Blood Ties
- Minty Fruit - Printable Version

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Minty Fruit - Nocturne Jackson - 2021-Sep-14

It was late afternoon and summer was giving another final attempt at clinging on as the heat persisted and the sun tried to melt the city. Perhaps that was bordering on hyperbole but Nocturne currently felt it was accurate as he stood in line at the local ice cream stand that was in the shape of a giant cone and ice cream. While he loved a lot of summer activities, he could really go without the hot and humid days. Now that it was September, he had been looking forward to the cooling temperature—and he was getting it, until that day. So it was time to treat himself.

He wasn’t the only one with the idea as two people were in line in front of him so Nocturne pulled out his phone to check the few messages he had received while driving his bike. Nothing was urgent so he left everyone on ‘read’ and stuffed the phone back in his pocket. The line crept forward as one person left the counter and the petite pink-haired woman in front of him approached. Most people would have spent the time in line deciding what they wanted but Noct already had his unusual order ready to go, though he was debating if he should go all out with three scoops or not.

As he debated that, he caught the girl’s order of mango, mint chocolate chip, and vanilla bean. His gaze snapped from the scenery to her head and he smiled. It was just as odd as what he liked and it propelled Nocturne into action as he stepped up beside her while she started to pay. “I’ve got it. And get me the same but instead of mango, do watermelon sorbet, please,” he told the attendant and handed over the twenty.

While he waited for the change, Noct turned to the woman with a shrug. “Not every day you find someone else who appreciates the delightful combination of mint and fruit.” He accepted the change only to put it all in the tip jar. He wasn’t trying to impress the woman but Noct could only imagine how awful it had to be to serve people all day and felt such people deserved to be recognized more than they were.

RE: Minty Fruit - Cassandra-Jade McDonald - 2021-Sep-16

CJ hadn’t planned to end up at the park, or getting ice-cream, but sometimes that was just the way her day ended up. Of course, that implied that CJ actually put any thought into her day to day life. She’d spent the majority of the previous week in a women’s shelter, escaping both the lingering heat of the Summer, as well as the grumpy, sweaty, gross mess her clientele tended to be during such weather. CJ hated listening to the sob stories the men rattled off, as if their lives were actually hard. Stupid, ignorant fools.

So, when the previous night offered up better fees than usual, CJ had decided to spend the day treating herself. Which meant her first stop of the morning had been to the local thrift store, where she’d shopped around, picking through clothing that wasn’t good enough for the last owner any more, but was more than good enough for CJ. Her prize of the day had been a flimsy summer dress that fell just far enough down her thighs to not be considered indecent. But if she bent over, she’d likely be giving a free show to whomever was behind her. CJ didn’t care. It was a super cute little dress, with pink hearts dotted over it in various shades, flimsy shoulder straps, and a deep neckline that would have shown off excellent cleavage if CJ had any bust to work with; instead, it just showed her too-skinny ribcage between her minimal breasts and the cute little bow on the front of her bra.

As CJ accepted her ice-cream from the woman, CJ nearly dropped it when the man behind her in line stepped forward. CJ scowled in irritation as he paid for it, pursing her lips and giving him a thorough once over, trying to figure out what his angle was before he spoke. CJ pursed her lips, frowning up at the man, ice-cream in one hand and the other on her hip. Her quip about being quite capable of purchasing her own ice-cream was swallowed when he ordered more or less the same thing, and CJ’s lips twitched. He was either trying really hard to hit on her – in which case watching him choke down the awkward flavours would be hilarious – or he was genuine. CJ didn’t come across genuine men very often, and so she lifted an eyebrow as he took his ice-cream, and waited to see if he’d choke on it.

“Indeed,” she said simply, watching as his change was put into the tip jar, then turning her attention back to the guy. She couldn’t say she’d seen him before; she likely would remember him if she had. Though maybe not if he’d been a client. He was too attractive to be someone who would pick up a girl from the corner strip, which meant he wouldn’t know her. CJ licked her ice-cream, and stepped away from the counter, so others could order their own sweet treat. With a casual glance at her companion, she invited him to join her as she made her way to the edge of the park, where the grass embankment fell off into sand, and sat down on the edge. She was curious to see if he would take her upon the wordless invitation to join her, or not.

