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Awkwardness Squared
(2013-05-11 - 2013-05-11)
Alma thought she was the most awkward person working for Souji. Then she saw Minette's room.
Minette Odam There is not much space on the Ame-no-Torifune. Space on airships is always at a premium because of the very delicate weight ratios that must be balanced to maintain flight. And as the airship is serving as the Murasame Zaibatsu (or at least what is left of it)'s corporate office, it is often crowded. But against all odds and expections, Minette Odam has become one of the most powerful people in the syndicate as it's chief accountant. The financial success or failure of the company literally rests upon her shoulders. Thus, in an overcrowded airship, she has her own office AND her own quarters.

They also 'happen' to occupy the exact same cubic feet. Minette was told this was for 'convience'. It was a lie.

Minette's cabin is, as far as cabins go, small and cramped because it must pull double-duty as a living space and working space. The room is dominated by her desk, a sturdy wooden thing covered with a cluttered mish-mash of papers, unintelligibly scrawled notes, and spreadsheets of numbers. It is all arcane to the uninitiatied, but Minette swears she has 'a system'. Her computer is pushed off to one corner; it looks seldom used as the keys on the keyboard are still pleasantly laminated. There is an abacus on the desk as well; it looks heavily used as the beads are worn down. It is worth noting that the chair sits with it's back towards the door.

Shelves, drawers, and boxes line the walls, stuffed with official documents and Minette's personal effects. No action figures are to be seen; Minette still insists that she has no action figures nor would she play with such even if she had them, which she doesn't. There are dirty plates and bowls with half-eaten meals from several days past strewn about and a pile of plastic bottles from various kinds of sodas accumulating in the corner. The place hasn't been cleaned in at least a week and kind of smells a little.

There is no bed as Minette is a very traditional Levitani and sleeps in a hammock strung from the cieling. She is, in fact, sleeping in it right now. It's 9am. Minette is still curled up in her hammock, wearing her cotton cactaur-print pagamas, one arm wrapped around her plush chocobo toy/pillow, and a little bit of drool hanging down off of her lips.

The door is unlocked.
Alma Hyral Her trip to Narshe had almost been disastrous, but she was pleased with the results. However, she suddenly had an odd feeling of foreboding that she couldn't shake.. As if some angry deity were about to smite her with their disapproval. She'd returned to the Ame-No-Torifune without incident, and actually was well rested after her little sojourn away. Her own quarters was simply a bunk in the section of the ship that was cordoned off for the female employees' living space. She needed no office, given that her office was outside, under the stars. That is where she did all of her research, through a telescope, and upon a laptop. Despite the rumors going around the office that she was simply an unpaid intern who got the job purely because of her last name.. she was actually well-paid. She just served as /cook nun/ as some had dubbed her, and /intern/ as others had done so because she was a complete doormat.

All of this gave the younger girl a distinct impression.. that Minette, despite being a longsuffering and most mistreated employee of the the Murasame Zaibatsu was far more important than the treatment let on. She had her own office, she had her own living space. Some measure of privacy. The company's financial success rested on her. She also felt a sort of kinship for her as it felt like Minette was bullied just as much as she was, albeit for different reasons.

And so, while she didn't know Minette all that well except for a few chance encounters, and radio conversations, she allowed her to take advantage of her services on a constant basis, without complaint. She always delivered Minette coffee, which was actually always fresh and today kept in a Thermos. She made her lunch every day that she was on the Ame-No-Torifune. Sometimes she even made her breakfast. Today was one of those days, as she had cooked bacon, eggs, and cheese on a Ramuha style muffin. It was covered over by foil on a small plate.

Alma herself wasn't wearing her usual dowdy white mage robes. Instead she was wearing the dress Seloria made for her, with a tasteful light wrap over the shoulders. Her hair wasn't in a bun, but actually allowed to hang freely. She barely looked like herself. She'd never worn anything but the robes, or her Alexander Academy uniform before during her adolescence. Never thought of herself as anything but ugly.. And so she was incredibly self-conscious about the new /look/ but she thought to give it a try. She just had to be more careful on her feet.. she wasn't just not graceful on her feet, but she was an absolute klutz. She didn't want to ruin the dress on her first day wearing it. And so she'd walk with measured steps up to Minette's office, knock lightly on the door, and open it.

