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misadrawss · a day ago
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Hello Everyone! 
So It’s the end of the year and my commissions are open, order a commission for a nice present for yourself or to a dearest friend <3
Share this please! That would help me a lot <3 
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jmojellybae · 7 hours ago
Actually loosing years of my life every week that Poppy doesn’t show up in a chapter
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anonymousrookie · 2 days ago
Walk Above the City
Book: Open Heart (AU)
Pairing: Ethan Ramsey x F!MC (Keegan Reed)
Word count: 1.1K
Rating: General
Series Summary: They find themselves in the same city three years after he left for the Amazon and she left Edenbrook. When truths are revealed, will it be too late for a Christmas miracle?
Chapter Summary: And then they finally speak.
Notes: Summaries suck and I hate them lol. Another pretty short chapter, but there's more substance after this one. Catch up with chapter one :)
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Chapter Two: Once Again as in Olden Days
Keegan’s mouth fell open in surprise. Seeing him standing before her seemed like an unbelievable dream. Only it wasn’t a dream and her knees felt weak at the realization that he was actually here.
After three years of summoning memories of those incredible eyes locked on her own, the sight of the real thing sent a jolt through her. She wasn’t aware how much the memory had dulled throughout the years until this moment. And even after all this time, his presence still rendered her speechless.
Ethan finally had the chance to take in every detail of her face. She still looked as radiant as he remembered. The regret he felt daily since he left for the Amazon multiplied and slammed into him with the force of a freight train.
He swallowed hard, attempting to steady his nerves.
“Rookie?” his soft voice echoed in the silence surrounding them.
Keegan finally blinked, snapping out of her frozen state. She nodded slowly, eyes still blown wide.
She took a hesitant step forward before finding her confidence and closing the distance between them. Standing in front of him, she gazed up at his tall figure in noticeable wonder.
He meant for it to come out strong and confident, but instead, a hoarse whisper left his lips.
Her eyes turned wistful as she studied every striking feature of his face from only a foot away.
“Should we… hug? I don’t really know what to do here,” Keegan chuckled nervously.
Ethan wanted to more than anything. Holding her close has been the only thing on his mind since she appeared in his life.
But she has a whole new life now. A boyfriend, or husband of some sort, and a child. If he hugs her now he’ll never want to let her go, and knowing he has to will only worsen the pain.
Keegan noticed the hesitation on his face. The multiple rejections the former intern once received made her misinterpret his reaction, assuming his reluctance was an attempt at propriety.
“I’m not an intern anymore,” she smirked.
“No, you’re not,” he said, grinning down at her.
“So, I don’t think there are any ethical issues to get in the way of us hugging. Unless you just don’t want to?”
She made a playfully uncomfortable face at the suggestion which made his smile widen. He sighed in faux annoyance and stepped forward to wrap his arms around her small body.
“See, this isn’t so bad,” she laughs, squeezing him tightly while silently praying that he can’t feel her heart race from the feeling of being in his arms once again.
“I see you’re still a colossal pain as usual,” he mutters in exasperation, though he’s entirely charmed by her behavior.
“Ouch. Are you implying that you haven’t missed me at all?”
Still holding him close, she lifts her head, surprised to find his face is already mere inches away. With their gazes locked, her grin slowly fades as she takes in their proximity.
Even though she phrased the question like a joke, she was eagerly and anxiously anticipating the answer after three years of wondering if he ever thought about her.
“I’ve missed you more than you know.”
Those brilliant blue eyes mesmerized her. All coherent thoughts evaporated as one thought consumed her completely. His lips were so unbearably close that it took all of her willpower to keep her eyes off of them. And she swore she could see the same battle happening in his own.
“Anyway,” she said, pulling away from his embrace before she fell back into old habits. “I'm assuming you're staying here too?”
“You assume correctly.”
He reluctantly releases her, tucking his hands in his coat pockets awkwardly.
“I would also assume that means you’re here for the conference? Though I find it hard to believe because the Dr. Ramsey I knew hated these things.”
Knew. As if the thought of them becoming near-strangers didn’t already haunt him every day, he now had the sound of it leaving her mouth to replay in his mind for eternity.
“He still hates these things,” he sighs. “But for some unknown reason, Naveen repeatedly insisted that I be here this time.”
A suspicious glimmer flickers in her eyes. She still keeps in touch with Dr. Banerji whenever she can. A couple of weeks ago he called to catch up and she mentioned that she would be attending the conference in New York this week. Now she wonders if that bit of information is what motivated him to persuade Ethan to attend as well.
Though she senses by his surprise at her presence that Ethan is unaware of the possible set up. He probably would’ve refrained from coming if he knew she would be here too.
“Hmm. So here you are.”
“Here I am. Still willing to do anything for Naveen.”
The former lovers smile at each other softly. Each silently aware of the lingering feelings between them that even the constraints of time and distance couldn't kill.
A gust of wind blows through the already bitter night air, ruffling Keegan’s hair and making her shiver. Ethan clenches his twitching fingers in his pockets, resisting the urge to brush the wild strands out of her face.
“Standing out in the brutal cold seems rather pointless considering we're both staying at the same hotel that’s waiting right behind us.”
“Yeah, this doesn't make much sense does it,” she laughs, pulling her coat around her tighter while neither moves even an inch closer to the entrance.
He hesitates for a moment, trying to decide something. Asking her to join him for a drink wouldn’t be inappropriate, would it?
He glances over her shoulder where he first saw her with the other members of her new life only moments ago. A small amount of guilt swirls in his stomach for wishing for more time with her if she belongs to someone else.
But then his eyes return to her beautiful brown ones. Her head is tilted to the side slightly as those lovely eyes observe him curiously, and his desperation to stay in her presence wins out in the end.
One drink with a former intern isn’t improper, right? He only wants to talk long enough to understand what happened.
“I noticed earlier that the hotel has a decent-looking bar. Would you… join me for a drink?”
“Decent, huh? I see compliments are still your strong suit,” she says, smirking at him teasingly.
He sighs again and glares at her, though the twinge of a smile on his lips makes the gesture entirely unconvincing.
“A drink sounds good. Lead the way, Doctor Ramsey.”
Just let me know if you want to be added or removed from the tag list :)
Tags: @choicesaddict5 @josiesopenheart @kachrisberry @queencarb @liaromancewriter @rosebudde @satrangee-ray @quixoticdreamer16 @schnitzelbutterfingers @crazy-loca-blog @jamespotterthefirst @potionsprefect @wanderingamongthewildflowers @luvsyana @headoverheelsforramsey @natureblooms24 @lawyerlies @coffeeheartaddict2 @a-crepusculo @happiness21 @youlookappropriate @mysticalgalaxysstuff @zahrachoices @annoyingmillenialnewbie @differenttyphoonwerewolf
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@choicesficwriterscreations @openheartfanfics
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angelasscribbles · 2 days ago
Complicated Part 21: Dinner in Paris
Series: Complicated
Fandom: The Royal Romance
Pairings: Liam x Riley, Drake x Riley
Rating: R
Warnings: Language, violence
A/N: The animosity between Drake and Neville in the chapter where they end up dueling never made sense to me, it came out of nowhere. I decided to give it an origin story.
My other stuff: Master List.
