Trying Your Luck
SUMMARY: ONESHOT. SKOW PROMPT. They may be opposites, but that's not going to stop Carson Flint from trying his luck with Marina. If she'll let him.
See prompt guidelines at skow(dot)byethost18(dot)com(slash)challenges(dot)php?past.
DISCLAIMER: I don't own anything that sounds like I don't own it. I do claim credit for making up the Turtle Dove special, which I totally want to eat.
Eleven ladies dancing
To be honest, Marina didn't hate dances. She hated the idea of dances, that people were forced into coupling up and paying ridiculous amounts of money to dance to music they could hear on the radio.
But dances were fun, as long as her friends were with her. The problem with having ten friends is that coordination for such massive group events was always difficult. Often times they didn't even bother going to dances, but there was no way they would miss out on Senior Prom. Essential high school experience, hello.
Which was why, at the moment, they were obnoxiously grouped into a circle singing and dancing along to some generic pop song that everyone hated but knew the lyrics to anyway. It was pretty awesome, if Marina didn't say so herself.
Once the song ended, though, she felt a little winded, so she excused herself from her circle of awesome and headed towards the bathroom. She was curling a tendril of loose hair behind her ear when she realized that sweet smell in the bathroom was pot, and she looked around with a frown.
And screamed a little when she spotted the one and only Carson Flint standing coolly at the other end of the bathroom, casually smoking a joint.
"Took you long enough, didn't it?" he asked, with a smile that sounded like he was all too pleased with himself.
All Marina could do was stare at him in shock. She couldn't believe he was smoking pot. At prom. In the girls' bathroom. She'd heard stories of Carson but never actually met the guy. In fact, she'd heard the craziest stories, yet this still blew her mind.
"Chill, girl. I'll leave." He slipped the joint into his jacket pocket before ambling towards the door. When he was right in front of her, however, he leaned in and whispered, "You dance good, Marina."
Before she could fully grasp that not only was Carson Flint smoking weed in the girls' bathroom at prom but he also knew her name, he was gone.
That was Marina's first encounter with Carson Flint, and it was one she never forgot.
Four calling birds
"Anthony Lawson, Carson Flint, and Marina Liu, please report to the office. To the office please. Thank you."
Marina sighed in frustration as she detoured from going to her fourth period to instead go to the office. She had no idea what this was about, but considering she had an AP English test fourth period, she was not happy to be diverted for something probably quite stupid and inconsequential.
When she entered the office, she saw the four grade-level secretaries in a tizzy, calling parents, it seemed. She saw Anthony, who was also in her English class, and questioned softly, "What's going on?"
He acknowledged her with a little nod before answering. "Apparently some jerk screwed with attendance records, and now they're calling parents to confirm who had excused absences and who was really here, etcetera."
"And we're here because..."
"Because we're the only eighteen-year-olds with screwed up attendances, apparently."
"Fanfuckingtastic," Marina muttered.
"Tsk tsk," she heard from behind her, and she turned to see herself staring into the bright blue and entirely too amused eyes of Carson Flint. "Watch your mouth, Liu."
"Please tell me you're not the reason we're here," she replied, with a groan.
"Maybe I needed an excuse to see your pretty face again," Carson drawled.
"Which would mean I'm here because..." Anthony noted, with a raised eyebrow and a look like he was going to punch Carson if he was the cause.
"Chill, Lawson," Carson answered, hands raised in surrender. "We both know I'm too stoned most of the time to pull off something like this. Probably some nerd hoping to stay home and study for APs."
Anthony settled down, looking appeased, but Marina continued to frown. "Why do you call people by their last names?"
"Because when I called you by your first name, you freaked out," he told her, with an amused glint in his eyes.
"Uh no, I was freaking out because you were in the gir-"
Carson clapped a hand over her mouth before laughing. "Chill, Marina. You know I have bad enough of a rap sheet as it is, you don't want me to get into more trouble than I already am, would you? It would really break my heart if the school went and told LA I'm some kind of delinquent."
