Damsel in Disgust

Sk8 City 
11 PM

 Minerva was a passenger to her emotions. It was something she was not quite aware of - that her feelings moved the steering wheel, and she was strapped in to go wherever they took her. Tonight was no different, but rather than childish joy, or the heavy grief that had sat on her for many days now, anger drove.

 Anger was not an emotion that Minerva was intimately familiar with, but rather something of an acquaintance. Sparks of it had risen here and there throughout her life - another child taking her toy, a parent denying her the material thing she wanted, a loved one suffering an injustice. This was different. It felt active and hot, ever-present, building pressure in a neat little package deep inside of her. Worries about the recurring nightmare striking again when she went to bed sat far away, overshadowed by dark, shamefully-considered fantasies of doing terrible things in a bid for revenge.

 The skate rink closed in one hour, and anyway it was not very populated at this time on a Tuesday night. She had been here for some time now, taking advantage of the steadily emptying floor as a means to exhaust herself by the time they made her leave. It was a little therapeutic at first - she had to focus on standing properly in the inline skates, had to be mindful of not losing her feet and watching how she stepped to keep from falling over. Now, she had it down to a rhythm that she didn’t even have to think about. Left leg, right leg, left leg, right leg, all in a smooth pattern, torso leaning forward slightly, hands swinging in time at her sides. Not having to be super conscious of her physical movements made it all too easy to slide back into that dark place in her mind.

 Being preoccupied with her unsavory thoughts also meant it was easy to pay less attention to the path before her and make a sudden mistake. And that she did, abruptly slamming into someone as they tried to step into the rink from the carpeted entrance.


If he hadn’t be entirely sure the psychic he’d fed on a while back that might’ve worked here had forgotten anything, Tikanni would’ve considered this place off his radar for life, or least until she seemingly moved or something. As it was, that suggestion had totally stuck and so he was still free to roam the roller skating rink. Just to be sure, he’d kept an eye out and thankfully hadn’t seen her yet.

So, as it stood, Tikanni was going to make the most of the time he had on the rink before it closed. There were upbeat tunes playing he was lightly singing along to while tying the skates that glowed under the occasional fluorescent lights. Finally ready, he carefully stood up and was making his way across the carpet in a scooching foot attempt.

Finally, stepping on the rink, Tikanni hadn't expected someone to suddenly slam into him. Alarm, confusion, what even, all of it washed through him as he let out a, "Oof!" Falling to the ground as his flailed hand in attempt to grip the side was nothing compared to momentum and tripping back on the edge of the carpet. Taking a moment to figure out what had just happened, he blinked and pulled legs and hands closer to himself in an effort to roll to more of a sit and get out of the way of anyone else. ”Sorry,” he apologized while shooting a look up and, oh. He blinked again just to be sure. Minerva?

 The collision was abrupt, and the other person landed with a clatter as Minerva clawed at the wall to keep herself upright - once steady, she put a hand to her chest, where she'd hit the poor guy, sternum aching and... crucifix warm. She blinked, expression one of mild shock as she looked down at the man. Either he was a vampire, or someone else very close by was. Still reeling, there was a temptation to yell at him, to be meaner than she could really manage to be at all.

 Instead, as good at confrontation as she was at math, Minerva managed a small, sheepish smile, closed-lipped and apologetic. "It's my bad, I wasn't paying attention," she assured the stranger. Her heart hammered, immediately nervous at the idea of the supernatural being out and about in this rink. It was eleven o'clock at night, after all, she realized with a nice sprinkling of self-depreciation. Duh. "You okay?" For all her nerves, she could not bring herself to be cruel to him, potential vampire or not. There were other people here, anyway. Surely a vampire would not be so bold to attack here.

It was the oddest thing to have her be here here, as in this place of all places. Of course she could theoretically be anywhere he’d be, but it was just jarring when not expecting it. And with a wave of regret, he realized she’d have no memory of him. Which was, in the end, for the best as a quick ressurange of her scared face came up to remind him as much.

The apology spurred him into action, making to push himself up. ”You’re fine and uh, I think so.”

”At least unless my legs decide to do a bit of an oliver twist, aha.” Trying to stand as best as possible with wheels on his feet, Tikanni shot her an unsure smile at the slow ascent. Arms out, it was managed, albeit shaky until he was fully standing. ”See spiffytastic.” And he shifted his weight and lurched a tad with wide eyes, but was ultimately fine.

