[center [b [i Dear, Anyone Reading This I Guess]]] [center [i Hi! My name’s Oliver and I guess I’ll get right to it. I’m taking a trip.]] [center [i That might not be interesting to you, but it could be! Because I don’t want to take this trip alone... and that’s where you come in.]] [center [i I don’t know how long this trip will be. I don’t know if we’ll even make it all the way there. I don’t know if everyone’s going to get along like I want them to.]] [center [i But I do know a couple of things! My van has five seats . I got gas money that can take us from here to the Grand Canyon. I got a cassette player and a guitar. And I got nothing to lose.]] [center [i If you’re over 18 and sure that I’m not gonna get charged for kidnapping, rip a slip off the bottom of this page. I’ll be waiting at the corner of First and Fifth Avenue from noon till 6 pm. Then I’m driving off into the sunset with or without my van filled up.]]
[center [i P.S. Please pack light, my van isn’t that big.]]
[center [b •••]] [b [center [size20 Plot]]] [center Six strangers set out on a road trip from Florida to New Mexico with nothing more than one back pack and a reason for leaving everything behind. With little in common and the road stretching before and behind them, they’re all going to have no choice but to get to know each other- lest they fall subject to a scratchy cassette player for hours on end.] [center Along the way there will be laughter, tears, fighting, friendship, pit stops, and a shared wanderlust and need to escape that keeps the group from falling apart at the seams. After all, who gets in a van with a stranger if they have something to live for?] [center [b •••]] [center [pic https://66.media.tumblr.com/00e335c3d9531b7757613ea760a8b2f3/tumblr_inline_p92rt57ed01sib083_400.gif]] [center [b [size20 Rules]]] [list Be semi-literate to literate. I’m not going to put a limit because we all have those days, but if you regularly post one paragraph replies, this isn’t for you. Wait for at least two people to respond before you do. I will have an order put in place in the beginning for the first few go arounds. Be present! I have a full time job as well as a family life. I understand you can’t always be here every day, and that’s okay! Just keep up and if you haven’t responded in a while, I’ll message you to check on you. Be nice to each other. I’ll have an OOC set up after everything is filled. Come to me first if you feel you are being purposefully excluded or harassed. Be interesting! No Mary-sues or woe is me characters. They can have depression without that being their entire character. Try to differ from character personalities we already have! Romance should not be instant. It is allowed and encouraged, but no love at first sight, clinging to one character stuff. Let it flow naturally. Cursing is fine because I myself have a bit of a potty mouth and probably won’t hold back. When you send your character in, title the PM with your own favorite song. PMs without this or posted in the thread will not be accepted. You know the deal, sexual stuff to be taken off site or time skipped. Discuss with the other person, but it will be time skipped on site for roleplay purposes.The story will move along. Have fun! I don’t want this to be a super serious thing. If you aren’t feeling it, tell me, no hard feelings. If you need a break, tell me, and we’ll figure out what to do with your character as a group. We’re all going to be friends here, no pressure. Would prefer real person pics for this one, thanks! ] [b [center •••]]
[b [size20 [center Skeleton]]] [center [b Picture: ] Please send me a link! Real people. ] [center [b Name: ] First and Last] [center [b Age:] 18+ ] [center [b Gender: ] Male/Female/Trans/Enby... ] [center [b Sexuality: ] Gay/Straight/Bi/Ace... ] [center [b Backstory: ] Couple paragraphs, nothing big] [center [b Reason For Joining: ] Couple Sentences ] [center [b Favorite Song: ]Link me :) ] [center [b •••]] [center [b [size20 Characters]]] [center [pic https://i.imgur.com/YKTQnVd.jpg]] [center [b Name: ] Oliver Hawthorn ] [center [b Age: ] 23 ] [center [b Gender: ] Male ] [center [b Sexuality: ] Pansexual ] [center [b Backstory: ] Oliver has always been strange. Not strange in the way that kids would make fun of him growing up or strange in the way that little old ladies hide their purses as he walks by them. No, just... different. ] [center Different in the way he speaks, sounding way too formal but moving way too fast for you to hear every fancy word he uses. Making friends wherever he goes, his smile opens up like a sunflower - one that happens to have an affinity for obscure old school music and an obsession with the Grand Canyon, mind you, but a sunflower none the less. ] [center Oliver never really got along well with his folks. Well, that isn’t entirely true, but it’s what he tells people when they ask him why they aren’t around. He’s been alone since the age of 17, but it isn’t all bad. ] [center Living in the heart of Florida inside of your own van sounds a lot worse than it actually is. Oliver tries to see the humor in it. ] [center [b Reason For Joining: ] He has a van and he wants to make it to the Grand Canyon. Florida is boring, but so are road trips with no one to talk to.] [center [b Favorite Song: ] [https://youtu.be/kqXek853SDE Aubrey by Bread] ] [center [pic https://i.imgur.com/95RIZTv_d.jpg?maxwidth=640&shape=thumb&fidelity=medium]
