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Highmauve: Family Day

on Thu Oct 04, 2018 3:44 pm
October 25th, 2008

8:30 AM

Noelle hadn’t gotten a lot of sleep. She took the late shift for the library, which was nice because, due to it being family weekend, she had pretty much the entire building to herself. She had tried to text Tobi to meet her there, but he hadn’t responded. That wasn’t what she was worried about- Tobi had been extremely busy for the past week, and she respected it.

No, what made her stay awake the night before, grinding her teeth and counting backward was the fact that she was going to meet Tobi’s father. Anxiety riddled her brain when she realized that she was going to have met the entirety of his family, and she was unsure why. Perhaps it was her natural and frustrating desire for perfection- she wanted to put her best foot forward and make the best impression she could. Which was daunting because Tobi’s family was impressive in all senses of the word.

Instead of laying in bed for a couple hours, she got ready and started to roam campus at 6:30, stopping for coffee first, and then taken it upon herself to sit underneath a gnarled oak tree on the south side of the quad. She sits carefully in her black skirt and grey sweater, her black tights catching slightly on the grass, her necklace placed ever so carefully around her necklace. Every couple of minutes, she checked her hair in a small compact mirror in her bag, making sure nothing was out of place. She is reading from a large, leather-bound book, her eyes glued to the page, but her fingers shaking ever so slightly.

As the morning evolved around her, Noelle stayed the same in her routine. Read. Check mirror. Look at phone. Repeat. This continued for a while. Until a tall figure stands in front of her, blocking the lazy morning sun. She looked up, ready to flash an annoyed look, but instead, she jumps up and hugs her mother tightly. Karen was wearing fashionable jeans and a maroon jacket, her long hair in a low bun, strands framing her face. She smiles and hugs her daughter tightly, her tired eyes now shining with pride.

Before Noelle could ask, the Joy jumps onto her back with a cackle, bringing the whole morning to life in the older sister’s eyes. Her sister was just as she was a week ago, her toothy smile and comfortable outfit of jeans and a graphic t-shirt, hair in two low pigtails. The day seemed a lot more open, the air much easier to breathe. After the hug breaks, they sit together, under the tree, talking about their week. Noelle relayed the information about Tobi and the weird legal stuff going on, and her mother relayed the workload she had taken. Joy was doing cartwheels around them, starting to scale the tree under the watchful eye of the other two.
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Re: Highmauve: Family Day

on Thu Oct 04, 2018 4:33 pm
Tobi had been looking forward to this day for a long while. All morning he had been texting his sister, asking her when they would be coming by, how long it would take them to get there. He wanted to make the day easy on his parents, wanted them to feel welcome and safe so that they could feel they could drop by at any time. His sister had texted him back, explaining that they would be up by eleven. Their parents would meet her at the base of the mountain, and she would driven them to campus.

And so Tobi waits on the front steps of his dorms. He’s dressed in his usual fare: A threadbare sweatshirt he had picked up cheap from a thrift store in town, worn pants, work boots, and the leather jacket his Pa had gifted him so many years ago. He sips at the spicy tea drink his barista had given him that morning on the house. The man was keen on getting him to branch out into different drinks after a year on the blackest stuff the machine could spit out, and Tobi wasn’t minding it. He needed some peace after this past week. Med school, legal troubles, and just plain old stress was running him ragged.

He looks up from his drink and, oh, there they are. Agnes leads the two large parents towards Tobi. His Ma is chattering excitedly to his Pa, pointing out places and trees that she had seen the night she came by. He rumbles back quietly in agreement, still looking very much out of his element. He certainly doesn’t fit in. At half a foot over eight feet tall, Thomas Virgil Maynard towers over anyone nearby. Even Tobi and Agnes only hit about shoulder height on the gentle giant. They’re both in what Tobi’s familiar with them in: his Ma’s wearing one of her long skirts and a hand-knitted sweater, both in rich earthy tones, while his Pa is clad in worn jeans, a dark green t shirt, and a cardigan his Ma had lovingly made for him. His long hair is tied back in a low ponytail with a thick piece of rope. Tobi gets off his stoop, walks over to meet them halfway.

“Pa!” he shouts with an easy smile on his face. His Pa looks around for the voice. Finally, he finds Tobi walking towards them, and his face lights up.

“Boy!” He shouts back. His voice is a low rumble, enough to shake earth. Once Tobi gets close enough, he wraps him in an enthusiastic hug that easily envelops Tobi’s large frame. Tobi laughs, long and low, as his Pa lifts him effortlessly off the ground.

“Easy, Pa, got coffee.” Tobi cautions. He holds it out towards his Ma who plucks the cup from his fingers before taking a sip herself. She seems to find the drink agreeable and continues to sip at it during the reunion. “Cut tha’ out, Ma, tha’s mine.” He chides at her without any heat to it. His Ma hums a response and turns so he can’t reach it as easily. Tobi rolls his eyes and smiles.
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Re: Highmauve: Family Day

on Thu Oct 04, 2018 5:08 pm
Noelle sits with her family for hours, talking about whatever she could. Joy eventually joined them, grimacing at the mention of her upcoming orthodontist appointment. "I don't need no braces!" She said adamantly, which their mother took in consideration. She always listened to her children's wishes and took them into account. "Still, doesn' huht ta check i' ou'."

They could have sat there all day, ignoring the world around them, but Noelle's eyes flicked up to the large people walking their way to Tobi's dorm. You see, one of the reasons this was her favorite trees was that, when you sit back, you had an impressive view of the entire Quad and most of the buildings surrounding it. She could see everyone and everything- nothing would catch her by surprise. But she still was.

