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myrrhcat in bonus_stage_rp

CASSIDY BEGINS A CAREER IN PHOTOGRAPHY: Part 22

"Hey, wait," Cassidy protested feebly, "That's my camera..."
Violet took a picture of Cassidy anyway.
"Sorry," Violet apologized, "I couldn't resist." She pressed the little button that shows you the pictures you've taken, and peered at the screen with a little smile. "Wow, that's an interesting picture!"
"Interesting?" Cassidy repeated. "It's... Wh-What do you mean by 'interesting'?”
Violet gave Cassidy a weird look. "Well, look at it! It's an interesting picture!" She motioned for Cassidy to come look.
Cassidy looked. It looked like a vaguely irritated and bummed-out Cassidy reaching halfheartedly for her camera back.
She made a face. "Interesting like... in a bad way?"
"Huh?" Violet frowned. "No, that's not it at all! Interesting in a good way! Really."
Cassidy cleared her throat. "Well, I mean... It's... It's not really a great picture of me, is it?"
"Why not?" asked Violet bluntly.
"Because I look all..." Cassidy sighed. "I dunno, not..."
"Not what?" Violet gave Cassidy a slightly bewildered look.
"I dunno, pretty." Cassidy gave a shrug, aiming for nonchalance. However, there was a slightly pained note in her voice that indicated more trouble.
Violet gave Cassidy a long look. "Come on. Really?"
"Really what? I just said, I don't think I'm very... I mean, in this picture, I kind of look bad..." Cassidy said, still trying to sound as though it was a matter of trifling importance to her.
Violet's mouth hung slightly open. "...No you don't!" she protested.
"You're just saying that," Cassidy sighed.
"No I'm not!" Violet exclaimed. "Look at you! You've got these big round eyes, and this cute little nose, and these perfectly shaped lips, and these high cheekbones..." Violet gently poked each feature as she listed it.

Cassidy looked at the picture and then again Violet with a strange expression on her face. Violet made a strange expression back. Cassidy didn't know what to say.

Cassidy continued to look at Violet strangely for a while. After a while, her expression landed on sadness, and then she asked, quietly, the following question:
"Am I pretty?"
Violet seemed a bit taken aback by the question, and it took her several moments to answer.
"Do you... really not see it?" Violet said, and this time it was her turn to sound pained. "I mean, you're... You're very pretty. Maybe even..."
A pallet of bricks of awkwardness was suddenly dumped into Cassidy's stomach, and she realized that question was a bad idea.
"But... I'm..." Cassidy fumbled for something to say. "You think... But it's... I'm not... That's... It..."
Violet twisted the corners of her mouth for a bit, then placed her hands firmly on Cassidy's shoulders. "Cassie?"
"Y...yes?" Cassidy said, surprising herself with how close she sounded to tears.
Violet leaned in and said sternly: "You're a beautiful girl." And then she removed herself from Cassidy and tiptoed backward a few feet.

Cassidy suddenly felt much better, even though she still didn't really believe what Violet was trying to tell her. Somehow she couldn't help smiling anyway.
Violet smiled back. "A... and you're prettier when you're smiling."
"I..." Cassidy felt as though she was suddenly filled with helium. "Thanks!" And then, before she had time to realize what she was doing, she ran toward Violet and gave her an enormous hug.
"Haha, whoa!" Violet grinned and hugged Cassidy back.
"Sorry," said Cassidy, although it was obvious she didn't regret what she had just done at all.
"Come on now," Violet said faux-disapprovingly. "Why would you be sorry?"
"I dunno, that must've been... surprising, is all. I mean," Cassidy chuckled, "It surprised me."
"It surprised me too!" Violet squeaked. "But that's okay! I'm always available for hugs!"
"Aw, thanks," Cassidy sighed happily. After some more hugging, Cassidy's eyes suddenly got wider and she blinked.
"Shit!" she said.
Violet was about to ask, but then she said: "Oh. Crepes."
"Yeah," Cassidy moaned. "And we didn't even clean up that mess we made. Shit."
"Well, let's start now!" Violet made a very serious face and picked up the bunch of paper towels she had been holding earlier.
"Roger that." Cassidy gave Violet a facetious salute and they set about to complete their task.

