Hungers [Michaela, Abigail]

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Hungers [Michaela, Abigail]

Postby EtB » Thu Feb 19, 2015 9:28 am

Michaela Carter (Eric the Bard)
(2/15/2015 9:49:46 AM) (2029124)

The conversation with Marco had left me feeling....lighter. The things going on in my head weren't just random, they were...something, and it actually explained a lot. I still didn't know how to approach it, exactly, but I could at least poke around the idea and see where it led me. Sex had never really been discussed between my mom and I, so I was kind of at sea with the whole thing. What little I did know came from books and TV, and I had a fair idea how far I could trust that nonsense.

I had had a nice long shower and a good nap -- as well as a hearty meal, they had so much food here -- and so I was actually feeling pretty good when I went in search of Abby. Mr. Rivale had told me to go to her if I needed anything, and, well, I did. I had been taking random snapshots of the Rivale house -- it was so gorgeous, and the early-morning light softened everything -- so I had my camera out, and I come across her, doing something on her phone. She looks up, and....

Well, she'd told me she didn't want any pictures. But the light fell on her face just so, and her expression -- thoughtful, distant, distracted -- her pose -- I couldn't resist. I snapped the shot. I looked down at the viewfinder to save the file to the card.....

....huh. It's never done that before....

Frowning, I put the camera away. I had business here. So, dressed in my usual battered sneakers, jeans, and a T-shirt with a picture of a cartoon star running with a jersey and sweatbands on wrists and ankles, I go up to her and put myself in her line of sight. Golden brown eyes try to catch hers, and I offer a shy smile and a little wave.

"Um. Abby?" I ask, just to make sure I got the name right. "I was wondering...if I might ask a favor."


Abigail Donnovan (EvilSqueegee)
(2/15/2015 9:58:16 AM) (2029125)

Off the clock. Time to eat!

I had just finished helping Mr. Rivale cook dinner. It’s not usually my job, but since Stephanie moved away I’ve been volunteering a lot more to help with things Mr. Rivale has tried to not burden me with. He trusts me, though, and I don’t want to let him down by not offering. So, one thing leads to another and suddenly there’s a small army’s worth of tacos for dinner!

And of course, I’d probably eat them all in about as much time as it took the kids to get their fair share. So. Rather than inviting myself (despite insistence that I should) I leave the taco crisis for the family to sort through and I’m going to do beautiful, beautiful things to this unlimited credit card Mr. Rivale gave me when I got the promotion last year.

I’m stopped in front of my car. It’s not the same thing as the company car. My car is small. Cute. And it’s not blue, or pink, or white. It’s all of those colors. It’s that fancy paint that changes as you look at it. The Rainbowmobile is itching for some fun and far be it from me to disappoint, hm?

...wait. Where did I put my keys? I stop, retracing my steps in my head. And that’s when I feel the Hunger tickle me, like it’s taking a bite out of something happening -- someone’s taking my picture.

Well, they’re trying, anyways. Can’t really capture me. Mr. Rivale says I’m worth way more than a thousand words.

I look around, and that’s when I see Michaela. She’s alive! That makes me smile, because I know I helped to keep it that way. I wave her over.

“Ask me on the way!” I laugh, opening the passenger side door of the car for her as I climb in.

“McBurgerQueen time!”



Michaela Carter (Eric the Bard)
(2/15/2015 10:17:27 AM) (2029126)

"I love your car," I tell her, grinning as I get in. Actually grinning. I wonder if I really DO have to go back home. I am beginning to think I'd rather just stay here. Buckling my seatbelt, I add, "That sounds great. I don't have any money, though." I'm not just going to assume she'll cover me. Though I do hope, I will admit.

As soon as we're underway, though, I give her a speculative look. She is pretty. I've been told I look like something hunting -- I don't often smile, and my face is usually focused and serious; the features themselves lend an air of something hunting, sharp lines and angles. I wonder how much is natural and how much is makeup -- something else I never much worried about. I've probably been looking her over a good few minutes before I realize I've actually been doing so, and then I blush and pull my eyes away.

