Crow Kross was seventeen. His appearance was that of an average person who preferred the Goth style black clothing, black eyeliner, shaggy black hair tipped blue. He was handsome, in an intimidating, intense, piss-me-off-and-I'll-gouge-your-eyes-out kind of way. In social situations, he was usually impassive, bored looking, and had shielded himself as a person from outsiders. Only one other person besides his twin sister Nyx had actually gotten past that shell.
Quinn was that person, that girl. Also seventeen, the name she went by was short for her real name, Quintessence. She looked relatively average glasses, blonde hair at a mild length with a touch of red in it, wearing clothes any teenager would wear (currently in black pants and a pale green t-shirt). She was a wallflower and preferred it that way.
And right now, the two of them were on a date, and Quinn was frantic.
Perhaps not as frantic as she would be if she were being chased by a bear. Maybe a better term would be 'slightly anxious'. In any case, she couldn't find her wallet. She and Crow were at the restaurant. She'd been stubborn as nails that she'd pay for half of their next date, and she'd finally gotten that opportunity. Crow had arranged a reservation, they were at the restaurant, and Quinn had looked in her purse to turn her phone off.
And noticed her wallet wasn't there.
"Crow!" She bit her lip as he turned to her, a slightly concerned and confused expression on his face. "I forgot my wallet."
"It's okay." He grinned, and she wrinkled her nose. "I'll cover it."
She sighed, remembering the past couple weeks. Every time she'd brought the subject of payment up Crow insisted on being the gentleman. Not that she rejected an opened door, or even resented it, but she felt that she could do something, at least some of the time.
"Next time," Crow promised her, putting his arm around her waist. "Just enjoy the night, okay?"
She closed her eyes and forced herself to relax. She was with Crow. That was what mattered. When she opened them again she was smiling a bit. "Fine," she agreed amiably.
"There's gotta be a mistake." Crow's brow was furrowed as he spoke to the maitre d', who sat straight faced as he looked at the reservations list. Quinn's hand was in Crow's, letting him know she was there for support. The boy continued speaking. "I know it's tonight."
"I'm sorry, sir," the maitre d' said, who didn't seem sorry at all. Quinn closed her eyes. "The reservation for Kross is made for a week from today. Please come back next week."
Crow's free hand went to the back of his neck, rubbing it as he said to Quinn awkwardly, "I guess we have a date next week?"
She laughed, still clutching his hand as she thanked the maitre d' and walked out with him. "How's ordering pizza delivery to the park sound?"
Crow's voice was relieved. "It sounds great."
Quinn rubbed her temples, biting her lip. When they arrived at the park, they'd picked up a blanket from Crow's trunk while he'd made the call to the pizza place, she'd put the blanket down.
Apparently, on an anthill.
"Sorry," she apologized for the umpteenth time when Crow flicked a black bug off the cloth.
He smiled at her and she fought her blush down forcefully. "Let's just move the blanket."
They did so, and Quinn saw the pizza taxi turn the corner. She moved to get up but Crow gestured for her to sit down and she smirked as she sat back down again while he went to fetch the pizza.
"Oh, never mind." Crow laughed at his mistake. "I just thought I took a bite of a piece of pizza that had something on it that I was allergic to."
"What's that you're allergic too?" Quinn inquired curiously.
"That's for me to know, and you, to
" Crow pondered for a second, taking a bite and swallowing. "Not know."
"Smooth," she chuckled, finishing her own slice of pizza. This wasn't so bad
"Hello," said a voice that was most definitely not Crow's.
She turned and Quinn was suddenly faced with three younger kids, all appearing to be aged around seven. They reminded her of her younger brother, actually; there were two boys and a girl, and Quinn guessed they were related. "Hello?" she said confusedly.
"We were wondering if we could have a piece of your pizza," the girl said shyly. The two boys nodded eagerly.
Quinn bit her lip, unsure of what to do. She'd never read anything like this happening on a date. Was she supposed to shoo them away? Give them a slice like they asked? Wait for Crow to do something?