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Drake helped Riley in the limo then climbed in behind her. He gave instructions to the driver then pushed the button to raise the privacy divider. He turned to her apprehensively, “I still don’t like it. I mean, we’ve always known someone has it in for you, but a member of the guard…. You shouldn’t be alone, anywhere, ever, until we get this cleared up.”
“It’s a state dinner, Drake, I’ll be fine. But if you’re that worried, call Max and have him meet me out front.”
Drake started to laugh then another thought occurred to him, and he pulled his cellphone out and sent a quick text. “Forget Beaumont, I’ll have Liv meet you out front.”
“Should we tell her what we found out? Whoever set me up might have been the one blackmailing her.”
“Not yet. Let me have Jason see if he can find anything about that first. Let’s not jump to conclusions. Also, this event won’t be a safe place to talk. We’ll fill Liv in on everything as soon as we can.”
He looked away for a moment then turned to her with a look of trepidation on his face, “You, uh…. You’re not mad at me, are you?”
“For what?” She blinked.
“For not telling you about me being King’s Guard.”
“No. I understand that. You can’t tell anyone. It must be hard.”
“What must be hard?”
“Having everyone believe your just some kind of do nothing, hanging around Liam for a free ride.”
He let out a surprised laugh, “Not really. I never really cared what anyone thought. At least, not until I met you. I’ll admit, I wanted to murder Beaumont on the plane that first day when he made me sound like a professional best friend, whatever that is.”
She tipped her back and laughed and he felt some of the tension coiled in his chest ease. Her laugh was everything.
“So, listen,” She said, “about tonight-“
“No, you listen,” he replied, “I already told you, I know you and Liam have a relationship. I swore I wouldn’t get in the middle of that, and I won’t. At least not anymore than I already have. Whatever you decide to do, and whoever you decide to do it with, that’s your choice and I will respect it. Liam is my best friend; I love him like a brother. If the two of you end up together, nothing changes for me. I love you and I want to be in your life in whatever capacity you want me there. If being your friend is what that ends up being, then I’ll take it and be grateful for it.”
Riley leaned over and pressed her lips to his. He stiffened for a moment then relaxed into it. He kissed her gently, longingly then pulled back regretfully, leaning his forehead on hers with a sigh, “If you’re going to end up married to my best friend, we really have to stop doing that.”
“I can’t seem to help myself when I’m around you.” She told him.
“I know the feeling.” His eyes dropped to her lips, but he pulled away without kissing her again, “We’re almost there. Liv is going to meet you outside the restaurant. I have a few calls to make, then I’ll enter through the kitchen. I’ll see you in there.”
Once the limo was parked, Drake pulled out his encrypted phone and made four calls. The first call was to coordinate the covert security for the Eiffel Tower. The second call was to Jason to have him see what he could dig up on the blackmail used against Olivia. The third call was the one he was dreading most, his grandfather. Then he made one last call and headed inside.
Several guards from Bastien’s division were stationed out back of the restaurant along with members of security for the French officials that were in attendance. Several of Drake’s men were inside the kitchen, posed as restaurant staff. He quickly slipped though the kitchen and into the main dining room. He knew exactly where Riley was because he had one of his most trusted agents placed at the bar to keep watch on her. He meant it when he said he wasn’t leaving her alone. His earpiece was tiny and easily hidden from view. A button on his watch controlled the volume so he could keep tabs on the chatter at all times.
He’d been with Riley all day, so he hadn’t been present when the building was swept and secured by a joint effort of Cordonian and French security forces. He trusted his team, but it still made him nervous that he hadn’t gotten to do a walk thru, and he couldn’t rule out that the traitor was one of his own men, so he did a quick perimeter check then headed back toward Riley.
He made his way to the table where Riley sat with Max, Liv, Hana and Bertrand. “Hey guys, sorry I’m late.”
Hana stood up to give him a quick hug. He returned it and smiled down at her. She was a natural when it came to projecting the appropriate image. Which, in this case, was to convince the world they were an item so that no idle gossip linked him with Riley in anyway. It was the simplest explanation of why he was so often seen with the two of them.
“So, it’s true then?” A man’s voice came from behind them.
Turning, they found Lord Neville glaring at them.
“Is what true?” Hana asked.
“This? This is who…what you’ve replaced me with?”
“Excuse me?” Drake said.
“Replaced you?” Hana stared at him in astonishment. “We were never together in the first place.”
“I realize that an Earl is a step down from a king, but it’s still a far sight better than…than…this Neanderthal! He’s a common troglodyte! You know he fucks everyone, right? Do you not read the news? He’s photographed with a different woman every week! He doesn’t care about you, and he can’t provide for you like I would.”
Olivia snorted and laughed out loud, “Oh my god, what century are you from?”
Bertrand looked horrified, “Really Lord Vancoeur, this is most undignified behavior!”
Drake stepped sidewise placing himself between Hana and Neville, he crossed his arms and gave Neville a warning look, “I think the lady has been clear that she doesn’t want your affections. It would behoove you to turn and walk away before you cause a scene and security has to escort you out.”
Neville looked like he wanted to say more but when his eyes shifted from Hana to Drake, he thought better of it. He adjusted his suit jacket, gave them both a haughty look and stalked away.
Hana turned back to the table in shock, “What the hell was that?”
“That was Neville being a creepy stalker that’s what!” Riley looked ready to take him out herself.
“Yeah, that was crazy and a little scary.” Max agreed.
Hana turned back and put a hand on Drake’s arm, “Thanks for the rescue.”
He grinned at her, “Anytime! That’s what friends are for, right?”
Max let out a low squeal and clapped his hands, “YESSSS! I knew we were all best friends!”
Drake rolled his eyes, “Settle down Beaumont. What kind of an ass would I be if I let him talk to her like that?” He pulled out a chair and dropped into it, placing himself between Hana and Riley.
“He was mostly insulting you.” Hana said.
Drake shrugged, “Yeah. Like I care what that dickweed thinks about me.”
“Please.” Olivia laughed, “Neville’s just jealous. He’s never been photographed with anyone. The paps ignore him, that’s how irrelevant he is.”
Waiters showed up with food drawing everyone’s attention away from the Neville incident.
Riley leaned over to quietly ask, “A different woman every week, huh?”
Drake raised an eyebrow in amusement, “Now who’s jealous?”
“I’m just wondering if I have competition I should be worried about.”
He snorted at that, “Not bloody likely.”
After dinner, cocktails were served, and the guests were expected to mingle. Riley found Cassie standing by herself, staring out a window at the Parisian skyline.
“You look lost in thought.” Riley said.
Cassie turned and gave her a sad smile, “I was. How are you holding up?”
Riley shrugged, “I mean, these dinners feel like my nose is being rubbed in it.”
“You seem to have found some solace though.” Cassie shot a meaningful glance at Drake, who managed to always be nearby without seeming like he was paying any attention to her.
Riley’s eyes widened in surprise, “Oh, I-“
“It’s fine.” Cassie waved her off, “I get it. Shit happens. I just hope you know how deeply Liam loves you. I’ve never seen him like this. I don’t know what he’ll do if he loses you.”
“No pressure, right?” Riley tried to joke.
“Sorry. Can’t help it if I’m team Liam.” She grinned.
