“Well, I wasn't expecting that.” Ashley crossed her arms, looking rather impressed. Her voice trailed off, and Elizabeth could see an idea forming behind her eyes, if she cared to look.
“What the ****?” Elizabeth cocked her eyebrow, almost looking sort of annoyed, “Playing to a draw? I guess it was his only option, but… what?” She looked over to Ashley, looking for feedback, and saw something cooking back there.
“I don’t ever like that look Ash.” she looked over to the duelists, now jabbering at one another, trying desperately to get the last word in, and looked over back to Ashley. Instead of an answer, Elizabeth got Ashley’s hand around her wrist, and the next thing she knew her friend was dragging her through the crowd and out onto the field, followed quickly by several phrases along the lines of: “Ashley, no. I don’t like whatever this is, Ash, Ashley no, none of this please.” It was no use though, and after they pushed their way out of the crowd, Ashley yoinked Elizabeth up next to her, and addressed both of the players.
“Hey Guys! Ashley Rendleman, Student Council President, and this is my assistant Beth. Interesting game you had here.” After she had gotten their attention with a friendly greeting, her smile twisted into a more mischievous grin. “And I enjoyed watching it, but you do know that dueling on school grounds outside of the designated arenas is against school policy, right?” For his part, the blonde boy looked more confused than anything, then as things sunk in he cracked half a smile and let out a nervous laugh. “Now, I’m going to need both of your names, boys…”
Elizabeth shook her head slightly, was she being brought up here to look like good cop or something? Why did she need to be here for Ashley’s weird disciplinarian act? She looked at the two boys, then Ashley, and nodded, “...Yeah, you knocked my muffin on the ground with your lazers. Major issue…?” she pursed her lips, trying to hide a mostly confused expression; she was just as lost as the boys were, “It was a good duel though, for the most part.”
Ashley shot Elizabeth a sharp look, then went back to her act, pretending to be pondering something for a moment. “But…. We could overlook things… if you do me a favor.”
“Uhhhhh…” was the only noise Yushiro was able to form. At this point he had absolutely no idea what was going on, and worse Akira seemed to be preoccupied by a different pair of girls (both of whom oddly enough had blue hair) who had shown up.
“I need a main event for the Kickoff cup in a couple of weeks, and you two seemed like you were really going at it, so how about this: You guys have a rematch for me on the day of the cup. I’ll bill it as an exhibition game, and we’ll just pretend neither of us ever saw this little scuffle happen, mkay?” All things considered, the boys would be foolish not to accept such an offer. While it was more of a threat from the president than anything, the fact of the matter is it would be a chance for both of them to gain some considerable notoriety; after all, the Cup was a pretty big deal.
Elizabeth tried to hide a scowl, which probably made her look more convincing for Ashley, but the reason she was scowling was because of her friend’s motives. The Cup? Really? First she markets out my duel with Hitomu and now she’s snatching up these two? What’s gotten into her this afternoon?
Ashley caught Elizabeth’s frown, and knew exactly what she was thinking. Of course, what her friend didn't know was that this was only phase one of her actual dastardly plan; getting a crowd pleaser for the cup was just a bonus. “Good? Good. Now then.” She not-so-gently shoved Elizabeth in Yushiro’s direction as she spoke. “Beth would you mind getting blondie’s info for me while I talk to this other gentleman about his earlier activities?” Hook, line, and sinker. Not exactly the best way to get Beth to go out and socialize, sure, but it might just work out, and she had something else to address. She left Elizabeth to it as she pulled Hiraku aside.
“So, am I correct in assuming that you’re the fellow who’s been challenging other students to ante games these past few days? Or is it just a coincidence that you happened to be out here having duels without permission on campus?” This time Ashley was serious. A problem like this so early in the school year wasn’t bound to end well.
