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(the school grounds) > Main Courtyard

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message 1: by dyanne (new)

dyanne Situated smack-dab in the middle of all the buildings, the courtyard has some beautiful beech trees perfect for climbing, a rustic cobblestoned way with many benches for sitting, and a fountain in the middle which students sometimes wade in if the weather permits it.

message 2: by dyanne (last edited Jan 27, 2015 04:30PM) (new)

dyanne He was dangling upside down on a beech tree and the initial pleasure of blood rushing into his head, seeing the world from a completely new perspective was eclipsed at the inevitable sh*t, how do I get out of this? moment, as he looked down and saw the roughly ten feet of empty space that separated him from the dirt. He could try to flip, yes, but if he was unsuccessful, it would result in grave repercussions. Death being the least of them.

Zane muttered a curse as he thought to those in this academy who could elongate their arms or simply summon the branch to their hands, but he was not any of them, and he liked his "power". The power to piss people off and live in the assurance that he would never be disillusionized, figured out, that his secrets would stay secrets, that his thoughts were his own and that everything he was seeing was "real". As real as it could get in a mutant school, that was. The scientific explanations they learned in class about all the different powers made everything seem so terrifyingly simple that Zane wondered why he hadn't contemplated the existence of such a breed and then it hit him that the reason he hadn't known was because they hadn't wanted him to know.

Lost in thought, he finally ran smack dab into the answer. Momentum. Swing hard enough, and there would come a point where his hand would make contact with the branch. On the count of three, he swung back, and then forward, building speed and along with it, momentum until his hand felt rough bark and he clung to it, ignoring the prickle of splinters and pulling up into a sitting position, letting the lightheadedness take hold as he sat against the trunk and wondered, not for the first time, why the h*ll he was here.

message 3: by mels (new)

mels (padmeskywalkers) Elle needed to get to English class. She'd missed four in the past month for various reasons, and the last time, her teacher had informed her that she would be in serious trouble were she to miss another. It would be a trip to the Dean's office.

And she was very nearly already late. The only way she would be able to make it was a right turn, left... Through the courtyard. Straight across to the classroom building.

Of course, there had to be a problem. There he was. Zane. Of course he had to be here, now. She continued walking, her heels (pale pink today, to match her top), and hardly glanced at him. She couldn't. Couldn't bear the guilt of looking at him, and she wouldn't survive a conversation, of that she was certain.

It was her fault he was here, but maybe he had deserved it? That was all she had to console herself as she walked, straight toward the building she was headed to.

message 4: by dyanne (new)

dyanne And there she was. One of the princesses, scampering awkwardly in the ridiculous pink five inch heels, obviously late to class. From the direction in which she was walking, he would say it was English. Zane's classes hadn't been configured yet, and because of this, he had had a lot of time to explore and observe, two things he had found he was adept at, and since then he had memorized the locations of the buildings, gotten to know the cliques, and felt a bit of triumph each time he passed by the Animus "populars" and felt their glares on his back.

He had been in that group, once upon a time, three years before, in the group that talked far too often and thought far too little, who wore ridiculous high heels despite the pinching and the fact that wearing regular shoes would probably ensure that they would make it to class on time, the kids who wore matching clothing despite the fact that no one, no one gave a f**k.

But she wasn't like the others. Her gait was stranger, more forced and she looked vaguely familiar. It could've been de ja vu, a desperate grab at a friendly face, and yet, Zane thought he recognized orange hair and pale face. Had she gone to Eaton? He thought not. But he had known her, yes, he had, and so he cocked his head before jumping off the branch and miraculously on his feet, stepping off the dirt so he was directly facing the girl.

"I know you," He remarked bluntly, the Manhattan lilt, the strange charm in his voice already marked as he looked at the girl with his brown eyes and gave a half-smile which matched, if not surpassed, the blue-blooded charm he already exuded.

message 5: by mels (new)

mels (padmeskywalkers) She looked away. She couldn't, she couldn't meet his gaze. In all honesty she was surprised he'd even recognized her, though he didn't seem to remember who she was. It had been four years, after all. Four years without any correspondence.

