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Puddles
Topic Started: Jun 1 2015, 06:09 AM (1,395 Views)
Namira
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Vinny switched their attention away from the oncoming person to actually listen to what Georgia was saying. To do otherwise would be rude, and Vinny tried their best not to be rude. Thoughtless at times, perhaps. Besides, GLD was still asking about their shenanigans on the internet, which was more than Enzo had expected. Usually people switched off early if they weren't interested, and Vincenza had definitely had Rainy pegged as the the type to look down on their hobby.

"If you look for 'Vinney Gatti' on Vine, you'll find my account. Uh... that's Vinney with two Ns, though. Just a little- well, you know," they grinned sheepishly. It had seemed like a good idea at the time, but the pun had induced more than its fair share of groans. "The rest of my stuff is... hm, well, my twitch and youtube have the same account name - which is 'TheAmazinGatti', all one word, but only one G," they chuckled softly. "I hope I don't sound full of myself for having my name all over everything. I mean, I am pretty awesome, but I hope I don't sound full of myself," a wink, and then their attention was drawn back to their visitor as they spoke up.

Tall, skinny, dark- oh, Fiyori. Yeah, so far as standing out in a crowd went, that girl was pretty memorable, and this was Enzo talking. They didn't really know her especially well, beyond the usual classmate association; seemed to run in different circles. Enzo, after all, wasn't a social butterfly, wasn't hugely for the party scene unless music or Brady's bunch (ha) were involved. Not that odd, they supposed. Odder that she was approaching out of the blue, really.

Vincenzo tipped a lackadaisical wave towards Fiyori. "S'okay. Just chatting with Rainy, here. Recorded a vine so, you know, productive. Sort of."
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"VinneyGatti. I get it."

She did get it. She didn't find it funny, but she got it. VinneyGatti. She might even look it up, given some time. What could it hurt?

And then Fiyori was there, and she knew what it could hurt. She knew she couldn't afford distractions like this, knew that this was the universe's way of punishing her. What else could it be? Had she gone to an empty classroom to study, as she sometimes did, she'd be well away. Instead she'd stayed here, and now here was Fiori.

Georgia Lee wished she could retreat into herself. Pull up her collar, tuck in her head like a tortoise and just hide in there until Fiyori went away. She wanted to run, wanted to be anywhere else other than here. But no, how would that look? All it would do was signal to the bigger girl that she was weak; that she'd allow herself to get picked on.

And she wasn't weak, and she wouldn't allow herself to get picked on.

Instead she stayed. She sat there, wishing she was somewhere else, but she stayed. She shrugged, when Fiyori asked how it was going.

"It's fine. Quiet."

She wouldn't make a scene. Georgia Lee didn't make scenes. She wouldn't allow herself to get pushed around, though. It seemed like Fiyroi and Vincenzo were friends, and that could be awkward, but Vincenzo also seemed sympathetic to what she'd said, so maybe they'd mediate. She wouldn't be a doormat, but she'd be civil, and she'd weather this conversation and she'd leave and she'd learn. Georgia Lee had made the choices that had put her in this position, and she wouldn't make them again.

Punishment was the universe's way of telling you that you're on the wrong track. No lesson worth learning comes without pain. This might be ugly, but she'd been faltering in her resolve and this'd set her straight. Now all she had to do was grit her teeth and bear it.
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...heh, that was a good one. Rainy. She liked that nickname. For a moment, Fiyori pondered whether there was some special background behind it. Did Enzo and Rainy knew each other? Were they friends? Actually, no. People like Rainy, Fiyori assumed, were the kind of people to spit on Enzo.

Well, then they wouldn't chat together like this, or?

Fiyori drew closer to the bench, halting only as she leaned over the bench's back right next to Rainy. She turned her head towards the girl, baring her teeth in what was supposed to be a smile.

"Rainy? That's a pretty cute name." She turned her head to Enzo. "So you've been doing a vine together? Man, that's quite the surprise."

There was a definite hint of joviality in her voice. It was as if Fiyori was not angry at all. And well, she really wasn't angry. Yeah, alright. She has been somewhat grumpy sine the event at the library. And she did kinda thought of Rainy as nothing more than a stupid little brat. But that was... dunno, it was a hard thing for Fiyori to grasp. Fiyori knew, when people get angry their bodies get hot and their hands start trembling and the heart starts beating like crazy and they feel this primal urge to lash out and destroy and hurt and scream.

