Collegiate Coffee Break


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Scene Title Collegiate Coffee Break
Synopsis A quick stop for coffee nets a potentially new friend.
Date September 4, 2020

Brooklyn College Campus

While this week marks the start of Fall classes, it’s far too hot and humid to feel very autumnal. Most of the students milling around the commons of Brooklyn College wear shorts, tank tops, and flip flops rather than the sweaters and scarves the stores seem to think they should be donning.

Nova is no different (at least in this aspect), though she sports a pair of checkerboard slip-on Vans instead of flip flops, given she’s using a skateboard to navigate the distances between buildings. No class on her schedule for a couple of hours, she rolls up to the outdoor kiosk selling coffee, chips, sandwiches and pastries to hungry students who don’t feel like going to the cafeteria. The line is long but iced coffee beckons.

As she waits, she rolls the board idly with one foot, her blue eyes up on the menu board to decide what she wants.

Despite the warmer weather, one person there is wearing a hoodie. A thin one, but still a bit too warm for the weather, which is why it is partially unzipped and the sleeves pushed up to the elbows. At least there is a black tank under that grey hoodie. The only thing Roxie’s wearing for cooler weather. Her jeans and sneakers have seen better days, as well as the old military grade pack on her back. Her focus is on a brochure in her hands for a brand new campus for a continuation school.

“I dunno, Goob,” she murmurs under her breath, clearly talking to the little ginger dog trotting along with her. “They were pretty helpful, but… Do I really need a GED?” The dog is focused on the human, head tilted back to look up at her.

At least until he gets a whiff of that yummy goodness.

“Huh?” The woman says to herself and stops looking down at the dog, who’s full attention is on the kiosk. Roxie turns to the kiosk and sighs. “Really? Now?” She asks the dog, reaching into her pockets to pull out a crumpled ball of cash. “Alright, but only cause I’m hungry too.” And they were a bit away from Joaquins or their little mobile at Spring Creek still. Moving into the line, Roxie works to straighten out the bills she’d shoved in her pocket.

When Roxie joins the queue behind Nova, the skateboarder gives her a small polite smile that people use when having to be in the same space for any length of time. But then her expression shifts to something more familiar — recognition.

“Hey! You were at that art gallery the other day, right?” she says, bubbling on without actually waiting for an affirmative reply from Roxie. “Do you work for the gallery or just a caterer? I should get a job, but I think this semester is going to kick my proverbial ass.”

She crouches down to give the short little dog her hand to smell, clearly not the type of person who worries about dog bites. “He’s so cute! Are dogs allowed in class? I want a dog in class.” the last two sentences are poised more to the dog rather than to his owner.

It takes a moment or two for Roxie to figure out that she is being spoken too. Or maybe she gets that information from her small companion who’s tail wags with excitement over the attention. “What?” she asks at first until Roxie realizes she recognizes the other young woman. “Oh uh… yeah.” Eyes shut tight as she gets a bit more clarity of what she’s being asked. “I mean no…” Eyes open again uncertain and a little uncomfortable. “fuck….sort of? It was a one night thing as a favor.”

Roxie grimaces, “I don’t think I’ll get asked back, but I’m fucking okay with that. I… am not a people person.” That job was Goober’s who is currently hamming it up, even flopping over for belly rubs, one white capped back leg kicking at the air.

The mention of class has Roxie giving a nervous glance over her shoulder at the campus. “I’m… ah… not a student.” She huffs out an annoyed sigh. “I don’t have a fucking GED and they want one for learning stuff.”

Belly rubs are asked for and belly rubs are given. Nova grins down at the dog and then up at its owner, squinting a bit in the late afternoon sunshine as a strand of dark hair falls across her face.

“You looked like you were doing fine to me. I mean, you don’t have to marry the person you’re serving drinks, just be in their vicinity so they can grab one, right?” she says, blue eyes sparkling.

