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ainsley gaia adams
A IS FOR AINSLEY
It was usually the work of minutes to assure the teacher that the name they should be calling her by was Ainsley, rather than Sunflower. But this one was stubborn. This one decided that she was going to continue to refuse. She was going to call her by the name that was on the sheet, you see. Despite the fact that she had been requested by the pupil not to call her by that name. Apparently, well, this teacher was stubborn. She just didn’t realize that Ainsley was more stubborn. She thought she could embarrass the young woman to go by her name, by calling it out but everyone else in the class just looked around confused and so did she. She was more than happy to play this game.
A game that ended up marking her absent each day. That ended up with missed tests and homework’s because without her “proper” name on them, she was not going to grade them or count her there. It was the only class she ever failed. But if the teacher thought this would make the young woman see things her way, than she was sorely mistaken.
She didn’t realize that Ainsley knew full well she wouldn’t be staying very long, so the embarrassment wasn’t going to stick.
She didn’t realize that at the beginning of the year, Ainsley had gotten the guidance counselor on her side with an explanation about her parents, and their distractions, and Ainsley’s desire to fit in – it wasn’t that, not really, Ainsley just despised sunflowers after she had gotten lost in a field of one of them as a child. So when the teacher requested a meeting with the errant child and the principal, no one questioned when Ainsley requested the guidance counselor there as well – it made sense, of course.
And Ainsley walked out of there triumphant and able to retake the class over the summer.
At the tender age of eighteen years, four days, and ten minutes Sunflower Gaia Adams submitted the forms that would forever have her be known as Ainsley Gaia Adams. She kept the middle name to keep her parents from being completely devastated but what parents named their children Sunflower anyway? Her name was taken from her grandmother, who was pleased and backed her up when the time came to explain. Not that Ainsley needed to worry. Her parents were too free spirited to mind that their daughter might be as well.
B IS FOR BROKEN HEARTED
She was thirty years old. That was ten years too old to be sitting with her legs dangling off the edge of her balcony, threaded in between the bars that guarded her from falling off, with a bottle of wine in her hands—because who needed a glass. It was too old, and yet, here she was anyway. It was her own fault, right? She had been too stand offish. She had been too closed off, or something. She carried around too much luggage from her past, was really the likely answer. She just didn’t know how to connect. She had run away when he had gotten too close.
Another reason not to be feeling so sorry for herself, sitting here drinking wine. And yet…
With a sigh, she tipped her head back to the moon, and smiled a bit. It was a very weird feeling to be currently so damn broken hearted and yet, at the same time, know that she still felt happy for Evan. He had found someone. That was good. That was special. She wasn’t even totally sure that he currently realized how perfect they were together but she could see it.
Maybe that was the main reason she was currently feeling so broken hearted. Because she wasn’t. She could see that as clear as day after watching him with Rachel.
It still hurt. It still ached to think that she had come so close to perfection, to love and joy, and to have lost it. It still hurt to know that it was all her fault because she was very bad at being anything but solo. It still made her smile to know she was probably going to go down to the bar down the block and bring home a guy to forget the pain. Oops. But she ached.
Ainsley fully admits that she never really learns her lesson from this one and takes it as a cue to let people in closer rather than holding them at a gentle distance. That’s okay. She’s fine with her flings. She also, to this day, manages to feel very broken hearted and lost about this one, about the one that got away, even as she went to their wedding two years back.
C IS FOR CONTROL FREAK
They couldn’t do this to her. She had finally secured a position that was respectable. She was a geologist, she was well known and liked, she had her degrees and her masters and was working on her PhD and they couldn’t just request her to move to another branch of their company. That was just plain wrong. She had everything set up just how she liked it here. She had a place that was hers. She had those few people she liked to grab a drink with, she had a job that she had worked hard for and a studio and this was just wrong.
They couldn’t just move her around like she meant absolutely nothing at all. She was the one who had a say in how that happened. She was the one who decided how her life was going and whatnot but they told her that this was a promotion. They made it sound like she should be entirely happy and grateful that they had moved her up so quick. And it was Arizona, there was plenty for a geologist of her caliber to do in Arizona.
They informed her that she had agreed to this but she was fairly certain she would never sign an employment contract that dictated such things. please like she would ever do that. So she quit.
Ainsley likes to be in control of every aspect of her life. She was moved around a lot growing up with no say in that and that still grates at her. She has no problems doing the very less than smart thing and throwing it all away to make sure that she has the say in what happens next. It also was this move that started her on her wandering.
D IS FOR DETERMINED
Her small fingers stuttered on the fret, making the chord come out sour and making her scowl a little bit down at the acoustic guitar that her father had settled on her lap after she had asked to learn one night. He was always playing. She wanted to do that too. So he had smiled, he had obliged, and now she was failing at it. He had been teaching her for months now and she still turned out sour notes all the time. She frowned and he smiled, reaching over to playfully tip her lips up into a smile, making her scowl at him more before she was off and laughing instead. It always worked.
He showed her again, moving her fingers into the proper position and she nodded, staring down at it and eventually strumming the right chord out to immense praise from her father. That wasn’t why she did it. She had started this, she was going to finish it. She nodded a little bit to herself and leaned over to shift her fingers into a different position, careful to make sure it was absolutely perfect and then strummed again.
