Picking on Taylor

Central Path - Cane Bayou Park
Every town has a beginning, and that beginning is located here within the heart of Cane Bayou and the center of the park. Old brick buildings rise overhead, many abandoned, or renovated into old curio stands, gift shops, and small bakery's to lure in morning joggers, while others hold businesses that see rather particular types of visitors. Regardless, this remains a much visited park of the town.

Small brick walkways wander back into the park paths, while others lead to a small pavilion in the center of the area. One may notice that the small town was once much bigger by how close the remaining buildings are, but that seems lost in the past. For now it's a nice place to stop and smell the roses, catch a cup of coffee and a donut, and watch the runners and bike riders exercise. To the right just between the coffee shop and bakery runs is a small alleyway leading into a rather dark area between the buildings.

The summer heat beats down no matter the weather. Be it musty, hot, or dry outside, the summer brings with it the feel of youthful energy. Everything is half-hidden, nothing clearly seen in the dark fog. It's warm and still. The dark shapes of nearby trees loom at you suddenly out of the deep grey fog as you approach them.

Summer has this unsettling habit of coaxing people to crawl out of the protection of their homes and instead face the outside world. It might be something about the summer sun, or the favorable, if a little too warm, weather. But whatever it is, summer is certainly working its magic this weekend afternoon. Cane Bayou park in particular seems to be quite inhabited and well-trafficked today, as joggers fight to stay in shape and the rest of the trespassers decide that a nice, relaxing stroll through the scenery would be an excellent way to start off the day.
"Oh my god, he is fine. Did you see his as-"
"Brooke! He's like, ten years older than we are?"
"Your point being……?"
Perched upon a park bench are three students of Cane Bayou central. It seems, according to their apparel, that they were at some point jogging away with the best of them, but they've apparently decided to take a break or two along the way because none of them look especially winded as they giggle and laugh brightly together.

Jogging does seem to be a popular sport of the summer, especially for teenage girls considering Brooke and company on the bench and Claudia who's making her way down the path. The quiet thud of shoes on blacktop is muffled by birds, chatter, and the sound of cars on the road not so terribly far off. Not to mention other sounds of the day. Long blonde locks are pulled back into a ponytail which swishes lightly against her back as she moves.

Its those other girls, about her same age, that catch her attention out of the though focused fog she was in. "Hey Brooke," she calls cheerily towards them, a wave sent along with the names of the other girls as she breaks nearby.

Jogging is not something that Ivy's ever enjoyed, but then the recreational options were a little different where she comes from. Hot as it is, it's still preferable to be outdoors than hanging out with her cousins at home, though she's pretty much given up even trying to get used to the heat. Long dark hair is pulled back in a loose ponytail, loose strands of it sticking to the thin layer of sweat on her skin, and her tank top and cut-off denim shorts are treading the boundaries of decency. She's momentarily distracted by the source of Brooke's comment, so it takes her a second to shake herself out of it and then focus on the other girls nearby.

Eventually, the girlish snickers die down enough for Brooke to hear a very familiar sound - her own name - being thrown about. Needless to say, this snaps the teenager to attention, and she glances around the park curiously before her attention falls on Claudia's form. A wide, amiable sort of smile spreads across her visage then. "Oh, hi Claudia. You've been sucked into running too, mhmm?" She inquires with a sympathetic look, shaking her head as she scoots over to the side to offer the blonde a seat if she so desires one.

Claudia laughs, "Well you know me," she comments, reaching a hand up to fix the strap of her tanktop. "At least I didn't have to work this afternoon." Which is always a nice thing, having a weekend off. "Lets just hope it stays that way. Its so nice, being called in would totally suck."

She's been in town for a handful of days, and Ivy is still keenly aware of the fact that she just doesn't belong here, even without her cousins reminding her every chance they get when their mother isn't around. With a quiet sigh, she rolls her shoulders and then straightens, resuming her walk in the general direction of the other girls, lifting a hand in a vague sort of wave. "Hi," she says, once she's close enough that she can talk without having to yell in order to be heard. Even that single syllable is enough to let everyone within earshot know that she's not from around here.

