Yay for Wednesdays!
Another bit that I had, admittedly, already had written before today, but was written for one of my final projects before graduating this year. :3 Goes along with my “Word Series” again.
Robyn was a fairly competitive person.
Growing up in a family of five and being the middle child could do that to a person. Not to mention she strived to do better in course work, and video games – don’t even get her started. She’d had a fair amount of bitch-pitch-matches with middle-aged nobodies and swear-y children online to bring that out in her. But the drive to push and get better really did make her better. She worked harder and excelled at pretty much everything she did.
So it bothered her beyond imagination when Dante didn’t even bat an eye in the face of competition.
“He’s totally challenging you,” she said one day, eyeing the young man on the sweet motorcycle pulled up next to them at the stop light. Dante had taken them out to dinner, and now they were on their way back on his ATV to Robyn and her roommate’s apartment.
Dante glanced at the guy through his helmet visor, while the challenger wiggled an eyebrow suggestively and flicked his own visor down. He revved a couple times, shifting from foot to foot in his lane. Dante waved his hand a little as a greeting.
This was the longest light ever. Robyn hated this intersection.
“Pretty sure he’d beat me no matter what, so…” Dante rolled his shoulders, and for a moment Robyn thought he was going to do it. Holy cow, a race? Awesome! She gripped around Dante’s waist tighter, anticipating the take off.
Then the light turned green, and speed racer took off like a gunshot.
Dante took it slow like the tortoise. Like a grandmother with cataracts and bad knees. Like ugh, so slow.
“Whaa? What’re you doing?” she practically whined, thumping her helmet against his back, between his shoulders.
“Hey, quit that.”
“I totally thought you were going to race him!”
“Pfft. No. That’s stupid.”
It was a silly thing to be grumpy over, but Robyn still sulked all the way home. Even as she climbed off the back of the ATV she simply handed over her helmet and said goodnight. Dante was surprised at the lack of emotion, confused by her attitude. What’d he do?
The race had been silly, Robyn could agree. She got over it in minutes and ended up texting Dante an “I’m sorry.” He called and they talked for hours about nothing.
But then it happened again. Only this time, Robyn couldn’t let it sit.
“What’s this?” she asked, holding up a flier that had been sitting on Dante’s work table.
He was in the kitchenette baking a pizza, and so wasn’t listening. “Huh?” he turned and looked to see what she was talking about. “Oh. Mr. Kraig gave those to us a couple days ago. Some logo contest for an athletic thing.”
Ooh, that sounded neat. “That’s cool. And right up your alley. Did you do anything for it yet?”
His answer was disappointing. “No. Probably won’t. I have an idea, but my classmates will probably blow it out of the water, so…”
That ‘so,’ again. And all those stupid ‘probably’s…
“Da-an,” she groaned, flopping gracelessly into his wheelie work chair and slouching, slowly pushing herself toward the kitchen. He snorted at her in amusement.
“Ro-ob,” he mimicked, rolling his eyes at the deadpan look on her face. “What?”
“This is a great opportunity for you! Why wouldn’t you at least try? You might be surprised.” She flapped the flier at him for emphasis, sitting up in her seat a bit. “Just because you think your classmates are ‘better,’ which I think you’re full of it, doesn’t mean the ones who pick the logo won’t like yours more. Why’re you so…”
Obviously trying to suppress a smirk at her frustration, Dante set the timer on the oven before spinning her seat and wheeling her back to the living/dining room area of his apartment. “Why am I so what? What’re you tryin’ ta get at here?”
Robyn laughed. It always made her giggle when Dante put extra, ridiculous emphasis on his Boston accent. She reached up and back behind her, barely reaching his scruffy brown hair enough to ruffle it. “Stop. I’m being serious.”
“So am I!” he said, continuing with his emphasis, “I don’t understand what you’re referring to, lady. Why am I so wha-at?” he drawled. He spun the chair back around again to face him and knelt down in front of it, resting his arms across the arms of the chair.
Becoming unnerved by the sudden staring and still trying to stop her laughter, Robyn pushed Dante away and slid down and off the chair. She giggled on his lap for a moment before sobering up.
“Hm.” Dante twirled a strand of blond hair around as finger as Robyn calmed down. “It’s almost as if you don’t like me being so mello-ow.”
“Stop drawling your words, damn it,” she laughed again, trying to regain her seriousness. “No. I don’t mind that you’re mellow, but you’re just so… blasé about things when it comes to any form of contest.”
“Uh-huh…” Robyn’s held up fist made him snicker, but he stopped forcing the accent and spoke normally again. “And?”
“Why? You have so much potential, Dan! Why don’t you try more? You could totally win this logo contest, hands down.”
“Meh.” He shrugged. “Maybe.”
“God, you’re so frustrating.”
“Maybe you just have a problem with losing. Don’t worry; next time a bike rides up next to us I’ll just zip through the red light.” He pushed his glasses up his nose and stared her down as he said this.
Ew. Was he sore about that? Robyn sheepishly looked away and huffed. “Don’t be that way. It was just a heat of the moment thing. But that’s the thing!” she said, looking back up at him. His eyebrow rose to show he was listening. “Even in moments like that, it’s like it doesn’t effect you. Why don’t you… I don’t know, try?”
“In the case of the race,” he said seriously, holding up a finger, “that was just stupid. I use to race back home on dirt bikes and stuff; that’s behind me. We did a lot of stupid crap back then when it came to racing and it left a sour taste in my mouth.”
“As for the logo contest…” His face got thoughtful and he shrugged again, sighing. “I don’t know. I like what I’m doing, but I’m still learning and new to it. I’m not that good, y’know?”
“What kinda attitude is that?” Robyn asked. She poked him in the chest. “So what if you’re still learning? Duh, you all are. You’re in college to learn this stuff. But what you have learned so far has made you pretty awesome at designing things. I saw the t-shirt designs you did your first semester, Danny, and they were pretty sick. You need to have more confidence in your abilities.”
“More confidence… fine.” He pursed his lips in thought. “But that doesn’t mean I have to copy you and be so competitive, right?”
“No,” she laughed, gripping his shoulder affectionately before standing up. She motioned for him to sit in the chair and he did so, and she wheeled him slowly over to his computer. “But… I still think you should try for the contest. I’ve got some homework to do, and you can work on this, kay? Then we’ll stuff our faces with pizza and watch some Netflix or something.”
Snorting, Dante opened his laptop and watched as Robyn walked back into the kitchen to check on the food. He smiled and shook his head, turning back to his screen and finding the criteria for the logo.
More confidence… he should have some, he supposed. He’d somehow managed to convince Robyn to go out with him, and she didn’t put up with pansies. He’d heard enough cussing at other gamers to know that much.
But yeah… he could try harder. What would it hurt to put more effort and gusto into things? His ma’ had always called him a “bit of a softy.”