Author Topic: in the pouring rain — open, joining  (Read 744 times)

Offline lennon.

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in the pouring rain — open, joining
« on: June 08, 2021, 12:13:59 PM »
it was now or never.

sprawled out across the grass, pale arms resting under his head, a young man feigned sleep. eventually an eye peeked open, the young man laying perfectly still. holding his breath, he looked at the people that laid around him. upon seeing that they all stayed fast asleep, the brunette sat up with a gentle sigh. eyes wandered around his ragtag group of misfits. corinna and harper slept peacefully less than an arms-length away from each side of him. his gaze lingered on the two only briefly before wandering to the next. sleeping near their heads on the grass laid noah, snoring gently. and at their feet... dodger. the eldest slept propped against a tree, holding his signature cowboy hat against his chest. the croley boy’s shoulders slumped.

why did he always choose to sleep in the middle? it made this little escape plan of his harder.

he was slow as he got up onto his feet, trying not to disturb the people around him. then, on the very tips of his toes, he went to take an agile step over dodger’s legs. right on cue, the man shifted around in his sleep, almost threatened to knock his leg against the brunette’s one foot still planted to the ground. taking a quick step over dodger, he held his breath as he watched the man fidget around in his sleep, half-expecting him to wake up. instead, he settled back into his restless slumber, his hat gently falling out from under his grasp. eyes lingered on the fallen hat, looking between dodge and his beloved belonging. bending down, he picked the hat up by its worn-out rim. he reached over as if to place the hat back where it had been - then he froze. with an easy smirk forming on his lips, he started to take a few steps back. throwing the cowboy hat atop his own head, he muttered, “rest easy, cowboy.”

grabbing his backpack amid the others’ own, he turned his back on the group and headed out across the prairie. once he was far enough, his shoulders relaxed in one short, relieved breath. he made it look so easy, to leave those people behind. then again, after all their recent disputes and arguments about where to go, what to do, what “roles” each of them were supposed to have within their little family, he felt as though he had to leave sooner rather than later.

besides, it wouldn’t be the first time lennon croley left those he cared about behind in search for something new.

lennon found the four others a year or two after leaving his own family. his heart panged with guilt, a bitter taste in his mouth as he thought about those times. the croley siblings had always been misfits, even by their own family. parents that didn’t want them, and an uncle that didn’t want to take care of them when they were dropped off on his doorstep… they had been doomed to live a rather miserable life from the very start. if their parents and guardians weren’t going to take care of them, someone needed to. lennon felt the need to take the role on; being the eldest, he felt he almost had to in order to look out for his little brothers and sisters. he didn’t know just how much he would have to box up and put to the wayside in order to put on such responsibility.

of the things he set aside, his childhood had to be the thing he missed the most. he treated it as if it was a belonging he ever really had possession of, that he could simply find the tattered box he left it in and pick it up again. though he had been forced to grow up ever since he was fairly young. robbed of his childhood, forced to wear the title of “adult” when he couldn’t ever fill those shoes… he tried his damndest to be a good parental figure for them, yet his best never felt like enough. it was guilt and fear that drove him away. if he wasn’t making a difference in their lives, then there was no use in him sticking around. he thought he could try and relive his childhood over again, make up for it with all of his travels. all the people he’d met and the places he’d seen… it all paled in comparison to the guilt that weighed him down when he left his family - guilt that still weighed heavily down on him each and every day.

he couldn’t chase after his childhood for forever. running his fingers over the rim of the hat, he fixed it gently atop his head as he walked further along the prairie. it was time he found a place to settle down. a place to call home.

well that had been a bad idea.

he looked miserable as sin as he kept walking in the summer’s day heat. feet dragged along the plain, kicking up dust as he walked. a few pieces of hair sticking to his sweaty forehead. and his tongue - his tongue was so dry. he should’ve stolen a glass of water or something before he left, he thought bitterly. fixing the rim of his hat, the corners of his lips twitched into a small smile. the cowboy hat was a bit of a better trade, though, in his humble opinion. water couldn’t make anyone look this good - even if it looked rather unfitting, paired with a worn, green hawaiian shirt. perhaps the hat would help him blend in more in alexandra, the nearing town sign said.

slowing to a stop at the town’s edge, he looked at some people that appeared to be coming over to greet the newcomer. “howdy, y’all,” he drawled horribly, as if they wouldn’t understand his normal dialect -  what? if he was going to look the part, he might as well act it. “any chance you have an open room? or at least a- bucket of water or something? i’m parched.

what an entrance.

