Part 9: Extra: Orange Star's Christmas PartyHey guys. I just wanted to say a big thank you to you all. Thanks to anyone who has glanced at, read, commented or engaged with my SSLP over the last ten weeks! Its been a really great start, and Ive had such a blast doing it.
I was really nervous when I began - I only discovered SSLPs recently, but Ive enjoyed going through the archives of posters like Vilkacis and LordHippoman and many more! Its been quite fun to follow in their footsteps and begin my own SSLP, and I hope its lived up to some of your favourites so far, and that you continue to enjoy it!
This piece is just something I wrote in my spare time coming up to Christmas, and dont worry, therell still be a regular update going ahead on Friday. Consider this a little extra present!
Hope you all have an excellent Christmas, guys. See you Friday!
The Barracks: Orange Stars Christmas Party
Two pints, please. a voice says. The barman begins to prepare it, and Dave turns to see all of his fellow compatriots enjoying the Christmas gathering. The bars quite nice, a good venue for a party.
Hey, Dave. a voice says, and Dave turns to see Gareth.
Gareth. Howre you? he says to the mech.
Not bad, did you get my pint?
Of course. Dave replies. The two pints are served, and Dave hands one of the glasses to Gareth, who accepts it gratefully and begins drinking, smacking his lips appreciatively with each sip.
Nice to get a night off. Dave says.
Yeah. Gareth replies. Sucks that Craigsworth couldnt be here for it. Well pour one out for him later, yeah?
Sounds good. Dave agrees. His mind is on Craigsworth, but for one night, he decides to let his vengeful feelings dissipate. Olaf and his army can wait; theres one night off, and hes going to make full use of it.
Hey, gents. Red slurs as he walks up. Hes already quite drunk, and Dave rolls his eyes.
Red, hi, youre just in time. Wheres your kid? asks Gareth.
Ah, shes on her way! You know what women are like, taking forever to get ready. I left er behind so I could get some drinks in!
I can tell. Dave replies sarcastically.
Hey, how much are pints here? Red asks. Two pints, please!
Both for you, Im guessing? Dave asks. Red laughs and nods.
Michael sidles up to a table where a confident woman is handing out cards.
Uh uh, hi. Would you guys mind if I joined you?
Steve, Barold, Barry, Larry and Tina glance up at him. Steve nods. Of course, man. Were just about to play; Tina, can you deal for Michael?
Sure! Tina says. She grins at Michael as he sits down. Dont look so nervous! Were playing Bullshit, not poker. No worries about losing any money, not at Christmas!
Ah, cool. Michael says, nodding. I do wonder how you guys play poker so much without going bankrupt.
You play well. Barry winks. He looks at his cards and pulls a face.
Is that why you never come by? Worried about losing money? asks Barold. Michael nods, shifting awkwardly in his seat.
Well, yeah, but also everyones been treating me a little weird recently.
Probably since you died. Steve replies. You never did explain that. I wouldnt worry, man, but dont feel afraid about hanging out with us! We dont bite - besides that lot over there.
He points at four figures hunched over a table, talking amongst themselves.
Michael chuckles. I see! Um, Tina how do you play Bullshit?
Ill tell ya! Tina says. Right, its pretty simple - you just put cards down, and
Steve just pointed at us. Carl murmurs.
Even at Christmas, nobodys coming to sit with us. Fred says.
Raynald of Châtillon harrumphs loudly. Pah! Theyre worried about keeping in the boss good graces! But we, the true warriors who shall reclaim the Holy Land, those that do not shy from putting Seljuks to the sword, we are the ones who will fall out of our leaders good graces and into Gods good graces!
Sure thing. Barnaby says. I mean, maybe its because you guys are bringing the Christmas mood riiiiight the heckity down! Lighten up, chumps!
Do not chump me. Carl says. Your blood is just as tasty to me as a Blue Moon soldiers would be. At Christmas, I feast, and I do not mind who I feast upon.
Jeez. Barnaby says. Youre all obsessed with blood, huh?
Not obsessed. Fred says, sipping his mulled wine. I just enjoy combat. Killing evil people, surely thats what were all here for? And hell, if I feel like a hero whilst Im doing it, why not enjoy it?
Indeed! Heroism, thy name is slaying the wicked! Raynald replies. Barnaby notices that hes downed an entire pitcher of ale practically on his own.
You, uh, might wanna hold off on the ale, Raynald. Cant be crusading when youre drunk. he says. That would be pretty funny though!
Ingrates, the lot of you Carl whispers to himself, nursing his glass of mulled wine and staring around the room disapprovingly.
Outside the bar, Mulligan spots a familiar face. Hey, Howard. Didnt know you smoked.
