[Continuing yesterday’s response to The Daily Post prompt Envelope Pushers]
Annie’s words invoked a rush of mental images for Rex — she and Rune giggling at the final practice in December, their terse whispered conversation at the holiday party, her defense of Rune’s absence to Double-J this afternoon.
“It started in November, before the party.” Rex hadn’t actually thought of asking for their history, but found the information immediately useful.
“Before you were named captain.” Annie bit her lip, nodded. “Is that — ”
“Of course it is.” She actually looked insulted by Rex’s half-uttered question, and although he suspected the reaction would likely make his friend even more defensive, Rex laughed.
“Come on, Annie. Your personal life — ”
“That’s not the issue.”
Rex shook his head. “Sure looks that way to me.”
She slapped her gloved right fist into her gloved left palm. “It’s about perceptions. Don’t be naive — you know people are going to talk when they find out we’re dating, how I’m playing favorites — ”
“Annie.” Rex couldn’t prevent showing his disdain for her self-importance. “Annie, you do know that the fencing team captain really doesn’t do anything, right?”
She folded her arms across her jacketed chest, leaned backwards. “So why did Coach say we needed one?”
“I dunno.” He threw his arms above his head and brought them down swiftly, his long arms flailing like he was signaling an airplane. “When I asked him the same thing, he said something about leadership, being an example.” He touched his chest. “Which is why I told him that naming me captain would be a bad idea. Or Double-J.”
Annie’s eyes widened, and Rex nodded in response. “Yeah, Coach asked me about Double-J, and I told him he shouldn’t make him captain. If I hadn’t said nothing, that’s probably what woulda happened. But he asked my opinion, and I couldn’t lie.”
“Coach told me he made that decision all on his own.”
Rex had been looking down at the ground between them, but now raised his tall head and smiled at Annie. “Too many damn secrets.”