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horsecrazy3

Oklahoma State University

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Blake paced, or rather jiggled her legs, through her Biology class. She couldn't sit still, especially since she was aware that, at the moment, she didn't know the difference between Anaphase I and Anaphase II or what the heck Cytokinesis was; her test on Meiosis and Genetics in two days was stressing her out to the max. Even her run that morning hadn't done its normal job of mellowing her out. The test, combined with her excitement of talking to Ben, coupled with seeing Clay was making it very hard to focus. She took notes to the best of her ability, but nothing her professor seemed to be saying was making any sense.

Finally he let them go, her relief at being out of the classroom was apparent as she breathed a deep sigh of relief. She moved quickly across the campus, ready to go riding. Her room was empty this time, which made her relax furthur. Flicking her IPod on, she allowed the mellow Tristain Prettyman to occupy her thoughts as she changed. An ice blue polo and pair of khaki training breeches later, she grabbed her phone and keys before heading out of the dorm and to her black Ranger truck.

The drive to the barn was quick and she eagerly flounced down the aisle of the barn to the second to last stall on the right. She greeted the large, black as coal, gelding with an excited greeting and a kiss on the muzzle. Iggy had been hers for the past five years and the pair made a dynamic three-day team; though dressage was obviously their favorite.

Clipping the big horse to the cross-ties, she quickly set to getting him groomed and tacked for the lesson. A couple other people from the team were there too, but her pale eyes were looking for Cecilia. The two had met during their freshman year and had become fairly good friends quickly (if that's good?). Once she had Iggy fully tacked, her fingers slipped through her silken hair and french braided it so that the black GPA helmet fit snuggly over her head and clipped comfortabley under her chin. Leading him out to the main arena, she swung up onto the stoic Hanoverian and squeezed him into an easy warm-up, her phone in her pocket and her keys under the front seat of her truck.

-----

Micah wanted to know what it was about this girl that had him acting the way that he was. He was being open and honest, something that was rarer than his full smile. There was no denying the strange magnetic connection that he felt to her, but why? The question stumped him, but at the same time, it was one that he wanted to be answered eventually. He just knew that she was feeling the same way that he was about their connection, and her question confirmed it.

He reached towards her, in a somewhat forward manner; but that as how he was, he did what felt natural in the situation, rarely stopping to think about it first. Which was one of the main reasons that he was a 'hit it and quit it' type of guy, and why most girls let him do what he wanted; because they thought it was natural too.

His hand found hers quickly, lifting it somewhat towards him. He ignored the strange sensation that rolled through him by merely touching her, but knowing that he wouldn't be able to if she surprised him. Micah was somewhat amused by how his large hand covered hers so easily, his thumb gently ran circles around hers; his eyes locking with hers suddenly before he spoke rather seriously, though the darkness of his eyes were outlined with a softness that was meant to soften his tone.

"I think that no matter the circumstances, drunk, sober, at a party, or in a drawing room, I would remember you. Or, at least your name. So, no, I know we haven't met before."

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Ben had forgotten how much he enjoyed running the back trails until today; It was so much easier to relax and clear his mind on the trails that weren't used as often. Fewer people to come across meant fewer distractions. It made for a nice, relaxing warm-up before swim practice, and he continued to run for about an hour before returning to his dorm room to grab his swimsuit.

Plopping down on his bed to rest for a few minutes, Ben thought about how good his day had been so far. The highlight of his day had, of course, been talking to Blake, but his run left him feeling awake and energized. After resting for a few minutes, Ben grabbed his black swimsuit and left the dorm to head for the aquatics center, still wearing his running clothes.

Instead of driving his car, Ben chose to walk across campus to the pool. It was only about a fifteen minute walk, but he knew that most people were way too lazy to walk all that way. He wasn't sure why people were that way; most physical activities, except for his intense swimming workouts, left him feeling refreshed and energetic. He allowed his mind to wander as he walked, making the distance seem much shorter than it really was. He knew that he was a bit early, but some of his teammates were already doing their warm-ups in the pool.

After quickly changing into his black bathing suit in the locker room, Ben walked over to the pool and greeted his friends before diving in to begin warming up on his own. The other teammates showed up gradually over the next fifteen minutes and there was lots of goofing off before their coach finally arrived. His shrill whistle rang across the entire aquatics center, signaling that it was time for practice to officially begin.

---------------

Cecilia had been wondering whether or not he felt the same strange connection to her that she felt towards him, but her question was answered when he reached out for her hand. Considering that they hadn't even exchanged names yet, his action would normally signal a red flag in her mind that warned her of questionable intentions...but it just felt very natural for their hands to be touching, so that thought didn't even cross her mind. His touch sparked a sort of electricity within her, which she ignored to the best of her ability. She looked down at their hands as they twined together, gently rubbing her fingertips over the back of his hand as he circled her thumb with his.

Their eyes met once more as he began to speak, and Cecilia couldn't help but nod slightly in response; he was right, there was no chance that they could have forgotten each other. However, the eerie feeling that they had already met was settled in the back of her mind and she was really curious as to why it felt that way. Before she could open her mouth to say anything, she caught sight of a clock on the wall behind him and was suddenly reminded that she was late for practice with the equestrian team that afternoon. A soft sigh of disappointment escaped her lips as her eyes flicked down to their hands and then back up to his eyes.

"I have to go, I'm late for equestrian practice," Cecilia said, her disappointment showing ever so slightly on her face. "I'm glad we finally got to meet, though."

Cecilia knew that was an odd way to phrase what she said, but that wording just seemed to make sense to her. With a gentle squeeze of his hand, she allowed hers to slide from his grip as she stood up and moved to the door. As she placed her hand on the doorknob, she turned her body back around to face him and caught his gaze one more time. "My name is Cecilia, by the way."

After holding his eyes for a moment, she opened the door and swept from the room just as yet another smile was making its way back onto her face. She made her way back to her dorm as quickly as possible to change clothes, feeling excited about what had just taken place and her upcoming practice, the former bringing about the majority of the feeling. Changing as quickly as possible into a pair of dark grey training breeches and a jade green tank top, she was practically hopping to her car as she zipped up her tall black boots on the way. She drove her little black coupe like a maniac, as usual, but she seemed to make it to the barn in record time. Because the other girls were already on their horses, she also groomed and tacked up her light grey mare in record time, and was ready in ten minutes flat.

Cecilia scratched Lily's neck as they quickly walked to the large arena, sort of in apology for their very brief grooming session earlier. She tied her dark hair into a low ponytail before pulling on her black and silver GPA helmet and swinging up into the saddle. Spotting her good friend Blake immediately, partly thanks to her jet-black horse that stood out in a sea of chestnuts and bays, Cecilia gave her a small wave as she guided Lily over to the wall of the arena to begin her warm-up.

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[[so, I officially hate technology. I had this beautiful post typed up and was just about to hit send when it deleted everything. Life sucks baha. Anyway, here is my second attempt =/]]

Blake was warming up stirrup-less, her inner thighs aching, as Cecilia entered the arena with Lily. She returned the wave with a certain amount of grace for someone who was balancing on a thousand pound animal with only a hand for balance. The instructor gave Cecilia some time to warm up but began the lesson quickly.

She took her stirrups down and settled her feet deeply into them. The jumping lesson was fairly successful, aside from the fact that Iggy wouldn't pick up his left lead, which was somewhat disturbing considering the fact that he had never had a problem with it before. The jumps ranged from an easy 3' to a higher 4', with roundabouts and less than friendly oxers.

Iggy's larger frame made it more difficult to be agile on the show jumping course, but since the pair had shifted to hardcore dressage, he had become much better. The fifty minute lesson wasn't that bad, but Blake was somewhat happy when it was over; still cringing from the instructors critiques on Iggy's form. She was more protective of Iggy than her own technique, but hers was extremely apt; whereas the seven year old was still learning.

Unclipping her helmet, she loosened the reins on Iggy's mouth as she pulled up alongside Cecilia. Blake placed the helmet in her lap and took her feet out of her stirrups as they cooled down. She glanced over at the other girl with a warm smile, her fingers unbraiding her hair, allowing her beachy waves to fall down.

"Hey Cee. Why were you so late?" she asked curiously, glancing between Iggy and the other girl

-----

Micah sensed her disappointment as it flickered across her face. At first, he thought that it had to do with what he had said, but as she spoke, he felt his own disappointment rising. As her hand squeezed his and she pulled it away, he resisted the temptation to grab her wrist and pull her back into him. He watched her walk away, another one of his half smiles gracing his features at the sound of her name. After she left, he stayed on the couch for a while, just soaking in what had just happened.

He stood slowly, and hooked his IPod into his IHome. Micah was in the mood to paint, wanting to calm down somewhat from his encounter with Cecilia. He put Keane on in the background as he collected his oils. Setting up infront of a half done canvas, he began to work on it. It was an Italian landscape with fall colors, seemingly too pretty to be real. He worked on it effortlessly for hours and when he exited the art wing the sky was turning a soft pink signaling that the sun would be setting soon.

When he arrived back at his dorm, he was surprised to see that his roommate had left his TV and COD. He gathered all his things and hopped into the shower. Paint puddled around his feet as it scrapped off his skin and fell from his hair. Once he was satisfied that he had gotten it all out, he turned the steaming water off.