“That’s right, isn’t that right?” she tells the dog, before giving Goober one more scritch and straightening back up. The information about not having a GED earns Roxie a sympathetic expression, and Nova’s lips tic over to one side thoughtfully.

“I don’t think they’re too hard to get. I can help you study if you want.” Nova makes a face as she realizes that might come off as haughty. “Not that you can’t do it on your own. I’m sure you can. But I mean, like, if you missed some schooling and stuff, I can probably help if there’s something you’re not sure of? I was pretty good at high school. Not that that’s something to write home about, you know. If anyone wrote letters anymore, anyway.”

She realizes she’s babbling and rolls her eyes at herself, before offering Roxie her hand. “I’m Nova.”

There is a suspicious squint at the offer, but Roxie gingerly takes the hand. “Roxie and that dork is Goober,” she offers, her head tilting towards the dog. “And not sure they thought I did fine, I got pulled aside a few times for gawking at shit.” Stretching fingers at her cheek she shrugs. “I mean… It was kinda hard not to. You see all those moving pictures? And then there were paintings… I heard someone say the painter could paint the future ‘n shit. That was pretty fucking wild.”

Roxie doesn’t respond to the offer, feeling a bit awkward already about her lack of education. She glances down at the dog, who is content to stay rolled on to his side. “Then again, this place in general is a bit wild… I guess.” She glances up at Nova again, “You… uh…. a student here?”

Nova moves forward when the queue edges up, rolling the skateboard forward with one foot. “I don’t know how they expect you not to gawk. It was weird. And yeah, that painter was in the news a couple years ago, I guess. He didn’t know he was precog but some paintings he had painted a long time ago came true or something. Creepy stuff like a murder or something. Why the hell would you paint a murder and not think that was something bizarre? I’d be at knocking on a therapist’s door like ‘excuse me, what the hell is wrong with my brain?’ you know?”

If Nova is bothered at all by the squint of suspicion or the ginger shaking of her hand, she doesn’t show it. “I am. This is my first year, even though I’m older than most the other freshmen.” She doesn’t look like she’s older than anybody here, but age can be deceptive.

“Took me a while to get the ganas up to leave the fam and come to the big city. I was born here, but we’ve been up in Canada since before the war. My parents aren’t thrilled, but gotta live for yourself, right?” She pulls out a debit card and tips her head as she glances over at Roxie. “You been here long, or never left?”

Roxie shifts up a little while staring at Nova, mouth pulled up on one side in amusement. “I don’t know. I thought all that stuff in the gallery was… amazing? You hear about all these people with dangerous powers, but you don’t always get to see artists like those two guys. They are less scary and more…mmm… nice?” Roxie ends lamely since words fail her. “I want to see more of their stuff really. Those paintings… imagine seeing yourself in it.” Her eyes widen at the thought. Or it might be when she realizes she’s talking a lot.

“Anyhow… no… I’ve not been here long,” Roxie finally says answering Nova’s question. Roxie glances down at Goober, who’s found himself a nice patch of grass to roll in. “Only just finally got me one of those little trailers you get when you register.” Something she seems pretty proud of that. “Now… I’m trying to see if I can get a… “ she glances back towards the admissions office. “I guess a GED first.” That she doesn’t sound as proud of.

Nova takes another step forward when the next person served exits. Her brow furrows a little at the mention of abilities being scary or otherwise, as in the case of the two artists they’d seen. It’s a dark cloud over the otherwise sunny sky that seems to be Nova’s personality, but it only lasts a moment.

She suddenly laughs, and shakes her head, sending her dark hair swinging. “I’d be worried if I painted some of the stuff the guy supposedly has. He didn’t show any violent ones or creepy ones — I mean, he probably realized that’d be too frightening. Especially — like you said. Imagine you’re just looking round at his art and you realize it’s your house on fire or your boyfriend with the bloody knife over some person in the alley.” It’s a dark scenario, but it’s not what was bothering her a moment ago. “Creepy with a capital C and that rhymes with P and that stands for ‘please get me the hell outta here.’”

