Is This It

frogue
Winner
Joined: January 10th, 2015, 3:44 am

July 30th, 2016, 11:28 pm #1

[Georgia Lee Day continued, years later, from War Paint]

Georgia Lee was incredibly punctual. When it came to social events it was almost unheard of for her to be late, and when it came to class she was, as a general rule, always at least five minutes early. She liked to have time to get her books and pens out and prepare before the lesson began, to let her mind settle itself before it undertook the task of learning, and to give herself time to read.

She had recently checked a book out of the library, an older volume with a pea green cover and pages that smelt like the backrooms of a Goodwill store. The text was small and thin, hard to read against the faded, yellow pages. There seemed to be so much space around the letters. They crawled across the page like an ant trail, beneath a crosshatched picture of three men in old fashioned clothes, standing among trees and bushes and flowers. Georgia Lee had to squint a little, to make them out.

I was asked, by him, if I was familiar with the lesser apes of Indochina. I recall shaking my head, and saying I had not. I had heard, in some sense, of monkeys of the region, but if anyone had made mention of any apes, it was not to my recollection.

"They are the much diminished cousins of the apes of Africa. They are smaller, there is more of the beast in them. Would you say they are not further down our Lord's ladder of creation?"

"I do not know them, but from what you tell me I would say that it is so."

"And yet those of my mission tell me they marry."

"They marry, sir?" This, from a priest, seemed to me dangerously close to sacrilege. "That is a sacred bond between man and wife, surely. To say that it is found among apes, seems to me to be most improper."

"And yet this is what my brothers tell me. They say that they even know love, and that when they find it in a partner they never leave that partner's side."

"But is that marriage, sir? Love is one thing, but a sacred bond in the eyes of god is quite another, is it not?"

I knew myself to be no theologian, but his words did not ring with truth, to my ears. He continued.

"They stay with whom they love for the length of their lives, just as we do sir. The great apes of Africa rut like savages, and yet their lesser cousins have lives much as our own."

"Then I would say sir, that it is the Africans that are the lesser, and the Indochinese the greater, regardless of their size."

"Marriage then, puts one higher upon the ladder of creation?"

"I would say that it is so."

"Tell me," said the priest, "Do angels marry?"

I told him that in these matters of scripture I would demure to his judgement, and a this he laughed, and said I was wise.


Reading was a luxury for Georgia Lee, and as the year drew on and her schedule grew busier, it was one she had increasingly less time for. She simply couldn't justify prioritizing it over her extracurriculars, over her work with her church or over study. It was an increasingly rare pleasure for her to simply sit down with a book, and when she forewent her reading for some of indulgence, the rarity of that pleasure made it all the more painful when the indulgence disappointed.

Last night had been one such disappointment.

He'd been good looking after a fashion, though he was certainly a far cry from the sort of boy who usually drew her attention. He was too short, no taller than her; too pretty; too delicate in his features; his voice too soft. But there was a charm about him, Georgia Lee had always thought. A certain seriousness in his manner, a certain sort of gravity in his bearing that she found oddly compelling.

She hadn't been attracted to him, not really, but she'd been curious enough to agree to a single date, which they'd gone on the previous night.

It had not been a success.

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Cicada Days
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Joined: March 27th, 2015, 4:13 am

July 31st, 2016, 11:43 am #2

((Ben Fields continued from Early Morning, Early Days))

Dukoff didn’t like ‘em late, clarified by syllabus and notes caked onto a blur-streaked whiteboard and daily vocal reminder. Most of his students tended to be through the door with a few minutes to spare, except for the ones gunning for being held back a year. Ben was even earlier by a shave this pass around. He’d lost track of his last conversation somewhere right outside the door, and figured a neat transition out would be a doorknob and a firm nod backwards. With that smooth disengage he turned around, and well. Georgia, of course, was earlier than him still. Alone at her desk, nose almost flattened right against the pages of her book. No surprises there.

