4603/Not Drunk, Not High

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Not Drunk, Not High
Date of Scene: 04 January 2021
Location: Jubilee and Noriko's Room
Synopsis: Noriko and Jubilee awkwardly come to terms with their drunken kiss from New Years Eve and discover that it wasn't as meaningless as they thought.
Cast of Characters: Jubilation Lee, Noriko Ashida

Jubilation Lee has posed:
    January 4th. A chill in the air, which meant that the dorm furnaces had been going overtime to compensate. The air inside was warm, almost unpleasantly so, and had that subtle aroma of the heater's air filter. Not that any of that was of concern to Jubilee. She had other things on her mind and had no room in there for boiler room drama. With the final days of winter break winding down, Jubilee got it into her head that it was time to clean up the room. A nice surprise for when Noriko comes back to the room. Maybe she could come back to find that everything was neatly in place and Clothes Mountain was gone?

    Jubilee started picking things up, she really did, but things had been weird. So, she took a break. A shower. A snack. Some Animal Crossing. A much-needed reset of her laptop. Another snack. Nine separate outfit changes. All the while, her eyes found themselves shifting across the room at Nori's side -- at her empty bed. Was she avoiding the room? Her? Sigh. Another outfit change. A third snack. Emptying her desk's drawer onto the floor. Sorting pencils by length. Finding a pack of gum that had fallen behind the drawer. Annnnnnd GOLD. The ukulele strings!

    And so, that's how Jubilee could be found -- a yellow tanktop with the words 'STEP BROTHER?' on the front and black stretchy shorts. Her hair...though... was wild, in all kinds of directions, as Jubilee never quite found time to make sure it properly dried after her shower. She's seated in the center of the room, in the center of her big pile of shame, and is restringing the ukulele. "...There you go..." she coos. "See how mama treats you?" Jubes looks up at Nori's bed and sighs. Eyes back to the ukulele.

Noriko Ashida has posed:
Noriko seems to be all back in sorts by now physically, at least as observed, if observed.  She's recharged her measly emergency batteries.  It's not terribly new to her roommate surely.  They're like leaky gas containers since she's constantly syphoning off her environment.

May Noriko has been avoiding Jubilee.  Maybe she found some cliffs to think at, clear her mind, or let her mind run ragged with the intention of brain waste expulsion.  It's not uncommon for her to go for some much needed long distance running after being cooped up in her last class of the day.  Something that shifted a few weeks or so ago is that Noriko isn't /in/ every class anymore, or sometimes is dismissed during class.  Noriko explained this to Jubes though.  She's gotten a chance to work at her own pace on certain things and fill the space with more training and further studies.

But aside from these little chores of life, Noriko was last seen heading to Garage at normal human speeds, one of her hideouts that has become a perfect micro-napping spot given its usual dormant state and lack of the constant student milling nearly everywhere else on campus.  After that, she came back after Jubilee was asleep (or she thought she was).  She left her Christmas kicks behind today.  They sit at the foot of her bed, which has become their throne.

The tell tale sign of Noriko's quick open close of the door which smashes together into one noise sounds and Noriko's spurty stop-motion (really for other people's ease of mind) settles with her back to the room.  She turns and offers a slightly strained grin.  "Hey Jubes."  Head tilt.  "Ukes all fixed up and tuned?"  She lands on her bed and her crummy sneakers fly across the room to hit the wall and land near the door, a small act of defiance against her native customs...and of pure laziness.

Jubilation Lee has posed:
    If anyone else was your roommate, you could hear the door opening and compose yourself. To fix your posture. Or your hair. Or move away from a laptop. But, when Noriko is your roommate, you can't do anything. Jubilee had gotten better, faster, but it was all pointless. Still, she tried. As soon as she's able to process that Noriko is back, Jubilee sits up straight and kicks one leg out in front of her, her knee bent, and tries to sell the idea that she had been like that the whole time. That she wasn't just the mayor of Mopesville. That she wasn't just talking to her ukulele.

    Jubilation's eyes snap to the impact point of the sneakers, tracing their path down to the floor. "Hey, Nori..." she replies softly. She looks down at her fingers and the A string pinched between them. Jubes pulls the string through the sound hole of the ukulele and starts working on tying a little knot on the end. "...How are you?" she wonders. Jubilee's eyes shift to the side. "I'm fine!" she announces suddenly, almost like she just answered her own question.

