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The Odd Couple; [Open] [September 2025]
Topic Started: Nov 6 2017, 07:16 AM (787 Views)
Namira
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[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Charlie Cade Jr very rarely had any problems when it came to organisation. Keeping herself orderly and regimented was a natural extension of a busy schedule; she simply didn't have the time to waste correcting for mistakes, and the easiest way to avoid making any was to have clear and structured plans.

Despite only being a week into the school year, Charlie had already installed her usual set of trays into her locker, each of them clearly labelled by subject. She'd also printed out her timetable for the semester and taped it onto the back of her locker door, carefully colour-coded, again by subject. Above it, Charlie had added a photocopy of a calendar for September, carefully annotated on specific dates where there were plans or events. (At home, she was already up to March on the original). Lower, the tentative schedules for soccer and hockey this year were laid out, although the full fixture lists hadn't been released yet, so that would require updating.

Lunch had just started a couple of minutes ago, and as Charlie slid her history textbook and fresh exercise book into their slots, she considered if it would be worthwhile to read up ahead on the material that they'd be dealing with this semester. Her working knowledge of the political climate surrounding James Walsh's presidency was pretty good—and she was already fairly sure her coursework would tackle the potential ramifications of a third Walsh term—but being prepared never hurt anyone.

First though, she should eat. She had an hour and she didn't want to chance somebody spilling food all over a textbook she'd only just received.

Charlie shut and then locked her locker, turned, and then had to stop herself short from colliding with someone moving past at speed.

Ugh.

"You should be more careful."
~*~

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MurderWeasel
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Basically the problem Mina Mashall was having right now was that the great teeming throng of National Peak students was at its most bovine-like while she had places to be and shit to do. There were a lot of details that played into the whole situation. Part of it was that there was no time crunch going on; it was just the start of lunch, and everyone was getting stuff out of their lockers or standing around chitchatting because they didn't have to be anywhere. That was the difference between them and Mina; they had no purpose and she did: the aforementioned places to be were anywhere far away from the downstairs girl's bathroom and the shit to do was surreptitiously disposing of some paint markers before her handiwork was discovered and the powers that be started keeping an eye out for those in possession of paint markers. This was pretty much a routine by now but so was getting caught about half the time and Mina was sort of hoping to maybe not do that part of things today, maybe put the first suspension of the year off just another couple of weeks. So in and out she weaved, slipping past a couple freshman boys and literally ducking the arm of this basketball dude gesturing as he shouted to a friend across the hall.

It was really not that close a call with Charlie. That was pretty important to note. Mina had become aware of the girl, judged the distances and timings, noted that she was absorbed in whatever was going on in her locker, then taken the path of least resistance to get just a bit closer to the cafeteria and its garbage bins that were just about to be brimming with half-eaten school food such that probably nobody would really care enough to sift through all of that just to find a little tiny bit of evidence that might not even be there. It's just, Charlie turned around semi-suddenly and so nearly took Mina out. That was irritating first off because Mina was in and on a bit of a rush and second because Charlie was a bitch's bitch and was probably the sort of person to volunteer that she'd seen Mina going by at speed, and that could arouse suspicion even if the pens in her pocket were long gone, given Mina's status as one of the usual suspects. That complicated an otherwise clean getaway and really messed with Mina's vibe.

She decided to play it cool and casual, like she'd just been in a rush for the same stupid reasons most of their classmates tended to be and thus had nothing better to do than humor Charlie's dumb potshot and apologize, and so pulled up short and spun and flashed a smile.

"Oh," Mina said, "hey, sorry, I sort of assumed you were paying attention but I guess we can't all watch where we're going."

Good enough, right?
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Bowser
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Thank god that's over.

James was never one for calculus. He understood its importance quite well and didn't question it, but that didn't change his distaste for it. The teacher was particularly awful this year, with his monotone voice and his general buzzkill attitude towards anything even remotely fun. Maybe that was why he hadn't bothered to really put much effort towards the class yet. Or maybe it was just sheer laziness. It was likely the latter, but who really cared. It was only the first week of the school year anyway, so he had plenty of time to fix that anyway. The class was boring, but it was still fairly easy. A few cram sessions would likely be the most he'd need to at least pass the class.