/// this was so bad wtf
i tried
!!! lennon is here !

Offline truce.

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Re: in the pouring rain — open, joining
« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2021, 01:37:02 PM »
The Croleys were a special breed.

And yeah — it took one to know one.

Blissfully ignorant to the fact that he was just one mosaic in an artwork piece of their more than atypical blended family, Killian genuinely did believe that all of his four other siblings were related by pure blood. Their resemblance was uncanny, Killian would announce, whilst in reality he looked more to be an apple in a bowl of mixed fruit. No one ever really spoke about how they came to be once being dropped off at their uncle’s home for the first time. Five children was an overwhelming feat that their parents simply couldn’t cope with at the end of the day; if they were struggling so much, then why not stop at three? Three specifically because they would then save the best for last, and that was Killian of course!

❝ Oh come on! You really need to lighten up a little, you old man! ❞ Killian bickered dismissively as he stood staring down at a sad, somewhat wilted strawberry plant that sat on an NPC’s front porch. A little bit of a fun ❛ grow your own ❜ strawberries project that the young man and his wife had planned this year; it was a shame that Killian would heedlessly pluck the beautiful ripe ones as he passed by every morning for a quick to-go snack.

❝ Killian, I have been watching you steal our strawberries every day for the past week. I thought you’d stop at one or two but look at them now… You’ve literally left us with nothing! ❞ Killian thought that they were supposed to be friends. Friends shared fun things like treats and secrets, so what went so wrong?!

❝ Well, ❞ Killian curled his lip, staring vacantly at the strawberry plant for a couple of seconds before peering back to the man with a snide, ❝ who called the bloody fun police?! We have no laws! I can even go around… mooning the whole town and I won’t get done for public indecency, but I can’t have a healthy, nutritious morning snack? What’s the world coming to?! ❞ 

The man sighed with defeat, a very understandable response when dealing with the logic of Killian Croley. ❝ Have you ever heard of moral obligations? ❞ The man returned, Killian tossing his hand with disdain as he retorted, ❝ I can’t even spell moral obligations! M-O-L-A-R  O-B-L-E-G-A-S-H-U-N-S. Fine. Give me fifteen minutes and I’ll mosey on over to Sweetwater Farm and pick you up the sexiest strawberries you ever did lay your eyes upon. Will that make you happy? ❞

Killian turned with a flip of his hair before the man could even respond, walking away to the sound of the man uttering quietly to himself, ❝ Molar… Obligations… ❞ Kicking up dirt mindlessly, Killian wandered through the town of Alexandra with pouted lips and a distracted gaze. Perhaps he could pick up a cute little wicker basket along the way, look as pretty as Little Red Riding Hood just without the wolf disguised as a sweet geriatric (unless he bumped into Brock along the way!).

He was so deep in thought that he barely took notice of the newcomer stood in town talking to a couple of ranchers until he lifted his head to start asking around for a container for the strawberries. And there he came across a face he thought he’d never see again. Lip quivered, Killian halting dead in his tracks as eyes searched the face of the old buffoon he used to call his brother. The town just ain’t big enough for two born and bred idiots. With a wavering exhalation, Killian scoffed with an attempt to conceal the hurt that suddenly felt suffocating as he powered ahead like a bull in a china shop, budging passed the group of ranchers until he came face to face with his older brother.

