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MATURE: Any Day Now

C
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Prelude
  • CiCi

    Obsession: T.D. Kennelly
    Joined
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    "Any Day Now" has been T.D.'s motto ever since he could remember. But when existential dread creeps up on him, he tries to find his purpose in life.

    straight up fucking cutesmaller.png


    Rated M for language, depictions of mental health issues, alluded to sexual themes (nothing explicit maybe, but will be edited out for the forums); these are college students, sooooo....

    Writing this in pure rage to flip off my perfectionism and just write. No editors, no beta readers, we die like Jason Todd.



    Any Day Now

    Prelude




    T.D. dreaded the idea of having to call his mom. Not that he didn’t love her or enjoy her company, as much as any young 20-something might, but he knew his grades weren’t up to snuff. But if he didn’t get to her before she found out on her own, he knew she’d be pretty pissed. So he sat on his bed in his dorm, looking to Truman for some sort of comfort (only to receive a shrug), and, with racing heart, dialed his mom’s number.

    "Tyrone Daniel."

    Uh-oh. She knew. Occasionally, he'd get a Tyrone or a T.D. Ferris Kennelly, but when Mom threw out the ol' Tyrone Daniel, he knew he messed up big time.

    “Uh, h-hey Mom.”
    Her voice sounded fiery. “Don’t ‘hey Mom’ me, young man. Do you realize how much it cost your father and me to send you to boarding school? And when are you gonna settle on a major?”
    “I know, I know, I keep changing my major, I’m sorry.”
    “We are not gonna let you bleed us dry by doing poorly in college. We paid good money for this schooling, and you need to get your act together. This isn’t high school anymore, T.D. We need to see some real improvement after Spring Break or we’re pulling your funding. Do you understand me?”

    T.D.’s heart could hardly sink lower. It seemed like he and his mother once had this conversation just a few months ago when he was back home for winter break, and nothing had changed. She sounded serious, even more so than over the holidays — if that was even possible.

    “Yes, Mom… I understand.”
    “Good.” She then sighed heavily. “You know I love you, sweetheart.”
    “I love you, too, Mom.”

    They exchanged their goodbyes and T.D. hung up. He plopped back across his bed and sighed.

    “Went well?” Truman asked.
    “Oh yeah. Very.”

    T.D. just couldn’t find the motivation for school. He’d always been that way. His notebook and computer full of drawings indicated as much. Whenever he tried to settle in and pay attention, his mind would wander and he would doodle. Drawing comedy skit comics in his notebooks held his attention far better than any professor lecturing a class could. But due to his just barely passing grades in high school, T.D. needed to push through his gen ed classes before getting into the nitty-gritty of his actual passions and possibly take art courses. Sure, he had the elective, which was about his only passing grade, but he would never progress without gen ed first.

    He stared at the ceiling, at the various decals he had designed and stuck up there without the school’s permission. At night, he would observe his art in the hopes that it would motivate him the next day. There was a comic panel up there showing his simplistic character growing older and dying without ever living up to his potential. “Any day now”, he would say. But that day never came.

    If that didn’t perfectly describe how he felt, he didn’t know what could.

    “Maybe you should get out, clear your head?” Truman suggested. “You spend all your time cooped up in our room, drawing and watching YouTube. Maybe going out would help, you know? Maybeeee meet some girls. Eh?”
    T.D. sat up and glanced at his friend. “You’re such a whore, Truman. But maybe you’re right.”

    It’s not that T.D. didn’t have fun hanging out with others. And in a way, maybe that’s what’s been messing him up so much. The self-inflicted seclusion might’ve been slowly killing him without him noticing.

    Truman stood from his own bed, speed-walked toward T.D., snatched his wrist, and tugged him up.

    “C’mon, T.D., let’s not wait. If you put it off ‘until tomorrow’, tomorrow will never come.”

    T.D. thought it over. ‘Any day now’ rang through his head. Any day would never come if he just waited for it to happen to him. No, he needed to make things happen. And something inside told him to grab the gator by the jaws and just do it.
     
