BLACKOUTS

It had started fairly normally. The Carduccis were a rich family who moved to Neptune, and quickly become a part of the Casablancas social landscape. Hence their daughters were introduced to Dick and Beaver; Lucy and Sally Carducci.

Dick's eyes were immediately drawn to Sally. She was loud and bright and vivacious, and very, very hot. She laughed and threw her her chocolate brown hair over her shoulder; like a not-dead, not-taken Lilly. Lucy was the shy one, the younger one. She was small and mousy and uncomfortable in her glamorous dress, but a pretty girl. She was blinking too fast and Cassidy looked concerned.

"Contacts," she explained. "They always make me feel like there's sandpaper on my eyes, but Mom and Dad won't let me wear my glasses to things like this."

He nodded sympathetically. "Well, they'll fit right in with the rest of this town. Welcome to Neptune, land of shit parenting."

Cassidy and Lucy talked; about annoying older siblings and Firefly and how they hated social events like this one. Dick and Sally were flirting shamelessly in a corner, but Cassidy and Lucy didn't really pay attention.

Afterward, Dick was happy. "Dude! That Sally chick was hot!" he exclaimed. "I'm telling you man, I'm going to nail that bitch like whoa," Cassidy rolled his eyes at that.

"Whatever, Dick."

"Dude, don't 'whatever' me. I saw you hanging off that other chick; the Lucy one. Put in the work bro; she's kinda nerdy, but it's always the ones like that'll let you do anythi-"

"Shut up, Dick," Cassidy murmured as he came to a still; like he always did when he thought of sex as anything other than a distant land. Dick was a lucky son of a bitch.

Dick just shrugged and walked out.


It was going too fast, with Lucy, he knew that. That wasn't where the pit in his stomach came from as Lucy reached for his top button, but it was a good excuse.

"No... no, wait-" she was kissing down the side of Cassidy's neck, and he acknowledged that on a physical level it did feel good, even if his mind would only let him interpret it as nauseating.

"What?" she sat back on her heels, pouting petulantly. Her glasses were on the bedside table to the left, and Cassidy guessed that was the source of the hazy look in her eyes. This was wrong even by an objective standard; he had only known her a month, and it wasn't like they were dating, or had even kissed before today. But Lucy's hand was now on the zip of his jeans, and she was clinging to him. He felt sticky and stifled under her expectations, and she so clearly didn't get it.

"I- I, Lucy, I can't," he tried to explain without telling her anything. He shut his eyes to control the tears suddenly welling, but when he opened them again Lucy just looked annoyed.

"Why not?" God, he had wished she wouldn't ask that. He stammered out his answer:

"It's... It's just, I've known you... barely a month, and I don't think-"

"Bullshit," she hissed, climbing off his lap. Okay, yes, it was. "A guy should just want, y'know, sex. But it's okay, I get it. I don't know why I even bothered."

Cassidy felt suddenly vulnerable under her tone, and pulled his arms to his chest. "I highly doubt you 'get it', but whatever."

"Sure I know," she shrugged with a mocking, bitter smile. "After all – Sally's always been the pretty one."

She left then, leaving Cassidy on his bed with his memories. He curled into a ball, and after a few hours Dick came bursting in; loud, booming voice hurting Cassidy's brain. "Dude! I can't believe you!"

"Fuck off," he muttered, not bothering to come up with something more eloquent, or to figure out what the hell Dick was talking about. All he really wanted was to run away and hide somewhere that let him forget Dick and Lucy and everyone existed for a little bit. But that would be pathetic.

"Seriously, though, man – you almost fucked that Lucy chick, you've got her dying to give it up, and then... what? You pussied out? Fuck you, man."

Cassidy curled tighter. "Dick, it's really fucking complicated. Leave me alone, okay?"

Dick snorted. "Complicated? Dude, just get laid already."

Fine. Right on that, then.


You know the worst thing? He wasn't even surprised. Dick was Dick, so opening the door and seeing Lucy writhing on top of him? No, not a shock. Cassidy laughed at just how much the world seemed to hate him; of course this would be the solution to his most serious crush – the girl fucking his brother.

He had stormed out with arms crossed, breathing heavy. So his brother was a total asshole – not exactly news. He'd make Dick pay, somehow, at some point. He probably wouldn't bother hurting Lucy – slut wasn't worth it.

He gritted his teeth, to find a rushedly-dressed Dick now talking to him. "Dude, uh, this is totally why you like, knock and shit."

"So this is my fault?" Cassidy asked bitterly. "You knew I liked her, asshole!"

Dick shrugged uncomfortably. "Okay. But like, she was fucking begging for it, and you couldn't seal the deal last time," he paused. "Dude, if it makes you feel better? You didn't miss out on much," he said with an easy grin, not at all interpreting how he was at fault. Then Cassidy punched that stupid fucking grin off Dick's face.

"Shit!" Dick exclaimed. "Chill man. Geez, I'm like, sorry and some shit," he apologized insincerely, wiping the blood away from his nose. "Come on, she's just a whore – nowhere near as fucking hot as her sister. Let it go, dude – bros before hoes, right?"

Cassidy didn't answer. His stomach clenched. Sally, he thought, smirk dancing on his lips. He had a plan.


It was a party; loud music interfering with all thought processes. The two brothers ran into each other, despite Cassidy's recent history of not talking to Dick.

"Dude!" Dick exclaimed. "Haven't you like, forgiven me yet?"

Cassidy shuffled awkwardly. "I don't know if I have or haven't," he lied. Dick shrugged, and Cassidy continued. "Is Lucy, y'know, here?"

"Somewhere. You really want to find that skank, bro?" Dick answered, then questioned.

