(2018-10-26) Hero of the Heights
Willow meets local hero Everett

Pushing a large lawnmower up a ramp and back on to a trailer that's parked in the street of 'the hood,' Everett Franklin is helping his dad out in doing some of his lawn jobs back in Willow Heights before the weather gets terrible and the jobs get harder to find. For better or worse, Everett had made the news over the past couple of days for being at the Halloween party at KCC1 when the suicide bomber had made his attempt at breaking an explosive news story. Being as how he'd already had some infamy stemming from high school, he's been watching over his shoulder a little more than normal while he helped his dad out.

"Well look who it is. The hero of the hour" says a female voice, her grin obvious in her tone. It is Willow Banks. One time student with Everett but who disappeared a while back, never even finished high school. She is dressed in boots, tights, short skirt, t-shirt, and a huge ex-army jacket - though it may not be the US army. Sunglasses on, even if not needed, and her hair died an unnaturally deep red. "Saw you on the news. Well done."

Because momentum is important, Everett doesn't stop pushing the mower until it's up and onto the trailer. He then takes a moment to pull a towel out of his belt and dab at his forehead with it, turning to face Willow. He's wearing a T-Shirt that says 'Ben Franklin's Handyman Service' as well as cargo jeans and sneakers and has apparently been working for quite a while if the sweat circles are any indication. "I ain't no hero, but thanks," he says, smiling and nodding his head at the girl. "Just did the best I could."

A tilt of Willow's head as she reads his t-shirt. "Is that a comment about slavery?" Ben Franklin had slaves, didn't he? "Don't be so modest. You saved lives. Lots of them! How awesome is that? You should be proud, everyone else is." A beat before, "Oh, you probably don't remember me. We went to school together…when I went to school. Willow. Willow Banks. Ghetto native, just like you" she smiles broadly.

Everett blinks a few times at the slavery comment, then looks down at his shirt as realization hits him. He laughs and grins, walking down the ramp and wiping his hands off on his towel. "Nah, nah. My dad's name is Benjamin and our last name is Franklin. He just tries to get some play off of having a famous name," he says. To wit, he points at the white van that the trailer is hooked up to, which has a poorly done 'Benjamin Franklin's Handyman Service' design hand-painted on its side. As he approaches the girl, he holds out his fist to her. "What's good, Willow. I … /think/ I remember you? You used to hit up the parties, ain't ya?" And, because he's a guy, Willow will probably notice that he checks her out very briefly, even though he tries to be sly about it.

"Ah…that's a lot better than it being about slavery" Willow grins before offering a bump to the offered fist with her own. "Parties was the place to hang out. Way better than school" she shrugs. The slim girl probably feels bad that he's so obviously checking her out. She's not laden with the things that boys like. "So, you deliver things /and/ hang out at television parties? Wow, quite the variety. And a football star too. Glad things worked out so well." She screws up her nose. "Though you could probably have done without the whole bomb thing. You still working?"

Maybe she doesn't have much to gawk at, but at least a cursory glance is always required! Especially with the big jacket, which could have very easily hid the goodies! But Everett was /trying/ not to be too obvious about it, recognizing it's not polite. Smirking as he shakes his head, he moves back to the van and opens the back door, throwing the towel in and peeling his work shirt off. Turns out, he's wearing an a-shirt underneath, but the maneuver does reveal the fact that he iS CUT for an 18 year old. He doesn't appear to be showing off, though, as he tugs the a-shirt back down and lifts a button down shirt off the back of the front seat. "I'm no star, shorty. Not yet, anyway. I'm red-shirting this year. But coach sent four of us as team reps, all underclassmen so we could 'get a taste' of what it's gonna be like for us later, dealing with the news and stuff. Turns out, we got more than he bargained for." He's pulling the shirt over his head as he talks, adjusting it once its in place to make sure it's hanging correctly. "And I wasn't deliverin', I was mowing the yard. But, I'm done now, yeah."

Willow raises her eyebrows at the muscled body before politely looking away and humming to herself. "Hey, I'm not short, I'm fun size" she smirks before poking out her tongue at him. "Red-shirting? Like in Star Trek? Aren't they the ones that always die? That doesn't sound good" she frowns before her smile is back and bright once more. "You want to go have a coffee or something? Catch up?" A jerk of her thumb over her shoulder in the general direction of…somewhere.

