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Sabotage

Grant Booker Teagan Alair

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#1 Grant Booker

Grant Booker

Posted 14 June 2016 - 05:02 PM

Odd.

 

He'd never been denied permission to go to the cafeteria before. But as he texted one of his friends and roommates, Scott, he found that he was being told not to come rather than to meet him there. First of all, Scott didn't even go to the cafeteria that often. And secondly, why the fuck would it be a big deal if Booker showed up? While he wasn't necessarily miffed by the text, it threw him off, confused the hell out of him. 

 

Scott was both straightforward and mind-boggling. Straightforward in that Booker knew exactly what to expect of him most of the time; if he wasn't in class or at work, he was likely lighting up in the apartment bathroom with a vent on before numbing his mind with whatever activity pleased him at the time. Music, more music, video games. Some new trippy television show that he'd insist the others watch to the point of practically forcing them. He was simultaneously out of his hair and in his face all the time, the sort of presence that demanded attention yet desired to be left alone.

 

But he was mind-boggling in that he sometimes didn't explain his straightforwardness, and Booker got weird texts like these. Anytime he wanted an explanation from the guy it was deflected, as if Scott liked to maintain some kind of odd mystery about him over the tiniest and stupidest things. Still, he knew his friend-- he knew he was mostly genuine, mostly honest in any situation. He wasn't a liar.

 

So he shrugged it off and redirected his attention to the student center instead, figuring he could get a meal with some of his remaining credit from his scholarship. Yet as he wandered up he accidentally cut in front of a short girl in line before noticing her. "Oh! Sorry, my bad." He said with a nod, stepping behind her instead. He nearly said he hadn't seen her there, but he supposed her height didn't need calling out. "Didn't mean to be rude."



#2 Teagan Altair

Teagan Altair

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Posted 14 June 2016 - 05:13 PM

The student center was safety in a way that the cafeteria was not. Teagan was hungry and had little-white-lied about getting food earlier. She wasn't going to the cafeteria, no, that part was true, but she still needed some kind of dinner to take back to her apartment. Thankfully the cafeteria wasn't the only place on campus still open, nor was it the only source of food. Sure, this wasn't necessarily free, but that was a price she was willing to pay now and forever at this point. If it meant avoiding further confusion and irritation, she would pay whatever price it took.

She was waiting in line, too, minding her own business when she was yet again bumped in front of by someone taller than her. This was a usual occurence for her, sadly. It was part of the problem that came with being so godawful tiny. Still, she didn't even manage to work up a panic or fuss about it before the guy realized the error of his ways and corrected himself.

The heavens opened up. An angel choir sang down from the skies. She was almost positive there was a halo around this guy's head as she stared at him slack-jawed, in awe and wonder entirely as she tried to process the situation. It had only been two meetings thus far but already Scott had her thinking that everyone was as inconsiderate as he was.

Thankfully they weren't. Eventually her mind caught up and refocused, a bubble of words waiting her lips to just fall right out.

"Thank you! No, really, you are great, wonderful. I was beginning to wonder if I was invisible or something. Do you know that this sort of thing is normal? Like, totally normal. Like, just a few days ago someone did the very same thing to me five different times and didn't even care normal! Seriously! You've restored my faith in humankind, I'm not even joking. After my run in with that... Oversized jerk, I had lost hope!"

Was it smart to bad mouth him so openly? Probably not. She didn't care, though. Fresh out of the ensemble and still quietly boiling from everything he had said and done, it was a wonder she had managed to hold it in this long.

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#3 Grant Booker

Grant Booker

Posted 14 June 2016 - 05:26 PM

Oh, he'd run into a talker. Not that he minded talkers, as he tended to be one himself every now and then, being an extrovert and all. It was just surprising was all, and perhaps he felt sort of comforted, given the fact that he was going to have to wait in line alone now, considering Scott's deflection. A chatty person always made time go faster, always made his day more pleasant, even if she was a stranger.

 

Yet there was something in her words that was entirely familiar. As if he'd heard this story somewhere before. His confusion was evident as he watched her, his arms crossed over his chest as he tried to sort through where he might've heard it before. And then she said it-- oversized jerk-- and his expression slowly started to morph into a smile. No way

 

Scott's story had been that he ran into a girl a couple of times in the cafeteria because he was too high to notice her tiny, short form. And then of course he launched into great detail about what she said, having the sort of memory that could recite word for word. Booker laughed and carried on like the rest of his roommates, and as she stood right here in front of him, he had trouble keeping his laughter pinned in all over again.

