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 Not You Again, Jonas || Ruby
Hera
 Posted: Feb 10 2018, 09:58 PM
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Walking the line between discontent and disaster

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A sudden downpour drenched Ioana, pounding down onto the roof of Ruby's truck and making it hard to see despite her windshield wipers working at top speed to wick away the water. Fog curled around the sides of the roads and in the dips and dells of the fields and forest, hemming everything in close and shrinking the world down to just what you could see. The whole world seemed bleak and gray, washed out and waterlogged.

It had taken until almost the last week of the month, but Ruby had finally scrounged up enough cash to pay her water bill. It had taken a lot of scrimping, scrounging, and odd jobs, but she had made it. Every bill was paid by the end of the month, plus late fees. No one in Westhaven could come down on her for at least another season, and Summer was always good to her. If they could just avoid a drought. Please, Goddess, don't let there be a drought. She had planted an extra field of hay and she could not afford the water costs that came with keeping up an extra field through a drought.

She hurried into the Town Hall, where the water department was, counting out her money in more coins than bills. Curse the idiot who had paid her in loose change from a piggy bank. He'd probably taken that money off of one of his kids. And for what? To fix his hotrod? She had been tempted to sabotage it on purpose, but she really needed his money. Hopefully she'd never see him again, and she'd never have to ever pick up odd jobs again. At least not the ones she didn't want to.

She rang the elevator down and boarded, leaning up against the back wall and letting out a deep breath. It had been a difficult season, not least of all because of the people she had been working with. Either they were complete wastes of space like piggy bank guy, or they were complete wastes of space that annoyed her to no end, like Jonas Brantley. She should never have taken the job, let alone hit his joint. She just wanted to be able to do her work in peace, alone, and go home at the end of the day. She didn't want to chat while she was trying to square beams, or smoke while she was pouring concrete. But he didn't seem to know how to take a hint and go back inside.

And despite the fact that he was a loser living alone in a broken down wreck of a cabin, she had her doubts that she should feel that bad about his potential loneliness. He just had this aura about him that made her certain he was probably a huge dudebro tool who she would have gone out of her way to never meet if anyone had had the common courtesy to warn her about him.
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Syn
 Posted: Feb 11 2018, 11:19 PM
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Chicken

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Spring 23, Y3 | 10:58 AM
"Wait up!"

Jonas huffed as his feet carried him through the town hall far too slowly for his likely. He didn't want to be stuck with taking the stairs today. It was mysteriously humid that day despite the rainy weather. Getting sweaty after running up a few flights of stairs after already being drenched did not sound like a plan he wanted to commit to.

"Wait up!" Jonas shouted again. The person inside the elevator wasn't keen on holding the doors open, it seemed. Maybe they just couldn't hear him.

Honestly, he was kind of surprised the village had an elevator. Jonas lost a pep to his step as he considered the maintenance of such a modern device in a backwards place.

Eh.

It'd be fine.

Jonas rushed forward and was happy when his foot crossed the elevator's threshold just in the nick of time. He let out his breath and jumped into the tight space with the person who he'd been calling out. The doors closed, Jonas turned, and his face lit up.

"Ruby! Hey, dude!" He grinned at her before remembering that she didn't keep the elevator doors open for him. "Didn't you hear me call out?"
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Hera
 Posted: Feb 24 2018, 05:19 PM
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Walking the line between discontent and disaster

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Ruby had had such a long.....season, really. Year. Years. Life. It felt like she hadn't caught a break since before her parents died. Everything just kept building up and building up and she swore to the Goddess that she would break soon. She felt like she was tearing apart at the seams already, and there was nothing she could do to stop it. She had managed to save the ranch this season, but what about next season? And the season after that? And the one after that one. She felt like she was staring down the barrel of a lifetime of struggle and for the first time since she'd come back to Ioana, she was starting to feel like maybe she couldn't handle it.

And of course, here the last straw came to try and break the camel's back.

Suddenly, without her being aware of it, Jonas fricken Brantley was standing in front of her, asking her questions she wish she could answer more combatively. Sadly, she hadn't heard him, so she couldn't truthfully tell him that she had deliberately ignored him. "Sorry, Jonas. I didn't hear you. It's been a long day." She said as the doors closed behind him and the elevator started to move. That, at least, was the truth. She just wanted to go home and curl up in her bed and go to sleep. She didn't want to have to face anything or anyone for a long time after.

