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 Lieutenant [popcorn]

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PostSubject: Lieutenant [popcorn]    Thu Sep 29, 2016 10:11 pm

She drummed on the table. Each tap sent sounds into the cacophony around them, breaking out of their sphere, mixing with the murmurs and the taps of ceramic cups around them. It was their sphere's only contribution to the cafe's noise. At least, it seemed that way. With each moment, Maisie felt like her heartbeat was getting louder and louder, like everyone around her could hear it. Thuh-thump thuh-thump. An elderly man looked at her as he made his way to the bathroom, and she knew he could hear. She swallowed. Her mouth was dry.

Their food came. He ate loudly, his knives clattering loudly against the plate with each bite, adding to the pressure growing inside her. She kept her food untouched. He stopped eating to look up, pointing a knife curiously towards her eggs. "Aren't you going to eat?"

"Why are you here?"

"I can't check up on my daughter?"

"No." She managed to keep her hand from shaking long enough to take a sip of water, her voice from quivering long enough to speak. "This is a boarding school. The other kids' parents don't visit."

"Your mother is here."

"Mom lives here. She works here"

"Well." He sipped loudly at his coffee. "Maybe I wanted to see Serenity. I've been at sea for two months, I'm not going to sit alone in Dallas all day."

Maisie's hand slipped across her skirt, to her bag as she feebly picked up her fork in the other. The girl reached for her phone, opening up the messenging app. In fleeting downward glances, trying to come across as natural, she began to tap at the screen.

C...o...m...e...t...o...t...

"How've you been, baby girl? Speak to me."


Maisie flinched, looking up. Her eyes had drifted too long, but he didn't seem to notice, more focused on his sausage, his voice more matter-of-fact than interested. She placed the fork down, her elbow on the table, resting her cheek on her palm.

"Since I almost died, pretty good. Thanks for the concern."


"You know I would have stayed longer..."

"But you had work." Maisie tapped away at the screen.

o...t...h...e...c...a...f...e...

She sighed through a bitter frown. "I get it."

"You know, I fought with your mother to not bring you to this school. I said it was dangerous, being around all these freaks. She of course, took that personally..." He gave a humorless laugh. "I mean, you three, you have beautiful, erm, 'gifts.' Some of the people here, though, they're just weird."

He pointed a knife. "I saw a kid turn into an eagle on my way over here. I don't like this place, one bit."

Maisie pressed send, addressing the message to Liam. 'Come to the cafe.' It was all it said.

"Yeah," Maisie said curtly, a caustic smile coming and going fast across her face, like raindrops off a windshield. "I'm sure you don't."

Her father stared for a while. He gave a tight lipped look, a look they both shared, peering at her for some seconds before returning to his food.

"Have you met any boys?"

"No," Maisie said quickly.

"Why not?" Her father tried another friendly approach, 'tsk'ing a few times, shaking his head. He looked up from his food smiling, his plate already half-cleared. "You need to find a nice boy. Maybe one interested in the army. That may cheer you up a bit more."

Maisie began tapping on the table again, louder than last time.

"I'm only kidding, sweetheart," he said, though there was a sternness to his voice. Then again, there was always a sternness to his voice, like he was always prepared to transform into a drill sergent, to yell at you with petty taunts. "You'll know when you find him. Just make sure I meet him beforehand, of course, I need to approve."

The man gave a wink. He returned to eating.

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PostSubject: Re: Lieutenant [popcorn]    Sun Oct 09, 2016 1:59 pm

It was rare anyone actually bothered to message him. Liam stood outside of the town's only quick store, attempting to savor his soda the best he could before his own grasp turned it warm and disgusting. Once the young man had pulled out his phone, he had expected it to be spam or some stupid Esper update. But no, it was her. What could have Maisie wanted with him then?

He turned on his heel, warm eyes staring down the road to the quiet cafe on the corner. It wasn't as if he had anything better to do, he supposed. Liam finished off his drink and tossed it away in the bin. He wasn't exactly in the proper attire for an evening out, in some secondhand band shirt and old jeans, but if she wanted to see him that bad...

