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It's An Inky Dinky Doo Da Lunchtime
Rachael might have been more comfortable just standing there silently, evaporating molecule by molecule into the ether.

The problem was that a lot of things happened in quick sequence and even one of those things alone would have been a lot to process. Another girl appeared at Rachael's shoulder. Yasmin- Yaz- was someone else Rachael rather trusted but she'd asked a question that needed an answer. Needed decisiveness, and Rachael needed a moment to dredge any of that particular quality up from the pasty recesses of her head. No time to figure it out. Another another girl who was this time unfamiliar, also talking to Felicia. Would they all be sharing the same table? No time to figure it out. Another another another girl who was maybe familiar. She'd managed to insert herself adjacent to their group with a loud noise that grated on the ears like metal making love to metal. Her face was something Rachael was vaguely intimidated by though she didn't know why, had they had an argument, had she been some kind of bully? No time to figure it out. The most another-est of faces, this one a boy, asking for shelter from the swarms elsewhere in the cafeteria. Rachael sympathized with that, that she could figure out somehow from the mess of static her brain had scrambled into.

There was a lot happening at once, specifically, a lot of unfamiliar faces all a mite too close. Rachael felt a heavy weight in the pit of her stomach. She had taken her Zoloft already, she was pretty sure. Because she was at least still breathing normally, as in, not so loud it could be clearly heard.

Her ears rung for a second. Maybe silence, or the echo of everyone else having spoken still reverberating.

Eventually, Rachael answered Yaz.

"Y-yeah. We could?" Not the most confident statement ever uttered. Rachael stuffed herself at the table bench, in as tiny an iteration of personal space as she could manage, arms virtually fusing to her side and her lunch sack half crushed between her own thighs.

'Uh. Hi. Guys.'

Was a thing she didn't actually say, her mouth was welded together with artisan precision. She glanced around. She'd probably left too much space on either side of herself for someone to slot themselves right next to her stiff-as-a-rotting-wood-board body. She tried to dismiss that nerve frying thought from mind and come up with something else to say.

"Writing wise...? Felicia?" She glanced sort of Felicia's way.

Paris thought the next song that came on after a brief iPod shuffling from the host was also pretty flexible in terms of moral fiber. The lyrical content distracted him for a moment, in a way like how stepping on dog leavings was distracting. Then Paris glanced around a bit. Girl-with-the-name was flipping through her Instagram, good old Chuck was picking up his glasses for some reason. Seeing all that reminded Paris that he was among probably-good company.

"Yeah, you definitely can! I agree with Chuck here, pretty much. These photos are phenomenal even if I don't really get the technical detail behind any of them." Paris's eyes glazed over as he tried to study one in particular. "Like how did you manage to make the lighting here so, you know. Lifelike."

Then Maxwell had shown up again. Paris nodded at him. "Dude, check it out, this girl's got some mad photos." Paris also looked right at Maxwell when he said 'this girl'. Gestured at Yaz with a more careful nod, discretely enough so that everyone involved could see.

She was probably still his type, definitely.

Paris let his gaze wander around some more. He saw Cilo in the distance, awkwardly lurking and looking mad or whatever it was she normally did with her free time. He waved her over with friendly intent. A definite case of 'the more the merrier' probably. While he was calling her he was also asking Yaz another question while not in anyway actually talking to or facing her.

"What do you think of Instagram filters? Does using them not count, like, too easy?"

It's An Inky Dinky Doo Da Lunchtime
((Rachael Langdon continued from Torn Jeans and Prom Queens))

That brief moment back at the party two weeks prior had been the conceiving of a new idea. It haunted Rachael up to now, even. She briefly let her mind run away with her, head turning on the axis of heels.

Rhiannon would seek purchase on a winding path leading downward, into the foreboding and cavernous depths of her school. Before her a dank, wretched atmosphere like one might expect of bowels. They had come in drips and droplets. Then surging tides. Things long buried, long forgotten, longer still feared but only in the most childish and instinctive lobes of the mortal mind. It had only been days ago that she'd been an ordinary girl in an ordinary school and now she was something she had to be despite not wanting to be it at all...

Rachael wasn't convinced, but she could let the idea percolate. She'd been able to recycle an old character concept from a fantasy novel she'd abandoned quarter-finished last year so she supposed that was pretty good. Furthermore it was something tonally different from what she normally liked to work with: a more modern as opposed to high fantasy setting. Rachael found doing the research for more realistic settings was harder than just letting her imagination run wild, but so far it seemed just as satisfying when all was said and done.

She returned to reality, and let her head droop to earth a bit as she shuffled on through the cafeteria, unassuming brown sack clasped by two hands shrugging in front of her.

