Margaret was toying with the pearl necklace that she received from her friend on her birthday four days ago. The jewelry was a gold band of a fine, delicate chain that hung around her neck, the circular stone draping nicely in her front. It caught the warm light coming from the window beside the armchair she was sitting on, enticing her with its small and simple beauty even more.
"You seem to like that little gift of yours."
Margaret turned her head to the voice beside her and saw that it was Blue Bette. The nickname was a running trend among her classmates because of her obvious penchant for the color blue - a blue bonnet that adorned her crown of brown, curly locks; a woolen, navy blue cardigan that was unbuttoned, with a tee that was of a darker shade underneath; a pair of a dark, skinny jeans that looked black, but was actually a dark cerulean when caught with light, and a pair of blue loafers that completed her look and identity. She was one of the odd sort of the class, always blurting questions out of the blue and popping up unnoticeably, like now.
"Oh, hello!" Margaret waved her free hand in greeting, and Bette tipped her head to bid her the same. Margaret returned her attention to the precious jewelry in her hand, not noticing that Bette had taken the vacant seat next to her.
"You didn't answer my question. How rude."
"Oh, what? Sorry, I was a bit preoccupied. You were saying?" If Margaret turned her head quicker without giving hasty glances at her necklace, she would have seen Bette roll her eyes.
"I said that you didn't answer my question," Bette answered lazily, propping her jaw on her hand.
Returning from her stupor, Margaret recalled the short exchange earlier, then knitted her brows in annoyance.
"If I recall correctly, you didn't even ask a question, Briette. Before anything else, good morning, and I apologize for my lack of manners a while ago. Now, do you need something?"
Briette didn't utter a word after that, and held Margaret's gaze unexpectedly instead, as if she was a new specimen being studied. Briette's gaze was focused and firm, pinning Margaret in place. She felt so awkward and overwhelmed at the unusual turn of the conversation... or whatever it was they were having. Perhaps the rumors were true that among the Odd Lot, Blue Bette was the oddest of them all.
"You're extremely fussy. It's weird."
She'll hold those rumors true, then.
"You don't say," was Margaret's brilliant reply.
Briette leaned back, looking at her incredulously , and tilted her head to the side. "And sarcastic." She leaned in again, crossing her forearms on the chair's arm, her eyes never breaking contact with hers. "You're wondering, it's not a wonder. First impressions last, and its only odd that mine of yours changed fast."
Margaret raised a brow. "Oh, so you're a poet now. Charmed," she answered nonchalantly, sarcasm dripping like venom in her voice. Whatever this girl was thinking, she no longer wanted to take any part of it.
"You're looking well." Margaret scrunched her brows together at the sporadic statement but was grateful of the complement, until Bette opened her mouth again. "There, are you happy now? I attempted to be prudish and pertinent like all the folks of the Fussy and Perfect would be. Shall I go forth and bring you a cup of tea? Or perhaps share with you some of my techniques in knitting doilies?"
Margaret did her best to control her ire. Clearly, 'Blue Bette' must have also come from the many connotations of blue with its tacky shade and meanings. She took a deep breath and came upon a decision to dismiss this anarchic discussion as gently as she could, leave, and avoid Bette for the rest of the school year.
Before Margaret could even utter a word, Bette beat her on it. "You sure like that gift of yours. It's no wonder. It's from your friend. Pray tell, did you like her at your first impression of her?"
Will this girl ever give a hint if she'll change the subject? It's getting on her nerves!
Margaret held the stone resting on her chest with her thumb and index fingers, and looked at its dainty appearance. A warm smile ghosted on her face, the sour demeanor of her conversant forgotten. Returning her gaze back to the waiting Bette, her ire returned. Now, her resolve on avoiding Bette solidified. Her very face agitates her without preamble.
"Well, unlike you, I did like her at first impression. She was likeable because she knew how to greet properly, how to be respectful, and how to keep herself from prying." She gave the brunette a pointed look.
Margaret's irritation heightened when Bette laughed like she heard a joke. "Wow, she must really have worked hard for that."
Her mouth gaped in fury, affronted at how Bette was ridiculing her, much more her friend. "Are you suggesting that she's -"
"A fake? A fraud? An attention-hooking loner who would eventually leave you bereft of her presence once she gets what she wants? That's a downright yes, your majesty, though the last part might just be me being presumptuous."
"If you must know," she said, relieving some of her anger by spitting the last word, even if Propriety itself would label such gesture as impertinent, "it is downright improper and rude to claim something as offensive as that on someone that you don't know, much more forcing your insinuation on her friend!"
Despite Margaret's anger being directed at her, Bette was clearly extracting pleasure from this. It was creepy and weird that she was, if she really was, but it didn't change the fact that it angered Margaret more.
"If you must know," mimicked Bette, at which Margaret scoffed at, " I am not improper and rude to be claiming such things because I might know your little friend better than you, which leads me to my next point: I am not called 'Blue Bette' just for my likeness of blue. I also appear out of the blue." There was silence.
Bette rolled her eyes. "Fine, riddle you that. Take this for instance: a smuggler walks along the street with his loot to distribute to poor fools who'd take them, not knowing that it was illegally taken into the country. Then, suddenly, MI-5 bursts out of the blue, gun in hand and exploiting his ordeal, and the lout didn't even know that Mister Sneaky was just hiding in the shadows." She was looking expectantly at Margaret, anticipating for her understanding.
"You really are a poet, aren't you?"
Bette's face fell at this, and gave an exasperated sigh."Here, dunce, let's just say that I like staying in the alleys or in some wayward, narrow spaces, where I usually take in some unpleasant air or good stuff from people who bypass me. There, you get it? Goodness, for someone so eloquent and respected, you sure are loblolly."
Margaret puffed her cheeks at the consecutive insults. "It doesn't help that you're a blatherskite. You talk too much nonsense instead of getting straight to the point. It's no wonder why you're the oddest among your peers."
"Hey! I'm not a blatherskite!" At this, Margaret smirked triumphantly, happy that Bette got to experience the frustration she's making her go through. It seemed that annoying Bette put her in such a good mood that she'd have to credit her for her wide vocabulary. Not that she was going to let her know.
"Then what are you, if not a blabbering minx who un-tactically backstabs others in front of their friends?" she asked smugly, crossing her arms under her chest. "Enlighten me," she challenged, a smirk tugging at the corner of her lip.
Bette rose to her invitation, standing up and leveling her look. "I am Blue Bette, the oddest among the Odd Lot, the bluest student there is in this poser-infested school, and definitely not a blatherskite. I am the most unsavory character you'll ever have the misfortune of meeting, and I work effortlessly for that in my first impressions, unlike your friend there who utilizes persnickety manners and temperament as a white plaster on her rusty attitude, and uses pathetic excuses of gifts to get you, a respected elite in this school, by her side to make her growing fame thrive."
Margaret was speechless, and she didn't know whether it was because of surprise or fury. Before she could even return to her wits, Bette stormed off in a flash of blue out of the room.
She didn't know what to make of what just happened, but it was striking and unexpected. It was full of conviction and shadowed with the tone of righteous truth. She returned her attention to the pearl she didn't realize she had been holding during the unpleasant banter. She rolled it between her fingers, examining it with less enthusiasm as before, until she felt something rough under her index finger. Letting it settle on her palm, her eyes widened at the revealed, rusty, brown spot of the concealed, cheap copper of the pearl, its glossy, white paint scraped off and lying haphazardly against her skin.