"I mean, yeah. But, you get paid when you work, don't you? All you get for jogging is…sweat." Brooke's words are coupled with a cringe and a dramatic sigh, but the girl ends up smiling back to Claudia. "It's worth it in the end, I guess. Oh! Does that mean you're going to Tom's beach party tonight?" Her head is cocked to the side in a display of pure curiousity - a curiousity that is only piqued by Ivy's sudden appearance. There is a friendly smile from the cheerleader. "Hey. So…like, question. I don't know you, do I? I mean, I know my memory isn't the greatest ever, but this'd just be a new low for me."

"Well yeah…" Claudia agrees wit a laugh, "But I work for my dad, remember. And I have to deal with Leo being his usual slacker self." So there are good points and bad to working. What else is new. Blink, "That's -tonight-!?" she questions before Ivy's greeting draws blue eyes up towards the new girl. "Hey," she returns the greeting.
Brooke's question gets a smile from Ivy, and she shakes her head, drawing closer to the park bench where the other girls are seated. "Nah, I've only been in town a few days." The New York accent is even more distinct the longer she talks. "I'm Ivy. Ivy Valentine."

Brooke lets out a laugh of relief. "Oh, thank God. Well! Nice to meet you then, Ivy." Suddenly, however, her cheerleading companions drag her away to continue jogging and the girl excuses herself.

"Catch ya later Brooke," Claudia replies, sending a wave after the other girl before turning back to the New Yorker. "Nice ta meet ya Ivy. I'm Claudia," she introduces herself with a friendly smile. "Welcome to Cane Bayou. How you likin it so far?"

"Nice to meet you." Ivy waves at the departing Brooke and then seats herself on the bench where one of the other girls had been sitting. "And you, too, Claudia. I think it's still too soon to really say how I'm liking it here. It's a huge change from what I'm used to."

Claudia laughs lightly, "Well I'm sure you'll come to like it soon enough," she replies wit a smile. "Few days really isn't all that long to settle into a new place I guess. So.. Where ya from then?" she questions, taking a seat on the bench now that its been vacated and she doesn't need to squeeze onto it with the others.

"To listen to my Aunt Olivia, I should be settled in by the end of the week." Ivy rolls her eyes at this, then lifts her arms to stretch a bit, before finally answering Claudia's question. "I'm from New York. It doesn't get nearly this hot up there, over the summer."

"Maybe two," Claudia replies with a grin, "Then you'll be fitting right in. Or.. you know not. But yeah, I guess it doesn't get so warm in the summer, but doesn't get nearly so cold here in the winter either. That has to be a plus. Right?" She's all smiles and friendliness. "You gotten ta see any thing yet? Or too busy unpacking?"

"I'm not too awfully worried about fitting in," Ivy says, her smile turning into a bit of a grin. "I didn't really fit in at my old school, either." She leans back a little, tilting her head slightly to one side so she can see Claudia better. "I've been to the lake, with my aunt and cousins." A pause, and then she adds, "And I've seen Taylor Blake. Please tell me there are guys here in Cane Bayou who /aren't/ complete and utter boy scouts?"

Claudia laughs, "Oh my god, please tell me Taylor wasn't the first boy you met here." There's all too much amusement in her eyes with that. "He's my neighbor, and yeah, he's kinda a boy scout as you say," she agrees, "But no, thankfully they're not all like that."

"Technically, he was the second," Ivy replies, with a laugh and a shake of her head. "Cousin Bobby was the first. But if Tay's your neighbor, then you must know my cousins. The Ashfords?" They do, after all, live on the same street. "Cassie has /such/ a crush on him, too, it's really sad."

