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 YOU APPEARING, [ KRISTIE/BIRDIE FLYNN ]
ACE MESSNER
Posted: Jan 9 2012, 04:13 PM


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A suit was all well and good, but this was a mall. A mall was a place for comforts, indulgences, life, pretence and image. Vanity was an unnecessary commodity now. It could be argued praising the various labels and fabrics hidden inside was a lost religion. One with many followers before. Now gun shops had taken over that aspect of human culture. Not for Ace. He didn’t carry a handgun. He had been handed several on more than one occasion for various reasons. Most recently the day previous, outside on the parking lot. Feeling the weight of it in his hand had made him draw the conclusion he would be expected to fire it if necessary. So he had clicked off the safety for appearances sake then simply continued walking his dog. If push came to shove, he’d get out of the pickle. Didn’t he always?

Somehow he survived.

Somehow he was standing in Zara.

It was an odd stroke of brilliance that had come over him that morning. This wasn’t a fresh past-time he had recently acquired. There were not many possibilities for recreational activities in the mall that interested him. Saying trying on clothes interested him was pushing it. He didn’t hate it. He also gathered wearing clothes in the public forum was encouraged, so why not acquire something new? Or old, depending. They had been lying there for a while, folded perfectly and stacked by colour and size. Though the straightforwardness and anality of it appealed to him, he had started off by tossing random garments around for the sake of doing so. The result was a floor of Skittles. Colours jumbled and scattered. He wanted a red and yellow-striped sweater. But greys seemed to be the thing. Blasé. That did not avert him from trying.

He noticed Jack, from a pile of silky scarves, paused his chewing of a sock to perk his ears at the entrance. Ace pulled the current t-shirt over his head, not succeeding in liking it. Hair tousled, he turned to see Birdie.

Oh. Hello.

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Birdie Flynn
Posted: Jan 9 2012, 04:54 PM


26 | KRISTIE
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Joined: 31-December 11



Birdie, for her part, was bored. The Mall wasn't a place she would have come if she'd known that life was going to be so… quiet. Quiet and boring and a little bit repetitive too, which made it just that much more frustrating. She liked being outside, the sky always changed, the weather was never the same. But there were THINGS out there, horrible things that were always hungry, always deadly and so very scary. She wasn't the bravest person by a long shot, so staying inside, huddled in her little kiosk was an easy thing to accomplish. She'd often hug the ladybug pillow, just to keep herself from feeling so lonely… and it helped.

Most of the time.

But that day, it hadn't. And that's why she roamed.

Normally she didn't go into that section of the mall, since it was a bit far from her little kiosk, but she had a feeling that walking would settle her nerves, and so… the further she walked, the more she felt… free. A bit better and even began to softly hum under her breath. She wasn't going to deny that she didn't enjoy the things in each storefront, that window-shopping took on an entirely new bent… but when she caught a snippet of purple in the window of the Zara store, she turned to go in, hurrying on nearly silent feet.

And it was when she took a further step into the place that she first noticed not only a man, half-dressed and standing in the middle of the store… but also a dog sitting in a pile of scarves. She stopped, going completely still as she learned to do from running away from the other things outside… and then blinked before immediately covering her eyes with both hands. "Hi," she greeted back, her eyes squeezed tight underneath her fingers as she tried to be nice this stranger. "Um…" She licked her lips and pointed to the clothes he was rummaging through, her other hand still covering her face. "Aren't you cold? You should put one of those sweaters on."
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ACE MESSNER
Posted: Jan 11 2012, 03:53 PM


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Standing there with jeans that had seen better days, a belt that looked like it had just arrived from the farm and a bare torso were not sources of discomfort for Ace. The air condition had not worked for a while now. The smell of perfume sprayed over the shop prior to its official close had finally muted to a slight waft. Perhaps he should’ve substituted the old pants for some new ones and maybe he would start looking after finding the sweater. Perhaps he should wear a belt more often so it didn’t come off quite so shiny. And perhaps he could’ve halted the motion and brought the t-shirt back down rather than completely off when he understood they’d be having visitors.

But why worry?

He liked Birdie. They hadn’t really sat down and talked, but really sitting down and talking could mean so many things to different people. They hadn’t sat much. They hadn’t talked much. Those were the essentials. But she had always been kind to him. And every time she opened her mouth to speak he recalled exactly why their time as conversationalist hadn’t bloomed. She had a very peculiar way of speaking. “I… I don’t understand, I think?” Ace was no expert on accents or dialects. He hadn’t attended school and learnt the basic workings of the English-speaking community. He could tell a British one, probably. He had once, at least. It had been the Queen though, so it was debateable if that counted as facial recognition rather than speech.

