Aug. 7th, 2010


Benson had to hand it to the Carver family--when they had a party, they had a party.  Madeline's twenty-second birthday was on Wednesday and she, Cary, and Salinger had had a private birthday party for just the three of them that night, but her parents had hosted a blowout party for their families, the Retlins, and tons of friends of Mad's and Cary's.  Benson was glad to get to see his roommate, Mad's cousin Garrett, and to introduce him to Mallory who had, of course. attended with him.

They had begged off as it approached midnight when it became evident that the party wasn't showing any signs of ending on its own.  Even Benson's parents were having too much fun with Mad's parents and aunts and uncles to put their drinks down and go home, but Benson wasn't too surprised by that.  After Salinger's birth four-and-a-half years ago, his grandparents had bonded and eventually made each other part of their respective families, just as Mad had done with Benson and Stieg.

It took almost a half hour just to make the rounds and say good bye to everyone that they needed to, but Benson and Mallory were finally in his car, driving away from the festivities.  "You wanna go anywhere, Mal?" he asked, taking the wheel with his left hand and reaching over to take hers with his right.

Jun. 10th, 2010


More Poor Timing

Recently, things had been a little tense in the McGill-Thomas apartment.  Stacey's inability to broach the subject of their future was putting a strain on her at an already stressful time in her life.  Now that she had graduated from Columbia, she was trying to find a job.  Well, she'd been applying to jobs for months, but now that she was out of school and her father was cutting her off financially, she was making her job search a full-time job.  In the past two weeks alone, she had attended three interviews, sent out her resume to over forty businesses and filled out extensive applications for fifteen more positions.  Many of her friends from graduate school were in similar circumstances as her, so she knew that she wasn't the only one not getting responses, but it was still stressful.
The added tension was messing with her blood sugar slightly, too.  It wasn't enough to talk to her doctor about, but she had to pay closer attention to her levels than usual.  All of this combined with Sam's ill will towards Ethan was enough to stress out anyone.  She had seen Ethan only once since the shower fiasco, when they rode the elevator up together.  She had been friendly and tactful, but also firm and clear that walking into her apartment in nothing but a towel had not only been inappropriate, but it had caused tension in her home and he had better not expect to be welcome there anytime soon as far as Sam was concerned.  Ethan had apologized profusely and then irritated her the tiniest bit by saying that he hadn't even considered whether it was appropriate or not because he wasn't interested in her any longer.  Stacey was glad that he wasn't, but she couldn't help but be a little miffed at the same time; no girl wants an ex to think that she's undesirable, ever.
Still, when Stacey relayed the conversation back to Sam that evening, she could tell that he remained unconvinced over Ethan's true motives and it only gave her something additional to worry over.
As if that wasn't bad enough, she returned home from the post office--where she'd bought more stamps to mail out more resumes--the elevator was out of service.  "Oh, you're effing kidding me," she scowled to herself.  Of course it would happen on a day when she'd worn cute but entirely unpractical high heeled shoes.  Glaring down at her feet, she removed the shoes, resigning herself to washing her feet as soon as she made it to the eighth floor, and started walking upstairs.
As she neared the seventh floor landing, she could hear someone calling out for help a little uncertainly, like he wasn't sure if he needed help or wasn't sure whether anyone would hear him.  "Uh, help?  Help?"
"Ethan?" Stacey called out, entering through the open stairwell door.  Immediately, she saw smoke coming in from #707, his apartment.  She dropped her shoes and purse and rushed in, nearly knocking Ethan over.  "What's going on?!"
"Thank God you're here!  I was cooking and, well....the pot caught on fire!"
Stacey rushed over to the stove and, sticking her hand into an oven mitt, grabbed a pot lid and put it on top of the pot, shutting the fire inside and tamping it down.  She turned off the burner and then used the mitt to start waving the smoke away.  "What on earth were you cooking?!"
Ethan bit his lower lip sheepishly.  "I was trying to make stove top popcorn.  I guess that maybe I turned the heat on too high?"
"You think?" Stacey asked with an eyebrow raise, clearly suggesting that he was some level of stupid.  She thrust the oven mitt at him.  "You're not going to have a fun time cleaning that up, but definitely don't go near it until it cools off.  And you need to check the batteries in your smoke detector because I didn't hear it go off."
"Oh, I definitely will, I promise," Ethan swore.  "Thank you so much for helping!"
"Well, it was either that or let my apartment potentially burn, too.  Anyway, I need to get going," Stacey continued, cringing inwardly when she thought of what Sam's reaction would be to all of this.  "I'll talk to you later."
She started walking out the front door, which was still open, only to see Sam right outside the door holding her purse and heels.  Oh crap, Stacey thought, wishing that she could have just explained later.  "Baby, you wouldn't believe what just happened.  Let's go upstairs and I'll tell you all about it."  She wanted to separate him and Ethan as much as and as soon as possible.