 

Mind you, it wasn't malicious laughter. Just a laugh at the coincidence. "So you're the one who went off on Scott, huh?" He asked as he shook his head in disbelief. "You made quite the impression on him."



#4 Teagan Altair

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Posted 14 June 2016 - 07:09 PM

Any and all positivity that came from this situation immediately drained at the mention of his name. Scott. She would have remembered his name regardless, being as detail oriented as she was, but his name especially had earned a little spot in her mental hall of fame. Absently she noted that his name didn't fit the person she had worked him up to be. Scott was not a dastardly, villainous sort of name. Scott didn't have quite the same ring to it as Oversized Asshole or Rude Stoner Vulture did.

Still, that was sidetracking from the point of how this little coincidence made her feel. This was exactly the sort of thing she had been worrying about earlier, only on a much smaller scale. Already she imagined him dragging her name through several levels of hell, steeped in anger over their first and most volatile encounter. Every bit of relief that had flooded her features at Booker's admittance of being rude earlier was gone, replaced with the hot flush of frustration that coated the tips of her eats all the way to her nose.

"I should have figured. I knew it, I just knew he would do this. I knew it! Of course he would run his mouth after what happened. And to think he was trying to act like he wanted to turn over a new leaf earlier!" She had been attempting to mutter to herself but she never had been blessed with an inside voice unfortunately. Still, at least she had been right not to trust him.

"Did he mention that he called me apeish? Or that he tried to give me his half eaten food? Or that he called me a bitch? I was only trying to stand up for myself, you know!"

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#5 Grant Booker

Grant Booker

Posted 14 June 2016 - 07:47 PM

Scott had depicted her scarily accurately. Sometimes the guy tended to exaggerate despite his straightforward nature, so Booker assumed automatically that he'd made the fight out to be a bigger deal than it actually was. Yet as he stood here next to this girl, who was getting worked up all over again, he had to stifle his laughter. Scott really had made a deep impression on this girl. It was all Booker could do not to take out his phone and text the guy immediately, to let him know he'd just met his little girlfriend.

 

"A new leaf? Have you seen him again?" He asked, deeply amused but at least more sympathetic to her than Scott. This entire ordeal was funny to him, mainly because he was an outside observer. Had he been assaulted verbally in the same way Scott had been, he would've wanted to shrivel up and die right on the spot, not attack right back. Not tell the story to everyone he knew with a huge grin. "I wouldn't say he's been running his mouth, though. I'm his roommate and a good friend of his, among... about four others, and he told all of us as if it was a funny story. He doesn't really talk to anyone else."

 

Suddenly it occurred to him that he could supply her with so much ammo. It was funny to see Scott get his panties in a bunch, for him to be put in his place. This girl was the perfect one for the task, too. "He did mention all those things. He was trying to get under your skin. He's an ass-- I'll say that for him. First time I met him was when we all started living together. He knocked on mine and Evan's door and told us to 'turn the shit music down' because we had 'the taste of a fuckin' tone deaf teenager with an 80s fetish.'" He shrugged, laughing at the memory.

 

To be fair, they'd been blasting Danger Zone. Repeatedly. Again and again and again.

 

"But anyway, y'know what got his goat? We brushed it off, laughed, kept doing what we were doing. Scott wants confrontation. He thrives on it. When he doesn't get it, his mind--" He made an explosion gesture with his hands around his head, nodding knowingly.



#6 Teagan Altair

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Posted 14 June 2016 - 09:32 PM

"We're in the same ensemble." She uttered those words with so much obvious disappointment that it was almost ridiculous. Just remembering that fact upset her all over again. She hadn't quite recovered from the shock to her self-confidence she'd essentially forced on herself earlier. Now, especially, it was settling in again, reminding her quite sharply that her skill, as practiced and as honed as it was, wasn't anything comparable to his. She would be thinking about that fact indefinitely, and even if she could get to a point where forgetting it was even remotely possible she still had to see him, and seeing him would revive the memory all over again anyway.

She didn't understand how things had suddenly shifted, though. He had told people, yes, but only his friends? And only as a funny story? Why? He had been just as furious as she had been during their first meeting. What happened to change that? When did his anger become amusement? She was right about one thing, at least: he had been using her for entertainment. And that both enraged and upset her.

