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In C.; Open
Topic Started: Jul 20 2016, 10:06 AM (619 Views)
CrossbowPig
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((Lili Williams, Pregame Start))

The sun in the sky hung taught on an invisible wire, dangling straight above with the intensity of noon. Its heat beat down on the grass and dirt intensely with laser focus, between the few clouds drifting in the pale blue sky. Heat shimmered in the distance, just above the park grounds, hanging low in the air. Bugs chirped loudly, and dragonflies hovered from bush to bush in search of safety from the eternal Arizonian summer. On a day like this, it would be best to dress in lightly fitting clothing, possibly wear a sun hat, and stay in the shade.

Lili, however, had a kite to fly. Sitting in the grass just outside of the shade of a great willow tree, Lili stared up at her kite drifting high up above, caught in the slight breeze. Faintly sweating underneath her open hooded sweatshirt, underneath which she wore a plain blue t-shirt, and blue jeans, Lili paid little mind to the weather around her. On days like these, she paid little mind to anything at all besides her kite and the music streaming out from her stereo, hidden inside her backpack. Today she was listening to a piece titled "In C", composed by Terry Riley. She was fond of gentle melodies and sweeter musings from time to time, especially when she was flying kites. It carried with it the benefit of being easier to explain to anyone who would happen to bother her, much easier than her other favorites. She had the music set on a low volume, almost inaudible except for those directly in front of it, a position that Lili had placed herself in.

Her kite, hanging in the sky like a polygonal bird, was also of dear importance to her. A recent purchase, this particular kite flew the bright colors of red, blue, green and purple, framed by a deep, dark black. The kite was cut into the shape of a bird's outline, and as such it sliced through the air with particular grace and flow. Lili's carefully trained hands lent to the kites natural movement, but the aerodynamic shape made it easier for her to control. Streaming tails hung off of the edges of each wing of the kite, flapping in the wind. Days like these put Lili at ease, one of the few times she was at peace with herself and the environment around her. It almost did more for her than yoga.

Almost.

Lili sighed and pulled a bottle of water out of her backpack. Unscrewing the cap, she held it to her mouth and drank. The water hitting her lips was warmed by the sun, brought to an almost sour temperature. Lili grimaced, and spit out the water onto the ground to her side, entirely disgusted by her drink. Disappointed, she stuck her tongue out, gazing into the wet ground below. Having set down her kite's control bar, she wiped the corner of her mouth with her sleeve, re-screwed the cap, and placed it back in her bag.

