Merlin's Academy for Excellence
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     Pushing It (Tess)

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    Parker Emery
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    PostSubject: Pushing It (Tess)   Fri Jan 09, 2015 1:42 am

    As relaxing and easy-going as the tea shop usually was, it would get fairly busy at the oddest of times during the day. Parker sighed as he removed his name tag, glad he was finally going on break. His feet were killing him and, if he was lucky, by the time he clocked back in, the place would be back to its usual slow pace.

    People usually took their breaks to have lunch, but having forgotten to bring something to eat again, Parker intended to just enjoy some time sitting down. His appetite had been pretty minimal lately anyways, so he figured it wasn't that big of a deal.

    There were several small tables gathered in the front of the shop, unoccupied because of the cold weather. He plopped down into one of the nearest chairs, slumping slightly as a look of relief spread over his features. The chairs weren't really all that comfortable even with their cushioning charms, but it was nice to finally get off his feet. Parker ran a hand through his slightly damp hair to push it off from his forehead. The warming charms in the building were nice for keeping out the chill when there wasn't anything going on, but when bustling between customers it got way too warm in there for Parker's liking.

    With a shiver, Parker yawned and stretched his arms out in front of him. He watched light snowflakes fall and people walk from one place to another as he mentally weighed the pros and cons of asking for a cut in his hours. He needed more time to study, more hours in the hospital wing, more time to sleep... but he also really needed the money. Parker sighed, resting his elbows on the table and his face in his palms. This sucked.
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    PostSubject: Re: Pushing It (Tess)   Fri Jan 09, 2015 2:01 am


    It was one of those days where her body told her that there was only so much time that she could spend indoors before she became see-through. Winter was a time where everyone spent indoors, cuddling by the fire with their significant others. But at the moment, Tess Holmes found herself taking care of her dragon egg before she murmured something to her egg promising to come back soon. It seemed silly how attached to got to something, but perhaps the idea of talking to something and no one judging (since it was an egg), and couldn't speak back. Childish, but true. It reminded her of being a kid with her stuffed animals when she was left alone.

    And like those times, Tess stared out the window, and decided she needed to get out. Rhian was on campus, and she wasn't going to spend another day indoors. Putting on layers she slipped on her snow boots and walked outside hoping to find a purpose for the day.

    Walking through Avalon, Christmas was still in motion as the carnival decorations were up. Her attention was caught by a tea shop that seemed homie in the best way possible. Walking towards it, she noticed a familiar face outside and walked over. She didn't know what compelled her, other than it was one of those situations where it felt okay. Silly but true she took him in, in all his misfortune. Tilting her head she noticed him in uniform looking exhausted, and not prepared for this weather too.

    "Long day?" she asked curiously.

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    PostSubject: Re: Pushing It (Tess)   Fri Jan 09, 2015 2:08 pm

    Parker stayed with his face resting in his hands for a good several minutes. It was times like this where he wished he could just pause time for a bit. Get a nap in, do some notes, then press play and continue on.

    He let the chill settle in a bit more, knowing he was likely covered in goosebumps as he tried to suppress his shivering. Those walking by probably thought he was weird or completely out of it, but the cold helped. When he was younger he would take ice-cold showers to help clear his mind or calm him down - force his attention to focus more on his physical state than his mental one. He had to admit though, he was glad he'd decided to forego a haircut before the start of the year, as least he could keep his ears and neck a bit warmer through the winter.

    "Long day?"

    Parker sat up in his chair and lowered his hands to see... Tess? He gave her a crooked sort of smile and shrugged, "Yeah, I guess so. Been on my feet all day and barely got any sleep the other night. I'll be alright though."

    He felt a bit foolish sitting there in his uniform while Tess stood  there all bundled up. He'd be more than warm soon enough though, but still, he probably should have grabbed his sweater out of the backroom first... "So, what brings you here?" he asked, sounding more casual and relaxed than he appeared.
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    PostSubject: Re: Pushing It (Tess)   Fri Jan 09, 2015 2:58 pm

    Tess smiled softly despite herself as he gave her one of those grins. It made her embarrassed to realize just how things had changed after Hogwarts. For one thing the stress of cliques, social standing, names, meant very little now. She wasn't in Slytherin anymore, there was no one to ask more of her anymore. The pressure to be someone in a house meant nothing once you were out. She had to admit, she quite liked that. She liked the idea of not having to feel a bit foolish for having a best friend in Gryffindor, or how she wasn't scheming some prank towards some poor hufflepuff. Nor be a bystander as others got bullied near her.

