Preoccupied (Collab with Chocolate Chao)

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Preoccupied (Collab with Chocolate Chao)

Post by Crazo3077 » Sun Aug 14, 2016 5:31 am

Disclaimer: The following is a collaborative effort between Dev (Chocolate Chao) and Matthew (Crazo3077). Broadly speaking, the characters were designed by Dev and the writing was done by Matthew, but for fuller details see the Bonus section.


Averie professionally somber
Abby mysterious troublemaker
Jeane trying her best
Gavin supportive partyboy
Hailey overbearing sister
Matt an absolute stranger
Story so far
Very few things brought satisfaction to Averie anymore. For a nineteen year old, life can feel very pointless. But at night, the one thing that was sure to relax Averie was his view of the stars. Through his bedroom window, which peered into the night sky, he could see the vague glimpse of the universe. Such a big, and amazing world. So much to see and understand. So much possibility.

Unfortunately, staring out the window at night, just means a blast of sunshine in the morning. Averie tried to block it out with his pillows, but that only lasts so long. He gets up to start his morning routine. He grabs some clean clothing, leaves his room, makes sure Gavin is isn't hanging off the couch if he passed out on the way home, and settling in to the bathroom to take a nice bath.

After practically hours are spent on his phone in the tub, Averie gets out and dries off, not bothering to put much effort into his hair. Some deodorant and a fresh pair of underwear later, and he is ready to leave the apartment. What about breakfast you ask? Worrying about breakfast would mean less time in the bath.

The first class is entirely irrelevant. This paragraph is mostly filler. I'm too lazy to bother with details about the classes right now, and honestly it sounds like they barely matter to the plot. I may be the one writing this story, but I didn't come up with the characters or concepts, so I don't know how important being a college student is to Averie's character development. It came off like a setting piece more than anything. Consider this paragraph suitable for the second class, too.

Averie has a three hour break after his first two classes, which he spends visiting his sister Hailey at work. She is still in high school, but works at a cafe immediately after school. Every day, Averie comes in and sits down by the window. Hailey will ask if he wants actual food, and he'll just ask for toast and lemon water. They'll chat a bit, when she isn't busy, and Averie waits. Waits until Gavin shows up to knock on the window to know it was time to head back to campus.

While Averie had only the three classes that day, and only one the next, Gavin's first class of the day was Averie's last, leaving him a decent amount of free time. Often Averie just went home, watched tv and waited to see if anything else would happen, but often it just means Averie would spend the evening alone. He didn't mind. Passing the time was satisfying enough.

But this evening was different. Averie had shopping to do. The goal was to buy snacks, since Averie hadn't gone shopping in a while, and Gavin wasn't much of a shopper. Averie planned to go to the large retailer close to home, but fell asleep during the bus ride, so he ended up reaching the one further away. Even if ice cream would be nice, Averie could live without it, since it would surely melt by the time he got home, but he'll buy tons of pre-packed cakes and treats to make up for it.

Not too long after shopping, it happened. He saw her. Jeane. It had been how long now? Probably not very long. But their eyes met and neither knew what to do. Look away? Greet each other? It was unclear. At least until an old lady tapped on Jeane's shoulder for attention.

"Where are the carrots?" The old lady asked.

Jeane motioned down the aisle with her head. "Just keep going, ma'am."

Once the woman left, Averie just gave a blank stare at her. "We aren't anywhere near produce."

"Yeah, but if she had to ask, she won't be surprised when she still can't find it." Jeane said, smirking.

"So this is off to bigger and brighter things?" -A

"Well, compared to high school, the building is bigger and better lit." -J

"That school really was a dump." -A

"Sticking to college?" -J

"Apparently. Doesn't really feel like I'm learning much. I just kinda show up." -A

"Well we're always hiring." -J

A voice on the intercom calls for Jeane to some other part of the store. Again, this is sounds like setting is more important than the finer details.

"Of course. It was nice seeing you, but the boss man calls." -J

"Yeah. Gotta do what you gotta do." -A

Jeane looks away for a few seconds, then looks back.

"Hey, if you're not busy this weekend, why don't we hang out?" -J

"You sure?" -A

"Yeah. It'd be nice. We could catch up." -J

"I mean I'm free on weekends, if you wanted to come over." -A

"That sounds nice." -J

Averie scribbled down his address and handed it to Jeane. They agreed she'll come over around two in the afternoon on Saturday. Then the intercom called for Jeane again, and she got moving.

