Ika Blackburn
A nice place to visit
Tue Aug 5, 2014 21:10

Ika had always lived somewhere—with her family in Kissimmee, or at RMI, or—most recently—in the beautiful little house in Chicago. Now, halfway through her first year of college, she was in a weird in-between spot where none of those places felt like home. Chicago felt temporary, Kissimmee made her feel like a guest, and RMI…

Well, all done up for Christmas, the Finer Diner barely resembled the room she’d eaten breakfast in every day for seven years. But she recognized most of the people there, and Ika found a favorite table tucked in a corner beside a Christmas tree drizzled in silver tinsel.

She’d hoped for a reunion of sorts, but she didn’t see Lyubov or Nicco or even Zakir. (Admittedly, that was a long shot. As far as Ika could tell, Zakir had dropped off the face of the earth.) She kept her hopes up for spotting one of them later, but she didn’t save any seats. They could find her.

School was good. Ika spent Tuesdays and Thursdays at the wizarding zoo in Chicago, and the rest of the week in class. She had a bandaged burn on her left forearm to show for the former, courtesy of a fire crab that hadn’t taken kindly to Ika polishing the jewels on its shell. (It was okay; only first-degree, and it didn’t hurt that much anymore.) For the latter, she had a stack of magizoology books in her bedroom as tall as the nightstand, beside a much slimmer pile of ancient history and modern philosophy books.

Ika was living in a cute Victorian house in Oak Park owned by her former boss’ brother, Dante Poff. The house was yellow with charcoal shingles and white trim, and Ika had her own room for the very first time, in the loft she’d decorated with bright colors and comfy pillows. A handful of other students lived in the house: Wibke, who was from Germany and studied technomancy because she wanted to reconcile large wi-fi networks with magic; Hatley, who went by “Hats” and was in a band but was also enrolled in business school; Arlo, who always made great omelets for everyone on Saturdays but never talked about his major. It was a weird collection of people. Ika liked them all well enough.

Going from house elf cuisine to campus dining (plus whatever she cooked) had actually been the harshest change. Ika could deal with coursework, and distance from everyone she knew, and helping with Aethonan births—but good gods, she missed the cooking at RMI.

She loaded her plate with dainty triangular pastries stuffed with spinach and cheese. Ika knew she should put the brakes on her appetite—knowing RMI’s kitchen staff, both dinner and dessert would be just as good as the appetizers—but she’d spent the morning playing hide-and-go-seek with a bunch of dugbogs who did not want her to clean their enclosure, and the eighteen-year-old was starving. Ika was tucking into the spanakopita when a familiar face approached the table. “You forget how good the food is here,” she beamed after a swallow. Ika wiped her hands on the cloth napkin. “Not that I’m living on ramen and nachos, but I don’t cook like this, either.”

  • Midterm Family Feast (T18)Counselor Garen Tennant, Mon Aug 4 15:39
    Garen’s goal as counselor—and, by extension, head of both the alumni department and coordinating family events—was to make RMI more accessible to people besides the students. In addition to the... more
    • A rollercoaster, to say the least.Olivia Knight and family, Thu Aug 7 15:17
      As a young girl, Olivia was not fond of the winter holiday season. It was difficult to celebrate as the family punching bag. But as she grew up and found a new family--a real family--she began to... more
      • I could ride with you if you'd let me.Demitri de Frère, Mon Aug 25 23:14
        Demitri paced back and forth, irritation coloring his every step. The cheeriness of people bustling by into the Finer Diner and the joy of the holidays did not alter his mood in anyway. He was grumpy ... more
    • The perfect stalemateHestaea and Mikey Lawrence, Thu Aug 7 03:58
      Arms braced. Elbows ready. Hands sweaty. Fingers tight. "Go!" Hestaea pushed with all her might, struggling forward against the opposite force of Mikey's defense. She could get his arm lowered... more
    • Mooching (TAG: Addi Leppit)Paul Eagle (Alumni), Wed Aug 6 23:15
      The brown speckled owl passed through Paul's eleventh-story, shared apartment building with gifts of a letter and some owl droppings. Paul was asleep, spooning his band mate wearing nothing but his... more
      • Sounds like a solid planAdisynne Leppit, Thu Aug 7 00:36
        "There!" Addi beamed, taking a step back to admire the masterfully dressed young gentleman that sat in the stroller before her. Tycho Maximilian Riley Leppit stared back in silent confusion that rose ... more
    • Surprise!Anthony Leppit and family, Wed Aug 6 22:53
      They had spent enough time in their relationship for Amy Duncan (formerly Leppit) to bring to light the biggest secret of her entire lie. Her marriage to Jim had been flawed with more than its share... more
    • A nice place to visit — Ika Blackburn, Tue Aug 5 21:10
      • It's not bad living here, either.Amelia Knight, Wed Aug 6 02:09
        "Mother, may I be excused?" asked Amelia, blue eyes glancing ahead to where she wanted to be. Thus far she had been enjoying the feast in reserved quiet with her parents and Darlene, but she spied... more
        • Ain’t that the truthIka, Wed Aug 6 03:06
          “Amelia! Oh my god, hi! ” Before Amelia could sit down, Ika rose and greeted her with a hug. If Amelia was here, it meant her parents probably were too, so she did her best not to give an excited... more
          • Mmm, tell it gurlAmelia, Wed Aug 6 23:21
            Amelia had never gotten entirely adjusted to Ika's physical affections, but she had at least adapted a bit more comfort with the situation. She did not necessarily hug back, but she was less stiff... more
            • PreachIka, Thu Aug 7 02:36
              Ika knew Amelia wasn’t quite on board with hugs, but she couldn’t help it: some situations called for hugs, and seeing one of your best friends for the first time after almost half a year was one of... more
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