RE: Minty Fruit - Nocturne Jackson - 2021-Sep-16

As he waited for his order, Nocturne took the time to take in the girl’s appearance. She was younger than he first assumed from the quick glance and he couldn’t decide if she was malnourished or naturally skin and bones. The dress was cute but bordered on being trashy with the length, the bra peeking out, and her tiny frame. The pink hair was cute and suited her, though. Not that he was really one to judge appearances. Okay, so he did, everyone did, but he wasn’t going to say shit about her style when it could easily be turned back around on him for his taste in tattoos or even in the board shorts and t-shirt that he had tie-dyed himself a couple of summers ago.

When the cone was passed over, Nocturne gave a lick from top to bottom to get a collection of all three flavours and smiled at the attendant and thanked them for it before following Pinkie. He hadn’t received any gratitude from her but he wasn’t really looking for any either as he was simply acting on impulse to treat her. But she seemed okay with him lingering so he sat down beside her and stared out at the lake as he worked on his ice cream. He wasn’t sure why he did it when turning in the opposite direction would have been just as easy but there was something in her look that had him staying. He knew the look since he wore it often when he was younger—and still did though he felt he was better at hiding it. His act had startled her and she didn’t know why he had done it or who he was. Noct would have been the same in the reversed roles and perhaps that was why he didn’t bother with the semi-translated name he usually gave people when he was being cautious or paranoid.

“I’m Nocturne.” He didn’t ask for her name, letting her decide if she wanted to give it or not. He was curious about her but didn’t want to push too much. “I haven’t tried the mango combo yet. I was working my way through the fruit options when I hit watermelon and it was too good to move on from it but I’ll have to come back for mango before they close for the season.” He stopped talking to run his tongue around the circumference of the tower to stop the drips from happening. That was the down side to cones but he enjoyed them more than a bowl and they were less waste.

RE: Minty Fruit - Cassandra-Jade McDonald - 2022-Jan-17

CJ raised an eyebrow when he sat down beside her, shifting her gaze back to her own ice-cream as she nibbled on it, occasionally licking around the part where the ice-cream met the cone. She didn’t want it dropping onto her hands, though she knew it was inventible. When he spoke, her gaze shifted back to him; Nocturne. Interesting name. She gave a wry smile. “I’m CJ,” she said after he’d offered his own; CJ was her day-to-day name, and what most people knew her as, though she couldn’t remember the last time she’d used her full name. The thought tried to bring her down, but she shook it off, and instead raised an eyebrow again as Nocturne spoke about his adventure with ice-cream flavours.

“I haven’t tried the watermelon,” she said after a moment of thought. She couldn’t remember how she had even come to her current combination; only that once she’d tried it, it had stuck. She loved each of the individual flavours by themselves, but honestly, all together was a wonderful tastebud explosion. Perfect for cleansing the palate after some of the less tasty things she’d been exposed to.

“Its not really a favourite of mine, though. And banana is gross.” That counted as conversation, right? CJ wasn’t sure, and her awkwardness was shining through with the unfamiliar terrain. She didn’t really talk to many people, and when she did, it was normally surrounded by sex; before sex… during sex… after sex… She wasn’t sure how to navigate the current situation.

RE: Minty Fruit - Nocturne Jackson - 2022-Jan-17

To be honest, Noct was surprised that he got a name out of her, and one he suspected was true. He would have doubted a more common name but used it all the same if that had been to her comfort level but initials meant some level of trust and something she potentially answered to regularly. It was better than the generic nickname of ‘Pinkie’ he had been mentally referring to her as, at least. Although now he was curious over what it stood for and decided ‘Colourful Jem’ was good enough for the time being since he would bet his ice cream that she wouldn’t share the truth.

“What did banana ever do to you? Banana bread is amazing, or at least my sister keeps telling me she likes the ones I make.” Nocturne turned and smiled at CJ, purposely revealing a bit more about himself to show he wasn’t plotting anything. Then again, a clever kidnapper would use that as a ploy to lower his target’s defences before striking. The world was a sad place where even innocent things were tainted.

