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 A Breath of Fresh Air [closed]

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Rainy

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PostSubject: A Breath of Fresh Air [closed]   Sun Apr 17, 2016 8:59 pm

Spring time. At last, a breath of fresh air, a warm breeze, the sunshine starting to show through. This was something Owen was more comfortable with. He could handle the brighter weather, the days when there was more light than dark. The last several months had been spent in darkness, both literally and figuratively, and the boy was ready to let it go.

Despite the looming threat of finals and the homework that was being piled onto him, he found himself spending more and more time outside. His runs grew more frequent as he  found more opportunities to get out, enjoying the feel of the sun on his arms and legs, even taking runs through the forest and ending up at the lake, where he would take off his shoes and cool his feet in the water. Owen was growing used to living each day at the school. Homework was done when it was dark, the outdoors were enjoyed when it was light, and he was starting to recognize the greenery as his home.

The dorm change came suddenly. He had grown comfortable in the space with Gabe, seeing each other in between classes and in the evenings before bed, occasionally doing homework in the shared space. But now he was being moved into a dorm with. . .

For several days, the boy tried to figure out what his feelings about this were. For months, he’d felt out of the loop with his two closest friends, having missed out on the start of their friendship. Their relationship was rocky, to say the least, and he was positive he had only complicated it. Every incident they had faced in since he’d arrived at the school flashed through Owen’s mind. All of their meetings had ended in increasingly catastrophic consequences and he didn’t want to imagine what might happen if they were living together permanently. But he liked Nicola and Madison in a weird form of masochism; they were his friends, and he needed friends.

Moving day found Owen with his suitcases packed haphazardly and school things tucked into whatever available space he had, ready to move just down the hall. It wasn’t far, but it felt like a mile as he exited his old dorm, still doubting the decision the school had made to move them into one dorm. Surely they’d caused the school enough grief, Madison falling off the roof and Nicola and Owen always in the background. Standing in his room, bag slung over his shoulder and suitcases waiting for his hands, he realized there was nothing left for it but to go.

Taking a deep breath, he left the room, towing his belongings. It was with a growing sense of excitement and anxiety that he arrived at Madison’s dorm and, with a key of his own, opened the door, stepping inside.

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PostSubject: Re: A Breath of Fresh Air [closed]   Tue Apr 19, 2016 4:26 pm

The school had a tendency of springing up the most random surprises whenever students least expected it, and often, without much warning. Whether they thought it was funny for them to be unprepared and fail miserably or because it was a way to test and challenge them, she wasn't really sure. All she knew was that cleaning out her former living spaces would be hell with how messy it's gotten over time. Too much studying and figuring out trivial things - geniuses didn't have time for a break when they've things figured out. A few empty chip bags lying on the floor, unfolded beds, messy desktops where papers were scattered everywhere and unclean clothes weren't placed in the laundry basket or anything... this would take awhile to clean. Barely morning and the only reason she had gotten up to do all of this cleaning in the first place was because Brant had told her she was moving out. Why couldn't she just stay in this dorm instead? It was rather comfortable.

All she knew was, according to the key they handed her, that she was moving next door to Madison's room. Things happened here and there and while she passed her friend and Owen a few times in the hallways on the way to their first class and such, they hadn't really talked since Madison had gotten drunk that one night and that was ages ago. There wasn't really time for all of that with tests and finals inching closer and closer by the minute. Admittedly, she didn't actually study and only sat around here and there finishing any homework she procrastinated over the weeks, but something told her not to inflate her ego and get too overconfident. No need to fail on the very last exam of the year and screw up her perfect grades, after all. That meant no time to talk to friends. Besides, she rarely associated herself with others anyway.

But right now, it was far too early in the morning for them to get on the move. Did they think it was a good idea to ruin the much-needed sleep of growing teens on a weekend? Too early. Nicola had found herself constantly mumbling "Five more minutes..." before she actually got up and started making the room spotless. Inari, perhaps, would've picked up after her because of how the fox girl seemed to have some sort of OCD or something along those lines, but she didn't need Brant yelling at her for how lazy she was being. She didn't know what else to do besides clean up after herself now. If she did it with a few cheap methods here and there, she could cut down the time needed to cleanse the room by a good half of the time. Thirty minutes or so later and it was done.

From the scrubbing, disinfecting, and sweeping the floor, somehow, it was finally finished. Clicking the vacuum back into standing position and placing it back in its proper spot in the closet, with the sun getting closer and closer to its peak, she managed to do whatever was necessary. With a final goodbye to her previous roommates, Nicola readjusted her cap and pulled her suitcase out the door, bag slung over shoulder, and a kitten trailing behind her feet. To say that she didn't have a lot of belongings would be an understatement. It was more like someone grabbing all of their stuff for vacation and having extra space for souvenirs - a tourist.