Star Trek? The blinks and look of confusion indicate Everett likely has no idea what Willow is talking about. "Um … no … like this year doesn't count as one of my four years of eligibility since I didn't play in any of the games," he explains. At the offer of coffee, Everett smiles and nods, gesturing with his head towards the van. "Fa sho. Wanna ride? I'll drive," he offers, backing up and gripping the handle to the passenger door so he can open it for her if she agrees. "And if you ain't notice, we call most girls shorty. Li'l kids, too. But I can try and stick to Willow, if you prefer."

"Fine, you can call me Shorty" Willow snorts before clambering on up into the van. She looks it over with an expert's eye before buckling up her seatbelt…if there is one. "Though if there are a whole lot of girls around, which one are you referring to?" she grins. "I think there's a place on the edge of the heights that does okay coffee. Unless you know somewhere?"

"If you call me 'E,' I'll call you what you like, too. 's only fair," Everett responds before he jogs around the front of the van and climbs up into the driver's side. The interior of the van looks very much like one would expect a handyman van to look like. The front seat is /fairly/ clean, but the back is strewn with tools and sundry supplies. Everett clicks his own seat belt, since both work, before he starts up the car. "And yeah, I think I know which one you're talking about. We can head there."

Being so short, Willow puts her feet up on the dash as they drive, unless told not to. "E…okay. You can still call me, Shorty. It's cute." She seems content to enjoy the ride as they head for the street cafe with the security grills and the tables chained to concrete blocks in the ground - life in the ghetto. "You do all kinds of handy things?" she asks brightly. "If you ever need help fixing up the van, you could give me a call." That it's not growling like it has a V8 inside is a bit disappointing, but not everything can be a sports car. She points out a car park near the cafe. "See if you can get in there."

Everett is actually a fairly careful driver, staying under the speed limit just a shade and always signaling his maneuvers. Of course, he's towing a trailer with stuff on it that definitely doesn't belong to him! Looking around for a parking spot, Willow's suggestion causes Everett to nod as he turns towards the suggested location. "Well, I'm not nearly as good as my dad- he can fix just about anything. And yeah, he's the one that keeps the van fixed up. But I'll let him know, for sure. He might take you up on it. Or, if you're looking for work, he could prolly hook you up with that, too." As the car is parked and keys pulled out, Everett is quick to hop out of the van, saying, "Gimme a sec," as he hustles back around towards the passenger side, apparently to open the lady's door. Good home training, this one!

"I have a job" Willow replies with a smile - some Willow Heights people do! "Though I like fixing up engines and cars." And stealing them, but that's the old Willow. Oldish. A gracious smile as the door is opened for her again. "Aww…aren't you a sweetheart, E." She drops down to the road before heading for the small cafe, waiting for Everett on the sidewalk if need be. A playful nudge as they walk together. "You might get a free coffee" she whispers, "Being a hero and all. I bet your girlfriend is proud. And your dad."

Everett smirks sheepishly and hides his blush behind a bunch of melanin. "Just good manners, 's all," he mumbles, looking away as he closes the door. As they walk to the cafe, he also makes sure he stays on the street-side of the sidewalk and does all of the things his mother taught him to do when you're with a lady friend. "Yeaaaah … not from here, I won't," he says, looking at the cafe and grimacing. "Well, I guess it depends on who's working. I actually ain't got a lot of fans 'round here, still. Haven't gotten enough stitches for most folks' taste. But, yeah, my parents won't shut up about it." And, a small pause, before he adds, "And I don't have a girlfriend."

"Yeah?" Willow seems quite surprised that Everett has no girlfriend. Isn't he a football star and everything? There must be a cheerleader…unless he's playing the field of course. "I haven't got any stiches either and people like me" she offers with a warm smile. "I think they do. I hope they do." She screws up her cute little nose once more. "I'm /sure/ they do." Willow pushes open the door and steps inside. "Hey, everyone. A coffee for the man who saves lives" she announces, gesturing to Everett. "And a skim white for me. Grab us a table, E? We can sit outside if you like. Up to you."

Grimacing as he forgot to grab the door, E is quick to hold it while she enters, and will do so again when they head outside to sit. Of course, Willow's pronouncement gets everyone to look up and over, and Everett just grimaces and looks uncomfortable. Moving closer to Willow, Everett will lean in so he can talk so just she will hear. "Hey, shorty, careful. Some people would rather jump me than let me get a coffee. I don't wanna cause no problems." He then will offer nods and lift a hand to wave briefly at anyone who looks at them for too long. Making his way up to the counter, Everett fishes his wallet out of his jeans and pulls his debit card out to pay for the drinks.