"Is it hard?" I blurt suddenly. Because I know she'll have no idea what I'm talking about, I wave a hand in a vague fashion. "I mean. Looking like...that. Is it a lot of work? I think my mom mostly gave up on it, and I never....." I trail off, turning my hands palm up. "I guess I'm just....curious."

Tired of looking like a boy.

That isn't the favor I want to ask, but it'll do for a start. I could ask Lilly this, of course -- and I plan to, she's more likely to have answers I can actually use, and time to help me learn this mess -- but I want to see what Abby thinks, because she's a stranger, and removed from it all. It's like practice, so I don't completely embarrass myself in front of Lilly.


Abigail Donnovan (EvilSqueegee)
(2/15/2015 10:32:02 AM) (2029127)

“Pfft! Neither do I!” I hold up the card and smile. “On the House. You prefer mouthfuls of chicken, beef or fish? They’ve been advertising this new Feeficken sandwich and Oh. My. God. It looks so pretty I could just die dreaming about it. I can’t wait to try it. I’d take you to Hunkin’ Honuts but that’s on Thursdays,” I nod.

”Is it hard”?

“Huh?” I look over. She’s fumbling for words, and I know those feels pretty well. I can remember finding my way through self-rediscovery really vividly. It wasn’t too long ago, even. And there are lots of questions like ‘how do I want to look’ and ‘should I like this?’ Teenagers are like that. It’s all one big journey of learning who we are. Of course, by the time we reach adulthood, we realize it’s not a teenager thing. But that’s for a different day.

When I realize she’s basically saying I’m pretty, I smile and blush a little.

“Yeah it’s hard. You wouldn’t believe the makeup and the hair products. I spend like, an hour. Easy. Every morning. And then there’s touch-up throughout the day. And God forbid if something tragic happens, then it’s like starting over again.”

I nod about her curiosity and give an m-hmm! that probably belongs in a japanese videogame. I’m tapping my fingers on the steering wheel and grooving a little to the music on the radio.

You have no idea how excited I am for this Feeficken sandwich.

“It’s totally worth it though. You’d be so surprised how much looking good can change how you feel about the day, or even yourself. Every time I get into work clothes? The fancy skirts and expensive blouses with earrings and shoes like that? I feel like I’m freaking James Bond. It’s so cool.”

I hang a hard right into the parking lot. I drive a little aggressively for most people’s tastes when I’m not driving Mr. Rivale around; because now I can drive for me instead of for him.

“The makeup, too. I feel pretty. Sometimes I look in the mirror and try on my best Pompous Face.”

I give her an example. A good… british frown. I would never make this face in front of my boss.

“Yes, m’lady. Very hard work. Indeeeed. An art form, I’m afraid. I had to learn it on The You Tubes. It took positively weeks. An unbelievable undertaking.”

My posh accent belongs in a cartoon, on an evil baroness. I fail to keep a straight face for long.


Michaela Carter (Eric the Bard)
(2/15/2015 11:27:37 AM) (2029147)

"Just don't be shocked by how much I eat." Little do I know. "Feeficken?" My tone is both questioning and dubious. "Is it like, real meat, or just .....Because soy is nasty, I don't care what people say. Besides, I need my protein." That has the air of something learned from someone else, and it is; Coach constantly checks to make sure we're eating enough.

My face falls as she goes on; there's a little despair that begins deep in the pit of my stomach, a whole new thing to learn, and it sounds just as complicated as what I've been training my whole life to do. Running isn't complicated, you think, but I've been doing this most of my life; there's stretching, diet, timing, pace length, breathing, posture, and lots of little tiny details most people don't even bother with. Her quick turn shoves me around in the seat a bit, and I reflexively reach for something to brace myself on, but my eyes are on her, not on the road. I'm not really concerned about her driving. I don't drive, who am I to judge?

