Trust And Misunderstandings [Michaela, Lilly]

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Trust And Misunderstandings [Michaela, Lilly]

Postby EtB » Thu Feb 19, 2015 9:37 am

Michaela Carter (Eric the Bard)
(2/18/2015 9:59:40 AM) (2031851)

I had decided, after my conversation with Abby (and after recovering from the shock of watching her eat more than half the football team), to give something a whirl. Honestly? I had no idea how it would turn out. I was nervous, jittery as I hadn't been before my first meet. Strangely, I took this as a good sign. Nothing worth doing is ever easy, and a little anxiety can be a good spur to excellence.

That's what I keep telling myself, anyway.

So I'm looking for Lilly, in this big old place, and I am afraid I have gotten myself lost. I've never lived in a place this big, and it's a little intimidating. How could anyone bear all this empty space? Not only that, who did they get to clean it all?

Eventually, I find my way to what I think is Lilly's room, and knock lightly on the door. "Lilly?" I call, hesitantly. "It's, um. Me. Michaela. I, uh....are you busy?"

That's me! Eloquent as always. Unconsciously, I tug my ponytail tight and shift my T-shirt -- this one sporting what appears to be a silhouette of a frog performing a pole vault -- settling it on me. It doesn't need adjusting, but I need something to do with my hands so they don't do that awkward twisting-fingers thing ---

--- like they're doing right now. Dammit.

Liliana Rivale (Damiana)
(2/18/2015 10:05:21 AM) (2031854)

"Come in!"

My voice rings through as I pause in gleefully creating registration at Cuddles.Net, a premier dating site. Oh its not for me. Today? Best day ever! When Michaela walks in, I spring up and pounce her with a happy hug. Her awkwardness is lost on me, I'm so very happy today.

"Ding Dong, the witch is gone! Dad took her to the airport. I never have to see that whore or consider her family again. How are you? You know you can stay with us as long as you want?" I pull her along to have her sit with me on the bed. "If your mom needs to a home care worker, or whatever? Dad can make that happen. He's magic."

Michaela Carter (Eric the Bard)
(2/18/2015 10:16:10 AM) (2031858)

Awkward is definitely the word, but I try to smile for her, and return her hug as best I can manage. I'm very tall, and it sometimes makes me feel like a giant cow surrounded by all these smaller people. I'm taller than most of the boys in my class. I take her invitation, and sit carefully on the bed, unconsciously putting a little space between us. I'm looking at Lilly a little differently now, with what Marco said whirling around in my brain, and I take a deep breath, like I usually do before saying something I'm not really sure I want to say, and I breathe in the smell of her perfume.

Okay, Michaela. Think. You can do this. They're called words, and you use them to....

"I don't really feel comfortable asking for anything else from you guys," I confess, all in a rush. Is it warm in here? "I mean....I don't know anyone else who'd do all this...." I wave a hand indistinctly around, including everything. "...just for someone they barely knew. You've all been so ...." I give up, because one, I don't have the words, and two, if I go on like this, I'm going to burst into tears again. Avert that disaster by any means. So, a few deep breaths again to get my nerves under control, and the still pond in my mind. Find that stillness.

She'll see it, the relaxation as I breathe the tension out, the settling, the calm. Just think of it like running track. I'm running now. Just not with my feet. I run with my mind.

"I, uh, talked to Abby, a bit. I was curious about some things. She pointed me at you. I...." I look away, because I swear her eyes are pulling something out of me, and my hands start doing the twisty thing again. "My mom was a model," I say, in a rush. "Before she had me. I've....I know I'm not pretty, but Mom said that not many people really are; it's the camera, the lights, the makeup, the clothes, and most of all, the attitude. Beauty is an illusion." Then, because I really want her to help me, I turn to look at her again, and force a smile through the blush of what I am about to say. "I don't know if you're one of the few true articles or a really awesome magician, Lilly....but maybe you can help me work a little magic of my own."

