Tara sat at a table in the Chicago O-Hare airport, occasionally taking a sip from a cup of overpriced tea as her eyes moved along the page of the pocketbook in front of her. She was engrossed, and just as the albino in the book went crashing through the castle window Tara herself was startled by a squeak and a flurry of flying papers and napkins.
Softly Tara giggled, feeling silly. She let her eyes settle on the person that had broken her out of her reverie: the redheaded girl sitting at the table next to hers. Apparently the redhead had been just as focused on her work as Tara had been on her novel, and was startled by a tallish dirty blond girl holding a sandwich and a soda.
The standing girl pointed to the end of the redhead's table, and Tara had to fight off another giggle as the redhead whipped her head around and frowned when she realized there weren't any other empty tables around.
Though she tried to get back into her reading, Tara found her eyes drifting up to the next table rather than the next chapter of the book in her hands. The redhead was rearranging the napkins on the table in front of her, trying to smooth out the ones that had been wrinkled in the aftermath of the sandwich-girl's disruption. Curious, Tara couldn't help but listen to sandwich-girl's attempts to draw her table-mate into a conversation.
From what she could gather from the redhead's short responses and mumbling, there was an actual method to the girl's napkin/paper madness. Tara accompanied the other girl's frown when sandwich-girl called the redhead's system insane. Certainly, it was an unusual way to do one's work, but Tara knew from personal experience that once you got an idea in your head that you had to set down, it doesn't really matter WHAT you do it on, just that you DO it before the moment's gone. Tara had often found herself reaching for the nearest napkin, receipt, and the occasional gum wrapper to do a quick sketch or write her self a quick note. Backup, did I just think...
Tara was saved from becoming fully embarrassed by her own thoughts when she heard the redhead mumble something about colored pens. Instead, she wondered if perhaps the girl might like to borrow her colored pencils, at least until her flight was called. As she continued to observe the occupants of the neighboring table Tara realized that the girl was looking for something. Scanning the floor near her she saw a napkin with neat and precise writing on it sitting by her foot.
Just as Tara's fingers found the wandering napkin the redhead's fingers reached out for the napkin as well. Tara handed the other girl the napkin, and tried to decide whether or not she should offer the pencils. After all, I'm just some random person in an airport. The corner of Tara's mouth lifted a little when she felt fingertips brush her palm. Mumbling her thanks, the redhead took the proffered napkin.
"Y-you're w-w-welcome," was all Tara could say in response as the two girls stood. Wonderful, accidentally vixeny in my head, stuttering fool out loud.
The redhead thanked Tara again, more clearly this time, and moved to return to her seat. Before Tara could think about what she was doing she reached out and touched the other girl on the elbow.
Realizing that she was expected to say something, Tara glanced over at the table then back to look the other girl in the eye.
"I'd say it's more... quirky." Tara smiled and shrugged. Quirky... eccentric in a cute sort of way. The redhead seemed to understand what Tara was referring to, as her eyes glanced at the table quickly as well before settling back on Tara's.
"It's a system." The redhead finally responded, with a tight-lipped smile.
A silence hovered over the two girls. Remembering the pencils in her bag, she cleared her throat, causing the redhead to jump a little.
"I, um, I h-have some c-colored pencils you could use? That's um, i-if you wanted?" She finally offered.
The redhead blinked, then her smile grew. Tara noticed that a twinkle was slowly spreading to the other girl's eyes as well. She was so focused on watching the spark lighting the green eyes focused on her own blue ones that she almost didn't hear the other girl refuse her offer.
"That'd be great!" She blurted out, before reigning in her enthusiasm. "But I couldn't really... I mean, they're yours and you might need them. Plus, you hardly know me. I mean, hello, random person in an airport here..."
Tara fought back a giggle as the other girl went on. She squeezed the other girl's elbow, and the redhead stopped speaking.
"It's okay, really." And before the redhead could refuse again Tara had reached into her carry-on bag and pulled out a box of colored pencils. Once more, Tara had to stop herself from giggling when the redhead's sparkling green eyes grew wider at the sight of the different colored pencils.
"If you're sure..." the redhead said, reaching out for the box of pencils.
"It's a better system." Handing the box to the other girl, Tara smiled and winked.
Both girls turned at the sound of a snort and someone coughing on a sandwich.
"Oh God, they're both insane!" The sandwich-girl spoke, receiving a glare from the objects of her unwelcome observation.
When her eyes reconnected with Tara's, the tension from the redhead's face disappeared.
"Definitely a better system." She nodded. Then her eyebrows shot up as another idea entered her head. "Oh, and hey, pencils! Erasable!"
Tara felt herself grinning in response to the redhead's sudden outburst. "Always a plus..." She nodded in return.
"Oh, except, colored pencils don't always erase all the way. You know, the paper sometimes has a little bit of color left on it... and here I should be thanking you but instead I'm complaining about the erasability of the pencils you're being nice enough to let me use. Oh, but, hey! It's still better than using white out. I could never get those little brushes to work properly. I end up whiting out everything but what I actually want to get rid of, including my fingertips! Whiting them out I mean, my fingertips, that is... not getting rid of them. And I'm shutting up now. And did I say thanks again?"
The redhead looked like she was ready to crawl into a hole, but Tara couldn't help herself and finally let out the laugh she had been fighting. Is erasability actually a word? For that matter, is whiting out? Well, they're words yes, but is it grammatically correct phrasing? Oh lord, the babbling is contagious! Contagious, but definitely cute.
"I-I'm sorry. I didn't mean to laugh." Tara apologized quickly. "It's just, that... that's adorable." Though she had managed to stop her laughter almost as soon as she had begun, she could not wipe the lingering lift from her lips.
"What? Adorable? What?"
Even as Tara's cheeks begun to burn when she realized what she had said, she could not and really had no desire to take back the words that had accompanied her apology.
"Three excellent questions." Tara teased. "That... the babbling. When you do it... it's... you're adorable." Suddenly, she too felt like disappearing. You're adorable? YOU'RE adorable? YOU'RE ADORABLE? Three excellent questions.