May. 15th, 2010


And Things Get Awkward

While Stacey and Sam were usually pretty good about keeping their apartment clean, recently they'd grown a little lax.  Stacey had marked today as her cleaning day and had even gotten up earlier than normal to make sure that she could start laundry before anyone else claimed the three washing machines in the basement because she and Sam were both nearly out of clean clothes.  She was also the one who took care of all the laundry responsibilities for both of them because she didn't mind adding his things with hers, but mostly because the first time that Sam did her laundry he had shrunk one of her sweaters to toddler-size.  Stacey decided never to risk it again, especially with such a large variety of clothing that had special washing and drying instructions.
On this particular Saturday, she had been lucky enough to put a second round of loads into the three washing machines after the first round was done; usually there would have been someone waiting by then to take them over.  All of her and Sam's things would soon be done and she thought that if that was the only thing she accomplished that day, she would feel productive.  Luckily, the cleaning frenzy had barely begun.  In their apartment, Stacey hooked her iPod up to the expensive Bose radio that her father had given her as one of her Christmas presents a couple years before, and put on her "Cleaning" playlist that consisted almost solely of Oldies because that's what she and her mom had always cleaned to in the past.
She had just finished making the kitchen immaculate when she heard a faint knock over the sound of her radio and her own voice singing along with Dusty Springfield's, "I Only Wanna Be With You."  She guessed that Sam must have forgotten his key when he went out since she wasn't expecting anyone, so she swung the front door wide open without looking through the peephole.  Then she wished that she had because she was acutely aware that her ragged denim shorts were too short and that she wasn't wearing a bra beneath an old t-shirt of Sam's that almost fully covered up her shorts because of its length.  If it had been Sam at the door she wouldn't have cared, but it was her ex-boyfriend instead.
"Hey," she said, giving Ethan a curious glance.  "Uh, what brings you by?"  She crossed her arms over her chest, hoping that he wouldn't notice the lack of a bra.  Even if she had known it was him at the door, Stacey wouldn't have been able to do much about her predicament because all of her bras were currently air drying on the drying rack that she'd set up next to the open balcony/ fire escape window.
"Stace, I know that this is a huge inconvenience, but do you mind if I use your shower real quick?  My water somehow got shut off and the Super can't look at it for another couple of hours--and I have to be at work in thirty minutes.  Please?  I'll really owe you one."  Now the reason why Ethan had a bath towel over one shoulder made sense--as did the two bottles of shampoo and body wash in his hand that Stacey hadn't noticed before.
Stacey wasn't sure how much Sam would like it, but she couldn't think of a good reason why Ethan shouldn't use their bathroom.  "Of course you can!  The bathroom is, uh, just through there," she said, pointing and letting him walk inside the apartment.
"Thank you so much, Stacey," he said, already making his way towards the door.  "I really appreciate it."
"Let me know if you need anything," she called after him as he shut himself inside the bathroom.  She wondered if she should grab a bikini top to use as a bra until he left, but figured that it was unnecessary--he would be gone soon.
And how is Sam going to like that when I tell him that Ethan was essentially naked in our apartment?  Ugh.  There was never any question in Stacey's mind about letting Sam know, but that didn't mean that she was looking forward to it.
As if God knew the exact moment to screw her over, Sam let himself into their apartment just then.  Above the sound of a Beatles song coming from the radio was the unmistakable sound of the shower running.  "Hey sweetheart," she smiled at him a little awkwardly.  "Um, so Ethan needed to use our shower....His water's off or something."

