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Sep 24, 2019 4:46 AM
A Serg makes an ill-advised deal for power
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He wraps his arms around her and squeezes, briefly lifting her off the ground, and then he kisses her forehead and puts her down again.

"Hiiiii. You're cute." He leans down to give her a peck on the cheek. "How've you been?"

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He's so strong and so sure and so adorable! It felt so very good when he picked her up off the ground like that and now all of her fantasies are going to have her swept off her feet a little more literally and those are thoughts she can have another time. Later. 

She blushes a little at the compliment. "You're cute too," she says, a little lamely, and blushes a little more. "I've been all right! Well, mostly. Yesterday was kindof exhausting, and I think it's only going to get tougher from here. But it'll be okay!" She brightens, looking at him. "How about you? Also, what do you want to eat?" 

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"School is still super annoying but I'm holding up better than I would've expected. I think I'm in the mood for burgers, how about you?"

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She takes a glance at the line. It's longer than she would like but not too terribly long and while burgers aren't generally her sort of thing just looking at what they have on offer makes her stomach rumble maybe just because she's hungry. And... maybe they can split a fries? She's not sure why suddenly the idea of splitting a fries is cute and adorable and means that they're dating or at least something like it but she's really into the idea. "Sure! That sounds great!" she says. "We could even split a fries, if you want!" She pauses. "Yeah it's a lot to get used to, isn't it? My schedule seemed so empty compared to high school and in some ways it is, still, but the empty spaces seem to be getting filled up with all kinds of things, like homework and clubs." And maybe dating! "I assume it gets easier once we're used to it?"

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"Sure, we could split a fries!"

To the burger line they go.

"High school was easier because I never bothered caring about anything, so I could ignore all my schoolwork. Actually trying to learn things is way harder, turns out."

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She wants to learn about his past but what little she's heard about his past sounds a bit worrisome so far. Still, Jenna really doesn't want to be dating just on the basis of mutual attraction and kissing and mutual love of dance alone. Probably. Carol is probably right that she should get to know him at least a little bit more. And him having not done any work is honestly a little bit disconcerting and she really wants to ignore it because he's sooo cute and she really wants to kiss him but this is supposed to be a responsible date. She presses on. "I guess it would be pretty difficult if you're not used to schoolwork and studying! What was high school like if you mostly weren't doing the work? How'd you graduate, actually?" Wait that might be a little bit much say something nice. "I'm glad you're putting the work into it now, though!" Well that was only sortof nice. Damnit. She blushes a little.

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"I'm pretty sure my parents were bribing somebody but I never actually asked. And now here I am trying to learn architecture, because architecture turned out to actually be cool, and I'm kind of wishing I'd ever paid attention in math now because calculus is hard and I kind of feel like I walk out of every lecture knowing less than when I went in. I'm gettting a friend to tutor me, though, so I'm probably not gonna fail. I hope."

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Well even if his past schoolwork was bad, it seems like he was doing better now? Jenna's reasonably sure that's probably not trying to rationalize some of her worry about things away. Almost entirely sure. He very much seems to be interested in what he's learning and trying really hard and as long as that continues it doesn't matter that her parents would probably be worried if she showed him to them and told them that he graduated from high school because his parents bribed someone, because he's trying now and that matters more than what he used to do. "I'm glad you're liking it!" she says. "And I'm glad you found someone to help out, math really isn't my strongest subject either. It does seem like it might be a lot to catch up on, though." Also his parents seem to be rather into bribery to get their way, huh. That seems like it might be a really bad thing to ask about honestly especially since he's not sure how he feels about them but she really is kindof curious, but she really really shouldn't ask. Maybe later. For now, though, "my own classes are pretty fun, for the most part! Even if they are pretty mentally exhausting. But I got to meet a bunch of new friends and have a lot of fun, and I'm going to learn how to be an awesome actress, so on the whole this has been pretty enjoyable!" And maybe she's met someone she's gonna go on more dates with! But she's not about to say that out loud. Yet.

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"Oh good! It's nice that you're having fun. And making friends. Carol seems nice. And it's sweet that she's looking out for you. Did she mention she threatened me?"

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Jenna blushes and internally flails. What did she say? She has a guess but Carol hadn't really gone into specifics about their conversation and she doesn't want her friend to have done anything bad and wants to defend her but also it's not a very nice thing to do to a potential boyfriend even if you are looking out for her and she's a little angry and not entirely sure what to think and it's possible she's overreacting because she's not entirely sure what actually happened and maybe she should get the facts first. That would probably help. "Not... exactly," she said, darkening a little in embarrassment or anger or something else she's really not sure what emotion she's feeling right now it might be more than one. "What exactly did she say? What did she threaten you with? I can talk with her later she probably didn't really mean it."

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"It's fine, honestly, I'm not upset or anything. It kinda sounded at first like she was gonna murder me if I broke up with you but really she just doesn't want me jerking you around."

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Jenna breathes and relaxes a little. That's probably fine. She should still talk to Carol later and yell at her for embarrassing her like this but she could be pretty fierce and it's probably fine. "Oh, she probably didn't mean it like that. She can kindof come off angry and protective like that sometimes but she's really sweet, I promise. She's just worried about me, but I can take care of myself. I'm sorry, though, she probably shouldn't be scaring away any of my prospective boyfriends like that. I'll talk to her about it." Wait, what did she just say? She blushes and looks away and looks around for something else to talk about and they're getting pretty close to the front of the line so that'll probably work to change the topic yes. "So, um, we're getting pretty close," she says, still blushing and not looking at him directly. "Do you know what you want?"