Just then Madeleine’s grating laughter floated across the room to them. Riley turned to watch as Madeleine looked in their direction then leaned over to caress Liam’s cheek with her hand before dropping a kiss on it.
“I’m sorry. I need some air.” Riley turned to go.
Cassie touched her arm, “Hey, if it’s any consolation, I’m pretty sure that was directed at me, not you.”
“It’s not.” Riley made her way to a set of French doors and slipped out onto the balcony.
Drake glanced around the room. He had looked away for one minute to respond to some chatter on the com and when he looked back up, she was gone. He frowned in annoyance. Where the hell had she gone?
Before he could ask his man at the bar, he spotted Neville hurrying toward the doors to the balcony. The fuck is he up to? Something in the man’s posture, in his hurried step and furtive glances around before he stepped through the door set off alarms in Drake’s head. He headed for the balcony.
Riley heard the door and turned expecting to find that Cassie or Drake had followed her out. She really just needed a moment to clear her head. She knew Liam couldn’t stand Madeleine. It still rankled to see her touch him with impunity while she was restrained from even speaking to him in public.
It wasn’t Cassie and it wasn’t Drake. It was Neville. What was that asshole doing out here?
“Lady Riley. How are you this fine evening? You look ravishing, as always.” He said as he took her hand and laid a sloppy kiss on it. Ew. She pulled her hand away and wiped the dampness on her skirt. Gross.
“What do you want Neville?” She frowned at him.
“That’s Lord Neville, but I suppose one can’t expect a common waitress to understand proper forms of address. I’m sure you could be taught though, with the right teacher.” He leered at her suggestively.
“What are you suggesting?” She made a face, he couldn’t be suggesting what she thought he was suggesting, could he? Was this his awkward and creepy way of trying to hit on her?
He reached out and grasped her hand again, holding in between his sweaty palms, trying to pull her toward him, “Just that it would be an incredible honor for someone from a low born position such as yourself to be elevated to the nobility. Through marriage, perhaps? I know you were hoping for a king, but perhaps you simply set your sights a bit too high. How would you like to be a countess? Lady Hana’s loss could be your gain.”
He leaned in, trying to capture her lips as she attempted to squirm away from him, “Neville! Stop!”
One moment Neville was sure he was about to taste heaven and the next he found himself pinned to a wall, Drake’s arm crushing his windpipe.
“Let….go….” He gasped as his hands pulled at Drake’s arm, “Un…hand….me….”
Drake almost didn’t hear Riley through the roar in his ears.
“Drake! Stop! Let him go!”
He gradually became aware of her voice.
“He’s not worth it, stop before you kill him!”
He eased up on the pressure so Neville could breathe but he didn’t let go, not yet. He looked at her out of the side of his eyes, “Are you ok?”
“I’m fine! Please, just let him go!”
Drake stepped back and Neville dropped to the ground, holding his throat and gasping for air. Drake turned his head slightly toward her, but wasn’t taking his eyes off Neville, “Are you sure you’re ok?”
“Yes, I’m sure!”
“Because if he hurt you, he’s a dead man!” Fury sparked through his eyes as he pointed at the gasping man on the ground.
“Drake, I’m ok, I promise.” She assured him.
He had failed her once, with Tariq, that was not going to happen again.
Neville slowly pulled himself up from the floor and with a death glare pointed at Drake, “You’re going to pay for this!”
Drake gave him a cold stare, “Doubt it.”
“You…you can’t….do you know who I am?”
“I know what you are. A piece of rancid shit!” His hands curled into fists.
“I’m Lord Neville Vancoeur, heir to Domvallier, I will not be treated this way!”
“You got what you deserved Neville, you’re lucky you’re still breathing!”
“I’m reporting this!”
“Oh, please, do. Let’s get the authorities out here and go over how you were manhandling Lady Riley. Better yet, let’s get the king out here and see what he thinks.”
“Why would he care? She’s just his cast off-“
Neville found himself pinned to the wall again. This time Drake’s arm was pressed against his chest so he could still breathe….mostly.
“You don’t talk about her like that, you don’t talk about her at all, in fact, you know what? From this moment on, you don’t even fucking look at her again, do you understand me?”
“You’re out of line Mr. Walker. You say the king still cares about her? Does he know that you’re sniffing around her? We should call him out here and tell him.”
Drake released him, stepped back, and gave him a smile that, though he would never admit it, sent fear tingling down to his toes. “Oh yes, let’s do that. You can tell your story, I’ll tell mine, starting with where I found your hands. We’ll pit your title against my twenty plus years of friendship with the king. And if we need a tie breaker, which narrative do you think she’s going to back?” He jerked his head in Riley’s direction.
Neville’s eyes slide over to her and widened as he took in the expression on her face. “Fine.” He said pulling his clothing back into place and smoothing out the wrinkles, “You’ve made your point. But this isn’t over.”
“Feels pretty over to me.” Drake watched him until he was back inside the restaurant, then he turned to Riley, reaching out to cup her face, “Are you really ok? Let me look at you.”
She titled her face up to him, “I’m fine, see? He held my hand and tried to kiss me, it was gross, but he didn’t hurt me. I was about to knee him in the groin when you walked up.”
“Would have liked to have seen that.” He replied, dropping his hand from her face and stepping back. It was too public; anyone could walk out on the balcony. A reporter with a telephoto lens could be out there somewhere.
“Swear to God, if photos of him touching you show up in the tabloids, I’m making good on my threat to kill him.”
She felt her heart plummet to her stomach. She wasn’t sure she could go through that again. “If that happens, I’ll let you.”
“See why I don’t want you alone?” At this point, he would be happy to see her engaged to Liam, because it would put her off limits to creeps like Neville. “Do you need anything? A glass of water? Hana? I don’t know….anything?”
She smiled and shook her head.
“Ok then, come on, I’ll have a car brought around for you.” He didn’t add that he was planning to be in a car behind her. He wasn’t going in and she wouldn’t know he was there. He didn’t want to invade her privacy or interfere with her and Liam, but he was damn sure going to be on site just in case she needed him.
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uhh-the-green-thing · a day ago
So since Poppy’s broke era is possibly coming and people are saying she could work in Nordstrom… I’d like to make it better.
Okay hear me out: Poppy as a 7/11 employee 👀 Working the night shift, restocking hotdogs, etc.
And then Bea comes in at night with the Alphas just to piss her off and stuff akdkflsk
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hallowdiamond · 2 days ago
Gingerbread Kisses
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◌ CHARACTER : Samantha Dalton (The Nanny Affair)
◌ DURATION : Approximately 13-17 Hours.
◌ SIZE : 3074 x 4096
◌ STYLE : Christmas Themed.
◌ APPS USED : Procreate, lbisPaintX and Polarr.
◌ RESOURCES & BRUSHES : Credits to the rightful owners for all the resources I have used.
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❬ ⸙ : Please do not claim my work as your own. You are allowed to reblog it, but refrain from publishing it on other platforms without my permission.
