Swipe Rite

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

July 3rd, 2016, 11:36 pm #1

Georgia Lee's phone sat on the table to the right of her book, black and ominous, but she avoided checking it again. Even thinking about it, she could feel a blush creeping across her cheeks. She didn't look up, either, not wanting to see all the people staring at her, wondering why she was sitting here by herself, or see the clock hanging over the kitchen door, letting her know just how late he was. It'd been twenty minutes the last time she checked, and at least another five minutes had passed since then. Georgia Lee kept her gaze fixed firmly on the complimentary breadsticks in the centre of the table in front of her.

The whole business had been her sister's idea, and Georgia Lee had listened in some fit of... what? Sororal affection? Loneliness? She'd justified it at the time as simply wanting to try things that she hadn't before, but increasingly it was seemingly like foolishness.

She'd put in so much effort, too. Every photo on her profile so carefully curated to not let someone she knew, seeing it, to figure out that it was her. It linked to a facebook profile, so she'd had to make a new one of those too, aged a year older, with a different name and a different school listed. The last thing Georgia Lee wanted was anyone she knew finding out about this. She'd chosen the restaurant to that end too: one on the opposite side of Kingman to Cochise, just to minimise the chances of running into someone she knew even further, and she'd specifically scheduled it on this, the night of the Sadie Hawkins dance, just to make extra sure.

The boy was chosen with discretion in mind, as well. There were other factors too, to be sure. He was cute without being pretty, older without being too old, with a good job and kind of an old world-y charm going on, but perhaps the most important thing was that he wasn't from Kingman. He wasn't anyone's brother, wasn't anyone's friend. She could do whatever she wanted with him - not that she'd do that, of course - without worrying about gossip or rumours.

Everything had been planned to the millisecond. Even the dress had taken hours of her time. It'd been her sister's, and while Georgia Lee didn't have her bust or her legs, she did have a sewing machine, so she'd happily altered it, thinking of just how amazing she'd look when it was finished and fitting, how adult. She'd been so pleased when it was done, too, so excited to wear it, and she felt actually pretty with it on. She'd been nervous, sure, but she'd been happy.

And yet, here she was, sitting by herself in a restaurant.

Her resolve broke and she checked tinder again. No messages. Georgia Lee felt her face grow hot and looked quickly toward the wall, not wanting the waitstaff to see her in like this. The waitress came by, asking if Georgia Lee was ready to order, but she sent her away with a wave of her hand, not trusting herself to talk.

She took off the red headband that her date was meant to recognize her by and stuffed it into her pocket, snapping it in half at the centre in the process.

Well, that was perfect.
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Espi
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Joined: November 20th, 2012, 9:32 pm

July 4th, 2016, 5:34 pm #2

Honestly, Alice hadn't known what to expect, but she'd hoped for better than this.

It'd been one thing to agree to go to the dance in a nice sundress. But finding someone to go with was entirely a different matter. She wasn't the romantic sort; her crushes tended to be on characters from books, not real guys. Her guys were sensitive, gentle and reassuring, encouraging her to do well without pushing too hard. Sweethearts, basically. There weren't a lot like that her age, that seemed apparent.

And since going out with fictional men wasn't an option, Alice had figured she'd make it a girl's night out. Only problem was that of the few people she could call on, all of them either didn't want to go or had a date. So Alice hung around outside the dance with her mom in the car, and waited for inspiration.

Ten minutes passed, and redfaced Alice returned to the car, asking to go to dinner with her mom, a smile stitched into her face. There'd been a bit of crying, comforting, talking, but Louise was aware lf Alice's feelings and didn't push the matter.

The nice Italian restaurant was quiet as usual, but despite the warm air Alice's arms were wrapped around herself. Her mom set up the table, and on their way to the seat Alice tried to reassure herself. Was she really that excited to go to the dance? Hardly so. This was more fun. Definitely.

Alice caught a teen's eyes as she passed the girl on the way to her table. She knew that face; it was someone she saw at the library. Yeah, she even had that weird Africa book! Alice arrived at her own seat, but as soon as the waitress left she said to her mom in a hushed, frantic voice, "Hey, I'll be right back. I saw someone I know." Not quite a lie, but hardly true. Still, her mom nodded.