He was so much taller than her mind had comprehended when she saw the picture. She knew that, logistically, he had to have been taller than 8 feet. But still. Tobi's father was a mass that she found herself unable to understand for a moment. He looked a little uncomfortable, and Noelle understood why. Tobi's mother looked like she did the night she visited, except in much sharper detail. Her grace and beauty was something to behold. The skirt flowed with her movements perfectly. And Agnes. She had missed Agnes but felt incredibly sheepish around her after their conversation that night. Still, it was nice to see her.

Karen followed her gaze, and her grin widened, her eyes shining. She started to stand, but Noelle tried to hold her back "Mom, you can't go overboard. They aren't used to-"

She didn't have time to finish because her mother was making a beeline to the strange looking family. Joy laughed, climbing onto Noelle's back "Come on! Let's go!"

Quickly, Noelle followed her mother, trying to slow her down. When that proved fruitless, she tried to make eye contact with Tobi, warning him about the onslaught of peppy welcoming.

Karen burns herself to a halt, waiting for their happy reunion to break. She's basically bursting with maternal pride, joy, and excitement. SHe's flashing a bright smile, waiting patiently.
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Re: Highmauve: Family Day

on Thu Oct 04, 2018 5:42 pm
Tobi’s Pa puts him down after the long hug. He tries to snatch his drink back from his Ma, but she twists and turns, holding the cup just out of reach as she sips. Tobi sighs, a sound of defeat. He’s not getting that back anytime soon. At least not full.

Something catches his eyes as he looks past his mom. There, making a beeline for his own family is Karen with Joy and Noelle following close behind. Tobi turns toward them and catches Noelle’s cautionary look. Quietly amused, he shrugs back. Ain’t nothing he can do to stop Karen Scott. When she nears close enough he moves out of the way to stand near Agnes, a little in front of his family.

“Howdy, Ms. Scott.” He greets. “’Spose y’need some introductions. This ‘ere is Agnes.” He motions towards his sister with a motion. Agnes waves ‘Howdy’ and flashes her toothy smile at the woman. “This ‘ere is m’Pa.”

Tobi’s Pa reaches out with a hand to shake Karin’s. Her hand is dwarfed in his grip. He doesn’t seem to mind. “Thomas Virgil Maynard, ma’am.” He greets. “Mos’ call me Tom or Virgil, take yer pick.” He nods at her, a small smile making his appearance seem much more approachable. For as isolationist as his parents were, they loved people, and a friendly face was doing wonders to ease them in this new environment.

“And this here is…” Tobi motions towards his Ma, but she brushes past him easily on her way to greet Karen herself. She stands in front of the woman to inspect her with her sharp, dark eyes. Whatever she sees, she appears to approve of, and holds out a slender, graceful hand. A sound that sounds a lot like the rustling of the breeze, early morning birdsong, and a hint of light rain comes out of her mouth in introduction. It feels a lot like a name should.

“Ma, she don’ understand ya.” Agnes says behind them with a hint a laugh. Their Pa looks on with an expression that’s a little curious, a little knowing, and a lot fond. His wife doesn’t give out her name easily so whatever she sees in this woman, must be pretty special. Either that or she just wants to gossip more easily. Could be either, honestly., knowing her.
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Re: Highmauve: Family Day

on Thu Oct 04, 2018 8:27 pm
Noelle hangs back, despite the urging of her sister, who was kicking her like a horse. Noelle watches her mother carefully at the introduction.

Karen is absolutely delighted to meet Agnes, waving at her. When Thomas shakes her hand, she shakes back with most of her strength, grinning wildly. He seemed extremely friendly and sweet. She chirps a "My pleasuh! Yuh son is amazin'. Jus' wan'ed ta let ya know!" She could see the gentle giant qualities that Tobi possessed came from his father, and she entirely respected that. Also the hair. That bushy, curly, mane had come from his father.

Noelle would have facepalmed if she wasn't holding up a wriggly 8-year-old. When Tobi's mom steps forward and sizes Karen up, she doesn't tense or shows reservation. She just gives a breezy smile and takes the hand when offered. She understands the cadence of the sounds- an introduction.

"Oh, tha's a lovely name. It's fine ta meet ya, Tobi's tol' me such wonduhful thin's about ya." She shakes the hand firmly, grinning. She decided she was instantly friends with the woman in front of her. And she also hoped the gift she passed along their way would be appreciated.

Noelle looks like she wants to sink into the earth- her face is bright red with embarrassment, but she takes a deep breath and gives the smallest smile. She couldn't let her nerves get the best of her, not now. Joy pops her head up from Noelle's shoulder "I'm Joy! It's nice to meet you!" She then raises her hand for a shake, past Noelle's left ear.
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Re: Highmauve: Family Day

on Thu Oct 04, 2018 9:15 pm
Tobi’s ears burn at the compliment. “Aw hell, ma’am…” he mumbles. “Thank ye.” He replies.

He watches his parents greet Ms. Scott, both warming to her almost immediately. ‘Good,’ he thinks. He’s glad that they’d have someone to talk to today besides him and Agnes. He wanted them to feel comfortable, and no one could probably break through his parents’ rough exteriors than the woman in front of him. Though her understanding what his Mais saying throws him and the rest of their family for a loop.