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Hallow Diamond's Tag List :
@floatinginserenity​  @iamsimpforpoppy​ @jenxespinoza​  @veenast​  @barnibumblr​ @promisedneverwrite​ @uhh-the-green-thing​ @cloud9in​ @samanthadalton​ @rhonda-sayeed​ @priyas-tiddies​​ @jackievcrma​​ @shows-simp-card​​ @annie-luvs-cuddles​​ @issabees​​ @robintora​​ @it-lives-in-braidwood-manor​​ @nazariolahela​​ @jmojellybae​​ @orionamari​​ @lovealexhunt​​ @choiceskatie​​ @somewillwin​​ @itlivesinpixelberry​​ @choicesraccoon​​ @itzmequeenb​​ @sam-dalton-obsessiveness @crazzyplays​​​
[Apologies if you do not want to be tagged].
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kat-tia801 · 2 days ago
Last Christmas
Book: Open Heart
Pairing: Bryce Lahela x F!OC; Bryce Lahela x F!MC (Former)
Summary: Last Christmas, Bryce was still coming to terms with his bruised heart. Now, he realizes things might have worked out better than he thought.
Song Inspiration: Last Christmas by James TW
Words: ~3,600
Rating/Warnings: T, some angst, swearing, and suggestive material.
A/N: I'm sorry for tagging people twice in less than 24 hours. This is from a scheduled event and my date happened to coincide with a special someone's birthday. This was originally posted for @/openheartfanfics advent calendar event. Check out their page for some awesome Open Heart holiday content ❤️💚
A/N #2: A huge thank you to @txemrn for pre-reading, editing, and listening to me panic about deadlines! This LITERALLY would never have gotten done without you. Love you, my friend 💕
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The spirit of the season filled the halls of Edenbrook; paper cut-outs of glittery holiday ornaments and three-dimensional snowflakes plastered all over the walls. Bryce laughed to himself as he walked through the pediatrics unit, finding the giver of Christmas cheer easily in her oversized Santa hat. Sat in the middle of a circle with a book in her lap, Sienna waved in greeting, motioning for Bryce to join her and her patients.
While he found a seat in the back of the group, Sienna continued to read her book, her voice changing to match the various characters. When it came to the end, an audible groan came from the crowd surrounding her, the children’s disappointment evident on their faces. As Sienna promised to read to them again soon, she handed the book to one of the patients, stepping towards Bryce.
“This is awesome,” Bryce chuckled, leaning against the wall.
“Thanks,” Sienna said earnestly, smiling back at the children. “This time of year can be tough for kids stuck in the hospital. I wanted to do something to make it a little more special.”
“That’s great, Si,” he bumped her shoulder with his. “What about you? Are you working this year?”
She nodded, “I’m on second shift. I’m off Christmas Eve, but that doesn’t give me enough time to go home. Not really sure what I’m going to do yet. What about you?”
Bryce shook his head, “I’m off, but no plans either. Just gonna cook something for me and Keiki, I think.”
“Oh! Then we should do something!” Sienna gasped. “All of us- you, me, Elijah, Jackie, and….” her voice faded out for a moment, glancing sheepishly back at Bryce.
“It’s cool,” he said unconvincingly. “I’m not gonna freak if you mention her.”
“Are you sure?” Sienna asked quietly, lowering her voice. “I know after everything that happened after the attack on the Senator and Brynn getting sick…..things have been kinda weird between you two.”
He waved off her concerns. “Brynn and I are cool, Si. She’s with Ethan now. That’s not gonna change the fact that we’re friends.” Just friends, he reminded himself. Despite neither of them ever putting a label on what they were, Bryce had gotten attached to Brynn on all of the late nights they spent together, finding himself seeking her more and more often. He started to wonder if they both secretly felt the same, if Brynn wanted more with him as well. But he knew they had time, they were still in the thick of their residencies. Any talk of a relationship could come later; after their paths were more set in stone.
But then the attack on the Senator changed everything.
With the fear that he might lose Brynn, Bryce was forced to take a hard look at his feelings and admit the truth to himself. He had fallen for her and didn’t want to wait a moment longer to be together.
But it was already too late. Someone else came to the same conclusion. When Bryce walked up to Brynn’s room, ready to admit how much he cared about her and saw her nestled in Ethan Ramsey’s arms, his heart dropped into his chest. He could see in her expression how much she cared for Ethan, sure that she had never looked at him in the same manner. What they had was real, while Bryce was only ever going to be a friend with added benefits.
Back in the present, Sienna chewed the corner of her lip, clearly not comfortable with the conflict between two of her closest friends. “Well...if you’re sure you’re okay with it… should come over on Christmas Eve. I’ll cook and we’ll make it a celebration!”
Despite his apprehension about being trapped in a room with Brynn, and possibly Ethan, all evening, Sienna’s jovial spirit was infectious. He let out a short laugh, “We’ll be there.”
“What are we doing here again?”
Bryce glanced over at Keiki, her eyes still hyper-focused on the screen of her phone. He shook his head, “I already told you: Sienna invited us over to spend Christmas Eve with everyone.”
“And I told you,” Keiki said dryly. “I needed to work on that essay for school. It’s not going to write itself-- even if Walden was a sexist, asshole..”
“C’mon, Keiks, it’ll be fun,” Bryce said, placing his arm around her shoulder.
As they walked up to the door and saw the singing Santa wreath hanging down, she snorted. “Are we sure ‘fun’ is the right word to use?”
Bryce ignored her as he knocked on the door, Sienna swinging it open enthusiastically. “Merry Christmas, Lahelas!” she squealed, wrapping both of them in a tight hug. “Come in, come in!”
She ushered them inside, revealing the abundantly decorated apartment. Keiki scoffed to herself, “It looks like an elf threw up in here.”
Bryce lightly elbowed his little sister, shooting her his best warning glare. She rolled her eyes, meandering toward the treats piled high in the kitchen. He sighed back at Sienna, “She didn’t mean that.”
She brushed off his concern, “No worries. As a one-time teenage girl, I am well versed in the too-cool-to-care attitude. She’s going to have a blast with all of us.”
Bryce nodded, turning towards the door as it swung open. He smiled as Rafael entered, holding a tray of pavé in his arms. Sienna scolded him when he brought it inside, but Rafael just blushed, “My Vovo would kill me if I showed up empty-handed.”
Sienna nodded, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear, “Thank you….that was really sweet.”
As she showed him into the kitchen, another person snuck in behind him. Before he even turned around, the subtle scent of jasmine and sandalwood called out to find, bringing buried memories back to the surface. He would know that scent anywhere. He turned around, meeting Brynn’s eyes as she hung up her coat on the rack. She smiled towards him, her expression much more apprehensive than normal. She walked up to him, tucking her hands in her pockets, “Hey you….I haven’t seen you around in a while.”
“Yeah…” Bryce said, trying to rack his brain for an appropriate excuse. “Work’s been….”
“I get it,” Brynn shrugged, placing her hand on his shoulder, “I’m glad you came tonight, though. It wouldn’t have been the same without you guys here.”
He nodded in appreciation, tempted to say more, but stopped when Brynn’s phone lit up in her hand. They both saw the name “Ethan” cross the screen at the same time, glancing awkwardly back at each other. Brynn tilted her head towards her room, “I should probably take this.”
Bryce nodded, watching as she walked away. When her bedroom door closed, he let out a long sigh, reminding himself that they were just friends now. As he shook his head, Keiki came up to his side, offering him a glass of hot cider. “I never liked her.”
He snorted, taking the drink from her hand, “You’re such a liar. You like Brynn better than me most days.”
“All in the past,” she said. “Sister rules. You hurt my brother, you’re dead to me.”
