Re: Settling In, Starting Over

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Posted by Rick on February 14, 2003 at 18:01:28:

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In Reply to: Settling In, Starting Over posted by Mavra on February 13, 2003 at 19:53:10:

Hi Mavra,

Good story you wrote, Mavra I like your determanation and will to make it on your own without anybodys help to succesed. And I like the way you handle that guy on the first day of class by out whitted him without sinking to his leval way to go. And yes I do check Aatheus's Taur Board frequently to see any thing new is posted.


:Good day.

: It’s been a while since I had last posted to Aathy’s ‘board any writing that I’ve done, not to mention I have absolutely *no* idea as to how many still visit here and peruse.

: For those who are somewhat ‘new’ to this site, hello, I’m Mavra (big surprise, I know), and I’ve been a centaur since the mid-80’s, or in other words, for some seventeen years, plus or minus a few months. Heh, *or* in yet *other* words, for almost half of my life.

: Yes, I’m ‘old’.

: Anyway, I’ve been writing about my change and what I’ve encountered during and since then back in 1997 when I first came across an earlier incarnation of this ‘board whom was maintained by a nice fellow of the name of Avocus. Since then, I’ve come to know many others, some still post occasionally here, others not. I suppose that they’ve ran out of things to say, or perhaps it’s become a ‘why bother’ issue. Unfortunately or no, depending on your point of view, I’ve not quite reached that point. As a matter of fact, I am renewing my postings as part of a New Year’s Resolution to finish my writing this year as well as to post some ‘future’ writing that I’ve been having in the works for a couple of years now.

: To summarize for this particular posting, what I’ve done at this point is to move from Oregon to Florida (in 1998), to start up with graduate school and to meet up with Argon, another centaur, in hopes of me fulfilling my dream and ‘last gasp’ to get into the field of aerospace.

: Ugh, that sounded bad, I’m sorry. It hasn’t been easy this past year, but then, we all know that, haven’t we? Anyway, onwards to the story, and take care, all.

: ~Mavra

: * * *

: Argon released me from his overwhelming hug and set me back on my forehooves before resuming his conversation with me.

: "Oh, Mavra! You had me so worried for days while you were *driving* here!" He smiled before continuing on. "Why didn't you ever call me when you were on your way? Whenever I tried to call you on your cell phone, I couldn't get through. Didn't you have your phone on?"

: I shrugged and looked somewhat sheepish when I answered, "ah, no, not all the time?" I held up my hand before Argon could resume his tirade. "Hold on, now... before you start lecturing me on safety, it was for exactly that reason why I didn't have it on in the first place. Keep in mind that I am still a new driver, and I can imagine how distracting a beeping cell phone can be, so I left it off when I was driving, and used it to first call my folks to let them know that I was ok. I was nervous enough as it is and... ah... well.." I stammered, not really wanting to finish the rest due to severe personal embarrassment.

: Argon wasn't the type to take 'ah... well...' for a suitable excuse so he encouraged me to finish with an "... and??"

: I sighed and said the rest, "... and I left a window down, and the piece of paper that I had written your number on it flew off, and it was dark, and there was traffic, and I was nervous..." I left it just hanging there, much like my tail was at the moment.

: Argon smiled and nodded, getting the reason why I didn't call him out of me. "Aaww... well, that's ok. You did pretty good in getting here all by yourself." He emphasized his point by giving me another hug and kiss.

: Aaww... makes me want to go and do it all over again so that I could get another of each.

: Argon, being the person that he is, wouldn't settle for me spending my much-needed start-up money on motels, so upon his insistence, he bade me to come to stay with him while I started up my education... again. That was when I dropped a miniature bomb on him.

: "What do you mean you're 'not staying indefinitely'?!" He almost sputtered.

: "Argon, dear," I sidled next to him, bumping side-to-side, "I would love to, I mean that. I would really, *really* love to..." I sighed...

: "... but??" Argon gave the word for the pregnant pause.

: "But... Argon, if I did... it just wouldn't work out right. I know that you have afternoon and evening hours at work, and then get home late and perhaps waking me up when I need to sleep..."