That night, Averie stared into the night sky, as he usually does, not really counting the stars as much as appreciating them. So many stars, and even where there was black space, something is there that the human eye can't see. Chances at things that will only be revealed with time. Averie was hoping to see what the universe had in store for him.

Blaring light. Morning had come. Averie would sleep, but even on Saturdays he felt like time sleeping was better spent doing something nice, like sitting in bath or lying on the floor. So he did his morning routine: bathe for hours, snack on cereal on the couch, and relax. Averie would clean up, since he had a guest coming, but Gavin already did it. When Gavin comes home drunk, he tends to clean the living room and kitchen. Don't ask him to do it sober, because he'll whine the whole time, but when he's drunk he won't even give it a second thought.

Two o'clock came and the buzzer went off. She was there. He opened the building's front entrance with a button and waited. What should he talk about? What will she talk about? It was terrifying and exciting. Open the door already you idiot she's already there.

Averie opened the door to let Jeane in. Without hesitation, she walked in, and began looking around.

"Not sure what I was expecting. Definitely cleaner." -J

"Well we can't invite people over to a mess." -A

"The windows are neat." Jeane remarked. While the wall had one large window looking out, the corner where the ceiling and window meet was also windows.

"Yeah. My bedroom does the same thing, but with a whole corner. It was probably supposed to be someone's office." -A

"That sounds nice." -J

Averie had left the television on and noticed a program he liked had come on. It was probably a cooking show, but I have a very weak understanding of cooking shows so I'm not sure what to say. Jeane sat down and Averie got them both glasses of water.

"I take it your hobbies haven't changed much." -J

"It's practically an addiction." -A

"Gotta have something to do, right?" -J

The program was not giving them anything to talk about.

Jeane had been looking back at the windows every so often. Averie finally noticed and asked if she was okay.

"Yeah. I'm fine. Just...wondering if those windows open..." -J

"If they open? It's kinda hot out." -A

"I mean I could check out the balcony. I could use the..fresh air..." -J

"If you need to smoke just say it." -A

"No. No. I'm not needing to smoke. I just might need some air. Breathe it in, hold it there, and breathe it out." -J

"You're just shy of describing smoking." -A

"You have a description? I didn't think that much was in your dictionary." -J

"Seriously? If you're gonna smoke you can smoke. I'm not gonna stop you." -A

"You won't tell me not to, but you're going to make comments." -J

"And you're not trying to say something right now?" -A

"Don't try to put this on me. You're the one with a problem." -J

"You're making a big deal about smoking. That's the problem here." -A

"I'm making a big deal? You're Captain Big Deal!" -J

"Can't you let anything go? Even a single thing?" -A

"Not with you around! Every time it is my fault! When is it your fault?" -J

"I...I don't know what you're looking for here..." -A

"Something to be your fault already..." -J

Jeane stood up and walked into the bathroom, locking the door behind her. Averie tried to follow, but wasn't fast enough to stop her. She turned on the sink and let the water run for a while. Averie heard nothing else, until a loud thud.

"Jeane! What did you do?" He shouted.

While it wasn't in his nature, Averie tackled the door to try and break the lock. After a few tries, it worked, but he didn't get to see into the bathroom. He blacked out, probably from pushing himself so hard and freaking out. What was she doing? Why? How would it be his fault? Why does it have to be?

When he came to, Averie was on his back. He could see Jeane leaving, not in a hurry, but not like she was wasting time either. What happened?

"Can you believe her? Not even a word of thanks for saving her life!" a voice said from in front of Averie.

With a mild groan, Averie asked, "Saving her life?"

Averie sat up to look at the voice, immediately getting a wake up call. Standing in his bathroom was a young girl. She had long black hair and a dress. Also her skin was a vibrant pink and she had one large eye in the middle of her face. That was probably the important part.

"I mean I guess that's your fault. You asked for it, not her." she said

"Wha--wait, I asked for you to save her?" -Averie

"Yeah! Welll in your heart, at least." She motioned to her chest and then stopped. "Oh wait, there's a disclaimer now. I am not allowed to say you, or any other human, has a heart, soul, spirit, giest, or anything else that suggests a mind outside of your body. As far as you should know, your mind is a series of electrical impulses in the brain, and once the brain activity ends, you go poof."

"I...needed to know that why?" -Averie

"Apparently your people have been misinformed multiple times. If you need any hopes of an afterlife, I've been recommended to suggest eternal recurrence. It could be nice, but you won't remember when it happens. Or when it did happen." -?