If Minette remained asleep, she'd then creep up to her desk, and set the plate and the thermos down. And if Minette was /still/ asleep by this point, then she'd actually start trying to tidy up.. not the documents, or papers, or notes mind you. Just the plates with crusty half-eaten food, stacking them to take them away.
Minette Odam Minette does not wake upon the knocking at the door. When Alma pokes her head in the door, Minette snorts a few uneven snores and rolls over in her hammock. Her left leg falls over the side and hangs limply; it's a wonder the rest of her doesn't follow to the deck.

Alma starts cleaning up a little, going above and beyond the call of duty. Minette's meals come in two varieties, 'fast food' and 'scrapped togather'. She rarely finishes everything she puts on her plate and a the oldest of those present are actually starting to develop black growths on week-old fried eggs. It makes one wonder, 'how can she live like this'? And if the room is any reflection on Minette herself...

"No, Souji..." Minette announces suddenly, talking in her sleep, "I don't wanna meet Tira, don't make me..."
Alma Hyral The girl makes faces at some of the plates, but doesn't stop cleaning up. She doesn't even stop to wonder why Minette lives like this. She presumes its some symptom of the mistreatment of her. She made a mental note to offer to clean up her office to on occasion.

And then Minette says... that name. The girl is startled, nearly dropping all the plates outright, which shift in her arms with a clatter of ceramic on ceramic. She stares at Minette, wide-eyed. It didn't suprise her that she /knew/ her sister, they were in the same class after all.. but the fact that she was /dreaming/ about not wanting to meet her sister truly did suprise her. Not only was it just a matter of.. well, why were her dream's focusing on Tira? But.. also, why did Minette not have any desire to /meet/ her in her dreams?

The girl took a few measured steps closer to the bunk, trying to listen in.
Minette Odam Dreams are funny things; little understood and mysterious. Though they can contain memories a person has forgetten, the dream itself is rarely remembered long after the sleeper wakes. Minette tosses and turns a bit without saying anything more; whatever's going on in her brain isn't a very pleasant dream, or maybe she's just a restless sleeper. Most people can't understand how sleeping in a hammock can be comfortable, though the truth is that it isn't, it's merely something one gets used to. The next time Minette speaks, it's to announce, "Don't know how... the sahaguin got in... closet." So that's not helpful.
Alma Hyral The girl really wouldn't understand anything about dreams. Her own dreams were fleeting shadows in her mind, that she couldn't even grasp ahold of the fragments. She didn't talk in her sleep that she was aware of, and tended to sleep during the day, when noone was around to inform her of that. She only remembered anything of one dream.. and it always made her awaken in a cold sweat, terrified. As Minette moves on to another subject, the girl would just sigh to herself, feeling like she missed.. something important. Even so, she felt for the older girl and the problems she always seemed to have with closets

It didn't seem strange at all that Minette was still asleep at nine in the morning, so she tried to tip toe away, continuing to clean up her desk.. until she overbalances herself with the plates, nearly stumbling over Minette's chair outright, the plates shifting /loudly/, the chair legs screeching against the floor. She'd grimace, just glad that she managed to preserve her dress, and not break anything.. She would however take a quick look towards Minette, to make sure she didn't wake her up...
Minette Odam And that is, naturally, when Minette wakes up, pushing up on her hammock with her hands to sit up. This works about as well as you'd expect it to. Minette's nearly blind eyes scan around the room, fixate blurrily on the red-white blob a foot and a half away. The suddeness of this makes Minette start, upsetting the delicate balance of her hammock. Minette pitches as the hammock yaws, and with a yelp ends up clattering to the floor. That looked... at least mildly unpleasant.
Alma Hyral The sight of Minette falling off her hammock was like a trainwreck. You saw it coming, but you could do nothing to stop it. The girl just stared wide-eyed for a moment, putting down the plates quickly on the chair. Mostly because the chair was one of the few places where she wouldn't disturb anything, then hurried over to Minette, kneeling down beside her.

Her voice was steeped with concern as she leaned over and offered one hand to help her up, the other she'd press against Minette's shoulder lightly. "Sweet C-Cosma! A-Are you alright M-Minette?"