She made her way back to the girl, and stood next to her, pausing before speaking. "Um, hi. You go to Cochise, right? Sorry if you're busy, I just..." Trailing off, Alice became fascinated with her shoes.
V5: Cut Short
Theodore Fletcher
Nina Clarke
Gwen O'Connor

V6: Broken Down
Alice Baker (->Aura)
Henry Spencer
Blair Moore

V7: Unprepared
Rhonda Lawson[/b
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frogue
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Joined: January 10th, 2015, 3:44 am

July 5th, 2016, 4:05 am #3

Georgia Lee put the back of her hand to her mouth and pretended to chew, raising her other hand in apology. She waited until her heart had slowed down and she could trust her voice not to crack, and then gave the girl her attention.

"No, not busy. Feel free to, ahh..." she gestured towards the seat opposite her, and began to clear her things off of the table, stuffing them into the bag on the bench next to her. She spared a glance at her phone as she put it away. The space where a message received LED would flash remained stubbornly dark, but the eyes that reflected back at her were clear, and her mascara was still in place. That, at least, was something. Georgia Lee looked back up at the girl.

She was dressed up. Was she here under similar circumstances to Georgia Lee? Had she been sitting here, by herself too, watching Georgia Lee being stood up? No, breathe, calm. Georgia Lee had scanned the room, what? A dozen times? The girl's name wasn't coming to mind, but her face was certainly familiar. There was no way Georgia Lee wouldn't have noticed her.

What did she want? There wasn't malice on her face, which is what Georgia Lee would have expected had she come over here to mock her. Nor was there pity, which would have been worse. She looked... nervous, perhaps? Intimidated? It was better by far, Georgia Lee reasoned, to be fearsome than pathetic, but the girl looked like she was getting ready to bolt at the drop of a hat, and really that was too much.

It wasn't that Georgia Lee wanted to talk to her, really. Having to sit through some awkward, stilted conversation with someone from school was far from the top of her list, in terms of how she'd wanted to spend this night. Still, it was higher on said list than having said classmate see her sitting by herself, being pathetic. Georgia Lee had, she decided, had entirely enough of sitting by herself being pathetic.

"Please, sit!" She raised a napkin to her mouth as if to dab at crumbs and wiped her nose in a manner that she hoped was covert.

"I like your dress."

Georgia Lee chanced a smile.
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Espi
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Joined: November 20th, 2012, 9:32 pm

July 5th, 2016, 4:10 pm #4

Alice smiled, tentatively.

"Oh, if you say so, I..." Alice took a seat, wringing her hands in her lap, under the table. "Thanks."

The girl seemed to have an odd air about her. Alice was pretty sure her name was Georgia Lee; they were in the same grade, after all. She was also pretty sure that Georgia Lee was not popular with some people, as she'd definitely overheard derisive comments about the girl. Alice felt a pang of sympathy; she'd been subject to criticism before, and it always crushed her. Georgia must've been strong to handle that and still be so polite to a relative stranger.

Plus, from how the poor thing seemed antsy, she got the feeling Georgia wasn't just here for a meal.

And she even complimented her dress. "Oh, thank you." Alice smiled more confidently now. It was a pretty normal pastel blue sundress, nothing standout. Still, Alice had thought it looked good on her, and hearing the reassurance was nice. Alice looked at Georgia's own dress. "I like it, and I guess that's what's important. You look great, though! Yours suits you perfectly."

A short pause ensued. Then, Alice worked up the nerve to ask what she hoped wasn't too probing of a question. "How have you been? We haven't talked much, so...yeah. Excited for senior year?" Alice felt a little more confident now, but there was something else about Georgia. A sort of frailty, an exposure of some kind that reminded Alice of the time in the museum...
V5: Cut Short
Theodore Fletcher
Nina Clarke
Gwen O'Connor

V6: Broken Down
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Henry Spencer
Blair Moore

V7: Unprepared
Rhonda Lawson[/b
Toby Underwood
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Joined: June 23rd, 2010, 1:18 am

July 5th, 2016, 4:38 pm #5

Wouldn't this have been a sweet thread?

Two Cochise students, let down by the promises of others and scorned by the burdens of social custom, perhaps finding an unusual friendship forming over their shared fate.

At worst, perhaps, it would have been awkward. Clumsy attempts at icebreakers, an unintended personality clash, some perceived slight bubbling over into a simmering tension that would have added a nasty denouement to an already unenviable day. Alice's current shy vulnerability and Georgia's duplicitous attempts at keeping her Tinder life secret from her classmates did not, perhaps, create the safest combination, especially when it was only luck and circumstance that the two currently had in common. Even then, though, this whole affair descending into anything worse than passive aggressive eye-rolling would have been unlikely.

