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Not On Target; Open, if you dare (sorry notsorry for the pun)
Topic Started: Jul 20 2015, 12:19 PM (1,450 Views)
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((Irene Djezari continued from The Theatrics Formula))

It was a song and a dance to the local Tar-Jay, somewhat literally in Irene's case. She wasn't quite a walking musical number, but she was quite the dubiously-tuned hummer. Loud enough to be annoying, not loud enough to be intelligibly annoying. The bane of many an ambulatory pedestrian. At least she wasn't on show-tunes. Yet.

Her shopping list was about as existent as her thoughts at the time, thus with a blank head she was cruising the generic aisles. Spent a few moments to admire the furniture section for all it's less-than-antique pieces. Value in abundance, if she actually had a singular dollar to her name not wasted on video games and books. Most of the offerings on display weren't thematically appropriate for her room anyways. She'd never quite dropped her eight year old princess chic. Still occasionally cuddled with Mrs. Fluffle. When nobody was looking. She made an excellent elbow rest during her especially late-night streaming sessions.

The flood of her motion was diverted by the promise of cheap ready-to-wears. A shelf's worth of Merona and she swerved, cut straight through the flow of bored housewives to browse. She didn't even wear that brand, but the smattering of poorly-constructed long sleeves was a pretty enough shiny for her mind's barely coherent glory. Her own clothes for that day were a bit on the prefab side, with enough canvas in her shoes and pants to supply the next Dali. She'd spent laundry day at a friend's suffering from contact high, so she'd needed to 'borrow' from Asimah's dubiously professional wardrobe for today. The effect was something of an overly starched office worker with a side of skater punk in her graphic tee.

"Blair?" She recognized those emaciated eyes anywhere. They had been brought together by the results of Moore's law, internet friends of the finest caliber. Blair was one of the ones more acquainted with the innumerable amount of handles Irene carried herself with on the web. Case of internet multiple personality disorder aside Irene liked Blair. She spoke her mind without hesitation. Smart, easy to talk to. Blair probably subtly trolled her somehow, but that was something done by all the folk Irene knew: acquaintances, enemies, and family.

"Hey, Blair!" Irene merrily dodged through the racks on racks, kicking up a storm of clattering from her overzealous noclipping through the hanging shirts. Heaven forbid she actually path herself in a non-intrusive manner. "Sarah is stalking you, by the by." Exaggerated appraisal of Scarlett's actions at present, to be sure. That one Irene didn't know nearly as well. They shared classes and could occasionally shoot the shit about whatever. "Wait no. Scarlett." There it was. "Your name is Scarlett. I can do this. Hi Scarlett!"
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Oh, whoops. Irene hadn't quite intended to near-miss facehugger Blair. It had all been a real close run thing, owing to the cloth-borne obstructions of her vision. She smiled, clawed at a particularly insistent tee that latched to her side. The exact one Blair had been looking at mere moments before, she was now too busy having the giggles. That kept a mischievous grin plastered over her face. Until Blair started choking, at which point the smile kind of slid off and met her concerned frown on the way down.

"Yo, you alright?" Monkey see, monkey do, so Irene matched the hair flip with one of her own, her blond tresses settling from 'messy' to 'different kind of messy'. There were times when Asimah managed her mane for her prior to leaving the house, but this day clearly hadn't been one of them. She'd dealt more with honeycomb than actual comb that morning. Mmm, honeycomb cereal.

"Better take some Benadryl then," Irene mused, while a faint smile returned to nest on her countenance. The drug she'd probably been looking for was aspirin, though in her lacking defense maybe she imagined spreading Benadryl over the heart would alleviate some of the deathly pain. She considered other questions while her mind continued to be uselessly spastic over the various uses of medication. "I think we do, don't we? Like, like, you're..." An awkward pause, which Irene passed by flailing at the air like some sort of demented inflatable. "The girl Asimah tried to mack on once, right?" Like that narrowed it down much. "You two know one another? We should chill, hit up the town." An eager nod.
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No response. Didn't Blair have... something? Irene could recall the occasional 'something' being offhandedly mentioned a paltry handful of times. Once by PM, twice by sea. But Irene didn't quite have the presence of mind to recall something that had been so distant and so callously treated by her friend. Generic well-wishes and concern bled into the continuum of space-time, the matrices of data that held the forgotten friendships of an entire generation alongside their memes and Vines. "Tickle huh?" Guess that thread of thought ended there, even for Irene's eternally spotless and thoughtless mind.

