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Veni, Vidi, Amavi.

Chapter Text

 

You've finally done it. After hours and hours- or maybe just minutes?- of digging and dragging, the Tobanga is finally out and free. And it feels strangely light on your shoulders. Someone is calling you from far away, you don't really make out the words they are shouting at you.

You're halfway through from bringing the tall, mystically fascinating Tobanga to the dorms when you hear footsteps approaching you from behind. You're not given the time to turn around.

" What the fuck are you doing with that?" Strong and noisy voice, it reminds you of someone, but you can't quite recall it at the moment. By instinct you lift your arms in the air and show that your hands are empty, yet shaking. The Tobanga falls lightly by your side, it's odd that the collision with the ground had not produced any sound at all.

" My Dad is going to fuckin kill you if you don't put it back. He's so gonna sue you. " The voice erupts again, this time even creepier. But you can finally guess who's the interlocutor: The annoying and whiny Nathan Prescott. When was the last time you've heard him complain with his high pitched baby-like voice? Probably just the other day.

You turn around to see him in a strange outfit: a pink pajama with a yellow biscuits pattern all over it. You cannot restrain a smirk, but it goes luckily unnoticed. His gaze is strong on you, his dark sleepy eyes are desperately trying to stay focused on you without closing. Was he sleeping before all this happened? You try asking, but you're suddenly hit by a sharp sting in your back. You elegantly fall to the ground, hugging your own body to try to block that unnatural dolor.

When your vision turns black, you're yet again aware of your surroundings.

You woke up in your room, your wall clock loudly ticking in the silence of your room and your phone buzzing under your back, a combination that was making you extremely uncomfortable. You retrieved it to find out who was the one disturbing you this early in the morning. Well, not that you couldn't imagine. Mad Max, spamming you with stupid emojis like everyday, asking you if you'd like to have breakfast with her. Sighing, you accepted. You thought that it was no use trying to get back to sleep after that non sense dream. Plus, you really wanted to tell someone about it before you forgot completely.

It was Monday, your classes wouldn't start until 10 am, you had basically a lot of time to waste at the Two Whales. You slowly got up, yawning and scratching your back with robotic-like movements. A glimpse of light coming from the windows made you squeeze your eyes hardly, you definitely preferred foggy and cloudy mornings, the annoying warmth of the sun at morning just didn't suit you.

Your clothes were messily hanging on your desk chair, you wondered if buying an hanger had been a good idea, since you always forgot to use it. Black shirt, black shirt with a character from a game, black shirt with a unicorn.. I'll wear something else today, or else the sun will kill me.. You thought, desperately searching for a white or pastel colored t-shirt.

You ended up choosing a white flowered blouse. You didn't even waste time searching for lightly coloured jeans, you know there was nothing else other than black jeans in your wardrobe. With your clothes and shower supply in hand, you walked lazily to the door and revealed a deserted hallway. Not surprisingly,waking up at 6 am should be forbidden. Your steps were light and calculated, you did not have the time and strenght to deal with social interaction. Especially with Victoria. Max was one of the few close friends you had at the campus; you've always thought that it was better to have few but good friends than many and unreliable. The thought of Victoria being your best friend gave you chills in every inch of your body. You hoped that your remaining two years at Blackwell would not include Victoria's company.

The bathroom was luckily empty, you left your clothes on a chair just outside the shower and stripped out of your pijama. Turning the shower on, hot water began to run down your body, making you smile and hum a little. School overwhelmed you sometimes, these few moments you kept for yourself had to be treasured. At least ten minutes passed before you got out of the shower, your body covered with only a towel and your hair wet and sticky to your skin. You sighed, thinking about the next twenty minutes you had to spend using the hairdryer.

Thirty minutes after your reply to Max, you were finally dressed and ready to go. You checked on your phone the bus schedule and not much to your surprise, you were late and almost losing it. You left your room in a rush and sprinted to the bus stop. Despite being an AWFUL runner, you managed to get on the bus, breathless.

You collapsed on the second row of seats, on the window side. It was nearly empty, except for an old lady in the front sits, who was reading the newspaper and grimacing, you wondered what kind of bad news she was reading. Even if it was a 10 minutes ride, you couldn't help but putting your headphones on.

Arcadia Bay felt really gloomy at morning. With no one outside, everything seemed so abandoned and old. Rotten, you'd even say. Ever since the Prescott family had touched the place, everything had changed. Arcadia Bay could appear like a quiet and serene place to an outsider, to a visitor, but the villagers knew that wasn't the case. There was no grey in Arcadia Bay, everything either black or white, rich or poor. You either were a rich family living in the nice side of the city, or you worked at a diner and lived with the constant fear of not getting to the end of the month. This thought always made you angry. If only Sean Prescott had not changed the city into a big factory, everyone would still be able to live a normal life.

You returned to reality just as the bus stopped in front of the diner. You got off and walked slowly up the few stairs which led to the entrance, your mind still a little blurry with all the angry thoughts. Everything seemed to fade away when you saw Max seated at the last booth, smiling at you like a dork.

Chapter Text

“Bacon and eggs please.” You’ve finally set your mind. Choosing what to eat had always been an hard challenge for you, even if the menu consisted in only three possible orders. Bacon and eggs, waffles or pancakes. Still, taking decisions early in the morning should be considered illegal. You shook your head lightly, still affected by the strong influence of your warm and soft bed. Max was smiling at you, one of those apologetically smile you read on someone face when they feel guilty.