Willow frowns at Everett's whisper. "Those people are silly, then" she huffs. "This neighborhood needs its heroes. It already has too many violent dickheads." She eyes off the others in the cafe as she speaks, daring them to disagree - albeit with a warm smile on her face the whole time. "Problems don't cause themselves, E. It's a decision." Letting him pay - she hasn't had her job long - she will then wait for doors to be opened before slipping outside to grab a table on the street. Settling down she offers Everett a curious look. "Too busy to have a girlfriend?"

Handing Willow her drink as he opens the door for her, Everett joins her at the table and shrugs his shoulders. "Hey, I don't disagree with you, shorty. But … well … I mean, you ain't remember that kid got kilt a couple years ago at that party?" he asks as he settles down onto the bench. "I got areested after that and took a plea deal where I helped out the popos. Been ducking beatings ever since." And then, at the last question, he ducks his head between his shoulders and takes a drink from his coffee. "Nah … I just … I mean, most girls just tryin' a date me cuz I ball. I ain't down with that."

"Yeah, I remember that shooting" Willow nods solemnly. "Changed my life, though it didn't do much for my friend" she smirks. "She was the one who was shot. My best friend. Some gangers, and you ain't a ganger, E. Gangers don't hold open doors for people. I doubt they ever got the right people." Her smile returns. "Made me appreciate everything that I had. And I ain't talking about possessions and stupid shit like that. I mean…life. You know? No matter how bad it gets, it's better than the alternative. And if you think it's bad, then change it. Easy."

"Oh dang … that … that was you /best friend/?" Everett asks, a sincere look of dismay on his face. "Willow … man. Dang. I didn't know her, but … man. I can't tell you how sorry I am 'bout that. I didn't know who was doing the shooting or the fighting or anything. But, when me and my best friend took off with his cousin, turns out the car was stolen. And, since his cuz was involved in gangs and my best friend was involved in gangs, we was all looking at maximum penalties and stuff, even though I was just trying to get away from the fight and had no idea the car was stolen. So … I snitched on my homeboy's cousin so I could get off with parole and have my record sealed once I hit eighteen. So … I'm sorry they ain't never found who actually did it. I wish they did and I tried to help. Honest, I did."

"Seriously, it's all cool. There but for the grace of God, you know? Though I don't believe in God. I had all these god-botherers telling me it was all a trial from God to bring you closer to Him. All I wondered was what trial Sarah was going through, she was my friend, and why she had to die to bring me closer to God. Pretty shitty God there" Willow replies before looking nervously at Everett. "Though if you believe, that's your business. No need to listen to me." She blows over her coffee and has a taste, immediately wincing. "Damn, did they use water from the tap or somewhere else. But, hey, it's warm. Always look on the bright side, you know? I mean, with all we've gone through, we don't have it as hard as…that guy." She points to a homeless man across the street before studying Everett for a moment. "Sorry to hear about the snitching. You'll be fine. Oh, they found someone but I doubt it was the right guy."

Where Willow is able to just brush it off and move on, it is fairly apparent that things still bother Everett to this day. "Well, I'm glad you're doing okay with it. And I'm sorry you lost yo' faith. But … I mean … if you 'bout lookin' on the bright side, least yo' friend ain't down here strugglin' no mo'?" he offers, shrugging his shoulders and looking at least a little hopeful. But, he doesn't appear intent on pressing the issue, just offering a caveat. He gestures towards her drink, saying, "I can go get you another? Or something different? They … may have not made it right cuz a me, after all. If they thought you was with me, it's pretty easy to mess up a special, when all they can really do is spit in mine."

"Nope, she's not struggling anymore, but I don't think she's having a great time either" Willow grins. "I think she'd rather be here." A shrug. "Life happens and we make the best of it." A shake of her head about the coffee. "It's fine. You shouldn't think the worst about people. Nobody is spitting in drinks, they just don't have the skills to make a coffee. It's an art, you know? I'll show you one day. If I wasn't working for a dick, I'd probably be making coffee for a living." A nod towards the van. "You still living at home?"

"… if your boss is a jerk, why keep working for him?" Everett asks, welcoming the change of subject. Casting a glance back towards the van, Everett shakes his head. "Nah, I'm on campus. My family and the cops think its best if I stay outta Willow Heights more often than not. So, I live in the dorms. I'm hoping I can get on scholarship next year and maybe make it into a frat or something, but we'll find out this spring."

Willow laughs about her boss. "No, she's a private detective. They call them dicks. She isn't a dick like what you think, she's a dick in another way." Another little giggle before she sips on her coffee again. "The dorm, huh? Nice. Do you have your own bathroom? You'll definitely get a scholarship. Especially with your heroics at the party. Willow Heights kid becomes hero…you're a shoo in. Sports scholarship?"

