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The Main Character Syndrome of Aynnhailleah Angel Astrid: Episode 1.2

by Lael


As Angel shoved her books and supplies into her backpack and rushed forward to leave the classroom, she finally saw Bryony, who was getting up from a seat in the front row. Oh, did she have a lot to spill after such a crazy morning. But before she could take more than three steps, a male classmate of hers slid in front of her.

“Hey, Angel, could I help you carry your backpack to your next class?” he asked. Without waiting for a reply, he moved to her side and reached both hands forward to lift her backpack straps off her shoulders.

Angel took a step back, only to feel that she had bumped into something with her backpack. She threw a lightning-fast glance behind her to see Jhémes standing there with a mildly interested expression, his hands in his pockets.

“No, I’m good,” she said quickly, grabbing both of the other boy’s hands before he could grab her backpack. He sucked in a breath, eyes widening at her tiny, delicate hands around his.

“Are you sure? You let me carry your bag last Thursday, and right now you’re—”

“Listen,” said Angel, who did not, in fact, remember if this guy had been the one who had begged to ‘help’ her last Thursday or if it had been a different classmate. She pushed his hands away and peered around him to make sure Bryony hadn’t left without her. “It’s very sweet of you to offer your help again, and I’m grateful for last time, but I really have to get going. I need to talk to my best friend, alone.” She took one last surreptitious glance to check if he was still hovering over her shoulder. Her heart jumped when she saw that he was indeed still there, and his beautiful eyes met hers once again. “Excuse me.” She wove around the other classmate and made a beeline for Bryony, hoping the boy whose hair was as luminous and white as the moon wasn’t right behind her.

“Angel, do you need my help instead?” called some of her other classmates. “Angel!”

“Angel thanked me again for holding her bag! She held my hands!” exclaimed the boy who had blocked her way. He let out a loud whoop. “I’m never washing them again.”

“Hey, keep your voice down, mister,” snapped Mrs. Smith. “It’s passing period, but we’re still indoors.”

Angel ignored them all and linked arms with her best friend. She pulled her along out the door as quickly as possible. “Bryony, why’d you ditch me to sit up front? I had to sit with the new guy.” She lowered her voice and spoke between her teeth at the last couple of words. “He was looking at me all period long.”

“I don’t even know how things turned out this way,” sighed Bryony. “Mrs. Smith told me to switch seats with Eric because he said that he couldn’t see the board very well because he’s farsighted, or something like that. It’s not like I could say no to the teacher.” She shrugged and rolled her eyes. “If you ask me, he just didn’t want to be front and center for her to see him napping, but I don’t know who he’s kidding. Teachers see just about everything.”

Angel grimaced, recalling Mrs. Smith’s sharp remark before the lesson. “Yeah. But wait, Eric wasn’t—”

“I’m getting to it, I’m getting to it. But then, he just went and sat in a totally different place that I didn’t even know was empty before! So now I’m stuck in the front of the room.” Bryony groaned. “At least I have a tolerable seat buddy nearby in the form of Henry, but who even wants to sit in the front? I miss my nice seat as far away from the teacher as possible. But what about you? What happened this morning? You’ve never been late to a single class before.”

“I was almost late,” corrected Angel. “And I’ll explain that, but I have to ask you something first.” She met her friend’s eyes solemnly. Bryony nodded, leaning her head closer to Angel’s.

Angel took a deep breath. “What do you think of the new guy?”

“The . . . new guy?” Bryony shot Angel a confused look. “Well, he’s really cute, but his parents sure set him up for a hard time with that way of spelling his name.” She shrugged slowly. “What about him though?”

“That’s it?” asked Angel. She frowned.

Bryony raised an eyebrow. “I mean, did you want me to say that he’s the most handsome guy I’ve ever seen in my life? Because he is, but it’s a little weird to be going around saying that out loud.”

“Well, yes and no. Haven’t you noticed something about him?” Angel willed with all her might through her eyes for her friend to understand.

“Angel, I don’t know what you’re trying to say,” said Bryony, shaking her head. “I can’t read your mind. Jhémes just got here at the beginning of geography today. Is there something I’m supposed to notice about him?”