Marina glared fiercely at him so that he dropped his hand, still laughing, but by then what he had said had sunk in. He was going to UCLA... she was going to UCLA. Oh shit. She did not want to have to deal with this loon throughout four years of college.
"Maybe I will," Marina retorted, still glaring at him.
Carson leaned in closer to her so that only she could hear and whispered, "You think I'm too pretty to be so cruel."
Before she could indignantly reply with a snappy comeback, an assistant principal called out, "Marina Liu! In my office! Now!"
With a sigh, she followed the woman to her office, but not before whipping around to give Carson the angriest glare she could muster. That didn't stop him from softly laughing the whole time she walked away.
Luckily, that was Marina's last experience with Carson Flint.
In high school, at least.
Nine drummers drumming
"Nine bands? They have nine bands on campus coordinated enough to enter themselves into Battle of the Bands?" Marina exclaimed.
"Relax, freshman," her editor said, with a laughing shake of his head. "BOTB's always fun. And you, Freshman, seriously need some fun."
She made a face, but she knew he didn't mean it unkindly. The newspaper's staff had been only welcoming ever since she joined, and full of helpful tips for surviving her first intense year. It probably didn't help that she had signed up for seven classes this semester.
"But I mean, like, nine bands means the event's going to go on for hours."
"What classes do you have tomorrow?" he demanded. "Probably some general courses, right?"
"Marina, there are about two hundred or so students in there. Your prof isn't gonna notice if one is missing."
"Give yourself a break. You're reporting on BOTB. No exceptions. Don't disappoint me." He relaxed into a smile then added, "But most importantly, have some fun, alright?"
It was with this last thought fixedly in her mind that she trekked to the auditorium, found herself a decent seat, and prepared for a night of sucky music.
To her surprise, eight out of nine of the bands were pretty good. And around three of them were pretty phenomenal. She cheered as her favorite ended up winning then quickly maneuvered backstage to go interview them before they were inevitably mobbed by fangirls.
To her greater surprise, the first band member she met was none other than Carson Flint.
"Carson Flint? You're part of the band?"
"Marina Liu?" He looked a little shocked to see her too at first, then he slipped into his regular - she hated to stereotype like this, but - stoner expression. "What are you doing here?"
She held up her press pass. "For the paper. And you?"
He nodded before replying with a slow grin, "Well, Mari, I'm the drummer."
She frowned and gaped (only a little!), though from the shock of his drum skills or the fact that he called her Mari, of all things, she wasn't exactly sure. She quickly closed her mouth and merely answered, "Well, then, congratulations. But I do have to do my job. Could you tell me where the rest of the band is?"
"Right here, love." She heard a British voice sound from behind Carson. She looked around Carson to see the frontman/singer and two more guys, presumably the guitarist and bassist. Luckily, the incredibly attractive frontman was the one addressing her. "What's an adorable little freshman like you need to talk to us blokes for?"
She found herself swooning a little at the accent, not even minding that he'd called her little or all too quickly recognized her freshman status. With a slightly too delighted smile, she replied, "Well, I'm part of the paper, and you did just win BOTB, so I believe an interview is in order."
"Then an interview you shall have," he agreed, shooting her a flirtatious little smile, if she wasn't mistaken. "Here, come on over to the green room with us. You're smart, aren't you, choosing to catch us before we go liquor up and get ourselves some dames to celebrate." He paused, before adding, "Or maybe we won't need so much of the latter, hrm?"
She merely smiled in response as she trailed them to the room, but before they entered, Carson piped up, "Hey Will, can we get a moment in the room first? 'Fore the journalist comes in?"
Will, the frontman, looked puzzled, and Marina frowned, but sure enough, Will took the request in stride and said to her, "Just a minute, love," before entering the room with Carson. In the meantime, she took out her notebook and pen and cell phone (to record the interview) to save time, and it wasn't too long before she was allowed in.
From there, she had fun with the interview, but she was a little disappointed to find Will flirting with her a lot less. Intuition told her it had something to do with Carson. Probably revealed she was some sort of stick in the mud, which was totally not true. But she worked efficiently and fluidly and decided she could yell out Carson afterwards, when to her surprise, Will suggested, "Hey, reporter, you want to go out with us?"
