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Thread: [M] Darkest Before Dawn

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    Mature [M] Darkest Before Dawn

    When you try your best, but you don't succeed
    When you get what you want, but not what you need
    When you feel so tired, but you can't sleep
    Stuck in reverse
    And the tears come streaming down your face
    When you lose something you can't replace
    When you love someone, but it goes to waste
    Could it be worse?


    Lights will guide you home
    And ignite your bones
    And I will try to fix you

    Rose-gold tendrils of hair fought against the slim metal bobby pins her graceful hands were placing. Looking in the mirror, forest-green orbs with golden flecks stared straight back at her. Juniper had always hated the city, especially on nights like tonight. Tonight was New Year's Eve, sighing she finished pinning her hair into a fancy up-do. The city was always in a rush, never taking one moment to even treasure the calm and tonight was no different.

    And high up above or down below
    When you're too in love to let it go
    But if you never try you'll never know
    Just what you're worth

    Lights will guide you home
    And ignite your bones
    And I will try to fix you

    If it wasn't for her friends pushing her to go out, Juni would happily stay in the dorms and study. She glanced down at her desk, a book laid open with brightly colored lines on the text. Her dissertation was still due next week and she was still in the planning phase. But Juni was always the one to pull an all-nighter to get her work done at the last moment. Crossing to the closet she grabbed a pair of slacks, a button-down shirt, and a leather jacket. She never knew where her friends would drag her on these nights so she decided to dress up a bit. Quickly changing she slips on her black dress shoes and applies her barely noticeable makeup. "It's now or never," She whispered silently to herself.

    Tears stream down your face
    When you lose something you cannot replace
    Tears stream down your face and I
    Tears stream down your face
    I promise you I will learn from my mistakes
    Tears stream down your face and I


    Lights will guide you home
    And ignite your bones
    And I will try to fix you
    Last edited by Corvina; 07-14-2021 at 06:14 PM.

  2. #2
    Member Hannelorian's Avatar
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    "Azu! Azu!" a voice shouted. There was such excitement in the call, one could feel it in the notes of the word. Then again, that could have been the alcohol. "Ten minutes." called out in response followed by a deep sigh. The kind of sigh that can only come a place of deep and profound regret. A young woman stood still, almost like a statue before a mirror, just staring at herself. Almost staring through her self. "Why am I doing this?" she thought, letting out yet one more sigh. The light from the street lamps pouring in through her window it was a classic New York night in some regard. When wasn't the city brimming with energy? As though someone had opened the flood gates. Why should this auspicious night be any different?

    Azucena rested her hands against her rib cage and slowly slide them down over the fabric of the sleeveless little black dress she wore, smoothing ever last wrinkle. The dress which ended just above her knees fit her slender perfectly. Brunette hair, curled towards the ends sat neatly on her shoulders. Her skin bearing an olive complexion was made up minimally. White elbow length gloves shielded delicate skin, though in part, Azucena had to admit their presence was largely due to her disinterest in coming into physical contact with most others, especially on a night like this. Black stiletto heels completed her ensemble to where she supposed she would consider herself ready. Seriously, Azu, let's get a move on." There it was again, that same voice, she wondered if it would go on.

    Stepping out of her bedroom in a far too cramped apartment that she shared with another friend from her Ph.D. program she feigned a smile and reached to grab her handbag. As she could of anticipated, she was stopped. The friend and roommate who had been calling her name stood there now, biting her bottom lip with a hand in the air making a sort of twirling motion. Rolling her eyes, Azucena agreed and did a quick little turn to show off the look from all sides. "Satisfied?" she asked in a rather mocking tone. With an approving head nod, Azucena grabbed the handbag, and in moving toward the door took her white pea coat in hand and left the dank apartment behind.

    As soon as the pair hit the street you could hear it, the sounds of sirens wailing in the distance, the sounds of gleeful screaming as the people of the city engaged in all sorts of acts of revelry. One could feel the rumble of the subway beneath one's feet and see ones breath in the air on this, the last day of December. "Juni's going to kill me." Azucena remarked, breaking her own train of thought as they now waited for their ride share to pull up. See? What was all the rush for? They had plenty of time. "She hates shit like this." Azucena continued in a tone that suggested nothing but pure honesty. Her roommate sighed and nodded. "Gee, almost as much as you do?" she more exclaimed than asked. A black car arrived, checking the plate number the girls got in and sat back as they rolled toward their destination, a club of sorts downtown. At least no one had insisted they wait for the ball drop in Times Square, Azucena may have taken drastic measures to get out of that one.

