Something Completely Different – Adele Goes To MU

on July 17, 2009 in SCD

AE’s Note: Our third and final guest spot is by Mikki “karnythia” Kendall, author and publisher at Verb Noire. For her offering, she’s elected to explore college life from some somewhat different perspectives.

Enjoy!

Adele Goes To MU

“Adele, where have you been? We’ve been trying to reach you all week!”

“Sorry Momma, I’ve been busy and this place is so crazy. I got your messages, but it was always too late by the time I got in.”

“Child, when you are that far away from home for this long, it is never too late to ‘flect.” Her grandmother Dottie said reprovingly, “You know I’m up with the chickens.”

“You wake up the chickens, but the cows put you to bed.” Adele said with a laugh.

“Still got that smart mouth, so I guess you’re doing alright. How’s the food?” her grandmother’s eyes flicked critically over her face, “You look thinner than the last time we talked.”

“It’s okay. I’ve just been really busy lately. But my room is nice and the classes are interesting.” Adele glanced around, “I even managed to remember to do my laundry this week.”

“Make any friends yet?” Her mother asked softly, “Do I need to send you a care package? Just to help break the ice?”

“Momma, this is not high school. I talk to a few people, but you know I have to be careful. If I get upset…”

“Careful doesn’t mean you never talk to anyone. You need to make some friends. This will be hard enough, don’t make it harder on yourself.”

“I just said that I…” Adele caught herself before her mother could launch into her regular diatribe about manners “Yes ma’am. I’ll try.”

“Promise?”

“Momma…I…yes, I promise.” She scrubbed her hand over her face, “There are a couple of girls on my floor that are nice enough. I usually hang out with them if I’m not too busy.”

“It’s just…we worry about you. I worry about you.” Her grandmother added, “We want this to be a good experience.”

“I know.” She smiled reassuringly, “Look, I need to get going if I’m going to finish my homework and actually have time to do anything fun tonight. Love you.”

“Don’t make us wait another week to hear from you.” her grandmother and mother chided before they closed the connection.

Adele puttered around her room for a few minutes, before guilt made her grab her shoes from their place by the door. She paused to check her appearance, quickly picking out a flat spot in her afro before making her way to the lounge.

“Adele, I can’t believe you actually came out of your room. What’s up?” Keisha asked, as she leaned back over the arm of the couch, her brightly colored locs trailing perilously close to a plate someone had left sitting on the floor.

“Unless old pizza is a good conditioner, you might want to watch those things.” Jessie commented dryly from her perch on the chair next to the couch, “You’re so busy digging in her business, you can’t mind your own.”

“I was just trying to be friendly. What’s wrong with you?” Keisha snapped as swept her hair to safety, “Oh, let me guess no word from…what was his name again…Darryl? Darren? Dickhead?”

Jessie’s eyebrows winged up, and she scrambled to her feet so fast Adele drew back to avoid being in the line of fire, “His name is David.”

“Whatever. He’s a jerk, and you know it. That’s why you’ve been moping for the last two hours.” Keisha turned to Adele, “It’s so boring. Especially since we’ve still got the rest of the school year to get through, and being stuck with a mopey roommate is no fun.”

“You could have left with everyone else, gone to that party or whatever that they were going on about a while ago.” Jessie sniffed, “I didn’t make you stay here.”

“Hordes of drunken frat boys aren’t my thing.” Keisha shrugged, “Besides, we can come up with something fun to do. Right Adele?”

“Sure. What do you want to do?” She rested her hands on the back of the couch, “It’s kind of dead in here. Is there anything else going on tonight?”

“We could go to one of those games they’re always advertising.” Keisha offered, stealing a glance at Jessie “That could be fun. Get your mind off of David and whatever his excuse will be this time.”

“That could work.” Adele followed Keisha’s gaze, “Jess, what do you want to do?”

