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Author Topic: Robot-Isolda's Story  (Read 158 times)

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Offline EffulgentFirefly

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Robot-Isolda's Story
« on: April 25, 2018, 05:46:17 PM »
So someone suggested I actually write out what happened between Isolda and Ray, two characters in my YA novel. Though it isn't necessary to read the novel, it does fit into that universe. It had to be split into parts because it's a little long. Tell me what you think :)

"It's getting late. Are we really gonna pull an all-nighter?"

"Hell yeah!" Ray smiled a little at Leo's cheerful reply. He sounded far too energetic for nearly two in the morning, but then again, he was probably more hopped up on sugar and caffeine from soda and candy than he'd been in a long time, considering his parent's lack of junk food.

"Hey Ray, catch!"

Ray was caught off-guard by the pillow that smacked him in the face, and immediately retaliated by whacking his attacker over the head with it-which in retrospect, probably hadn't been the best idea. He let out a little laugh as Miles tried to finish what he'd started and knock him back, but managed to catch the small blond's hands before he could do any damage. With an uncharacteristic grin, Ray pushed him off. "Too slow."

"I'm not!" The Spanish boy stifled a gasp of surprise as Angela finished off the job, practically pouncing on him, knocking him flat on his back and sitting on his stomach with a shout of victory. "Haha, twin power!"

"It kind of isn't fair there are two of you," Yvette stated, only to be put into a playful chokehold by Miles, who despite his size, was probably stronger than all of them. She laughed, raising her hands in defeat. "Okay, okay, I take it back, you two are golden children!"

"That's more like it," Angela agreed from where she was still sitting on Ray's stomach. He didn't care too much-Angela couldn't have weighed more than ninety-five pounds, and no matter how childish their wrestling was, it'd just been something him and the Verde twins had done since they were little. With a small, amused smile on his face, he glanced around the wrecked basement. He wasn't sure what he'd been expecting when Yvette had suggested they spend the night in his basement (considering how overbearing Ray's mother was, it seemed the least likely house for any incidents to occur), but as he glanced around his homey basement, with pillows and couch cushions and bits of snacks here and here, it was anything but its usual neatness, especially with how rowdy all of them were getting.


"Hey, Iso." With a little nudge, he pushed Angela off (she only protested a little), sliding over to sit next to the beautiful brunette against the wall. Though she didn't look unhappy as she watched the rest of their friends wrestle and tease, she looked almost lonely sitting with her knees brought to her chest against the wall, hazel eyes boring into the scene in front of her. Ray smiled a little, nudging her lightly. "What's up, buttercup?"

"Hmm?" Isolda glanced up to him-had she even realized he'd been there?-and smiled a little, letting her head rest on his shoulder. "Nothing. I'm just thinking."

"You sure?"

She nodded, shying into him as Leo threw something that came a little too close to her. The brunette girl laughed lightly, that laugh that got him stupidly affectionate and tingly. "Things are kinda rowdy down here though..."

Ray nodded in agreement, and before he could think things through, stood up and held out a hand to her. "C'mon."

Isolda blinked at him in surprise-hell, he was surprised too. It wasn't often he was so adamant about things, especially about things he didn't think through. It seemed to work, though, because she took his callused hand with a cock of her head. "What are you..."

"Let's go somewhere calmer," He suggested, leading her out of the basement. Ray heard Leo whistle lowly from behind him. "Damn, Ray, you could've just asked for some privacy with her! Don't have to run off to do whatever nasty things you're going to do!"

Isolda let out a little giggle, and Ray rolled his eyes, not bothering to reply as they left the basement. The brunette girl closed the door behind them. "Thanks. It's a little quieter here."

"Are you sure that's all that was bothering you?" He was coddling her, but he cared, maybe a little too much. He'd done it with other friends he'd crushed on, and Leo called it a sure sign he'd fallen for someone, even if he just appeared a little overbearing to everyone else. It was no wonder Isolda sometimes felt like he was worrying too much about everything.

She nodded, squeezing his hand. "Yeah. Promise."

Ray wasn't exactly convinced, but he didn't have it in him to argue. He had to trust her anyway-if Isolda said she was fine, she was fine. He decided to move on, asking, "Do you want to see the stars?"

Eagerly, she nodded, and Ray had to wonder how he'd gotten lucky enough to find a girl that shared so many of his interests as he took her hand and led her out onto the porch. The summer night was cool, much nicer than the blistering heat during the day, and the sky was clear. It was a beautiful night, stars and constellations reflected in both their eyes as they sat on the first step. "It's a good night."

"Yeah," Isolda agreed, pressing to his side. Ray slid an arm around her, pointing out a constellation. "What's that one? Do you remember?"

"Um..." She hesitated for a moment, fumbling adorably with her blue glasses as she thought, peering up into the night sky. "It's... It's Cancer, right?"

"Yup." He let out a little laugh at her enthusiastic celebration. "You've been doing your homework. Good job."

The pretty brunette smiled at him, nudging him with her elbow playfully. "Only for you, baby."

They sat in near-silence for awhile, Ray pointing out constellations and planets every so often. He liked the silence, the sounds of the night surrounding them as Isolda leaned into his side, her breathing light and calm, even as she shivered every so often. It was nice, and it gave him a sense of peace. It was perfect.

Well, almost.

"Are you cold?" The young Spaniard asked, and though she shook her head, Ray could see the lie as she shivered again. With a sigh, he unzipped his hoodie, handing it to her. "Here."

She smiled at him as she slid it on. It was too big on her small frame, and she was nearly swimming in it. It was adorable, and as she half-zipped it up, he pressed a kiss to the top of her head. "You look good in that."

"It smells like you," She replied, guiding him into a real kiss with little hesitation. Though he could feel his cheeks heating up and his fingers fumbled for a grip on her hip, Ray returned it, soft and innocent. He wasn't the better kisser of them, and romance had always been Isolda's specialty. That didn't mean he didn't like kissing her, though, and he caught her bottom lip between his own with the next one, pressing her back to the fence on the porch. A hand hidden in the sleeves of his sweater came up to grab his bare forearm, and he pulled back. "Sorry, Iso."

"I didn't tell you to stop, did I?" She was teasing him a little, but he could see a part of her was completely serious. Without another thought, Ray kissed Isolda again, and let the sounds of the night carry his worries away.

"Where did you go with Isolda that night?"

"Huh?" Ray glanced over at the blond boy, rolling his eyes as he did. Miles was sitting upside down on the armchair and focused on his handheld video game console, his eyes darting back and forth across the screen. Looking back to his book, the Spanish boy replied, "We went out to the porch. It was a nice night."

"Damn, didn't know you were into exhibitionism."

