Chapter 186

               “Are we seriously doing nothing for spring break?” Jill flopped onto the couch, squishing herself between Thomas and Vince as the previews on the movie began to roll. Since it was Saturday, and most everyone was sore from all the training for mid-semester testing, people had gathered at the house shared by Violet, Thomas, and the Murray siblings for movies and lounging. After two lackluster comedies, Violet had coaxed everyone into agreeing to an action flick that promised lots of blood and very little dialogue. Despite the fact that they all saw too much action during the week as it was, they’d eventually let her wheedle them into it.

                “That came out of nowhere,” Hershel said. He and Mary were sharing a loveseat, her head still resting on his shoulder from when she struggled to stay awake through the anti-climactic climax of the last film.

                “Not really,” Jill replied. “Alice told us about the Cowgirl Rodeo thing that she’s doing, and it got me thinking about spring break.”

                “Hold up,” Alice said from her spot on the ground, back resting against the couch. “I never said I was going to do it. I said Angela wanted me to do it, but that I wasn’t sure.”

                “Yeah, and how many times has anyone ever seen Angela not get what she wants?” Jill countered. No one had a good answer for that. Chad might have been able to supply one, but he was taking the party in discussion on a date that night, which rather proved Jill’s point in itself. “But I mean come on, first year we had the river trip, then last year we went to Alice’s awesome beach cabin. It seems nuts that our options this year are sit on our asses or just go home and see family.”

                “You could always spend the time training,” Vince suggested.

                It was Violet who responded to Vince, before any of the others could. Cupping her hands against her mouth, she let out a fierce breath, resulting in a sound that mimicked someone passing gas. “Fuuuuuck that,” she said once she’d lowered her hand. “All we do here is train. A little break now and then is a good thing. I’m with Jill, I want to do something. I don’t even care what.”

                “Have you considered being Angela’s partner in the Cowgirl Rodeo?” Alice said.

                “Can’t, already going to make Jill or Sasha do it with me,” Violet shot back. “You’re still stuck with the big bad blonde.”

                “Good luck with Sasha, she’s been all about the training lately,” Jill said. “I’ve barely seen her in the past couple of weeks.”

                “Which just makes you all the more likely of my target,” Violet replied. She scooped her hand into the bowl of popcorn, spilling more than a few kernels in the process, and dumped as many pieces as she could hold into her mouth. This impressive act of eating was washed down by a swig of cheap beer which could in no possible way taste good paired with the popcorn.

                “I may be down for that, once we find out more about it,” Jill admitted. “But I’m talking about spring break proper. Someone has to be doing something fun.”

                “It’s harder these days,” Camille said. She was on the other side of Vince, though there was still enough space between them to easily rest a small pillow. Progress with those two, like every other aspect of their social skills, was an exercise in slow steps forward. “Some of us have jobs, and even those who don’t have other stuff. Taking whole weeks to waste time isn’t as easy as it used to be.”

                “Ohhh no. No no no horseshit no.” Jill nearly stuttered as she spat out the proclamation of disagreement. “We are only halfway through college. Our carefree days cannot be fucking behind us. I do not accept this.”

                “Whether you accept it or not, Camille isn’t wrong.” Will spoke from his chair that had been stolen out of the kitchen, eating dried seaweed out a cellophane packet. He’d offered his movie snack around the room, but there hadn’t been any takers. “Things are just more complicated now than they were when we first got here. I don’t anticipate seeing that trend change anytime soon, either.”

                “That’s all the more reason why we should do something,” Jill said. She stood from her seat and addressed the room, rendering the already half-ignored credits completely inaudible. “Come on, we’re young and dumb and we have fucking super powers. We cannot let an entire spring break pass by unmarked. I will not stand for it.”

                “You just did,” Thomas pointed out. “You literally stood to make your point, which is as close to standing for it as I can picture.”

                “No, I’m standing for the unwillingness to… because I… oh, fuck you. You know I’m right about this.” Jill fell back into her seat, barely resisting the urge to cross her arms.

                “Maybe we could… throw a party?” Camille suggested tentatively. She caught a few surprised glances at her willingness to suggest mayhem, but most of the group knew her well enough to realize there was a bit of a maniac under her quiet facade.

                “Right spirit, but it wouldn’t work very well,” Hershel said. “Most of our friends will be gone. A party would more or less be all of us, only we’d be playing drinking games instead of watching a movie.”

                “And several of us don’t drink,” Mary interjected from Hershel’s side.

                “Yeah, party was a good idea, just not in this occasion,” Jill agreed. “Besides, we can do a party any night. Spring break is about stuff we can only do during that time. It’s like Mardi Gras, except you don’t have to drive all the way to Louisiana to experience it.”

                “I suppose going to the beach again is out,” Alice said. “Though I’d wager I could get the cabin again if needed.”

                “Too far, and too many of us have jobs. Without the full week off, it’s harder to coordinate that sort of an event.” Jill stared at the flickering screen as previews finally ended and the film began to play.

                “Well how about you figure something out and run it by us,” Violet suggested. “And in the meantime we all shut up and watch Blood Battler Five.”

                “Oh mark my words, I’ll think of something.” Jill’s eyes remained on the screen, but her focus was nowhere near the violent images flashing across it. She was racking her brain, trying to think of a way to commemorate their next to last spring break. It mattered to her, even if she didn’t want to come out and say why.

                Besides, everyone already knew what she would tell them. Math wasn’t that hard to do, and it was obvious that for some of them this would be the last spring break they ever had to spend as an HCP group.