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Sometimes when we reach for the stars...; Spring of 2014
Topic Started: Sep 20 2016, 06:13 AM (649 Views)
Cicada Days
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First floor and a window side seat made for a good day. Well, for Miss Latanna Beckstead. There were others not so eager to neatly drink down knowledge like she, whose throats weren’t so parched for want of accomplishment and personal glory. All else lay aside: dull protests of her body’s bloodshot eyes and exhausted heart, taunting siren call of a perfect spring day precipitated from thin air, atrociously shoddy dog-ears and scoliosis spines of the library’s selection.

Oh dear, oh dear. Latanna thumbed over a flaking and frayed corner of a European History text, dulled from its once proud sharpness. She’d told them at Council that funds from the fundraiser could be diverted into the honorable mission of returning Beale to the glory of its antiquity… or at least the lower bounds of modern academic standards! Instead of that they had themselves Sadie Hawkins 2014, replete with a quaint wild western theme. Hmph! Latanna wouldn’t waste political acumen contesting the masses their bread and circuses. They were owed it if they wanted it.

And honestly it was quite the fun dance! If sometimes the awkward sashay of two left feets, times one thousand.

She flipped the book’s cover over, though neither of her study partners had arrived yet. She’d keep an appraising eye towards the shelves for their familiar faces, but. It was her right to take the opening shots by herself. Second Amendment assured, and Latanna wouldn’t dare contest the founding fathers’ noble birthday wishes for America. Greater a chance that she’d rip her clothes off and go careening wantonly through the halls.

And of course, there was no chance of that. The optics would have been atrocious.

She counted in her willful possession a number of things at present, all held through informal laws of proximity and immediacy. A cozy table with four chairs, Latanna at the corner closest to the window that she could bask a bit in the warmth of a sun that, any stronger, liked softly caressing her to an itchy death. Books aplenty, of course, the standard weighty textbook issued for their history class. A number of personal selections whose historical views she favored. Degler, Moyar, Lind. Men of ideas, whose ideas would be valuable sources for her essay and would be likely ignored by her study partners.

Historical American foreign and domestic policy. Compare and contrast. Ah, yes. She’d have a field day with this one.

Hopefully she could say the same for her comrades in arms. Who would hopefully show up. Latanna was a stickler for timeliness, she was sure Kanuho knew that. Least of all her darling Olivia. A delicate band of satiny silver on her wrist told her it was a minute to a quarter ‘til. One minute remaining until it was officially time to get to work!

She flipped a few more pages to the relevant chapter and began to read. Being on time was great. Being early was glorious.
The Dies Before First Rolls Squad

The Nights
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Five seconds, two seconds. Time! That, Olivia had plenty of.

Neither of her study mates could read her expression, perhaps, but she made sure they could read her body language. The sun caressed her form, again just narrowly short of prickly sunburn. Even on a school day the contour of her face was expertly managed. Eyes brown or hazel- fact and opinion liked to dramatically deviate on that one- appraised her two acquaintances in turn. Olivia, a close friendship with a historically solid precedent of Latanna's dominance. Kanuho, something of an antithesis of that ideal. Latanna smiled at both. They knew where the chairs were, and she'd already pulled them out to that effect. One beside her, one for Kanuho. A bit further away, for all parties involved needed the room. Kanuho took his seat without preamble. Predictable!

A page flipped under her fingers. She made something of a casual show of scanning a few lines, giving herself a few moments to think.

Kanuho and his lingual skills. He made an excellent case for matching her talents. Made his tongue sound so smooth and neat instead of slurring the triple vowel. Home territory advantage accounted for it was all rather impressive, as he generally tended to be. Imposing in wit as he was in form. Hm! Well she could have responded in kind or at least made an attempt, she'd essentially learned bits of his language from him secondhand, but she doubted she'd look any better for paper cut pronunciation.

That talking point was thus silently conceded.