"… ohhh," Everett says, nodding as the private eye is explained. He drinks his own coffee while Willow talks, chuckling and smirking. Gosh, she sure is upbeat. It's nice. And very cute. "Nah, I share my bathroom with the dorm next to me. But since I'm on the football team, I do get the room to myself. Normally, you bunk with another teammate, but thanks to my whole criminal background and stuff, and the fact that since I'm a local and shouldn't really be /in/ the dorms, I'm not sharing. And yeah, hopefully. Football. … I was pretty good in high school. Did you never come to any of the games?" he asks, incredulous.

"Umm…yeah…some of the games" Willow replies with a hint of embarrassment in her expression. "All those cars parked around. Everyone distracted by the game. Yeah, I went to some of the games." A wink for Everett. "Haven't been to one for a while though. When is the next one? It's football season, right? And a whole room to yourself. Nice. See, there's another bonus in your life. People who cared enough to get you out and somewhere you could make something of yourself."

Okay. Everett finally has to laugh at Willow's enthusiasm, reaching out his hand to try and tousle her hair a little. "You just gotta make everything better, huh?" he asks, his grin broad and genuine. "It's football season, yeah. Next game is tomorrow. Dixie State is in town. Should be a good game. Want tickets?" he asks, smiling at Willow.

"Is there a point to making everything worse?" Willow grins. "We have enough people out there who do that." She looks upwards. "And enough people at this table who do it to hair. I'd love tickets, thanks. That would be cool. Probably only need one…hmm…how many can you give me? I don't want to sound greedy, or scalp them or anything, but maybe I could get one for my boss. And maybe another one so she can take someone…other than me. She could really do with a date. You'll be playing? What position are you?"

Everett laughs again and just grins at Willow fondly. "No point. Still fun, though," he responds. Then, as she asks about the tickets, he shrugs a little. "I get four per game. My parents already have season tickets, so you can have all four if you want. And nah, like I said. I'm not playing. Right now, I'm the quarterback for the scout team, but they signed me as a running back. So … I can kinda do either," he says. And then, the ever important question needs to get asked. "What about your boyfriend? Doesn't he like football?"

"Four would be awesome, thanks" Willow smiles excitedly. "Oh yeah, you mentioned something about not being in the team. I don't really understand football terms. I do know 'quarterback' though. That means you're the top dog on the team, right? Everything goes through you. Pretty impressive," Another laugh to go with a shake of her head. "No boyfriend. You might call me 'Shorty', most guys call me 'Chicken Legs'. I don't have what boys want…not at this age anyway. And that's fine. If I get horny, I have hands."

"Nah, just for the practice squad," Everett tries to explain. And then she's talking about how she doesn't have what boys want, which Everett's about to disagree with. "Well, that's not-," Everett starts. But, then Willow shares more than he was expecting and it shuts him up. He blinks, and then swallows and looks down sheepishly. He's quiet for several seconds, obviously not sure how to respond, until he eventually just shrugs and says, "Well … I like your attitude, so." Yeah, awkward sea turtle.

"Are you blushing, E?" Willow asks, teasing lightly but not in any way mean. "Sorry, I should try and modify my words for my audience. You're a good person. Polite. You probably didn't want to hear that. So…forget I said it. Done!" She smiles warmly. "I like my attitude too. And I like yours. You'll go a long way, E. I promise you. How's your coffee?"

"What? No! I mean … well … I mean, it ain't none of my business, really, I just ain't expect you to just be all out there with it and stuff. … I mean … it ain't like you're the only one doing it or anything," Everett admits, shrugging his shoulders again. He then looks into his coffee cup and chuckles, holding it so she could see inside. "Gone, looks like," he responds. "Honestly, though? I'm not really much of a coffee kind of guy. I mean, obviously I can drink the stuff. But … it don't offer no nutrients or nothing. So I don't really drink it much," he explains.

"I'll try not to be so forward in the future" Willow promises, reaching out to squeeze his forearm in apology. "It's that attitude you like though" she giggles. Willow peers into the cop and nods. "I guess all that spit was okay then. You're right, though. It's a drug. No other reason to drink it. You should have said, we could have got a soda or something. Kale shake."

