is a piece of junk."
"Look, I didn't mean—"
"No, no… I've been thinking. I've been sitting here half the day, you know." She let her elbow sit on the armrest and she stared out of the window as he took his place beside her and fastened his seatbelt, nudging her to do the same. She complied before returning to her former position. "You have a lot of money, so maybe you don't understand. Us poor people don't get to choose how our cars look, okay? When someone gives us something for practically nothing, we take it and we're grateful."
"Sure, sure," he said. "But can't you fix the old thing up?"
"I don't have that kind of money."
He surprised even himself with his response, "I do."
Regarding World of Warcraft, the game referenced and played by several Fire Emblem cast members, the way Wil and Rebecca ramble on about it is reminiscent of how my brother used to ramble to me about it, before I had any idea what it was he was talking about. Murlocs are scary, and if you do a search on YouTube, you should be able to find and hear the disturbing sound(s) they make. (And when several gang up on you, it's even more disturbing.)
Kent's father is just bitter, give him time. Also, he likes cleaning when he's drunk. I used to work with a guy who did that.
Farina's car is interesting. One thing to render it completely useless would be a cracked engine block, but there's a particular make out there, and if you don't change their timing belts around 100k miles, eventually it'll basically ruin your car. (Since the junker must remain a mystery, I can't tell which make.) Also, Jan is Nino's uncle.
Sain and Fiora's date, and Kent and Lyn's fight were nothing like expected, I hope.
Farina and Hector…how do you think that will turn out?
Thank you for reading! Feedback would be very much appreciated!