: "Then come to the library and study, Mavra!"

: "No, no... I'm not an evening person, and besides all of that..." I rubbed my sides next to him, loving the wonderful sensation that his presence gave me. "You would be a, no, you would be an *incredible* distraction to me!"

: He still had this plaintive look on his face, so I laid it all out for him. "Argon, dear, there’s several other reasons for why I don’t want to live with you right now."

: Argon nodded his head, encouraging me to further elucidate. "Which are..?"

: Sighing, I explained. "For one thing, I’m fiercely independent. I want to be able to do things *for myself*. After years of having some.. ONE, hanging over me, watching each and every move that I make, I want to do it all myself, for good or bad. I want to know if I can do this, for myself, and not just blame it on some-one or something else. It’s all *me*, right or wrong. Finally, believe it or not, I was brought up Catholic, and even while I’m the ‘little heathen’ in the family for being the only one unconfirmed, I still have these general senses of morality."

: Argon smiled a little, his male pride mollified to some degree. "Well... I can see your point, even if I don't like it."

: Smiling as well now, I took his face in my hands and kissed him. "Thank you, but still, we *will* visit each other and quite often I must add!"

: Grinning broadly now, Argon rubbed his hands together. "Ooo! That I can hardly wait for!"

: I smiled and held him close, kissing him some more. "Why wait?"

: "Oooo!"

: We left the chore of finding a suitable apartment for me *after* Argon and I faithfully celebrated Thanksgiving with each other. We both had something to be thankful for.

: * * *

: The next Monday, Argon and I set out to look at the few potential apartment complexes that we had scouted for during the weekend. What we were looking for were two things: Whether or not it would actually *fit* me (a centaur my size doesn't handle sharp corners too well) and if it was sufficiently close enough to the school. After those two criteria were met, we looked at the prices and finally, how would the apartment managers feel about having a half-ton plus centaur in one of their domicile units? Ok, so there were more than two things we were looking for.

: Interestingly enough, it took only two attempts to find what would be my residence until how long it would take me to finish my second degree, but there was one small problem...

: "What do you mean it won't be ready until the first of December?" Argon was spouting off, his tail lashing over the very apparent double-talk that was given.

: I needed to have him around, for his unique 'centaur stealth' was off-putting both his and mine somewhat unique status as hoofed quadrupeds. Not only that, but he was much more 'worldly' as far as I was when it goes to haggling over prices. Whenever folks saw me, they were too much distracted by my state of 'centaurhood-dom' and quickly shut down anything that might have to do with me as a real person.

: The manager explained (poorly, I felt) that they always book openings for the scheduled date, and not on demand, whenever that might be.

: Sighing, Argon said to me, "Mavra, would you get me a Coke? All of this bargaining is making me thirsty."

: I nodded as I turned to go to his vehicle to get the soda.

: "Oh, and go ahead and get yourself one if you want to."

: * * *
: Unheard by me at the time, and only told just mere months ago:

: Argon turned to the manager and said, "Look, Ma’am, my fiancé needs to have a place, and before you say anything further, it needs to be a large place, with emphasis on *large*. Do you have anything that can have its walls removed? Anything at all? She needs room to... turn. She’s a large person, and needs large living quarters."

: Whipping out a roll of bills that could choke a horse, Argon displayed a roll of bills in large denominations. "Money isn’t an object."

: Smiling, the manager rubbed her chin and said, "Hmm... we have this one block of apartments that are being refurbished, and the workers could be instructed to leave out the walls... the pillars would still be there." She paused and smiled. "Of course."

: Argon nodded and smiled back, handing a number of large bills, with pictures of President Cleveland on them roll. "Of course, there are strings attached.."

: "And they might be what?"

: "They are that you are not to tell her anything about this. Wait until she’s done with her degree, and I’ll make it worth your while. She’s very proud."

: The manager nodded, quickly putting away as the person in question returned, bearing two sodas.

