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Generated: Nov 16, 2019 11:59 AM
Post last updated: Oct 12, 2017 9:44 PM
Invention of the lyre
Juliet goes to Beacon Hills High School
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Today, Beacon Hills High School prepares to welcome a new student! Several new students, in fact; a whole class of them. As summer gives way to fall, so too does freedom give way to restriction. Get in your seats, everyone.

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Juliet sits close to the door and tries to calm her nerves.

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The teacher doesn't seem to think this calls for nerves at all. He reads from his roster in a bored voice as he stares at the TV above the board. It looks like there's weather today. How nice.

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"Here," say the students who are, in fact, here.

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She is also present. And she voices this fact when her name is called. She looks around the room taking note of everyone's names and faces, memorising them.

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They put up with this indignity.

And then she has her first class, science.

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Today they'll be starting with an exercise for everyone to get to know each other! They have to find a partner.

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Ahhhhh? She slightly freaks out. Right, right. She can do this.

She's looks for someone she saw in homeroom...

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No one who answers to that description is available.

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There are, however, a few students who remain un-partnered after the initial rush.

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Maybe she'd like to try one of them?

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After a moments indecision she shuffles over to the blonde girl. "Um. Hey. Do you wanna be partners?"

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"Sure."

They have five questions to ask their partner. Later, they'll introduce their partner to the class! This helps students integrate into the larger social atmosphere.

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Juliet smiles in response and then sits down besides her. "Well, like. First things first. What's your name? I'm Juliet."

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"Erica."

She taps the paper between them.

"What three things would you want with you on a desert island?"

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"Um. Oh. Like other than practical things that will get me off the island? I suppose... my camera and my car? Though that's a really stupid thing to bring. But still. I want it. And," She stops and thinks, "if I'm the only one there.." she wouldn't need any chains then, "uh, my music player."

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"Medication, lipstick, and Lydia Martin's wardrobe."

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"Not one of my official questions: who is Lydia Martin? Apart from being a fashion icon, that is."

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"She's one of the popular kids. She's the only one everyone agrees is popular, basically, except Danny. Everyone likes Danny. Who's your favorite fictional character? Mine is Catwoman."

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"Oh, okay. Just assume I don't know anyone but you...which is the truth, but like..." she trails off, "Catwoman is cool, any version of her in particular? I like Eartha Kitt. My favourite character right now is probably Hamlet. I just started reading it and he's like.. the original dark and broody guy," she jokes.

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"I don't actually know Batman that well. I saw the cartoon? Hamlet is a little too broody for me. Do something once in a while. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?"

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"I dunno, I like a little brood in my characters, makes them mysterious," she smiles. "I'd go to Florence in Italy. My family is from there, I'd wanna go see the old family estate. And you?"

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"I don't know. I've never really pictured myself traveling. I would love to, but when something's impossible it's just not really worth hoping for. Maybe Paris."

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"Impossibility isn't a constant. Maybe in the future you'll find the means and you'll get to go to Paris."

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"Maybe. It's sweet of you to say."

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"A little hope never hurt anyone," she continues with the questions, "like, what do you wanna do after we graduate?"

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"Medical research," she replies instantly.

"You?"

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"Art school! My dad wants me to go to Duke."

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"Does Duke have a good art school, or are you not Daddy's little girl?"

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Juliet laughs. "Uh. It does have a good art program. But... the Royal College of Art in London is the best in the world."

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"Go. If you can. Don't let someone's opinions hold you back."

She looks at the paper, but it's time to introduce your partner to the class!

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Opinions really aren't the thing holding her back...but she's not about to tell Erica that.

Does she go first? Or are there other students before them.

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Other, more eager students go first, but she'll get her turn when she wants to take it.

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So she stands. "So. This is Erica. She's really nice, really likes fashion and is gonna go to Paris and blow everyone's mind with her awesome medical breakthroughs."

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"It's very nice to meet you, Erica. Isn't it?"

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"It's nice to meet you, Erica,"

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say the students.

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Erica stands too.

"This is Juliet. She has family in Italy and a taste for brooding boys."

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"It's nice to meet you, Juliet."

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Juliet blushes but manages a small, "Brooding girls too."

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The last pair to go are these two boys, who seem to be taking different attitudes to the getting-to-know-you activity.

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"This is Josh. He said he'd want hair gel on the island. Hair gel."

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"It's nice to meet you, Josh," Erica choruses.

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"This is Stiles. He wants to be a detective, which is adorable, and his favorite fictional character is Luke Skywalker."

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"Leia, I definitely said Leia. What kind of man can't pronounce Leia?"

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"One that doesn't see that she is very obviously the superior Skywalker. Heathens."

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"Why not both," he whispers, but they've moved on to the syllabus.

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They'll be covering geology, astronomy, and meteorology. Any questions?

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"Are we learning about the moon's phases?"

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"There isn't all that much to learn about the moon's phases, Miss Salvatore, they're the least interesting thing about the moon. But yes, we will go over them."

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Erica snickers, but says nothing.

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With most of their time dedicated to ice-breakers, the science teacher has to let them go soon.

Next, Juliet has art.

The art room appears to be somewhat difficult to find.

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"I disagree, but whatever." She grabs her bag and raises an inquisitive eyebrow at Erica's reaction. "...do you have art?"

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"No, English. I'll see you when I see you."

She walks off.

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...Juliet takes out her camera and snaps a couple of pictures of Erica walking away. Afterwards she slips the camera strap around her neck and walks off down the hall, looking into each classroom. Do any of them look like art-rooms?

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...nope.

Nope!

Nooope.

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Ugh. She reaches into her bag and checks her schedule. Does it have a room number?

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It does have a room number!

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As she attempts to locate this room number, she's joined by another pedestrian.

"Hey, sorry, are you in Art too?"

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"Yup! Apparently it only materialises once you know it's room number...." she looks at the girl, "or some helpful person comes along and shows me the way?"

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"No go. I'm lost too. We can walk together, and if one of us finds it, shout for the other one."

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"That's a plan. I like this plan." Juliet checks her schedule again and reads out the number. "So... we go," she looks up at the surrounding classroom numbers, "left?"

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"Left!"

It takes one or two wrong turns, but they arrive.

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The teacher glares at them, but continues her speech.

It's about the value of art in society. She's very long-winded.

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Her traveling companion takes a seat and beckons her to join her.

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Juliet gives the teacher the appropriate sheepish face and then hustles on over to the seat next to her new classmate. She smiles at her and then takes out her notebook and pen, placing her camera on the table in front of her.

Notes!

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Notes!

The teacher doesn't carve out time for them to get to know each other, continuing her lecture. They've moved on to the history of painting.

"I'm Harley," whispers Harley.

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"Juliet," she whispers back. "I hope we didn't piss the teacher off too much."

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"It'll be fine. Everyone learns to ignore the things they don't like eventually. Are you new in town? I don't think you were in our middle school..."

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"That's good, I wanna make a good first impression. Uh, no. I'm a local. Was home-schooled though."

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"Oh, wow. Was that awful?"

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"No? It was fine. I learned a lot. I just didn't get much, uh, socialisation," She pauses, "apparently high-school is the answer to this."

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"I can't imagine homeschooling. I'd get so lonely. I'm glad it worked out for you, though. I think you'll like high school, anyway. You might not learn as much, but you'll definitely meet more people."

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"That's what my cousin said too. He was the one that really pushed for it."

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"Yeah? I don't have any cousins who are that close, and I'm an only child. I always thought it would be kind of nice. Stiles is almost like a brother, I guess."

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"Stiles is the mouthy boy from my science class, right?"

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"I didn't get a look at his schedule yet, but 'mouthy boy', in this school? Probably Stiles."

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"He seems like a handful. Not unlike my cousin, Stefan. Though I suspect in a very different way."

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"We should introduce them. Stiles needs to tire himself out sometimes. He's like an over-eager dog, or something, you have to walk him."

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Juliet laughs at the image. "Ah. I'm not sure. Stefan is the lonely loner type of guy, and he's a bit older than us. We can take Stiles to a park or something? Let him run around for a while and tire himself out."

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"Sure. Make sure to say that to him. He gets really adorable when he's pouting."

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"Shh," hushes a nearby student, who's apparently riveted by the teacher's lecture.

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Juliet ducks in her seat in response to the shh-ing and raises her eyebrows at Harley and mouths sorry. She gets on paying attention to the teacher.

Art! She loves art.

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As does the art teacher! She loves it so much, she talks about it instead of doing it.

The bell rings, which means it's time for Juliet's next class, Math.

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Juliet takes a sneaky picture of the wordy art teacher, and a few more of the art room.

Does anyone stick around long enough for her to ask about the way to math class?

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Another student takes a picture of her taking pictures, but he rushes off.

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Harley hangs back with her, though.

"Where are you off to next?"

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Juliet watches him go..

To Harley: "The dreaded hall of numbers, Math. You?"

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"Science. The math classrooms are on the other side of school, you need to hurry. Take a left at the posters about drunk driving, and a right at the bathrooms."

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"Thank you. You are a gift to travellers everywhere."

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And soon enough, Juliet is in math class!

Would she like to get to know her classmates?

She has two minutes with each person, go!

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Ahhhhhh. No. Is this required, or can she please just sit down and let people come to her?

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A few students just skip her! In fact, people mostly seem to be using this time to talk to people they already know.

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She finally does have someone take pity on her.

"Hey. I'm Jackson Whittemore, future lacrosse captain and/or U.S. President. You?"

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"If i were you I'd just go with 'and future U.S. President.' Leave no room for doubt. I'm Juliet Salvatore. Hi."

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"I'll keep that in mind. Salvatore, that rings a bell. Do you guys own one of the local businesses, have your name plastered all over it?"

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"Uh. Yeah, more than one actually. We Salvatores like seeing our name in big letters, apparently."

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"Interesting. I can't really pin it down. I guess you have your hands in all the pies."

The teacher announces that it's time to switch again.

"Well. It was nice meeting you, Juliet Salvatore."

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"You too, Mister President."

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Another student joins her.