[center [b Name:] Delilah Quinn] [center [b Age:] 24 ] [center [b Gender:] Female] [center [b Sexuality:] Bisexual] [center [b Backstory:] Delilah was a girl born into a very privileged home. She had opportunities given to her from a young age and by the time she was 20, she was pursuing a life dream of working in the healthcare business.] [center On her final year of a four year college, Delilah experienced a seizure that had her sent to the hospital. That day they found a tumor in her brain and her life came to a sudden halt. Now she’s deciding what to do with the last of her time. Should she waste it here with her parents and hospitals or explore the world she may never have the chance to do again?] [center [b Reason For Joining:] She wants to live life to the fullest before her secret comes out.] [center [b Favorite Song:] [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6pCELRyJ4uM Let Her Go - Jasmine Thompson]] [center [pic https://i.imgur.com/nRsINJA.jpg]] [center [b Name:] Charlotte Kaiser] [center [b Age:] 20] [center [b Gender:] Female] [center [b Sexuality:] Bisexual] [center [b Backstory:] Charlotte lost her parents at a young age and moved in with her aunt and uncle, growing up alongside her cousin. While sad, it's not something that holds her back from anything. Her life was pretty simple, but she always felt suffocated by her aunt. It seemed that she wanted to keep Charlotte close and out of trouble for fear of losing her as well. Unfortunately, that didn't stop Charlotte from sneaking out for late night parties, among other things.] [center At the end of the day, Charlotte is a very daring person and lives by her own rules. While she's very caring, she's not afraid to say what she thinks needs to be said and won't back down unless she knows she's in the wrong. ] [center [b Reason For Joining:] As stated before, she grew up in a very tight home. What better way to get out and see the world than with a group of strangers?] [center [b Favorite Song:] [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NtGgj5zhM84 Rockabye by Clean Bandit]]
[center [b Name:] Cassidy McAllister] [center [b Age:] 25] [center [b Gender:] Male] [center [b Sexuality:] Open for Anything] [center [b Backstory:] Born with a silver spoon in his mouth, Cassidy has known nothing his whole life but luxury. From the outside it looked a pretty picture. Everything he ever wanted or needed, Cassidy was delivered on a platter. He had the cars, the boats, the vacations, the jewelry, the clothes. However, looks can be deceiving. From the outside looking in everyone saw a charming, cheeky young man with a winning smile, fit to take over the world. From the inside, it was akin to looking through the bars of a cage at a zoo. ] [center Being the son of two socialites, despite not being the oldest boy among his three siblings, had certain expectations from the moment of his birth. Cassidy was raised on the prospect that everything he did, everything everyone saw of him outside of the house, had to be perfect. His existence, his inheritance, depended on it. Appearances were everything to the McAllister family. This left Cassidy with very little in the way of intimate relationships, as anyone he was seen with had to be up to snuff. ] [center Late in is teenage years Cassidy began to rebel, and found he preferred being himself. He preferred being carefree, being hedonistic, getting high, making out, and leaving the appearances behind. Oliver’s letter came at all too opportune a moment, when Cassidy was on the precipice of being on his parents’ last nerve, and he had a choice to make. With hardly anything, and no note left behind, Cassidy made his choice to escape his gilded cage.] [center [b Reason For Joining:] Cassidy can no longer bear the weight of being perfect, he needs to find a way out from under it before it crushes him entirely. ] [center [b Favorite Song:] [https://youtu.be/zhjNm20XbXw Only the Good Die Young - Billy Joel]]
[center [pic https://i.imgur.com/rQfAwXZ.gif]]