Claudia nods, "Well cousins don't exactly count as guys, no do they," she comments with a wink. "Oh, yeah, they live just down the street." Beat. "Wait, Cassie Ashford has a crush on -Taylor-? That's great," in that oh so amusing way. "So you're living with them?"

"You totally didn't hear it from me, but yeah, she's got it bad." Ivy snickers a little and then straightens, her grin fading just a little. "Yeah, I'm living with them. Have the whole attic to myself, and everything." From the change in her tone, it's not something she really likes talking about.

"Well there are worse things I guess," Claudia replies. "You should stop by the Black Cypress Cafe sometime. I'm.. well I'm there alot." Something that she's not so terribly happy sounding about. "Will get ya a free drink or something."

"I'll have to keep that in mind." Ivy is, frankly, relieved at the change of subject, and reaches back to pull her ponytail up off the back of her neck. "So what do people do for fun in this town? I tried asking Taylor, but you can imagine I didn't get much in the way of a reply."

"My family owns it," Claudia clarifies about the cafe. "But as for do, there's usually something going on. I know Brooke was saying something about Tom having a party tonight. Usually something going on at the lake too, specially in the summer."

"Oh, well, that's kinda cool," Ivy offers, in response to Claudia's family owning the cafe. "I didn't see anything going on at the lake the last time I was there, but that could just have been the company I was keeping." She tilts her head just a little, looking marginally thoughtful. "Is it the kind of party anybody can come to, or do you have to be in the know? Better question, is it the kind of party Aunt Liv would never let Cass go to?" She and Claudia are seated on one of the park benches, chatting.

Claudia nods, "Kinda," she agrees, leaning back and lifting one foot to rest on the edge of the bench. "Lets just say Tom's parties are the ones that anyone who's anyone will be at," she explains, "And being in the know doesn't hurt for an invite, but you know about it now. And yeah, probably not the type of thing she'd want Cass at."

"'Course, knowing about the party doesn't necessarily mean I know where it's at," Ivy points out, with a little sigh. "I'm still learning my way around town, and while it's easier to do walking, it's not nearly as much fun." Since there was no real reason for her to even get her learner's permit back home, she's doomed to remain a pedestrian for the foreseeable future.

"True," Claudia replies, with a bob of her head. "But now you know me and I know Brooke and … my brother. So we should be able to get there once anyone knows were it's suppose to be at." If that makes any sense to Ivy is something else completely.

"This is true," Ivy agrees, nodding. "And, bonus, you know where I live." It's something of a relief to know that there's someone on her street that she can talk to and not have the urge to bang her head on the wall afterwards. She shakes her head and sighs, flicking her hair back over her shoulder. "I was beginning to wonder if I'd last the summer, so I'm kind of glad I ran into you."

Why in the world Taylor has left the comfortable, air-conditioned safety of his home is anyone's guess. Regardless, he has, and he can be found within the less safe, less air-conditioned reaches of the park. Along one path, then another, his eyes setting on a pebble he's been kicking for the better half of an hour, there is no distinct reason for his presence beyond…bored.

Yes. Geeks get bored too. So bored, it would seem, that he's forsaken the real worlds all together, plunging head first into his ipod for some form of realism beyond the fact that his life completelytotallyandunargumentatively sucks. He is so immersed, in fact, into the loud howling of Project Pitchfork that blares at his sense, that he fails to notice the girls as he nears them.

That pebble there. It's just so damn fascinating.

Claudia laughs, "Can't say I'm all that much more exciting that Taylor. Like I was saying when you ran into me and Brooke, I'm working half the time. Seems like more really. But if nothing else you can come by and keep me from dieing of boredom while I am?" she half questions with a smile. Hey, its an idea if nothing else. "Sure you'll make it through the summer just find once you settle in. .. Speak of the devil." A glance beyond Ivy and Claudia's green eyes happen to find a certain neighbor boy, pointing him out to the other girl with a nod of her head in his direction.