    Before long the car had reached their destination, and for a few moments everything seemed like just another night. Azu exited nodded to her roommate. "Go ahead, I'm gonna wait for Juni outside." Her roommate quickly bypassing the line disappeared inside and Azucena stood now, far from alone but waiting for her friend. It was the least she could do, and if anything, it at least provided her with a bit of respite before the chaos that would be waiting for them inside. The air was crisp, and nearly cutting. A pair of leggings wouldn't have killed her, but then again, a small part of her liked to live on the edge. The edge of what, was probably a better question.
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  3. #3
    Member Corvina's Avatar
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    I pirouette in the dark
    I see the stars through me
    Tired mechanical heart
    Beats 'til the song disappear


    Somebody shine a light
    I'm frozen by the fear in me
    Somebody make me feel alive
    And shatter me
    So cut me from the line
    Dizzy, spinning endlessly
    Somebody make me feel alive
    And shatter me


    Juniper hurried through the dorm parking lot to the champagne-colored SUV waiting for her. She quickly glanced at the license plate not really taking into account if the information matched the app or not. Stray pieces of hair fell into her face as she sat in the backseat of the vehicle. Fishing through her hair she freed a bobby pin and secured the free tendrils of hair again and looked at the driver.

    Shatter me
    Somebody make me feel alive
    And shatter me


    If only the clockwork could speak
    I wouldn't be so alone
    We'd burn every magnet and spring
    And spiral into the unknown

    Somebody shine a light
    I'm frozen by the fear in me
    Somebody make me feel alive
    And shatter me
    So cut me from the line
    Dizzy, spinning endlessly
    Somebody make me feel alive
    And shatter me

    Sighing softly she felt the SUV gently break, Juniper pressed her thumb to the home screen of her phone and confirmed the payment, and got out of the vehicle. Forest green orbs searching the entrance. “Fantastic….of all the places…” She sighed once again to herself. Azu of course would pick a club of all places for this outing. Juniper let out a small curse word under her breath and paced towards the entrance.

    Shatter me
    Somebody make me feel alive
    And shatter me

    If I break the glass then I'll have to fly
    There's no one to catch me if I take a dive
    I'm scared of changing
    The days stay the same
    The world is spinning but only in gray
    If I break the glass then I'll have to fly
    There's no one to catch me if I take a dive
    I'm scared of changing
    The days stay the same
    The world is spinning but only in gray
    (Only...)

    Juniper was in no hurry to reach the entrance and would have turned around to head back to the dorms if she didn’t catch sight of a brunette in a slightly knee-length dress with white gloves. Azu was waiting for her. I bet she wanted to make sure I actually showed up. Juniper mused to herself feeling underdressed and plain.

    Somebody shine a light
    I'm frozen by the fear in me
    Somebody make me feel alive
    And shatter me
    So cut me from the line
    Dizzy, spinning endlessly
    Somebody make me feel alive
    And shatter me

    “Azu, a club? Really?” Her words sounded sharper than Juniper wanted at this point. “Once again I’m completely underdressed and you look amazing.” Juniper followed up with her normal Adenoidal tone. The nasal tone was low and husky unlike the majority of the New York natives in the city. Absentmindedly Juniper started playing with the gold-plated bracelet on her right wrist, while mentally ticking a list off in her head as to why they really needed to be here.

    Shatter me
    Somebody make me feel alive
    And shatter me

    Me...!
    Shatter me!
    Somebody make me feel alive
    And shatter me!

    Last edited by Corvina; 07-14-2021 at 06:13 PM.