“It’s not your fault, I had a bad dream.” You precised. Max seemed instantly revived. And curious as hell.

“Oh.” She said softly. “Would you like to share it with me?”

“Hell yes, I rehearsed it so many times in my head now not to forget about it.” Her soft laugh did not interrupt you. “It’s just so random, I would probably get rich as hell if I wrote a book about it.”

“Go on.” Max encouraged you, rolling her eyes at your usual way of exaggerate things.

“I was digging up the Tobanga. You know, typical Blackwell stuff. It felt as light as a feather, I swear. I wanted to bring it to your room and make you shit in your pants, but there was an inconvenience.”

“Wow, how unlucky.” She interrupted you sarcastically.

“Hey, don’t ruin it.” You raised your eyebrows and tried to make an angry face, failing miserably. You could never get angry with her. “Well, as I was saying, Nathan Prescott stopped me during my life changing mission. But when I turn around, he’s wearing a freaking pink pajama with yellow donuts on it. Or was it biscuits? Whatever.” Her eyes widened so much, she was probably imagining Primadonna Prescott dominating the school halls with that unexpected outfit.

Thinking about it again made you snort. And that's when both of you cracked in a loud laugh, granting you some weird looks from the other customers.

When you had managed to calm down, you changed subject to a class project you had to do in your biology course.

After a while, you noticed Max eyeing you like she's listening to a mad scientist or something, trying to hide the fact that she had not understood anything of all the things you’ve said. But her kindness kept her from putting you down while you talking about science. You were literally the female copy of Warren, you wondered whether Max was really okay with being surrounded by two nerd like you two.

“Alright, science class has ended, sorry.” You declared, scratching your head in embarrassment.

“You’re really passionate when you talk about it, that’s actually kind of cute.”

“Yup, people tell me that. I apologise for getting so dragged by sometimes, I guess Warren already annoys you much.”

“Not really, I like seeing you two putting so much energy and will into something, but I just can't help spacing out a bit when you're telling me about pcr or metabolism..”

You let a small laugh escape from your lips, not cause it was funny, but more like a reaction to Max being too damn cute.

“We should really get going now.” She declared while glancing at her phone again, to confirm that we were still on time and not in a hurry.

You took some coins out of your pocket and proceeded to the counter; Joyce was on the other side and busy with the making of some pancakes, but as soon as she had finished she appeared right in front of you with one of her usual wide smile. But something felt off. You've known her for too long not to notice that she was thinking about something else other than work, something that was probably troubling her mind.

“Ate well, sweethearts?”

“Too good to be real, I would eat like- thousands – of eggs.” You loved eggs. You've always preferred salty breakfasts and snacks instead of sugar filled stuff.

“Same, but with pancakes.” Max adds.

“But shit, cholesterol. Damn human body ruining all the fun.” Your hand on your heart gave you the right drama degree.

Joyce knew well that you weren't always like this. When your were young, your shyness had always in some ways blocked you from saying and doing the things you wanted. Sometimes even now, with unfamiliar people or older individuals, you became a mute cactus. Chloe had helped you a lot with this. You even began swearing a bit because of her. You began to hangout with Max and Chloe at the beginning of your Blackwell experience, so you've known Joyce and her daughter for almost two years.

She smiled warmly at you, you imagine that she was in fact seeing a little bit of Chloe in your behaviour and that wasn't too far from reality. The main difference with Chloe was that you couldn't really behave like this with everyone. Oh, and you didn't do drugs. But details, Joyce would surely survive even without acknowledging this.

“Is Chloe still sleeping?” Max dared asking, knowing that Chloe's bizarre routine wasn't really Joyce's favourite subject.

“Still? I'm not even sure she has gone to sleep at all!” She tried to joke on it but you both suspected she was worried as hell.

“I'll try calling her, see if she wants to share lunch with us.” You declared and you instantly saw the gratitude in Joyce's eyes. After Rachel disappearance, you and Max had been Chloe's only good influence.

“Thank you [Y/N], I really appreciate your hard work with Chloe, I really have no power on her.”

“Don't even worry about it.” Max said, an optimistic aura glowing around her.

You exchanged your good byes and walked out of the diner, inhaling the fresh air of an autumn morning in Arcadia Bay. You had dressed up lightly specifically to avoid sweating, but now you regretted it. Weather in Arcadia bay was still a mistery to you, and the cold breeze was now making your skin shiver a bit at every steps you took. Max, instead, seemed to be confortable and lighthearted in her grey hoodie, curious eyes looking everywhere in search of an 'OP photo', as she would say.

She had been acting like this since the beginning of the photo contest she had talked about. Jefferson, her teacher, had introduced the class to the contest and almost obliged all of them to take part in it. You thought about Jefferson as if he wasn't your teacher as well, but you were actually taking photography classes as well, only because you needed extra credits in your final curriculum. You weren't really into photography, but everyone had to choose at least an optional course beside the main one. And French or History didn't sound so much exciting to you. It was just four hours a week, so that wasn't really troublesome. Jefferson had meticously organised everything so that the secondary students took part in at least two main lessons a week. It was cool cause you got to work with Max and being a seriously gifted photographer, she had been helping you so much.