Thirty minutes later, he exited the dorm, a new pair of dark wash jeans and a light yellow shirt clothing his body. His threadbare, black backpack was light on his shoulders; empty aside from his laptop, notebooks, pencils, and a book or two. Micah walked into the library and headed to the back corner in the basement level, to his favorite nook to read and study. Hardly anyone went into the large basement, as it was mainly filled with art and cooking books. He sat down so that he would be facing a wall, and eagerly began reading his beaten copy of East of Eden; trying to distract himself from thinking about Cecilia any longer.

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By the time practice was over, the sun had just began to fall towards the horizon, casting a pinkish orange glow over the sky that was also reflected on the surface of the pool. Climbing slowly out of the water, Ben groaned as his tired muscles pulled his body up the ladder. Their coach had decided to add about twenty extra laps that day due to numerous absences from other team members that had skipped mandatory practices. Needless to say, the rest of the team members, including Ben, were not happy with the ones who had skipped those practices.

After taking a quick shower in the locker room and dressing himself in a pair of jeans and a green tee shirt, Ben grabbed his tan backpack and shoved his Psychology books inside among numerous notebooks and loose papers. He left the aquatics center and walked in the direction of his classroom more quickly than was comfortable for his aching legs.

Although stopping to chat with a few friends on the way slowed him down a few minutes, Ben was able to slide into his seat just as class was about to start. He opened up his thick "Psychology Today" book to Chapter 3 and prepared for a long three hours of talking about the different functions of the cerebral cortex and the amygdala. Normally he would have really been interested in the subject, but practice always left him so exhausted that he struggled just so stay conscious throughout the tediously long lectures.

---------------

After allowing Cecilia to complete a quick warm-up, the instructor officially began the lesson. Lily always performed to the best of her ability when she had enough time to really loosen up her muscles and get into the jumping mindset, so Cecilia wasn't terribly surprised when the mare was a bit sticky off the ground for the first ten or so minutes of the lesson. Thankfully, the higher the jumps were, the better Lily performed, so she had improved dramatically by the time the jumps were at 3' and higher.

Cecilia hadn't exercised Lily in a few days, which had granted the mare a ton of pent-up energy that she decided to release during the lesson through a series of rushed jumps and excited bunny hops after the in-and-outs and bigger oxers. Cecilia had natural riding abilities that were often envied, and she was never unsettled by any of Lily's outbursts; She merely rode through them with a small, amused smile, feeling kind of grateful that her mare made things interesting every once in a while.

Once the lesson was over, Cecilia removed her helmet and shook out her ponytail, her long dark hair falling over her shoulders and down her back. She looked over and chuckled softly as she saw Blake approaching them, doing the same exact thing with her hair. Allowing her feet to fall from the stirrups and hang down by Lily's sides, she let the reins slide through her hands to the buckle as Blake and Iggy walked alongside them.

"I got caught up in the art department...You know how I lose track of time," Cecilia replied, rolling her eyes at herself with a small smile. Although she did lose track of time fairly often, she wasn't ready to explain exactly what she had been doing in the art wing; Not yet, anyway. Just thinking about what had happened brought back a strange fluttery feeling in her stomach, so she pushed the thoughts away for the moment. "I'm sure I didn't miss too much though. God, I feel like I haven't seen you in forever. It's been what, four days or something?"

She laughed warmly as she spoke, turning her eyes up to look at Blake sitting on her black beast of a horse. It was true, they hadn't had practice in a while and Cecilia was used to seeing her almost every day, either at the barn or somewhere else on campus.

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[[sorry for the delay...]]

Blake grinned when she realized that the pair had pretty much the same exact cool down tactics; loose and easy. Some of the other girls didn't even bother with a cool down and others were much too serious about it. As Cecilia explained, Blake nodded smiling somewhat at the way that she could get lost in her artwork.

"Are you working on a new project?" she inquired as they made a second circuit around the arena.

Blake's laugh echoed Cecilia's, though she sobered when she realized how true the statement was. What had she even done during those four days? Drank too much, studied too hard, and done too many things that she wouldn't ever tell her parents about. Her eyes swept guiltily towards Cecilia, though whether it was over what she had done or over the fact that she had neglected her friend, she wasn't sure.

"I know! I think that's the longest that we've ever gone without seeing one another; it shouldn't happen again," she said, her entergetic nature coming through.

As they round the arena again, Blake nudged Iggy gently to the center and slipped from his back, landing gracefully by his side. She glanced over his back towards Cecilia with an easy smile as she patted his neck and scratched up behind his ears before running up her stirrups. [[i feel that at least a little ff is needed just to keep this from getting too word-y haha]].

After feeding Iggy a final sugar cube and settling him into his box stall, Blake headed towards Cecilia and came to a stop next to the skinny girl.

"Hey, I'm leaving, but we should hang out tomorrow morning, or afternoon, whenever. I'll text you or you text me, whatever works."

The drive back to school seemed to take less time than normal, which Blake was thankful for. It was just past seven and she needed to shower before trying to make plans for the evening. She walked slowly back to her dorm, pausing to talk to her professor before continuing to the other side of campus.

-----

The front doorbell rang. "There it is. That's what I was listening for. Let it ring. I'm not going to be led around be feelings. Let it ring." But it did not ring again. A black weariness fell on Lee, a hopelessness that pressed his shoulders down-

Micah finished the novel quietly and was overwhelmed by the fact that Steinbeck could tap into his emotions without knowing him; could describe exactly what he was feeling and thinking with a book written decades ago. He sighed quietly to himself, not quite ready to go back to his studio. He was enjoying the quietness that came with the library, the smells of old books and the feeling that he was in a place of great learning. He knew that this was somewhat silly and that many college students used it as a place to hook up, but he enjoyed the building.

Instead of picking up his computer and working on the paper that he had originally came there for, his fingers found his sketchpad and a fine-tipped black pen. Micah let his fingers and mind connect, images slowly being brought to life.

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After sitting through two straight hours of lecturing, Ben was more than happy when the teacher dismissed them from class an hour early. He didn't have class the next day either, so he had no homework to worry about for a little while. Unfortunately he hadn't made any plans for the night, but he was sure that could be remedied fairly quickly.

Grabbing his books before leaving the room, Ben stopped to talk to some of his classmates about whether anything was going on that night. Being a Monday (just guessing lol), everyone he talked to planned on going back to their dorms to study or just hang out with their roommates. After a few minutes of talking he walked down the stairs of the building and through the doors that led outside. The air had cooled down after the sun fell, which made for a nice walk back to his dorm. It somewhat surprised him when he turned onto a sidewalk and saw Blake walking in front of him towards her dorm, wearing what he guessed was her horseback riding outfit.

"Is this your usual nighttime apparel?" Ben said in an inquisitive voice as he walked up beside her, looking down at her with raised eyebrows. "You'd better be careful walking around like that by yourself."

He had been lightly teasing her, but the clothes did cling to her body in a way that was surprisingly sexy. Ben could tell from the lingering looks of passers-by that he wasn't the only one who thought so.

-----------------

"Nah, I was just trying out a new way to develop in black and white," Cecilia said, glancing over to Blake. After all her years of photography and learning to develop her own photos, she had never learned how to develop in black and white. Over the past couple of weeks she had tried a few different methods, but the pictures never turned out quite right; They were either smudged or the contrast was all wrong. She was excited to go back to the art wing after practice to see if her latest attempt had worked.

"I most definitely agree," she replied to her friend, laughing easily as she slipped down from Lily's back and ran her stirrups up.

Cecilia made it a point to take her bathing routine more slowly since she had rushed so much before the lesson, so she was still hosing Lily down when Blake came over to say goodbye. After agreeing with her proposition and saying goodbye, Cecilia walked Lily back to her stall and got her settled, showering her with treats and petting the whole way. She gave the mare a quick kiss on her soft muzzle before leaving the barn.

After taking a long, hot shower, Cecilia pulled on a pair of darkwash skinny jeans and a white eyelet tank top before quickly heading back across campus to the art wing.

It took her only a few minutes in the darkroom to see that this latest method had been the least successful; None of the images had showed up correctly, and she really couldn't tell what most of them were. Frustrated, she shoved the pictures in her khaki messenger bag and left the art wing to walk towards the library, determined to find a method that actually worked. She knew that she could just ask someone more experienced for help, but she cringed at the idea of not figuring out how to do something on her own.

Cecilia walked into the library and breathed in the musty scent of books, old and new, which reminded her of how much she enjoyed being there. She had resorted to scouring the internet for ways to develop the pictures, but since no good had come from that, she decided to research the old fashioned way by looking through actual books. She knew that most of the art books were on the first level, but she also was aware that there were some in the large basement below.

Deciding to begin on the first level, Cecilia entered one of the large rows that read "Art: Photography", allowing her eyes to move slowly over the huge number of books that reached from the floor to a few feet over her head.

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Blake heard Ben before she saw him and she laughed easily at his comment. She glanced down at her attire with a somewhat bemused expression, she'd never really thought about how she looked when she went out to the barn. Her gaze drifted back up to Ben, her smile wide and relaxed, though it shifted to a more sultry, close-lipped grin before she spoke.

