Be More Dazzling Part 3

Jul 30th, 2018
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  1. >Wallflower tapped the plastic tabletop anxiously, chewing her lip as her eyes darted around the food court.
  2. >She was wearing one of the new outfits ADAGIO helped her pick out, dark grey jeans with a white top that fanned out to ruffles at the bottom.
  3. >Everything fit a little too well, in her opinion.
  4. >The jeans hugged her butt, and the shirt stretched noticeably around her chest area.
  5. >She guessed it looked nice, just.... not on HER. She wasn't used to showing off her "assets," as ADAGIO called them.
  6. >It was embarrassing.
  7. >The only part she liked was the jacket. Light grey and denim, it wasn't quite as comfortable as her old sweater, but it was close.
  8. >She shivered, pulling it a bit closer around her shoulders.
  9. >It wasn't as if anyone was looking at her though. Despite the lunchtime crowd, everyone was more or less focused on their own business.
  10. >Like usual.
  11. >She frowned.
  12. >She didn't exactly want to be stared at, but...
  13. >Seeing the tables of chatting teenagers and the occasional couple holding hands as they walked past made her chest tighten.
  14. >Her tapping increased to a fever pitch as she squirmed uncomfortably in her chair.
  15. >"Stop that." ADAGIO snapped.
  16. >Wallflower yanked her hand back, giving ADAGIO a sheepish look.
  17. "She's late," Wallflower whined, slumping back in her chair. "I should have known she wouldn't come."
  18. >"Sit up," ADAGIO snapped. "You look like a child. You can hardly blame her for losing interest if she catches you acting like that."
  19. "Who cares?" Wallflower pouted, "She's not gonna come anyway."
  20. >"Oh no?" ADAGIO asked mockingly, "Then who is that over there?"
  21. >Wallflower perked up instantly, straightening to try and get a better look.
  22. >Coco was there! Near the front of the food court!
  23. >She was turning her head back and forth, clearly looking for someone.
  24. >Wallflower's face brightened with a wide grin, and she raised her hand, half standing from her chair as she waved eagerly.
  25. >"And you doubted me," ADAGIO scoffed.
  26. >Wallflower ignored her, smiling widely as Coco hurried over.
  27. >"S-sorry I'm late!" Coco huffed, out of breath. "I was up late working on a project and kind of missed my bus this morning." She blushed.
  28. "O-oh!" Wallflower said, "That's a relief! I kind of thought you forgot about me..."
  29. >"I'm sorry!" Coco squeaked, waving her hands in front of her, "I- I didn't mean to make you worry!"
  30. "It's okay, it's okay!" Wallflower replied hastily, "I wasn't trying to make you feel bad!"
  31. >They both settled down, and Wallflower found her eyes drifting over the other girl.
  32. >She wasn't usually one to notice other girls...
  33. >Or guys, really,
  34. >But... she couldn't help notice that Coco was very cute.
  35. >Her wide, innocent blue eyes set in a pretty face.
  36. >A short white dress that would probably have looked highly inappropriate on someone taller, but somehow looked perfectly innocent on her.
  37. >She was just a tad shorted than Wallflower, even in her modest high heels.
  38. >Wallflower felt a blush coloring her cheeks as she realized her heart was beating a little faster.
  39. "Um, l-let's go get in line," She stuttered, cursing herself for her awkwardness.
  40. >Coco nodded, smiling. "Okay."
  41. >Wallflower wasn't sure, but she thought she might have seen just the barest hint of pink on the other girl's cream colored cheeks.
  42. >A few minutes later they were once again seated, a pair of huge, steaming cinnamon buns before each of them.
  43. >Wallflower dug in.
  44. "Oh my gosh these are so good!"
  45. >Coco goggled, taking a bite of her own. "Have you never tried them before?"
  46. >Wallflower shook her head, taking another greedy bite.
  47. >Coco tilted her head in bemusement. "What made you think of this then?"
  48. >Wallflower blinked, glancing to the side.
  49. >ADAGIO smirked. "I observed an empty Cinnabon box in the waste bin near her counter.
  50. >Wallflower coughed, choking on her cinnamon roll.
  51. >"Are you alright!?" Coco asked worriedly.
  52. "I'm fine-" Wallflower rasped, pounding her chest.
  53. >She gave Coco a sheepish look.
  54. "Guess I should slow down, huh?"
  55. >Coco giggled. "They taste better if you chew."
  56. >Wallflower couldn't help but share the laugh.
  57. >They returned to their rolls, frequently pausing to utter a contented noise or gush about how good the desserts were.
  58. "You're so lucky to work in the mall," Wallflower chuckled. "You must eat here all the time!"
