473: The Walk Out

on December 20, 2010 in Uncategorized Chapters

In Which No Touching Occurs

“Are you serious?” I said.

“Dead fucking serious,” she said.

I had to admit… if only to myself… that there was something attractive about the idea of being in a different dorm from Puddy, especially as it would also mean that I wasn’t in the same dorm as Trina or Mariel or the Leightons or anyone else who managed to get on my nerves or make trouble for me on a more regular basis than Puddy bothered to.

But there were people in Harlowe that I wanted to be close to, and I wouldn’t give them up in order to put some distance between my problems and me… and I especially wouldn’t do it on Puddy’s say-so.

“Sorry,” I said, shaking my head. “That isn’t going to happen.”

“Why the hell not?” Puddy asked, with a surprising amount of vehemence. I could understand her enthusiasm for the idea, but why should she be surprised that I wasn’t going for it?

“Um… because I’m not about to upend my whole life to please someone else,” I said. I spit that out a lot more baldly than I might have otherwise, just because the question had surprised me. It seemed so obvious… there was nothing reasonable about what Puddy was suggesting. “I’m not saying that to be spiteful,” I added, in order to sound a little less testy. “It’s honestly got nothing to do with the fact that it’s you, or how I feel about you. I might change dorms to be with someone but I wouldn’t do it just to please anyone.”

“Bullshit,” Puddy said. She was getting louder and louder. I started to wonder if it wouldn’t be better to have this conversation behind a closed door after all… not that this would stop anyone from noticing that she was shouting. It just seemed like we were violating the decorum of a screaming match, or something. “Pleasing people is all you ever do. You tiptoe around everyone and bend over backwards for them all the time.”

That was a pretty accurate picture of how I’d interacted with Puddy at the start of the year, but things had changed… and to some extent, I had, too.

“You don’t know what I do or don’t do,” I said. “You don’t know what my life is like or what I’m doing when you’re not around.”

“I know you,” she said. “And so I know what you’d do. You did it for me when I was your friend, and since you’ve made it really clear that you don’t actually give a shit about me, you must be doing it for other people, too.”

“Other people don’t push me into bending over backwards as often as you did,” I said. “And anyway, Puddy, you don’t know me that well.”

I was thinking that I’d grown a bit since then, but I figured that the biggest part was that she’d met me right after I arrived at school… at a moment when I was feeling very small and naked and off-balance. I felt like if I had encountered someone like Puddy a couple of weeks into the school year, I could have handled her a bit better. She wouldn’t have been able to take such complete advantage of me if we’d met after I had my bearings and had a bit of a routine and had miraculously failed to have been expelled and or arrested for straying across a line that I couldn’t see but that everyone else knew was there or something.

I kind of wanted to say all of that to her… well, maybe not all of it, but the fact was I still hadn’t changed that much. I was giving myself major points for being able to get out a sentence or two at a time while standing relatively firm with her.”

“Oh, what, ‘still waters run deep’?” Puddy asked. “You’re transparent, Mack. You’re like glass.”

“I thought that was you, while I keep myself all hidden,” I said.

“I didn’t say you were good at keeping secrets,” Puddy said. “If I hadn’t been able to see right through you, I wouldn’t have been able to get you to confide in me so easily when you didn’t want to.”

“Puddy, you seem like you’re comfortable everywhere you go. I really don’t know if that’s an act or not… I’m really not saying it is, I don’t know… but you acted like you belonged here from the minute you arrived. I didn’t know what I was doing. I was afraid of messing something up and looking like an idiot, or getting in trouble, or… whatever. That was the moment in my life when you were able to take control.”

“You’re always like that,” she said.