Angel flinched slightly as Bryony said his name aloud. She drew another deep breath, suddenly feeling her entire body start to tremble. “He isn’t like any boy I’ve met in the past,” she said, her voice wobbling. “He’s making me feel things I’ve never felt before.”

Bryony’s expression changed to one of disbelief and almost horror. “Angel, no.”

“I have to admit it!” exclaimed Angel, stopping in her tracks in the middle of the hallway. She placed a hand on her chest. “My heart is beating so fast right now, and I can’t get him off my mind because—”

Shh!” hissed Bryony, pulling Angel toward the lockers and out of the way of the throng of students who had stopped to stare as Angel began what was definitely shaping up to become a monologue.

Bryony laughed awkwardly and waved a hand dismissively. “No need to be concerned, everyone. Angel’s just practicing for an audition. Method acting, am I right?”

The students continued walking, murmuring about how Angel was going to break into yet another sector of the entertainment and arts industry. Bryony let out a heavy sigh, pressing her fingers to her temple.

“Angel, I know he’s super handsome in a really unique way and all—I mean, I couldn’t help staring at him either. But why don’t we take a step back and—”

“I feel like my existence has been threatened by him,” said Angel, continuing as if she had never been interrupted, though she lowered her voice. “I never thought the day would come when I encounter a rival.”

“What? A rival? Angel, I thought you were about to say you fell in love with him after only one second when you guys bumped into each other before class and you did that long stare into each other’s eyes!”

“I—we didn’t stare into each other’s eyes!” Angel scoffed. “Anyways, no way! I meant his appearance and his aura. I even heard someone saying earlier that his beauty was on the same level as mine.”

Bryony pinched the bridge of her nose. She sighed again. “So that’s what you meant. Please don’t scare me like that again. I’ve had too much excitement for a Wednesday morning.”

“Sorry,” said Angel, her face sheepish. “I can’t help it.”

Bryony elbowed her teasingly and continued walking. “Save your theatrics for when you actually become an actress, okay?”

“Wait, so earlier you said something about me and him bumping into each other, right? Does that mean that everyone in class saw us?” Angel felt a cold rush of dread from her head to her toes.

“I can’t confidently say everyone, since I was in the front, but yeah, pretty much,” said Bryony. “Sorry.”

“Oh no,” groaned Angel, smacking her forehead with her hand. “What will people be thinking now, with that and Mrs. Smith’s totally unhelpful and snide comment before the lesson?”

Just then, the one-minute warning bell rang, and they both gasped. Bryony broke into a run.

“That obviously doesn’t matter now!” she called over her shoulder. “Save it for lunch!”

Angel stared after her receding figure for a moment, then shook her head and swerved into another hallway, weaving through a few other students as she sprinted forward.

“Excuse me!” she exclaimed, brushing past another girl. “Coming through!”

Students began to part to the walls like the rushing waves of an ocean receding from the shoreline. Angel stopped for a moment, marveling at the two sides neatly in rows, watching her. She smiled and put on an extra spurt of speed into her step now that the hallway was clear.

“Thank you, everyone!” she called, waving. She was already turning the corner at the end of the hallway now, so she couldn’t quite catch everything they were saying, but she wondered why some of the other students had started talking about track and field events at the Elmere Athletic Games. The last one occurred two years ago, and there were still two more years until the next Games took place—it made no sense to her.

At last, the calculus classroom was in sight! Angel gave the last energy she had and shot through the threshold as the bell rang for class to begin. As she briefly leaned on the filing cabinet by the door to rest, she gave a huge sigh of both relief and exhaustion. She stepped forward to take her seat, but she jumped when a hand clamped down on her shoulder forcefully. She already knew who it was by the familiar grip alone before she even turned her gaze to see the tall, severe woman glaring down at her.

You’re coming with me, young lady,” said Mrs. Grant, and she began to pull Angel through the doorway. Angel bit back a cry of “Ouch!” knowing that whatever was to come would only be worse if she couldn’t hold it in.