He made little noise stepping into the shop, letting the door swing close behind him, easily making out the girl's face in the crowd. What he didn't see was the man sitting behind the booth before her. "Hey, Blondie," He called, shoving his hands in his pocket and approaching the table. "If you wanted a drink, you could have called an asked nicely."
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PostSubject: Re: Lieutenant [popcorn]    Sun Oct 09, 2016 5:12 pm

The man turned around to look. Maisie sat on the other side of the booth, arms together and hands on her lap, looking up at the boy. There was a genuine discomfort on her face, like a zebra eating dinner with a lion. She grabbed a hold of her coffee cup, but didn't drink. "Oh, hey Liam," she said. "Dad, this is a classmate. I forgot, we have a project to do by tomorrow."

The older man frowned. "Tomorrow? Meyers don't wait until the last minute to do schoolwork."

"You dropped out of college to join the army," Maisie retorted. "When have you valued schoolwork?"

"When I enrolled you in a private high school before you got yourself expelled."

She bit her cheek. She could taste the blood it wrought. The blonde stood, and her father did too, turning to the approaching boy. He wore a T-shirt, his muscles making it look painted on, the man almost as tall as the light fixture that hung over the table. He held a hand to Liam. "Classmate, eh?" He smiled thinly. "Did the teacher pair you two up? They seem to do that a lot nowadays, they don't let people do projects with their bros anymore." He said 'bros' unnaturally, uncertainly, like he was testing a new language.

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PostSubject: Re: Lieutenant [popcorn]    Thu Oct 13, 2016 10:27 am

What the hell did she drag him into now?

Liam looked cross, watching the small exchange between Maize and... her father? The young man felt the itch to turn and walk away then. He never signed up to meet any of the folks, and damn, he wasn't sure if this sudden relation couldn't be any worse... or more cliche. There were very few people Liam had to look up to, literally, go figure that her father would have to be one of them.

The young, innocent girl with the towering, scary buff father. It was like a teen chick flick scenario.

Liam stared down the stranger's outstretched hand, seeming almost uncertain as he shot a glance at the younger blonde. Reluctantly, he took it into his own, his grip loose and lazy. "No," He said simply. A project. What sort of lazy excuse was that?

No, Liam was her friend dragged here that she met at a drugged and drunken party. That was bound to go over well. "I picked her out," He took his hand back, shoving it into his pocket and leaning back on his leg. "Had to fight another bro of mine for her."
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PostSubject: Re: Lieutenant [popcorn]    Thu Oct 13, 2016 11:34 am

A soft, subtle slam of her fist came down on the table. Her father turned as Maisie made the sound, her lips firmly pressed together, her eyes lit in fury like firecrackers. Her father just smiled, putting his hands into his pocket as well. "Really," he said dryly. "She told me she hadn't met anyone. She must have forgotten about you."

Maisie's heart beat like a woodpecker tapping on treebark, like a hummingbird's wings. Her hands were fists, her fingers curled white, her lip a snarl. He had to do that. He couldn't bail her out once.

Slowly, she breathed deeply and stood.

"I grouped up with him out of pity," she said, pulling out some bills to leave a tip before seeing some money already on the table. She shoved the wallet back. "I barely remembered his name."

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PostSubject: Re: Lieutenant [popcorn]    Sat Oct 15, 2016 1:06 pm

Ouch, he thought. Getting hit back from both sides with little mercy. Liam might've actually laughed hadn't it been him under the spot. He shifted around where he stood, wearing a straight face. Like father, like daughter, he supposed. "Must have," The young man mused and ran a few fingers through his hair. For a moment he peaked around the room, looking for a familiar bubblegum head to possibly help him out. He worked here, didn't he?