"I guess that depends on how much trouble I get you into by dropping by the cafe," Ivy says, with a bit of a grin. Then Claudia draws her attention to Taylor, and Ivy's grin broadens. "You mean, speak of the boy scout? Just a sec." She pushes to her feet and walks toward the boy, engrossed as he is in his pebble-kicking. Waiting until he's kicked it again, so there's still a bit of distance between them, she bends over to scoop it up off the ground, then straightens and smirks at him.

What a very good way to get kicked..leaning down in front of a foot like that. She's lucky that he's actually not deep in thought at that exact fraction of a second before he swings his foot. Instead, he merely lowers said foot to the ground, lifting a hand to remove the earbud. "I am not a boy scout." He stats dryly as he sends Claudia a slow glance, "The shorts were gay." He doesn't do kaki one little bit. "Ya know, I could be living a double life and neither of you would have a freaking clue." Could happen, somehow. Maybe. In the event of an alien invasion or irreversible curse. Oh wait…

Regardless, he does give both girls a nod before his hands move to turn off the music completely, tucking the black player into his back pocket for the moment. "Why aren't you at work?" clearly he's talking to Claudia. Toward Ivy, he simply smirks.
Brooke has connected.

Claudia rolls her eyes, letting that one foot slid off the edge of the bench once Taylor speaks. She slips to her feet and strides towards where he and Ivy are standing now. "Because my daddy decided to give me the day off. That a problem for you?" its said with a teasing smile at least.

"You /so/ are a boy scout, Tay," Ivy says, replying even though he hadn't been talking to her. She drops the pebble back into the ground, stepping back and letting her hand fall to her hip, still smirking. "Double life? You? No way."

Taylor simply frowns, his arms crossing over his chest as he observes the newest budding friendship with a small sound of disapproval. There will be no end to his suffering this summer at this rate. Anyway, Ivy was his. He saw her first..which leads to the faintest noise of a grumble before he pushes past the standing girls to slump lazily onto the bench they so sweetly vacated seconds ago. "You're both full of—-" yup, he'll allow that to slip away into silence before he pulls his cell phone out, flipping it on if only to give himself something to look at beyond the blond team. How fortunateno one's called. "For conversations sake, I'll have to ask. What's up?"

Claudia shakes her head, turning a knowing glance towards Ivy. Boys. More specifically, Taylor. "Oh, not a whole lot. Just talking. This and that and a little bit about you." Beat. "Just just before you showed up were commenting on Tom's parties. You haven't heard anything about tonight's. Have you?"

When Brooke left, she was flanked by her two jogging mates. When she returns however, she's quite alone. It also looks as though she's given up on jogging altogether, judging by the fact that she's pulled her dark hair out of its ponytail and is currently sipping on a frappachino as she leisurely makes her way down the path. Her keen eyes are quick to pick up her schoolmates, and she is quick to make her way over to them. "Hey hot stuff. Oh, and I /guess/ hello to you too, Taylor." She greets with a snicker, beaming at the teenagers all around. "What's up!"

Leaning down, Ivy lowers her voice to tease, "You can say the word, Tay. Shit. Unless.. you're too much of a boy scout." It makes her snicker, and she straightens again, crossing her arms over her chest and nodding at Claudia. "This and that, yeah." Brooke's return gets a laugh from the new girl, and she steps back just a little to make more room for her. "Hi, again. Brooke, right?"

Taylor just smirks, though his brows arch slowly at the horde of 'comments' about him. "Ya know, for two /pedestrians/ who want to go to a party..you aure are full of insults and negativity." Just a joke, mostly, though he does yawn, leaning back heavily into the bench before his eyes shift. It's a tick or two before she's there, but Brookes presence is met with a faint hum of..something before he sighs. "Hi Brooke." Just a small hint of discomfort comes from her presence. A shift of his weight into the bench again before he is forced to respond to Claudia, who he's been putting off for almost a full 45 seconds now. "The parties at the cliffs." He admits dryly before he sighs. "Somewhere you should go..Miss I-can't-walk-without-falling-on-my-face. You'll end up in ER and I'll end up getting glared at by your relative."