Fiyori looked at her hands, slowly placing them over another. Her hands felt kinda cold. Cold, frozen, without motion.

She murmured something.

"I figured you'd have run away by now, though."
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Namira
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Another slightly sheepish grin. Yeah, Rainy got it. Got the very cheesy pun that they'd probably be kinda worried if she didn't get.

Enzo considered themselves to be a people person. In that they were pretty good at picking up other people's moods, if not actually catering to those moods. Cause that wasn't Vinny's job to do that, in their opinion. However, they were good enough at the former that they could tell that GLD wasn't precisely thrilled at Fiyori rolling up. Actually, there was an instant - could they call it a retreat? It was kind of like Rainy had just ducked behind all of her barriers that Enzo had drawn her out of with their easy manner.

Hm.

Vincenzo rubbed their chin absently, eyes drifting between Georgia and Fiyori. Then shook their head in reply to the question.

"Nah. I did it on my own, then saw she was out here by herself, figured I'd chat," they favoured Fiyori with a smile. "I'm good at chatting."

Fiyori muttered something under her breath that Vincenza didn't quite catch, even when they inclined their head towards her. They got the sense that Fiyori had meant to keep it to herself... though in that case why even say it out loud at all?

"And you? Why you out and about here, chihuahua?"

Cause, y'know, Fiyori. Fifi. It was like a dog's-

Nevermind.
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Georgia Lee Day would never admit to being proud of her height, but she was. How stupid was that? Taking pride in something she had nothing to do with? It was her parents work when you really thought about it; did that mean she was proud of them?

Her feelings towards her parents were complex, and confused, and many. Pride wasn't one of them.

When you really really thought about it, her parents weren't responsible for their genetics either. They didn't chose them, what did they do? Just met each other and fallen in love, and not even on purpose at that. Wow, that must've been tough. They'd kept having daughters long after it ceased to be financially prudent, or even viable. That must've been kind of tough, she supposed.

So thanks for that one, guys.

These weren't thoughts she liked, and they were ones she generally avoided. She wasn't overly interested in the "why" of things. She knew her height was good, she knew she liked it, and she tried not to concern herself with the reason that her thoughts on the matter weren't more developed.

Tall enough to reach every shelf in the kitchen. Short enough that if she ever wanted to go dancing with someone, she wouldn't need to wear flats. So what if it wasn't her doing? It was a good height, and she liked it.

Fiyori was much too tall. She probably knew it too, she hunched over all the time. Her bony face and stick limbs and hunching posture made her look like a praying mantis, and even with the hunch she'd see clear over the heads of 3 quarters of the girls in Georgia Lee's grade.

She stuck out like a sore thumb. A bony, sore, dark-skinned thumb, bent slightly forward, vicious little eyes searching for a boy-thumb to bite the head off of. She was too tall and she looked like an insect and her hair may have been nice but tucking it behind those ears was doing her no favours. Her breath hit Georgia Lee's face when she spoke, and it was sour.

Georgia Lee kept this to herself. Her mouth was shut, and she kept it that way. She lifted her phone again, as if she barely registered Fyori's presence. There was only one face reflected in the dark of the screen, and it was Georgia Lee's and it looked strong. It was like she was alone there, in the blackness. Like she was floating in space all by herself.

It was an image she liked, and she kept looking at it, long after she'd ascertained that no, she did not look shaken, and yes, everything's fine. She kept her eyes on the screen and breathed through her mouth.
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So they did not record together. Well, fine. That correction was to be expected. Rainy didn't seem to be the person to have fun and record a vine anyway. Didn't seem to be the person to chat with people either. Should've asked Enzo whether by 'chat' they meant 'I talked at her and sometimes her arm moves'.

Enzo asked Fiyori about what her business was, and... wait a moment.

Chihuahua?

Fiyori looked Enzo into the eyes, her head tilting just a bit in confusion. Alright, she got one thing. Namely that 'Chihuahua' was the nick Enzo gave her. She did not really understand the reasoning behind that nick? Like, was there something canine about Fiyori? Weren't Chihuahuas also super small? Something which Fiyori definitely was not? The question kept her occupied for a bit. Yet, she quickly remembered that she was asked a question.