"Hey. Saw you earlier in my science class, right? I'm Josh, you're Juliet?"

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"I am Juliet. Good memory. Do you mind if I take a picture of you?" She holds up her camera.

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"Go ahead. I photograph well."

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"I'll make sure of it." And she takes his picture... and a few more of the rest of the classroom and other students, bustled around as they are.

"Thank you. This is a momentous day for me, I wanna document all of it."

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"I get it. It's the first day of high school. I plan to make the most out of the next four years."

And it's time to say goodbye to Josh.

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She probably has time for one more student, doesn't she?

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She does!

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"...hey! Juliet. How's it going."

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"Hello to the only person I actually know in this school. I've been.. good? Overwhelmed a little. What about you, how are you feeling?"

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"Things are a little tense at home, but we're managing. How're things with your dad?"

And Stefan.

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"He's... well. He's dad. Tightly wound and stubborn. Not really speaking to me right now, 'coz you know," she gestures to the school, "he doesn't think I'm ready."

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"Parents can be hard. Usually they just need time."

And Stefan.

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"Well it's time he's getting, that's for sure."

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"I'm glad you're giving this a chance. It can help. Meeting them."

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"I've met them before. I mean, not these them. But." She pauses. "I think it will help. That's why I'm doing this. And also Stefan wouldn't stop bugging me about it."

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"Well, you know. Stefan. I see you brought the camera. Anything good so far?"

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"Yes. Very much Stefan." She smiles at him and snaps his picture. "The camera goes where I go. It's a whole thing." 

She looks through the pictures she's taken so far. "Not my best work. But it serves its purpose."

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"Cataloging the minutiae of high school life?"

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"It has multiple purposes, I suppose. That and to prove to my dad that this isn't a death trap, or whatever he has pictured in his mind."

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Nod.

"If I see anything you need to watch out for, I'll let you know."

And that seems to be the end of math.

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That was a great math class! She likes it when there is no math involved ever.

What does she have next?

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English is next! She appears to be walking to the same place as this fellow.

"Hey, I'm Danny. You're heading to English too?"

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"Danny-who-everyone-agrees-is-popular?" She obviously quotes. "I've heard of you! And yes, English is next. Wanna be my escort?"

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"Is that's what they're saying? At least it's nice. So far I've heard nothing about you."

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They walk.

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"I'm Juliet Salvatore. Up until recently I was home-schooled. My favourite colour is blue and I like taking pictures." She snaps a shot of him as they walk.

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"You should join Yearbook, they'll need a photographer."

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"Huh. Extracurriculars. It would look really awesome on my college applications..."

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"Yearbook is full of the type of person you want to know. Achievers who still know how to socialize, and have real interests and skills besides. I can't guarantee you'll make friends there, but it's worth trying, right?"

They arrive. Danny takes a seat at the front.

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"....sure. I'm just gonna-" She takes another picture of Danny and moves on. Sitting away from him, but still near the door.

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English proceeds apace! They can learn grammar.

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Many grammar, is good.

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Grammar. Woo.

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After English is lunch. Lunch provides a plethora of options. Juliet can sit with anyone she wants.

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Hm. Does anyone look particularly welcoming?

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Erica sees her, but doesn't beckon her over or anything.

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Sean will happily have her, but she knew that.

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Jackson waves her over when he spots her.

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Well then. She goes on over to Jackson. "Hey, future President. I'm assuming the gesture was an invitation to sit?"

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"You're welcome to, yeah. Juliet, these are my friends. Friends, Juliet."

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Wave, goes Jackson's friend.

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"Hey. You can sit anywhere but there," he says, pointing out one of the empty seats.

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"It's dead to me." She sits. "So uh. Names?"

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"I'm Lydia Martin. This is Brian, and that one is Danny."

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Danny, who is approaching their table, frowns.

"Oh, hey. Juliet."

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"Ohh. Okay, now all this makes sense. Danny and Lydia. The fabled popular kids," she jokes, "Is there a price for admission here?"

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"Any friend of Lydia's is a friend of ours."

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"Jackson's, actually. Our little baby boy is growing up."

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"Looks like he has good taste, at the very least."

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"He does! Why don't you tell us about yourself."

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"She's a photographer."

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"I can see that. It looks like a nice camera, although I'm not an expert."

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"That's me, Juliet the Photographer. May I?" She holds up the camera to take a photo.

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"Go ahead."

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And so she takes multiple pictures of them, and then the surrounding cafeteria.

She sits back down eventually. "Thank you. So. That's pretty much 99.9% of my personality. I take pictures. It's a thing."

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"Have you thought about joining the Yearbook?"

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She looks between Danny and Jackson, confused, but looks to Brian when he speaks.

"I'm thinking about it. It sounds like fun. I think I'll just have to convince my dad to let me... I don't know, do extra things. He wasn't really keen on me attending high school in the first place."

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"Submit the photos, even if you don't attend any meetings. It'll build your resume, and you're taking hence anyway. Then, with a year's record, you can show him your canhandle yourself."

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"I like that. It might just work. I mean, there are other factors. But I think that could definitely make a lot of headway." She smiles at her, pleased. "No wonder everyone likes you, Lydia Martin."

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"I like solving problems. Most people are just particularly complicated problems, and some of them are worth spending time on."

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"It sounds very... Sherlock Holmes." She looks back over to Danny and Jackson. Do they still having Something Faces?

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They seen to have moved on to talking about lacrosse. Jackson is apparently very excited to try out.

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Okay. That works too, she jumps at that topic. "Lacrosse? I've never seen that played before. Are we good? What other sports do we play?" She asks eagerly.

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"We're the best in the region. It's the only sport that counts."

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"We still have a pretty good swim team."

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"Basketball, too, but it's a little out of fashion."

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"I'm good at swimming, I've never played basketball or lacrosse though. Hm. I wonder if the school will let me take pictures of the games? Or maybe the try-outs. Are they soon?"

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"We don't have a Yearbook photographer yet- at least, I don't think so. I'll ask around. Either way, if you're the unofficial photographer, they'll let you take pictures of anything."

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"Oooh. That's so much power in my hands. Whatever will I do with it."

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"Make a career? Jackson has big plan, don't you, Jackson?"

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"Lacrosse captain is a stepping stone to my political career. She gets it."

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"I'm thinking of taking up the role of Official White House Photographer. Think of all the glamour shots."

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"Oh, I'm thinking about it."

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"We should really discuss this assumption of yours. Who says you're my First Lady?"

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"I just did, sweetie."

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She snaps another picture of them together, looks at the result and nods. "Yup. You two look great together. First Lady Lydia checks out."

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"Maybe I'm still looking for my perfect match."

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"What, you think Lydia's letting you marry for love?"

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"He loves me, don't you, Jackson?"

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"Sure."

He kisses her, briefly, and steals one of her fries.

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"How long have you been together?"

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"Oh, a few years."

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"A few months, maybe."

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"I guess it depends on who you ask."

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To Danny: "What's your estimate?"

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"Let's say one year. That was when Lydia declared it."

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Brian eats his lunch.

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"What about you Brian? Thoughts, feelings, deeply held beliefs?"

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"Hm? No, I'm good."

Poke, poke.

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"So Brian, how's the car coming?"

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"It's not. Hey Jacks, did you hear anything from the lawyer yet?"

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Juliet eats her lunch and looks out over the rest of the cafeteria. Anything interesting happening?

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Is people talking to each other interesting? There seems to be a lot of that.

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There also seems to be a lot of people sitting alone.

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She picks up her lunch and stands. "So. It was really nice to meet you guys. But the camera beckons. I'll see you in class, Jackson?"

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"See you later, Salvatore."

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She dumps her leftovers in the bin and looks around the room, analysing it. Hm. She walks over to one of the corners where she can get the best lighting, and takes out her camera. She starts taking pictures. Mostly of Erica, and anyone else she's interacted with through the day.

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After a few minutes, this seems to have attracted the attention of a fairly large boy who's heading straight for her.

He doesn't look pleased.

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...she pretends she doesn't notice him and keeps taking pictures.

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"Are you sure you're supposed to be doing that?"

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"I'm supposed to be eating, I suppose. But this is more interesting." She restrains the urge to take a obnoxious photo of him standing in front of her.

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"Mhm. How much would it take to get you to stop taking pictures of people without their consent?"

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"Oooh, a bribe. Hmmm," she looks him up and down, "...you're really good looking. How about I just take pictures of you?"

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He turns his head slightly, as if listening for something.

"Right, like I buy that. Five dollars if you cut it out in the cafeteria. School events and extracurricular activities are fair game."

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Juliet pouts for half a second, but then laughs. "Ah. It was worth a try. It's fine, I'll stop, no need to pay me." She slips her camera back into it's bag and then holds out her hand for a shake. "I'm Juliet, and I was not lying about the good looking part, but I'll drop it if it makes you uncomfortable."

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"I won't question your taste."

Out loud.

"I'm Boyd. Just Boyd. You might hear something else, but it's Boyd."

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"Well. It was very nice to be bribed by you, Just Boyd. Now can I bribe you into showing me the way to my next class?"

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"I think I can do that. Schedule?"

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She hands him her schedule, looking very gracious. Look how gracious she is.

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"Gym next, alrighty. I'll lead the way."

And he does.

"Good luck with Coach Finstock. He can be...well, good luck."

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"With that ringing endorsement, I'm sure it'll be fine." She laughs. "Thanks, Boyd." She pauses. "... do you want five bucks, or is the pleasure of my company bribe enough?"

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"Not everything has to be a transaction, explicitly. Just the important stuff."

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"Wise words. I'll keep that in mind." She goes to enter the gym, "Are you coming or going?"

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"Going. Have fun."

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"You to! I hope you don't have to bribe anyone else today, I might get all jealous."

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"I'll try."

And then she has gym.

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There are some people she recognizes.

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Okay people are all good and all, but she needs to blow off some steam. Is there something to hit?

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Their teacher has provided them all with dodgeballs!

They're split into two teams, and all they have to do is throw them at each other.

