September 10, 2012 by Lyn
Friday, September 5, 2003
“It’s not fair! It’s not fair!” Reese had a good head of steam going and was working up to a full-blow tantrum. “Luke cheated! He’s a stinky lousy cheaterly cheat!” A very quiet voice in the back of Reese’s mind pointed out that It Was Happening Again, and that Everyone Was Staring. Reese ignored it. The tantrum drowned it out pretty well, anyway. “He’s supposed to be the good guy! Not a sneaky thieving thief!” Both feet hit the ground in something that was supposed to be a foot-stomp but ended up more like jumping up and down.
“Come on, Reese. You didn’t want a boy this year anyway.” Evie’s arm draped easily around Reese’s shoulders. “He’d probably smell funny.”
“But he was mine.”
“He might have ended up yours.” Dyfri was right behind Evie, of course. He patted Reese’s other shoulder. “And you did cheat to get that far.”
“Of course I cheated!” The tantrum was going now. None of their little platitudes were going to stop it. “Everyone cheats! This place is full of cheating! It’s on the syllabi! It’s on the tests! It’s on the crest!“
The little voice suggested that shouting about cheating wasn’t the best way to get that date. Reese was beyond caring. The words were beginning to come out as chitters instead of human sounds, and Dyfri had, intelligently, taken a step backwards. An angry squirrel was not something anyone wanted to be too close to, not even its crew.
“Everybody cheats! Everybody does what they have to! That’s the way this place goes! That’s the way being fae goes! You find your loophole and you bury everything you need in it! You hide all your goodies in the best loophole you can find! You grab every good thing you can! You…”
A hand fell down firmly on Reese’s shoulder. Some people weren’t afraid of the rabid squirrel thing. Some people weren’t afraid of anything. “You keep your secrets close to yourself.” Arnbjörg’s voice cut through the tantrum, poking Reese in the part of the brain that actually listened to the little voice of reason. “Not shouted in the middle of the cafeteria.”
The reason-voice still wasn’t in charge, though. Reese tried jumping up and down again, although Arna’s hand made that impossible. “But it’s not fair.”
“It’s not fair, it’s not fair, it’s not faiiiir.”
This time, Arna didn’t bother talking to Reese. “Go get Efrosin,” she commanded. “He’s probably out in the hall with whoever he’s hunting.”
Dyfri paused, his eyes on Reese.
“It’s not… no.” Reese sat with a thump in the chair Wylie had vacated not that long ago. “No, I’ll be quiet. Don’t get Efro.”
“If I can’t get you to behave yourself, I need to use the tools I have at my disposal to shut you up. Do you understand?”
“I’m not a soldier in your army.” The tantrum was gone, leaving Reese feeling sullen and embarrassed, the way it always did. “I’m not a soldier in anyone’s army.”
“That remains to be seen. But you’re in my crew, and that means I’m responsible for taking care of you.”
“I’m a grown-up.” Reese sulked out the words, knowing how it sounded.
“You’re a grown-up when you stop playing Rumpelstiltskin on a bad day in public places.” Arna offered one big hand. “Come on. It’s still early in the year, and we need to find someone for all of us.”
“All of…?” Reese took the hand and stood up. “Oh, yeah. We all need…” The voice of reason stopped that sentence short. They were still in the Dining Hall.
“Except Dy, yeah. Come on. Let’s window shop.”
It was good to have a crew. Reese leaned into their arms, tantrum forgotten. Nobody but the crew would put up with Reese’s moods, but, then again, Reese wouldn’t put up with anyone but them, either. They made a good team.
“Hey, Evie. How about that one?”
This outtake was written in response to Rix’s donation and request for “more Reese.”
For every $5US donated, I will write 300 words on the character or situation of your choice. In addition, every donation will bring you to a small snippet of story – a new snippet every Wednesday!