[center [b Name:] Luka Brenneman ] [center [b Age:] 22] [center [b Gender:] Male] [center [b Sexuality:] Closeted Homosexual] [center [b Backstory:] Luka was raised in a very loving family. He grew up happily with his little sister Clara in a typical farmhouse on a small farm in the New England area. Both of his parents have always been supportive of their son's choice to pursue music as long as he kept his grades up. Although he fit in well with his openly liberal family, Luka has a painful secret. He is gay. Deep down he knows his parents will love him unconditionally, but his first date with a girl his junior year of high school excited his mother beyond belief. She couldn't stop gushing over them and for that reason, he feels like coming out would wreck her love and image of her 'perfect straight son.'] [center During a tour in Florida with his band, 'Rural Panic,' Luka came across an interesting add for a road trip. The band was on their last night of performing and Luka needed a break. With his parent's and band's permission, Luka packed his belongings and favorite guitar and responded to the add.] [center [b Reason For Joining:] Luka needs a break for the music scene. His passion has turned into a job and it is draining. He wants to make music just for fun again.] [center [b Favorite Song:] [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xFcxK9wl-RU Shut Up and Smile - Bowling for Soup]]
[center [pic http://i68.tinypic.com/ekp5xh.jpg]]
[center [b Name:] Nadia Malkin] [center [b Age:] 25] [center [b Gender:] Female] [center [b Sexuality:] Demisexual] [center [b Backstory:] America, a country spanning four time zones and over 200 years of existence ever since the Revolutionary War. Not only that, but it was a country filled with rich history considering that America had only existed for those 200 years. Across the cold waters of the Atlantic Ocean there existed a country of 1156 years old spanning 11 time zones. Not only did this country more and existed for more, it also contained much more rich history than America.] [center This country was Russia, the country in which Nadia was born. Being born raised, and schooled there, Nadia grew up extremely knowledgeable about Russian history via her parents, teachers, friends, and random talks on the streets with strangers. But the older she grow, stronger did the curiosity grow about learning the history of the other countries which made the world she lived in. One country in particular drew her curiosity because of the constant news about it on the Russian news media; America. ] [center [b Reason For Joining:] Exploring the North American Continent.] [center [b Favorite Song:] [https://youtu.be/j7B4ACeXBHU Red Roubles Boris vs DJ Blyatman by Life of Boris]]
Roleplay Reply. Do not chat here. (50 character limit.)
Her [i 'Американский тур'] hadn't started off on the right foot, but definitely on the left one. Even though no surprise elicited from Nadia, it still left a deeply buried fury. If an American flew to Russia to tour around it and found themselves being detained one step, literally one step, into the airport to be asked many questions hinting around the possibilities of a spy or terrorist, and then having to wrangle with the equivalent of the TSA to get back your suitcases, the American no doubt would complain and most likely post an dramatique overexaggeration on Facetbook or whatever other social media.
All this lost time led to an obvious delay. Nadia's flight had arrived 12pm EST, but an hour answering stupid questions along with the спор in TSA with a small break to cool off meant she freed up at 3pm.
At least the ride went completely smoothly and allowed for reflection time. The very first thing Nadia discussed with herself dealth with the two incidences at the airport; the possibility of being sent back to Russia and/or not being able to retrieve her luggage had been possibilities, but those possibilities didn't happen. Out of the two possibilities, only the second happening would've been the most vile to deal with for replacing all the clothes, toiletries, and the luggage cases cost money, and even though Nadia had packed cash it would do no good to have it spend it all right away. And now to the second, more important matter bugging Nadia's mind. To quote a song, this is America. For the first time instead of being surrounded by familiar faces, only stranger faces surrounding everywhere. Gone were the familiar Russian voices in the streets and apartments, replaced with the 360-degree surround sound of the English language. Not only that, but the only knowledge of America Nadia knew came from Russia, which contained obvious biases in relationship to America. Even though she didn't believe all of them, the fear of it possibly happening still haunted her. What if someone went on a Commie hunt, the stories of those sorts of witch-hunts full of horrors and committed brutalities well known to her.