Noriko Ashida has posed:
Perhaps the pause with her back turned is a cursory courtesy, but the reality is that Noriko just never pauses long enough to pull it off.  She has no real reference for how long it takes for people to compose themselves, and it's just one (among a metric ton) of those incredibly tedious things to engrain.  Still, the thought /might/ be there, little good it does Jubilee.

Jubilee's instincts to answer her own question are privately appreciated as if it were interpreted as a minor compromise in a nod to how exhausting it is for her to 'keep up' with everyone else.  Even if that isn't the intention, it's a small comfort.  Noriko was going to ask anyways.  She does catch Jubilee's shifty eyes though and realize she's probably reading it all wrong.  "Okay."  Somehow no rumors got out about Simon's drug fueled soap opera, a testament to choosing good friends and his own guilt probably.

"You don't sound fine," and neither does she, but she swings her legs over the side of her bed to face Jubes.  Perhaps not a deflection but a reflection that she really cares.  It's reinforced when she suddenly appears a few feet across from Jubilee, cross-legged, and then scoots in at Jubes' speed.  No escape.  She watches the small motions of Jubilee's fingers as she works, hunched over with her forearms resting on her knees.

Jubilation Lee has posed:
    It was annoying work to string a ukulele with a bridge like this one -- the strings had to come out of the noise hole and then tied off but but it was sometimes tricky to get them to come out. Jubes manages it with relative ease -- turns out she breaks strings a lot. And lots of other things. With the knot in place, Jubes pulls the string so the knot disappears back into the noise hole and the string threads out from the bridge. She begins to wind it around its post on the headstock... With each turn of the peg, the string gets wound tighter and tighter. The trick was knowing when to stop before it breaks again.

    No rumors might have started in school but they had been running rampant in Jubilee's head. Pinging and ponging like the world's most anxiety-filled table tennis match. Like the fate of the world rest on a single ping or a single pong. If only Jubes was more productive with the time spent waiting. If only she wasn't disaster incarnate. Turn turn. Tighter tighter.

    When Nori sits down on the floor with her, Jubilee clears her throat and looks away. Turn turn. Tighter tighter. "...Yeah...well... maybe I'm sick?" Jubilee offers. She doesn't look sick. Or sound sick. She's not sick, okay? Turn turn. Tighter tighter.

    By now, Jubes notices that Nori is inching into position, scooting towards her to find a spot between her and the door. With each of Nori's movements, Jubes turns the winding peg. Turn turn. Tighter tighter. The trick was knowing when to stop before it breaks again...

    When Noriko finalizes her claim to her spot on the floor, announcing it with her forearms going over knees, Jubilee turns the winding peg just one more time. *TWANG* She looks down at the string, up at Nori, and then up at her disaster rats nest hair. "Oh my god," she mutters.

Noriko Ashida has posed:
Noriko has never wasted more time, herself.  Swarming with all the factors of the latest...developments and disasters in her life.  Her unraveling past and past self that she clings to for dear life.  These things have even invaded her special world.  She has nowhere to hide.  Not unlike Jubilee.

"I know it's not that," Noriko says directly, but doesn't press further immediately.  She takes Jubilee's appearance in, one fell swoop of speed to settle on the string when she hears it begin to give way, but is it her place to just prevent it?  To reach out and override Jubilee's life?  Even in this small way?  These are questions she's never cared to ask herself till this small moment in time.  She fights the strong urge to protect Jubes from the consequences.

"I'm distracting you."  Understatement of the year, she thinks.

Jubilation Lee has posed:
    "You're avoiding me," Jubilee corrects, her eyebrows rising as she delivers the accusation. She reaches up with the ukulele and tosses it onto her bed, over her shoulder. No sense trying to continue restringing it. That was that. Jubilee's eyes start a rotation -- Nori, the bathroom door she's blocked from, the rats nest of hair just out of her eye line, Nori, blocked bathroom, ratsnest, Nori, bathroom, hair.

    "Look, you don't have to worry, okay!"

    "I bet you think that I think that the other night was some big thing, right?" Jubes starts, her voice stammering a little bit. "You know, like...I'd want talk about it...or anything..." She's putting up this air of defiance. An obvious lie to anyone as familiar with her as Noriko is. "...I mean... I was drunk. You were something. It didn't mean anything." The words came hard. Lying was hard.

