2014-08-17 Cold Showers, Cold Shoulders
This scene is rated Everybody
Warning: N/A
Players: Drake, Cara, Ember
GMed by N/A
Title: Cold Showers, Cold Shoulders

*entry after scene already underway*

Drake crouches at the edge of the pool, arms folding over his knees. "Tsk, tsk," he chides. But a small smile tugs the corners of his lips. "Y'sure can't. But, uh.." That smile dulls as he shifts his position into a fully seated one, legs hanging over the edge with his knees dipping into the water. "You okay? Yesterday, you seemed a little… I'unno. Off. Upset?"

"Pissed off. Scared. Pick one." Cara says, finishing Drake's though rapidly her eyebrows furrowing for a moment, "I'd rather not talk about it." She says, having already talked to her mentor and now trying to relax and forget about it, at least for the rest of the day. Flailing her legs slowly Cara remains just above water and stays in roughly the same spot, "The flowers did help though, thank you, Jake."

Drake twists his lips in a grimace when he gets his answer. But her request to drop it gets a nod of compliance. "H'okay, no worries." His foot moves through the water, sloshing up a small wave to splash at her. "Stop calling me that. That's a terrible nickname. You can do better."

Using a single hand she gives him a larger splash than he did to her, Cara smiles a bit weakly towards the elctro mutant. "How about no, I think it's rather fitting." She says, her smile getting stronger and even showing some teeth. "You going to jump in, or will you shock me with your super powers?" She asks, a brown eyebrow lifting higher up on her forehead than it's sisters.

Drake leans back at the splash, and begins kicking his legs in the water, creating a churning splash in her direction. But at least it doesn't last long. "Jake's a horrible name! It's like you can't remember my name or something!" Once said, he leans forward with a smirk. "Either that, or you wish I had a different name. Got something against Drake, Carrie?"

"You could try calling him Cheese Grater." Ember wasn't thrilled to see Drake was somewhere she wanted to go before she got there again, but it's not like she can ask him to leave. Besides, there's a new face here as well and she's not about to drag her into… whatever this was. So she's put her 'upbeat face' on and offers the pair a wave as she approaches the other side of the pool.

"How's it horrible, it's close to your real name and it is related to your mutation." Cara says, still having trouble considering it a gift. She sets her lips, smile gone and she puts a lot of emotion into this splash, not thinking about his clothes or anything any more, trying to get the whole of him wet. Then her smile comes back once she stops pushing water at the mutant. Turning around to see the approach of Ember, Cara lifts a hand above the waters and gives her a wave. "Hi." Then looks back at Drake, "You two know each other?" She asks, referring to the cheese grater comment.

Ember's arrival is met with a quiet look - which lends to a sizeable amount of water splashing against his body. Fortunately, Drake's already dressed for the pool, so no harm done. Well, aside from his dignity. A pair of hands set to his face, wiping the water away from his eyes, then slicking his hair back. Those pesky bangs drop right back down, however.

"Jake's got nothing to do with electricity! I'm telling ya, you can't use normal names for nicknames. People are gonna think you don't know who you're hanging out with." After a beat, Drake leans back, propping himself on his palms. "And, sort of," is his late response.

"Yes. I got here a bit before he did." Ember stops at a bench about halfway down the pool's length and drops her towel and robe there. She's wearing herself as 'Ember classic' with shorter, more pool-friendly hair and a white racerback one-piece. "The nickname was because he'd been on his own a while before coming here, so his clothes looked like he'd been through one. I'm Ember." She starts doing a few stretches and offers the new girl a genuine smile of greeting. "It's a small school. Eventually you'll meet pretty much everyone, although some of the faculty tend to be out on their own thing sometimes."