"Just curious," Cassidy explained. Then Dick's eyes were drawn to something he found far more interesting than his little brother – Sally Carducci; tipsy, laughing, sluttily dressed, and heading right for them.

"Dude, move it," Dick ordered his little brother, apparently forgetting how pissed off Cassidy was. "If I don't nail that bitch tonight, I'll..."

Cassidy rolled his eyes, suppressing his rage. "Well, at least get her a drink or something," he said, pouring a cup with beer and handing it to his brother. Then he followed Dick's previous instruction, and smiled as he heard Sally flirt.


The world was still spinning when she woke up. Her tongue was thick and her eyelids heavy; her whole body hurt like hell. She was lying in a bed foreign to her, and she could see faint bruises on her shoulder. Between her legs stung worse than any other part of her body, and she could certainly feel something sticky on her thighs. Oh god, she thought.

Sally lay there for a few moments, letting the tears and nausea come. She tried desperately to recall what had happened at last night's party, but no memories came of how she wound up in the bedroom. She ran through the early stages of the party; she had gotten there, danced, flirted with a few guys, taken a drink from Dick... then blank.

Dick.

No. She had... she had danced with him, flirted with him, considered fucking him, made fun of dorky little siblings with him. And then he had...

Shit.


Elsewhere, Dick woke to find Lucy Carducci's head tucked into the crook of his arm. He only had fuzzy, drunken memories of it; of much better lay than he had let on to his brother.

Beav is so going to kick my ass if he hears.


It only took a few weeks for Sally to tell Dick she 'knew'. They were alone, and he was pissed the cunt was suddenly ignoring him. Bitch was a total cock-tease; leading him on for fucking months and then... nada. Still, Dick Casablancas never gave up on a challenge.

"Sally!" he called to her, seeing the girl quickly searching for an escape. "Kiss my troubles away?"

Sally didn't look at him as he got closer, because she couldn't bring herself to see him without throwing up. God, he could really look her in the eye and pretend nothing had happened? She felt her pulse race and accepted the irrational fear – even if they were now alone, Dick was clearly too much of a coward to take her when she was physically capable; at least she could be thankful for that.

"What is it, Dick?" she asked, trying to affect a normal tone of voice. It didn't quite work, and her words came out curt.

"Hey, you've been ignoring me for like, weeks. What's up, Sals?"

God, he could call her by a fucking nickname! "Do you really need to ask me that?!" she yelled, quickly abandoning her attempt at a normal voice. She was scared and hurt and pissed.

Dick just blinked when she screamed. "Uh, yeah. Kind of," he replied.

She grimaced and tried to stem the flow of tears. "After what you did? What, have you forgotten already?"

Dick was still confused. Then his thoughts wandered to the other Carducci girl. "Wait, you know about-" he began, thinking Sally must have some weird protective instinct for her whore little sister. Sally cut him off with a desperate cry:

"You raped me!"

Things went still, exactly like they did in the movies whenever someone said something intense and dramatic like that. "...Huh?" Dick eventually responded, almost comical. Sally, however, was not amused.

"Don't, don't you dare Dick. You've got to remember that party, just a few weeks ago? That drink you gave me kind of fucked with my memory, but waking up all bruised and with come on my legs, kind of made it easy to infer what had happened."

"Dude!" he was breathing hard and starting to panic. "I didn't fucking touch you, I swear! I was... kind of fucking your little sister that night, actually, and that's gonna piss you off but, y'know, it's better than..."

Sally shook her head. "I don't believe you."


Dick arrived back at the Casablancas estate, irritated with the somewhat-heavy thoughts now clouding his mind. He saw his little brother lingering around the hallways, and he went to talk.

"Man, that Sally? Is out of her fucking mind."

Dick did not elaborate, and Cassidy smiled.


Sally was still as she entered her sister's room; seeing Lucy sit placidly on the bed. "Hey, Luce? Can I ask you something?"

Calm, Lucy turned to her sister. "Sure," she shrugged.

"Did you have sex with Dick at that party, a couple of weeks back?"

The question stopped her calm, but it didn't take much effort for Lucy to lie: "No." Sally was never to hear what she had done; again seeking validation in a boy she knew would prefer her sister. She would rather have sought validation in the boy who hadn't looked at Sally the first time; the boy who had spoken Firefly and irritation with her. But he had failed her at the last moment; another vicious reminder: you will never be good enough. Lucy could never confess herself; again playing normal. Lust, envy, pride, et cetera – Lucy Carducci was a fan of all seven.

Sally nodded slowly, and Lucy furthered the lie. "That's an insane question. Why are you asking?"

"He said you did," Sally explained in a monotone, avoiding her sister's eyes.

"Well... I didn't," Lucy concluded awkwardly, not asking her sister why Dick had told her that. The next morning, the Carduccis awoke to find Sally had run away. And not a person in Neptune ever saw her again.


Dick stormed up to his little brother, steaming with rage. The fucking freak was still behind him; Ghost World was sitting by Beav, who was wearing the widest shit eating grin.

Dick slammed Cassidy against the hood of the car, and prepared to give him the ass kicking of a lifetime. There was confidence and darkness in Cassidy's tone, as he said:

"You hit me, you'll suffer worse, I promise you."

That didn't scare Dick, and he stuck to the plan to destroy the Beav's face. Then Cassidy continued: "Remember Sally?"

The memory of who she was; what she had accused him of; how she had disappeared – it was enough to make Dick drop Cassidy, storming off; still wiping a guy's saliva from his mouth. He felt sick. Remember Sally? What the fuck did the Beav mean by that? Could he repeat what the bitch had said about him? How would Beaver even know about that? Dick hadn't told him. Was it something to do with where she had disappeared to, maybe something to do with Ghost World? Lucy? Anything?

Dick left the Winter Carnival in confusion, eyes drifting toward one Veronica Mars.