By the time she looked up at her kite, it was too late to prevent it from crashing into her. Only a few meters above her now, all Lili could do was flinch, yelp, grab her bag, and hold it in front of her face.
~~~~~ "We were wrecks before we crashed into each other."

NOW: V7

SOON: V7

DEAD: V6

MAYBE: V?
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dmboogie
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((been a while, Cass Prince))

Without kidnapping a few toga-wearing men and handing them something sharp, it’d be hard to find a more classical subject for a painting than a girl flying a kite in a sunny park. No sundress, but her blue hoodie was a stylistic concession to the modern era, and it stuck out nicely amongst the surrounding greenery. Cass wished that they could get a closer look at the girl’s kite, but its flaming majesty would likely lose its impact without the context.

They couldn’t do this scene justice with just a pencil and paper. Cass focused on committing as much of the scene’s color to memory as they could whilst they sketched its broad details. They’d have to revisit it as soon as they got home, work with their proper tools before the image faded. Maybe that wouldn’t even be such a loss, after all, maybe reality would only be enhanced once the lines started to blur and colors melted together, painting everything with a dreamlike haze.

Sometimes, Cass felt like they lived in Liberty Park. Whenever they were feeling stressed, anxious, or empty they could find a quiet bench and become an automaton, mechanically transferring the surrounding world onto their sketchpad without thought until they felt like a human being again. This, however, was different. Today demanded their full, undivided attention.

Attention that was broken as the world (and the kite) came crashing down on Lili. That wouldn’t do. “You okay?” Cass instinctively called out, before immediately regretting making their presence known. Though Cass vaguely recognized Lili as an underclassman, they had never really spoken, and Cass could only imagine how disconcerting it’d feel to have a stranger draw you. Their sketchbook was open on their lap, but it’d be even worse if Cass tried to hide it now. Hopefully she wouldn’t come over, hopefully she wouldn’t ask any pointed questions.
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The gravity-bent kite fell right on top of Lili, streamers and skeletal plastic framework ensnaring her in a prison of fabric. Lili floundered around on the grass, trying her best to get out from underneath her kite as fast as possible, before anyone had the chance to see her. The last thing that Lili needed was for her inner sanctum - status as a public park aside - to be disrupted by a curious bystander.

As she tried to escape from the kite's fragile grasp, however, Lili heard a sound that let her know that she was already too late to save face.

"You okay?"

With that, Lili crumpled under the kite, resting in the grass. Haste was now pointless, she realized, as she had already been spotted. She lay down, attempting to catch her breath for a moment, then tried to move the kite off of her. Newly composed, vacating the kite's underside was a much easier task for Lili than it had been when she was panicked. She was able to lift it with relative ease, despite her less than ideal physique. As she lifted her kite off of herself, a gust of wind caught it and took it out of her hands, blowing it to rest in the grass under the tree's shadow. With the matter of the kite sorted, Lili turned and searched for the direction of the voice she heard just moments prior.

Sitting in the grass not too far away was a girl with a sketchbook in her lap, eyes looking in Lili's direction. The girl's facial features were not particularly familiar, but Lili quietly made note that she was taller and bigger than her. She was wearing a tank top and shorts, boyish clothing, which let Lili ease up and breath a little. "At least she's not one of the snooty popular girls," Lili thought to herself as she took another moment to look the girl over. As far as clothing went, the two wore similarly casual attire, but apart from that Lili could not find any way that she could be more different than the girl sitting before her. One thing was for certain: this girl was the source of the voice Lili had just heard.

Now Lili's eyes turned downwards, looking at the girl's sketchbook. Her fingers were wrapped around a pencil, and though it was hard to make out exactly what she was drawing, it was at least clear that she was making a rough sketch. Lili began to ponder whether or not the girl could've been drawing her, and decided that if so, she didn't appreciate being drawn without permission. Nevertheless, she began to speak with the assumption that the girl was drawing something else, and happened to be looking at Lili.

"Oh, hi there," Lili said, trying her best not to look foolish in front of the stranger. "Stuff like this happens all the time," She lied, as she sat up straighter and brushed grass strands off of her shoulder. "Nice weather out, huh?"
~~~~~ "We were wrecks before we crashed into each other."

NOW: V7

SOON: V7

DEAD: V6

MAYBE: V?
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frogue
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Georgia Lee sat on the grass in the shade of a tree. She'd been jogging: a fool's endeavour in the Arizona heat, but a necessary one. Being able to run was a useful skill. Being able to run, but only if the weather's perfect and the mood is right and the stars and planets are aligned just so; no, as skills went that was close to pointless. Anybody could run when it was pleasant, that didn't prove a thing. When it was awful, when the road looked wet that it was so hot and the birds all lined up in the streetlights' shadows, that was when it actually meant something.

Now, though, she was taking a break. She took a swig of water, then poured a little into a cupped hand and splashed it onto her face. She was sweat-drenched and could taste the unblock she'd applied earlier. It was bitter and greasy. Salt stung her eyes, and she rubbed at them with the heel of her hand. Her breathing was heavy, but not laboured: she wasn't particularly tired, just very, very hot. Georgia Lee stretched out her legs and then rubbed them down, so as not to cramp, before lying back. She took deep, even breaths, and stared up at the sky.

A kite whirled in the air above her. It was cut in the shape of bird, but huge, and it moved more like a great fish, cutting and darting about in the midday sky. There was something deeply relaxing about watching it, almost meditative. Georgia Lee watched it, as her chest rose and fell, and imagined what it would be like to be a bird. Rather boring, she concluded. No goals, no purpose, just flying around, and how long would that be entertaining for? A year or two at most, which would probably be the entirety of your meaningless bird-life.