    Like this situation. She would have never been able to just go up and talk to someone like Parker without people whispering. It seemed silly, especially since she never considered herself popular, but she had a following. One that tended to put her on some pedestal without her asking for it. None were friends, they were merely people that cared more for Dominic than her.

    Not even being asked, she sat down beside him and shuddered as the cold seat hit her bottom. How was he okay in this weather? Tugging her scarf lower so he could actually see him better, she took him in. Poor bloke look exhausted. And she tried to sympathize, but she had never worked a day in her life. From the day she was born she never struggled financially.

    Hearing him talk about his lack of sleep made her frown. Did he think that was okay? She couldn't but blurt, "Are you telling me, that you, someone is in the medical field think that lack of sleep is healthy?"

    He reminded her so much of Rhian that she couldn't help but lecture him a bit. Tess tended to be selfish and self-centered in many situations, but that's why she thrived. If no one was going to put her first, then why not she take the challenge? At his question she shrugged.

    "Needed to leave my flat for a bit. It's not healthy just staying indoors, so I've taken a liking to walking around Avalon."

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    PostSubject: Re: Pushing It (Tess)   Fri Jan 09, 2015 11:33 pm

    Considering how little Parker actually knew Tess, it was kind of remarkable how at ease he seemed to feel on the few occasions that they had talked. Back at Hogwarts he only knew her as Slytherin prefect from times he'd gotten himself into trouble, and she would have never risked trying to talk to someone like him. He wasn't exactly that unpopular per se... but he did have a negative reputation associated with him that most people tended to avoid.

    To say that coming to the academy and leaving Hogwarts behind was freeing felt like an understatement. Without all the pointless house expectations and pre-standing status quo, a huge weight had lifted off his shoulders. It felt a little bit easier to breath.

    Parker didn't think twice about her taking the seat across from him. Some light conversation over his break would be more than welcome. Better than all the conversations he'd had with customers about tea, at least.

    "Are you telling me that you, someone in the medical field, think that lack of sleep is healthy?"

    At her scolding, he felt his face heat up slightly, most likely turning a bit red. He knew he wasn't good at self-care, but he wasn't particularly used to hearing about it from others. "No, no, I didn't mean that --  I just -- Well, I can catch up on some rest over the weekend." He said lamely, assuming that admitting he had chronic issues with sleeping would only lead to more scolding from her (which, admittedly, wasn't something he would have expected from her).

    "Needed to leave my flat for a bit. It's not healthy just staying indoors, so I've taken a liking to walking around Avalon."

    Parker nodded in agreement, "Yeah, I get what you mean. Besides work and a random afternoon at the quidditch pitch the other day, I've mostly just been in the library or class."
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    PostSubject: Re: Pushing It (Tess)   Sat Jan 10, 2015 12:27 am


    Tess shook her head, smirking slightly at the way that he had turned red. He was an odd guy, but overall friendly and she wiggled down on the seat hoping to get herself warmed up. She was never fond of the cold, finding it to be too stifling. She could only wonder how cold Parker could be as he had no coat on and only that flimsy unattractive uniform.

    She wasn't maternal; it is what she told herself, because had she been, she would have scolded him for even thinking about being outside without a coat. She would have swatted him and forced him back indoors to warm him up. But she wasn't a mother hen, so she leaned back and bit her tongue, taking in his embarrassment.

    "No, no, I didn't mean that -- I just -- Well, I can catch up on some rest over the weekend."

    Lifting her brow, she looked at him full of skepticism. He looked so skinny, and tired, paler than normal. Her hands twitched a bit, wondering if she should ask if he was okay. Clearing her throat she took off her scarf and looked inside.

    "Yeah, I get what you mean. Besides work and a random afternoon at the quidditch pitch the other day, I've mostly just been in the library or class."


    "Are you done for the day?" she asked suddenly.

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    PostSubject: Re: Pushing It (Tess)   Sat Jan 10, 2015 4:48 pm

    Her scepticism was more than obvious - though he couldn't really blame her. He wasn't one to check his appearance often, but he knew that he looked terribly unwell lately. Saying he was going to go back to the dorm to rest or otherwise care for himself was, for whatever reason, easier said than done. And she'd clearly caught onto that.

    Parker didn't like having people concerned for him - which was why he so often kept to himself - but he still couldn't help but almost felt guilty at his relief when she quickly moved on from the subject of his well-being.

    "Are you done for the day?"