The beach, nothing wrong with meeting near the ocean especially considering Floridian weather. A nice salty sea breeze always was refreshing from the never-ending heat and humidity. The only weird sight were the tall buildings near the beach, it just felt like two groups who wanted naught to do with each other with a sort of no-man's land in between the two.
With a brown leather purse, charcoal backpack, and bright red suitcase in tow, Nadia walked off to find the one named Oliver. Finding him proved easier than slicing cake, for the van with a humongous and colorful [i Oliver] sign on it stuck out like a wasp sting. Already a group of people surrounded the van.
Shortly after, the one named Oliver began to speak. Nadia couldn't help but to smile hearing his lighthearted voice along with the happy and bubbly expression written on his face. Although she didn't understand the jokes, that had to do with a difference in taste of comedy.
Nadia couldn't understand why Oliver just simply say not to trash Carla, another odd thing for Nadia. The concept of naming a car felt unfamiliar, but this comes from a person who feels quite comfortable when people gave cute names or nicknames to military equipment.
And now for the introductions. Oliver first pointed at a female with bright red hair like that of a fire paused in time. Both names Delilah and Lil rolled smoothly off the tongue and sounded beautiful. There had to be a reason as to dropping everything and going somewhere, the reasons were different but Nadia wouldn't pry.
The next person ended up being a black haired female who even though had a feminine sounding name also had a more masculine name. For Nadia this was nothing new as in Russia as some names like [i Женя] applying to both males and females.
What was it with people having two different versions of their names? The guy's name who spoke next followed the same convention as Delilah, having the longer version of his as Cassidy with a shorter version of it as Cas. In Russia it was understandable as some of the long versions of names were quite a mouthful to say, and none of the current examples had been that hard to say.
Cas was followed up by a guy with died hair, also not new, who broke the two-names version convention by stating his first and last name. Luka was quite easy to say, while the complete opposite stood true for Brenneman. If she were to make a judgement for which one had the most interesting reason to travel, so far it would have to be Luka. Using this opportunity as a chance to get away from all the pressures surrounding being a performing musical artist meant that the pressures he'd been dealing with had to have been high.
And now it was her term. Nadia took a step closer into the circle-looking formation to distance herself away from the shadows and into the light so the others could see her better. Now her English wasn't the stereotypical one with a sore thumb of a Russian accent, instead it sounded like normal English with only the slightest of Russian accents along with the occasional grammatical mistake in it. [+purple "Привет всем, it is very nice to be meeting all you of. My name is Nadia Malkin, and I've came here to experience America for myself instead of relying on Russian sources."]
[google-font https://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Abel] [center [pic https://i.imgur.com/rQfAwXZ.gif] [pic https://images-wixmp-ed30a86b8c4ca887773594c2.wixmp.com/f/cf2836cb-5893-4a6c-b156-5a89d94fc721/dcak6qn-e9c4fc06-841b-491d-80f3-c65f00cf0118.gif?token=eyJ0eXAiOiJKV1QiLCJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiJ9.eyJzdWIiOiJ1cm46YXBwOjdlMGQxODg5ODIyNjQzNzNhNWYwZDQxNWVhMGQyNmUwIiwiaXNzIjoidXJuOmFwcDo3ZTBkMTg4OTgyMjY0MzczYTVmMGQ0MTVlYTBkMjZlMCIsIm9iaiI6W1t7InBhdGgiOiJcL2ZcL2NmMjgzNmNiLTU4OTMtNGE2Yy1iMTU2LTVhODlkOTRmYzcyMVwvZGNhazZxbi1lOWM0ZmMwNi04NDFiLTQ5MWQtODBmMy1jNjVmMDBjZjAxMTguZ2lmIn1dXSwiYXVkIjpbInVybjpzZXJ2aWNlOmZpbGUuZG93bmxvYWQiXX0.IAm0WEJBELyGOPG9bsRwTRfYIC--FrF-a-co0xSCTvQ]] [center [abel [size15 Luka pulled a black beanie over his ears. His curly, faded pink hair was a mess. He really needed to get in the habit of brushing his hair, but that was a problem for another day. Standing in the kitchen with his bags at his feet, he shifted his weight nervously. A young woman stood at the sink, she was gazing thoughtfully out the window with a coffee mug to her lips. She hadn't noticed the boy's presence. Clearing his throat, Luka scratched the back of his neck sheepishly. The woman turned around and locked eyes with him. Her thoughtful look was quickly replaced with the most pitiful pout in history. Suddenly tears poured from her eyes, the flood gates had been opened. Snot dripped from her nose as she wept shamelessly. Like an animal, the woman lunged at Luka and tackled him in a bear hug. Luka was visibly much taller than the sobbing figure so he effortlessly supported her weight.