“You,” he starts, pauses. “Understand her?” he asks Noelle’s mom. Tobi and Agnes both look to their Pa, but he simply closes his eyes and shrugs. The message is clear to them, and they drop it with the quiet satisfaction that their Ma is still very much a mystery to them in certain ways. Only their Pa could ever truly understand the woman.

Tobi’s ma proudly shakes Karen’s hand, chirping the whole time. She’s gushing about Karen’s own daughters, how they’re both very cute, how Noelle is just such a gift. She’s promising to tell Karen about the night she met her eldest daughter, and finishing with some gossip about her own boy and how he told them all about Noelle, all good things, don’t you worry.

Tobi’s Pa, meanwhile, catches sight of the small hand offered out. He steps forward past his children. “Noelle’s sister,” Tobi clarifies as he passes. Thomas stops in front of Noelle, so much bigger up close. A pair of warm blue eyes looks down at the two; they’re the only pair in the entire family that’s not grey.

“Howdy, lil’ miss.” He says and extends his hand. Two of his fingers grip the top and bottom of her offered hand and he shakes it once. “Ple’sures mine.” His eyes focus on Noelle now. “An’ you mus’be Noelle. We heard a whole lot ‘bout you.”
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Re: Highmauve: Family Day

on Thu Oct 04, 2018 10:08 pm
Karen watches Tobi's mother very carefully, reading the body language, listening to the lifts and drops of the chirps. She was obviously talking about something passionately. Someone. The way she was looking at Karen- probably Noelle and Joy. Then it shifts. Someone else? Probably Tobi, as it was the only connection between their family and her own. Karen smile deepens and warms immensely, and she says "I can' wai' to talk all abou i'! Thank yuh!"

She then focuses on Tobi "Come from uh family o' many dialec's. Huhvy one's. Ya git used tuh thuh genuhral tics of a convuhsation." Karen's smile is glowing as she steps aside for her daughters to introduce themselves.

Noelle watches her mother, in shock, and meets eyes with Tobi, as if to say 'This is nuts', but a small smile still plays on her lips. Her mother was a wonder, that's for sure. The way she connected with people was an ability of her own, and something that Noelle had wished she was better at.

When Tobi's father stepped forward, Noelle meets his eyes with her wide ones, frozen in place. She was racking her brain for something to say, something witty and polite and perfect. But Joy beat her to it. Joy shakes the man's hand with all of her might "Thanks! And talking about Noelle? You couldn't have that much to say!"

Noelle stifles a laugh, shifting her sister so she bumps upward. Joy scowls and Noelle meets Thomas' eyes "Yeah. I'm Noelle. Heard a lot about you too. It's really nice to meet you." Her voice was clear and not as soft as it usually is when she first talks. She gives another small smile.
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Re: Highmauve: Family Day

on Thu Oct 04, 2018 11:04 pm
Tobi's Pa smiles at her introduction. It's so similar to Tobi's; soft and quiet and warm. The heavy lines around his eyes deepen with the expression. He knows Tobi likes this girl, knows in his own way that the affection there is more than skin deep. Seeing her now, wrangling this small child and trying her best to impress him, he can see why. He saw her eyes flick to his boy in silent conversation, saw the easy wordless way they speak. She's got his boy nailed for sure. And now, she's staring up at him, trying her best to be polite and respectful. He admires that. Respects it. He holds out a hand and addresses Joy first.

"I 'ssure ya, m'boy got heaps t'say bout this lady." he rumbles with a smile. The hand is a silent invitation for Joy to climb onto him so that he can properly introduce himself to Noelle. Thomas has been through this stage with his own children when they wanted to climb just about anything. It had been hard to keep them on the ground. When Joy grabs hold, he swings her easily up to his wide shoulders and drops her there. She's got plenty to hang onto, what with his hair, and he hasn't dropped a kid in twenty two years. She's plenty safe nearly nine feet in the air.

With Joy settled, he can properly address Noelle. "Good t' fin'ly meet ya. Thomas Virgil Maynard, know me better as Tobi's Pa." He smiles back down at her and holds out a hand. "We hearing that you close t' the moon 'n stars fer our boy, least how he describes ya. Nice t'finally have a face t'go with." Behind him Tobi burns red as Agnes elbows him gleefully.

"Pa..." he mumbles quietly.
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Re: Highmauve: Family Day

on Thu Oct 04, 2018 11:25 pm
Joy cackles with glee as she swings up and onto the man's shoulder. The view was incredible- Joy had spent her childhood trying to find the tallest trees, the mightiest heights to climb. Both nothing tops this view, though. She was tempted to stand on his shoulder, but she just held on, waving to her mother from above. The smile on her face was impish and amused.

Meanwhile, Noelle was turning bright red. This was all too much- Tobi was a man of few words and the fact that he had obviously spent so many of them talking about her warranted a sheepish smile and her face radiating with blush. The moon and stars? She felt incredibly flummoxed. Noelle couldn't think about anything about herself that would allow such words to be spoken. How could these extraordinary people see her as anything but simple? As usual, she pushed the general self-doubt aside to shake his hand. "It's nice to meet you too. Thank you."

