69: Lazy Sunday

on September 20, 2007 in 03: Virginal

In Which You’d Really Suspect I’d Make Some Kind Of Cheap Innuendo With The Chapter Title, But I Don’t

Amaranth was unable to find the sought-after article, but had pulled excerpts from a few other publications that she evidently thought would make interesting reading material for her celestial matron. It was a weird thing to even think about, but I couldn’t come up with a more sincere offering for Amaranth to make.

I stuck with the golem lore as long as I could, but eventually my concentration waned and I drifted over to the crystal balls, and Amaranth followed. It was much the same as it had been before. She came and went, flipping through a random series of events and telling me odd facts and opinions on odd facts. She seemed to be interested in insects at the moment. Here was a moth that lived on tears, and here was a butterfly that fed on decaying flesh, and one that fed on blood… that one gave me a start, but she didn’t notice.

Two didn’t look up from the demon book once between when I gave it back to her and when Amaranth announced we should head back if we wanted to get lunch. I took the more useful of the two golem reference books, as well as the book on ethics. Amaranth volunteered to carry the posters. I watched, waiting for her to stick them where ever it was that she put stuff, but it looked like she was really just going to carry them. Of course, the very next time that I glanced at her after having given up, they were gone.

Two had to use both arms to carry her weighty tome, so we weren’t holding hands, but she walked as close to me as she could, to the point where our arms kept running into and rubbing against each other. I found this closeness strangely comforting. Putting our relationship into words had changed something, it seemed. I will admit that for most of the time I’d known her, Two had just kind of been there. Now, she was there. No “just kind of” about it.

As we walked, I told Amaranth the full story of how I’d calmly confronted the two CSC members about the lack of posters in Harlowe Hall. The sheer amount of pleasure I felt at her pride surprised the heck out of me, on top of rendering me pink in the face and incoherent for about a minute and a half. I felt as good to have pleased her with my restrained approach as I’d felt lousy about hurting her when I lost my temper at the Mechans.

It felt good to please her, and bad to disappoint her… well, that seemed obvious enough. In fact, it sounded downright… normal. Wasn’t that how love was supposed to be, anyway? Was submissiveness really just like a stripped down, purified extract of love?

It was kind of reassuring to find that no matter how comfortable I grew with my role, my emotions still confused the shit out of me.

The three of us put up the posters when we got back to the dorm, after dumping our library books and things. We started from the bottom floor. Gwendolyn was on duty at the desk when we put up the poster in the basement lounge. She asked us where we got the posters from. I think she was really wondering if we’d taken them down off the walls somewhere else.

“Mack volunteered to help with the posters for Harlowe,” Amaranth said, smiling her best and brightest smile.

“Do you have authorization?” she asked.

I blanched. I hadn’t really realized that we needed authorization to put up posters… but of course, the CSC had seen to that.

“Signed and stamped,” Amaranth said, pointing to the lower corner of one of the posters.

“Oh,” the senior R.A. replied sourly. “But you probably shouldn’t even bother. I’d bet most of the students here don’t even know what bingo is.”

That struck me as chauvinistic, if not downright ignorant. Even if the average human knew nothing about the culture of, say… kobolds, few races could stay equally in the dark about the human culture that surrounded them.

I bit back my need to retort. Fortunately, Amaranth had the perfect response.

“Isn’t university life a marvelous opportunity for broadening one’s horizons?” she said.

“Do you really think it’s right to make that golem carry the posters for you?” Gwendolyn asked. She was really reaching for an objection now, as we had actually divided them among ourselves.

“I like to help Mack,” Two said without prompting, and that was the end of it.

We put one in the ground floor hallway. Then, realizing we were just short of having enough to put one in every lounge on both sides, we put the rest in the stairwells, strategically placing them on the landings at eye level for tall, medium, and short races.

I was kind of relieved that we stuck to the stairs, actually. I’d pretty much used up my bravery quota for the day… the boys’ stairwell was as far into unfamiliar territory as I wanted to go.