She paused in putting away her things and noted, "Well, I mean, I'm not you know, twenty-one..."
"Don't be ridiculous," he waved her off. "Our resident freshman" - he jerked his head at Carson - "pays no attention to such things, and neither should you. Come out. Have fun."
It was such an echo of what her editor had said earlier, that she wondered if maybe she did come across as a stick in the mud. Which normally she didn't care about, but she was in front of a British rock god who apparently thought so and she totally wanted to try dating, so rational Marina took a backseat as she replied, "Sure."
It was a decision she later very much regretted when she woke up the next morning hungover, fuzzy on the night's details, and naked in Carson Flint's bed.
Eight maids a-milking
Apparently after BOTB, Will and Carson's band, The Aviators, became the hottest thing on campus. And since she had written the glowing front page article and interview, she had become known as the go-to source for all things Aviators, which she thought wasn't really fair. Especially since no fewer than eight classmates of hers came asking her about the band, or rather, asking her to get them a date with someone in the band. Usually Will.
Eight. Classmates. And that was just the female ones.
Of course Marina denied all such requests, mostly because (a) she was still attracted to Will and (b) she never wanted to see Carson again. As soon as she had woken up, she had thanked whatever gods had kept Carson asleep as she hurriedly stumbled around putting on clothes and retreating to her dorm. This is why you do not drink, she told herself ashamedly. Never again.
It would have been fine if she had woken up in Will's bed. But Carson? Carson Flint? Stoner and slacker extraordinaire? Infuriating Carson Flint? What was she thinking? Clearly she wasn't. Alcohol was most definitely in the equation. Now her goal was to, you know, avoid Carson and hope it never happened again.
At least she could take comfort in the knowledge that he wasn't her first. That didn't make it much better, however.
Well, she hadn't bumped into him in all these months on campus before, so she was certain she could easily get away with never seeing him again, as long as she avoided all future band-related events.
Twelve lords a-leaping
Track and field had always been a sport Marina loved to watch. The power and grace of the athletes was stunning, which was why she was here willingly covering the meet. That and well, the athletes were pretty attractive.
At the moment, however, she was intensely studying the field as the twelve hurdlers made their way around the course. She didn't have to write blow-by-blow accounts, of course, but hurdling had always been one of her favorite sports to watch.
"Hey, Marina," a voice whispered in her left ear.
She jumped way too high to be respectable before indignantly turning to face whatever asshole friend had decided to scare her so and instead found herself staring straight at Carson Flint.
"What are you doing here?" she whispered back, avoiding eye contact with him under the guise of watching the hurdlers.
"Well, I haven't seen you since you know, we had sex. And since it's been what, two weeks since then? I figured you were avoiding me. Sources say you were going to be at the track meet today, so here I am."
"What sources?" she demanded, greeting him with a glare before remembering that she was avoiding eye contact and returned to watching the race.
"Well, I can't reveal them, can I? Point is, you're avoiding me, Mari. Why? Was the sex so bad? You can tell me, you know. My ego can take it. I've had enough girls tell me the opposite that I won't take it personally."
She deeply frowned but still didn't turn to face him. "My name is Marina, not Mari. And... the sex wasn't bad," she answered tonelessly. Well, she wasn't going to lie. It really wasn't. In fact, it was really fucking good, from what she could remember, but she wasn't about to tell him that, either.
"Then what's the problem, Marina?"
She sighed, pinched her nose, and replied, "I thought it would just be a one-night stand."
"What gave you that idea?"
He sounded genuinely puzzled, so this time she actually turned away from the race, which she wasn't really absorbing anyway, to look at him. And there was concern and a little hurt etched in his too-pretty blue eyes. She paused, but before he could notice, she swiftly told him, "You're just not relationship material, Carson Flint."
"Am I not good enough for you?" he asked her, point-blank.
"I did not say that," she insisted, with a huff.
