Interlude: Magnolia

It was funny, Magnolia mused, how you could share a school and classes with someone for three years and barely talk. Cohort or no, Adrian and she hadn’t moved in the same circles (they were both something-like-friends with people the other one had Kept, but that really didn’t count. You couldn’t really call your former Kept part of your social circle, unless you were Ty). That made it all the more interesting to find Adrian glancing at her in Physics class, not just once, but a few times over the course of several days, not quite staring, but definitely watching her. What was he up to? On Friday, she stalled in packing up her books, smiling encouragingly at him. Maybe he was shy?

Sure enough, he approached her after class. "Hi, Magnolia." He shrugged one shoulder, adjusting the way the strap of his bag rested on it. Fidgeting? He’d Kept Ivette; Magnolia shouldn’t make him nervous.

“Hi, Adrian,” she answered politely enough, wondering what he wanted, why he was acting like a five-year-old who’d been naughty.

"You guys looked pretty good in the contest last weekend," he said. That was true enough, but his eyes were everywhere but hers; she was used to that from guys, but they weren't staying focused downwards either. Against all reason, he was anxious.

“Not good enough,” she retorted, to say something, though she wasn’t all that upset. They’d had their share of field trips, her crew. “You guys were pretty good, too.” Surprising that they hadn’t won, really.

"Well, we tried," Adrian shrugged. "Anyway, I, uh..." He ran a hand through his hair self-consciously. "I could use a study partner."

So that was it. Wait...

She tilted her head. “A cy’Linden style study partner, or a cy’Solomon style study partner?” There was, after all, quite a difference.

"You must've been doing some actual studying, to compete like you did."

And so had he; the flattery nearly covered the way he'd sidestepped the question, although it seemed to contain an answer.

“Well, we do find time to read, here and there…” What was he up to? She stepped in closer, to see if getting into his personal space would make him trip up a bit.

"So, I did really mean that. Although if you happen to be free, I'd also like a partner for the dance tomorrow."

Aha, there it was. She smirked playfully at him. “So a little bit of the former, a little bit of the latter, is that it?” she teased. She could live with that. ‘Vette spoke well of him, and he’d always seemed like a bright boy.

"It could be," he grinned back, the distinguished veneer finally cracking.

She let her smile widen. “Ah, Adrian.” She poked him lightly in the ribs. “What took you so long?”

He coughed faintly. "Took me so long?" Shit, had she offended him? It had taken so long for him to get around to it, she’d figured he’d been working up to it for a while.

She didn’t let her grin falter. “I suppose that was a tad presumptuous of me, maybe,” she admitted. "A dance, you said?" She hoped she hadn’t scared him off. She could use a nice guy around.

"The masquerade, tomorrow night," he nodded. "If you'd accompany me?" A bit of that formality had returned; but then again, he was a nice guy, wasn't he? And wasn’t that a bit of a novelty? Cy’Linden were a lot of things, but “nice guy” couldn’t describe any of them.

“I’d love it,” she agreed. “Did you have a theme in mind?” So was he just trying to get in her pants, or was he really being a gentleman?

"You'll have to give me a few hours for that one," he chuckled. "I wasn't sure you'd do me the honor."

How cy'Solomon of him, to give an answer appropriate for her thoughts as well as her words. He wasn't actually reading her mind, though... probably, cy’Solomon or no.

“I suppose I can wait a little while,” she agreed, grinning at him and, on a whim, going for broke. “Take me out to dinner while you think?”

"I actually thought I might finish the class day? The teachers get kind of uppity otherwise. But, tonight?"

“Aaaw, class, shmass,” she sulked playfully. “Tonight.”

"Tonight," he agreed. "I'll pick you up around six?"

“I’ll see you then.” A date. Even as she smiled warmly at him, she tried to remember the last time she’d really had a date.


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