While we were doing the stairwells, a couple of passing students from the lower floors remarked that they couldn’t remember the last time they’d seen posters up for any activities other than the ones within Harlowe. I was glad for Amaranth’s company… she was beyond sociable, and a natural chatterbox, telling people things like “well, the three of us are going, and I think it’ll be a blast, but of course, everything’s more fun with friends, and the more friendly faces we see there, the more fun it’ll be, don’t you think?” while Two and I held each others’ hands and tried to stay out of her way.

We spent the afternoon just hanging out, in Amaranth’s room and in the fifth floor lounge. Amaranth kind of came and went, but Two stuck to me like a shadow. She was… not exactly chatty, but noticeably more forthcoming with her reactions. She watched me laugh at a stupid carriage insurance commercial, and then a little while later she started laughing herself. Not at all the same things I was, and not only when I was laughing, either… it was like she decided the fact that I laughed at the TV made it okay for her to, too.

I’d actually spent a good portion of my time in logic class trying to frame a command that would let her interpret the examples of others around her as orders for behavior, but had concluded I’d either have to leave too much up to her own individual judgment for her to be comfortable, or make her even more of a slave to chance than she already was. Considering some of the “role models” in the dorm around us, I had decided it wasn’t worth the risk.

What exactly had passed through Two’s mind when I said she was like my sister, to bring such a dramatic change about? I wanted to ask, but was afraid that if I drew too much attention to her progress, she’d back away from it. Maybe not… maybe she’d actually overcome that hurdle… but it would be better to proceed with caution than end up setting her back.

Celia had eaten lunch with Oru and Shiel, the goblin and kobold from our floor, but at dinner she came in alone and sat with us. Given her general lack of interest in “mammalian” habits, I wasn’t too terribly surprised that we did have to explain the game of bingo to her… and was even less surprised when she failed to discern any point to the activity. That much we could agree on.

“Still, if they weren’t going to invite us, I’m going for sure,” she said. “At least to the first one. You know, to make a point.”

“Yeah,” I said. I didn’t want to commit either to going or not going for the rest of the semester. Maybe I’d enjoy it. Maybe the company of Amaranth and Two would make it fun, or at least bearable. “It’s not so much the bingo I care about, anyway. It’s just… what other stuff might we miss, if nobody’s telling Harlowe about it?”

“Totally. So, anyway… now that you guys are all lovey-dovey, or owner-wowner, or whatever, you gonna move into together, or what?” Celia asked.

“What do you mean?” I asked. I hadn’t given any thought to our living arrangements. Amaranth never actually slept in her room, and besides, the floor was full up… any shuffling would require consent of the other roommates.

Given who my roommate was, that could be a problem… and could I really move out in good conscience, knowing that somebody else would have to move in with Puddy?

“I mean, since Puddy’s moving in with Mariel,” Celia said.

“What?” I asked.

“Yeah, she was in Kiersta’s room talking about it this morning,” Celia said. I recalled that Celia’s room was right next to the R.A.’s. “There’s an official freeze until the end of the week on changing roomies, but she’s been sleeping in there every night anyway, and she told Kiersta she didn’t see why she should wait to move her stuff. Kiersta didn’t say anything, of course. She just lets people do whatever the hell they want.”

“You know, I haven’t really been back in my room today,” I said. “I guess she could have moved her stuff out without me noticing.”

“But what about Barley?” Amaranth asked. “Where’s she going to room?”

Celia shrugged.

“Mariel said all her shit’s gone,” she said. “If you ask me, I don’t think she’s coming back.”

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4 Responses to “69: Lazy Sunday”

  1. JN says:

    it was like she decided the fact that I laughed at the TV made it okay for her to, too.

    You know, if you wanted to use the proper name instead of the pronoun, you could have said:

    apparently the fact that I laughed at the TV made it okay for Two to, too.

    JN

    Current score: 7
  2. MackSffrs says:

    Mack needs to… stop correcting Two, seeing as she is SO wrong about whatever she is correcting Two about.

    Current score: 2
  3. The Chosen One says:

    “In Which You’d Really Suspect I’d Make Some Kind Of Cheap Innuendo With The Chapter Title, But I Don’t”
    …if you know what I mean!

    Current score: 0