It was casual and lazy, and though he sent a glare in the direction of his best friend, the blond still hadn't looked up from his game. There was a telltale grin on his freckled face, though-he knew he'd gotten under the Spanish teen’s skin. Ray took a breath as his phone vibrated, unlocking it and replying, "I'm not. You guys all think I'm some sort of pervert because I have a girlfriend. I'm not the one with softcore porn on my phone."

"Hey!" The Spanish boy smiled to himself as Miles protested loudly-of course that had gotten his attention. "I don't! That's Leo, I swear, he sends that *censored* to me!"

"Mhm. That sounds real legitimate."

The small skater let out an irritated scoff. "Whatever. I hate you."

Ray let out a little chuckle as he dismissed his other messages and went to open Isolda's text. "All the same, Bubbles."

Other than the 80s music playing from Miles' speaker and the various sounds from the video game, it was silent in the Verde's small, comfy living room. Ray stretched out on the couch, checking Isolda's text. 'Are you free? I really need to talk to you and the twins if they're around.'

Isolda wants to talk?
Isolda wasn't the silent, thoughtful type like he was-if she needed to talk and she hadn’t already said something, it was typically something important, and including the Verdes was even more concerning. With a sigh, he pushed himself up off the comfortable couch. "Hey, Bubbles, Iso wants to talk."

"Cool." Miles seemed to only be half-listening. "I get it. You have a girlfriend. Go be with her."

"No." Ray rolled his eyes and tossed a throw pillow from the couch at his friend, who finally looked up from his game, obviously unimpressed as he readjusted his glasses. "She wants to talk to all of us. Or you and me and Angela at least."

"Oh," Miles replied-it seemed he'd finally taken his attention away from the game for more than a second. "That's weird. I didn't know you guys were into polygamy."

"Miles Valentine Verde I am going to *censored*ing strangulate you in two seconds."

"Okay, okay. Don't need to bring my middle name into this." Though his tone was irritated, Miles was grinning as he stood up, calling up the stairs, "Angie! We're going to Isolda's!"

"Now?" Ray saw Angela's head pop out of her room. With the warm weather and increasing amount of sunny days, her lupus was getting bad, and he could see the signature butterfly rash beginning to form over her nose. Miles nodded. "Yeah. She wants to talk about something or another."

"Okay," The female half of the twins replied with a sigh, retreating back into her room. "Just... Let me put on something so I won't die in the sunlight."

Miles nodded again, and Ray sighed. Angela had been diagnosed with systemic lupus just before they'd entered middle school, and though she had her good days and her bad ones, summer had always been a particularly harsh season. The sunlight was an awful trigger, and the tiny blonde girl had been bedridden for weeks during past summer vacations.

"I'm ready!"

Ray smiled a little as she practically skipped down the stairs, an umbrella in hand. It was a pretty walking parasol, a simple cyan blue that gradually faded into a lime green, a present he'd bought her for graduation. Though she was still wearing a thin hoodie, the floppy hood pulled up over her head, it allowed her to wear something lighter on the bottom-hence the knee-length skirt that fluttered with her every step. Miles smiled too, grabbing his keys from the bowl in the door and motioning for his sister to hurry up. "C'mon, you're so slow these days."

"Oh shut up." The exchange was light and playful, something Ray didn't quite understand-him and his own sister had always fought mercilessly with each other, yet the Verde twins had always been two peas in a pod. No matter what insults Angela and Miles threw at each other, none of them seemed to mean anything. It was bizarre, and Ray had never really been surprised at all the incest jokes and rumours that'd circulated about them.

"Why're we going to Isolda's?" Angela asked, opening her parasol as they began down the Verde's driveway and onto the sidewalk. Miles shrugged, looking over at Ray. "I dunno. Why're we going to Isolda's, Ray?"

Ray shook his head with a shrug, sliding his hands into the pockets of his sleeveless hoodie. "I'm not sure. She said she needed to talk to us. That's it."

"See, that's weird, right?" Miles asked, and Angela nodded. "Yeah, it is. Especially considering how often she complains Ray's always with us."

The tall Spanish boy nodded in agreement-though the four of them plus Leo had been friends since fourth grade, Isolda had often complained their time alone together was too limited. Maybe it was, but Ray had never been the type of person to forget about his friends for a girl-and he hoped he never would be.

"It's always been the five of us," Miles said stubbornly after a moment, crossing his arms over his chest as they waited for the streetlight in what was beginning to feel like blistering sunlight. "Your relationship with Isolda isn't going to change that."

Though he made a little sound of agreement along with Angela, Ray had an uneasy feeling in his gut. Isolda and him were sweet together... But the dynamic between the five of them had changed since their relationship had progressed, and he was almost sure it hadn't been for the better.

"Wow, you managed to get the twins on board, huh?"

"Yup." Ray smiled, kissing Isolda's forehead as they were welcomed into her house. It was bigger than his or the Verde's-she had three siblings and a grandfather than lived with them. It needed to be big. Though it was beautiful and intimidatingly large, it was also messy-though it seemed to be cleaner than usual, Ray noticed. "Proud of me?"

"Very." Isolda smiled at him, but something in the air was off. Perhaps it was the rare tidiness of the main level. The brunette turned to the twins. "Hey, you two. It's been awhile."

"Yeah, since you and Ray snuck off at our grad thing," Angela agreed, and Ray gave her a look. Isolda simply laughed, though he could hear the embarrassment laced through it-not that he minded. It was cute, to say the least.

"Why'd you have us over?" Miles asked curiously, more straightforward than usual. He could tell both him and Angela wanted to know what was going on, and though he was more preoccupied with spending time with his girlfriend, Ray couldn't deny he was curious too.

"I..." Isolda hesitated unusually-unlike Ray, she tended to have all her words constantly on the tip of her tongue. It was rare to see her thinking about what to say, and when she finally spoke, it wasn't what he was expecting-"Do you guys want to come in? My grandpa just made lunch, you could sit down.

Though he could see Miles starting to speak out of the corner of his eye, Ray made sure he beat his friend to it. "We ate, but I don't mind coming in."

The pretty brunette girl nodded, leading them through the house. Though it wasn't so different from the rest of the messy house, boxes and bags were stacked here and there to make up for the lack of mess. He wasn't complaining-Isolda's little brothers were messy and generally left things from stuffed animals to the dreaded Legos everywhere.

Speaking of which...

"Hi Ray! Hi Miles! Hi Angela!"

Despite the fact he'd never been a fan of children (his nightmare job was a teacher) the tall Spaniard smiled at the short boy seated at the table. Lukas might've been annoying and something of a snob for an eight-year-old, but he was still Isolda's littlest brother. He waved a little to him, and then the elderly man sitting at the other end of the kitchen table. "Hey, Lukas. Afternoon, Mr Webber."

