Short: The Plan

[This is the sixth short in the Order of Polly. To start from the beginning, you can click this! If you want to read more about the series, you can do here!]

“So her housemates converged” wait, no, that won’t work. That character wouldn’t write that. Oh I dunno now. Hey, come and give us a hand, would you?

Sophie, Danny, Emmie and Nola were sat around Sophie’s laptop, furiously trying to extend their narrative wit. Sophie noticed Polly, standing curiously by the door. She was looking on, wondering what everyone else was doing that didn’t involve her. With the invite, she joined them on the floor in the lounge and looked at the screen. It had about three paragraphs, full of dialogue, taking her all of a minute to read and catch-up. As she stopped to process it, everyone else looked at her with interest. What was she going to say?
“Why didn’t you invite me for this earlier? I love writing, you guys know that.” Emmie drew in breath, but then realised she had nothing to say. Sophie chirped up.
“But that’s exactly the point!” Danny gave her a bewildering look, realising the implications of what she’d just said. It was the reserved Nola who saved the day.

“Wait, hold on guys. Are we writing a story about us writing a story? Even I’m lost now.” Nola’s questioning paused the group’s efforts. They then looked at their work so far and without spending more than five seconds on it, deleted all that they had done. Back to the beginning they went. It had been a short weekend so far. Polly went back home on Thursday evening, so the following night was Plan Night. The strict limitation of how much alcohol and YouTubing allowed was supposed to get them to focus on writing their story, but they kept starting and deleting everything they had done. Not through lack of trying, of course. They were fully aware what they wrote didn’t have to be good, just good enough to get the message through to her, of opening her eyes. “Hmm. Perhaps it is more poignant” Nola muttered, to the lack of attention from everyone else.

After several hours of writing and a time no-one particularly wanted to acknowledge, Sophie cleared her throat and prepared to read out what they had so far written. “It was a sunny, fresh day. The kind that she loathed. There was nothing interesting to come from these sorts of days. The brightness illuminating any mystery that the dark otherwise kept hidden, ripe for discovery. For her, it was the challenge of the call of the bizarre that kept her going. She couldn’t survive in the turmoil of the mundane.” She stopped to regain her composure, whilst the others sat with a tired contemplation. They were, of course, completely unaware of how awkward and pretentious their work was sounding, but it was 3am and they were on a roll. So why not?

Sophie continued. “Alexis looked on at the crowds gathered on the hill, perched on the bar’s balcony on the campus. There was absolutely nothing of interest. As much as she looked though, she did not see the interesting that was right behind her. And what did this boy look like? Tall, but not so tall as to be intimidating. Average, but the kind of average that somehow was above being so. Dark hair and thoughtful blue eyes. His black jeans and red top meant he fit in, but was still noticeable striding along the university’s grounds. And he was looking straight at her. After a few seconds, he assumed no additional confidence and strode up beside her.” They nodded in agreement. This was good.

As she reached for her drink, she noticed him standing next to her. He said hello. She replied in kind. Then she bleakly asked him, “So…how long did you think you could go without me noticing you?” She smirked. He released an optimistic sigh.
“Long enough to get a chance to say hello to you.” He swirled his drink around, took a swig and then put it back on the ledge. She accepted the thought; she was suitably intrigued.
“If it makes you feel any better, I only made one gesture to the staff that I was concerned. Any longer and I’d have been right outta here.” She picked up her glass, hit it against his, took a sip and then grinned.
“Apparently I’m not very good at this.” He joined in with the fun.
“You’re damn right you’re not.” She moved some of the hair covering her face. That was something she was told to do by another stranger. He noticed. Positively. She was chuffed. And this was going well.
“I think we’ve been standing here for about a minute and there’s already enough sexual tension to last a year.” He remained relaxed.
“Yes. Of course, this is where you tell me that you have a girlfriend, but it was delightful to talk to me.” She replied as quickly as possible.
“Ouch.” He made the face that someone pulls when they eat something they do not like the taste of. “I am wounded that you think I would not want to talk to you under my own volition!” He was sure to exaggerate to get some humour.
“Big word that. Didn’t need to use it.” She tilted her head while maintaining her grin.
“Well I like it.” He matched and tilted his the same way.
“So where you headed then? I imagine the only interesting person I’ve met this weekend will be going off in completely the opposite direction to me and my train that leaves in…oooh, fifteen minutes.” This was a test she was told about by the same person. He nodded.
“Well we’ll certainly be going in the same direction.” He paused, waiting for her face to light up. It did. “And I’m gonna take a guess that you’re going where I am. Either that, or you’ve mercilessly stolen that jumper with our uni’s logo on.” She chuckled.
“Ha. Alright. Well, I like you.” She leaned forward, resting her head on the palm of her hand. “But now I need a name.” He leaned to match her.
“Nuh-uh. I came up to you. The least you can do is give me yours first.” He particularly emphasised the ‘least’.
“Oooh.” She looked away for a second, trying to hide how impressed she was. Looking back at him, she had an even bigger grin on her face.
“Polly.” She reached out to shake his hand. “And you’re definitely sitting next to me on the train.”
“You can call me Andy.” He shook it. “And it would be your pleasure.” She picked up her stuff and started running towards the platform, stopping at the entrance of the bar to look back to Andy, who incidentally had one of Sophie’s designated ‘safe names’, gesturing him to follow.

[To the next entry: Observer Bias]


About thejgman

I am a person and do persony things! Favourite things include Mars bars, video games and, surprisingly, writing. I'm a graduate in Cultural Studies, with a focus towards all things digital and technological.
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