“Found something already?” You sat on the bench at the bus stop, she did not. She was too immersed into her quest.

She let out a barely audible sigh, sitting next to you after a final glance at some dead trees on the opposite side of the road. “It's too hard like this, we have to work with a theme so vague. I can't help but wonder if I'm not going out of theme everytime I snap some photos.”

You recalled her telling you about a certain expression they had to recreate with a snap.

“What was the title again?”

“Everyday heroes.” She answered, with a gloomy tone.

“Definetely not easy. But I guess that's also pretty subjective? You should just wait for something inspiring to happen. Searching everywhere for a great photo might pressure you too much.” Your advice did not sound so helpful in your opinion, but she seemed glad anyway. Her shoulder relaxed and she took a big breath, almost as if she had just expelled all of her negative thoughs.

“I really admire Jefferson, but he is so obstinate with some things. He can't just accept a 'no' as an answer.”

“Heh, guess you'll have to satisfy him then.” That did not sound so bad until she saw your grin.

“Ugh, gross!” She elbowed you and you both giggled a bit. Luckily, the bus finally came a few minutes later, you couldn't stand the cold anymore.

 

“So, can someone tell me about the story behind ‘Hallali du cerf ‘?” Jefferson asked, he usually spent the first ten minutes of the hour asking questions about the ‘homeworks’ he had given the previous time. You weren’t really into art, but Gustave Courbet wasn’t that bad. You didn’t mind studying his paintings. When Jefferson noticed no one was going to answer - as always -, he decided to pick someone randomly.

“Nathan, would you please explain to us what’s happening in this painting?”

That really was an easy question, you thought. But for someone who had never in his life seen this artwork, well.. that's a whole different kettle of crawdads. And Nathan didn’t look like one who had studied much during the weekend.

His first reaction was to look at the ceiling, maybe searching for an help from a superior being. You couldn’t help but let out a small laugh. You didn’t expect it to be loud, but apparently even Jefferson, from the other side of the classroom, had heard you.

“Maybe [Y/N] can refresh our minds with a bit of the artist’s life explanation.”

You slapped yourself mentally and you felt a light blush forming on your cheeks, but luckily for you you had studied a bit. You began talking about his early and late life, his artworks and his style, but you felt a constant gaze coming from the east side of the class. You turned your head a little while describing ‘ The stonebreakers ’ only to be scared by a dead serious Nathan Prescott looking at your way with a frown. Oh no, you probably would have to deal with it later.

Luckily Jefferson did not bug you anymore during the rest of the class, he seemed satisfied with your answers and you at least felt less anxious. When the bells rang, Max immediately tried to approach you, only to be pushed away by Nathan. He did not use much force, so Max just backed off without falling or hitting anything.

“What the fuck do you think you’re doing?” Nathan asked, referring to the fail that had happened in class. But you couldn't help but think about your dream, you started imagining him with his pink pijama being all angry and superior with you.

“I-uhm.. I’m sorry Nathan, I didn’t want to make fun of you or anything. I just thought about something stupid while looking at you.” He did not look less angrier, you felt your palm sweating by the tension. You didn't really want to get on his nerves.

“N-not that you look stupid! It’s just.. Ugh, free association of thoughts?”

“Stop with your bullshit [Y/N], I’m not an idiot.” He said, his ridiculous whiny voice making you divert from the main point.

Just as you thought you had everything under control, you heard Kate from the other side of the class exclaming ‘Oh, that’s a cute pijama!’ while reading a magazine.

That’s when everything took a bad turn, you coudn't hold your laughter and you exploded, as if you were trying to contain in until now.

Max joined you soon, probably imaging the same stupid Nathan Prescott’s dream you had talked about earlier.

Well, the real Nathan Prescott didn't get it.

“Fucking idiot, we’ll see if you’ll still be laughing later.” And with this, he stormed out of the classroom as fast as a cheetah, not even waiting for a response.

When you had recollected yourself, you started feeling guilty about it.

“It’s not totally your fault, [Y/N]. You know Nathan, he’s not really the patient type. You can always try to apologize later.” Max patted you on the back and you silently nodded, already thinking about how you’ll even begin to talk with Prescott without being eaten alive by his gaze

Chapter Text

Luckily for you, Nathan was nowhere to be seen during the rest of your school day. After your fail during Jefferson's class, you stormed in the science lab with a capri-sun in your hand, ready to get full immersed with Ms. Grant's lesson and the experiment you've been working on for the past few days.
Warren was already there, looking at your cell culture and taking some notes. You and Warren always paired together for experiments, mostly because you were really close as friends and also cause you didn't really trust others when it came to school grades. You knew Warren was a passionate nerd like you, mistakes were almost never made when it came to your works.

"[Y/N], you won't believe this! Come and see yourself." Warren exclaimed as soon as he saw you cross the threshold, not even giving you the time to put your bag down.

"What? Did I fuck up with the incubator yesterday?" you asked worriedly, but Warren seemed too happy for a failed experiment. As you positioned yourself on the optical microscope, you could not believe your eyes. Not only the experiment was a success, but you did not expect the cells to grow and replicate that much.

"Well, mad scientist, we did the first step successfully. But as Ms Grant would say, don't count the chickens before they hatch. We still have some steps to cross before we can call it done." you said wisely, earning a a whistle from your partner.