"Nah, you can be forward, it's cool," Everett responds, smiling up at Willow when she squeezes his forearm. "Just wasn't prepared for it, 's all. 'specially from a shorty. Y'all normally won't never say what's really on your mind, so having it out there is really cool,." He then chuckles and shakes his head adamantly when she suggests the other drink. "Oh /heeeell/ no. Trainer made us drink that kale crap at the beginning of summer practice to help 'detox our bodies.' Fruit smoovies is cool. I ain't into all that new age stuff, man. Diet fads and what not?" Everett shakes his head again and shrugs. "But the spit don't bother me, no ways. I mean, I've made out with girls before, so it's not much different. Hopefully they ain't hock a loogey or something, cuz /that/ woulda been gross."

"It's time for us Shorties to be heard!" Willow giggles, even raising a fist into the air. Giggle becomes laughter as Everett talks about the Kale. "I totally agree with that, but sometimes that detox is exactly what you need. If nothing else, it will put you off eating for a while. Mmm…fruit smoothie. I like. Not that Willow Heights is known for them." A smirk for the young man as he talks about swapping spit with the ladies. "Oh yeah. And how many girls have you made out with? Naughty boy…or is that too forward?"

Everett chuckles a little. "Yeah, that's why we did it at the beginning of the season. I been eating right since then, though, for the most part, so I'm not trying to go though /that/ again." And then Willow is asking THAT question and Everett's eyes shoot up. "You for real wanna know?" he asks. Then quickly adds, "I mean, I can figure it out if you do, and I'll tell ya since you asked. But … again … most of my experience? Girls ain't wanna know NOTHING bout what happened before them."

Willow shrugs. "You don't have to tell, E. Just playing with ya." Her eyes narrow playfully. "/Before/ them? You expecting we're gonna be swapping spit? See, now there's positive action at work" she winks. "You done for the day or you got another job to do?"

"What? No, I- … uh …." Really, what can Everett say? Damned if he does, damned if he doesn't. Thankfully, she doesn't press him on the question and instead changed the subject. It takes him several seconds to recover and there might even be the slightest tinge to his skin color, evidence that maybe it is possible for him to blush in the slightest bit. After blinking and stammering for a second, he finally manages to answer the second question. "Nah, I'm done. Hence we're getting coffee, remember?"

"It could have been a lunch break" Willow points out. "Or a coffee break…ironically enough. I don't want to take up all your time, E. We could go to the movies though. Seen 'Halloween' yet? Or done any of the Halloween celebrations around town? There's probably a haunted house somewhere."

Eyebrows shooting up again, Everett looks surprised. Then, he smiles. "Why, Miss Willow, are you asking me on a date?" he teases, smiling. "And nah, I haven't seen it. Or that new Hunter Killer that just came out today. And yeah, there's some haunted houses out there, too, but … man … between you and me? There's been a LOT of trouble at the Halloween stuff. I mean, I'm not scared, so if that's what you wanna do, let's do it. But, I just figured it's something to keep in mind."

"Yeah, the news always tells you about the bad things, not the good things. Don't get me wrong, all those people dying this week is pretty shitty, but, though we have to stay vigilant, thirty thousand people in this town /didn't/ die this week. Why don't we hear about their achievements in the news?" Willow gets off her high horse and stands instead. "A date? With the town hero? And they said I'd never amount to much. If the movie is safer, we'll go there. Is 'Hunter Killer' a horror movie? Sounds like one."

Everett laughs and smiles as Willow goes on about the good things. "Damn skippy," he agrees, nodding. And then he's rolling his eyes. "Shorty, I ain't even really /do/ anything, 'cept knock his little detonator thing away /after/ some dude had jumped him. Like I said, I ain't no hero." But, since Willow is standing, he joins her and smiles a little. "Nah, Hunter Killer is an action movie with submarines and Gerard Butler. But you really think sitting in a dark movie theater with a boy like me is gonna be safe?" he teases, winking at her. "But for real, Willow. Whatever you wanna do is alright with me. I ain't been to a haunted house in ages."

"Okay, let's go check out a haunted house. You're probably right. A footballer who's done all that spit swapping…yeah…you'd be dangerous in a dark cinema" Willow smirks. "Did the dude who jumped him have the detonator? No. So you had to make sure everyone didn't die. Don't belittle your achievements." She looks over at the van, a sly smile forming. "Hey…can I drive? We need to get to the house before it closes."

Everett eyerolls and shakes his head, still smiling at Willow's encouragement. When she eyes the van, Everett shakes his head. "Huh-uh, no can do, shorty. That's my dad's van. Only person who can say you can drive it is him. My dad is cool and all, but if anything happened? That's /my/ ass. And, cute as you is and much as I like ya, I ain't getting a new ass for you, yet. I'll drive. Sorry!"