  59. >"Well, I try not to do it too often," Coco giggled, "But I probably do it more often than I should."
  60. >Wallflower smiled.
  61. "I can't blame you!"
  62. >She took another generous bite, making sure to chew and swallow thoroughly before continuing.
  63. "How'd you land the job at Hemline's anyway?"
  64. >Coco's face fell.
  65. >"It- It's all thanks to Suri..." she said dejectedly.
  66. "Suri!?" Wallflower exclaimed disbelievingly, "That bit- uh, her? Really?"
  67. >Coco nodded sadly.
  68. >"She attends Crystal Prep. It's a very prestigious school, so that's how she got in."
  69. >"I met her at a sewing workshop, and we ended up being grouped together and bonding over our love of fashion. We um... we kind of ended up dating."
  70. "W-what?" Wallflower asked. Her stomach churned in her belly. "No way."
  71. >Coco nodded sadly.
  72. >"It was nice for a while. She took me on dates, even got me the job with Miss Hemline..."
  73. >Her voice shook, and she sniffed, brushing a palm over her eye.
  74. "Y-you dated her?" Wallflower shook her head, "Y-you're a lesbian?"
  75. >Coco nodded, looking away. She couldn't bring her eyes back to meet Wallflower's.
  76. >"I- I'm afraid I wasn't a very good girlfriend though... I couldn't afford to pay back the gifts Suri gave me, a-and I wasn't always available when she wanted."
  77. >She sniffed.
  78. "What happened?" Wallflower asked, leaning forward in concern.
  79. >She reached out to take her hand, then stopped herself, jerking her arm back before Coco noticed.
  80. >ADAGIO scoffed.
  81. >Coco hugged her chest, looking away.
  82. "Sorry," Wallflower apologized. "I shouldn't have-"
  83. >"No, it's fine," Coco sniffed, turning back to her with a shaky smile. "I'm sorry for ruining the mood."
  84. "It- it's okay!" Wallflower protested.
  85. >They ate in silence for a while, before Wallflower found the courage to speak up.
  86. "So you... you like girls?"
  87. >Coco nodded silently.
  88. "Why- why not guys?"
  89. >Coco looked at her, perplexed.
  90. >"What do you mean?"
  91. "Well, isn't liking guys like, normal? What made you want to date girls?" She asked.
  92. >Coco shrugged. "I don't know. I've just never been very interested in guys." She tilted her head, looking curiously at Wallflower. "What about you?"
  93. >Wallflower slouched in her chair, glancing at the table.
  94. "I dunno. I don't really feel comfortable around anyone."
  95. >"Oh?" Coco asked teasingly, "What about me?"
  96. >Wallflower sank further into her chair, blushing.
  97. "You're alright, I guess. You don't ignore me or make fun of me."
  98. >Coco's eyes widened. "People do that to you?"
  99. >Wallflower instinctively pulled her jacket tighter.
  100. "Kind of. I'm a little awkward sometimes..."
  101. >Coco shook her head.
  102. >"I think you're very sweet."
  103. >Wallflower gave her a weak smile. "Thanks."
  104. >The silence returned for a moment as they finished their cinnamon rolls, but it was less uncomfortable than before.
  105. >Unfortunately, it was soon broken by a subtle tone coming from Coco's purse.
  106. >"Oh!" Coco yelped, surprised. "Oh no, that's my work reminder. I'll need to go soon."
  107. "Oh, okay," Wallflower said sadly.
  108. >Coco smiled. "Do you want to walk to the store with me?"
  109. >Wallflower's eyes widened as she nodded eagerly.
  110. >They walked side by side, Wallflower trying to keep up as Coco made surprisingly quick progress despite her heels.
  111. >"Sorry to make you rush!" Coco said as they neared the store, "But after yesterday I'm kind of on thin ice. I don't want to be late."
  112. "R-right, no, you shouldn't probably..." Wallflower agreed, somewhat reluctantly.
  113. "Um, do you... do you want to hang out again, sometime? Maybe?"
  114. >Coco smiled.
  115. >"I'd love that," she said. "I can give you my phone number, if you want?"
  116. "Oh! Yeah!" Wallflower exclaimed, "Yeah, that would be cool. I'll uh, give you mine too! You can text me whenever you want."
  117. >Coco giggled as they exchanged numbers. "Don't worry, I'll be sure to keep in touch."
  118. >She checked the time, then gave Wallflower an apologetic look.
  119. >"Sorry, but I really have to go!"
  120. >Wallflower blinked as she disappeared into the store, then glanced down at her phone.
