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Joe Umland
A familiar face and an unfamiliar face.
Thu Jan 11, 2018 14:31

Someone had given Julian a dictation quill. Joe had not done it, had not spoken to anyone who had owned to doing so, but he felt utterly comfortable asserting that it had been done.


Tell any of your little friends you want to write to this summer not to expect you to reply too swift - it took some betwixt with the One Between Us, because he thought about going to some summer classes, but he listened to reason in the end finally and now we’re all going away together me and you and Mom and Dad and the Other One - the Big Pair won’t do what I tell them to, but you Little Ones will, and Mom and Dad, because it’s Mom’s birthday and she’ll like it even if William is coming alon - damn! (Sorry, I tripped on a cat).

Anyway, we’re all along and you, of course, don’t have a choice because you are the littler half of the Little Pair and not old enough to argue yet (though I guess you could stay with Paul and Stephen, but you’ll have a better time with us and anyway, you can help me with John). Try to do good on your RATS so Mom and John don’t scold you about them while we’re on vacation - ow! (sorry, I slipped peeling these apples) (finished peeling the apples).

The letter had rattled on for some distance more, which made it fortunate that Julian had mentioned the point early on in the missive: she had decided to haul the family abroad, through both England and France, for much of the summer as a joint celebration of her first anniversary and Mom’s impending forty-fifth birthday. Joe did not yet know what to think about this. On one hand, he kind of went abroad every year, but on the other hand, that wasn’t for pleasure. It was different from going abroad-abroad; he was a bit embarrassed about the sheer luxury of the thing as much as anxious about the prospect of his family being together at close quarters without anywhere novel to go, despite also looking forward to the various attractions Julian had rambled about in between tripping over cats and peeling the apples (and, apparently, her own fingers). He assumed Julian had been joking about him being scolded about CATS all summer, but it had been enough to make him a bit more stressed when he went to take his CATS. Julian and Dad would understand normal scores. Mom and John...wouldn’t. At best they would be confused and at worst disappointed, and after the time he’d watched Raine have all year, he thought he might yell at them if it came to that….

Overall, it was lucky, he thought, that CATS results wouldn’t come back until the end of the summer. With any luck, that would even mean John was back in America before the results came back. Joe was basically okay as long as the result was all Es and Os - Julian had conveniently had an A on hers, which absolved him from the need for perfection - but if John and Mom’s formidable forces were divided, it would be much easier to get away with it un-shamed if there happened to be more Es than Os, which was what he expected the results to be. His spellwork had been good, he’d even been complimented once, but his knowledge of theory was limited to what was in the book and he didn’t even always remember that perfectly.

Next year, though, things got even more complicated. Important decisions would be made. That was not fun. For now, Joe really wanted to relax, only he still sort of felt...adrift, out of sorts, for lack of Work. The CATS were no longer hanging over his head. He was slightly anxious about the upcoming abroadness, but not enough to take the place of CATS stress. It was weird.

Winning the House cup at least meant something extra to do with himself for the evening, so Joe followed the other Teppenpaws toward the performers. To his surprise, though, someone abruptly broke away from the group and ran toward one of them. To his even greater surprise, the person jumping all over a performer was Raine.

To his greater surprise for a moment, anyway – then he remembered that she was from a carnival family. That was ostensibly why she had been…contorting herself in interesting ways that evening in the sports room that evening, which he had analyzed a hundred times since it happened – she had been practicing for an act. She probably knew the performer…possibly very well, from the enthusiasm with which they greeted each other.

He was not sure how he felt about that, but he was aware that it was none of his business, and so he was just about to try to fade into the background when abruptly, Raine dragged the performer over to him and introduced him as her brother.

“Hello,” said Joe, surprised, offering Starr his hand. “Nice to meet you – I’m Joe Umland, and I’m in Raine’s year and don’t juggle very well at all.”

  • A familiar faceRaine Collindale, Mon Jan 8 04:05
    She was still alive. And the CATS were over. Professor Xavier had helped her believe that all was not lost, and she had gone into a couple of the exams with a clearer head than others, but she still... more
    • A familiar face and an unfamiliar face. — Joe Umland, Thu Jan 11 14:31
      • Any familiar feelings?Raine and Starr, Sat Jan 13 14:42
        “Nice to meet you,” Starr smiled, flicking a sideways five against Joe’s outstretched hand and then going in for a fistbump. “I’m sure Raine must’ve told me something about you, but I’m much better... more
        • Joe considered Starr’s statement and concluded that Raine had most likely never mentioned him to her family in her life. This did not offend him - indeed, it would have surprised him more if she had. ... more
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