Body-language. He got that. He got her body language. “Want me to put something on?” It was a question uttered but ignored even by its creator as he looked around for an adequate cover. In context he had an epiphany about what she had said. “It’s not that cold. Air condition is out.” He looked at her and pointed at the ceiling. “I’m no electrician, but… it’s not working.


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Birdie Flynn
Posted: Jan 11 2012, 05:23 PM


26 | KRISTIE
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Joined: 31-December 11



Oddly enough, when that voice came ringing out again, Birdie felt a little stupid. Why? Because she recognized that voice.. oh yes. It was one she was very familiar with, and only because she'd heard it so often in the past few days.

It's Ace.

Ace… was a peculiar one. A sweet one, if she was being honest, and no, she didn't mean because he wasn't exactly Mensa material. It was because he always greeted her with a smile, always seemed happy to see her, always was warm and inviting when he came 'round her kiosk. He seemed to enjoy the simple things, like sitting with her and just talking, or even just walking around the mall, which was how she first spotted him to begin with.

But here, with his clothes mostly off as he changed, she couldn't help but keep her eyes covered, though she knew that she was being silly. It wasn't like he was flaunting herself and it's not like she hasn't even seen a naked man before, but there's something about being inside with a man she's barely talked to that made it awkward. Still, she didn't move them away until he asked about clothes and she peeked around her fingers.

"Um… only if you want to," she said softly and then pulled her hands down from her face. "If you're comfortable then… I guess it's okay," she murmured and then took a step, only to drop down to pet the dog, her baby talk coming out in Swahili just before glancing up and up at the ceiling. Now that Ace mentioned it, it was a bit warm in there… and it's why she shrugged out of her sweater, mostly for how she'd started to sweat. "Yes, you're right. Maybe it's just in this part of the mall. Everywhere else it's okay…"

She got back to her feet and took a few steps closer, only to rummage though a pile of sweaters before pulling out a blue one. "Try this one… it's a nice colour, don't you think?" she asked him in a hesitant voice. After all, what if he HATES blue?
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ACE MESSNER
Posted: Jan 12 2012, 08:24 AM


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Ace wasn’t one to get embarrassed easily. It was a virtue he had discovered fairly early in life and it was a good one to carry. Especially considering he had been such a stupid fucking kid. Braces and a penchant for corn dogs hadn’t landed him in the good graces from the get-go. He never did fit in at school. He didn’t see it himself but his foster parents had. They had tried their best, those two. But they had been old and useless and how much can a boy be helped by substitutes like them anyway? They couldn’t fight his fights for him. They couldn’t read his books for him. And neither had he. There had only been one way out and that was out of school. It hadn’t helped him but it hadn’t hurt him.

He wasn’t socially inept, so he comprehended that though he might not feel any embarrassment over his half-way nakedness, she did. But perhaps it had only been the initial shock of seeing him there so sudden that got to her. She seemed ok now. “I’m comfortable, yeah. Are you?” He eyed her with a smile as she sat down in front of Jack. That dog always got attention. The apocalypse had turned a lot around but not that. The mutt wagged his tail immediately and crawled forward on the floor to greet her hand with an enthusiastic tongue. “He likes you.” Jack liked everyone. A well-meaning pet went a long way in his book.

She was talking very oddly to him though. Ace strained to make out words but now it was just mumbo-jumbo. “That’s not English, is it?” If it was, they needed to sit down and she needed to teach him a thing or two. It sounded different. Much so. A bit more like a song, a rhyme… More poetic than normal. Not French. He had heard French multiple times and could speak it fairly fluently. The amount of designers hailing from France was ridiculous.

Though she had removed her hands from covering her eyes, she still handed him a sweater when she got back up. A blue one. Ace extended his hands and grabbed the fabric. “That’s very soft,” he remarked, satisfied. “I’ve never liked wool much. The knitted sweaters too look great from a distance but when you move up and touch them it’s horrible.” Putting the one she handed him over his head, he pulled it down and took a step back. “I’ve been looking for a red and yellow-striped one. Can’t seem to find the perfect sample.