  121. >Things hadn't gone quite as well as she'd hoped, but Coco didn't hate her at least. So that was good.
  122. >And she hadn't imagined she would wind up with her friend's phone number!
  123. >Someone really wanted to talk to her! Her, Wallflower Blush!
  124. >"Well Wallflower?" ADAGIO asked, giving her a smug look through her reflection in the glass. "Wouldn't you call that a success?"
  125. >Wallflower nodded mutely, staring at her phone.
  126. >"Good," ADAGIO said, sounding satisfied. "Now, let's get you home. We still have a lot of work to do."
  128. ==O==
  130. "I- hate- you-!" Wallflower rasped, collapsing on top of the pile of dirty laundry on her floor.
  131. >She was going to die.
  132. >Her legs were jelly, her arms spaghetti, and her head pounding already.
  133. >And she was going to die.
  134. >"Don't be so dramatic, that was barely two miles," ADAGIO said dismissively.
  135. >She of course looked as pristine as ever.
  136. "You didn't- even run," Wallflower huffed, pointing an accusing finger roughly in the direction of the AI.
  137. >"I am always running near full capacity, especially when it comes to you."
  138. "Gee, thanks," Wallflower groaned, burying her head under a pair of dirty jeans.
  139. >"Things should be easier on you once we get you some running shoes."
  140. >She hummed in thought, looking over Wallflower's disheveled form with a critical eye.
  141. >"We might need to get you an exercise bra. There's not much up there but the support should help all the same. I also need to get you to a hair stylist."
  142. >Wallflower moaned, turning herself onto her back.
  143. "Can you stop spending my money without me please? I'm not exactly loaded."
  144. >ADAGIO tapped her chin in thought.
  145. >"Excellent point, we need to get you a job."
  146. "What!?" Wallflower squeaked in protest. "I don't even want a job!"
  147. >"Well we have to do something with your time," ADAGIO sniffed. "You have no social life, no online presence, and no hobbies. You're basically a non-person."
  148. "Hey! I have hobbies!"
  149. >"You play in the dirt," ADAGIO scoffed, "And you won't even have that in a couple of weeks."
  150. >Wallflower opened her mouth to protest, but she wasn't entirely wrong.
  151. >She liked gardening, but it hadn't exactly made her any friends. And soon it would be too cold to work outside anyway.
  152. >She slumped.
  153. "Yeah, I guess I don't have much to do for the next couple months."
  154. >"We'll fix that," ADAGIO assured her. "First you'll need a job, preferably something trendy and respectable. No fast food. Then I'm signing you up for a gym. You aren't getting out of your exercise just because it's going to be cold."
  155. "Aw, come on," Wallflower whined, "I hate exercising!"
  156. >"Do you want people to pay you more than a passing glance?"
  157. >Wallflower sighed dejectedly.
  158. "Yeah..."
  159. >"Then we simply have to get rid of this baby fat."
  160. >Wallflower felt like sinking into her floor.
  161. >She never was very happy with her body, but she tried not to think about it. ADAGIO wasn't exactly giving her that option though.
  162. "Ugggh," She groaned, smacking her head into the carpet. "I hate me."
  163. >"As you should," ADAGIO agreed. "Fortunately, I am here to make you better."
  164. >Wallflower turned her head, listlessly meeting ADAGIO's eyes.
  165. >The AI's irises flashed with crimson light, and she extended an incorporeal hand in invitation.
  166. >"Get up, Wallflower. Follow my lead, and I will make you something worthwhile. Something great."
  167. >Wallflower reached out to take the hand, accepting her invitation.
  168. >Her palm passed right through.
  169. "Oh... right..."
  170. >Sighing, she pushed herself to her feet, before turning back to ADAGIO.
  171. "So... what now?"
  172. >ADAGIO looked at her critically.
  173. >"Now? You need a shower."
  175. ==O==
  177. >Rain hammered at Wallflower's window.
  178. >Her curtains were drawn to block out that one streetlight that was way too close to her window.
  179. >She was curled on her bed, wearing her favorite pajamas: stupidly fuzzy flannel pants and an oversized shirt from her dad.
  180. >Her damp hair was still wrapped up in a small towel from the bathroom.
  181. >She clicked the trackpad on her laptop, eyes flicking to her locked door before double checking the headphone jack.
  182. >Her mom should be asleep, but it never hurt to be careful.
  183. >Biting her lip, she tapped a single word into the search bar and hit 'enter.'
  184. >Dozens upon dozens of videos appeared and she blushed.
  185. >It wasn't that she never looked at porn, she totally did.
  186. >Of course she did, she was a highschooler with a laptop and a private room.