"Sometimes, it depends on what's going on. But, I'm missing my whip so it's not quite complete."

She glanced back in front of her, noting that they were still a bit a way from her dorm. Blake wanted to shower, knwing that she probably smelled like the barn. But, she didn't want to leave Ben's company either, he had made her life way brighter than it would have been otherwise.

"Good thing you're here to keep me company then," she said with a sideways grin.

Blake had unconciously slowed down in order to prolong their walk. The fact that it was Monday meant that the only thing that would be going on would be a silly dorm party, which she was over. She preferred Greek parties or house parties, they tended to be much more amusing.

-----

Micah was slowly stirred back into reality when he heard steps through the room. It was a large room, but the floors were hardwood and so few people went down there that it surprised him. He glanced down at his sketchpad, as if seeing it for the first time and quickly tore the paper out, balled it up and threw it away. The scenery was familiar but it wasn't where he wanted to go, he had come to Oklahoma to get away from everything.

He dropped his stuff back into his bag and stood, stretching his arms over his head lazily. Micah headed slowly back towards where he had heard the noise, curious as to who it was and what they were doing. He wandered around until he heard more shuffling a few shelves out from where he was standing.

Wandering back towards the aisle, he read the label on the aisle 'Photography' and he couldn't help the anticipation that swelled in his body. He quieted his footsteps and entered the aisle from the opposite end that most people would. When he saw Cecilia there he grinned to himself. He studied her quietly for a moment, watching her movements before slowly stepping towards her.

"Cecilia," he paused after saying her name, allowing it to wash over his lips and tasting it slowly before continuing, "Are you following me now?"

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Ben noticed that his pace had slowed since they'd began talking, but he didn't mind; He was glad to be walking next to her again. His eyes stayed forward as she replied to his comment, but they drifted back down to her face when she finished. He chuckled softly before the corner of his mouth raised in a smirk as he began to speak.

"Well if the outfit is made complete at the barn, then maybe I really should come watch you ride sometime."

His smirk was replaced with a casual grin as she commented about him being there to accompany her. Although his size alone would most likely be enough to deter anyone from messing with her, Blake seemed like she could handle herself if she needed to. However, Ben was raised to have a strong protective instinct towards women, so he was glad to be with her anyway, just in case. He looked up to see that they were still quite a ways from the dorm buildings, then glanced back down to her pretty face.

"So, is your night still free of any exciting plans?" he asked, citing his question from earlier that day. He knew that they tended to frequent the same types of parties, but he hadn't heard about anything for tonight. There were always dorm parties during the week, but Ben had stopped going to those after his freshman year since they were usually pretty boring.

------------

After a minute or so of looking through the titles, Cecilia heard a bit of shuffling from somewhere else in the large room. Moments later, she heard someone from the far side of the aisle speak her name and ask her a question. She breathed a sigh as she savored the way her name sounded when he spoke it. She would recognize that voice anywhere. She kept her eyes on the books in front of her for a moment, but all of her senses were focused on him.

Obviously she hadn't been following him, but she certainly wouldn't mind doing so if his presence always made her feel this way. That strange feeling had reappeared just as suddenly as he did, the magnetic pull that made their connection so different from any other that she had experienced. She closed her eyes for a second or two in an attempt to push it aside before speaking.

"Well, that depends," Cecilia began as she turned to face him, a sly smile crossing her features. "If that's something you'd like, then maybe. But if it isn't, then absolutely not."

She turned her eyes back to the books for a moment, but didn't really care to look any longer. None of the ones she had seen in this aisle pertained to developing, anyway. Running her finger slowly down an older, more weathered title, she turned and took a small step in his direction before meeting his gaze again.

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Just popping in to say I'm a student at OSU (I'm currently at work at the Edmon Low Library!) so if you need anymore pictures let me know!

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[[Thanks for the offer! But I'm fine with just making it up :)]]

Blake grinned coyly over at him, amused by him. She knew they were just kidding around for the most part, but that there was also a hint of truth behind both their words. After all, there was always some truth behind any joke; at least, that was what she had always been told.

"You can come with me tomorrow morning if you want and see the whole thing," she offered, the same smile on her lips.

She had been planning on going out there anyway since they didn't have a lesson that afternoon. Iggy needed a workout with lead changes after what he'd done earlier that day, but she was just planning on taking the time to groom him and bathe him really well. He needed that more than anything and she hadn't spent time with him like that in a few weeks and wanted to. But having Ben there would be an added bonus.

"Unless you find taking a shower exciting, then no, I don't have any exciting plans for tonight. Why?"

Blake felt a small rush of pleasure at the thought of him wanting to hang out with her that night, which was where she assumed that the conversation was heading. But, before they did anything, she needed to shower and change clothes. She didn't know of any parties, but she wouldn't object to going into town and going to the bar or just dinner and a movie. She was fairly easy-going when it came to doing things.

-----

Micah watched the way her features move, the curve of her lips as they lifted to a coy smile made his own mimic her motion. He really just wanted to be close to her again, but was nervous that if they got to close he wouldn't be able to control himself. Her comment made him chuckle, a noise that was rare enough it actually surprised him somewhat.

"Then stalker you are," he said with an almost easy warmth in the green of his eyes.

His gaze slipped from her face down to her finger as it ran across the binding of a book. He knew that she had come to the library for a reason other than to see him, but he hadn't been curious about why until then. Micah wanted to know everything about her, which was weird to him, because he shouldn't think this already.

As she stepped closer to him, he resisted the urge to close the gap furthur, but the light smirk stayed on his face. He remembered her previous parting words and his half smile deepened, showing one of his dimples, "My name is Micah, by the way."

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((Yes, thanks for the offer! But it's really just fun to make it up as we go along, hahah.))

Ben glanced back down at Blake, somewhat surprised that she had actually mentioned an opportunity for him to go with her. Most of the time when girls mentioned that he should accompany them to something like that it was nothing more than a conversational topic for the moment, which never actually turned into a serious invitation. He was usually fine with that, but he was happy that Blake actually wanted him to go.

"I'll definitely take you up on that," he said, the corners of his mouth turning up into a small smile.

He wondered idly what it would be like tomorrow before he noticed that they were coming up on the dorm buildings. Slowing down his pace a little bit more, he shook his head with a smile at Blake's somewhat sarscastic remark; He could definitely get used to having her around.

"Would you like to go to Crew with me?" Ben offered as they stopped just outside her dorm. Crew was a casual yet trendy restaurant and bar that wasn't very popular among the underclassmen, which made it a nice place to go to grab a couple of drinks, have dinner, or just hang out. He hoped that she would accept his invitation, but he had been rejected in the past and was prepared for her to decline as well.

------------

Cecilia watched as his lips lifted up into a half-smile that mimicked her own, although hers stretched a bit wider when she heard the sound of his laughter, as short-lived and quiet as it may have been. She immediately felt the urge to move closer to him, which she resisted by turning her back against the wall of books and propping the bottom of her foot up on one of the shelves behind her.

A soft laugh of her own escaped her lips after his comment. She loved his seemingly effortless sense of humor; In fact, Cecilia wouldn't have been surprised if there was a string of girls that actually were stalking him.

When he finally introduced himself, she noted with a soft shake of her head and a chuckle that he had used precisely the same wording that she had used. Most people wouldn't notice such a small thing, but Cecilia had a keen eye for detail. Her eyes swept over his handsome face, taking in his own amusement at his careful wording and the dimpled half-smile that came from it. She wasn't sure how long they could be around each other before her resistance against being close to him would fade away.

"Micah," she said slowly, admiring the sound of his name as it rolled from her tongue. "Well, I was looking for something here, but that can wait for a while. I hope I didn't disturb you."

Her gaze met his once again, her tone unintentionally sultry as she spoke. Cecilia was curious as to why he had been down here, but she didn't want to ask him up front and run the risk of sounding rude or nosy. She knew that there really wasn't much down here, but she guessed that might be the reason that he came here...He seemed to enjoy being alone.

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Blake stopped when he stopped and she glanced up at him with a wide smile at his offer. She, being a sophomore had only been to Crew a few times, mainly on dates. It made for a good and they had never attempted to card her, not that she'd been carded since she was sixteen, there were perks to being pretty.

"I would love to go to Crew with you. But I have to shower and change, so I'll just meet you back here around eight thirty."

She turned as if to leave, but appeared to remember something as she turned back to him. Without any hesitation, she pulled a pen out of her pocket and easily grabbed his larger hand. Turning it over, she stepped into him to get a better writing angle. Quickly scrawling out her number, she glanced up at him, enjoying their proximity.

"Text me if anything changes," she said with a grin before leaving him.

Blake slipped her pen back into the same pocket that held her phone, her keys still loose in her hands. She was somewhat glad that Shelley wasn't in the room, not wanting to talk to her just yet. Ten minutes later, she stepped from her second shower of the day and quickly set to her room to get ready. She had forty five minutes left, and she would use every bit of it to get ready for the evening.

