So, it's still going and I'm moving slowly still. Today I introduce another friend, a love of coffee and reinforce the fact that she's a University student.
Also, today I discovered that Anastasia Steele is the name of the protagonist of Fifty Shades of Grey. This upsets me. I don't really want my rewrite of a shitty novel to call to mind a shitty novel as well. By this point any relation to the source material is more coincidental than deliberate and I'm not out of the first chapter yet so I don't feel so bad about the rewrite. However, a name as unusual as Anastasia is a pretty big punt and people will automatically make that connection, surely.
Having said all of that, I know that this is pretty unpolished. Any suggestions on improvements are gratefully received.
Rating: PG-13 (Swearing [Nope, no clue], and violence [a playful punch?])
Feeling mostly Self-Expressive (with a side order of happy), and concerned mostly about Money - or work
Mindset: Introvert - Negative - Uncertain - Feeling
Time: The Past; Primary Sense: Sight (again); Us and Them: You
37 minutes at 23 words per minute.
Nothing quite matched the wooden benches of a lecture hall for sheer lack of comfort in seventies' chic. Long leatherette upholstery along cheap wood with a steep drop between rows. About the only plus side was the fact that most people sat at the back or the front, leaving the middle rows free and clear which, in turn, meant that there was plenty of space for Anastasia to spread out. Added to that was the extra positive that the lecturer tended to focus on the back with the front making themselves known, if there were awkward questions or searching looks from the front then she was completely safe.
By this point, at the end of a lecture, all she had to do was wait a little longer than the rest of the students and there was time for her to think and reflect, time to catch her breath and time to wake up from the semi-sleeping state that lectures invariably induced. It wasn't the lecturer's fault, not really, he seemed to enjoy the subject and there was no doubting that he was an expert; it was more to do with her own outlook. As interesting as 'Middle Earth: Magick, Politics and Mystery' sounded as a course title, the actual content of England around the time of the Norman conquest was considerably less interesting. Not least because magic played little or no part. Equally, she couldn't fault the lecturer for the successful attempt to make his topic sound a little more interesting.
"Still enjoying Middle Earth?" From behind, a few rows up, "Nearly a full semester in and we still haven't seen one elf."
"Oh, come off it, just because you're a Tolkien fanboy," a group of the less verbal students had also stopped back. "What did you expect?"
Rolling her eyes, Anastasia packed away her papers with some vigour, all the better to play the part of unapproachable. Given the topic of conversation there was no doubt that these were not the sort of people she really wanted anything other than a passing acquaintance with.
"Hey, you want company?"
Eyes deliberately downcast, head and shoulders hunched like she was listening to music and, not for the first time, a wish that she actually owned a music player of some description.
"Aw, come on, you can give us a smile, can't you?" The tone was friendly, the words light-hearted but they did anything but put her at ease to hear them. "Bet you were sucked in by the magic part, add a 'k' to it and you get all the hippy chicks."
Wishing that physical violence was a socially acceptable option, rather than just an informed and highly likely fantasy, she was glad when she reached the doors without having to look directly back.
"Probably just embarrassed. Did you see her-"
And she was through, spared knowledge of whatever physical attribute of hers had managed to gain and maintain the attention of people that hung around at the end of lectures complaining about something she was fairly certain was the preserve of shut-ins and socially inept science-fiction fans. Walking down the windowed corridor to the main entrance of the lecture hall was a pleasure, warm sunlight filtered through, masking the increasingly cold outside temperature enough that there was almost an urge to go without her coat.
A shiver passed through her, a feeling that there were eyes on her again, and she looked back involuntarily to see if the people from the hall had followed her to carry on their ogling session. But there was no one. The corridor was empty and the weather too cold on a Monday for anyone to be hanging around outside the entrance. One of the advantages of the course was that it held the graveyard shift and, immediately after taking the amount of notes she had just done about cultural changes and boglands in Lincolnshire, she preferred time alone. Paranoia again, she could still feel the eyes upon her but there was no one there, on the bus that morning she thought she had seen the man in the hood from Saturday evening. Paranoia.
"Oh, there you are!"
She actually jumped.
"Easy, Annie," it was Leslie, "Thought you could do with some company and a strong drink to recover. Monday; Saxons; Autumn... I could do with a coffee myself."
"Don't act like you know," a half turn to greet her and then back to walking out of the door, "You're one of those scientific heathens who do maths and weird stuff with numbers that don't exist."
"Numbers are the only language the Universe understands. History? History is the last recourse of a scoundrel to try and put stories to the numbers." A playful punch on the upper arm, "My shout?"
"Of course, I think you still owe me for last week's service."
A frown but not seriously. "That's not entirely fair, you know, I had the money and I just had... certain issues in getting to it. You know how banks are."
"Oh, certainly, I know how banks are. And you know how it is when you can't actually see straight enough to gain access to your own bag!"