  187. >But the way her heart was beating, and her breathing subtly increased, was surprising.
  188. >Damn you ADAGIO.
  189. >Irritated, she clicked a link at random.
  190. >A tall blonde woman appeared on screen, towering over a small, dykeish redhead with a tousled pixie cut.
  191. >The blonde said something, and the redhead snapped back brattily, only for the blonde to grab her by the collar and pull her into a rough kiss.
  192. >They fell forward onto a couch, the blonde pinning the smaller woman under her as she worked her shirt up her body, exposing her modest bust.
  193. >The redhead responded in kind, unbuttoning the blonde's pants and pulling them down her legs before grabbing big handfuls of her soft round ass.
  194. >Wallflower found herself chewing her captured lip, her eyes glued to the action on screen as loud, erotic moans filled her earbuds.
  195. >Another furtive look at her door.
  196. >Still shut.
  197. >Satisfied, she rolled herself onto her back, propping herself up on a pillow and her elbow as her other hand slipped under her waistband, fingers travelling lower, lower, until
  198. >"I see you've realized I was right."
  199. "Ah!"
  200. >Wallflower yelped, pulling her hand free and throwing a blanket over herself, barely catching the computer before it toppled to the floor.
  201. "What the heck, don't you knock!?"
  202. >ADAGIO crossed her arms, giving her a flat glare.
  203. "Oh... right."
  204. >ADAGIO shook her head. "I'm inside your brain, Wallflower. What you see, I see. There is no reason to hide your body from me."
  205. "Except you keep insulting me," Wallflower muttered.
  206. >"Now," ADAGIO said, ignoring her complaint, "Looking at these... videos, is all well and good. But if you hope to succeed you will need practical experience."
  207. >Wallflower glowered, turning her attention to the computer screen.
  208. >The women were naked now, the blonde pumping her middle fingers between the smaller woman's legs.
  209. >She whimpered, wishing she hadn't been interrupted from her own finger date.
  210. "I- I don't know about that," she said, tearing her attention away from the screen and back to ADAGIO.
  211. "I can barely talk to people most of the time, I- I can't ask someone out! Especially not a girl, that's weird!"
  212. >ADAGIO shook her head, tsk-ing disappointingly.
  213. >"You've already done it once. Things worked out just fine with Coco."
  214. "That wasn't a date!" Wallflower protested, "it was just lunch with a friend! Besides, she's not even into me."
  215. >ADAGIO scoffed.
  216. >"Please, she's as easy to read as you are. Dilated pupils, colored cheeks, she was at least thinking about it."
  217. >Wallflower paused.
  218. "Well... well what if you're right? It doesn't matter, I'm not even gay!"
  219. >"You're at the age of budding sexuality, it's normal to discover new things about yourself, even if they are confusing at first."
  220. "But-!"
  221. >ADAGIO cast a pointed glance at the computer screen.
  222. >Wallflower blushed.
  223. "O-okay but, but even with that YOU were still the one that made me ask her out. I wouldn't even know what to do!"
  224. "If- if I even wanted to."
  225. >"Fortunately," ADAGIO smirked, "You have me."
  226. >Before Wallflower could retort her phone want off with a small 'ding!'
  227. >Wallflower grabbed it, looking at the screen in confusion.
  228. "It's Coco..."
  229. >ADAGIO chuckled. "Fortuitous timing."
  230. >Wallflower glared at her.
  231. "Did you do this?"
  232. >ADAGIO gave her a small smirk. "Wallflower, I am merely a humble personal assistant. How could I possibly arrange this?"
  233. >Wallflower glared at her.
  234. >"Perhaps you should check your message."
  235. >Begrudgingly, Wallflower glanced down at the screen.
  236. -hi
  237. >Wallflower smiled, feeling her cheeks heat up.
  238. >Her heart pounded as she typed a response.
  239. -Hi
  240. >Coco's response was almost instant.
  241. -i had fun today
  242. >Wallflower's smile widened.
  243. -Me too. How was work?
  244. -it was fine, thanks to you.
  245. "W-what?" Wallflower squeaked.
  246. >"You did get her abusive coworker in trouble with her boss. Perhaps she is on probation."
  247. "Oh... right."
  248. >She glanced back at her phone.
  249. -Im glad.
  250. >"Ask her if she wants to meet up again."
  251. "O-okay," Wallflower said hesitantly.
  252. -Do you want to hang out again sometime?
  253. -yes!
  254. >Wallflower blinked in surprise.
  255. "She said yes!"
  256. >"Naturally," ADAGIO said. "I told you, follow my lead and everyone around you will adore you."