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Fun! She's only ever seen this game in movies. She quickly gets super into it...

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Students who do not enjoy being hit by balls are hit by balls!

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Some people attempt to hit her, too.

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Ahhh, nope. She jumps out of the way, easily and pays them back. But like, you know, playfully? Kind of.

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Well, they can't very well hit her if they've been hit. She's soon the last one standing.

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"What was that? All of you just let a completely new student demolish you! Get up! What if your life depended on dodging balls?"

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"Oh. Was I not supposed to do that? Did I do it wrong?"

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"You were a perfect tornado of teenage rage and violence. The rest of you should be ashamed of yourselves. Go home and think about what you did."

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Juliet is pleased. "Thank you, Coach! Are we playing again?"

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"No, the rest of these kids need time to reach your level. Everyone pack up and run."

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Naww, sad. She packs up her stuff. Anyone come up to her?

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They leave her alone.

Now, it's time for history.

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History it is! But does she know the way?

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The room number is fairly self-explanatory. She arrives without issue.

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There are a few familiar faces here.

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Lydia waves.

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Sean nods at her.

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Sean! She sits next to him quickly, after waving back to Lydia.

"So. I miiight have gone a little bit overboard. In Gym."

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"How so?"

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"I quote, "demolished", everyone. End quote. At dodge-ball. Apparently they should feel shame. According to the Coach, at least."

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"I'll try to manage the rumors. You didn't shift, right?"

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"Maybe my eyes?"

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"Yeah. I'll deal with that much. Beacon Hills is used to weird."

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Would everyone like to play a game to get to know each other?

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She smiles at him. "You're the best."

Juliet likes games!

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Everyone should find a partner! They'll choose three partners throughout this class; the first one will last for a third of the year.

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She could pick Sean... okay but who else is there?

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Besides Lydia and Harley, there's the kid from her Art class.

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Pass on Lydia and Harley, been there, done that. But... she slips down next to the sneaky fellow photographer.

"Get any good pictures today?"

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"I always do. You?"

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"The lighting in the hallways isn't very forgiving, but the windows in the cafeteria? I'm really looking forward to developing the ones I took here. But I am hoping I'll be able to do something with the hallway photos, I read about this cool technique in an old issue of Popular Photography..." She pauses, realises she's rambling, "Uh. I'm sorry. I'm Juliet. Wanna be partners?"

Permalink Eye

"I think I do. Matt Daehler."

He offers her his hand.

Permalink Eye

She shakes his hand, acting very professional. But then cracks a small smile. "Please poke me next time I start rambling. Sometimes I get to a certain point and there's no stopping me. I just, uh, photography is my thing, you know?"

Permalink Eye

"Oh, I know. I should show you my portfolio sometime."

Permalink Eye

"I'd love to see it. And ditto. Though, kinda depends what sort of imagery you're okay with seeing. I have.. a tendency towards the... morbid? That's not the right word. I can show you some of my safe for work stuff, if you prefer."

Permalink Eye

"I think we might have that in common."

Permalink Eye

"I wonder what else we have in common?"

Permalink Eye

"A taste for Shakespeare, dear Juliet?"

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"Why thou art so fair?" She laughs, "Please. I was raised on it. My dad is obsessive like that."

Permalink Eye

"Trade you. Hamlet, Antigone, and the Orestia are probably my favorite plays."

Permalink Eye

"I'm a sucker for Hamlet and also Macbeth. And uh. When We Dead Awaken."

Permalink Eye

"Are you. I've always had trouble with Ibsen, but I know a good writer when I see one. Speaking of, we should get back to these lame exercises."

Permalink Eye

Indeed, the exercises listed on the board are reasonably insipid.

-Discuss something exciting that happened over the summer

-Tell your partner something unique about your family

-Share a happy childhood memory

Permalink Eye

"Uh, maybe a little lame. But. I'll start?" Beat. "So this summer was really exciting actually. My cousin and I managed to convince my dad to let me attend high-school. I was home-schooled. So yeah, it was a big thing. In celebration we went down to the water hole on our property and had barbeque. It's probably super corny, but my cousin and dad are super homebodies and they're pretty much all the company I get, so them coming out with me was... nice."

Permalink Eye

"No, that doesn't sound corny at all. It's sweet. The only thing I can think of is buying a new camera."

Permalink Eye

"Ohh. What model did you get? Have you seen the new Canon? I want it so much. But also. I'm so attached to my Olympus. It would kind of feel like cheating."

Permalink Eye

"Last one broke, so. I don't like replacing them.

Only child, decent parents. Nothing too interesting with my family."

Permalink Eye

"I'm also an only child. My birth was complicated, to say the least, so it was just me and my dad. Well. And my cousin, but he's always been kind of a second dad to me, despite his age," she laughs, amused at this. "The Salvatore's have been around since the Founding of Beacon Hills, that's interesting, right?"

Permalink Eye

"I'd say it counts. I didn't know you were a part of our town's history. Tell me more."

Permalink Eye

"It's a tale. So much family drama. You sure you're prepared for that, Daehler?"

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"I'm a big fan of family drama, as long as there's a bit of revenge mixed in."

Permalink Eye

"There's a little bit of everything." She smiles and shifts in her seat, lowering her tone dramatically, "So picture this, it's 1864 and it starts out with a girl, as most stories do. She was beautiful, and as wicked as one can be. She shows up a little after we've put our pegs down in the ground here in Beacon Hills. And she very nearly wiped out the whole Salvatore family, the whole town, actually. Do you know this one?"

Permalink Eye

"Not this particular fatal woman. Go on."

Permalink Eye

"Her name was Katerina Petrova, though by that point she was going by Katherine Pierce. She showed up one night on the edges of Beacon Hills, alone and frightful. And very expertly managed to worm herself an invitation to stay in the Salvatore Manor, with Giuseppe Salvatore himself, my many many times Grandfather. He'd recently lost his wife, see, so I don't really think it was all that innocent on his part." She makes a face.

Permalink Eye

"I can imagine. Why was she worming her way in?"

Permalink Eye

"She was on the run, actually. From her former lover who had betrayed her, and who she then in turn betrayed. It was this whole big betrayal thing. Very exciting. But that's another story. So. She finds herself in with the Salvatore family, with all the riches she could desire... and the anonymity that provided. But, you see, Giuseppe had himself two sons... very good looking and charming sons. You see where this is going?"

Permalink Eye

"Herder of sheep, tiller of soil. It's always two brothers."

Permalink Eye

"Yes, very biblical. So, she can't decide. Which is so like her. And though she loved the younger brother most, the older brother, Damon, had a love for her that was.. all consuming. Obviously she liked that, didn't want to give it up. So she played them off each, toyed with them both for months, until. Her past caught up to her."

Permalink Eye

"The greatest sin of all, having a past."

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She laughs. "It always comes creeping back at you, it's sneaky like that. This one especially. They had intergrated themselves into the wider community of Beacon Hills, biding their time and their pitchforks, until... they find her. And obviously she's a witch. That needs to be burned, because all women with agency were back then," she jokes, "and they rally the town into a frenzy. Tracking her down, rounding her up and putting her into the old Church. They throw a few other people in there to make it look like an epedemic, but she was who they were really after."

Permalink Eye

"I'm glad we've evolved past the mob violence phase of human history," he says, rather overtly glancing around the room.

Permalink Eye

"Oh, yeah, sure. We are pictures of individuality," she laughs, "no mobs here." 

She continues: "So in comes the two love struck heroes, lost without their love. They fight, nearly kill each other, blaming the other for her misfortune. But eventually they crack their heads together and come up with a plan... So its a shit plan, obviously. And they get caught... by Giuseppe himself. Who had taken one look at his stupid stupid sons, saw that they had been bewitched... and shot them both in the back, killing them."

Permalink Eye

"I love a happy ending."

Permalink Eye

"But it's not over yet! Because dear listener, she really was a witch. And so the two brothers awoke from Death, tracked down their father, and ate him up while he was still alive. As you do in such circumstances."

Permalink Eye

"The murdered do haunt their murderers. Ghosts have wandered the earth."

Permalink Eye

Wasn't getting to knew your new partner fun? Now it's time to go over the establishment of the American colonies.

Permalink Eye

"Yup. And now they are forever lost in the abyss." She smiles. "You like Wuthering Heights?" 

Permalink Eye

"I don't want to be typecast this early, but yes, I'm all for a good brood now and again."

Permalink Eye

"Damn it, Daehler, you're pushing all my buttons. Stop that."

Permalink Eye

That seems to be all for history. It's amazing how time flies.

"We should pick this up later."

Permalink Eye

"...can I get your number?" She pauses. "To, you know, make that a happening that happens."

Permalink Eye

He writes it down in his notebook and tears that piece out.

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Juliet takes it and memorises it immediately. She gives him her own number. "For redundancies sake?"

Permalink Eye

"Until we meet again, Juliet."

Permalink Eye

Juliet's first day of school is nearly at its end. Only Latin left to go.

Permalink Eye

Juliet smiles at him and then goes off to Latin.

Permalink Eye

Latin! Latin has Lydia, and it has a vocab list for them to start studying, and an overview of the pronouns.

Permalink Eye

She's not the only familiar face.

Permalink Eye

There are three students here she recognizes, actually.

Permalink Eye

Hm. Lydia is smart. But. Boyd is pretty. She sits next to Boyd. "Hey there, handsome."

She get's to work on the assigned work, smashing through them. "How's your day been? Need to threaten any other juvenile delinquents?"

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"I'm not a very threatening guy. Check in after I've done a tour of duty."

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"Hm. That'll take a while. Maybe I'll record the process. You can send letters to friends in the military, can't you? Oh! Maybe you can check in by video chat. That'd be cool. You can give me demonstrations."

Permalink Eye

"You're really persistent. Has anyone ever told you that?"

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"Like a wolf," she airquotes, "do you want me to stop? I do want to be your friend. You're interesting."

Permalink Eye

"Maybe I'm just having trouble adjusting. You're the first person to accuse me of that."

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"They're just not paying attention. People are stupid like that."

