In southern California, there is a sunny and verdant town, with one bowling alley, one movie theater, and one high school.
There's also one cemetery.
"Have you tried archery? It could be redundant, or it could be just what you need to shore up everything else. It's low-priority if you're on a limited schedule. Amateur shotput works better. We might have spots open, our track team isn't very good."
"Either could be interesting," Jay agrees. "I'm less interested in track."
"Beacon Hills High doesn't have an archery team, but I can put you in touch with the woman who's trying to build one with her bare hands."
"That sounds like something I would like to be involved with. If it isn't too much trouble?"
"You've probably heard of her already. Allison Argent?"
She nods. "I share at least one class with her. Had a brief conversation."
"I heard. You made quite the impression."
Jay gives a slightly sheepish laugh. "Not sure if that was good thing or bad!" she admits.
"Mixed bag. What did you think of her?"
"I liked her. Seems to have her head screwed on straight. ...As straight as any teenager at least."
"Allison's practical," she says fondly. "Not everyone in this town is."
"Small town syndrome?"
“Most people are stupid, and the rest think they can ‘make it’ if they try. Allison knows what she’s good at, and she knows how to use it. Useful skills, especially when you’ve been training your entire life.”
She's quiet for a moment. "Relatable," she says after a moment. "But it's sometimes hard for people our age to know what they're good at."
"Sometimes. The people who do know are just more fun to be around. I'll arrange a proper meeting during lunch. She'll be happy that someone else wants a team."
"I'd appreciate that."
When lunch rolls around, Lydia is already at a table with Allison. She waves her over.
Jay smiles, waves back, and makes her way over.
"Jay, Allison. Allison, Jay."
Lydia watches the interaction eagerly. If the whispers and laughs of the other students bother her, it doesn't show.
"Hey. I'm Allison, but you knew that."
"Jay, but Lydia just told you that. She mentioned you were trying to start an archery club?"
"I was! So far, I haven't found enough students who would be interested. Clubs need members and faculty sponsors. I can probably convince Coach Finstock to sponsor us if no one else will, but I still need to recruit."
"One recruit right here. Haven't actually done much archery, but I'm a good shot with a rifle and I figure that at least the ability to aim is transferable."
"Could be, yeah! You've worked with guns?"
"Some, yeah. Bit of a family thing."