“No,” I said. “I’m like that way more often than I should be, more often than is healthy… maybe even more often than not, I don’t know. I haven’t exactly done a time use study on the subject. But not always. And less often when I don’t have people in my life who take advantage of those moments, who try to keep me backed into a corner or beaten down to the point where they can assert control.” It was possible that not every one of those words actually made it out of my mouth, but I was trying to say what I was thinking instead of just swallowing it. Puddy wasn’t quite the open book she claimed to be, but she really did have less of a filter between her brain and her mouth than I did, I was sure. I could stand to be less in my head during these conversations. “Anyway, this is a huge digression from the point, which is that I’m not going to leave Harlowe to make you or anyone else happy. If you really knew me as well as you think you do, you’d know that I mostly back down because it seems like the easiest thing to do at the time… packing up and moving dorms would be way too much effort to be the path of least resistance.”

“I’m not only thinking about myself,” Puddy said. “Wouldn’t you be happier? I mean, why’d you even come here in the first place? You’re all ashamed about not being a human… you shouldn’t have even come here if you wanted to play make-believe about your race.”

“I’m not like proud of my specific flavor of non-human blood, but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with not being fully human,” I said. “And I came here because I thought it would be safer for me, and I thought I could stay in Harlowe and still keep a low-profile about my non-human status.”

“Yeah? How’s that working out for you? From where I’m standing, I think you’re zero for two there.”

“It wasn’t the best thought-out plan,” I said. “But it’s not like I had the experience to know better, or that moving out now would change how things have already worked out for me. And for that matter… things have worked out kind of okay for me, anyway. No, my plan didn’t work, and yeah, I haven’t always had the best time, but it hasn’t all been terrible… if I could go back and do things differently, there are some things I would change but I don’t think living in Harlowe would be one of them.”

“You’d just pick someone else to live with from the start,” Puddy said.

“Believe it or not, that wasn’t even on my mind when I said that,” I said. “I’m trying not to bruise your ego, Puddy, but my life doesn’t actually revolve around you. But since you’ve brought it up… do you really think your freshman year’s any better because you were assigned me as a roommate?”

“I don’t know, things were going okay until you went all… I don’t even know, stuck-up and ungrateful and stuff on me,” Puddy said.

“So you were happy to have me as a roommate until I went and ruined it?”

“Yeah,” she said. “Exactly.”

“Puddy… do you realize what that sounds like?” I said.

“Like we could have had a good enough time if you hadn’t been such a bitch.”

“You’re the one who told me I was a bitch,” I said.

“Oh, don’t be a smart ass… words have more than one meaning,” Puddy said. “You know what I mean.”

“Well, it sounds like you’re saying you would have been happy to have me as a roommate if I’d never developed a personality,” I said.

“See? You twist my words so much. Seriously, why did you even come here?” she asked. I swallowed my guilt and hoped her powerful insight into my transparent personality didn’t tip her off that I wasn’t telling something. Telling her that it had been Mariel’s idea probably wouldn’t end well for anyone. “You say you want to figure out how to avoid pissing each other off, but when I give you a perfect solution you reject it out of hand…”

“Puddy, you telling me what to do and me messing up what little life I have to do it is not some kind of amazing compromise,” I said. “I wanted to see if we could come to some kind of resolution where we can, you know, co-exist in the same place.”

“And I’m telling you we don’t have to,” she said. “You could leave.”

“So could you.”

“You’ve got to be shitting me… I’m not leaving. I had to fight my family to get in to Harlowe,” Puddy said. “I’m invested. You leave.”

“Why does anybody have to leave?” I said. “I just thought I could tell you that I don’t have it in for you or anything and we could just both agree that we’re not going to have anything to do with each other and then I’d wish you well and leave. You’d know that whatever random thing you notice me doing isn’t me attempting to show you up and I’d know that you’re not trying to spy on me and we’d both just get on with our lives.”

“You’re making it sound like I’m all paranoid or something and you’re completely innocent in all of that.”

That actually filled me with an overwhelming urge to laugh, which turned into a sort of sputter as I tried desperately to stop it. I’d spent half my life feeling like I was far from innocent, like I was incapable of innocence… if she’d been invoking friendship a little more often instead of just shouting and trying to get me to do what she wanted, I probably would have felt guilty right then and there.

I wasn’t, but I also wasn’t thinking of myself as “innocent”. My brain just didn’t work that way.