[b [#666699 "LUKKAA, MY BABY, Y-YOU'RE L-LEAVING ME!!"]] Blubbered the girl. It was muffled as she pressed her leaking face into his chest.
[b [#cc0099 "Ma, I go on tour all the time. You cry like this every time."]] Chuckled the petal haired boy. He patted his mother on the head gently. Planting a kiss on her forehead, he couldn't help but laugh. His mother was quite the character. She always made a big scene when he left. He had been on and off tour for the past two years and every time he left she cried like a baby and every time he came back she threw a wild welcome home party.
[b [#666699 "B-but Lu-lu, you have been only home for a week since your last tour! I am not getting any younger."]] She whimpered. Luka grimaced, that woman was pulling out all of the stops to make him feel guilty, even using his embarrassing pet name. Shaking his head, he still couldn't help but smile. She was the best mother he could have asked for. Just as he was about to open his mouth, he heard thundering footsteps skipping down the stairs.
Rounding the corner, a small blonde haired girl the spitting image of his mother came barreling towards him. Stepping in front of his mom, he opened his arms and caught the girl mid air. Scooping her up into his arms, he snuggled his face against the girl's cheek. [b [#cc0099 "Clara my love!"]] Luka gushed. Clara beamed at him with her thumb in her mouth. Luka's mother Leanne had him at seventeen. Up until Luka was in high school, he thought he would stay an only child but Leanne decided she wanted one more child now that she was older. Nine months later, Clara was born. Now six, Clara was the light of his life and leaving her was the hardest thing he had to do in his life. [b [#333399 "Lu-lu, are you leaving again?"]] Clara ask in a meek voice. She looked sad but she had gotten better about crying every time he left. [b [#cc0099 "Yeah baby girl, be good for mamma and papa while I'm gone okay? I'll bring you lots of presents."]] He cooed. Smooching her forehead, then her both cheeks, Luka gave her one more squeeze before putting her down. After another goodbye, Luka grabbed his bags and guitar and headed for the train station.
It took almost twenty-five hours by train to get from Maine to Florida and Luka was regretting his transportation choice when he stumbled off of the locomotive with sore legs and a stiff back. Letting out a yawn, Luka stretched and let out a sigh. Glancing around, he spotted a sign for the taxi pick up and wandered over. He was chomping at the bit to meet his travel companions.
By the time Luka arrived, he realized he was one of the last to show. He recognized the boy from the flyer as Oliver. Luka had taken the liberty to social media stalk him before coming on the trip. Then he noted the girl with wild orange hair. She said her name was Delilah. He racked his brain hoping he would remember her name. Next he caught the tail end of Charlotte's introduction. Luka kind of felt bad he was so late. He figured he would find out more about each person on the trip so he wasn't feeling [i too] guilty. Lastly was Cassidy. Luka had never seen a male with such a strong jaw line. He was pretty sure that boy could cut diamonds with it. Blushing slightly, Luka realized he was staring. Letting out an awkward cough, he took the silence as his turn to introduce himself.