Wasting no time at all, James began to make his way to his locker. As fast as he could without running like a madman, James maneuvered his way through the crowd of students that always seemed to be blocking the way. Especially that one kid that just loved to stop moving for some unknown reason and keep everyone else from moving too. Screw that kid.

However, just before he got to his locker, he couldn't help but to catch the full view of Mina nearly running into Miss Charlie Cade. Otherwise known as Captain Hardass. Just a few doors down from his locker too. Oh boy, this is happening, isn't it. Didn't help the fact that Mina wasn't even the one at fault for the thing that didn't even happen, but that didn't really matter much now did it. Especially after that little jab from Mina

Still, maybe he could avoid this. At least he hoped so anyway. He didn't particularly care for Mina much, and he hardly ever interacted with Charlie, so he didn't have much reason to intervene. So assuming nether of them noticed him he could just slip by and get out of dodge. At least, that's what he hoped anyway. So as he averted his gaze away from the two, he moved over to his locker and began to put his stuff inside.
Edited by Bowser, Nov 6 2017, 08:15 AM.
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Namira
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It wasn't until the near-miss turned around that Charlie clocked who exactly they were. The moment the realisation hit, Charlie had to stop herself from pinching her nose and vocalising her disgust from a moment ago. Mina Mashall. Everyone's favourite delinquent, and one that Charlie had the misfortune of sharing several classes with. The girl had a terrible attitude, pure and simple. Apathy was bad, but being an active disruption was worse, and Mashall was that in spades. You'd think someone would take a hint after their first couple of suspensions, and yet she'd kept on going and going. There was a certain kind of amusing irony about a person who supposedly hated 'the system' repeatedly engaging in behaviour which would ultimately only lead to them spending more time in it.

Briefly, Charlie entertained the mildly horrifying notion of winding up serving with Mashall. If they graduated at the same time, it wouldn't be beyond the realms of possibility. Although Charlie supposed that in that event, it was much more likely that Mashall would be under her command than anything else.

Now wasn't there a thought.

More presently, however, was Mashall acting exactly as expected and utterly failing to show contrition for her part in almost running into Charlie. Ridiculous; how was Charlie supposed to know that somebody was directly behind her? Mashall should have been leaving more room between herself and anybody standing by the lockers, especially with the hubbub of students around. Surely, given the crowd, that was all the more reason to be aware of one's surroundings? Besides, short of literally rotating in place, there was no way anyone could have used less space than Charlie just had.

"I don't have eyes in the back of my head, Mashall."
~*~

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MurderWeasel
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"Could've fooled me with how you're always up in everyone else's business."

This was not exactly the plan. Actually, it was the opposite of the plan but plans were fluid and Mina was already locked into a mindset revolving around trouble. Evading trouble with the administration and throwing shade at Charlie weren't much alike, but they both felt pretty good and that was what Mina needed right now. It was something pretty stupid, really, but yesterday had been her younger brother's birthday and she'd actually called this year and nobody had picked up. Probably they'd been out to dinner or something—she'd called right at dinner time on purpose so she could say probably they were out at dinner—and she hadn't left a message or sent a text or anything, but still nobody had picked up. So Mina had pulled on her coat and made her way to Meininger's and had waited until this pimply college guy was asking all sorts of questions about how different papers interacted with watercolor and then she'd made a few paint markers disappear into her inner coat pockets with this vague sense of purpose, and then paid for a couple regular pens on her way out just so nobody would suspect. Then it had been game on.

The school administration, security guards in stores, Charlie, the military-industrial complex, these things were all basically one and the same: obstacles society threw up to keep the easily-cowed in line. They were effective in that role, and for a reason. Actions had consequences and if the consequences hadn't formed a perverse part of what made the actions so mesmerizing to Mina she'd've probably given up a long time ago. As it was, she'd come to almost enjoy the mystery component. The question was always the same: would she get away with it this time?