    Last edited:
    1 - Composition
  • CiCi

    Obsession: T.D. Kennelly
    Joined
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    freaking cute td.png



    Any Day Now
    1 - Composition




    The fresh, warm air felt so good on T.D.’s skin. Winter had come and (thank God) gone, and Spring Break was in full force. Peers who decided to stick around school and the surrounding areas picnicked and partied and chatted loudly on the vast, grassy campus. Plenty were kissing, and some of the intrepid students were smoking weed or drinking booze as covertly as those things could be done, but T.D. wasn’t interested in drugs or voyeurism.

    He turned to Truman to start a conversation, only to find that his friend, once standing beside him, had now wandered off to chat with a few girls enjoying the shade of one of the many large trees. Of course. T.D. figured that would happen. It used to perplex him — when Truman was young, he was a very shy and introverted boy. After Truman’s parents had gotten divorced and Truman stayed in the city every weekend to be with his father, Truman changed. In some ways, for the better (he didn’t screech every time he saw a bug), and in some ways for the worse (he was perhaps a touch hedonistic now and his grades weren’t as good), but T.D. was still glad to be Truman’s friend anyway. Hard not to appreciate someone so nonjudgmental.

    So T.D. let Truman do his thing, and wandered through the crowds. Occasionally, girls would look at him and giggle, or guys that knew him would call out a greeting. It seemed like everything gave him a new idea for a comic. ‘I could make a funny comic about that’ was his most thunk thought.

    But quickly as the novelty came, it started to wear off. More alarmingly, T.D. noticed just how overwhelming everything felt. He had difficulty paying attention, movement would almost blur, he could hardly comprehend what people were saying to him, and he felt a strong urge to get away to somewhere more secluded. His eyes scanned the environment for any place that wasn’t crawling with people. Loitering at the fountain in the middle of campus, he felt utterly surrounded, utterly trapped.

    Crap. Crap, crap, crap! He needed somewhere a little quieter, somewhere not so… Full. How did so many of his peers relish in this chaotic, loud environment? Was there something wrong with him? He longed for an intimate setting — a group of friends goofing around and enjoying each other’s company, in someplace quiet. Someplace—

    There was a small patch of trees in a sequestered garden area. No one seemed to be there, it would be a good place to recuperate. So he repositioned his backpack, grasped the straps, and made a beeline for the flower beds.

    Once inside, he hurried onto a bench and breathed a thick sigh when his bottom hit the wooden planks. Though the sound of partying and talking still rang through the air, but foliage muffled the noise and made it easier to handle. He leaned back on his palms to catch his breath.

    He touched something — no, judging by the warmth and the responding flinch, someone.

    “Oh!” He gasped and tore his hand away. “Sorry. I didn’t see you.”

    Beside him sat a girl dressed in black. She had a notebook splayed across her lap and seemed to have also been leaning with her palms against the bench.

    “It’s okay,” she said. “I was taking up most of the bench anyway. I didn’t think anyone would come back here.”
    “Yeah, me neither. Trying to get away from the crowd, too?”
    “Yeah. My friend dragged me out here and now I don’t know where she is.”
    T.D. couldn’t help but chuckle. “I know the feeling.”

    He stole a glance at her notebook, realizing then it was a hardcover sketchbook, and noticed some interesting sketches of what appeared to be dog demons, bats, and generally spooky things. Considering she was dressed in black with black nail polish and black hair, it wasn’t a surprise, but he found himself curious about the rest of her sketchbook.

    “You draw?” he asked.
    “Uh, yeah,” she replied, hiding the book somewhat closer to her chest.
    “Me, too! What do you draw?”
    “Characters and… monsters and… Sorry, I’m not used to talking about what I do. Um, what about you?”
    He grinned in hopes to relieve some of the tension. “I draw all kinds of things. Mostly, I like drawing funny short comics, but I practice a little bit of everything.” He stood and tugged off his backpack to retrieve his notebook. “More art is on my computer back at my dorm, but I have a couple things with me—” Then his fervor hit him and he realized that maybe he was coming off a bit strong. “Uh, I guess, if you want to see it?”

    Her lips spread into a smile. Sunlight hit her smile in such a perfect, gleaming way, and something about it stopped him like he’d been shot. His heart raced, which further took him unawares.

    “Sure,” she said, grabbing his full attention. “I’d love to.”