“Is something wrong, Mrs. Grant?” said Angel’s calculus teacher, Miss Hardman, voice on edge. “Is there a reason for you to be accosting my student when class has already begun? Again?”

“Accosting! I caught her breaking the rules and I am taking her outside to correct her behavior,” replied the other woman, looking down her nose at Miss Hardman. “As her former algebra teacher, I feel a sort of responsibility for ensuring her personal character is developed properly, even though she is no longer in my class."

“I see,” said Miss Hardman, narrowing her eyes in a way that made Angel believe she would have rather said, “Yeah, right.” Her teacher sighed. “Go on then, Angel. Come back as soon as possible. I won’t count you tardy.” It was hard for her, a teacher of four years, to fight back against Mrs. Grant, who was practically a fossilized prehistoric relic of Kennard Academy, even if she and everyone else were on Angel’s side.

Angel could hear her classmates begin to whisper among themselves, catching snippets like “Ugh, she’s so obsessed,” or “Georgie couldn’t give it a break for once?” She had to fight to hold back a giggle at that one. But most of all, she heard sympathetic voices saying, “I feel so bad for Angel.” For that, a swell of gratitude rose up in her. At least most people around her had a heart.

But Mrs. Grant was not one of those people. As soon as she had shoved Angel into the middle of the hallway, she pointed in the direction in which Angel had come to class. “First thing, I saw you running just now. Go back and walk.” As Angel started and opened her mouth, eyes wide in shock, Mrs. Grant continued, "The shamelessness you show in running through the halls of our distinguished school is utterly disrespectful. No doubt you ran through the entire building, but I will only ask you to go back and walk through this hall.” She flicked her wrist, waving her hand. “Go."

Angel gritted her teeth and made her way down the many yards of hallway before her. She resisted clenching her fists, since Mrs. Grant, who was especially hawk-eyed when it came to Angel, would definitely interpret this as defiance. Her cheeks burned and she could feel her eyes stinging--no doubt, there were curious people watching from the windows of other classrooms. They always tuned in to the Angel-Grant drama, and in this episode, Mrs. Grant was unfairly treating Angel like a misbehaving elementary schooler.

The lap to the end of the hall and back felt like an eternity dragging by with each step. She couldn't even pretend that she was on a runway to make the experience better. Angel didn't dare to quicken her pace even a bit for fear of being ordered to start over, but she was all the more painfully aware of how she was probably missing part of the calculus lesson because of how this torture crept by at a snail's pace.

As she finally neared Mrs. Grant again, the woman said, "If you can't even walk in the hallways properly, I don't know how you will be prepared to behave when you apply to college. It's hardly proper behavior for a high schooler, let alone a college student." She crossed her arms and her gaze bored into Angel's.

Angel closed her eyes for a few seconds, willing herself to gather strength, and took a deep breath. Enough was enough.

"With all due respect, Mrs. Grant," she said as she opened her eyes again, "no one cares in college if you run on campus, and probably not in the buildings, either."

"What?" cried Mrs. Grant, her eyes flashing.

"My brother said so," continued Angel, before the teacher could get another word in. "He also said that professors don't even care if you show up to class, which is crazy, but—"

"Quiet!" shouted Mrs. Grant. Her voice filled the hall and echoed faintly.

Mr. Rustell, the geometry teacher, opened his classroom door and stared pointedly at Mrs. Grant. The older woman met his gaze briefly and cleared her throat awkwardly. Mr. Rustell rolled his eyes and his door shut loudly. It was almost a slam.

Mrs. Grant turned back and growled, "How dare you talk back to me, Aynnhailleah." She pointed a bony finger at Angel. "Your brother does not sound like a very good example. The type to skip class and not study, I'm sure."

Enough was really enough.

"For your information, Mrs. Grant," Angel flicked her midnight hair behind her shoulder, meeting the teacher's stare with a hardened expression of her own, "no, he didn't skip class or ignore his studies. He graduated from Vincentia University with the highest honors, and he's now a student at Bernice School of Medicine." She folded her arms together. "I don't think you can get that far without honest hard work."