The hand touching her would cause Minette to be covered with a soothing, yellow glow. Which would immediately take care of some of the pain, and work at some of the minor contusions and abrasions she was like to have from a spill like that.
Minette Odam Minette's initial reply is something along the lines of 'ugghu', but then she pulls her face off of the floor so she can roll over onto her back and deply, 'M'good." It has something of a weary sound to it, or maybe it's the torpor of the freshly woken. Minette's violet eyes narrow as she squints upwards at Alma. "Kyra?" She asks groggily, looking up at Alma and not comprehending what she sees; only that white magic is being applied. There is confusion in her voice; Kyra being in the room is not a self-balancing equation.
Alma Hyral Kyra using white magic as her initial approach to tackling a problem of healing would be rather suprising! Kyra would probably be jabbing needles into Minette instead. The other thing about Kyra.. is that whether it is white magic, or SCIENCE, her healing hurts. A lot. In fact, a world of pain and agony would be an apt descriptor for what usually occurs.

Alma would actually just sort of smile whimsically, actually kind of pleased and amused at the same time to be mistaken for her older sister. Maybe it meant that Minette didn't see her as her usual self, given how she was dressed. "N-No, It's A-Alma. I b-brought you b-breakfast, and c-coffee. S-Sorry that I w-woke you up. I d-didn't mean to."

She'd continue to offer her a hand.
Minette Odam Minette wouldn't recongise Cosma herself if she walked through that door without her glasses on. Minette hauls herself up to her knees, leans on the edge of her desk, and gropes around half-blindly for her glasses. "Thanks for breakfast." Her voice still has that unmistakable tone of 'but I'd rather be sleeping' to it. Coffee will fix that.

Minette's arm comes dangerously close to the coffee cup, but disaster is averted by perhaps half an inch when her other hand closes on her glasses. As Minette retracts her arms, she pulls the plate with the sandwhich on it right off the desk. It clatters to the floor, sammich down.

"Awwwww, nerts." Minette declares, now with her glasses on. She picks up the plate and puts the sandwhich back on it. She looks at the fallen sandwhich inquiringly, brushes it off with her hand, then picks it up, mouth open. And then she locks eyes with Alma; there is an awkward moment. "...five second rule." Minette proclaims.
Alma Hyral "Y-You're welcome. A-Anytime." Alma would just watch her for a moment, before she would try to help her by locating Minette's glasses and picking them up. She could really feel for her, as she had no idea what it was like for her vision to be that bad. Alma usually just needed her glasses to read, even though she wore them all the time. She was just about to reach for the glasses, when Minette locates them herself, and knocks the plate with the sandwich on it down.

Alma would just smile patiently when it landed on the floor, her voice meek. "I-I can always m-make you another.."

And then Minette picks it up, dusts it off, holds it up to her mouth.. Alma doesn't move, seemingly doesn't breath. Minette proclaims /five second rule/. ...Alma had no idea what that is. Did she really intend to eat it? She didn't know what to say, speechless, so trying not to look like she was judging, she'd just nod, and pick up the stack of plates from Minette's chair before Minette sat down on them and caused another accident. "S-So.. I n-noticed your o-office.. well, y-you're always so b-busy. Do you n-need help cleaning it?"
Minette Odam Minette bites into the sandwhich, which does little to explain the five second rule but gives a solid hint towards its ultimate goal. She just kind of sits there on the floor, leaning up against her desk for the moment. And then she talks with her mouth full. "Mhph? Oh, noah, thah's okay, you can" gulp "Just leave those over there, I'll get them in a little bit." And that explains a few things more.
Alma Hyral The girl would wordlessly put the plates down over on the side. This was such an unfamiliar situation to her. Most people at the academy hadn't acted like this, even if they were cruel to her. Had the mistreatment broken Minette down until she was an uncivilized wreck? Or was she like this before? She didn't see how anyone could live this way..

And then after she'd set the plates down, the question just..slipped out, her voice suprisingly calm, "Minette, you knew Tira, didn't you? What did you think of her?"
Minette Odam Minette is a mystery as deep as Leviathan's ocean. Or perhaps as shallow as a kiddy pool on Ramuh. Which is the true mystery.

Minette stops abruptly, looking up at Alma with what looks like half of that sandwhich shoved into her mouth. She pulls it away slowly, trying to buy herself a few extra seconds to think. This feels like a loaded question. Or at least a dangerous one. Minette attempts to formulate a safe answer but her brain mostly runs the phrase 'don't say something stupid' on loop so other thoughts fail to find purchace in that infertile ground.

