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Chapter 6.1 — First Date
* * * * * * * * * *
When they drove up to the house they saw someone waving. Jenny pulled over to where the guy was standing and he bent over to look in.
“Couldn’t wait inside till we arrived?” Vincent asked.
“Hell no,” Richard smirked. “If I wait in that house” — he pointed to the house where he lived — “then my parents would keep asking me if I was waiting for a date to show up.”
Jenny leaned over to look at him. “Oh, and they won’t mind if your date is nobody but sweet Vinnie?”
He rolled his eyes. “Why do you think I allow you to drive the car? Wouldn’t surprise me if they start pestering me next time that I had gonebrokeback mountain if Vinnie came to pick me up.”
Jenny cracked up at his silly joke. She always laughed at his jokes, no matter how stupid they were — and he had plenty of them.
“How am I supposed to pick you up, moron, I don’t even have a car!” Vinnie exclaimed. “Be glad that Jenny has one and takes the time to go out of her way to pick you up.”
He snuck into the backseat of the car and slammed the door shut. “Seriously. A Honda is a car? I always need to run like the Flintstones whenever I get ‘invited’ to go with you. I always thought you needed me for the horsepower.”
“Horsepower? With your condition? Be glad we don’t charge you for extra baggage,” Vinnie pointed at Richard’s belly, which didn’t really stood out.
Richard acted like a shocked schoolgirl and turned halfway: “Don’t you point at my boobies, you pervert! I’m gonna tell mommy!”
A claxon honked as Jenny couldn’t hold it anymore and had started slapping the wheel with her hands.
“See? Now you’ve upset mommy.” Richard said with an innocent face.
“Shut. Up. Both. Of. You,” she managed to get out inbetween the bursts of laughter and they let her calm down for a bit. “I can’t drive like this, you know.”
“Wait. You can actually drive?” Richard remarked. “I thought it was an automatic.”
“That only goes for the clutch, you moron,” Vincent replied.
“Hey, I know that. But you never know if she does. And she needs to get us to the private party before the day’s over.”
Vincent waved his hand to indicate that Jenny should start driving and she brought the car up to speed. They planned to visit a friend who had organized a ‘private party’, which was not much more than a few friends to play cards and other stuff if they were up to it.
“But really, who stuck that pole up your ass?” Richard asked Vincent. “You’re usually not that cranky, pal.”
“He’s jealous.” Jenny said over her shoulder, which earned her a fist to her shoulder, causing the car to slightly cross the line between the other lane before she pulled it back. “Yesterday we became an item.”
Richard jumped forward and nestled himself between the two chairs in front. “What the hell? How did that happen?”
“Hmmm … it just happened, I guess,” Vincent said, a little mulling about how much he should explain. “We’ve been around each other for a while now, so yesterday we kind of realized dating wouldn’t be too much of a stretch.”
“I’ve been around longer and you’ve never tried to date me though,” Richard remarked.
The car shook a bit because Jenny nearly broke out in laughter.
“That’s because of your belly; you’re too fat, man.”
Richard appeared distressed. “Don’t say that! It’s just that my boobs have sunk lower than most people. A little bit lower and they could even be mistaken for my giant-sized balls.”
This time Jenny couldn’t hold up and she started to swerve across the road. If there had been any other cars it would’ve been a problem, but traffic was generally scarce in the neighbourhood where Richard lived. Right now there were no other cars on the road she could collide with.
“No, seriously,” Richard said. “Back when I saw you two for the first time together I thought you two were an item, but you guys never seemed to do anything romantic, so I dropped that idea. Still, it took you quite awhile to realize.”
“Sometimes it’s harder to become an item when your relation is good. You don’t want to destroy that friendship by trying to take it a level higher. Imagine when we’re sitting here and Vincent had rejected me, or I had rejected him. We wouldn’t be able to have fun the way we used to.”
Richard nodded. “I can understand that. So, who was the courageous one?”
Vincent pointed his thumb at the driver. “She did.”
“I did not!” Jenny exclaimed. “You just overheard güvenilir canlı bahis siteleri me.”
“You did say it right in front of me though.”
Jenny blushed a crimson red. “That’s … mean. How was I supposed to know you could hear me?”
“True that,” Vincent laughed, remembering how she was merelythinking it when they sat across each other in the cafetaria.
“Besides,” Jenny added. “I didn’t say I wanted todate you.”
Vincent nodded. “Indeed. You were merely thinking of ravishing my lips.”
“Exactly. World of difference.”
Richard had been following the conversation with a hint of confusion. He couldn’t wrap his head around how the hell she was thinking that he wouldn’t hear her when he was right across her, but the fact that they could hold this conversation and ended up dating meant that it turned out well. He wondered if she had actually planned it this way.
“Oh, by the way,” Vincent added, sideways looking at Richard. “I didn’t agree with that right away, just so you know.”
“That’s true, afterwards you retreated back home and you didn’t leave for days until you dared to face me. And even then it was only because I came to your house.”
Vincent snickered. “You got me there. I was pretty confused back then, didn’t know how to handle it.”