"That's true. But we're SUPER mad scientist, I'm sure it'll go easy peasy." Warren said happily, still overly excited for the result of your hard work. "Changing topic.. Max texted me about an affair between you, Prescott and a pink pajama. What happened?"

You nearly chocked on your Capri sun, dangerously spilling it over the table, just a few inches from the microscope. You began to cough while heading for a bin to throw away the culprit of your second fail of the day. "There's not much to say, just that I'm in Prescott's scope now, I just hope not to find a dead animal in my bed tonight." you were able to say between a cough and another.
"It was just an unlucky series of snowball effects.." you sighed now, finally, breathing normally.

"I had the misfortune to be next to Prescott during some class last year and all I can say about him is that he is completely bonkers." Warren told you with now a serious tone. "One moment he is quiet and calm, the next he is already insulting someone or trying to pick a fight. The problem is that barking dogs never bite. That's why he often gets beaten up." you remembered quite a similar scene that had happened at the start of the year near the dormitory, with Prescott shouting at someone for whatever reason. You recall seeing him with a black eye or something for the following week.

"So basically, he's trying to scare off people but in reality he is not that much of a bully." You hummed, thinking about what kind of problems afflicted Prescott to the point to try to fight without being able to do it properly.

"No, [Y/N], I wasn't trying to say that. He is in fact a bully, but he's not always successful, especially with other boys. I think that you should stay away from him anyway.." he stopped, then resumed as soon as he realized that he might have offended you "I'm not saying that you're weak or stupid, but he might take advantage of your kindness if he really wants to make you pay for whatever you've done to him."

You saw genuine worry in Warren's eyes and that made you both smile and look away from his strong gaze, a little bit embarrassed by his protective behavior. "Thank you partner, but I don't really want to make you worry.. I don't think that he'll try to beat me up for a stupid mistake I made in class." you said, seeing Warren's face relaxing a bit, but then you added "Even though I made him embarrassed in front of everyone." and you earned a roll of eyes from Warren.
"Just be careful, okay? If anything happens, text me or Max and we'll be in for the rescue." he told you seriously, then resumed looking in the microscope and writing something on the textbook.
You nodded, mostly to yourself, then proceeded to set your notebook and books up in the remaining time before Ms Grant arrival.

Science class went on nicely as always, with Ms Grant talking about local stuff and climate changing between some enzyme classification. When the bell rang, your stomach began to complain. It was almost 2 pm and you were hungry as a wolf. There was not really much time between the morning classes, so you always tried to survive until the end of the second course before eating. Warren had the habit to snack between a class and another, sometimes even during them, so he wasn't really in a hurry to eat. Thankfully he knew that you had different plans.

"Ow, don't look at me like that, I'll just give this to Ms Grant and then we'll met Max at the cafeteria. Just give me a second, please?" Warren asked, almost begging you. You felt like a beast looking at a prey.

"I can hold on, don't sweat it. I'll wait for you outside, I have to breathe some fresh air." you picked up your stuff and watched as Warren hopped to Ms Grant, who was still reading some papers at her sit. He probably wanted to show her the ongoing experiment, since we did analyse it during class. It was theory stuff today.

 

You were heading peacefully to one of the wooden table outside, your mind flying between a topic and one other, when you felt a hand on your shoulder, stopping you in your track.
"Well, well, [Y/N], here you are, mind talking to me for a bit? Or you're too busy with the nerd stuff?"

Chapter Text

"Well, well, [Y/N], here you are, mind talking to me for a bit? Or you're too busy with the nerd stuff?" Victoria said, her tone uncaring and haughty, eyeing you from your head to toe and then sighing, like she was trying to express how much of a disaster you looked to her. Usual behavior she express to everyone besides the Vortex Club members.
She was strangely alone, not with her annoying team of female slaves. Her expensive beige cashmere blouse exposed a little bit too much of her chest than it was permitted in school, but nobody seemed to care since she had the habit of kissing asses here and there. Or maybe cause she had basically nothing R-rated to show. You laughed internally, feeling at least superior in the breast department.

“Tell me, Victoria, you need something?” you simply questioned, trying not to sound too annoyed.

“Why would I need something from you? Also, I'm the one asking the questions here.” She crossed her arms on her chest, raising an eyebrow before continuing. “What on earth were you thinking when you decided that it was a good idea to laugh at Nathan? Who do you think you are, a clown?”

Victoria, if I'm a clown, then you are the entire circus.. You thought, but dared not to say. There was this thin line you never crossed when you talked to her. She had nothing against you, since you never really had chances to talk much, so you preferred to stay on the safe side. Not like Max, who tried to take revenge on her and fucked everything up.
“I didn't do it on purpose..” you puffed as you tried to remain calm, after having to explain this misunderstanding one more time. ”Listen, I just had a rough morning, I don't usually wake up with the aim to get on Nathan's nerves. And yours.”

“I see you're not getting the point of this conversation.” Victoria began to tap her fingers on her crossed arms. “I'm not here to scold you. I'm here to give you an advice.”

You tilted your head in shock, not expecting to receive such a worrisome treatment from her. You immediately apologised. “I'm sorry, Victoria, you're right. I'm just being too harsh on you for no reason. Guess I woke up with the wrong feet. Go on.” you tried to sound sincere, especially since it was almost true, you felt a little bit bad for mentally insulting her when she strangely wanted to help.

