Disclaimer: Don't own EGS, never will.
The Shy Girl Effect - Chapter 3
Rhoda had never met someone like Elliot before he was everything that she wished she could be. Confident, strong, and kind--he was like a fantasy hero made into flesh. She had to know more about him. She waited for him to return with some news of Justin's condition.
Elliot was tending to Justin's wounds. He wasn't sure if he could take care of the other boys injuries, but he was doing what he could. He stuck his head into the other room, where Rhoda was sitting on the couch. "Hey Rhoda, could you come in here and help me with these bandages?"
She nodded and walked in. "What do you need me to do Elliot?"
"Just help hold him up on his side so I can wrap them properly. Try not to strain your arm though--you seem to have fallen on it pretty hard."
"Right." Rhoda stepped over and turned her wounded friend on his side as Elliot instructed. She wanted to help any way that she could, she felt responsible for Justin's injuries. If she hadn't stood up to those stupid bullies they might have just been able to walk away, and Justin wouldn't have gotten hurt.
As they finished bandaging him, Justin's eyes opened and he looked up at Elliot and Rhoda. His voice was weak as he spoke "Rhoda what happened? Where am I?"
Rhoda took his hand in hers, comforting her friend. "Shh. You're okay, Justin. Elliot took us to his house after Ralph and his friends beat you up. Just save your strength now, you need to rest."
Justin looked over at Elliot and blushed a little "Thank you for stopping them."
"Stop talking. You have to save your energy for healing." Elliot picked Justin up and carried him over to the couch. "Just rest here I'm going to take care of Rhoda's arm."
Elliot walked back into the other room and grabbed the bandages. "Roll up your sleeve," he instructed kindly.Rhoda did as he said, blushing a bit as he started to wrap her arm up. "So, what was that fight about anyway?"
Rhoda started to tell him what happened, choosing to leave out why the others were hassling Justin in the first place. It wasn't for her to tell him that Justin was gay. "If you want to know why Ralph and the other boys were picking on him, you can ask Justin. If he wants then he can tell you."
Elliot didn't press the matter any further. He walked into the kitchen and grabbed an ice pack "Keep this on your arm. It should help with pain."
Rhoda looked at him. He had a bottle filled with a strange looking drink. It was a thick black liquid, seeming to have a consistency similar to tar. Part of her didn't want to know what it was, but something told her that she what to know."What's that?"
"This," he stated proudly, holding up the bottle, "is a special healing drink made by my martial arts teacher. It's a mix of a lot of healing herbs and coffee--I don't know why there's coffee in there. He says that it helps the healing properties get through your system faster, but I'm not sure. It works though, and Justin could definitely use some right now."
They went to check on the patient, who was lying listlessly on the couch, staring at the ceiling. Rhoda thought he looked a bit better, even though it was obvious he had gotten in a very bad fight. Elliot knelt down next to him, proffering the bottle. "Drink this. It will help you recover faster."
Justin nodded his head and Elliot helped him sip the brackish liquid. Before long the drink took effect and Justin had enough energy to sit up. Elliot handed him the bottle and sat down next to him. "So Justin, Rhoda told me most of the story about what happened. But why were those guys beating you up? You don't seem like one to provoke people."
Justin paused, resting and wondering how much to tell Elliot. The other boy had helped him, so Justin figured he owed him the truth. "...I'm gay. Those guys... that's why they attacked me. I punched one of them first, but I had no choice. They were hurting Rhoda because they had a problem with me, and I couldn't let them do that to her. So I tried to fight to protect her, but I can't fight so I didn't stand a chance."
"I see." Elliot thought for a moment then looked at both of them. "You two should join my martial arts class, so you can defend yourselves if anything like this happens again. After all, there won't always be someone there to help you."
"Yeah." He winced, looking down at his bruised body. Elliot had a very good point. "I think that would be a good idea What about you Rhoda?"
Rhoda thought for a minute She had never really thought about taking martial arts before. Maybe it would help her, maybe she could be more like Elliot if she took this class. To be able to really stand up against people that were bad to protect the people she loved "I'll do it."