: * * *

: I smiled as I returned, handing Argon the regular, keeping the diet for myself. "Here you are-gone! Heh."

: Argon rolled his eyes as he popped the top of the can and took a sip. "Ah... thanks, Mavra. It appears that there is an apartment opening up soon."

: He looked over at the manager with a somewhat odd knowing look. What’s worse, she nodded back, but sans glance.

: "Yes, there’s an apartment that’ll be open for your use in just a few days instead of a week and a half."

: The news dismissed any odd feelings that I had. "Oh, that’s great! Just give me the documents, and I’ll write my signature!"

: Soon afterwards, papers were signed and deposits deposited, and all that was left to do would be to get some furniture, such as it is for centaurs...

: "Ok, Argon," I tugged on his arm to come with me, "You’re going to help me find something appropriate."

: He sighed and whined as men are prone to do when the words ‘you’, ‘help’, and ‘shopping’ are used in close conjunction by women. "Aaww... do I have to, Mavra?"

: "Yes," I nodded affirmatively, dragging him along, "you *have* to. I don’t know what it is, but I want to take advantage of that peculiar ‘centaur stealth’ that you have and seem to exude onto others. I don’t want to be told that they don’t do business with farm animals and even then, trying to sell me bales of hay or something equally unpleasant."

: I smiled and bumped my side against his. "Thank you, Argon, I appreciate your help, really."

: He grinned, displaying that he was in fact only acting like a reluctant shopping assistant.

: Without going into the drudgeries of a shopping ‘adventure’, basic furniture was found and purchased, avoiding, to the perplexity of the shopkeeper, couches, chairs, and similarly-related items. Instead, cushions, pillows, mattresses, and the like were chosen. One item that struck Argon’s notice was my absolute determination to get another futon bed mattress, brooking no other opinion on the matter.

: "Argon," I explained, "I slept on a mattress ever since I became a centaur, and it’s what I am most comfortable with. Besides, it’s easier to repack when it goes flat, and I don’t know any bed frame that can handle half a ton, if not more!"

: Argon tried to ‘explain’ things to me again, but I held up my hand. "Hup!" I broke in, "My mind is made up and determined on this. I don’t want one of those beds that I *know* that your Uncle Bernie can get me; I want to be able to do this on my *own*. It’s important for me. All my life I’ve either had someone watching over me, or doing something for me, or simply interfering with whatever I was trying to do for myself. I *need* to do some things for myself."

: Shrugging, Argon stated his opinion. "Fine, fine. I wanted to get you the best things, because believe it or not, there are some things that you won’t be able to do, and will need some outside help."

: I nodded. "I agree, and I’ll go ahead and ask when that time comes, but for now... it’s just *furniture*!

: He nodded silently in agreement. Without further discussion, I purchased the selected items and others to be delivered later on at the apartment when I started to move in. The actual event, which I am thankful for, was without difficulty.

: Starting graduate school was an entirely different story.

: * * *

: I awoke that day feeling both nervous and odd. It doesn’t happen to me too often, only when I’m under an unusual amount of stress. These are the times when I almost ‘forget’ that I’m a centaur now. I expect to see two legs, but instead see a large, horse-like equine body that comes complete with *four* legs, not two, as well as a tail. I guess that the closest that it can be compared to is waking up in a different bed for the first night or so when you’re visiting somewhere. It’s true that I’ve only been in my new apartment for barely over a month, but it still felt somewhat odd this day.

: "Ok, Mavra," I chided myself, urging myself to my hooves, "Chiron was able to do it, and so can you."

: So with a mild ‘oomf’, I rolled off of the bed and got myself ready for the day, enjoying the new ‘centaur-friendly’ shower that the apartment management installed, and then settling down for some quick oatmeal for breakfast. When I was finished with everything, I packed up my books and got into my truck for the quick drive to the university. I would later just trot/canter/gallop there, but until I knew a good way to hoof it and the weather became cooler, I would drive. I didn’t want to arrive hot and sweaty.

