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TheAbsurdist

Perfect[ed] Form

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September 15th, 3ish PM, the pool.

 

Corinne Conrad was focusing.  Visualizing what would come next, running it through her mind as she swung her arms at her sides, slowly working herself up to the next step.  Which was going to be tricky, she had to use her powers.  But then, they wanted people to demonstrate that, so... here she was.  Trying, away from others.  Or at least the classes.

 

In her swimsuit, with her back to the pool at the side, water running off of her already from the previous efforts, and time in the pool.  Then came the easy part, the physical part.  The standing leap into the air, before the balls of her feet struck it like it was solid, a surface to find purchase, and she then pushed off that shimming step, and away, as she carried through a perfect arch to find herself in a handstand in midair, halting her momentum, before she worked herself into position on her hands, before allowing herself to fall forward, and into a frontflip to complete the movement and dive into the chlorinated water.

This was not the first.  Her arms screamed in protest, but this wasn't something she listened to before, so why would she start doing it now?  Regaining her bearings she moved through the water, back to the side of the pool, and surfaced, gasping and blinking the water out of her eyes.

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"Oh, hi, Corinne." Looking up, she saw Judy Smith standing above her - her long hair carefully hidden away beneath a black swimming cap that matched the colors of the dark one-piece bathing suit she wore. "Ah guess it's just you and me in the pool today. That was real pretty!" she said,  pointing to the spot where Corinne's power had just manifested. "Ah've never seen you do anything like that before." 

 

"Corinne has lots of interesting powers," added Ashley Smith, appearing by the water's edge next to her sister. "I'm going to hang back and work on calculus. You do your thing." She shot a skeptical look down at Corinne, then took a few steps away from the water. In her leather jacket and jeans, she didn't look to be ready for swimming. 

 

"Don't mind her," said Judy as she carefully reached for the ladder. "Ah just have to do laps today. Safest way to exercise," she added, a little bleakly. "You wanna take a break from what you're doing?" 

 

"

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She blew out air, spraying some water from her face and nose, before nodding, and rubbing at her nostrils between her thumb and finger a few times.  "She's protective," she said with a safe nod, before she pulled herself up, and twisted to set down on the edge of the pool.  "Sure thing."

Then a pause as she looked up where she had been, already correcting herself, and the mistakes she made, and then she shrugged a little bit, "Just need to practice.  I mean they do grade on that, it's easier if I practice while doing other stuff, so... yeah."  She smiled ruefully, as she dipped into a more relaxed chuckle, as she turned her head to look back to Judy.  "Yeah, I can do lots of pretty stuff, I guess."  She shrugged a little bit, before letting her eyes wander away, and then blinked a bit, "I don't think we've ever been formally introduced, I am Corinne Conrad."  She leaned over and reached out her right arm out towards her.

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"Hi, I'm Judy Smith," said Judy, shaking her hand with the one not clinging to the side of the pool. She had a Southern accent, but not as thick as Lulu's - and more education when she spoke. "Ah'm supposed to do laps," she said, almost apologetically. "It's the best way for me to exercise." It sounded like a sentence she'd been told by other people, a sentence she didn't necessarily approve of. "Let's get down to-I mean, uh, let's get going!" Pushing away from the side of the pool, she began a slow, careful backstroke, the mark of someone who'd perhaps swam a lot but mostly in a formal setting. "So you're a senior this year, right? You must know a lot about Claremont!" 

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Corinne took her hand for a moment, and then released it, not being weird.  "I'm supposed to do a lot of things."  She managed a sly grin and then shrugged, "I mean..."  She trailed off, and glanced towards Ashley, before she slowly gave chase after the girl, moving with an easy sort of grace after her, not nearly as confined, and this was easier than doing hand stands on air.  "Mostly I do dance, sooooooo..." she made a face at this, "I don't have to do other exercises, but I do, gymnastics, running, skateboarding, I like doing things.  I love dance, and, like that's most of my life, so some of the other stuff doesn't get done?"

She wore a one piece that was school issued, because despite her tendency to thumb expectations, and rules, she really didn't push hard on the uniform, unless she was irritated.  She was careful with her words, clearly not wanting to push at Judy too much, and really not wanting hers pushed.  The girl had already seen the tall teen's temper flare, and she might not have put her and Zenith as the 'same person,' so she respected bounds, and Judy seemed pleasant.


Especially in comparison to her sister, who was all bristles and growls.  Admittedly, that made Corinne want to hug her.

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"Dancing is nice, Ah-um, Ah've known people who were great dancers." She paused for a moment, almost lost her place in the water, then resumed swimming. "Ah used to ride horses," she said, "but they don't have a good equestrian program here, and we can't go that far outside the city just for me." She fell silent for a little while after that, conducting a full lap, tense at having said so much about herself before she said, "Ah heard they're gonna do target shooting with the intramural teams, that'll be nice. Don't tell Ashley," she said with a wink, "but Ah'm actually a better shot than she is." She knew that to be true, target practice with her erstwhile sister having been one of several means of bonding they'd tried. 

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Laughed softly, it was more of a chuckle, as she had a smoother alto voice, as befitted her stature.  "Mm, I promise I wont Judy.  I mean, your sister doesn't talk much, and we're on different squads, so I think your confession is safe.  Just like it's safe that we're not going to be having a dance off, I mean, I've already be accepted into Julliard for their dance department.  However, I would probably embarrass myself with target shooting or... what did they call it?  Close quarters combat?" She made a face, and didn't remark when Judy had a metaphorical stumble.

She rolled onto her back, and arched it, so that she could float there suspended in the water with no issue as she looked at her, as she did a lazy backstroke.  "How do you like it here?"