The news about the trailer gets a broad smile from the other girl. “Congratulations! That’s amazing! I haven’t been in those, but I saw the park when I went by on the bus,” she says warmly. “Listen, if you can come to a strange city and apply and do that on your own, the GED is going to be a piece of cake, girl. You can do it. Have you gotten the study guides and stuff? I bet there might even be some in the library so you don’t have to pay for them.”

Roxie starts to correct Nova, to tell her she had help, but finally decides against it. Instead, the young woman gives a nervous laugh. “Yeah… they said that I’m in some sort of lottery for a better place, but… what I have already is pretty nice.” She barely remembered the fancy home she used to live in before the war.

Though the mention of a study guide gets a blank look. “Oh… Shit. I didn’t think of that,” she half whispers, brows furrows as she tries to think of where a library is. Something to ask Joaquin about. Maybe he has one. “So.. what are you going to school for? I mean, what do you want to do?”

It’s Nova’s turn to look a little uncertain. “I wanted to maybe be a musician. I play the cello, but…” she lifts a shoulder. “I’m not that good, and there’s not enough professional orchestras or symphonies around for a just okay cellist. I could go to Europe, maybe, but I don’t know.”

She rolls the skateboard back and forth with her foot, looking back to the menu board. “So then I thought maybe I’d study abilities and be an expert on that, but I don’t really feel like that any more.” Her brow furrows, her lower lip pulling into a small pout. “So I’m still undeclared… maybe a music teacher. You don’t have to be Yo-Yo Ma to teach other people how to be also just okay, I guess.”

Listening quietly, Roxie isn’t sure what to say to that. Fiddling with the dollar bills in her hands and glancing nervously at the cashier that was getting closer. “At least you have a semblance of a plan. I’m… just fucking winging it right now. I mean… if you had asked me a few months ago if I was going to be here still, I’d call you fucking crazy. I’ve been kinda on the move for… I dunno… eight years now. Four on my own.” It felt awkward talking to this new person about her past.

“But I’ve made some friends and kinda decided I was tired of roughing it,” Roxie offers a faint lop-sided smile. “Joaquin goes here, maybe you guys will run into each other.” A familiar name has Goober rolling up to his feet and looking around eagerly. “I think Emily, too, but she's… uh… taking a break.” It might be too weird to be mentioning that someone is a tree. “There are others, too, that’s why I was hoping to go here, but…” Roxie shrugs, because there she is.

Nova’s eyes widen when Roxie says she’s been on her own for four years. “You look like you’re twelve! How old are you now?” That’s a bit of the pot calling the kettle black, but Nova looks impressed.

“Listen,” she says sternly, “Roxie, right? Plans are crap. How many times do you hear of back-up plans? That’s because plans go wrong. No guarantee the back-up plan won’t go wrong, too, so you just do the best you can. I’m not saying you shouldn’t try to plan and go to school, but who’s to say if you had, something else wouldn’t’ve taken you off that path? And you should be proud of getting where you are on your own. I don’t know if I’d have been that strong. I’d like to think I would be, but…”

Nova shrugs her shoulders. “You never really know until you’re in the kind of position that really tests you. I’ve been really lucky, and until recently, nothing really has.”

That melancholy look returns, but the next person leaves the queue, and she’s distracted by the fact that she’s finally first in line. “Can I get the iced mint mocha latte and a chocolate-chip muffin, and whatever she wants,” she says, with a glance to the shorter girl beside her. “I got it,” she says. “Save the money for a study guide or something, okay?”

There is a wrinkle of Roxie’s nose at the guess and even more pinching of her face at praising her. Not Nova’s fault, she knows that at least. “Fuck no, I’m not twleve. I’m eighteen.”

Goober gives a sneeze and his mouth hangs open in amusement… or he’s hot… it was kind of warm. “Nobody asked your opinion, either,” is said directly at the dog, who just wags his tail enthusiastically and reminds her he wants chips. Not that Nova would know that.