"The poem, yeah! I remember now." Irene had never actually managed to read it. Not for lack of curiosity, she'd just literally forgotten to ask the few times the subject had come up. She'd have to remember to forget to ask when she got home. "Like, Asimah does like... people. In general. If she'd ever run into you she might have flirted with you as well, Blair." Irene casually threw that thought out there, then Scarlett's question drew her attention to the shirt that she was still wrestling with one hand. She appraised the knit. To her eyes it actually didn't seem that bad, maybe a bit stretchy-snug-fit for her general style, but maybe...

"I wasn't searching for anything in particular but this Atari looks cool. Swear I've seen it before, actually." A pause as she continued to idly pounce her hands over the fabric like a cat. Buy? Don't buy? Had she even brought any money somewhere in the unconquerable depths of her stupidly oversize pants pockets? "What did you come here to get, Scarlett?"
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"Your type huh? I wonder who would be then, hmm?" Irene once more offered that morsel without much in the way of intent. No tease tinged her tone, the question was one asked in pure innocence and curiosity. In another life and time, in a world which spun on a different axis, in an alternate universe ficlet, she may have been capable of actually pouncing on the proffered opportunity. Here she merely ebbed with the conversational tide, instead of surging forth for the dankest of memes. "As far as I can tell Asi was never really that picky, she'd bring home some pretty oddball 'study buddies'. I know. I had to bear witness." A moment passed where the not-so-mock PTSD caused Irene's eyes to glaze over as she stared in blank-faced horror of remembrance at the understandably weirded-out employee stocking a nearby shelf. "I've heard things that I can never unhear... but whatevs." She recovered with the usual spring in her step, nearly bounced there and then with shirt in hand until she realized she was still talking to people.

"Oh, this thingy? It'd look good on you wouldn't it?" Thanks to the relative lack of chest the tight fit would probably have been more appropriate on Blair than Irene anyways. Or something. Irene didn't really know how that whole 'good cut and fit' nonsense worked itself out. Her question of 'wouldn't it' was just that, an ignoramus question. "I found it like literally right while I was coming over here, I must have, uh, accidentally grabbed it or something." Wouldn't be the stupidest thing she'd ever non-purposely done in a Target.

Irene surrendered the clothing to her friend with a nod of understanding. 'Take this, it's dangerous out there alone' and what not. Scarlett was wistfully looking off at a rack of pants. Maybe. Irene didn't exactly read others emotional states well. Misty-eyed sentiment and eyes fogged over from the pain of indigestion had the awkward tendency to become one and the same in Irene's poorly wired brains. Wait, had Scarlett answered the question Irene had asked? She already couldn't remember.
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"Holding." Irene half-assumed that Blair had been referring to the shirt, so her knuckles sharpened as she unconsciously clutched at the shirt again. A halfhearted tug of war ensued for the briefest of seconds before Irene realized what Blair had actually meant. Heard it in all it's squishy and disgusting glory as phlegm quickly did a Shurima shuffle one-two step up and back down her friend's throat. Irene winced in sympathy, relinquished the shirt and offered a conciliatory hand touch. Body heat briefly exchanged. "Ouch, sorry! Are you alright?" It was a hasty question with a host of suitably sardonic answers, all of which were probably well-deserved.

Blair seemed to be smiling, at least.

"Lunch? Or something?" Irene imagined the 'something' to be thematically related with video games, as she was wont. "Oh no, I can't actually. I have a thing." Irene paused on that for a moment too long and then redoubled her efforts to be suitably detail-conscientious. "A thing with Cris." That totally didn't sound suspicious in context of the fairly well known puppy dog crush Miss Djezari had on the starting pitcher of the state-renowned Cochise Coyotes. Almost unquestionably some form of platonic 'whip her into shape' sort of affair. Okay no, not the right way to describe it. "Practice time." Maybe that was a bit better. Slightly less exploitable. It probably really wasn't.