"Does too, Jake, Jacob, Jacob's Ladder, boom." Cara says, going through the thought tree to get to his nickname, she did hope he would have caught onto that the first night. Either way she's smiling, and forgetting about the other day. "I'm Cara." She says, before lowering herself down to where just below her nose is covered and then she takes a long glance over towards Drake before motioning him in and then looking over towards Ember. This alone time certainly changed to a crowd quickly, though she's not worried further, so that's good.

"Boy, that's a hike to reach the connection. And even then, that's.. what, because I did a spark-thing between my fingers?" Drake shakes his head matter-of-factly. "So lame. You can do better. Heck, 'cheese grater' is better than that. At least it's not someone else's name." He reclines a little further and extends his left leg, attempting to nudge his toe against the girl under the water. But that's a reach, and Dhalsim isn't going to be a fitting substitute for Jake tonight. Resigned, Drake slips into the water with a small 'splurp' of a splash. Moments later, his head pops over the surface again, having found his feet. Hands whisk through his hair once more. "How're you settling in, anyway?"

"Good to meet you, Cara." Ember doesn't say much more as it's clear the other two are more focused on each other. So after a brief wave to the pair she heads down to the deep end. She settles herself into the water from the edge instead of diving in and starts swimming side-to-side laps so she doesn't intrude.

"That's exactly why you are Jake." Cara says before finally giving in and sighing, "Ok, fine, no more Jake." Then after Drake slips into the waters Cara paddles her way closer to the young man, "What's her story?" She whispers while gesturing over towards Ember. "Nice to meet you too!" The glassbender calls back with a friendly smile. Then responding to the question asked to her, "Oh, I guess it's going well, your flowers helped make the room feel much less sterile."

Drake glances a final time in Ember's direction before fixing his attention fully on Cara. And when she relents on the nickname, she gets a warm smile. It lasts only a couple seconds, though, with the question presented him. He opts out of answering it first, at least. "Glad the flower could cheer ya up. I didn't even know you needed it." A hand lifts to set to the back of his neck, and his voice lowers somberly, "Her story isn't for me to tell. That's something you'd need to get from her."

Ember lets her attention flow away from the pair in the shallow end, focusing on the mechanical motions of swimming. She keeps her aura tucked inside since she doesn't (yet) need its boost for something like this. Just repetative strokes back and forth sideways across the pool.

"C'mon, gossip a little." Cara says whispering further. "What about you then? What's your story? I just learned you spent some time alone." She says, looking a little solemn at that and yet there's a hint of sympathy in her voice.

Drake glances aside to Ember again as she swims back and forth. With a quiet sigh, he murmurs, "Ember's had a rough past. That's about all I should say on it. Her secrets aren't mine to give away." One of the many rules of the streets he picked up from his delinquent years, that. Those vibrant emeralds flit back to Cara, meeting with her ambers. "Mine? I used to raise a little Hell. Five-finger discounts, grand theft auto, a little B'n'E… I wasn't homeless or nothin', but I lived on the streets, if you catch my meaning. But when I started to make with the sparks, I decided to come out here'n try to find others like me. Knocked over a few convenience stores'n gas stations to lure'em out. And here I am."

"Oh." Cara simply says, once again lowering so her mouth is under water. She swims like this a little bit, but is merely treading water, not really sure if she wants to give him a hug in this situation though she'd like to, but refrains.
Drake watches the girl tread water in silence, studying her expression before he breaks into a thin, almost impish grin. "You ready to tell me about yourself yet?," he asks. A hand drifts through the water to prod a knuckle against her midsection, "You refused to tell me anything back in the rec room. Have I paid my dues?"

Cara meeps underwater, causing a few bubbles to pop up into her nose. She shakes her head and quickly catches Drake's wrist under the water and holds it before whispering once more, "Not in the open, ok." She says, looking over towards Ember and then swimming backwards, letting go and moving out of reach and submerging her entire self to do a few frog strokes under the surface. She breaches the water and takes a breath, "I'm not the most open person in the world Drake."

Ember has progressed to doing laps while submerged. When she needs to take a breath, she creates a small lightform funnel out of the water so she doesn't need to surface.