"I hope you've both managed to eat? Putting together this paper'll be quite the doozy." A few more lines cleared, Latanna doing her best to navigate multitasking with dignity. Doing a good job, she liked to think. "How's school been? Final few months and we're all hanging in there, of course." Latanna was doing far above and beyond the mere 'hanging in' but setting the bar low set it for all constituents. "I've heard rumors of Sadies asks already flying around! Bit early, but I suppose now's a good time as any." The page flipped once more, with Latanna setting a smattering of considerations to pen and paper. Blue ink, like all Student Council correspondence had to be by rule. "Either of you get or give one yet?" Hopefully Olivia would be willing to fairly contribute. The grape vine that curled through Student Council as thick and vein-like as it did the rest of the school gave Latanna something of an idea of Kanuho's possible suitors...? But Olivia's gentle tongue sometimes failed to betray her intimate thoughts quite as much as Latanna would have liked it to.

"I could never ask, myself. I know it's in good fun but it just doesn't seem proper to me."
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Latanna watched Olivia, how she relaxed. Then, not so. Predictable! Latanna's eyes carefully scanned for the familiar. The omnipresent watch on her friend's skinny wrist, the battle worn cuticles. Pyrrhic battle, that. Something of a Fredricksburg, arguably. Futile, butchery, poor form. But Latanna had brought that up enough times in the past for one time.

"It's too weird."

Latanna nodded, sympathy carefully carved into the glossy wax of her lips.

"Hm! I understand." She'd compliment Olivia on the pivot though. It left Kanuho, predictably sharp. Too sharp for Latanna's taste, the sort of riposte that left her unsure of herself. A moment's hesitation. Uncertainty. Irritation. Arousal, but heaven forbid that was simply improper. The page between Latanna's fingers hadn't been turned for a second too long, and she remedied that without further outward sign of duress. How silly of her.

"Maybe you'd have fun if you gave it a chance."

Latanna nodded, idly. Was that too dismissive of her, perhaps...? Latanna glanced up, to be very certain, held Kanuho's gaze evenly. Her eyes casually wrought of steel.

"Perhaps."

She nodded sagely. A page in her textbook turned, in time to the clockwork tick of her heart. "At any rate, I both encourage you to attend, even if stag. I can assure both of you council has pulled out the stops for this one!" And the cowboy hats, and the lassos.

"Either of you have preliminary thoughts on the essay?"

Flip.
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Something in the look he threw back her way was questioning, searching.

Expected. Even a man of his caliber probably didn't easily understand a woman's heart.

"I've a few. Already wrote up an outline for mine and everything."

Also expected! He seemed to manage most everything else just fine.




Latanna managed her textbook deftly, several pages filleted at the edges dancing between her fingers.

"Nations considered historically dependent on the United States strike me as, well, especially afflicted by history's tides. McKinley's Philippines ambitions..."

She chewed on her next words, carefully.

"The Five Civilized Tribes." As she had the definitions in front of her in neatly stenciled paragraphs that beautifully adhered to the fencing of the line, she could use the terms she liked to presume were most neutral. Present company considered. "And all other Native bodies. The American government alternated between providing them self-determination and otherwise. Abundantly clear in the back-and-forth of Supreme Court precedents." Latanna was musing to herself. Aloud. She believed her opinions were more palatable if they lacked a direct audience. If she didn't project them this or that-a-ways, but offered them as ambiance.

"In modern day terms I suppose the judicial controversy over affirmative action would be a clear continuance of the pendulum swings of self-determination of America's minorities." The white of her skin caught on the white of her eyes. Latanna mewled to herself. She had a bulky opinion on the present day of her musings, of course. Enough meat to the brain that she wondered if her peers could smell it's seasonings.

Oh, she knew one of them would. But his opinion wouldn't matter so long as he held his tongue.

Not that she trusted him to do that. She'd sooner run each individual ridge of her fingerprint over the sharp corners of her book's earmarked pages.
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A casual observer would have remarked that the discussion was civil. Even Olivia herself, maybe, though it was also distantly possible she knew better. She saw the look, and saw the meaning of that look. Something quite easily read! For how unpleasant a read it was.

Still, he held his tongue. They'd go on uninterrupted, this time.

Or. Not.

