Interesting Woman

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            “Where did what come from?”

            “What you just said!”

            “I didn’t say anything.”

            “So am I forgiven or not?” Nathan sighed impatiently.

            “Yes,” Brook replied archly, assuming a dignified posture. “I have bestowed my pardon onto you.”

            “I’m honored,” Nathan drawled sarcastically as he chucked the blankets onto the bed in messy ball. They began walking to the door. “So? Is that why you came?”

            “Right!” Brook remembered. “I’m supposed to interrogate you about Latsliant!”

            Nathan’s hand suddenly barred the way out. “So you heard.”

            Brook felt her previous wrath return. Excellent. “Of course. What kind of politics tutor would Barbara be if she didn’t tell me something so important?”

“Come with me,” Nathan sighed, dragging her down a few halls and into a neatly organized office.

Bookcases lined the walls of the hexagonal room, stocked with literature and small marble statues. A maroon Persian rug lay in the center of the cherry wood floor with twin leather armchairs resting on it. A small coffee table lay between the two, beautiful roses ornately carved into it by a master.

A single desk sat facing the rug, longer than Lily was tall and about three feet wide. It was plain in comparison to the coffee table, but one glance at the piles of stationery proved the owner’s wealth and status.

Everything from calligraphy pens to stamp rolls littered the desk, all of the finest brand. An aquamarine paperweight. A sleek black desktop. And the papers.

Piles and piles of neatly stacked paperwork crammed the desk; threatening to topple over each other should a passing breeze blow by.

“Have a seat.” Brook obstinately sat cross-legged on the rug, refusing to have this conversation go at his pace. Nathan sighed in exasperation and took a seat next to her.

“Alright, shoot,” Nathan muttered.

 “I just need you to answer two questions.”

“And they would be?”

“Do you think I’ll die?”

“It’s more than likely.”
            “How much more?”

“Eighty percent chance if not higher,” Nathan replied with indifference. Brook remained patient.

“Alright; second question. Why didn’t you tell me?”

“Wait,” Nathan cut in with surprise. “You’re not mad at all?”

“No,” Brook replied nonchalantly. “I’m not surprised that the chances are high, and I would have done the same if we traded places.”

“Excellent,” Nathan laughed. “My fiancée’s just about ready to kill me at any moment in the blink of an eye.”

 “So; my question?”

“Why do you think?”

“I think,” Brook wondered thoughtfully at the bright ceiling, “I think you were afraid that I would decline the offer in fear of being killed.”

“Bull’s eye.”

A fist went flying into Nathan’s gut, and he coughed on the floor for a few seconds before gasping, “Why did you do that now?”

“I don’t mind if you’re unafraid to use me since I feel the same,” Brook growled quietly.

“HOWEVER,” she suddenly exploded, “IF YOU DARE LOOK DOWN ON OR UNDERESTIMATE ME, I’LL KILL YOU, GOT THAT?”

Nathan couldn’t stop laughing. What an interesting woman she was.

***

           

            “I’m so sorry!” Brook gasped at the doorway. “I had to talk to Nathan for a second and-”

            A pencil stuck quivering in the doorframe with a dull thud. Brook felt the blood rush from her face. Why couldn’t she have just waited until all the classes were done? This woman was scarier than Lucy!

            “Oh my,” the black haired beauty smiled darkly. “Nathan tells me that he needs my help, so I agree to tutor you. And you show up late to my class?

            “Hi, Sarah,” Nathan smiled, poking his head into the room. “It’s my fault, really.”
            “Well then,” Sarah giggled, her good mood instantly restored, “if you were the one then I guess I wouldn’t mind.”

            But the moment Nathan was gone, the snide comments started all over again. Brook was shocked that her teacher would be so unforgiving over being tardy.

            Sarah was exactly Nathan’s age, a noble whose family was so close to being royals it was ridiculous. Apparently, had her great grandmother thrice removed hadn’t eloped with a commoner, Sarah would have been part of the little ring of royal families.

             “Oh, so you’ve never held a pastel once in your life, dear?” Sarah sneered, flipping her long black hair behind her shoulder. “How pitiful. I don’t know why Nathan chose you, no offense.”

            “So you were rejected?” Brook laughed cheerily. “How pitiful; but no offense.”

            “Oh please, I have no interest in Nathan.”

“Oh, so you flirt around like that with ALL men?”

“Well, it seems we’ve got a little joker here, don’t we?” Sarah smiled. The two of them looked like they were hitting it off and having a blast; unless one could hear the dialogue that passed.

            “I’ll say. Were you a class clown in the past by chance?”

            “I think the only clown here is you, orphan commoner.”

            “Then why are you wearing that ridiculous outfit?” Brook asked innocently. The battle of words lasted until the clock chimed five.

            “Well,” Brook sighed. “I guess I have to go.”

            “Such a shame,” Sarah sighed, her words dripping with venom. “Oh, right, I forgot to assign you homework. Sketch a still life scene that includes the elements of shading, indicated motion, and-”

            Brook was already out the door, slamming it behind her. Sarah sighed and rolled a pencil back and forth between her forefinger and thumb.

            “Brook Avery,” Sarah murmured to herself. She fought back a smile. What an interesting woman.

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