Antares While not exactly the only girl taking shop class, Antares' addition is still a noticable shift in the population. So it is perhaps not surprising that Ras hears her voice raised in an argument about bench space a few minutes after work starts that day.
Antares For better or worse, the teacher is occupied giving a pointed lesson in saw blade safety on the other side of the room.
Ras Alhague Ras turns his chair around to face the two combatants. "Hey, could you two keep it... Terry? When did they stick you in here?"
Antares "...which means yeah, dickh--oh, hey, Ras." Her stride broken, Antares kicks back in her chair, sliding across to Ras' table with a parting glare at the other student.
Antares "They had to figure my schedule out. Settled now, even if I'll have to bust some heads to fit in." She looks at Ras. "How's stuff?"
Ras Alhague "Oh, you know. Same ol'." Then he grins. "Well, dealing with girl problems. THAT's new."
Antares "That didn't take long. What's the matter?" Antares jumps on the chance to have someone else's problems to consider.
Ras Alhague "Well, my new girlfriend met my first kiss last night." He pauses. "In my bedroom. It was a bit intense."
Ras Alhague "Don't get me wrong, we're just friends now! But... I'm still not sure how she's handling it."
Antares Antares' face screws up as she tries to sort that out, then she rolls her eyes at his clarification. "Uh, yeah, why the fuck would you put them together in your bedroom if you didn't want a fight? Never mind, I'm not sure I want to know."
Antares "But yeah, dumb idea." She grins.
Ras Alhague "I'm just giving her a place to crash while she sorts some things out. Like I said, we're friends, right?" He shrugs. "Anyway, I'm sure it'll work out, one way or another."
Antares stares at Ras.
Antares "Are you actually that dense, or just pretending real hard?"
Ras Alhague "What? Is there something I'm missing?" He smiles again, kind of self-deprecatingly. "Remember, it has been 4 years without girls."
Antares "God give me strength. Okay, let's start this from the beginning."
Antares "Your new girlfriend, what kind of person is she?"
Ras Alhague "She's strong, when she lets herself be. Most of the time, she pretends she's fragile."
Antares "Is she a doormat?"
Ras Alhague "Not with me she's not. She says she is with others, sometimes."
Antares "Okay. Because she would have to be some kind of fucking well-trod doormat to take it well when her new boyfriend takes her home to his bedroom and has his first kiss waiting there."
Antares considers. "Also true if she was already in said bedroom and the first kiss walked in, though less so."
Ras Alhague "I disagree. There are other reactions on the non-doormat side of things than anger, or jealousy, or anything else that smells of insecurity."
Ras Alhague In a smaller voice, Ras adds, "Whatever happened to trust?"
Antares sits up straighter, eyes gleaming dangerously, then stays quiet for a couple of seconds after Ras' follow-up question. "Ras. Buddy." She lets out a long breath, shaking her head.
Antares "How long have you two been together?" she says, obviously making an effort to put this the nice way.
Ras Alhague "Since the night I got back to school." After a beat. "So, Monday?"
Antares "Okay. How much do you usually trust someone you've known for a couple of days?"
Ras Alhague "Have I told them I loved them?"
Antares just looks at Ras.
Ras Alhague "Okay, even without that, I start off by treating people as I want to be treated - trustworthy. Once I figure out what kind of person they are, then I treat them like they ask to be treated."
Antares "That's really sweet," says Antares in a tone that suggests 'sweet' is the abbreviated version. "However, you are aware that there are other guys in the world, and most of them are cheating assholes, right?"
Ras Alhague "Yeah, most people out there aren't as awesome as me. I do get that."
Antares "Okay. So, after knowing you for two days, if your new girlfriend meets your first kiss in your bedroom and she gets pissed, she is not being insecure, she is being SMART."
Ras Alhague "Guess we'll have to agree to disagree on that." Ras shrugs again. "You speak from personal experience?"
Antares "And if you treat her like she should think it's awesome that you did it, you are being an ASSHOLE."
Antares Antares smirks at Ras affectionately. "Boy School, I'm pretty sure I've been around blocks you've never even heard of."
Ras Alhague "Never said she should think it's awesome. Just that anger shouldn't be an option. Suspicion is smart - anger is irrational." Ras shrugs again. "Anyway, Cassie wasn't the only drama last night. I ran into my old mentor. From Jessup." Now, his face goes pale.
Antares "Anger is irrational? What the fuck kind of--hey," she says, noticing his face and braking herself with an effort. "What's that about?"
Ras Alhague "Wish I knew. Said he'd be seeing more of me "real soon." Me and the girlfriend." Ras visibly suppresses a shudder.
Antares eyes him closely. "You need some help?"
Ras Alhague "I hope not." Ras shakes his head. "But thanks for the offer. I'm not letting him get his hands on me again." He sighs. "Worst part is, he was a GOOD guy, once. Real good. Guess you never can tell..."
Antares "Sure you can," Antares shrugs. "Betting on assholes is always safe money."
Ras Alhague "Won't always be that way." Ras smiles, and this one's genuine. "The world's going to change, Terry. Remember?"
Ras Alhague Ras starts whistling to himself - a theme Antares immediately recognizes. Nobody's supposed to have heard that yet!
Antares "Where did you hear that?" Antares says, too quietly.
Ras Alhague "Just a little something I picked up. Catchy, isn't it?" He keeps whistling, going over a section Antares had been struggling with for weeks, unsure how to score. "It's going to be famous someday."
Antares leans forward and says to Ras softly, "You wanna play mind games with your doormat girlfriend, knock yourself out. Don't do it to me unless you want to eat your fucking teeth." She stands so fast she almost knocks her stool over, then heads for the door without a backwards glance.