: The day there started off normally enough, getting gawks, and stares, something I’ve learned to take in stride as I ducked to walk through the glass doors of the first building that I would begin taking classes at. It continued to be normal as I gawked back, taking in the new sights, both familiar in the scholastic sense and substantially different because of the locale. I had rounded a corner and promptly smacked my head into a direction sign that was pole-mounted to the ceiling.

: "Ouch." I declared, rubbing my head and eyeing the sign with first a venomous stare that became a humorously grudging one.

: "Ayup," I smirked, the pain quickly fading, "the more things change, the more they stay the same."

: It truly was a sight that was simultaneously familiar and alien. The only difference was that I didn’t know *anyone* here at all. Argon was my closest link to familiarity. I paused for a moment, trying to examine in even more detail at the students that weren’t busy staring back at me and trying to get to their own classes, without trying to actually look like I was staring.

: "Egad," I muttered to myself, "are the students getting younger?"

: No, they’re still in their late teens, the same age that most students were when they first started college, just a few years younger than I was when I started at the tender age of 21. It was only *me* that had changed. I looked back at my slowly-swishing tail.

: Sighing, I said, "Ayup, only me... only now it’s age as well."

: Egad, some TWELVE YEARS older, even though I still looked like I was in my early twenties/late teens, the difference in age by a decade seemed to be even more significant than merely being an ungulate in a building full of primates.

: Getting out of the way of the bustling students, those that weren’t stopped and gawking at me, that is, I stopped at an atrium to examine just exactly where and when my first class would be. I had arrived early to start getting in general what the ‘lay of the land’ was, familiarizing what buildings were where, and I knew that it was in half an hour for the first course, but just where *was* it?

: Waving down what looked like an instructor, I clip-clopped on over to him (darn linoleum) and asked.

: "Excuse me, please," I asked, showing him the piece of paper that had the course times and locations, "but could you tell me where room ‘C 311’ is?"

: The man, who was rather tall to begin with by my judgement, was apparently quite surprised to see an eight-foot tall centaur looming over him, asking for directions on how to get to her classes. While he spoke, he wasn’t able to clearly tell me where my room was, but he did give me a great amount of detail on ‘uh, uh’. Quite obviously this was going to be the way of things to come, but fortunately, I was able to get directions that led me to a series of smaller, octagonal buildings, each marked with a letter from ‘A’ to ‘E’, and I found my room, that had outside of it, a slowly growing crowd of students waiting for the current class to be over. I slowly ambled over to join the young throng and joined them in their waiting, and listened in to what they were saying...

: "... and then Patricia had said to me that she didn’t want to! Riiight, after all the crap that I had to listen to her spout off over..."

: That’s when I was noticed by the speaker. He seemed to be your typical late-teen/early-twenty-somethingish college student, specifically highly opinionated and often thought that he was always right. He glanced over at me, then up at my face, and then fell silent. But only for a moment.

: "Hey, Ray, look," he pointed at me, "now they’re letting livestock enroll here. Man, they must be hurting for tuition."

: There are those who are amazed when they see me, not expecting to see a centaur, and then there are those whom are either disgusted and outraged. This fellow apparently was in the group that decides to poke fun at any and all of those whose physical characteristics differ from the norm. In the ‘distant’ past, the newly-changed Mavra, soon after her transformation and just starting college, would’ve been a shrinking violet and tried not to make a bother of the situation and to let things go.

: But now Mom and Dad weren’t around. The Feds weren’t around. My friends aren’t here. Not even Argon was present, and I’d have to start learning how to stand up for myself, and here and now. Anope, I’m not ‘Newly-transformed Mavra’ anymore. No, I’ve gotten to where I am pretty much by force of will, and I wasn’t about to let some little post-pubescent man-child start putting me down without recourse. But even still, I would continue to hold my demeanor even while others were entirely lacking in it.

: One thing that many acquaintances of mine have noticed about me is my use of appearing totally ignorant about what is being said when things turn rude. It’s my own way of letting those who make such faux-pas an opportunity to either retract what they said or give them sufficient rope to hang themselves. This way, I can be fair and let justice be served. This wasn’t going to be an exception.