Noriko Ashida has posed:
Noriko knows Jubilee, but it doesn't mean the girl's words don't sting.  There's a flash of a crestfallen look.  The way she wants to push it under the rug, even if Noriko does this /non-stop/ with everything.  "I've been thinking."  Noriko doesn't catch her inadvertent implication that Jubilee is distracting, but, she is.

"Too much," Noriko adds on.  She can't let this charade go on though.  What was it that Emma said?  Noriko inhales deeply.

"Why are you lying to me?"  Swing for the fences.  If Jubes isn't lying in some way, she'd correct her right?

Jubilation Lee has posed:
    Jubilee looks down at her hands, cursing the girl who got rid of the ukulele. Oh wait, it was her. Cursing the girl who said that mean thing just now. Oh wait, it was her. Jubilation sighs softly and looks around the room. She needed a security blanket. A pair of large, pink sunglasses are tucked into position over her eyes. Keep them hidden. Keep them safe.

    The words she's hearing are ominous. I've been thinking. Too much. It was standard teenager policy to kill a thing before someone else could. To prove that she was the one who didn't care. The one who was too cool. But...she isn't.

    "About what?" she asks, dodging the whole lying thing. She sounds like her vocal chords are trying to hold back abject terror.

Noriko Ashida has posed:
If Jubilee minimizing the other night felt sucky, the fact that she sticks to her guns only feels like a twist of the knife she felt was more like a ghostly pain before.  Because she thinks that Jubilee's dire words are a socratic answer.

"Whatever," Noriko says from her bed, on her side, facing the wall now.  She understands not wanting to talk about things, shove them all under a rug like all the things she shoves back behind her battery row under her bed.  "It's cool."

Thing killed.


Jubilation Lee has posed:
    From behind her sunglasses, Jubilee looks up at Noriko. Her eyebrows could be seen just barely cresting the top as they rise in astonishment. She wasn't expecting that. She was expecting an answer. What had she been thinking about? Instead... this. Whatever. It's cool. Page 3 from the teenager playbook. This would call for a page 37. No one ever does page 37.

    Jubilee stands up like a brat and storms to the bathroom. "Fine!" she shouts, throwing her sunglasses to the corner as she stomps across the room! The bathroom door SLAMS shut. The framed stock photo from Target that Jubilee ironically hung on the wall falls down from the force, cracking as one of its corners absorbs the fall.

    When Noriko looks up at the noise, she'd see Jubilee on the bedroom side of the door, her hands at her waist, worrying against each other, staring back. "It meant everything," she says, her voice filled with worry. Just... letting it all out, just with three words.

    "HEY SHUT UP IN THERE!" A muffled voice from a girl in the adjacent room.

Noriko Ashida has posed:
Noriko /expects/ to piss people off, but she didn't expect Jubilee's behavior.  She looks back over her shoulder first and turns back around.  But then...

Noriko loves that photo...loved.  Even when Jubilee wasn't there, one look at it reminds her of the girl.  Now she has something better sitting on the bedside table, but still.  She loved that photo, and without the frame it came in, it will never be the same.  She turns over fully now.

Those words aren't enough to keep Nori's question at bay.  "So why did you lie to me?"

Jubilation Lee has posed:
    Jubilee stares at the one Xavier's student who was able to turn the Coolest Girl In School (tm) into a worrying pile of mush. And there she stands, breathing out of her mouth because she was so nervous. She was thinking about the awkward forms to fill out to start a room transfer. Why are you doing this, Jubes? Shut up shut up shut up.

    "...Because!" Jubilee takes a couple of steps from the bathroom door and towards the other girl's side of the room. She really should have spent at least /some/ time in the bathroom. She could have fixed her hair. Maybe.

    "...You were just going to say it, so, I beat you to it. I thought it might feel better to say instead of hear."

    With nothing else to occupy her hands, Jubilee bends down to pick up a few of the shirts that had accumulated, as if she was going to put them away. She just tosses them to another area on the floor, awkwardly filling in time.

Noriko Ashida has posed:
And here is Jubilee, the one girl who has gotten her to let down her guard enough to get hurt.  From day one, Noriko succumbed (even if secretly) to Jubilee's infectious demeanor.  She could have easily gone the other way like she has with everyone else.  And here she is.  The only other time she's felt smaller was in Japan.