Lukas promptly hopped up out of his chair to show the four of them what he'd been working on-a drawing, it looked like, almost too good for his age. There was a house, a truck, and a group of people waving to someone it looked like, but otherwise, he picture had no meaning to Ray. He was about to ask the little boy what it was when Lukas said proudly, "It's a present for Papa. He's moving soon, so I have to make something so he doesn't forget about us."

"Your dad is moving?" Miles spoke all of their thoughts. Isolda's father moved for his work often, but it'd seemed for the past few years he'd settled down in the suburbs of Toronto along with them. Ray cocked his head at her. "Why didn't you tell us?"

"Well.. That's... what I was going to tell you," Isolda began hesitantly, placing a hand atop Lukas' head, perhaps so he wasn't bouncing around with his usual energy while they spoke. "My dad's going to Colorado at the end of the summer." Her bespectacled gaze looked almost guilty as she spoke, her eyes focusing on Ray. And, um... I'm going with him."


The usually loud, busy kitchen fell completely silent other than Isolda's grandfather turning the pages of the newspaper. After a few moments, he chuckled from his seat, his German accent as thick as usual. "I told you they weren't going to take it well Iso."

"Shut up Opa!" Isolda hissed, but the old man only laughed to himself again. Though Ray couldn't find any words whatsoever, Angela seemed to have plenty for the three of them. "What the hell? You're leaving?"

"Angie, it's only for-"

"Don't you dare 'Angie' me!" Ray could see the grip on the handle of her parasol was tight enough to turn her knuckles white. Her voice rose as she spoke. "Isolda, what the hell is that? Are you being forced to leave?"

Guilt was written all over her adorable face, and Ray knew the answer before she answered in a quiet, defeated voice. "No."

"Then why are you leaving?"

"There's a school down in Denver that could really help my acting up to par," She replied as if she'd rehearsed it a million times-maybe she had, Ray thought as his girlfriend continued quietly. "My dad would be working with the school board, and it'd really help me out..."

"More than staying in Canada would?" Though Miles' voice wasn't as obviously angry as Angela's, there was a bite to it-he wasn't happy. Ray watched as he crossed his arms. "Isolda, it's been the five of us for half a decade. It was always going to be the five of us. We're going into high school in two months."

"I..." She seemed lost for words, and she looked to Ray with a desperate look. "Ray, help me out here."

"I..." Ray hesitated-what was he supposed to say? He was shocked, to say the least-was Isolda really choosing to leave them after so many years? They were dating on top of it...

"Iso... What am I supposed to say?" He finally settled on, watching her face become more distraught. What was he supposed to say? He wasn't happy, and he wasn't about to encourage her to leave, but how was he supposed to side with her, then? It was too much to think about, and his voice was flat when he continued, "I'm not happy about this either..."

Isolda crossed her arms over her chest-it probably didn't help the situation already wasn't great, but Ray could immediately tell she wasn't satisfied with what he'd said. "You sound like you wouldn't care one way or the other."

"Isolda, I..." The accusatory look he was getting from the German girl wasn't helping his scrambled mind function, and though the words were right, his tone fell flat again, purely out of confusion. "I care a lot. It's just... A shock. You're choosing to leave us..." To leave me, he wanted to add, but the friendship the five of them shared should have the priority, not their romance.

She still wasn't happy-none of them were, at that point. The air in the kitchen was tense and uncomfortable, and Ray took a deep breath. He had a feeling things weren't going  to end well one way or another.

Finally, someone broke the silence-Isolda's grandfather. In his usual, gruff German accent, he said casually, "Iso. Perhaps you should let it sink in a little. And you three, take some time to think." He rolled the newspaper and stood up from the table. "You shouldn't lose your friendship to something like this."

"He's right," Ray sighed as the elderly man left the room, Lukas trailing after him-he seemed to have sensed the change in mood as well. The Spanish boy took a step forward to press a kiss to Isolda's lips, lingering just a bit longer than he probably should have to try and gain back her faith in him. Her face was still unhappy as he pulled back, and with a sigh, the raven-haired boy apologized. " I'm sorry, Iso, this is... big. Your grandfather's right. We should all think."

Isolda nodded after a moment, walking them to the door. "Alright. I'll see you guys later then."

Both the twins nodded back, and though Angela said nothing as she opened the door, Miles gave her a little, somewhat forced smile. "See you, Isolda."

She smiled back, though it wasn't completely legitimate, before turning to Ray with those big, worried eyes under the lenses of her glasses. "Ray..."

"It'll... It'll be okay," Ray assured her, straightening her glasses on her nose with a smile of his own-though none of it felt honest, his words included. "We'll figure it out, Iso, we always do."
I'm too shy to initiate... But I'm open to anyone else doing it. Just tell me if you need to say something :D

Offline EffulgentFirefly

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Re: Robot-Isolda's Story
« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2018, 05:53:03 PM »
"Wait, what the *censored*? Isolda's leaving?"

"I know, right?" Angela was just as upset as she'd been earlier that day, her parasol still in hand as she sat on the swing. The days were long, and though it was nearing eight thirty that evening, the sun had yet to disappear behind the trees-therefore, the pretty umbrella was still up above the blonde girl's head. "It's bull*censored* in its finest form."

"Agreed," Leo huffed as he swung his legs. Though Ray had insisted it was a bad idea (he did every time they hung around the park, really), he was seated atop the metal swing set. "She's choosing to leave this behind. Hell, she's choosing to leave us behind! I'm kind of offended!"

Ray glanced over to Miles, who was standing on the swing next to Angela-he'd been awfully quiet about the whole situation, and it was a little concerning. The blond boy had never been shy about voicing his opinions... Until then, obviously.

Who knew one thing could shake us up so badly?

"Isolda has a method to her madness," Ray began hesitantly. Sticking up for Isolda was probably what he as supposed to do as her boyfriend, but he had a feeling it wasn’t going to go over well with his other friends. “If she’s leaving, there’s gotta be a reason-”

“Bull*censored*!” Ray rolled his eyes as Leo interrupted him-he’d really expected no less from the redhead. “She’s leaving, Ray, and she’s choosing to. How the hell can you stick up for her?”

“I…” He had nothing to say. Leo was right-he had no reason to back her other than their relationship status. She was leaving him in Mississauga just like she was leaving everyone else.

Damn, she is. It hurt him, more than Ray would probably ever admit, and he sighed, leaning back against the metal skeleton of the swing set. Isolda was leaving.

Isolda’s leaving.

“We should get back.” Miles broke the silence, stepping off the swing. Angela followed. “Yeah. It’s getting dark.”

“I guess that’s true,” Leo agreed, hopping off the top of the playground structure with ease. He glanced over to Ray, who’d been absentmindedly staring into the purple streaks beginning to show in the sky. "Hey, you coming?"

