Caveat Two: These novels usually bounce back and forth between the Breed at the school and Rox’s runaways, but I don’t have an outline, or even a solid idea of what their B story is; right now, this is the immediate story I feel compelled to tell, so I’m going to stick with it. Probably means the final draft will be wildly different.
“This roadtrip felt right,” Demi said through her hand-sewn cloth mask. “Obviously, not the reason we’re on it, but being back together again, all of us, not just hanging out on web cam or face time; I was actually starting to pine for classes, I’ve been getting so stir-crazy.”
“We missed you, too,” Mayumi said. “Though I still feel ridiculous in this mask,” she adjusted it over her nose.
“Oh, hush, I sewed it for you, and it looks adorable. Besides, it’s more a solidarity thing. We can’t all just tell our bodies to karate chop the coronavirus. It shows other people, especially vulnerable people, that you’re safe, that you care about their safety even if you’re not worried about your own.”
“You might be the first person to ever accuse me of being ‘safe.’”
“Well, sure, you’re still the deadly murder pixie you were trained to be, but now with more empathy, free will, and a superior fashion sense.”
“I still would have preferred to wear my underwear mask,” Iago muttered, futzing with his own mask. “Not that I don’t appreciate the gesture.”
“One, those were not your underwear,” Tucker started, counting on his fingers. “Two, I’m pretty sure them being lacy would make them a lot less useful at filtering out disease.”
“Please tell me they weren’t yours,” Drake said.
“Ew,” Tucker said, wrinkling his nose. “No. For one, depraved as my brother is, I hope he wouldn’t put my underthings on his face, even fresh from the wash. And when I became a man, I put away lacy underthings.”
“Became a man?”
“I was paraphrasing.”
“That where that’s from? You know what I meant. And I’m surprised you of all people recognized Corinthians.”
“You don’t become that militant an atheist without getting personally burnt by religion,” Demi said. “Though on the other hand, who amongst us hasn’t been personally burned by religion?”
“Fair,” Tucker said. “And I mean, I can still rock a lace thong, it’s just… it’s not the me I want to be.”
“Hmm,” Drake said, and frowned.
“You’re picturing me rocking a lace thong.”
“No poking around in my upstairs.”
“I wasn’t, I just recognize the look on a straight-ish guy’s face when he’s mentally poking around in my downstairs- and wondering if that’s ‘okay.’”
“And is it?”
“It’s a free country,” Tucker shrugged.
“Unlike your brother, I bet you would pull them off.”
“There’s a story there I’m not going to want to hear, isn’t there?”
“Ironically, he also had trouble pulling them off once he got them on- not that anyone asked for him to do that in the first place. Either ‘that.’”
“My butt cheeks clenched around them like a vice,” Iago said, a little too loudly. “Like when you’re flossing and there’s two teeth extra close together and you kind of fray the floss even getting it between them-“
“I may never floss again,” Mikaela said.
“You can probably just get by with your waterpick,” Tucker replied.
“I could feel my testicles atrophying from lack of circulation. I thought for a moment they were going to have to cut me out of them with the jaws of life.”
“Or a pair of scissors. Really any moderately sharp knife would probably do it, too.”
“We really needed this,” Demi said.
“A walk in the brisk Seattle air?” Mikaela asked, trying to stifle a shiver.
“No. For our pack of gross weirdos to get a chance to get most of our gross weirdness out of our systems. Cause this is going to be a mostly somber affair, and probably most people wouldn’t have the same, um, appreciation of a discussion of Iago’s choice of lingerie, or his atrophying balls.”
“Had the devil of a time getting everything in them in the first place, then the atomicest of wedgies happened… I know there’s two in there, but I usually still kind of think of them as one unit, but in that thong, they were very separate.”
“Well, from the sounds of it they were women’s underwear, literally designed to accommodate neither twig nor berries.”
“There’s a fruit of the loom joke in there, but this conversation’s already spent too long rooting around in my underwear.”