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Swipe Rite
Bradley said nothing, and Alice felt even more uncomfortable in her seat. She wondered if her mom was looking for her. She couldn't quite see her table in the distance, so it was hard to say. Alice didn't want to say she regretted approaching; poor Georgia Lee being left alone would be awful. But she regretted Bradley approaching, absolutely.

Georgia Lee's words helped distract her from her desire to get away. Alice nodded quietly as the other girl spoke, intently listening to avoid Bradley's presence distracting her and causing further distress.

Forcing a smile, Alice responded, "Yeah, I know what you mean. People thinking they can walk over a poor junior when she's behaving perfectly well just for laughs." She bit her lip. That might've been a bit harsh for her. Bradley was unpleasant, but insulting him back might just make things worse.

Alice added hastily, "The graduation preparations might be tough, but they'll also be fun, I think." She was beginning to feel calmer, more composed, less frail. She felt more confident in her ability to maintain a conversation without the irritating man next to her.

"When do you turn 18, Georgia Lee?"

He’s So Fine And Different
Dancing was a nigh-omnipresent cultural phenomenon all over the world, as early as 9000 years ago (was there an internet thing about that? Probably). Henry was aware enough that he was hardly a master of the craft, but he was enjoying himself thoroughly, and Scarlett's delight made him smile.

Oh hey, there was Jae and some girl! Didn't she have a color name too? Yeah, she was Hazel!

Henry paused himself mid-motion, then righted his posture so as to assume proper conversational positioning. "Hey man, how's it going?" Henry grinned. Jae was a great guy. He could be temperamental, but Henry didn't mind that. And he was nice to Henry and they were friends as a result.

"You guys having fun? There's drinks and stuff. Me and Scarlett were just dancing, you wanna join us?" Henry looked over at Hazel. He didn't know much about her, but she was really pretty. Beauty had no connection to personality, he couldn't help but note. But if Jae liked her, she couldn't be that bad, right?

"Also hi Hazel? Are you with Jae? Well, not with-with unless you are. I mean, if you are that's cool. He's cool. Yeah." His smile became a bit more awkward as he trailed off.

J U D G E M E N T
Alice Baker if I am allowed.

Swipe Rite
Alice had encountered Bradley before, but only in passing. She found his appearance to be unusually unsuited to the horrible things she'd heard he'd done. He was, really, rather ordinary-looking, save for his completely noxious style of dress. But he was, essentially, everything unpleasant she could find in a person, especially so really, since he acted that way, apparently, on purpose.

Alice tried to conceal her distress at his incredible slobbishness. She'd been having a perfectly nice conversation without him, and now she couldn't continue it. What's more, because of Bradley's position, it would be physically challenging to slip past him without awkward contact.

Georgia Lee seemed to intend to continue the talk. Perhaps she thought Bradley would grow bored of being ignored and leave. It was possible, so worth a try.

"I'm doing okay. The year's been hard, but I think it'll go well next year." Alice stumbled over her words, insecure in her statements. She kept glancing at Bradley, at his smarmy expression. She felt like he was looking at her, oppressing her, ready to make a crude joke about her appearance or sexual behavior. That last bit worried her; she wasn't sure what be worse, being accused of celibacy (true, but relatively mild) or of deviancy or promiscuity (false, but mortifying).

Really, Alice wished he'd just leave them alone. She gazed down at her lap, trying to find more to say to keep him from interrupting.

How do you feel about your weapon?
I put a 7, but not because I got good weapons or because I'm especially happy with how potent they are. I like them for the roleplaying opportunities they present. Without spoiling too much, Alice is going to have to cope with something useless, Henry got a bullwhip (so expect at least a few Indiana Jones jokes because he's a dork like that) and Blair has a shield too heavy to carry for long. So to me, the weapons represent not tools, but opportunities to play with in the game regardless of how useful they actually are. In that regard, I like mine a lot.

Edit: Also I don't have a particular flagship so I just voted as a general feeling for all three of my kids.

Hello! I can draw something for you if you'd like
aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

FROGUE YOU CONTINUE TO IMPRESS ME MORE WITH EVERY PIECE

I will draw your character...
Blair Moore, if that's cool!

Swipe Rite
Thankfully, Georgia Lee was quick to pick up from Alice's struggling attempt at conversing. She already knew Georgia Lee's name, or at least the first half of it. But it was helpful to Alice to get that kind of thing done in a way which enabled further conversation.