But here was Jonas, one of the people who had made this season so long for her. In her elevator. In her space. And it was already almost more than she could bear. But he was paying her for her work, and she still desperately needed his money, so she would just have to deal with it for the two minutes it would take for the elevator to get where it was going. Just two minutes.

Any time now.

That enough time had passed for them to pass the second floor should have been Ruby's first clue that something was drastically wrong. The second clue, the one she actually did take notice of, was the sudden lurch of the elevator to one side that knocked her off of her feet and into Jonas as the elevator ground to a halt.

"What the hell!?" Ruby hissed as she righted herself again, glaring around the stationary elevator as if she could find the one responsible for this. "What just happened?" She asked again, pushing the emergency call button on the elevator and getting no response.
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Syn
 Posted: Feb 26 2018, 02:21 AM
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Chicken

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Spring 23, Y3 | 11:00 AM
Jonas was eager to pry into Ruby's life but was postponed with the misfortunes that came with life's sense of humour. The elevator ground to a halt and threw Ruby into his grasp. He made to make an innuendo but she'd extricated herself from his arms too quickly for it to be relevant.

Disappointing.

He looked around the elevator nervously and couldn't see an obvious issue. That being said, Jonas was certainly no mechanic. He intended to stay right where he was and not make things worse. Someone would come by and set things right.

This belief was supported when he saw Ruby go for the emergency call button. See? The village was modern enough to predict problems like this happening. Then she pressed the button and they both watched as nothing happened. No alarm, no discernible way of telling them that someone knew about their ordeal.

Okay, that wasn't good. Jonas looked over at Ruby and offered her a slight shrug and a hopeful smile. "Now we can catch up."

He frowned then. "Sorry, I don't have any weed this time."
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Hera
 Posted: Mar 3 2018, 01:19 AM
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Walking the line between discontent and disaster

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Ruby blinked at Jonas, standing frozen on her side of the elevator. A twitch slowly began forming in her left eye as she tried to speak but found she lacked the processing power to properly convey whatever it was she was feeling in that moment. Whatever it was, it had no name. It's name was just a scream of perplexed frustration that went on forever. Maybe she should name it Jonas. How are you feeling today, Ruby? Oh, I'm feeling Jonas. Well, shucks, Ruby, that doesn't sound too good. No, imaginary strawman. No it does not.

They were stuck, suspended, in an elevator who knew exactly how high up. They had no clue what was wrong with it. They didn't know if anyone knew the elevator was broken, or if they were coming to fix it if they did. They didn't know if they were seconds from death as the elevator cord slowly frayed apart.

Okay, back it up. She was starting to work herself into a panic. That would never do, especially not with Jonas here. Not only would it reflect badly on her as a handywoman, he would be no help and would probably only serve to make things worse. If there was anything Jonas was good at, Ruby would bet her bottom dollar that it was making things worse. She took a deep breath in through her nose and out through her mouth and let go of the threat of her impending death and tried to focus on something more positive.

The threat of Jonas' impending death.

"I'm not sure that right now is the best time to catch up. We don't know if anyone knows we're in here, or if they're coming or when. Aren't you, you know....worried?" She asked, half laughing incredulously at his blase attitude. Was he high? That was it, wasn't it? He was high and that's why he was so damn calm! She wanted to pry the doors open and throw him down the shaft. Of all they elevators in all the world, why did he have to walk into hers!?
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Syn
 Posted: Mar 3 2018, 07:42 PM
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Chicken

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Spring 23, Y3 | 11:01 AM
Jonas shrugged at Ruby. What did she expect from him? It wasn’t like he could influence the situation at all. He looked around the elevator and then widened his eyes as though to say, ”SEE?”

”They know or they don’t. What am I going to do about it?”

He then smiled. ”Besides, you’re always too busy at the cabin to talk to me. Now I’m all you’ve got!” The last sentence was said with an almost inappropriate amount of enthusiasm. Jonas wanted to get to know his contractor a bit better, especially since she was still going to be around for at least another week before her project would be finished.

