Author's Notes and Characters
CONTAINS FUTURE PLATONIC LOVE, MINOR VIOLENCE, AND LEWD INNUENDOS.
This story is merely a personal project—I continue to develop these characters in mind and try my best to present them in the least pretentious and ambiguous way possible. However, the premise might be too straightforward for a few of you, which justifies how cliché it is or how it could end. Sorry. As for states like finance, economy, society, etc. they are the least of importance in terms of conflicts in this one and are disregarded for story's sake. Sorry, again. Nonetheless, what I write is what I write, but anything written with suggestions and improvement from other intellects (like you) may better my story. Thank you, and have a good read.
Clarice — Angsty pacifist with a humorous insight.
Lillian — Optimistic, cheery tomboy.
Vale — Abrasive cynic; a deadpan wherever he goes.
Jen — Second matriarch.
Loki — Free-spirited and wild.
Ren — Tactful and empathetic.
James — Second to oldest yet inept and childish.
Tess — Has a taste for everything fashion.
Sam — Bashful, timid, and least prone to confrontations.
Parents — Ultimate support. Most of the time.
UPDATES EVERY 2–3 DAYS
— Ray Iñaki
Chapter I: Dumpster Diver
A boy scrunched his nose at the ghastly stench that faulted his sense of smell. He tried to ignore it and focused instead on the task in hand—his judgement was never the worse, and he'd like to keep it that way.
If that wasn't the case, otherwise, he wouldn't have came outside and helped his older brother in taking the trash out.
Clarice heaved and, with one final tug, jammed one out of many bags into the trash bin. As he slumped and caught his breath a dumb grin spread on his face, but for now he didn't really care. Time had ticked slow for Clarice. He had passed from door to bin repeating the tedious work he had been doing for the past few minutes. Hours? Who could tell it probably wouldn't matter—and that itself is its own misery. His current predicament is that there never was a time where his chore is, instead, shrouded with the serene chirruping of the birds and the dramatic graze of the wind.
Nope, his older brother was there.
Beside him, Vale followed suit and slammed his back against the wooden exterior of their abode, sweating more than he could torment Clarice's grit, speaking of. "Wow, two hands to drag a lump of trash like you?", he crossed her arms. "Why did dad even bother to pair you with my chore?" This, of course, wasn't gone unattended by an easily affected, younger brother.
"Screw you." Clarice retorted, harsher than he anticipated, randomly glancing over his shoulder at the taunting, black heap residing by their doorway. The sight alone caused him to groan. A bothering motive fixated his attention back at his taller brother, suddenly determined. "If you're so competent with yourself and your 'oh-so-strong-self'—" here, his fingers imitated quotations "—why don't you handle all that trash yourself??" The older sibling fashioned his typical scowl, and when he threw a wicked glare at him Clarice felt virtually buried into his own grave. Rather than actually stating with reason, he said, "How about I rip those limbs of yours and we'll see who can handle all the damn trash to themselves, yeah?"
Clarice's determination quickly vanished and his gulp was too obvious; he trembled, and Vale grinned with triumph.
"That's what I thought." Vale added. Damn it. That always worked.
The pair quickly returned to today's task, a silent tension prevailing more prominently for Clarice than Vale. While he enslaved himself over the chore, he took the short ounces of time to asses the older sibling. Vale always had been condescending towards him and the younger siblings. He often or not abuses that to assert his dominance, which sucked. The older brother had done this more so that it unwittingly could be considered an external, trivial chore. In the other hand, the ordeal of having to painstakingly take out the trash with the worst pair to have was convincing enough for him to be the world's worst.
When today's chore was finally finished, Clarice immediately went inside the house and headed straight for his room, away from damn Vale. In the midst of his journey he ran into a few of his brothers and sisters ("Yo, Clar'!"—"Dude, how's it hangin'?"—"Hi Clarice!"). He turned for his bedroom when the eldest of the runts noticed him the instant he did too. "Clarice!" She greeted jovially. "Hey—Hey! Jen—Ey!"
Jen approached the younger sibling and drew Clarice into a nuggie. "How's my little bro been doing lately!" Clarice flushed in contentment and embarrassment, and he pulled away. "Day sucked, I guess."
"Well, I'm sure you'll find yourself the leisure to be happy sometime."
"Yeah..." He replied staring elsewhere, his face downcast in an obvious manner of dismay—Jen quickly noticed.
"Hey", she crouched eye-level to him and slipped her hand against his right shoulder. He looked at her in the eyes. "How about I'll take us to the mall and buy us some ice cream. Will that cheer you up?" Her smile warmed him even more. He did like ice cream.
Clarice would have considered her sudden concern for him. He shook his head. "I guess."
"Great! I just don't want to see you looking so upset and all." She finally slipped passed him and to her own bedroom, but, announced to the siblings infesting the hallway. "Ren, James, Tess, Sam! Get ready in a minute!" They all scrambled to their respective bedrooms, Clarice quickly going to his and changing off his spotted outfit.
When he was finished, he was still charmed by his eldest sister.
Chapter II: Sundae Afternoon
What one could consider as simple would be his bedroom; it was tidier than he had bargained for, and less clustered than his siblings'. A perfect sanctuary to fend off the occasional pandemonium in the house. Of course, he wasn't the one who spruced it up into shipshape—no, his room mate did that. Yes, he shares room. Regardless, as dainty as the room is, the trash-can beside the mirror was never emptied out, with scrunched bits of paper clearly pouring forth like residue. It was something he realised recently when standing up front the one specific furniture.
