To the joys of the season

Joined: Oct 16 2013, 10:01 AM

Dec 14 2013, 06:24 PM #1

To the joys of the season indeed. Christmas was a good time for Ryan, and even for him it was difficult not to be affected by the excited buzz that sprung up everywhere in Mariet. And the party atmosphere which came around meant good business for Ryan, and his pocket's always felt that little bit heavier as Christmas and the New Year rolled on. The pluses almost outweighed the cons of winter - the cold weather made it almost unbearable to sleep in his trailer home, and there was alcohol everywhere making his Dad's usual drunken state ten times worse. Ryan stayed out as much as possible, usually whiling away the hours at night in 24 hour cafes.

But tonight he had a job. Just the bog standard meet, hand over the goods, get paid, get out. Ryan didn't like to drag things out longer than he had to, keep it short and sweet. His customer wasn't a local, which was good because it kept things distant, unfamiliar, but meant finding a place to trade was more difficult. So Ryan had suggested the Lights on the edge of town, near the woodland. There was a large Christmas tree, all decorated and fancy at the entrance, and the path trailed around the edge of the woodland to end in a little Santa;s grotto which chimed music for the kids. It was about 6 in the evening, and already dark, the air bitter cold and you could feel the frost laying down on the ground thick already, the cover of darkness perfect for his needs tonight. He waited at the start of the lit up path, still able to see the lights of his Dad's trailer as a spot in the distance, and zipped his jacket up tighter as groups and couples and families strolled past. Some might think it was risky, going about business this way, but sometimes a crowd was a good cover. No one really paid you much attention, too wrapped up in their own lives. And what would they see anyway? Two guys trading gifts. Hardlys suspicious behaviour at this time of year.

So there Ryan stood, hands shoved deep in the pockets of his sports jacket, his toes turning numb in his trainers as he watched the world go by from beside the giant Christmas tree. His dog Bouncer sat at his feet, a lead curling its way up to Ryan's wrist. Bouncer was a softy, and Ryan had never trained him like he'd trained some of the others...but Bouncer still looked relatively intimidating from a distance - rottweilers often did - till you got up close and saw that he was just interested in getting his tummy rubbed. Ryan glanced around and pulled his phone out, checking the time and noting that the guy was already late, and had just about decided he wasn't going to wait any longer when Bouncer sat upright and gave a short, sharp bark at a smart young businessman headed their way. Ryan's shoulders tensed and he stood up a bit straighter as the man approached, giving him a curt nod. The two exchanged packages, completely unnoticed by passers by, and then the man was off, back to his car and back to wherever he came from. Ryan tore the christmas paper wrapping from around the wad of money, flicked through it, before shoving it deep into a back pocket and pulling out a cigarette instead, sparking up and taking a long drag. Bouncer gave a little whine, looking up at Ryan expectedly, making him roll his eyes. Come on then he said with a pacified tone, starting forward to walk his dog, everyone else completely unaware of the deal which had just taken place.
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Joined: Sep 1 2013, 03:41 AM

Dec 15 2013, 04:02 PM #2

Tabby had wanted to come to the Celebration of Lights, even if it was all alone. She loved the holidays, and couldn't wait for an opportunity to get all bundled up in her favorite winter coat, hat, and scarf, her pale, freckled nose pink from the cold as she ventured outside. She was on her holiday break now, from school, so she had a lot more free time on her hands, even with having taken up some extra shifts at Sweetie Pie.

It was a little lonely this time of year, especially if you didn't have a significant other. Strolling through the lanes were crowds of couples, hand in hand, sharing kisses under the mistletoe and chattering in excited voices. It made something inside Tabby's chest ache, but she put on a brave smile, trying to enjoy the snow and the pretty, twinkling lights anyway.

She'd made a few friends over the course of the term, but none of them really seemed to be around. Perhaps they had other plans, spending the holidays out of town with loved ones. But Tabby was one to make the best of things, no matter where that took her.

Walking along the snow-covered lane with her cold hands shoved deeply i into her pockets, Tabby's ears perked up as she heard the whine of a dog. Tabby was, of course, more of a cat person, but she loved all animals, and her head turned towards the sound, a smile breaking out over her face when she saw who was standing there, holding the leash.