It was hard to explain how she’d first drawn his eye. Well, it was obvious at first. She looked tough in a pleasant way, precociously carried the maturity in everything she wore, and managed to not be ridiculously tall relative to him. Decent tick-offs on Ben’s checklist. But past the chump change details he’d never been too intent on asking her out. She’d had the credentials for sure, so maybe he’d allowed his head to get a bit too full of the locker room rumors that circulated around her. ‘Bitch’ and ‘butch’ were two common BB’s they shot her way, but Ben had finally realized he knew better. About… two days ago, to the minute even. Georgia definitely didn’t mess around when it came to the follow up, and Ben had to admit she’d earned some points on that alone.

Alright, he was in. First, he eyed her up a bit from a distance. No harm in taking a second out of his day to do that. Then, he mulled on it a bit, maybe a few seconds to awkwardly loiter by the classroom door.

Actually, nah. He could walk it out. Right towards her.

Movie and dinner was a movie set cliche, but she’d insisted on it as much as he’d thrown it out there. In a quiet way, it had to be said. She'd said business as usual, in the usual tone, but somehow she'd walked away with a plan that was hers as much as it was Ben's. That had been something to watch. Ben had been only a bit taken aback, and a lot intrigued.

As for what they actually watched she’d agreed to his first choice. It was right up in the old theater that shifty-eyed goth Parker allegedly worked in. John Wick, encore night. Damn awesome call, except for the song and dance they’d had to fumble through to find seats out in the crowd. Costly call too, but Ben wasn’t going to be the money grubbing trailer trash that begrudged a girl a decent night out. Georgia apparently kept to a strict diet, she had informed him as much at least once at some point while they’d been tentatively orbiting the concession counter. Soundbyte now encrypted into his long term memory, useless as it would be when their teenage romance inevitably fizzled. No big deal either way. He would have gladly spent the few extra bucks on her if she’d asked. Though his wallet did look a bit healthier when there was a little extra sinew on the bone, a little extra padding.

The movie itself had been kickass, and that was really all there was to say on the matter. Obviously he hadn’t exactly learned a lot about Georgia in the process, and in hindsight Ben admitted she’d sort of vanished from his side, into the ether, every time the theater had rocked with the chatter of guns. His bad. Cop-out move to blame a brain drugged out on a narcotic dose of action.

She’d told him to surprise her in terms of food, and Ben had picked out one of his personal favorites. IHOP neatly penciled into the itinerary after that. Ben had been duly confident that Georgia wasn’t going to contest or complain about a classic. What warm-blooded American could hate on the tradition of complimentary hotcake stacks? Take to that shit with a fork and knife, more like. Well, maybe. She’d ordered one of those healthy options things on the menu spread that Ben systematically refused to even pay a token glance. Kinda dumb to admit but that had legitimately thrown Ben for a loop. This was the part where he emphasized the line about the hotcakes. He figured he’d been decent conversation, though. Jokes came, easy on the trigger as machine gun bullets, some decent and some cheesy. And he knew enough about her now to at least write a brief book report. A badly written one, given that it was he who would be the writer. But she'd been eager, at least Ben had pinned it down as that.

Her parting salvo had been a smile and a wave, and Ben figured he’d probably earned his stripes that night. He sort of had it stuck right into the broad of his chest, a hefty, meaty bit of mutely stated workmans pride. Even if she didn’t want to go out with him again, he’d given her at least one decent night to mull on for a bit. Movie critics observing could throw Ben their thumbs ups at their leisure.

She loomed, or rather he did. Albeit barely. He eyeballed a spot maybe a few inches short of her airspace and planted himself firmly on the spot. He knew with a day’s worth of experience under his belt that she was the sort of girl where intruding on her personal jurisdiction was probably unwise. He still had his options here, no sense in throwing the game when they hadn’t even started. He offered her a lax smile, one that melted right into his lazily drooping shoulder as he leaned into the conversation to-be like he usually did:

“Interesting looking book you’ve got there.” It looked like it could have dissolved into dust and ink motes within the hour. Didn’t seem like a big deal to Ben. He wouldn’t have commented on it, but the counterpoint to that was who he was talking to. “Studying up?” If there was anything that people didn’t need to date Georgia to know about her, it was the study habits. “Don’t think I saw the class that one belongs to. Either that or I’m about to get a rude ass GPA drop within the week.”
[+] Spoiler
[+] Spoiler
[+] Spoiler
[+] Spoiler
"C'mon! It's just a prank, bro."