“Puddy… you sent Mariel to spy on me,” I said, recovering myself. “And guess what? I wasn’t talking about you. I wasn’t even thinking about you. I don’t think you’re paranoid. I think you’re self-centered, and before you get all mad about that, stop and think about how in like thirty seconds from now you’re going to say that of course you’re always looking out for yourself because that’s what everybody does.”

“Oh, so now you know me so well,” Puddy said.

“I know what I see when I look at you, and according to you that’s what I get,” I said. “The point is that you can’t be proud of how self-centered you are one minute and then get mad when somebody calls you on it.”

“You’re going to tell me what I can and can’t do now?” Puddy said. “Oh, that’s really fucking rich. You’ve got a lot of nerve coming in here to lecture me…”

“I’m not here to lecture you,” I said. “I’m not here to tell you how to live your life. Seriously, the only thing I want from you is… well… nothing. Can we please just agree that you’ll do your thing and I’ll do mine and we won’t care about each other? Is that really asking so much?”

“You’re acting like I’m…”

“I’m not acting like anything,” I said. “Puddy… you sent someone to spy on me. Obviously you had some reason to think that I was… I don’t even know… doing something that had anything to do with you, so I’m here telling you that I didn’t, I wasn’t, whatever… and I don’t see any reason for that to change.”

“So, what,” Puddy said. “Are you saying you’re just… done with me?”

I stared at her. She sounded so incredulous… not angry any more, just like she was in utter disbelief at what her ears were hearing, what her mouth was saying.

I kind of knew how she felt… hearing her put it so simply and so starkly was a bit of a revelation to me. Done with her? I supposed I was… I’d been clinging to my curiosity about her ancestry and her own past, what had happened to make Puddy the way she was, but I couldn’t really have it both ways.

“That’s not what I would have said, but basically? Um, yeah, I suppose I am,” I said. “I’m done with you. You don’t have to worry about what I’m saying when you’re not around or what I’m up to, because it’s got nothing to do with you. I can’t stop you from doing what you want… and I don’t care to try… but if the only reason you sicced Mariel on me was in case I was talking about you, well… you know that’s not true. So…”

“So you’re done with me,” she repeated. “What if I’m not done with you?”

“You wanted me to move out of the dorm you live in,” I said.

“And you wouldn’t,” she said. “So…”

“So what?” I said. “Puddy, I’m not defying you or however you’re choosing to take this. I’m just living in the dorm I’ve chosen to live in, a fact that has never had anything to do with you, and still has nothing to do with you. All that would happen if I moved is you would think you can still push me around and then you’d be even less done with me, but you know what? I don’t care. I’ve already said what I came up here to say like three times already, and I don’t want to spend the rest of my life telling you that I’m done talking to you.”

I turned to leave before getting trapped in another round of circling around the same conversational drain, but some instinct, or reflex, or… more likely, some basic knowledge of Puddy stopped me. I turned back and saw her hand reaching out for my arm. She had stopped when she saw me stop, perhaps because it seemed like I wasn’t leaving after all.

The thought of Puddy’s hand clamping around me made my blood run cold and my stomach turn over on itself. Even while every bone in my body was threatening to turn into jelly, I knew that I had to stand firm. This was why I was done with her, why I had to be done with her. For my own safety, physically and emotionally.

“Puddy,” I said, with as much calm as I could find within myself. “If… you… touch me… I am going to start screaming, and I’m not going to stop until somebody expels or arrests you just to shut me up.”

“What the…”

“I’m not accusing you of anything,” I said, in a voice that was clear if somewhat quavering. I made myself keep my gaze steady on her face even as the stress of confrontation was making my hands shake like crazy. “And I’m not threatening you. I’m telling you. Don’t touch me. This isn’t about who’s in charge or who’s the boss or who’s the bigger dog. I’m not touching you, either. I’m leaving, Puddy, and I am done with you. How much time you want to waste worrying about me is up to you.”

“Fine! Whatever! I wasn’t going to… you don’t have to shout!” Puddy said. “Leave, if you’re leaving. I’ve got better things to do!”