"But it was implied."
"No! That is not what I meant!"
"Then what did you mean, Marina. I'd love to know."
"Look, Flint, it's just that you know, you were constantly sleeping around with girls during high school, so it's not like you have the best track record for relationships. Uh, no pun intended. But still, and like, we're too different, and it would just never work, and I don't see the point in pursuing something that wouldn't work."
Carson's eyes flickered down for a moment, and she watched him as he sat next to her, shoulders hunched, fingers flexing, absorbing the information. When he finally turned back to her, his eyes had zero of the twinkle she'd come to know him for. "So, basically, you think you're too good for me."
"I did not say that!"
"No, I get it," he sighed, standing up. "Guess I should have known better. I'll leave you alone now. Goodbye, Liu."
She was so caught up in watching him leave and deciding whether or not to follow him or call out to him that she missed the end of the race and had to shamefully ask the photographer for official pictures to get the information.
Six geese a-laying
What was with her floormates?
She swore that she saw at least six girls on her floor stumble in with dates and already with their clothes falling off. She did not mind them having sex, but she did however mind them having very loud sex when the walls were thin and she needed to study.
"Why do they have to take them here? Why can't they go over to the guys' dorm or something?" she bemoaned to her roommate.
"Marina, not all of us are like you and run away at first sight of a hot male in our bed. Some of us, you know, have this strange hope that the boys we sleep with will want to be with us and be our boyfriends. Strange concept, isn't it?"
She threw a pillow at her roommate in response. "I did not tell you what happened so that you could ridicule me for it for the rest of my life."
Her roommate rolled her eyes in response before adding, in all seriousness, "But Marina... I really don't get why you rejected him."
"I've explained this to you a billion times!"
"You mean you've denied having intense chemistry and amazing sex a billion times."
While she couldn't see herself, Marina knew that comment most definitely induced a splotchy blush to flare up on her cheeks. "Shut up. I have my reasons."
Marina got another eyeroll in response. After a few minutes of silence, her roommate then added, "You know you wouldn't be so bitter if you were having sex regularly, too..."
Her roommate got another pillow thrown at her for that suggestion.
Seven swans swimming
Track and field season was over, which meant that Marina had to get her fill of athlete hotness from swimming. Hey, she wouldn't deny that half the reason she went to cover these meets and games was solely because the athletes were so damn attractive.
Unfortunately, though, there were no hot guys to observe at the moment, as the current race was the 100m Women's Breaststroke. She still was, however, a reporter, and needed to keep tabs on this race as well, so she gazed down intently at the seven swimmers who'd tore through their heats to get to this final race.
Her attention drifted, though, when she noticed Carson Flint waving a huge GO VALERIE! sign. Well. Guess she was no longer his object of affection. Which was great. It meant no drama. Even though it also meant he moved on awfully fast. Really fast. Sickly fast.
Damn, was she getting sick? There was this odd pain in her chest. No, no, she was not affected by Carson Flint cheering on another girl. It was a free country, and you know, they should all support their athletes. He had every right to cheer on his girlfriend. Or whatever she was.
That didn't stop her from feeling bitter when Valerie won the race, though.
Three French hens
Marina was about 98.4% sure she was completely over Carson Flint and about 92.3% sure that rejecting him was the right idea when she spotted him in the cafeteria.
With three girls.
And they were the trio of Canadian sisters, if she wasn't mistaken. She knew this because the newspaper had done a feature on them, since they were triplets or something stupid like that. But they were all cooing and petting Carson like he was some sort of god, and in response, Marina stabbed her mac & cheese more aggressively than usual.
"What is wrong with you?" her roommate asked, looking concerned, then turned around to see what Marina was glaring at. And sighed.
"Marina, stop being an idiot. I have no idea why you rejected him in the first place. That boy is fiiiiiine. And he was totally into you. Just go and fucking talk to him already."
"I am not into him!" she insisted.
"Which is why you are pulverizing your lunch. I know jealousy when I see it. Trust me, you're not the only girl who thinks he's attractive. But I'm sure you've realized that now, given that your lunch is now more cheese than mac."
