Act first, think later?
Sun May 6, 2018 09:06

She had not been certain that her touch would be welcome. Claudia had necessarily broken off their exclusive arrangement last year, terminating the paradigm it which the couple had deemed it acceptable to occasionally hold hands, only within the confines of the school, and only when other students were present to witness there was no impropriety in their interactions beyond affectionate demonstration of a close friendship. This was another situation entirely. While Claudia and Connor had revived their friendship, they had done so without the more particular extensions of their previous agreement. Physical contact was no longer an aspect of their relationship, and whilst Claudia had been sufficiently eager for tactile comfort to risk Connor’s remonstrations, she had reached out with no knowledge of how Connor would react. She was therefore relieved when he did not reject her hand upon his arm. Relieved, and pleased that in times of need she could count on Connor to be there for her, whatever she needed.

In the next moment, Connor placed his hand on top of Claudia's. She looked at it, as if to convince herself she had not imagined the sensation. Blonde eyebrows rose a fraction of an inch in the surprise that she could not completely contain, and her lips curved into a gentle smile at the contentment she experienced, heedless of its suitability given the existent scenario. Whether he was similarly inclined to overlook propriety to facilitate her comfort, or if his own behaviour was driven by some other reasoning, Claudia could not tell, but neither did she mind. As he reaffirmed the value of her friendship, Claudia’s cheeks regained a little of their usual color, and her heart beat a little faster again. This time, however, it was not driven by panic, but feeling … Happy-skittery inside.

Marley’s words coursed unbidden through her consciousness, and Claudia wondered why now, of all times, she was burdened by thoughts of her former friend. Marley hated Connor, or at least disliked him a great deal. Claudia could understand how her yearmates were ill equipped to get along, yet she was - had been - able to become closely acquainted with them both. Marley possibly hated Claudia right now, too - she had been sitting at the table with Holland that day Danny had overseen her apology. Would Marley care that Dade had attacked Claudia in the corridor? Oh Merlin, would Marley be the next person to confront her?

Panic and confusion reset themselves in an instant. Claudia was exhausted. How was she supposed to concentrate on classwork if her thoughts would continue to churn in her mind in this infuriating and disorienting manner? What must Connor think of her, acting so erratically? She should retire to her dormitory where she could at least be distressed in private. But Connor’s hand was on hers, and Claudia wanted to keep it there. “Thank you,” she said, her voice as quiet as before. “You are helping. I find your company reassuring,” she confessed with a weak smile, “and comforting.”

  • Didn't get that far yet - Connor, Sat May 5 08:36
    As Claudia narrated the situation in which she had found herself not long before their meeting, Connor grew more horrified than he had been, although he made his best attempts to remain outwardly... more
    • Act first, think later? - Claudia, Sun May 6 09:06
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