Her make-up was darker than it had been during the day, not heavier, just somewhat darker; it didn't detract from her features like it could for some girls, instead it enhanced them, her lips, high cheeks, smooth skin and bright blue eyes. A light green shirt dress looked somewhat plain at first from the front, but that thought would fade as soon as she turned around; there was a clasp at the very top and then it opened into an oval shaped backless that came back at the low of her back. The dress itself was just past the point of inappropriate and made her legs look tanner. Blake was wearing a pair of dark brown sandals that wrapped up her calf. Her hair was loose and brushed against her bare back as she grabbed a small, brown clutch and headed downstairs.

-----

Micah noted that she braced herself against the bookcase and smirked inwardly. He was somewhat relieved that he wasn't the only one who was having trouble controlling himself. But, at the sound of his name from her lips, he couldn't be away from her. He closed the gap between them, standing just in front of her; his eyes slipping over her again before finding her grey ones again.

"Only in the best way possible," he assure her with a dangerous smirk.

It had been months since he'd even attempted to flirt but he'd never felt this instant connection with a girl before. But Micah was done with being alarmed by it, instead he wanted to embrace it and get to know her. This time, there was little hesitation when he took both her hands in his, appreciating the way that they fit together. He stepped a little closer, testing the magnetism between them, somewhat surprised by how strong it became the closer they got. Micah read the curiousity and question in her eyes and a slow, small smile came before he spoke.

"I come down here almost every night. Here, or I'm at my studio. Anything to get out of my room and away from my roommate," he said, his voice settling into a gentle tone as he continued, "It's quiet down here, I can do pretty much anything without getting annoyed by the librarians or other people."

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Ben returned her wide smile as Blake accepted his offer, nodding his head at her suggestion of when they should meet. When she turned back around to give him her number, he noted with some amusement at the size difference in their hands. He couldn't help but grin at how bold she was. After enjoying the few moments of their close proximity, Ben turned to walk towards his dorm, feeling happy and somewhat excited. The latter was a bit strange, as he was used to going on dates, but Blake seemed like someone that could challenge him and keep him on his toes.

The room was empty, which he responded to with a sigh of relief; His roommate always got jealous and annoying when Ben went out with girls. Noting that he had about an hour to get ready, he tried to take his time because he really only needed about ten minutes. He changed into a pair of darkwash jeans and a navy blue long-sleeved shirt, cuffing the sleeves to just below his elbows and leaving the top couple of buttons casually undone. As he laced up his black shoes, he looked at the clock and noticed that he still had half an hour, even though he'd been moving as slowly as possible.

After listening to music and doing nothing in particular until eight thirty, he left his room and went downstairs to wait for Blake. He wondered what she would be wearing for about a minute until he was able to see it for himself; She looked stunning in a little green dress that showed off her tanned skin and atlhetic physique perfectly. A wide grin lit up Ben's face as she neared him, and he allowed his eyes to quickly slide up and down the length of her body.

"You look great," Ben said appreciatively, gently placing a hand on the small of her back as they walked the short distance to his truck.

----------------

A small breath escaped from between her lips as Micah suddenly closed the gap between them, her body torn between resisting their strong connection and jumping headfirst into it. That feeling didn't last for long though, because his response accompanied with that irresistable smirk was enough to give her the answer. The corner of her lips pulled up into a smirk that mirrored his as she considered to possibilities now that they both seemed to accept the strange feeling.

Cecilia glanced down at their hands, admiring the warmth of his hands as they enveloped her own. Her eyes met his once again as he took a step closer, rendering the distance between them painfully close. She was surprised at how much stronger the pull towards him became the closer they were to each other.

"Then I guess I know where to be," Cecilia said, her smirk growing into a small close-lipped smile.

She took a tiny step towards him, closing the gap by another couple of inches, before slowly turning her head to look out the sides of the aisle. It actually was a place that Cecilia would have come to more frequently had she known it existed. It was peaceful and quiet, two qualities that most places were devoid of nowadays.

"I can see why you come here though," she said, her light eyes moving back to his. "I wish I would've known about it earlier."

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Blake smiled in response to the look on Ben's face when he saw her. She enjoyed getting dressed up to see the reaction from those she was going out with. His comment made her blush lightly with pleasure. She liked compliments as much as any other person, but they were usually far and few between because people assumed that since she was attractive, she knew that she was attractive.

"Thank you, you look pretty snazzy yourself," she said as her eyes slipped over his attire.

She allowed herself to be guided by his hand, the warmth radiating over her skin. Blake was thrilled to be going out with Ben, eager to get to know him a little bit better. He appeared to have the same sense of humor as she did, and so far he hadn't seemed to mind her somewhat overenthusiastic nature.

Blake's smile returned when she saw that he drove a truck, she loved trucks. She stepped into the cab carefully, making sure that her dress was situated correctly. The drive to Crew didn't take long and was filled with a comfortable chatter about their day (sorry for the pp). When they got to the place, Blake was happy to see that the bar/restaurant was busy but not too crowded.

-----

Micah actually felt the corners of his lips twitch up into a smile at her comment and the accompanying smirk. The expression that was so customary to most people was almost foreign to him and yet it made his face change completely. His features were brighter, more inviting, and definitely warmer.

"I'm glad that I cleared up your evening plans," he said, his smile still present.

Though, as she stepped closer to him, making it so that there were only a couple of inches separating their bodies, his features reverted back to their normal, harder form. He didn't know if she understood how much self control she was making him exercise by moving so close. Micah kept his eyes trained on hers, even as she turned to look down the aisle. He studied her jawline and her elegant neck before his eyes traipsed to her lips and then back to her eyes when she turned her gaze back to his.

"Me too," he murmured softly

If she had known about it before then they could have met earlier. At least a few weeks earlier when he had first moved. But, at the same time, he knew that if he had known that someone regularly used the place then he probably wouldn't come down there. Plus, he kind of liked the fact that they had met in the art wing, though a library was almost as important to him.

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((PP like that is a godsend in these types of posts. It helps keep things from getting boring, so I don't mind at all.))

Ben smiled as Blake blushed at his compliment and returned with one of her own towards him. Because women were typically the ones that recieved comments on their appearance, he was sort of surprised, but he enjoyed it all the same. Although he was aware of his looks, it was nice for someone else to say it aloud every once in a while.

"I try," he said, giving her a playful wink as they walked towards his truck.

During their ride to Crew, Ben realized just how happy he was to be going out with Blake. He was glad to have the opportunity to get to know each other better, and he was interested to see how the evening would turn out. The drive didn't take long and soon they were entering the building, which was just crowded enough to keep things interesting.

As they walked in through the doors, Ben immediately saw that most of the customers were chatting at the horseshoe-shaped bar that sat in the middle of the large room. Booths and tables in various sizes were placed around the room facing different directions, giving each area a greater amount of privacy than was normal for most restaurants. A band played in the far corner of the room, with a female singer belting out an Alanis Morisette song that sounded surprisingly good. Ben led the way to a small booth near one of the large windows and motioned towards it with his arm.

"This okay?" Ben asked, looking curiously over to Blake as he slid onto the seat.

------------

Cecilia felt herself smile inwardly as Micah's facial features seemed to change, his eyes softening to become more warm and friendly. Throughout the day it seemed as though he had become more comfortable around her, but this was the least guarded that he had been. She watched as his smile widened just a little and allowed her own to do the same after his comment.

She was opening her mouth to speak once more just after she had taken a step towards him, but nearly forgot what she was going to say when she noticed how much his face had changed after such a small movement. That was all it took for Cecilia to realize that whatever self-control she had been utilizing when around him, he was doing the same thing and more. Actions that may have been small between other people were greatly magnified between the two of them, which was both a blessing and a curse; It was only a matter of time before one of them would lose control.

Her small smile slowly worked its way back onto her face as he agreed with her. It would have been nice for them to meet earlier, but she also knew that he must be a new student if they hadn't met before now. Keeping a gentle hold on his hands, she backed up a couple of steps and leaned up against the bookshelf once again, watching as her messenger bag fell softly from her shoulder to the floor.

"So where do you come from?" Cecilia asked as her eyes slid back to his, her voice exhibiting a gentle curiosity.

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When they entered Crew, Blake's eyes swept over the room taking in the semi-familiar setting. She had only been there a handful of times, normally on dates with upperclassmen during her freshman year, but she hadn't been there yet that semester. The opportunity hadn't presented itself yet, and she was more than happy to be there with Ben.

Her fingers tightened around her clutch as she followed behind him, staying close as she watched the band with interest. She loved live music. During the summer she was at a concert at least once a week, though she aimed for twice. Blake enjoyed Alanis Morisette and found it to be decent background noise.

"Yeah, it's fine," she said with a smile, sliding into the seat across from him.

As her stomach rumbled quietly, she realized that she hadn't eaten since breakfast that morning. While it had been a late breakfast, she still normally tended to eat throughout the day. She grinned softly at Ben before reaching for one of the menus that was wedged between the napkin dispenser and condiment holder. Her eyes quickly perused the menu, flipping to both the salad and pasta section first.

"How was swim?" she asked, briefly glancing from her menu to him and then back again. About that time, the waitress came by for their orderss. Blake debated for a moment about what to drink, but ended with water, figuring that she could get something a little strong later. For food, she got a garden salad with the dressing on the side.