“And you can try watermelon now if the fact I’ve already licked all of it doesn’t gross you out,” Nocturne offered with a move of his hand to hold the cone out between them. It wasn’t in her space but it was clearly there if she wanted to dive in. He had always been taught to share but he had a feeling his mom hadn’t meant such a treat and with a stranger.

RE: Minty Fruit - Cassandra-Jade McDonald - 2022-Jan-19

CJ raised an eyebrow at the mini rant about banana, and couldn’t quite keep from smiling in amusement. “It tastes nasty, and the texture is –“ she shivered in disgust, nose scrunching up to show her distaste. CJ had never been fond of banana, and couldn’t remember a time she’d liked it. She avoided peaches for much the same reason; nasty furry skin!

Banana bread?” her disgust at the idea was clear, her features scrunching up once more, and she shuddered. CJ couldn’t think of any time she’d heard such a thing, and the idea didn’t appeal to her in the least. Banana was gross, and while bread was a key ingredient in delicious sandwiches, she knew it wouldn’t be able to outweigh the grossness of banana. “That’s just nasty.” She said instead, her tone strong as she settled the argument before licking her ice-cream again.

CJ was taken aback at the offer to lick his ice-cream, and she snorted. She’d certainly done things that were far higher on the ‘gross-o-meter’ than lick someone’s already eaten ice-cream, but this offer was coming from someone who liked bananas and CJ wasn’t sure she could trust him with the ice-cream flavours being good or not. “No thank you,” she said primly, giving Nocturne a mightier-than-thou look down her nose. Just because she’d done grosser things didn’t mean she was going to try his ice-cream, though she was curious. Maybe she’d try the watermelon next time.

RE: Minty Fruit - Nocturne Jackson - 2022-Jan-19

Nocturne laughed at CJ’s absolute disgust over the idea of banana bread but could see how she’d find it repulsive after her explanation. The texture of food had never really bothered him but bananas would definitely qualify as odd if it did. “I suppose cake would be a better term for it rather than bread,” he tacked on as an afterthought. He’d have to look into why it was always referred to as a bread. Perhaps simply because it was baked in a loaf pan and sliced up like bread?

At the refusal to try his ice cream, Noct just shrugged and went back to enjoying it himself. He’d already assumed she wouldn’t accept it based on their knowing each other for two minutes but now she couldn’t accuse him of being rude—at least not over that. He was sure he’d find another way to earn that title that many before her liked to label him with. Rude, blunt, obnoxious, and snarky were all adjectives often associated with him but it amused him more than offended him. How could he be offended when it was the truth more often than not?

He focused on his frozen treat in silence, letting CJ have a chance to direct the conversation if she desired but after a bit of silence, Nocturne decided she was still skittish or perhaps just an introvert. If he went solely by her appearance, he wouldn’t have guessed that but he tried not to make too snappy of a decision without further evidence. He didn’t always succeed in that and he landed in trouble because of it but his instincts still said CJ was safe enough to be fairly open with. Not everyone was associated with vampires or someone out to get him or his family.

“Do you work or are you back in classes?” With school recently having started back up, it was another thing that he could assume one way or the other but asking was easier. “I didn’t continue on after high school and my job is mostly looking after my little sister.” Whether CJ was safe or not, Nocturne wasn’t about to confess he was sometimes dragged along on missions run by a preternatural organization that helped let her eat ice cream by the lake without fear of what could be lurking in that water or a shadow.

RE: Minty Fruit - Cassandra-Jade McDonald - 2022-Feb-27

“That doesn’t make it sound any better,” CJ said, raising an eyebrow and giving Nocturne a bemused look. “And isn’t there already banana cake?” She paused, “or are they the same thing?” CJ was confused now and frowned down at her ice-cream. It didn’t really matter, she wasn’t going to be eating either of them since she found just the scent of banana to be repulsive. Carrot cake, on the other hand, was very nice and she remembered enjoying it when she was much younger.

Lifting her head from her treat, CJ considered Nocturne for a few moments after he asked his question, trying to decide how to answer it. She wasn’t ashamed of her lifestyle, but it also wasn’t something that most people found appropriate for general conversation, so she shrugged slightly and went back to her ice-cream. “I work nights.” She said simply, but in a firm tone that suggested further information about her job wouldn’t be forthcoming. “I never finished school,” she offered instead, with another shrug.

