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we build castles with our fears
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Alethea was oblivious to Tristan’s awareness of her chest, but not oblivious to his position on her bed. She fought down her blush with an effort, training her attention on the immediate task of dispatching Charles. She could feel the prince’s eyes roaming over her things, far more acutely than she could feel his eyes on her actual body. What had she left on her nightstand? Anything…embarrassing? She dared not look. Come on, it’s just basic beauty products, she tried to reassure herself. Nothing too…hopelessly girly.

It was a relief when they were distracted by the subject of her…erm…attack.

At least he seemed unharmed. Tristan rubbed at the spot where their foreheads had collided, but Thea was suspicious that he did it for effect. The bump on her own head was concealed by her hair and throbbed a little, but not bad enough that she wanted to draw attention to it. “Well, I have heard that there are planets where a head-butt is a sign of affection,” she equivocated with a smirk that conveyed more confidence than she felt. She cocked her hip and rested her hand on it. “Do you mean to tell me it didn’t do the trick?” When she’d resumed her course to the desk and her tidying efforts, she caught a whiff of his boozy-breath and raised an eyebrow. What have you been up to?

“A few more drinks, you mean?” she inquired, but her tone was playful. With a wry smile, she swiped several pages of scribbled diagrams into the wastebasket beside her desk. Her heartbeat was picking up speed, keeping pace with her racing thoughts. Tristan was inviting her out? Not a date or anything, nothing so obvious, but out with him and his friends? Boys, even…not other girls that she’d have to compete with for his attention…“Poor Chris, he’s hardly a match for you. I suppose I’ll have to come to his defense.” She casually retrieved her wallet, then dropped her knapsack beside the desk and grinned a little wickedly as she breezed toward the door, lacing her arm through his. “Lead the way?”

Alethea didn’t know exactly where this sudden burst of confidence had come from. Perhaps it was the effort of distracting him from asking about why she’d been avoiding him, or asking about where she’d been headed when he’d arrived. Perhaps it was to keep herself from asking about Meghan, or Hannah, or any of the other girls she’d seen fawning over him. Was she fawning, she wondered? Thea knew she was verging on it, with her forwardness and flirting…but it felt better, somehow, to just treat him like she treated other boys. To pretend she wasn’t worried.

As she followed him through the halls and across the grounds, she clung to that fearlessness like a lifeline.



ooc: Thea is very good at cards and logic games ;)
Also, it's much easier to write her when I've had a drink? Heh...

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