This probably needs a trigger warning for magical thinking
Basalt was, Ahouva was learning, not as hard to work around as she’d feared. He didn’t appear to have a temper, certainly not on the lines of Kendon’s, and he had a great deal of patience with her while she fumbled around, trying to figure out how to make him happy.
She was not sure she liked this list that he insisted on – “write down everything that makes you really happy, and everything that makes you unhappy” – but it had become a kind of meditative exercise, a minute after each class where she let herself just think about herself, and how she felt. Sharing it with him every evening – that was less comfortable. It never failed to get a frown, and it never failed to get a “good girl,” until she was finally, today after her magic class, adding “talking about this list” to her list of things that made her unhappy.
Thoughtfully, and because she didn’t like him frowning, she added “Kissing Basalt” to the list of things that made her happy. It was honest – he’d insisted on honesty but, thankfully, not complete honesty – and it would make him smile. She liked it when he smiled.
She closed her notebook and headed out into the hall. He’d be waiting for her; he always waited for her after her last class. It could be kind of romantic, like he was some 1950’s boyfriend, if she didn’t think he was afraid Kendon would get his hands on her. That… She paused in the doorway, and wrote “thinking about Kendon” on the list of things that made her unhappy. Thinking about Kendon terrified her.
“So you have Kendon’s little toy now, ‘Salt?” She paused in the doorway. Kendon’s toy. That was her. Not anymore… but that was her. What would Basalt say.
“I Own Ahouva,” he confirmed, slowly. “Why, Calvin?”
Calvin! She knew him! He’d been all over Timora for the first couple weeks, and then… nothing. And Timora had come out of Hell Night with Arundel, and not speaking.
“Getting’ kind of bored, thought you might want to exchange… favors. She’s a cute little thing.”
“You don’t have anything I want.”
“Are you sure?” Calvin’s voice dropped to a whisper, and Ahouva’s heart dropped. Slowly, she slunk back into the classroom. She could hide. She could… something. Run away? She could run away. Somewhere. Slowly, she sidled out the back door.
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