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Birdie Flynn
Posted: Jan 12 2012, 12:13 PM


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Birdie wasn't about to stand there and make Ace feel like she was uncomfortable around him… mostly because, well, that would be a lie. Ohh yes, she's noticed how handsome he was, kind of like how she'd enjoyed the animals on the plains, viewing and enjoying from a distance… but more than that, she noticed that he was just nice to her, and it was only the shock of walking into a store with a half-naked man on display that caused her to have that momentary lapse.

It's why she dropped her hands down to her waist and just shot him a sheepish sort of smile even as she shrugged one shoulder, doing her best to set him at ease. After all, why shouldn't she? He isn't going to do something horrible, he wasn't going to turn on her… if he wanted to, she's sure he would have done that already on the other times they've spotted one another. No, he's a good guy and it's why she just took a second cocked her head to the side and then wave a hand between them. "Yeah, I'm comfortable. Sorry. Just the shock." Reaching out to pet the dog, she all but giggled for how the little animal came trotting closer for a pet and snuggle, his muzzle in her face at once, licking her cheek as his body all but wiggled from side to side from the force of his wagging tail. She slung an arm around the medium-sized dog's back, fingers playing in his ruff of fur around his neck as she once more turned back to look at Jack's owner.

It was his mention of if she was speaking English that got her to stop, widen her eyes… and then try to remember what she'd said. Did she slip into Afrikaans or Swahili without thinking? It wouldn't be the first time, but instead of repeating herself, she turned more fully towards him and blinked. "Yes, that was English," she said slowly, letting every syllable be perfectly enunciated. Her accent's thicker when she's been too much in her own head, alone and thinking. "I'm sorry, did I say something that didn't make sense? I sometimes do that," she added with a sheepish twist of the lips. Honestly, the way HE talks, she could listen all day. She thinks he's fascinating.

But then, she did the unthinkable and handed him a sweater of her choice, but her eyes widened when he actually put it on. Cocking her head to the side, this way and that, she gave him a happy little approving nod and then patted his shoulder. "That colour looks very good…" she told him with a grin and then nodded. "I'm the same as you. I don't like wool. I never wear it. Too scratchy. This is softer… is it cashmere?" she asked and sped around him to tug the back of his sweater down, to peek at the label. She doesn't really see the problem in it… she's curious, there's an easy way to answer it. And seeing the tag, and noticing that it WAS cashmere, she just nodded once, proud, to herself and then slowly walked back around him. "Well, I could help you look for a sweater like that. There are lots of other stores around… we can have a scavenger hunt!"
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ACE MESSNER
Posted: Jan 12 2012, 02:56 PM


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His heart sank in his chest as she said she’d spoken English. She’d spoken English to his creature and he hadn’t understood a word. He knew many people put on different pitches and accents when talking to a cute animal, but not to the extent it was unrecognizable. He wasn’t about to question her reply. The person who knew best what language she has spoken was Birdie. So if she said she’d spoken English, she had. “I guess it doesn’t matter to Jack. To him it’s all good as long as the tone ‘s good.” Ace had never called Jack anything malevolent in a benign manner to laugh heartily at a wagging tail, but apparently this was a common practice for dog owners.

She had a good taste in sweaters. It fit well and didn’t itch in the slightest. “Ehm, I dunno.” He lifted his hands above his head and tried to grab the label, succeeding only in curling it further before she came to his aid. “Were you right? Even though I’ve made my living off of wearing clothes I’m not good with fabrics. It isn’t something that mattered much.” He couldn’t recall ever being asked what he thought of the texture of a garment. They were just pulled over his head and he made do with them.

Then she said she’d help him look for his dream sweater. “Would you really?” he replied whilst a smile spread across his features. He had grown accustomed to not expecting anything from people. It made for an easier transition into the positive rather then expecting that and receiving the negative. Rather he preferred expecting the worst and welcomed the surprise of being wrong. He had never understood people who always had to be right. Depended on the road towards rightness, didn’t it? “I’ve never been on a scavenger hunt..!” Enthusiasm was bubbling and Jack sensed it, snapping out of his petting-reverie and tilting his head sideways. “Where do we begin?