-----

When Cecilia moved away from him, he became aware that she could read him well already. She'd known he was restraining himself, but it hadn't meant that he wanted her to move away. He watched as her bag fell to the ground, which reminded that his own stuff was still in the sitting area that he'd been in before. The thought slipped his mind at her question and he returned his gaze to hers.

Her wording made him smile inwardly, the syntax making him feel that she thought he was from a different planet. It took a little restraint to respond 'from Earth'. Micah wondered how far back she wanted and how much he wanted to tell her. He wanted to know everything about her, but he didn't want to reveal everything abot himself to her. The double standard might seem strange, but it was just how he was.

Micah noted the tone of her voice, the gentle curiousity, which prompted him to speak. "Well, I was born in Romania and lived there until I was eight," he began stepping back towards her, "Then, we moved to a small coastal city in North Carolina called New Bern. After that, I went to Duke until this semester when I transfered here."

Okay, so transfered was stretching the truth. Forced would be a more appropriate term, but he wasn't ready to talk about that. He didn't know when he would be. The mere thought was somewhat painful, but he didn't show that outwardly. Tired of standing, he reached down abruptly and picked her bag up for her as he released one of her hands. Keeping the other one loose in his hand, he led her towards the sitting area where he'd been and sat down on the couch, smirking up at her in invitation to sit.

"What about you, where are you from?"

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Ben returned Blake's smile with one of his own as they slid down into the opposite sides of the booth. His eyes traveled slowly around the room and took in the people laughing and talking at the bar, the few people dancing in the small open area in front of the band, and the few couples that were cozied together in some of the smaller booths; The activity inside the place made for a relaxed, casual atmosphere that was perfect for what they were there for.

He reached out to grab a menu just as Blake did, giving her a small grin before looking down at the open menu. Everything seemed to jump out at him since he had skipped lunch, and he was particularly hungry due to the extra laps at swim practice that afternoon. Just as he was about to answer Blake's question, the waitress appeared to take their orders. A pleasant smile settled on Ben's face as he watched Blake place her order, then following her lead he ordered a Pepsi and a burger. He was sure there would be plenty of time later for stronger drinks to enter the mix.

As the waitress walked away, Ben turned back to Blake, admiring her icy blue eyes and full lips in the low light before remembering that she had asked him a question. "We had to swim a few extra laps because people were skipping practices, but that's okay. Nothing too interesting, trust me," he finished with a smirk and a small wave of his hand.

"What about your practice?" he asked, keeping his eyes on her just as the waitress returned with their drinks.

----------------

Cecilia felt her eyebrows rise up when he told her where he had spent the majority of his childhood. It wasn't exactly easy to surprise her, but she definitely hadn't been expecting him to say that he was from a different country. The next town he mentioned sounded a bit more normal, but her curiosity had been roused and she wanted to know everything about him, everything that made him who he was.

Her mind had moved on and was wondering why he had transferred from a such a prestigious university to come here. The thought didn't last long though, as it slipped from her mind as Micah bent to pick up her bag and led her from the aisle. The polite gesture made her smile, and she followed him over to a sitting area where there was an array of couches, chairs, and tables, but still no other people in sight. She sat down on the couch a foot or two away from him, and once again turned her body so that it was facing his.

"I'm afraid my upbringing wasn't as interesting as yours," Cecilia began, her smile slowly shifting into a smirk as her gray eyes swept quickly around the room before returning to his. "I was born and raised in Bensley, a small town in Virginia. Everybody knows everybody, and I just wanted to get away from it all."

It was mostly true, but there had really only been one person that she wanted to get away from. Cecilia didn't want her mind to travel down that path again, so she brushed the thought away as quickly as she could.

"I can't believe you grew up in Romania," she said, shaking her head lightly as her lips turned up into a bewildered smile. "Do you remember what it was like?"

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Blake chuckled slightly at his response. She wan't sure if he meant that it was because he had missed practice or if it was someone else; either way it amused her because they had talked about him missing his practice earlier.

"By 'people', do you mean yourself?" she asked, both curious and, in a way, teasing. She remembered that he'd said that the morning practice hadn't been obligatory, but her coach could still get irked if people didn't go to every possible practice.

Crossing her legs over one another, she resisted the urge to casually run her foot against his calf. She planned on being on her best behavior around him, knowing from past experience that when she initiated things it never tended to work out.

Blake was brazen about things, almost to a fault. Her inability to feel shame about the way she behaved tended to get her into trouble. So, for the first time, in a long time, she was attempting to contain her whims. She accepted her drink with a small thanks, taking a small sip before glancing back towards Ben.

"It was okay, Iggy, my horse, was a little sluggish but all in all it was a good lesson," she said with a slight shrug. Blake accepted her food from the waitress, the large plate filled with greens and other chopped vegetables. She talked a little bit more about the barn, mentioning Cecilia and different things she'd show him the next morning; if he truly came with her.

Blake sipped from her water between bites and conversation. She listened as he spoke [[again, the pp =/]], chuckling when appropriate. Once she finished, she pushed her plate away from her waiting patiently for him to finish. Blake smiled wholly as the familiar chords of I Love Rock and Roll came on; it was a little trite and old, but it still put her a good mood. She slipped out of the booth and looked, if somewhat demandingly, at Ben; leaving her drink and purse in the booth without concern.

"You have to dance with me for at least this song," she said, holding her hand out to him.

-----

Micah watched Cecilia as she sat beside him and turned to face him. He interlaced their fingers and rested the other hand softly on her knee as she spoke. His dark eyes watched hers as she spoke, though he frowned somewhat at her first comment. Everything about her was more interesting than he was, everything.

"Your town sounds a lot like mine," he commented quietly, not wanting to interrupt what she chose to share with him. He wanted to ask how she had ended up at OSU, but he didn't want the same question shot back at him.

Her town sounded similar to New Bern. He hadn't minded quite as much as she seemed to. Micah had enjoyed the southern lifestyle, at least, up until his senior year of high school. He had done the normal teen things, fishing, mudding, dating and other more 'southern' things. Her question brought him from his thoughts and he returned his focus to her.

"Romania," he breathed quietly pausing to think. He remembered green. Lots of it. And old history. His father had taken him to different historic sites throughout the country. He remembered his grandparents home and playing with his younger sister in their yard. There were trips to the coast with his mother. But everything was fuzzy, as if he'd dreamed it instead of experienced it.

"Not much. It was pretty and I want to go back one day," he said with a shrug. It wasn't a lie, he didn't really remember any of it, more like a feeling. But he didn't want to talk about his dad, or his mom. "The only thing I really remember is the fact that my sister and I were really close then. And it was green, and there were, mountains." He trailed off when he realized that he was just kind of blabbering and grinned apologetically at her.

Micah glanced at the watch on his wrist, just past ten. He knew that the library would be closing soon which meant that they needed to either go elsewhere or just part ways for the evening.

"Did you ever find what you came down here for?" he asked curiously, before explaining his change in subject, "The library closes in fifteen minutes, which means that we should probably leave."

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Ben chuckled lightly at Blake's question, and he could tell that she was teasing him a bit about earlier. He wasn't really sure if he had been one of the people that his coach had targeted about missing practices, but it didn't really matter so much, considering that they all had to swim the extra laps.

"Maybe, maybe not," Ben replied with a smirk that slowly turned into a sweet smile. "Either way, it was worth it."

He took a sip of his drink and listened as Blake talked about her horse lesson that day, commenting and asking questions whenever he felt the need to. He became a bit more excited about accompanying her to the barn in the morning after she had explained what it would be like and what she would show him.

Conversation flowed freely back and forth between the two of them as they ate their food ((I'm jumping on the PP train too)), and he found himself feeling more and more comfortable around Blake. Although Ben hadn't been paying much attention to the band, he noticed that a guy had taken the place of the female singer and saw Blake's face light up when the familiar music began playing. He was going to ask her to dance, but was pleasantly surprised when she beat him to the punch; Her bold attitude certainly kept things interesting.

"You only have to ask me once," he said, flashing her a devilish smile as he stood up and took her hand.

Ben allowed her to lead him onto the dance floor, enjoying having a girl that actually wanted to take the lead; The girls he usually dated were meek and timid, but he found her confidence incredibly attractive.

---------------

Cecilia glanced down as Micah rested a hand on her knee before covering his with her own, gently tracing small circles on the top of his hand as she spoke. She was glad that he seemed to enjoy physical contact, because she could never get enough of it.

When Cecilia was through speaking, she took a deep breath and tried her best to shake her thoughts of home from her mind. She hadn't visited her hometown since she came to OSU a year ago and she missed it dearly; her parents, her friends, her pets, her home. However, she couldn't bring herself to go back in apprehension of who would be there waiting for her. She had made a promise to herself that she would visit home sometime this semester, but she was already afraid that she wouldn't be able to keep it; It would just cause so much trouble to go back.

When Micah began telling her about Romania, she was finally able to let go of the distressing thoughts in order to concentrate on what he was saying. She had to practically bite her tongue to keep from saying that she wanted to go with him whenever he went back, and she could have smacked herself for even allowing the thought to cross her mind. She came to the conclusion that he was driving her crazy, but she had never been so willing to lose her mind.