If things went well, she wouldn't have to bother talking to her new roommates all that much. Maybe get some privacy and such to study, not having the door knocked on every few moments asking for her or telling her to come out and get some dinner when she was in the middle of memorizing something of utmost importance, but still, as slightly rowdy and upbeat as her dorm was, she would kind of miss having all of that noise in the background. Those three Summers weren't all that bad. They would be the first people she lived with and saw on a consistent basis, her new roommates, so they could at least be easy to bear with. That shouldn't be too much to ask.

Nicola turned the corner, finding herself in front of Madison's dorm - the plaque reading "303" in bold font. The door was already open. Oh, she wasn't the only one moving in, huh? Curiously, she widened the crack in the door, a loud creeeeeeeeeeak! sounding as she stepped in.

"You're kiddin' me."

Maybe it was some sick joke by the school or maybe it was Hieta doing this so she could get more involved and get the thing they call "a social life", but to think that she was going to be stuck within close quarters with both Owen and Madison was ridiculous and unheard of. She was fine with them both - they were nice people - but with all the accidents and situations they've pulled each other into, it would only take a week or so before there were holes in the walls, burned patches of fabric, and the smoke alarm going off every other second. Those were the situations that went through her mind, but at the same time, she knew it wouldn't be that bad.

There would be many moments of quaintness and those two knew better than to just barge in on her for no apparent reason. It was better than being stuck with strangers after all. At least they were people she was familiar with and comfortable around. It should be pretty decent here. Not amazing, but... decent. Maybe those two would prove her wrong. They had a habit of surprising her with some rather questionable things, after all. Then again, she couldn't complain or judge when she pulled the Pocky game earlier... Ah, oh well. No point overthinking this.

"Guess I'm stuck with you two weirdos for the rest of my life." Not like any of them would be life partners or anything. That'd be weird. Nicola would prefer not to imagine that. There shouldn't be too much awkward tension between the three of them. All of that was months ago. Clean slate or something. That should be it.

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PostSubject: Re: A Breath of Fresh Air [closed]   Tue Apr 19, 2016 6:29 pm

I'm sorry. The words were not peculiar to Madison. She knew how to say them, knew how to say them earnestly and fleetingly, with both a bold gaze and a small glancing murmur. She'd said it a dozen times that week, a few times that day. Oh, I tapped your shoulder in the hall because you walked into me? 'I'm sorry.' I don't understand the problem you put on the board because you are an awful teacher? 'I'm sorry.' Madison stared at herself in the mirror, into her darkly-circled eyes, mouthing the words softly to the soundless orchestra on her lips, lips once adorned with Nicola's, painted, decorated, lovely. She could not think of a bad word to describe it, even though those lips were stained with alcohol and she could only remember it in fuzzy recollections. Still, her lips were lovely when they were with Nicola's, if only for a moment. She traced them absent-mindedly with her index finger, as if applying lipstick. Yes, she had to apologize.

I am pathetic. Beside the butterfly that danced off her lips with each small smile she gave in Nicola's memory, a moth came with, a bitter pessimism and self-loathing. It was brown and long with scaly wings, an ugly moth, and her mouth dove to a frown. What was she doing? Who was she? She was thinking about someone she hadn't talked to in days, a door she hadn't opened comfortably in weeks. She had to get drunk to open that door. Who was her friends? Did she have any? A shadow was cast under the small nightstand that sat by her bed, away from the light of the window, and her only friend sat crouched under it. It looked up at her. She frowned harder.

Would Nicola accept her apology? Did Nicola even know who she was?

Who was Owen?

A knock came to the door.

Owen.

Her friend hissed from under the nightstand.

Madison did not know why she knew it was Owen. It could have easily been her roommate, the jumble of a key and a heavy shuffle. The girl perked up, craning her neck to look at the door, as if it were transparent, a one-way mirror. Her eyes were dark but wide; her once-taut mouth left some room to falter ajar. She brushed her bangs over, hair dark as the shadows, and listened. Listened for a voice. Silence for a moment. Then another, cutting through the door in a murmur. Madison had to listen hard to catch the soft, feminine voice. Nicola, oh, Nicola Nicola Nicola.

What were they doing there? Were they looking for her? The sun dressed itself in the droning pass of a cumulus crawl and her friend stretched, almost yawning in a way as it stretched across the entire room, enveloping her in a hug. She stayed silent. Its claws wrapped around her and she didn't move, out of will or not she didn't know or care. She listened more. Stuck. Weirdos. Life. Life. The sun freed itself from the bonds of the clouds, her friend breaking its grip under the hot glare of afternoon light, and Madison walked forward. She turned the doorknob, opened the door, and stood there. She did not walk out. Her friends were there. She was not imagining it for once.