Permalink Eye

"I wouldn't say that. Self-interested, with terrible priorities."

Permalink Eye

"This is true. Though. Corvus oculum corvi non eruit. I have the weirdest priorities."

Permalink Eye

"I think I have about half of that, but I guess that's what this class is for."

Permalink Eye

"Uh. Just kind of a pretentious way of saying... 'I can relate- in spite of judgement.'"

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"Right. That's always been my motto."

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The teacher shushes the students who don't seem to be practicing their pronouns.

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Juliet doesn't really need practicing, she's got pretty much all the basics down, but she humours them.

And starts sketching.

Permalink Eye

Boyd doesn't know the basics, but realizing he's behind Juliet seems to give him the motivation to catch up.

Class proceeds.

Permalink Eye

...she sneaks a peak at his work. Are there any mistakes?

Permalink Eye

His handle of pronouns looks good. It is introductory material, he just has no experience with Latin.

The teacher doesn't seem to expect much, and doesn't even ask to look at their work. After turning nothing in, they're dismissed for the day.

Permalink Eye

"Ill see you tomorrow? You can supervise me at lunch so I'm not tempted to get out my camera again," she jokes.

Permalink Eye

"I'll think about it. Have a good night."

Permalink Eye

"Think well of me. You too."

Permalink Eye

And that seems to be that.

Permalink Eye

The rest of the day belongs to her, and her father.

And her uncle.

Anyone who feels they have the right to offer input, really.

Still, the school has no more claim on her time. She's free to go.

Permalink Eye

Her great great great whatever granduncle Stefan is waiting for her in the parking lot.

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Juliet runs up to him when she sees him and hugs him. "That was so great. I met so many cool people."

Permalink Eye

"Remember that the next time I suggest something. I'm always right," he jokes, setting her back in front of him.

Permalink Eye

"Nah. I think you'll enjoy it more if you get to say 'I told you so.'"

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"There is that," he smiles, "you ready to go, got everything?"

Permalink Eye

"Yup. Take me away, Stef. I wanna go show dad all the pictures I took. He's home?"

Permalink Eye

He opens the passenger door for her, and closes it behind her. Then when he's in the drivers seat he replies, "I haven't seen him today, so that probably means he's holed up in his office. I'm sure he'll love to see them."

Permalink Eye

"The doors breakable, not gonna give him a choice. I'm spoiled like that."

Permalink Eye

"I have a key, Juliet. No breaking down doors. Especially not very old and expensive ones." He starts the car, and pulls out of the parking lot.

Permalink Eye

"You are an Awful Role Model. Don't let me have any fun."

Permalink Eye

"Keep telling yourself that. Eventually someone will believe it."

Permalink Eye

Assorted students go home.

Permalink Eye

Jackson goes home. Mr. Whittemore tries to talk to him, but he's not interested in what he has to say.

He's not sure if he wishes they told him sooner, or if they'd never told him.

Every time he thinks about it, he wishes the lie had fallen apart years ago; every time he thinks about it, he wishes he could scrub the knowledge from his memory.

He practices.

Permalink Eye

Lydia goes home.

"How was your day, honey?"

"I made a new friend, I think."

"That's wonderful. What's her name?"

"Juliet Salvatore."

"...Salvatore? That's not a very common name, is it?"

"Isn't it? I haven't studied which Italian names are common in Southern California, should I?"

"There's no need to bite my head off, Lydia, I was just asking."

Permalink Eye

Boyd goes home.

His parents are polite, and pleasant, and avoid looking at him for longer than they have to.

His mother cries in the bathroom while he tries to study ahead for Latin. There's only one wall between them, but he can't confront her. Can't comfort her.

He puts in his earphones and thinks about crows.

Permalink Eye

Juliet arrives home. Her father is not there to greet her. She stands outside his office door and calls out to him, she can hear his heart beat, but she gets no answer.

She does not break down the door.

Instead she goes for a run, a swim and then transforms and runs through the woods.

Eventually when she arrives home she finds dinner waiting for her on the table. Pancakes.

She goes to bed hungry.

Permalink Eye

There's a knock on their door early the next morning.

Permalink Eye

Stefan is the only one up, so he answers the door.

Permalink Eye

"Stefan, hello!"

The rather large, rather bearded man and his less large, less bearded wife who greet him are familiar, as is the young man standing behind them.

"It's great to see you again," says Mrs. Walcott. "How's Juliet?"

Permalink Eye

"Vivian, hey." He steps aside for them to enter. "Wallace and Sean too, please come in, all of you."

"She's sleeping right now, had her first day of school yesterday. Did you want me to wake her?" He pauses, "Is something wrong?"

Permalink Eye

"We just wanted to make sure you were apprised of what happened yesterday," Vivian says, wringing her hands apologetically.

"It's a shame, really. I'm sure most of the students won't remember the details," her husband muse.

Sean is gritting his teeth, but he doesn't expect the adults to care.

Permalink Eye

Stefan notices, but looks to the couple, "This sounds serious. What exactly happened?"

Permalink Eye

"There was some kind of incident- she lost control, Stefan."

"Dad, come on, it was nothing-"

"I thought he should know, and we both know neither you or Juliet was going to tell him."

Permalink Eye

"This happened at school?"

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Zach walks into the entrance hall. "What did she do?"

Permalink Eye

"Yes, in front of a class full of students."

Vivian shakes her head.

"She can sit out gym if that's what it takes, you're not pulling her out-"

"Don't speak that way to Stefan, Sean, it's rude."

"She might have flashed her eyes, and been a little better at playing dodgeball than the average kid, nothing incriminating."

Permalink Eye

Zach turns to Stefan. "I told you this would happen. She's not ready, she'll never be ready. She knows it, and you know it. I'm pulling her out."

Permalink Eye

To Sean: "Did she hurt anyone?"

Permalink Eye

"Not anymore than they were hurting each other. Not a single kid in there thought it was anything other than dodgeball."

"Sean, please," Wallace snaps.

"We've said what we came to say. We care about her well-being, but she's not our daughter. We'll leave the decisions up to you," Vivian says, placing an arm around her husband.

Permalink Eye

"Thank you for telling us," he takes a deep breath, "we appreciate it. I'd invite you to stay for breakfast..."

Permalink Eye

Zach storms away, up the stairs.

Permalink Eye

"We are sorry for having to bring you bad news," claims Wallace.

"I wish you the best of luck," tries Vivian.

"Just don't be too harsh on her. You know it'll wreck her," sighs Sean.

Permalink Eye

"Yes, I know. You're a good friend." He looks up the stairs, "Please excuse me. Looks like we're going to have a family meeting." He opens the door for them.

Permalink Eye

Assorted Walcotts leave.

Permalink Eye

He closes the door. Something crashes upstairs and he sighs.

Then walks upstairs to try and put out this fire.

Permalink Eye

Erica isn't exactly surprised when Juliet doesn't show up to homeroom. It figures the one person who was nice to her isn't coming back.

Permalink Eye

It's Matt who asks the question.

"Hey, you know Juliet, right?"

Permalink Eye

"We met yesterday. She seems pretty cool. Why?"

Permalink Eye

"Well, she's not here."

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"She used to be homeschooled. I think her family is just over-protective. I'm sure she'll be back."

Permalink Eye

"You're probably right."

He tries not to think about it. He would call her...but he doesn't want to seem desperate. He can wait.

Permalink Eye

Lunch proceeds as normal.

Boyd sits alone.

Permalink Eye

About an hour after school lets out, there's a knock on the Salvatores' door. Again.

Permalink Eye

It takes a bit longer than usual, but the door opens.

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"Hello. Is this the home of Juliet Salvatore?"

Permalink Eye

"...who are you?"

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"Lydia Martin. I'm a freshman this year too. I'm in some of her classes, and I know a few of her other classmates. The teachers want to make sure she gets notes that she missed. If you ask me, some of them are useless, but I've highlighted everything that's actually important. Is she here?"

Permalink Eye

Zach stares at her for maybe a little longer than what is comfortable. "She's grounded and you can't see her. If you leave the notes with me, I'll make sure she gets them."

Permalink Eye

"Alright. I- what for, may I ask," she says, as if she doesn't care if she may or may not ask.

Permalink Eye

"That's a family matter. Now, I have a lot of work to do, so I'm going have to ask you to leave now." Beat. "Thank you, I'll tell her you came by."

Permalink Eye

"Of course. Have a nice day."

She stares at him for a few moments before leaving.

Permalink Eye

He shuts the door... looks down at the school work and then takes it all into his office, puting it all into a draw in his desk. He locks it.

And then sits in his chair and pours himself a drink.

Permalink Eye

The call to Juliet's cell phone comes later that night.

Permalink Eye

Juliet is laying on the dusty ground in her cell when her phone rings. She nearly drops it on her face in surprise, busy as she was taking pictures of the shadows on the ceiling.

The phone rings loudly.... Which echoes throughout the large house. She quickly answers it, hoping her dad didn't hear. 

"Hello?" She whispers.

Permalink Eye

"Juliet? It's Matt. I guess you know that, it's my voice and my number. Are you okay?"

Permalink Eye

She sits up suddenly, smiling. "Matt, yes, sorry. I didn't see it on the screen, had to answer it quickly..." She pauses and starts whispering again, "Ah, yeah, I'm- it's fine... did something happen?"

Permalink Eye

"Just wanted to make sure you were okay. We missed you at school today. One day in and you're already playing hooky?"

Permalink Eye

Juliet laughs quietly, "Um, no. I- me and my dad got into a fight," She pauses, and listens- but doesn't hear anything, so she continues, "He wants to pull me out of school. So."

Permalink Eye

"Oh?"

Permalink Eye

"I screwed up. And he's protective. He just wants me to be safe... but I'm hoping he'll change his mind. I mean, he can't keep me-  home forever." She pauses. "Did you really miss me?"

Permalink Eye

Zach starts walking down the stairs...

Permalink Eye

"You're more interesting than most of the people in this town, and I barely know you. Of course I missed you."

Permalink Eye

"Juliet. Give me the phone."