"Hey Brooke," is the call that Claudia tosses towards the girl as she rejoins them. What's up? Didn't she just answer that question for Taylor? But there's other conversation and then the boy is responding to her and earns himself a glare. As if Ce can look mean. "I can walk perfectly fine thankyouvery much Mr. I-have-no-social-life." Not that she should be talking either.

It seems as though Brooke doesn't realize that her mere presence makes certain people uncomfortable - because even if she is aware, she certainly doesn't do anything about it. "Yep! And you're Ivy, right?" Once that particular point is clarified, she turns her amiable grin around to the others, only to have the expression freeze at what she hears. Her eyebrows arch with bemusement, and she pauses to take another sip of her coffee. "Ouch. So, I'm picking up some serious love-hate vibes here. You two want us to get out of the way so you can get at it and get it over with?"

"Yeah…" Ivy's voice trails off as she watches the back-and-forth between Taylor and Claudia, and then Brooke's comment just makes her laugh, and she puts both hands up in a gesture of surrender. "Brooke, I think you might be right. Maybe we should back up a couple of steps? Although I confess to wanting to be a voyeur just in case Tay actually /does/ have a clue," she adds, after a moment's thought.

Taylor pfts, pushing up off the bench with a jerk, "Think I've had just about enough estrogen for the afternoon thanks." He echoes to no one in particular, "You girls have fun walking to the party…and you," stated toward Ivy with a grunt, "Have fun explaining to your aunt why Cassie can't go." Because he's totally telling her where it is! Toward Brooke, theres the faintest hesitation before he gives a faint nod, "You..yeah." Yup. Just yup. "I honestly can't deal with it today. Sorry." There can only be so much shit kicked into someone's face before they need therapy, after all.

"Well if you weren't making fun of everyone else.." Claudia huffs, towards the boy. "I should really be heading home though. Things to do before tonight." Like hoping the cafe isn't busy and she gets to keep the night off. Yes Taylor, she will find a way to that party even without you. "You guys have a good afternoon."

Brooke grins impishly to Ivy as she jumps in and plays along with it, giggling above her coffee. "Oh, ew. I don't want to see him doing the nasty." She argues playfully, until Taylor finally cracks under the pressure. She blinks a number of times as the information is ingested, and finally a small frown appears on her face. "What? Oh - don't go, Taylor. I was just kidding with you! Plus, like, normal guys would totally jump at the suggestion." Claudia is quickly given a wave for her departure, but since the lad hasn't been able to make his escape quite yet, the cheerleader takes the initiative to reach for his wrist with her free hand to keep him about.

"Seeya, Claudia." Ivy waves at the departing girl, then turns to take in Brooke and Taylor. "Seriously, Tay, we didn't mean to offend you or anything. And I already know the perfect excuse for why Cassie can't go, there'll be /boys/ there." She rolls her eyes and snorts. "I swear, she acts like the girl's ten."

Taylor is easily grabbed, though the look in his gaze as it shifts over toward Brooke is one that has quit literally reached its bullshit limit for the day. It does go without saying, however, that Taylor is a nice guy, so he is easily to settle back into his skin just as easily. "Yeah well…." he begins finally, trailing its ending out before he shifts his footing, "Maybe she doesn't need to be there. They aren't very moral events." He points out finally, noting the particularly immoral behavior that seems to be a theme at the parties on the cliffs. "None of you need to go..you in particular." And, oddly enough, that is directed toward Brooke. Ivy..well, she gets a look, but he's still not sure the suggest of her being good would be taken as more than a dare to be worse. Caludia..is, dismissed. Taylors mood swings shouldn't be to very unfamiliar to her. Not anymore. Not by this point in their lives.

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