Romania did sound pretty, and she found herself smiling as he explained that it was green and mountainous, which was a combination that Cecilia had always wanted to see. However, it didn't slip her notice when he said that he and his sister were close back then; It made her wonder what their relationship was like now, but she didn't ask him about it.

Cecilia was completely taken aback when he mentioned the time, as it hadn't even crossed her mind that the library would have to close at some point.

"No, but I like what I did find even better."

A demure smirk made its way onto her lips, and she wondered if he wanted to stay with her longer or if they should each go their own way for the night. She stood slowly, picking up her messenger bag and placing it over her shoulder before turning her eyes back onto him.

"Shall we go somewhere else, or do you need to turn in for the night?" Cecilia asked, adopting a playful tone to lighten her phrasing.

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"Good to know," she responded with a warm smile that remained on her face even after she turned away from him.

He made her feel comfortable and safe. But in the back of her mind was that doubt that always haunted her; what if he was only after her for one thing? That was the way that most guys she had met at OSU were. She knew that he was different, but he was a guy, and he was two years older than she was, which meant that he had two more years of experience. Blake pushed away the doubt as best she could wanting to just enjoy their evening.

As Ben took her hand, she walked purposefully towards the area that was reserved for dancing. It felt comfortable holding his hand, a soft warmth cocooning her slender fingers and hands. There were quite a few people on the floor and Blake wasted no time pulling Ben into the middle of it all. It was where she preferred to be, in the center of things. She hated being on the outside, she felt awkward and unwanted. Though, when she turned to Ben she felt like unwanted was the last thing she should feel. And she liked that.

Blake released his hand, a close-lipped smile lifting the corners of her mouth as she rested her hands on his shoulders. It took a moment to find the right rhythm with him, but once she did, her hands slipped up around his neck; relaxing into the music. She could feel other bodies close to her, some too close, but his was the one that her body followed. The music was loud as it swelled around them, making it easier for her hips to follow.

-----

"I think that I found you," he said in an almost teasing manner.

The magnetism that he felt with Cecilia was strange but the fact that he felt more like who he used to be when he was around her was stranger to him. She made him feel like the whole world wasn't against him and it was weird to feel like that after so long. He didn't know what it was about her that made him so relaxed, but he supposed that it didn't really matter.

Micah almost protested when she stood, he didn't want her to leave. But her words quieted the protest and he felt himself smiling again as he looked up at her. He shoved his stuff into his back pack, careful with the tattering sketchpad and pieces of charcoal before tossing it over one of his shoulders. He slipped an arm around her waist, better able to control himself when he was in charge of the situation and they weren't testing one another.

"I was just about to ask you the same question," he said, the smiling deepening somewhat. He turned right outside of the library as he debated on where they could go, knowing that it was back towards the majority of their options which were either off campus, to one of their dorms, or to his studio. It didn't matter to him, at all. Micah turned his head towards, his lips level with her ear, "I would rather go somewhere, but if you want to sleep."

He trailed off as he looked forward again. Micah hoped that they could hang out more. He liked being around her. She listened to him and he had a feeling that he wouldn't be quite as moody around her as he normally would because she had already made him laugh; something that normally took girls a few weeks to get out of him.

Edited by ClassicCrime

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((Sorry it took so long :/ ))

Ben kept a firm grip on her small hand as she led him to the middle of the crowded dance floor, bodies brushing up against him from all sides as they moved. He was glad that Blake wanted to be in the center, because it always seemed to feel kind of awkward when he was on the outskirts of the dance floor.

His close-lipped smile mirrored hers as they began to dance, placing his large hands softly just above her hips. After taking a moment to find the rythym to the song, he pulled her just a bit closer until his hands met around the small of her back. His smile grew a bit wider as he felt her arms lace around his neck. The song was lively and fun to dance to, and the couples dancing around them added to the dynamic atmosphere.

He felt himself laughing and smiling throughout the song until it finally ended, the rythym slowly melting into a slower song that he didn't recognize. Ben didn't mind, as he was just as happy to have an excuse to continue being close to her. A few of the couples left the dance floor, which caught his attention for a moment before he turned his eyes back to Blake. He squeezed her close for a hug, then pulled back a bit so he could see her face again as he adjusted his rythym to the slower music.

"I'm really glad you came out with me," Ben said, a warm smile lightening the statement so it didn't sound too heavy and serious.

-----------

Cecilia watched as he shoved his sketchpad and a few other small things into his backpack, but she was surprised when she felt his arm snake softly around her waist as they walked towards the door. Her heartbeat quickened and her muscles tensed involuntarily before she allowed her body to soften next to his, releasing a contented sigh as she felt herself relax. She felt so silly that her body reacted that way, but she knew that there wasn't anything in the world she could do about it. She also knew that she wouldn't change a thing about it even if she could.

His words brought a smile to her face; she wasn't ready to leave him yet either. His warm breath left goosebumps on the skin behind her ear, and she involuntarily moved her body a bit closer to his as they walked.

"Well, I definitely don't need sleep," Cecilia said, her smile shifting into a smirk as she glanced up at him before turning her eyes back forward again. "And I have absolutely no preference about where we go. Anywhere, nowhere, it doesn't matter to me at all."

She truly meant it, too; They could have kept walking all night, sat down on the sidewalk, or gone to Antartica, and Cecilia wouldn't have minded one bit. She felt incredibly safe with him, like nothing in the world could hurt her, and that was all that mattered to her at that moment. She felt kind of guilty for insinuating that Micah should make the decision, but all of her favorite places would have been closed for the night anyway.

Edited by .Nightshade.

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[[No big deal! :)]]

Blake allowed his arms and hands to dictate where her body went and what it did. She stepped closer to him when she felt his arms tighten around her waist, allowing his arms to come together against her back. When he laughed or smiled, so did she, even singing along when people around them did. She loved the atmosphere that Crew provided, it was just fun.

When the song melted into a slow one, her body slowed, hardly noticing the fact that some of the couples were leaving. Her eyes were intent on Ben as she tried to figure out if he wanted to leave the floor or not. Blake stepped into him, returning his hug with an easy familiarity. Ben was warm and solid against her and she was smiling widely when he pulled away from her slightly.

His words made her smile soften, she was glad that she'd come too. It was one of the better first dates that she had been on since starting college. Most guys thought that McDonalds and then a party was not only a date, but worth much more than it was. Blake slipped one of her hands around his neck, her fingers loose as her thumb gently stroked his skin, her smile still radiant.

"I'm really glad I came out with you too," she said, swaying with him to the slower song.

-----

Micah felt her muscles tighten under his arm and was about to let her go when she relaxed. He knew that they both had to restrain themselves around one another and was somewhat pleased that it appeared as though they were starting to. He was so certain about his own ability to control himself, but she seemed to be doing quite well.

When she stepped closer to him, his arm instinctively tightened around her waist, drawing her closer. His skin seemed to tingle against hers and he felt himself beginning to enjoy the sensations that she brought about in him.

Her comment made him nod and smile inwardly. She trusted him. Otherwise he highly doubted that she would be willing to go anywhere with him. They still didn?t really know one another, but he felt like if it came down to it, he would probably trust her as well. He thought about what to quietly, realizing that he didn?t care but he didn?t want to toss the responsibility back onto her shoulders. When it came down to it, the thing that seemed most appropriate was either one of their dorms or his studio; he knew his roommate would be in so that was out and he wasn?t about to invite himself to her room.

?What if we went back to my studio?? he asked and continued, as though explaining his choice, ?We can just watch TV or talk or whatever. We won?t be interrupted like we would if we went back to my dorm.?

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A quick series of chills set in as Blake's fingers stroked the skin of his neck, causing Ben's smile to widen a little bit. He loved little things like that; The smallest touches and things that girls did seemingly unconsciously could make them so much more memorable than they could possibly realize. As he held her close and swayed to the song, all his thoughts and worries went out the window and he just concentrated on how good it felt to have her this close.

However, a mind could only be devoid of conscious thought for so long, and Ben's aching feet were his first reminder of how long they had been dancing. They had been on the dance floor longer than any couple, twirling and laughing and singing and having fun through so many songs that Ben had lost count. As they winded down from Jimi Hendrix's "Wild Thing", he took both of her hands in his and led her to the very edge of the dance floor.

"All this dancing is more intense than any workout I've done in years," Ben said, his lips curving up into a half-smile. "Do you want to get a drink?"

They hadn't had any alcohol yet, and Ben wasn't sure if she would want any at all; He knew that they didn't need drinks to have fun together, but they were at a bar, so it was an option. His dark eyes surveyed the room quickly before returning to her, noting that the place wasn't nearly as crowded as it had been before. Many of the seats at the bar were empty, and there were only a few people still chatting with friends in booths or taking advantage of the little dance floor.

-------------

Cecilia nodded slowly at his suggestion, distracted for a moment because the first thing that popped into her mind was that she hadn't noticed a TV in his studio before. Brushing the random thought away with a soft chuckle at herself, she glanced up at his handsome face briefly before answering.

"Sounds good to me," she said in an easy tone before a cynical smile made its way onto her face. "I think my roommate has a date tonight, so my dorm wouldn't be the best place either."

