I don't think this is done...and I certainly have words to play with, but it's good enough, I hope. I'm interested in all feedback but particularly -- did I get enough close to using the appreciations correctly/usefully.
The order I went for was Cause Trust Test Effect. This was based on a twenty-five word story challenge, which suggested itself as the effect.
I turned around and scanned the quad for whoever had called my name.
There was a couple canoodling on the grass and several people walking down the steps of the science building. And…hold the phone…someone waving, not someone, Mitch Lott. Dumb as it was I turned and looked behind me. No one directly in line with me. I felt like a cliche tapping my chest and mouthing “Me?”
He trotted over and I planted my feet, forcing myself not to run. Try as I might I couldn’t imagine a reason he’d want to talk to me.
His smile rivaled the warmth of the sun, adding to his lickableness.
I shifted my weight and stepped onto the grass sans my flip-flops. I pushed a pulse of power through my soles, bleeding off enough of my nervousness to keep my voice normal. “You know my name?”
“Yeah, sure. We have O-Chem together.”
I swallowed. There were fifty people in that class. “Did you want my notes, or something?”
He cocked his head, like he was truly surprised that I thought he needed my notes. “No, but thanks.”
The wind grabbed loose strands of my hair and tickled my nose with them. I scooped the wayward strands behind my ear. “What did you need then?”
“A date,” he repeated. He slowly lifted his hand to my jaw and closed it. “How about Saturday?”
“Earth to Dot, Earth to Dot.” Ruby waved her hand up and down in front of my eyes.
I blinked, owl-like, uncertain what had just happened.
“What did he want?” She gestured after Mitch Lott’s retreating back. “Dot?”
“A date. He…asked me out.” I shuffled over to a nearby bench and sank down, my knees more wobbly than I cared to admit.
“You told him where to step off, I hope.”
“I said, yes.” My mouth was disturbingly dry. “Why did I say yes?”
“Momentary insanity. You’ve come to your senses though. We’ll just chase him down and tell him never mind.” Ruby pulled me to my feet. “Besides, doesn’t he date Belinda Amhearst?”
I barely felt the earth beneath my toes. I reached down again, seeking the familiar hum the earth made, embracing the solidity of my element. “I don’t think so. Maybe. Didn’t they break-up? Geez, Ruby, his smile lit up a part of my brain that made sparks in my toes, I kinda wanna go.”
She reached out and felt my forehead. “You don’t feel like you’ve got a fever, but you gotta be sick. Why? What could possibly induce you to go out with someone like that?
I considered that. Why? I mean lust was fine and all, but I could do that from afar. Then a good enough reason hit me, “Because I don’t want to be a judgy bitch. I want people to give me the benefit of the doubt,” I gestured to the grey kerchiefed-edged top with lace insets on the sleeves and charcoal harem pants that both said bohemian hippy-chick.,“shouldn’t I do the same?” It was a rationalization, but I didn’t care.
“There’s no way, he asked you out on the up and up. You know that, right”
“He seemed sincere to me.”
“Well, duh. narcissists have charming down pat. He’s angling for something or wants something from you or…I don’t know…is going to kidnap you for sex-trafficking or something.”
“Ruby. That’s ridiculous.”
“Well, okay, that’s a little over the top and you’d prolly turn him into a frog or something, but, gods Dot, I don’t want him hurting you. I don’t trust him.
“I don’t trust him either, but I don’t distrust him.”
“Well, maybe you should.”
When the doorbell rang, I was already on the other side of the door and jerked it open.
“Wow, you look, nice. ” Mitch took my hand and twirled me under his arm. “The color is a little off for you though. But damn that style does great things for you.”
I blanched. Dark blue had always suited me…”Thanks, I think.”
“So I figured we’d go to Sky High for drinks and then Griff’s for some food. Sound good.”
“I’m not really much of drinker.” I closed the door.
“Ah just one, it’ll help you loosen up a bit, melt off some of that frost everyone says you have.”
Hold the phone, “You’ve been talking to people about me? Wait, what frost?”
He gave me another smile that made dusk seem like mid-day. “Don’t worry about it. They don’t mean nothing by it.”
I never thought I figured into anyone’s conversations, hearing otherwise made my stomach tip. If he was trying to keep me off balance it was certainly working.
One Grasshopper later, we were waiting for a table at Griff’s when Ruby slipped in and pointed to the restroom.
“Will you excuse me.”
“Sure. But don’t stay gone too long, Beautiful. Someone might try and steal me.”
“You wouldn’t go.” I teased, hoping the comment came off as playful.
“How’s it going?”
“Ruby, what are you doing here?”
“I just came to make sure everything was going okay.” She primped in the mirror, avoiding my gaze. “So, is it?”
“How’d you know where we were?”
“I might have done a locator spell.”
“What are you really doing here?”
“You’ve got to believe me, he’s up to no good. Test him.”
“Why not? If, he’s five by five, no harm, no foul. I’m just looking out for you.”
Glamoured as Belinda, I sauntered past the table he’d been seated at.
A low whistle followed me. “Belinda?”
“Oh hey, Mitch.” I walked into his space bubble, and teased his ribs with my boobs, with a were they, weren’t they touching him brush. “What are you doing here?”
“I’m a—on a date.” Yay, one point for you Mitch.
“Really? Anyone a I know?”
“Nah, just a nobody.” Ow.
No use wasting time.
“Ditch her.” I quirked up a suggestive eyebrow, promising everything and nothing.
Limerick chanted, spell cast, Ruby and I watched the warty repercussion take over Mitch’s body. “Never,” she admonished, “dis a witch.”
Mitch ribbeted his contrite agreement.