What he wants is ignored when the offer to pay for her stuff is made. Roxie’s back straightens and expression flattens into disapproval as her pride bristles. She looks ready to berate Nova over the offer, but then sighs through her nose, shoulders slumping. “I appreciate the offer, but I’ve got enough money for this and a guide I’m sure. If not, then I get another quick gig.” She looks down at the money in her hands, fidgeting with it.

“No offense, really I do appreciate it. I’m just tired of living off others' charity. I guess I need to do this for me,” Roxie adds, rolling her eyes up to look at Nova, maybe hoping she didn’t burn a bridge just then.

Nova laughs at the face Roxie makes. “Listen, we’ll appreciate looking younger than we are when we’re old, I’m sure. Everyone else will be jealous when they’re fifty and we look a positively nubile 40-something.”

Eyes widening when Roxie does her impression of Bruce Banner about to change into the hulk, Nova relaxes when Roxie insists on paying for herself. With a shake of her head at the apologies, Nova waves her hand as if to erase the apologies, while shrugging a little at the guy in the kiosk as he processes her order without Roxie’s.

“How dare you not take my money!” she says with a grin at Roxie. “I’m not offended. I get it. I mean, out of principle. I haven’t been where you are. Just, you know, one day if you decide we’re friends, maybe it won’t seem like it’s charity but just a gift instead. But if not, that’s cool.”

Having paid, she scoots over to the waiting area of the cart with the muffin she’s been given, breaking a piece of it off to nibble as she waits for her coffee and Roxie to finish ordering.

There is a little look of uncertainty, but Roxie nods in agreement. Maybe someday. She already knew she had a lot to learn about friendships. There is a small little smile when she scoots up to the kiosk.

“Uh… this?” Roxie pulls the back of chips, BBQ flavor from the rack, but then she shows it to the dog. Goober gives a wag of his tail and hops between one paw and the other. “Okay.” The chips are set on the counter and she points to a blueberry muffin in the case. “Uh… one of those and a bottle of water.” There is pause.


The money is set on the counter, while Roxie waits for items to be retrieved. Maybe a bit more than needed for the transaction, so the clerk takes what he needs and leaves the rest for her to pocket again. “You have a small cup?”

Once everything is gathered and a reluctant tip given, Goober moves to the other end of the truck ahead of Roxie as she moves to join Nova as she waits. He starts snuffling around a trashcan for goodies, while his human tucks bits of food into various pockets. It frees her up to work on that empty cup. She glances at Nova out of the corner of her eye as she rips it to make a short cup for the exploring dog.

“You said you were new right? Imagine you haven’t met many friends, yet. I can introduce you too. Joaquin. He was a server at the gallery, too. He’s a good guy,” Roxie says with a tiny smile. “He offered to help me learn what I missed after 4th grade if I couldn’t pass the exam.” Her nose wrinkles cause clearly it didn’t happen. “Maybe a study group… or something?” How she managed that without her stomach twisting into knots, is beyond her.

Nova watches curiously as Roxie breaks down the cup to a Goober-sized vessel, then smiles at the offer to introduce her to other friends. “Oh, that guy! He accidentally handed me a drink and didn’t know if he was supposed to card me or not. I promised not to tell the Beer and Liquor Board,” she says with a wide grin.

Just then, her name is called for her drink order so she moves to the pick-up window and accepts the icy beverage with a bright smile and thank you for the barista.

After punching the straw through the hole, she takes a sip, then nods to a bench under some shade. Stepping on the tail end of her skateboard to pop it up, she lifts it from the tip to carry it over.

“That’d be nice. I was here in the summer taking an intersession class, but I had to drop it. Missed a few days, and in summer school, they move faster because you have less time. That,” Nova says, frown marring her otherwise unlined face, “it was a class about the history of SLC-E and I didn’t feel like staying in it when I came back.”