She was by no means a natural, but she wanted to do it. So her father sat down with her, night after night like the patient man that he was, and he showed her. He moved her fingers slowly until she didn’t need him to do that for her, and she kept at it. She was not a natural, but when she wanted to learn something, she did her best to do just that. Sunflower set her mind to a thing and she wanted it done. Her parents hadn’t backed down when they needed to, why should she? And look how well that had worked out for them. It would work out well for her to.
It took her a year before she could master it well enough to be actually enjoyable to listen to her play but she did it. She did it.
When she sets her mind to a thing, she intends for it to happen. She’s not afraid of a little hard work to get there either. She doesn’t know when she should back off most of the time, and sometimes that gets her into trouble, but mostly it works out well. For instance, she now tends to play small gigs when she’s passing through for money. Doesn’t hurt that she has a voice to go along with her guitar playing.
E IS FOR EVAN
She was just passing through. But then, she was always just passing through.
After she had somehow been in the middle of a rather large magnitude earthquake, and the rockslide before that, and then there was the mudslide before that, she tried to pick a place she didn’t think would have too much geological activity, despite that being her area of expertise. At twenty five, she was reckless, but not so reckless that she wasn’t recognizing a pattern for getting herself into trouble. She knew when she should back off, thank you. Sometimes. Okay, so she really didn’t but that last earthquake had scared her a little.
She hadn’t been expecting to be cornered by people who didn’t appreciate her being in their little town and possible causing trouble – apparently she had had too much of a mouth on her in the bar, oops – and wanted to encourage her to leave. Until he showed up with that quick grin and that laugh and diffused the situation. He was well known around town. If he vouched for her… apparently that was enough.
He didn’t need to help her and she had told him as much but he just laughed, slung an arm around her shoulder, and asked if she wanted to join him. He was on his way to meet a bunch of his friends. And she may have flirted. And he may have blushed. And she may have found that charming and followed him to the bar where she met his friends, a tight knit group, and found out that… oh. She enjoyed their company. That was new.
But mostly she enjoyed his. And enjoyed that they put her up for a night, which turned into a week, which turned into a month, which… well you get the picture, in the house they shared.
She enjoyed watching the work they did, some as police officers and some as teachers and some as private investigators and helping out when she could. But mostly it was just easy and the fear in her chest that had settled after the quake, it eased as nothing bad happened.
Nothing bad at all. In fact, something wonderful as she went to a carnival with Evan. And then a restaurant, and then a club, and then dinner, and then by the beach… He made her laugh. He made her want to be better than the stubborn, solo person that she was. She just… had a hard time letting hi m in fully. Telling him her story. She’d rather hear his.
The first crack came when she told him her birth name and another of the group mentioned it later after she had told him, told him not to tell anyone – she didn’t know until later that the private investigator had just gotten curious and looked into it. So she got her own place. And eventually he got around to mending her heart and making her come around again but… they were broken after that.
And he started to notice Rachel.
Evan is the first person to really get close to Ainsley, and it also is a wondrous display of how private she is and how easy it is to break her trust. But he is that caring person in her life and will always matter to her no matter what, she can’t help but love him even still, even as he’s married and not hers anymore. He played a very important role in her life.
F IS FOR FUN LOVING
Ainsley whooped from the top of the cliff and spread her arms wide, looking out among the canyon as he joyous cry echoed again and again back at her. She had finally found what she was looking for out here and it was beautiful. It also meant that it was time to move on, but for the moment she could enjoy the discovery and the victory at finding it. She laughed and that echoed too. She would be celebrating tonight.
And she did.
It didn’t take too much time before she was back in the small town where she was staying and flashing her ID at the bartender for a drink to celebrate. It didn’t take too much time after that before she was on the dance floor and living it up. It was important to let go, to wind down, to celebrate. It was important to recognize the high times in life and make sure that they didn’t go unmarked. Her parents had taught her that. She might be more serious than both of them combined but they had made sure to teach their little girl how to enjoy the life that was before her and make sure she didn’t let a good moment pass her by.
No matter how much her baggage weighed on her, and it did, she always found time to dance, to live, to party, to laugh, to enjoy it. Sometimes it was absolutely an act but not always. Sometimes, like in this moment when her extensive research had paid off to be something wonderful and perfect, it was actually quite perfect and true.
Balance the good with the bad. If one weighs to heavy on the bad and the baggage and the sad things in life, it’s not good for the soul. Her parents might have been hippies, but they were smart hippies who engrained that into their daughter. She doesn’t think it odd that she’s serious a lot of the time and joyous when it counts.
G IS FOR GEOLOGY
Sunny, ain’t it grand? her father asked her, lifting her up onto his shoulders so that she could better get a look at the striations in the rock face before her. With a wondrous joy, she reached out and ran her fingers so carefully along the surface of the rock, feeling the bumps and angles and rough surface underneath her fingers as she did, gliding slowly along them to take it all in, like she was reading brail. Her father walked along slowly so she could trace her fingers along the entirely thing, launching into explanations of what she was seeing and she ate up his every word.