"That's it," hissed Mrs. Grant, looming over Angel. The proximity of the woman's venomously twisted face to her own was almost enough to make Angel squirm and take a step back. "I don't want to hear any more from you. I was already meaning to do this, but I'm writing you up for detention."

"What?" Angel felt like her eyes were about to pop out of their sockets and her jaw was about to hit the floor.

"For talking back to me and for the second thing I was going to address," said Mrs. Grant, giving Angel a shark's grin, "which concerns you not following the dress code." She gestured up and down at Angel's attire, which was perfectly neat and in order. "You have no excuses for not wearing your blazer."

"I—"

"Uh-uh, no excuses." Mrs. Grant whipped out a detention slip and a red pen, and, still grinning, she scrawled a word on it before thrusting it at Angel.

Angel stared down at the paper slip. A singular 'INSUBORDINATION' screamed up at her in red among the blank spaces filled out in black ink, detailing time, location, and her other ‘crimes.’

"You had this prepared ahead of time, didn't you?" she said, her voice deflated. Tears began to prick at her eyes at the injustice staring her in the face.

"Don't forget to report to detention at four ten sharp," said Mrs. Grant, looking as smug as a cat as she sauntered back to her classroom.

Angel stood alone in the hallway for another minute, biting her lip. Her clenched fists crumpled the sides of the detention slip. Well, some things just didn't change. Mrs. Grant always had something against her, even though she absolutely didn’t deserve any of it.

As she trudged back to calculus, Angel thought to herself, At least there's no Jhémes Blake to make things worse right now.

--

Previous: Episode 1.1

Next: Episode 1.3


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Thu Sep 28, 2023 7:15 pm
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Ventomology wrote a review...



HAHA the anime vibes. “I’m never washing them again.”

I'm going to spin a little yarn here and suggest that it would be extremely cool if you have an unreliable narrator in Angel. She is all at once normal, and a Main Character; nice, and very self-important; and perfect, but troublesome. And there is something about the way she is so cool about how obsessed other people are with her, like that is how it should be, that I wonder if we're seeing a little bit of deluded-ness there.

Or, it could just be fun parody and I'm off my rocker.

I love the way Angel describes the feeling of meeting a rival--all the romantic clichés are hilarious, and Bryony does an awesome job of reinforcing them until Angel turns the situation on its head. I'm excited to see her either really fall in love, or for many many rivalry hijinks to ensue.

Or, you know, both. Both is good.

Last thing: I think Mrs. Grant could have used a bit more of an introduction before we got into the antagonism. This would have been a great opportunity to show off the same kinds of silly, hyperbolic descriptions used for Angel and Jhémes's beautiful appearances on a character who is... probably less beautiful.

Hope this helps,
-Vento




Lael says...


Thank you very much! Perhaps a fuller intro to Mrs. Grant is in order ;)



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Fri Sep 01, 2023 4:52 pm
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WinnyWriter wrote a review...



Hey, I'm here for a review again! I like how you've filled this episode with various bits of what seem to be generic school drama and the stereotypical one mean teacher. You can tell Angel thinks herself to be the center of attention everywhere she goes. I think you do well at dropping hints of her main character syndrome without being too obvious about it. For example, I noticed this displayed in instances like when all the other students neatly cleared the hallway to let her through when she was headed to class. This is a great way of showing, not telling.

I really liked the part where the one teacher opened his door and got annoyed at Mrs. Grant. I found that funny. However - and I realize that Angel is meant to be the Main Character and everything is supposed to be her personal antagonist - I would still like to see a little bit of future reasoning as to why Mrs. Grant is such a strict grouch. Why exactly does she have it out for Angel so much, or any rule-breaking student that much? Maybe she's just uptight, Idk, but I think perhaps a few glimpses into her reasoning might be helpful, as I don't know that it's super realistic for a teacher to be strict to such an antagonistic level. But then again, this story is more of a satire, so realism might have permission to take second place in favor of exaggerated tropes.

Again, good job on punctuation, spelling, and paragraph breaks. I saw one instance where you missed opening quotation marks, but since your quotation marks seem pretty consistent otherwise, I'm sure it was just a typo.