"Oh...okay, back to what you said. I asked for her to be saved?" -Averie

"Yeah, your subconscious, I guess you'd call it, asked for her not to die. So I stopped her from dying. Congrats on making the ultimate sacrifice." -?

"What did I sacrifice exactly? You said I don't have a soul." -Averie

"Correct! You gave me your time! And this is the fun part!" She reached for a clipboard that was sitting on the sink. "As a 'helping hand' or guardian angel, the cost for my work is pretty steep. How many hours a day do you spend not on sleep or work?"

"This is dumb. You realize this is dumb, right?" -Averie

"Go ahead. Pretend I'm joking. Have fun explaining why I'm hanging around you all the time to your friends." -?

Around this time, Gavin came out of his room to see the bathroom door wide open.

"Dude if you're going to get weird at least let me know ahead of time." -Gavin

"It's not--! Didn't you say you'd stay in there for a few hours?" -Averie

"I got bored. I'm not you, guy." Gavin said as he looked into the bathroom. "Who's the kid? I thought you had a girl our age coming over."

Averie looked back and forth between Gavin and the girl. "Her?"

"Yeah, dude. Her. Unless there are more kids." -Gavin

"I'm his--" -?

"Cousin! She is my cousin!" -Averie

"Call me Abby. Only Abby. No nicknames. No titles. Abby." -Abby

"Is she just visiting?" -Gavin

"No, uh, she's staying for awhile. Her parents and my parents aren't really talking, so I'm watching her while they're away." -Averie

"She's not taking my room is she?" -Gavin

"I...I don't know why she would." -Averie

"Good." Gavin said with a smile, as if he won something. "Now I'm gonna head out. Text me if you need me to grab anything."

"Did you write down the address in case I need to pick you up?" -Averie

"It's Tom's place. And I'll be expecting you at the usual time." -Gavin

"Got it. Two hours early so you don't embarrass yourself." -Averie

Gavin made a silly face as he walked out of the apartment.

"He seems cool." -Abby

"Why didn't he notice how you look?" -Averie

"I can influence others to see me as a human or animal. I don't have too much control, though. Apparently I look like a young girl." -Abby

Averie stood up and looked around. "So what did she do?"

"Poison, I guess? She had beads in a bottle and ate a lot of them." -Abby

"We call those pills, Abby. How do you not know what pills are?" -Averie

"I told you, I'm a guardian angel. I've been to Earth like once and it was a long time ago, I think. Point is that I stopped her from being poisoned!"

Averie looked at the ground. "And you couldn't find the toilet." He was staring at the coughed up pills. It was gross.

Abby pointed up at Averie's face. "Ignore that! You need to admit how much free time you have!"

"I'm a college student and I like my sleep. Does that answer your question?" -Averie

"Yep! Because when you're not doing either of those, you're hanging out with me!" -Abby

"What? No time for studying?" Averie asked as he walked out of the bathroom and toward his bedroom. He still wasn't taking this seriously.

Abby, following Averie, "Maybe I'll give you time for studying, but your time is mine. That's the payment."

Averie plopped down face first on his bed. No movement. A man at rest.

"Humans don't sleep during the day!" Abby said, climbing onto the bed. She began jumping on the bed. "I'll step on you if you don't get up! It'll probably hurt a lot!"

"Try negotiating. That always got my parents." -Averie, through his pillows

"Okay, fine! You don't have to actively be doing something with me, but I gotta like what I'm doing!" -Abby, still jumping

Averie lifted his face from the pillow. "So I'm babysitting."

"I mean if you want to pamper me I'm all for it, but you can't just show up and check out." -Abby, now just standing on the bed.

"Do you know what video games are?" -Averie

"I've been given some descriptions. They sound weird." -Abby

Rolling off the bed, Averie sat on the floor, and grabbed his remote from just under the bed. He clicked the TV on and pulled a video game controller forward using his foot. A button on the controller turned the console on, and it began booting on the TV.

"This console is a bit older, but its modded to have a bunch of games saved on it so I don't have to use the discs, but sometimes I do. Gavin and I have a newer console in the living room. I could spend hours just right here." Averie said. Games weren't necessarily his life, but he loved them all the same.

Averie showed Abby some classic games and some newer games. She seemed enthralled with all of them. Eventually she took control and was so focused on rolling eggs or disarming bombs or whatever challenge the different games presented. Averie had fun watching her learn to play the games. The afternoon and night went by fast. Averie dozed off, sitting by the bed, while Abby continued to play.