In her book, there was discussion about whether the beasts of the land or the birds of the air were a higher order of creation. The author was convinced that, although they were created on the fifth day, they flew closer to the heavens and were therefore closer to God. Georgia Lee remained skeptical. She'd seen enough birds dash their little heads to bits against her windows to not put a great deal of faith in their intelligence or merit.

As if on queue, the kite made a sudden nosedive towards its master, who gave a little shriek.

Georgia Lee sat up, looking at the crash, and took another swig of water. The kite was larger than she'd realized, she saw now as it lay on the ground. The shrieker struggled beneath it, tangled, and Georgia Lee recognized her - Lili Williams. The girl was utterly void of drive or ambition, but she was also pleasant and friendly, and her and Georgia Lee got on well with one another. As Georgia Lee watched, Lili managed to escape the grasp of the kite, and entered into conversation with some black girl who Georgia Lee thought she recognized from the year above.

Well, she didn't want to get in the middle of that, whatever it was. When Lili happened to look over, Georgia Lee gave her a wave, but she made no move to get up from her place in the shade.
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dmboogie
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Unfortunately, Lili had taken Cass's question as an invitation to come closer and start up a conversation. While that was, of course, a perfectly reasonable thing for anyone to do, Cass was still silently cursing her for it. All that they could do now was try to escape notice, keep damage to a minimum, hope she got bored quickly and didn't look too closely at the sketchbook sitting on Cass's lap. They casually laid their hands to rest on top of it, hoping it'd cover up the image well enough without betraying the fact that they had something to hide.

The sudden anxiety had poisoned the dreamscape in Cass's head, and their picture of the park began to wither around them. The sun's gentle comfort became harsh and oppressive and curious glances turned to hateful glares; the soft, fuzzy edges formed from comfortable lethargy on the fringes sharpening into vivid knives to pierce the heart they once would have warmed. The scene they had loved was gone, and Cass would have no use for this sketch; now a worthless waste of paper best suited for kindling.

How could they have so selfishly disregarded the feelings of another human being, trampled all over their privacy simply because they had been the centerpiece of an elegant, romanticized thought? Cass had not even considered their possible discomfort, or even thought of asking for permission at all. How could they have failed so terribly at decency?

Still, pulling Lili into this shitty situation would only resolve in further hurt feelings all around. Best to deflect the issue until Cass could safely disengage themselves entirely, escape to the safety of home and shred Lili's image in peace.

"Yeah. It's nice," Cass said, and should have left it at that, retreating to the comfort of banal small talk until it was clear to Lili that they would never have anything interesting to say. Unfortunately, they still couldn't help but make a comment born from genuine emotion, "Your kite's beautiful, by the way."
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The girl moved her hands gently on top of her sketchpad. A perfectly normal gesture for what appeared to be just another normal girl, going about a normal life, but something about the situation still didn't sit right with Lili. It sat with her in the way that a book with torn out pages does, or how an album with a song missing feels. In other words, it felt incomplete and puzzling. Most of the time, Lili preferred to keep to herself, spending her time alone or off to the side away from everyone who she thought might bother her. Now that she had thrown herself into a conversation, however, she felt momentum and curiosity building within her.

Lili took a glance around, taking in more of the calming sunny day. Strangely, now that she was removed from the meditative comfort of flying a kite, the day seemed a lot less serene and a lot more plain, average, and altogether annoying. The sun's heat was far more oppressive, and Lili could feel herself start to sweat under her relatively heavier clothing. The grass underneath her legs felt prickly and sharp, and the light of day was getting in her eyes. Lili was beginning to feel uncomfortable.

Gazing around, Lili had seen something that let her ease up slightly, though. Sitting in the grass underneath a tree was Lili's friend Georgia Lee Day. Academically, the two could not be any more different if they tried. Georgia Lee involved herself in a multitude of extracurricular activities and sports, holding down a steady job while earning high marks in all her classes. To someone like Georgia Lee, Lili looked like a typical slacker, someone who wasn't likely to go anywhere in life. Lili thought that Georgia Lee was different than most people like her, though. The two got along pretty well whenever they had the chance to talk. At the very least, Georgia Lee's wave to Lili from under her tree was answered happily with a wave of her own and a smile. "At the very least," Lili thought to herself, "she'll back me up if things go south."