- Memories - 1 - Pregame - 1 2 3 4
Unofficial Theme : 'When it's clear to everybody I'm always the last to know.'
Extra art by Mimi! (1)
[+] Spoiler
[+] Spoiler
[+] Spoiler
Sprite credit to Yugikun (Beryl Mahelona, Gyu-ri Christensen, and Demetri Fustcher) and Fenris (Charelle Chernyshyova, Ramsey Cortez, and Joanne Coleman).
[+] Spoiler
Character Relationships (no longer updated)
Hero | Swap
[+] Spoiler

B036 - Dead
(Adopted from Yugikun)
[+] Spoiler
"And you were the one looking to pick a fight. Don't complain when you don't get the one you want."
- Memories - 1 2 3 4 5 - Pregame - 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 - Sadie Hawkins - 1 2
[+] Spoiler
"Hope that's good enough."
- Arsenal - Bag of dried chipotle chilies (LOST)
- Island - 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
- Meanwhile - 1 2
[+] Spoiler

G047 - Dead
[+] Spoiler
"It's Tina."
- Memories - 1 - Pregame - 1 - Sadie Hawkins -
[+] Spoiler
"You're nothing."
- Arsenal - The 'Man Catcher' (LOST)
- Island - 1 2
- Meanwhile - 1
- ??? - 1
Sprite credit to Fenris (Ben Fields) and Yugikun (Tina Luz).
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frogue
Winner
Joined: January 10th, 2015, 3:44 am

August 3rd, 2016, 12:16 am #3

Georgia Lee looked up sharply. For a moment she was too shocked at his temerity in talking to her, to feel anything. Then, she was annoyed.

She'd actually allowed herself a little excitement, when Ben had asked her out. Most of her classmates, the boys especially, didn't think very highly of her, she knew that. They saw her as cold and standoffish, and took this either as a sign to keep their distance, or as some kind of infantile challenge. Ben had seemed better than that, and to his credit she supposed he still was, but that didn't change how appallingly the night had gone.

When he'd asked her out she'd been flattered. The boys in her school, by and large, were cretins, and it had been a surprise to her that one had actually been able to see what was good about her: her drive, her ambition, her passion. It had felt nice, genuinely nice, to be noticed like that.

Ben, though, had noticed nothing. He'd seen nothing of who she really was, had no understanding of what mattered to her.

Georgia Lee knew she didn't have the time for a boyfriend at the moment, not a proper boyfriend, but it hadn't seemed so unreasonable to want someone to on nice dates with and hold hands with sometimes and who could understand her and how hard her life was and how hard she tried at everything. That wasn't too much to ask, surely? Nobody could fault her for that?

This Perfect Boy hadn't looked like Ben when she'd pictured him, in the times that she'd been alone with her thoughts. He'd been taller of course, and older too: the boys her age, she had decided by that point, lacked the maturity to appreciate the characteristics that made her good. Someone who was going places, maybe who owned his own business, or was some sort of high-powered executive, promoted many times over despite his age.

Ben was none of that, but he had asked and had seemed good, and sincere, and like he cared. Georgia Lee wasn't even angry at him, not really. More than anything she was angry at herself, for just how wrong she had been about him.

What was it about her, she wondered, that gave the impression that some mindless action movie and then fast food was an appropriate date for her? Did she really seem so foolish? So vacant? After she'd gotten home last night, Georgia Lee had stood in front of the mirror and stared for minutes on end, trying to see what was wrong with her. She looked herself in the eyes as she wiped of the makeup that she'd done especially and had taken her an hour, trying to find the weakness or ignorance that he had seen in there.

