Playing the Birthday Blues

It had been a good birthday. But then, why did I need to convince myself of that?

From breakfast this morning—waffles that Quint got up early to make specially, even though he needed to leave for work as soon as he was done and couldn’t enjoy them himself—to the small dinner party that had just started winding down now, everything was great.

Sure, the party had a slightly lower turnout than last year: My mom, Zeggy, Ike, the twins, Seb, and of course, Quint. That just meant we could hold it in our apartment rather than Zeg’s house. And I still got plenty of birthday wishes on Facebook. It wasn’t the number of people that bothered me.

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Trouble in Paradise


“Theo! Quint! Over here!”

Quint spotted them first, of course. Being tall gives him an unfair advantage at things like that. It wasn’t hard for me to catch sight of them after he pointed in the right direction, though. Zain was bouncing up and down, and the colorful strands of flowers in Seb’s hand were very eye-catching. We navigated ourselves and our suitcases through the crowd of disembarking tourists to where the younger couple stood near the wall.

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Driven From Distraction

Note: Takes place about a week after Pride and Panic, when Seb and Zain have gone to Hawaii for leave. More-than-usually NSFW.

Trembles ran through my legs and arms. Carefully, I turned off the water pouring over my head and stepped out of the shower, into the chilly bathroom. A quietness filled it, broken only by drips falling off me to the floor, like icicles melting. I shivered. Merde, what have I done?

My drying-off was perfunctory at best. Rivulets of water still ran from my hair down my neck and bare torso as I wrapped the towel around my waist. Then I padded out to find Zain.

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Pride and Panic


The morning of the Pride march, I sat Theo and Seb down on the couch and stood in front of them. “Before we leave,” I said, “I’d like to go over ground rules, the first being that you will both stay with me at all times.”

Seb looked up with a wide-eyed seriousness that contrasted against the cheerful rainbow paint splatters of his shirt, while Theo stopped scratching Jagger’s ears, sat back into the cushions, and sighed heavily.

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You Can Quote Me On That

Note: Takes place between Wash & Fold and Graduation Day.

My pencil scratched across the yellow legal pad mutinously, with dark, heavy strokes. Apart from the scratches, the only sound to be heard was Quint occasionally turning a page of his book or Jagger sighing in his sleep. Both of them looked perfectly peaceful over on the couch. Quint was pretending not to notice the attitude of my pencil.

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Holding Pattern

Note: I’ve also added the emails Platt and Seb sent after Plebes No More as a comment to that story.

“Seb? Theo said you’ve been in here all day. How are you feeling?”

I look up at him with just my eyes. My head stays on my pillow, cheek mashed into it so it hides half my face. “Don’t know.”

Quint frowns and steps fully into the room. He sits on the edge of the bed. “No?”

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The Morning After

The aroma of freshly-ground coffee dragged Theo out of our bedroom at ten. I took a sip from the mug I had just filled, opened one of the files of papers spread across the dining table in front of me, and began cross-referencing to a spreadsheet I had pulled up on my laptop. “Good morning, angel. There are eggs in the fridge for your breakfast.”

He grunted. I watched him shuffle to the kitchen and pour himself coffee, but he made no move towards food.

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