I wasn’t sure what to say to that, and I wasn’t sure that I could have said anything more, and then I realized that I didn’t need to say anything… that was the point of being done.

I walked out, and got on with my life.


Soon: Well, obviously Puddy is never mentioned again.

Discuss this story on the Livejournal community.


Tales of MU is now on Patreon! Help keep the story going!

Or if you particularly enjoyed this chapter, leave a tip!


Characters: ,





81 Responses to “473: The Walk Out”

  1. Lizzie says:

    For most of the conversation I kept thinking “ugh, this conversation just isn’t going anywhere”, but that bit at the end… wow, that was a pretty big deal, I feel, for Mack’s character. I’m glad she got to do that.

    Current score: 5
    • Durragh says:

      I can see where you would think that, but i’ve had similar arguments with people like Puddy, and this read exactly the way those went. Mack did what she could from being cold and harsh, and still be firm, and in the end stood her ground and walked away.

      AE- HUGE step up in character developement for Mack and an excellent chapter! i have GOT to get to Frederick one of these days when you make appearences 🙂

      Current score: 7
      • Adam Barnes says:

        Oops, oh my, look at that, i accidentally teleported Puddy to the labyrinth…. oh well

        Current score: 0
        • MentalBlank says:

          No, don’t send Puddy to the labyrinth! It’s dangerous enough for the delving students as it is!

          Besides, Puddy’d probably rule the place in a month…

          Current score: 1
  2. xenophile says:

    amazing! AMAZING! thank you.

    Current score: 1
  3. Burnsidhe says:

    Wow, yeah. Definitely.

    Current score: 0
  4. zeel says:

    Congratulations Mackenzie, your growing up.

    Current score: 2
  5. Burnsidhe says:

    I know that feeling fairly well. I hate having to confront people myself, but there’s that point where you just have to take that stand.
    Mack handled it pretty well.

    Current score: 0
  6. Vanessa says:

    Yeah, I agree, Puddy was not getting the message at all. I think if it wasn’t the threat of screaming until they took Puddy away she still would have tried to push the subject.
    Some people, they just can’t let go that they’re not the center of everything.
    Good going Mack!

    Current score: 0
  7. beappleby says:

    And everyone cheered.

    I really liked this bit: “All that would happen if I moved is you would think you can still push me around and then you’d be even less done with me.” That sums up the way Puddy’s been acting pretty well.

    Also, thank you for putting the comments back on the left instead of centered!

    Current score: 3
  8. SirBatty says:

    Thank the Powers,Mack,is finally growing a back-bone!
    One Down and a certain Fox to go.

    Current score: 0
    • zeel says:

      Naw I like Sooni. I hope she matures to the point that Mackenzie can have the kind of relation ship she really wants with her. . .

      Current score: 0
      • moxicity says:

        What with her upbringing and her psychologically being pretty much a child, that probably won’t happen. Sooni needs much more than some college experience to actually be a real, sane adult.

        Mack having a relatioship with her would be so wrong, psychological pedophilia basically.

        Current score: 0
        • Durragh says:

          it could happen though, in the course of 4 years of school, being at least semi on her own. it would happen a lot faster if her .. attendents? weren’t around. Maybe her father could cut her off or something? although, lol, we’re on chapter 473 and not done the first semester. even if we Time Warp past the summers, (its just a hop to the left) by the time we get to the end of year 4 we’d be at chapter…3784-ish?

          and great, now i have to try to work with the “time warp” stuck in my head!

          Current score: 0
          • Elle says:

            I thought her father had cut her off? Hence the clothing line idea. I don’t recall if/why the nekos were still around though.

            Current score: 0
            • bramble says:

              I think it’s a matter of different degrees of cutting her off – “I’m not giving you wads of extra money to throw away” versus “I’m taking away the amenities due someone of your station,” which the nekos seem to be included in. I suspect that Sooni’s father would pull all four girls out of school altogether – probably by cutting off their tuition – a long time before he actually took the nekos away from Sooni.

              And I really, really hope that doesn’t happen, because even if college isn’t doing Sooni or Maliko much good maturity-wise, it does seem to be helping Suzi to some degree, and Kai may be a snippy little thing but she doesn’t deserve to have her chance at a new life yanked unceremoniously out from under her.