“I want to call my boyfriend and yell at him, but that wouldn’t exactly be fun for you two. Me either actually. We could try the big Veil party. Maybe the music won’t suck and the frat boys will be sober?” A slow smile spread across Jessie’s face, “Actually that sounds like a great idea. You in?”

“Are you crazy? Those…things could get you. You know they’re all going to be there.” whined a voice from the doorway. They all turned to see Cassandra twisting her hands and shifting nervously from side to side as she said, “It’s not safe.”

“Pfft, it’s not like they can kill us. Plus, if we’re going to study magic we might as well study magical creatures.” Jessie said with a shrug.

“This isn’t about studying, you just want to prove a point to David.” Keisha smirked, “I like it. If he’s going to be off playing commando, you might as well show him that he can’t be the little woman sitting home tending dinner and waiting for a ‘flect when it suits him. I’m in. Adele?”

“I…” She made a show of looking conflicted before saying “It could be fun. As long as we take our weapons, what’s the big deal?”

“One of them is a demon. She drinks virgin blood.”

“Guess you should stay here then.” Keisha sneered. “Let me get my ax and we can head over there.”

Adele settled in on the couch to wait, while Jessie and Keisha ran to their room. After they were out of earshot Cassandra hissed, “You’re going to get someone hurt. Taking them over there at night. How can you be so evil?”

“It wasn’t even my idea.” Adele rolled her eyes when Cassandra’s hands started to flutter in her lap, “Besides no one invited you remember? So you’re perfectly safe.”

“No one is safe as long as you’re here. I’ve seen you when you think no one is looking. You can make people do things, and they don’t even know it. You wanted to go out, and Jessie’s pissed off so you nudged her into it.”

“I didn’t say a word. I just asked a question.” Grimacing in distaste when Cassandra plucked at her sleeve she added “If you think I’m so dangerous why are you touching me?”

“I’m trying to figure out how you do it. I can see most magics, but I can’t see or feel yours and I know it’s there. It’s a subtle compulsion, but why else would anyone act the way they’re acting right now? They liked me at first, but then you came and now…”

“That was before they were subjected to your endless nagging.” Adele let out a heavy sigh, “I don’t need them to come with me tonight, if I want to go out I can go alone. They were bored and this was their idea.”

“Liar. Things happen around you. Bad things, and sooner or later I’ll figure out how you’re doing it.”

“Paint me as some villain if it makes you feel better, but I’m just another student. You were the one that told Keisha she’d look better if she lost twenty pounds. Didn’t it occur to you that she’d get mad?”

“That was your fault too. I’ve never spoken to anyone that way in my life.” With that Cassandra swept out of the room, leaving Adele to snicker at the melodramatic exit.

“That girl is crazy.” She muttered to herself, pushing away a frisson of unease about the confrontation when the other two young women returned sans weapons “What’s wrong?”

“We just realized that we need costumes.” Keisha groaned, “And I don’t have anything good.”

“They’re not mandatory.” Seeing the mutinous expression on Jessie’s face, Adele bit her lip “What if you just wear masks? I have a few in my room from home that we could put on. They’re a bunch of different colors and styles…”

“That could work.” Following Adele into her room Jessie added, “I can’t believe you got the single. Oh I wanted this room when we did the tour. How did you pull it off?”

“Luck. Well that, and my grandmother being the best saleswoman ever. By the time she was through talking to the people in housing it was all they could do to remember their names.” She gestured at the ornate feathered masks decorating the wall across from her bed “Just pick whichever one you want.”

“Are you sure? These are really nice. I don’t want to mess it up at the party.” Keisha traced the glittering thread woven through the iridescent feathers of the mask closest to her “Though we would look awesome if we all wore plain outfits and these…”

“They’re…sturdier than they look. Just pick one.” Adele stretched up on tiptoe to pull down one covered in black feathers, silver beads, and tiny shimmering stones. “I’m all set.”

Jessie chose one covered in red feathers and gold beading, “Keisha, just take that one. You can wear your blue dress and it’ll look great.”