  4. #4
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    Standing there, in the cold evening Azucena crossed her arms, holding herself tightly. The air was chilling, almost painfully so. This is something one might think Azu would have adjusted to by now, though in truth she would chock it all up to her roommate pushing her to leave as fast as possible. Scanning the crowd of cars coming and going, she began to wonder how long she could stand waiting out. The simple notion that Juni would be absolutely miserable was enough to motivate her. Casting her gaze up to the sky she would note that the gentle light of the moon now faded into the background, hidden in a thick cover of clouds. She had long learned to divorce this place with her far warmer home, there were no stars in this city. The sky was a complete void of light pollution. How depressing, she would think.

    The moment she caught sight of that champagne SVU dropping off the one and only Juniper, Azu's eyes beamed with light. She showed up after all, that alone was enough to bring a smile to her face. Clasping gloved hands together before her as if in prayer waited for her friend to approach. Allowing her hands to fall to her sides for a moment she moved with a great swiftness to meet her friend, and almost immediately went to wrap her arms tightly around Juni. Admittedly, Azucena understood that this was probably not quite the greeting her friend had in mind. Separating herself, Azucena's hands rested on Juniper's forearms, holding here there for just a moment before letting go, as if to get a good look at her.

    "Yes. A club, Juni" Azu remarked in a rather matter of fact way. "The proverbial home of sin and debauchery. There will be... Azu trailed off, slowly walking backward, as if to attempt to lure her friend closer toward the entrance before continuing in her most saccharine impression "Drinking. Dancing. Strangers lusting after your every move. Mysterious kisses at midnight. Who knows? Maybe it'll go all Eyes Wide Shut on us. Azucena laughed at her own words, clearly mocking the entire affair. In truth, she felt just as much a hostage to the rest of their friends as Juniper did. Although, she reckoned she was probably slightly easier to convince to show up. "Tell me darling, have I convinced you yet?" Azu raised a gloved hand to cover her mouth, holding back her what now could be classified as outburst of laughter.

    Regaining her composure, Azucena let out a sight and moved beside her friend slinking her arm around Juni's she began to walk forward but slowly. "You look beautiful. Besides, anyone still wearing clothes at all is over dressed here." As the two moved now, together, even if forcibly under the forward momentum of Azucena right before they hit the bouncer who more or less would let them simply walk past she stopped. "In all seriousness, make it past midnight and we can go. Set me on your couch and tell me why I'm so damned scared of defending my dissertation. Scouts honor. Azu held up the scouting symbol in her free hand, though she had never actually been a scout of any kind. "You wouldn't really leave me to suffer with Julie and company all night, would you?" Azucena laughed again there was a painful truth to her last statement, the two would enter.

    In those moments all seemed right with the world. The sounds of chaos, the scent of smoke and booze, it was all so normal. Normal enough to be so irritating. Azucena, to a degree delightfully unaware of her own fate was determined not to suffer alone this night. The club roared to life with music near deafening, bodies writhing in their revelry, there was no concern for the world outside the small space each person inhabited, not even as they crashed against one another. The frigid air looming outside was something to be longed for now as the temperature inside soared. Somewhere in the distance there friends would see them and call out, reaching for them from an impossible distance.
    You don't need a reason to help people.

  5. #5
    Member Corvina's Avatar
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    I've been having a hard time adjusting
    I had the shiniest wheels, now they're rusting
    I didn't know if you'd care if I came back
    I have a lot of regrets about that
    Pulled the car off the road to the lookout
    Could've followed my fears all the way down
    And maybe I don't quite know what to say
    But I'm here in your doorway


    I just wanted you to know
    That this is me trying
    I just wanted you to know
    That this is me trying

    Music was spilling out of the establishment as she watched Azu. Like normal it took her friend to go into a speal to get Juniper to walk into most establishments. But this time Azu decided to be a bit more persuasive. This time Juniper felt her arm circle her and Azu’s momentum pushing her forwards. Instead of digging her heels into the ground and causing both of them to stop, Juni mustered the courage to walk with Azu. “Drinks I can agree with, Dancing and strangers? Not so much. But fine let’s go in.”