Karen gives a silent chuckle, placing her right hand on her lip, first making eye contact with Joy, and then Tobi's mother. She signs quickly "Can you believe it?" It's obvious she is referring to her daughter's red face and sheepishness. It always amused her how incredibly shy she was, especially with praise. Something that Karen had seen in Tobi. She shakes her head, watching Tobi now become embarrassed. This was going to be a day of mortified children and cheerful parents- She was excited. Tobi's parents seemed like good people. His sister too. A good family was a good sign for her. IT was something she wishes she could have provided with her own girls- a strong family unit. Maybe Noelle had finally found soething like that.
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Re: Highmauve: Family Day

on Fri Oct 05, 2018 12:27 am
Tobi’s Ma catches Karen’s glance and sign language. She's a little surprised, though it fades as she remembers that Noelle also knows. This family, she swears. Tobi's got a good eye for a good fit.  Karen's observation makes her laugh, a soft sound that is reminiscent of birds cackling loud in branches overhead. It's strange but pleasant. After a beat she signs back to the woman. “My boy wears his heart on his sleeves, he’s too easy to rile up.” She grins and chuffs out a smaller chuckle. Her hands move easily. “And my husband is too good at riling.”

She looks over at her children, her husband, at Noelle and Joy. All of them seemed happy, despite the red in her son’s and Noelle’s faces. She was glad they had come today and glad she could meet this girl once more under more favorable conditions. And this woman next to her. Very glad to meet her.

“Your daughters are something special.” She signs after a moment. Joy is clinging to Thomas’s hair and shoulders, while Noelle is still burning bright red. Tobi and Agnes come over to join the conversation and give Noelle a break from having to deal with their Pa.
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Re: Highmauve: Family Day

on Fri Oct 05, 2018 12:40 am
"Believe me, my daughter might give your boy a run for his money when it comes to getting riled up."

Karen signs quickly, looking at the other woman, laughing at herself. It's clear and bright. She then looks at Noelle, shaking her head a little. Noelle seemed to relax a little bit after the initial reaction and is now conversing freely with Tobi, Agnes, and their father. She occasionally looks up at her sister, shaking her head with a smile. This was going so much better than she expected. She looked at Tobi, giving a small shrug. Karen watches all of this with pride, and then turns to Tobi's mother, watching her sign. Without pause, she begins to sign back.

"I know. They're incredible. Your children too. Incredible." Karen felt so much relief- She didn't really connect with other women easily. She wishes she could blame it on her looks or her intelligence, that they intimidated other women. She knew the truth, she heard the whispers. A working, single mother who was a huge try-hard and squeaky wheel wasn't always the most popular at the PTA meetings. Especially since Karen was taking on the PTA for almost a decade now because of their backward beliefs on mutant immersion. It was great to be able to talk to a woman who had the same amount of pride as she did. Not ashamed of her children.

Joy looks down at everyone, and gives an exasperated sigh "Are we going to get something to eat soon? I'm starving."
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Re: Highmauve: Family Day

on Fri Oct 05, 2018 10:57 am
Tobi looks up at Joy’s question. “Ah, yeah. They settin’ up a lunch an’ activities and some other sh…” he stops at the look his Pa gives him. The large man’s eyes flick from Tobi to the young girl on his shoulders. “Stuff.” Tobi finishes. His Pa gives him a small nod. “Food’s in the cafeteria, they’ll lead all’a us ‘round t’the diff’rent stuff from there.”

He looks up at his Pa, quietly amused. The large man has perked up at the thought of food. It takes a lot to keep him going, and he bets the staff hadn’t taken the massive man into account when announcing that it was buffet style. Agnes grins beside him too. Really, his whole family were monsters when it came to the promise of free food.

His Pa offers a hand to Agnes. She gladly takes it and once she’s grabbed on, he throws her effortlessly into the air in a routine they’re clearly familiar with. She cackles as she’s launched and lands hard after a brief airborne moment on the shoulder not currently occupied by Joy. His Pa grunts just slightly at the rough landing.

“Soft, child.” He chides gruffly. “Yer na’so lil’ anymore.” Agnes snorts.

“Maybe y’jus’ gettin’ t’be an ol’ man.” She counters back easily, lazily draping herself over his shoulder. He doesn’t respond, merely rolls his shoulders. The motion knocks her around; she has to hold onto his hair to keep on. “Ol’ cuss.” She mutters at him after he stops. The man just grins soft and sly before starting to walk behind Tobi, Noelle, and their respective mothers towards the cafeteria.

Turning, Agnes finds herself face to face with Joy. Young eyes meet slightly older ones, piercing grey meeting bright hazel. She smiles at the child. “Howdy.” She says and throws out a hand that crosses her Pa’s face. He huffs in annoyance but accepts it. “Agnes Gertrude Maynard.”


----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Below them, Tobi walks alongside Noelle at the front of the group. He had thought very briefly of joining Agnes, that primal childhood part of his brain screaming for a piggyback from his Pa but had decided against it. Noelle was right here, and he would’ve had to lead the group anyway. He could hear his Ma chatting with Noelle’s mother behind the two of them, her own speech a mix of that strange language and quickly signed sign language. Karen seemed to have no trouble keeping up. Flowers bloomed behind them as she walked but were soon tread over by his Pa and the two ladies perched on his shoulders.

“Gotta admit,” he said as he leaned in closer to Noelle. “Goin’ better than I hoped.” He shrugs and stuffs his hands in the pockets of his leather jacket. “Thought they’d’a honestly fucked off way before they got here.” It’s nice, he thinks as they walk. Having his family back together and getting along so well with Noelle’s. Nice enough to take his mind off of everything that’s going on, nice enough to make him forget that he hasn’t used his powers since his visit to Mr. Hawthorne.