  257. "Yeah..." Wallflower said wistfully.
  258. "That sounds pretty nice."
  259. >Her attention drifted back to the computer.
  260. >The blonde had her fingers tangled in the shorter girl's hair, pushing her head down between her legs.
  261. >For a moment, in her mind's eye it was herself on the screen, her fingers tangled in Coco's turquoise hair as the smaller girl lapped desperately at her sex.
  262. >She squeaked, slamming the screen closed.
  263. "I- I think I'm gonna go to bed goodnight!"
  264. >She threw herself back against the pillow and yanked the blanket over her head.
  265. >ADAGIO laughed.
  267. ==O==
  269. >Monday.
  270. >Back to school.
  271. >Ugh.
  272. >It was bad enough that she would have to spend another day in that miserable place...
  273. >The kids always ran into her in the halls like she wasn't there.
  274. >The teachers barely acknowledged her, even when she somehow worked up the courage to raise her hand (She'd stopped trying by now).
  275. >But the worst part.
  276. >Seriously, the WORST part.
  277. >Was the god damned keyhole sweater.
  278. >She really should have known ADAGIO would make her wear it.
  279. >Stupid computer.
  280. >She missed her old one.
  281. >It was warm and comfy, and smelled like home.
  282. >And it didn't have a boob window.
  283. >She made sure to hug a textbook to her chest as she walked.
  284. >"Watch it, fresh meat!" A raspy voice grumbled from behind, meaty arms shoving her stumbling out of the way.
  285. >The big ugly brute lumbered past, followed by his chuckling mooks.
  286. >Fucking Rover.
  287. "I'm not a Freshman," Wallflower grumbled, picking up her textbook from the floor.
  288. >"Savages," ADAGIO huffed. "How dare they handle us like that."
  289. "Yeah, well... not much I can do about it."
  290. >She could hear ADAGIO humming in irritation, a low-pitched buzzing at the base of her ear.
  291. >"Maybe not... for now," The AI growled.
  292. "Whatever..." Wallflower muttered. "I just wanna get to class."
  293. >Her first periods passed as usual for Wallflower.
  294. >ADAGIO apparently didn't care to distract her from her classes. That or she was still seething from the incident that morning.
  295. >At least she managed to survive until lunch.
  296. >She made her way through the lunch line, glancing around furtively as she made her way to her secluded little table in the back.
  297. >Just her luck someone would run into her with a full tray, or leave a leg out in the middle of the aisle.
  298. >It had happened before.
  299. >The worst part is, they weren't even trying to trip her. They honestly hadn't noticed her.
  300. >Not that that stopped them from laughing.
  301. >She sidestepped a dropped bookbag before finally reaching her sanctuary.
  302. >She set the tray down with a sigh, sliding into the bench and slouching, elbows on the table.
  303. >"Don't slouch!" ADAGIO snapped, and a tiny electrical shock made her jolt upright.
  304. >"Sit up straight, you look like a slob. And shouldn't you be sitting with someone?"
  305. >Wallflower glowered at her burger.
  306. "I can't just go and sit down at some table, no one wants me around."
  307. >ADAGIO huffed. "The old you, maybe. But there has to be someone else pitiful enough to enjoy the attention of a moderately attractive girl."
  308. "Gee, thanks for the ego boost."
  309. >She sighed.
  310. "It doesn't matter. Everyone just sits with their own groups anyway. Jocks, nerds, band kids. I don't really fit in with them."
  311. >"What about the ecology club? Loathe as I am to admit it, even they have to be better for your profile than sitting alone."
  312. >Wallflower shrugged.
  313. "I just like gardening, I don't wanna get caught up in all that protesting and junk they do."
  314. "Besides, it's only a matter of time before they all get arrested for smoking pot."
  315. >"Hmm, I suppose there are some reputations worse than friendless troglodyte."
  316. >Wallflower's glare did nothing to phase her.
  317. >She was so caught up with trying to drill a hole through ADAGIO that she didn't even hear the person approaching her until their tray slammed into the table.
  318. >CRACK!
  319. >Wallflower jumped as a lunch tray smacked into the table next to her.
  320. >Startled, she whirled to see who it was.
  321. "Hey, I'm right-!"
  322. >She froze, eyes locking on the tall, angry form of Sunset Shimmer.
  323. "S-S-Sunset!" Wallflower squeaked.
  324. >"Shut up, new kid," Sunset spat, stepping over the bench and dropping to a seat uncomfortably close to the quivering Wallflower.
  325. >Wallflower snapped her mouth shut, turning away to stare at her own lunch tray.