"...yes. You do," she agreed, hesitantly. It wasn't as if it would do her any good to lie. It was easy enough to find out who she was.

It had been a month since he'd arrived. Maybe it was time for her to start talking to him.

message 6: by dyanne (new)

dyanne "Well it's nice to see a friendly face," Zane replied with an all too familiar smile, a charismatic grin which somehow gave an air of belonging. His mind scampered, trying to think of names. It wasn't Aurelie. Nor Cameron. Natasha? Maureille? Daveen? Faces and names whirred in his mind and yet he couldn't think of a name. "I'm so sorry, but you're going to have jarr my memory for this one."

It was hopeless. The last three years had crammed his mind filled with so many people that trying to think back past that was virtually impossible. His tone was polite, earnest, and the careful, thoughtful way in which he intoned the plea for help was his way of trying not to offend. As it was, people were incredibly easy to offend, and even more so if your name happened to be the name McAlister, a name everyone knew and few really liked.

message 7: by mels (new)

mels (padmeskywalkers) "Zombies," she replied simply, turning her head toward the classroom. "And if you'll excuse me, I have class?" Her mid was split. She wanted desperately for him to let her pass, let her get to class, forget about this encounter entirely. But... There was some part of her that still wanted him to remember her, to guess right.

message 8: by dyanne (new)

dyanne Zombies. Where had he heard about zombies? Other than Jack and him marathoning The Walking Dead every Halloween, but this girl had probably never known the smart-a**, fiery Jack and his thoughts which always hovered between morbid and psychopathic. No, she wouldn't know Jack. Aurelie would know Jack. Jack had hovered like a puppy whenever Elie was near, to her husky laugh and lavendar scent. God, he didn't think he'd actually miss her this much.

And yet here he was. It took him a second, but he blinked and stepped aside. "Sorry, my bad. Although, if you really wanted to get to class on time, maybe you should've given some thought before putting on those high heels?" His eyes bored into her. This was what was different about the Zane who hung out with the jocks which everyone hated and the Zane who the jocks loathed but had to respect, because messing with Zane meant messing with Jack, and Jack was hell.

message 9: by mels (new)

mels (padmeskywalkers) "Dinner parties and zombies. I'll wait and see if you work it out," she replied, already walking away. She glanced back, both hurt and relieved he hadn't remembered. "Maybe you should try a pair. They'd look wonderful on you." And kept walking.

message 10: by dyanne (new)

dyanne "I've heard many things would look wonderful on me, but I'm afraid commmon sense intervenes. Common sense that doesn't seem to be too common in your areas of expertise, it seems," Zane mused, his tone thoughtful, cool, nonchalant, perhaps making it sting more, because it was not sarcastic. It was genuine and as he spoke, he took the other two words into account but didn't comment. He would respond when he figured it out, but for now, this girl was exactly the type of person who Jack would attack, again and again until she burst into tears and he would smile his savage smile and tell Zane that the little b**ch had it coming before calling out Be careful not to ruin those precious shoes with your tears, princess. God, he missed Jack. Fistfights and all.

He didn't mean to look bored. But he was bored. He missed walking into giant canvas boards spread across the floor with balloons attached in random places as he shot Jack a look and Aurelie threw him a pack of darts and told him that if he liked that purple short, he better pull the d*mn thing off because that purple wasn't going to last long. Young, reckless teenagers who hadn't given a crap about society, leaning instead towards trying to live and embrace the insanity and the beauty of the world.