Speaking of her date, she looked back at him for help and he tilted his head toward the pizza box, looking amused. Relieved, she took the box and opened it, handing a smaller slice to each of them.
"Thank you," they chorused, and ran off. Quinn turned back to Crow, a smile on her face.
"Was one of them Mikey?" Crow asked, picking up a breadstick. Mikey was her little brother.
"Nah," she replied, looking back over her shoulder. "He's more into the swings then he is into pizza." She faced forward again, shifting to lean on her arm as she played with a thread on the blanket. It was cooler now, some of the clouds having overcast the sun.
"Uh-oh," she heard Crow say, and she looked up.
Crow pointed to the park behind her. "We should pack up. Looks like there's a party over there
and they heard of our generosity."
Quinn once again looked over her shoulder and paled at what looked to be an impending stampede. "Yeah, let's go."
They were in the car laughing about it, having barely escaped the children that had threatened to overrun them. Crow drove them to the movie they wanted to see How to Train Your Dragon, is that what it was called? as their laughing sobered, a companionable silence falling between them. Crow kept his eyes on the road, Quinn observing the gentle smile on his face before she turned to look outside.
It had begun to rain, but unlike it usually did, the stormy weather didn't dampen her mood at all.
"The movie's sold out?" Quinn repeated the girl behind the window in a dry tone.
"How to Train Your Dragon is sold out, ma'am." Her voice was tinny as she repeated what she'd said before through the speaker. "Though we still have plenty of tickets for A Diary of a Wimpy Kid, ma'am, if you're interested."
"One moment, please?"
"Of course, ma'am."
She turned to Crow, who looked doubtful. "You seen the trailers for this movie?" she asked.
"No," he murmured, "And I haven't read the books either. Wanna try it?"
Quinn thought about it and nodded. "If you do. It's your money."
"It's the cheap theatre," he chuckled. "I'll gladly spend a few bucks to spend time with you, Quinn."
She flushed, and Crow stepped up to the window next to her, pulling out his wallet. "Two tickets to see Diary of a Wimpy Kid, please."
They went inside after getting their tickets, deciding to skip popcorn when they found out they were out of butter. Quinn thought that was kind of ridiculous. How could they be out of butter? It seemed like an essential for a movie theatre. It gave her a sense of a sort of impending doom in the pit of her gut.
The movie was utterly depressing. A glance at Crow said he thought the same, but
they were holding hands. It seemed ridiculous that it was the only reason she stayed seated, but she couldn't help it.
Besides, maybe the movie would eventually show a character arc.
The soft sound came from directly behind them and both Crow and Quinn turned to look. There was an elderly couple behind them, and the lady, who seemed to be the one to have gotten their attention, was giving them a dirty look. "Please," she hissed. "That's most inappropriate."
"What?" said Crow perplexedly, and he was promptly shushed by several other movie goers. He scowled.
The lady gestured to their joined hands. Quinn flushed but Crow only scowled deeper, sticking his tongue out at the lady before facing forward once more, gripping her hand firmly. Quinn managed her best apologetic look before facing forward as well, doing her best not to giggle.
Soon a small group came into the theatre, and filed to sit into the row in front of them. The one who sat in front of Quinn had a gigantic hat on. The girl was tempted to do a facepalm but was relieved from doing so when the hat was taken off.
However, the urge returned when this person a girl, in fact started making out with the boy next to her. The blush returned to her face, and she thought it might as well remain permanently red at this point. She heard the older couple behind them get up and leave at the actions of the two in front of her and Crow, and did her best to remain focused on the movie.
It didn't improve. Soon there was talking the theatre it seemed as though no one was paying any attention to the movie anymore. Quinn looked at Crow to find him staring at her, and his head gestured toward the exit. She nodded and they got up and left.
"Hades, that was a horrible movie," he chuckled, using his odd terminology in place of a cuss word, for which Quinn was grateful for.
"It was wasn't it?"
"I think there was a total of
how many likable characters in the movie?"