 At least the man didn't snap at her or otherwise react to the crash in an ugly way. Instead, he was quick to assure her it was no problem and that he was unharmed. She stood by as he got to his feet, half-tempted to offer a helping hand. She refrained, but smiled a little all the same at his use of the phrase "oliver twist." It sounded familiar, but she couldn't place it - she was more hung up on trying to decide whether or not it was just a goofy pun.

 Spiffytastic, though, was worthy of a laugh. And so she did, a soft sound that came with an expression of wonder. "Spiffy...tastic," she repeated back to him slowly, her typical friendliness tempered by her wary uncertainty. The man seemed nice enough, and she was reminded of Marybeth again... how if he was a vampire, that didn't have to mean he was bad but. What if he was? She didn't know what to do with herself. Maybe it was some kind of sick intrigue that kept her from just skating off.

 "What's your name?" she prompted casually. She hadn't known her attacker's name. It seemed like good information to have.

He got a laugh from her and something in that serious expression she was boasting broke. She was then repeating his word back at him and he smiled. There they go.

Scooching to the side out of the way of anyone else who might be trying to get on and off, he momentarily recalled the name given to her before and hesitated. Did it really matter if he wasn’t going to chomp her? Probably, it still did. ”Will and yours,” he asked, deciding.

”And are you leaving? I think they’re about to do Limbo.” Tikanni made a motion to the floor.

 Will. She’d do her best to lock it to memory. "Minerva," she offered simply, lingering as she found herself stretching unusually for something to say. Words usually came easy when around friendly strangers. Luckily, Will beat her to the punch. She looked over her shoulder at the center of the floor to find they were, indeed, setting up limbo poles.

 "Oh," she said, surprised, grinning a little. She hadn’t played limbo in years. She doubted her flexibility, much less her grace, to execute such a task on skates. But still. She looked back to the young man, feeling braver, and her smile showed a bit of tooth. "I’ll do it if you do."

Yes, he knew her name and, ahhhhhh, this was still weird. Granted, this had happened to him on more than one occasion, what with small towns, but it was ,and forever would be, weird. You could relive conversations like groundhog day, the other none the wiser.

A bigger smile met him when she turned back with a dare offer that had him letting out a bit of a laugh. ”You’re on.” Scooch slide stepping on the carpet for couple of steps, he’d follow onto the rink once she moved.

 There was still a soft hum of fear in the back of her mind - this man could be, or maybe likely was, a vampire. He might feed on human blood to sustain life, or whatever version of life that was. It was nightmarish. But there was also a very persistent sort of feeling that such a fact alone was not a mark of evil. Judging books by their covers and whatnot, right? These two ideals warred against each other, but in the end, Minerva leaned on the knowledge that she could pull out her warmed cross and burn him with it if she had to. If she wanted to.

 She could pretend he was human. Or assume he was. She couldn't be sure what he was just yet. Just a normal human doing a normal human thing, like limbo. It was hard to imagine an undead creature of the night playing a game like limbo. It was, for all the word was feeling repetitive by now, humanizing.

 Minerva turned on her skates with less ease than she had while rolling around earlier, carefully adjusting her feet to carry her over to the lineup. A few other late-night patrons had already come up as well, and Minnie exchanged small smiles with them, tilting her feet against the brakes on the skates to come to a stop, happy to wait patiently. She spared Will an almost shy glance then, and decided that maybe small talk was easier than waiting in silence. "So... do you go late night skating often?" The words felt weak, almost an attempt to help herself decide whether or not he was undead, but... even humans could go late night skating. She was proof enough of that, wasn't she?

Unaware of the internal struggle here besides just trying to skirt the weird personally, he followed into glide after her. Coming upon the line, he stopped, hands in pockets, waiting for the start. She glanced towards him and he blinked back up at her at the question. ”Yeah, when I can. It’s usually less crowded and more glow-darky.” Was that the word? Was there actually a word for that, he had no freaking clue as of this moment.

There was something weird about the way she was holding herself that he was slowly recognizing. Something was just off, but Tikanni couldn’t quite put a finger to if it was just shyness or something else. ”And they have some fun events sometimes.” Moving his feet slightly back and forth to pass the wait, he anxious waited till when the music would start and they'd get to play. Not like he really thought he'd do that well, but it was something fun to do at least. Maybe, he'd pass his personal best.

 So Will was a regular. Or a wanna be regular. To night skating, anyway. Which was not particularly comforting, for all she was still partially torn by the idea that it didn’t have to be a bad thing. She was the one going out at night, knowing what lurked out there, anyway. Stupid.

 Minerva tried to focus on the conversation instead. Normal conversation. Glow-darky. Spiffy-tastic. She could understand struggling for the right words, she supposed.