Drake finds his wrist caught, followed by a girl in retreat. His head cocks to the side, watching her once she's resurfaced. "I'm getting that. You don't plan on ditching the grounds or anything, do you? 'Cuz if you stick around, I'm alright with waiting. Not goin' anywhere."

In a rare explanation of her past, Cara notes, "I don't have anywhere to go, so I'm staying." Then she dips her head back in the water and comes up face first, making sure her hair is down the back of her head.

At that admission, Drake glances again in Ember's direction - in time to catch her doing her funnel trick. Oh, he recalls the last time she did that. She was 'cheating' at their splash war, and it turned out to be her undoing. The teen breathes a breezy sigh and returns his gaze to Cara. "I get the feeling that's the case for most of us."

Looking more and more solemn as the conversation continues, "I hope not." Cara notes, then looks over to Ember swimming with a snorkel of light, "Oh, cool." She says, suddenly thinking she could try something similar if she had some glass. Then with a quick glance out of the corner of her eye she lines up Drake and cocks her arm back before shooting a surprise splash in his direction with a giggle.

Drake is almost, almost completely taken by surprise! His left arm lifts just enough to keep him from taking the brunt of it. But it still elicits a yelp, the likes of which he would've preferred not to make in present company. But now it's been done. And now, it's on. Drake fixes the giggling girl with an oh-so-dirty look and dives into the water, feet left kicking in the air for a second before going fully submerged.

Cue Jaws music.

Drake's finesse in the water, while not Olympic, is clearly honed as he maneuvers in close to Cara and attempts to slip in behind her. Once in position, he breaks the surface and his hands go for her shoulders to push her down for a quick dunk.

Ember resurfaces after a couple of laps, starting to feel the strength drain from her sooner than she'd expected. Time to either bring out the aura or get out. Noting the splash fight as she surfaces, she decides to conceal herself for a bit to keep from becoming a fifth wheel.

Should anyone look in her direction, they'll see her continuing to swim side-laps with different strokes on each lap. In actuality, she's sitting on the edge of the pool with her back against the base of the high dive, hidden behind an illusion of things looking normal there.

Splashing about she looses sight of Drake and then yelps herself when she's pushed under the surface. Making her way up quickly she breaths in heavily once in the air, her hair covering her face like the girl from the ring. Cara coughs a bit of water out of her mouth, and breaths in some more. "Nasty trick." She says before lunging at Drake and aiming to put her weight on his shoulders to push him under though she's likely not strong enough to do so.

Dunk successful, Drake's busy laughing and whisking water from his face. Cara's counter-attack lands with her more-or-less pounce, his arms instinctively hooking her waist. And down he goes, very likely dragging the auburn-haired girl with him. He remains submerged for only a second, fortunately! Had he gone down with the girl, she'll be brought up with him again, complete with a rather unmanly sputter. "Pfftth! Cheap shot!"

Cara actually screams out and gurgles when she's grabbed and pulled under but comes up laughing, her arms on his shoulders as she looks down at the mutant and then as he comes up she pushes away somewhat forcefully. She's still very shy and apparently a little prudish. "Yeah. It was." She says, looking away and after a moment she swims more to the shallow end to stand and give her muscles a rest but remaining mostly under water.
Drake doesn't take much work to pry loose, drifting back a foot or two once she's dislodged herself from him. He busies himself with wiping over his face and brushing his hair back out of his eyes. "Givin' up already?," he calls, despite being unable to really see just yet. Chlorine in the eyes, yo.

Cara's not bi-polar, I promise, just, easily shaken. "Yeah." She mumbles, looking over to Drake and smiling softly. "I should probably get out before I get all prune-y." Cara notes, looking over towards Ember and seeing the girl still doing laps.
With a quick, canine-esque shake of his head, Drake fixes his gaze back onto Cara. "Really? Guess you were in here a lot longer than I thought." He drifts towards her, nevertheless. "Does that mean you're gonna bail out, then? Ditchin' me?"