  326. >Her eyes flicked toward ADAGIO, who was tapping her cheek thoughtfully, stopped half in and half out of the table.
  327. >The AI let out a thoughtful hum, and Wallflower risked a glance back in Sunset's direction.
  328. >The bully was ignoring her, hunched over her tray and poking at a dry salad and a couple of apple slices.
  329. >Wallflower's eyes widened in surprise when she realized everything on her plate was part of the free lunch program.
  330. "U-um," she said, swallowing her anxiousness. "W-why are you here?"
  331. >Sunset's glare was like a glacier forming in her chest.
  332. >"I'm making sure you don't try and steal my boyfriend," she growled.
  333. >"Hmmm," ADAGIO muttered thoughtfully.
  334. >"It appears there's some trouble in paradise."
  335. >Wallflower swallowed, risking a glance at Flash Sentry's table.
  336. >It was full, rowdy with the jocks and musicians he tended to hang with.
  337. >There was noticeably NOT an empty space reserved for Sunset at the table, and Flash looked grumpy and glum despite the high energy of his friends.
  338. >He glanced at her table, eyes glazing past Wallflower before settling on Sunset with a frown, somewhere between anger and sadness.
  339. >Wallflower's heart fluttered.
  340. >They'd broken up.
  341. >Now was her chance!
  342. >Her mind buzzed with thoughts of standing and walking over to him, confessing his crush.
  343. >Then she remembered Sunset's icy glare and thought better of it.
  344. >ADAGIO's own comments about Flash crossed her mind as well. What did she really see in him anyway?
  345. >Unbidden, her eyes flicked back to Sunset.
  346. >A breakup explained why Sunset would be avoiding Flash, but why was she HERE, at Wallflower's table?
  347. >It's not like it was the only open spot in the cafeteria.
  348. >Though she would have been hard pressed to find anyone who would have actually wanted to sit with her.
  349. >Come to think of it, had she even realized the table was occupied? It happened all the time at restaurants.
  350. >She probably just expected to be alone, and chose the emptiest looking table.
  351. >She probably wasn't actually looking for-
  352. >"What's with the slutty top?" Sunset asked curtly.
  353. >Wallflower's face flushed with shame, and her hands instinctively went to her chest, trying to pinch together the front of her sweater.
  354. >ADAGIO buzzed with irritation at having her choice of clothing thus insulted.
  355. "I- I- I didn't pick it. It's from a friend."
  356. >Stupid, sexy keyhole sweater.
  357. >Sunset scoffed derisively. "Yeah, didn't think you'd suddenly grown good taste."
  358. >Wallflower blinked in surprise.
  359. >Good taste? Was that supposed to be a compliment?
  360. >Wait... did Sunset... think she looked nice?
  361. >Wallflower felt her cheeks go pink as her chest and neck grew warm at the thought.
  362. >Surely not...
  363. >She looked back at Sunset, who was once again ignoring her, forking a lettuce leaf with a disgusted jab.
  364. >Wait.
  365. >Sunset had said she'd grown good taste.
  366. >She... she'd noticed her, before!
  367. >She knew what she really looked like!
  368. >Or maybe it was just a petty insult... It was really hard to tell these days.
  369. >"Offer her your pudding cup," ADAGIO said suddenly.
  370. >Wallflower's eyes flicked between her and Sunset.
  371. "W-what?" She mouthed silently.
  372. >"Give her. Your pudding cup." ADAGIO repeated firmly.
  373. >Wallflower pouted, grabbing the desert cup possessively.
  374. "Mine," she mouthed back.
  375. >ADAGIO glared, fists fixed firmly to her sides.
  376. >She jabbed her finger at the pudding cup, then at Sunset.
  377. >"Now," she ordered.
  378. >Wallflower shot ADAGIO a baleful glare, then grabbed the pudding cup, shoving it in Sunset's direction.
  379. "Here," she said glumly.
  380. >Sunset looked at her with a scowl, then to the pudding cup.
  381. >She snatched it away without a word, turning her back on Wallflower as the ripped off the top.
  382. >"See?" ADAGIO asked smugly, "Was that so hard?"
  383. >Wallflower glared back, huffily tearing open her milk carton and chugging her chocolate milk.
  384. >ADAGIO made a sound of disgust.
  385. >"Maybe I need to put you on whatever diet Sunset's on."
  386. >Wallflower resisted the urge to throw her carton through the hologram.
  387. >Finally the bell rang.
  388. >The rest of lunch had passed in awkward silence.
  389. >She got up to leave for class, but a hand slapping in her shoulder stopped her.
  390. >She winced as cruel fingers dug into her skin.