There is a hesitation in the young woman, sending a glance the other direction as if considering leaving. However, the ginger-haired dog with her bounds after Nova and passed her, jumping up on the bench. He settles on his haunches and watches his human expectantly. Roxie exhales a sigh and follows after Nova. Traitor, she teases.

Goober gives a bark and lolls out a tongue rather pleased with himself, but only his owner can hear the mischief. No! I am good boy. I smell no evil ones. I like her. As Roxie moves to sit on the bench, Goober tries to snag the chip bag from her hoodie pocket.

“Hey! No,” Roxie protests, pushing on his snout to get him away from the pocket. “You wait your fucking turn, Goob.”

Goober barks back in protest, but then sneezes and lays down on the bench between the two women with his head resting on Roxie’s leg watching her soulfully.

“Sorry,” Roxies directed at the other girl. “We’re still working on manners,” she grumbles. Her backpack is gently removed and set with equal care on the ground. Only then does she flop back against the bench back and starts prepping Goober’s food and water. “Uh… while I do this…” She reaches down into one of the pockets and pulls out a prepaid phone and offers it to Nova. “Maybe you can add your number? Joaquin taught me how to call and text, but adding numbers is still a little too complicated.” She flushes when she admits that.

Goober jumping on the bench draws a merry laugh from Nova who reaches to scritch behind the scruffy little dog’s ears. “Were you tired of standing in line, too?” she asks him quite solemnly, then grins up at Roxie as the younger woman approaches the bench. If she notices the reluctance, she doesn’t mention it.

“You don’t have to be sorry. I love animals. Dorm life, I think the most I can get away with is a goldfish, and you can’t really cuddle with a goldfish, you know?” she says, setting both feet atop her skateboard and rolling it slowly side to side as she punches the straw through the lid of her iced coffee.

That done, she sets it aside to take the phone. “Sure, no problem. I used to always forget to hit “done” and then would just close my phone and wonder what happened to it. So there’s a thousand unidentified phone numbers and I have to read the backscroll to remember that it’s, you know, Robert from my film class or whatever,” she says, tapping in her name and number. When she hands it back, she’s added an emojis, maybe to help Roxie remember who she is:


“So you just do odd jobs like the catering or you work anywhere more full time? I should probably get a job but I feel like there’s not a lot out there,” Nova says, picking up her iced coffee to take a sip.

“Just the odd job here and there,” Roxie comments, taking her phone back and looking at it. There is a flicker of amusement at the emojis. “Didn’t know you could do that on these,” she murmurs under her breath, before tucking it away and replacing it with the little bag of chips.

“But yeah, thing about this Safe Zone is they want registration… which I have now, but…” Roxie pauses long enough to open the bag and fish out a chip to offer Goober. “…now they fucking want a GED.”

Goober is vibrating with excitement for the treat but is gentle when he takes it from her, only the scarf it down almost immediately. “So not sure where you could find a place to work. Maybe find a need and fill it.” Roxie takes a chip for herself, before giving Goober another.

“Gotta admit though. It kinda feels good though… getting my shit together finally.” Roxie scratches Goober’s head before offering the bag over for him to stick his nose in for more chips. “Now if I can get people to stop thinkin’ I’m a kid… that’d be fucking golden.”

“Amen, sister,” chirps Nova with a grin. “Sorry to add to the litany of people who think you’re younger than you are. I’m twenty… ugh, that sounds so old when I say it aloud even though I know it’s not! But when you’re hanging out with freshmen in the dorms, it feels it. Even if no one knows I’m practically geriatric.”

She breaks off a bit of muffin to bring to her mouth, frowning a little. “Isn’t registration optional? I guess businesses can require it. Especially if you’re using an ability or something, that whole commercial license thing.” That darker look draws her brows together and her gaze down for a moment, and she picks off a crumb of muffin to toss to a nearby crow.

Of course it comes hopping over for more. “If you give a crow a muffin…” Nova murmurs, with a smirk. She looks back to Roxie as the woman feeds the dogs chips and laughs. “They sound so happy when they chomp something crunchy.” She reaches up to tuck a strand of dark hair behind her ear. “You trying for commercial things with an ability? Otherwise I’m not sure why it matters, except some people are dicks.”