"Yeah. It's nice," The girl with the sketchpad replied, remarking on the day around her. Lili thought that an answer like that would be what she would get. The girl was outside drawing, after all, taking in the day around her. Her motive for being outside made perfect sense to Lili, and slowly but surely, Lili eased up, settling into more comfortable posture. "She's fine," Lili's thoughts told her, "She's peaceful and trying to be left alone, like me."

"Your kite's beautiful, by the way."

Lili paused. The suspicion that the girl had been drawing her returned in full force. She'd been looking up at the kite, and very likely at Lili flying it, too. She had seen every moment of her accident and several minutes preceding, too. Her relaxed posture stiffened once more, as rose from sitting to kneeling and folded her hands in her lap. One side of LIli's mind wanted an answer, and soon.

On the other hand, Lili felt strangely appreciated. If the artist before her had, in fact, been looking at her flying the kite, then she likely thought it was a pleasant scene to draw. Lili, at heart, was an artist herself, though in a decidedly less visual medium, and she could appreciate wanting to capture the rawness of a scene, the vivid detail of everyday life. In the few seconds before Lili spoke, this side of her gradually rose to the forefront, and Lili's conscious cleared.

"Oh, you like it?" Lili asked in a relaxed tone, politely smiling, "I don't blame you for staring at it, it is somewhat," Lili paused and searched for the right word, "Somewhat colorful, I think." Lili didn't want to make the poor girl uncomfortable, but she wanted to let her know that Lili knew what she was doing.