Although she had only been with her roommate, Angela, for a few weeks, Cecilia had already been politely kicked out of the room on several different occasions. When Angela goes on a date, she almost always ends up wasted, which almost always leads to her ending up back in their dorm room for a while with whoever she went out with. It was an annoying cycle, but Cecilia dealt with it mostly because Angela was okay the rest of the time.

The walk from the library to the art wing had seemed shorter than usual, and it wasn't long before they were coming up on the building. Cecilia stayed quiet and just enjoyed his company as they walked, but she was eager to spend more time with him and have the chance to learn more about who he really was.

As they entered the art wing, Cecilia started to become a bit concerned at how much she wanted to be alone with him. They hadn't known each other for even a day, but she couldn't make herself not trust him. Everything about him just felt right, which she knew was crazy. It was completely out of the ordinary and she had no idea what she was supposed to feel or think, so she just decided to go with it and allow her feelings to guide her. While it may have been a foolish decision, in her eyes that was the only way to live without regrets.

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Blake was half-laughing as Ben pulled her towards the edges of the dance floor. She hadn't realized how long they'd been on the dance floor, but she was glad that she hadn't worn heels otherwise she was sure that she'd be feeling it. His comment made a dangerous smirk cross over her soft pink lips.

"You just need to hang out with me more often, that was nothing," she said, squeezing his hands softly before releasing one of them and heading towards the bar with him. "I am always up for a drink."

She realized that her comment made her sound like she drank all the time, but it was too late to retract it. Blake drank socially and had been since she was fifteen. In that time though, she could count the number of times she'd been wasted on her fingers. She didn't like being that out of control, especially since she got to college.

The female bartender didn't deter her from walking up with confidence. Male or female, she'd never been told she was too young or even checked for ID; it was definitely one of her perks. Blake slipped onto one of the stools, turning to face the bartender with her easy smile.

"Kamikaze." As soon as the word left her lips the drink was set in front of her without hesitation. Blake thanked the bartender before picking up her drink. She took a sip, the lime-y alcohol sliding down with ease. She turned towards Ben, pressing her knees against him.

"How are your feet doing?" she asked with a playful grin; stirring her drink before taking another sip.

-----

Micah knew by her tone that her roommate probably was an experienced dater. The fact that Cecilia was kicked out amused him somewhat. His roommate very rarely got anything that even resembled a date, let alone brought girls back with him. That was Micah's area of expertise and didn't help the relationship he had with the other guy. His dad actually got him an apartment, but it wouldn't be ready until the middle of the week; which meant that he'd have to suffer with his roommate for a couple more days.

He didn't say anything until they entered his studio, where he released her waist and took a seat on the couch. Micah didn't want to be overbearing with the physical stuff with her, normally, it wouldn't matter to him, because normally girls didn't matter to him, but she was different.

"Do you normally go on a lot of 'dates'?" he asked curiously, his eyes skimming over her face briefly before flicking on the TV.

It was Lost, that was pretty much all he watched. The only reason he was interested in it was because an old girlfriend had introduced him to it and he was hooked. He never ventured far outside of what he knew when it came to the television, not normally having the time or caring about it. Micah made sure that the volume was low enough that the show was merely background noise.

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((Hey, I'm just letting you know that I've been absolutely swamped with midterms and stuff this week and that's why I haven't posted. I'm going away for spring break next week and I'm not sure if I'll be able to post before I leave on Sunday because there's so much crap I have to do this weekend, but I'll try my hardest! And I swear I won't forget about this when I get back, hahah.))

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A smirk crossed over Ben's face at her comment; He knew that he had plenty of reasons to hang out with Blake, but more exercise was an interesting and slightly comical prospect that he hadn't thought of. "Ah, another reason to spend time with you? I think I need to start a list," he said, voicing his thoughts with a small wink as they turned to walk towards the bar.

Ben kept a light hold of her hand as they made their way to the bar. He was glad that she could have fun without drinking, but alcohol was an easy way to make things more interesting. Blake was a handful in the best way possible when she was sober, so Ben wondered briefly what she would be like after a couple of drinks. Everyday things were always more fun when you were drinking, and he wouldn't have been surprised if they had ended up on the dance floor again that night.

His eyes ran up and down the length of her body as he watched with impressed amusement as she ordered her drink. Ben had never really considered that she was actually underage for drinking, but she seemed to have no trouble with the bartender. He raised his eyebrows slightly in show of his appreciation of her confidence.

"Captain and coke," Ben said, thanking the bartender with a nod and a small smile when she set the drink down promptly in front of him.

"I think I'll survive...You may have to push me around in a wheelchair tomorrow, though." A playful grin and a low chuckle were enough to show that he was kidding. "But you did say that was 'nothing', so I guess I need to get to work if I plan on hanging out with you anymore."

Ben took a mouthful of his drink and swallowed it down, the rum deliciously burning his throat on the way down.

((Ugh, that was terrible. Sorry about that. My brain isn't running at full speed lately.))

---------------------------

Cecilia took a seat on the couch next to Micah and turned her eyes to the TV when she heard it flick on. A small smile crossed her lips when she saw that Lost was on; she had watched the first couple of seasons of the show, but lost track when the island started moving or something like that.

"Mmm, this show is crazy," she said, shaking her head softly before considering his question.

It wasn't uncommon for Cecilia to get asked out on dates, but it was uncommon for her to actually accept one. She had entered college with an open mind and a determination to give everyone a chance, but that quickly changed once she discovered that most of the quiet guys were boring and the other ones were jerks. Her friends were fun to hang out with on dateless nights, but Cecilia craved someone that was as passionate as she was, someone that would challenge her instead of being a total doormat, someone that could keep her on her toes. She had a tendency to be flighty and easily bored, so it had proven to be difficult for a guy to hold onto her for more than a couple of months.

A small smirk tugged at the corners of her lips in amusement at the way he asked the question. "Well, I usually enjoy just going out for dessert at the end of a date, but to each his own." The smirk widened into a smile before she continued. "I haven't been on a date in a while, actually. I used to go out quite a bit, but I guess I've just become more selective these days."

Cecilia shrugged casually as she finished speaking, although she became acutely aware that her wording made her sound kind of stuck up. There wasn't anything she could do about it though, so she simply moved on.

"What about you?" Do you go on lots of 'dates'?"

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Blake chuckled at his comments, ecstatic that he could make her laugh so easily. That was usually the second quality that she looked for in a guy, the first being looks, no matter how shallow that was, and the third being their gallantry. She brushed away loose wisps of her hair, tucking them behind her ears thoughtlessly before sipping from her drink again.

"And here I thought you would be able to keep up, what with your swimming and all," she said, shaking her head as if disappointed by his ability to tire. Blake had this inability to stop, especially when she was set on something. She had to have things her way and she did pretty much everything to achieve them.

Their conversation flitted here and there, never really going too in depth with anything. They touched briefly on what they were majoring in, but it wasn't really something she wanted to talk about while drinking. The shallowness of their conversation was notable, but she was not planning on revealing her heart sitting on a bar stool and would never ask him to do that.

She set her third drink down, refusing the fourth one that the bartender was sliding towards her. Blake knew when to stop, she could feel the slight buzz and relaxed feeling that she associated with alcohol. It was getting late and she knew that Shelley was worried about her by the persistent buzzing that was coming from her the clutch in her lap.

"So, Ben, what's next?" she asked, tilting her chin up somewhat with a small smile. Blake didn't expect him to have anything else planned, but she would be up for something if he did.

-----

Micah nodded in agreement when she mentioned the show, he only ever had it on for background noise when he was tired of music (which was rare). He grinned at her comment about dessert, appreciating her sense of humor.

"Some people would consider that dessert," he noted, his sense of humor shining through momentarily.

He listened attentively to her as she finished talking, agreeing somewhat with what she said. Micah felt that girls should be like that, selective. He usually didn't go for girls like that, because he didn't do the relationship thing; but he was glad that Cecilia was like that. It meant that she would probably call him out more readily than other girls, which he usually needed.

Her question made him balk slightly. He didn't want to lie to her, but he didn't want to tell her the truth too much either. Micah shifted uncomfortabley, unconciously tilting his shoulders and legs away from her. He averted his gaze from her and towards his hands, which were resting on his knees.

Getting girls had been something that he did without trying. He had never pursued anyone before, that just wasn't what he was into and he definitely had never pushed a girl to do anything they didn't want to, but he wouldn't dissuade them either.

"I've been on quite a few," he said, hoping it was a fairly neutral response to her question.

[[Don't worry, those were beyond terrible and I was fairly distracted so I don't know if they really make sense]]

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((I am so freaking sorry it's been so long...I've been ungodly busy and haven't had the motivation to post lately. I'm ready to get things going with these guys, so my characters are going to be momentarily lame and turn in early.))

Ben chuckled as Blake kept up with their playful conversation, appreciating her fun sense of humor. They seemed to get along so well that he was somewhat surprised that they had never thought to hang out together before now. Blake was ten times more interesting than the girls that Ben typically dated, which he was thankful for; He loved a challenge, and she was definitely something worth working for.