Before she knew it, Elizabeth was being shoved into Yushiro’s space. The issue, of course, with wearing sandals is they don’t exactly have the best traction, nor do they have a front to stop you from say, getting stuck on a crack in the pavement below them as you’re being forced into a direction. Elizabeth has started to fall, and instantly went to cover the back of her dress to avoid exposing her backside to the crowd, and put another hand up in front of her reflexively to attempt to break the fall. Luckily enough, depending on how you view it, Yushiro was much closer than she thought, and she instead just sort of bumped into him, with her hand being pressed between their chests as she caught her balance. It took a moment for Elizabeth to gain her surroundings, before realizing the gravity of the situation. Her face was probably no more than a few inches away from this complete stranger. Her face shot red and she quickly moved off of his person, brushing out the folds in her dress and organizing her bangs to their proper spots as quickly as she could. A “sorry” or two was thrown in between clearing her throat and trying to perfect her appearance.
Perhaps to her relief, his face was as red as hers, his composure having been completely destroyed. “S-sorry about that. You alright?” It wasn’t his fault, at all, but good luck trying to convince anyone (especially Yushiro) of that after seeing the look on his face. He took a stutter step back toward her as she regained her balance, instinctively trying to make sure she was alright, but quickly stopped himself as it would have put him back into her personal space. That was until Yushiro realized that he still had his Duel disk active, and her bumping into him had spilled a good half of his deck onto the pavement. He quickly ducked down and started picking up cards, careful not to scratch them on the gravel.
Ashley thought she was so dang clever, didn’t she. Just shove her into some guy and they’ll figure the rest out, eh? Well now look where that got her. Her and this random stranger were beat red, feeling as awkward as ever, and scrambling to pick up cards off of the ground as quickly as possible in the crowd of people dispersing after the duel. Elizabeth squatted by the knees to allow her to get down to the ground without revealing anything, trying to help the poor guy out; she had already made a mess of a stressful situation. The absolute last thing she wanted to do was have him lose cards.
“Oh my god, I’m so sorry. My friend bumped into me and I completely lost my footing. If any of your cards are damaged or anything I’ll replace what I can.” She felt her face getting hotter and hotter by the second, so much for any sort of getting to know this guy; she would be lucky if he didn’t curse her out for this!
“Hey don’t sweat it.” He looked up from the ground to at her for a moment. “I’m the doofus who left his disk on.” He smiled at her apologetically, then reflexively went back to his cards after he realized he was staring at her. The last thing he wanted to do was make things even more awkward for either one of them, though he had to admit to himself that she was pretty.
Great. He was nice about it too. Now she really felt like a jerk. As she was picking up cards, though, she noticed the blonde getting distracted by her. They met eyes for just a moment before he had quickly gone back to scooping up cards, just as she had done. Finally sure she had gotten everything near her, she stood up, waiting for him to do the same. It took him another couple of seconds to finish gathering cards before he got back up off the ground. Mercifully, the crowd seemed to have dispersed and few if any people were actually there to laugh at them for bumping into one another. “Thanks.” he said, putting the cards he had picked up back into his deck box.
“No, no, it would have been rude of me to spill all your cards like that and not help. Really sorry again.” She handed the cards over to the boy and gave a small bow of the head towards him, “Guess you didn’t get so lucky this time, eh?” she chuckled a little bit, trying to make light of the situation and hopefully wash some of the blush from her cheeks, “Bumping into me and all, anyway. The duel seemed to go mostly your way.”
“You win some, you lose some. Right?” he laughed too, glad to get back a little bit of his composure. “But for real, don’t worry about it. Some people wouldn't have thought twice, after all. And besides, didn’t lose any. “ He patted his deck box to punctuate his sentence. “Soo uhh…” His voice trailed off, not really knowing where to take the conversation next. “Your friend said you needed my name or something?”
Elizabeth looked back, puzzled, and saw Ashley, realizing why this had even started. She quickly turned back over to the boy and started rambling on, “Oh, I’m not sure that’ll be necessary, it wasn’t a big deal anyway.” She quickly realized how rude that sounded and tried to patch it up, “I mean, not that I don’t want your name anyway, you seem like a nice enough guy.” Wait, that’s not helping, “And I don’t want to uhm, get you in trouble with Ashley or whatever it was!” Sure, that’s good enough, “So what was your name, anyway?” She was a hot mess. A flush, clumsy, hot, mess. She just hoped he still found her at all interesting, or at the very least not a total weirdo.
“Its uhh… Y-yushiro. Yushiro Midori.” His face was still red. She probably didn’t care enough to remember his name anyway, judging by her reaction. Maybe it was best to change the subject. “What’s her deal, anyway?"