              Current score: 2
            • SirBatty says:

              They are still with her because they are BOUND-SERVENTS”… born into servatude … many – many chapters back. Would love to see them gain more freedom from SOONI.

              Current score: 0
        • Sapphite says:

          I have no clue, but Zeel may have meant “kind of relationship she wants with her – friendly cartoon watching.”

          Mack has seen good qualities in Sooni that aren’t based on attraction.

          Current score: 1
      • pseudopoiuytfgh says:

        puddy was better than soonie… soonies psychotic,
        puddy is just tries too hard and is way way too overbearing as some kind of control everything before it does her.
        between the 2 soonie is way less likely to get out of her problems and be more normal… puddy has a chance for character growth if she gets over that either the big dog or little bitch mentality, she could see it not working and try to change.
        but somebody entirely disconnected from reality like crazy fox girl, where could she possibly start?

        Puddy isn’t happy with her life, and probably wants or will want to change, stopped drinking, seems to really need people to like or at least know about her etc.
        Soonie is probably happy being in cloud coocoo land, she has friends, has a connection to her mother, things make sense when viewed through tv and comics, they feel safer, and probably wouldn’t change it if she could.

        Current score: 0
  9. tavi says:

    I don’t think that’s the last we’ve seen as puddy

    Current score: 0
  10. Zathras IX says:

    Turning one’s back on
    Someone like Puddy is not
    A good idea

    Current score: 1
    • jc says:

      Turning away and
      calmly walking out can be
      the most elegant.

      Current score: 1
      • Kevin says:

        I think what was meant is that Puddy seems the kind of person that would grab the opportunity for a sucker punch.

        Current score: 0
      • Rey d`Tutto says:

        If silence is not
        Respected as much as one
        Desires, scream Rape aloud

        Current score: 0
  11. Toronte says:

    I came. I saw. Then I came again.

    Current score: 1
  12. Sylvan says:

    I love the “Soon: Well, obviously Puddy is never mentioned again.”

    Its great to be hearing more ToMU, AE. I really want to go back at some point and re-read the archives, but work constraints are preventing that right now. Maybe it will be my holiday present to myself?

    Keep them fires burning girl. Here’s hoping this adds a little fuel.

    Current score: 0
  13. uberreicher says:

    Puddy isn’t all that powerful, you saw how she backed down. She’s a coward who can only control those who she can intimidate. Mackenzie is fortunate now to have friends and lovers who support her, and to have found her inner strength. I hope Mariel can find the same strength.

    Current score: 0
    • Gorgonopsid says:

      I hope Puddy ends up as a mermaid snack. Kill two birds with one stone, as it were.

      Current score: 1
  14. arsenic says:

    Wow, I can REALLY relate to Mack in this chapter. It truly does have to be a conscious decision to start saying what you’re thinking as you’re thinking it. I’ve been pushed around verbally for as long as I can remember, and I’ve only just recently started to make the brain-mouth connection in confrontational moments. (I’m in my 20’s.) Before, I thought I had to completely think out what I was going to say, then decide to say it, then REMEMBER what I thought, and somehow find a way to interject it before the verbal pusher had moved on to another point. For some people, talking while we think is harder than it seems, and it was completely realistic for it to take Mack this long!

    Current score: 3
    • zeel says:

      I have to opposite problem, I say before I think.

      Current score: 0
    • Helen Rees says:

      I’m in my late forties, and still need a time-out (which I have no way of asking for) to formulate a reply to anything but ‘good morning’.

      .hugs the internet.

      h.

      Current score: 1
      • Tier says:

        Ditto.

        P.S.

        Love the story AE!
        And for some reason Durragh’s post about the possibility of 3784 chapters makes me happy, I’m sure it isn’t just the Rocky Horror Picture Show reference.

        Current score: 0
  15. Oniwasabi says:

    Soon: Well, obviously Puddy is never mentioned again.