"In any case," He looked back up at the elder man, dropping his arms. "Would you care if I stole her? We have that -" He paused, quickly coughing into the back of his hand. "We've got that project to work on."
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PostSubject: Re: Lieutenant [popcorn]    Sat Oct 15, 2016 4:38 pm

"I suppose," the man said, drawing his coat over his arms. He gave a wave to the waitress who watched him, and she blushed, murmuring something to her co-worker. He continued, rubbing the back of his neck. "I better be catching the train soon anyway. I want to get on a plane to Dallas by the end of the day."

Maisie flinched. She was rubbing her arm absentmindedly, giving unpleased glances in Liam's direction. She, however, refocused on her father. "You're leaving?" she asked.

"Yeah, I already said hi to your mother and sister. I suppose I wanna meet up with some friends back home before I have to return to the base." He smiled, crossing his arms. "I think I'm leaving you in capable hands."

The girl had stopped rubbing her arm, her fingers making indents in the skin, white as she pressed them down, hard. "Yeah," she said vacantly, eyes to the window.

He said goodbye at the door, shaking Liam's hand again. "See ya' later, Liam." he told him, hesitating on the name. He glided his hand from Liam's to Maisie's head, ruffling her hair, the girl quickly slapping it away. He walked in the direction of the train station, a backpack over his shoulder, as the two stood and watched. Rain had begun to fall in a scatter.

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PostSubject: Re: Lieutenant [popcorn]    Tue Oct 18, 2016 9:39 pm

He'd stayed quiet for the most part afterwords as the man gathered his things together and announced his leave. Liam watched the two of them, staying watchful. It was easy to see how quickly the young woman's mood had turned, even for her. He couldn't think of a single time he had seen look so disappointed. Hell, there was no way he could have been the only one who had noticed.

The Summer kept his reservations to himself, loosely standing at the doorway beside her and uncomfortably shaking Mr. Meyer's hand a second and final time. Capable hands? Liam wasn't sure how he felt about that. He wasn't sure how he felt about the sudden meeting as a whole. "Sir," he muttered, low enough that it was a question if he could even be heard. Soon as the soldier was out of earshot and fading away into the distance, he turned his warm eyes back down to the girl beside him.

"Having me meet the folks already?" He mused quietly, stretching his neck out. "You like to move fast."
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PostSubject: Re: Lieutenant [popcorn]    Tue Oct 18, 2016 9:54 pm

Maisie kept her eyes on her father as he disappeared into the horizon, the midday horizon, and furthermore as he was gone, keeping her green eyes fixated endlessly on that point in which he disappeared. When Liam spoke, she did not. She watched and watched and watched. Her lips pursed. They tightened hard. She bit her bottom one. It quivered. Her eyes narrowed, glistened. A tear fell. Fuck, no, fuck, a tear fell. Her arm shot to her eyes as she began to wipe them, silent, embittered sobs reaching the world in muted gasps, sucks of air, as her shoulders shook violently with each sharp intake of breath. It snuck up on her. It always snuck up on her.

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PostSubject: Re: Lieutenant [popcorn]    Thu Oct 20, 2016 9:03 pm

It was a silence like many of the others, one he was slowly growing accustomed to over the time they'd known eachother, or so he'd thought anyways. He let the dumb joke fade away.The Summer let his hand drop back down, stepping back towards the shelter of the cafe, further away from the uncomfortable chill of the light wind and rain.

He thought to say something then, maybe offer her another warm drink after all. Liam need only wait for the right moment to ask. As he stood there though, watching her back as she stared into the distance, it became quickly apparent that things weren't going to play out so easy. She clenched up, throwing her arm over her face. Just over the dim sounds of the weather, he could make out her muffled sobs.

Oh, Hell... What was he supposed to do now? An uncomfortable sharpness tore away at the pit of his stomach. His heart clenched up. Something about seeing the girl so broken and vulnerable then, it left him feeling weak himself. Liam held his breath and glanced away for a split second. He had no words for her.