Latanna smiled sympathetically when he glanced up, she could turn the page on his face into the embarrassment. There was no need to make anything more of it. But Latanna was annoyed, no mistake about it. Her phone was off, stowed away. Disciplined fighter, that Kanuho, but even his slight error had cost them. Concentration, like any other resource like political capital, was to be spent shrewdly. Latanna already felt something of an ebb in the riptide that had carried the words of their shared History teacher to the fore. Less clear, less whetted. How annoying.

"Of course. We can arrange a meetup to edit, later on. Kindly keep your phone on for me." There was an obvious barb somewhere in there, but Latanna abandoned it to be prudent. Her target was already fleeing her crosshairs anyways. "I'll send a message later."

"And hey, let me know if you change your minds on the whole dance thing."

It seemed Kanuho, instead, took the last word for himself. Ah. She'd given an inch and been beaten back a mile, but she was quite willing to let him have that. It was a fine proposal, food for thought as their congress took recess. Before the back-and-forth would inevitably return. Whatever, whenever. She'd savor anything, she had the mentality for it. All just an exercise. Like here and now. Something to munch on while she and Olivia continued what was left of their work, with hopefully no lost momentum for Kanuho's departure.

Latanna's page turning did briefly stall.

"He seemed to assume that we were outright not going," Latanna remarked dryly. She looked up from her book, searching her friend carefully for a response.
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"Hm!"

That left the pages. Latanna was quick to resume turning them, and quicker than that to try and get her mind back on track. Supreme Court. That was what she was here for, less so the romantic woes of two high school girls who had no cause to worry about such things.

What had Olivia been thinking, in the few seconds of silence she'd needed to have anything passable as an answer? Well, barely passable, as the case had been. Latanna hoped for more coherent essays than what dear Olivia had just half choked over.

"I see, well." Olivia was looking at her, so Latanna half glanced up. Half her eyes were still trying to drink down the masses worth of written political discourse, but the other half could pin the hue of Olivia's green irises within maybe three off shades. "I see." Purposeful repetition, that. Classic rhetorical device for speech, repetition. Probably not the right time or right place, but even Latanna knew when to not take herself seriously. Olivia, hopefully, knew the same. And if not, well. More power to her regardless.

"And I am wondering what you meant when you said 'we' just then."

Back a page. She needed the full context of this one particular quote that spanned between pages. Among the other quotes she was dissecting at the moment, yes?

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"You're sure."

Her mind was whetted again, or at least some majority of the information she needed was back to the fore. Competence was a state of mind, as per usual. She hoped her antics weren't distracting Olivia to the point of dysfunction. Latanna had learned over the years that it was a fairly easy line to toe at times. But it was, at the very least, a reminder to Olivia about the structure of their congress. They were founded friends, time-tested even, with these particular dynamics and checks and balances in mind.

"All words have a meaning, Olivia. Above and beyond the abstract realm of 'nothing'. I'd just like you to clarify what you meant!" The cheerful, banal tonal upswing right at the end of the sentence was measured out by the individual kilohertz to be casual. A concession, as it were.

All the while, Latanna's nascent thesis continued to grow in the separate, more important realm of her mental operations.
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The crucial crucible of American conservatism. Judaical and executive overreach. The overstaying of liberal and progressive power on the domestic front. The success of conservative presidents on the foreign front. Yes, that would do nicely.

A sharp, honed mind proved an adaptable one. She switched trains of thought with bureaucratic, rubber-stamped ease.

Latanna smiled.

She didn't bite.

"I did, didn't I? That's fair. I just wish you'd be more honest with me in the future!"

And her smile was sweet in teaspoons. A trap for insects had to be properly honeyed to be set, after all. No, but this time she meant it. Poor Olivia. Someday she'd learn. But hopefully not in a dramatic fashion. The impetus for change, as history so often proved, was the brink. Latanna knew well how she'd react when pushed to that proverbial edge. She'd investigated Olivia enough to feel this was a metric where she and Olivia did not match heads.

Among many other things. Most of them petty and innocuous. To be fair!

((Latanna Beckstead continued in Carry the Fire))



"So what do you have so far, Olivia? I've managed thirty pages this quarter hour, and I think there is a solid case to be built within our respective means."
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