"No, it's okay. I'm Alice Baker. We're both Juniors, right?" Alice smiled. Georgia Lee seemed more comfortable, which in turn made Alice feel less uncomfortable. She was starting to relax, getting more energized about talking, even excited to chat, if only a little.

Alice's heart sank into her stomach when she saw Bradley Floyd, and withered further when she realized that he'd spotted them and begun approaching. . Alice didn't like to throw out insults, but there was little to be said for Bradley; he took delight in offending others, which was deplorable in and of himself. He was like some sort of toxin-spewing sea slug, immune to his own bile.

Colorful similes aside, Bradley was not a person Alice hoped to encounter ever, let alone in public.

As he spoke, Alice heard his comment and knew not to take his bait. She'd seen plenty of people get a compliment from him only for him to turn it around. So she looked around for a menu to grab and, finding none, began digging in her small purse as though she were looking for her cell phone.

Perhaps if the two ignored him entirely, he'd probably go away, like an itchy welt from a mosquito bite.

Lostlorn
((Blair Moore continued from Poe's Poems Pwn Posers))

The last time she was in the hospital, Blair met a guy.

It was the start of winter in Kingman, but it was still warm. Blair had been well for a while; her lungs were relatively clear for now, and she wasn’t having as much of a hard time breathing. So naturally, she’d decided to go out for some roller blading. She’d had a great time, done some really nice tricks, and thoroughly enjoyed herself and her skating friends.

When she got home, she felt a little sore. This quickly turned into an ache, especially-you guessed it-in her chest. She was getting sick again, and there was jack shit she could do. Her lungs were basically a dump for sputum to build up. She went to bed early, slept in since it was a Saturday, and woke up to clogged airways.

It got worse, because of course. She got feverish, chills and sweaty, which was bad because she lost a lot of salt in her sweat, which only made her sicker. She had pneumonia, and because of her cystic fibrosis the extra fluid in her lungs might kill her.

She went to the hospital, where she was put on antibiotics, standard procedure. She was still young, luckily, so she was in good shape immune-system wise. After an initial treatment, she stayed overnight in the hospital to make sure she was healthy enough to leave.

That’s where she met Marshall. He was a year older than her, staying the night for monitoring purposes after recovering (mostly) from the flu. He was friendly, and they’d talked for hours, though for once she let him do most of the talking until her lungs improved.

He was from Phoenix but lived in Kingman as of five years ago. He worked at a local book store when not attending school in Washington somewhere. He had a good sense of humor. He was studying organic chemistry. He was handsome, with golden hair and bright eyes. They laughed and talked until they fell asleep.

He left before she woke up that morning.

---

Oh god.

Was that-

Yes.

He was really there. Just standing there, talking to a customer. The book slid back to the shelf, forgotten. Blair stood back up, staring at him. She could talk to him, like...he was right freakin' there. She was almost never here, but she'd heard about some book, though now whatever it was had slipped her mind.

Marshall. "Marshall?" Blair said, tentatively.

He looked at her. "Uh, hi. What can I do for-" Blair interrupted him by storming towards him, nearly shoving the customer out of the way.

"It's me, Blair! Remember?"

He looked at her. "Uh, doesn't ring a bell. Who are you, exactly?"

He didn't get an answer, because Blair was out of the building seconds later with clenched fists at her side.

BLAIR MOORE: CONCLUDED
CONTINUED IN V6

The Sun Sets
((Henry Spencer continued from Screamer, Screamer, He's a Dreamer))

That could’ve been better.

Henry stood up from the family computer (well it was really just his computer since his dad didn’t use it at all) and pushed in his chair. He stretched, blinking in the dimly lit living room where he’d been stationed for the past 100 minutes watching a movie. What was the title again? Whatever. It hadn’t been very good. Normally it would’ve been a good time, but something about ‘Goodnight Mommy’ resonated poorly with Henry.

Rubbing his eyes, Henry checked the time. Sheesh, almost one in the morning and he had school tomorrow. Henry did pretty well on not a lot of sleep, so it shouldn’t be that bad. He ventured into his room, careful to avoid tripping on anything or bumping into a wall. His dad was most likely asleep by now, so noise would make for a bad time.