Apr. 20th, 2010


Mark was absolutely ecstatic as he paced anxiously in the arrivals terminal of the Stamford Airport. After some convincing -- with much reluctance on his part -- Lauren had taken Alyssa on a two week long trip to Thailand, where she had family. The two weeks had been more than long enough -- Mark missed his little girl like crazy, and oddly enough, found himself missing Lauren too.

The two of them had settled into a very unorthodox way of life. They lived together in a three bedroom house -- a room for each of them -- and raised Alyssa together, although there was absolutely no romance between the two of them. Lauren bickered at him like she'd always had and went to school, and Mark went to work and got dinner started every night. According to his buddies, it was as though he was married but without the sex. Mark had never looked at it like that -- it was what worked for them. Besides, it was Lauren. There was no chance he'd be into her.

But then she left, and he was alone. And he missed her. The bathroom didn't smell like her perfume, the house wasn't filled with the mother-daughter giggling and no one rolled eyes at Mark when he offered the wrong answer on Jeopardy. He bragged to his buddies about how nice it was going to be to be alone for two whole weeks, but really... it hadn't been as fun as he expected. He didn't want to start having feelings for Lauren -- it seemed as though it would be more trouble than it would be worth -- and vowed he wouldn't let himself get attached to her, which would be easier said than done, since Mark had the tendency to not realize something was happening until it was too late to go back.

He stopped pacing and stood attentively as the weary passengers started to make their way into the airport. He kept his eyes peeled for Alyssa, but with her being only four years old, he didn't spot her until he heard the familiar, adorable voice pipe out, "Daddy!"

He crouched down and held his arms out as Alyssa barreled into them, nearly knocking him over. He squeezed her tight and lifted her as he stood, burying his face into her lovely Loreal Kids scented hair -- Mark would be lying if he said he'd never tried the strawberry smoothie scented shampoo. And it was true -- no tears.

"Hi, Droopy," Mark greeted, holding tight onto her and using the affectionate-but-embarrassing nickname he'd come up with her when she was just learning to walk and he didn't want to change her smelly diaper. "I missed you!"

He glanced over her shoulder at Lauren and grinned at her, stepping closer to her and awkwardly placing a arm around her waist, hugging her in a friendly greeting -- because, sometimes they were friends. And she still smelled good. Better than the Loreal Kids shampoo. "Hey, kid," he told her as he pulled away. "Good to see you didn't get hit by all that lava," he added, knowing she'd be pleased that he watched the news even while she was away.

Apr. 18th, 2010


While perhaps five years ago Cary Retlin had not expected to find himself sitting in a Connecticut apartment taking dictation from a four-year-old -- one comprised partially from his own DNA, at that -- he found it a challenge to imagine an alternate existence.  Sure, he was supposed to be in New York, scribbling away -- or perhaps typing furiously -- to meet a Monday-morning column deadline for the internship he'd never gotten, but when he was Salinger's age, he'd wanted to be a fighter pilot.  And then a vet.  And then -- a little later -- an ornithologist. 

Life, he had heard once -- and it was a sentiment he fully agreed with -- was the stuff that happened while you were making plans for it.  And truth be told, even before Madeline, he had not been doing a hell of a lot of that.

"Da-ad!"  The insistent little voice never failed to make Cary smile, a more genuine expression than his old trademark smirk -- a trait he was admittedly pleased to see Salinger had picked up on and a dead giveaway that he was considering something vaguely devious.  The "Daddy" phase had not lasted long; Salinger had taken to calling him "Dad" fairly early; Cary himself seemed to recall having done the same thing with his own father.

"He wants to go to the park," Salinger informed him.  "To see if the... the... ice cream truck is there!" he grinned.  