 The music started abruptly, loud and energetic, as colored lights began to dash across the floor. It was enough to make Minerva jump in her skin slightly, startled, and almost against her own will she laughed sheepishly at herself. Someone called out over the music to get ready, and the girl would gesture toward the poles in an offer for Will to go first. She didn’t want him behind her.

There was a sudden exclamation of jarring music that had him jumping, but he was fine. It seemed Minerva had also been a tad spooked and he laughed a bit good naturedly. ”Me too,” he tried to say over it, not sure if she’d catch it.

They were getting ready to go and it seemed she wanted him to do so first. Okay, if she insisted. People were going smoothly through so far, the first rung really just being a trial in if you could duck your head and go in a straight line. When it came to his turn, Tikanni breezed through without a sitch, going back around while watching to see how Minerva did.

 The first rung was always easiest. Minerva watched Will go under first with no problems, and hoped for the best for herself. All that childhood gymnastics and the current occasional yoga practice had to mean something, right? For a moment, all worries evaporated under the concern of getting this right, and with special attention to her feet and her head, she found herself passing under with no problems. She wondered if the same could be said after a few lower bars. She skated back to Will with a small grin, watching the bar get lowered for the next round. Minnie had never been very competitive, but the desire to win was creeping up on her now.

And she did it with flying colors. Waiting for his turn again, he offered her an encouraging smile. It was only going to get harder from here. As the next bar got lowered and put in place, the song changed to a familiar upbeat polka dearly loved by all, the Chicken Dance. He looked to her and raised a brow. ”Heyyy.” Tikanni put arms out before beginning to do the motions to said dance with a bit of a laugh. Might as well have fun with it.

Soon enough, it was up to him again and he skated forward, still dancing as it slowly increased in pace. Bending a bit forward, he wobbled a bit after correcting a hip swing, but it was achieved.

 The chicken dance? Really? Minerva's face split into a big dumb grin in spite of herself, laughing as Will flapped his arms and twisted his body in time to the silly song. It was endearing - hard to imagine evil and goofy going hand in hand. Normally, if she was feeling comfortable, Minerva would hardly be above breaking into the dance herself - tonight, it was just a little too much for her to get into, even as several other participants wiggled and waved the way that Will did. Instead, she just sort of, bobbed her head to the peppy rhythm of the song, grinning to herself as she bent her knees to make it under the pole. The next time it was lowered made it feel like the stakes were getting a little high. "Think you can dance and back bend at the same time?" she called to Will over the music.

Minerva wasn’t dancing along and that was fine, to each their own, but at least she was smiling, seemingly having a good time. He was determined to have at least this go round of their meeting be a lot better and so far so good.

Back in line and they both watched the pole move. Now it was time for business! Turning attention to Minerva as he heard her speak up, he laughed a bit. What an ask. ”Absolutely,” he agreed.

And when it came time for him to skate forward to go, the song had picked up even more as he fell into dance again. ”Watch this,” Tikanni raised a brow and then focused at the task dare at hand. Arm out, arm out, arms in, chicken flap, all while rolling forward with easy steps. And then Tikanni bent backwards under the pole right as he had to move his hips. There was a shift in weight back andddd he lost his balance. Hands immediately shot out and he instinctively tried to right himself causing the pole to be hit and fall. Realizing his mistake, Tikanni righted himself only to stoop and pick it up and offer it back to the referee. Out, he sent a sheepish look over to Minerva with a shrug. ”You’ve got this,” he called over the music before, skating out of the way to watch, wondering how long she’d last.

 Well, he was certainly confident! Minerva was slowly relaxing into the simple joy of all this, watching with a small smile and folded arms as Will danced toward the pole. He totally had this, didn’t he?

 Nope. Just kidding. Will flailed as his weight dropped, and Minerva tensed up with some sort of instinct to catch him, even though that was not really possible from this distance. A hand covered her mouth in a halfhearted attempt to cover her toothy grin at his expense. Sorry, Will.

 With his vote of confidence in hand, she coasted up to the rail and put a bend in her back to clear it. There were mere inches between herself and that pole, and even with some silly feeling of victory, she wasn’t sure how much longer she would last. Still, feeling a little more like herself, she would come back around to get in line, but not without offering Will a high-five in passing.

Tikanni watched as she then went up and managed to get through with a simple bend of her back. See, if he hadn’t taken the dare there was a good chance Tikanni might’ve made it. But, he had had fun.

Having made it, she came over and he gave her a high-five back, cheering her on.

 Okay. This was fine. Will might be a vampire! But he was being nice, and they were surrounded by people, and she had beat him, which felt absolutely not nice to think. But boy did she need a win.