"Hmm?" Ray blinked-Miles and Angela had started their usual lazy walk through the cooling night air, and Leo was looking at him expectantly. Though it took a moment, he nodded. "Yeah... You go. Tell the twins not to wait up for me."

The redheaded teen seemed hesitant to leave him-maybe there was something about his face-but nodded back slowly. "Alright..." Don't get eaten by coyotes or something."

The Spaniard nodded again as Leo turned to leave-though he took the bus, he had a tendency to walk with the twins-not that any of them minded. It was nice to have Leo in tow, and Leo seemed to like the escape from his family. He was just as loud as the twins, though, and as Ray was left in silence, he let out a little sigh of relief. He cared deeply for his friends and their happiness, but he liked being alone, and he thought best on his own-especially that evening.

Isolda's... Leaving...

It still seemed bizarre-Isolda had always stayed put compared to the rest of her family, who tended to move, especially her father. She liked Canada, Mississauga... She liked them, or at least he thought so. It didn't make sense for her to leave, and he couldn't understand why she'd pop it on them like she had.

Did we do something?

Maybe it was his fault. Maybe he'd done something that had scared her away. He couldn't help but think it was a possibility, and he could feel guilt bubbling up underneath the uncomfortable feeling of being hurt.

Isolda was leaving. And by the looks of things, he couldn't do anything about it.

It made sense for the five of them to spend as much time together as possible as the month went on-Isolda seemed set on Denver, and all of them were set on spending all of the summer together before she left. It wasn't uncommon in the first place for Ray to be over at her house or vice versa, but as he and Isolda lazily lounged on the couch for the fourth time that week, Ray knew that it was some sort of a final hurrah.

Isolda let out a little sigh from where she'd been reading, her head on his chest, both of them sprawled across the sofa in his basement, and Ray smiled a little-she was absolutely adorable, he was going to miss her as both a friend and a lover. Hell, he was going to do more than miss her. It hurt already, and he wasn't used to it in the slightest.

The hurt and feeling of betrayal made him cold, or so Angela had pointed out. Maybe it did, but he did his best with Isolda, to focus on what they had rather than what was coming. It seemed inevitable, and at that point he knew he was supposed to be enjoying what little time they had together.

"Hey, babe?"

Babe. Ray had never been sure if he liked the pet name or not, even if it sounded very cute coming from Isolda's mouth. It didn't feel right as a label on him, and he'd never been one for pet names-not that he'd ever told her that. Regardless, he nodded. "Yeah? What is it?"

"Are you mad at me?"

Ray hesitated with his answer-was me mad at Isolda? A part of him was, of course, but was he really upset with her or the decision she'd made? Either way, he knew the right answer. "No. Why?"

"I don't know." The brunette girl sat up with a sigh, pushing mousy locks out of her face. "You seem mad. You're all cold again, like when we met..."

Ah. So she had noticed. Ray had been trying his very best to let his feelings show, to eliminate the flatness in his voice, but obviously it hadn't been working. He cleared his throat. "I'm not trying to be. We should be enjoying our last month or two together, right?"

"It's hard to enjoy it when it feels like you wouldn't care if I went or not.."

"Isolda..." He sighed, sitting up to hug her around the shoulders. "I do care. I'm just... Not a Miles, or an Angela. I'm not an emotional person."

Isolda leaned into his embrace, and though they sat in a peaceful silence for a moment, her voice was small and unhappy as she asked, "Can't you try a little sometimes?"


His lack of an answer seemed to be enough for the pretty German girl, and Ray scrambled up after her as she began to make her way to the front door. "Iso... That's unfair. I'm not like you, I'm not emotional, I just don't get it. Everything's... Everything's a number or a stat or..."

"Or a cheap reason for you to dance around me leaving?" She was unhappy, he could tell-it was written all over her face and laced through her tone. Isolda sighed as she pulled on her shoes. "Ray, I get that we're different, but I try and see your side. You should try and see mine every so often." With that, she walked out, leaving him standing dejectedly in the doorway.

Though July was usually a month all of them enjoyed, Ray knew he wasn't the only one who'd noticed something was off. He and Isolda had barely spoken a word to each other since the after she'd walked out, and by extension, Miles, Angela and Leo hadn't either. It was an odd time, and though he both missed her and was definitely upset with her, Ray knew better than to approach her first. His lack of visible emotions seemed to have done the trick once, he wasn't about to try it again.

But how do I change that?

He really didn't know. He lived in a world of 'feelers' rather than 'thinkers', between Mari's ability to toy with people's emotions to Miles wearing his heart on his sleeve, and though he got the odd looks from his friends every so often, it had always sort of worked out.

Until it didn't. Maybe that time was going to be the latter.

Ray sighed, staring at the mess of tools and bits of clockwork machinery on his work desk. They gleamed in the soft light of the room, but he was stressed, and he grabbed the old rag and bottle of alcohol from the shelf near his head. They needed to be clean.

"Geez, Ray, stop that." Miles spoke from behind him-he was seated in the only other chair in the messy room, his game console sitting in his lap. Though Ray continued to wipe down his tools, he could feel shame easing its way into his stomach as the blond continued. "I get you don't want me to talk about your hypochondriasis, but this is the fifth time you've done that in the last ten minutes. Stop, before you get to the compulsive hand-washing."

Without a word, Ray continued to silently clean his tools, stubbornly ignoring his childhood friend. His anxiety had gotten better, and he had to believe he wasn't relapsing, even though stress tended to drive his bad habits out of control. The raven-haired boy decided that once wasn't a habit as he finished wiping down a small screwdriver. It was a one time thing, a reaction to stress. Something to take his mind off Isolda for a second.

It isn't going to be a habit.

Though as he replaced his tools in perfect order again, Ray found that cleaning them once wasn't de-stressing him whatsoever, and grabbed the bottle of alcohol to do it again.

Whether she'd been stressed, angry or busy he'd never know, but Ray was relieved when Isolda invited him over to help her pack, even if it was only a reminder she'd be gone very soon. Quietly, he helped her stack books in boxes. "You're bringing all of them?"

"Yeah," She replied, taking the last handful off the shelves. "I'll need something to do when I'm not in school."

"You could always just stay," Ray suggested nonchalantly, taping another box shut. "You'd have things to do then."

"Ray, I'm not staying," The brunette sighed, pushing the box over to the door of her room. "This could be really good for me."

"Well, then you should go," He replied-he wasn't about to hold her back from something good. It didn't feel right. "You're right, it could help you."

Isolda laughed as she handed him another few books from the bookshelf. "Don't get too excited to get rid of me now."

Finally, it had seemed like maybe things between them had stabilized. With his usual voice, he simply said, "Don't worry, I'm not."

