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“Last three years, Fiyori. I’m a junior.”

The correction was reflexive, Georgia Lee couldn’t have helped herself had she tried, but the second the words were out of her mouth she could see Fiyori’s nostrils flaring.

In principle Georgia Lee was right, she knew; she was a junior, and why should she not be able to tell people that? Was it her fault Fiyori couldn’t remember her age? It was a service that one was given, when one was corrected – a mark of respect, almost. If nobody bothered to correct you, you’d just run around being wrong the whole time, and then where would that get you?

Still, now was not the time to be clinging to etiquette. She’d have to apologize. Georgia Lee looked down at the table, feeling deeply uncomfortable.

“Hey… sorry, that wasn’t necessary, I know. Force of habit.” She raised her eyes to meet Fiyori’s.

The temptation was to blame the situation, say that it was too stressful, too strange for her to be tactful, but this was deeply unwise. Fiyori wasn’t looking for excuses and she wouldn’t respond to professions of weakness. The best thing for Georgia Lee to do was just to acknowledge her mistake and move on. She cleared her throat.

“Anyway, I’ve had my differences with our classmates, sure, but… honestly you were the worst. I don’t mean offense by that or anything, but just that… look, if we can get along okay, I doubt any of the others are going out of their way to come after me.”

Fiyori’s face was a picture of doubt, like it was so hard to believe that people wouldn’t hate her. Georgia Lee felt her face beginning to grow warm, her temper getting sharper. How dare this girl think she knew her, when she had only ever seen her at her worst, and only then because she brought out her worst, with the teasing and the bullying and the constant harassment.

She paused for a moment, counting to five in her head before speaking again. She’d come to far to let her temper get the better of her.

“What about you, Fiyori? Any grudges that people have been nursing for you?”

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Get Me Away From Here, I'm Dying · The Cafeteria