The perks of being a superhuman: hunger wasn't often a problem. Boredom, unfortunately, was. It was most prominently a problem, if you were with someone as dead on the inside as Everest, who was currently walking ahead of me.
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"So Everest, what's your last name?" I asked. It was a brand new day, and which meant brand new ways for me to torture some answers out of the cold-blooded rogue.
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Nonetheless, I received no reply.
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I rolled my eyes even though he couldn't see. "Really? You're not even going to give me that?"
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"You're so boring."
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"I'm not here to amuse you," He finally spoke.
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Ah, I knew I'd crack him. "Hurray! He speaks!"
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"Of course I do," a pause. Then: "Just not to you."
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I raised an eyebrow, even though he couldn't see it. "See, that's how you know that there's something wrong with you. Everyone speaks to me. I'm so speak-able."
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"Outgoing," He corrected.
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"You think I'm outgoing?" I gasped placing a hand on my chest.
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"And annoying," he added, walking on.
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He stopped, turning around. "How?"
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"To me you are. You don't speak, and I find that annoying. You don't answer my questions; I find that annoying. You show zero emotions, and I find that annoying. I don't know you, Everest, and here I am following you like a lost sheep, and sure, one could easily say 'well if you hate it so much, why don't you just walk in the opposite direction', but I can't!" I exclaimed, pointing in the direction we came from. "Because in the opposite direction there's the Front. I can't go back there. I have to depend on you. I find that annoying.
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He gave me a long look.
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Perhaps I should I have stopped at the zero emotions part.
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In the duration of this long look, I observed how his facial muscles relaxed the slightest bit. But doing nothing more, he turned around and advanced on.
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As for me, I couldn't exactly advance forward as easily as him, thanks to this god-forsaken dress. I had told Amanda that it was a disastrous, over the top, unimaginably maddening piece of, piece of—
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"What? It's perfect!" She exclaimed, delightedly. "Oh, the photographers will be all over you."
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"So you want me to be blind?" I
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"Stop being so cynical, Emerald. This dress is a Madame Brodeur's!"
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"Whatever that means," I muttered.
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"That means, when you step out in this dress, you'd make every individual in the fashion industry bow down to you. You see, Madame Brodeur has not released a dress in two years. This dress itself is supposed to come out next spring. Do you know what that means?" Her brown eyes glimmered.
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"That the Front made a time machine?"
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"Emerald, be serious! Madame Brodeur is high in demand. Rosalind had to bend over backwards to get this dress!" She lectured me like she always did, addressing my stylist. Why I needed a stylist was beyond me. Surely a young adult should be able clothe themselves?
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"So Rosalind is a time traveller?" I joked again, much to Amanda's dismay.
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"Emerald," she sighed and gazed at me intently. "You need to understand that your life is going to be in the spotlight after next week. You should have been in the spotlight the moment you were born! You're the cure for cancer for crying out loud, but your parents didn't want it. However, as soon as those first snaps of photographs go off when you step on that stage, your life is going to change. You have to be serious about it."
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"I am serious about it!" I protested.
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"Well, the way you're behaving about something as small as a dress proves otherwise."
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"That's because I don't like dresses."
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"After the launch evening, you are going to be having dinners with presidents, you will to be meeting royalty, you are going to be invited to red carpets and awards shows, and it's going to be shown everywhere! This dress is just the beginning. After the launch evening, we're talking Elie Saab, Chanel, Gucci, Louboutins—"
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"No," I interrupted her. "That's not me."
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If she had listened, I would be walking in front of Everest instead of the other way round. I looked down at my dress and then back at Everest. Must be nice, trekking through a forest in joggers and a t-shirt, instead of a Madame Broduer's next year springs master piece.
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"Walk slower!" I ordered, more than asked Everest.
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"This is my average speed." He replied subtly.
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"Just because it's your average speed, it doesn't mean it's my average speed. And why couldn't you have just given me something else to wear before we left the Front?"
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"Of course. Because we had time for a costume change." Was that sarcasm, I heard in his voice? My, my, I did not know this Everest What-ever-his-last-name-is was capable of such fine art.
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"Maybe we would have found the time if you had saved yourself all the cold glares." I shot back. Oh, that one was good!
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"You are intolerable." He stated.
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"You are insensitive." I fired back.
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"Your opinions mean next to nothing to me." Next to.
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"No, seriously, you really are. You're not the one in this unbearable dress, so the least you can do is slow down a few kilometres-per-hour. But no, that's too much to ask of his Highness."
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"If you dislike the dress so much, why don't you just take it–" He stopped mid-sentence, realising the reality of his words.
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I smirked. "What? Take it off? It's not a hoodie for one to easily take off when they feel like it, Everest. I'm wearing close to nothing under this."
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"I didn't mean–"
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"Of course, you were just self-assertive as usual." I teased.
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"Don't worry, I always expected it from you."
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He gave me a bitter stare.
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"Relax! It's a joke." I laughed.
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He did not return the laugh.
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My own laugh dissipated. "Oh come on, it's funny. And anyway, you brought it upon yourself."
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His face remained unmoved. "Like I said; intolerable."
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We walked another three – three! – hours, in absolute silence. Not one word was uttered. I'm sure it was easily managed for him, but frankly, I surprised myself by staying quiet that entire time.
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You may be wondering how I was able to calculate the time, having no watch. It was easy. The walk was so boring, that I counted the seconds. That's right. I counted down ten-thousand-eigth-hundred seconds. I needed entertainment, okay?
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Somewhere along the ten-thousand-eigth-hundred-and-fifties, my brain felt like that of a university student during exam season, so I decided to stop.
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To pile on, my walk eventually mutated into a series of stumbles, so much so that I wouldn't be exaggerating if I said, my legs were one more step away from falling off. I couldn't help it, it was the lactic acid that had automatically built up in my legs!
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So yes, I became tired. Sue me.
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When I explained this to Everest, breaking the silence, he said I should stop being tired because it was "pitiful" that I couldn't even make the remaining fifty-three mile journey on foot through a forest, without a break.
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"Pitiful?! I beg your pardon?" I stumbled over the words, in a state of shock. Shock from his heartlessness, that was what it was!
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My eyes flared. "Hydrogen, one; helium, 4; beryllium, 6.4..."
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"What are you doing?"
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"Shut up. Sodium twenty-three..."
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"So you've lost your mind."
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I took a deep breath, simultaneously fighting the urge to cut him with his own jawline. "Did it ever occur to you that some people having these things called muscles, that eventually stop contracting?!" I shouted more than asked.
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"Your point being?"
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"My point being, I've been walking for three hours; my legs ache!"
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"I could say the same to you, but do you hear me complaining about it?" He had a point there. But as if I was going to let him know that!
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"That's–that's because you are inhuman. You're the incarnation of granite itself!
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"Really?" He sounded uninteresting. Not that he was ever interested in anything, anyway.
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"Yes! I thought I was inhumane before I met you. But, brother, you give me a run for my own money! All I'm asking for is a break, not one of your kidneys."
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"I believe the past ten minutes we've stood here arguing is a break in itself. Let's move."
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This is ridiculous!
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"No," I protested.
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"You constantly insist how strong you are, yet you can't even manage a hike through a forest."
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Alright, he got me there, I'll admit it. And the feeling sucked: this foreign feeling of defeat. It was the kind of feeling that made me want to jump out of my body entirely just to avoid it. Hence, I made my way around him, determined to show him, how wrong he was.
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I'll show him pitiful!
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