[b [#cc0099 "Hiya, I'm Luka Brenneman. I'm the lead singer of Rural Panic."]] He greeted with a bright smile. [b [#cc0099 "I needed a break from the music scene. Famous life isn't all it's cracked up to be. ']] He added with a frown. Life had become exhausting when his band got signed. Their music was commercialized and suddenly everything was about his sex appeal for the women and his 'image.' He needed time to be a human again instead of a puppet. Sitting his bag down next to his guitar case, Luka was quite impressed by whole light he had packed. He had gotten used to traveling with the bare minimal due to his constant traveling. Kicking the dirt with the toe of his Vans, he gestured to the last person.
[size11 In the early afternoon absolutely no one was home. The enormous house was completely abandoned, save for one single soul. Cassidy didn’t take the time to be sentimental about leaving it. Why should he? The manor was big and cold and uninviting. Living there for his entire life had been great, sure. He had plenty of room to distance himself from his family and pretend none of them existed. That wasn’t so hard now that they all had their own lives, their own goals. Cassidy probably should have been out doing something, lifting up the family name in the public eye. Instead he was at home, packing a few last minute things.]
[size11 Most vacations were packed by staff, and it was quite the event. Cassidy would be laden with clothes from casual to black tie affair and have absolutely no say in it. This time was much different. Cassidy had a single backpack with a few different outfits inside, some of his favorite and most comfortable, as well as a few essentials and a couple of books. He wasn’t sure how talkative everyone was going to be, or if the drive would be boring, so having something to read was a fail safe. Besides, he wasn’t taking his phone. Too risky.]
[size11 As he finished packing, Cassidy walked to his dresser, a shallow sigh leaving his lips. From his top drawer, all the way in the back, he pulled out a roll of cash. He had his wallet with some cash in it, chump change where his family would be concerned, but what he would be using on the trip. The rest was for... [i emergencies]. If for some reason this went sideways and Cassidy needed a fast out, he could just buy a plane ticket home. Simple as that. As if nothing ever happened. He tucks the money into the deepest pocket in his backpack underneath some pairs of underwear for good measure, and zipped it up.]
[size11 No note left behind, Cassidy left the house to head to the meet up spot.]
[center [pic https://i.imgur.com/SPgeAAE.png]] [size11 To his delight and a bit of surprise, there were actually other people that showed up. Cassidy politely nodded or waved at each of them as they arrived, just making his presence known. To say he was a little nervous would be completely correct. He had never done anything like this before. Sure, he’d disappeared for a night or two with his friends in the past, but never anything like this. He’d never been completely off his parents’ radar before, and that both terrified and exhilarated him. Just the thought that none of them would know where he was, or be able to force their standards on him, was already so freeing.]
[size11 With introductions in order, their host started them off. Cassidy found himself smiling at the sheer personality he gave off. Already he felt better about this idea. Even if everyone backed out now, he would probably still road trip with Oliver alone. It would be an adventure still. With the rules out of the way, all perfectly understandable, the metaphorical talking stick was passed between each of them so they could say a little something. Cassidy wanted to remember everyone so he kept his eyes on them, trying to tie something about them to their name so he could remember easily. Delilah would be easy. That hair was hard to forget. Charlotte was an incredibly striking name for and equally as striking person. Cassidy was sure he wouldn’t forget that one.]
[size11 As the rotation came upon him, he smiled and stood from where he was leaning. He waved a hand while the other seated itself reassuringly in the back pocket of his jeans. [#bc0b0b “Hey, I’m Cassidy.”] He began, his voice warm and deep. [#bc0b0b “Cas is fine too if you prefer it. I’m easy.”] With a shrug, he rubbed his hand against the back of the neck. [#bc0b0b “I just needed a break, you know? A little bit of new scenery for a little while.”] Cassidy felt that was sufficient. He never intended to give his last name, for fear someone would recognize it, considering his family was in the public eye. The last thing he needed was someone calling his parents.]
[size11 [#bc0b0b “Your turn, man.”] Cassidy casually motioned in the direction of the boy that was next in line, leaning back again where he had been stationed before.]