    Parker gave her a look before turning his attention into the shop window as well. He then shook his head. "No, after my break I've still a few more hours on my shift. I just hope it doesn't stay this busy for much longer..." he ended with a small sigh.


    Last edited by Parker Emery on Sun Jan 11, 2015 11:18 pm; edited 1 time in total
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    PostSubject: Re: Pushing It (Tess)   Sun Jan 11, 2015 11:10 pm


    Parker was more interesting than she ever gave him credit for while at Hogwarts. She always thought of him as being so painfully normal, not even in her radar really unless someone brought him to the limelight. Usually it was through the rumors, never enough for her to pay attention. She was incredibly self-centered about that. Looking back it was almost painful how many times she only paid attention to others if it affected her in some way. Now she was more self-reflecting. Perhaps it was the idea that she had figured out who she was away from the expectations but at the moment she felt relaxed.

    It seemed silly, an almost stranger making her feel more comfortable than she'd ever been with many people she'd once considered friends at Hogwarts. Maybe because he was safe, nothing immediately dangerous about him, and perfectly normal, at least surface wise. Except he was terrible at taking care of himself, obvious from his indifference in the lack of sweater. Also from his skinniness and his hair. He needed a haircut. It was almost like her, when she often forgot to eat, was it not for Rhian who would force food her way when she forgot about it.

    "No, after my break I've still a few more hours on my shift. I just hope it doesn't stay this busy for much longer..."

    Frowning she looked into the tea shop and saw just how full it was. It was busy for the time that it was. Maybe like her they wanted something warm. But she felt bad for Parker, having to work these hours.

    "Have you eaten at least? Have a hot chocolate with me? At least before you have to go back?"

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    PostSubject: Re: Pushing It (Tess)   Mon Jan 12, 2015 5:51 pm

    It was easy to assume someone like Parker was fairly boring. Throughout most of school he kept to himself - and even when he didn’t, he never was one to make a show of himself (other people did that well enough through rumours, much to his chagrin). Even some of his closest friends at Hogwarts didn’t have the full picture of what went on back at home over the summers, or about some of his most private thoughts. What would have been the point? He liked the image of himself as normal, harmless Parker anyways.

    Academy was the place that he could ensure that vision of himself stuck.

    Perhaps it was why he always got anxious whenever running into someone from Hogwarts - especially if there had been negative feelings between them. He didn’t like the person he’d been in the past. In fact, his past self was probably his least favorite person besides his father.

    Wringing his cold hands together, scarred knuckles bright pink and white from the cold, Parker looked down at the tabletop as he tried to push those thoughts out of his mind. People feeling sorry for him always made Parker feel like odd sense of guilt and just overall worse. He was so sick and tired of feeling sorry for himself all the time.

    "Have you eaten at least? Have a hot chocolate with me? At least before you have to go back?"

    At Tess’ offer, he perked up slightly. “Actually, that sounds really nice. I only had a small snack before I got on shift” he lied, his voice taking on a slightly off tone. “I can probably grab two smalls without anyone noticing - line’s too long to wait in my opinion.” He got up from his seat with a small shiver, then paused to ask: “Oh, wait, do want cream on it or anything?”
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    PostSubject: Re: Pushing It (Tess)   Mon Jan 12, 2015 6:24 pm


    Her mother had always told her that men never really admitted what was wrong for them, even if it was obvious. And she never quite understood what it meant. Wouldn't it save them the pain to just admit what's wrong Mummy? she would ask and her mother would pat her head and tell her that men were already easy to read, it'd be just giving the fun away to just say it aloud. Even now at eighteen, Tess was just as confused at the seven-year old her was. He looked exhausted, and unhappy about his job. At least in this instance. Who was she to judge what his likes and dislikes were. But while she wasn't the most tactful person out there when it came to social skills, she had one gift that saved her from utter horrification: cunning. Growing up she knew how to bite her tongue, be a great actress, especially when she was asked how she was. After all, people never cared to know how you were really, it was more "I'm fine" that they sought after. Again something she never understood.

    But at this moment, her brown eyes trailed towards Parker's hands as they began to grow pink. Her hands were cold too, but she had a coat to keep the rest of her warm. This man had nothing of the sort and she figured that perhaps a hot chocolate could give them a way to warm up their hands.

    “Actually, that sounds really nice. I only had a small snack before I got on shift” he lied, his voice taking on a slightly off tone. “I can probably grab two smalls without anyone noticing - line’s too long to wait in my opinion.” He got up from his seat with a small shiver, then paused to ask: “Oh, wait, do want cream on it or anything?”