She nodded quickly. Her right hand slid down to the bag she was carrying at her side. It was crammed, and you would even see some stuff bulging out at the top. It wasn't heavy. Only empty cups and cans. Yet one of them was still filled with two objects, wrapped in aluminum.

Burritos, to be exact. Fiyori took them out. She had eaten one of those in the library, no? Man, Rainy would've probably thrown a ninja star at Fiyori is she knew.

"Well, I made too much food and I guessed I could share them. Please take some."

She stretched the first burrito out to Enzo. Honestly though, it was to get something out of Rainy. Yes, it would have been a great compliment to get her to enjoy the food. Yet any reaction would be fine. Accepting it. Rejecting it. Anything.

Anything that drew Rainy out of her cover.
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Rainy was still staying kind of quiet, and now Vinny knew that something was up here. Although GLD hadn't been super open with them, she'd at least been carrying a conversation with them. Now, though, she'd clammed up completely. Enzo had to wonder whether there was genuine animosity between GLD and chihuahua. Maybe that was going a little far. Maybe they just didn't like each other much.

Interlacing their fingers, Vinny tucked their hands behind their head and leaned backward, scanning the other pair thoughtfully. They didn't really have a vested interest in ensuring that those two got along. Wasn't as if these were two friends of theirs having a spat, where they'd be seriously trying to play peacemaker. Still, they didn't like to see people fighting, so they supposed they should probably keep an eye on them both to make sure that friction didn't cause sparks.

Then Fiyori pitched a curveball and pulled burritos out of her bag.

Enzo found themselves grinning. Peace offering? Well, actually, they'd only had a light lunch, cause of having that vine idea and wanting to get out the minute it stopped raining so that they could film. As a result... their stomach gave a quiet gurgle.

"Aw, shucks, you sure know how to find a girl's heart," Vinny answered with a wink, dropping their hands to accept the proffered food. A delicate bite, another smile. "So you made this? S'good!"
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Robert Day was frugal to the point of miserly. This had served him well, raising four daughters on what was basically a starting salary, but even now with three of those daughters left home he hadn't abandoned the habit of penny pinching. Spending money seemed to almost physically pain him, so much did he dislike it. He would sigh and grimace, rub his temples and grit his teeth and roll his eyes whenever he had to open his wallet, as if every dollar he spent was a drop of his own blood he was shedding. Georgia Lee could recall vividly her childhood mortification, visiting a grocery store with her father, seeing the clerks' look on with a mixture of concern and exasperation as he groaned and grumbled and counted out nickels to pay for milk.

When it came to his money he was careful. Every purchase would be inventoried, every expense recorded. He didn't make investments: those were far too risky. He didn't play lottery, didn't give to charity, never tipped over 30%, never returned a library book late or overparked or incurred any fee of any kind, ever. Did he have a credit card? Did he even use a bank? Georgia Lee didn't know, but she wouldn't've been at all surprised to learn her family's savings lived in a shoebox under her parents' bed.

She had once, and only once, seen her father willingly part from money when it wasn't absolutely necessary.

It was the 2014 NFL season, the Cardinals were 9 from 10, and Arizona had football fever. It was all that was on the radio, the only thing worth mentioning on the TV. Bruce Arians had gotten settled, people were saying, and this year he was fixing to take the Cardinals all the way. This was the season. Her mother described it as a wave of "Statriotism", which crashed over and washed away all his frugality and care, making him place the one and only bet of his adult life.

Georgia Lee didn't know how much he'd bet. A lot, she thought, though it'd probably've hurt him just as much if it were only a few dollars. The Cardinals went two to five for the rest of the season. They wildcarded their way into the playoffs and exhibited the worst offense in playoffs history. It was all that was on the radio. The only thing worth mentioning on the TV.

Her father's face as they'd lost that last game was another of Georgia Lee's clearest memories. He'd stared at the TV like it was lying to him, like it'd crack and admit that they'd won, that he was rich, if he only applied enough pressure. The TV didn't crack, and Robert Day was quiet for weeks after that. Perhaps the dollars were a little like blood, to him. Certainly, to Georgia Lee, it seemed as if this had cost him a little part of himself.