It was honestly starting to itch a similar burn to his claustrophobia. Confined to only his senses, only his space? Really starting to grate on him. He honestly hadn’t realized how much he used them before this. Every day he had used them: on walks, in class, even while sleeping. It had become so much harder to fall asleep without the use of his power, so he kind of gave up. It was doubly hard anyway with all the stress of school and the scholarship, so he had taken to doing homework at nights or trying to drink himself to sleep. Neither had worked, but at least he was caught up on schoolwork.

Now though, it feels a little farther away with his family behind him and Noelle next to him. He smiles at her, soft and fond and tired, and continues to walk.
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Re: Highmauve: Family Day

on Fri Oct 05, 2018 2:02 pm
Noelle is walking next to Tobi, grinning just a little more than usual "Yeah, I have to agree with that. To be fair, my mom is a force to be reckoned with. Looks like she's getting along fine. Joy too."

She had seen Tobi's tiredness and slight irritation to... something for the past couple of days. Noelle wasn't completely sure where it was coming from, but there was a definite shift after Tobi's meeting with that lawyer. When she visited right afterward, they pretty much just napped. She was so tempted to go over and read through this pseudo-contract, but she wasn't going to do it without Tobi's permission. Which he hadn't given, for whatever reason. Noelle knew she could help if she could just read through it, absorb the information, help him figure out what he needed to do. She also knew that he hadn't been sleeping, but she found it very hard to mention it. "Hello pot, I'm the kettle."

So she did what she could, she stayed close to him as they walk. She didn't feel comfortable asking him about it, with his family being right there, but she gave him encouraging glances and smiles. Occasionally, she looks back at her mother, who is chatting up a storm with Tobi's Ma. It was cute, but she had a feeling that their conversation was mainly about the two of them. Joy was talking to Agnes, which Noelle thought was great- they were surprisingly similar with their toughness and physical aptitude.

Noelle is standing near shoulder-to-shoulder, and she looks at him, smiling at him. She sees the fondness and warmth in his own, but the tiredness alarmed her. They're little ways away from the families, so she decided to try and get a glimpse of what was going on "Hey? Did you get any sleep last night?"

Her voice was soft, but comforting. Non-accusatory.
_______________________________________

Joy shakes Agnes' hand, making a grand gesture with it. "Joy! Nice to meet you! You're pretty cool, I can tell."

This was customary for the small girl- as talkative and energetic that she was, she also had her mother's knack of compliments and picking out people's best qualities. She knew she could get away with teasing her older sister because she picked on things that didn't really matter to her. Except for her obsession with Tobi. That was just fun.
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Re: Highmauve: Family Day

on Fri Oct 05, 2018 3:12 pm

“Y’ma certainly somethin’. Took t’mine like they known each other f’years. Joy an’ Agnes through?” He looks back at his sister and the small girl making introductions on his Pa’s shoulders. “They’ll burn th’ school t’the ground given the chance.” He huffs out a small laugh and shakes his head. “Got a feelin’ Agnes would steal’er away if y’look away too long.”

He looks over at her. Noelle’s expression is curious and concerned, the opposite of what he had been trying to accomplish these last couple of days. He doesn’t want her to worry about him, doesn’t want her to extend herself further than she already is by trying to help him. Tobi wants to wrap this whole incident up as quickly and quietly as he can. It was his fist that caused this trouble for himself, not anything that she did. And if he has to lie a little to keep her out of his mistakes, well…

“You know how i’is.” He shrugs with a small smile. “Med school.” Not entirely untrue, but he was caught up on that homework for at least the next week. Last night had been spent jogging in the dark in the hope that the physical exhaustion would put him to sleep. It had worked (eventually), but he hadn’t woken up feeling rested ever since he had clamped down on his powers. The closest he could get was sleeping outside, but the groundskeepers had shooed him out of his favorite tree early this morning to prune the poor thing.

A sharp feeling crawls up his spine with the lie, and he turns around only to be pinned by his Ma’s sharp gaze. There’s a whole lot in that look to unpack, a whole lot that he just instinctively understands. He nods sheepishly at her and turns back around. The cafeteria is there in front of them now, the structure looming large.

“Ain’t nothin.” He finally says to Noelle. He tries to offer her a smile to soothe her worries. “Nothin’ a little dark roast can’t fix.” He lets the silence settle before he speaks again. His family is just barely out of earshot. Behind him, Agnes is helping Joy down to the ground. His Ma and Noelle’s mother are laughing over something, and his Pa is looking at the large double doors with a bit of confusion as to how he’s going to fit through. He was being stupid, he knew, but even still he just can’t bring himself to appear anything less than calm and in control.

The itch under his skin she couldn’t do anything about anyway.
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Re: Highmauve: Family Day

on Fri Oct 05, 2018 4:25 pm
Winter and her family were already inside and eating. Tom and Louise Marta only had passing resemblances to their daughter. Both of her parents were tall and slim while Winter was the exact opposite. Even her younger brother Henry was taller than her. Just about the only thing that connected her to her parents was her mother's small nose and round face and her father's bright smile which matched Winter's exactly. Her brother was tall and skinny, still in his awkward growing stage as his movements betrayed the fact that he was still growing into his body. His short dark drown hair matches his mother's brown hair while Tom's white blond hair matched his daughter's natural hair color which hasn't been seen for years.