Mum had been busy with her flowers and her botany so her Pop had taken her out. There was a nearby cave that he had already explored and therefore deemed appropriate for his seven year old daughter to accompany him back. He had noticed her wonder as she had trailed along after him day after day, picking up rocks to show to him and have him explain what they were and what they meant.
They had come out the other side of the cave to this rock face and the joy that lit his daughter’s face at the sight of it had been worth every step in the three mile hike through the caves. He knew she had a knack for it and he was encouraging it. He asked her if she knew what things were and she either answered diligently or asked him to explain. And forgetting he was no longer a lecturer in his lecture halls, he explained. And refrained from winching when she grabbed his ponytail to better steady herself to lean up and get a better look.
Oh yes, it was wonderful. And she wanted to know all that she could.
Like her father before her, Ainsley now has a PhD in geology and is qualified to teach, as he did. She sometimes signs on as an adjunct professor when she knows she’ll be sticking around in a place. She has a love and a quick mind when it comes to the subject. It will also, absolutely, always be her first love no matter what happens in her life.
H IS FOR HARD HEADED
You shouldn’t go up there.
That was what they had all warned her, the people in this tiny village in this tiny country that she had come to to study the mountains above. You shouldn’t go up there. They wouldn’t tell her why. And so she figured that it had to be superstition that kept them thinking this. Why shouldn’t she go up there? She had come all this way to go up there and she was going to do so, thank you very much. She didn’t care that the locals probably knew best. She didn’t care that she shouldn’t go so soon after a quake had hit this part of the world. She thought that was probably the best time to go. When the quake had probably shaken loose something that was buried up there.
So she went.
Sure, they probably knew better but she had come all the way here. Why should she listen to them?
A rockslide was why.
Determined and hard headed often go hand in hand, don’t they? Whether it’s failing a class to prove a point or doing things when those that know better tell her that she shouldn’t do said things, she often just does whatever she thinks is best. She’s very even tempered. She will not raise her voice and she very rarely gets angry, she’s steady like the rocks beneath her. But she’s incredibly hard headed. It has caused her no ends of trouble. Like the rockslide, after she had gone up a mountain that had been disturbed by an earthquake and stepped on the wrong bolder.
I IS FOR INSECURE
It was almost embarrassing that it had taken her this long to be standing on this stage receiving the diploma that would mark her as a doctor for the rest of her life, with her parents actually in the audience tearing up about their pride for their daughter.
Why had it taken this long? It shouldn’t have. She had grown up among the rocks with her father teaching her, it should have been a breeze to get here, and not the ten long years it had taken. It made her feel a bit twitchy, even if she knew she was one of the youngest up here. It still bothered her. She should have done it sooner.
Still, she faced the audience with a smile, a grin even, as she received the honor she had worked so hard for, even if she was shaking inside.
Hard headed, yes. Stubborn, absolutely. Determined, one hundred percent. Confident in her own abilities? Not so much. It’s a major fault of hers that she’s often insecure and does her best to hide it behind a shield of bravado. It’s one of the main reasons she keeps to herself a lot.
J IS FOR JEALOUS
With a small scowl, she watched her friend greet the new person and tried not to huff to herself. Tried, being the keyword here because it did not succeed. She still grumbled and she still growled and she narrowed her eyes at the new person. She did not like the new person. The new person was going to take her friend away. She knew it. She just knew it. She was going to be better than her and her friend wouldn’t be able to help but go and hang out with her. Or worse, she would want to play all together with her and Sunflower had no interest in such things, thank you.
She was a one person kinda gal. Big groups had never really been her thing.
She narrowed her eyes as she watched her friend show the other person around, and sulked as she silently trailed along after, trying to remember to paste a friendly smile on when the new person turned to look at her too. It was probably really fake looking, if the way that the other girl winced said anything but she didn’t actually care. She just didn’t want to make her friend to think she wasn’t friendly. She was. She was just very certain that her friend was hers and she didn’t like this new person to butt into things. That wasn’t fair.
They should just go away.
Ainsley moved around a lot so friends became rather rare for her and as such she developed a very possessive personality towards them, She doesn’t like new people butting in. This isn’t the case with love, it was later proven, but once she let a person into her trust it seemed like a rather big deal to her and she couldn’t let another person go around and take that from her by slipping into her friendship, now could she? Exactly. She was just the sort to… not take well to a new person and anytime her friends talk too long to someone else she feels this pressure and need to steal her friend away show up, even now, as an adult.
K IS FOR KIT
Senior year of college was supposed to be for celebrations. Was supposed to be full of them taking in all that college had left to give them and for being totally anxious about what they were going to do with their degree once they had it—Ainsley knew she was going right back to college for her masters so she wasn’t too worried. It was supposed to be a nerve wracking time but not a scary one. But it was for Ainsley and Kit.
Stage four. Someone everyone had missed it. Somehow it had gone under the radar until it was now too late.
