Inimitable

United States

she/her
I drew my profile
Dancer, singer, actress
Student of ASL
B-Way theater nerd
Hufflepuff
I love Loki
Avatar (as in Aang and Korra, not weird blue people)
anime weeb (TPN is my favorite)
LGBT+ ally
~joined 8/10/20~

Message to Readers

Make sure to read the prologue and the first two chapters before this! This needs lots of editing, so any critiques are appreciated

Untitled - Chapter Three

September 3, 2020

FREE WRITING

0
"Ty, I'm going to pick up the pizza," Renee called to her brother from the doorway. Tyler's head popped around the corner, framed by a set of thick headphones.
   "I can't hear you," he responded obnoxiously. "Why not tell dad." She rolled her eyes.
   "He's not wearing headphones and he still wouldn't even notice." She slung her purse over her shoulder, seeing her brother's smirk drop as she stepped out the door.
   Leaning her shoulders slightly to the left to keep the purse from falling, she slid a hairtie from her wrist, doing her best to bunch the explosion of curls on her head into a compact knot.
   Renee rounded the corner, hardly noting any street signs or landmarks. She never really needed any of that yet somehow she always made it to the right spot.
   Suddenly, a short woman ran past her, nearly plowing her over on the way.
   "Hey!" Renee turned and scowled at the back of the woman's head as it zoomed away. These city people were all the same. Always in a rush to get somewhere, never caring who they affected along the way.
   Frowning, she shoved her hands into the pocket of her large hoodie and kept walking sulkily until she arrived at the little pizza place. Just as she stepped through the door, however, something giant slammed into her. She curled her fingers around the front of it to keep herself from falling. Only then did she realize that the "thing" was a person.
   "Hey, watch where you're going!" she spat, pushing him away and bending down to collect the contents of her purse strewn across the sidewalk. "Such a jerk. You have eyes for a reason, you know?" she muttered under her breath.
   "I'm so sorry," said the jerk with an obviously fake smile. Was he making fun of her? "I wasn't looking where I was going. That was entirely my fault." He reached down a hand as if to help her up, like some kind of heroic Prince Charming. Somehow, her scowl managed to deepen as she smacked his hand away.
   "Yes, I totally agree," Renee huffed, brushing herself off and straightening up to face him defiantly. He had opened his mouth like he was about to say something but stopped, eyes widening slightly. Then his eyes dropped to give her a once-over.
   She threw her arms across her chest, trying her best to glare a hole through his head. She'd received this treatment from countless other guys in the past, but none had taken so long. She decided to use the time returning the favor.
   He looked to be just one or two years older than her, maybe around twenty. He wasn't particularly tall, but gave a similar impression with his broad shoulders and toned muscles. He had shockingly blue eyes and thick, dark lashes, shaded by bold, arched brows. He had defined cheekbones and a sharp jawline, bare of any stubble. He was the stereotype of handsomeness, but in the type of way that she knew couldn't end well for a relationship.
   He had finally brought his gaze back up to meet hers, grinning, only to finally meet her look of disapproval. 
   "Are you going to be looking at me all day or can I go get my pizza?" His smile abruptly dropped, switching to an expression of surprise and confusion that seemed awkward and unfamiliar on his face. Renee almost laughed. Almost. But if she had, she wouldn't have been the only one.
   A snort of laughter rose up from behind his shocked face. Leaning to peek her head around him, she saw another boy behind the counter, laughing himself silly. He looked about her age, maybe a year younger, and had bright red hair. As she watched, he lifted his right hand to his forehead, shaping it like an "L" and sticking his tongue out in the direction of the boy closer to her.
   Not laughing was suddenly much harder. She bit her tongue.
   "Sorry for all the trouble." She whipped her head back to the first boy, checking herself to make sure the frown was still in place. It was much easier now that she was again looking into that smug expression on his stupid face. "By the way, my name is-"
   "Good to know," she interrupted sarcastically, pushing past him and finally into the little pizza parlor.
   She made sure to wait a good thirty seconds before glancing over her shoulder out the window. Yup. He was gone. Hit on a girl and then leave, never to think about her again. Just the type she had pegged him to be.
   "Want some pizza?" Renee turned back to face the counter. The redhead from earlier was grinning back at her. She dropped her gaze to read his nametag. Josh. She looked back up and nodded, then placed her order. As she made her way to one of the bar stools, Josh kept talking.
   "What a jerk that guy was." He shook his head, though he was still smiling.
   "Right?" she snorted, rolling her eyes.
   "I've never seen anyone shut him down like that before." She glanced over and saw he was looking at her in undisguised awe. She shrugged, though somewhere inside, she was  miraculously flattered by this.
   "Seems you two know each other," she prompted, moving the conversation on. "You work together?"
   "Good guess," he nodded, before slouching his shoulders and sighing dramatically. "And I also have the misfortune of living with him."
   At this, Renee raised an eyebrow. 
   "Are you...brothers?" As soon as she said it, she knew that wasn't right. They looked nothing alike.
   "Meh," he shrugged. "More or less, I guess." Then another thought came to her.
   "You're not a couple, are you?" She shot that idea down right after she mused it as well. Either the bigger guy was just extremely flirty with both genders and Josh put up with it, or they weren't dating. Her doubts were confirmed by Josh's reaction.
   The tub of dough he had been holding slipped from his grasp and fell to the floor as he burst out laughing. 
   "A couple? Me and Carter?" he wheezed. "Now that's a new one." Carter. So that was the other boy's name. 
   As Josh collected himself, he bent down to pick up the thankfully sealed tub, wiping tears from the corners of his eyes.
   "Nah," he continued finally after he had recovered. "Carter's the straightest dude I know. Only here for the ladies." He winked awkwardly. "We live together in the Palace." 
   "The Palace?"
   "The Palace."
   "And the Palace is..?"
   At this, Josh's smile faltered for the first time, but only for a fraction of a second.
   "It's this... community. For kids without parents to live in." 
   "Oh." Her voice was lightly tinted with pity. "So like...an orphanage."
   "No," Josh snapped quickly. The mood change was abrupt and obvious, like a switch had been flipped. "I shouldn't have said 'kids'. All kinds of people live there. It's super good quality and we're free to leave whenever and do what we want. And we don't get shared around like trading cards by random adults who only take us in for a while just for the free money."
   After that, he went back to work in stony silence.
   Renee didn't try to get the conversation started back up. She knew what it was like to not want to talk about something and how annoying it was when people pried.
   So instead, she sat with her thoughts.
   From what she had picked up out of Josh's rant was that he and Carter had no parents. They lived somewhere called the Palace with a bunch of other people, all different ages. 
   Were they homeless? She didn't like that idea for two reasons: one, because Josh seemed like a good kid, and she wanted to know he was well taken care of. Two, because she didn't want any reason to feel bad for Carter.
   But the more she thought about it, the less likely it seemed. He had described it as a great place where they had freedom but we're also nicely cared for. And who would call a random alley in New York City a "palace"?
   Or maybe they were homeless, but had a nice shelter. There were so many rich people in New York who like making a show of charity, as well as many homeless people, so she was sure there must be some fancy homeless shelters around.
   "Your order's ready," came the monotone voice from behind the counter, interrupting her wandering thoughts. Josh no longer sounded angry or defensive, but his voice also lacked any of his previous excitement and bubbliness.
   As Renee walked up to the counter and grabbed the box, she saw the boy's eyes flick quickly from her to his phone. She still said nothing but gave him a silent nod of thanks. He didn't look up. Before she headed for the door, she made sure to leave him a good tip.