    Everything around him ceased to be. The noises stopped, and any movement in his peripherals was no longer there. It took him a moment to get over being utterly stunned. He swallowed at the lump forming in his throat, trying to shake off his shock, but eventually he reached into his backpack and pulled out his most-filled notebook.

    "Uhh, pretty sure I did a full comic in here," he said, attempting to regain himself as he flipped through the pages to find his comic.

    When he did manage to find it, he noticed every little problem: the character's head appeared lopsided, the punchline didn't connect, the joke wasn't funny. A rush of embarrassment flooded him, making his stomach acidify. Was he really going to show a pretty girl such a half-assed comic? It was too late to take it back, though. She’d think he’s a doofus if he told her he’d changed his mind. So, steadying his threatening-to-quiver hands, he showed it to her.

    She took the notebook and, to T.D. at least, she must've taken an hour to read it. God, she noticed all the flaws, didn’t she? As a fellow artist, she must’ve seen them immediately. In reality, though, it was only a few moments before she giggled, snapping him out of his self-deprecation.

    "Hey, you're pretty funny," she said. "And this art is so good. I can tell you practice all the time."
    "Thanks! Sometimes, it feels like all I do is draw."
    "I get ya. But it's paying off. You say you draw all kinds of things?"

    The genuine curiosity in her chocolate-colored eyes made his heart flutter. He could listen to her voice all day, especially if she was going to compliment his hard work.

    "Yeah! Take a look through it if you want, I have a lot of other drawings in there."

    Her finger hovered over the page like she was going to flip through his sketches when the sound of a man's maniacal laughter cut through the garden. What the actual hell? She dug into her pocket and pulled out her phone. What a strange ringtone.

    "Hey, Jasmine," she answered. "... Where am I? Dude, where are you? … Well, you know I don't like crowds, so I hid in the garden. … Yeah, the one by the fountain — you know, where you abandoned me. … Okay, I'll meet you there now. Please don't be late this time, or I'm going back to our dorm."

    She hung up, pocketed the phone, then smiled and handed over his notebook.

    "Sorry, I gotta go. Maybe I'll see you around."

    As she gathered her stuff and stood to leave, he knew didn't want her to get away. Whatever spell she'd cast upon him had hold of his soul, and — maybe he was being over-dramatic — his heart took a hit when she was about to just up and walk off.

    "Wait," he called.

    Then his stomach flipped when she turned to face him. It was now or never. No more waiting and hoping. No more bullshit. No more letting life happen to him. His roiling stomach couldn't stop him from blurting out,

    "Can I get your number?"
     
    2 - Tempo
  • CiCi

    Obsession: T.D. Kennelly
    Joined
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    what even is this but smaller.gif


    Any Day Now
    2 - Tempo



    T.D. stared at the comic his new friend had enjoyed. Ever since her praise, the face didn't look so lopsided. The punchline connected exactly as he wanted. And the joke, dare he say, was funny.

    Then he thought of her, too. The way the light bounced off her glasses. How she looked like she couldn’t let go of that quintessential high school goth style. Her creepy drawings and equally creepy accessories, drowning in the strangeness of the bizarre and the spooky.

    He sat at his desk, head in his hands as he looked over the comic, reminiscing probably far too much on her words. His eyes strayed to something equally as spectacular: his most recent Math test, with a bright red B+ on it.

    A freaking

    B+.

    His phone buzzed and he knew that it had to be his mom. Sure enough, she had texted him back after receiving the picture of his test with that glorious grade written upon it in striking crimson ink. He read her response,

    ‘That’s great, sweetie! Let’s see more of that.’

    Honestly, he had no idea how that B+ happened. He just woke up and… Studied. How surreal it had felt to be in the throes of working his brain for more than just trying to be funny. And somehow the test had gone smoothly. His mind didn’t lock up the moment the test splayed in front of him. Now that he thought about it, it was like his mind had been riding a high. And remained on that roller coaster until now.

    The door to his room opened and Truman entered with a boisterous sigh.

    “Man, I hate having my last class be so late in the day,” he said, though he had a content smile. “What you been up to?”
    T.D. showed him his test.
    “Dude, no way! How the hell did you manage that?”
    “I uhh… Studied, I guess.”
    “No you didn’t,” Truman dismissed, dropping his backpack off on his bed.
    “I did! And you know what? It wasn’t even that bad.”
    Truman smirked at him. “It’s cuz of that girl, isn’t it?”