    Somehow I think the author MIGHT be fibbing with this one
    ^_^

    Current score: 1
    • zeel says:

      She may never talk about her by name however. she could say “girl who can not be mentioned” “my original room mate” to talk about her.

      Current score: 0
    • Mime says:

      Yeah I’m with you on this one.

      Current score: 0
  16. Marx says:

    @uberreicher:
    And I hope someone helps Puddy. She is, after all, just another human(oid) being with emotions, And nobody deserves to be just abandoned, given up and left totally alone simply because they behave in a morally bad way. Puddy needs help, not abandonment.

    Current score: 0
    • Burnsidhe says:

      True, but Mack’s not the right person to help Puddy.

      Current score: 0
      • true, but she may have inadvertently helped her realize that she needs some help. At least we can hope (though no holding of breath involved).

        Current score: 0
    • Kain says:

      Hold your loved one in your arms, as they relive the agonies of bleeding to death. And then say that the person who knowingly and maliciously tortured them for no god damn reason should be “helped.”

      And that’s just small fry. Certain psychopaths are due no mercy, friendship, nor aid.

      Current score: 0
      • bramble says:

        Hey, hey, no one’s saying that Puddy’s life from here on out will or should be all hugs and cupcakes. We just hope that she can work through some of her shit and come out a better person for it. She’s got deep-seated issues, yes, but if she would own up to those issues and seek professional help, it would do her worlds of good. (And seriously, when has Puddy BLED SOMEONE TO DEATH? I might almost get what you’re talking about with some of the other characters – say, Steff, although that would still be pretty extreme hyperbole – but this is Miss I Must Be On Top Of The Heap we’re talking about, not Miss Stabbing People Is Fun). Her problematic behavior seems to mostly stem from deeply repressed feelings of, and fear of, inadequacy, which is absolutely something that a good shrink could help her with.

        It is not Mack’s duty, or any of Puddy’s victim’s duty, to help her, but that does not mean that the girl does not deserve to become a happier, healthier person.

        And really, which is better: Puddy is ostracized and made miserable forever as punishment for her behavior (resulting in messed-up, unhappy Puddy, and probably messed-up, unhappy anyone-who-associates-with-Puddy, because whether you think she deserves friends or not, Puddy does have a way of drawing people in before they realize how many kinds of messed up she is)? Or Puddy receives the help she needs to stop victimizing the people who (potentially could come to) care about her (resulting in a much lower rate of messed-up, unhappy ANYONE)?

        Current score: 1
  17. Ripster says:

    That was awesome. Good job on a powerful scene AE! Love it!

    Current score: 0
  18. Rina says:

    I once knew a girl like Puddy, way back when I was around 9. She was the bully, loved to mentally and physically push people around. One day, I had enough. She had taken my first ever cloth dolly, one that I had begged for, and threw it on the ground. I picked up the doll, and punched the bully in the face hard enough to knock her down. We became best friends after that.

    Unfortunately that probably won’t work with Puddy, considering she’s near her 20’s now. And no one seems capable of showing her that she is not Queen of the Hill. Maybe Jilly could, if the school hadn’t put strictures on her.

    Love the story! Yay Mack for standing up for yourself! *hugs*

    Current score: 0
    • Durragh says:

      conversation overheard in the market square:

      Jilly-“The great wise masters of the university seem to think i should restrain myself from tearing limbs off of pain in the ass students”
      Puddy-“See, there ain’t shit you can do to me”
      Jilly-“The thing about that is, see, we aren’t AT the university now are we?”

      Current score: 3
      • SirBatty says:

        Actually,I could see someone like TWO,suddenly ‘snapping’ and putting Puddy,in her place(flat on her short-broad-kiester”

        Current score: 2
        • Jechtael says:

          Dear Miss Ruth:

          How are you? I am well. I am not well. Please rescind your instruction to rip out the livers of ungrateful hussies who do certain things that I do not would like to repeat in this letter. It is becoming very inconvenient for myself and Puddy and the healing center.