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PostSubject: Re: A Breath of Fresh Air [closed]   Fri Apr 22, 2016 12:45 pm

The creaking of the door behind him was a tad ominous. Owen turned to see Nicola, his mouth already turning up into an easy smile, surprised to find himself genuinely pleased to see the girl. She was joking, he knew that much from the times they had spent together, and he chuckled, rubbing the back of his neck with the hand that wasn't resting on his suitcase. He should probably take it to a room. That would be smart. They could catch up later.

"You'll have to make yourself comfortable," he said, grinning as he grabbed his bags once more. As he stepped further into the main area, he felt eyes on them. He stopped and looked. And froze.

Madison.

He hadn't seen her in so long, like, really seen her. The last he had, she was drunk and kissing Nicola. A tightness filled his chest. He hadn't talked to her, checked up on her, or really even said hello since before that. Looking at her, he felt there was something different. Not good. Bad different.

There was a whole world he didn't know about. He thought he was okay with that, with the idea that Nicola and Madison knew each other better, that they had shared something more long before he had ever met them. And he was okay with it, he knew that, because for whatever reason, they'd accepted him into their weird group. He was the contrast. Dark, light, demons.

With a slight smile, he lifted his free hand, the fingers straightening in a small wave. He hoped she was as okay with this arrangement as he was. It would be fine. It would work out. Nothing else would happen, right?

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PostSubject: Re: A Breath of Fresh Air [closed]   Fri May 06, 2016 7:35 pm

Her only response was to roll her eyes at him. That was an invitation he shouldn't have given in the slightest. The corners of her lips turned up, marking a teasing smirk that scarcely reached up to the blue of her eyes. "Gladly will~" At her own pace, Nicola stepped towards the dorm's lobby, scanning the vicinity as though she were an infrared radar trying to detect the likeness of enemies and allies, their shadowing, lumbering figures skidding about on the battlefield. All the dorms had a bland uniformity to them that was only spiced up by the students who occupied the area. White, sterile walls and baby blue curtains coupled with charcoal-colored furniture. The kitchen and a few other things looked obviously similar to her old room, but without a doubt, this one was slightly less clean. It didn't have the squeaky-clean feeling to it. She wad half-expected to see her reflection on the floor or those cliche sparkles that glisten in the sunlight, but that didn't come up and about.

One would think that, with a prefect in their room, someone who was practically nonexistent, and a free-loader, that the room would be a lot messier and piled up in a mound of trash. Brant was almost always out of the house doing whatever prefect-y tasks that he was assigned or going around and about with Destiny. The other girl never really came out of her room much, not enough that Nicola could remember her name - did they ever even speak to one another? - or even recall a distinct feature in her physique. Inari was godsend to deal with the mess that all of them made.Maybe she had nothing better to do and wanted to keep her hands busy with something, but the dorm was almost always spotless in the main lobby and kitchen. What the other rooms looked like would have depended on a number of factors; the fact that she had to clean out her entire dormitory today only told her that Inari didn't bother with their personal living spaces.

Well hey, this room wasn't that shabby at least. Could've been worse in one aspect or another. Summers were friendly and all, but they weren't like the party animals that Autumn students were. Must have been awful trying to clean up that place. The pungent odor of alcohol and smoking, the sickly lingering of puke, all of those other crazy things those idiots did. No wonder they got in trouble so much. She could bet that most of them had the worst grades on campus. Oh well, that wasn't her problem in the slightest. Whatever they wanted to do with their wonderful lives was up to them after all.

A quick swing of her arm and the bag she was once wearing landed safe and sound on the couch, slumping and rattling slightly in the air from the contents inside. With a couple of paces forward, Nicola took her seat with a relieved sigh. Waking up early and then having to do all of that cleaning was more energy-consuming than she would've first expected. Cheating her way through it would've been a lot more convenient. Get all the demons to do it for her, but that wouldn't sit will with the faculty at all. Stumbling once releases the leash. In hindsight, it'd probably be a bad idea to let them run rampant around the school. After a bit more analysis, she figured that Leo would be able to take care of them rather swiftly and the academy would be at peace within a matter of minutes. Besides, her control wasn't that terrible.

Her head sunk into the cushion, eyelids falling over and blocking her vision. Was Madison out of the dorm? She hadn't heard the door or anything open yet. Only Owen was around... and Lulu. The soft, rumbling purr of her kitten snapped her attention in his direction. She had to stretch her neck just a tiny bit over to see over the couch, and the lack of 360 degree rotation forced her to twist her body a little to get a full view. Speak of the devil and she shall appear.