    They told me all of my cages were mental
    So I got wasted like all my potential
    And my words shoot to kill when I'm mad
    I have a lot of regrets about that
    I was so ahead of the curve, the curve became a sphere
    Fell behind all my classmates and I ended up here
    Pourin' out my heart to a stranger
    But I didn't pour the whiskey

    I just wanted you to know
    That this is me trying
    I just wanted you to know
    That this is me trying
    At least I'm trying

    Juniper allowed Azu to lead her towards the bouncer. She wasn’t too surprised when they were able to freely walk past the man. “Only if you can tell me why I haven’t written mine yet.” Juniper countered her statement about dissertations. A slight smirk crossed her lips at the mention of Julie and the rest of their friends. “I suppose I wouldn’t…” She trailed off as she glanced around as they entered.

    The clinking of glasses caught her attention, she would need to open a tab for the night to quell her mild social anxiety. The dance floor was packed like normal, strangers grinding against each other and laughing about it. Watching Azu glancing around, Juniper knew she needed a drink before meeting with the chatty bunch of friends they had. “Hey Azu, I’m going to grab a drink. Do you want anything?”

    And it's hard to be at a party
    When I feel like an open wound
    It's hard to be anywhere these days
    When all I want is you
    You're a flashback in a film reel
    On the one screen in my town


    And I just wanted you to know
    That this is me trying (Maybe I don't quite know what to say)
    I just wanted you to know
    That this is me trying

    At least I'm trying
    Last edited by Corvina; 07-14-2021 at 06:12 PM.

  6. #6
    Member Hannelorian's Avatar
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    Azucena stopped briefly to allow the wave of sound wash over her, letting out a deep sigh as her eyes wandered toward the ceiling watching the flickering brightly colored lights producing assorted yet specific effects throughout their self contained environment. "I can tell you exactly why you haven't started writing yours yet." Azu countered in a mostly coy tone, having leaned and raised her voice just loud enough to be heard, without having to resort to actual yelling, at least...not yet.

    The young woman moved rather quickly to remove her white pea coat, the temperature in the club may as well have been the surface of Venus. Hot air propelled forward by the ventilation system, how charming. The only thing more off putting than the temperature had to be the smell, a combination of perfumes and colognes mixed with the sweat glistening off the skin of those dancing against one another on the floor. "You have a kind, patient and supportive adivsor who is letting you feel it out... I, on the other hand have an advisor that at age older than dirt might have created the first cave painting himself. Or you know, laughed and danced as a giant meteor wiped out the dinosaurs."Azu cracked a smile and let out a fairly loud laugh.

    "Drink, when have you known me to turn down a drink?" Azu sounded somewhat exasperated, she too had recognized liquid courage was absolutely essential to surviving this night. "I will have... one extremely overpriced G&T. Thank you, Juni. Azu winked at her friend and for a moment had contemplated skipping the tonic all together and just going with the gin, but that seemed a bit too extreme. As Juni made her way toward the bar, Azu ventured toward Julie and other friends who had already been present waiting for them to arrive.

    Approaching the group Azu smiled and greeted everyone. "Well, well, well, if it isn't the only girl classy enough to wear evening gloves to a club..." one of them commented, and Azu just rolled her eyes offering little in the way of a response. "I'm glad the two of you came, I wasn't sure you'd show. But one night out of the books will do wonders. Trust me!" Oh Azu trusted her all right, trusted her to drink herself stupid and miss work the next day. Azu kept smiling, peering over shoulder catching sight of Juni at the bar. Maybe she should have made a break for it.
    You don't need a reason to help people.

  7. #7
    Member Corvina's Avatar
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    “I will have...one extremely overpriced G&T. Thank you Juni.”


    After hearing her friend answer the question Juniper started towards the bar. Weaving through the small groups of people mindlessly standing around wasn’t what Juniper would call a good time, but she would honestly give it a chance for Azu’s sake. Sitting at one of the empty places at the bar Juniper sighed softly, there were two people working behind the bar. She watched silently as the man and woman quickly worked and chatted endlessly to the people that approached the bar.

    “Are you going to order Sweetheart?”


    The voice knocked Juniper out of her own head as she turned her head to look at the man behind the bar. “ Ketel One Orange and Tonic and Hendrick’s and Tonic, please.” Juniper placed the order after glancing at the top shelf for the Gin brands. Azu wanted an overpriced Gin, so Juniper was more than happy to oblige. “I would also like to open a tab for the night.” She informed the barkeep. This was going to be an expensive and long night. After grabbing the rocks glasses Juniper scans the area to see if she could spot her friends.