    And he took the bait wonderfully. Smiling slightly, she did appreciate the fact that he was going out of his way to do so. Tilting her head she wondered if he had really eaten: it wasn't her business. Pushing the thoughts away she merely smiled a bit wider.

    "However you take it will be fine with me. Thank you" she replied.

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    PostSubject: Re: Pushing It (Tess)   Mon Jan 12, 2015 9:19 pm

    Parker had picked up at an early age (and been reminded on many occasions since) that good things never really happened when his guard was lowered and when he let people have the satisfaction of knowing with certainty when something was wrong. As obvious as some issues may have seemed on the outside, there wasn't much of anything anyone could do if he just kept denying it. Parker had a vague sense that that kind of stupidity would one day cost him his life, but thus far he tried not to think too much about it.

    It was a careful balancing act, he'd realized. Too closed off and you'd not have friends. Too open, and those you thought you could trust would turn on you with one wrong step. He learned that from those muggles from his neighborhood that he grew up with, those Slytherins he had befriended (and dated) back in fifth year...

    "However you take it will be fine with me. Thank you."

    Parker's crooked smile returned as he gave a curt nod, hurriedly making his way into the shop. He weaved his way between the wixen in line, disappearing into the back room briefly. His co-worker barely paid him any mind when he reappeared with two small cups, quickly making the hot chocolates. After adding a bit of extra-sweet whipped cream to the top of each, he rushed back out to their small table with a drink in each hand.

    He carefully set one in front of Tess before returning to his seat across from her, with both hands wrapped tightly around the hot cup. "Sorry if that took a while.."
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    PostSubject: Re: Pushing It (Tess)   Mon Jan 12, 2015 10:09 pm


    As Tess saw him go, she wondered if the heating charm was malfunctioning outside. Usually it would have brought the chill down, but that was not the case. Getting up from her seat, she fiddled with the umbrella over the table and began to see why it wasn't working. A simple fire charm ignited the heater enough where she could sit under it comfortably. She wasn't easily cold, but she knew that he would be. If his hands were enough of a guess, he was cold.

    Sitting alone, she took everything in. A year ago she would have not considered herself to have been so calm about having hot chocolate with just anyone. In fact it would have probably involved her nan and or Rhian if she was lucky. Smiling softly thinking about her grandmother, she noticed him coming back.

    As the cup was put on the table, she smiled softly and wrapped her hands around it. It was so sweet and the aroma brought a sense of calmness around her.

    "Sorry if that took a while.."

    "I'm not going to complain when I didn't have to pay for it" she teased, a small glint of amusement in her gaze. "Thank you."

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    PostSubject: Re: Pushing It (Tess)   Fri Jan 16, 2015 1:40 am

    Parker barely noticed a difference in the temperature around the table until after he'd settled back into his seat for a few moments. Glancing up, he saw that the charmed heater was working again. He figured Tess must have done it while he was inside and he definitely didn't blame her - after all, when outside in the cold, sitting still always made it feel even more cold.

    Parker returned a soft 'your welcome', and looked around at some of those passing by, simply enjoying the casual moment of silence passing between the two not-yet-healers as they held their drinks.

    He leaned over, looking down at his cup and letting the rising heat warm his cheeks and nose somewhat. With as pale as he'd gotten lately, his face easily turned pink and numb against the freezing air. He let out a small, pleased sigh as the feeling started coming back into his fingers and face.
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    PostSubject: Re: Pushing It (Tess)   Fri Jan 16, 2015 3:01 pm

    'This was new' Tess thought as she nursed the warm cup in her hands. Being quiet when with other people was not something that worked out quite the way she wanted. Usually the silence would bother the other person more than they'd care to admit and start rambling. For her silence meant peace, a time to reflect and not at all feel awkward at those situations. But this time around it was different. For one thing it was Parker; that in itself was brand new. The second was that she had allowed herself to be surrounded by a new person with no self-consciousness.

    Perhaps it was the fact that she knew that he was harmless, and perhaps the fact that she was trying to turn a new leave, is what made her feel okay. She would never be the chatty girl in the corner, or an animated talker. But she listened. From the corner of her eye she looked at Parker and wondered briefly, if he was the same way. She briefly realized that she never remembered what his voice sounded like, or what he even did. Was she that self-centered at some point? Yes, yes she was. Before she could even realize what she was saying, she had already uttered it.