Jonas had been paying her a pretty penny. He deserved a conversation!

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Hera
 Posted: Mar 6 2018, 07:00 PM
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Walking the line between discontent and disaster

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Change of plans. Ruby was going to throw herself out of the elevator. How was he so unconcerned!? They could die! They could crash to their deaths at any second! They could be trapped here for hours, days! How could he just sit there like their lives weren't hanging in the balance? She wasn't sure how much of this she could take. She wasn't sure how much of Jonas she could take.

He seemed much too pleased at the prospect of her having no escape from him. Figured, creep. She pursed her lips, wondering for a moment if she actually had the guts to throw herself out of the elevator and end her miserable existence. But she couldn't do that to her brother, or her grandparents. Or any of the few friends she had. She would have to take this torture like a big girl. "I gave you a deadline that I would have the project finished by, and I like to stand by my word." She said, taking a seat across from him and trying to calm the twitching in her eye. "I'm not sure what you want to catch up on. I don't do much other than take care of my ranch and work on your extension."

She'd had a few other odd jobs over the season, but nothing major. A broken sink here, a fence that needed mending there. Nothing she wouldn't have been doing on her own property. In fact, other than her having to scramble to make her payments, she had had a pretty dull season.
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Syn
 Posted: Mar 8 2018, 06:25 PM
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Chicken

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Spring 23, Y3 | 11:02 AM
Jonas sat down at a corner of the cramped elevator and stared blankly at Ruby. If he didn't know better, he'd think she was being standoffish. And that, well, that would be just silly, wouldn't it? He and Ruby were friends!

"You should worry less," he finally said, genuine concern in his tone. "Deadlines are for ditch diggers. You don't have to worry about that stuff with me. As long as it gets done." Jonas smiled. He thought this would be reassuring.

He raised his legs so that his knees were in front of his chest, twiddling his fingers against his his thighs as they waited for rescue. It might be a while until they were let free. His face brightened as he thought of a question to ask Ruby.

"What do you like to do in your free time?" Jonas mentally congratulated himself for asking such a good question. This would get her out of her grumpy shell.
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Hera
 Posted: Mar 9 2018, 12:41 AM
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Walking the line between discontent and disaster

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On one hand, Jonas was right. Ruby should worry less. And it was reassuring to hear that the only pressure to perform was coming from her own anxieties. On the other hand, it was typical of a Westhavener to dismiss the importance of sticking to one's word, even if there was nothing to stop one from not doing so. Besides, the faster the job went, the faster until she only saw Jonas on days like today when it couldn't be avoided. "Thanks, but still. I like to stick to plans once I've made them. And you'll be glad to have the job done, so why not quickly?" She reasoned. Surely Jonas would rather have extra room in his dumpy cabin sooner rather than later.

His question sort of sent Ruby reeling internally. What did she do in her free time? It was a good question. Mostly because the answer was somewhere between "what free time?" and "not much, really". The few precious hours she did have to herself were usually spent doing things Jonas would probably find boring. But, lacking any other answer.... "Honestly, I don't have much free time. But when I do...I guess I read a lot. Science fiction, mostly, but I like lots of genres. And I knit." She told him, shrugging. If he thought that was uninteresting, well, she didn't have to care.

"What about you?" She asked, though this was something else she didn't particularly care about. He probably just drank and got high all day anyway. Did he even have a job? Why was he even in Ioana? He didn't seem to be looking to turn his cabin into a farm, not that he'd make a good farmer. So what was he even doing there?
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Syn
 Posted: Mar 9 2018, 03:17 PM
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Chicken

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Spring 23, Y3 | 11:03 AM
No wonder this girl was so grumpy. She did nothing fun. Reading? Knitting? She was lame!

Jonas nodded with understanding, bordering on mocking. "No free time must suck," he empathized. He didn't relate, but he could imagine the inconvenience of having responsibilities.