After a while of talking and laughing and drinking, Ben finally looked at his watch to see that it was just after one AM. Just as he was about to mention the time, Blake spoke up by asking what else he had planned. He felt guilty and was slightly embarassed because he hadn't tried to think of anything else they could do, but it was pretty late and he knew that they both had early mornings ahead of them.

"I was actually thinking that we should turn in for the night," Ben said, standing from his barstool as he placed a few bills on the bar to pay for their drinks. "We wouldn't want to use up all the exciting activities in Stillwater in one night, would we?"

The charismatic tone of his voice was accentuated by a charming half smile as he offered his hand to help her down from her bar stool. He kept a light hold of her hand as they walked out to his truck and continued with their smalltalk on the ride home, feeling light and happy from the couple of drinks he'd had and being around someone as lively as Blake.

------------------------

Cecilia chuckled softly at his response to her statement about dessert, enjoying his sense of humor. He was certainly right; That seemed to be the dessert of choice for most college students. Cecilia wasn't a prude in the least, but she had never understood why some people felt the need to become so physical with someone they had just met. "I tend to prefer chocolate," she said with a smirk before moving on.

Her eyes had stayed on him while he listened to her answer, so the change in his body language when she returned the question showed that it made him very uncomfortable. Her eyebrows furrowed slightly as he seemed to struggle mentally with how to answer her question, but curiosity relaxed her features moments later. She moved her eyes from his and smiled softly to show him that whatever the answer was, it wouldn't be a big deal.

Although she wondered what he meant by his vague statement, she could tell that Micah didn't want to elaborate; It was none of her business, anyway. If he ever decided that he wanted her to know more, then she assumed that he would let her know. After softly pursing her lips in contemplation for a moment, she let the conversation go with an understanding nod of her head and a half smile.

Cecilia flicked her eyes back to the TV, ready to be done with serious conversation for now. Taking a light hold of his hand, she traced small designs on his skin with her fingers as the show played on. The two of them went back and forth between silence and smalltalk about the show, but Cecilia enjoyed the time with him nonetheless and was saddened to notice the time when the show was over. Her phone said that it was just past twelve, which was bad news for her; She had a class at eight AM and tended to be extremely cranky when she didn't get her sleep.

"I know earlier I told you that I didn't need sleep, but that was a lie, because tonight I definitely need sleep," Cecilia said with a soft laugh, gently releasing his hand as she stood up from the couch.

((I'm kind of starting to love PP because it moves things along. But if I do it too much and it starts to bug you, just let me know.))

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[[Haha no worries it's not a big deal. I've been fairly busy, getting ready for show season and all.]]

Blake nodded at his response, not even remotely put off by it, she didn't mind if they turned in early. She was ready to catch up on her sleep. The chatter that went betwee them was relaxed and easy, the drinks making her more at ease and she laughed even more easily than before. They arrived back at the school quickly and walked back to the dorm, her hand loosely wrapped in his.

"I had fun tonight," she said sincerely, glancing up at him with a gentle grin, "I'll see you tomorrow morning. Meet me at the barn around eight."

She hugged him smoothly before pulling away from him and heading into her dorm. Blake paused at the door, glancing back at him before entering the building. She headed up to her room, ignoring Shelley's pestering questions before showering and going to bed.

Blake woke the next morning to her alarm, went for her usual run, showered and then headed out to the barn. She got Iggy from the paddock, amused at how dusty he'd gotten overnight. Blake rummaged in the tack room, gathering all her grooming and bathing supplies, figuring that she needed to get things done and that Ben would be more than eager to help her. She had forgone her usual riding clothes and was instead wearing a pair of denim shorts and a plain black, ribbed tank top since she'd rather not ruin her clothes.

She had just finished placing things where she liked them to be during a grooming session when Ben walked into the barn. Blake greeted him with an eager hug and an easy smile before leading him to the station where Iggy was cross-tied.

"Ben, this is Iggy; Iggy, Ben," she said matter of factly before turning towards Ben, a relaxed smile on her face, "I thought we could just groom him, or, if you don't want to, you can just sit and watch and provide company."

-----

Micah's skin, for lack of a better word, burned where she touched him. And he was painfully aware when she let it go. He nodded at her comment about needing sleep, but frowned somewhat when she stood as if to leave without him. Micah stood as well, picking up her hand again.

"That's understandable. At least let me walk you to your dorm," he offered, though he wouldn't accept no for an answer.

They walked to her dorm with a comfortable silence between them. When she stopped in front of her dorm, he stopped in front of her, glancing down with a look that could only be described as adoration. He hadn't a clue what it was about her that allowed her to have this startling affect on him, but he had already convinced himself not to fight it. Micah bent down and kissed her cheek lightly before squeezing her hand and releasing it.

"I'll see you soon, Cecilia," he said with his haunted smile before leaving and heading back to his dorm.

Micah plugged his headphones in an dozed off to the most peaceful sleep that he'd had in ages. He woke mid-morning the next day and tossed off his sheets, ready for the day at hand. He had a government class in a few hours, but wasn't sure if he'd be attending. Classes that didn't pertain to art seemed pointless to him any longer.

Grabbing a large cup of black coffee from the stand, he headed to the art studio and entered his 'studio' without hesitation. He'd had the strangest dream about home the previous night and wanted to get it out of him. Plugging his IPod in, he turned the music all the way up and let the mix his last room-mate had made for him play.

Micah set up his paints and put one of his last large canvases onto the only unoccupied easel and began painting. He hardly seemed concern with the flecks that got on his skin, or clothes, or face, or hair. All his attention was focused on the beach-front, white, old southern plantation that was his home.

[[Haha I loveee pp, it makes life go soooo much faster. But, same here, let me know if I do too much/bug you =]]]

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"Me too," Ben replied with a genuine smile, pulling her body in close to his for a hug before letting her go. "I'll see you then."

He waited as Blake climbed up the stairs, giving her a quick wink as she glanced back at him before entering the building. The walk back to his dorm seemed short, mostly because Ben felt like he was walking on air due to the night out with Blake and the few drinks he'd had. Thankfully, his roommate was passed out in the room, so he wouldn't have to cough up any explanations about what he had been doing. Ben fell asleep just seconds after his head hit the pillow and he slept like a rock until his alarm went off in the morning.

Feeling more energetic than normal, Ben swam for a bit longer than usual before heading back to his dorm to shower and change clothes. After pulling on a pair of jeans and a simple black t-shirt, Ben hopped in his truck and headed in the direction of the barn.

Upon walking into the barn Ben was assaulted with a hug from Blake, which he happily returned with a warm smile. He felt his eyebrows rise up as they neared the huge horse that stood in the crossties; Ben hadn't been this close to a horse in years and he'd forgotten just how big they were.

"Pleased to make your acquaintance," Ben said with mock formality, bowing a little as he reached his upturned hand out under Iggy's nose, to which he received a loud snort from the horse in return. Laughing easily, Ben wiped his hand on his jeans before turning to Blake.

"Of course I'm going to help," Ben replied, a charming half-smile crossing his face. He stepped over to the plethora of grooming tools and picked up a hoof pick and a sweat scraper, holding them up like he was ready to use them although he had no idea what either of the tools actually did. "I'm ready to learn if you're ready to teach."

-------------------------------

Cecilia kept a hold of Micah's hand as they walked to her dorm, enjoying the relaxed silence they held between them. Her only regret was that they seemed to arrive much too soon. When she turned her face up to look at his, she could see the way she felt reflected in his features. The corners of her mouth turned up into a sweet smile and her light eyes twinkled with a warmth that she hadn't felt in a long time. A small sigh escaped her lips as his grazed her cheek, and she returned the squeeze of his hand as he pulled away.

"Bye, Micah," she said softly before heading up to her dorm room.

After a few minutes of deflecting questions from her roommate, Cecilia settled into a quiet and peaceful sleep. When her alarm went off the next morning about twenty minutes late, she rushed through her shower and hurriedly got ready for class, slipping on a pair of khaki shorts and a strappy crimson red tank top. She weaved her long hair into a loose braid over her shoulder as she headed down the stairs and out of the dorm building.

Because she was in a strangely good mood, Cecilia didn't mind the fact that she had to rush across campus to get to class on time; Although she was still about five minutes late, Cecilia silenced her teacher's impending complaints with a charming smile before taking her seat. She entertained herself throughout the monotonous Anthropology lecture by toying with the end of her braid and allowing her mind to wander freely in all directions. When the class was dismissed at 11:00, Cecilia was one of the first out of the building, eager to get away from any academic pressures.

It was a more beautiful day than Cecilia could have imagined, and she found herself appreciating the blue sky and warm sunlight as she slowly made her way to the coffee shop on campus. Since she wasn't in a hurry, she decided to go inside the cafe instead of just grabbing a coffee from the outside stand.

The atmosphere inside was typical of most other coffee shops: Dimly lit and cozy. After picking up a chocolate chip muffin and a peppermint mocha, Cecilia found an armchair by a window and settled down, placing her iPod on shuffle after placing the small buds in her ears. A small, content smile settled on her lips as she picked at her muffin and observed as students went about their business outside. She had always found people-watching sort of fascinating, so it never failed to keep her entertained.

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