This girl, whoever she was, was someone who made him ache, as he thought of who he had lost. The pain was faintly visible, although she wouldn't know the reason why. He was regretting having gotten off of the tree to talk to this girl, whose disdain for him was clear. "I advise you keep on walking, seeing how at this pace, you'll reach the class after it ends." This was a true blow. It was something that his mother would reprimand and his father would laugh at, and the thought of Charles McAlister III laughing made his mouth quirk up a little.

message 11: by mels (new)

mels (padmeskywalkers) She stiffener, and turned her head, pausing. "Common sense? As if. You just don't have the balls to actually do it. All talk, no show. Petty insults don't work." He was right. She was going to be late. Late. Again. A tardy wouldn't show on her record, hopefully, but if she missed the whole class...

message 12: by dyanne (new)

dyanne "Ah, but the difference between my talk and yours is that I think before I use my words," Zane replied smoothly, unfazed. "Better a wise coward than a foolish hero," he quipped, keeping the same level-headed tone that bordered on the line between carelessness and indifference. This was witty banter of a different kind because whatever friendliness he had felt at first had steeled into taking her words and throwing both the words and the girl into a pit simply titled fakers, the one group Zane had never had any patience for.

"And yet, it seems, you are the one stalling to get to class when you are already eleven minutes late," he observed, casually glancing at his Cartier watch (which probably cost more than some of the students' homes) casually and looking at the girl's flushed cheeks with a grim smile.

message 13: by mels (new)

mels (padmeskywalkers) "Maybe. But at least I have something to say. You're just making excuses."

She paused, waiting for him to finish. "Oddly precise. Perhaps you hadn't noticed hag yore the one who persists in calling me back? And wouldn't you have classes of your own to attend to?"

message 14: by dyanne (last edited Jan 27, 2015 09:26PM) (new)

dyanne "You're offending all the actual crossdressers in the world. I do not put on high heels because I dislike high heels and I find it much easier to go places in my Nike's. In this sense, I am the hero, aren't I, Ellie, for I do not conform to society but stand unashamedly in who I am-- or perhaps you have forgotten the girl you once were and for that, I do not know whether to be glad that she never had to know she would grow up to be someone she hated so or if I should be sad to know that whatever friend I had as a child is now nothing more than a nostalgic memory." It snapped, and his brain pieced it together, first in disbelief, and then in numb acceptance. Her parents, her friends, the world had gotten to her, and this girl in pink and with make up and heels was the furthest away from the ghost he saw in his memory, a girl who looked so out of place in the ruffles and ribbons and who always had a new book in hand each time they met.

"They haven't given me a schedule yet, and so no, I'm in no classes." His phone buzzed, and he took it out, expecting Jack or perhaps Hank but saw a text from of all people, Aurelie. y'better get your a** back to Eaton. It buzzed again. people are saying you got abducted and r being held for ransom but who the f**k would want an insufferable b**tard like you? Gd, ur such an IDIOT. At the text, Zane's face broke into a wide grin, the same grin, despite all the years, he had worn during games of jubilant hide and seek where after thirty or fourty or sometimes an hour's worth of searching, Ellie finally called out surrender and Zane emerged triumphant. God, Elie misses me, he thought to himself as he shook his head. It was rude of him to check his phone, but he had cast all manners aside to this girl who was no longer Ellie. He quickly texted back: U, apparently. N if I'm the idiot, what r u?

message 15: by mels (new)

mels (padmeskywalkers) She ignored everything, focusing on the name. Ellie. He remembered. It's had been so, so long since she'd heard that name... She was Elle, now, or Giselle. Britton. Never Ellie. He'd always been the only one to call her that before, too. He'd been her only friend, after all. "It's Elle, now," she was all she said, quietly. She needed to go to class. Ten more minutes and she would be sent to the Dean's office. But now... She couldn't turn away. Not now. "Whoever you're texting won't get your message for an hour or so," she commented. "Admin reads all the messages we send out, and look up whoever we're sending them to before they send them."

message 16: by dyanne (new)

dyanne "So you dropped a syllable? Why am I not surprised?" Elle. Elie. Ellie without an l. Elie, Ellie, Elly had been his pet name for so many things, for Giselle, for Aurelie, Eleanor (his cat), and now, they were all gone, Ellie to a more sophisticated name, a more vapid, society-conformist face, Aurelie to the fact that Zane wasn't going to come back any time soon, and that meant that she and Jack would learn to deal, she would learn to cast him aside as just another guy and pull pranks and make out on the clock tower with other guys, Eleanor to old age. She had been twenty one, but Zane had cried like a baby the day he woke up to find that the usually energetic white cat wasn't moving.