Quinn thought about it. "The dad seemed alright. The older brother looked like a girl."
He pretended to look offended. "I'll have you know that eyeliner is free for both genders to use!"
Cracking up, she replied, "His features, Crow! Although the eyeliner didn't help him," she teased and Crow elbowed her slightly, only making her laugh more.
A few moments passed of them walking before Quinn let go of his hand. At the look on his face, she explained with a chuckle, "Bathroom break. Be right back, 'kay? Promise."
He stuck his tongue out at her and she only started laughing again as she entered the rest room.
She came back out in a much less jovial mood. All the toilets had been plugged except for one, and, as like the status quo, there was a large line. Approximately fifteen minutes had passed and she gave a sheepish smile to Crow when she saw him sitting on a bench in front of a movie poster. "I'm sorry."
"Hey, it's alright," he assured her. "But I'm assuming you don't know there's toilet paper attached to your shoe?"
Quinn squealed softly and ran back to the bathroom, cheeks flushing the whole way.
"You're such a jerk!" She punched his shoulder as he laughed at her earlier reaction. They were now in the parking lot, going back out to the car. The rain from earlier had stopped, though water was still on the sidewalks and streets. "I can't believe you'd humiliate me for your own amusement."
He smirked at her.
"I take it back, I can believe it."
This time they were both laughing as they got into the car, and he put the key in the ignition, starting the car.
At least, attempting to.
"You've gotta be kidding me," he muttered darkly as the engine once again refused to turn over. Quinn got out of the car, opening the hood of the car, Crow not far behind her with a flashlight. He looked around the engine, Quinn simply holding the hood up, feeling hopeless as Crow muttered to himself about this car part and that important pipe. He stood straight.
"I have no idea what's wrong with this car."
She gave him a befuddled look. "But you were just
He shrugged sheepishly. "I thought something would just pop out at me, like a part had slipped out of place and I could just slide it back in and look cool."
She gave a smile and saw his cheeks tint pink as he continued. "I dapple more in reading and mythology than I do in cars, Quinn. Sorry."
"It's fine, Crow." She swallowed back a chuckle. "It's not like home's far. It only took, what, three minutes to get here by car? It shouldn't take long to walk."
"I dunno, it's a couple miles." He looked doubtful.
"Your eyeliner will scare any would-be attackers off, I'm sure," she noted, and squealed when he picked her up, twirling her around in retaliation. "Put me down!" Quinn screeched indignantly, hearing his laughter as he did so. "Prat."
"Oh, hush," he smirked, and she scowled at him.
"Why should I?"
"Because I'm fabulous?" He pretended to preen.
"You're asking to be slapped," she warned, laughing.
He smiled that warm smile at her and she bit her lip to keep from grinning like an idiot. "I guess I'm walking you home." Crow held his arm out to her. "Mind coming with me on a stroll, young miss?"
"Such a gentleman." She took his arm obligingly. "I'd love to."
"This is a perfect opportunity to get to know each other better," Crow noted, their arms still entwined as they walked.
"Really?" Quinn looked at him curiously. They'd been through a bit together, and she trusted him explicitly. She had a feeling that it was mutual. Though she supposed that there was still things about each other that they didn't know. "I guess you're right."
"Wanna play Twenty Questions?" he suggested, looking down at her.
"Only if you start."
"Alright, then. What's your favorite color and why?"
She took some steps, pondering his question. "Purple, I guess. I've never really thought about why. I think
hm. I suppose because it's a relaxed color, but has
dignity?" She grimaced. "I think that's what I'm trying to say." She felt him chuckle and she elbowed him. "Okay, my turn. What's your favorite color and why?"
"Copier," Crow accused.
"That counts as question number two for you," he teased, and she glared playfully. "My favorite color is so obvious, blue!" His free hand ran through his hair. "It's a strong color. What did you think of the movie?"
"Easy. It sucked. You get another question since apparently I asked two in a row." She rolled her eyes.
"Will you tell me a story about your siblings?"
