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“You do know that he likes you, right?” Sarah poked Marisol playfully with her elbow, grinning at her friend before gesturing towards Charlie with her head. The boy was trying to hit a target with an obviously crooked rifle, after very subtly asking which of the stuffed animals Marisol liked most. If he’d had been more obvious it might have become embarrassing.
Marisol smiled softly. “I know,” she said. She had known for a long time. Since the first week of their master studies, where they met each other. She had never said anything about it though, not wanting to embarrass Charlie but also because she couldn’t really figure out if she liked him back. He was a sweet guy but he also reminded her of her little brother in a way that she couldn’t completely ignore. Charlie looked at archaeology in a purely scientific way that Marisol couldn’t completely understand. He refused to pick a side in any political or ethnographical discussion and that bothered her from time to time. They sometimes had true, untampered evidence right in front of their noses and yet he always found a way to see it from all sides. Including the sides of potential malicious forces.
Sarah rolled her eyes at the moment she spotted Marisol’s smile. “Don’t tell me you like him back but you just tease him?” That would be just terrible, and not only because Charlie would really become unbearable. He already had a knack of being extremely pompous when he became all scholarly, and scholarly correct mostly. Marisol chuckled softly and shook her head.
“No way,” she said, looking over at the young man another time. “I mean, he’s a sweet boy but no. I don’t think he would be my type, when push comes to shove.” Too timid, to ‘middle ground’.
Sarah thought about Marisol’s words for a second before nodding. “Yeah, you might be right. He would never be into the stuff you get involved with.” No political career would ever suit Charlie, where it would be extremely odd if Marisol wouldn’t go down that path in one way or another. Suddenly, she poked Marisol in the ribs.
“Look who’s standing over there.” And the girl was on a roll apparently! Not even two meters away from them was a very familiar person hitting one target after another. By the look of the owner of the stand, she was starting to become very annoying. “Looking at the way she shoots, you wouldn’t imagine her being a slacker,” Sarah giggled. Marisol rolled her eyes.
“She’s always been a good shot, why do you think she joined the archery team?” She had lowered her voice just a bit. It wasn’t really necessary that Naia knew they were watching her. Unfortunately, Marisol and her friends hadn’t accounted for Erin being present as well.
“Hey Sarah! What are you guys doing here?” As soon as she heard Erin’s voice Naia’s head popped up as well, her eyes narrowing when she spotted the trio. The only one being oblivious about the change in attitude was Charlie, who was still wasting his money on trying to hit the target. The fender, however, looked overjoyed as Naia handed over the rifle and pointed towards her claimed price: a drone. Marisol couldn’t help but grin. This girl would never be the type to get a plush stuffed animal if there was something tech-y that could be won. As Naia walked over to the rest her eyes set on Marisol.
“You guys going to give it a try?” Her voice stayed neutral, but her eyes showed that she knew this change to be very slim as she saw the frown set on Marisol’s face quite quickly. The girl hated weaponry, guns especially. Naia grinned. “What? You afraid you’ll hurt a fluffy fake creature?”
Marisol growled. Challenges were her weak spot, she never turned her back to one. In ancient Greece it would be her mortal flaw, and one day most probably her down fall. “Give me that thing,” she said as she grabbed the riffle from Charlie’s hands, leaving the boy with a confused look on his face as Marisol took aim.

—-

She should have known she wouldn’t be able to hit even one single target. She had lousy aim, and the tampered riffle wouldn’t help with that.
“Remind me again why you like playing football?” Sarah couldn’t help it, it was hilarious that Marisol had something she was so terrible at as she was at aiming. The girl was a fierce competitor but when she had to hit a target from a distance she wouldn’t be able to make the shot if her life depended on it.
The look Marisol shot her showed clearly that the girl should be careful with her words from now on. “Football is about more than just shooting at the goal,” she grumbled. Her ego was bruised, that was quite clear.
“Clearly,” Sarah snickered.
“Get bent.” Her mood hadn’t been particularly good this evening to begin with, losing badly to Naia didn’t make it better. Even though she had never been able to beat the girl with anything that involved a target, it still hurt a bit that she was so much better. Even with the crooked riffle. Sarah wasn’t impressed in the slightest with the insults and just kept chuckling.
“Get over yourself Sol, you can’t be the best at everything. Give Naia this one thing okay?” Being part of the archery team gave her a bit of school credit that her grades didn’t, and grades was something Marisol had already after all.
“I’m going home,” Marisol grumbled. “I still have that assignment for Jacobs to finish.”
“Ooh come on party-pooper, you can write that short story at any time this weekend!” Sarah grumbled, and even Charlie pouted.
“Come on Sol,” he joined the discussion. “I’ll help you with the writing if you want.” As if he was able to write a single word without it being completely academic, Marisol thought but smiled. The offer still was sweet. Maybe her friends were right, maybe she was overreacting because of her foul mood. She just hated losing so badly.
“Fine fine fine,” she gave in as she raised her hands. “How about we don’t do anything anymore that has winners.” A middle-ground-solution for a change, something she wouldn’t make a habit out off she promised herself. She would have to work with Naia after all.

“You showed her good,” Erin chuckled as Naia and she made her way through the crowd, on their way to a snack and a drink. Naia shrugged.
“She can’t aim for shit,” the girl said. “Never has been able to do it.” Gym class had always been fun because of that. The girl was fiercely competitive, in a manner that you wished for her to be on your team when playing sports as having her as an opponent might make you end up with a bruised shin and a bloody nose. But she always played defence for a reason. A good reason even. Naia had taken one more ball to the head than she cared for even though she hadn’t even been in a direct line of sight from Marisol.
“So you started on Mölln’s assignment with her yet?” Erin’s face became questioning.
Naia shook her head. “But I can’t imagine that it will be long before she texts me about it. Although I still have to finish that short story for Jacobs as well.” It was strange to do such a creative writing assignment for a journalism class, but the teacher’s assistant always liked to “stir things up” as she herself called it. Naia sometimes wondered if her students ever felt the same enthusiasm.
“Yeah what are you doing for that?’
“I think some historical fiction, or a psychological thriller. It sure as hell won’t be any poetry again.” Jacobs had forced her before to do that and Naia hated it.
“Aah, no Victorian poetry to wow the crowd?” Erin should have expected the punch she got.

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