Isolda seemed happy with his reply, and as she handed him the next few books, stood on her tiptoes to go in for a kiss. Though he had a book in one hand and the roll of tape in the other, Ray pushed her back, just so he could step away from her advances. He could feel his heart going a million miles a minute-he trusted Isolda, but kissing was a surefire way to get him sick. Even if he'd be fine afterwards, he'd be anxiety-ridden for the rest of summer. Kissing spread bacteria and disease, and Ray had no intention of getting sick in any way whatsoever.

Maybe his anxiety had gotten a little out of hand.

Whether he was right to be worried or not, Ray could see almost immediately his reaction had been the wrong one in terms of Isolda's feelings. Her face dropped, and she crossed her arms over her chest with an unhappy sigh. "Are you trying to tell me something, Ray? Because I'd really rather if you just came out and said it."

"No, Isolda, I just-"

"I really wanted to just forget that it really felt like you don't care I'm leaving," She interrupted as usual, her tone a mix of upset and a harshness that cut through him like a knife. "And I thought we'd be okay. But I was going to kiss you after we haven't seen each other in nearly two weeks and you... what the hell do you even call that?" The Spanish boy began to speak again, but the first word wasn't even out of his mouth before she cut him off again. "Ray, do you really not care? Do you care at all? You're like a robot sometimes!"

Robot. He'd been called a robot before, it was an insult that had run wild in middle school and left him with a less than perfect view of teenagers. Though he'd gotten used to ignoring it to his best ability (maybe that only proved him more robotic though), he'd never heard any of his friends say it, much less Isolda. It stung, and it stung hard. He could practically feel himself physically beginning to close up again.

Either Isolda didn't see it, or she was too upset, and she took the few books from him and boxed them up. Her voice was flat and unhappy, and Ray winced at the sound of it. "Thanks for the help. I've got the rest of it, you should get going."

"Iso, please, you know my anxiety is bad." Though he wanted to pull her into a hug and press a kiss to her lips, the anxiety bubbling in his stomach and how badly the robot insult had stung him prevented him from moving an inch towards her. He cared a lot for Isolda, but the uncertainty was killing him. He knew what sickness and disease could do, and hew knew it could be hiding almost anywhere. "You can't be taking this personally."

"Well maybe I am. You couldn't blame me if I was." Her voice was chilly, and Ray swallowed painfully. He was typically peaceful, and conflict was something he generally didn't deal with well, closing himself off and practically running away from the problem unless it persisted. Unfortunately, it seemed like it was too late for his usual defense method. Isolda turned away from him as she spoke. "I'll see you later, Ray. Thanks for everything."
I'm too shy to initiate... But I'm open to anyone else doing it. Just tell me if you need to say something :D

Offline EffulgentFirefly

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Re: Robot-Isolda's Story
« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2018, 06:10:13 PM »
"It's been a weird summer, eh?"

"Hmm?" Ray glanced up from his book-despite the crazy drama with Isolda and the falling out it had caused with the rest of the group, he'd gotten in a fair amount of reading time, usually with Miles playing video games in his basement. That day, Angela had tagged along, and sat with a controller in her hands next to her brother. He shrugged. "Yeah. It started off nicely."

"Oh yeah, our thing after graduation." Miles let out a little sigh, his voice unamused as Angela continued, her own tone bordering on a laugh.  "Haha. That... was sure something. But it was, uh..." Ray glanced up to see Angela grinning in amusement as she stared down the game on the screen, Miles next to her with an irritated look on his face. "It was nice for sure."

"Yeah," Miles replied despite the look on his face that said otherwise. "It was nice.”

And now no one except me and the twins are talking and Isolda's leaving... Ray sighed, looking back to his novel. One month and everything had changed.

"Speaking of that." The game ended and Miles turned to face him, his head cocked. "How's the Isolda situation?"

Right. He'd almost forgotten the Verde twins were in the loop with his ridiculous Isolda drama, at least to the point they knew that the two of them weren't on good terms. Though he was tired of thinking about it, lying to Miles had never been a good idea. The blond boy had a ridiculous temper when it came to secrets and lies, even if he insisted he didn't, and Ray could only guess it had some strange tie with his even stranger form social anxiety. Either way, it meant he wasn't about to tell either of the Verde twins anything but the truth. "She's pissed."

"Why is she pissed at you?" Angela huffed, obviously unimpressed with his answer-hell, she'd been unhappy with the entire situation as far as he could tell, more than he'd ever seen her. "She's the one leaving for *censored*'s sake!"

"Because I'm..." Ray hesitated, feeling the uncomfortable, painful feeling rise in his chest as he continued after clearing his throat, "Because I'm a robot. And she isn't."

For a moment the basement fell silent other than the game running on the television, before Miles simply picked up the controller to begin another game. "Well, you're not a Leo, but you ain't a robot."

"You're like... The tall, dark, mysterious type," Angela supplied as her brother set up the game, though Ray wasn't sure it made him feel much better. "It's hot. Not that you heard that from me."

"I have a girlfriend, Angela."

"At this rate you won't for much longer," Miles muttered under his breath. Though the blond boy was a bitter, emotional person, Ray was surprised-he hadn't seemed to have picked a side or shown any sort of anger towards the situation with Isolda until then. Though he said nothing else, turning back to the video game, Ray had to wonder just where his short friend sat in the argument.

"I'm not talking to her," He continued, deciding to leave Miles be. "I just... It's all backhanded insults..." That are making me feel like absolute *censored*, Ray didn't add. Whether Isolda was insulting him or not, he had to wonder how much of what she said was true. Maybe he was being selfish or uncaring, maybe he was a robot. Maybe he was the reason their relationship was falling to pieces. Isolda seemed convinced enough it was.

"Maybe that's for the better," Angela suggested with a little smile at him. "You two just aren't on good terms right now."

"But she's leaving in a month and a half," He protested. Though he wasn't ignoring her out of spite and it was more of an extreme defense method, Ray felt guilt bubbling up inside him with every text she sent and ever time the crossed paths outside. He was causing their broken relationship as far as Isolda was concerned... And at that point, the Spanish boy was convinced he was too.

"That means you have a month and a half to try and fix whatever the hell happened," Miles pointed out, his voice still oddly cool and calm for his usual demeanor-who was he rooting for? "Right? It's gotta work out..."

Ah. That sounded more like the Miles Ray knew, concerned about the emotional aspects of his friendships rather than something long-term. The Spanish boy shrugged with a sigh, turning his attention back to the book in his hand and replying uncertainly, "Que sera, sera."

Angela shook her head with a sigh of her own, but rather than speak her thoughts, she simply echoed, "Que sera, sera..."

