More like a lifestyle
Sat Feb 17, 2018 21:00

“Scrying café?” Those existed? Russell looked around the room once more, and this time identified what looked like an empty box, about the right size to be from a deck of cards, lying near one of the spindly chairs. He’d never properly studied divinations so he couldn’t be sure that the box was from fortune-telling cards, as versus playing cards or something else like that. Were fortune-telling cards even the same size? Maybe the box was actually from… maybe matches. There were a couple (thankfully unlit) candle stubs sitting on the shelf opposite. Regardless. “Can’t say for sure - well, obviously,” cue the awkward again, “but, yeah, it might be.”

Having his vision sunglasses-free pretty much always felt weird. And pretty much always, he didn’t like it. Right now he just had them pushed up so that the frames were balanced on top of his head, his hair unfortunately smooth enough due to being a Washing Day that he had to irregularly nudge them back a little higher as they slid around, and it was well-shadowed here that he didn’t feel an immediate need to put them back on properly but the one swinging bulb was still lit enough that Russell cupped a hand over his eyes when looking in the direction of the table. Promptly followed by using his other hand to re-settle the sunglasses again. It was inconvenient, but it was better than taking off his sunglasses entirely to hold them or hang them from his shirt or another comparable form of storage that would take too long to rectify should more lights appear without notice. The only time Russell ever fully removed them was when he was holed up in his private Cetus dormitory or in the basement back home in Sacramento, where there was never anyone else in the vicinity who might have insisted on turning a light.

The removal of the binder’s weight from his hands was a bit of a relief, after that whole thought-spiral about Professor Kaz and the far away but not far enough round of Truth or Dare. He exhaled and turned to look around the room some more, shifting his weight in preparation of moving once he had decided where to move first-- but then he was touched out of the blue (not that he had ever seen blue in his life).

Physical contact was not Russell’s strong point. He tended to operate under the assumption that everyone had figured this out about him. Danny was of course included in that ‘everyone’ category. Considering that he’d been witness to Russell shrinking down from his over six-foot beanstalk frame when faced with confrontation, or avoiding flying with anything less than a ten-inch gap between himself and other Quidditch players, or even last year’s Talent Show rehearsals when Marissa had to actively remind that it was OK to touch her and that was in fact what he was supposed to do at various parts of their dance… Well, there was no way the other boy hadn’t figured it out. So, although a small logical voice pointed out that Danny probably wasn't trying to provoke or intimidate him, he had a hard time actually convincing himself otherwise.

It should therefore have been no surprise, to Danny or any other, that his immediate reaction was to startle violently enough that he nearly tripped over his own feet. It was a surprise, to himself at least, that he had managed to catch himself before actually falling, but that was little consolation. Tripping and not falling was hardly a route to correcting the bad impression Danny seemed to have of him. Not that it mattered, Russell reminded himself before turning his attention back to the current situation. “Sorry, sorry,” he quickly said, and the apology was intended for his klutzy asocial behaviour but now Danny was offering to charm his feet which he’d forgotten to do and he should apologize for that, too.

“It’s fine.” Russell shook his head for added emphasis, but slowly, to keep his sunglasses hopefully in one place. “I got it. But thanks. Sorry,” he added again for good measure as he reached into his empty right-side cargo shorts pocket, internally panicked for too long a second, and then found his wand in the left instead. He forced a chuckle at Danny’s very off-topic follow-up, the sound strained like the new frown strained his face. “I’m sure you started in not as terrible a place as me,” he replied, a little hurt at being called terrible (he knew it was true but that didn’t mean Danny had to say it!) and hiding it as best he could when he didn’t have sunglasses to hide behind. “But, yeah. Holland is pretty am- great.” Russell almost said amazing, but caught himself in time. That was a thing he didn’t have to say, either. Especially not to him.

...Wait a second. There was a pattern here. The first time(s) Danny had acted nice(r) towards him was the same time(s) that he’d been dating Marissa. Marissa had known him and been friends with him for longer, but then Russell had showed up and she inexplicably befriended him too, and then she went off dating Danny, Danny tried to get on better with him, and they all knew how that ended. Now, according to the rumour mill slash his own eyes, Danny was going after Holland, who was also someone who’d been his friend first and then somehow became Russell’s friend/mostly-stylist, and now they were pairing off or something and Danny was coming back at him. Russell had no idea what this pattern meant or where it was going, but it didn’t make any sense.

His foot almost landed on top of a ceramic shard before he realized he had been moving and put the (definitely not ceramic-proof) sandalled sole down to the side. Phew. The charm wouldn’t have helped fix that. Crouching, Russell made mental note of the shard in relation to a handful of others scattered around it. “Danny?” He glanced up to wherever the other boy had gotten. “This cup looks like it was smashed, not just dropped. I mean, maybe it was dropped and then swept aside or something? But the angle looks too wide. Er, steep and wide,” Russell corrected himself, squinting at one larger piece that included a curve likely belonging to the cup’s handle. “D’you know much about tea-leaf reading? I don’t know if you ever took Divinations, but I know Holland used to, so…” He trailed off. Yeah, best to leave it there, make it clear that he knew his place and he was never going to rank higher than Danny in Holland’s social life and he didn’t need to be watched or be fake-friended or whatever this pattern was about. (Okay, maybe it wasn’t clear, exactly, but it wasn’t entirely opaque.)

  • Is that your mantra? - Dardanius, Tue Feb 6 15:16
    The scene that greeted the two students as they entered the room was reminiscent of a cafe, as Russell suggested, but with several jarring differences; for example, there was no food counter, a... more
    • More like a lifestyle - Russell, Sat Feb 17 21:00
      • Are you enjoying it? - Danny, Tue Feb 20 16:22
        Maybe Russell had already been about to step further into the room, or maybe he’d been so deep in thought that Danny’s tap on his arm startled him, but the aborted stumble that followed was so...... more
        • I don't think that's the priority here - Russell, Sun Feb 25 16:07
          Even if he had been completely confident in his interpretation of the teacup’s landing, he still would have found Danny’s agreement reassuring. As it was, with no protractor or weights to calculate... more
          • Just a curiosity - Danny, Wed Feb 28 15:39
            Russell confirmed - with superfluous, self-doubting commentary, naturally - that there were tea leaves where the cup had fallen (or more likely been thrown, or swept, or whatever). “Yeah, that’s what ... more
            • In that case, no, not really - Russell, Mon Mar 5 22:33
              For once, it didn’t bother him very much that Danny sounded disagreeingly hesitant when reacting to his comment. (It was worth noting that ‘very much’, in this particular case, like in all particular ... more
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