Permalink Eye

She ignores her father, "Um." She pauses and moves away from the door. "I think so too. I mean, you're awesome. You like photography and Shakespeare and you know who Ibsen is. I missed you too."

Zach starts loudly unlocking the door.

"You're the most interesting person I've met."

Permalink Eye

"Are you allowed visitors?"

Permalink Eye

Zach opens the door and walks towards her. "Who are you talking to? Give it to me."

Permalink Eye

She backs up some more. "...no."

Permalink Eye

"If there's anything I can do, tell me."

Permalink Eye

"You're already doing it."

Permalink Eye

Finally Zach takes the phone away. 

"Who is this?"

Permalink Eye

"Uh, Matt Daehler, sir. Mr. Salvatore?"

Permalink Eye

"Yes. Stay away from my daughter. You are not going to get involved. This is for your own good."

He hangs up.

Permalink Eye

No one bothers them again that night.

Permalink Eye

And Juliet  stays in her dusty cell looking the definition of innocence in the vain hope her dad will change his mind.

Permalink Eye

He does not. The cell door unlocks after the second night though.

Permalink Eye

She stays where she is.

Permalink Eye

The house receives a call the next day.

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Zach answers. "Yes?"

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"Hello, Mr. Salvatore? Your daughter Juliet wasn't seen in school yesterday, and we wanted to inform you. We haven't heard anything from you about her absence yet, so we thought we should reach out."

Permalink Eye

"I.." he looks at the basement door, conflicted, "Uh. She's sick. We're not sure if she'll be coming back. To school."

Permalink Eye

"Oh, I see. You understand that the proper paperwork will need to be filled out before her absence goes on too long?"

Permalink Eye

"Sure, whatever, send it to me. I have work to do. And a sick daughter to look after."

Permalink Eye

"Of course, sir. Have a good day."

Permalink Eye

He hangs up. Sits down and puts his face in his hands.

Permalink Eye

No further intrusions present themselves on Sunday, or Monday.

Permalink Eye

By Monday night Juliet is pacing in her cell, tightly coiled and frustrated.

Permalink Eye

Stefan comes to see her.

Permalink Eye

She ignores him.

Permalink Eye

So he opens the door and walks in. He has her backpack filled with her school things. And a key.

He puts the bag on the ground and hold the key out to her.

"Take it."

Permalink Eye

"He's going to lock the door tonight?"

Permalink Eye

"He's worried about you. What you'll do." Still holds out the key.

Permalink Eye

"It was nothing, nobody noticed anything. I've been good all weekend and today."

Permalink Eye

"I know." He reaches out and places the key in her hand. "I trust you."

Permalink Eye

She takes the key and hugs him. "Thank you, Uncle Stefan. I love you."

Permalink Eye

"I love you too, kid. Have fun. Make friends. Be merry," he teases. "I'll take care of your dad."

Permalink Eye

"I will be the Alpha of Happiness." She tucks the key in her shirt and moves the bag to one of her hiding places. "You should go. He'll be down in a minute to lock the door for the night."

Permalink Eye

He smiles at her and leaves.

Permalink Eye

Zach comes down a few minutes later and locks the door. "I'm sorry, Juliet. I love you."

Permalink Eye

She turns her back on him.

Permalink Eye

He leaves, sullen.

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She waits till she can hear the steady beat of her dad's heart which tells her he's asleep, then opens the door with her key. She grabs her bag and quietly makes her way out of the house. It's around 3 am.

She runs to school.

Permalink Eye

The school is, theoretically, locked.

This doesn't matter much to a sufficiently motivated werewolf.

Permalink Eye

It does not! She enters the school and heads straight to the girls locker room. She's a bit dusty and she has dirt all on her clothes from the run. Shower?

Permalink Eye

The girls' locker room is not locked, and the showers are hers to use.

Permalink Eye

Then use it she does. 

When she's done, she decides to go exploring. With her camera, obviously.

Permalink Eye

The school looks like most high schools do at this hour of the morning.

Empty classrooms, an empty swimming pool, an empty cafeteria, a dark room...

Permalink Eye

!!!

Juliet explores the dark room, she will stay here until school starts if she's left unattended.

Permalink Eye

No one interrupts her.

She hears movement outside eventually. The janitor, pushing a cart down the hallway.

Permalink Eye

...she turns on the Darkroom In Use sign.

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The cart moves past her door.

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She continues doing her thing.

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When it's nearing seven, she can hear as students arrive in droves, chattering away.

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Juliet finishes off what she can and then packs up her stuff. She leaves the In Use sign on and exits the room, attempting casual.

Permalink Eye

The art teacher, setting up for the day ahead, seems to object to this, but stares in shock rather than articulating any specific complaints.

Permalink Eye

"Um. Sorry. Am I not allowed in there?"

Permalink Eye

"I- you should ask for permission next time, but students can use any rooms we have, that's what they're for."

Permalink Eye

"Okay. I can do that. Thank you." She shuffles to the door. "I gotta get to homeroom."

Permalink Eye

Arrive to homeroom she does.

The teacher calls attendance, and the students recite the Pledge of Allegiance, and then they move on.

Permalink Eye

Juliet does so happily. Afterwards does she find anyone to be happy at?

Permalink Eye

Erica catches her on her way out.

"Hey. You haven't been in school. What happened?"

Permalink Eye

"Hey! Uh. I screwed up and my dad got upset. I was grounded." She smiles at her. "Did I miss anything exciting?"

Permalink Eye

"Not really. Jackson Whittemore had a breakdown in the cafeteria, but not much else."

Permalink Eye

"Is he alright?"

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"I don't know, he's not really my problem."

Permalink Eye

"Did something happen to cause it?"

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"Something about his parents," she says vaguely.

They arrive in science class.

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Juliet sits next to Erica. "That sad. I probably shouldn't ask him about it though?"

Permalink Eye

"I don't know. He's never seemed like the sensitive type. I didn't even know you guys talked."

Permalink Eye

"We met on Thursday. I think we got along well."

Permalink Eye

"Lucky you. I'm surprised he managed to get along with anyone."

Permalink Eye

"He seemed alright to me. And he has Lydia, Danny and Brian, doesn't he?"

Permalink Eye

"Lydia's as much of a bitch as he is, I don't know why Danny puts up with them."

Permalink Eye

"Hmm. Danny doesn't like me much."

Permalink Eye

"Maybe you're a bitch too."

Science ensues! Today they'll be reviewing the scientific method.

Permalink Eye

"I don't doubt it. But. We're all bitches here, Erica."

Permalink Eye

Erica doesn't disagree.

They proceed to not do science.

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Juliet is listening to the teacher, but also Erica Exists.

"So apart from the bitch thing, do you have any idea why Danny wouldn't like me?"

Permalink Eye

"Did you say anything bad about Jackson? Guess not, if he likes you. I don't think Danny hates anyone."

Permalink Eye

"I mean, I may have misread him. But... I am very good at reading people." She shrugs. "I suppose it doesn't matter. He hasn't done anything to me. Just vibes."

Permalink Eye

"I don't know, maybe he's worried you're going to steal all the hot guys."

Permalink Eye

"There are a lot of hot guys at this school. Also hot girls, but that's definitely not gonna be Danny's problem."

Permalink Eye

"No, then you'll just piss off Jackson."

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"That sounds like something I'd like to see."

Permalink Eye

"Your call, girl. If you want him and his girlfriend and their boyfriend after you, it's on you."

Permalink Eye

"Oh. Yeah, that's sounds less fun." She pauses, does some science, then, "What about you? Anyone I should avoid for your sake?"

Permalink Eye

Blink.

"No one who's interested in me."

Permalink Eye

"I'd like to avoid upsetting you regardless..." She finishes her Science, "I don't know, if you see me heading in that direction, jab me in the ribs or something. We don't have to talk about it."

Permalink Eye

"Okay. Thanks."

Soon enough, science class is finished with her.

Permalink Eye

"I'll probably be sitting with Boyd at lunch today. Unless you wanna join, I'll see you tomorrow?"

Permalink Eye

"I could join if he doesn't mind."

Permalink Eye

"I'd like that. See you then, Erica."

To art she goes.

Permalink Eye

To art! There are probably other people in art (including the teacher, who gives her an uncomfortable smile), but Matt is the one who waves at her when she enters.

Permalink Eye

Juliet smiles widely when she sees him. Is there a spot next to him for her to sit?

Permalink Eye

There is such a spot.

"Hey. Glad you could join us, Juliet. How'd you do It?"

Permalink Eye

"Hey." She sits and leans close. "Okay so, I'm a fugitive. Broke out and now I'm on the run. It's all very dramatic."

Permalink Eye

"It sounds like it. Does that make you Romeo?"

Permalink Eye

"I haven't killed anyone... yet. Check back later."

Permalink Eye

"How are things at home? Are you okay? I mean obviously you don't want to be stuck there, but are you okay?"

Permalink Eye

"Things at home are... tense. I'm probably gonna avoid being there until my dad stops being so...." She pauses. "I was just- it was hard. Being there. Especially when I finally had my first taste of the world. Not gonna let him lock me away again. I can be better. I know I can."

Permalink Eye

"I'm glad. Whatever he thinks, you're better off here."

Permalink Eye

 

 

"So did I miss anything while I was away? Apart from you, that is."

Permalink Eye

"No, it looks like it's basically a free period. I mean, officially we're working on charcoal drawings right now, but it won't take you long."

Permalink Eye

"Oh, nice. From the first class it seemed like she was just gonna talk at us the whole time." She gets out her sketch pad, and grabs some charcoal. "Watch me get this everywhere."

She starts on her drawing.

Permalink Eye

He observes.

Permalink Eye

She does impressive work on the paper, but also, as predicted, a lot of it ends up on her face and arms. Also the back of her neck? Okay.

Permalink Eye

His charcoal remains on the paper, and on his hands. It's possible Juliet is a bit too enthusiastic with her drawing method.

Permalink Eye

Juliet notices... reaches over and boops him on the nose. With her very very dirty charcoal covered hands.

Permalink Eye

"You're not even trying," he half-complains.