At that comment, he looked up quizzically. All of his messages had gone through instantaneously so far, why would admin find any particular favor over him? And then he remembered the words of the administrator... Senator McAlister gave a generous donation to the academy, Zane, so if you need anything... Of course. His father was one step ahead, and it also meant that his iphone, his texts would thankfully stay his own. He gave a slight grin thinking of what the admin would think of Jack. "For a "safe haven", this place sure feels like a prison."

message 17: by mels (new)

mels (padmeskywalkers) She shrugged, looking down. "Wasn't really my choice. My roommate... Well, anyway, Elle is better than Giselle. Ellie wasn't really an option, anymore. Not that anyone called me that but you in the first place."

"You have... No idea." She replied. "No idea." She noticed the quizzical look on his face and wondered. Surely he'd noticed his messages not going through....

message 18: by dyanne (new)

dyanne "Right." Zane tried to pull back the memories of the feisty little redhead who was made up of one part fear and two parts otherworldy courage, the type of courage which came in fighting imaginary monsters and setting free the helpless victims trapped in the lair of evil from the malicious witch or queen or pirate. She hadn't thought herself as a brave person, even then, but the stubborn spark in her eyes every single time her parents tried to suggest more lady-like interests, dolls, makeup, fashion, created a deep-rooted respect in Zane for against the passive-aggression, she held strong. And yet, here she was. Four years. A lot could change in four years.

"I'm guessing you've gotten no further on trying to read my mind?" Zane asked, tucking aside the prison-like state of the academy into the back of his mind, determined to do some research, make some phone calls, find some answers. So far, he'd been given none, and that was fine-- all it meant was that he would have to get off his lazy a** and find them for himself. "Zombie Zane, eh?"

message 19: by mels (new)

mels (padmeskywalkers) She shook her head, looking up at him. "All I can tell is that you think I'm a coward. But I don't need to read your mind for that. It's plain on your face."

She sighed. "You know all the Animus kids are pissed off at you, right?"

message 20: by dyanne (last edited Jan 29, 2015 06:40PM) (new)

dyanne "I don't think you're a coward," Zane replied thoughtfully, looking at the girl with sincere eyes. "I just think you've settled. I never thought you were the type of person to settle." He saw no flaws in being honest. People didn't just change. And girls with stubborn courage didn't suddenly become cowards. But she had changed, and no matter what the reason was, the truth was that she had settled. Settled into conformity, settled into giving into her parents' wishes, settled into a monotonous lifestyle which included going through the motions and didn't include any of the adventures she had always longed for.

Maybe she was right. Maybe he did see her as a coward. Aurelie would always nag about his aloofness, his air of condescension which he never really noticed. Did Zane see himself as a hero? I'm genuine. Does that make me better? He needed Jack. That voice which drawled, sh*t, are you actually asking me that? Yeah you're genuine but you're also insufferable so get over yourself, you little b*****d. Was it courage or cowardice which kept Zane from going back to where he "belonged", in the likes of those like Elle?

He looked back at her with an odd smile, a smile which added a wild quality to him, almost savage. "Trust me, I know." He didn't tell her that he could stretch it out, that the girl, the one with the weird name Elf? Sprite? Pixie?, Nymph, had decided to take out his anger by making him invisible to the rest of the people in the dining hall, but to Zane's surprise and also to his satisfaction, he could extend his "force field", and the three around him who he had been talking to could suddenly see him again. It wasn't all too hard, it just took some thought and the right amount of momentum to get it going. It was like trying to grab the branch of the tree and pull yourself up.

message 21: by mels (new)

mels (padmeskywalkers) "Settled? I became what I had to be, Zane. I... Did what I had to do. Ellie didn't work here. So now I'm Elle, I guess." She watched him closely, watched his eyes, his face. "No... You do think I'm a coward, in some way. You think I gave up. That I lost everything. It's true, isn't it?"

