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Beat The Lunch Line; Detroit Central, Open
Topic Started: Feb 27 2011, 06:05 AM (1,993 Views)
MurderWeasel
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I can trick them into thinking anything
[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
((Karen Ruiz continued from Not Just Window Shopping))

Lunch time had come once more at Detroit Central High School, and once more students were lining up in the cafeteria, getting their trays filled with the glop and slop of the day. Karen found herself feeling rather envious. Skipping lunch wasn't really a big deal in theory, but when lunch came around and her stomach started rumbling, it suddenly seemed just a bit more major. She'd been hoping to scrounge enough change to dodge this issue, but it seemed Jason had already combed their room for loose money. Karen hadn't quite been able to swallow her pride enough to try to bum two bucks from her elementary-schooler brother.

So she'd be hungry, then. Too bad. At least there were a few upsides to the situation. She had first pick of the tables. A quick scan of the lunchroom showed nothing out of the ordinary. Her favorite spot was still unoccupied. It was a round table in a corner of the room, tucked out of eye shot of half the cafeteria, only a couple chairs around. About as uninviting as lunch spots came.

Beautiful.

She was on her way there quickly, her long, black coat swishing around her ankles, reminding her why she wasn't eating today. It was worth it. Totally worth it. Besides, weren't girls supposed to worry about their weights or something? Supposed to go on diets? That would be her excuse, though having an excuse seemed almost painfully pointless because she wasn't about to explain herself to anyone.

She wasn't thinking too clearly. She was tired. Last night, she'd been up really late, watching slasher flicks. She didn't like slasher flicks at all, but she had just been unable to make herself turn away. It had been a sort of positive feedback loop; the more TV she watched, the less she felt like sleeping, and the less she felt like sleeping, the more she felt like watching TV just to do something, because she was too tired to read. In the end, she'd passed out on the couch, waking only when her mother turned up to put on breakfast. No one in her family seemed all that distraught with how often they found Karen on the couch in the morning, the TV running low in the background. Probably, Jason preferred it. Sharing a room with a teenage sister had to be hard on him, especially since she stayed up late out of habit.

Still, it beat rooming with their parents, like her other brother did. She had no clue how Chris put up with it. Philip had them all beat in discomfort, of course.

She made her way to the table, sat, and dragged out the battered book she'd purchased. It wasn't going to be a happy book. She was about fifteen pages in, and already she knew that. Still, the author was good. She got to reading. Something about caltrops, knocking out traffic on a major thoroughfare at rush hour.

Karen let herself get lost in the book, trying to tune out the world. Tune out the world, and it usually tuned you out too.
Current characters:

The Program: V3 Prologue:
Mina Mashall - Digital Voice Recorder - Making a good impression - "I didn't know you felt so strongly about me."
Erik Bell - Jericho .941 - Having lunch - "May I?"

SECOND CHANCES: V2:
Assorted flora and fauna

SOTF-TV V2:
EW4: Jewel Evans - Chatterbox Communicator Headsets (0/5) - Online - ELIMINATED - "Scars are just reminders to be better next time."

Past characters:

If you want an honest assessment of your character's storyline, feel free to PM me and I'll whip one up as soon as I am able.

Thanks to Bear/Frogue/Kotorikun/Ryuki for the avatar art.
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Casey the Undead
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((Brenda Hernandez start))

Brenda looked down at the slop on her lunch tray, silently wishing that she hadn't gotten up so late so she could have packed a lunch instead. It was a silly mistake really- she'd been up studying and had forgotten to reset her alarm. Her internal alarm had woken her about 20 minutes late- meaning there was no time for her to dry her hair, barely any time for her to scarf down breakfast, and no time for her to pack her own lunch. She'd barely remembered the grab the spare change she needed to buy a lunch.

Brenda looked around the lunchroom, wondering where to sit. She usually changed her location every couple of weeks, finding new people to socialize with. It was Brenda's goal to get to know as many people in her year as possible, and switching up her lunch routine was a great way to get there.