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"Oh, probably just a burger and fries, you?"

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Jenna blushes a little. That was probably a bit more of an obvious deflection or distraction than she thought, because, it turns out, it wasn't like this place gave them all that many options. But he hadn't really reacted to anything she'd said so either he hadn't noticed or the deflection actually worked, so that was really all that actually mattered. Phew. "Probably just a burger myself, since we're splitting our fries," she says. Unfortunately they're not actually up to the part where they get to order their food yet though, so she probably should talk about more things. Normally she's a lot better at this and can talk for hours about all kinds of things like her usual excited self but for some reason she keeps getting tongue-tied and awkward around him, maybe because she keeps second-guessing everything she wants to say because she's so worried what he'll think. "So what do you want to know about me?" she tries, blushing as she says it.

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Aww. He smiles down at her. "You're cute when you blush," he says. "Have you dated much before?"

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Well it's a good thing he finds her cute when she blushes because she's really really blushing now. "Not really, no," she says, flushing even redder and looking away. "This is the first time more or less, my parents probably wouldn't have let me do much dating growing up anyways. What... what about you?" Her ears feel like they're burning and she really likes his smile but she can't quite bring herself to look up because even though it was a perfectly valid question it still is making her turn bright red again and she wants to shrink and hey they're almost at the counter maybe they can order food now and talk about something else that doesn't make her blush like this even if he does find it cute. Which is really great but right now she's mostly overwhelmed with how red she probably looks and the questions he's asking and the one she just asked.

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"Cuuuute." He kisses her forehead. "Not a lot but not none—" and then they're at the front of the line and it's time to order food.

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Oh good he isn't looking right at her at the moment which is good because it feels like she's going to explode and it feels so good when he kisses her like that and she wants to ask him about who he's dated but he's ordering food and maybe she should take a moment. To take a few breaths. And calm down while he orders. She waits until he's done ordering and blushes only a little when he has her put her food on his tab rather than paying immediately and then orders her own food and watches him pay. And then when he's done and they're heading over to wait for their food she asks, blushing red again damnit, "so who have you dated before, then? And how was that?" She looks away a little but manages to look back at him when she's done asking.

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"Oh, I had an I-guess-you-could-call-her-my-girlfriend when I was twelve, and it was a giant disaster, mostly because we were twelve, a little because my parents got really weirdly enthusiastic about the whole thing and kinda scared her off. Then last year I went on a handful of dates with a girl from school, and my parents didn't interfere at all in that one, I fucked it up all by myself."

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The thing when he was twelve seems more than plausible and reasonable -- and even though Jenna's parents probably would have done the exact opposite (with a similar result) if something like that happened to her, she could totally understand parents that would act like he said his did. His parents were still an enigma, she really wanted to know about them but something about he was talking about them each time made her wary. Still, it was better to know than not and they seemed like an important part of his life. She'd ask about them. Later. For now, though, "Messed it up how?" she asks him softly, a little curious and worried about what could have gone wrong and if it's something she might need to worry about herself.

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"Mmm..."

How does he explain this in an honest but also non-terrifying way? Well, at least he didn't rape her.

"We had really different expectations about a lot of stuff, and we kept having these little misunderstandings that blew up into big fights because she has a hard time trusting people so she kept feeling like I was lying to her and I hate it when I'm telling the truth and people don't believe me so having my girlfriend constantly calling me a liar was upsetting. I probably could've handled it if I'd been better at—stepping back and calming down and seeing that she had a point—but I was pretty bad at that so instead I kept telling her to fuck off and eventually we both got tired of having the same fight every time we went out and we broke up."

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Jenna didn't find anything particularly worrying there. There might be some potentially dangerous patterns in the future but it sounded like he knew about them now and should watch out for them and she would watch out for him and also she should probably not really call him a liar apparently which she didn't really intend to but it was still good to know. And it's not like she expects him to be perfect. A little tentatively, she reaches out to touch him comfortingly. "I'm sorry," she says, "that doesn't sound like the most fun relationship." She barely manages to stop herself from adding that she hopes this one will go better, blushing only gently at the thought of saying something like that out loud to him. But then she can't think of anything else to say that wouldn't sound silly or self-serving or both. "I'm glad you're doing better," she finally manages.

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"Thanks." He smiles slightly. "I really do think it was mostly my fault, though. It's—trust isn't something I get for free, just because I know I'm telling somebody the truth doesn't mean they do, if I want somebody to think I'm trustworthy it's up to me to act like it."

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Jenna smiles back at him. Honestly being kindof this close to Sean is a little overwhelming and gleeful and she wants to just ignore this conversation and go back to kissing him but she's here to get to know him and make sure he would be good to date instead of jumping in and only finding it out later and having her parents tell her that they told her so again and again and what's going on here seems pretty important. "It's a pretty important thing, to be sure," she tells him. "You've been pretty trustworthy so far, at least as far as I can tell, so as long as you keep that up I don't have any reason to distrust you, alright? I'll let you know if that ever changes." She lets her hand linger on him for a little longer, then points at the counter. "I think that's our food, right? We should go grab it and find somewhere to eat together. Do you want to eat in here or go somewhere outside?" She kindof hopes he wants to go eat outside where they can be away from most of the people and be a little closer but it's good to give him the option and worst case they can always go outside together later.

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"Up to you!" he says cheerfully, grabbing the food. "I almost never eat here, I don't know where the good seats are."

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