There was a lot that Georgia Lee got from her father, she suspected. Her meticulousness. Her stubbornness. Her dedication. More than any of those, though, she credited him with the lesson that there is never a reason for compromise. If you're going to do something, do it absolutely, and don't do it because you think that the universe will reward you for it. That if you save and scrimp enough, the lottery ticket you buy will be the big one, or the bet you place will come through. She worked to take what she wanted, not to somehow persuade the world to give it to her. She worked hard, and she was very, very, very careful about slipping up.

Georgia Lee knew her vices and her triggers, and she took a level of care around them that would've done Robert Day proud. She watched herself around them like her father had watched those last, losing games. Unblinkingly. Nervously. Not without a certain amount of pain.

Food was Georgia Lee's weakness. She'd cooked for herself for years, initially to simply assert her independence, to show she could feed herself. There was power, though, in controlling what you ate. She monitored calorie and nutrient intake with rigor, avoiding processed sugars and saturated fats like her father avoided buying a car manufactured in her lifetime. She'd loved to eat as a child, could do it all day, every day, piling forkful after fistful into her mouth and never getting full. That was the hunger of a tiger, and a tiger left unwatched and uncaged will cause no end of havoc.

Sometimes, still, she'd lose control. Things would get too hard, she'd have a moment of weakness, and she'd gorge. It had been worse when her sisters still lived at home, and there were more temptation foods available, but even now, walking past a store after a particularly grueling practice, or struggling with study at night, knowing there was ice cream in the freezer... the temptation was still there. She had to watch it.

It could be hard, really hard, maintaining self control. Other times, though, it made things easy. Like, now, for example.

Was the burrito a peace offering? Was it some kind of trap? It didn't even matter. It was full of grease and beans and probably some spit, and even that didn't matter either because Georgia Lee had already eaten a nutritionally optimised and balanced meal at the start of the lunch period, because she was responsible and she managed her time well and prepared food based on her dietary needs unlike some people who were apparently so lacking in self-knowledge that they could prepare two more burritos than they needed, which was simply a ridiculous surplus to have. How many burritos did she think she could eat? How many had she eaten already? Was her freakish level of burrito intake the secret behind Fiyori's freakish height?

She was probably new at this whole cooking thing, Georgia Lee decided. The burritos were unlikely to be very good anyway, then.

"I already ate. Thanks."

If she was unable to cook a sensible number of burritos, she'd have to work that out herself. It wasn't Georgia Lee's problem.
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An annoying thing the people around Fiyori often did was to remark upon her oh-so-great and hidden brilliance. Sometimes it was talent. Sometimes it was potential. Different words for what ended up being the same concept. To be honest, she herself didn't get why people said that. Her mother started it, she figured. And it kinda spread around their family friends.

You'd figure that you'd love to be showered with praise but Fiyori detested it. Someone would praise her intelligence. Some with grandiosity, others with plain assessments. Then they'd remark on her lack of academic performance. In other words, they meant 'You're lazy and you should feel bad for wasting your brilliance/talent/potential'. Here and there they even said it openly.

It was different for her cooking. Not because she took a warm and brimming joy from it. Rather, because she was good... actually, no. She wasn't. She knew too many people who had a far better hand at it. Yet, people enjoyed her stuff. Most of them only tolerated her because of that, she'd have guessed. Not that the details mattered much. Whenever people took a bite and responded with a smile, something happened in Fiyori.

Something warm.

So when Enzo took out a hearty bite and a smile appeared on their lips, Fiyori felt good. It was as if Enzo's satisfaction turned into the sun of a gentle spring day. Warming up Fiyori's entire body. Giving her a sense of being content, yet with new energy filling her entire body.

But, alas, it was a fleeting moment.

Fiyori glanced over to Rainy again. She chuckled shortly, shrugged with the shoulders and carefully placed the burrito away.

"Yep! If there's a thing I'm good at it's stuffing people. Always make sure to carry enough for more than me!" She paused for just a second and decided to speak more clearly for the next bit. "Wanted to give it to my two friends but they left already."

Welp, that was enough for now. Rainy was probably not going to come out of her shell. A shame, she'd guess. But there was another day tomorrow and then there came a few more and then they would all die of various reasons but that was quite far away anyway. Mostly.