Madison was the same as ever, wasn't she? Perhaps she looked slightly more restless, but the last time they had seen one another wasn't a very accurate judge on her new roommate's appearance. Lulu was rubbing his cheeks at the girl's ankles but darted away into a different room within a few moment's notice. Nicola contemplated the idea of going to make sure that he didn't dash somewhere dangerous or the like before settling on the fact that he'd be fine without her supervision for awhile. If case came to case, Hieta would hopefully be on his daily roam somewhere and stumble into the kitty before he did something stupid. There were other things to settle currently.

She couldn't help but find herself constantly staring at Madison for a few moments. She couldn't move her gaze away, only barely catching the fact that Owen was just as awestruck out of the corner of her eyes... Awestruck? No, no, no. That wasn't the right word at all. Shaking her head, Nicola forced herself to turn back to her original position. "Ah, that's no fun. I thought you weren't goin' to come out for awhile." Would've been preferable, if she had to be honest with herself. Having to deal with just Owen currently was enough. Everything with Madison was a much more complicated jigsaw puzzle as is.

"Still, rise and shine." Her smirk widened slightly in its obscure view. "The probability of normalcy is approximately 0%, according to the weather forecast."

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PostSubject: Re: A Breath of Fresh Air [closed]   Fri May 06, 2016 9:58 pm

"What are you doing here?" The question came more curtly than she intended, on a voice she didn't recognize as her own, and she blinked at the harshness of her tone and  followed it up with a soft, "Well, sorry, I, um, that--" a deep breath eased her into tranquility, followed by the same question: "Why are you here?" It wasn't exactly early, the clock reading past noon, but they seemed like they'd lived there forever, sitting on a couch, standing beside boxes. Meanwhile, she looked disheveled, hair thin and unkempt, still in pajamas, tired-faced and barefoot. There was a certain lingering embarrassment that came over her at her unready appearance, and at once, before an answer sprung up, she stepped back and closed the door.

What was Nicola doing? She was acting weird, a patent of Nicola, the certain unique weirdness that was unlike her own strange behaviors. Madison pressed her back against her door, and breathed. There, she started to get dressed, putting on fresh weekend clothes, brushing her hair out and tying it into a simple ponytail. She even dabbed a bit of makeup under her eyes, enough to hide the dark and grim look she gave off. Though her closing of the door seemed sudden and likely to give off a bad impression, her effort was the opposite. She looked at herself in the mirror again, after a few minutes of preparation, and blinked softly into her reflection. She drank herself in. She looked nice, right? She still felt like shit.

The monster under her nightstand rattled. She kicked at it, watching its tendril arms fail to catch her foot.

The door opened again.

She stood there again.

She leaned against the doorway arch, her light pallid face contrasting her dark eyes, but her mouth was curved into a nervous smile, a smile nonetheless. She looked at Owen as she spoke, "I missed you." While her original question still bore in her mind, she found it too obvious to repeat or confirm. They were moving into her dorm. She didn't know why, she didn't know how. She didn't really care. She seemed to accept all that came to her; she was always like that, an accepter, morphing around the things that came to her. So you can't go out at night? No problem.

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PostSubject: Re: A Breath of Fresh Air [closed]   Mon May 09, 2016 3:58 pm

Nicola made her usual quips to Madison. They seemed to be a normal thing between the two girls, or at least something that Nicola did regularly and Madison simply went with ninety-nine percent of the time. Silently, Owen watched, interested to see if anything would transpire. What happened instead surprised him even more: Madison closed her door.

Standing outside one of the empty rooms with his belongings, the boy felt a tad lost. With Madison no longer posing an immediate distraction, he grabbed his things and nudged the door open with his toe, hauling everything through the frame and setting them in the middle of the floor. It seemed neater and cleaner than his last room, although he was certain it was merely due to the recent vacancy. Easily, he shed his jacket and crossed to the window, opening the curtains and blinds to let in the ever-growing spring sunlight. He took in a deep breath before returning to the common area, prepared to joke about needing the dorm to himself once a week, but he was stopped dead, mouth half open in anticipation of speaking, when he saw Madison.

Owen had spent the past month trying to forget everything beyond platonic affection that he felt towards Madison. After all, he had never been given any indication that she liked him back. All signs pointed to Nicola winning their unspoken war, a term he wished was different because they weren't fighting for anything, and he had already started gearing himself up towards accepting that loss. After the drunk fiasco, he had focused on school, putting all effort into his homework, taking initiative in classes, pushed himself with his running, and spending time and energy on developing his gift. Yet everything went out the window when he saw her again, this time tidied up a little. She was cute before, but now...