She looked at him, a little shocked by the smile. "What did you do? II did something. I can tell. I thought they were just mad about your power, but the smile...?"

message 22: by dyanne (new)

dyanne "You could've made it work, if you truly wanted to," Zane replied, his eyes unreadable yet sharp, boring into Ellie. Ellie. Despite the make-up, the heels, the hair which had been unfrizzed and curled to perfection, unfit for someone with such a bold hair-color, his mind was stubborn on giving her that nickname from oh so long ago, back when she was sulking in that terrible peach dress with frills and he was already so at ease in the Armani suit, front hair spiked up with hair gel. Maybe he'd just conformed earlier than she had. "And no. I have no right to judge. I don't know you, Giselle."

He didn't bother to reply to the question. His power was expendable, the Animus house hated uncertainty. In their unity, they knew everything, past, present, future about everyone, and that was their solace, that was what gave them such power. And Zane had taken it away-- and he could take it away for others. He could selectively pick on one Animus person and block them from the others, make them like him. Break the unity. But there was more. Zane had changed much in three years, Jack had rubbed off, and he wasn't so much cruel as slightly judgemental, and when evil fell in the way of those who bullied themselves, he couldn't help but laugh and think that they had it coming.

But Ellie Giselle couldn't know that. So his eyes remained unreadable and he did what he was best at, which was to give a knowing, charming, slightly condescending, vaguely terrifying smile which revealed absolutely nothing.

message 23: by mels (new)

mels (padmeskywalkers) "Could I have?" She asked, almost sounding desperate. "Could I have? You weren't there, Zane... You don't know. You don't know why or how I changed, all you know is it's different and that I shouldn't have changed. Maybe I shouldn't have. But you're right. You can't judge me. You weren't here, and you don't know."

He'd changed, too. It wasn't just her. The smile... It was different. Much more different. Unless the condescension she saw... Was just for her.

She turned her head. "I... Really need to get to class. Really."

message 24: by dyanne (new)

dyanne "No. I don't know," Zane replied calmly, his eyes boring into something past Giselle, which he hoped was making her feel uneasy. Uncertain. Because Zane knew enough to infer, or so he hoped. The reasons for change were rather simple. It was a mean of survival. Adapt or die. If you couldn't change your circumstances, you changed yourself. Was it a roommate? Her parents? This school? Perhaps it was all three.

And this is where Zane had the upper hand. Because Ellie Giselle never had to read between the lines. She knew the thoughts without having to infer, and since Zane provided no lines to read, there were definitely no lines to read between. He told himself to shut down. Embrace the cold certainty of his father, smile still in place, but distant, with Zane looking down at Giselle not just literally, but figuratively. Let her feel the submission. And then-- "But I'll bet you my suit that somewhere hidden on this campus, your Captain America comic books are carefully kept, buried under the clothes and the shoes." His voice was quiet, but there was a definite edge.

"My apologies for stalling you, Miss Giselle. I hope you have a wonderful day."

message 25: by mels (new)

mels (padmeskywalkers) She shifted uneasily under his gaze, tapping her fingers on her textbook, afraid to look back at him. But then she did. A quick glance of the eyes. And wished she hadn't. His gaze... It was so cold. So unfeeling. Even after she looked away, she could feel it searing into the side of her head. Now that she'd seen it, there was no forgetting it. The distant smile, the cold eyes... The condescension.

She swallowed at the sound of his voice returning, almost looking back in shock but keeping her head turned away. She wouldn't reply. No, she couldn't. She just had to walk away, now. Leave behind that distant smile, those cold eyes, the condescension, the face that was so Zane but wasn't. She couldn't face him. Not now, and especially not since she knew the truth. That she was the reason he was here, in this h***hole of a school.

"I..." She paused, almost finding the courage to reply, but her feet had other ideas, already walking away. "Goodbye... Zane." Her pace quickened the farther she walked, her head bent, her hair falling into her face as she entered the building. Her fingers clutched her books so hard she could feel them turning white.

Once she was a sufficient distance away, she stopped, leaning against a wall, taking in a few gasping, rattling breaths, trying to calm herself. She had to compose herself. Had to calm down. She had to be in English. English. Oh, God, she was late, oh God..

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