"Oh well. Worth a try. You never know unless you ask. C'mon, Slowpoke." Willow runs down to the van, waiting to get in and practically bouncing with enthusiasm. And, yes, she tripped over at least twice in her sprint, though managed to regain her footing before hitting the concrete. "Once I get a car, I'll show you what real driving is like." Willow eyes off the cars parked down the street, pondering her options, before a firm shake of her head. No more stealing cars! "C'mon, E!"

Chuckling again, Everett shakes his head when Willow tries to sprint to the car. He gives her a second and then also takes off sprinting, probably (hopefully, if he's got any potential as a football player!) sprinting right by her. That is, until she stumbles, at which point he'll slow down and try and make sure she doesn't faceplant. He'll open her door once again and help her up into the van, then make his way around to his door. Pulling out an older model iPhone, he googles the nearest haunted house and gets directions so they can drive in its direction. Smirking again, E asks, "How you learn to drive you ain't got a car?" he teases.

"I borrowed other people's" Willow replies with an innocent smile before peering at the directions on the phone. "That's not too far" she notes before taking the phone from Everett. "Eyes on the road, hero." Will she start flicking through his phone? Only nonchalantly. "It's not fair, you know. You being an athlete and everything. I could have beaten you to the car if I tried. I'll have you know that I'm as fast as anyone over the first inch. Turn right up here. You gonna go trick or treating? Got a costume?"

There's Everett, chuckling again, smiling over at Willow for a moment, before he follows directions and puts his eyes back on the road. "Yes ma'am," he nods. He also follows her directions, taking the appropriate turns. When she goes through his phone, she'll see lots of texts from his teammates about stupid boy stuff like video games, did-you-see-so-and-so, liquor, etc. There will also be a few from his coaches about football related stuff. His mom will have a strong presence, with his responses indicating the good home-training of yes, ma'am, no ma'am, and agreeing to do things she tells him to do. And, if she looks at his snapchat, she'll see LOTS of snaps from girls that he hasn't opened, dating back for a couple days. She can probably guess what they are, but if she opens some, she can confirm it. It's fairly obvious that Everett hasn't.

"Whoa, whoa, whoa there, shorty. Much as I might like to, I can't stay out /all/ night witcha. I do got a game in the morning, so curfew ten PM. We can /either/ do a movie, or a haunted house, but I ain't got time to go get changed and trick or treat. … but … if you wanted to do it another night … we could." And he glances sideways at her, his not-so-sly attempt to see if she's looking to see him again or not.

"I didn't mean everything tonight" Willow replies with a roll of her eyes. "Why would you go trick or treating four days before Halloween?" She opens up one of the snapchats and her eyes go wide…then confused. She turns the phone upside down and then has an 'ah' expression as she figures out what she is looking at. Delete. "Haunted house. It should be at the end of this block." Willow slips his phone into one of her jacket pockets as they pull up. "We'll do the trick or treating when everyone else does."

Everett's chuckle turns into a laugh and he nods. "Okay. … o-kay," he says, mostly to himself, smiling. He pulls in to the lot of the haunted house and parks at the end, where there's space for the van and trailer. And then, once again, "Just a sec," as he climbs out and hustles around to open Willow's door for her. "So, like I said. I ain't been in a haunted house in /years/, so. You go'n have to lead the way on this one," he says, smiling and waiting so he can walk alongside her.

A smile of thanks as Willow alights from the van before rolling her eyes at his words. "My hero, sending me first" she teases as they walk towards the door. She'll pay for this one. Handing over her hard earned money before entering the door with the 'Abandon hope all ye who enter here' sign…original. "How often do you think I'm in one?" she laughs. "Other than the block I live in." Willow walks carefully down the first hallway, the air filled with screams and scary music. "Whose idea was this?" she whispers, trembling a little and reaching out for Everett's hand. A hand bursts through the wall and Willow screams, jumping into the opposite wall, bouncing off it hard enough to end up back in reach of the hand. It grabs at her shoulder and she tries to spin away, still holding Everett's hand, which causes her to contort and trip over her own feet. She falls back into Everett, hoping to be caught.