    She quickly spotted Julie and began weaving through the ever-amassing groups of people just standing around. Finally reaching her friends she smiled and handed Azu her drink, finally able to sip her Vodka Tonic. “So what have I missed? Any debauchery?”

    “Juni, is that you? We barely see you without your books.”


    Juniper smiled slightly at Julie’s words. Julie was always the one that rubbed Juniper the wrong way. “Azu managed to drag me away from them, with the promise of alcohol.”
    Last edited by Corvina; 07-14-2021 at 06:10 PM.

  8. #8
    Member Hannelorian's Avatar
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    A gloved hand extended out, Azucena was grateful for the drink she now held. Leaning in closer to Juni, she kissed the air beside her cheek, this was her chosen method of expressing gratitude. Interestingly, this engrained by behavior, a product of her overtly French father, she only greeted people with the proverbial air kiss if she didn't like them. Mostly because it was every bit as irritating to everyone else as it was to her. There was some solace achieved in this small act of rebellion.

    "Julie!", Azu protested as she made her comment. That was typical, speak first, think later. Upon thinking about it, don't regret what you've said but double down. Ah yes, that was Julie. Azucena found herself shooting Julie a dirty look, and as expected Julie promptly ignored it. Azucena refrained from unleashing the sigh she longed too and simply raised the glass to her lips and taking a sip of the clear liquid within. "God yes, dear sweet, sweet alcohol." Azu exclaimed with a kind of delight that was matched only by her hope that this may provide some relief from her current frustration."Not so much about what you missed, so much as what you are missing..." Azu's voice trailed off as she used her freehand to point toward the dance floor.

    "I'm pretty sure that couple over there is actually having sex." The young woman bit her bottom lip and shook her head. "You should try it sometime Azu." Julie added in as a reply, this of course was meant to be a joke, but more or less continued to serve as one more in a long line of jabs. Once upon a time the pair had been quite close, something of a dynamic duo. Julie and Azucena did their undergrad together thick as thieves. How the years since had changed them. One of them grew up and the other, well the other didn't. "And have I not delivered, dear Juni? Alcohol is yours." Azu joked, knowing full well the next round would be on her.

    Standing there among the group of friends, Azu kept her eyes on Juni, just making sure she was still alright. Or maybe she was looking for an excuse to cut and run from this protracted nightmare that had become their New Year's Eve. Not more than a moment had passed when Azu felt arms move between hers and wrap around her torso, a chin moving down to rest on her shoulder. From the scent of the cologne she knew it was Eric. "Good evening ladies." the deep voice called out to the group of friends. "Are we ready to ring in the new year with some fun?" it continued to ask. Azu, taking her attention off Juni watched Julie, the anger in her eyes rising as she watched the man wrap his arms around someone that wasn't her. Azu sighed, shaking her head. There was nothing between the two, they were friends, he was a year below her in their program. He removed his arms, smiled and joined the group more properly.

    "I can't quite put a finger on it, but I have a sinking feeling about this." Azu remarked, raising the glass to her lips once more, this time downing the remainder of the contents in one. As the minutes moved on bringing their corner of the world closer to the dawn of a new year, there were odd occurrences throughout the city that had largely gone unnoticed. Signs of sickness and strange behavior were slowly taking hold of something.
    Last edited by Hannelorian; 07-15-2021 at 12:54 AM.
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  9. #9
    Member Corvina's Avatar
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    Juniper smirked slightly as Azu kissed the air beside her cheek. She remembered when that single act was shocking to her, but now she became more accustomed to it. Juniper wasn’t really the overly emotional or touchy-feely type of person, she was more stoic in nature. Slowly Juniper lifted the glass to her lips and took a drink. The rest of the group chatted excitedly at the hopes for the New Year.

    “Julie!”


    Juniper’s gaze fell to Julie. The girl's face could have rivaled a strawberry at how red her cheeks got when embarrassed. It took every muscle in her not to laugh at the sight. “Azu, It’s fine...This is just how Julie is,” Juniper spoke softly trying to ease the tension. Even though this night wasn’t her cup of tea, she hated tension more. “Besides, if I can’t take Julie’s quips how can I even try and defend my dissertation?”