          Sincerely,
          TWO

          Current score: 0
      • Klaus says:

        That left me laughing for ten minutes!!!
        Awsum!
        Cool Chapter.
        Wish Mack had Burned puddys grabbing hand is tead of threatening her

        Current score: 0
    • drudge says:

      There’s a lengthy list of people more dangerous than Puddy. Feejee, Iona, Mercy and Co., Mack Daddy, Viktor, and whoever took the pitchfork are immediate concerns, not to mention the probably at least a dozen other things we don’t know about yet.

      It’s a win/win/win situation. If she gets beaten within an inch of her life she has enough free healing to get back up without issue. If she dies she could probably be ressurected if circumstances are right. If she by some Miracle beats a major antagonist to death she will EARN the title of top dog.

      Current score: 0
  19. Oitur says:

    (conversation overheard at MU 20th class reunion)

    Puddy: I’m really sorry that I treated you so badly. It took me a long time to grow enough to realize how wrong I was back then. I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me.

    Mack: Um, well, yeah I guess so.

    (brief, awkward, hesitant hug)

    Puddy: Good bye then.
    Mack: Good bye.

    Current score: 1
    • Amy Amethyst says:

      More likely scene at the 20th class reunion:

      Puddy: You! You had to show up here didn’t you! You just had to try and spoil the reunion for me!

      Mack: Umm, excuse me, but who are you?

      Current score: 2
      • Mime says:

        Yeah I think Amy Amethyst is more likely right, But does college even do the whole reunion thing?

        Current score: 0
      • oitur says:

        Touche’. I was going for the optimistic redemption thing in the spirit of the Xmas season, but…

        Current score: 0
  20. Mikka says:

    Wonderful work as always! I’ve known a few people like Puddy, and yes, arguments with them will always go like that. Actually, that looked almost exactly like a talk I had with my ex… or maybe a dozen… or just the same one? On that note, I really do not think this is the last we have seen of her!

    Current score: 1
  21. hoppy says:

    Have you ever ended up talking to some one so intensely that they tell you to stop yelling at them although you are deliberately keeping your voice quiet. I have it’s an interesting experience.

    Current score: 3
    • Jechtael says:

      My mum has a bad habit of telling me “Stop yelling!” when I’m speaking even more quietly than either of us speak normally and she is yelling. I sometimes raise my voice, sometimes out of anger and sometimes because I think people can’t hear me, but it is very uncommon nowadays for me to yell or shout /at/ people (as opposed to /to/ people), and the VAST majority of the time it seems that she says it because she can’t accept that she hasn’t “won”.

      Current score: 1
  22. readaholic says:

    Yay! Go Mack! Oh, it was good to see her have this confrontation with Puddy. I do agree that Puddy needs help, and I do feel pity for her, but given the damage she has done, to Mack (attempted murder on her first night at Harlowe, for starters), and to Mariel, I don’t feel very much pity, and only when I contemplate the gaping maw of neediness and insecurity that lies at the center of Puddy’s soul.

    Current score: 3
  23. Gremlin says:

    Wow, big step for Mack. She really did well in standing her ground. And so It is that I say hurray. Awesome chapter.

    Current score: 0
  24. Helen Rees says:

    typo alert

    while standing relatively firm with her.”

    doesn’t need a close quote.

    Current score: 0
  25. Chips says:

    Looking at Puddy, it might actually be the best thing for her (and for society) were she to be subjected to an Ostracism.

    Sure, in the short run she would be desperate for attention, and do more and more things to try to get people to speak to her, but it’s ~possible~ that she would come to see that the world does go on without her, and that she could change to be a person more people want to be around.

    Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches could ~potentially~ be made without peanuts, bread or jelly too.

    I’m sad to say that both are equally likely.

    Current score: 0
    • drudge says:

      How do you make a sandwich without bread? Wouldn’t you make some kind of combo jelly or something?

      Current score: 0
  26. Tomo says:

    Is it weird, or did it feel almost at the end that puddy wasn’t reaching out to her in the end to do anything bad, but….maybe….to apologize or something?