“Okay, it’ll only take me a second to change.” Adele replied, “Meet in the lounge in 10 minutes?”

“Sounds great to me.”

While the other girls hurried off to get dressed, Adele dashed around her room grabbing and discarding a couple of outfits before settling on a black dress with a thin thread of silver embroidery twisting around the collar and hem. She picked up her staff, flicking her wrist to compress it so that she could clip it to her waist before walking out to meet the other women.

They hurried to the ball in a whirl of cloth and laughter and Adele found herself enjoying the chance to relax. Navigating the entrance left them all feeling a little ill, so when Jessie pointed toward a vacant couch Adele followed happily. They sat for a while, watching the crowd and laughing at the costumes.

“I know you ladies didn’t come just to people watch. Me and my friends are looking for dance partners. You in?” A guy dressed as a gladiator asked with a smile.

They glanced at each other and giggled, “You do have cute knees. Let’s see if you can use them” Keisha replied.

On the dance floor they let the music carry them away, switching partners a few times until Adele was forced to wave her hand in defeat and say “I need something to drink if we’re going to keep this up. What are you guys? Dance majors?”

The tallest of the three, a handsome black man with short hair and deep dimples replied, “No, just from a very small town where the weekly dance was the height of entertainment. I’m Paul by the way. What’s your name?”

“Adele, the girl in the red mask is Jessie, and that’s Keisha.” She grinned at him, “We can finish introductions by the punch bowl.”

“Bossy.” He chucked her chin, “At least that way I’ll get to see your face. Come on.”

They chatted amiably about majors and dorms while they waited in line, and it wasn’t until the punch was gone that Adele realized that they were alone in an alcove “Oh you’re good. I didn’t even notice the others walking away.”

“I’m good.” Paul pressed a hand to his chest and feigned shock, “This was all you. I just wanted some punch before you dragged me back out on the dance floor.”

“Mmm-hmm, so I guess that means you’re ready to go back?”

“Not so fast. We’re here. We might as well make the most of it.” He leaned over to kiss her and Adele slid out of his reach, her dark eyes twinkling in amusement “Sorry, I just thought…”

“I think we should at least exchange last names before I kiss you.” She smiled, “Possibly have an actual date?”

“So I could get a kiss and a date? I’ll tell you my last name, my dorm room, and introduce you to my roommate if that gets me a second date.”

“Let’s start with last names. I’m Adele Kensington” She stuck out her hand, “And you’re Paul….”

“Robeson.” He took her hand, covering it with his as he said “So this date, how’s tomorrow night sound?”

“Works for me.” Screaming and a commotion outside drew her attention away from the warmth of his hands, “We should probably go see what that is, right?”

“Much as it pains me to say it, yes.” He shifted to put himself in front of her as the noise level increased, “Maybe you should stay in here.”

“If we’re going to date? I’m not the girl that stays behind.” Adele replied acerbically, “I can take care of myself.”

“I knew you were going to say that” He let out a heavy sigh, “At least stay behind me for now.”

She didn’t reply, instead settling her mask in place and getting a firm grasp on her weapon. She followed Paul back onto the dance floor, jumping aside as a gelatinous blob flickering with energy flew at them. Watching the mass eat its way through the wall behind them she asked, “What the hell was that?”

“I don’t know. But this is not good.” He spun in a circle, “There’s magic everywhere and none of it is under control.”

“Over here!” Keisha yelled from the far corner.

They ran towards her, ducking several times as more blobs flew overhead. As they burst into the alcove they nearly tripped over someone sprawled on the floor, “Anyone know what happened?”

“Someone spiked the other punch bowl and some idiot with more power than sense tried to summon…I don’t what they tried to summon, but we’ve got this mess.” Jesse replied, “I can’t raise campus security, the exits are blocked, and sooner or later those things are going to bring the roof down.”