Ainsley begged and pleaded with Kit to go and get the chemo, the drugs, anything to prolong her life a little bit longer. But this girl… the one she was matched with at random when she came in to be her roommate, the one she had rolled her eyes at because she had seemed so soft and sweet and after coming off of years running with a crowd that had gotten her a police record, she thought it was the last thing she needed until it turned out she was just what she needed… this girl just laughed. And ruin her pretty chestnut hair? She was so kind, so gentle, and it was so unfair. How could the world take her? Why her? She was going to do so much good! Not have her life cut down at eighteen.
She pleaded and she lost her temper for once but Kit just smiled and hugged her tight and made her promise to keep smiling after she was gone. She just wanted to last long enough to get her diploma, to walk across the stage.
And she did, though she was so weak at that point that she had to be walked across the stage and there were so many people clamoring to do just that, she was so good, had so many friends. It was Ainsley that did though, Ainsley who had already claimed her own and then marched back there to help her friend.
Ainsley who had gone soft with such a sweet girl as her roommate to make her realize she should smile more often.
Ainsley who cried at her grave three months later, after they made a tour of beaches, and sights and life for her.
She needed Kit in her life. Kit, after falling in with such a bad crowd that made her see only the sadness and bad things in the world to remind her that there was good things too, to bring that fun loving side back out and to make her remember to laugh. It’s in Kit’s memory that she’s a gentler person that she would be otherwise. It’s in Kit’s memory that she tries to remember what it was like to be a good person and help other people.
L IS FOR LUST
It takes her ten minutes within entering the club that she finds the person that gets the most attention from her. The person that she thinks will keep her attention too. It’s been two years since Kit died and sure, she’s trying to keep it light and happy for her but sometimes she just needs a distraction and an hour of mindless ahem interaction with another person always does just fine for that. Sometimes she wants nothing to do with her emotions and that is when she seeks out another who looks the same as her. Looks like they could use a bit of forgetting for an hour or so.
She is not shy about this, she never has been. She is a bit of a flirt, but that is a practiced art from when she got to college and realized that hey, that could work in my favor so she, in her determined sort of way, learned it. Mostly she’s just hard headed and straight forward and for some reason that works for her. So when she enters the club on the anniversary of her best friend’s death and wants nothing more than to forget it, she already knows her game plan and she already knows her hotel room is ready and waiting for it.
She sees nothing wrong with that, and never has. It may be hard for her to connect emotionally, but this way? This way she knows well.
Ainsley is many things that may seem like it contradicts this but she’s also rather sexual. She has no problems taking a partner for a night or two—though she prefers for it to be longer really, it’s only really one night stands for when she’s desperately in need. She uses it as a coping mechanism to turn off her brain for a little while. This only started happening after Kit. And also because sometimes she feels the need to erase any memory of Xander from her skin.
M IS FOR MARGARET RIVER
Wait for me! she insisted with a grumble, racing off after the boy her own age. Her first real friend but then again, this was the first time she had ever been in a place long enough to make one. And they were staying a while too, so she could actually count on making a friend rather than a person she just sort of knew. She grumbled but on the inside she was grinning. She really liked hanging out with Clair and being on the farm and seeing all that there was to see. And they both got the whole… oh my god why did my parents name me this thing.
It had been a bit of a first bonding factor, for her.
She broke out into a grin when he did wait, and raced off after him, catching up and shoving her hands into her pockets like she was all cool and casual as she turned her grin on him. This place was so amazing and it was cool to be around living things all day rather than just rocks, plants and her parents. They let her go off with her new found friend fairly often without their supervision and that was kind of the best. What was better than a time when she got to feel like a person in her own right without her parents with someone else that totally got her and who she was and who she wanted to be? Nothing was better than that. Nothing at all. She never wanted to leave, never.
It felt like they had the run of the place, just the two of them. She was so fascinated by everything on the farm and by the idea of actually having a friend and such an amazing friend and oh, oh, she felt like she laughed so much. It was wonderful, even when it just came down to flopping down somewhere and talking—like the adults always did, how boring. She felt like it was the first time she was really alive too.
It was the best time of her life, really, if you ask her. And it was the biggest darkness for a long time when they had to leave. She was inconsolable for so long, demanding they go back. But her parents never stayed still long, she knew that. She still tried to send letters from wherever she was but after a while even that got hard.
She still marks her time in Margaret River as one of the best in her life. She felt carefree, she made her first true friend, and that will always leave a mark on her heart, always. She planned to go back but it simply never happened. It is also, really, the first moment she’s inspired to change her name. She starts her first year of public school in the next place they go to and, remembering what Clair had been through, decides she just won’t go by that name anymore, going a totally different route than her friend.
[u]N IS FOR NERD[/i]
Another A! Her Mum beamed at the paper and hung it up on the fridge of their rental, among many many others. Ainsley just nodded, a small satisfied smile on her face to see all of that hanging there. Okay, so they were mostly science. Because she had grown up with two scientists, of course science was going to be her strong suit. But she was still proud of each and every one that was hanging there. She studied often enough for it to be the case. Mostly because they were so nomadic, she didn’t have time to go and make friends and go out and play like she did when they were somewhere she could be a bit more settled – and she had yet to realize they would finish out the year here.
