Constantly on edge
Fri Jun 1, 2018 21:15

Claudia had never had much to do with Remington. She had happily worked with the other girl in class on previous occasions, as they we equally committed to achieving a good grade and the Draco was, in Claudia’s experience, one of the more capable younger students. Yet they had never socialised outside of the classroom, and since yeargroups three and four rarely shared classes together the two girls had not spent any great amount of time in each other’s company this term, and none at all since the boggart class. The impression Claudia had was that Remy was booksmart and confident, but she knew little else about her. Connor disliked her, but Claudia suspected that had little to do with Remy as a person (Connor had made commendable progress on that score but nobody was perfect).

So when Remy said, “You looked like you needed help. I wasn’t just going to… stand by when I could do something,” Claudia wasn’t sure she should believe her. Although a mistrustful glance and a pause for consideration informed her that if Remy wanted to hurt her, she could have done so already.

“Why?” Claudia asked, her quiet voice barely audible above the music. “Nobody else is trying to help me.” She regretted it the moment the words had left her lips, because it felt selfishly ungrateful to utter them when she did have people who were probably trying to help; the trouble was that none of it was working.

Connor had been incredibly supportive; he had even approached his brother about their nightmarish interaction (on the one hand she had never intended to obligate Connor to take sides against his brother, but on the other hand, Dardanius had made it abundantly clear when he disapproved of Claudia’s actions against Holland. Not that Connor was her boyfriend, of course, but he was her friend, and she believed that was worth a cursory admonishment on her behalf). Also he did walk with her to the party, which was good of him. However he had not stayed; Claudia couldn’t expect him to be with her all the time, no matter how much his presence contributed to her feeling protected.

Caleb might have made misguided attempts to help distract her, but they had left Claudia feeling upset and misunderstood. Marley had done the precise opposite of helping, declaring herself concerned one moment and rejecting any hope of renewing their friendship out of hand the next.

Claudia’s own parents had heard her arguments against Holland and permitted Danny to continue dating them anyway, and while Claudia’s mother had been making regular trips to Boulder to check on Claudia, at the end of each visit she sent her daughter back to the place where she was terrified to walk around every corner.

The professors were indoctrinating her with ideals of acceptance and equality that were incompatible with Claudia’s experience and understanding, and nobody was making an effort to address her concerns; nobody was taking her pain seriously. Apparently it took someone to see her bleeding to offer help. Well, that was hardly a sustainable response to her current troubles, but she would bear it in mind. For now, she had solved the conundrum of her bloodstained gloves, but she didn’t want to startle Remy (primarily for her own safety, but the other girl had not yet posed a threat and Claudia didn’t wish to give her cause).

“I’m reaching for my wand,” Claudia said, “to cast a colour changing charm.” She slowly took her wand from her bag and cast a spell to turn her gloves blood red, instead. Next she cast the same spell on her shoes, so they still matched. Her accessories did not look so good with her blue dress as in their original white, but at least she would draw less attention to her inadequacies this way. “There. That’s better,” she said flatly. “Everything’s fine now.”

Everything wasn’t fine; everything was terrible. Claudia knew she had only attended the party because the alternative was worse, but being here with people enjoying themselves and making noise was making her so lonely and on edge and isolated in a crowd. Her fingers clenched her wand and her head started to pound. This party had been a mistake. Claudia wanted to leave. She wanted to go, but she had nowhere safe to be. She had no way of getting anywhere unharmed until Connor came for her. She was trapped here with people who hated her, in her sanctuary from people who wanted to hurt her. “Everything’s fine,” she repeated, hearing her voice as if from far away, explosions of glitter in her peripheral vision blurred into shimmering rainbows by the tears welling in her eyes.

  • Constant! - Remington, Fri Jun 1 10:51
    Remington ignored the quip about Dade. She only knew her friend’s side of the story. It was something about leaving Defense because he wasn’t interested in showing the world his fear (valid) and... more
    • Constantly on edge - Claudia, Fri Jun 1 21:15
      • Hang on, don't let go! - Remington, Tue Jun 5 09:44
        “Why? Nobody else is trying to help me.” Remington doubted that, but she wouldn’t say so. She knew that Claudia had her own friend group, and she couldn’t imagine they’d abandon her over this. After... more
        • Letting go! - Claudia, Tue Jun 5 14:20
          Remington was still talking to her, Claudia dimly registered as everything in the room faded behind the base of the music, suddenly more perceptible to Claudia as it mis-matched the thudding of her... more
          • Let's go - Remington, Thu Jun 7 09:24
            Remington liked to believe she was smart enough to handle any situation on the fly. Professor Boot assigning a group project without telling them what the project was about? Boom, feminism, done,... more
Click here to receive daily updates