Jan 30, 2023 12:15 PM
spidergirl imrainai and genderswapped gwen stacey
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That is Kiara Teller, his brain notes as she approaches, riffling off her name from the Complete List Of People He Might Need To Interact With, she used to get good grades and lives with her sister whose name he does not remember and her sister's husband died recently and her grades have been slipping since and she is on the short list of women he has not flirted with, largely because she constantly projects a stay-away-from-me aura of labor and fear, and she's on the school newspaper...

She is clearly gearing up to talk to him, so he is going to preempt the first of her Normal Human Sentences by greeting her first -

"Kiara, so good to see you," he says, and gives her his Number Six Smile.

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Oh he said something first. Does that mess with the normal human sentence? She doesn't remember, and has to take half a second to reconstruct it. "Hey. Max. Uh, I'm working on a story about the Electro thing for the school paper, and I was wondering if there was a good time to schedule an interview with you about it?"

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AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH that was SO EMBARRASSING WHY

"I didn't do anything," he says, "really." Smile. Smiiiiile. Does she look like she is discouraged that easily? He can keep smiling if he needs to!

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He totally did! - that's not a what Kiara who didn't see any of it would say.

"That's fine. I mean, uh, I think a lot of people would want to hear about it anyway. What you saw, anyway."

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He can't get out of this can he. "I have a minute now, if you're free," and that will neatly suggest that he doesn't have more than a minute so at least the interview will be short, and then he can't do it tomorrow because he's volunteering after school tomorrow so the Yale admissions committee can confirm he has done an appropriate number of Officially Approved Societally Beneficial Activities from the Official List so they can confirm he is a well-rounded individual, just like everyone else, and the day after that he's busy and then there's an actual game and that means going out for drinks afterwards which is of course illegal but also Socially Important -

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What, no, she hasn't written the questions yet! Aaaargh this is what she gets for trying to set things up beforehand and schedule them instead of procrastinating. Lesson: always procrastinate.

"Uh, I was thinking more like tomorrow. Or if that doesn't work, is there any other time before the end of this week that would?"

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Unfortunately, yes. "I'm volunteering tomorrow. Friday, after school?"

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Oh, thank God, that gives her time to prepare. "Sounds good! I'll see you then."

Now she just has to survive having that hanging over her for the rest of the week.

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Aaaaand now she's been reminded of the infeasibility of her schedule and has remembered that she has to deal with actually important things, which is even worse. Life hack: if you keep dealing with even more horrible problems, you might eventually have too many real problems to be able to spend most of your time worrying about being mortified when you probably don't turn in your story, and will only have to deal with the mortification when it actually happens!

She tries to start the conversation when she gets home. She really does. She tries to say, Hey, Azalea, I was wondering how we're planning to handle the baby now that Virgil's gone - 

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Her sister preempts her. "Kiara! Dearest and onliest sister! I have horrifically betrayed your trust."

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" - what?"

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"We're having dinner with Aunt Lily tonight. I'm sorryyyy."

The words are not very persuasive on the sorry front. The hug that comes with them may be somewhat more so.

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