[center Charlotte had just finished zipping up her bag when her cousin had entered the room, practically tackling her as she threw her arms around her. Charlotte stumbled back before regaining her balance, raising a brow at the blond before her. [b "Done trying to talk me out of it?"]]
[center Jemina nodded before pulling away and sighing. [b "I know it won't matter what I say."] She gave her a small smile before handing her bag to her. [b "You'll keep in touch, right?"] Charlotte nodded before making her way to the door. [b "If one's a murderer, I'm going to bring you back just to tell you I told you so."]]
[center She rolled her eyes in response. [b "If one's a murderer, it'll be like a game of cat and mouse. And I'll win."] And with that, she was out the door. Admittedly, she was more relieved that her "sister" had given up the fight about her leaving. She'd never really been a fighter, especially when it came to the outlandish things Charlotte came up with. Maybe it was childish, but the girl just couldn't understand her need for getting away. She needed the new perspective and that was that.]
[center Once she was out of the house, she didn't waste much time getting to her destination, only stopping once to grab a bottle of water from the near by corner store. When she finally arrived, she gave a small nod to the boy she assumed was Oliver before entering, quickly finding a place to sit.]
[center She stayed pretty quiet, leaning back and crossing one leg over the other. She didn't have to wait long before everyone had finally arrived and Oliver gave his introduction. She bit the inside of her cheek. He had enough energy and then some.]
[center Before she knew it, it was her turn to speak. She glanced around at everyone. [b "I'm Charlotte. A lot of people call me Charlie, but it's really up to you which one you'd like to use. Either one works."] She gave a small shrug. [b "Life is short and boring here. Seemed to be the best opportunity to get out and see what I could see."] She motioned to the boy beside her. [b "Have at it,"] she said with a smile.]
“Dead heat of the summer!” her father called up the stairs as the red head stuffed the last of her things into the simple black backpack decorated with patches from her alma mater. “You should be staying here with us! You need to do treatment!”
Her cheeks were flushed with red and her eyes tired from crying. Two pairs of clothes and one set of shoes was enough. Delilah flung the small camera around her neck and took one last look around her pristine room. Perfect in color, in taste, in future ambitions. Leaving behind everything she had worked for, studied for, suffered for just for a chance to [i live].
She felt the tears pooling her eyes again, so she turned around and closed the door. The young woman took one deep breath before heading down the stairs. Her parents were at the bottom, her father red with anger and her mother buried in a wad of tissues. “What if you don’t come back?” he said. “What happens to everyone you love? To us?”
Lil’s lip quivered slightly as she shook her head in disbelief. How could this people begin to understand? [#ff3700 “I’m going,”] she said firmly. [#ff3700 “Don’t wait up for me.”] There were a few awkward moments of angry staring before they simply hugged and swapped goodbye’s and I love you’s. Then... she was gone. Out the door, onto the street, making her way to the pier where this free spirit Oliver promised he would wait.
Six strangers on a trip to New Mexico. Here she was. Taking that miserable feeling in her gut and turning it into something beautiful... all because of a note she read online. Maybe she was crazy.
Delilah turned into a nearly vacant parking lot, immediately spotting the young man with the colorful sign on the corner of the pier. Her heart was beating loud in her chest and jumped when someone knocked on her car window. Her good friend David.
She opened the door and slid out of the driver's seat, giving the boy a quick hug before shoving the car keys into his hand. “Are you sure you want to do this?” he asked.
Lil nodded. [#ff3700 “I’m sure. I promise to text you where I’m at.”]
The dark haired boy smiled softly before giving her one last hug. “I’ll see you later.” She almost choked up with emotion.
Pushing back her hair and swinging the bag over her shoulder, she crossed the short distance between her and the boy with the van. There was a brief greeting before he gestured for her to get in. Delilah stood back, surprised. She was the first one here.
With another deep breath, she took the front passenger seat.
Lil didn’t talk much while the five others showed up. She was lost in thought, thinking about her parents, friends, house cat. Staring at her tattered shorts and off white sneakers. Once the group finally hit the road, Oliver spoke with such enthusiasm it actually made her feel welcome. She waved at ‘Carla’ briefly. No driving. Turns to sleep. Chip in. No sex- obviously. No smoking. Pretty straight forward stuff that really kept his precious baby alive another day.