At least, that's how Bradley saw things. There would be no chaos, no drama, nothing but fraudulent and insincere chumminess. He viewed what he did as a public service.

Bradley had left the dance early. There was no great story there. He had seen the options available, and noticed that it would be slightly too hard to smuggle in actual good booze. Not worth the hassle. Nah. He could wet his palate far easier on the outside, without having teachers watching his every move.

So he had left.

And went to a restaurant.

As (his) luck would have it, there were two faces he recognised there. Bradley made sure he recognised faces. Knew people well. Something of a social butterfly.

Well, a social moth.

"Ladies!"

He strode across the room to them as he entered.

"You both look wonderful today, if I may so!"

Hopefully one of them would be one of those feminazis who didn't like being complimented. That'd be fun. He could roll with that. Get a fun night out of it, whatever happened.
V7 peeps:
Nick Ogilvie
Ashlynn Martinek
Bill Winlock
Camille Bellegarde

V6 peeps:
Kiziah Saraki
Bradley Floyd
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frogue
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Joined: January 10th, 2015, 3:44 am

July 6th, 2016, 8:56 pm #6

Georgia Lee smiled at the compliment, genuinely pleased by it. And why shouldn't she be? She'd worked hard on this dress. At least someone thought she looked good in it.

She had, Georgia Lee realized, missed the point at which she should have introduced herself. She waited for the other girl to do the honours, but she seemed content just to talk. Did they know each other? No, Georgia Lee was almost certain there'd never been introduced. Perhaps she just assumed Georgia Lee would know her. Was she a cheerleader or something? On the student council? Perhaps she'd been on the news for rescuing dogs, or eating hundreds of hotdogs, or having intercourse with a celebrity. Georgia Lee scoured the depths of her brain for anything, anything that might give her a clue as to who this girl was, and came up with nothing.

Well, it was better late than never, Georgia Lee supposed. She cut off the girl's awkward, stumbling attempts at small talk.

"Yeah, sure, I've been doing well. Sorry, I'm Georgia Lee, by the way. Georgia Lee Day. I realized I completely forgot to introduce myself. Terribly rude of me, I know."

Georgia Lee winced internally at that last comment. Had she implied that her companion was also rude, for not introducing herself in turn? But no, the girl sitting opposite her looked, if anything, more relaxed, more at ease. She seemed more confident, more alive even. Georgia Lee was proud of herself. Who knew it would be so easy to draw someone out? She wasn't in the habit of getting meals with her peers, really. It had always seemed like a waste of time and money, when she cook something for half the price in probably half the time, and not have to sit through stifling attempts at conversation and heavy-handed flirtation. This, though, was nice.

The night, perhaps, would not be a total nightmare, she thought.

That, naturally, was when Bradley showed up.

Bradley was an eight year old boy trapped in the body of a middle-aged truck driver. Bradley was a black hole of pleasantness. Any happiness or enjoyment in a room just evaporated when he entered. To call him utterly void of charm, tact, or positive characteristics was to understate his awfulness. He didn't just lack those things, he had them in negative quantities. Bradley would need far, far more charm to simply be charmless. Bradley was anti-charming.

Bradley had a face that looked like God had put his hand on it and just pushed, presumably so as to prevent Bradley from finishing whatever awful thing it was that he was saying. He looked like his face was trying to reabsorb all his facial features back into it, perhaps ashamed at the idiotic expression that they constantly displayed. He had, Georgia Lee realized, probably been punched in the face quite a lot. A lifetime of undoubtedly deserved beatings had no doubt served to simply compress his face, slightly. Had it also compressed his brain? That would, she thought, explain a lot.

There was a particularly quality Bradley had, almost like a super-power, where he was so revolting that it almost couldn't be contained by a single person. The disgust that one felt for him spilled out, like his belly over his belt buckle, and oozed over everything around him. A chair that he sat on became revolting by association. Any book she saw him reading was a book that Georgia Lee never wanted to read again. Eventually, if he stood close enough for long enough, one would even begin to feel disgusted at oneself. It was an awful feeling, like being covered in grease, that no amount of scrubbing would get rid of. Georgia Lee shuddered internally at the thought.

Bradley was someone so utterly absent in positive or worthwhile qualities that the only way he could make himself noticed at all was by being as violently obnoxious as possible. This was Bradley's one, single talent, but at this at least he excelled.