Cara's hand drifts up to her arm and she holds it while still submersed. "No. Maybe. I'm not sure." She says with a frown, "I'm not sure." She says, starting to think to herself how she's feeling, and how she feels around this mutant.

Drake comes to stand before her, head tilted to peer at her curiously. "Everything okay, Cara? You were all perk a second ago." He raises a hand to gently tap a knuckle under her chin - or attempt to, at least. "Perky-you is a fun-you."

"Yeah, I- just." Cara says, squeezing her arm tighter but not reacting any other way when Drake tries to touch her. "I just have a lot on my mind." Truth. She is trying to process a lot right now, the fight the other day, her emotions, her new living quarters. A lot.

Drake lowers the hand back into the water and offers the new girl a gentle smile. "Kay. Well, maybe next time you hit the pool, you'll lemme know so we can hang out longer. And if you're still wantin' those lessons, all you've gotta do is swing by my room or catch me sometime. Classes should be startin' any time now, on top of that."

"Yeah. I will." Cara says before turning around and moving to climb up the steps out of the water and over towards her towel. Wrapping herself up she heads off towards the girl's locker room and hopes no one is in there. She wants to go to her room to think things over.
Drake lets Cara get out of the water without fuss, but steals a look at her unsubmerged figure before she gets away. Once she's departed, he hauls himself out of the water to perch on the edge of the pool again, gaze cast in the apparently-still-lapping Ember for a moment.

Ember watches Cara head towards the locker room from her perch by the diving platform, then watches Drake watching Cara. Then she decides that she's going to take this chance to speak up to Drake. She forms her crystal cane behind the illusion and uses it to stand and walk around the pool, timing it so that she can 'merge' with her illusion by having it climb a side ladder out of the pool, then slowly drop the illusion as she adjusts it to match reality.

She approaches Drake slowly, caution next to the pool mixing with her drained strength and a desire to not seem like she's trying to ambush him. "She seems like she's settling in a bit at a time, but isn't quite at-home yet. Like someone else was not too long ago."

When Ember emerges from the water, Drake's expression shifts - if subtly - to a more neutral one; one he'd worn when in the Professor's office. But he remains where he'd been sitting, arms folding over his lap notwithstanding. His shoulders square defensively, and his tone is guarded, but he /does/ speak to her. "Yep. I guess. She just needs time."

Ember nods, stopping her approach just outside 'comfortable' distance. "I think that's the case with all of us. Time for things to be less raw, less new." She leans a bit heavily on her cane but tries to keep her appearance as casual as she can with her gut attempting to repopulate the world's butterfly supply. "Just… not too much time, I hope."

Drake remains on guard, but if the crease in his brow indicates anything, it should be that he's picking up what she's dropping. "Ember," he starts slowly, gaze evened on her, "…I came after you because I cared about you. Do you get that?"

Ember's personal illusion is tight enough that it translates the brief war of expressions that occurs on her real face beneath it. She visibly supresses a reflexive response by physically biting her lip, then takes a moment to calm herself so her voice can be even as she responds. "I get that you did seem to care about me, before. But are you talking about on the roof, or after?"

"Both," is Drake's immediate response. "Friends - actual friends - are hard to come by. And since you seemed like you were my actual friend, when you got hurt, I went ballistic on'em. And it meant that I didn't want you making another move like that again." His head inclines as he reiterates, "Because friends are hard to come by, and them getting killed would suck. Follow?"

Ember takes a long moment to respond to that. There's a lot going on in her head as a lifetime of reactions are at war with things she's been trying to get to stick since coming east. Some of it translates to her face as well. Eventually she responds, picking her words slowly. "The roof was a clusterfuck in all ways. But it's over." Another pause before she continues. "Afterwards… it felt like you ambushed me. Like you wanted nothing more than to make the whole thing my fault. I reacted poorly to that."