    "I'm sorry" she murmured lowering her gaze to her hot chocolate, "for...for the past. For everything I suppose"

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    PostSubject: Re: Pushing It (Tess)   Sat Jan 17, 2015 12:19 am

    With few friends and a lot of time to himself the past few months, Parker was rather used to quiet.  He usually prefered it, but when nearly all his time was spent in his own head it got to be substantially lonely. Almost maddeningly so. Though this silence wasn't. Almost anyone would agree that silence with other people was a much different experience, and in the right cases, rather nice. It's why Parker preferred more introverted friends, one's that didn't need to fill up every moment with conversation or plans to entertain.

    He didn't remember Tess spending much time with people like that either (not that he paid that much attention, he could have been wrong), so he hoped she wasn't just sitting there feeling awkward while he enjoyed her company.

    Parker took a long, slow drink of his hot chocolate, lowering the cup again when he noticed the way Tess looked down. He furrowed his brow in concern and opened his mouth to ask what was wrong - then she spoke.

    "I'm sorry. For... for the past. For everything I suppose"

    He closed his mouth and gave pause, her sudden apology catching him by surprise. "What for?" he frowned. He couldn't think of anything that she could have done that would warrant an apology. "There's really no need..." he trailed off, lowering his gaze to his hands clasped around his cup.
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    PostSubject: Re: Pushing It (Tess)   Sat Jan 17, 2015 10:41 pm


    Tess winced once the words came out of her mouth. Denial was a nicer way to run things, it let people avoid the topic they were ashamed about. She wasn't one to carry a lot of weight on her shoulders, usually letting things get lost in the chaos that was her mind. Out of mind was her best policy. But it was hard to ignore things when she saw it happen from afar. Never once did she raise her voice when she saw something done wrong, instead she looked away. Ignoring it was the best policy because it was a conflict of interest and now, here she was staring at someone who had that abuse.

    "What for?"

    Frowning slightly, she stared straight into her cup, as it steamed upwards and warmed her face. His words caught her by surprise and for a moment halted her mental processing. Was he an idiot or something? Did he not understand what exactly had happened before? Taking a deep breath, she knew she might as well follow through.

    "There is" she interrupted him as he too was looking at his cup. "Look...I feel like, I can't just sit here, take your hot chocolate and be okay, when I have never been the most...the kindest....the...the bravest person." her shoulders slumped, "I saw the things that happened" Who didn't"and I never did anything about it. Dom...Dominique was a prick and I let that happen and I-" she looked up at him, eyes sad. "I'm saying sorry now. You're free to say no, but I feel I should have enough respect for you to do so."

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    PostSubject: Re: Pushing It (Tess)   Sun Jan 18, 2015 3:55 am

    Parker felt like his throat was closing up.

    He still had no idea how to properly start recognizing, accepting, and dealing with his history of abuses. Whenever possible, he tried his best to just pretend it never happened. It seemed easier that way. He knew, realistically, that it could only do more harm to his mental and emotional well-being in the long run, but he felt... lost? Directionless? Like he could make himself far worse off than he already knew he was? Perhaps even scared?

    After all, past was past. He didn't feel like there was anything he could really gain from digging deeper into it than he already did when he got to his dark places. It's not like there was any sense of closure he could gain, wrongs that could truly be righted, a message to learn from. Parker's mother always told him that things happened for a reason, that it was His will that everything went as it did, so was he really in any position to argue (even though his faith was something he always questioned)?

    A stiff few moments of silence stretched between them, and Parker didn't bother to look up or otherwise move while Tess tried to process everything, taking a deep breath. She seemed to struggle to find her words, a strange tone to her voice. Parker furrowed his brow, trying to take in everything she was saying. "I..." he started, but his voice faltered and failed on him.

    "It's not like I blame you, or anyone else, for that." He said quietly, choosing his words carefully. "It's easier, I know. And maybe I should have done things differently, maybe I could have stopped it too, but I let it happen just the same as any of you did." That sounded far worse and less convincing than he expected. He sighed, bringing his hands up to his face to rub his eyes. "But if it'll make you feel better about... whatever, I'll accept your apology."
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    PostSubject: Re: Pushing It (Tess)   Sun Jan 18, 2015 4:53 pm


    Tess was a rotton person. When she often times meant best, she ended up being as selfish as she could be. She ruined the one moment that allowed her to be at peace in that calming quiet. She had to open her mouth, let it be about her and make poor Parker go through moments he probably wanted to forget. She wanted to forget too, and she realized just how hypocritical she was when she was bringing things his way when she avoided her own skeletons.