Please God let her understand what I mean.

Liliana Rivale (Damiana)
(2/18/2015 10:30:57 AM) (2031862)

It really doesn't help that I'm just under 5'2 in my stocking feet and weigh just over a hundred pounds. The discrepancy in our height is obvious but I don't seem to notice it. Because she's stammering and nervous though, I get quiet and give Michaela my full attention. Patiently, I let her word things out. I frown when she says beauty is an illusion but she's just quoting her mom and the woman was a model? Well, that does explain some things.

"Abby is amazing, isn't she? I don't know how I would have gotten through my mom leaving without her. She's exactly the kind of person I want dad dating- just not Abby herself. It would mess things up. She's like a big sister or favorite aunt or something for me. Me? A magician? That would be my dumb brother and all his occult mumbo-jumbo. But if you are asking for my help with clothes and make-up?" My eyes light up.

"I would love to do that for you. Also? You are wrong and your mom is wrong. Beauty isn't an illusion. That's like saying people are only nice when they want something or that there's no point to recycling because we've already poisoned the planet. Its jaded and cynical and just words that bitter people apply because to them, the glass is half-empty always."

"Maybe for photography and creating a specific aesthetic, it is lights and angles sure. But photography isn't about making something beautiful. Art isn't about making things beautiful. Its about conveying moods and themes- subjective stuff- through something concrete and material. At least that's what it is for me."

Michaela Carter (Eric the Bard)
(2/18/2015 10:41:28 AM) (2031869)

Finally, she says something to make me laugh. Jaded, bitter, and cynical. "So you've met her?" I say, in a tone as dry as dust. It's hardly a revelation -- and I know Lilly hasn't, in fact, met my mother.

"Abby is definitely....something else," I say slowly, not quite sure how to work with that. But when she speaks of her brother, I give her a long, level look.

"I never had a brother, or a sister," I tell her quietly. "I grew up mostly alone. I'm starting to think I missed a lot doing that. I guess, I suppose it's how things are -- brothers and sisters say mean things about each other and fight all the time -- but Marco's been no less sweet and kind to me than you have. He helped me realize something the other day that I couldn't see. Something about me, that I was afraid to look at. I'm not going to try and tell you to be nice to him. But even if you can't be nice to each other, can you try to remember that both of you are my friends?"

I think that's the best I could possibly ask for. I don't know. I've never actually seen them together, I don't think, I have no idea what their relationship is like.

"I think I agree with you," I say, after a minute, when she talks about art. "I think it's about showing the beauty that's already there. We don't all see the same things, but sometimes, all it takes is the right angle to bring it out, you know?"

She'd love to help me. Awesome.

"So, do we start?"

Liliana Rivale (Damiana)
(2/18/2015 10:51:35 AM) (2031879)

I laugh. "I've met people like her. "

As she stands up for Marco, I take a moment. I consider it which isn't something I normally do for people. "I'm glad he's been sweet and kind to you. Please don't sleep with him. He's already pulled a number on Kelly, sleeping with her to upset me and she's got a crush on him she's had it forever. Even if I'm glad my step mom is gone? I'm furious at him for the fact that he and his friend Trevor Benson were here, in my room having sex with my step mother and then Trevor bragged about it to his sister Lisa and she told me!"

"So I will try really, really hard to not say mean things like my brother is a sick perverted manwhore around you because I really like you. But he is a sick, perverted manwhore and I need you to know that and keep yourself safe from him. Okay?" I say this with my personal interpretation of what a calm and reasonable tone would be. "Be his friend. Just don't ever let him put you in a position like he put Kelly. You have way, way too much to focus on besides boys any way. Like training for the Olympics."

"And I will help you be the most beautiful and sexy Olympic track star ever. With your face and cheekbones? Its not like that will be hard. Okay, let me go get some things from the bathroom. We'll start with just a little make-up. Honestly? Less is more sometimes. I experiment and like to wear a lot, but I think for you? We could be more subtle. But I want to do something." I pause.

