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Not Vielle

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  1. Mai has reigned victorious over Chapter 1 of the textbook. She presses a post-it note to the top of the page, slams the cover shut, and slides the book off her lap and onto the seat beside her. The itch for productivity has been scratched. It is but a tiny, insignificant step towards the future she's planned for years, but every moment counts. Must count. Needs to count. There is no time for dawdling or lollygagging, no, not with her. Mai reaches for her drink and finds it has gone cold. She makes a face as she sips. "Dunno why you keep ordering coffee. You drink it half an hour after it arrives." Phil notes. Mai scowls at him over the rim of her mug. He grins, spreading his hands in a placating gesture. "That any way to treat your study buddy?" "You're not studying," Mai points out. Her expression softens. "Thanks, though. For coming with me." His presence is enough. The cafe is cozy, but Mai knows well the disquiet that would ensnare her if she had come alone. It lingers still at the back of her mind, fixed in the image of her empty bedroom, the vast, dim spaces of the library, the hazy glow of the computers. Mai drums her fingers on the table, feeling the restlessness in her rear its head once more. It's an endless compulsion, turning her thoughts back, always back to her goal. Her hands are stained with highlighter. She pictures the material she's yet to cover in her mind, a mental map she's run over and over again. Her mouth is dry. Phil's voice snaps her out of the haze. "You okay?" Mai forces a smile. "Yeah." He mirrors her expression. "Don't work yourself too hard, 'kay?" She forces herself to swallow. "I won't." Phil looks like he wants to say something else, but a voice interrupts the conversation. A man in a sweater stands before them. A stranger. Mai's hand finds its way to her pen, reflexively turning the object between her fingers. Phil's normally placid expression borders on a glare. Mai sighs in relief as his attention drifts beyond, settling on Phil's sisters. ~ ☀ ☪~ Oh! Sol manages to stamp out her grin, raising a delicate hand to her lips in feigned shyness. "Oh!" Sol breathes audibly this time. "Are you sure?" she asks, tucking a dyed strand of hair behind her ear, twisting in her seat to face the stranger, one leg crossed over another. Luna shows no such reservations; sister's grin stretches from ear to ear. She coughs, and Sol swears she can hear a "poser" in the sound. Never mind her- who was this nice gentleman? Who was the goth-boy coat rack? "He looks like a nice coat rack, all the same," Luna adds kindly. Oh, for the love of- Sol pictures herself wrapping duct tape over her sister's mouth and manages to hold her smile. "I'd be flattered to be a model," Sol giggles, shuffling forward ever-so-slightly in her seat to prop an elbow on a knee and cradle her chin on the palm of her hand, face tilted up to the stranger. She cocks her head to rake an unsubtle gaze over the bespectacled man. Her grin edges its way from pageant-queen to predatory Cute. Really cute. Luna, for the moment - thank goodness - has fallen silent. Sol appreciates her sister's ability to hold her tongue, as few and far in between these moments can be. Sol straightens, crossing one leg over the other. "I'm Sol, and this is Luna. What's your name, up-and-coming artist boy?"