Elizabeth nodded, “Wish we could have met under less tumultuous circumstances, Yushiro. I’m Elizabeth Hall.” she looked behind her to Ashley once more, who was probably still on about something, whether it be the duel now or the duel later, “Oh, Ashley? She’s always been a bit of a handful. But you know, she’s smart as anything when it comes to student government and cute to boot so, I guess I would be a handful too.”
Yushiro shot a glance over to Akira. “Yeah, I kinda get that… e-except the cute part I mean. N-not that she isn’t cute, but.. Ahhh nevermind.”
She giggled a bit at Yushiro’s nerves, almost as if she hadn’t just done the same, “Don’t worry mate, I won’t tell her. She’s got enough suitors these days as it is.”
“Heh, I probably wouldn’t have a chance anyway.” He laughed. Self deprecation usually worked to soften things over.
“Well, I don’t know I think you’d do alright…” Elizabeth, of course, was making a jab at Ashley, but to a complete stranger like Yushiro, this probably just came off as her calling him attractive. Talk about a train wreck of a situation. Not that he wasn’t, but boy she was striking out here.
Yushiro’s face got even redder. He wasn’t used to… was this even flirting? Nah, she wouldn’t be flirting with him. “Thanks…. I think. I’m probably not her type though.”
She coughed; her blush was most certainly getting worse so she attempted to change the subject away from accidentally flirting again, “So that big duel at the cup, think you’re going to go for it?”
“Do I really have a choice? I’d rather not get in trouble with the faculty. I don’t know if I can actually beat him though… he’s seen more or less all of my good plays.”
“Oh has he…?” Elizabeth may have been flustered and upset with herself a moment ago, but this was something she knew she could offer him. She gestured towards his duel disk, “Well if you want I do a bunch of tutoring down at the coffee shop. They have a bunch of duel tables there, I’d be willing to help you out if you want it. It’s the least I could do for spilling your deck all over the ground. Well, after my duel with Hitomu tomorrow, anyway. You might not want my help after it’s all said and done but the offer’s yours.” she gave him a reassuring half-smile; she wasn’t the type to grin but even with her full smile not in sight it was easy to tell she had beautiful, well-maintained teeth.
“At CoffeeCards? Sure, but really, you don’t owe me anything, Elizabeth… wait, you’re dueling Hitomu? As in Blue Yonder’s top player-and-also-the-barista Hitomu?” He looked surprised. Maybe she could actually help him improve his game, if she was good enough to take on the best duelist at the school.
Elizabeth nodded, “Yeah well, back in our sophomore years we had something of a rivalry, before I took my break from the game. Was hoping he would give me my spark back. Anyway, CoffeeCards or my apartment are always open for lessons, not that you need them, but if you wanted the help.”
“I could use the practice, at least. And uhh… hey, i-if you need a cheering section tomorrow, I’m not doing anything after classes.” Stupid. She probably had people going to cheer her on.
She was taken aback by the comment, had she really made that much of an impression on him? “O-oh! Well, I mean I would certainly enjoy the company. Who knows, maybe I’ll even win!” she chuckled, she knew that wasn’t happening deep inside, “Here, take my number, I’ll text you the details.” She handed him a card with her number on it, as she had usually done for students she was going to tutor, or for potential dates... not that he was a potential date or anything.
“Hey, if you do, you’ll have done better than me! All I can do is force a tie.” He joked as he took the card from her hand. “And sure, I’ll come watch.” He smiled at her. “Annnyway, I should probably get going. Gotta get ready for class and work tomorrow. See you around!” He turned around and ran off in Akira’s direction, eager to get out of the heat and the public eye.
Elizabeth blinked as he ran off, she supposed that went well but then again, not many guys just ran away from her at full speed…. She looked towards the ground. Maybe she had been too forthcoming. She began to get upset until… wait, what was that on the ground? Elizabeth took a few steps closer and saw a copy of Nitro Booster on the pavement.
Oh my god, that must be Yushiro’s! She rushed over and picked it up off of the ground and looked around for him, but he was already gone. It was then that she realized he had never given her his number back. She groaned and slipped it into her deckbox; she would have to give it to him another day. Maybe tomorrow, if he was serious about showing up to the duel...