Permalink Eye

"It's a method. You have to be the charcoal, understand it, wear it. Only then can you truly master it." She says with an air of mock authority.

Permalink Eye

"It's not my medium of choice. I'll take your word for it."

He snaps a picture of her. While he doesn't carry his camera around school, he seems quite comfortable bringing it to art class.

Permalink Eye

She makes a face at the camera, then laughs. "It's weird being on the receiving end of that."

Permalink Eye

"You photograph well. I wouldn't worry about it."

Permalink Eye

"I'm not worried. I think I like it. Makes me feel like the centre of the universe," she jokes.

Permalink Eye

(You are, he bites back. Seriously? Seriously!?)

"I promise not to let it get to your head."

Like all good things, art must come to an end.

Permalink Eye

"Too late." She then looks down on herself and laughs, "Okay, maybe I went a little overboard."

Permalink Eye

"Just a little. I'll see you later, Romeo."

Permalink Eye

She reaches out to him, touching his arm, "Wait, Matt. Um- can I have that photo you took?"

Permalink Eye

"...sure. I mean, I'd have to develop it."

He packs up as class lets out.

Permalink Eye

"I mean send it to me. To my camera. And then delete your copy." Beat. "I've gotta keep my mystique somehow."

Permalink Eye

"A rose with any less of an ego wouldn't be nearly as sweet."

He follows her instructions.

"We really should get going," he says as the bell rings.

The art teacher is not-quite-glaring at the only two students remaining in her room.

Permalink Eye

She stands and picks up all her things.

"I'm going to take that as the compliment it is." She pauses and makes a face. "I'm also gonna skip math and go wash all this off. Which also has the fun advantage of helping me avoid Sean! Bonus."

Permalink Eye

"Second day and you already have enemies. I'm impressed."

Permalink Eye

"I wouldn't call him my enemy. Though I think Danny might want that role," she laughs and continues, "I've known Sean forever. But. He's also the reason why dad was mad at me." Pause. "No. I'm the reason. But I told Sean, who told his parents who told my cousin and then I guess my dad was there..."

She shrugs.

"I'm a little bitter."

Permalink Eye

"Very Shakespearean, I approve. See you around?"

Permalink Eye

"Count on it."

Permalink Eye

Math! It occurs without her.

Permalink Eye

Juliets not even sorry.

She goes to the girls bathroom to wash everything off. Is it eventful?

Permalink Eye

No girls accost her.

Permalink Eye

Pity. Does she have time to go outside before English?

Permalink Eye

If no teacher catches her, she can.

Permalink Eye

Juliet is like a ninja. An alpha werewolf ninja.

Once outside she will try to find a spot where nobody can see her, sit on the ground and then attempt to take a picture of herself without her eyes flaring up.

Permalink Eye

She attempts this.

She fails.

Permalink Eye

Annoying. Well. How about she take a weird abstract picture of her profile then? Very mysterious. No lense flare there?

Permalink Eye

None at all!

Permalink Eye

Awesome. She sends the picture to Matt, since she feels bad about making him delete the other one. No werewolf lense flare for him.

Right now anyway.

Hmmm. To English or can she lay down for a bit? She didn't sleep at all last night.

Permalink Eye

Nobody comes outside to complain.

Permalink Eye

So she will nap....

For like ten minutes.

Probably.

Permalink Eye

When she wakes up, she appears to have an observer.

Permalink Eye

.....

"Hi. You're not just some kind of creepy lurker that likes watching people sleep, are you?"

She sits up.

"Not that I'm judging or anything."

Permalink Eye

"I'm the guidance counselor. I've been looking for a chance to talk to you, since you're new to the district. I saw you out here and thought the timing was perfect for you to stop by my office."

Permalink Eye

She stands. "Right now? I probably have English."

Permalink Eye

"No need for anything immediate. Come stop by some time during lunch this week."

She heads back inside.

Permalink Eye

"It's was nice meeting you!"

Didn't even get in trouble for skipping class. Weird.

She heads on over to English.

Permalink Eye

English!

Danny accosts her when she arrives.

"Hey, are you alright? I heard you were sick."

Permalink Eye

Danny! Okay.

"Mmmnope. Was grounded."

Permalink Eye

"What did you do? You were only at school one day."

Permalink Eye

(Boyd looks at her, considers waving, and decides against it.)

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"I went overboard in Gym. I have a Mood Disorder, so sometimes if I get too excited I do stupid things. Hurtful things."

She sits down next to Boyd.

"So, grounded. 'Coz I know better and my dad knows I know better."

Permalink Eye

Danny takes a seat elsewhere.

Permalink Eye

"What did you do that deserves being pulled out of school?"

Permalink Eye

"Demolished everyone in dodge-ball."

She smirks.

"Way too aggressively."

Permalink Eye

"What a horrific display of reckless endangerment of your peers. Has your dad ever attended high school?"

Permalink Eye

"I'm pretty sure he appeared fully formed as a overprotective fourty-something. They don't get to go to high school."

Permalink Eye

"He didn't miss much."

Grammar continues to be grammar.

Permalink Eye

Grammargrammargrammar.

"So. I kinda invited Erica to come sit with us at lunch... is that okay, or should I go let her down nicely?"

Permalink Eye

"...Erica Reyes? That should be- fine."

Permalink Eye

"She's... yeah, I get the hesitation. But I like her. She's blunt and says what she means. No bullshit."

Permalink Eye

"If you haven't noticed yet, me and Erica aren't very popular. If you wanted to do anything about your own popularity, now would be the time."

Permalink Eye

"Popularity seems like so much work. And I don't really care if people don't like me..."

Pause.

"No, rephrasing that. I like interesting people. Interesting people like me. If they don't like me, they're not interesting. There are exceptions. But I choose to ignore them."

Permalink Eye

"Interesting people might not like you if you're sitting with people who'll bite their head off."

Permalink Eye

"If they can't handle a little pressure then they don't qualify as interesting, by my standards anyway."

Permalink Eye

Shrug.

Grammar.

Permalink Eye

Danny definitely isn't watching her like she's the most confusing thing he's seen all year.

Permalink Eye

Juliet definitely doesn't stare at him right back.

Permalink Eye

He breaks eye contact immediately.

Permalink Eye

"What did you do?"

Permalink Eye

She shrugs, "You know, I'm even more confused now. I knew he didn't like me before... but that was just weird."

"You have any idea?"

Permalink Eye

"Did you do something to Jackson?"

Permalink Eye

"Nope. We got along great. He even invited me to sit with him at lunch last week."

Permalink Eye

"Any comments against modern technology, computers, LGBT rights...lacrosse?"

Permalink Eye

"Nope. My camera is the love of my life, never mentioned computers, I'm bisexual and I was politely interested in lacrosse and offered to record the games."

Permalink Eye

"Maybe you like the same guy? I don't know, that's most of the reasons I can imagine Danny not liking someone."

Permalink Eye

"Who does he like? I mean, I've been flirting with a bunch of people. You included."

Permalink Eye

"I don't follow Danny's dating record, but he's single right now. I'm not sure who it is. Not Jackson, and not me."

Permalink Eye

"I've been flirting with Matt Daehler a lot, I like him. And I kinda flirted with Josh Diaz? Ish. There's Sean Walcott, but he's just a family friend." She makes a face.

Permalink Eye

"I don't know any of those guys. I mean, I've seen Josh around. I couldn't even tell you if I've met the other two."

Permalink Eye

"Might mention it to Erica. She seems like a people watcher."

Permalink Eye

"I'm not sure it's a good reason to dislike someone. He never seemed petty, but he is friends with Lydia and Jackson "

Grammar seems to be wrapping up.

Permalink Eye

"Well, you know him better than me. But I do sense a little pettiness. A tad."

Juliet packs up her stuff.

"I am ravenous. I could eat a deer." 

Permalink Eye

"They don't serve those. Have some meatloaf."

Permalink Eye

"Hm. I can work with that."

Lunch! Is Erica around?

Permalink Eye

Erica is sitting by herself, as usual.

Permalink Eye

Juliet waves at her and then goes and grabs some lunch.

She piles the food onto her tray and then balances it over to Erica's table.

Permalink Eye

"Hey. This is a surprise."

Permalink Eye

Boyd follows.

"Hey. Call me Boyd."

Permalink Eye

"Sure. Did Juliet already lose her chance at the golden ring?"

Permalink Eye

Juliet places her food on the table and looks at her confused.

"What gold ring? Were they handing them out, did I miss that?"

Permalink Eye

"Never mind. Anyway, now that you gave up on being popular, what's next for you?"

Permalink Eye

"I'm thinking... I'm gonna date Matt." She nods.

Permalink Eye

"Big plans. He's cute, I guess."

Permalink Eye

"No comment."

Permalink Eye

"Do you think that might be why Danny is all weird? I've also flirted with Jackson, Josh and Boyd. Though I'm not planning on dating them." She side eyes Boyd, "Or the very least, Boyd doesn't seem to wanna date me." She laughs.

Permalink Eye

"I don't date girls I've just met."

Permalink Eye

"That's not a 'no', is it. I think it's Matt. Danny's a big AV geek, it makes sense. Josh is mostly just pretty, and it's definitely not Jackson."

Permalink Eye

"He'd have to be psychic though. I met and was hated by Danny before I even met Matt."

She pauses.

"He's not psychic, is he? Are psychics a thing?"

Permalink Eye

"I'm psychic."

Permalink Eye

"Maybe you're obviously Matt's type, I don't know, ask Danny."

Permalink Eye

"Hmm. I might ask Jackson. I'm probably thinking too much about this."

She starts eating.

"How psychic are you?"

Permalink Eye

"I can tell you're thinking about Matt right now."

Permalink Eye

Juliet laughs, "Mostly I was thinking about how quickly I have to eat all this before the end of lunch."

Permalink Eye

"Yeah, let's actually use this for what it is."

He eats his lunch.

Permalink Eye

"You should be pleased! I haven't taken out my camera this whole time."

Permalink Eye

"That's true. I must be a good influence."

