The World At Large

That awkward moment when you mistake your history partner for a girl...

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1. She Looks like Woman but Walks Like A Man

Elliot wasn't sure if Oliver Griffin was a girl or a boy. The he-she wore a white hoodie and a pair of jeans that seemed to drag behind them. Their fair hair hung to their shoulders, and Elliot admired their bright blue eyes with a bit of envy, for they seemed to brush against their cheeks whenever they blinked. Oliver, it appeared, was female with her plump lips and purely feminine features, but the way she walked-- slumped back and long strides, hair falling into her eyes-- was anything but.
Elliot was confused with the enigma of a human, and as she stretched her legs under her desk, she found herself gazing thoughtfully at her back, tapping her fingers along the desk. Oliver hummed quietly under her breath, her pencil dancing gracefully along her notebook page. Elliot leaned forward slightly, eager to get a look to soothe the curiousity that punched at her, eyes widening slightly as she considered the portrait of their teacher across the other girl's paper. It was beautifully drawn, a suitable image that appeared almost a photograph, and Elliot made a note in her head about the tomboyish girl, for this piece of information was too fascinating to forget.
She slumped back in her chair, a quiet sigh under her breath. The day had never seemed to go quite so slowly before.
--
At the dining hall, she sat in the shadow of a monsterous sized girl who seemed to tower above her and between a boy who bit at his nails, her cringes getting stronger at each loud 'chomp' of his teeth. 
Her mind drew back to Oliver's notebook as she picked at a shred of broccoli. She smiled, still enchanted by it's image, and her eyes spotting a familiar blanched hoodie. 
Her gaze seemed to switch forward, peering upward up at Elliot at the same moment, as if she felt her stare. Her head cocked to the side ever so slightly, a strand of hair falling into her face, her eyebrows drawing together. She considered Elliot, and for a few breaths they merely heeded each other until Oliver shrugged, looking back down at her plate of untouched food. 
Elliot's face heated, and she rubbed the bridge of her nose, both mortified yet strangely fascinated.
--
As the History teacher announced there was a team project, the class groaned loudly. When he declared he had already picked their partners for them, the class moaned even louder.
Elliot only half listened, the monotone voice of the teacher only passing out her ears again. She speculated on the weather and the funny shape of the guy's head sitting before her and what time she would go to bed, anything but the matter at hand. Only when he began reading the names did she begin listening; her befuddled expression clear on her face.
"Emily and James. Lilliana and Mary. Catherine and Jacob. Timmathy and Andy.." his voice droned on.
She looked around at the gathering pairs, sitting back in her chair.
"..Samuel and Yvette. Fay and Lauren. Oliver and Elliot.."
She suddenly sat up, surprise flickering briefly through her. Though she didn't know what was going on, she reluctantly stood up to walk over to Oliver, cursing herself over the incident in the dining hall.
Oliver met her half way, nodding in greeting. They sat beside each other at one of the long tables that lined the room.
"So, where do you want to begin?" Elliot said, half hoping to get some information out of her.
"I don't care," Oliver said, and Elliot was surprised of the smoothness of it, how it was almost musical. "Where do you want to start?"
Elliot tapped her foot anxiously against the floor. "Well, let's see.." She seemed to contemplate over something unknown to her.
Oliver waited patiently, picking at a corner of her notebook, and on impulse Elliot blurted, "You like art?"
The girl's mouth drew to a straight line as her hands paused. "I guess so. I mean, I don't dislike it."
Elliot rocked back in her chair, distracted again. She hummed softly under her breath.
"Right, then," said Oliver. "Back to the project."
"The project," Elliot blinked. "Oh yeah, the project."
"Should we start with the basics?"
Elliot nodded as if she knew what the girl was talking about. "Sure thing."
"What war were we supposed to put first?" Oliver said, crossing her legs. "I forgot."
She bit her lip. "I can't remember, either." 
The other girl shrugged. "Seems like we can't do anything until then," she said, sitting back in her chair and pulling her backpack into her lap that she had put behind her. Oliver dug around until she found a sealed water bottle, opening it without a struggle and chugging half.
Elliot took the moment to once again study the girl's features. "Do you wear makeup?" she asked, absently. "You're very pretty. I'm jealous."
Oliver choked on her water, hacking into her arm. "Do I what?" she asked, wide-eyed. "Why in the world would I..?" She shook her head. "Nevermind. Listen, we really need to get this done."
"Oh," Elliot said, tilting her head to the side slightly. "You sure you're okay?"
"Yeah," she said, running her hand through her hair. "Yeah, I must have just heard you wrong."
Elliot nodded, relief sinking through her as the bell rang.
"I'll see you tomorrow, then."
Oliver nodded, pulling her bag onto her back.
Elliot peered curiously at her as she walked out the classroom door. She stretched her legs a bit as she stood, grinning as she realized that with the final ring of the last bell, she was able to walk back to her dorm and relax for just a bit, at last.
Her shoes scuffed against the ground as she shuffled to the girl's dorms. Along the way she paused for a brief second to turn to a bony girl called Emma, who leaned against the side of the building. "Excuse me," she said shyly. "Do you know where a girl named Oliver Griffin lives in these dorms?"
"A girl named Oliver Griffin.." she said, thinking. "Didn't even know we had any girls here with that name. Sorry for the lack of help."
"Oh," she said. She had thought they could work a bit more with their project, though now she had a chance to reconsider. Oliver could be busy with something else, now that she thought about it.
Elliot walked back to her room, flopping on her bed. A sigh droned through her as her eyes  began to droop. She knew it wasn't wise to take a nap, but after a long day, she let herself doze off into a peaceful dreamless sleep.

 

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