"Great, I'll take you now! Sensei Greg will be happy to get some new students." He looked back at Justin. Even with Greg's healing elixir he wasn't sure if Justin should be moving around too much yet. "How are you feeling, Justin? Do you think you can make the trip?"
Justin stood up and stretched his arms a little bit. "I feel pretty good. I should be able to make it. That stuff you gave me tastes disgusting, but it works. What's in it?"
"Hell if I know, knowing Sensei Greg it's probably a mix of random healing herbs that somehow work way better when mixed together. But it always works well after my matches with Nanase."
Rhoda froze. "Wait... Nanase Kitsune?"
"Yeah, do you know her?" Elliot asked, glancing at the shy girl curiously.
She shook her head "Not really. But she's in my French class. She's always looked like a loner, and really tough too it doesn't surprise me that she can fight."
"Hmm, so you guys go to Moperville South, huh? Well maybe you two can get to know her at the martial arts class! Once you get to know her she's actually pretty cool, but she can still be scary when she's really mad. Come on, we should see about getting you two signed up now."
The walk to the dojo wasn't very eventful, and before long they arrived. Rhoda looked at the sign, puzzled. "Anime Style Martial Arts? What is that?"
"Ah, well there's a story behind that. Sensei Greg is the only man who teaches this particular martial art, because well he invented it. Apparently, after his he was dumped by his girlfriend Greg went into a deep depression and watched almost two hundred straight hours of anime. It was then that he discovered the secret to unlocking his Ki."
"Which was?" Rhoda asked, curious despite herself. Learning martial arts through anime seemed rather silly to her--everyone knew that those cartoons walked over the laws of physics as if they were a carpet.
"He developed a system of training that unlocks your Ki through a strange series of tasks ranging in difficulty from simple to moderately hard that seem to have nothing to do with the final goal," Eliot explained with a laugh. He held the door open for the other two.
No classes were in session, but Sensei Greg was still there, watching his DVD box set of the "Lucky Bunny Bounty Show" in his office. He could be heard calling out, "Why did they ever cancel this show?!"
Elliot knocked on the door and Greg turned around "Elliot! How are you doing today? Oh, and who are your friends? New students?"
"Well, we hope so. I was thinking that maybe you could give them a demonstration to see if they want to join," Elliot replied cheerfully.
"I'd be glad to give them a demonstration" Greg looked over to Rhoda and Justin. He was an imposing man, very large and strong. "Please, just sit on the mat over there and I'll be with you in a moment. Don't forget to take off your shoes before getting on the mat, you got that?"
They both nodded and removed their shoes before heading over to the mat. Sensei Greg walked up a minute or so later and took a deep breath. He just stood there for a moment, doing absolutely nothing. Rhoda began to wonder when the demonstration was going to begin, and then it happened. A bright yellow energy surrounded him and the air in the dojo became heavier. He started going through the first anime fighting style he developed, moving very swiftly for a man of his size through the motions. Going fluidly from one move to the next.
When he stopped the aura around him dissipated and he took another deep breath. He looked down at the two prospective students with a smile "So what do you think?"
Justin responded quickly "I'm in."
Rhoda didn't take time to think before her answer "If Justin is going to do it, then so will I."
'Score! Now I can get those new anime box sets I've had my eyes on!' Greg thought as he nodded at them. "Okay, we'll go to my office and get you signed up. Elliot, you can wait out here and train if you want to. This shouldn't take too long." With that Sensei Greg led the two of them into his office, leaving Elliot alone in the dojo.
Instead of training as his sensei suggested, Elliot went to find the nearest pay phone.He dropped his money in and dialed. "Hey Nanase, how are you doing?"
"Hey Elliot, I'm okay I guess."
"Cool. Do you think you could come down to the dojo? I've got some people I'd like you to meet."
"Sure, I'll try to get over there as soon as I can."
"Great, I'll see you in a little bit. Bye."
Nanase stepped off the bus in front of the dojo and looked around. Today wasn't the best to for Elliot to call her. She was glad to be out of the house though-- she had just had a big fight with her mother. Her mother had told her, at the very last minute, that she had to watch her little sister Akiko. Nanase had already made plans, and wasn't too keen on changing them for her mom. So, even though she was glad to get out of the house, she didn't really want to deal with people right now, not even Elliot.