"Can I make us appointments at my hair stylist? Can we do something with your hair?"

Michaela Carter (Eric the Bard)
(2/18/2015 10:59:19 AM) (2031881)

And as she warns me about her brother, I can't help it. I fall over backward onto her bed and just laugh.

I laugh, because I never even looked at Marco that way, and he knew it. I laugh because he must have been right. I laugh because all I can think is it isn't Marco I'm interested in. It takes me a minute or two before I manage to get my relieved hysteria under control, and I sit up and wrap Lilly in a warm hug. "Let's just say," I tell her, that hilarity still in my voice, "that that is something you definitely don't have to worry about. But that focus, that you talked about? It can be too much," I add, turning a bit serious. Not much, but a bit. "I think....I think maybe I let it....I dunno. Running is all I was ever good at, Lilly....but sometimes I think that all I was doing? Was running away."

I don't like that thought. I really, really don't. Who wants to think of themselves as a coward?

"It takes money to train for the Olympics,"I tell her gently, "and a sponsor. If I take Nationals, this year? I might have a shot. I'm still pretty young for it. Old to start training, maybe, but I've been what they call a serious amateur for years." But her enthusiasm is impossible to deny for long, and I smile as she goes and gets her things. At her last question, I close my eyes, and spread my hands.

Dramatically -- melodramatically, maybe -- I tell her, "I am in your hands, Lilly Rivale."

And then a guilty flush, because I am not entirely sure just how I mean that.

Liliana Rivale (Damiana)
(2/18/2015 11:08:12 AM) (2031890)

Her laughing makes me laugh too. When you think about it, it really is funny. If only it happened to someone else though. I have new sheets and pillows but I am tempted to replace the mattresses and frame as well.

"Good! Because if he ever, ever, ever makes another one of my best friends cry? I'll- I'll you know. Castrate him in his sleep." I don't say I'll set him on fire. I set Michaela on fire! She knows what I'm capable of and trusts me any way. She doesn't see the monster I've come to suspect I am.

"So turn it around. Instead of running away? Run forward," I urge her. "People say you are good enough. And wouldn't that be exciting, to compete internationally like that?" As she brings up the part about money and such? I almost say it right away but I hold back and let her finish. What she tells me at the end? That settles it.

I walk over, while she has her eyes closed and I take both of her hands in mine and hold them tight.

"Michaela, would you do that for real? Would you put yourself in my hands?" Now its my tone that turns serious. "Look at me. I'm not talking just about me helping you be fashionable and less socially awkward. Would you trust me with- with your everything?"

Michaela Carter (Eric the Bard)
(2/18/2015 11:14:34 AM) (2031892)

"I'm not really sure he'd sleep through that, Lilly," I tell her doubtfully.

"I'm trying to," I tell her. "I...I'm trying to look at things I missed. And it was coming here, meeting all of you, having actual friends for what feels like the first time ever....that got me started."

And then she asks that. I do open my eyes, and look at her, my face serious, even stern. I'm still not much used to smiling. Golden brown eyes, the color of dark honey or amber or good whiskey meet hers and before I really know what I'm doing, I'm bending down and kissing her.

I don't really know what I'm doing. I just press my lips to hers, and they're warm and soft, and I squeeze her hands from the feeling it sends racing through me. I'm not running away this time.

This feels more like flinging myself off the end of the world.

Liliana Rivale (Damiana)
(2/18/2015 11:47:30 AM) (2031909)

Wha- ack!

This.. ummn.. oh no....

Kissing a girl wouldn't be a bad thing would it? Except, Michaela. Oh no. Oh no. Oh no!

I do not panic, but I hold my breath and then pull back. "Ummn... I didn't.. in mind. I wanted to ummn..." My cheeks are suddenly red. "I wanted to ask if you'd trust me with asking dad to invest in your career. I know it costs a lot of money but the satisfaction of watching you go-"


My eyes are so big.