Henry washed his face, wiping his eyeliner off and brushing his teeth while staring into the mirror. He had some sort of comedo (a funny name for a whitehead. Get it? Funny ‘cause it sounded like comedy even though they don’t share etymological roots? No?) around his nose that was bugging him, his hair was a mess, and he was probably going to need to start shaving too. The worst of it? That he was so worried about his appearance all of a sudden.

He felt down. That was a good word for it. Today had been rough; someone had called him a name, ‘emo’, and told him to go cut himself. Normally Henry would just laugh it off, but it had kind of hurt this time. He wasn’t stupid; he knew people thought he could be weird. That was just who he was, though. It didn’t have bug him. But all that stuff about racial discrimination and police brutality that happened last year had gotten him thinking.

It wasn’t like Henry was being discriminated against. He was a white, straight (sort of) male in a non-impoverished household. They weren’t rich, sure, but it wasn’t like they were especially poor. That kind of made it worse, though; people talked about privilege, serious or sarcastic, and either way Henry had a lot of it. He had a non-traditional or socially normal style, sure, but that was just one thing. That was something he could change if he really wanted to.

Flopping onto his bed, now in his boxers, Henry curled up on the sheets and exhaled harshly. He would have trouble sleeping tonight from the heat-it was an unusually warm day even for Arizona-and his unquiet thoughts seemed eager to trouble him.

Sitting back up, he turned on the light on his nightstand, rubbing his eyes in the bright light. He took a deep breath and clenched his fists. He slid off the bed and stood on the floor. Then he slipped into the living room again, where, to his surprise, his dad was sitting in his recliner.

“H-hey dad. What’s up?” Henry didn’t see his dad up this late usually. He was an ‘early to bed, early to rise’ sort of guy. Dad looked over and smiled.

“Oh, nothing. What are you doing up, Henry? I thought you went to bed.” Henry moved over to his chair, turned it around and sat down to face his dad. Henry fidgeted for a moment, not sure how to respond.

“I dunno, can’t sleep. Just feeling kind of down, you know, like, sad? Not like I’m depressed or something, but just feeling kind of anxious. It’s like the thing that make me happy are making me feel bad now. I watched this movie and these kids killed their mom and normally that wouldn’t bug me but-”

Henry became preoccupied with the carpet mid-sentence, as his dad bit his upper lip. “Hey, c’mere.” Henry moved over to his dad, and they embraced. There was a long period of silence, and Henry was grateful for that. There was no need for words right now. That was all Henry wanted; a moment to come to a conclusion, one that made him feel like things would be okay.

He wasn’t alone.

After a moment, Henry separated from his dad, who kissed him on the forehead before standing up and going to his bedroom. Henry smiled, slightly misty-eyed, and went to bed.

He slept better that night.

HENRY SPENCER: CONCLUDED
CONTINUED IN V6

Requiem for Innocence
((Alice Baker continued from Not My Tempo))

It was a state of trial and error. Fluctuating uncertainty.

The performance was simple enough; Alice knew every note, every permutation of her fingers drawing the bow across the strings. She knew exactly how the sound should be, where each note should connect to the next, and how the piece sounded if everything went right.

Of course, that was all theoretical. The piece had been written by an amateur, namely herself, so whether it worked was a different story.

Alice sat in her ‘music chair’ which was just a wooden chair without armrests. Her eyes were open, contrary to the popular image of a violinist, because she needed to read the sheet of course. Her breath was slow, even, and controlled so as to keep her hands as steady as possible.

The music…did it sound right? Were the sounds too high, low, unchanging? Did it swoop and fall like she’d intended, or was it bland and flat? The recording would tell her, but so could her ears, right now. Did it feel good to play? Was it a cohesive piece?

Alice hoped so. She’d been writing music for only a short time, and it wasn’t easy. She was certainly not a prodigy, but perhaps she was learning? This was her best work yet, or she’d thought so. But she was almost done…

As the speed climbed and the notes crested and the strings sang, Alice felt a pang in her chest, chills ran down her arms, and as she finished with a final strong note, she realized she’d been holding her breath.

She smiled. Then; “Alice!” she froze. Molly was banging on her bedroom door, yelling her name. Startled, Alice carefully returned her violin to the case, and rushed over to the door, nearly stumbling in the process. Molly stood there, hands on her hips.