Off to the side, Lili's kite shifted in the breeze.
~~~~~ "We were wrecks before we crashed into each other."

NOW: V7

SOON: V7

DEAD: V6

MAYBE: V?
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frogue
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Lili waved back. It was just a wave though, not a beckon, and the girl returned to her conversation immediately. It was not, Georgia Lee thought, an indication that she should come over, and so she stayed put.

Georgia Lee struggled in conversation, she knew this. She had trouble letting things go, and she telegraphed this somehow to her peers. The other students seemed to delight in seeing what they could get away with when talking to her, seeing how many veiled barbs or backhanded compliments they could slip into their chatter without her reacting, and the answer, always, was few. If she let people get away with that, Georgia Lee reasoned, it sent a message, and the message was that Georgia Lee wasn't worth your respect. That you could insult Georgia Lee, and she wouldn't do anything. That she didn't put value on herself, so why should you.

In theory her classmates should have learned long before now that Georgia Lee wouldn't let things slide, that you couldn't get away with needling at her. It seemed that in this though, just as in the fields of mathematics, humanities, languages and sciences, her peers were painfully slow learners. In later life, Georgia Lee was confident, her attitude would pay dividends and earn her respect, but for now at least it was hard, and it was often lonely.

So conversation was not Georgia Lee's forte, but that didn't mean she was devoid of social awareness. Lili was deep in her discussion, and didn't seem to be looking for anyone else to participate in it. This suited Georgia Lee just fine, who for her own part was sweaty and undoubtedly stinking, and didn't particularly relish the idea of introducing herself to a stranger in this state.

Instead she lay back, and looked up at the sky again. Up above her was a cloud in the shape of a whale.
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((Amanda Tan continued from Morning Dew))

Amanda loved days like today. She likened herself to a plant sometimes, needing warmth and sunlight to sustain herself and it was days which were bright and sunny like it was right now that really got her mood up. Other people might like the cold but feeling numbness in all her extremities was not something that Amanda really enjoyed. And just putting on an additional coat didn't help, her face would still be cold and she'd now have the additional benefit of looking like that marshmallow man from Ghostbusters. Besides, Kingman weather was hot and dry which was perhaps a million times better than hot, humid and sweaty. This was about as hot as spring got around here, and even with a light jacket on, Amanda felt more than comfortable.

And she'd finished her errands too, sending her poor old laptop in for repairs at the local shop. The device itself was ancient but it had served her well so far and it had turned out to be just the RAM coming loose. Maybe she would upgrade one day, but for now she was more than willing to continue on with it until it became slightly more unusable. No point replacing what wasn't broken after all. Not that she was poor or anything, but she had an attachment to her belongings, useful or not.

She turned into the park on a whim, it wasn't exactly a shortcut back home, but it a nice enough route, and she might as well make the best use of her day given that she was out anyway. Michelle had been busy lately, the 'A' levels had just released their results back home a week back or so and it was now co- university application time for those back home and Michelle was scrambling to get all her things in order. That meant that the usual weekly gaming session had been cancelled today, and Amanda knew better than to disturb her in any case. So she had a time to spare, and the park was far nicer than most other routes anyway.

The streak of colour had caught her attention even from a distance, she had seen some truly majestic ones before, snakes, dragons and chains that seemed to go on forever and ever but this kite was different, flashy in a graceful way, stunning in the blue midday sky. It dipped down steeply as she approached, like a bird of prey finding a new victim, before tumbling to a horrid stop against a smallish looking girl.

Kite Girl began talking to a girl sitting nearby, and Amanda recognised them both as Cochise students. Amanda knew Lili somewhat, if only because there were so few Chinese students in the school, though she knew little apart her beyond her name. Cass was someone she knew a little better, having had a few classes with her before, but she wasn't someone she was very well acquainted with either. But even though she didn't really know either of them, the kite was cool enough for her to feel like she should at least take a closer look.

"Hi guys. That's a pretty sweet kite you have there," she said to the pair. Hopefully she would manage to not scare the two of them off with that one sentence.
"I have the heart of a young boy. I keep it in a jar on my desk" -- Stephen King

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dmboogie
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If Lili had noticed, she wasn't saying anything. Cass was glad to avoid a confrontation in either case, but they hoped that she had ultimately remained ignorant. Nothing good could have sprung from that situation, whether the downturn took the form of raised voices in the middle of the park, a conspicuous display drawing the attention of all nearby; or a quieter, more subtle seething to be fed later, in private. The possibility of Lili being at all flattered never even crossed Cass's mind. "I didn't mean to stare, sorry. Just not, uh, something you see every day, yeah?"

Cass was about to cut their losses and make their excuses and flee home when a third person walked up to them, and their chance conversation all too suddenly turned into a impromptu gathering. They knew Amanda better than Lili just by virtue of being in the same year, but the two had still never been especially close, and Cass was sure that they never made much of an impression on anyone other than their friends, anyway.

"Yeah. It's her kite, by the way, I'm just... intruding. Sorry." Cass said.
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"I didn't mean to stare, sorry. Just not, uh, something you see every day, yeah?"

While Lili was likely not the only one out flying kites today, she could understand what the girl with the sketchpad meant by her comment. Deep down, Lili was proud of her kite's majestic design, its flowing colors, and the stylish way it cut through the air. Even though she tried her best not to show it, Lili couldn't help but genuinely smile a little at this little comment. "It's alright, really," Lili said, "If you want, I can bring it over so you can have a closer look, okay?"

However, as Lili turned around to face her kite, she saw that yet another girl was approaching her. Lili was loosely aware of Amanda's name, simply through the fact that there were not many other Chinese students at Cochise, but apart from that, the two had never so much as spoken to each other. Even when Lili tried to remember a time the two of them had a conversation that may have qualified as small talk, a conversation about the weather or a current event, even just in passing, she drew a blank. Yet here she was, walking straight towards the two of them. In her mind, Lili quickly made the distinction between her interactions with Sketchpad Girl and Amanda.

Lili had chosen to go over to talk to the Sketchpad Girl. It was her own decision, and one she was comfortable with. Amanda was approaching them of her own volition. Even though Amanda's expression seemed to be one of curiosity, Lili couldn't be sure of her motives. And, of course, Georgia Lee just happened to be in the area. Glancing back over once more, Lili saw that she was still resting in the shade, not making any kind of effort to walk over or see what was going on, which Lili was somewhat thankful for. "Three's a crowd, after all," Lili thought.

"Hi guys," Amanda said as she approached, "That's a pretty sweet kite you have there." Deep down, Lili wasn't all too surprised that the kite had drawn so much attention, but she was beginning to wonder if flying it today was a good idea after all. Still, Amanda had approached out of admiration, not hostility, and that much was something Lili was more comfortable with. Lili knew that the two girls were in the same grade, and possibly knew each other more than she knew either of them. Still, Lili didn't get a hostile feeling from either of them, so she decided to go with the flow.

"Yeah," Sketchpad Girl said shyly, "It's her kite, by the way, I'm just... intruding. Sorry."

"Hi, Amanda," Lili said, standing up once again, "I was actually just about to bring it over so she could have a closer look." She gestured towards the girl with the sketchpad, still sitting in the grass, now looking up at the two of them. Slowly, Lili realized as she tried to identify the girl with the sketchpad that she didn't have any kind of real name to associate with her face. The two were, for the most part, entirely unfamiliar with each other, and it would be awkward to call her 'Sketchpad Girl' every time that they happened to talk. Lili decided it would be best to ask for her name, just in case the two ever met in the future.

"By the way," Lili added, looking back at the girl sitting in the grass, "I never got your name, did I? I'm Lili, by the way. Nice to meet you."
~~~~~ "We were wrecks before we crashed into each other."

