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Last Girls, Chapter Five


  10:11:00 pm, by Nic Wilson   , 1282 words  
Categories: Last Girls

Last Girls, Chapter Five

?Jerk,? Betsy said, stomping on a protruding stick.
?Why do I think this is about more than a twig poking you?? Kelly asked.
?Because you're not as dumb as you look,? Betsy retorted, and grinned. ?Though it's hard finding leggings this color of deep purple that also fit my stubby legs, so I could be.?
?Stubby? Your legs are awesome, perfectly proportional. Or were you just fishing??
?Not for that, no. But they are, at least as far as purchasing leggings. Though I appreciate the compliment.?
?But purple??
?I forget how not a nerd you are- and how square that actually makes you.?
?Isn't this weekend all about making me feel warm and welcomed.?
?Gentle ribbing is part of our camaraderie. And I love that you're a square, because it makes me look even cooler standing next to you. Plus I get to have knowledgeable conversations with you about nerd ephemera, without either of us having to wear a talking hat. Purple is for Psylocke, my girl.?
?I guess I just always figured you of all people would aim higher than slutty ninja.?
?But Psylocke- also the reason I prefer Betsy, by the way- kicks ass. Yeah, sometimes in comics you have to separate the male sexual fantasies that go into costume design from the awesome women who fill out the uniforms. But especially being the daughter of Japanese and British parents, there aren't a lot of role models for me- and fewer still who are awesome enough to hang out with Wolverine as a one of the X-Men, or the even more awesome X-Force. Besides, there's a big ass difference between giving it away and just flaunting your martial-arts-toned fanny,? she said, shaking her tushy.
?I thought fanny meant-?
?I Americanized it for you.? She stopped. ?You.?
?Have you decided to exchange withering barbs with another fallen tree branch?? Kelly asked.
?No. I just realized you were using my own nerdery against me. I bet you remembered all of that crap about Psylocke.?
?You've only told me a hundred times. Fifty before we watched Apocalypse.?
?You just wanted me distracted from my jerk.?
?We can totally talk about him... I've just learned with you that when you're that pissed off, you don't so much talk as rant in an infinitely ramping spiral.?
?You knowing me so well is ruining my mystique.?
?That's the blue naked chick, right? I'm not sure how I'm ruining that.?
?She isn't naked... outside of the exploitative movies.?
?I'm pretty sure you made me watch a cartoon where she wasn't exactly the most-dressed woman in it.?
?That's fair. But also not the mystique I meant, which I'm pretty sure you're now doing on purpose. And I'm calm. You don't have to keep distracting me from my angst.?
?I think we're just in a thing, now; not sure I could pull out of this tailspin if I wanted to.?
?Though for the record you don't. I just... I know I'm great. I'm on the President's roll every semester, earned a boatload of scholarships, I know I look good and... the gulf between the things that I know and how I feel actually gets bigger when Angel does that to me. Because it plugs into every time my helicoptering mother told me how soft and flabby American I was becoming, how I'd be worst in my class if I was getting her kind of education. And even dad... I think he's just British enough that he feels like his genes should have been able to conquer my Japaneseness; that he feels like it makes him a bad colonialist that I don't have his eyes or his hair. He flipped extra when I dyed it purple. The upkeep, ugh. My hair grows too fast and way too black to keep it purple. Much simpler to just streak it, or, when I'm really lazy, just use clip-ins.?
?You're straying,? Kelly said.?
?Whoops. Most of the time, Angel's a source of pride. He might not be the sharpest tack, but he's smart enough to be clever, and he's kind, and sweet, and thoughtful, and he has abs I could melt on, and pecs that are like perfect meat pillows. And a face that... well, his name is accurate. And Betsy dated Angel for a while in the comics, which is just extra whipped nerd cream for the top of my pie. But he's enough of a package that I usually feel like landing him is another mark in my favor, that it's not that I'm punching above my weight, but that he's a good match for me. And in most things... I think that's true. But then when he starts shoving me around, it feels like maybe he thinks he settled, and that-?
?I know,? Kelly said, ?sends you down your usual shame spiral. Your mother, by the way, continues to be a colossal cunt. And your dad a racist bag of dicks. Who love you- but that doesn't make up for the shit they heaped on you- or at least doesn't make all that okay.?
?And I think what drives me craziest over it is I shouldn't be insecure. I really do know how awesome I am. The only arguably less spectacular thing about me is how huge of a comic dork I am- but anyone who doesn't want that sauce on their burger is totally free to order someplace else, because I love that about me. But it's like I'm programmed to be insecure, that it's an easy slope for me to slide down. And it worries me how effortlessly and even unconsciously Angel seems to be able to shove me down that path.?
?You ever talk to him about it??
?Kind of. Obliquely.?
?So, mostly no, with a side of, 'If I were to pretend he were a different person with several factors more emotional intelligence perhaps he could have read between the lines.'?
?See? Why can't we insert your emotional intelligence into a body with his muscles. And hair. And face. And charm.?
?I'm charming,?
?Girl charming, which is different. And his butt. Abs. The leg muscles just below the butt. The ones in front of those. His-?
?I can tell you're circling, and I want to interrupt you before you hit your bullseye and scar me forever.?
?Why would that scar you? It's not like he's your brother.?
?I've known him long enough he feels like of like a cousin or something. But still, please stop. He already has a predilection for taking off his shirt and wearing too-small-on-a-guy mankinis. Leave me the sanctuary of that little fig leaf of imagination.?
?You don't know what you're missing, but okay.?
?Thank you. And, maybe, from the girl who just lost her high school sweetheart to slut or possibly sluts unknown, you'll want to take this with a grain of salt, but if you don't want to miss out, you should talk to him. Angel is proud, stubborn, and often a jerk- but I think he'd try not to be a jerk for you. And sometimes even that much of a compromise is enough to preserve your sanity. And if not, you can always assassinate him in the night time.?
?I studied karate, not ninjitsu. And even that's not as assassination-focused as the lore would have you believe.?
Another stick snapped nearby, behind them. Kelly's head shot back in the direction of the noise. ?Crap,? she muttered. ?It's Alan. I'm, uh, going to go gather wood over here. Just tell him I'm fine, little banged up, but okay. I was braced against the wheel so it didn't get bad.?
?Just don't go too far. Wouldn't want you getting lost.?

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