"I missed you, too," he said genuinely, a slight smile on his face as he tucked his hands in his pockets. For a moment, he took her in, studying her face across the room in the hopes of seeing something that she wasn't telling them. He realized he was staring and cleared the air by saying, "Now that we're living so close, though, it would be hard to miss each other."

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PostSubject: Re: A Breath of Fresh Air [closed]   Sun May 15, 2016 6:16 pm

Madison certainly made quick work of retreating back into her room. Judging from all of their previous encounters with one another - whether it be with Owen or not -, the most likely conclusion was that Madison either didn't want to see her or she was preoccupied with something else, whatever it may be. The former seemed more likely; she was drunk the last time they saw each other and afterwards was more or less a blur that probably didn't end as well as it should've. Drunk and they were kissing when Owen randomly walked in on them. It was like a broken VCR player was constantly rewinding the scene in her brain, taunting her and hoping to break down something as though it were going to make her drop her guard or get embarrassed over some silly little thing like that. That wasn't the first time they had their lips against one another either, so she shouldn't feel something as silly as a bit of shame or chagrin or anything along those lines. Nothing at all.

... So why could she feel heat crawling up to her ears and her cheeks growing red like a furnace? Haha, yeah right, that's not supposed to happen at all. There was absolutely no way that this was something she would care about at all. Goddammit, couldn't it stop playing on repeat already? Back then, both times, she couldn't recall feeling so stupid like this, as though her mind had melted into mush and she couldn't think. This was one of those stupid puzzles that she couldn't figure out in the slightest and it was frustrating.

Come on, it shouldn't be too hard to pinpoint what the hell these stirring emotions were, right? Nicola liked to believe that she could identify her feelings and thought processes very well, that she could keep everything in check however she could. There wasn't much room to let her own personal beliefs and such get in the way, but that was completely hypocritical. Impulse reigned most when it came down to it; all logic and reasoning was thrown out of the window and shaded away. Somehow, in some way, she just wanted to shake this off and pretend that it never happened. New dorm, new room, fresh start, clean slate, tabula rasa. Rebuild their bonds with one another from the roots up, make those trees regrow - something about primary succession after a major catastrophe and all of that. Everything that happened between the three of them was more disastrous than anything, and in a feeble attempt to get her mind off of her previous thoughts, she pushed the handle and let the train fall along another set of tracks.

That was what she would've liked, at least. Her ears perked up with the door re-opening, the tiny creeeeeek! screeching its way through the main room. She found herself resisting every urge to turn around and spare a glance, as though it would quell the maelstrom threatening to tear its way through. Don't do it the little voice in her head told her. She knew she probably shouldn't. A tiny peek shouldn't hurt, though. If she was fast enough and turned a little bit here and there, it'd be too fast for her to catch a good glance at anything and she could pretend she saw and throw in a fake compliment or joke and get it over with. Something like that should work. They were probably expecting something like that, weren't they? The typical behavior they wanted from her.

Her fingers were playing with the frayed ends of the pillow. Carefully, Nicola craned her head over again. Madison had tidied herself up with those kinds of physical enhancements brought with make-up. Certainly did look nice, but she had to suppress a frown. This was her dorm. Who the hell cared about presentation in a place like this? It was practically a safe-haven. Other students didn't have to know whether or not someone was a slob in their own room. Besides, she was fine earlier; it was understandable for her appearance, seeing that she seemed to have just woken up before or something. But still, Madison did look nice. Shaking her head in disbelief, Nicola pulled the bill of her cap down towards her eyes. She was right to think today wouldn't be normal in the slightest.

She cleared her throat, promptly turning back towards the television as she swapped between channels that were more unfamiliar than she could recall them being. This felt very uncharacteristic and it was getting on her nerves. Those two weren't exactly the prime choice for friends that she would've considered, let alone be roommates, but Owen was right. They would be seeing each other on a daily basis now. Agh, maybe if she had been stuck with Devin or one of the others maybe - hell, even being stuck with Destiny's skeletal buddy would be fine - it wouldn't be so difficult for her to sort things out. It was only the morning of the move-in. "What's with dressin' up? Expectin' an entourage or something?" Nicola mused, allowing her lips to morph into a smirk. "Oh milady, we weren't expectin' guests to visit us on this pleasant day so soon." It was like reading off a script, having the words memorized from before. Stuffy formalities were always fun to jest about.