She glanced around, passing over people who she knew and talked too. After a few seconds, her eyes fell on a solitary figure in a corner.

It took Brenda a moment to recognize the girl- Karen. Brenda knew more of Karen than she actually knew her. In fact, Brenda was only really certain that Karen was on the soccer team, and that she didn't talk to too many people.

Brenda could feel the sparkle in her eyes. Karen was perfect! A newer person to get to know better. Brenda made her way over, stopping at the table.

"Hey! Karen? It's Brenda!" Brenda started off in her usual cheery voice, only now noticing that she'd interrupted the other girl's reading, which was kind of rude. Brenda also took note of the girl's clothes. "Nice coat! Is it new?"

Another quick glance and Brenda realized what was missing from the scene. "Oh hey, you don't have a lunch! Do you want some of mine?" It wasn't the most appetizing thing, but Brenda wasn't really that hungry and didn't mind sharing.

Brenda paused, suddenly realizing how many questions she'd asked. "Oh dear. I'm interrogating you, aren't I?" She laughed out loud, a full, genuine, kind laugh. "Do you mind if I sit?"

Brenda knew better than sitting before Karen told her she could. She didn't want to come off as a complete rude jerk. So she stood there instead, waiting for Karen's response, a smile fully on her face.
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MurderWeasel
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I can trick them into thinking anything
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Really, it shouldn't be so hard to find some peace. Lunch was a time for eating, not talking. Karen had never understood the concept of communal meals. You ate when you were hungry, not to be doing things with other people. This was one of those strange habits people had, like commuting to the restroom in groups. School wasn't for for socializing either. School was for learning, if you were a nerd, or for getting a shot at a half-decent job, if you lived in the real world. It was painful enough cruising through the days without people actually trying to interact. What did they think, that Karen wanted friends or something? Friends were the conducting material for the spark of social relations, which ignited the fires of drama. Karen had more than enough of that without adding in her classmates' woes.

All of this contributed to the rather frosty reaction Karen displayed upon being interrupted in her reading by the arrival of one Brenda Something-or-Other. A quick mental check revealed absolutely nothing about Brenda, but that was nothing out of the ordinary. Karen didn't know much about her classmates, and they didn't know much about her. It was how she liked it.

She really had no clue what it was with a lot of the other Hispanic girls in school, traveling in clusters, acting like sharing a skin color and language meant that they had anything in common. Most of them knew by now that Karen didn't fit in, though. Most of them had a pretty clear idea of just how little she had in common with anyone, how little she wanted to do with this school's population and culture. It seemed Brenda was not among this number. Fine. Sure. Whatever.

None of that was cause for concern. What was making Karen nervous was the kindness Brenda seemed to be showing. Offering her food? What was her angle? What did she want? It couldn't be just a simple friendly gesture, not to a complete stranger. The comment about her coat, too. Sure, it could almost pass for new after the cleaning she'd given it, and sure it was doing its job, drawing the attention, but still... there was just something off. People didn't just compliment each other out of the blue.

And so, Karen fell back upon her usual strategy, responding in as efficiently taciturn a manner as she could, addressing each of Brenda's questions in turn.

"No. No. Yes. No."

Maybe Brenda would sit down and talk further. Maybe she'd wonder off and ignore the invitation. It really did not matter overly much to Karen. She could go back to reading if things got annoying, or just get up and go. She didn't want to draw tons of attention by being rude, so she'd have to make up a lie, but it wouldn't be hard. And besides, Brenda might turn out to not be too bad.

Just as long as she wasn't planning something.
Current characters:

The Program: V3 Prologue:
Mina Mashall - Digital Voice Recorder - Making a good impression - "I didn't know you felt so strongly about me."
Erik Bell - Jericho .941 - Having lunch - "May I?"

SECOND CHANCES: V2:
Assorted flora and fauna

SOTF-TV V2:
EW4: Jewel Evans - Chatterbox Communicator Headsets (0/5) - Online - ELIMINATED - "Scars are just reminders to be better next time."