Cary dutifully transcribed the words onto the sheet of notebook paper in front of him -- wisely positioned a safe distance from Salinger's sloppy cereal bowl -- mindful to leave space for Salinger's painstaking but recognizable illustrations at the bottom of each page.  He had taken to the recording of his son's imaginative -- and often slightly nonsensical -- tales almost immediately after Salinger had begun telling them at the beginning of the year.  And lately he had been telling them with such frequency that Cary and Madeline had quickly taken to working in shifts.  Although their son had not been shy to inform them that "Mom's writing is nicer," he did not seem to particularly favor one transcriptionist over the other.   

"And then... the truck gives him a free ice cream sandwich!" added Salinger, his eyes sparkling.

"The truck gives him a free ice cream sandwich?" asked Cary innocently, smiling again as his son's face screwed up in momentary confusion.

"The... the... ice cream man does," Salinger concluded proudly, and they continued this way until Madeline appeared in the kitchen, at which point their son paused long enough to beam up at his mother, who would -- with any luck -- have all sorts of questions as to what today's story involved.

Apr. 16th, 2010


Days in the hospital could either be exceptionally good or terrible. Today had been the latter for Darcy. She knew it was always a bad idea to get attached to patients in the ICU, but Mr. Farber had been a grumpy, sarcastic old man – his personality matched Darcy’s almost to a T. She always tried to sneak him extra dinner, even though he complained every day about how terrible the food was. He was battling an aggressive form of lung cancer, and while he’d been in high spirits the previous day, he’d succumbed to his illness just hours before her shift was to start. It was the hospital life, and it wasn’t the first death she’d experienced... but it was quite possibly the hardest. Her coworkers had taken pity on her – none of them had really cared for Mr. Farber the way Darcy had – so they convinced her to go home early, which she appreciated and did.

Walking into her small apartment, she noticed the light on her phone flashing, indicating a new message. She assumed it was her mother or sister, who couldn’t ever keep track of her schedule. She pressed the button and opened the fridge, examining the contents as she listened to the message.
... )

Apr. 14th, 2010


Wednesday's were Renée's favorite and least favorite day. Favorite because she only had one class in the morning and the rest of the day off. Least favorite because both Brooke and Tyler had very long days. She usually didn't mind, having homework and such to finish up on, but with the end of the semester just around the corner and the sun beating down as she walked home after class, she knew she had to do something.

She pulled out her phone and immediately scrolled to Ben's name, knowing he'd be up for something fun. Four years ago, if someone had told Renée she'd be willing to spend her free time with Ben Abbott, she'd probably have slapped them. But since moving to Florida, Renée and Ben had actually became friends. It was nice to put the silly high school crap behind them and move on, because he was a pretty fun guy to hang out with.

heyooooo.. soooo.. lets do something. naooo. idk what but i'm sure you have some kinda epic ideaa!

Apr. 13th, 2010


Ku'u home.

Katie finished a tray of coffee, cookies and a cinnamon bun, the latter which she'd never touch, and probably Ashley wouldn't either. It was more a decoration than anything else. Though Novelia would eat it. Walking into the living room, she found her daughter still watching a movie; Lilo % Stitch, which was one of her favorite older Disney movies. Katie liked it too, it was pretty emotastic, like her. Katie sat down next to her and waited for Ashley to arrive.

Apr. 11th, 2010


Allie hesitated for an unnoticeable split second before pulling open the door to the hole-in-the-wall basement bar, the familiar scent of mothballs and stale cigarettes hitting her as she trudged down the creaky stairs. The bar was the most undesirable place she'd ever seen, but it was the only bar in Stoneybrook she'd never went to with Ryan. Coming home and trying to find places -- grocery stores, restaurants, bars -- that didn't have his memory etched in them was next to impossible, but she was determined to forget about him. Or at least determined to somewhat mend the massive hole her idiot decision left in her heart.