He wanted to say something, scream bloody murder that this was the man who abandoned Killian when he needed his guidance the most, but suddenly he froze. He could spit on Lenny’s boots — how was that for some water? — but instead all he could do was gawk awkwardly at the person he had never prepared to see ever again. ❝ We usually wait ‘til after rainfall, and then we drink out of the potholes! ❞ Killian exclaimed sarcastically, hesitating before he questioned, ❝ Was this coincidence or were you drawn into town by my southern belle charm? ❞

It was easy to hide the resentment. After all, Killian hid everything from the world.


Offline lennon.

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Re: in the pouring rain — open, joining
« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2021, 04:16:24 PM »
it wasn’t easy to play the parental figure role. it wouldn’t have been easy for anyone in any family of any size, big or small - but trying to play parent for the croley siblings was an entire league of its own. croleys were a different kind of breed. rambunctious and unruly, unapologetic and unchanging in their ways. how could lennon make sure to be good to them? to be good enough? there wasn’t a person in the world that could’ve filled those shoes, and yet lenny expected himself to be this “perfect” role model for his siblings - and he never succeeded. there were some nights where lennon felt incredibly stressed. tired. like he was useless. like some sort of-- his fingers tangled hopelessly in his hair most nights, breathing an exhausted sigh. like a failure.

at the end of a long day, tired eyes often found their way towards the small, cramped living room as the familiar ‘friends’ theme would fill the air on the television set, the siblings obnoxiously imitating the sound of the guitar. he always found his way to wedge himself in the middle of the couch, whether that was by bribing the others with pizza or sheer willpower. they would stay up for hours watching that old television set.

raising the croley siblings was hard, and stressful, but in between those moments, there was so much fun.

if you counted getting kicked out of - and sometimes even banned from -  every local grocery store as fun, that is. or having to make a run from the local bowling alley because the owner had had enough of their bullshit. hey; he never said that the fun moments were necessarily pretty. the siblings were chaotic messes at times, unable to try and pretend to be sane for just five minutes, even when lennon would beg for them to. as if was particularly sane, himself.

lennon could play it off like he was much better than the other siblings. though, the croley way ran just as much in his blood as it did in the others. maybe chaos was the only constant in their childhood. maybe chaos was all they would ever be, and all they would ever come to find.

well. might as well make the most of it. eyes shifted among the ranchers, waiting for their response to his small plea for water and a place to stay. perhaps it wasn’t necessarily their place, to determine who stayed and who had to be given the boot. he opened his mouth to add to his case - something along the lines of “hey, i’d even drink out of a trough if i had to, i’m not picky!” - but instead he came face-to-face with the last person he expected to see around these parts. lips parted in surprise, gawking at his little brother.

killian? what the hell was he doing here?

it had been ages since the pair had last seen each other. years since lennon had seen any of his siblings. and still, killian looked just like the endearing shit-stain he had always been. his heart lurched. he didn’t know how to react, whether he should be happy or intensely awkward. oh, and it was awkward. for a few seconds, it seemed as though he had chosen the latter… he straightened and cleared his throat.

he needed to recover quickly from his momentary fumble. taking off his cowboy hat, he held it close to his chest - he saw dodger do that a couple of times, right? - and shot a casual grin killian’s way. it was only a croley signature, to be so deceivingly okay on the outside when everything on the inside was a pure dumpster fire.

“well, i wouldn’t put it past ya. really.” he quipped, raising a brow his brother’s way. honestly, if he was half the rambunctious mess he used to be, drinking out of potholes wouldn’t be the craziest thing for killian to have done. he had always been the sibling that gave lennon the most stress; killian knew how to give someone hell, especially towards someone that tried to make themself out to be some sort of authority figure. putting his hands on his hips, he shifted his weight to one side as he dramatically appeared to contemplate his younger brother’s sarcastic question. trying to ignore the gentle trembling he felt in his fingertips, and the anxious racing of his heart. “as captivating as your southern belle charm is, it’s just coincidence.”

the ranchers looked curiously between the pair, as if slowly connecting the dots. ”so, you know him, killian?” one inquired, looking towards the younger man with intrigued eyes.