Drake shakes his head at her and starts to frown. "First thing I said to you was that I had your back." He draws in a slow breath, then exhales it in an even, measured whoosh. "Anyway, the only thing I wanted when I looked for you was to make sure you didn't get hurt like that again. That's all. That was the only thing I was concerned with."

"The first thing I heard was a jumble about being true and honest and not keeping secrets, but …" Ember slowly lowers herself to the floor with her feet in the water as her strength wanes a bit further and again she'd prefer not to use her aura to supplement it just now. Instead of dismissing the cane, she just sets it aside since she'll likely need it again later. "… We were both wiped out then. I'm… not happy with some of the things I said. Or some of the things you said, either."

She starts and stops a couple of times before finding words that aren't likely to cause things to break down again. "You needed to be more concerned with yourself then. Everything that was said could have waited until we'd had time to rest. Maybe it would have gone more smoothly, then."

Drake's eyes start to narrow, that guard raising. "That's never gonna be how it works with me. You mind what's important. You were what was important. I was trying to make sure you weren't about to run away. The way you were talking made it sound like that was on your mind. And the most I did was call you stupid. You said some really, /really/ personal things about me that were way over the line." He leans back slightly. "Yeah, I was tired. But you don't sleep."

Again, Ember bites her lip to keep her first automatic response from getting out and poisoning everything from this conversation. "What did I ever do to make you think I was going to run away?" She pauses again before continuing. "Yes, I fought dirty. Only way I know how. I also didn't cut myself any slack in those remarks, either. Yeah, I went over the line. I was hurt by what you were saying about me and trying to shock you into hearing what you were saying." She stops herself by biting her lip again, this time drawing blood but sucking her lip so none of it drips out of the illusion.

When she speaks again, it's with a softer voice. "If you asked me what we actually said then, I wouldn't be able to say. I may not sleep, but that doens't mean I'm always awake."

"Well, it worked. You shocked me." Drake's left hand lifts to gesture in a vague sweep, but doesn't explain what it means. Instead, he transitions the conversation with a more mellow tone, "So, what's the plan?"

Ember's shoulders slump slightly at the question and she shakes her head in response. "I don't know, Drake. I have no foundation to build on, here." She lets out a slow breath as she stares at the water. "When I left Iowa, I decided that I wouldn't let anything or anyone keep me locked up again. In any way. And that I would leave anything or anyone that tried in my wake."

She lifts her eyes to look at Drake, "I'd really rather not have you end up in that category, but I'd rather avoid any kind of drawn-out 'dancing around each other' thing. I don't have enough time for something like that."

Drake lifts an ebon eyebrow as she explains. "So you're hoping I'll just forget what was said and get over it? Because otherwise, you'll… what, continue as normal? Compelling." He draws his legs back from the water, tucking them under himself. "I left California for similar reasons. But more importantly, I had a few friends. We didn't always agree or get along, but what kept us together were two things."

His index finger raises. "We had each others' backs. We knew we could depend on each other, because we were what we had."

The middle finger joins the index. "We respected each other. There were lines that we didn't cross. Not because we couldn't, but because of that respect. /You/ compared me to a Nazi when I told you I cared about what happens to you."

The hand lowers and Drake lifts to his full height. "Until you actually respect me, we've got nothing."

"I compared you to Scott and his 'toe the line I set or else', zero flexibility attitude…" Again, Ember has to bite her lip to get the boiling anger under control. This time it doesn't take as long. "I didn't have any friends by the time I came east. If you listened before, you can figure out why that is." Ember is tempted to stand up to match Drake as he rises, and even moves as if she will, but decides against wasting strength on what would be nothing more than bravado.

"I'm not asking or hoping for you to forget anything, Drake. I've just got done telling you I regret some of what I said and that I don't want you to drop out of my life." She slumps forward, resting her chin on her knees. "As far as I'm concerned, this whole 'cold shoulder' thing we've had going on is over. What your take-away is from this is up to you, but I'm tting it all behind me and moving forward however I can for however long I have left."