Past characters:

If you want an honest assessment of your character's storyline, feel free to PM me and I'll whip one up as soon as I am able.

Thanks to Bear/Frogue/Kotorikun/Ryuki for the avatar art.
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Casey the Undead
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[ *  *  *  * ]
Brenda's smile faltered slightly at Karen's direct answers. It took her a moment to go back and think about the order of her questions. If her memory was right, it was No to a new coat, no to lunch, yes to interrogation, no to sitting down. Which meant that this conversation was pretty much over.

Brenda nodded. "Oh...okay then! Just wondering." She started to move away, but something stopped her. Brenda wasn't one to just walk away from others- even if they were somewhat cold. Brenda didn't know why Karen was acting that way, but it was very possible that something was wrong, and Brenda didn't want to leave Karen alone if she was sad. If she needed someone to talk too, then Brenda would be there for her.

Of course sometimes people wanted to be left alone too. Brenda was torn between respecting Karen's wishes and leaving or trying to start up the conversation again. She thought for a moment, before deciding that one more try at conversation couldn't hurt anyone.

"Hey, before I go, you play soccer, right? My dad watches that sport a lot. I was wondering why you like it. I always try to play with my brothers, but I'm not very good." Brenda laughed again, remembering her downright awful attempts at playing with her brothers and the crushing defeats she suffered.

"How long have you been playing? Like, how did you get into it?" Brenda paused again, before it dawned on her that she'd continued asking questions. "Oh my, I'm doing it again! I'm so sorry!" Brenda laughed harder, taking a hand off of her tray and covering her mouth.

"I guess you just want to be alone, huh? I'm so sorry, I'll go now. Thanks though! It was nice talking to you Karen!" Brenda began to walk away, but did it deliberately slowly, just in case Karen decided to answer her questions after all.
Edited by Casey the Undead, Feb 27 2011, 07:41 AM.
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MurderWeasel
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Oh. She wanted to talk soccer. She'd also interpreted things as Karen telling her to buzz off. That had been the long and short of it, but there had been no real need for Karen to be a terribly rude jerk about it. That was the sort of thing that brought all the wrong kinda of attention, the sort of thing that got your teeth knocked out against the curb after school by the members of that clique you shunned. And really, what harm could there be in discussing her sport a bit? Well, besides being forced to interact with people who made her a little nervous. If this was going to turn into a discussion about Philip, Karen was just going to walk out, civility be damned.

So Karen sighed, and spoke again.

"Sorry. I don't mean to be a bitch. Yesterday was long. I do play soccer. I have since... seventh grade or so. You can have a seat."

She'd just entirely backtracked. Well, not really; she'd said she hadn't minded if Brenda sat before, but it had been phrased ambiguously. Anyways, it seemed Karen would have a lunch buddy after all. That meant she could probably kiss reading goodbye for the day. She moved her bookmark (an old, crumbly receipt for a bag of chips) from the back of the book to her current place, then shut the book and laid it on the table. The image of a man in a gas mask, semi-transparent and with no eyes, stared up at her. The man was holding a cow skull. Karen flipped the book so the back cover showed.

She thought for a few seconds, then added, "I just tried it in gym class and had fun."

It wasn't very good conversation, but that was okay. Karen wasn't here to have good conversation. Right now, she was pretty much here to not offend and to repair the damage caused by her carelessness.
Current characters:

The Program: V3 Prologue:
Mina Mashall - Digital Voice Recorder - Making a good impression - "I didn't know you felt so strongly about me."
Erik Bell - Jericho .941 - Having lunch - "May I?"

SECOND CHANCES: V2:
Assorted flora and fauna

SOTF-TV V2:
EW4: Jewel Evans - Chatterbox Communicator Headsets (0/5) - Online - ELIMINATED - "Scars are just reminders to be better next time."

Past characters:

If you want an honest assessment of your character's storyline, feel free to PM me and I'll whip one up as soon as I am able.

Thanks to Bear/Frogue/Kotorikun/Ryuki for the avatar art.
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Casey the Undead
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Don't tell me to smile
[ *  *  *  * ]
Brenda couldn't help but smile as Karen spoke out, and quickly turned around and sat down. "Thanks!"