The phone rings. I mean Averie's cellphone rings. They don't have a landline because they're young people. Young people don't have landlines. Point is, the phone started ringing and woke Averie.

"Why is your pocket screaming?" -Abby, still enthralled in a game

"That's my cellphone." Averie said, not opening his eyes. "I forgot to pick up Gavin."

Averie pulled the phone out of his pocket and put it on speaker phone.

"Averie are you there? Hello?" It was Tom, the host of the party

"Yeah, I'm here. I fell asleep. How's Gavin?" -Averie

"Good news is your boyfriend is alive. The bad news is that he blacked out and we have him in a shopping cart. We're maybe ten blocks away. Can you meet us part way or something?" -Tom

"Sure. Yeah. I'll just be a second." -Averie

"Please hurry. He hasn't puked yet, but I won't be surprised if he does." -Tom, who immediately hung up

"Gavin's your life partner?" -Abby

"No. Tom was sassing me. Do you not know what sassing is?" -Averie

"I do. I just wanted to know if I had two dads now or what." -Abby

"Funny. I'm gonna go get him. I'll be going to bed when I get back, so wind it down."

"Yeah yeah. I'm getting tired anyway." -Abby said, still focused on the game

Averie stood up and walked out of his room, leaving the door open. He slipped into his shoes, never bothering to tie them properly, and grabbed a key to get back in. A stroll out the door and down the stairs, and he could hear it.

It was nearly 11 pm, and the streets were mostly quiet, except for the rolling and clacking; the occasional spinning. Coming from the south, Tom and a few other guys were pushing a cart, with Gavin sticking out of it.

"Sorry. I'm normally much better at getting to him before he gets like this." -Averie

"I know." Tom said "But try not to have this happen again."

"My, uh, cousin is staying over and--" -Averie, cut off

"You know you could have just come over too, right? A party is a party." -Tom

"She's only a kid. I didn't think she'd like it." -Averie

"Just please come over sometime. Have a drink and relax." -Tom

"I'll think about it." -Averie, grabbing the shopping cart.

They said farewell and Averie took Gavin in the cart down a few blocks toward their apartment. Tom and company ran off pretty fast, seemingly ready to take the party elsewhere.

Gavin groaned a bit, then turned his head. "Are they gone?" He mumbled.

"Yes. Your stupid plan worked like usual." -Averie

Gavin stretched out in the cart. It wasn't a particularly clever plan, but Gavin had made this a habit for years. Get wasted, hit up a parking lot, take a shopping cart, and pass out in it. Averie only recently had become Gavin's pick up guy, and while it was thrilling the first two times, it began to get ridiculous quickly.

"I'm hungry, dude. Let's pick up some food." -Gavin

"Same place as usual?" -Averie

"What else is open late and makes you feel great?" -Gavin

Fast food. For someone who spends hours watching cooking shows, Averie loved fast food. He could find something redeeming about any and every fast food place across the country. He could easily tell you what was good or bad, but Averie was not the type to spoil the fun. Part of the fun of fast food is the adventure: is the new item on the menu going to be any good, or will the burger empire decide hotdogs are a wise investment? Only fate would tell.

The boys busted down the apartment door, or put the keys in the lock and just walked in, with multiple bags of burgers, fries, and chicken nuggets. They figured they could get a hodgepodge since Abby had to eat too. Putting the food down on the table, Averie headed back to his room to let Abby know there was food. She was fascinated by the smell, but didn't know what to make of the situation.

"Fast food?" -Abby

"Yeah. We have it often, honestly." -Averie

"Shouldn't food be made with time and care?" -Abby

"This stuff was too! gets frozen for awhile...then is still made carefully!" -Averie

"She hasn't had fast food before?" -Gavin

Neither of them were prepared to explain this to Gavin. But this sentence is mainly here to build tension. Averie had an answer pretty quickly.

"She likes to pretend to be a time traveler from the past. So she's resistant of things she doesn't think existed a long time ago." -Averie

"That's a clever explanation, spaceman." -Abby

"Sounds a little confused as to what future she's in." -Gavin, laughing

Abby took a seat at the dinner table, which now had ripped open bags showing off all the food. Averie put a small order of fries and a small box of nuggets in front of Abby, pretending to be a good older cousin.

"Where is my silverware?" -Abby

"This is hand food. You just grab it." -Averie, demonstrating with a nugget

Abby stared at the fries.