Her eyes scanned with quick and mousy snaps, to and fro, she couldn't recognize any familiar faces. No Daniel... no Johnny... no Kitty... no Eris... no Jasmine. Maybe they were still in their classes and would show up in a bit? Rachael figured she could linger, pathing herself around so she produced the incessant contrails of a buzzing fly. Or maybe sit at an unoccupied table until someone familiar showed

Like Felicia. Maybe in the realm of a close friend, Miss LaChapelle one of the kindest souls Rachael had the fortune of knowing and orbiting around. Rachael could have imagined her friend in a past life as a gallant and noble knight, the figure to match myths and legends.

Felicia had set pen to paper, briefly. After that she seemed to be busy, concentrating. That could have meant well anything from homework to creative pursuits to keeping a hit list, but the last was weirdly specific and thoroughly out of character and Rachael didn't know why that particular option had blossomed into her thoughts. And the remainder two and anything else Felicia was potentially doing were serious pursuits! Rachael didn't want to up and bother an actively engaged friend without reason, she was quite nervous to come off as rude or ill-intentioned.

So time passed as Rachael lingered nearby, in the aisle between the table and another, trying to keep her eyes hovering right in that sweet spot somewhere over Felicia's shoulder where Felicia would know Rachael was looking at her if she happened to see. But it was fine if she didn't, Rachael posited. She could always take the unspoken and ungestured and unconscious hint and move on.

Torn Jeans and Prom Queens
((Skipping with permission so I can e v a c u a t e t h e d a n c e f l o o r))

Miss Shirley seemed to assume Mister Baxter was intimidating Rachael. That was a bit too on the nose as an estimate; unfortunately enough, as Rachael hadn't intended to come off that way. Oh, it was that usual boiling hot pressure cooker about to blow that she called nerves. The darndest things they were. Miss Shirley saying what she had and interposing her hands- smooth, manicured- directly into the scene, curiously enough it seemed to almost draw Rachael back into reality. The train of her mind stopped derailing into a fiery wreck for just a moment, and she felt her tremulous mouth settle into a neutral gear frown.

"U-uhm, I wasn't... intimidated, per... say?"

Rachael could hear herself so she'd likely spoken loud enough that time. Her eyes softly and slowly swiveled, presenting to both Mister Baxter and Miss Shirley in turn. Rachael's eyes could have been begging forgiveness or an airsickness bag, the tension on the corner of her brow signaled somewhere between the two extremes.

"Experience... At the party." She probably hadn't needed to confirm the obvious, but her nervously ambling mouth overtook her the more well-constructed of her own thoughts.

Was Ramona upset? Rachael didn't know, among the other things she didn't know, like what to say. Rachael was awkwardly silent for a second too long. Then:

"The music's, um... kind of nice, I guess...? Er, like this one song. If either of you... know the, uh, artist..."

And then a loud line of lyric clearly rung out, content rather offensive to every gender under the sun. Rachael visibly groaned, audibly cringed.

"U-uh, well. The instrumental, at least...?"

On and on it went.

When she looked back on this party Rachael would suppose it could have gone worse. Perhaps the night could have been the waxing moon of a scheme millennia old against the humanoid surface dwellers, their breach point a series of yawning canyons and crevasses, masked underneath the innocuous halls of P.J. Hobbs...

((Rachael Langdon continued in It's An Inky Dinky Doo Da Lunchtime))

Cilo- or maybe it was that other girl with the face and eyes- passed Paris as he was walking. He wasn't particularly sure why her attention had been roused. He hadn't been pointing at her, she'd just happened to be in the same direction that he'd been pointing in. Cool she was hanging around though. Paris figured she and Maxwell might speak at some point since they used to know each other or something possibly cinematic and dramatic like that. Paris wasn't paying so much attention to that right now.

The girl now in front of Paris cussed a bit and seemed surprised. She responded to the question he'd asked and breathed really loudly somewhere in the middle. He wondered a bit why she was so seemingly tense, but maybe it was because he'd been a bit too sudden. Paris supposed being too sudden was a habit he sometimes had.

"Huh, cool! I should follow more of those types of folks on Instagram. Like you, for example." Paris nodded cheerfully. "If you want to show off some of your work I'm totally cool with that! Photography's always fascinated me but whenever I take a picture it comes out all dull and lifeless. People who have the talent for it are pretty awesome." He recalled a few photos he'd taken in the past months, of his face and other people's faces. Maxwell's might also have ended up in a photo or two. As he thought about all those photos he definitely concluded they were less nice looking than the ones this girl had up on her phone.

The guy with the beanie showed up with a beer in his hand. Lot of drinkers in these parts. Even cute photo girl was working on something alcoholic. Oh well. The toxic yeasty smell was one of those things Paris couldn't help.

Paris vaguely gestured, from Chuck's face to Yaz's phone.

"Hey dude." Paris thought his name could have been Chuck.

"If you're cool with it I bet Chuck here would also be interested in your photos," Paris said at the girl whose name he was way more unsure about.

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