"And you're not being a bitch, honest. I've met much worse, believe me!" Brenda laughed again, but something inside her felt sadder. She couldn't help but think of her soccer-loving father. It hadn't been that long since the fight, but things were still awkward. Maybe soccer would help out. If Brenda suddenly gained appreciation of the sport, she and her father would having to talk about. It would help immensely, she thought.

"Seventh grade? That's a long time. I've been kickboxing since around then too, actually." The sadness evaporated entirely from Brenda as she thought about her first kickboxing classes. They were tough, and she was exhausted, but it was fun. And once she got attached, she stayed attached. It was probably the same with Karen and soccer.

"That's really cool. I wish I could've gotten into soccer or basketball or something like that. Sometimes I think it would have been so much easier." She giggled again, mostly to herself, knowing that neither of her parents would have been all that pleased with her playing basketball instead of doing something "useful" like a self-defense class.

Brenda paused after saying that, letting the silence envelop them for a moment. It was...awkward, to say the least. Brenda was very used to everything being loud or active. She needed to talk about something. But what?

Her eye caught the flipped over book Karen was reading. "Oh! What are you reading? It looks...interesting. Well, I mean, the back of it looks interesting." She laughed again. She was doing that a lot, even if Karen wasn't. It might have come off as awkward, but Brenda was a genuinely happen person, so it was nothing new to her.

She looked down at her lunch tray, picking at the food for a second. "Uh...you sure you don't want any? I really don't mind!"

Edited by Casey the Undead, Feb 28 2011, 01:18 AM.
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The Bearded One
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((Pregame start for Alicia White))


It's just a part of human life; there's nothing to do about it, so just pay attention to something else. Alicia shifted her weight from one foot to the other while standing in the food line at the cafeteria. She was neither early nor late, so the line was both long and slow. She looked around the large room already bustling with the activity of kids finding their ways to tables with their friends. The noise was a slowly rising din of voices overlapping and drowning each other out so that each speaker would have to raise their voice just a little louder in order to be heard by the others at their tables.

Alicia waited patiently in the line, holding the trapezoidal plastic tray which would hold her food. She glanced at the girl in front of her and at the boy just behind her, not recognizing either of them, and not eager to attract too much attention to herself. As she followed the line forward toward the lunch lady mechanically ladling portions of mass-produced food onto each tray, she looked out toward the tables behind her where she would eventually have to find a seat.

She felt sure that she would be able to recognize Anna Hitchins and Anthony Rollins if they were out there, but they were either running late or choosing to go off campus for lunch that day. She couldn't find Odile Jones either, one of the few other students she felt sure she could spot in a crowd. Oh well, hopefully I'll be able to find a seat without barging in on people I don't know at all.

At last the line progressed far enough for her to get her meal. The first ladle-full was the entree: liquidy Franks-&-beans. The smell significantly reduced Ali's hunger level. I wonder if that's what they designed it to do. Next came a spoonful of drooping broccoli, and finally a small bowl of applesauce. She added a pint-carton of 2% milk to her tray, then headed away from the line to try to find a seat at a non-hostile table.
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MurderWeasel
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I can trick them into thinking anything
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So Brenda was the friendly, talkative sort. That was good. That meant she would carry the brunt of the conversation, and Karen could pretty much just exist as the words flowed around her. No real need to engage. Then again, Brenda would notice before too long. They always noticed. Karen just didn't understand why people had this need to spend so much time talking, so much time making sure that they understood each other. She didn't really care that much if people understood where she was coming from. In fact, it was safer if they didn't. It meant they couldn't use her, couldn't hurt her. People always seemed to be hurting each other, and Karen just didn't understand why. It wasn't like they needed to fight over resources like in prehistoric eras. It wasn't like they were in some war-torn African nation. They were poor kids in an inner-city school, but so what?