Well, that's all for now. Again, thanks for sharing, and keep up the good work!




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Wed Aug 30, 2023 8:01 pm
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Liminality wrote a review...



Hi again Lael!

General Impressions

There’s lots I love about this chapter. I found it easy to follow what the characters were doing and saying. The descriptions and dialogue had a lot of personality to them. I really like Bryony so far, and she seems to me to be a bit more grounded than the rest of the characters.

Angel thought to herself, At least there's no Jhémes Blake to make things worse right now.
Also, my reaction to this line was: Angel *don’t* that’s how you summon him –
I’m anticipating the next part will have an appearance from Jhémes who will maybe join the bandwagon with the rest of the classmates talking about how unfair Mrs. Grant is to Angel.

Characters

Some of the best one-liners and quips came from Bryony this chapter. I like how you’ve balanced her being the ‘MC’s best friend’ archetype while also being a bit more self-aware than those characters tend to be.
Bryony shot Angel a confused look. “Well, he’s really cute, but his parents sure set him up for a hard time with that way of spelling his name.”

^ Her commenting on the name thing is a good moment that shows she’s pretty down-to-earth. It’s also kind of ironic since she’s friends with someone whose name is spelt ‘Aynnhailleah’ xD

Besides that, I kind of wonder if Angel’s Sue status is kind of like a magical force in the world.
“Sorry,” said Angel, her face sheepish. “I can’t help it.”

^Like I suspect she genuinely can’t help using those stock phrases. xD

Students began to part to the walls like the rushing waves of an ocean receding from the shoreline. Angel stopped for a moment, marveling at the two sides neatly in rows, watching her. She smiled and put on an extra spurt of speed into her step now that the hallway was clear.
“Thank you, everyone!” she called, waving.

This was also another funny moment where Angel seems to exert a magical force on the world without her realizing it. I thought it was hilarious that she acknowledged the students clearing the path for her because in films, etc. that usually happens without comment. It also makes her more likeable to me, since it’s kind of sweet that she noticed and thanked them.

Comedy

Angel flinched slightly as Bryony said his name aloud. She drew another deep breath, suddenly feeling her entire body start to tremble. “He isn’t like any boy I’ve met in the past,” she said, her voice wobbling. “He’s making me feel things I’ve never felt before.”

I thought the build-up to Angel’s declaration of rivalry was really funny. The concept of her misleading Bryony by accident using romantic stock phrases is already amusing, and then the dramatic descriptions like her reaction to Jhémes’ name being said enhance that effect. Bryony’s horrified reaction also helps sell it.

Another comedic feature I like is how Angel’s classmates sometimes seem to act in unison. The scene in the beginning when after the one guy offers to carry her bag, everyone else chips in was great.

Speculations

he wondered why some of the other students had started talking about track and field events at the Elmere Athletic Games. The last one occurred two years ago, and there were still two more years until the next Games took place—it made no sense to her.

Hmm I guess this will happen early then! Such is the power of a main character (and two ‘main characters’ being present no less). My guess is at some point Angel and Jhémes will be racing against each other? Or their teams will be?

I thought the scene with Mrs. Grant was kind of unusual in that it teeters between feeling more realistic and still feeling like a parody. Making Angel ‘re-do’ walking down the hallway sounds like something a real (bad) teacher would do, but the other parts of the scene like all the classmates sympathising with her and the paper saying ‘INSUBORDINATION’ come across to me as being more hyperbolic.

Overall

As a whole, the chapter had great comedy and character presentation. There’s definitely a character arc of some kind being built up surrounding Angel’s ‘rivalry’ with Jhémes, though it’s still a bit too early on for the direction of the story to become clear, I suppose. I look forward to seeing Angel’s next interaction with her ‘nemesis’!

Let me know if you’d like more feedback on something specific!
-Lim




Lael says...


Hey Lim! Thanks so much for another review. I%u2019m glad you found it funny so far, because one of the things I%u2019m concerned about is whether or not my readers will find the lines and scenarios humorous. I hope you enjoy future episodes as well!




Don't accept your dog's admiration as conclusive evidence that you are wonderful.
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