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PostSubject: Re: A Breath of Fresh Air [closed]   Fri May 20, 2016 9:40 pm

Madison gave an earnest smile to Owen's direction, pleased by his response. So he didn't hate her. That was good. She was afraid of what had happened with him on that hazy drunken night, for she could remember him but not his face. Why couldn't she remember his face? Perhaps she chose to forget it. The girl moved slowly to the kitchen hub, feeling as if a million eyes were on her despite there only being two other people; she heard Nicola's words and winced, trying her best to force herself to look in the girl's direction. She seemed to be changing her focus between the television and her. Her question came out as straightforward and blunt as ever, and Madison bit her, lip, seeking the safehaven of the refrigerator and finding relief in disappearing into its door. She took especially long to find a water bottle. It had been slightly rearranged with stuff taken and stuff added.

When she came back to reality, it was like seeing them over again. They looked like new people. It was a weird happening. "It's past noon," she told Nicola, simply, on a voice monotonous and empty. It sounded distant, and she reeled it back in with more words, with a stutter or two to bring herself back into her throat. "I, um, it's a good time to get dressed. I--so...I got dressed." A swig of water to shut herself up before she said anything too stammery or stupid. The trio had been together for months and she still couldn't look at Nicola with straight eyes, or talk to her with a clear mind. Owen...she didn't want to even start with Owen. Where did she find the strength in her tongue to push any semblance of words in his direction, the drivel that she always ended up devising when she met him. Why did he even like her? Why did Nicola let her kiss her?

She'd be meeting them a lot then.

Suddenly, her throat seemed to fill with water, and she took the bottle from her mouth, coughing as it went down the wrong pipe. She was thinking so thoroughly that she actually forgot her basic human functions. What a fucking idiot she was. It took a few coughs and silent wheezes, all of which were muffled and restrained to make herself seem more all right than she was; Madison threw up a pale hand before anyone even reacted to her brief choking episode and gasped in its aftermath. From her room, she heard the muffled cries of shadowy figures, rushing to help her. Or kill her. She wasn't sure of their motives even then.

"I'm all right," came the croaking voice as she formally regained her breath 15 or so seconds later, followed by a few small coughs, quivering on the fight Madison put up against them. "Sorry, I--uuuah..."

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PostSubject: Re: A Breath of Fresh Air [closed]   Thu May 26, 2016 12:22 pm

The smile Madison gave him warmed his insides. They could all be normal after all, couldn't they? Even with Nicola making her jokes as she normally did, and Madison taking them in stride. It was like watching two people who had been friends since birth reconnect, as though nothing bad had ever happened between them. His smile grew and he ran a hand through his hair, mussing the light waves before stepping back into the common area.

Though his attention had been on the television, a spluttering sound caused Owen's head to snap up. Was she choking on her water? That she was drinking? Before he could really react or do anything, she was waving them off, insisting she was fine. He couldn't help laughing, laughing at the normalcy of water going down the wrong pipe. Not that it was terribly funny, but this felt more like roommates witnessing an every day act, and aside from schoolwork and running, it was the most normal thing he'd seen since coming to this school. The boy had to look away to keep from laughing more, his attention returning the television screen.

A rumble ran through his stomach, interrupting his laugh. A commercial for some food was playing, a restaurant that was faraway from the school that was having a meal special, a meal special they would probably not get to see again. Owen pulled his phone from his pocket and saw, like Madison had said, that it was past noon, his usual lunch time, and he understood why he felt so hungry. Crossing to the small kitchen space, he began to open cupboards, looking for something, anything, to eat, something that would be filling for them. Surely the space had ingredients in the very least. Yet as he looked, it seemed that all there was to be found was a box of cereal and a bag of chocolate chips, two things he would've eaten without hesitation if he had been any less hungry than he felt in that moment. He turned to Madison, hands still holding cupboards open, and asked incredulously, "Do you guys not keep food here?"

He closed the doors and moved to the refrigerator, careful not to get in Madison's way as he opened the door. There was more in here, but it appeared to be basic snack items, food he couldn't really do a whole lot with if he wanted to cook. After staring at the fridge for longer than necessary, willing something to magically appear, he closed the door with a huff. Matter of factly, he stated to the room at large, "We're going grocery shopping. Put your shoes on, girls." To prove he was serious, he returned to where Nicola sat, grabbed the remote, and shut the television off.

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PostSubject: Re: A Breath of Fresh Air [closed]   Sat May 28, 2016 8:51 am

She was going to drown everything else out with the television, turn up the volume so she couldn't hear a word or thing that the others were doing. This was way too early in the morning and she wanted to go back to sleep. Not only that, but it was way too bright. Couldn't they lower the curtains? If it was noon, then that would explain why the sun was so high up in the sky and blindly filtering its rays everywhere. Her sense of time was out of whack. Nicola could've sworn that it was only eight or nine, considering they kicked those who were rearranged out pretty early, but that clearly didn't seem to be the case. Maybe she was just slow. But Owen wasn't really that slow of a person when it came to cleaning up or anything; he seemed like the kind he spent a lot of time cleaning, whether it be his previous dorm or his home before the academy. At least, that's the sort of person that Owen struck her as.