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Birdie Flynn
Posted: Jan 12 2012, 05:16 PM


26 | KRISTIE
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Birdie watched Ace's face, watched his expression look pained and hurt, and glancing away and down at the dog, she shook her head as she tried to understand what might have happened. Had she been silly? Did he hear her say something wrong? She just reached out and tugged her fingers back through the ruff of fur and before she knew it, she was babbling in Swahili again, and that's when it hit her… SHE HADN'T USED ENGLISH. She had, in fact, switched without realizing it and it was why she turned to Ace so fast she felt something pop in her neck. "Oh… No.. No, I spoke Swahili! I'm sorry, I hadn't realized until just now!" she told him in a hurry and then glanced down. "I think he doesn't mind it… do you?" she asked and then slid her eyes up to his face with a wince. Did she upset him? "I can teach you if you'd like… it's not a hard one to learn," she says, though Afrikaans, she might not bother with. She hardly uses it and she doesn't prefer it anyway… though she still reached out and patted the dog. Yes, he was a happy little soul, and was obviously loved.

She helped him settle the sweater around his shoulders, twitching it here and there while he stood there, but then moved around him slowly. "Yeah, I was right. It's cashmere. Feel how soft it is? Like feathers against your skin," she says and held up one side of it to brush it against his cheek, the blue making his eyes appear brighter and bigger and shinier, just a tough. She dropped the shirt, though, when she noticed a hint of abs, and then smoothed a hand down the back of it, just along his spine, to settle it firmly around his hips. "There, all done. I think you were very good at your job if that's what you did for a living… lucky," she teased him and then winked. No way would she be able to flirt with him… she's feeling too silly.

She stopped and grinned. Maybe it was easier flirting than she thought? "Yeah, I would… I can't imagine that there would be too many places to hide a sweater like that. And if worse comes to worst, I'll knit one," she offers with a wink and then turned away to lean down to pet the dog as he approached, as if curious what's going on. Birdie couldn't' stop an answering grin from spreading across her face for his very real excitement and because of that, just giggled. "I've been on one, a very long time ago… but we can pretend it's a scavenger hunt with only one thing to find…" she says and then blinked. "Oh let's see… we could go in one big circle. There's a few stores just next door.. maybe one of those would have it? Me, I think I'd love a purple t-shirt. Think you could help me?"
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ACE MESSNER
Posted: Jan 18 2012, 01:26 PM


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He didn’t mind being wrong in the manner he had with whatever language she has spoken. Nor was he able to contain himself from showing it outwardly, exhibiting for a moment not only confusion but disappointment. When it happened the second time, Ace was already prepared for it to sound odd. Therefore, as she turned to him with a snap of the neck, he was completely baffled when she corrected herself. Many wouldn’t own up to such. “I didn’t know you spoke Swahili,” he said. And he didn’t. It had never been brought up in a conversation. Which wasn’t such a strange thing. “Jack doesn’t mind. He speaks the only language that matters, and it doesn’t require a tongue.” Ace gave the dog a warm nod, then turned to Birdie to politely decline her offer. “I’m good. My mind is cluttered enough as it is.” Amending, he added, “Maybe something… very basic?” There was no reason for him to stop being polite.

The politeness extended from her side as well. “It is like feathers.” Birdie’s hand on his cheek was warm. Warmer than his. It granted her a soft smile. He did not take notice of having his stomach exposed, for that he was too busy looking at the fabric covering his arm. “My job was easy.” Ace was used to being appraised after having recently put on clothes. Not in a deluded sense. He knew it was because of his looks but that was what got him the job that allowed him this appraisal. He had always liked to think it could fall away without his life changing. And that was precisely his delusion. “It wasn’t a very satisfying one. I made no difference in the world. But thank you. I appreciate it.” His tone indicated he had no qualms against the ridiculousness. He was merely stating the obvious.

Did you ever try modelling?” he asked. She was pretty. There was no denying that. And why would he. “You are more beautiful than half the people I’ve worked with. And you’re nicer too. Perhaps your looks mirror your mind?

But really, none of this mattered. They were going scavenger hunting. “You would knit me one? Really?” This is where she triggered a laugh. A hearty laugh that seemed to bounce off the walls. Happiness? It wasn’t a cruel one. He wasn’t laughing at her. He was laughing at the idea of her knitting him the sweater his mother had taken in the snow so long ago. “That can be a last resort if we don’t find it. But with your help, and Jack’s help, I have confidence in us.” His dog was smitten with the general excitement surrounding him and had now gotten up. His head was tilted to the side and he was eying the two humans with expectation. “Purple? Got it. We’ll match. As good as blue and purple can…” Ace looked down at his mutt and nodded at the door. The four-legged creature immediately sprung to action.

And his human followed suit.