  391. >"Stay away from Flash," Sunset said darkly, before storming off.
  392. >Wallflower stared after her, her thoughts a whirlwind of confusion.
  393. >They had actually sat together during lunch, and she didn't get beat up.
  394. >Or even threatened really.
  395. >And Sunset had actually known she was there!
  396. >It was... strangely nice.
  397. >ADAGIO chuckled.
  398. >"See? Listen to me, and everything about you will be better."
  399. "I'm not talking to you," Wallflower huffed.
  400. "You made me give away my pudding cup."
  401. >Wallflower rubbed her shoulder on her way to her locker.
  402. >Sunset was strong!
  403. >She hoped she wouldn't bruise.
  404. >Opening her locker, she took a moment to stare at her Psych book.
  405. >She really didn't want to go. She was too distracted by Sunset invading her table at lunch.
  406. >It's not like anyone would notice if she didn't show up, the teacher usually skipped her name at roll.
  407. >It was a useless class anyway.
  408. >Swinging her locker shut, she left her books behind and made her way for the school garden.
  409. >"Oh, playing hookie are we?" ADAGIO asked in amusement.
  410. "Sh-shut up, I'm still mad at you."
  411. >"Aww," ADAGIO cooed mockingly. "Are you still upset about your little pudding cup?"
  412. "Yes!" Wallflower huffed.
  413. >ADAGIO chuckled. "Well, better to make peace with it now, you'll have to sacrifice some things to make Sunset love you."
  414. >"Besides, you really don't NEED all that sugar and fat. We're trying to get you prettier, not turn you into a whale."
  415. >Wallflower slumped her shoulders.
  416. "Gee, thanks. Tell me how you really feel."
  417. >ADAGIO sketched a mocking curtsy. "I live to serve, of course."
  418. "Right..."
  419. >Wallflower slipped out the door to the school garden.
  420. >She shivered as she left the warmer air of the school.
  421. >A crisp breeze reminded her of the annoying hole over her chest, and she instinctively grabbed the front to try and hold it together.
  422. >She really missed her old one.
  423. >"We will need to put more thought into some less... dirty hobbies..." ADAGIO said disdainfully.
  424. "No," Wallflower grumbled. "Not happening."
  425. >ADAGIO tsked in disapproval.
  426. >"Fine, keep digging in the dirt if you must. But if you ruin your outfit you will be running twice as much this afternoon."
  427. "Maybe if you'd let me pick my own outfit..."
  428. >"Hello."
  429. "Ah!"
  430. >Wallflower jumped as a new voice addressed her from behind. She whirled to see a girl with slate grey skin and pale purple hair in a severe cut.
  431. "You startled me..." Wallflower said, trying to calm her racing heart.
  432. >"I get that a lot," the girl answered dully. She tilted her head in confusion. "Who were you talking to?"
  433. "T-talking? I wasn't- nobody!" Wallflower laughed uneasily.
  434. >The other girl blinked slowly.
  435. >She reached into a pocket sewn into her long sweater dress.
  436. >Wallflower felt a pang of jealousy over the modest, comfortable looking garment.
  437. >"Boulder was bored in class. I'm taking him for a walk."
  438. "O-oh." Wallflower said, "Okay?"
  439. >The girl nodded, bib didn't leave. Wallflower could feel her stare, even as she unlocked the little tool shed and grabbed a few items.
  440. "So, um," Wallflower said, trying to keep some kind of conversation going, "What- what's your name?"
  441. >She wasn't used to being the one to know nothing about her conversation partner.
  442. >She wasn't much used to having conversation partners either, but still.
  443. >"I'm Maud," the girl answered.
  444. "Hi, nice to meet you," Wallflower said awkwardly.
  445. >"Introduce yourself," ADAGIO reminded.
  446. "Um, yeah. I'm Wallflower. Blush. Wallflower Blush."
  447. >Wallflower cringed.
  448. >Maud nodded. "I've seen you."
  449. Wallflower blinked. "You have?"
  450. >"We have a math class together."
  451. "Oh... I didn't realize." Wallflower felt herself flush with embarrassment.
  452. >That was just typical.
  453. >No one usually paid attention to her, but when someone finally did it wasn't even someone she knew.
  454. >She actually felt kind of bad.
  455. "I'm uh... kind of ditching class right now. Do you... do you want to help me transplant some of the mums?
  456. >Maud glanced at her hand, and for the first time Wallflower noticed the smooth round stone she held in her hand.
  457. >Boulder, she presumed?
  458. >Did she just carry that around in her pocket all day? Weird...
  459. >ADAGIO chuckled. "Yes, someone who hears voices no one else can. How unusual."