Permalink Eye

"You are a Pillar of the Community. We should build a statue in your honour."

Permalink Eye

"I don't think my ego is big enough to fill a statue."

Permalink Eye

"It's cool, I have enough for the both of us, with some left over."

Permalink Eye

"Where's it come from? Girl to girl. I'm working on mine."

Permalink Eye

"The Salvatore ego is legendary, so it's genetic."

Permalink Eye

Sigh.

"I'll need a bit of those, then."

Permalink Eye

Lunchity lunch lunch.

Permalink Eye

"You wanna make out and see if it's contagious?" Beat. "But if you're not into girls, there's always my cousin, Stefan."

Permalink Eye

"What's he like?"

Permalink Eye

"He's like.. the strong silent type. Likes to brood, though in this case it's not attractive because cousin. He likes reading and working on cars and all the other things that we do together, because I'm the best. He's funny when you get to know him. And also has a tragic backstory! His first love died, it was all very sad. For him. She was a bitch."

Permalink Eye

"Not my type, but I can keep an eye out if you want to set him up."

Permalink Eye

"I mean it's unlikely to work, but yeah, if you find anyone..."

Nomnomnom.

Permalink Eye

"I love a challenge."

Permalink Eye

They eat their lunch, and then they have classes to get to.

Permalink Eye

"So should I just skip Gym altogether and go hang out in the darkroom, or actually go and tell the Coach I'm not participating?"

Permalink Eye

"Coach Finstock definitely won't let you skip gym if you ask him, but he won't stop you if you don't."

Permalink Eye

"Darkroom it is!"

She dumps her empty tray wherever empty trays go to die.

"See you in Latin, Boyd, and I guess you gotta wait to see me again tomorrow, Erica. Tragedy."

Permalink Eye

"You'll be missed."

Permalink Eye

"I'm always missed."

And she's off, trying to get to darkroom before the bell rings so she can sneak in before anyone gets there for Art..

Permalink Eye

Success! She might want to be very quiet.

Permalink Eye

So quiet.

She spends most of her time experimenting with a couple of her prints.

Permalink Eye

The bell will eventually ring, indicating it's time for her next class.

Permalink Eye

Can she ninja out of the room again?

Permalink Eye

She cannot avoid being seen by the art teacher as he enters.

He blinks, and otherwise carries on.

Permalink Eye

Juliet smiles at him innocently and then heads on over to her next class.

Permalink Eye

History is happy to have her.

Permalink Eye

In fact, more than one student seems happy to have her.

Permalink Eye

Maybe she should ease their worries.

Permalink Eye

...or perhaps not worry about uninteresting people.

Permalink Eye

Juliet waves at Lydia, ignores Sean and sits next to Matt. Obviously.

"Help. Seans looking at me all puppy dog eyed. It's his most effective move and I'm not done being pissed at him."

Beat.

"Also hello, I missed you. Did you like the picture I sent?"

Permalink Eye

"It was cute. As for the solution to puppy dog eyes, just remember they're a transparent manipulation by your rivals to weaken you."

Permalink Eye

"That is true. I mustn't let it get to me, if I do that means I lose. And that's not a state that happens naturally in this universe."

Permalink Eye

"No. You're not letting anyone else's opinion have any effect on you."

Permalink Eye

"Only mostly true. I care about your opinion."

Permalink Eye

"Flattering, but the jury's still out. So far, I haven't found anything I don't like."

Permalink Eye

"Theres some stuff." She pauses. "Could be a deal breaker."

Permalink Eye

"I can wait. What's your plan? What's Juliet going to do next?"

Permalink Eye

"Juliets mostly thinking about what she's doing after school. Do you think Matt has any ideas?"

Permalink Eye

"Not my place. We have a bowling alley, but we could just go hunting for pictures."

Permalink Eye

"I like that idea. We could go to the Preserve, have you been to the cliff? There's also the old Hale house..."

Permalink Eye

"Why not both? It's on the way."

Permalink Eye

She smiles. "Yeah? I've never been there before. My dad and cousin always expressly forbid it. But. Who cares what they want, right? I mean, my dad demanded you stay away from me... and yet here you are."

Permalink Eye

"You didn't want me to. Your dad doesn't matter compared to you."

Permalink Eye

 

 

"Do you need to pick anything up at home first?"

Permalink Eye

"My camera's in my locker. I'll just stop by there. Meet me in the parking lot."

Permalink Eye

"Mines in the darkroom. I've been experimenting with what they have in there. I'll go grab it after Latin."

Permalink Eye

"Works for me."

There's not much to focus on in class yet. The first week is slow.

"How was it? This weekend?"

Permalink Eye

"It was- mostly just me locked in my room all weekend. I finished listening to Hamlet again. Did some sketches. Um. Thought about redying my hair a different color," she fingers the red streak in her hair, "and started plotting my revenge," she jokes, "have to figure out all the logistics. Otherwise it'll all fall apart."

Permalink Eye

"I'm always in the mood for a good revenge tragedy. Call me if you need help."

Permalink Eye

"Shall I call you Horatio?"

Permalink Eye

"If you have to, Romeo."

Permalink Eye

"What, would you rather be Benvolio?" Beat. "Or Juliet?"

Permalink Eye

"Well, if you're Romeo, then I'll happily take Mercutio, Juliet. But I think we're more Antigone and Haemon."

Permalink Eye

"Yes. Lets skip the suicide part though and go straight to killing the unjust King. Much more poetic."

Permalink Eye

"I think you have to get through Latin first. Catch you later?"

Permalink Eye

"Wouldn't miss it."

Permalink Eye

And then she has Latin.

Permalink Eye

Lydia catches her on her way in.

"Hello. Do you need someone to file charges on your behalf?"

Permalink Eye

"....why? Did I miss something?"

Permalink Eye

"A 'no' would suffice. Your father said some unusual things when I dropped by with your homework."

Permalink Eye

"Oh. He didn't mention your visit." Pause. "My dad is weird. What did he say that was so unusual?"

Permalink Eye

"Nothing specific. I had a bad feeling. If you say it's fine, I'll drop it."

Permalink Eye

"This is me saying it's fine, I'm fine. I appreciate your concern, or whatever this is. But yeah." She pauses awkwardly. "He's really socially awkward, you were probably just picking up on that."

Permalink Eye

"I guess I was. Sorry, I'm holding you up from vocabulary."

Permalink Eye

"That's alright. Actually, there is something I was hoping to ask you...well, Jackson, but same difference."

Permalink Eye

"Same difference. I can get him to you after class, if you want."

Permalink Eye

"Nah, I've got plans. Which is kinda relevant, actually. So. I'm dating Matt Daehler. Well, very soon to be dating Matt. Is this what Danny's problem with me is?"

Permalink Eye

"Which one is Matt?"

Permalink Eye

"Cute brunette photographer, likes classic lit, is in our History class?"

Permalink Eye

"I'll ask him, but it's probably not a problem."

Permalink Eye

"Let's hope. But if it is, Danny should probably have a conversation with Matt about it."

Permalink Eye

"Danny's an adult, he can handle that."

She takes out her notebook and highlighters.

Permalink Eye

"Maybe let me know if it's something else? If that's not a breach of your friendship or something. Or maybe ask him to talk to me himself. Whichever."

Permalink Eye

"You worry too much. It's bad for your skin."

Permalink Eye

"My skin is perfect, but thanks for the concern. I'll see you tomorrow, Lydia."

Permalink Eye

Latin! And shortly, less of that.

Permalink Eye

She waves goodbye to Boyd, then heads to the darkroom to pick up her stuff.

Permalink Eye

The art teacher barely looks at her this time, focusing on whatever he's writing at his desk.

Permalink Eye

And when she retrieves her stuff, Matt is waiting in the parking lot, as promised.

"I didn't actually plan very far ahead. Mind hitching a ride?"

Permalink Eye

She laughs. "It was a bit spur of the moment. You're forgiven."

She looks around for anyone familiar.

"You have anyone in mind?"

Permalink Eye

"Well, there's Danny, he'd probably help out...Greenberg? I can try Brian, but I think that's a 'no'."

Permalink Eye

"Hmmm. I don't think we should antagonise Danny like that. He doesn't like me. I don't know who Greenberg is and I'm not sure about Brian. We can ask? Are any of them even old enough to drive, or are we actually asking their parents?"

Permalink Eye

"Greenberg has...someone who drives him. Brian has his older brother. Either one should work. We can always just walk somewhere closer."

Permalink Eye

"Lets ask Brian. I even have some cash if his brother needs some incentive."

Permalink Eye

So the thing is to ask Brian.

"Hey, Brian, do you mind if Juliet and I hitch a ride?"

Permalink Eye

"Oh. Sure! If you want. Uh, I have to get to the lawyer's office first, do you mind riding along ten minutes for my brother to drop me off there?"

Permalink Eye

"That's fine with me. Our destination is the Preserve, so unless that's super out of your brothers way?"

Permalink Eye

"Should be fine. Are you guys okay riding in the bed?"

To the car! It's a fairly run-down pickup truck.

Permalink Eye

"Sounds super illegal and dangerous." Beat. "I'm in."

To Matt: "Unless you don't wanna risk death and/or police?"

Permalink Eye

"I can handle a little excitement."

Permalink Eye

"One of you should go inside after I get off, less chances to get caught. The Sheriff should be fine either way, he knows us."

Permalink Eye

"We'll figure it out later."

Matt climbs in.

Permalink Eye

Juliet climbs in after him, sitting close.

Permalink Eye

Hmm.

What if he puts his arm around her?

Permalink Eye

(They begin to drive off.)

Permalink Eye

Acceptable! She smiles at him and snuggles in close. This way she can protect him if they crash, but mostly because she wants Matt hugs.

"So. This is my first date. Obviously. Do you have any major wants or do-not-wants? Kinda wanna know what I'm in for."

Permalink Eye

"I'll let you lead, Horatio."

Permalink Eye

She makes a face at him. "I'm so not Horatio. If anyone, I'm Hamlet."

Permalink Eye

"You could make a case for Fortinbras."