"Oh but! But but, the two of you could do the dinner date thing!" Lunch. She'd meant lunch. "Might be fun, huh?" As much as comprehension of the general Moore-McAfee relationship had slipped through her dainty fingers something had to be said for her blithe eagerness. Somewhere deep in that malfunctioning gray matter she really seemed to believe. Had a smile as large as the moon, and about as luminous.

"I'll hang with you guys until I gotta split though. I ain't abandoning my comrades." Not until she was led astray by more ready-to-wears, that was.
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"I... you're welcome?" There was only the faint suggestion of pleasure in charity, given that it had been completely unintentional. Blair was off, so quickly Irene was hearing a faint Doppler effect from the postmortem of her friend's farewell. "See ya Blair!" She guessed there were places to go, and people to see. Wait, hadn't she been perfectly willing to invite them (her) our to lunch? Bit of an incongruity there, but Irene wasn't predisposed to doing anymore than taking everything at face value. No ulterior motives, no aborting of social situations. Just a busy young woman in her sickly prime. Anyways Irene was already moving on from the brief slight, having flown through the stages of grief in a Planck time. Their encounter was already one for the history books. The thick and musty ones that nobody ever read, that was to say.

"A thing with Cris?" Scarlett was still there, at least. Irene had promised not to abandon her comrades, so she was there until Scarlett also had better places to be. "Yeah, he helps me out with practice for the team all the time. Still too not-coordinated to be trusted on the field and all!" Had to be a more apropos word for 'not-coordinated' out there somewhere. But that did get Irene thinking. "Do you play on any teams? I swear I've seen you out in- on, on the field before." Probably just a case of trigger-happy facial recognition, Irene's mind played that particular trick on her at least once every other day. The number of black-haired busty girls she'd at a distance called 'sis!' in school had to be in the double digits at this point.

"What's with the smile, by the way?"
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"Oh. Okay." Irene dumbly mulled over it another second and then dropped that particular thought. Well, looks like she'd indeed mistaken some other girl for Scarlett. Brunette Caucasian-looking girls were dime a dozen in Kingman. Most of them were actually brunette and Caucasian, even. Hell with a little hair dye Irene probably would be able to fake that very profile herself.

"Yeah, I swore I'd mentioned that last time we were in class?" Hard to remember for sure. While Scarlett was a nice enough girl she was, in the end, just that. Irene liked her, but only to a point. Only so much to be said, a strict quota of small talk to be met per class. "I'm one of the other pitchers on the team." Irene thought on it for a moment, then added as a throwaway point, "I only started this quarter, though. Kind of late to the party I guess, huh?"
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The second half of Scarlett's response had Irene lazily scrambling to cover. "Oh, no no Scarlett you misunderstand-ed me. This actually isn't my first time working with the Coyotes, I had a brief run with the junior varsity way back when I was more Freshman than I am now." Those had been good times, though of course she had bigger and far less activity-intensive fish to fry now.

What Scarlett wasn't hearing anytime soon was that Irene had rejoined the team because of Luz. There were secrets, flutterings and whispers of the fickle chest that a young girl kept hugged dear to her chest, innocent thoughts of a mind yet untainted by the muck of true reality, that-

"I met him before, I just joined when he asked me to. Kinda sorta. Complicated." Let it never be said that Irene was an especially secretive girl. She'd gladly have announced her own SSN from the rooftops of Kingman by megaphone if she had the slightest of ill-advised reasons. "I mean comeon, haven't you ever done anything just because a cute boy-slash-girl-slash-whateveryou'reinto asked you to?"
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A shrug in response. So much for getting insight into that deep quandary from a peer, for all the value her answer may or may not have actually had. Or maybe the shrug was an academically sound answer all it's own? An existential rebellion against the sort of question that had no true answer, but was the berth of a Russian doll's worth of increasingly pretentious self-introspections? The sort that would have left Irene staring in a daze at her favorite paint-drying wall. 'Would you do it if asked?' indeed. What did it say about Irene that she had only returned to a team on the whims of a young man and his spiffy haircut?

Or was she overthinking it all, once more with feeling? She did actually like baseball, after all.

Oh well, on with the actual meat of the conversation.