Despite his distaste for extreme temperatures and the drama with Isolda, Ray didn't hate summer. It was a lazy time-Miles' skating was far less intense and the lack of school was nice. Reading and tinkering was most of his free time, and though he missed Isolda and every text she sent was a massive blow to his self-esteem it was better than her saying it to his face. He didn't get tired of reading or working on little clockwork pieces either, and though he was unhappy, staying home in his little workshop for the rest of summer didn't sound like such a bad idea.

The work desk vibrated with the familiar sound of a text coming through, and though Ray wanted to ignore it, he carefully put down the watch he was disassembling, checking what he assumed was another displeased text from Isolda. He was a little more than surprised to see something from Leo, and rolled his eyes as his phone began to ring. With a swipe of his finger and a tap of a button. he put the phone on speaker. "Goddamn, you're so impatient."

"We're going to the fireworks party at Laisa Park," Leo simply said, and though he was still working on not damaging any of the clockwork parts as he went, Ray replied, "Huh. That is tonight..."

"You're coming, even if I have to drag you over," The cheerful boy insisted, and though he rolled his eyes, the Spanish teen knew Leo was completely serious about making him go along. Though Ray did have a soft spot for his friends, they were incredibly persistent about all of them doing certain things, the annual fireworks party being one of them. He shrugged as the watch's most useful parts were carefully placed aside. "I mean, Mari goes and I'll probably have to chaperone anyway."

"No need to get so excited about it," Leo huffed, and Ray could practically hear his eyes rolling. "Whatever. It's our last hurrah as a group because Isolda's leaving in a few weeks. Be there." The boy on the other side of the line hung up before Ray could reply, and he sighed, turning off his phone and continuing to work perfecting his tinkering. He had a feeling that night wasn't going to go well.

Summer nights in Southern Ontario were comfortable and perhaps Ray's favourite time of the year. The temperature was more than pleasant, the stars were beautiful on clear nights and the atmosphere in general was peaceful and gave Ray a warm, serene feeling he usually never got anywhere else. Walking to Laisa Park, where the annual fireworks party was held was nice, even with peppy, scantily clad Mari in tow, and though he really wasn't one for parties, he always enjoyed the suburb's summer celebration. It seemed like that year was no exception as they entered the large, communal park, the celebration already in full swing. People greeted them as they walked by, and though he was polite as possible, Ray was focused on getting to his friends. He was painfully shy with people he wasn’t familiar with, and it showed.

"Hey, Ray! Took you long enough!"

Luckily for him, it seemed like his shyness wasn't going to get in the way for long, and he smiled a little as he joined his group of friends, gathered around one of the pillars of light used to illuminate the park. Yvette grinned at him. "You could try and enjoy yourself, man, geez."

"C’mon, Yvette, give him a second." Miles gave him his usual look, an impish little grin written all over his face. "But you took forever, man."

"Well, excuse me." Ray smiled out of habit as Isolda quietly took his hand-he wasn't exactly sure how to feel about their relationship, but Isolda wasn't someone he wanted to piss off, especially in public. "I'm here now anyway."

"Now that we're here I'm going." He blinked over to Mari as she turned away from the group, and though he knew he was supposed to be keeping tabs on his troublesome little sister, he had bigger things to deal with that night, and decided to let her go. He was going to try and enjoy himself that night... even with all the drama going on.

Though he hadn't been expecting much, Ray actually enjoyed the outing with his friends as the night went on. It had been awhile since they'd all gotten together-since the end of the school year, really. Isolda's announcement had thrown them all off balance, and things had become strained and awkward.

Well, other than that night. Ray's breath caught as something cold and wet hit him in the back of his head, something that was followed by a little giggle that had to be from one of the Verde twins. With a raised eyebrow, he turned around from where he'd been grabbing a drink. "Miles?"

"It-it wasn't me, I swear!" The blond boy was stifling laughter, and Ray was about to accuse him again when he caught a glance of the female half of the Verdes with what looked like a blue water balloon in her hands. With a little smile, he shook his head. "You're asking for it."

Unlike her brother, Angela seemed to have a little more sass to her, and with a little mischievous grin, tossed the balloon at him, hitting him smack in the chest. Though he was originally planning on grabbing her and immobilizing her, the bucket of water balloons sitting by the post holding up the food tent seemed like a better idea, and with a little grin, he grabbed one and hit her square on, water splattering down her shirt and into her face. She squealed, stumbling back, and though Ray could feel his lips twitching upwards into a smile, it seemed like he wouldn't have a chance to celebrate-out of the corner of his eye, he saw Leo lob a water balloon at him. Though he carefully sidestepped it, he was hit with another small, wet explosive in the back-Angela had started total warfare, by the looks of it, and even if he was usually the one to sit back and make sure no one got hurt, it was summer, he was young, and Ray was about to have some fun for once.

Though water balloons were fun and enjoyable on a hot, early August night, there were only so many, and the night got chilly. As the brilliant, annual fireworks began, Ray took a seat at one of the picnic tables next to the Verde twins. "That was stupid."

"Stop lying." Miles was significantly wetter than he was, the light green sleeveless top plastered to his lean, muscled torso. The blond was smiling as Yvette and Isolda sat down across from them (Ray did his best not to stare-both of them were probably just as soaked as Miles was). "You're the one who started it man."

"Actually she started it," He replied, glancing over at the small blonde girl beside him. Angela averted her gaze, and though she was grinning, Ray could see her small frame shaking-was she cold? She probably was, considering how little body fat she had, and with a little shake of his head, the Spanish boy unzipped his hoodie, tossing it over her head. "You knew you were gonna be cold..."

"I didn't know I'd be harassed with water balloons though," She replied, but slid onto the sweater gratefully. "This was nice though. You've gotta come back for the fireworks party next year, Isolda."

"I mean, I dunno, the water balloons aren't much of my taste but..." She smiled, swiping a wet lock of hair away from where it was stuck on her forehead. "I had fun. What do you think, Ray? Would it be worth it?"

"It'd be a long way to come up just for the party," Ray replied with his usual truthful streak, even though it had often been a cause for friction in their relationship. "But I certainly wouldn't be opposed."

He saw Isolda’s eagerness fall away, and Angela sighed from beside him, muttering, “I can bet you that wasn’t what she wanted to hear…”

Ray could bet on it too. He didn’t know what he was expecting, really-their relationship was already on the rocks, and in retrospect, he probably hadn’t made the best decision with what he’d said. I shouldn’t be tiptoeing around her though, should I?

“That’s it?” Isolda said flatly after a moment, and the Spanish boy sighed. “Iso… I’m just telling it how it is. I’m not trying to be…”

“Cold?” She filled in (the rest of the group had fallen silent). “Because you still seem like you don’t care I’m moving to another country.”