Permalink Eye

She thinks about it. "Huh. I'd get to be a prince, a general and eventually King, though only in name..."

She looks up at him. "Okay, you can be Hamlet then. Does this please you, my prince?" She pauses. "You wouldn't really be my prince though..."

Permalink Eye

"There is that. I suppose if you're Hamlet, I'm Ophelia."

Permalink Eye

"Hm. No, I don't think so. Her fate is so tragic, torn between two worlds... and dying off-screen. Nope. You have so much more going for you. And you will never die." She nods, "I've decided."

Permalink Eye

"Ambitious woman. How do you think you'll pull it off?"

Permalink Eye

"Life is infinitely stranger than anything which the mind of man could invent."

Permalink Eye

"I don't know about that. You're the most interesting thing I've met so far."

The pickup truck begins to slow; it looks like they're at the law office.

Permalink Eye

Brian heads inside with a brief wave at them.

Permalink Eye

His brother calls out.

"Which one of you lucky bastards is riding up front?"

Permalink Eye

To Matt: "I don't mind staying here if you wanna?"

Permalink Eye

"No complaints here."

Permalink Eye

When no volunteers manifest themselves, he steps out of the truck.

"It is actually illegal to have two kids in my truck bed. Make it easier on me?"

Permalink Eye

She sighs dramatically. "Ruining our wholesome teenage delinquency."

She unwraps herself from Matt and gives him a kiss on the cheek.

"Try not to have too much fun without me."

And climbs out of the truck bed.

Permalink Eye

"Have fun."

He stays in the back.

Permalink Eye

"Bentley Byrne," he says, offering her his hand.

Permalink Eye

She takes it.

"Juliet Salvatore. Thank you for doing this, we're bad at planning things ahead of time."

Permalink Eye

"Any friend of Brian's is a friend of mine."

Into the truck they go.

Permalink Eye

She laughs and hops into the passenger seat.

"I've met Brian twice. I mean, it was friendly, but he's probably more Matts friend than mine."

Permalink Eye

"So you're Matt's friend. I was wondering why you needed a ride that fast, but I think I got it now. Sly bird."

Permalink Eye

"Yup, that's me. Matts sly bird friend," she jokes. "Have you known him long?"

Permalink Eye

"Brian's never had him over. Never has anyone over. Only names I know for sure are Jackson and Lydia."

Permalink Eye

"I think you can slot Danny into the circle of Brians friends. They all have lunch together, at the very least."

Permalink Eye

"That's good. I worry about him sometimes. He's not happy."

Permalink Eye

"Yeah? I don't know him well enough to tell, I suppose. I could get to know him if you think it might help?"

Permalink Eye

"I don't know. It's been hard on him since everything. Anyway, that's not something you need to worry about. We don't have to talk if you don't want to. I'm just being polite, is all."

Permalink Eye

"I like talking, I don't do enough of it, in my opinion. Are you a senior?"

Permalink Eye

"Junior. I got held back in sixth grade. If that's what you were thinking, that I look older, that's why."

Permalink Eye

"Mmmnope. Just making conversation. How's this: play any sport? I hear lacrosse is where it's at."

...she checks on Matt in the back.

Permalink Eye

Matt appears to be watching the scenery.

Permalink Eye

"Nothing official-like. Sometimes I play goal for Brian. Mostly I work on repairing stuff."

Permalink Eye

She smiles at the sight and then turns back to Bentley.

"Ooh. I'm good with engines, my dad and I have been restoring an old Ferrari. I'm hoping it'll be ready in time for when I get my license. What sort of things do you like fixing?"

Permalink Eye

"I'm doing everything right now. Later, I'll go to trade school for something specific. I can do sinks, I can do cars, I can do washers and dryers."

Permalink Eye

"An all rounder, nice. Are you gonna stay in town... are you a local?"

Permalink Eye

"Came down from West Virginia when I was a kid. Brian doesn't remember much of it. I miss the snow."

Permalink Eye

"I've never left California. I've been hoping to visit New York or Italy though. I have family in both places. Ish.  Nobody I know personally in Florence. That's just where the Salvatores hail from."

Permalink Eye

"I don't know where we 'hail from', that's pretty cool. What's in New York?"

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"My oldest cousin! He moves around a lot, but he has a nice place in New York. He's the black sheep of the family, but he's funny, so I like him."

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"He'd give you a place to stay? Sounds like a nice family."

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She laughs. "Damon is not nice. He can be a son of a bitch, pretty much always. But yeah, I know if I needed it he'd let me in, no question."

Handy perk of the guilt he feels about murdering her mother. Which she should probably hold against him... but it's hard to have feelings about a woman that died the day she was born and was a complete mystery.

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"It's good you have people to count on."

That seems to be all the conversation he's good for.

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Kay. She turns to the back window looks out to Matt.

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Matt is looking at her!

He looks away when she catches his eye.

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Naw. She proceeds to look at him right back for a while.

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He is watching the scenery now, except this time in an avoidant manner.

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"Two minutes."

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Still staring at Matt, she replies to Bentley, "Thanks again for doing this. Walking would have taken ages."

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"Mhm."

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Juliet will continue to stare at Matt until something happens or they arrive at the Preserve.

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So they arrive at the Preserve.

"Do you guys need me to stay? I can come back later."

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"I'd rather not call my parents."

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"It's okay, I can call a taxi. I have the money for it."

She pauses.

"Beacon Hills has taxis, doesn't it?"

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"...there might be a private company? I've never used it. I really didn't plan this very well."

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"If all else fails we can call my cousin and if that fails..." She looks to Bentley, "we'll call you? I don't want to put you off any more than we already have."

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"I can pick you up, no problem."

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"I don't have my phone on me.." She prompts Matt.

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They exchange phone numbers, and away goes their driver.

"Sorry about all of the...red tape."

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She steps up close to him and takes his hands. "It's fine. He was nice, if a little boring."

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"I'm glad. I wouldn't want any competition."

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"You are literally the only person in my universe right now."

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Hand-holding time?

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Hand-holding time! Juliet will also snuggle up to his chest if this goes on long enough.

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It doesn't.

Matt pulls away, holding onto her hand as he leads her further in.

"There's a lot of good chances further up. It's not as interesting out here, where you can still see the outside world."

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She keeps a strong grip on his hand and allows herself to be lead.

"I've never been in near this part of the Preserve. The Boarding House is all the way on the other side of it, so mostly I just know that part."

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"'Being alone in the wilderness, it had looked within itself and, by heavens I tell you, it had gone mad'."

He looks for a tree with a low-hanging branch, and climbs onto it unsteadily, camera swinging around his neck.

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Juliet watches from below.

"If you keep quoting Heart of Darkness at me there wont be enough time for us to get all our shots," she says suggestively.

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"Well, I'll save it until after I get one of you from up here."

He climbs further up, and hangs upside down by his legs.

"Perfect."

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She laughs. "Is this a common practice of yours? Hanging upside down in trees so you can take pictures of pretty girls?"

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"You're literally the only person in my universe right now," he says breathlessly.

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He's close enough that she could reach up and kiss him while he's laughing.

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Well obviously she does that then.

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Kissing! It's a thing he can do, apparently!

He can't actually do it very long without pulling back, gasping: "I should probably be on my feet if we're doing this."

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"Hmm. How about-" she climbs up the tree beside him, making it look easy, "this? Does this work?"

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"...works for me."

Kisses!

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So many kisses. Juliet has never done this before, but this does not deter her. Eventually she pulls herself closer to him, takes her hands off the branch and places them lightly on his shoulder and nape.

Okay?

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His ability to balance on this tree is being severely taxed, but he can't bring himself to complain.

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Thankfully Juliet has very good balance, so she will try her best to compensate for this!

...if she doesn't get too distracted.

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Matt aims to be as distracting as possible.

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Well. Two can play at that game.

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He is thoroughly distracted.

Distracted enough that his camera slips down along his neck, constricting-

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He seems less interested in kissing than flailing and gasping, now.

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Juliet pulls back immediately, "What-?"

She attempts to take the pressure off his neck, lifting the camera.

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His breathing comes just as raggedly.

The twitching and struggling against an invisible adversary don't seem to be intentional.

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Is he in pain??? She can take that away!

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He isn't.

He's coming back to himself now.

He slowly begins to right himself, unsteadily climbing back down.

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Juliet starts crying softly. "I'm sorry. I'm sorry."

She jumps down from the tree after him, wanting to touch him, but afraid of hurting him again.

"Are you- are you okay?"

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"'s not your fault."

He swallows.

"Camera's not broken. That's something."

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Juliet nods and forces herself to stop crying. She is not helping.

She takes a deep breath and then reaches out to take his hand.

"Do you wanna sit?"

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"It's not your fault," he repeats shakily.

"Sometimes this happens. To me."

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She sits herself and lightly tries to pull him down.

"Okay. We all have something."

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"Asthma," he lies.

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She lets him lie, that's his right. But this time she makes him sit.

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"I haven't had one in a while. Supposed to be better."

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She moves closer to him and leans her head on his shoulder, listening to him lie.

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"I think we should go home."

Truth.

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Juliet nods her assent into his shoulder and cuddles in closer.

"I'm sorry we're both so horribly uncoordinated." She looks up at him with a small smile. "I think we should work on that. Not right now. But it's definitely a thing we should do."

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"Next time, less trees."

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"I hear couches are a big new thing."

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He shakes his head.

"Not my place. Should I call Brian's brother?"

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"There are many couches in the world. We can find one eventually."

She nods, "Yeah, go ahead. I don't really feel like calling Stefan. He might make me go home."

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"He can't have gotten that far. We weren't here long."

He calls.

"Hey, Bentley? We're cashing in that ride now."

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"No, everything's fine. Yeah, yeah. Sure. Drive safe."

He hangs up.

"He says it'll be five minutes."

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"Do you wanna go wait by the road, or can I continue using you as a pillow for a little while longer?"

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"I can accept my destiny."

Pillow!

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She will also pick up his hand and play with it.

But otherwise: cuddles.

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Cuddles are nice.