“Just go at the two whales and apologize. He's in a good mood now, so you should not have problems. He told me he wanted to grab lunch there after his class. I had to meet him there but I actually have other plans before that.” She explained. You suppressed the urge to roll your eyes. So you were basically her replacement, probably because she did not have the balls to text him and tell him that she had better stuff to do. Well, not that you weren't expecting it anyway. There had to be an hidden reason for this sudden kindness.

“I don't know if this will fix things up or make it worse. I'm not really the most suitable replacement for his best friend.” you simply said, not able to find another pretext to avoid this responsibility.

“You are not, of course. There was no doubting. But at least you'll show him that you tried. And make him waste some time until I can come there.” she seemed so proud of her evil plan. There was no way now you could say no, at least without angering her and worsening your actual situation.

“Fine..” you whispered while looking at your phone to check the hour. You had planned to meet Warren and Max and then eat with them, but apparently you had to cancel. At least you had the honesty to warn your friends about it. “I'm going, I'll have to take the bus, hope it will not take too much.”

“Ugh, you don't even own a car?” she sounded shocked, almost disgusted.

“I have one, it's just not here in the campus..” You tried to explain, but she wasn't listening to you anymore, with her phone on her ear she waited for the other one to pick up. Apparently it didn't take much. “Hey. Can you pick [Y/N] up from the campus and bring her to the two whales? Yes, the girl with [Your hair color] hair who usually hangs with the nerds. Don't ask questions, just do this for me. I'll thank you later.” and she hung up like that.
Max was already spamming you messages asking if something had happened, you were about to text back when Victoria coughed, making you shift your attention back to her.

“Go, just wait him there by the dormitory parking lot and do as I told you. Don't fuck up more than you already had.” you did not have the time to ask her who was going to pick you up, cause Victoria stormed quickly to the other side of the campus, probably in a hurry for whatever crucial plans she had.

As you walked to the point of meeting, you sent a quick explanation to Max and Warren, hoping that they would not worry too much. After all, you just had to go and apologize, there were not many possibilities of it going wrong. Or so you thought.

You did not wait much before a blue BMW entered the parking lot and stopped right in front of you. You saw Zachary at the driving seat, signaling you to get into the car. You hurriedly got in the passenger seat and adjusted your seatbealt, earning a chuckle from Zachary, who was probably not used to have responsible passengers.
“Uhm, thank you for picking me up, I was planning on taking the bus but..” you began saying, but he cut you off.
“It's fine, Victoria told me not to ask questions.” Zachary shut you up like that, probably not wanting to be involved in the situation.
You nodded and tried to distract yourself watching outside the window, as Zachary speeded to the two whales.
It did not take much, also thanks to the violation of the speed limit. The car stopped just in front of the diner, you thanked Zachary again and got off. He sprinted past you, almost not even giving you the time to close the door.

Thankfully the temperature had risen up since the morning, so now your combination of flowery blouse and black jeans wasn't giving you cold problems. You inhaled sharply and hopped on the steps to the diner.

Chapter Text

As you entered the diner for the second time in a day, you saw Joyce eyeing you with curiosity, probably wondering why you came alone, without Max or Chloe. You smiled at her, she seemed too busy with the high flow of customers to engage in a conversation, so you decided to just proceed to the last booth, the one you sat at with Max normally. Nathan was there, looking at something on his cellphone, leg bouncing rhythmically and furrowed brow. You felt the sudden desire to do a 360 turn and run away, but you had to hang in there, for the sake of your academy life.
With doubtful footsteps you reached him, he didn't seem to notice you until you sat in the seat in front of him. His expression changed in a mixture of shock and disbelieve.

“Um, hi.” you simply said, mentally slapping for not really having rehearsed something in your mind before actually sitting.

“Holy shit, what do you want NOW ?” he roared, trying to assert his dominance on you. That did not work well, mostly cause you knew he would not snap and jump on you in a public place. Or at least you hoped.

“I just came here to apologize.. I fucked up this morning and you have all the rights to be mad at me.” you admitted, mentally suppressing the urge to try to joke about it or say something funny, like you usually did when you had to make it up with Chloe, which happened quite often since you had pretty different ideas on everything. Like that one time she tried to convince you to smoke, not only it did not work, but you had a burning debate about it. Luckily Chloe wasn't the type to hold a grudge, and neither you. And joking about everything seemed to work just fine.

“You know I can still sue you for that, you dumb idiot. You think you're hilarious, making fun of me, huh?” he started whining like always, adding insults at every sentences. He continued, raising his voice, not caring about the other customers who began glancing at him and making comments.

“No! That wasn't the case!” you finally raised your voice, making him stop his tantrum. “Plus, let's keep it down, we're in a public place you know?” you sighed and lowered your tone again, trying to find a way to explain it to him so he would leave you alone.

“So what, wanna go to the cop and tell them I yelled at you in a diner?” he said sarcastically. He's not getting the point isn't he?

“Jesus..” you looked at the ceiling, trying to invoke all the patience left in your body. “I just had a funny dream last night and you were in it, it felt so real that I couldn't help myself when I saw you.” you finally said the truth, hoping that this would put an end on it.
Well, it didn't.