SO for now, she mostly studied, and hid the insecurity that the sparing bad grades she got in math gave her. She didn’t need to think about those, those were totally not necessary. She was just going to focus on the fact that she was getting all A’s. And that someday she would be a doctor just like her parents.
Obviously, this becomes the case. Ainsley often didn’t make friends quickly, or not quick enough to matter before they were moving, so she devoted herself to her studies and going on hikes with her parents and learning their fields a bit more instead. She didn’t have the time for otherwise.
[u]O IS FOR ODD JOBS[/i]
So what was it that you said you did?
What do you need me to do she questioned back, hoisting the giant backpack higher on her shoulders. She should put it down in a hotel or a hostel even, but she wanted to make sure that there was work for her here before she did that. It would be pointless to put down the money to stay when there was no work for her here. That would be entirely counterproductive. She didn’t bother looking for a help wanted sign, not really. She never looked for work that would be needed for more than six months or so. She had started to wander. And let her PhD get rusty in its case, though she knew there was a college nearby she could offer to teach at for a semester if this went bust. The new semester was only a few weeks away, that was usually when they’d take her own.
The keeper of the shop looked a bit startled by that and glanced around the store. Garden store, which was usually the sort she’d seek out. She didn’t mind being in the back labeling or taking care of the plants before they were sold or even going out to places to help put in new flower beds, or being in the front of the shop if they needed. Thanks to her Mum, she knew this sort of work very well. She had done it from time to time when they had been travelling which had given her the idea about it. She wasn’t picky though. She had worked as a bartender in one place, a secretary for a law office in another, a personal assistant for a time, a plumbers assistant too, and once in a warehouse sorting things. She just needed to do enough work to pay the bills at wherever she was staying and save up enough to get moving again. She only stopped when she ran out and needed to refuel.
After a minute, he nodded, satisfied, and brought her to the little green house out back, and pointed out plants to test her knowledge. He seemed satisfied with what she knew and was far more pleased when she mentioned her mother—who was still off writing award winning botany journals and books and articles, and hired her on the spot. She warned him she was just passing through but, well, that never seemed to be much of a problem.
With that settled, she felt like her pack was ten times lighter, for all that it held everything she didn’t keep in her storage unit back on the west coast. Time to go and figure out if she had a place to stay too.
Despite having a PhD in Geology, she actually very rarely uses it. She likes to be in control of where she is too much and they like to move her when she goes to work using her actual degree, or at least that’s what she thinks they’re doing because it’s happened to her twice. She has enough skills that she doesn’t have too much trouble finding work. The life of the nomad is one she often scoffed at when her parents did it, but here she is, repeating history.
[u]P IS FOR PROVIDENCE[/i]
Ainsley, now officially known as such and with her name registered as such, took a deep breath of Rhode Island air and spread her arms. She had just took her first steps onto the campus that would be her home for the next four years. She had gotten a lot of offers, and a lot of acceptances, but there was something about the tiny campus here that just called to her something fierce. She felt like it was a good fit for her and her parents had just be overjoyed that she had picked one, after she had been agonizing for ages. She grinned and started to walk to her dorm room, her things loaded on to a cart that her father was pushing as they made their way from the car to the dorm that was to be her home.
They had been halfway across the country when orientation had been going on and she hadn’t gotten a chance to pick a roommate but she figured she’d hate anyone with her being so slow to make friends so she didn’t much care who it was. They had chatted a bit and she had seemed… way too nice.
She had spent enough time in counseling after the running away incident though to realize that she was being too “closed minded” about it and tried not to be so much so. All the same, when she pushed open the door and the other girl turned and just plain smiled at her with no hint of anything other than joy on her face, after spending so long with people nothing like that, it made her wince a little bit. That didn’t stop her. Hi, I’m Catherine but no one calls me that. Call me Kit. Your Ainsley, right? she introduced herself. Soon to shorten it down to Ains.
Providence was an eye opener, that was for sure. It softened her and got her back on track. It was where she took her first steps of academia and finished all of one level of schooling in one place.
It was important that she have one place she stayed for four years, to prove that she could do it if she wanted. It was important that she have Kit in her life so soon after she lost her way to remind her that people could be nice. It was important that this place be somewhere small and cozy and it was an important step in the journey of her life.
[u]Q IS FOR QUAKE[/i]
The entire building shook and with a little, totally un her like, shriek she pressed herself against the doorway, huddled down. She should make it to the bathtub. She made it to the bathtub last time and that saved her life. But the bathroom was too far away and the quake was too close. As in, it was happening now. She could count twenty things that could break or bruise her in between here and there. Plus, she wasn’t sure that this cheap bathtub in this cheap place could actually manage to save her.
Instead she put her head between her legs as she crouched and her arms over her head to protect it from any falling debris, chocking back a shriek again as pieces of her temporary home crashed and crumbled all around her, some getting too close for comfort! She could hear the screams in the place next door and hoped that they were okay but she was too focused on herself in the moment, in wishing that it would stop. She just wanted it to stop.
There was no reason for Mother Nature to show so much fury, she understood, the awesome fury of the earth, she didn’t need another lesson. She needed it to stop, but it showed no signs of doing so. She bit her lip and watched as things tumbled around her, barely noticing when something fell against her arm because of the adrenaline of the moment. It wasn’t until later when she ended up with stitches and a wicked scar on her arm that she thought about it and appreciated what a close call it had been.