"Yeah, that's what I'm thinking! Well, things can only go so wrong I guess. I wasn't the most put together player last time, but maybe this time I'll be more put together or whatever. Just gotta work hard, ya know?" Irene theatrically brought her fists together and not-so-elegantly cracked her knuckles. While she did that her eyes were instinctively compelled to follow her friend's miming of a turn at the plate. Oof, that form was sloppy, even by Irene's hardly immaculate or even adequate standards. Irene swore she'd seen this exact lack of proper technique from a dozen plus folk the last time baseball-slash-softball had been the order of the day in PE.

"Oh, yup. Both those things take a bit more than just hurling your arms out at the ball. I'm not the best hitter, which is why I'm not part of the hitters lineup, but I can at least get them flying. Somewhere." That was to say, she was a bit prone to hitting fouls. "Here." Wisdom of a girl who was poor with her own technique passing said technique on aside, Irene was at least willing to step up to the plate. Perhaps too strongly willing. Irene swiveled around Scarlett in a fluid motion and then had both her hands neatly clamped over her friend's shoulders before protest could be raised. "Get a bit lower, brace yourself against your front foot, that's where you're going to pivot from. Don't... uh, move away from the axis-thingy, like..."

Okay this was already falling apart. There was a reason Irene had never followed in her sister's footsteps as a world-class tutor despite having an arguably superior base of knowledge. Flailing at nothing in particular to pull concepts from thin air did not a teacher make.
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"No no no, not that low." Might have been helpful if she'd actually given a concrete definition of 'a bit lower'. Aw jeez, was this what teachers and coaches had to go through in their jobs? Maybe she had to start cutting the b-ball coach some more slack. B-ball as in baseball, not basketball.

"Here." Irene lifted her hands from Scarlett's shoulders, up to what she believed was the ideal height for the exercise. "Up to where my hands are, keep your body flexed like how it is now, that's a good power stance." What else? Maybe explain about the actual hitting the ball part? "You'll notice- I think- that you have a range of options to move your arms if you keep the tension off your upper body until the lastest possible second. Like, see, the power comes from your lower body, so keep all the stuff above it loose until you actually swing. Track the..." She needed something to throw at Scarlett. Wait, no. Scarlett didn't actually have a bat. "Uh, never mind."
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Irene sheepishly grinned, for once realizing that what she was doing was rather awkward. Rare that she reached a state of self-awareness this soon. More often she was only in a place to mull on her decisions days after the fact, typically over an especially introspective bowl of cereal. Without any milk.

"Yeah... Just hit me up if you ever wanna try again, you know? I'm always phoneable." Sans the giving of questionable advice Irene continued to develop her own kitschy addendums to Noah Webster's life work. Scarlett was glancing around, maybe worried that someone had borne witness to their folly. Nobody around thankfully, not even that employee Irene had accidentally evil eyed only minutes before. "Hmm..." Irene idly considered the nearest stack of clothes, long settled from her brash charge through it's depths. She was now beginning to remember that she actually hadn't brought money. What she wished she could remember now was why she decided she had wanted to traipse through Kingman's favorite (and essentially only) Target.

"Hmm..." Yes, she did audibly hum to herself twice. Different tones each time. A few more and she could have had herself a cute little Christmas carol. "What were you gonna do for the rest of today, Scarlett?"
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"Oooh, okay." Irene nodded. The 'home' part of homework wasn't something Irene was acquainted with. When she got an assignment in class it was normally done before the bell rung. Except when the teacher waited until the very end of class for the dramatic reveal. Irene hated it when they did that. She lingered in Scarlett's airspace a moment longer than was necessary before finally drawing away, nearly crashing into one of the overly many clothing racks surrounding and suffering a few minor jellyfish stings over her exposed arms from static.

"I was just curious." That was about it. Ulterior motives and Irene were about as miscible as oil and water. If she'd wanted to hang out, she'd have just outright asked it. Only now did the idea actually occur to her:

"But do you wanna hang, maybe? Before you go back and do that HW and stuffs, we can do the lunch date even if the yung Miss Moore won't be making a guest appearance."
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"Hit up Alvaro's diner maybe? You can watch us beat up on one another... In chess, I mean. Not IRL. Well, it is technically IRL- the chess- but you know what I mean. Just follow me. On a magical journey." On that not-especially clear note Irene beckoned for Scarlett, behind her back as she was already well on the move. Still didn't know why she'd come, but she did at least knew why she was leaving.

((Irene Djezari continued in Airline Food))
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