Delila jumped when the leader of the pack, pointed towards her. She smiled, despite herself. [#ff3700 “My name is Delilah but you can call me Lil.”] She waved to everyone in the back. [#ff3700 “Just decided it would be fun to drop everything and go.”] She pointed next to a girl with wild black hair. [#ff3700 “You go.”]
The sun was hot and unrelenting from where it hung high in the sky over the busy Florida streets. Even though it was pretty early in the day, it seemed like the weather didn’t really get the memo. Oliver has always liked the long summer days, but seeing as he was standing outside of his van rather than sitting in it, even he had to admit that this wasn’t ideal. He felt bad for everyone going to work, bustling around in three piece suits.
Maybe a Monday hadn’t been the best day to choose. The corner he was standing on was situated next to a pier and a large, looming row of office buildings- like two worlds who wanted nothing to do with each other just happened to be neighbors. Oliver smiled at a man passing by him talking loud and abrasively on the phone, and only got a bewildered look in response. [i Yeah,] he though, [i exactly like that.]
Leaning against the scorching metal of his van, Oliver starting tapping a soft beat onto the door with the heel of his hand. No one had showed up yet. Granted, it was only eleven and the ad he put out had said noon, but he was excited, okay? It’s not every day six strangers willingly walk into your life with the intention of road tripping with you. He didn’t even try to hold back his smile at the thought. He was hoping they would find him easy enough.
He had made a big sign to put on the back of his van that said “I’M OLIVER” in rainbow colors, just in case.
By the time early evening had rolled around, Oliver was sitting on the ground with his guitar, trying to remember exactly how to play [i Roadtrippin’] because it seemed the most appropriate. People had showed up one by one, and Oliver had just nodded at them, told them they could take a seat if they wanted to- like he was welcoming them into his home but it was just the warm concrete. It was still hot, but less scorching and more pleasant now.
He hasn’t greeted everyone individually. It felt kind of redundant to say his name and rules over and over and over again. Sure, he loved to talk. He would probably be talking nonstop right now if he didn’t know better than to control himself and not scare everyone off. So he said hi, let them talk amongst each other, and that was pretty much it as he strummed the tune he hoped at least one of them would recognize.
Not two seconds after the last person showed up, Oliver hopped up from the ground in one motion with the biggest smile he could possibly muster.
“[b Well well, good afternoon kiddos!]” His voice was loud, but friendly in a way that nothing could really sound like an insult. “[b My name’s Oliver, if that wasn’t completely obvious by my letter. And my van,]” he gestured loosely to the sign. “[b So welcome to what I’m calling the Best Backpacking Bacation! I wanted it to be all B’s but it didn’t really work, so here we are stuck with that name. Let me know if you have anything better than that, trust me, I’ll take anything.]”
His go to was using humor as a bridge. Whether he was funny or not was debatable.
“[b Right, okay, here we go. Ground rules! One! No one else drives my van. She’s my baby. Her name is Carla. Say hi, everybody,]” he gave her a solid pat. “[b You guys can all take turns sleeping in the back or we can stop at hotel if everyone wants to chip in. Don’t worry about gas money, I’ll play the streets for it. Any of you are welcome to join me if ya’ want.]” He have a knowing look at the guy standing there with a guitar. “[b Just hope all y’all like oldies.]”
“[b Two!]” He might have been getting louder. “[b No sex in the van. Self-explanatory. Three! No smoking in the van! You can smoke outside when we stop. I will,]” he fished out his pack of cigarettes in his pocket and shook them. “[b Honestly all these guidelines come down to don’t fuck up my van, guys. And also don’t be a serial killer. But I guess if you’re here you wouldn’t tell us if you were one... anyway, on that note!]”
Oliver clapped his hands together and pointed suddenly, singling out one person at random- a girl with wild red hair- and grinned like a mad man. “[b You! I love your hair. It’s introduction time! Share with the class.”]