People were starting to twig that Mina and Charlie were maybe going to exchange words, which tilted today's answer towards "probably not." Mina saw James Bagstad trying to melt into his locker. James was also an asshole so that was fine with Mina. It was sort of funny that even other lapdogs of the system didn't want a lot to do with Charlie, which was probably why the girl had to go around sharing the White Man's Burden with those pathetic enough to think licking boots would spare them a kick to the teeth. She thought to maybe share some musing along those lines but couldn't really articulate it in a natural segue so filed it away and instead went for, "Lighten up a bit."
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Namira
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Mashall had a smart little quip on hand because of course she did. Was it too much to ask for an apology? Even just a mumbled 'sorry' from one of the new freshmen would have suited Charlie just fine, and then she could have got on with much more important things. See: literally pretty much anything. Instead, Mashall was wasting both of their time; not that Mashall's time was particularly valuable. What precisely would she spending it doing? Drawing up some kind of manifesto of all of the reasons her life in this great country was just so terrible?

Under usual circumstances, Charlie wouldn't have bothered. Unfortunately, the rush in the hallway combined with where Mashall was standing meant that Charlie would have to squeeze right past her in order to make any progress towards the cafeteria. Needless to say, Charlie certainly wasn't going to be attempting that any time soon. First of all, she refused to ask Mashall for even the slightest of favours when she was being so rude. Secondly, Charlie was becoming conscious that they were attracting attention with the heat of their exchange, and she was loath to look as if she was backing down. Bagstad was in the vicinity, for instance, and he had enough of Charlie's respect that she was reluctant to give ground to Mashall in front of him. Finally, she didn't trust Mashall not to stick out a foot and attempt to trip her.

Petty, but Mashall was petty all over.

Charlie's hand dropped to her hip and she tilted back her head imperiously. 'Up in everyone's business'—trust a delinquent to misconstrue her desire to see others succeed. If that meant calling out how much Mashall was wasting her potential from time to time, then so be it.

"Given your definition of lightening up usually seems to involve vandalism and getting yourself suspended yet again, Mashall, I think I'll pass."
~*~

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Bowser
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And they're already trading blows. Of course. Why would that even be a surprise? It's two stuck up brats fighting over literally nothing, this was to be expected. So why couldn't it of happened like two minutes later after James has already cleared out? Who even knew, all James knew was that it was pretty freaking stupid. There's dozens upon dozens of kids crammed into the halls at any given time. Was there really a reason to start an argument over that of all things? It was pointless, this was pointless.

Though, James couldn't help but to let out a loud chuckle at Charlie's little comeback. For as much of a hardass Charlie was, she was right on the money with Mina. All the girl was was a little trouble maker, who seemed to get off on causing as much chaos as can be. Though typically her definition of chaos was just spouting off some Anti-America crap that nobody in their right mind listened to, and landing herself into trouble for no reason at all. So seeing her get put in her place was a little funny, if only for a moment.

So, as James tried to make sure his locker didn't look like a garbage heep for a change, he turned his gaze to the two waring children for a moment before he flashed Charlie a small smirk in approval.
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MurderWeasel
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"Nah," Mina said, "I'm serious about all that. Lightening up is mostly winding up petty drill sergeant bitches."

She included "petty" and "bitches" in there because she wasn't totally sure that Charlie would understand that "drill sergeant" wasn't a compliment otherwise. Her intonation made it pretty clear—Mina had spent her high school life perfecting this sneer that she commonly deployed when dealing with topics the rest of her class found natural and uncontroversial and she had to actively bite it back now even in situations where it would be impolitic, such as sentencing hearings—but you could never never be too sure about these things.

James was backing Charlie up like a coward, with looks instead of words, which wasn't a big surprise. The scorn that brought gave Mina a second of pause, though, because that was her father talking. That was a thought from her childhood, and it probably still held value now but it bore examination at a later time and the realization of its origins wound her up even more. Bravery was, she thought, somewhat universally admirable, but there were times for discretion. That was, of course, the only reason her life was anything besides a whirl of hearings and suspensions and arguments. She could tone it down. She had to sometimes. It's just that on days like today she let herself be herself, and when things like this Charlie thing happened Mina could find herself slipping into a state where the consequences the world imposed weren't that comparatively scary anymore. What was another two weeks (or maybe a month if they noted her status as a repeat offender) of her life anyways? What were really her odds of making it through her service without being court-marshaled or shot?