But Brenda said a few things that did catch Karen's attention. She kickboxed? That sounded really dangerous, both to participate in and to deal with. Good thing Brenda didn't seem to have any anger problems. Good thing Karen hadn't scorned her completely earlier on. It was strange, though, how Brenda wished she'd been part of a more conventional sport. Karen imagined there wasn't that much short of an armed mugging you had to be afraid of with half a decade of martial arts under your belt. Then again, maybe kickboxing wasn't very practical. She didn't really have a clue what it entailed. She had this vague image of people crabwalking and kicking at each other, but that couldn't possibly be right. It seemed improbably silly, even for a martial art with a fairly comical name.

And then Brenda turned the conversation back around, returned it to Karen and her interests, specifically, her book. She glanced at the back cover. The big, block letters reading "Garbageman/Savior" stared back at her. That... well, okay, that was legitimately interesting. That was something Karen herself would have asked about had she seen it and not held an aversion towards unnecessary social interaction. Maybe Brenda even liked vintage sci fi. It struck Karen as somewhat unlikely, but it was worth exploring at least briefly.

She flipped the book, so the front cover was visible again, then passed it over to Brenda. It wasn't a very nice copy, with yellowed pages, a creased spine, and numerous small tears on the cover, but Karen didn't pick books based on aesthetic appeal. Cost efficiency was her primary concern, and it was hard to beat fifty cents for an author proven to be good.

"It's called The Sheep Look Up," she said, for once volunteering information easily available to her conversational partner. "I've only just started it, but it's pretty good so far."

Of course, it was also very oddly written, something of a collage of interlocking stories and scenes, from what she could gather, but that just made things more interesting, as did the selections from classical poems quoted at the start of each calendar month in the story's chronology. All in all, a very eccentric novel.

Karen briefly let her gaze wander over the lunch room. Then, after a second, she realized she'd forgotten Brenda's second question, and replied, "And thanks, but I'm not hungry."

She also didn't want to owe Brenda anything, and the diet excuse just sounded stupid.
Current characters:

The Program: V3 Prologue:
Mina Mashall - Digital Voice Recorder - Making a good impression - "I didn't know you felt so strongly about me."
Erik Bell - Jericho .941 - Having lunch - "May I?"

SECOND CHANCES: V2:
Assorted flora and fauna

SOTF-TV V2:
EW4: Jewel Evans - Chatterbox Communicator Headsets (0/5) - Online - ELIMINATED - "Scars are just reminders to be better next time."

Past characters:

If you want an honest assessment of your character's storyline, feel free to PM me and I'll whip one up as soon as I am able.

Thanks to Bear/Frogue/Kotorikun/Ryuki for the avatar art.
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Casey the Undead
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Don't tell me to smile
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Brenda actually enjoyed talking to Karen. Granted, Karen didn't really talk that much, but it was okay. She still seemed like a really nice girl, and she was definitely a new type of person for Brenda to hang out with.

Brenda always thought that loners were a bit odd. Personally, she couldn't understand why people wouldn't want to have friends, but then again she supposed that there were always those people who just weren't that good at socializing. Still, there always seemed to be an awful lot of loners at school. Maybe they should get together and form their own group. Though they would probably have the worst parties, wouldn't they?

Brenda gingerly took the book from Karen's hands, looking it over. It had an interesting title for sure, and the cover was really cool. Brenda didn't usually read books like this, she had to admit, but it still piqued her interest.

"That's cool! What's it about?"

Brenda's younger brother, Miguel, wanted to be a writer. She had never asked what he wanted to write- she usually just proofread his essay's for class. She wondered if this was the type of book he read. It was very dark seeming. Brenda usually hated books like that. There was always something too depressing for her. Then again, Miguel loved depressing things. She'd found a piece of his work a few years back, and it hadn't been happy to say the least.

She took a mental note of the title. Next time she was in a book store, maybe she'd pick up a copy.

She turned back to Karen, handing the book back. Figuring that Karen wouldn't ask her own questions, Brenda decided to continue on with her conversation starters.

