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The Art of Asking

Chapter 2 - Authority

"Authority, when first detecting chaos at its heels, will entertain the vilest schemes to save its orderly facade."― Alan Moore, V for Vendetta

The sun was shining brightly, utter hotness enveloping the students' bodies, making them look like an authentic model of unveiled nerves. June had already had sky-high temperatures, so to be studying in midday was a proper challenge for almost everyone.

Allison Cameron's class was located on the first floor; the wide-open windows were letting heat enter the grand room without any little trace of indulgence towards the occupants of the chamber. Even her old and always-upset form teacher decided to leave all the students alone, offering the possibility to choose what they should do. The major part of them decided to play some stupid, childish games which caused loud laughs and booms to conquer the entire space.

Since she was little, Allison had been a lonely and introverted person, that's why her favorite escape was a book read at the light of a candle; in that moment she could have imagined a steamy cup of hot chocolate with cinnamon lying next to her. A moment of complete leisure was perfect to discover the long-awaited finale of the novel which extorted every drop of energy from her veins. Her eyes were desperately looking for the last lines of the action; she was hooked, completely absorbed in the plot. The happy squeals that escaped her colleagues' mouths were just background music for her; she wasn't really paying any attention to the liberty and freedom that surrounded her.

After long minutes of letting herself drown in the sea of dreams, she managed to renter the real world and to ascertain that her long and slim legs started to ache, and she needed to change her position or to try to walk around and experience a bit of the "happiness fair" that was going on at that moment. When her feet touched the chafed ground, she wondered why she hadn't realize earlier that staying on two desks with the legs up shouldn't be the best way to relax. She walked numbly until she reached her seat and started to dig nervously in her handbag for her bottle of apple juice which looked like was lost in the terrible turmoil. Behind her back the morph turned into a funny contest that required a long rubber band and two people that would actually jump for one full minute. She started to hear the loud sounds that the band produced when it would hit the soil. It looked like a really long whip that was selected from a lousy action movie that involved some pretty women dancing around the main character –cliché-.

Intentionally, she made her way in the room, until she reached the spot where the noisy tramples were almost unsupportable. She just stood there, mesmerized, completely trapped in a past flashback of her childhood, when her favorite activity was the jump rope; she practiced that game until her feet would have been too sore to even move around. Cameron admired the harmonic sequence of fast steps, like she was visualizing the complex paces of a waltz. She was attracted to that foolish game and unconsciously she wanted to take part of it. The rhythm started to increase, so she didn't even sense the fact that a male figure appeared behind her.

"So, are you enjoying the time-off?" an Australian accent inquired, smiling broadly.

Cameron turned to face the speaker, and was surprised to see that Robert Chase was actually talking to her, after the odd circumstances that made her heart melt last week.

"Yeah, definitely!" she answered sharply, pitching her voice a little over the limit.

Chase studied her for a second and then he decided to go and show her that his charming and funny side really exists behind the mask of a nerdy boy.

"I've never seen someone so thrilled in front such a puerile game" he said and aligned himself with her, so that he was seeing only the left side of her face and the aesthetical curve of her little nose.

"I think about my childhood when I see a jump rope. I can't help my excitement!" she confessed, looking like a 5-year old experiencing for the first time a brand new "hide and seek" version.

"Well, I can jump with you, if you don't have an actual partner" he half-joked, receiving from her a pair of wide-open eyes that were expressing naturally her surprise.

"Well, let's see if you can keep the rhythm, little Aussie" she shot back in a playful manner.

"I've learned a lot just by studying kangaroos" he responded, picturing a face filled by adrenaline. This time, she just glanced at him and then started to laugh wholeheartedly, masking her small teeth with her right palm. "Let's play, then!" she exclaimed on an alarming speed.

They took a step forward and waited patiently for the last pair to finish their exercise. Her colleagues' jaws were wide-open in surprise to see them doing something new and involving in the same time a little romance and effort.

In a blink of an eye, one of the holders of the rope had a moment of non-attention and his hand slipped almost entirely, so finally the rope started to balance free. Unluckiness strike exactly in that second and both the bodies were harmed in that incident. Cameron and Chase let out a yelp of pain, they had been hit by the gum rope, and their skin was hurting immensely. When they looked up at each other, they realized that Robert's injury was far worse than her. He had a bloody and bruised ulcer on his upper eye lid and he was definitely struggling to stop the quick flow of blood. Cameron, on the other side, had two deep, purple-colored scratches on both her tights.

After they found an oasis of tranquility, she started mending his lesion. Once in a while, he let out a deaf sound of sorrow, and also a flinch that showed his strong and embossed reflexes.

"Are you sure you are okay?" she asked, looking quite worried.

"I'm fine; you did a great job on bandaging. How about going to nurse school?" he said, revealing the fact that his sense of humor was far away from being dead.

"Not for me. Are you okay?" she asked again; the pressure on her heart started to ease slowly.

"I'm fine, I promise. Now, let's go to the physics class until someone will start rumors" he said, pleased with the fact that they got to be involved in this together.

She smiled back and she lifted herself from the seating position she had stood. Wordlessly, she left the classroom with her unspoken thoughts buried deep in her mind.

Allison quickly grabbed the bottle of alcohol and some cotton walls before heading back to the kitchen where her husband-to-be was leaning on the counter.

"I really don't understand how you manage to cut the same finger every time you try to cook a fancy dinner" she said, frustration rushing through her veins.

"Well, it's not my fault that I want to charm the woman sitting in front of me" he said and then painted a nice grin on his face. Moments later, he let out a small and almost unrecognizable noise cause by the intense tingling.

"Romeo, keep your sweet words for the vows" she responded, laughing slightly, the sound seemed to be alike a harmonic tinkle.

"I've already written them" he stated proudly as he watched his fiancée finishing the bandage by adding one last plaster.

"I'm impressed! Well, I think I should let you deal with the flower arrangement if you are so prepared. And let me finish the sauce, I really need you whole for the wedding" she joked and gently place one of her soft palms on his cheek.

"I still think that nurse school was for you" he alluded to the happy memory that he remembered exactly as it happened year ago.

She laughed and she was fully aware of the fact the her lonely and much too harmed soul came in contact with its kindred spirit and found the balance we are all aspiring to.


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