“Funny as in what? Explain.” he ordered, making you suddenly blush. You couldn't even think about an alternative story to tell him, you had basically zero time to make up another dream and lie to him.

“I was digging up that strange totem we have in the dormitory's backyard.” you felt him shift in his behaviour, now fully listening to you, almost seemingly curious about it. You felt encouraged to go on. “It felt so light on my shoulder, so I tried to bring it in the campus. But you stopped me, and that's about it.” you concluded, leaving out the part of the story where he whines and yells annoyingly.

“Where's the funny part in that? And don't even think to try it in real life.” he threatened you.

“You were wearing a..” you began saying, but snorted at the end of the sentence. You immediately began laughing again, not able to contain it. “A fucking pink pajama with biscuits on it!” you exclaimed, still laughing and now almost collapsing on the table.

“What the actual fuck..” he said, now more calm and confused than angry. You had probably caught him off-guard. His leg bouncing seemed to have come to a stop. You recollected yourself and smiled embarrassingly at him, it seemed that positive vibes and laughs were actually more effective on him than explanations.

“So, that's the end of the story. I didn't want to make fun of you and your lack of knowledge in Gustave Courbet.” you dared to say.

“That perverted artist.. I closed the book as soon as I saw naked women.” he admitted, relaxing in his seat now. The change in topic made you more confident now.

“You should have turned the pages, you know? His late life works are absolutely stunning, instead of women he focused on landscapes and mystery.” you searched in your bag for your phone, signalling him to wait while you searched for an example.
A while later you showed him the 'Hallali du cerf', the one Jefferson was asking about during class. He focused on it, probably surprised by the beauty and elegance of the painting compared to the stronger and more gaudy works of his early life, you took the advantage to continue. “It's one of my favourite paintings. I'm not really into art, but this one, I can't help but stare at it in awe.” your eyes probably sparkled while talking about it, you were really passionate about this work.

“You're right.. I don't usually give a damn about artists like him, but fuck. This one's pretty good.” he said, then continued “I was thinking about a way to fuck up your life but I think I'll let this one slip past at this point. Your liking in art is similar to mine. That's unusual.” he commented.

As you were about to ask his preferences in paintings, Joyce finally came to your booth to take your orders. She seemed relieved to see that Nathan had calmed down, and by the looks of her face, she also had a milion questions to ask you – but now it wasn't the time.
“And there she is again, unusual for you to be here at lunch.” she commented, smiling at you in an almost protective way. Like she wanted to take you and bring you away from Nathan. She was probably aware of how troublesome the Prescott was. “What can I serve to you two today?”
You really had no idea what the diner had for lunch, so you hesitated; this gave Prescott the time to decide for the both of you.

“Bring two of the usual stuff, she'll like it.” Nathan ordered and it almost felt like a threat to you. He was probably convinced that your similar taste in art also extended to food. You mentally facepalmed, but nodded at Joyce, since you had no idea on what to order instead.

“Two of the usual, 'right!” she didn't even write it on the notepad, Nathan was probably an habitué at lunch.

An embarrassing aura began to form around you, now not able to escape until the end of the lunch. You didn't even know if he preferred to remain quiet or talk. When you hanged out with people you knew, you talked a LOT, but like this.. You had millions of stuff in mind you could ask him to break at least the tip of the iceberg, but at the same time you didn't want to risk another argument while eating. Luckily, he was the one to start.

“You hang out with the nerds. Why?” he simply said, and took a sip of the orange juice that had remained untouched until now.

You blinked a few times. “They're my friends, we share the same interests and we have fun. Why do you hang out with Victoria? You're like two peas in a pod.” you were walking on thin ice here.

“What kind of stupid ass question is that?” he replied, not even realising he was the one who started this.

“You asked me first.”

“Whatever. I just thought that you and the nerds together didn't quite fit the picture.” he admitted, his words felt sincere.

“Hate to spoil it to you, but I'm too part of the nerd community” you accentuated the term nerd, cause you really hated when someone labelled you and your friends just like that. He eyed you questioningly.

“Pronto!” With great timing, Joyce came with the orders and Nathan forgot what he was probably about to say. Instead, he began digging in his plate of french fries and ketchup.

“Thank you Joyce, as always.” you thanked her as she returned to the counter, Nathan did not.

You looked at the same stuff Joyce had brought to you, the same plate covered in french fries and reddish sauce over them. You wondered if Nathan ate this kind of stuff everyday.
He seemed more relaxed now, than when you looked at him from the entrance. You felt a strange sensation, similar to happiness. But why? You were having lunch with one of the most hated person in the campus, to top it all, he was the son of Sean Prescott, the one who ruined Arcadia bay with his shady business. You hated Sean, like everyone. But you apparently had no reason to hate his son, Nathan, curiosity was devouring you instead. This was one side of him that you had never seen, or to be more correct.. Nobody probably saw it daily, if not for Victoria. You wondered if she cared about him the same way Nathan seemed to treasure their friendship.
This was probably none of your business, but Nathan didn't seem to be rotten to the edge like everyone described him. There was something else under the many layers of rudeness, violence and hostility. You wondered why he kept acting like that.

