Day 184 of 365 Days of Writing Prompts: Write an awkward email.
Shannon: Subject: Did you lose something?
I found something with your name on it. Maybe you know what I’m talking about? No judgement, just let me know if you want it back, otherwise I’ll throw it out.
Erin: Subject: Question
I had fun at the Christmas party with you and meant to ask you this there. Anyway, could I have your personal number?
If you’re not interested just let me know and I will drop It.
Senior Accounts Manager-Consumer Goods
What’s in your characters inbox?
I sat on the uncomfortable bench the dean had apparently hand-carved from a tree that was felled during a horrible storm a few years back; that was just rumour, but I suppose there could have been some truth to it. Shifting around on the rough surface, I finally stood up awkwardly and leaned against the rustic wood wall that smelled of a century’s worth of cologne, dust and brine. As I stretched a crick in my back, a tall, jet-haired girl stalked stiff-legged by, carrying a stack of heavy textbooks with a superior look in her. Around her wrists was a length of glittering golden tattoos I recognized immediately as sigils, though for what, I couldn’t tell you.
“Daniel,” she growled as her hair swept by in a wave, wafting a dizzying, warm firewood smell into my face along with the unmistakable aura of someone with an elemental power. All around her, as though her very soul exuded the brilliant light, was a circle of clean alabaster, though it didn’t paint anything paler but her skin. Without thinking what I was doing, I reached out to stop her from leaving, holding her arm tightly in mine. Turning around to face me, her eyes glinting dangerously, she breathed curtly, “Let me go, Daniel. Now.”
Thought returned to my mind and my fingers slipped off her bare skin, dropping to my side as she stalked furiously away, muttering something about apples under her breath. Shaking my head violently, I felt whatever had compelled me to reach out to Sophia leave me and slither away like one of Mira’s curses. I slumped back onto the bench, emptiness making its way through my stomache and lungs, just as the door banged open and the dean stepped heavy-footed into the hallway.
When he saw my unconcerned posture, he gave a low huff and muttered, “Daniel,” before striding back into the office with an air of embarrassment that I’d seen far too many times from the well-quaffed gentleman. I got to my feet, grabbed my bag from the floor, swung it over my shoulder and ambled into the stuffy room behind him. Closing the door, I dropped my bag against a large aloe plant I was certain the dean had never noticed in his time in the office, and sank into the plush chair that sat before the enormous desk. Every time I entered the extravagantly-decorated office, less objects were scattered about the workstation; an ancient desk lamp, closed laptop, file box with no label and a mug of pens that could have cost as much as my entire wardrobe.
Leaning back in his fancy chair, the dean considered me between his bent fingers before he spoke in the same low, droning voice he always did, “What did you want, Daniel?”
I wasn’t afraid of him, though the way his dull eyes studied me made me squirm in my seat, and I mirrored his stair perfectly. “Well, father,” I mused, deciding to ignore his request for me to refer to him as the dean even in private, “I wish to inquire about a rather delicate matter.” Pausing to give him time to prepare himself accordingly, I smiled at the portrait of my mother that hung above the mantle before continuing with smooth, professional charm, “See, I was very good friends with that poor girl, Cari, who was found deceased.” Again, I paused, pretending to choke back tears that would only come if I wanted them to for effect. “And I wanted desperately to send a letter to her parents explaining how wonderful and generous a woman she was while I knew her.” I sniffled a bit and breathed deeply, with little sobs occasionally breaking the relative silence.
“I didn’t think you were close,” he stated, having already lost interest in me, instead favouring a small stack of forms that he’d pulled from the file box.
Swallowing my pride, I went to pieces with tears and wet sobs and stuttered speech, “You, you see, father, father, I was just so, so, so wanting to make a friend and then, then she became just that and-”
Without a glance in my direction, he put a hand up to stop my blubbering before motioning disinterestedly and sighing, “Yes, yes, go do whatever. Send the letter or what have you. I’m very busy.” I didn’t even hear the last sentence as I was already grabbing my back with one foot out the door, but he didn’t really want gratitude.
As soon as I was out of eyeshot of his secretary, I pulled my phone out, dialed two and shoved the little shard of metal back into my pocket as the dial tone whirred in my earpiece. Down the hallway I strutted, drumming my fingers on the side of my bag as I waited for them to pick up, watching the students wandering between classes with auras of every colour under the sun. When the line rang out, I was just jogging down the steps on the way to the next building, so I clicked the off button, hung up and redialed.
This time, it rang once before a furious female voice answered, “Wha’d’you want, Dan?”
Almost running right into a tree with shock at her tone, I cleared my throat and answered coolly, “Hey babe, I just got the go ahead from the chief idiot; I’m on my way to the student office now.” Silence followed that was dotted by the occasional shriek on the other end; I didn’t want to know what Mira was up to.
“Good, great, do it. Bye,” shouted the shrill voice, sounding hollow and far away from the phone, so I hung up hastily and continued on my way to the offices at a half-speed sprint. Once I was mounting those stairs, I could already feel the anxiety and boredom setting in as this was a risky and completely unnecessary step to the larger plot the White Rose Society had in mind. But, as I stepped into the dusty air of the building, I let the negative thoughts go and headed into the office.
Pulling a tiny vial from my pocket, I glanced around quickly before the secretary noticed me and spotted a glass half-full of water. When I cleared my throat, I put on the best sore throat facsimile I could, “Hey, would you happen to have some water? I’m supposed to be seeing my father, but I have such a sore throat.” Turning on the charm and pouting a bit, just like I’d done for years to garner sympathy from these saps over my demanding father, I coughed into my arm.
“Oh, sure thing dear,” she laughed, passing me her glass without batting an eyelash. The second she looked back at the glowing computer screen, I dumped the contents of the vial into it and pretended to take a sip.
“Thanks, you’re a lifesaver, see ya!” I smiled, passing the glass back and taking my leave to hide just outside the room. After a couple of minutes, I heard the shattering of the cup and streaked back into the room, finding a stunned and very confused secretary glancing about her familiar office. “Great, so, I need a letter sent to Scarlet or Cari’s family, okay?” I asked in an unnecessarily sweet voice. With a nod, she began typing and clicking on the computer before stopping dead. “Say this, but with better words, ‘We regret to inform you of your daughter’s passing, though we are even more loathe to tell you that she was a monster who could control fire with her mind. Sorta like in Firestarter, but not that cool. Anyway, her death was an accident so there’s no point in investigating at all, so I wouldn’t waste my time. Hoping you are well, the dean of Winter’s Bend University.’” After a minute of typing it out, the woman looked at me expectantly and I nodded emphatically, “Yeah, send that. Great.”
I left, having fulfilled my part of the plan; an awkward email asking the parents of someone Mira killed not to look into her death. At least she’d be happy now.
(This isn’t really awkward, but then again, I feel like every email I’ve written is awkward. …you be the judge. This was the only email I could think of that was relevant. …I might update it later.)
Dear Nikki Dalton,
I am writing to you with a proposition. Under my brother, King T’Challa, I am leading the Wakandan Science and Information Exchange. The facility is under my jurisdiction, and as such, I am allowed to choose my apprentices; Non-Wakandan’s I would like to teach, so they can help me with reaching more people and cultivating more intelligent minds, if you will. And with such, I have chosen you.
It would be an honor to have you in my lab. We have never met, but I’ve heard so much about you from a mutual friend, Heather Morse. She has praised your scientific knowledge and pursuit for a better understanding of our world. If you choose to accept this proposal, I would love to talk to you.
Princess Shuri of Wakanda