“Isolda, I do.” His voice still sounded remarkably emotionless compared to that of his girlfriend, but he couldn’t change much about it. He had to hope she’d believe him. “I’m not trying to be cold. Can’t you see that?”

“No, I really can’t!” Isolda rose to her feet, obviously miffed. “I’m leaving, Ray, and I get you aren’t a romantic or whatever the hell! But aren’t you even trying to-to try and show that you care!”

Ray wasn’t one to argue, to do anything aggressive-he was one to sit back and let whatever happened happen, whether he liked it or not. So it was a surprise, to him, Isolda and everyone else sitting at the table when he stood up himself, palms hitting the wooden surface hard. “Maybe you should try and see where I’m coming from for a second!”

Isolda had the appearance of a snake ready to strike, and Ray was preparing for another verbal blow when Leo practically pushed his way between them, his hands held out. “Whoa, whoa, whoa! Stop, both of you, stop!”

The table fell silent, him and Isolda included. The redheaded boy sighed, crossing his arms over his chest. “Okay, this is supposed to be our night, the night where nothing else matters for all of us.” Ray could feel guilt inching into him with every word that came out of his friend’s mouth. He was right-the fireworks party was supposed to be the one, carefree night they had as a group, smack-dab in the middle of summer with no school to worry about, no drama… no nothing, other than the stupid fun they had every year.

And this ridiculous drama’s getting in the way of everything… Why can’t I just be a little better at relationships?

“Obviously you two aren’t getting anywhere.” For the first time in their friendship, Leo sounded like the voice of reason among them. “Just take a break. Take a goddamn break, because your relationship is messing with the group dynamic now.”

For another second or two, all of them were silent, perhaps out of shock-Leo was usually the easygoing, goofy member of the group, and though Ray knew that he wasn’t nearly as unaware as he came off, it was still a surprise. He glanced over to Isolda, whose eyes were still as firey and upset as before. With a huff, she turned away from the table. “Whatever.”

“Iso…” Miles called half-heartedly after her as she left the park. Angela shook her head. “It isn’t worth it. Let her be pissy.”

“You two need to sort things out,” Leo huffed, grabbing his sweater as he stood. “And I’m not staying around for it. I’ve gotta go find my little siblings and get outta here.” He gave a casual little salute. “Seeya.”

Miles sighed as Leo left, tapping his fingers rapidly on the table, something he’d done since they’d met. Ray had to assume it had something to do with that unexplainable inner sense of rhythm he had, the same internal metronome that kept him on the top of the junior skating world. People called it annoying, but he didn’t really notice it anymore. His fingers tapped faster than usual, though, as he glanced to Angela. “Hey, do you think we should get going?”

“Aw, Miles!” Yvette whined, resting her chin in her hands. “Don’t. Isolda’s gone, and the drama’s over for the night.”

“I’ve gotta get back on my skating routine anyway,” The blond boy replied, looking past the Spanish boy to Angela, who had pressed close to Ray’s side as her shivers grew less intense. “And if you get sick it’d suck.”

“I’m not gonna get sick!”

“Even if you aren’t.” Miles stood up and began to fish in the pocket of his shorts. “I have the key to the house. And I’m going home.”

Yvette laughed at the blond boy’s spunk, and though Angela whined in protest as she rose from beside him, Ray couldn’t bite back a little smile either. He didn’t quite understand the relationship the twins had, considering his own sibling was probably one of his least favourite people most of the time in the world, but they were amusing to watch.

“Well… I guess we’re going then,” Angela sighed, beginning to slide off the taller boy’s sweater. Ray shook his head “No, no, keep it. Don’t need to keeling over before you get home.”

She shot him a grateful look as she followed Miles out of the park. “Bye!”

Yvette waved after them with a smile as they rounded the corner, before she turned back to face him. “Well. That was interesting.”

“That was hell,” He corrected with a huff. It really had been-though he cared for Isolda, their drama was getting in the way of more than just their relationship at that point, and Ray was having none of it. With a shake of his head, he sighed. I just want this all to be over…

“So are you gonna bail now too?”

“Hmm?” Ray blinked at her and bit his lip. He wasn’t one to bail, but he was feeling downright crappy, and nearly everyone was gone. Though he was supposed to be looking out for Mari, he had a feeling she wouldn’t be pulling anything too wild and crazy with the grand majority of the adults in the neighbourhood also attending the gathering. In other words, he really wasn’t gaining anything from staying there, especially while he could be reading or working on his little projects.

“I’m going to go,” He replied after a moment, standing up from the table. “If you see Mari, then tell her I left.”

Yvette nodded at him with a little smile. “‘Kay. Don’t let his feud get under your skin too much, yeah?”

He nodded, a little bit of a grin playing on his lips-Yvette’s odd, American way of talking had always been amusing. “I’ll do my best.”

Despite his love for the stars and the clear night sky, Ray was actually quite fond of rainy days. Something was calming about how the raindrops fell and the sun refrained from blasting its rays down onto the surface. They were good days for reading too, or working on his tinkering with the window letting the comfortable, humid air in. Rainy days were unexpectedly nice.

Thunderstorms, however, were the exact opposite.

The twins (particularly Miles) found it funny he didn’t like thunderstorms, considering he looked like he’d be the kind of person who did. They’d teased him for years about his ‘fear’, even if he’d insisted they just made him uncomfortable at that point. He’d never been exactly sure why, except he wasn’t fond of the loud summer storms that tended to pass over Mississauga. He tried to block it out as much as he could, whether it be through listening to music, working on his little projects or in the basement playing mindless brawlers against the twins, like he was doing that time around. He was winning against Angela (who was surprisingly better at fighting games than her brother), and though it wasn’t by a lot, he was close enough to claim victory.

Thunder rolled loudly. Ray jumped. Angela took advantage, and Miles let out a laugh as his character was knocked out. “Holy *censored*, you being afraid of thunder lost you the match!”

“Haha, it did!” Angela seemed delighted with her win, and with a huff and an eye roll, Ray handed over the controller to an eagerly waiting Miles. The blond boy gave him a look. “You really should take care of that fear. Especially if you want to stop losing to Angela.”

“Oh shut up.” Despite his annoyance (and the embarrassing reaction to the thunder) Ray wasn’t unhappy-in fact, quite the opposite. Angela was well, and though Miles was beginning to skate full-time again and school was just around the corner, it was a lazy time.

Isolda’s been mostly off the radar too… Which is something less to worry about.