“Brynn didn’t hurt me, Keiks,” Bryce protested. “Things just...changed between us.”
Keiki rolled her eyes, “That sounds like a load of crap if you ask me. But whatever, you’re better off. She’s not good enough for you.”
“Is that genuine empathy I hear? From my baby sister?” Bryce teased, smiling back at her.
“Whatever,” she replied, trying to hide the grin spreading across her face. She took Bryce’s arm, pulling him towards the rest of the group. “Now, c’mon. Sienna’s got cookies for us to decorate.”
“Careful, Keiks, it almost sounds like you’re enjoying yourself.”
She narrowed her eyes back at him, “Tell anyone and I will shave your head while you’re sleeping.”
The Next Year
Bryce stepped out into the hall, dropping his patient’s chart in its proper place. He glanced around the barren surgical wing, many doctors already gone home for the night. He smiled when he spotted a familiar face coming down the hall, throwing her hair up in a bun. When Erin got closer, he stepped in time with her, letting his fingers lightly brush against hers. “Can I help you with something?” she asked, a hint of mischief reflecting back in her eyes.
“Depends….” Bryce said, lowering his voice. “How much time do you have before your next surgery?”
Erin glanced down at her watch. “Little less than an hour. What were you thinking, Lahela?”
He searched the hall for any prying eyes, before pulling Erin close to him, meeting her lips in a lingering kiss. “I was thinking something like that,” he teased, stepping out of her embrace and heading towards the on-call room.
“Asshole,” Erin called out after Bryce, but quickly followed right behind him. However, as soon as they turned the corner, someone called out his name, prompting Erin to swiftly turn around and walk back in the other direction. While Bryce turned to greet Sienna, Erin looked over her shoulder, winking back at him. Bryce tried to conceal his dopey grin as his friend approached, her reindeer antlers bouncing with each step.
“Hey!” Sienna said, motioning towards the on-call room. “Sorry, am I keeping you from getting some sleep?”
“Not at all,” Bryce answered honestly, leaving off the part about the other activities she was interrupting. As he spoke, he spotted Erin at the other end of the hall, not so subtly tapping her watch. He playfully rolled his eyes before turning back to Sienna. “What’s up, Si?”
“Just checking in,” she answered, subtly glancing over her shoulder at what he was smirking at. “You’re still coming tomorrow, right?”
He nodded, “I’m planning on it. Especially with Keiki going back home for Christmas, it’ll be fun to spend Christmas Eve with you guys.”
She smiled brightly back at him, “Perfect!” She started to tell him details when his pager went off, summoning him to one of his patient’s rooms.
“I’ll catch up with you later,” he said to Sienna before walking down the hall, mouthing the words “I’m sorry” as he passed by Erin.
As Sienna watched the pair’s playful smiles, she smirked to herself, waiting until Bryce was gone before approaching Erin. “Hey, it’s Dr. Winters, right?”
Erin nodded, “And you’re….Dr. Trinh?”
“You got it! But you can call me Sienna,” she said, linking their arms together as they walked. Erin stared down at the gesture in confusion but made no effort to shift away. “Now that we’ve been formally introduced, there’s something I want to run by you….”
The night of Christmas Eve, the entire Edenbrook crew gathered in their apartment, sipping on holiday-themed cocktails and enjoying Sienna’s baked goods. As Bryce talked to Raf about his newest patient in PT, she passed by him, dropping a Santa hat on his head. Bryce rolled his eyes, “Seriously, Si?”
She wiggled her finger, “You better be good, or Santa won’t bring you a present…..”
“What are you up to?” Raf smiled down at Sienna.
She shrugged her shoulders, “Guess you’ll just have to wait and see.” As soon as she finished, a knock came from the door, a wide smile forming on her lips. “Bryce...perhaps you should get that.”
“Considering I’m one of the only ones who doesn’t live here….” he mused but complied with the request. As he opened the door, he was surprised to see Erin waiting on the other side, anxiously glancing between the elevator and the now-open door. She held a large white box in her hands, shifting back and forth on her feet. Bryce shook his head, smiling brightly at her concerned expression. “Erin….what are you doing here?”
“I have no idea,” she said, shaking her head. “I met Sienna at the hospital the other day and she asked me what my plans were for Christmas. When I told her I wasn’t doing anything, she told me I had to come here.” She lowered her voice, “For someone so small, she is surprisingly intimidating.”
“Tell me about it,” Bryce answered, taking the box before inviting her inside. As she took off her coat, he opened the top, smiling at the fresh-baked pastries. “What did you bring?”
“I have no idea,” Erin chuckled. “I wasn’t sure what you guys would have, so I went down to that bakery on Washington and got literally one of everything.” She glanced behind him at the treats filling the dining room table. “I see now that was a huge mistake.”
“No worries,” Bryce said, hoping to alleviate some of her obvious nerves. “You can never have too many desserts, especially on Christmas.” He placed the box on the kitchen counter before returning to her side. He tilted his head towards the rest of the group, “C’mon, I’ll introduce you to everyone.”
As the hours passed by, Erin eventually started to relax, in no small part of Sienna’s signature eggnog. She sat back on the couch, laughing loudly as Rafael recounted tales of his first few meetings with Bryce. After wiping the tears from her eyes, she looked up, searching the place for him. As she looked towards the window, she saw him on the balcony, talking to someone through facetime.
A slight panic of nerves crossed through her, unsure who was on the other end of the line. Whatever they were, it was still new, too new to claim any sort of fidelity to each other. But the idea of being with anyone else made Erin’s stomach flip, and she hoped in her heart that Bryce felt the same. He seemed happy that she had come, hugging Sienna and thanking her for inviting Erin to their gathering.
Rafael followed her line of sight, smiling at the expression on her face. “He’s talking to Keiki,” he explained. “He’s having a hard time being away from her.”
She nodded, “I heard. You should have seen the care package he sent for Christmas. Pretty sure it cost almost a week’s salary to ship.”
“He told you about that?”
“Yeah, we met when she visited a few weeks ago,” she said, hoping she didn’t reveal too much. Considering they had just started hanging out, they agreed to keep things quiet for now, wanting to see what they had before bringing other people into the mix. “I lent him some expertise as a former boarding school kid myself. I know what the best contraband snacks are. Help Keiki earn some bonus points in the dorm.”
“Right…..” Rafael said, smiling knowingly at Sienna. “You should go check on him, make sure everything’s okay.”
Erin rolled her lips together, thinking about it for a minute before rising from the couch to join him. She knocked on the glass door, waiting for him to notice her before joining him on the balcony. “Keiks, say, ‘hi’ to Erin,” Bryce said, shifting the phone screen over to her.
“Erin!” Keiki called out. “My brother convinced you to join his lame-ass for Christmas eve? Impressive.”
“Hey,” Bryce called out.
Erin chuckled to herself, “Technically, Sienna was the one who invited me. He’s lucky I didn’t have any better offers.”
“You two seem to forget that hanging out with me is a privilege,” Bryce said, placing his hand on his chest. “You guys should consider yourselves special that you get to hang with me.”
“Right,” Keiki said sardonically. “Erin, don’t let him fool you with all that crap. He’s just trying to act cool because he liiiiikes---”
“Aw, man, Keiki, you’re breaking up,” Bryce said, moving the phone away from Erin. “We gotta go, love you. Bye.”