In the meantime, she was a little bit too worried about dying. This was not the safest place for her to be, but it was the closes that she could get in the amount of time in between the warning shakes and tremors and the real thing that hit. It wasn’t like she wanted to be caught here in the clutch of the quake. She couldn’t help it, though, after a moment she started to laugh. Laugh from the power of it all. Laugh from the absurdity that she was caught in a quake. Again. She needed to stop travelling along fault lines.
Ains has been caught in not one, not two, but three earthquakes of varying magnitude, among other events involving the earth. She jokes that she’s cursed and they follow her but in truth sometimes she worries that’s the case. She always moves on quicker than she intended to once she’s caught in one. She has a very bad habit of travelling to places where these are common, mostly because she’s oddly impressed by them although she would like to stop nearly dying from being caught in the stronger ones.
[u]R IS FOR RACHEL[/i]
She knew that Rachel didn’t like her. Didn’t trust her. She just couldn’t figure out why. Okay, so she wasn’t the most trustworthy person and she hid things from people on purpose but that didn’t feel like a good enough reason to her. Ainsley wasn’t good at being around people or being a part of a group at the very least but she had mostly succeeded here and she wanted to know why she had so entirely failed with just one person.
So she waited. Sitting on the counter in the kitchen for the moment when the quiet, solemn girl came into the kitchen like she usually did in the early hours to get her breakfast before the rest of the place woke up. She waited with food that she had made for the pair of them and held out a plate.
A plate that the other young woman wordlessly took with a nod of thanks before sitting down. And so both girls started to eat in silence while Ainsley decided how she was going to go about this. For a while, she just sat there, looking over at her. And eventually she decided to be blunt. You don’t like me she said, simply. She always was straightforward.
I don’t trust you the other girl corrected, not looking up from her food. Now that was what she had thought but it still caught her by surprise.
Why? she asked, tilting her head a little. If she could be straightforward, so could Ainsley. She was good at that. And it surprised her that the other young woman was too.
She shrugged though and leaned back in her chair. I’m not the trusting sort. And you are hiding something. Ainsley just nodded. Yeah, well, that was true. She was hiding who she had been, what she always felt like she was running from, and she was just naturally a secretive person.
So maybe they didn’t like each other after that, but there was a start. An understanding. A sort of respect. And that was okay.
It would have to come and bite her that she keeps part of herself to herself and with Rachel it does. She’s just as untrusting as Ainsley is. It also shows her that perhaps she’s just not good at being with groups of people because there’s always a chance that someone won’t want to deal with you but it also taught her that it’s always good to face the problem head on rather than waiting and trying to prove herself.
[u]S IS FOR SUNFLOWER[/i]
There was dirt between her toes. Well, to be fair, there was also dirt covering every inch of her along with the grass and leaves and flowers… and some of it was definitely mud from where the creek had splashed her as she hunted down the illusive newt or two. There were rocks weighing in her pockets that she had plucked up as they had caught her attention – Pop had jokingly called her Ophelia as he lifted her away from the creek but she didn’t quite get what he meant. They were a comforting weight that tapped against her body as she walked along, feeling the dirt under her feet and between her toes.
Her parents never understood how it was that she managed to completely cover herself with bits of the earth everywhere they went but they also didn’t question their stubborn child. They were too quick to be amused to care for too long. Instead they watched her with affection and made sure that she just didn’t get herself into too much trouble.
My little Sunflower her mother sang as her daughter ran along the field, from where her father was at the creek to where she was inspecting the many fields and flowers that would eventually go into her papers, this recent one would win her a bit more fame and then they would travel elsewhere for her to speak at a few engagements but for right now, she was just a happy little five year old running along between her parents and getting as covered in dirt and leaves and stones as she absolutely could until her parents started to shake their heads and wonder just how she managed all of that.
She was their little wild child. For now.
No need for a conclusion for this one. It’s simply… a taste of simpler life. Her life before she let it get to her and make her a bit tougher, like a stone work away by the winds until it’s the toughest parts in the center.
[u]T IS FOR TEENAGER[/i]
Even Ainsley could not quite tell you how it had happened.
Oh, she knew where the start came in. She had been plucked from a place where she had been happy and with a true friend. She had been happy. She had made an actual friend and she had been doing well there and her parents nomadic tendencies took her to a new place where she didn’t know anyone and she was having trouble making any sort of friends, even with a forced chipper attitude to cover up her insecurities and her more stubborn behavior. She just wasn’t making any progress and she had a teacher who was insisting on calling her by her name and she hated it all.
She was feeling like she was off on her own, like she had been betrayed by her parents and the world.
And one day she noticed him walking beside her on the way home.
But here she was now. She ran away from home to live with them, that group of kids who did things… they shouldn’t. Lead by him to do it. But he had a point. The world didn’t want any of them so they shouldn’t bother to give back to the world, they should take what they needed. And they did. They stole, they fenced, and some… well some hurt people but she wasn’t part of that some. She was part of the thieving though. She was a look out, she was a fake, she was a plant, she did whatever it was that he asked of her and she did it gladly because he praised her and he wanted her and she had to.