Before her fingers bothered moving towards the up button, the hazardous ringing of choking sounded in the background. Couldn't be Owen. Definitely not Owen. He wasn't that clumsy or prone to making stupid mistakes like that. That would mean it had to be Madison. Nicola twisted her head backwards for a few moments, just in time to see that that was exactly what Madison seemed to be doing. On a glass of water. Her face contorted into a wince, but judging from how quickly Madison seemed to recover from that feat, there was no need to go over there and help her. If only keeping that in mind stopped the unsatisfied itching coursing through her body that she should've at least got up and done something.

Owen was laughing, though. He did realize that choking could cause death, right? Maybe she shouldn't overthink this anymore. The more she thought about it, the more her head wanted to ache.

Whatever they were doing in the back now, Nicola didn't want to concern herself with. They were probably just talking and having their own little fun with each other. It wasn't like she wanted to be back there too instead of avoiding them like they were the bubonic plague from her place on the couch; scratch that, if it were the bubonic plague, there was no way she was going to be safe with the current proximity. Too close. She considered herself social, to say the least, someone who enjoyed having a bit of company here and there. Not too much, not too little. Yet, it was so difficult to come up with the right phrases or words to say around Madison and Owen. She didn't know if it was because of everything in the past or their awful synergy or a combination of both, but being wary and cautious of what she said was more difficult than she wanted to admit. So she opted to keep her mouth shut and pretend she was preoccupied with something else.

Her mind barely registered what Owen had said. Something about grocery shopping. He didn't expect her to--- "Hey...!" Much bigger hands had snatched the remote from the tips of her fingers and the television blinked to complete darkness. A dark, irritated expression fell over her face, glaring at him. Nicola expected better from him. She did. He knew proper etiquette and manners, didn't he? Couldn't he have asked politely and nicely like a normal person would? He didn't have to forcibly shut the television off. "You have to to be kiddin' me. As if I'd go when you pulled somethin' like that." Maybe it was her own stubbornness or constant need to be right about something. Or maybe she was just stubborn about staying where she was. She didn't know anymore.

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PostSubject: Re: A Breath of Fresh Air [closed]   Sat May 28, 2016 7:49 pm

Madison watched Owen walk across the room. She had been observing them silently for a few moments, catching her breath after choking on her water like an idiot. It didn't help that Owen laughed at her, causing her to shrink onto the counter and hide her reddened cheeks in the palms of her hands. She was quite the idiot; the water bottle was placed a meter away from where she leaned, far away so that she couldn't almost kill herself again.

From this place, Owen took the remote from Nicola, and Madison perked up, expecting a fit. That was a little bold. Sure enough, Nicola seemed displeased, and a long, straight smile appeared on Madison's face, her chin furrowing under her hand. She still said nothing. It was better for her to watch, where she couldn't awkwardly spout nonsense that didn't not help any causes. It was better that way.

As they argued, however, she noticed a particularly large cloud crawling across the sun outside her window. The room began to darken, only slightly, but she saw a figure stretch into her doorway, then stretch forward, closer out into the living room, its claws outstretching like tendrils, like vines, poison ivy vines inching up the couch, to Nicola's hair. Madison gave an outburst, a shout, taking her hands from her chin and reaching out to point. "Look out!" she said. But the cloud passed as quickly as it came, and the figure was gone in the warm restoration of the sun. She was left silent, arm outstretched to nothing, pointing to the ends of Nicola's hair.

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PostSubject: Re: A Breath of Fresh Air [closed]   Wed Jun 01, 2016 2:51 pm

Owen was prepared to retaliate somehow, make some smart alecky comment, maybe give Nicola some grossly exaggerated ultimatum. Hand on hip, finger pointed at the girl, mouth open and ready to deliver a line worthy of his mother, he was stopped abruptly when Madison cried out.

Immediately, he went through several different stages of fear and panic. His hands lit up before he realized what he was doing, his natural instinct to protect himself and his friends. His heart had stopped, his breathing shallow, and he stumbled slightly, following Madison's finger to see what she was talking about. It took several moments for the boy to realize there wasn't anything. Taking a few deep breaths, he closed his hands into fists, the light slowly dissipating into the room. Shaking his head, he gave Madison a weak smile as he shoved his hands into his pockets. "That, uh, that pesky afternoon sunlight, huh? Makes some funny shadows."