Clarice gawked at his usual attire through his bedroom mirror, assessing any cons. It was nothing less simple than a cream-coloured t-shirt over light-brown cargo pants, and a pair of socks and sports shoes. Lookin' good, Quezon!—he thought. He stroked his curly hair into a favourable shape and grinned at the person before him. Was he handsome? Most likely not, but he was he. Grabbing his aqua shirt, he wore it over his t-shirt, unbuttoned, and started for the door. "Yo'! Watch out!"
"What—?" And in a split second a heavy, tinny object knocked him off his feet (or shoes). When he landed on his rump onto the carpeted floor, he was completely dazed.
"Uuuuugghh... Ow." He heard stomps approaching him, but the pain jolted quickly for him to register who it was; the fall could be dealt with, but the impact completely blurred his thoughts for a second. An ache quickly embroidered onto his forehead. He tentatively rubbed the surface and wheezed. Oh God, he didn't bruise his eyes or head up now did it?
Clarice stood off of his topple, only to suddenly trip on his own weight and loose his footing, but he was caught in the nick of time by two fleecy hands.
"Woah! Did not mean to do that, Claire." The heroic sibling hoisted him up. When he felt like he could stand again, he wiped what dust was there on his outfit and looked at the man of hour: It was his roommate, Lillian—okay, so woman of hour.
"Shouldn't have tossed that heavy toaster on our door and all," the smaller sister chuckled. "Well. Do be careful next time!" He glanced around for the object of matter and caught sight of it against the sand-surfaced wallpaper: It (the toaster) lost its shine and had an immense dent onto it, which was more or not likely because of him.
"Hey wait, why the toaster?—" here he threw his hands at the door for emphasis "—And tossing it towards our bedroom??" He demanded, his audacity raising more than usual.
All he got from her was an unconvincing shrug. He wanted to retort, but she suddenly yanked him off across the hallway. "Come on! Jen's not gonna wait any longer!" Oh right! He completely forgot about today's drive. Wait, how could he have forgotten?
She dragged him along like it was a marathon or something, passing by their home's rooms from which he caught glimpses of his siblings: James and Jen were conversing in the kitchen; and Loki was scrutinising the living room for something not of his concern. When they neared the entryway, there was no sight of Vale. That would mean—
"Oomph!" Said Lillian as she crashed onto someone, Clarice unfortunately following suit. "Hey!"
Of course, they had to bump into Vale.
"For f——ck's sake, watch it you two!" He nearly gasped at his brother's abrupt discourtesy.
"S—sorry, bro!" Lillian quickly apologised and, no longer clutching onto Clarice, still in that cheery-mood, advanced into the sidewalk where the family pickup truck awaited; Clarice apologised too, albeit less meaningfully. He drew a heavy breath and followed her trail, and when he glanced over his shoulder Vale gave him a sidelong glare; no other look would mean more annoyance or a simple 'watch it'.
He grumbled over Vale's intimidation as he passed the family oak tree, trudging towards the pickup where a few of his siblings were waiting.
Lillian sat cross-legged on the corner of one side panel, with Ren dangling on the opposite; and Tess and Sam stood beside the truck itself, both engaging on some girly topic. He speculated through their ecstatic squealing and ear-to-ear grins. The fore of them all quickly noticed him and waved accommodatingly. It was like she had forgotten about Vale's foul warning.
Clarice clutched onto the side panel and jumped into the pickup's bed, joining Lillian. She gave a him a grin, revealing her chipped front tooth, then asked. "So where do you think is Jen taking us this time? I hope it'll be the mall this time—I heard they're having sales at Alberto's Burgers!"
"Oh please not that place—" he scooted awkwardly closer to her as Ren finally sat down, edging them closer to the corner.
"Hah! You can say that twenty more times and I'd still be happy anyways," Ren suddenly spoke. "Good thing we're headin' to the mall; better than anywhere else I'd reckon."
Clarice looked at him, and Lillian shifted uncomfortably, anticipated.
The older brother (Ren) would have had added if it wasn't for the sudden distraction.
"Alright! Prep up and hop in the van!" Clarice glanced into the house front. Jen stood at the open doorway wearing a uniform. "We're heading off to the—"
"Come on let's just go." James interjected, shoving her aside with more energy than usual, a blank, probably disinterested, look on his face.
The trio cheered, and when Jen finally entered the driver's seat the family pickup instantly exploded in an uproar of children, boy and girl, screaming per usual trip. And as they did, the remaining siblings outside hopped in the truck, except for James who sat by the driver's seat. Clarice had, too, joined the family racket along with Lillian, and when it subsided the pickup had already skidded off.
Once upon a some-freakin'-time, Jen found a job in one of local mall's stores, and on the day of its anniversary (which subsequently happened after the day of her hire) she had settled with bringing her siblings over. On that day, her siblings were overjoyed and satisfied with the good deal of ice-cream, whereas the employees—who had to clean up the largest mess the notorious Quezon kids had made in the mall's history—saw the bane of their work-time.
Presently, Clarice nearly chuckled at Lillian's goofiest grin she ever had. His siblings all found comfort-spots in tenfold ways. He glanced over all of them, seeing the joyous expressions stitched to their faces...
Except Vale. He had a mischievous sneer on his own expression, glancing at the open blur of the street.
But Clarice took it as a bad sign.