She walked into the dojo and saw himstanding next to a couple of kids that she had seen around school before. She recognized Rhoda instantly because of the class they shared, but the otheryoung man was a bit harder to place. "Hey Elliot! These the two that you called me to meet?"
Elliot smiled and walked over to her. "Hey Nanase. Yeah, these are them. This is Justin, and this is Rhoda," he said, pointing at each of them in turn. "They're going to be taking classes here now."
Rhoda shied back a little bit from Nanase. Her classmate looked even more tough and intimidating up close than Elliot had. Justin wasn't the least bit intimidated by her though; after what he had just been through anyone that Elliot trusted was someone that he would trust.
"Justin," Nanase said, thinking for a moment. "Justin Tolkiberry? That kid that was outed a few months ago back at South?"
Justin looked her in the eyes "Yeah that's me. You got a problem with me being gay?"
She shook her head, "Not at all. In fact, I'm pretty sick of everyone treating you like crap because of it. It's nice to meet you."
"It's nice to meet you, too, Nanase. I've seen you around school from time to time-- you always seemed like a pretty tough girl," Justin replied, firmly shaking her hand.
"You could say that," she said as she walked over to Rhoda. "And you there, backing away, you're Rhoda Sophronia, right? You sit a few seats behind me in French class."
Rhoda didn't speak, shying behind Justin as she gave a nod of assent.
"I'm not going to hurt you, just relax," Nanase snickered, amused by the shy girl. Nanase personally didn't think she looked that scary. Tough, maybe, but not terrifying. Really.
Rhoda spoke softly "I'm sorry. You just always seem so tough, I was never really sure what to think about you. And right now... you're mad about something aren't you?"
"Yeah, how did you know that?"
"There's something in your eyes. I've always been good at reading people, I never understood how though. So, what is it?" Rhoda wasn't sure why she asked that question. It wasn't her business, she barely knew Nanase. But something always compelled her to help people that were angry or hurt; hopefully the other girl wouldn't think it to upfront of her to ask.
Nanase was thrown a bit by the question, the girl who was just backing away out of fear now asking her why she was angry. She could tell that whatever her reason was, it wasn't meant to to be an intrusive question. She sighed, "I just had a big fight with my mother. She wants me to watch my little sister tomorrow night even though I already have a date with Elliot. It was just a stupid fight, but I still let it get under my skin... She's just so aggravating!"
Rhoda nodded knowingly "I know what you mean. When I was little my parents never let me hang out with other kids much-- said I always needed to study. So for years I never played with other kids and aced all of my classes. But now that I've started hanging out with Justin I've realized there is more to life than just getting the best grades.
"My mother doesn't like it, so she and I fight about it a lot. So I know what a hassle parents can be."
"Yeah... But hey, enough about family troubles. You two look to be in pretty bad shape, what happened?" Nanase hadn't wanted to ask what happened before, but seeing as she just opened up to them she felt it was their turn to do the talking.
Rhoda explained what happened to her, as Justin didn't have the clearest recollection of the fight. They covered everything from the first slur to Sensei Greg's demonstration.
"Sounds like you guys had a tough day. Don't worry though, hang around with me for a few days and you won't have anything to worry about. Heck, maybe we'll all be one big happy group of friends at the end of this." Nanase laughed a bit at her own lame joke, but she was the only one.
Elliot looked at Nanase quizzically for a moment, this didn't seem like her. Either she had another reason for accepting these two so quickly, or something about their troubles got to her. He would have to ask her about it later, but for now he would just leave well enough alone.
"Thank you Nanase. It's good to know that I won't have to worry about those jerks hassling Rhoda and me anymore," Justin said, breathing a sigh of relief.
Rhoda looked up at the other girl "I'm sorry I was ever afraid of you. You and Elliot are both so nice, I'm really glad we got to meet you... I just wish it had been under better circumstances."
The four all became silent for a moment. Silence like this wasn't good, so Elliot decided to change the subject. "Anyone want to get some ice cream? There's an ice cream shop up the road just a little bit."
The others nodded and they left the dojo. Rhoda and Justin had just made two new friends, and hopefully they would make many more in the future.