“Well, this 'usual' wasn't that bad. I like french fries.” you commented, while getting up from your seat to bring your empty plate to Joyce. “But next time I'll put mayonnaise over it.” you simply said, not realising that you had implied there would be another time. He didn't seem to mind, since he just nodded at you.
Joyce smiled warmly at you like always, your kindness much appreciated. Nathan, instead, just got up and went to the cashier. You rolled your eyes at her and then followed him, your wallet already in hand and ready to pay for your meal.
Nathan stormed out as soon as he received his change.

 

Walking outside, your body felt almost immediately the difference between the warm diner and the cold breeze. You shivered.
Nathan was already at the opposite side of the road, heading to what seemed to be his car, a 4x4 red truck. You walked to the bus stop, thinking about how he did not even say good-bye to you. You shrugged your shoulders, not really understanding why you would even care in the first place.

Chapter Text

u had lunch with NATHAN PRESCOTT?” Chloe had probably been informed by Max. You puffed and gently tossed your cellphone on the bed. You had no energy to answer her, especially after having to explain it to Max and Warren just some hours earlier.

You tried to focus on your studying but something else kept bugging you. You kept re-thinking about lunch with the Prescott, the fact that he didn't really reject your offer to eat again together. Not that you wanted it to be real, you weren't serious about it in the first place. Or were you? Maybe Nathan wasn't even listening to you properly, maybe he misunderstood. It was just too unreal to be real.

You got up and stretched, puffing again. A quick glance to your wall clock informed you that it was almost 11 pm, it basically took you more than two hours to read and study one chapter. Weird, especially cause it was Biology.

You rehearsed again the last part of what you've just studied, trying to focus as hard as you could. Unluckily, a loud knock interrupted you.

You hesitated, Max never disturbed you this late, she usually preferred to contact you via messages before actually coming to your room.

“It's me, Victoria, you're not sleeping yet are you?” the voice behind the door spoke. You opened, hesitation in your gesture since you were already wearing your pyjama. And it was one of the embarrassing ones. To your surprise, Victoria was also in her night attire. Well, her outfit was much more sexier and expensive-looking than yours, but still a night attire.

“Cute.” she simply said, looking at your pink and beige pyjama with cats on it. She seemed too kind and chill to be herself. What was it again? Another favour she wanted from you?

“Thanks.. You needed something?” you got straight to the point.

“Where are your manners? Let me in.” she was already in before you could even think of a comeback. You closed the door behind you and positioned yourself against it. Victoria, instead, decided to sit on your bed. “What? I've already had dinner, I'm not planning on eating you.” she exclaimed when she noticed you weren't going to sit next to her. You walked to the other side of the room instead, to sit on your armchair.

“Whatever." she rolled her eyes, then continued "so, a birdie told me that your mission was a success. I just wanted to check your status.” there was a strange conflictual aura around her, like she wanted to actually thank you for having her ass saved but at the same time without getting off her throne of superiority.

“I think I'm still in one piece, luckily.” you commented, not having really anything else to say. The fact that you were there to tell was enough, was it not?

“So, you apologised, and then got back here?”

You blinked, not really getting the point of her curiosity. “Uhm, we ate stuff. Talked about art and nerds.. And that's about it.” you simply said, shrugging your shoulders.

“Oh.. Did he say anything about me?” she questioned, uncertain. It wasn't really a scene of everyday, to see Victoria hesitate on something. She probably felt a little bit guilty for abandoning him like that.

“Nope. Maybe he forgot you had to take lunch with him?” you really didn't know what else to tell her. Really, this could have been avoided if she had just texted him in the first place.

“Nobody forgets plans with me.” she said, a mixture of rudeness and sadness in her voice. It was like the normal Victoria was now covered by a cloud of negative thoughts. So, still annoying, but also gloomy.

“Then what's the problem?” you insisted, not really wanting to play the 'guess what' game all night long.

“He's not answering my messages.” she finally spat out the truth. Her fingers lightly squeezing the fabric of her pants.

“Did you try going to the male dormitory? We're not allowed, but you could sneak in if you're stealth enough” you suggested, not really knowing what else to do, it was simply one hell of a situation. What was the point in asking you this? You weren't one of Victoria's friends, neither one of Nathan. Why the hell would you know what to tell her. The situation felt too bizarre.

“Then, accompany me there.” she ordered.

“The hell? Why me? You've got your two best friends, they're always following you everywhere, you even go to the bathroom together!” you exclaimed, not really caring about offending her any-more. This situation was really stressing you out. Plus, you had to go to bed, you had morning lessons to attend.

“Wow, you don't really understand. I can't tell them. I can't be seen like this. And I absolutely don't want rumours to spread. Those two like to chit chat too much.”

“Jesus.. You're dragging me in a situation I have nothing whatsoever to do, only because you don't want to ask help to others.” you huffed, you didn't really like being used by her like this. But your kindness and her sparkling eyes kept bugging you, you felt unable to kick her out.

“I know, that's why you're perfect for the job.” she insisted "you have nothing to do with us. And I'm sure you're not the type to spread rumors. Plus, nobody would even believe you from the start." you clenched your fist, trying to remain calm. Hell, she was too persistent. 

“Fine. I'll come with you, but this one's the last. I'm not your ready-to-go assistant.” you gave up.

“Like I've planned to stick with you for more than this. I cannot wait to never talk with you again, nerd.” there she is, Victoria Chase is back again.