“Optional,” Roxie gives a short laugh. “Sorta. A lot of perks for doing it. Like a roof over mine and Goober’s heads.” She ruffles the dog's fur getting a tail wag while he crunches. “I dunno how you commercialize what I do. Not that I know much about it. I haven't had it long.”

Roxie watches Nova without really watching her. Not directly, but she is aware of that mood shift at the discussion of abilities. “But… that ain't important, means nothing without a GED.”

Goober’s ears shift forward at something and his nose comes out of the bag, bringing with it the smell of tangy fake BBQ. There is a glance at Roxie, before he shifts to lean against Nova’s leg and half rolls to where he can look up at her with a big dog smile.

Nova smiles down at the dog while nodding to indicate she’s heard Roxie’s point. Shelter and other perks are important. “Yeah. I mean, I was registered. I’m not against it, except if things go bad again, if they use the lists against u-”

She frowns, reaching out to pet the dog’s red and white fur. “People who are expressive,” she corrects. Us would suggest she is, and she isn’t.

“I lost my ability before I even had it, I guess. I was positive, unmanifested, no idea what it was. But I liked it, being expressive. Being different. And it was like this potential I had that I don’t anymore, I guess.” Nova looks out over the quad. “I mean it’s worse for the other people who lost theirs that I was with. Some of them were so angry, didn’t know how to be without it. I’m better off for not knowing what it was I lost.”

It sounds more like she’s trying to convince herself than a statement of truth.

“How the fuck do you lose an ability?” Roxie blurts out without thinking, looking at Nova like shes’ crazy. Her reaction startles Goober upright again, even though he had been rather enjoying the attention. It takes only a second for her to know what she said was rather rude.

“Sorry…” Roxie murmurs.

“It’s just… I know there are people out there that would give anything to be normal again.” Once upon a time, Roxie might have given anything to not be positive for the gene, but now… the idea of not being able to hear Goober’s mental commentary saddened her. She was quite the bundle of mixed emotions.

“Well, I didn’t mean to,” Nova says, as if they were talking about losing a set of keys.

She laughs, but the laugh is close to a sob and she covers her mouth when she realizes she’s close to crying about something she never really had to begin with. She rolls her eyes and looks up to blink away the swell of tears welling up. It doesn’t take long to compose herself and she holds up a finger to tell Roxie to wait just a moment, like maybe she’s finishing chewing.

“Um. Did you ever see that show Lost?” she chews her lower lip nervously, then lowers her voice as she glances around. “It was like that. Up in Canada. Plane crash. Only the weirdest thing is like, none of us remembered getting on the plane and we all ended up losing our abilities. I think everyone there was expressive, until suddenly we weren’t, and no one can tell us why. Most everyone was from around here, though.”

Nova takes a long pull of her straw. “We’re supposed to keep it mostly quiet. So, you know, don’t go to the newspaper or anything. I just don’t have many people here to talk to about it, you know? And my parents would demand I come home if they knew, so I didn’t tell them. They’d freak out.”

Maybe it’s Goober who clues her in. Ears fall back and he rests his head on her leg at the sob, his tail giving a slow paced wag. It’s enough to have Roxie really look at Nova and then the reality of what she said really sets in.

“Hey….” Roxie says after two failed attempts to say something. “I’m sorry. It was…” She looks at the dog, who shifts his head to look at her. “Insensitive. And I’m sorry you lost it before you got to find out what you could do.”

Roxie looks away to roll the water bottle between her hands, listening to the snap crunch of the plastic. “That all sounds terrifying to be honest. Crazy and wild conspiracy level shit, but I’d never go to the media. Ain’t none of their fucking business.” It may seem childish and silly, but she draws an ‘x’ over her heart. “Promise. It ain’t going to the media.” The dog between them gives a huffed woof. “Goober says he’ll make sure I don’t tell.”