All this inevitable consequence was still about a year away, too, though that was alarming considering she'd been telling herself much the same thing and watching that distance between her present and her probable doom decrease steadily for years now. She was starting to seriously look into engineering a situation where she could get held back a year. It'd fit with her troublemaker persona if she bombed out of math or something, and it wasn't like she could do too much to make her eventual assignment worse than it would inevitably be. One more year, one with a comfortable schedule and few responsibilities unless her aunt and uncle finally got sick of her and threw her out, could be nice.

People were really paying attention to what was going on now, though not enough to impact the flow of foot traffic. The basketball guy kept glancing their way, and a group of prissy-looking underclassman girls in matching sweaters was muttering animatedly by the entrance to a classroom. There were, however, no teachers yet, and no janitors or principal. It was just the throng and Mina and Charlie. It might, she told herself, knowing full well it was justification, even be an hour or more before anyone saw what she'd done and cared enough to report it to the faculty. If that was the case, they'd never figure her out.
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Namira
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Serious about having all the makings of a petty criminal. Naturally. Sometimes, Charlie wondered why she even bothered; there were only so many hours in the day to try to encourage others to buck up their standards, and Mashall was pretty much a lost cause when it came to those. How was it possible to care so little about one's future? Were childish acts of rebellion really so important as to torpedo one's prospects over and over again?

If Charlie actually thought Mashall was worth the effort, she might have spent more time trying to uncover the answers to those questions. As it was, she'd learned that Mashall was even less accommodating than the majority of their peers when it came to listening to any of Charlie's critique. Nobody ever wanted to hear criticism of course, but some were astute enough to realise that Charlie only did it for their own good. She never claimed to be perfect herself. Mashall, though, seemed to think that Charlie just brought up faults for the sake of it, as if she wasn't trying to help her climb out of the titanic hole she'd dug herself into.

The response was therefore entirely predictable. Mashall couldn't or refused to justify her position, and so instead she resorted to insults.

Charlie was beginning to lose her patience, less because of said insults and more because Mashall remained very much in her way. The longer this went on, the more people started to look over too, and Charlie didn't much feel like sullying her reputation with anyone by letting them catch her squabbling. Especially with Mashall. Bagstad was laughing nearby, which was more likely to be a bad thing than not. This wasn't intended to be a source of entertainment, even if the timing suggested he was on Charlie's side.

"Oh please. When was the last time anyone other than me bothered giving you the time of day, Mashall?" she shook her head dismissively. "I know the truth hurts, but if you'd rather continue to crash and burn than listen to me, then by all means."

There. That would shut her up. Maybe even make her think twice, though Charlie highly doubted it.

~*~

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Bowser
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Yeah... They weren't stopping. Not anytime soon. And why would they stop? It was a rebel without a cause arguing with the world's strictest drill sergeant. Nether of them were giving up until somebody or something forced them too. One could assume James would be that person, but what was the point in that? All it would end in is him wasting his time getting chewed out by one (or both) of these girls for legitimately no reward. He didn't care for either of these girls, the odds of getting with either of them were non-existent, and even if he did the idea of being around either for longer than was required of him sounded absolutely horrid. He was content just letting these girls go at it for now. Besides, he had places to be anyway. Especially now.

Even if James didn't care for Mina in the slightest, Charlie's comment was... a bit much. That wasn't to say he disagreed with it, because he didn't, but it was enough to quickly shift the tone of the encounter from mildly amusing to something James knew he didn't want to be around for. So, as his face shifted from a smirk to that of mild uncomfort, he quickly gave up on the clutter in his locker and closed it over. Thankfully by now the halls had begun to clear out a little, so now was around the best time to make his exit.

"I'll just take that as my que to go." Was all he said as he left to let the girls go at it.

(James Bagstad continued Elsewhere)
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MurderWeasel
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Mina realized, rather suddenly, that she'd been baited. Not baited into a spat—she'd chosen that knowingly—but baited into accepting Charlie's terms of engagement. There was another thought from her father floating under the surface, a quote from some military strategist or other about knowing yourself and knowing your enemy, but what Mina took from it was this: she could spend all day bouncing back with rejoinders to whatever Charlie said, could scrape and deny, say stuff like, "I have tons of friends, and they're not assholes, and I've even had boyfriends and stuff," but all that would be doing was dignifying Charlie's allegations and displaying insecurity on the subjects she picked at. That would be bad, especially since some of that stuff actually did hurt.

