You're barking up the wrong tree
Thu Nov 16, 2017 07:11

He’s just a person, Claudia calmly reminded herself as she continued walking towards the piano, the room around her swaying a little as she did so. She tried to block Ruben out, to just focus on her goal and ignore everything else that was happening around her. It was working, she thought, with only the tiniest glimmer of hope shining feebly through the prevailing shadow of doom that had enveloped her on discovering in whose presence she had unwittingly placed herself. It was working, until an arm landed on the piano.

She stopped moving towards it. ‘It’s not an arm, it’s just some stuffed fabric,’ she mentally scolded herself, and instructed her feet to keep moving. Her gold satin pumps weighed next to nothing, but they could have been made of solid concrete for all the effort it was taking the third year to lift her feet and keep moving towards the instrument. Likewise her ankle-length, ivory-coloured skirt was usually floaty and billowing, but right now felt as though it was intentionally wrapping itself around her legs, further hindering her progression along what should have been a very simple few steps. At least her ivory-coloured blouse and pale gold cardigan were behaving themselves; at least she was wearing clothes on her torso.

Why did Ruben keep talking to her? ‘No, it’s not impressive,’ Claudia thought. Mildly terrifying, she would agree, but she refused to be impressed by brute strength resulting in an accidental projectile due to an undoubtedly flawed manufacturing process. She knew she was being rude in ignoring him, and she abhorred rudeness in all its formations, but she was also relatively certain that any words she tried to speak would be swallowed by her dread before they made it past her lips. Considering the agitated nature of her current thoughts, it was perhaps for the best that she remained silent for the time being.

Reaching the piano, She wished she knew the summoning charm, but the beginner classes hadn’t learned that yet. Claudia crouched down and peered beneath the instrument with as much dignity as possible, instinctively not turning her back to Ruben (even though she didn’t really want to be facing him, either. Merlin’s magic, what sort of person would be in a public place without being fully clothed? Kaye sprang to mind, but she was at least usually wearing a top, even if her underwear was visible beneath it). While Ruben was talking about realism and fake blood, Claudia tentatively reached perfectly manicured fingertips beneath the piano. She could have cried with relief when she felt parchment - this endeavour had at least been successful, if extremely uncomfortable.

Withdrawing her essay, Claudia stood back up, her long, blonde braid swinging over her shoulder. She brushed possibly imaginary dust from her knees, and failed to tune out Ruben’s ramblings about giving his punching dummy a face. Wait, was he joking about hitting girls? Claudia was disgusted. Magically she knew witches were as capable as wizards, but there weren’t many girls who would grow as tall and broad as Ruben, and he thought it was appropriate to hit girls and then joke about it? ‘The world would be a better place without you in it,’ she thought uncharitably, and felt no shame.

Claudia stepped from the piano, eager to leave the theatre and the company of this abomination, when he tried directly to engage her, and he knew her name. Why did he know her name? She desperately wanted to melt into the floor right now and she didn’t care where she ended up, because it had to be better than this time and place she was in. She didn’t want to talk to him; she didn’t care if he was asking nicely. “How about I stab your brother and then we’ll see if you still want to talk to me?” Oh no she’d actually said that out loud.

  • You're just in denial - Ruben, Tue Nov 14 21:23
    The punching bag swung back and was met solidly by his right forearm. Ruben grunted, pleased by the impact, and drew his left arm back to return it, jabbing in two sharp motions against where the... more
    • You're barking up the wrong tree - Claudia, Thu Nov 16 07:11
      • I don't "bark". I bite. - Ruben, Sun Nov 19 23:01
        To Ruben’s knowledge, he was the only one signed up to do basically a fight demo for the school talent show. That was a bit weird. Like, he was obviously far superior in terms of martial arts and his ... more
        • The we'll need to muzzle you - Claudia, Tue Nov 21 14:54
          The moment the words left her lips, Claudia stopped longing for the ground to swallow her up, and started wishing for instant death. Because even if she suddenly got transported somewhere calm and... more
          • I'd like to see you try - Ruben, Tue Nov 21 23:08
            He was surprised to observe how quickly the colour left Claudia’s face, though also not surprised at all, considering how their interaction so far had gone. Good Lord, was the girl really this easily ... more
            • I have minions - Claudia, Wed Nov 22 08:18
              He’d said his part, why couldn’t he just let her leave? Claudia managed to take a few unsteady steps towards the exit. She had all the physiological symptoms that signalled fainting was imminent: her ... more
              • I'll take all of them on! - Ruben, Wed Nov 22 22:46
                Or apparently not, because the kid shouted out an answer to a question he hadn’t asked and then collapsed. Ruben had been facing her as she walked off, because that was the polite thing to do, much... more
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