Georgia Lee could recall, vividly, her first encounter with Bradley Floyd. It'd been right at the start of her Freshman year, and she'd been fourteen, and nervous, and awkward. Thinking back on Bradley, enormous and red-faced, shouting down the Cochise corridors at her, she was proud of her younger self that she'd managed not to cry. With all the delicacy of an ape performing spinal surgery wearing boxing gloves, Bradley had oh-so-considerately informed her, in front of half the school, that her ass looked great in her jeans, but that it'd look even better on his face.

That had been the first of many, many unwanted sexual comments. Initially Georgia Lee had made the mistake of responding to them. When Bradley had asked whether she liked dragons, she'd actually answered, only to have him tell her that this was good, since he was going to be "dragon [his] balls across her face." Pretty quickly, like everyone at Cochise with a pair of X chromosomes, Georgia Lee had learned simply to ignore him. You couldn't hurt Bradley by insulting him: he took actual pride in how terrible he was. No, all you could do to Bradley was deny him the only thing he craved, which was attention.

That would be hard to do here, though.

She'd learned, too, not to take it personally. He may well not even have known who she was, just that she had breasts and ears, and that made her a good target for his boorishness. Bradley wasn't a bully, not really. He didn't pick on targets, he just vented his odiousness onto anyone within hearing distance. There was nothing personal about it. He was an equal opportunity monster.

Georgia Lee looked at him as she would look at a cockroach that had just crawled out of her cereal, or something that stank that she'd found on the bottom of her shoe. She made no attempt to hide her disdain. Why bother? Bradley knew everyone hated him.

She transferred her bag onto the other side of her body and shifted to the edge of the booth, leaving absolutely no room for him to sit next to her. She did this while looking him in the eye, to make absolutely sure that the point behind the gesture wasn't lost on him. Just like every healthy food option that was ever presented to Bradley in his life, though, the hint was not taken, and he remained, looming over there table. When it became clear that he wasn't going anywhere soon, Georgia Lee sighed, audibly, and raised an eyebrow.

"What do you want, Bradley?"
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Espi
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Joined: November 20th, 2012, 9:32 pm

July 10th, 2016, 4:16 pm #7

Thankfully, Georgia Lee was quick to pick up from Alice's struggling attempt at conversing. She already knew Georgia Lee's name, or at least the first half of it. But it was helpful to Alice to get that kind of thing done in a way which enabled further conversation.

"No, it's okay. I'm Alice Baker. We're both Juniors, right?" Alice smiled. Georgia Lee seemed more comfortable, which in turn made Alice feel less uncomfortable. She was starting to relax, getting more energized about talking, even excited to chat, if only a little.

Alice's heart sank into her stomach when she saw Bradley Floyd, and withered further when she realized that he'd spotted them and begun approaching. . Alice didn't like to throw out insults, but there was little to be said for Bradley; he took delight in offending others, which was deplorable in and of himself. He was like some sort of toxin-spewing sea slug, immune to his own bile.

Colorful similes aside, Bradley was not a person Alice hoped to encounter ever, let alone in public.

As he spoke, Alice heard his comment and knew not to take his bait. She'd seen plenty of people get a compliment from him only for him to turn it around. So she looked around for a menu to grab and, finding none, began digging in her small purse as though she were looking for her cell phone.

Perhaps if the two ignored him entirely, he'd probably go away, like an itchy welt from a mosquito bite.
V5: Cut Short
Theodore Fletcher
Nina Clarke
Gwen O'Connor

V6: Broken Down
Alice Baker (->Aura)
Henry Spencer
Blair Moore

V7: Unprepared
Rhonda Lawson[/b
Toby Underwood
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Joined: June 23rd, 2010, 1:18 am

July 11th, 2016, 10:49 pm #8

"Why, ladies, I want nothing!"

He pulled up a chair, so he could join the two.

Cochise students had to stick together, that much should be beyond debate. Regardless of what personal squabbles they had, or petty disagreements, or trivial personality clashes, out in public, there should be an obligation to stand by your classmates, to grin and bear it, to put up with even those at the school who had unique and trailblazing personalities. Loyalty and commonality should not be undermined by mere petty personality clashes. If that made him an unrealistic idealist, then he was proud to be such!

Bradley didn't actually believe that. But it made a good excuse, were he to be confronted by them! The ties that bind, what unites is greater, blah blah blah, all that feel-good hippie Obama shit.

"I just wanted to know you two felt about the prom! Any good anecdotes? Anyone get fingered behind the school, or caught imbibing precious liquor in the toilets, or anything fun like that?" He asked with a sincere smile, no shame diluting his exuberance, no appreciation for any issues others might have with his loudly-proclaimed illicit choices in conversation topic.