: "Oh?" I looked around, "Cows? Horsies?"

: "You, livestock." Was the reply.

: I blinked in seeming surprise. "Little-old moi?"

: The manling smirked smugly. "Geeze, she doesn’t even know."

: Know? Heh, right... one degree and working on my second. "Know? What should I know about?"

: "Don’t you have a stall to be taking a dump in, horse?"

: I paused in mocking thought. "Stall? Horse? Where? I’m afraid that I don’t understand your logic."

: He pointed at my equine chest with emphasis. "It’s *you*, horse."

: "Ooohhh," I replied, seemingly understanding for the first time, and smiled. "You think that I’m a horse!"

: The person with an excess of personality sighed in exasperation. "Duh! She finally gets it!"

: I smiled, leading him on. "So, I’m a horse, hmm?"

: He nodded again, smiling, thinking that he was winning his argument in logic.

: I shook my head. "No, I’m not quite so sure, I mean, I thought that I was a graduate student, attending classes at this fine university."

: The kid wasn’t convinced, so I paused for only a moment, noting a student in a wheelchair off in the distance. "Isn’t that fellow over there a student?"

: "Yeah," the kid replied, "but he isn’t a horse like you!"

: "Ah, so what makes me so different from him?" Egad, I hated using such a comparison, but the fellow happened to be around, and I worked with what I could find.

: "He isn’t a *HORSE*! He’s just in a wheelchair!"

: "He doesn’t have arms, though, and his legs aren’t too well off, either..." Personally, I was rather proud of that fellow and quite impressed with him as well. He didn’t even appear to need anyone help him with anything. "I have arms, and just two extra legs, so what’s the difference?"

: "Cripes, you nag, you just don’t get it, do you?"

: I blinked at that one. I most vehemently hated that ‘N-word’. Now, it got serious. "No, I don’t ‘get it’, why don’t you tell me, sir?"

: He ticked off on his fingers. "Students here don’t have tails. Students here don’t have hooves. Students here wear more than shirts and sweaters. Students here don’t have horses asses!!"

: I blinked again as to how utterly rude, crude, and socially disrespectful this little twerp of a human was!

: "Well," I paused, calming myself for my retort. "To paraphrase what a learned person in our history once said, ‘I would rather appear to have a horses arse than to speak to a lady like you just did and remove all doubt that I was one’!"

: Some of the other students started laughing at my comment over what the young male was getting, which no doubt infuriated him to such an extent that he promptly let fly with a torrent of expletives that would do a sailor proud.

: "Why yes," I continued after his rant, "I shouldn’t be comparing your demeanor with animals. The animals I know raise their offspring with better manners. Some eat their young."

: This provoked another bout of pejoratives, and I tried to interject. "Excuse me.." I tried to reply, but was cut off by another torrent.

: "Excuse me.." I attempted again, but to no avail, so I cut in the ‘turbo’, and opened up with all four lungs.

: "EXCUSE ME, PLEASE!!!" I bellowed, most assuredly cutting him off, "do you kiss your mother with that mouth? I can’t believe that you would, not without first using an entire bottle of mouthwash!"

: "You shut the hell up, BIATCH, before..."

: I had enough. "DON’T YOU *DARE* CALL ME OR ANY OTHER LADY THAT IN OUR PRESENCE!! NO, DON’T EVEN TRY TO OUT-SHOUT SOMEONE WITH FOUR LUNGS, EITHER!!" Seeing that I had somewhat subdued him, at least verbally, I continued in quieter tones. "Finally, don’t even *think* about trying to bully someone who outweighs you by half a ton!" I sighed and tsked, shaking my head. "Egad, the younger generation, what *are* you thinking?"

: "That is something that I’m still asking after thirty-two years," I heard another male voice say coming up from behind me until he was addressing both of us, "and I’ve not found the answer to it yet."

: Erp? Who was this? I turned slightly to see who was quite apparently the instructor of the course. He looked me over, up and down as well as from the top of my head to the tip of my now-agitated tail.