Although that was mostly because I was still receiving her thoughts all day long, he remembered, although it wasn’t a painful one. Nowadays he could think back on that time fondly, though it was still embarrassing.
“But everything turned out all right, so all’s well.” Jenny concluded, thereby cutting in before Richard would start enquirying how things ended up like that.
“Huh. Oh, well, I kind of like the fact that you two finally got together. I was sort of wondering if I would have to do something to see whether you actually liked each other as more than friends, but I guess that’s not necessary anymore.”
He paused for a moment, then added: “Just don’t get all nasty in the car and forgetting that you’re on the road, ey. I’m still in the backseat and I tend to like staying alive.”
“Don’t worry about that. If we do get nasty, you wouldn’t know a thing about it.”
Jenny winked in the backmirror and Vincent laughed about that inside joke.
* * * * * * * * * *
Chapter 6.2 — Daniel’s apartment
* * * * * * * * * *
They arrived at the house of Daniel, where the party was being held. Daniel turned out to be the brother of Nathalie, which Vincent had only found out about after she dropped by when he was visiting him. Today she wasn’t a part of the team, as he had invited over only a couple of people from his circle of friends. Nathalie wasn’t included in that. He doubted that anyone else — even Nicole — knew that they were brother and sister. In fact, Daniel probably hasn’t even mentioned he had a sister; he was pretty silent on his personal stuff.
He didn’t have any roommates, so his appartment was way too large for him to live in by himself. His parents were wealthy enough to be able to pay the rent for an apartment for him and Nathalie, but since Nathalie didn’t want to be cooped up with her brother all the time, they both had their own apartments. Vincent thought it would’ve been easier if they just moved in together in a single apartment, just like he and Nicole did, but they had chosen not to.
Vincent didn’t know the exact reason for why Daniel lived by himself and Daniel never talked about it. Daniel was not simply a laidback person, he was also someone who didn’t really talk about himself. One could say Daniel kept to himself, even though he had always people around him. People trusted him and he trusted the people close to him — one of the reasons why all of the people in the room had a spare key to his apartment.
One might say that he was too trusting by giving out spare keys to his apartment, but Vincent believed another reason was that he didn’t want to bother opening the door whenever someone dropped by he would’ve let in anyway; a doorbell was meant for people he wanted control over whether to let them in — like his parents.
Seeing him sit in the comfy chair, with his blonde hair tighly bound in a small ponytail and a pair of small glasses, one could mistake him for an artist, a painter or something. For some reason Vincent thought he only lacked a sigarette to complete the picture. He had the air of someone who did things because he felt like it, no matter how ridiculous that may seem to others. Vincent had güvenilir illegal bahis siteleri seen him once without the ponytail and he thought it was striking how much he looked like his sister as his features were almost feminine. Back then he could only distinguish them because of the characteristic trimmed beard he had.
When they came in by making use of they key Daniel had provided, all of them were already there. Eliza and Hanako were sitting on the couch, Frank and Elroy sat on the couch adjentive to that, giving them a 90 degree position from the girls. Daniel was sitting in one of the comfy seats across Eliza, the spot he usually occupied.
“Yo, guys!” Elroy greeted them enthousiastically. “Glad to see you could make it.”
“Wouldn’t miss it even if I had to push that piece of crap car all the way over here,” Richard remarked. “Oh wait, I did. Flintstones-style. Now, hop over to the other couch,” he said, gesturing to Elroy, fully knowing that he secretly had a crush on Eliza, “so that the newlyweds can sit next to each other.”
“Newlyweds?” Hanako asked. Vincent blushed crimson while he kicked Richard’s butt, making him tumble over and land on Elroy who was just trying to move over to the other coach.
“Vincent and I have just started dating,” Jenny explained. “And Richard is a bit jealous he isn’t allowed to touch my ass anymore.”
Whistles were heard from both sides; Frank whistled a fu-fuu, just like when a man does when he sees an attractive woman, whereas Eliza whistled a fuu, as if she was congratulating them on the relation.
“When have I ever touched your ass, woman?” Richard yelled, feigning innocence.
“Everytime you close you eyes in bed and fantasize about me?”
“… well, okay. But I can still do that despite your relation, not?” he replied, looking at Vincent.
Vincent took a step back. “And why are you looking at me? You want to fantasize about my ass too?”
Richard lunged and grabbed his ass with his right hand. “I don’t need to fantasize about that. Your ass is mine!”
“And mine!” Jenny added. “Be nice, share it with me!”
“Why is my ass suddenly being shared?!” Vincent cried.
All this happened right in front of Frank and he couldn’t stop himself from hunching over from laughing. His laugh was loud and hearty, the kind of laugh that gets you to smile along despite it being loud. Everyone else smiled after hearing him laugh and they all took their places; Elroy moved over to sit next to Eliza and Jenny and Vincent huddled together next to Frank. Richard took the single seat next to Daniel.
“So, where’s the beer?” he said. “I need to get wasted to get over the fact that I need to share Vinnie’s ass with his girlfriend.”
* * *
Around 20:00 the doorbell chimed.
“Did anyone invite someone else?” Elroy asked.
They all replied negatively and Daniel sighed. “Looks like I’m supposed to open the door then, as the actual resident.”