  2. Sol presses her forehead against the coffee table, back arched, knuckles rapping against the wooden floorboards. She considers her brother, his friend, and the mind-numbing spectacle of him pining after her for years on end. It is a heavy burden to bear, to be the resigned audience to the dragging dance of the two - genius idiot and loyal idiot. Alas, it is a sister's duty to chaperone her younger brother, particularly when said younger brother insists on accompanying their just-friend to a study session eight in the bloody morning. On a weekend. Sol releases a muffled groan. The cafe, for all its homey furnishings, has a distinct lack of pillows. Sol has the decency to not curl up on the nearby couch. If there is any consolation to this unwanted trip, her brother has kindly paid for their drinks. The barista arrives with two cups. Reluctantly, Sol drags herself upright, wavers, then slumps backwards against the seat. Oh, the agony of sleep deprivation. Luna is studying the barista from beneath her bangs. After a moment's consideration, she beams a blinding grin at the young man. "Thanks..." her eyes catch his nametag, "...William. Cute name. Like the prince?" William blinks, manages a nod, and scoots back to the counter. Luna's self-satisfied smirk draws a giggle out of Sol. "You bastard." Luna raises an eyebrow "What?" Sol shook her head slowly, pressing a palm to her cheek in mock disapproval "My, my, sister. Eight-o-five in the morning and already, some poor boy's caught in your targets" Luna widens her eyes, looking innocent. "Oh, Sol. You know I'm the most vocal advocate for hydration." "Ya thirsty." A beatific smile crosses her sister's face. "What I lack in sleep, I shall compensate for in hydration." A soft creak from the front of the cafe signals the arrival of new customers. The sisters watch with mild interest as the odd pair enters. "Hey. You can try with him. He's cute," Luna notes. She inclines her head at the first man, who looks like a gangster stereotype lifted from a twelve-year-old's self-insert fantasy - down to the tight pants to the smolder. "So is the other one," Sol mutters, eyeing the edgelord's companion. Where the gangster-man is all edge, his friend is light and softness, wide-eyed behind his round spectacles. Cuddly. "So cute." After a moment's thought, she adds, "They look like the dudes from the angel show." Luna pauses, her drink halfway to her mouth. "The what." "The one on Tumblr? The demon was Killgrave from Jessica Jones" Luna looks at her blankly, then curls her lip in disgust. "Good Omens! How dare you forget Good Omens? Uncultured swine. You're disowned." She turns away with a toss of her head, slurping loudly from her straw. Sol rolls her eyes. Surreptitiously, she continues to observe the new arrivals. What business does such an odd pair have to be at a coffee shop eight in the morning, on a weekend? In her periphery, she catches sight of her brother. He is twiddling twiddles his thumbs, still sitting silently across his not-girlfriend. Sol looks at her sister, now engrossed in the display of her phone screen. She looks down at her drink, at the misshapen ice cubes already half-melted. A sigh escapes her lips. What a waste of a good weekend.
  3. Eight-o-clock. All is still. The Logovore Cafe sits golden in the rays of the early morning. An ornate clock ticks steadily behind the counter. A metronome to the tuneless humming of the barista as he bustles about, preparing for the day. He heads to the door and flips the CLOSED sign to OPEN. SLAM. An exhausted-looking student stands at the doorway, one hand flush against the door. "Out," she hisses, "of my way." The barista blanches at the look on her face. The girl sweeps past him, trailed by a sheepish-looking boy and two older girls. "Sorry about that," the boy mutters. He leans over the counter. "Uh. A chai latte for Mai, a peppermint mocha for Phil, and-" "Hibiscus tea with pearls," said the first girl, her eyes fixed on her phone. "For Sol." "Black tea with pearls for Luna," said the second, looking over her sister's shoulder. The trio cast a glance at their third companion. Mai has situated herself at a booth in the corner of the cafe. In the time it has taken the flustered barista to take their orders, she has booted up a laptop, surrounded it with stacks of paper, and is flipping through a book on her lap. Sol quirks an eyebrow at her brother. "Bro. It's eight in the morning. On a Saturday. Why are we in a cafe watching your girlfriend study for an exam a year away?" Phil reddens. "She's not my girlfriend," he sputters, running a hand through the spikes of his hair. "We're just... study partners." Luna looks up from her phone. She exchanges a glance with her sister. "Riiight. We'll be over there." She jabs her thumb at another table. Phil watches his sisters leave. With a sigh, he slides into the seat opposite Mia. "He-" Mia raises a hand to stop him. "After this chapter." She flips a page, twirls a highlighter in her fingers, then draws a neon yellow line across the paragraph. Phil shut his mouth with a snap. Okay then. He settles back in his seat to wait for his drink.
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