She was almost tempted to storm off and give him a piece of her mind but something the other guy said stopped her. She had never even considered the option of throwing his own maneuvers right back at him but it made perfect sense. Even she, damn near a stranger, could tell he thrived on confrontation. It would only be right to deflect his attacks like some kind of knight in those video games Max always played.

"I never thought of that... " She was speechless, really. It was so obvious. Then again, she hadn't gotten much of a chance to think about it. It was brilliant. " And that'll really work?"

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#7 Grant Booker

Grant Booker

Posted 14 June 2016 - 09:44 PM

Oh, Christ. Even Booker had to internally cringe at her luck, at being placed in an ensemble with Scott. Not only did she hate his guts but she'd have to endure the music side of him, which was both insanely talented and pretentious. He schooled people on styles of music so quickly that it gave Booker whiplash sometimes; occasionally when he was listening to something he felt oddly self-conscious, like Scott would appear out of nowhere and ruin a song for him by comparing it to a billion others. He could be such a dick that way.

 

So he couldn't imagine what it was like to be in an ensemble with the guy. He had no idea that Scott could be quite professional when he put his mind to it, not just the pothead douchebag he was around the apartment, slumming it up at that fucking record shop with THC running through his veins. Booker knew of his friend's talent and know-how, but like others, he just assumed he... wasn't equipped to go much further in a music career, given how difficult it was to be civil or motivate himself to do better.

 

Regardless, she needed a helping hand to get through it. Booker wasn't about to leave her stranded there, even if he found this situation sort of hilarious. And of course, in his mind, Scott's confrontation with her was nothing more than finding her entertaining, though he might be surprised later to find out it ran a little deeper than that already.

 

"Should work," Booker answered with a quick nod. "It's never failed me before. He gets so riled up about it, and then he gets even angrier when everyone else is pleased as punch but he's not."

 

His phone buzzed with a text-- he glanced down at it and shook his head. Scott was suddenly "changing his mind," wanting company in the cafeteria. Something about that made him feel the slightest bit bitter. "Tell you what-- why don't you come over to our apartment sometime?" He said, his voice suddenly a bit conspiratorial. "He'd go crazy if you just ignored him in his own space."



#8 Teagan Altair

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Posted 15 June 2016 - 01:37 AM

She hadn't come to the student center expecting to find an answer to her problem but god, she was so glad she had. She was so thankful for this kind stranger and his amazing advice. What he didn't realize, though, was that she was hardly as in need of help as she seemed. Scott really hadn't done anything too terrible to her. Yes, the pizza slice had been insulting. Yes, being called a bitch was outrageous. Yes, being compared to an ape had crawled under her skin. But those were all petty insults, all childish remarks that any normal person could have simply shrugged off and forgotten. But Teagan held onto things like this for a lifetime. She took her image very seriously, okay, and being perceived as anything negative shredded her nerves to bits with a very dull, very jagged razor. It wasn't Scott's opinion that mattered to her, really, but the idea that her reputation could get smeared altogether. Sure, he'd only told his friends, but who would his friends tell? How far would that story spread? Outside of that minor detail, though, he really, legitimately hadn't done anything at all. He'd be professional and serious during their ensemble. He was annoying before and after, but she could circumnavigate that easily.

She wouldn't, but she easily could should she choose to do so.

But he was giving her ammunition for the war that she'd already waged in her head. She would take this information and absolutely run with it. Teagan would never, ever admit to it, but she enjoyed confrontation just about as much as Scott did. She wasn't as direct about getting around to it as he was, but there was some kind of thrilling rush that came with arguing, especially winning arguments, and now that she had fuel to retaliate towards him with, she'd almost be just as bad as he was. Seeking him out, starting shit, she wasn't too different from he was in that regard. The only difference now was that she could easily have the upperhand if she so desired to have it. They were on even playing ground now which did a lot to ease the tension that he had so effortlessly racked up on her shoulders in only a matter of days.

She wanted to hug this guy. Really, honestly and truly, she wanted to take him out and buy him dinner and sing praises about him at every given moment of the day. Instead she was sastisfied in taking notes on the situation, in lapping up every detail with such dedication that she could have made a career of it. "You wouldn't mind? I mean, it might piss him off at you, you know. Wouldn't that be kinda hard to live with?" She figured he was already hard to live with, though this guy seemed to at least have some positive feelings towards Scott as a whole. How was the question that she couldn't figure out.