NOW: V7

SOON: V7

DEAD: V6

MAYBE: V?
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The clouds above Georgia Lee drifted on and apart, and as the whale lost its form and became cotton, she sat up. There was a breeze, pricking cold against the sweat on her skin, and the tiredness she'd felt earlier had melted away, somewhat.

It was time to get moving again.

Across the park from her, Amanda had joined the conversation with Lili, Georgia Lee noted. She liked Amanda a lot. They'd worked together on a number of projects, and the other girl was smart, and a hard worker. She had actual direction, which was more than Georgia Lee could say for most of their peers. They didn't spend much time together socially though, and she saw little need to change that now.

Georgia Lee felt a pang of envy, sudden and unbidden, as she watched the three girls conversing. This was the sort of thing that never happened to her. People weren't draw to her, Georgia Lee knew, they were pushed away. She had her made her peace with that for the most part. It was necessary, for what she wanted from her life, to make sacrifices. She had sacrificed her relationships with her peers on the altar of academic excellence.

She could recall the exact moment when she'd had this realisation, too. It had been a Monday morning near the end of her freshman year, and she'd been in class early. It'd been one of her rare free weekends, but all her classmates had been busy for some reason, so Georgia Lee had spent the days working out and reading. She remembered feeling pleased with herself She'd figured everyone else had been busy catching up on study and assignments, and she was feeling proud that she had finished all her assignments weeks ago.

As she'd been sitting in the classroom on that Monday morning, the only one there at the time, she could hear some of her classmates talking in the corridor outside. Several of them were girls she'd tried to spend time with over the weekend, but had been far too busy to see her. They were all talking about some party they'd gone to together, that Saturday night. Georgia Lee had wanted nothing more than to go home and cry in that moment. To somehow, somehow not be in that room when they all walked in, though of course they were standing in front of the only door out. Instead she buried her head in her book, and bit her lip, and tried to ignore them.

A couple of the girls gave her guilty looks when they came in. Georgia Lee had been too embarrassed to confront them, and so she had pretended not to have heard anything. She'd skipped going to the batting cages that day after school, and had gone straight home instead, and of course that had just made her hate herself more. The next day she had wanted more than anything to tell her mother she was ill and just stay home, but she had forced herself to go in and she had acted like she wasn't aching inside.

It had hurt at the time, but Georgia Lee didn't think of it as a bad memory. It was a lesson, and all important lessons hurt. Still, in that moment as Georgia Lee looked at the girls, standing in the sun and chatting happily about a kite, she felt the pain of what she had given up particularly keenly.

It would still be easy to change all that. To start over. To simply walk across to the crowd, introduce herself to the stranger, make small talk. She could forget the rest of her run – what would one missed run be?

But she knew the answer. One missed run would be the first of many. The initial gentle incline of what was a very slippery slope. If this run was missable then so was any other, and if that happened everything she'd worked for would be for nothing. It didn't matter how easy it would be to go and talk to them. From Georgia Lee's experience, what was easy and was right seldom went hand in hand.