“Don't make me change my mind.” you tried to threaten her, but she simply got up from the bed and went for the door.

"Just let me change in something else" you went for your wardrobe, but she immediately halted you.

"There's no time for that! The campus has a security camera that usually turns on at half past eleven, we can't waste time." she explained. You sighed and began following her, uncertain. You just hoped nobody would see you dressed like that. The plan was to let her enter Nathan's room and then storm back again to yours. Easy peasy.

You both kept your mouth shut as you closed the girls dormitory's door and entered the male one. The lights were off, Victoria did not dare turning them on. There wasn't a single noise in the hallway, you could just hear the light tapping of the rain outside, combined with some gentle breezes of the wind.

Your soft and calculated footsteps weren't luckily producing a sound on the moquette; you simply followed her, not knowing which of the room was Nathan's.

As you carefully continued, you suddenly tripped on something unidentified and fell down on your knees. Victoria gasped and grabbed your hand, strongly dragging you with her. You both ended up hiding in the laundry room just across the hallway, hoping that nobody had woken up with the sudden bang.

Can't you be more careful?!” she yelled at you, but silently. Who had the power to yell without yelling? That was amusing, it made you giggle.

For the love of god shut up, are you trying to get us caught?” she was probably shitting herself too, but you couldn't tell in the dark.

“Alright, sorry. Let's go.” you said, now almost fully recovered from the shock of the previous fall.

You exited again in the hallway, this time trying to walk stuck to the wall, to avoid other fails.

A few steps and Victoria stopped in front of a door.

“I'm almost sure it's this one.” she said.

“Almost? That's not reassuring.” you swallowed, now a little bit anxious about being caught by the principal or someone else. You couldn't even go back without her now, you weren't aware of the male dormitory's planimetry. You now had no idea where the exit was.

“Then get ready to run if you're doubtful.” she suggested, as her hand went for the door. Two loud knocks echoed in the hallway. You both began to breath faster, chills all over your back.

“Who the fuck is it at this hour?” Nathan's loud voice filled the hallway. So that was his room, good.

“Open! Fast!” Victoria hurried him, knocking again and again to make him move faster.

You felt other noises coming from the other rooms, the fuss had probably woken up someone, or alerted someone who was not yet asleep.

Victoria grabbed your arm and dug her long nails in your skin, probably without even realising. In fact, you saw her shaking a little in the dark. It felt like ages had passed when Nathan finally unlocked the door and suddenly you were once more dragged along. You ended up colliding roughly with him, who had probably not yet realised the situation. Victoria closed shut the door, also locking it with the key.

You made eye contact with Nathan before quickly distancing from him, embarrassed. He seemed flustered too, but it soon faded and changed into rage.

“Are you two nuts? Why are you here? Why are you together? What the fuck.” he began asking angrily and looking from you to Victoria, his eyes still unbelieving of what had just happened.

“You weren't answering my messages. I was worried.” Victoria admitted, much to your surprise.

“So what? I told you I had plans with my family for dinner. I just got back from that fucking mad house.” he explained while showing that he was still dressed quite elegantly. He probably had to attend one fancy dinner, considered his father importance.

“Oh, right..” Victoria seemed really surprised by her mistake. You were about to insult her for making you take the risk for nothing, when Nathan pointed at you and commented. “And what the fuck are you wearing?”

You immediately felt your cheeks colouring, you had totally forgot about the pyjama problem.

“You told me I had a funny pyjama in your sick dreams, but HELL, this one's really cringe.” he probably found that amusing, cause he chuckled a bit while saying it. Both you and Victoria exchanged a glance, it was unusual to see him genuinely laughing.

“Just, don't look at it.” you ordered at last, while trying not to make eye contact with him.

“HOW.” he asked again, with loud voice. "Meow, bring out the claw neko girl" he began making fun of you, but you were surprised he knew such a nerd term as 'neko'. 

Victoria shushed him and sighed. “I think we should go back now that I've checked on you” she then added.

"Yeah, so I can finally undress from this shitty outfit. Man, I can't even sit normally with this goddam pants." Nathan began whining, but you could partially agree with him this time. Dressing up elegantly felt like a torture most of the time. 

As Victoria started unlocking the door, you stopped her “I suggest we sneak out of the window instead” you pointed out the big window that looked out over the dormitory's garden.

“Nice one, Indiana Jones. If you get us busted by the principal I'm suing both of you”

“Yeah, just go to sleep Nathan. I'll search for you tomorrow for that Vortex Club matter we must discuss.” Victoria slowly opened the window, the cold breeze made you shiver instantly.

"Alright, 'night vic." he simply said, but he did not address you. That made you a little bit upset. You felt totally like an NPC. Invisible to them. 

He continued looking at both of you while you tried to climb out without making any noises, still without saying anything to you.

You luckily landed successfully, and followed Victoria to the way back to the dormitory's entrance, trying not to think too much about it. As you looked back at Nathan's windows, you noticed him still staring at you two, with a strange expression. You couldn't tell if it was a smile or something else, but he certainly didn't look angry for once.

'Today can't get crazier than this'  you thought, your mind still fresh with everything that had just happened. And your cheeks still red from the embarrassment. 

You definetely had to change clothes now, thanks to the rain.