She turned off her conscience for a little while. She felt like she was wanted and needed and loved and she didn’t want to turn away from that. And she didn’t.
For nearly a year.
She laughed and she played and she ran wild. It was weirdly joyous and freeing and she found no need to do anything else. She found no need to question what they did or why. They were merely getting back at the people that had wronged them. At the people that had broken them. What was so bad about that? What was so bad about feeling loved and wanted? She got to stay in one place of her own volition. It was wonderful and she loved it. She never wanted to leave.
This time period pretty much damages Ainsley until Kit fixes some of the damage. It mixes up her right and wrong, it makes her confused and hurt and less likely to trust people because she thought that she could trust them and it turned out that she couldn’t trust them either. How is she supposed to know who she can trust if the people that are so good to her did that? She’s cold and heartless for a little bit and some of that can still stick with her, though she’s since become more easy and free with the smiles once more.
[u]U IS FOR “UNTRUSTWORTHY”[/i]
They had left her. They had left her. They had left her. She was stuck at the end of the alley with a cop going for her and there was no way out and they had left her to get caught. She had thought she could trust them and they had left her. She squeezed her eyes shut like she could ignore it and sort of wished she was tough enough to fight her way out but she wasn’t.
It wasn’t long before she felt the cold sting of metal as they locked handcuffs around her wrists and the opposite, hot sting of tears hitting her cheeks. She wasn’t even totally sure why it was that she was crying, just that she had felt so betrayed and lonely and now she was left.
Her parents were waiting for her when they had finally processed her, sitting in the little room with her, touching her, so happy to have her back and she simply couldn’t look at them. The officer informed her she was lucky she had no priors, lucky she had to rap sheet because this could go very well for her. All she had to do… was snitch.
She had trusted them and they had left her. Perhaps she should.
She stared, blank eyed, at the officer for the longest time. It was the act of being completely untrustworthy to rat on them. On turning her back on those people and giving them up to save her own skin…
She stared at the police officer and felt her parents sorrow on either side of her and… she gave them all up. She became untrustworthy. And she cried while she did it. But they had left her. They had left her.
As a minor when it happened, her record of the incident is now sealed but… she still feels it like a brand that she had been so untrustworthy
She does not count herself as untrustworthy for this anymore. She more counts it for what she did. Running away, hurting her parents, that she considers far more untrustworthy than what she did turning in the others. Mostly, now she’s just grateful she was a minor when it happened and that the arresting officer helped her to get the best deal she could, to avoid jail time and to trade it in for her own freedom.
[u]V IS FOR VAIN[/i]
With a wince she looked at her growing hair and tugged it like she could make it grow faster. Why had she thought it was a good idea to cut it? It was not a good idea to cut it. She was too used to the looks she got as she passed by, and now she found herself sorely missing it as she passed, aching for that look that made it so easy if she decided she needed a distraction.
At least her face still got attention but she knew she garnered more interest with her long blonde hair to go along with it. She sighed and scowled at the reflection and vowed to keep it at her shoulders at least from now on. She didn’t bother with wearing nice things—she was a bit of a tom boy—but she did count on her actual looks to keep up with that and balance it!
Remember when I claimed her insecure? Well she is. She absolutely is. But that does not extend into her looks, at all. She is very conscious that she has good looks and has no problems using them to get what she needs. When she was younger, this was absolutely not the case. It was after Evan. Evan made her feel beautiful and after that, she felt like she could be more comfortable in her skin. As such, she’s confident that she can use her looks, and she does not call it having an ego, she calls it simply speaking the truth. She looks pretty enough to work it, in her opinion.
[u]W IS FOR WANDERER[/i]
They call me the wanderer, oh yeah the wanderer, oh I go ‘round and ‘round and ‘round she sang softly to herself as she walked along the road. Not hitchhiking, thank you very much. The bus had dropped her off though and she was exploring her latest place, the latest bit on the map that she had picked out for herself. It seemed appropriate to sing, really. It had only been a few weeks since she had quit from her last job and the idea of wandering around, as she had for most of her childhood, seemed entirely appealing to her really. She was ready to see what the world had to offer her.
What was a better way to see the world and all the earth that she could than that way? She could study it all she wanted in her books, and she could go on her little field trips from work to study some curiosity or another or she could actually travel and see what she could find for herself in little trips here or there instead. That was working out fairly well for her in fact so far, though she had only just started.
Her feet were not yet sore from walking too far—as they would be sometimes – and she was not yet weary of moving, and she was not yet caught in earthquakes and mudslides and the rest. For right now, it felt like a good way to at the very least entertain herself for some time. The world was her home, the earth was her home, and it was about time that she actually got to see it. She hated to think that perhaps her parents were right in the way that they lived but, well…
Anyway, she had just arrived and the quaint little town, it beckoned to her. Though she had absolutely no idea what she was going to be doing here just yet. Perhaps she’d write her own papers, make her own marks on the world. Or perhaps she’d just wander. At least if she was going around this way, it was her who was in charge of her own fate, right?