As he hung up the phone, he smirked back at Erin, “How did you get her to like you so fast? Bribery?”
“That’s a secret I’ll never tell,” Erin teased. As they both leaned on the railing, she glanced towards him, “So rumor has it that you liiiiiike me.”
He turned back towards her, a crooked smile forming on his lips, “I would think that was pretty obvious at this point, Winters.” He leaned in closer, “But in case you need to hear it again, I’m pretty crazy about you.” Bryce reached up, brushing a strand of hair behind her ear before starting to list his favorite things about her. “The way you laugh, the little smirk you make when you call out an attending, and there’s that look that you get when you’re about to--”
“Oh,” a voice called out from the doorway, causing the two of them to break apart. Brynn cleared her throat, glancing between the pair, “Sorry, I didn’t mean to interrupt.”
“You didn’t,” Erin answered. She glanced back at Bryce before heading back inside, giving Brynn one last look before the door closed behind her.
Brynn rubbed her hands on her arms, timidly smiling at Bryce, “So that’s Erin….she seems nice.”
“Don’t let her hear you say that,” Bryce laughed. “But yeah….she’s pretty incredible.”
Brynn nodded, glancing back through the window to see Erin and Sienna conversing in the kitchen. “You guys make a cute couple.”
“Oh, we’re not dating-- we’re just friends,” he answered almost too quickly. He shook his head at the lie, all too aware it was the furthest thing from the truth. As Brynn arched her brow back at him, he relented. “We’re still...figuring it out,” he admitted. “I don’t know if she wants to take that step yet.”
Brynn inhaled slowly, twisting her hands together as she leaned against the railing. “Bryce...that girl has spent her entire Christmas Eve with your friends, listening to stories all about you. You don’t do that for someone you don’t want to be with.”
He turned around, spotting Erin through the glass pane. He smiled when she met his eye, giving him a sly wink. He smirked back at Brynn, “I mean...can you blame her? What kind of idiot would give all of this up?”
“Touché,” she said quietly, watching as Bryce’s face lit up every time Erin glanced his way. “I’m happy for you, Bryce,” Brynn replied, dropping her gaze. “You found someone really great.”
A hint of regret tinged her words, but Bryce was oblivious, too focused on what Erin was doing. As Sienna tried to drag her into the kitchen, Erin shot him a pleading look, waving for him to come save her. He placed his hand on Brynn’s shoulder, giving it a short squeeze before opening the balcony door to go back inside. He paused for a moment, turning over his shoulder at his friend’s half-hearted smile. “Thanks, Brynn.”
She tilted her head, “For what?”
“For not picking me,” he said earnestly, his eyes softening back at her. “It hurt like hell at the time, but now…” He glanced back at Erin, her eyes widening as Sienna showed her how to properly build a gingerbread house. “Now I know that everything worked out like it should have.”
She rolled her lips together, nodding in agreement, “I think so too.” She jutted her chin towards the apartment, “Now go get your girl.”
After the eggnog and massive amounts of food caused most of the friends to pass out, Bryce offered to walk Erin home, strolling the streets of Boston hand in hand. At almost every crosswalk they paused, leaving featherlight kisses on each other’s lips. As they approached her building, Erin smirked down at Bryce. “You know, I’m pretty sure we haven’t been as stealthy as we thought.”
“What do you mean?”
She rolled her eyes, “Seriously? Your friends spent all night talking you up, telling me stories about you…..There’s no way they don’t know something is going on between us.”
“Not my fault you kept staring at me with those big, brown eyes. I know I’m a snack, but it’s a bit much,” Bryce answered sardonically, grinning back at her. But as he thought about her question, he squeezed her hand tighter, his expression turning more serious, “Would that be such a bad thing? If they knew?”
She shrugged, “I don’t mind if they know. I just didn’t want to say anything in case you were….”
“Were what?” Bryce asked, stepping closer towards her. His hand gingerly traced her jaw, tilting her face up to look at him.
“In case you wanted to keep things casual,” Erin answered. “I wasn’t sure if you really wanted---”
Her words were cut off as Bryce pressed his lips to hers, easing any of her doubts as he brought her flush against his chest. When the kiss ended, he placed his forehead against hers, “I want you, Erin. Not for a night, not for a few weeks. I want this to be something real. I know we’ve both got a lot going on with our residencies, but if you’re in, I’m in.”
Erin couldn’t help the smile that burst out at his words. She nestled closer to him, letting her head rest against the hard planes of his chest. Bryce’s arms wrapped her tightly, the warmth of their embrace blocking out any of the cold winter air. She glanced up at him, completely sure what she wanted. “I’m in.”
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storyofmychoices · 2 days ago
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SpreadJoy #357: spreading positivity with quotes and @playchoices characters. Quote in edit by Deepak Chopra
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they-callme-ami · 10 months ago
Me going from the horrible Winx Club Netflix reboot to Guy Fieri's Birthday being today to JoJo Siwa coming out as gay to Choices saying there won't be sequels to the fandom's favorite books:
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hallowdiamond · 18 hours ago
A Little Family Problem
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Summary : Serena surprises Ina by showing up for Thanksgiving, but she is stunned to see her parents there as well.
Request? No.
Pairing : Ina x MC
Disclaimer : Just something random I was meaning to write. [Fluff and a bit drama]
Word Count : 3K Words.
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Serena had never felt more alone than this year at Thanksgiving. Sure, she had Summerville to return to, but she chose to spend this holiday with the love of her life.
Everyone else on campus had returned to their hometowns, except for the blonde, who had stayed to see Ina. 
She couldn't face the thought of abandoning the professor for the weekend.
It took about an hour for the younger woman to decide to head over to the apartment complex. She stood at the door, finger hovering over the button. 
The blonde trembled, not knowing if it was due to the cold or nervousness. Serena eventually pressed the buzzer, making a pompously loud noise in the dark silence.
Serena waited for a response with bated breath. She would stand there all night if she had to.
Ina's kitchen lights were on, indicating that she was at home. She pressed it again, this time for longer.
No response.
Perhaps Ina was in the bath; she knew the woman appreciated a good soak after a long and exhausting day for whatever cause.
It had been a week since they had seen or spoken to one another.
All she wanted to do was hear the professor's voice and look her in the eyes. Serena missed holding Ina and seeing her grin when they settled on the sofa. She wished she could taste the truffles she had nibbled all day on Ina's lips.
The student promised herself that she would try again in five minutes. She was sure the children down the road would have mistaken her for their snowman because it was so cold. She should've worn gloves, but she wasn't thinking clearly.
"Serena?" an astonished voice queried as the front door flung open wide.
"Surprise!" she exclaimed with delight. Only Ina's face did not even bother to smile.
Serena immediately straightened her shoulders as her gaze swept over the woman's features.
Her hair was the same style, but the woman dressed in a brown sweater dress, sheer stockings, and black heels.
She wasn't wearing her regular perfume; this one had a more refined scent. Serena wished she could tell her how beautiful she was and how enticing Ina was as she swayed her hips up to her door.
The blonde's hands were instantly chilled by a bottle of rosé, the delicate pink tint of the mulled wine exactly matching the colour of her cheeks.
