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Bitsy Pollen

Coaxing some calm from the soft part

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Bitsy Pollen

Perhaps it was a question of phasmas. Ryszard was present, but she was used to seeing him as something less tangible.

 

Beatrice Pollen did not talk to Ryszard Althaus-Valerio. They did not exchange pleasantries or notes inside class, hushed beneath the alcoves in some dangerous secret. Like: 

 

To: Ryszard!

-- please open in private!

Signed, Bitsy

with an xoxo. 

 

The pair were both rich, pureblooded (or mostly), but Bitsy had long since learned not to bond with someone on a foundation she wouldn't promote. Such as violence... such as brooding... 

 

As far as the motions of her regular day, to Bitsy Pollen, Ryszard might as well have been a poltergeist. She did not seek him out but, defiant or dead, he screamed through the corridors, assailed the silence of their Common Rooms (did you hear... did he fight...). He was a rich kid burning like a city in the era of its wreck. Strange then, to see him before her--here, outside on the lakefront, plucked between a blooming of crocus heads, all yellow with Spring--as nothing other than a boy.

Ryszard was leaning over a notebook, and Bitsy was watching him.

It was probably unwise to be watching him, mind you, considering the metaphor, the assaults that Bitsy had heard of. Or, in the case of her good friend Winston Hughes, the brutish words he’d wrought since night one. So. 


Bitsy took a step backwards; another. The grass was wet, but it was better to keep him in her eyesight. To make sure that no sound had bothered him. To be sure--

 

Of course, Bitsy herself was more of an anti-ghost. She was too much of her body to ever control it. Bitsy took breath. She stepped over a tree root. Tripped. “Bloody--”

Well then. “Lovely weather we’re having?” From her arse on the ground, Bitsy perked up and addressed him. Some disturbances weren’t meant for just the supernatural.

Edited by Bitsy Pollen

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Ryszard Althaus-Valerio

It had been a while since Ryszard had sat so still by the lake. It was even rarer to find him with a sketchbook open and face full of concentration. It was never something he had been too open about, and the very idea of someone catching a glimpse of the shaded drawings and turning it into a joke of some sort was something that Ryszard couldn’t stomach. He would bet that people like Winston and Jo would be the first in line to torment him on this part of his life.

 

It was why he had closed his mind around the stack of books that littered the various corners of his trunk and bed, almost like a shameful secret — yet another one. His father had relentlessly made him believe he was not smart enough to retain much of anything, and Ryszard didn’t have it in him to prove him wrong. If it was a dumb monster he wanted, that’s what he and everybody else would get.

 

It didn’t mean Ryszard would give up the only two things that made him mildly happy. It did, however, mean that he wouldn’t be sharing it with anyone — not even with his sister. Ryszard didn’t think she would be interested, anyways, since it wasn’t something she had thought to ask him about during the first twelve years of their lives. Now shouldn’t be any different.

 

The snap of a root behind him startled him, and Ryszard turned around, eyes wide in alarm. It wasn’t easy to surprise him, but he had been focusing so hard on the piece in front of him, trying to clear his mind of all the depressing thoughts that kept floating through.

 

“Oh,” he said, his voice kicking up an octave. He cleared his throat, and surreptitiously tried to hide the sketchbook. He knew Bitsy was friends with Winston, and the last thing he needed right now was for the girl to hand deliver the goods straight to his roommate — his roommate that hated him and took any opportunity that presented itself to taunt Ryszard about the way the hidden heart lines between him and Adrina were starting to break, ready to crumble into dust at the first sign of trouble. “Um, I guess? It’s not raining, at least,” he added, looking upwards, almost as if expecting the sky to suddenly open up. He probably would have welcomed it.

 

Then, he looked more closely at Bitsy. “What are you doing here?”

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