As much as Ainsley hates to ever admit her parents were right, mostly because they were more than a bit strange, she had to admit that they were right in this. Or perhaps it had more to do with the fact that they raised her this way, and thus, she was used to this, more used to it than she was staying in one place. Either way, it suits her just fine to wander around and stay in one place for a not so set amount of time rather than putting a label on where she will be and why.
[u]X IS FOR XANDER[/i]
She kicked yet another stone into the river on her way home. Her eyes were downcast, her mood was sour, and she wanted to be back under the sun. She felt like this place never saw any actual sun. It was full of so much gloom and she could not stand it. She wanted to just throw herself into the river to have something interesting happen. It would be better than this. This nothing was starting to grate at her. She wondered what would happen if she screamed? Probably nothing. Possibly a few disapproving stares. That was fine. She had tried to take the world at a happier pace, tried to approach people and make friends but none of them wanted anything to do with her!
How was she supposed to live that way? The answer was that she wasn’t. She grumbled and kept walking along until she felt someone close to her. She smiled a little bit then, she couldn’t help it. She just couldn’t She knew who that was, and she was so happy to, well, not yet see him but know that he had come to see her again.
She looked up as he came past and smiled at him, brightly and he returned the smile. He was only a year or two older than she but so much taller. But she liked that. He came alongside her and took her hand and that made her smile even brighter. For a while they just walked along and he told her about her day, and how he had been looking forward to seeing her walk along this way again. Oh, oh okay.
And then he asked the question that would change the course of her life for a little while. Wanna come with me? Wanna run away and come to a place where people will really want you? Oh. That made her eyes go big and wide. She thought about it for just a moment. He appreciated her. Even her parents hadn’t done that. He had opened her eyes to that in their chats. They were too focused on their research to even see what she needed. He was right.
Yes. Yes she’d go with him.
Xander is a catalyst in her life and not a good one. He makes her feel good, he makes her feel special, and then he uses her. He’d probably make a good cult leader, might have if he was older. But he knew just how to make her feel wanted and just how to make her do what he wanted. He took her away from a loving family and in the end, changed the course of how her life was going. And sometimes when she remembers the feel of her hand in his or his touch, or his kiss, she has to pause for a long while.
[u]Y IS FOR YUM[/i]
Is there anything you won’t eat? asked her new coworker with a laugh, earning a wide grin from Ainsley and making her laugh again, as Ains just shook her head. No, there wasn’t anything that she wouldn’t try at least once—travelling through most of her life had meant that she had tried a lot of the world’s delicacies and gotten a taste for them as well. So no, there wasn’t anything that she wouldn’t eat.
It didn’t hurt that sometimes she had to skimp when she was travelling so when she wasn’t, when she was actually steadily somewhere, she liked to eat all that she absolutely could. Plus, the fact that the sign had said if she finished their giant sandwich in a half hour it was free made her pretty determined to inhale all of it. And also meant that she didn’t have the time to actually answer the other woman, she was too busy making sure that it was free, free was always good when one was working day to day for the money she got handed at the end of each shift.
For the record, of course it was free. Of course she finished.
What’s there to say? Ainsley has a voracious appetite and can eat just about anything you put down in front of her, no matter how gross it may seem, she sees nothing wrong with giving it a try before she decided that it can’t possible be any good.
[u]Z IS FOR ZOO[/i]
She could sit for hours and watch the wolves. Once, perhaps she couldn’t but now she couldn’t help it. It made her think of Kit. The girl had wolves everywhere on her side of the room. Little figurines kept her company, stuffed animals, posters on the wall, even her ringtone had been a wolf. It was crazy. It had made Ainsley tease her a little bit but then she had explained that she just loved the way that they worked together, that they were a family, that they looked out for each other and it was the slowest in the pack that set the pace for them all.
It made her think of family and belonging and having a place. Ainsley had always rolled her eyes. She never saw Kit without a place or without a friend or someone that wanted to talk to her. She was welcome all around. It was silly to think that she would think about packs with such a wistful wanting. The one time she had voiced this, Kit had just laughed and said that yeah, she had her pack, but it was mostly just her and Ainsley. Nothing had made her heart more full.
Now she watched the wolves, and hoped that somewhere, Kit had been reborn as one.
Important because ,well, what was once Kit’s dream is now hers. She might be a lone wolf more often than not, but part of her does long for a pack. She just carefully keeps it to herself. Why not? It seems silly to long for something like that and to say it out loud. Let her wander for now, right?
and needs combat approval<3
terra from teen titans
occupation: jack of all trades
birthday: January 21st
face claim: alona tal
luna, dear, you've done it again!! you've created a wonderful, well-balanced character, so obstinate and stubborn, one that insists on taking control of her life. be that as it may, even life tends to spin out of control at times, away from her grasp, a lesson i'm sure that she has a long way to go in learning but will learn anyway eventually! i really love what you've done with ainsley here, her bold, adventurous streak, the times that she has cherished with her family and loved ones, and how she has to let people in to find happiness for herself. i look forward to her and clair's reunion as well, it is going to be fantastic. wonderful job as always, don't forget your claims!