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just a picture of a cloud
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
They were calling her "Rainy", Georgia Lee realized. She'd simply been taking it as repeated references to the weather. Strange, but no stranger than anything else about her companion.

She'd had nicknames before, and all of them had been cruel. Was this one? If it was a joke, it wasn't one that she got, but that wasn't anything new. A lot of her classmates' humour was wasted on her, and she knew that. She'd made her peace with that, but if someone was having a joke at her expense, she still wanted to know. She had the right to know, she felt.

Vincenzo was friendly. Charming, even. There was an air about them, a total lack of tension, which set her at ease, somehow. Georgia Lee didn't trust it. Vincenzo was pleasant company, relaxing to be around, and when people relaxed they made mistakes. They slipped up. She herself made a habit of relaxing as little as possible.

There'd be plenty of time to relax after graduation.

She wanted to trust that smile, and so she made herself suspicious of it. Was it amusement? Was she just some idiot junior to them? Were they laughing, thinking about how they'd tell their good friend Ty about this later?

She wanted to respond, to make some joke, some comment, and so she said nothing. She wanted to stare into those dark eyes, and so she looked away. The ground was already drying up.

Georgia Lee was glad she'd come outside when she had. She loved it, after the rain. The air was clearer, the heat less oppressive. It was quieter, too: the roar of the rain passed, but people were still indoors. It just felt more real, somehow. Perhaps it was that you never saw this sort of thing in films. Georgia Lee had noticed that, though she couldn't remember when. Did she like this time because of the observation, or make the observation because she liked this time? You saw rain in movies, and sun, but no inbetween. It was a fleeting time, she supposed, tricky to shoot in before the puddles were all gone.

It was nice, she'd decided, that you couldn't see this at the pictures. It made it more special, somehow. She'd always run out, after in the rain, to be the first one outdoors and have the whole world just be hers, and it always felt special. Perhaps it was a Kingman thing. They'd been 10 inches of rain last year, she stayed updated on these things. Rain here was always an event. Perhaps she'd get sick of it in New York. Perhaps she'd get homesick, even. She hadn't thought there was anything about Kingman she'd miss, but she might miss this.

"Are you staying here? Not now, I mean, but when you graduate."

Her eyes were still on the puddles. She turned towards Vincenzo, their face bemused, hers hopefully blank. She liked to think herself hard to read, but it was one of those things where you simply couldn't tell.

"Do you have a plan, at all? For when you leave here? The school, not Kingman. I mean, not necessarily."

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Puddles · Grounds