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PostSubject: Re: A Breath of Fresh Air [closed]   Tue Jun 07, 2016 9:56 am

Owen's posture mimicked that of a very sassy and preppy girl who wanted to show everyone who was in charge around. It was very likely to be the kind of girl that was popular for attractive appearance and throwing good parties. A bad cliche, but it fit. Most likely a cheerleader of some sort as well. The only difference was that it didn't work for him at all and that it was oddly amusing, in a way. He must hang out with too many girls if he caught onto a pose like that. Or maybe he had a sister or mother who used it too much. Either way, it was definitely uncharacteristic for Owen, especially with the build his body had. Nicola allowed herself an enthused smile, leaning back a bit more on the couch and kicked her feet up and onto the table.

He certainly seemed ready to go to the store, though. Not that she wanted to go outside when the sun was at its highest point in the sky, seething with heat as the giant orange disk past the mountains and over the horizon. Being more prone to burns meant having to layer up and layering up meant submitting to sweltering conditions that would leave her throat parched and more arid than Death Valley. Sticking around where she was now, with air conditioning - a blessing of technology that it was -, some snacks in her bag, and not being roasted alive, sounded much better. Besides, Owen didn't ask very nicely, let alone with any politeness of whatsoever. There really was no point in listening to him.

A passing cloud darkened the room and suddenly, Madison had spoken up once again after her much-used-to silence. Nicola snapped her head to turn towards the girl behind her, eyes narrowing in slight annoyance. Something was glowing right beside her, only ever-so-slightly blinding her vision and making it difficult for her to focus, like a white light had washed over and enveloped everything in sight. Her hand was cupped by her eyes in an attempt to at least block some of the rays, silently wishing that it would turn off automatically. "Cut it out already." That was more flames than she was used to dealing with and if she had to be completely honest with herself, it kind of hurt.

Several minutes later, Owen had finally stopped.

Her expression had contorted to a slight grimace and the bill of her cap had been pulled down to block off somethings here and there. She really did wish that Owen took a few moments to realize that she wasn't all that big of a fan of his light. Good intentions or not, that would wind up doing him more harm than good one day. Times like these made her wish she appreciated the company she had at the Frontier just a bit more. They were a group of gifted that had many dark-attributed powers after all, sans well, Brant again. Even then, fire wasn't so off, in the right context. Oh, and Leo. But Leo was alright - he kept demons away from trying to behead her and he was a nice guy, all things considered.

With an exasperated sigh, Nicola shifted back to her original position. "Your attempt at humor is still kinda bad, Owen." Trying to make light of the situation or not, it was very poorly executed, enough that Nicola rolled her eyes. At least with this debacle, they seemed to have forgotten about going grocery shopping for now. They'll probably forget to bring it up again if she continued deviating from the conversation. "Madison, you doin' okay over there?"

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PostSubject: Re: A Breath of Fresh Air [closed]   Tue Jun 14, 2016 5:37 pm

Madison looked like a mannequin, a figure on the sill of a store window, standing there stiff as she looked at nothing but saw everything. At the time, at least; it was a fleeting everything, something that had once again retreated to her room, and something that would soon come out again at a moment's chance. It was like a trainlight over a dark station, like a row of taxis moving through a New York midnight. The flashes were so brief, the darkness was so brief, and it created a strobe where light and dark didn't have time to breathe. She didn't know if she was safe or in danger, wasn't able to process when one ended or when the other began. It was in this that she felt precarious. She was stiff as a board, and choked out a smile, leaning back on the counter because she needed some way to support herself. "Yes," she said with a shaky reassurance, a tone that sounded both final yet anxious at the same time. She always found a way to push people off in her anxiety. She was lonely in that way. Blue eyes flitted to Owen, and lingered there, like a lake in the moment when gray clouds had formed over it but not yet dropped rain. A lake that had not yet rippled. It lingered peacefully on Owen, in a moment that seemed to go on for eons, and she shifted her gaze down to the lonely counter and repeated herself. "Ye--yes, um, yeaIii'm fine."

"Let's go to the store." Madison did not seem to be acting on her words, but rather speaking on her actions; she perked up and clapped her hands and began to walk before speaking those words. Her feet were more courageous than her lips; she walked a few steps before biting her lip and making the suggestion. She went to the closet, a creaky and thin door that was now packed with the coats of her friends, coats she'd seen Owen wear when she fell into the fountain and Nicola wear when she kissed her abruptly at the Game Lounge. She had to force her head to turn against the rusted hinges of her joints. "Come on, O--Nicola, come on, you're lazy, I mean, quit being lazy, get some air, we'll aah--...all get some air." Her pale smile was genuine. It was the truth, after all. Air before sundown was a luxury to her and she had to leave the apartment and her fragile mind. Her eyes were glass. They always were glass.

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