    T.D. grinned. He couldn’t deny that she had something to do with it, at least it seemed. He’d never gotten a B+ in Math since the 8th grade, and now, suddenly after meeting her, he managed to score one?

    “What’s her name?” Truman asked.
    “Charity.”
    “Have you gone on a date yet?”
    “Er, well, no, but, I-I just don’t know how to ask. She’s really reserved and doesn’t like people so I don’t know where I’d even take her or what we’d do, or how not to seem like a creep by asking her to hang out in private.”
    Truman shrugged. “All right, man. Just let her get away, then.”

    He sighed. Maybe Truman was right. He didn’t have to be such a jerk about it, but he was right no less. With his phone still in his hand, he brought it up to his face and returned to his conversations. His last message to Charity was a simple ‘Ok ttyl’ from him.

    He tapped on their conversation and his fingers hovered over the keyboard. What to say… What to say…

    ‘Hey’

    Yeah. Real articulate. He had to expound a little bit, right? What was she going to do with ‘Hey’ anyway? It’s so stupid. His brain turned over and over, trying to find the words, wondering how he would be perceived, wondering if— She responded.

    ‘Hey, how’s it going?’

    Oh fuck. Okay, don’t panic, play it cool.

    ‘Good’

    Goddammit. C’mon, T.D. Use your brain. At least ask her how she’s doing, too. But she replied before he could.

    ‘I’m glad. What’s up?’
    ‘How are you?’


    FUCK. He quickly typed,

    ‘Nothing much. Just got a B+ on my math test which is cool because I’m stupid.’ Oh. My. God. He groaned.

    “Fucking it all up?” Truman asked casually.
    “Screw you.”

    ‘At math.’
    ‘lol I am, too. I think I’m dicklicksic but with numbers’
    ‘lmao Dick WHAT’
    ‘Dyslexic. It’s an inside joke with Jasmine and I just let you in.’


    She had a way to make him feel more comfortable. Now that he was laughing (and Truman was looking at him funny), words came easier, and so did their conversation.


    He spent the whole morning getting his dorm ready: making the beds, putting away dirty clothes, straightening up the desks, wiping down their kitchen nook — hell, he even cleaned the microwave. He wasn’t sure why exactly. He didn’t expect her to go in their microwave for any reason, but he wanted to cover every inch he could think of.

    He couldn’t believe she agreed to a date with him last night. When he asked, he had to put his phone down and distract himself by flinging his tablet pen in the air and trying to catch it. Even a few minutes after her response, he hadn’t been able to bring himself to look. But eventually, he’d forced himself to, and let out the biggest celebratory ‘YES!’ he had since he was a kid. It had nearly made Truman choke to death on his cup o’ noodles.

    As he washed his hands, the knock he’d been waiting for finally arrived.

    “Coming!” he called.

    The dishtowel almost dropped to the ground with how fast he dried his hands. After fixing it, he jogged to the door then tried to regain his composure (straightening his hair, taking a deep breath, rolling his shoulders) before he opened it. Okay. This was it. His first actual impression.

    Once he grasped the door handle, it became slick from his clammy palms and nearly slipped out of his hand, but he managed to open the door and greet Charity with a smile.

    “Hi, T.D.,” she said. “Sorry for imposing—”
    “No, not at all!” He motioned for her to enter. “I like this better than going to the cafeteria anyway. Too loud.”

    His heart thudded against his chest as she passed by him and he shut the door, leaving them alone together. Was he going to say something stupid? Would she think he’s weird? Is she going to notice that damn cobweb in the corner that he missed — how the fuck did he miss that!?

    He stopped his thoughts. No, no. Calm down.

    She said, “I hope you don’t mind but I got some food from the cafeteria. It’s probably too much for me to eat by myself, so I figured we could share it.”

    She held a bag in her hand and he took it from her to place on the kitchen nook.

    “Wow, that’s really thoughtful of you,” he said, now feeling like a moron that he didn’t think of something so simple.
    “It’s not a big deal.”

    Inside of the bag was a pack of four small veggie wraps and a pre-made fruit salad from the cafeteria. He made a mental note of the cost: $3.50 for the wraps, $1.75 for the fruit salad. He’d be able to pay her back.

