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The Homeless Beard
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"Two plus two is four, minus one is three quick maths"
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Dougie was already halfway across the stage at her beckoning gesture, vaguely uncomfortable and fidgety in the open area, knowing that there were cameras trained on his face, picking up the sound of his sneakers on the polished wood and the rasp of his fingers as they slid to the last knuckle into his jeans pockets, his green eyes taking in the girl fully for the first time.

He recognized her. Of course he did. Jewel was one of the more distinctive looks in Whittree, and that combined with a recognizable name had made her easy to spot in a crowd. He couldn’t say they’d had reason to interact beyond sharing the odd class, but she was a familiar face amidst a blank canvas, and the sight was welcome.

But when she opened her mouth, that welcoming, familiar feeling fled him, causing him to stop walking with a dozen feet separating them. Her query had his mouth twisting into a half-frown, one hand reaching upwards to tug lightly on the purple beanie, lowering it to cover the tips of his ears.

That was a joke, right? Or some theatrical shit? That was the sort of thing that the villain in Die Hard would say to the hero.

Ever seen a murder?

I’m about to.

He was spared from a response, however, by the loud voice of a newcomer - striding towards the stage, stuttering and stammering. Dougie pulled both hands from his pockets, widened his stance, and watched the boy as he approached - the creepy girl and her creepy question momentarily shoved to a lower space on the totem pole of priorities.

New kid had a pink bandanna, to go with Jewel’s black one and his own light blue.

The only response he had for the new kid was to nod his head tightly, eyes shifting between Jewel and Erik, his left foot easing backwards in case he needed to break and run.
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