Nova’s eyes widen at the apology. “What? No! You’re fine. I just haven’t really talked about it with anyone who isn’t a doctor or SESA or one of the people who was at the crash. Saying it aloud just, you know. Makes it real, I guess.”

Her gaze drops again, down to the empathetic dog, unaware his owner is literally the reverse, a dog empath, and Nova smiles, petting his scruffy head. “Goober’s so sweet. I love him,” she says quietly. “He’d make a great therapy dog.”

Her eyes find Roxie’s again. “Maybe that’s something you can do! I mean, I think it’s usually not paid, just volunteer stuff. Still, I bet this guy could get certified and you could cheer kids up at the hospital or something like that? That would probably be so fulfilling. Even if it didn’t pay anything. I mean, I’d pay money to pet a dog, but that’s probably a rude thing to ask a hospital patient.”

She nods to the student center across the way. “This guy in my dorm, Salem? He said they brought in golden retrievers during finals last year. I hope they do it again.”

There is a bit of a non-committal sound from Roxie at the idea, eyeing the dog as he takes advantage of all the affection with his mouth wide open and tongue hanging out the side of it. “Goober’s just a big ham, but I don’t know about a therapy dog. He’s not the most mannered dog. He’d probably steal an old lady’s jello cup first chance he got.” The dog seemingly sneezes at the accusation. “Still he’s like… my emotional support dog or something like that?” So he was close to being one, right?

“So I’m glad he likes you. Be awkward if he didn’t.” Roxie says after a thoughtful moment. Only to turn around and give a short laugh, “Not that there’ve been many people he doesn’t like. Except for some creeps last Thanksgiving. He did not like them at all. Bit one’s leg and they hurt him. I tried to beat the guy up and got arrested. It’s how I first met Joaquin. He found Goober and nursed him back to health while I was in jail.”

Suddenly feeling awkward talking about someone not there, Roxie scratches behind her ear. “Anyhow, yeah. We’ve been friends since.”

Nova’s eyes widen when Roxie mentions jail. “Holy shit, you got arrested? That’s fucking badass.” She seems impressed rather than horrified. “You must have done some damage for them to not just wave it off as teenagers fighting or something. Shit, remind me not to make you mad.”

Realizing that might not be the proper response, Nova presses her lips together and tries to look more proper. “I mean, that’s really awful and I’m sorry you had to go through with that, Roxie. But…” she looks at Goober, then back. “Guys who beat up innocent and helpless dogs or kids or old people are the worst, so he got what he deserved. I hope they got in trouble, too.”

She takes a pull from her straw, the slurping sound that ensues announcing loudly that her coffee is gone, so she tosses it into the nearby waste bin. “Jello is overrated,” she tells Goober solemnly. “If you’re going to steal, make it worthwhile.”

Standing, she brushes off the muffin crumbs from her shorts. “I should get to my next class, but text me, okay? We can hang out and possibly study for GRE and other exams together, or not. Sometimes they show these old eighties and nineties movies in the student union here which makes for an interesting time, if not always a good movie.”

There is a whine when he’s dislodged but Goober takes it all in stride, quickly going back to emptying the chip bag of it’s contents.

Meanwhile, Roxie has a bit of a lop-sided smile as the other woman stands, amused at her assessment. She can’t help it. “I’ll text you. Don’t you fuckin’ worry,” she assures with a crooked grin. Probably when she’s got Joaquin to help her make sure she doesn’t mess it up.

“Hey… uh… I’m glad we met,” Roxie offers awkwardly in farewell.

Nova reaches to scritch Goober’s ears one last time, then nudges her skateboard so it points in the direction she’s planning on giong.

“You say that now… try to remember that when I make you watch some awful movie with me. Last week’s was Flashdance. You ever see that one? Its subtitle should be Sexual Harassment in the Workplace is Awesome!

Nova kicks off, grinning over her shoulder, and sings, “Oh what a feeling!” as she heads off in the direction of her class.

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