"She was pretty and popular and talented and everyone loved her." There. That's... safe. Totally and obviously insincere, but diplomatically safe.
Alma Hyral Alma could be wiser than she looked.. on occasion. Most of the time she was naive, sheltered, gullible.. even a little bratty, if she meant well most of the time. At her core, she was a truly nice person, but she was so socially awkward that she just couldn't make that work in her favor.

After a moment of rearranging the plates in the stack, she looked over towards Minette, offering a small smile, her voice still calm. "She was everything I'm not. I loved her, but I was.. jealous of her too. Like I am of Kyra."

Maybe it wasn't such a loaded question after all.
Minette Odam "Yeah, I can understand that." Minette blurts out without thinking or realizing what it is that she's saying.
Alma Hyral She doesn't flinch. In fact her expression doesn't change at all even with Minette's outburst. Alma was.. very self-aware, of what she was like.

Talking about Tira like this made her seem, a little irreverent. Dirty. You don't say these sort of things about your murdered sister, so she decided to change gears, confiding something in her. "You know, I've never had a boyfriend. Never been on a real date.. except one Helena tricked me on just to mess with me. Noone is ever really interested in me, or my doings. People just like to tease me relentlessly for my choices.."

She'd go back to just tidying up the office idly. And then after a moment, "Do you ever feel like the world is just against you?"
Minette Odam "Yeah, well, Helena is kindasorta a slut so I wouldn't take it too personally." Minette admits with some degree of discomfort; this conversation is going into places she feels are strange, but she doesn't know why and that's unsettling.

"Oh, sometimes." Minette replies to the direct question. "I think most people are like that though." Minette digs her pinky in her ear, pulling it out to inspect the digit with a close eye. Her mouth puckers downwards at the results, and she wipes her hand off on her skirt. "But I just remember that no matter what happens, Mr. Murasame is my friend and that he looks out for me."
Alma Hyral "It's more than that I think. She doesn't like how I.. /feel/. Like something about me sets her on edge. I can't say that it's not the same way for me.. but she just kind of responds by wanting to break me down. I feel sorry for her though. I really don't want it to be this way between us, I just..Oh nevermind." The girl just kind of continues to busy herself around the room, tidying up what she can without trying to mess with the /system/ that Minette claims she has.

Luckily she's not looking at Minette right now, instead she appears to be in the corner of the room cleaning up fast food boxes, and gathering up the garbage in a plastic trash bag. "Souji.. I'm glad you're so loyal to him. He needs people like you, friends that can.. well remind him that life isn't so terrible. Show him that he can move on.."

Minette Odam Minette does not respond to Alma's first statements. She feels that she should have something to say to all of that, but she doesn't. The sun rises and sets, the tides ebb and flow, and Helena Celba makes grabbyhands at people. It's just... how things are. The nevermind is allowed to slide and Minette returns to eating.

Pulling herself up into her chair, Minette starts to shuffle the papers on her desk around and her attention starts to zone out. There isn't malice in it, just a lack of understanding. "Oh, yeah. He's doing great. I'm really happy for him." Minette glances up, then stares at the trashbag. She's not sure where that came from. She questions her memory; did she bring one in here to tidy up then forget to? That... sounds... like something she'd do, but did she? Ehhhhhhh, no point in worrying, Alma has it in hand.
Alma Hyral Actually it was buried in a forgotten corner of her office so dark and deep that Alma might not have been suprised if some eldritch horror from the beyond had popped out of it, wielding imaginary numbers and Chaos theory. It was probably there from before Minette took up residence, and had since lived a lonely existence, waiting.. watching, knowing that one day it would find use in cleaning up this mess.

She /would/ flinch as Minette says that Souji is doing great, "His.. business is doing great. But haven't you noticed how differently he treats you, as compared to before? He's.. changed."
Minette Odam Ah, so it was in Minette's 'clean clothes pile', then.

"Uh... not really." Minette replies. "I mean, he's in charge of the Zaibatsu now, so he's the boss, so that's different, but bosses and employees aren't like... y'know what I'm saying?"
Alma Hyral Imaginary numbers and Chaos theory doesn't even begin to describe the non-existance of a clean clothes pile for Minette.

The girl would look up at Minette, her expression unwaivering, "You knew Souji from.. before. You and I both know what he acted like.. until.."