"So, besides books and soccer, what else do you like?"
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The Bearded One
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Alicia trod slowly through the already crowded cafeteria, seeking a table on which to set her tray and eat in peace. At first, her gaze fell upon the table she used to sit at when she was a sophomore, before.... She felt a wordless twinge of loneliness. She would never be able to sit at that table again. Too many of her former friends now called her a traitor, and she couldn't blame them. What I did to them was a treason. I can never go back to that, not now that I know how much more I can become. She turned away from the Fiver's table and walked farther into the midst of the bustling room.

There were so many faces that she just didn't know. Too many students whom she had ignored in previous years, and now that she had rejected her old friends, she just didn't have enough new ones. And I'm not brave enough to just sit down at the table of total strangers. If only Odile were here, I know I could sit with that crowd. She didn't spot any of her few new friends. She continued walking through the center of the cafeteria and to the far end of the room.

Fair love, you faint with wandering in the wood;
And to speak troth, I have forgot our way.


Even the tables at the far end of the room were at least partly filled, and Ali felt too anxious to intrude on people she didn't know. At last, she saw a smaller table in the farthest corner of the room which had seats for four, but at present sat only two. And I know one of those girls - not that we've ever spoken - but I know Brenda Hernandez at least by reputation. She's supposed to be friendly to just about everyone. God, I hope that includes me.

As she approached, she observed what she assumed was the two girls talking about a book that the non-Brenda girl was reading. I have no idea who that other girl is, but if Brenda's talking to her, she can't be all bad, right? She stepped right up to the side of the table, put on her brightest smile, and tried not to be too obvious about holding her lunch tray in front of her.

"You're Brenda, right? Brenda Hernandez? I'm Ali White." She flashed her smile at the other girl too, hoping not to offend her by not addressing her directly. "I hate to intrude and stuff, but do you mind if I sit here to eat? I promise I won't be a bother."
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MurderWeasel
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I can trick them into thinking anything
[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
It seemed Brenda knew the drill. She just had to keep the questions rolling, and Karen would keep answering them. She could do this sort of interaction. Maybe she didn't enjoy it the most, but it was simply a measure of routine. It could almost be a mathematical formula. Not that Karen was very good at math. She'd taken two of the three years she needed, and was in the final one now. She just had to pull a passing grade. Even a D counted.

Brenda wanted to know what the book was about.

"It's about the future," Karen said. "What happens if the environment gets totally trashed. I'm not very far yet."

Technically, the "future" was now probably the past. The book was older than Karen's parents, the time it had speculated about come and gone. This was far too complicated to be worthwhile to explain, though. Better to keep it simple, if somewhat inaccurate. Besides, maybe she was wrong. There hadn't been a specific year noted yet.

Brenda asked about Karen's other interests. That was going to be a tough one to tiptoe around. Karen didn't like being given free reign to talk about herself. When she was put on the spot, she invariably drew blanks about everything aside from the most important parts, and she didn't very well feel like saying, "I work part time to help my family take care of my dumb brother who went and got shot." If Brenda was one of the people who hadn't heard about the incident, or who hadn't connected it to Karen, well, there was absolutely no reason to change that.

Luckily, Karen was rescued by the arrival of someone else. It was some girl she didn't know, who introduced herself as Ali White and asked if she could sit. Ali looked way too bright and colorful for Karen. The sort of cheerful, peppy extrovert she had no clue how to handle. The perfect sort of person to completely divert Brenda's attention and take all the pressure to converse off of Karen in the simplest way possible. The timing couldn't have been better. Cautiously, Karen nodded a little at Ali.

She didn't answer Brenda's question. With luck, the other girl would just think that she'd forgotten or become distracted.
Current characters:

The Program: V3 Prologue:
Mina Mashall - Digital Voice Recorder - Making a good impression - "I didn't know you felt so strongly about me."
Erik Bell - Jericho .941 - Having lunch - "May I?"

SECOND CHANCES: V2:
Assorted flora and fauna

SOTF-TV V2:
EW4: Jewel Evans - Chatterbox Communicator Headsets (0/5) - Online - ELIMINATED - "Scars are just reminders to be better next time."