Noriko appears in Jubilee's way, should she reach down for another snag of clothing.  "I wasn't."  She's close, like bonk a head on the way down close.  "I'm glad you didn't mean it."  How is she so artfully dodging Jubilee's question?  Probably because she never made the connection in the first place.

Jubilation Lee has posed:
    "Look..." Jubes says in between shirt-snags. "...I...I understand. I /get/ it...okay?" She sighs, grabbing another one. "But I'm not going to let you think it was no big deal...I'm sorry for say--"

    And then Nori is up in her zone.

    From her crouched position, Jubilee looks up and stares at Nori, shock splashed across her features. Eyes wide. Staring. "...I didn't mean it," she repeats in a whisper, her fingers curling to clutch the COIN OPERATED sweatshirt she just rescued from the floor. Pink with black lettering.

Noriko Ashida has posed:
Noriko doesn't say anything.  Not at first.  She lets Jubilee do her talking, no interruptions.  She just keeps her eyes locked with Jubes and pulls out the pink sunglasses.  Then she puts them carefully where they belong, taking a moment to smooth out the girl's hair...Okay she tries to but the bulky hard gauntlets aren't good for this and the success is marginal.  Still, there's a high degree of care in her movements, slow, too slow.  Yeah she thinks she's just going 'normal' slow.

"It's okay."  Noriko takes the sweatshirt and tosses it over her shoulder without thinking as she reaches for Jubes' hand.  The sweatshirt goes flying and knocks something off the wall.  Something because Nori won't remember what was there.

Jubilation Lee has posed:
    Jubilee's eyes rise as the gauntlets move to smooth out her hair. Never again will she shower and not dry. And then the sunglasses. And then the sweatshirt is tossed without a care. It's like a movie. "Holy shit..." Jubes whispers, her eyes widening a touch as she looks from its landing spot to Noriko. Eyes locked.

    "....I'm not drunk..." she whispers. "Are you high?"

Noriko Ashida has posed:
Noriko has no idea what holy shit is for, but she hopes it's good.  The speedster resists the heavy urge to say, 'Would that be a problem?' to the high question, but gives herself a second shot with, "Probably should be." A faint smirk graces her lips, but she shakes her head to clear it for what comes next.

"It was the biggest thing to me too," she finally whispers Jubilee, mirroring her sentiment.  Let's try this again, sober.  Noriko's heart feels tight in her chest as she holds her breath for only a moment or two of Jubilee's time.  She just wants to be in the moment forever when she leans in for a kiss.

If the teachers only knew what goes on in these dorms.

They know.  They were students themselves.

Jubilation Lee has posed:
    It was a good holy shit. The best kind of holy shit. It was a holy shit previously reserved for when Jubilee would learn that it's really Friday when she thought it was Thursday. She thought she was going to be finding a new roommate for the spring term. She was waiting to hear about Noriko putting a request for a transfer. Waiting to hear that the one person she was able to be herself around didn't want her around. All because of a drunken misunderstanding. It was a holy shit reserved for when none of that ends up coming true.

    "Holy shit..." she whispers again as a response... It's all she can say before...

    The moment hangs there. Jubilation now understands exactly what Noriko had said so many times before -- the agony of waiting. Jubes tilts her head back, leaning just a bit, going for it before losing her nerve. What if she was wrong? But...there she was... This moment was taking entirely too long. How could Noriko live her life like this?!

    Jubilation moistens her lips, eyes locked. She wouldn't be the one. As far as she was concerned, New Years Eve had been an aberration. A drunken mixup. Something that they'd laugh about in their old age at an Xavier's twenty year reunion. But...

    Perhaps Jubes needed poker lessons. Bluffing. Strategy. Perhaps she was too eager. Too enthusiastic. All of those things are probably true. As soon as Nori's lips touch hers, Jubes closes her eyes, her nose hissing loudly as she takes in the other girl's scent. Her hand comes up to rake her fingers into Nori's hair, just at her temples. If she was trying to slow play this, to appear to be ambivalent, she was doing a damn shit job of it.

Noriko Ashida has posed:
In that moment that seem to drag on forever...WELCOME Jubilee.  This is definitely a fraction of the torture Noriko experiences on a daily basis.  Just spice it up with a fair amount of slow burn exhaustion.