"My mom was a model," I say, slowly. "But....I'm afraid to ask her. Things...didn't end up all right. I don't wanna dredge up things best left buried, you know? She's...had it hard."

And then her Pompous Face, and the accent, and my hand comes up to cover my mouth as I actually giggle. I had never realized, in my life, that I was lonely, or sad, or cheerless. Now I'm starting to see it.

I don't know if I can go back to that.


Abigail Donnovan (EvilSqueegee)
(2/15/2015 11:40:13 AM) (2029154)

“Oh, no judgement here. I could eat a whole elephant,” I smile. I wonder… I’ve never tried.

“Oh, the Feeficken? It’s Beef, Chicken and Fish in three crisp patties, fresh off the grill. Can’t spell Meat without Eat!” I quote the advertisements, doing a deep man-voice impression. It’s a bad one.

“You know McBurgerQueen actually uses real meat, right? I mean, it’s not fresh meat, obviously. Fastfood being what it is and all. I tried being a vegetarian once. I think I got sick, I was depressed for weeks.”

I know, right? I can’t picture me being depressed, either! Mr. Rivale said it was horrifying. He demanded I eat meat. We actually argued about how evil killing cows was. Eventually he convinced me that even good people eat meat, and it’s the way of things. I visited a cow farm and said thank you to the cows. It was awkward, and I realized I had a lot of thank-yous to give over the weeks.

Did you know that they don’t even have cemetaries for everyone who dies? It’s tragic.

“Models have it super hard. There’s a difference between looking pretty, and looking that pretty. A lot of it is genetics, and even more of it is having a good photographer. Don’t even get me started on photoshopping and everything like that. You’d think models would be the star of the magazine, it’s a place for artists to show off their artwork instead. Just like the old days, but with a different kind of paint.”

I smile.

“If you have questions about how to get started? I can help! Lilly is really good with makeup, too. You’d be surprised. It’s hard work but it’s fun work. Like building something out of legos or taking a really good album of photographs. It’s work but the end result is so pretty.”

I roll up into the drive through.

”Welcome to McBurgerQueen. Hail to the Queen of M-Eat,” comes the bored voice of a stoned teenager through the speaker.

“Hi! I’m Abby. I’d like thirteen Feeficken Sandwiches. Fresh, please. No cheese, I’m lactose intollerant. And… uhm… a diet rootbeer!”

I look over at Michaela.

“What do you want?”


Michaela Carter (Eric the Bard)
(2/15/2015 11:56:08 AM) (2029160)

"That's a relief. My mom's constantly harping on me about how much I eat. I finally told her that running was like the opposite of modeling where food was concerned. The look on her face said she got my point." Oh yes, we've had a few tangles over several issues. The food thing was one of the soonest settled. "Ugh, vegetarian. I don't see the point. I mean, are you gonna go after sharks for eating fish? Wolves? Birds? It's stupid. And you know, I don't see any difference between eating animals and eating plants either. I guess it's just easier for them to think plants don't have feelings, or something. All I know is, if something out there --" I wave a hand at the world outside the car -- "wanted to eat me, I don't think it would ask how I felt about it. It would just have to catch me first."

"Since Lilly gave me the computer, I started playing with photo-editing stuff," I admit. "It's been kind of fun. Mom encouraged my photography hobby. Even helped me research the camera I got."And that touches on the favor I wanted to ask, but I think I'll let it sit a moment longer.

I nod as she continues, mentioning Lilly. "I meant to ask her. I just...you were...right there, you know. And it's obviously...well...something you knew about." I think my face might catch fire. I am very carefully not looking at her right now.

Then we're at the drive through, and she gives her order. The red that had been suffusing my face briefly turns white as she asks me what I want. Is she....My expression is completely shocked, until an explanation filters through the mass of useless tissue stuffed between my ears. "....buying for the office?" I say faintly. "Uh. One of those. And fries. And a milkshake. And maybe another sandwich."