“Alice.” Molly’s face wasn’t angry, though. She seemed startled, surprised. Alice’s jolt of fright receded into confusion.

“W-what is it, Molly?” Alice looked up at her sister. They shared some things; both had the fine, blonde hair of their mother and the round face and short nose of their father. But Molly was tall and willowy, while Alice was petite, waiflike. She had strong, imposingly pretty features, clashing with Alice, who was almost childlike.

And of course, personality-wise, they couldn’t be more different.

“I…I wanted to say I liked your song. That’s all.” Molly seemed to be missing her usual confidence, and Alice wasn’t sure why. Still, she wasn’t about to shrug off a compliment.

“Oh! Thank you. I tried very hard.” Alice smiled, and Molly smiled as well, just a little.

“I noticed. Hey, I need a hand taking out the trash. Come help me.” Molly’s pushiness returned in short order, and Alice quickly hurried after her sister to help with the garbage cans.

ALICE BAKER: CONCLUDED
CONTINUED IN V6

Hello! I can draw something for you if you'd like
...damn it

POINT STILL STANDS

Hello! I can draw something for you if you'd like
Could you draw Henry Spencer for me when you're up to it? Thanks!

Swipe Rite
Alice smiled, tentatively.

"Oh, if you say so, I..." Alice took a seat, wringing her hands in her lap, under the table. "Thanks."

The girl seemed to have an odd air about her. Alice was pretty sure her name was Georgia Lee; they were in the same grade, after all. She was also pretty sure that Georgia Lee was not popular with some people, as she'd definitely overheard derisive comments about the girl. Alice felt a pang of sympathy; she'd been subject to criticism before, and it always crushed her. Georgia must've been strong to handle that and still be so polite to a relative stranger.

Plus, from how the poor thing seemed antsy, she got the feeling Georgia wasn't just here for a meal.

And she even complimented her dress. "Oh, thank you." Alice smiled more confidently now. It was a pretty normal pastel blue sundress, nothing standout. Still, Alice had thought it looked good on her, and hearing the reassurance was nice. Alice looked at Georgia's own dress. "I like it, and I guess that's what's important. You look great, though! Yours suits you perfectly."

A short pause ensued. Then, Alice worked up the nerve to ask what she hoped wasn't too probing of a question. "How have you been? We haven't talked much, so...yeah. Excited for senior year?" Alice felt a little more confident now, but there was something else about Georgia. A sort of frailty, an exposure of some kind that reminded Alice of the time in the museum...

Swipe Rite
Honestly, Alice hadn't known what to expect, but she'd hoped for better than this.

It'd been one thing to agree to go to the dance in a nice sundress. But finding someone to go with was entirely a different matter. She wasn't the romantic sort; her crushes tended to be on characters from books, not real guys. Her guys were sensitive, gentle and reassuring, encouraging her to do well without pushing too hard. Sweethearts, basically. There weren't a lot like that her age, that seemed apparent.

And since going out with fictional men wasn't an option, Alice had figured she'd make it a girl's night out. Only problem was that of the few people she could call on, all of them either didn't want to go or had a date. So Alice hung around outside the dance with her mom in the car, and waited for inspiration.

Ten minutes passed, and redfaced Alice returned to the car, asking to go to dinner with her mom, a smile stitched into her face. There'd been a bit of crying, comforting, talking, but Louise was aware lf Alice's feelings and didn't push the matter.

The nice Italian restaurant was quiet as usual, but despite the warm air Alice's arms were wrapped around herself. Her mom set up the table, and on their way to the seat Alice tried to reassure herself. Was she really that excited to go to the dance? Hardly so. This was more fun. Definitely.

Alice caught a teen's eyes as she passed the girl on the way to her table. She knew that face; it was someone she saw at the library. Yeah, she even had that weird Africa book! Alice arrived at her own seat, but as soon as the waitress left she said to her mom in a hushed, frantic voice, "Hey, I'll be right back. I saw someone I know." Not quite a lie, but hardly true. Still, her mom nodded.

She made her way back to the girl, and stood next to her, pausing before speaking. "Um, hi. You go to Cochise, right? Sorry if you're busy, I just..." Trailing off, Alice became fascinated with her shoes.

New General SOTF Discussion Thread
NOT FORGIVEN

Nah, it's cool man! Glad to have you back!