    After half her drink was gone Juniper finally engaged in the conversation of the group. Her stoic demeanor slightly fading to replace an easy smile. “Really they are having sex?” Juniper actually regretted looking over at the couple in question, and quickly snapped her head towards Julie, narrowing her eyes slightly. “Julie, that’s enough. Go get a drink and chill out!” Juniper snapped.

    “And have I not delivered, dear Juni? Alcohol is yours.”


    “That’s true,” Juni spoke in a sing-songy way that would annoy most people. “But so have I. I started a tab at the bar so your drinks are on me tonight, Azu.” She slightly laughed after finishing her sentence. As much as her nature was telling her to leave the club and not come back, Juniper actually wanted to give this night out a chance.

    “Good evening ladies. Are we ready to ring in the new year with some fun?”


    That deep voice caused Juniper to roll her eyes. Masculine, Arrogant, and flirtatious. These were 3 things Juniper hated in the male species and they were all embodied in Eric. Smirking slightly, Juniper downed the remainder of her drink and placed the cup down on the small table. “As long as the ‘fun’ isn’t with you...then sure.”

  10. #10
    Member Hannelorian's Avatar
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    In many regards Juniper and Azucena were quite similar in nature, and in other ways they seemed to act as the perfect counter balance to one another. Perhaps this is what brought and kept the pair together, a rather odd dynamic duo of sorts. Or perhaps it wasn't really that odd at all. It was almost painful to think that before the year, which hadn't even begun was out, she would be done with her degree. Azucena hadn't really given a terrible degree of thought to what came next.

    Letting out a deep sigh Azucena took a mental moment to regroup. Juni wasn't exactly what one would call subtle with her responses. It was clear now that she was responding to the tension that between Julie and Azucena. Granted, it was hard not to respond as for a few moments there one could cut the tension with a butter knife. Fair enough, Azucena thought, let's not ruin the night for everyone."Wishing you didn't look now, right?" Azu quipped as she watched Juni's reaction casting her gaze to the activities of the revelers on the floor.

    At this moment Julie had heeded Juni's advice and vanished in the direction of the bar, and a calmness set in. What a terribly, terribly deceiving notion. "Oh, so we're living life on the edge now, are we?" Azu asked in rather mischievous tone when Juniper noted that she had started a tab. That wasn't necessary and was classic Juniper. "As your friend Freud would say, were he alive today, it isn't wise to let the French in on your open tab." Azucena smiled, joking of course, though she would certainly avail herself to at least one more drink before performing her signature move, closing Juni's tab herself. Or at the very least, try to convince her to close out and let Azu take care of the rest.

    The young woman turned her attention back to Eric, she moved closer to him, so close that she did, in fact, reach out and touch him. Resting her palm on his stomach, she walked her fingers slowly up his chest. "Oh Juni, you needn't worry over this one. Can't tell his Manet from his Monet from mayonnaise." As her finger tips reached his sternum she poked at him rather hard, smiling and casting her eyes now over the crowd. As the clock ticked just past 11:00pm the air had changed. There were trace elements of something new and if one stopped to sniff just long enough it might begin to register. The faint perfume of death or pestilence was gathering as though it were building to something else entirely, something far more sinister and yet no one would take notice.

    Dear Juniper. Game plan." Azu was focused once again squarely on her friend, giving off a serious look and a firm nod as though she were some kind of master tactician. "Another round. And then... we dance." Azu of course left a perfectly dramatic pause in her response, as though preparing Juni before she announced that they would dance. Azu had registered the possibility that this may all be for nought, but she had to try. If Juniper was committed to giving this an honest go then Azucena had to be willing as well. Without waiting for a response, Azu quickly locked arms with friend as she had done to guide her into the building and now lead the two of them through the crowd for liquid courage. Every so often looking back, over her shoulder, as though something were following her. Or as though she expected to witness something horrible happening behind them. Alas, there was nothing at all, just happy people ready for a new year and a fresh start.
    Last edited by Hannelorian; 07-15-2021 at 10:56 AM.
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