Instead, Liam settled stepping back up to her side, wrapping one arm around her and resting his hand on her shoulder. It was strange being so closer to her, and awful seeing her shut herself away, but nice at the same time. It was bittersweet.
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PostSubject: Re: Lieutenant [popcorn]    Thu Oct 20, 2016 9:22 pm

His embrace wasn't a surprise. She knew he wouldn't stand there. She knew he wouldn't just let her cry. He was Liam. When she was being herself, he would play along, would tease her and push her around as she would him. She was the shock and he was the suspension. They molded around each other. But when everything was different...

He would put a blanket over her.

He would give her a book.

She read that book front to back.

Or was it back to front?

As he put his shoulder around her, she pressed her face into his chest. It was a place to hide. "He always leaves," she whispered, tears blotching his shirt. Her breath was hot, her mind a swirl. It was rotating, like a children's carnival ride, bifurcating into two paths, two perspectives, Liam and her father, new versus old. The cloudy sky hung damp, but no rain dare fall.

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PostSubject: Re: Lieutenant [popcorn]    Thu Oct 20, 2016 9:40 pm

He kept his gaze upon her as she hid away against him, able to make out her warm breath and the way she shivered and choked up. It didn't take a genius to figure out what she'd meant. Her father, the obviously dedicated solider. The man had turned and left like it was nothing to him. He stiffened thinking back to the elder blonde, remembering his face. Liam knew that pain. Hell, he wondered if his own mother even thought of him anymore, and would be damned if he ever even knew. But if she ever returned, then to have her leave again...?

He blinked, tucking her in, his free hand running through her hair and caressing the back of her neck. "I won't leave you," Liam swore. He'd already threw his neck out once to save her. There was something so special about this girl that he wouldn't quite figure out just yet, all he knew is that he refused to see her so distressed. He'd be there for her, no matter what.
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PostSubject: Re: Lieutenant [popcorn]    Thu Oct 20, 2016 9:50 pm

Maisie looked up. She couldn't help but look up, peek from his grasp. The words surprised her. They were the words she'd wanted to hear for so long. She'd dreamed of them etched in her father's smile as he walked up the driveway with his hat in his hand. She'd thought countless times of Gregory whispering it in her ear when they hugged that winter day. But they didn't say it. Liam did. She looked up at him. Her heart beat slowly, savoring that moment. Her father was no longer walking down the street. That picture escaped her mind; it didn't matter.

And in response to those cherished words, she gave a pitiful little laugh, squeezing her arm into his hold to wipe her eye. "That's kinda gay," she murmured, sniffing.

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PostSubject: Re: Lieutenant [popcorn]    Mon Oct 24, 2016 2:33 am

The young man chuckled under his breath along with her. Ah, there was the Blondie he was far more familiar with. Just to see that those small words of his was enough to turn her terrible mood over, well, it was a wonderful feeling to say the least. Liam had never once considered himself good with other people. Every movement he made was met with hesitation, a slight paused of doubt.
He had yet to make any exception, pulling his hand back close to her face, freezing a moment where he stood. The world around him had become still. He was oblivious to the cold and the rain, only aware of the girl in his arms and how difficult it was for him to breathe so suddenly. Why was that?

Liam finally got the better of himself, brushing his thumb just over her cheek and wiping away any missed tears. He hadn't any more words to say, instead finding himself leaning in closer to her, closing his eyes and stopping yet again. What was wrong with him?
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PostSubject: Re: Lieutenant [popcorn]    Mon Oct 24, 2016 6:28 pm

His thumb didn't glide across her cheek so much as indent, like a mother wiping something from their child's mouth. What was he doing? Why was he staring at her so intensely? Maisie eyes widened, her cheeks reddening in perception of that look he gave her. It was too real, too transparent. She pushed herself from him, stumbling back a bit, wiping her tears herself. "You're getting a little weird there, Ginger," she said, eyes still glistening and red, gaze straight as she rubbed them and hoped for the gust to do the rest. "Chill, I can do it myself, thanks."

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