   They were staying at a big hotel about a twenty minute walk from Joe's Pizza. This two-week vacation had been their dad's idea, his first big suggestion since the divorce. Usually, divorces take the biggest toll on the kids, seeing as it was the parents decision. And of course, Renee and Tyler had been devastated. At first. The initial shock had worn off in a couple of days, quickly, as with all  things which affect every daily endeavor; you have to get used to it quickly.
   But it had been different with their dad. The divorce had been mutual, but he hadn't been the same since. He hardly ever left his room, and when he did, he looked a mess. He never shaved or cut his hair, and hardly ever bathed or changed clothes. He barely even talked, but the times that he did, it was from far away, like he was speaking through a daydream.
   He hadn't been a very involved parent for the past year.
   Until suddenly, about a month ago, he had broken from his daze, set on the concept of a trip to the Big Apple. Renee and Tyler had of course been thrilled, both at the trip and the fact that their father seemed to have come back to the real world. However, their excitement had been cut short, as about a week after the plans had been made, he left again. Mentally. So the kids had had to study the plans and go through with the trip themselves. Paisley had made hotel reservations and driven them. They had finally gotten settled in yesterday, and now, she was headed home with dinner for their second night.
   But foot traffic was a nightmare.
   As she made her way through the maze of crosswalks from Joe's to the hotel, swarms of bodies smothered her. They were so packed that it was as if they were one giant being, moving together. If someone randomly vanished or miraculously appeared in the crowd, no one would notice. That gave her an idea.
   She had never tried this before, and had no reason to think it would work. It had only happened once before, and she hadn't been expecting it. In fact, she wasn't even sure it had really happened. But why not give it a try?
   She rose to her toes, looking around the swarm of heads to take in the view of a crosswalk a couple blocks away. After familiarizing herself with it the best she could, she pressed the image into her mind and closed her eyes.
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1 Comment
  • BlueWolf

    This was great!!! I loved how shocked Carter was!!! I also love the descriptions of Josh and how bubbly he was!!! I think this really brought to life so many in depth characters!!!!


    5 months ago