There was nothing, as far as Georgia Lee could tell. Nothing about her that would say that would appeal, and the only thing she could conclude from that is that Ben had never really looked. She'd thought he'd asked her out because of her heart, but it seemed he was interested less in the organ, and more in what it sat behind.

She'd been polite, of course. She'd laughed at his jokes, and tried to fill the awkward silences just as he had, but it had been a disaster. His tastes were plebeian, his interests were infantile and his ambition was non existent. At the end of the night she'd said her goodbyes and driven herself home, feeling hurt and embarrassed. Given that it was his date that had gone so poorly, Georgia Lee had assumed he'd been feeling something similar.

And yet here he was, talking to her.

Georgia Lee put her hand on the book out of pure instinct, when he mentioned it. Less than a week earlier someone had snatched that same book off of her desk and taunted her with it, and the experience had left Georgia Lee deeply protective of the tome. She looked back down at it, welcoming the excuse to not meet the boy's eyes.

"It's just a book, Ben. Some people read for fun."
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Cicada Days
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Joined: March 27th, 2015, 4:13 am

August 5th, 2016, 8:37 pm #4

Ben appraised her response, play-by-play, director's cut with commentary. Surprise was the obvious call. Irritation not so much, but he got something of an impression of such. Probably should have waited for the book to find it's way back to earth, before he found his way to her. He deserved the attitude for jumping the gun when he knew better.

She also had guns, open carry on protecting her book she'd snapped a hand to it so fast. Someone had mentioned that some bully had been messing around with Georgia's books in another class. Not the right time, but in the future he had to make a note to talk to her, as odd as it felt to be seeking out a girl with confrontation in mind. Better to seek out girls for other things, example like in the here and now. It looked kinda awkward, the way her body language rallied to defense of her ink. But it made sense. No need to bring it up when it was at least sort of reasonable.

"You'd have to ask those people, because I have no idea." Had he even mentioned his own reading habits, when he'd been hunched over the restaurant booth? Hadn't seemed necessary. Way he liked to think about it, it was a pretty clever read on the situation. Georgia cracked the books like a slave-driver, yeah. Ben considered himself fairly studious, and even he was still reading Goosebumps in contrast to her Dostoevsky, or however it was that travesty of brain-curdling English's harbinger was spelled. So trying to open a front with that as spearhead was definitely a bad idea. What the hell kind of dork-ass went out on the little house on the prairie they called a town to do more of the same that they did at home? Bash their heads against books and serious business for a few hours, might as well call the damn charade a study group for two.

Nah, Ben just wanted them to relax a bit. No need to bring guns to the sandbox. In a way he'd taken it on himself to throw them a little party, even if it was just the two of them, even if not really. Exaggerated sentiment aside, he knew she somehow seemed like she could benefit. They could talk futures after they'd talked shop about the littler things in life.

And after some other stuff too. Ben was hardly about to call open season on his own nascent, hatchling dreams for a life of career, money, and Confucian piety just because some girl happened to wear her foundation with an artisan touch.

"I mean, 'just a book' isn't too forthcoming on the details. Green Eggs and Ham is 'just a book' but I don't see you running around with your nose buried in that one, as appreciable and inspiring as Sam-I-Am's effort to share his culinary vision is." Ben was curious about the details, as much as he definitely wouldn't have been in any other circumstance. The cynically minded would have called it a ploy to melt a little butter onto a breadknife he'd brandish Georgia's way, and honestly Ben wouldn't have blamed them. But shit. Georgia was just interesting, bash all the haters over their heads with her collection of thick and esoteric tomes. She was the nerd-factor of some other Cochise kids, but without the stomach-turning propensity to being annoying as fuck. Ben wasn't even educated enough to find the words, to be honest. Not your everyday girl? Cliche as shit, she definitely wouldn't appreciate it.