Phil woke up the following morning at 4 AM with an intense pain in his lower back.
"Ugh..." he said.
"Good morning, sunshine," said Andrew, sounding so sincere that he couldn't be doing anything except mocking him.
"I'm in agony," Phil stated.
"So's everybody," said Andrew, "Quit whining."
"I think I may have a herniated disc," Phil continued, "or it could just be the stick shift."
"I think it's the second." Andrew slurped from a Taco Bell cup.
"For once in your life, you may be correct." Phil slowly raised himself into an upright position.
"How generous of you." Slurp.
Phil stared. "Um... Andrew, that's a Taco Bell cup."
"Obviously." Slurp, slurp.
Phil considered asking, but decided instead to get out of the car and stretch his legs. Andrew stayed in the car and turned the air conditioning on.

When Phil re-entered the car, chips of ice were spraying onto the seats. "Andrew..."
"Oh, hey, Phil." Andrew was trying to get the ice to fall into the soda cup.
“How is that even possible?!"
"Anything is possible, because I believe in the spirit of adventure."
"That makes no sense."
Andrew just raised an eyebrow.
Phil proceeded to turn the air-conditioning off and the heating back on.
"I'd say something like 'you're no fun'," said Andrew, "But I think you've gotten the idea by now."
Saying nothing, Phil leaned back in the passenger's seat and thought. Andrew just started giggling for no reason.
"What?!" Phil snapped.
“You're hilarious," Andrew giggled, leaving it at that.
Phil was not in good mood. "What? What's so hilarious?!"
"You are! I just said, dude!"
Phil decided to leave the car again, and began strolling around the parking lot.

Joel finished his bacon with a flourish.
"Well..." Kenneth coughed. "I guess... now we can leave. Right?"
"Yes!" Elly threw her arms up, unintentionally flinging her fork at a hapless waiter nearby. "Oops." Elly held her hand up to her mouth. And then started giggling. She tried to hide it, but it wasn't easy.
The waiter pulled the fork out of his ear and glared at her. Elly shrugged it off and proceeded to follow behind Joel and Kenneth.

Kenneth crossed his arms and blew a puff of visible breath into the winter air. "So, you guys used to hang out with other people a few days ago, didn't you?"
"Well, yeah," said Joel. "There's Phil, and Andrew, and... wait, where the hell did they go?"
Elly thought about it for a few seconds, then offered: "Who cares?"
"Yeah, fair enough," said Joel. "But still, people don't just freaking... suddenly disappear. Except when they have Sudden Disappearance Syndrome. And I checked Phil for that. He couldn't pee right for a week. So where'd they go?"
"Maybe they're back at the condo, makin' love." Elly pulled a lollipop out of her pocket and stuck it in her mouth.
"Nah," said Joel, "that's what we're planning on-" Kenneth shot him a glare- "...er, not doing."
Elly didn't seem to pick up on that. "So should we go look?"
"Why not?" said Kenneth. "Something to do, right?"
There was vague assent from the other two "members" of the "group". The three shuffled back to the condo, where Kenneth knocked on the door.

Elly smushed her face up against the door. "DUUUUUUUDES?" she asked.
Joel was not sure what had been going on with Elly lately, but he didn't care all that much.

There was a pause.

Kenneth knocked on the door.

More silence.

"...Uh..." said Kenneth, "I don't think they're in there."
"Okay!" Elly pivoted and headed for the exit.
"Uh, Elly," Joel asked, "Are you high?"
Elly frowned at Joel. "What the flip?"
"Are you high, the flip," said Joel.
"No." Elly re-frowned.
"All right, fine, then, jeez."
"...The flip," Kenneth added.
"Why do you guys keep saying 'the flip'?" Violet asked, turning the corner.
Cassidy also turned the corner, carrying a pile of embarrassing items.
"Because we're feeling very flippy," said Kenneth. "Why are you and Cassidy carrying... ah..." He trailed off, apparently finding said embarrassing items a little disturbing.
"They're for cleaning!" Violet announced. Cassidy winced.
"Cleaning," Kenneth repeated skeptically. "Riiiiiiight."
"No, really!" Violet insisted, grabbing a thing from Cassidy's pile. "See this? It removes stains! From walls!" She removed a stain from the wall.
"It also has... ah... other uses," said Kenneth.
"Really?" Violet was excited.
Joel was looking confused, and Elly was busy trying to stifle laughter. Cassidy gave Violet an uncomfortable look. Violet didn't see the look because she was walking slightly ahead of Cassidy. "So what are you doodads doing here?"
"More like what are those doodads doing there," said Kenneth quietly.
"We're looking for Andrew and Lameface," said Joel. "Have you seen them?"
"Lameface is right over there," Cassidy replied, shoulder-gesturing at Joel instead of pointing, for pointing was impossible at the moment.
"No. I mean Phil...face," Joel clarified.
"Oh. No, we haven't seen him. Or Andrew." Cassidy put down her pile of embarrassing crap and put a dollar in the nearby vending machine.
"Hey," said Violet, "Who's this guy?"
"He's Kenneth," said Kenneth.
"Who's Kenneth?" asked Cassidy distractedly, trying to flatten out her dollar bill, as the vending machine had soundly rejected it.
"This guy," said Joel.
"I'm Joel's friend," Kenneth clarified intently.
"And where exactly did you meet this... friend?" Violet cocked her head to the side slightly and scrunched up her face in a thoughtful way.
"A bar," Kenneth explained. Joel hoped that this wouldn't be expanded upon. Elly started stifling laughter again.
"Cool!" Violet gave Kenneth a thumbs up. "It's nice to meet you, Kenneth. Can I call you Ken?"
"No," said Kenneth bluntly. "But you can call me Kel-" Joel quickly interrupted with a cough.
"Okay, Kel!" Violet beamed. "I'm Violet. You can call me Vi if you want, though."
"Uh... no thanks, Violet." 'Kel' blinked.
Cassidy was still fishing around with the vending machine.