Still, she couldn't deny that it seemed like the ultimate plan. Ignore and infuriate him in his own home? In his safe place? There wasn't much she could do that would be worse. She knew that she'd be similarly bothered had the roles been reversed. If her roommate had invited him over and he'd done everything in his power to ignore her snarky little quips, she'd be furious. It would drive her insane.

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#9 Grant Booker

Grant Booker

Posted 15 June 2016 - 02:53 AM

"Scott's already hard to live with most of the time. But surprisingly his temper flares up and within minutes it's already snuffed out." Booker liked to blame that on the marijuana sometimes, as Scott tended to forget about things. Part of that had to do with the guy's very nature, however-- he was quick to get over things that bothered him. Not that he was terribly optimistic-- in fact he had a tendency to be cynical when it came down to it-- but he wasn't the sort to dwell on negative things for very long, either. He just didn't have the patience for it.

 

Perhaps that was something that Booker liked about him, then. Scott was straightforward with his aggression and then it was over, just like that, even if it was terribly explosive to start with. He always knew what he was getting into with Scott. This was no different. "The guy doesn't really hold a grudge. I broke one of his albums by accident once and he exploded, but when I asked him about it the next day he just shrugged it off. So he can handle this, I think." He winked at her and grinned, all too excited to ruffle Scott's feathers.


It wasn't as if Scott avoided ruffling others' feathers, after all. He thrived on that sort of confrontation, on watching people react to stupid shit he did. "We live on the on-campus apartments-- apartment C3 actually, third floor. You're welcome to pop by any time after dinner, as he usually works during the day between classes. He likes to be free at night."



#10 Teagan Altair

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Posted 15 June 2016 - 03:05 AM

The invitation didn't have to be extended any further. Teagan was not a social person whatsoever -- she generally didn't have time for it, really -- but this was something she simply could not pass up. She would willingly destroy her studying schedule for one night if it meant satisfaction at the end of the day. And this would definitely be satisfying. This would be enthralling. This would lift her spirits until the day she died, probably. Pulling on over on the most infuriating, aggitating man she'd ever met in her life? Yeah, that was a victory worth cherishing. And to add even further fuel to the fire, his roommate was encouraging it. Egging it on, even. How could she turn that down? This guy was equally as interested in seeing the resulting confrontation as she was to initiate it!
So she grinned and nodded, agreeing already long before she even opened her mouth. "C3, third floor. Do you mean tonight? I can most definitely free up my schedule right now if it means that I can redeem my day, or even my week at least a little bit. I would be more than fine with that, actually. I should probably get your name first, though. I mean, it might look a little suspicious if I just waltz in without knowing your name at all. Mine's Teagan, by the way. Teagan Altair."

It occurred to her only afterwards that he likely didn't mean tonight. That was a little bit of a short notice. She couldn't help it, though. She was excited about this by now. She was pumped up to finally taste the sweet revenge that she imagined she could only dream about. Who wouldn't want to set the greatest plan into motion the very day it was concocted? "Oh, and thank you again! You really have no idea what kind of aggrivation you've saved me. I was beginning to think I was going to slowly go insane before school even officially restarted. Doe she have that effect on everyone?"

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#11 Grant Booker

Grant Booker

Posted 15 June 2016 - 03:41 AM

"Tonight works," Booker said with a surprised, light-hearted laugh. Scott had really, really made an impression on this girl, and suddenly he wanted to see this happen. He not only wanted to see Scott's reaction to something similar to this, but to see their dynamic with one another. They seemed like an interesting pair at the very least. "I'm Grant Booker, but everyone calls me Booker-- he'll see right through it if you call me Grant."

 

He considered what she said for a moment-- the effect he had on people-- before shaking his head. "No, not everyone. That's why he was so surprised by your reaction," Booker said, trying to school the smirk from his features. "Then again, most people don't elicit that sort of confrontation from him to begin with. You're a special one." 

 

His food was finally ready, however, so he grabbed it and paid before turning back to Teagan. "I'll see you tonight then, yeah?" He asked with a quick nod and smile in her direction. "If he asks many questions just wing it. I'll see you then." With that he was off, already walking back towards his apartment to have his meal.







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