Even if it led nowhere, even if 'serious' amounted to her stern gaze and a flat rejection, he just had to appreciate it while he could. But somehow, he was confident, in a bullshit machismo sort of way. He was point and center, his lazy posture keeping him just close enough to check out her book in detail, the textual evidence to whatever thesis she offered. His eye definitely wandered over her way a few more times, tracing over the contour of her shirt when he was sure she couldn't notice. Nice angle, from up here. Like he'd said. Just had to appreciate it while he could.
[+] Spoiler
[+] Spoiler
[+] Spoiler
[+] Spoiler
"C'mon! It's just a prank, bro."

- Memories - 1 - Pregame - 1 2 3 4
Unofficial Theme : 'When it's clear to everybody I'm always the last to know.'
Extra art by Mimi! (1)
[+] Spoiler
[+] Spoiler
[+] Spoiler
Sprite credit to Yugikun (Beryl Mahelona, Gyu-ri Christensen, and Demetri Fustcher) and Fenris (Charelle Chernyshyova, Ramsey Cortez, and Joanne Coleman).
[+] Spoiler
Character Relationships (no longer updated)
Hero | Swap
[+] Spoiler

B036 - Dead
(Adopted from Yugikun)
[+] Spoiler
"And you were the one looking to pick a fight. Don't complain when you don't get the one you want."
- Memories - 1 2 3 4 5 - Pregame - 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 - Sadie Hawkins - 1 2
[+] Spoiler
"Hope that's good enough."
- Arsenal - Bag of dried chipotle chilies (LOST)
- Island - 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
- Meanwhile - 1 2
[+] Spoiler

G047 - Dead
[+] Spoiler
"It's Tina."
- Memories - 1 - Pregame - 1 - Sadie Hawkins -
[+] Spoiler
"You're nothing."
- Arsenal - The 'Man Catcher' (LOST)
- Island - 1 2
- Meanwhile - 1
- ??? - 1
Sprite credit to Fenris (Ben Fields) and Yugikun (Tina Luz).
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frogue
Winner
Joined: January 10th, 2015, 3:44 am

August 7th, 2016, 12:18 am #5

"You asked if this was a book you should have studied. It isn't. It's just a book. given your question, it's a perfectly reasonable answer, Ben."

Georgia Lee turned then, to meet his eye. She should have known from the previous night that Ben had the observational abilities of a particularly obtuse mole. It had been foolish to think he'd notice how poorly the date had gone, or how little regard she held him in. Even her obvious coldness this morning appeared to have gone unnoticed, so it seemed she would have to spell things out.

She noted her page, then closed the book. It made a rather satisfying thump sound as the pages came together.

"Look, I appreciate you asking me out, I suppose. That was nice. But I didn't really have a good time last night, and I don't think... we're just not a good fit for each other, sorry Ben." She gave him a rueful smile, lips pressed tightly together.

"So I guess I'd appreciate it if you didn't talk to me. I just... I don't really want to get into this, this morning, okay?"

She reopened her book and stared fixedly at the page in front of her until she heard Ben walk away.

[Georgia Lee Day continued in Yes, Virginia]
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Cicada Days
Winner
Joined: March 27th, 2015, 4:13 am

August 7th, 2016, 11:09 am #6

Well, she was justified on that count. Hadn't been the answer he'd wanted, but he'd respect it as an answer all the same. She glanced his way. That summarily executed the whole peeping act on his end. Hadn't been much 'while he could' on that one.

There was something in her tone that seemed sharp, piercing. Even the book seemed intent on stabbing through the moment.

"Look, I appreciate you asking me out, I suppose..."

That was a good start.

'Suppose'. 'Suppose' was the tinfoil gold star, the consolation prize. In an instant Ben's chest deflated just a bit, the pectoral rolling back onto the bone where it belonged. And that wasn't the end of it. Two syllables later and she mercilessly went straight for the one and then for the two. A flat out rejection of everything he'd trumped up as a good night in his petty ass thoughts. Deflating was one thing, but straight sinking into the earth was another altogether. Shit. Ben hadn't even realized he'd been that vested into the outcome until now, when it was promptly making itself the worst outcome that any dude on this Earth would have been reduced to beetle chow by. He'd just been saying that he didn't mind a rejection, but now that it was actually being foisted his way he realized that was pretty damn far from the truth.

