Action

She rolled to the side as the object came crashing down beside her. She didn’t have time to look and see what it was as she pushed herself off the ground and sprinted away.

She could hear the sounds of it all behind her. They could try to keep up, but speed had always been her strength.

She whipped her head from side to side. The guys were nowhere to be seen. Like usual. She was always on her own in these moments. They’d meet up afterwards, and they’d fist bump about their accomplishments and crack jokes about how she hadn’t been there to help. As if she hadn’t been out there accomplishing more than they could hope to. On her own no less, which she would never get credit for.

Then Bob would try to stick his tongue down her mouth. Again. The same misogynistic BS she put up with every day in this line of work.

But she heard the grunt of one of the goons behind her and couldn’t stifle a smile. That was why she did this. For her own satisfaction, not anyone else’s.

No Buts

“I don’t know what I’m doing.”

Sandy looked up from her book but only for a split second. I held back a groan of frustration as she kept reading and didn’t comment on what I had just said.

“I don’t-”

“I heard you the first time, Axel.”

At least she answered.

“Then why won’t you say anything?”

“I already explained myself. It’s your own fault you won’t accept the explanation and move on.”

“But-”

“Nope. No buts. I said what I have to say. The end. The rest if your problem, not mine.”

This time I did growl in frustration, and I got up to leave the room. I couldn’t watch her continue to read anymore.

I could hear her slight laughter as I went, and I didn’t stop myself from banging my bedroom door a bit as I closed it. It only increased her laughter. I flung myself onto my bed, buried my face in a pillow, and screamed. Just enough to let out my frustration and definitely not enough for Sandy to hear.

I couldn’t deal with anymore laughter.

Comedy

I frowned at the screen as the live audience laughed. This comedian just wasn’t doing it for me. But Joelle laughed from the other side of the couch, and I knew I’d have to watch the rest of it.

My silence must have warranted a glance over at me because Joelle was quick to comment on my sour expression.

“Come on, Dorothy. It was just a joke.”

She rolled her eyes to emphasis her response, and I was tempted to follow suit.

“Insulting someone is never funny. It just proves that they have no other jokes.”

“It’s funny because it always comes from truth.”

“No, it doesn’t. It usually comes from stereotypes, and even if there’s any truth backing it, it doesn’t make it better. You know you wouldn’t want someone mocking you on a stage. It only makes you feel better when it’s someone else.”

Joelle rolled her eyes again. It was a quite annoying quirk she had.

“We’ll agree to disagree.”

I bit my tongue. Such a large part of me wanted to continue to argue, but I knew she wouldn’t come around. I was trying to teach myself how to avoid losing battles before they started. Hopefully this time I would succeed.

What’s the Pointillism?

Lily watched intently as the art works went past slide by slide.

She was out of her element in this class. It counted as an elective, but only art majors ever took it. They spouted out words like “dead-color” like it was everyday language, not just to impress non-art majors. Of which there was only Lily.

Lily, on the other hand, could go “oh, pretty” and that was it.

Since the class attracted no one but art students, the professor had never stopped to explain the vocab she expected them to know it. Lily had been struggling to piece it out all semester.

“Psst.”

The head in front of her remained turned.

It had been like this all semester too. Logan always helped her in the end, but it took goading.

Maybe she was making a scene with whispering into another row, but she still hadn’t made sense of a piece that was three slides ago. She couldn’t let herself get more behind.

“Psst.”

This time she could see his shoulders stiffen, but he remained facing forwards.

“Pss-”

“What!?”

Success.

“The piece by Seurat was what?”

“Pointillism.”

“What the hell does that mean?”

“Pointillism. It’s made of a lot of tiny dots. Not strokes. Dots.”

He was talking to me like I was three again. That’s how all these art majors were when I couldn’t expound fluently in their language. I would like to see them try and dissect a pig like I had yesterday. I bet they were all squeamish.

Except for that one guy who was always showing off his war paintings.

“Why would anyone do that when it’s just easier to make strokes?”

I was being difficult on purpose. In reality, I had no idea. Maybe dots were easier. I’d never tried them. But Logan was being mean, and I was going to play it out.

“The effect,” Logan replied, already halfway around in his seat. It was the sign he was done helping me.

I thought I detected affection in the tone, even if it would have come across as uncaring to most.

That’s how Logan liked to talk to me when we were in art class. Always. Like he had to put distance between him and the stupid.

“Are you still coming to my room after class?”

He stiffened again. I could never tell if it was because he wanted to pay attention to the lecture or if he was embarrassed the class idiot was talking to him.

He made a noncommittal noise that was no an answer, and I kicked his seat. The sound of it reverberated around the area, but could easily be passed off as an accident when I’d gone to cross my legs or something. Logan didn’t have to turn around and glare like he did.

I smiled as bright as I could. “Room?”

“Yes. Sure. Whatever. Leave me alone.”

I glanced up at the projector screen to see an entirely new painting I couldn’t understand as the teacher talked about it. How much had I missed?

Stop messing with the boyfriend then. I could take a hint. If it happened daily.

I wondered, not for the first time, if I shouldn’t have taken this class, but then I gave Logan’s seat one more kick, stifling my giggle as he stiffened. Nah, it was worth it.