“How old is your sister?” She asked; she was intrigued by this stranger who bought her and ice-cream and seemed to want to get to know her. She was used to people who never shared (she rarely did herself) and people who only wanted what was between her legs. Maybe she reminded him of his sister in some capacity? She couldn’t imagine how, since she was a skinny little prostitute with no education, but it wasn’t like she knew anything about his sister, either. She could be a toddler! “I don’t have any siblings.” Not that she was aware of, anyway, and the few fellow fosterlings didn’t count in her mind.

RE: Minty Fruit - Nocturne Jackson - 2022-Feb-27

Nocturne glanced at CJ and the way she stated her job, without stating her job. He didn’t press and not just because of her tone that implied she wouldn’t say more. He understood that hesitation to share and the caution that spurred someone on. She barely knew his name and that was it. Why chance him showing up at her place of employment, especially if she worked nights with little to no one else on staff? “Nights pay well and most schooling is overrated and unnecessary with what is taught,” he replied without any judgement. He’d never say that to his sister since he wanted the best for her, but a lot of classes and training didn’t need so much time and money tossed at it.

He gave a soft snort at CJ’s next question and shook his head. “She’s old enough to not really need me looking after her,” he confessed and then paused to lick around his treat again to stop the drips. “She’ll be seventeen in a few months but our mom ditched us about ten years ago and Pops works out of town a lot so it’s just been us for a while.” Their dad did his best but the Guardians owned him since birth and it was hard to leave that profession, especially with their family’s name and prestige. Nocturne didn’t blame him at all for being away so much since he had always been around when they were both young and he did his best to show up for Lyric’s important events.

“I only have Lyric—that’s her name. Lyrical Dream. Our mom was a music-loving hippie and had years to perfect her naming skills by that point.” Nocturne gave a faint but fond smile as some memories of her odd ways came back to him but he shoved them away. It wasn’t the time for that and it always brought up complicated emotions since he did love and miss her but also hated her for leaving them. He had promised from the moment he met Lyric he would always be her protector, her personal Guardian, but he had only been sixteen! How was he supposed to raise a little girl?

“If you’re in need of a laugh, my full name is Nocturne Moonlight Ballad. She used my middle names to explain what the first one meant,” again he gave a little shake of his head as if he still couldn’t believe the logic and went back to his ice cream.

RE: Minty Fruit - Cassandra-Jade McDonald - 2022-Feb-27

“It pays well enough, I suppose,” she said thoughtfully, licking her ice-cream again. It did, but it was wildly unpredictable. Some nights she could make several hundred, while others she’d go home empty handed, and then there were the nights she couldn’t be bothered, which wasn’t often, but did happen. She was glad she didn’t have a pimp, who would take a cut of her pay and force her to work hours she didn’t want to. As if being a prostitute wasn’t fun enough already.

“She’s lucky to have you,” CJ said sincerely, with the tiniest hint of jealousy; she didn’t have family, and hadn’t had anyone that cared about her, for her, for many years. She knew Mal cared, but that was different. Theirs was a bond formed from hardship and survival, not the love of a family. She’d had that once, but it had been taken away. It was always taken away. She pursed her lips, and then finished her ice-cream, crunching on the cone as Nocturne told her the names of himself and his sister.

An eyebrow was raised, and she turned her head to look at Nocturne sceptically, wondering if he was telling her fibs. It was a hell of a name to make up, but it did match with his sister’s Lyrical Dream, which was pretty but definitely … unique. “Your dad was okay with those names?” She asked after a moment, looking confused. Did he not have a say in it? She had no idea how naming a child happened. She certainly hadn’t named the girl child she’d given birth to, and she only had the State’s word that her name was the one she’d grown up with. But since they were sharing names, CJ decided to give hers, too, though she was clearly hesitant. “Cassandra-Jade,” she said softly, wiping her hands on her dress; despite her best efforts, they were sticky.