She twisted her lips angrily and glared at her roommate, but regardless, she left her lunch to go over to his table, not really thinking on her march over there.
"Why, look at you, Carson Flint," she sneered.
"Liu?" he answered, frowning up at her in confusion. "What are you doing here?"
"Just letting you know how disgusting it is to watch you whore it up. Some of us are trying to eat, here."
The three girls looked affronted at the insinuation, but Marina ignored them. So did Carson, who apparently offended them by not standing up for their honor or whatever, and they moved away, huffing, while he continued to peer at Marina.
"Are you jealous, Liu?"
"No. Of course not. I just don't like PDA."
He looked bemused. "We weren't doing anything, Liu."
"But it's still pretty disgusting to be cavorting around with three other girls when you're dating Valerie or whatever."
"Wait, Val? What does Val have to do with this?"
"Isn't she your girlfriend?"
"Val?" Carson echoed. "How do you know Val? What made you think we're dating?"
"I saw you enthusiastically cheering her on at the swim meet the other day."
"Are you stalking me, Mari?" His eyebrows were raised unnaturally high, but there was denying that half-amused, half-smug smirk on his lips.
"No! Of course not! I was covering it for the paper. Gawd, how egotistic are you?"
Carson just laughed in reply. "Chill, Liu. And for the record, Val's my RA. My whole dorm was there. She also has a boyfriend who would probably beat the shit out of me if I even thought about her that way."
Marina harrumphed but still couldn't help the small surge of hope that swelled. No! What was she thinking? She began walking away.
"Marina, what are you doing?"
She paused, but didn't turn back around yet, as she didn't want him to see the confusing mix of emotions on her face. "Walking away." She bit her lip, facing him with a wary hesitance in her eyes.
He looked serious now. "You did that before. I'm asking why you're demanding answers about my love life when you made it clear you didn't care."
"I never said I didn't care, I just-"
"Marina, do you like me?"
"What? I- well. That's-'
"Marina. I'm not asking you to confess your undying love. I'm just asking if you're attracted to me. If you think maybe you want to try dating me after all."
She paused and chewed her lip even more before sighing in resignation and declaring, "Tron: Legacy comes out tomorrow. You have a date for the 4:25 showing?"
Carson grinned. "I do now."
Five golden rings
"That. Was. Fucking. Amazing."
"The movie?" Carson prompted.
"No, Garrett Hedlund's body. And eyes. And face. Of course the movie, doofus. Although I will not deny the amazing hotness of Garrett Hedlund."
"Isn't it some kind of rule to not discuss how hot some guy is when you're on a date with another one?"
"I'm pretty sure the rule is to discuss the hotness of other guys to make your date jealous, but whatevs. Rules, schmules."
"'Rules, schmules?' Is this Marina Liu I'm hearing?" Even though she wasn't facing him at the moment, she knew the askance look he gave her was full of amusement.
"Shut up, Flint. I am not a stick in the mud."
Carson just smiled back at her. "Never said you were."
"But you know that scene where it was like orange battling blue, and there were five orange guys and they were just glowing, like almost golden that's how radiant they were, and these gorgeous orbs of color-"
"You wanna discuss this over ice cream?" he suggested, cutting her off.
She paused. "It's... December."
"Doesn't mean we can't have ice cream," he pointed out. "Live a little, Mari."
What could it hurt? "Sure."
Two turtle doves
Marina was wondering what to get from this little ice cream shop. They were so many options, and they all sounded so delicious.
"I don't know what to order," she admitted to Carson.
"Join the club," he muttered back.
The middle-aged man manning the counter apparently heard them and said, "May I suggest the Turtle Dove special?"
"The what now?" Marina replied.
"It's our Lovers' Holiday Special. It's just a regular turtle sundae, but we use Dove chocolate. Hence the name. There's also enough for two people."
"Well I wouldn't call us lo-" she began.
"Sounds delicious. We'll have it," Carson cut her off.