What to do, then? Counterattack. Charlie was going to talk about Mina's social life and future? Okay. She could play that way. She could go for weaknesses. Mina wasn't stupid. Charlie was right about one thing: Mina chose her path because she really truly did prefer it. She didn't like it, per se, but compared to everything else? Anyways, Mina could pick up a thing or two about her classmates and make a few educated guesses about what they probably didn't want to hear.

"At least I can fuck people besides my dad, Charles," she said, dropping her voice a little because this was for Charlie more than the peanut gallery. "You gonna blow him for a commission?"
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Namira
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Mashall was quiet for a moment, long enough for Charlie to start thinking that she was about to make some kind of 'clever' remark and then retreat, as per usual. Long enough for Charlie to already begin considering how much time the delay would have cost her, and if the queues were going to be overly long for food now—and then Mashall spoke again.

Charlie froze, jaw clenching. She had not seriously just said that. Of all the juvenile, horrible, low-brow... That was classless, even for Mashall's low standards. Her father was a decorated veteran, something that Mashall could never aspire to be. To insinuate something so vile was rank disrespect to him and a childish, immature insult to Charlie.

So much for Mashall changing her tune. Charlie should have trusted her gut; Mashall wasn't worth the breath.

She certainly wasn't going to let Mashall have the last word after a slight like that one.

"You're disgusting," Charlie hissed. "And if you weren't such a disgrace to your own family, you wouldn't feel the need to attack mine."
~*~

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MurderWeasel
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This was okay. It really, really was. It was the sort of thing that anyone could say to Mina and it didn't mean a thing because it could never ever compete with the reality of her situation and her own feelings about it. And that was, she knew on some level, probably the difference between her and Charlie. Mina had said something that was hurtful to Charlie because it poked at her insecurities yet was untrue. It made her think things that were upsetting. Meanwhile, Mina had just heard something lesser than what she already knew.

Of course, she didn't see the specifics of her predicament in quite the same way Charlie framed it, but what could you expect from the girl? It's not like she'd ever been betrayed by those she was supposed to be able to depend on. Why should she be able to see disgrace as anything complicated? Why should she be able to see one's family as anything other than role models? She had no life experience to allow shades of grey into her processes, and that was putting aside her really questionable baseline level of empathy.

So Mina had tools to hurt Charlie and Charlie didn't have tools to hurt Mina. That meant now it was time to win.

"I'm just saying what everyone knows," Mina said. "Come on. What kind of narcissist names a daughter after himself?"
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Namira
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Charlie's scowl deepened. She was very conscious that bystanders were actively stopping to stare at the two of them now, and that was ever more irksome. She was not here to make a spectacle of herself, much less lower herself to the level of someone like Mashall. How could someone with—to Charlie's knowledge—such a similar background to her turn out to be such a rotten apple?

"One who doesn't have to send them away for being a let down," Charlie sniffed, and then shook her head dismissively. "It must hurt to have the bar lowered and then fail to meet that, too."

She was finished here. She hadn't bothered keeping her voice down, and the gallery had collectively let out a quiet 'ohh!' at Charlie's words, though doubtless not as much as one than if Mashall hadn't spit out her disgusting lies under her breath.

Charlie strode forward and, making to move past Mashall, put a hand on her shoulder. Rather than an 'excuse me' or just slipping by, Charlie stepped inward just that bit closer and, none-too-gently, shoved Mashall aside.
~*~

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MurderWeasel
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Mina knew what was coming as soon as Charlie laid hands on her. It meant that, whatever came next, Mina had won. The question now was by how much. The girl closed the gap, tensed, pushed, and maybe Mina could've ducked aside or braced but she chose not to. Instead, she let her body loosen a little, let herself absorb the momentum from Charlie's shove, accepted the force.

Before she let herself fall backwards (making a passing girl jump out of the way with a shriek), however, Mina shot her hand out and grabbed at the bottom hem of Charlie's blazer, intent on bringing her assailant with her.

This wasn't how Mina usually rolled but today hadn't been great and Charlie was smug as fuck, so what better choice than a little mutually assured destruction?
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