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Birdie Flynn
Posted: Jan 18 2012, 04:22 PM


26 | KRISTIE
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Joined: 31-December 11



She felt like SUCH a heel for misleading him, even unintentionally and that was why she was quick to try to fix whatever ill will he felt. Who knew if he did feel lied to, when she hadn't noticed she'd lapsed into her native tongue, but on looking at him and having noticed that look of confusion and disappointment he wore at first, she had to hurry and make sure he knew that she was honestly sorry. Shaking her head, she got to her feet, Ace now taking up all of her attention, and not his dog. "Yes, I speak Swahili. Afrikaans too, but I will try not to forget from now on," she told him with a slow nod, just so he'd understand and wouldn't feel like she'd done it on purpose. "I grew up speaking it… it's something I guess I use without noticing." She turned to look back at the dog who, on his name being mentioned yet again, seemed only too happy to have their attention, tail wagging and tongue lolling out happily. "That's true! He's a smart dog… and such a sweet one too. I wish I could speak Dog, don't you?" she asked Ace, smile turning cheeky just before cocking her head to the side. She could tell he didn't want to be confused or overburdened with a language he'd likely never use, but… his politeness and kindness? It was exactly what she needed. "Well… I can teach you something basic. How about… hello?" she asked and then grinned. "Jambo," she told him with a wave, her smile wide and cheeky. "Means 'hi'."

But when she came nearer to him, she couldn't help it, she had to smile for how he agreed with her. "I like soft things," she said and then as she dropped her hand from his cheek, stared up into his face a moment before looking away with a sheepish sort of smile. It was a momentary bit of bravery that fled just as soon as he smiled at her and she knew that he must have really liked his sweater if he was so happy-looking about it. She reached down to tug his sweater down around his middle and then cocked her head to the side. "Well, you're very welcome. I think it would have been fun, trying on clothes, getting my picture taken… but I don't think it's a bad thing, what you did. If you made one person smile, that was enough, wasn't it?" she asked. Sure, she's naive but she honestly thought that. There was nothing more important, to her mind, that leaving someone better off than the way you found them… and that's exactly why she wanted to be a doctor.

Yet… his compliment to her? She glanced up at his face, as if he was teasing her… but when he looked so honest and truthful about it? She flushed a little red and then ducked her head down. "Thank you…" she began and then blinked. "Me? Modelling? No, never… but that's very sweet of you. I mean… you're the handsomest man I think I've ever seen. Must mean your mind is pretty special too. I like it," she tells him honestly back before smiling back at him, completely touched. "You're very nice too. Makes me feel… comfortable here. It's nice."

Though then it was time for scavenger hunting. She was relieved to have the few seconds to try to calm down her blush and counting to ten, she turned back to him with a grin. "Of course I would! My knitting's not the best, though, so you might wanna cross your fingers for a better one during the hunt," she remarked and then grinned at him, realizing that his laugh wasn't him making fun, but honestly happy about it. It was refreshing and if she wasn't careful, she could definitely develop a crush on this tender-hearted and very sweet man. "Sure, last resort. But I think you're right. We'll have luck and with Jack's nose… we'll have all kinds of chances." She turned around to give the dog's head a pat and before she could say more, she had to laugh. "Yes, purple and blue… we'll match as well as a bruise," she teased him and before she could say more, she turned her head at the knowledge that the dog was off… and so pushed herself to walk fast beside her new friend, eyes huge and warm as she caught up to Ace's side. "Are those your favourite colours? Red and yellow?"

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ACE MESSNER
Posted: Jan 20 2012, 09:20 AM


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Jambo?” he repeated. His tone and expression conveyed he had some trouble pronouncing. Some trouble not only with pronouncing, but understanding how a language could be so different from his mother tongue. And he had only been delivered one word. French too wasn’t the same as English, but since he already knew it that made sense. “And the wave, that’s important too?” Though he didn’t want to come off as ignorant, Ace hadn’t had much experience with African culture. For all he knew body language was equally as important as the words spoken. Maybe all spoken words had an accompanied reaction. Like the deaf people who attempted to wheeze out words whilst communicating with their hands. Something he had never laughed at. So in an effort to really try, Ace mimicked her motion as well. “Jambo.” It sounded better the other time around. To his ears, anyway. But he wasn’t the fluent one.