“So, what you’re saying is that if we’re lucky we’ll get squashed instead of consumed by unknown magics. Great.” Paul peered back the way they’d come, “If only I knew what they’d done I could try a suppression spell. But if I use the wrong one…”

“Rocks fall, everyone dies.” Adele closed her eyes and concentrated, “I think I can hold them off if you can get everyone to the exit.”

“It’s too dangerous, if the magic backfires then you could get trapped in your own spell.”

“Who said anything about a spell?” She turned to Keisha and Jessie, “Get everyone up and ready to run.”

“What are you going to do?”

“Show you why they gave me a single.” Adele grabbed Paul’s collar, pulling him down to plant a kiss on his stunned face, “Just in case you don’t want to do that after this is over.”

Before anyone could react she flicked her wrist to extend her staff and stepped out into the center of the room. As the balls raced overhead she tensed, waiting until one came close enough for her swing and knock it at the empty alcove where she’d been standing earlier with Paul. Behind her she registered dimly that people were scurrying for the exit, even as she batted one blob after the other in the direction of the first one.

“Adele! Come on, everyone’s out.” Paul yelled from the doorway.

A rumbling overhead gave Adele enough warning to deflect a chunk of the ceiling, “You first!”

“Not without you. Come on, or I’m coming over there to get you.” A piece of the floor in front of her fell away, “Hurry, before you get hurt.”

Adele closed her eyes, focusing on holding the ceiling up as she said tightly “If I try to leave now you could get hurt. Get out, I can take care of myself.”

“Like Hell.” Paul dashed across the room, leaping over gaps that appeared as more and more of the floor fell away, “This whole place is falling apart. You keep doing whatever you’re doing and I’ll get us both out of here.”

He hoisted her over his shoulder and propelled them both through the air as the last of the floor fell away. Sliding down what was left of the banister and out into the open air, they fell into the arms of the waiting crowd.

“Is she okay?” Jessie demanded, as Paul laid Adele down before collapsing next to her on the grass “Why are her eyes closed?”

“Because I needed to concentrate.” Adele sat up, “This idiot was determined to play the hero and looking at him was distracting me.”

“It’s the dimples. They distract everyone, even my mother. You’ll see when you meet her.”

“Meet her?” Adele frowned, “I figured that after what just happened you wouldn’t….”

She trailed off as Keisha interjected, “Honey, I don’t know what folks are like where you’re from, but generally when you save a guy’s life their mother will like you.”

“My mother doesn’t use magic either. She’s like you.” Paul cracked open one eye “Do you do that thing in your sleep where stuff flies all over the place if you have a bad dream?”

“Um…yeah. How did you know?”

“I overheard your friends talking about your great single. My mom had a single when she was here too.” He frowned, “My dad’s going to laugh his head off. Don’t be surprised if they start talking marriage. Mom didn’t save his life until their second date.”


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4 Responses to “Something Completely Different – Adele Goes To MU”

  1. pedestrian says:

    Very, very clever story.

    Current score: 0
  2. BlackWizard says:

    I liked the story, but I’m not sure I understand her power. Isn’t telekinesis considered magic, a subtle art? I’d like to read more about this girl…Plus it’s always cool to read a story about black people in a fantasy setting. 🙂

    Current score: 0
  3. Daezed says:

    I liked this story the best of the three the first time through… And I still do. 😀

    Current score: 0
  4. Jechtael says:

    She’s very… Mary Sue. Special power, saves the night out, saves EVERYONE, gets people to like her even though she doesn’t openly do anything. If not for the implication that she’s actually kind of evil, I would intensely dislike this guest chapter. On the other hand, maybe she’s not supposed to be evil and I’m mistaken because I thought Cassandra might be a reference to the seer who was cursed to only tell the truth and never be believed.

    You’d also think the administrators would have passive defenses against the subtle arts. MU’s administration is kind of screwed up anyway, so… *shrug*

    Current score: 0