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>it wasn't too late to back down
>just stand up from her desk, leap out the window, and flee to Nepal where she could live the rest of her life as a goat
>that was the thought endlessly repeating itself inside Charlotte Charles- no... Joy Torres's mind
>the life she had worked so, so hard to remain dead had just crawled its way back onto her lap
>and as much as she desperately wanted to run away... she knew she couldn't
>it was too later to run anyway
>Joanne Cannes peaked into the room
>admittedly, she was a bit surprised to see someone was inside the room
>Joanne had always had a very acute hearing, so she was pretty positive the room was empty at first with how deathly silent it seemed
Yes, Ms. Cannes. Please, come in.
>Charlotte called from her desk, making a vague motion with her hand
>she seemed as cold as a statue, but boy, did she feel the most nervous she had ever been in her life
Heh... Thanks for actually getting my name right.
>Joanne commented with a bit of a smirk as she stepped inside
You wouldn't believe how many people have called me "Cans" before.
>she took her seat, only to be faced with the unflinching visage of Charlotte Charlestone
>now that she'd finally saw Joanne Cannes in the flesh... quite frankly, she saw very little in common between them
>but that just seemed to be a Torres thing; she didn't resemble her sister very much; her own daughter didn't resemble her at all; and pretty much nobody in the family looked like her own mother
>as much as she liked her brain to believe that this was all one big misunderstanding, she knew full well that wishful thinking
>every single detail added up; there was no escaping the unequivocal truth that-
Sooo... what am in for?
>crap, how long had she been quiet
Is this about the open mic night thing?
What- ...no. No, it is not about that. Much as the faculty doesn't exactly condone such vivid language, we respect our students' creative freedom, and all the necessary warnings were properly given for that event. You did not break any rules, so you have no need to concern yourself over any punishment.
>Joanne let out a light sigh
That's good to hear.
So... what did you call me here for?
>Charlotte flinched a little, realizing she'd gone silent again
>damn it; she really wished the conversation could've stayed on strict professional terms
Y-Yes, well... Miss Cannes... it's-...
>just say something
...STAR Academy takes a great interest in knowing its students are having the best possible experience they can during their stay here. You've had a long trip from your hometown just to come here, yes?
>Joanne blinked, but that sounded pretty logical
Well, yeah, I guess so. Douglastown and Metropolis are totally different worlds, but I think I've managed fine. It's not my first time in a big city or anything, so...
>she shrugged her shoulders
I see. And your rooming situation. Has it been satisfactory?
Oh, yeah. There was a bit of a growing process, for sure, but Abs is cool once you get to know her.
...right. It's quite peculiar, actually, that someone could grow to accustomed to Miss Addams's unique attributes so quickly.
>Joanne just gave another shrug
I'm just that brave, I guess.
>great, more silence
>although, strangely enough, it wasn't that awkward
>not for Joanne, at least, and she couldn't really pinpoint why
>something about the silence between them just felt... normal?
>like they could sit there staring at each other for hours, and somehow still feel like they had a decent conversation
>it was weird
...your family situation, Miss Cannes...
>Joanne slowly raised an eyebrow
Not that I mean to pry, but-... well, we're aware of your father's condition.
It couldn't possibly have been easy... growing up with a parent so far ahead in years...
>Joanne's expression very subtly soured
What's it to you?
>Charlotte didn't move, but inwardly, she felt that iciness in Joanne's monotone voice
Sure, dad's old, but he's always been there for me.
>her hand reached up, somewhat by instinct, to feel the dog tags he'd given her to remember him by
Just because he forgets things sometimes, it doesn't mean he's a bad father.
Th-That's not what I was trying to insinuate, Miss C-
>Joanne bluntly interrupted
You know I've heard that before, right? Everyone thinks they just know what's better for me, when they don't even know my dad. That man worked himself to death to make sure I had the best life I could possibly have, and he did it all alone.
So if you think I'm gonna sit here and listen to another damn suit try to tell me that-
What of your mother.
>Joanne was snapped out of her train of thought with Charlotte's own interruption
Wh-... My mom's a saint, just as much as dad is, and even more of a reason for people to leave me alo-
Your birth mother.