RE: Minty Fruit - Nocturne Jackson - 2022-Feb-27

Nocturne laughed at the reply. It wasn’t the first time he had heard a comment like that. “I’ve been told he’s to blame for my name, actually. Mom wanted Moonlight Ballad and Pops replied with a clarification of ‘like Nocturne?’ And she loved it. But he loved her so much and would do anything for her that I could have been named Grass and he’d flinch but go with it.” Once upon a time he hoped to have that level of love, to find someone that was his world. But that was before he learned about the reality of what happened to nulls and before their mom abandoned them. He didn’t want to be hurt on such a deep level like Pops clearly had been but Nocturne also didn’t want to do that to someone else when his life abruptly ended from his powers or a mission he was made to go on.

He was starting on his cone when CJ gave away the secret to the letters. He hadn’t expected it no matter how much he was over-sharing that day. “Beautiful name. I also appreciate the pink hair even more since you didn’t go green to play up Jade. Makes the name and yourself stand out and apart.” Nocturne crunched into his cone again and was soon carefully finishing the last bit. He seemed to have survived the treat a bit better than CJ had and smiled with a glance to her hands.

“Walk with me to the water’s edge? A quick and easy wash up,” he stated as he got to his feet and then offered a hand to help CJ to her feet. He didn’t care that they were sticky given their hands would soon be in the water with his shirt then offered up for drying upon. But while the offer to clean up was genuine, it was also a way for CJ to make her escape afterward if she wanted. Their shared treat was done and even with the name exchange, Nocturne still felt like she was uncomfortable with being around him for so long and probably felt exposed in some way. He would have liked to keep chatting but he wasn’t a complete jerk most of the time.

RE: Minty Fruit - Cassandra-Jade McDonald - 2022-Feb-27

CJ giggled slightly at the idea of being called ‘grass’, and had to bite her tongue to keep her from asking more about his mother. She seemed like an interesting character, and CJ was curious about where she went. He had said that she’d ‘ditched’ them, which implied that she hadn’t died. Unless he was phobic of the word ‘died’. But his tone and word choices had implied to CJ that he didn’t want to go into it, and she wasn’t about to push those boundaries for more information, no matter how curious she was. Especially since she had no desire to share her own family history with this virtual stranger.

“Okay,” she said simply, and took his offered hand with a grimace. Not because of the action, but because her own were sticky and the feeling was less than pleasant. She walked with him to the edge of the water, still burning with a curiosity she refused to give voice to, and washed her hands in the cool liquid, smiling as she shook most of the water off, before once more using her dress, this time to dry them. She studied him again for a few moments. He was attractive, clean-cut, and had been overall quite nice. She cautiously liked him, but didn’t really expect to see him again after they parted ways.

“I should probably go home.” She said, as if she had an actual home to go to. He didn’t know otherwise, and she wasn’t going to fill him in on it. “I want to get a few hours of sleep before work tonight.” Maybe she’d drop by Mal’s place, take a shower and sleep in a bed. She wasn’t sure if he’d be home, it would depend on his own hours, but she knew he didn’t mind when she popped in unexpectedly. She pursed her lips for a few moments, still considering Nocturne Moonlight Ballad with a frankness that could be uncomfortable. “Thanks for the ice-cream.”

RE: Minty Fruit - Nocturne Jackson - 2022-Feb-27

“Sometimes sleep comes in handy,” Nocturne agreed with a small smile. As expected, CJ took the opening and Nocturne didn’t argue it. He wouldn’t ask her to stay or even ask for her number. It had been a nice break in the day and sometimes that’s all people ended up being to each other. There was still something to the young woman that made him want to know more and to befriend her but maybe that would come if they ever crossed paths again. He would then know that they were meant for more than a moment of sharing ice cream and names.

“Thanks for the conversation, Cassandra-Jade,” he replied to her own words of gratitude. Nocturne gave a parting smile and a little dip of his head in saying farewell before he turned to leave first. He didn’t want to undo all the goodwill between them by having CJ think he would follow her home or into an alley. So he left first, making his way back up the grassy area and then along the short path to where his motorcycle was parked. He didn’t linger, still working under the decision to not spook potential new friends that he wanted to meet again sometime. Besides, it was still too hot out despite the cold treat and he wanted to get home and cool off properly in the air conditioned house like the spoiled brat he was.