Winter was easily joking with her family and playfully punched her younger brother's arm. "Come on mom! We all know that the only reason Henry is here is because he got out of school for a couple of days."
Louise chuckled. "Well... He missed you. That I do know. He kept asking when you were going to come back home."
Winter grinned. "Probably not until Thanksgiving or even Christmas. It's a long trip here and back as you will see soon enough!"
Tom grinned at his family. He was proud of his daughter for adjusting to school so well. "So have you made any new friends?"
Winter's smile never faded though her conversation with Sienna did cross her mind. She couldn't tell her family now! "Yeah! I met a couple of other kids in the same scholarship program as me!" She looked around and then saw Noelle and Tobi as they walked in with their families. "Yeah! There they are now." She said. She caught a brief view of Agnes. Yep... still pretty damned cute. "I also met this girl Sienna. She's super cool."
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Re: Highmauve: Family Day

on Fri Oct 05, 2018 4:45 pm
Noelle pursed her lips in Tobi's direction. She didn't believe that schoolwork was the only thing that made him tired. Something was off. She was about to press, but their families were coming up right behind them, and she decided to talk about it at a later date. So, she flashed him a look that said just that.

Then she realized where her feet were carrying her. The dining hall. The last time she was here was Homecoming. It was subtle, but she grimaced ever so slightly, a shot of pain to her chest. Taking a deep breath, she leaned closer to Tobi, stepping into the large building. It was filled with people, which made Noelle bristle. She felt like she was swimming in chaos and confusion, but her eyes kept flicking to the blonde haired boys that passed by. Occasionally, she felt like she saw him. But she couldn't be sure. She started to chew her lip again, but her mother came up from behind her, the protective glow of her love allowing Noelle straighten out a bit. To relax. She catches Winter and gives her a small wave, Karen watches, impressed.

Joy, meanwhile, was looking around, absorbing all of the new people surrounding her. She hops back onto Noelle's back, chatting about how cool Agnes was and that she was definitely going to team up with her on any games or activities that the day would hold. "I just feel like she's going to be able to handle my speed better. No offense, Noelle. You have different strengths!"

Karen flags down a long, empty table, and sits down. Next to her, Noelle plops Joy next to their mother and follows in suit. She's serene, but her eyes still flick around the room, calculating.
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Re: Highmauve: Family Day

on Fri Oct 05, 2018 5:15 pm
Tobi catches Noelle's look as they enter the cafeteria. He had hoped to avoid her questions, but he knew her. She's observant, she knows something's up. He nods at her in resigned acceptance. They'd talk about it later.

He stays close to her as they enter. He remembers all too well the last time they were in here; the memories for him swim uncomfortably at the forefront of his mind. Tobi feels Noelle lean closer into his space and he leans back even as he's leading his parents through the throng of students and their family. They have an advantage here though. People part easily for the two odd adults, giving the larger man a huge berth. Tobi's Pa is eyeing the surroundings with wary eyes. He's not familiar with a lot of what's in here, and Tobi knows the feeling. The first couple of years after they had left their parents' care, he'd been just as lost. He sets them down where Karen chooses, their Pa taking up three seats and their Ma folding her bare feet under her in a criss cross on top of the chair. Moss starts to accumulate on the legs of the plastic chair, seeping down and onto the polished floor.

"I'll be righ' back, yeah?" he tells them. "Sit tight." He plucks the now empty coffee cup from his Ma's hands and throws it out as he makes his way to the coffee machines across the room. Tobi grabs a large plastic soda cup for himself and two mugs, filling each to the top with the darkest roast they offer. Noticing Winter across the room, he pauses in his pouring to give her a little wave. He never thanked her for that night. Agnes told him what had happened afterward, he owes her for taking care of Noelle and the police that night.

-------------------------------------

Agnes settles herself next to Joy as her brother runs off to get their parents something to drink. She's listening to Joy's plans of how to take on the day when she catches sight of the little freshman from the night of the dance. She's looking decidedly more casual, but Agnes has always been weak for cute girls in any sort of attire. She watches the girl, Winter if she's remembering right, wave at her brother across the room. One palm meets her chin and props it there as Agnes glances the girl's way, giving a wink and a subtle smile when Winter looks back towards her.

Family day just got a little more fun, she thinks with a purr.
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Re: Highmauve: Family Day

on Fri Oct 05, 2018 5:32 pm
Noelle settles a little bit and follows Agnes' gaze. An amused look plays on her face, but then she remembers Winter's conversation in the library, and then Noelle felt immediately guilty. Winter didn't feel comfortable with her sexuality, and it sounded like her parents weren't the type of really accept that kind of thing. Still, she knew Agnes and Winter had talked at the dance, had exchanged numbers. They had been friendly with each other, taking pictures and giggling over her dance with Tobi. They seemed to have a genuine connection. So, she nudges the other girl "Have you been talking to her?"

Joy squirms, looking between Agnes and Winter and shrugs, looking at Karen "Mom, mom, mom! Can I be Agnes' partner for the day?" She was practically bouncing in her seat, vibrating with raw, youthful energy. She sucked in a large breath through her gapped teeth, using the air for another cackle. Karen's head swivels from Tobi's mother and looks at her youngest daughter, shrugging. "You have to ask Agnes. It's fine with me."

Finally, Karen turns back to her eldest daughter, giving her a gentle tap on the wrist, humming very softly, using her other hand to sign to Tobi's mother "Your family is so beautiful. Amazing people. Noelle has told me so many wonderful things."
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Re: Highmauve: Family Day

on Fri Oct 05, 2018 5:38 pm
Winter smiled as Noelle and Tobi waved back at her. Her grin turned into a faint blush as Agnes winked and smiled at her. Oh shit. Agnes caught her staring. Almost immediately, Winter was aware that all she as wearing was a Highmauve sweatshirt and leggings. Nothing too fancy. Nothing good for making first impressions... Or rather second impressions. She paused her thinking. Why did she care? She as already kinda doing a thing with Sienna. Sort of ... Winter looked away. She didn't want her parents to see her getting flustered over a girl.