The wind blew, and Ina's hair fluttered in it, taking Serena's breath away.
The woman blushed as she noticed the blonde staring at her, but before she could open her mouth to speak, someone came behind the honey-blonde with the most outstretched smile. Serena was sure she would pull a muscle.
"Oh my goodness. You must be, Serena!" As Lilian virtually fell on the woman, neither could confirm nor reject the statement.
"You know, I don't let my big sister date unless the person has come through me, but after she's been phoning me every night for the past six months, I must admit your reputation precedes you," the other woman reluctantly let her go.
Serena chuckled as she smiled brightly. Lilian had more of a chestnut tint to her hair and the purest set of blue eyes, but she could tell they were relatives.
The honey-blonde clutched her sister's arm, almost as if to yank her away from her lover. "Every night, you say?" Serena grinned.
"Mm. It usually starts with, 'Oh, Lily. Serena is so-" However, an animated cough softened the woman's words.
"That is, however, irrelevant. Serena, what are you doing here?" The professor intervened, trying not to sound harsh.
"Oh, well, I was planning to spend Thanksgiving with you because I assumed you'd be alone, but that's fine. I should probably start going before it gets dark," Serena replied.
Both Kingsley sisters felt their hearts lurch in tandem.
"Plus, I should have called first anyway," Serena muttered. Ina moved closer carefully, taking the younger woman's hand in her own.
"No, that isn't it. I love having you around, and this is a delightful surprise. My, uh-parents are here..." The honey-blonde's voice drifted off.
Serena struggled to suppress her disbelief after learning that Ina hadn't spoken to her parents in two years.
Lilian smirked and crossed her arms across her chest. "I think it's only fair and girlfriend-like to invite her inside, Ina."
Ina wanted to pound her feet and tell her sister that the blonde wasn't her girlfriend. They hadn't asked each other, and while she thought they were ready, she didn't want to step on Serena's toes.
"Unless you prefer to spend your time constructively, Serena."
"And pass up an opportunity to be in your presence? Never, ever," The blonde admitted.
The younger Kingsley swooned as she watched her sister trace her thumb across Serena's knuckles.
"I-well, ok. Though I must apologize in advance for my parents', uh, outspoken personalities," Ina elaborated.
She almost drove her sister into the lavender bushes as she motioned for Serena to walk through the door.
Lilian, on the other contrary, quickly caught up to them as Ina helped her not-so-girlfriend girlfriend out of her coat and handed her sister the champagne. "And remember not to take anything they say personally. Is it also ok if I call you Rena?"
"Sure," the blonde said, missing Ina's rolling eyes.
The woman motioned for her sister and Serena to join her in the dining room. It filled the blonde with a sense of warmth and comfort, making her nostalgic. 
The smell of sizzling meat and steaming brightly coloured vegetables drew her in like a hound. Or, as Poppy put it, a hog.
"Is there a guest? Ina, I wish you had told us about this before dinner," a woman murmured, unnervingly sitting back.
When Serena thought of dinner, the first thing that came to mind was unity, as family members gathered together to share a meal and their day's events. The blonde, however, could promptly point out that this was not the case.
"Mother, I must have forgotten. This is my uh-partner, Serena Hughes. Serena, this is my mother and father, Evelyn and Charles Kingsley. You've met my sister, Lilian". 
As the room went silent, the clock struck loudly. Serena wasn't sure if she should extend her hand to the neutral pair or keep put.
The blonde had also noted that the sisters would most likely refer to Evelyn as 'mother' rather than 'mom,' giving her the impression that they weren't close.
Though, Serena was thrilled that Ina introduced her as her partner.
"Very well. Shall we eat?" Charles inquired when no one spoke up.
"Yes, please," Lilian said, clapping her hands.
Charles was lanky and pale-skinned, giving him a menacing yet intriguing image. He had lifeless light blue eyes that never looked away from his plate.
The blonde couldn't help but wonder where Charlotte was, but she restrained herself from asking.
It wasn't her business anyway. Ina drew a chair out for the blonde, who smiled daringly at her.
Ideally, Ina would have allowed her partner to dish for herself but knowing Serena's pickiness and her parents' judgement - she preferred to play it safe. 
Lilian meant it when she claimed she was cooking. It was only an entrée, but already, Serena had corn, green bean casserole and salad.
The blonde assumed this was finger food for the Kingsley family, but she complimented it regardless. "Serena is correct. It's so great to have a home-cooked meal," Ina added, "and Lily is a fantastic chef."
Serena made a mental note to skip the takeout and brush up on her cooking skills. The younger woman couldn't help but wonder if Evelyn Kingsley herself had entered the kitchen.
The lady had beady eyes and slicked back mid-back length, curly, light brown hair. Serena imagined her strutting through expensive designer boutiques, purchasing costly clothing, furniture, and other class-related items of material wealth.
"How's your art project coming along, Lilian?" Evelyn raised her voice once between the two parents.
Ina tried to hold back her laughter, giving her sister a compassionate look. "It is actually known as anatomical infographics, and-"
"That's nice," the older Kingsley woman said before turning away to her eldest daughter.
It was now Serena's turn to sympathize toward Lilian, who had merely sat and kept silent. She knew Ina's parents were acute, but the term sounded slightly ambiguous for their attitude.
"And I'm assuming you're still teaching at Belvoire?" Charles asked.
"Yes, Mother and Father," the honey-blonde said.
The room fell silent once more, with just the sound of silverware striking plates to keep the cadence.
"Sienna, you know we gave them everything. They attended the greatest private schools and received several endowments, but my daughters constantly disappoint me. What a stain on my reputation," Evelyn stated. "I could go on and on about Lilian's promiscuous behaviour. Or Ina's humility, which constantly seems to knock her off her stride and has her settling in the slums".
"Mother," Ina cautioned. More so for the sake of her sister, who never looked up.
Serena gulped heavily, excusing her mispronounced name and expressing her undeniable unease.
"I suppose one has to look for the good in life. I mean, despite the unfortunate conception, I received a lovely, albeit unruly, granddaughter."
"Please do not include my daughter in this. And, for the record, I don't believe Serena meant to spend her Thanksgiving in this fashion," Lilian spat angrily.
"I see where Charlotte gets it from," Evelyn said as she reached for her spoon of butternut soup.
She winked at Serena, who shuffled in her seat uncomfortably. Amidst Ina's posture, the blonde could tell she was about to blow up at any moment.
As a result, when her professor rose to get dessert from the kitchen, Serena followed.
"Hey, are you all right?" Serena asked. Ina rested into the blonde's front as she kneaded her hands into the blades of Ina's shoulders.
"Mm. That is something I should have asked you. I'm surprised my mother hasn't inquired about the nature of our relationship," The honey-blonde exhaled a sigh.
Lips pressed on the side of her neck, quickly arousing her body with a scorching fire.
Ina knew they had to stop, but she was overwhelmed and desperately wanted to be near Serena.
The professor turned around, smirking deviously, before leaning in to kiss the blonde. Her arms around her waist, pushing them inexorably closer.
Serena bit her bottom lip with her teeth, but not hard enough to injure the honey-blonde. Unfortunately, they knew they had to break away at some point, as Ina chuckled gently and Serena pecked her lips ten times.
They drew into a heated embrace. "You're doing great, Ina. I know it can't be easy," the younger woman murmured as Ina moaned.