Everyone craned their necks to follow Daniel to the door.
When he opened it a girl was standing in the opening, red hair or perhaps just brown hair with a reddish glow emanipating due to the light of sunset — or perhaps the light of a budding streetlight further down the road. She was dressed in jeans and a pale red sweater. Vincent thought she couldn’t be much older than 17 — and even that seemed a bit of a stretch.
Daniel exchanged a few words they couldn’t really make out and eventually he asked her inside, closing the door behind her.
“Hi, I’m Talitha,” the girl said. “And I’ve just moved in next door. Nice to meet you all.”
Elroy cocked his head. “How old are you?”
Eliza smacked his head from behind. “You don’t ask that question to a lady, you fool.”
“He probably wants to know if she’s underage, otherwise he would have competition with Frank,” Richard remarked.
They all laughed a good laugh, although Talitha didn’t really grasp it. She was standing there with an innocent smile, wondering what everyone was laughing about.
“Umm … I’m 19. I’m actually old enough to live on my own, really.” She replied honestly.
“Dammit. Too bad for you, Frank, she’s an adult,” Richard said. He then looked at the girl again and said: “If they’re older they push him around too much, so he prefers them before they develop an opinion.”
Frank was nearly crying from laughter and he had to hold onto Vincent next to him to actually manage to stay seated.
“Don’t worry,” Daniel assured her. güvenilir bahis şirketleri “No matter what they say, they’re harmless. That guy with the foul mouth doesn’t even dare to grab the ass of his boyfriend in his dreams, he told me.”
“Hey!” Richard and Jenny cried out.
“His ass is mine!” Jenny added.
Vincent buried his face in his hands and shook his head. Frank was now howling on his shoulder.
“Anyway, have a seat. Easiest way to figure out what kind of neighbours you have. And these guys will come over plenty of times, so it would be handy to get to know them.”
She nodded warily.
* * * * * * * * * *
Chapter 6.3 — Talitha
* * * * * * * * * *
After she’d moved in, she had planned to at least get acquinted with her neighbours, to fit in and to not raise suspicion. She hadn’t lied when she said that she was 19 and that she was old enough to live on her own. What she hadn’t told was that she had sort of ran away from home.
Running away from home might still be a little easy on the situation though. It was more an act of escaping a prison, to make sure she wouldn’t live her life the way they were planning to.
Many people around that age wanted to live on their own, spread their wings and fly solo into the wide world. Talitha did too, but she had a slightly different reason for it. Nevertheless had she never expected to get into a situation where she would meet up with a person in a similar situation right after she managed to settle down.
And really, who would have? she thought to herself.Who would have thought I’d escaped that prison only to find out that there are others like me out there? I was under the impression that I was pretty unique, but here I am, sitting across a person with a similar affliction.
Her eyes were locked on Vincent, the only one whose thoughts were not clear as day to her. In fact, she had a hard time to even glimpse at them, let alone know what he was thinking at the moment. She probed a bit harder and she saw that he got distracted from the conversation he was having with Hanako and started looking around. She let off on the probing and decided that she shouldn’t try to focus this kind of attention on herself.
That would be stupid, she said to herself.Escaping because they wanted to let you use your mind-powers only to put them on display as soon as you have settled down someplace nobody knows you. Get a grip, girl.
She kept listening around to the others and assured herself that they didn’t know about her and that they were indeed generally harmless. Frank wasn’t a pedophile, neither was Elroy. Elroy liked Eliza and he had lots of trouble considering he was sitting next to her and he was way too clumsy to make an impression. She thought it was cute, since Elroy was a tall, black, muscular guy with a bald shaved head. He looked intimidating in terms of posture, but his matter of speech and the way he moved showed he was a gentle soul. Eliza didn’t seem to mind his clumsiness or his intimidating look, but Talitha didn’t think it worth her effort to pry to see if it was mutual.
Most of her attention went to Daniel. Not only because he was the one closest by, but also because he was the actual resident of this place. She wanted to make a decent impression on him and more importantly,get a really good impression what kind of guy he was. If she was laying low, she’d better not have a neighbour ratting her out.
After a while she came to the conclusion that, despite his slacking attitude, he was a true friend for people he decided were friends. Most of them were in the room here, so she made a mental note not to piss off any of them. She did, however, made a note to look more into that one guy they called Vincent.
There is just one thing I really want to know; is he in some way related to the people hunting me down, or is he not affiliated with them? He already noticed when I put some pressure on him, so caution is important. But how long can I keep up being unsure?
She felt torn between anxiety and relief, happiness and dread. There was someone who could help her and at the same time he might also be the enemy she hadn’t expected to find.
She decided to mingle for a bit — everyone was really nice to her — and after half an hour she decided that it was enough for the time being.
Let them have their evening without the visitor who unannouncedly dropped by. I know where they go to college and it’s the same one I’ve enrolled, so I can take it slow in knowing them. In getting to know Vincent.
She departed, waving goodbye to the people in the room and everyone claimed that it was fun and that she should drop by more often. She promised she would do that. And when the door closed and she was walking back to her own apartment, she’d already started making plans.
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