 So on she went, and as the bar got lower, people go more creative. She managed to get under five more rungs, through to the last round - it was just her and one other girl, nearly as thin as the pole with cropped hair and big eyes. They were both giggling by now, with no real tension, and Minerva went first - she very nearly would have to lay down to get under it. But she didn’t make it! She bumped the pole off its tracks, and the small crowd of people cheered for the remaining woman who stood as victor. Minerva, in spite of herself, would give that woman a high five, and make her way back to Will.

 "Sorry you went out so early," she said to him with a soft, crooked grin.

Tikanni watched, cheering her on as she went, fully considering leaving soon. No one wanted a repeat of last time and that was an internal promise for tonight. But then, it didn’t seem like he was having the same issues of smelling psychic too long, even around so many others, despite the last time he ate. What. Even. So he waited, told himself at each rung he’d leave and each time, no issue, even if the ac gusted scents towards him. So he stayed, finding some weird ground. It was like there was a sudden awareness of more space to stretch after so long of being confined to a tiny box. This was different, but a good different, and something he hoped wasn’t a fluke.

Soon, it was Minerva versus another girl and they were going to have to get pretty low as time passed. And it all came down to almost laying down on skates andddd she did it! Clapping, Tikanni fully expected that they’d leave their separate ways then. But instead, she came back around and offered a grinning apology. Waving a hand, he smiled back. ”Ha, I shouldn’t have been so fluky. You did amazing though! I can’t believe you managed that last one.”

 Minerva wasn't sure why she apologized at all except some knee-jerk need to be compassionate, or something. It wasn't like she'd made him fail! But still, the feeling was there, even as the cross under her shirt warmed earnestly against her skin as she came to stand near him again. It had to be him. "Thanks," she said quietly, maybe a little sheepish as she spoke. "Guess we could have a rematch some time." That was... safe, right? Maybe it was real, real stupid, to extend that kind of open door to someone she was almost certain was a vampire. But with people around, in a public space like this, what could go wrong?

At the offer, he let out a bit of a laugh. ”Absolutely! I’m always down.” A daring smile lit up his features and he toyed with the idea before just taking the leap of faith. Even if tonight was a fluke, he could hold himself in check if plans were made before hand.

”You can shoot me a ring sometime and teach me all your limbo master ways. Here.” Rummaging for his phone in a pocket, he brought it out and tapped to the new contact screen before holding it out for her.

 Oh! Minerva hadn’t expected him to want to exchange phone numbers. It sounded an alarm in her head, made her a little nervous, but saying no seemed so rude. It rubbed up against her wobbly, blurry boundaries. This was safe, though. Just phone numbers. She didn’t ever have to text him, or give him a ring. And she could always demand that they meet in a public space like this. It was fine!

 Carefully, she would take the phone from him and enter her name and number. "Just shoot me a text so I’ll know who you are," she said quietly, lacking her usual enthusiasm as she handed it back to him, but not without a smile.

There was that weirdness to her again and it made him wonder if for some reason his memory was botched in regards to how bubbly she’d been before. Maybe, she was just tired? It was late after all. Still though, he took the phone back and smiled back at her. ”Of course.” Tapping, he added a fish emoji after her name before going into messages and making a quick message back, careful as he wrote out the fake name, and it was sent.

Hi, this is Will :D
Unknown Number

Pocketing his phone, Tikanni put hands into pockets before considering the rink briefly and then back to her. ”I’m going to head back out there, get my spinach worth and all, aha. You heading out still?” Even though he somewhat wished she wasn't, Minerva definitely had been going somewhere before they bumped into each other.

 Her phone buzzed almost immediately in her pocket, and even though she was sure it was him, she pulled it out to look at it anyways. Yep, it was Will! Complete with a smiley face. She wondered how old he was. She moved to put her phone away again, looking up as he spoke. He was going back to get his spinach worth, and she sort of grinned again for the funny phrases he kept busting out.

 "Yeah, I'm gonna get out of here," she said with a little sigh. "It's getting pretty late for me." A part of her wanted to stay, but she was just feeling too unsure of herself. So, assuming she had enough bravery (or stupidity) to reach out to him in the future, they could become better acquainted. In public. With other people. "Nice to meet you, Will. See ya." If there was nothing else, she would turn away from him to make for the exit so she could book it to her car.

Yep, it was getting pretty late for the normal everyday joe. "Nice to meet you too. Have a safe trip back," he beamed. Nice to meet her again, without a mistake that still made his stomach sour. Hopefully, whatever was dragging her down would solve itself though.

He waved as she left and took one last look before going back into the rink to skate some more.

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