Drake sets his hands to his hips, weight adjusting in his stance from one foot to the other. "See that?," he asks with a nod of his head. "The reason you're doing this is pretty murky. You say you regret some of the things you said, but why?"

"How is it murky? What am I supposed to be seeing, Drake? I don't know much more directly I can say it." Ember sits up, not wanting to feel as relaxed as she had been starting to. "And I already said why I regret them. I'm not going to let you goad me into either responding out of anger or drawing this out any further." She slides back into the water, her aura appearing tight around her body as she does so she can use it as a boost to her muscles. "The ball's in your court, Drake."

Drake glances aside momentarily, then back to her by the time she's in the water. "Right. I'll try to explain this in a different way. You still got that cast lyin' around?"

Ember uses her aura to push off the side and glide backwards further out into the pool, letting her arms and legs just float bonelessly in the water. "I kept the pieces people had signed from both casts. The rest would've take up too much space in my hope chest."

Drake gives a soft 'mmh'. Other people had signed it. Well, regardless, hopefully the message will still get across. "Maybe you should take another look at it. I mean really look at it. And when you understand what I mean by respect, then we'll have something to work from."

Ember shakes her head as her aura extends downward to anchor her against the pool floor while she 'floats' inside of it. "Drake, don't try to be circumspect or cryptic or come at things sideways. You suck at it. Don't try to give examples or make parallels with your past that you know I don't share and can't identify with. Just spit it out, already." Her words are calm, almost drained of emotion.

Drake's expression darkens. "Alright, have it your way. This whole thing has been about you moving forward, not about apologizing. Not because you realized I've been a great friend to you. Not because you actually /missed/ me giving a crap about you. Not because I actually matter to you. It's just about you feeling free and not shackled. You've taken me for granted. You have no respect for me. Until you do, I'd rather have nothing to do with you. Is that clear enough?"

"I've been doing nothing but move forward since I decided to take my life into my own hands back in Iowa. And the only shackle I have on me is not knowing quite how much time I have left to live." Ember's eyes flare with anger that she doesn't allow to reach her voice as her aura raises her from the water and extends over to wrap up and collect her robe and towel from the other side of the pool.

"I've acknowledged my screw ups, and I'll keep doing so. I was making an effort to make peace between us here, Drake. I have no idea how you think I've taken you for granted since we've known each other barely a month. As for respect… I don't know how you define it, but it's not just a one-way thing. You don't get to put this all on me." With her robe on and towel in hand, her aura shifts her over to the pool's edge where she picks up her cane again. The cane plus her aura allow her to stand upright without wavering too much.

Drake paces the perimeter of the pool, maintaining a dead stare with her. "In barely a month, I've carried you home from an explosion, consistently checked up on you to make sure you're alright, spent time with you, tried to help you feel better when you're not your best, was /going/ to take you on a trip, and was trying to make sure you didn't run off somewhere. Yeah. It's a two-way street."

He comes to a halt and leans forward, hands planting on his knees. "I /do/ get to put this on you. The Hell have you done to even suggest that I matter? This? You couldn't bother paying enough attention to even hear what I was saying without going on about how you're moving on no matter what I say or do."

"You never did answer why you thought I was going to run off somewhere when I asked. As for the rest of it, how many times do you expect me to show my gratitude for helping me home after the explosion? And how is spending time together as friends somehow translate as me taking you for granted? I didn't ask you for or expect any of that from you, Drake. And you were hardly the only person doing any of it. But you seem to be the only one who expect some kind of reward for it beyond friendly gratitude." Ember makes full use of her aura to walk around so that she's closer to Drake but not getting so close as to be physically confrontational.