She'd close her eyes, taking a deep, steadying breath, "...and then afterwards. I don't feel like his distance is a result of being suddenly thrust into the leadership role."
Minette Odam "I'm not sure what you're talking about." Minette replies, confusion evident in her voice.
Alma Hyral Alma would give her an incredulous look. She.. noone could possibly be this self-absorbed. It had to be something else.

"You were his friend.. didn't you notice him acting.. different, before Tira passed?"
Minette Odam Minette's mouth purses downwards in a long, thin frown. It's an unattractive look for the calculator. Her brows narrow a bit, as if in thought before, at length, she shakes her head in the negative, sending her particularly unruly bed-head braids swishing from side to side. "No?" She says, drawing out the word and raising it in pitch towards the end as if she weren't sure.
Alma Hyral The girl would actually gape. She had absolutely no idea how to respond to that. She had no idea if she should feel angry, sad... or just.. nothing.

After a while she just goes back to tidying up the room, unsure where to go from there. She just felt... embarassed, like she poured out her soul for nothing.
Minette Odam Minette understands that something should be done here. Something... decisive. And so she turns to her desk and starts doing her job, arranging the papers around. Due next week, due in three days, ready for filing now, ready this tomorrow. Piles. The piles make sense, the piles are understandible. Minette knows how to comprehend the piles and it is wonderful. The piles do not ask her uncomfortable questions, they only ask of her to make them balance, which is is not only capable of, but competant in. The piles are orderly. Neat. Wonderous.

Alma is frumpy and confusing. Like the new dress. What's up with that? It doesn't dawn upon Minette to ask about it. So she doesn't.

The silence just.


Alma Hyral She'd take a deep breath, feeling that she'd made some grave error in who she spoke of this too, she'd eventually try to break the silence once more.

Her voice however had lost all of its calm confidence, taking on its typically meek tone, "S-So I have t-this research p-project. I'll n-need someone to c-check my math.. and m-maybe even c-create a few f-formulas for calculating the r-rotation of our new w-world and it's position w-when our world f-fell. T-Trajectories t-through space mostly. W-Would you b-be at all i-interested?"
Minette Odam "Hm? Okay." Minette says. It's as simple as that, with her. No muss, no fuss, the awkwardness of the previous five minutes appearently washed away. "Just slip 'em under my door and I'll crunch 'em when I've got spare time. There's usually more of that then I let on to Mr. Murasame. She turns around to toss a crumpled paper into her wastebasket (she misses), when she notices her chocobo plush/pillow laying forlornly on it's side, on the floor. "Aw, Boco, no. The floor's dirty." She scoops the oversized plush up lovingly and deposits it back on the 'bed'. "There, that's better."
Alma Hyral The younger girl sighs, it seemed too much to ask of her to actually show some interest. Minette.. just seemed to live in her own world. She didn't know how to reach her, other than to relate everything to numbers or her collector's items..

She..actually could do that, but she didn't want to show anyone /that/. Not yet.

"I'll l-let you k-know when I h-have something c-concrete." And then she watches Minette gather up the pillow.. Watches her do that, even managing a small smile. She actually had had a full collection of moogle plushies back at home. They were mythological creatures in their world.. BUT TOTALLY REAL HERE SQUEEEEE! /Ahem/.

Anyhow, she'd just offer.. "I-If you w-want I can b-bring in a mop... w-when I bring you your l-lunch. C-Clean up the f-floor.."
Minette Odam "M'alright." Minette replies to the first statement. She turns back to her work, not bothering to change out of her pajamas. In fact, some days, she just doesn't change at all. It's a 'sight' to see her raid the commissary in her fuzzy moogle slippers. "Oh, don't worry about the mop. I'll get it later." Like the dishes. The ones she hasn't so much as glanced at since she said she'd get them 'later'.
Alma Hyral Right.. awkward, wouldn't stop her from trying to reach her though. The girl had a feeling that Minette was more a mystery as vast as the Levitani ocean rather than one just as deep as a Ramuha kiddy pool.

She's likely wrong, but this is Alma, and she's kind of a naive idiot sometimes.

"A-Alright, if y-you're sure..." And then she'd depart from the office, feeling more confused than she'd been in some time.

This scene contained 34 poses. The players who were present were: Alma Hyral, Minette Odam