Fri May 18, 2018 15:39

Increasingly Claudia was using outfits and cosmetics as tools for concealment: they had developed from an extension of self expression to a mask, designed to let the world know she was considerably more resilient than she truthfully felt. The plum purple wraparound dress had sleeves to her elbows and a loose skirt to her calves, so, worn with tan boots and gold gloves, covered every inch of skin below her neck. Gold eyeliner and dark mascara in a coordinating shade of purple drew focus to her brown eyes, and away from the mouth that more often than not fell automatically into a disconsolate frown. She wasn’t frowning now, however, but regarding Caleb with a quiet curiosity. He wanted to spend time with just her. Why?

Claudia liked Caleb. He was friendly and polite, he was respectful and courteous; he made her laugh and he brought her gifts. He was reasonably attractive, too, although the fourth year had noticed that in an objective way, rather than being particularly drawn to his features. However she didn’t trust him. She had no real reason to not trust him, but she’d had no reason not to trust Dade, or Danny, or anyone else who had taken advantage of her vulnerability to make her life immediately less bearable. The only person Claudia trusted completely was Connor, which was why she had previously felt comfortable in his company unchaperoned. Caleb was a relatively new companion she had known for only a few months, and he was not explicitly familiar with the nuances of her society, so could not always understand her so completely as Connor and Nolan were able. Attending any rendez-vous, especially one so obviously construed to be a date, with a fifth year boy - of any background - was sufficient for Claudia to be hesitant.

“What do you think?” That here it was happening again, something new to overthrow her emotions and expectations. Her friendships with Nolan and Caleb had been her only relationships not causing her any confusion! At least on this occasion it was a positive alteration, although the same could be said for… well. Claudia had always held Connor in high esteem. It was perhaps inevitable that she should feel some affection towards him. When he had comforted her in Cetus, it had almost felt as though… but she had just been emotional and exhausted, for exceptionally good reason, and Connor had been there for her. She needn’t read anything further into a scenario that was a result of a close and enduring friendship. Besides. Connor wasn’t asking; Caleb was.

Claudia moistened her lips and tried not to allow the pressure of Caleb’s expectant gaze to fluster her. “I always enjoy spending time with you, Caleb,” Claudia began. “I do not object to your suggestion of ‘just the two of us’,” she borrowed his phrasing, “although I am concerned for the propriety of such a venture. My reputation -” her voice cracked part-way through the word, “is exceptionally delicate at the moment.” It might not matter at all, depending on how monumentally Dardanius messed things up for her, but then even non-society wizards, such as Caleb, must have some standards above which Claudia must absolutely remain.

Furthermore, she doubted she was in an emotional state fit to enter into any sort of arrangement, whether purely based on friendship or with other, more intimate overtones, but as that was not what Caleb had proposed, she did not address that immediately. He had asked for one outing, and Claudia felt compelled to acquiesce.

  • Just say yes - Caleb, Thu May 17 12:11
    His blue-eyes looked at Claudia for a second before feeling the rush reflect on his face. The fifth-year could feel his heart thumping on his chest and he was sure everyone in the Library could hear... more
    • Perhaps - Claudia, Fri May 18 15:39
      • I'll cling to the hope! - Caleb, Sun May 20 16:24
        The blonde fifth-year did not know what to expect from his invitation. Yes, he wanted to ge to know Claudia better, without the interference of people around them. That just made things awkward and... more
        • Optimism or foolishness? - Claudia, Mon May 21 08:36
          She was not sure what she had expected Caleb to say - perhaps an assurance that he would not consider jeopardising her reputation, or maybe more brazenly tempt her into risking propriety with details ... more
          • I think the latter - Caleb, Mon May 21 17:10
            The smile on his face faltered in an instant. He sighed and took a deep breath. He wasn't annoyed with Claudia, he was annoyed with himself. Caleb was nervous, really nervous and everything that had... more
            • We tried - Claudia, Tue May 22 14:31
              Despite her own discomfort, Claudia was able to recognize that Caleb, too, no longer looked so confident. She had objectively turned him down for a date, which was a premise anecdotally associated... more
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