Well. Everett is no scaredy-cat. But, he's also an African American from the hood, so his fight-or-flight reflex leans pretty heavily towards the fight side of things. He's also an athlete, so when stuff reaches out for him, he's fairly quick to dodge out of the way. Thankfully? Willow grabs his hand, which keeps him from swinging at the people just doing their job. But then Willow is bouncing from one side to the next, then tripping, and oops! "Gotcha," Everett says, reassuringly, as he wraps one of his arms around her back to keep her from falling to the floor. He continues holding her until she's steady back on her feet, and then, instead of just letting go, he'll slide his arm into a more tenable situation around her waist while he looks down to her. "You good, shorty? You know I'ma protect you." And he offers her his All-American Smile, the one that's hopefully gonna wind up on Wheaties boxes someday. … if there are still Wheaties boxes by then.

"Yeah, I think I'll survive" Willow smiles sweetly back up at him. "Protect me by making me go first?" she teases before gently pushing away and adjusting her hair. "I had it under control. They didn't frighten me." A photo on the wall that she dislodged with her impact drops to the floor with a thud and she screams again. "Umm…let's keep going. It can't be all this bad." Her breathing is a little hectic as she starts forward into a mad scientist laboratory. "Isn't this so cute" Willow grins, picking up a vial of something green. "Do you think this is safe to drink?"

Everett laughs again and lets her go, though … he doesn't let go of her hand. Unless she tugs. "I think, if it was meant to be drank? Folks woulda been drank it already cuz we ain't the first ones through here," he reasons. And, since they're in a mad scientist’s laboratory, Everett's watching the corners warily- somebody with an axe or a giant syringe is BOUND to be coming out of a trap door or fake wall or something. He gets his battle plan ready, keeping track of where Willow is so he can protect her before clocking whatever fool is sorry enough to rush them. Yup. He's definitely punching them dead in the face. "And you ain't gotta go first, shorty. I'll go first. You just gotta tell me which way we goin'."

"You're probably right" Willow nods about the vial, putting it down as a moan echoes around the room. "Oh, sorry about that. I guess that coffee really upset my stomach." Another moan and Willow looks worried. "Actually, I don't think that was me." And sure enough, Frankenstein's Monster comes lumbering towards them. He must be seven feet tall…which in itself is enough to get Willow screaming in panic and heading for the room exit, dragging Everett with her if need be. Though she doesn't have much chance of moving him without his permission. "This way!!"

Oh! Yup! Monster! There's an initial duck, as if something were thrown at him, and then Everett balls his other fist, getting ready for mortal combat. But then Willow is dragging him away and he follows after her. "Cot dang, man! OOoo, he was 'bout to get stole on!" Everett exclaims when they're 'safe,' shaking the adrenaline out from his head all the way through his extremities. He gives Willow's hand a squeeze and smiles at her. "You good? You still up for this?" he checks in on her, smiling.

"Of course I'm still up for it" Willow sniffs. "Not bothered in the slightest." There may be some trembling in her legs but they are scrawny. "And I don't think we can just walk out in the middle. We have to go to the end. I think. Oh, E, you're not allowed to punch the people who work here. It's just meant to be fun. Let's go see what's next. Probably zombies. There are always zombies."

E laughs and rolls his eyes. "Yeah, well. You just wait. They put hands on me, we go'n see what them hands about," he quips. "Alright, fearless leader. Send me forth unto the zombies!" And he moves to take the lead, this time, so that he can, in fact, protect Willow if something does come rushing at them.

"Are you on steroids or something?" Willow teases over the violent reactions to stimulus that Everett seems to have. She will grab the back of his clothing, following close behind as they walk into a graveyard. "See…told you. Zombies." Her big eyes flicking furtively from side to side as she expects to be assaulted any moment. More groaning noises, though these are piped through the sound system rather than from actors. A scream! A buxom young woman runs past in front of them, followed by shuffling zombies. Willow elbows Everett lightly in the back. "Eyes on the zombies, E."

"Hey, why would I look at zombies when I got alternatives?" he teases right back, using an arm to bar Willow from danger. When the woman runs by, he moves quickly to the side, trying to keep Willow with him and safely behind him. "'sides, you the only one in danger here. Zombies want brains 'n I'm a dumb jock," Everett adds, turning back to wink at Willow.

"Hmm…that is true" Willow deadpans in reply. "Better get me out of here." The zombies are heading their way, all grasping hands, slavering mouths, and cheap make-up jobs. They look more afraid of Everett than he is of them. "Run!" Willow yells and heads for the exit, ducking a swinging arm…and tripping over a headstone that sends her sprawling into the fake mud. Mud which is only an inch thick above a very hard floor. A muffled groan from the teen. "Owww."