She turned, and set off out of the park, continuing her run. She didn't look back at the girls.

[Georgia Lee Day, continued in Of Angels and Angles]
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The kite lay on the ground, looking somewhat half dead, its coloured frame twitching lightly along with the wind. The kite seemed a little sad to be trapped here on the ground, a sentiment that Amanda could fully get behind.

Intruding? So the two of them weren't close friends, making Amanda feel a little better about interrupting whatever they were talking about. Cass seemed to be far more afraid than expected and Amanda was somewhat certain that had she been standing up, it would have just been her and Lili there alone now. But Cass was seated with a sketchbook and pencil in her lap, making it obvious what she had been here for. Art people . Amanda drew sometimes, but what she drew were semblances of caricatures of things. People who could actually draw well were a little like magic to her. Not that she would ever say that, but yeah, magic.

A distant sight took her interest for a second, the running figure was more than a little familiar to her. Georgia Lee was also in the park that day. Had she passed by earlier without her noticing? Georgia Lee was pretty cool. Sure, some people said that she was stuck up, but to Amanda, she was someone who actually managed to get things done. Anyone who could actually help her actually finish school projects were a big plus in her book. But, Georgia was running in the other direction, too far too call out. It was a real shame. She might have liked the kite. But Amanda wasn't about to miss the kite returning to its rightful place in the sky and could only watch as Georgia Lee made her way out of sight.

"Hmn? Yeah, Lily, right?" Amanda said, the mention of her own name bringing her back to the kite. "I'd love to see the kite up close. I did kiting a couple times, back in Singapore. It was pretty amazing, because it was up on this huge grass roof thing where you can see the entire city skyline from, and since it was right by the coast the wind was really nice." Okay, so that was a half lie. The Marina Barrage was really a great place for kites, but she had only been there for family picnics, and even then, that was just the once. Still, the hundreds of kites there testified its quality as a kiting location. Besides, it sounded way better that she knew a couple things about kiting, right?

"Oh, she's Cassandra," Amanda said, answering Lili without thinking.
"I have the heart of a young boy. I keep it in a jar on my desk" -- Stephen King

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The addition of a third person was somewhat a blessing, as there was now another target for Lili to focus her attention on. Cass was free to direct their gaze to Lili's kite for the first time since it had crashed, and though it was still pretty up close it had lost the majesty it had kept in motion, even a still image of something in motion feels like it is alive, and though there is a melancholic beauty in a caged bird it will never compare to a snapshot of freedom, but still-

Cass guiltily closed their sketchbook while Lili and Amanda were still distracted, realizing they were going down a dangerous road again. Once you get used to trying to picture the world around you on a canvas, it was difficult to stop yourself from getting carried away. Lili offered to bring the kite closer. "I'd love that, thank you." The suspicion seemed to have passed, and since it seemed as if it'd still be a while until Cass could gracefully extract themself, they might as well take full advantage of the opportunity. Not for the purpose of later art, but for the pleasure of appreciating art that had already been created, which was important as well.

They nodded politely and attentively as Amanda talked about her experience flying kites in Singapore. They envied anyone who had traveled abroad, or even better, had lived there for a time. Kingman was nice enough, but it was small, so very small, and the greater world was a beautiful place despite the suffering- no, maybe because - no, that sounds much too cold - but doesn't it reflect how humans can endure, and thrive through the most hellish circumstances- Cassandra?

At the sound of their full name Cass grimaced for a moment, gripped their sketchbook a bit too tight, glared at Amanda for a second before catching themself; reverting to a more neutral stance after taking a deep breath. It wasn't her fault, she didn't know, but it still stung. Cass was willing to let a lot of things slide, and even they could admit it was usually more than was healthy or what they actually wanted, but there had to be a line somewhere; if only for the sake of their own emotional state.