"Rorky?" she asked with a giggle, unable to say that name without laughing a little bit. It still sounded like some kind of cartoon dinosaur to Tabby, which kind of took the edge off of the intimidating-looking guy she'd met back at the bakery a week or two ago. "It's Tabby...from Sweetie Pie's?" she said as she approached cautiously, in case he didn't remember her. Tabby always had this worry that people would forget her.
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Joined: Oct 16 2013, 10:01 AM

Dec 15 2013, 11:12 PM #3

Ryan had barely taken 2 paces when he heard someone say his name. He looked up, cigarette between his teeth, eyebrows furrowed as to who the voice belonged to, who would be out here recognising him, when his eyes fell on Tabby. It was hard to make her out actually, swaddled under all those winter clothes, but he didn't know anyone else with freckles like those. Oh, hey. he said, his voice gruff from the mixture of cold and tobacco smoke, and he transferred his cigarette to it's resting place between his fingers as he stopped infront of her. Bouncer immediately started sniffing round her feet, not in the way soft friendly dogs did, but not in an intimidating way either, more seeming curious than anything. Ryan mostly just ignored his daft old dog at this point. What you doin all the way up 'ere? he asked, taking another drag of his cigarette, before nodding towards some of the lights. Someone takin' you to see these? he asked, his tone slightly teasing that she might be on a date, but sounding almost a little patronising, in the manner of someone used to pushing people's buttons. He couldn't think of another reason she'd be all the way out here, even if it wasn't late. It was cold, and not exactly the closest place to the town and it's social spots.
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Joined: Sep 1 2013, 03:41 AM

Dec 15 2013, 11:39 PM #4

Tabby wrinkled her nose, smelling the cigarette smoke. She really didn't like people who smoked; it smelled awful, and it made your lungs go all black and shriveled, and then when you got old you had to breathe through some horrible tube in your neck. Yes, those anti-tobacco ads had had the proper effect on Tabby from an early age. Though she was probably hardly the target audience for those, anyway.

"Smoking's bad for you," she pointed out, her tone a little bit know-it-all as she stared at the guy's lit cigarette with a disgusted look on her face. It seemed to fit the image in her head, though, of boys with tattoos, cigarettes hanging out of their mouths. The boys who, in Tabby's mind, at least, were all a little bit dangerous, a little bit scary.

"I just wanted to see the lights," Tabby answered, her tone a little defensive as she blushed at his next question. "No, I just came here by myself." As soon as that was out of her mouth, Tabby realized it was probably a mistake to tell him that. "My parents know where I am, though," she added hastily, just in case he got any funny ideas. He did look to be that sort, after all. And sure, maybe his comment had hit home a little bit, since Tabby would have liked nothing better than to come with someone up here. Even just a friend, though a date would have been really nice, too. Tabby had never been on a real date, before. The tone of Ryan's voice wasn't lost on her, either, but Tabby had no idea what she'd done to deserve such scorn.

"What about you? You here with someone?" Tabby asked, trying to mirror the boy's tone, but it mostly came out sounding nervous.
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Joined: Oct 16 2013, 10:01 AM

Dec 24 2013, 12:10 AM #5

For some reason Tabby's comment about smoking being bad for you made Ryan smirk, though not in the usual way that boys like that would, thinking that they're all cool. More with an air of knowing something she didn't, like he had a secret hidden behind his cigarette. Isn't that the point? he said, taking another drag and blowing the smoke out to the side, away from Tabby. When people objected, Ryan was always half tempted to put it out, like his two lives were fighting each other - one to keep up his façade, the other to be polite and courteous. It was always a gamble to see which one won out, and Ryan hesitated a moment but having pretty much just set Tabby on edge already, and knowing very few of his crowd would be up here, he pinched the end out between his fingers, and tucked the half smoked cigarette back in his chest pocket for later. The ends of his fingers were smooth and shiny from doing that for years, it was a wonder he had any fingerprints left at all.