"Oops!" Everett calls. He holds up a hand to the zombies, indicating they should hold up for a second, as he moves to kneel next to Willow. "Don't worry, Willow! I'll save you," he says in a mock-hero voice. He then reaches underneath the waif and lifts her up in a cradle carry, holding her close. "All set?" he asks, smirking at her and winking. And then /he'll/ run for the exit, accomplishing it with a little more grace than his companion. He continues carrying her, after they exit, walking several more paces and then off to the side so they're not in the way of anyone else who might be exiting soon. "You okay, shorty?" he asks, smiling down at her.

"I think I hurt my dose" Willow pouts, rubbing at her nose, before smiling up at him and dramatically sighing. "My hero. That's two times this week you've saved the day. Careful, you'll make a habit of it. And then you won't be able to try and convince people you aren't a hero." She peers back the way they came. "Are we out? No more horrors? I suppose you better get back to the dorm and tuck yourself in for the big game. You'll leave the tickets at the gate?"

"Yeah, we're out," Everett replies, rocking Willow a little since she doesn't seem to be in a huuuuge hurry to get let down. "And I don't do the hero thing for just anybody, so you better not go spreading rumors," he adds, winking. "As far as if I gotta get back to the dorms, I dunno. You still got my phone. I ain't forgot." He then begins walking back towards his van, carrying her weight without too much difficulty. "And yeah, the tickets will be at the gate under my name. So … do you want me to drive you home, or …?"

Willow is not in a hurry to be let down at all; safer for her than walking. "I won't spread rumors. Just tell the truth" she winks before wriggling her nose to make sure it still works. "Your phone?" she asks with mock surprise. "Oh, yeah, I guess I do." She takes it out and uses it to take a selfie of her being carried by the star footballer. "If it's not out of your way, I'll take a lift" she nods happily. "You're not taking the van to the dorm, are you? You have to take it home…back in the Heights? I'm still in the Heights."

"…. ohhhhhhhh yeah. Duh. Yeah, you right, shorty, you right," Everett says, nodding. When she goes to take the selfie, Everett leans in and grins. When they get to the van, Everett sets Willow down while he opens the door, but he doesn't necessarily move away from her or take his other arm from around her waist. "Your chariot awaits, milady," he teases as he waits to help her up into the van.

"I hope it's got more than two horsepower" Willow snorts as she gets into her chariot…with some help. Everett's phone placed on the dash for him, once she's sent the selfie to her own phone. Feet back up on her side of the dash. "South Smelter Street. I'll show you where you can drop me off. If you park, you might lose your hubcaps."

Everett nods. That statement tells him two things. He hustles around to his side and buckles up, starting the van. Once again, he follows her directions, driving much slower than she probably enjoys, but making sure to get her back to her house safely. As he pulls over to the indicated spot, he does go ahead and put the van in park, sitting there and not turning to stare awkwardly at Willow. "Well, I had fun tonight, Willow. I really do like your personality. You're super upbeat and I enjoy it," he says.

"Yeah, it was pretty fun" Willow nods in agreement, offering a smile at being described as upbeat but not dwelling on it. "And you're not bad yourself, hero." She leans over and kisses Everett on the cheek - not wanting to freak him out too much. "I'll see you at the game. Thanks for the lift. Sleep well. I'll let myself out."

Everett lets himself be kissed on the cheek and then grins. But, he certainly isn't gonna stand for … or sit for, actually, that. "No, no, I got you," he says, hopping out of his seat and moving around to the other side of the van. And this time, when he opens the door for her and helps her down, he'll lean in and try to give her a kiss on the cheek, only his would linger a little longer and include his hands gently resting on her waist.

A roll of Willow's eyes at his insistence, but she is smiling when Everett helps her out of the van. No object to the kiss on her cheek or the hands on her waist. Her own resting on the taller person's hips as best they can. "Thanks again" she blushes, a goofy smile on her lips before she pats him on the hip. "Go on, get out of here. I'll see you tomorrow."

Everett does back away, grinning like the cat that got the canary. "Okay. If you stick around after the game, I'll come find you in the stands. Have a good night!" he says. And, wouldn't you know it? As he goes to move back towards the driver's side, stepping off of the curb, instead of watching where he's going, he's smiling at and waving at Willow. And he actually trips. He doesn't fall, mind you, just stumbles and catches himself right away. Ooh sheesh. He laughs, awkwardly, then waves again and disappears back to the driver's side of the van.

Willow giggles at the stumble - welcome to her life. "Watch where you're walking!" she yells out, grinning from ear to ear as she offers him a wave in return. Once he's safe in the van she will start the walk home. Another wave when he drives past. He seems nice.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License