Jesus. Thirteen. Thirteen. And I was worried about how much I stuffed into my face.


Abigail Donnovan (EvilSqueegee)
(2/15/2015 12:06:48 PM) (2029162)

“And two Feeficken Sandwiches with cheese, a milkshake, and a large fry!”

Pause.

“Oh! and a toy.”

”So, that’s three Feeficken sandwiches with no cheese--”

“Thirteen,” I correct him.

”...What?”

“Thirteen Feeficken Sandwiches without cheese, two with cheese, a milkshake, a large fry, a toy, and a diet rootbeer.”

”Thirteen? Holy crap.”

“Hey! Lemme speak with your manager, mister.”

”uh… yeah. JOE!”

The speaker cuts off for a second. I look over to michaela and smile. I really am excited for lunch. “Nope! No eating at the office, it’s against the rules.”

”...Miss? Is there a problem?”

“Your stupid teenager called me fat! I just want my sandwiches!” I do a surprisingly good job of sounding offended.

”Very sorry, Ma’am. It won’t happen again,” Manager Joe apologizes. ”Can I do something to make it up to you?”

“Yes. The two sandwiches with cheese, the fry, and the milkshake? Free.”

”...and the rest of your order?”

“I’ll pay for those, thank you!”

Joe the Manager tries to keep the look on his face out of his voice. It doesn’t work. ”So that… comes out to fifteen Feeficken Sandwiches, a toy, and… the other stuff.”

“Yep!” I beam. See? They CAN learn!

”Come around to the window, please.”

I drive forward and grin at Michaela.

“Life hacks. Never pay if you don’t have to.”


Michaela Carter (Eric the Bard)
(2/15/2015 12:17:24 PM) (2029165)

I watch this performance with a curious mixture of amusement and a sort of mild horror. When she claims that the guy on the speaker called her fat, I choke back a laugh, and poke her arm. "He did not," I scold her in a finger-wagging kind of tone. "Now he's going to get in trouble!" I don't say it loudly enough to carry over the speaker, though.

No eating at the office. You know what? I don't think I want to know. She isn't like, fat, so she must do something with it. None of my business, nope. I give her a long, level look. I don't agree, but I'm not going to make an issue of it; my face clearly states both points. And then, just to show I'm not mad or anything -- I just don't agree, and that's different -- I say, with as straight a face as I can manage. "So the toy's for Mr. Rivale?"

I can totally see that. Can't you?

Once we have our food and are clear of the window, I'm searching through the bag she handed me, popping a fry in my mouth. "Well," I finally speak up, after the fry is gone, "I did have something I wanted to ask you. But.." I sigh then. "I need my computer out of the house. The laptop Lilly gave me. But I don't wanna face my mom just yet." I'm going to have to, eventually, but I keep carefully avoiding that thought. "I don't suppose you could get it for me. I don't think she'd make any trouble."

I don't think it would do her any good if she did.


Abigail Donnovan (EvilSqueegee)
(2/15/2015 12:38:19 PM) (2029171)

We get the food and then Michaela’s chiding me gets a smile.

“Pfft. He was thinking it.” I laugh. I didn’t mean any harm by it. I hope she’s wrong.

“No way he gets in trouble for it, though. Did you hear that manager? He thought I was an idiot, too. They’re just gonna roll their eyes and complain about the customers to each other, get back to their daily lives,” I laugh. “Humans are so wierd.”

I lift the toy up and hold it in the sunlight. It’s still in the little plastic bag: A devil, with two bags of money. A bobblehead.

“Oh my god he’s going to hate me,” I giggle, placing the toy in the glove compartment in front of Michaela. OF course it’s for Mr. Rivale. Who else?