She shrugged. Blake was eighteen, nearly nineteen, and Mikey was eight. They had so many stories but none were remotely interesting. "Sure, I suppose."
He waited, and she stayed quiet. He tilted his head at her.
"I answered your question," she explained, and Crow wrinkled his nose. "Chocolate or vanilla?"
"I like vanilla. Anything can go with vanilla. The combinations you can make with vanilla are vast." He used a dramatic tone and Quinn chuckled. "So exactly what is a story about Mikey and Blake?"
"There isn't much to tell about them," she elaborated, looking at the ground they were walking on before back at him for a moment. "I mean, they're my brothers. Blake acts all tough to step up for Mom not being around and Mikey insists he'll be just like Blake when he grows up." She smiled. "Though I'll admit that Blake really softens up when Mikey begs him to play with the matchbox cars with him. He's such a big pushover, I swear." She cleared her throat. "So, what's a story about you and Nyx?"
He had a dark smile on his face as though Quinn didn't know what she was asking about. "When we were children and we lived in the orphanage, Nyx would push kids off the swing. Yeah, not much has changed, it's her favorite hobby." He rubbed his neck again. "Heh, just kidding. Kind of. Anyway, one day she pushed a child off the swing and climbed in. I got annoyed because the kid she pushed off the swing I had been using to get Butterfingers from outside the orphanage." Quinn rolled her eyes. "So I snuck up on her and pushed HER off the swing. Of course she was angry and we got into a fight and we were pulled apart by someone who called us ruffians and heathens, so Nyx looked up at her and said straight to her face 'I'll see you when I see Daddy.' Now, at first she didn't understand."
Quinn didn't blame this woman for being confused, she didn't get it either. Crow continued. "Then it sunk in when I said 'Daddy being Satan'."
The girl snickered. "That must've creeped the lady out."
"Oh, it did," he said cheerfully. "So, what's your most embarrassing moment?"
"Pft, I am not answering that question, Crow."
"You have to! It's in the rules!"
"And these rules you are speaking of, happen to be
"They're unwritten Quinn. If you're asked a question in Twenty Questions, you have to answer it! Common sense."
it's a nasty memory. It was a sophomore dance, and there was a guy that had been being really sweet to me. It was revealed at the dance that it'd all just been a bet for my affections."
He scowled deeply. "Harsh."
She chuckled nervously. "Well
my turn. Fifth question. What's the best part of your life?"
Crow's scowl dropped as he answered the question. "Best part of my life...hm....I think it was meeting you, as cheesy as that sounds."
Flushing, Quinn smiled widely, a smile Crow returned. "What's your happiest moment?" he inquired of her.
She looked up at him, and he included, "One that doesn't include me," and she stuck her tongue out at him, a few steps being heard as she pondered the answer to his question. "I guess, finding out my mom wasn't going to die." Sure, she was in a coma, but it meant she wasn't completely gone, and it made Quinn more hopeful than full of despair. Crow seemed to understand as he nodded; both his parents were dead. "What's a place you wanna visit?"
"I'd like to visit London. What's the best thing you've ever tasted?"
"Chocolate!" she laughed. "How about a place you'd like to live?"
"I like where I live, its perfect for me." He waggled his eyebrows at her. "I'd like you to be around more, if you know what I mean."
She elbowed him again, face red once more. "You just like making be blush!"
"That's just a bonus," he assured her, grunting when she elbowed him once more. "What color is your toothbrush?"
it's green and white. A Toothtunes, actually."
"Oh, really? What tune?"
"Nobody's perfect!" she sang, trying not to laugh. "I gotta work it! Again and again, 'til I get it right!"
"My ears!" he cried in horror. "Stop the madness before they start bleeding!
She cracked up. "Okay, okay," she laughed, trying not to snort. "What's your most embarrassing moment?"
Crow gave a soft smile, pink tinting his cheeks. "My most embarrassing moment would have to be every time I trip over myself in front of you."
And there her face went heating up again. Crow smirked at her and she retorted, "Oh, shut up."