Past characters:

If you want an honest assessment of your character's storyline, feel free to PM me and I'll whip one up as soon as I am able.

Thanks to Bear/Frogue/Kotorikun/Ryuki for the avatar art.
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Casey the Undead
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Don't tell me to smile
[ *  *  *  * ]
The book actually did sound very interesting. Brenda nodded, wondering if Karen was going to answer her second question. However, the two were interrupted.

Brenda looked up at the new girl, Ali, smiling widely at her. Brenda had heard a bit about this girl in her days- specifically that she was a gangbanger. Keyword being "was"- apparently she ditched the gang, though Brenda had no idea why, and the stories she'd heard had gotten continually ridiculous- the most common ones being about a drug deal gone bad, a threatened prison sentence, pregnancies, and a Romeo and Juliet-like romantic entanglement. Brenda didn't believe most of them, nor did she particularly care. Ali had gotten much brighter, seemed friendlier, and was out of the streets.

Brenda wondered if Ali knew that her father was a cop, who regularly busted Fiver's. It was very possible that Ali wanted to associate herself with Brenda because Brenda could, theoretically (though realistically she was probably worthless) offer some protection from the very pissed off Fiver's. But Brenda wasn't cynical like that, and it as also highly unlikely that Ali was thinking that way. Ali probably just needed some people to sit with. Brenda offered the seat next to her, waving at Ali.

"Hey! It's Brenda, yeah. How are you, Ali? I love your hair!"

It was really cool and colorful, actually. Brenda touched her own curls, laughing slightly. She'd never be brave enough to do that- besides, her parents would absolutely slaughter her if she did it, especially if she went to Church. All the old Mexican women would click their tongues and ask if she was a clown.

Brenda covered her mouth with her hand to keep from bursting out into laughter.

When she had composed herself, she sat back up, deciding to switch the conversation to Ali for a minute. She was positive Karen wouldn't mind. "So, Ali, how are you?"
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The Bearded One
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[ *  *  * ]
Brenda stole a quick glance at the other girl before gesturing toward the vacant seat next to her and answering. "Hey! It's Brenda, yeah. How are you, Ali? I love your hair!" The non-Brenda girl gave a slight nod, not smiling, but welcoming Alicia's arrival nevertheless. I guess Brenda and the other girl don't know each other that well after all.

Ali noticed Brenda touching her own hair after complimenting Ali's. Most people think my hair is a little too extreme, but it looks like Brenda is almost jealous of it. Her attitude was completely different from her table-mate's. Brenda was being bright and cheery and didn't seem to be faking it either. The other girl looked like she would be content to just eat her lu-- Wait, she doesn't have any food at all. Did she eat already? Or maybe she's going off campus later? Not my business; not my business. She looks like she could just sit and read by herself. But in that case, why isn't she just spending lunch in the library like some of the brains do? Not my business.

Alicia set her lunch tray down and pulled out the chair to sit. "Thanks; I appreciate it," she said as she sat. She picked up her fork and began summoning up the courage to take the first bite of her Franks-&-beans.

Before she succeeded, Brenda spoke to her again. "So, Ali, how are you?" she asked brightly.

How am I? Well, let's see: I'm intruding on the two of you because I am either a total stranger or an enemy to just about the whole rest of the school. And even though it was obvious that you were in the middle of a conversation before I came by, neither one of you seems to mind my butting in. And I'm terrified of saying something to offend either one of you because you could decide to spread any sort of rumors about me and trash what little there still is of my reputation without any chance for me to defend myself because no one knows who I am now. But other than that, I'm fine.