: Adjusting his glasses, he spoke, "I see that admissions and the department chair was quite right in saying that I’d be having a ‘different’ student in my class. When I saw on the enrollment sheet that your race was marked ‘other’, they weren’t in jest." He smiled and clapped his hands. "But enough of this, this school is always priding itself on its ‘diversity’, and as long as you can do the work, that will suffice for me."

: Erp number two? "Ah..." I stammered somewhat, my squashed nervousness resurfacing once more, "Ah.. ok?"

: "Ok," the instructor said, clapping his hands again, "time for all of you to stop enjoying the sun and get started on aircraft dynamics."

: With that said, the throng of students, myself included, herded ourselves into the classroom, where I was confronted by the size of it, or better put, the lack thereof.

: Erp number three? Well, all things being equal, and I was ‘more equal’ than most, I moved several desks out of the way in the back-corner so that there would be room for my equine behind as well as not blocking the view of a potential hapless student that had the misfortune to sit behind me.

: As the class settled down into our respective places, the instructor started up describing the four basic forces upon an aircraft in flight...

: The next three classes were similar to the first, only that they involved other matters of aerospace engineering and higher applications of mathematics. Oh boy, ‘Mr. Personality’ aside, was I going to be in for a difficult time.

: One thing that had I had noticed most was when I heard the younger students moan and groan in mathematics, complaining that it had been months, almost a year since they had last taken a class is such a subject, I had to shake my head in disgust. It had almost been a decade for me, and I had to work overtime to jumpstart my brain in differential equations, and it showed. I had so many things to get used to simultaneously, that I almost drowned, academically. Thankfully, both Argon and Loqu were available for the numerous times that I needed a couple of shoulders to lean on.

: I had a major slump during one bit of work and tried going to a quiet glen to study when I heard a familiar cadence of hoofsteps.

: "Good eve to you, Mavra," Loquacious said.

: I smiled a weariness. "Hello, Loqu, how are you?"

: He rotated his shoulders, both sets. "A mild ache that I’ll be over by tomorrow, but enough of my homely self, how are you, dear lady? Your brow looks most troubled."

: I gave him a look. "You’re not homely, Loqutey, and yes, I can’t seem to get through this.. this.. homework!"

: He smiled as he is wont to do. "Chop it into pieces and take it one bit at a time. Is there someplace that you can go for help in your studies?"

: "Yes, but I seem to ‘scare them off’. Apparently they are somewhat hesitant to help someone like me, as if ‘hulk smash puny humans!’ or something. Hmmf."

: Smiling, he knelt down next to me and gave my mechanical pencil-free hand a squeeze. "Don’t give in and go back there, *make* them assist you! You’re paying *them* for your education. This is your academic life at stake, don’t sell it short."

: I nodded, saying nothing, and feeling quite flustered. None of these equations seemed to make any sense! I had no idea from where engineers derived these equations from! They seemed to be so arbitrary!

: Smiling again, Loqu said, "I believe that you are ‘overloading’ and in need of a break. Why don’t you go and see that Southern Beau of yours now?"

: I nodded again. I know that Argon and Loqu had a falling-out recently, but if only they saw in each other the good and wonderful things that I saw in them... ah well...

: "Yes, Loqu, that’s a good thought, thank you."

: With that said, I squeezed his hand back and gave him a kiss on his cheek, causing a mild reddening and deepening of grin on his face.

: Gathering up my books and study materials, I took my leave and headed to the library where Argon worked. Heh, how so very ‘centaur’ of him to work at a library. He didn’t think much about it, to him, it was ‘only a job’, but I couldn’t help but think of the scholarly centaur, Arnold, from a book I had read once. At least that author had it right about centaurs being generally intelligent.

: "Mavra!" Argon exclaimed upon seeing me duck my head as I walked through the double doors of the library. "You made my night!"

: I smiled weakly, shrugging with both sets of shoulders and nodding meekly. "I’m glad that I could make someone happy tonight."

: Argon quickly caught onto my mood. "Uh-oh, what’s wrong now?"