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"Oh, the teachers are all very nice," said Judy immediately, "and there are lots of nice people. Ah think Ah'm actually getting to know people, and that's good." Aware of what she hadn't said, she finally said, "Did you know a lot of super-people before you came here?" she asked. "Like, did you grow up around them?" When she got a negative response to that, she said, "Ah saw a few superheroes when, uh, Ah was a kid, but Ah'm from a totally different world." She swam, then stopped for a breath at the end of the pool. "Almost everybody here acts like their powers are some wonderful gift from God. Even the nice girls like Danica, this is the best thing that ever happened to them." She clutched the side of the pool, then said, "My powers ruined my life. The only reason Ah'm here is because Ah needed help not dying from them, or hurting anybody else." There were other reasons, but she sure as hell wasn't going to share those with Corinne only a few minutes after learning her last name. 

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She shook her head at the questions, and then she laughed, though it was more a bitter sort of sound, that she didn't really have the capacity to contain.  In there, Corinne stopped looking at Judy, and she started the edge of the pool that she was gripping on to.  "No, no, I grew up around my mum and dad.  I mean, that was weird, cause they are in Hollywood... but yeah, my powers kinda exploded in my mom's kitchen... so..."  She trailed off, looking to the middle distance now.

 

Corinne was silent for a long moment before shaking her head, and blinking as she looked back to Judy.  "I get it.  I mean, I guess I can do cool things.  But, it isn't my life, it isn't something I wanted, or prepared for... it's like an alien world I got jettisoned on...  And it keeps threatening to kill the dreams I want.  And no one seems to get that here..."  Then a rueful smile that part classical art, part inordinate charm as she looked conspiratorially, "Well, okay, I guess not no one anymore."

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"Was...was she okay?" asked Judy, in a voice so quiet she was almost inaudible over the sound of the sloshing water in the pool. She looked away, and was actually silent, torn between the truth and a lie, before she said, "Ah think the worst part is that Ah'm not really that powerful. Ah mean there are people here who can fly, or do magic, or go visit their father in Asgard or whatever. All Ah can really do is spy on the radio and hurt people without meaning to." 

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She looked down at the water, tucking her chin towards her throat, "She... yeah.  Yeah she is fine.  And now I am here."  Lifting her head, Corinne looked at the girl, and nodded.  It wasn't a question that Corinne asked when she met people here, or elsewhere.

She didn't want to know, she didn't want it intruding anymore than it had on her life.  She reached out to Judy with her free hand and placed it on her shoulder, for a gentle squeeze.  "Even if it's cool, or powerful, doesn't mean it's wanted.  Especially when it changes things."  A small smile on her face, reassuring, as she lifted her eyebrows a little, trying and spark something positive towards the girl.

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Judy smiled back. "...thanks, Corinne." and they went back to swimming - managing several more laps before Judy had to take a break. She wasn't out of shape as such, but she obviously didn't have much experience with sustained physical exertion. Sitting on the side of the pool, she dangled her feet in the water, looking down at it curiously. Ashley was watching them, and from not too far away where she leaned negligently against the gym wall. "Least Ah don't try to drink the pool water," she murmured to herself, almost inaudibly. Louder, she said, "So what's fun to do at this school? Ah mean really?" 

"

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"You're welcome Judy."  She swam along, keeping pace with Judy, as it was clear she had done this more, though she would be pushing at her own limits soon enough, from her earlier efforts.  Corinne followed, and put her hands on the edge of the pool to pull herself out, and turned to sit on the concrete next to her the girl.  "Eh, you'll get it, I mean, if it helps the gym has ellipticals and bikes, just hit those up."  Judy could see all the bruises on Corinne's legs, and some abrasions from all the things she did. Given she was commonly sight around campus practicing her acrobatics, dancing, or just skateboarding or jogging.

Lifting her head she looked at her, "You're doing fine."  She said it gently, and then came that question.  "There is plenty to do... I guess.  I mean, I get like two hours to myself a week, so I am a bad example, because I take dance, and that is four or six days a week.  Depending.  Enough I gotta play catch up.  But there is a music room, I go there and play on some drums, there are plenty of art supplies, and like you can watch movies in the common room, or do video games.  I leave the school as much as I can, but I am already going to be skirting the new rules, because some practices go past curfew."

She drew in a deep breath, as she glanced to Ashley, aware that stuff was being kept from her, but she assumed it was normal -well for here at least- stuff.  "So what do you like to do?"

 

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"Riding and shooting," said Judy immediately. "Ah used to love to do that - but they don't have good horses around here, and they keep all the guns under lock and key. Ah might join the shooting team for intramurals, Ah heard that's gonna be a thing this year." She smiled thinly. "Ah like to sing too, but Ah don't think Ah have the same tastes in music as most of the girls here." She set her hands on her lap and looked out at the water. "Ah know people think Ashley's why I don't socialize with people as much as other girls do, but Ah...there are a lot of things Ah'd have to talk about, with my powers, and everything else...but maybe I should go out and watch movies in the common room, or something. Ah watched a lot of old movies when I was growing up, maybe there's retro night or something." 

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"I mean, like, like... I listen to both kinds of music, country and western."  She said, with a bit of a sly grin on her face, looking at Judy conspiratorially.  Not that she expected her to get that specific reference, as they were a bit further than 106 miles from Chicago.  And then she leaned towards the girl, and wrapped an arm around her shoulders, and hugged the shorter Judy against her side.  If there was a concern, she didn't seem to care.
 

"It's okay, I don't like talking about mine much either."  She said it simply, not needing to embellish the point. "I got lots of movies, and I don't have a roomie right now, so if there isn't stuff there you can come and hang out.  Just don't mind me stretching or painting, or my hedgehog Percival."

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