She was leaving in a few days, on the last day of August, from what he could remember, and though he'd originally assumed they'd be going together to see her off, Ray wasn't so sure at that point. Though both of them had stuck to Leo's suggestion of spending a while apart, other than the occasional text wishing for him back or to be a little less cold, they hadn't had any sort of communication since the fireworks party at the beginning of the month, and even though he still felt incredibly guilty, both for breaking the group dynamic and messing with his and Isolda's relationship, Ray couldn't deny he was far less stressed with just him and the Verde twins. They were kind and laid-back compared to everyone else, and they knew each other inside and out at that point-or, at least he liked to pretend they did. He still didn't exactly get all of Miles' motivations or Angela's risky behavior when it came to her lupus, but they were more than childhood friends at that point, and as the summer before high school began to wind down, and the twins whooped and smack-talked over the brawler, Ray had to say that he was happy with that moment, even with the thunder rumbling outside.

"Are you gonna go see Isolda off?"

Ah. There it was, the question he'd been expecting and still didn't have an answer to. He wanted to, but some part of it still didn't feel quite right. Then again, none of the summer felt right compared to the previous summers. He hesitated, before asking, "Are you?"

"Probably," Miles replied, though Angela stayed quiet as the game on the television screen continued. "I mean... She's still our friend."

"She's also being kind of the worst," The small blonde girl muttered as she beat Miles with ease (Ray had to wonder when she'd gotten so good at the games). "I'd rather enjoy my last few days of freedom without her."

"Geez." Miles whistled as he tossed the controller back to Ray, who sighed as he began the next match between him and the shorter twin. "When did you get so judgmental?"

"When Isolda started calling people robots," Angela replied simply, no hesitation in her voice. "Ray isn't perfect, and maybe he comes off as a little cold, but she isn't either. She has no goddamn right to act like a bitch because Ray isn't her ideal boyfriend all of a sudden."

"Wow, thanks for all that encouragement, Angela."

"I'm serious!" Between the blonde throwing punches on the screen and the conversation topic, Ray knew that wasn't about to beat her anytime soon. "You aren't perfect, Ray, you've got some major flaws."

"Wow, thanks."

"But we all do." She beat him again, having barely broken a sweat, and Ray glanced over to her as she continued. "And she's just an asshole for deciding to be like this about it."

"Well I guess we know who's picked sides," Ray sighed-though it was a little bit of a relief to know Angela was with him rather than the other way around, he still couldn't help but feel guilty for dividing the group at all. The female twin shrugged as she began another match against her brother. "I just think you're being awfully forgiving for someone who's apparently a robot, that's it."

Ray had no idea what to say-was he being too lenient? At that point he had no idea what was truly his fault or not, but he knew that it felt like most of it was the former. He decided to keep his mouth shut, doing his best not to jump as another particularly loud roll of thunder rumbled above them.

Despite what Angela had suggested, Ray had accompanied the male of the twins, as well as Yvette to the airport to say goodbye to Isolda. Either Leo had decided that he was done with the drama, or he was stuck looking after his siblings, because he was nowhere to be found as him and Miles joined Yvette and Isolda in the waiting area. Her father must have left to get a coffee or some sort of breakfast, because he was nowhere in sight. Ray swallowed as his eyes met his girlfriend's gaze. She nodded at him. "Hey."

"Hey." Both him and Miles replied in unison, though Miles was significantly peppier than the Spanish boy was. The blond smiled at both of the girls. "Sup?"

"Tired," Isolda replied with a yawn right on cue. She glanced over to Ray expectantly. "You?"

"Alright," The raven-haired boy replied simply. He knew what he wanted to say after thinking it over for a few days, and as per usual, he intended only saying what he knew was ready on the tip of his tongue. "Hey, Iso, I just wanted to say that, I'm... I'm sorry."

The four of them fell silent for a moment, and with a deep breath, Ray continued. "I just don't think we should leave things on a bad note. We can make this work, you know."

The German girl seemed to think for a moment, before she let out a sigh of her own. "You're a little late."


He was doing his best to make amends, and that was her reply? Ray was unsure what to think-except that it hurt, and it was something he rarely experienced. With his usual straight face, he listened as Isolda continued coldly, "I gave you enough chances. And it isn't my fault if you're emotionally blocked off. You haven’t suggested I stay once."

Ray could feel the words stinging him, and in turn feel his emotions begin to shut down. With a short sigh, he turned to leave and muttered, "Fine, Iso. Whatever. Have a safe trip."

"Wait! Hey, Ray!"

Ray sighed, pulling out one of his earbuds at the familiar voice. He was waiting for the bus, his hood pulled up to shield his face from the rain. Quietly, he willed the bus to come-it was due to arrive in a few minutes, and he had no desire to talk to anyone at that point. Even so, he turned to look at Miles as he jogged up to him and deadpanned, "What is it?"

"I..." The blond seemed to have to catch his breath-had he run all the way from the airport? "Isolda was being a bitch," He finally breathed out, straightening up. "Hell, she was being a bitch since this started. And I..." Miles cleared his throat and scratched his ear sheepishly. "I should've stood up for you. Sorry."

Sorry? Miles was saying sorry? It didn't compute, and Ray cocked his head. "What?"

"We've been friends longer than Isolda was in the picture," The blond continued, staring out into the rainy day. "And Angela had the right I idea. I should've stood up for you. Isolda was being an asshole."

The Spanish boy couldn't help but be a little surprised-Miles was stubborn, he was proud, and he rarely apologized or admitted he was wrong. It was probably the thing he'd been least expecting to have the blond apologize for something Ray was sure wasn't his fault. With a sigh, he mumbled, "I screwed up, Bubbles..."

"Huh? You didn't do anything wrong!"

The raven-haired boy shook his head as the bus pulled into the terminal. "She's right. I am a robot sometimes."

"Well she's gone now," Miles huffed as they got in line to board the bus, his usual stubborn streak having returned. "This is over. And so is your relationship with her."

Despite how crappy he was feeling, and the fact he was getting progressively wetter standing out in the rain, Ray couldn't hold back a snort of laughter. "What? Are you in charge of my relationships?"

"Uh, after what just went down, I might as well be," The small blond replied as they boarded the bus. "I mean, you obviously ain't the best at them."

"You aren't much better," Ray shot back as they took their seats. Their light, usual back-and-forth eased his nerves and made him feel a little less crappy. "You're always skating."

"Hey, you and Angela and Leo stuck around." Miles stretched as the bus began to move, and Ray laughed a little as he watched the rainy city go by. "Well, Angela and I don't have too much of a choice. But good to know you'll always be around to irritate me."

"Yup." He caught a glance of the optimistic blond out of the corner of his eye. "I'll always be around. Unlike someone we know."

Even if he was emotionally bruised and battered, probably worse than he'd been in a long time, Ray let himself smile, just a little as he leaned his head against the window of the bus. "Really now."

Miles nodded with a yawn, his voice light and true. Ray saw him smile a little in the window’s reflection.  "I'll always stick around. Promise."

~The End~
I'm too shy to initiate... But I'm open to anyone else doing it. Just tell me if you need to say something :D