    Sighing, she gripped the cup tighter. The silence was enough for her to know she messed everything up. Messed what little teetering of peace and quiet were dealing with. The noise that came out of him made her close her eyes tightly and know it was going to be worse.

    "It's easier, I know. And maybe I should have done things differently, maybe I could have stopped it too, but I let it happen just the same as any of you did."

    "But if it'll make you feel better about... whatever, I'll accept your apology."


    It was as if he struck her with his words and she dared look up at him. The way he said it just made her feel like the dirtiest piece of gum. She knew he didn't necessarily mean it, but the way he said it, that bothered her. The whatever, the tone and the fact he blamed himself. The victim was him yet he had the stupid mindset that he too could have stopped it.

    "Shut up" she said, "You're better than...than the bystanders like me. We could have stopped it, but you, Merlin knows you couldn't. Don't kid yourself and don't try to do that to me."

    She pushed the cup back, not thinking she even deserved it. Her back straightened and she glared at him. She wasn't sure if she was angry at him or herself. Him for his passive nature, and her for making it all about herself.

    "Don't accept anything for my sake " she added in a more defeated tone, "I only regret being so stupid."


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    PostSubject: Re: Pushing It (Tess)   Wed Jan 21, 2015 2:05 am

    Parker inwardly cringed at how bitter he sounded to his own ears. His words ended up coming out far more hurtful than comforting, that much was obvious from the way Tess' demeanor changed and how her voice seemed to take on a similarly harsh inflection.

    "I - I didn't mean it like that." Parker cut in defensively. But his body language deflated slightly as he seemed to struggle over what to say next, not wanting to be careless with the way he said it. She just didn't get it though; how could she? He knew he sounded like a cliche victim, blaming himself as he did, but he felt like the situation was so much more complex than what it must have appeared to everyone else.

    She didn't even know him that well. So her assumptions, however well intentioned, made Parker feel... odd. He didn't know how to properly explain it, but it was - in some strange way - insulting.

    He looked up at her when she pushed her cup away, glaring back at him. He swallowed hard, a sharp pang of guilt travelling down his throat when they briefly met eyes. "Tess, look..." he started carefully, lowering his gaze again. "I'm still... I'm still working through it all myself. It's really not all that simple. You don't know everything that went on." He sighed. "And I don't mean that to make you feel bad."

    He opened his mouth to continue on with his (surprisingly concise) train of thought, but was cut off by his boss's voice calling out for him to get back to work, that his break was over. He frowned and gave Tess a look as if to say 'sorry' as he stood up taking his half-finished cup of hot chocolate with him.

    "Please, just... don't hold it against yourself. For my sake?" he said lamely, taking a step towards the door of the tea shop.

    "I'll see you around."

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    Tess Holmes
    Healer In-Training
    Healer In-Training

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    PostSubject: Re: Pushing It (Tess)   Wed Jan 21, 2015 6:15 pm


    Hot chocolate was never good to have in situations like this. Her appetite was gone; she had no yearning to warm herself up, if anything having put herself in this situation only made her feel colder. She was angry, whether at herself of Parker was something she couldn't really decipher; she hated having to try and categorize it. Emotions were something tricky; the extremes were easy, but the origin of it was what confused her. She had no right to be angry at his stupidity, she didn't know him, never made the effort before, yet she had put him on some pedestal where people like him were better than that.

    It wasn't the case; he was eerily similar to who she'd been long ago, before Rhian. In those social situations were were was asked to lower her head and keep her mouth shut. Taunting would be ignored, the looks ignored, all she needed to keep was poise. She would blame herself often for being a freak, and it was until she needed someone to verify it (Rhian) that it was all false was when she question it. She briefly wondered, did he ever think why it happened? Did he never think of the options and just took it? How long would it have gone if he'd been so compliant?

    None of those questions were in her business to ask. She had the urge to hit him though. And it was unlike her, so aggressive. She was better than that, she prided herself for avoiding conflict. But the ache in her chest, the embarrassment of it all, made her want to leave. He was right, who was she to judge? She was the problem. She simply felt herself shut down. Her eyes slowly dimmed, her face was stoic and she nodded as he went to work.

    "I'll see you around."

    That meant that it wouldn't happen again. She picked up the hot chocolate and threw it in the trash. The sweetness of the drink had turned bitter. She decided that maybe her best option was to just go to Rhian's dorm, curl up and she knew she wouldn't be pushed to talk.

    _________________________________________________________


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