Instead of saying out loud what zipped through her mind, Alicia put her fork back down (glad to have a reprieve from that first bite), and smiled again. This time her smile turned wistful. "I guess I'm doing better now than before. It was lucky that I was able to find you guys to share a lunch table with, 'cause it can be hard to find a friendly place to sit... here and in classrooms, too. I guess I'm just not as good at making friends as I thought I was last year." She invited the girls to laugh along with her at her joke. "But this" she decided to try for humor again and gestured toward the lumpy brown goop on her tray, "is not a good portent for the afternoon."
SotF-TV:
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Virtua-SOTF:
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MurderWeasel
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I can trick them into thinking anything
[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Brenda took the lead, inviting Ali to sit down. Up close, Ali's appearance was even more eccentric. She could be a dazzling neon sign, poured into a humanoid mold. She was the sort of person who helped people like Karen vanish into the background. Better still, she focused all her attention on Brenda, seemingly sensing another extrovert. It appeared the two of them were merrily on their way towards shutting out the rest of the world to talk about hair and food and stuff.

Ali was chatting, laughing along to her own statements. Were they jokes? Karen wasn't very good with self-deprecation. She could never tell if it sprung from a genuine poor self-esteem, a desire to be liked, or simply a hidden arrogance camouflaging itself. The second set of laughter, at least, Karen could appreciate. The food did look awful, if somewhat preferable to going hungry. She wasn't the sort to roar with laughter, or even to giggle with glee, but she did raise the corners of her mouth in a smile.

She didn't make any noise, though, didn't make any effort to join in the conversation. She was happy with her silence, happy with her return to the sidelines. Karen wasn't one to steal the spotlight, wasn't one to hog center stage.

She considered returning to reading her book, but decided not to. It would only draw attention again, and besides, it would be rude. Beyond that, she wouldn't be able to concentrate with a conversation this close. So she just sat there quietly, listening.
Current characters:

The Program: V3 Prologue:
Mina Mashall - Digital Voice Recorder - Making a good impression - "I didn't know you felt so strongly about me."
Erik Bell - Jericho .941 - Having lunch - "May I?"

SECOND CHANCES: V2:
Assorted flora and fauna

SOTF-TV V2:
EW4: Jewel Evans - Chatterbox Communicator Headsets (0/5) - Online - ELIMINATED - "Scars are just reminders to be better next time."

Past characters:

If you want an honest assessment of your character's storyline, feel free to PM me and I'll whip one up as soon as I am able.

Thanks to Bear/Frogue/Kotorikun/Ryuki for the avatar art.
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Casey the Undead
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Don't tell me to smile
[ *  *  *  * ]
Brenda was laughing nervously, and silently praying that no one else noticed. The conversation had suddenly turned awkward. She knew that Ali was trying to be lighthearted about her situation, but it was difficult. To be frank, Ali was very alone in the school- and Brenda wasn't entirely sure she didn't deserve it. Brenda knew about the terrible things that gangs did, and they were half the reason her father wanted her to take self-defense in the first place. It was great that Ali was moving away from that life, but she'd spent so long in it that it seemed only normal for people to be wary of her. Still, she seemed nice enough, and she deserved friends as much as everyone else.

But that didn't stop it from being awkward. Brenda knew better than to talk about gangs- and she knew that telling anyone in her family about this lunch conversation would end very badly for all parties involved.

Speaking of... Brenda turned to Karen, who'd remained silent since Ali's arrival. "So! This is an interesting group, isn't it?" Brenda let out another peel of laughter, relaxing slightly. So long as they stayed away from the gang topic, everything would be fine.

"So, Ali, Karen and I were talking about sports a little while ago. Maybe you should join one! It's a great way to meet people! I know a good kickboxing instructor, and Karen's on the soccer team, if you want some help. I mean, assuming you like those sports. There's tons of other ones too- Volleyball, Basketball, Tennis. Or there's drama! I mean...you can find a new group real easy, if you wanted too."

Brenda wasn't really sure where that had come from, but she stuck too it. She wondered if it was her polite way of telling Ali that she didn't really want to be friends. Brenda mentally shook her head, still smiling widely. She was nice to everyone, and everyone deserved it. Even people like Ali.

Actually, especially people like Ali. Ali was brave enough to leave behind her life of crime for a new one, and it made her a better person than most. This girl deserved a friend, and Brenda was determined to be one.
Bring Out Your Dead


Getting a Second Chance


Live free. Die young.
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