"Anyway, I gotta go. Got some business to attend. Gonna give that last one to... some junior girl or something."

Yep. Fiyori got enough time. Usually, she wouldn't do shit like that, but for some reason she found some entertainment in this little farce. She could muse about the reasons later, but for the moment Fiyori had a good resolution.

She would learn what her goddamn name was. From her.

[Fiyori Senay, continued in Just Wants a Distraction]

Also, she'd grab Enzo by the side somewhere and ask why the hell they chose 'Chihuahua' as a name. But that was probably not a challenge.
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No big surprise; GLD wasn't interested in eating. Vinny wondered, briefly, whether that was because she actually wasn't hungry or because of whatever was passing between Fiyori and Georgia that they weren't quite following. Something was up, but they didn't have their sleuthing hat on.

Their sleuthing hat was the best for thinking things through.

Fiyori seemed pleased that Enzo liked their food, though. Psh, look at them, Mister and/or Miss popular today, making all the friends. Too bad that the girls weren't playing nice, really, or this could have been a great little diversion from work for a lunch break. Ah well. Enzo knew better than most that some people just plain didn't get along, and that trying to change that wasn't really worth the effort. God knew that they'd made enough people prickle in their time.

Vinny rubbed their nose, smiled again at Fiyori.

"All righty, Chihuahua. I'll catch you later. Thanks for the food."

A lazy salute to say goodbye, and then settled to take a few more bites of burrito, glancing at the clock on their phone, glancing back to GLD.

"Hate to leave you hanging, Rainy, but my next class is the other side of campus, so I better scoot. Keep your head up!"

They hopped to their feet, flicked their wrist in a wave, and walked away, taking the first few steps backwards before turning around, stretching and thinking ahead to the rest of the day.

Stream tonight? Stream tonight.

((Enzo continued in The Black River))
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She nodded her goodbyes, keeping her eyes on Fiyori as the older girl strode away. Even her walk was like a praying mantis, all long legs and jutting head. Georgia Lee felt a faint revulsion. She liked mantises on the whole. They kept to themselves, they didn't bother her, they ate flies. She was much less fond of flies so on the whole it seemed like her and the mantis species had a good dynamic. Perhaps this one was the exception.

No, she decided, Fiyori was a mosquito, not a mantis. A giant, ungainly mosquito that would keep coming back, again and again, to make noise in her ear and feed on little pieces of her. Sooner or later she would need to be swatted.

Georgia Lee's next class was nearby, leaving the last few minutes of lunch hers, to do with as she wished. It wasn't enough time to do any serious study, but it was a nice opportunity to read.

She fished a book out of the front pocket of her bag: a thick, battered volume with yellowed pages and an ugly, pea green cover. A mustard yellow copperplate proclaimed the title to be Monsters of the Dark Continent: The Fauna of Africa, and added that it was complete with original illustrations! According to the title page, it was first published in 1889.

Georgia Lee had leafed through the book, after getting it out, looking for those original illustrations. Most of them had been ripped out. She flicked to one of the few that remained, an antelope or deer of some sort, surrounded by dark silhouettes. The text above it continued midsentence from a page that one of the book's previous borrowers had seen fit to remove.

...and the priest there told me the negroes could track them for the better part of a day, without once setting eyes on them. I asked if they could follow a man in such a way, but he told me it would be quite impossible.

"The beasts of the earth" he explained "are just such: of the earth. Their destinies are writ in clay. If you kick a dog, it will always howl. If you chase a gazelle, it will always run, and if it is thirsty it will always stop to drink. Men are not such creatures. It is only our flesh that is of the earth, while that which steers us is of heaven. Our destinies are not in clay, but writ in jasper, or perhaps they are not yet writ at all and falls upon us to enscribe them."

"That is a great responsibility," I replied, "to be the master of one's own fate."

"Of course. We are the subjects of the heavens, and so are not bound by the laws of the earth. This world is as an egg, and one day you will will hatch from it to your eternal reward, God willing. Until then you are free, absolutely, to do whatever you will, but know you this: if everything you do is your choice and your choice alone, then no one but you can be held accountable for how you act, or what fate befalls you, and know you too that there most assuredly will be an accounting."


The line, she thought, was particularly profound.

[Georgia Lee Day continued in Pitches]
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