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The last time I said what was on my mind, it didn't end well
Sun Sep 2, 2018 00:26

The best time for hot chocolate is when you’re really excited for it.

Dorian nodded mutely. He could not fault Professor Brooding’s logic there, although he couldn’t imagine a time when he would be excited for hot chocolate again. Or anything. He vaguely thought that feeling like this was not sustainable. It surely could not go on forever. But right now it felt like it would.

He felt on steadier ground as she talked to him about the books, glad for the change in topic, glad that he had a clear answer ready.
“I can rearrange the first shelf first. Then take the second and work the two shelves into the right order. This way, I can do as much as possible but without leaving mess behind. If I am not finished, it is not inconvenient, and then I can return and do more another time,” he explained his plan. “Subcategories are nice but maybe not possible.”

He considered her offer of help. On the one hand, the thought of Professor Brooding just sitting at her desk whilst he worked away by the shelves seemed a little strange. There was something to be said for completing an activity companionably. He could not say he had been companionable with anyone except Melodie since Wednesday. His cat had spent plenty of time snuggled up with him in his room, and he liked to credit her with enough intelligence and sympathy to say that she understood his mood and was concerned for him, although perhaps she just enjoyed the extra attention. Spending some sort of time with another human sounded nice. On the other hand, he didn’t want to make her sort books with him if she didn’t really want to.

“If you like,” he nodded. And whilst this was not the most strongly expressed desire for company that had ever been uttered, it was clear that it this was meant sincerely, and that Professor Brooding was welcome to join him at the bookcase if she genuinely wanted to.

“I started a letter to my grandfather. About the arranging of the Chinese books,” he informed her. On his first visit, he had explained the idea of arranging by the number of brush strokes in the first character, and had noted down a list of the book titles and authors with a promise to investigate further and get back to her. “But not yet finished…” he added. His written Chinese was much less proficient than his verbal, although he tried always to write to his mother at least some lines in it, so he still got practise when he was at school in spite of the lack of tutoring. With his mother though, he could switch to English or French if he got really stuck, balancing the need and wish to use his Chinese with the practical concerns of communicating with a sufficient degree of efficiency. With lao ye though, there was no such option, and Dorian also felt the expectation to prove himself eloquent and elegant in his written expression was higher - his mother cared for his news and his stories, his lao ye cared for how nicely the piece was composed. Thus writing to him was something of a project, and one that he had not been in the right frame of mind for since Wednesday night. He gave a small sigh as he began reordering the first shelf.

  • And conversation?Professor Mary Brooding, Sat Sep 1 23:43
    "The best time to drink hot chocolate is when you're really excited for it," Mary said as she sipped from her own mug again. "I love that moment. It's best to wait until you are ready," she smiled... more
    • The last time I said what was on my mind, it didn't end well — Dorian, Sun Sep 2 00:26
      • Ah, but this isn't the end yet.Professor Mary Brooding, Sun Sep 2 01:35
        "That sounds like a good plan," Mary replied, controlling her excitement. She maintained an even temperament on the outside, but her insides were dancing and singing and just generally being excited... more
        • I hope you're rightDorian, Sun Sep 2 01:54
          Professor Brooding appeared not to want to help with the books, which was fine. He could sort and she could work, and then he wasn’t in anyone’s way, but nor was he having to be out and socialising,... more
          • I promise.Professor Mary Brooding, Sun Sep 2 02:27
            Mary smiled at first, enjoying Mr. Montoir's explanation of his grandfather and sorting Chinese texts. Then she beamed. "When I was younger, I really wished I was more patient. I decided I would work ... more
            • You read my mindDorian, Tue Sep 4 06:33
              Dorian had to listen hard to Professor Brooding’s answer. She went off on quite the tangent. He didn’t mind that as such, although she was one of those people where you had to wait until the very end ... more
              • Sorry about that.Professor Mary Brooding, Tue Sep 4 17:22
                Mary was surprised when Mr. Montoir seemed to recoil some, and even more so at the fact that she found this so surprising. She'd been a student once; how creepy would she have thought it if her... more
                • It was probably my faultDorian, Wed Sep 5 04:06
                  Silence reigned. Dorian tried to focus back on the bookshelves. But it didn't feel like comfortable silence any more. It didn't feel like they were two people working companionably in the same space. ... more
                  • Certainly notProfessor Brooding, Wed Sep 5 17:48
                    Guilt and sympathy washed over Mary in equal measure and she felt herself relax into the situation. Realizing she and Mr. Montoir were equally human was encouraging and she smiled warmly at him. "Not ... more
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