"Cass," Cass corrected Amanda. "My name is Cass, alright?"
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"I'd love that, thank you," Sketchpad Girl said, as Amanda also voiced her interest in the kite. Lili smiled, and went over to the side to pick up her kite out of the grass. The majestic bird was thankfully unharmed upon crash landing, not a single tear in its colorful wings. Lili took the opportunity to pick up her backpack as well, and noticed that her music was still playing. The piece had reached a crescendo, every instrument plucking along in a cacophony of loud noise. Lili quickly shut off her speaker, not wanting to startle those not too far away from her, and put her backpack on. Then, Lili picked up the kite's control bar on the ground and began to wrap it up, pulling in the slack of the string so that it wouldn't be a mess later on. Lili reached down to pick the kite up.

Upon touching the kite's side, however, her fingers began to tingle, pins and needles setting themselves in deep in her hands. "Oh, right," Lili thought, "I haven't had a cigarette in a little while." Turning her back to the others, she pulled a pocket lighter and an unlit cigarette out of her jeans pocket. As quietly as she could, Lili quickly lit her bad habit aflame and took a drag off of it, inhaling smoke into her mouth. A wave of relief settled into Lili as she exhaled, spewing a small puff of smoke out in front of her mouth. Hopefully, neither Amanda nor Sketchpad Girl saw what she did. As she did this, Amanda began to talk about Singapore behind her. Apparently she was also a kite flyer? Lili felt relieved. It was always good to have someone who shared in your passion around, Lili felt. Something nice and easy to bond over.

"Oh, she's Cassandra," Amanda answered as Lili's back was turned. An artsy name for an artistic girl. Lili smiled as she put her lighter back in her pocket. She dropped her cigarette into the grass and stomped it out swiftly as she reached down to pick up her kite. Lifting the giant kite over her head filled Lili with power, even though the air bellowing up underneath the kite almost took it out of her hands. She turned back to Cassandra and Amanda, kite tails flapping in the wind, beginning to talk.

"Nice to meet you, Cassan-"

"Cass. My name is Cass." The girl with the sketchpad said, far more serious than she had been before, apparently correcting Amanda. Lili lowered the kite to her chest. Had Amanda crossed a line? Were the two girls not on good terms? Even more so, had Cass heard Lili almost speak her full name? Lili wasn't quite sure she wanted to be around to find out, but she had agreed to show the two her kite, and show them her kite she would. "I guess we really have reached a crescendo," She thought, opening her mouth to speak.

"Um, I have the kite right here," She began, "If you guys still want to see it." Lili walked forward, the kite's wings pushing back as a gust of wind blew through the area and tousled both the kite's tails and Lili's hair. Slowly, she set the kite down in the grass right in front of Cass. Lili sat down again in the grass next to Cass, about two feet away, holding down one of the kite's wings so that it wouldn't topple over or fly away. All Lili could do was hope that the kite would stay put underneath her fingers.
~~~~~ "We were wrecks before we crashed into each other."

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"Okay, sorry." Amanda almost took a step back instinctively. She hadn't exlpected "I got it. Cass."

Cassand- No, she was Cass. Cass. Cass. Ugh.

Amanda hated making people upset and she wasn't even completely certain what she had done. Did other people call her Cass too? It seemed to be the case, and that would mean that Amanda had just made dumb assumptions this whole time. The mistake had been so avoidable as well, she could have just said Cass and the problem wouldn't have been there at all. The teachers called her Cassandra, right? Did Cass not like her name? It sounded nice enough to Amanda but perhaps there was some history to that. Now wasn't the time to pry though, the girl seemed somewhat upset and Amanda decided that she might as well try to be more careful around her a for a moment, but the questions continued to nag behind her at the back of her mind.

Lili had brought the kite towards them, the wind bringing a weird acrid smell along as she did. Amanda was keen to let the problem over Cass's name drop and turned her attention over to the kite instead. "It looks way cooler up close. How much did it cost?" she asked, joining Lili and Cass on the ground.

She desperately wanted to see the kite go back in the air, but Amanda had never actually flown a kite before. How did kites even work, really? She'd love to actually help get it of the ground too. Maybe she shouldn't said that she knew stuff about kites. Right now she would have to wait for Lili to actually fly the kite. That would probably happen soon, right?
Edited by Randomness, Aug 13 2016, 10:39 AM.
"I have the heart of a young boy. I keep it in a jar on my desk" -- Stephen King

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