    “You gotta show me more of your art while we eat,” she said. “What kind of stuff you got on your laptop?”


    With the spread of food across his desk and his laptop open, she went through his folder of comics and art while they ate. Of course, every time she flipped to a new one, his heart would flutter as he waited for her to comment, hoping she would like it, hoping she wouldn’t notice the way that character’s nose looked stupid or that comic being half-finished.

    But with every strip finished, she beamed more and more. “This one was so funny!” or “I love how you drew that helicopter!” or one of his favorite ones:

    “You’re an amazing artist, T.D.”
    Nothing could beat that one. “Thanks!”
    “How long have you been drawing, anyway?”
    “God, I dunno. Ever since I was a kid. I saw my dad doodling once and got so obsessed that I started doing it, too. At first, I drew things I saw on TV or movies. I loved action and fantasy movies. I think I drew a dragon fighting a tank once — that was a weird time.”
    She laughed. “I guess so, but you’re just creative.”
    “Speaking of, what about your art? I’d like to see it.”
    She leaned back and fiddled with her hands. “Oh, um. I dunno. I don’t really draw like you do, just sketch. I’m… I’m more of a writer.”
    “Really? What do you write?”

    She brought out her phone and searched through it for a moment, describing a couple of the stories she had with her. Most were horror, some were romance, some were horror and romance mixed together — and one stood out to him. One she called a “surreal experimental short story”.

    Though she hesitated to read it, she began her story. At first, her voice was meek and she stumbled over her words and her face was red, but about halfway through is when she found her voice and confidence, leaving him completely enthralled, wanting to know more, shuddering at the terror-inducing aspects.

    By the time she finished, he was blown away.

    "That was so cool!"
    "Really?" She said, smiling ear-to-ear. "You liked it?"
    "Dude, I loved it. You're so good! There's a lot to unpack here— Okay, okay, like, when you said their faces were blank, were the people expressionless, or did they actually have no faces at all?"
    Her face lit up. "That's up to you to decide. I have my own theory about what happened, but I'm a big proponent of Death of the Author."
    "You would be into something that sounds that morbid."
    "It just means that my interpretation has no bearing on yours. Once my work is out there, it's up to the reader to decide the meaning."
    "Wow. That's kinda boss. What else ya got?"
    "Oh, a bunch of things. Got one about a girl who is the reincarnation of Lucifer who falls in love with a human. Got a work in progress about a world full of outcasts who can transform into animals — that one is more gory and depressing than creepy. And I've got a bunch of one-shots about— er, um… Never mind."
    He cocked a brow and side-eyed her. "Hey, you can't ‘never mind’ me after all that! What are your one-shots about?"
    "No, it—it's stupid and embarrassing and I got a little carried away."
    "Can't you gimme a hint?"
    "Umm… Okay, okay." Still smiling, she leaned in closer and whispered behind her hand. "It's all porn."
    He bust out laughing. "What!? No way, no they're not."
    "Well, most of them are, not all. Usually about my favorite character at the time."
    This only made him laugh harder.
    She laughed, too. "Hey, stop laughing!"
    "I'm sorry!" He wheezed, feeling his voice threatening to crack. "You went from horror and gore to sex so fast! It's hilarious!"

    He desperately tried to slow himself down when he saw her face suffuse with blood. He didn't mean to embarrass her, truly! But the jarring nature of her author self was too much. She was something else. He found himself so so SO curious to know what sex stuff she wrote about, but before he could question her further, that man's maniacal laughter happened again and she checked her phone.

    "Jasmine? The hell does she want?" Then she answered, “Hello? … I’m kind of hanging out with T.D. right now, remember? … I mean, yeah, I guess.” She sighed, then asked him, “You hungry? Jasmine wants me to meet her at the Greek place down the street, but I’m not going unless you are.”

    He glanced to the clock and realized it had been a couple hours since Charity had arrived, and thus since they ate. Not to mention, Jasmine seemed like a close friend, and he figured it would be a good idea to get to know her a little bit, too. Truman always did say that girls gossiped about boyfriends a lot, so if he made a good impression on Jasmine…

    T.D. agreed to go with her.
     
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