I drive forward and park the car in a parking space, opening the first of the bags. It takes me a second to find the rest of her food for her, but I figure out which ones have the cheese by smell alone. And by that point? I think my stomach is lining up for auditions to play the snare drum in the local highschool’s marching band it’s so loud.

So I unwrap a burger. And I eat it.

Five bites. Holy crap this is good. Before she’s even fully unwrapped one of her burgers? I’ve already reached into the bags for my second. And I’m inhaling that one at frightening speeds. It’s fast, but it’s neat. I don’t make a mess. That would mean wasting food, and I never do anything halfway. Ever. Especially not eating.

Ohmygod. The back of my head falls against the headrest of my chair and I bounce my feet up and down rapidly.

SO GOOD.

I’m tugged off cloud nine when I realize she’s asking me about getting her laptop.

“Oh? Sure!” I smile. “I can get it no problem!”

I don’t know if her mom could cause me any trouble. But right now? I don’t think about it. I’m just scratching the surface of heaven right now. Not being hungry means I don’t have to keep such a tight lid on myself. Eating means I can finally relax without any accidents.

Eating means safe.


Michaela Carter (Eric the Bard)
(2/15/2015 12:50:53 PM) (2029177)

I almost take a bite.

But then I see her eat.

Well. Let's be fair. She isn't like, cramming it in or anything. But I have never in my life seen anyone eat so fast. Seriously. She sort of kills my own appetite. It's somewhere between amazing and appalling, the way she manages to inhale food without making a total mess out of it. Ten seconds with a napkin and she'd be ready for the TV again.

Yeah. I think I've lost my appetite. This car's too clean to eat in anyway. Her reaction to the food is almost as shocking. I've never eaten anything that came out of a bag that tasted good enough .....well, for that. I'm a little startled, actually. So, rather than further embarrass myself by staring at her for an entirely new reason now, I turn my face forward to look out the windshield. And the question is out before I quite realize I'm talking.

"How do I go home?" I ask, almost under my breath. "After all this. Marco and Lilly and Mr. Rivale, and you. And all that's waiting for me is a drunk mom who I have to take care of, and an ugly old house with its wreck of a yard, and....." I tried to not resent my mother for years. I never wanted to hate her. Choices, it seems, not left to me. And I shake my head, throwing the question away from me. "No. I'm sorry. This isn't your deal. I think I just want to go back to the Rivale house, if I'm still welcome."

And while I'm at it, curl into my seat until I'm swallowed by the upholstery. That'd be great.


Abigail Donnovan (EvilSqueegee)
(2/15/2015 1:07:38 PM) (2029202)

“If forgiveness was easy, it wouldn’t mean anything,” I say as I finish inhaling the rest of the food. I’d ask if she was going to eat hers, but it’s been Cheesed, and cheese is evil for obvious reasons.

“Sometimes it takes time. You had a fight, it happens. I haven’t talked to my mom and dad in… ugh. It feels like it’s been fifty years. They didn’t like my life choices. Mr. Rivale took me in and helped me find out what I really wanted for myself. One day I’ll go back home and look my folks in the eye, though. And I’ll be able to say i forgive them, and I love them anyways.”

I nod. That’s my plan! I just have a lot of Karma to make up. Also, forgiving them hasn’t come to me yet. Just thinking about it makes my stomach bunch up into knots.

I reach for the diet rootbeer and take a sip through the straw.

“And you shouldn’t worry about the house. Your place could be pretty nice, too. Just gotta work at it, just like the hair and the makeup and the clothes. That’s all the yard is about, anyways -- looking good. If nobody ever took care of our lawn or anything, it wouldn’t be so nice. But it’d still be home. That’s what life is about. Work and reward! You reap what you sew. Unless someone forgives you.”

I smile.

“And don’t worry. You’re not going to stay away forever. Lilly really likes her friends. She gets that from Mr. Rivale, I think.”

I hit reverse and pull out of the parking lot.

“One ride to the Rivale Household, coming right up!”
EtB
 
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