Michaela Carter (Eric the Bard)
(2/18/2015 11:54:04 AM) (2031915)

Oh, great job, Michaela.

Bourbon eyes snap open as she pulls away, and I watch her face, and mine heats up just as fast as hers. I have never seen her awkward like me, and all of a sudden, I'm ashamed on top of the emotional stew I'm already drowning in.

I drop onto the bed, bury my face in my hands, and groan.

"This is why I'm an athlete," I say mournfully. "Because I'm stupid. This is why I want to be pretty. Because I'm stupid. Do you know, I didn't even realize I felt -- like I do -- about girls -- until Marco pointed it out? I mean, I heard the rumors at school, I know what people say about me, I just ignored it, and ignored it, and ignored everything that might have had to do with it. And then you ask me to trust you with everything... so I just....kinda...."

I laugh hollowly, and pull my legs up, resting heels on the edge of the bed and pressing my face to my knees, wrapping my arms around my legs. The Comfort Ball.

"I ran forward. I thought." I mumble into my jeans.

Liliana Rivale (Damiana)
(2/18/2015 12:06:51 PM) (2031931)

I hover there, standing up and feeling awkward and faint.

"You- not stupid just..." It took Marco to help her know she liked girls? I thought she was a lesbian like all school year. It didn't bother me. I mean, lesbians are all over tv now. Really attractive lesbians. "You aren't stupid, I'm just not- I don't think I-"

Michaela has accomplished something nobody else ever has. I am stuttering and completely at a loss.

"People say everything about everyone at school. Boys claim to have sex with me- and I'm a virgin. Second base is the end of my ball game. I- I don't want... ummn.. I'm not mad at you. I promise that I'm not mad at you, Michaela. You are a great person. You are a great friend."

Michaela Carter (Eric the Bard)
(2/18/2015 12:16:00 PM) (2031942)

And suddenly, because nothing else this past week or so has made much sense either, I find myself giggling. It's a little thing, at first, and she might think I'm crying at first. Well. I'm doing that too -- dammit -- but really, I just realized something so funny that I can't ignore it.

I look up from the damp faceprint on the knees of my jeans at her, and smile.

"You know what? I don't think I'd know what to do if you were," I confess, and I dearly hope that makes her laugh. Because seeing how I've reduced her to MY level....well, I don't like that. I don't like it much at all. "I don't know how good a friend I am. But you all -- all of you, your whole family -- have been just about the best I could ask for." I reach out, squeeze her hand. "I really appreciate it. I don't want to ever go home, Lilly. I wish I could be a Rivale."

But I can't. And I know it. I wipe my eyes, and hunt for tissues.

"It's sweet, that you'd ask your dad for me. But if I'm going to ask someone to throw money at my athletic career? I think....I kinda think that's the kind of thing a person should do for themselves. You know? I wouldn't feel right about it. Let me get to Nationals. And we'll see what happens then."

I look down at the tissues in my hand, then up at her.

"Well. Weren't you going to show me how to be pretty?" I wave a hand at my face and fake a frown. "I don't think we're doing this right."

Come on, girl. Laugh.

Liliana Rivale (Damiana)
(2/18/2015 12:27:17 PM) (2031954)

She squeezes my hand and I hug her.

"So don't go home. Having you here is nice. There's the gym for you to train in. It isn't like we don't have room. I'll talk to my dad about things-" She is pulling away though, except I get it. About her wanting to do it herself. Even if I wouldn't be that way? I can respect that she is. "Okay. We'll see what happens at Nationals. But girl, you are going to be smoking at Nationals. Let's start with a talk about foundation."

I throw myself into helping her with her make-up and chatter about clothes, hair, nails, all that kind of stuff. I can talk to her like she was one of the hens. Oh yeah I can do that today just fine. Look at me go!

Retreating into this helps me not think at all about kissing girls and well.. complicated things. Within an hour or two, I've even convinced myself it didn't happen.
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