"Nah. How do you eat your Lucky Charms?"
"I save the best for last! Brown stuff first, and I get all the marshmallows at the end. At least, when I get to eat breakfast. How about you?"
"I east the marshmallows first," he answered, shrugging, looking at her concernedly. "How often do you eat breakfast?"
when I have time." Which wasn't that often.
"Why does it matter, anyway?"
"One, that counts as your
" He thought about it for a few moments. "Tenth question, and two, it matters because it pertains to your health."
She shrugged, uncomfortable. "I'm either sleeping in 'til lunch time, or it's school time and I'm too busy getting Mikey ready."
He tilted his head at her, changing the subject with another question. "What's something you like to do that I don't know about?"
Quinn smiled. "I love to rollerblade, but I outgrew my last pair two years ago and haven't gotten another pair. It's been a while." She looked at him. "I'm going to ask kind of a serious question."
"I know you take care of Nyx, but how does Nyx take care of you?"
Crow spoke bluntly. "We work together well. While she gets incredibly angry and gets into her frenzy, and I fix that, I sometimes fall into a deep depression and I become somewhat catatonic. Dead. She fixes that."
She stayed close to him, a small companionable silence once again washing over them before Crow asked his next question. "What career are you aiming for?"
Quinn shrugged, biting her lip. "This sounds ridiculous, but
I'm not sure. A school counselor, maybe."
"You'd make a good one."
"Thanks. Where do you see yourself in ten years?"
"Ten years, hopefully happy and living on my own, making a good living."
"You gonna be married?"
He laughed. "That's two questions, and I hope so. What car do want to have?"
I dunno. I wouldn't know, actually. A mini-van? A used compact car, I guess." She laughed. I really don't know."
"What would be the first thing you'd do with your mom?"
She smiled wide. "We'd go rollerblading. She taught me how." Quinn looked around they'd be at her house soon enough. "Do you miss your mom or your dad more?"
"I miss my father."
"What is it with you and asking two questions in a row?" She grinned sheepishly and he grinned back. "He was strong, and he taught me how to be strong and how to take care of Nyx and handle her. What do you thing would be the first things your brothers would do with your mom?"
Mikey would show her how tall he's grown. And Blake would probably be in the den watching The Princess Bride, complaining the whole time but secretly enjoying it like he always does. Erm, did."
He chuckled. "What would be the best thing about having her back?"
"My dad would be okay again," she said softly. "Who do you think Nyx misses more?"
"I think she misses our mother. Our mother was a source of tender love and gentleness. Nyx turned into the woman she is now because of our mother being gone."
"Wow." She ducked her head, noticing they were coming upon her house.
"Yeah. You okay?"
"Yes, that counts as a question, and so does this; how about you?"
"Yeah, I am. So
" He grinned. "What was the best part about tonight?"
She smiled. "This Twenty Questions game. I like getting to know you better."
"Good to hear it."
"Don't start preening again. Did you like the date?" They walked up the driveway, their voices lowering.
"Yes, of course I did! I'm with you, aren't I?"
"Darn it Crow," she chuckled, her face flushing once more. "It shouldn't be so easy for you to make me blush."
"It is, isn't it. Sorry."
"No you're not."
"Yeah, you're right." They both chuckled at that, stopping in front of the doorway, and he said softly, "I believe we each have two questions left."
"Okay, your turn," she replied just as softly.
"Here goes." Crow cleared his throat, separating their arms to step in front of her and face her, taking his hands in his. "How would you feel about being my girlfriend?"
She gaped at him, trying to find her voice. She did after a few moments of soundlessly opening and closing her mouth. She decided to use up a question. "You're okay with being my boyfriend, right?"
Crow only smirked in answer.
"I'd love to."
"That's great." His eyes seemed to shine, but Quinn decided she was imagining it. He was closer than she'd thought he'd been, and he was still leaning closer. "I just have one question left. Can I kiss you?"
She grinned in reply, and the two words that left her mouth before their lips were touching were, "Why not?"