That was about all there was in the way of thinking about it, really. Her lips pretty much completed his thoughts on his behalf.

It was so fucking simple. He hadn't been the right man for the job. For it to feel like this was almost laughable, and Ben was glad thoughts happened to be an impervious sanctum to intrusion. That's what he got for being a stupid kid in spite of himself. He was excused for being a pompous tool, he supposed, but there was a good reason men wiser than the incumbent man of the Fields homestead said pride came before the fall. But. Excuses were excuses. They stung, but you shrugged them off. He had to finish the job he'd started, even if it was earlier than he'd hoped or anticipated. He could give back a little something called grace and respect. Georgia had pretty aptly floored him, but she was still a girl and a cool one at that. He could pay her some modicum of her dues even if he was apparently shit at it.

"I getcha. If you don't want me to bring it up ever again my lips are sealed." Probably not as tight as hers, but if anyone had a good bitch face, resting or active, it was Georgia. And that wasn't a point against her, not in the slightest. "Sorry I wasn't able to stack up, but if it counts for anything I had an awesome time. Guess I'll be seeing you around, Georgia Lee." He realized they were pretty damn lame lines before they were even done controlling his mouth. Damn genius way to cap it off. He could see why the night had turned out the way it had.

Whatever it was he was feeling, he was at least sure he kept that shit inside where it belonged. His face was cool, evenly set into a slow nod pivoting on his steel-cast brow and chin. Careful to evacuate with as wide a berth as could be managed in the desk-crowded floor he crawled his way serpentine out of the suddenly hostile trenches. He was a bit relieved that class was still minutes away from starting. As lame as it was, he'd be needing a few minutes to brood on this one. Just sit at his desk, stare blankly at a wall or something, beat himself up until he was ready to forget this shit and face the day like the trooper he was.

He caught Dukoff's eye on the way out. Damn, he hadn't even realized teach was in the room. Had he been that eager to rush over to Georgia's side? Must have looked like a fucking 'tard, prancing straight to the pretty girl with hearts in his eyes and schoolgirl in his step. Dukoff smiled slowly, deeply, the sort of measured, solemn expression folks wore when they were manning the twenty one guns.

Honoring a fallen comrade.

((Ben Fields continued in A Lazy Saturday))
[+] Spoiler
[+] Spoiler
[+] Spoiler
[+] Spoiler
"C'mon! It's just a prank, bro."

- Memories - 1 - Pregame - 1 2 3 4
Unofficial Theme : 'When it's clear to everybody I'm always the last to know.'
Extra art by Mimi! (1)
[+] Spoiler
[+] Spoiler
[+] Spoiler
Sprite credit to Yugikun (Beryl Mahelona, Gyu-ri Christensen, and Demetri Fustcher) and Fenris (Charelle Chernyshyova, Ramsey Cortez, and Joanne Coleman).
[+] Spoiler
Character Relationships (no longer updated)
Hero | Swap
[+] Spoiler

B036 - Dead
(Adopted from Yugikun)
[+] Spoiler
"And you were the one looking to pick a fight. Don't complain when you don't get the one you want."
- Memories - 1 2 3 4 5 - Pregame - 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 - Sadie Hawkins - 1 2
[+] Spoiler
"Hope that's good enough."
- Arsenal - Bag of dried chipotle chilies (LOST)
- Island - 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
- Meanwhile - 1 2
[+] Spoiler

G047 - Dead
[+] Spoiler
"It's Tina."
- Memories - 1 - Pregame - 1 - Sadie Hawkins -
[+] Spoiler
"You're nothing."
- Arsenal - The 'Man Catcher' (LOST)
- Island - 1 2
- Meanwhile - 1
- ??? - 1
Sprite credit to Fenris (Ben Fields) and Yugikun (Tina Luz).
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