For all her knowledge on languages, him communicating that he thought her fair seemed to cause some embarrassment. Ace understood the reaction, even if he couldn’t quite relate to it, and watched with a light tingle of amusement as her face turned red. “You’re welcome.” For him being the handsomest man she’d ever seen? That not only rivalled his claim but superseded it by a thousand, and he’d have to amend this by the end of their meeting. It wasn’t very cordial of him to have her give him a bigger compliment and leave it at that. Hardly a decent approach from a man’s perspective. “I haven’t been told by many that they feel comfortable around me,” he said with a smile. “Though I have been told by many that I have a special mind. I think you mean it a much better way than they ever did.” He didn’t as much think that as he knew it to be true. There had always been enough things that bothered people that didn’t seem to affect Ace in the slightest – this apocalypse included – and for that he’d been given many a disapproving frown.

He didn’t think Birdie was capable of a disapproving frown. And that pleased him.

With Jack in the lead, they exited the Zara. Had it not been for his four-legged friend, Ace would’ve stopped right there and asked her what direction to proceed. But the dog was adamant on going right. So right it was. “If we match like a bruise then I hope we won’t be matching anybody else,” he mused. “There has been so much bitterness here. Both before –” He didn’t quite know what to call it. End of the world? It wasn’t though. They were still alive. The continent hadn’t folded up and left yet. “– a lot of people died, and after. Malls always attracted so many stories.” People. People equally stories. Each person with a different reason to be there. “Oh, my favourite colours? I don’t really know. For a sweater they are. I used to have a red and yellow sweater. It was great. But it’s a lot of years ago now.


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Birdie Flynn
Posted: Jan 20 2012, 01:43 PM


26 | KRISTIE
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Birdie nodded along slowly, trying to help Ace see that he got it right, the pronunciation, though she could tell he wasn't comfortable with the word. Swahili, she'd learned, was something that most people felt that was too unusual, too unwieldy… but she knew that he had to be familiar with some terms. She'll bring them up… eventually, because anyone who'd seen The Lion King, like she had, would recognize the words 'simba', 'rafiki' and 'hakuna matata'. She had a feeling that he probably hadn't seen it, though… which was why she had a thought that it could be something they might be able to share. After all, she loved the movie… it reminds her of home and who wouldn't want to share that with a friend? "You're doing fine!" she told him with a little jerk of her chin in an encouraging nod, her smile widening at once. She didn't want him to get uncomfortable. "You don't have to do the wave-thing, though. Unless you want to. You're just telling me 'hello'," she added then blinked. "Have you ever seen the 'Lion King?" she added in a rush, thinking it might be a good start to a discussion on what words have been adopted into the English language.

But she couldn't help it, no matter how many times a person's complimented on their looks, it is always a surprise, and though she's sure many have complimented Ace on his, not many have done that to Birdie. Usually she was covered in dirt on the Reserve, she was in shorts and t-shirts. Nothing but the most comfortable of things. Being in the US and not having her own things, she'd taken whatever she could find. It's why she raised a hand to her cheek to try to shield her face against the blushing she knew she was doing. So embarrassed… that's her. She smiled at his politeness, her eyes flicking up to his face and then away again in a moment of shyness, just trying to see how he took her own compliment. It was his comment that made her glance back up from the floor, trying to see if she upset him, and for a split second, she was worried she had… but with a little gulp, she realized… he was touched. And that made her smile back. It was… sweet. HE was sweet. "Well… I do. I don't know how they meant it, but you're… well, you're you. And I like you," she admits quietly and turned away with that blush turning even brighter red.

Yep, she'll be embarrassed later. Now? They have a dog to follow.

Her steps hurried behind the pair, she fought to keep up beside Ace and his dog, Jack obviously sure of his nose. Birdie couldn't help it, she had to laugh softly to herself for not the dog's obvious excitement… But it was Ace's comment that drew her attention back to him and cocking her head to the side, she blinked at him and then patted his arm. She didn't want him to feel like she didn't agree… in fact, she did. "We'll just match each other. That's all we need," she told him with a quick smile that faded as he went on. Frowning a little, she kept pace with him for how the dog slowed down, her shoes making little rusks of sound on the floor, tapping along with the tick of Jack's nails and Ace's shoes. "You know, you're right. There are going to be more stories and more bitterness, but we can't let it get to us. Then we'll get bitter. Who needs that?" she asked him with a jerk of one shoulder… and then slid an arm under one of his and wound them together. For a moment or two, she just wanted to have a little bit of something that didn't remind her of loss. "Well, we'll replace that sweater with a better one. I mean, yellow and red together… you'll look like a sunset. A nice way to end the day," she added with another jerk of her chin, this nod just to show him she wasn't going to let this one go. She was going to find him a sweater like that, even if they had to scour every store in the mall.