"So what brings you to this coastal town in the dead of winter?" Violet was eager to continue the conversation.
"...I live here." Kenneth gave Violet a cold stare. He clearly was not the friendliest toward women... or maybe just not women like Violet.
"Oh! Cool!" Violet was about to say some other crap, but Cassidy called her over in hopes of receiving a non-defective dollar.
"Hey, hey, Vi." Cassidy poked Violet on the shoulder. "I need a good dollar, this one doesn't work, gimme a dollar please?"
"I don't have a dollar..." Violet created some suspense- "...but I do have FOUR QUARTERS!"
"All right, fine," Cassidy said, exasperated, "Just, c'mon. This vending machine friggin' hates me! I'm kinda pissed off!"
"Hey, don't be pissed," Violet sang, putting her head on Cassidy's shoulder and dropping some coins in her hand.
Despite her determination to stay ticked off, Cassidy couldn't help but smile. "Thanks, Vi. I guess I won't have to murder that vending machine after all." She gave Violet an affectionate punch on the arm and went back to the machine feeling surprisingly better. She purchased a bag of Cheeze Spherez and ripped it open, tossing a few into her mouth.

She walked back over to Violet, but she was back in "conversation" with Kenneth. They were not exactly hitting it off well.
"So what do you do for a living?" Violet asked.
"Mooch off of other people, mostly." Kenneth shrugged.
Violet laughed, unaware that Kenneth was serious.
"Just out of college then?" asked Cassidy through a mouthful of Cheeze Spherez.
"Well, it's been... a few years." Kenneth eyed the Spherez with mild disgust.
"Ooh, can I have some?" Violet eagerly grabbed some of the Spherez and shoved them in her mouth.
"Why, yes, Violet, you can have some." Cassidy rolled her eyes.
"So, like," said Elly from behind, "What happened to all that, you know, searching stuff?"
"I dunno." Joel shrugged. "They're not here, where the hell else would they be?"
Cassidy frowned. "What, you're just not going to even bother looking for Phil?... and Andrew, too?"
"Well, how are we going to look if we don't know where to look in the first place?" Kenneth offered.
"I dunno, sometimes if you just go looking without planning anything you find something!" said Violet brightly, still chewing a bit on the last of the snacks.

Elly stared. "...So where do we look?"
Violet just shrugged. "The hell if I know."
"Well, this is productive." Cassidy balled up the bag and tossed it at a garbage can. She missed. There was some silence.
After several seconds of said silence, Violet gingerly picked up the bag and placed it in the can.
"...Um," said Joel, "All right then. How about..." He checked his watch. "...A movie?"
"We're going to look for them in a movie theater?" Cassidy asked.
"No," said Joel, "We're going to go see a movie."
"...Why?" Cassidy asked.
"Cuz," said Joel, "I wanna see one, don't you guys?"
"What kind of movie?" Kenneth asked suspiciously.
"I dunno," Joel shrugged. "What do you guys wanna see?"
"There's that new one," Elly suggested.
"Oh, you mean the one with the... stuff," Kenneth submitted.
"That one actually looked pretty good," Cassidy admitted.
"I dunno," said Violet. "It has that guy in it that I don't like."
"...What the fuck are you guys talking about?" Joel asked, bewildered.
"That movie," said Cassidy, "You know, the one with the dude who does the things, and it's got that director who directed that other cool movie."
"Oh," Joel said. "Well, then, let's go see it."

So they did, and temporarily forgot all about Phil and Andrew.

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Joel's Lolly

March 2011

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