He spread his legs out, brushing against theirs beneath the table, and slumped down in the chair. His shirt rode up as a result of his lethargic seating position, revealing his belly flab to the two ladies. He placed his hands contentedly on his stomach, and burped. He had to force the burp out, but it was worth it.
V7 peeps:
Nick Ogilvie
Ashlynn Martinek
Bill Winlock
Camille Bellegarde

V6 peeps:
Kiziah Saraki
Bradley Floyd
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frogue
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Joined: January 10th, 2015, 3:44 am

July 12th, 2016, 12:40 am #9

There was nothing in particular about Bradley's touch that should have made it as awful as it was. His suit knee against Georgia Lee's bare one was not cold or wet or slimy, but the simply fact that it was Bradley's made it absolutely repugnant to her, and Georgia Lee moved her leg away so quickly that she banged her shin on the table leg, audibly, in the process. She tried not to wince.

If Bradley was actually teaching a class in boorishness, he surely couldn't behave any more repulsively. Even by sharing a table with him she felt vulgar, and she had no doubt that the people around them saw her that way too. Who acted this way? There were students in the school, especially younger ones, poorer ones, who were rude, to be sure, but they simply didn't know how to behave properly. Bradley was actively trying to behave improperly. He wanted to shock. He wanted to offend.

It was only the knowledge that it would've been exactly what Bradley wanted that kept her from telling hims just how appalling she thought he was. Instead, Georgia Lee gave a simple "No." in response, and turned back to Alice.

Alice Baker. She couldn't say the name was familiar. The girl clearly didn't do much. Still, next to Bradley she could not have looked more appealing, as far as conversation partners went.

"I'm a junior, sure." It was a weak attempt at a conversation, but she'd had little to work with. Still, Georgia Lee could have talked about anything, about politics, about the weather, about favourite of brands of paint to watch dry, had the alternative been paying attention to Bradley.

"Are you... enjoying it so far?" she kept her eyes on Alice's face, but she couldn't keep Bradley out of her peripherals. The effect of him leering at them was awful, like being stuck in a zoo that was visited exclusively by revolting, flat-faced clowns. Georgia Lee stared fixedly away from him. All he wanted was attention. He fed on it. He needed it like normal people needed food, or air, or a sense of worth and achievement and love. All Bradley needed were eyes on him, and voices answering his.

Georgia Lee's book had described birds, pecking at the shell of spurred tortoises. The young ones would get frightened and struggle, and encouraged, the vultures and the birds of prey would peck on for hours. The older tortoises were wiser, and knew to stay in their shells, and do nothing. Very soon, the birds would know that they'd get nothing there, and fly off towards easier food.

Bradley was a vulture, but he fed off of deadened spirits, not dead animals. All she needed to do was let him know that he'd get none of that here, that he'd simply be ignored, and he'd fly on off to bother someone else.

It was as simple as that.
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Espi
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Joined: November 20th, 2012, 9:32 pm

July 21st, 2016, 7:34 pm #10

Alice had encountered Bradley before, but only in passing. She found his appearance to be unusually unsuited to the horrible things she'd heard he'd done. He was, really, rather ordinary-looking, save for his completely noxious style of dress. But he was, essentially, everything unpleasant she could find in a person, especially so really, since he acted that way, apparently, on purpose.

Alice tried to conceal her distress at his incredible slobbishness. She'd been having a perfectly nice conversation without him, and now she couldn't continue it. What's more, because of Bradley's position, it would be physically challenging to slip past him without awkward contact.

Georgia Lee seemed to intend to continue the talk. Perhaps she thought Bradley would grow bored of being ignored and leave. It was possible, so worth a try.

"I'm doing okay. The year's been hard, but I think it'll go well next year." Alice stumbled over her words, insecure in her statements. She kept glancing at Bradley, at his smarmy expression. She felt like he was looking at her, oppressing her, ready to make a crude joke about her appearance or sexual behavior. That last bit worried her; she wasn't sure what be worse, being accused of celibacy (true, but relatively mild) or of deviancy or promiscuity (false, but mortifying).

Really, Alice wished he'd just leave them alone. She gazed down at her lap, trying to find more to say to keep him from interrupting.
V5: Cut Short
Theodore Fletcher
Nina Clarke
Gwen O'Connor

V6: Broken Down
Alice Baker (->Aura)
Henry Spencer
Blair Moore

V7: Unprepared
Rhonda Lawson[/b
Toby Underwood
Paloma Salt
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