Yeah. Howard says. Being a pilot is stressful, and Christmas is stressful. Perfect time for one of these little lifetakers.
Mulligan stares up at the sky. I guess. You not a fan of Christmas?
I dont mind it. But its certainly more different here than at home. I think Im just missing my family and friends.
I can understand that. Mulligan says. Do you, uh, smoke a lot?
Worried for my health? Howard replies, taking a drag of the cigarette and holding it by his side. He raises an eyebrow as Mulligan faces him.
Well, no, but Christmas is close to New Years, the time when most people turn over a new leaf.
Ive tried to quit before. Howard says. That stresses me out more than anything. I have a lot of problems, man, and quitting isnt even in my top ten.
I understand. Mulligan murmurs. Hey. Everyone deserves a second try. Maybe if you quit again, you can shake the habit for good. Thats just a suggestion, of course; whatever helps you cope.
Thanks. Ill bear it in mind. Howard replies. Mulligan nods, and after a few moments of awkward silence, turns to re-enter the bar. He spots Eric walking along the corridor up to the main party room.
Hey, Eric. Hows the party going?
I dont know. Eric replies. Im not usually impressed by parties, so I always turn up fashionably late and then sneak off if Im not enjoying it. Lets see how its doing. Might have livened up now its just gone eleven!
Mulligan chuckles, and the pair of them enter the main room in high spirits.
The room falls quiet as Lucy enters. Shes pulled out all the stops for the Christmas party. Her hair is curled, speckled with glitter and sparkles, curtaining her shoulders neatly, revealing a slender neck and ruby-red lips. Her dress is a work of art, a bright red party dress with such elegance and style that it reminded one of a rose, blooming around her body. Her legs are long and she walks with confidence, even if its clear that shes unused to wearing heels.
Looking as radiant as an angel with the confidence of a model, she walks into the room and begins to mingle.
Heya, guys! Hows the party? she says to Bernard and Bill. Bill shrugs. Its not too bad, though you do realise youre two hours late, right?
Lucy laughs. I had to get ready! Looking this good takes time, yknow.
Looking for your old man? asks Bernard.
Nah! Lucy says, pointing to the bar. I know where he is already - where he always is!
The two men laugh. Lucy begins to look around. Hey, you wouldnt mind getting me a drink, would you?
Maybe not. Bill says. Youre not drinking, are you? Youre still sixteen.
Come on, Lucy groans. Its Christmas! The perfect time for a sneaky little drink. Daddys never gonna notice, and none of the higher-ups will be bothered!
Go on, Bill. Otherwise shell never shut up. Mulled wine is shit anyway, and we both know it. Bernard says. Bill relents, and digs into his pocket for his wallet.
Alright, but youre not to drink too much. In moderation, yes?
Of course! Lucy says, innocently fluttering her eyelashes.
Why do I feel like Im going to regret this murmurs Bill, accompanying Lucy to the bar.
Shes beautiful Stanley murmurs.
And sixteen, need I remind you. chides Wilbert. Focus your efforts on someone a little more legal, if you must murmur about beauty.
Oh, like Tina? She shot me down. Stanley said. And not just because Im a pilot.
Really? Wilbert asks, intrigued.
Bill walks up to them with a drink. Hey, whats happening over here?
Not much. Wilbert says. Apparently Stanley asked Tina out and she said no.
Yeah, shes got a man, she said. Stanley replies. Didnt even wanna look at pictures of my dogs.
Wait, she has a man? Wilbert asks. He looks visibly confused by this, and Bill raises an eyebrow.
You hadnt heard? I swear someone else mentioned it recently, too. Thats why she hasnt agreed to date anyone.
No Wilbert says, glancing over at the table where Tina and her friends are playing cards. No, she didnt mention it to me.
He sees her get up and begin to leave, and walks after her.
Hey, Tina. Where you off to?
The toilet. Tina replies, turning to see Wilbert in the hallway. He looks flustered.
I just, um Stanley mentioned that hed asked you out and you said you were with someone was that, uh, true?
Tina laughs aloud. Dude, thats just what I say to guys to get them off my back.
Ah, I see. Wilbert says. His brow furrows. You never said that to me.
Tina winks at him, then begins to walk away, leaving him stood in the hallway, confused and yet intrigued. His mind races as he watches her disappear down the corridor.
I knock on the door, but I dont hear anything. Trying the handle, I realise that the door wont open. She mustve gone home. I stare at the present in my hand, and I place it next to the door with a little tag on it.
For a few moments, I hang around like a criminal, not sure what to do with myself now, but I eventually steel my nerves and wrench myself away from the door. The present will be enough.
I just really hope Nell likes it.
I wasnt sure what to get you, but I wanted to thank you for all of your help. I hope this gift suffices.