As they approached another store, she yanked him to a stop and glanced up at the facade. "What about here? Do you think that they'll have one here? It's a men's clothing store…" she added and then leaned WAY over to peek into the open doors, her eyes narrowing. "It's too dark in there to see…"

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ACE MESSNER
Posted: Jan 22 2012, 10:25 AM


28 | LIINEN
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Group: MALL RATS
Posts: 242
Member No.: 871
Joined: 8-January 12



Before, the mall would be filled with noises of children screaming either in joy or irritation. Old ladies bustling around doing their daily training. Impatient boyfriends sitting around on their phone waiting for their girlfriend to finish up at Victoria’s Secret. And that one in-love couple that didn’t seem to do anything but talk to each other and giggle at their own jokes. Ace didn’t feel like the latter example, but it was much closer to the truth than the former ones. He wasn’t a child, nor was he screaming in joy or irritation, and he wasn’t old, or waiting outside a lingerie shop. He had a companion by his side, notwithstanding the dog in front, and they were in their own little bubble. “I’ve seen The Lion King, yes. Saw it in 3D a couple of months before I moved in here.” He hadn’t seen it as a child. He hadn’t been interested in films back then. His foster parents had meant spark his attention with sporadic viewings when he entered the living room but he had always just continued past, completely oblivious to their attempts. “I didn’t like the part where Mufasa died.

Birdie’s hand snaked its way into his and they continued their journey bound to the side. Ace smiled down at the smaller woman next to him. Why they hadn’t talked more before eluded him. Maybe it was that they hadn’t been within sufficient radius of one another to connect. Just brief conversation. He had known who she was and that was the extent of it. He had found her accent fascinating and difficult and still did, but he had had time to get somewhat used to it before she surprised him mid-way getting dressed. “I’ve never been bitter,” he mused, a frown falling onto his features as he contemplated this. He couldn’t recall. He had never felt the need to. Though it was one of those things that happened rather out of the blue than as a conscious choice, Ace didn’t think it was necessary to be bitter if it wasn’t a genuine wish. It rarely aided people. It wasn’t a positive thought or feeling.

What was a positive thought, was imagining himself as a sunset. He had never seen it that way. “You’re right,” he said, amused by the idea. “Imagine living in one of those places up north where the sun goes down for months at an end. Darkness and no light.” That also summed up their next destination. It was she who stopped them, and Jack noticed they had shifted their attention, quick to trot back and vanish inside. Always the brave soldier. “I have a flashlight.” In his pocket. He had taken it from the bookstore not soon after arriving there. It was one of those lights intended to use for checking at a car engine or find the last tool in the box. It was bright red and small, but Ace extracted it and turned it on like it was the beacon of hope.

The first thing he shone a light on was a purple sweater. “It’s purple!” he exclaimed, and hasted over. He didn’t take notice of the manly cut and quickly plucked out an extra small one. “You should be wearing something more fitting to your figure, but this is purple. So our quest has officially begun!


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Birdie Flynn
Posted: Jan 22 2012, 05:18 PM


26 | KRISTIE
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The silence was a little off-putting, when she considered that the space wasn't supposed to be that dark and calm. Birdie hadn't spent much time in American malls… when it came down to it, she was used to little shops, the bazaars back home being as close as she'd come to one of these places. But even she knew that she was safe there beside Ace, and she was oh so very relieved when he took up the question and answered it, making her lean in a little as they walked along. She was naive, sure, but she completely trusted this man not to hurt her. She didn't think he was capable of it. Call her silly, but any man who didn't like cartoon lion-death… well, that was her cup of tea. "I didn't see the 3-D version, but I didn't like Mufasa's death either. Scar, he scared me," she confided in him with a sheepish look up and into his face, as if she fully expected him to make fun. "But Mufasa itself means 'King' in one of the African dialects I learned as a little girl. And Simba… means lion," she added with a little smile. "So all along, you knew Swahili words and didn't know it."

And if that wasn't the best part of the afternoon, being able to share a little bit of home with her new friend, the way that he smiled and didn't throw her hand off. She smiled back up at him, a bit shyly before glancing down and away again, her eyes skittering here and there as she tried to find a place to focus on, a place that would have his sweater. She really wanted to find it now. After all, for a friend like him? He deserved it… something that he wished for, and if she had to scour the entire mall, she'd find it for him. Besides, he was kind to her and didn't make her feel strange… that on its own was enough of a real rarity that she had to do something nice for him in return. "I wish I could say the same… but when people treat you badly, sometimes it's hard not to feel a little bitterness. But it's easy to throw off with the right encouragement," she confided in him and then turned a bright smile back on him. "Don't worry, never being bitter? That's a good thing. Don't frown."