The girl behind the bar wasn't the usual tender -- Allie frowned, not liking the looks of this girl. Judging from her skinny ass and flouncy hair, she seemed like someone who would chat Allie's ear off, diminishing her tip with every word. The usual bartender knew Allie, and tried to be friendly the first few times, before realizing Allie was not the social butterfly -- or the generous tipper.

"Hi!" the blonde chirped happily, grinning from ear-to-ear as Allie propped herself up on a stool. "So, like... you're totes gonna just laugh at me, but..." she broke off and giggled once before continuing, "do you, like... got some ID?"

Allie rolled her eyes before wordlessly handing the girl her driver's license, relieved that she'd managed to climb out from her funk long enough to switch her license back to Connecticut. She was fairly certain this girl would chirp away at her about Florida if the ID was from there.

"Oh, my God!" the girl exclaimed, grinning up at Allie before looking at her ID again. "It's, like... your birthday! That's so exciting! Happy birthday! It's your birthday!"

"Thanks for the update," Allie snapped, snatching her license back away from the girl. She wasn't a complete moron, she knew it was her birthday. All the more reason to be hiding in the dark bar, drowning her sorrows. Who could possibly want to celebrate being a twenty-five year old divorcee, living at home with the parents and driving a parts delivery van part-time?

"Can I just get a Bud, please?" Allie asked, her voice dripping with annoyance. The girl nodded eagerly and snatched a bottle from the cooler, sliding it in front of Allie and smiling proudly.

"On the house, birthday girl!" she announced cheerfully. Allie, though desperately wanting to slap her, took a large gulp from the bottle, slightly pleased with her own self control. It hadn't been very evident in her life lately, and if not punching the bartender was the start, well... it would have to do.

Mar. 25th, 2010


An Evening At The DeMilles-Marsden Apartment

Jay let himself into his and Davina's apartment ready to relax.  Thursdays were especially busy for him; three back-to-back classes in the morning, a three-hour anatomy lab in the afternoon, and then speeding over to SHS to coach a JV Lacrosse game before working out at the gym for a half hour and finally coming home after a quick shower.  All he wanted to do was grab a beer and some food and watch TV on the couch with Davina.

He didn't feel like cooking anything, so unless Davina was inclined to cook, he figured that he'd just grab whatever leftovers were in the refrigerator and go from there.  He never expected Davina to make dinner for him just because she was usually home before him, but he sure appreciated it when she did.  He was mediocre in the kitchen at best, so anyone's cooking was better than his.

He put his keys on a table by the front door and dropped his gym bag beside their sofa as he entered the living room.  Davina was sitting down with a bunch of papers and magazines and Jay grinned as he recognized the "wedding stuff" as he thought of it.  He liked knowing that in just over six months she would be his wife.  "Hey, pretty girl," he greeted her, leaning down to kiss her on the mouth.  "How're you doing?

Mar. 7th, 2010


A Night at the Oscars

"Thanks for coming with me tonight," Greer smirked at Rob from her position on the limo seat across from him.  This was her first time attending the Oscars and though she wasn't especially nervous, it was nice having someone she'd known most of her life at her side.  Even if they acted like they disliked each other most of the time.  "Despite your ugly face, your billionaire status might actually help my reputation."

While Meg hated the spotlight, Greer adored it.  She knew very well that she was low on the paparazzi radar right now and that she wouldn't even be shown in the audience during the awards show itself.  That was fine with her because her goal for tonight was to simply be seen on the red carpet.  She and Rob could coyly deny that they were dating and increase interest in her love life.  Hopefully.  At the very least, she was fairly sure that her dress could be one of the most talked about creations by the end of the night.  Floor-length one-shouldered gold silk with a swirling sheer design that started at the shoulder and cut across her breasts before wrapping around her back and cutting across her belly.  Wrapping around again, it cut across one hip, making it obvious that she wasn't wearing a bra or underwear--they would have shown up beneath the sheer fabric.  The dress was kept from being completely scandalous because the gold silk was solid enough to not actually show anything inappropriate--the hint of scandal was enough to get tongues wagging.  Or so Greer hoped.