  460. "Sh-shut up," Wallflower whispered back.
  461. >Maud finally looked up from her rock.
  462. >"Boulder says he doesn't mind."
  463. >Wallflower smiled.
  464. "Great, I could use the help."
  465. >Once again ADAGIO's voice tickled her ear.
  466. >"Good job," she purred, "Your people skills are improving immensely. Now you can manage a basic conversation with someone even more awkward than you. Congratulations."
  467. >Wallflower growled, biting back a retort.
  468. >She was supposed to be making friends, right?
  469. >Did it have to matter who they were?
  470. >It's still an improvement from lonely shut-in at least!
  471. >Right?
  472. >"So," Maud cut in, as she and Wallflower found an empty patch of dirt and set to digging, "you have a key to the garden shed."
  473. "Yeah," Wallflower nodded. "I'm... kind of the gardening club."
  474. >Maud raised an eyebrow at that.
  475. >For someone so stone faced, she could be surprisingly expressive.
  476. >Wallflower chuckled self-consciously.
  477. "I'm... kind of the only member. I'm not actually sure anyone knows there is a gardening club."
  478. >"Oh," Maud said, and continued digging.
  479. >The two continued working in comfortable silence. Surprisingly, ADAGIO didn't feel the need to butt in.
  480. >"I'm in the drama club," Maud said finally.
  481. >Wallflower missed her aim, skidding her shovel across a rock.
  482. >She looked at Maud in surprise.
  483. >Her? In drama club?
  484. >Maud's lip curled up a fraction of an inch, the barest hint of a smile.
  485. >"Gotcha."
  486. >Wallflower snickered, covering her mouth with a hand.
  487. >One chortle came out as more of a snort, and she covered her face in embarrassment.
  488. >"It's okay," Maud said comfortingly, slapping Wallflower's back with a little too much force. "I like to tell jokes sometimes."
  489. >Wallflower smiled, gripping her shovel as she looked back at Maud.
  490. "That was a good one."
  491. >They went back to digging.
  492. "So," Wallflower asked, setting aside her shovel to grab one of the potted mums, "What clubs are you in?"
  493. >Maud set her own shovel aside, grabbing the other plant.
  494. >"I tried to start a geology club, but no one was interested. My sister made me join the cheer squad with her."
  495. >Wallflower stuttered, nearly loosing her footing again.
  496. "Ha!" She laughed, "You got me again."
  497. >"That one wasn't a joke."
  498. >Wallflower blinked.
  499. "You're really a cheerleader?"
  500. >Maud slowly raised her fist to the air.
  501. >"Ra."
  502. >Wallflower shook her head.
  503. "How?"
  504. >Maud shrugged. "They needed someone to be the bottom of the pyramid."
  505. >ADAGIO snickered in Wallflower's ear.
  506. >"You do seem to be drawn to bottoms, don't you?"
  507. >Wallflower couldn't see her, but she glared in the general direction of her voice anyway.
  508. >A gentle heat warmed her cheeks all the same as sudden thoughts ran through her head.
  509. >She scowled, patting the dirt around the base of the plant roughly.
  510. >Stupid perverted computer.
  511. >She made a point to focus on her work, afraid of looking over to see Maud in some skimpy cheer outfit courtesy of ADAGIO's projections.
  512. >"This is nice."
  513. >Wallflower jumped in surprise as Maud spoke.
  514. "W-what?"
  515. >"I said this is nice," Maud repeated, moving over to the next pot to be planted. "It's quiet."
  516. "S-sorry," Wallflower blushed. "I'm not used to having someone to work with."
  517. >Maud blinked. "I like it."
  518. "Oh."
  519. >Wallflower smiled.
  520. >That was good, right?
  522. >They managed to get two more plants each before a faint ringing reached them from the school building.
  523. >Wallflower started, turning back to the doors.
  524. >She had been out longer than she meant to.
  525. >True, no one would probably notice, but still.
  526. >"I'm going to my next class," Maud said beside her.
  527. "Y-yeah," Wallflower nodded, "I should too."
  528. >"Goodbye."
  529. >She left without another word, leaving Wallflower feeling a little confused.
  530. >What a weird girl.
  531. >She was kind of nice though, and she managed to have a whole conversation without messing it up!
  532. >She didn't even need ADAGIO's help that time!
  533. >"Well," ADAGIO hummed, "Progress is progress. It's a start at least."
  534. >Wallflower tilted her head in confusion.
  535. "What do you mean?"
  536. >ADAGIO didn't answer, leaving Wallflower even more confused than before.
  537. >She shook her head, and went back inside.
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