But she was relieved to see him smile again at the thought of being a sunset and yes, she was rather relieved to see him relax a little… but she just looked shocked about what he said, making a face after a moment. "That would be horrible, wouldn't it? I don't think I could live without sun… could you?" she asked him offhand before turning away to look in the nearest store. She wasn't happy to see Jack go inside with out them because she couldn't see a much ahead of her… "Uh, is he going to be okay?" eh asked quickly just before she glanced back at Ace and noticed the flashlight with a blink, and when he turned it on and stepped inside, she stayed close, the little beam very pointed, but bright.

But when he found that sweater for her? She stood there, shocked, because it was the PERFECT shade… How did he know? She didn't have a clue, but she couldn't help but grin at him, excited and followed at a run and then slid to a stop beside him, nearly bumping into the table. The sweater he held up for her, though, she reached for with a murmured thanks and then yanked it over her head. "Well, this will do too, you know. It's nice and warm," she reminded him with a smile. "And the colour is perfect. How'd you know I liked lilac?"

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ACE MESSNER
Posted: Jan 25 2012, 08:47 AM


28 | LIINEN
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Posts: 242
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Joined: 8-January 12



The death of Mufasa had been no different in 3D. Ace only assumed here. He hadn’t seen the regular version. He couldn’t compare. But as far as he knew they had only re-released it. They hadn’t changed the story or anything. It was all a ploy to lure parents and their children to the theatre. They cashed in on the countless grown-ups with memories and kids with new ones to develop. Ace was caught between these two classifications. He was a grown-up with no memory of The Lion King and now had developed some. If making it 3D was what it took for others to discover it the same way he had, there really was nothing to be sorry about. “Scar was scary yeah, but he had some good songs didn’t he?” Ace started bobbing his head and hummed the chorus to ‘Be Prepared’. “Maybe I should be happy I didn’t see it when I was younger. The green smoke would’ve freaked me out.” He was a fan of horror movies now, but younger? Probably not.

He had never considered how the names of the lions could mean anything. To him they had been nonsensical names that fit each feline well. Mufasa was just Mufasa, Simba Simba. “So it actually means something?” This was common knowledge, perhaps. Not to Ace. He hadn’t been told this before. Probably because he’d gone to the movie with a pretentious fellow model. She hadn’t connected to the story like he had. She had chewed her gum so obnoxiously he had had to ask her to swallow it when Simba got chased into thorns. “That makes sense. Disney has a lot of Easter eggs in their movies.” He turned to her. He’d read about this. “For example, you know Pizza Planet from Toy Story? Ok, so technically Pixar wasn’t Disney’s in 1995 but still. Pizza Planet is referenced in –” He lifted his hand, beginning to count on his fingers. “A Bug’s Life, Toy Story 2, Monsters Inc, Finding Nemo, Cars, Ratatouille, Wall-E, Up, Toy Story 3 and, lastly, Cars 2.” The grin on his face was palpable. “Basically the only Pixar-movie not referencing Pizza Planet is The Incredibles. How about that?” The fact she might be completely uninterested eluded him. Who wouldn’t be enthralled by this piece of trivia?

Was he to ever live in a place of constant darkness, there would always be such things to light up his day. “I could live without it,” he said. “If it came to that. I’d probably get one of those lamps that mimic sunlight though.” He had read that those were recommended by psychologists even. It was called the Winter Depression for a reason. Apparently being without the sun and a natural feed of vitamin D could do the worst of things to man’s mind. “As long as I got Jack with me, I’m good.” He smiled at her concern about the dog disappearing off on his own. “There’s probably nothing in there to be scared of. And if there is, he’s a fast little devil.” That there could be zombies in there didn’t occur to him even. They were safe inside the mall. Whatever was going on outside these walls only mattered when they were out taking strolls. And even then it was like it had been before.

The sun still shone. It was just a little more crowded.

Birdie’s face lit up far brighter than his little flashlight when he gave her the sweater. She didn’t seem to care of the size or fit and pulled it on. His expression started of anticipating then grew into a smile as her head popped out on the other side. “You look lovely. That colour really suits you.” With her dark locks and bright eyes, there were few things that wouldn’t. “You told me, remember?” She had told him, had she not? “You said you wanted a purple one. And I can see why now.


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