"As for me..." Jonas could only shrug and smile. "I do what I want, when I want. A lot of drinking." He wiggled his knees back and forth and rapped his knuckles on top a handful of times in tune with a song that played in his head. "Amongst other things." A wink came with the final phrase.
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Hera
 Posted: Mar 9 2018, 07:45 PM
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Walking the line between discontent and disaster

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That was the understatement of the century. Not having any free time sucked, yeah. But it's not like she was hurting for it or anything. She enjoyed her work, something that Jonas was probably incapable of understanding. "Well I guess when you love your job, you never work a day in your life." she shrugged, guessing that Jonas had never loved anything but drinking and drugs. Certainly not the job he apparently didn't have.

What he wanted, when he wanted. Yeah, sounded about right. No wonder he lived in a dump and looked even dumpier. Drink all day, smoke all night, and nothing to show for it but a roof that barely covered his head. She doubted he had many friends, either, if he was this willing to accost someone he barely knew, who was working for him, just to get them to talk to him. Thinking about it that way, Jonas' life looked kind of....sad. And she could almost feel herself feeling sorry for him. "So why are you in Ioana?" She asked despite herself, knowing she would regret engaging, but suddenly feeling empathy for what must be a lonely, lost man.
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Syn
 Posted: Mar 10 2018, 04:47 PM
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Chicken

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Spring 23, Y3 | 11:04 AM
The dreaded question everyone had been asking him all month. The accusatory "Why are you here?" and then the expectation of an answer that labelled the Valley as a cure. Jonas gave her a tired smile that told Ruby that this was a question beneath him. "Man, I don't know. Shit's dumb."

It was an eloquent response. One befitting of a man born into luxury. "Honestly, I feel like I should be asking you guys that question. You've all been stuck here for years."
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Hera
 Posted: Mar 11 2018, 08:47 PM
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Walking the line between discontent and disaster

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Wow, he really was lost. He didn't even know why he was here? That was...actually about as sad as she had expected. "You'll figure it out, probably." She shrugged. And it was true. She watched people a lot, and one thing she'd noticed is that people didn't much like sitting around doing nothing for too long, even the ones who said they did. Eventually everyone got bored of what they were doing and found something new.

"It's not that hard to understand. This is our home. We're not stuck, most of us could leave any time we wanted. A lot of the town has, actually. Some people go where the opportunities are, so when they weren't in Ioana anymore, they left. But the ones still around? We love our home, and we don't want to leave. I was gone for a while, actually. My parents died, so I left to live with my grandparents. But I always knew I was coming back. There was never a moment in my life that I ever had any other plan. I was always going to come back and take back our family farm." She told him. That's what people like Jonas could never get through their thick skull. They didn't care that they were poor and their work was hard and their lives were thankless. They loved Ioana anyway, and they would never willingly give it up.
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Syn
 Posted: Mar 12 2018, 02:46 PM
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Chicken

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Spring 23, Y3 | 11:06 AM
It seemed all Ruby needed was some light prodding to open the floodgates. She regaled Jonas with a life story and a confident tale on how those who lived in Ioana cared and how it was their home. All very interesting, Jonas thought to himself as he struggled to restrain an eye roll.

"I don't know how you guys handle it," he said. Jonas shook his head at the thought and leveled a beady gaze towards Ruby. "I've been here a month and I'm already going out of my mind with how boring the place is. Don't get me wrong," he raised a palm, "drinking and going from bed to bed has its silver linings, but it gets a little dreary when that's your only choice."

His face brightened. "Hey! What are you doing tonight? You free?" Jonas asked, winking.
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Hera
 Posted: Mar 19 2018, 04:34 AM
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Walking the line between discontent and disaster

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Well, she wanted to tell him, maybe if you weren't such a boring person who did nothing but drink and get high all day you could find ways to entertain yourself. Only people who were themselves boring, in Ruby's honest opinion, had to look outward or to drugs and alcohol for fun. It was indicative of a very barren inner world and/or no work ethic. Both seemed applicable to Jonas. "Maybe try meeting more people." She shrugged, not really caring anymore. The pity she had been harboring for him evaporated as she realized that he might be a lonely, sad, lost little boy, but that it was a tragedy of his own making at it wasn't her job to pull him out of it.

"No, I'm not." She deadpanned, knowing the last thing she wanted to do was hang out with Jonas of her own free will. "My cow is probably going to give birth tonight, and I need to be around in case there are complications." There, hopefully that would gross him out enough to get him to stop asking questions.
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