Ryan didn't know whether to laugh or feel hurt that Tabby was clearly scared of him. Making sure he knew her parents knew where she was and everything, it was kinda cute and kinda hilarious all at the same time. And kind of insulting, but wasn't this the effect he was after anyway? Ryan had become numb to that sting now though, because in truth it did hurt when he succeeded in making people think he was just a rough dangerous low life. That was life for you. Your parents have nothing to worry about, I'm not gonna kidnap you or nuffin. he said, a tiny bit defensively but mostly with a tone of exasperation, and a roll to his eyes at the same time. Least she had someone who cared where she was. Nah, just taking the dog for a walk. I live this side of town. he said casually with a shrug, not really noticing what kind of tone she was using. Bouncer was still at Tabby's feet, now looking up at her with a cocked head, like he was asking for food...which he probably was. Ryan sighed heavily. Daft dog. Think you got an admirer.
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Joined: Sep 1 2013, 03:41 AM

Dec 31 2013, 03:18 AM #6

Tabby tilted her head to the side, just blinking at the boy. "The point is that it's bad for you?" she asked him, staring blankly, not understanding why he seemed to be amused her comment. Why would you do something that was bad for you? Tabby didn't have the faintest idea. She wrinkled her nose as Ryan blew the smoke away from her, still able to smell it. It was pretty disgusting. Didn't they put like, street tar and things in cigarettes? Why anyone would want to inhale that into their lungs was beyond Tabby.

Tabby's frown deepened when Ryan said he wasn't going to kidnap her. She scoffed a little bit, digging the toe of her boot into the snow and kicking the dirt up. It all looked kind of dirty, which wasn't really the picturesque scene that Tabby had imagined.

"Seems a strange place to walk the dog," Tabby commented, looking up ahead at the couples milling around. It must be nice, she thought wistfully, to have someone to take a romantic winter stroll with. Tabby wasn't one for self-pity, but sometimes it was easy to feel lonely during the holidays, even surrounded by loving family.

Tabby looked down at the dog, giggling a little bit. She was actually a little afraid of dogs like this, but this dog seemed pretty friendly. "Does he bite?" Tabby asked, debating whether or not she should ask to pet him. "Can I pet him?" She'd always loved animals, and maybe the dog was nicer than the boy here. Or at least less of a troublemaker.
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Joined: Oct 16 2013, 10:01 AM

Jan 7 2014, 12:27 AM #7

All the best things in life are bad for you. Ryan said to clarify, brushing ash from his hands and straightening up, bunching his shoulders against the cold. He nodded his head at Tabby as he continued You work in a bakery...cake's aren't good for you. Doesn't stop people eating them, does it? he said, quirking an eyebrow. In Ryan's opinion, everything that was good, fun, worth doing, came with risk. Life was a risk. You just had to know how far you were prepared to go, how much of a gamble you were going to take for a little piece of pleasure, whatever the consequence. Clearly Tabby had been brought up only to see the good things in life, never the bad effects. She seemed so over protected. It was kind of...pathetic. And at the same time, appealing. Why couldn't he have had that kind of life, where everything was all sunshine and roses? Cause from where he stood, nothing that terrible could have happened to lovely little Tabitha here in quaint old Mariet.

Ryan shrugged again when Tabby said it was a strange place to walk the dog. Like I said, I live this side o' town. No point draggin himself all the way to the parks or something when it was right here. Plus, he wasn't about to admit the original reason for his presence. Tabby just seemed so suspicious of him, and it was starting to drag on his nerves. If she hadn't wanted to talk to him, she should have kept her head down and walked on by.

Her giggle snapped Ryan out of his grumpy thoughts, and he rolled his eyes at his dozy dog. Good thing he;d only brought Bouncer, or Tabby would be dealing with some distinctly more dangerous creatures, but the old rottweiler was a total softie, even if he didn't look it at first glance. You're more likely to get licked to death. he said with a slight chortle, bending down to scratch the dog between the ears. Ryan looked up at Tabby when she asked if she could pet him. Sure. he said, motioning with his head for her to come down to his level, and held out a hand for her. Here...he's got this real sensitive spot, just under his ear, in the joint.. he explained, taking Tabby's hand and guiding it to his pooch's tickle spot, Bouncer just sitting watching them with his tongue lolling out.
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