Noriko smells of earth, like she's been spending time in some woods, maybe even having lain in a bed of fallen leaves.  Her lips are soft from apparently and probably constantly reapplied moisturizer of some sort, but there's no forethought to it.  This is all just Noriko, her dark eyes shining before she closes them.

Where Jubilee is eager, Noriko is receptive.  A balance, a dance, and Noriko has to take it slow.  She's learning.  These are baby steps, and so the kiss remains much tamer than she feels raging inside, but there's something inexorable about her pacing and isn't exactly in full control when she tries to deepen the kiss.  Her heart is beating through her chest as she feels Jubilee's touch.  Encased hands slip to Jubilee's waist and slides around to pull her closer.

Jubilation Lee has posed:
    Jubilee rises from her bent position to stand properly. She shifts her weight past the balls of her feet so she can lean a bit into Noriko. There's a moment where she lingers there, swimming in the other girl's touch even if its encased in metal. Jubilee's hands lower to find their place just above the small above Nori's back. They pull gently, just there to ensure neither of them run when Jubilee's lips retreat.

    "Happy New Year, Nori..." she whispers, realizing that she never got a chance to say it.

Noriko Ashida has posed:
There's a shiver up Noriko's spine at Jubilee's hands resting on her lower back.  This is more difficult.  Before she was stoned, she felt slowed by something else instead of having to slow herself.  Even a few gummies always took the edge off of keeping up with others.

Noriko breathes Jubilee's scent in after their lips part, not just because she held her breath like mad before the kiss.  She stays close after their lips part, leaning her forehead down against Jubilee's.  "Happy New Year."  All she wants is to do is not let go, hold her close all night long.  "That was my first sober kiss," she says with a little grin, stealing another, a shorter one snatched up between their words.

Jubilation Lee has posed:
    "...Me too.." Jubilee replies, leaning back to look at Noriko. She leaves her hands low on her back, maintaining the pressure keeping them together. "...From a certain point of view."

    Sure, there had been the dates arranged by swiping right. There was Josh. But...those kisses seemed superficial. Pointless. No stakes. From a certain point of view. Obi-Wan Kenobi eat your heart out. That's the kind of nonsense that Jubes *wanted* to say. The moment absorbed it.

    "The second one is usually better..." Jubes whispers, just barely able to hold back mentioning The Empire Strikes Back before she tilts her head back and delivers Nori's second sober kiss.

Noriko Ashida has posed:
While Noriko is curious about what Jubilee means by that, right now she doesn't give a damn.  Her brain bounces around so fast that it might as well be static, digital popcorn, and the second kiss does nothing to help that.  Her grip around Jubilee tightens a little, but then loosens.  Whatever it is, it isn't a squeeze.

After they part, still, there's something she feels inclined to share, as long as they're confessing.  "Well the other night was my first actual kiss, ever."  Why Nori.  Why.  There's just something about Jubilee that pries her open, and so far it hasn't been all that horrible.  Okay it has, but it's been worth everything and more.

"This is harder," Noriko whispers before she starts to pull away reluctantly.

Jubilation Lee has posed:
    When they part, Jubilee's eyes remain closed for what might seem like an eternity. A sigh can be heard, just contented air passing from her mouth as she finds her way back. Jubilation opens her eyes, shares a shy smile, and swallows nervously.

    "I've been thinking about that for weeks..." she admits, reflecting on their first kiss in the woods. Noriko's first ever. Jubilee's imagination had been held hostage by Noriko, whether she realized it or not, and it had all come to a head in the woods on New Years. The circumstances were not as she had hoped but she wouldn't change anything about it.

    As she pulls away, Noriko would feel Jubilee's fingers tense, keeping pressure on the small of her back. But...it's only for a moment. She wanted nothing more than to keep her there, their arms entwined with the other's form, closer than they ever have been. But Jubes knows Nori. Her teeth dig into her bottom lip as disappointment reigns supreme. She releases the tension in her fingers and in doing so releases Noriko from their embrace.

    "...I know..." Jubilee whispers back, her eyes lowering to the floor. Suddenly, the area underneath her feet is so interesting and important. She knows this is harder for Nori...She just wishes it wasn't.

    "It will get easier..." she promises before making her way to the door to their room. With her hair in total disarray, Jubilee turns the knob and opens the door. She lifts her hand in the air, smiles a little, and slips out into the hall. It was Jubilee's belief that Noriko needs time time alone. Or candy. She could provide both with a trip downstairs.