Her parents turned to see the two mutants. Well, they looked normal enough. Then their eyes fell on Tobi's parents. Tom Marta's eyes widened. "Who is that?"

Winter was greatly relieved when she realized that he meant the big man in the room. "He sort of looks like Tobi. One if the other mutants here. That's probably his dad and I guess this mom is next to him." She explains.

Louise smiled. "We should go over to talk to them!" She said cheerily.

Winter's eyes widened. Normally, she would be all for that. But her parents weren't really the greatest at... Putting people at ease... Much like herself.. plus that would put her closer to Agnes. "Uh.... How about we let them eat and then we talk to them?"

Tom nodded. "Sure. Sure. There's plenty of time to talk later. It's interesting to see how other parents deal with their mutant children." Tom ruffled Winter's hair.

Winter groaned. "Daaad" she protested as she corrected her hair. "I have an image to protect...."

Her brothe grinned and giggled at her misfortune of being the one embarrassed by his parents. With Henry being the only one left to be picked on by his parents.
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Re: Highmauve: Family Day

on Fri Oct 05, 2018 6:06 pm
Agnes shrugs. "Nah much. Don' get a whole lotta reception where I live and work. Fell outta contact after tha' night." She leans back in her chair and crosses her arms over her chest. "Ain't no time like the present, though." she grins. At Joy's question though, she turns to the small girl. "Sure, squirt." She reaches out to flick the younger girl's forehead in a playful way. "You'n me, we'll kick some a..." she catches the look  from her Pa and pauses. "...butt." she finishes.

Tobi comes back then with the drinks. He sets the two mugs in front of his parents, and sets his own large, half empty cup in a seat next to Noelle. His Pa takes the cup carefully between two fingers, while his Ma threads her own fingers around hers. Her eyes are focused on Karen as she smiles. "Oh, thank you." she signs back. "Made them myself." she motions towards her children. She catches her husbands glance at her joke and laughs. "Fine, I had some help." she signs then pats him on the arm consolingly. He snorts and continues his surveillance of the cafeteria. There's so much here that he's never seen before, so many people just looking at him and his family. He doesn't appreciate the scrutiny, so he ducks his head as he takes a sip of the coffee his son had brought him. He drains the small mug in a few sips.

Tobi sees this and quietly passes him his own large plastic cup of coffee. At some point he's stuck a straw in it, and has been draining it slowly as he listens to the conversation around him. A raised eyebrow at his Pa as he takes the tiny mug in exchange, a question. "Want more?" When his Pa nods, Tobi stands, motions for him to follow.

"We're gonna get food, anyone comin?" he asks the table. He doesn't even need to look to see that Agnes has joined them at the offer of free food.
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Re: Highmauve: Family Day

on Fri Oct 05, 2018 6:26 pm
Karen snorts at Agnes, addressing Tobi's entire family "She's hear' wuhse. Trus' me, we cuss up a stahm at home. Don' feel like yuh gotta censuh yuh self aroun' us." She settles back, watching Tobi's mother sign, and returns it with a snort. She continues the conversation for a moment before Tobi stands up to go get food.

Joy jumps up and right behind Tobi, groaning dramatically "I do! I'm starving! Come on!"

She's off, almost running, causing her mother to roll her eyes good-naturedly, a smile brightening her face. Noelle opens her mouth "I'm-" She's broken off by a stern look from Karen. She knew Noelle hadn't eaten breakfast and had doubt that her daughter had that much the day before. Noelle's eyes widen a little bit "I'll go. Do you want anything, mom?" Karen shrugs, her expression clear 'Surprise me'

Noelle stands and starts to follow the group, ignoring the stares from the other people. She catches Winter again. Her family seemed... Normal. Extremely and incredibly normal. A brother, a mother, and a father. They looked a little like Winter, but they were tall and very natural looking. The portrait of Winter in her mind eye sharpened a bit for a second. Maybe there was another reason why Winter was so adamant to be different. Suddenly, she was in the buffet line, behind Joy who was piling on anything she saw. Noelle, on the other hand, only took a couple things- some salad, an apple, a finger sandwich. On a second place, she had a much heartier meal for her mother. She felt suddenly self-conscious about her bird-like portions, but by this time, she was at the end.
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Re: Highmauve: Family Day

on Fri Oct 05, 2018 7:47 pm
Tobi, Agnes, and their Pa went through the line, piling in different foods. By the time they met at the end, Tobi had a plate filled to the edges with fresh fruits and vegetables, some rolls, and a pile of grilled meat. Agnes's plate was much the same, only with an extra heap of some sort of jello salad she had though looked funny and wanted to try. They each help their Pa carry back multiple plates of what he's picked up. The large man had almost just taken one of the trays full of grilled meat before deciding against it and dumping most of it on a plate. He had filled another full of fresh fruit, snagging an entire pineapple after Tobi had explained that he liked it and that his Pa might as well. Rolls and salads were grabbed, a little bit of everything piled onto a series of plates that the three brought back with them to the table. three of them stay in front of his Pa while a fourth is placed gently in front of their ma. It's almost entirely full of fresh vegetables and an extra large chunk of ribs. She digs into it happily.