He led them back to a little table where she pouted and complained playfully, "You have really got to stop cutting me off, Carson."
"Well, you need to stop being so reluctant towards the idea of us being a couple," he countered. His voice was light, but there was something more grave in his eyes that caused Marina to frown again.
"This is just our first date, Carson."
"But we're still on a date," he insisted.
"But I mean like, I didn't say that I wanted to commit to anything yet."
"What, so this is a one-date thing?" Carson replied.
"I didn't say that! It's just like. I don't know. I'm still not entirely sure we would work out."
"So why did you ask me out, Mari?"
Marina sighed. "I mean, I was, I mean, am, attracted to you. But you're still a player. You have that reputation. You forget that our going to high school together means I know all your dirty laundry. I just don't know if I can trust you."
Carson looked down for a moment, and when he looked back at her, he was glaring, truly glaring at her, for the first time since she'd met him.
"Just because we went to the same high school doesn't mean you know me, Marina Liu. Thank you for proving to be every bit the judgmental bitch I never believed you were." He threw twenty dollars at her then spat, "Enjoy your ice cream."
A partridge in a pear tree
"Stop. Moping," her roommate snapped, as she bit viciously into a pear. "You look more like a zombie everyday."
"I'm not moping," Marina insisted, sighing as she lay on her bed and stared at the ceiling. "I'm just tired from finals. And mad. You know, he's the one who called me a bitch. So if anything, I'd be mad, not sad."
"Except you secretly realize you made the mistake here."
"Whose side are you on, anyway?"
"Your love life's."
Marina turned her head to glare at her roommate. "Wow."
"But seriously, Marina, you were so not being fair to him."
"He is a player!"
"Says rumor and gossip."
"For good reason!"
"Maybe he's been with a lot of girls, but that doesn't necessarily make him a player. Marina, he's totally into you."
"Until he gets into my pants."
"Uh, that already happened, remember?" Marina glared, but her roommate continued. "Look, I know this isn't your thing, but you really need to try and take chances every once in awhile. Carson is really into you, and you're really into him. You'll never know if it will work until you try."
"But... but I..."
"I'll think about it."
"You don't have that long until we go on break."
Marina's answer to that was another long, frustrated sigh.
Ten pipers piping
"Thanks so much for doing this," Marina whispered to her roommate.
"Anything to get you out of our room."
"Oh, shush," Marina retorted, with a glare. Her roommate merely smiled before Marina called Carson, hoping he would pick up. Yes.
"What do you want, Liu." Okay angry tone, but he still was talking to her. She could deal with this.
"Look outside your window."
"Look. Outside. Your. Window."
She watched as he drew back the curtains and frowned as he saw her, and the ten people behind her. "What the hell?"
"May I present, the ScatterTones! The ten of them who haven't left for break yet, that is. Hit it, guys!"
They then proceeded into their version of Glee's "Last Christmas" cover. Marina watched them for a moment, smiling, before turning back to face Carson.
"I'm sorry," she told him honestly. "You shouldn't have called me a judgmental bitch, and I really don't think you should've thrown money at me either, but I was being a judgmental bitch. You didn't deserve that."
His expression still hadn't warmed up, though, and she bit her lip nervously. She opened her mouth to add to her argument when he said, "Liu, stop talking. I want to hear your friends."
Now he smiled. "If I forgive you so easily all the time, you're going to walk all over me."
"So you do forgive me?"
He shook his head. "Well, I can't exactly have sex with you again if I don't..."
"Carson!" She moved as if to hit him, but instead he caught her hands, swept her face into his, and kissed her.
Now this was a conflict resolution she could get used to.
A/N: This is a slightly edited version from the one Jenina read. Mostly because I discovered the prompt really late and kinda rushed through writing it and didn't get a chance to edit it. There were stupid things (typos) I needed to fix and some other minor edits, but the story is pretty much the same. :] I hope you enjoyed it, as I had much fun writing it!
This is also cross-posted on my livejournal (riceaddikt(dot)livejournal(dot)com), so if you see it there, it's not plagiarism. It's just me, haha.