    Of course, it’s probably way off, but the hurt way she acted afterwards…

    Current score: 0
    • Burnsidhe says:

      That reaction tells me that Puddy took it for granted that she could touch Mack any time she liked, and she was startled as hell to find out that Mack wasn’t going to allow it.

      Current score: 3
    • beappleby says:

      That’s how Puddy always acts when someone calls her out on her shit.

      Current score: 1
    • Durragh says:

      i think someone like Puddy really doesn’t get it on any level. it just never really sinks in that someone could not want to be around them. maybe Mack’s reaction was kind of a symbolic slap in the face/reality check that could actually reach Puddy. in her own way, she’s almost as out of touch with reality as Sooni, just in a different direction.

      Current score: 1
      • hoppy says:

        I always got the impression that Puddy was compensating. But, maybe she’s just a strong willed poor little rich girl who’s, rebelling from her smothering family, which makes her somewhat more admirable and hopeless at same time because her reality says she can get away with anything.

        Current score: 1
        • Gorgonopsid says:

          Well, even the Ridiculous Owl Turtle Thing was intimidated by how delusional Puddy was.

          Current score: 2
  27. tjhairball says:

    Love love LOVE this chapter.

    Of course, then, if Mack moves out of Harlowe and Puddy decides it’s because she said so, Puddy goes a-backsliding on her own character development…

    … but we may simply not see much of her at all from Mack’s perspective anymore. So.

    Current score: 0
  28. Wow. I don’t think I could have gotten through that without resorting to choke-a-bitch. Go, Mack!

    Puddy needs about ten years of therapy before she should be let out in public.

    Current score: 0
  29. slaxor says:

    I seem to have missed something, for most of this story. What is it, exactly, that makes puddy intimidating, instead of merely obnoxious?

    Current score: 0
    • Chips says:

      Since the tale is from Mack’s perspective, and Mack was intimidated by her…

      Current score: 0
      • barnowl says:

        With the possible exception of Victor, and Embries, she is the only character who is physically stronger than Mack. I’d say she’s intimidating.

        Current score: 0
        • Stonefoot says:

          I think you’d have to add Callahan to the list, and Mack-daddy has to be at least as strong (but he has other plans for Mack – not that he’s telling).

          Current score: 0
          • Gorgonopsid says:

            If we’re talking about who’s beats Mack with physical prowess, we can’t leave out Pala.

            Current score: 1
    • Gorgonopsid says:

      The fact that she’s a deeply delusional sexual predator isn’t intimidating?

      Current score: 2
  30. Explosive Cheese says:

    I wish I felt I could leave a bigger, deeper comment, but I’m feeling kind of woozy today. I just wanted to say that I’ve been a reader for at least a year and a half now (possibly more, I can’t recall), and with the exception of a few low points that I can’t even quite put my finger on, I’ve found this story to be one of the best works of fiction I have ever encountered.

    Alexandra Erin, I think you may be the best author I have ever read. Your characters – their behaviour, thoughts, feelings, speech, actions – are the most real I have ever encountered, more real to me than most people I know.

    Though I don’t always have the opportunity to post here, rest assured that you have my continued support.

    P.S. Your internet behaviour is also by far and away among the most positive I’ve ever seen. Thank you.

    Current score: 1
  31. The Dark Master says:

    This was a really good chapter, but the only thing that bothers me is how out of place it is. This sort of resolusion was needed, but doesn’t really fit into this part of the story; it was just some hanging on problem that kind of pales in comparison to the problems that Mack is dealling with now. Having this resolusion sooner would also help the story go smoother. I think that this chapter should have occured after Two’s dinner party (where she invited all her friends) or after Mack lost the election. It wouldn’t be out of character for Mack to do this, since she talks down Belinda at about the same time.

    (I’m finaly caught up enough that I’m comfortable commenting without being risking being behind the times)

    Current score: 0
  32. Cedjuct MacMan says:

    How done Ms. Blaise is with Puddy may or may not change anything. After all Puddy has boatloads of family to call upon to influence the life of Ms. Blaise.

    Current score: 0
  33. Lara says:

    Wow, I am SO proud of Mackenzie in this chapter.

    Current score: 0