Tobi's Pa had gone for the pineapple first, and bit into the large fruit. The crunch of teeth meeting the hard outer shell of the pineapple was enough to make Tobi and Agnes wince.

"Pa, no, it ain't an like an apple." Tobi sighed and took the fruit from the man. "Gotta cut it firs'." He held out his hand expectantly. Rolling his eyes, his Pa reached down to his boots and unstrapped a nearly foot long knife to drop handle first into Tobi's waiting hand. "Thank ye," Tobi hummed. With an ease that spoke of years of handling knives, Tobi sliced through the top and bottom of the pineapple before cutting away the sides. He sliced the remaining fruit into large, perfectly neat circular chunks before spearing a piece with the large knife and shoving it into his own mouth. The whole effort took less than a minute.

"There." He says as he pushes the remaining chucks towards his Pa. "Tha' bit you eat." He holds out the knife handle first to his Pa who takes it and puts it back where it was strapped. His Pa picks up a chunk of the pineapple and pops it into his mouth. His expression is curious, then pleased. Tobi smiles at his Pa and digs into his own food.

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Re: Highmauve: Family Day

on Fri Oct 05, 2018 8:06 pm
Noelle wasn't sure what she expected. She knew from both Tobi and Agnes that they were hearty eaters, and she also figured that would reflect the family. So when they all met back at the table, the heaping portions of food wasn't surprising. It was the pineapple that threw her expectations out the window. She also winced at the crunch, as did Joy, who tilted her head ever so slightly in curiosity. The only one unfazed was Karen who flashed a look at both of her daughters to be polite, not everyone has had the same food experiences as them. In fact, Karen was going to offer to go find a knife before Thomas pulled out his own.

"Whoa!" Joy follows the blade, her excitement only grew after seeing Tobi's swift and precise movements. Noelle gives a small smile- as strange as this interaction was, she had to admit it was cute. She remembered Tobi's introduction to hummus only a couple days earlier, and her smile only grew. It was interesting to see these new experiences unfold for the family. Joy slides her hand over, taking a piece of the pineapple, chewing it and swallowing before going back to devouring her own plate.

Karen basically shrugs, and turns back to her plate, occasionally signing to Tobi's mother with questions about her children. Noelle takes tiny bites, her eyes still flicking occasionally around the room. Eventually, she feels like she's scoped out the place enough, and starts to eat a little more. She looks up at Thomas "How was the trip up?"

It's a simple question, one she hopes opens a conversation where she can listen and gather information.
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Re: Highmauve: Family Day

on Fri Oct 05, 2018 9:15 pm
Winter continued to talk with her family and joking with them easily. She loved her family dearly, yes. But they were so terribly normal and she was so different. Even more different now that she had discovered even more about herself with Sienna and her... Attraction? To Agnes. She wasn't sure what to call it. But it wasn't a crush. No. Not that. It couldn't be that. She barely knew her.

She watched as Noelle's family and Tobi's family got food. She didn't want her family to interact with them. They were too embarrassing. She supposed that she couldn't stop then but still...

She looked up once more at Agnes as she piled on food onto her plate. She blushed again. Why was she staring at her? She caught Noelle looking and she blushed even more. Noelle knew.... Did she tell Agnes? She wouldn't do that. That wasn't like Noelle.

Her mother looked at Winter as she blushed. She turned around and tried finding who she kept looking at. "Are you looking at the mutant boy? I suppose he's kinda cute."

Winter's eyes widened. "Oh no! Not him! He's with someone now!" She whispered urgently.

"well you keep looking over at him!"

"Mother. I don't like him like that, besides... Him and Noelle are perfect for each other." Winter said before rubbing her face. Why was her mom like this?

"If you like him, you should say something." Louise continued.

"Mom! I just said that I don't like him."

Now, Tom looked between mother and daughter with a grin. "Now now girls .. I'm sure Winter will admit her feelings in die time."

Winter could only do a face palm as Henry laughed.

"Yeah Winter! All in due time!" He mocked.
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Re: Highmauve: Family Day

on Fri Oct 05, 2018 9:52 pm
Tobi’s Pa turns his attention towards Noelle. “Trip down were fine.” He pops a piece of pineapple in his mouth and chews for a moment. “Had t’meet Agnes halfway down, truck can’ get up t’where we are. It were…” He thinks for a moment, humming as he does. It reverberates in his chest, deep and loud. “Different.”

“He had t’ride in the trunk. Damn near broke m’ baby.” Agnes chimes in from her spot next to Joy. The little girl is stealing bits of fruit and that strange jello salad off her plate, but Agnes doesn’t seem to mind.

“Get rid a ‘er.” Tobi grumbles from his seat. He stares at Agnes with tired eyes. They’ve had this argument time and time again. “She’s shit.” His Pa grumbles a sharp ‘Tobi’ at the language, Tobi offers a small apology. He’s a little distracted right now. Winter’s family across the way keep staring at him. Winter herself is sporting a blush he can see from here. Funny.

“She’s starin’. I think the family’s got the wrong twin.” He signs to his sister and flicks his eyes to the freshman and her family. Agnes nods back at him with a small smile, getting the message. She continues on.

“Almost got pulled over couple times. Had t’ take damn near e’ery back road on the way here. Swear it’d have been easier t’ let y’walk.” She looks back over at her Pa. “Might’a been quicker, honestly.”

“Quicker if you’d have. You’ve always outrun me, chil’.” Her Pa corrects.
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Re: Highmauve: Family Day

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