"I've heard everything you've said here, Drake. But have you heard everything I've said? You seem to have a selective deafness thing going on whenever I bring up certain subjects. So prove you have enough respect for me to actually listen to what I've said and tell me this, and yes I've mentioned it a couple of times here at the pool… What is the biggest problem in my life?"

"I can't remember exactly what you said. But you gave me that distinct impression. That's why I was worried. That's why I was trying to reassure you that you had me around," Drake explains. "And I'm sure other people have done stuff for you. But they haven't had it thrown back in their face, have they? That's the gratitude you've shown me. That's the point I'm trying to make with you. You said you regret it, yeah. But in the same breath, you're saying you can take it or leave it if I'm not satisfied."

That eyebrow cocks again. "You think you don't have long to live - or just aren't sure how long it is. I get it. Compared to that? I'm unimportant."

"Name one time. ONE. Time. That I, as you say, threw anything back in your face before the rooftop battle. One time where I wasn't friendly and grateful to what you offered. I dare you to think of just one before eight days ago. I'm willing to bet you can't." Then Ember's back stiffens at the way he answers her question.

"You 'get' it? … Compared to that…? Do you even hear yourself? This isn't something I'm making up or guessing at. The rate my body is falling apart, I've got maybe six or eight months before there's nothing left. This," she holds up her hand and twists the aura to indicate her powers, "is killing me. And no, not using it doesn't help. I've tried that. I even offered to show you what it was doing to me. Something I hadn't been willing to show /anyone/ before. But you blew me off. This is why I'm not going to waste time battling back and forth with you over which of us did the other wrong. And this is why I sucked up my own stubornness tonight and offered an olive branch."

Ember turns towards the exit and speaks over her shoulder, "And this is why the next olive branch will come from you. Or not. That's your call." She pauses briefly halfway through the door, giving him the courtesy of hearing his reponse, then leaves.

"Prior to that, none, no. But it sure was a Hell of a thing to do that night. And you ground it in pretty hard what you thought of me."

The eyebrow raises again as she continues, and Drake nips onto his lower lip. When she pauses, he breathes a sigh. "Wait. Ember, just… hang on." He proceeds after her, if she'll delay long enough. "You're right. I'm sorry. That was pretty cold of me, and… I can't imagine how stressful this is for you." After a beat, he repeats, "I'm sorry." A hand sets to the back of his neck, eyes lowering. "I wasn't trying to blow you off. I don't even remember you trying to explain it to me. I didn't realize."

Ember isn't hard to keep up with if the effort is made. It's not like she can make very good time right now. "The night after the explosion you ruffled my head. I wasn't expecting the contact and you got a handful of what my head really felt like instead of any of my false-faces. A few days later, down by the lake I tried telling you what was under the illusions. I was building up the courage to show you what's happening to me. You blew me off. And every time since then until just now, this minute, you either ignored me or called me suicidal. So that's what you've been giving me. But even with that, I still stayed friends until you came after me in the pool house when all I wanted to do was find a quiet place where I could decide what to do with the miracle that Loki had casually dropped into my hands."

She stops and fixes Drake with a mournful expression. "I had no barriers up. Everything was raw. Even my false-face was tissue thin. I was more vulnerable then than I'd been since the first time my parents started in with the 'belt and chain' routine. And when you came in I asked you to leave. You refused. We got into it. Lines were crossed by both of us. And here we are. I've spoken my peace, now it's up to you how this proceeds."

Her words are delivered with no heat, no anger. Not much emotion of any kind, really. But when they're done she turns to continue down the hall. "But for now, I'm going to bed."

Drake simply looks flattened the more she explains. "Ember, I'm really sorry. I really, honestly didn't know. I'm a guy, you've gotta be blunt with me sometimes-…" But she appears intent on leaving. He skews his expression slightly. "Alright. But this isn't over. I'll see you tomorrow, and we'll get this straightened out."

Ember's only response is a quiet but hopeful smile over her shoulder before getting on the elevator.

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