: I sighed, slumping. "Everything." I showed him the notes I took in class. "None of these things seem to make any sense! It seems to be... ‘willy-nilly’!"

: Glancing at the seeming swarm of equations and sub-notes on various pages, he said, "Uh... I wasn’t involved in those sorts of classes. Can’t you get help there at school?"

: "Yes, if only I didn’t scare them off all of the time."

: Argon smiled. "Aaww, they’re just stunned by your awesome beauty, Mavra."

: I smirked. "Flattery will get you most anywhere, Argy." I kissed him, "but thank you."

: At that, another person, a man, had came over and saw both of us. "Oh, wow! So you must be Argon’s girl!"

: I blinked and turned to see a tallish man (what can you say when you’re eight feet tall?) with glasses and curly hair.

: "Oh, Mavra?" Argon said, introducing us, "I’d like to introduce Ed. Ed, this here is the lovely lady I’ve been going on about for the past year."

: Ed smiled, and took my hand and kissed it. "The pleasure is mine."

: Blushing, I took my hand back afterward. "Ah, well... thank you!"

: Argon smiled brightly. "Sorry, Ed, but the pleasure really is all mine!"

: This caused me cheeks to flush even deeper, making my naturally tanned hue to dark even further.

: "Ar-gon...!" I was barely able to utter, fanning myself with my notebook.

: Ed smiled, apparently enjoying my discomfiture. "Hey, Argon, why don’t you and head out? It’s almost closing anyway and there’s not much happening now anyway."

: Argon turned from me to look at him. "Are you sure, Ed? It’s no big deal to wait."

: Right, just so that he can ‘show me off’ some more and embarrass me, no doubt.

: "Naah, naah, it’s ok Argon, go ahead and go. I’ll close things up here. I wouldn’t want your lady friend here to be imposed."

: With that said he gave me a wink. Hmmf.

: "Well, if you’re sure, Ed, ok!" With that said, Argon gathered his satchel and turned off some of the back lights. "Ok, Mavra, we are good to go! Have you had anything to eat yet?"

: "No, I haven’t, at least not in the past few hours." My stomachs gurgled as if to add exclamation points.

: "Sounds like you’re hungry. C’mon," he took my hand, "I know a good place to go for hungry centaurs. Do you like Chinese?"

: I nodded rather vigorously. That’s one cuisine that can cook for my vegetarian tastes in bulk. With that said, he took my hand and together we headed over to a buffet, Chinese-style, and had our fill. I stuck close to Argon to take advantage of his ‘stealth’, something that even still befuddled me; something that ‘encouraged’ others not to notice on how unusually tall, wide, long we both were, not to mention the two extra legs and tail.

: While we did get a few odd glances, it was mainly due to the many plates we had piled up during the course of our meal, each of us having since lost track over the number of times we went back for ‘sevenths’ or something like that. It had been quite some time that I had the sensation of being ‘filled’ after a decently-sized meal. When I had expressed concern over somehow ‘cheating’ the owners, having easily out-eaten the cost of the meal (it was ‘all you can eat’ after all), Argon assuaged my fears and left an extra-large tip to cover any sort of shortcomings that I’ve thought might’ve been caused by our meal. As we left, I patted my upper stomach.

: "Mmm... that was excellent!"

: Argon smiled. "So, did ‘Mungo’ like?"

: I nodded vigorously! "Oh yes! Mungo like very much! But..."

: Argon raised his eyebrow. "But...?"

: "But... I don’t have any money on me right now, can I pay you back tomorrow?"

: Smiling, he said, "oh, you don’t have to pay me back, Mavra. Your company to me is payment enough. But, if you *really* have this need to ‘pay’ me back, why not take a break from your studies and visit with me for a bit and talk? Get away from things for a while and let your brain recharge?"

: I nodded tiredly. Both the stress of the day and of days past, along with all the rest of emotions I was feeling with being separated from my family and friends back in Oregon was catching up with me. Together, we got into his van and drove around Daytona for a while and chatted.

: Before I knew it, fatigue overtook me and I was out like a light.

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