"I appreciate it," the honey-blonde answered. "It means a great deal to me."
They just remained there for a moment, Serena clutching Ina firmly. "I'm so happy you're here," Ina said carefully.
"As cute as the two of you are, I don't like being alone with the Krampus and the Grinch," Lilian said, leaning against the doorway arch.
Ina's face flushed as she drew away from Serena. "Aw, you're blushing," cooed the younger Kingsley.
"I'm not," the honey-blonde tried to hide as she went to get her pumpkin bread and pecan pie.
"She is," Lilian said discreetly to Serena, who laughed as she assisted Ina. "Alright, Rena," the younger Kingsley said. "What would you like for dessert?"
The blonde squinted at the pies, cranberry sauces, and delicacies she couldn't quite identify. "Anything. I like everything," she declared.
The words echoed in Ina's mind in a completely different context, and it heated her entire body in all of the hidden areas.
She found herself struggling to breathe. "Are you ok, babe?" Serena asked, alarmed, and the honey-blonde abruptly raised her gaze to the blonde.
Ina was instantly appreciative of her sister's presence as a buffer since if Lilian hadn't been there - she wasn't sure they would have left the kitchen.
"Yes," Ina replied.
"You don't eat pie on Thanksgiving?" asked the younger Kingsley, a little too loudly. The blonde gently shook her head.
"Are you trying to lose weight? If that's the case, I'm not sure how. Darling, you're about as thin as the rind we're walking on," Evelyn laughed, nudging her husband's elbow in agreement.
"Serena probably doesn't want too much sugar in her system, Mother. Furthermore, she is not obliged to have any dessert," Ina defended her.
The honey-blonde firmly palmed the blonde's thigh in reassurance. "I suppose."
The words made the room brighten for a moment before Evelyn opened her mouth again.
"Since you haven't delighted us in how you two met, shall I presume this is some sex scandal between professor and student?"
Serena's heart began to race when Ina stopped eating. She closed her eyes and placed the fork to her left with care. "Ahead of you-"
"Isn't that wonderful? Just another distraction to add to my dissatisfaction".
That was the final straw.
As Ina became outraged, the hand on Serena's thigh vanished. She desperately wanted to say something, but she knew it would be futile. Instead, she pushed her plate further on the table and apologized to her sister.
"You know, for someone who never wanted to be an actress, you are dramatic and know how to manage a show," Charles grumbled over dinner for the first time.
The student clenched her fists and gritted her jaw. "Do your parents know about this debacle?"
"My parents trust me enough to allow me to make my own decisions, and even if they haven't found out yet, I can guarantee you that I won't let them treat Ina anywhere near the way you're treating her, Evelyn," Serena hissed.
Earned was respect, and given what had recently occurred, she was sure that the Kingsley parents deserved none.
"Pardon me, are you providing parenting advice? "The sharper brunette queried.
"No, but I am telling you to leave," Serena said as she rose and pushed her chair away. She folded her arms across her chest, asserting her authority.
She was out of line, but the blonde understood that neither sister would speak up to their parents, either because they were afraid to offend them or they were conscious of their conduct.
Serena, on the other hand, couldn't care less. She had already kicked the top fifteen to the curb and would do the same to the Kingsley parents.
"After all, I've done for you two, and this is how you repay me, us?" Evelyn questioned fiercely.
They were confident Evelyn could knock the table over if she so decided. "What exactly do you have to offer my daughter? You're just a scrawny girl who's probably confused. And might I add, impoverish at that".
"Hey!" Lilian and Ina defended, fearlessly striding over to Serena's side.
"Mrs Kingsley, I may not have had the most affluent life, but I know how to treat people. And, in case no one has told you, or if you try this scam again, keep in mind that I will do everything in my power to protect Ina. She deserves better than this, and you are a pitiful excuse for a mother, so perhaps I should give you some parenting advice".
Evelyn scoffed. "You have no idea who you're up against."
"Then either enlighten me or get the hell out of my girlfriend's apartment."
Serena couldn't see the triumphant grin on Lilian's face, and she wished she had videotaped the verbal confrontation.
The Kingsleys stood up and gathered their belongings without saying anything else. The three women couldn't help but laugh as Evelyn fought to open the door before slapping Charles over the head with her Prada bag.
"Have a Merry Christmas, and don't let the door hit you on our way out!" Serena yelled from behind them.
She turned to high-five the blue-eyed woman but was suddenly prevented by the two sisters embracing. She didn't want to interrupt the bonding moment, so she focused on the dishes on the table.
Serena was elbow-deep in reorganizing the kitchen when she felt a pair of arms encircle her from behind. "You do realize you don't have to tidy up?" Ina muttered.
"Maybe not, but I wanted to. Plus, you and Lilian appeared to need some alone time," the blonde remarked.
"You know, it's technically still Thanksgiving, and you haven't even mentioned why you're thankful for me," Serena boasted.
She reached beside her to dry her wet hands before tucking her fingers inside Ina's dress belt. "I'm very convinced the earth revolves around the sun, not you, Miss Hughes."
As she clutched her hands on her chest, the blonde pretended to have an aching heart. Ina shook her head and giggled.
"I'm only joking. I am quite grateful for you, Serena," she stated solemnly. "I’m sure my parents aren’t coming back after that, which is not necessarily a bad thing. I really don’t think anyone would have stood up for me the way you did. And frankly, I want to thank you, but I'm not sure where to start. I have accomplished so many things that I would not have been able to do without you. You make everyday worth getting out of bed for."
A moment of stillness paused between the two females as they became engrossed in the essence of one another. "Ina, I love-"
She was interrupted by a forceful kiss. "I know you do, but not right now, not in this way. But I, too, heart you."
As the honey-blonde reddened profusely, Serena burst out laughing. "I heart you more, Ina Kingsley."
Lilian could hear everything as she stood in the living room with her cellphone placed between her shoulder and ear, unbeknownst to Ina and Serena.
"Our mission, I believe, was a success. Serena is unquestionably a keeper," the younger Kingsley whispered.
"And a fiery one at that," her mother said over the phone, grinning.
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itlivesproject · a month ago
Ok guys I know you’ve all been waiting for our super secret extra special Halloween reveal. And here it is…….
A DEMO!!!!
Yup, that’s right, the first two chapters of It Lives Within are complete and are now up on!!
This demo includes:
Introductions to all the LIs
Designing your MC!
Seeing some old friends and meeting some new ones
A diamond scene* from a familiar POV ;)
Good old fashioned It Lives thrills and chills
*diamond scenes do not and will never cost any amount of money. The game is entirely 100% absolutely free.
How to play:
Our recommendation is that you download the game file on your computer. This is the best way to play. You can easily play in your mobile browser, but saving your progress may be more difficult, and the music may glitch because it’s not fully compatible with iOS systems.
You can in fact save your current demo progress and pick it up the next time we release a demo!
Also, we would LOVE to see your reactions, so feel free to take screen shots and make posts about the demo! Use the tag #ILW / #it lives within / #it lives so we can see what you guys think!
Disclaimer: this is still a demo. That means there may be bugs and dialogue/narration may change between now and the finished product. If you have any suggestions or if you spot any bugs, please submit an ask and let us know!
Happy Halloween everybody!!!
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