"I think I need silverware for these." -Abby

Gavin holding a burger in his mouth, snapped his fingers in front of Abby's face. She was distracted now. He tilted her head back and dropped some fries into her mouth.

"Ah! Ah! They're hot!" -Abby, shouting

"They didn't feel that hot..." -Gavin, chewing

Averie opened a can of pop, which they kept on the table as a decorative piece, and helped Abby know to drink it.

"You keep fizzy river water in metal cylinders?" -Abby

"It's called soda. Or pop. Depends where you live. Either way, it is tasty." -Averie

"It is tasty!" -Abby, chugging

Averie grabbed a ketchup packet, opened it, and put some on a napkin for Abby.

"If you dip the fry it that, it might help." -Averie

Abby did so and made a face of satisfaction. She then proceeded to grab all the packets she could reach and drench her fries in ketchup,

"The suffering sticks are vehicles for the portable blood." -Abby, reciting her discovery

"The kid is kinda out there." -Gavin, to Averie

"She's something." -Averie

After dinner, they wound down and Averie established that everyone should go to bed. Gavin took this as a sign to pretend to go to bed. Averie was relieved to have a moment where Gavin couldn't ask questions. Abby seemed to be avoiding eye contact.

"I have to go to bed. You should too." -Averie

"Yeah. I do need to sleep. On a bed, just like a human." -Abby

"Did you have a plan for that?" -Averie

"Your bed." -Abby

"Wouldn't it be weird if we shared a bed?" -Averie

"Yes it would be. Which is why I did not plan to share." -Abby

"And where did you expect me to sleep?" -Averie

"I did not figure I needed to worry about it." -Abby

"Then what if you considered NOT sleeping in my bed. Why don't you sleep on the couch?" -Averie

"Isn't that dangerous? What if someone breaks in?" -Abby

"And does what?" -Averie

"Well let's see: if he is quiet, and shuts my mouth before I can shout, who is going to save me if someone takes me?" -Abby

"Nice story, but that won't happen. We're in a safe neighborhood. And my bed is my bed. I'm not bending on this." -Averie

"You wanna play hardball? I can play hardball. You can't keep me out of that room, and I can get pretty annoying. Especially if I don't sleep." -Abby

"You get worse than this?" -Averie, laughing

"I could take my true form and you could lose your sight. Then you'd be dependent on me to guide you around. No one would believe a crazy blind man." -Abby

"Have...have you done this before?" -Averie

"Maybe." -Abby

"You're the worst angel ever." -Averie

Reluctant, Averie grabbed some spare bedding from his room to make the couch work as a bed. Abby stood in the doorway of his bedroom and smiled.

"Well, I'll see you in the morning! Buckle up!" -Abby said, slamming the door behind her.

Averie lied there on the couch, with the blinds open. The view was not nearly as good. Sure, he could see some of the stars, but not much. There were many more buildings and lights out this window at night. Not to mention the grill on the balcony obscuring the view. He knew that even if he can't see the stars, they're still there, but that was suddenly less inspiring when he couldn't actually see more than a few. This day was the worst for Averie. Things didn't improve with Jeane, and now he has to pretend to have a younger cousin. How does he even explain this to his sister? Gavin took it well, but admittedly Gavin probably didn't care much. As he closed his eyes more, Averie embraced the idea that maybe life isn't as open and free as he thought it could be. Maybe there is a world without stars.
Dev and Matthew: Thank you for reading!
M: Now that you have read, we hope to answer a few questions.
D: This is going to be entirely unapproved by me before you post it, isn't it?
M: That's what you get for not asking why I wanted this drawing.

Who Did What
D: Originally these characters were an idea I had and would draw out little bits.
M: There was a rough outline, but not much of a plot to work with.
D: So I shared the idea and supervised while Matthew wrote.
M: Some of the scenarios are my own original ideas, and so is a lot of the flavor, but the base ideas are Dev's.

Will There Be More?
M: While we are discussing plans for me to write more, we're looking for intrigue.
D: It is much more motivating when more people are taking an interest.
M: So comments are appreciated. Because then Dev will actually draw some of the scenes.
D: Hey I do a lot here okay.

Other Projects
M: There are other projects, but they're on super pause.
D: Mostly because it is hard to find the time to draft new designs for newer ideas.
M: We might revisit ideas once we've made more progress with Preoccupied.

New questions added when asked!
Avatar Art by chocohugs; Signature by Tsui

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